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[Title] If the Sparks are There
[Fandom] The Hunger Games / Death Note
[Rating] G
[Notes/Summary] Katniss may have found an ally in the arena. Or she may have found another enemy.



The sun has almost set, and the bark of the tree is cool now against Katniss’s back. The darkening sky is trying to fool her into thinking she’s not still being watched. She’s willing to bet the Gamemakers are very interested in what’s happening right now. A potential team-up between the Girl on Fire and the boy called Light? The gossip headlines alone are perfect.

And Light is from District One. A Career. Everyone’s waiting for him to stab the District Twelve mining bumpkin in the back because that’s what Careers do. If they team up, it’s with each other. Certainly, Katniss doesn’t intend to fall asleep in front of him. The only reason he’s not attempted to kill her yet is that she’s obviously armed and he… might not be. We don’t need to fight, he’d said. Let’s wait here. There’s nothing wrong with a breathing space.

They’re waiting for the list of the dead. Katniss is trying not to think about Peeta being on it. Wanting it or not wanting it and what expression she’d need to have on her face if he is. She shoves the thoughts away again. Glances at Light. He’s watching her, too.

“The waiting’s the worst part, isn’t it?” he says. It’s said warmly, with concern in his eyes. Katniss shrugs.

For one thing, there isn’t really a worst part of being here. It’s all equally bad. For another…

Effie and Peeta had both liked Light. “Such a nice boy,” Effie had said, sighing. “So polite and friendly, especially for a Career… a shame, really…” And Peeta had said, later, “He doesn’t seem like one of them at all. He doesn’t like this any more than we do.”

Katniss had rolled her eyes and Effie had accused her of being bad-tempered for the sake of it, but Haymitch had said to her, the last time they’d spoken, to watch out for Light. “He’s too perfect. I don’t believe in perfect people. Just means he’s good at hiding things.”

He certainly seems like he could be hiding something now. He is still. Watchful. Which is entirely reasonable when you’re in the arena, but earlier, in training, or with Caesar, he came across as straightforward. As though his feelings would come through whether he wanted them to or not.

Looks like that’s not the case.

“How come you didn’t team up with the other Careers?” she says. She sounds brusque. He’s the kind of person who makes her feel even more awkward and ill-tempered than usual. Maybe it’s only that which makes her dislike him. They’re too different.

He turns to look at her, knits his fingers together. “Well… Misa didn’t want to. We talked about it before we went into the arena. We didn’t trust them. Whereas we knew we could depend on each other.”

“But you’re not with her now.”

“No. We were… attacked.” His face goes still. “I lost track of her. I was trying to find my way back when the earthquake hit. Is that what happened with Peeta, as well? I thought you would have been with him.”

Katniss fights the urge to glower. It’s a reasonable question.

“I got caught up in some… stuff at the Cornucopia.” No need to give away valuable information.

“Of course. Easy to do. And now you’re looking for him?”

Fishing for information. Well, two can play at that game. “You and Misa,” she says, throwing the words at him. “You’re sweethearts, aren’t you?” She can remember the interview with Caesar. Misa hanging on Light’s arm, going on about how she would die to protect him. Light staring out at the audience, determination written across his face. Misa volunteered as tribute to protect me. I can’t let anything happen to her. The audience murmuring in sympathy.

Maybe that’s where Peeta got the idea for his own big reveal.

“I knew she cared for me,” Light says, now. “I didn’t realise how much. It was the same for you, wasn’t it? You didn’t realise the depths of his feelings until you ended up here.”

Katniss makes herself bite her lip, glance away at the shadows as if it’s all too painful to talk about.

“Funny, isn’t it?” Light says. “That the two of us should meet up like this.”

“And that we’re not killing each other on sight? Yes, it is pretty funny.” She sees wariness flicker in his eyes, and his gaze shifts to her hands, to the bow. Good. She’d like to see him scared. Even perfect people can’t keep up the act forever, surely?

“I meant,” he says, with a hint of impatience, “that it’s funny because we’re alike. Both of us unaware of our counterpart’s feelings. Both of us in here for reasons nothing to do with them. And now, both of us trapped with the one we love… in a game where only one can survive.” A rueful smile. “I guess in some ways we probably understand each other better than anyone else here ever could.”

