n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
“Let go of my fucking son.” Murdock moves in close.

Can smell the stench of his carnivore breath, feel it hot on my face. Heart’s in my throat, stomach right behind it. I gulp ‘em back, keep my knife hand steady. Keep my eyes on his, searing blue and all but shooting sparks. World goes dim, him and me and nothing else.

“Let go of him, you Umani piece of shit,” he growls, like I didn’t already hear him.

I smirk, my arm still tight around the kid. “Gotta give me what I want first, General.

Course he can’t, not really. Can’t give me back the man I love, the man I lost. He’s gone for good ‘cause I tried to stall the war Murdock wants so bad, but --

Least I can finish what I fucking started.

Murdock glares, teeth bared. “I don’t have to give you anything.”

“Guess not.” I drop my gaze, focus on the blade. Blood wells up with just a tiny shift in pressure, almost black against the kid’s brown skin. Paints slick trails around the bruises on his neck. Kid’s silent, doesn’t move a fucking muscle. His eyes meet mine, calm as summer seas.

Air’s too thick, heavy in my lungs. Hands wanna shake, takes all my strength to hold ‘em still.

Murdock’s carved from fucking stone, a true Majerian. Folds his beefy arms across his chest and stares me down. “Why stop there?” He shakes his head. “Go ahead, cut deeper. Bleed him dry, for all I care. I don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

I swallow hard, mouth dry as desert dunes. “But he’s… your fucking kid.”

“He’s expendable.”

Kid goes stiff against me, lets out this little squeak. My hold on him relaxes and I stroke his hair with frozen fingers. Pulse pounds in my ears, throat closes up. No choice now, no way out --

Devin, sweetheart. Breathe.

I blink, remember why I’m here. Strain to hear that soft, sweet voice and let it ground me. Force myself to breathe in deep, be strong for him. I push the kid away, mouth one word at him:

Run.

“Everyone’s expendable,” I whisper when he’s gone.

I lift my shirt, reveal the wires bundled nice and neat above my shattered heart. Those ice-chip eyes of Murdock’s widen, fixed on my homemade bomb. His hand creeps toward his blaster and I grip my knife, white-knuckled. Raise it up and press its blade against my throat.

“Guess what happens if I fucking die,” I croak.


n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
“Aidan.”

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?”


n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
"We have to talk," Katie's eyes are hard and her brow's all creased up.

I nod and I try to look agreeable, but I don't say a word and I keep on brushing Daniel's hair. And I focus on the sweet floral scent of his shampoo and how soft his hair feels and the way it slides like black silk through my fingers. Katie wanted to cut it last year when all of this started, but I wouldn't let her. It's his pride and joy, or at least it was.

He won't be able to keep it up, Katie said, and you'll have your hands full anyway.

But my hands don't feel full, not with all I've lost.

"It's about Daniel," she continues, and her voice's so cold.

He doesn't react to the sound of his name, but I do. Because I don't want to talk about Daniel--not now with him here and not later, either. I know what Katie's gonna say, and I don't want to hear it. My hands won't stay steady and I almost drop the brush and it snags in Daniel's hair. And he turns to me with a small, hurt noise, and he's too pale and his eyes are big and shadowed and scared. But he's every bit as beautiful to me as he's always been, and for a second I swear he's there, really there--

And he blinks and the moment passes, and my heart breaks all over again.

"Sorry I scared you, dude," I whisper, and I lay a hand on his back. I can feel his ribs through his T-shirt and the too-fast beating of his heart. His whole body tenses under my touch, and I've gotta stay still 'til he relaxes. But then he leans in and rests his head on my shoulder, and I hold him close and breathe him in and remember how he used to be. How we used to be. And I remember those first awful weeks last year--how lost he looked and his endless questions.

What happened? Was I dead? Am I alive now?

One year and who knows how many tests and treatments later, and we still know so little.

Every thirty seconds and sometimes sooner, his memory resets and for him there's nothing in between. And he's quieter now with all the meds they've got him on, but those questions are still there and I can see them in his eyes whenever he looks at me.

Where'd I go? How long was I asleep?

But there's never any answers to give him, because even the doctors're stumped. It's a brain injury, they say, but they're not clear on the cause and I can't help because I wasn't around when it happened. They tell us it's a rare case and they look at Daniel like he's a puzzle for them to put together. But they can't find all the pieces, and they can't say for sure if he'll get better or how long it'll take if he does. It could happen tomorrow or in a year or not at all. And that's the worst part, that nobody really knows anything.

All I know is Daniel's gone, maybe forever, and I wasn't there when he needed me most.

"Jess?" Katie's voice is softer now, but she's not gonna let me ignore her.

"What is it?" I ask, and I'm so tired, all worn out from fighting so hard to hold onto what's left.

And I feel selfish saying that when Daniel's the one who's lost everything. It's not so much work taking care of him, really. Because it turns out he can take care of his hair and his showers and all those things just fine on his own as long as you remind him every day. The doctors call that procedural memory, and it means his body remembers how to do things even though his brain doesn't. So he can still tinker with his circuits and wires and stuff, and it makes him so happy and it's the only time he's almost him.

But you've gotta watch him so he doesn't get distracted and burn the house down... like he almost did the other day.

Katie twists a lock of her own black hair around one finger. "I think we need to consider... other options for his care."

My eyes well up and my stomach's in my shoes and I think I might choke on this lump in my throat. But I knew this was coming and I've gotta stay calm, so I wait to speak 'til my voice won't shake. "There are no other options."

"Jess." All the steel's gone from her now, and her voice's flat and kinda robotic. "He's not getting any better."

