Saturday, October 8, 2011

No Country for Old Men (or Birds)

"Mother, it's cold here
Father, thy will be done
Thunder and lightning
Are crashing down
They've got me on the run
Direct me to the Sun..."
Brandon Flowers, Only the Young

I got caught in a storm, but I didn't get lost.
Nevermore did, though. And Nevermore is dead. Long live my friend, Nevermore.

You know Never, it would be a lot easier to write a touching memorial passage for you if you would stop fucking around on the wing of the airplane, pretending to be William Shatner.

"Laur... Laur... LAUREL!! There's.... Som'fin... on'na wing... innit!!!" That incorporeal shit is going to get old, fast.

Yeah, I know you're reading this over my shoulder, that's why I'm typing to you.

No, I'm not bothered.

No, I'm not.

No, I'm not.

I'm not gonna let you bother me. I'm not gonna fucking give you the satisfaction.

Stop squawking in my ear or I swear to the Gods I'm going to exorcise you.

You don't know that I can't do that.

No, I'm not going to turn around and talk to you, you can just read what I have to say over my shoulder.

Because no one else can see you, I'll look like a nutcase arguing and swearing at the open air.

Yeah, like I'm really going to get up in front of my husband and kids and tell off a bird that no one but O'Shea can see, and rely on the Irishman to convince the plane I'm not crazy.

You know what? Fuck you, too. I was going to write something nice about how you were a great companion and friend and that I felt like I'd failed you and I was going to promise to find a way to make it up to you but you can forget it. Your job's not over yet just because you kicked the bucket. You died, I'm sorry, get over it. I didn't fucking tell you to follow me into the desert.

I did?

Are you sure?

I don't remember that.

Pics or it didn't happen, bird. Oh wait. You can't hold a camera.

Yeah, Never, there's gonna be metric fuck tons of things you can't do anymore. Like touch anything. Ever. On the bright side, now you can't use my credit card to order 12 copies of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," ever again.
I don't care if your memory's perfect and you've got all of my credit card numbers in your head. But how are you going to hold a phone or surf the internet if you can't touch anything?
You won't be able to use a computer anymore to write your brilliant observations, either.

No, I'm not going to be your ghost writer.
Yes I get the joke.

Right. I'm ignoring the ghost bird reading over my shoulder, here's what happened in the order I experienced it.
Gunnar and Brendan and I left the Henge -

That was where we went to meet Kane, Never.
No, you were helping Kas and Harlan. How did that go, anyway?
YOU DIDN'T TELL ME THEY MET BEOWULF!!!!!!
He's real? Oh my fucking gods, how was I not there for that? I would have squealed like Jack did when he met Uncle Herc. Just like a tween girl.

You don't need to remind me I'm a married woman, my husband and sons are sitting right there.
Shut up. I do not have a crush on Beowulf.
Okay, maybe a little one.
Fuck you, you know I've always had a thing for vikings.
No, it means bee-wolf, which means bear. It's a kenning thing...
What, that he's cooler than Beowulf? Well, he should know that, really.
Oh, that. You know what? Go ahead, tell Gunnar. Lemme know how it works for you.

Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas... What do you mean you don't speak Latin? Well, look it up sometime. Oh wait. You can't. Haha. Well, ask Gunnar. Oh wait, he can't hear you. O'Shea could probably tell you, he seems bookish enough.

Aww... you mad?

Anyway. So what happened after that?

Wait, why were there cats in New York?

Why were they feeding them Jotun blood?

I don't know, you're supposed to just know these things.

And Kas let them out?

Wait... Who the fuck is Aslan?

So... all lions are named Aslan?
Ok, now you're making shit up. Why would a tiger be named Paco?

Well did you ask what his name was?
Yeah, to be honest, I kinda could see you flying up into the face of three giant cats and asking them how their day's been. Offering them tea or whatever it is you British types do.

Yes, I really think you drink tea. I especially think that if it annoys you. What? You drink everything else.

So she just let big, murderous and angry giant-cats loose on the streets of New York? Right. Yeah, we might need to have a talk about that.

Jack was there?
Are you sure Jack was there?
Wait, where was Harlan when that happened?
Harlan wasn't there but Jack was? Yeah I'm going to be giving our esteemed Mr. Cook a call soon, anyway.