Katniss can feel the force of the story she’s supposed to be telling shoving her forward, like a river current trying to knock you off your feet. That she should unburden herself, talk about the pain she’s feeling. How it will tear her apart if she has to kill Peeta. Even how much his betrayal has hurt her. Light is watching her, a sympathetic look on his face. She thinks, he wants me to do it, try and play the part – because he wants information, or because it will make him feel like he’s won something, or because he wants to see how true this love affair of hers actually is –

She’s playing enough games right now.

She wonders how many Light is playing. He’s not an idiot. He knows the star-crossed lovers angle will make the audience love him. Most people, when they’re facing something as awful as having to kill the one they love, would stop being perfect. He hasn’t, not yet.

And if something happened to her and Peeta – and especially if it showed their love had been nothing, a trick for the cameras, cold-hearted lies – it would make his own romance a lot more effective.

The same applies to her, of course.

“You’re right,” she says, meeting his gaze. “I think we do understand each other. From what I’ve seen, it certainly looks like we’ve got more in common than we might’ve thought.”

He watches her watching him.

On the air, the strains of music.

“Well,” he says, “let’s see who’s left. Then we can work out what to do next.”



[Title] Benevolence
[Fandom] Blake's 7 / Malory Towers
[Rating] G
[Notes/Summary] Sally's the only one who doesn't like the new girl.



Sally wonders, sometimes, what's wrong with her.

Everyone else seems really to like Servalan. She has the same air as Alicia of being someone utterly confident in herself, someone who has no interest in making you like her. Plus, she's able to give word-perfect answers to the mistresses one moment and plan a trick that awes everyone else with its daring the next. She makes you feel like she has everything under control.

“She's amazing,” Darrell said, and already an imitation of Servalan's mocking half-smile was creeping over her face. “Really, Sally, I don't know why you're being so funny about her. Four midnight feasts this term and we haven't been caught once!”

Sally said, “I don't...” and then she found herself trailing off, because what? Because Servalan was as cool and don't-care-ish as Alicia and that was something to dislike? But she liked to win much more than Alicia did. She was terrifying in lacrosse matches. “And a jolly good thing, too,” Darrell said. “If she hadn't been on the team we'd have been trounced. It's rotten that Jill broke her arm and couldn't play, but Servalan was wasted as a reserve.”

And Servalan and Alicia made the perfect team. Even Darrell said she dreaded to think what they'd do next. Maybe that was it. Maybe Sally could feel herself being painted more as the pious stick-in-the-mud every second she was with them.

“I hope Betty's all right,” she said, instead. “I heard she might not be back for the rest of the term.”

Darrell shrugged. “Jolly idiotic of her to go for a midnight swim at this time of year. She's lucky she wasn't killed.”

Everyone likes Servalan. Even Gwendoline – who by rights should loathe someone who can crush her with a word – fetches and carries for Servalan, chimes in to agree with her, has played the key role in any number of tricks. All right, Mary-Lou is practically silent in front of her, too nervous to speak, but whenever Sally has mentioned anything about Servalan Mary-Lou has killed the sentence stone dead with a fervent, “I wish I could be like her...”

Sally is on her own in the classroom, refilling the vase for a new bunch of flowers, when she realises Servalan is watching her from the doorway. She starts and almost drops the vase.

“Oh, careful.” Servalan smiles. “Wouldn't want to have an accident.”

Sally has never been very good at smiling if she isn't happy. She pretends she is very interested in arranging the flowers just so.

“I really do want us to be friends, Sally,” Servalan says, not moving, just watching.

Ice water down her back. “Who... who says we aren't?”

“I just feel like perhaps you don't like me very much, and I think that's an awful shame.” Servalan comes to lean on the windowsill next to her. “Everyone in this form is so nice, and we really are all each other's friends. It would be horrid if someone got left out all the time.”

Sally can hardly breathe and she thinks she might cry or start screaming or, or... her hands are shaking so much she has to let them drop. The flowers slump a little in the vase. Servalan reaches across, straightens one of them.

“So, you see, I do think we should make sure that doesn't happen,” she says. “Which was why I thought the two of us should be friends, as well. The flowers look lovely, by the way.”



[Title] Subcultures
[Fandom] Lewis
[Rating] PG
[Notes/Summary] Lewis sees Hathaway differently depending on where they are.



It's funny, Lewis muses as they wait for Dr Hobson to finish examining the corpse, but whenever he sees Hathaway against the backdrop of Cowley Road – typically described as the “vibrant” “diverse” area of Oxford, home to a variety of ever-changing pubs, bars and restaurants, and, as now, featuring only the odd stabbing – the man always looks pasted in. Like a badly-faked photo.

