tallulahgs: (Default)
[personal profile] tallulahgs
my true love sent to me

twelve uncertain smiles


(The eleventh day of Christmas is, erm, in progress. It is long and probably not very accessible but dammit, I AM COMMITTED TO IT NOW.)

[Title] The Doctor and the Nurse
[Rating] PG
[Fandom] Malory Towers / Doctor Who (classic series, in fact, as this is a sequel to my one extended hand, as requested by [personal profile] sabethea



Mary-Lou wasn't at all sure she knew what she was doing. First aid lessons in the village hall over the summer holidays had been quiet and smelt of antiseptic; everyone very serious, everyone with clean hands.

The room shook every so often from the explosions outside, and she could hear screaming even when the people with her were silent, and her hands were already covered in blood.

“Here,” someone was saying, and it seemed that it was her. “Now I've bound this round your arm, I need you to hold it tight. Like this? Keep putting pressure on it to stop the bleeding.”

The man was glistening white and trembling but he nodded and did as he was told. “What... what were those things? They just... what did they want?”

“I don't know.” Another boom; the lights flickered. Mary-Lou breathed in sharply, making herself taste the air and the dust and the smell of the blood. If she wasn't brave, no one else would be. The Doctor had ordered her to stay here and keep herself alive. So that was what she was going to do. She was not even going to think of doing anything else.

“We've got to get to the main centre,” the man stammered. “Summon help... we can't hold out...” He actually started scrambling to his feet. Mary-Lou had put out a hand and pushed him to sit back down before she could think.

“No,” she said, and if she was trembling with shock that she'd dared, well, no one needed to know that, did they? “You need to rest. And the Doctor told us to stay here. He's gone to find out why they're attacking. We should wait for him.”

One of the women, nursing an arm held in a sling made out of someone's shirt, laughed. “He was a doctor, was he? And you're the nurse? I wouldn't have thought it...”

“She's proved herself, hasn't she?” Another man, unhurt, sitting knees to his chest under a table. “She's bandaged you lot up like she was born to it. I think we can trust her bloke, too.” He grinned at Mary-Lou like he really meant it, and she found herself smiling back, sort of. No. No room for uncertainty. The Doctor was the Doctor and she was the nurse, and that was all there was to it.



[Title] Inside
[Rating] PG
[Fandom] Akira (movie)
[Notes/Summary] Tetsuo tries to convince himself that everything is going to be fine.



Step by step on the white stone. If Tetsuo focuses only on the soles of his feet, the cool ground, he can almost forget the –

Hot and sweating and worse than that – his skin feels alive, like it's trying to twist its way off the rest of him

Kaori. Kaori close to him, arms round him. Hair smells of strawberry shampoo; her neck and the hollows of her shoulders, soap and dormitory fabric softener. He wants to press his face against her throat, let her keep her arms round him, pretend that she can fix everything. It was like that when they did it for the first time, ages ago, when he managed to stop thinking about what Kaneda and everyone else would say and he was with Kaori, in Kaori, and she was holding onto him as if he was strong, as if he could protect her.

The twisting and the sweat and the wrench where his real arm used to be – the twisting is getting into the wires of the one he made, he can feel it like his nerves have woven their way in –

He's strong now. He's stronger than he's ever been. He can protect Kaori like he can protect himself. Any moment now he will be able to tell her that. He will say the right thing and she will believe him and she'll give him that nervous, uncertain smile and then joy will spread across her face like the sun. Any moment now.



[Title] Origin Story
[Rating] G
[Fandom] Jet Set Radio
[Notes/Summary] Gum, Beat and Tab consider the important question of gang identity.



“So. Um.” Beat tries to sound like someone who's cool enough that other people would want to hang out with him for more than an afternoon. “Are we... like, setting up a gang, here?”

Tab glances round the garage, at Gum setting up the sound system, at the sunset through the grimy window. “Looks like it. I mean, if it was just Gum'n me, it'd be a partnership, but once there's three of you I think it's a collective.”

“Dork.” Gum scrambles up to perch on one of the massive speakers. “But yeah. If this isn't a gang, then either we're all gonna go home and be weekend rudies only, or we're gonna put on blue lipstick or monster masks or night vision goggles and join one of the groups already out there. Personally, I'd rather spray paint in my own eyes.”

