you're too young & eager to love
20 July 2017 @ 08:27 pm
 
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 )
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
15 January 2016 @ 09:12 pm
 
I'm counting this as a warm-up rather than a piece, because it's not really anything close to what I wanted to write.

--

I.

The first time Augusta hears of the Emerald Isle she has sand in her hair and blisters forming on the otherwise smooth contours of her palms. They’ve stopped for the night in a ramshackle tavern, held aloft by what looks like drift wood but can’t be, since they’re more than seventy miles into the desert and too far from the coast.

The name trips over the excited tongues of straight-backed boys cleaning tables, sets the eyes of the middle-aged bartender alight, tip-taps sideways from mouth-to-mouth down the bar by the customers, in-between mouthfuls of cactus juice and gin. Augusta is wrapped in layers, her lips dry and cracked from the weeks of traveling, and she raises an eyebrow at Radomir from across their teetering table to see if he has also heard the whispering. He casts a wide shadow, leaning forward with his elbows on the table, one of his large hands wrapped around a baked clay mug that he lifts to his mouth every few moments. There’s a tilt of his head in acknowledgement before he scans the crowd of men at the bar one more time.

They haven’t been bothered by their waiter (or any other prying eyes) since he split open the whole chicken they ordered with his rough, bare hands, his fingers oblivious to the heat and steam of the meat. He had cracked open the breast in the gesture of a blink. But Radomir never fully relaxes while they travel, so he keeps roaming his gaze, memorizing faces and listening to pulses.

She tells him it’s because she’s tired and they’re still three weeks from the mountains, because she wants a hot bath and a pretty, long-fingered girl to wash her hair. He knows, however, that the real reason Augusta tells him they’re changing course is because she doesn’t like anything to consider itself out of her jurisdiction.

She is resolved to be unimpressed, and that holds until the first time she sees Palmer in the atrium, eating a pear, leaning against a column beside the reflection pool. Palmer, she realizes immediately, is a switchblade, slim in the waist but broad in the shoulders and arms. Radomir circles him in what he must intend to be a casual manner as a one-legged woman continues to welcome them from somewhere to their left, but Augusta only half-listens. She watches the exchange between her beast and this business man, half-amused when they seem to circle each other like jungle cats, although Palmer is talking casually, motioning grandly with one arm, pantomiming ease.

“Your companion does not seem to like my partner.” The brunette woman says now that she is beside Augusta, her hands clasped in front of her slender body.

“No,” Augusta corrects, unwrapping one of linen scarf from around her head, the sheen of her hair bright beneath. “No, it isn’t that. It’s that they’re the same, I think, except your partner is a knife wound and Radomir is a closed-fist punch.”

To her surprise, the woman laughs. It sounds sweet, like honey, which does not seem befitting. “Yes, I think you are exactly right, Minister.”


II.


When Radomir had first seen Augusta, long before the fighting pits and her government position, she had peered at him with her bright eyes and the breath had been knocked right out of him. He had seen a lot of girls, been with a lot of girls, touched them and watched them and tormented them the good way and the bad, but Augusta, in her long-limbed, adolescent youth, had sucked his breath right out of his lungs like no other.

Eda does not elicit the same response. She’s a petite little thing, a little bird, ready to take right off. She’s got big eyes like a doll’s, lids sliding shut and open again in a languorous blink. She’s beautiful in a way that will only be ripped apart.

“I am not made of glass,” she tells him, politely, mistaking his slowness for hesitancy rather than disinterest.

Augusta tips her drink back, hiding a laugh, ice clinking, from a chair in the corner. She has been freshly cleaned, rubbed raw by the heat of the water and some attendant’s caring hands. Her hair is still damp and Radomir, briefly, becomes distracted by the smear of wetness it leaves on the side of her neck when she pushes it back.

“You’re like one of those …” He reaches out and touches Eda, his big hands running up her sides. “One of them little ballerinas inside the music box.”

She smiles. “That’s lovely.”

He is close enough now that all Eda sees is the wide breadth of his shoulders and the way his shirt stretches of his body. The hair on his forearms is fine, but dark. He is a collection of geometric configurations. He is planes and lines and points connecting harshly with the contrasting softness of mouth and eyes. He looks too large for the suite, even though it is the best the Isle has to offer, and Eda swears her moans will echo off the walls.

He undoes the tie of her shirt. He is gentle peeling it off her arms, gentle when pulling it up over her head. She notices, but does not mind, that his eyes aren’t on her at all. They’re somewhere over her shoulder, past her shadow, focused on the other woman.

Eda is certain this is some kind of seduction. She takes a relaxing breath. “You don’t need to worry about hurting me.”

From behind them, Augusta throws back her head and laughs.

In a way that could be fond, Radomir nips the bottom of her ear, his voice a growl. “I wasn’t.”
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
30 December 2015 @ 07:42 pm
 
New piece. A piece piece. An actual cohesive, looks a bit like a short story piece. Yesssss.

