“You carried my heart in your hands tonight," he said. "But I have felt as if you carried it long before that.”
“I would remain nearer you for what time there is."
"Gone in one faerie sigh," she quoted.
Leather-clad fingers brushed over her short hair, rested on her cheek. "I can hold my breath.”
“People said that video games were bad because they made you numb to death, made you register entrails splattering across a screen as a sign of success. In that moment, Val thought that the real problem with games was that the player was suppossed to try everything. If there was a cave, you went in it. If there was a mysterious stranger, you talked to him. If there was a map, you followed it. But in games, you had a hundred million billion lives and Val only had this one.”
“It's the flaw that brings out the beauty.”
“We got it." Val grinned and lifted her fist. "Wonder twin powers activate!"
Ruth grinned back, knocking her fist into Val's. "Shape of two fucking lunatics.”
“You didn't think I really liked you? Do you think I really like you now?"
He turned toward her, uncertainty in his face."You did go quite a lot of effort to be having this conversation, but... I don't want to read too much of what I hope into that."
Val stretched out beside him, resting her head in the crook of his arm. "What do you hope?"
He pulled her close, hands careful not to touch her wounds as they wrapped around her. "I hope that you feel for me as I do for you," he said, his voice like a sigh against her throat.
And how is that?" she asked, her lips so close to his jaw that she could taste the salt of his skin when she moved them.
You carried my heart in your hands tonight," he said. "But I have felt as if you carried it long before that."
She smiled and let her eyes drift closed. They lay there together, under the bridge, city lights burning outside the windows like a sky full of falling stars, as they slid off into sleep”
“She thought of something her mother had told her when she'd finally broken up with one of her most dysfunctional boyfriends. When a man tells you he's going to hurt you, believe it. They always warn you and they're always right.”
“You both ... you both saved me?"
"Come on," said Luis. "You make it sound like it was hard for Val to go to the Unseelie Court, strike a deal with Roiben, challenge Mabry to a duel, win back your heart, and then get back here during rush hour.”
“One fine day, in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other. They pulled out their swords and shot one another. One deaf cop, on the beat heard the noise, and came and shot the two dead boys.”
“So you'll teach me?" Val asked.
Ravus nodded agin. "I will make you as terrible as you desire."
"I don't want to be - ," she started, but he held up his hand.
"I know you're very brave," he said.
"And stupid. Brave and Stupid." Ravus smiled, but then his smile sagged. "But nothing can stop you from being terrible once you've learned how.”
“I like all the things that make you monstrous.”
“If we have to be cat burglars, I'm going to see what' to steal in the fridge."
We're trying to find evidence she's the poisoner. Just a thought before you start putting random things in your mouth." Ruth shrugged and walked past Val.”
“But the Courts aren't places humans are supposed to be, especially the Unseelie Court. Most faeries won't even go there."
"We have to go - we have to get Ravus's heart. He's going to die if we don't."
"What are we going to do? Go down there and ask for it?"
“Great. Lookout. I'm a lookout. Another thing to put on my college applications. What do I do if I see someone?"
Val looked back. "I'm not sure, actually.”
“She is crazy. Head to head with an ogre. Loony Lolli, Sketchy Dave, Crazy Val. You're all a bunch of freaks."
Val made a formal bow, dipping her head in their direction, and then sat on the blanket.
Loony Luis, more likely," Lolli said, kicking her flip-flop in his direction.
Luis One-Eye," Dave said.
Luis smirked. "Bug-head Dave."
Princess Luis," Dave said. "Prince Valiant."
Val laughed, thinking of the first time Dave had called her that. "How about Dreaded Dave?"
Luis leaned over, grabbing his brother in a headlock, both of them rolling on the cloth, and said, "How about Baby Brother? Baby Brother Dave?"
Hey," Lolli said. "What about me? I want to be a princess like Luis.”
“A stray dog, I might understand," she said. "But this? You are too softhearted."
No, Mabry," Ravus said. "I am not." He looked in Val's direction. "I think she wants to die."
Maybe you can help her after all," Mabry said. "You're good at helping people die.”
“Stop thinking," he said.
I have to think," said val. "You said I was supposed to concentrate."
Thinking makes you slow. You need to move as I move. Right now, you're merely following my lead."
How can I know where you're going to go before you've gone there? That's stupid."
It's no different from knowing where an opponent might move. How do you know where a ball is likely to go on the lacrosse field?"
The only things you know about lacrosse are the things I told you," Val said.
I might say the same about you and sword fighting." He stopped. "There. You did it. You were so busy snapping at me that you didn't notice you were doing it."
Val frowned, too annoyed to be pleased, but too pleased to say anything more.”
“She'd always been a little contemptuous of beauty, as though it was something you had to trade away some other vital thing for.”
“Everything was strange and beautiful and swollen with possibilities.”
“I'm sorry I kissed you- it was selfish and it upset you- but you can't ask me to pretend I didnt want to.”
“It demeans you to cover rotten meat with honey. I know what I am. What would you want with a monster?"
“As Val jumped down onto the litter-strewn concrete after them, she thought how insane it was to follow two people she didn't know into the bowels of the subway, but instead of being afraid, she felt glad. She would make all her own decisions now, even if they were ruinous ones. It was the same pleasurable feeling as tearing a piece of paper into tiny, tiny pieces.”
“I'm not very good at explaining things," she said. "But I think you have beautiful eyes. I love the gold in them. I love that they're different from my eyes- I see mine all the time and I'm bored with them.”
“I'm afraid that whatever I touch is spoilt by the contact."
"I'm not scared of being spoiled," Val said.”
“Startled, he loosed his grasp and she pulled free. He clutched her arm, but she spun around and pressed her mouth to his.
His lips were rough, chapped. She felt the sting of fangs against her bottom lip. He made a sharp sound in the back of his throat and closed his eyes. Mouth opening under hers. The smell of him- of cold, damp stone- made her head swim. One kiss slid into another and it was perfect, was exactly right, was real.”
“If life were like a video game, she would have used her power move to whip Jen in the air and knock her against the wall with two strikes of a lacrosse stick. Of course, if life really were like a video game, Val would probably have to do that in a bikini and with giant breasts, each one made of separately animated polygons.”
“Cold?" Ravus echoed. He took her arm and rubbed it between his hands, watching them as though they were betraying him. "Better?" He asked warily.
His skin felt hot, even through the cloth of her shirt, his touch was both soothing and electric.
She leaned into him without thinking. His thighs parted, rough black cloth scratching against her jeans as she moved between his long legs. His eyes half-lidded as he pushed himself off the desk, their bodies sliding together, his hands still holding hers. Then, suddenly, he froze.”
“Val and Ruth had been friends forever, for so long that Val was used to being the overshadowed one, the "normal" one, the one who set up the witty one-liners, not the one who delivered them. She liked that role; it made her feel safe. Robin to Ruth's Batman. Chewbaca to her Han Solo.”
“You carried my heart in your hands tonight," he said, "But I have felt as if you carried it long before that.”
“I want to make my mark,' he says.
But what target, I wonder, are you going to hit?”
“You make me feel three times the rush of skydiving or bungee jumping... I felt the biggest rush of my life when you said you love me.”
“I feel a strange sensation brewing inside of me. It tickles my throat and forces my lips into a grin. Before I can stifle it, I giggle. And then I laugh.”
“Persons seeking to find scholarship herein will be sued; persons motivated to discover meaning will be exiled; persons seeking to find an allegory will be summarily ordained.”
“For a young lord to become the leader of such a nation as this one, he has to become its oldest Lord.”
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