impertinences: (at your expense)
2017-07-20 08:27 pm

(no subject)

Hello, journal! It's been so loooooonngg. I blame my descent into the world of fanfiction.

It feels good to return to my babies though. 3500 words - woohoo!

The novel I'm reading right now uses multiple spaces to separate sections of a chapter, but the author also capitalizes the first few words of each section. I stole that stylistic choice. I always worry about how many spaces I use for separation and whether or not aesthetically it works, so the added formatting helps me visually. /random

Title/text at the beginning comes from a Halsey song, of all things.

you're a masterpiece )
impertinences: (we'll see how brave you are)
2016-11-10 12:07 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

“Mein Kommandant,” she murmurs, her mouth like blood, rich in crimson, pressed to his cold ear. “Aufwachen.”

He reaches, his hand settling against the side of her face. He smears his thumb, hard, across her lips.



She had a smallness about her that belied her true strength. Adira had large hands with dull nails, but she was delicate everywhere else. Her weak chin, her thin lips, her half-sunken eyes and the sharpness of her bones. He could count her ribs when she stretched her arms above her head.

He liked to drag his teeth over the ridges and dips of skeleton beneath her skin. Her sliver of hip. The round rock of bone where her hand met her wrist. The threat of her severe elbow. The protruding twin icicles that were her collarbones.

He is a statue in comparison, a solid, perfect specimen of the male form, all his bones and muscles carved into an ideal shape. She could straddle his prone body and feel weightless above him or hide beneath, sheltered by his formidable width, a brittle carcass tucked close to his heart. She would place her palm against his side and stomach and follow the cut of his body with her long fingers. There is a deep line on either side of his abdomen, charting his hips, that she liked to trace.



Roman remembers her in snow. The crunch of her heavy boots on ice, how pale she was, in a world blanketed in white. The black of her leather riding crop in her hand. The collar of her uniform turned up against her neck and cheeks.

He remembers her in cut-off dresses, thin fabric slashed off at the thigh, the brightness from a pearl dangling from her left ear. He remembers when she used to speak French, her most fluent language, and the syrupy quality of her voice. She used to smell first of man’s cologne and then of cigarette ash; there was no bottom note, no lasting scent (he knows it is the same with him). This was an era of decadence, before the wars, with jarring, feverish music and never ending liquor.

The blood boiled then.



She sinks her teeth into his wrist and feels the groan leave his mouth.

The blood is thick, primordial, sticky with strength. It splashes hot against her tongue. Roman takes her own arm to his mouth and completes the circle.
impertinences: (a crimson future)
2016-11-10 10:12 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

The man in the King’s bed is beautiful.

You would not expect less.

His eyelashes are thick and long; they brush the tops of his cheeks when he blinks, slow and leisurely, a half-awake feline still basking in the sun’s warmth. There is something overtly feminine about him despite his muscled chest and well developed arms. It is, you think, the leanness of his torso, the small expanse of his hips, the fine fingers that could play the keys of a piano or trip up the knots of a spine. There is something familiar in him too. The hands that are almost too big, the moss-colored eyes, the square cut of his jaw when he turns his head to see past you towards the door.

Despite the thick fur rugs, the burning fire, the heavy wrap around your nakedness, the scalding pulse of your heart, you are still cold. You feel the ice in your feet and how it crawls up your legs, tightening the muscles, to settle as dread in your stomach. You pull the wrap closer around you before turning your head.

“Your Majesty,” the beautiful man says.

“My Lord,” you echo with your cherub voice, dipping into a curtsy that is small and informal.

Renan passes his fingers over your shoulders. He sweeps your wrap away in one gesture and appreciates the way your skin prickles as a result. As if to appease the anxiety that brims in your eyes, he stands behind you, a solid weight and warmth that you curl into. His arms are heavy when they wrap around your stomach. You used to do the same to Gerhard, although he never had his brother’s width and broadness. Still, you had always felt safer there, more sure-footed, than you do with the King.

He strokes your arms slowly, blunt nails scratching. You breathe out broken air against his chest.

“Who does he remind you of?” The king asks, wine on his words.

You turn your face back to the bed and the man it holds.

“No one,” you lie.

Renan makes a noise from his throat, an amused chuckle that you can feel in his chest; he senses your dishonesty.

“I want to watch,” he says into the shell of your ear, pressing his lips just below, to the curve of your jaw.

You don’t ask why.




He’s a courtier, and you have seen him often around the palace, but you cannot remember his name. He kisses you slowly – slower than you would have imagined possible – and the strange newness of his mouth makes heat and shame flutter in your stomach. He does not look so much like Gerhard now that you are closer, now that you can see the bridge of his nose, the crooked arch in his ears, the dull shade of his hair. But you can pretend when your eyes are closed, so you keep them shut.

The King doesn’t mind. It’s not you he wants looking at him.




Gerhard used to spend afternoons with his head in your lap. You read poetry to him, slowly and haltingly, laughing at the way rhythms and words tangled uselessly in your mouth. He was patient; he was endeared. He would say a line and have you repeat it, kissing your hip or stomach every time you were successful.

He used to make your hands shake when he would trail his mouth lower, unabashed at the intimacy, the exposure. He was gentle and, as in all things, a scholar – eager to learn, to lay claim to the new unexplored map of your body, to become a virtuoso of the instrument that was you. You would tangle your fingers into his hair and pull and knot until his laughter washed over your thighs, and then he would sooth. He liked to take you from above, keeping your bodies locked tight, his forehead pressed to yours, his hands traveling from your hair to your hips, ever bracing.

You would leave him, always, with a bruised, overly-kissed mouth.

You would leave him.




You had always fit better with him. Even after months together, your body refuses to meet Renan’s perfectly. You turn when he would have you arch; your hips are too small for his large hands and it sometimes feels as though he would like to crush you between them; you bite when he would prefer to kiss.

You are startled by your own basic muscle memory and weakened by the nostalgia it brings when Gerhard catches you (you catch him) in a dark hall befitting dark intentions. He has not been drinking, but you cannot remember how many glasses of wine you had with dinner, if you ate or merely picked at the baked partridge. You have felt like air for so long, requiring little sustenance, and your bones are starting to show your secrets. Gerhard notices – your thin wrists, the sharp contour of your collarbone, the tightened bindings of your corset.

“You’re wasting away,” he murmurs into your hair, soft and sad. You feel the trembling of his mouth and the mixture of emotions pouring from him. He is hurt and he is angry and he, like you, is confused. But the weight of his hand on the small of your back and the closeness of his body tells you all you need to know: he misses you. You cling to this as you would to a rock in storming waters.

“Soon, I’ll be nothing but bones for him to batter away at.” You mean it as a joke, but the humor fails and the bitterness is not nearly strong enough.

Gerhard’s hand on your back stills. He holds his breath.

“Is that what you want?”

You don’t understand the question until you realize he is holding you, hard, at the waist. You tilt your face up to his. You want many things, your eyes seem to say, and what Gerhard sees there is enough to convince him to act. He kisses you, his teeth catching your bottom lip, almost clumsy in his aggression. His fingers dig, his long gait pushing you, forcing you against the cold wall where the merciless stone scratches your back through the fabric of your gown. Still, you tangle into him easily, leaning up to meet his mouth, your legs wrapping around his waist when he lifts you.

His strength surprises you. It always has.

One of your shoes slips from your foot and clatters, impossibly loud, to the floor.

You turn your face to the wall when he enters you, rough and quick, your cheek hot against the cold surface. You hold on to his shoulders, brace yourself against the stone, pressed against a hard place and what you can only surmise is a punishment wrapped in a plea.
impertinences: (from in the shadows)
2016-11-05 08:10 pm

(no subject)

