by beili (mirrors http://bb-shousetsu.livejournal.com/73230.html)
The suspicion grew sort of gradually, a nagging doubt at the back of her mind, like thinking you’d left the oven on. First just a vague sense of something out of place, and then bit by bit the specifics began to fill in; and then it was a growing, solider certainty.
“Are we — ” Zoe started, and then she stopped playing entirely, resting her bass against her chest and pulling off one cup of her headset. “…Are we playing in the wrong key?”
Andy looked at her for a second, frowning, his fingers starting to falter as his concentration broke. “No. What? No.”
“I think we are, though.”
“No.” But then he looked down at the fretboard, and his frown deepened. “Yes. …Fuck.”
by Matsuri Yuri (祭百合) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/208867.html) Sheila was staring at the ceiling, counting tiles and waiting for him–and the boredom–to just finish. One would think a sex worker would have a thrilling sex life, but apparently they left that out of the pamphlet. Dylan always made a big fucking deal of going down on her, […]
Looking back, my biggest mistake–if mistake it could be called–had been taking the veil with me. Had I not brought along that scrap of fabric, I would have had nothing to link me to the scandalous affair at Rosewood Hall.
Other than my own regrets, of course.
“Look, Briggs,” Shihaya says from inside the bridge, “I’m not asking for much.”
Kayla slows her steps, stopping just before the open door. With Romeo and the others away on their latest mission to acquire goddess-knows-what, they’ve been anchored two hundred feet up with nothing to do for three days. The prospect of anything’s happening, even if it’s Shihaya complaining, is too attractive to pass up.
“I mean, he says he loves me,” Shihaya says. “He says we’re destined to be together. And then he leaves me behind at every opportunity!” Her voice rises into a nasal whine. “‘Oh, Shnookums, you can come next time.’ But it never happens!”
“Lord of Winter,” said Lady Dagmar. She swept forward before Aesa could say a word, shifting her cloak into her brown hawk’s wings as she knelt in the feast hall. She spread them to their full length, so that all present could see them. This was custom for a Valkyrie captain in a strange feast hall. “We ask you to release a wind for us. Just to hold the winter a little longer. My Lord Bryngeror has endured the attention of her rivals for too long. We need a late winter to thwart them. The snow needn’t stop their attack, only delay it.”
The announcement caused a murmur among the attendants in the hall, all bundled up in furs to combat the cold of the hall. Aesa could imagine how it must have looked: a small flight of Valkyrie coming in the name of a small holding on the other side of the valley, speaking for the wife of a Jarl who had died two winters ago, and asking a god himself for aid.
“Remember, a god in exile is still a god,” Lady Dagmar had warned them, when they’d entered the hall. It had mostly been a warning to Aesa, who had been all too eager to shake the ice from her wings and rush ahead. Hodur had not been to Asgard in some time, not even to the selection tournaments in which he would be allowed to choose new Valkyrie, but even still he kept the winter winds in his stores, and in many ways the one god all people of the mountains believed in above all else.
She woke up.
The sun was out and the sky was bright, so she woke up. She lay there for a while, blinking at the ceiling, and thought about trying to go back to sleep. Then she got up. She put on her Army t-shirt and a pair of shorts and laced on her running shoes.
On her way to the door, she heard her mother yell behind her, “Helena! Aren’t you going to have any breakfast?”
“Later!” she yelled back and shut the door behind her, a little too hard.
That night, for the first time in a year or so, Chisato starts to cry while brushing her teeth.
She barely even realizes it until she hears her mom’s footsteps down the hall. She spits out her toothpaste and tries to wipe her face dry, but her eyes have already gone red and puffy, and she’s breathing in little sobs. It’s too obvious to hide it now.
There’s a knock on the bathroom door. “Chisato? Are you all right? Did something happen?”
Chisato opens the door. “It’s nothing, mom,” she says, with her best embarrassed smile. “I… um… I’m under a lot of stress at school right now, and… well, it’s that time of the month for me, so…”
Her mom doesn’t respond, but her face says she doesn’t quite buy it.
Hello, there. My name is Bailey Callendar, and I’m a writer currently working for Magpie — we sort of fall under the “ladyblog” category, but we’re a bit more diverse than that. I’m working on a story right now about slash fiction, and I’m interested in interviewing a few of the more prominent and prolific authors. I promise this isn’t going to be a “oh, aren’t those girls so weird and cute with their little fan stories” sort of hit piece I’ve seen around; I want to get a good survey of the culture and open it up to our readers. Your name’s come up a lot with some of the people I’ve already been talking to, and I’d love to get your input. I’d just like to ask you a few things about your history with slash, your involvement in fandom, that sort of thing. Please let me know if you’re interested, and if not: happy writing!
“If I didn’t know better,” said Ari, holding her arms out straight as Kesha poked at her with pins, “I’d think you were enjoying this.”
Kesha pulled some pins out from between her lips before replying. “I don’t get the opportunity to dress up like this enough,” she said, eyes shining.
Ari groaned. “I always thought that was a good thing.”
It was the war’s fault that she was there, in dungarees and with all her wavy red hair tied back in a kerchief, her hands grubby in the crevices of her knuckles and palms, holding pneumatic tools she hadn’t known had existed two weeks before, wearing a gold locket with Tom’s picture in it the way his letters promised he kept what few pictures he had of her wedged in the crevices of the metal that held his bunk to the wall. The war was responsible for how the nails she’d always kept so nice were ragged at the tips and cuticles, and rimmed around and beneath with heavy black-brown grease; the war was why she came home to an empty house and cooked supper for one and jumped in the middle of the night at every unexplained noise and sometimes stayed awake until dawn, hugging Tom’s pillow to her chest and telling herself it was going to be all right.
She wouldn’t complain; she was a good girl who never complained. She just wanted God and the rest of the universe to be clear on the point of the matter of her suffering. She had done nothing wrong; it was the war.
After a month’s absence, Lieutenant-General Liu was back again that evening to celebrate another major victory, but one thing had changed: he was no longer a Lieutenant-General, but a full-fledged General. Word of Liu Yang’s courage and intelligence on the battlefield quickly spread. When Ying-Ying wasn’t afraid for his life, she worried that he might begin to choose the fancier diner over their modest wineshop due to his newfound fame. Most of the high-ranking officers chose not to mingle with the juniors and soldiers at mealtime.
But luckily for Ying-Ying, General Liu was friends with a small group of his men from his own province. As he rose up the ranks, he remained close to them, and these soldiers continued to follow his lead. Ying-Ying considered them a less pretentious bunch than most of the men she encountered. They were young and old, sickly and strong, warriors and commanders – but they stuck together.
When Lulu woke on the third day of the seventh month of her fifth year of being kept by the House, she stared at the white ceiling of her room, rolled over, and went back to sleep.
Some half hour later, she was dragged from her dreams by the soft but insistent knocking of the hall’s attendant, who she snarled at before swinging her feet over the edge of her bed and donning the gauzy robe she favored whenever she wasn’t on official business. She had a showing later, but she’d be damned if she was going to strap herself into latex one instant sooner than she had to. The display screen on the wall opposite came softly to life in response to her movements; words scrolled up it, listing her tasks for the day, the weather (not that it made a great deal of difference), the names of her opponents. She gave it only a cursory glance before settling in with her breakfast and her book.
Two hours into it, the attendant returned and fetched her out of her reverie and into the cold, white present.