[Quinn] Twenty-Two: "Love in the Face of the End of the World" [Quinn] Twenty-Two: "Love in the Face of the End of the World"

"He told me I could find my way
if I could see behind the mirror,
But a part of me was afraid
to look inside my heart"
--Kat Chanleur

Breakfast wasn't much more sane than usual. Connie was sitting there, still in his pajamas, and he and Simon were involved in one of their 'usual' conversations.

Quinn sat with them anyway.

She was trying to ignore the ramifications of Connie's social life when she saw a familiar figure pause by the door. It was Luke.

Her face went immediately red, getting the attention of both Connie and Simon, who glanced back to see Luke heading across the room to join them.

The two of them exchanged knowing looks as Luke took a seat next to Quinn, but for once didn't say much. Until the talk of dreams came up. Almost reluctantly, he mentioned his nightmare of the previous evening - something about being stuck on a flying rock.

"You didn't fall off, did you?" It was out before she realized it, and Luke blushed.

Things went downhill from there, and eventually Luke offered to give Caytt (who had shown up during the course of the lunacy) a tour of the castle. They were about six steps from the table when he turned back to smile at Quinn. "Would you like to come, too?"

The tour stated off innocently enough, until Luke began trying to embarrass Quinn, who fought back with a sweetly viscious intensity. Cayt, seeing somehting she wanted no part of, excused herself and left the two totheir verbal sparring.

Their mock battle was interrupted by a scattered looking page. "Princess, Prince," he nodded to each. "Please come. Lord Dworkin is up near the family quarters. He's scaring some of the staff."

Quinn sighed deeply. "One of these days," she mutters.

The page led them to an area near Locke's door. Two other pages were trying to calm a young, and quite hysterical serving girl. Quinn knelt next to her, speaking in quiet soothing tones. "Shh. Start at the beginning. Tell me what you saw."

"He...*sob*... looked around..." she points at Locke's door. "Stood *sniff* there, drawing... and when *sniff* I came over *sniff* started babbling. He *sniff* said the 'End *sniff* is nigh', and vanished."

Quinn turned back to Luke, who rolled his eyes. "Great. *Now* we're detectives."

*****

Simon eventually caught up with them, and related Benedicts' 'request' that they find Jess. They found a quiet room and Luke settled down to work on a trump sketch of Jessica, since no one seemed to have one of her. Quinn slipped out, and returned moments later with her journal, though she oly opened it to the last page with writing, doing no more for the moment. Instead, her atention was drawn by Luke, and she watched him as he bent over pen and paper, his brilliant green eyes intent on his work.

Eventually she glanced down at the page.

Amber, Day One

She hadn't written a thing since that first night she arrived. She picked up her pen. Amber, Day... damn, I don't even remember.

So here I am, having lived through death threats, the destruction of two universes, my father's return, and what's my curent biggest problem?

Men. Well, one in specific.

Luke Reynard. Rougeish good looks, scoundrel charm, I wasn't kidding when I told him I was way out of practice at this whole dating... thing. Luke plays this game well, despite his assertations to the contrary. Me, I suck at it.

Part of the problem is that I've never gone through all that. Most guys avoided me as a romantic interest, as much because they were afraid of Damien as they were of me, because I could have beaten the daylights out of any given one of them. I think I intimidated every guy I grew up with. And it never helped that I could never bring myself to the sort of casual relationships that those who did take an interest wanted.

And now, I find myself on ground I don't know, my normal surety in my abiliteis and thoughts fallen right off that damned cliff. I've never even had anything remotely resembling a romantic relationship. Hell, I've never even really been in love with anyone...

But Luke... he's amusing, gentle, fun, charming, exasperating, and he brings out the absolute worst in me when he puts on that damned mask he wears when we're with the rest of the group. It almosty a challenge to get him to be himself, one that I think my subconscious takes up with utter glee. Case in point breakfast and that whole 'tour.' I must apologize to Caytt for that...

But what it comes down to is that I enjoy spending time with him. I even enjoy the mock teasing and verbal sparring to no end. I find myself looking forward to seeing him, and disappointed when he leaves. I worry about him, and get annoyed and angry when he does something stupid that might get him hurt. And that whole incident on the cliffs...

Admit it, Quinn. You fell. Hard.

I mean, I know he has feelings for me. How deep they go, and how long they'll last, I don't know, though given what happened in Brandon's trap, I think I can guess. And for the first time since I was 10 and terrified to look under my bed because of the monsters that might be there, and I'm almost afraid to clearly see what's under Luke's masks, because then I know I'll not only have to admit how he feels, but how I feel, too.

She glanced up to see Luke just finishing the last few lines of Jessica's sketch. She closed her journal, saving those thoughts and all the confusing, hilarious and wonderful feelings for later contemplation.

It was time to go back to work.

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