At my Muffin's request, some Roman and Harrow and Lene!


~~~~


There’s a dinner of roasted lamb and salted oysters, glasses full of wine and whiskey, the scent of cigarettes and cigars muddling the smell of fresh meat in a layer of ash. Roman does not eat; he helps the women to the seats instead, picturing the long columns of their throats and how vivid their blood must be. There’s so many heartbeats, all of them thundering in his ears. Arletta’s is weak, sporadic. It lessens the more she drinks. He pours her three glasses of chardonnay, one after the other, and watches her pick at the assortment of desert fruit on her place, how she sucks the pieces into her mouth, her sly eyes never straying from Harrow’s thin lips.

The room is hot from the amount of bodies present – the couples, the affluent men of power, the bodyguards and companions – but Roman alone is cool to the touch. Women find reasons to press their fingers to his wrists and do not wonder why.

Harrow grins at him from across the table, a wolf in gentleman’s clothing.

They have this in common.

They have many things in commons.




Afterwards, Arletta whispers something into the shell of Harrow’s ear, her hand slipping invitingly across his arm when she steps away. A linger and a promise. Lene follows her, the black lace and sequins of her dress catching the candlelight, her face stoic in its impassiveness.

“She’s very pretty.”

“Who’s that now?” Roman does not lift his eyes. He has moved on to business now that the hour is late and the swarm of guests has departed. He feels the hair on the back of his neck stand. There’s tension in the room, a palpable warning, and none of it stems from the pile of documents spread before him on the table.

“Who’s that?” Harrow mocks with a laugh, the sound wet in his mouth, as warm as blood. (For a moment, Roman feels hungry. His teeth ache.) “Arletta’s little mouse of a guard. Though I know as well as any how deceiving looks can be with these beasts.”

He knows better than to say he hasn’t noticed. Instead, he tells Harrow that they’re all pretty – it’s a shame, a waste of good looks on a lowly set of DNA. With a sigh, he crumples one of the papers in his large hand, the Minister’s official seal a hard clump of wax in his palm. “Your sister is a pain in the ass. She’s ordering new pamphlets on the spread of disease - ”

“Why are you changing the subject?”

“What subject is that?”

“Ita sees everything, you know. She’s rather astute. She reminds me of that which I have forgotten.”

Roman looks. He’s forgotten the swan. She’s as still as a statue, perfectly poised, kneeling beside Harrow’s seat. He wonders how many even noticed her throughout dinner, if Arletta had stepped over her as others step through ghosts. He settles back into his own chair, grinning. “Are you spying on me now, brother? At least give me another drink before you interrogate me.”

Harrow laughs again – the same sound as before, the simulacrum of a laugh. He passes the bottle of whiskey though, feigning good nature, and Roman refills his glass himself.

“No, no. It’s alright. I have thought all this time that you have been so much the soldier. The red right hand. But here you are … hot blooded after all, I’m relieved. I don’t know how I never saw it before. How long has she been visiting you? Does Arletta know? We pulled the security cameras. She was seen outside of your room four times before you left to check the Eastern perimeters. Four times.”

Roman drinks. He is slow in his movements. “Du bist verruckt, bruder.”

Harrow grins. He leans forward, an elbow on his knee, his left hand forming a threatening point. “Now see, that’s very good. That language of yours. You only speak it when you’re drunk, but by my count that is your first drink of the evening. I, too, am astute. What’s her name?”

“You know her name.”

“She must be very talented or you must be very much enthralled to have kept her a secret so long. Arletta will be disappointed, however, to know that her own bodyguard has been fraternizing under her nose. She doesn’t like surprises, that woman. I would hate for her –”

“What would you hate, Harrow? This is getting boring, and I have work to get done. So say it. What do you want?” He is too sudden, too quick with his tone. There is a flare of annoyance in his voice that Harrow notices, and it is as if Roman has suddenly shown all of his cards.

“I am only hurt that you have not bothered to share, considering how gracious I have been with my own gifts.” He places his hand on Ita’s head, his fingers stroking her pale hair. “It is a curtsey that I even ask, you understand.”

Roman’s smile splits his mouth the way a fist might. He is all teeth. “You call this asking? If you want to fuck the bitch, fuck her. But if she calls out my name instead of yours, tell yourself it’s only from habit.”

For a moment, Harrow wraps his hand into a fist, Ita’s hair caught between his fingers. “Ah, defensive I see. Would you like to watch?”

It is his turn to laugh, and Roman’s is not like Harrow’s – full of bitterness and threats – but strong, barking. “I’ve seen enough of you as it is. My imagination will be adequate, I assure you.”

They do not shake hands, but they might as well.




Lene is out of her dress when he finds her in his room. He sees it, still catching the dim light, laying over his lone chair. She has swapped the lace for one of his white dress shirts, the sleeves rolled up on her slender arms, but the buttons undone so that he can see all the expanse of her flesh. She is a canvas like this – entirely fresh – waiting for his markings to color her.

“I only have a few minutes, but that dress was torture. I thought you would be hungry after all that meat and those women. Do you even notice how they look at you anymore?” She’s smiling, her voice easy, her movements languid when she slides from the center of his bed to sit on the edge.

“I’m not looking at them, liebling.”

“Liar.”

He smiles, but the swiftness of his movements do not match the softness of his sentiments. He crosses the room in three strides, a strong pillar wrapped in a suit, and leans his face into the tender crook of her neck when she wraps her arms around him. He thinks he hears her laugh when he kisses her skin, her shoulder, the inside of her elbow. He bites at her collarbone, her fingers tangling into his coarse hair, murmurs a spread of German over the top of her breasts.

She tugs on a fistful of his hair. “Casanova, we’re running out of time.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“I would ask if you died, but …”

Roman chuckles, a cinnamon sound warm enough to blanket his nerves, and slinks to his knees. He’s still tall. He has to dip his head to press his mouth to her stomach. She smells like grass and mountains, heat from the surrounding desert, and blackberries. When he kisses her hip and licks the salt from the skin, she tugs on his hair again, pulling his head back taut so that she can finally see his eyes. “What’s going on? You’re acting … this is different. Did something happen?”

“Keep pulling and I’ll want to use these fangs.”

“Roman.”

He does not sigh. He has never quite mastered that sound – the frustration or distress it requires to be believable. He settles back on his ankles, half disappointed by the easy way Lene releases her grip. She has a beautiful face he realizes, not for the first time. Her mouth is full and plush. He wants to tell her that he reminds her of a doll when she’s like this and that all things deserve to be cherished, even the ones who are strong enough not to need it. He wants to tell her that if he were a different man, he would be more frightened, more possessive, more capable. He wants to tell her that she is a weakness for him.

Instead, he says nothing.

He blames the whiskey for his softness, watching as she removes his shirt and slips back into her dress. He lets her go.

Much like Harrow, his words are only good for biting.
impertinences: (so I ran faster)
2016-10-11 07:27 pm

(no subject)

A bunch of random snippets. I meant to write more, write better, or at least write more significant things. Then I realized that they're just snippets, and I'm just wrapping my head around Austin and Sabra and pack dynamics. I didn't even proof read this. Oh weeeellll.


---



“She has every right,” Austin says, pulling her shirt up and over her angular body. She is lean muscle, her skin rippling over her ribs, her cells already sensing the change that is about to happen.

Chason scowls. It’s an angry expression on his otherwise beautiful face. “I don’t like it. We don’t have to fight each other.”

“We aren’t,” she laughs. “Not really. This is the most natural thing of all.” Her hands drop to her canvas pants and she undoes the old buttons, pushing the fabric down and away.

There are old scars on her legs, peppered with freckles and sun marks. They remain after she shifts, slashes crisscrossing through her abyss spots. She has sharp teeth, long and white, but Chason has never felt them himself. He has heard the clamp of her jaw on another’s tender neck, felt the hot spray of arterial blood against his muzzle, and cannot imagine the weight of her teeth on his own skin.

Tilly has. She’s thought of all the different ways this could play out, and no matter the outcome she finds the struggle essential. She’s already shifted. She’s down the dune, waiting with the rest of the pack, their role simply to observe and judge.

Chason is the last to change, the animal inside of him uncharacteristically cautious. He follows Austin’s loping shadow, eyes bright, teeth bared.



There are rules. Austin has not raised her pack to be uncivilized.

This is not about death, but in many ways it is about life.



She catches Tilly by the hind leg, her teeth slicing, gouging flesh and fur. The blood tastes bitter to her. Too familiar. Too like her own. She craves cold water, but now she’s caught the scent of vitality and copper. As tart as a lime. She shakes her bearish head and hears Tilly’s whimper.

(Austin lets go. Ever the matriarch.)

Tilly turns with such sudden viciousness that Austin slips in her surprise, claws and padded feet grasping futilely at the sand, body rolling in a final effort to avoid her snapping jaws.

Austin kicks. Tilly lunges. They reel.



“I just got lucky,” Austin says later, her fingers twisting, working to finish the last of her braid.

“You don’t have to say that,” Tilly murmurs, but she thinks otherwise. She thinks Austin wasn’t lucky at all, just more used to an audience.

“How’s your leg?”

“Hurts.”

“Tell that to my arm.”



Garret has a grin as wide and sloppy as his manners. He licks his fingers around the fire, too close to Chason’s left side. He watches Austin with a hunger that is palpable, burning ten degrees hotter than the flames centered between them.

He leans towards Chason, rubbing his hands over his jeans. “Don’t you wish her tits were bigger?”

Chason sneers. “She probably says the same about your dick.”

Garret laughs, a sound that is all bite.



Garret was their third. He was obnoxious when they found him, mostly drunk, ripping apart a drifter bar with half an arm dangling from his teeth. He’s still obnoxious; Chason can’t figure out what Austin sees in him. He thinks it’s because she wants the numbers – it’s safer to be in a group – because two people alone cannot be a pack. Or maybe she just likes their kind. He doesn’t know. She doesn’t tell him everything.

She can sense his distrust though. His disapproval like a bitter scent in the wind.

She winds her fingers into his air and nips at his ear. Chason smiles begrudgingly, feeling the weight of her hand against his arm when she stands to leave, trailing her palm across his shoulder.




Sabra hitches when she breathes. Her chest like a rattle, all the air strangling in her throat. She should be used to it by now, but the pressure threatens to knock her over every time. She has to rest, bent over, hands on her shaking knees.

She is sixteen years old and alone in the desert.

The sun scorches. The sand stings. She thinks it is a friendless land.

She is wrong.



Austin bites her wrist. Austin pulls her hair. Austin digs her fingers into her ribs till it is more painful than ticklish. She laughs and laughs and laughs, the sound like sharp glass.

Sabra doesn’t laugh. She whines and struggles to breath and pushes up. Her nails are blunt and do not scratch.

Austin rolls her eyes, relenting. “C’mon. Where’s your spirit? I’m only playing.”

Sabra can’t answer. Her words choke in her throat like her breath, and Austin is too impatient to wait.



She has steady, sure fingers. She breaks apart metal, electronics, rusted bits, frayed wires, and puts them back – makes them better. She shows Austin the repaired radio and feels pride warm her chest like a sunburst when her older sister nudges her arm and thanks her.

Sometimes, if she feels like she’s been helpful enough and deserves it, she curls into Austin’s bed and listens to the easy rise and fall of her chest as she sleeps. She breathes in her scent of pepper and lemon, the softer undercurrent of fresh cream. She smells like their mother, although she’s sharper, harder to curl against.

Austin never says anything in the mornings. If she’s lucky, Austin will pull their blankets up and over their heads and speak in her sulfur early morning whisper. Sabra will laugh then, the noise easier and more natural in the wake of Austin’s kindness.
impertinences: (Default)
2016-10-09 09:15 pm

(no subject)

I exist in two places,
here and where you are.
- Margaret Atwood




His hair is long when he finally accepts Austin, when he is ready to defer.

(It will be cut when he is forced into the compound. This will be their first act, the men with their needles and white jackets. They will shear him, clumsy cuts with dull scissors that leave the sides short and the top long, uneven, falling forward into his eyes. He will already be transformed by the time Ita sees him. He will be more beast than man, more feral dog than human heart.)

Austin drags her fingers through it, dark oil slipping against her callouses, softer than her own coarse curls and tangles. He is barely more than a boy; she is still half a girl. She nips at his strong jaw, pushing her nose into the curve of his ear. He holds her hip, laughing into her neck.

They have spent years together, picking their way through the wasteland of barren, drifter cities, creating a home in the heat of the desert. They are well suited for it – creatures of craft and shadow. They find a balance. She is stronger than he is, quicker, more persistent and capable. He is too prone to anger, too haunted by their shared pasts and its aching horrors. He does not speak of his parents or his brother, and she knows he has replaced all of them in his eyes, that she has been transformed into a new being entirely. She is herself, and then she is Austin.

