One day the caravan gets knocked by a fallen tree in a storm, which puts a hole right over Rapunzel's bed and rain rushes through the gaps to soak the covers and mattress. They hurriedly throw a canvas tarp over the hole from the outside, preventing more rain from pouring into the girls' side of the caravan. However, this leaves Rapunzel without a bed for at least two nights, as the evening was approaching without sign of the storm letting up, and it would likely take more than a day left out in the sun to completely dry Rapunzel's mattress.
After they ready themselves for bed, Cassandra gestures to her bed on the other side of the caravan while pulling out an extra blanket and pillow for herself from a storage chest. "Well, you can have the bed Raps, I'll crash on the floor."
Rapunzel looks taken aback. "What? No, it's your bed, I'll sleep on the floor."
"Uh, no, you're the royalty so you get the bed. I've gone camping plenty of times so I'm used to sleeping like this." Cassandra sits down on the ground near the bed, placing the pillow behind her. "Have you even slept on a floor before? It's a lot less comfy than your princess bed back in the castle."
"Yes, I've slept on a floor before, Cass. And I won't take your bed. It's yours!" Rapunzel tries to take the extra blanket from Cassandra. "Seriously, I insist."
Cassandra pulls back on the blanket. "Well, I insist more."
Rapunzel squints. "I insist most."
"ToolateI'malreadyasleep," Cassandra expresses rapidly, yanking the blanket from Rapunzel's hands and draping it over herself while falling back to lay down, eyes closed.
"No you're not!" Rapunzel says, exasperated. "Okay, I'll compromise: we both take the bed. It's big enough for both of us... probably."
Cassandra's eye peeks open. "Absolutely not."
Rapunzel pulls the blanket and pillow off of Cassandra's bed. "Well, then you'll have to deal with me sleeping next to you anyway, because I'm not going to take your bed." She places the pillow near Cassandra's and lays down, arranging her hair to trail off from the side of her head over to the neat coil near the center of their room that she made earlier to contain most of the seventy feet of her hair.
Cassandra glares at her. "You've got to be kidding me."
"Nope! Goodnight," Rapunzel says with a pleasant smile, and closes her eyes.
"Raps, you didn't even get the lights-"
"ToolateI'malreadyasleep," Rapunzel responds quickly.
Cassandra groans, and gets up to put out the two lamps on their tables. With the storm raging outside, it's nearly pitch dark in the caravan. Cassandra carefully navigates back to her pillow and lays back down. She decides that surely, Rapunzel will give up, she will decide she's too uncomfortable and take the bed. Just a matter of time…
Ten minutes must have passed before Cassandra gives up instead. "Okay, fine," she says quietly. She hears Rapunzel shift and make a tiny squee sound at her victory. "But there's no way you're sleeping on the floor if I'm not. So… don't steal all the blankets."
"No promises," Rapunzel answers, bouncing up with more energy than someone who's going to sleep should have, and jumps over Cassandra with her pillow and blanket to claim the side of the bed closest to the wall.
Cassandra gets a faceful of hair. "Raps- no, there's no way I'm having this hair all over me all night, you get the edge of the bed and I'll take the far side."
Cassandra can't see Rapunzel, but guesses from the tone of her voice that she would be squinting at her. "But the edge is the better side."
"Yes, for you it would be, but trust me you'll be doing me a favor keeping me from getting turned into a human hairball."
"Fine," Rapunzel sighs, and Cassandra can hear her moving over.
Cassandra realizes she'll have to clamor over Rapunzel in the dark to get to her side of the bed. "Uhh, Raps, you gotta get up so I can get over-"
"Oh, right," Rapunzel sits up and draws her knees to her chest. "You can come over now!"
Cassandra's sure Rapunzel didn't stand but figures she moved out of the way somehow, so after getting the hair off of her she takes her pillow and blanket and gets up to climb into the bed - and promptly collides with Rapunzel in the dark.
"Wh- I told you to move!"
"I did move! I'm at the very top of the bed here, you had the whole rest of it to use to get over!"
"Well obviously I can't see that in the dark."
