- --by Krelle
"That doesn't solve your problem though, now does it? Even if I got the mixture for you, it's all too obvious. The apothecary would know right where to look."
"Nothing would link us to the theft!"
"Please. You said that you've been after it for days. He would know."
"I'd keep - "
"What you do doesn't matter. If you're right about the potion, the effects would be obvious to everyone."
"But I can't just give up on this! Please, there must be something you can do. It's so close and I just -"
"Shhh, shhh. I didn't say I couldn't help you. It'll be ok. We just have to do it differently."
"Our families go back a long ways, Julie. What kind of friend would I be if I couldn't do this one thing for you? I mean - you'd do the same for us, wouldn't you?"
"Oh! B-but… I mean, of course, Lucky. If I could. I'd do anything for you."
"Of course you would."
* * *
"I'd advise in the strongest possible terms that you neither move nor cry out, Apothecary."
"Wha - gkh!"
"Shhh. Let us speak quietly, sir. Would be a shame to wake the others."
"W-what do you want?"
"I love a man who can get right to the point. There's a woman in town, seeking a potion. I want you to sell it to her."
"Since that's my job, I hardly see that all of this is necessary."
"If I thought you were clever enough to understand what happens around you, I would use words. You've already missed the signals twice now. Our people have decided to use more direct means."
"S-signals..? What - "
"Shut up. This is what you are going to do. The next time Julie Silver comes in and begs you for that potion, you are going to sell it to her, for whatever she can pay."
"This is about the Silver woman? What possible interest could you - hgk!"
"I'm sorry, am I not being clear?"
"Excellent. I hate to repeat myself. Our reasons are none of your concern, even if you had the wit to understand them. And since you seem to need things spelled out, let me be clear about this. She is not to be harmed. The Silvers are under our protection."
"I - I didn't know."
"You are fortunate that I believe that."
* * *
"Julie! Come in, come in! And none of this "Miss" business - we're all friends here. How's Jeremiah?"
"Oh, Lucky, you should see him! The potion worked, better than we thought it would. His colour is better and he's so much more alert now, and yesterday, he even took a few steps about his room. His fever is completely gone, he's eating again..."
"Heh. It's nice to see a mother who dotes on her children like you do. He's a fortunate lad."
"It's all thanks to you, Lucky. If you hadn't dealt with that heartless bastard Reeves I… I don't know what I would have done."
"Julie, all I did was have a little chat with the man. You deserve the credit for nursing your son through this - and calling in for ah… expert help, when needed."
"Thank you, Lucky. I… I brought you a small token of our appreciation."
"Oh? Beautiful wrapping - did Steffy do this?"
"Hee-hee. Yes. She's fond of ribbons. The card's from Jeremiah, see? Now that he can hold a pen again, he wanted to thank you himself."
"Aww that's cute. I'll put that on the bulletin board at work. Let's see what … Wow."
"It was my uncle's. He wanted to save it for Jeremiah, but Jer wants to go to school and I'm hoping he won't need it, and it's nothing really, but I thought you might like it."
"… This is a beautiful gift, Julie."
"Oh, I'm so glad it pleases you! I'll tell the children you liked it."
"Yes. Please do."
* * *
Krelle sat in her office after Julie had left, admiring the dagger. The blade had been blackened during the forging, giving it a dead, grey tone. The edges had very fine serrations running along them, almost like a file. The serrations further dulled the possible glint of steel - and would make it much simpler to apply poisons. The pommel stone was a heavy thorium ignot, balancing the knife for throwing. It was an assassin's blade. Small wonder she'd prefer not to have her kid use it. You'd need a very strange mother to approve of a gift like this.
The small forsaken balanced the knife on one finger, watching it teeter slowly back and forth. It was heavier than Widowmaker, and the edge was keener. She stood slowly, keeping it balanced, then flicked it into the air and caught it by the tip. A smooth overhand throw, and the blade buried itself into a large knot in the door.
"Well damn," she drawled. "Looks like I got me a new knife."