(She does not mind, does not see the burden. He would die for her, she knows and it is enough. Sometimes, she wonders how much of it is genuine and how much is biology.)

She makes a choice. She will lead. He will follow, an eternal phantom limb, her second right hand. Austin seals the pact in the only way she knows how, in the only way that is provided to them: in flesh and blood. A promise born in salt and sweat and her body braced above his.

They will find the others together. One by one, they will join, until a family of six is forged.

A pack.





“What was she like?” Ita asks, highlighted in the warmth of the fire’s glow. There is sand in her eyelashes, under her nails, scratching her smooth skin red.

“Is. What is she like.”

“How can you know? That she is still alive?”

“Because I do.”

“Because you are bonded.”

Chason laughs, harsh like the wind through the sand. “No. We do not bond like that.”

“But–”

“You think we’re all sentimental birds?”

She flinches around the eyes at the insult, catching her lip between her teeth. Her mouth is dry with tension. “I think she was your-”

“She’s Austin. Don’t overcomplicate everything with your expectations.”

They are not bonded, he says. He insists. Like a liturgy.

He presses Ita to him on their third night, and she feels her heartstrings tighten and knot around their bodies. Something in Chason responds, the deep well inside of him lessening, ebbing, until he has made room for her inside of his chest, protected by the sharp cradle of his ribs.

It is familiar to him, and yet completely foreign.





They change together. His muscles harden, his skin darkens, his laughter deepens. She becomes taller, sinewy, more dangerous. There’s a sharpness to her jaw and a cunning to her green eyes that beguiles. They spend those first years growing strong until they have wrapped around one another, two solid oaks whose branches have intertwined.

Austin learns that his laughter stems more from nerves than confidence. That a heat storm causes the hair on the back of his neck to stand up straight. That he sleeps with an arm thrown over his face, careless as a housecat, although every muscle in his body is poised for a fight. Chason learns that she loves to run, in any form, her long legs pumping her narrow body forward and faster, her hair catching in the wind, her laughter like lightning. That she is not ashamed to cry, tears thick on her eyelashes, mouth twisted into a scar of grief. That she sings to herself, soft wordless melodies, fragments of a childhood far warmer than the world they found themselves facing now.

Their roots go deep.

Like all close pairs, they keep to themselves. They move every few nights, never staying more than two weeks in the same spot, circling back around to familiar, isolated haunts like ghosts. They become acquainted with the desert, learning its foul plays and temperamental nature. Austin knows the skies, the hazardous sun, the trickster moon. Chason knows the shifting dunes and the paths their feet have crossed, his mind an ever-growing map, forever adding details and never missing the mark.

If they sleep in each other’s arms, it is because of the cold.

If he cradles her sharp face in his strong hands and tries to claim her mouth until she accepts, it is because of loneliness.

Like so few remaining things, she has become a comfort to him.

She thinks it her responsibility.





“She had a sister. Has. We found her, somehow. It seemed like a freak accident. There she was, skin and bones. A cough that sounded like a death rattle. Just working in one of those end-of-the-world bazaars out by the Eastern slope, where the desert is the worst. You know they say there’s an oasis out there? But we never found it. Never went further than that bazaar. It was like Austin saw her sister there, and that was enough for her. She was ready to rest for a while. And why not? We knew the desert, or thought we did, we’d been living like that for years.”

Ita is sunburnt, her lips cracked, her fingers bleeding. But she doesn’t mind; Chason has been talking for twenty minutes, his voice low and full of growls, and he has been patiently untangling the knots in her silver hair. He pulls and slips the strands over his fingers. He has been in a better mood ever since he caught the pack’s scent four nights ago, and it shows.

“What is her name?”

“Sabra.” He twists the last section of her hair before letting it coil down her shoulder in a thick plait. “There. That should last for a day at least.”

Ita does not ask how he learned to braid or whose hair he learned with. She doesn’t need to. Instead, she feels a storm of emotion twist, low in her belly, so she turns her head suddenly and peppers small, sweet kisses across his jaw and neck. He laughs, smoothing his hands across her shoulders. Dips his fingers with more insistence and unwinds the many layers of scarves she wears for protection.

“Were you always this eager?” Ita asks.

Chason rasps a snickering sound against her wrist. “You mean, with others?”

She smiles, not half as bashful as he expects her to be.

“My circumstances have always required urgency, Swan Lake. I didn’t have the luxury of protective walls.”

“… Neither did I.”

She says it so softly that he barely hears her, his mouth already wet on her collarbone. He ignores it for now, preferring to keep her a treasure, untarnished and golden in a rotten world.





Austin stands with her hands on her hips. The darkness creeps across her face with the last remnants of the setting sun. She tucks the long, rope-like twists of her hair behind hears and sighs. Chason touches her elbow. He feels the sweat on her skin, can sense her nerves.

“They’re close,” she says. “The men with their big guns and bigger traps.”

The pack cackles behind them, warning howls on the horizon.

“We should leave then.”

“Nowhere else to go. We don’t have the supplies to head back. Wherever we go now, we’re all caught up in their nets.”

“We’ve been in tough spots before.”

There’s a sad little smile on her mouth when she turns to face him. A kind of knowing. She pushes her hand back through his hair, leaning her weight into him, feeling him brace against the sand to steady them both. “I think I made the wrong decision. We shouldn’t have come back. We should have taken Sabra and continued East. Should have found the oasis, the others, those rebel camps.”

Chason shrugs. It says a thousand things and nothing all at once. He dips his head and presses his hard mouth to her temple. It’s meant to comfort, but he can tell it doesn’t.

“Where you go, I go,” he says. He wants to make her smile.

He doesn’t realize how true his statement is until it’s too late.
impertinences: (Default)
2016-10-03 04:34 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Originally, this was going to be a 3-part piece where I contrasted different characters' relationships in the Wasteland universe. I only wrote the first part though, and I can't seem to gather enough steam to do the other two parts. I'm hoping to come back to them eventually.

But here we go!


--



What’s left, if you take away love?
Just brutality. Just shame. Just ferocity. Just pain.
- Margaret Atwood




“Please,” he says, the word a hot iron coal in his thick mouth, searing his skin as he spits it out.

Augusta hates his mouth – the full lips that remind her of her father’s pit bull terriers, her father’s feared hounds, and the association it causes between beasts and dumb brutes – as much as she loves its talents. She stares at him in the darkness of her compound suite, at his mouth which has shaped such an ugly plea, and cannot pull compassion from her heart.

“What did you say?”

“Augusta, please. We should leave, tonight, now.”

She scoffs, turning her narrow body towards him, this giant, hulking, monster of a man. One of her thin eyebrows arches; her hand is on her hip, the withering moonlight from the open window catching all of her sharpness. For a moment, in the second before she acts, she thinks of her brother. Harrow who bought a serpent from across the western seas. Harrow who created a striker when he was hardly even a man. But Augusta has no need of whips or poison-fanged shifters. She strikes with her own hand, a rapid white blade that launches from her hip and lands across Radomir’s solid jaw.

She has to roll up onto her toes to bridge the distance between their heights, to sink her nails into his skin. The scratch of his stubble its own kind of brand. The stoic press of his shoulders tightening beneath his shirt, the way his eyebrows draw together in shame, its own kind of devotion.

“Since when do you decide what’s best for us?” she asks.

All his great strength has shriveled. Radomir is still standing, the slap of her palm inconsequential for its meager pain, but the denouncement alone is a burden heavy enough to make him wilt. She can see it in all of his small gestures, his body’s miniscule responses that betray him, his coiled rage and grief that is always just below the surface, shimmering up into his dark eyes during his best and weakest moments. Another man might as well be crying.

“… I thought you-”

“What? I can’t hear you.”

He clears his throat and ducks his eyes. Augusta can feel the weight of his gaze settle on her ankles. “I thought you valued my opinion, Minister.”

She steps away and curls into the solid weight of a high-backed chair. She is still dressed for dinner. Her brother is a knife wrapped in a suit; she is often the same, hiding her feminism in more masculine fashions. The fabric of her dark cigarette pants heightens the razor cut of her body. Her plum silk blouse sleeveless and leaving her finely muscled arms naked. There is nothing descriptive about her – no silver trinkets dangling from her wrists or diamonds claiming her fingers. Her hair is brushed free and dark, left to spread down her shoulders like molasses, to slip and stick to her collarbones. Even her mouth is bare, lips a girl’s shade of pink, but the curl of her smile is more beguiling and capable of cruelty. Radomir knows what she looks like, has memorized all the details, but he keeps his eyes on her feet where he is least likely to offend her with the heat of his gaze.

She stretches out one leg. The patent leather of her flat ending in a sharp point aimed directly at him. “Maybe I do … on good days, when you remember your place.”

Radomir does not drop. He is too graceful, too familiar with his large gait. He slinks to his knees instead, like a dog with its tail between its legs, and catches her foot between his powerful hands. She pushes her shoe into his chest before he slips the flat off and digs his fingers into her high arch. He does the same with the left, turning his head into the bridge of her foot, ghosting his mouth across the skin.

Augusta sighs, the softest sound she is capable of. The sound of a butterfly taking flight. “Why should we leave? I thought you weren’t afraid of anything.”

He kneels in front of her, her feet warm in his lap, and continues to drag his fingers from her ankles to the bottom of her calves where the muscles are tight. He has almost forgotten the slap from earlier. “I don’t trust it here. Something is different. Harrow is … unwound. Irrational. His eyes are bloodshot all the time now. His anger palpable.”

It’s true. Harrow had, until now, always possessed an egotism and narcissism thick enough to deflect any of her best barbs, as he had always sidestepped and circumvented her attempts to usurp his place within the family hierarchy. But the curl of his hand against his whiskey glass over dinner, the glare of his unfocused eyes, his half-hearted wit and hurricane-level anger were all the defense mechanisms of a dying wolf. He had lost more than his swan when she’d fled across the dessert, and not even her triumphant return had restored what her disgrace had taken from him.

Augusta shrugs, shoulders thin, bones cleaving against her skin. “Perhaps he senses the fall of an empire. The rise of a new era.”

“Wounded animals become the most vicious.”

Slowly, she pulls her legs from his grasp, bringing them to her chest, until her body curls into a fist. He is still on his knees, and she sits high above him. “Well, if something happens to me, I’ll know who to blame, won’t I?”

Radomir nods. He stands when she does. He helps her undress, his fingers soft against her skin, careful with her clothing, and they don’t speak anymore. He waits until she falls asleep, her long back turned away from him in the darkness, and then he shifts.

His eyes golden and fierce beside the bed.
impertinences: (Default)
2016-09-23 08:29 pm

(no subject)

My Muffinpants posted a piece, so naturally I became inspired, and this happened.

Oldies but goodies! A few snippets because I’m too lazy to write anything legitimate at the moment.

~



Chason has the hands of a miner. They are rough with thick callouses blanketing his palms. There are scars on his knuckles, old wounds with even older histories.

Ita presses her thin mouth to them in the dry desert night. She has a tongue that blisters despite her silver softness, and Chason instinctively bends his hand away from the heat.

She looks hurt.

But then, she always looks hurt.

“What are they from?” Her questions are never loaded, her mouth too unaccustomed to saying what she actually wants. Sometimes Chason swears she has trouble even shaping certain words.

Words like love, like separation, like future.

He forces the uncomfortable laugh back down his throat and pushes a hand into her pale hair, an apology of sorts (he does that a lot: laughs at nothing, at everything, hoping to hear the response of his brothers and sisters on the horizon). He curls his fingers, and he can feel the sand under his nails, the tangle of knots that cause his hand to stick. Both, he knows, are caused by their failing journey, and he feels the responsibility, the guilt, settle over him like a shroud.

She’s a delicate thing, long-limbed and snow-skinned. She is blistering beneath the heat of the sun and shivering during the long hours of the night. She is starving, he thinks, her ribs like sharp blades against her stomach when he presses her to him.

But she is his.

In this form or another, she is his now.




~


She likes her tea scalding hot with a heavy dose of lemon and just a hint of honey. Once, Ita brought her a gold-rimmed cup syrup-thick with honey, and Augusta had thrown it at her feet after one sip. The porcelain had shattered; the tea had burned; Ita had caught her voice in her throat.

Augusta had said nothing, and Radomir had made her a new cup, the saucer as fragile as a toy boat between his large hands.

When he placed it on the table beside her folders and official documents, she had touched his wrist in passing, a sweep of her fingers in gratitude. She’d sucked the end of a fountain pen into her mouth, her teeth white and sharp against the metal, and caught his eye. There was something amused there, something dark in her red glance, something he appreciated and understood.

