“All right,” he said. “Here comes the litany of reasons I didn’t kill you. I like you. I like that you have a woman’s lineaments and a man’s body, a boy’s curious eyes and a man’s large easy gestures, a child’s frank words and a man’s voice, a blundering manner and an honest grace.”
He smiled at me quite deliberately, and winked his right eye, and then went on.
“I like that you loved Stirling,” he said. “I like that you honor your glorious Aunt Queen so candidly.” He smiled mischievously. “Maybe I even like it that you went down on your knees and kissed her feet, though that gesture came rather late in the game of my deciding. I like that you love so many around you. I like it that you’re more generous than I am. I like that you hate the Dark Blood, and that your Maker wronged you. Now — isn’t that pretty? Isn’t that enough?”
I was quietly delirious with gratitude.
“Don’t think it so very unselfish of me to be here,” he went on, eyes widening, voice gaining a little heat. “It’s not. I need you or I wouldn’t be here. I need your need of me. I need to help you, positively need it. Come, Little Brother, carry me deep into your world.”
“My world,” I whispered.
“Yes, Little Brother,” he said. “Let’s proceed together. Tell me the history you inherited and the life you’ve lived. Tell me about this beastly and beguiling Goblin and how he has gained his strength. I want to hear everything.”
“I’m in love with you,” I responded.
He laughed the most beguiling and gentle laugh.
“Of course you are,” he replied. “I understand perfectly because I’m in love with myself. The fact that I’m not transfixed in front of the nearest mirror takes a great deal of self-control.”
It was my turn to laugh.
“But your love for me,” he went on, “is the reason why you’ll tell me all about yourself and Blackwood Farm. Start with the family history and then go into your own.”