"You'd think someone with warrior-honed senses would have been able to figure out-"
Rapunzel was referencing a couple of days ago, when Cassandra used that phrase while telling Rapunzel the value in paying careful attention to the environment with all senses in constant vigilance when scouting or on watch. "Hey, practicing expanding my senses doesn't turn me into a goddamn owl-"
Yes, the travellers have a jar for anyone who swears to deposit money into as a consequence for their filthy mouth, at Rapunzel's insistence. She uses the money to buy the group baked goods when they stop at a town.
("Doesn't this actually encourage us to swear since we get sweets out of it?" Cassandra asks one day, and is immediately hushed by Lance. "Don't you dare point that out to Rapunzel, you are not ruining this for us. Now shut up and eat your profanity pastries.")
"It's the middle of the night! Remind me tomorrow." Cassandra finally settles into her side of the bed. "Also, heads up that I often deal with insomnia-"
"What's that? Sounds unpleasant," Rapunzel interrupts.
"It is. It means I can't sleep. So if I'm tossing and turning all night, that's why. Still want me to sleep in the bed with you?"
"Yes," Rapunzel answers confidently, and leaves it at that.
Cassandra feels something she can't identify because she refuses to think about feelings long enough to figure it out. It might have been embarrassment, but who's to say.
"Okay, well, goodnight then," Cassandra answers with some uncertainty.
"Goodnight!" Rapunzel responds peppily, and shuffles around to make herself comfortable, her upper arm bumping into Cassandra's as she moves. It becomes quickly apparent that it'd be impossible for them both to be laying down on their backs without touching each other.
Cassandra immediately shifts onto her side and pushes her back against the wall to stay as far away from Rapunzel as possible. She values personal space. That is the only reason for her refusal to be in cuddling proximity to the cute girl next to her.
Rapunzel feels sadness at the warm body next to her pulling away, but she knows she has to stay by the edge of the bed if she doesn't want to end up crushing Cassandra against the wall, so she can't move to try to press against her again. She feels that it's a little chilly from the draft coming in from the hole in their roof. That is the only reason for her desire to be in cuddling proximity to the cute girl next to her.
Cassandra starts to regret her decision to opt for both being in the bed rather than both being on the floor. She's so worried about accidentally bumping into Rapunzel that she can hardly start to think about sleeping.
Rapunzel, however, is out like a light. Unconscious, immediately. My girl could not have caught those Zs faster.
"Hey Raps," Cassandra says quietly, about to tell her that she'd rather sleep on the floor, but she receives no response. "No way. You are not asleep already." Again, Cassandra receives no reply. "Seriously? How?" Unsurprisingly, Rapunzel has nothing to answer on account of being completely comatose. "God I wish I had what you had," Cassandra expresses in envy, and gives up.
She wishes she could just get out of the bed and go to the floor herself, but that would mean climbing over Rapunzel, which isn't going to happen. She lays like that, very stiffly on her side with her back against the wall, until her body starts to ache. Frustrated, she moves onto her back, and then to her other side, successfully avoiding touching Rapunzel. Her arms are scrunched in front of her as she again presses her body as close to the wall as possible. This is going to be a long night.
Shortly after, Rapunzel shifts in her sleep and bumps against Cassandra, whose thoughts spiral into despair at how she has absolutely no more room to retreat and she is entirely trapped into physical contact with another human. But oddly, after her heart recovers from the initial jolt of "oh no", she finds that feeling Rapunzel against her isn't bothering her as much as she thought it would. It reminds her of when she was young and would let the castle cats into her room to sleep on her bed with her - something she had to stop doing when one of the cats brought fleas into her bed, and her father learned of what she was doing and scolded her thoroughly - just another warm body moving so gently with breath against her.
She falls asleep in record time after this.
A flash of lightning and crack of thunder wakes Rapunzel abruptly in the night. She's not sure how much time has passed, but she's moved in her sleep and is on her side now with her back to Cassandra. She feels part of Cassandra against her back - maybe her arm? Rapunzel lays there, trying to fall back asleep for a while, surprised at her inability when usually it's so easy for her. She feels Cassandra move behind her, shifting onto her side and oh my God why is Cassandra putting her arm around her
"Cass?" Rapunzel squeaks, abruptly being pulled back firmly against Cassandra into a spooning position, Cassandra's arm holding Rapunzel across her torso and her head burying into the back of Rapunzel's neck. Luckily for Cassandra, Rapunzel had moved her hair to drape around the upper bedpost to keep it up and out of the way, so she wasn't getting a faceful of hair.