“Glad to have you with us,” Tab says, grinning.

Beat chews the realisation over and it's so awesome he wonders if he's dreaming it. But the sunset stays, and the clatter of claws on concrete from the dog they found, and Tab throwing a can of paint up so he can grab it out of the air.

“Do we need a uniform and stuff?” he says, feeling an uncertain grin spreading over his face. Like, are they even doing this right? “You know... a gimmick?”

No.” Gum slumps back against the wall, rolling her eyes. “I don't care what all the cool kids are doing. The whole point of being a rudie dropout delinquent is so I can wear what I want. Besides, you got me, and you got Tab. We kind of... have very different senses of style, plus he's several inches shorter than me and may not even have eyes under that hat. Good luck coming up with a uniform that works for both of us.”

“Yeah,” Tab says. “I reckon it's a waste of time coming up with all that stuff, not if it ain't obvious from the start. I mean, the Poison Jam probably started hanging out because they're all obsessed with horror and want to kidnap store mannequins, but we don't have that kind of connection.”

“People see us,” Gum says, “they'll know we're us because we're not any of the others.” She frowns. “Guess we need a name though. Something better than 'not any of the others'.”

After a few moments, Tab says, “How about the GGs?”

They both give him a puzzled look, but he raises his hands: “Hear me out. 'Cause it's like, the Garage Group, for where we are. It's the Game Gears, for at least one of us being into nerdtastic pursuits. It's the Graffiti Gang because we are getting back to the roots of rudieism. It's the Great Gimmick if you wanna be meta. It's the Good Guys, 'cause, basically look at us, we completely are. Or it can be somethin' completely different we think up later. Or it can just be two letters we picked randomly that are really easy to slap onto a wall as a tag.”

Gum considers it, chewing her lip, then smirks. “Or it's Gum's Guys if I need to boost my rep. Yeah, let's do it.” She turns to look at Beat. “What do you reckon, leader man?”

Beat can feel his grin getting a hell of a lot more certain. This actually feels like something they can make work. “I think it's cool. GGs it is.”



[Title] The Sun and the Moon
[Rating] PG-13, (brief, non-graphic) mention of rape and dub-con
[Fandom] Akira (manga); AU in which Kaori survived
[Notes/Summary] Kaori doesn't know where to be now Tetsuo is gone.



Neo-Tokyo is too big and too broken. Kaori thought she'd be all right with it. She'd spent enough time sitting with Akira or Tetsuo staring out across the bay at the ruins. And before, she'd been in them, hiding out in the remains of their apartment, trying to get Dad to eat something, trying not to cry where he could see.

But the sun is too big and the moon is too broken and Akira and Tetsuo have gone and everyone else she knew is dead.

She wants to run but she feels like her legs will give out if she tries. She mostly hides instead. With the light and the water and the quake, the city is like a new city. Even the parts she knew are no longer there. There are places you can stay but mostly people won't let you in unless you can trade something, and she doesn't have anything except herself, and she's scared. Not about getting hurt. Scared it'll open up holes in her mind and everything will come out, scared she'll do it wrong and they'll laugh. So she walks and walks until she finds a part of town where most of the people are dead, and she hides in an attic in an empty house. There are still blankets and a hole in the roof where she can drink the rain, and thinking about eating makes her feel ill.

She wraps herself in the blankets and mostly waits to sleep and when she hears the sound of motorcycles she huddles down even more. They call for her, by name, like this is a nightmare and all the danger is coming to find just her.

Then a woman's voice says, She's not going to show herself if she even is here. Kaneda, stop yelling, let me try –

Kaneda, the name on Tetsuo's breath whenever he slept –

The woman calls, louder, Kaori? Are you here? We're not looking to hurt you.

We knew Tetsuo.

It would still have been smarter to stay hiding.

But Tetsuo is gone and Kaori doesn't know who she is without him, so how can she not walk towards the only piece of him left?

