(tonight chapter 17 of That Fic topped 20,000 words! and although about 10,000 of those words will probably need to be rewritten at some point, it still makes me really happy, because, hey, that's 20,000 words that proves that in between all the yes-i-am/no-i'm-not madness, i've actually been working on it. you know. on and off. since. 2004. god ok look minor accomplishments, i can has them.)
GIANTWIP DUMP! This is just a sampling of things I've been working on during the last 12 months. Most of these will probably never be finished. pick a fandom, any fandom.
david/archie, idolfic, lol this is on hold atm, although at the rate david cook is going this could actually be canon before i finish *__*:
So the first thing Arch does when David extends his Declaration tour for another three months is text him with I'm opening for Demi! You should get a Twitter so we can follow each other on tour haha! David calls him and says by way of greeting, "Bro, why would I need a twitter for you to follow me? I can text you from onstage." Archie's silence sounds crestfallen, which is ridiculous because how can silence sound, but then he says, "Oh, I just thought - you know, you could see what I'm doing that way, and I could - and that way I wouldn't spam your phone or anything, and you could still reach me when I forget what my new number is -" which, okay, Arch does have to give David a new contact number like once a week, and once he forgot that it had changed and David quietly fought off several freakouts at not knowing if Archie was okay because he's kind of imprinted on the kid like an overprotective mother, even though that's ridiculous, and Arch had been all happy and embarrassed to know that David had worried about him, and great, now David feels like an ass.
Which is how he ends up joining Twitter under the name KradamLuvr223. He follows Archie and Demi, and then anyone else he can think of, including RealDavidCook, who doesn't even friend him back, the dick.
Archie follows him back before he even knows who it is.
"Oh, I just thought it was kinda neat you were an AI fan who followed Rhett Miller," says Arch when carefully questioned. "Plus," he laughs, "I kinda had a hunch it was you."
"Well, you know what they say," David sighs. "Kradam is love. What happened to our namesmush, Arch?"
The wary pause before Archie finally laughs at the joke isn't too terribly long. Archie's getting better at reading David's quirky sarcasm. Bit by bit, he's getting better at reading people in general. David had noticed it during the Manila dates with an odd mix of pride & regret. Arch's getting gradually closer to adulthood. The awkward, hesitant parts of him are catching up to the smooth, assured intelligence with which he performs. One day soon, David knows, he'll meet Arch and the gawky kid will have been polished off once and for all, and only the 30-year-old in the 18-year-old's body will remain.
Or so he thinks before he discovers Archie's Twitter.
After Neal's laughed at David caving and getting a Twitter for a good quarter of an hour, he shows David how to turn on mobile updates. It's only polite to turn on Archie's, David thinks, since the whole point was to circumvent texting. The first update comes in the middle of a random lunch date with a girl he met at an afterparty in Phoenix. Conversation's been running low, and he's thinking about breaking out the 'two strings walk into a bar' joke when his pocket vibrates and he slips out his phone to read: Oh gosh! A stray kitten ran under the bus and won't come out! Calling for catnip, ha ha! Here, kitty! Come out before you make us late!
David laughs so hard he snorts and bangs his kneecap against the table. His date just looks at him, and David tries between convulsions to explain that David Archuleta is tweeting about being hijacked by furry animals, and it should go without saying that this is the funniest thing in the entire universe, except she only gives him vaguely pitying looks and doesn't bother getting dessert. Oh, well, David thinks, clicking the star next to Archie's tweet, he can't expect everyone to have his finely tuned sense of humor.
On the bust the next day, he reads back over all of Archie's old tweets and spends the entire trip quietly shaking with suppressed laughter. When they stop to refuel his stomach muscles clench when he walks, like he's forgotten how to stop laughing. "Hush, cats!" he says to Neal and Andy, who just exchange looks and don't even ask him to explain.
As they're walking into the gas station Archie tweets Oh my heck coke and coffee should not be put together even if they are both brown & have caffeine! I think I have to brush my teeth now haha and David calmly heads into the bathroom, shuts himself inside the nearest stall, and beats his head against the door until he's stopped wheezing.
The cool thing about Archie and Twitter is that David actually learns stuff. He knows what a great musician Archie is, who his favorite artists are, stuff about his family, sure. He knows stupid facts, like his favorite foods and his favorite color, from having done a million interviews with him. David knows Archie like he knows a best friend, which Arch practically is.
But he's never known that Archie knows the words to every song Jason Mraz ever wrote. He's never known that Archie gets excited about everything, that underneath all that live-wire nervousness is a constant, thrumming sense of wonder. Archie gets excited about fish. Archie gets excited about airports. Archie gets excited about John Mayer and amphitheatres and cats and dogs and music and riding on tour buses for eight hours a day. And David's known all this in a vaguely familiar way, but he's never had it all distilled and served to him in 140 characters or less three times a day. It's like snacking on joy throughout the day, like a stocking that refills itself.
David favorites every one of Archie's tweets. Neal looks over his shoulder once or twice and says something about how it totally defeats the purpose of having a Twitter if you're only going to read one person and never make any updates of your own, but whatever. Might as well keep things simple.
Then Neal leans over and says, "Hey, man, aren't you checking your replies?"
"What?" says David.
Neil grabs his iphone and punches it, then hands it back to David. On the screen there's a whole column full of new tweets he's never noticed, all from Archie, all addressed to him.
DavidArchie @KradamLuvr223 You should update!
DavidArchie @KradamLuvr223 Haha a fan just asked me if I'd talked to you lately so I told her I was tweeting you right now and look I am haha!
DavidArchie @KradamLuvr223 haha do you even read these?
