shipwreck_light: Portrait of Pip by DoroDraws. (Pip)
Shipwreck Light ([personal profile] shipwreck_light) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2013-09-18 10:19 pm

Ember #23

Author: SWL
Story: Jealous of Roses, Arc 1
Index: Click Here.
Colors: Ember #23- Sun
Supplies and Materials: None Today
Word Count: 2,250ish
Summary: Roa Performs An Experiment Plays A Game.
Rating: PG
Warnings: None today.
The following are always welcome: comments, constructive criticism, collaboration inquiries, cake.

Someone had left that bottle of creme de menthe out on the bar again. Sitting on a sticky ring it already made once before.

The cleaning crew would get that.

Roa though screwed the cap on as tight as she could and tipped the bottle onto its side. The green ribboned and trickled and seethed away from the glass, which left a slow shifting puddle of emerald green sunshine over the sugar residue.

Now. Would anyone notice? Maybe whoever had been shuffling around in the dining room. Perhaps no one, and the bottle was therefor doomed. Siebenkas, if he was heading this way after the his visit with the kitchen.

"What in the...?" But, she could almost hear Siebenkas shaking his head after. "Pip? Perhaps I have a book that would persuade you to do that somewhere else."

"My sun puddle," replied Pip. "Dun walk in it."

"Not even one with naked people?"

(Roa bit back a giggle. How was that supposed to work again? Offering a telepathic child naked people. Everyone was naked to Pip! An idea that left Roa's subconscious whirling off on its own as the words dragged on lazy and warm.)


"You're going to be in trouble if this goes awry."

"Juuust gotta make sure it doesn't."

"I see," Now that. /That/ was a defeated sigh. "Enjoy yourself."

Roa made her way to the dining room. It in no way surprised her that Pip's hue spill put the green one she'd made for herself to shame. Not only in its size- the sunbeam dominated the dining room as long facets between clouds did breaks in storms over oceans, even if the decor was certainly less threatening than that. But, Pip had about a ton and a half of translucent building blocks in plastic fishbowls not to mention tumbled out rainbows all around her.

There were also some plastic dinosaurs involved.

Pip herself knelt, barefoot and losing her t-shirt off of one shoulder, in the middle of this.

Roa had accepted there would be a child in this manor. Minding it? Minding such things was not her place.

Pip it turned out made better conversation than most businessmen. Pip provided teaching opportunities. And her own lessons it turned out.

"Are those blocks /static discharge polymer/?" Roa asked.

The little girl nodded. "Yeah, they reverse an everythin. Know blocks're kinda a little kid thing, but anyways."

Roa was not an expert in static discharge polymer. Nevertheless, Pip appeared to have enough at her disposal to power a platoon of mecha for several years. Not that her toy was hard to manufacture or /that/ expensive, but to see a child with that much brightly-colored fuel.

Well, fishermen's children played with hooks and torn off fins. Courtier children then played with toys that just as easily made war. They topped these off with plastic dinosaurs.

"Since Seb's bein a wet blankie..."

"Don't step on those," said the kitchen. "If you think *plastic* blocks are bad..."

Roa might also have been barefoot and Roa might have never had the pleasure, but Roa still plucked up her skirt and inched closer.

"You wan in?"

"Yes." No question remained in that.

"Then, pass me the allosaurus."

This, Roa picked from the basket on the nearby chair, green and feathered and minimally painted. She was not impressed by the scale between this dinosaur and its fellow extinct lizard-birds. Why, there was hardly any difference between the pterodactyl and the brontosaurus. But, it stood on its own which was more than she could say for most small, plastic objects of her experience. She dropped it onto Pip's lap regardless.

"O hai," said the little girl. "You got the right one. Not the t-rex. Thanks!"

The green allosaurus took up residence in a purple room where it was welcomed with a nosegay of tiny, pink silk flowers. A row appeared over its head- red this time -and Pip touched over the seams with the thin end of her wand. This made no visible difference, but no part of the tower wobbled when she shook it afterwards. One nosegay fell from the house of the plesiosaur, but that could be replaced easily enough.

"So," said Roa, "Is this an apartment or a watchtower?"


"Do you always build watch-apartments?"

"Yeah! That, or crypts." Pip beamed on mentioning those. "I play fairy funeral with Dad."

"That's interesting. I've never played that, but I did read somewhere..." Roa toed a yellow block out of the way. "That boys tend to build up, while girls build across."

That being the first since she'd come over that Pip looked at her. Of all the things to break her focus. There she was. Glowering at Roa much like she had the pregnant seahorse. "That's *nuts*," she said. "Everybody builds up! Makin crypts's messed up! We just do it 'cause, ah, 'cause ish messed up!"

"I really do think crypts sound like fun! But..."

"We're courtiers."

"Yes! And, actually? I used to build towers too."

"I know," she said. Lapsing back to a grin over just how /factual/ this was despite a lack of evidence.

