shipwreck_light: Portrait of Roa by DoroDraws. (Roa)
Shipwreck Light ([personal profile] shipwreck_light) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2013-08-16 09:53 pm

Ember #24

Author: SWL
Story: Jealous of Roses, Arc 1
Index: Click Here.
Colors: Ember #24- Temper
Supplies and Materials: None Today
Word Count: 2,750ish
Summary: Roa is introduced to an assortment of other courtiers, now Part I. Contains never before seen meetings with a side of fries.
Rating: PG
Warnings: None today.
The following are always welcome: comments, constructive criticism, collaboration inquiries, cake.



One she'd run into Nene and the bird had settled on her shoulder, once Nene had also put some clothes on, Roa spent most of the rest of the day being coaxed at haphazard whiles around the complex. The passed the office where she'd signed herself over to Duclos three and a half times.

After a while, Nene gave up interjecting: "Stop me if this's too much" or "You wanna break?"

Nene didn't need a break. So, Roa didn't either. When things got quiet for too long, Sophie spoke up about spring rolls and got bits of oat biscuits fed to her.

Roa very much appreciated how matter-of-fact Nene turned out to be, explaining how the enzymatic cleaner had to be handled this way for blood and the other way for...

"Interstitial fluid?"

"Yeah, that's it. Well," Nene scratched her hair. "OK, not it-it. That's a damn lucky shot if it's all you got."

Roa considered the odds, "It would merit another, if anything."

"That's the spirit. You ever use a UV lamp fer like cleanin' shit?"

Maybe Nene didn't expect Roa to remember all of this. But, she still showed and taught and suggested. Roa listened. And her feet started to hurt, but that was what she got for wearing shoes that weren't quite broken in, given the presence of Nene and all.

That much she learned as well.

~*~

Between trips up and down from the manor, other voices began to filter in to the rooms. The owner of one appeared face-down in the middle of the entryway come four in the afternoon.

"Zeph, yer bein' a traffic hazard," Nene suggested, and bounced right over him, only to go backwards a few steps later and make some gestures of introduction. "Roa, Princess Whiney Bratface. Zeph, Roa."

"Hey," said 'Zeph'. As in, 'hello' hey, not 'stop calling me princess whiney bratface'. Besides, he happened to roll over onto his back as Roa skipped over him.

She smiled to the carpet marks on his cheeks and he twiddled his hand after her ankle to no luck at all in catching her.

"Spring rolls," said Sophie.

It was halfway down the hall (again) before Nene pointed out- "Yeah, don't mind him or his kid."

"Kid?" asked Roa.

"There's a Pipsqueak 'round here someplace. Trained her not to bite. Y'know, mostly."

"Unless it's an emergency."

"Unless that, pretty much."

Coming up on six and Sophie retiring to a lamp- which she was allowed to sit on but only after five and if someone had put her there -besides a shouting, paper-ball hurling decision that they were getting "Giant Effing Epic Level Munchy Boxes" for dinner...

("What sort of protein does that come with?" asked Roa.

"Every kind," replied Nene. "Wait, dude. You never had one? Yer SO gettin' a twelve inch fer that." Which sounded plenty indecent before Roa discovered the place such boxes were procured from went by Vice City but still wasn't allowed to formally list their "Giant Effing Epic Level Munchy Boxes" on any menu ever due to health concerns.)

...Nene finally ran out of steam. "Well, I'm cashed. Wait there a sec."

There being the hallway or not, Roa waited. Some slamming around followed circa the kitchen and this not being especially violent, she didn't let it concern her. Anyway, Nene soon enough showed up with a bouquet of sloshing, open beer bottles, one of which apparently belonged to Roa.

This was never said. She grabbed her hand with one of her own sudsy ones and they wiggled their way into one of the common rooms. "Can take yer shoes off, ya know. C'mon. We're so off the clock fer least the next hour."

"Duclos said there was no clock,."

"See?"

So, Roa had off with those. And her stockings, which she managed to tug away without dropping her beer. Of course, with everything all lined up neatly in the shoe rack, Nene seized upon her and hauled once more.

'Zeph' occupied the couch off to the side of the smaller common room; Ambra and Seine the bar, glittering glasses in their hands. 'Zeph' also had a beer and so did the person at the table with the game board.

He gave just the barest nod, seeing her fall into the chair before him. Him being 'Siebenkas'. Seb as Nene had referred to him. Because Seine was busily drinking (did he realize this was the second time he'd tipped his hat to her?) and from what Roa had gathered, 'Seb'/Siebenkas/Yet Another Princess Some Of Whom Came Off Ostensibly Male was older than the rest. So, assuming the simplest of al stories made 'him' 'Siebenkas'.

More than old enough to be her father. Barefoot as herself and Nene. The scene around them smacking of tournament.

So, Roa said- "May I be black?" Looking at the pieces.

One of the dishes of chips slid over to her side. "Of course you may."

He placed the starting tiles. Two black and two white. Then, one more white which, having surrounded a black piece, turned that one over so it was also white.

Easy enough. Roa took the diagonal move, flipping that chip back to what it had been. Clack, clack, clack went the pieces as she turned them over.

