ptahrrific: Jon and Stephen, "Believe in the me who believes in you" (fake news)
Erin Ptah ([personal profile] ptahrrific) wrote2011-11-28 09:12 am
Entry tags:

Fake News: Castles in the Sand, part 5

Title: Castles In The Sand (5/10)
Rating: PG-13
Pairings/Characters: Olivia/Kristen, Jon/c!Stephen, Tad, Amy, Alan, Buttons
Warnings: Foreplay, Scrabble abuse.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to the Report. Names of real people are used in a fictitious context, and all dialogue, actions, and content are products of the author's imagination only.

Amazing beta job by [personal profile] queenfanfiction. Decorative capitals by Daily Drop Cap. Chapter index: Table of Contents

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

It was looking pretty bleak there for a few days (wrote Stephen), but everyone who sailed into the Eagle Islands last week has sailed out again. And we're even on the same boat!

Jon has decided to space out the crossword puzzles (yay!) so we won't run out any time soon (boo). Also boo: he tried to tempt me with Allison's pocket Scrabble set. Managed to distract him with an argument about Sea Wars trivia, but that won't work forever.

Maybe I can start writing this journal in Commedien, and tell him it's giving me all the practice I need. I've been writing in Gi Foarese because that's the language of epics and the whole reason I got this notebook was to write an epic of my own, but I still don't have any ideas. So it couldn't hurt to switch.

Maybe I should just ask Tad and Amy to ride me harder make me come more often do it all the time TUMBLING. PRACTICE. MORE.


♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Maybe I could fake being sick again," said Olivia, twisting again in the small bunk. The Captain's bed wasn't a whole lot larger, but it had room to stretch, and she could change position without losing her pillow.

At least it was still warm enough that she didn't have to worry about blankets. The seasons were changing back on the mainland, but autumn didn't reach this far out.

"Oh, please don't," said Kristen from directly above her. "Well, if you really need to, obviously, go ahead...there's nothing wrong with rooming with the Captain, exactly, it's just...she snores."

"It's fine," insisted Olivia, mentally kicking herself. It wasn't that bad and she knew it, so what was she complaining about? These were people she trusted, not people she had to keep distracted with the pretense of a shallow, spoiled princess.

Or maybe it wasn't an act. It had been so long since she'd allowed herself to be genuine with anyone—maybe being a brat was her true self, and she just hadn't had a chance to realize it before now....

Kristen dragged her out of her thoughts, and the bunk. "Come on. If you're not tired yet, don't torture yourself. There's always someone on deck; we can go up and walk around for a while. Or, y'know." Her fingers plucked at the waistband of Olivia's pajamas. "We can stay in."

The hull of the ship was a surprisingly gentle curve to be pressed against.

"And you're cool with this?" prodded Olivia, trying to read the expression on the woman kneeling before her by the slivers of moonlight coming through the porthole. "Walls aren't too thin?"

Kristen snorted, a soft puff of air against the hollow of Olivia's hip. "Solid as rocks. Jon and Stephen are next door, and I haven't heard a thing." Her perkiness receded like an ebbing tide. "Of course, Tad and Amy are on the other side, and at this point I'd take any clue about what's going on with them."

"Forget about Tad and Amy," ordered Olivia. "And—mmm—oh, come on, not there! I haven't worked off the pie weight yet."

"Don't be ridiculous." Kristen kissed her stomach again, making her squirm. "I'm not this skinny, and you've never complained."

"Well, you're you," stammered Olivia, who couldn't imagine complaining about Kristen, though it didn't make her any less self-conscious about her own curves. "Besides," she continued, groping for an acceptable excuse, "I'm, uh, ticklish."

"Ahhh." Kristen giggled, the bubbly sound turning flirty and promising in the darkness. "I may have to use that later."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Rupert' is too a real word!" exclaimed Stephen, jabbing his finger at Jon over the lopsided sprawl of the travel Scrabble game. "He was the legendary king who founded Vulpis. You don't have to believe he was actually suckled at the teats of a she-fox—most modern people don't anyway—but you can't say you haven't heard of him!"

"I have, actually," admitted Jon. "But it's a proper noun."

"He wasn't proper!" cried Stephen. "Even if he wasn't really raised by foxes, those rumors got started for a reason!"

"All names are proper nouns. Remember, I explained how—"

The board winged across the cabin with a crash.

Jon gaped uncomprehending at Stephen's out-flung arm. How had he underestimated Stephen's distress so badly? He opened his mouth to say, okay, forget the game, let's talk....

