Like all rumours, in time this comment circulated back to Sam, whose boyish face split in a grin of delight.
If there was one thing Sam liked about working as... whatever he was, he enjoyed the mystery accorded him by other people. It gave him great satisfaction to take the same trains, eat the same meals, wait at the same bus stops, and still be above it all, if only in the wild, fantastical tales told by everyone around him.
Though Sam was indeed different, everybody throughout the university somehow managed to know him. His sparky smile and disregard of authority endeared him to the undergraduates, and certainly he was bored at the very idea of the life led by the dons, as they ambled through a daily ritual whose high point seemed by exchanging Latin puns while dining in hall. But neither did Sam truly resemble a student, for despite his seeming youth he had an air of command, one that came from a long, unsung history.
He mostly wore black- a black coat buttoned up around a baggy black jumper, worn over a shapeless black shirt. Sam wore bad clothes as a kind of protection, which no-one had yet penetrated. People speculated, most of them inaccurately, on exactly what shape he was beneath all those layers. The idea that he wore black from vanity never survived a first meeting: with these clothes went a pair of terrible old trainers, and a scruffy blue and grey scarf hand-knitted for him by some person unknown. The whole effect was finished off by cuffs that were never done up, shirt buttons that didn't match and sometimes a jacket, haphazardly patched, that gave him the look of a fashionable scarecrow.
To round off this character, whose contradictions so attracted other people. He had thick black hair, and eyes so dark that they too seemed black. Not that many had met Sam's gaze for long enough to confirm this, since his gaze was something of unrivalled intensity. Though his voice bore the slightest accent, no one was sure where that accent came from. Some said his speech was northern; others held that there must be a touch of Gaelic in him. At one point he was credited with the ghost of a Welsh accent, so it became rumoured that Sam Linnfer had grown up in the wild Snowdonian mountains. A few who cherished difference in any form said he had to be a gypsy. Sam himself, when questioned on his past, was devious.
~Catherine Webb, WayWalkers
He came upon a crew of firefighters struggling before a burning ruin. They were trying to work their hose before the blaze caught the few nearby houses left intact. Sam stood across the road, gazing at the fire, his eyes distant. As he stared the flames seemed to shrink. Eventually there were just a few burning embers, which died as he clenched his fists. The whole process had taken him ten minutes of concentration.
Ten minutes of standing exposed and dumb.
A Brownshirt officer, uniformed, his shiny buttons silly in the ruined street. He was holding out his hand imperiously. Sam dug around and produced his papers. The man flicked through them, looking ready for a fight on any pretext. A single flaw in Sam's documents, one look out of place, and Sam might be forced to get mythological. Which would be embarrassing.
But the papers, as Sam had known, were perfect. Unfortunately though, his look of dowdy submission was badly out of practice, and he peered at the Brownshirt with unabashed curiosity.
Sure enough, this made the man angry.
"What are you doing here, just staring?"
"I don't have anywhere to go."
~Catherine Webb, WayWalkers
Gehenna was a city with a lot of history. He knew that, because he was an integral part of that history. He’d built most of the place, after all. It rested in the far north of the planet, and for eleven months a year it saw sunlight for a maximum of five hours. The rest of the world, save for another small patch of ice on the southern pole, could claim the opposite. It hardly ever saw night.
In Sam’s lifetime Gehenna had been a village, then a town, then a city with a castle, then a pile of rubble, then rebuilt, then once more reduced, then rebuilt with city walls and a standing army, and never defeated again, although people tried.
Oh, how they tried.
But he’d been careful. Not only did he now have a resident Prince and council, but a network of spies and messengers. He could hear of an attack months beforehand, and travel Earth until the day it was due, to return to Gehenna in time to lay waste the approaching army with all the fiery tricks of his specialised trade.
Once, he’d ruled full time as king. But in recent centuries he’d become less an administrator and more a part-time emergency worker, as Gehenna, after years of nurturing, had come to do without him except in times of great crisis. He trusted the Prince and the council to manage their own affairs, and reasoned that after thousands of years of Hellish cuisine, and washing in water with bits of ice in it, he’d earned the right to Earth, caviar and central heating. Not being needed any more made him very grateful.
He came to a large wooden door guarded by two demons, strode up to it and hammered loudly. It opened immediately.
Of the two people in the room, one was very old, one quite young. The elder lounged in a padded chair by a fire, wearing a mild smile that never waned. He’d been playing cat’s cradle, relentlessly patient, moving in and out of shapes with the concentration of a master craftsman. His long blue robe was frayed around the hem, and he wore fluffy slippers over a pair of outrageously coloured socks.
Sam, as he entered, was fixed with the old demon’s unchanging smile, and the same ancient eyes that never showed emotion. This demon’s voice never rose in anger. This demon had never desired the bloodlust of slaughter or killed his own wife for disobedience. This was the necessary demon, who filled the unsung post that the silent thinkers of the world – the children who never wanted to play the violent games in the playground or who invariably handed in their homework on time – always fill: civil servant. Court Vizier. Old Beelzebub. The power behind the throne.
No one knew he embodied such a power, but Sam knew. And Beelzebub knew. They could read the knowledge in each other, through each measured nod, and in each level word that revealed nothing save what it left unsaid.
