“You know, I always take these things and I never feel anything.”
Even as she says it, though, a smile won’t stop tugging the corners of her mouth, as is too easily the case when faced with the undiluted giddiness of a high-out-of-his-mind Mollymauk Tealeaf. Not that anything about a sober Mollymauk is diluted in the slightest, his incessant voice in her head is quick to remind her.
He grabs Yasha’s hand in both of his, cheeky smile intact even after the tumble he took off of Bo the Breaker’s shoulders earlier. She tightens her grip around him without thinking, all too aware of the cart rumbling beneath their feet as the circus trundles down yet another nameless dirt path that reminds Yasha nothing of home.
“Yes, yes,” he says breezily. “You’re big and tough and untouchable. But you’ve never done any drugs with me, darling. That makes all the difference.”
“Oh, yeah?” She gives up on trying to hide her small grin, an occurrence that has become alarmingly frequent over the past several months with this odd little circus and even odder tiefling. “And how many times have you done this, exactly?”
“Once,” Molly says unabashedly, perhaps even proudly. “Or maybe twice, but Bo keeps saying I was more stoned than high that time.” He winks and squeezes her hand. “So? Do you feel anything now??”
She scoffs. Moonlight glints off the sharp points of his teeth and the deep red of his eyes, and he would look almost sinister to anyone who didn’t actually know him. Mollymauk Tealeaf. He certainly wasn’t what she expected, when she arrived in the Empire with nothing but the blood in her veins. Less than nothing.
“I certainly feel something, all right,” she says softly.
Her heart is light in a way that it never is. Maybe those herbs are doing something to her despite what she said.
Then Molly lets go of her hand and wraps his arms around her waist instead, and Yasha is musing at the idea that he is the only one she knows, now, whom she’d let hug her like this, until Molly tightens his hold, straining, and Yasha begins to suspect that this is not, in fact, a hug at all.
“What are you doing?” she asks, mildly.
“I’m—gonna lift you high,” he grits. “Like Bo—did for me. It’s what friends are for.”
“Molly,” she laughs, “you can’t lift me.”
But then, impossibly, miraculously, the heels of Yasha’s feet rise half an inch off the floor of the cart. Yasha is impressed, just in time for the cart to hit a nasty bump in the road, sending the both of them tumbling down into the dirt.
“We’re not stopping for you again,” Gustav yells from his horse, even as absolutely no one takes him seriously.
Yasha is shaking with silent laughter and, yeah, yeah, maybe she does feel something, after all. Uncharacteristically, Molly beneath her isn’t laughing, and that surprises her so much she gets worried that her weight is crushing his windpipe, so she quickly rolls off of him and they both lie there on their backs with a tapestry of stars spread out above their heads. In the distant background, she can hear Desmond grumbling and one of the carts coming to a halt, waiting for them.
Molly is grinning at her, wide, bright.
“I told you I’d send us flying,” he says, happy and warm. “See? You can count on me, dear.”
“I believe you,” murmurs Yasha, and just this once she lets her smile grow freely.