ptahrrific: Jon and Stephen, "Believe in the me who believes in you" (fake news)
Erin Ptah ([personal profile] ptahrrific) wrote2011-12-08 12:33 am
Entry tags:

Fake News: Castles in the Sand, chapter 8

Title: Castles In The Sand (8/10)
Rating: PG-13
Pairings/Characters: Olivia/Kristen, Buttons, Jon, Allison, c!Stephen/Tad/Amy
Warnings: Past trauma, (skip) fire! (Again!)
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.

Well, would you look at that. New pairing tags.

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

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Winds are light and variable (wrote Stephen). Tad and Amy and I

Jon said I thought he was going to hope he doesn't hate don't care what he thinks of

Olivia looks like we kicked her puppy I'd expect Kristen and Allison to be mad, but she's supposed to be MY friend Who cares, it's nothing to do with her probably just hormones anyway

I'm scared

I shouldn't be able to feel so happy right now

Speed about 4 knots.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Look at them," snarled Kristen under her breath from the deck chair, ire fixed on Tad and Stephen. Her hands, rubbing sunblock on Olivia's shoulders, squeezed harder than they needed to. "Absolutely shameless."

"They're just fishing," said Olivia. "They did that before. Even if you never saw it in person, you can't have missed when Stephen bragged to everyone about catching that mahi-mahi."

"That was different! 'Tad guiding Stephen's hands on his pole' didn't have a double meaning then! After everything Jon's done for him, you'd think he could be a little more discreet."

Her hand slid down Olivia's spine, under the curved back of the sundress. Olivia shook her off. "Don't worry about getting lotion there. I'm staying in the dress today."

"Are you sure?"

Olivia nodded. Her slightly rounded stomach could still be hidden if she kept her clothes loose, and kept them on. "Give it a couple weeks and I'll be all about the bikinis again, don't worry."

Kristen wasn't fooled at all by her nervous laugh. "Olivia...your weight isn't what I'm worrying about. You know that, right?"

"What? Of course! I was totally joking there. I'm fine. In fact, if you went and brought me a smoothie right now, I'd drink the whole thing, that's how fine I am."

"I'll go find us something cold," said Kristen quickly. With a kiss to Olivia's cheek, and one last glare at the fishers, she flickered away.

Olivia lay down across the space Kristen had left, feeling the difference in heat where she had been sitting: body-warmth rather than blistering sun-warmth. The reminder of her presence was more comforting than a cool breeze would have been (...well, almost).

For all her defense of Stephen to her girlfriend, Olivia had been avoiding him in person. She resolved to cut that out. Surely she could avoid taking sides with either of them...and hey, the fact that Jon had barely come out of his cabin meant she didn't have to worry about what to say to him at all.

Besides, just because the most passionate couple she knew had had a falling-out didn't have to mean anything. It wasn't like she and Kristen, just to take a random example, were destined to follow. Especially when Kristen was being so long as Olivia didn't jeopardize that with her own self-doubts. No big deal, right?

"You know, you're getting off easy here," she said under her breath, one hand coming to rest on her new curves. "It's a screwed-up world outside. Trust me, you won't miss much."

Maybe it wasn't the best idea to talk to it. Still, Olivia figured that whatever had happened to her, it wasn't the proto-kid's fault. Especially since it was definitely human, not some kind of eldritch abomination; she'd had Buttons double-check that a few days earlier, during a time when Kristen just happened to be wrapped up in swordfighting practice with Jon.

Speak of the devil: there was a flash of white at the corner of her vision, and Buttons hopped up onto the chair beside her, tail sweeping back and forth. "Miss Munn, could you spare a few minutes for something...personal?"

Olivia sat bolt upright. "What is it? Is something wrong with the—uh—is something wrong?"

"I assure you, normally I wouldn't be interrupting your sunbathing," said the doctor. "But everyone else is busy or asleep, and it's very hot out...could I trouble you to give my coat a quick brushing? Hairballs are so embarrassing."


♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Can't sleep again?"

Jon looked up from the side railing of the Report as Allison approached, outlined by the few remaining lit lamps. "Got a nap during the afternoon, actually. I'm trying to shift my schedule."

"Trying to find more time for early-morning brooding, then?"

Jon put on his most unconvincing laugh. "Brooding? Who's brooding? This is, uh, whale-watching."

"Uh-huh. Well, I just got off the dead-of-night shift...and there happens to be a whale printed on the bottle of rum in my cabin. It's even giving a thumbs-up."