3088 words. Woohoo!

mounts her lion )
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you're too young & eager to love
29 December 2015 @ 08:48 pm
 
I wanted to write an Augusta piece that focused on the major men in her life - Maximus, Harrow, Radomir, and Baldric. ... But then I wrote this.

Oh well. It just feels good to write something! Even nonsense.

--





for i think of you, flung down brutal darkness …
i think of you, with your hair disordered and dripping.
and myself, rising red from that embrace.
- Conrad Aiken


Cracks in the world.

Floods and dust.

It has not rained in months. The floods are coming. The water should cleanse, but it’s dirty somehow.

Augusta turns her face into it, feels the water trickle down her neck, slicking her hair to thick, cold molasses across her shoulders. Her skin is too thin; it does not protect, because the rain still gets in. Through the pores, until it feels as though she’s drowning in it, and into her mind, where it turns everything bright and dancing and liquid, where it washes away sense.

She starts to shiver, here, on the edge of the wasteland, only half protected by her man-made shelter and sheets of rock on a thin precipice of mountainside. There are cracks in everything. Rain pours down from the sky and tries to purify. Runs down her arms, as she raises them in agony or exultation.

Augusta feels as insubstantial as paper. Feels thinner than her true self, worn thread-bare by other people’s expectations, by the looks in their eyes.

If she cries, the sound of her tears become lost in the rising winds, in the threat of thunder on the horizon. She’s thinking about heaven and hell, those perceived final destinations from centuries past. She knows hell is supposed to be hot. Hot like the burn of alcohol down the back of her throat. Hot like sex, making the sweat spring up and the bedsheets too close and the weight of men above her stifling. But there’s a thin line. Augusta remembers from her father’s books, the ones she read as a child. Hell, like the sex that sends one there, can be cold, and silent, and absent.

Heat drives away the cold.

*

Radomir holds her open, his hands huge against her thighs, pinning her fragile weight to the stone-tiled floor. Her skin is still wet from the rain but now she shivers from raw fervor. He stops what he’s doing with his tongue, grins with swollen lips when her nails rake, impatiently, across the back of his head. He bites the inside of both her thighs, and Augusta laughs, calls him a good boy.

She feels him shudder in response to her claim, and he loses rhythm for a few short moments, drawing in a shuttering breath before returning to his task. Her hands are more gentle now, smoothing over the backs of his scarred shoulders, one of her legs wrapped around his side, her hips lifting as his mouth draws her nearer and nearer to the only death she has ever known. Radomir wraps a solid arm around her to hold her steady, and Augusta can hear the soft murmur of her own name being whispered into her skin.

It breaks her. She shatters completely, finds her breath returned to her at long last, and is reborn.
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you're too young & eager to love
10 October 2015 @ 07:43 pm
 
This is so pointless. But whatever, I haven't posted anything in ages.


--



It is her birthday, so Radomir hands her a nondescript box before they begin to cross the desert. There is nothing ceremonious about it except for the sharp edges; Augusta wonders, with amusement, whether or not he used it to file his teeth. She has a fleeting moment where she wishes she could find this gesture of his equally amusing, but she can feel her emotions beginning to simmer beneath her skin. It is an uncomfortable kind of heat. She, like her father, is not prone to sentimentality.

She can feel his eyes on her as she opens the box, disregards the red velvet lining inside, and plucks out the heavy silver cuff. The metal is polished with care but there are hand-made dents in the design, intentional, and lovely. A thick, wide square fills the center of the cuff, and Augusta raises an eyebrow when she realizes that he has given her a watch rather than a bracelet.

It fits snugly around her left wrist. The design is masculine. She appreciates that.

Radomir straightens his shoulders when Augusta finally graces him with a gaze. “So you might remember to return to me, from time to time.” He explains.

“And since when do I adjust my schedule to accommodate you?”

He laughs, a sound as thick as thunder, and she finds herself smiling at the corners of her mouth (where it hurts the least).



Augusta Reinhardt, to the minds of most, is older, matronly. A thick-necked soldier crammed into the body of a woman. A severe militarist, like her father, and even colder than her brother. No one ever mentions, in all of their talk, that she is so slight. Tall, yes, especially for a woman, but thin and delicate in the wrists and ankles. If wounds could walk, then Augusta would be one. Wrapped in heavy coats, sand-layered from her journey across the desert, she surprises the men and women of the compound when she appears for the official celebratory dinner in a blue and lavender dress that show the backs of her fine calves, low-slashed neckline revealing her straight cut body, as sinless as a prepubescent boy’s. Her arms are thin and her hair is caught in a thick plait down her back.

She offers her hand to Roman, who kisses the back of her small knuckles with all his usual charm, gaze lingering on the heavy cuff shackled to her wrist. “You are here. We heard rumors of rebels in the crossing between the mountains. Harrow was concerned, especially considering you are our honored guest tonight. Happy Birthday, Minister.”

Augusta’s smile blooms naturally, but it is devoid of any authentic warmth. Her amber eyes glint. “There was some minor trouble. We are wounded but not slain, aren’t we, Radomir?”

