Archive | April 5, 2012

First Rose

For Friendly Anon’s commissioned continuation of Twelve Roses and One

She’d heard the story her whole life. The rosebushes, the crazy Aunt that nobody wanted to admit was theirs, the twelve pink blossoms that got brighter for each daughter, the “true gift” they were supposed to receive on their sixteenth birthday.

She knew, too, that her parents had planned on stopping at four kids, or stopping after Harold, or stopping at any point that wasn’t almost-to-thirteen-children. She was fairly certain the gift had power… and she had known from a very young age that one ignore fairy gifts at one’s own peril.

So it was no surprise to her, or to the next three sisters down, when, on the dawn of her birthday, Alicia walked out to the rosebush and snipped the rose that her parents had always called “her rose.”

Her parents had been dithering. They were worried about what a “true gift” would be. They were concerned that there would be sort of booby trap. They were, she was pretty sure, concerned they might end up with a hundred and sixty-nine grandchildren spaced over thirty-something years.

None of that mattered. Alicia had decided as soon as she was old enough to remember making decisions that she would do what Aunt Edith had bade. She had planned to go out there, laid out the pruning shears…

..and then woke in the kitchen, silver blade in one hand and the rose in the other, as she placed it in the vase.

“Well.” Brandy, Celia, and Darla were watching her. “Did I…”

“Yup.” Darla looked a little spooked. “Do you remember…”

“Nothing.” She frowned at the flower. “I wonder what’s going to happen now.”

She watched the flower – they all did, including their rather-miffed parents – every day, staring for the first signs of roots. She ran her fingers over the stem every night before bed, wondering what was coming. It seemed as if she was waiting, holding her breath, like her birthday had been delayed for a flower.

The day her mother found out she was pregnant again, two months after Alicia’s birthday, the rose suddenly popped out roots all over the place.

“Of course,” Mom muttered, and pulled out a lovely pot and a bag of potting soil. “Come on, Alicia. Let’s get her planted.”

The rose went into the dirt like it was helping, grabbing at the dirt, sinking in as if relieved, even if Mom was glaring at it. They were all staring at it, Alicia, Dad, all ten of her sisters and her spoiled little brother. Waiting. Holding their breaths.

“What do you think…?” Ida whispered, but just at that moment, Alicia knew.

“Oh…” She reached out and let the thorns, the two thorns this rose had kept, near the bloom, pierce her fingers.

“Alicia!” Mom had gone from angry to horrified. “What have I told you about fairy gifts?”

“It’s okay, Mom.” Everything was going… well, not everything. But enough was going to be okay. “I understand now. I see it all now.”

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Love Meme Answers 3: Porter/Arudnel, Rozen/Kai, Rin/Girey

For the meme I posted last night here and here

“I love you, man.”

Porter had been drinking. At least, Arundel hoped he’d been drinking – there’d been a dance. There were lots of things at Addergoole and more things at Addergoole dances that could make someone slur and wobble like that.

“I know you do.” Sylvia was already back in the suite; Arundel had gone looking for his friend.

“That girl, she said I should love her, but I said, don’t be silly. I’m not into… you know.”

“I know, buddy.” Yep, something other than booze. He’d have to tell Sylvia the succubi were trying again.

“But you’re my best friend.”

“Always will be. Here, open a Door?”

Later, he thought perhaps that hadn’t been the best thing to ask a soused and besotted Porter.

“It’s the Bond, you know.”

“I know.” She was humoring him, he was sure of it. He didn’t remember her doing that when they were younger. “The Bond re-writes your brain pathways and rewards and punishes behavior based on a very limited set of parameters. It can imitate love rather effectively.”

“I’m not in love with you. I want to fuck you, always have. I want to see what it takes to make you scream.”

“But you don’t love me.” She shrugged, and turned, finally, from her project to look at him directly. “This information is important to me why?”

Fifty years ago, he would have thought it was an exasperating side effect of her charming naivete. Now… now she was smirking at him. She knew he was full of shit.

“I wouldn’t want you to get your hopes up.” He wouldn’t want to get his own hopes up, either, would he?

Girey swung the toddler up in the air and back down to the ground like he’d been handling small children his whole life. “And wheeeeee! There goes the little child-one, there she goes.” He’d thickened his accent to a nearly incomprehensible mix of Bitrani grammar with Callenian vocabulary, and the children loved it, and him.