DavidArchie @KradamLuvr223 Oh my gosh Cook I just met Beyonce! I always thought she'd be taller!
DavidArchie @KradamLuvr223 hey Cook if you ever read these, Demi says hi and so do I haha
DavidArchie @KradamLuvr223 I'm eating pancakes and one kind of looks like you! haha I just put syrup on it
David feels the warm, fuzzy kind of affection sweep over him, and he's calling Archie before the smile can even fade. "Hey, Arch," he says. He can hear the laughter in his own voice.
"Is this Cook?" says Archie.
"Did you actually tell Beyonce you thought she'd be taller?"
"Cook! Sorry, I couldn't hear you, we just got to our hotel and it's kinda loud in the lobby."
"Hey, man. How've you been?"
"Oh, great! The crowds have been fantastic, everyone's been great, it's just been - uh, great." Archie laughs a little, nervous and eager, and David feels the back of his neck getting warm for no reason. "You haven't been keeping up your end of the deal, though," says Arch. "You haven't been updating, I don't have any way of knowing what's going on with you!"
"You could just call me and ask," David says reasonably.
Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert, PORNSTAR AU, thank you, rahmbamarama
The first time Stephen works with Jon Stewart, it starts out feeling unremarkable - not that in this business, that's unusual. He doesn't know anything about Stewart, and Evie hasn't given him much to go on. "He's okay, nothing striking, but he makes a great bottom," was all he'd gotten out of her. He hasn't been in this business long enough, or known her long enough, to feel comfortable asking for more details about the men he gets to fuck, lest it make him look insecure. Perish the thought - it's only a million sex addicts staring at his cock, right? Anyway, Evie's the producer, so he works with this Jon guy, and when he finally sees him, all Stephen can really think is: but you're so short.
The film is beautifully christened, Clydesdales: Stable Boys Begging for a Ride, and Stephen is either clydesdale # 1 or stable boy #2, he's never really figured that part out. The hay on the set makes him sneeze, and the makeup artists keep having to pass him Vizine. By mid-morning he's grumpy, red-eyed, itchy-faced, and supremely unattractive - and man, he hates this job. Still, he's almost grateful when Stewart, who's been avoiding eye contact with him and everyone else for most of the morning as they start to film, finally opens his mouth and says, "So I always kind of thought a Clydesdale would be buff."
Neither of them have had their shirts off yet - they've mostly been sitting around waiting for the crew to adjust the lighting - but Stephen can tell from the thin fleece jersey he's wearing that Stewart's definitely not the type to workout on his off-days. Neither is he.
"I think they actually switched the set for the Clydesdale film, now that you mention it," he answers. "This one is Shetland Boys 3. I think you're supposed to be -"
"- My little pony," they snicker together. Stewart puts his hand over his mouth and giggles (cute), and then holds it out to Stephen. Stephen shakes it, feeling sheepishly like the older, more experienced guide who's supposed to be showing the new kid around.
"So, just in case you hadn't figured it out, I'm the one who's fucking you later," he offers.
"Oh, really? Hadn't noticed. At all." Stewart makes a show of deliberately not looking down at Stephen's crotch, and Stephen finds himself laughing again. "Because, I mean, I thought when I went to the studio and the director told me to take my clothes off and suck the guy next to me it was the preliminary round of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."
"It's both, actually. They have to prove they're smarter than a fifth grader when it comes to slipping a condom over a banana."
This time Stewart - Jon - smirks. "Did you win?" Stephen can't help but ask, grinning, and Jon smiles the most gleefully mischievous smile Stephen has ever seen.
"I dunno, I wound up here, which I guess means I outsmarted the banana." Another giggle. "Or the banana outsmarted me."
"Let's take a look," says Stephen. "Hey, Corddry, can we get a banana?"
Corddry says, "Sure," and throws him a banana.
"Seriously?" Jon says.
Stephen says, as deadpan as he can make it, "These guys are professionals, Jon."
Then he unpeels the banana, says, "Now, watch, and learn," and when the lighting experts clear away and finally call them over for camera time, Jon is laughing so hard his face is red like Christmas, and Stephen has his mouth full of banana, and Jon's giggle playing on stereo in his head.
The hard thing (yeah, yeah) about filming porn is that even though most of the time the directors just get out of the way and let you do your thing, before you even get there, it's all *hair!* *makeup!* *lights!* *stand on the red ex so the lighting can be adjusted!* *now bend over and make rutting motions over the red x!* *not so much rutting!*
Usually, for Stephen, the whole thing is so embarrassing it takes the fluffers to prep him just for the first scene. Provided the scene isn't so ridiculous it takes all Stephen's willpower just to keep from laughing all the way through it.
The scenes are always so ridiculous, though.
"Okay," says Oliver, "Here's the setup." He begins by pushing up his sleeves in the way he has of going off into his 'serious director' zone. Stephen rolls his eyes, and Jon casts him a quick, 'oh, god, what is this,' look out of the corner of his eyes.
"Jon, you're a stable boy who's just been brought over from England, along with Stephen's new prize pony."
"The one that looks like Anderson Cooper?" Jon mumbles.
"Sorry?" says Oliver.
"Nothing, just - " Jon waves his hand. "Please continue."
"Right, so, you're out in the stable brushing the steed - " he motions Jon over to the horse, who really does kind of look like Anderson Cooper, huh - and directs him to start with the, uh, brushing, which Jon does with a look of trepidation. The horse pricks its ears and bumps its head against Jon's arm, and Jon scoots away immediately, wearing a look of fear.
Stephen delicately covers his mouth with his script.
John Oliver looks unimpressed.
