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Hey friends, long time no see! I was rooting through my drafts folder on gmail and I have all these things I'm never going to finish, so I'm throwing them up in a post. Enjoy, but not too much, because I will never finish them, and they are all completely unsatisfying. Sorry? I did check to make sure none of them end in the middle of sentences.

HARRY POTTER, Dumbledore has a Muggle romance in the sixties or something, 1000 words.


Albus rather likes Sainsbury's. House elves are, of course, very convenient, but there's something undeniably charming about muggle markets, all filled with things. Cleaners that really are quite ingenious, prepared meals that don't taste half bad--the kinds of magic you can do without anything but your own brain.

"The generic's really quite good," someone says next to him.

Albus looks up, surprised. The man next to him is a few inches shorter than he, with short brown hair and glasses that are slipping down his nose. He has a haphazard air to him, something Albus recognizes from years of working with academics--a professor, surely. He's smiling hesitantly, as if he worries Albus won't respond.

"Excuse me?" asks Albus.

"Sainbury's got its own," says the man, pointing. "A good bit cheaper, and works like a charm."

Albus hums. "Which charm?" he asks, making it a tease.

The Muggle laughs. "I suppose a very good cleaning one. Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo?"

Albus smiles faintly. "I'm not familiar with that one."

The man laughs and flushes a little, spots of color high on his cheeks. He pushes up his glasses, which have slid again. "From Cinderella," he admits. "I don't watch Disney movies for fun, but my daughter likes them."

It's a strange kind of disappointment that settles over Albus at that; of course, he hadn't hoped for anything, he hasn't for a long time, but he thought he saw something in the other man's eyes.

Alas.

"I'm sure it's very good," says Albus.

The man extends his hand. "I'm Geoff," he says. "Well, Geoffrey, obviously, but most people just call me Geoff."

"Albus," he says, a little surprised.

"The Dictamnus Albus is sometimes called the Burning Bush, did you know?" asks Geoff, pushing his glasses up again.

Albus blinks. "I did not," he admits.

"Order Sapindales, family Rutaceae," Geoff goes on. "Not a favorite of mine, but I do like the name."

"Which?" asks Albus, slightly overwhelmed.

"Burning Bush. And Albus too, of course," he adds, tripping over his own tongue in his haste.

"Ah," says Albus.

"Well, I should probably--go," says Geoff. "I've left Maddie--that's my daughter, Madeline--with the girl next door, and I'm afraid I'll get back and find the house burned down. Seven, very dangerous age, did you know?"

"I usually get them a little later."

"Teacher?"

"Professor, yes."

"Oh, where?"

"A boarding school. Out in Scotland."

"Quite a trek! What brings you to Oxford?"

"Holidays, of course."

"So, will you be here long?" asks Geoff, sounding far too interested. His glasses have slipped again, Albus can't help noticing.

"Until the term begins again."

"Ah, well. Perhaps I'll see you again?"

"Perhaps," Albus agrees. He looks around. "Surely your wife is waiting for you."

"I highly doubt it. She passed away five years ago."

"I'm terribly sorry," says Albus, although he can't help thinking that explains some things.

"I wish she was here for Maddie, but, ah, it was a marriage of convenience, you know. Family politics, and all that. We got along well enough, but, ah, not my--type."

It's quite surprisingly blatant, and Albus is left reeling again. "I see," he says.

"Well," says Geoff. "Now that I've made quite the idiot of myself--"

"Oh, no," says Albus, too quickly. "Certainly not. I was rather--wondering."

Geoff brightens immediately. "Then this would be the point in the conversation where I ask for your number."

"It could be," Albus agrees.

He's never been more glad to have a telephone.

*

Albus is working on a paper over the summer, an essay on the potency of charms versus their equivalent potions, and how these powers can be best harnessed. In theory, he likes it. In practice, he gets owls every other day from Horace Slughorn, who seems overly invested in his deciding that potions are the best in every situation.

He's started contemplating just setting fire to the notes as soon as he receives them. Some try to make decent points, but most resort to cajoling or bribery in no time.

Albus has to wonder if he's got a bet on it or something. The man's unnaturally invested.

He's so thankful when the telephone rings, he doesn't even bother wondering who it is--he's been consulting some professors at Oxford about early Muggle potions, and he's used to calls coming in at odd times, when someone remembers something.

"Hello, Albus Dumbledore."

"Dumbledore, really?" asks the man on the other end. "I don't know anything in that genus, but it's a very impressive name. Professor Dumbledore. Quite a ring to it."

Albus pauses. "Geoff?"

"Yes!" says Geoff. He sounds pleased. "I was worried about having to describe myself. The nervous fellow at Sainsbury's who kept putting his foot in his mouth." There's a pause. "Bugger, I've just done it. This is what always happens."

Albus chuckles, surprising himself. "How often is always, in this case?"

"Oh, you know. Whenever I call up dashing professors I meet round the store. Which is quite often. Obviously."

"Obviously," Albus agrees.

"Well, this is already going fantastically well. Have I messed up so badly already there's no hope of convincing you to get a drink with me?" He coughs. "Assuming, that is, that you drink. If you don't, neither do I. Disgusting habit."

"I have been known to drink from time to time," Albus says.

"And with me?" asks Geoff. "Or do you not believe in drinking in groups?"

Albus of course knows what getting a drink means. But he's never gotten one.

He looks down at his paper, which is going nowhere. He needs another foot on it before he can even think of submitting.

He needs a drink.

"I would very much enjoy a drink," he says.

*

Geoff is already at the pub when Albus arrives. He's dressed a little more casually than he was at the store, a collared shirt and slacks. Albus doesn't understand how wizards have so much trouble with Muggle clothes; they're just not very complicated.


BABYLON 5, high school AU, 500 words


On Marcus's first day at Babylon High School, he falls in love.

He's always been that kind of romantic--falling in love at first sight, writing sonnets, pining for his lady's favor. His friends used to despair of him, saying he preferred the idea of love to the reality of it. And it's true, he's never acted on it. He likes to be in love, but he's never tried for a girlfriend.