Rin scooped up one too small to know what was going on, and studied her captive, hiding her smile behind the baby. He was wonderful with children. He was, when he made the effort, generally wonderful with people.

Now if only she could get him to be wonderful with her.

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For Rix_Scaedu‘s commissioned continuation of Damn List (LJ), All You Can Be (LJ), and Detente (LJ)

Addergoole has a landing page here.

Does anyone have any suggestions for Ahouva’s Changes? Or, for that matter, Jovanna’s?
“So.” Aeowyn and Jovanna sat down to either side of Ahouva in English class. “Kendon looks miserable.” Her snakelike friend was showing way too much tooth for comfort.

“More importantly.” Jovanna closed in Ahouva in a flurry of excess skirt. “You look happy. Smiling, for real. Your color’s back. You’re smiling again.”

“Your shoulders aren’t hunched. You’re wearing better clothes.” Aeowyn plucked at the sleeve of Ahouva’s sweater. “I love this colour on you. What, did Kendon not approve?”

“Guyyyys.” She folded her arms across her chest and tried not to smile at them. “So you’re saying I was dumpy, grumpy, lumpy and dull when Kendon was Keeping me?” She kept her voice down out of habit, not wanting him – or his friends – to overhear her talking about him. Even now.

“We’re saying… well, yes. You were miserable, misdrawn, and misadvised. Possibly misfiled as well.” Jovanna patted her shoulder. “But nobody was blaming you, Who. We’re all happy to see you away from him.”

“And happier to see that Basalt isn’t horrible.” Aeowyn had a skill for bluntness. “You’re not bruised, you’re sleeping, and you’re eating. All good signs.”

“I’m not a prize horse,” she muttered, but the smile wouldn’t stay down. “Guys, he’s pretty awesome.”

“That’s not what you were saying at first.” Jovanna sat back and muttered under her breath – some sort of Working. “Are you sure you’re really happy?”

“Stop it, Jo. Tuapeka Intinn Ahouva oro’Basalt a Jovanna cy’Solomon. You just said I looked happier.”

“So what did he do?” Aeowyn leaned over Ahouva to thwap Jovanna. “Friends do not read friends’ minds.”

Ahouva found her cheeks warming. She bit her lip. “He kissed me,” she whispered.

“Kendon did a lot more than…” It was Jo’s turn to hit Aowyn. “I’m just saying.”

“He asked first.”


“Was it a good one?” Jo looked like she wanted to take notes. “Was it just a kiss, or a kiss-kiss, or…”

“What, we’re categorizing these things scientifically now?”

“It was a kiss-kiss. A really good kiss-kiss-kiss.”

“Three kisses.” Aeowyn’s laugh made Ahouva cringe a little bit. “Oh, relax, I’m happy for you. Do you think you two will move past just kissing, however many kissies you add to it?”

“Welllll…” She really didn’t want to admit she’d been thinking about that almost constantly since the first kiss. “I’d like to. But I’m worried he’s going to, you know…”

From the look on Aeowyn’s face, she did know. From the tch’ Jovanna made, she knew, too. “Who, this is Addergoole. High school rules don’t apply.”

“Exactly. If he’s respecting you enough to make it a choice, I think you’re fine.” Aeowyn didn’t talk about her Keeper. She’d made that abundantly clear – Jovanna still had the bite-mark scars. This was as close as talking about being Kept as she would get, analyzing Ahouva’s relationships. For the first time, Ahouva didn’t really mind.

“He’s really nice, when he relaxes.” She thought about the way he held her, when he wasn’t worrying about her broken windows. “I think he could be a lot of fun… all the way relaxed.”

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Love Meme Answers 2: Autumm/Weylan, Audrey/Sage, Taro/Kailani

For the meme I posted last night here and here

Autumn loved Weylan the way she’d never loved a guy trying to sleep with her.

Not just because she could relax around him, because there was none of the aggression of me-you-fuck-now or the competition she sometimes got with women. Not just because he told great jokes on the road, or because he’d saved her life more than once.

Not just because he was so clearly and utterly devoted to his family and still able to make room for friends.

But because, on top of all that, unlike the men she slept with, he seemed like an actually nice guy.

The night was dark as a coal cellar, and the power had gone out. Aud woke first, to the quite, panicked beeping of their electronics bereft of their lifeline, to the sleepy grumbles of their youngest, who could not sleep without his lullaby recording.