The younger demon was in every way Beelzebub’s opposite. He didn’t even look up as Sam entered, but continued pacing round a map laid out on a table. Sam saw little wooden blocks with flags in them, and sighed inwardly. A child was playing with his toys again.
This younger demon wore long blue and white robes with trailing sleeves and lavish embroidery that, for all that they made him look regal, also gave the impression of a boy playing with his mother’s wardrobe. Nevertheless, this was that same Prince who had intrimidated many a baron into submission and had won his crown by slaying his brothers in duel after duel. He radiated energy as always, brow crinkled in a frown and fingers drumming up and down his sword.
And yes, he was a good Prince, thought Sam.
Beelzebub was watching, silent as always. “Tell me,” demanded Asmodeus, “do you think I ought to send a demand to Belial, ordering him to withdraw his forces from the Clawed Pass, or should I go for a surprise attack?”
Sam wandered to the table and looked down at the map. “If you send a demand to Belial,” he replied evenly, “he’ll refuse it as an act of stubbornness.”
“A surprise attack, then?”
“I doubt if it’ll be a surprise. Belial has been looking for the right opportunity to invade for years. I don’t advise giving it to him.”
“Hum.” Asmodeus strode round to the other side of the map. “The Clawed Pass protects one of the best slave routes. The desert beyond is relatively undefended after his damned fort – the slave raiders would have a wonderful time if they can only get there.”
“I won’t help you take slaves.”
“No, you probably won’t,” he said sourly. “You don’t seem to do anything, do you? You’re never here.”
That’s because I’ve given up on you, my boy. “Would you rather I was here? Ruling as once I ruled? Wearing another crown?”
Asmodeus glanced to Beelzebub for help against this attack on his status. But the old demon had frozen over even more than usual and was staring into the flames. Though the Prince struggled to find a suitable answer, none came. Angry, with embarrassment making him more so, he strode towards the door, mumbling something about ‘state business’ as he went. As childish a tantrum as Sam had ever seen.
“Don’t provoke Belial to more war,” warned Sam, but Asmodeus had already closed the door.
Sighing, Sam sank onto the fireside chair facing Beelzebub, folding his legs up so that his chin rested on his knees and he was no larger than a child. “Why did we crown him?”
“Because demons acknowledge physical strength only. Because they want for Prince someone ruthless enough to kill his own brothers, and because we too want a man ruthless enough.” He was giving the answer Sam had heard many times before.
The old demon added, “You’re spending longer and longer on Earth. Are you finally giving up on us?”
“I don’t know. But I’m sorry anyway.”
“No. I am the sorry one.”
They sat in silence a while longer.
“Bubble, there may be bigger trouble coming than we thought,” said Sam finally. Bubble was the name he always used, partly to infuriate his companion, partly out of fondness, partly because he’d worn so many names himself he’d got into the habit of applying different ones to others.
“Bigger than Asmodeus waging another futile war on Belial?”
“Much. My family is at war again.”
“What is it?”
“Oh – anxieties. I’m growing old, you know. Perhaps it’s only me, but Asmodeus is becoming hard to control.”
“Do you control him?”
The demon gave a knowing smile, sharing in the secret that only they knew. So obvious was this secret, so blatant and so simple, that no one else had seen it. Sam had often said that the best place to hide was in the open.
“Of course not. I… influence his decisions.”
“And it’s becoming harder?”
“Yes. Half of my influence stems from you, and you’re not here.”
Sam felt a start of guilt at this simple statement. “I will be. All I need is a little time to deal with whatever Freya wanted me to do.”
“At least,” said Beelzebub with a smile, “doing what she wanted was never a problem for you.”
But you, old demon? thought Sam as he trudged the last few steps up to his flat. In twenty-four hours he’d been to Devon, Tibet and Hell. Returning to London had a sense of homecoming, and it was with relief that he unlocked the door. Have you got time? Sometimes I forget how soon you people die.
But he didn’t forget now. As he lay down to sleep he remembered things he’d rather not. He’d been arrogant in misusing the years, when he was younger. He’d let everything move at a snail’s pace, forgetting that by the time one flower bloomed, the other would have withered.
He didn’t forget. Remembering Annette and others, he thought, Mortal child, why did you have to grow so old?
In that second of impact, when Odin’s arms seemed to move in a blur to parry Sam’s reckless swing for his head, Sam knew he didn’t stand a chance. Odin had gone from static to straining in the blink of an eye, a reaction that Sam, with all his years of hard practice and cold showers, could never replicate. Against a Son of War, and in the terms of battle, Sam could not win. Around him swords were cutting through illusion like the air and mist they were, and by a process of elimination the valkyries were turning towards their one real enemy.
Sword and axe locked, Sam found himself staring straight into Odin’s wide grin. “What are you doing?” hissed Sam.
“Pathetically ignorant,” repeated Odin.
Sam gave an inward shrug. “Then I guess I’ll die ignorant. And dishonourable.”
Odin, for all his supremacy as a fighter, had not expected to be kneed in the groin with such savagery. As he staggered, Sam broke loose. He ducked a sword aimed for his head, brought his own blade down and across to draw a line of blood across a valktrie’s thigh, drew his sword back to parry a blow- and in that instant he let go with his left hand, to bring it sweeping up.
