Disclaimer: see some other chapter.

Notes: Happy (expletive) birthday me, yo. And long live the Ghost of Beatles Past. Sorry about the delay and the shortness, but RL is inexorably devouring me, and I figured short is better than never.

I'd like to invite anyone who reads me, whether I know your name or not, to visit my livejournal (www .livejournal. com/ user/ nightfallrising/ ) and help me decide what to focus on posting until RL stops munching on my brain and I can rely on it for creativity again.



by Nightfall Rising

part fifteen


He was laughing breathlessly as he careened into the door of the servant's hall and fumbled it open. Well, Father had asked him to come down; he couldn't be held responsible for chaos resultant from the unheard of spectacle of Xellos Rubyeye doing what he was told, could he?

The surprised dignity of the serving minions was enough to make him brace himself on his knees against the door and try to catch his breath. "Have you," he wheezed, "seen Mr. Greyweir anywhere?"

Zoemelguster put down the scalpel he was sharpening and rose to his full height. "Indeed, Master Xellos," he said, inclining his head respectfully and indicating the housekeeper's office with one pearly-gloved tendril. "Mr. Greyweir passed through here just a moment ago."

"Ah, hell," Xellos breathed, sobering. The housekeeper's office usually had maids in it, and always had a door to the outside. That meant flight, complete drunkenness, a socially embarrassing lack of class consciousness, or a freaked out approaching-monogamy-yikes tumble with the help. Not good.

He dashed through, trying not to knock anything over. The room was empty, except for a little human mouse of a maid on a ladder with a duster. "You," he snapped at the maid, who looked down from the clock she was dusting in surprise. He knew he had somehow managed to retain a reputation of courtesy and consideration with the staff, but this was oh so very not the time. "Did Mr. Greyweir come through here?"

"Yes, sir," she squeaked, and waved nervously at the door. "Right through there, Master Xellos! Happy New Year, he said, sir."

Xellos slumped against the desk. Flight. "Oh, hell," he repeated miserably. "And I said I'd bring him back."

"Er, congratulations to Master Valgaav, sir," she offered timidly.

"Food might make this better," he mused to himself, thinking longingly of chocolate, and was hit instead with a glorious burst of panic as she obligingly fainted in terror and fell off the ladder. He looked down at her collapsed form and grinned sheepishly at Zoemelguster, who had poked his head in decorously at the crash. "Oops."

"Is there a problem, Master Xellos?" the butler asked. He'd moved on to polishing the little knife, and he was still going at it.

"No, no," he said, pushing himself off the desk with a little satiated hip-swivel. "Just a very devoted young lady."

"I see, sir."

"Who unaccountably permitted the groom-to-be to escape the residence, Zoemelguster."

"Oh," the butler said, pursing his lips. "I -see,- sir."

"Quite. But still, a most obliging and amiable girl, and we should be forgiving on the holidays, don't you think?"

"Oh, indeed, sir," Zoemelguster smiled blandly.

"So perhaps you'd best arrange for medical treatment," he smiled back cheerfully, picking her up off the floor, and tossing her over his shoulders, "when Master Valgaav is through with her."

The butler nodded understandingly, giving the knife a last few loving rubs. "Exactly as you say, Master Xellos."

end part fifteen

Review Responses:

Kanzeyori, we've already talked about the Lovely Evil, so I'm just going to reiterate my undying love here. (hugs)

Kaeru: I think Val's more broody than scaredy, but... (shrugs) Anyway, sorry I have so little for you this time. Which is why I want to invite you especially on the input question, and because you're one of the few real shonen-ai fans left in this fandom; you keep me going here.

And DoC, you, too. (hey, help me team up on solaas and convert her, ok?) Yeah, the sap gets me, too, sometimes. Did you ever see the Marx Brothers' movies? You know how the love scenes are uninspired, compared to the rest of it? That's because the screenwriter couldn't stand sap, either, and got someone else to do it for him. (envies) I dunno, ffnet may well be a big stinky swamp, but it's got some lotuses growing in it.