"Sex next to a... real horse probably isn't all that sexy, is it?" Jon says weakly. "I mean - just as a general rule?"
"Stewart!" snaps Oliver, pointing his finger. "It's not our business to do what's sexy, do you get that?"
"It's... not?" says Jon in this meek, disbelieving voice. and oh, god, Stephen's cock twitches in his pants.
His porn co-star is turning him on.
"No, it's not," Oliver booms. "It's our business to make everything sexy. So if the next assignment you get is to have sex with an elven danseur while riding atop a giant flying bald eagle accompanied by the Starship Enterprise and a chorus of dancing bears, your task is to be the sexiest elf-fucking eagle-rider you can be. Do you understand?"
"Uh. Yes?" says Jon. "I mean. Yes. Yes, I understand. Yes, I understand, sir."
"Damn right you understand!" says John Oliver, turning back to the camera. "All right, roll scene."
The stable boy was young, strapping - working innocently away, his mind bent on the task before him, the task of manfully washing and brushing down Stephen's new prize Anderpony. Stephen approached the stables slowly, taking in the young stablehand, not wanting to do anything to needlessly alarm him. He took in the firm thighs, the chest sprinkled with wiry growth (for the boy had removed his shirt in the hot sun), the hair just beginning to show a touch of gray around the edges. Not bad.
The stable boy paused, lifted his head, as if sensing someone or something was there, and turned to stare at Stephen. Bright blue eyes pierced his own.
Not bad at all.
"Did I... interrupt you?" Stephen said, coming forward, acutely aware of his height, the crisp neatness of his Armani suit, next to the stablehand's lankier, smaller body.
"I was just finishing up here," said the stablehand.
Stephen took a moment to casually, yet deliberately, rake his eyes over the stablehands body. "Your steed is a very... fine specimen," he said slowly.
"Yes," said the stablehand, meaningfully. "I know."
"It's," said Stephen, just as meaningfully, "quite the thoroughbred."
The stablehand stepped in closer. "It's... got the stamina of a champion," he said.
Stephen stepped in as well, and cautiously placed his hand on the stableboy's nipple. "I hear it really... pounds the turf."
"You should see it," the stableboy responded, lowering his voice, "in the home stretch."
Stephen gracefully swept his hair back from his forehead, holding the stableboy's eyes. Encouraged by the bold moves of his shy seducer, Stephen moved his hand in a gentle circle over the stablehand's nipple. "I've been wondering if I could... take it for a ride," he said, his voice a husk of its normal deep tone.
"Oh," said the stableboy, tilting his head back and arching his naked chest into Stephen's welcoming palm. "You can ride it."
Stephen could no longer resist the sweet temptation offered by the stableboy. As he leaned in to taste those lush pink lips, he added, unable to resist the gentle ad lib, "But can I ride it for a whole furlong?"
At this, the stablehand's eyes widened a bit, but he held his position, poised, awaiting the precious touch of Stephen's lips against his. "Oh, yes," he whispered. His nipple shifted beneath Stephen's fingertips. "I'll let you ride it for a whole... what was it?"
"Furlong," said Stephen earnestly.
"A whole furrlong," said the stableboy, moving in again to kiss Stephen.
The stableboy maintained admirable control over his emotions given the intensity of their secret stable rendezvous, Stephen thought. Right before their lips met, he made one last attempt to see a glimpse of the stableboy's true feelings.
"I can't promise not to put you to sleep," he added, "but if you come in first, afterwards I'll mount you on my wall."
The stableboy broke away and burst into a fit of giggles.
"Cut!" shouted John Oliver. "CUT CUT CUT!"
Stephen turned and buried his head on the horse's flank and laughed and laughed.
"All right," fumes John Oliver. "Do we all think we've learned the script?"
"Yes," says Stephen guiltily. "N- uh, yes," says Jon, when Stephen thumps him in the ribs. "Sir."
"Do we all think we can RECITE THE SCRIPT EXACTLY AS IT IS WRITTEN?" says Oliver.
Jon bumps Stephen's shoulder. "Ye- hey! - Yes," says Stephen.
"Right," seethes Oliver. "Take three."
Jon shoots Stephen a regretful playtime's over look, and Stephen spares a moment to wonder if, just maybe, if they ever get around to the porn, it might be as fun as all the rest of it has been so far.
And that's when Evie, who mostly has been jotting things down on a clipboard and paying them no attention, suddenly pokes Oliver in the arm and says, "Let them ad lib it this time."
John Oliver's bottom lip nearly slides off his chin. "What?"
"Yeah," says Evie. "They're great, let them do their thing."
"But I'm the director!" says Oliver.
Evie pinches his cheek. "I outrank you," she says. "Let 'em have fun. You'll still get your bonus."
Oliver stares at her. She winks at Stephen and Jon and goes back to her clipboard.
"Well," says Oliver in a mournful voice. "It was a good reputation while it lasted. An artistic reputation."
"Right," says Jon.
"Artistic," says Stephen.
"Exactly," says Jon encouragingly. "And now it's time to form an even greater reputation -"
"- as a total schmuck!" Stephen finishes.
"Roll camera," says John Oliver, and Stephen has to wipe the grin off his face before remembering: it's their take. He doesn't have to.
John Oliver's face is buried in his hands. "Utter disaster. It's not good porn, it's not good acting, it's not even decent porn with bad acting, or decent acting with bad porn. It's atrocious!"
"I dunno," says Jon, and for the first time in several minutes, he looks over at Stephen. "I thought it felt pretty good," he says, and winks.
(this isn't actually a real fic - this is just something i write in my all-important
Touya is looking at Hikaru, just looking. Hikaru's used to that, but on most days it means Touya's looking at him because he's trying to figure out what Hikaru's just done on the board.