The air moved. The valkyries staggered in unison, like an unrehearsed ballet. Sam was already running for the door. He cleared the the valkyries in his path with a graceful flick of the hand. In response to his gesture the straw in the barn ignited as if soaked in petrol, scattering them in panic. Sam himself wasn’t worries about the oddly coloured flames. A well-placed silver axe in the back would kill him. But not fire.
Just inside the doorway something caught his arm, spun him around. He looked into Odin’s eyes. By firelight they looked more crazed and terrifying than ever. Sam almost cried aloud as the butt end of Odin’s axe struck his wrist and the pain, then numbness, swept through his arm. He heard the clatter of his dropped sword, saw Odin’s axe sweep towards his face, staggered back and fell. The fire was all around. Its heat was incredible. The pain in his arm was extraordinary too: a dull throb that was somehow worst in his shoulder, while almost impossible to feel where the axe had struck.
Odin loomed. Better than most, Sam decided. If ever he’d been asked to aware a sinister-gleam-in-the-eye prize, Odin would have been right there on his shortlist. He wondered what spells he had that Odin couldn’t shake off. He felt fire stir inside him. Cold, white, blinding fire. He saw the great axe rise. The thought came… Ah, what the hell. It’s only torture.
He let the fire rise, and burn, and build. Closed his eyes. Opened his hands.
He'd never really understood the nature of the Light. No one had ever felt obliged to tell him; it was as if, by possessing the thing, he'd immediately understood what it was and how to use it. But he knew that it shaped itself to his thoughts, for as long as they stayed coherent, and that when it reached out to feed on more thoughts it seized, not the hearts of men, but their minds.
So, fallen down in a burning barn, a lone figure with black hair opened his hands and let out the Light. It expanded around him in a blinding circle of energy, making onlookers shield their eyes in pain. It erupted through walls as if they weren't there, passed through the mind of Whisperer and leaped onwards across the Parisian countryside in an ever widening circle of power.
And where the light touched minds, they responded to Sam's own fear. Thus it whispered to them of dark corners and unseen snakes and the empty street late at night and the figure half-perceived in the lamplight who was gone when you looked again. It took the fear, fed on it, became powerful on thought.
Sam could feel his control slipping as the Light encompassed so many other minds.
He tried to rein back his mind, but it was hard to remember that he was Sam, not Jean-Paul nor Jeanette nor Julien, hard to remember that he was afraid of being consumed by the Light, rather than of the spiders in the garden and the rats in the sewers and the figure who was gone when you looked again, and the corners and the darkness and the minds and the fire…
He caught hold of something inside his own mind that felt as if it were hot to the touch. Mentally he closed his fist around it and thought of the pain in his shoulder. His shoulder, something to centre on, his heart, his mind, his desires.
Somewhere in the distance, the running white line of light slowed, paused, and began to contract in on itself, racing back towards the centre, growing brighter as it did. It struck Sam, who lurched as if physically hit. For a second all was darkness. Odin was reeling, blinking away tears. The valkyries dared to look in Sam’s direction again… What next?
Sam’s eyes opened. The black irises were pure white, and the thoughts that before had given such life to his face were lost. There were simply too many other minds competing for room.
There was a brief silence. Then, with the distant smile of a madman, Sam raised his hands and opened them. A beam of white light shot towards Odin, struck, spun him around like a puppet. The full force of a thousan people’s fears passed through Sam and out again, filled the barn with the chitter of insects coming to kill, the howl of wolves in the forest, the buzz of the broken lamp on the darkened street that for a second showed the half-perceived figure in the gloom…
Odin had rarely been heard to scream. When he did, it wasn’t a particularly impressive sound, caught as it was between a gurgle and a gasp. Now, however, for a second he was rooted to the spot. Then he turned, stared at the fire as if he’d seen death in it, and ran. The valkyries fled too, charging into each other in their haste to escape whatever unseen demon pursued them.
Somehow, Sam moved. He got to his hands and knees, tried to rise and half fell again. His face contorted as he squeezed his eyes shut and put his hands over his ears against the roar of all those minds.
"Sam. Derivative of Satan."
"And Luc derives from Lucifer? Which one do you prefer?"
He shrugged. "Lucifer is the name I was given at birth. Satan is what they dubbed me, when they found out what my real name meant. Bearer of Light is hardly a friendly way to describe the soul of darkness, evil incarnate, the great deceiver." He spoke bitterly, his mind cast back to things he'd tried to forget.
"But what do you prefer, of your human names?"
"None. They're necessary, that's all. Luc reminds me of what I truly am. Sam reminds me of the disdain of my own brothers and sisters- who threw me out of heaven for being what I am. The bastard son. The necessary one, where all of them were clearly not necessary. And though Time passed bitter judgment on me, still he gave me a crown. Still they think he favoured me."
~Catherine Webb, WayWalkers
But it was also true that in some sense he owed Sam his life, a debt that had been repaid in
In the year of Our Lord 1582 Sam Linnfer had been pressing his weary way through an endless, dense forest complete with wolves and bandits. Stopping in his tracks, he found himself staring at the avenging angel ahead.