"Yes, but is it wearing a pirate hat?"

"As a matter of fact...."

A few pints later, Jon's boots were propped up on the table while the Captain's had been kicked across the floor. A half-finished game of Scrabble lay abandoned on the bed, where it had stalled when neither of them could remember how to spell coniferous.

"Should've been playing with you from the start," lamented Jon, staring at a little wooden C. "Never should've pressured Stephen to—I took him for granted, that's the problem. One of the problems."

"Whole thing's ridiculous," said Allison, refilling his mug. "I signed up for a quest, not to donate my ship to be the set of a soap opera. No offense."

"None taken! You know what's even more ridiculous? Didn't have to happen at all. I could've ordered him to stick on the mainland, or even on the Eagles. He would've sulked, but if I put my foot down...and six months later we would've picked up right where we left off."

"Pfft. You don't know that. He could've met some cute island couple."

"What are the odds? Never seen him bond with anyone like he did with those two. Not even Olivia, and you've seen how in sync they are on stage."

"Olivia. Don't get me started."

"I know, right?" Jon took another swig of his drink. "Slow-acting pregnancy curse. Who does that?"

Allison snorted. "What, you bought that?"

"You got a better theory?"

"Jon, Jon, Jon. You're a smart man. Do the math. Your pretty ex-princess falls for someone without a lot of spare change, but doesn't want to muck up a good living situation. So she sticks with her girlfriend in public, has her piece on the side, and when it goes south she pins the blame on some unprovable curse."

"Olivia wouldn't do that."

"That's what they all say. Conception woulda happened while she was on the play, right? Maybe there's some cute stagehand—heck, maybe it was Stephen—"

"Stephen wouldn't do that! I would've known!"

"That's also what they all say! Besides, you didn't know he felt taken for granted until he dumped you."

"'S different." Jon put down his mug, leaned back, and slung an arm over his eyes. "I...kntlwnhsks."

"Say wha?"

"We had a soulbond," groaned Jon, "and we still have a link from it, and I can tell when he's having sex. Clear enough for you?"

"Well, frak," said Allison. "Guess that explains why you're trying to get your waking time while he's asleep."

"No kidding. Can we maybe not dwell on it? I'll even let you play coniferous with a K if it'll change the subject."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Under a starlit sky fixed with a thin sliver of waxing moon, Tad guided Stephen to the upper deck while Amy rode on Stephen's shoulders. Tad would have booted her off by now; somehow, Stephen didn't seem to mind.

"You're sure you don't want to climb the sails?" asked Amy. "View's a lot better from up there."

Stephen looked at his hands, curved around her bare calves. "The view is nice down here."

"The man's a natural-born flatterer," cooed Amy. "Can we keep him, honey?"

"No!" exclaimed Stephen, nearly jolting her off and stopping Tad in his tracks. "I'm a citizen! No one keeps me."

"Figure of speech, sweetheart," said Amy quickly. Tad wondered if Stephen realized she was tying little braids in his hair.

He wanted to press Stephen about the reaction, but figured it was better to wait until his wife's position was less precarious. Instead he circled the deck and put out lanterns, one by one, until they were in a circle of darkness lined faintly with silver.

"You start getting new constellations, this far out," he explained, as Amy floated down from Stephen's shoulders, giving him a peck on the cheek as she passed by. "They don't change places like the unknown islands do, but many of them simply haven't been charted. Want us to introduce you?"

"Yes, please!"

Stephen's enthusiasm was catching. They lay on their backs on the boards of the deck, all in a row with a single long pillow under their heads, and Tad spotted the three stars of the Pump almost immediately. Amy followed by guiding their eyes to the Rabbit, the Teacup, and the Incompetently Knitted Potholder. Stephen clasped one of each of their hands in his; Tad could tell the instant he spotted what Amy was pointing at because his fingers tightened around Tad's in excitement.

He was about the most adorable person Tad had ever known. And Tad had seen Amy in a bunny costume.

Much as he hated to break the mood, his questions weren't going to answer themselves. "Stephen...we don't want to upset you, okay? But can I ask you something?"

"You can ask," said Stephen, suddenly cagey. "I might not answer."

Tad squeezed his hand. "Fair enough. I know these have been a tempestuous few days for you—"


"Stormy," translated Amy.

"—but has Sir Stewart made that any worse for you than it has to be? What I mean is, has he pressured you at all? Tried to make you feel guilty for leaving him?"

Stephen had gone still as a rock. "Of course not," he stammered. "Jon would never—why would you think—?"