This is stupid, says Hikaru, lunging forward and grabbing Touya's necktie. What -- starts Touya, but Hikaru cuts him off with a kiss.
It's a really, really messy kiss. Hikaru isn't sure if he likes it, except it's totally hot anyway.
When he's done, he pulls back and Touya is looking at Hikaru, just looking, with sharp, dark eyes that make Hikaru feel even more wired inside and out.
H/D, genderbender. (another monday morning conference fic)
The first thing Draco Malfoy did upon being turned into a girl was attempt to AK Harry Potter. It might have gone off, too, except that Malfoy only managed to get out "Avad -" in this high-pitched, shockingly smooth girl voice, and then he halted in mid-curse and sprouted a look of sheer horror.
Harry, pretty well convinced that Malfoy couldn't have meant to kill him even under the worst of circumstances, lowered his wand and buried his face against Ron's shoulders, Ron's laughter feeding his own until Harry was doubled over.
Malfoy's impeccable suit was suddenly bunching up in weird places, but apart from that, Harry thought, at a glance you might not have noticed anything different. Except that somehow, everything was different, as if someone had suddenly sanded off all Malfoy's keen edges and sharp corners. He - She - looked completely lost in the same clothes Malfoy had been wearing moments before with the pure casual arrogance of long practice, and Harry suddenly felt cold all over, wrong and uncomfortable the way he did when Seamus had vanished Parvati's bra in the middle of charms class last year.
As he thought of this, it was pure reflex to look at Malfoy's chest.
Then he realized what he was doing and lifted his eyes to find Malfoy staring at him with more livid, open fury on his face than Harry had ever seen before. Harry felt his own face go red, because, hello, he'd just been caught staring at a girl's chest and, even worse, staring at malfoy. He still had his wand out from before, and he raised it in case Malfoy tried to hex him again, but Malfoy just stood still, quivering with anger, much as he'd done when he'd been turned into a ferret. It was weird to see all that anger coming at him from a girl. The whole thing was just really weird.
"Turn him back!" Pansy Parkinson demanded. While Harry was still swallowing half a dozen retorts like why, he looks so much better this way which all just sounded too wrong under the circumstances, she whipped out her wand and tried, "Finite Incantatem!"
Malfoy glared at Harry even harder, and clutched his robes around him.
"It's like he's not even Malfoy," Harry said irritably at breakfast.
"He's not Malfoy," Ron answered, jerking his head to where Malfoyette sat glaring at her cereal. She was daintily grasping a spoon and looking betrayed by her own delicate hands and fingers. "He's a girl."
"It's really weird," Harry said.
"Duh," said Ron. "He's a girl."
But Harry couldn't shake the sense that things were twice as wrong as they should have been had it happened to anyone else. He tried to imagine Ron turning into a girl, but mostly he just came up with a clone of Ginny with a bigger appetite. Hermione turning into a boy would maybe give her shorter hair, but she'd still be about the same. He went down the list of his classmates, and overall, the idea of any of them suddenly being different was strange, but not wrong. Well, except for maybe Lavender turning into a boy, but then again, if she were a boy, she'd probably just keep painting her toenails and giggling over romance novels in the common room, and Harry figured that would be okay.
He couldn't trip Malfoy in hallways if Malfoy was a girl. He couldn't elbow his way past him in Potions if Malfoy was a girl. And he certainly couldn't hit Malfoy if he was a girl. Malfoy might as well have taken a bloody vacation. Which was stupid, because he certainly could have helped matters by hexing Harry and Ron or casually throwing out insults as they passed, or by being, well, himself instead of a sodding girl who mostly just went tight-lipped throughout her day. Malfoy the girl defiantly kept coming to class and to the Great Hall, pointy nose and chin lifted high in response to the frequent catcalls and open stares. Pansy Parkinson and a few of the other Slytherin girls formed a protective circle around him at meals and in corridors, in the middle of which Malfoy huddled like the proverbial ugly duckling. Apart from his initial attempt to hex Harry, he steadfastly ignored everyone and everything outside of his immediate circle of friends and cronies. Ron at first took great delight in heckling him, but gave up after a couple of initial attempts produced no response at all. Malfoy sulked and glared, particularly at Harry, which at least made sense given that Harry was the one who'd accidentally hexed him, but had nothing to say to anyone. He seemed to be trying to speak as little as possible, even to his friends, probably because his voice was such a reminder of how radically altered he was. Not, Harry thought, glaring at the top of Malfoy's blond head, that it was easy to forget.
"You're staring at Malfoy again, Harry," Hermione said.
"Duh," said Ron. "He's a girl."
"It's still rude," Hermione said primly. "No girl likes to be stared at."
Harry rolled his eyes but then re-directed them to the other side of the hall.
"Hermione," said Ron, "you can't actually expect us to believe that just because Malfoy's been turned into a girl, he suddenly has feelings. It doesn't matter whether he's a girl or a ferret, he's still Malfoy."
But Harry, privately, thought that Malfoy as a terrified white ferret was more Malfoy than this softer, quieter version that did nothing but stare flatly and try to draw as little attention to himself as possible. Malfoy's robes hung off of him everywhere - evidently Malfoy refused to change out his old robes. His chest was tiny, but his hips were rounded, and in between classes, Harry sometimes caught himself staring at the new curve of Malfoy's waist.