The woman – Kei – is nice to her and doesn't ask questions. The two boys – Kaneda, who is scruffy and oil-speckled and looks too real and too normal to be a person Tetsuo couldn't stop thinking about – and Kaisuke, who is only a little taller than Kaori herself – don't meet her eyes, talk in as few words as possible to her. She thinks she understands. She wasn't supposed to live when Tetsuo died. He swallowed her up and yet she survived, and maybe they think she tricked him somehow.

Kei and Kaneda have a massive fight one evening when they think Kaori's still out at one of the ramshackle bathhouses. Kei tells Kaneda about what Tetsuo did to girls, that it was rape and murder and it was really bad. Kaneda says stuff because he doesn't know what to say and eventually yells back at Kei Well, how come she's so broken up about him not being here? If she was just his sex slave or whatever?

Kaori pushes herself into the room and stammers out Because he was scared. He was so scared. They stare at her and she is trembling so hard she can hardly speak, but she carries on, He didn't do it to me when he saw I hadn't taken the pill, and he let me stay and look after Akira, and then he was scared. He was as scared as me.

She flees after that, sick with shame, but later – she's in another attic – Kaneda comes to find her.

Sorry, he says, and then, He was scared of stuff when he was with me, too. He smiles at her – it's uncertain and he doesn't look like he's happy about any of this, but he's trying, and so she tries to smile back too.



[Title] First Impressions
[Rating] PG-13
[Fandom] Jet Set Radio
[Pairing] Gum/Mew
[Notes/Summary] Neither of them was particularly happy when they first saw the other.



“I was so freaked out seeing you in front of the window,” Gum said to Mew, leaning forward to shove her on the arm. “I was like, shit, it's another girl and she's super-hot and she's wearing stockings. That's it, this turns back into high school.

Mew rolled her eyes. “You did not.”

“I did! It wasn't your fault, kat, but I'd spent way too long at school with people asking me oh, don't you wear make-up? or ohmigod, like, that dress, it's, like, frayed. I was paranoid. Traumatised.”

Mew stuck out her tongue. “Well, I saw you and I was like, oh no, she looks really awesome and scary, she probably thinks I look really girly, augh, stupid stupid stupid! I'd been, like, fixing to look cool and you were like What? and I just was like, Smile, then maybe she won't kill you. And I knew it was like the most desperate smile ever.”

“Awesome and scary, huh?” Gum leant on Mew's shoulders, kissed her neck. “You're just saying that 'cause you wanna make me happy. And it wasn't desperate. It was super fucking cute.”



[Title] Tactics
[Rating] PG
[Fandom] Akira
[Notes/Summary] Kaneda knows how important it is not to mess up on your first day.



Kaneda'd never tell anyone, but his first day at the Eighth District Vocational Training School he was bricking it. Like, he was pretty sure he could handle himself in a fight, and it wasn't like he was desperate for friends, but everyone here had been kicked out of normal-person school and if he didn't get off on the right foot it'd be hello to three years of him stopping the world kicking the crap out of Tetsuo. Which he kind of did anyway, but it'd be even more like that and he wouldn't always manage it and then they'd both feel shit.

But he pulled it off, like he always did. Don't smile til I do, he said to Tetsuo. And don't do that please-be-my-friend smile. Smile like you're waiting for 'em to impress you.

Tetsuo looked baffled, and on the day he mostly just stuck to nervous blankness, but Kaneda went in with a smile like everything was kind of funny and that seemed to work. Tetsuo never did smile much at school, but at least the face full of hope and desperation didn't come back.



[Title] In Harmony
[Rating] G
[Fandom] Jet Set Radio
[Pairing] Cube/Coin
[Notes/Summary] Their eyes met over a crowded music shop.



Cube didn't even meet Coin on the streets. She was wearing her skates but she was taking a breather – okay, she was trying to get up the guts to skate on the train tracks for the first time – browsing second-hand records in a tiny shop. Dark and dusty and nothing much caught her interest but then this guy a few shelves away said, “Uh, there's some bootleg Rob Zombie here if you want it?” She looked over, expecting a cocky jerk, but it was this guy who was, yeah, not bad-looking and was smiling uncertainly like he thought she might blank him.