He had barely drawn breath when Stephen cringed (this, at least, heartbreakingly easy to read). "I'm sorry, sir. I'm sorry. I'll pick it up. Please...."

"Stephen, hang on. Don't apologize, don't be scared, just talk to me." Try as he might, he couldn't coax Stephen into meeting his eyes. "This isn't just about the Scrabble, is it? Is there something else bothering you?"


That, too, was clearer than the Eagles' coastline. "I can tell when you're lying, remember?"

"Well, maybe I wish you couldn't!"

Jon did a double-take. "You want to lie to me?"

"I don't want to deceive you!" protested Stephen, adrift in strange concepts and casting about for somewhere familiar to anchor. "I want to tell you the truth, but not...not the whole truth. Do you see?" His hands grasped for some phantom quarry in the air before his heart. "I want some things to be mine. Mine, and not yours."


Over the lump in his throat, Jon swallowed. "Right. You want privacy. I get it."

"Is it okay?" said Stephen. "I'm not being unreasonable?"

"You're being human." Jon buoyed the word with connotations of inalienable rights, and was relieved when it made Stephen sit up straighter. "Promise me one thing, though? If it's something you need help with, don't keep it locked up. Find someone to talk to. Even if it's not me."

"I'm good at keeping things locked up, though," said Stephen, with a rush of wide-eyed earnestness.

"Doesn't mean it's good for you. To say nothing of the poor innocent Scrabble boards you end up taking it out on."

Too soon: Stephen flinched. "I'm sorry! I'll play right from now on, I swear."

"Stephen, is the game fun for you? At all?"

"I don't hate it," hedged Stephen.

"But it's not your thing," offered Jon.

Stephen nodded miserably.

"Then don't worry about it. I'll give it back to Allison. Go find something else to keep you busy."

"" Stephen blinked, eyes darting to the floor, where the motion of the boat sent a couple of letters skittering across the boards. "I need to pick this up...."

"I'll take care of it." When Stephen hesitated, Jon found himself snapping, "Just go, okay? You're not the only one who needs privacy sometimes."

That was all the urging Stephen needed to scurry to the door, dodging stray letters along the way.

"Stephen?" Jon managed to rein his voice in this time, so that when Stephen paused it was in confusion, not panic. "Listen, I...I'm human too."

This time it carried the connotations he used when explaining that it was okay to make mistakes, and Stephen nodded. "I accept your apology."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Nobody's actually proved whether the sun is a form of fire or not, right?"

"Not directly," admitted Kristen, lashing her beach chair to the deck railing. Calm as the day was, the crew had been adamant that a squall could kick up at any time, and the less debris they had to worry about, the better. "But this feels fantastic, and fire mages don't sunburn, which is a pretty good hint."

She helped Olivia tie the kind of knot Allison had demonstrated, then both of them lay back and soaked in the rays. Whatever Olivia's weird body image issues, they hadn't stopped her from wearing nothing but a teal bikini for this venture, for which Kristen was profoundly grateful.

They were trying to work out whether Kristen's trick of singing to charm gentle woodland animals would also work on fish, or whether it would just attract the attention of cranky sirens, when Olivia caught sight of Jon. "O hai!" she called in broken Commedien, waving. "Pasty Jon is pasty. Come have a sit! Is our sun, but you can has."

"Very generous of you," said Jon. "Uh, I don't have to wear a bikini, do I?"

Olivia mimed an exaggerated pout. "Please?"

Eventually she talked the knight down to shorts and a T-shirt. "I hope you realize how monumental this is," said Kristen to Olivia once all three chairs were lined up. "Jon is a shy, shy man. Most of the time you'd be lucky to catch a glimpse of his bare ankles."

"Now that's not fair," protested Jon. "You've seen my whole torso before."

"Only because you needed someone to bandage the claw marks!"

"So I'm modest." Jon leaned back in a huff. "So sue me. There are some sights that the world is just better off without. As opposed know what, never mind."

"No, moar!" On the far side of Kristen's chair, Olivia was sitting up and grinning. "This is relevant to my interests."

"I plead the fifth!"

"Wise man," smirked Kristen.

Olivia switched into Gi Foarese, sounding cross. "He's trying to be diplomatic, but did you notice? He was totally side-eyeing my stomach there."

"Oh, I noticed," replied Kristen in kind, now less than amused herself. "But, one, that was hardly side-eyeing, and two, I'm pretty sure it's your chest he was carefully-not-looking at."

"Really? Come on, they're not that exciting. Half the people back in Gi Foar wanted to know when I was going to have some work done."

