Er, but anyway! I'm long overdue to post some fic, so here are a couple random snippets.
Censure, by kishmet. Atobe/Ryoma, 290 words, PG for boykissing and references to... PGish things.
"No one's watching," says Ryoma, and holds his drink up as a shield, smiling as Atobe kisses him. They kiss again, and again, many tiny kisses all in a row. Ryoma swings his legs idly, brushing Atobe's ankle with the side of one sandal-clad foot every time, back and forth.
"Exhibitionist," says Atobe, pitching his tone so that only Ryoma will hear.
Ryoma shrugs and tells him, "We're only kissing," and does it again before grinning. "Unless you want more."
"Later." Atobe kisses Ryoma's nose and glances up. A woman who's sat down on the bench across the way is watching them and frowning.
"Company," says Ryoma, and makes a face at her.
"Mind your manners," Atobe warns, as she stands up and walks over to them. She has light brown hair and speaks in an East Coast American accent. Ryoma takes a sip of his grape soda and continues to swing his legs, heedless of her disapproval.
She stops in front of them, folding her arms and looming like a vengeful goddess. "Isn't he a little young for you?" the woman says, leveling Atobe with a stern stare.
Ryoma starts laughing silently, so hard that he chokes on his Ponta. He coughs and splutters and Atobe swats him on the back to make him stop. Ryoma clears his throat loudly several times and then gasps out, "Abuse," and doubles over, shoulders shaking.
The woman glowers. Atobe glares back and says, "He's old enough."
She ignores him and leans over, putting a hand on Ryoma's arm. "If you need help, I can call someone," she says. "You can get away from this, if you want to."
Ryoma looks up and widens his eyes, all innocence. "Why would I need help getting away from my brother?"
And here's a Dresden Files/Twilight crossover snippet. It's not as bad as it sounds, I swear. Haven't you ever wondered how the heck Harry Dresden would deal with sparkly vampires? I'm not sure if I'll finish this. I may die of shame halfway through. Warning: Possible spoilers up to the ninth book. I'm not sure what I've included in here, but I want to play it safe. :D
"So, do you think this is a trap?" I asked Thomas, as we drove to the address where I was supposed to be meeting my newest client.
"Hm, let's see. This client flat-out told you that he's a rogue vampire." Thomas held out one finger. "He wouldn't give you his phone number or his real address." Another finger. "He said there were many things about him that he couldn't tell you over the phone." A third finger joined the other two. "No, it couldn't possibly be a trap. Nothing suspicious about it."
I sighed. "All right, fine. So the whole thing smells like a setup."
"And not a very good one, either," Thomas added. "He didn't actually tell you it was a setup, did he?"
"Nope," I said with false cheer. "I haven't seen any banners announcing it, either." I pretended to peer out the Beetle's windshield, scanning the area for any enormous neon signs that read WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM, HARRY DRESDEN! "Nope, still nothing. Keep an eye out."
We were driving through an old industrial part of town, mostly abandoned, only a stone's throw from one of the richer neighborhoods. I'd seen a few half-hearted graffiti attempts, but other than that, the taggers seemed to be leaving the complex alone. Another sign of Marcone's influence, probably; a decade ago, the area would have been snapped up by one of the city gangs within a millisecond. I scowled to myself. I didn't like thinking about the good Marcone had done for Chicago, even if it was, well, good.
"Okay," I said to myself, tapping on the Beetle's steering wheel. "Should be a driveway right about... here. Or not," I added, glancing at the empty field to our right. Thomas let out a snicker that he disguised (badly) as a cough. "Shut it. The directions said half a mile."
"You can measure half a mile in your head?" Thomas asked.
"As a matter of fact, yes, I can," I said with dignity. Building Little Chicago had taken a lot of directional sense, and also an idea of distance. "My work necessitates many types of innate knowledge. Stop laughing."
"A brother's job is to mock you whenever you deserve it, and occasionally when you don't," Thomas informed me gravely. "You wouldn't want me to fail at my sworn brotherly duty, would you?"
