"Arnaud is an elf."
Darien popped a french fry into his mouth. "Elf, huh? What's that mean?"
"Whaddaya mean, what does it mean. Elf... he's an elf. Elf means elf!"
Darien rolled his eyes. "Yeah, okay, I don't know your secret spy language, so what's 'elf'—is it an acronym for something?" He grinned. "Eurotrash-Like Foe? Evil Loser Fuckface?"
Bobby narrowed his eyes, leaned across the table, and enunciated right in Darien's ear. "ELF. E-L-F. Faerie. The Fair Folk. The People of the Wood." He sat back.
Darien looked blank.
"He's an elf, Fawkes."
"Elf, like elf elf. You think Arnaud... is an—"
"ELF! C'mon, Fawkes! What else could he be? French-Swiss? French-Swiss? You believe that crap?" Bobby smirked and picked up his burger. "French-Swiss. The guy is probably half-Sidhe, half-Sindar or something like that."
"What's a sitar have to do with elves? No, don't answer that. I can't even believe I'm having this conversation."
"Sindar. Sindar. Tolkien wrote about them, Fawkes! Don't you read? Didn't you, you know, read, when you were a kid? Look. Sidhe are the High Court in Ireland. The Sindar are the Mirkwood Elves, Galadriel's people—"
"So, you're saying that Arnaud is half-Irish and half-fictional."
"No. What? No. Listen to me, Fawkes."
"You're talking about elves, and I should listen to you? Maybe your meds are screwed up, or expired, or—"
"Fawkes. Fawkes. Fawkes. Listen. I'm telling you that Defehhhhhrn is not a name known to humans. Okay? The guy is passing for human. I can tell." Bobby bit into his burger. "I can always tell."
"You really believe this."
"Yes, I do, my friend."
Darien considered this. It was, after all, no weirder than invisible men, and Bobby had never lied to him before.
"And... you can tell he's an elf."
"You have Elf-dar."
"I don't - yeah, okay - yeah, you could call it that. I have Elf-dar. I know an elf when I see one."
"Oh, you do."
"And how do you do that, exactly?"
Bobby mumbled something around a mouthful of hamburger.
Darien leaned forward, cupping his ear. "Um, I'm sorry, I didn't catch that, Hobbes— how do you do it?"
"I'm an elf, okay? There, I said it. Now you know. I'm an elf. Well," he muttered, "I'm an ex-elf."
Darien looked at him for a moment, then cracked up.
"Hey! Don't go mocking the Lords and Ladies. We have a long and noble history."
"How can you be an ex-elf? How do you get un-elfed?"
"It doesn't matter what happened to me. That's ancient history. What I'm saying is that Arnaud's an elf, and he doesn't know we know, and that gives us an advantage over that pansy-assed Keebler."
Darien cracked up again.
"Hey, Fawkes, among my people? 'Keebler' is a serious insult."
Darien sighed out of his laughing fit, then smiled at his partner, nodding. "Then, Hobbesy, it's an insult among my people too."
They low-fived under the table.