The first day of Malfoy's transfiguration, he'd been called to the infirmary to try to explain what had happened and what hex he'd used. Unwilling to confess to the barrage of pranks that the entire school had been playing ever since the Weasley twins published their latest catalogue along with a special insert, Hexes they'll never see coming, Harry had steadfastly lied through his teeth and declared he had no idea. Malfoy, who Harry was sure had just as much of a look at that book as any other boy in his year, probably could have told them everything, and Harry fully expected him to come out with a crazy rant about how he was a victim of a vast Weasley conspiracy and had the evidence to prove it. But instead he just stared down at his shoes and refused to say a word. The whole incident had left Harry feeling rather guilty, which was stupid since Malfoy had started the whole thing, anyway, mouthing off as usual. A day passed, and then a week passed, and Harry just felt worse. He'd never intended for Malfoy to get stuck like that. Madam Pomfrey acted like people changing genders was an unfortunate mishap that happened all the time and they only had to wait long enough for Malfoy to change back.
“Um,” Harry asked her once when no one else was around (because he was not going to let anyone see him acting concerned about Malfoy, because he wasn't.) “Shouldn't he be staying in the infirmary til he gets better?”
“His choice, Potter,” Pomfrey said brusquely. “Or rather, her choice.”
“But people make fun of him,” Harry blurted as she tried to bustle out of his way. Pomfrey stopped and gave him a look that plainly said Harry's concern for Malfoy's welfare was a bit late in arriving, and Harry took the hint and left her alone before he started to feel like even more of a prat.
Fred owled him back a few days later with plain delight in Malfoy's predicament but very little advice. The genderswap jinx was a hybrid of a standard transfiguration spell and an animus charm designed to temporarily glamour the witch or wizard. It was only supposed to last a few hours, according to Fred; in fact, when he and George had tested it on each other, neither of them had managed to remain girls for longer than ninety minutes. It's reasonable, Fred wrote, that the charm would last longer on some people than others, depending on the temperament of the person who was hexed and the strength behind the hex itself.
“So it's my fault,” muttered Harry aloud. “Great.”
“Not necessarily,” said Hermione, reading over his shoulder. “It seems like from what Fred's saying that the part of the hex linked to the animus charm could have simply been reacting to some part of Malfoy that doesn't want to change back.”
“Could that really happen?” said Ron, who'd turned up from snogging Lav in time to hear the last bit.
“There are numerous cases where people have transfigured themselves into animals or the other gender and refused to change back,” said Hermione. “There's all kinds of precedent.”
“But that's ridiculous,” said Harry. “Not that wanting to be a different gender is ridiculous,” he amended quickly, seeing Hermione's frown, “but that Malfoy wants to be like this. I mean, you've seen him. He hates being stuck like this.”
They all three considered the problem of Malfoy for a moment, until Hermione finally ventured, “Even so, Harry, there is the possibility...”
“What?” Harry demanded, feeling impatient and irritable at the idea that this was all his fault, that Malfoy was stuck being not!Malfoy until Harry could figure out a way to change him back.
“There's the possibility,” said Hermione gently, “that however much he hates being stuck in some other body, he hates the idea of turning back to himself even more.”
Tregaron was a very dutiful princess. Too dutiful, in fact. Her father, the king, had always watched her carefully, because it was just too strange that she never seemed to be in any trouble. She always did her chores - sometimes she hung around the kitchens looking for extra work to do, because she had the silliest notion that doing the laundry and the dishes was fun. She read for fun, too, and not only that, read the strangest books - books about wizards or dolphins or sailing adventures, and for a while there had been a number of books about goosebumps, or perhaps it had been chickenbumps - the king could never quite keep up.
The king was used to boys, boys who made trouble and climbed trees and ran rampant around the castle causing trouble. His two sons had both behaved in this manner right up until the time he had sent them on their quests. Of course, none of them had quested very far: Patrick, the eldest, had gotten bored half an hour in and gone over to his best friend Tarrik's house to play Splendid Highway Robbery. His actual quest had come to nothing, but Patrick insisted that he'd successfully stolen at least eight carriages and beheaded at least one fantasy highwayman, so his father allowed that to suffice. His younger brother, Frendel, had made it slightly further: his quest had been to slay a dragon, but he had stopped by the town farmer's market and picked up an order of dragon rolls instead. The king had enjoyed the meal so much it hadn't occurred to ask whether anyone had killed an actual dragon until much later, at which point Frendel protested that he didn't know anything about a quest or a dragon, and had the king put it in writing?
(Well, really, quests were just formalities, anyway.)
On her sixteenth birthday, Tregaron dutifully got dressed in her best princess gown, dutifully requested an audience of the king, and dutifully announced that she was ready to go on her quest.
The king said, "I knew it. I knew there had to be something."
"You can't go on a quest, my dear. Quests are for boys."
"But I don't see how that can be, father. I've beaten Patrick at SHR, and I've learnt to make sushi."
"Not those kinds of quests, dearest, the other kind. The ones with adventure and killing, etc, etc."
"But I like adventure and killing!"
"No you don't," said the king. "You like laundry and dishes, and you appear quite fond of sewing."
"Oh, Daddy," said Tregaron, primly smoothing the folds of her dress. "It's possible to like both."
"But don't you think this is rather sudden?"
"Quests begin at sixteen, Daddy," Tregaron said patiently.
"Yes, but - "
"So if you can't have adventures and killing till then, what's the sense moping about it beforehand?"
"Well - "
"So now I'm sixteen and I'm going on my quest."
"Oh, no, you're not, young lady!"
And so it began.
Draco ♥, film-fic.
He wakes up in the infirmary alone. For a moment he doesn’t know where he is, and then he remembers being ripped apart and even the echo of the pain is sharp enough to lash tears across his face.
Snape arrives after a while. He frowns and glares and asks, “What were you thinking, risking everything you’ve been trying to accomplish - our cause- for your vendetta against Potter?”