But this time, it's different. He sees Susan Ivanova in second period biology, and for the first time, he really wants to do something. Show her the sonnets, perhaps.

Then they have PE third period and he sees her body-check Vir Cotto, the boy who gave him the school tour, and decides she might not really be the type for sonnets.

It just makes him like her more.

"Do you have a disorder?" Vir asks, at lunch. "Maybe something that affects your brain? Makes it--wrong?"

"What?" asks Marcus. "She's beautiful, you can't deny it. Look at her."

"She's Susan Ivanova," says Vir. It's a tone Marcus remembers from his old school. Susan Ivanova has passed into legend. Her name has levels of meaning Marcus can't begin to interpret. "She doesn't date. You cannot date her. She is not dateable. She is beyond mere mortals. She's beyond Sheridan."

"The senior class president," interjects Vir's friend Lennier, without looking up from his book. "I told you to make him a cheat sheet."

"Whatever!" says Vir. "It doesn't matter. Susan Ivanova never dates. She is a perfect, flawless goddess, and we cannot touch her."

"Did she turn you down, or what?" asked Marcus. "She's just a girl. Obviously she's a beautiful, amazing girl, but she's still just a girl."

Vir shakes his head. "It's your funeral, Marcus."

"No one dies of a broken heart," Marcus says, although if he does get shot down, he's sure he'll mope for months.

"I would be more concerned about the broken collarbone," says Lennier.

"Freshman year," Vir adds. "A senior tried to get handsy. He ended up in traction."

"Traction?"

"I would avoid second base," says Lennier. "For your own safety."

Fortune smiles on Marcus, because the next day, when they're assigned biology partners, he gets Susan.

She doesn't seem as thrilled.

"You're new," she says, like new kids never happen here.

"Yes," he says. "I'm Marcus Cole."

"You're English?"

"From Lincolnshire," says Marcus. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Sure," Susan agrees. "I'm Ivanova."

"That's an interesting name."

Maybe Vir was right and there is something wrong with his brain, because the glare she gives him just makes him all the more intrigued.

Or maybe he just likes a challenge.

"It's Russian," she says, shortly. "I'm not going to fail this class, so you pull your weight, we clear?"

"Crystal."

She looks at him for another minute, but she must be convinced, because she finally looks away with a nod.

So, that's a start.

After two weeks, Marcus hasn't gotten much past that.


RPF, a sequel to that Genevieve Cortese/Tyler Posey thing I wrote that I'm too lazy to link to (THIS IS A SAD POST), 715 words


"I shouldn't be here."

Gen raises her eyebrows. "Dylan, it's office hours, I'm your TA. You are the reason office hours exist. Of course you should be here."

Dylan flops into the chair. She isn't sure how he makes this wildly overdramatic, but he does. Dylan has skills. "I'm not here for biology questions. I'm here about Tyler."

Gen stiffens. In the week since she and Posey had sex, she's only seen him in class. Which was not at all what she was expecting, based on the sex, and Posey being Posey, but she's not going to be the first one to break.

"Oh my god, you're dumb too," says Dylan, despairingly. "Okay, look. He is an idiot! You've known him for years, right? You know that he's an idiot. It can't be news. I was hoping you weren't going to be an idiot."

"Is there a point you're getting to, Dylan?"

"Posey is in love with you, and he's too dumb to come see you," Dylan says. "He's just moping all the time. It's sad. I don't really know why, he got laid, I guess you like him, right? You like him."

Gen rubs the bridge of her nose. "Dylan, what exactly is your plan here?" she asks.

"Honestly, I'm about at the point where I handcuff the two of you together, wacky rom-com style," Dylan says. "I don't get it!"

"It wasn't my idea!" Gen says, with more heat than she probably should. "I was all ready to be, like--" she sighs. "Yes, I like him. He should come over to my place tonight, okay? Tell him that."

"Or you could just come home with me!" says Dylan. "Uh, I mean--not in a hitting on you way! He's my roommate. You come home with me and then I leave. I am not proposing some sort of threesome. Although if that is ever an option you would consider--"

"Dylan! I don't think it's generally a good idea for me to visit your dorm," says Gen carefully. "Omegas in alpha dorms are bad, and then everyone would know--" she closes her mouth. He might not want to have sex again. Dylan could be wrong.

"We live off campus," Dylan says immediately. "We have an apartment, no one will know, he's driving me crazy, please. I will never mention threesomes again."

Gen huffs. She has another half hour of office hours, but whatever. They can email her. "I might kill him," she says.

"Hey, whatever," says Dylan. "As long as I don't have to do it."

*

Dylan unlocks the door and then slouches off to do whatever it is Dylan O'Brien does in his spare time. Gen's not really sure; the kid is a mystery.

The apartment is messy, but not disgusting, which is better than Gen expected. She was figuring there would be open boxes of pizza everywhere and burgers growing amazing fungus collections. But it's really just piles of clothes and an overwhelming boy smell.

Posey smell.

He better just be an idiot; she doesn't want him to have lost interest.

"Hey, did you get--" Posey says, coming out of a room, and then he stops and stares. "Oh shit."

Gen crosses her arms. "You know, all those times I called you an asshole, I didn't really think you were an asshole. But hey, way to prove me wrong."

Posey looks miserable, and Gen tries very hard not to melt.

"I'm--I think I'm just dumb?" Posey offers. "Maybe a dumb asshole. God, I suck. I'm sorry."

"I'm still waiting for an explanation," Gen says. "I kind of thought we were on the same page."

Posey rubs the back of his neck. "I did too," he says. "But then I was, uh--I saw you at the coffee shop with this alpha who was like, twice my size, and he was all buff and tall and actually your age and--"

"Married," says Gen.

Posey gapes. "What?"

"Oh my god, Posey, you are a dumbass, what is wrong with you. That is my friend Jared, who is married to my friend Danneel, and he's not even an alpha, she is. He's a beta. You were jealous of my best friend's beta husband. What is wrong with you."


