Archive | September 2016

The Wise Mushroom… Helps, a story of Fairy Town for Patreon Patrons

“I don’t need advice,” Everett was complaining. “And I don’t need advice from a mushroom.”
“Sure you don’t,” Delores agreed, too easily, too readily. “And I’m sure the Wise Mushroom wouldn’t want to be bothered. It’s a pretty small problem, and he’s got better things to do.”

“Better things? He’s as bad as the teachers, then. Don’t complain, don’t tattle…”

read on…

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Buffy: the Invitation (an Addergoole Crossover), Part XIII

Buffy: The Invitation

Part I:
Part II:
Part III:
Part IV:
Part V:
Part VI:
Part VII:
Part VIII:
Part IX:
Part X:
Part XI:
Part XII:

Magnolia was spending a lot of time staring at them as if they were cheating. Buffy gave the girl her best vapid smile and waited to see what came out this time.

“Y’all are just totally ringers, ain’tcha?” she asked slowly. Her accent thickened the more stressed she was. “Ah mean, you study demons, you have a Mentor…”

“So we know a few things.” WIllow had her stubborn face on. “WHat’s wrong with that? This is a school, right? Learning is important.”

“Learning is important,” Magnolia repeated slowly, like the words were foreign to her. Buffy wondered — not for the first time — if she was a demon, too. “Yeah. But you’re ruinin’ all the fun. Ah mean,” she twisted her lips up. “Well, I suppose if you’re used to demons…”

“You know,” Xander cut in, “we get that. I mean, there’s always that fun moment where you get to watch the new person’s mind break.”

“Exactly!” She looked pleased. Buffy waited. That wasn’t Xander’s friendly tone.

“Yeah, like, Buffy came to town, and you know, somehow Will and Jesse and I had never questioned —”


“I’m not there yet. So Will and Jesse and me, we knew a lot of people died. Gangs on PCP, wild animal attacks, barbeque fork accidents — our school paper has an obituary section, you know, and we just never questioned it.”

“…What?” The tall girl was lost, and, more than that, she was worried.

“…And then all of a sudden, the monsters have Jesse. And there we are, trying to figure out what’s wrong with the world while our best friend is dead. Tons of fun, right, for Buff? Showing us the real world?”

Buffy almost felt sorry for Magnolia. Almost. “There was certainly that entertaining look of shock and horror on your faces. And then the way you nearly got yourselves killed.”

“Oh, oh, and then there was that thing where…” Willow trailed off.

“Oh, no, Will, she wants fun, that’s a good place to start.” Buffy waved her hands in encouragement. “Please. Tell her how much fun we’ve had, dealing with the real world.”

“…That time your boyfriend lost his soul and tried to kill us all,” Willow continued, in a much smaller voice. “And—”

Xander took over. “And you did the awful, horrible right thing and killed him. I’m sure that was loads of fun. Right, Buffster? So much fun…”

“…I freaked out and pretended that the fun world didn’t exist for a while, yeah.” Buffy managed something that could have pretended to be a smile once, in a pageant or something. “Loads of fun.”

Magnolia held up her hands. “Ah surrender, ah surrender. Ah’ll even owe you a favor for that one… mebbe one each. By all that’s holy and the Lord’s dirty laundry, you three don’ need this school and it might not survive you.”

“But the thing is,” and all of a sudden Willow was in earnest-research-mode, “don’t you see? You know entirely different sets of information than we do. We look at your friend with the bat wings and we don’t know what sort of demon she is. But I’m betting you, you look at her and think — well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? We don’t know what you think.”

“Ah beg your pardon?” At this point, Magnolia looked lost, confused, and a little bit offended. It was Willow’s turn to hold up her hands.

“Not like that! Well, all right, I’m not sure exactly what you were thinking there, but that’s sort of the point. The point is, you look at your friend, and you’re not seeing demon. So the thing is, there’s a lot we can learn from what you do see when you look at her. And if you’re thinking that people are called demons that aren’t — well, there’s a lot of world we haven’t seen yet. Maybe things are different in Sunnydale. I mean, hellmouth, mouth-into-another-dimension…”

“Breathe, Will.” Xander patted her again. “What Willow’s trying to say is that there’s probably something we could learn here, with sexy naked girls with wings, far from the Hellmouth. Buffy?”

