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TLM2 - the setup - Stasis/Ginga
by stasiskiss (stasiskiss)
at March 25th, 2006 (11:42 am)

She'd never known that funerary flowers could smell so pretty.

On the roof of the quad the scent is overwhelming, rising to wreath her like a halo. Where did they come from? So many flowers it's like the school courtyard grew into a garden overnight.

In her lap her fingers are as pale as the lilies below, with blood-moon nails torn to the quick. They seem almost fragile, too thin for her hands which is a lie of course. She hasn't been fragile for a very long time.

Against the chalk of her skin it is the dark functionality of the comm that seems out of place. She spins it over and over gently, fingers touching its delicate curves, stroking the smooth metal. Small coded lights flash along its slim length in a holiday display.

Each wink is a message. A tiny voice needing to say sorry, sorry, I just heard, so very sorry something to her, to touch her as if that will make everything all right again. As if she can be made whole again. A breath surprises her by catching in her chest, hands spasming on the blind metal, stilling the restless motion.

They don't care. She doesn't know them, they never knew her, never knew her girl, never cared enough to do more than whisper behind cruel hands. Half remembered faces blur in her eyes until she barely see the lighted voices clamoring, all trying to demand her attention when she has none left to give.

With a spastic motion she silences the cacophony, consigns them and their sympathy to oblivion. In the sudden stillness one light remains steady, unblinking.

The channel is still open.

Wherever he is, he has not shut her out.

Her thumb rises without thought to caress that tiny spark, touching the charm of it. His comm will show the same; that one steady light that was how they reached each other once upon a time, when it was too hot to run with gate metal burning against her back. When Lycia listened to them argue and told them both to hurry up already. When Jade would laugh and offer to race.

It has been silent for days.

The daylight is near gone when she jerks wakes again. She is frantic for a moment until she realizes she is still holding it cupped in her hand, not lost, not broken. The light continues steady and something panicked under her heart eases back, just a little.

She remembers then what she has to do, what she meant to do when she climbed up here over the flowers she doesn't understand. Her eyes blur but her fingers dial a number from a memory she hadn't known she'd kept. She holds the transceiver to her ear, presses the voice line to her throat with fingers that shake.

She'll find the words from somewhere.

He is not there. Smooth as silk his voice translates down the line, the burr of it so carefully judged even in this small matter. The small click is startling at the end as she listens to the static silence. If he had been there... what would she have said? She remembers oddly the color of his eyes, the flame of his hair. What had he wanted to tell her at the dance?

"Karl. No games. You have something of mine and I want it back. Now." She is not sure if she's saying it right. She is not smooth; the burr in her voice is from crying, not from calculation. "You know how to reach me." Stupid, probably. Maybe she's supposed to threaten or beg or invite him for that drink they never had. November would threaten, she's sure. Francis would flirt.

Her girl is dead. Every breath she takes it sinks further into her, like a stone falling through dark waters. Dead. Dead. Dead.

How will she tell Kris?

She disconnects the line as she hunches over her pain, sucker punched. No. No. No.

She tries for again for the lucency of the morning but now nothing is clear. Not with twilight falling over the flowers, over her eyes. Her chin touches her chest as her eyes close.

She stands then, forcing motion into limbs trembling with exhaustion. Ready again to run even if there's nowhere to go.

The edge is only a step away but it's nowhere near far enough to the ground, nowhere near enough of anything to be what she needs. She has to wait for Karl, for Kris. She has to wait for the steady light to flash. After those things are made straight, she will find her answers in hands that trail darkness. She doesn't know if she can't take him. She only knows that she will try.

After that she can fall forever if she likes. She knows the place.

She takes that step then, the wrench of gravity a familiar jolt as she starts to dive headlong to the ground. Fallen angel maybe although that isn’t right. She’d been comet bright once upon a time.

She doesn't mean it, she doesn't but the motion is so familiar, ingrained in muscle and bone. With a twist, a reach she rights herself against the quad window. Her window, her boots barely knocking the jamb. There is no glass here, not anymore.

It's like an old, stuttering film; one moment she is there on the outside looking in and the next she is here, caught in the center. Her eyes are drawn to a pale square on Lucky's bed. She doesn't want to see anything else, will do almost anything not to see anything else.

A letter.

She walks across the ragged floorboards and picks it up. Thin, thin, not black, no white flower to lure anybody into danger, no sweet words to poison. Lucky's tiny handwriting wobbles across the face of the paper. She can just barely make it out - To Stasis.