TEEN WOLF, Danny/Stiles FBI AU where Stiles was supposed to be Fox Mulder?? idk where I was going with this, but I clearly had a plot I was thinking about, 1600 words


Stiles Stilinski isn't the only FBI agent who joined the Bureau because he was looking for his best friend.

Danny didn't exactly join because of Jackson, but he can't deny that Jackson was a factor. That he's always wondered where his friend went. That he has a few, off the record programs set up that will tell him if any cases similar to Jackson's are on file.

Not the reason, but a reason, for Danny.

So maybe that's why he likes Stiles. Even with the werewolf thing.

"Got a plate for you, Danno," he says, when Danny picks up.

"Don't call me that," says Danny absently. "We're in the FBI, not on Hawaii 5-0."

"Do you ever book people? You should."

"What's the plate, Stilinski?"

"Michigan," says Stiles, and rattles off the number.

"What's your case?" Danny asks, fingers flying over the keys.

"Might not be anything."

"So Scott," he surmises.

"Probably nothing," Stiles says, too quickly. Danny's heard the tone before. The first few times, Stiles really hoped, thought every lead was the lead. These days, it's like he's trying not to get his hopes up.

"Registered to Chris Argent," Danny says. "Home address is--uh, looks like the current is Scottsdale, Arizona, but he's had a ton."

"How far back do they go?" Stiles asks.

"What do you mean?"

"How far back can you get the addresses?"

"He's only had this car for a few years, but I can check farther back." He pauses. "You could just tell me what you're trying to find out, you know."

Stiles huffs. "Okay. Did this guy ever live in Beacon Hills?"

"Yeah, in--" Danny pauses. "Yeah."

"When I was in high school," Stiles says flatly.

"Yeah."

"Shit. Thanks," he says, but he hangs up so quickly Danny doesn't even catch the end of the word.

He can't help worrying about that, and he's still worrying two days later, when AD Finstock calls him into his office.

"Do you know Agent Stilinski?" asks Finstock.

"What did he do?" Danny bursts out, before he can think better of it.

"So, that's a yes," says Finstock. "Are you aware of his current location?"

"I would assume Arizona," Danny admits.

"Good answer," says Finstock. "That's also where you'll be going."

Danny pauses. "Me? I'm not even a field agent!"

"Look, Stilinski likes you."

"He does?"

"And we can't really have him working alone anymore."

"You can't?"

"Do you know why Stilinski joined the bureau?"

"Uh."

"I can tell from that awkward expression that you do. Look, Mahealani, I like you. You're a good agent. Sharp. I don't want to shunt you off with Stilinski and have you think I'm punishing you. But I've been trying to get him a steady partner for years, and every one can't handle it. I finally asked him to pick a partner. He gave me a list of 100 names, and you were 74."

"Seventy-four?" asks Danny, mildly insulted.

"Don't give me that look," says Finstock, waving his hand. "The rest were fictional or dead. Sometimes fictional and dead. You were the only living FBI agent there. So, congratulations. You're going to Arizona. If you make it more than a month, you get a raise."

"I like Stiles," says Danny.

Finstock raises his eyebrows. "Seriously?"

Danny was also kind of surprised by the statement, but he's not going to back down now. "Yeah."

"Well, it's your funeral, kid. Have fun in Scottsdale."

It's only when the plane is landing that something occurs to Danny--he's never actually met Stiles Stilinksi.

He heard about him before he ever spoke with him--everyone knew about Stilinski. He was the weirdo obsessed with the supernatural, monsters and magic and all sort of weird shit. Danny had been mildly terrified the first time he picked up a call and Stilinski was on the other end, but--he kind of liked Stiles, these days.

He knows what the guy looks like, from his file, but the guy who meets him in the airport is pretty different. In the picture, Stiles looks like he just got out of the military or something--buzz cut, straight-faced stoicism, pretty much nothing like Danny would have expected.

The guy who meets him looks like Stiles--glasses and messy hair and half undone tie.

"Agent?" he asks, too formal. "You look like an agent."

"Yeah," says Danny, faltering a little. He figured Stiles would be friendly.

"Look, I don't like you and you don't like me, so just stay for a couple days and then tell them you can't work with me, I'm not gonna be offended."

"I like you," Danny says, confused. He's not sure why he's spending so much time these days telling people he likes Stiles.

Stiles stares at him. "Danny?" he asks.

"Yes," says Danny. "Last time I checked."

"Holy shit! I didn't think Finstock would actually send you! Jesus, hi! That's what you look like? You didn't tell me you were hot!"

Danny's having trouble taking all of this in, because not only does Stiles talk a mile a minute, he pretty much jumped into Danny's arms for a hug, which Danny was not expecting.

"Uh, hi, Stiles," he says. "Nice to see you too."

Stiles lets go and runs his hand through his hair, giving Danny a nervous smile. "Wow, that was embarrassing, right? Oh well. Finstock didn't tell me he was sending you. He just said I was getting a new partner. I didn't think he'd take my list seriously."

"If you'd had fewer fictional characters that might have helped."

Stiles shrugs. "Why make it easy for the bastard. Come on."

"Where?" Danny asks, a little wary.

"We're staking out Chris Argent."

"Yeah, is that--actually your assignment?" Danny asks delicately.

"I don't exactly get assignments," Stiles says. "I just deal with all the freaky cases no one else wants. It's cool. Anyway, I think Argent is a serial killer."

"What?" asks Danny.

Stiles sighs. "Okay, first, we're going to need to establish a baseline of trust. On a scale from one to ten, how much do you trust me to tell you the truth?"

"Ten," says Danny, surprising himself. "The truth as you see it," he amends. "I think you're always going to tell me that."

Stiles gives him a wry smile. "So, you think I'll tell you my crazy theories."

Danny shrugs. "Just fill me in, Stiles."

Stiles gives him a calculating look, and then nods. "In the car, okay?" he says, and takes Danny out to his rental. Once they're on the road, Stiles lets out a long breath. "Okay, so--when I was a kid, there was a fire in my town. It was a few years before Chris Argent showed up, I guess. It killed almost a whole family, the Hales."

