n3m3sis43: (Default)
This is chapter 3 of Cliffton book 1. It's based on a story I wrote during LJ Idol (which is here, if you're curious). I was never happy with it, and once I started developing Brendan as a character, it was super apparent the voice was wrong, too. As always, concrit is appreciated.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
1 | 2


yay for rewrites )
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: (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: 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: (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)
"Kalen, it's been 3 weeks." CallaBot's voice is tinged with panic. "You have to come out sometime."

Lying on my bed, I stare at the ceiling and say nothing.

"Come on, Kalen - it's anarchy out here." My wooden door shudders as CallaBot pounds it with her metal fists.

For a moment, I consider giving in to my best friend's request. I'm supposed to be the leader of our little group, after all. How can I be responsible for anyone right now, though? I'm coming apart at the seams. I sigh and wait for her to go away.

"Seriously, Kalen," CallaBot says, "Enough is enough." I hear a low humming sound from outside my bedroom and notice my doorknob glowing bright red.

That can't be good, I think. Then there's a zapping sound, a clatter, and a stream of loud cursing from CallaBot.

"What the fuck is wrong with you, Devin?" she shrieks.

Devin speaks in hushed tones; I can't make out his response. Under normal circumstances, he isn't the quietest guy, so I'm guessing he doesn't want me to hear what he's saying. Tiptoeing over to the door, I rest my ear against it.

"If he were going to do it on his own, he would have by now," CallaBot says.

"Whatever," Devin snorts. "It's not like he can stay in there forever."

"Well, he wouldn't be able to, Numbnuts," CallaBot's tone is icy. "If somebody didn't keep leaving meals outside his door."

Devin grunts and says nothing.

Huh. I was wondering who was responsible for that. Three quick knocks, a fork and knife shoved under the door, then nothing. By the time I looked out into the hall, there was never anyone there.

How would he disappear that fast? I think. He must have been using an InvisiSuit.

"Why do you insist on coddling him, anyway?"

"For fuck's sake, Calla... he just lost his brother."

"Since when are you Mr. Sensitive?" CallaBot demands.

"Shut the fuck up, okay?" Devin's voice sounds... odd. "And leave him the fuck alone or I'll deactivate you."

CallaBot must be aware that Devin's threat is an empty one. She could take him down in a matter of seconds. Even armed, I wouldn't give him more than a 5 percent chance of overpowering her. She doesn't call him on it, though - doesn't even bother with one of her signature verbal slapdowns.

I'm still wondering why when I hear the metallic clank of her stomping away down the hall.

* * * * *

"Hey dude, you up for some SimFighting?" Wes calls through my door one evening.

Same old Wes, I think wearily. Pathologically cheerful, just like always.

"You don't even have to come out," Wes says, "We can play from separate rooms."

I sigh and continue my thorough examination of the ceiling.

"Please?" Wes sounds almost desperate. "Devin always kicks my ass and I'm tired of it."

Under different circumstances, I'd smile at that. I don't have the heart to tell him I let him win.

"Dude, you know we're all worried about you, right?"

That gets to me a little. It doesn't matter, though. As bad as I feel about freaking out my friends, I'm just not ready to talk. I don't want to see their pitying looks or hear their sympathetic words. There's no way any of them can understand what I'm going through.

"Well, I guess I'll go now," Wes says softly. "I'll leave your headset out here in case you want it."

I wait until the echo of his footfalls dies away before I crack the door and grab the headset. Though I'm not interested in a SimFighting match with Wes, I am getting pretty tired of lying around and doing nothing.

Who knows? I think. A little simulated killing might take my mind off things for a while.

Putting on my headset, I fire up "Splinternet Battle Mode". Random strangers aren't going to try to get me to open up. The mindless action of the fight is a good distraction. Since I'm damn good at this game, there's the added bonus of feeling like I've accomplished something for the first time in over a month. Before I know it, I've been playing for hours.

Reluctantly, I pull off my headset and collapse into bed. That's when the ugly thoughts come.

You don't deserve to have fun - not with Brendan dead.

Shivering, I pull my blanket up to my chin and try to think about something else.

What kind of monster are you? Taking pleasure in blowing people up after what happened to him?

"It's only a game!" I don't realize I've spoken aloud until the sound of my own voice makes me jump.

Was it a game to Brendan?

I close my eyes and will my brain to shut itself off.

It's your fault he's gone. You were the leader. You let him go in there.

Throwing back the covers, I climb out of bed. It's obvious I won't be sleeping anytime soon - might as well play a little longer. Hell, I've got all the time in the world now. Might as well not stop at all.

* * * * *

My eyes don't seem to be focusing very well anymore. The projected image of my SimFighting match doubles and blurs. I blink, hoping to clear my vision, but it doesn't help much.