My arm tightens around him of its own volition and he lets out a soft little sigh. And there's no way I'm gonna abandon him again, not now and not ever. "He's--" My words come out all squeaky and I swallow and start over. "He's calmer, isn't he?"

Katie snorts. "More like catatonic." She shakes her head, and her dark eyes flash. "How long do you think you can keep this up? You're only nineteen, Jess. You're supposed to be going out to parties and... doing whatever normal people our age do."

"You don't understand--" I start, but Katie cuts me off.

"Understand what?" she demands, and her face might as well be made of metal except for the flush rising on her brown skin. "That you blame yourself for a breakup that wasn't your fault? Or that you're wasting your life playing nursemaid to make up for it?"

Her face's too close to mine and her breath's hot on my cheeks. Daniel squirms away and he huddles in the corner and makes himself small and I want to tell him it's all gonna be okay. But it isn't okay, and I don't know if it ever will be. And I want to tell Katie it is my fault, because I knew he didn't mean all those things he said to me, the last time I saw him before. I knew it was just a fight and I walked out on him anyway, and he never takes care of himself when I'm not around, and--

"Snap out of it, Jess," she growls, and she lunges toward me and I think she's gonna slap me. But she grasps me by the tops of my arms instead and lifts me onto my feet. She shakes me like a ragdoll and her long nails dig into my skin.

"H- he belongs with me, K--"

"Yeah, right," she snaps. "That's why you were on that six-week 'vacation' at your parents' house when all this started."

And she might as well have slapped me right across the face, the way that stings.

"You didn't break him, you idiot." Her arms fall to her sides and she stares at the floor, and I've never seen her look so sad. "I heard him yelling at you clear across the house, and I heard the front door slam when he left. He walked out on you first, and you were right to leave him when you did. He was broken from the start--"

"He's. Not. Broken," I hiss through gritted teeth, and that low, icy voice's coming from my mouth but it doesn't sound like mine. My blood's pounding in my ears and there's this crazy strength surging through me. And I'm shaking but it's not because I'm scared, and all of a sudden I don't feel like sweet, harmless little Jess anymore. I march right up to Katie and I stare her down and I swear I could throw her across the room. Daniel shrinks away from me, and he mutters something I can't make out.

But Katie doesn't back down one bit. "Well, he's not coming back, is he? Look at him."

He's cowering against the wall, and his eyes are bright with fear.

"Is this the man you love?" Katie won't let up, not for one minute.

And all my rage drains away in an instant, because that's a question I can actually answer. "Yes."

She hollers something back, but I don't hear what it is because my eyes are on Daniel. And he blinks back at me with this light in his eyes and I want so much to believe it means something. That this time it's him, it's really him and he's back for good. But I've been hoping so hard for way too long, so I swallow and I brace myself for the moment the light flickers out again.

But it doesn't come.

Daniel's perfect brows knit together and he clears his throat. "Don't fight," he croaks. "Please."

His voice's like a thousand rusty hinges but it's the most wonderful sound I've ever heard.

I throw my arms around him and I snuffle into his shirt and he holds me like he's never gonna let go. My hands tangle in his hair and now I'm the one with all the questions but I'm too busy clinging to him for dear life to ask them.

"She's right, y'know." His words're soft puffs against my ear and they make me shiver. "Did this to myself."

I'm drenched in tears and my head's spinning and I don't want to pull away, but I do. "What d'you mean, dude?"

"Might not want anything to do with me once I tell you," Daniel mutters.

He leans forward and he lets his hair fall over his face like he always does when he's ashamed. And it's so him it makes me ache, and there's nothing he can say that'll change the way I feel, and--

"You left, and I--" He pauses and picks at the carpet, and he takes a deep breath. And he leans his head back against the wall and closes his eyes. "Look, I fucked up, okay? Knew this guy..." He trails off, and he looks straight at me with his big wet eyes and shakes his head. "I don't deserve you, Jess. I wanted this."

And I can't think straight, because nothing makes sense. "You wanted this? To lose all your memories?"

"Not all of them." He sighs. "Guy wasn't supposed to take everything. Just--" His voice cracks, and my heart does, too.

Because I already know what he's gonna say, but knowing doesn't make it hurt any less. He cups my chin in one gentle hand and he plants a soft kiss on my forehead. And he whispers the words against my skin.

"Just... you."



Author's Note:
This story and its characters are fictional, but the idea was inspired by a real person. They did not teach me about Clive Wearing when I got my psych degree, and I feel a little cheated (especially since I'm still paying back my student loans).


n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: Everything You Touch
Prompt: Loss and Zombies
Bonus? Nope
Word Count: 3227
Rating: R
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton)
Pairings (if any) Nope
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con etc): Language and depression, death
Summary: Sometimes, the only way forward is backward.

not the quickest quick fic I've ever written )
n3m3sis43: ((Avengers) Lokiiii)
Title: Target Acquired
Word Count: 1469
Rating: R
Original/Fandom: Fandom - The Tomorrow Trilogy by [livejournal.com profile] theun4givables
Pairings (if any): Jazz/Savin
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/etc): Implied Sex, Crossdressing and Suggestive Language
Summary: Savin's not gonna stop until he gets what he wants.

this is my first fanfic EVER )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Cliffton again. This one takes place a few hours after Welcome Home and I am using it to fill the "isolation" prompt on my h/c bingo card.



