“You're kind of blind, you know?" Puck whispered, smiling to soften his words. "I wouldn't defy Oberon for just anyone. But, for you..." He leaned forward, touching his forehead to mine. "I'd come back from the dead for you.”
“Forgive me," Ash murmured, and I heard the faintest of tremors beneath his voice. "But I can't... I won't... give her up. Not now, when I've just found her."
“She pulled up Ash's shirt, revealing a layer of gauze that was just beginning to seep blood onto the mattress. "At least the bandaging was done properly," she mused. "Very nice, clean work. Your handiwork, I presume, Goodfellow?"
"The bandage, Robin."
"Yeah, that was mine, too.”
“Don't leave," I whispered, tightening my hold. "Never leave me again. Stay with me. Forever." The winter prince smiled, a small, easy smile, and lowered his lips to mine. "I promise.”
“I was minding my own buisness long before you and the princess started humping like rabbits.”
“How is Oberon these days? Still being henpecked by that basilisk of a wife?"
"Don't insult the basilisk...”
“Why am I so drawn to you?" He muttered, almost to himself. "Why is it so hard to let go? I thought... at first... it was Ariella, that you remind me of so much. But it's not." Though he didn't smile, his eyes lightened a shade. "You're far more stubborn than she ever was."
I sniffed. "That's like the pot calling the kettle black," I whispered, and a faint, tiny grin finally crossed his face, before his expression clouded and he lowered his head, touching his forehead to mine. "What do you want of me, Meghan?" he asked, a low thread of anguish flickering below the surface.
Tears blurred my vision, all the fear and heartache of the past few days rising to the surface. "Just you," I whispered. "I just want you."
-Ash and Meghan”
“Meghan,” whispered a voice, heart wrenchingly familiar, drawing me out of the void. I recognized it immediately, just as I realized it was a figment of my desperate imagination, because the real owner of that voice would never be here, talking to me.
“Wake up,” he murmured, his deep voice cutting through the layers of the darkness. “Don’t do this. If you don’t come out of this soon, you’ll fade away and drift forever. Fight it. Come back to us.”
I didn’t want to wake up. There was nothing but pain waiting for me in the real world. If I was asleep, I couldn’t feel anything. If I was asleep, I didn’t have to face Ash and the cold contempt on his face when he looked at me. Darkness was my retreat, my sanctuary. I drew back from Ash’s voice, deeper into the comforting blackness. And, through the layer of dreams and delirium, I heard a quiet sob.
“Please.” A hand gripped mine, real and solid, anchoring me to the present. “I know what you must think of me, but…” The voice broke off, took a ragged breath. “Don’t leave,” it whispered. “Meghan, don’t go. Come back to me.”
“You're here, and the only dance I want is this one.”
“If you are going to do that, would you mind not jostling the bed so much?' came a sarcastic voice near the head board. 'Perhaps you could roll around on the floor.”
“What if I take you apart and turn you into a toaster oven, how would you like that tin can?”
“Ash brushed my cheek with the back of his hand, catching a loose strand of hair between his fingers. "I've seen thousands of mortal girls," he said softly, "more than you could ever count, from all corners of your world. To me, they're all the same." His finger slid below my chin, tilting my head up. "They only see this outer shell, not who I really am, beneath. You have. You've seen me without the glamour and illusions, even the ones I show my family, the farce I maintain just to survive. You've seen who I really am, and yet, you're still here." He brushed his thumb over my skin, leaving a trail of icy heat. "You're here, and the only dance I want is this one.”
“You look like crap, prince. Did you miss me?"
“So, we're at war. Perfect. Shall we save time and kill each other now, or did you want to wait until later?"
“I'm not going to lose you again."
"SHE IS RIGHT."
We looked up. Ironhorse stood on the other side of the glass, watching us. His eyes glowed red in the darkness. "IT IS TOO DANGEROUS. FOR YOU."
I frowned. "What are you talking-"
"PRINCESS." Abruptly, he bowed. "IT HAS BEEN AN HONOR. WERE THINGS DIFFERENT, I WOULD GLADLY SERVE YOU UNTIL THE END OF TIME." He looked at Ash and nodded, as it suddenly dawned on me what he was implying. "SHE THINKS THE WORLD OF YOU, PRINCE. PROTECT HER WITH YOUR LIFE.”
