Author: 0oxymoronic0 PM
I couldn't believe what I was reading. Nathaniel trusted me. Sure, there were the normal commands, the summonning, and all that other ritualistic rubbish but the trust was there. And that scared me the most.[NathanielBartimaeus][oneshot][PG spoilers]Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Tragedy - Words: 2,198 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 48 - Follows: 5 - Published: 05-08-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3529030
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Now here's something I'd never thought I'd be writing. BartimaeusNathaniel slash, who'd have thought it? Well, the idea first came from my D of E expedition some time ago, but on discussion with princessezzy I realised I'd probably get lynched for it. On further inspection I find I'm not the only one with a mind like this. And also, rereading PG, I mean, come on people, he practically says it in the last chapter.
Anyway. I'll stop randomly ranting now. I have Mabu fics to write after this. Hope you enjoy, flames will be shielded by Barty himself, so don't bother.
Disclaimer: Well, the characters aren't mine. The world isn't mine. You're not mine. This laptop isn't mine. But unfortunately my pervy little brain is, and this is the result of that.
At that last moment I'd have liked to tell him what I thought of him. Mind you, since in that split second we were, to all intents and purposes, one and the same, I rather think he knew anyway.
Ptolemy's Gate, chapter 38. Bartimaeus.
He had noticed the difference in Bartimaeus' appearance lately. His first summonings had been flamboyant, impressive, loud, flaunting; accompanied by fanfare or birdcalls, seductive perfume or fiery sulphur.
In front of him slowly materialised a blue-black orb. It hung, glistening defiantly, a few metres off the floor. John sighed and ran his hand through his hair, wishing he could catch the half-scent of petals or some sort of thunderclap to make this seem normal, but all that arrived was a petulant-looking orb (John wondered how that was possible) which glared at him balefully (again, he wondered) from the centre of the pentacle. He was almost beginning to think he hadn't summoned the right demon, when it spoke.
"What is it?" the orb inquired sulkily, and John instantly knew that yes, this was Bartimaeus. Ascobol would have been singing a ballad by now, and Cormocodran was always quietly patient, and would have noticed the gap in the pentacle by now. John would be dead.
"Your instructions lie in the circle," he said, and he almost tripped over the simple words. His inner magician saved him, forcing his tongue to enunciate the speech perfectly. He knew he was dead. He knew it in a deep, icy way; this whole thing was so stupid it was laughable. But no one would be laughing, that much could be said.
With a heaving of essence that made even John wince from the effort Ptolemy stood in front of him again, eyes slowly scanning the runes. They paused for a moment, flickered back at John, then back at the pentacle.
So much for theatrics. I was too tired by now, too bored with the aching I couldn't suppress. I was just thankful to get an audience with the famous (1) John Mandrake. I could be done with now.
The war hadn't done him any favours. Like his precious Devereux (2) his face was pale and drawn (3), and his hair was looking worse for wear, although it was looking particularly shinier due to the grease. I thought I saw some of it drip onto his shoulders but realised it was just sweat.
I hung, iridescent, a few metres off the floor. I gave off a distinct aura of poutiness (4) and floated sulkily. I enquired to my most recent charge, and got a rather strange reply, to which with a massive heave of effort I became Ptolemy again, before probing the circle warily, finding two things which shocked me.
The first of which was my charge. I looked up at him again. "You what?" I asked, and his eyes were cold and grey.
"You can read Ancient Greek, I presume?" His voice was so cold now. Just for emphasis, I made the room's temperature drop a few notches.
"Don't insult me!" I cried (5).
He frowned. "Well then, I don't see why you should have any problems with discovering your task."
I snorted. "Oh no, I can read it perfectly well. It's just the nature of it I find disturbing," I sneered, and got a flinch. "Nathaniel," I added, voice dripping with sarcasm. He flinched again. "Do you think Mrs Underwood would approve?"
Now there was a blast from the past, and didn't he know it. His flinch was so massive he nearly had a spasm in his pentacle. Unfortunately, he kept it under control and regarded me impassively.
"There is no way. No. Way. Do you hear me? No. Way. In. Hell." Well, that was a little elaborate, but it was true. You know what the little whelp had asked me to do?
Sleep with him.
And I don't mean in the lovey-dovey, lets-all-hug-and-comfort-each-other way. He was asking for full-out hardcore sex. Me, to him. It was even in Greek; my head had actually spun as I read the phrase, completely fouling the ancient language.
I heard the first few syllables of the Unfortunate Hug and held up my arms in protest (6). "Alright, alright! Don't get impatient!" I snapped. "But why me? I recommend Farqual; he spent sometime with this Egyptian priest, very naughty he was, and he'd be much better - "
"Enough!" my master barked. He ran his hand over tired eyes, regret pooling on his features. "I don't know why I bothered," he muttered under his breath.
Alright, alright, don't get too impatient. I'm coming to the second thing.
There was a gap in the pentacle (7).
It was a small part of the clause, stating that on the speech of a certain word (pre-decided by the magician) the bonds would snap, and the demon (8) would be released from service, the magician placed in the mercy of its captive (9).
In other words, Nathaniel trusted me.
John knew it was a stupid mistake from the moment Bartimaeus' eyes obviously found the gap in the pentacle. He stood, dumbfounded, glaring at him warily. "What does that mean?" his slave asked, and John smiled wearily.