"Your people don't know a good thing when they see it," declared Kristen. "Or two good things, as the case may be. Not that I'm a fan of letting anyone else appreciate them too much, mind you. Jon's a friend and all, but he's lucky he keeps his eyes to himself."

"Wait, that sounded like my name," said Jon. "Are you talking about me? Why can't I see the subtitles? I don't think you appreciate how terrifying this is."

Kristen patted his arm. "Nothing but good," she assured him in Commedien. "Relax. Lie back. Enjoy the sunshine."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Why don't you just blow the rain away?" asked Stephen, pressing his nose against the porthole to stare into the greyness beyond.

Amy batted her eyelashes in his direction. "Aw, Tad, listen to that! He thinks lil' ol' me can control the weather."

"You're probably the first air bunny he's ever met," said Tad reasonably. "Stephen, Amy can't move anything as far away as clouds, or as big as this boat. If the storm gets dangerous she'll go out there and make sure it stays with the mast pointing up, but that's about her limit. And if she ever tells you otherwise, she's either trying to impress you or scare you. Don't fall for either."

Sticking her tongue out at him behind Stephen's back, Amy added, "Tad, on the other hand, has nothing to impress or scare you with." She paused. "Well. Maybe one thing."


"By which I mean that trick where you pretend your hand was replaced with a hook," said Amy, the picture of innocence. "Why, what did you think I meant?"

"Forget it," sighed Tad. "Come on, Stephen, there's nothing to see out there. Why don't you come check out the map? I'm about to plot out the progress we've made since yesterday."

Obediently Stephen turned away from the porthole to study the navigational chart. Minute crimson dots on a spiderweb-thin line traced the Report's path from the mainland to the coast of the Eagles; Tad stood at one side of the table with a compass, plotting out the latest arc, while Amy hovered next to him, adding....

"Why are you marking our earlier path with hair swatches?" asked Stephen.

"Because my fake chicken legs are off being used as a paperweight," said Amy.

Tad sighed. "Translation: because she's Amy, that's why."

Undeterred, Stephen drummed his fingers against the tiny inked representation of the forest between the Commedien Plains and the border of Vulpis. "What do all the numbers mean?" he asked, peering at the flock of notations that peppered the grid like stars.

"The purple ones are star positions," said Tad. Well, that made sense. "The green ones, on the lines, are latitude and longitude. That's how far we are from the center of the world, and at what point around the disc we are. Blue is water depth. Grey outlines are the positions of unknown islands, along with their identification numbers."

Stephen wrinkled his nose. "Come on, Tad, don't be silly. If you have them numbered and drawn, they can't be unknown. That's just logic."

"You wouldn't say that if we tried to leave you on one of them," said Amy.

"They aren't always there," explained Tad, before Stephen could feel too hurt at being left out of the joke.

"So how do you know they're real?"

Amy shrugged. "I'm sure a few of them were deranged hallucinations brought on by one too many bottles of rum on the wall being taken down and passed around. You know sailors. Always with the drinking and the carousing."

"But at least one of them is genuine," added Tad. "The Report saw it."

Stephen's mouth dropped open. "Really? Where? Is it on this map? What was it like? Did anyone else see it?"

"Not on this map, but another one. Want us to get it out?"

"Yes, please!"

"All right! Amy, you want to start the story while I go dig it out?"

"We were doing a routine ferry to the Nightly Islands," began Amy, as Tad opened a cupboard in the wall and began rifling through the scrolls of parchment. "One afternoon a squall came up, twice as rainy as this one and so much thunder in the air if you tried to pet Buttons his fur would spit lightning. Well, it was all I could do to keep us from tipping over, and when the storm blew over we were a good mile off course...."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

In the pitch of the storm, it seemed like a good idea for Olivia to skip dinner. Several hours later, with the waves back to normal and the rest of the ship fast asleep, she found herself not queasy in the least, just wide awake and ravenous.

She crept out of her bunk quietly, so as not to disturb Kristen, and climbed the ladder to the deck. Food wasn't scarce yet, but if it was going to last all the way to the End of the World and back, the crew had to keep careful track of what got eaten when. Hopefully whoever was on watch had the galley key.

Luck was with her: the chef himself stood at the wheel. "Alan!" she exclaimed, waving from across the lamplit deck. "I know it's late, but I'm starving. Help a girl out?"

"Just a minute," called Alan, and went back to...talking? Sure looked like it, but Olivia couldn't see anyone with him. Just a sort of shapeless brown pile at his feet.

The pile twitched when she got closer, and she was relieved to recognize the doctor's furry white face, surrounded by the folds of a human-sized coat. "Evening, Olivia," he purred. "How are you feeling?"

