five_steps_back: (Second Genesis: Noah)
Nikki ([personal profile] five_steps_back) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2012-01-17 11:38 pm

Tyrian Purple 18 and Alice Blue 6 with Pastels and Watercolors

Name: Nikki
Colors: Tyrian Purple 18 (virgin hunter), Alice Blue 6 (six impossible things before breakfast)
Styles and Supplies: Pastels (my gen+romance card from [community profile] origfic_bingo; B1: habits and routines), Watercolors (Name that story!), Chalk (I will find what I am looking for.)
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2,511
Story: Second Genesis; the title of this piece is 'Architects of the Mind.'
Summary: The night after he returns to Georgia, Jax meets Noah.
Notes and Warnings: Takes place in June 2035, the day before What You Plant Now, You Will Harvest Later. Jax is 19, Noah is 20. (Yay, I finally have a Jax spouse! :D) Warnings for mentions of blood and other unseemly things that come from skinning a deer.

Jax was up before the chickens. He was used to waking up early, but farmwork was different than his usual exercise routine of two hours of swimming and a five mile run. The farmhand that his mother had told him about the night before after they had got in was still off hunting, and his father was dead; that left the chores to him. The sun had just risen by the time he finished with the animals in the barn and got to the chickens and hogs. He was still outside when he saw someone step out of the woods and start walking toward the house.

Jax frowned and set the feed bucket down once he shut the gate behind him. It wasn't until the figure got closer that Jax noticed that it was a he, and he was dragging something behind him on a tarp. A buck, from the looks of it. His frown deepened. You weren't s'spose to hunt deer in June. Jax saw the moment the stranger noticed him, because he paused for a few seconds. When he started moving forward again, Jax started walking to meet him at the edge of the property. He looked him over as they got closer.

He must have been some sort of hunting for a few days; his shirt didn't cover much of his arms, and he was smudged in dirt. A crossbow with a few bolts was slung over his shoulder, and he was dragging a buck (a grown buck, at least; Jax would have hated to see one that was still growing shot down.) His hair was brown, shaggy, and needed washing, and his face was narrow and almost mean-looking. But he had honest eyes.

"Are you Noah?" he asked, once they were within speaking distance.

He nodded, looking Jax over. Jax guessed that was fair. He didn't look like much of a farmer's boy, with the blue hair and tattoos and piercings.

"I'm Jackson, Isaac's son."

"I know," Noah answered, starting to drag the deer past the house and towards the barn, and Jax walked along with him. "He mentioned you some. They hired me after you moved away."

"Mama mentioned that." Jax looked down at the buck. It didn't have many points, but it was fat and had been killed with one clean shot. "I thought you'd been out huntin' for somethin' in season."

The look Noah gave him was odd. "Ain't nothin' in season in June. People gotta eat no matter what the law says, and none of your animals are up to slaughter yet. The deer was."

Jax supposed that made sense. And they did need meat in the house. He had cooked the night before, and it was lucky that his mother was the only one that ate meat for how little of it was in the freezer. "I should thank you for goin' huntin'. I never was much good at it."

"People gotta eat," Noah lowly repeated, shrugging.

"You need any help dressin' or skinnin' it?" he offered. "Already finished the mornin' chores, and we can get it on ice faster with two sets of hands. How long 'go did you shoot it?"

"'Round its breakfast time, far as I can tell. Didn't start headin' back 'til I had somethin' to bring with me. Should still be fine." Noah looked at Jax again, in an honest, searching way that fit him and didn't. "And I ain't gonna turn down any help, if you’re offerin'."

Jax smiled and Noah looked back towards the farm. He grabbed one corner of the tarp that the deer was on to help Noah pull it the last bit. They hung it from the same tree his father always hung his deer from, an old tree behind the barn that had been there for as long as Jax could remember.

"I'd change if I was you," Noah said, breaking the silence they had fallen into. "I still gotta go get some knives and find a hacksaw, so you got time."

He had a point. The clothes Jax put on that morning were fine for morning chores, but it was nothing he wanted getting bloodstained. "Alright. I'll meet you back here."

Noah shrugged in agreement.

His mother was in the kitchen when he walked back into the house, and breakfast was cooking. He kissed her on the cheek and got a tired smile in return. "Noah showed up with a deer. Looks like we'll have plenty of venison for a while."

Something in June's shoulders relaxed after that. "Backstrap and tomato gravy sounds good for supper, doesn't it?"

