p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Rise and shine, sweetums," Taako's voice sing-songs outside her door. His nails rap once, twice, three times on the wood. "Breakfast is served and if you think I'm saving you any waffles just because you're a bony bitch, you can think again."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia blinks in the early morning light streaming through her new window and sighs. Her head feels so heavy, stuffed with cotton and worries. Her fingers still feel so weak, even after weeks of recovery. She's glad Taako insisted on her coming home with him-she's not sure she'll ever be ready to go back to that lonely, violent little office of hers again. Still, some days are harder than others, even away from the Bureau. Today, after an evening full of nightmares and wakefulness in the wee hours of the morning, is no exception./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I'm up, I'm up." Her grumbles are met with a sharp cackle and shuffling footsteps. It takes her a second more to find the strength to push her heavy covers away. Part of Lucretia just wants to burrow further into her sheets and call it a day; she knows Taako would let her if she did. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"It's that thought that prompts her to rise at all./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Her dark mood improves significantly when a small weight slams into her legs as she enters the kitchen. "Angus!"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"The little detective wraps his arms around her waist as if they haven't seen each other every other day recently. Lucretia pets his hair back from his forehead and smiles. At the stove, Taako snorts./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Oh sure, ignore me. It's not like I taught you all the magic you know, or anything."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I still love you, Taako!" Angus assures as he pulls away. Kravitz, sleep-ruffled and vague in the morning, nods to her and pours Lucretia a cup of coffee as she slips into the seat beside him. She thanks the reaper quietly as Angus continues, "but I haven't seen Madame Director in forever! And you guys went on an adventure without me! People died and everything!"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""You can call me Lucretia, dear."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Yes ma'am, Madame Lucretia."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia sighs. Kravitz grins into his cup of coffee./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""What have you got today, Luc? Because the boys are coming over this afternoon and then we've got dinner with Lup and Barry."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"There are two reactions to Lucretia that the reaper couple have, neither of which is preferable over the other. Sometimes it's anger, which Lucretia actually knows how to handle, and, thanks to her therapist's help, can handle healthily now. She's struggling with internalizing her issues, but she thinks she's been making progress. Still, it's hard not to let a lump form in her throat whenever Lup or Barry yell about how she was willing and ready to leave them all behind span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"again/span, because they're right. She did want to leave. Actually, she thought they wanted her to leave, or wanted her to want to leave, neither of which smooths anything over when Lucretia explains it. So anger is not a good option, but a very possible one./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"The other option is-well./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Barry has a hard time controlling the waterworks when he sees her sometimes, which of course sets Lucretia off, much to her own chagrin, and then Lup always gets a little misty-eyed and then Taako starts shouting to cover up his wet eyes, and they all end up screaming at each other over the dinner table and Lucretia inevitably wakes up with regret choking her half to death. Which obviously shows on her face (she can never, ever play poker again, Lucretia's pretty sure death stripped her of all her facades), and then Taako spends the next day being aggressively affectionate out of pure spite which is as uncomfortable as it is strangely sweet. This also means that Barry and Lup get pissed off and don't come back for a week and then the cycle repeats./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"So crying is also not a good option. Which means if Lucretia wants to avoid the issue entirely, she's going to have to be careful about this./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I've got therapy this morning," Lucretia thinks hard. "And I was going to check in with the clerics after that-make sure I'm on track with nutrition and everything. Avi and Killian and Carey said they'd like to do lunch. If you'd like, I can clear out before dinner, if it's a couples only thing-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Lucretia you're dumb and I will kick your ass if you say anything else." Taako says with absolutely no heat as he slides a plate of truly gigantic, disgustingly good waffles in front of her, "and obviously you're not going to get out of dinner any time soon, so jot that down."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Just as well. Her therapist did suggest she has avoidance issues to work on./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"~/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Davenport meets her out on the porch. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""You really don't have to take me every time," she says, if only to acknowledge it aloud. Davenport shakes his head and holds out his arm. Lucretia stoops to take it./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""This one's working out, then?" His voice is so sweet to Lucretia; it has been much too long since she has heard it. She never thought she'd hear it again. /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"(That first day, waking up in the Bureau with Taako's warm, reassuring presence lying next to her and Davenport's pale, lined face at her bedside-the conversations that needed to be had as soon as possible-that had been rough. She hasn't cried so much since her first year alone after the memory wipe. Davenport coat still smelled the same as it did on the Starblaster when he'd hugged her.) /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia shrugs, nods. "They're not as-star-struck, I guess, as the last one. It's nice that they don't really know my history, so they're more open to actually talking to me like a real person."