Sage woke moments later, lifting their son in his arms, and singing to him, a soft chanting that would have, in other circumstances, perhaps sounded ominous. But to Aud and to the sleepy boy, it sounded like heaven.

First week of Year 5:
“She’s gorgeous,” Taro told Conrad, who had heard it all already at least a hundred times. “Those eyes. Those legs. That hair. Gods, Con, I’ve got to have her.”

Second week of November, Year 5:
“She’s always questioning everything,” he muttered to Vlad, who didn’t really want to be listening. “And her kisses are like liquid gold. Was I really that much of an idiot? Did I really..?”

“You did. You were. Love the one you’re with, man.”

Last week of February, Year 5:
“She’s gorgeous,” Mea murmured, gesturing at Kai in her bridesmaid’s getup. “I can see why you’re in love with her.”


“Honey, I’m cy’Linden. Love where you will, as long as you love me too.”


Her kiss shut him up before he could come up with an answer that didn’t make him an idiot again.

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Good Bones

For the February continuation poll, after Love and Hospitality (LJ) and Graduation Plans (LJ)

Addergoole has a landing page here.

There was a bouquet of flowers and a dead raccoon waiting for Wren and Nydia at their new apartment.

Nydia took care of the raccoon with a muttered Working, while Wren unpacked a vase and got the flowers set. Neither of them talked about the oddness of the gift; neither wanted to admit that they weren’t sure if it was a normal sort of thing, out in the world.

Out in the world. They moved their stuff into two of the three bedrooms and didn’t quite look at each other, didn’t quite admit that they both wanted to crawl into a closet and hide.

“Lady Maureen and DJ will bring the kids in a week,” Wren said. Nydia already knew this, of course, but it was more what Wren didn’t say, anyway: we have a week to get our shit together.

“Can we…”

“Of course we can.” Wren’s smile was bright and false. “Look. The job part, we know we can do. The mom part… we have practice at that. That’s not the problem.”

“No,” Nydia agreed. That wasn’t the problem.

“And we have this list. See? And that takes care of the rest.”

“Are we…” Nydia gestured incoherently. Wren smiled, seeming to understand. Of course, that’s why they were friends.

“Of course we are. We graduated from Addergoole. But, come on, don’t you think our former Keepers are, too?”

Nydia found herself squirming, but smiling at the same time. “Vampire,” she pointed out. “I always wondered… but I didn’t really want to think about it.”

“Control freak.” Wren picked up a box of cooking things and began unpacking, lining things up in a line against the back of the tiny kitchen’s counter. “And no, I didn’t consider adding either of them to the list.”

“Good.” Nydia knew she was lying every bit as much as Wren was, but there were some lies their friendship was balanced carefully on, and that was one of the big ones. “So who do we have to interview?”

“Eight men.” Wren tilted her head at the pink file folder. “One probably-just-human, three Faded, and four half-breed Ellehemaei. No Addergoole grads, but one of the Faded is a relative. Cousin of Kendra and Callista’s.”

“How many arms. How man… you said Faded.” Nydia smiled. “Okay, that sounds do-able. When do we start?”

“Tomorrow at noon. Lady Maureen set up the first appointment.”

There was a dead squirrel and three dead roses waiting outside the apartment the next moment. The squirrel went the way of the raccoon, the roses got hung in the entryway, and Nydia and Wren began setting up a life for themselves.

Storefronts were easy. The realtors that tried to sell said storefronts weren’t quite as easy, but Wren and Nydia knew exactly what they wanted, and they weren’t as easy to bully as they looked. Whenever the men started getting pushy, Nydia pictured Rozen and Baram, and the balding, middle-aged guy in the sweater vest didn’t seem scary at all.

“No,” she explained, again, “we’re looking for something with more space. The windows we can fix. The kitchen can be rebuilt. But this looks like you could, maybe, do a cookie shoppe out of here, if you didn’t ever want to expand.”

“Space like that is going to cost you. It might be better to start small and work up to a big place.” This one wanted to be paternal. Nydia had Opinions about that.

“We need a place that will suit our needs now. If you’re not capable of giving us what we want, we’re more than willing to take our money elsewhere.”

He looked like she had slapped him. “I just don’t want you girls to get in over your heads.”

“Girls. Are we girls, Nydia?” Wren was smiling. That was not a good sign.