"Actually, I would have no problem with that," I replied. "Here we go." The Beetle clanked and protested as I made the turn, bumping through potholes and over sticks and stones that had been left in the road, since there was no one around to drive over them. We were meeting my client in a park-turned-accidental-nature-preserve, simply because it had been abandoned for long enough to let the dandelions, Queen Anne's Lace, and ubiquitous prairie grasses get a foothold in the place. "So is it just me, or does this look like the perfect place to dump a couple of bodies where they'll never be found?" I asked conversationally.
"Look on the bright side," said Thomas. "They'll reclaim and develop the area someday, and then they'll find us when they run over our skulls with a backhoe."
I shot him a sideways look. "How much Court TV have you been watching?"
"More than is good for me," he admitted.
"Clearly." I pulled into a parking space that was only nominally delineated by a pair of yellow lines. "Last stop, everybody off the bus," I announced.
Thomas squinted out the front window. "Is that your client, over by that tree?"
"No, it's someone else who's arranged a clandestine meetup with a wizard in a crappy industrial park on the outskirts of the city," I said. "There's coincidence for you." When I've mentioned before that I can't stop being a smartass if I try, I haven't been kidding.
"You have to learn how to shut your mouth, Harry," said Thomas, shaking his head as he opened the car door. He didn't need to collect or prepare any weapons; vampires were, by their very nature, superhuman killing machines. Thomas was exceptionally strong, could see, hear, smell, and presumably taste incredibly well, and would heal from just about anything, given enough time. Wizards could heal quickly (and more thoroughly than ordinary humans, too), but it still took me weeks or months to recover from a severe injury. For Thomas, it was more a matter of minutes, hours, or days, depending on how badly he'd been hit.
I, on the other hand, had to gather up my usual supplies and arrange them so that I could use any of my evil vampire countermeasures at a moment's notice. Staff, blasting rod, brand new shield bracelets, and the rings that stored up potential energy as I moved; these made up my customary arsenal, the standard fare I carried around no matter what kind of case I was working. I also had a paintball gun full of holy water tucked into my belt, and a few other surprises at the ready in case our guy decided to rip us to pieces instead of paying my fee.
I joined Thomas at the front of the car, and we walked toward man who had phoned my office, asking for my aid. The sun was out, and there was nary a cloud in the sky, so we weren't dealing with a Red Court vamp. Probably not a member of the Black Court, either, though some of the old ones could walk in daylight with minimal discomfort. That left White Court or some unknown faction, and I wasn't sure which I would prefer. "If I never deal with the White Court again, it'll be too soon," I muttered under my breath.
"I feel so loved," Thomas replied, just as quietly.
"As you should," I said, and motioned for him to stop about ten feet away from our "vampire," who was loitering in the shade of a relatively large oak tree. The man was, in fact, little more than a boy, maybe seventeen or eighteen at the outermost, going by his appearance. I reminded myself that looks could be deceiving when it came to vampires and other supernatural creatures. Letting my sentimentality toward women and children drive me had almost led to my downfall in the past.
"Harry Dresden, I presume," said the boy.
"Correct as usual, King Friday," I said. Thomas gave me a puzzled look. "What, you've never seen Mister Rogers' Neighborhood? You poor, underprivileged child."
Thomas nudged me in the side with an elbow. "How did you manage to watch it? I thought you made televisions explode."
"I sat far enough away from the screen," I said primly. "Kept both my eyes and the TV safe."
Throughout this exchange, I'd been keeping my eye on the boy who claimed to be a vampire. He hadn't reacted outwardly either to the Mister Rogers reference or to Thomas' and my friendly banter. There was something strange about him, all right. "So," I said, addressing the boy again. "You're the one who called me out here."
"That's right," he said, inclining his head. "You're going to help me."
"Whoa, whoa. Slow down, cowboy." Again, no reaction. Not a laugh, not a smile, not the irritated twitch most of my enemies gave me when I tried to joke around with them. "We haven't decided anything for sure, yet."