Ita had seen it, and she had shivered.

Mated, she’d thought, bonded, paired.

The idea had unsettled her, and the scent of lemons still makes her skin crawl.




~

Eda is a waif, but she is horribly pretty. Too pretty, Sunniva sometimes thinks. She has all the beauty of a desert flower but none of the poison. Sunniva worries she might have bet her money on the wrong horse, so to speak, that her investment is not as promising as it once was. She could be losing.

Financially, and maybe something else.

Palmer shrugs, his movements slow from plum wine. “She’s a hell of a survivor though, that one. Better than a fucking flower.”

“Some cacti can survive two years without a single drop of water.”

“I thought we were talking about flowers? Who said anything about cacti?”

Sunniva rolls her eyes, her mouth a straight line, but there’s a slope to her shoulders that reveals her amusement. She finishes counting the last of the day’s coin and refills Palmer’s glass from the pitcher between them. It’s been a long time since she’s poured for charm’s sake, but there’s still a practiced, natural elegance to the way she holds out her arm, to the flash of her white wrist, and the curve of her fingers.

Palmer catches her hand.

There’s a hungry look about him, like a dog scavenging for bones, that makes her want to push her nails into his face.

But then he laughs, his off-kilter, off-balanced, rumbling sound, and strokes her the soft center of her palm with his dangerous fingers. “You could be a flower, you know. You’re pretty enough.”

“A flower?” she deadpans. “Tell me, does this type of approach work with all your women, or just the particularly vapid ones?”

“Eda likes flowers. She would be a Canterbury bell. Some dainty purple thing. But you, you would be …” Palmer sucks the air into his mouth in thought, still stroking her palm, circling his fingers closer to the thin veins near the bump of bone in her wrist.

He is silent for so long that Sunniva finds herself uncomfortable, unfamiliar with her embarrassment. “What?”

“A prickly pear.”

She snatches her hand back to the protective shield of her body, scoffing. “Charming. Very charming.”

Palmer laughs again and drinks from his refilled glass. “As ever, my dear, as ever.”

He flicks a coin at her playfully, but later he will fall asleep thinking of the desert claw and its copper blossoms.
impertinences: (a crimson future)
2016-09-22 04:59 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

They are reduced to hands and mouths.

The floor is hard beneath her knees; bruises blossom on her lily skin. It doesn’t matter. He is a tall, fierce warmth against her back. His hands like scalding shackles across her shoulders and breasts. She can feel his mouth, wet, on the cold notch of spine at the top of her neck. He traces his skillful, calloused fingers across her stomach, and all she can feel is the splintering, decadent pivot of his hips and the insatiable heat between her own thighs.

He wants.

She aches.




He has always been hers. Yes, there are the others – to say she was not fond of Sara would have been dishonest, and she takes pride in how eagerly Tull wishes to prove himself - but from the beginning, Eric had thawed a piece of her frozen heart.

It was not maternal, her affection for him. Even as a child he had been willful, cocksure, rugged. From the moment of his servitude, he had been her Huntsman. So she had not favored him as a mother, no, but as a Queen favors a most loyal subject (she, who knew only cold comfort and barren grief). She had not swept her silver hands across his heated brow and kissed away his fever dreams; she had not comforted him with soft lullabies and softer touches. Yet Freya was a beacon nonetheless.

Freya was a savior, as she was a conqueror.

Freya was the stuff of myth and legend, and so she was his first light in the darkness.

(He was very young, and so he did not know. Children are easily tempered. Boys are easily claimed.)




“I think she’s the Lady in the Lake,” Tull says over a breakfast of hot bread, butter, and blackberry preserves. They’ve been with the Ice Queen for three years now, and breakfast is still Tull’s favorite part of the day. He is serious everywhere but the dining hall.

Sara scoffs behind her mug of mint tea. It burns her tongue. She isn’t used to hot things anymore, but she likes the feel of the steam against her mouth and the smell that is fresh and green. “Queen Freya? Don’t be daft. That’s baby stuff.”

“It’s of the lake.” Eric says, wrapping his wrist with old gauze. Sara had caught him yesterday in the training yard and nearly broke it with one of her trademark twist moves.

“What?” Tull asks.

“It’s Lady of the Lake. Not in the lake. My mother used to tell me stories of her and some boy who pulled a sword from a rock.”

Tull lowers his eyes, and Sara glances at him disapprovingly. They do not speak of mothers or fathers anymore. They have not been children for some time now, and they try their best to remember it.

Eric finishes wrapping his wrist. He takes a piece of bread from the basket when he stands, headed for the yard, already tall and defiant in his body language. “Doesn’t matter anyway. Fairytales aren’t real.” In a year, he will be the best with a sword and an axe. For now, he makes do with his sharp wit and persistence.

It is later that night, the three of them half-grown bodies overlapping in one makeshift bed, that Sara reaches over, fingers searching for his, and continues their conversation in a whisper. “You don’t have to believe in a fairytale to love it.”

“What are you on about?” Eric has sleep in his voice and eyes.

“You can’t love her,” she says, somewhere between a threat and a plea. If she were a different girl, it would be more plea, but it isn’t.

“Can’t love anyone,” he says, and squeezes her hand.

Between them, Tull groans and shifts to his side, pushing an arm into Sara’s chest.




Freya’s jeweled cloak shivers across the ground, twinkling sharply like icicles. She has an ethereal, aloof manner to her despite the immediate beauty surrounding her. The winter garden, a landscape of dogwood, heathers, and winterberry. She’s turning the roses to ice when Eric sees her, fifteen years old with snow in his hair, her fingers ringed in twisted, barbed silver. One of the rings ends in a sharp, deadly point, encasing her entire finger.

There’s a large white owl perched on an oak branch above her. Its round eyes spot him, even though he only moves to breathe. It hoots once, solemn, and the Queen’s gaze finds him pressed against the thorny shrubbery.

Everything is thin and barren in her Queendom. There is little cover for hiding. His breath causes the air to mist, but he is not scared. He steps forward before she can beckon him.

She does not smile, but she plucks a frozen rose from the bush and twirls it between her fingers. It shines in the daylight, the red petals caught at the peak of their beauty, made timeless. “Your name is Eric. I have been watching you. You show great promise, along with the red-haired one.”

“We train hard, my Queen.”

“We?” She raises an eyebrow. Her voice is deceptively soft, impossibly devoid of emotion. “You are a we already?”

He feels himself blush, his tongue thick in his mouth, and drops his gaze. “I only meant …”

“I know what you meant, boy. I remember the feeling well.” Freya steps closer, proud of how he squares his shoulders and lifts his chin. She catches his jaw, harder than he would have thought possible, and he feels the burn of her icy touch. Briefly, he thinks of Tull, and how she had nearly frozen his entire mouth the first time they had arrived, the first time she had decried that love be outlawed. “Do not disappoint me. I have great things planned for you.”

She drops her hand, and he asks without thinking, “Are you a good witch?”

He has never heard her laugh before. He cannot even remember having seen her smile. But she laughs now, in the wake of his question. It is light and fragile, the sound of fresh snow blanketing wildflowers. He feels foolish, but he knows that the question stems from a deeper urge within him; he wants to tell her that he would fight for her, die for her, if she was good. That her coldness and her sorcery do no matter to him. That what he seeks is fairness and compassion. He wants a Queen worthy of servitude, and there is something about her snow-skin and soft voice that beckon him.

He is still young. He still does not know.




He is seventeen when he first touches her.

He has the heavy steps of a soldier as he pushes open the solid oak doors of her antechamber, unbidden but already welcome. He smells like rust and frozen waters. There is blood beneath his fingernails and a grin on his wide, sloping mouth.

“I do not think you ever age,” he tells her in greeting, his voice brogue and thick at the syllables.

He has only been gone, raiding, for a handful of months, but she seems taller to him somehow, standing before a silver mirror, a thick cloak of fur settled over her shoulders and her hair swept back from across her face.

“Huntsman.” She smiles with only one side of her mouth, the tiniest hint of emotion, and extends her hand to him.

He presses his raw mouth across her knuckles. His hair has grown, and a few strands slip from its leather knot and brush her fingers when his head dips in subservience. She notes the scratch of stubble across her skin.

“You have grown. What do you bring me from your campaign?”

“More lands, my Queen, and more recruits.”

It is the same response she has heard many times before. She nods, imperial, and flicks her hand in dismissal. She is already half turned from him when he catches her by the wrist, his fingers rough against her cold skin and thin veins.

He reaches and grasps and takes, his grip like an anchor.

As if in warning, a shiver of ice spreads across her mirror.

But Eric grins with all the charm of a boy and places a pair of fragile earrings in her palm. “The Blackbeard’s lands are known for their skilled craftsman, my Lady. I have brought these for your inspection. As a token.”

They are silver, like the delicate working of her crown, and crusted in small diamonds. A larger crystal in the shape of a teardrop dangles from the setting. She closes her fingers around them. She does not say anything, and he leaves quietly with his spine straight and his eyes warm, but she will wear them every day.

As he will spend hours rubbing his fingers together, trying to remember the coldness of her wrist.




“What are you doing?” Sara asks him, her copper hair twisted away from her face by her many braids, a smear of dirt clinging to her strong cheek.

“You’re a bit dirty,” he says, and rubs a thumb across her skin.

She is warm and freckled. She smiles easily. She is neither delicate nor ethereal. She has built her body into a weapon, her eyesight the sharpest and best for the bow, all the softness grace provided her at birth ruined by a warrior’s life.

In a week, he will discover that the rest of her is freckled too. That her finely muscled arms and calves yield to his fingers. That she is an entirely different landscape, one that she offers for his discovery.

He will not think of Freya. He will not think he has betrayed his Queen.

He will wear the necklace Sara gives him, and he will call her wife.




But first, he will come home from his thirteenth raid, and he will place a triangle pendant around his Queen’s throat. It is heavy with diamonds, and it is another one of his promises.

He will be reduced to his hands and his mouth.

For her sake, it is not the necklace that undoes her – she is not a woman to be undone by trinkets. It is the callous rub of his fingers across her collarbone, the way he brushes her heavy hair from her neck. There is something so familiar in this most gentle of gestures that she remembers the Duke of Blackwood and how his mouth felt below her ear, against her shoulder, inside the sensitive crook of her arm.

The memory twists grief and anger in her stomach.

There’s a sound like breaking glass that comes from her throat, and she curls her hand into her palm, feeling the ice grow there.

“Freya,” her Huntsman says, and that too sounds familiar. The plaintive tone of a man’s longing.

So she lets him take. She favors him, as she always has.

When it’s done and over, when she has wrapped herself in her softest fur and he is pushing her white hair away from her cheek, she tells him again to be weary of love.

“It is a cruelty, not a kindness,” she says.

“Can a man not love his Queen?” he kisses her full bottom lip, silencing her answer, breathing in her frost scent when he turns his face into her neck. He thinks of the roses she once captured in ice. She is like them – caught at the peak of her beauty but lacking true warmth. He wants to melt away her frigid exterior, but he already knows he cannot. She would not allow it, and she is as deep and unmovable as a wild river.

Already she is leaving him, pulling away, encasing herself in winter’s cold.

Freya touches his broad jaw. “Love, my Huntsman, will make you a pawn.”

He is an adult now, but he still does not understand.

He will learn.
impertinences: (my loyalties turned)
2016-08-17 05:46 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

This is supposed to early, young Emere. Emere that looks like this: http://67.media.tumblr.com/580c8fe5b910bc2f8fa5c4b6a2fa690b/tumblr_nctm7lPYrP1qz4acfo1_1280.jpg

Or this: http://cs303810.userapi.com/u103248306/152448911/z_57cb2ca2.jpg

I was trying to flesh out a new character, but it became more Emere-centric/Emere-POV rather than focused on Jameson. I'll try again later. At least this is something, right?


--



There’s a meeting in his office at a time that’s too late to be decent. In response, she wears a skirt that’s too tight to be professional, a dark blouse tucked in but with the top buttons undone.

It’s the same old song and dance.

She’s young and beautiful – too beautiful, really, considering she’s barely over twenty, too beautiful to be soft (she’s harnessed her looks into a weapon) – and he’s in a position of authority.

They fuck like they aren’t strangers, like they haven’t just seen each other casually across departments, like she isn’t nearly seven years his younger. He keeps his mouth on hers, biting on her lip, tasting her with his tongue. She tangles her dusky hands in his hair, ruining its slicked-back look. He messes up her skirt, his greedy hands wrinkling the fabric, and she pushes all the items off his desk when he shoves her against it. Everything is tit for tat.

Afterwards, she has to pick up her portfolio spreads from the floor; they had slipped from her hands when he grabbed her by the inside of her arm. She does this after she fixes her hair and her lipstick; he’s straightening his tie, clasping his belt.

“I like this,” she says, still a little breathy, reaching over to run her fingers against the groomed hair on his face.