"Most people don't panic at the idea of being 'kept'," said Amy reasonably.

"Jon's been nothing but good to me!" cried Stephen. "He saved my life. He took care of me the whole time Olivia and I were putting the play together. He's the one who figured out I couldn't see, and paid for these frames himself—it's because of him I can see the stars in the first place! If anyone deserves to keep me...!"

He covered his face with his hands. Tad rolled over to drape an arm across his waist. "So the one making you feel you."

Stephen gulped. "Mmhmm."

On his far side, Amy sat up and poked him in the ribs. "Hasn't anyone ever told you, honey? You don't have to hook up with a person just because you think you owe them."

"Better than what I used to do," sniffed Stephen.

Tad rubbed his thumb in slow circles on Stephen's hip. "Did you used to hook up with whoever your owner told you to?"

Stephen peeked out at her from between his fingers. "How did you—?"

"Lucky guess," said Amy quickly. "Sounds like what Sir Stewart deserves is your gratitude. Ours too—without him, we never would have met you."

She dropped a kiss on the tip of his nose. When she drew away, Stephen caught her, cupping her face in his hands and holding her at arm's length. "D-do that again?"

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

A light rain was passing by the ship, sending everyone below deck except the essential crew. Olivia mentally wrote them off as wimps. For her own part, she stood at the edge of the deck, elbows on the railing so she could lean on it without putting pressure on her stomach, watching raindrops vanish into the water below.

Jon's voice broke in on her thoughts. "See any whales?"


"Allison caught me brooding here a few days ago," explained Jon, coming to stand beside her. There was an umbrella over his shoulder, a Gi Foarese import, black with cat-ear flaps protruding from two of its spines; he moved just close enough to keep the rain off them both. "I told her I was whale-watching. Thus the stupid question."

Olivia shrugged. "None yet. Stephen saw a humpback breach the other...uh, sorry."

"You're allowed to mention his name around me," said Jon dryly. "There's only like a dozen people on this boat. It's going to come up eventually."

"Just trying to be polite."

Jon made a vague noise of thanks.


"So were you coming here to whale-watch some more?" asked Olivia after a pregnant pause. (Unfortunate idiom as that was.) "Because I can get out of your spot if you want."

"I came out to bring you the umbrella, actually," said Jon. "But it looks like you're not as wet as I thought you'd be."

"That's what she said."

Jon blushed. " not where I was going with that, but okay. Listen, I was just gonna go back inside, maybe work on some more you want to keep it?"

"How should I know?" wailed Olivia. "You can't just spring that kind of question on a person! There's too much pressure! What if I make the wrong decision and regret it for the rest of my life? It's not fair!"

"Whoa, now. Olivia...shh, it's okay. C'mere. It's going to be okay."

He rearranged the umbrella so he could wrap an arm around Olivia's shoulders; she clung to his tunic and sobbed gratefully against his chest while he murmured various reassurances in Commedien, followed by a heavily-accented it's okay, it's okay in Gi Foarese.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Rain was coming down harder than before, and Olivia still hadn't shown up in their cabin. Kristen gathered her courage, and a cheap plastic umbrella, and prepared to search the deck. She had never been much of a fan of rain, and it was worse now that she couldn't be her own blowdryer, but it was a small price to pay to know Olivia wasn't moping out there alone.

Her worries were only partly founded. She spotted Olivia right away, moping to say the least, but with company.

Kristen ducked behind a corner of the superstructure that housed the Captain's cabin, flattening herself against the polished wood. How could she have let this happen? It should have been her that a tearful Olivia confided in, not a man who, for all his fine qualities, wasn't even well-rounded enough as a geek to have an informed opinion on the properties of Shadow-Beasts.

Without access to the translation crystal's subtitles, it took some effort to follow the bilingual conversation, but the rain was still soft enough that she could make out every word.

"It's up to you," Jon was saying. "Nobody else. You know that, right? If this is what you want, we'll make it work."

"I d-don't see how," sobbed Olivia. "C-can't ask you to take this whole voyage as a loss. Can't afford to bankroll another one. And even if we had been back on land this whole am I supposed to raise a baby?"

"You have friends. We'd help. You know we would."

"Wouldn't be fair—putting that on you. Especially Kristen. This is my deal, not hers."

"Have you asked?" A pause. "Didn't think so. Listen, Olivia, even if she isn't up for it, I am. Make me godfather, or guardian, or...or if you decide you're not up for parenthood at all, let me adopt. Whatever you and the baby need."