"So, dude, you wanna see your room?" Wes looks me up and down, seeing how I'm covered in grime. "I bet what you really want is a shower, huh?"

of course I want a shower )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: Welcome Home
Word Count: 1223
Rating: R for f-bombs
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton)
Pairings (if any): Nope
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/etc): Nope
Summary: Brendan meets his new roommates.

cut for epic cluelessness with a side of wtf )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: Welcome Home
Word Count: 1223
Rating: R for f-bombs
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton)
Pairings (if any): Nope
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/etc): Nope
Summary: Brendan meets his new roommates.

cut for epic cluelessness with a side of wtf )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: Not Afraid Anymore
Prompt: Discovery
Bonus? Yup
Word Count: 100
Rating: Hard (huh huh) R
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton) - only this is... not canon. Fanfic of my own universe. Okay then.
Pairings (if any) Wes and Devin
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con etc): Implied m/m sex
Summary: There's a first time for everything, and sometimes it's scary.

cut for your virgin eyes, but I promise it's not graphic )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: You Make Me Smile
Prompt: X for XtremeWarrior (see summary for song lyric that inspired the story)
Word Count: 2182
Rating: R for f-bombs and, um... subtext?
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton)
Pairings (if any): Still Not a Pairing!
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/Underage): Epic ridiculousness? None, really.

Summary: This story was inspired by the following lyrics from this vocal trance remix of "Love Story" by Nadia Ali from Armin van Buuren's State of Trance collection. I have a weakness for vocal trance. Also, Wes and Devin are not a pairing but for some reason this is "their" song in my mind. A song called "Love Story". I know, I know. Shut up. :D

cut for song lyrics and silliness )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
No warnings. This one should be pretty safe, unless you're triggered by cluelessness or Calla being mean (but not violent) to Devin.



cut because your princess is in another castle )
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
[livejournal.com profile] theun4givables and [livejournal.com profile] alien_infinity and I gave each other writing challenges! Mine was to do a cute, fluffy, HET pairing. I was specifically told that it had to be done "with the couple actually together instead of that 'almost but not quite' thing she does". Yeah, you got me.

This takes place in a future where Sam and Daisuke from my s&d stories are actually together. I really don't know whether this happens in my canon.



"Dinner's all ready." Daisuke smiles as I pull off my boots and sink into my favorite chair. "I kept it warm."

Ten years gone, and he's still my best friend. We're different, but the same - his hair tinged with gray at the temples, my body fleshier than before. He loves it all the same, savoring every curve.

"What'd you make?" I ask, not that it matters. After my travels, I'm always so hungry I'd eat my own arm.

"Do you even have to ask?" Daisuke sets a steaming plate, homemade macaroni and cheese with the crunchies on top, on the table beside me. He leans in to kiss me, pulling me to him. My arms wrap around him as I breathe him in.

"Mmmmm, my favorite." I break the embrace and turn to my food. "I'm starving!"

"Me or the food?" Daisuke asks. He picks up my shoes and puts them away.

"Both, obviously." It's hard to stop shoveling it in long enough to answer, but I manage.

So many years, and so little has changed. Daisuke's still the solid one, working steady hours and still making time to keep the house clean. He doesn't get mad when I jump out of bed at 3 am with a story idea that must be written right now. When I come home from my travels, there's always food waiting. Daisuke takes care of me, like he always has.

I'm not sure what I contribute, besides the crazy. A sense of adventure, maybe?

All I know is I never stop thinking about him while I'm gone. On every trip, I bring him back a souvenir. He keeps them on a special shelf, a tiny altar to our lives together. There's the rock I found in Cliffton and the strange glowing orb from a place that had no name. And of course, there's the very first thing I ever brought him back, a mangled green matchbook with the words "Sammy's - Est. 1911" printed on its cover.

Does a shelf of tiny knickknacks make up for all the things he does for me? Does it balance the equation?

Dinner finished, I stretch out and put my feet up. It's been a long day - or week, or however long it's been. Jumping from world to world tends to make you lose track of time. My eyes slip closed.

"Oh no you don't," Daisuke murmurs.

"Mmmmph, sleepy," I mumble, scooting over to make room for him.

Daisuke climbs onto the chair and gathers me in his arms.

"Now you can go to sleep," he says, planting a soft kiss on my forehead. "Sweet dreams, Sam."

"I love you, Daisuke."

Then I drift off, knowing it doesn't matter if the equation is balanced or not. It just works.
n3m3sis43: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] theun4givables and [livejournal.com profile] alien_infinity and I gave each other writing challenges! Mine was to do a cute, fluffy, HET pairing. I was specifically told that it had to be done "with the couple actually together instead of that 'almost but not quite' thing she does". Yeah, you got me.

This takes place in a future where Sam and Daisuke from my s&d stories are actually together. I really don't know whether this happens in my canon.



"Dinner's all ready." Daisuke smiles as I pull off my boots and sink into my favorite chair. "I kept it warm."

Ten years gone, and he's still my best friend. We're different, but the same - his hair tinged with gray at the temples, my body fleshier than before. He loves it all the same, savoring every curve.

"What'd you make?" I ask, not that it matters. After my travels, I'm always so hungry I'd eat my own arm.

"Do you even have to ask?" Daisuke sets a steaming plate, homemade macaroni and cheese with the crunchies on top, on the table beside me. He leans in to kiss me, pulling me to him. My arms wrap around him as I breathe him in.

"Mmmmm, my favorite." I break the embrace and turn to my food. "I'm starving!"

"Me or the food?" Daisuke asks. He picks up my shoes and puts them away.

"Both, obviously." It's hard to stop shoveling it in long enough to answer, but I manage.

So many years, and so little has changed. Daisuke's still the solid one, working steady hours and still making time to keep the house clean. He doesn't get mad when I jump out of bed at 3 am with a story idea that must be written right now. When I come home from my travels, there's always food waiting. Daisuke takes care of me, like he always has.