Three steps off, Radomir responds with a noncommittal noise. His height and width devour the shadow Augusta casts behind her. He has not changed from the journey. There is sand in his short-shorn hair, on his eyelashes, in the callouses of his palms.

Sliding her arm into the crook of Roman’s elbow, the propagandist leans close to her brother’s favorite. “Tell Harrow to forego the cake in favor of rare filets. Assassination attempts always bring out our appetite.”
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you're too young & eager to love
16 June 2015 @ 02:04 pm
 
I feel like ~writing~ today. I love days like this. I've been reading a bunch of Joyce Carol Oates lately, so I'm trying to take some suggestions from a pro and write a piece that has a legitimate purpose/end-goal. With a motif.

Which I think I did well in the beginning, and then I lost sight of said end-goal. But oh well! I may finish this/do part two another day (since it's a bit obvious that I was trying to transition into a new section at the end).

Inspired, somehow, by this face and this clever expression - https://speakerdata.s3.amazonaws.com/photo/image/837398/Famke-Janssen-closeup-wallpaper.jpg

Can we get a "hell yeah" for a 1492 word count and hearty paragraphs?

I don't know what to say to account for my changing tenses though.

--


I just found a friend in one of your lies. – The Early November



As a woman still on the brink of girlhood, Augusta had let her hands linger in all the right places – she had swept her fingers against Baldric’s arms, digging her short nails into the hard muscles beneath his skin at the end of the day, till he groaned from the comfort of it. At formal dinners, she kept her fingers beneath the table, her palm warm on his thigh. In the cloistered heat of their bedroom, she wrapped her hand around the pillar of his masculinity and took him deep inside of herself. He liked to batter into her bones while her nails traced against the backs of his shoulder blades and her thighs ached from the force of being stretched open.

When he wasn’t looking, she used her hands to sort through the papers on his solid-oak desk. The wood so thick and heavy but improperly shined. (Baldric, she learned quickly, was not one for taking care of his things. Always, there, in the back of her mind, Augusta would wonder when she too might begin to collect dust.) He wasn’t well organized for a Chief Minister. He scattered lists of plans, scrawled in his sharp olive ink, alongside architectural diagrams, edits of upcoming speeches, documents still pending approval. While her husband busied himself around the quarters of his bustling estate, courtesy of Maximus’ generous dowry, Augusta folded herself into his high-backed chair, her long legs drawn close to her chest, her fingers grasping at papers as though she might inherit their knowledge through touch alone – ever envious of those who read braille.

She keeps her bottom lip tucked between her teeth, bare toes curled in, eyes hungry with their curious amber tint. She’ll have only half an hour at most for these clandestine moments, and she’s continuously mindful of the servants that slither like serpents around the halls, lacking loyalty for all but the Minister. She thinks of them as spies, of spiders, hungry to catch a prize for their master. She thinks they distrust her with all the loathing of petty beasts. In this way, she admires their intuition.


Admiration! For her husband, who is nearly half her senior, but surprisingly adapt in the world of politics. He has a clever tongue, but he uses it too frequently. He lacks the skills of a great orator, preferring to speak above the tide rather than use its softness to force others closer, to concentrate and focus their attentions on his words. But, still but, he is not unkind – not in the way that her father and brother had been – and he looks at her with clear, comprehending eyes. He doesn’t mind her intelligence, he does not think it a hindrance, and he dictates notes for her to record in her neat, eligible writing. (He likes the sharp cut of her A and the way she curves her B. Baldric fancies this appropriately symbolic.) He approves of her, but it’s her silence – and how quickly she learned to adopt it – that he admires best. She knows what to speak of and, now, what to keep inside her mouth, caught and braced behind her teeth.

There’s a maid with red hair that isn’t a maid. Augusta has not seen her clean once, although she wears the standard milkfish-grey uniform, modestly cut at the thighs and buttoned to her small collarbone. She has doe eyes that are framed in golden-strawberry lashes and a smile that is too sly – a quirk of her mouth at the corners – too impertinent for her station. Stitched above her heart, embroidered on the functionless pocket above her breast, are the initials BR in hunter red. In the future, Maximus will order all preternatural service members to carry identification cards with them while the stitching will be replaced by the pink-white burns of brands on the forearms. A process more efficient, more permanent, and more difficult to hide. For now, the scarlet initials are meaningful enough: she is not human; she is a member of the Reinhardt house staff; she is her husband’s property.

In more ways than one, Augusta surmises, watching the lithe limbs of the girl as she walks by. Most servants keep their eyes down in deference to their betters, but this one lifts her gaze high enough to land, like a palpable pressure, on Augusta’s jugular whenever she sees her. There’s a weight to her small steps. A sensuality to her hips that roll and shift beneath her uniform, beckoning. The doe doesn’t know it, but Augusta admires her too. She finds her brazen behavior refreshing. In a home secluded from the majority of emotional attachments and genuine relationships, it’s curious to her, too, that a shifter would find pride in bedding the Minister. She knows from her childhood that men have long held dominion over others through the force of their will but also their need to claim with their cocks. It doesn’t surprise her that Baldric is no different.

