I told her the truth, “I missed seeing you. Will you be at the party?”
“I didn't plan on it,” she confessed. “Seeing that I, too, felt a certain longing at your absence, I am currently reconsidering my options.”
“You could just say that you missed me too and you want to spend time with me at the party,” I chuckled, using my returning strength to roll over to my side to face her. Patchouli was staring right at me with those focused eyes of hers.
“Very well,” she relented, “I missed you and want to spend time with you at the party.”
“-and outside of the party too, if possible,” she added, to my surprise.
“That can be arranged,” I told her, feeling like I was on cloud nine. Forget the creeping nausea, general fatigue and soreness in my body. I really didn't have time for them. It wasn't every day that a magician just came out and stated what she wanted clearly. The tendency was to be manipulative, to mask desire behind well-chosen words, control of emotions and tradition. What a taciturn lot. On the other hand, it meant that seeing a magician give in to their passions was something of an unforgettable experience.
“Good night, Arc,” she whispered softly.
“I wish I knew a spell that granted me night vision so that I could see you plainly as you are now,” I blurted out. Damned vampire hoodoo tripped me up again.
“Instead of rebuking me, I saw a thin suggestive smile form on her lips. “I can teach you one some other time,” she said. “But I don't mind leaving on the lights either.”
And on that bombshell she let out a small yawn and closed her eyes. After a few minutes I couldn't tell if she was fast asleep or still awake and trying to see what I would do. Magicians were a terrible, cruel and mercurial lot despite what they claimed. But I wouldn't have them any other way, I told myself. It was hard to sleep while my imagination went wild but eventually, the fatigue got the better of me.
All's well that ends well. Unless things don't really end and you're back in the thick of it.
I woke up with a start. The bedroom doors crashed open as what seemed to be a pure force of nature exploded into my room. My heart was beating away like crazy, lodged in what seemed to be my throat. A high velocity impact hit me on my chest, knocking the wind out of me, as the bed creaked and groaned to what sounded like breaking point.
“Arc! Arc! My sweet prince!” An excited voice called out. “Good morning sleepyhead! It's time to get up and play with your princess!”
“Ugh, Flandre...” I voiced weakly, still trying to recover from having no breath.
“I was happy to hear that you stayed over last night. When I asked Sakuya about it she told me that you had a long night and needed to rest but I could tell that she was just trying to be polite and all,” she said in what seemed to me to have been a single breath. “So I came over running because I knew that you'd want to see me again so we could have our little tea party together. I've got a really silly hat that you can wear if you like.”
Like an overstimulated puppy, she thrashed around on top of me, giggling all the while. She wasn't particularly heavy or anything but my body still felt a little dull and unresponsive. As such, it was hard to brace myself and deal with her over the top display of affection.
“Princess Flan,” I tried to regain some of my composure and buy time, “would you sit on the bed instead of playing on top of me? Just until I can get up and get my bearings.”
“Aw... my prince isn't a morning person. Isn't that just adorable?” she crawled up the sheets and finally faced me directly. Her eyes had a spark of deep mischief and her crooked grin told me that there was no easy escape from her attention.
“Flandre...” Patchouli chimed in, “you shouldn't harass guests so early in the morning. Do you remember that story I told you about the patient little frog?”
“Oh! Patch-Patch!” Flandre perked up even more, turning her attention to the magician who was still lying next to me. “I didn't expect to find you here. Oh... you're in the same bed as my prince... you must have been together all night....”
A heavy, highly uncomfortable silence fell upon the room like a lead curtain. I was nervous. There was no telling how the earnest, extroverted but somewhat naïve girl was going to react to a revelation like that. I gulped down hard, fully aware that she was a vampire too.
“You must be really good friends!” she concluded with a spontaneous joyful laugh. “I'm kind of jealous that I wasn't invited to the sleepover but you told me Patch-Patch that I had to learn to share and I'd end up having more fun in the long run.”
“We've known each other for some time now...” Patchouli began to explain.
Flandre didn't really want to hear our boring history. Instead she interrupted, asking with a giggle, “isn't he just the most gallant prince you've ever met? Being near him makes my chest feel funny but in a really nice sort of way. It's also a bit weird but I'm feeling a bit hungry now. I guess I'll go ask Sakuya for a bit more food while you sleepyheads get dressed and ready to play. Patch-Patch can join us today too. It'll be really fun.” Flandre sprung up from the bed and landed with both feet on the floor. She twirled around as if showing off to a crowd and giggled a little quietly to herself.
“Arc and I both have work to do today,” Patchouli told her. “He has to help set up things for the party later. And I need to attend to a few personal errands later. I don't know if we'll have time to play.”
“Awww, don't be like that,” Flan put on her puppy dog eyes again, targeting the both of us in a display of nearly-sickening adorableness. She sighed, “I know, I know. Princesses are supposed to be understanding, so it's okay if you can't come play right away. But a promise is a promise! I'll wait for you to come along and see me later!”