“…We can’t leave the Hellmouth.” It was a weak protest, and, besides, she wasn’t really paying attention anymore. Something had caught her attention, the way that normally only vampires and the occasional demon did. “Well, I can’t leave the Hellmouth.”

“You can and have,” Xander pointed out.

“You know that was an awful idea.” Buffy strode down the hall, chasing the feeling.

“What’s she lookin’ for? Hey, Buffy, where’re you goin’, sweetheart?”


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October Patreon Theme Poll!

It’s that time again!

Time to decide what my Patreon theme will be for October; time to cast your vote and make it count.

It’s time to look at spooks and creepy people, monsters and fairies, costumes and false faces. It’s time to dig into your urban legend stock and decide exactly how spooky you want your Hallowe’en to be.

My Patreon is here. Every month I post:
1 free short-short story
1 locked short-short story
1 locked long short story

We’re just $3 from getting back to the Serial Story milestone, where poor Nimbus has been stuck in the middle of a deadly plant for months! And a $5 pledge will let you prompt in all the prompt calls….

Vote now, pledge if you can, read either way. 🎃

If you don’t have a DW account, feel free to vote in the comments.

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LadiesBingo: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Written for my [community profile] ladiesbingo card and my Second Finish-It Bingo Card for [community profile] allbingo. Genique is the title character of my Space Accountant setting.

Background: Genique just wanted to go on a nice cruise. She never anticipated being kidnapped by pirates… and when that happened, she never really expected to become their accountant. Now that she is, though, she’s going to do a good job as a matter of course.

Genique had been working all day on a particularly tricky set of paperwork, pausing for a ration bar at noon but not really tasting it. It was well into the evening, but she wasn’t sure, still, about this contracted husband she’d ended up with, the problems were particularly thorny–pirates might be awful at accounting but they were far too good at hiding money–and, besides, she was having fun.

“We don’t actually pay overtime, you know.”

Genique looked up to see First Mate Cleonorayen Clyd standing in the door of the closet Genique was using as an office. “You should,” she answered absently. “Maybe then three-quarters of your crew wouldn’t be embezzling.”

“We don’t have time cards,” came a voice from behind Clyd. From the accent, it had to be Quatermaster Marist Irio. “They’d just embezzle time, then. I mean, if we had paychecks.”

“I don’t quite understand how this place works as a business.” Genique stared at the tablet in front of her. “That is, by all rights, it ought to. I mean, according to most of your books, you haven’t repaired the ship in twenty-five years.”

“Come on, we’re going out for a beer.” Clyd stepped into the small room and took Genique by the arm. “Before your poor husband comes to claim you again.”

“About that…”

“We’re not talking about him, not yet.” The Quartermaster shook her head. “We want to talk about the books, first.”

Genique let herself be led out. “I thought I didn’t get paid for overtime.”

“Oh, but this isn’t work.” Clyd was smiling with too many sharp edges. “This is… well, gossip.”

“Gossip,” Irio agreed. “And some explanations that will probably make you want to pull your hair out.”

“So also we brought you a new cap,” Clyd offered. “And we’re going to buy you some beer.”

“And a pair of shipsocks,” Irio added. “You don’t look like you have any yet, and you really need them.”

Genique looked between the two of them. “How badly am I going to regret this conversation?”

“Wellll,” Irio offered slowly, “Donnye the ship-boarder and engineer owes me a really good haircut…”

“Okay, so you really do want to talk to me,” Genique twisted her lips thoughtfully. “All right, beer and a conversation. And those shipsocks.” Her hand went to her hair. “We’ll hold the haircut in reserve, mmm, because if it’s important for you to tell me, chances are it’s important for me to know, too.”

“I told you she was a smart one,” Clyd commented.

“Who told whom, mmm? She’s a bright bulb, best thing Basi’s done so far.”

