Mercy Thompson

 
 

Mercy Thompson Book 7 - Page 47


"Jesse?"

"Adam's daughter, the one we were trying to keep safe from the bad guys," said Tad, moving behind the officer so he could see his notes. "She spells it J-E?S-S?E. And I'm Tad - like 'tadpole' - short for Thaddeus, but don't go there, and my last name is Adelbertsmiter." He spelled that for him, too. Twice.

The officer turned to force Tad to give him some space, but Tad just followed him around.

"Thank you," the officer said firmly. "What happened to the wall?" He looked at me, but Tad answered that, too.

"I was eating Jesse's brownies when someone rang the doorbell. I sent Jesse, Gabriel, and the kids into one of the bedrooms and went to answer the door."

"So you let him in?"

"Do I look like I'm five?" asked Tad indignantly. "No. I asked who it was and he said he was UPS and had a package for us. I told him to leave it on the porch 'cause I was naked, just out of the shower."

"I thought you were eating brownies," said the officer, who seemed to have resigned himself to having Tad hanging over his shoulder.

"I was." Tad shook his head. "I lied to the guy. I was there to keep the kids safe, no way was I opening the door to some stranger. There are things out there who can take it for an invitation - and you don't invite evil into your home."

"No," said the officer faintly, "I can see that you wouldn't."

Tony rubbed his mouth to hide a smile. Tony had seen Tad in full-blown Look-At-Me mode before. It wasn't that Tad was lying to the police officer, but, like a good stage magician, he'd keep the police looking where he wanted them to look. I didn't know what Tad was trying to cover up, but with Adam here and safe, I didn't really care.

"I thought you fae couldn't lie?" said one of the kids who was supposed to be cleaning Sylvia's stuff off the ground.

Tad nodded at him. "Yeah, that's only the true fae and some of the halfies. All that kind of stuff doesn't apply to me. 'Cause I lie and" - he spread his arms to invite everyone to admire - "I'm still here."

Behind me, Adam laughed quietly.

"Anyway," continued Tad, now talking to the crowd instead of the police, "the supposed UPS guy, he said he needed a signature. I told him to leave a form and we'd pick the package up at the UPS office - and that's when he unlocked the door with some kind of picklock or magic, I wasn't paying attention because he tried to hit me with a stun gun. When that didn't work, he drew a freaking sword and tried to take off my head."

"A sword?" said the officer, who was starting to look as though he was having trouble keeping up.

Tad nodded. "I know, right? Weirded me out, too. I guess he was pretty old, 'cause he knew what he was doing with that thing. I took two years of aikido at school, and he made a monkey out of me." I wondered if anyone would notice that although Tad was pretty banged up, there were no sword cuts. "I drew him back farther into the apartment to give the kids a chance to escape. Sometime in there, he tossed me through the wall."

All the people who were cleaning up the mess near him and the policemen and policewoman who were listening to his story looked at Tad - because he didn't look like he'd been tossed through a wall. Tad wasn't good-looking, his ears were too big and they stuck out and his nose was flattened as if he'd gone three rounds with George Foreman, but when he wanted people to watch him, they did. It wasn't magic; it was force of personality.

"Half fae," he told them again. "Sometimes it helps." He looked up at the hole, too, and shook his head and winced. "Doesn't mean it didn't hurt. I ran back up and kept him occupied while the kids escaped. I tossed the desk at him, knocked him out the same hole he'd knocked me through, and by then you guys were pretty close. He picked himself up and ran."

Apparently we weren't going to talk about Asil. I glanced around, but didn't see Bran's wolf anywhere. Maybe Asil was responsible for Tad's look-at-me-not-at-what-I'm-hiding performance.

"Adam, what can you tell me about your kidnapping?" Tony wasn't as caught up in Tad's performance as the other cops were.

Adam gave him a tired smile. "I'm going to get some rest. I'll have my lawyer get in touch with you, and I'll give a full statement tomorrow. Okay?"

Tony gave him a reluctant nod. "Fine. Get in touch before ten tomorrow or I'll give you a call. Mercy, your turn."

I thought about the body in the back of Marsilia's car and tried to decide where to start.

"She didn't see much," Tad said, and this time I could feel his magic push past me, focusing Tony's attention on him. "How about she takes Adam home, and they both talk to you tomorrow. I know who this guy was because he's a spriggand - that's a kind of fae and fairly rare, thankfully, because they are nasty, bitter mischief-makers one and all. This one is a pureblood, and that makes him a renegade because he's not holed up in the reservations with the rest of the fae. There's only one renegade spriggand. He goes by the name of Sliver and usually hangs out with a half-fae woman called Spice. They hire out as muscle or assassins. I didn't see any woman, but she might have been keeping watch."

Spice must be the dead woman in the trunk of Marsilia's car. It would have been a good time for me to tell the police about her - her death was self-defense. If I told them right now, it would look better than if they found out about it later. But I was content just resting against Adam and couldn't find the impetus to say anything.

Tony frowned at Tad. "And why do you know the names of assassins for hire?"

Tad's brilliant facade soured. "Because even though they don't care a fig for the half-bloods, the pure-blooded fae send us lists of fae who did not answer the Gray Lords' call. We, the rejected, are to watch out for these fae and turn in any purebloods we see."

Tony nodded slowly. "I see. And if you don't turn them in?"

Tad's smile left entirely, and he looked very adult. "Nothing good. The Gray Lords don't have much use for half-bloods."

Tony blinked a couple of times and bit back whatever homily had come to him. Finally, he looked around at the destruction that was getting cleaned up. It was a crime scene, so probably no one should be cleaning yet - but it was also Sylvia's private papers flying in the wind.

"No bodies on the ground," said the officer Tad had cornered. "No one bleeding. No lawsuit because Mr. Hauptman is paying the damages - though we'll need to do a report just in case. We can let them clean up, Tony." He looked at Adam. "Mr. Hauptman is coming in tomorrow to make a statement about his kidnapping. That works for me - Tony?"