Title: Cattiebrie's writing
Description: Pretty much self explanatory
Cattiebrie - October 15, 2009 05:40 PM (GMT)
I'll stick things that I've written in here, label them and such.
First up: Engine Troubles. I've written two Firefly fanfics in my life, and I can't even guarantee that this one qualifies. There are times when my brain truly does scare me. This is one of those times.
The yellow furry thing hopped out of the engine and looked at Kaylee. “Captain, we got an issue.”
“Gorram engine is your specialty, little Kaylee. This is my ship, and your job is to make sure that my ship keeps moving by making sure that your engine keeps running. Dong ma?”
She nodded. “But I ain't never seen a critter like this before. I can feel the ’lectricity bouncing off of it.”
“Tell you what. You get it out of my engine, and you can keep it. Consider it a gift.”
She bit back a smile. “Thought you said it was my engine.”
The furry critter looked up at her. “Pika?”
Cattiebrie - October 15, 2009 05:44 PM (GMT)
This was my attempt at a fairy tale. I got hit by the muse, sat down and wrote it in about two hours.
I learned a long time ago the hard way to obey my muse.
There once was a prince who lived in a tower. It was a very tall tower, with a window at the very tippy top. It was a magic tower. As the prince grew taller, so did the tower. The prince longed for escape. He would sit in the window and imagine what it was like to be outside the tower and wished for wings, so that he could fly out of the tower. But while the tower would give him almost anything he wanted, like food, or books, or papers and paints, or clothes, the tower wouldn't give him wings, or ropes, or anything to make ropes or wings out of. The prince knew, because he'd tried many times. He tried tying clothes together, but the tower took his clothes away.
One day, it was really cold, and it snowed. The tower gave the prince logs and fire and warm clothes to keep him warm. A few days after the snow came, it left, slowly and trickly. It seemed as though the prince's wish to escape would come true, because a large icicle formed. The biggest icicle the world had seen, or ever would see again. It stretched all the way from the roof to the ground, thick and strong. The prince decided to slide down the icicle to the ground and escape his tower forever. Partway down, his hands started to burn from the cold, but he grit his teeth and held on.
Suddenly, a dragon swooped down out of the sky, grabbed the prince, and took him back to the window in the tower, breaking the icicle.
The prince lost hope of getting out of the tower.
But he continued to dream.
While the prince was in the tower, longing for escape, there was also a princess. She didn't fit most of the criteria for being a princess. A princess was supposed to be small and dainty, with pale skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. Most of all, they were supposed to be pretty. But Princess Anastasia was tall and clumsy, with perpetually sunburned skin because her father, the king, made her play outside, brown eyes, and positively red hair. Most unforgivably of all, she had freckles. She was so utterly plain that everyone called her Princess Annie.
Annie wasn't a very brave princess. She liked animals, because they didn't pass judgment on her. She hadn't met an animal she was afraid of, or that she didn't get along with. But she was afraid of people. People had no problem telling her why she didn't measure up to their expectations. Annie was afraid of large spaces, so she didn't like being outside. She was especially afraid of large spaces with people. She tried to explain to her father, the king, that she wanted to stay in the palace, but he didn't understand. He just kept sending her outside to play, saying, "You need to know how to interact with people. It will make you a better queen." Annie didn't know how to tell her father that she didn't want to be queen. She just wanted to be invisible.
She wished there was a tower somewhere she could escape to.
One day, Annie was hiding in a tree, talking to her friends, the birds, and the cats that had followed her. When she was around, dogs and cats didn't fight, and cats didn't kill birds. The birds and the cats perched on the branches, listening to Annie wish she could find a tower, when two ladies passed under the tree, gossiping about Princess Annie. The birds fluttered around Annie's head, landing in her hair and on her shoulders, and the cats climbed into her lap, because they wanted to comfort her. Once the ladies were out of earshot, Annie clambered out of the tree, strangely calm and decided. The animals followed her quickly, and she looked at them and made an announcement. "I'm leaving. I'm leaving tonight. I'll just keep walking and walking and walking, until I find a tower I can stay in forever. You can come with me if you want."
That night, Annie snuck out of her room and climbed down the trellis outside her window. When she was safely on the ground of the courtyard, she turned around and all the palace animals were there.
Annie sighed. "I'm sorry." Her voice was filled with regret and sadness. "Not all of you can come with me. Some of you have to stay behind. Especially you horses." Most of the horses went back to their stalls in the stable, but her horse, Apple, wouldn't move. Some of the dogs and cats dispersed as well, but Annie was still left with six dogs and twelve cats, all the birds, and Apple. Annie sighed again. "Okay. But you'd better be good at hiding."
It was a long journey. Annie and her animals had to travel at night and hide during the day. They had to find places in the woods to sleep in the day and dodge patrols when moving at night. They were caught a few times, and each time, Annie bluffed her way out of being caught and taken back to the palace. The cats and dogs brought small game to Annie for food.
Finally, Annie and her animals arrived at the tower the prince was trapped in. Annie saw the dragon a ways off, and she made her animals stay behind while she went to talk to the dragon.
"Hello, Honorable Dragon! Please come down, so we can talk amicably!" Annie called up to the dragon in Dragonese. Her father, the king, collected a great many rare creatures, and Annie had learned from them, and had become fluent in all their languages.
The dragon landed lightly beside Annie. "Greetings, smooth one. Why do you wish to speak to me? Usually, your kind attacks me; they don't wish to speak. How do you come to speak Dragonese?" Her voice was deep and rumbly and her words were occasionally punctuated by a puff of smoke.
Annie wiped her hands on her dress and decided what to say. "Great winged one, I apologize on behalf of my kind. I do not wish to attack you. I wish to exist in peace. I learned Dragonese from an Honorable Dragon far to the East. I come with fuzzy four-legged companions, and we seek entry to the tower. Could you tell me how to get to it?" For Annie could see that there was only the one very, very, very high window.
The dragon exhaled a cloud of smoke. "Little one, that is an enchanted tower. The lost one is in there, never to escape, until he is satisfied to stay. The tower has given up hope of the finding one ever coming. Why do you want in?"
Annie thought a moment and answered softly. "I don't know why, but I need to get in."
The dragon laughed, a loud booming laugh, and Annie had to dodge the accidental flames. "Well, pale one, I will take you to the tower. Either it will let you in, or it won't."
The dragon knelt down and Annie climbed on. The dragon took off and took Annie to the only window at the very top of the tall, tall, very tall tower, and Annie climbed off and in through the window. Laying on the bed was a teenager in the latter stages of adolescence. As Annie climbed down to the floor, he woke up.
"Are you a dream?" He stared at her. "I've dreamed that you were coming to find me. Have you found me, or are you just a dream?"
Annie shook her head, until she could talk again. She was especially afraid of young men. Particularly handsome young men.
She she answered, it was very soft and quiet. "I am no dream. I am Princess Annie. I have traveled a long time, searching for the tall tower." She spoke the words without knowing what she was going to say. "I am the finding one, and I have come to rescue the lost one."
The young man gazed at her, resigned and hopeful at the same time. "Am I the lost one?"
Annie shrugged. "I do not know who the lost one is. I am not a rescuer. I am not a hero. But I am here. I am here to rescue the lost one. So I think you are the lost one. How do I rescue you?"
He gazed out the window longingly. "I do not know. For as long as I know, I have wanted to be out of this prison." He turned back to Annie and looked into her eyes. "But now I think... I think I could stay here, happily, and see this as a prison no longer, if you will stay here with me, Princess Annie."
Annie inwardly melted. But she was still a practical person. "You just met me."
"But I have known you in my dreams for a long time. I may have just met you, but I have known you forever."
Annie melted the rest of the way. "You really would be happy here, if I stay, too?" The prince nodded. "I'll stay."
As the prince smiled, they heard a rumbling. They ran down the stairs, down, down, all the way down, and there was a door! The prince threw it open and ran outside, stepping on grass for the first time. Annie wanted to cry. She liked the prince. He didn't make her feel nervous or self-conscious. She wanted to stay with him. But he didn't want to stay. She'd wanted the tower for so long.
The prince stopped running and jumping and skipping and he looked at Princess Annie. "Why are you not happy, Princess Annie?"
