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[sticky post] About Me

swhunt.flames
other

Warning: I love unabashedly and fully
- I probably love a character you dislike -
Haters leave your hate at the door or don't come in.

I'm a 20-something female getting my Masters in English at a not-top University. This blog began (oh so long ago) as a literal journal, a private space to write in (born and bred Mormon - could never quite kick the obsessive need to journal EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF MY LIFE, even after declaring self Atheist Pagan) but within a couple of years became mostly a fandom spot. I'm a Literature person (and a Theory-head to boot) so sometimes I will get a little... nutty about things - particularly TV.

THESIS: Currently working on (/talking about working on) the dynamics of fanfiction and Buffy - particularly focusing on Dawn. If you want to talk to me about how much you (a) love/hate Joss (b) love/hate fandom (c) love/hate writing (d) LOVE Dawn's cute little mug OR any combination of these .... right now this is what I live for :)

Most postings are Open - I'm not really afraid of lurkers (especially since most of the time - I am one!) - except those personal or directed to my flist especially. HOWEVER! Feel free to friend me, I may not friend back right away unless you comment/talk to me regularly - or I've seen your shiny self around. Feel free to comment here if you have any questions or just want me to know who you are!!! *waves* Hello stalkers!



That inevitable list of fandoms and ships:

[I ship things sometimes]
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Dawn, Faith, Tara, Anya, Spike, Ford, Willow, Buffy
Spike/Buffy
Buffy/Tara
Anya/Giles
Faith/Wesley
Dawn/Faith
Ford/Narrative
Dawn/Spike (friendship)

Angel the Series
Cordy, Fred, Wesley, Lilah, Illyria, Spike
Cordy/Angel
Fred/Wesley(/Lilah)
Ilyria/Wesley
Illyria/Spike

The Vampire Diaries
Elena, Caroline, Jeremy, Anna, Katherine, Rebekah,Katherine
Elena/Damon
Elena/Caroline
Elena/Katherine
Caroline/Klaus
Jeremy/Anna
Jeremy/Katherine
Damon/Katherine
Elijah/Katherine
Rebekah/Klaus(/Caroline)
Elena/Caroline/Bonnie
Jeremy/Caroline

Alias
Sydney, Spydaddy, Sark
Sydney/Vaughn
Sydney/Sark
Sydney+Jack
Jack/his face
Sydney/Lauren
Lauren/Sark(/Vaughn/Sydney)

Camelot
Merlin, Morgan
Merlin/everyone
Morgan/Merlin

Dance Academy
Abby, Kat, Christian
Kat/Christian
Abby/Kat
Abby/Ethan

Doctor Who
10, 11, Amelia Pond, Rory Pond, River Song, Martha, Clara, Tardis
Martha/Mikey
Amy/Rory
River/12(?)
Tardis/11
Tardis/River(/dark!Amy)

Gossip Girl
Jenny, Blair
Jenny/Blair
Blair/Chuck
Blair/Serena
Blair/Dan
Blair/happiness

Glee
Rachel, Kurt, Burt, Puck, Quinn, Santana
Rachel/Quinn
Kurt/Blaine
Rachel/Puck
Quinn/Santana
Santana/Brittni
Rachel/Kurt (friendship)

Game of Thrones
Arya, Sansa, Dani
Sansa/Hound
Arya/Sansa

Hart of Dixie
Lemon, Zoe, Levon, Wade
Lemon/Zoe
Lemon/Levon
Zoe/Wade
Lemon+Wade
Lemon+Annabeth
Zoe/Wade/Levon

Simpsons
Lisa

Supernatural
Dean, Jo, Bela, Anna, Ruby
Dean/his Grim Reaper
Dean/Bela
Jo/Anna

Victorious
Jade, Cat, Beck, Tori
Jade/Beck
Jade/Beck/Cat
Tori/Cat
Tori/Andre
Tori/Cat/Andre
Robbie/Trina(/Cat)
Jade/Tori
Jade/Tori/Cat

Wizards of Waverly Place
Alex Russo
Alex/Justin
Alex/Harper
Harper/Gerry

Twin Peaks
Audrey Horne
Audrey/Cooper

Roswell
Isabel, Maria, Kyle, Michael, Tess, alt!Tess, future!Max
Isabel/Kyle
Maria/Michael
Isabel/Tess
Tess/Liz
Kyle/Tess

LOST
Kate, Cassidy, Juliet, Sayid, Shannon, Jack, Sawyer, Ben, Jin
Jack/Sawyer(/Kate)
Jack/Kate
Juliet/Sawyer
Kate/Claire
Kate/Cassidy
Kate/Juliet
Sayid/Shannon
Shannon/Boone
John/Ben
BROTPS:
Sayid/Danielle
Jack/Juliet
Jack/Ana Lucia
Jack/John
Jin/Sawyer
Kate/Sayid

Once Upon a Time
Regina, Ruby, Emma, Pan, Belle, Hook
Regina/Emma
Pan/everyone
Ruby/Snow
Ruby/Belle
Tink/Regina
Ariel/Ruby

Veronica Mars
Veronica, Mac, Weevil, Logan
Veronica/Weevil/Logan

Boy Meets World
Rachel, Angela, Topanga, Shawn, Eric
Shawn+Corey
Rachel/Angela
Shawn/Angela
Corey/Topanga(/Shawn)
Eric/Jack/Rachel

Teen Wolf
Allison, Lydia, Danny, Isaac
Allison/Lydia
Allison/Isaac
Allison/Lydia/Erica/Cora
Danny/boys
Danny/Stiles
Stiles/boys

Lost Girl
Kenzi, Tamsin
Bo/Kenzi
Bo/Kenzi/Dyson
Kenzi/Dyson

the 100
Clarke, Octavia, Raven, Bellamy
Clarke/Raven
Clarke/Raven/Bellamy
Raven/Bellamy
Octavia/Licoln
Octavia/Bellamy



Crossover/AU ships
Dawn Summers/Kim Sunggyu
Dawn Summers/Allison Argent
Dawn Summers/Bella Swan
Dawn Summers/Clary Fray
Dawn Summers/Elena Gilbert
Dawn Summers/Amy Pond/Clara Oswald
Faith Lehane/Ruby 2.0
Buffy Summers/Obi Wan Kenobi


The Long-Suffering Wives Club
Fei, Spike, Woohyun, Dean Winchester

The Very-Confused Husbands Club
Jia, Buffy, Sunggyu, Castiel

The Korean Dramas I Have Seen:
Boys Over Flowers
Goong (Princess Hours)
City Hunter
Coffee Prince

You're Beautiful
Lie to Me
Flower Boy Next Door
The Heirs





The Ultimate Fic List

Note on the fic: listed in order of publication date, newer stuff is on the bottom

Noona-verseCollapse )
BuffyverseCollapse )
kpop RPFCollapse )
vampire diariesCollapse )
harry potterCollapse )
[victorious]

Victorious
what she'll remember (Jade/Beck) 1000
being cat valentine (Cat + cast) 1,200
running ragged (Beck, Jade/Beck, Tori, Beck/Cat) 1,100
did it hurt? when you crawled your way up from the depths of hell? (Jade) 3800
let's sing a song of all the mistakes we should have made (Tori/Cat+ot7) 18000

veronica marsCollapse )
the heirsCollapse )
the one hundredCollapse )
gossip girlCollapse )

[Teen Wolf]Teen Wolf
through the looking glass (Lydia/Allison) 793
the lies we tell ourselves (Lydia/Allison) 5500
being female (Allison/Scott/Isaac) 1420

crossoversCollapse )
miscellaneousCollapse )

sunset (an original series)Collapse )

Read and Watched in 2015

(un)spoken:

[fic] copper and axinite (3/4)

tw.allison_lydia
fic: copper and axinite: autumn (3/4)
fandom: btvs/teenwolf/tmi
characters: allison/lydia; dawn summers, clary fray, stiles/lydia-friendship, clary/simon-friendship
word count: 3000
setting: set a few years before the events of destiny came a calling; witches-au allison thinks she'll never find her familiar... Lydia always knew that she was different from her family and friends, she just didn't know how much...
a/n: written for the femslashbb's March challenge: Elements (there will be a chapter for every season)

[chapter one: summer]
[chapter two: spring]

I left because this is CRAZY. I came back because Im not a coward.Collapse )

[fic] copper and axinite (2/4)

tw.allison_lydia
fic: copper and axinite: spring (2/4)
fandom: btvs/teenwolf/tmi
characters: allison/lydia; dawn summers, clary fray, stiles/lydia-friendship
word count: 5200
setting: set a few years before the events of destiny came a calling; witches-au allison thinks she'll never find her familiar... Lydia always knew that she was different from her family and friends, she just didn't know how much...
a/n: written for the femslashbb's March challenge: Elements (there will be a chapter for every season)


[chapter one: summer]


[that spring was wet, so wet with rain she felt like she was drowning, and her dreams held no reprieve]Lydia Martin had known her entire life that she had been adopted. It wasn’t something that anyone said, in fact most unknowing people liked to point out that she had her mother’s smile or her father’s hair or something else equally ridiculous.

She had to have been adopted because there was no other logical explanation for her difference.

It began before she was conscious of it. Though her parents, her sweetly oblivious parents, liked to laugh about the signs; the crying fits that she had as a baby just hours before a catastrophe, her wide eyed knowing. She heard her mother tell a dinner party stories about herself, as if she was a horror story to be told over candlelight, the haunted child. Her mother grew more superstitious, her father spent more hours at the office. She could sense them drifting apart, her between them, her eyes seeing too much and her words too knowing.

When she was seven years old she collapsed and was in the hospital for a week. When she woke up, the world was still and a television in her room showed smoke and chaos. Her mother grew desperate for answers after that, answers for the daughter that woke in the instant of death, answers for the way she knew who was calling before the phone rang, who knew sales the day before they occurred, who seemed able to see into the fabric of reality.

When she was seven years old she learned how to hide herself.

It’s a strong lesson for such a young girl. And she perfected it.

Stopped flinching in the instant before the hammer fell.

Pretended not to see the divorce papers lingering in her father’s mind for months before they arrived.

She learned to hide other things, too. Her mother had wanted a normal daughter and so she threw herself into the task with steadfast determination. There was no enthusiasm, just willpower. She papered her room with hideous posters of teen boys with too-white grins and laughed a little too much and kissed boys a little too early. She learned to hide her knowledge behind a grin and a toss of her hair. She learned that she had to hide a lot more. She hid her books on astrophysics and archaic Latin behind magazines with women pouting on the covers. She hid her 4.0 behind a string of boyfriends. She hid her loneliness behind a façade of parties and social activities.

She hid her worry and care behind bored sarcasm.

People loved her. She was loved. She was desired. She was popular.

She was Lydia Martin.



The spring after she turned fifteen it rained so much she felt as if the world was in mourning. It didn’t help that she knew someone important had died. Tragically. Someone important that she was supposed to love, supposed to know. She watched the news, she scoured the internet, she did so many Google searches the librarians were starting to get concerned. She woke once to the sound of her own screaming. She told her mother she was dreaming of being on a rollercoaster.

She applied her makeup more carefully that spring. She curled her hair with precision. That spring she favored long ringlets to her usual soft curls. Because it took attention, she had no choice but to sit in front of the mirror and painstakingly curl each inch-wide stretch of hair from tip to root. She perfected the dark wings of eyeliner over her eyelashes. She wore slightly taller heels than before, putting as much attention as she could into each step. Never missing one single step, never looking anything other than the picture of perfection.

The world was wet and her dreams were rivers and lakes and oceans of tears.

Only she couldn’t help but feel the tears weren’t her own.





When the rain stopped, the dreams stopped. She stopped being a vessel for pain – which is how she had felt, beneath her perfect makeup and high heels, like she was a living embodiment of someone else’s pain and there seemed to be no way to shield herself from it.

After that, the silence was a relief.

And all the more lonely; as if the thing that had been causing her so much pain was actually the thing holding her together.

After that, the silence was deafening.

She found herself reaching for that dark river of heartache. She wondered where all that pain had gone, did it dissipate into the air like water rising up to meet the sun?

And who did it belong to in the first place?

Only thing was, with the silence came a deadening apathy. The show of living almost felt like too much. As if she was just going through the motions, when before she was made up of so many living parts.

She dreamed and couldn’t remember her own dreams.

She woke up thirsty and nothing satisfied.

She longed for her dark river of salt and tried not to cast judgement upon herself for reaching out and hoping to find pain.






A year passed without her even seeming to realize it. A year without dreams, a year without caring. She did a lot of research in that year, as stealthily as she could – though it wasn’t like anyone really paid much attention to anything she did, anyway.

And then it was spring again, wet and demanding and bright.

She turned sixteen in a rainstorm, face held back, arms held out wide as if to embrace the sky as it fell.

She turned sixteen and began to dream of a girl with chocolate hair and eyes the color of dark axinite with long fingers and a strong jaw and a heaviness to her heart.

She turned sixteen and fell in love with a girl in her dreams.






All her research told her that dreams cannot create images from nothing, any face or landmark you see in a dream has its foundation in reality, you just have to look for it. That mountain is just a pile of dirty laundry on your floor, the purple sky is your favorite sweater, the witch with ragged hair is your father’s assistant that scared you when you were five years old and still couldn’t protect yourself from the secret thoughts of strangers that invaded your mind.

All her research has always prepared her for anything the world can throw at her – except her own incomprehensible mind.

She had tried desperately for years to forget this, to shove this under her bed along with all the things about herself that she finds annoying or too complicated to deal with.

All her research has always prepared her for anything the world can throw at her – except her own wayward heart.






Coach is going to fail you for that stunt you pulled in class yesterday.

One thing that Lydia Martin has always allowed the world to see, one thing that she has claimed for herself and never allowed presumptions or social status or her mother’s quizzical brow take away from her, is her strange friendship with Stiles. He was the only one she knew who was even half as smart as her – actually, he kept up quite well despite his straggling 2.0 and obsession with Scott McCall.

He was also the only one who could see behind her bullshit.

And only thought more highly of her because of it.

Yeah … well… it was still a damn good essay.

That’s not the point, Stiles.