Olivia gulped. "You'd do that?"

"Yeah. I would." A bitter laugh. "Without Stephen around, I'm gonna need something to keep me occupied."

"I...I'll think about it. Th-thanks. For offering. And for the umbrella."

Kristen's grip tightened around the handle in her hands.

"No problem," said Jon. "Hey, I think it's starting to pick up. We should probably get below before people start worrying about us."


Kristen scooted down the wall and around the corner, well out of sight before Jon and Olivia passed by.

She didn't move again until most of her clothing had been soaked through.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Fast asleep, Olivia looked more beautiful than ever. Dry though it was, her hair fanned beautifully across the pillow, framing a complexion that glowed. Even her freckles were vibrant in the morning light.

Kristen climbed down from the top bunk as softly as possible, and paused to kiss Olivia on the forehead.

"I love you," she murmured. "Whatever happens, I want you to remember that."

Olivia burped lightly in her sleep.

Not the most romantic of sendoffs, but it would have to do.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Stephen still wasn't used to waking up in top bunks.

The bottom bunk was the larger one, and in their cabin Jon had offered it to Stephen. Here, it was just large enough for Tad and Amy to crowd in, leaving Stephen to bump his heels up top and wonder if he was inconveniencing them, and if Jon had switched now that the bigger bunk was free, and where he was going to sleep after this voyage was over.

The ladder at the bedside creaked, and Tad appeared at the side of the bed, tousled curls falling in his face. "Oh, you're awake!" he whispered. "How are you feeling?"

"Worried," admitted Stephen.

"Oh? What about? Go on, you can tell me."

"I don't know where to go after this," murmured Stephen, hugging his pillow. "I can't go back to living in Jon's home. But I've never picked out my own home before. I've never even owned anything that big."

"That's a tough one," agreed Tad. " like it here, right?"

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Do you think the sun looks bigger lately?"

At the wheel, Bobby gave Jon a confused look. "Of course it looks bigger. It's a natural effect of our vantage point getting closer to the horizon."

"Right, sorry." Jon wished his confused sleeping schedule lined up better with Allison's. The captain had come off her shift at the helm and gone straight to bed, and as conversationalists went, the first mate wasn't exactly in her league.

So it was a relief when Kristen's voice rang out across the deck: "Jon! Have a practice match with me?"

"Kristen, you're a godsend," sighed Jon. "Do you have—?"

"Catch." She tossed a sheathed sword in his direction. "I'm a bit rusty, so go easy on me, okay?"

"Can do."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Being on the Report is amazing!" exclaimed Stephen, voice low but bursting with earnestness.

"Well, there you go! You're good at fishing, at least when you're not trying to catch jellies by hand, and we can always use someone new to scrub the deck. You'd have to start at the bottom, of course, but I'm sure Meg and Jay wouldn't mind having the chance to order you around."

Stephen's eyes were huge as a squid's. "You mean...I could be part of the crew?"

"It's up to Allison, obviously. But I think you have a shot at it."

"What does Amy think?"

"I don't know. Let's ask." Tad grinned. "Want to help me wake her up?"

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Steel flashed in the sun, blades ringing in the otherwise dead air of a sea too remote for gulls.

"You sold yourself short, Kristen!" panted Jon, parrying. He had started out planning to take it easy, and was already winded for his trouble. "You're on top of your game today."

"Glad to hear it," said Kristen stiffly, turning his blade aside and thrusting again. "Is it yours?"


"You heard me." Flash. "Is." Jab. "It." Block. "Yours?"

"Wait. Are you talking about the—"

Kristen swung her blade around. Jon overbalanced and only blocked at the last instant; the edge slashed through the air inches from his neck.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Never before had Stephen done...well, a lot of things. But high up on the list was "anything sexual with a free woman."

He'd learned that lesson early, sold at fifteen for getting too friendly with his master's eldest daughter. It was fine to let boys use you, but for girls a male slave was Trouble, to be shut down as early as possible. It was different with an adult woman who owned you, or who had borrowed you for the purpose, but Stephen's only female owner had been Miss Jane, who wanted a porcelain doll rather than a blow-up one. His role was to escort her to society balls, taking her coat, saying please and thank you ma'am to her friends. In the salons she would sit in his lap and ask what he thought of her position in the debate of the day, hand-feeding him when he praised it, laughing prettily when her companions remarked on how charming he was. And that was all.

His adoration of Amy was breaking down those blocks, but it was a slow process. At least it was easier with Tad to guide him through.

