He slinked back into the room, the door closing quietly behind him.

It was dark.

It was very late.

He threw off his cape and boots, then silently tried to squeeze his way under Nova's arm and the blankets.

After a moment, it lifted up, and then came back down around his waist.

" Sneaky... Where've you been..." Nova mumbled, his lip grazing the top of William's head.

" Scheming," William whispered back.

" Don't be mean to my brother..." Nova said, too tired to really scold.

" He was mean to me," William complained.

" Liar... he hasn't got a mean bone in his body," Nova said, even though a slight rumble caught in his throat. " Reprehensible... terrible... you're an awful little man..."

William held him, warm.

" Won't even... stay with me..."

Nova continued to mumble abstract curses as fell asleep, purring.