Soundtrack Monday: White Flag

Dante Valentine

Sure, everyone who reads Danny’s story has feelings about Japhrimel. I mean, the Devil’s assassin is kind of impossible to be neutral on, especially when you’re inside a certain Necromance’s head.

I know you think that I shouldn’t still love you.

But I really treasure the few letters I get about Jace Monroe. Mostly because, while Japhrimel coalesced out of several books and strange oddments, Jace is an amalgamation of two men I knew, both of whom were better to a half-crazed young me than she deserved.

Of course Danny expected mainthusz–that faithfulness–from Gabe Spocarelli, and was never disappointed. But from Jace, Danny never expected anything but pain no matter how good he was to her, and I think that’s truly where their relationship foundered.

It’s hard to hug someone who’s bracing for a punch all the time.

I’ll let it pass, and hold my tongue. And you will think that I’ve moved on.

Anyway, Jace’s arrival in Working for the Devil surprised me. When he showed up on the Nuevo Rio transport dock (“Spare a kiss for an old boyfriend?“) I wasn’t prepared for just who he reminded me of.

I didn’t really have a song for him, other than a certain malagueña during his and Danny’s sparring session in WFTD, until I was driving late one fall evening and Dido’s White Flag came over the speakers.

I will go down with this ship. I won’t put my hands up and surrender.

It could have been Danny herself singing, but it’s ever and always Jace’s song. It reminds me, very specifically, of those two separate men from my younger days, and in that moment I had the key to his character.

We all–Danny included–think Danny Valentine is the strong one, and yet… Sometimes a person simply decides, and that’s that.

Of course Dead Man Rising wrecked me–you know the scene I’m talking about. It had to be, it was ordained from the moment he saw her, and Jace’s loa warned him over and over again. (I have a short story written about one of those warnings that will never see light of day. It’s too sad, and entirely too private.)

Monroe’s answer was the same every time.

There will be no white flag above my door. I’m in love, and always will be.

No quarter asked, none given. If Dante had ever understood as much, things might have been different. But we’re blind to what we’re most akin to, ever and always.

Chango love you, girl, Jace would say, rubbing at his temple and cocking his head with that familiar grin. Never do anything the easy way.

Just like you, Monroe.

Just like you.