Well for one thing, I don't know if he'd be ready for the kids, yet. I mean, I wasn't supposed to be a mom for another four months.
You
think it's balls? You're not even the one who went into labor in the middle of an epic bout of angel-laser-tag.

You've heard all those watermelon analogies, Never, what do you think? Yeah, it kinda hurt.
No, I'm good at looking like I'm not hurt. Doesn't mean I don't feel it, just means I don't let it stop me.

Yeah, thanks for that. It's not like I have that as an option anymore.
Anyway.
So Arvid is going back to Utgard-Loki to let him know we did our job, right?
Yeah, I don't know about that. He didn't seem terribly bright. We're still probably gonna have to go check up on that.

I don't know, we'll fit it in somewhere when we're not busy saving the world from all the fuckers who've joined up with Kane. I swear, it's like the fucking hydra. I shoot one in the head, he recruits three more.

You remember Carmen from the Order? She was there.
Oh. Well now you tell me.
Well, yeah, Ixion was with her too, and we solved the case of the missing Mac Lir. Cordelia has apparently decided to puppy up, too.
No, I was pissed at her. She should fucking know better.
One, gross, even if you're right. I'd really rather not contemplate Carmen sucking on anything. Two... Why should I be freaking out? I have enough to freak out about, honestly.
If it were Gunnar, or Harlan, or Kas, or anyone else from the Band I would tear a titan apart to get them back and you fucking know it.
No, Nevermore. I don't really feel sorry for her. Like I would have said to Camila, it's her choice and her mess. I'm not responsible for the choices she makes.
She said something about being respected by Kane and some other bullshit I got too angry to hear.
Nope, you cannot divide by the number of fucks I give.
Sorry, I've been picking up the math jokes from Gunnar. The number is zero, you can't divide by it... nevermind. No, if I had the chance I would tell her to get over herself and get her ass back to the thankless job of saving the world. She can bitch about it while she's getting shit done.
Because we - Scions, heroes, demigods, gods in waiting, gods and everything in between - are supposed to be better than that. We're supposed to be the good examples for the people who believe in us. And she... She killed her fucking unicorn. Like, okay... I wasn't there and I don't know for sure, but I'm imagining she went a little Voldemort on it.
I mean, okay, I get being frustrated about your parent keeping you in the dark. I've been there. I get feeling unloved and unrespected and like a tiny pawn on a big fucking chessboard. Been there too. I get feeling like this war is stupid and there should be a better way. But Kane's way, Tesla's way, that's not the answer and the fact that she got pulled in by that asshole? Still not really my problem. Do I feel bad that Cordy's gotten herself into that mess? Yeah. Do I want to help her? Yeah, and I'm going to if I can but is it my first priority? No. And it can't be. My kids can't even by my first priority. I have to stop Kane first, which means taking my two day, nine year old sons to Mexico and leaving them with my cousin whom I've repeatedly called an asshole, then keeping on with putting Marie back together, and hoping that gives me a way to accomplish everything else. Maybe if I'm lucky, Marie can help Cordelia. Maybe if I'm lucky, Marie knows what Kane is up to.

You heard that, huh? Yeah, I told Gunnar I'm a mom, a wife and a soldier "in that order." Yes, being a mother comes first but it doesn't change that I have to take the boys to Mexico.
I can't stay with them.
Because the first thing I want is for them to be safe and normal, and that obviously won't happen for them if they're with me.
Yeah, they look like normal kids because they're asleep. Try just talking to them when they're conscious. It's not hard to see that something is more than a little off with them. Think about it, Never. They are two days old, walking around in nine-year old bodies. Kairos fucking stole my babies from me, stole their youth just because they were with me.
I don't really give a good goddamn if he apologized.
Yeah, I know shit's still gonna come after them. But Jack will be there, and I'm praying it will all be shit they can handle, and that the bigger stuff will be more worried about Gunnar and I. I mean, we are kinda actively painting targets on ourselves. So... the farther we stay away, the safer they should be.
No, I'm not crying. I've got something in my eye.
Yes. Something in my eye. I've got an annoying bird in my eye.

What's bollocks?

Fine, call me petty and selfish. That's your opinion.
Yep. Fuck Titans and their sympathizers.
You are not my Jiminy Cricket.
Well, I'm gonna bet he didn't smell like Jack and cheeseburgers all the time, for one thing.

