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Purchase Negotiation 34: Not a Drop

First: Purchased: Negotiation

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It might have been a dumb joke, but Inka giggled, at least.  “Oh! Well, no, girls are jerks too, I don’t think … oh, that’s cute though.”  She giggled a little more, and Leander felt less stupid. Maybe not all Sylviane’s friends would be hard to deal with.  “Oh, no, I’ve utterly lost the thread of the conversation.”

“She does that,” Ripley assured Leander.  “Not just when she’s drinking her weight in tequila, either; watch out, when these two go out drinking, it can get kinda of messy, and not just the way they shut down the boys that are interested. Although that,” he grinned, “that is a murder by burn sort of scene.  Inka burns and Sylvie freezes them out and then they swap out,  it’s amazing.”

Leander found himself smiling back.  “I can’t wait ’till I can see that.”

“Oh, and you will.  Once classes get started, it’s usually every Friday night-“ Continue reading

Purchase Negotiation 33: Mars

First: Purchased: Negotiation

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It was going to take a lot more than an hour to walk around campus.  

It might take more than an hour to get around a single “quad,” the way Sylviane walked, which was to stop and point at something, tell him a story, and then move four feet to something else. 

On the other hand, Leander really didn’t mind.  He was learning about her more than the campus, sure, but she was, in the long run, a lot more important than just a bunch of buildings. 

“Oh, here.”  She flushed. He glanced at her curiously and waited. “Oh-” She noticed he was waiting. “Nothing, it’s just-“

“A bench.”  He read the inscription on the brass plaque – it wasn’t her name, wasn’t anyone whose name he recognized, and they’d been class of 1920, so probably not someone she knew personally – well, not a human she knew personally, he corrected.  Could be a fae. Could even be her mentor. 

“I had my first kiss with – with someone I really liked for a while – right here on this bench.” Continue reading

The Mind

The problem with half-breeds, the document read, is that they are ill-equipped to the longevity of the fae. Humanity are meant to be short-lived, and their minds and their spirits thus best survive in a more natural lifespan — sixty to eighty years, perhaps a hundred at the outside. The half-breeds are similarly equipped, being closer to humanity than to the gods who are our ancestors. At a certain point, the half-breeds simply stop forming memories correctly; their brains are full and they can no longer process new information.

It had been hailed as a piece of scientific truth for over two centuries among the Grigori, but to Regine, it read no more accurately than any other piece of pseudo-science racism of its era. Why were human brains and half-breed brains ill-equipped to longevity? What, other than the same grasp of genetics that called a panda a bear because it was roly-poly and shared a certain similarity of shape with Ursus, suggested that half-breeds were further from the ancestor-fae? And for that matter, who had reference that told anyone what the ancestor-fae were, or how specific traits which came to be equated with each of the pure-blood breeds were related to those ancestor-fae? Continue reading

The Spoils Coffeeshop AU

This is 100% Lilfluff’s fault and probably won’t go any further.

“The Mountain is following us, I swear.”

Aran wiped down the espresso machine for the third time. He’d been like for days, ever since the coffee chain The Mountain had opened their nearest branch down the road from them.

They were still plenty busy; they hadn’t — yet — seen an appreciable dip in business. The Mountain couldn’t do baked goods like they did, and they didn‘t do personal service and comfortable atmosphere the way they did.

(Personal service was a bit of a thing for them…)

Still, every time they had a lull, Aran started getting nervous. Continue reading

Purchase Negotiation 32: Choices & Decisions

First: Purchased: Negotiation

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“When you put it like that,” Sylviane repeated, while Leander’s mouth was full, “I really want to… I don’t know, change the world.  A lot.”

He blinked at her and wished he hadn’t filled his mouth up with sticky cheese. 

“So everyone, I think… everyone ought to have good food, a warm and comfortable place to sleep, indoor plumbing, clothes that fit, comfortable shoes, and an education.  Everyone. So if there are people not getting that – which obviously there are – then I want to fix that.”

He swallowed and gulped some soda.  “Like… slave’s rights reform? Or like, uh. Um. Helping people in the inner cities, or on other continents, or -“

“All of it.  Every bit of it.  I mean, okay, that’s going to take a few years.”  She ducked her head. “But maybe there’s a way. I mean, make money, figure out how to make it into more money, and then spend a large portion of it making sure people have a place to sleep and warm shoes on their feet.  And then, on the side, working with other Shener…”

She trailed off and looked at Leander. His stomach suddenly felt leaden.  

