As Dictated by Nevermore T. Raven, known to the mundane rabble as the Esteemed and Honorable Sire Grog: Avian Mastermind, and Self-Appointed Mascot of the Bullets, Axes and Pain (LLC).
“The guy who put his hands on you,
He's got nothing to do with me.
And the bruises that you feel will heal
And I hope you'll come around
Cuz we're missing you.
You used to speak so easy
Now you're afraid to talk to me -
It's like walking with the wounded.
Well I never claimed to understand
What happens after Dark
But my fingers catch the sparks
At the thought of
When you're wounded
Let me break it down 'til I force the issue
We miss your face
You know I wish you
Would come back down to the dollar bar
You tell 'em, "That's just my battle scar..."
Third Eye Blind, Wounded
"You're writing this all down? Everyfin' I say? And the bit I sang, too?
Well, she likes music. It might make her feel better.
You're sure you got all the lyrics?
Good, cos' if you miss one word, then I will bloody well haunt you all Patrick Swayze style. I know eight different versions of Henry the VIII, and thanks to my temporary brush with incorporeality, I no longer require any sleep at all.
Lemme see what you've got. Yeh, I'll know if you missed somefin', my memory is bloody well perfect.
Alright, looks good. Yes, write that too. No, keep writing until I tell you to stop.
Now remember the arrangement. For the low, low cost of me not bothering you anymore, I get thirty minutes of your time. I talk, you write, and you don't ask questions. Then when we're done you will leave this with everything else she’s got written. That way she can have this when she needs it. Yeah, pet. Unfortunately, I think she will need it.
Let me tell you a story, little bird.
So... I was in Scandinavia - just like she told me to be - when she showed up in front of us. She was worked up, which is not all that unusual, and Herc's kid was worked up. Somefin’ about Herc’s dead kid not being dead. Viking, Jr. was largely unruffled, but then Gunter don't much get worked up about hardly anyfin'. Admirable quality, it is.
She disappeared, and the two godlings I was following kept going on about their business. I can tell what you’re wondering. Why was I following them? Our girl had been away for some time attending to the business of a resurrection, and while she was away she wanted me to look after some of the children she calls hers.
I don’t know why she calls them that. Only one of them is hers, and that’s just because a piece of paper says so. But anyway, Laurel’s possession-confusion aside, I was following them, because I can follow instructions, unlike some vikings I know.
I’m talking about Gunnar. That’s a dig at her husband, in case you didn’t get it. He don’t follow instructions. I mean, seriously. "Take care of her," I told him. I said that to him before I let him marry her. And how does he handle those orders? Well first he knocks her up, then he lets her die and then he lets her get kidnapped and -
No, it happened in that order.
She got better from the death thing. Really, she gets better from pretty much everyfin' - PTSD, mental trauma, supernatural scarification - none of it has really phased her, but that's not the bloody point, not my point here at all. It don’t matter if she’ll get better, he’s supposed to do what I bloody said, what Lord Apollo – mighty and honorable may he forever be – must have fucking said before he let those two idiots get married. Because if that Viking keeps letting her get hurt, there will come a time that she won’t get better. No CPR, no resurrection apples, no trips through the desert will fix her. She will just be dead. And it will be his fault.
Anyway, the son of Hercules and the son of Odin are going on about their "saving the world" and "following Odin's orders" business, and my best friend Nate calls, asking about our girl.
Apparently she'd gone missing. Viking managed to just fucking lose her – I don’t know how, she’s a bit difficult to lose in a crowd, but there it was. He lost her and now she was missing. Apparently she was missing enough that her Viking had deigned to be worried about her. And he worries about her much less than he ought to, in my most educated opinion. If this was bad enough that the Viking was finally worried, she might be dead - again.
So Nate makes the right call – he always does – and tells us all to reconvene at Gunnar’s. Nobody bothered to call me - which, I suspect, must have a little somefin' to do with my lack of a cell phone, or oppose-able thumbs, or corporeal form - but I knew they would want me there, too.
You see, I'm sort of the mascot of the group. Whole thing falls apart without me. I mean, just look what happened when she sent me off to Scandinavia to go wandering in the desert for forty bleeding days!
So that was when I took some initiative and made an executive-type decision. I mean, how much help was I really being to Viking, Jr. and Mini-Muscles? They couldn't even see me! So I hauled my tail feathers back to this side of the pond. Decided straightaway that the best place to be would be the Viking's pad. We've all been there before, that time Laurel fixed the dwarf, after Ixion burned her house down, and of course I remembered where it was because I remember everything. Perfectly.
It is quite a long trip and a bit of a bother, flying one’s self across the Atlantic, mind you. That is approximately 3,970 miles, and after going to all that trouble I don’t hear, “Thanks for coming Nevermore, old chap,” I hear them all bickering with a psychotic charcoal child and a sniveling excuse for a man. These were Icarus and Iapyx, children of Daedalus, and the fuckers who helped Kane and Ixion take my Laurel away.
I was ready to give them the what-for, peck their eyes out or at the very least haunt them to the ends of the earth, but Iapyx explained that he had actually done my girl a favor. Y’see, he convinced Ixion to let him do the… erm… surgery himself and probably saved Laurel’s life because of it. Well, the way Iapyx explained it… Things have a tendency of dying on Ixion’s operating table.