It surprises her that the maid acquiesces to the invasion. Revels in it, even. As though Baldric’s glory might rub off on her in the process and cover her in a defensive sheath. A gilded prize to be polished and protected.

Augusta watches her turn the corner, hoping the impact of her gaze lingers, and considers her options. Over dinner in the formal dining room, her eyes on her husband, she keeps the secret on her tongue, as sharp as salt, and drinks it down with a mouthful of bitter wine.



Radomir tells her, with that familiar rabid gleam in his eyes, that her name is Maeve. From what he can smell of her, she’s more prey than predator.

“A good meal then,” Augusta quips, stroking her hand down his arm, her fingers slow and smooth against the coiled muscles and raised veins beneath his skin. She means it as a reward for the information, as she does the closeness of her body.

It is late, and he is still new to the estate, still suffering from the years in the pit and the scavenging of his mind. His presence had unsettled Baldric, the way that men of power are often unsettled by the presence of brute strength. Negotiating him into a servant’s room adjacent to her own had required a number of sacrifices on her part. A pattern of bruises that peppered her pale skin. A tearing between her legs. Accusation-laced insults into the shell of her ear. But where the shadows are the thickest, she presses into him anyway, all but swallowed by width of his body. He can feel the heat radiating off of her and he can smell her husband’s sweat on her skin. His seed between her thighs. The animal inside of him gnashes its powerful jaws.

She touches his full mouth with her fingertips, silencing the growl at the back of his throat. “Will you find a way to handle this for me?”

“Of course.” He is surprised by the question, she knows, by her need to even ask in words.

“But it must be discrete. This is not the fighting pits.”

“If you think I would compromise-”

“I like this one best,” Augusta tells him, touching the tribal pattern of ink curving beneath the sleeve of his shirt on his left bicep. “It suits you.”

Her fingers feel like a brand, like a contract.



Eventually, Augusta will not have to hide. Eventually, she will her curl her weight against her husband as he sits at his desk, overlooking the papers, offering mild suggestions for improvement – always suggestive, never critical, without a tone of betterment in her voice. Eventually, she will have her own desk, secluded and separate from the compounds. An estate that is simply a house. A seldom-used (but greatly loved) home that is guarded by the sharp, perilous cliffs of the mountains in the West. A half-moon scar low on her stomach but also a title far more becoming than wife.

She will keep her hands to herself for the most part. As an adult, she is tall and razor-like – much in the way that Harrow, too, is a blade inside a suit – and she has stripped herself of feminine softness. Her jaw sharper than when she was a girl, her mouth too thin to kiss properly, her breasts high and natural but small when cupped by a grown man. The butterfly-softness of her wrists flattering the slimness of her shoulders and hips. A slender body, but a firm one.

Boyish and too hard, too like an athlete’s, Harrow had told her once, unsurprised in the aftermath of her miscarriage.

But, like birds, her hands flutter when she speaks – soaring down by her sides, fingers dipping in the air when excited and slicing when angry. She speaks more with her hands than her voice – her voice hardly rises, forever even-toned, curiously absent of inflection, dipping only into purrs and whispers when the need suits her.
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you're too young & eager to love
31 May 2015 @ 05:41 pm
 
My wifey-pants wanted this scene. Her wish is my command!

--


On hot nights, Augusta thinks he has worn off on her in ways she cannot fully express.

She tends to dream in languages that she can articulate and concepts that she can explain: envy, jealousy, loathing, desire.

Radomir, she knows, is always hungry, though not always for the flesh implied by his voracity. Sometimes he is pacified if she allows him to run, endless, through the hottest slopes of sand. Sometimes what he really wants is a fight, terrible and deafening, until his muscles scream with overexertion and his head is light. Sometimes his hunger is for the prey, the hot coppery stink of blood, and warm, wet meat, slippery and almost obscene in its lushness. It seems to Augusta that when he wants so fiercely, her dreams become shades of hunger and appetite, all primal and beyond verbalization.

On these nights, she’ll wake, tangled in her sheets, heat burning through her as if she’s running a fever, skin on silk, heartbeat an urgent thrum, and so wet between her thighs that it hurts. This doesn’t happen often – she has built herself so high, beyond such base urges – but the nights it does remind her of her own humanity.

Radomir is always awake before her. It is the twist of her legs beneath the sheets or whatever half-sounds she makes that alert him, first, to consciousness. Then it is the smell. The sweat and slick of her that makes his pupils dilate and his nostrils flare like a shark catching the scent of blood. Sometimes, if she allows it, he falls asleep beside her, his large body crowding the bed, blood naturally burning ten degrees higher, his breath hot and humid against her collarbone. Most times, he sleeps as a soldier would, prone against the cool floor, or forces himself into a chair, tree-trunk legs stretched wide, calloused hands loose against the upholstery. In areas he trusts the least, he paces the perimeter of the room while she sleeps, a hulking feline whose yellow eyes flare in the darkness, bright with equal parts ferocity and madness.