"So--what does that have to do with Chris Argent?"

"I'm getting there," says Stiles. "Dude, you have no sense of the dramatic." He looks back at the road. "Okay, so, my dad is the sheriff, so I heard a bunch of stuff about this. Me and Scott--we went into the woods, when I heard a girl got killed. I wanted to see the body It turned out it was the Hale girl who survived fire." His hands grip tight on the wheel, and Danny's a little worried. "Anyway, that's the night Scott disappeared. I went a little crazy, swore it had something to do with the Hales. The two kids had only just come back to Beacon Hills--Laura and Derek. Derek disappeared right after that too. I got, uh, pretty into it. I was sure if I figured out what happened, it would lead me to Scott. But--" he lets out a long breath. "A woman named Kate Argent set the fire. She claims to this day she didn't kill Laura Hale, but has no idea who did."

Danny has to take a minute to absorb all this. He's pretty sure Stiles has been holding it in for a whle. "So--can I ask how you got to werewolves from here?" he finally asks.

"Kate Argent dropped some clues. And, no, I'm not just taking her word for it," he adds, before Danny can say anything. "She's a psychopath, she's never getting out of prison, I don't trust her as far as I can throw her. But I've been tracking the Argent family, and the pattern follows. Violent animal attacks reported, usually in or around the full moon. Argents move to town, there's a fatal accident or someone disappears, the attacks stop."

"And you think they're killing werewolves."

"The pattern fits."

Danny mulls it over. "So--that kind of sounds like a good thing," he admits, a little worried Stiles is going to flip out.

"There aren't always attacks," says Stiles. "Most of the time, yeah. But sometimes people disappear, and we haven't heard a fucking thing about anyone getting hurt. Like the Hales."

"But you think Derek Hale left? You don't think the Argents made him disappear?"

"I think the Argents were around Beacon Hills for months after Derek and Scott disappeared," says Stiles. "There were attacks. Derek's previously-thought-to-be-dead uncle disappeared, but as far as I can tell, he's alive, and the Argents are still looking for both of them. And maybe Scott too. Once I got her aunt put away, the daughter stopped talking to me."

"Jesus, Stiles."

Stiles gives him a crooked grin. "See, I'm not crazy."

"That still sounds pretty crazy." He looks out the window. "So, you finally tracked Argent to here?"


DISCWORLD, Tiffany Aching/Preston, stuck in drafts limo FOREVER, 555 words


"Pulchritude."

Tiffany Aching is elbows deep in a cow. The cow is not giving birth, as cows so often aren't. The cow is sick, and Tiffany is seeing what the problem is. She is not particularly stressed, or particularly incapable of conversation, but no one wants to speak to a boy who--a boy who--a boy who is a teacher and very smart and very interesting on top of that when she has her hands in a cow.

This is especially undignified for a witch.

"Yes, Preston?" she tries, with a brittle little smile. She wants to see him, of course, but she does not want to see him now. Not when there is a cow, and her hat has fallen off and rolled somewhere, and her dress is covered in every which thing.

To be a witch is to be practical, and to be practical sometimes is to know when you do not want to see the boy you only see on special occasions, these days. If she saw Preston every day--and perhaps, someday, well--

But yes, if she saw him every day, she would not care about him seeing her when she was working.

"Pulchritude," he repeats, and she sees now that he is offering his hand to help her up. She inclines her head toward the cow, and he retracts the offer. "It doesn't sound like what it is. It was bothering me."

"And you came all this way to tell me this?" she asks. "I thought I was coming to see you. Next week."

When Tiffany visits the school, she wears her nicest dress and combs her hair and leaves her hat behind. She and Preston talk about the things adults talk about--the school, and the weather, and the condition of the sheep on the Chalk--for as long as they can manage, and then they start talking about the dictionary and how one of Preston's students has decided that he likes to eat paper.

It's Tiffany's favorite day of the month.

"The school's shut down for a week," says Preston. "One of the students got sick, and the next day half of them were sick, so we're taking a week for everyone to stop infecting each other."

Tiffany is impressed. She's never had much luck explaining contagions. "How did you convince them of that?"

"They are learning now," says Preston, gently, and a little proudly. "Besides, they could see how it was going."

Tiffany nods. The cow lows discontentedly, and Tiffany removes her hand. It gives her a baleful look and moves away.

"Does that mean it's better?" Preston asks.

"I certainly hope so," says Tiffany, grabbing a cloth to wipe her arms off. "I'm not very good with cows."

Preston smiles. Tiffany wonders if he stopped at home first, or if he just came straight here.

"Pulchritude," she says, taking her hat back from him. "You're right, it doesn't sound like what it is."

"It sounds like someone itching for a fight," says Preston.

Tiffany smiles.

*

It is commonly acknowledged, by everyone in the Chalk, that they are Courting.

Tiffany, being a witch, tends to believe in calling a duck a duck, but she still can't bring herself to say it to anyone.

Sometimes, she thinks it to herself.

It doesn't sound exactly like what it is, but it sounds--nice.


DISCWORLD, post Monstrous Regiment, Polly/Maladict, 300 words


The first thing that happens is that Paul and Shufti get engaged.

Obviously it's not the first thing, not in the cosmic sense, but later, when Polly looks back on it all, she thinks of that as the start.

The news comes in a letter, and Polly has to read it three times before she really understands it. It's not exactly a surprise, and she'd be lying if she said she hadn't thought it might happen. She even hoped a little, because Shufti and Paul both need someone, and they're the right kind of someone for each other.

And that's what gets her thinking.

Polly never exactly wanted to get married, but she recognized, before the army, that it was probably going to be a necessity. Oh, she might have gotten by taking care of the Duchess with Paul, but there would be talk, and eventually she'd get married just to stop the talking. And it would be an acceptable marriage, as these things went.

But she had the army now, and she didn't have to marry anyone. But neither did Shufti. Shufti had decided to marry Paul, and she'd have the good kind of marriage, where they would love each other, and they would be good for each other.

