ilcuoreardendo: (hollow)
He’s getting ready for the show
He’s going to the carnival tonight
On Desolation Row


“Desolation Row” – Bob Dylan






He’s in a nondescript hotel room, in a nondescript town, and the blood of a nondescript prostitute—Mary, she’d said, my name is Mary, and he’d had to hold back a laugh—is drying on the threadbare rug.

He washes his hands in the dingy bathroom sink. On the vanity, a silver ring catches his eye. He picks it up, turns it between his fingers, holds it in his palm. Then he’s not in the room anymore.

It’s yesterday. He’s on the street a few blocks from here. He sees the man—lanky, unremarkable, wearing crumpled business clothes—who’d given Mary the ring.

The ring had belonged to the man’s wife; she’ run off, taken the kids, left the ring.

It was more than enough payment for what he’d wanted from Mary. What he wanted to do to her. He’d put her on her knees. Called her by his wife’s name. Slapped her. Then bent her over the mean wooden dresser and fucked her, unprotected, until she bit her lip—breaking the skin—and begged him to stop.

Sylar shudders, blinks his eyes open and is greeted with his own reflection in a filthy mirror. He cracks the vertebrae in his neck to release the tension that had taken him with the sudden onset of the vision. This new ability would take a little getting used to.

He steps out of the bathroom, looks once at the half-clothed form on the bed. The pillow, where the ruin of her head lays, is soaked in blood. But Mary looks…at peace.

He drapes her discarded shirt over her—covering her naked torso and the hand-shaped bruises where yesterday’s John had gripped her around her waist—before flicking off the light and shutting the door behind him as he walks out into the night.



The Meme:

Choose a subject and put your entire music collection on shuffle, hit play, and write. Write for as long as each song plays and move on to a different writing when the song switches (even if it's mid-sentence). Go for 5-10 songs.
ilcuoreardendo: (Default)
1. Pick a character, pairing, or fandom you like.
2. Turn on your music player and put it on random/shuffle.
3. Write a drabble related to each song that plays. You only have the time frame of the song to finish the drabble; you start when the song starts, and stop when it’s over. No lingering afterwards!
ilcuoreardendo: (my everything)
Title: For Body and Soul (32 Wheeljack/Ratchet ficlets)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] ilcuoreardendo
Fandom: Transformers (2007, with some inspiration from G1)
Characters/Pairing: Wheeljack/Ratchet
Rating: M(ature). [For bot sex, death.]
Genre: Drama
Notes: This piece is complete. It was inspired by prompts from [livejournal.com profile] 1sentence. I was originally going to do all 50 prompts (properly - 1 sentence each), but life happened and this piece remained partially unfinished and rambling around my flash drive. So I chucked the rules...

The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated. ~Plato )
~


Crossposted: [livejournal.com profile] tf2007fun
ilcuoreardendo: (Default)
The Meme: Choose a subject and put your entire music collection on shuffle, hit play, and write. Write for as long as each song plays and move on to a different writing when the song switches (even if it's mid-sentence). Go for 5-10 songs.

Comments are ♥.


Song: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” – Emilie Autumn
Fandom: Star Trek XI (2009)
Characters/Pairing: McCoy/Chapel
Genre: General, Romantic
Warnings: Sexuality, nudity
Spoilers: None

She wakes up naked and not in her own bed. )



Song: "Maiden Voyage" -- The Clockwork Dolls
Fandom: Heroes
Characters/Pairing: Claire, Sylar
Genre: General, AU-ish
Warnings: None
Spoilers: Vague spoilers for beginning of Season 3.


He's touched her more intimately than any lover ever will. )




Song: "Scarborough Fair" - Sarah Brightman
Fandom: Heroes
Characters/Pairing: Peter/Caitlin
Genre: General, Romance, During Series
Warnings: Sex
Spoilers: For Season 2

He wakes to the sound of singing.... )



Song: "Baby Blue" - Emiliana Torrini
Fandom: Heroes
Characters/Pairing: Peter, Claire (Tilt your head and squint for pairing possibilities.)
Genre: Post-Series / AU
Warnings: Death
Spoilers: None that I see


Every year, they come to the seashore. )



Song: "Crash and Burn" - Savage Garden
Fandom: Heroes
Characters/Pairing: Peter/Claire
Genre: Post-Series.
Warnings: Genetic sexual attraction (GSA). Sex. Incest. Fully consensual, but I guess I'm going to the special hell now. At least I'm enjoying myself.

Spoilers: None.


When there’s no one left alive who knows of your genetic connection with one another, is a relationship still taboo? )



Song: "I Touch Myself" - The Divinyls
Fandom: Heroes
Characters/Pairing: Claire/___
Genre: AU
Warnings: GSA. Sexuality. Voyeurism. Incest. (Special hell, yep.)
Spoilers: A bit of one for "5 Years Gone."

She doesn't know how it started. )



Crossposted everywhere. ([livejournal.com profile] heroes_fic; [livejournal.com profile] heroes_het_fic; [livejournal.com profile] paire_love; [livejournal.com profile] st_reboot; [livejournal.com profile] mccoy_chapel)
ilcuoreardendo: (cheaper than therapy)
Title: Pieces
Fandom: Heroes
Rating: PG13-ish
Characters: Claire, Sylar
Genre: General, Drama, Horror, AU-ish elements
Notes: I don't know what this is. It started out wanting to be something else but became a sort of random scene/character sketch... Takes place in Season 3, "The Second Coming."



The only sounds in the room are his deep sighs, the slick soft swish of fingers across moist tissues. )
~

Crossposted: [livejournal.com profile] heroes_fic; [livejournal.com profile] heroesfic; [livejournal.com profile] sylar_claire
ilcuoreardendo: (shame < fandom + porn)
AN: Another random idea I began playing around with a while back, based on a 5 Senses challenge that I saw someone doing. This is incomplete. I'm not sure it will be completed... (But, hope springs eternal.)


Here's what currently exists. Unedited, unrefined.


If that is his choice...

Yes.



Touch


Bumblebee sat low on his tires in the Witwicky driveway, enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun along his body, occasionally scanning the quiet neighborhood. Months of living here and curiosity still moved him to watch the everyday actions of the surrounding humans.

Mrs. Sutterly and her Scottish Terrier out for their mid afternoon walk. The postal worker a block over, delivering the last of the day's mail. Down the street a teenager playing with his newly installed car stereo system, the bass thrumming through the air, vibrating along Bee's sensors until he tuned out.