“You did look like the kind of chick who'd go for a bit of RZ,” he explained, much later.

“Uh-huh. And then a month later you were all, Hey, that Rob Zombie bootleg, can I borrow it? I had an idea for the sweetest mix... And, oh yeah, I never saw it again.”

He put his arm round her shoulders. “I saw it and I saw you and the two went perfect together. Synchronicity. Later I saw it and I saw some techno-trance and they went perfect together...”

“And I saw me and I saw you and we went perfect together,” Cube said, prodding him. “Should've known you only wanted me for my records.” But actually, that was okay. Coin saw her and liked what he saw, but part of him was always tuned in to soundscapes instead. Cube liked it. He had an eye for what matched up.



[Title] My Other Half
[Rating] G
[Fandom] Malory Towers
[Notes/Summary] Sometimes Ruth feels like she's waiting for someone else.



Even months, years afterwards, when fifth and sixth form are done and she’s well into university, Ruth knows her smile is uncertain. As if she’s still waiting for Connie to step forward and introduce them first. Sometimes she catches herself silent and expecting her other half to answer the tricky question, or challenge a sarcastic remark. When she has to go to speak to the professor with a terrible temper, she pictures Connie beside her, unsquashable and squeezing her hand. In the end, it stops being Connie she is waiting for, and it becomes the braver her instead. The real Connie says, puzzled but ultimately approving, You don’t seem scared of anything any more. Ruth shrugs and decides not to deny it.



[Title] Snapshot
[Rating] G
[Fandom] Battle Royale
[Notes/Summary] Yutaka's got a photo up on his wall.



Yutaka has a photo of them up on his bedroom wall, blu-tacked to a part where the paint had already peeled off. Shuuya’s grinning, striking a pose with his guitar. Yoshitoki’s grinning too, but his smile is like he’s happy to see the person taking the photo. It was Noriko Nakagawa, Yutaka remembers. She was blushing a little even as she told them all to smile.

Hiroki’s blushing too, standing at the back of the group. His is a half-smile, the face of someone who’s not quite sure who talked them into doing this. Mimura has, as usual, managed to give the grin of someone who is simultaneously comfortable with being there and amused by the dorky antics of the idiots who call themselves his friends.

Yutaka himself is at the front – he’s got used by now to diving there as soon as photos are mentioned so that he’ll actually be visible. Spreading his arms like he’s presenting the others. What are we, Mimura had said, Nanahara’s Lonely Hearts Club Band? Yutaka doesn’t like himself in photos much, s’why he usually crosses his eyes or does another ugly face. He bothered to smile in this one. He looks happy enough – okay, he was laughing at what Mimura had said even though he only partly got the joke – but when he looks closely, he can see the uncertainty. It’s always the way with pics like these. Disbelief that he’s with the cool guys. He kind of expects the photographic evidence to vanish any day now. But it stays on the wall regardless.



[Title] Weird and Awkward
[Fandom] Battle Royale (manga); AU
[Rating] PG-13, maybe mild R for sex
[Pairing] Hiroki Sugimura/Kayoko Kotohiki
[Notes/Summary] Kayoko expected her first time to be awkward, even if it was with Hiroki.



It was awkward. Of course it was. Kayoko had pretty much expected it to be, and for ages that had stopped her mentioning it – like what if it’s terrible, what if I do it all wrong, what if he turns into some kind of, of sex maniac – but, like, she really wanted to… well, she didn’t know exactly what she was wanting but she knew it involved taking off her clothes and being in bed with Hiroki.

Anyway, he was just as nervous as her, and that made it better ‘cause when he was nervous, she found herself acting brighter and braver to try’n make him feel better. And it was like he was feeling guilty somehow, like he thought she’d be mad he really wanted to do it with her. When she’s like uh, hello, I still can’t believe you even want to kiss me when I’m such a titchy little weirdo.

So it’s her who says, Do you maybe want to stay over at mine sometime? Maybe? and goes bright red and so does he and then of course they have a lot of back-and-forth about but do you mind, do you want to, only if you want to but then they agree on a day – Kayoko’s pretty sure you’re not meant to schedule your virginity loss but who cares – and on that day he’s in her room as usual but they’re both, like…

Like they’re both so nervous. And in the end she just goes over to him, sits on the floor next to him and he puts his arms round her – but hesitantly, not like he usually does – and she just says to him, Are you as scared as me? ‘Cause I am freaking out.