Annie answered sadly, "Because you will leave. You do not want to stay in the tower."
"You do not wish to come with me?" He looked confused. Annie shook her head. "Then we both will stay." The prince spoke decisively.
"You will stay? But you have wished for freedom for so long. Why would you stay?" Annie didn't understand.
"But I am free. I can now go outside when I wish. I want to stay with you. You rescued me."
Annie made a decision of her own. "I will come with you. You also have rescued me, and I am no longer afraid."
The prince hugged her. "We will go tell your father what has happened, and then we will come back to the tower."
Princess Annie hugged him back. "Where you go, there I shall go. Where you settle, I shall settle. My heart is yours."
The prince smiled at her. "And mine yours."
Cattiebrie - October 15, 2009 05:50 PM (GMT)
This isn't a story so much as a glimpse into one of my character's brains.
I lied when I said I didn't care anymore.
I lied when I said I wouldn't let you hurt me anymore.
Because the truth is, I still care.
The truth is, I still need you in my life.
The truth is, you've still hurt me so badly that I don't know how I'll ever recover from it.
The truth is, I apparently need you a lot more than you need me.
The truth is, I'm sitting here in the dark, feeling each tear fall down my cheek, trying to cry silently, because I don't want anyone else knowing the misery I'm feeling right now.
The truth is, I miss you.
So I sit here, in the dark, thinking through all these truths, and knowing that if we were to talk again, or if I could go back in time, and not tell the lies, I'd lie again.
Because you don't want the truth.
You want the lie.
So when I'm out in front of other people, I'll paste the smile on my face. I'll laugh. I'll giggle. I'll bounce around. I'll be my usual cheerful self.
Why not? That's always been the mask I wear.
And you were always able to see through it.
But now, when I'm wearing my mask, that's all you'll see.
Because you don't want to let yourself see through it.
The truth is, you don't want to get hurt.
The truth is, I scare you.
The truth is, I make you care when you don't want to care.
So for you, it's easier to believe my lies, and only see my mask.
For you, it's easier to pretend like I really am okay.
For you, it's easier to pretend like you don't care.
On the outside, I'll smile.
On the outside, I'll laugh.
On the outside, I'll giggle.
On the outside, I'll bounce.
On the inside, I'll cry.
On the inside, I'll sob.
On the inside, I'll bite my lip until it bleeds.
On the inside, I'll die.
Cattiebrie - October 15, 2009 05:55 PM (GMT)
The other firefly fanfic that I've written. I wrote this one while feeling the effects of a full bottle of wine by myself. Wrote this while nicely fuzzy brained. And read it the next morning and actually liked it.
Kaylee loves her strawberries. It makes Simon smile. He enjoys watching her enjoy somethign so simple, yet infinitely precious to her. It makes him wonder when the last time he allowed himself the sheer pleasure of the small things in life- or if he ever did. That realization makes him buy her some strawberries ever time they dock. He'll take vicarious pleasure through her.
He never tells her they're from him. He just leaves them outside her room. He never tells her, but he suspects she knows.
As she eats the fruit, she tells him about growing up as the only child, with only her daddy still around. She learned about engines from her daddy, and working on them reminds her of him. When Mal asked her to be the mechanic for Serenity, she told him that she needed to ask her parents. That was a lie. Her daddy had died the week previous. Kaylee went to the spot where he was buried, and told him that she was going to go into space, just like he'd always dreamed of.
Simon listens to her voice avidly, paying attention to ever word, tone and nuance, and memorizes the shade of her eyes, the shape of her mouth, the picture she makes with her bright smile, the smudge of grease on her cheek, her mouth colored by berries, her eyes flashing wtih humor, and her hands, so small and dainty, yet strong and agile, fluttering around in the air, illustrating and punctuating her words, stained with oil and berry juice.
Kaylee and her strawberries have the almost magical ability to alleviate his stress and fears over River, to calm down his busy mind, and allow him to enjoy the small peice of heaven that Kaylee gave him.
Kaylee bites into another strawberry, savoring it, juice trailing down her chin, her small tongue darting out to capture it, her eyes rolling back in pleasure.
Simon would never be able to eat strawberries the way she did, with wild, unabandoned, un-inhibited joy. He sometimes wondered what his parents would say if he ever brought Kaylee home to them- and then promptly decided he didn't care.
Kaylee's love of strawberries touched every part of him. If he walked through a room, he knew whther or not Kayle was in it, by the faint scent of strawberries drifting on recycled air.
And the first time he kisses Kaylee, he can still taste his gift on her mouth and skin.
Kaylee loves her strawberries. And Simon loves to give them to her.
Harper - October 16, 2009 03:44 AM (GMT)
Ok, that last 'fic was quite possibly the sweetest thing I've read in quite awhile. I haven't read much Firefly fanfic - it's refreshing. :D
Cattiebrie - October 16, 2009 04:09 AM (GMT)
Apparently, I'm slightly shmeepy when I'm at the bottom of a bottle. Doesn't happen very often, but when it does, the results are always interesting.
Thank you very much.
I don't read nor write a lot of Firefly- for one thing, it's fwocking hard to grab the voices and the speech patterns right. They're deceptively hard. One reason I don't write a lot of Drusilla thoughts when I write Buffy the Vampire Slayer- she has a tendency to sound retarded rather than crazy when I write her. Although... Yeah, I'm going to have to post that one as well.j
I love Firefly, and I'm still pissed at Fox for screwing it over like they did.
"Here's an idea. There's a show with an interesting premise, from a guy who's already proven himself to habe the ability to keep a show going for YEARS. In fact, he has TWO shows that have been on the top watched shows consistantly. But you know, I think the pilot episode is boring, so we'll just not air that. And we'll switch around the air time so that the viewers have no consistency. We can show it at 2 in the morning, or even put it up against West Wing! And then, in spite of the fact that it has a large following, let's GANK IT FROM THE AIRWAVES!"
Fwocking fwockas. The whole lot of them.
Harley - October 16, 2009 04:39 AM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Cattiebrie @ Oct 16 2009, 02:09 PM)|
| I love Firefly, and I'm still pissed at Fox for screwing it over like they did.|
I remember when they cancelled it... come to think of it, I'm still kinda pissed off about it. Firefly was such a great show.
Hell, at least I have the DVDs.
Harper - October 16, 2009 04:55 PM (GMT)
I'm embittered that they've taken a lot of it off hulu... :<
Firefly was a great show, I do indeed miss it. It's a credit to your writing that you have been able to pick up so well on Kaylee and Simon. :)
Cattiebrie - October 16, 2009 09:35 PM (GMT)
Yeah, I have it on DVD, and I have Serenity, but I still want more. I want our questions answered.
Cattiebrie - October 18, 2009 02:44 AM (GMT)
A Firefly fanfic. The layout is four drabbles and a ficlet. (Four 100 word stories and a short story.)
Zoe watched Wash out of the corner of her eye.
He liked her. She could tell.
A man just don’t look at a woman the way he looked at her iffen he don’t like what he sees.
He was either shy or he respected her too much to act on his inclinations.
He didn’t ‘zactly strike her as the shy type.
Which left him respectin’ her.
That suited her just fine, because she had to admit, she respected him right back.
She slid into his lap and kissed him, long and hard.
Zoe had never been accused of being subtle.
* * *
Mal could be gentlemanly when it suited him. Right then it suited him just fine to be all gentlemanly and help Inara to her shuttle when she was tipsified.
He never seen her lose control like that afore, and his admiration for her went up a few notches cause of it.
Despite the fact that she wasn’t walking straight, she still handled herself with class, her head high.
She mumbled about a kiss.
Well, gentlemen obliged their ladies, didn’t they?
He walked back to his bunk whistling cheerfully.
Her eyes next day told him she didn’t remember none of it.
* * *
Kaylee was so close Simon could smell the strawberries on her skin.
The strawberries he’d given her.
She looked up at him, her eyes that defied definition of exact color shifting from blue to green to gray and back again.
She was thanking him for the strawberries, even though he’d never told her they were from him.
She stood up on tiptoe, to kiss him on the cheek. It took a small movement to turn his head just enough that instead of his cheek, her lips landed on his.