Rapunzel feels her face burn in a blush and she freezes like a rabbit in the open who just saw something in the sky. "Cass?" Rapunzel whispers again, wondering what on earth is happening. Is she dreaming?
Cassandra sighs gently through her nose, and Rapunzel feels Cassandra's warm breath on the exposed nape of her neck. Rapunzel realizes she has never felt the sensation of someone's breath on her neck before - her hair had always been long enough that she'd never felt much of anything there except her hair, or Pascal moving between her shoulders.
Cassandra doesn't respond to Rapunzel's questioning whispers, and Rapunzel figures that she is asleep, which would be the only thing that would make sense anyway as Cassandra would die before doing something like this.
Rapunzel can feel Cassandra's large bicep tensed to hold Rapunzel very firmly against her and Cassandra's body pressing entirely against her back, conforming to how Rapunzel is laying.
Rapunzel can't believe this is happening. She's glad the downpour outside and the sound of the rain hitting their roof is obscuring other sounds, since if it were silent she is sure the way her heart is pounding would wake Cassandra up. She isn't sure that her heart still won't wake Cassandra - Rapunzel suspects she would be able to feel the pounding in Rapunzel's chest through the thin fabric of her nightgown where Cassandra is holding her.
Well now Rapunzel is really going to have trouble falling back asleep. It's not that she isn't comfortable - on the contrary, having Cassandra holding her is extremely comfortable, like a hug that doesn't end with one of her favorite people, but that's exactly why she won't be falling back asleep. Cassandra's holding her! For an extended period of time!
Rapunzel decides that not only will she have trouble falling asleep, but that she should actively avoid it. This is probably the last time she will ever get to feel this. She has to enjoy every second of it. Cassandra's very warm, like the stones around a lit hearth, and finally Rapunzel doesn't feel chilled by the draft in the caravan. Underlying the ambient sound of rain on their roof, Rapunzel listens closely for the sound of Cassandra's breathing. She feels Cassandra's rhythmic breath against her neck, which is slower than she'd expect since she'd never been close to another sleeping person before. Rapunzel notices how Cassandra's bed smells like her, scents of woodsmoke and the oils she'd use on her weapons and an inexplicable undercurrent of pine, like the forest never quite let go of her. Unable to see in the darkness, her other senses were filled with Cassandra, like she was the whole world.
Rapunzel realizes abruptly that she's doing exactly what Cassandra was telling her days ago about honing her senses and stifles a giggle. Her quiet sound and small motion makes Cassandra shift slightly, and Rapunzel freezes in fear thinking that she'd woken Cassandra or that Cassandra would pull away from her. But after her grip loosens on Rapunzel for just a moment, Cassandra grabs her tightly again while mumbling in her sleep something that might have been "kitty". Rapunzel relaxes in Cassandra's arms again. That was close. And so cute. A smile breaks across Rapunzel's face. Did she just say "kitty"? Rapunzel wishes she could tease Cassandra about this tomorrow but is certain if she told her about it, Cassandra would be so embarrassed she'd never sleep within 30 feet of Rapunzel again.
As much as Rapunzel wants to stay awake for the rest of the night enjoying Cassandra holding her, she falls asleep in the comfort of Cassandra's arms.
Cassandra's used to waking up before Rapunzel: it was part of her job at the castle, after all, to get Rapunzel up and help her dress and manage her hair and go over Rapunzel's schedule for the day, which meant that she'd wake long before the princess to do her own morning routine, especially on the days she'd go to the guard training grounds for weapons practice as dawn broke. So this morning her circadian rhythm gets her up just as the sun rises - finally visible as the storm had dissipated - and upon regaining consciousness is surprised by two things: 1) that she didn't wake up in the middle of the night at any point, and 2) that she is spooning Rapunzel what the fuck
Cassandra yanks her arm back and rolls away - not very effectively, as she hits the wall behind her. She feels her face get extremely hot. What the fuck. Then she feels terror: what if her abrupt motions woke Rapunzel? What if Rapunzel felt that she had been holding her? She holds herself completely motionless, waiting to see if Rapunzel stirs. But of course she doesn't, as this girl sleeps like a pile of bricks. Cassandra lets out a small sigh.