Jax smiled. "Yes'm. I'm gonna help him prepare and butcher it after I change into something a bit more... disposable. I was thinking Chloe might be able to help you with the peaches later. It's warm enough for her to go barefoot, and she's gentle 'nough for it."

"She does seem sweet, even if she is a city girl." He knew that was his mother's way of agreeing, and his smile widened. "You sure she won't mind walking 'round barefoot?"

"She forgot to bring her country shoes, so I don't think she has much of a choice. I'll wake her up on my way down."

"I'll keep breakfast in the oven for you and Noah when you finish."

He kissed her on the cheek again before heading up to his room to change clothes. He changed into an old pair of jeans that were cut off at the knee (a pair he happened to find in his closet, because he had left them in Georgia. They'd been very large on him then, and were still a bit baggy now) and an old black tanktop. He put his old work boots on for the first time in three years, but didn't think on it past that.

He knocked on the door to Chloe's guest room before he entered. She was still asleep, the sheets tangled around her, and her head buried under a pillow. "Miss," he murmured, reaching out to shake her shoulder. "S'time to wake up. Mama's making breakfast."

Chloe only looked at him blearily when she woke up and emerged. "S'there coffee?" she asked, yawning.

"And pancakes."

"Okay." She yawned again as she climbed out of bed, moving around slowly as she got dressed. "Why aren't you wearing make-up? You look naked."

"No use wearin' make-up for chores, Miss. Mama was wonderin' if you'd help her with the peaches today, so you might wanna wear somethin' you can move in easy and not bother with shoes."

"What are you going to be doing?"

"Noah, the person Pa hired after I left, came back this mornin'. He brought a deer with him, so I'm fixin' to help him go dress it."

She looked at him, confused.

Oh, right, she was a city mouse. "I'm gonna help him empty and skin it," he explained bluntly.

She blanched, eyes widening. "You don't mind cutting open and skinning animals?"

He didn't understand why she sounded so shocked. "There's no other way to eat 'em, and there's no point in huntin' 'em if you don't eat 'em. I wasn't vegan 'til I moved to New York."

Chloe blinked, and went back to looking confused. "I didn't know that..."

"I only ate the animals we raised or the ones Pa brought home when he hunted. But things gotta happen before you can eat any animal, and it don't bother me to do it. People gotta eat, Miss." He gave her a hug and kissed her on the forehead. "Mama's waitin' down in the kitchen. I'll come look for you later, all right?"

"Picking peaches does sound fun," she answered with a small smile.

He took that as a victory and made his way back to the barn. Noah had already started dressing the deer by the time he got there. Blood and guts splattered the ground and roots of the tree, and Noah was elbow deep inside the deer's abdomen cutting everything free.

"Need help with anything?" he asked.

"Just come pull everything out as I cut it free," Noah grunted, glancing at him over his shoulder. "Sometimes gravity don't do its job."

"All right," he agreed easily. The feeling of intestines was something he usually could almost never not focus on, but Jax kept glancing over at Noah every time their shoulders brushed. He glanced down at Noah's arms when Noah had twisted oddly to reach a particularly difficult spot, in a way that accented his biceps, before he quickly looked away.

He kept his eyes on the deer after that. "Do you go hunting a lot?" he asked.

"Whenever we needed it," Noah answered lowly, still focused on his work. "Usually, we'd have a good bit stocked up. Had the entire back freezer full of deer and rabbit and fish."

"Had?" Jax wrinkled his nose as Noah finished cutting a few organs loose, and they fully fell into his hands. He tossed them on the other side of the tree, smelling nothing but copper. "What happened to it all?"

"Had a bad storm a while back. Power wasn't out for too long, considerin', but it was long enough for a lot of it to spoil. Then Isaac figured we'd be better focusin' more on crops and just huntin' rabbit and squirrel for a bit."

Jax nodded, unsure of how to answer. His father was dead, and it was something he was still getting used to. He caught Noah looking at him the next time he glanced over

"M'sorry 'bout your father," Noah mumbled, a flush rising on the back of his neck. "He was a good man."

"He was," Jax answered, almost automatically. "Thank you. It's going to be odd without him." He distracted himself by paying attention to the radio, happy that it was a song he recognized. "You listen to the same station he did."

