Quartz sits with his beard groomed over his waistcoat, facing Christopher who’s in the guest chair.
Neither of them get a chance to speak before a small, spindly man dressed in bright colors appears in a cloud of yellow smoke between them.
Quartz: Gah! (waving the smoke away) Nimmie Nott! Don’t do that!
Nimmie Nott: (striking a pose) Why not? (He leaps into Quartz’s lap.) You’re not the only one gathering dust, delectable dwarf, oh no, you’re not!
Quartz is too busy coughing, eyes watering to answer.
Christopher: (also waving the dust away and wincing) Apparently not. How long have you been in storage, Nimmie Nott?
Nimmie Nott leaps off Quartz’s lap to stand between the two seats, a small cloud of yellow dust rising when his pointed slippers hit the ground.
Nimmie Nott: Too long, too long. I was ready to dissolve into motes of memory, returning to the stuff of dreams when I heard you plotting to go on a date with my dwarf.
Quartz: I am not yours!
Christopher: This wasn’t a date.
Nimmie Not: No, you mean to scheme together to win our scribbler’s attention, oh yes, how cunning, how cruel. How would you like it, little shadow, if I secretly met with Damian, hmm?
Quartz: (his brows coming together in a scowl) Are you, now? Secretly meeting with Damian?
Nimmie Nott: Oh ho, oh my, are you jealous? (His stamping becomes a jig.)
Christopher: Do you know where Damian is?
Nimmie Nott: Got your attention, didn’t I? Probably got the scribbler’s too, oh, yes.
Quartz: Aye, much as I hate to admit it, I’m sure you did. Damian is a favorite of hers.
Christopher: Is that what we should do to get her attention? Talk about Damian? That’s not a problem for me.
Nimmie Nott: Oh ho, I’m sure it’s not! That’s the spirit, little shadow! Take your obsession and distract our scribbler with it. Remind her of her own obsessions with yours.
Quartz: Harrumph. Damian Ashelocke is no obsession of mine. More of a distraction from me and mine.
Nimmie Nott: So glad to hear it, yes, I am! (dances near Quartz and tickles his beard) No, you’ve got better things to obsess about, don’t you, my dear Quartz?
Quartz: Gah! (shrinks back, nose turning red) Stop that!
Nimmie Nott: I certainly shouldn’t, no indeed! Not if you wish to keep our flighty scribbler’s attention, my dear, oh yes!
Christopher: (cocking his head and considering) He’s got a point.
Quartz: What? You think he should keep tickling me?
Quartz makes a grab for Nimmie Nott’s hands. The kobold playfully dodges them, darting back and forth while Quartz continue to grab at him.
Christopher: I think he’s got a point about keeping the scribbler’s attention. About constantly reminding me we’re there even while she’s working on At Her Service.
Nimmie Nott: Now you’re getting the idea, grab and catch it while you can! (He seizes Quartz’s hands, pulling him out of his chair and begins to dance with him.)
Quartz: Gah! Stop right there! (He pulls himself free of his partner and stands before Christopher, flustered and flushed.) You do not want to distract the scribbler. If you do, you might slow her down even more.
Christopher: We won’t be distracting her. Just constantly reminding her that we’re there.
Nimmie Nott: Just as I’m reminding you that I’m here, my dear Quartz! (He takes Quartz’s hands, drops them, and starts to dance in a circle around the dwarf.)
Quartz: How are we going to do that? (He tries to follow the kobold’s movements, looking dazed.) We’re nothing like Cinders.
Nimmie Nott: Nothing like her? Is that so? Are you sure about that? Sure you have nothing in common with the little cinders girl and her obsession with Lady Ariella’s feet, oh no?
Quartz: (turning redder than ever) I am not obsessed with your feet!
Christopher: No, but we’re all obsessive. We have that in common with our scribbler.
Quartz: Right. Wouldn’t call myself obsessive. I get fixated, yes, on a particular rock, a particular project, a particular…something. It’s not obsession. No matter what Opal might say, I don’t moon over these the way you do Damian. (pointed look at Christopher) Or grab and paw at them the way you do me. (glowers at Nimmie Nott)
Nimmie Nott: (stops to cross his arms and scowl, mimicking Quartz perfectly) “Right.” You never moom over the stones you collect. Or a certain human princess you think you can save from herself.
Quartz: (splutters in outrage) That’s different!
Christopher: Is it? I wonder if you don’t feel about your Fairest the way I do about my Danyel and Tayel.
Quartz: (turning his scowl on Christopher) First off I wouldn’t go letting Leiwell hear you call his precious little brothers “yours”. Not the way you look at them.
Christopher: (now starting to look angry) And just how do I look at them?
Quartz: As if they were something good to eat. That’s more like Oriana with my Fairest than me.
Christopher: I am nothing like Oriana! (He looks flustered, not quite sure of his own words.)
Nimmie Nott: Ah, you poor repressed creatures, not allowing yourself to feel. You’ll never get the scribbler’s attention like that. Or perhaps you will, perhaps you will. Go ahead and deny your obsessions. You might stir up her sadistic side and get her attention.
Quartz: (swallows) I’m not sure any of us wants that! Perhaps you’ve got a point, though, about getting her attention, reminding her we’re there while she writes At Her Service. It’s worth trying, although I still worry about slowing her down.
Nimmie Nott: There, was that so hard, my unmovable lump of stubbornness? (He leans foward to plant a kiss upon Quartz’s nose.)
Quartz: Gah! (The nose in question turns even redder.) Stop that!
Nimmie Not: Only if you want me to, only if you want me to. (He winks at Quartz.)
Quartz turns even redder and doesn’t answer.