A small movement, but not a small action.
Simon tasted strawberries.
* * *
Book was surprised to get a cake. The cake itself wasn’t the surprise.
How they knew his birthday was the surprise.
River gave him a knowing look, and he knew that it had been her.
He looked around the table, and the happy smiles of everyone on the ship, even Jayne, made his own mouth fall into a smile.
He wondered why he was there. He didn’t see him doing them good.
Then they’d do something, and he’d think maybe he wasn’t there for them. That he needed them.
Kaylee stuck a candle in the cake, and kissed his cheek.
* * *
River started seeking him out once her brother started playing around with little Kaylee.
After the first few times of trying to get rid of her, he finally gave up.
‘Sides, she took good care of his guns. Respected them almost as much as he did.
Her favorite was Vera.
He liked her better for it.
The first few times she picked up one of his guns and started cleaning them, he got all nervous and twitchy. After all, the times she’d gone violent, it had been on his ass. First with the cutting him, then with the knocking him out.
He wasn’t sure if he’d yet forgiven her for that one.
She picked up a gun, stripped it, and cleaned it to a shine that he couldn’t duplicate.
He didn’t think he’d forgive her of that, either.
She’d been different since she’d started keeping him company. Saner, somehow.
She caught his eye with her own, and he found himself snared. He tried damn hard to make sure she never looked directly in his eyes, because it always felt like she was trying to suck him in, trying to lay claim.
He belonged to no man but hisself.
She cocked her head to the side, still staring him down, seeing things he didn’t want anyone seeing. “He’s afraid that he won’t be himself if he gives himself away.”
Jayne felt the flare of his temper, but held onto the edges of it. “Don’t go poking ‘round in my head none, Darlin’. You mayhaps won’t like what you see.”
River moved with the dancer’s grace that didn’t make a sound, not letting his eyes go. “She won’t hurt you. You don’t hurt her. You help her. She won’t bite the hand that feeds her.”
Hadn’t he just been thinking she was saner?
There’s irony for you.
He picked up another of his guns and started cleaning it to take his mind off the girl.
‘Parently she didn’t need to look into eyes to know his thoughts. “I’m not a girl.”
He looked her up and down, intentionally trying to offend. “’Pears as though you got girl parts to me.”
Girl wasn’t her brother. She either didn’t notice or didn’t care. “I’m female. But I’m not a girl. Stopped being a girl long ago.” She walked to him, not giving him extra space.
His only option was stay where he was or run.
He’d be damned if he’d run from her.
When her mouth met his, he knew he was a dead man.
Mal finds out, he’s gone. And that’s nothing if the Doc found out.
Then her mouth was against his again, and he stopped worrying.
Mayhap he’d forgive her after all.
And the possibility of death didn’t seem to matter so much.
After all, as everyone on board Serenity knew, he did like his weapons.
And River was a damn good weapon.
Cattiebrie - October 19, 2009 08:08 PM (GMT)
Walking After Midnight
Xander was walking home in a dark mood.
Yeah, okay, walking home in Sunnydale at night, not the smartest thing in the world.
Doing so alone, and without Buffy around, especially smart.
Part of him was hoping for a vampire to decide to make a snack out of him.
He'd been the butt of a cruel joke. Buffy had used him to hurt Angel, and didn't care that it would hurt him in the process.
He'd never do that to a girl.
If a girl ever liked him, he'd do everything he could to make her happy. Even if he didn't like her back, he'd let her down gently, and not use her in an act of cruelty.
He'd never do that to a girl.
He stopped in his tracks.
He had done that.
Not for the sake of cruelty.
But that's what he'd done to Willow earlier that night. He'd led her on, because she was looking at him with those Willow eyes, and she was his Willow, and he'd almost kissed her because she'd licked her Willow lips with her Willow tongue, and gotten ice cream on her cute adorable Willow nose, and he'd leaned in and almost kissed her-
But then Buffy had shown up, and he'd dropped Willow like a hot potato.
He needed to apologize. But this wasn't just any apology. This needed an epic apology. This needed an apology worthy of Willow.
He swung by the supermarket on the way to Willow's house.
He tossed a rock at Willow's window.
Xander sighed, and climbed through Willow's window.
He was very glad that his Willow lived on the ground floor, instead of the second story like Buffy.
No thinking about Buffy tonight. Tonight was for Willow.
Willow was asleep, looking all cute with her hair pulled back in a headband, and her nose crinkled up.
He shook her awake, and loved watching the recognition appear in her eyes as her brain came to fuzzy alertness. "Xander? What are you doing here?" He watched her as she put herself through her mental tests to see if she was dreaming, then sat up, convinced she was awake.
"Had to come over, Wills. Had something I needed to tell you. And it had to be tonight, because tonight was when I realized it." Xander shifted around nervously, quite possibly the first time he'd ever been nervous with Willow. "Wills, I know you like me. As more than a Xander friend, I mean." She blushed bright red, and opened her mouth to say something. "And I know that I'm slow and clueless, and that I don't deserve you, because you're the awesomest Willow there ever was." He risked looking at her, and saw that she was just staring at him with wide eyes. "And I'm sorry for hurting you like I know you have. But you're my Willow, and you'll always be my Willow. And I love you, Wills. I don't know if I love you like you love me." Her face fell. "But I'm willing to find out, if you're willing to let me."
And then his Willow was kissing him.
Guess he had his answer.
He pulled away. "First, we gotta seal it, Wills." He reached into the shopping bag and pulled out a twinkie. "We have to swear on the holy twinkie that we'll always be best friends, no matter what happens."
Cattiebrie - November 10, 2009 04:39 AM (GMT)
Unnamed Rent fanfic
Mark snuck a look at Joanne from across the church. She’d walked in- if she’d been anyone else, he would have said she’d slunk in, but Joanne didn’t sneak or slink. She was the most confident person he knew- and he’d dated Maureen. Joanne’s confidence was different, though. Maureen’s was mostly bravado. Joanne and Mimi both have that innate sense of confidence that you just can’t fake.
Well, had, in Mimi’s case.
After all, that’s why they were there that particular day. It wasn’t a happy get together for the old gang.
Joanne had walked in and found her seat. Always early, that woman. Mark had been there early, too. Not from the sense of punctuality that Joanne possessed. He hadn’t left Roger since Mimi had gone to the hospital. Roger had been feeling all kinds of guilty, kept saying that if he hadn’t left, Mimi wouldn’t have stopped taking her meds. Mark wasn’t leaving Roger alone. He was too afraid that if he did, his best friend would stop taking his meds.
And Mark wouldn’t let that happen.
Mark caught Roger’s red-rimmed gaze, and slung his arm around his shoulders. He knew the action would get Roger’s parents even more convinced that they were lovers, but he really didn’t give a flaming care. If they hadn’t gotten it through their skulls that Mark and Roger were only friends by this point, they weren’t going to get it at all. You’d think that their only son having a stripper for a girlfriend would help them realize, but no.
Mark cared more about being there for his friend than about what other people would think about him. He and Roger had grown up together, lived down the street from each other as kids and teenagers. He’d done the college thing, Roger had done his thing as a Rock Star- and he’d done well enough to make a living at it, until he and April had stopped living and started dying.
Roger had started living again with Mimi. Now that she was gone, he was already stopping again.
Joanne stood up from the seat that she’d selected as far away from Maureen as possible, and walked over to Mark and Roger. She sat on Roger’s other side, and wrapped him in a hug, so Roger was sandwiched between Mark and Joanne. Mark gave Joanne a grateful smile, glad that he wasn’t carrying Roger alone.
The three sat like that through the funeral.
Afterwards, when everyone else had left, Joanne pulled on her coat. “I guess I should be going. Roger, if you need anything-”
Roger cut her off. “Stay.”
She started. “What?”
“Stay.” He repeated himself wearily, as though it cost more energy than he had to speak. “Come home with us. We’ll get some food, play catch up. Mark needs someone around who’s not depressed as hell.”
Mark wondered what Roger was playing at, but it was the first time Roger had shown any interest in what was going on around him.
Joanne thought for a moment, before shrugging into her coat. “Okay. I’ll come with.”
Time. Such a fleeting thing.