Hi. I’m Lydia. Today I’m avoiding something in particular by having an argument about something I genuinely don’t give two shits about because I think my friend Stiles is an idiot.

I don’t think you are an idiot.

Thanks!

I know you are.

Lydia.

Do you ever clean your room?

No. I just wait for you to come over and do it.

That’s gross, Stiles.

Fine. If you won’t tell me what’s going on with you, then I’m going to make you watch me play this new game I found last night. There’s lots of gunfire. You’re gonna hate it.


Lydia flopped back on Stiles bed and tossed an old stuffed bear from hand to hand. I don’t even know how to…

Stiles lay down on the bed next to her, shoving her with his bony elbow and hip to get more room, resting his head against hers, One of these days you’re gonna stop being Miss Cryptic with me and actually tell me what has you so spooked, you know.

Tears fell down Lydia’s cheeks. I’m not spooked.

And I’m not dashingly attractive. See? Lying is super easy.


She laughed and relaxed more into his side. You are dashingly attractive.

I’d feel more smug about it if I wasn’t lying in bed with the prom queen.

Shut up.
She punched him in the arm and he laughed, curling into a ball and pressing his face into her neck, his knees wrapping around her waist. I’m not a prom queen when I’m here.

No? What are you?
He wrapped his arms around her waist and nestled into her, she played with the skin on his elbow and stayed silent. What are you, Lydia Martin?

I don’t know.
Her voice cracked and she cleared her throat as if that would solve it. She was always looking for the easiest fix. It was her second largest flaw. A girl who falls in love with someone in a dream that she’s never met.

Like a Disney princess!? Stiles laughed, his whole body vibrating.

She laughed with him, letting the rhythm of his body carry her into something so far removed from her own stilted, controlled life. This was why she loved him, why she never let go no matter what happened in her life, why she came willingly into house and slept so many nights curled up beside him in his bed. Because he felt everything and never held back – and with him, she almost felt like feeling wasn’t all that bad and that hiding was actually the worse alternative.

She let him guide her back into calm, following his lead as he sobered again, his body becoming still and his breathing becoming even.

Damn. I was holding out hope that you’d fall in love with me.

No you weren’t.

No. I wasn’t.
He smiled and kissed her cheek.

Once, in the seventh grade, they tried to be something different for each other. For two months they held hands at lunch and kissed and none of it felt right for either one of them. On their two-month anniversary, Lydia opened her front door to find Stiles crying on her porch, a present in his hands carefully wrapped. She didn’t tell anyone why they broke up and Stiles fielded strange questions from his dad about Lydia for the next year. She threw herself into dating lacrosse players and he threw himself into one weird hobby after another.

What’s wrong with us? she hadn’t asked that since they were fourteen years old, Stiles leaning over her to wipe away her tears from another painful breakup and mascara running down her face unattractively. Then, he’d told her there was nothing wrong with them, they just loved in different ways. And then he’d held her until she stopped crying and then made his dad watch Princess Diaries with them for the umpteenth time that year. (It always made Sheriff Stilinski cry, but he never figured out that that was the reason why they loved it so much.)

Stiles hummed, There’s nothing wrong with you, Lyd. We just gotta put our impressive brains together and find the girl from your dreams. She stiffened in his arms and he chuckled, poking her with his forehead, Like I didn’t know.

I should have said something.

You should say a lot.
He took a deep breath, So should I, probably.

Words are overrated.

Words are underrated and we should use them more.


They wouldn’t. They were safe for each other precisely because they could say to the other all the things they couldn’t tell anyone else. They were safe for each other precisely because they didn’t say the things they should.






Over the next eight months, Stiles pushed her on a regular basis about the mysterious girl. He had sketches of her hung all over his room. She sneakily suspected that he was running a hack into some facial recognition programs that he really shouldn’t have access to. But she didn’t ask.

Their friendship flourished on knowing without asking.

(They probably both deserved better… but children who know how to hide are taught too early to do otherwise. And helping another hide is the clearest sign a child can give to prove their love and loyalty.)

Over the next eight months, Lydia dreamed of a girl with dark hair and bright eyes and nothing whatsoever was solid or sure. And Stiles kept her secrets, like he always had. And they never discussed his, just like they always had.

It was almost as if life was finally going back to normal.




And then it was spring once again.




A little old house, built out of memory and loved out of time, surrounded by woods that creeped up on either side. Threatening to take back that which was theirs, but only with the intent to protect and envelop and not with the desire to destroy. As if the house itself, its little garden in the back, its fruit trees, and thick grass, was a gift from the trees they were just waiting to take back. A little old house with smoke coming out the chimney, the sound of laughter and shouts inside. A little old house ringing with the sound of girls.

Her dark-haired girl was inside. She circled around the house three times, waiting for her to come out. She didn’t.

That was alright. She could be patient.

She waited in the rain, tail tapping on the ground.





Lydia woke up and wasn’t herself. She was too low to the ground and was covered in hair and everything smelled too much. It was hard to walk, so low and on four limbs instead of two.

So she did the only sensible thing she could think of.

She went to Stiles’ house.

He was at school, because it was a school day though she was certain that when she had gone to sleep it had been a Saturday evening and she had had a date the next day with Jackson or… someone. But he always left his window open. She slipped in and made a nest for herself on his bed and fell asleep.

She avoided looking in any mirrors or reflective surfaces on the way.

She woke to Stiles’ scent and raised her head to find him staring at her, face ashen white, and a baseball bat in his hands. She rolled her eyes and stretched out her back, paws in front of her digging playfully on his comforter. She sat up patiently and waited for him to figure it out. And hoped he didn’t try to hit her with that ridiculous bat.

She wasn’t sure exactly what she was, but she knew that a wooden bat wouldn’t hold up against her.

Which was simultaneously thrilling and a little terrifying.

Okay. Okay. You are a mountain lion. Why is there a mountain lion on my bed? Stiles began pacing back and forth across his bedroom floor. He looked at her seriously, Are you a gift from Derek Hale? Because I told him that gift basket last of pigeons wasn’t from me, but I don’t think he believed me.

Lydia narrowed her eyes at him, she was well-aware that he had in fact, sent that gift basket of live pigeons to Derek Hale. He’d used her laptop to place the order.

Stiles laughed, You are from Derek!

Lydia rolled her eyes and shook her head, letting out an angry breath. Get it together, Stiles.

He cocked his head to one side, Do you understand me, kitty-cat?

She snapped at him, pissed now. This was taking far too long and fucking “kitty cat” he had to be joking. Except she was a mountain lion, so snapping at him actually scared him. A lot. His face went that ghastly shade of white again and she … well she didn’t really feel all that bad. Kitty-cat, indeed. But it wasn’t helping, her losing her temper with him, when he didn’t even know it was her.

She let out a low purr and put her head down on her paws, trying to apologize.

Light dawned in Stiles’ eyes and he reached out a hand to scratch her on the nose. Which felt awesome, actually. Lydia? he whispered.

She growled a little. She would have nodded or something but he was too close, she didn’t want to scare him again.

Lydia if that’s you I am seriously pissed at you for hiding something this big from me for so many years but… he looked down into her face. Holy shit. You … Lyd? Are you stuck? Can you shift back?

Lydia shook her head slowly from side to side. The very un-cat-like gesture causing her to go a bit cross-eyed with effort.

Is this why you weren’t in school yesterday?

Lydia’s head shot up and she looked toward the calendar on the wall.

Yeah, Lyd. It’s Tuesday. How long have you been gone?

She growled.

Oh right. No hablan Inglés. Forgot. He winced.

She huffed out another sigh and he scratched her again on the nose.

And you have no idea how to get back, do you? That’s why you came here.

He went to his computer and started typing furiously. I’ll do what I can, Lyd. But … I mean… without really knowing… goddamnit you idiot. I could have helped His voice cracked. She went over to him and rubbed her head against his leg in apology. I think I prefer you this way. He was teasing, but she still snapped at his knee a little anyway. He just laughed and rubbed her head affectionately. I’m buying you a kitten after this… or myself. You’re buying me a kitten after this.

She fell asleep with her back pressed up against his legs and dreamed of nothing at all.

She woke up stiff and cranky and hungry and very, very nakedly-human. Stiles was still in his chair at the desk, asleep with his head on the keyboard. She got up as quickly as she could and threw on an old shirt from the pile of “mostly-clean” clothes on the floor and a pair of basketball shorts in the corner.

She also considered waking Stiles up, but the clock read two in the morning, and she knew it wouldn’t be the first time he spent an evening asleep on his computer. Instead, she padded down the dark hallway to find something to eat in the kitchen.

Sheriff Stilinski was sitting at the kitchen table, a box of takeout in front of him amidst a pile of paperwork and files. He raised his eyebrows at her, reaching for the French fries, Does your mother know you are here?

She shrugged.

He sighed and put the fries in his mouth. I’ll call her in the morning.

Lydia walked to the table and peeked at the container. A bacon cheeseburger with cheesy French fries. Without a word, she took the box off the table and threw it in the trash under the sink and then opened the refrigerator and began pulling ingredients out for a salad. There was some chicken in there, too. Chicken Caesar sound okay?

I already have Stiles griping at me about what I eat, I don’t need you---

Apparently you do, Sheriff.
Lydia set to work. She knew the Stilinski kitchen better than her own.

Within a few minutes, dinner was ready and Lydia made him clear the table. No work at dinner.

Lydia. It’s my house. Also it’s nearly three in the morning.


She just glared at him until he cleared the papers and files to one side of the table.

Over her salad, she looked across the table at the man who had been a kind of sanctuary when she had been a child and terrified of every shadow in every corner, who didn’t pry into her continued presence in his house now that she was a teen. Thank you, Sheriff.

I should be thanking you. What did you do to this chicken?


She blushed and took a bite of her salad.

You know. For a while I thought… well, I’ve thought a lot of things about you and Stiles over the years. But his mom… just before she died she told me we had to watch out for you, keep you close. I teased her, said she just wanted to be sure to train her daughter-in-law early.

He smiled across the table and Lydia smiled back, willing herself not to cry. Stiles’ mother’s death affected all three of them in ways none of them liked to think about.

She said you’d always be a Stilinski, but not to get my hopes up. Said you and Stiles weren’t… that way.

Lydia shook her head, I think we’d both like to be, but…

The sheriff stopped her with a wave of his hand, You were a daughter to her and so you are a daughter to me. No matter what. So I won’t ask why you are wearing my son’s clothes at two in the morning and I won’t ask where you’ve been the past two days. But if you needed help, don’t forget that I’m here.

God dad, you are such a sap. Stiles slouched into the kitchen and grabbed a plate from the cupboard before joining them at the table and digging into the serving that Lydia had purposefully made for him.

Yeah, I guess I am. Guess she’s too good for you, anyway.

Well, Stiles said through a mouthful of salad. </i>I think we already knew that.</i>

They joked around for a while, interrogated the sheriff on secret news from the station, and then sent him to bed promising to do the dishes.

He’d stay up all night if I let him, Stiles said at the sink while Lydia made the leftover chicken into sandwiches to send off with the sheriff in the morning.

Like father like son, I guess.

I couldn’t find anything, Lyd.

I know.

Where were you?


Lydia stayed silent for a long time, until Stiles finally turned toward her, arms folded over his chest and wearing his “no fucking around this time Martin” expression.

I went to find her.

Her? The girl from your dreams?

Yeah. I mean. I think so.

Why?


Lydia shrugged, tears threatening to pour down her face. I think she needs me.

His hands were wet and a little soapy from doing the dishes, but she let him hug her anyway, sinking into his warmth and letting him comfort her … all of her.

For the first time.





Nothing happened for the next week.

Stiles bought her a tracking device. She was mildly offended that he got it from a Petsmart, but they couldn’t really afford an expensive James Bond-style chip or anything. He put it into a not-too-unattractive necklace. Something they hoped wouldn’t fall off if she transitioned again.

I need to be able to find you if you disappear for too long, Martin.

She just nodded and put the necklace on.

She told him about her dreams, about knowing before seeing, about always somehow understanding what was coming. He had a million theories as to what she was, but none of it really explained the whole turning into a mountain lion thing that seemed to be happening.

He tried to get her to predict the lottery and instead she saw a fire destroying a building full of people. When she saw the building on the news a week later, she sent him a screencap of the report on youtube and he never asked her to predict something again. He bought her chocolate to apologize and she took it mostly because… she felt a bit like the universe owed her some chocolate after all the shit it had put her through.

When she dreamed of the house again, it was still raining, but summer was right around the corner. She woke up on his floor three days later, his eyes were red-rimmed from lack of sleep and too much caffeine.

The tracking device told them she’d travelled a couple thousand miles and back in the span of three days.

Did you see her?

She shook her head, She’s not ready I don’t think. I’m not sure what I’m waiting for.

He put his arm around her shoulder, She’ll come out. She’ll see me.

But she won’t be seeing me. She’ll be seeing some bizarrely misplaced mountain lion completely lost.

Maybe that’s what she needs to see?


She couldn’t help but feel like the girl in that house in the woods didn’t want her and this whole thing was just another awful prank pulled by the universe. Knowledge she couldn’t stop or use, shape-shifting she couldn’t control, and a heart pulled to the opposite end of the country by a girl who didn’t know she existed.





All through that spring, she lost days every week, coming closer together every time. They needed an alibi and soon.

Eventually she’s going to come out and then… and then what, Stiles? I’m going to have to stay and see where it leads. She needs me for some reason and I can’t keep disappearing every week like this.

What about pneumonia?

We already used that.

How about an internship?

Um… actually that’s not bad.


With their combined powers, they created the perfect cover story for Stiles to submit to the school or her parents if she was ever gone for longer than three days. The necklace tracker was working so he’d always know how to find her if something went wrong.

What if I wake up out there and I’m naked?

They set up a post office box in the town nearest to where the gps said she was going and put the key next to the tracker on her necklace. It was the best they could do. Stiles shipped her packages of clothes and money and a cheap phone. All on her father’s dime, of course.

They prepared for everything.

Except for what she was supposed to do once the girl actually came out of the house.





I’m scared, Stiles.

He swiveled his chair around to face her and set his elbows on his knees, Well I think that’s a good thing, actually.

A good thing?