Look, if I can help her in the midst of everything else then I will, but like I said that can't be the first thing I worry about. I've got people - real people, not Scions or Gods, but mortals - to protect. And maybe I have to protect them from her, now. If she's actively putting lives in danger, there's the chance I'll have to put her down. If it comes to that, I'll do it without blinking twice, let Mac Lir do to me what he wants.

Fine, call me a bitch. It's all sticks and stones, bird.

I don't know what Mom would say, she's been dead so long and she was sick so long before that, it's hard to guess. But you know what Dad and the Greeks would say? That Cordelia should simply have been better. She should have known and done better. She should be more virtuous. If she'd been more intellectual she would have seen reason and seen right through Kane's lies. If she had been more valiant she would be more protective of mortals and she would have seen that what Kane is doing is wrong. And maybe she should be holding a grudge against Kane for siding with the Titans who've been attacking her home since nigh on forever. And maybe if she'd talked to her father honestly she might have gotten over her Daddy issues.

Fuck you, fuck you, and seriously... fuck you. I know that's the pot calling the kettle black. At least I'm fucking dealing with it.
Well for one godsdamned thing, I'm not galavanting around Terrae Incognitae with some loopy motherfucker who considers a Titan of Darkness a viable fashion accessory, so yeah, I would say I'm doing just a little bit better at it.

Shut up, Never.
Shut the fuck up.
You have two fucking seconds to shut your godsdamned beak before I ask Gunnar to bind you to that old lady's muumuu for the rest of eternity.
One...
Thank you.

Hey, you still paying attention?
You know Never, Thanksgiving was like, last week. Sorry you missed out on a week of turkey.
No, I wouldn't have cooked it, I wouldn't try to poison you like that. I don't want you dead. I just sometimes want you quiet.
Me? I'm pretty sure you know the answer to that, Never.
Well, they're sitting next to me. I'm thankful for my family. They're all I was thinking about during that fight with Tesla, trudging through that storm, every time we did another quantum leap. First things I looked for were Gunnar and my boys.

Thanks, Never. They are seriously fucking adorable. I mean, damn we make good looking babies. Gunnar said we're supposed to have another, too.

That girl in China, with the angels. Remember her? I didn't see her but, she was ours too, Gunnar said.

Well, when I saw Erik I just... recognized him. Like... it's hard to describe but I knew he was mine. And Gunnar said that Erik had shown up with two other people, another boy and a girl who all looked like family, so... if one of them was ours, they were probably all three ours. Gair said her name was Atropos. I'm not sure yet why we'd name a kid after one of the Fates but... well it's obviously going to happen so there's gotta be some reason.

Yep. Good looking babies.

What Gunnar did was brilliant, and if you insinuate otherwise again, I'll wring your immaterial neck.
No, I knew exactly what he was up to, and I didn't plan on stopping him. I thought it would work. I didn't realize Fate is such a dick.
Yes. I just called a woman a dick. I'll do it again, I'm sure.
I told him to go ahead with it, actually.
Well yeah, you wouldn't have heard it. I can get in his head now.
Hey! He hasn't complained. But I've only done it like, twice. The first time was just to show him I could. You were there for the second time, it was just before he got Clotho's spindle.
I said, "If it's that important, I trust you."
No, I didn't try to stop him. Why do you keep asking that? What makes you think I should have?
Because that would be really selfish, Nevermore.
No, I don't want anything to happen to him but Gunnar and I talked about this already.
Yeah, because you weren't there. The world does not cease to exist when you aren't around.
Well we decided we need somewhere to hang out, so world-saving comes first.
Yeah, that was his line. Look, it came up because I wanted to make sure before we got married that he wasn't going to be foolish enough to ever put me before the fate of the world, the mortals in it, and all that stuff. There's no point protecting each other if there's nowhere left for us to go, and no one else left for us to protect. I had to know that if... Well, if some Titan or Titan-wielding dickhead, like Kane or Tesla, was going to make him choose between saving the world or saving his family, that he would pick the world. And he said he'd pick the world, which was the answer I was looking for.
If he'd given me a different answer I wouldn't have married him.

Yeah, I'm done with you for now.

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