This night, Augusta can feel his gaze, and she pushes the sheets away from her legs slowly as she sits up. Her eyes adjust, thick with fever-lust, until she can see the outline of his face – the full mouth, the muscled slope of his shoulders, the hard line of his neck. “Come here,” she says, and she isn’t smiling, but she holds out her hand like someone gentling a spooked animal. Though their hands do not touch, he follows. The bed dips beneath his weight, and he is distracted by the close, unguarded proximity of her, so when she touches his face, he flinches back, eyes wide.

She strokes under his jaw with one fingertip. She traces down his neck, and he bares his throat, indulgent, trusting. But he cannot meet her gaze fully.

Now that he has it, her undivided attention is a heavy weight to bear.

Augusta catches her nightshirt by the collar at the back of her neck and tugs it up, over her head. Underneath, her skin is bare and sleep-warm, sheened faintly with sweat. Naked, she is no less authoritative, but he traces across her jaw with his rough fingers as if she is softer than water and infinitely more precious. Her mouth is a solid line, but she does not rebuke him for unwarranted touch – not this time. Instead, she crawls into the great sphere that is his body, the mountain of his chest and torso until her legs have slipped on either side of one of his powerful thighs and her hands are holding his arms.

Rad traces the curve of her breasts then, cupping their weight in his hands; she arches her back, pushing forward, and he can feel his calluses catching on her skin, jagged and dirty. She pushes her hips down, against his leg, rocking herself slowly against him until he can feel her wetness there and he nearly chokes, because he’s — hard, unexpectedly, though it shouldn’t be, though it’s the most natural thing in the world, right now, for him to jerk up to meet her — sensitive, and overwhelmed by the smell of her, filling the room like the roar of the desert, and he can’t — he can’t think—

Those are her nails scraping across his short-shorn hair, and he loses himself in her, in the storm of her pulse and her scent, and shakes apart, holding her, knowing he could somehow get closer if she would but allow it.

This is how he comes, with her body only pressed close, the feel of her laughter washing across his neck, her blunt teeth sharp against his ear.

Augusta feels the shudder rock his body, like thunder, and she is oddly satiated by it.

Unduly spent, he finds her gaze with all the vulnerability he used to possess, years ago, when he was muzzled and chained. His deference weakens her resolve. “Breathe,” she says, not unkindly, and catches his bottom lip between her teeth.
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you're too young & eager to love
30 May 2015 @ 10:58 pm
 
I shouldn't write after drinking three martinis! But alcohol inspires me. I must stop consuming character-inspired drinks.

--



“The secret, Radomir, is that all it takes is one woman clever enough to make a desperate man feel special. The world breaks for such an arrangement.”

“Are we still discussing Harrow and his swan?”

She smiles at him, and it is an expression that is all teeth. When she pushes her glass into his hands, he lets his fingers linger on hers.

-

Maximus is a traditionalist. He does not keep beasts because he does not trust them. He moves in a more conservative fashion, and so his grounds are flocked with dogs – wolfhounds and coonhounds. Canines meant for the hunt.

Augusta surprises the men when she kneels for the recently littered pups. She opens her hands willingly, lets them tongue the length of her fingers, presses her face into the soft coat of their necks. Against the shock of orders being tossed in the air, her laugh catches on the wind.

She keeps a blue nosed pup in her arms, stroking its tender ears, until the call for lunch sounds. When she passes Radomir, she places the dog in his wide arms.

“A meal,” she quips, and the hint of a smirk twists her red mouth.

-

She does not smoke, not like her father or her younger brother. She talks, instead, of the thick pollution of the wasted air and longs for the freshness of the mountains. His steps are surer there as it is, and the brisk wind flatters her cream skin, flushes it pink. But she smells like cigars when she returns from meetings, so he washes her hair with a softness that is unprepossessing of his stature.

-

The crack of Kim’s whip is sharper than lightning.

Augusta does not flinch. She watches placidly, noting the streaks of blood that blossom against his skin.

-

Roman pours her a drink that is red and orange, the sleeves of his silk shirt rolled up to show the shape of his arms. She touches his wrist when she accepts it, and Radomir’s feels the growl thicken inside of his chest.
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you're too young & eager to love
30 May 2015 @ 06:41 pm
 
“They do not need what we need. This is their strength. They can exist in nature, without power, without our facilities. They may eat raw flesh and plumage nature. Make no mistake: their human skins are only veneers that hide their true selves and their truer intents. What you see has the appearance of a man but it is a thing meant to deceive. A construct. Mankind has long reined this world by the grace of God. We, not animals, were constructed in his eternal image. These beasts make a mockery of that sentiment now. They steal our shape so that they, in the middle of the night, or with the breaking of some hellish dawn, may be better equipped to take what is rightfully ours.”