That was the kind of thing Polly could have. She didn't have to get married, but it might be nice. If it was the right kind, the fairytale kind, well--she'd still like that.

And then the second thing happened.

The second thing was Maladicta becoming Maladict again.

He didn't say it exactly like that. He just came in one morning dressed in the men's uniform, instead of the women's. At first she doesn't think anything of it--she still prefers the trousers sometimes too.


OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB, Tamaki/Haruhi first time fic, porny, 700 words


The basic problem is that Haruhi wants to have sex, and Tamaki wants to have a sexual experience, which is a distinction that only Tamaki really understands. Haruhi isn't against, say, silk sheets and lingerie and classical music--although she does not want him to hire a violinist, like he offered--but it seems like they should probably get the basics down first. It's not like Tamaki has done this either, and it's just going to be dangerous if they have sex in, say, a hot air balloon.

"There isn't room," she says.

"Then a blimp!"

"Can you fly a blimp?"

"No, but I'm sure--"

"I already told you," Haruhi says. "I don't want anyone else there to make it more romantic." She doesn't understand why he thinks having more people would improve the mood. She's never going to understand rich people.

"Ah, you want only me," says Tamaki, with a happy sigh. "I also want only you, Haruhi. But what about animals?"

Her eyebrows shoot up. "Animals?"

"Wouldn't it be romantic to be on horseback? Or perhaps an elephant, if space is a concern."

"That's not the concern."

"But--"

"No."

"Think of--"

"No." She fixes him with a look. "Sempai?"

"Yes?" he asks. He's sparkling at her.

"Are you nervous?"

His laugh is huge and theatrical and clearly fake. "Nervous? Why Haruhi, of course not! I simply want the best! Nothing is too good for you! Now, what do you think of--"

Haruhi glances around; they're the only ones left in the music room, and possibly in the whole school. She starts unbuttoning her shirt.

Tamaki goes red.

"You're nervous," she says, sliding the shirt off. She starts going for her pants and Tamaki bolts up.

"Haruhi! I'm not--I haven't prepared!"

"I have," says Haruhi, grabbing his wrist and tugging him down.

"But we're in--the club--"

"Everyone is gone, and there are a lot of nice couches here," says Haruhi. He's been on top of her like this before, when they're kissing, and he always stops himself, because the moment isn't right. And she never pushes, but it's getting ridiculous. "Tamaki," she says, and she only calls him that when she's being very serious. "I'm ready."

"Oh," he says, just barely a breath. He's gone all red, so Haruhi just pulls him down, taking the lead as she kisses him. And then she pushes just a little and he rolls over, so she's on top of him instead. "Haruhi," he says, looking up at her, eyes bright. "I have candles!"

"No," says Haruhi. And then she smiles. "Next time," she adds, because she's certainly going to have to have sex with him with silk sheets and candles and possible on horseback as they ride into a sunset eventually. It's part of dating him, and she wouldn't really want it any other way. "I'll do this time, and you can do next time."

"Can I bring--" he starts, and she kisses him again.

"Can we talk about this later, sempai?" she asks, and pushes down against him, deliberate, and he bucks back into her, already hard.

"Yes," he manages, staring as she gets his uniform unbuttoned and off. "You're very good at taking off a boys' uniform, Haruhi."

"I wear a boy's uniform," she reminds him, rolling her eyes. She slides off him and goes over to her bag for condoms; when she turns back he's propped up on one arm, staring after her, like she's the greatest thing he's ever seen. It's an overwhelming kind of look, because she's never been that girl for anyone, and somehow she's the only girl for him.

She's a little nervous as she pulls his underwear off, because even if she's prepared and wants it, this is new and a little overwhelming.

"You don't have to," Tamaki says, and he's nervous too. Which is enough.

"Idiot," she says, fondly. "I want to." He doesn't respond, and something occurs to her. "Do you--you don't want to?" she asks, looking down at her hands.

She feels his hand slide under her chin, and when she looks up she can see him, naked and stretched out and smiling. She smiles back, automatic. "I just want everything to be as perfect as you are," he says. How does he say things like that without being ridiculous? How can he be so sincere?

"Good," says Haruhi, and finishes undressing herself. "Now, I have condoms, but I didn't bring any kind of lubrication," she says. "I assumed you'd--sempai?"

"Haruhi!" He has stars in his eyes. "Truly, you are the most beautiful, the most perfect, the pinnacle of--"

She throws a condom at him, getting him right in the chest. "Put that on. Do you know how?"

"Ah," says Tamaki, looking down at the packet, and then at himself. "I'm sure it's very simple," he says, which does not inspire confidence. Sure enough, he rips the condom opening the packet, and frowns. "Can I still use it? It's not--"

Haruhi sighs. "No. Here, I've got another, I'll do it."

"You--" he starts, and loses whatever he was going to say when she slides back between his legs. "I can--" he tries again, and then moans as she starts rolling the condom down.

"I practiced," says Haruhi, matter-of-fact.

"P-p-p-p--" he stammers, face turning red.

"On a banana," she says, before his head explodes. "I wouldn't practice on anyone else." She slides it the rest of the way down, smiling when he moans again. She's definitely doing something right.

"Good," says Tamaki.


OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB, AU where Haruhi works at the library and a cafe and Tamaki thinks she's two different people, I might finish this someday, idk, 430 words


"Fujioka!" says Tamaki, storming into the library. As expected, Fujioka is there, reading a book. He looks up, surprised. "What do you do when your most trusted companions betray you?"

"Ah," says Fujioka.

"When you cannot even depend on them to support and aide you in times of direst need?" Tamaki continues. "When, in desperation, you come to them and they stab you in the back?"

"Sempai," says Fujioka. "Why don't you just tell me what happened?"

"There's a girl," says Tamaki, although it's a massive understatement. Haruhi is so much more than just a girl. She may have begun as just a girl, a girl to whom he wanted to bring happiness, like any other girl, but then she became a girl to whom he wanted to bring happiness because she's Haruhi, and when she smiles (usually at other people) it's everything he ever wanted, and when she tells him he's an idiot it makes him happier than when other girls tell him he's a prince.