Time spent with friends was enough.
* * *
Many hours later, and many bottles of alcohol later, Roger was passed out in his bed, after Mark and Joanne had managed to get him in there, and Mark and Joanne were sitting on the couch in silence.
Finally, Joanne sighed. “We’re beating around the bush, Mark.”
Mark froze. “And what bush would that be?”
She rolled her eyes good naturedly. “The bush where we admit that we might have the development of feelings for each other.”
Mark looked away. “I know that I’m an emotional masochist, but I tend to not fall in love with a lesbian more than once.”
Joanne laughed, a real laugh. “Mark. Did I ever say that I only like girls?”
He hesitated. “Well,” he stretched the word out while thinking, before continuing, “No, I guess not.”
She cupped his chin with her hand and turned his face so he was looking at her. “I like who I like. I love who I love. The packaging around the person doesn’t matter to me.”
He swallowed hard. “So. This bush that we’re beating around. You’re beating around it, too?”
Joanne’s eyes were sparkling with mirth. “Yes, I am. So I vote we stop beating.” She leaned in and kissed him softly.
They both pulled away at the same time. Mark was still trying to make sense of this latest development. “But you and Maureen.”
“Maureen and I ended a long time ago. For the same reason you and Maureen ended. She doesn’t know how to be monogamous. And you and I don’t like to share.” Joanne sighed, looking at her hands. “I loved her. She and I really could have been something, if she’d been the person she had the potential of being, and not who she was.”
That was something Mark could relate to. “Yeah. Been there, done that, with her.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Not an awkward silence, but a comfortable one.
Joanne curled up against his side. “Kind of a sucky New Years, huh? Can you believe all that’s happened in the last year?”
Mark nodded, his cheek resting against her head. “Yeah. I know what you mean.”
She sighed softly, her voice choked with emotion. “I miss Angel. And Mimi. Who’s going to be next, Mark? Collins? Or Roger?” She sniffled heavily. “Why did I have to fall in with a group of best friends, over half of whom are dealing with AIDS?”
Mark didn’t know what to say, so he just hugged her and held her.
It was enough.
* * *
When Roger woke up the next morning, Joanne was still there, and the three friends went out to breakfast together. By the time breakfast was over, it had been decided that Joanne would move in to their apartment, so that someone would be around to help Roger at all times.
Roger smiled in spite of himself. He was glad that his best friend would have someone once he was gone.
Knowing that his friend wouldn’t be alone made him willing to fight harder to live. Funny how that worked.
It was enough.
Cattiebrie - June 8, 2010 05:56 AM (GMT)
Cattiebrie kicked a rock and watched it bounce before looking bleakly to the horizon. She had to keep going. She had to. Zeke had talked about going back to Bucket Town. Now he couldn't do it. So she had to do it for him.
Her feet were swollen and bleeding from all her walking. Her skin was covered in bruises and cuts and bugs had attacked her voraciously.
She kept putting one foot in front of the other.
I can't do this anymore.
From somewhere inside her, a voice rose up. I can do this one more step.
She took another step.
One more step.
She took another step.
She lost count of how many times that repeated, and eventually she stopped the "I can't"s and simply kept telling herself she could take one more step and proving herself right until she no longer could and collapsed for the night.
The next morning, she started the process all over again.
Cattiebrie and Zeke sat next to each other on a porch in their rocking chairs, watching the sun go down in a pretty display of colors. She allowed herself to lose herself to the memories of their lives together. When they first met, and the second day they were together they came to a fork in the road and decided to go left instead of right. The day they decided to get hitched. The day she told him she was pregnant, and saw the look of joy in his face. The day she had to tell him through tears that she'd miscarried and they'd cried together. And other memories, flipping through her mind like old photographs.
They'd had a good life.
All because they'd gone left instead of right, even though they didn't know that.
Sam had gone off looking for a stream, so that the three could refill their skins. He was heading back to camp, and had crossed behind a rock, when he heard Orion's voice. "I never realized how hard it could get."
Cattiebrie grunted softly, her voice husky. "It's never the same way twice."
Sam's eyes widened, as he continued to listen.
"Too big. Not fitting." The words came out between huffs of air.
Orion swore softly. "And how are we supposed to fix that?"
"Just keep shoving. We have it aligned with the hole."
When Sam couldn't take his curiosity anymore and peeked behind the boulder, he rolled his eyes when he saw Orion shoving against a bottle, Cattiebrie pushing against a cork.
Cattiebrie blinked hard when a blue metal box with glass appeared in the middle of the field she was standing in. She approached cautiously, before part of the large box opened outwards like a door and three people, a woman and two men, exited. One of the men was long and stringy, all knobs and angles and planes, and no softness to him. He called the other two "Jack" and "Rose". When the girl opened her mouth to speak, she referred to Awkward Looking Man as "Doctor". The three communicated to each other a little longer, before entering the box again, and the box disappeared.
This was one story Cattiebrie had no intention whatsoever of sharing with anyone.
5. First Time
Cattiebrie licked her lips. "This is my first time." Her words came out in a low whisper, her husky voice carrying to his ears.
"Really? How have you not done this before?" His amusement rode on his voice.
She jerked her shoulders in a hard shrug. "Don't know. Just haven't."
He handed her her shot and watched her face as she tipped her head back, pouring the contents down her throat and grimaced at the taste. "Cheers."
Cattiebrie didn't feel safe. Kinda ever, really. It's just one of those things, and she'd long since gotten used to it.
But sitting on her rock in silence with Orion was one of those few times. The sun shone bright around them, and some wildflowers were blooming. They were sitting back to back, leaning against each other, and everything just felt right and Cattiebrie knew she was right where she belonged.
She only hoped Orion felt the same way.
Orion blinked slowly, his amber eyes meeting her brown ones. "You're hanging upside down from a tree."
Cattiebrie nodded. "It's relaxing."
"How can hanging upside down be relaxing?"
She smiled. "It's peaceful. And it gives me a fresh perspective on things. Like the fact that Sam has a bald spot."
Sam squawked in outrage as a small smile came to Orion's lips.
Cattiebrie tugged her legs to her chest and ignored the tears plopping onto the knees of her jeans.
Harden yourself. Be a stone. Be a stone
The tears continued to streak down her face as she cried quietly, almost soundlessly. She'd perfected the art of crying in such a manner years ago, because if she ever cried loud enough to be heard, no matter from how far away, the beatings would be that much worse.
Orion sat down next to her and did what she needed him to do. He sat there quietly, sitting close enough they were touching, but he made no move to embrace her, for the embrace would go against both their natures.
The tears continued to fall, and Cattiebrie absorbed the only touch she could accept without her body freezing up and the fear kicking in and the "Ohgodohgodohgodmustescapenow" rising up in her. This was a non threatening touch. Even something as simple and innocuous as a handshake could cause the fear to overwhelm her.
Except with Orion. Orion was only the second person who could touch her without causing her to get her freak on.
When Sam came back to their little camp, he found the two asleep, sitting down. He smiled to himself, stretched them out next to each other- but still not embracing- and draped a blanket over them before sitting down himself to keep watch over his friends.
Cattiebrie muttered a curse. "Raiders." The word came out sharp and terse, and she came out of the tree from her lookout position so fast that it almost looked like falling, and she was pretty sure she left a piece of her leather jacket up in the tree where a hole caught on a branch.
She didn't really care right then. Right in that moment, she had bigger things to deal with than her jacket.
The three of them, she, Orion and Sam, took up their spots behind the rocks, using the big rocks as cover, as they waited for the small group of Raiders to get close enough for them to shoot at.
When it was over, they scavenged the dead raiders for any supplies they might have, before Sam patched them up and they headed away from there for the night, just in case any Raiders came after their comrades.
Cattiebrie blinked slowly, realizing she'd been looking into Orion's eyes just a little too long. She felt the blush rise in her face. But she also knew that she didn't necessarily need to say anything to try to fix it- so she didn't. Instead, she simply looked away, and he let her and didn't call her on it.
If she'd had a more innocent childhood, then perhaps she would have said that she had a crush on Orion.
But she hadn't, so she didn't actually know what was going on. All she knew was that she had these thoughts and feelings that she didn't know what to do with-
-but she did know what she wasn't going to do with them, and that was to act on them.
