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Story [Multi-fandom] "Speak, Friend, and Enter" | Ficlet and Drabble Collection

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade , Jun 10, 2021.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Title: “Speak, Friend, and Enter”
    Author: Mira_Jade
    Fandom: Multi-fandom

    Genre
    : Everything
    Rating: PG-ish
    Time Frame: Everywhere
    Characters: Everyone

    Summary: The author, standing against the death of the muse.


    Notes: Wow, but it has been forever and a day since I wrote some good ol' NSWFF, hasn't it? It's time to fix that now! Like my That Would Be Enough thread from a few years back, this will be a collection of flash fiction, mostly written in response to prompts on days when I can't work on my longer WIPs. As a result, these will ideally be anything from a few sentences to ficlets less than 1,500 hundred words, all written for a variety of fandoms. There will be an index, below, to keep everything neat and tidy if you're looking for something in particular.

    That said, I welcome anyone who has wandered in, and hope that you enjoy what you stay to find. [:D]


    Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words. The title is, of course, a Tolkien nick. [face_love]






    Index

    I. "Wolf At the Door" (The Rookie) | Nyla Harper & Angela Lopez & Tim Bradford

    II. "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby" (The Rookie) | Lucy Chen/Tim Bradford

    III. "One Breath, Then Two" (The Rookie) | Jackson West & Lucy Chen | Lucy Chen/Tim Bradford

    IV. "I May Be Dreaming Awake" (The Phantom of the Opera) | OTP "Seven Deadly Sins" Challenge response




    ~ MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
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  2. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Author's Note: A million thanks to @brodiew for the prompt! [:D]

    For those who may not be familiar with the fandom, first of all, you need to check out The Rookie stat. It's a fun show with so much heart and humor and great procedural cases, and I just adore the ensemble cast to pieces. [face_love]

    This ficlet, in particular, deals with Nyla Harper. Nyla is a detective and an undercover cop who has returned from a four year assigment running drugs over the Mexican border for the cartels in an effort to gather evidence from the inside. For her going above and beyond the call of duty she was awarded a 'golden ticket' and welcomed to take her pick of postings following her return to the force. She chose to go back out on patrol as a training officer - a seeming demotion - in an effort to win back shared custody of her daughter, which she lost as a result of her dangerous career choices. She had more than a few rough edges to smooth out in the beginning, and it took a while for her fellow TOs (and, honestly, us as the audience) to warm to her, which brings us to . . .







    I.

    “Wolf At the Door”
    (The Rookie | Episode 2x4,“Warriors and Guardians” Missing Scene)​


    Unfinished Business (Nyla Harper & Angela Lopez & Tim Bradford)

    She almost made it out of the precinct without anyone stopping her.

    Coming back to patrol had been . . . difficult, to say the least; more than she'd first expected, and definitely more than she'd ever admit to anyone out loud. She hadn’t worn her blues in so long that they felt like someone else’s skin, rubbing her raw and sitting uncomfortably on her shoulders. This wasn’t her, not anymore. Yet, how could she know what was her and what wasn't when she hadn't been herself for so long? Who was she now? Who was she, really, but for a dozen aliases and constantly looking over her shoulder and toeing the line to protect and serve while also fighting to stay alive and come home, I’ve got to come home, come home, come homehomehome -

    While she chipped away at sorting out exactly who Nyla Harper was away from the masks of Crystal and Mia and Stacy and Denice and LeslieErinSoniaCassandraTina, she wasn't interested in making friends. It was already bad enough that she had Five Percent with his big ol' puppy dog eyes trying to figure her out. She was only here to earn the right to be a mother to her daughter again, and nothing more. Everything else was superfluous. It didn't matter.

    With that thought in mind, she changed back into her plain clothes at the end of the day without engaging anyone else in the locker-room. She exuded a steady aura of stay away and back off to anyone who may have been curious about the newest addition to their ranks, and almost made it to the door without being bothered. Almost, until:

    “Hey, Harper! Wait up!"

    Wincing, she came to a stop, her hands clutching the strap of her purse as she debated ignoring the summons entirely. (Leslie would have kept on walking; Tina and Cassandra too. But, Nyla?) Finally, though, she grudgingly turned on her heel and only just barely scrubbed the irritation from her face. Her expression held no welcome.

    “Lopez,” she bit her tongue to civilly acknowledge the other TO. (For so long as Denice and Sonia she had honed her words to such an edge that now she almost didn't know how to soften them. Crystal would have stuttered anxiously; Erin would have let her eyes speak without saying anything.) “I’m just, you know - ” she gestured vaguely towards the door, hoping that she'd take the hint. “It’s been a long first day,” she settled for, hoping it would be enough. “I’m tapping out.”

    “Oh, not yet you're not,” Lopez shook her head to disagree. Her dark eyes were canny as she grinned like a coyote in front of a pinned rabbit. Behind her, a more cautious Tim Bradford followed in her wake. He, for his part, didn't bother extending any pleasantries he didn’t feel she'd yet earned. Which, in her own way, she could appreciate. “We have some unfinished business.”

    “Do we?” she arched a brow to challenge. (Ignoring, all the while, how Erin would have walked away without a word; how Crystal would have drawn her lip from her teeth in a snarl.)

    “Oh yeah, very unfinished,” Lopez was almost friendly to say as she draped an arm over her shoulders in an exaggerated display of camaraderie. It was hard enough to hold still and allow herself to be touched without immediately grabbing the hand that had reached for her as CrystalErinSonia would have done, but she managed. That was, most likely, half the point .

    “You see," Lopez continued, "you’re one of us now, but we don’t really know you. That could be a problem out there during business hours, don't you agree? So, we’re going to fix that.”

    “We are?” she couldn’t keep the dubiousness from her tone if she tried. That, at least, was all her.

    “Yep. So, we’re taking you out to Shaw’s to celebrate your first day with the precinct. There, you can get to know us, and we can get to know you.”

    In another life, Nyla would have understood exactly where Lopez was coming from – she did understand, at that. But still . . . “Lopez,” she sighed, dropping her head to touch a hand to her brow in a show of weariness that was no show. DeniceCassandraMia would never have displayed such weakness in front of anyone; they couldn't. But, she tried to hold onto, here where she was safe and as herself . . . “I don’t know. I'm really not in the mood for - ”

    “ - Angela,” she was gently, but firmly, interrupted. Nyla looked up, startled, and saw something just as unguarded on the other woman’s face to match. Oh she was still leery, without a doubt, and yet . . .