The tableau that woke Amy was one that didn't trip any of Stephen's fears: Tad seated on the mattress beside her, Stephen kneeling between his legs. He was too intent on his task to catch when her eyes opened; he simply glanced over one moment and found a glitter of delight trained squarely on him.

"Morning, sailors," she said. "Me next?"

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Don't you trust me?" pleaded Jon, white-faced, as Kristen drove him surely but steadily down the main deck of the ship. "Don't you trust Olivia? I know she doesn't have the greatest track record here, but—"

"Her record is spotless!" snapped Kristen, sword clashing against his. "She only lies when it's important. She'd lie in a heartbeat to protect you!"

"You trusted her before! Why be suspicious now?"

A series of quick thrusts, keeping him on his toes. "I heard you last night!"

"When I offered to take the kid?" stammered Jon. "What's that supposed to prove? I don't have to be the father to care what happens to it!"

"But it would sure help!" countered Kristen. "Or maybe it's Stephen's! Would explain why you're so desperate to take care of it—you can't keep him an emotional child forever, so you may as well pick up his actual child, right?"

She swung again.

Not only did Jon block it, he turned the blade aside with such force that her wrist screamed in protest at the wrenching.

He'd been holding back.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Lifting the trap door to reach the deck, Olivia heard the sounds of sword practice and slowed down. Sure, they were probably being safe, but you couldn't be too careful. Besides, an unnerving dream right before waking had put her on edge.

She climbed the last few rungs, and the foredeck of the Report came into view just in time to see the length of Kristen's sword burst into flames.


♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Hi, honey," said Tad, voice rising to a squeak when Stephen flicked his tongue a certain way. "Uh, which of us did you want?"

"Stephen," purred Amy. "If that's all right with him."

Reluctantly, Stephen lifted his head. "I...I don't know how."

"You watched Tad the other day, right?"

"Y-yes. But I've never—"

"No time like the present to start learning," said Amy sensibly. "C'mere, sweetheart."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Curls and tongues of flame whipped through the air with every thrust of Kristen's sword, making the warning sapphire on Jon's hand too brilliant to fade into the daylight around them. He could feel the heat, could see sparks breaking free to catch in his clothes and on his skin.

And he didn't care.

Fire powers or not, Kristen didn't have the edge here. Jon was the better swordsman. They both knew it. Maybe some other time the anger she was running on would have given her a leg up, but right now Jon had plenty of frustration to spare.

"Maybe you're right," he snapped, steel ringing against flaming steel. "Maybe I'm a little more eager than I could have been. So what? A baby that might need a home comes along right when I've got a hole in my life—that's a good thing! Better being overzealous than not supporting Olivia at all!"

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Pounding thuds on her door dragged Allison out of bed. Still in her bathrobe, she opened it and stared in bleary amazement at her visitor.

"Make them stop," begged Olivia, face twisted and eyes wet with tears. "They have to listen to you. Please, make them stop!"

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Amy pressed a light kiss to Stephen's mouth, while Tad's hands steadied his hips.

A shudder ran through his whole body as she guided him down.

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

How dare you?" demanded Kristen, catching Jon's blade. "Of course I've been supportive!"

"Of her having an abortion, yes!"

Kristen parried, but stumbled another step back. "It's what she said she wanted!"

"It's what you wanted to hear!"

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Kicking down the door, Allison found herself with an eyeful of her navigator, her air bunny, and one of her guests in a compromising position on a bed that was two sizes two small.

"Amy! Emergency!" she barked, ignoring the medley of shrieks and blushes. "Grab a sheet and fly upstairs. Now."

♢ ♘ ♢ ☯ ♢ ♘ ♢

Don't do this!" wailed Olivia in vain. "Stop it—please—just—STOP!"

The warring swords sheared against each other with a noise like a scream.

And the entire surface of the deck, from Olivia's feet at one end to the wheel Bobby was hiding behind at the other, burst into flames.
politicette: (Default)

[personal profile] politicette 2011-12-08 06:21 am (UTC)(link)
good maybe now they will all die and end my pain and suffering

(Anonymous) 2011-12-08 06:27 am (UTC)(link)
Holy Crap!!!!

Okay, I knew Stephen and Jon were heading for a breakup. He needs this, even though we all know they are going to wind up back together in the end, they are too perfect not to. Jon thinking of ways he could have made Stephen stay, bad Jon, if you love something...

Kristen hit one hell of a nerve accusing Jon of keeping Stephen an emotional child and his reaction was perfect. I love how she tried so hard to be supportive of Olivia but had to keep fighting her doubts until she just couldn't anymore.