"Hungry," repeated Olivia. "Oh, did you mean health-wise? Fine! Never better."

"I'll take you to the galley in a minute," said Alan. "We're waiting for moonrise."

Olivia frowned at the sky. It was still clouded over, not a star to be seen, with the only light on deck coming in puddles of dull orange. "How can you tell?"

"Oh, it's pretty clear." Buttons stretched under the coat, then sneezed. "Here it comes. Do a cat a favor and give me some privacy?"

Alan promptly turned his back; Olivia followed suit. She must have been sick the last time a full moon came around, because she had forgotten all about the doctor's transformation.

There was a scuffle, a rustle of clothing, and a few oddly placed thumps, before Buttons spoke again: "Okay, all clear."

Olivia hoped her disappointment didn't show on her face. She had been hoping for something ethereal and exotic, or the very least some long white hair and a dazzling green gaze. Instead, the man now wearing the coat (and a simple grey tunic underneath) had an ordinary shock of thick dark hair, obsidian-black eyes, and slightly weather-beaten brown skin.

"You missed the talk last time, right?" he asked, smiling. He did have good teeth; that was something. "Sometimes we meet people who have prejudices against were-humans, and if that happens I don't want anyone to slip and blow my cover. So when I'm in this form, I want you to get in the habit of calling me Sanjay."

"Will do, Sanjay," said Olivia brightly, holding out a hand. "Shake on it?"

The doctor licked his hand in disdain. "Certainly not. What do you think I am, a dog?"

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢


Anything in particular you want to eat?" asked Alan, unlocking the galley as Olivia held the lantern. "I'm not cooking at this hour, but there's still plenty to choose from."

"I don't suppose you have pie?" said Olivia automatically.

"Sorry. It doesn't travel well."

Unsurprised, Olivia turned her mind to serious thoughts. What was she hungry for, exactly? " about pickles?"


"Well, obviously not just pickles, but come on, you've got to have them around here somewhere. As for something to go with...did you bring peanut butter?"

"Er, pardon me for asking," stammered Alan, "but is pickles and peanut butter a traditional Gi Foarese dish? Or just a personal favorite?"

"I don't think it's a traditional anything," said Olivia. "I've never even heard of it before. Look, you asked me what I wanted, and for some reason that sounds really good right now. Why, is that a problem?"

"No problem at all," said the cook. "Just tell me one thing?"

"Sure, what?"

"Who's the father?"
ext_12071: (Default)

[identity profile] 2011-11-29 12:50 am (UTC)(link)
These little scenes where Stephen automatically reverts to his previous role, it's heartbreaking. But then you add Jon's side of things, I guess it's part of their growing process.
kribban: (Default)

[personal profile] kribban 2011-11-29 11:13 am (UTC)(link)
Dun dun dun dun!!


I forgot to say, the picture of Kristen and Olivia in bikinis in last chapter was very cute.

Tad calling Amy an "air bunny" Awwww :-)

Why is Stephen writing his freudian slips in his journal? Does he really want sex with Tad and Amy? And is that the secret he wants to keep from Jon?

I like how Jon can use their bond to add meanings to words.

He had barely drawn breath when Stephen cringed (this, at least, heartbreakingly easy to read). "I'm sorry, sir. I'm sorry. I'll pick it up. Please...."

Is he reverting to using 'sir' to mean master instead of knight?

Next chapter soon, please!

politicette: (Default)

[personal profile] politicette 2011-11-29 07:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Maybe I should just ask Tad and Amy to ride me harder make me come more often do it all the time

Not sure if shippable. :/



CONFUSED EMOTIONS!!! So close to my OT3 and yet so far. Besides, "Stephen"/Amy is just a ridiculous notion. Everyone knows "Stephen" is a total gaymo. *squints*

I've got to second Stephen slipping back into his old habits as the saddest thing of life. :(

Also, if I had had to guess, I would have gone with Kristen as the bbmommy, so unless this is some kind of double-bluff and they are both pregnant, I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong!
queenfanfiction: (LateNight TCR slashiest thing)

[personal profile] queenfanfiction 2011-12-02 02:44 am (UTC)(link)
Maybe I should just ask Tad and Amy to ride me harder make me come more often do it all the time

Not sure if shippable. :/



CONFUSED EMOTIONS!!! So close to my OT3 and yet so far.

NEGL when I beta'ed this part I almost died of falling off my chair from the LOL. BUT THAT'S OKAY BECAUSE I LOVE ANY MULTIPAIRS EVAR.