“Standing right here,” Genique reminded them.

“Well, why are you doing that?” Clyd mock-scolded with no shame. “The beer’s this way.”

“Ma’am, yes, ma’am.” Genique let herself be steered, listening but not paying too much heed as Clyd and Irio discussed various crewmates.

It wasn’t ‘till the beer was poured, they’d sat down, and Clyd and Irio had both gotten halfway through their mugs that they looked over the edge of those mugs at Genique.

“You’re brilliant at paperwork. You find missing numbers nobody even knew were missing.” Clyd took another swig of her beer. “That’s good. We need that. Problem is…”

“Well, two, maybe three problems. First problem,” Irio picked up, “is that you’re going to find numbers someone did know were missing. It’s some junior officer who’s skimming the till, yeah, we want to know. But, uh…”

Clyd picked up. “If it’s the Captain, you don’t want to know and neither do we.”

Genique considered that. “All right. So there are lies in the numbers. And some of those lies, I need to find. Some of them, it’s okay if I find. Right so far?”

“Right so far. I mean, we do need the ship to run, and we need it to keep running. And, well, you found our first lie right off — the ‘wages’” she explained to Irio. “She figured out first thing that if you work the way we hire on new captives, you’ll never be free.”

“Some people take years to get that one.” Irio smiled. “Well done. But,” and her smile vanished, “that’s the problem. You’ve got your lies and your damned lies. And the damned ones can kill you.”

Genique frowned. “Right, so, I want to be careful what I ‘find’ and where I find it. And then there’s stuff I need to be very sure nobody finds…” she sipped her beer and found herself smiling. “Well, that part’s easy. I mean, once I don’t find it, then it’s damn simple. I’ll just hide the numbers.”

“You can do that?”

Genique smiled broadly. “Of course I can do that. Text summaries, statistical analysis, double booking… I’m an accountant.” She lifted her chin. “And, it appears, a pirate. Of course I can hide a little booty.”

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The Hellmouth Job, Chapters 17 & 18 (A Leverage/Buffy Fanfic)

Part I
Part Ia
Part II
Part III
Chapters 7 & 8
Chapter 9 & 10
Chapters 11 & 12
Chapters 13 & 14
Cahapter 15 & 16

Sixteen: The Introduction, Part 2

“We’re too old for this place,” Sophie commented at the door. “You know that, don’t you?” She checked her lipstick in her compact.

“Yes, of course. It’s a teenaged hangout. And?”

“And nothing, of course. I just wanted to be sure you knew it.”

“You wanted to be sure I agreed with the we there. We’re not teenagers, Sophie. I’m not sure we ever were.”

They shared a long look, then shook their heads in mutual understanding. “Nah,” they agreed as one, and entered the Bronze.

The place was as advertised: A hangout for the young and, occasionally, for those who just wished they were young. Tara and Sophie were neither, but they were grifters, and in this case, it stood them in good stead. They wandered to the bar, where the bartender did them the favor of carding them.

His eyes travelled over their licenses. “Wouldn’t have believed it,” he offered chivalrously, of the entirely-made-up birthdates on their forged papers. “But you’re legal. Here you go, ladies, one whisky on the rocks and one sex on the beach.”

“You’re so sweet, thank you.” Tara overtipped and sipped her drink, watching the crowd. “So they come here often?”

“If they come out, it’s the only reasonable place to come out. Tara, what aren’t you telling Nate?”

“Nothing I’m going to tell you either, Sophie.”

“But Tara,” Sophie cajoled, “We’ve been friends for years. Why wouldn’t you tell me?”

“Because one, knowing could get you killed. You remember the Diamond of Saleem?”

“Oh, that awful thing? And every thief in the world wanted to steal it, but there was no way to do it without dying awfully? I remember. And I didn’t tell you, because you were having one of those weeks where you had to steal everything nobody else could. Like the Lost Tome Of Ebackanial.”

“I still have that,” Tara admitted. “I couldn’t get anyone to believe that I had the real thing.”