She doesn't need to open it. She can tell the suitcase is already gone, the snow angel missing. It doesn't matter what it says really, this place is desolate but for her. She drops the note back to the bed.

She hasn't looked but finally she has to. It's been staring at her like a crooked raven the whole time, hanging on the wall. Her promise of vengeance, dark with shadows.

Wounded light rises in her hands to splash against the walls. She looks again at the sword, the armor. A trick of her eyes makes it seems to dance, cavorting as if in pain. She tries to imagine Jaygo there, that sword buried through his heart. He'd known something. He could have saved Lish if he'd only spoken. It was his fault she'd died.

No, not his fault, not his, just yours, you were the one that held him from following, put a hand to his spine, pinned him there with your voice, you are the one that wanted to see his eyes look only to you, you are the one...

A thin whine escapes her lips without conscious thought, makes her turn away from the ugliness she has made reality. Jaygo, dead. For some reason Kali's voice rises in her ears. No words but she hears the denial, the frantic plea for an excuse, a reason. Had she said something back, something terrible? She thinks she might have. She is almost sure she did, screaming it into the Terra Volta reactor, hurling it halfway across the world to bury itself back into her heart.

Will Kali mourn when Jaygo dies? Will Kali make her own crucifix then?

She crouches then, there in the center of wreckage, hugging herself with hands made raw with power.

"Jeez-an-ages. Tara. Whappen?"

She looks up to find him standing uncertainly in the doorway. His dark eyes take in the shocked room, the gruesome parody pinned to the wall, the broken glass over everything. She sees him look from point to point and she watches the motion of his throat as he swallows.

It is a silly question. She didn't do anything.

"Neh, it don' mattuh." His eyes settle on hers then, shutting out the rest with a near audible click. "C'mon gyul, getcha bamsee up. The groun' ain' no place ta be." He makes no noise at all, even over the things that have shattered here until he kneels carefully at her side. Another shadow in this place.

He is close enough that she can feel the heat of his body.

"Jai." Her voice closes over that one sound, locking in her throat. Jai. A trick of the light makes his face look wet again.

"C'mon. Up. Shif' yuh cahcass."

She shakes her head. "How... did you know?" She is not thinking. She hasn't thought for days.

“Well, yuh don' like usin' de door so I watch de windows." His voice is soft, like a comforting hand brushing against her face. "An' wen I see de glow, I come runnin'."

"There's nowhere..." She swallows something thick like candy. "Jai. She's gone. She's really...." A fine shudder runs a finger down her spine, shaking the shadows on the wall.

"Yeh. Fuh true. I see de GPS aftuh yuh lef', see yuh bouncin' aroun' like yuh goin' orf. Peruhgrin’..? Dat ain' nuh place t' be, sometimey." He hesitates. "Yuh ain' dat strong, not yet."

She can only shake her head. She's strong enough. She is. Karl will call. Kris.


She doesn't even realize she's put her fist through the floor until the pain spirals up her shoulder in a riptide. It feels good, more than good with the familiar sick taste in the back of her mouth which means broken. His breath hisses out; angry maybe, or scared. "Tara, yuh stop dis! It ain' doin nobody no good!"

Stupid, stupid. There is no thought as her other fist lashes out, meant to inflict yet more pain, more harm. She hurts. She will make it hurt more.

She is standing and so is he in an instant translation of vector, yet another hiccup of the film. She can't finish the strike, twist of both body and mind held fast. She feels the strain in the arm that holds her back. Her power coats his fingers but he doesn't let go, doesn't flinch against the pain. His dark eyes hold demon light this close to her.

"Tara. I say... yuh stop dis." Even now, his voice is soft although she hears the thunder rumbling beneath it now. "Yuh jus' hurtin' yusself, like yuh always do. I tell yuh I ain' gonna let dat happen no more. Not now. Not evah."

His grip tightens on hers. Slow deliberate pressure until she has to finally give way, surrender, or run. She can't run anymore. There is nowhere else to go.

She shudders as the power fades as suddenly as it came. His dark fingers thread carefully through hers then, hot to the touch like a flame.

"Dis ain' no place fuh yuh now, wit dis ruckus. Yuh come away now, Tara."

One step at a time as he backs them both out of that terrible place. His dark eyes never leave hers, pulling like a soft chain.

