Eight Points on the Compass
Written for the Soul Eater livejournal prompt community, 42_souls.
Pairing: Kid/Liz/Patti. Prompts: Jump, On the Brink, Peace, Chances, Blood Oath, Fearless, Second Glance, and Brilliance
Notes: This is a series of eight short ficlets that skip around in time. They're not arranged chronologically – quite the opposite, actually. Anyway, enjoy!
She froze the minute that she saw the guillotines. "No. No way." She turned to Kid. "You're serious."
"Yes. I told you."
Liz actually took a step away from him. "I, um… I kind of thought that you were bullshitting. Or an escaped mental patient. Or something."
"You thought that I was bu… Lying?" He raised one eyebrow at her.
"It wouldn't have made you the first disturbed guy I agreed to roll with." She looked up at the guillotines again, and up at the clouds that should not have been there, and felt the weird distortion of the space that she was standing in making her queasy. "But you weren't lying, were you." A statement, not a question.
"Look, I really am a reaper. And I can prove it." He pointed through the tunnel of rather tasteless-looking guillotines. "My father's right through there. He just wants to see us for a few minutes."
"Whoo-HOO! Reaper!" Patti was bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet excitedly. "Liz, Liz, let's go meet the Reaper!" Her cheeks were blooming with excited color in a way that Liz hadn't seen them do for years.
"Wait. Wait." Liz grabbed her sister's hand, backed up another step, and took a deep breath. "We can't go in there."
"Why not?" the boy asked, calmly.
"Because we have outstanding arrest warrants in three states, for one thing."
He waved aside her concern dismissively. "My father doesn't care about that. I hardly think it matters."
There was something about the way that he said this – something so utterly spoiled and snotty – that Liz suddenly felt a surprising flash of anger. "What, you reapers think that you're above the law?!"
"For the most part, yes." He looked at her calmly. "I thought you were, too."
She laughed at that, only half-bitterly. Well, she had seen him kick the everliving shit out of several of New York's finest already. Liz figured that if anybody could get away with beating up cops, it was probably a snot-nosed little reaper. Then Liz noticed that Patti was tugging at her shoulder.
"It's okay," Patti told her sister, in a whisper so loud that anybody standing in a fifty-yard radius could have heard it. "He can't hurt us." Talking about the young reaper as if he weren't standing right in front of them and quite obviously listening to every word that she was saying. "Because we're stronger than him. We have each other. But he's all alone." She squeezed her sister's arm in a way that was probably intended to be reassuring, and grinned a grin that would have sent many smarter, braver people instantly fleeing in terror. "I want to meet the real Reaper."
"Um, I wouldn't expect anything too scary, if I were you," the boy said, suddenly sounding as if he were slightly embarrassed.
Liz realized that she could trust him a little bit more when he looked so reassuringly flustered. "Okay, Kid," she said. Patti was right. As long as she and her sister were together, they were invincible. So it was time to make a leap of faith. "Let's meet this father of yours. Unless it turns out that you're completely delusional."
"Most unfortunately, I am not."
II. On the Brink
"Wait a minute." Kid squinted at his prey, still walking obliviously half a block in front of him, unaware that he was being followed. "There. It did it again."
"Did what?" Liz asked, her voice muffled by her own holster, and Kid's jacket.
"It's flickering." Kid frowned. "The color of his soul. It's…" He blinked, shaking his head. "It just did it again. All right, now I know I'm not imagining it. He's changing back and forth from the demon-egg wavelength to the pre-threshold wavelength." Kid stalked the man for a few moments longer, before he finally paused, and then ducked into an alleyway, swearing under his breath.
"So you're letting him get away," Liz said.
"Yes. I've made a decision. We're not completing this mission." He unholstered his guns. "Liz. Patti. We're done."
Patti stretched her arms out, sighing gratefully as soon as she was back in her human form. "But you said we needed a single," Patti said. "Liz still has one more soul than me."
"And this guy's a killer," Liz added. "A known killer. Two victims so far, possibly more."
"I know. And he ate the victims' souls. I know." Kid tapped the toes of his feet against the ground, first the right, and then the left. His brow furrowed with black thoughts. "Devouring even one innocent soul should be enough to turn anybody's soul into a demon-egg." His fingers drummed against his empty holsters. "There's something that we're missing here."
"You said that his soul was flickering?" Liz asked. "So is there any sort of scenario – any reason at all – why a person would be able to kill someone and not completely become a demon-egg?"