Orion The Free - June 8, 2010 06:11 AM (GMT)
I give this the Orion seal of approval.
(pretend there is a picture of a seal of apprval until I get one drawn up)
Cattiebrie - August 29, 2010 05:27 AM (GMT)
This was one of my first RP posts ever. Some background info- Sandy is my character in a Stargate RP. She's an Army brat through and through, but joined the Air Force to piss her dad off- which worked, and he kicked her out of the house. At the time of this writing, she'd recently broken off an engagement.
Sandy, against her better judgment, pulled out the box of letters and began reading them, starting with the earliest. She hadn't just kept his letters to her.
Oh, no. She was a classic overachieving perfectionist, and even her love life reflected that tendency.
No. She'd also kept copies of her letters to him, so that they could truly be read in order and in context.
She should have known it wouldn't work.
She had known. That's why she'd broken it off.
The first time.
And the second time.
Too bad she hadn't listened to the old adage: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, and I'm a freaking idiot who deserves exactly what I get, and there for darned sure won't be a fourth time." Or at least, that was her version.
When she and Paul and announced their engagement, everyone had warned them.
That should have been a clue.
Even Gary, with who she had an unexplainable relationship that was a mixture of father/older brother/best friend/superior officer/mate, had cautioned her.
She should have known.
At first things were great. They were on a team together. Then it sank in that she was the one leading the team.
Never mind that he technically had more experience than her.
But she'd been playing the game for years. Hell, she'd grown up playing the game, and had naturally stepped into the role of support. And the role of respectful leadership. It was acknowledged that she had good instincts, and she knew how to get results out of people.
So for the test mission, the one that would decide if they graduated or not, she'd been chosen as leader.
And that's when it all went to hell in a handbasket.
She'd had to push Paul on everything. He was lazy, disorganized, and most unnacceptable of all, from her viewpoint, he was disrespectful. He argued with her on everything.
Finally, she'd had enough, and she broke the engagement. Not like there was really all that much to break. They'd been engaged for a month, and he still hadn't told his family. Her twin brother was the only member of her family that still talked to her, and Paul wouldn't even try to get to know him. He hadn't even gotten her a ring.
She should have known.
When she'd said she didn't think they should be engaged, all he'd said was, "Okay". At first, she was glad he hadn't fought her on it.
The only thing lately he hadn't fought her on.
But then she realized: he hadn't fought her. At all. She'd been sure to say, "I still love you, I just don't see us working out." He hadn't said anything like that.
Which made her wonder. Wonder if he truly loved her. Wonder what had really happened.
Wonder why she wasn't good enough.
Wonder what was wrong with her.
She picked the letters back up. Not reading them, just holding them.
Her throat was tight, and she felt like she couldn't breathe.
She would not cry.
She would not cry.
She would not cry.
One tear trickled out of her eye, down her cheek and went splat on her knee.
It was followed by another.
And then it was too many to count.
She cried silently, her body shuddering with each racking sob, convulsing with the effort to keep it silent, keep it contained, keep it from being noticable.
Finally, finally, the torrent of tears came to an end. She used the sheet to wipe her face.
She was moving on with her life.
She couldn't wait to take her frustrations out at the shooting range.
Or the karate mat.
She grabbed the letters and a lighter.
She had some letters to burn.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:03 PM (GMT)
Okay, so a remix is when you take someone else's story, and write it the way you would have. I signed up for one in March, and did it, and am finally getting around to posting it here. This is a Harry Potter story.
Shadow of the Veil: The Wedding March Remix
It’s the spring, on a perfect day. No clouds marring the perfect blue of the sky. No frowning faces as Bellatrix aims her bouquet to her youngest sister. The wedding is in the garden of her father’s house, the bride in her mother’s white dress, with both her sisters as her attendants, and she is surrounded by her family. The two most powerful wizards in the world of her time both dance at her wedding, and anybody of social standing in the wizarding community toasts her marriage with her father’s champagne. There is classical music played by a cellist and violin. It’s as respectable as it can be. The day is perfect.
The day is perfect.
* * *
She met Rodolphus at Hogwarts. He was three years ahead of her, and didn’t care about her pureblood credentials. After all, Slytherin was full of pureblood daughters. But he was the smartest wizard in his class, the most gifted. In short, he was the best. And one thing Bella always got was the best.
One thing Bella knew how to do was plan and be patient.
She set about making herself invaluable to him in the Slytherin Common Room. If he needed an errand ran, she was there to do it. If he needed a fresh sheet of parchment, she was there, already handing it to him. She made sure to walk the fine line between helpful and nuisance. She played her game for her entire first two years. She knew that his friends made fun of her behind her back.
The first summer had seen a bi-weekly letter from her of the work she’d done for school, the spells she’d practiced and their results. The second summer, she didn’t write him a single letter. She warned him on the train home that she wouldn’t — she said something about having more important things to do than try to be a penpal, when she’d see him again in a few months. Which was true. One of the muggleborns from her year lived in Sussex, too, and Bella had every intention of learning the proper uses of make-up from her. Muggles may be inferior, there was no doubt about that, but they had their uses, and there was no doubt about that.
When she returned to school, she’d perfected the application of the pale foundation, the dark eyeshadows blended expertly to make her heavy-lidded eyes appear larger, the wine colored lipstick emphasizing the shape of her lips. Cissy was the natural beauty of the family, and Bella knew she couldn’t hold a candle to Cissy’s shining bright looks, so she went the other direction, and instead of trying to outshine her sister, Bella chose to complement her, and be complemented in return. She stopped being his little servant girl, and instead stayed near his group, but never part of it. Close enough to overhear him say if he needed something, and to make it clear with the turning of her homework page that she had no intention of getting up to get whatever he needed.
It worked. He’d gotten so used to having her around that it drove him crazy to have her that close — and seemingly not caring. He’d cornered her in the hallway one day, asking her if she wanted to go to Hogsmeade with him. She pretended to think for a moment, amusement showing in her eyes. After a long moment, she said yes.
She knew her role among her sisters. She was the brains. She was the planner, the patient one. The one who would set her mind to something and follow through, making it happen through sheer force of will.
He wanted to make something of himself. He wanted to go far. He didn’t want to be a father — he had no patience for children, and didn’t want his wife to be pregnant.
That suited her just fine. She told him that he was made for greatness, and she could help him along that path. She would help him along that path.
He asked her to marry him on his last train ride home from school. He was eighteen, and she was fifteen. He was finished with school, and she still had three years to go. She said yes immediately, and made it as public as she could as quickly as she could. If there was one thing Rodolphus was known for, it was never going back on his word. He said he was going to marry her, and once she told people, she’d ensured that he would go through with it.
When they married, the sky was bright and cloudless, and war was still only a game that small children played, or memories that old men had that haunted their nightmares. It was not a reality. It would be, but she didn’t know that then.
Not that she would have cared. To Bellatrix and Rudolphus LaStrange, love was power. Love was power, and that was deliciously electric.
* * *
Andromeda marries in the summer, in a little church. Her family doesn’t make an appearance, which is peachy keen with her — she didn’t invite them for a reason. They aren’t speaking to her, nor she to them. She has the audacity to betray everything her family holds dear — her bloodline.
Her family isn’t there, but a handful of Dromeda and Ted’s friends are, as well as Ted’s family, and she’d rather have the few of them there then all of her relatives. At least her friends and Ted’s family are people she likes and trusts. She doesn’t like her family, and she doesn’t trust them to do anything other than spit on her, or attempt her death. There is cheerful music played by her new brother in law on his guitar, and much dancing. There is homemade cake and handpicked flowers.
* * *
Dromeda met Ted on his first day at Hogwarts. She was a year ahead of him, tall for her age, while he was small for his, with glasses that begged to be broken, according to the jerks. She took him under her wing, and protected him against bullies. They didn’t really have friends other than each other. She because she was a Black and nobody trusted her — not the Slytherins, because in her first year, she had made it abundantly clear that she did not buy into their “blood is everything” nonsense. She didn’t have the courage to allow the hat to place her in any other house — it had told her she was one of the few that would do well in any house. She had the brains of a Ravenclaw, the loyalty of a Hufflepuff, as evidenced by her remaining loyalty to her family, and the courage of a Gryffindor, even if it hadn’t shown itself — yet. In the end, she’d begged to go into Slytherin, because she couldn’t imagine how her family would react if she didn’t, and that was that. But she was a Black, and that meant no other house would trust her. Her older cousin, Sirius, didn’t speak to her at school — she couldn’t blame him, not really. Not when he was fighting so hard to be his own man, and not his family's.
