*pops my head over your cubical wall* Oh, Hello. It’s 2:20am here and I’m heading off to bed but I thought I’d leave you a little something? I hope you like it. *wink*
The bass was strong and steady. A consistent heartbeat that
he felt at different pressure points on himself. The club was packed, bodies
pressing into each other and the faint smell of sweat, alcohol and hormones
consumed the place. There was something different about tonight, what exactly
he couldn’t pin down but it seemed like everyone was full of wild energy. He
walked steadily across the crowd towards their table, ignoring the flirtatious
looks shot his way. When he arrived though, there was only Kevin. Something
close to anxiety shot through him as he leaned in to ask, “Where’s Neil?”
Kevin pointed into the throng of people, “Nicky took him.”
Andrew leaned over the railing and looked down at the crowd.
Finally he spotted them at the dead center of the dance floor. The lights
flashed warm colors across their faces and Andrew could see Nicky smiling and
swaying to the relentless pounding of the bass. He had his hands on Neil’s’
shoulders, swaying him along and Andrew was almost amused by the sight of Neil’s
confused look until Nicky’s hands suddenly slide down Neil’s chest to grasp his
hips, pulling him closer. He turned around and shot Kevin an order, “Don’t.
He cut straight through the crowd, parting it with the promise
of death clearly radiating off him. When he finally reached them, he didn’t
hesitate in placing a hand on Nicky’s shoulder, turning him around, and
punching him in the solar plexus. He would have hit the ground if Andrew hadn’t
pulled him close, giving the impression of a friend sporting another who had too
much to drink.
“What did I tell you? You know I hate repeating myself.”
Andrew whispered into his ear.
There was no response besides Nicky’s sharp inhales of
breath, struggling to both respond to Andrew and get away from him. There was a
gently pull on Andrews right wrist, Neil having come up beside him and Andrew
could almost feel him pressed along his side. He wasn’t, even in the middle of
a mass of bodies all pushing against each other. Neil always managed to keep
that distance he needed between them, so even know if felt like he was being
eclipsed by him, Andrew could see their only point of contact were the fingers
gently encircled around his wrist.
He stared at him and though he meant it as something hard,
something furious, something threating, it must have come out in a different
way. Neil stared right back at him but his mouth had parted slightly, his breathing
was harsher and-
“Go back to the table and keep Kevin Company. Do not try
this again.” And with that Andrew shoved Nicky towards the stairs leading to
their table without a backwards glance.
Neil was still watching him, no, studying him and Andrew
felt that now familiar prickle across his skin. Always being on the giving end
of such a look, it had messed with him for months having it directed his way.
Made his heart race a little bit as it did now, made him think of soft lips,
calloused hands, fierce, slate blue eyes. The music changed to another sultry
slightly slowed bass sound and without hesitation, he pulled Neil those last
two inches towards him, clutching his waist with an unforgiving grasp. Neil
didn’t mind. He never seemed to mind. Slowly, so slow it could barely be
registered as dancing, Andrew began to sway back and worth. Neil’s hands
automatically came up and hesitated on Andrew’s shoulders for a second before being
placed on the back of Andrew’s head.
They have never been this close in public. Well, surrounded
by people while this close in public. It didn’t matter, they didn’t give a damn
about people normally and here, pressed together as their bodies swayed, the
air heavy and intoxicating and the lights soft and in shades of reds, purples,
and blues, they could be anyone; the only ones.
Heat. It’s too much heat. He’s burning and taking Neil with
him and god, how do normal people stand this? Do they even know? Has anyone
ever felt this before? No, probably not. It’s far to terrifying. Andrew watches
small beads of sweat begin to appear on Neil’s forehead, his upper lip, his
neck, slowly dripping into his collarbone. It’s too easy to just lean in and
place his mouth on there, run his tongue along the erratic pulse, ghost his
lips up his neck and jaw landing a breath away from Neil’s mouth.
“Yes.” Neil whispers.
But before Andrew can press forward, it’s Neil who rushes
towards his mouth filled with a desperation and need he’d never shown before.
They get lost. He’s falling. Down, down, down and no, not here. He gathers
every inch of his will power, places the hand that somehow found itself inside
Neil’s shirt at the base of his throat and presses, hard. The slight moan Neil
lets out nearly has him pulling out a knife but he resist; barely. He tries
again, forcing his head back. They’re both breathing heavily, chest, hips
thighs still glued together. There is no question of desire, their hips still
shifting slightly but not at all in a way that can be perceived as dancing.