"And?" says Fujioka.

"I brought my friends to meet her and--"

"Hiiiiiiiii, Fujioka!" he hears, and suddenly there are two boys on him. Two betrayers.

"Hello," says Haruhi, smiling at the twins. He frowns. "By the way, why do you call me--"

"Come over here, my lord," says one of the twins, grabbing him while the other leans in to talk to Fujioka. They probably want to steal Fujioka just as they've stolen Haruhi. The monsters. "We've made a suggestion for the coffee shop."

"Is it to fire you?" asks Tamaki. He's made the same suggestion, in the suggestion box, twenty times in the last day, since Hikaru and Kaoru (and Mori, for some reason) began working at Haruhi's coffee shop. At Tamaki's coffee shop, which they wouldn't even know about, if not for Tamaki's desire to show off Haruhi. And now he's been betrayed. Betrayed.

"No," says the twin. "It's your own fault you didn't get a job yourself, milord. Instead you just come--"

"And sit at your table," adds the other twin, who's left Fujioka.

"And staaaaaaaaaare," they say together.

"I gaze!" says Tamaki. "Longingly! As is proper!"

"Anyway," says the twin, eyes glinting. "We're going to have a maid day."

Tamaki freezes. A number of images flash through his head, each more adorable than the last. "A--"

"Just think--"

"There she'll be--"

"Dress--"

"Apron--"

"How may I serve you, Tamaki-sempai--"

"Silence!" says Tamaki, before he faints from over-stimulation. "Naturally, I do not forgive you for your treachery."

"Of course not, my lord," they chorus.


TEEN WOLF, Scott/Stiles porn, this is really mostly done, I'm a failure, 925 words


It's not like Stiles wanted to die, it's just that if he'd thought he was going to live, he never would have made out with Scott.

Granted, making out with Scott was pretty awesome. Stiles has always liked the idea of last-minute romantic gestures, and a few days after the werewolf thing happened, he made an agreement with himself. If they ever got into one of those about to die situations, he'd make a move. And it was a great move, Scott taken too off guard to not kiss back, and Stiles was considering seeing if he could talk him into we're-about-to-die sex when Derek and Isaac burst in and told them to get a fucking move on.

And now Stiles has skipped school for two days, claiming to be "sick," because he doesn't really know what to say to Scott about the whole thing.

He's never really known what to say to Scott about the whole crush thing; he's great at joking around, pretending to do things, but just telling his straight best friend that he'd genuinely like to get naked with him is beyond his abilities.

So, yeah, cowardice. He figures if he doesn't see Scott for a week or so, maybe by the time he does something else will have happened, and they'll never have to discuss the making out. And the mild leg humping. And the whole thing.

But Scott is Scott, and not really the kind of guy who just lets things like that go. So Stiles isn't really surprised when Scott shows up at his house after school. The most surprising part is that he brought Stiles' homework, like he actually needed a legitimate excuse to come over for the most awkward conversation of Stiles' life. It's not like his dad would have turned him away. Stiles tried to convince him he should. But no, here's Scott, in his room; his dad just doesn't get it.

"Hi," says Stiles, faking a cough. Scott raises his eyebrows, and Stiles sighs. "Yeah, that was stupid. I don't know why I thought that would work. Is that my homework?"

"Yeah," says Scott. He considers for a minute, and then forges forward. "So, was that one of those, like, the world is ending in five minutes, we should have sex deals?"

"Yeah. That is exactly what it was."

There's another pause, and then Scott says, "But we didn't have that deal."

"Well, no," Stiles admits, once his mouth starts cooperating with his brain. "I mean, not in so many words. But I thought it was always kind of, you know, implied. You know how it is, buddy, we are that in sync."

"Uh huh," says Scott. He doesn't really sound convinced. "Seems kinda--"

"Before you complete that thought, you should know that now that we've done it, we don't have to do it again! Our unspoken agreement has been fulfilled. Now if we have another near-death situation, we don't have to make out! It's done. So we don't really have to have a talk about how it's, you know, awkward because we didn't die. We can just pretend like we--"

And then Scott pushes him back onto the bed, slides on top of him, and kisses him, like he's picking up exactly where they left off, in the middle of a heated, amazing makeout session, but now Scott is totally in control, and he's better at it than Stiles. Probably because he's not a frustrated virgin who jerks off thinking about either his best friend or a girl who will never want him. Or both at the same time, when he wants to come really hard and then feel deeply depressed.

"Stiles," Scott murmurs, against his lips.

"Uh," says Stiles, blankly.

"This okay?"

"Huh?"

Scott slides his hand up under Stiles' shirt, and Stiles shivers all over. "Is this okay?" he says. "Or do you want me to wait until we're about to die again?"

"Buh," says Stiles, because he's got this rhyming thing going on, and all of the blood the normally goes to his brain has been diverted. "Is this okay with you?" he finally manages, because if anyone isn't on board with making out, it's Scott. Scott's the one who doesn't jerk off to this exact scenario.

"Yeah," says Scott, and kisses Stiles' jaw. Stiles whimpers.

"But you're, uh--straight?" he tries, because that's definitely Scott's dick pressing against his, which is not usually an indication of strict heterosexuality. It's also the single hottest thing that has ever happened in his life. Not that there's a lot of competition, but even if there was, he's pretty sure this would win. "I thought you were straight."

Scott shrugs. "I wanna have sex with you, so I guess not."

"But you haven't been, like, pining away, hoping I'll eventually reveal my feelings for you, jerking off thinking about me?"

"Is that what you do?" Scott asks, sounding confused and sort of hurt. "And you didn't tell me? Dude!"

"Uh," says Stiles, scrambling. "Not every night?"

"Dude!" he says again. "Come on! You're supposed to tell me that shit!"

"I'm telling you now!"

"So, like--what do you think about?" Scott asks, sounding curious. "When you're jerking off."