“So does my wife.” Jameson’s grin gets lost in his beard.

She raises an eyebrow. “A wife? So you’re just a piece of shit in a good suit.”

“Yeah, well, welcome to advertising, sweetheart. We’re all pieces of shit.”

“You’re still hiring me?” There’s a notch of surprise to her voice. “Don’t tell me office fucks are part of the new interviewing process.”

“Technically, Floyd is hiring you. He’s the boss. I’m just your partner.”

“So this was, what? A seduction?”

“You ask a lot of questions.”

She makes a soft, noncommittal noise. Her eyes are dark and her mouth straight. She has a way of closing herself off so that she’s impossible to read. It’s a defense mechanism, but Jameson doesn’t know that yet.

(He never really bothers to learn).




“He could be your father,” Brando tells her over the phone, his voice full of judgement.

She pictures his disapproving gaze in her mind and rolls her eyes. “Hardly. He’s not that old.”




They walk out of the building together. Jameson holds open the door, offering her a cigarette. “You want to get a drink?”

Emere shrugs. “Sure,” she says because she knows he’s paying.

It could be any Tuesday or Thursday night.




She’s good at her job. She might be better than him, actually, but Jameson has the experience under his belt and the rapport with the clients. He does most of the talking over the expensive dinners; she smiles encouragingly, showcases the rough drafts of concepts, and wears paper-thin dresses and diamond rings on her fingers. The clients like her more than they like the advertisement blueprints sometimes, but the night almost always ends with signed contracts and champagne bottles.

Occasionally, she points out his flaws like they’re her own.

“Your Vienna Beef campaign was shit, you know that, right?” She cuts into a steak rare enough to bleed.

“Not my fault. You can’t make hotdogs sexy.”

“You’re lucky I distracted your bad taste with my spectacular tits.”

Jameson laughs, throaty and harsh. “Where do you buy those dresses?”

“From the prostitutes on the corner, obviously.” She winks.

She eats like she’s starving. She isn’t used to having money, to fancy restaurants where waiters pour water from reclaimed wine bottles, where the napkins are linen rather than paper, and there are no prices listed on the menus. She fakes it well enough. Jameson forgets sometimes that she’s a Jersey girl. It takes three dinners for him to realize she’s trained the accent out of her own voice and that she’s practiced the way to smoke a cigarette, harkening back to Audrey Hepburn movies with the delicate way she inhales.

He notices the scars on the insides of her arms on the fourth dinner. He nods towards them, eyes serious. “What happened there?”

Emere doesn’t look. She doesn’t touch the scars self-consciously or try to pull down the slinky, gossamer sleeves of her dress. “I was bored in high school.”

“Must’ve been bored a lot.”

“You have no idea.”



It surprises her how much they don’t fuck at work. It surprises her that she’s capable of liking him in spite of their limited relations. It surprises her that he’s funny and warm and professional (excluding the occasional glance or touch of her hip when he passes her while she’s pouring her fourth cup of coffee in the breakroom). A small part of her dislikes it. She wants to be distracting, she wants to be memorable, she wants to burn.

She thinks the rest of the office must know. If they do, they keep their mouths shut. Or maybe they’re used to it; maybe he’s done this with all the new girls. Or maybe they keep their silence because he hasn’t, he wouldn’t, and they think this affair will be the ruin of him. She’s the harlot with the scarlet letter.

Sometimes she lets her imagination get the better of her. She read too many books in college.




They do not go to the company Christmas party together. She shows up two hours late, her dress as red as cranberries, smelling of honey and crisp apples. While his secretary gossips with his wife (a waspy woman named Carol), she gives him a blowjob in the bathroom, his hand fisted in her hair, his groans more pleased than pained.

Later, she shakes hands with his pretty, blonde wife. Emere compliments her jewelry and modest heels. They even clink glasses when Floyd finishes the obligatory Christmas speech.

She’s aware of how bruised her knees feel the entire time they’re talking, but she doesn’t feel ashamed.




Jameson never talks about his marriage. She doesn’t even know if he has kids.

He never stays the night at her place.

They share bottles of whiskey on her fire escape and smoke cigarettes. Sometimes he smokes cigars instead. He often smells like lemon and saffron and sage. It’s a cologne she’s familiar with but can’t place – clean and straightforward. It doesn’t really fit him, which makes her think it’s a standard birthday present from Carol.

They don’t hold hands. She doesn’t lean her dark head on his broad shoulder. He doesn’t kiss her temple or tell her she’s beautiful in a sad, violent way.

They drink and they laugh and they fuck and Monday mornings he’ll bring her a coffee.
impertinences: (I held you like a lover)
2016-08-16 09:39 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Henderson is a warm face in a sea of strangers. (The talk had gone well, but they usually do.) You handled yourself with your typical poise and grace. It’s the same poise you possess when he introduces you to Jasper.

You shake hands.

He’s polite and gracious, thankful for the opportunity. You’re flattered that the occasional college student can still fluster himself over your name.

You do not remember thinking much about him afterwards. You recall liking his hair, its length and feminism, and the sharpness of his cheekbones. You could cut yourself on them. But his face quickly loses its distinctiveness in the blur of your memory as the days go on. You fall back into your wifely routines: laundry, cooking, dinner, chaste sex between clean sheets with your husband.

You’ve almost forgotten him by the time Henderson says his name over a lunch that consists mostly of white wine.

“Who?” You ask, rubbing a smudge of lipstick from the rim of your glass with your thumb.

“Jasper, the art student. I introduced you. I think you’ve inspired him. He’s made three new pieces since your lecture.” Henderson sounds amused and a little affectionate. It’s the sound proud fathers have when discussing their talented sons. “I think you could be good for him, Margot. He’s been in a bit of a creative slump this past semester. He’s worried about all his work being derivative or some such dribble.”

“Well, we are our own worst critics.”

“You would know, my dear.” He smiles and clinks his wine glass with yours.

You roll your eyes, laughing a little, accepting his passive criticism. Henderson has been one of your primary supporters since your early days. He had dutifully proofread your manuscripts and listened to your midnight phone calls about character concepts and plot twists. You feel like you’ve disappointed him now that your success has lost its luster and your life as a novelist has waned. He’s too kind to say as much, so instead he offers you a prodigal pupil.

You point out your hesitation. “I don’t think muses should feel this cheap. Or like such a fraud.”

“Oh, come now. He’s just a kid, Margot. You can’t disappoint him. He already thinks you walk on water. You should hear him analyze Albtraum from a Freudian perspective for Pete’s sake. Have coffee. Take him to lunch. Let him talk your ear off, although Jasper may be just as happy if you do all the talking. He’s a serious kid. Passionate, but a little too intense at times for his own good.”

You shrug, still uncertain. Do you have time for this, you wonder? The drive to the campus is a hassle now that you’re in the suburbs, and you’re a creature of habit. You’ve found routine in your day-to-day happenings, if not a certain measure of boredom.

“Who knows,” Henderson says, “he could be good for you too.”

You think about those prophetic words when you’re awake in Jasper’s bed and two months have gone by since your luncheon. You sit with your back against his cold, iron headboard. Jasper rolls a joint casually, his sweatpants hanging from his sharp hips, his hair in his face and an indulgent smile on his mouth. There’s a red mark on his shoulder from where you scratched him too deeply, and you can feel a bruise blossoming on the inside of your hip from where the bed frame’s blunt edge dug into you as you bent over the side of the mattress.

Good for me, you think, and the thought makes you want to cry as much as it makes you want to laugh.





It bothers you because it’s true. You hate to admit it. He is good for you, even if being with him rips another hole into the fabric of your marriage. But if you’re being honest with yourself then you know that your marriage has been situated on a cracked foundation from the start.

You used to think you were an honest person. Now you’re not so sure. You’re sometimes paralyzed by the things you have found yourself capable of.

You think about him on the days you cannot see him. You fold laundry in a daze. You wash dishes by hand after dinner, up to your elbows in bubbles and murky water, too scared to dry the glasses and plates in case Kenneth sees how badly your fingers shake. You feel dope sick with longing, all of your cravings as petty and paradoxically substantial as any addict’s. Your stomach is in knots and your mind turns manic, replaying the same thoughts, the same images.

You mourn for your marriage, but you mourn your time away from Jasper with the same intensity.

You stop recognizing yourself in the mirror.

You try to stop thinking about your life in terms of black and white. You try to live in the grey.

You try.





As it turns out, the grey is an old apartment off campus.

It’s sticky and humid inside. The air conditioner is broken. It’s the middle of summer, but you don’t care. Kenneth took an unprecedented vacation from work, so you spent three weeks with a husband who barely looked at your face and didn’t even bother to throw his dirty shirts in the right laundry bin. Sunday evening, you took a bath so hot that it scalded your too-thin skin. You shaved your legs and bikini line. You washed your hair with jasmine shampoo and tried not to feel guilty. After Kenneth left for the precinct Monday morning, you all but ran to Jasper’s doorstep.

Your hands shook the entire way, clutching the steering wheel till your knuckles were white. You feel pathetic, and your need disgusts you.

But you kiss him when he opens the door anyway, hardly making it through the threshold. You’ve forgotten about the possibilities of his roommate or if the blinds are open or any shred of decorum you once possessed. Your kiss is mostly teeth; he’s much taller than you, so he has to bend to meet your mouth, but his arms are sure and steady. They find their way around your waist before dropping to the backs of your thighs.

He sweeps you up and off your feet. Like you’re one of those damsels in those romance novels you hate. It’s a cliché. You’re turning into one, you know, but it doesn’t seem to matter once he’s sat you on top of the makeshift dinner table and knocked your legs open with his knees. He reaches behind him and pulls his shirt off from the collar, throwing it to the side with a lascivious grin. Jasper looks older than his years when he’s like this – excited by the prospect of having you.

You think he plans on pushing up your skirt and shoving down his pants, that he’ll keep your ass perched on the edge of the table and fuck you until your knees are sore from bending and you’ve clawed ownership marks into his back.

He surprises you instead.

You suddenly understand why your husband conducts his affairs with girls in their twenties.

They’re refreshing in their unpredictability.





He is holding you down and spreading you wide. One of his long, lean arms is thrown over your lower stomach. He doesn’t seem strong enough to pin you, and maybe he isn’t, maybe you’re letting him. Like how you’re letting him use his mouth on you, between your thighs, his tongue and lips blurring into one. You can hear a ragged, pained breathing, and you’re surprised to realize that it’s your own.

It sounds like he’s hurting you.

He isn’t. He knows it.

He uses his free hand and suddenly there’s two fingers inside of you, sliding and stretching, making you shiver.

You make an “oh” noise that is sharp, glass-like, and you hear his laughter on your wet skin. It’s the sound of someone who is young and proud. You feel his smugness in the way he breathes against your navel when your hips rise on their own accord, and he adds more weight to the arm thrown across you. Pins you more securely.

You want to get away. You scratch at the backs of his shoulders with your blunt nails. You’re close to sobbing. You want to stay.

Jasper doesn’t know that Kenneth never does this for you. It’s selfishness on your husband’s part, but it’s also because you always thought this act, more so than any others, was the most intimate. Even as a teenager, your adolescent boyfriends were barred from exploring southward with their mouths. It’s too messy and too personal. You’ve always been bashful about the idea of spreading your thighs wide and watching someone lick their way down to your cunt. (It’s a strange thing too – thinking of your own anatomy in such crude terms. You’re an author – you’ve written the words in your own stories – but you have trouble speaking them or conceptualizing them in terms related to your own body). Vulgarly open, you can smell yourself too, your arousal that is heavy and somehow foreign to you ever since you turned forty, and your sweat. It’s sharp and florid. There’s that small, embarrassed part of you that still finds reason to blush from the obviousness of your own excitement (unladylike, your mother would have said).

But then you curse under your breath because his tongue is rolling over your clit. Your legs are shaking. Your hair has curled with sweat against your jaw, sticking to your neck.

He replaces his tongue with the pads of his fingers. He has a delicate touch. You picture him with paintbrushes and metal tools, his dark hair pulled loosely back at the nape of his neck, his gaze serious and focused. You feel like artwork at the moment, like he’s molding and burning you into the proper form.

He murmurs something against your skin. It’s wet noise. His breath is hot on your thighs. You reach down and curl your hands into his hair, suddenly appreciative of its length. You want something to ground you with, some small action that will keep you here, keep you from shattering.

Please, you whine. It’s been awhile since you’ve sounded like that – exasperated with need – gasping with sweat on your collarbones and one of your hands thrown up over your head, arm bent backwards, fingers curled to grip the back edge of the table. Please, fuck, Jasper…