"There are a few circumstances that could prevent that. A very few." Kid ticked off on his fingers. "One. Killing for 'borderline' motivations. Like killing someone to protect someone else – but not to protect one's self. Someone else. Two. Not consuming the victim's soul. Unfortunately, we know that our target did just that. He wasn't killing for protection, he was killing for power."
"Possibly obtaining power in order to protect someone else from an even bigger threat?" Liz tried.
Kid paused. "Now that's getting complicated. I hadn't thought of that one before."
Liz crossed her arms. "Hmph. I thought you said that you already knew everything about soul mechanics."
"I know everything that's written in Shibusen's protocols." He smiled, somewhat bitterly. "Clearly there's still room for clarification." Then he shook his head, clearing his thoughts. "Either way. We can't reap a soul that's in such a state. First, because our man might actually be able to redeem himself. And second, because there is no way that I'm going to risk feeding a borderline soul to either of you." He shuddered. "Bad things could happen."
Liz shivered too, mirroring him. She didn't need to completely follow his train of thought to see the dark place where it was heading. She'd stepped into that dark place before. But that had happened a long time ago. She and her sister had changed a lot since then. Even so, however, Liz understood now what she'd been unable to understand back then: how close she and Patti had been to ending up just like so many of the poor, doomed souls that she herself had devoured in the years since then. How near the brink they had skated. How imminent their complete and utter self-destruction had been.
"You really think that guy can get better?" Patti asked Kid.
"It's possible," Kid said. "There's potential for both good and evil in every human soul. As long as it still is a human soul."
"You know," Liz said, touching his shoulder, "that's not the first time I've heard you say that. It sounds a little bit truer every time."
"Of course it's true." He looked up at her. "I learned it all from you."
The sound of Patti's breathing was soft and pleasant. The sound of Kid's breathing was barely audible – he slept, quite literally, like the dead. Liz propped her head up on her pillow and watched them both, gazing at their sleeping faces. She let herself enjoy the moment, trying to ignore the ticking of the clock beside the bed, its hands inevitably counting down to the moment when its alarm would sound. It wasn't often that she managed to wake up before either of the other two. But on the rare mornings when she did, Liz never actually got out of bed. Instead, she would always stay beneath the covers, staying by their side, watching over them both as they slept.
Resonance was a beautiful thing.
"Bats!" Liz shrieked and clutched at Patti's arm. "You didn't say that there would be bats involved!"
"I never said that there wouldn't be and—Damn!" Kid barely managed to dodge another swipe of the Rostov Ripper's knife. More bats shrieked through the air around them, tearing at their hair and clothes. And tearing at the Ripper, too.
"Frackin' bats!" the killer gurgled, in his weird, uncanny voice, trying to defend himself against the flying horrors and attack Kid at the same time. He wasn't doing a particularly good job with either task.
Patti saw her chance. Her sister was useless, crouched on the ground and whimpering, flailing her arms to stave off the bats. So Patti ran at Kid. "Hurry, use me!"
But Kid, for some reason, actually jumped away from her. "No!"
Patti would have found the look on his face funny if it hadn't been for the fact that she was now busy dodging the killer's knife. "No?!"
"I can't, I--" He looked around frantically. "Liz, get up and get over here!"
"No way! The bats'll eat my face!"
"They're just bats, it's just a bunch of mice with wings, they're more scared of us than we are of them--"
The killer screamed and swiped at Patti again. Now she was getting in a bad mood. She didn't like bats, and she didn't like serial killers. She especially didn't like serial killers who were so dumb that they'd run straight into an abandoned warehouse full of bats and then just mess up the whole evening for all parties involved. "Kid, just use me!" she tried again.
"Yeah, use Patti!" Liz echoed, unhelpfully.
"What are you, mental?!" Liz snapped at him.
"Yes!" Kid cried out in anguish, "Yes, I am!" He sank down to his hands and knees and began histrionically beating one fist against the ground. "I'm sorry! I'm a failure! I can't even use one gun when my life depends on it! I can't even hunt down one measly soul! I'm worthless. Worse than worthless! I'm scum. I'm trash. I'm bottom-feeding scum that feeds on trash!"