Yeah… when’s the last time anything scared Lydia Martin?

When we were eight and you climbed onto the roof and tried to fly and broke your leg in three places. I was scared then.

When’s the last time you were scared for yourself?


She bit her lip.

He laughed and turned back to his computer, Oh man. I cannot wait to meet this girl.






What if she doesn’t want me?

Who could not want you?

I dunno. Maybe a girl who’d rather have a mountain lion stalk her than an actual girl.

So if she doesn’t want you, we’ll use my research on witchcraft to curse her and you’ll find someone else.

So just wait for another dream girl?

No.
His eyes darkened. Next time, you’re choosing for yourself. No more of this ‘the universe controls me’ bullshit. The Lydia I know and love wouldn’t put up with this shit. He examined her, Aren’t you angry about this even a little bit?

She laughed, Maybe I will be once I understand what’s going on. Keep on with the research.







Just as spring was turning into summer, she finally saw the girl with her own eyes, no dream-filter on. She was carrying a bow and arrows and was less surprised by Lydia’s presence than maybe an ordinary human should have been.

She was full of energy and life and anger and purpose in a way that made the hair on Lydia’s spine stand up.

She was awake for the entire run back to Stiles’ backyard.

I’m not letting the lion take over anymore.

You think that’s what’s been happening?

It’s what you think. Why didn’t you say something before?


He shrugged. Losing spans of time was a defense mechanism. I didn’t want to push you too hard.


She sat down on his bed and towel-dried her damp hair, the impossible run from the previous night had worn her out. I can’t keep running back and forth. Put Plan B into effect this weekend.

He took her hand, Are you ready for this? Are you ready to be in control of this?

She drew in a long, shaking breath, No. But I am ready to know her.





She shifted in his backyard at twilight three days later and let him scratch her nose before she began her cross-country run. He sat down on his haunches in front of her and took her face in his hands, I think you need her just as much as she needs you, maybe she can tell you what you are.

Lydia shook her head and bopped him on the nose softly with one paw.

You’re more than just my sister from another mister, kiddo. You’re amazing. He stood up. So you were waiting for her to tell you just how amazing you are, doesn’t mean it’s any less true.

Lydia growled at him.

Go. Go find out who you are. Don’t come home until you’re sure.






Three months later, she returned and crawled into his bed and cried and refused to speak to anyone for a week. For a while, she was a zombie, she avoided him and threw herself into being a perfect daughter to her shallow mother once again.

After three weeks, he booked two tickets and a hotel room and went to her house and personally packed her bag with her favorite clothes and her curling iron and her lucky eyeliner and dragged her to the airport.

She didn’t protest much.

Even when he personally drove her to a house burned into a memory and waited for an hour on the street for her to work up the courage to open her door.

Do you want me to come with you?

I can shift to get back to the hotel.

He nodded and turned the key in the ignition, If you aren’t back in five hours, I’m coming back and I’m tearing the front door off the hinges.

I love you,
she whispered.

Go get your girl.





After a year of dreaming and wondering and running and playing and hiding, Lydia Martin finally knocked on the door of the house in the woods that held the key to what was either going to save her or be her undoing.

Allison answered the door, mid-laugh, hair wild around her shoulders. At the sight of Lydia on the porch, she stopped and her face turned hard.

I’m sorry, Lydia whispered. It’s just that you asked me not to leave and I had to explain why I did.
swhunt.flames
I came in right under the wire for this, but RL has been pretty crazy and I didn't feel super inspired by this 20in20, which wasn't anyone's fault but my own. But I finished! Yay! And I'm not terribly unimpressed with any of these.

yay icons!Collapse )

[fic] copper and axinite (1/4)

kpop.9les
fic: copper and axinite: summer (1/4)
fandom: btvs/teenwolf/tmi
characters: allison/lydia; dawn summers, clary fray
word count: 3,600
setting: set a few years before the events of destiny came a calling; witches-au allison thinks she'll never find her familiar...
a/n: written for the femslashbb's March challenge: Elements (there will be a chapter for every season)


[summer]She found her familiar when she was seventeen – two summers after her grandmother finally succumbed to illness and left them on their own. Five years after giving up hope that she would ever be granted a familiar.

Even without her predisposition to the more physical arts of her birthright, Allison would still have leaned towards that side of her nature. Losing a mother at too young an age and an aunt too soon after that instilled in her older sister an unquenchable thirst for knowledge contained in musty old books and in their youngest sister a frightened aversion to her own power, which she unknowingly poured into her art. In Allison, loss created a lust for vengeance that threatened to crack her skin and peel her to the bone.

Dawn’s familiar was a small, dark raven that checked in on the full moon and otherwise lived her own life. She appeared one night in the dead of winter. Dawn held her dark feathers to her chest and cried and cried and wouldn’t speak of why. Months later they learned of their mother’s death, but by that time Dawn had already mourned in her own way, had turned her spine to steel. She didn’t shed a tear at the funeral, just held Allison with one hand and Clary with the other; too young to be a rock for such small children and yet no one dared come to take her burden from her.

Clary’s familiar was a small grey mouse that the cats never chased and her sister never acknowledged willingly. Allison can’t remember a time when the little guy hadn’t been underfoot, stealing Clary’s art pencils and sneaking into her room, trying to get her attention. On Clary’s fourteenth birthday, Dawn bought her a cage and put him inside. A lecture posing as a birthday present, Clary called it.

Allison was sure her familiar wasn’t coming. It wasn’t rare for a witch who favored offensive spellwork to have a familiar too wild to be found. Something that hid itself away far from where it could do accidental harm.

Some witches just didn’t have familiars. Dawn pointed this out time and again, just when Allison didn’t really want her to – her eyes full of concern and her fingers marking her place in a book or tying her hair back on her way out the door. To have three familiars in one family was strange. Their mother’s family had always been strong in this regard, but with no way to know anything about their father…

Allison convinced herself she was better this way.

A lone wolf, she laughed, her fingers sliding through Dawn’s long hair as she braided it in front of the fire.

I don’t think you’re a wolf, Clary would muse from her perch at the window, a sketchpad on her lap and her hands in constant motion. Not a lone one anyway.

Allison sometimes felt as though she was the one out of three of them that needed their little pack the most. That her two sisters would flourish on their own and it was really her clinging to them, holding them close in fear of being alone.




Each thought that of the others.

That’s what sisters are; pack animals with a strong sense of loyalty that don’t know how to let the others fly free without losing a piece of themselves in the bargain.




The forest around their grandmother’s home on the outskirts of the tiny town they had always called home with a deep sense of frustration was untouched by anyone but Allison’s soft footfall – even in summer.

There were legends about the forest – strange creatures and ghosts and wild animals that could rip out your throat before you thought to scream.

Grams laughed at them all and gathered up her baskets and her granddaughters and tripped out into the shadows to gather her herbs and bury her secrets. Allison running from tree to tree, climbing so high she felt like she was flying.

After grams died, the others didn’t like going into the forest anymore. It was too painful them. So now Allison went alone, armed with Dawn’s baskets and her bow and quiver. She could spend hours alone under the trees, regardless of the weather, without feeling restless or suffocated by the silence. When she was home alone she fidgeted and worried and chewed holes in her bottom lip, wore out the carpets in the hall. On those rare occasions that Dawn and Clary were both gone, Allison generally escaped into the cool woods that creeped further into their backyard every year. She knew to leave a note on the counter so the others wouldn’t worry over her absence, but she also never felt the need to rush back.

As if, when she was safe beneath the trees with her weapons on her back and the soft scent of Dawn’s herbs floating up to her, there was nothing to fear anywhere in the world.

The week after grams died, she had practically lived in the forest. She and Dawn had built a treehouse several years before just a few yards in and she slept there for three nights, until Clary came out crying, curling up into her sleeping bag with her. It was less a house than it was a few rickety beams of wood perched precariously under a tarp. But it kept her dry while she needed it. She dragged Clary back to the house and the next day took the house down.

Dawn helped her fold up the tarp that had seen so many of their childhood games and didn’t say a word.

I won’t come back next time, Allison had finally said, her throat raw from crying, her face dry for the first time in days.

Dawn blinked slowly, No. You’ll always come back. They walked a while in silence. On the edge of the forest, just in sight of the house, Dawn grabbed her elbow, I’m more worried about you never leaving.

I’m never leaving!

No… I mean… Dawn bit her lip and shifted her weight. Clary has her art and I have my books… you had the tree house. If you stay cooped up with us forever, I’m worried we’ll lose you and… I don’t know… She shook her head and then walked to the house, leaving Allison behind.

It wasn’t the first time that Allison felt like Dawn was twenty paces ahead of her.

It was the first time she didn’t feel a pull to run after her, to try to catch up, to grab her sister’s hand and laugh in her face and try to shoulder a bit of the burden, to twirl them around and pretend that they didn’t have the weight of a broken heart to carry around.



Dawn had her books and her herbs and her languages and her raven and her burdens.
Clary had her paper and her paint and her magic and her mouse and her fear.

Allison had her bow and her arrows and her trees and her silent strength.

Which she didn’t think was all that much to offer, but it was what she had.




The summer the year she turned seventeen was an ordinary summer, all things considered. She graduated and was set-up to take a job with the local doctor’s office as a front office secretary. It didn’t pay well, but it looked damn good on a resume and she could keep her weekend and evening hours at the coffee shop. She was aware that Dr. Hart had offered her the job out of respect for grams, but they all decided a long time ago to accept the pity and charity of their neighbors while they had it.

They were leaving soon, anyway.

Dawn insisted that she enroll in online classes that fall – easy stuff she could do at work without anyone batting an eye. GE stuff that would transfer anywhere. Which only gave Allison a couple of months of relative freedom.

She spent more and more time in the forest.

It wasn’t that she hadn’t had friends in high school – there were a few girls that she could count on for a sleepover or movie night if she needed it, but Dawn had always been her best friend and when she left high school two years before to work full-time, Allison had retreated more than maybe she should have. And now, graduating a year early only pushed that wedge more firmly between her and the friends she still had left.

Out in the forest, she wasn’t avoiding her friends or her high school or the empty room at the end of the hall with all of grams’ stuff still inside and untouched. Out here, she was just a seventeen year old girl who really loved archery and maybe other than that was normal.

Even if there was nothing whatsoever normal about her life.




The summer was hot.

It should have been mild, maybe. Or sticky. Something with humidity and sweat dripping down her spine reminding her that she was there, that she was real. Allison never needed to be reminded how real her skin was beneath her clothes, but the imagery would have been nice. A sticky summer would have appealed to Dawn, the words full of alliteration and curling thirst beneath repeated, mournful tones. A mild summer would have appealed to Clary, the temperature a bit too cool allowing her to wrangle the stillness of sunbeams onto her sketchpad.

But this is Allison’s story. And so it was none of these things. It was hot. Not too mild and not too humid. A burning sort of heat that seemed to come only from the sun, easily escapable in the shade of her trees.

She was standing with her legs wide and bare and tan and a sweater tied around her waist and thick-soled boots on her feet and her bow cocked in her hands, ready to fire, when her familiar curled onto the ground at her side. She was more startled that a cat that size had managed to sneak up on her when she was usually so hyper-aware of her surroundings, than that a tawny cougar was lying patiently only three feet from her.

For a moment or two, she didn’t move, only aware of the animal through her peripheral vision. For a minute she calculated the risk of turning and embedding her arrow into its hide. And then she thought of the horrified expressions on her sisters’ faces the first time she bagged a wild hare, like she had personally slaughtered their hearts and brought them back as a present. Coming home with a cougar – as bizarrely placed as it was – slung across her back would probably result in her being forced to eat all her meals at the coffee shop for the next month, and there was really a limit to her intake of Danishes.

And then she considered what would happen if she moved at all. There was clearly a very calm cougar within arm’s reach and she didn’t really want to be lunch. Was she going to be stuck like that forever?

Exhaling slowly, she released the arrow and it struck her target. Okay, it was an inch off and on any other day she’d be pretty pissed off at herself about that, but any other day wouldn’t have a mountain lion in attendance.

With very careful movements, she lowered her bow and turned her head to look at the cougar beside her. It was lying a bit like her sister’s cat Rain sometimes did when she was working on her art instead of paying him attention, head resting on its paws and eyes looking up solemnly and a bit sadly.

Are you a sad scary lion? she asked. Because well – why not?

The cougar rolled its eyes at her. She would swear on her bow that the damn thing ROLLED ITS EYES like a human.

Did you… I’m insane. I’m crazy, aren’t I?

The cougar tilted its head to one side and then let out a deep breath before standing up, looking at her one last minute, and then walking very sedately off into the forest.

Well… fuck.





Three days later Dawn threw her out of the house for pacing from room to room while she was trying to study with a basket and a list of herbs to gather that she didn’t really need (Clary had already locked her door three hours previously because she was tired of Allison coming in only to wander around for a minute and then leave again); in general they were used to her restlessness, but three solid days of it had them all on edge. So, armed with a trusty basket and her favorite bow, she made her way into her sanctuary.

The cougar was sunbathing on a rock near a stream – asleep in that way that house cats often are, as if they are sleeping from sheer boredom with their eyes half-open as if daring you to interrupt them. Allison sat down nearby and watched for a minute.

You know you’re in the wrong county, right? Hell I think you may be on the wrong side of the continent.

The lion shook its head as if dislodging something from its ear and rolled on its back playfully, as if laughing at her.

Allison laughed with it and set her equipment aside so she could lie down.

She was safe enough on the other side of the stream. Anyway, this was her favorite spot, wasn’t it? The stream flowed wider in the spring and froze over in the winter, but this was always its widest spot – it split around a large cropping of boulders that caught more sunlight than most areas of the dark forest. The lion had claimed that spot today, but either bank was nearly as warm. Especially in the heat of summer.

Allison propped her head up on her forearm and looked up into the branches of the trees.

It was amazing how still she could be here. How that yearning in her skin could suddenly – without warning – feel slightly at peace. Like a cork on a bottle.

Birds chattered and bugs hummed and the spring trickled by and it could have been any other summer day.

When she woke, the cougar was gone and the sky was starting to dim. She gathered up Dawn’s requests and made her way back home.

Calm and at ease for the first time in days.