And inside the Witwicky home, two figures, only. Sam's creators...parents...had left for the week to visit friends a few hundred miles North.

Mojo was a small blot on his sensors, kicking legs and rapid heartbeat as he recharged in one of the rooms at the base of the house. And Sam, a strange and wonderful new presence in his systems, was just rising from an "afternoon nap."

He tracked Sam through the house--rising from the bed, visiting the room Bumblebee often heard him call the "John," (again, he'd had to scour the Internet for the reference, and he still puzzled over its use) then moving down into the kitchen and finally out the front door, dressed haphazardly and blinking into the light of the setting sun.

"Hey, Bee," he said and Bumblebee softly revved his engine before opening the driver's side door.

Bumblebee enjoyed the feel of Sam shaping his body to the seat, sleep-warm human skin on sun heated leather.



Taste

Sam didn't hide surprise well. He'd worked at it, but always failed miserably, his cheeks heating without his approval or his mouth falling open despite a clenched jaw.

When he walked out on Sunday afternoon to greet a just-returning-from-a-meeting Bee and found, leaning against the side of the Camaro, a slim, dark figure, he stopped short, blinking, and tried very, very hard to keep his mouth closed. But didn't succeed.

Dark hair, burnished gold, as though it had been bleached. Eyes of that color he could never quite identify, even on humans--a base green with a mixture of brown-turned-gold--dusky skin and a delicate facial structure that hinted at a cross of Caucasian and Asian genetics. Tiniest human imperfections, faint crinkles forming around the eyes, what looked like a healing burn--shiny and smooth hiding near the hair at his temple--and a mass of white scar tissue flowing along his neck, dribbling down onto the collar bone like molten wax.

"Bumblebee?" he asked, moving slowly toward the figure. "Wha--How?"

"The closest word in your language is hologram," Bumblebee said, flashing very white teeth. "There are limits, of course, on our transforming abilities, so this is how we interact with smaller, organic life forms. Some of us are better at blending than others." Bee winked at him, finding the action he'd often seen demonstrated simple in its execution and pleasing in the reward it brought: a quick, faint, rush of blood to Sam's cheeks.

"Do you all get one of these?"

"The generators are not standard issue... But with the odds of us remaining on Earth, I have a feeling Ratchet will be outfitting the rest of the Autobots as quickly as Wheeljack can get new generators together and running."

Sam took a tentative step forward, then another, coming to stand beside the strange new figure. He held out his hand, starting in slight surprise when the "human" Bee raised his own, touched Sam's fingers, slid their hands together until their palms met.

It wasn't quite like touching another human, though he wasn't sure why not. Too much warmth in the skin, maybe? Or a smoothness in the palms that just didn't exist. He turned Bee's hand over, examined the palm, finding the lengthy heart and life lines and hundreds of smaller ones that may have been etchings of a life that had lasted a millenia.

"You ready?"

"What? Where are we going?"


[...No transitional material at this point...]


"I was very pleased when Ratchet repaired my generator. I've missed being able to blend... And as I've said, humans are unlike other life forms we've come across and I've...been..." He paused. "I've been told my curiosity is insatiable."

"What were you curious about?"

"Humans. Certain....interactions. I've wanted to know what it feels like."

"What what feels like?"

"This."

He cupped Sam's face in his hands, fingers tracing the fine shape of bones beneath the warm and delicate skin, sifting through the soft fringe of hair that Sam had been letting grow out for the last few months.

The boy sat frozen in surprise, but Bee felt the muscles relax in increments as he continued his slow examination, caressing the brow, the arch of the nose, following the line of the jaw.

Bee had seen other organics in his travels, some undeniably strange looking, and though there was a definite peculiarity to humans--he still wasn't sure about the design of eyebrows, for instance--the similarities in their two species were undeniable.

There were more expressions, more ease of movement in malleable human skin than in metal, certainly, but he admired the zygomatic arch, the shape and color of human eyes--the flecks of green that shone inside Sam's and the way they gave Bumblebee back his reflection--and the clean, strong line of the jaw; just as he might admire, in one of his kind, the design of the malar plating, the clearness of the optics, the length and strength of the mandibular ridge.

And then there were things that were undeniably different...

He traced his thumb over the full curve of Sam's lower lip, admiring the softness of the skin there. He did it again, a little firmer, watching the flesh yield to him. And again, sliding the very tip of his thumb just beyond, feeling the damp heat.

And with that, he dipped his head forward, making up for his hologram's slightly greater height, and brushed a closed mouth along Sam's, heard and savored the responding gasp. He edged his tongue against the parted lips, dipping inside to trace the fine edges of teeth, rising up to brush against the hard palate.

Gustatory sensors ran riot, perusing and adapting the information--chemicals in the makeup of the apple recently eaten, registering the taste as sweet like oil truffles, sharp like well aged energon. Faintest taste of blood rushing beneath the skin, metallic sweet and he calculated the iron contents. Then, something unique unto itself, unidentifiable, a taste that was all Sam's own, crafted by that special combination of human genetics.

Bee sampled, stored the information away for future analysis.

Then tentatively, oh so tentatively--yes--he felt Sam's tongue move, brush against his own and the feel of it was almost electric, like a short in his wiring. Yes. He slid an arm around the boy, one hand resting at the base of his spine, the other cupping the back of Sam's head, a movement designed to soothe as well as dominate.
ilcuoreardendo: (cheaper than therapy)
"No-no. Sh-sh-sh-sh. You were doing fine." His hands came around her face, cupping her cheeks, fingers digging into the loose curls of her hair. "What? Is it the scars? Hm. I was once told women find scars...aah...sexy. That they like...battle wounds. Maybe it'd help you to know how I got 'em?"

She shook her head, pain twinging her scalp as his fingers pulled her hair.

"No? Hm. Well then, you know what they say...out of sight, out of mind?" He reached for the bed side lamp, threw it across the room. Sound of shattering glass and everything went pitch dark.




AN: This is the result of my brain running off on a random tangent.
ilcuoreardendo: (vincent)
The rules for the meme are as follows:

Choose a subject and go -

Writing: Put your entire music collection on shuffle, hit play, and write. Write for as long as each song plays and move on to a different writing when the song switches(even if it's mid-sentence). Go for ten songs(or five). If nothing comes, it still counts. If you're listening to a comedian, you can skip it.

Drawing: Basically same as the writing, only you draw for the duration of the song instead of write.