“-Since the real thing can’t be stolen, of course. Buyers can be so stupid sometimes. Tara, what does this have to do with the Diamond of Saleem?”

“The things I’m not telling you, I don’t think you could keep your hands off of them. And they’re dangerous, get-you-killed dangerous, worse-than-killed dangerous. Are those are targets?” She pointed one well-dressed toe across the room.

“Dorky guy matches. Blonde girl matches, and there’s the dark-haired one, pretending not to be interested. Tara,” Sophie’s voice took on a lazy, cajoling tone, “is this about demons?”

“Sophie!” Tara hissed it out in an angry admonition. “What do you think…” She took out her earpiece and dropped it in a small silk bag, then did the same for Sophie’s. “What possessed you?”

“Nobody, today, although there was that one time in Berlin… relax. I’ve known about the demonic since I was a wee girl. And here we are on the Hellmouth.”

“Here we are on the Hellmouth…” Tara agreed slowly. “Sophie, why exactly did you call me in?”

“Call you in?” Sophie aimed an innocent look over her glass. “All I did was tell you where we were going. You filled in the rest.”

“We don’t grift friends.” Tara sat up straighter and frowned.

Sophie chuckled over her glass. “Oh, look at you. I’m sorry, but you’re as funny as Nate when you think you hold all the cards. Tara, I’ve known what you are since he first time we met, but I couldn’t very well say ‘I need an expert in demons, please come help,’ now could I? You’d have shut down and stopped talking to me for months. Like the Diamond of Saleem thing. Now hsst, here comes the boy.”

The boy sauntered over, goofy smile telling the world he knew he was ridiculous and, what’s more, he didn’t care, thank you very much. He put his elbows on the bar next to Tara before turning to both of them. “Ladies.” The waggle of his eyebrow was both corny and charming. “Buy you a, um, a non-alcoholic, legal drink?”

“You’re sweet to ask.” Tara waved her glass languidly. “Are all the boys in this town so sweet?”

So they were going Russian. Sophie shifted her position and got ready for the charm offensive.

Eighteen: The Escape

Xander smiled uncertainly between the two women.

“Uh, sweet? That’s, no, not everyone here, no ma’am, that is, no miss. Lots of people might be nice or kind or even gentlemanly, but sweet, that’s all me, just Xander. That’s what my girlfriend says, oh, well, that’s the thing.” He attempted something like a bow. “My girlfriend. She’s the one over there making dagger-eyes at both of you, which is probably of course because you’re lovely. So, can I buy you a drink and return to my seat before she kills me, ma’am?”

“He is so very sweet,” the blonde one repeated. Her accent was thick. Russian maybe. “We keep him?”

“Mm. Maybe we do. And girlfriend too.” The darker one ran her fingers up Xander’s arm. “Could be fun.”

Vampire? Xander thought, but they were far too warm for that. He was far too warm. Everyone was…

Xander fled.


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Visible Bisexuality: We Plan for This

Planners ‘Verse has a landing page here. Samantha and Bella are new characters.

“Don’t worry.” Samantha had been saying that a lot in the last few days. “My family plans for this sort of thing.”

The first time, Bella had asked “What sort of thing?” because she couldn’t quite imagine anyone planning for being stuck in a basement that had sealed itself on some computer malfunction.

Samantha’s answer, cool as anything, hadn’t helped one bit. “End-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenarios. Here, take this.”

The second time she’d asked again, because she couldn’t see how “I don’t have anything to wear” counted as any sort of apocalyptic scenario and she didn’t want to think about what was going on outside.

Samantha had smirked, playful this time. “Scarcity situations. We’ll be here for a few days, at least. Here, take this.”

The third time, Bella just asked “is there anything your family doesn’t plan for?” They were playing Scrabble by the light of a very nice LED lantern, in a bunker bedroom nicer than her first-year dorm.

Samantha smiled playfully. “Well, I suppose we didn’t really have a plan for me getting stuck down here alone… but, then again, I didn’t.”

“You could’ve gotten stuck down here with Dane, though, if you’d planned it better.” Dane was Samantha’s boyfriend of three years, although Bella found him a little unpleasant.