They continued on like that for a few weeks, Allison and her wildcat. Sunbathing and hunting, edging close to each other only for Allison to shrink back. Witch or not – the cougar was still a wild animal and she didn’t feel entirely safe with it, even after weeks of nothing but good humor.




One day she sat in the living room and watched Clary doing laundry. As she walked back and forth from the laundry nook behind the kitchen and back to the couch to fold clothes or upstairs to fetch or deliver items, her cat – a mangy old thing called Rain – stalked her playfully, popping out from behind furniture or batting things out of her hand. Sometimes even darting away from her as if to say, “haha you can’t catch me!”

Rain is playing with you, you know? Allison mused from the overstuffed chair in the corner.

Clary tossed her ponytail, Yeah well, he can’t very well help me iron, can he? Unlike a certain lazy sister of mine.

Allison threw a pillow at her and smiled when Rain leaped out to pounce on it the minute it landed on the floor.

It gave her an idea.




How did her cat always knew where she was? Sneaking up on her from the side or somehow lying in wait just a few paces ahead?

Allison figured it was probably the same way Rain always knew where Clary was, watching from the wings, actually underfoot while Clary was distracted.

Playing.

So she decided to play back.


Usually when she left the house she went directly into the treeline behind the house, heading South, but one day she walked out the front door and turned East, towards town. She tried not to look behind her, tried to pretend that she wasn’t waiting for her cat to find her. But she was.

Once under the cover of the trees she broke into a run, following an old path down to the South, a few hundred feet from where she usually entered the forest. She got to the stream in only a few minutes, weaving her way haphazardly through the trees. Her usual spot was back upstream to the West of the house, today she turned to go further East, jumping from side to side of the stream.

There was a small pond down to the East. She didn’t usually go there – especially in the summer – because sometimes kids and teenagers from town would come down to play there. But earlier that month a community pool was finally opened – after years of town meetings and bake sales – so she knew the pond would be empty.

When she got to the pond she was out of breath and a little sweaty.

And her lion was waiting for her on a rock near the pond’s edge, standing on wide legs and purring deeply.

Allison had only heard it purr a couple of times.

When she came into the clearing she groaned, How did you know?

The cat jumped on and off the rock, a bit like Rain would do when he was excited, and then rolled on its back, feet high up in the air.

Allison laughed, Show off.

The lion angled its head back towards her – still on its back, its long tail tapping slowly.

Allison winked and ran in the opposite direction.

She could hear the cougar behind her, large paws soft on the earth always just a few paces away, and she ran faster, darting to and fro like she was a cat herself. For a moment, she wondered if she was only tempting the thing to eat her, goading it into thinking her as prey – and then it appeared on her left, hanging from a tree branch and looking rather smug.

Well if this was how she was going to die, it would be a helleva way to go.

Playing cat and mouse with a mountain lion.

That she was beginning to think wasn’t as wild as she’d originally assumed.

It was waiting for her at their little island, asleep in the sun. Allison was winded and exhilarated. She collapsed next to the stream and whispered, Next time, cat.


She began implementing her bow into the game, shooting off scraps of cloth with her scent in a different direction than where she was going. She was never fast enough or clever enough to actually throw her wildcat off her trail, but they both seemed to enjoy the challenge.

Her arrows were always neatly stacked on the back porch the next morning.





Until one week – near the end of summer – when it wasn’t there.

It took Allison only about ten minutes to realize that she was alone in the forest. She made her way slowly to the little rock island but there was nothing there. No hint of her copper-colored cat anywhere.

She lay on the rock until it grew cold and hard beneath her back and then dragged herself back inside.

For nearly nine days it was the same, just Allison alone waiting on a rock.

She didn’t dare tell Dawn or Clary – knew that they would be terrified of her sister making friends with a potentially very dangerous wild animal. (Or they would point out what she should have already come to terms with: that it wasn’t at all wild and that she had found her familiar at last. But that was even more heartbreaking, because what if it didn’t come back?)

On the tenth day, she woke up on the rock and found her wildcat curled into her side, purring deeply and fast asleep, it’s large head gently resting on top of its own back. Allison reached out to run her fingers through the soft coat and two hazel eyes opened to stare deeply at her.

You came back, she whispered as they stared at each other.

The cougar let out a huff of breath and Allison smiled.

Just don’t leave again, okay?

And like that, the cougar was gone and Allison was once again alone in the forest, the sky beginning to darken.




Three weeks passed and in that time Allison came to the very discouraging conclusion that her familiar had found her wanting and had decided to move on. She came to terms with that in her own, frighteningly stoic way, and tried to soldier on. It was nearly autumn and that meant she’d soon be short on free time, anyway.

She filled her days with her sisters – teasing and cajoling them and throwing herself into their projects. Dawn eyed her curiously from time to time, but had learned long ago not to pry into Allison’s moods. Clary was hell-bent on being a teen right out of a horror film and alternated between being sugary-sweet and screaming through locked doors.

It was like any other summer in the Rosse household.




Until one night, when the doorbell rang and no one was expecting pizza and Clary was grounded for the tantrum she had thrown earlier that week about dish-duty and Dawn never went on dates anymore and that left Allison to deal with it and on their front porch there stood a girl with long copper hair and bright hazel eyes filled with tears.

I’m sorry, she whispered. It’s just that you asked me not to leave and I had to explain why I did.

[fic] destiny came a calling (1/5)

swhunt.flames
fic: destiny came a calling (1/5)
fandom: btvs/teenwolf/tmi
characters: dawn summers; allison argent/lydia martin; clary fray; other characters as necessary
word count: 3,000
setting: sisters Dawn, Clary, and Allison go off to college together, determined to leave behind everything about their small-town lives … but being a witch - they find - isn’t something you can choose to ignore
a/n: Think of this as the Charmed version of these characters - but the magic works more like the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Originally, I wanted this to be my fantasybb - but I'd rather just post the chapters as they come, if I sit on it I will forget that I love it. I made the art for this over a year ago and I've been struggling to just WRITE it since then. So please wish me luck!!


[original art] || [playlist] by arsenic_lies (who gave me the title!)


[#she is such a diva without her coffee; #i totes did not steal that shirt i borrowed it #please stop hitting on my girlfriend #please stop leaving your hot girlfriend unattended in the living room half naked #this looks better on me #did you take notes in latin? #stop leaving your spell books in the kitchen! #stop making cupcakes with the spell books #no anchovies this time please #so there might be a demon in the bathroom #i think my girlfriend is a werewolf]
Clary was going to college.

The wind was in her hair and her entire life had been crammed into three cardboard boxes and strapped to the bed of her old pick-up truck and her cat was angrily staring up at her from the armrest and she was singing loudly (and off-key) to the old Simple Plan cd she found in her sisters’ old stuff while they were packing.

It should be noted that her sister Dawn was driving, her three and a half boxes of memories were sitting next to Clary’s, and her cat was calmly sitting on the dashboard, looking quite bored about the whole thing. She was also singing off-key, that’s the thing that you should know about Clary’s oldest sister.

Dawn always sang off-key, most of the time she was falling or tripping or dropping something and laughing about it. She had long brown hair and long arms and long legs and boys were always just a little mad for her. It should also be noted that when they were kids and Clary picked out a kitten from the neighbor’s litter and named the mangy, dirty thing Rain, Dawn grabbed the smallest one in the litter and named it Bo.

Rain. And Bo. Get it? She said gaily as they walked the half a mile back to their hidden-away ramshackle house, Clary’s hand safely in hers as she carried the kittens in an old dog carrier they found that morning in the basement. Rainbow. Because together we can make the mundane beautiful. That’s what sisters can do.

They got home and found Allison sitting sullenly on the front step, angry either at their grandmother for not letting her continue building her treehouse without supervision, or at them for leaving her alone. Dawn, eleven years old and therefore the wisest of them, plopped the Bo-kitten in Allison’s lap and said, He’s for us, do you like him?

Did you name him yet?

Baby named hers Rain so ours is Bo.

Allison, ten years old and therefore only mildly less wise than Dawn, nodded solemnly, Rainbow. That’s good.

They spent the evening playing with their new kittens on the front porch, Allison and Dawn cooing in unison over Bo even after Clary lost interest and ran out into the twilight to pick wildflowers.

Clary had been seven at the time and thought her sisters were the most beautiful, magical beings she would ever meet.


Now Clary was seventeen and they were still just as magical and still just as beautiful, but also annoyingly concerned with her life in general.

There was a small part (the smallest, most petty) inside of her that wished she was leaving on a grand college adventure alone. That she could fly back on the holidays and find them sitting in front of the fire with Rain and Bo making a mess of the Solstice decorations and hot cocoa, waiting for her – but letting her go. Because as much as she loved them, Dawn and Allison were a unit and Clary often felt like the laundry basket that they constantly had to keep carrying up the stairs between them. Like there was no space for her, the baby, at the table.

It would be so much easier to redefine herself on the coast with cute boys everywhere and possibilities around every corner – without her sisters tagging along as well.



After grams died and Dawn was left alone – sixteen and in charge of two teenage girls and a house – taking her exit exams from school early so she could work full time to keep them afloat, they decided together to leave their small town the minute Clary graduated high school. Leave behind their ramshackle house in the woods, and the town that knew their history better than them, and the ghosts, and start over together in a new place.

It was a pact they made together.

They waited for her, and Clary didn’t feel a little bit guilty about that.

Nope.





I’m glad auntie’s house is furnished, Dawn smiled over at Clary as she switched out the CD for something more road-trippy. I can’t imagine having to hire a truck or something for a cross-country venture like this.

Are you going to let me drive at all?

Oh,Dawn shrugged and kept her eyes on the road. I’m not tired yet.

You could always drive with Allison?

Just then, Allison’s little red car zoomed past them, two heads in the front nodding along to music screaming out of the windows.

(You should know that Allison, the middle child, always sang in perfect key. A fact that seemed the most natural thing in the world to her sisters.)

Nah, Allison and Lydia need some alone-time before we all start trying to live together at the end of the road.

It’s not like Lydia hasn’t practically lived with us for the past year anyway.

There’s a difference between having a drawer and sharing a room.

I guess…


Lydia hadn’t been a total surprise, not really. Clary was still reeling a little bit that she was coming with them to their new home, but it also made sense in a way. Dawn-and-Allison couldn’t continue on forever. They were all growing up and anyway, Lydia fit in on game night well enough. And she actually kept Allison’s things clean. (Or, rather – between the two of them, Lydia and Allison had a better handle on the mess that was Dawn and Clary than Allison had been on her own.)

Clary pulled a protesting Rain onto her lap and scratched her head, hand-knit fingerless gloves protecting her from the worse of his retaliation tactics (Bo ignored the whole business).

Do you think we’re going to be okay?

What makes you ask that, Baby?

Just… we’re leaving a lot. And I asked… for a lot, Clary shifted uncomfortably and looked resolutely out the window at the passing lights.

We all agreed this was going to be a fresh start. We all need that, after grams…

After mom.







Two weeks later, when they finally pulled up to the old Victorian house left to them in their grandmother’s will – a house they had never heard of before that came at the last minute from an aunt they had never met, Clary took her sisters’ hands in hers and took a deep breath, And we didn’t just run away, did we?

Of course not, kiddo. Starting over isn’t the same as running away.

Every good story has a make-over montage. We’re just giving it to our lives instead of our faces.

We have perfect faces.

And perfect hair.

Just a new start, that’s all.

That’s everything, Clary thought to herself as they marched up the seven impressive stone stairs to the door with a stain-glass window like in an old movie, hand-in-hand just like always.





Well it’s about time, a voice called out when they walked in the door. It’s not like I haven’t been waiting for forever.

Clary stared down at the black cat standing before them, judging them with her green eyes.

Did that cat just talk?!

Don’t be silly, the voice said from the top of the stairs leading to the second floor. I’m a ghost, not a cat.

And sure enough, a ghost of a woman in her mid-forties dressed in the style of approximately the 1940s, came flouncing down the stairs.

Stop standing in the doorway like a bunch of ninnies, you’ll let in a draft or let out a cat and I can tell you both circumstances will turn this house into an uproar.





(Oh, did I forget to mention?
The Rosse sisters are witches.)











The house, like all witch’s houses, was temperamental on a good day. And when Clary – all five feet of her – dropped her bag on the ground and declared to one of the (presumably) many ghosts inhabiting the residence that they didn’t hold with such nonsense and weren’t going to be practicing magic anymore … well, that pushed the house into a tantrum Allison seriously doubted they would ever see the end of.

Their first morning, everyone was locked in their rooms until Dawn quietly promised to her lock that she just really wanted to look at the herb garden behind the kitchen. After that, they made it a habit to only close doors if it was utterly necessary. Half of the groceries that went into the pantry were never seen again. Any attempt to use the stove or oven backfired mightily – resulting in not a few singed eyebrows.

Clary suffered the worst of it. After a week in residence, a radio piping Bette Midler showtunes started following the youngest girl through the house, seemingly existing in the walls and floating after her wherever she happened to go. Not to mention her immediately losing each left shoe upon unpacking and finding gum tangled up in her sheets every morning.

The worst affront, to her mind, was how quickly the house and Rain took to one another. Rain galloped around the furniture like a queen. She seemed to have befriended several of the ghostly residences, Clary often coming upon the tangled thing purring and content in an empty room. And while all human necessities – food, hot water, air conditioning, functioning doors and windows – were non-functioning at best and disappeared completely at worst, Rain seemed to be in a constant supply of cat toys and treats.

Bo was as stoically bored with all the proceedings as per usual, refusing to take sides in a war he clearly believed was beneath his interest. He found a nice window perch from which he could call to the birds outside and also cast judgment upon passing humans in between catnaps. He was as contentedly annoyed as he had ever and always been.



After about three weeks in residence, Dawn came home from her shift at the bar down the street and found the entire house lit up, the tell-tale sound of Clary shouting coming distortedly through the walls beneath the heavy-handed sound of a mariachi band. Allison and Lydia were sitting on the porch in their pajamas.

Hey there money-maker. Did you bring me anything?

Dawn tossed Allison the box containing a still-mostly-warm blooming onion, a specialty of the bar and Allison’s new favorite 3am snack. Is Clary throwing a party? Why weren’t we invited?

