Nine False Starts
Fandoms: A:tS, BtVS, HP, The O.C. PotC
Rating: PG to R
Set During Season Three
They're sitting in Buffy's room when Faith points at one of Buffy's stuffed animals and says, "So what's the point of it?"
"A stuffed pig?" Buffy asks, nonplussed.
Faith shakes her head, "No, I mean, all this. I hate to say it, B, but your room is pretty fucking scary."
Buffy smiles a bit before answering, "We all can't aspire to the decor of your motel room."
Faith throws herself backwards onto Buffy's bed, frowning at the ceiling, "So this room, this is you - stuffed animals, and lace curtains, and things sugar and spice."
There is a long pause as Buffy considers this. She leans back, but does not throw herself, onto her bed, but instead of staring at the ceiling for answers, she looks at Faith for a while, "This is me, yeah, but the lace is just that I like being able to see a bit out the window, in case of strolling vampires."
Faith looks at her with an amused expression, and finally laughs. It sets Buffy off as well, as they laugh, and laugh, their bodies rolling around, and Faith's leg connects with Buffy's, and they stop laughing. Their mouths are too close, and it happens slowly, a warm slide into something different and Buffy breaks away first.
Blushing, she says quickly, "This isn't-"
Faith gets off the bed, picking up one of the stuffed animals, not listening to Buffy's stammering explanation. When Buffy's done, she nods her head and waves the toy around and says, "This is who you are, B, I know. It's cool." And she gives her best smile, trying to believe that lie.
It takes no time at all for it to end. It began to fall apart somewhere in the ocean, when Seth went on his foolish trip, when Ryan decided he had to do the right thing even if he wasn't really sure what it really meant, and it ended back in the O.C., in the pool house, where it once started tremulously, with a resigned sort of hesitance and a direct decision not to question it, and for once, Seth did not speak, not a single word, about It.
Because whatever they were, whatever faced them, it was no longer a burden to carry, that sharp kind of need and knowing, a shared secret. When they stood back in the pool house, after a summer that had changed so much, a year older and thinking they were wiser, they knew that if it began again, if they even thought about it, it would end everything.
Really, these things do fade, in time.
During Season Five
It is a moment that occurs, a curving angle when twisted is made linear, a sharp and achingly silent moment, a flash burn of righteous fury, things she understands.
His mouth opening slowly, that burning in eyes and firmness of jaw, the opposing forces, to be right and to alive, it is revoltingly human and wholly recognizable to her - Wesley may be just another of these foul creatures overrun on her ruined world, but he is not quite one of them.
And then she leans forward, tilting her head towards him, asking for indignation, for suffering, for pain, and for something more. That which she has yet to understand.
But he backs away, always in fear of not what he is, but what he means, and she forces herself to return to the host body's original, physical form, and says in a tremor of a voice, "You can pretend."
He stalks off defeated and she changes shape and wonders why she feels a vague thing, heavy and sinking, called guilt.
Pairing: Chiana/Other, Chiana/D'Argo
Somewhere halfway to oblivion, she stops drinking and screaming and hurting, and starts forgetting.
He's nice to her, and he's entranced by her, and she doesn't play the usual games of seduction, of cheap frelling, and lies of devotion. She lets him slowly break her down, to forgive her for her cruelty, her wildness, her unfaithfulness, and finally, he forgives her for not loving him.
He never asks her to live his dreams for her, and she wonders if she'll force dead dreams onto him, a farming life, a quiet one, a life she'd hate, even if D'Argo was still alive to enjoy it.
And because she thinks his name, because she still dreams of - of that moment - knowing he would stay behind to die for them and she'd - she'd go on (like all liars and tralks do, she'd live because she's too afraid of what dying means), she knows that this pretense of peace is just false sunlight burning her skin.
It is cold and pointless and when he finally does ask her to stay, to make their relationship mean something more than two warm bodies occupying shared quarters, she lets herself be discovered once more. Moya and the crew come to the rescue, and they let her come aboard, not knowing what she's been doing, only taking in the sharper planes of her body, the way her shadows had grown blacker, and they let themselves think that they've saved her.
She is at a place that isn't home (but is a someplace to her), having left someone who so slowly came to almost mean something to her. She begins eating a bit more, trying to enjoy smiling, and waiting until the next time she needs to jump ship.
So she returns to oblivion, spiraling down in the memories, wishing her sight had never been repaired and she had never seen D'Argo die.
During School, Post-School, Post-War
She was very pretty and not too cheery, somewhat studious and clever and very certain of herself, but mild about it, and he thought why not and -
He was there and there and there and fine, there was something to be said about being very, very pissed, and he was there, and he thought why not and -
He was kind-hearted, and open-minded, and knew the word werewolf and could hear it without flinching, only nodding with acceptance, and he thought why not and -
Every single time Remus broke it off, claiming it really, truly, in all actuality, without a shadow of a doubt, wasn't them, but it was indeed him, but that was a lie, a lie called Sirius.