Cassandra takes a moment to try to process that she had been cuddling her friend in her sleep, but her brain resists thinking about it due to mortification so she promptly sweeps those thoughts under the very large rug of repression in her mind and decides to think about more practical matters. For example, how the hell is she going to get up and out of the bed without touching Rapunzel?
Now that the storm is over, sunlight begins to stream into the caravan as the sun reaches over the horizon. Able to see, Cassandra notices that if she's careful, she could shift herself towards the end of the bed and climb over the storage chest to get out of bed without disturbing Rapunzel.
She promptly does that, and decides that the first thing she'd do that morning would be to prop Rapunzel's mattress and covers up outside to start drying in the sunlight, hoping that they'd be done before nightfall so she wouldn't have to sleep next to Rapunzel again and risk another humiliating situation like that morning.
Oh, and also fix that hole in their roof.
Rapunzel's mattress does not finish drying. Dammit. (Roof is fixed though.)
That evening Rapunzel very peppily mentions sleeping together in Cassandra's bed again, and Cassandra suggests that she'd rather sleep on the floor this time.
"Huh? Why? I thought you said you slept better last night than you thought you would."
Damn her earlier honesty. "Yeah, but I'm sure it wasn't comfortable for you, probably about to fall off the bed all night-"
"No it was super comfy!" Rapunzel answers with a big smile.
"Er… it'd probably be even comfier for you if you had it all to yourself, so I'm gonna sleep on the floor…"
Rapunzel's eyes narrow. "Cass. We've been over this. If you sleep on the floor, so will I."
Cassandra makes a sound of exasperation. "But why?"
"Because it's your bed! And because I'm more stubborn than you."
As competitive as Cassandra is, internally she admits this is somehow true. Cassandra thought she was the most stubborn person she's known, but apparently living her entire life in two rooms had given Rapunzel a lot of patience.
"Come on, you can't want to share a tiny bed with another person, I promise it's completely fine for me t-"
"No, I do," Rapunzel cuts her off, and leaves it at that.
Cassandra feels that unidentified emotion again that might be embarrassment, but a different flavor than the kind she had felt that morning.
Cassandra thinks for a moment and registers that she'll have to decide between making her friend sleep on a hard floor and risking getting too close to Rapunzel again in her sleep. It is a close call. But she values Rapunzel's comfort slightly more than her fear of unconsciously cuddling Rapunzel again. Like, what are even the odds of that happening?
"Fine," Cassandra sighs, and Rapunzel gives a big smile at her victory before turning to continue prepping for bed.
Later, after settling herself into the far side of the bed again, Cassandra falls asleep quickly with her arm against Rapunzel next to her.
Rapunzel doesn't fall asleep so easily. Without storm clouds in the way, the bright light of the full moon streams into the caravan so Rapunzel can see around her quite easily, and her eyes drift around aimlessly as she thinks about their trip. Since the storm is over and the caravan is repaired, they'll continue their journey tomorrow, strapping Rapunzel's mattress to the roof for it to keep drying out in the sun as they travel.
Rapunzel is feeling the same mix of excitement and fear she always feels whenever they continue their journey after stopping for a while. She feels happy at the thought of seeing more of the world, new environments and towns and people; but she feels fear at getting ever closer to their ominous destination. "The Dark Kingdom". Even its name is menacing.
Refusing to dwell on what might await her at the end of the path, she turns her head to look over to her traveling companion and sees Cassandra's sleeping face tilted towards her, resting on the pillow. Rapunzel's heart jumps seeing her face so close by, illuminated by the moon.
When Rapunzel first left the tower she was fascinated by the huge varieties in people and their physical traits: she spent almost her entire life only ever seeing Gothel's face and her own, and for years had to make up people in her mind for her paintings. In the days after she left the tower, Eugene let her sit and stare at him for extended periods of time - since he was the only one she wasn't too shy to ask - just from how fascinated she was seeing another person. (He'd delighted in this, of course, since finally someone was giving his good looks the attention they deserved.)