Beauty of the Beast )


The Cookie Factory )


The No Seatbelt Song )
ilcuoreardendo: (Default)




100 Fairy Tales Prompt Set

001. The fox as shepherd.
002. Curing a sick lion.
003. The saving blood. 004. The first to see the sunrise. 005. Learning to fear men.
006. What was whispered in his ear. 007. Blood-brothers. 008. Sin and grace. 009. The danced-out shoes. 010. The princess in the shroud.
011. The girl as helper in the hero’s fight. 012. The youth transformed. 013. The magician and his pupil. 014. The youth who wanted to learn what fear is. 015. Little brother and little sister.
016. Sleeping beauty. 017. Friends in life and death. 018. The bridge to the other world. 019. The confession. 020. All stick together.
021. Beloved of women. 022. The dance among thorns. 023. The devil’s contract. 024. Open sesame. 025. Invisible voices.
026. Her only trick. 027. The hunter. 028. The lazy boy. 029. The snare. 030. The rhyme.
031. Thank you three times.
032. Why it turned winter. 033. The spider brings luck. 034. A pound of flesh. 035. Wise through experience.
036. Like wind in the hot sun. 037. The blood that testified to the truth. 038. The partition of an inheritance. 039. Bargain not to become angry. 040. Casting eyes.
041. Cleaning the child. 042. Contest in words. 043. The ogre injured. 044. As much as you can carry. 045. With his whole heart.
046. The man who competes with the devil. 047. The girl who ate so little. 048. Sunlight carried into the windowless house. 049. The man takes seriously the prediction of death. 050. Mistaken identity.
051. Fools frightened. 052. Sailing in a contrary wind. 053. Hospitality. 054. How wide the world is. 055. The girl who patched her apron.
056. The silence wager. 057. The old woman as troublemaker. 058. The girl who does not know herself. 059. The thunderstorm. 060. Staying with a friend in rainy weather.
061. The practical girl.
062. Keeping up appearances. 063. Clean and tidy. 064. Nothing to cook. 065. The dead shall remain dead.
066. A clever boy. 067. The girl who ran so fast. 068. Carrying part of the load. 069. The girl who wanted to be always young. 070. The first harbinger of spring.
071. Cleverness and gullibility. 072. For the long winter. 073. Know-it-all. 074. Building castles in the air. 075. What should I have said?
076. The forgotten word. 077. Jealousy. 078. Two match-makers. 079. Echo answers. 080. Can’t take a joke.
081. Cards fall from the sleeve of the preacher. 082. The man who will never say thanks. 083. The girl who is spinning the thread of fate. 084. Good-bye, you dirty world. 085. 'Who gives his own goods shall receive it back tenfold.'
086. Three words at the grave. 087. Imagined penance for imagined sin. 088. A realistic demonstration. 089. You shall see me a little while longer.
090. Another matter.
091. Too much talk. 092. Wishing contests. 093. A miraculous escape. 094. Good luck. 095. I knew you were coming.
096. Unusual hearing. 097. The wishing ring. 098. No time for sickness. 099. The lucky shot. 100. The poisoned apple.
ilcuoreardendo: (tom whisper)
A little vignette.


"Delirium"



In delirium
Things are not what they seem
I am not alone
I dream

~"Delirium," Emilie Autumn


She always knew when she was dreaming. This time was no exception.

The sky was a shade of crimson she'd not seen since her parents had taken her on a trip to the Painted Desert. Red merged into silver merged into blue-black and the pinpricks of stars were growing brighter toward the apex of the sky.

She was barefoot.

She was always barefoot in her dreams, but nowadays the textures beneath her feet were much more prominent. She could feel the sharp tickle of the grass blades as she walked, the crumbling earth, the occasional jagged edge of rock or pebble unearthed from the soil. She could smell the rain dampened trees. Feel the ephemeral breeze that stroked her skin. And she could move herself along whatever path she chose, explore the shadowed corners of her ephemeral world at her choosing.

Lucid dreaming had been a practice she'd put time into for the last two years. Since the Department of Mysteries. Since the nightmares she'd found herself facing most every time she closed her eyes, nightmares that locked her down, froze her mind.

And if there was one thing Hermione Granger detested, it was not having her mind under her own control.

And so she spent many late hours in the depths of the Hogwarts library, researching sleep and dreams. A few complexly-simple charms and she found herself, if not able to prevent the nightmare, to at least wake herself up before screaming became necessary.

Tonight, she glanced behind her dream-self, saw the world drop off into a smoky abyss. Before her lay stone studded ground, a mesh of wrought-iron surrounding it, silhouettes of tombs rising out of long grasses like slivers of bone.

She felt it then, that tug in her belly, an invisible chord wrapped around her abdomen, pulling her toward whatever she was meant to see.

Time eclipsed, as it often did in dreams, and she found herself further along the sandy path and moving into the grass, toward a hulking shadow of a tomb.

Death in all his dark glory spread his angel's wings and held his scythe close to the tomb as though protecting against any who might draw too near, or guarding against that which might leave. She moved closer, ran her forefinger along the granite, traced the dagger sharp edge of the lettering that was so dark and shining it seemed to swim just above the stone.

Thomas Riddle

Witch mother, she thought, tracing the letters of the name, dead at his birth. Muggle father. Patricide.

Death, she thought, recalling a quote she once read, is terrifying because it is so ordinary. It happens all the time.

She flinched as long, cool fingers swept along her neck, drawing her hair back, gathering it at the nape.

What do you think, Hermione? came the voice over her shoulder, a mere whisper, chilling her skin.

"I think you traded one kind of ordinary for another," she said. "How uncommon is a serial killer who was abandoned as a child, bullied, abused? Really. There are myriad profiles for this sort of thing."

Silence followed. Then...

You've an answer for everything, don't you? Fingers curled hard into her collar bone, making her wince and she wondered if she'd ever be able to keep her mouth shut at appropriate moments. But that's alright, he continued, his breath was scalding her skin as he spoke, flowing down the line of her exposed neck. Just fine. Muggle science, he spat, and even magic theory can't even begin to ken the things that I do...

Rush of warm air and she felt his teeth close on her. Vicious bite into the oh-so-tender skin at the juncture of her neck and shoulder and she opened her mouth to cry out only to find his hand pressing tight to her lips. He pulled back, tongue laving over the wound he'd made; he blew air from his mouth making it sting. Warmth trickled down her skin, slipped between her breasts; she knew she was bleeding.