I'm not sure what I contribute, besides the crazy. A sense of adventure, maybe?

All I know is I never stop thinking about him while I'm gone. On every trip, I bring him back a souvenir. He keeps them on a special shelf, a tiny altar to our lives together. There's the rock I found in Cliffton and the strange glowing orb from a place that had no name. And of course, there's the very first thing I ever brought him back, a mangled green matchbook with the words "Sammy's - Est. 1911" printed on its cover.

Does a shelf of tiny knickknacks make up for all the things he does for me? Does it balance the equation?

Dinner finished, I stretch out and put my feet up. It's been a long day - or week, or however long it's been. Jumping from world to world tends to make you lose track of time. My eyes slip closed.

"Oh no you don't," Daisuke murmurs.

"Mmmmph, sleepy," I mumble, scooting over to make room for him.

Daisuke climbs onto the chair and gathers me in his arms.

"Now you can go to sleep," he says, planting a soft kiss on my forehead. "Sweet dreams, Sam."

"I love you, Daisuke."

Then I drift off, knowing it doesn't matter if the equation is balanced or not. It just works.
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: The Whole Truth
Prompt: Taken and Comforting
Bonus? Yup
Word Count: 2909 (haha, this is totes a "quick fic")
Rating: PG-13 for f-bombs and stuff in the warning
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton)
Pairings (if any) They still aren't a pairing
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con etc): Reference to character death? I suck at these.
Summary: Wes finally gets serious.


For those of you who care about context, it might be good to read Whatever Makes You Happy before this one, but you don't have to. That one's short, though. And the timeline for this story spans like 6 months, so there's overlap with some of the other stories but I don't think you have to read them to get it? Eh, I don't know anymore. This ate my brain and got way longer than I expected it to. Ouch.



When I hear the front door creak open, I'm excited. Devin's home!

I've gotten used to being on my own more while he's at work. Not that I'm alone - Kalen and CallaBot and Brendan are here, too. Kalen and I play SimFighting and sometimes I help him build robots. SimFighting with Kalen is fun, because sometimes I actually win! That never happens when I play with Devin.

No matter what my day is like, though, I'm always happy when Devin gets home. Too bad he's not happy.

cut for word vomit )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: Security
Prompt: I Laughed So Hard and What Would _____ Do?
Bonus? Nope
Word Count:
Rating: PG-13 for f-bombs
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton)
Pairings (if any) Nope
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con etc): If you click the link at the bottom, then um... emotional abuse?
Summary: What does Brendan do when he thinks no one is watching?


Spying on Brendan was supposed to cheer me up - a joke at his expense. My typical asshole shit. I haven't been feeling so fucking hot. Needed some kind of comic relief. Wes makes me laugh, but he asks too many questions. I don't want to fucking talk.

Setup was a breeze. Brendan's a creature of habit - showers the same time every fucking morning. With the camera placed, it was simple. Our security system is fucking epic.

What a disappointment, though. Other than his tighty whities, Brendan's not that funny. All he does is exercise. 3 hours of weights, plus the punching bag - comes in at random times to pound it. Rage issues. Fucking creepy. Probably better I'm keeping an eye on him.

But what I saw today - I don't fucking know.

He keeps this tiny robot on his bedside table. Says goodnight to it every night. Weird, but who am I to judge? I've got my share of fucking quirks. Today, he came in, looking like I fucking feel. Picked up the robot, just looked at it a while.

"Devin was right about me," he finally whispered. "My own brother hates me - I'm fucking worthless."



Yup, it's another cheerful day here in Cliffton. Hey, at least it's only 200 words of happiness? Double drabble! This one takes place, um, a few weeks after this other super happy story. I swear I will write something goofy again for this universe. And maybe someday I'll write one where Devin has redeeming qualities? Maybe.
n3m3sis43: (Team Prose (mine - phase 4))
This story was originally supposed to be a goofy mission story. You know, like "Beautiful Disaster"? Well, it didn't turn out that way. The funny thing is how much context I didn't have for what was going on here, and it's needed almost no rewriting now that I do have the context. Freaking weird, dude. Warning for violence.


I'm still not sorry )

Me Time

Sep. 17th, 2012 11:07 am
n3m3sis43: (Default)
The moment I open my eyes, I have a good feeling. Today is gonna be exciting!

I bound out of bed, trying to remember why. Morning people are misunderstood. Our brains take a few minutes to come online when we wake up, too. You just don't notice because our mouths pick up the slack. I throw my boxers on and wash my face, full of the feeling that something important is about to happen. It puts some extra bounce in my walk as I step out into the hall to make some SynthBrew.

...Where I nearly crash into Devin. Who shouldn't be up this early at all.

That's it! I remember now. Today is Devin's first day at work. He's been talking about it for a week. It's gonna be fucking epic. We can fight the system from the inside! The possibilities are endless! I haven't seen him spaz out like this about something in ages - usually that's me.

How can I not be excited for him?

Of course, right now, he's shooting me his standard why-am-I-awake death glare. He thinks I don't notice, probably. I know he hates me for being cheerful this early - I just can't help it. Devin's like this for the first two hours of every day, but I know he's been awake less than 10 minutes because his hair is all over the place.

You'd think this would make me not want to talk to him, but it never works that way.

"Are you all ready for work today? Did you pack your lunch last night? I could pack you a lunch if you want - I'm up anyway. I hope everything goes okay. Are you nervous?" The words pour out and I'm powerless to stop them.