“The people who did this to you…” Continue reading

Spoils of War 30: And Then

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender

PLEASE NOTE: I WENT BACK TO THE END OF CHAPTER 21 AND AM REWRITING FROM THAT POINT. 

“I’m your man,” Aran repeated slowly.  Good.” He held her hips more tightly. “I like that.  Being your man.” He lifted up his head and kissed her back fiercely. “Didn’t think I would,” he admitted.  “But you did save my life and all.  Twice now, at least.” He bucked his hips up in suggestion. 

She pressed her hand on his chest, just to see what he’d do; he sank back to the bed.  She grinned at him as she kissed him again. “And here I thought third time was the charm.”

“That’ll be when we fight the Mountain and win.  Maybe-“

She occupied his mouth with another kiss.  “Later.” Continue reading

Purchase Negotiation 31: Desires

First: Purchased: Negotiation

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“So, your first day of college.”  Sylviane pointed a mozzarella stick at Leander; it seemed that, although she had a gourmet chef at home (or maybe because she did; Leander didn’t quite understand rich kids), she knew every good pizza and bar-food joint in the city.  “What did you think?”

“That wasn’t a real day of college,” he protested.  “That was just one seminar thing and one meeting with a professor.  I mean, she was terrifying, but in a good way.”

“Terrifying, but in a good way? Explain.”

“She’s really tough, she knows her stuff, and she looks right through you and sees your meat.  Your core, I mean.” He looked at her and, feeling brave, pointed a fry at her. “You’re pushy when you’ve been at school.  Explain.”

“Oh!”  She looked at the fry and wrinkled her nose at him. “Pushy?” Continue reading

Spoils of War 29: What Am I?

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender

PLEASE NOTE: I WENT BACK TO THE END OF CHAPTER 21 AND AM REWRITING FROM THAT POINT. 

Nikol was somehow not nearly as surprised as she ought to be when Aran brushed a kiss over her cheek. “Thank you for having rules,” he added quietly. “Let’s shower, mmm?”

He scooped her up in his arms before she could say anything and, very carefully, carried her upstairs and into the bathroom.  “The power is still pretty spotty,” he warned, “but we got the whole thing going with the town water – that was mostly just moving around some solar panels, turns out Ford is good with those – and I can make the water warm okay on my own.”

He set her down carefully and she undressed.  Her borrowed clothes were sticky with sweat and they stank; she was tempted to wear them right into the shower.  Continue reading

Purchase Negotiation 30: Tests

First: Purchased: Negotiation

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Sylviane patted Leander’s shoulder and smiled brightly at him.  He hoped he didn’t look as nervous as she was acting like he did.  “We’re going. I’m driving, if that’s fine with you.”

Leander felt as if his head was full in a way it hadn’t been – possibly ever.  He had taken notes in the seminar because Sylviane was – and because she’d given him a notebook and a pen and it seemed to be what you were supposed to do – but most of his notes had been looking at her notes and writing down something similar.

He had, he realized, no idea how to handle this whole school thing – and this had just been a seminar.

He’d listened to the woman at the front of the room talk – it was a discussion on how data could be used or abused in manners to make your business better for you, to make it better for your customers, or possibly both – and had written down a bunch of questions as he got confused, but when the time came for questions, he’d left that to people who were supposed to be here.

(Sylviane had, in three cases, written down an answer to his questions right under them, so he was glad he hadn’t asked any of them out loud). Continue reading

Spoils of War 28: Rules

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender

PLEASE NOTE: I WENT BACK TO THE END OF CHAPTER 21 AND AM REWRITING FROM THAT POINT. 

Nikol was making a mess of this suggestion, as much of a suggestion as it was.  She glanced at Aran as she trailed off. He was… smiling. 

No.  Laughing.

He actually laughed.  She paused, thinking about punching him, but he ended with a little snort that didn’t sound mean.  “Hey, hey, I’m just amused because you’re as bad at this as anyone else and it’s kind of a relief. I mean, how did you do it with your mercenaries?” Continue reading