- Man’s Law, Baldric Reinhardt, Minister of Propaganda


Augusta is not an animal.

She does not often eat meat. The texture does not appeal to her and neither does the scent. Meat is a luxury, one she rightfully deserves, but there are little grasslands left; the green areas are far apart and difficult to find, so the compounds serve what the desert can offer – snake, black-tailed rabbit, addax, and, when lucky, camel. No amount of simmering or collection of sauces can change the toughness. She takes small bites that she swallows without chewing and turns her attention to the fruits and vegetables.

Albtraum, as the leading compound, has top priority when the trade goods come in from the mountains in the West. It is there that she can enjoy the richness of avocadoes and the distinct raspberry-sweetness of plump blood oranges. She digs her fingers into their rinds and peels them until her hands are red with the juice. She sprinkles salts on palm-sized tomatoes and bites from them directly, the way others eat apples.

She likes strawberries because they remind her of miniature hearts. She eats them whole and takes them dried into the desert when she must journey. She stores them in pouches or flavors her canteen water with them.

Maximus and Harrow are carnivorous by nature. They prefer their red meats rare. They savor the taste of their meals with accompaniments of tumblers of whiskey and cigars.

Augusta drinks daintily from martinis that are orange and red. It takes her an hour to finish one, but she fishes the cherry garnish from the glass each time, toying with the fruit on the tip of her tongue.

-

This is the desert.

This is the waste of scorched earth. A stretch of despair bracketed between mountains.

This is what the world does: it scalds you into a waif, until you are the imprint of what you once were, until you are not what is supposed. Until even your enemies cannot see you fully.

She is known, at varying time, as the eldest Vries, the widow Reinhardt, the Minister.

There are things about her that others would find surprising because they think of her less as a woman and more as a machine. Since Augusta does not bleed in front of them, they have forgotten the bruises inside of her and the wounds she was forced to cauterize on her own. They take her in as a whole and fail to see the construction that she is – the affectations that piece together her particular puzzle.

Her husband had done this. He was a historian before he was honored with the position of Minister of Propaganda, and she was not unhappy with him, most days. She was too young, and he was too old, but she listened to his stories and read his books. She sat in his meetings in silence, recording notes in her efficient shorthand. She was silent too when she suffered the weight of his nighttime visits. But she waited and she learned.

When the accident happened and Augusta caused her own scar on her stomach, he stopped taking her bed. He had bastards, like her father and his father before him, and they ate on silver platters and discussed everything but their own infidelities. She was a trophy, tarnished only where others could not see, and he had not taken her for anything more.

He mistook her silence for acceptance. Her cunning for camaraderie.

Harrow does the same while she is married, and it isn’t until she inherits her husband’s title and acquires Maximus’ respect that he begins welcoming her begrudgingly with a tight jaw and hardened eyes.

He sees her linen dresses and impractical heels and knows her only as an incompetent usurper. He sees her resurrected beast and thinks her a fool.

Like all of the men of her life, Harrow does not know that she is the most adapted for their burnt world.

Only she has been left unblinded by the sun.
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you're too young & eager to love
26 May 2015 @ 02:39 pm
 
This isn't as "pretty" as I would like, but I'm oh so tired and I wrote this in 90 minutes, so whatevs.

I reeaaallllyyy like these two. It's a different dynamic from any other characters I have, I think?

-

When she is younger, her education becomes an exercise in manipulation. She watches her tutor watching her, and she learns the meaning of a well-timed sigh, when best to shift her thighs beneath her simple dress, how to ask a question in the form of a statement. She is learning how the world burned and was reborn. She is learning the history of the beasts, of man, and the battles that became wars. Many books have been lost or destroyed - necessary purges - and she is thankful for the opportunity to learn from such a distinguished scholar. Most girls receive a different training altogether - one focused on womanly duty and obligation – but not she. Augusta schemed her way into private afternoon sessions and thought about what to make of the world and her place in it.

Like all complicated plans, hers begins small. She is fourteen when she first starts practicing her Portuguese (a language she never fully acquired) and sixteen by the time the plot thickens and reaches fruition. It is at sixteen that her tutor places his hands in her dark hair and presses his thin mouth to hers; he takes liberties that she does not mind losing.

She plays for two years, twisting visceral spider webs and plucking heart chords.

The tutor has an assistant that he trusts – as much as any man can trust an unguarded beast. By the end of their first year together, this is what she knows: he kneels for hours without complaint. He rounds his shoulders and curls inward into himself - a wolf in sheep's clothing (she does not understand this, for she is envious of those whose bodies are strong). He has a mouth that shapes words with surprising efficiency and purpose, for all the quietness of his rumbling voice, as though he does not wish to lose the chance to speak with intent. His name starts with an R and he is larger than any other at the boarding house.

She speaks to him when she slips from her rooms at night, barefoot, wrapped in thick shawls to ward off the darkness’ chill.