Go now, he said, wake, seek your answers. I'll be seeing you, soon.

The rest... )
ilcuoreardendo: (Default)
Title: "Recognition"
Word Count: 493
Summary: Written at the request of [livejournal.com profile] nanthimus for [livejournal.com profile] livelongnmarry, with the following prompt: Bumblebee's trying to figure out this odd ache he gets from watching Mikaela and Sam together. And then acts on it.

Recognition )
ilcuoreardendo: (vincent)
The rules for the meme are as follows:

Choose a subject and go -

Writing: Put your entire music collection on shuffle, hit play, and write. Write for as long as each song plays and move on to a different writing when the song switches(even if it's mid-sentence). Go for ten songs(or five). If nothing comes, it still counts. If you're listening to a comedian, you can skip it.

Drawing: Basically same as the writing, only you draw for the duration of the song instead of write.




I can smile at the old days )




Don't leave in silence with no words at all. )




Theres many lost, but tell me who has won )





I can't understand how life goes on the way it does )
ilcuoreardendo: (Default)
I'd forgotten about writing this, once upon a time.

Title: Waking
Pairing:: Barbossa/Tia Dalma
Rating: Mature
Notes: Just a little ficlet I thought up. Nothing too in depth. (Not quite as smutty as I’d originally thought it would be.) Also not as slow and aesthetic as I sometimes like to make my adult sequences, but here it is nonetheless.
Summary: A missing scene from DMC – the resurrection.
Word Count: 830


"Wake den, Barbossa," she whispered through the candle light and the heady
herbal smoke, "you damn stubborn man." She passed her hand over his chest once more, drawing the conch shell—dipped in a mixture of sea water and plants harvested from the swamp—down his breast, over the place his heart should beat. She tapped it against his chest once, twice, three times.

His eyes snapped open, pupils flat and black, obscuring the iris so only a ring of grey remained. Sightless and seeking, he reached out and she moved forward, let his arms slide around her, allowed his grasping fingers to find their way beneath the laces of her gown.

Hands cold from death and ocean water skimmed the pearls of her spine, pulled and peeled the dress away from her as lips fastened to her neck.

He had never been what one might call a gentle lover. His caresses possessed first, teeth and tongue brought blood to the surface and on occasion split skin, and his thrusts were sometimes enough to leave a bone weary ache throughout her muscles.

But the balm would come after. A sweep of tongue, a shiver of lips and breath over teeth and nail marks.

But death changes men, leaves the base, the visceral and she knew not to expect such balm this time.

Teeth clamped around her nipple and she gasped, arched into him further; one of his arms wound around her waist, the other slid up her back, fingers catching and holding the hair close to her scalp.

He licked a swathe up her chest, hovered over the beat of her heart; he burrowed, nipped at the skin as though trying to get past the flesh and bone to devour the heart beat for himself. She brought his face to hers, looked into eyes dark with the last remnants of death. Those eyes found her mouth, lips and tongue and teeth following.

She fell to his grasp, let him move her, push her down onto the bed he lay on for weeks as she gathered her concoctions and awaited for the right shape of moon and flow of tides. Her dress was gone in a matter of moments and his fingers fumbled for the ties of his breeches.

"Come on den," she hissed, pushing his hands aside and finishing the job herself. "Dey be waitin' for you, dey be needin' someone to lead 'em to World's End. I am waitin'."

And when he pushed into her, she welcomed the slow burning intrusion, closed her eyes for the familiarity, and the pulse of heat that fled up her spine to lie at the back of her brain. "I have missed dis..." she whispered against the shell of his ear, threw her head back as he half growled, half groaned.

There was work to be done still.

She grasped the dagger she'd put close by, ran the blade across her palm and tossed it aside, out of reach. She curled her fingers through his hair, down across the bristled curve of his jaw, traced his lips with her fingernails. Her bleeding palm pressed to his mouth and his tongue darted out, warm and wet, suckling the blood.

And she threw her head back, chanting. Old words, powerful words, lost to time and ocean tides. They fell from her lips, broke in the air like foam on the shore, cascading across her, across him, leaving them both damp, him fevered.

She pulled him to her again; his mouth was warm now, and the brine and blood taste had fled, leaving only the flavor of him, musk and spice. She breathed a phrase into his mouth and curled the words around his tongue.

The last declaration she sent to the moon rising just outside the window, its silver light hazy over the trees of the swamp. And she heard an answering call, in the lap of the tide against her dock, the dance of the fishes in the reeds, when he stiffened in her arms.

She let herself go and sang more sea phrases into his ear as the world fell around them.



~*~




When she opened her eyes moments later, he was staring down at her, eyes no longer fatted on death, taking in the curves of her face. They were again the color of the ocean shallows.

“If this be the welcome I get on return, I may have to die more often.”

“Don’ you dare,” she said, shifting, “it’s a hard month’s work tryin’ to bring de dead back to life an’ I don’ fancy doin’ it again any time soon.”

“Surely,” he said, and she felt him flutter inside her, growing hard again, “ye wouldn’t begrudge a man one…more…little death.”

Her mouth stretch before she could stop herself. “’s fine,” she purred, “but we be spillin’ your blood dis time,” and she ran her fingers down his back, relishing the shudder of his body as the skin yielded and split.
ilcuoreardendo: (tom whisper)
Title: On the Eve
Rating: G
Genre: AU
Summary: On the evening of battle, Hermione finds herself robbing a grave. More of a scene than a story, really.


The night had been full of shouts, screams, and the whip crack of hexes. Stars stained the sky chartreuse green. The silence, when she apparated to the cemetery, had descended on her like a shroud. And the normal night sounds seemed obscenely loud in the hush of the dead.

She had shrugged off her discomfort, followed the course that Harry had told her about, searching for the grave and for what lay beneath. If bone could restore, certainly bone could destroy, she had thought.

Tonight, her thoughts had, finally, proved right in the tests. And then the battle had fallen and she’d been forced from test to trial.

She was all focus, kneeling before the marble effigy of the Death Angel with its wings splayed to the night air, her mind on the spell that sifted six feet of dirt from bone. She tried to ignore the name standing out stark and oppressive on the tomb.

The earth parted and a moon-white sliver rose like a suddenly blooming flower. Slim and fragile. A finger bone, perhaps. She reached out to grasp it.

“Don’t kill her,” said a voice, offhandedly as one would remind a spouse to pick up a bag of crisps at the shop. She hadn’t heard them coming. No crack of apparation or a footfall. She slid her hand to her hip where her wand sheath sat snug. Too late. Violet light ricocheted off the scythe, blinding her.