Sam was wearing a black woollen cloak, and old boots that were in constant battle with his feet as to how fast blisters could be caused, and leading a horse that if anything looked worse than he did. And no matter how good his regenerative abilities, they hadn’t worked fast enough to banish the extensive bruising down one side of his haggard features. His clothes too were torn, as though slashed by the claws of a bear, and when he took his hands from the horse’s bridle, they trembled.
“They tried to burn me,” he called. It was neither an accusation, nor a plea for help. It was a statement, warning the other away from him. The implication behind it was clear. If they couldn’t burn me, don’t think you can.
“I’ve been sent,” Michael said. He was wearing his archangel’s white.
“I can tell.” He was still shaken, and Michael could see it. Even Sam struggled when fanatic mortals tried to burn him at the stake. “Are the others nearby? They’d have to be, if you intend to wear that daft white robe everywhere.”
Michael had begun walking closer, his sword already drawn, the edge gleaming with fire. “I was sent to find a witch. You’ll do.”
Sam watched him approach, his hands not once moving towards his sword. “They tried to burn me,” he repeated. “Don’t you find that ironic? They say I live in boiling pits of fire, and yet they think they can burn me.”
Michael took up the guard position a few feet from Sam, sword ready.
Sam didn’t move. “Why do you have to fight me? I know Jehovah can’t bear my name, because I was right and he was wrong, and his grand Messiah plan failed. But why do you, you, have to fight me?”
“I’ve been sent.”
Sam sighed, and gently slapped his horse on the rump. Obediently it trotted away. He turned his full attention to Michael. “Tell you what,” he said, “you put the sword down and stop being an idiot, and I won’t tell your master. How does that sound?”
Michael was lost in his own world – or one of Jehovah’s making? “You. A Son of Time, a Prince of Heaven, a Waywalker. I worshipped Waywalkers, thought they were almost… godly. And I trusted you, called you my friend. Do you know how I argued with Jehovah when he demanded your death? How I begged him to reconsider – even though he is my master, and not you. He no longer trusts me, you know, because I argued for you. I was cast out of his favour, all because you were my friend. He’s the Son of Time, the Prince of Heaven. You’re just the exile that I thought I knew. I would have given anything to be a Waywalker. And yet you… you…”
His sword whirled, but Sam was already there. His hands moved in a blur, and the silver blade was up as he ducked below Michael’s blow. Expertly he swivelled, swinging his blade up and across as he exclaimed, “These many years on Earth and you learn how to survive, old friend.” A thrust, a parry, an easy spin in which he stuck out an ankle to trip his opponent, who fell, then rolled clumsily out of the way of a tauntingly leisured down-stroke.
“I studied survival in
He ducked another thrust, danced nimbly away from a counter-stroke and in the riposte brought his sword swinging round and down in an elegant arc that pinned Michael’s sword to the ground and locked them each inches from the other’s face.
“You don’t want to be a Son of Time, Michael,” he warned softly. “It’s not worth it.”
Michael broke free, jabbing with his knee at Sam’s gut. But Sam was already spinning away, and used Michael’s off-balance to deliver a ringing sideways blow with the flat of his blade.
“Archangels have it so much easier,” explained Sam in a louder voice as they whirled and thrust across the path and between the trees. “Being created to serve somehow gives purpose to your life. When I was created to serve, things were so much easier. There was none of this self-doubt, none of this agonising over what it’s all about. It’s so simple to have your loyalties, faith, belief and hope grounded in one fairly safe bet. But we still gamble with our souls – every day, Michael. And for every day we lose, a little more of our soul is stolen from us. After a few thousand years of gambling, that’s a lot of debts to pay.”
Sam had only one hand on his sword now. Too late Michael tried to scramble for cover while, palm out, Sam’s free hand came across and up. As it rose, so Michael rose until he was pinned, helpless and motionless in air, his wild eyes and fast breathing the only proof that he was alive.
Below, supporting his involuntary flight, Sam wasn’t smiling at all now.
“They tried to burn me,” he murmured again. “Do not seek to be a Son of Time. Do not seek to see everything you hold dear pass away, to be replaced by new hope that, again, passes away. Do not seek to see as clearly as Time makes his Children see. If you had seen the things that I have seen, or the things that I must see before I die… well, no more of that. You see what you want to see and, while it lasts, that is a marvellous blessing. If we saw what was really there, who would be able to face Time with a steady eye?”
He released Michael from the spell, and the archangel fell to the ground with a heavy thump. Sam brought his free hand slicing through the air, and the effect was like an iron fist to Michael’s face, who slumped, hands opening around his blade and voice giving no cry.
“They tried to burn me,” Sam whispered.
~Catherine Webb, WayWalkers
Sam, his normally expressive face hardened and almost blank, his jaw clenched, forcibly shoves them backwards with magic that sends them sprawling into each other like dominoes, moving them just far back enough to allow one of the other two to shut the door.
