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One-Shot #6 - Hello.

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Dec. 17th, 2006 | 10:39 pm
music: bartimaeus trilogy, one-shot

Title: Hello.
Fandom: The Bartimaeus Trilogy.
Author: Ellie M.
Challenge/Prompt:

Bartimaeus/Kitty – HAH HAH, JUST FOR LAWLZ. XP Can be based in the books or in Poly.
Prompts: Sleeping, grab, watching, weak, knowledge, smirk.
Lines: "Why would you want..."; "You're insufferable."

-- Kae [kaellana]

Pairing: Implied Bartimaeus/Kitty, Nathaniel/Kitty.
Genre: Gen, Angst, light Humour.
Rating: PG.
Word Count: 1,747.

Synopsis: Bartimaeus grants Kitty the visit and explanation she long deserves. Post-PG.

Author's Notes:

This was supposed to be 500 words, but... err. What can I say? I got carried away? This is for you, my lovely Kae. I wrote this in my hotel room while everyone else was asleep. XD

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Hello

Kitty was asleep when it happened. Well, admittedly, she was usually asleep nowadays – her trip into the Other Place hadn’t exactly done wonders for her skin. Or physical health, in all honesty; it had cost her, and although the overall results of London and the magical world were splendid, were they worth it? They had left her empty, for the most part, a shell of the fiery rebellion she stood for. The old Jones wouldn’t have stood for this, but the new Jones… well. She finds standing difficult enough, though she would never care to admit it.

In the few moments of peace she had as she lay in bed, she’d think back to the vast accomplishments of just a few short years; the young woman snorted. Short years. What did that mean, now? Nathaniel was dead. Bartimaeus was dead. Her friends in the Resistance were dead. She was dying, for God’s sake! And all she had to show for it was… this.

This painful contemplation, this painful mortal plane, this loneliness, this weakness. The young woman would wonder if Nathaniel was truly dead, if Bartimaeus was truly gone. Well, she had to admit that no human could survive the ruin of the Glass Palace, that much was certain. There were no remains to be found, either, no body, no clothes; the Staff had incinerated it all. Bartimaeus? Perhaps. God, perhaps. That was the only word that summed up her hope for at least one companion still living, if you could call what a djinn was – life.

* * *

I didn’t want anything to do with the human world after my last ordeal. I deserved a break, for Pete’s sake! They owed me that much. I mean, even after the fiasco with the fall of Prague, I was granted some sort of respite before being sucked into the moral plane again, but here I am, working the long hours, the graveyard shifts, and for what? Little to no pay, if you count that delightful bout of the Stipples the hag1 threw at me the other day.

To be honest – and there goes my honest streak again – I don’t know how much time had passed since my last sojourn in London, but here I was again. I was supposed to do some simple surveillance on the ex-something-or-other of The Hag, but the bloke was sleeping. And I’m not one for watching blokes sleep – it’s just not my thing, you know? Not even Nathaniel –

That brings me to why I’m here, I suppose.

In the form of a pigeon, I sat outside the window pane of one Kitty Jones, tawny eye peering in, other eyes keeping an eye (now, that’s just redundant) on the planes. A few imps, but there were no searchers to be worried about, now that the government was easing up. About time, too. A pity it had to come with my previous master’s demise. But I digress – in a way.

I had heard the human girl was still alive and kicking, and what harm can a little detour do, eh? I wanted to see how she was. There is little love lost between me and the human world, but there are a select few that have earned my trust, Kitty among them (also being the only one still living among them). I wanted to see how she was now; particularly since I knew the effects of the Other Place on humans, and since I didn’t know how much time had passed since that… incident2.

I shifted my form into a wisp of smoke and slipped under the crack in the window. About time Miss Jones and I had a little chat.

* * *

Kitty’s Resilience pricked her into consciousness the moment it sensed a spirit in the vicinity. Still pulling herself from a muddled sleep of shattering glass and swirling colours, the ex-Resistance leader’s hand grabbed the silver dagger from under her pillow – more so habit than anything else. She sat up, weapon held out and alert as she barked out, “Show yourself.”

Hands formed in the wispy smoke, small hands, held up in what was the universal gesture of, Look. I’m not going to eat you. Kitty didn’t waver, instead giving into the benefit of doubt, even as her heart pounded harshly against her ribs. Small, dark hands.

A head soon followed, torso, legs, loincloth and… eyes. Dark, ageless and simultaneously knowledgeable of centuries and immortality. The fall and rise of civilization, the dull ache of humanity, and…

The wicked cynicism. The mischievousness.

That.

Smirk.

It couldn’t be possible. He was dead!

“Evening, Kitty. You’re looking… well.”

Bartimaeus!

“Yep, that’s me. Glad to see your memory hasn’t changed a bit. You could do with a bit of moisturizer, though, because those lines are really quite ghastly. I knew an herbalist back in Egypt, wonderful lady, rather skilled in salves and creams. She could help you.” The young boy paused. “Ah, yes. Pity she’s definitely dead now.”