Samantha smiled, which wasn’t really what Bella had expected. “Well, who would you rather be stuck down here with?”

“You or Dane? You. I like girls, remember?”

Samantha waggled an eyebrow. “And who’s saying I didn’t plan for this? My family plans for this sort of thing.”

Bella found herself without any answer but a blush. That was all right; Samantha clearly had plans for her tongue that didn’t involve talking.

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You’ll never know the murderer sitting next to you….

Speculative ficlet of Boom, pre-apocalypse. Not even the ficlet I meant to write.

“Hey, you. Are you still alive?”

Feccrick came to conciousness slowly. There was a redheaded woman leaning over him, seemingly unbothered by the raw gaping sword wound across his chest.

“Alive?” Better to feign fogginess. “Yeah, what…?”

“What’s your name?”

“Fred. Fred Kirk.”

“Good, good.” She stood up, talking into her shoulder radio. He couldn’t make out any of the words, but he thought he heard his name.

Shoulder radio… a cop. Jeans and a jacket – detective? Feccrick tried to shake himself awake while trying to look as vague and uncertain as possible.

“All right, Fred. What happened here?”

“Some guy. Some…” Mara type, hero complex, swinging his sword around… “Freak with a sword. Came in and started plowing through everyone.”

“Why did he leave you alive?”

Alive? The rest were… Feccrick looked around: blood, and body parts, and a broken machete.

“Shit. shit, shit, they’re all dead?” Panic seemed like a good idea. He didn’t even have to fake it. “All of them?”

“Why’d he let you live?” she repeated.

“Shit, I don’t know, I…” Some words came back. You’re not to blame. You’re not like them. The man had sounded sincere. “…I think he maybe thought I was a good guy. Which I am, I mean…” The guy had clearly been a nutjob.

“Thank you.” This time, he heard the Words. They started with Abatu Intinn…

He didn’t have time to panic before he was gone.

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Autumn is Here, and a weekend of weekend-ness

Autumn is here, in fact as well as in name.

I can tell not only because my apples are coming ripe and the grapes in my hedgerow are sweet and full, not only because every store is selling pumpkins and my dash is full of Hallowe’en, but because between Thursday and Friday the temperatures dropped precipitously.

Both highs and lows are 10-20 degrees F lower than they were at the beginning of last week – from low 80s and low 50s (28°C/12°C or so) to low 70s-> mid 60’s down to mid-40s at night(18°C-4°C or so). It came on literally overnight, and here I am, hoping the chimney sweep and the furnace check-up guy get here soon. Brrr!

In the meantime, we’ve been chopping brush to burn, hauling firewood into the house, moving firewood around the garage… cleaning the garage so we have room for the firewood (that’s mostly T)…and pulling the gutters down on the short front of the house.

(Our house has two sections: a one-story section that houses the kitchen & utility room (and dreaded foyer) and a two-story section with the rest of the house.)

The gutter was… interesting. When we pulled down the rotted board BEHIND the gutter, we found about a jillion dead wasps nests, some dead wasps… and a skeleton mouse. Yay nature~

Autumn is here, ‘though the leaves haven’t started to change yet. Home repairs are going into overdrive in anticipation of the cold that’s coming, and the cats are growing an extra coat of fur for the winter. “Winter is coming,” Oli insists, as he devours an extra helping of food.

“Winter is coming,” I agree, and stack some more firewood.

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Shopping, a noncanon ficlet of Addergole-Postapoc for Rion

Exactly what it says on the tin. Decades after the apocalypse. Bracken, a roleplay character, has appeared in several ficlets, here

Slaves, Bracken was finding, were not all that comfortable with being interviewed.

To be fair, she’d known that for quite a while. Even Marius, when she’d Kept him all those years ago, had snarled and growled his way through her initial interview. And all the Kept she’d had before and since then, they’d always had some level of that nervous, uncertain, “what’s the right answer” feel.