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"As they walk, she can see Davenport's head tilt and suppresses a sigh. He's always been too attuned to her mood for Lucretia to get away with /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"anything/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;". It is incredibly aggravating. "I sense some hesitation."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""It's just difficult, you know. To go over it all again."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"He nods. "You went through something incredibly traumatic. You're allowed to go on hurting for a while."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""It's more than that, though." The transport they've called arrives and Lucretia waits until they are settled before sliding her eyes towards Davenport again. He really is so patient with her. "They don't know about everything, you know, before all this and the Day of Story and Song. It's good for me, I think, to go over it all. Definitely some pent up things I need to work out from back then too… It's just that I-it's hard. After all this time. It's like I might tear myself apart if I look too closely at the past sometimes." The words feel like dust as they coat her throat and tongue. It's hard to imagine that there was a time when Lucretia's guilt wouldn't cloud her mind every time she saw Davenport. It's hard to imagine that there will ever be a time she can speak with him freely again./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Davenport falls quiet. It's only when she's getting ready to step out for her appointment that he speaks. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""If you do break apart," Davenport tells her, deadly serious, eyes sharp and bright, "we'll be here to put you back together again."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia wraps her arms around his shoulders and holds on for so long she eventually has to run to make her appointment on time. She still feels the warmth of his heart beating against hers for minutes afterward./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"~/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia's therapist is a slender, graceful drow of undeterminable age; their blue-black skin reflects the light of the colorful candles they light their office with. Lucretia finds that soft lighting helps her think, allows her mouth to open more often and words to pour from her lips a little more freely. It might have something to do with not being able to see their eyes starkly. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""We've been working on your insecurities lately," Cybil begins delicately when there's a lull in their conversation. There's only so much gushing Lucretia can do about Angus's budding investigations. "You said you've been seeing some personal progress with intrusive thoughts and abandonment issues. How are you feeling about that this week?"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia thinks about the warmth she woke to this morning, when her head was heavy and sadness threatened to claw into her chest again. She thinks of how Magnus greets her with a bearhug every day and once nearly cried when she wouldn't hold his hand all through breakfast, even though he's right-handed and needed to hold his fork properly. She smiles. "Yes," Lucretia admits. "I think I've been seeing quite some progress."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"~/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Avi keeps up a veil of professionalism right up until Lucretia fixes him with a look and opens her arms. His embrace is awkward and a little uncomfortable from how much armor he wears every day, but they make it work. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I really am fine, you three." Lucretia ventures as she exchanges Avi for a teary-eyed Carey. "You've seen me plenty of times since I died-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Killian cuts off a growl deep in her throat and Lucretia lets the sentence die. Perhaps it is a bit shortsighted of her to mention it so soon. Carey is soft where Avi was bony, but her grip is still too light, like she's afraid her boss may fall to pieces in her palms. Killian settles for a quick, almost rough hug and pulls away to sling an arm around Lucretia's shoulders when they slip into a booth in the restaurant Avi picked. It's diner style and not too formal and makes something fluttery and agitated settle in Lucretia's chest. The air is heavy with grease and laughter and no one is looking at them. Lucretia sits with her back to the wall and her eyes on the doors anyway; she tells herself she'll get better at this over time./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Sometimes she almost believes herself./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""It's just hard to remember that you're human sometimes," Carey explains needlessly. They've been through this already but healing is a process, as Merle likes to remind her every time they meet, and so Lucretia lets it go. "Especially with what Davenport did to reverse your aging-it's just so weird to see you when you're hurt."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""It stuck with us." Avi puts in helpfully. Killian tightens her grip. Lucretia lets this go too./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""We're all fine now," Lucretia assures. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"They're still quiet and subdued throughout lunch, even though Lucretia can tell they're trying to ignore it. It makes her skin crawl. When the waitress comes to collect the remains of their meal, Killian drops her arm from around her boss and speaks in a low voice. "Madame Director-I wanted to-to-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia folds her hands in her lap, ignoring the anxiety rising in her throat. So many of her friends needed explanations and reassurance and the why and how set out over and over again. Cybil told her Lucretia's sense of accountability was important but that rehashing things constantly is detrimental. It's been a hard balance to strike. "Yes?"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I wanted to apologize."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Pardon? Whatever for?"