Makes no sense, because Hathaway is young and cultural and has done his fair share of going out for a pint and a curry with mates, Lewis is sure, but you look at him in daylight and you just expect to see carved stone and grassy quads and the sound of bells behind him. Here, next to a Lebanese takeaway and a shop selling Indian jewellery, with a row of houses across the other side painted with – well, Lewis'd say graffiti, but it's a whole picture rather than just scribbles and it's got cultural heritage status in Oxford by now so you call it street art, then, don't you –

Here, Hathaway doesn't look like he feels awkward or embarrassed, he looks as unruffled and thoughtful as always, and maybe that's the odd part, maybe Lewis expects him to be different out of the fancy parts of the city. The university academia murder-clues-written-in-Latin parts. This looks like a common-or-garden mugging, or a fight between two lads turned nasty, and the colours and the smell of food and even the drizzle and the rubbish blowing around their feet just backs that up. Not that Lewis doesn't think Hathaway can handle a normal crime like that – really, he probably deserves something simple after all the cases he's had to deal with in the –

“Well, it's a stabbing, all right,” Hobson says, sitting back on her heels and squinting up at them both, “but someone left an animal heart – a sheep, maybe? Something like that – an animal heart stuck full of pins down the corpse's shirt. A little odd, even for the Cowley Road.”

Never mind.

“I was just thinking it was too good to be true.” Lewis shakes his head. Hathaway grins at him: “You should know Oxford better by now, sir –” and suddenly he doesn't look so out of place after all.



[Title] Rest and Recreation
[Fandom] Blake’s 7
[Rating] PG for slight alcohol abuse
[Notes/Summary] Avon reflects on drinking with Vila.



In a bar with Vila. It has not escaped Avon’s notice that he always seems to end up in a bar with Vila.

Well, when he doesn’t end up in a Federation prison, or an off-planet location primed to explode any second, or running for his life across rocks and rubble and windswept grass, that is. But on the occasions when they leave the Liberator and no one tries to kill them, then he always seems to find himself in a bar with Vila. Sometimes Vila knocks back the alcohol as if there’s a planetwide shortage everywhere else. Other times he just gets merry but he buys a bottle or two to take back to the ship. Said bottles are always secreted away by the time Avon next sees him. They’re not gifts to share with his esteemed crewmates, put it that way.

“You drink too much,” he observes.

He has drunk a little. Alcohol, in this setting, primarily makes him voice more of the observations he makes about others. With Vila, that’s not a problem, as Avon rarely keeps back his views about Vila.

Vila snorts: “You haven’t drunk enough. You’ve been nursing that one glass for hours.”

“We’ve only been here forty-five minutes.”

“Not the point. I mean, I know you love money, but this is ridiculous.”

“I prefer having money to having no money plus a splitting headache, that’s true.”

“Huh. Why’d you come, then?”

Again, it’s the alcohol which makes Avon say, “Your company is marginally more tolerable than anyone else’s.” Vila laughs, and actually grins and looks surprised as if it’s an unexpected compliment. Toasts to the empty air. “I don’t think anyone’s ever said that to me before. I’m going up in the world.”

“Congratulations.”

“Seriously.” Vila takes another gulp of – whatever it is he’s drinking, it’s bright green – and carries on, “Don’t think I’ve ever seen you have more than a couple. Never seen you hungover.”

“As I just said, I prefer –”

“Fine, fine. Just wondering why.”

Avon doesn’t particularly want Vila to wonder why. Vila is better when he’s considering how, even if that’s just how not to get killed.

“I might wonder why you seem to take every chance you get to marinate yourself in alcoholic substances,” he says. “However, I have more important things to worry about.”

Vila shrugs. “A glass or two makes everything look better. It’s magic that way. No matter what’s happened to you, it’s… it pushes… you know. It resets. And besides, I reckon with the life we lead, we deserve a few treats.”

Both reasonable points. Avon won’t deny he doesn’t enjoy the way that a glass or two gives him pleasant numbness behind the eyeballs, makes him even less concerned with what other people think of him or how they are feeling. But numbness only lasts so long. Vila’s got it wrong as usual. Alcohol doesn’t reset, alcohol simply pares away everything outside of you. It seems that deep down, Vila is still more or less untouched by any of the unpleasantnesses life has thrown at him. Avon knows that he’s not as lucky. The things that he’d like to forget are part of him, and cutting himself off from reality would only leave him alone with them.