She’d perfected the shield charm within the first few weeks of school, because of the hexes sent her way by the other students, regardless of house. Protecting herself had become a necessity.
Instead of friends, she threw herself into school. She didn’t make the outstanding grades her older sister did, but she did all right. Not that it mattered to her family. She could have been getting perfect marks, and they wouldn’t be impressed.
Ted didn’t have friends because he didn’t know anybody at the school, and he was a prime target for bullies. He was too small, too smart, too … something, to blend in and not get picked on, and not remarkable enough for anyone else to want to be his friend. She was the only person willing to befriend him, and he was the only person that didn’t hate her on principle. Even though they were in different houses, their friendship flourished.
Protectiveness and gratitude turned to mutual protectiveness and gratitude, which turned to true friendship; friendship turned to more. The last time a student attempted to hex her in the hallways, Ted retaliated with a furious flurry of hexes and curses, and the Slytherin wound up in the hospital wing for three days. After that, no one was willing to take on both Dromeda and Ted — they were respectively tops of their classes, and intended to stay that way. If anyone tangled with one, they knew they were in for the other, and even if someone won that fight that day, Dromeda and Ted would win in the end.
They were as inseparable as they could be at school, and she received permission to spend hols at his house. Her family didn’t want to see her, and that crushed her in those first years. She missed her sisters the most. She knew her role among them. Dromeda was the personality. She was the dramatic one, the entertaining one. She could make anything into an adventure. She would set a goal, and make it happen by trying different things until one of them worked, and turn it into an adventure for the moment and an anecdote for later.
The last time she saw her family (with the exception of her favorite cousin) was for Bella’s wedding. After that disaster, she said goodbye to them and never looked back. Her family loyalty went to the family she’d been adopted into, instead of the family she’d been born to.
The first time she went home with Ted was at the end of her second year. His family was so normal that it shocked her. Mr. Tonks, who insisted she call him Dan. Mrs. Tonks, who insisted just as hard that she was Sarah. Dromeda compromised by calling them Mr. Dan and Mrs. Sarah, and they took the compromise for what it was: an attempt to treat them as they asked to be, but to still show respect to them. Mr. Dan was big and tall, the kind of big that’s almost completely solid muscle. He worked construction, and his laugh was loud and booming and utterly contagious. Mrs. Sarah was smaller and darker. Her coloring suggested Middle Eastern, and Dromeda discovered she was, in fact, Israeli. She was a housewife, but there was nothing simple about it. She cleaned the house — not just neatened, but cleaned — every day, and made sure that there was always cooked food available. And her cooking was outstanding. Sarah was quieter than Dan, but her word was law in the house. She was cheerful and smiling, if not as prone to laughter as her husband.
Dromeda felt like she belonged with them. They made her feel welcomed, loved, and … family, quickly and easily.
It came as no surprise to her when Ted asked her to marry him, his mother’s ring in his hand. It came as no surprise to him when she said yes. Their friends and his family were certainly not surprised when they announced their engagement.
Ted asked on a Monday, and they were wed the following Saturday. The sky was bright, with clouds on the horizon. Rumors of an inevitable war were being whispered around.
Dromeda cared, but she didn’t know what to do, other than keep her new family safe. To Andromeda and Ted, love was protection. Love was protection, and that was warm fire.
* * *
Narcissa is married when the leaves begin to fall from the trees in a bright array of color, the brightness of the leaves at odds with the pervasive fear of the people living. War is here, and she’s terrified that Lucius won’t survive it. Her parents are months dead, one of her sisters never talks to her, and the other would rather talk to Lucius than her. Her husband and his friends have no time for music or dancing or toasting — they have too many plans to make to ensure the Dark Lord’s success. The wedding takes place in a registry office. She arrived alone, and she Apparates away alone, ignoring the fall of rain.
She’s married to Lucius. That’s what she’s always wanted. It’s perfect.
It has to be.
* * *
Cissy had known Lucius all her life. She told him when they were five that she was going to marry him some day. For his part, he never disagreed with her. Lucius was the best. Cissy intended on getting the best.
Lucius, too, saw Cissy as the best, and he had never been deprived of the best. Therefore, it was only right that they would grow up and get married. Their parents agreed with them, so the matter was settled even before they were teenagers.
They grew up together, the best of friends. They were both haughty, and frequently fought over who got nicer things, but they made up quickly.
Lucius was the most handsome boy Cissy had ever seen, and she liked pretty things. He was the prince in the fairy tale story that was her life, she was the beautiful princess, and it was only right that she get him. He was the goal she set for herself: beautiful and perfect, and could do no wrong, and she never let herself see whether or not the idol had clay feet.
One day when she was thirteen, she looked at Lucius with cool eyes. She’d learned when she was ten that he needed a queen, not a princess. He respected logic. Emotion was something that one hid at all costs. So she hid her emotions from him, and on that particular day locked them far down in necessity. Her voice was just as aloof when she said, “One day, you will be the head of a family. You need an heir, so you can have a dynasty. I will give you that dynasty. You will reign, but you need people to reign over. Choose me, and we will make a fearsome team.”
Cissy knew her place. She was the beauty. She was the perfect little china doll, the one that everyone wanted to protect and coddle. She would decide on something and everyone would fall all over themselves making sure it happened.
She was just fine with being the pretty one. However, she was not fragile and breakable like a china doll. Perfect, yes, breakable, no. Lucius needed a strong person beside him. She could and would be that person. She didn’t need to be coddled. She could do things herself.
She would do things herself.
Her little speech that day won Lucius the rest of the way over. She knew that he’d been beginning to get restless. She knew.
But he was hers. He was hers, damn it, and he needed to know that.
That was the day that he officially asked her to marry him. They were Hogwarts’ golden couple. Perfect. They were perfect people, who made up the perfect couple. They would live perfect lives, grow up together perfectly, and have a perfect future with a perfect family.
It would be perfect.
It would be perfect.
It would be perfect.
Cissy and Lucius are married in the autumn, with the leaves falling around them like death. There was no laughter or revelry, only solemn duty.
It wasn’t perfect.
To Narcissa and Lucius, love had two definitions, often simultaneously. Love was beauty. Love was duty. Love was beauty, but it was the cruel beauty of the ice of sculptures. Love was duty, and that was simply an icicle.
* * *
When winter rolls around, Sirius is married. It’s Midwinter Day, or rather Evening, since the sun has gone down on the shortest day of the year, and he is kneeling before the altar of an empty Muggle church, no rings, no priest, no vows. It’s not a true marriage according to church or government, but it’s a marriage in his and his wife’s heart. There is no one there to hear the words they say, so they say nothing, and the non-words that pass between them mean everything. Without words, their hearts speak.
It’s perfect. The moment is uniquely theirs, and will always belong to them, even though it happened because neither expected to live past the next day.
* * *
Sirius met Manda at Hogwarts. She was Lily’s best friend, and like Lily and James, Sirius did everything he could to get Manda’s attention, and she did everything she could to get him to leave her alone. She was interested in Mooney, not Padfoot. But Mooney wasn’t interested in relationships, and while Sirius was chasing after Manda, and Manda was discouraging Sirius, Manda was chasing after Remus, and Remus was discouraging Manda. It was a triangle that all three hated.
What finally won Manda over was when he quit trying. He gave up, and just started charming anything that walked by. He treated Manda no differently than he treated Lily, or Diana, or any of the other girls in their class.
One day, Manda finally confessed to Remus that she liked him, and he rejected her in the nicest way possible. She nodded once, twice, thrice, the tears gathering in her eyes and she refused to let them spill over. She gave Remus a quick hug to show him no hard feelings and fled the room. She made it to a closet before giving in to the tears. Sirius had arrived in time to see her hair streak past him, that long hair that he just wanted to bury his hands in.