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""After you-after they took you," Killian continues, face twisting in pain, "I might have fought with Taako."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Oh, no." Lucretia looks up at the others, but Carey hurriedly looks away. Avi excuses himself to the bathroom, which nearly makes Lucretia snort. The coward. "About me?" She bites her lip to keep silent when Killian nods./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""He pointed out some things I didn't want to admit. About how we just-we didn't help you as much as we should have. I-Carey and I, we both knew something was wrong, but we thought-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""We knew you'd want to deal with it alone." Carey interrupts, voice low. Lucretia nods. "We were worried that you'd just blow us off if we came to you and straight up asked what was wrong."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I probably would have."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""But that's not-not okay!" Killian runs her hands through her hair in frustration. For some reason, it makes Lucretia's lips twitch. "You should-you should know you can come to us. We should've-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"do /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"know that. Do you think I didn't notice what you two were doing for me when you tried to get me out of my office for a walk on the grounds? Or when you wouldn't let me take on more work than I already had? I mean, Avi nearly hand-fed me when I didn't feel like eating sometimes." /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"They sit quietly as Lucretia looks between them. They are so, so young. Lucretia nearly forgot being that young-but then, she was alone back then./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"She isn't anymore./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia waits until Avi makes his brave return before she leans forward on her elbows. "Listen to me well, because I'm only going to say this once," she tells them. They all lean in too, faces pale and grim. Laughter bubbles in her chest. "You are not at fault here. You did what you could to help me, and for that, I love you all. Very much. Alright?"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Alright," her favorite employees chorus./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"~/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Magnus hugs her so enthusiastically that Lucretia's feet lift right up off the ground. She pats his arms and back comfortingly. Then she coughs rather pointedly./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Nothing happens. She coughs again. Somewhere below her, Merle snorts. Taako is snickering from his place on the couch. All her things are spread out on the floor of Taako's entryway because Magnus used his Cunning Action to get the drop on her when she came in from her lunch meeting./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Magnus."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""No."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""You're going to have to let me down at some point."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"He tightens his hold petulantly. Lucretia does not stop herself from rolling her eyes this time. "Do you really expect to carry me around all the time?"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Yes."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Even while training puppies?"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"That does it. Magnus sets her lightly back on her feet and bounds over to the table, where his pictures of his news students are strewn. They've definitely been having a boys' day; there are board games and magic components littering the carpet. Taako is painting his nails, and Merle's already glitter blue in the afternoon light. Merle gets his own embrace before Lucretia slides into her customary spot beside Taako on the couch and smiles, just slightly. His new cooking show is on the T.V. She doesn't feel so strange watching it anymore./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia's chest feels tight, suddenly, because her heart can't seem to hold all of her affection inside of it anymore; love flows out to push at her ribs, strains at her skin, fills her limbs and makes her fingers and toes tingle pleasantly. Her breath catches in her throat. She breathes./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Taako finishes his last brush strokes and blows on his fingertips before taking her hand and beginning anew. She lets him handle her fingertips expertly, cradling them with his own as if they are fragile and precious. It is strange not to compare her wrinkled flesh to his smooth skin now; Lucretia is still getting used to this young body./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""How did it go?" Taako's voice is carefully detached in a way she recognizes. He is very invested in her answer. It makes her fingers twitch with affection; Lucretia gives in and squeezes his hand gently, even though it makes him squawk when she smudges his paint over her knuckles./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""It was pretty good. Cybil says hello."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Cybil, now there's a drow with a sense of fashion. They should come on my show sometime."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I think they're vegetarian. That curry you make might go over well if you could get a substitute for the meat. They like spicy food."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Eh, curry's old news. They probably wouldn't be able to handle my star power anyway."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia thinks Cybil wouldn't know star power if it bit them in the ass, but is content not to mention that. Taako finishes with one hand and snaps his fingers at her until she provides the other. The paint glitters, dark violet where it catches the light. He picked it just for her./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Magnus and Merle are bright and loud and distracting. Wrung out and emotional, Lucretia sinks into the afternoon like a hot bath./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Lucy," Magnus says, slowly, as they get ready to leave a few hours later. Taako shouts at Merle to get the hell out of the kitchen before he hexes the cleric. Lucretia puts down her parchments and stands. She takes Magnus's hands in hers, looks into his face, ready for the ritual they complete every time they see each other. "You'll be here when we come back, right?"