You feel him hesitate, the sudden slowness of his ministrations filling you with an ache that must be impossible to fill. He says something again. His hair tickles across your legs, and you curl one of them around his back, trying to drag him closer.

You have to open your eyes. You half sit, rolling your shoulders and chest up so you can better see him. “What?” You sound more annoyed than you mean to. Then you think you’ve forgotten something – the time, perhaps, and how you need to leave his apartment before the highway traffic thickens. You have a dinner to make and a table to prepare. Or maybe your phone has gone off, and you’ve missed ten calls from your husband.

“Say it again.” Jasper speaks softly, as though these bedroom activities require bedroom voices, despite the curve of a smile twisting the corner of his mouth.

His lips are swollen. They’re wet and shining. Because of you. With you. Your cheeks flush red.

You feel a bit like a child, self-conscious, and you lower yourself back onto the flat surface of the table and turn your head. Your hair helps, shifting soft curls that hide the side of your face. You laugh, hummingbird soft, and the hand in his hair relaxes. Releases. He catches your wrist lightly with his teeth in passing when you raise it to your own face, feeling the heat of your skin, covering your eyes.

“Come on. I like how you sound,” He coaxes. His fingers are tracing the insides of your calves now, and he turns his mouth and kisses the back of your left knee.

“Aren’t you supposed to be the devoted fan? Humble in your servitude and all that?”

“I am,” He says it seriously enough. There’s a glint to his heavy gaze that looks predatory, however, and not at all what you would describe as humble. He looks amused and patient, as though he could play this game all day, skirting his nails across your thighs, whispering his mouth against your cunt, all hot breath and no useful pressure.

He wants you to want him. He wants you to need him. His ego is flattered by this, you know, and he won’t do the one thing that would make you acquiesce. He could dip his head and continue, slow as molasses, and you would come, so close already that you briefly want to relinquish all your modesty and reach a hand down to get yourself off. But he needs you to vocalize your desire, to beg for it, so that this – the two of you, what he does with you and for you – is not a favor. Not a spur of the moment fuck or an indulgent weakness quick to be forgotten.

Your wedding ring is suddenly hot on your finger. The diamonds are sharp, pressing into your skin when you curl your fingers into your palm.

When you say it, you say it in a breath you’ve been holding.

Pleaasseeee.

His smile should be self-satisfied, but it’s loving instead. He lifts your leg and kisses his way up the inside of your calf, to your thigh, to where you want him most.

You come like that, his dark head buried between your legs, your back arched and your skirt pushed up to your hips.





It’s four o’clock, and you should have left by now.

You’ve moved to the threadbare couch, still lazy with orgasm, your heart beating slower and louder. Jasper kisses the side of your head when you finally untangle yourself to leave. You push your underwear into your purse and find your heels by the door.

Your knuckles are white on the drive back to your home, your fingers still clenched.

You have a dinner to make and a table to set.

You push through the grey and come out on the other side, back into the white and black.
impertinences: (words you spoke)
2016-08-11 01:06 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

The formatting for this piece is all types of fucked. It's correctly posted on the Archive. I'm too lazy to fix it here.

-

“You escaped those who would pluck
your fruit.
Not that they didn’t try.”
- Sappho


She wears these purple stilettos, strappy and precarious with decorative bowknots on the back, and they drive all the boys mad.
They aren’t the kind of shoes her mother would approve of, and they aren’t, admittedly, the best for a professional environment. But a girl has to have a little color, especially when she does such a good job keeping her pencil skirts black and her psychiatrist’s coat a pristine white. To further the image, Harleen wears her thick hair in tight buns, high like a ballerina, or low and at the nape of her neck. As a young girl, she had grown up watching Audrey Hepburn movies, idolizing the graceful curvature of the actress’ body and maybe Harleen’s hairstyles harken back to an adolescent love of Holly Golightly. Her mother didn’t like those movies either. She frowned at their unrealistic, romanticized plots - the too-handsome leading men always saving the redeemable starlet. It puts bad notions in the minds of young, impressionable girls.
Her mother, however, is worm meat and has been for a few years now. So Harleen wears the shoes and styles her hair as she likes.
It isn’t enough.
Look at the little girl playing dress-up, the guards murmur under their sour breath as she walks down Arkham’s corridors, her purple heels clicking and patient evaluations clasped to her chest. She’s got a sturdy clipboard with an attached gel pen and a fresh French manicure. An alligator briefcase holding a prescription pad and a legitimate, board-certified psychiatric degree. But she isn’t a professional to these men, and she certainly isn’t a bonafide MD. She’s too young, too pretty, too rich. She hasn’t earned an honest day’s pay in her entire life. She sucked off her father’s trust fund and went to college and nobody said anything about the pretty blonde who missed classes but still passed with flying colors, who sometimes slipped from an office of a professor’s or two at odd hours, who grew up right and grew up tall on hot Indiana nights.
Or is that Tom Petty singing about a girl named Mary Jane?
Or is she Alice, tumbling down a dark hole, following a white rabbit?
Or is she Dorothy, swept up in a twister, landing in the emerald Land of Oz?
She can’t say. She knows she’s looking, searching, hoping. She knows she wants to be seen and understood. She wants validation.
She finds it in her first real patient and, in finding him, she finds a bit of herself and all she’d been wanting. The Joker does not doubt her. He bares his soul, quicker than most, and lets her poke around. She prescribes him lithium, Thorazine, Clorazil – pinks and whites – pills that taste chalky, but each one seems to help.
He tells her it isn’t the medication healing him.
It’s love.
And laughter.

--

I know, child. I see.
June Moon who is no longer June Moon, who is ancient and pagan and terrifying, who is destroying the city with her fiery brother, is staring at Harley. Her gleaming, bright eyes bore into Harley’s. Harley knows the Enchantress isn’t speaking, not aloud at least; she’s even vaguely aware that her squadmates are nearby and also caught by the witch’s gaze, also hearing her mind-voice. Some part of her understands too that the Enchantress is seeing the rest of them the way Harley is being seen. Like her insides are being turned outward, like all her secrets are being spilled.
So much suffering. So much unfairness. I can change all of it, child. I can show you greatness if you will only come to me, kneel for me.
This voice is unlike her other voices. This voice is deep, melodic, yet feminine. This voice does not ask her to hurt. It does not tell her to kill, to cry, to scream. This voice sooths and offers.
Harley wants to take.
And because she wants, she’s allowed to see.

--

She can smell espresso. It’s bitter and sweet, vanilla-esque. There’s a green cup next to the brewing machine, and there’s a sugar spoon for stirring cradled delicately in a flower-shaped, ceramic spoon rest. It’s a quaint, charming touch, just like the plush tea towels hanging from the silver cabinet hooks and the magnets depicting cartoon hyenas on the stainless steel fridge.
Harleen has made the water in the sink too hot; she can’t feel it, although she’s up to her elbows in bubbles and dishwater. Her fingers aren’t doing any scrubbing. She’s too surprised. This is her kitchen, she realizes, which is a silly thing to comprehend because didn’t she know that? This is her dispenser of soap next to the faucet, her fruit basket with the connected banana hook, her rack of red and white wine bottles.
This is her wedding ring and those are her children at the table, their laughter like sparklers, bright and clean.
This is her

(dream)
life.
She takes her hands out of the water and goes to wipe them, instinctively, on the front of her skirt. It’s charcoal grey and clingy, the type of pencil skirt she’s always favored. Harleen hesitates, uncertain as to why she would want to ruin the polyester, and goes for the nearby tea towel at the last minute.
She almost rubs her knuckles raw. The fabric feels wrong. The skirt feels

(torn, ripped, six inches short and tight leather)
wrong.
And for a moment, she has the strangest thought; she thinks she’s put on fishnets instead of sheer pantyhose.


--

Nobody talks about how much tattoos hurt. They say it’s like a slow cat-scratch, an annoying vibration, or picking at a sunburn. It turns out they’re dead wrong. It feels exactly like what’s happening: countless needles rapidly stabbing into the skin and dragging. Different spots only heighten or lessen the sensation.
Fortunately, Harley has learned to love pain, so she’s a giggling mess when she gets her Lucky You. The Joker watches the process, shirtless and stretching, pacing back and forth. His metal teeth catch the fluorescent light of the lamp when he grins. He still has his guns in his shoulder holster, the black leather straps cutting across his pale skin. He taps the guns’ muzzles distractedly from time to time, watching his girl, focusing on how her white tank is ripped and pushed up to expose the vulnerable flesh of her stomach.
She’s so much prettier this way, all wild and full of sparks, gasp-laughing as the needle gets closer to her sensitive hip bone. He remembers her in her business blouses and impractical heels. How delicious her surrender had tasted and how unafraid she had been to let the chemicals strip away her everyday façade and reveal her true self.
He gets hard thinking about it, feeling how proud he is of what he’s created.
He steps closer, watching, and yes, it’s almost as good as seeing her convulse from electric shocks. It might be better because here she’s unrestrained. She’s on that table by choice. Exposed by choice. She’s so trusting, his Harley-girl, so sincere in her belief that he won’t interrupt the tattoo session and replace the vibrating gun for one of his knives.
The Joker laughs. It punctuates Harley’s, and she doesn’t have to ask what’s humorous at all.

--

Let it go, child. Let it all go. The Enchantress waves her hands, somehow elegant despite the havoc she is causing. Behind her, a tunneling vortex of light and destruction continues to grow.
Harley doesn’t think she’s stopped staring in a long time. But she isn’t sure if a second has passed or half an hour. She knows her heeled boots are still on the ground, there’s her signature bat hanging from her limp left hand, and Flagg is still on her right.
Why resist?
Why, indeed.

--

She feels an itch under her silk shirt. A similar sensation on her left forearm and little pinpricks of feeling on her thighs.
(one two three diamonds, HA HA HA HA, I’ll Wait Forever, an arrow-shot heart)
It lasts for a second or two before fading. Her husband is in the kitchen now, bringing with him the scent of
(chemicals and clowns)
expensive cologne. He is both familiar and strange. He smiles when he sees her, pressing a kiss to the side of her blonde head in passing. He’s headed for the espresso, dressed for
(murder)
the office.
The sight of him, so handsome, so normal, makes a burst of warmth flower in her chest. It’s strong and surreal; she worries she’s having a heart attack. Surely this is the same sensation – the odd numbness, the sweat, the heat, the breathlessness. Harleen is unaccustomed to the type of joy she’s feeling. It’s enough to drive her mad.
She laughs instead, a bubbling bright sound from her throat, her mouth spreading wide in a smile.
Her husband looks back at her from over his shoulder, catching her eye. He has a curious grin on his face too, full of questioning and bemusement.
It’s absurd. It’s hilarious, ridiculous, over-the-top.
Harleen can’t think of his name.

(J. Kerr, Joe Kerrrrrr, Ha HA ha)
It makes her laugh all the more. She’s roaring with it.

--

“Puddin’,” she says, or maybe she doesn’t. Maybe her mouth just shapes the word.
Something in the Enchantress flickers. She takes a step closer. If possible, her gaze thickens.
At the same time, Harley blinks.
impertinences: (so I ran faster)
2016-08-08 04:01 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

She’s happy.

She tells herself this, and it isn’t untrue.

She revels in the powdery taste of makeup on her tongue now that she can lick across the Joker’s cheek to gnaw at the sharp angle of his jaw when, bored in bed, she crawls atop of him. Sometimes he’s indulgent, tracing his smooth hands over her back, his cock twitching when she nuzzles her pretty blonde head against his thigh or takes one of his fingers into her mouth and bites. If he’s feeling particularly playful and generous, he makes her come from electric shocks or the vibrations of the tattoo gun. Once, he let her hang silk rope from the ceiling and she had tangled their two bodies together with all the artistry of a trapeze performer. The bindings had kept her thighs open wide and her muscles tight. Every thrust from his narrow hips had sent her slipping and tightening within the silk till she was whining in her long throat and scratching at the tattoos on his chest.

Happiness is the razor sharpness of a knife against her nipple, laughter in her ear and metal teeth on her collarbone. It’s an orgasm so painful that it crests into pleasure and leaves her breathless.

But …

But the Enchantress had shown Harley a glimpse of the future, even if it was a fraudulent one, and Harley can’t help but still think of it even after her prison break. She’d had kids and a husband who wore a suit of charcoal rather than a faux-alligator coat, as purple as the jam she used to suck from her fingers as a child. He smiled more, in the wish her secret heart of hearts had produced, and there was nothing insane or terrifying about it. But her mind, the ravaged organ that the Joker had created, knew better – that was not them. That was rot. Was cavities. Was sickness.

That was a lie, and the Joker didn’t like it when she lied.

So he promises her a chaotic life, a romance, and a tragedy, all wrapped up in a bow as red as cherries. He takes her by her pigtails and bites those promises into her neck, her shoulders, her breasts, her thighs.

It’s enough.

It’s enough for a mad love.



