((There is a picture of Wilbur at the bottom of this chapter to make details mentioned make sense.))
Mortis stood in the corner, sulking. Jayden was beside him, looking apologetic.
"What did you put on my knife, Jay?"
"W-what do you mean?"
"Garnet's dying! Doesn't that mean anything to you? Didn't it mean anything to you when he had cancer? Or maybe that's why they're failing to fix him...I don't even know any more...but Garnet's my best friend...my only friend."
"What about me?"
"You're my boyfriend. That's different."
"I never liked Ricky. And he's probably going to wake up with amnesia, the way you knocked him down!" The Necromancer turned his back on the Child of the Spider, who looked in turn like he was going to cry and just stared at his feet. They were in the Sanctuary medical bay. The lovely beds lined up with Erskine Ravel, who was definitely going to live and likely going to be able to walk again given time, Memphis Heatwave, wide awake and quite shocked upon hearing the latest developments, Garnet Dorado, awake but dying, Indishan Anonymous, condition unknown, Richard Sloth, recovering from a haematoma and Mist with the babies, still under observation. Jayden walked past Mort and went to his ginger friend's bedside. Garnet didn't meet his eyes. He had Wilbur in his hands still. Mortis was letting him hold on to it. His voice was a weak, creaking mewl when he spoke.
"If you're here to apologise, just get it over with..."
"I'm not here to apologise."
Garnet twiddled the knife with a very light sigh. He had the deepest voice of all the men in the murderer's quartet, but when he did that he sounded like a baby. "Jayden, go away. I don't want you wasting my air."
"Don't talk to me like that!" He looked over his shoulder, well aware Mortis was watching him. He didn't know what to say. He didn't like killing, and no matter how angry he pretended to be with his friend, he was still feeling guilty. He'd essentially killed Garnet. "You would have lost it over the exact same sort of thing. If I'd given a curse to, say, B-J, you'd have gone nuts."
He had no argument to that. Apart from maybe the fact he had known B-J longer than Jayden had known Mortis. He sniffled miserably and ran his fingers over the ridges on Wilbur's handle. He didn't speak and he still refused to meet Jay's eyes. When he thought about it, Jay didn't believe Garnet really was dying. He had lost a lot of blood and was audibly struggling to breathe, but if he wasn't killed on the spot, magic doctors could do a lot for you. Just look at Mortis and his unmatching liver. So as he stepped away, he was convinced Garnet would be fine in a week or less. Mortis glared at him coolly as he walked past him to sit with Garnet himself.
"How you faring?"
"You never notice how sharp something really is until it's plunged into your squishy underbelly..."
"You don't have a squishy underbelly. You're bony."
"Then it's a miracle it didn't go all the way through. That damn thing has a long blade."
"And if it had broken off in your stomach instead of being pulled out, you might not have lost so much blood."
"He is in a lot of trouble."
"He only did it because he was freaking out over the idea of losing you. You know that, right?"
Mortis sighed and nodded. "But I've been spending so much time telling him the same thing over and over. Do not act impulsively under any circumstances!" He pinched the bridge of his nose and hung his head. "It was my own fault anyway. I made a schoolboy error. I touched something I knew to be cursed and..." He paused and looked up, his eyes meeting Garnet's. "If I hadn't, the same sucker would have gone into you. He took my free will completely, but you were the one who killed him. If he'd taken you over, you'd have been dead in seconds..."
"I'm stronger than you give me credit for. You said you tried fighting them off..."
"They were dead, I'm a Necromancer. That's why. Zebulon...how exactly did he die?"
"I locked him in the basement and tortured him to death. Remember the nasty smell in the kitchen every summer? He's probably still down there."
Mortis stared, face impassive. "Nice. So he would have done his best to make your death similar to his. he would leave you right before something hurt you...Probably piss off a few sailors down the docks, step out in front of cars, smoke, cut you, shock you, walk into things, all that jazz."
"Sounds like Zebulon."
"Did you even know him before you killed him?"
"I had a month and a half of torturing to get to know him."
"Riiight..." He grinned. "This is why we're friends!"
"I know, you utter nutball." He held his hand flat by his head, palm up, and Mortis slapped it in way of a high five.
"You should have been there when Valiant set fire to Ricky. It was hilarious."
"God, from what I've heard I wish I was there. He's my friend, but still."
Mortis laughed. "Did you see Jay push him against the car?"
"Your fat head was in the way."
"Well that's what you get for being short."
"Gimme that knife, I have to make you die faster."
They both started laughing and Garnet put on a pleading face and hugged the knife to his chest carefully. "Wilbur makes a good teddy bear."
"He's been my teddy bear for years. He also tells good bedtime stories."
"He says he loves me more. Leave us now so we may elope and sleep." They laughed again and Mortis got up to leave, turning at the last minute with an evil look.
"Elope with my knife and you die." He blew Wilbur a kiss and walked away, letting Dorado sleep.
B-J squinted in the sunlight as she stepped from the car. Marshmallow drove off instantly and she just stood there, looking stupid. She walked through the streets, wondering where to find Garnet or anyone who might have seen him. She tried a grotty cafe opposite the Sanctuary but nobody there recalled ever having seen the redhead or his murderous friends. There was a bar where one Mage recalled a street brawl the day before. "There was an interesting group then." He stated with a shrug. "Lady with an eyepatch, two redheaded guys, bald black guy and 'nother one with long black hair. And another one in a long red coat. Made a right mess. Hit the Grand Mage with a car. He's alive though. Don't know about the others. I think they're all in the Sanctuary."
