n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
[personal profile] n3m3sis43

I can almost hear her lips purse, as though my name tastes sour on her tongue. Tension tugs at a spot between my shoulder blades, and I brace myself for what’s to come.

We’ve done this dance one time too many, and I know I’m in for a lecture; I always am, when she calls me by my given name. I linger at the window, prolonging the inevitable. It’s only once the sleek black car pulls away, my young companion safe inside, that I turn to face my fate.

“Yes, Lilly? I ask, meeting her glacial blue gaze.

With swift, efficient fingers, she plucks a vial from my living room table and tucks it into her medical bag. “I expect you already know what I’m going to say, not that it’ll make any difference.”

But she’s going to say it anyway, I suppose. My teeth clench against a retort, and the action sends a flare of pain through my newly set nose. I hold myself still, forbidding my face to betray my discomfort. It’s a cardinal sin, after all, for a man of my ilk to display any sign of weakness.

“It hurts, doesn’t it?” The hard line of Lilly’s mouth quirks up at one corner. “Good.”

“I won’t fire him.”

“Oh, of course not.” She snorts, crossing her well-muscled arms over her chest. “The last one tried to stab you on more than one occasion. What’ll it take before you let this one go?”

“They have names, you know.” Heat rushes into my cheeks, and I’m certain that whatever I’m about to say, it’s going to be the wrong thing. “You met Mosan tonight. The ‘last one’ was Jasen, and I hired him on your advice.” My voice rises in pitch, becoming a feminine falsetto. “‘At least take a Majerian boy this time,’ you told me. ‘They’ll talk less if he’s one of our own.’” I let out a gusty breath, raking a hand through my hair. “That certainly worked out well, didn’t it?”

She regards me with narrowed eyes. “You’re really going to blame me for that.”

“I’m not --” I pause and replay my own words. “I suppose I just did, didn’t I? My apologies. I only mean to say that there’s a reason I prefer Umani sidearms. They’re --” I glance down at the dark stain on my uniform shirt, and a ragged laugh escapes me. “They’re less prone to violence.”

“So I’ve noticed.” She lays a hand on my arm. “Sit down. You look exhausted.”

I open my mouth to protest, but her fingers close around my bicep.

“Yes, yes, I know.” She shakes her head, all but dragging me to the couch. “You’re Major Aidan Ellis, a fearsome Majerian warrior, and are therefore impervious to fatigue. Now sit.”

I do as she says, though I suspect it’ll only make her more insufferable. She settles herself beside me, her back straight and strong as a girder, and waits for me to state my case.

“What happened tonight, it wasn’t Mosan’s fault,” I say at last.

“He was drunk,” she says, each syllable clipped and clinical. “At a military ball.”

“He’s Umani." My pulse quickens, and I fight to keep the pleading note from my voice. "His people don’t frown upon such indulgences the way we do, and it settles his nerves. He suffers from anxiety, you know, and he’s little more than a boy --”

She lifts a hand, and my defense dies on my lips.

“It’s never their fault, and they all seem to suffer from something,” she says with a dismissive wave. “You’ve always liked the pretty, broken ones, and --”

She shakes her head and stares off into the distance. I know what’s coming next, the list of allegations. It’s difficult to watch me sabotage myself, she’s going to say. If I’d only held my tongue when the general baited me, or hired a female sidearm instead, I’d never have been demoted.

We’ve done this dance one time too many, after all, and I’ve long since learned the steps.

“It’s never your fault, either, is it?” She speaks slowly, moving to an unfamiliar rhythm. “You parade them about like exotic pets, with no thought for how it affects them. Do you think they don’t hear the whispers on the ballroom floor, or do you let them drink to drown them out?”

I flinch as though she’s slapped me. “They know the truth, regardless of the rumors. I don’t… indulge myself with any of them, nor have I ever wished to. I’ve only ever --”

My words catch in my throat, Mosan’s shrill accusation ringing in my ears.

You say you don’t look at me that way, but -- you get off on this, don’t you? I’m not a person to you at all. I’m just here to make you feel good about yourself, to inflate your stupid ego.

Once more I hear his screech, the crunch of bone and cartilage beneath his fist. I blink, my vision hazed. “I’ve only ever had their best interests at heart, haven’t I?”

She tilts her head to one side. “Have you?”

Date: 2016-12-04 10:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tonithegreat.livejournal.com
Oh man. What a unique take on the prompt! And a great end line. Well done.

Date: 2016-12-05 01:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
Thank you!! My bff [personal profile] theun4givables suggested I play with these characters and this part of their storyline, and very patiently helped me hash out the details because writing is hard. :)

I'm really glad you liked it.

Date: 2016-12-04 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dmousey.livejournal.com
This was a beautifully executed piece. From the first line to the last. I devoured this. Hugs, hugs, and peace~~~D

Date: 2016-12-05 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
Awww, thank you so much. I struggled so hard to get this into words, and your amazing daughter was ridiculously supportive and helpful. All the love and hugs. <3

Date: 2016-12-04 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theun4givables.livejournal.com
You know Ellis is my favorite, right?

Well, second favorite. Because he doesn't out-favorite Devin, but he's damnnnn close.

And tbh I rly loved this bit of insight into his life before Devin waltzes into it. And his relationship with Dr. Allen. :) I feel like these are great things to know.

Date: 2016-12-05 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
He's my favorite, too, until I have to write him. The first person wasn't as painful as it could have been, although I can tell I'm really out of practice. I guess he really does desperately want a voice, lol. Thanks so much for all the time you spent on this with me. <3

Devin would be my favorite if I didn't have to write him. xD

Dr. Allen can stay. I wonder if she gets to show up in canon.

