Wed, Nov. 30th, 2005, 12:14 am
#46. Shades of Meaning [Zara]
She's hard, thin, sharp: all short words with pointed ends. She wields them against herself, against her red hair, her flat body, her thin hands in which the veins show like mold. She knows other words too, equally harsh: fool, cat, brat, bitch
. They rattle in her head, becoming a meaningless noise, like her breath.
Florian has other words for her. Russet
, he says, in a voice that makes her awful hair sound like silk; and auburn
, warm as velvet. Tigress
, he says laughing, as though her claws, her snarls, her spite, were something grand and wild.Indomitable
, he says, and indispensable
She knows it's nonsense; it's all words, most of them meaning nothing. But she wants, all the same, to be as beautiful as he makes her sound.
Wed, Sep. 7th, 2005, 12:34 pm
#45. Moment of Weakness
When he gets back to headquarters, Zara is nowhere to be seen; he is left to seek out Florian for himself.
He's sitting at the familiar table among the maps and dispatches and the neglected, guttering candles, his head buried in his arms. He looks up as Luther sets down the packet of letters, his eyes bleak and defiant. Luther understands: one of Zara's duties is to protect him from being seen like this, to save his pride.
But Luther has been with him a long time now. He rests an arm across Florian's worn shoulders and stands there, silently.
Wed, Sep. 7th, 2005, 12:32 pm
#44. Speech [Les Mis/Arthurian]
(Jehan/Mordred for Soujin.)
"And what do you do?"
"I-- well, I can read Hebrew."
The Englishman laughs. "On purpose?"
"I like old languages," Jehan protests, needing to explain. "They're not dead as long as I know them."
The man's dark eyes grow gentler. "Is that so? Then I'll teach you another."
Thu, Jun. 9th, 2005, 06:45 pm
#43. Bird [Notre-Dame/Jekyll & Hyde]
The girl moves with a liquid, animal grace, the light glittering on her oil-black hair as she passes under a streetlamp. Her dusky skin is smooth and fresh. She is a bird, a ripe brown fruit, a shining toy, astray in the shadows.
One of the shadows moves.
She pauses in mid-flight, her dark eyes luminous with fright. "Who is that?"
"Where to so fast?"
Her voice is like her body, small but pure. Her English is tinted with the rich tones of Spanish, the cadences of French. "I am looking for my little goat."
Sat, Jun. 4th, 2005, 12:20 am
#42. Chinoiserie [Les Mis/Wicked]
She calls herself Shenshen, inspired perhaps by the Oriental tilt of her golden-green eyes. Bahorel spends a modest fortune on scent for her, and heavy jade earrings. It's worth it to have such a gorgeous creature on his arm, and such amusing company; for Shenshen has a knack for telling wild tales when provoked.
"I'm very well connected, you know--"
"Chérie, I'm certain of it."
"I've been to university, if it comes to that," pointing her fan at him.
"Have you, now?"
Shenshen nods, curls bobbing. "I studied life sciences with a Goat."
Bahorel roars with laughter, and kisses her.
Fri, Jun. 3rd, 2005, 02:30 am
#41. Parted [Sandman/M&Cbookverse]
[Even more inspired by Desperate Fans
They had buried Diana that morning, under a diamond-blue sky. When the rain began, after midnight, Stephen was sitting dry-eyed in the dark room.
Not quite alone. She stood with her back to him; the gloss of her black hair distinguished her from the shadows.
"Are you not content?" he asked her.
"Yes," she said, and turned to him a pale, pale face more familiar than his own. "Would you come with me now?"
Her dark eyes were gentle. "No," he said at length. "Not even yet."
And Death smiled, swept him a curtsey, and was gone.
Fri, Jun. 3rd, 2005, 02:28 am
#40. Inescapable [Westmark]
[Inspired by Desperate Fans
Justin could not remember quite when the woman had joined them. She was tall and handsome, her dark hair flowing loose and blending with the smoke; she kept pace with him easily, at the head of the throng.
He hailed her, in a breathless pause: "You! What's your name?"
She threw him a hard grin. "Nemesis."
It made him smile, for the first time in days.
He lost her for a time, in the twisting streets. When he caught sight of Theo at the foot of the barricade, fury blinded him. He forgot her entirely, until her sword flashed down.
Wed, Mar. 9th, 2005, 04:27 pm
#39. Adventurous [Joly]
"Not feeling adventurous?" Bossuet leans down from his perch at a perilous angle, his round face beaming, and Joly represses a shudder.