Pairing: Jack/Elizabeth (Will/Elizabeth)
The fever struck her midway her marriage, wrecking her, but she was not waylaid until that doomed voyage, when one sleek pirate ship gained on them, and the pirates came aboard and sacked the merchant ship, until she was forced to jump into the cold depths, swimming to her death.
But she was not dead, only ill and half-mad, prone to forgetfulness, and most likely to ramble on about pirates and skeletons, and shuddering at full feasts set before her, like a sacrifice.
Somehow, a passing ship took notice of and she was brought aboard. Later, when she affirmed Will's likely death, though this she could not be positive of, and in fact, her memories of Will were shattered, shadowy things, she believed herself saved. Yet when a familiar voice inquired as to her life, she found she had no memories, just that of the sea, of the wretched sea, and she spoke with reproach, and soon screamed for anyone - for Will, for Jack, for her father, for Norrington, and finally, for her mother, a mother that existed in those childish dreams of some warm, safe thing that meant 'mother.'
And Jack (for it was his voice, it was really his voice indeed, and never had such kindness been heard in his voice) held her with a gentleness she did not expect of her fellow madman, kissing the side of her face once, and told her tales she did not remember. He left her on dry land, secured in a home with several pleasant people who had no desire of adventures on the high seas, with plenty of instructions for someone, whether her father or Norrington, he did not specify, to come find her and see after her health.
Before he disappeared, this time for good, she said, partly longing for him to fall out the window, for another semi-ridiculous exit from her life, "You were right Jack, it shan't work at all, our relationship."
But he left through the doorway, as though he was normal and she laughed and laughed, and soon after dreamt of rotting feasts and rotting pirates and Will leaping into the fray to protect her, like any foolish, noble pirate (for he was such a good man), and she woke screaming, longing to be protected from the world by the full madness inhabited in Jack, and cursing the fervent madness only halfway brimming in her mind.
Sometime during Season Five
Spike sits on Angel's desk, lighting cigarette, after cigarette, but not smoking them, only leaving them arranged around the ashtray.
His knuckles are raw and are slowly healing, glistening with that ill color of congealed blood.
His eyes are focused on the task at hand; his pack is still halfway full, and his lighter clicks noisily in the pounding silence.
It is only when the ashtray is full of lit cigarettes, embers glowing full orange for mere seconds before dying out, turning to ash, that he pompously looks at Angel, seated at the desk, glaring not at Spike, but through him.
"Bloody getting your rocks off yet, Angel? Or do you need me to unzip and start servicing myself?"
And Angel only smiles, darkly and with a shiver, Spike remembers Angelus, and wants the bastard to return just for a second, but the smile ends, and Angel shakes his head. The bruises, Spike realizes, are mending quicker than he hoped.
Angel gets up purposely and walks out of the office with a glace backwards.
Set During Season Four
He bends her over the hood of the car, and fuck it's hot, the engine's not cooled yet, and it's - it's - it's - just a few times, rocking against him, knowing she could snap him in half and he dares to push against her, to fondle her tits without any finesse on purpose, to make this raw and ungainly, and she shouldn't come, she shouldn't.
But she knows she's being watched and she knows this is the worst possible moment and she screams, loudly and fully, scraping her fingernails against the hood of the car, shuddering not only because of aftereffects rocking through her like a good kill, but at the shrill noise.
She doesn't turn around until he's already zipped up again, an unreadable expression on his face until he raises one eyebrow and comments, "Ruined the paint job."
She shrugs and says, "Don't fuck a Slayer without saying 'pretty please.'" As she hastily redresses, she also takes care to add, "This is a one-time only thing, yeah?"
He's opening the driver's side door, and nods curtly, "Of course."
They wake up together in bed, looking at each other with infinite sadness and knowing how foolish this is.
It is Sirius who decides to break the spell, saying, "We have to stop celebrating our breakup by drinking."
Remus only nods slowly, as though he is underwater and every moment is being conducted with great difficulty. "Yes. After all, I'm sick of your tirades about your heterosexuality and honestly, I shouldn't be shagging one of my friends."
Sirius tosses off the one sheet covering their bodies, getting up to find where the hell his boxers have in fact gone to. Unfortunately, he looks back at Remus in bed, and the sheet has slid halfway off of his body, and it takes just one look and Sirius climbs on top of Remus, and says before kissing him, "We're not together, yeah?"
"Completely," Remus circling his arms around Sirius to bring him closer, their cocks bumping against each other in a way that is too welcome, too familiar, "and," lips brushing dangerously close, "utterly," closer, "over."
Needless to say, this is yet another false start to their impeding breakup. Which will certainly happen, just as soon as they finish shagging.