In the hallway though he frowns. She’s not sure what he sees but he obviously doesn’t like it. The lighting is too bright in her eyes, harsh and artificial. They stand there for a moment before he nods, as if making up his mind.

“Sometimey, we goin' back t' my dorm, okay? It empty 'cep fuh me and I be tinkin' you need sleep more dan anytin’ else. I'll watch yuh tonight, make sure yuh safe. You okay wit' dat?" He looks into her eyes, his hand shaking hers as if to get her attention. "Tara?"

"Ayuh?" Nothing makes sense. Go where?

"I said, yuh okay wit dat. I ain' gonna drag yuh dere, gyul. You wanna be somewhere else, I take yuh. Mebbe we go see Roostah." Something in his voice changes, another rumble of thunder. "Yuh always talk t' him."

No. No. She shakes her head so violently that her short hair whips across her mouth. Jade hasn't called. She has to wait until he calls. Panic wells up from somewhere to spill across her face.

"Neh? Okay. Okay. We leave de Roostah outta dis fuh now." He mutters something under his breath that she doesn't catch. "Yuh okay wit dat? Come wit me t' dorm fuh sleep?"

"Please, Jai. The light... hurts."

He makes a sound, disapproval maybe, or worry. "Dis way den."

As they walk the feel of his hand in hers is the only thing that's real. Hard calluses brush against her skin, tease her fingers with the urge to trace them, ask how he got them. She finds herself staring at the sliver of skin above his collar, at a single curl tight wound just behind his ear. They cut close to the library and she can feel the wave of their presence cresting in front of them. People turn, stop talking, stare. She keeps her head down, not wanting to meet anybody's eyes. Her fingers tighten painfully in his.

"Wat yuh lookin' at?" Jai's voice is impatient. "We comin' tru so make way, yuh macos." He tugs her forward.

One set of eyes burns hard enough that she has to meet them. She doesn't recognize the boy, but the expression on his face is clear enough. He takes in the sight of their joined hands, dark and light entwined and sneers. It's enough to raise a ghost of anger and she raises her free hand, forming a fist. A red flower starts to blossom. Nobody has the right to judge.

"Tara? Wat de matter, gyul?" Jai has half turned to look back at her and when she looks back to where the strange boy was, the spot is empty. She is crazily relieved. He didn't see it.

"Nothing. Just .. thought I saw something. It's nothing."

"Well, yuh know dat I worry about yuh nothin's." His smile brings an small answering one from her even as his fingers tug her forward again. "Yuh tell me if yuh see nothin' again."

"Ayuh, Jai."

Past the library the student traffic eases and she can feel the prickle between her shoulderblades dissipating. Eventually the sound of their walking changes, the flooring altering to something older as the ingrained dirt of hundreds of days vanishes under her boot heels. A few more students pass them but thankfully nobody in authority.

An eerily familiar door appears in front of them. Jai pulls a chain over his head, the silver key on it glinting for a moment in his grasp. The door rattles then opens. He pulls her gently into the room and closes it behind them, flipping the light on.

Without thinking her hand flashes out, slapping it off again. Too bright. Much much too bright.


"Hurts .. my eyes. Sorry, Jai. Please." She's not even sure if it's true.

"Ah, fuh certain. Jus' a sec, den."

His fingers slip out of hers finally and she bites her lip with the loss of comfort. In the semi-gloom he moves easily around his quad, turning on a few smaller lights, one next to a messy bed, another near the little color tv. He looks over at her. "Dat bettuh?"

She nods, walking uncertainly into the center of the large room. Two couches have been squashed together, a rickety table holds the little tv. An overstuffed chair from a hundred years ago is wedged like an old grandmother into a corner.

She's never been here before and she finds herself herself holding onto her elbows. It looks like hers, in mirror, but three of the beds are clean made and untouched. She does her best not to look at the one corner that is his. She sits without thinking on one of the couches.

"Yuh hungry, Tara?"

He puts something under her nose but it doesn't smell good, not at all and she yanks her head away in disgust. He laughs over her head.

"Don' skin up yuh nose, gyul. Me cookin' ain' dat bad, fuh true. Yuh sure?"

"Not.. I'm not hungry." Her voice sounds odd in her own ears. She swallows the scratchiness of her throat. "Thanks anyways."