-

When they open the gates for him, when the sun burns in his eyes after so many years of artificial night, she is taller than he remembers. Half-lit by the entrance, her hair runs past her shoulder blades, loose and free. She’s wearing white, a symbol of the bride she is about to become, and her legs are golden from the hot days without him. Days of freedom, spent roaming the grounds, scratching her skin on field grass and gathering damp earth to send to him in hand-folded notes.

He has a muzzle of iron across his mouth (for biting the ear off a guard who tried removing the letters from his wall), and he can taste copper. She extends her hand anyway, her fingers curling in and beckoning - unperturbed. But she does not touch him.

Not yet.

That will come later, after she has taught him to wait for her approval.

-

Sweating and shuddering and his skin is such a bright shade of red – too bright to be from shame alone – and there’s a noise he makes, in the back of his throat, a strangled, tortuous groan that he struggles to keep behind his mouth. There’s glass beneath his knees from a vase he overturned in his attempt to avoid her, and it’s digging into his skin, but he can’t feel it half as well as he can feel her hand slapping across his face. His skin gets caught beneath her nails and his blurred mind can only imagine what such closeness would feel like – to be trapped beneath her, ground close to her. She calls him disgusting and filthy and a useless mongrel that isn’t worth the energy she spent in retrieving him. She threatens him with returning to the pits and she rips the pages from the book he had brought her in front of his eyes, throws it with a sudden ferocity and it makes contact, sharply, against his right ribs.

She speaks the words of her father, her husband, words of the propaganda. She hurls them at him, merciless in the assault, until even she is breathless and the tension in her arms makes her quiver.

He had shed his clothes at her request, cautious, uncertain. But hungry.

And she had touched him, running her fingertips gently from the tip of his spine to the final knot in the base of his back. A shiver of a sensation. It was the smell of her though, she had known, that would undue him. Her heat and closeness. The metallic blood between her thighs. Pitched forward on the tips of her toes, she had pressed a kiss to his neck, her lips cold against the thrumming, pulsing warmth of his jugular, and felt, rather than saw, the source of his shame rise against her leg.

He’s still hard when she has finished hitting him.

She flicks her hair from her face and is proud when he refuses to meet the weight of her gaze. “Did you enjoy that?”

Radomir tells her yes so quickly that she laughs in response, girlish still, and doesn’t even mind when he presses a kiss to the center of her palm.

-

She is tired from the trip across the desert; the sand has irritated her skin, clinging to even her eyelashes and dark tresses that she tried in vain to keep beneath muslin scarves, but she can sense his hatred of Harrow the minute they step into the Albtraum compound. His ever-wide gait somehow takes up even more space than usual as they navigate the narrow corridors. She places a hand on his wrist, quickly, and it is enough to pacify him for the moment.

He helps her change for dinner, silent, but he stands too closely behind her chair when she eats, discussing the state of affairs with her younger brother.
Harrow’s eyes flick judgingly between her and him. Knowingly, she thinks, but then he often miscalculates so much. “You have known Radomir for some time, Harrow. What is it? Is he bigger than you remembered?”

“There are … rumors. You keep your pets too close.”

Augusta lets her fork clatter to her plate, laughing. It sounds like glass breaking. “And yet you, apparently, did not keep yours close enough. I heard you are allowing Ita to everyone now, since she has disgraced you. Death is a more appropriate sentence, if you ask me, but then you do treasure sentimentality more than I.”

“Ita is accepting of her situation. She is aware of what she has done. She will repent in time. A swan is still a precious thing.”

“Ah, well, I’ve never cared for birds,” she settles back into her seat, stomach only half-full; her hunger has been satiated by her love of competition and an idea that brews quickly inside of her.

She tells Radomir afterwards that she wants him to fight in the next battle. She talks while she, in a rare display of attention, removes his tie and slides his jacket from his shoulders herself. She hates him dressed formally, polished up like a ridiculous butler, like the guards Arletta and Harrow favor. He is not fit for the refinement of Harrow’s compound. She likes him best on the road, in the desert, turned rugged from the scorching sun and the cold nights, when his mouth is like sandpaper and his hands are cracked from the heat. He seems like a fraud in a suit – like an imposter of a beast rather than the thing itself.

Even with the precariously thin heels strapped to her ankles, he is still taller than her. But he looks down fully, keeping her gaze, and shows his teeth in a grin when she snaps his belt open in one fluid twist of her wrist. “So you will fight, and you will win, and then you will fuck Harrow’s swan until she is bloody.”

She slides the leather from his hips slowly, smiling, lifting her hands to hook the belt around his neck and pull him forward till he can feel and taste her breath against his mouth. Augusta shapes the words against his lips with her own, “You can pretend she’s me if you want.”
He growls in response, and she wonders if it’s the idea or the promise of blood that excites him more.

-

He wins.

He wins with blood and brain on his hands, and he does not let the attendants wash him before he is delivered to the champion’s room where he can smell the swan from ten feet away.