When she met Cassandra she wanted to do the same: sit and stare at her face and body until she'd memorized every part. But she was absolutely too shy to ask her. The closest she got was one day in her room, when she convinced Cassandra to stand posed for a painting. In the year that they've known each other Rapunzel has seen Cassandra enough that she has memorized most of her features, but it isn't enough.
So with wide eyes she studies every part of the sleeping face next to her. The curl that's always present in front of Cassandra's face rests on her forehead, and a couple of other locks of dark hair have fallen across her face.
Rapunzel resists the very strong urge to brush them aside. It reminds her of watching Cassandra practice with her weapons, when she doesn't tie back her hair despite it flying into her face. She supposes Cassandra had just gotten used to it, but Rapunzel thinks she should tie it back into a ponytail. Practical... and it'd look so cute.
She very badly wants to help Cassandra with her hair the way Cassandra helps Rapunzel with hers: brushing it and braiding it and putting flowers in it. She'd never seen Cassandra's hair any way but down or tucked away into her lady-in-waiting headwear, which does look good, but she wishes she could see Cassandra in different styles, and touch her hair the way she gets to touch Rapunzel's.
Rapunzel's eyes move from Cassandra's curls and waves to trace the arch of her dark eyebrows, her long eyelashes, the bridge of her nose, the curve of her lips, and the shape of her jaw. For... artist reasons. She would hate to get a drawing of Cassandra wrong sometime in the future - what kind of friend would she be if she did?
Rapunzel's eyes move back to Cassandra's lips. They're slightly parted in sleep, though she breathes gently through her nose. Watching her, Rapunzel feels her heart start to pound in her chest again. Cassandra moves, and in a panic Rapunzel rips her gaze from Cassandra's face to stare not-questionably at the ceiling. But she was just shifting in her sleep - Cassandra leans onto her back and her head rests on the pillow facing up towards the ceiling. Her curls fall to the side, and Rapunzel can see her exposed neck. Her pale skin in the moonlight looks like marble, like someone left a statue of some sleeping goddess laying next to Rapunzel.
Rapunzel pulls a blanket up over most of her own face in embarrassment at... she's not sure, but she's feeling it. But her eyes peek over the top of the covers, continuing to look at Cassandra.
Abruptly Cassandra's breath changes as her face twitches, her eyebrows drawing together for a moment into a frown. Her left arm near Rapunzel slightly jumps as Cassandra's breath comes more ragged.
Rapunzel watches with concern and lowers the blanket from her face. What's happening? Cassandra's face moves into an angry expression for a moment while one of her legs twitches. Rapunzel realizes she's moving in her dreams.
And not good ones. Her breaths are harsh and at one point she draws her lips back in a grimace.
"Hey, Cass," Rapunzel whispers, becoming alarmed. Her breathing is sporadic and her body keeps moving in small spasms. "Cass, it's okay, it's just a dream."
Her words have little effect. Rapunzel wonders if she should shake Cassandra awake - but that might scare her more, and isn't it worse to wake someone having a nightmare because dreams that you're woken during are remembered better than ones you're not?
Rapunzel moves closer and puts her arm across Cassandra's torso, holding her and gently squeezing her opposite shoulder. "Cass, you're safe, it's not real," Rapunzel continues whispering to her while her muscles tense.
Rapunzel wonders what she's dreaming about. A fight with one of the villains they've battled before? Or monsters? The way parts of her whole body keep moving, surely it must be some kind of fight. And the way her expression keeps turning into a scowl it must be with someone she doesn't like, although that doesn't narrow down possibilities at all.
Cassandra's expression abruptly shifts to one of distress as she softly cries out in her sleep, "Rapunzel..." Rapunzel's eyes widen and her heart jolts. Was... something bad happening to her in Cassandra's dream?
Rapunzel searches Cassandra's distraught face for an answer, but all she finds is Cassandra's frown deepening and her brow furrowing further. Rapunzel pushes her body reassuringly against Cassandra and leans her head close to Cassandra's ear. "Hey, I'm here, everything's okay. It's just a bad dream. Don't worry," Rapunzel hesitates, and then uses her hand across Cassandra's body to stroke her arm comfortingly. "I'm safe. You're safe."