"It means, if I say the phrase which I have wanted to say for a very long time you are able to kill me," he said quietly, his eyes sparkling and fixed on the floor below. He didn't raise his head for sometime; when he found the courage Bartimaeus was staring at him incredulously.
"This is disgusting," he spat, and John winced. But the djinni was bound into his service; after he was dismissed he would have to return to do what he'd commanded. Unless he said the words, in which case Bartimaeus was free; free to step out of the pentacle, and free to destroy him. He sighed; the demon knew his charge as well as the magician did. Neither of them had any choice.
"Very well," the demon muttered, and stepped out of the pentacle.
Nathaniel's insides churned. All of the façade he had carefully constructed vanished as my toe encroached on my boundary. There was no flash of light, no harsh daggers of magic. Nothing. So I stepped over, pausing halfway to change.
"No," he whispered. "Don't." The slight woman paused in the act of enlarging herself (10) and frowned at him, speaking in a dainty voice.
"What?" she asked breathily, and the man (11) looked aside.
"Don't change," he whispered. "I want you as you are."
This got worse and worse! As if I would foul Ptolemy's form with something so disgusting! But his eyes… his eyes made me change my mind. There was something there which made me stop (12). I mean, stooping to sleeping with a magician was pretty low (13), but…
Did it mean anything to me? If it did, was it so wrong?
I stepped into his pentacle, now a meaningless cluster of lines on the floor, and gently wrapped my arms around his waist. He placed his head on my shoulder, and standing on tiptoe he whispered into my ear.
"I love you," he murmured, and the bond was broken.
It was sometime later before John woke up. He shot up in bed, screamed, and flopped back down again, his energy spent in the simple movement.
"Sir?" a quiet voice asked from his side, and he turned to see his secretary standing next to his bed. He knew he should have been angry, but for some reason he felt strangely placid and peaceful in the knowledge that at last he had asked for what he had wanted.
"Sorry to disturb you, sir, but I heard screaming last night… and I wanted to ensure that everything was alright." She blushed daintily, and a clumsy redness spread over his features as he realised the nature of the screaming she'd heard.
"I'm fine, Piper. In any rate, if there was screaming, what was the proper procedure to follow?" His tone had gone back to cold, official.
She blushed, embarrassed. "Summon Ascobol, surround the area with Night Police and do not enter. I know, sir, I was just worried - "
"No need to be," he said smoothly. "In any rate, I am fine. I may have to dock your wages, but perhaps you can make it up to me with the news. What is there from America?"
She had blanched slightly at the phrase 'dock your wages', but recovered herself quickly. "Ms. Farrar sent a message over, she wishes to speak to you later." John rolled his eyes. "Nothing new from America, sir, but there has been rumours of a disturbance in Kent," she finished.
John sighed. "Send the usual force over."
"And sir? There was a message waiting for you on your desk this morning, sir." She handed him a small envelope.
"Thank you, Piper," he finished, turning his back on her and breaking the seal.
Count yourself lucky this time.
He smiled slightly as he read the simple message, before wincing as he stretched his legs and heaved himself out of bed.
'This time'… maybe he did have a reason for living, after all.
Don't sit there smirking at me like that.
It's all meaningless, anyway. He's long gone now, stabbed by a countless number of icy blades of glass (14).
I can still respect him, though.
And I can still love him.
And he can still know.
(1) When I say famous I mean by human standards. Next to some of the djinni I knew he paled in comparison, but he had the other humans kissing at his feet. Just goes to show, rather, doesn't it?
(2) Who, to be fair to the poor bloke, was lasting rather longer than I thought he would. Natty boy's company wouldn't be helping, though; it'd probably just remind him of his own depressing mortality. Humans. You're all the same.
(3) I don't mean literally drawn, of course. There wasn't some giant bloke scribbling away with a pencil. Just thought I'd clear that up. Sometimes you're so dense.
(4) Not my best emotion, of course, but I was pretty hard-drawn at this point.
(5) Well, it was more of a defiant mumble, but you get the picture.
(6) Seeing as I knew his birth-name, I could have just deflected anything he sent my way, but I wanted to see what this was all about, first. Don't worry, I haven't lost my touch, or my memory.
(7) When I say gap, I mean a part of the clause which let me out, not a physical gap. Otherwise I'd have killed him by now. Fortunately (for him, anyway) this clause was triggered by a precise word spoken by him, so I was a sitting duck for now.
(8) I took a little offence at this, but decided this wasn't the time. Maybe the place, but at the moment I didn't think he'd really appreciate it.
(9) As you can imagine, not a very popular sub clause, but very easy to construct. Not even Ptolemy had used something like this on me.
(10) I won't say which part of herself. I think you know as well as I do, thank you very much.
(11) I say man, but he did really look rather pathetic at the moment. Almost cute, in a perverse sort of way.
(12) Shut up. Don't look at me like that. It was true.
(13) It wouldn't be my first time, though. All these rotten magicians needed a quickie sometime, and who do you think is close at hand? This enslavement gets worse everytime you look at it, doesn't it?
(14) Nearly got all poetic on you there. Just be grateful I didn't say anything like 'just as my heart was feeling' or something.
Well, there you have it. Over. Quite proud of it, actually. Please leave a review.