He saves the washing for later when Augusta has prepared him a reward – a bath so hot that it threatens to blister – a bath that is purgative. She lets him enjoy the heat and the steam. The silence of the moment, rubbing her wet fingers into the crooks of his shoulders, feeling the muscles beneath her nails. When his eyes begin to grow heavy, she strips and steps into the water. His massive shape crowds the bath, but Augusta settles on the opposite end; he moves to accommodate her wordlessly, her legs touching his beneath the water, her arms resting on the curved linoleum of the bath.

“Did she enjoy it?”

“It pained her.”

“Good. But I imagine you hurt all women … many illustrious ones have wanted to pay for your company, you know.”

Rad quirks the corner of his mouth in a smirk. Bravado or not, he is tired – she can tell by the way he has relaxed into the water, by the wandering cut of his gaze, how his voice is lower than usual. “No,” he says at last, “it pained her because she has bonded.”

Augusta curls her toes, bends her knee, runs the arch of her foot against his calf. “Oh, I see. Even better. Harrow had been waiting for that. I hadn’t realized it had already happened. He never said, although, why would he?”

“No, not with Harrow. The smell was different.”

“The shifter, then. The one she ran away with.”

He nods, the slightest dip of his head, and closes his eyes. He wants to fold his arms behind his head and rest. There is a drumming in his head that will not stop.

“Radomir.”

The water rises and falls with the shift of her body. Augusta moves to her knees, unabashed in her nakedness, and catches him by the chin. He opens his eyes immediately. He has lovely eyes when he is like this – when he has been made vulnerable. He has trouble keeping out his emotions, and she does not think he would be foolish enough to ever lie. But she does not need to even ask the question.

What bothers you?

She stares a moment longer, her fingers pinching his skin, before tsking at last. Her words are a sigh, but they manage to sting when she says, “…You disappoint me.” Augusta pushes her hand into his face before standing, the water streaming from her as from a bird’s feathers.
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
02 January 2015 @ 05:08 pm
 
This is long! And okay, I guess. I started with a distinct plan and then wrote porn and then tried to connect the porn with the plot. So, pay attention to the end when the link gets pretty thin.

Cut for length.

That's what she said.

Inspired, somewhat, by Roman's expression in this photo - https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/32/59/42/3259426bc9de1f24e3508aa6093af53b.jpg


Read more... )
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
08 November 2014 @ 03:20 pm
 
New piece! It's actually a completed piece too!

I'm putting it under a cut because, man, things escalate quickly. Notes/comments/thoughts at the bottom.

more than breathe )
 
 
you're too young & eager to love
07 November 2014 @ 10:33 pm
 
Trying out a new character!

--


Augusta was twelve the last time he crawled invited into her bed.
She remembers it because his eyes were wide and fearful – the eyes of a child – instead of hard and cruel. He had always been mean, and she suspected even then that Maximus indulged her brother’s peculiarities because he preferred cruelty to weakness, so the sight of his fear startled her because of its foreignness. Even by ten Harrow had begun cementing himself, furnishing his personality with savagery and hatred. He was never a child, not really, except for these occasions when his dreams forced him to reveal his age.
She was two years older than him, and she knew they were getting too old for such things, but she pushed aside her covers and let him slide his cold hands around her waist. He buried his head into her neck, his breath hot on her throat, and she felt the way his mouth twisted as he struggled to contain his tears.
If Harrow cried, he would never forgive himself; he would be horrible in his shame and angry with her for witnessing it, so she stroked the back of his neck to sooth him. “Do you remember your mother?” She never asked him about his dreams. It would be pointless. Intimate conversation was an art form, a skill to be mastered, a strategy to be implemented. It was not meant for siblings.
He shook his head. He was quiet when he was vulnerable. Quiet usually implied the possibility of an emotional outburst, but even Harrow would be punished if he was caught out of his rooms at this hour. Perhaps he was sulking instead – even after all these years, she could predicate his moods only occasionally. They came and went with the tides.
“Well, I remember mine. They say father fell in love with her the first time he saw her, but her family wouldn’t let her marry him. She was better than he was. She was too good for him.”
Harrow’s voice was soft but angry, a drizzle of heat on her collarbone. “Your mother was a whore. … Everyone knows that.” He sounded like a serpent when he whispered.
Augusta tsked, chiding him. “She was royalty.”
“Was not. Father said he found her on the side of the road. Father said he cut off her head because she couldn’t have a son.”
“She had me.”
“You aren’t his son.” He was using his mean voice, but it was intentional. Instead of sounding flustered, his t’s and n’s were sharp, blade-like.
Augusta preferred his mean streaks to his fear. She was more accustomed with his sense of entitlement. Her voice was soft, like a conspirator, as gentle as butterfly wings, and she kept stroking his neck. “But I’m still his first.”
Harrow pinched her side, twisting her skin. His voice raised two octaves. “Father doesn’t need you! He tells me all the time.”
Quickly, stifling the yelp of a wounded puppy, she dug her nails into his shoulder until he squirmed. “Don’t be ungrateful.”