So, today for Labor Day I gave myself the gift of, uh, doing a bunch of random nonsense connected to exactly nothing. I wrote some fic for some pairings! I did a canon Erik/Charles fanmix, which you can find at my tumblr! And, also, the other day I played a fun "Give me the most random pairing you can think of," kind of meme, which was a blast. But, since I can't manage to create a useful tagging system on any platform, I figured it might be good to go ahead and archive all that nonsense here. So! This is a bunch of ficlets for a bunch of fandoms, slightly edited in some cases, grouped by pairing, fandom(s) and (if included) prompt! Hooray, or something.
So, starting with the completely random pairing meme:
Ariadne drifts in Paris, flitting from place to place, never setting down roots. She'd been warned, of course, that this would happen; she’s got all this new life under her belt, knowledge and money and pieces of Cobb's subconscious still sticking out from her at odd angles, leaving her unsure who or where she is. But here she is back in her old world, and the streets are all familiar but her fingers itch to turn them in on themselves, to stack and build them differently, to take them apart and stitch them up sideways.
Circumstance being what it is, chance being what it is, she happens down a side alley at the same time that Raven’s ducked into it to switch forms. Ariadne only sees the flicker of it out of the corner of her eye, but it’s enough, enough for someone who’s been trained to locate the strangeness of the dream—she reaches into her pocket and catches her totem between two fingers, and it feels the same as it always has, but that’s hardly enough to go by, nowhere near enough to trust. She can’t help but approach the blonde woman eyeing her with something like appraisal, and when she says, “If you’re a projection, you’re the best I’ve ever seen,” Raven just tilts her head, almost smiles.
(Four hours later, tongue slick-sliding along the deep-blue surface of Raven’s truest thighs, Ariadne still isn’t sure if she’s awake. She can’t decide if she really wants to know.)
Rory Williams/Eric Northman [Doctor Who/True Blood]
Rome falls, and Rory the toy soldier is left alone with a big black box and a heart large enough to make up for the fact that he doesn’t actually have one, these days. Eric, opportunistic at the best of times, is in town for the spectacle of human vs. human, and Rory smells strange, off, cold.
“I’m married,” says Rory, when Eric pushes him up against a building falling to disrepair. “Or, I should be. Will be. Might be. Was supposed to be, I’m off a couple thousand years but that’s not the point—”
“You are not human,” Eric says, fingers skating over cold skin, more curious than anything else.
“Well, you’re probably a giant fish,” says Rory. “D'you think you could maybe try to put the fangs up?”
Lord Vetinari/Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson [Discworld]
Vetinari has never been attracted to Carrot’s peculiar brand of….wholesomeness. If anything he finds it unsettling; he would happily take Vimes’ surly disrespect or Drumknott’s very subtle mockery, even da Quirm’s wide-eyed world wonder, over Captain Ironfoundersson’s perpetual smile. But it’s clear enough who he is, even clearer that he won’t admit it, and there’s a certain brand of restrained power in that that gets under Vetinari’s skin.
He’s a determined man, Havelock is. Anything he allows underneath his skin is bound to stick and stay.
He could never act on it, of course. He’s certainly intelligent enough to recognize the fine line between objectification and obsession, and the frisson of tension he feels when he looks at Carrot is some unquantifiable third thing. It eats at him every now and again, leaves him sharper than usual in meetings, setting the whole of Ankh-Morpork on edge; he grits his teeth, subtly enough to go unnoticed, as he pens his signature furiously across page after page of documents he’s skimmed instead of read.
Sometimes he catches Carrot’s eye, in the city’s darker moments, and thinks he sees a something there. It’s always fleeting, there-and-gone-again, replaced at once with that genial smile, but Vetinari’s too quick to miss it. We could raise cities together, he thinks, we could raze worlds, but he has a job to do. He is the man, and he has the vote, so he looks away and swallows.
War/Raven [Good Omens/XMFC]
Three weeks after her life falls apart at the edge of an ocean, Raven goes into town and casually, calmly steals a motorcycle. It’s probably a silly thing to do, all things considered—it’s not like she needs a motorcycle, not like she’s ever even wanted one—but it feels right where everything else feels wrong. She’s less a brother and a permanent address these days; there are moments where she feels as if she’s less a soul, though she tries not to dwell on that too much. Guilt flares wild within her, warring with a sense of purpose, a sense of self she doesn’t know how to shift around. The motorcycle is a deep, dark red, and the keys are in the ignition; she’s off before she knows what she’s doing, the asphalt singing under her, bike purring between her thighs.