He laughs a bit and that makes her laugh and they are both super-nervous and they talk about that, and about like what they thought this’d be like, what other people have told them (come on, she says, it can't be that tricky if Mimura's done it all those times and that makes them both laugh way too much ‘cause they’re so jumpy). So they talk and the talk, the talk starts making it feel real. Like it’s really going to happen. Which is scary again but this time kinda… nice. Only. You know. That kind of nice.

So she cuddles up to him a bit more and kisses him and he was obviously feeling like her ‘cause he’s totally okay with making out. And every time it goes onto like another level of making out he’s like, you’re sure? Is this okay? but that’s what makes him Hiroki.

The actual… actual, that’s not so much nice as just super super-awkward. Like, it hurts, which she kind of expected, and it feels weird. She keeps saying ohmigosh, ohmigosh this feels weird and It's like I'm your sock or something and he looks really freaked out and starts apologising and she wasn't angry about it, she was just so weirded out she had to say so. Anyway, she cuddles him and kisses him even though it feels weird and then it's kind of nice, like they're holding each other and he's inside her and his mouth on hers. Like they're all round each other. That's the good part, that time, which makes her say to him afterwards, when they're cuddling, So we're gonna do it again, right?



[Title] Sunrise
[Rating] G
[Fandom] Homestuck/Death Note
[Explanatory Notes] [personal profile] mayfic requested "Death Note characters as Homestuck trolls". Trolls have different 'quadrants' of romantic relationships which include: kismesis = hate!sex, matesprite = romantic love, moirail = non-sexual deep friendship with one partner taking care of the other / preventing them from slipping into murderous rages. Also, trolls have six-letter names. I haven't just forgotten how to spell ;)



Your name is Llight Yagami, and your love life is out of control.

L began trolling JusticePersonified

L: good evening.
JP: Hello, L.
L: have you had a chance to consider my proposition?
JP: I assume you are referring to your offer of kismesissitude.
JP: My answer remains the same.
JP: My feelings for you are entirely platonic.
JP: I am flattered that you consider me as a potential kismesis, but I think you are reading the situation incorrectly. I don't hold that level of hatred for you. Or any hatred at all.
JP: Indeed, I admire you.

L: indeed.
L: how interesting.
L: some might say the attempt on my life during our last FLARPing session would contradict that statement.


You are not the kind of person to attempt to punch someone through your screen, but L is having a negative effect on you.

JP: Once again, I reiterate I had nothing to do with that.
JP: You seem to have some difficulty processing this.

L: I have no difficulty processing your words.
L: I just don't believe them ^_^

L
ceased trolling JusticePersonified


You take a deep breath. You take another deep breath. A few moments later you are well-oxygenated but still furious. You remind yourself that it's early days and that you haven't even begun to draw on your vast experience of Extreme Role Playing. Getting L killed while making it look like the other team was responsible is child’s play to you.

That smile. The two of you have only met face to face a couple of times but each time he has fixed you with his sunken eyes and given you that uncertain smile, as if he has any reason to doubt that he is getting to you, as if he really does just want to be your friend.

He is going to pay.

LlightsMissaa began trolling JusticePersonified

Oh, damn.

LM: *GLOMPS H3R WONDERFUL AND PERFECT LLI<3HT*
LM: I WAS JUST THINKING OF YOU LLI<3HT
LM: I MISS(AA) YOU


You consider pretending you are not here, but realistically you can't avoid her forever. You need her on your side. She may have invited herself into the battle of wits with L at the worst possible moment, but you can turn it to your advantage, like you can turn everything to your advantage.

JP: Hello, Missaa.
LM: IM THINKING OF CHANGING IT TBH :D MAYBE MIMISA? OR MISASA? WHAT DO YOU THINK LLI<3HT?
JP: Whatever you want.
LM: I WANT YOU TO LIKE IT THO :D


Maybe you can engender a FLARP campaign that takes out her and L in one fell swoop.