Devin grunts in response. I'm pretty sure he's trying to make me spontaneously combust with his eyes.

"Okay, I'm gonna make some SynthBrew now! I'll make extra for you. Bye!" I make my way to the kitchen, whistling as Devin grumbles something unintelligible at my back. It probably includes the word "fuck" and I'm sure if there's anything important in there, he'll tell me later. Meanwhile, I might as well focus on what to put in his lunch bag.

* * * * *

For at least 20 minutes after Devin leaves for work, I'm focused on the limitless options before me. I'm looking forward to some me time. Just me and my pot of SynthBrew and whatever I want to do with my day. This is new and different!

Then the newness wears off, and I'm a little bored. I've already lost at SimFighting at least 5 times - there are people on the Splinternet who're even better at it than Devin! And by the way, I kinda miss him. It's too quiet here without him around. If he were home he'd still be sleeping anyway, but somehow it feels different from the usual silence.

I wonder if I should call Devin, just see how he's doing. I bet he's nervous even though he'd never admit it. Yeah, I should definitely call him. He needs the moral support.

"Wes, I'm about to walk into the building. Is this important?" Devin's voice sounds weird, kinda subdued. Either something at the WeaponsDev building's messing with the connection between our neurovision implants or he really is nervous.

"I was bored! And I wanted to tell you you're gonna do great so there's no reason to worry."

Devin makes a noise that either means "thank you" or "fuck you".

"Did you remember the lunch I packed you? We were out of orange LaserAde so I gave you red. That okay with you? Wanna play SimFighting when you come home tonight?" I know he has to go into work in a minute, so it's important I say everything right now before I forget.

"Wes, I've gotta go." Devin's laughing, though. It's good I called.

* * * * *

It's a little shocking how much I can accomplish in 2 hours when Devin isn't here. I've cleaned out the FrigiBox, which turns out to have really needed it. There were some very old leftovers and this green ooze that might have been one of Devin's projects. I'm pretty sure it was just an old muscle tonic that Brendan forgot about, though.

Then I was gonna spend the rest of the morning playing SimFighting with Kalen, but after a couple games he suddenly got all worried about Brendan's rage issues. I didn't even know Brendan had an anger problem, but Kalen says it's really scary sometimes. He said since I'm so great at researching things on the Splinternet, maybe I should look into it. Isn't that sweet how Kalen's so concerned for his brother's well-being?

My research isn't turning up so much so far, but I'm gonna keep trying. It's amazing what you can find on the Splinternet. If you search long enough, you'll come across all kinds of things. How great is that?

You know, I bet Devin would be really proud of how productive I'm being! I should call him and tell him all about it. When I talked to him an hour ago, he was downloading procedural vids. If he's watching them now, I bet he's really bored.

"Hey, Wes." Devin's whispering, but it sounds like he's happy to talk to me.

"Hi! Do you miss me yet? Are you watching the procedural vids? When do you get lunch?"

"My lunch is in an hour." He lowers his voice even further. "These vids are fucking boring. And you'd have to be pretty stupid not to know this stuff already. I mean, it's common sense not to leave toxic chemicals in the break room FrigiBox, right?"

That answers the question about the green goo I threw out earlier. I breathe a sigh of relief.

"You still there, Wes?" Devin must be even more bored than I thought. He normally hates talking on our implants.

"Yeah. Dude, guess what?" I remember why I called. "I cleaned up the kitchen, and now I'm doing some weapons research just like you! Aren't you proud of me?"

"You don't say." I'm not sure why he sounds so surprised. "Huh. Well, yeah. I guess I am."

* * * * *

I know I shouldn't call Devin again. It's his second day, and when I talked to him 2 hours ago, he said he might have real work to do soon. He's probably gonna be mad if I interrupt him, but I really need someone to talk to.

The thing is, my research into Brendan's temper finally turned up some results. I think his problem might be the result of an abandoned mind control experiment. Problem is, if that's the case the odds of helping him aren't exactly great. I don't want to scare him and Kalen if I'm jumping to the wrong conclusion somehow.

When I need advice, I always go to Devin.

"Wes, this is a really bad time."

"Okay, but - " I consider whether I should just wait. "Hey, did you get any projects yet?"

"Wes." This is the tone of voice Devin uses when he's trying really hard not to yell.

"But I just really wanted to tell you - " I know I should just shut up because I'm only gonna make things worse. Of course, that doesn't happen. "Um, I just... are you okay? Why do you sound so stressed out? Did someone give you crap about your pretty hair?"

Oops. Too far.

"Yes, I got a fucking project." I have to turn down the volume on my neurovision implant because Devin's all but screaming in my brain. "I've been in fucking meetings all day and I've had to fucking pee for an hour and a half. This is my only 10 minutes to eat lunch before my next fucking meeting. And now I only have 8 minutes left because you keep calling me all day long while I'm at fucking work."

I don't know what to say to that. That lunch he's not eating right now is the one I made him. Also, I had something really important to talk to him about, but now I can't remember what it was. I'm too busy thinking about how I always say the wrong thing.

"Wes? You still there?" Devin's already sorry for jumping on me. I can tell.

"Yeah, dude." I hate how small my voice sounds. "You should go eat. I bought you orange LaserAde."

"You... what?" I can almost hear Devin shaking his head. "When the fuck did you - I'm sorry."

"I know. Sorry for bothering you at work. Go eat, okay?" I should probably clean the bathroom anyway.

"You know what, Wes?" This is the tone of voice Devin uses when he doesn't want to admit something. He's probably blushing, even though he says he doesn't do that.

"What? Oh, and you probably only have six minutes left now."