He paces the room and it makes Draco’s head throb with every clap of every step. He wants to snap that Snape’s a fine one to talk about vendettas, but Snape‘s the first person who‘s come, and he doesn‘t want him to go just yet.
He wants to ask whether he’s been kicked out of Hogwarts. He wants to ask whether Harry Potter’s been kicked out of Hogwarts, but he knows the answer to that one already, and he knows, he knows, that Snape says “our cause” the way other Death Eaters say “muggles” instead of what they really want to say, and right now he doesn’t want to push it and hear Snape saying his name and sounding the same way.
Instead he just closes his eyes and looks away and lets Snape lecture him to sleep.
Pansy and the others visit. He keeps his hands under the blankets so she won’t do anything stupid like try to reach for one of them. None of them really know what to say to him. Draco is silent until they go away.
Madam Pomfrey comes and forces him to exercise his grudging muscles even though they are stiff and unyielding like new parchment. He wonders if he’ll ever be able to play Quidditch again, even though he isn’t sure he’d even want to. He wants to ask her if it’s easy to tell what happened, and if he’ll have scars. He doesn’t know what he’s even doing alive until she tells him that Snape saved his life.
At least he knows Snape will never leave scars.
Once he wakes up and Dumbledore is sitting by the bed, his hand resting lightly on the edge of Draco’s bedcover. The skin tissue is withered and lifeless.
Draco jerks away, wincing as his body refuses to move on command. He settles for rolling his eyes and saying, “I don’t need you here, Professor.”
Dumbledore just looks at him, calm and cold. Draco used to think he was crazy, a useless old busybody. When he was young, Draco also thought that his father knew everything. He thought that his mother was too emotional. He thought that Snape was a good friend of the family. He thought that in flesh and blood Harry Potter was all hype and that in flesh and blood, Lord Voldemort was even greater than the legend.
He’s been so blind that sometimes, still, it hurts to keep his eyes open.
“You may not need me here, Draco,” Dumbledore says, ignoring the way Draco curls his lip at what is sure to be a speech full of cryptic rubbish, “but I need you here. At Hogwarts.” Dumbledore waits for a reaction that doesn’t come. “I need all of our students here, safe and able to protect each other.”
“I don’t need protection,” Draco snarls. “Least of all from you.”
“Why do you think your mother chose to allow you to return to Hogwarts this year, Draco?” Dumbledore proceeds calmly. It’s so easy for Draco to remember that he hates this man, just like he hates Harry Potter, just like he hates all of them. “Why, after the incident last spring?”
“I don’t know, Professor,” Draco replies coldly. “Maybe there aren’t as many mudbloods to kill around Durmstrang.”
He isn‘t sure what sort of reaction he‘s expecting. Dumbledore only sits up straighter and reaches out with his withered, dried-up hand to touch Draco‘s arm. It reminds Draco of the first time he came face to face with Lord Voldemort, and he shivers. “Draco,” Dumbledore says, “you are running out of time to make your choice.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Draco says. The cold chill increases up and down his spine.
“You’ve been barely conscious for two days,” Dumbledore replies. “Did you really think Madam Pomfrey wouldn’t notice that you’ve been marked?”
Draco’s wrist flies to cover his arm, and the mark burns right on cue, cutting into his skin like teeth.
It’s over, he thinks. It’s over and he’s never going to have another chance, he’ll never save his family. He’s failed them and this is where it ends.
“Guess I’ve made my choice already, then, Professor,” he says.
“It’s not too late, Draco,“ Dumbledore says. “There are those who take the mark who choose the right path in the end.”
“Which end is that, Professor?” Draco asks. “The one where they have to go into hiding? Pretend to join your cute little secret societies to stay alive? Or the one where the Dark Lord kills them?” He fights to keep the note of panic out of his voice.
“Draco,” Dumbledore says, gentler than Draco’s expecting. “It’s all right to seek protection. There is nothing weak about asking for help.”
Draco’s head is suddenly pounding. “Right,” he says. “Who’s going to protect me here at Hogwarts, then? Your precious Potter? Why not,” he adds, pleased at the change in Dumbledore’s expression. “He‘s done a bang-up job so far.”
Slowly, Dumbledore draws his hand away from where it has rested next to Draco’s “No one has ever yet been expelled from Hogwarts for taking the Dark Mark, Draco,” he says. “You still have time.”
He stands to go, rising to his feet with movements that seem more labored than Draco has ever seen them. Dumbledore is old, Draco thinks. Old and tired and all too aware of it.
“Professor, I-” he starts, and then stops. He has no idea what he wants to say, what he could begin to say.
Dumbledore looks at him and gives him the faintest of smiles.
“It’s all right, Mr Malfoy,” he says. “You may keep your breath until we meet again.”
Then he brings his hand in a smooth motion over the infirmary bed, and even as Draco’s head clouds with indignation at being babied, his eyes are closing and he sleeps.
There are books of dark philosophy in the library at Malfoy Manor. Draco’s favorite is a book called The Winnowing and the World. Its author, a sixteenth-century German philosopher, was noted for dying of accidental Apparition. Legend, however, held that he did not die at all, but discovered how to transfer his soul into the elements themselves.
The first chapter of The Winnowing and the World describes how the author plotted and carried out the murder of his best friend. The act was held by the author to be a philosophical exercise to see how deep the spiritual and emotional burdens of the soul become when engaged in acts of great evil.
In order to knowingly, willingly take the life of another human being, the author writes, the wizard or witch attempting the act must cut themselves away from the world. The soul must dwindle away so that there is more room for the destructive force within them. This is called the winnowing.