Neil’s eyes are shut tight and Andrew takes a moment to
watch his face. He looks broken apart, as if Andrew simply tossed him off the
roof and is now holding the sharp pieces in his hands. He glances at the
fingers still at the base of Neil’s throat, amazed that they aren’t covered in
blood. He wonders if he ever looked this way and was angry that he couldn’t
answer that with a clear no. Finally Neil opens his eyes and… would he ever
stop staring at him like that? He looked at him as if Andrew was the beginning
and the end of everything. As if there had never been anyone before; as if
there wouldn’t be an after. Andrew couldn’t have this. He didn’t want this. But
if that were really the case he wouldn’t be here, surrounded by hundreds of people
and only really seeing one person. They’re just standing here now, holding on
to each other like life lines and Andrew places more space between them though
not without reluctance. Neil blinks and it’s as if the world comes rushing back
to him. He pulls away slowly and finally they let go of one another.
“You aren’t a bad dancer.” Neil states.
He isn’t smiling, but he’s not smiling in the way that
Andrew knows he actually is on the inside. He gives him a flat look and the
corners of Neil’s mouth raise the slightest bit.
“One hundred and twenty-three.”
Andrew turns away before he can see a real smile on Neil’s
face and starts to head towards the stairs before pausing. He glances back at
Neil, who’s right at his back waiting for him to move forward. He tosses Andrew
a questioning look and fuck it, it’s been a strange night already. Andrew
reaches for his hand, lacing their fingers together tightly and begins to pull
them through the crowd.
When they get to the stairs, he calls back, “one hundred and
He doesn’t have to turn to know Neil is beaming at him.
Have you ever read him? I bet you haven’t because only recently have his works, his actual works, become available in English. From Wikipedia: “Verne is generally considered a major literary author in France and most of Europe, where he has had a wide influence on the literary avant-garde and on surrealism. His reputation is markedly different in Anglophone regions, where he has often been labeled a writer of genre fiction or children’s books, largely because of the highly abridged and altered translations in which his novels are often reprinted.”
I am fascinated by the art of translation. No, it isn’t a science, not even close. I am often surprised at how people view translation. It seems so straightforward to them, but it so isn’t. There is a foreign word and you make it the English word. Simple, right?
There’s more of this, I just didn’t want to snip it so you get a RATHER LONG Sunday “six.”
Eventually, Oliver retires: he’s just turned forty-three and it’s long overdue. The catalyst is, like many of the catalysts in Oliver’s life, cringeworthy and embarrassing–his worse knee slips out of alignment when he goes to jump, and if Artemis Crock were anything less than what she is, he’d have fallen from a rooftop and crippled himself.
“Maybe I’ll go back out tonight,” is all Artemis says when she drags him back to the foundry. She has a strained look around the eyes, but otherwise doesn’t give much away; Artemis Crock very rarely gives anything away, at least for free.
They didn’t talk about the near-miss (“if we started, we’d never stop,” Felicity always says when they orient a new member of the team. “Although I will remind you that I took a bullet for the Canary one time, that’s absolutely essential information.”). Instead, Oliver spends the rest of the night going over inventory while Felicity coaches Artemis through a solo run of the city. Oliver thinks that Artemis is a better version of himself; she is at least trying to prove an entirely different point.
A few weeks after the rooftop incident, Oliver buys a little house a couple hours outside the city—a fucking ranch, no stairs, the most boring thing he could find—and he moves in without telling anyone, basically overnight. Felicity shows up on the doorstep about twelve hours later.
“Are you done sulking?” she asks. Oliver would bet that the car in the drive is crammed full of Felicity’s tech, and probably one-third of her current wardrobe. He hopes she packed the blue dress; she smiles more when she wears it, like she gets a charge out of wearing the color. “I’ve got a satellite phone on me, but I’d like to get the server set up sooner rather than later.”
The “Nyssa and Felicity go on a transnational expedition to find Sara after she goes on the run” fic.
“I’m not very brave,” Felicity blurted out, “In case you were counting on that.”
Nyssa laughed, but very quietly, and pulled Felicity alongside and the in front of her, so she was herding her onto the boat at the end of the pier. The air smelled like water and fish and the summer stink of zebra mussels breeding and dying along the waterline. “You’re brave,” Nyssa said. “You volunteered even though you don’t know what you’re getting into, and it’s not because you are a stupid girl.”
“I’m feeling a little stupid now,” Felicity said.
“A good sign for your sense of self-preservation,” Nyssa said. “That’s why you’re a better pick than that big man you put up with.”
“Oh, him,” Felicity thought about Oliver, how strong he was, and how bad he was and thinking all the way through before he made a move. “He has his uses.”
i have a question for you!! ok so one thing i admire a lot about your writing is it has this really quiet intensity, like everything is sort of charged and contained, is that something you do on purpose or does it just come naturally?? and what's the biggest difference in the writing you do for work and fandom stuff?
