Famous Last Words

I couldn't move. I wanted to, I tried desperately to, but I couldn't.

People say that when they're about to die their life flashes before their eyes. That doesn't happen with me – and I should know with all the near death experiences I've had over the years. When I'm about to die, all my senses seem to sharpen, as if telling me look, look at the world around you, see it's glories and it's beauties which is really rather nasty of my senses when you think about it.

Yeah, the sky is a beautiful blue, and yeah I can smell flowers – but not only does that mean I know I'm never going to see this again, I can also hear stuff I don't want to, like Murphy's pained whimpering, Molly's soft crying, Thomas' pained breathing, rattling in his chest – and a complete absence of sound from where Marcone was, which was actually scarier then if he had been making a noise.

Nicodemus and his buddies could do anything to them, anything at all, and I wouldn't be able to stop them. I couldn't move. There was nothing I could do.

Nicodemus moved forward, stepping into my line of sight, upside down and framed by the blue of the sky.

"Any last words Mr. Dresden?"

I opened my mouth, determined to say something defiant, something that would give the other's hope and make Molly stop crying…

"He's not pining!"

Nicodemus blinked. I probably would have to, if I could have done so without groaning in pain. Maybe being so injured had let my subconscious take over for a minute, because I had no idea what I'd just said.

"I'm sorry, what?" Nicodemus questioned.

"He's not pining, he's passed on!"

Oh, now I knew where I'd heard that before. As Nicodemus blinked again, I heard, distantly, Molly's quiet sniffling choke off as she tried to stifle laughter – she, too, recognised the quote.

That was when I realised – I'd wanted to say something defiant, something to make Molly stop crying and give some hope to my friends – and I'd gotten it.

My subconscious is a genius. Smarter then me, at any rate.

"This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be!" There was more stifled snickers from Molly, and Murphy had stopped whimpering - probably from shock, and hopefully not the bad kind. I continued – I didn't need my subconscious to prompt me again, I'd seen that skit so many times I had it memorized.

"He's expired and gone to meet his maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace!"

Thomas had now joined Molly in the snickering – though his was quieter and sounded more painful. My brother loved Monty Python, and was probably mouthing the words along with me.

"If you hadn't nailed him to the perch he'd be pushing up the daisies. His metabolic processes are now history!"

Nicodemus opened and closed his mouth, utterly taken aback, and Molly had completely stopped trying to stifle her snickers and was now laughing out loud.

"He's off the twig! He's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!"

I took a deep breath for the finale.

"This is an ex-parrot!"

And as I panted for breath after finishing, I heard something I never had before – John Marcone, 'Gentleman' Johnny Marcone, was laughing. Quietly, yes, but undeniably laughing.

I shook off the strangely warm feeling in my chest at that thought, and looked up and where Nicodemus was looming above me, still looking thoroughly taken aback.

He breathed deeply once, then twice, and then looked at me with a raised eyebrow.

"Monty Python." Nicodemus said, his tone vaguely questioning.

"Monty Python." I confirmed.

"As your last words." He sounded as though he was trying to wrap his mind around it.

"Well, I never got a chance to use that quote before now, and since I'm about to die, I figured what the hell."

Nicodemus looked at me, and then his mouth started quirking. "Just for that," He said, amusement colouring his tone, "I'm going to let you live."

And then he left.

I blinked, then winced. Ow.

It was all very well for him to say that and then leave – but I still couldn't move, and none of the others seemed able to either. "Can anyone move?" I questioned, just in case I was wrong.

"I believe I may be able to," said Marcone, as I heard vague shuffling sounds as he tried to get up.

"Harry," came Molly's soft voice. "Yeah?" I questioned tiredly.

"You realise there's only one thing to do now, right?"

I blinked slowly – or at least I meant to, as my eyelids must not have gotten the memo and decided to stay down. Bloody eyelids.

From where I thought Thomas might be came a soft, pain ridden voice – singing.

Oh God no.

"Always look on the bright side of life."

Molly joined in. "Doodo, doodo, doodo, doodo, doodo."

What have I done?

"I do believe," came Marcone's voice from somewhere to the left, "that you have created a monster Mr. Dresden."

Looking up at the blue sky, all I could do was laugh.