B-J thanked the man and hurried into the Sanctuary, not sure what to say when she reached Tipstaff. She just asked to speak to the Grand Mage, leaving her name and saying he would know her. Then she waited and got into a conversation with Anton for a brief moment. Finally she was let in and Mortis came to meet her. She glared death unto him and he just stood there looking miserable and barring her way. "Been a while, miss."
"Get out of the way."
"Are you here to see Garnet?"
She frowned a little more. "I could be here to see the Grand Mage."
"Yeah, you're here to see Garnet..." He crossed his arms and sighed, looking behind him to see if he was awake yet. "Bed five."
With a raised eyebrow, she made her way to where Garnet lay. He was even more childlike now. He had the opal at the end of Wilbur's handle in his mouth for one thing. "You look ridiculous, mate." B-J stated, sitting on the edge of the bed. He looked up at her and stayed silent. "Hello? Earth to Garnet! Surprised to see me? Your friend wasn't." She glanced distastefully at Mortis, who stuck his tongue out at her. She did the same, crossing her eyes. He flipped her off and walked over to Ricky, who appeared to be waking up. With a sigh, she turned back to Garnet, who was laughing silently. He finished with his ever so childlike light sigh and sat up, even though it obviously caused him pain, causing B-J to object. He did his best to hug her.
"I wasn't sure if you were coming back out of there." He admitted softly, although he didn't have much choice in the volume at which he spoke. He was still struggling to breathe.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm in hospital."
"I mean...never mind."
She looked around the room, pushing him gently off her and back onto the bed. He began using Wilbur as a toy plane and she shook her head. "Will you ever grow up?"
"Too boring. I have other people to act grown up for me."
She looked at Mortis and raised an eyebrow. "Have they ever done a very good job?"
"Some of them." He went back to chewing on the knife handle.
"Don't do that, your friend kills people with that thing!"
"Mortis kills a lot of things with a lot of things. My favourite method is garrotte to the throat, personally."
"Oh my God, don't even talk about that."
"Tried to get Vex that way...the tall bastard..."
"Garnet!" He shut up and stared at her. "Oh my God...what happened to the 13-year-old I taught magic to?"
"He grew up and his sister tried to kill him." He thought for a moment. "Oh yes, and all his family died." He frowned, thinking some more. "I have a very nice family crest...it has dead eagles on it..."
"Gross! I thought you hated dead animals."
"I hate skinned animals and eating animals. Dead eagles I like. Eagles are nasty."
"They are not!"
"I got attacked by eagles once..."
"Sometimes I want to hit you so hard!"
"With a mallet."
"Not a bad idea, actually."
"Sometimes I look at you and think 'she would kill me if I kissed her right now'...would that be accurate? It was usually when you were pissed with me as well, so..."
She frowned. "What?" He decided to sit up to demonstrate. "Lie back down, Garnet!"
He shook his head, held her shoulder with a surprisingly strong grip and tried to kiss her on the lips, but she pushed him down and away so hard he was left gasping for air. "Don't do that!" She exclaimed, flailing a little in disgust. He pulled a miserably disappointed face. "I don't want...you...near my face!"
"I must be a terrible judge of character...I thought you liked me back like that..."
"Well I don't. Not any more."
His eyebrows shot up. "You used to?"
"Up until you killed Vex, I'd say." Up until you ran off when we killed that little girl, actually. You came back and told me to get a life, that you had come back to protect Twist's children, not me. You didn't like me then, you were furious, you illiterate, idiotic brat.
He gave the light sigh again. It was just audible underneath the wheeze. "I almost certainly won't have the time to find a girl I like more than you..." He broke off with a cough and a desperate gasp for air.
"Garnet? Gar?!" He stopped breathing with an exhale similar to his light (and rather wheezy) sighs. There were more pairs of eyes on them than just Mort's now. "Please don't go! Wake up!" She slammed a fist on his chest. "I lied! I still care! Even if I don't like you like that, you're my best friend! You always have been! Please don't die!" She went to resuscitate him.
"He's DNR." Ricky admitted quietly. "He has been since he got diagnosed with the tumour. You can't do that, Miss."
"I can't just let him die! I have to do something!"
Mortis nodded. "Isn't that just for death related to the tumour?"
Ricky shook his head. "You of all people should know this, Mortis. He signed something that said if he arrested under any circumstances he was not to be brought back or-" He choked on his words and shook his head. "You can't. His orders. Crumpled piece of paper in that ugly yellow jacket of his. Made sure the staff here got it. They can prove it to you."
And they did. B-J was forced to step back as Garnet slipped away. Truthfully, she had a bit of a thing for him on and off between her crushes on Grand Mage Ravel and Elder Vrestreni, but she doubted her feelings were ever as full-blown as his for her, which, amazingly, made her feel so much worse. Apart from that little bit of moustache cultivating on his upper lip like a parasite that had never quite managed to grow into anything proper and was doomed to remain slightly fluffy stubble forever, he had been quite attractive.
((And so ends the legacy of Dylan O'Leary, otherwise known as Garnet Dorado. I knew thee well. You childish, murderous git. And below this is Wilbur. I don't care what's actually at the end of the handle, on Wilbur it's an opal.))