She fell back among the grasses, chest aching, swallowing lungfuls of moist air in a panic as she tried to wrest her wand away from the hand that had appeared and wrenched her shoulder as it pulled her from the ground and disarmed her.

Wand light glinted silver off the curve of the Death Eater’s mask as he let her fall once more.

The sight wasn’t unexpected. What was unexpected, and what sent her shuffling uselessly against the ground, her aching limbs refusing to cooperate, was the movement behind the Death Eater. The pale, cold face coming into view as the half moon drew out from behind a cloud.

She’d never seen him before but she knew the face.

Ginny, while reluctant to talk to most about the time she spent with Riddle, had confided in Hermione one night in Hermione’s sixth year, after a particularly vicious nightmare had woken them both.

Over bowls of ice cream gifted from the elves in the kitchen, Ginny had told her about the boy with the black hair and the night in his eyes. A boy, Ginny had thought at first, who looked a bit like Harry, before she observed the coldness of his gaze, the lush and sometimes malevolent impiety in his movements.

Hermione had thought of the marble visage of the angels, blessed and fallen, she’d seen in her books the summer she spent attending an art class, the angles of their faces, the baby smooth curve of a cheek, the ancient knowledge in their stone eyes.

Back then, she had mentally placed black and blue on marble and thought it to life.

Now that marble was gliding toward her and the corners of his sinner’s mouth were turned up in a winsome smile.

“Miss…Granger, isn’t it? Hermione. I’ve heard tell you are the cleverest witch of your age.” He stopped in front of her. His gaze was heavy and it made her skin twitch. She stared at his shoes, black and half lost in the night shaded grass but for the shine. “But, I have to ask myself ‘What, might this clever witch be doing so far from home, so far from her falling comrades, and prostrating herself at the grave of my ancestors…”

She won’t answer. That’s to say, she can’t answer. Her lungs feel scorched and her throat is tight and she’s having trouble keeping the world in focus. When she blinks she sees two Riddle gravestones, half a Death Eater, and one and one half Dark Lords turned young again.

“No answer?” he asks. “Pity. We’ll have to do this another way.”

And with that there are arms around her, hands balancing her against a body, her feet are off the ground and then she is sitting on cold stone and there’s warmth at her back that keeps the chill at bay and she knows she’s cradled half in his lap. When she pries open her eyes she can see the dagger sharp edges of the letters that make up his name swimming in and out of focus behind his head.

He tilts her chin up with two fingers. His hands are softer than they have any right to be.

She can see the stars in his eyes, silver and white on blue and she wonders for a moment how it’s possible to be falling toward the sky; oxygen seems scarce and she can’t quite feel her limbs.

Then Riddle smiles, and she can breathe again.

“Clever girl, indeed.” His voice is an imitation of the night wind and she shivers. “I think we may have to see what other tricks this clever girl has up her sleeve.”

In a matter of moments the cemetery is empty of life once more.

On the ledge of the Riddle grave sits a fragile white bone crossed with impeccably polished vine wood that bears a dragon heart string at its core.
ilcuoreardendo: (tom whisper)
Author: Faeline
Title: Reunion
Rating: T
Timeline: Sometime after HBP, perhaps?
Genre: AU, certainly.

God help me
Believe me
This wasn't what I wanted, but no
I can't leave
He's got me


~"God Help Me," Emilie Autumn



"Reunion"


When she woke, she could vaguely make out patterns in a canopy lit up by flickering red light. Somewhere in the room a log broke and a fire flared in a grate.

"There's a potion on the table beside the bed. Drink it."

His voice was a little more than a whisper.

She sat up slowly, waiting for the room to spin, and when it didn't she reached out for the flask and brought it to her lips, sniffing softly before she drank. The throbbing in her head stopped, as did the pain in her right arm where her wand had been wrenched from her fingertips. On her tongue, she tasted valerian root and...tansy?

"An analgesic laced with a contraceptive?" she asked.

"Best to be prepared." The voice came from her right and she turned her head. The fireplace came into view, two heavy wing chairs set before it, and a small table laden with food; she could make out ripe cheeses and bread, fresh fruit; the scent of savory meat wafted toward her and her stomach rumbled.

An arm extended from the depths of the chair on the left. A pale hand unfurled. "Come here," he said, and as she made her way from the bed to the fireside, he gestured, "Sit and eat."

She looked over the food, chose a thick slice of bread and a dark, sharp cheese. She ate, watching the fire and when she licked the last crumbs from her fingers, she finally turned her gaze to him.

He was cloaked and cowled, his face lost in darkness. She couldn't even see his eyes.

"Why do you hide yourself?"

"Hide?" The word came out in a rolling hiss of breath; she recognized it as a chuckle. "I am not as I was, last you saw me."

"I know," she said, looking at her hands. 50 years spun out in a matter of moments and there was no evidence of time on her skin. On her left hand, the simple opal ring glimmered in the firelight. She looked to his chair where his hands were resting on the arms. The fingers were long--longer than she remembered--and still pale, and tipped now with sharp nails. The strength was evident in the twitch of smooth veins and muscle as he noticed her stare.

"Stand up," he said, "Come here."

And she did so, barely flinching when his hands shot out to grab her wrists as she drew to his side. He tugged her to her knees before him, pulling her off balance so her weight lay against his chair, between his legs. He pulled her hands higher, touching her fingers to the cowl, using her hands to push the fabric away from his face.

Firelight shadowed the smoothness of a scalp, a heavy brow, found its flame lost in red ember eyes.

She'd always thought she would gasp when she saw Voldemort for what he was, what he'd become. But she didn't. She leaned harder against the chair. Her hands, free now, wandered of their own volition, fingers lightly touching the slope of his forehead, parting to move down either side of his face. She brushed his cheekbones, the flat length of flesh with the nasal openings where once a narrow, arching nose had sat, and ran a finger across the thinness of his bottom lip. His tongue—not forked, as she might have thought—darted forward as she did so.

He scented her skin, the perfume of her on the air.

Then he was tugging her hands again, pulling her to her feet and toward him, drawing her down onto his lap so her legs draped over either side of his own. She faced the fire, the shadows warm on her face. He wrapped one arm around her waist, drew her to lean against him with the other hand, her face coming to rest next to his.

"You don't shudder," he said. There was no awe in his voice; it was merely an observation.

