Disclaimer: I do not own nor am I affiliated in any way with Fables or DC/Vertigo. This fanfic was written purely for entertainment.
Note: This fic takes place directly after Fables #80. Spoilers for all previous issues abound.
Cautiously, carefully and, most of all, quietly, Bigby Wolf edged open the door and slipped inside. It was at times like this, when the air broiled with the stench of prolonged death and drawn curtains kept out any reminders of life outside the sickened walls, that he cursed his acute senses and the vivid details of mortality. In the Homelands the screams and bloodletting he caused never had such an effect on him. Only after coming to the Mundy World of all-too-short lives did the sights, sounds and smells of fatality give him reason to hesitate. It didn't help that Dr. Swineheart had forbidden him from smoking in the spacious, yet claustrophobic-feeling room.
"Thank you for coming," the only other figure in the room whispered with as much strength and normality as he could muster.
Trending across the carpet, an intricately decorated wedding gift to Rose from one of the Arabian fables, Bigby sat down in the vigil chair beside the young man's bed. "I don't have much time," he said bluntly but not without care. For anyone else he wouldn't have made the time at all.
"I know. I just…need you to do me a favor. You're the only one I trust to do it correctly and without arguing."
The ex-sheriff of Fabletown raised his eyebrows. Whatever it was that Blue wanted him to do, he now knew that there would be hell to pay from Snow. There were plenty of fables closer to the trumpeter than him, his wife among them. If they would all argue against the favor Blue had in mind it had to be quite the doozy.
Not that he could deny the young man anything in his current state. As much as he called his flesh-and-blood brood his only 'pack', he admitted somewhere in deeper, less used parts of his heart that it included more Fables than them. Blue was one of those whom he considered part of the extended pack. Not in the nucleus of the atom, truly, but an electron that orbited faithfully around the center and without which the atom could not retain its identity.
As these thoughts marched through his mind his body language divulged none of it and he drolly commented, "People only argue when they think they might be wrong. I don't."
A ghost of a smile tugged at Blue's ashen lips. Weakly, his hand snaked out from beneath the columbia blue sheets towards the nearby oak side table. The same strong hands that had incessantly played the blues, that had unflinchingly wielded the Vorpal Sword, and that had supported Snow in the Business Office when he was too cowardly to admit his feelings, now shook.
"I need," Blue finally grasped a black fountain pen sitting on the table, "I need you to write down my last will."
"I...." for the first time in longer than he could remember, Bigby stumbled over his words. I can't? I won't? You'll recover? Just give it more time? They were nothing but empty promises and shallow words only rightfully spoken to comfort children and the naïve. He respected Blue too much for that.
Deftly, the anthropomorphic wolf took the pen from Blue's cold, tube-laced hand while simultaneously snatching a small legal pad from the side table. Feeling vaguely like he was flaunting his two solid hands, Bigby forced himself to look directly into Boy Blue's cerulean eyes.
"Tell me what to write, Blue."
It was time that he should have spent tending to the impending battle. It was time that he would not have spent anywhere else unless Snow and the children were in immediate mortal danger.
"Anything else?" he asked during an overly long pause from the bedridden young man. From his notes, everything of interest had been divided among Blue's closest friends much as he would have suspected. Flycatcher and Pinocchio were ordered to divide up 60 years worth of comic books between them. Red Riding Hood was bequeathed the silver broach, shaped unsurprisingly like a horn, which Blue had used to secure the Witching Cloak around his neck when he had spirited her away from the Homelands. For good or ill Blue's surprisingly generous stock of spirits, including a prized bottle of 20-year old Kentucky bourbon, would be Bufkin's. Other memorable trinkets from a rich 200 year life in the Mundy World were assigned to Grimble, Beauty, Beast, the Vulco Brothers, King Cole and many other Fables.
"Any left over money," Blue added without a hint of bitterness in his voice, "should go to Rose and Sinbad. They might need it if they want to start a family."
'One hell of a kid,' Bigby thought to himself imagining himself in the same jilted position, 'And a better man than nearly all I've known.'
"One last thing," Bigby couldn't stop a small sigh of relief. Damn, his hand was cramped from writing so much. "I want you and Ms. White to have my trumpet."
He couldn't help it. He dropped the pen. After taking a moment to get over his shock, he said the word that had immediately flooded his mind.
"Bigby, I want you to have it," Blue pressed earnestly.
"And I appreciate what you're trying to do," the North Wind's son replied just as adamantly. "But Snow and I couldn't possibly accept it. You should give your horn to Fly, or Rose, or someone else you feel especially close to."
"I am giving it to someone I feel especially close to," Blue argued. "It's true that Fly and Pinocchio are my best friends and I won't deny that I loved Rose. Hell, maybe still do in an impossible, masochistic way. But I always felt like Ms. White was…I don't know, more like family. She was caring, motherly, supportive, stunningly beautify, an unparalleled leader…. Dammit, I don't have enough time left to list all of the qualities that define her. She is the most remarkable woman I have ever known."
"And you," Blue paused to take a labored breath, "you are the most remarkable man. More than anyone else you proved to me that I could move past the sins of my past. That I could, maybe not stop regretting, but at least accept as fact the spinelessness I showed at the Last Keep. You inspired me, Bigby, in a way even Fly couldn't to live as I have."
Bigby had faced deathbed honesty before during the wars, but never had such candor been focused squarely on him. Coming from Blue, it was humbling.
"We'll take it," he acquiesced, "as a reminder of everything you've been to both of us." He wished his mind could construct something more poetic, but he was not a poetic man. He could only hope that the uncharacteristic softness of his voice would convey the meaning he could not put into words.
"Thank you, Bigby, for everything." Blue turned his head to face to the split-log ceiling and closed his eyes. "I think…I need to rest now. I've taken up too much of your time as it is, considering the circumstances. Please give everyone my best."
"I will," Bigby stood, knowing that the moment was over and sure that the young man needed to recuperate from their cathartic conversation. He carefully folded the will's three sheets of paper and slipped it into the inside pocket of his trench coat. "I'll make sure to stop in and see how you're doing later with Snow."
"Mmhmm…" Blue responded, already halfway into an exhaustion and drug-induced sleep.
Exiting in the same manner as he had entered, Bigby slipped silently out the room, unknowingly leaving its occupant to languish in darkness-infected nightmares. Lighting a cigarette, he strode down the bright hallway and down the stairs, deep in thought.
He found Snow huddled over a topography map of the Farm, chewing on her bottom lip as she considered more optimal placements for the hundreds of displaced Fables exiled upstate for an unknown amount of time. "Where were you?" she asked without sparing a glance in his direction.
"With Blue." The tone of his voice alone must have been enough to alarm her. She immediately looked up at him with dread shining in her eyes.
"Still with us, but worse than yesterday. If Fly does get here within the next two days…" Even he could not finish the sentence. Unbidden, King Cole's words returned to him: This can't happen--not to him. We can't lose the boy.
"I can't--I can't think about it." Instinctively Bigby moved towards his wife, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close to his chest. "Losing him," she continued in a voice muffled by his body, "would be like losing Rose. He's…precious, to all of us. What will we do if he dies?"
He wanted to reassure her. He wanted to tell her that it wouldn't happen, that Boy Blue was a fighter and would be all right. But that would be nothing but empty promises and shallow words only rightfully spoken to comfort children and the naïve. He respected her too much for that.
"I don't know," he answered instead, feeling a dread shift in the wind. "I don't know."
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