Lydia snorted and pulled the hoodie further down over her face, nestling down further into the porch swing.

I wish it was a party, Allison said through a mouthful of onion. A normal party with boys and dancing and Clary having a good time instead of fighting with the house. You know she hasn’t met anyone yet? She never goes outside. Just finds new ways to torture the house. You know she painted a mural in one of the rooms? I thought for sure we were all going to be thrown out of our beds.

I should talk to her…

Lydia’s head shot up, her bloodshot eyes narrowing down at Dawn and Allison, shoulder to shoulder in their misery, Yeah. That’ll definitely work. She’ll totally listen to you.

What would you say that we haven’t already said a thousand times? Allison ignored Lydia, throwing a bit of onion over her shoulder at her.

I don’t know…

How about: sorry kid, but giving up magic is a bad idea?

Allison and Dawn both cringed. Lydia had been outspokenly against the sisterly pact as soon as she heard about it, but promising Clary that one day they’d move away and say goodbye to being witches was the only thing that kept her from running away after grams died. It was the only thing that kept her by their side.

She could always move into the dorms. She has a scholarship? Maybe that would be better for her.

Dawn sighed, You know the minute she left, we’d slip. I’d start practicing again. The house would make it impossible for us not to. And we promised.

But is it what you actually want? Lydia yawned above them.

Allison crooked her head at Dawn and shrugged.

Dawn shook her head, Magic killed mom. It might as well have killed grams. It was something we all promised because it was something we all wanted.

Which is totally why I ended up dating Lydia and you’re working at a vampire bar.

It’s not a vampire bar.

It’s run by a vampire.

He’s an old friend of grams.

So he says.

There’s a photo hanging above the bar, okay? I know what grams looks like.

When did grams ever live here, anyway?

Before mom. Before aunt Susan even.

He’s still a vampire. And you still haven’t told Clary.

You three are a goddamn space opera. I’m selling you to the tabloids in the morning.

It was the best paying job I could find in a short time. She’d understand.
Dawn said to her fingers twisted in her lap.

She probably really won’t. Especially when she sees how hot he is.

Vampires are always hot.

Not all of them look like Bon Jovi.

He looks like Bon Jovi?

Since when do you care about Bon Jovi?


He says the tosser stole his look.

Allison rolled her eyes, Yeah, I’ll bet.


It was true that on their third day, Dawn was in the front garden around twilight avoiding the turmoil inside the house, when a man appeared right in front of her like he’d been waiting, a cigarette between his lips and a long leather duster swirling around his knees. He offered her a job on the spot – she knew he was a vampire because she’s not stupid – and he knew she was a witch.

That’s why he came, she grew to find out.

Just around the corner was one of the best well-kept secrets in the city, a bar for the supernaturals that circled around the outskirts. It was an older and calmer crowd than what she knew would prefer the more densely populated areas closer to the city center. But it was in desperate need of a witch’s steady touch. Witches could – if they chose – create an aura of calm and peace in a large crowd. Witches were in high demand as bartenders, waitresses, hostesses, and higher management at recreational facilities, especially those that catered to supernaturals. They did their best to stay away from professions that had them near the criminal justice system or the military, all of those strong emotions being too draining after a short time. Working at a sports bar as the closing bartender was easy.

It was as easy as taking a deep breath before a storm.

And it paid ridiculously well.

And it wasn’t like Dawn was qualified for much else besides the service industry. Anyway, she liked bartending. (Even if she occasionally had to handle O-neg.)

It just wasn’t something she was ready to tell Clary yet. Clary who had always been so adamantly opposed to learning her art, even when they were kids.

Speaking of, Dawn cleared her throat. Spike is thinking about extending the afternoon hours and says you can have first dibs on the new shifts if you want. He’s really cool about working around our school schedule.

The fact that your boss is named Spike thrills me you have no idea, Lydia laughed.

At the same moment Allison very shyly said, Yeah, I’ll come by and talk to him while you’re working tomorrow.

Great,
Lydia said darkly. We’re all going to be working for a vampire and meanwhile little sister thinks that we’ve given up magic.

It’s not witchcraft, it’s a job.


Allison shook her head, Baby is not going to see it that way.












Clary was running through the woods outside her grams house. Or, she thought she was. The trees seemed older and the shadows seemed deeper than the friendly faces she grew up climbing and drawing in intimate detail in her sketchbook. Everything was too big and too dark, but she had to keep running.

Behind her, she could hear her sisters crying.

There was something so unmistakable about the sound of one’s sister crying that Clary never doubted they were there. If she just turned around, they’d be close enough to touch. She could take their hands and stop the sounds of their sobbing, maybe. Or join them. She felt very much like if she stopped running she would cry.

But she didn’t, her feet slamming into the earth again and again, relentless and unforgiving.

She screamed at herself to turn around, to reach back, to stop them from crying, but she wouldn’t. Still her feet pounded at the ground and still her legs scissored back and forth with no pain, only burning to go faster, faster, to keep going.

Where are you going you idiot? There’s nothing for you that way!



She woke up just inches from her destination. She felt as though she had just been pulled from a warm bath into a winter frost.

She shook and her breath came out in gasps. The black cat that greeted them upon their arrival gingerly picked her way down the length of the bed and sat on her chest, kneading a bit at the blanket.

Just as she had done every night.

She had pulled herself out of the warmth, had grabbed her own arm as she ran full speed ahead, and stopped herself from opening the door and letting the light inside shine out into the trees.

Just as she had done every night since she could remember.

Oh Cat, her voice cracked in her throat. I just can’t. I won’t.

The cat stared back at her, a dim light reflecting off of her dark eyes, as if to say, You can. You will.



Clary Rosse had two secrets that she kept from her sisters.

The first was that she loved the house and it loved her madly.
The second she kept in her dream.










I don’t want to live at the dorms. That wasn’t the plan.

Plans sometimes can be adjusted.

We can’t do this much longer, Baby. Classes start next week.

Look, the house and I are doing much better already.

I can still hear Bette Midler.

That’s because your headphones are in, the house switched over to Backstreet Boys yesterday.

The day before that it was all Nirvana.


Lydia grinned a little manically, That was a good day.

I think it’s wooing me,
Clary said a little smugly.

Allison rolled her eyes,I don’t want you to live in the dorms either, but there’s still time if we jump on it this week and—

I’ll make it work. I’ll apologize to the house. Hey house!? I’m sorry!

I’m working for a vamp,
Dawn had been uncharacteristically quiet through the whole debate up until that point.

You always had a way of bringing a room to its knees.










kpop.9les
fic: there are no secrets between bedfellows (except all the ones that count)
fandom: pretty little liars
pairing: hanna/mona
word count: 1200
recipient: for lynzie914 who wanted hanna+mona (or hanna/mona), i've got a secret, a good one over at the still-chugging-along feb meme


lipstick is for little girlsCollapse )

[fic] sweetness and compromises

arrow.ladyjustice
fic: sweetness and compromises
fandom: arrow
characters: laurel/felicity + sara
word count: 500
recipient: for fluffyfrolicker who wanted laurel+felicity+sara domesticity


sharing is caringCollapse )

[fic] shopping? for weapons, right?

btvs.faith
fic: shopping? for weapons, right?
fandom: btvs
pairing: buffy/faith
word count: ~1600
recipient: for ever_neutral who wanted shopping for weapons
warnings: I'm an asshole
a/n: sorry not sorry.



[click here for fic!]Before they even walk in Buffy’s ready with her shy smile and stammering excuse about an older sister - cousin! - who is about to get married and well she’s from out of town or no it’s a male cousin and his bride is from England or something and she has no female friends in town or relations because she’s an orphan a poor sad friendless orphan from Europe that really wants a good ol’ fashioned American bachelorette party and that’s why they’re here sir ma’am hi what?

Except Faith just nods to the 20’s-something guy behind the counter that looks a bit like a hipster, like either he has a band that goes with that scarf and stylishly-jaunty vintage hat or he writes poetry in his spare time but he’s definitely harmless and there are no piercings or tattoos that Buffy can see.

She doesn’t mention this to Faith because the last time she said something of the kind, the other girl regaled her with the difference between a horizontal hood piercing and an inner labia bar and a Christine and further learned that should she decide to get her lady-bits pierced, Faith personally though the vertical hood bar was the “cutest” though she definitely preferred the idea of a tongue piercing overall and then wiggled her eyebrows in a way that very nearly made Buffy blush. As if she wasn’t blushing already. By the time Faith whipped out her personal story of being with a girl who had nipple piercings, Buffy felt like a seasoned sailor and didn’t blush at all, just raised her eyebrows in a challenge and mentioned nipple clamps in what she had hoped would be a failed attempt at bravado and worldliness to offset her constant feeling of naiveté.

Which actually just lead them to a porn store.

Adult Playground by name.

Which Buffy didn’t even know existed in Sunnydale until that very moment.

There’s utterly failed bravado that is revealed in the moment and then there’s the bravado that is so strong it pulls you right into a situation you have zero idea how to handle and a girlfriend who is loving every single moment of your discomfort, daring you with those dark lips and bright eyes to give in, to give up, to back down.

Except Buffy doesn’t back down. She squares her shoulders and she tells herself no one will care if she gawks and blushes at the toys as long as she can keep her cool the entire time. Which she has every intention of doing.

Faith sped past the magazines, the massage oil and candles, threw a pair of dice over her shoulder, laughed at the dildos and personal vibrators, and then stopped for a moment in front of the whips and ticklers. Buffy rolled her eyes and eyed the paraphernalia in front of them – the whips were smack dab between feathered handcuffs and bondage ropes, “I have better stuff at home in my trunk.”

She didn’t mean to say it loud enough for the hipster at the counter to hear, but somehow she heard him chuckle behind them, she looked back. He was a mere five feet away. It had felt like she had walked for days on the trail of Faith through that store.

“Don’t worry B,” Faith whispered in her ear as she slung an arm around her shoulders. “He’s just laughing at some stupid manga he’s always reading.”

Buffy leaned in, feeling the warmth of Faith’s body press against her side, and hissed, “Like that male-male softporn that they’re always talking about on the news?”

“Yaoi?” Faith laughed. “Oh hunny there’s nothing soft about it.”

Buffy turned back to the display in front of her and picked up a pair of fur-lined handcuffs, “Slayer-strength and all, I don’t think these toys would really do any good.”

Faith nipped at her jaw and laughed, “A little blood never hurt a little Slayer, huh?”

“Let’s just get what we came for,” Buffy carefully set the handcuffs back in place. “We can go weapon shopping later.”

“What do you think we’re doing, B?”

After a few minutes of deliberation between the cute ones with a little heart dangling from them – which Buffy said no to immediately – and then a long conference over the benefit of feathers – honestly who knew sex toys could be so damn complicated? – they opted on something that looked a little complicated, but Faith promised would be worth it in the long run.

At the counter, hipster Joe (Faith called him something that was either Charlie or Harlie but there was no going back on his name now) very helpfully suggested the ones that came connected to a collar and then giggled happily at the disdainful look Buffy shot him.

“This’ll be all for today, thanks babe.”

“Well since you’re such a good customer…” he winked and slipped in a bottle of ‘for her’ lubricant in a terrifyingly pink bottle.

“My favorite!” Faith squealed and leaned over the counter to plant a sloppy kiss on the poor boy’s cheek.

“Ah hell, Faith. Maybe it wasn’t for you.”

Faith grabbed Buffy’s arm with one hand and their bag of goodies in the other, “Till next time.”

The walk back to Faith’s grungy motel room is quiet – they only kill three vamps on the way which is a pretty slow night for them, but the energy expended only makes Faith more excited and Buffy slightly more nervous. She almost suggests going hunting in the cemetery instead of going straight home but that’s what happened on the way to the ‘adult goods store’ the previous night and had ended with her half-naked on the ground behind a crypt while Faith did really, really interesting things with her mouth that Buffy was absolutely sure were illegal in some states.

Or should be.

And she didn’t want tonight to end up like that.

“I need a new crossbow,” she pouted as she closed the door and took off the leather jacket she had stolen from Faith’s floor earlier that afternoon.

Faith toed off her boots and took off her shirt in one fluid motion, turning to the table where she laid out their purchases, “I know, B. Next shopping trip will be a business one, I promise.”

“You said that last time,” now her shirt was gone and her jeans were around her knees.

“Last time we went to get your mom Rocky Road and it was two o’clock in the morning.”

“So?” Buffy went to where Faith was opening packages at the table and grazed her hands slowly down her back, causing the other girl to arch back into her like a satisfied cat. Her fingers were unbuttoning and unzipping and she was nuzzling at Faith’s shoulder.

“So roll,” Faith whirled around in Buffy’s arms and held out the sex dice she had thrown at her in the store, wiggling her hips to let her pants fall down to her ankles.

Buffy took the dice from her, “Roll?”

“Let’s play.”

Lick.

Neck.

“Wait. Do I roll for you or do you roll for me? Like, who is doing the action here? The rules for this game are very non-specific.”

Faith growled under her breath and skated her hand up the front of Buffy’s body, wrapping her hand around her throat and pushing up her chin with her thumb, “Shut up, Slayer.”

Buffy’s eyes fluttered closed and she hummed with anticipation.

Just before Faith’s tongue pressed against her warm skin…




… she woke up.




Willow’s alarm was going off on the other side of the room. It was Wednesday, Willow had an early start on Wednesday and Buffy usually went down to the food hall with her to eat breakfast. Generally in her pajamas because she had another three hours to kill before her first class and patrolling seemed to be keeping her out later and later these days.

Willow stopped to look at her, eyes wide with concern, “Buffy are you okay?”

Buffy nodded, sitting straight up in bed, her hand on her throat, “Weird dream.”

“Faith again?” Buffy nodded. “What were you doing?”

“… um… shopping?”

“Shopping? For what?”

Buffy really hoped she wasn’t blushing, “Weapons.”

Willow nodded, which meant that it was probably an acceptable response. And also that her friend hadn’t noticed her choking on her word a little there in the middle. “That makes sense. You know… cause you’re Slayers?”

“Yeah…”

Willow walked out the door to the community bathroom – presumably – and was back in the dorm within a few minutes.