Liz crawled toward him slowly, still flinching away from the extremely confused hoard of bats flying around above her. "No, no… Look, I'm sorry… Don't say things like that, you're not worthless, you, uh… You just seem to be kind of really, really bad at this whole 'reaping' thing--"
"I KNEW it!" Kid wailed.
"No no no no I mean, we're just new at this, and I'm sure you'll get better with time…"
Patti really wanted to laugh at the sight of them both, but she was busy trying to prevent the Rostov Ripper from cutting her two useless partners to pieces. "Hey, ugly!" she giggled cheerfully, right before smashing her left fist – partially transformed into cold steel, at that – into the soft underside of his jaw. The Ripper went down like a sack of potatoes. He coughed and gagged, spitting up blood. His limbs were twitching in a weird way, his eyes turning black. Patti stared at him for a moment, fascinated. Kid had explained to her that humans whose souls became demon-eggs started to change physically. Patti saw now that he was right.
Okay, then. If the Ripper was no longer technically human, then it wouldn't be a bad thing, Patti figured, for her to try kicking him in the nuts. She did. He squealed in an utterly hilarious and deeply satisfying way. Patti laughed at him for a moment, then got control of herself again.
The fallen killer looked up at her blearily. "Who…?" he asked. "Who the hell are you?"
"I'm Patti," she said. Then she pointed at Kid, who had now progressed to beating his head against the ground and crying. "That's my partner." She pointed to Liz, who was trying frantically to console Kid. "That's my sister. We're here to take your soul." Then she added, somewhat embarrassed, "We're kind of new at this."
"D-d-d-d-don't kill me," the killer whimpered. His eyes were red-black and completely inhuman now, but they still shimmered with what was obviously a very human fear of death. And something else, too. Something desperate – and sly. "Hey you. Girl." He lifted his head toward her. "You're a weapon, aren't you?" He licked his bloody lips. His voice gurgled eerily, another sign of his growing inner deformities. "I like you. You're strong. Not like them." He flicked his demon-eyes toward Kid and Liz, still wrapped up in their own little melodrama of failure, some distance and many bats away. "Why don't you ditch them, stick with me? We can pick off the weak together. Do our part to make the world a better place."
Patti stared at him for a long, long moment.
Then she pointed at him and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
The bats were already flying away. Liz was finally standing up, nervously, but standing up nevertheless. She had Kid by the arm and was pulling him up with her. He wiped away the last of his tears, and then there was only the cold promise of death left in his eyes.
"Ooooh, looks like you have about one minute left to live," Patti informed the killer cheerfully. She flipped him off with her finger, then laughed some more.
He stared up at her, disbelieving. "You'd choose them as partners over me?!" His voice was liquid desperation. The demon-egg taint in his soul had already begun elongating and sharpening his teeth. His tongue had grown black and slithery.
It didn't matter anymore, though. He was dead already. "I'll take my chances," Patti told him, proud of how adult the phrase sounded. Then she skipped over toward Kid, sing-songing cheerfully. "La, la, the Ripper's dead, the Rostov Ripper, Ripper's de-e-e-ad!"
"Patti, that is extremely undignified," Kid informed her when she returned to his side. Somehow he still managed to pull of sounding haughty and superior, despite the fact that Patti had seen him crying and beating his head against the ground a moment earlier.
"Can we just get this over with?" Liz whimpered. "I think I've totally got guano in my hair."
V. Blood Oath
"Just one drop, that's all it takes," Kid said, handing the knife to Patti. "Don't cut too deep."
Patti smiled and hummed to herself, not listening to him. Still, she made a shallow nick on the tip of her finger with the knife, then handed the blade to Liz. Liz followed suit, then handed the knife to Kid. He knicked the tip of a finger on his left hand, then hesitated, still clutching the knife blade.
"Don't," Liz said, apparently reading the dilemma on his face.
"But if it leaves a scar, and if I only have a scar on one hand, then--"
"It is not going to leave a scar and you are not going to cut your other hand to match." Liz grabbed the knife from him. "Give me that," she hissed. "Dammit, Kid, this is the most magical and amazing thing that I have ever done in my entire life, and you are not going to ruin the moment by having a totally creepy crazybeans freakout!"
"…Okay, then." He stared at her for a moment, then re-focused his thoughts on the task at hand. "Let's do this." He held out his hand, and the two of them held out theirs. Blood from Liz and Patti's fingers dripped onto Kid's hand and mingled with his own. Kid tilted his hand slightly, and drops of blood splashed onto the smooth glass of the mirror on the ground.