Draco divided himself from his family, though he hadn’t really had much choice. He cut himself off from the rest of Slytherin. He stopped playing Quidditch. He quit fighting with Potter and Weasley, quit worrying about his marks, quit half a dozen other things that felt too familiar, too easy. Since the start of the school year, he has quit everything except the Room of Requirement. But none of this has brought him closer to accepting his task.
The night after he is able to leave the infirmary, he stands outside the door to the Room of Requirement and for the first time in a long time, doesn‘t enter to work on the vanishing cabinet. He looks at the empty wall and thinks, I need to be able to take a life. I need to be able to kill. I need to be able to murder. I need to be able to destroy.
The magic within the walls before him feels tentative, as if the room is trying to feel out what he wants. After a long time the door appears, and Draco slips inside. The room is small, totally bare except for a small trunk in the center that is rattling and wobbling back and forth as if there is something very eager to get out.
Following a confused moment, Draco realizes that this is the same trunk that Lupin hauled out of his pathetic teaching stores in third year to teach them about the Boggart.
When he was a third year, Draco had stood in the back of the room and made sure that the Boggart never came near him. He doesn’t know what his biggest fear would have been. Now, though, there’s only one thing it could possibly be, and he has no idea why the Room thinks that watching Voldemort murder his parents is going to do anything but make him even more scared.
He curses under his breath and spells open the lid of the trunk. The Boggart flies out with a pop like a genie bursting out of a bottle. It hovers gleefully over the trunk for a moment, reaching around itself with shapeless misty threads, before homing in on Draco and swooping forward. Draco takes a reflexive step back, wondering if Boggarts can actually hurt anyone or if the closest they can ever come is scaring someone to death. He closes his eyes and prepares to think of the most ridiculous thing he can think of to counteract the sight of the Dark Lord murdering his mother.
Instead he hears his own voice saying, “What’s the matter, aren’t you going to watch? This is the fun part, you know,” and he opens his eyes to see an older, more haggard version of himself looking back at him with hungry, dark eyes, brandishing a wand at a muggle boy who lies on the ground a few feet away, unconscious. Blood is staining her chest. The older Draco has a manic, eager expression that he’s only seen on the face of his aunt. “Pay attention,” he says to Draco, and he calmly spells the boy awake to his own pain.
Horror chases up Draco’s spine. “Riddikulus,” he tries. The Boggart doesn’t so much as wobble in and out of space. The other Draco is leaning over the boy now, ignoring the rattle in his chest as he struggles to breathe. He slices a long, deep gash in the boy’s side, and Draco’s own body stings with pain, from the spell-memory still whiplashing into his skin, and from the dark mark digging its insistent fangs into his arm.
“You want to learn how?” Draco’s older self tells him. “Pay attention. Soon enough this will be easy.”
Then he rips the boy in two.
(lol i have like 8 million tiny pieces from this but none of them are any longer than this.)
Once the kicking had stopped, the Honorable Vice-Holder Ryhmlass crouched down by the leg he was holding. "You might as well come out," he told it. "I can't punish you horribly until you do."
"You won't punish me," said a voice from somewhere further down the leg, emanating from beneath a suspiciously lumpy pile of hay. "Calypso says you wouldn't. She says you bought her off the black market before they could turn her into cannery."
Ryhm pushed up his glasses with his free hand. "Calypso would be..." he glanced up at the opposite stall. "Oh, of course. The horse you were trying to steal from me." The lump of hay began to squirm again.
"I wasn't! I couldn't have! She's eight bits tall and I wouldn't have any place to put her, so let me go!"
Ryhm held on, though it took two hands this time. "Just visiting, then?" He braced his elbow against the wall of the stall, tugged, and triggered an avalanche of alfalfa and street urchin.
The moon had already begun to freckle by the time Ryhm finally got round to seeing to the horses. People just didn't go round lighting lamps in Annis. Not even if they were a wastrel musketeer on a bender - which after a few rounds of cherny he supposed he was. The night was shifting from Azure into Indigo. It had been the kind of day when everyone needed something from him, as they tended to do - really, the idea that his owning the land made him responsible for it, what sort of logic was that? And then, after spending the whole day playing responsible gentleman, he'd had to attend Evori's party and play the part of the wastrel ex-musketeer, because apparently that's what they were calling him these days back on the mainland.
"I'm not sure musketeers even still exist," he'd complained to her, "and I'm not too sure about wastrels, either."
"Really, the gossips are calling you much worse than that," she'd replied.
Well. Ryhm was not the sort of person to disappoint someone's low expectations, so he'd shown up.
"I don't know why they insist on having these things during Cennate," Evori muttered as they entered the auction floor. "No one can see anything for all the light."
"Isn't that the point?" Ryhm answered. "Everything looks its best in this light." He added, "Especially you," because with Evori, anything that might possibly be construed as disagreement had better be followed up quick with something sweet.
She ignored him. "You know as well as I do midlight is no good for showing things off in their best form." She hesitated, and then said, dropping her voice, "Pavonine is the best for that. Soft, supple."
"Is this the sort of conversation we should have in public?"
She tilted her head and sent him a throwaway glance. "I should say so," she said, "as it's the only place we're ever likely to have it."
One week til the festival, and James was already regretting, as he did annually, living in a town that called itself Story. He'd thought that maybe this year there'd be less buzz, but if anything this year there was more: the hashtag feeds were churning out info on the festival every twenty seconds, and for the last three weeks the promo list at the bookshop had been coffee table books on storytelling festivals and folk tale anthologies. He was sick of it and it was only Tuesday.