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I'm right here, Magnus," Lucretia promises, "and I'm not going anywhere."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Her brother wraps her up and doesn't let go again for a long, long time. His cheek is scratchy and hot pressed against her own, but Lucretia knows her curls are tickling Magnus's nose, so she doesn't mind./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Take it sleazy, Madame Director," Merle tells her when they've finally managed to pry Magnus away. Taako has to enlist Kravitz's help to get the pair out of the building. Lucretia hugs Merle, too, bending down so he can scuff his hand over her hair like he always does. She feels eighteen again every time he does it. It's a-strange emotion. Nice, she wagers. But strange./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Please never say that to me again."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Merle and Magnus leave laughing./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"~/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia has tried to stay out of the dinners. She's tried avoiding the problem. She has also tried to call, or write out what she feels, or even offer to meet somewhere private to discuss their differences-and nothing works. Letters get long and rambling. Calls on the stone of farspeech feel plastic and fake. Words turn to bitter ash in her mouth in the face of a lich's ire. The difficulty, Lucretia finally admits to herself that night as she helps Kravitz set the table, is that she has taken so much vengeance out on herself that her mere presence is a reminder that Lup and Barry's own anger is paltry in comparison to her own self-hatred. So the reapers cannot reap./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"And if you cannot dig up the crops of yesteryear,/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia ponders, almost bittersweet, /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"you can't plant anything new./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lup's blue dress is off the shoulder and flowy, and she presses a quick, slightly cold kiss to Lucretia's cheek as they enter. Taako and Kravitz hail them to the dinner table soon after Lucretia answers the door, and Barry sets a hand on the small of Lup's back as they make their way through Taako's home. He holds Lup's chair out for her, and surprises Lucretia by doing the same for her before sitting down beside his wife. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Conversation is stilted. Kravitz and Taako's backs must be getting tired of carrying it, because eventually, the elf throws his fork down, points at Lucretia then Lup then Barry and says, "Clear the air. Now. I am so sick of your bullshit."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"told/span you I could clear out-" Lucretia points out under her breath, and that sets it all off./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Oh yeah, just run away like you span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"always/span do-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""/span span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Barry./span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""You're the one who said we deserve a little vengeance!"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Not on our friends, Bar!"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""That's not what you said yesterday when you were complaining about Luc-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""/span span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Enough!/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"" Lucretia's ears ring with the volume of Taako's voice. It booms out of him in a way she's rarely experienced, deep, from his chest. His face is a mask of stone. Beside him, Kravitz takes a delicate, serene sip of his wine and a quiet corner of Lucretia's mind that's not buzzing in anticipation understands exactly why Taako finds him attractive. "I am not going to have this toxic friendship shit in my home. You talk this out like civilized adults or so help me, I /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"will /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"get Merle to cast Zone of Truth and lock you all in a tiny closet to see what happens."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia wants to be upset that he's thrown her to the metaphorical wolves, but this /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"has /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"been going on in his home for the past few weeks, so. It's understandable, she supposes./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Go big or go home has always been Lucretia of Faerun's motto, so Lucretia decides, /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"fuck it/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;", and just goes for it before the couple have gotten the strength up to even close their gaping mouths./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""You left me alone without a backward glance and then tried to save me to assuage your own guilt." Lucretia folds her hands in front of her but forces her shoulders to remain relaxed, so she doesn't come off too much like her Director persona. "You were desperate enough that you were going to drag me back to life regardless of my feelings on the matter and you were prepared to be angry at me for being ungrateful despite the fact that for most of the time recently-sorry Taako, Kravitz, I know this is awkward-most of the time I've had nothing to keep me tied to living besides my work."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Gee, Luc, way to make it sound like /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"we're /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"the assholes." Lup snaps at her. "Sorry, does the taste of your own medicine suck? I guess that teaches you not to make choices for other people."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Silence reigns for so long that Lup's face drops as the weight of her words lands. Her lips tremble, a mirror of Lucretia's. Even Barry looks startled at the venom his wife produced. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I know you did that because you cared about me." Lucretia says and she shakes her head slightly when Taako makes an abortive movement to touch her hand where it rests beside her plate. She'd rather not examine how much her voice is shaking right now. Barry and Lup's expressions slip a little further. Her own sight is blurring, though, so that might just be Lucretia's imagination. "And I thank you for it-it was unspeakably kind of you, especially after what I did to you both. But I have taken responsibility for my mistakes, and I have paid penance. I have let my guilt fester, and I have been passively suicidal because of it. But I have also created the Bureau of Balance out of that guilt and I helped save the world on the Day of Story and Song out of that guilt. Guilt is part of who I am now; it has been eating me alive, and although I do deserve to be held accountable for my actions, I do not deserve to die or kill myself over it."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lup stands so suddenly her chair crashes to the floor behind her. Barry makes a soft little noise in his throat as Lucretia continues, undaunted. Tears stream, hot, down her cheeks. "I ruined your lives for a long time and then I couldn't fix it or pay for it the way you want me to. For that, I-I-I'm sorry-" The words push at her tongue, shoving past her tight throat, but it is painful, like pulling teeth, like a knife slashing at her exposed throat, the world is dark to her now, but she has to say this, "-but I am /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"trying/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"to get better. And-and it's not /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"healthy /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"for me to be around people who reinforce my suicidal ideation, even if you /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"are /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"justified, so if we can't get-get past this -I'm going to have to /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"leave/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Her hands clench around themselves in front of her as Lucretia breathes raggedly. She wants to say more, wants words to come smoothly like they once did, wants to know just what to say to soothe everyone and get her friends back-but she can't. She can't control how they react. She has to know when to let things go. She has learned this. She is learning this. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"She is completely caught off guard when, through her tears, Lup's face appears, twisted, horrified. Lucretia is shoved back into her chair, her hands pressed between her sternum and Lup's, as Lup throws her slender arms around Lucretia's neck. Blonde hair fills Lucretia's vision and sticks to her salty cheeks, her lips, scratches at her nose. Lucretia bites down on a sob and curls into Lup just the way Lup curls right back into her, a pair of parenthesis, together./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"It's a second before Lucretia realizes several voices are talking at once. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Give it a minute-" Kravitz says, just as Taako snaps out, "I swear to gods, I cannot deal with this shit-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Oh /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"gods/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"," Barry whimpers from somewhere over Lup's shoulder and Lucretia jerks in her hold because he sounds like he's going to be sick./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Don't leave, don't you dare leave," is whispered directly into her ear, and Lucretia jerks again, sobs hitching, silent, in her chest. She just barely manages to wriggle her hands out to wrap them around the elf clutching her in return. She turns her head, burying it in her old friend's shoulder, tears staining her dress. "I'm sorry-fuck, Lucy, I'm so sorry. I don't know how to let go of my anger, it comes with the lich business and all but-/span span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"fuck/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;". I put my shit on you /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"again/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;", but I don't want you to leave, I never want that, please don't do that, okay?"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Okay," Lucretia chokes. "Okay, but this has got to stop, okay? I can't-I can't keep doing this, Lup. I can't keep losing you all over again every fucking week and then expecting my heart to stitch itself back together again before you come back for round two." Lup nods against her collarbone. Lucretia gulps in air./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Lup, budge over." They both ignore the new voice invading their warm, wet little space until Barry says /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Move."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Still sobbing, Lucretia gasps for breath, because she hasn't ever heard Barry sound so wrecked, not since the Day of Story and Song. Lup shuffles back on her knees where she's knelt down to see eye to eye with Lucretia, and Barry pulls her to her feet before hauling Lucretia up too. His grip is tight but not bruising. He lets her elbow go immediately and Lucretia blinks the tears out of her eyes to see his face, pale and almost frightened, before he pulls her into his chest./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""/span span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Fuck/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"." He murmurs into her hair feelingly, and Lucretia laughs wetly. His arms are strong around her ribs and his jeans are rough where they brush her robes. She rests her chin on his shoulder, tries not to get snot and tears everywhere, and probably fails miserably. He's wearing his nice jean button down, too. "Fuck, okay, Lucy. I get it, we all suck, let go of the past, just. Don't cry, because you know that when you cry, I cry and then-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I cry harder and then Lup cries which makes Taako cry and then we're /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"all /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"crying," Lucretia finishes. "I /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"did /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"try to avoid all this, you know."