"Um, it was kinda nice that you kept checking on me yesterday. It's weird here. Sterile."

"Yeah?" I knew he was nervous!

"Yeah," Devin continues. "And I'm sorry for snapping like that, okay? It's just I have work to do already and I'm really stressed out and - "

"I know." I check the time. "Dude, you've only got 5 minutes. You should go."

"Okay, yeah." Devin pauses and I think maybe he's hung up. "You can still call me if you want, you know. Just maybe only once or twice a day from now on?"



This story takes place around the beginning of Tumbler. For people who haven't been following my Cliffton stuff, here's a little back story for Wes and Devin. It was weird writing from Wes's POV. Kind of tiring.

(also using for "unrequited pining" square on my h/c bingo card because, well)
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: Wisdom
Prompt: Memories and Brother/Sister
Bonus? No
Word Count: 664
Rating: PG-13 for a couple f-bombs.
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton)
Pairings (if any) None
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con etc): None
Summary: Brendan and Kalen used to be closer than twins. Now, things are different.



"Ashlynn Farrell likes you," Brendan says.

I shrug without looking up from my half-assembled robot. People always like me now. Inside, I'm still the weird kid they beat up in Second Year. Outside, I'm one of them. I fit in - it's what I do. It's like breathing.

"No, I mean she likes you," Brendan insists.

"So?" I'm much more concerned with making these lasers work than with some silly girl.

"Half the kids in tenth year want to date you. The rest want to be you. And all you care about are your stupid robots and those weird insurgents you keep sneaking out to meet. What a fucking waste." Rage bakes off him in waves.

"How did you - " Taken aback, I put down my tools. "You're not going to tell anyone, are you?" The thought alone makes my mouth go dry. Even speaking against the War is treason. If anyone finds out I've been meeting people from the Splinternet, people who harbor the same doubts I do...

"Don't worry, little brother," Brendan sneers. "I won't tell anyone you're not who they think you are."

A wave of relief washes over me.

"Why the fuck would you do that, though, bro? You have everything a kid could want - perfect grades, popularity, a guaranteed spot on a fighting squad. Why would you risk it all?" Brendan turns on his heel and stomps toward the door.

"It's not what I want," I call after him. "Haven't you ever wondered what we're fighting for?"

"No, and if you had any sense, you wouldn't either." His mouth is set in a thin line, lips white.

"It's just... the Other Side - they're people too," I tell him. "They're people just like us."

Brendan snorts and says nothing.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I demand.

"Who the hell are you to talk about people, Kalen?"

I just stare at him. Brendan can go from calm to angry and back a hundred times in an hour. Sometimes it scares me. He says he won't tell, but you never know. You never know what he'll do.

"It's all just a fucking game to you," he continues.

"What else is it supposed to be?" I ask. "Why do girls and dances matter when there's a War out there? A War I'm forced to fight, whether I believe in it or not."

"People matter, Kalen." Brendan throws up his hands. "For a genius, you can be so fucking stupid. I see the way you are - keeping everyone at arms' length, even me. Stop acting like you're better than me just because I want friends. You can't just go through life alone and have it be okay. No one can."

"Brendan, those people at school aren't my friends. They'd turn on me in a second, given the chance."

"I used to be your friend. Now you don't need me anymore," he says in a small voice.

"You're still my friend," I tell him. "You're my brother. Nothing can ever change that."

"Then why don't you talk to me?"

"It's better for everyone if you're not involved in what I'm doing. The last thing I want is to take you down with me if I'm caught." I sigh and rub my temples. Brendan wears me out with his anger and emotion, his constant need for reassurance.

"I'm involved now anyway," Brendan says softly. "Knowing what I know could get me blacklisted. Everyone would hate me and I'd never be allowed on a fighting team. And unlike you, I want to fight. More than anything."

"I know, Brendan. Everyone here wants to fight."

"Yeah, but I'm not 'everyone'. I'm your brother." Brendan's eyes are clear. The storm seems to have passed for now. "And I wish you'd spend more time with me, even if we are different. I'm not gonna be around forever, you know."

I nod, but my attention is already back on my workbench. Where's Brendan going to go, anyway?




This story takes place in the "Cliffton" universe I've used in a few of my other stories. If you haven't read them already and want to, they are in the Cliffton section of this post. This scene takes place before any of the others, when Kalen and Brendan are 14 and 15 years old. In the weeks he spends alone during The Vacuum Of Time, he thinks back on it and sees Brendan's words in a different light.
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: Wisdom
Prompt: Memories and Brother/Sister
Bonus? No
Word Count: 664
Rating: PG-13 for a couple f-bombs.
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton)
Pairings (if any) None
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con etc): None
Summary: Brendan and Kalen used to be closer than twins. Now, things are different.



"Ashlynn Farrell likes you," Brendan says.

I shrug without looking up from my half-assembled robot. People always like me now. Inside, I'm still the weird kid they beat up in Second Year. Outside, I'm one of them. I fit in - it's what I do. It's like breathing.

"No, I mean she likes you," Brendan insists.

"So?" I'm much more concerned with making these lasers work than with some silly girl.

"Half the kids in Ninth Year want to date you. The rest want to be you. And all you care about are your stupid robots and those weird insurgents you keep sneaking out to meet. What a fucking waste." Rage bakes off him in waves.

"How did you - " Taken aback, I put down my tools. "You're not going to tell anyone, are you?" The thought alone makes my mouth go dry. Even speaking against the War is treason. If anyone finds out I've been meeting people from the Splinternet, people who harbor the same doubts I do...

"Don't worry, little brother," Brendan sneers. "I won't tell anyone you're not who they think you are."