"Shit!" I mutter as my SimFighter explodes.

My head feels a little funny. For the first time, it occurs to me to wonder how long I've been playing without a break. I remove my headset and stand up, thinking I'll just go to the bathroom and splash some water on my face. A wave of dizziness smacks into me like a fist. Grabbing a chair to steady myself, I wait until it passes.

Stumbling into the bathroom, I wash my face. When I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror I do a double-take. Not only do I need a shave in a major way, my hair is so greasy it almost looks brown instead of blonde.

Nasty, I think. How long has it been since I bathed?

Shaking my head, I punch the "on" button for my washing station. Jets of water shoot out, heated to my personal specifications. The steaming water sluicing over my body makes me feel a bit better. I stand under it for a long time, feeling some of my tension melt away.

I've just finished showering and wrapped a towel around my waist when I hear three short knocks. My stomach rumbles - who knows when my last meal was? I wait for Devin to leave so I can snatch whatever food he's brought.

Only he doesn't go away. There's more knocking, insistent this time.

"Hey buddy, you okay in there?"

Something in Devin's tone makes me want to respond, but I fight the urge. Stepping out of the bathroom, I notice a small pile of forks and knives scattered in front of the door. It really has been a while since I ate.

"Look, Kalen," Devin says through the door. "I get it if you don't want to talk. Really, I do. And that's cool. There's a lot I don't want to talk about, too. It's just..."

My unintentional fast must be getting to me, because I swear Devin's voice breaks a little.

"CallaBot tried to blast her way into your room and I told her to stop," he says.

Irritation bubbles up inside me. All I want is for Devin to stop talking so I can finally eat.

"So, um," he continues, "Do you think you could just tell me you're still fucking alive in there? Because if you're not, it's my fucking fault and I - "

My hand reaches for the doorknob when Devin trails off, but I pull it back.

"I don't want to be responsible for that too, okay?" he finishes.

Before I realize what I'm doing, I've yanked the door open. Devin almost drops the plate of food he's holding. I fumble for words - it's been weeks, maybe months, since I've spoken to another person.

"Up for some SimFighting?" I croak. "Bet I can kick your ass - I've had a lot of practice lately."

It's a really stupid thing to say, but it doesn't matter. In that moment, it's enough.



(using this story to fill the [livejournal.com profile] 500themes prompt "The Vacuum of Time" found here and the "nervous breakdown" square on my [livejournal.com profile] hc_bingo card)
n3m3sis43: (Default)
"Kalen, it's been 3 weeks." CallaBot's voice is tinged with panic. "You have to come out sometime."

Lying on my bed, I stare at the ceiling and say nothing.

"Come on, Kalen - it's anarchy out here." My wooden door shudders as CallaBot pounds it with her metal fists.

For a moment, I consider giving in to my best friend's request. I'm supposed to be the leader of our little group, after all. How can I be responsible for anyone right now, though? I'm coming apart at the seams. I sigh and wait for her to go away.

"Seriously, Kalen," CallaBot says, "Enough is enough." I hear a low humming sound from outside my bedroom and notice my doorknob glowing bright red.

That can't be good, I think. Then there's a zapping sound, a clatter, and a stream of loud cursing from CallaBot.

"What the fuck is wrong with you, Devin?" she shrieks.

Devin speaks in hushed tones; I can't make out his response. Under normal circumstances, he isn't the quietest guy, so I'm guessing he doesn't want me to hear what he's saying. Tiptoeing over to the door, I rest my ear against it.

"If he were going to do it on his own, he would have by now," CallaBot says.

"Whatever," Devin snorts. "It's not like he can stay in there forever."

"Well, he wouldn't be able to, Numbnuts," CallaBot's tone is icy. "If somebody didn't keep leaving meals outside his door."

Devin grunts and says nothing.

Huh. I was wondering who was responsible for that. Three quick knocks, a fork and knife shoved under the door, then nothing. By the time I looked out into the hall, there was never anyone there.

How would he disappear that fast? I think. He must have been using an InvisiSuit.

"Why do you insist on coddling him, anyway?"

"For fuck's sake, Calla... he just lost his brother."

"Since when are you Mr. Sensitive?" CallaBot demands.

"Shut the fuck up, okay?" Devin's voice sounds... odd. "And leave him the fuck alone or I'll deactivate you."

CallaBot must be aware that Devin's threat is an empty one. She could take him down in a matter of seconds. Even armed, I wouldn't give him more than a 5 percent chance of overpowering her. She doesn't call him on it, though - doesn't even bother with one of her signature verbal slapdowns.

I'm still wondering why when I hear the metallic clank of her stomping away down the hall.