"I told you I wouldn't," she said.

"And you wear this still?" Those unnaturally long fingers had prized the heart shaped locket from beneath her shirt, where it had rested for a fifty year minute between her breasts, heavy with its contents.

"It can only be taken off by the one who put it on," she whispered.

"I remember."

He'd slipped into her room just before the portrait could close, shooting the maid in the picture a glowering look when she opened her mouth to scold him.

Hermione had stood with her back to him, removing her robe, her blue and silver tie. She surprised him when the shirt she was wearing joined the clothing on the bed. He moved forward as her fingers reached for the clasp on her undergarment.

"Allow me," he'd said and his voice had caused her to jump--"Tom"--as his fingers nimbly undid the clasp and pulled the wretched contraption away from her body. He noted the fine tremble in her arms as she denied the instinct to cover herself. His
smile was sharp.

"I have something for you," he'd murmured near her ear, and he'd seen the almost imperceptible tilt of her eyebrow as she glanced at him. He'd pulled a chain from his robes, held it in front of her. Her eyes had widened and he'd felt her stiffen against him.

"What is it?"

"I...I'm sorry. You just surprised me. It looks...expensive." She'd raised her hand then, slowly, and with the same care she'd reserved for touching the unicorns in Care of Magical Creatures, she'd cupped her fingers around the locket. He'd closed his eyes and exhaled hard, his other hand twitching on her hip, longing to push her back against him, on to him.

"It's a family heirloom," he'd said when he recovered. Unclasping the chain, he brought it against her skin, drawing the heart slowly up between her breasts until she shivered. He'd brought his hands beneath her hair, clasped the chain, and smiled as the clasp melted away, leaving nothing but links in its place. "And it can only be removed by the one who put it on," he'd said, when he'd noticed her frown as she'd felt along her neck for the clasp. "So you need not worry about losing it."

She'd turned to him then, nakedness seemingly forgotten. "Why give me such a thing?"

"Because," he'd said, leaning down and catching her bottom lip with his teeth, "it makes you mine."


"Are you still?" he asked and she blinked, coming out of the memory.

"What?"

"Mine?" he said, pressing his palm against the locket hard enough to leave an imprint in her flesh. The metal itself seemed to heat at his touch and she wondered if she would have a heart shaped burn on her chest. "Knowing what I did. What I've done." He paused. When he spoke again his voice was lighter, almost teasing--and that, she knew, was when he was most serious--"What I will do."

The knot that had been in her belly since her return tightened. "Yes..."

And she thought about the boy she'd bowled over as she fell down the stairs outside of the Great Hall after the hex that had come out of nowhere -- the boy who didn't go to Hogwarts in her time.

She saw him reflected in the glass of her mirror as he crept through the portrait to her rooms. Tearing her away from a group of Slytherins who'd cornered her outside of the Transfigurations classroom, his knuckles white on wrists, his eyes flashing in fury, voice a cold, cold hiss that translated itself easily to each and every member of the Serpent's house.

Sliding the simple silver band with a small, perfect opal around her finger.

Staring at her, unblinking and half-believing, as she touched his eyes and said, "I can always find you here."

Pulling her into him--"You will not leave me"--giving her a little shake, hands wrapped around her arms so tight she'd still have his impression the next day.

The silver and green glow of the successfully cast counter-hex and his eyes narrowing, one hand reaching toward her as she faded from his past…


"What was that?" Hands pushed her up, turned her as easily as a doll so she was now straddling his lap. Those long fingers caged her face, and he pulled her close enough to kiss, forced her to meet his eyes. Bloodstone red and burning. "Say it again. Now. Looking at me, girl," he said, and she got the distinct impression he knew where her thoughts had been.

And the knot unraveled, the tension in her spine loosening. She slumped in his hands, resting her weight on his thighs. A tremor went through her legs and she was unsure if it was his or her own.

She closed her eyes, opened them and met his. "Yes."

Something flitted behind his eyes. A spark of blue-black. A scrap of what he once was. Then it was gone and all that was left were the slitted pupils, the inhuman color, and the sudden flicker of an all too human tongue against her lips.
ilcuoreardendo: (riddle tragedy)

For this freedom
I have given all I had
For this darkness
I gave my light
For this wisdom
I have lost my innocence
Take my petals
And cover me with the night


~"Rose Red", Emilie Autumn


Author: Faeline
Title: Untitled
Time: Harry Potter at Hogwart's Years
Genre: AU - Unknown Timeline
Characters: Tom Riddle/Ginny Weasley
Rating: Teen



"Untitled"



He detached himself from the darkness, caught her unaware.

Head ringing she had no time to push off the wall before he was on her, left hand holding both her wrists above her head, flesh scraping raw against the brick. With every struggle his grip tightened, until she felt the bones in her wrist grind together.

"Let go! You're hurting me."

"Then stop struggling," he said into her ear, voice stirring the delicate hairs in that area, breath warm against the shell of her ear. The point of his tongue darted out, swept down the curve of cartilage, and his teeth clamped just this side of too hard on the tender lobe. "Though I must admit, the struggle is...exciting."

That last word came out in a hiss and she twisted her body against him, trying to bring her feet against the wall for leverage. He pushed a knee between her legs, lifted, threw her off balance. She thought she saw a flash of red in his gaze.

Then his lips were on her neck, firebrand hot and she jerked involuntarily, head colliding with the wall and sending star bursts of pain through her eyes. His lips, tongue, teeth she felt them all individually testing the flesh of her throat, moving toward her shoulder and progressing from the teasing, tempting bites to sharper nips. When he reached the curve where neck met shoulder, he bit down. Hard.

She let out an explosive breath of air in place of a scream and felt something wet trickle down her skin; surely he'd drawn blood. His tongue laved over the bite, fever hot and stinging against the rawness of her skin, tracing intricate patterns that she tried to mentally follow and couldn't.

Without warning he stepped away and she slipped down the wall, her legs unable to hold her weight.

She didn't look up at him. She could feel his gaze on her, heavy as a winter cloak.

"I'm not one to fool with, you understand?" He knelt. The tip of his wand came under her chin and forced her to meet his eyes. She thought she could see the faintest ring of red around the irises. "Go near him again," he said, "and I'll kill him."

In the next moment he was gone.

Five, ten minutes had passed before she was able to pull herself off the floor and make her way back to her dorm, sticking close to the shadows in the most unused of passages to avoid running into any other student.

