shipwreck_light: Portrait of Vier by DoroDraws. (Vier)
Shipwreck Light ([personal profile] shipwreck_light) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2013-09-26 09:03 pm

Ember #15

Author: SWL
Story: Jealous of Roses, Arc 3 Cuts You Up
Index: Click Here.
Colors: Ember #15- Noon
Supplies and Materials: None Today
Word Count: 1,600ish
Summary: Vier, waiting for Gauthman.
Rating: PG
Warnings: None today.
The following are always welcome: comments, constructive criticism, collaboration inquiries, cake.

All of the signs for Chatsworth Medical Center had been subtitled "No Smoking".

But, as his watch rolled around to noon, Vier made a calculated decision to ignore this.

It wouldn't be the first time.

And it probably wouldn't be the last.

No one at this particular campus had ever told him off for it. But, the way be understood it, Chatsworth had more offices than doctors. There were a few GPs hidden behind the landscaping, a satellite of a cancer center, a psychiatrist or two.

Gauthman wasn't at the psychiatrist. Vier didn't bother trying to guess otherwise. The mere idea had him halfway amused at himself.

He drove his lord there, he parked, he was told "You stay here until I get back" like the dog that he was. Beyond that, why concern himself?

At least there was some air going. Strains of doors opening to elevator music and cars passing by.

This place came off dead in the middle of the day instead of bubbling up to a lunch rush. Now and then, someone in a nice suite would stroll by and sneeze or someone else in scrubs stepped out to take a call. When it rained, they mostly remembered their umbrellas or ran with magazines over their heads.

He hadn't /seen/ anyone else for a quarter of an hour. The parking lot being littered with landscaping islands, that wasn't too unusual. Of course, it had rained the night before, so that pavement was damp and spotted with orange leaves. It smelled tarry and sharp with the windows down, and really, he had no reason to run the car. A suit jacket kept the climate acceptable despite that bite of autumn on the air.

That fade in the blue, blue sky before it blew out to a white velvet blush over the roofs.

He needed a cigarette.

And he'd have one.

Just a minute more, he leaned back and he listened.

The quiet here rang false that way. Out there on the shadowless shadows of midday, he was not alone. An airplane flickered silver overhead. The road outside rasped under someone's tires and in the very furthest distance, the chime of a school bell or at least someone passing time that they thought needed bells.

A rustling tap followed over the front window as a yellow leaf left one of the nearby trees and of course came to settle on the windshield wipers.

Grumbling, Vier plucked up a tissue, opened the door, reached around, grabbed the offending ornament by the edge of the stem and then tossed everything into the adjacent space.

He thought as the tissue tumbled over itself in the air- if I go out to kill someone tonight, if I recognize that the streets will still be slippery, the air dusted with a sense of teeth, the smell of the world ashen, did that mean I have earned myself every advantage of weather?

So, he wasn't only being wistful and ridiculous.

Watching and listening and thinking alone to himself in this place among the world where he knew more than anything else. That he himself was not, could not be alone.

The city took that away from people.

Changed what one could and could not do along the thoughts of alone and even 'out'.

Out was when he killed. Out was not waiting under the cloudless sky as the moisture rift began to form after where the jet had gone.

And Vier became aware.

That he was not the only one.

The girl crossing the pavement.

Watched the sky trails too, darting glances between her steps.

He knew it was her. Even from a distance and the black stockings over her legs; knew her by the way she moved. He'd caught her for himself at that presentation Gauthman had given in Pariselda. In seeing her now, the wings of summer seemed to close about the sunlight; change the slant and turn everything that singing, curious golden-aqua that was so long gone by that afternoon.

Vier laid his cigarette aside, unlit; moving as if he had wandered over a curious predator and didn't know if it was better to flee or to trust long enough to drink in the sight as something few people ever knew.

What was she doing here? She had no reason- none! -to be at any medical park ever. At least as Vier and the rest of the underworld knew.

So. He didn't then. He didn't know and the muscles in his jaw drew tight as that thought settled on his stillness.

Besides, she was wearing a lab coat. A disguise? Part of a front the other lords had not seen into yet? A jacket would have more than done even for the most cold-blooded courtiers.

Unless she really was from a cultural preservation zone. Then, the cold would always be different to her behind that ghost of a smile.

The coat though hadn't been fastened. It rippled after her as she made her way across the cut back flowers in the islands.

She didn't belong there. She belonged in the cicada song, that drenching azure ozone of summer and the crush of noons otherwise that smoked soft before the afternoon storms.