Cassandra's breath slowly calms, and her body stops twitching. Rapunzel smiles in relief, her face next to Cassandra's head, inclined down towards her neck. She continues stroking her arm, and touches her forehead to Cassandra. "Everything's okay."
Rapunzel thinks that she should let go of Cassandra and pull back to her side of the bed. But she hesitates. What if Cassandra's bad dream comes back? She should stay here with Cassandra to keep her comforted for at least a little while longer to keep that from happening. She'll just stay awake and move away in a bit.
Predictably, holding her best friend Rapunzel falls asleep almost immediately.
Like clockwork, Cassandra wakes up before Rapunzel.
She has a slightly more surprising morning than last, because 1) she slept through the night again and didn't even have trouble falling asleep and 2) Rapunzel is on her what the f
She can't even throw herself away from her sleeping friend on account of how she is ON HER. Her head resting on Cassandra's shoulder, one of her arms thrown across Cassandra's chest, her body leaning onto Cassandra's arm, and one leg over Cassandra's. Cassandra is pinned.
Cassandra's heart starts pounding in her chest and she feels her face burn. She very badly hopes that the sound and motion from her racing heart doesn't wake Rapunzel, who is very cozily using Cassandra's shoulder as a pillow. How on earth is she going to get out of this. This is wildly outside of her experience and comfort zone. (Her comfort zone being a personal space bubble the size of a small house.)
She remembers times at which Rapunzel would cling onto her, during a hug or while Cassandra was pulling her out of some unexpected danger or that time in the Forest of No Return when Rapunzel held onto Cassandra's back for ziplining across those geysers, and realizes that she has no hope of escape. This girl holds on like nothing else, and she's got her hand across Cassandra's torso grasping Cassandra's opposite shoulder.
She wonders if maybe she moves ever so slightly, that Rapunzel's sleeping subconscious will decide to roll off of her. She shifts, and is rewarded by Rapunzel, asleep, snuggling even closer. Now her head is tilted so that Cassandra can feel her warm breath against her neck.
Cassandra's hairs are standing on end and her heart is still racing. She could push Rapunzel off of her, but that would wake her and she'd know that she was just cuddling up against Cassandra. Cassandra decides this is not an option. Rapunzel cannot know that they were so intimate. Cassandra refuses to think about why she feels this way.
She waits, trying to think of a solution. Perhaps Rapunzel will just move on her own accord. Maybe if Cassandra moved glacially slowly she'd be able to slide out from under her - although she doesn't have much space to pull that off being against the wall, and she'd still have to do something about Rapunzel's hand grasping her. Cassandra stays motionless, staring at the ceiling above her.
Now that her initial panic has subsided, she is loathe to admit that having Rapunzel against her is extremely comfortable. The feeling of a warm weight laying on her has a calming effect that she didn't expect. It's like the castle cats but bigger and less likely to step directly on her organs. Rapunzel's body is draped on hers like a blanket, conforming to her shape.
The warm breath against her neck is less comparable to the castle cats. That is definitely human. Definitely a human girl who is her best friend and the closest person she's been to in her life. Not physically, although she supposes that is now the case as well. Her mind goes back into a panic that she refuses to think about closely.
But if there's one thing Cassandra is good at, it's sweeping emotions under the repression rug in her mind. She convinces herself that she's definitely completely unaware Rapunzel's breathing against her, and decides to wait until Rapunzel rolls over to get up. To distract herself, mentally she goes over the work she'd have to do that morning to prepare the caravan for continuing on the road. She'd have to strap Rapunzel's mattress to the roof which sounded like a pain but she could probably make the guys do it. She'd have to check the wheels of the caravan, look over all of the horses' harnesses and hitch, triple check that they still have all of the food supplies they'd need to get to the next town -
Her plan to distract herself works too well, and under Rapunzel's comforting weight she relaxes enough that the boring to-do list puts her back to sleep.
"HEY! You girls awake?"
The shout is accompanied by Eugene knocking vigorously at the door between their two rooms.
Cassandra bolts upright, knocking Rapunzel off of her, who rolls to the side and puts her hands up to her eyes as she wakes up.