Second move or not, Siebenkas paused to take a sip of his beer, considering what whites he could claim. He took all of hers.

An Roa wasn't disappointed at all. Far from it. The game wouldn't turn tedious if he actually /played/ her.

In the meantime, a silvered hand popped up between, creeping towards Siebenkas's beer. "Pip," he said between turns.

"Hey, 's my job to say that," followed from Zephyr, besides an earthly chuckle.

This child didn't seem... well, she popped up, flashed a huge grin to Roa, and then bounded over to the couch where her father wiggled her beer over her head before handing her a soda he had hidden under the back cushion.

Roa found herself in a position there wouldn't be any turning over /all/ of Siebenkas's last move. So, she started at the other corner. And tasted her beer.

Now that was awful. But, it had a ritual significance.

She hoped. The alternative being she found herself excusing a burp for no reason whatsoever.

~*~

It was coming up on midnight by the time Roa retired. Someone had put her box by the door intended as her own. It didn't seem like anyone had gone in to the room besides the garment bags that had turned up spread over the bed during the morning tour.

Not that she had much to worry. For that evening, the bed made most of it. A very standard issue hotel sort of mattress though the sheets? Though very soft and very clean, quite unlike hotels.

The bathroom beyond would have to be redone. Its burgundy and white seemed glary to Roa. The layout otherwise though, quite appealing with a sunken tub and tiled space walled off in glass, all but asking for more showerheads. She could have a whole waterfall in there.

She would, she decided. She was allowed.

And a bed. She'd get an even bigger one.

Even though she hardly took up what she had. Well, once her clothes had been moved to the closet and her betu unpacked to watch over the downtown.

~*~

The first other lord Roa was introduced to: one who went by Baudelaire and who quite obviously kept only female courtiers. None of whom were 'princess', not in front of her, anyway.

"Of course, I did that once upon a time too," Duclos explained. "But, then again, someone here can't be bothered to covet my *men*, so to speak."

Baudelaire smiled almost sweetly about that. "I do. Just not in that way." His overall appraisal of Roa being only a small part of the meeting and his approval of anything short-lived besides.

Otherwise, she took a place to Duclos' left and a respectable distance from Tian's teeth. There, she held mild against the attentions of the other women.

It was thrilling, in a way. But, not quite as thrilling as she'd suspected.

At least, she enjoyed the attention. Who wouldn't?

It took a moment for the idea to surface again. She was strange. Not everyone belonged where she stood. Fewer store found any joy there at all.

Strange, but she had found her way.

To somewhere at least.

~*~

"Now, as for the rest of the day," explained Duclos as they rounded her black town car. "I'll be contacting my secretary to confirm a few appointments, but it should be very much of the same."

The conversation after started out dragging satisfied, but by the time they'd circled around to the exit of the parking garage, things had soured and rather a lot and someone had to be conferenced in and Tian blew the horn at bicyclist sporting a serious death wish.

"No, that's not acceptable. Where did you even get the idea. Yes, I am talking to you. No, you do not tell any of my employees anything. Why? Because they're mine." And a sigh. Duclos held her hand over the speaker. "Southbelle on Seventh. Step on it."

A riot on laughter after and Tian banged them out onto the road.

Stepping on it got Roa a very nice view of the arcologies and office towers feathered in around the highway as they swung around the limits of the glistening districts rather than attempting to cross them straight out. The cars below them on the surface street glinted away despite being really quite still.

~*~

Southbelle on Seventh sprawled white over a handful of corners, a vague and brassy nautical theme to its trimmings. Siebenkas and Pip had taken up a table for two under a ship's wheel besides mostly out in the hallway leading back to the "Surf" and "Seabird" meeting rooms. They both wore faintly wilted suitings, besides sat with their feet so obviously out of their shoes Roa could tell from coming around the corner.

If nothing else in the manor came to please her. If tomorrow there was no bird and Munchy boxes weren't delicious anymore. At least she still got to live with people who appreciated bare toes.

Although, the two present did scramble back into theirs, dashing to meet their Lord and pull themselves demure, the little girl somewhat overdoing it, matter of her bottom lip stuck out.

Duclos looked them over, tapped her foot, and sighed. "Fine. You're still alive. The hell with the rest. Go... have a drink or something." To which she flicked a finger towards Roa. "You too." Before stalking off in terse finality.

Pip shrugged. Her companion cocked his glass and they headed back.

Not to the table they'd taken before, to a shady spot along the smaller arc of the bar.

It was most certainly not after noon, but then again, they were most certainly not the only people in the bar, or Siebenkas the only one with two fingers of anything on the rocks. He stood, elbows on the glass. Pip usurped a barstool, albeit backwards. Roa joined them, standing over and almond cordial and soda.

She just had to wonder- what purpose was there to sending the oldest and the youngest courtiers to what should have been a simple exchange? Perhaps- shock value in Pip's case, and Siebenkas had a certain imposition. And besides, was there ever such a thing as a simple exchange in this world she'd crossed into? Probably not.

Her lord was not a stranger to her, but the novelty of even the most everyday things she did. Roa would grow out of it. Find out. Just like...