Red Zubinger is a little miffed to find it missing, of course, but it’s worth it in the end. That’s the thing about War—she’s always liked a good fight.
Esme 'Granny' Weatherwax/Lord Vetinari [Discworld]
Esme Weatherwax comes into town shortly after the Glorious 25th of May—not that she’ll ever do it again, filthy places, cities, always so full of people and not a one of them knows what’s good for them, good country living, that’s what folks need. She meets Havelock, too young and too bright and too full of revolution, a baby Assassin with nothing better to do, in a bar that Ogg told her was worth a stop.
Ogg’s a liar, but Havelock isn’t. He’s got too much guile to lie.
There are moments, later—when Esme’s long since been Granny, when anyone who dares use Havelock’s first name is more likely than not to be met with the scorpions—where she wonders what would’ve happened if she’d stayed. “I’m too old for you,” she’d said then, and he’d met this with calm, flint-hard eyes.
“Ah,” he’d said. “I think you’ll find that’s not a problem, for me.”
She still gets a letter from him a few times a month, his typical nonsense—always did think too highly of himself, that boy. She tells him at least twice a year that she’ll not think twice about cursing him if he tries that kind of language with her again, and some nights she can hear him laughing all the way from that blasted city, carried to her on the wind. She remembers his hands, small, nimble, cold, the way it felt like he was weighing her worth with every touch, and doesn’t regret any of it (except, perhaps, the small sprig of lilac she’d fingered on the way out, the one she’s sure is still very much in bloom).
Crowley/Azazel [Good Omens/XMFC]
Crowley has a moment of temporary panic when the man walks into the bookshop, which, really, is only to be expected. The look is dead-on, and that’s really all it takes; there’s a second where his whole body freezes up in anticipation, waiting for the blow. Then he remembers that he’s done nothing worth of commendation lately, even less worthy of punishment, and there’s been nothing but Freddie Mercury coming through the Bentley’s speakers. He sticks his tongue out experimentally, and the air doesn’t taste like it would if this were…something to worry about.
“Angel?” he calls. “Your boys trying out a new uniform?”
“Really, my dear, I’m in the middle of—” Aziraphale starts, bustling out from the back, but he stops dead in his tracks when he hits the door. “Oh. Oh, I see. No, definitely not…one of mine.”
“Huh,” says Crowley. “Well, there you go.”
“Hello,” the newcomer says. He’s red as the day Crowley was born—well, reborn—well, semantics—and he’s definitely not human, not exactly. The more reptilian part of Crowley’s hindbrain jumps to attention; it’s all he can do not to slide into a form that would undoubtedly cause a few riots, just to see what this guy can do. ”I’m here to see a man about a book.”
“I think you’ll find that you’re not,” says Crowley, and smiles.
(Aziraphale doesn’t speak to him for a week, afterwards—“I’m not acting human,” he says, affronted, “jealously isn’t a human thing, did you never meet Hera? And in any case I’m certainly not jealous, when did I—why would you—oh, bugger.” Still, Crowley can’t bring himself to regret it. There’s something downright nostalgic about it, coming short of breath with a tail wrapped ‘round your throat.)
And now for something completely different: today's prompt responses (considerably more serious than those above, I assure you), as well as a little canon Raven ficlet, just because.
you know (the way you look makes everyone hungry), Raven [XMFC]
Raven still steals food, after.
She knows she doesn't have to; Charles does something, something that's just a little bit terrible in the right light, and no one ever questions her presence in the big empty house. She wanders freely, wide eyes taking in the views from the third floor windows, small hands catching on the thick, plush fabric of the heavy armchairs Charles curls up in to read, and eats when she feels like it.
But old habits are old habits, and sometimes she can't help herself. It's a can of green beans slipped from the kitchens; it's a box of thin, crisp wafer crackers, snatched off the table when no one is looking. Faith is all well and good, but Raven's old enough to know the darker intricacies of trust--there's a loose floorboard in her bedroom, and she keeps it stocked, just in case.
"I love you, you know," Charles says one night, eyes trained on the exact spot under which her backup plan is hidden, and Raven knows he knows. His eyes are sad and his voice is heavy, and not for the the first time she wonders what it must be like, to know everyone's darkest secrets, to be so old and so young at once.