They've been there for some time now. Finally they're still, or close enough, breathing heavily and curled tight around each other in a shared warmth that's more than bodyheat.
|catslash33 (01:32:37):||HA. <3 Cal would totally want Sam along for moral support, too, though he'd never ask.|
|herworldsonfire (01:33:14):||Sam: More like amoral support... *eyedart* Anyway.|
|catslash33 (01:34:05):||Heh. Yes, that too. As long as Cal knew he wasn't alone. It would help.|
|herworldsonfire (01:35:13):||Aw. *pets him*|
Sam: Also, your mother would go batshit crazy if she saw her son kissing a guy. *whistles* Just saying...
|catslash33 (01:36:53):||Cal: *looks alarmed* I'm trying to scare her, not *kill* her.|
|herworldsonfire (01:37:13):||Sam: Teasing, Cal.|
|catslash33 (01:37:56):||Cal: Yeah, it's that last part that has me worried. You're never *completely* kidding.|
|herworldsonfire (01:38:18):||Sam: *halo?*|
|catslash33 (01:39:22):||Cal: *not fooled*|
|herworldsonfire (01:39:28):||Sam: *pout*|
|catslash33 (01:39:39):||Cal: Nice try.|
|herworldsonfire (01:39:56):||Sam: You're no fun, Cal Chandler, you know that?|
|catslash33 (01:40:52):||Cal: I'm plenty of fun. Just on my terms.|
|herworldsonfire (01:41:16):||Sam: *grin* Prove it.|
|catslash33 (01:42:20):||Cal: I said *my* terms. *smirks*|
|herworldsonfire (01:42:44):||Sam: So what, you can't prove it?|
|catslash33 (01:43:44):||Cal: I'll prove it when I'm ready to prove it.|
|herworldsonfire (01:44:37):||Sam: *teasing* Suuuure you will.|
|catslash33 (01:44:51):||Cal: When you least expect it.|
|herworldsonfire (01:45:25):||Sam: Promising, but still.|
|herworldsonfire (01:45:28):||Sam: :P|
|catslash33 (01:46:04):||Cal: What, are you in a hurry?|
|herworldsonfire (01:46:23):||Sam: Believe me, I've got all nigh- I mean, all day.|
|herworldsonfire (01:46:45):||Sam: I was just born sceptical.|
|catslash33 (01:47:41):||Cal: You'll just have to trust me.|
|herworldsonfire (01:48:27):||Sam: *sighs* My life is so hard, sometimes, you know that?|
|catslash33 (01:50:07):||Cal: You poor thing.|
|herworldsonfire (01:50:31):||Sam: You have no idea.|
|catslash33 (01:51:13):||I'm sure I don't.|
|herworldsonfire (01:52:26):||Sam: So I suppose I'll have to teach you about that, too...|
|catslash33 (01:52:53):||Cal: If you like.|
|herworldsonfire (01:55:25):||Sam: I'll make a project of it.|
|catslash33 (01:56:18):||Cal: *looks wary*|
|herworldsonfire (01:56:55):||Sam: *pets*|
|catslash33 (01:57:41):||Cal: *cheers up*|
|herworldsonfire (02:00:08):||Sam: *smug*|
|catslash33 (02:00:28):||Cal: *content*|
|herworldsonfire (02:04:38):||Sam: *pets more* ...Seriously, you thought you were straight all these years how, exactly?|
|catslash33 (02:07:21):||Cal: *looks confused* What?|
|herworldsonfire (02:07:38):||Sam: ...Never mind. *pets*|
|catslash33 (02:08:05):||Cal: No, what?|
|herworldsonfire (02:09:48):||Sam: You seem to be making a habit out of lying on a sofa with your arms around another guy, that's all.|
|catslash33 (02:11:09):||Cal: . . . just you.|
|herworldsonfire (02:12:31):||Sam: I always knew I was special. *pets him*|
|catslash33 (02:13:42):||Cal: *agreeably, as petting tends to have this effect* 'Course you are.|
|herworldsonfire (02:16:30):||Sam *laughs*|
|catslash33 (02:17:35):||Cal: - what?|
|herworldsonfire (02:22:44):||Sam: Nothing.|
|catslash33 (02:23:20):||Cal: You keep saying that,|
|herworldsonfire (02:24:27):||Sam: Well... You made me laugh. And no, not in a bad way. That's all.|
|catslash33 (02:25:04):||Cal: *accepts this* Okay. *pause* Just checking.|
|herworldsonfire (02:25:44):||Sam: *strokes his hair* It's okay, Cal.|
|catslash33 (02:26:59):||Cal: *embarrassed* I know.|
|herworldsonfire (02:28:12):||Sam: Shh. *pet*|
|catslash33 (02:29:34):||Cal: *quiet, leans into the petting*|
|herworldsonfire (02:33:53):||Sam: *snug*|
|catslash33 (02:34:51):||Cal: *relaxes after a minute or two*|
|herworldsonfire (02:38:51):||Sam: *approves of this* Did you get to talk to Atton in the end?|
|catslash33 (02:39:24):||Cal: *blinks, forgot about all of that in the Angst that followed* Oh. Uh, no.|
|herworldsonfire (02:43:51):||Sam: Don't worry about it. Atton's my best friend, as you probably gathered from all the insults. You'd like him, I think.|
|catslash33 (02:44:54):||Cal: *chuckles, remembering the note* I think I will.|
|herworldsonfire (02:45:40):||Sam: *solemnly* He's so mean to me.|
|catslash33 (02:47:13):||Cal: That must be why you like him.|
|herworldsonfire (02:49:27):||Sam: My masochistic tendencies are well-documented, it's true.|
He also cheats at pillowfights. D:
|catslash33 (02:51:20):||Cal: *pauses* How do you cheat at pillowfights?|
|herworldsonfire (02:51:59):||Sam: With scary Jedi super-strength powers.|
*pause* I totally don't abuse magic to get my own back, you understand.