They waited for a moment.
"Is that it?" Patti asked. "It doesn't look any different."
Kid crouched down, and peered at the surface of the mirror. The blood was gone, as if it had never been. But the mirror looked perfectly normal otherwise. "I think it worked," he said. He grasped the ornate sides of the mirror, being very careful not to touch the glass, and lifted it up. He walked over to where they had attached the hooks on the wall earlier, and carefully mounted the mirror. Then he stepped back, frowned, and leaned forward to adjust it again. No, still not straight. He adjusted the tilt of the mirror again. Still not straight. He reached out for a third time—
Liz placed her hand on his shoulder. "Give it a rest."
"Where's the level? And the measuring tape? I know I put them down around here somewhere…" Suddenly he looked down at his cut finger. "This is going to leave a scar, isn't it?"
"Only if you keep poking and picking at it." Liz grasped his hand in hers, hiding the offending finger from view. "Come on. Let's do this."
Patti grasped Kid's other hand. "Whoo-hoo! Magic mirror!" She pumped Kid's arm enthusiastically. "Yeah, let's do this!"
"Wait, wait, Patti, wait." Kid took a deep breath, trying to hide his nervousness. "Remember the rules. This is our mirror because our blood woke it. All three of us need to have resonance before we can go through."
"We're fine. So let's go," Liz said. "I'm dying to see what's on the other side."
Kid closed his eyes. He was secretly thrilled at the prospect of finally being able to step through a mirror, too. He was just as curious about what was on the other side as Liz was. But he had to force himself to stay calm. He was a reaper and the whole mirror thing wasn't supposed to be a Big Deal to him. And maybe someday once he got used to it, it wouldn't be. But right now, at the moment, it rather embarrassingly was a Big Deal. He felt like a child, a bit too enthusiastic and awed at something that was supposed to be completely mundane to him.
"Hold on tight and don't let go," Kid warned the other two. As he wasn't nearly powerful enough to be able to open up a mirror on his own, he needed the resonance of his two partners to do so. They lined themselves up, Patti in front, Kid holding her hand, and Liz holding his. They would have to go through the narrow mirror single-file.
Patti reached out, brushed her fingers across the surface of the mirror, and then pushed her hand through it. It rippled like water. "Wow!" She laughed, delighted. "It's magic! We're just like witches!"
"Patti, you can turn into a gun, and I have a flying skateboard that lives in my hand," Kid said, trying his best to sound cynical. "This is nothing. It's not that great."
"What are you talking about? Of course this is great!" Liz said, squeezing Kid's hand. "And even if the other side of the mirror turns out to be not that great, well… We still have to lie and tell everyone at school that it was amazing. So that they can be totally jealous." She glared at Kid. "Promise me that you'll lie if we have to."
"I promise. I swear on my blood." He turned to Patti. "Be careful. We should probably enter slowly--"
"WHOO-HOO! Magic mirror!!" Patti leapt into the mirror, dragging Kid and Liz swiftly behind her.
For some reason he had placed exactly eight silver spoons on the tea tray, despite the fact that there were only two cups of coffee between them. But Liz forgave him for the spoons the moment that she tasted her coffee and realized that somehow he had managed to blend exactly the right amount of milk and sugar in her cup.
"You're uncanny," she told him, setting down her coffee.
He shrugged. "Patti told me how you liked it." He sat down beside her, gazing around the enormous, empty room. "It is definitely too quiet without her around," he said.
Liz shrugged, perfectly mirroring his earlier gesture. "She'll be back eventually." Although the truth was, Liz wasn't exactly sure when her sister would return. That was largely because Patti had left the house on the pretense of an obviously fake excuse. Liz wasn't sure where her sister had actually gone. But she was sure that, even if there actually were a unicorn exhibit opening at the zoo, it most certainly would not be opening in the middle of the night. "It's nice to have some space to ourselves, though, isn't it?" she said.
"Mm-hmm. Nice." Ever the perfectionist, Kid reached over and brushed a stray bit of lint from her thigh. Then his hand stayed there.
Liz felt her heart suddenly begin to pound in her chest. This wasn't because of surprise, of course. No way. Liz had known exactly what her sister was plotting the minute that Patti had grabbed her coat and hat and started babbling about unicorns at the zoo. Oh and tonight would be a really good night to stop being such a chi-i-i-i-icken, Patti had sing-songed at Liz as she'd skipped out the door.