Also, what's with prophecy mage? He showed up, asked their names and then buggered off. He didn't batt an eyelid when Stephen mentioned the name 'Stewart' so I'm guessing that if it was one of the crew he was after then it's probably Olivia, although throwing Bobby into the mix would just make me laugh at this point.

politicette: (Default)

castles in the sand offical ost tbh

[personal profile] politicette 2011-12-08 06:33 am (UTC)(link)
ladyjaderains: (Default)

Re: castles in the sand offical ost tbh

[personal profile] ladyjaderains 2011-12-08 09:46 am (UTC)(link)
Have you ever heard the Bloodhound Gang song "Lift your head up high and blow your brains out"? I'd never heard anything that remotely reminded me of that song until I listened to the "No Children" song you posted and had to comment. They're coming from two different ends of a similar spectrum. Bloodhound is very tongue in cheek.
politicette: (Default)

Re: castles in the sand offical ost tbh

[personal profile] politicette 2011-12-08 06:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Lol I KNEW you were going to call me out on that!

But what I still don't know is how you can expect me to remember acronyms when my heart is shattered in a million tiny pieces

Maybe later I'll enter my PIN number into an ATM machine, there's just no telling anymore*~*
kribban: (Default)

Re: castles in the sand offical ost tbh

[personal profile] kribban 2011-12-08 11:00 pm (UTC)(link)
After reading this I watched the ending to My Best Friend's Wedding on YouTube. Then I cried. Now I'm going to bed and letting both the cats sleep in my bed to comfort me. ;_;
queenfanfiction: (LateNight CF comedy stripshow)

Re: castles in the sand offical ost tbh

[personal profile] queenfanfiction 2011-12-09 03:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Maybe later I'll enter my PIN number into an ATM machine, there's just no telling anymore*~*

brb later ded now
themistoklis: Two big-eyed basset hounds (Basset hounds)

[personal profile] themistoklis 2011-12-08 07:09 am (UTC)(link)


(Anonymous) 2011-12-08 07:15 am (UTC)(link)
I don't think there are words that can describe how the expression of horror grew on my face throughout this chapter. Wow...that was just-

I've read about "Stephen"'s growing relationship with Tad and Amy both happy that he's forming independent relationships and terrified for his relationship with Jon. Especially since I am starting to see this as this universe's take on the beginning of the Colbert Report which means Stephen may choose to stay and...well I don't even know how to feel about that.

And then as for the other conflict... Poor poor Allison. And there is only two chapters left! I'm just going to silently freak out over here.

(Don't actually have a dreamwidth account so I'll just sign with my livejournal name)
ladyjaderains: (Default)

[personal profile] ladyjaderains 2011-12-08 08:58 am (UTC)(link)
Wow! I love the sword fight between Jon and Kristen and was naive enough to be surprised when it took a sudden turn to serious. I hope that Stephen and Jon get back together even though I'm enjoying the current three some:) Do you think that Jon took Stephen for granted or is that just Jon being, well, Jon? Poor Olivia! I'm glad she might keep the baby though and was so proud of how supportive Jon was.

I'm confused about Stephen never having been with a woman. I thought he'd been borrowed out to sleep with other slaves and figured it must have been a breeding thing. How silly of me that it took until now to realize who Miss Jane was (the real Jane would never stop at a kiss if she owned Stephen, I fear but who could blame her). Tad and Amy guessing Stephen's former status was a nice twist for him. Made their relationship seem more intimate.

Can't wait to see what happens next. How will Stephen react to seeing Jon in danger? How will Olivia's relationship with Kristin change? Will we get to see a picture of Amy wrapped in a sheet?

I know I'll tune in to find out!
kribban: (Default)

[personal profile] kribban 2011-12-08 08:14 pm (UTC)(link)
The borrowing-out was indeed for breeding purposes, but that would've been very mechanical, probably observed, and not focused on pleasure or care for either of the slaves involved. Stephen wouldn't consider it any kind of precedent for sex with a woman whose rights and desires are recognized and respected.

Or sex with a woman where his rights and desires were recognized.

I'm surprised that being on his knees while, eh, sucking wasn't something he would find triggery (considering his past.)

I don't like that Stephen has bred. :/
kribban: (Default)

[personal profile] kribban 2011-12-08 10:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Well that, and also the possibility of having offspring "out there" is terrifying. Especially if you don't know how they're doing. Open adoptions are another thing though, and there are situations where the biological parents are unfit, but yes, my squick buttons you push them.