“Hey Will?”

“Yeah Buff?”

“You don’t think… that Faith… that we’re … sharing dreams… do you?”

Willow sat down on her bed and put on her pensive ‘what an interesting mystery’ face. “Well. Slayer dreams are usually prophetic – tell about future events? And other Slayers, from the Watcher’s Journals, anyway they would sometimes have dreams about past Slayers. Like memories and stuff. But there’s never really been two before so…”

“So it’s probably just my subconscious all on its own being hinky and weird?”

“Yeah. And… and not that weird. A little weird but… normal.”

“Do you think you could do some witchy shields or something? Just to be sure?”

“Well.. I—“

Buffy smiled reassuringly, “I just don’t like the idea of her being in my head.”

“I can be research gal. You bet.”

“Thanks Will.”




On the other side of Sunnydale, Faith’s tongue licked up the side of Buffy’s neck and smiled at the whimper of need that escaped her at the slightest touch.

On the other side of Sunnydale, Faith smiled but there was no one there to see it.

“Buffy?” She sat down on the bed and rolled her dice.

Game.

Over.

“Yeah,” she breathed out. “No shit.”



kpop.9les
fic: gather your peace like fine, woven threads
fandom: Harry Potter
pairing: cho/ginny; (ginny/harry)
word count: 3,000
recepient: vergoldung who wanted the comfort of spending valentine's day alone (there's no romantic way of mourning dead men and lost love)
setting: Hogwarts in the year just after the war



[they call it the &quot;lost year&quot;]They call it the lost year.

Some of them move on, there are empty chairs everywhere. Some of them mark death.

Others mark a disinclination to play nice anymore.
A need for space to mourn.

Eighth years are generally forgiven by parents and siblings and the administration alike.

There are less first years than in any other moment in the history of Hogwarts. Parents are holding onto their young.

The ones who should leave stay behind. It’s a beautiful balance – or it could be if it wasn’t so heartbreaking, so real, so unspeakably understood. To each generation there is a waiting game. To which one do you belong?

McGonagall’s opening speech is kind and compassionate, it holds the names of the dead lingering in every breath she takes, it’s hopeful without being forgetful. They applaud.

Cho catches sight of her in that moment, when everyone stands to celebrate the mark of a new year, her red hair is a beat behind the group around her. It almost looks as though the dark boy beside her lifted her with his hands on her elbow.

As if she cannot stand without his support.

She snorts into her cocoa while the rest of her house chatters and breaks into relieved smiles.

The dust is gone and the blood stains have long since been scrubbed away, and their childish hearts are leaping already as if they hadn’t spent the last three years in fear. As if hearts could just bounce back, begin leaping again like old times. Hers didn’t. And there was nothing wrong with her heart.

It learned to ache instead of dance.

Maybe that was all she was good for from the beginning.




The year goes by slowly – or too fast, in a blur, the details are hard to pick out – it’s strange having Hermione, Ron, and Harry sitting with her in her classes. Harry’s feather quill tickling her forearm, Hermione’s wand tapping her on the shoulder, Ron’s voice a constant low murmur in her ear.

They were always three and she had always been so jealous of that, wanted that understanding and that constant touch that they didn’t even seem to be aware of doing. Only when they made room for her, they didn’t make room for her, they just added a number to an equation that was maybe always meant for three instead of four and the result was just… suffocating. Their arms, their legs, their hearts, beating around and crashing into each other all the time.

How did they learn to breathe?

(Could they without each other?)

She couldn’t explain the lack – she was getting all of them, she was – they were wrapping her up in their Golden selves, yet… They couldn’t live without each other. It was in every whispered word, every shoulder-to-shoulder silence.

But they could live without her.

He could.

That wasn’t the part that hurt. That tugged at her heart. That made her feel simultaneously like screaming and crying and made her keep so silent.

She could live without them.

(Maybe she preferred it that way.)






Most of her friends opted to join the workforce rather than come back to Hogwarts. The Muggle-borns went to University, which was unusual in times of peace but expected in the aftermath of war. A group of Ravenclaws went to South America for an extended holiday and sent postcards once in a while. Those who didn’t come back, most of them anyway, were picking up the pieces of broken homes and broken families. Grown up too soon. The ones who could ignore it and leave, did.

The ones who didn’t know what else to do but keep on moving, did.

The lost year at Hogwarts – they seemed to clump together. Bonded by age and war and loss in a way that wasn’t any different than any other year … there was just so few of them. House boundaries seemed to mean far less to them. (Far more to the first years than ever before.) (As if this war was merely a memory to those born into it.) (As if children learn nothing from the fallen soldier’s blood they walk over in their hallowed playgrounds.)

Clumps of a generation. Scattered about the school.


Cho was in none of them.


Probably there were other solitary souls out there, other lost souls still clinging to their lost year and unable to move forward in one of the pre-determined clumps of nostalgia that bumbled through the school hallways drunk on sadness or fire-whiskey.


The only one Cho saw was Ginny Weasley.




They became a clump of their own, sitting on opposite sides of the long table in the Dragons, Beasts section of the library. Interrupted only sometimes by a fourth or fifth year Ravenclaw asking Cho for tutoring assistance or one of the Golden Trio looking for their pet.

That’s what Ginny is to them, Cho can see it in their eyes.

Mostly she can see it in her eyes. Shielded so often now by the fashionable fringe cutting a stark shadow of red over her pale face. Eyes that peek out at the world only often enough to keep on seeing, but seemingly without any other consequence.

Eyes should yearn, should burn, should beg, should defy, should tease, should accuse. Cho has seen all of those things in Ginny’s eyes over the years and now they are hollow.

Maybe that’s what happens when the one you love doesn’t die forever.

She wouldn’t know.
She’s only loved the one time.
She has no comparison.


At Christmas, Ginny stays behind in the dark halls of Hogwarts. Most of them stay. As if the novelty of being there and being safe is too precious to give up so quickly. (As if the heartbreak here was worn-in like a comfortable knitted sweater and they all knew empty seats at dinner and empty beds at night were too sharp to bear.) She hears McGonagall crying in her office and leaves that for someone else to deal with.

She’s done playing hero.



The Christmas Eve feast is stifling and hot and crowded and there’s too much laughter, too much happiness. It weighs on her heart until she feels blackened out.

She’s in the library before she knows that she left.

She’s not alone and that’s not so unusual.

They don’t say anything. They don’t offer comfort. There’s nothing to say and neither one has anything to offer.

But for once, Cho feels like she’s finally looking into eyes that see.
Her.
Only her.

Sitting on a wooden bench with her legs curled up to her chest trying desperately to cry or to scream or to fucking feel but nothing comes except those eyes.





After the new year, they sit in the middle of their table in the Dragons, Beasts section of the library. Ginny with her back to Horntail, Dragons and Cho with her back to Serpents, Dragons. Their pile of books becomes a shared enterprise and there’s something so damn comforting in that the first time it happens Cho falls asleep with tears clinging to her lashes. Ginny learns that Cho is attempting to become an Animagus and is working privately with McGonagall, but hasn’t been able to decide on an animal yet. (What Ginny learns later is that her patronus keeps changing form which is preventing her from moving forward.) Cho learns that Ginny has started a research project on Muggle fairy tales that Hermione is gleefully supportive of. (What Cho already knows and Ginny never bothers to explain is that it’s ninety-percent just an excuse to be alone in the library most evenings.)

And that’s comfort.

Sitting next to someone in silence for days and days on end and never needing to look up because you know they are there.

Maybe that’s what those little clumps of lost souls are doing out there, roaming the halls and laughing too hard and sounding out words in the shape of cliché’s like they are brand new, maybe they are just getting a little comfort.

And maybe theirs is sitting in silence with a shared pile of books and adding notes in their separate, scrolling script, until Ginny knows more about the Animagus Theories of the 17th Century than anyone else in her year and Cho knows more about the different forms of Cinderella than probably most Muggles do. Maybe that’s peace.





Peace is a fairytale.

It’s scrawled in shiny purple ink on the table in the space between them. Small enough so that Madam Pince doesn’t notice it, but obviously of a magical nature as the House Elves seem to not have been able to clean it off.

Or maybe they agree.

The sight of it, comforting in its lack of illusion, is probably the thing that breaks her, leads her crawling back into war.





The House Elves bring them coffee with pumpkin foam. The first time, they brought cocoa and Ginny laughed. She prefers her coffee dark and thick and a little exotic – has her own beans spirited to her by George presumably or maybe Charlie. Cho likes her coffee creamy and sweet.

Ginny drinks their pumpkin coffee without complaint.

There is sometimes also a plate of cookies or warm bread with cheese or a slice of pie. Which they share, lips lingering on the prongs of a fork passed between cool hands as they read and write and lose themselves in their projects.

Some nights, Cho is alone late into the evening, Ginny showing up sweaty and a little muddy from Quidditch practice. She saves her an extra cookie on those nights. Knows them intimately.

Knows the scent of Ginny’s sweat on the back of her neck as if it were her own.





The House Elves bring them coffee and Cho was fast asleep on her books, her sleeve dangerously close to knocking over her inkwell. She woke up to Ginny slipping her wool-covered foot onto her lap. Or maybe it was there a long time, but a tap-tapping of toes against her ribcage wakes her.

Ginny was lost in her reading. Her hair pulled back into a sloppy bun, that ridiculous sideways fringe clipped back with a bobby-pin that is threatening to fall, her feet crossed on Cho’s lap, tap-tap-tapping a beat, an empty cup in one hand, a full plate of pie between them.

Cho looked up and didn’t smile – smiling is for little girls who still believe that nothing can harm the innocence and grace of a unicorn, are there any girls like that left in the world, probably more than she thinks there should be – and murmured a Charm to hold up that damn bobby pin.

She hates that fringe.

Hates the idea of Ginny hiding her eyes away.
So they are hollow, at least they are true.

“I saved you some pie.”

Cho wrinkled her nose and grabbed the fork, “You didn’t even have a bite.”

Ginny shrugged and waved her wand over the mug holding Cho’s coffee. It started to steam immediately.

They ate in silence, passing the fork back and forth, Ginny’s feet tapping against Cho’s ribcage.







What do you really expect of girls that have only ever known how to fight because their whole world was a battleground?

Ginny almost said it aloud when her heart leaps up in her chest at the feeling of Cho’s soft lips and tongue caressing her finger. There was a dollop of cream left behind on the plate between them and she swiped it up with her finger without a thought, offered it to the girl sitting across from her without any sense of recklessness, without any sense that it could possibly be wrong. What could be wrong about wanting to dip a small part of her cold, broken shell into the promising warmth sitting in front of her night after night?

They act like its normal – a bit of cream fed with a finger, legs in laps, and hearts in each other’s eyes.

They act like there is nothing wrong and there isn’t.





Harry doesn’t notice Valentine’s Day and she doesn’t remind him.

Even when Ron and Hermione are quite frankly disgusting in the common room and at breakfast and lunch and Ginny excuses herself from dinner but she’s pretty sure that whatever transpired there was revolting.

Harry might not have a piece of a Dark Lord inside of him anymore, but he’s still an oblivious dork.
Which used to be why she loved him.
Not that she doesn’t still.

Ginny might not have a piece of a Dark Lord inside of her anymore, but she’s still beating blood black as the night.
Which isn’t at all why he loves her.
Not that he knows.

She goes to the library and hopes there is coffee and hopes there is cheese and bread because that’s her favorite and hopes there is a girl there with dark eyes and dark hair and thin, soft lips.

When it’s all there just the way she wanted, she doesn’t think about the things she’s supposed to want or the way she’s supposed to behave.

She sits on the wrong side of the table.



Harry doesn’t remember Valentine’s Day and she doesn’t remind him.

Which pleases her in ways that she can’t quite put her finger on. She should want her friends to be happy, should be able to share in their joy, should find hope in their fingers twirled around each other’s.

When she closes her eyes at night she doesn’t see Cedric’s sideways smile or hear Harry’s soft, encouraging voice, she feels a small, thin finger tracing the seam of her lips and a flash of golden red.

The House Elves bring her sticky sweet red wine and soft, delicate cheese with warm bread and there is an echo in the library that beats against her skull. She can’t even tell them that the extra glass they put on the table won’t be used. It’s too cruel.

She doesn’t hear Ginny approach, doesn’t sense it, one minute she is alone with her books and her words are swimming circles in front of her unseeing eyes and the next moment there are lips on her neck.





The history books will say that they were born in a time of peace.
That they grew into war.

History books are full of holes.

They were born with war beating in their blood like a promise of destruction whether the world gave it to them or not.





Ginny’s skin is rough beneath her fingertips; Cho’s hair is coarse and thick. Their lips are cold and their tongues are warm, their teeth are too sharp and their blood sings of metal.

They sit side by side, wine glasses in their hands and cheese passed from fingers to lips like an offering to a god they no longer have the weakness necessary to believe in. What good are your gods here, in the silence of their ever-present lives ticking slowly by, as their skin tells them all the things their words no longer can say.




What do you want from me? Cho whispers in her ear, nipping and licking as her words hiss pass through lips that are too focused on other pleasures to stop them.

There is a moment of silence and terror nearly seizes her, shuts her down. She grabs a hold of it, rakes her fingers through Ginny’s hair, rides her terror like an old friend.

And then like that Ginny is in her lap, hands on her shoulders, her knees resting easy beside Cho’s hips, Everything. Nothing. She raises her thumb to trace the line of Cho’s lips. Someone to not tell me to stop being sad.

Her tone is melancholy and angry and impatient.

Cho’s fingers dance under the edge of Ginny’s sweater, meeting unyielding flesh they have been starving for, and a tear trickles down her cheek.

Ginny watches the tear fall, cocking her head to the side as if in utter wonderment, as if she’s never seen a tear before. Cho pushes her palms under her thick sweater and strokes that lean back as if it belonged to her. As if anything belonged to her.

As if she had a right at all to own something.

As if a person could be owned.

What do you want? Ginny whispers. She’s trying to be delicate, she’s forcing herself to be soft, and it breaks something deep down in Cho’s being. This girl who is so hard and so strong and so much.