And yet, she belonged nowhere else besides dancing over the powdery scent of the mums all around; walking that ethereal tightrope to wherever she wanted to be and which he could not hope to see.

At least until he caught her smile, deeper now.

And the slip of shade she carried underneath her steps drifted his way.

His first thought out of this- /What's keeping Gauthman?/

By then though, she had dipped to the level of his window, hands behind her back.

He'd moved too much and she'd seen. The predator was upon him. And she said, "Oh, hello!"

"Yes, hello. Roa, was it?"

As if /anyone/ in Asil 9 was ever going to forget; anyone who'd caught a glimpse of her, courtier or not.

She nodded.

And, he tried her. That was his job beneath these other incidental brushes that threw his senses askew. "Did Doc Islington die over the weekend?"

"She was fine last time I checked. Do you want me to call her and make sure?"

"She's you're doctor to worry about."

"Which I don't, so there." Her shoes clicked somewhere under the rim of the door, though after that hint of a tease slipped from her voice. She just asked him: "So, how about you?"

At least, it sounded that way to him. She very easily could have still carried that somewhere underneath what he caught from her. As airy her voice though, it reminded him of something but even by instants that tided away from him.

"For all you know, I'm here enjoying the scenery," said Vier.

And promptly felt just plain stupid to have done it.

The parking lot did not compare to whatever Roa had seen in her life, no matter how pearly the streak in the blue, blue sky.

Where she turned and she looked and he thought he heard her humming underneath the sound of someone pulling in behind them.

No, that didn't compare to what he'd seen on his own and he didn't appreciate it as any more than a distraction.

But there was Roa, gazing into the autumn sky.

The wet rush over the pavement died down behind them he said- "Actually, I'm looking for someone."

And she /laughed/.

As if she hadn't been curious enough to begin with. Vier could only hold himself tight and wait for her to finish.

"It's just," she began from underneath her fingers soft at the corner of her lashes. "What you said. That means something else in Wa'eki if you say it just right."

"What?" The answer didn't come at once. He wasn't quite sure why he'd figured it would. So, Vier found himself reaching his favor tokens out of his jacket. "Tell me."

Roa shook her head. "Look it up."

"So, you speak that language?"

"Of course I do."

"And the people who dance on solstice?" For a second there...

"Are city people. But, that's alright." It almost seemed as if they might be matching pieces of poetry for a game. That 'alright' though, simple as it was strewn, put that all out in a cool little rush.

Like that, she whirled away. Calling, "Take care, Vier." Before she stepped off elsewhere in the trees.

She didn't even pretend she didn't know.

So, she didn't realize how these things were done.

Or she chose not to.

Either way.

He watched her go. Checked the door for bugs after she was out of sight.

And finally lit his cigarette, smoking it to nothing as the jet stream faded away into another and another and finally, he caught the sound of someone coughing over the last glassy sheen of the pavement.


Vier had to get Indigo to run the search for him. More or less all of resources on cultural preservation languages were blocked from access by the general public. She managed to bring him a database of flowery research papers by a Richardis Beridze.

Next to a string of academic markers Vier hardly perceived as language was exactly the words: "I'm looking for someone."

Followed by a note.

"Be very careful when using this phrase, particularly in falling intonation. Wa'eki almost exclusively use this as a figure of speech requesting an amorous encounter with the person being spoken to."

And went on to the ritualistic exchange from there.

Vier thought it was an awful lot to put in a footnote.

Like trying to hold the sky in a dish, in a basin, even in a lake.

Only the south seas would do in the end.

This is exactly what it looks like.
isana: lanterns on the water (lights)

[personal profile] isana 2013-09-28 04:45 am (UTC)(link)
I love how Roa manages to effortlessly unsettle others sometimes, even when she's being perfectly harmless and just...well, her, for lack of a better word. And how that one question sticks enough in Vier's mind that he just has to look it up.
jkatkina: (Default)

[personal profile] jkatkina 2013-09-28 06:11 pm (UTC)(link)
You talk about being able to taste dust, but jeez, I am so tactiley involved with the beginning of this piece that it's left me deeply nostalgic for the city I grew up in. Tar and parking garages. Sharp scent of decaying leaves and dirt piles pre-winter.

Fall is such a great backdrop for exchanges like this one, too. Expectations uprooted, no one is quite sure where they stand.
bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)

[personal profile] bookblather 2013-10-09 05:30 am (UTC)(link)
Whoops. Also, LOL. XD

Your description is amazing as usual.