|catslash33 (02:55:01):||Cal: Oh, of course not.|
|herworldsonfire (02:55:27):||Sam: *virtuously* I'm just not that kind of guy.|
|catslash33 (02:59:04):||Cal: Strictly fair.|
|herworldsonfire (02:59:20):||Sam: Very strictly.|
|catslash33 (02:06:43):||And then he'll be like, "Did I just say that? I sound like Grahame."|
|herworldsonfire (02:10:45):||Sam: Pfft. Somehow I have my doubts on that front. I don't think you're anything like Grahame.|
|catslash33 (02:11:59):||Cal: *looks highly conflicted* You'd - be surprised.|
|herworldsonfire (02:12:39):||Sam: I doubt it.|
|catslash33 (02:18:01):||Cal: *still looking conflicted, as persisting in the idea would involve saying bad things about Grahame, which Guilt does not permit, BUT* He - is a lot smarter than I am.|
|herworldsonfire (02:19:01):||Sam: *shrugs* Smart isn't everything. Not by a long shot. And you're nowhere near as thick as you think you are, anyway.|
|catslash33 (02:20:25):||Cal: *laughs a little* Well, it's not exactly beating myself up to say that. Uncle Grahame's smarter than most people. His IQ is something ridiculous, I can't remember what. He's literally a genius.|
|herworldsonfire (02:23:39):||Sam: *grins* So're lots of people, round here. Including at least one six-year-old. Smart doesn't actually count for anything except test scores, with most people.|
|catslash33 (02:25:08):||Cal: *shrugs* Grahame can figure out just about anything. It - made all the difference. In the family. Him and Mother kept things running smooth after my grandparents died.|
|herworldsonfire (02:26:35):||Sam: And yet he still sounds pretty damn fucked-up, as far as I can tell. Most people don't develop crushes on their teenage nephews, Cal.|
|catslash33 (02:29:16):||Cal: . . . he didn't get out much. I told you he was crippled, right? Polio. It kept him inside a lot. He was sick of people staring, unless there was some kind of PR event. I guess that'll fuck with anyone.|
|herworldsonfire (02:31:05):||Sam: *shrug* Plenty of people on crutches manage to get by without that sort of thing. It didn't hurt FDR that much, for starters.|
|catslash33 (02:32:52):||Cal: That was a long time ago. *thinks a minute, trying to remember what it was Grahame had said about that* Before TV, I think, so people couldn't judge politicians on appearance quite so much. It was just radio and stuff.|
|herworldsonfire (02:34:23):||Sam: He used it as a reason to vote for him, actually. "Look what I overcame! American dream!" and all that crap. Pretty much everyone knew about it.|
|catslash33 (02:36:30):||Cal: *shrugs* That was what Grahame said about why Dad ended up being the politician instead. Dad was better-looking and healthy. More appealing to the public. So he went into politics and Uncle Grahame ran his campaign instead. It worked, too, Dad got into the Senate years before I - would have.|
|herworldsonfire (02:47:11):||Sam: *plays with Cal's hair* He developed a crush on his nephew, Cal. Being crippled is not an excuse for being that fucked-up.|
|catslash33 (02:49:17):||Cal: It's not his *fault*. He fought it so hard. He wasn't, you know, like the creepy dirty uncle. He never touched me. I didn't even know until Dad let it slip.|
|herworldsonfire (02:49:52):||Sam: That's as may be, but it's not your fault either, and he fucked you over at the same time.|
|catslash33 (02:50:39):||Cal: *flatly* What I did was my decision.|
|herworldsonfire (02:52:22):||Sam: I wasn't talking about that, actually. You were plenty screwed up before that happened, as far as I can tell.|
|catslash33 (02:53:15):||Cal: *pauses* That wasn't . . . all his fault, either.|
|herworldsonfire (02:54:14):||Sam: He sure as hell didn't help.|
|catslash33 (02:54:42):||Cal: Yeah, well, neither did I.|
|herworldsonfire (02:56:55):||Sam: *just shakes his head*|
|catslash33 (02:57:47):||Cal: You can only go so far blaming other people for shit in your life when you never did a goddamn thing to save yourself until it was way too late.|
|herworldsonfire (03:01:56):||Sam: Which is a fair point, and you're brave as hell for saying it. But. There's 'not blaming all your fuck-ups on someone else' and then there's 'not admitting that your fuck-ups aren't exclusively your own fault'. I'm not saying you're perfect, Cal. You're just not as bad as you think you are.|