"I'm sorry," she says, and she's not sure what she means, exactly--if it's I'm sorry I can't trust you or I'm sorry you feel that way or I'm sorry, but I've heard that before. He sighs and turns away, and Raven creeps downstairs in the dead of night, sneaks a chocolate bar up under her shirt in preparation for a future that may never come.
(When she's thirteen, she starts stealing glances; when she's eighteen, a loose end in a country she's never seen before, she steals a shop-clerk's virginity under the cover of a darkened bar. He calls her beautiful, the word thick on his tongue, hands sliding over the body she's borrowed for the evening. She takes that too, for all it isn't really hers; locks it up under the loose floorboards always creaking in her heart, tucked away as insurance, as comfort, as something else to fill her up should everything fall apart.)
John/Sherlock [BBC Sherlock], 'I couldn't get the boy to kill me'
—says “and you have to let go,” at the edge of the world, his feet scraping loose a cascade of pebbles that fall and fall towards the water and he should have told John, the callouses on his hand slick with sweat and he won’t do it, he won’t let go, Sherlock planned for every eventuality except this one, the flickering history of all that war on John’s face. “You have to let go,” and John’s grip goes tighter still and they’ve got seconds until Moriarty rouses himself and shoots John in the back and it’ll all be for naught, the parachute under his jacket and the months of careful construction and the way John is looking at him, eyes wide and mouth round around the words “I can’t, I can’t—”
Six people deep in line at the Tesco and Sherlock’s got the milk in his left hand, condensation cold and clear under his thumb and John smiling like he knows something, shifting on his feet. It’s too early and too late and Sherlock doesn’t imagine; imagination is for those who can’t chart reality in facts and the woman three spots in front of them has just left her husband and there’s a child two rows over considering the theft of a chocolate and John’s mouth will be on his in the alley two blocks up in seven minutes.
“What, then,” he says, and John ducks his head, shakes it, says “Nothing,” like it’s funny.
“Burn the heart out of you,” and it’s never been possible, Sherlock’s never had a heart, only a knot of muscle circulating blood through his chest but John blinks once, twice, and what was it that Mycroft always said—
There’s a line of thread loose on John’s black pajama bottoms and Sherlock isn’t sleeping, couldn’t ever catch the rhythm of it. John snores and Sherlock pulls, long fingers working the soft edge until half his hemline’s unraveled, kinked strangely along the stark white of the sheet, and they don’t mix, they never have, Sherlock’s never been a straight line and John’s corners will always be pulled military tight, and Sherlock splays his hands across John’s bared stomach and oh, oh, John’s breath stutters half-awake into his open hungry mouth—
Three hours clear of Semtex and laser-sights John says, “Well, let’s never do that again,” and Sherlock laughs, thick and childish, helpless against the living room wall. Their flat still smells faintly of burn marks and bad choices and Sherlock is glad to be alive for the first time he can remember, giddy with what he knows is just adrenaline and maybe something more—
—and John’s arms are close and his eyes are soft and hard at once and his hands are shaking (but never around a gun) as they tighten around Sherlock’s biceps and he says, “I suppose you could call this taking initiative,” and Sherlock says “Or the art of deduction,” and John says, “I’ll show you art—”
“You know,” says Mycroft, when Sherlock is eleven and smarter than everyone, burning ants with a magnifying glass in the back garden just to watch them die.
“Probably,” says Sherlock, not looking up, and Mycroft sighs. Always too old for his years he clears his throat once, twice, and Sherlock doesn’t pity their parents—the two of them run rings around the neighborhood but never quite each other, and these days Sherlock can taste Mycroft’s impending absence (surely what he has come out here to discuss) floating through the air like smoke.
“I’ll visit,” says Mycroft, and Sherlock smiles at the ground.
“Oh, Sherlock,” says Mycroft (and his tone is so unusual that it will come back to Sherlock years later, burn the heart out of you like it’s so violent a thought, as though Sherlock hasn’t already cauterized his wounds but not quite carefully enough), “truly deceitful men never need to lie.”
Crowley/Aziraphale [Good Omens], 'the entire history of human desire takes about seventy minutes to tell'
Aziraphale goes romantic on him in the strangest moments, eyes watering and flicking quickly away over dinner at the Ritz, hand going cold in his while they throw breadcrumbs to the ducks. They’re too human, these days, to be anyone but themselves—Crowley has seen Aziraphale’s eyes go black and his knuckles go white, knows about the shorn lock of Samson’s hair he keeps tucked away in the bookshop’s back room. They are in and of themselves a city in ruins and a future carved in alabaster, and Crowley’s tongue snakes across Aziraphale’s wrist in the darkness to tastes a hundred, a thousand lifetimes.