His smile is pleased, as if she's done something clever. "Suit yusself." Every move he makes is oddly deliberate, slow. She watches him put the food back into a bar fridge, fuss with something she can't see. He comes back then with that soft footed grace and sits down next to her, taking her hand. She shouldn't be surprised but she is.

"Yuh wanna talk?"

As simple as that, but that is Jai. Does she want to talk? She shakes her head but again isn't sure if it's true or not. She looks up and something catches her eye. A glint of glass standing on the windowsill. A half full bottle of rum.

You can’t see my dress until tomorrow!

She leans forward, wrapping her arms around her stomach in useless protection. Lycia, yelling at Jai through the thin bathroom wall. Happy, looking foward to the dance. Lucky trying to drink the rum without gagging from the large plastic cup. Jai's head so close to her knee, watching the movie, singing that silly song. She closes her eyes and does her best to breathe around the pain.


Her name is soft enough to be a feather, laid against her cheek. It drives her up, to her feet, to the bottle before she's even aware she's moved. The glass is smooth and heavy under her fingers. He's half up himself as she turns back, one hand tight against the back of the couch, his expression uncertain.

Cold rips down her arm, hits the bottle in an audible snap. Use yuh power fuh somtin’ constructive. She remembers. She thrusts it out to him like a challenge and he glances from it to her.

"Lish had the world's worst hangover the next morning. Drink, Jai Marchan. Play the movie."

Let me remember her.

Maybe it's on her face, all the things she can't seem to figure out how to say.

He takes the bottle from her hand then, unscrews the top and takes an easy mouthful. She takes it back and touches it to her lips. The alcohol is burning hot and her eyes water.

She sits down, a puppet with her strings cut. With infinite care Jai leans over and pulls the dvd off the top of the stack, inserts it into the machine underneath the small tv. He gives her a look over one shoulder before pushing 'play'.

When the opening credits start to roll, she takes another defiant drink. Worse than the first, or better, it's hard to tell. Tears scald her eyes.

She doesn't protest when he pulls the bottle out of her fingers. When his arm wraps tentatively around her shoulders it seems right. He's so warm, the rough weave of his shirt against her cheek. He smells like spice and lime.

But it's only when he sings the silly song into her hair that she is finally able to close her eyes.


Posted by: Karlof VonMandrake (vonmandrake)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)

Standardposting system, except all replys are hidden in a link at the bottom. This way, we look at thoughts seperate from the fiction.

Posted by: stasiskiss (stasiskiss)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)

interesting as hell.

okay, so i can post story bits into separate comment windows and people can add their quibbles, additions or changes underneath?

Posted by: Karlof VonMandrake (vonmandrake)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC)

yes, and even respond to specific trains of thought.

Posted by: stasiskiss (stasiskiss)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)

pardon my german, but fucking sweet!

okay! we're live. i'm going to post what i've got so far, which pretty much has nothing to do with the rescue itself, but sets up my poor messed up girl.. and then i'll start writing the stuff that doesn't exist yet.

Posted by: Karlof VonMandrake (vonmandrake)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)

Excellent. I am leaving in 30 minutes, roughly. Feel free to play with the site, you have full moderator access. Also, let anyone you feel should know about this that they should get in. Any other questions?

Posted by: stasiskiss (stasiskiss)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)


probably, but by the time i think of them, you'll be gone.

happy afternoon, Karl!

Posted by: Karlof VonMandrake (vonmandrake)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)

Thank you! When I get back, I will have hapily dined on sushi and probably have some good Sake or some other time. It has been a pleasure working with you thus far, and I look forward to our continued work!


Posted by: stasiskiss (stasiskiss)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)


you rotten.. boy. i am jealous now.

Posted by: stasiskiss (stasiskiss)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)

hey .. HOW do i add somebody new? i am not seeing ADMIN FEATURES anywhere...

Posted by: Karlof VonMandrake (vonmandrake)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)

in the "navigate" box to the left, bottom row there is a "userinfo" option.

After you click that, the screen will change to a new format. The top of the window should show 3 blue bars, with the darker middle blue bar listing diferent catagories. Touch, don't click, "manage". The bottom row changes to what you can manage. All the way at the end is "communities". Click that. you should find your community options in there.

Posted by: Karlof VonMandrake (vonmandrake)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC)

Otherwise, this is the address for members pending approval:


Posted by: stasiskiss (stasiskiss)
Posted at: March 25th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)

ho ho! got it. thanks, VonMandrake.

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