Let me also add that I knew beforehand that Jon can feel Stephen have sex, be in love, be happy etc. and then you put it in and it kills me.

I honestly don't see how this can work out. If they get back to shore Jon will feel how happy and in love Stephen is and Stephen will feel how lonely and heart broken Jon is. I wonder if distance would break the link. :-/
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[personal profile] ladyjaderains 2011-12-12 09:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I see what you're saying about Jon still treating Stephen the way he did at first. I guess I didn't look at it that way because it seemed to me like he was just taking care of Stephen (even if Stephen didn't always appreciate it) and maybe Stephen was being a little bratty about his attraction to Tad and Amy.

Thanks for clarifying the "free woman" thing. That makes perfect sense to me now. As heartbreaking as it is, I'm completely in love with the idea of Stephen having a kid out there (as long as he/she gets rescued, of course). I'm also super hopeful that his eventual realization of this will lead to bringing him and Jon back together. Oh the angsty goodness!

Miss Jane is so cruel;)

I had another question about this chapter that I forgot to ask before. Jon accuses Stephen of treating him like 'one of his rapists' but is Stephen even at a point where he's capable of looking at it that way? I was kind of surprised when Jon said that as Stephen seems to just be coming to grips with the fact that his lack of choice was not normal/acceptable treatment.

He reacted like he understood what Olivia was going through while she was assaulted but at the same time whenever his own sexual history during slavery is brought up, it doesn't seem that he's traumatized by it but as if he looks at it like that was just one of his jobs. It had sounded like with Papa Bear he was willing, even if not always in the mood but maybe not with other masters or something.

Sorry for being dense but that coupled with Jon's accusation that Stephen 'thought' he loved Papa Bear (when even though it was a sick love Stephen's feelings for him seemed pretty real, if misguided at the time) left me a bit confused.

Have you ever heard the stories about masters leaving their dogs miles away from where they live to ditch them but the dogs find their way back home, returning, despite the knowledge that they will surely receive further mistreatment? For me, that was Stephen in a nutshell during the first part of this fic.
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[personal profile] ladyjaderains 2011-12-12 09:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Whoops, meant to say that the question applied to the last chapter!
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[personal profile] ladyjaderains 2011-12-13 07:12 am (UTC)(link)
I will ask no promises but am relieved that you'll leave me with my hope:)

Thank you so much for such an eloquent explanation of Stephen's emotional growth in this area. While my educational and personal background allows me to totally understand what your describing here I wasn't sure if Stephen got it (although I figured whatever misguided affection he felt for Billo likely turned to hate after the soul ripping out incident...yeah *shudders*).

As I know you're aware, he's also a master of rationalization and denial and I wasn't sure if this was how he was coping with some of these more intense issues. I was especially unsure after reading his "realization" moment in this chapter. So on the one hand, it's relieving to know that Jon wasn't pushing a reality on him that he wasn't ready to accept or deal with (which was my main concern and cause for asking) but on the other, as you say it's a low blow considering that Stephen is fully aware of his victim status.

Canon Stephen generally both proclaims victim status where there is no attacker and decries victim status when it is real. I love that in this AU while he's gone through so much he's clearly less broken in those ways. It is a take on "Stephen" I've never seen before but still feels very true to what he'd be like if this had been his life from the start. Thanks for explaining!

P.S. The more of this fic I read the more it strikes me that the first bit I read was when "Stephen" calls Stephen Freem through his portal. I read back to the beginning (and all the way through again) and have had the same reaction over and over again with each piece I read. Even with each new piece you've put out since.

For me, the true masterpiece of this whole thing is how compelling that little fic was. Reading it with no background on the "other" Stephen ours had summoned, at first, I'd felt bad for this version of him that was so openly vulnerable and acquiesced to whatever our (lovably) crazy Stephen was telling him to do.

What gets me is that the more I learn about this version the more I'm increasingly stunned that the person who I really should have been feeling bad for was our Stephen. Don't get me wrong, by the end of that fic it was obvious, when the Jons showed up seeing the two versions different reactions, who was luckier. Still, the brilliance of a fic that shows that a different version of him could literally have the life of a slave and turn out better adjusted than canon Stephen is a thing to behold.
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[personal profile] ladyjaderains 2011-12-14 07:28 am (UTC)(link)
If only more people understood these things the legal system could, maybe, potentially better help those involved. No worries! I've seen way too much of it in my life to actually, personally choose to stay in a position like that (I hope). Also, working with women prisoners would have taught me anything I didn't already know.

