24
Jun

The Hail Mary

by Takiguchi Aiko (滝口アイコ)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/310064.html)

Javed is still in bed, playing Peggle on his phone and nursing a hangover, when the door buzzes at one-thirty in the afternoon. Javed is skipping a studio day for the first time he can remember, so no one he knows should be expecting him to be home. He ignores the buzzer until it rings twice more, then sighs, staggers out of bed, and makes his way to the intercom. When he presses ‘talk’ and asks, “Who is it?” his voice is rusty with disuse.

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24
Jun

The Eleusinian Mysteries

Michel woke in an unfamiliar bed. It was too comfortable to be his own, more akin the furniture in his parent’s estate. The thought prompted a memory – his last memory before unconsciousness – and fear bloomed in his mind like a drop of blood dissipating in water. Michel struggled to sit up.

“Hello, my lord,” said a little voice. Michel looked down. A small automaton – no higher than Michel’s knee – gazed up at him with red eyes. It was not designed like any serving piece with which Michel was familiar. “Hello, my lord,” it said again in a half-note mechanical sing-song, seeking voice recognition.

“Hello,” Michel said with a dry throat.

“There is tea to ease your headache on the table,” the automaton said. “There are clothes for you in the wardrobe. When you are dressed, you are to come with me to meet the Duke.”

Michel now knew where he was. He swallowed with difficulty.

19
Dec

Seven Tears into the Sea

Surprisingly, given the clinically precise lines of the architecture and the modern, open-air sensibilities of the lobby, the inner offices of the Ceridian Communications building’s thirty-fourth floor were decorated like a Victorian library. Everything was mahogany and embellished with rounded flourishes. The chair where Dylan was currently crossing and uncrossing his legs, trying to swaddle his fidgeting in an air of thoughtful deliberation, was cushioned with red velvet and horse hair. It prickled through his jeans.

They were dark jeans, good jeans, designer in fact, according to Fiona, his business partner Amir’s girlfriend, who lived with Dylan and Amir in everything but name. She picked out his outfit for this meeting – once Amir’s stomach flu hit the 72-hour mark and it became clear that Dylan would have to go it alone – with so much care you would have thought it was Oscar night. Dylan was originally just going to wear his suit, but when he put it on for the first time in five years it turned out the pants had a mysterious new giant hole in the crotch that the Greek tailor down the block couldn’t or wouldn’t fix.

24
Oct

The Unicorn Man

The unicorn man came to the village when Eric was seven. The unicorn man had been coming to Eric’s village long before then – longer than the basilisk man or the pixie man or even the phoenix man – and according to his aunt visited the year Eric was born, but of course he had been too young to remember.

19
Jun

Itjtawy

Peters was five months in the fallows when he met a child.

17
Apr

Again and Again a Beginning

Mike would have liked to say he felt something electric when it began, but it had been a pretty typical day as far as he was concerned. He’d been writing a final at the base when the call for a recon job came in and he and Henrietta played Uno in the van on the way there. Amanda was driving that time, not Zeb, and Jonathan sat shotgun, giving instructions. Jonathan always sat shotgun and he always read the M.O. in a monotone. He only became animated when planning the details.

Being human had its disadvantages. Mike wouldn’t mention that anywhere near a camera, since the agency’s psych department would drag him away for a battery of tests before Mike could convince them he vastly preferred it to the alternative, but years ago he might have known something was off just instinctively, spidey-sense style. As it was he could maybe blame the whole team for being sloppy.

23
Sep

World’s Finest

by Takiguchi Aiko (滝口アイコ)
illustrated by calintz

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/93799.html)

The first thing Keith Manning had taught him was the workings of the Lair’s database.”You’re the one who wanted to be useful to me,” he had said when Elias had complained. “Utilizing your existing skills, that’s useful.” It had taken months of system administration before Keith finally relented and began schooling him in field work. Even then, Elias’ first martial arts lesson had been breath control.

“Breath is the foundation of life,” Keith’s arms had been loosely folded, hands buried in his gi. “You can’t throw a punch if you can’t breathe through it. There are myriad uses besides. If you’re undercover or being interrogated, for example. It helps you regain your rational mind in times of panic. Control is important in all things.”

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5
Mar

Kids And Heroes

by Takiguchi Aiko (滝口アイコ)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/79524.html)

Rebecca Tietney was one of those mothers, Jeremy’s own mother would have said darkly; the kind of parent who opened up the liquor cabinet at parties because it was better to have the kids drinking in the safety of her home rather than outside it where safety was not guaranteed. She may have been regretting this policy lately, as Rog and Jeremy were making friends with a college and post-college crowd that was not always respectful with free alcohol. But her philosophy was still clearly that kids were determined to make endless hurtful mistakes and her job was primarily damage control, because when they went up to Rog’s room with their avocado sandwiches a pile of condoms, looking not unlike gummy candy, and a few sample packets of lube were lying on top of Roger’s folded laundry.

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24
Dec

Guitar Hero

by Takiguchi Aiko (滝口アイコ)
illustrated by sairobi

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/67080.html)

illustrated by sairobi

You couldn’t even count the benefits of Roger getting clean but one of the unexpected ones was Jeremy got at least six hours of sleep a night, more or less uninterrupted. He’d had insomnia for as long as he could remember, and managing to drift off only to have Rog and those assholes from Up, Up and Away bring their coked-up groupies on the tour bus and smash the Playstation open with a hammer, do not even get him started. So having grown accustomed to the new order, he was less than charitable when Finn sat on his bed, basically only molecular repulsion between his ass and Jeremy’s head and said, “Get up, man.”

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15
Feb

The Overseers of Harmful People

by Takiguchi Aiko (滝口アイコ)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/41854.html)

Siberian mornings had less substance than Grigoriy was used to. The air in St. Petersburg, admittedly, could be chewed, but Siberia – something about the cold or the quality of light – was thinner in a way Grisha could not quite articulate, should he have anyone to whom he would articulate such thoughts. Morning in Siberia was pale, watered down and water-colored, the atmosphere itself stretched to the point of breaking.

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