    She hadn’t had someone reach out their hand in friendship – truly reach out their hand without any strings or threats attached – in years now, and it felt refreshingly human, in a way. Dangerous and terrifying, in so many others. In her chest, Crystal's heart was thumping. Erin wanted to yank back and end this now. The ghost of Mia - who'd died crossing back into California at Jacumba and almost took Nyla with her, just wanted to run.

    “Please, call me Angela,” Lopez invited. “We’re off duty."

    All right, Nyla took in a deep breath before exhaling again . . . all right.

    “Okay,” with that, she scuttled her excuses and attempted to do the same with her reservations. “It’s Nyla, then,” she said in return, swallowing a dozen other names for herself. “I guess I can join you for a drink. One drink,” she held up a finger to stipulate.

    “One drink it is,” Angela took what a victory she could and turned for the garage before she could change her mind. "I'll lead if you want to follow."

    "Got it," Nyla copied, but didn't immediately continue on to her car. Not when, behind her, Bradford still had his arms folded across his chest. He was slow to follow Lopez out in favor of staring her down in a way she bet had all the rookies trembling in their boots. But she’d seen worse – she’d been worse, even. Bradford, she'd already pegged him, might have played at the whole lone wolf persona, but he was the furthest from. Instead, he was that pacing sentry wolf, warily watching for any and all possible threats to his pack with his teeth bared and ready to snap. He'd settled himself as a warrior and a guardian – a rare mix, but still possible to achieve, little as she would have said to Nolan earlier. Time would only tell with her boot.

    “So, does that mean I can call you Tim?” she didn’t bother softening her tone to ask.

    “No,” he said bluntly.

    “Fine by me,” she shrugged. She wasn’t quite sure, exactly, what Angela thought she was going to achieve here anyway. “Call me what you want; it doesn’t matter.” Because it didn’t matter, she repeated to herself. She was only here for her daughter.

    “Good,” Tim’s smile was all a taunt in its own way, so much so that she couldn't help snort, amused. In another life, Nyla knew that she would have been able to get along with him just fine. “I’m glad we understand each other."



    ~ MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2021
  3. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Oh, how I have missed reading you, Mira. I'm picky and I know it. This is excellent!. I love the voice you give Nyla. It's reserved guarded and yet highly volatile nature is consistent with the character on the show. The element of her fighting against her many personas from being undercover in a present, less threatening environment, is brilliant.

    I'm surprised that Nyla didn't remove Angela's hand when she draped it around her shoulder. Her reserve must have been Herculean. But Angela is that kind of familiar even sometimes to a fault. She means well but in this situation, she may have crossed a boundary.

    A couple of phrases I really enjoyed.

    'Barely scrubbed the irritation from her face...'

    Nyla's take on Tim is spot on.
    Sentry Wolf - Warrior and guardian.

    But what gave me goosebumps was your rock solid presentation of Tim arms folded across his chest and his curt answer of 'No.' Love it.

    This is a great character study. I think the show has done a great service to this character having her ease into her new life. Her edginess at the start was off putting even for me as a viewer but they've done a great job bringing her around.

    I am greatly looking forward to what else you have in store in this thread.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] Nyla reminds me of post-ROTJ Mara in many ways, very thorny and barricaded emotionally so anyone who can get through those walls even a bit has won a victory!

    HOW AWESOME, AWESOME IT IS TO HAVE A FICLET THINGAMAJIG FROM YOU in any way shape or form. [face_love] [:D]
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
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  5. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Aw, thanks! You know I take that as quite the compliment! :D [:D]

    It really was interesting getting into Nyla's head in this piece, too. She's definitely volatile and more than guarded at this point, and it's going to take a while for her to feel comfortable as herself again, but she's getting there. [face_love]

    Ha! Too true. But I'd even go as far to argue that Angela knew exactly what she was doing with her crossing that boundary. That was all a test of her own. Tim's not the only one who's not buying what Harper's selling, yet. :p [face_mischief]

    That was a last minute edit, too! Isn't it interesting how that goes? :D

    I will definitely mark that in the win column! ;) [face_love] I just adore Tim's character, so I was all too happy to hear that I got him right. (And this is honestly good practice before I dive into my Olympics set come July - there's nothing like throwing in a bit of romance to challenge that IC-ness. 8-})

    I definitely agree with you there! It took me a long time to warm to Nyla's character, too. Actually, there were times when I downright couldn't stand her, which I know was probably half the point of the writing! But around the latter part of Season 2 - by the time she was building IKEA furniture for her daughter and trying so hard to be a good mother and dropping her walls to be so fully invested in Lucy's recovery - I was hooked, and instead just so happy to see her easing into her new life. [face_love]

    As always, I can't thank you enough for the wonderful prompts, and for all your support and encouragement as a reader! That said, I can't wait to see what you do with your own prompts. It's been much too long. ;) [face_whistling] [:D]


    That really is such an apt comparison! She's been living with her walls up for so long that she has no idea how to take them down now that she's in a relatively safe environment with people who not only have her back, but also want to be there for her as a friend. But, like Mara, she'll get there. [face_love]

    [face_laugh] [:D] As always, your enthusiasm and support is just THE BEST and makes me want to write all of the things. Thank-you really isn't a big enough word. ;) [face_love] [:D]



    ~ MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
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  6. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Author's Note: Both of these snippets were inspired by prompts from @brodiew, again! Even if the first one kinda deviated from the original awkward assumption prompt and took on a life of its own. The second ficlet came from him challenging me to explore the professional fallout that Tim and Lucy - and Lucy, especially - would have to face if they ever embarked upon a romantic relationship. I was originally going to save that topic for my upcoming Olympics decathlon, but my answer was definitely longer than any of the available word constrictions on my list. So here it is now in all of its uncut glory. :p

    As a last note, my title comes from Lee Morse's Yes, Sir! That's My Baby, as a nod to Lucy's love of classical singers and standards. Though Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra both sang wonderful renditions, you just can't match that '20s swing in the original. ;) [face_love]

    Enjoy! [:D]







    II.



    Yes Sir, That’s My Baby; Yes Ma’am, He’s Mine
    (The Rookie | Tim Bradford/Lucy Chen; Season 4 Speculation Fic)​


    Assumption

    “You’d better be glad that I like you,” Angela’s eyes were on the wrong side of misty to give her threat any real bite as she wrapped her in an impromptu embrace, but Lucy didn’t doubt for a second just who’d she’d be answering to if she ever gave Tim even a scratch on his heart. “Otherwise I’d have to threaten to kick your ass.”

    “Angela,” no matter the relative levity of her reaction to their news, Lucy held her gaze to vow to its underlying currents: “I promise. He’s safe with me.”