"I'm a frustrated virgin, dude," Stiles says. "It's not like I have elaborate fantasies. It's like, hey, we're naked, you're touching me, sometimes there's some dick sucking. If I'm feeling really elaborate you, like, shove me up against the locker room wall and fuck me. I'm easy, man."


TEEN WOLF, Danny/Stiles, Stiles is cockblocking Danny because he doesn't want him dating one of the alpha pack, kinda porny, 1450 words


"So, are you still a virgin?"

It really wasn't the question Danny had been planning to ask Stiles. He really wanted to ask if Stiles had been purposefully interrupting him and Ethan, or if the texts and phone calls and suddenly pressing questions had just been a coincidence. But somehow when that's the question that came out; maybe whatever's wrong with Stiles is contagious.

"Huh?" asks Stiles.

"You were looking for someone to have sex with you," he says.

"Oh, yeah. Uh. No, I'm still--it's not as pressing as I thought," says Stiles. "Why?"

"Well, I thought maybe that's why you kept cockblocking me."

Stiles splutters. "What? No! I'm not--why would I--that's not a thing!" Danny just raises his eyebrows. That's the great thing about Stiles; all you have to do is stare at him and eventually he spills his guts. "I mean," he continues, gesturing. "Cockblocking is such a strong word, you know? I'm just, uh, concerned. About you. And I have a lot of questions! You're just so smart! And--"

"Did you say you were concerned?" asks Danny.

"I might have said that," Stiles admits.

"You're concerned I might get laid?"

Stiles lets out a long breath. "People die here, okay, Danny? People die a lot. And I don't want you to be one of them."

Before Danny can respond, Stiles storms off, leaving him alone and somewhere between annoyed, confused, and happy.

*

Danny had assumed that Stiles' habit of texting him every minute until he responded had just been another part of his overall cockblocking scheme; now that he knows Stiles is afraid he's dead, it makes his stomach twist, and he responds as soon as he hears his special Stiles ringtone.

Even if it means cockblocking himself.

I'm alive, he responds, to Stiles' sorry about earlier.

After a second he adds, and it was sweet.

"Everything okay?" Ethan asks.

"Just Stiles," says Danny, with a smile.

Ethan makes a face. "I don't get why you like that guy. He's so weird."

It's nothing Jackson wouldn't say--hell, it's nothing Danny hasn't said, but from Ethan, it rankles. Ethan hasn't been here that long. Ethan hasn't earned the right to make fun of Stiles.

"He's a good guy," says Danny. "He's just worried about me. It's been a weird couple of years here. And I think Mr. Harris has everyone more freaked out than usual."

"So he's checking up on you," says Ethan, sounding wary. He glances around, like he's expecting Stiles to jump out of Danny's closet or something. "Is McCall here too?"

"Scott?" asks Danny, confused. "No, I don't--" His phone beeps again, and Ethan scowls.

"I can see you're busy," he says, and pulls his shirt back on. Danny's not thrilled about it, but--well, if he's honest, he's having more and more trouble getting really excited about Ethan. He's hot and looks good without clothes on, but he's not a great conversationalist and it's not like--

It's not like he's worrying about Danny.

He flops back on the bed with a groan. When he checks the text from Stiles, it's just a heart. A fucking heart.

Great.

*

"Are you worried I'm going to die?" Danny asks Scott. They're in line for lunch together; it's probably fate.

"What? No! Why? Are you sick? Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," says Danny.

"Is it Ethan?" Scott asks, lowering his voice.

"Why would it be Ethan?"

If there's anything more hilarious than Scott McCall looking shifty, Danny has yet to find it. "No reason," he says. "See you later."

*

what r u doing?

Danny was supposed to be out with Ethan, but Ethan's been weird since the Stiles thing, and Stiles just keeps texting, which means it's pretty impossible for Danny to repair the relationship. And he's not even sure he wants to, because the texts from Stiles are fun and kind of flirty and Danny's thinking a lot less about Ethan than he used to.

not getting laid, thanks to you

The reply is almost instantaneous. how is that my fault, u didnt even ask me

Danny chokes on a laugh. my bad

There's a pause, and then Stiles sends, so, what r u wearing???

I'm not going to sext with anyone who uses that many question marks, Danny tells him, and then can't resist adding, boxer briefs. black, just to fuck with him.

guh, says Stiles.

Danny bites his lip. He's never really been sure about Stiles. Not in any of the ways he should be. He can never tell if Stiles is trying to flirt, or just accidentally flirting because he doesn't get how humans are supposed to interact with each other. But he knows that if he'd ever really thought Stiles was serious, he would have gone for it. Even with Jackson mocking him, even with Stiles being Stiles.

im down to boxers pops up on his phone. And then a picture, Stiles in his stupid boxer shorts with pool balls on them, sticking his tongue out. His thumb's blocking a bit of the shot, and it shouldn't be hot at all, but Danny dials his number anyway.

"I'm really bad at selfies," says Stiles when he picks up.

"Yeah, your finger was in the way," says Danny.

"Like you can do better," says Stiles. When Danny doesn't respond, he adds, "That was a hint, by the way. You should send me hot pictures of you in your underwear."

"I have a strict no-dirty-pictures policy."

"Oh," says Stiles. "Did you and Ethan break up?" he blurts out.

"I don't think we were really dating. But yeah."

"Why did you like him?"

"He was hot and fun to hang out with."

"There are lots of hot guys who are way more fun," says Stiles. "And some guys who aren't hot but they have great personalities."

Danny smiles. "Not that many gay ones, though."

"Do you not date bi guys?" Stiles asks, sounding genuinely worried.

"No one's ever asked." He pauses. "But if there are any bi guys with great personalities in Beacon Hills, they should definitely ask me out."

"Yeah?"

"Definitely, yeah."

Stiles clears his throat. "So, uh--should I be telling you about my dick?"

"What?"

"This is phone sex, right? So I'm supposed to tell you, like, how hard I am and when I start touching myself, right? Thanks for calling, by the way, I didn't want to try to text and jerk off at the same time."