She wants a home. A place to nest. He finds them an abandoned factory in the center of Gotham’s crime life. He has his men refurbish most of it, but they keep the rusting iron railings and a few of the broken glass windows for authenticity’s sake. There’s three levels, all hers to decorate, but the two of them gravitate lower and lower – floor by floor – until they’re down in the belly of the beast, the closest to the devil. They’re both used to basements anyway (they like the windowless space, the way the darkness encroaches on the corners of the room, and the murky cement smell).

She turns the room red, like so many bloody, pumping hearts, and doesn’t mind when he organizes his knives and guns on a rack that takes up the entire left wall. The boys lug in a mattress larger than a king. There’s an electrician sporting a bloody nose and a bruised carpenter that work for an entire day to customize a lifted frame with lights that never stop burning. She has matching fur chairs in the corner. A closet full of high heels. Her mallet and baseball bat mounted on the wall for easy access. There’s even room for her vanity, her powders and creams and long-stemmed brushes haphazardly spread across the top, and his bar - crystal decanters full of acid-colored liquors and half-chipped glasses stacked in offering for greedy hands.

When he comes home from a hard day’s work, he throws his jacket over one of the chairs and accepts the drink Harley inevitable pushes into his hand.

To her credit, this routine lasts for a week before she puts her pouting, wet lips on his ear and tells him she’s bored.

“Boredom, Harley-girl,” he tells her, tapping her nose with one ringed finger, “brings disaffection.” He seems to taste the final word, half-hissing it. “And we can’t have that, can we?”

It takes a few minutes of rustling through some very old boxes, but the Joker comes back triumphant. He holds out a clean lab coat, pristine in its whiteness, and a pair of dark, professional glasses in one hand and twirls a syringe full of milky medicine in the other.

He leers, a little mad with the proposition of reliving their old days, and Harley laughs with excitement.



Part of the solution to appeasing Harley’s insatiable curiosity comes in the Joker’s limitless generosity. He has never, not once, truly denied her anything. He has taken only that which she never needed to begin with and withholds only so that she might learn the joy of savoring. Maybe occasionally her muscles ache and burn or threaten to snap, her mouth splits or her eyes purple with bruises, but then he’ll rub his hard fingers into her skin and drag his mouth over her curves and work away the pain. Open her up and let her see the dark, monstrous, beautiful thing he’s created.

Harley knows. Harley understands. He only hurts her because he sees that she can take it, because in her surrender there is a declaration of loyalty and love, a willingness to please and prove.

But there are things that trigger him, and some of them are trivial to Harley, like the arrival of a new, unwelcomed guest to their family.

As far as he sees it, the squirming, crying, wiggling mass of fur tearing apart the bedsheets is an unsanctioned destructive addition.

The Joker leans like a sharp, gleaming knife in the doorway, watching, and runs his tongue over his glinting teeth. "Harley-Pie," he growls, grabbing and turning the lithe blonde in mid-embrace, the rumble and shape of her name reverberating from his pale chest into her shoulder-blades. "What have I told you about surprises?"

Harley leans back into the dismal warmth of the Joker's hold. She can feel his fingers in her hair, scratch scratch scratching against her scalp, tangling in, rooting for a hold. “You like ‘em?”

He tsks, chides, and something inside of her begins to panic. A low-boil flutter in her stomach. Her fingers curl at her sides and she pushes further into him, her round ass flush with his sweatpants-clad cock, his free hand coming to rest on her left hip, fingers tapping. “No, no, no, no.” Each negative lands a warning shot from those tapping fingers, and she can feel it in her bones. “I love it when the surprise is mine …” He snaps the last word possessively, his jaw clenching, his teeth biting the air by her ear.

She giggles and feels the panic dissolve into something else, something warm and bubbling with toxicity. She feels like an animal, yes, caged by his arms and his hold, but it’s a welcome and wanted captivity. Harley purrs and turns her cheek into his, feeling his breath on her face. “Aw, puddin’, c’mon, ain’t he cute though? You two could cuddle.”

As if on cue, the pup has rolled from the bed, dragging bits of sheet with him to their feet. It has dark feral eyes and a spotted coat, little tufts of hair foreshadowing a small mane down its spine. It’s bristly and mangy and makes a noise like a baby’s cackle when it tries to tear into the Joker’s ankle.

The Joker raises a hairless eyebrow and his mouth splits into a grin. “Why, he sounds like me.” His manic drawl lilts upward.

With mild reluctance, he lets go of Harley’s hair and pats her ass dismissively, bending and picking the pup up by the scruff of its neck. It wiggles, whining in the air, trying to gnaw at his hand.

Harley giggles again, biting her thumb. “I was thinking Lou. He looks like a Lou, don’tcha think, puddin’?

“A Lou for a loon, why not?” He barks his signature laugh. “As long as I get to teach him to kill.”

She smiles wide, showing her teeth, laughing too.

She would never admit it to him out loud, but Harley knows that some triggers are also opportunities and while this isn’t the same as having a son, she figures it’s a start.



Not all of the neighborhood is excited at their domestic bliss. There is some trouble. There are still self-righteous cops who refuse to be on the Joker’s payroll, the Commissioner, and then, of course, there’s the Batman. Gotham’s personal rabid dog, ruining all of the city’s fun.

Harley thinks of his brooding eyes and hard mouth. He had smelled like honor and pain and river water the night he’d taken her in. She remembers his fist the most – the blinding white before the soothing pain and the cloudy darkness.

But the Bats has too many rules and restrictions; he’s easy to avoid, if need be, and even easier to slip from now that their army has grown. Which does not mean that they still don’t have the occasional run-in. Usually it’s because the Joker is itching for a taunt or has sent some present that has ruffled the Dark Knight’s perpetually stiff feathers and lured him out into the moonlight. Harley thinks he’s a bit of a bore, so stern and serious, with no color about him, but she follows her clown king out into the rainy streets and finds the fight.

Mr. J, he doesn’t want to win, not really. He just wants a little chaos. He crashes a car into an upscale restaurant, mostly by accident, after negotiations with a new alliance goes sour. Harley had left the meeting with a bag of diamonds and a bloody bat, so it’s a fine start to the evening; she doesn’t’ mind the thought of more butchery.

The havoc is too loud, too noticeable, and they aren’t surprised when the Bats arrives. It’s what they wanted. The Joker has another car by this time, as though they’re littered on the streets, ready for his taking, and he’s opening the passenger side door for her from the inside when she does a sudden, graceful pirouette to avoid a sharp batarang. She giggles when the Joker slams his fist on the horn in three rapid honks, like a welcoming, and wiggles her fingers at the gloomy, hulking figure in the back of the adjacent alley.

“Howdy, Bats! Didja miss me?” She winks, pops her gum, and puts a hand back on the open car door.

“He’ll only hurt you, Harley Quinn.” The Bats laments in the rain, like a prodigal wise-man.

“You ain’t ever been in love, have you?” She calls back sweetly before ducking into the car.

Later, when his foot is pressing the pedal to the floor and their hands are clasped over the stick shift, she tells the Joker that she feels sorry for the Batman. He must be lonely, she explains, and feels a pout twisting her mouth.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have what they have.



And that’s it, really. She doesn’t need some magical witch-bitch to take what she has and mangle it into a new, more societally-correct picture. The truth of it is simple: the Joker knows her, inside and out, and everyway in-between. He molded her, but she allowed it, wanted it.

He freed her, ripped her from life’s constraints, and she had swan-dived into a chemical vat to embrace it. It was not death the Joker provided but rebirth.

An awakening into a world of beautiful, crazed laughter.

What other domesticity could she desire?
impertinences: (at your expense)
2016-07-31 09:45 pm

(no subject)

Freeform has been running a marathon of the Harry Potter movies this entire weekend. As a result, this happened. It isn't what I wanted to write - I envisioned a much larger piece, sort of those 5 Times type of pieces - but my fuel started to fade.


---


Beelll-aaa

Her name is the rounding of the lips at the start of the B, the tap of the tip of the tongue on the teeth for the second syllable, and the curving, lilting, succulent end. Bella.

It’s the sound of a snake hiss in her ear, and if she were a different woman, then she might have the sense to shiver. Instead, she feels her spine stiffen and straighten, her shoulders mold into metal, and her chin tilt up beseechingly. She can see Lucius’ lowered head on her right and sense her husband’s tightened demeanor on her other side, like a pit of vipers has awoken and curled around their bodies, constricting and contracting. She wills herself to stand apart, to stand straight, and her will has never betrayed her before.

The man before her, if he can still be called one, is tall but it’s the shadow he casts that makes him all the more imposing. The darkness does not dampen him but magnifies him, his snow skin and the gaunt skull face, the crimson slits of his eyes. She tries, but Bellatrix cannot meet those eyes, so she finds herself fascinated by his spidery fingers, so long and tapered. Elegant almost. His nails are sharp and blue tinged – the blue of corpses, the blue of death. She has the strangest urge to press her mouth to those fingers, to whisper her lips across the slopes of his knuckles in humble deference.

Voldemort laughs, a whispery, husk of a noise, and she does shiver at this.

He knows, she thinks suddenly, he knows my thoughts.

“Oh, and much more, my child... So loyal already, are we, Bella? So eager.” The Dark Lord’s sibilant voice slithers from his lipless mouth, amused, as he stalks forward. There’s an elegant nature to the way his black robes move around his skeletal body, a predatory, feline quality to his confidence.

By impulse or fear or a combination of both, Lucius and Rodolphus retreat, their backwards steps a sure sign of their weakness. They have only stepped aside a little – if she were to reach out her hand, she could take her husband by the wrist, but she doesn’t. There is no strength to be found there, no solace to offer. And Lucius, on her right still, has no consolation for her. He would rather bask in the wake of her limelight, as she rises like some dark, furious phoenix, and cling to her more delicate sister than find warmth in Bellatrix’s carrion comfort. She has seen them wanting, the two of them, with their egos hiding their cowardly natures, their malcontent greed a flickering flame quick for the snubbing.

No, there is no threat in them. No true courage. No true devotion. They are pawns, and so they are useful as soldiers, but they are not her equal. She has never had an equal.

Until now.

This is her initiation, and Bellatrix is unafraid. She feels enlightened. Euphoric with the sudden clarity of all her life could be, of all the darkness she could shed upon the world, all the pain and suffering and deep cleaving hurt. She feels the strength that is her magic and her fury. She sees it, all of it, reflected back at her in the Dark Lord’s sly, cat-like pupils.

He smiles, and the crack of his mouth curving is the sound of so much despair. She can feel the closeness of him, the rustle of his robes close to her arms and hands. It is not warmth that embraces her but dampness, the thick, palpable murk of basement horrors and decay. “Yes,” he whispers, peering down at her, into the pit that is her soul. “You will be my most faithful. With you, I will wreak such striking havoc and split souls.”

Voldemort reaches out one of his beautiful ivory hands and presses the tips of his fingers to her chest, his nails sharp on her skin, sinking in to where her heart beats madly.

After this, it will never beat the same.
impertinences: (are you serious)
2016-07-20 09:47 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Notes:

This is a response to the following prompt:

Curt and Jack Fairy working on their record while Curt tries to figure out how one, exactly, fucks an androgynous idol.

Jack is such a difficult character (he doesn’t even have one line of dialogue in the movie!), but I did my best. I did, however, stray from the prompt a tad – there’s less record making and more angst. Oh well.

Despite my research, I could not quite pinpoint when the Death of Glitter concert occurs. I tried my best with the timeline too.


Here's looking at you, kid )
impertinences: (Default)
2016-07-17 11:43 pm
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(no subject)

Penny Dreadful built up my heart and then shred it to pieces. I am still mourning the ending.

Writing helps. Ethan and Vanessa, to me, will always be them on the moors.

--



If you could only see the beast within me.
- “Howl”

All those that go beneath, do so at their peril.
- Oscar Wilde



The storm had not begun begun softly.

There is no gentle spatter and a gradually increasing intensity. There is nothing, and then there is a torrent of great fat drops, and Ethan is soaked with it in seconds, hair plastered to his brow and temples and shirt stuck to his skin. No reason to run now, although he thinks he can still feel the presence of the wolf loping across his brain, gnawing its way down his spine. He stands for a moment and tilts his head back and lets the rain bathe his face and his body, wash his hands clean as he spreads them, a hundred cold fingertips tapping against him and gliding down him in trickles and rivers.

He rubs the water out of his eyes, and there she is.

Vanessa is bleached bone in the darkness, half-caught in the doorway of the cottage, a ghostly silhouette in the backdrop of a wet moor. The wind whips her dress and scatters the rain but she does not retreat, and he knows she is waiting, watching. He can smell her hope and fear and, beneath that, her resignation.

There’s a question in the air between them, and the silence is thick with possibility.

“I walk with you,” he says, as he’s said before, honest in his sincerity but sudden in his frustration.

