"I have been meditating for the past few weeks and studying our next mission," Garth said. Sparrow stirred from his half-nap on the desk, wiping the drool from the corner of his mouth. Hammer stopped playing fetch with the dog (who had nearly jumped into the abyss at one point in order to retrieve the rubber treasure – luckily, Sparrow had six more).
"Eh, what?" said Sparrow drowsily.
"It will take a great deal of effort, but I believe I may locate the specific thread in the space of Will power to transport you to Wraithmarsh."
Garth bit his cheek. "The cullis gate. To retrieve the Hero of Skill."
"Can't we just send him a friendly letter, or something, perhaps?"
"He doesn't take letters," said Hammer unhelpfully. "I've tried."
"When did that happen?"
"Couple months ago. I figured, 'why not try something outside of the box?' Last time I bloody reach out, that is."
"Makes sense," said Sparrow sympathetically, raking his fingers through his salt-and-pepper hair.
"Pardon," said Garth in his sharpest voice, in a fruitless attempt to regain control. "As I was saying, I have reached the peak of power, and if we wish to transport you we must do it immediately."
"Oh, well," said Sparrow. "Party on, Garth."
There was an unnecessary pause. "Excuse me?" said Garth.
"What the fuck?" said Hammer.
"Oh," said Sparrow, and there was another pause. "Sorry, I don't know what came over me."
"Nutter," said Hammer fondly.
"Anyway, what about this cullis gate?"
"Nothing that truly concerns you, other than you need to be there," said Garth crossly. "It's a very complicated procedure, you know. It takes quite a lot of energy."
"Bloody fantastic mage, you are. You take a half hour to do anything useful – and, oh, ten fucking years to break a collar!" Sparrow seethed.
"Reinforced titanium, I told you. Impossible to break."
Sparrow whistled at him, which was highly unimpressive (and which made Hannah burst out laughing). "Yeah! You're talented. I guess you got us out of that Spire all by yourself!"
"Sparrow, he is the best alive," said Theresa suddenly, but softly. She turned her blind eyes towards him.
Sparrow made a pinwheeling motion, starting up a miniature hurricane that playfully teased the pages of Garth's many books. One paper got away, and Hammer snatched it from the air. The dog barked at the commotion – he was an excitable fellow – and chased his own tail a bit.
Garth wasn't one to be tempted. He tilted his head slightly but otherwise showed no sign of his irritation. "If you know a better way to Wraithmarsh, please do inform me."
"I don't know about you, but I don't mind a nice hike," Sparrow jabbed. He was tired. He wanted to spend time with his family – Sam had been terribly broken up at the idea that he would be leaving them again. Poor little Robin had burst into tears and wouldn't speak to Sparrow for hours. He wouldn't even accept the many gifts of chocolate and toy guns and swords he was so fond of. Because of his popularity, Sparrow often worried that he would return home to find his family dead.
That nightmare wasn't terribly unlikely – nor was it a great deal of time from just then.
And Garth was frowning at him. Sparrow stared back pensively. Judging from the wrinkles, the stature, and the voice, he couldn't be older than his mid-fifties. Sparrow himself was thirty-three. It had been a long, painful ten years in the Spire, and he was a little worn for wear; pale, a bit thinner in the wrists. His face had never quite filled out again. His brow weighed heavy with worry lines, and his eyes were often cloudy with unexpressed grief. He was more prone to illness now – not to mention the scars.
But by no means was Sparrow off his game. If Garth would take the bait, Sparrow had no qualms with dueling him.
"A bloody hike!" said Hammer loudly. "Did you hear him? A hike!"
Sparrow chewed on his rough, dirty fingernail, gazing blankly back. "What's wrong with that?"
"You wouldn't survive the acid pits, the troll herds of the mountains, the steep downward terrain of the gullies, lined with Hobbe-sharpened rocks. They wait at the bottom, waiting to snap up unfortunate travelers who take a false step. And once you get beyond that, there are the packs of marauding Balverines, the ghosts towns overrun with hollow men and banshees," murmured Garth.
"And the sirens," Hammer added.
"Do sirens do anything to gay men?"
"That's a good question!"
Garth ground his teeth. "Would you two heathens silence yourselves for a moment while I explain this?"
"I don't get why you're sticking me in such danger when you need me so damn much."
"You're the only one that can do it," Theresa said.
"Why don't you send Mr. Lord-of-the-Will over here?"
"I have to activate and maintain the cullis gate."
"Then send Hammer."
Hammer blanched. "I thought you were my friend, Sparrow," she said with weak sarcasm.
"Well, for fuck's sake, it's not like you've got a family!"
"Well, you oughtn't to have gone and gotten married, that's your problem!"
"Oh, I see how it is, you bitch!"
"All right! That's quite enough." Theresa was sitting board-straight, lips pursed tight. "Get out of my sight this instant, and don't return until you have completed your task."
"Fuck you, you haven't got any sight," laughed Sparrow, to which he earned a firm push from Garth. Hammer crowded him from behind until he was forcibly pushed into the cullis gate.
A bunch of uptight nutters, the lot of them, Sparrow thought bitterly; and then it was dark.
Notes: Okay, I just wanted to write something for Fable 2. I couldn't resist. I love the characters so much. I really wish there are more stuff (and if there is, hey, let me know will you?). I know I ought to be updating Waking Up but for right now I'm in a bit of a rut. Promise to get the update out by this time next week?
Reviews really are like gold. It gets frustrating writing for no one.