|catslash33 (03:04:26):||Cal: *shrugs uncomfortably* I try not to be. I, I'm better than I used to be. Not that that's very hard. *uneasy laugh - saying something positive about himself is difficult*|
|herworldsonfire (03:05:57):||Sam: Pillock. *pet*|
|catslash33 (03:07:58):||Cal: *leans into it* Not taking responsibility got me killed. I mean, letting things get as bad as they did. It's a hell of an incentive to change my ways.|
|herworldsonfire (03:10:38):||Sam: *nods* I'll bet.|
|catslash33 (03:13:07):||Cal: *looks distant for a moment, then gives a tired sigh and pulls himsef back* Anyway. I'm not saying Grahame was my favorite person, but he couldn't have - pushed me around if I hadn't let him. Takes two and all that shit.|
|herworldsonfire (03:15:14):||Sam: *pets more* Mmm. Some things are hard to unlearn.|
|catslash33 (03:15:55):||Cal: *confused glance*|
|herworldsonfire (03:18:44):||Sam: Not that you shouldn't probably have stood up to him earlier, but if he's been pushing you around since you were a kid, then it's harder.|
|catslash33 (03:20:33):||Cal: *shudders* What I did was not standing up to him. It felt like it, but it wasn't.|
|herworldsonfire (03:23:51):||Sam: Once again, Cal, I'm not talking about that. Believe me, it's nowhere near as... central... to what I think about you than it is when you think about you.|
|catslash33 (03:25:02):||Cal: *quietly, looking away* When I think about him.|
|herworldsonfire (03:27:41):||Sam: ...Oh, Cal. *pet*|
|catslash33 (03:28:33):||Cal: *silent, curling closer to Sam*|
|herworldsonfire (03:30:05):||Sam: *pulls him close*|
|catslash33 (03:31:34):||Cal: *lays his head on Sam's shoulder*|
|herworldsonfire (03:34:31):||Sam: *strokes his hair* It's all right, Cal.|
|catslash33 (03:35:24):||Cal: *very quiet* It's not.|
|herworldsonfire (03:38:03):||Sam: ...No, I don't suppose it is. But it'll get better.|
|catslash33 (03:39:59):||Cal: For me, maybe.|
|herworldsonfire (03:42:02):||Sam: *slides his arms around him tighter* Maybe not just for you. You'd be amazed at how good humans are at bouncing back, eventually.|
|catslash33 (03:44:16):||Cal: He couldn't even look at me. I've never seen him not be able to look someone in the eye before, no matter how bad something was.|
|herworldsonfire (03:49:04):||Sam: Nonetheless. *hairstroke* And whatever happens for him, there's nothing you can do now.|
|catslash33 (03:51:25):||Cal: He moved out the day after. I never saw him again. I thought about trying to visit, but I don't - I don't think he would have even opened the door.|
|herworldsonfire (03:54:32):||Sam: Shhh, Cal. *pet* It's out of your hands now.|
|catslash33 (03:57:03):||Cal: It always was. You can't apologize to someone who doesn't want to hear it. Who - who *can't*.|
|herworldsonfire (03:59:06):||Sam: Oh, Cal.|
|catslash33 (03:59:54):||Cal: *trying hard for a lighter tone* Hey, at least I don't have to beat myself up for not trying.|
|herworldsonfire (04:01:26):||Sam: *smiles, a little bit* Come on, subject change.|
*pauses* Chocolate is good.
|catslash33 (04:02:30):||Cal: *pauses, then laughs a bit shakily* You're a fan? I wouldn't have guessed.|
|herworldsonfire (04:04:03):||Sam: *solemnly* I'm a big fan.|
|catslash33 (04:04:31):||Cal: Sounds pretty good.|
|herworldsonfire (04:05:22):||Sam: *small chuckle* I always do. *waves for a waitrat and orders*|
|catslash33 (04:06:13):||Cal: *sits quietly, looking a little steadier* *does not seem to be in any rush to disentangle himself from Sam, though*|
|herworldsonfire (04:07:03):||Sam: *perfectly happy about this* *feeds him chocolate*|
|catslash33 (04:07:34):||Cal: *laughs, relaxing*|
|herworldsonfire (04:10:09):||Sam: *kisses his cheek* Pillock.|
|catslash33 (04:11:26):||Cal, smiling: Is that my nickname now?|
|herworldsonfire (04:12:08):||Sam: Why confine myself to just one?|
|catslash33 (04:12:59):||Cal: So I don't get confused?|
|herworldsonfire (04:13:37):||Sam: But that wouldn't be fun. Anyway, the other's Motor Mouth, so I think you can manage to remember two.|
|catslash33 (04:14:02):||Cal: Okay, but that might be the limit.|
|herworldsonfire (04:14:48):||Sam: *laughs* There you go again, spoiling my fun.|
|catslash33 (04:15:20):||Cal: It's my favorite thing to do, you know.|
|herworldsonfire (04:15:41):||Sam: Well, you're very good at it.|
|catslash33 (04:16:16):||Cal: I practice.|
|herworldsonfire (04:16:49):||Sam: So I notice. *sorrowfully* My life is a never-ending trial.|
|catslash33 (04:17:17):||Cal: Yeah, with the chocolate and the cuddling. You poor bastard.|