Maybe the Pip's own shock and novelty wasn't only meant for jobs. That would be quite a clever use for someone so small. And yet, Roa thought away from the sugar ribbons twisting in her glass, quite splendidly cruel.

Besides the part where Pip happened to be grinning at her.

"Your hair looks very nice today," said Roa. If the bun and ringlets was very much too old for her, that only made the care with which she'd been coiffed all the more apparent.

Besides got her to beam. "Thanks! Yours does too. Dad fixed mine. I made him cause he said it makes me look like Roissy."

"That's a business associate of Duclos's." A name she'd overheard besides.

"Uhuh! Uhuh! She's fun, but I'm not 'lowed to go over to her house." This wasn't a bother, only a fact, worthy of stretching against the bar, then over her head and then demonstrating for one and all about the bar where Pip /was/ permitted to go. Say, the most convoluted route through the tables, clacking about as if she had aspirations of hopscotch.

She made her way meandering around the room to the part of the fish tank display that did happen to be straight behind them. And she swayed there, nosing along with the likely-looking tank residents.

Roa went after. She found the tank quiet herself, the filter bubbling more lively than any of the fish. A snail or two wandered the substrate, but otherwise there were sponges and clove polyps and some very fake pearlescent plastic weeds where dangled a handful of bone-colored seahorses, all content to waft along with their unchanging current- to be stared at by little girls in suits.

"I heart fishies," Pip explained.

What a novel grammatical construct. But, more than that, something so unnecessary to share. Roa reached into her purse, coming up with her tiny pouch of favor tokens. A little something green and bright for that should work.

But, Pip waved her off such that she had to lean away for get little silver fingers all over.

"Hey. You're smart. That one gonna make eggs or she got the ich?" Meaning a seahorse whispering close to the glass, though quite unable to hear, let alone understand, any interlopers. One puffed up like a milky bubble. "Cause if ish ich, we should beat up the tank guy."

Roa crouched to have a better look- not that she needed as much, but to see the little seahorse there, bobbling all swollen and charming, well, she hadn't expected that either out of anything so far in her position and she figured she should enjoy it regardless since the city didn't exactly overflow with seahorses. "He's just fine. He's going to have babies soon."

Pip turned away from the tank and looked at her as if she'd lost her mind.

"Male seahorses incubate the eggs they fertilize with their partners. It's not exactly like being pregnant for a mammal, but it improves the outcome for their offspring and the time between when their mates can make more eggs."

"He sure looks preggers to me. Hey, Seb?" Directed at their companion who had meanwhile made his own way across the bar. "Would you wanna get knocked up if it did that thing Roa said about not dyin?"

"Ah, well. Since I am a mammal and all..." he began, fading off though to an absent gesture over his own midsection. "Not like this. If I was going to get pregnant, I'd rather just be a woman."

The seahorses became much less interesting to Roa, who picked herself up and looked back at Siebenkas from the swoosh of purple plastic leaves.

To see him do no more than take another sip of his drink. "In a society where I could do that, I'd have no reason to be embarrassed for saying so."

"You wouldn't," Roa agreed. "Would you like that world though?"

That had him thinking on the last kiss of his ice cubes. The glass he lowered, but not too far. With it close to his chest, he leaned over the far side of Pip, looking down at the quiet, little reef that had distracted them all for the time being.

"I have enough reasons to dislike this one. The same would be true of any world, but..."

Even though he was caught up with the glass and the little girl between them, Roa still caught it. The deep unhappiness that settled an instant in Siebenkas. The way his hand tightened on his glass so that the condensation rose bright around his fingers.

Then, it was gone.

And he was the one who stroked a fingertip over the glass, though none of the fish in the tank seemed to notice the gesture at all.



Special Missing Scene Addition 1/4.
finch: (Default)

[personal profile] finch 2013-08-17 09:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I like the discussion over the seahorse, and the sense of unfamiliar narrator paired with characters I as the reader am familiar with always makes me happy as I pick things out.
whitemage: (Default)

[personal profile] whitemage 2013-08-18 01:20 am (UTC)(link)
I like your little visual details here. It really cements Roa's viewpoint as an outsider the way she hangs on to certain observations, like she's really trying to take everything in.
isana: cherry blossom branch (cherryblossom)

[personal profile] isana 2013-08-18 06:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Oooh, I love this look back and how Roa gets to know everyone. But then again, I just love seeing everything through her eyes, so.
bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)

[personal profile] bookblather 2013-08-18 11:08 pm (UTC)(link)
omg is that a note of thinking about his kid there? Because it would be awesome if so. Also, I love this, going all the way back to where Roa doesn't quite fit but will quite soon.
feline_scribe: (cat bookshelves)

[personal profile] feline_scribe 2013-08-19 07:40 pm (UTC)(link)
The whole little scene with Roa meeting Zeph made me smile. Ridiculous, but cute. Or maybe just ridiculously cute. :)

It's kind of fun to see the characters through a new comer's eyes. It's also interesting to realize not so very long ago Roa was a new comer, when later Roa is so enmeshed with the others it would seem to have always been that way.