"Yeah, got that from him." Noah finally cut the diaphragm loose, and Jax's nose wrinkled again as blood sprayed on his shirt as it fell out of the deer and to the ground. Noah didn't seem particularly fazed by it. "It's good music."

They had to take the deer down to let the blood drain from the cavity and cut off the legs (Noah did most of that; Jax did not watch his arms,) and then hang it back up again to skin it. With both of them, it was quick work, but they didn't talk much. Jax noticed that Noah hummed while he worked, under his breath and off-tune, half singing a few lines here and there for songs that seemed more familiar.

"What do you do with the skin?" Jax asked, after Noah carefully set it aside, out of the sunlight.

"Know a way to tan it in a trash can, and deerskin comes in handy if you know what to do with it."

He didn't think he had heard of anyone tanning skins in a garbage can, but if it worked, it worked. "What do you do usually with the rest of the deer?"

"Only thing that's left after I get done cuttin' all the meat off for freezin' is the bones and guts. And those either get left for animals or buried depending on what I feel like. Usually I just leave the head where ever."

Jax felt oddly pleased at that, before his stomach growled and he realized how hungry he was. "Mama said she'd save us some breakfast in the oven," he mentioned.

That seemed to get Noah's full attention. "Then no offense, but this might go faster if you just run and get a cuttin' board and paper and tape so we can cut and wrap everything."

"Does sound like I'd just weigh you down," he grinned, starting to skip back towards the house. "I'll be back in a jiffy."

It was technically past breakfast time when they finished processing the deer and had it stored in the freezer on the back porch. They'd be late in the fields because of it, but Mama would keep supper waiting if she had to.

"Long as we wash up real good, I don't care 'bout bloodstained clothes if you don't." Jax offered.

He wasn't really surprised when Noah shrugged. "Wouldn'tve cared anyway, really."

They used the hose outside to spray their arms off with and left their shoes at the door before walking into the kitchen. As promised, there were two plates of eggs and pancakes waiting in the oven; Jax assumed the one with bacon was Noah's. There hadn't been much bacon in the fridge before, and it would be a few months until they had a pig up for slaughter. He wondered if you could somehow make bacon with deer, and asked that as he turned the oven on to warm up their breakfast.

Noah was looking in the fridge and didn't look away. "Yeah. I can show you how, if you stay long 'nough."

"I don't know how long I'm stayin' for."

"I figured it'd at least be 'til after harvest." Noah sniffed at a bottle of milk experimentally before he poured himself a glass.

Jax blinked, surprised. "Why would I stay that long?"

Noah finally turned to look at him, giving him that odd look from earlier again. "Takes two people to run this place. It's why your pa hired me after you went up north, and I don't think your mama would be much help with a lot of it, no offense to her."

He hadn't thought about that. There was a lot of stuff waiting for him in New York; he knew Chloe couldn't wait to get back, and he started Cooper Union in the fall. If he had to stay until the harvest was done, he'd have to push school back a semester, and who knew how long he'd actually stay. Months, at the least.

But he knew what would happen if Noah tried to finish harvesting everything by himself; a lot of crops would go to waste. A lot of money would go to waste, money that his family really couldn't afford at the moment. "Guess I don't have much choice but to stay," he admitted, able to smile with it. A check of the oven told him that breakfast was done, and he grabbed a dishtowel to transfer the plates to the small table in the kitchen.

Sometime when he was thinking, Noah had put butter, syrup, and silverware on the table, and his smile widened as he sat down. "Do you mind sayin' grace?"

A flush rose in Noah's neck, and Jax almost expected him to shrug. "Bless this food before us set," Noah mumbled after a moment, bowing his head, "it needs all the help it's about to get."

Jax laughed and picked up his fork. His fingers brushed against Noah's when they reached for the syrup, and Noah pressed his knee against Jax's under the table. Jax was almost certain it wasn't deliberate, but neither of them moved away from it.
subluxate: Sophia Bush leaning against a piano (Default)

[personal profile] subluxate 2012-01-18 03:39 pm (UTC)(link)

This is so sweet. Even if they did start hooking up over a gutted deer, I mean.

Good job!
kay_brooke: Side view of a laptop with text "Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum" (writing quote)

[personal profile] kay_brooke 2012-01-18 07:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, at least they have an interesting story to tell about how they met!
bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)

[personal profile] bookblather 2012-01-19 05:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Jackson still amuses me. And the grace is awesome. Also, THESE TWO. So cute. *flails*