“I am in full possession of the amazing power of being sarcastic.”
“I'm told I have the body of a god."
"A Greek god, or one of those gods with the horse heads or elephant's legs coming out of their chests?" Alan asked. "Next time someone tells you that, ask them to specify.”
“Sometmes when you pull knives on people, they get this impression that you're going to hurt them, and then they're completely terrified. Crazy, I know!"
"Okay," said Nick. He turned to Jamie & popped his left wrist sheath again. "Look."
Jamie backed up. "Which part of 'completely terrified' did you translate as 'show us your knives, Nick'? Don't show me your knives, Nick. I have no interest in your knives."
Nick rolled his eyes. "This is a quillon dagger. That's a knife with a sword handle. I like it because it has a good grip for stabbing."
"Why do you say these things?" Jamie inquired piteously. "Is it to make me sad?"
"I didn't have you cornered," Nick went on. "You could've run. And this dagger doesn't have an even weight distribution; it's absolute rubbish for throwing. If I had any intention of hurting you, I'd have used a knife I could throw."
Jamie blinked. "I will remember those words always. I may try to forget them, but I sense that I won't be able to.”
“Friends don't menace friends with giant terrifying swords, okay?”
“Turns out he does run," Nick drawled. "Given an incentive. And he wouldn't be so out of breath if he hadn't kept shrieking."
"That was not a shriek," Jamie said with dignity. "It was a husky masculine cry of terror.”
“In two words," said Alan quietly, "there is nothing I love half as much as you.”
“Sometimes I want to be human for you.”
“Well, speaking as a feminist, I'm glad that women can lead--uh, groups of unspeakable magical evil."
"Yes," Alan said gravely. "It'd be shoking if the evil magicians were sexist. For one thing, that would mean they were stupid, and having stupid enemies would be a terrible blow to my manly pride.”
“I-" said Nick, his voice halting. "I don't mind it as much when - when people touch me. Some people."
Mae looked down, and Nick, who looked more relaxed when he'd been stabbed, slowly lifted his hand from his chest and laid it on the tumbled sheets between them, fingers half-curled into his palm. He was still regarding the ceiling with a fixed glare.
"Because you trust them not to hurt you?" Mae asked tentatively.
"No," Nick said, his voice harsh. "Because I'd let them hurt me.”
“I don't trust men everybody likes. Being nice isn't the same as being good.”
“Sometimes I feel better around you. I kind of like your face' -Nick”
“Not really a party until someone brings the surprise zombies.”
“And what are you doing here, Nicholas? Decided to watch me sleep?" "Yes," said Nick, and bowed is head over his sword again. He had tissues, oil, and sandpaper laid out on the windowsill in front of him, and a little stone block he was passing his sword up and down, very carefully. "I came to gaze upon your sleeping face. Only you had the blanket over your head, so I just had to gaze at a lump I thought was your sleeping face, and that turned out to be your shoulder. Which just wasn't as special." ~Nick and Mae”
“You want useless, you have come to the right guy. I can be useless for hours at a time. Weeks even. I'm currently closing in on a month of being totally useless, which is by way of being a personal best.”
“Oh," Jamie offered in a bright voice. "I could cook some--"
"NO!" Mae, Annabel, and Nick all exclaimed as one.
Annabel gave Nick a slightly startled look. He was too busy giving Jamie a forbidding look to notice.
"Look, I am getting better," Jamie argued.
"I saw you put rice in a toaster once," said Mae. "I was there when you made that tin of beans explode."
"It was faulty," Jamie protested, his eyes shifty. "I am sure of this.”
“Foul!" yelled Jamie, who seemed extremely happy not to be the one facing a blade. "Distracting technique! Put your shirt back on right now.”
“Mae, he made me go out for a run," Jamie called out. "Tell him I don't run!"
"Jamie and I are lilies of the field. We toil not, neither do we jog," Mae informed Nick.”
“I don't really dance for pleasure much."
"Uh--so you, uh, usually dance professionally, or what?" Seb asked.
"Yeah," said Nick. "The ballet is my passion.”
“They carried on sniping in the front seat, and Mae turned back to Jamie.
"You doing okay?" she murmured.
"Yes," said Jamie, a bit too earnestly. "I love you, Mae. Your hair is the color of flamingos! And I love Nick as well." He gazed soulfully in Nick's direction. "Sometimes when you are not being psychotic, you are quite funny. And you!" He regarded Seb for a long moment. "No, I still don't like you," he decided. "Maybe I need another drink."
"I don't think so," Nick said.”
“Jamie chose that moment to almost fall down the stairs. Mae took his whole weight and grabbed the banister. Seb reached out but Jamie shied away, and Nick gave Jamie a push in the chest that was clearly intended to right him, but that nearly had him toppling over backward.
Balance eventually restored to them all, Jamie gave Nick an approving look.
"You are my friend," he told him.
"Yeah, I am," said Nick.
"But these stairs," Jamie said sadly. "They are not my friends.”
“Oh God, Mae," said Jamie in a hollow voice, descending the stairs. "I will never drink again. I'm only seeing in black and white. My arms feel all floppy, like flightless wings. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I looked like a very sad penguin.”