She walked straight through her bedroom and into the bathroom, started the shower running before she turned to look at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were large and dark against skin that seemed paler than usual. Her hair stood out, vibrant russet red around her face. She pulled at the strands, moved to pile them atop her head for her shower and she saw it.

On the right side of her throat, in the taught curve where neck met shoulder, a ring of teeth marks. A near perfect circle imprinted on her skin. And in the center of that circle, a tracing of letters infused with so much blood they were nearly violet: TMR.
ilcuoreardendo: (tom whisper)
I just decided to go with it. This piece is self-contained. An excuse for TR/GW interaction, a very light touch of smut, and little more. The other chapters are in the memories. Perhaps I'll write other snippets in the near future, considering I'm cowering from some of my original fic.


"Fear of Falling" 4/4


Candles flicker as the devils dance on the wall
Stroking the naked and the silence gets colder
Stuck on the ceiling and the kissing gets bolder
Biting my nails for fear of revenge



The lightest brush of lips and tongue across her half parted lips, the scent of ink, expensive parchment, and musk amber surrounded her. A wing of heavy hair brushed her face as he pulled back enough to capture her eyes. His own narrowed now. “You smell of another, Ginny.” The words were soft, faintly accusatory.

Ginny blinked, remembered the kiss in the common room. “I—“

He passed a hand over her cheek, her lips, halting her words. “I need no explanation, Ginny, but I shall tell you this once: it won’t happen again. I don’t share what is mine.” He leaned toward her once more, breath stirring the hair near her ear.

“What is yours…” Ginny murmured, and the words spilled into her ear: Yes, mine.

Something stirred in her head, in the pit of her stomach, some faint recollection of cold, damp stone beneath her still body as she lay with the last of her spirit slipping away from herself. Echoed in her head were words she barely remembered hearing in her half conscious state inside the Chamber: silly little girl.

Read the Rest )
ilcuoreardendo: (jack/liz)
The following has SPOILERS for At World's End













"Time and Tide"


In a green flash, the sea has swallowed the Dutchman.

And she stands, in the rising tide, listening to the familiar rhythmic beat she'd come to know from its place behind flesh and bone.

She fingers the cool metal lying on her breast. She'd half expected him to take it with him. But he has given her the key to his destruction.

The wind rushes by, tangles in her hair, blows sea foam against her legs and she shivers in the failing light and casts her eyes across sand and water. The sky and sea feel suddenly too large and too empty.

No hint of sails on the horizon.

She picks up the chest and walks.


~*~



She has to choke back the suddenly funny urge to sing a hymnal as she throws sand to cover the chest, dulling the resonant heartbeat.

There are no trees or driftwood to mark the spot. She draws an X in the sand and then erases it with a swish of her boot.

All that's left to find this treasure are the steps she numbered in her head and the sparrow she's drawn on her map.

Because who would ever think to look for the heart beneath a sparrow?


~*~



Moonrise and she pulls the longboat away from the grasping tide, settles down in her black chemise, using her shirt and breeches as pillow, her jacket as a counterpane.

She looks up at the stars and remembers another night on a beach miles and months from here. Finds Aquila following Cygnus. Cassiopeia on her throne where down is definitely not up.

She falls asleep to the sound of the tide and dreams of stars fallen into the ocean, of white sands, of black feathers against her face.


~*~



She’s up before the dawn and riding the tide out into the depths, rowing east, around the Island. Light breaks across the waves, half blinds her so that she almost runs the longboat up on one of the many half submerged shipwrecks that give the Island and its cove their names.

The boat glides into the cove like she’s had years of practice.

She fancies the image she’d cut standing in the prow of it, one foot up on the edge, surveying all that lay before her. The idea sinks as her small movements make the boat tilt dangerously in the current.

She moors the boat and scrambles up on one of the ship decks turned docks.

The noise of the city can be heard over the creak of old wooden skeletons and the break of waves. Lights burn in the distance and she can smell gunpowder and cured meat over the fetid salt laced air.

And rum, warm and spicy beneath it all.

Her long stride carries her, calm, purposeful.

There must be someone who’d sail with a Pirate King.


~*~



She spends two days draining dry the barrels housed in the more reputable areas of Shipwreck City, though for such a city, home to all manner of thieves and beggars, reputable is relative.

She thinks she might have picked a fight one evening. There’s a spot the color of mottled gunpowder on her forehead and her lip is split. There’s a trace of blood and a few stray threads of fabric on the edge of her cutlass.

She thinks she won.

A bottle in one hand, the other on the handle of her cutlass, she walks the length of the city. And when she happens upon Captain Teague she pauses a moment to wonder if Jack Sparrow has melted, asks him what manner of heat or magic he encountered for such effect, and passes out.


~*~



She wakes to a pounding in her head she hasn’t felt since the morning she’d burned a cache of rum and a taste in her mouth as dry and dead as those ashes.

“Not a fitting state for royalty, now is it, my liege?” She’s not sure if those last words are meant to be sarcastic.

Opening her eyes, she sees Teague sitting in a mean wooden chair across the room.

“What’s that?” she asks, blinking against the new sunlight slinking pale and bright through the greasy window.

“A pirate king without a ship,” he says.

“I’ve come to commandeer one.”

His eyes brighten, his lips split and she wonders if the stretching skin might not slide to the floor.

“Picked up quite a bit from my son, ‘aven’t you?”


~*~



The ship is smaller than The Pearl, but graceful, sails buoyant with the warm wind. The wooden flanks gleams gold in the daylight and will look, she thinks, like a beacon when the sun falls into the ocean.

“She’s in need of a captain. Been stuck in port far too long. I can hear her aching for open waters.”

Elizabeth turns to Teague, raises an eyebrow.

“The language of ships. Spend enough time with them and you’ll learn to speak it too.”

He turns back toward the city. “I’m certain we can find a few men willing to sail under a woman and a pirate king. …If that’s your desire?”

Elizabeth turns to the west, blue and silver and gold rippling waves as far as the eye can see. And she turns to the ship rocking gently against the dock.

“What is her name?”


~*~



The crew is prone to muttering under its collective breath about women aboard a ship, even women named captain and king, but they listen to her and that’s all that’s important.

And when she barks the way she learned in Barbossa’s stead, they move.

Her bosun is prone to grunts and gestures, though, far as she can tell, he still has his tongue and the rest of the crew answers in similar tones.

They are less than two days at sea and she thinks she might go mad and shoot one of them just to stir up words rather than non-verbal rhythms, when she hears the call from the Crow’s Nest.