“Five children between us, Wren, I’d say we probably deserve ‘woman,'” she agreed happily. “When’s our next appointment?”

“About… twenty minutes. If we leave now, we can get coffee first.”

“Coffee sounds delicious.” And like that, they were gone. Nydia felt a little bad – but just a little bad, over a thrill of naughtiness and empowerment that was completely new.

“What’s his name?” she asked, when the surge of pleasure wore off and she remembered what, exactly, their next appointment was.

“Oh, good question. James maybe, Jack? Jared?”

Nydia flipped through the paperwork. “Tate.” She giggles a bit. “We’re meeting with a Tater Tot?”

“Be nice, Nydia, he looks like a nice guy.”

“I’m pretty sure nice guys are not what we’re looking for.” They’d interview him anyway, of course. He deserved the chance and, really, he could be just what they needed. Or he could be a dud-spud.

Tate wasn’t quite a dud-spud, but he had all the personality of a french fry. Nice, handsome, strong… boring.

That was the order of operations for the whole day. Nice place, no foundation. Nice guy, no spine. Creepy place with great lighting. Jerk with a winning smile.

“It’s only day one.” Wren sounded as if she was trying to convince herself as much as, if not more than, she was trying to cheer up Nydia. “We have three more places and two more guys tomorrow. And two and three the day after that. We’ll find someone, and someplace.”

“I know.” By this point, Nydia wasn’t remotely surprised by the dead blackbird at their doorstep, or the box of chocolates next to it. “We have weird neighbors, Wren.”

“We’re only in the lease for three months. We can find a better place once we have everything else settled.”

“I hope so.” She glanced around to be sure they were alone, and dealt with the bird the way she’d handled the other two “gifts.” “I’m a little wary of those chocolates.”

“Sealed box,” Wren pointed out. “From the chocolatier next to the almost-good-place.”

“Great bones, no personality? That one had potential.”

“So did the boy right after that. We can refurbish the building…”

“But we don’t want to refurbish a boy,” Nydia agreed. “Not the sort of thing we’re looking for.”

“There’s always tomorrow.” Wren opened the box of chocolate and muttered a complex Idu charm. “Try the ones with pink.”

“Tomorrow,” Nydia agreed. She popped the pink candy in her mouth and wondered how you gave a boy a coat of paint.

Next: Moving Foread (LJ)

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Alder by Post…. feedback wanted

For the first three issues of Alder by Post, I riffed off of the theme of the month or a theme that came up within the writing.

But going into the next Alder by Post, I realize that the short and strange nature of the March Giraffe Call leaves me bereft of ideas.

Anything, any setting, any anything you’d like to see? Any ideas for making it thematic? 😀

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Love Meme Answers 1: Morrigan/Reid, Luke/Regine, Linden/Luke

For the meme I posted last night here and here, though I just realized I flipped the third one. Guess it’s a freebie!

Morrigan lay in bed, pressed up against Reid’s body, watching him sleep. When he slept, he didn’t pull away from her. When he truly slept, sometimes helped along by a nudge from their doctor, his body relaxed, and she could see how young he was.

She was going to keep him. She’d already known that when she hauled him into her van. She was going to keep him, because he was so strong, so brilliant, and so utterly vulnerable.

He made her want to take responsibility. He made her want to be a grown-up.

Shira watched them together, pouring over the new student lists. She wondered if Luke knew how his wings curled protectively over Regine. She wondered if Regine knew how she looked up to the older Ellehemaei, even when his opinion hurt, even when she stubbornly ignored everything he said.

Shira could see the echos of them, a hundred years past, a hundred years hence. She could see the moment Luke bent to comfort Regine, and the moment Regine learned how to be human for long enough to comfort Luke.

She wished her students, the ones who didn’t always understand friendship, could see this.

Summer. Finally. Mike saw the last of his Students off on vacation, spent one last evening with his favorite non-Mentored student, and braced herself to visit Luke.

He would glower, of course, and grumble. He’d invite her into his home because they were crew, and friends. He’d pour her a drink and have none himself, like he didn’t trust her. He’d refuse to touch her.

But in the end, he would hold out an arm, and hug her, and yell at her for an hour about being a better person. And when he was done, when she’d cried in apology and grumbled and yelled back at him, Mike always felt like she could be better, could be a nicer, more responsible person. Like he made her better.

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