“I know you'd risk everything to protect us, and that's what worries me. You still don't know enough about this world to be properly terrified. Things are going to get screwed eight ways from Sunday, and you're making goo-goo eyes at the enemy! I heard what happened in Machina's realm and yes, it scared the hell out of me. I love you, dammit. I'm not going to watch you get torn apart when everything goes bad.”
“I think our last kiss was meant to be quick and chaste, but after the first touch of his lips fire leaped up and roared through my belly. My fingers yanked him close, digging into his back, and his arms crushed me to him as if wanting to meld us together. I knotted my fingers in his hair and bit down on his bottom lip, making him groan. His lips parted, and my tongue swept in to dance with his. There was nothing sweet or gentle in our last kiss; it was filled with sorrow and desperation, of the bitter knowledge that we could've had something perfect, but it just wasn't meant to be.”
“Just answer me this. Is she worth it?" Ash's face went blank and cold, like a door slamming shut.
"Would this be considered payment for finding sweetfinger?" he replied in a voice dead of emotion.
The dwarf snorted. "Yeah, sure, whatever. But I want a serious answer, Prince."
Ash was still for a moment. "Yes," he murmured, his voice so low I barely caught it. "She's worth it."
"You know Mab will tear you apart for this."
-Dwarf and Ash”
“Wow, icy reception here. And to think I came back from the dead for this." - Puck”
“From the moment you stepped into the nevernever, you've been my undoing. I should never have agreed to that contract."
“I think ... I should go home soon. Mom and Luke are probably going nuts. What about you?"
He shrugged, a casual lift of one shoulder. "You tell me. When I left Nevernever, I didn't have any plans other than being with you. If you want me around, just say the word.”
“Ash nodded. “Look for Oberon or Mab,” he said grimly, scanning the battlefield. “They’ll likely be on opposite sides of the river. Try not to engage anything, Goodfellow. We don’t want a fight — we just want to get the scepter to the queen.”
“Don’t kid yourself, Prince.” Puck grinned and drew his daggers, pointing to Ash with the tip. “You’re a traitor, Meghan’s the Summer princess, and I’m Robin Goodfellow. I’m sure the ranks of Unseelie will just let us waltz right through.”
“I could have taken a nap instead of waiting for you to finally show up. What took you so long human? Did you walk?"
“You ran a light anyway, dickhead!”
“He sighed, and his eyes closed. "You were right," he murmured, his voice nearly lost in the darkness. "I couldn't do it alone. I should have listened to you back in Tir Na Nog."
"Yes, you should have," I whispered. "Remember that, so that next time you can just agree with whatever I say and we'll be fine.”
“Meghan's in lo-ove," sang the phouka, making my heart stop. "Meghan's in lo-ove. Meghan and Ash, sitting in a tre--"
“Ouch. Well, you know what they say - you always hurt the one you love. Or is that the one you hate? I can never remember. - Puck”
“ASH: What are you doing here, Goodfellow?
PUCK: Rescuing the princess from the winter court, of course. Though it appears I'm saving your sorry-ass as well
ASH: I could've handled it
PUCK: Oh, i'm sure. Well then, shall we get on with it? Try to keep up, your highness
ASH: Just stay out of my way”
“I rose from the bed, my heart thudding in my chest. "Kiss me," I whispered, and saw his eyebrow arc in surprise. "Just once more," I pleaded, "And I promise it will be the last time. I'll be able to forget you after that."
“Ash looked at me. I saw pain in his eyes, and a little regret, but they shone with such emotion I felt breathless. 'I already have.”
“It’s a funny old world. Once you realize that, you’re halfway there.”
“I told you the storm's not over."
“Παρύσατις μὲν δὴ ἡ μήτηρ ὑπῆρχε τῷ Κύρῳ, φιλοῦσα αὐτὸν μᾶλλον ἢ τὸν βασιλεύοντα Ἀρταξέρξην.”
“Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.”
“That's a movie quote, right? You know, if you do that with books, people think you're intelligent."
Sophie lowered her chin. "If this is your pathetic attempt to seduce me again, you're falling miserably."
"I don't seduce woman." Phin shoved back his chair and stood up. "They fall into my open arms."
"Clumsy of them.”
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