* * * * *

"Hey dude, you up for some SimFighting?" Wes calls through my door one evening.

Same old Wes, I think wearily. Pathologically cheerful, just like always.

"You don't even have to come out," Wes says, "We can play from separate rooms."

I sigh and continue my thorough examination of the ceiling.

"Please?" Wes sounds almost desperate. "Devin always kicks my ass and I'm tired of it."

Under different circumstances, I'd smile at that. I don't have the heart to tell him I let him win.

"Dude, you know we're all worried about you, right?"

That gets to me a little. It doesn't matter, though. As bad as I feel about freaking out my friends, I'm just not ready to talk. I don't want to see their pitying looks or hear their sympathetic words. There's no way any of them can understand what I'm going through.

"Well, I guess I'll go now," Wes says softly. "I'll leave your headset out here in case you want it."

I wait until the echo of his footfalls dies away before I crack the door and grab the headset. Though I'm not interested in a SimFighting match with Wes, I am getting pretty tired of lying around and doing nothing.

Who knows? I think. A little simulated killing might take my mind off things for a while.

Putting on my headset, I fire up "Splinternet Battle Mode". Random strangers aren't going to try to get me to open up. The mindless action of the fight is a good distraction. Since I'm damn good at this game, there's the added bonus of feeling like I've accomplished something for the first time in over a month. Before I know it, I've been playing for hours.

Reluctantly, I pull off my headset and collapse into bed. That's when the ugly thoughts come.

You don't deserve to have fun - not with Brendan dead.

Shivering, I pull my blanket up to my chin and try to think about something else.

What kind of monster are you? Taking pleasure in blowing people up after what happened to him?

"It's only a game!" I don't realize I've spoken aloud until the sound of my own voice makes me jump.

Was it a game to Brendan?

I close my eyes and will my brain to shut itself off.

It's your fault he's gone. You were the leader. You let him go in there.

Throwing back the covers, I climb out of bed. It's obvious I won't be sleeping anytime soon - might as well play a little longer. Hell, I've got all the time in the world now. Might as well not stop at all.

* * * * *

My eyes don't seem to be focusing very well anymore. The projected image of my SimFighting match doubles and blurs. I blink, hoping to clear my vision, but it doesn't help much.

"Shit!" I mutter as my SimFighter explodes.

My head feels a little funny. For the first time, it occurs to me to wonder how long I've been playing without a break. I remove my headset and stand up, thinking I'll just go to the bathroom and splash some water on my face. A wave of dizziness smacks into me like a fist. Grabbing a chair to steady myself, I wait until it passes.

Stumbling into the bathroom, I wash my face. When I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror I do a double-take. Not only do I need a shave in a major way, my hair is so greasy it almost looks brown instead of blonde.

Nasty, I think. How long has it been since I bathed?

Shaking my head, I punch the "on" button for my washing station. Jets of water shoot out, heated to my personal specifications. The steaming water sluicing over my body makes me feel a bit better. I stand under it for a long time, feeling some of my tension melt away.

I've just finished showering and wrapped a towel around my waist when I hear three short knocks. My stomach rumbles - who knows when my last meal was? I wait for Devin to leave so I can snatch whatever food he's brought.

Only he doesn't go away. There's more knocking, insistent this time.

"Hey buddy, you okay in there?"

Something in Devin's tone makes me want to respond, but I fight the urge. Stepping out of the bathroom, I notice a small pile of forks and knives scattered in front of the door. It really has been a while since I ate.

"Look, Kalen," Devin says through the door. "I get it if you don't want to talk. Really, I do. And that's cool. There's a lot I don't want to talk about, too. It's just..."

My unintentional fast must be getting to me, because I swear Devin's voice breaks a little.

"CallaBot tried to blast her way into your room and I told her to stop," he says.

Irritation bubbles up inside me. All I want is for Devin to stop talking so I can finally eat.

"So, um," he continues, "Do you think you could just tell me you're still fucking alive in there? Because if you're not, it's my fucking fault and I - "

My hand reaches for the doorknob when Devin trails off, but I pull it back.

"I don't want to be responsible for that too, okay?" he finishes.

Before I realize what I'm doing, I've yanked the door open. Devin almost drops the plate of food he's holding. I fumble for words - it's been weeks, maybe months, since I've spoken to another person.

"Up for some SimFighting?" I croak. "Bet I can kick your ass - I've had a lot of practice lately."

It's a really stupid thing to say, but it doesn't matter. In that moment, it's enough.



(using this story to fill the [livejournal.com profile] 500themes prompt "The Vacuum of Time" found here and the "nervous breakdown" square on my [livejournal.com profile] hc_bingo card)

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