"Shit," Cassandra mutters, looking out the window to see the angle of the sun. How the hell did she end up sleeping so late? She never sleeps in!
"Swear ja-" an extremely sleepy Rapunzel starts to say, but she's interrupted by Cassandra saying, "I know!"
Cassandra shuffles to the edge of the bed to get off, and immediately starts changing. She's at least two hours behind what she had planned for the day. This could throw off their scheduled stopping points for the nights on their way to the next town, which they needed to get to because of the streams they'd be able to refill their water at. How did this happen?
"'Morning," Rapunzel tells her, sitting up in her bed. Cassandra looks over at her and almost chokes at the sight of Rapunzel in her nightgown, very sleepily rubbing her eyes with tousled hair in her bed, caught in the rays of the morning sunlight. What the fuck was that, she wonders at her reaction, snapping her head back down as she grabs her boots to pull on.
"Uh, 'morning," Cassandra finally remembers to respond, jumping on one foot as she pulls a boot on. "We're running super late so I'm gonna-" and without further explanation Cassandra bolts out their door. Because she was running late and definitely for no other reasons.
Rapunzel finally feels awake enough that her mind starts to process her surroundings. She feels sad that Cassandra disappeared so quickly, and puts her hand down on the space next to her on the bed that was still warm from Cassandra's body.
They managed to reach their next stopping point for the evening, although it meant that Cassandra had to speed through her morning checks and the group kept moving through times they would have otherwise had some scheduled breaks. Cassandra apologizes repeatedly to Max and Fidella and promises them she'd find them apple trees and pick dozens of apples for them in return for their extra hard work that day.
The guys make fun of Cassandra for the breach in her military-like discipline for timing and preparations. "Finally learning to loosen up, ey?" Hookfoot asks her, and she only glares in response.
Rapunzel feels sad when she hears the guys tell her from the roof of the caravan that her mattress is finally completely dry. As they bring the mattress back down to put it back in Rapunzel's bed frame, Rapunzel thinks about how she wants to throw it over a waterfall.
That evening, after getting ready for bed Rapunzel pulls her covers aside and pushes her hand down on her mattress, making a show of checking it. "Ah, the guys must have missed it, part of the mattress is still wet..."
Cassandra looks over from across the caravan. "What? Really? I checked it too, it was definitely dry..." She walks over to investigate but Rapunzel moves between her and the mattress.
"Hah, yeah, must've overlooked it... it's no problem, we'll just let it keep drying tomorrow." She tucks some hair behind her ear, looking away from Cassandra nonchalantly. "Is it okay if I sleep with you again?"
Cassandra feels something unidentifiable in her chest at watching Rapunzel toy with her hair. Disregarding the sensation, she leans to reach around Rapunzel. "Where's it still wet?"
Rapunzel steps aside to let Cassandra towards the mattress, bumping into the table behind her. As she knocks into it, behind her back she hits a mug of water off the table onto the bed.
"Ah, shoot!" She says, grabbing the mug, but water had already spilled onto the mattress. "Oops, I must have accidentally hit it off the table... that was where the mattress was still wet, too..."
Cassandra stares between the water stain on the mattress and Rapunzel for a moment in silence, processing this development. "Oh, uh, that's unfortunate. I guess we'll just leave it out again tomorrow..."
"Sure," Rapunzel says, and sets the mug back down on the table. "So, um, can I-"
"Oh, yeah, of course," Cassandra answers, and straightens. "Not like it's anything new at this point..."
"Great!" Rapunzel replies with a big smile.
She spends the rest of the trip doing this.
[The next night]
Rapunzel, knocking a lit candle onto her bed and setting it on fire: oh no!
Rapunzel, putting an active hornets nest into her new mattress: ah!
Rapunzel, staging a break-in while the rest of the group is out hunting/fishing/foraging/scouting: so weird that they only stole my mattress huh!
Cassandra, having just replaced Rapunzel's 'stolen' mattress with a fireproof waterproof waspproof mattress that's bolted to the bed frame and cannot be moved: hopefully you'll be able to go a night sleeping in your own bed now, huh?
Rapunzel: oh my god you dense idiot I'm in love with you