She wasn’t helping things any, she knew. But she couldn’t very well not ask, or she’d end up owning half of the fae currently in the slave markets – and that would stretch even her pretty well-off coffers.

“All right. I know it’s not the normal question, but I need to know. Can you tell your Keeper what to do?”

The girl in front of her blanched. “I wouldn’t… no… of course not.”

Bracken sighed. Just one more left at this place, and she really wanted to take this one home and cuddle her. “I’m sorry. I’ll see if I can send someone good your way.”

She gestured to the slave factor. They knew her well enough to indulge her a bit here; her trade was as good as anyone’s. “Last one.”

“You sure about this one?”

“Gotta check ’em all.”

“All right then.” He led out the girl and led in, a moment later, a slender person in a heavy wooden collar. Bracken thought probably male, but she couldn’t be sure.

Either way, the slave bowed before sitting where the slave factor had pointed them. Bracken waited until the factor had left the room and closed the door, taking the moment to look the slave up and down.

Thin, too thin. The collar had chafed; the chains at their wrists had chafed. They hadn’t been well-treated, and yet they responded to the look with a friendly raised eyebrow.

“I’m Bracken. You’re…”

“Remy.” The voice was a mid-alto; the answer punctuated with another little bow.

“I’ve got a few questions for you.” Bracken went through the base questions first: length of time under the collar (five years), age (claimed thirty-five, but they were a little unclear on time), association with Addergoole (never heard of it) and so on.

“Not my skills? Not how well I take orders? Not even my equipment?”

Bracken thought Remy looked amused. “The first is less important than some other things; the second one you’d probably lie about, and the third one is entirely irrelevant right now.”

“Well.” Now Remy definitely looked taken aback. “So what’re the other things?”

“Well, to start with, can you tell your Keeper what to do?”

“Can I…” Remy snorted. “Well, then. That’s a new one. Can I…”

They were definitely stalling. Bracken smiled and waited; stalling was better than any other answer she’d gotten so far.

“Well…” Remy tried again, “I mean, if that’s what my Keeper wanted, yeah… I mean, you said Keeper, didn’t you?” Remy leaned forward. “Not Owner. Man, for a Keeper, yeah, hell yeah. I can do it.”

“Good.” Bracken stood up and called. “I’m taking this one.”

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Visible Bisexuality: and Addergoole, a ficlet of… well, Addergoole

This ficlet focuses on Efrosin, a character in Addergoole Year Nine. The story takes place between years 6 and 7, Efrosin’s first and second years of the school.

Shiva and Nikita are part of Addergoole, the Original Series and their side fics can be found here.

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” Shiva patted Efrosin on the head and wandered out of Addergoole. “Or anyone,” she threw over her shoulder.

They’d only known each other a year. Efrosin hadn’t even known he had sisters, and then he’d gotten shanghaied by two of them within a week of showing up at school. That had been strange enough. His sisters’ Kept… that had been weirder. The moment when Shiva had asked him “Hey, do you like guys enough to Keep one?” and then raised her eyebrow when he’d sputtered out some sort of lame denial…

People said they knew Addergoole was different at the reveal, or at the point where they went underground, or at the point where they Changed. Efrosin knew it when his sister looked at him, raspberried, and said, “Look, nobody cares, or at least not anyone that matters. I just want to know if you can keep a collar on him without freaking out over ‘eww boy cooties’.”

Ef had manged something sputtered and unclear that boiled down to “boys are fine, what boy are we talking about again?”

(And that had all ended in a pile of exploding turds, but at least it hadn’t been because Ef had a problem with boy cooties.)

Nikita was following Shiva like a lost puppy, a grapey, adorable lost puppy. When she hopped in the car, loading in her pile of children, Niki turned to the closest available person, eyes wide and expression entirely without artifice.

Efrosin sighed. The boy was entirely too good looking.

“You don’t even like guys,” he pointed out, but Niki was walking back to him, wrists crossed behind his back and his cutest puppy-dog expression on his face. “Oh, departed gods… fine. But only for a couple weeks.”

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, Shiva had said. She certainly couldn’t say anything about Niki then, could she?

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