|herworldsonfire (04:18:12):||Sam: *smirk* Shurrup and eat chocolate, Motor Mouth. *feeds him more*|
|catslash33 (04:20:40):||Cal: *silent, on account of chocolate* *smirks instead*|
|herworldsonfire (04:21:56):||Sam: *sticks his tongue out* *licks his fingers*|
|catslash33 (04:22:24):||Cal: *swallows and snorts*|
|herworldsonfire (04:22:47):||Sam: *smirk*|
|catslash33 (04:23:35):||Cal: Oh, what?|
|herworldsonfire (04:24:30):||Sam: *lightly* You.|
|catslash33 (04:25:38):||Cal: What about me?|
|herworldsonfire (04:28:17):||Sam: You're being you.|
|catslash33 (04:30:13):||Cal: In a good way, I hope.|
|herworldsonfire (04:30:47):||Sam: Of course.|
|catslash33 (04:31:09):||Cal: *looks pleased* Just checking. *pause* Sam?|
|herworldsonfire (04:32:11):||Sam: Yeah?|
|catslash33 (04:33:03):||Cal: *looks at Sam* Thanks.|
|herworldsonfire (04:34:28):||Sam: Welcome, Motor Mouth.|
|catslash33 (04:35:20):||Cal: *smiles and rolls his eyes, sitting up enough to reach up and ruffle Sam's hair*|
|herworldsonfire (04:35:52):||Sam: *ruffles right back omg!*|
|catslash33 (04:36:52):||Cal: *just laughs*|
|herworldsonfire (04:38:40):||Sam: ... *tickles!*|
|catslash33 (04:41:59):||Cal: *squeaks (totally all manly-like) and tickles back*|
|herworldsonfire (04:43:08):||Sam: *totally doesn't laugh at the squeaking!* *no really you guys!* *tickles MORE!*|
|catslash33 (04:43:47):||Cal: *energetic tickling of DOOM*|
|herworldsonfire (04:44:47):||Sam: *tickles EVER MORE OMG*|
|catslash33 (04:47:07):||Cal: *eventually has no choice but to surrender*|
|herworldsonfire (04:47:45):||Sam: *grins down at him* I win.|
|catslash33 (04:48:22):||Cal: *grinning back* I can live with that.|
|herworldsonfire (04:51:34):||Sam: Oh, good. *kisses Cal, then flops down again, laughing* Mmm, chocolate.|
|catslash33 (04:52:11):||Cal: *chuckles a little, watching Sam*|
|herworldsonfire (04:53:47):||Sam: *slides an arm around him*|
|catslash33 (04:54:06):||Cal: *leans against Sam and closes his eyes*|
|herworldsonfire (04:57:02):||Sam: *strokes his hair again*|
|catslash33 (04:57:24):||Cal: *smiles a little* Mm.|
|herworldsonfire (04:58:44):||Sam: *softly* Mmmm.|
|catslash33 (04:59:57):||Cal: *murmurs* One of these days I'll pay you back for everything, I swear.|
|herworldsonfire (05:01:05):||Sam: Shh. I'm hardly keeping tabs, Cal.|
|catslash33 (05:02:06):||Cal: I am. *that's totally how friendship works, right?*|
|herworldsonfire (05:04:14):||Sam: ...Seriously, that's not how it works. If you're going to insist on 'paying back', you can buy me a drink later and call it quits.|
|catslash33 (05:06:46):||Cal: *opens his eyes and looks at Sam* *for once, changes his mind about what he was going to say in favor of saying the (relatively) less stupid thing instead* Whatever you like.|
|herworldsonfire (05:08:34):||Sam: Shush. Go to sleep, Motor Mouth, you look like you could use it.|
|catslash33 (05:09:16):||Cal: Not really. *closes his eyes again anyway*|
|herworldsonfire (05:10:39):||Sam: *quiet; pets him* The kind without dreams, anyway.|
|catslash33 (05:11:12):||Cal: *murmurs* Have to get there first. One step at a time.|
|herworldsonfire (05:12:55):||Sam: I can be really, really boring, if that helps.|
|catslash33 (05:13:28):||Cal: *laughs a little* Somehow I doubt it.|
|herworldsonfire (05:13:56):||Sam: *chuckles* One of the these days I'll teach you not to bet against me...|
|catslash33 (05:14:54):||Cal: What, you don't like winning?|
|herworldsonfire (05:15:23):||Sam: *smirk* I'm always winning.|
|catslash33 (05:15:39):||Cal: What do you win?|
|herworldsonfire (05:15:51):||Sam: Everything. Ever. *nod*|
|catslash33 (05:16:25):||Cal: I can't believe you just missed out on innuendo. I think that means *I* win.|
|herworldsonfire (05:16:44):||Sam: *snicker* What do you win, then?|
|catslash33 (05:17:29):||Cal: A nap, apparently. *pauses, then - nothing*|
|herworldsonfire (05:19:36):||Sam: *slides both arms around him, happily* *thinks* Then I think we both win.|
|catslash33 (05:20:49):||Cal: *curls in comfortably and drapes an arm over Sam* *definitely feels like he won something*|
- Current Mood: cheerful
Sam leads Atton in, grinning. Between them, they have all the requisites of the perfect indoor picnic: drinks, popcorn, pizza, tubs of ice cream, and chocolates.
"You realise I'm going to kick your arse at this, right?"
Is it can be... gametiems nao?