Thank you! It’s a combination of both, I think; I’m a pretty internal person, so that’s something I gravitate towards in writing, but over the years, I’ve worked to become a more succinct writer–I try to vary sentence lengths, have some kind of ebb and flow–and I try to figure out what a character thinks is essential even if it’s a hidden quality. I’ll try to marry more physical, outward moments to an internal narrative. That ends up looking like a very skeletonized description of someone’s posture or tone or clothing, or how they react to their environment.
When it comes to humans interacting, that’s definitely something I work at. I have a desk in an open office, where everyone works in the same room–except me, because my desk is behind a low wall, and no one can see me. I can still hear everything that goes on, which is marvelous for getting a feel for how people talk to each other.
I’m always worried my writing will sound melodramatic. I have really formal speech patterns and it’s a huge struggle to shrug off my neuroses so I can explore another character’s motivations. My biggest stumbling block is fulfilling an action. Which I don’t think anyone who has read my writing will be surprised by.
As far as writing for work: it depends! I write a lot of human interest journalism (which is very q&a, puff talk), but I also write about travel, food, and art. When I write about travel I almost always write about agriculture, and when I write about food I almost always write about the juxtaposition of formal cooking technique with “peasant food,” aka making really fancy versions of very plain dishes. (My people ran farms, so it’s my instant access point.)
Writing about art is different: I talk about history and influence, but I also look at how people respond to art on a visceral level. It’s not as academic as some art writing–the magazine I work for is not interested in thinking too hard–but my art writing has way more tension and honesty than anything else I turn in at work. (Also, I never get more than 800 words to work with, so my writing for work is a lot more straightforward–I’m hitting a short arc and a strict word count.) In one of my favorite assignments, I talked specifically about finding the uncanny in elements of the everyday, which is not so very far removed from how I write for fandom.
I’ve been writing for a really long time (and I’ve been working professionally as a writer for over five years). Every time I look back at old work I see parts I’m trying to develop and parts I’m trying to remove.
oliver/felicity, be careful what you wish for or curtain!fic
“So were you planning on telling you me that you were getting me a china pattern? Because I appreciate the gesture, but I’m leasing a townhouse and I have never once in my life invited twelve people over for a dinner party that required matching plates.” Felicity waved the invoice in between Oliver’s face and the toaster oven he was probably in the midst of breaking—Oliver hated reading directions, but he also burned toast on the regular, so it was a vicious circle.
“You liked them,” Oliver said. “Get that out of my face, please.”
She pulled the paper away, mostly because she was a little worried it would catch fire. “Are you sure you’re supposed to touch those coils? And yeah, I like them, but that doesn’t men I need to have the entire set. Or any of it, really. Not that I’m ungrateful. I’m just perplexed.”
“Ow,” Oliver said. Point for Felicity, she thought; touching those coils had been a bad idea. “If we’re going to get a house, we might as well have dishes you like. You can eat take-out off them and talk about how society warped your notions of adulthood or something.”
“You were listening!” She took pity on him and went to find a teabag to put on the burn before it blistered. “And what’s this about a house, mister?”
“A house,” Oliver said, like Felicity was an idiot. “It’s a building, and you live there. You watch HGTV, I thought you knew this sort of thing.”
“Don’t even try to out-funny me,” Felicity pressed a damp teabag into the burn and switched off the toaster oven before he burned down her kitchen. “I’m a professional. I just don’t know why we would be getting house, and don’t you even try to say anything about equity to me, my net worth is completely stellar without adding homeownership to the deal.”
“Felicity,” Oliver interrupted. His version of interrupting involved putting his arms around her, which Felicity might have enjoyed more if he didn’t also have tea all over one hand; her blouse was new. “I meant a house for us. You and me. A home.”
“The ‘I no longer know what home is, let’s build one together’ card will go over a lot better if you haven’t already made a downpayment on something”
“I have not already made a downpayment on something.”
“I may have inherited something.”
“We are not attempting any kind of remodeling until you retire, I don’t care if you hire a contractor,” Felicity reached under his shirt and pinched Oliver’s stomach until he took a step back. “It’s a cute idea, I like watching ‘This Old House,’ whatever, but you just took on a new trainee at your other job and there’s no way I can handle that kind of stress.”
"You don’t want a house.”
“I emphatically do not want a house, Oliver."
"But you like the plates.”
“I love the plates.”
He kissed her. Felicity forgave him for getting tea on her blouse.
A while after that, Oliver said, “are you sure you don’t want a house?’
“Oliver,” Felicity told him, “I do not. But If you want to move in, just say so.”