That Roa knew of anyway. "So, your theory is that most people build up?"

"A lotta non-messed-up people, anyway."

"And I agree with you. But, we need proof."

"We do!"

"We should experiment."

"Do speraments come with otterpops?"

"They do today."

So, they took Pip's tower apart, "For science!"; she seemed perfectly happy to do it, perhaps moreso than she had in building it. They picked up every single block (once the dinosaurs had been returned to their basket) and sorted them by color just to leave them unguarded on the dining room table, the polarizing wand propped up in a finger bowl. Little by little, the sunbeam where the tower had stood crept over the spider plants and finally the lace table cloth.

Roa and Pip parked themselves in the small common room for observational purposes, notebooks in hand, albeit drawing ones with some graph paper sheets fanned in for notes and colored pencils to occupy themselves otherwise.

"Because research isn't fast," said Roa. Who couldn't decide what to draw, and so settled on making some Technicolor sudoku boards for her partner in crime.

"Nope! Then, it'd be makin' shit up."

Who had that much down.


Siebenkas came across the table first. He stood there still damp from the shower or the pool, taking a sip of his water, then fingering the towel about his shoulders.

Pip could hardly contain herself, trying to see as she did, Siebenkas being very much in the way of what Siebenkas happened to be doing, at least from her jamb-nibbling vantage.

In time, he refilled his glass and headed off, leaving behind a little blue cottage with an amber roof.

Very cute, and very much not a tower.

Pip raced back to Roa, an otterpop in each hand and began to forcefully record her findings.

"Don't forget to provide a diagram for anyone else consulting your research."

"I wo~on't. Diagrams are fun."

So was disassembling the house once they had each drawn it into their notes, or so Roa was treated to discover. The peach and pink sudoku puzzle had very much distracted her companion.


Duclos passed by not long after. She stalked right over.

A striped arch in all of the cool colors remained once she had finished and by then she was calling to Nene as if she was the one arriving late to their meeting, and certainly not the other way around.

"Ooh," said Pip about the arch, kneeling herself so she could appreciate it close up.

"Do you notice," Roa pointed out, "How the arch is perfectly symmetrical compared to the cottage? Also, it has a keystone."

"Thaaat's Duckie!"

The scribbling began again, interrupted off and on by the wand dancing back and forth between them as the examined the interior layout of the arch. And each had one more otterpop.


Zephyr walked past at first. But, a moment later, he came jogging back. He gave the hallway a once over, rubbed his hands together and /attacked/ the blocks, troubling them only a handful of minutes before departing on a whistle.

"Uh... 's wider than ish tall," Pip concluded of his structure. "That a tower?"

"You're setting the research parameters, but I am inclined to believe that it is," said Roa. "Also, note the festive arrangement of the colors."

"Actually," said Pip around the plastic end of a pink otterpop, where she'd had blue a moment ago. "The colors say a thing."


"They're backwards. They go west-north-east-south. They're for undoing."

Before she ever got to her papers this time, let alone that Roa had a chance, Pip had parted the mottled blotches of red and blue. Inside of the tower lay a plastic ring, still in its vending machine bubble.

Roa noted /all/ of this in her own papers.


As for a tower, a true one, Tian built it, rising art deco in violet and amber, tinged off with green. It was downright majestic. Tall too and there in a flash, less time than Roa and Pip together could have whipped one up.

Tian also had a long look over her work before heading off. "Nene, clean up after yourself," she admonished down the hall.

The smooth cut design just made it more fun to tear down, there in the tangle of the two woman laughing behind the door that hadn't shut quite right.


So, very little surprise then when Nene came rushing out of that to see what all the fuss was about. Roa ended up hiding that time. More or less. She was still somewhat visible in the reflection in the front of the fridge, but Nene didn't even kind of glance that way.

/Her/ tower rose a swaying fruit-colored needle, its tint of the light reaching all the way into the hall before she departed.

Pip and Roa met at its feet, both scribbling furiously before it had a chance to fall.

When it didn't, Roa poked it.

The blocks rang like tiny tuning forks.


A sound which may or may not have summoned Siebenkas to the dining room. He showed up shortly after, now in business formal, albeit missing his shoes. He also didn't so much as unfasten his tie before he crouched and put himself to the blocks.

He spent longer this time, clicking and unclicking, arranging pieces he had already put together.

"You messin with us?" Pip asked of him as he finished.

"Should I be?"

The two scientists of the afternoon held their pencils to their lips, reaching much the same conclusion shortly after. "Mm. No!"

Siebenkas had built another house. The colors reversed. This one with a prop tree and... cow?

Roa at least documented the figure as closely as she could, determined to learn its true species. Without asking.


Ambra did give the blocks a second look, albeit on one of several shopping bag passes by the room.

Then, she took a moment to mix up the neatly sorted color piles.

"Now," Roa assured her companion. "An outlying result is always worth investigating. Even if it's a literal mess."