"I don't want to sound like "ooh, canon!Stephen should've been abused for several decades, he'd have come out better off."

It's terrible but this made me laugh. At work. Inappropriate! I hope that's not how I made it seem:)

I've always loved how damaged canon!Stephen is but never seen him put side by side with a version of himself that is better adjusted with that much reason to be, well, the type of person canon!Stephen is. It really highlights how sad it is that he's actively doing it to himself.

r!Stephen claims to enjoy damaged people and his character is, in spades. Wouldn't want him any other way;)

I think his biggest problems may be fear and lack of self worth. I think if canon!Stephen was in Stephen Freem's shoes he might still be expecting for all of his new freedom to be taken away. Mistrusting Jon, Tad, and Amy intentions and only believing that they could possibly want him for one thing.

For example, Freem's fear when Jon asked about his wrist (I'm still curious as to how that happened in this AU) seemed based on fear that Jon would think he wasn't useful but not in the way canon!Stephen would have likely (as you said) become so defensive.

Jon only gave him the faintest smile before continuing, solemn as ever. "No, your wrist. It's hurt. Does somebody hurt you, before?"

"No!" exclaimed Stephen. Hadn't Papa Bear given Jon his history? Maybe he hadn't been a gift or a proper sale; maybe he was too damaged to be anything but a castoff. He's got no papers, but if you want to take these gems or this land or these unicorns off my hands, I'll throw him in to sweeten the deal.

"Well Jon, I guess we can't all have two good wrists. No, no if it bothers you so much that you feel the need to point out someone else's handicap, I guess I'll just make sure not to touch you with my deformity. You know, you could have just said that I disgust you!"

"Easy, Stephen. I'm just trying to make sure you're safe — and that the Castle isn't in danger from you being here-" (he never gets to finish the sentence)

"Oh, I see! Your precious Castle is threatened by my crippled wrist. Well, fine! I suppose you'd better go protect it. Don't forget to shield it from my funny looking ear while you're at it!" -Storms away to cry.

Jon can only sigh.

Again, I love how you made this AU! It's so ripe with detail and it's so fun to consider how many directions it could go. I think it's the kind of AU that canon!Stephen might secretly curl up with at night to read. He'd keep trying to identify with Jon's role but inevitably dream of being Freem;)

By the by, is there a reason that Stephen had no papers? He seemed a little too upset at the thought of being stolen for Papa Bear to have gotten him that way without Stephen trying to escape him.

Okay, I'll try to stop leaving epically long posts on your fic now!
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[personal profile] ladyjaderains 2011-12-15 01:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I see your point about defenses.

I do think that there is something really special about this Stephen's utter lack of guard that still protects him in a way though. It protects him from pushing away those people who would care about him. It's especially amazing because his life could have left him way more bitter and jaded but he still looked for the best in things and people. Even when he's afraid of criticism he shows a special courage in accepting responsibility (even if it's not his fault). Canon!Stephen would be too weak to deal with the criticism or acknowledge his own flaws so, it was really cool to see you write him this way.

I guess I don't know, if they were both real people though I think that at the very least Stephen Freem would appear better adjusted then canon!Stephen. I suppose that doesn't take too much though!

Canon!Stephen would be all over this AU for sure. I'd like to think he may envy Stephen Freem's ability to have no ego and still be loved. Plus, bonus Sir Jon taking care of him:) I thought he might wish to identify with Jon's character just because he has a hero complex when it seems that underneath that he really wants to be the one to be saved.

Thanks for explaining! I thought when Stephen was thinking about Papa Bear just adding him in with other items that perhaps the "he has no papers" line was indicative of some sort of social standing as a slave. Like, maybe they didn't value him enough to keep papers on him or something. I can completely understand why Jon would care less but it seemed to have some meaning for Stephen in that thought. Guess I was reading too much into the line (oops!). Thanks again for clearing that up.
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[identity profile] 2011-12-08 01:38 pm (UTC)(link)
You've turned my whole world upside down!

(Anonymous) 2011-12-10 08:21 pm (UTC)(link)
(Been lurkin', but had to comment.)

I'm sad whenever Jon and Stephen aren't together, in any universe. :'( I want him to be happy, but I don't know how to feel about this Tad and Amy thing. And poor, poor Jon!

Also, I'm confused about the soul-bond. Does it go away now? Or is it just weakened or something?

It took me a day or two to figure out who "Miss Jane" was, but I lol'ed when I did.

~A. Fann