"Concussion," he says. "Multiple fractures, if not instantaneous death, and--"
"Don't be an old maid. Come on up, you can see for miles."
"Laigle de Meaux, if you think I am going to patch you up when you break your neck, much less risk my own for the sake of a damned landscape, you are sorely mistaken."
"Bah. If half the disasters men predicted came to pass, we'd none of us be here by now. Come on, there's a good fellow. The wind in your hair will do you good."
"And how would you know?" Joly retorts, picking his way up the crumbling steps after his friend.
"Oh, we are surly today."
"We are cold today, and we want to get home to a decent fire and a change of clothes, preferably in one piece."
Thu, Feb. 17th, 2005, 10:48 pm
#38. Studies [M&C moviefic]
His mother cried when she saw his empty sleeve, and again when he went clumsily to her -- still unsteady on the solid ground -- and found he was an inch the taller. She wore lavender taffeta, and her hair was greyer than Will remembered it.
To escape her worried, bewildered eyes he does his studying in the garden, sitting on the grass with a book propped on his knee and his back against the ivy-covered wall. When his head begins to spin with tangents and cosines, he takes to drawing caterpillars and ladybirds, unconsciously imitating the Doctor’s frown of concentration.
Sun, Jan. 30th, 2005, 12:25 am
#37. Revisions [Prouvaire]
Jehan spends hours shaping his poetic flights, polishing each word, each inflection in his mind. In the evenings, after the first ardors are spent, he tries them out in bed. Some phrases make Combeferre redden with stifled laughter, and tickle him till he yelps in protest. Others merit only a smile, so tranquil and so fond that even Jehan’s tender pride cannot smart for long.
A few win him a look of startlement, almost of wonder, and then a long, distracting kiss. Those are the ones he remembers, treasuring them all night, rising early next morning to write them down.
Sat, Aug. 14th, 2004, 06:27 pm
#36. Earth [Combeferre]
It is hard to say why Courfeyrac charms him. He is a little crude, a little selfish, more than a little heedless. His humors make Combeferre wince as often as they make him chuckle.
And yet there is something refreshing in his company, in his earthy conversation and his endless refinements of lovemaking, in the sparkle of his eyes. Combeferre finds something in himself loosened by Courfeyrac's laughter, softened by his kisses, and he yields, with bemusement, gratefully.
Tue, Apr. 6th, 2004, 11:32 pm
#35. Nostalgia [Westmark]
Summer infects the townsfolk with the usual maladies, such as hay fever and love. Zara fares worse; she contracts a case of nostalgia.
It's all very well for Rina to moon about in a puddle of sentimentality; presumably the soap fumes get to her brain; but what excuse does a sensible young woman have to sit in her room doing her steady, paid work, and pine for the days of starving in a badly thatched cottage? Zara *likes* it here. The roofs leak less, and if she's still surrounded by idiots, at least they're educated idiots.
It's only in these days of high summer, with the scent of flowers and sun-dried grass floating up through the grimy streets, that she has fits of melancholy. She finds herself gazing out the window, southward over the rooftops, thinking of green-gold fields. Of trees.
Things were simpler then. Much duller, much less satisfying, more difficult, but simpler. She hadn't learned how to think outside herself, the world no bigger than she could see standing in one place; she hadn't learned how it felt to lose an argument, or break something she couldn't mend, or walk through a dark alley at night, or fall in love.
Tue, Mar. 2nd, 2004, 10:33 pm
#34. Excessive [Dahlia]
His charm is excessive, Dahlia thinks; forced and artificial. Only a girl as green as Fantine is would find him so enthralling. Not that that should dismay him; the world is full of pretty little ninnies. For herself, she prefers a man who only speaks when he has something clever to say.
Yet she can't find it in her to dislike Fantine. There's something endearing about her silliness; maybe it's only that she can be serious sometimes. Dahlia despises giggling girls.
All the girls make a pet of Fantine; she is so pretty, and so engaging, and often seems so helpless. She isn't catty, the way Favourite often is; and she isn't stupid, except over Felix.
Besides, Dahlia can remember being that stupid, too. Sometimes she finds time to hope the Blonde will grow out of it more painlessly than she did.
Sun, Jan. 11th, 2004, 02:09 pm
#33. Perfection [Cosette]
She can't remember a time when her father found fault with her. Even when she'd gotten into some childish trouble, he would only shake his head and ask her, mildly, what on earth she had been doing. She'd had her ears scalded by exasperated nuns once or twice; never by him.
