The day after the attack by the seemingly feral fox, Christopher's lack of sleep from being paralyzed with worry for the Borrowers who had poured their lives into saving his was taking it's toll in a big way. Two hours might not be enough to kill a man, but it's certainly enough to make dragging himself out of bed to work in the morning a complete pain at best. While Chloé recommended he call in sick, this was from a lack of understanding of how human economies work. Surprisingly, the two Borrowers weren't tired in the least. It seems that their exhaustion was magical in nature, and - unlike the human - they did get a full night's sleep. Left at home with food, drink, and games to play while the human went out to earn money wasn't exactly fair, but what could they do to help?
Luckily, work was rather gentle that day - perhaps one of the higher-ups knew how much of a sorry state poor Chris was in? Bizarrely, a coworker gave him tailor-made armour for his pockets, to protect the contents from attack, while winking at him. Shaking off what he thought to be inappropriate (if she were male, at least... grumble) workplace behaviour, he took the strange gift, thinking it would be perfect for protecting a carried Borrower, whilst not sacrificing their comfort or his ability to feel their gentle, reassuring movements. After work, it was called to his attention that this was the intent behind the gift. And that there was a lot more to it.
"Excuse me sir!" Christopher was called over by a policeman simply walking his beat - seemingly for questioning. "What do you need, Officer? Hopefully it's quick, I need to get home... and go to sleep." "It won't take a moment of your time, but I should come closer first" The cop's tones hushed to a whisper. "You need to check on your Borrower friends, don't you? Don't worry, I'm here to help." Such a sudden, unexpected bit of knowledge shocked poor, tired Christopher, but he didn't really show it. "Have you heard of the Protection Society? ...No? Sorry, the Borrower Appreciation and Protection Society. To use the full name. One of our people saw what you did... and not just to that vile woman with the birdcage. I see that your wrists and neck still have some pretty nasty scars. If you're interested, we'd like to make you a member."
Meanwhile, back at the homestead, Chloé realised that she had never even asked their new friend's name. "Ex...excuse me? Thank you for... helping save my best friend's life yesterday... but... I don't even know your name. Mine's Chloé. Weird, I know. But I was named by Borrower parents. I've only... known this human bean for a little more than a month." The young man retorted sharply. "The name's Snapdragon. And you're right. Chloé is weird. For a Borrower. And I still don't like human beans. Not after what she did to me. Even if your friend did help me escape, and risk his life for mine. That just means he's different. I still don't understand how you could trust him enough to sleep on his damn chest." "He's putting his life in my hands as much as I put mine in his. Human necks are just as soft as ours..." Chloé had a sinking feeling. "And if you dare hurt him, I will end you. Especially given how he was willing to die for you, even after such senseless remarks." "No, I won't hurt him. He's... nice, I guess. I do want to hurt the woman who... who..." As Snapdragon's tough guy facade shattered, Chloé was there with a comforting hug. She promised not to tell Christopher what happened to poor Snapdragon. He should be the one to say it, and only when he wants to.
The Borrower Appreciation and Protection Society had surprisingly lavish living quarters for how it lacked government or big business funding - the cause was popular among the people. "Even more politically incorrect than helping men!" the Society proudly boasted. It was terribly cramped, however - as aforementioned lavishness was for the Borrowers who had no other place to go. Mortality rates for Borrowers in the region, especially Wilds, dropped by the score with this shelter for them to home themselves in. Some Borrowers had human beans that they liked to cuddle up with - sometimes even more than that. But most kept friendly, but not intimate relations with the humans, being carried only to do things such as grocery shopping. But they all gathered around and listened with grateful ears to the stories that this new human bean friend had to offer. Some of the tiny children cuddled Christopher - others played games with him - handheld swings and leg-mounted slides littered the place to help such things. But only for a few minutes, as he needed to get back home to check on his roommates. And sleep. That part was important, too. As he departed, the officer who brought him here gave him a word of warning. "The woman who had held that Borrower you rescued hostage is seeking legal action. For sexual assault. While we have stone-cold proof you didn't do it, and are doing our best to stonewall her, you know what the politicians are like with inflating the figures. It might be tough, but we'll try to protect you."
An utterly ironic allegation, considering how she was treating Snapdragon before he was rescued. Christopher didn't know that yet, however.
Meanwhile, a Borrower family got a tip about a new human bean having joined the Protection Society - and he lived on the other side of the street. A long hike, but worth it for safety. The Wild is no place for such a small adult - much less a defenseless child. He even leaves a hatch unlocked for easy access. The family knew that not having to hide from the humans they're living with would be so much easier and safer. They wouldn't have to hurredly scramble out and leave their precious belongings behind if the house ever needed to be fumigated. They just hoped that nothing - or no-one - that wanted to hurt them spotted them on the way...