Date: 2016-12-05 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theun4givables.livejournal.com
I think you'll get back into the grove of writing all their voices, eventually. <3 But yeah, he desperately wanted a voice. Damn him. He was never supposed to be a voice character!

You're welcome. <3

lolol I know. I may be biased because there is a Jazz over here.

She might! I mean, if we go with the serial as opposed to books idea? Dude, we could start it with the Incursion, couldn't we?

Date: 2016-12-05 02:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
I just need to remember how to write first person well at all, tbh. It's hard.

Ellis miiiiight be less annoying to write than Devin? Idk, they're annoying for different reasons lololol. Who gave Ellis permission to be a voice character, tho? Heh.

Shit, we totally could start with the Incursion if we can skip past all the boring junk between that and the other war stuff. That's pretty brilliant. :)

Date: 2016-12-05 03:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theun4givables.livejournal.com
Shhhh, you do just fine. <3 Still a thousand times better than me, hah.

Yeah, Ellis seemed like he was totally annoying in a different way. xD And I think Devin did. Because Ellis had to become important and all. Sigh.

It is, isn't it? I figured there had to be a reason why they made us jump to that part of the timeline after the time skip...

Date: 2016-12-06 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
I figured it was just going to be so we had the backstory, but if we're messing with the format anyway, I guess it can be not-backstory. If I can ever write things, lol. Shit, does that mean I'm going to have to finally finish that other damn Ellis piece (and oh god, put it into first person)?
Edited Date: 2016-12-06 05:30 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-12-07 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theun4givables.livejournal.com
It probably does mean that, yeah. xD Probably. lolol But it would probably read/feel better in first, once you got around to it. <3

Also we have RP to look back on now lololol

Date: 2016-12-07 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
True, altho since that piece didn't end up being about Ellis offering the job to Devin idek how much of the RP will end up in it. Stupid characters. xD

Date: 2016-12-06 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adoptedwriter.livejournal.com
Nice going w the darkness of this. Interesting take on the prompt! Great way to conclude!

Date: 2016-12-06 05:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
Thank you. I don't know how to write things that aren't twisted, really. It was interesting getting in this guy's head, although I never feel like I have enough time to make the words do what I want them to. :)

Date: 2016-12-06 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] murielle.livejournal.com
Lilly is that friend! The one who risks the friendship to tell you what you don't want to hear, to hold a mirror in front of your face and make you look at yourself and see what you don't want to see.

This is wonderfully crafted.

Well done!
Edited Date: 2016-12-06 05:53 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-12-06 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
Lilly is totally that friend. I like to believe Aidan is a decent guy, but he desperately needs to look in that mirror Lilly's holding up. :)

Thank you so much. I'm really honored that you enjoyed it.

Date: 2016-12-08 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] uselesstinrelic.livejournal.com
I don't know why, but the first time I read it I assumed Aidan was a woman. After reading this comment, I had to read it again!

Date: 2016-12-06 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magazhchi.livejournal.com

Ah! Interesting start. I am curious as to where this will lead. I enjoyed reading this and wouldn't mind more of this world.

Date: 2016-12-06 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
I probably shouldn't admit this, but I didn't intend this to be a lead-in to a serial. It was more that the piece just decided to end there, even though I knew what happened next, and I couldn't seem to write past that point. I couldn't tell if it worked as an ending or not, but it was what I had, so I went with it.

With that said, I always seem to come back to this world, so there will probably be more of it at some point. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it and I hope I'll be able to satisfy your curiosity going forward. :)

Date: 2016-12-06 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swirlsofblue.livejournal.com
Love the darkness that threads through this, forcing the main character to finally look inwards.

Date: 2016-12-06 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
Thank you. <3

Man, writing is hard, lol.

Date: 2016-12-06 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayaso.livejournal.com
Another excellent addition to your world, and you managed to include a creative take on the prompt. Very well done!

Date: 2016-12-07 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
Thank you!! My bff was the creative one, because she's the one who had the idea for me to write about these specific characters. I just ran with it the best I could. xD

Date: 2016-12-06 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] my-name-is-jenn.livejournal.com
Very nice take on the prompt. I really liked reading this.

Date: 2016-12-07 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
Thank you!! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. :D

Date: 2016-12-07 01:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] baxaphobia.livejournal.com
Another excellent piece! I'm envious of your ability to write such great characters!

Date: 2016-12-07 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] n3m3sis43.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!! I love developing characters in my head, but then it feels so difficult bringing them to life on the page. I never feel like I do them justice and I'm really honored that you enjoy them. <3

Date: 2016-12-07 07:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bleodswean.livejournal.com
I am mightily impressed with how much character and story you conveyed in this small piece! Your dialogue is spot-on! Great work here!

Date: 2016-12-07 08:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
Creepy! I can see why the narrator things that having pretty things around, perhaps as arm candy, is not actually harmful. But those things are people, and suspicion and rumors and attracting attention are part of the deal, and none of those people will think they signed up for that.

Date: 2016-12-07 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beeker121.livejournal.com
I was sucked right into this and it held my interest. Even when I didn't quite know what was going on I wanted to know.

Date: 2016-12-08 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] uselesstinrelic.livejournal.com
I was able to hop into your world, despite this being my first read in the setting. One of the parts I found most interesting was the comment about the person having anxiety. I think of anxiety as common in our world, but I rarely hear anxiety (or mental health) mentioned in fantasy.

Date: 2016-12-08 03:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com

Date: 2016-12-08 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] m-malcontent.livejournal.com
Splendid as usual.


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