Which doesn't explain how desperately she tried to be good. Not when she was deliberately breaking rules -- stealing sugar, sneaking out of bed at night with Lise and Laurentine. Then she was full of something that sparkled and stung her to daring, some cheerful devil that possessed her, and though she might be sorry afterwards for causing other people trouble, she never really regretted.
It was at other times that the shadow caught at her mind, the fear that something she didn't know she was doing would bring wrath down on her head. She felt, obscurely, that when you were most trying to be good was when you were most likely to be caught.
Now she is grown, and Marius frightens her sometimes with his adoration. Oh don't, don't,
she thinks; I'm not perfect, I know I'm not, and you'll be so angry when you find it out--
So she tries, still, to be good; to be better than anyone expects her to be. Just in case.
Mon, Dec. 29th, 2003, 11:35 pm
#32. Vigil [Valjean]
When Cosette's eyes are closed and her breathing slow and even, he stirs at last, stretching the stiffness out of his shoulders. Carefully he gathers her up and carries her to the bed, where Catharine is waiting with glass-eyed tranquillity.
It all seems very strange, very natural.
Her face is solemn when she sleeps. Sometimes she wakes in the middle of the night, stifling panicked sobs. He has slept through all sorts of pandemonium, but that noise, small and terrible, always brings him awake. Then he will sing her back to sleep, in a voice gone rusty with disuse.
Sun, Dec. 28th, 2003, 09:43 pm
#31. Blue [Cosette]
Once, during the long months of separation, she had a moment of strange brightness.
She was following her father down the church steps when her foot slipped on the ice. There was a moment of dizzy panic, then a strong arm caught her almost casually.
Sapphire eyes met azure. Cosette felt a pang, nameless, but familiar.
"Merci," she murmured, but the young man, with a look almost of embarrassment, was already hurrying away.
Years later she could still see that look and the brightness of his eyes, in her mind. Sometimes, at midnight, she wondered what had become of him.
Sun, Dec. 28th, 2003, 09:42 pm
#30. Comedy [Mary Sue]
"Alas, Jean," sighed Arielle Raine, star of the Paris stage. "I would run away with you to England, but how can I leave my work?"
Valjean stroked her thick auburn hair, whose streaks of premature silver made him feel they had so much in common. "Never fear, I would look after you, and Cosette would be good company for you."
Arielle shook her head, her signature braids swinging, and her silver eyes shone with tears. A passing stagehand called her a crybaby, before leaving the theatre and promptly being murdered in an alley. Meanwhile Arielle pleaded her case with breathtaking eloquence, and Valjean went sadly home to pack.
"Oh no!" said Arielle to the mirror. "I have forsaken my one true love! If I call a cab now I can meet him at the dock." So she did, and they lived happily ever after in the Cotswolds. The end.
Sun, Dec. 28th, 2003, 09:40 pm
#29. Snow [Grantaire]
"My God, your hands." Grantaire catches them in his own, chafing the pale fingers. "Can't you wear gloves like a sane man?"
There are snowflakes in Enjolras's hair, flecks of ice in his blue eyes. "I'm all right," he says, and tries to pull away. But Grantaire draws him close, into an embrace warmed by brandy and a good fire. By the time he realizes his daring, Enjolras has relaxed into his arms.
He kisses the snowflakes away, silent with wonder. That it should come to this -- that his love and concern should be accepted, as a matter of course.
Thu, Nov. 13th, 2003, 11:40 pm
#28. Fascination [Louison]
Slight of build, fair unto pallor, eyes so bright they seem fevered. There is an undeniable charm to him, a fey glamour, the charisma of the young genius, dead at twenty-five of consumption. Louison dreams of him sometimes, but not dreams of love. Avenging angels have his face, and drowning strangers who struggle silently as she passes by, and nameless fiends, lovely and treacherous. What he stirs in her is not desire, nor fear, but something akin to both. She watches his hands move, fascinated, and never ventures too close to him, lest she be drawn in irrevocably.
Fri, Oct. 3rd, 2003, 11:08 pm
#27. Confines [Enjolras]
Enjolras rests his head in his hands, and regards the blank paper in front of him with irritation. Two hours he's been sitting here, with nothing to show for it but an introductory line and a great deal of aimless scribbles in the margins. The written word baffles him. Give him an attentive ear, a moment of silence, and he could say all that he has to say, concisely, eloquently; but, restricted to the confines of an empty page, he finds himself maddeningly mute.
But this is the way it has to be, because words spoken can be lost, repeated amiss, distorted. There is nothing for it but to commit himself to paper, frail messenger though it is.