    With that, misty became actual tears and Lucy blinked, startled to see so much emotion from the usually indomitable detective. “No, no, I’m fine. Please don't mind me; it’s the baby,” Angela forestalled her concern, huffing in exasperation as she wiped at her eyes. “I cried at a Coke commercial last night, can you believe it? Stupid hormones.” But her play at annoyance only lasted for so long, and laughter was quick to bubble up and follow in its wake – for both of them. “Honestly, I’m just happy for both of you. It’s about time.”

    With that blessing, Lucy left the station feeling lighter than air – so much so that when she met Tim down by the parking garage it took her a moment to process when he tilted his head and stated: “I think that Nolan just threatened me.”

    “You think he threatened you?” she echoed, standing on her toes for his kiss in greeting – the kind of casual affection they could indulge in now with the ink on their paperwork with HR just freshly dry. “Isn’t that the kind of thing you shouldn’t have to assume?”

    Tim leveled her with a look for that. “It’s Nolan,” he said, as if the answer was obvious. “Honestly, I thought Harper would've taught him better by now.”

    Lucy couldn't help but scuttle a grin that she knew Tim noticed anyway, knowing that John had already more than earned the respect of all his fellow officers in the Mid-Wilshire precinct. Even his quasi-threat could only be taken by Tim with a mark of favor.

    Still.

    “Aw, that’s so sweet,” she beamed. In a casual gesture that still left her giddy for all that it meant, she threaded her arm through his and held his hand as they turned to walk away together. “My knight in shining armor.”

    Knights, of course, she thought, looking up to see Tim scowl in an exaggerated display of irritation. But she knew that it was all for show when his eyes turned bright in that special way she'd since come to cherish as hers. She knew that the same dozen or so memories she was cycling through were also at the forefront of his mind when he said, “It’s a pity that job’s already taken.” His voice was so sweetly hushed as he smiled one of his rare unguarded smiles, and of course she had to stop to kiss him again.

    “You know,” Lucy hummed as they drew apart. She let her hands rest on his chest as she came back down to her own height again. “Between John and Angela, we have no choice but to make this work.”

    “I suppose you're right,” Tim agreed, still softly tracing his thumb from her chin to her jaw, unable to wholly let her go. She shivered as his touch whispered against her neck before tucking a strand of hair behind her ear – an innocent enough gesture in a still public setting where this was still very fresh gossip for their co-workers.

    She had to try so, so hard to play at a neutral expression, nodding gravely along. It was a feat of no small proportions to hold onto her line of thought when he was leaning in close to her, as if he meant to kiss her again. “It’s just safer this way.”

    “Sounds like common sense to me,” he shared her breath to agree, and it was then very, very hard to think about their friends or anything else at all.



    Branded

    Knowing it was coming didn’t stop its sting when it finally arrived. She’d been warned, yes; she’d been told exactly what to expect from so many well meaning voices, and yet . . .

    Somehow – hopelessly, naïvely, stupidly – Lucy had thought that things would be different for them, just for how different this relationship was for her compared to any other she’d known before.

    They'd done everything right, she wanted to protest the unfairness of it all. They'd waited until months after her training was complete, only finally giving into everything that had been building between them after their dance at Angela’s second and final wedding. They waited until she was his fellow officer and peer, rather than his rookie, and then even longer still to go public with their news to help forestall any considering gazes that would try to question the math on their timeline together. They responsibly informed HR, first about the change in their relationship status and then about their cohabitation. They were completely forthcoming to their case worker, who'd signed their approval each and every time they’d met since then. Whenever they worked together in the field it was ensured that she was nowhere near his sphere of power, nor were either of them a factor that could influence the other's decisions on an emotional level when they held a loaded weapon in hand. This was nothing like the reckless joy of her fling with Nolan back at the Academy and just into their rookie year. They were so careful to do everything right, and she knew they were above reproach. She had nothing to feel guilty about, nothing to be judged for, and yet -

    - you know, I thought you were just another pretty face,” was the first shot fired, from a detective in the 51st when he gave her a hand up after she took a shot to the vest during a drug bust that ended up easier said than done. “I'm happy to be proven wrong.”

    Maybe his words were gentle enough, but they still stung. She knew exactly why he'd doubted her mettle to begin with.

    Are we really trusting her to call the shots?” was a louder voice from a SWAT private who was slated as her back-up for an UC assignment. “Did she really pass training in any way that matters?” Another one of his buddies had laughed to reply: “Oh, I can tell you exactly how she passed,” with a vulgar gesture that left no one in doubt of his meaning. The SWAT sergeant had been quick to put an end to that, even going as far as to dismiss the two men from the briefing – and then the op entirely, but what was said was said. She knew that they hadn't been alone in their thoughts, if the steely gazes looking back from their squad-mates had been any indication.

    However, none of that had affected her near as much as when another female UC had bluntly challenged her history with Tim before agreeing to work with her on a case. “It’s hard enough for us to advance in the force as it is, especially when we aren’t willing to do anything extra for special favor,” she’d scathed to her face instead of muttering behind her back. “You’re an insult to every woman out there who's fighting to earn her place with the good ol’ boys in blue.”

    It had felt like a lifetime ago, then, that Talia had warned her away from Nolan. Him? He’ll get nothing more than a pat on the back, but this? This will brand you.

    Maybe, once, that would have stopped her – once, that had stopped her. But, the thing was: Lucy Chen had learned a thing or two about brands in the year since then. She knew what it was like to be marked, to quite literally be stamped as something fit for slaughter and deemed unworthy of life. She still bore the literal reminder of the trauma she'd survived inked on her skin. Instead of erasing Caleb's stamp, however, she’d let her wounds heal and become a part of her. Those marks were her strength, now. They symbolized everything she was strong enough to overcome.

    These? These were just words; words, and nothing more. They could only hurt her if she gave them the teeth to bite. And that, she refused to do.

    Time would prove the naysayers wrong, she steeled her determination by reminding herself, some days more than once. Besides, anyone whose opinion mattered to her knew exactly what this relationship meant to her, and she had their approval. This bond – this love, she knew that truth more and more so with each passing day – was strong enough for her to brave the unkind words and censure and insinuations without worrying that it would strain and someday snap.

    So, yes: maybe she was branded; she was marked down to the very core of her being, even . . . but only in a way that she chose to be.



    ~ MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2021
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  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Excellent introspection and trying to navigate a new level of relating.
     
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  8. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    I am loving these, Mira! Keep them coming.

    Assumption - I wonder if the pregnancy storyline has stolen some of Angela's edge. At the same time her emotions both her and on the show are appropriate for her 'condition'. :p
    and
    You realize I now need more Tim-Nolan. I'd like to be a fly on the wall during that discussion. Plus, I enjoyed Tim's all encompassing character comment on John. Does Nolan have dichotomy of presence? Sure, he is both genuine and loving and carry's a big stick. :cool: This is different from Castle whose threat level was on the low end.