There are some feet between them. Vanessa can feel the darkness encroaching. She can hear the cries across the storm clouds and the ones within her, low and deep, painfully but sweetly sinful. Primordial. As always, she is uncertain of which of her longings is the one she is meant to follow. Here he stands before her, this wild, precise man, this hired gun, this fierce and unflinching protector, and she hesitates on the brink of the threshold. Here he is, a moral man with blood behind his teeth and claws beneath his skin. She thinks, at times, that for all his unbridled yearning he is hungry for a hand at his neck, for despite the stubborn set of his shoulders, his great height and steady hands, Ethan is so very lost. He is aimless in this world of shadows and seductions, unmoored from the loves and the lights that he so desperately craves.
The moon is hanging low, half lost in storm clouds, it’s glow casting shadows across the moor. It is an omnipresent reminder to them that there is so much out of their control. Ethan understands, she knows, the pull of the familiar loss of control.

But then, so does Vanessa.

Her voice is a scratch of sulfur in the night, heating the storm-thick air. “You have a monster and madness about you, but even the moon casts light. … There is only darkness where I walk, Mr. Chandler.”

She sees it in him then in the line of tension along his jaw and the way his strong fingers curl in towards his palms, clenching. Lightning crashes and something flares in Ethan's eyes, something darker and more knowing, something not docile at all. For Ethan it’s as if something dark and thick has broken loose and surged up in him, something locked away for a long time, and he stares at how she looks and how she is, and he wants to protect her as much as he wants to devour her. He wants to take all that sharp aristocratic prettiness and uncertainty and ruin it, shred it, to reveal the poison and sting beneath.

All that darkness within her, that deep well of hidden water.

And him: a predator, a monster, all that she has unknowingly loved since she was a child. A wolf made civilized against its will, a monster seeking honest blood. A dog, perhaps, in search of a master to lay down beside. A creature capable of withstanding a scorpion’s sting.

The lightning crashes again, and it feels like possession. Blindingly bright and throwing their combined shadows against the cottage as she takes a step forward into the night, completing the transformation. They look like a single creature, a mutation. Like that ravenous beast he is.

Vanessa can hear the heaviness of his breathing. The rain pelts her skin, as cold and unkind as shards of ice. Ethan lets her take another step closer before bridging the gap between them in long, quick strides. He had wanted Dorian (with all his poison beneath his petals and the mirror behind his eyes), he had wanted Brona (with her sadness and secret gentleness, that bright burning but quickly fading flame), wanted those weaker things than he. But he wants her more, her with the Devil’s shackle already latched around her delicate ankle, her with the strength to match his weakness and the cruelty to shield his kindness. He looks at her then as though he would have her hide herself between his ribcage and heart.

But Vanessa knows, with her sorrow and her deluge of darkness, that to embrace the shadows is to be devoured, spat out, and reborn as something worse than you were before.
impertinences: (I held you like a lover)
2016-06-10 12:55 pm
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(no subject)

I tried writing a response to my muffin's timed writing piece, but I only got this far. Which is not nearly far enough. My brain is all cloudy and full of distractions.

Alas. :/


---

The world was rearranged.

You're surprised at how quickly the pieces mold back together, the foundation settling somewhere along the line of your body.




You think you are growing larger and smaller all at once. Now, the courtiers and ladies dip their heads at you when you pass. Now, a trail of whispers follow in your wake, rustling across the stone floor like the silk of your skirts. Now, you sit beside the Queen Mother in the Great Hall when the court dines together, her wrinkled hand close to yours on the respective arms of your chairs. But for all the largeness of your presence, even the gaudiness of it, you sometimes feel invisible. The King has given you three of your own ladies in waiting, as though you were his Queen instead of his mistress, but they never meet your gaze. Not when tightening or loosening your stomacher. Not when brushing your hair. Not when you return from Renan's bed, or he slips from yours, and the silence of their nearby bodies and blind stares deafen you. Then there are the men at court. The wolves who admire your beauty, your name, your father's growing estates. But none of them ask to lead you in a dance. None of them walk with you through the gardens. None of them ask for a piece of your favor.

To be raised so high but feel lower than ever before. This contradictory state of being troubles you. Your waist is shrinking.

In smaller but acutely noticeable ways, the terrain of your life had shifted too.




Gerhard used to pass you from courtier to courtier, trusting in your return and their careful handling. You were precious, a gem to be admired but not taken. He had liked it even, watching you duck under their arms, turn between their palms, dancing as elegantly and easily a swan swims. Your laughter had been the loudest on those nights, with wine on your tongue and holding the eyes of so many.

But then court life had always agreed with you. You were modest without being a prude; smart without being threatening; useful as one of the Queen Mother's Ladies. If you were flawed, it was only on account of your father's ambition.




Gerhard was closer to you now than he had been in weeks. The smell of him filled your tight ribcage with feelings oddly shaped and too large to fit inside. You dipped into a curtsy so low and poised, you were startled you did not fall. "My lord."
impertinences: (tuck the lace under)
2016-05-20 01:45 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

I had my kids practice creative writing today. I wanted to model the process, so I did one of the prompts myself and shared it - along with my so-called thoughts on brainstorming.

Journal Prompt 1: Your neighbors have begun treating you differently ever since your son became a zombie. (10 minute writing limit)

He’s seeing red again.

Figuratively, of course. Not literally. The virus causes many things, all sorts of changes, but it does not turn white eyes red. If anything, you would have to say that your son’s eyes are more of a milk-gone-sour color. Opaque. Lifeless.

You sometimes forget that they used to be blue. Or that he didn’t always smell like last week’s garbage. Or that he would respond to you in more than mere guttural groans.

In any case, your wife is cooking fresh steaks and the kitchen windows are open, the smell of raw meat sizzling thick in the summer air. That is why he is seeing red, this son of yours (because he still is your son, somehow). Why his usually stiff, often statue-prone body is crawling forward, sparked with sudden life.

He’s making that noise from his throat again, the not-quite scream, more of a wet, gurgling hungry-growl noise. It’s the noise your neighbors, Jan and Rick, complain about the most. You think this is a bit unfair considering how often their football-sized dog yaps shrilly behind their fence (symbolically painted a gunmetal shade of grey two months ago – as a warning, you can only surmise).

Jan and Rick used to come over every Sunday for T-bones and chilled cans of beer. Rick was a football fan, like you, and Jan enjoyed the same celebrity gossip that your wife favored. They haven’t been over in a few weeks though. They’re spending more time at Church, but you’ve never known them to be saintly people, or god-fearing.

From across the yard, your son lunges at the air. The rattle of the chain around his ankle is not fully silenced by the sprinklers.
impertinences: (warm in my heart)
2016-05-15 05:50 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Blurbs! Because I didn't feel like writing an actual piece.

-



“You tart,” he teases, his mouth on the inside of your wrist, blunt teeth biting lightly.

There must be a sudden shift that happens in your eyes, a stillness in your fingers, because he pauses (he has been doing this for months now – reading the subtle signs your body makes and interpreting them the way gypsies interpret palms). He is soft again, smoothing his hand across your cheek, brushing a thumb over your rose bud mouth. “I am sorry.”

You are not used to this – a member of royalty apologizing to you with all the genuineness of a man of the cloth. You still think yourself a child, at times, hiding behind the heavy curtains in your father’s library. You have the good grace to shake your head, catching his thumb in your mouth, voice hot on his skin, “It doesn’t matter anymore.”

Gerhard makes a quiet noise of agreement.

“Do you sometimes feel much older than your years?”

“I’m a crown prince of Cissai. I feel a hundred.”

You slap his shoulder, squeaking in the way you know amuses him when he catches your wrist and waist with both hands, pulling you to his lap. There is the rustle of your skirts against his legs, the scratch of his beard on your neck, and the heat of him that is always, somehow, gentle rather than scorching. It would not even burn the lace of your bodice, so you lean into it with craving.




“Peaches,” Renan said without lifting his eyes from the map of boundary territories he was perusing. “She smells like peach blossom.”

Miriam turned her shrewd gaze to her second son, the black of her mourning dress making the sharpness of her gaze all the bluer. She arched a thin eyebrow. “How observant of you.”

“Now, mother, ask Gerhard if she tastes like it too.”




Your riding jacket is torn. You notice it when your horses have slowed. You father taught you to never stop a sweating mare, to let them walk after a heavy run, till the sweat cooled on their coats. You have always loved riding, have always loved the feel of the beast beneath you, its power and endurance somehow transferring to you the more you leaned into its breakneck speed.

Only your ride today has done nothing but tousle your pretty blonde hair, flush your cheeks, and rip your right sleeve. You think it appropriate, really, this red-faced and sweaty look. The expensive velvet, as yellow as daffodils, makes you look gilded. The flesh of your arm is white beneath, cream to be licked. Only Renan is like a child with a new toy, overzealous, preferring to break in his eagerness than savor. You keep expecting to bruise but your body’s stamina continues to surprise you.

Renan watches you as though you are his prize, a trophy provided to him by right and heritage rather than earned with merit. He does not shy away from his brother’s gaze when the two of you bring the horses to the stables, Renan’s stallion a pace above your own. He is King now. He will never have to hide his gaze again.

You cannot say the same.
impertinences: (I held you like a lover)
2016-05-03 08:22 pm
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(no subject)

In her dreams he is always smoke. A figure she cannot hold on to no matter how tightly her fingers grasp. He eludes her. Even two years later she awakes with a sense of frustration that melts into shame. A rock of resentment and bitterness in the pit of her stomach.
 


His name was Julian He was tall and burly, more soldier or blacksmith than courtier. His arms were as wide as tree trunks, the veins beneath them coiled vines.

“My lady,” he would say with his gravel voice, kissing her knuckles hard enough to make his beard scratch her skin.

Julian gifted her with jewels and dresses, books of poetry, letters of love. He took his time until he was neither knife nor sword but poison – so subtle and delayed that she could not feel the damage he had done until he was already gone.

She remembers it still, the burn and sting and suffocating pain, but she remembers him more. The man himself. He smelled like oranges, and he kissed her the way all girls wanted to be kissed, with a claiming and a promise of the future. He told her she was beautiful, that her mind was as precious as the body he wanted, and still she remembered Sarah’s advice, to prolong the inevitable, to have him in a bed in the proper way, to not let him press her to a dark wall or the thick hay of the stables. She would be no stable girl, no common whore.

She was a lady, Abigail would remind him, when his mouth strayed further down her neck, when he would pluck at the tight bindings of her bodice.

He would always laugh then tip her small chin back, take her mouth for his, and the taste of his laughter simmered on her tongue like charcoal.


 
“He reminds me of Mephistopheles,” Old Anne said over their needlework one night, listening to the younger ladies in waiting gossip beside the fire while the Queen Mother slept. The Queen rarely called for assistance after retiring, and only Old Anne was trusted enough to maintain the vigil after the crown barred her doors. She kept her wrinkled fingers working, smoothly and carefully adding to her embroidery, her watery eyes deceivingly focused. “And any modest young woman would treat him as such.”

“Oh, hush. All men look like the devil to you.” Sarah, with her bright hair twisted into her characteristic braid, flapped her hand at Old Anne. She had a way of expressing herself with her body that was simultaneously endearing and sensual. “Keep with your stitching and we’ll keep with our fun.”

“Too much fun is a woman’s downfall,” Old Anne quipped, her leathery mouth frequently spilling such adages.

Abigail laughed, unoffended, her hair bright in the light of the fire, her eyes soft. “He has promised me a house in Hever with enough lands for an herb garden, and plots for summer and winter vegetables. I would so love to have horses. My father bought me a gelding of the richest black when I was little … I could take him with.”

Old Anne huffed, reminding Abigail of her mother. “Words from the mouth of sinners are as good as dust. You ought to have taken an oath and a ring instead, Lord knows what you young women will give up for feeble words.”

The girls had the grace to blush, but Abigail shook her head in protest. “Lord Vanderhart comes from a good name.”

“We all come from good names in Ciassa, dear, until someone else tarnishes them.”

“You sound like a hen clucking over her chickens,” Sarah laughed and squeezed Abigail’s arm in camaraderie.

Like all young things, Abigail felt too invincible to hear the foreshadowing in the old woman’s words.

She thought herself metal when she was only wax to be melted.