“I cook better than you," Nick corrected absently. "I think monkeys can probably be taught to cook better than you."
"I'd like to have a monkey that cooked for me," said Jamie. " I would pay him in bananas. His name would be Alphonse."
"I agree, that would be awesome." Mae said. "People would come for dinner just to see the monkey chef."
"You're raving," Nick said, defrosting chicken in the microwave. Mae was a bit impressed with how he seemed to look at the appliance and instantly comprehend its mysteries, when she'd been heating up ready-made meals for years by a method of pressing random buttons and hoping. " I know that's the only way Jamie communicates with people, but I expected better of you, Mavis."
"We're cutting out the whole Mavis thing right now, Nick," Mae said warningly.
"How many bananas would be good payment for a monkey?" Jamie wanted to know. " I would want to pay Alphonse a fair wage.”
“Would it help if I stood around uselessly not knowing what to say?”
“I'm fine," Nick snarled, and shut his eyes. "Mae, he is not fine!" Jamie almost yelled, and Mae scrambled to her feet.
"Oh God," she said. "Alan's down. Alan's down.--I can't see him. I think he could be--"
"What?" Nick rasped.
Mae looked down and saw Nick struggle up on one knee. He glared up at her and then got painfully to his feet, a knife in either hand. There was blood running down his arm, his shoulder was a mess, and his mouth was set in a grim, determined line. "Where's Alan?"
"Oh, Alan's fine," Mae said, nodding to where Alan was throwing himself at the magicians again. Sin was beside him now, and the rest of the Goblin Market was behind her. "I was lying so you'd get up. Sorry about that."
Nick laughed, spun, and stabbed something. "Don't be sorry. I've just decided that lying's kind of sexy.”
“Want me to flex my magic for you, baby?”
“You're barely even wearing a shirt! What are you going to do if a mugger jumps out at you, flash them?”
“I don't want to seem ungrateful when you have given me this thoughtful, homemade and totally terrifying gift," Jamie told him. "But you can't imagine I'm going to use it."
"Just to hold someone off. Just remember what I taught you," said Nick. "Just buy a little time so I can come get you. Jamie. I'll come get you.”
“Oh," she said, in a very different way. "Well. Thanks for my part in the compliment. Naturally I'd love to be watched and controlled, but I think I may be washing my hair that day.”
“Hey, Jamie,' said Seb. 'Want a lift?'
'Hey, Seb,' Jamie responded without missing a beat 'Drop dead.”
“Oh, you need Alan to betray Nick and then you'll steal Nick's powers and kill them both," said Mae. "Great idea. Hey, can i come? I'll bring a picnic lunch if you promise not to let blood get on the sandwiches.”
“Candlelight flickered in the adjacent bedroom. She followed the ambient warmth to the threshold and paused there, marveling at what she saw. Lucan’s austere bedroom had been transformed into something out of a dream. Four tall black pillar candles set into intricate silver sconces burned in each corner. Red silk draped the bed. On the floor before the fireplace was a cushioned next of fluffy pillows and even more crimson silk. It looked so romantic, so inviting.
A room intended for lovemaking.
She took a step farther inside. Behind her, the door closed softly on its own.
No, not quite on its own. Lucan was there, standing on the other side of the room, watching her. His hair was damp from a shower. He wore a loosely tied, satiny red robe that skated around his bare calves, and there was a heated look in his eyes that melted her where she stood.
“For you,” he said, indicating the romantic setting. “For us tonight. I want things to be special for you.”
Gabrielle was moved, instantly aroused by the sight of him, but she couldn’t bear to make love the way things had been left between them.
“When I left tonight, I wasn’t going to come back,” she told him from the safety of distance. If she went any closer, she didn’t think she’d have the strength to say what had to be said. “I can’t do this anymore, Lucan. I need things from you that you can’t give me.”
“Name them.” It was a soft command, but still a command. He moved toward her with careful steps, as though he sensed she might bolt on him at any second. “Tell me what you need.”
She shook her head. “What would be the use?”
A few more slow steps. He paused just beyond an arm’s length. “I’d like to know. I’m curious what it would take to convince you to stay with me.”
“For the night?” she asked quietly, hating herself for how badly she needed to feel his arms around her after what she’d been through these past several hours.
“I want you, and I’m prepared to offer you anything, Gabrielle. So, tell me what you need.”
“Each man in his own way had gone through what Richard Winters experienced: a realization that doing his best was a better way of getting through the Army than hanging around with the sad excuses for soldiers they met in the recruiting depots or basic training. They wanted to make their Army time positive, a learning and maturing and challenging experience.”
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
“Our television signals leave this planet and go out into space...the signals spread out from the earth in spherical waves, a little like ripples in a pond. They travel at the speed of light, 186,000 miles a second, and essentially go on forever. The better some other civilizations receivers are, the farther away they could be and still pick up our tv signals. Even we could detect a strong tv transmission from a planet going around the nearest star.' President: 'You mean everything? You mean to say all that crap on television - the car crashes, wrestling, the porno channels, the evening news?”
“Well, that explained it, then. Secret demon hunter and thief. Man, did I know how to pick 'em.”
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