    Branded - I really liked this look into Lucy's head. She is soft and tough at the same time. I lose sight of her toughness sometimes because Melissa O'Neil is so good at showing an innocence that sometimes overshadows moment when she needs to be hard. In this piece you do a great job of setting up the hurt she experiences even though she expected it and the transitioning into her resolve that the her love for Tim was worth that pain. It means she will have to work that much harder to one, prove her metal, and two to shrug off the distrust.
    I wonder if Lucy wouldn't have had a good cry about this before resolving to move past it. Then again how far in the future are we? ;)

    Another excellent set. Please more! and, soon! [face_hypnotized] [:D] [face_batting] [face_love]
     
  9. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Thank-you! It can be hard, making things work on a professional level as well as a personal one, but they're getting there. [face_love] (It makes you wonder what Spock and Uhura had to go through that canon didn't show, at that. I betcha there is a plot bunny or two waiting there. :p [face_thinking])

    [:D]



    Aw, thanks! [:D]

    And, you got it. ;)

    &
    I really got wordy in my reply, so I'm going to comment on both of these points at once. :p [face_laugh] Because, this is actually one of my favorite things about The Rookie: its dichotomy of presence, in both the female and male cast. I love that every single character in the main line-up has shown such depth of emotion, and it's that heart that gives them such a relatable strength and makes them formidable opponents as a result.

    I mean: John's empathy and compassion defines him. That's why we love him, right? And his caring so much makes him hit all the harder when he's moved to protect the community he's sworn to serve. I'd even go so far as to say that Tim and Grey are just the same, even it they are more subtle in the way they display their empathy. (Jackson is getting there. :p)

    But, the female characters? I'd argue that Angela has just as much heart as Nolan does, and she is almost as open with just how much she cares. No matter that I think every last one of us would use the word fierce to describe Angela, we've seen her openly upset to the point of tears on duty. Think about the homeless lady who was the hit and run perpetrator, for example, and her shared empathy with Nolan for taking a life in the name of the law. She's obviously very passionate in her personal life - she takes on and feels Tim's pains as her own; I don't even have to mention her relationship with Wes; and that's more than evident in how she helped Jackson with with Sterling, and then Lucy with her recovering her sense of empowerment after Caleb. Yet never once would I call her soft - just like I would never call Nolan soft. She cares, deeply, yes; but that's a strength. I love that that's written to be a strength! It's so rare in popular media to see a woman who doesn't shut off her emotions to fit into a traditionally male-coded line of work, who is passionate and caring and even maternal, at times - and yet is still a force to be reckoned with when push comes to shove. All too often female characters have to 'toughen' up to fit in with the guys, and they become caricatures of actual, living breathing human-beings as a result. But that's not so with this cast. Instead, on The Rookie, empathy and compassion are celebrated on both sides of the gender divide, and I love that. I just hope that I do that stellar writing justice here.

    So, yeah, while pregnancy hormones are the absolute worst :p, something tells me that Angela would still be a little misty over Tim - and Lucy, too - finally finding happiness after everything she's seen him go through, even without the baby. And that doesn't at all take away her teeth when threatening to totally wipe the floor with Lucy if she hurts him again. Because she's Angela. [face_mischief]

    Then, that's what I love about Lucy too! Thanks to Melissa's fantastic acting, she has that air of sweetness and innocence about her in the same way that Nolan openly wears his heart on his sleeve, you're right! Yet this is the same woman who saved Tim's life in the middle of a fire-fight on day two of her training; who stood up to Tim when he was on the wrong path with Isabel, when his temper was at the prickliest as her TO; who talked her way out of a cartel execution over the stolen money and then even head-butted one of those same hitman while she fought her way out while waiting on backup; who delivered a baby while pinned down and then took a hit to the vest to protect that same mother and child. Heck, she survived a serial killer due to her own quick thinking and keeping her wits about herself instead of panicking and giving into despair. Oh, my girl is all tough as nails, all the while still having such a big heart - and that's why she matches so perfectly with Tim. That's even why she was drawn to Nolan in the beginning!

    Anyway, I just love these girls - and this entire cast - to pieces, to put it lightly. I just had to flail about that for a moment, just a little. ;)

    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] I got such a kick out of writing that part, so I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it, too! You know, I even tried to write out their entire interaction, but it came out a bit too much like grunting in Neanderthal to feel wholly IC for Nolan. Now, if a certain somebody *cough*you*coughcough* would like to take up the challenge to flesh out that missing scene . . . [face_mischief] I totally bet you could. ;) [:D]

    Actually, now I really want you to. So, are you game for the challenge? [face_mischief]

    Thank-you! Because, sadly, Talia really wasn't wrong. I had to watch what female pilots went through to prove themselves in the aviation world, and it was terrible. I can only imagine how much more difficult establishing yourself in law enforcement would be. Then, you add in that Tim used to be her training officer and yeah, they - especially Lucy - are going to have an uphill battle against the distrust that morally grey area creates. But, the people who matter know and understand, and time will win out with the rest. They just have to be - and they are - strong enough to get there. [face_love]

    Oh, you better believe Lucy went home and had a good cry over that one. Heck, I would have cried, and I like to think of myself as a tough cookie. :p But, thank-goodness she has the best support system there waiting for her. [face_love]

    And I thank you for your awesome feedback and support, my friend! As always. [:D]



    ~MJ @};-

     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
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  10. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Author's Notes: In this update, I took two more prompts from @brodiew for inspiration! (Though I betcha that wasn't the vibe you exactly had in mind with the second prompt, but here we are. ;)) These are both a little heavy, but in a healing sort of way. The next update I can promise you silliness and all the happy things, and after that I'm even going to expand this series into more fandoms than just The Rookie. But, first, we're going to take it down a notch and explore the fallout from one of my favorite episode arcs on the show. [face_love]

    For that, I have included some backstory underneath the spoiler tag for those of you who are interested. :)

    In S2's episodes ten and eleven, the Mid-Wilshire precinct was attached to a taskforce to escort a convicted serial killer, Rosalind Dyer, to the previously undiscovered graves of her victims. This was part of a deal to reduce her sentence to life without parole from the death penalty. At the gravesites, two fresh bodies were found, who turned out to be killed by Dyer's disciple and copycat, Caleb Wright. The pattern in the killings, discovered by the tattoos that marked the victims' 'day of death' on their bodies, showed that another murder would take place that day. It was then a race to find the next victim, a race which was made even more complicated by Dyer pulling the strings and playing her own game with Detective Armstrong (her old nemesis and favorite cop to toy with) and then Nolan (who she was fascinated by for his 'boy scout' spirit). While they did find and save the girl from being buried alive in time, they did not apprehend Caleb.