He followed her.
She didn’t even have the energy to tell him to go away, so he simply held her as she cried. He didn’t try to make a move, or cop a feel, or take advantage of the situation in any way. He simply held her.
When she tried to kiss him, he tightened his hold on her so she couldn’t reach him. “No,”he said. “Not until it means to you what it means to me.” She crumpled and dissolved into tears again.
Somehow, they emerged from the closet a couple.
That was two months before they graduated. They weren’t sure what would happen when they left. How they’d handle dating now that they weren’t in school together. Somehow, they continued dating, even while Sirius was in Auror training, and she was learning how to be a Healer.
Somehow, they continued dating, even when Sirius was an Auror, and she was a Healer at St. Mungo’s, treating some of the people he brought in.
Somehow, they continued dating, even when Sirius had nightmares at night, and she was there to wake him up. Even when she tried to wake him up, and he lashed out at his terror in his sleep and she wound up with a black eye.
He left for a week after that. She managed to track him down through James and Lily, packed his things, and brought them, and him, home with her.
Somehow, they continued dating even when she could no longer go out in public, because Death Eaters would attack her, in order to demoralize him.
Somehow, they managed.
They were out one night, Sirius as an Auror, and she was along in case the need for emergency healing came up. James was on another raid entirely. Sirius and Manda went in with a group of ten. They were the only two survivors. They Disapparated to a church they’d seen on their way in.
They marry. It’s spur of the moment, which is so very Sirius, and so very not Manda. Her veil was the unmelted snowflakes in her hair, melting as they looked at each other. Neither wanted to say it, but they see their future as those snowflakes — lasting such a short while, before melting away, leaving no traces beyond a few drops of water to show that they’d been there. He kissed away the tears, willing to do anything to keep her safe, and she held onto him, wanting to keep him there just that much longer, before they have to leave.
The snow falls outside, biding them that much more time.
The next day, Sirius comes home to their flat to find the Dark Mark over it. He runs upstairs, hoping against hope that it’s for someone else. He knows what he will find. He’s not prepared. She looks like she’s sleeping, her hair spread out around her, the perfect frame for her face. She looks so peaceful. One wouldn’t know by looking at her the terror she had felt right before she died.
The marriage was perfect. Perfection falls down around his ears. The night before, love had been trust. It had been a living, vibrant thing, with the warmth of a cozy fire. Now it was the cold kiss of death.
* * *
Spring comes again, and after a year of beginnings, an end has come. Regulus is buried in Sussex, in the Black family crypt. The apple trees are flowering, the soft pink buds dancing in the wind, the scent perfuming the air. Everyone at his funeral wears black, the uniform black of mourning. His brother is not there. Sirius at least believed in something enough to stand up for it, even if Reg hadn’t agreed with him. Turns out that Sirius had been right all along. His mother remains dry eyed. His cousins are the only ones that cry for him. But maybe they weren’t crying for him. His betrayal had cost Bella power. That was the only thing she really cared about. His death had cost Cissy that much more beauty in an already ugly world. The pain of that loss was what she was crying over.
The mourners are tired. Tired of freshly dug graves. Tired of laying flowers in memory. Tired of gathering together for the same reason every time. Tired of so many friends and family members dying. Tired of the meaningless words of funerals. Tired of the platitudes.
Tired of wondering if next time, it will be their funeral that people are attending.
They’ve been at war forever, even though it’s only been a year. They are no closer to winning — it doesn’t matter which side you ask. They are no longer sure what they believe.
The world isn’t perfect. Maybe that’s what Bella and Cissy were crying over.
The world isn’t perfect.
The world isn’t perfect.
The world isn’t perfect.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:06 PM (GMT)
These are background for another story that I'm working on. I decided to write a drabble series to get to know my characters, get into their mindset, and learn about them and their history. These drabbles, as they are now, won't be in the book- but they might appear in another fashion, in flashbacks, etc. They'll definitely be mentioned.
Special- Drabble 1
Seph stood in wide eyed wonder as her world crashed to an end around her.
A memory echoed, washing over her. “You're special, Persephone.
Too special. This was the level of special that would change her life forever.
This was the kind of special there was just no getting over.
She sighed and got out the broom and dustpan, carefully sweeping up the shards of the broken glass from the vase she'd accidentally levitated in anger.
Then she'd pack.
Her parents would never forgive her for being a mutant.
She'd hop on the first bus to New York.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:07 PM (GMT)
Different- Drabble 2
Charlie knew growing up that he was different- and it wasn't just the color of his skin that made him different.
That was just skin. Surface level.
What made him different was much deeper than skin- but it was just as much a part of him as his skin.
It was in the way he moved.
Dancing was as integral to who he was as words were to Shakespeare, math to Einstein.
His family couldn't understand. He didn't blame them.
He saved up his money, left home and never looked back.
New York was his future. His new home.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:08 PM (GMT)
Seph looked at the broken string in her hand. Tears welled up in her eyes but didn't dare drop.
She reached into her bag, pulling out some duct tape, willing to use it to hold her jazz shoe on her foot.
A coffee colored hand covered her own and she looked into the most extraordinary golden eyes she'd ever seen.
What made them so striking wasn't just the color, offset by the smooth darkness of his skin.
It was the kindness, gentleness and integrity that shone through. “I have a spare shoelace. I'm Charlie.”
Seph found herself giving a real smile. “Madrigal.”
A real smile.
A fake name.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:09 PM (GMT)
Charlie and Madrigal made it through the first round of auditions.
Darned if he didn’t like the girl. She had a dogged determination that covered up the fragility he’d glimpsed lurking in her eyes.
They stood on stage together, waiting for the director’s cue.
And then there was no Madrigal, no Charlie, there was simply the characters.
The spell broke.
They returned to their bodies, entwined around each other.
The theater was silent.
Charlie and Madrigal gave each other little half smiles.
‘You’re hired.” The director broke the hushed silence. “I’m taking a chance, but you two are my new leads.”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:10 PM (GMT)
They were the only two in the locker room as they grabbed their stuff. “Madrigal?”
Seph turned and met Charlie’s gorgeous-
-eyes again. “Yeah?”
He gave her a gentle smile. “Do you have a place to stay? I’m looking for an apartment-mate. Something tells me you’re my kind of person.”
Seph looked into Charlie’s eyes and examined him closely, using the ability she’d practiced after leaving home.
She used a light touch and didn’t dig too deeply.
When she’d finished, she gave a nod and ventured a smile. “Sounds good to me.” He was a good person. Worth trusting.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:11 PM (GMT)
Charlie opened the door to his apartment. He’d offered Madrigal an apology, but she waved him off. Watching the redhead’s reaction, he wished he’d tried harder to let her know how bad it was.
Madrigal’s bag slid off her shoulder as her jaw dropped.
Charlie found himself sticking his hands in his pocket and shooting Madrigal a sheepish look. “I’m sorry. I’ll be fixing it up better, I promise.”
Madrigal turned towards him, and he could see her vibrant blue eyes bright with excitement, standing out against a pale face. “You kidding?” She echoed his sentiment. “Charlie, this is home.”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:12 PM (GMT)
Seph spun around the room. “Charlie, we can clean the walls and then paint them a bright color. Really, all this place needs is a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint.” She saw Charlie watching her, and without thinking, she launched herself across the room, knowing without conscious thought that he’d catch her.
He did. “Whoa, there little gal.” His breath tickled her ear as his arms were wrapped tight around her.
She relaxed against him, feeling safe for the first time in- well, forever.
Her feet hit the ground with a solid thunk. “I need to sit down.”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:12 PM (GMT)
Charlie helped his new apartment-mate to the couch when she virtually collapsed in his arms. She’d been pale before (granted, he wasn’t the best judge of “pale” for white girls”, but he’d discovered there was a difference between “pale” and “virtually devoid of all color”.
He hovered anxiously. “What’s wrong? Do you need anything to drin? Food? What?”
Madrigal shook her head, her head between her knees. ‘No, I’m fine. Just-“ Her breath came out in harsh wheezing.