Kitty’s eyes widened as the djinni rambled, taking in the familiar visage of Ptolemy, one she never thought she would see again. She never thought she’d see anything of her past now, and yet here was a piece of it, standing in front of her, alive and as annoying as ever.

“God, you never shut up, do you?” she finally interrupted, brows raised with incredulity.

“Well,” huffed the djinni, propping a hand on his hip. “It’s lovely to see you too. Quite the welcome you’ve got there. How’s about: ‘You haven’t changed a bit, Bartimaeus,’ ‘How are you, Bartimaeus?’, ‘Glad to see you’re alive, Barti –’ ”

“You’re insufferable!”

“I live to serve,” came the flippant reply. Bartimaeus paused again as the irony of his statement hit, soliciting a wry chuckle from the boy’s lips. “Apparently.” He nodded towards the dagger as he added, “Put that away, will you? I won’t hurt you.”

Kitty glared at him in response, as well as reluctantly lowering the silver weapon before another idea struck her. Then her hand struck Bartimaeus’ cheek. You could say she was striking out in anger to cover her shock, but there we have it. Bartimaeus stared at her with wide eyes, fingertips hovering over his cheek, both startled and disbelieving of what just happened. Kitty didn’t just slap him, did she?

“You know,” he grinned feebly, “that would have hurt if I was human.”

“You deserve it after the last time I saw you. I suppose it’ll have to do for now, won’t it?” Kitty shot back, dropping back onto the edge of her mattress with a restrained sigh of weariness. She couldn’t get over her weakness here, it was frustrating. She gazed at the spirit for a long moment before finally adding, “Why are you here?”

The djinni shrugged, nonchalant. “I wanted to see you. Is that so wrong?”

“Why would you want…”

“I was around,” he replied, settling cross-legged on the wooden floor. Dark eyes gazed up at the young woman, head cocked, and insufferable grin shining her way. “Some old hag wanted me to spy on her ex-husband, but you were far more interesting. By the way,” Bartimaeus added, dusting an imaginary piece of dust from Ptolemy’s loincloth, “did you know you sleep with your mouth open? It’s rather fetching.”

“Shut up,” Kitty half-laughed, half-groaned, tossing a pillow at him. It landed a few inches short of her target, much to her chagrin, but she was tired. In more than one way, other than the late hour. “I’m sorry,” she continued, softer now. “I guess I just didn’t expect to see you again. I thought you had… with Nathaniel… did he – ?”

Bartimaeus saw the change in Kitty immediately, and held back a cringe as it unfolded. Djinn were not creatures of comfort, they didn’t do well with human emotion. But whether he liked it or not, there was certainly something human in the expression that flickered across Ptolemy’s face as Nathaniel’s name was mentioned. Bartimaeus nodded once.

“He’s gone, Kitty.”

“But you’re here!” she protested.

“Just because I am still living does not mean he survived, too!” he barked in reply, eyes flashing. “Is that what you’ve been doing this whole time? Forcing yourself to believe that he could make it out of something like that?” The djinni smiled bitterly. “He may have been the great John Mandrake, but you and I both know that he was just a human in the end.”

Nathaniel,” she whispered. “His name is Nathaniel. Never Mandrake. And you and I both know that,” she spat out in mimicry.

Bartimaeus sighed, standing, shaking his head. Grief did not suit Kitty Jones, that much he was certain of. She needed to know, and he knew he was the only one that could tell her. “I know,” he conceded. “But listen to me, Kitty; the Staff’s powers were too much for him. I didn’t survive because of my charming wit and awesome power.” He raised both brows at the young woman sitting across from him. “Your young Nathaniel actually Dismissed me before it happened.”

Kitty’s jaw dropped. He had…

“That’s two masters that have given me the gift of life,” sighed the djinni, crossing the room towards the young woman, stopping before her. Dark eyes bored straight into hers, the light gone from them as he spoke. “And I promised ol’ Natty boy something before he went and became a hero. You should know I intend to keep it.”

She could barely form the words to ask. “What…?”

Ptolemy smiled, placing his hands gently on Kitty’s cheeks as he pressed a kiss to her forehead; a moment reminiscent of her visit to the Other Place.

“Say hello to Kitty for me,” he murmured, voice shifting into Nathaniel’s for the one sentence. The young woman didn’t even realize the tears were falling down her cheeks as the all-too familiar tones reached her ears, heart twisting. Bartimaeus brushed a drop away with his thumb before stepping back, inclining his head in brief farewell.

“My master beckons,” he said calmly. “I’ll return, though. I’ve a lot to tell you.”

And with that, he vanished.

FIN.

* * *

1 By hag, I meant my new master. Not much of a looker, really; her most attractive feature would have to be… Well, I could lie and say, “Her charming personality,” but you know me. Bartimaeus, Sakhar-Al-Djinn, Uruk and all. Honest to the essence. I’d never fib, it’s simply not becoming.

2 Yep. Still alive.
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Comments and crit, as always!

Loff!
-Ellie

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