[Title] Doublethink
[Fandom] Death Note / The Demon Headmaster
[Rating] G
[Notes/Summary] Dinah feels like she's leading a double life, even if all she is doing is talking to Light.



Dinah feels as though she is leading several lives at once.

It starts from breakfast time, with her and Lloyd and Harvey trying not to meet each other’s eyes whenever Mrs Hunter says something about how school is going. As they walk to school Lloyd is hissing instructions in their ears, or snapping at Harvey to stop worrying, that they’re SPLAT and they can cope with anything. And then, as they turn the corner, shoving Dinah in the back: go on, you shouldn’t be seen with us. Harvey saying bye like he’s actually sorry to see her go. Maybe trying to make a joke: Don’t forget, the Headmaster is a marvellous man…

Standing in the playground, she tries not to think like this. Tries to look like one of the others, happy reading off the words that scroll from her mind without her knowing what they’re going to be. But the endless feeling of hiding something doesn’t go away. Maybe it’s that she can’t stop thinking of how her brain has never not been under her own control. How up until now her mind, and being able to hide in it, to bury herself in a book or a puzzle, has been the one thing that stayed the same.

Don’t you hate it? she asked Light once, feeling like she was breaking a hundred rules by doing so (admitting that things aren’t normal, admitting to all the feelings she generally tries not to look at, talking to a prefect as if he’s her friend, talking to Light of all people whom everything else in SPLAT loathes…)

Now she comes to the real reason she feels like her life has split into too many reflections to keep track of.

When there isn’t a SPLAT meeting, she can either stay in her room and read – Lloyd still isn’t sure he wants her around and Harvey is nervous because of it – or she can go to the library. After all, it isn’t as if making friends at school is easy. She can go to the library and that’s what she does because that’s what she always does, and it’s a coincidence that on one occasion she sees Light amongst the shelves.

And it isn’t as if they agreed to keep meeting. Sometimes she’s at the library and on her own and that’s fine (and if she is looking up every time she sees a glint of red-brown hair then no one else has to know that). But other times, he comes to sit next to her and they talk in whispers about what they’re reading.

He’s a liar, Ingrid said, crossing her eyes. He’s a big, fat liar. At least the others admit they’re horrible.

Don’t you hate it? Dinah said to him, genuinely curious – he is like her, he is someone who has always had their mind and a book to fall back on – and wondering, as well, whether his answer would be a lie, and how she’d be able to tell if so.

I try not to let it bother me, he said. After all, it’s only facts. Mostly it’s facts I already know. Why shouldn’t I mind reciting them if that’s what they want?

Dinah kept her face blank and watched him and waited for him to carry on.

Besides, he said, school is weird, but… it’s all right for people like us, isn’t it? We know how to follow the rules and we don’t need school to teach us things. In some places, we’d be getting picked on for being… well, different. Too clever.

Dinah doesn’t tell him that most people don’t know how clever she is, that she knows exactly how to keep herself off the radar in that sense. She thinks, suddenly, that Light wants people to know he is clever. Light doesn’t like being average.

Maybe it’s better this way, Light said. It’s not like anyone’s getting hurt.

But, Dinah said, and every nerve in her was screaming at her not to say this, but everyone follows the rules. What happens when someone doesn’t?

People learn to. After all, the rules benefit all of us, don’t they? A warm smile. I mean… even your brothers could probably learn to do it, if they worked at it.

Dinah keeps the blank look on. Let him think that’s how she agrees with people.

The thing is, Harvey was saying, there are people like us who the Headmaster’s… who it just doesn’t work on. And there are people like you who it does work on but you don’t like it. And there are people like most of the other kids, like Lucy and that, who are perfectly nice but they don’t notice anything’s wrong, they’re happy just following along. And then there are people like the prefects, like Rose and Jeff and Light, and… they’re not just following along. They like being able to make everyone else do what they want and pushing people around.

Dinah walks home from the library on her own, arms wrapped round more books, breathing in the paper smell. The books are always things she wants to read, things she could talk about if anyone asks. Light said, once, before they left, You won’t tell your brothers we met up, right? She shook her head, and he said, They’d only give you a hard time, and my friends would ask me a bunch of questions.

I get it, she said. Stared into his golden-brown eyes. It’s not like us being here has anything to do with school.

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