"That's nice," Seine chimed in. "Which one of you moved my creme de menthe?"

She raised her hand, still full of blocks. A few of them dripped glistening from her fingers and came to tumble at his shoes.

"Why? It could have fallen while you were... whatever this is."

"I wanted to see what you'd do. Isn't that curiosity a very basic, needful, human thing?"

That earned her a bit of a sniff. "No, that's a lot of words that don't rhyme."

"You dun even drink creme de menthe!" Pip more hiccupped than said, her multi-colored tongue darting out into the sunbeam.

That, the closest she'd gotten to Roa all day. Standing there at the edge of the table with the blocks all a-tumble and Seine drumming his fingers on himself. Her father galumphing in around to prop his chin on her head so the two of them swayed together and that was much, much too close. Even Seine looked concerned about it, even if it was Roa's skin in danger of giving her up to the two evokers.

Two kauhe. Two people she suspected, but not feared. Two very different states of being. And there, in the last bright fractures of the afternoon...

"What conclusion do you draw from your results?" she asked her partner in crime.

Pip hiccupped again, fairly fizzing where she stood. "You're askin me after six otterpops! Mebbe seven?"

"ROA!" snapped Zephyr. "Seven otterpops? Seriously?"

"I'm going back to my room while you figure this out," said Seine, departing.

"Umm. It was for research purposes," she protested. "Perhaps if we performed the same experiment on you?"


"So," Siebenkas said over the naan. " that's what you're drinking."

He was talking to Zephyr, but Zephyr was much, much more interested in his bare feet such as Pip had drawn smiley faces upon. She had some on her own too. Oh, they were still eating, but the feet people were having a jittery, uncoordinated battle under the table.

"Otter pops make excellent cocktail stirrers," said Roa. "Would you like one?"

Given a thoughtful nod on his part, she rose and headed towards the kitchen. On the way there, she found a single, ruby block that Ambra had dropped.

It went out like a candle flame as the sun dipped behind the streetlight sequined skyline.

Special Missing Scene Addition 4/4.
serpentine: (Default)

[personal profile] serpentine 2013-09-19 09:29 am (UTC)(link)
This is really adorable! I love how they decide to instead of just following common "wisdom", to test it out for themselves and how what each person buildings tells something about them and just how you show it through that.

I enjoyed reading this a lot.
isana: (pink flowers)

[personal profile] isana 2013-09-19 09:25 pm (UTC)(link)

Who would have thought little building blocks could be so engaging to adults of all ages and walks of life? (Even if all Ambra did was troll and mess up those painstakingly arranged piles!).

God, who knew research could be that much fun? Roa can be my teacher any day.
jkatkina: (Default)

[personal profile] jkatkina 2013-09-20 01:49 am (UTC)(link)
By the end of this piece I was saying out loud "THIS IS AWESOME"

Man, I still don't even slightly have your characters sorted out in my head, but I think this piece is maybe more fun that way? I can read what they built and put my Guessing Hat on. It's a cool way to try and get to know a cast of characters.

"at least from her jamb-nibbling vantage." SO CLEVER. I read it as "leg nibbling" and then "doorjamb nibbling" and then "leg nibbling" because it was funnier.
jkatkina: (Default)

[personal profile] jkatkina 2013-09-20 03:10 am (UTC)(link)
Haha, oh god, no no, no formal bios, leave it as portraits and let me get to know them through the stories. :D I like it better that way.

Also, those are lovely! Is that your work?
jkatkina: (Default)

[personal profile] jkatkina 2013-09-20 03:29 am (UTC)(link)
OHMAN. I worked in a bead shop for a summer so I have the vaguest primer in how crazy cool it is that you can DO that. Brava! That's a lot of beadwork on the, er, chain? Bead-chain? (I am seeing that right, right? Those are seed beads?)

(also *quietly +follows dorodraws*)
feline_scribe: (cat bookshelves)

[personal profile] feline_scribe 2013-09-24 05:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, this made me smile.

Having seen Roa developing a relationship with Zephyr and Seb, I almost couldn't see her really relating to a child for a while. But, the piece where Zephyr and Pip ask Roa and Seb to be their family, and then this piece, really charmed me. Roa actually has this surprisingly easy way to relating to Pip that's lovely to read.

And much of this is just plain cute.
feline_scribe: (Default)

[personal profile] feline_scribe 2013-09-25 01:18 pm (UTC)(link)

"but her author happens to be of the "telepathic children are not ever really quite children" school of thought." -- This is a good point! I think that might be what makes Pip interesting, that she's both a child and not really a child.

I have to admit, I haven't read a whole lot of telepaths before your story, and I'm finding them very interesting people! :-)

bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)

[personal profile] bookblather 2013-10-09 06:19 am (UTC)(link)
Seine made a wise, wise choice in departing just then. Also? This is the best experiment ever.