Patti, as usual, was about as subtle as a point-blank shot to the face.
Liz knew that she didn't have anything to be afraid of. The three of them had developed such a deep soul resonance that it was impossible for them to not understand each other's feelings anymore. If anything, that almost made things tooeasy. Liz had always thought that love was supposed to be more difficult, more painful, and more of a leap of faith than not. There was supposed to be risk and heartache involved in every step. There was supposed to be the pain of not knowing how he felt about her, at least during some stage in the process. Liz felt like she was cheating somehow, by bypassing all of that. Unfortunately, she couldn't help but cheat. Kid was giving her pieces of his soul all the time. His heart became her bullets. That was the nature of the weapon that Liz had been born as, for better or for worse. Her partner couldn't hide his feelings from her because she fed upon those feelings as the source of her own firepower.
Not that Kid was trying to hide anything from her, though. Or that he ever had been.
So what am I freaking out about?! Liz asked herself, for the umpteenth million time. Patti had hickies on her neck and a smug, self-satisfied smile on her face practically all the time now. There was nothing stopping Liz from enjoying the same. As much or as little as she wanted. Kid was a gentleman like that. He had finally grown up a bit, or at least started growing into his voice. And he was blessed with, as Liz knew both from battle experience and from Patti's giggly descriptions, extremely dexterous fingers. He was handsome, rich, talented, and everything that Liz had spent a lifetime opining that her perfect man should be.
So why was she freezing up again?
Having picked up on her hesitation, Kid finally withdrew his hand. He didn't say anything, and stared down at his coffee.
Liz swallowed, trying to think of some witty banter with which to re-start their conversation with. But her brain refused to cooperate. And the awkward silence stretched on for minutes.
Finally, Kid finished his coffee and stood up. "I'm going to bed," he declared.
"Wait," Liz said.
Kid did not just wait, but he sat down beside her again.
Liz forced herself to turn her head and look him in the eye. "I'm sorry," she said. "But I'm not nearly as brave as Patti is."
"Oh, I know. But I don't think that anybody is." He smiled in a weird, warm way that Liz was not used to seeing him smile. "That girl is completely fearless." Then he dropped the smile and said, rather bluntly, "You know that she made all the first moves, right?"
"I know. You know that there's no unicorn exhibit at the zoo, right?"
"I know. Death City doesn't even have a zoo."
Liz rubbed at her temples wearily. "Oh, Patti. I have got to teach that girl how to lie better." Then she looked at Kid and said, "But here's the deal. I'm not as brave as Patti and I don't know if I can ever be."
"So?" Kid seemed utterly unconcerned about Liz's angst. "Why would you need to be? I'm certainly not."
"What do you mean, you're not?"
"Liz. Seriously. The possibility of having uneven candlesticks in this house terrifies me."
"Well, ghosts and monsters terrify me."
"Yes, but I think that might actually be normal." He said this hesitatingly, as is he wasn't quite sure what normal was, or if he even properly grasped the concept at all. "Also, there are no ghosts or monsters here right now."
"So what are we afraid of?"
"I don't know!" Although as soon as Liz said it, she realized that it was a partial lie. There were a lot of things that she was afraid of at the moment. She was afraid of how needy Kid could be. She was afraid of the sort of tied-down-forever commitment that she sensed hooking up with a reaper would be. She was afraid that she was a bad person who made bad decisions – in the end, just a lowborn ex-felon after all - and that maybe she didn't deserve to be by his side. She was afraid of hurting him. She was afraid of being hurt. She was afraid of the ghosts and the monster and the witches and the demon-gods that would always be lurking just around the corner if she decided to stick by him.
In short, she was afraid of just about everything about him.
Ah, thought Liz, there it is. That sense of risk. That pain and angst that was supposed to always come bundled with the whole romance deal. That notion that she was about to make a leap of faith, this time a much bigger one than she had made the moment that she had taken Kid's hand while standing beneath his father's guillotines, so long ago. Somehow, her love just hadn't felt authentic without all of the accompanying baggage, too.
Liz suddenly laughed at how stupid she was being.
"What?" Kid blinked at her. "What's so f--?"
She silenced him with a rough, hard kiss.
VII. Second Glance
"Her name is Charlene," Spirit said, "and she's French. French." He winked at Kid, as if the fact that the pretty young rapier in the photograph was French was somehow meaningful.