JP: Your name doesn't matter to me.
JP: It's the person behind it I love.
JP: L is getting suspicious. I may need you to take the lead in getting rid of him.

LM: WHATEVER YOU NEED ME TO DO LOL
LM: DID HE SAY ANYTHING ELSE TO YOU?

JP: He just proposed becoming my kismesis.
LM: BUT
LM: LLI<3HT BELONGS TO ME
LM: HOW DARE HE???

JP: … But you're my matesprite.
JP: You have no blackrom interest in me at all.

LM: THATS NOT THE POINT
LM: LLI<3HT KNOWS I WOULD BE WITH HIM IN ALL FOUR QUADRANTS IF I COULD
LM: THATS IT WE NEED TO GET RID OF L
LM: THIS IS THE LAST STRAW


All right, that's… actually a better response than you could have hoped for.

JP: I need to go. I'll talk to you later about our next steps.
LM: OK <3333333 YOU TALK SOON OK XXXXX


Just a little longer and your social life will be blissfully free of both of them. And then you'll be the one smiling.

***





Your name is Llight Yagami, and you have everything under control. Through the window of your hive, the sky is softer, paler; dawn is on the way. Searing light. You don't normally make such trite comparisons, but you think of everyone's eyes opening and seeing your full glory before they see nothing else forever and it's not surprising you think of the Alternian sun.

JusticePersonified began trolling L

JP: Hello, L.
L: good morning.
JP: I hope I'm not disturbing you? I wasn't sure if we'd get another chance to speak before the big night tomorrow.
L: not at all.
L: I too wanted to talk to you. I think it unlikely we will have a chance afterwards.
L: don't you?

JP: Well, that's a little overdramatic, perhaps. But it was nice of you to take the opportunity.
L: a while back, I approached you concerning possible kismesissitude.
JP: We're not going to have the same conversation again, are we? It seems a bit of a waste of time.
L: not at all.
L: you made your feelings on the matter clear.
L: I wished to apologise.

JP: Don't worry about it. It really wasn't a problem. You offered, I responded.
L: ah.
L: no.
L: I wasn't talking about my earlier offer.
L: I should never have made it.
L: you needed, and have always needed, someone to stop you.
L: Llight?
L: are you there?

JP: I am.
JP: I am... somewhat confused as to what you're implying.

L: you have never had a moirail, have you?
JP: I have, as it happens.
JP: While I don't understand while we are discussing my love life AGAIN, I have acted as moirail to another on more than one occasion.

L: yes.
L: I am sure you have.
L: you give the impression of being someone who can be supportive and prevent unfortunate incidents. my concern is that no one has noticed your own requirements in this matter.
L: has anyone ever condemned any of your actions? does anyone else know you were even behind them? I have already seen the lengths you went to when FLARPing to hide your involvement in attacks.
L: does anyone else know who you really are?

JP: I don't know what you're talking about
JP: and this conversation is becoming increasingly detached from reality
JP: perhaps we should talk about something else
JP: after all, you're one to talk about being anonymous. I don't even know your name, your blood colour, anything
JP: and besides
JP: you play as many games as me, don't you?

L: sorry
L: have I struck a nerve? ^_^


You have no reason to be angry. You have no reason to be angry. Even if he has worked out what you're going to do, he has no way of changing things. Not now.

You are not angry.

JP: Believe what you want to believe, L. I still count you as a friend, and I will be proud to work alongside you tomorrow night.
L: I do not believe that
L: but
L: that's not important now.
L: my concern is
L: you have no moirail
L: and anyone else who could have got you to stop what you've started is now long dead.
L: I am concerned for you.
L: you think you can fly as far and fast as you wish.
L: but the sun will be up, sooner than you think.

JP: Some might say you could use the same warning. You don't exactly hold back, do you?
JP: What a pity we never had this discussion before. Perhaps we could have helped each other.

L: if that's what you want to believe.


Of course, you don't believe it, and you don't think L does, either. No matter. The sun is almost up. Your face has set into a baffled rictus grin from L's bizarre questioning. You force it back into satisfaction. Your plan is fullproof.

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