It was all very reasonable, and after that explanation I’m a little bit surprised she’s still so angry at the two of them. Well, okay, no I’m not. That woman holds a grudge the way most people hold a toddler, and she may not yet be aware of the enormous favor she had done for her.
She’s angry enough that she wouldn’t even stay in the same room with the little burned boy – and that’s not much like her at all, to ignore an injured kid.
She ignored me too, though, which is even less like her. Ain’t really said anyfin' to me since she got back. Won't even look at me. She’s angry about somefin’. I know she’s angry and not scared because she will talk your fucking ear off when she’s scared. She only gets quiet when she’s pissed at me. Well, maybe she’s just pissed at the world cos’ she ain't saying much to anyone, not even her Viking, but still.
She walked into the apartment, played doctor long enough to see to everyone's wounds. I think she was on auto-pilot, but some of them needed her attention. Nate wasn’t so bad, but Harlan looked like he was on the verge of death – again. I think he ought to just set up a nice vacation home on Death’s doorstep. It would save him some mileage.
Anyway, then she took Herc’s kid, the one with no arms who was now very obviously not dead, in another room and just said nuffin'.
I’ve seen her through some fairly rough spots. This wasn’t really any worse than going with her to her mother’s grave, or following her through a time warp that killed me – about which, I would like to point out, I have not complained even once. It is my job to help her. It is the task Apollo gave me. He did not tell me to help her do her job as a Scion, he did not tell me to be her career counselor or cheerleader or to babysit her children. He told me to take care of her, and that is what I set about doing. I wanted to see her happy again. I tried getting her to smile. Or yell.
Or just swear, like old times. I even told her that I'd been spending some of the Viking's money on some improvements to that little piece of scorched earth she used to call a home.
I mean, I hadn't. Can't just peck at a computer and order 20 copies of Scarface anymore. But I wanted to see what she'd say about me messing with her boy toy.
It was disappointing, honestly. She didn't say nuffin'. It was like… like she couldn't even see me.
So the group starts talking strategy while Laurel’s attending to the broken kid, and after a while she decides she wants to step out and have a word with her Viking. Acceptable, I suppose. He’s terrible at keeping her out of harm’s way, but he does seem to have done wonders for her mental stability. I mean, she’s stopped flinching at gunshots, finally.
So I gave my tentative approval that she should spend some time doing something besides cradling a broken Scion and being generally pissed at the world. So I was willing to give the Viking a try at cheering her up, making her feel better. Not unaccompanied, mind. Those two get into trouble on their own.
That was when you piped up, telling Nate that our girl was poisoned and that it was probably bad. You should have told us why it was so bad, instead of making Laurel tell us herself.
I don’t give a damn about her right to tell us herself. Secrets are dangerous to our wellbeing. Anyway. The Viking proved he’s not a complete ass, because he brought her back, and once she was informed of the situation she finally proved she was not a robot and exhibited some emotion besides “pissed.” Erm, not the good kind, though.
Now she got scared and started rambling about biology and toxins and eventually got around to telling everybody that she is pregnant again - again, if you can bloody well believe it. She just gave birth to twins – twins! – somefin’ like two months ago. No, I remember their birthdays. Yeah, about two months ago, and he knocked her up back in June. Yeah. Time’s been a bit wobbly.
I swear, that Viking must be the most single-minded piece of...
Well… I blame him because he deserves it. Probably. No. It can’t possibly have been her idea. She wouldn’t do that to my poor nerves.
Ah. They handled the poison pretty easily. I mean, our girl did used to be a doctor. She had some idea about filtering her blood and said something about ichor and at one point thought about using her Viking's stomach as a dialysis machine.
No, somefin' fell through with that one. As… morbidly entertaining as it would have been to watch the look on the Viking’s face as he had to throw up 15 pints of blood, they ended up just deciding to go to a hospital. Probably for the best. I don’t even trust the Viking to puke right, at this moment.
I told her as much, more or less. Told her it was a bad idea to trust the health of her baby to the gurgling of her Viking’s intestines. I concealed it as a well constructed appeal to pay-thos, and low-gos, though.
“Think of the children, Laurel,” I said. “Think how traumatizing it will be for them to tell their schoolmates the story of the time Dad drank all Mum’s blood. You need better family legends than this, love. This one… is gross.”
Not a peep from her.
I mean, I was trying everyfin' to get my girl's attention. I sang to her - I even sang songs I thought she'd like. And then I tried talking to her about how the desert went, demanding to know how she could possibly spare the time to get knocked up. An' then, after the eighteenth time I asked her if they'd name the kid after me, I was fairly sure she actually couldn't hear me. 'At's when I swore vengeance on Kane and Ixion and the whole lot of them.
And I was just about to set myself to the task of finding the shitheads, so I could go foil all of their plans. I had jumped off of the Viking’s head, and was two hops from an open window, but then Nate gave her one of his swords, the ones what he's so fond of juggling and then I was pretty sure she could see me again.
She looked at me. Looked right at me, just as I was telling her that I was going to go find the people who did this to her and get her all her relics back – I think her nervous rambling might be a bit contagious. But she cut me off with that look. It was a weird look, somefin' between a snarl and a smile.
I expect she was thrilled to see me.
But now that she can hear me, I have to stay. She needs me. And really, vengeance can probably wait just a bit.