Kid did not even spare the photograph a second glance. "No," he said.
"No, what?" Spirit looked offended. "You're not even looking! Oh come on, look at her! She's got top marks in her class, is a cello virtuoso, and has already won three national fencing championships! Plus, look at her!" He winked lavisciously. "Just look at her!"
Kid made a face. "What are you, some sort of pedo?"
Spirit ignored the barb, and shoved the next photograph into Kid's face. "How about Luella? She's a…" He squinted, trying to read the text written on the back of the photograph. "Cin-qwaw-deh-uh."
"Cinquedea," Kid corrected him, absentmindedly. "A type of Italian dagger. Which, by the way, went out of fashion about four centuries ago. Also, no." He tapped his foot impatiently, and bits of shadow dribbled from his hand. That meant that Beezlebub was itching to come out. "Are we finished yet? Can I go?"
"How about this," Spirit said, desperately fishing for the next photograph. "She's--"
Spirit fumbled for another photograph. The stack in his hand was running out. "How about--"
"This one is--"
"I give up!" Spirit dramatically threw all of the photographs that he was holding into the air. "I thought you said that you wanted a partner!"
"I do." Kid bent down and began picking up the discarded photographs off the floor. "Don't throw things around my father's room," he admonished, snottily, as he was wont to do. "It's bad enough that this place is asymmetrical to begin with. You making it messy on top of everything else is simply unacceptable."
Spirit turned desperately toward the Reaper, who had been watching the little drama silently from behind his mirror. "Say something to him!" Spirit pleaded. "He's your son!"
But the Reaper wasn't sure what to say. "Hmmmm," he said, making a grand show of thinking as loudly as possible, "Hmmmmmmm." But he was stalling for time. He had been surprised – but pleased – when his son had declared that he wanted to find his own partner to evolve into a Death Scythe. But now even the Reaper was having second thoughts about that idea. Granted, there were hundreds of young, talented, and ambitious weapons out there who would have jumped at the chance to partner with Kid. To do so would be considered a great honor. But the Reaper feared that even among the best of them, there was not a one who had a personality capable of resonating with his son. Kid was difficult, as the Reaper himself often said. And now, as usual, Kid was doing just that – being difficult – and rejecting every single weapon that had applied for his potential partnership, on sight.
"Father," Kid suddenly said.
"I really do want a partner," he said. "But I would like to find my own. I'll know when I meet the right person." He turned away from the mirror. "If that is all, then I'll be going now."
"Okey-dokey." The Reaper bounced around happily as he watched his son leave. He really was interested in seeing how Kid was planning on following through with his own declaration. That boy was full of surprises.
Spirit, meanwhile, had snuck up to the side of the mirror. "Psssst," he whispered, making a dramatic show of being furtive, even though there was nobody else left in the room. "Do you think… Maybe… He bats for the other team?"
"Well-you-know-he-didn't-seem-interested-at-all-in-any-of-the-girls-and-maybe-we-should-have-asked for-some-applications-from-boys-and-well-he-does-seem-to-like-interior-decorating-an-awful-lot," Spirit gasped out in a rush. "I mean, no offense or anything – I mean, uh, not that there's nothing wrong with – you know, uh…. It's just that… Maybe we really should be looking for more male applicants."
"Hm Hm. Spirit, do you want to know what I think the problem is?"
"I think," the Reaper said, scratching his head dramatically as he spoke, "that poor Kid is so fixated on symmetry, that he wants to have a weapon that he can hold in both hands. That's why he didn't like any of your girls. They're all asymmetrical."
Spirit also scratched his head, pondering this. Then he shook his head. "Nah. Nah. That's completely crazy. No way." He shrugged. "Sorry, but I like my theory better. "
Candlelight was the perfect illumination. The warm, sweet bursts of light that flickered across their bodies were made all the more brilliant in contrast to the deep shadows draping them. Kid reached up, and brushed a strand of Patti's hair from her forehead. Her golden hair gleamed in the glow from the candles, painted with the red-yellow hues of their fire. Liz interrupted them by leaning down for a kiss. Kid closed his eyes, savoring it. When he opened them again, she was peering down at him, her eyes brilliant blue jewels reflecting the incandescence of the candles.
Patti broke the moment by laughing.
Kid frowned at her. "What's so funny?"
"Your eyes are glowing."
He smirked at her. "So are yours."