    With a new victim then needed to complete the pattern, Caleb chose Lucy. They'd met at a bar the previous night when Caleb was, unbeknownst to them, scoping out Detective Armstrong for Rosalind. She returned for a date after shift, not realizing who Caleb was, and was drugged and abducted. There was then only so much time to find and free Lucy, who was eventually buried alive like Caleb's other victims. But, of course, she was saved right before her air ran out thanks to the teamwork of the ensemble cast and her own quick thinking.

    Whew,
    but that was quite the episode arc! As were the following episodes that dealt with Lucy's recovery. While so many of the cast helped however they could (seriously, this ensemble just kills me), Tim played a big part of in helping her come to peace with still being marked by Caleb's tattoos. He shared his own POV on scars and experiences with PTSD, and pointed out that she could view the tattoos however she wanted - not as her day of death, but as the first day of the rest of her life. Because she had decided her own fate and lived, not Caleb who was now dead.

    Honestly, that scene is where my shipping went from hmm, I kinda like their dynamic as a couple, maybe sometime in the future and caught fire to reach true OTP status. :p [face_mischief] I mean, just look at their faces when he gives her her ring back (they found her grave through the ring she left behind) after that speech:

    [​IMG]

    AND, GOING BACK FURTHER, WHEN SHE FIRST WAKES UP IN THE HOSPITAL:

    [​IMG]

    AND EVEN BACK RIGHT WHEN SHE WAS FREED:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yep. I dare you not to ship them. [face_mischief]

    So, with all that said . . . :p

    (Also, I can't find a gif of Nolan and the ridiculously huge teddy-bear he got for Lucy in the hospital. So, whatever your imagination comes up with, just make sure you double it. [face_mischief])






    III.

    "One Breath, Then Two"
    (The Rookie | Season 2, Episode 11, "Day of Death" coda)​

    Hospital (Jackson West & Lucy Chen)

    “Would you look at that? I somehow managed to find the second largest bear in the entire hospital. How's that even possible?”

    Jackson huffed as he put down his armful of gifts – cheerful flowers with a bright bundle of balloons anchored around the vase and a get-well-soon card nestled in the blooms; a backpack filled with her belongings from home, both things she'd asked for and others he'd included on a whim; and, sure enough, the second biggest teddy-bear he’d ever seen, purchased just minutes ago at the giftshop. He had to do a double-take at the pink monstrosity of fluff and fuzz on her bed that would clearly tolerate no rival, not quite able to believe what he was seeing. Yet, if he had to guess . . .

    “Nolan?” he asked, just as Lucy confirmed, “Nolan.”

    She was smiling, at least – and he tried to focus on that instead of her scrapes and bruises and that god awful shadow haunting her eyes. Because she was alive, Jackson reminded himself; she was alive. He flexed his hands as he set the flowers down on the nighstand between her and the sun, trying to forget how it felt to grip the pommel of the shovel, with the sweat and the desert sand making his palms slip as everyone in their search party desperately dug to free her from her living grave not even twenty-four hours earlier. A lead weight had taken the place of his lungs when she was finally pulled free of the barrel with only a slip of a pulse and not breathing. He only inhaled again when she did, coming back to them with a gasp before turning in Tim's arms and sobbing in relief and spent emotion. He’d almost lost his friend to that . . . to that thing, he still couldn’t wrap his mind around what happened. He could have lost . . . she could have, and he -

    - oh God, but he eyed the bathroom attached to the suite and considered making a run for it. He was going to be sick. He was going to -

    “ - hey, I’m right here,” he felt her hand reach out for his, giving him something tangible to anchor onto. “I’m here, Jackson.” He winced, even so, to look down and see the angry welts still inflamed on her wrist. Her nails weren’t torn like the other victims' had been, he noticed next; she hadn’t tried to claw herself free; instead she had conserved her air and trusted them to find her. She had trusted them to save her. Jackson felt his stomach turn again, knowing just how close that trust had come to being failed.

    “Just breathe. Shock is normal following an adrenaline crash,” she continued, ever the former psych major. He wanted to laugh and tease her, but found that he couldn't. Any words he tried to say came out jumbled as a strangled sound. “You haven’t had time to process yet, have you?”

    He breathed as he was instructed, deeply in and deeply out. She was breathing too, he focused on her exaggerated inhales and exhales. She was breathingbreathingbreathing; they’d freed her in time; they hadn't lost her. Against every odd that said they couldn't, he'd helped save his friend.

    “Shouldn’t I be the one telling you that?” finally, he recovered enough to find his voice.

    “Something tells me we're going to be taking turns from here on out.” Grimly, she looked past him to the open blinds, and seemed to ground herself on the lines of blue peeking down through the skyline. “I’ll let you know when it’s mine.”

    Okay then . . . okay. With that, Jackson pulled himself together and pushed the massive stuffed bear out of the way to make room for himself. He climbed into bed next to her, not caring that there wasn’t enough space for two people, only knowing that his friend needed a friend, then, and . . . well, he needed his friend, too.

    He brought out his tablet, and asked, “Wanna binge Hot Suspect with me?”

    “Oh God, yes,” Lucy gushed, relieved for the distraction. “The only thing missing is - ”

    - but Jackson reached over to the last bag he'd brought, which had every single one of Lucy’s favorite snack-foods he could think of and then some. They, he’d been determined, were going to celebrate. “We’re going to have to eat the ice cream first,” he said, digging through the bag. “I don’t know how well it handled the commute.”

    “Jackson West,” she beamed as she took the carton and spoon from him, “you're an absolute life-saver.”

    A life-saver, he couldn’t help but think as he caught Lucy's smile, he was just all too happy to be.




    Too Close For Discomfort (Lucy Chen/Tim Bradford)

    Even more than a year following her ordeal, she still didn’t like the feeling trapped. Her pulse quickened and her breath caught for even small things that forced her to remember feeling small and then even smaller still in that barrel, fighting to measure her every breath so that it wouldn’t become her last. She still preferred bright lights and wide open spaces and dazzling pops of color, anything that made her feel as if she could fill her lungs as deeply as she wanted to and just breathe. Jackson had laughed out loud when she replaced her old full-sized bed for a king-sized one only weeks after being released from the hospital – the mattress was so big that it hardly fit in her room, but she liked that she never reached the edges when she sprawled out to sleep – and of course he couldn't resist teasing her as he helped her struggle with that monster up the flights of their apartment building. Yet there was a shadow of understanding that remained somber beneath his humor, and he was always sure to leave on the kitchen lights when had the late shifts and she did not.