A wave of relief washes over me.

"Why the fuck would you do that, though, bro? You have everything a kid could want - perfect grades, popularity, a guaranteed spot on a fighting squad. Why would you risk it all?" Brendan turns on his heel and stomps toward the door.

"It's not what I want," I call after him. "Haven't you ever wondered what we're fighting for?"

"No, and if you had any sense, you wouldn't either." His mouth is set in a thin line, lips white.

"It's just... the Other Side - they're people too," I tell him. "They're people just like us."

Brendan snorts and says nothing.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I demand.

"Who the hell are you to talk about people, Kalen?"

I just stare at him. Brendan can go from calm to angry and back a hundred times in an hour. Sometimes it scares me. He says he won't tell, but you never know. You never know what he'll do.

"It's all just a fucking game to you," he continues.

"What else is it supposed to be?" I ask. "Why do girls and dances matter when there's a War out there? A War I'm forced to fight, whether I believe in it or not."

"People matter, Kalen." Brendan throws up his hands. "For a genius, you can be so fucking stupid. I see the way you are - keeping everyone at arms' length, even me. Stop acting like you're better than me just because I want friends. You can't just go through life alone and have it be okay. No one can."

"Brendan, those people at school aren't my friends. They'd turn on me in a second, given the chance."

"I used to be your friend. Now you don't need me anymore," he says in a small voice.

"You're still my friend," I tell him. "You're my brother. Nothing can ever change that."

"Then why don't you talk to me?"

"It's better for everyone if you're not involved in what I'm doing. The last thing I want is to take you down with me if I'm caught." I sigh and rub my temples. Brendan wears me out with his anger and emotion, his constant need for reassurance.

"I'm involved now anyway," Brendan says softly. "Knowing what I know could get me blacklisted. Everyone would hate me and I'd never be allowed on a fighting team. And unlike you, I want to fight. More than anything."

"I know, Brendan. Everyone here wants to fight."

"Yeah, but I'm not 'everyone'. I'm your brother." Brendan's eyes are clear. The storm seems to have passed for now. "And I wish you'd spend more time with me, even if we are different. I'm not gonna be around forever, you know."

I nod, but my attention is already back on my workbench. Where's Brendan going to go, anyway?




This story takes place in the "Cliffton" universe I've used in a few of my other stories. If you haven't read them already and want to, they are in the Cliffton section of this post. This scene takes place before any of the others, when Kalen and Brendan are 14 and 15 years old. In the weeks he spends alone during The Vacuum Of Time, he thinks back on it and sees Brendan's words in a different light.
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
Young Niko stood beside his uncle in the museum hall. He turned the steel engraving over and over in his hands, his mind doing somersaults along with it. A flash of white light exploded behind his eyes, followed by a cascade of images that rivaled the waterfall in the etching. He saw a great wheel, twirling under the force of the frothing waters. The vision faded; Niko breathed a wistful sigh that echoed in the large and empty corridor.

"See these falls, Uncle Pavle?" he said, holding out the portrait.

Offering only a cursory glance, Pavle gave a noncommittal grunt.

"Someday," Niko continued, "I am going to America to harness their power."

"What will your father say?" Uncle Pavle snorted.

"Nothing good, I'm sure," Niko admitted.

"You know what he wants for you," Pavle chided.

"But is that truly my destiny?" The boy's voice, just beginning to change, cracked. "Ever since I was small, I've known I was meant for greater things."

Pavle cleared his throat and said nothing.

"One day when I was scarcely old enough to speak, my cat Macak came in from the chill. I stroked his back, and the sparks danced and crackled beneath my hand," Niko's voice quavered with passion. "Then a halo of light surrounded his body, as if he were a saint or an angel. It was then I knew."

"Hm?" Pavle shot the boy a distracted look.

"That mystical power, Uncle," Niko continued. "It is my calling to master it."

"Your father expects you to join the priesthood," Pavle said.

"Yes, Uncle," the boy replied, a small smile curving his lips. "But perhaps I'm meant for a different path."

"Hmmm," the older man mused. "Perhaps you are, at that."

* * * * *

Niko walked in the city park with his friend Anthony. The sun hung low above the horizon and the evening breeze blew soft and clean. It was good to be out in the fresh air, good to feel strong and healthy again. The illness had seemed to last an eternity. Unable to work or rest, he was tormented by too-bright lights and sounds that echoed like gunshots. Doctors had come and gone, unable to provide any remedy, finally giving him up as a lost cause.

He was better now. The puzzle had saved him - the riddle of alternating current and his need to solve it.

"Have you made any progress?" Anthony's voice broke into his thoughts.

"I have the answer," Niko replied.

"That's wonderful - " Anthony began, but Niko silenced him with a wave of his hand.

"I have the answer," he began again, "somewhere inside my mind. The solution is there, waiting for me to find a way to express it."

Anthony's smile faded. The two men paused, watching the sun as it slipped below the horizon. Pink and orange streaks began to trace their way across the evening sky. Suddenly, a verse crept into Niko's thoughts.

The glow retreats, done is the day of toil;
It yonder hastes, new fields of life exploring;
Ah, that no wing can lift me from the soil
Upon its track to follow, follow soaring!


Niko didn't realize he was reciting the words aloud until he saw his friend's forehead crease with confusion or perhaps concern. By then, he was in no position to explain himself; he was too absorbed in the task at hand. Snatching a stick from the ground, he began to sketch a diagram in the sand. Behind his eyes, the solution was drawn in perfect detail. Throat constricting with excitement, he watched it come to life.