Charlie got her water anyway. “You’re just having a panic attack.” He pressed the glass into her hand. “Be a good girl and drink up.”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:13 PM (GMT)
Seph desperately tried to remember how to breathe. Once she’d gotten it back under control, she took a sip of the water. “I’m fine. Thank you.”
He gave her a look. “You’re still going to drink that whole glass of water, and you’re going to eat whatever I cook for you. There will be no eating disorders in this apartment.” He brushed hair out of her face.
Seph leaned into his touch. Unbidden tears swam in her eyes. “Why are you so nice to me?”
Charlie’s eyes were full of confusion, compassion, and kindness. “Because you deserve it.”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:14 PM (GMT)
Charlie rocked Madrigal back and forth, holding her, stroking long red hair, just letting her cry and didn’t say anything. He didn’t pay attention to his shirt that was getting wet, and just focused on his friend. She was curled up in a ball in his lap, sobbing as if her heart was breaking.
Perhaps it was.
He had no way of knowing.
There was something about her that made him want to take care of her. Her eyes held bruises. He wanted to hurt whoever put them there.
There was something about her he identified with.
Difference recognized difference.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:15 PM (GMT)
Seph cried until the torrent of tears was over and there were no more tears left. Then she cried some more, only without the tears.
Finally she was done.
She stayed where she was.
Charlie’s mind was wide open to her. More open than anyone else had ever been.
Simultaneously, his mind was more guarded than anyone else’s had been.
She didn’t understand him, and at the same time, she understood him all too well.
She opened her eyes and looked at her new, self appointed protector.
She could, and had, to trust him.
“How do you feel about mutants?”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:16 PM (GMT)
Charlie searched Madrigal’s eyes. They were vulnerable- but also held the flash of fiery wariness that told him she was readying her guard, gathering herself together. Preparing for him to hurt her.
Oh, yes, he wanted to hurt whomever had had previously wounded her.
One asshole makes it that much harder for a guy to convince a girl that she’s safe with him and he won’t hurt her like the other guy did, whether he was romantically interested in her or not.
He ran a finger along her hairline and jaw and made her a promise. “I will never hurt you.”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:16 PM (GMT)
Seph held her breath in anticipation of his response, ready to jump up and flee if she needed.
“I will never hurt you.”
That didn’t answer her question. Her forehead crinkled as she wavered in indecision.
Stay or run?
Stay? Or run?
He repeated it, golden eyes gripping blue ones and holding them in place. “I will never hurt you.”
It did answer her question.
He didn’t care. He saw her as her, not as the brainiac girl who got straight A’s, not as the girl that had grown up as the ugly duckling.
“I trust you.”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:17 PM (GMT)
Charlie searched her eyes, needing to find answers.
He found them.
Her walls were down with him.
He hugged her tight, vowing to himself that nothing bad would touch her, nothing would harm her, as long as he was around. It hit him with the impact of a sledgehammer- he would willingly die to keep the woman in his arms safe.
In the first fifteen seconds of knowing her, she had become his sister of his heart. “Madrigal? Why did you have the panic attack?”
She snuggled her cheek against his chest. “I felt safe with you. It scared me.”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:18 PM (GMT)
Seph fell asleep in Charlie’s lap, testament that she really did trust him, she really did feel safe with him, and she really was utterly exhausted. She’d arrived in New York and had wound up staying in Times Square, bouncing from place to place. Yay for McDonald’s being open 24 hours. She’d changed clothes in the bathrooms of whatever store she was in, giving herself quick sponge baths, brushing her teeth, etc. As a result, she hadn’t really slept in three days.
She didn’t think Charlie was a mutant.
But he was very intuitive, and listened to what intuition said.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:19 PM (GMT)
Charlie’s leg went to sleep under Madrigal’s weight, but he wouldn’t have moved for anything.
Instead, he simply settled himself in and got comfortable, prepare and willing to stay there until she woke up, content to stay there until the following morning if necessary.
Charlie fell asleep breathing in Madrigal’s scent.
He awoke to empty arms and the smell of something cooking.
He shuffled his way into the kitchen, bleary-eyed. “I’ll sell you my soul if you’ve made coffee.”
Her laugh twinkled as she handed him a steaming mug.
He took a sip and grinned. ‘Does this make you Satan?”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:20 PM (GMT)
Seph took the joke for what it was, but she kept a straight face. “I prefer to be called ‘Mistress of Evil’, but I suppose ‘Satan’ works.” She turned back to the stove, and finished cooking the eggs. “You’re a typical bachelor, and your fridge is just about empty. I made up a list of some staples for us to have. You know, PB and J, some bread, ramen, veggies and fresh fruit. If you pick up some canned tomato products, and some meat and canned veggies and potatoes, I can make us some stew. Long as you’re not vegetarian.”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:23 PM (GMT)
Madrigal turned back, shaking the spatula at him. “And you’re not going to be skipping any meals, either, Mister. Not only was your fridge basically empty, but your trash is also devoid of food wrappings. Which means that you’ve either been eating out, or not eating. If I have to eat, you have to eat. Capisce?”
Charlie grinned. “Got it. I don’t want to sound chauvinistic, but I’d be willing to do the handyman type things, if you want to cook. I’ll help clean, we can keep those chores as fifty fifty. But I can’t cook to safe my life.”
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:24 PM (GMT)
Seph shrugged. “You might want to wait until after you eat the eggs before deciding if you want me to cook. But I’m willing if you are.”
The eggs got scooped onto two plates, and the two friends dug in.
Charlie ate a bite and that was enough. “Marry me. Marry me now.”
Seph giggled. “Sorry. I’m happy being single.” She left unspoken that to date she’d have to make herself vulnerable with a guy- something she wasn’t willing to do with anyone but Charlie. And Charlie, as nice as he was, had firmly been placed in the brother category.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:24 PM (GMT)
Charlie watched Madrigal and decided to ask the question he’d been wanting to ask since they’d met. “What’s your real name?”
Madrigal’s blue eyes widened in response. She drew inwardly, and he was struck anew at just how beautiful she was; with her angular features, she looked like an elven princess. Her eyes were shuttered, and not giving him any indication of her thoughts. Her muscles were tensed, as though she were getting ready to run away- or maybe punch him.
Instead, she seemed to melt into her chair. “How did you know?” Her normally vibrant voice was low and husky.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:25 PM (GMT)
Seph was starting to rethink her thought on whether or not Charlie was a mutant. He was in tune with her enough that she was beginning to wonder if he was slightly telepathic. He was bordering on it, even if he wasn’t actively reading her mind.
It was enough to make her (almost) swear off using her talents on other people.
Almost. But not quite.
She very rarely purposefully used them- she had with Charlie because she needed to know if he was planning on kidnapping her and whatnot when he asked her if she wanted a place to live.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:26 PM (GMT)
Charlie wasn’t trying to evade the question. Honest. But he caught sight of the clock out of the corner of his eye. “Shit! I’m running late for work! Oh, man, I forgot I was working.” He was out of his chair, his empty plate deposited in the sink for a later washing, and already pulling on his shoes within seconds.
He grabbed his bag. “You want to come with? I can introduce you to the boss man. If you need a job, he’ll help you out. We’re looking for a good waitress.”
Seph answered by pulling her own shoes on.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:27 PM (GMT)
Seph followed Charlie, sticking close to him. She didn’t know her way around the city all that well, and didn’t feel safe by herself at night. Her long legs kept up with his easily.
They walked into a club, and she looked around, taking in the atmosphere.
It was nice. Bright, and yet dusky, lending an air of romance and secrecy to it.
She spotted a man in the corner, watching the occupants of the club as if they were actors there for his enjoyment.
He wore the atmosphere as if it were a cloak tailor made for him.
Cattiebrie - September 5, 2010 11:30 PM (GMT)
Michael saw Charlie come in, accompanied by a stunning redhead. The two complimented each other perfectly- Charlie’s dark skin offsetting the redhead’s paleness. Golden eyes contrasted against blue.
If Charlie had based having a girlfriend solely on looks, he chose well. The two gorgeous creatures were even more gorgeous next to each other.
Michael took a sip of his drink, observing the redhead over the rim of his glass as she watched everything else. When her eyes started turning to him, he averted his gaze to look at some other patrons of his club.
He was king in this domain.