Someone who won’t hide from me, her tone is harsh – much more gruff than she even knew it could be. Not harsh with sadness or with anger, but with want. She flicks her eyes and a bobby pin pulls back the hair from Ginny’s face. I hate that fucking fringe.

Ginny laughs into her mouth as they kiss for the first time.

Smiling, laughing, scratching, desperate carnivores; lusting after spilled blood – even if it is their own.




Or maybe they didn’t say anything at all, speaking only with harsh breath on each other’s skin and fingers, hands, teeth grasping and asking all their questions for them.




Or maybe Ginny sits on her side of the table and slips her feet up onto Cho’s lap and they drink their wine in silence and in an hour or so Harry comes to find her with confusion written all over his face and an apology on his lips that she accepts with a shrug and a wave goodbye to her silent friend.




Or maybe they never moved to the center of the table and they never shared coffee and pie and they never felt each other’s skin between their fingertips.





There are moments, sitting in the library with Ginny’s feet in her lap and the taste of Ginny in her mouth, that she thinks maybe this is the part that is a dream. This part that feels like fangs and claws and tastes like battle but might be the most peaceful silence she’s ever known.

[fic] postcards postmarked

swhunt.flames
fic: postcards postmarked
fandom: btvs
characters: buffy; dawn; andrew; original females
word count: 1800
recipient: kikimay who wanted: Dawn, travelling around the world
summary: buffy lands in havana tired and cranky and gets a bit of a surprise

see a/n at the end for further world-building


[The flight from Rome to Havana was hellish. And she should know. “I’ve been to hell, you know.”]The flight from Rome to Havana was hellish.

And she should know.

“I’ve been to hell, you know.”

The woman standing in front of her waiting for a taxi turned around and glared, but Buffy just shrugged and smiled.

“Yes, I remember,” Andrew’s voice came through the satellite phone tinny and annoyed. Probably because it was an ungodly hour in Rome.

Well if she had to be awake hailing a cab in the middle of the night according to her internal clock, running on no food and less sleep, then so could he. At least he was in the comfort of his own apartment. Probably drinking tea and putting his toes in front of the fire.

“I hate you,” she growled, smiling and waving as she did so.

“You’re the Chosen One. I just tell you where the demons are. You could have let the local chapter handle this one.”

Buffy sank into a cab and handed the driver the hand-written instructions to her next destination with a sigh, “Yeah well… Andrew? This driver is laughing at me.”

“Yeah, it might take you a few tries to get one to take you where you need to go. I could call a car service?”

Buffy threw her duffel bag (a gift from Riley and Sam) out of the cab, snatched the slip of paper from the laughing driver, and flipped him off as she slammed the door shut, “How long would that take?”

“Hmm… let me check.” She could hear the soft sound of Andrew typing through the phone. She plopped down on her bag, eyeing the wandering vendors with their spicy-smelling food wandering through the crowd. “Yeah, the Council still has some strings in Cuba, apparently.”

“Surprise, surprise,” Buffy muttered, gesturing to a woman carrying bottles of water.

“I can get you a car in fifteen minutes. Should I have them bring food as well?”

“If you don’t I’ll personally dislocate your shoulder when I get back.”

“Love you, too Buff.”

“Hold down the fort while I’m gone.”

“I always do.”

“I’ll call when the smoke is clear.”

“Nothing but the rain, General.”

The car came in exactly forty-five minutes, with a bag of hot McDonald’s goodies in the back and actual leather seats and a driver that seemed to actually speak a little bit of English.

It wasn’t that far from Havana to Mariel, just a short jaunt along the coast.

She slept through most of it.

Andrew’s contact wanted to meet at a bar on the beach, which was fine with her. The sooner this problem was solved, the sooner she could go back home. To showers and breakfast and cheese.

Buffy had priorities.

She ordered a coffee and congri with chicken. The waitress who brought it over was one Dawn Summers.

Which honestly didn’t surprise her.

Evidence either of her lack of sleep, or the slippery nature of her younger sister.

“Hey sis.”

“Hey kid. Got sick of Moscow?”

“Ah hell, I haven’t been in Russia in over six months.”

“How’d you get a job here so quickly?”

She shrugged, her shoulders freckled from sun exposure, a gleam of purple lingering in her hair, “You need a fucking shower.”

Buffy took a large bite of rice, “Mm… waiting on a guy.”

Dawn rolled her eyes, “Your informant?” She picked up Buffy’s coffee cup and slung the bag over her thin shoulder, “You’re looking at him. And I’m not telling you shit until you take a shower and have a nap.” She looked up at the sun glaring down at them, “It’s early. We have a good twelve hours of daylight left.”

Dawn lived in a tiny studio apartment a few streets down from the beach bar. It had no rooms… just a couple of mattresses strategically placed on the floor. The kitchen was also a bathroom was also a shower.

“You live here alone?” Buffy asked as Dawn arranged the shower curtain to give her some privacy, eyeing the multiple mattresses divided by blankets hung from the ceiling on hooks and the very large pair of men’s boots in the corner.

“Sometimes. Shower.”

The water was a trickle and musty smelling but Dawn always keeps good hair products around. She’s dependable like that.

Buffy dressed in sweats that were – mostly – clean and walked out to find Dawn cross-legged on the floor surrounded by books and manuscripts. The kind of ancient-looking, dangerous, potentially-flammable books that gave Giles and Andrew weird geek hard-ons.

“Don’t you need gloves to handle books like that?”

Dawn nodded to the mattress behind her. “Sleep. I have to go back to work. Jaidyn’s daughter has another ear infection and I promised I’d cover her today.”

And then she was gone.

The mattress was thin and it was hot despite the thick hangings over the small windows and the fan in the corner, but Buffy still slept.

She dreamt she was eating Red Hots and was living inside a Red Hot and the whole world was red.

She woke up to Dawn laughing and talking quietly in what was either Spanish, Portuguese, or hell… it could have been Italian. Buffy didn’t really take to languages the way her younger sister did. There was another girl in the apartment, a small, dark, owlish thing that peeked up at Buffy with curiosity.

“This is Maria. She’s the leader of the Slayers here. She’s already lost three girls trying to fight this asshole. She doesn’t want anyone else to die.”

Buffy nodded to the girl and tried to assess what time it was, “What’s our timetable?”

“You have thirty minutes to eat and get caught up and then you go. Should give you plenty of time to get to the docks before he starts feeling rage-y.”

“What is it?”

“Lilliad Demon.”

“How many?”

“One.”

“One?!”

Dawn punched Buffy in the shoulder harshly, “Look. Kids are going missing. Babies. One Lilliad demon can cause enough damage on its own.”

Buffy eyed Maria suspiciously, “She’s a Slayer. You said there’s more. They should have been able to take care of this.”

“So the big bad General only cares about the big stuff? You only come crawling out of Rome for apocalypse-worthy fights?”

“Dawn. You know enough about Lilliad demons… you could have handled this without me. So could Maria. That’s what being a Slayer is.”

Dawn shook her head, “Maria is fourteen, Buffy.”

Maria smiled at Buffy and handed her a cup of coffee.

“Fourteen?”

“The two girls that died? They were fifteen, maybe sixteen, I don’t know. I didn’t know what was happening until it was over. There’s a larger group up in Havana – in the larger cities – but Mariel? Here there’s just Maria and a couple of other kids with no training and no support. I called you because they needed help. They’ve been flying blind down here. They don’t need a Watcher -” she gestured at herself “- they needed a sister. Another Slayer to show them how to train, how to … not die.”

Buffy looked from Dawn to Maria and back again. “So a Lilliad demon.”

“Yeah.”

Buffy looked at Maria and smiled, “Let’s kick its ass.”



It was an easy enough Slay. Buffy let Maria take the lead, showing her how to track, how to assess attack patterns. She hadn’t been in the field with someone so untrained in a long time. Turns out teaching is kinda like riding a bike – you don’t forget how to do it.

Maria jumped and squealed and laughed when the damn thing finally turned into goo.

They were covered in it and gross and laughing.

And Buffy understood why Dawn had called her.

Watchers can only give so much instruction, sometimes a Slayer really needs to see another Slayer at work in order to know what to do, how to be, how not to lose themselves in the action. Guess they could finally do that now. She mentally prepared a list of available senior Slayers to come down to Mariel to lend a hand for the next few months. Until Maria was ready to lead on her own.

She was nearly there.


Before they left, Buffy grabbed Dawn’s arm, “Why didn’t you call me directly? All this shadow-work through Andrew is silly.”

Dawn blinked, “I did.”


Afterwards, Buffy had a quick shower in the drizzle that was Dawn’s bathroom and crashed immediately on the thin mattress in the corner.

The next day she found Maria and two other young girls and they trained on the docks, running on the beach, and generally just goofing off. Her three years of high school Spanish were nearly gone, but they managed okay. She had dinner at Dawn’s bar – but was served by a young woman with an eyebrow piercing. Figuring she had just missed Dawn’s shift, Buffy went back to the apartment with every intention of suggesting that Dawn return home with her to Rome in a few days. She could afford some time off to play sister on the beach for a while in the meantime.

The apartment was empty. Buffy shrugged to herself and fell back on her mattress.

Maybe she had a date?

The next morning Buffy was woken by someone poking her in the shoulder with the hard handle of a broom, “Hey! Hey you! What are you doing in my house!?”

Buffy blinked and tried to clear the cobwebs from her mind with a shake of her head, “Wha?”

“Oh,” a dark woman with a pleasantly round face and lots of hair came into focus. “You’re Dawn’s sister, right? She told me you’d be gone by now.”

Buffy scrambled, “Where is Dawn?”

The woman shrugged, “Left town a couple of days ago. Paid for your rent through yesterday but…” she peered down at Buffy, “I can get you a ride back to the airport if you need it.”

Buffy nodded, “Yeah. I guess I do.”

She checked in with the bar – no sign of Dawn – and said goodbye to Maria and her Slayerettes and was on a plane by the end of the day.




It took a while to get home home. There was an emergency that needed her attention the minute she touched down in Rome. A couple of times over the next few days she thought to ask Andrew to track down her sister so she could scream at her, but there was no time and anyway she figured Andrew knew exactly where Dawn was.




A week after landing in Havana, Buffy finally crash-banged her way into her apartment and sank down on the couch she didn’t even know she loved so much until that moment, and noticed a stack of mail in front of the door.

On top was a postcard from Dawn, postmarked Senegal: “Hope you and Maria had a great time! Thanks for helping out. Love you lots, D”

Beneath several bills and ads there was another postcard, dated three weeks before: “The Slayerettes could really use a hand in Mariel, Cuba. Figure a beach trip? I’ll be waiting, D.”

Buffy leaned back into the couch, “Well, fuck.”




a/n: my headcanon for dawn in this piece is that she's conducting some sort of research for her phd/masters and had to move quickly to get in contact with a source further headcanon is that her research is on demon folklore - specifically dealing with the Slayer; aka: what fairy tales do demons tell their children about the Slayer?

[psy changeling]

swhunt.flames
... is a thing that I am reading.

Let's talk about it.

(un)spoken:

kpop.9les
fic: let's sing a song of all the mistakes we should have made (6/6)
fandom: victorious + sam and cat
pairing: tori/cat(/andre); jade/beck(/andre); robbie/trina(/andre); ot7 polyamory (past cat/sam) (past tori/andre)
word count: 3,300/18,000
recipient: killing_kurare and smells_corrupt for her constant inspiration
prompt: lovesong
setting: eight years after their high school graduation, jade calls an old friend back to los angeles and everyone is forced to face the secrets they've been hiding from each other
warnings: extensive discussion of mental illness, alcoholism, self-harm, co-dependent behavior, poly relationships, self-destructive behavior, motherhood, alternating-female-POV, ableism
a/n: I may do an epilogue for this 'verse at some point - maybe set a few months or years down the line to see how everything shakes out, but I felt as though if I added anything more on the end of this, it would feel disingenuous, like I was just pushing for word-count or a cleaner ending. and I might actually really love the way this ends.


chapter one: cat
chapter two: jade
chapter three: trina
chapter four: jade
chapter five: tori



[but it wasn&quot;t, was, wasn&quot;t just me loving you all along]Tori’s only self-written album, Yesterday, wasn’t the most interesting album he’d ever listened to. In fact, Andre pretty much thought it was one of the worst things he’d ever seen attributed to Tori Vega’s name.

(The things they had written together, those were the best. Not just for her, but for him, too. And not because of him or because she was probably the easiest person to compose with or because they balanced each other in all the right ways – she held back his sentimentality and he stopped her from being too safe – but because of all of those things.)

He could pick out moments on every track where he would have reeled her in, held her back, pushed her a bit more. He could almost feel the slight touch of her hair on the back of his hand as she made notes on the sheet music propped up on his keyboard. He did this a lot with music – could see the missing links and cracks in the armor – could see how he could make it better. But Yesterday was like

And that was all a bit too much, so he stopped listening to it. Only suffering through it for the sake of Cat – who obsessively knew all the lyrics and every pause for breath that Tori took on every track.

A month or so after their tryst at the office party in an elevator, she posted an original piece on her website, just her and her guitar in a dark room. Yesterday, too ended up on the back end of her next album, dropped just before news circulated about her daughter’s birth.

He never listened to it.



The day he saw his child for the first time lie down next to Cat on a stage like she was born to live there with them, he went home and listened to Yesterday, too for the first time.

It was inelegant, it was rough, and it was pure Tori Vega. In ways that her music – still hitting the top 40 radio stations despite her heart obviously no longer being in it – hadn’t in a long time. About lost love and lost dreams and saying goodbye. And it almost felt like he could understand her again, in that way that they had always been able to understand each other through music.

He should have been there, when she wrote it. He was in every line – and he wasn’t. He was part of it, but he wasn’t.

It could have been a duet.

It should have been a duet.

You always reminded me
Like a freight train moving East
When I wanted to be moving West
Waving goodbye from the tail end
Of these rotten dreams
We used to paint like that’d get us
Somewhere safe
Reminded me that waving
Playing
Laughing
Were the scars we chose to show
Not the wounds we tried to hide


When the song closed, youtube gave him a box of suggestions for what to listen to next. Which he typically ignored. He didn’t really want to listen to Tori Vega’s Party Party for the umpteenth time.