* * * * *

In the quiet of his empty office, Niko's pen scratched against a sheet of paper. Late nights at work were not uncommon for him; his daily hours were from 10:30 am until 5 the following morning. Tonight, however, was different.

He finished writing the letter and signed his name. With a leaden heart, he sat back and examined his handiwork.

Dear Mr. Edison:

It is with great sadness that I resign my position at Edison Machine Works, effective immediately. Thank you very much for the opportunity you have provided to me. I wish you the best in all your future endeavours.

Sincerely,
Nikola Tesla


Sighing, Niko placed the letter on his desk and began to pack up his few belongings. He was starting to wonder if coming to America hadn't been an enormous mistake. Perhaps when his pockets had been picked on the way to his ship, he should have taken it as an omen. But how could he, with his letter of recommendation in his pocket and his goals so firm in his mind?

Upon arriving in the Land of Golden Promise, he'd been taken aback by its spare and stark appearance. Buildings were rough and utilitarian, as were the people inside. Still, Niko had been able to put his misgivings aside in the excitement of meeting Edison, the man who would help him realize his dreams.

Edison had dismissed his statement that alternating current was the future of electricity as "utterly impractical". Even so, Niko had been sure that things were looking up. After all, the man had hired him on the spot to redesign his generators, promising a payment of $50,000 upon completion. It was a foot in the door, and surely Edison would come around to his point of view sooner or later. If not, Niko would have a small fortune with which to seek the backing he needed elsewhere.

All those hopes had been dashed in the space of a 5-minute conversation this morning. Bursting with pride, Niko had approached Edison in the hall and informed him that he'd finished redesigning the dynamos. The other man had nodded brusquely and continued walking.

"Sir," Niko had asked, "Might I inquire as to when I shall receive my payment?"

"Payment?" Edison had chuckled. "When you become a full-fledged American, you will appreciate an American joke."

Personal effects gathered, Niko pulled on his coat. Taking one last look around the room where his dreams had lived for the past several months, he turned off the light and walked out the door. It was a joke, all right, and he was the punchline. Still, he was determined to have the last laugh.

* * * * *

Niko stood at the back of the crowd, hat pulled down over his eyes and shoulders hunched. Up at the podium, his former employer had already begun his rhetoric.

"Think of direct current as a river flowing peacefully to the sea," Edison called out. "Alternating current, on the other hand, is like a torrent rushing violently over a precipice. Unpredictable. Dangerous. Uncontrollable."

Edison paused. Voices buzzed in affirmation. When they were silent, he continued.

"Even lethal."

An approving murmur rose from the audience. This was the part they had been waiting for.

"Topsy here is crazed," Edison said, gesturing with a flourish at an elephant, slumped and forlorn. Chained to post a few feet away, the enormous beast was outfitted with sandals of wood and wire. Large men flanked her on both sides.

As the throng pressed closer to the stage, the drone of voices took on an almost fevered pitch.

"Topsy has murdered three people," Edison said, "and her handlers have called for her execution. You'll find that alternating current is the perfect tool for this deadly job - and for no other purpose."

The crowd rumbled in anticipation. A consummate showman, Edison let them wait before nodding to his technician.

Stomach churning, Niko watched as the switch was thrown and smoke billowed into the air. Without a sound, the elephant jerked briefly before collapsing onto her side. By the time the scent of burning meat reached him, it was already over. Inside the pockets of his overcoat, his fingers curled into angry fists so tight his nails bit into his palms.

Niko's ears rang with the shouts of the crowd. Despair flowed over him like an incoming tide. All his efforts would be for nothing if Edison's smear campaign succeeded. His whole life, he'd worked for nothing but this one goal. Time and time again, this man had made a mockery of it, and all in the name of egotism and greed.

The familiar white light flared behind his eyes, blinding him to all else. Gone were the park in which he stood, the people, the despair and anger. In their place came the images, etched in his mind's eye with a painful clarity. He saw himself, lying in bed at age 17, extracting his father's promise to send him to University if only he'd live. Studying at the Polytechnic Institute, hell-bent on a conquest the world thought impossible.

Lightning flashed again; the scene shifted. Dirty and exhausted, he stumbled home after digging ditches for $2 a day. The vision changed; he was building his invention at long last. With no blueprints, he'd used only the picture in his mind. Brought to life, the machine worked just as he'd imagined. One final burst of white heat - he was signing the contract that would bring his dream to fruition.

By the time the world returned to normal, the crowd was dispersing. Head pounding, Niko stood alone and watched them go. The scent of singed flesh still hung in the air, but he barely noticed. None of that mattered now.

All his life, Niko had always found a way. This time would be no different.

* * * * *

The air in the small room vibrated with activity. Around him, engineers were abuzz with frenetic activity, but Niko remained calm as he watched the falls crashing over the rocks. The rushing water was just as it had been when he'd seen it in his mind's eye as a boy. In only moments, the dream would come full circle. All his life, he'd known this day would come.

In his five years as a consultant for the Niagara Falls Power Project, he'd been questioned over and over. Would the machines really work? After all, they'd existed nowhere beyond his own imagination. Investors and engineers on the project had been reluctant to believe the devices would function as well in reality as they did inside Niko's head. As they waited now for the switch to be thrown, their anxiety was palpable.

Niko himself had no doubts. The visions had brought him to this point, against all odds. They would not fail him now.




This entry tells part of the life story of Nikola Tesla, the man who made AC electrical current possible. For anyone who's wondering, yes, he really did experience visions and no, I didn't know this when I initially chose to write about him. It was obviously fate. If you're interested in reading more about Tesla, you might check out his autobiography.

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