“Man overboard!”

By the time she’s come out of the cabin he’s been hauled aboard her ship, looking none the worse for having spent who-knows-how-many days in a dinghy with a makeshift sail and—of course, she notes, spying the clutch of his fingers—a bottle of rum.

He blinks at her. The kohl that lines his eyes smudged with sweat and sea water. He fingers the compass on his belt briefly and she thinks she hears him breathe “Bugger” but she can’t be sure.

“Captain Sparrow, welcome aboard the Oneirata.”

He falters a moment, then blinks.

“Pretty ship, love, truly. But don’t you think she’s a might small for two captains…”

She sees the way his eyes light, the way his hands move over the curve of rope and rail, that covetous touch she’d seen on the Pearl enacted on both wood and skin.

“I do,” she says. “I could be in need of a first mate, if his conversation proves more congenial than what I’ve heard these past two days.”

He grins then and it glints gold like the sun. “In that case, I have a proposition for you…”


~*~



“Just imagine it, darling. 10 years and 10 years and he’s not aged a day and you, you have shed your smooth skin and your gold hair somewhere between the sea and the sun…and the rum.”

“Not the most flattering method of making a proposition, Captain Sparrow.”

“S’merely the truth of a life at sea, darling.”

The cabin is quiet save for the crash of waves, the creak of wood, and then:

“Set the heading, then.”

“We’re going?” he asks, fumbles the rum bottle, and tries to cover his surprise with a well-timed swig.

“I’ve had enough of death for some time, Jack,” she says, gazing through the windows to the gold lit waters, the sun bleeding red over the horizon.

“Haven’t we all,” he whispers and leaves the cabin.


~*~



“I confess, love. I had thought the outcome might be a bit more impressive,” Jack Sparrow said, looking at his hands in the moonlight. Dark and bejewelled and none the worse for wear from their days of trudging through the Island jungle, shifting roots and cutting branches from their path; yet, bearing still, the signs of sun and time.

“Aqua vitae, Jack,” Elizabeth says sliding her dagger from her belt.

Jack watches her, eyes shuttered as she draws the blade quick across her palm.

He reaches for her, without thought, pries her fingers open, and watches the cut recede. He runs a calloused thumb across her palm, clears her blood away, revealing whole flesh.

“So we find the legends are true,” he whispers and for just a moment Elizabeth thinks she sees a flash of green in his eyes, but it might just be a trick of fire or moon light.


~*~



Time and tide shift grains of sand and the beat of human hearts.

But ten years have not much changed the western shore of Shipwreck Island.

She watches her son run across the grassy cliff, his stride a little awkward on solid ground, tricorne precariously perched on his dark head, voice carrying the pirate song across the wind.

Yo ho he sings and she remembers herself at his age standing on a ship wondering what it would be like to meet a real pirate.

Yo ho.

She breathes in the scent of tide stirred sands, watches the sinking sun. The green flash reflects across her son’s face and he turns his black, black eyes up to her when she reaches his side and the worldly mirth in his young smile still amazes her.

She puts her arm around him, pulls him to her and soon finds her movement mirrored, with an arm draped over her shoulders, a warm brown hand on the curve of her neck, fingers resting on her pulse.

“Pirate, love,” he whispers, finding her heartbeat steady and strong.

And she stretches to her full height. The sheath of her dagger shifts against her thigh, the leather a delicious texture against her naked skin. That compass of his presses into her hip; it has remained unopened for months.

She places her son’s tricorne on her own head, ruffles his hair when he narrows his eyes at her, and gives him a grin that rivals Jack Sparrow’s.

Below them, the Dutchman has dropped anchor and there is a longboat heading for shore.




~*~
ilcuoreardendo: (consumation HxC)
You didn't really think it was a "bushel of apples" running through his thoughts in those moments, did you?

Well...maybe in the Disney Universe.

Just a little ficlet to stretch my writing muscles.


"Hope Undone"


Skin the same color as the meat of his apples -- pale and luminescent as mother-of-pearl.

He'd found himself wondering what taste he would get if he bit her. At the junction where neck and shoulders met, just before the delicate curve of bone.

Overwhelmingly sweet like the first bite of a windfall apple? Or sharp and slightly bitter until you got close to the core?

He watched the muscles of her throat work as she swallowed the wine, blue veins standing out like the lines of a map that, were the situation different, he'd be plotting to trace with his fingers...perhaps his tongue.

Turning to the windows of the cabin, he looked out over smooth dark wtaer. They were two, three hours off Isla de Muerta with the swift wind they'd caught.

He closed his eyes, tried to imagine the wood of the Pearl beneath his fingertips, the rough boards, the smooth chill of the nails. But rough and smooth were mere words with barely a memory of sensation.

"Won't be long now, Miss Turner. I trust there'll be no more attempts on me life by way of tableware..."

"Of course not, Captain Barbossa," she said, "you've removed it all."

He smiled, a razor's edge of teeth.

"I'll leave yeh to finish yer meal in peace."

As he closed the cabin door behind him, he saw her reach for an apple, hold it beneath her nose, then sink her teeth into it; the juice on her lips shone like gold in the candlelight.

He wondered what the combination would taste like.


~*~


Releasing her hand, he turned, eyes closed.

Waiting.

He didn't want his first sensation to be the warmth of her skin, the flutter of her pulse in his grasp. He'd be able to scent her from this slight distance he was sure, warmth and woman seasoned by the sea-salt breeze and the lavender soap he'd made offerings of that third night out. Scent was enough. Touch in that moment might surely drive him to do what he'd long considered below him.

A scent, a moment, and then he'd turn and touch that golden hair, the skin of her cheek, the curve of her neck. Hold her to him, feel her breathe as the crew rooted payment for the food and drink and company they'd seek in the coming nights.

And he would keep her.

He'd never thought otherwise.

In his cabin, near the back of the armoire, in a small wooden chest lay a silver bottle. A gift from a wise woman he once knew in Port-de-Paix.

A few drops in her wine and she'd sleep the night through, freeing him to spend a night's leave on shore and to return the next morning prepared for the challenge of taming her. Not to make broken, but malleable. She was already quite the fine fit, Miss Turner was, but a few lessons in discipline wouldn't hurt...

He heard her shift, foot striking loose treasures, and opened his eyes as the sudden echo in the cavern yielded not the sound of a collective intake of 10 years' missed breath, but the curious, cutting words of hope done in.




~End

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