    Tim’s bed was definitely smaller – he’d been living alone for too long, and, contrarily to her, he must have downsized some time after Isabel left – and even smaller still with two people. Yet she never felt trapped there with him, just cradled and cherished and safe – a feeling that only grew whenever he stopped to ask if she was okay, ensuring that she felt comfortable every step of the way.

    Little could he know that this felt right – oh so right – and she wanted him to stop talking already and just keep kissing her. Finally, she took matters into her own hands and in a move that he had taught her she hooked a leg behind his knees and leveraged her weight so that she flipped them, and then she was the one pinning him down. Thankfully, he got her point as she seared her mouth across his to assure him without words, and he was finally, blessedly silent except for those deliciously blissed out little noises that she couldn't help but match herself.

    Yet, when his hands moved from where he'd been holding onto her hips, spanning her waist before moving even higher underneath the hem of her shirt to trace the date still inked into her skin at the base of her rib cage . . .

    Lucy pulled back for a moment to gather herself, her breath stolen. She hadn't even let Emmet touch her tattoos; besides Caleb at their inception and the clinical touch of the doctor thereafter, no one else ever had. Yet, neither had she ever let Emmet pin her down and cage her in, no matter how much she'd trusted him otherwise. It just hadn't felt right, and her trauma was never something that she fully shared with him. This was a part of herself that she had always guarded like some fanged animal snapping to hide a wound, and yet Tim . . . Tim . . .

    . . . in a way, these were his scars too, weren't they? And so, it felt only natural to reach over and cover his hand with one of her own, holding him close and rewriting a new memory where she'd only known pain before.

    She felt the tell-tale burn of tears as he traced each number ever so gently, looking up to carefully watch her eyes for either permission or rejection all the while. “I didn't know you'd decided to keep them,” he whispered with a hint of reverence, and she sucked in a shaky breath as he leaned forward to follow the path his fingers took with his mouth. Each kiss felt a bit like absolution, no small parts like healing, and so wholly like life.

    "What can I say? I heard someone make a pretty good argument in their favor," her breath hitched on her last syllable as he smiled against her skin. But it wasn’t your day of death, she could still remember him saying – words that she had clung to in the nascence of her recovery and even now still cherished when she had bad days scattered amongst the good. It was the first day of the rest of your life.

    Breathing in deep, Lucy closed her eyes and tilted her face up to feel the last bit of California sunlight streaming in through the blinds as the dusk gave way to night. Making the conscious decision to do so, she let herself exorcise the last ghost of her pain – because her grief truly was halved for it being shared then, and she trusted Tim with the ugliest parts of herself. She trusted him with her scars; her scars, and so much more.

    Not her day of death, she reminded herself as she exhaled, and let herself live.



    ~ MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2021
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  11. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    These two really speak for themselves, but I think I can find a couple words as well. In reading Hospital, I wondered if your dialogue was directly from the show and you had written the introspection around it. Either way, it well done. I can see Jackson having this reaction. Jack is her best friend on the Force and she has been an incredible support to him and visa versa. That fact that Lucy has to help him settle down is perfect irony given the situation. (I hope I used irony correctly there. :p)
    I absolutely love this line. It is so simple in its double meaning, and lands well in both ways. It is both hopeful and somber. I can see Lucy's smile and know that she knows exactly what she said, even if the ice cream and treats may have been number one. I just love how it sounded in your style. [face_love]

    As for Too Close for Discomfort, I am still getting used the ship and its physical attributes. Yours is the first I've read.
    Yes. This a powerful examination of Lucy's trauma never actually leaving, but there still being a healing in that she can finally fully emotionally allow herself to share numbers with someone worthy of shouldering/yolking to the burden (to make it that much lighter.)
     
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  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Love the teasing and warmth between Jackson and Lucy. Oh yes, large squishy teddy bears and ice cream for the win! [face_laugh]
    Too Close for Discomfort, just SQUEE! forever. Lyrical and poignant, every word. Lucy is being vulnerable in a way she probably never expected and is embracing it. Tim is blessed to be the one who lets her celebrate that. :)
     
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  13. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    @brodiew and @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: I have to thank you both so much for your feedback on my last two ficlets! It was a blast writing for The Rookie during that flurry of inspiration (and I still have plot bunnies saved for the future [face_mischief]), and I appreciated your kind words more than I can say. [:D]

    Now, it's time for me to take a bit of a detour and put the multi-fandom aspect of this thread to good use with something a little different. ;) :D





    Author's Notes: This next bit was written for the OTP "Seven Deadly Sins" Challenge. To that end, inspiration came to me from a rather surprising source! This is a fandom I haven't written for in well over a decade, but with the nature of the prompts I just couldn't resist: I'm diving into the world of The Phantom of the Opera once more.

    For specifics, this ficlet is a mash-up of Leroux's original gothic novel and Susan Kay's retelling, along with Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical. I took bits and pieces from all three versions, along with a bit of my own. For those of you who may only be familiar with the Broadway show, the only significant change to the story is the presence of Nadir Khan - who was the chief of police, or the daroga, during Erik's time spent in Tehran. (Ignore Mr. Webber. The Palais Garnier was still a relatively new building in 1880, as its construction was only completed in 1875. That leaves quite a few untold years to fill in before Erik haunted the opera house, doesn't it? ;)) Nadir was a character known only as the Persian in Leroux's version, and as he was my favorite part of Kay's expansion it just fit to include him here. (Actually, my third ficlet in this set is a rehashing of Leroux's concluding scene, for anyone who may be keeping track.)

    As for the OTP aspect of this, this story isn't an AU so much as a coda - an encore, if you will. Though Raoul/Christine is the couple featured on the surface, Erik/Christine remains the beating heart of this story in all of their messy, problematic glory. After all, what would fit the spirit of the challenge better than that? [face_mischief]

    Then, to end these rambling notes on a final disclaimer: my title is taken from Kamelot's Ghost Opera, which is another Phantom of the Opera tribute that I couldn't resist borrowing from. [face_love]

    Enjoy! [:D]






    IV.

    “I May Be Dreaming Awake”
    (The Phantom of the Opera | post-Finale coda)

    Gluttony (Satiate)

    A stranger stared back from her reflection, taunting her.

    The glass pane over her vanity was small compared to the full-length mirror in her dressing room at the opera house, with the wealth now surrounding her elegant in its display rather than opulent in its indulgence of luxury. Yet, it was all Christine Daaé needed to see the changes that had been wrought in her since that fateful night. Gone was the soiled wedding gown, the snarled hair, and the wild eyes she’d first arrived at the de Chagny’s residence in the Faubourg Saint-Germain with. Her shock from the events of that night had been enough that she'd hardly noticed the haughty distain of the staff and the horror worn so openly on the face of Raoul's aunt as she dripped sewer water and left dirty footprints from the catacombs across the ornate tiles of the estate's yawning foyer. The massive portraits on the walls had seemingly stared down in judgement as Raoul demanded the assistance of the maids on her behalf, and their painted eyes swirled before her as she struggled to keep from swaying where she stood. Nothing, then, had felt quite real.