It’s unnecessary, of course—of course it’s unnecessary. Between the two of them there is more than enough climax to go around, the troughs and crests of humanity’s every desire at their fingertips; Crowley was there when the Song of Solomon was drawn haphazard across the page, knows that Aziraphale watched with tears in his eyes as Sarah laughed for Isaac. The air between them at any given moment holds multitudes, draws sparks across their borrowed skins, and Crowley may be more man than demon, but he’s certainly more demonic than man.
Still, there is the intake of Aziraphale’s breath against his collarbone, the soft scrape of nails against skin. It’s such a hideously human thing they’ve caught between them, affection bleeding furious into the air, writ like history across the sheets.
“My dear,” says Aziraphale, and every plant in Crowley’s apartment bursts recklessly into bloom. He once slept a whole century, dreamt wildly of this and only this, and he is damned already, for he knows Aziraphale knows.
“Angel,” says Crowley, “don’t,” and Aziraphale doesn’t, he doesn’t, except for the way he always does.
Sirius/Remus [Harry Potter], 'there are many names in history but none of them are ours'
Sirius goes to war the way Remus goes to the moon; with his entire self and entirely against his will. He fights like he fucks, focused and driven and laughing on it a little—Remus watches him because he’s helpless not to, risks his own neck for the line of Sirius’, blood-streaked. It is the first time in his life he’s thought to howl while human, hands dirty with clean magic, and when the higher-ups throw around words like “curse” and “unforgivable,” Remus wonders if they know what they mean.
“Moony,” Sirius says, on the train to the grocery. His voice is rough with sleeplessness, and Remus’s shirt conceals a cacophony of bandages, and the hell if he’ll spend another day in bed. There’s the war out there and the war in here, and Sirius’ hands are so familiar that it hurts to look at them, crossed across his lap.
“Yeah?” says Remus.
“You remember when we were eleven,” says Sirius, “and it seemed like—you know, I guess I always thought I’d die before I had to be. Fuck, I don’t know.”
“Don’t say things like that,” says Remus, and Sirius’ eyes are as ancient as his face isn’t, still rounded out and
devastatingly handsome if you don’t look too hard.
“Someone has to,” he says, and it’ll be years before Remus understands the tight, furious curve to his mouth, the way his hands clench against his thighs, the way he buys canned food and dry crackers like he’s steeling himself for something.
Erik/Charles [XMFC], 'a change in the weather'
Fresh out of the water, Charles and Erik sit across from each other wrapped in identical, worn blankets and don’t speak. Charles is cold from his toes up, but his mind is white-hot, churning with everything it touched (not his, not his, and years from now he’ll remember the callous abandon with which he stumbled around and wince, too late).
“Are you alright?” he says, finally, and Erik does look at him then. The boat rocks over the ocean and a cold wind blows wild, biting feral over their knuckles, leaving Charles shivering. Erik reaches out, pulls the blanket tighter around Charles’ shoulders, and betrays nothing.
“Hardly,” he says, mouth twisted sideways, “but then, I suppose you already knew that.”
For weeks after the beach Charles lays in bed and watches the rain streak across the window, and he thinks pathetic fallacy until the words become meaningless, until they twist and settle in the back of his mind and linger, and it’s only when he meets Ororo that the possibility occurs to him that it’s only the first of them that really applies—
Erik kisses him when they haven’t time for it, breath coming fast and rough in the back garden, and isn’t that just like Erik, stealing things he doesn’t have to take. Charles curls close to him, training be damned, and tastes sweat and summer air; the world may be coming to an end but not like this, not today, with the hydrangeas in bloom and Erik’s fingers tracing his jawline.
“You’re doing it again,” Erik murmurs, and Charles says, “What,” and Erik says, “You know what.”
Charles steps back and blinks, sunlight bouncing off the nearest window to riot across his irises, and Erik’s right; he does.
“We are old men,” Erik says, at forty, at fifty, at seventy-five over a chessboard in Central Park. Autumn has drawn the leaves on the trees to war again, displaying their colors with vicious abandon, and Charles is well-acquainted with the beauty humanity tends to see in death.
“We’ve always been that,” Charles says, at forty, at fifty, at seventy-five, hands steady in the fading light. When Erik smiles, he looks young.