Except something caught his eye.

Thricewise Yesterday


And it was good. Damn good.

He just knew that he could make it better.


He showed up at Trina’s door with his keyboard under one arm (even though Trina had a fully-functioning piano in her dining room), a six-pack of beer, and two Papa Murphy’s pizzas. Trina’s eyes gleamed when she opened the door and Kat threw herself on his legs unceremoniously with a “Hi Uncle Andre!” that didn’t make him nearly as angry as he might have been a few hours before.

They sat hunkered over the piano while Kat banged out ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’ on his keyboard on the floor a few feet away with Trina and Robbie calling out insults and suggestions from the kitchen and they ate pizza and Robbie drank too many beers and started kissing everyone on the cheek like a giant dork.

And she was flushed and her eyes shone and he felt alive.

This. This was what they were meant to do. Create. Together.

Around two in the morning it was damn near polished and Trina was curled up with a sleeping Kat in her lap and Robbie made the call to Jade. She and Beck arrived within fifteen minutes – hair rumpled and clad in matching plaid pajamas.


And a plan was hatched.






“You asked me about my brother,” Cat narrowed her eyes at Andrea and straightened her shoulders.

Jade’s opening was that night. And no one had really said what was going to happen after that. Tori seemed to be getting along with everyone in the same way she had back… when they were kids. Andre was getting to know Katie in his soft way. Trina and Tori seemed more like sisters than they ever had been. She even caught Beck and Tori giggling about something a few nights ago, heads bent over one of his soap script.

Andrea didn’t show her surprise. She was a careful, practiced sort of person. But Cat sensed it in the way she leaned slightly forward, “Yes, I did. A few weeks ago.”

“Yes.” Cat sighed. “What do you want to know?”

Andrea made like she was flipping through her notes to remind herself the context.

Cat sometimes got a little resentful that people presumed that she didn’t know what was going on. That she hadn’t seen the Psychology books in Jade’s study-nook buried under scraps of fabric and old copies of Our Town. That she hadn’t smelled Jade’s perfume in Andrea’s office – that she didn’t know those long hours in the theatre were now being supplemented by an internship at her own therapist’s office.

That she didn’t remember things.

Andrea stopped on an innocuous page that Cat would have bet a million dollars didn’t have the notes from the day Tori came back on them. “Oh yes. I was curious whether your brother came by the hospital when you were admitted a few years ago.”

Cat crossed her arms over her chest, uncrossed them and lay her hands in her lap, lifted her hands to crack her knuckles, shifted her legs so that she was pressing her hands into the soft couch with the pressure of her thighs.

It was now or later.

There wasn’t a never.

That had always been clear.

But she had never before wanted so desperately to be the kind of woman who was ready for the hard things. She had always been a girl who hid the harsh truths behind a bright smile and a silly laugh meant to make others laugh with her. She had always been a girl that was more comfortable hiding her monsters under the bed.

And there was nothing like seeing the person she loved most facing her own fears and walking with her head held high to make her realize the time for hiding was over.

“That’s impossible.”

“What is impossible?”

“That my brother would come to the hospital. It’s impossible because I don’t have a brother. I never had a brother.”

Andrea stared at her owlishly, as if she anticipated Cat was going to say something very different.

Maybe they all did.

“Or… I guess I don’t really know for sure if never is the right word. He may have been real sometime,” Cat smiled and a tear trickled down her face. “I think I won’t ever give up hope that he was possible. That she didn’t just make him up completely.”

“Your mother?”

And like that, all the pretenses between Andrea and Cat were gone.

“It’s just too sad to me to think that maybe she never had him. Because she loves him so much.”

“I’m sure she loved you, too.”

Cat laughed and it hid nothing and exposed everything. Probably the first time in her life she had ever laughed with honesty.

It hurt.

She didn’t think that laughter was supposed to hurt. But growing was about learning.

And maybe this was just something she needed to learn.

That laughter could expose hurt instead of covering it up.

What a host of beautiful possibilities that held.

“She loved me best when I wasn’t. When I was him.”

“When did that start?”

Cat shrugged, “I’m not sure. Before I really could understand it probably.”

“Did you ever—”

“No. I mean I don’t think so. That’s a tricky question to ask isn’t it? Did you lose yourself? How can I know the answer to that?”

“The laryngitis?”

“I remember.”

Andrea moved over to the couch and took Cat’s hand in hers, her notes left behind on her chair.

And Cat cried for the broken hearted young woman that hid behind a mask of smiles, behind the mask of a boy who never lived, because she didn’t want the people she loved to know the depths of her pain.






The second half of the play was designed to fuck with the actors. That’s what Jade said with a smile when they first started rehearsal. Only she and Robbie knew everyone’s cues and exits and entrances. Only she had the full master list of the lighting cues and sound effects and music.

The premise of the play was that slowly, throughout the first act, the actors started to slip through the cracks of character. As if it were a rehearsal and the actors were dropping their characters between scenes, slowly allowing the audience to see the performance as the show went along.

By Act Two, they all were supposed to be acting on instinct. Now in-character as actors that were no longer in-character at all while a dress rehearsal for something else went on around them. Improvisation on an epic scale with minor parameters that let them exit and enter.

It was supposed to be acting. Their ‘actors’ another character that they kept wrapped around themselves like the professionals they all were.

Except not a single one of them had any more intention of doing so.

And that was Jade’s purpose from the beginning.






Cat had the first entrance of the second act. Her only directions were, end on the word ‘wait’; exit on the word ‘still’.

She could have run out on stage and shouted ‘WAIT’ immediately if she wanted to.

She didn’t.

She hugged Jade and walked calmly to the center of the apron and sat down cross-legged on the stage.

She smiled at the audience and said the things she didn’t know how to say without a mask.

“When I was sixteen I fell in love with my best friend. She was beautiful and perfect and I told myself that just knowing her was enough.” She shook her head and a few people in the audience laughed softly. “Young girls are funny that way. We think we’ll be content with scraps and try to hide the fact that we want the whole universe right now, all at once.” A woman in the front row blinked and two tears rolled down her cheeks. Cat leaned forward and said in a bright stage whisper, “So you remember?” The woman laughed and nodded. Women all through the audience chuckled, remembering. “I kissed lots of boys when I was sixteen and seventeen and eighteen. Boys are so fun to kiss.” She tilted her head and smirked, “Girls are better.” Everyone laughed. She was good at making people laugh. Something bloomed inside her chest, knowing that she – just Cat – could do that. Could have an entire audience laugh in understanding. She stood up and began pacing the front of the stage. “Life is so predictable. People grow, people change, people move away and live lives you never imagined. But when you are young, you want to believe that you are different, that your heart won’t break.” She threw her arms out wide and said loudly, “Mine did. Into a thousand splintering pieces.” She lifted her head back to look at the ceiling, she thought of Andre and Robbie crawling on that catwalk trading insults and calling down to the others as they worked below. Her audience waited.

She dropped her hands and looked at them again, “Broken hearts are rather mundane, aren’t they? Everyone hides them in different ways. I’m an actor. I hide behind masks. We take the stage with us, you know.” She could sense the others watching her from the sidelines and she looked back at them, there were no rules and she let them know she wasn’t playing by their old ones anymore. Time for revision. “All the world’s a stage. And I do it better than anyone.” She saw a gleam of tears on Jade’s cheeks and smiled, turning back to her audience.

Because she may be ready. But she was still Cat Valentine.

“When I was a little girl my mother played this game with me. Big brother she called it. She dressed me in jeans and a baseball cap and she called me Peter. When I got hurt, when I was sad, when I wanted something I couldn’t have – she called me Peter and then the hurt went away. I may have fallen off my bike and skinned my knee, but Peter didn’t.” Cat’s voice caught in her throat and she coughed. To her left, there was a rustle.

But she had to do this on her own.

“So when I grew up and my best friend left and I was broken and couldn’t eat and couldn’t sleep and didn’t know how to college when it wasn’t going the way I planned, I let Peter take the pain away.”

Her audience was still. She smiled down at them. Comforted them.

“Just for a little while. I’m a really good actress.” She raised her eyebrows and smirked at the audience and they giggled with her because she asked them to.

When she became solemn and serious, they followed her. They trusted her.

“When Peter left, I was hollowed out. There wasn’t any pain anymore. But I couldn’t love anymore. He took everything.” The tears flowed freely down her face, but they didn’t hurt. They were warm and comforting. They held her together like a blanket.

She gave herself to her audience, her confessional box, she said the thing that she was hiding in the deepest, most terrified part of herself.

“I want to love her, do you see?” A couple of people nodded at her, wiping tears from their own faces. “I want to be afraid and excited and nervous and give her all of that.”

She stepped upstage and took a deep breath, “I’m tired of waiting.”

Beck burst onto the stage as if he had been running a great distance and swept her up in a big hug. The audience was so surprised by his entrance that they immediately started clapping.

Cat laughed.

A happy, satisfied, open, beautiful laugh.

When he sat her down, he cupped her face with his hands.

“Hi. I’m an alcoholic.”

“Hi you.”

“I have the chips and everything.”

“I’m proud of you.”

Beck stepped away and smirked at her. Going to the edge of the stage he said to the audience in a happy, boisterous shout, “I think we all want to know. Do you still love her?”

The lights flickered from bright yellow to a soft blue and Cat shook her head.

“That’s my cue.”

And left Beck alone on the stage, walking into the darkness and straight into Jade’s waiting arms.

He turned to the audience.

“I put rootbeer in beer bottles when I’m out in public. I hide my disease like a shameful sexy secret.”

Jade walked out, “My boyfriend is an alcoholic. He is ashamed. I keep his chips in my underwear drawer. His strength is the sexiest thing about him.”

Beck blew her a kiss and backed off the stage.

Jade smirked at the audience, “Penguin.”

Andre somersaulted onto the stage, “Schizophrenia is genetic. When I hold my daughter I can’t help but wonder if I doomed her before she even began.”

Trina wrapped one arm around his waist, “My boyfriend and I have to sleep in separate beds so that I won’t have an anxiety attack in the night. We have separate bathrooms so that we don’t get our medication mixed up.”

Andre laughed, “Normalcy is overrated.”

Tori took his hand, “And not as easy as we were told it was when we were kids.” She looked at the audience, “They tell you that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. They never tell you that normal is a term created just to keep you afraid.”

She poked her sister on the nose, “Lipstick.” And Trina walked off the stage.

Tori walked up to the apron, squared herself in the same spot Cat had sat down in when the act started. “I had a miscarriage and finally understood for myself what the words ‘post-partum depression’ mean. It was scary. But I survived.”

She looked over her shoulder and smiled at Cat, who came up to stand beside her, “Is surviving the same as living?”

Cat shook her head, “What do they think?” She gestured at the audience, so willing to go on this ride with them. So unaware of how many wounds they had laid bare for their entertainment.

Maybe that was the only way they ever could have said the things that they needed to say.

Maybe that was the only way they ever knew how to communicate – even to each other.

We need to work on that, Cat thought to herself. It wasn’t cost-effective to have Jade stage these productions every time they needed to be honest with each other.

Thing was, they were still learning how to be honest with themselves.

She smiled down at them, “Do you think surviving is the same as living?”

They shook their heads up at her – some looking at each other in mystification – and a couple of the more courageous shouting out “No!” from the darkness.

Tori pursed her lips theatrically, “And what are you going to do with your new life?”

“I’m not sure. It’s still new.” She was floundering a bit. Not yet sure where this was going. Trying to adjust to not knowing what was going to happen next. “What about you?”

“Can I show you?” Tori waved a hand at Robbie sitting in a booth far above them. “I guess it’s time.”

Andre rolled out his keyboard and Trina brought out a chair, forcing Cat into it facing away from the audience. Someone handed Tori a microphone.

Behind her, Cat could hear the audience getting excited. Tori Vega was going to sing!?!

Tori leaned over Cat and whispered in her ear, “Trust me. Please just trust me one last time.”

She turned to the audience and bowed. “Some of you may know this song but most of you won’t. I had some help. Sometimes…” she paused and looked back at Andre, Jade, Trina, and Beck who were standing clustered together behind Andre’s keyboard. “Sometimes you just need a little help.” She faced the audience again, laughing at herself, “Me especially. I suck on my own.”

Robbie dropped a mirror ball and everything got really sparkly and colorful.

Cat was going to rip them all to shreds with her fingernails for springing this on her.

“It’s called ‘Thricewise Yesterday’ and it’s … ah…” Tori blushed. “It’s a bit of a love song.”


But it wasn’t, was, wasn’t
The song on your lips
the sun in your hair
the light you tried to hide
But it wasn’t, was, wasn’t
The way I clung to the memory of you
The way you held my heart
Right in the palm of your hand

It was, wasn’t, was
Walking down the street
Holding hands
In a dream, dream, a dreamer’s dream

It was, wasn’t, was
Holding you beneath my fingers
Feeling you breath
In a dream, dream, a dreamer’s dream

But it wasn’t, was, wasn’t
The love in your heart
The grace in your faith
The beauty you couldn’t hide
But it wasn’t, was, wasn’t
The way I love, love, love you
The way you hold my heart
Right in the palm of your hand






The curtain closed on Cat pressing her lips firmly to Tori’s, standing on tiptoe, and smiling into the other woman’s mouth.

[fic] no lies, no apologies

btvs.buffy_tara
fic: no lies, no apologies
fandom: btvs
pairing: buffy/tara
word count: 2,000
setting: an au in which Dead Things ends just slightly differently
note: inspired by a conversation had with red_satin_doll about the tropes that are used in bara fic. WARNING: this is *not* the bara that you may be used to. not too sure about the ending, but ... it is what it is
warning: my over-identification with Tara reaches new levels every day. this fic is dedicated to any and all women who have ever felt as though they had to be kind and good, but have only ever been hurt and abused in return. there are millions of us. putting others first, trying to play peace-keeper, giving a shoulder to another when we really need one in return, who have been told their softness is why they are hurt, but also told never to lash out. this story is for every woman who has ever felt worn out and tired and dragged down by the world - told to give but never getting the support she needs in return. here is your anger. it is justified. it is beautiful. and Tara should have been the voice we so deserve. this story is for you. this story is for me.

bara_home



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