    At the very least, she now looked the part to match the affluence of her surroundings. Dressed in a rich gown of fine silk and delicate lace, with pearls looped around her neck and the natural curls of her hair tamed into a coif that was all the latest fashion amongst the nobility, she gave the illusion of the vicomtesse she would soon become – as soon as possible, Raoul's aunt had sniffed, while Christine burned for the censure of her words, but not so soon that it seems that you must. Yet, no matter how artfully her cheeks were powdered and her face was rouged to grant the illusion of a happy glow, her eyes were still deeply shadowed. She remained touched by a coldness, an outward mark of a void inside of her that had once been filled, full to overflowing, but was now hollow and haunted at its very core.

    Haunted . . .

    Her angel was no angel, she reminded herself as she fiddled with the ring on her finger. No, she repeated to her heart: Erik wasn't a ghost or an angel, but rather a man – and a man broken and flawed well beyond the ruin of his face, at that. For her knowledge of his sins she’d made the only choice possible for the salvation of her soul and her father’s memory and the dear, good man who loved her. She couldn’t have chosen any differently; it was not to her to want what she should not want, nor should she ever indulge even the idea of claiming that which was offered to her when her every better instinct told her to run. And, yet . . .

    Strange was it, then, that she missed the man she'd started to know in her time spent beneath the opera house, when it was Erik the man he’d tried to hide from her underneath every possible guise imaginable, instead? She missed – with a longing she then refused to admit as regret when it simply would not do – who he was only in those last few moments as he sent her away, just as she missed . . .

    - the music. God help her, but the silence was already poised to drive her mad.

    It pained Raoul to hear her sing, although he never forbade her from doing so outright – in the privacy of their own home, at least. She would never command a stage or enthrall a crowd again. For obeying that last contested point, she knew that she would either have a husband to wed or not. It was 1880, and a diva could become the wife of a vicomte with no small scandal attached to the whole affair, but a vicomtesse could still never be a diva in return.

    Mindful of his feelings, to say nothing of the household staff who were ever eager to gossip about their new mistress, Christine closed her eyes to her reflection and hummed a simple, wordless tune. Desperately, she hoped that would be enough. Oh, how she wanted it to be enough. Yet, no matter that she'd intended to sate herself on that smallest bit of song, her doing so was like unlocking the floodgates of the heavens. With those first whispered notes, something parched and fasting from deep within her turned ravenous with want as she allowed her voice to rise, timidly, but then with growing confidence. She hadn’t sang since that fateful night onstage – since marrying her voice with his in that one forbidden moment of shared ecstasy, lost to the music together – and a part of her spirit that she’d so long locked away unfettered itself to stretch its wounded, fragile wings to fly again. Finally unconstrained, her voice rose on a great crescendo, breaking past her ability to control in a spontaneous cadenza that succored her need for melody and the glory of sound and life through the very essence of music.

    From there, she couldn’t seem to help herself. Swept away on such a great high, uncaring of her fiancé or the servants or anything but the notes bubbling up from her innermost soul, she soared. She was a perfect instrument for song, so carefully sculpted to perfection as if from clay in her maestro’s hands, and she could no longer keep quiet that which so desperately clawed its way up from the depths of her innermost self to be free. Bursting into the uppermost limits of her highest registers and then beyond, she trilled a last pure, heartrending note, her voice unconsciously searching for its mate and yearning -

    - only to hear, as the last resonance of her song faded away, the silence echo back.



    Envy (Consolation)

    If theirs was a story, Raoul de Chagny could not help but think, it had not quite ended with happily ever after.

    His thoughts were dark that night, edging on moribund, even, as he sat alone in his study. He held a glass of cognac in hand, which he listlessly tilted this way and that to observe how the candlelight fractured over the sloshing amber liquid. It was storming outside, turning the roads much too dangerous to transverse by carriage and effectively canceling the engagement party he'd intended to host in order to silence the rumors that still circled about that night. Rather than celebrating their impending nuptials with his friends and peers, his fiancée had – with far too much relief, he’d thought – retired early, and he was left alone with his thoughts and the harsh staccato of the rain as the heavens themselves seemingly moaned and thrashed in fury.

    A fairy-tale ending, indeed, he indulged his bitter thoughts as he took a long draw from his brandy. It wasn’t that he'd failed to save the fair maiden. Oh, no: he’d risked both life and limb to challenge the beast and ascend out of the depths of hell itself with his beloved clinging to his arm and safe from the demon that wailed in miserable defeat behind them. Christine wore his ring; she was pledged to be his bride – in defiance of his family and peers and even his own deeply engrained sense of duty he was ready to raise this former chorus girl to a title that had existed since the time of Charlemagne for the strength of his love.

    Somehow, his acts of devotion still weren't enough. No matter how diligently he searched for the key, Raoul constantly felt as if there was a part of her heart locked away beyond his reach. He was ready to give her everything, everything he possibly could of his own self. In return, she still smiled to brighten in his presence like a flower turning towards the sun after a long winter. She laughed as freely as she had when they were children playing by the sea, letting him hold her hand when he reached for her and sweetly returning his kiss, and, yet . . .

    He couldn't help but remember her performance onstage in the Phantom’s opera as if through the surreal haze of a dream. That Christine had been one he had not – and yet could not – recognize, consumed beyond mere immolation and burning to be transformed by song in a way that eclipsed any mere mortal talent for the art. Singing . . . music, Raoul wanted to sneer. Such laughably empty terms could not encompass what those two created together. The union of their voices transcended them into something more, even Raoul and his untrained ear could recognize that much and admit, at least to himself. And that was even before that kiss . . . with one to turn a monster into a man, and then a second as if Christine couldn’t bear to hold herself back. She . . . she would have stayed, if that fiend had not released her from his ultimatum, she would have stayed. And, now . . .

    Raoul frowned, and finished the last of his drink in a vain attempt to smother his doubts. She hadn't stayed, though. No: she'd left with him, out of her love for him. Christine had wanted him to save her, he reminded himself, once more retreating back into the eye of the storm. He was the hero in their tale – he was; he knew that to be true. Why then, for having defeated the beast, did he still feel like the villain in his own story?