Bayani sat him down in an overstuffed armchair, handed him an expresso with extra froth, and let him complain. James woke up in incremental sips and vowed to always have boyfriends who ran coffee shops, even if they were the embarrassing corporate kind, the kind he'd managed to swear off in every other industry. It was easy enough to do in this part of Indiana, where everything was thoroughly localized. Except, of course, for coffee. He sipped from his mug and vowed to be anticonsumerist some other time that wasn't five am.
Bayani was wearing a t-shirt that said "Brewing is revolution." He finished putting out the chairs and sat down across from James, who felt the pang, as he did nearly every day, of not having the morning paper to spread between them. The space felt weirdly empty. Silence stretched between them until James risked, "It's just I hate to see the whole town turning itself into a spectacle for a bunch of rich white people."
Bayani looked at him over a cup of pristine white tea. "The people who triple your profits for the entire year, you mean."
"Don't act like there's nothing wrong with that, either," James grumbled. "People throwing away their money for what? A bunch of stories."
Bayani rolled his eyes. "You moved to a place called Story. You buy into the romance just like the tourists do, admit it. Or you did at one point."
James huffed. "I thought romance only lived in fairy tales," he said, and added, "spare me the pun," before Bayani could get as far as a raised eyebrow. He scooted his chair back and stood, already missing the warmth of the mug in his hands.
"If romance is dead," Bayani said, moving to kiss him on the cheek, "then you owe me for the coffee."
James dodged, went for his lips instead, and tucked some change into his palm. "That's all you'll get for our love story."
"Guess you're right," Bayani grinned. "Ours is less fairy tale, more cheap paperback."
"Don't matter," James said. "Nobody reads books anymore anyway." He winked and slipped out the door into the brisk damp air.
Merlin. Snippets from our big bang wip! Amalin I hope you don't mind me posting a snippet of this ilu:
so for the Merlin Big Bang amalin and I wrote 30,000 words of fic, all of part one of our three part epic, and then my computer died and the whole thing basically fell apart. But we had all these extra scenes and snippets we weren't sure if we were going to use, and, well, here is a bit from them!
Merlin takes in the way Arthur is admiring the smooth scales of the dragon, and bursts out, "You like him! You like the giant hideous flesh-eating dragon your father penned up under the castle for decades! You think he's fantastic, don't you?"
Arthur considers it. "Kind of, yeah?"
Merlin lets out a huff of exasperation. Arthur debates whether to tell him that it reminds Arthur quite a bit of the dragon itself.
"Well," Arthur tries again. "I mean, he is a giant flying talking dragon who sort of hangs around like a pet, what's not to like?"
"It's a liar," Merlin snaps, and unbidden, the retort flies out before Arthur can recall it:
"Well, I guess you keep it in the family, then."
Merlin looks up at him, eyes flashing with hurt and anger and coldness, all the things Arthur knows well, because he's felt them every day since Merlin and his stupid dragon saved his life.
Arthur turns away from him and kicks viciously at the fire.
"Look, both of you, just" - Merlin waves a hand - "Just sit there while I'm gone, and you, don't talk to him." That last is directed at Arthur, who makes a face.
"Oh, come on, he's a dragon, what's he going to do, torture me into giving up state secrets?"
Merlin looks predictably longsuffering. "Just - look, if he talks to you, whatever he says to you, don't believe it."
Arthur cackles. "What could he possibly - wait, have you been telling him your secrets?"
Arthur turns to the dragon. "Has he been telling you his sad stories of abuse? Did he tell you about the time Evil Arthur made him eat rat? Wait - has he told you who he fancies? Is it Guinevere?"
"Arthur!" Morgana exclaims, doing a rather good job of looking scandalized for a woman who's wearing pants.
"Ooh, is it Lancelot?" Arthur looks at Merlin, who is glaring at him, cheeks reddening. He's gone still in that way Arthur knows well, a sign Arthur is getting to him.
It's a delightful moment until Arthur opens his mouth to say the next thing in his head, 'Is it me?" - and realizes with a sudden sweep of heat that it's a question he can't bear to laugh at.
He shuts up uncertainly. Merlin rolls his eyes.
The dragon looks smug.
"Why didn't you send me into exile, then? Why do all this for someone you can barely even stand to look at?"
"Because I'm not - I'm not about to betray you, not after - what kind of king would I be if I rewarded loyalty with abandonment?"
"So this is just about, what, passing some kind of ridiculous test?"
"No!" Arthur shouts. "I don't -" he can't finish, there are too many emotions crowding for space in his head. He shuts them all out but one and snaps, "You're one to talk, who do you think you are, some kind of knight royal? You're so eager to serve your king you'd die for it?"
Merlin's lip curls. "Not my king," he answers, his voice rough. "Uther is not my king. Camelot is not my country."
Arthur takes a step back. "Then why - "
"Because you are my prince," Merlin answers. "I didn't vow to serve my country. I vowed to serve you."
Arthur stares at him, all words dying on his lips.
"You could be anything," he says at last. "You could be - " he can't even finish; there aren't words for what Merlin is or could be. He has only seen a fraction of Merlin's true power. And some part of him feels as if he's always known it.
Merlin looks back at him, and Arthur can tell he knows exactly what Arthur isn't saying. "Yes," he says. "I could be. I could be anything I want to be, Arthur. And this is what I want."
Arthur swallows, and asks again: "Why?"
Merlin's shoulders are shaking. "Why didn't you abandon me?" he asks Arthur, and Arthur stares at him staring back, his dark eyes wide and earnest, until the moment unravels and fades, and Merlin breaks away and retreats silently into his tent.
(I'm really fond of this fic. I hope at some point Kara and I can finish it. ♥