"I can pay," said the boy. "Any price you ask, it's yours."
"Funny that a vampire would want to employ me," I commented. "I'm sort of at war with the majority of them."
"Not with me." The boy stepped forward, to the edge of the shade. "I can prove that I'm unlike any vampire you've ever met."
My fingers tightened around my blasting rod (yes, I'm aware of the terrible innuendo there), and I said "Thomas." He nodded. Usually the Apocalypse, or some reasonable fascimile thereof, follows proclamations like the one the boy had just made. I've learned to be cautious, or more cautious than I was at the beginning of my wizarding career. This type of caution still involves me getting maimed a lot.
The boy lifted his hands to the collar of the nice white dress shirt he was wearing, and as he stepped into the sunlight, he tore the whole front of the shirt open. "Um," I said.
He freaking sparkled.
I mean, the second the light hit him, he glittered like some kid's first grade art project. It was as though someone had dumped a large bucket of glue over his head, followed by an equally large bucket full of sequins. Or maybe more like someone had embedded diamonds in his skin, because as he moved, the sun refracted off of a thousand million tiny facets. Even that could not adequately explain the dazzling, unreal sight of the shirtless, sparkling boy.
"Thomas," I said slowly. My brother was eying the self-proclaimed vampire with an expression that could have been trepidation, amusement, horror, or something else entirely. I couldn't tell for sure, because I could only see him in my peripheral vision. Then again, he was probably having the same difficulty. When a boy unexpectedly accosts you, declares himself a vampire, rips off his shirt, and freaking sparkles, you try and stop staring. I bet you won't be able to, either.
"Thomas," I said again.
"Harry," said Thomas. "You said that already."
"I know," I replied. "The familiarity of saying your name and knowing you're a nice, normal sexually predatorial vampire is comforting. Can I say it again?"
"If-" Thomas began, and then stopped and shook his head. "I can't even call you an idiot. I think he's short-circuited something in my brain."
"Well," I said, and blinked. The sparkles bordered on blinding, sort of like those disco balls that went out of fashion decades ago, and they left a head-and-torso-shaped afterimage on my retinas. I bit my lip so as not to shriek with hysterical laughter. This guy wasn't even threatening my life. At the moment, he was just making me think of bell bottoms, fluffy hair, and John Travolta. If he could reduce me to a gibbering mass of incoherency just by resurrecting the age of jive (at this point in my thought process, I let out a strangled sound that was most definitely a hiccup, not a giggle, and made Thomas shoot me a sideways look), what kind of chance would I have against him in a fight?
And what if he took off his pants, too? Did it all sparkle? I wondered, rather philosophically.
"Harry," said Thomas in an undertone. "Are you all right?"
"Oh, I'm fine," I said, waving a hand at him in as nonchalant a fashion as I could manage. "Why wouldn't I be fine? Why do you ask?"
"Because the way you're smiling makes me want to stuff you into the nearest straitjacket," Thomas replied helpfully.
"Oh." I tried contorting my facial muscles into a more normal position. "Better?"
"I was afraid of that." I nodded courteously to the sparkly man, who I had mentally dubbed Twinkle Toes, or Twinkly for short. He'd been standing patiently, waiting for the two of us to snap out of our glitter-induced daze, no doubt. "Sorry for the wait. I think you broke my brother."
Twinkly shrugged. "I get that a lot."
"Oh?" I had to quash the giggles that were bubbling up in my throat again. I disguised them with a cleverly-timed cough. "Allergies. So, you get this a lot? I'm surprised. Thomas, aren't you surprised?"
"Nothing will ever surprise me again," said Thomas, with a sincerity I didn't usually hear from him.
"Fair enough," I replied. "So, Twinkly."
The boy's eyes flashed, running through about ten different covers that I'd thought could only be found on the covers of Bob's Harlequin novels. Gray, emerald, sapphire, violet- yes, that had been violet for sure. "My name," said Twinkly, his voice suddenly low and dangerous, "is Edward."