    Greed (Sacrifice)

    In his own way, Nadir Khan held no illusions about the man sitting in his parlor, dripping rainwater onto the well traveled Persian carpet and hiding the naked horror of his face in his hands as he bowed over his knees in grief. Nadir had left him there for some time – long enough to find a bit of plain black fabric that could be fashioned into a temporary mask, and then a moment longer still to gather his own bearings. He hadn't seen his old friend, if Erik could be called as such, in months – not since he'd been so unceremoniously dismissed for offering his unsolicited advice about the tragedy he could see unfolding before his very eyes with the meek little soprano. Theirs was a tale straight from the stage itself, and it had ended, as the most famed operas did, with far too many broken hearts on every side.

    What other conclusion could there have been? Erik was a trickster, a magician, and a rogue, Nadir repeated to himself. He held no conscience for his fellow man that had so long treated him without conscience; he had killed before, and held no more regret for the blood on his hands than a lion did after a hunt. Remembering their time spent in service to Shah Naser al-Din together, Nadir knew the truth of that better than most, oh he knew. Yet, underneath the rage and the pain and the scars, this man had also build palaces out of such simple, unassuming stone. He could weave light and sound into illusion and splendor and dream itself. His was a voice of liquid gold, and any instrument he touched sang to make the heavens themselves weep in envy. He was an artist – a genius – beyond his time, yet wasted and shunned by the very society that would have held him on high if his face had been any other than his own.

    How, Nadir wondered, not for the first, Allah could have breathed such might and majesty into one man, and then cursed him with the countenance of Iblis himself, he did not know. All that he did know was that their fates were bound together, inextricably so. As he’d helped him once before, he now would again.

    “I let her go, Daroga,” with his face still hidden in his hands, Erik’s voice broke on an ugly, discordant note that sounded terribly wrong at the heart of its timbre. The opera house he’d built with Garnier’s name worn as yet another mask was initially supposed to be his peace, was the great irony of it all. Yet, rather than retreating like a pharaoh of old to sleep in the tomb he’d created for himself, he’d instead risen with an obsession for the music and the power of command he’d held over the lives in his theater, long before he first heard her sing.

    For many years, Nadir had pitied the idea of Erik finding love. What could come of such a thing but for heartache, when Erik only knew how to smother and overwhelm and consume what little he was able to glean from a life that had denied him so much otherwise? Now, though, he listened, amazed as he heard Erik return when, for years, the unfeeling omnipotence of the ghost had held its ultimate sway.

    “I . . . I understand now, what you were trying to say,” Erik confessed – a small humility that was in and of itself miraculous. “Oh, I should have listened sooner. I should have done so many things differently. If I did . . . perhaps. No, no: she would have stayed, she would have, despite every wicked thing I've done. But I . . . I loved her – I still love her, more than I’ve ever loved anything, even my music – so . . . I had to let her go. I let her go.”

    “You did the right thing,” Nadir offered what empty solace he could. “Anything less wouldn’t have been love at all.”

    In reply, Erik was only silent . . . and his silence lasted on to define the night.



    ~ MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2021
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  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    You paint lovely portraits with your words, the poignancy of Christine seeming to fit in but not quite because of her other attachment. And Raoul -- sincerely wanting to win her heart but not being "the one" with the key. =D=
     
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  15. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Challenge given and fulfilled in your range of sins here - the gluttony piece reminds one of the old motto, "Everything in moderation, even moderation" because you describe the joy of gluttony, or going overboard, on a loved ... one, or theme, or talent ... like in this quote:
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Uh oh, he's cognizant that he's the Good Boy up against a Bad Boy's charms ... it'll take him awhile to fulfill the promises of a good life he's going to give her. I hope he doesn't become bitter if she feigns enthusiasm for a time until it becomes real ...
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dang, that's the trouble with a complicated life and plan because every little thing's got to go just right
    Excellent choice of sins![face_devil]
     
  16. ViariSkywalker

    ViariSkywalker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 9, 2002
    I know I've already mentioned to you that I'm not super well-versed in PotO, but I have been exposed to it in bits and pieces over the years. In fact - time for a tangent - I think my first experience with it was in third grade when I stayed over at a friend's house for the first time. Her house was huge, (big enough that they had an intercom system and a home theater in their basement [face_hypnotized]), and they'd just moved in, so they had this big empty room with two-story tall windows and hardwood floors and a piano in the center of it... and the piano played recordings of music, and there was one song my friend and I listened to over and over, dancing and whirling around that enormous room like no one was watching... and it wasn't until years later that I realized that song was the title song from PotO. :p I did do some research (mostly watching a few clips on youtube from the 2004 movie and maybe a few other performances) when I wrote that one A/P dare challenge fic over ten years ago, but that was still only surface level stuff, I'm sure.

    Anyway, the point is, I know the broad strokes, but I'm not as familiar as I'd like to be; and yet I still felt really connected to these vignettes. They're fantastic, Mira, really. [face_love]

    How to reconcile those two warring desires - the desire to be a good person who makes good choices and does good things, and the desire to answer that magnetic pull toward this person who is wrong in nearly every way - is a conflict that you've dealt with beautifully here and throughout this whole piece. (And obviously you know this is a conflict I'm partial to. ;))

    This was incredibly evocative wording here. Whew, but the metaphor was strong with this one. ;) I could really feel her desperation and thirst and longing here.

    There's always been something intensely sad to me about stories where a woman enters into a marriage like this, with part of her heart hidden away, whether it's because she loved someone else or had to give up something precious to her. Christine encompasses both those aspects, with her compassion/affection/love for Erik lingering like the ghost he pretended to be, and also her love for song being something that - because of the events that transpired - brings Raoul pain. So now she can't even share that part of herself with him, even in a small way, and it only serves to remind her of how fulfilled she was in that moment of unity with Erik. And it seems like Raoul knows this, too. I feel sorry for him as much as the others. Such a messy, vicious cycle all around. :(

    Man, when you put it that way...

    It's painful seeing these reflections, knowing the greatness Erik was capable of, juxtaposed with all of the evil he committed. Could he have chosen to be any different, given how he was treated throughout his life? How many of his sins are a result of choices that were his to make, and how many were a result of those choices that were forced upon him? And does it matter? There aren't any easy answers, and that's part of what makes this hit so hard. :(

    Wow. This insight was so well done. That Erik has been deprived of so much for so long, and when faced with something beautiful or good, he can't do anything but smother and overwhelm and consume it. I feel like I'm failing to capture the tragedy of that feeling in this response, but you were able to capture it perfectly in your prose.

    =((

    There might not have been any other way for it to end for these characters, the circumstances being what they were, but that's what makes it such a heart-wrenching tragedy, and you portrayed every iota of that tragedy beautifully. So well done. =D= :_|
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021