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""That's dumb," Barry says when he finally lets her go enough to pull back and look at his face. He keeps his hands on her shoulders, solid, grounding. "It's healthy to cry. We should probably do it more often."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Takes care of the trauma," Lup agrees from where she sidles up and loops an arm around Lucretia's waist. Behind them, Taako rolls his eyes, but Lucretia knows him. His spine is stiff, shoulders thrown back, and his cheeks are shiny. He's a second away from getting involved if it gets ugly fast. She shakes her head at him again. He won't need to./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""We should probably talk this out some more, but I'm really tired of us not being friends." Lucretia tells them. The lump in her throat seems to have washed out with all the saltwater, but she feels tender, fragile, spread thin. "Can we just-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Couch cuddles!" Lup proclaims. "We can all critique Taako's terrible form on his cooking show, let's go."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Neither lich lets go of her until they sit down-not that Lucretia lets go of them, either./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"~/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Bedtime." Taako shushes her when Lucretia pries open her eyes to blink blearily at him. The television is playing at low volume in the background, the light flickering blueish-purple over his features. He gently pries her from the lax hold of his sister and brother-in-law and lets Lucretia lean on him as she stands. "Come on, let's go." /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""What about-"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""They can hack it on the couch for one night, amigo, come /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"on/span /spanspan style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia goes. She turns for one last look, spies Barry's arm stretching out across the warm spot she's just vacated, the way Lup turns towards her absence unconsciously, the two of them closing the space between them, inevitable, and has to swallow down that same surge of affection from this afternoon./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Taako's home is large and ridiculous and Lucretia is half-asleep, so Taako has to help her not trip and break her neck on the stairs. It's not like Lucretia minds his closeness. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Where's Kravitz?"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Late night mission. Raven Queen is a real cockblock sometimes."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""You were going to have sex while all of us were downstairs?" Lucretia asks, laughing, as they enter her room. She strips her outer robe and pulls off the house slippers Taako insists upon as he grunts. "Ew, Taako!"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"He huffs, amused, and shoves her lightly towards the bed. "I'm sticking around here tonight instead, so feel graced by my company, peasant."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"He's worried. Lucretia goes to curse herself, thinks about what Cybil would say, what Magnus or Taako or Angus would say, and doesn't. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""It was a tough night." She settles for sliding under the covers, shivering when they're icy against her shins. She shuffles back further when Taako climbs in beside her, her back against the wall; he never likes to leave her on the unprotected side. It's a little claustrophobic, but they make it work. His toes are freezing and Lucretia pushes her cold fingertips into his ribs in retaliation. Taako groans and rolls over, trapping one of her arms under his body. Bastard. "Long day, too."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Very dramatic," Taako agrees. "Ten out of ten, Director. You still know how to bring it with the emotional monologues."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""I learned from the best."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Taako shifts obligingly when she pokes him hard enough and Lucretia gets to take her arm back. He slides a hand under the pillow, plumping it for them both, and slings his other arm over her ribs; Lucretia suspects he likes to feel her breathing in the night. Just in case. He surprises her then, by brushing her hair off her forehead, gentle as a lamb. She blinks, barely able to catch the light reflecting from his eyes in the darkness./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Are you alright?"/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"Lucretia realizes, suddenly, that if she said no , Taako would kick his own flesh and blood out on the street without a second thought. It's humbling; Lucretia has to swallow all the love that threatens to pour from her before she can speak properly. The feeling almost too much, like she's going to have a heart attack because she's overtaxed it producing this much emotion. It wells from her so much that Taako must catch on from her expression. His lines all soften, even in the dark, and he pulls closer. Lucretia holds him too, an arm curled between them and her other hand curled softly into his sleeping tunic, and sighs. /span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Yes," she answers, "I'm alright."/span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""You'll stay with me?" Taako asks, as they always do, their way of saying good night. Lucretia smiles, safe in the knowledge that she'll see Taako's face first thing in the morning./span/p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;" /p
p style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 15.12px; font-family: 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'GNU Unifont', Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 1.286em auto; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.5; color: #2a2a2a;"span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;""Don't be stupid, Taako. That's what you span style="border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: inherit; font-style: oblique; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; list-style: none; margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"do/span for the people you love."/span/p