Not waiting to see if we had anything else to say, she dashed right on out of the room. Clearly she was used to living life however she wanted.
I sighed. “Thanks for helping me out there,” I told Patchouli.
“She can be difficult to deal with at times. And not just because of her personality,” she warned, “Flandre can lose control of her powers relatively easily. In times of emotional distress or prolonged hardship they may begin to manifest themselves violently and without restraint. Do treat her with caution if she ever gets very upset around you. She cannot help herself.”
“Alright, I'll keep that in mind.” My jaw slackened a bit as I sat up. I was grinning from ear to ear all of a sudden. Naturally, I had to change the subject abruptly. “Oh Patch-Patch... it looks like Flandre ruined your favorite nightgown.” One of her shoulder straps had snapped, causing her entire left side to collapse and expose the rich bounty that lay underneath. As a warm-blooded male it was my divine duty to sear the image into my mind so that I could recall it with vivid detail even on my deathbed. In short, I was ogling her without apology.
She looked as tender and nubile as ever. There was no doubt that she filled out that nightgown with delectable fullness of figure. It was a shame that she normally wore those baggy and unflattering robes that some magicians seemed to prefer. It unfairly hid what was nature's bounty made flesh.
“I see...” she remarked quietly, showing no signs of emotional alteration. With her fingers she grabbed a hold of the hem of the broken part and pulled it up, covering herself with no particular rush. “I apologize if I have offended you,” she stated dryly.
“Nah, you haven't offended me,” I told her with a hearty laugh. “I'd have to be a corpse not to feel excited at seeing part of your beautiful body. Most girls would be blushing though and maybe screaming at me to look away.”
“Is that what you want me to do?” she tilted her head, apparently giving the idea some serious thought.
“Not especially. I'm just contrasting you with some of the other people I know. Even Alice would probably recoil after exposing herself.”
“Well...” she said softly, “I do not see the point in overreacting to what was just a casual exposure of flesh. I mean, after all, we have been in decidedly more intimate situations than this. With prolonged physical contact and the stimulation of primary sexual organs.”
“It never ceases to amaze me how you can say things like that without pause.”
“If you must know...” her voice became even quieter, “I do feel some effect from from all of this. My heartbeat has increased and I can feel a bit of increased warmth on my face.”
“Hm... I don't think anyone could tell just by looking at you,” I teased her a little.
“Then...” She turned her face away from me and clutched her gown firmly. “Perhaps you...” she paused. Nodding quietly to herself after a moment, it seemed like she had been looking for the right words. “Would you liked to listen to my heartbeat and confirm the fact for yourself?” the question escaped from her lips as only the most ephemeral of whispers, almost completely inaudible.
Patchouli turned her torso slightly towards me, as if to invite me to come closer. I couldn't tell if she was kidding or not. I edged in towards her, closing the gap that had been between us on the bed. She softened her hold on her gown, letting her arm drop a little and leaving a spot on her upper chest where I could place my head.
There was a knock on the door. “Excuse me, are you awake?” a voice called out. As the door had been left ajar when Flandre ran out there was no chance to lie back down and pretend that I had been asleep. A moment later Sakuya poked her head in. “Oh,” she said, immediately seeing how close Patchouli and I had been sitting, “so you are awake. Good.”
“Good morning, Sakuya,” Patchouli greeted her normally, as if nothing had been going on a few short moments earlier. “He remained stable throughout the night and it seems that the healing magics have done their part. The salve you provided also proved to be adequate. She stood up and walked towards a chair in the corner of the room. Patchouli picked up her clothes and held them against her chest, keeping her gown in place in the process. “I won't be having breakfast today,” she informed the maid as she left, “I'm going to go get changed and return to the library.”
“...alright,” Sakuya nodded quietly, either not caring or being tactful enough not to ask about what had been going on earlier. Turning to me, she spoke, “Milady apologizes profusely for the events last night and promises to offer you a bonus in order to make up for your trouble. The preparations for the event this evening are proceeding as normal and we currently are awaiting on receiving the shipment of spirits and wine from your shop.”
“Oh, I have to go pick those up,” I said. “I'll need help in order to manage the cart.
“I have my duties to attend around the mansion today but I can think of a person who can temporarily relieved of her duties to accompany you. If that is to your satisfaction I'll tell her to meet you outside after you get changed and have breakfast.”
“I think that I'll skip on breakfast,” I told her, “there's not enough time to waste on eating breakfast.”
“You should build up your strength,” Sakuya said politely, “I would prepare you your meal myself if it pleases you.”
It was a tempting offer but the combination of losing all the night and the ruckus in the morning made me prioritize other things instead. I got up and slowly got used to being able to walk again. I wasn't yet 100% but I was getting there fast enough.
 Go pick up the delivery with the mansion staff. It'll be faster that way.
 Get Patchouli to come with me. It's a perfect opportunity to spend some more time together.