"Aren't you supposed to ask me out first?" asks Danny. He's not sure how Stiles went from nervous and weirdly insecure to phone sex. It's not bad exactly, just--abrupt. Then again, this is the guy who was desperately trying to lose his virginity a couple weeks ago.

"Uh, we're on the phone and mostly naked, can't we start with the phone sex and get dinner later?"

Danny slides his hand down to his stomach, idly. "I don't really like phone sex," he admits. "You should come over."

"You're not kidding, right?" asks Stiles, after a pause.

"Not kidding."

He hears an exaggerated sigh. "I shouldn't have stripped down to my boxers, now I just have to get dressed again."

Danny laughs. "Yeah, but you get to get laid for real," he points out.

Stiles' breath hitches. "Yeah, okay. See you soon."

*

Danny's waiting in the living room, wearing an old pair of jeans and nothing else. His palms are sweating, which is kind of embarrassing, and he's feeling overwhelmed again. This time last week, he was really looking forward to having sex with Ethan, and now he's waiting for Stiles Stilinski. And he's a lot more excited about Stiles than he ever had been about Ethan.

He sees the headlights coming down the driveway and gets up, going to wait on the porch as Stiles jumps out of the jeep and runs up the stairs.

"Hi," he says.

"Hi," says Danny.

"So, before we do this, I need to tell you something," says Stiles.

"I already know you haven't done this before," says Danny. "Come on in."

Stiles sits down on the couch, smoothing his hands over his jeans. He looks way more nervous than he sounded on the phone.

"Okay, so, like--I like you. And if we're gonna go out, I think I need to be honest with you. Scott thought so too."

"Scott?"

"I really didn't want you dating Ethan," says Stiles. "Not just because you should date me. You definitely should, but--he'sawerewolf."

It's like the entire universe skips for a second.


RPF, more Robert Pattinson/Jennifer Lawrence BFFs, also Chris Hemsworth is there, I might also finish this eventually, 1055 words


"I am going to die," says Rob, faceplanting onto the couch next to Jen's leg.

"Probably," Jen agrees. They have, on occasion, discussed the possibility that Rob is immortal. They don't really have any reason to suspect this, except that he has not died yet. Given Rob's life, it's fairly suspicious.

"No, I mean immediately. Or, well, imminently. Bloody soon."

"Really?" asks Jen, perking up. They made a bet on who would die first; they even wrote it into their wills. Which are not so much official wills as pieces of paper they keep in the freezer, but Jen is damn well taking her ten dollars if and when Rob dies. Assuming he has ten dollars when he dies.

"Don't sound so excited," he says, glaring. "Kristen's brother is coming to visit."

"Okay."

"I have seen pictures of him. He is massive. He probably has orbiting bodies. He is like Gaston, but blonde. He is roughly the size of a barge, Jen. I am going to be killed."

"For what, exactly?"

"Dating!"

"Are you a bad date?" Jen asks, genuinely curious. She's not really sure what's going on with him and Kristen. They seem to see each other regularly, and Kristen occasionally sleeps over, but neither of them are really into dating, in the traditional sense. Mostly Kristen sits on the couch with them and gets high and doesn't shower. Which is also what Nick does when he's around.

It's possible she and Rob are contagious. They're probably like that monkey in 28 Days Later. They are going to cause some sort of epidemic.

"I don't know," says Rob. "Don't all brothers think everyone is a bad date?"

"Are we going to start the zombie apocalypse?" It seems like a more pressing issue.

"Only if I come back after Kristen's brother kills me," says Rob. "If I do, I want you to headshot me."

"Obviously," says Jen. She pats his shoulder. "You're in a relationship now, Rob. You're just going to have to suck it up and meet her family."

"Gaston," says Rob, darkly, but he quiets down, anyway.

The next day, Jen stops by Starbucks on the way to her audition. Kristen isn't in yet, but Jesse is.

"Can you tell me about Kristen's brother?" she asks.

Jesse looks confused. "Why would I know anything about Kristen's brother?"

"I don't know," says Jen. "Aren't you friends or something?"

"Aren't you?"

"Touche. You got cakepops? I will take all of them."

The cakepops fortify her for the audition, which goes well, and she's contemplating going back to Starbucks to see if they've made more in the hour and a half she was gone when she actually sees Kristen and someone who is either her brother or a bear. Wearing human skin and clothes.

Yeah, probably her brother. All things considered.

Kristen spots her a second later and waves, and Jen has no choice but to go over there. She isn't totally sure about socializing with Kristen's brother. He doesn't exactly look like Gaston, but he does look vaguely unreal. Kind of like a cartoon character.

But then he smiles.

Jen is not the type to be flowery and romantic, but Kristen's brother's smile is like birds singing, plants spontaneously bursting into bloom, and fluffy bunnies having a cuddle party with puppies and kittens. It probably cures cancer and raises the dead. If she and Rob are the cause of the zombie apocalypse, his smile is what will end it.

He is magic.

"Hey, Jen! This is my brother, Chris."

This is enough to shake Jen out of her daze. "Wait, your name is Chris? And Kristen? You aren't one of those guys named Kristen, are you? Is this a Pete and Pete situation?"

Chris laughs. His laugh is also awesome. "Kristen said you were funny," he says, ruffling Kristen's hair. She tries to look annoyed about it, but she can't stop smiling long enough. If the other Starbucks patrons saw her, they'd probably think she was sick. "It's so great to finally meet you! We were just heading to your apartment, actually, so I can meet the boyfriend."

"Is he officially a boyfriend now?"

Kristen shrugs.

"He is!" says Chris, somehow beaming even wider. Jen kind of wants to ask for a hug. He should probably give hugs professionally. Unless he's already a lumberjack or a fireman or something. Those would also be acceptable professions. "It's so sweet. My little sister, settling down with an upstanding young gentleman."

"Uh," says Jen.

"Yeah," says Kristen. "About that."

*

Kristen must have texted Rob, because when they get to the apartment, he's either cleaned, or they've been robbed.

"Where did all my stuff go?" asks Jen.

"I threw it out the window. It's in the alley. We'll get it after."

"Someone is going to steal it!"

"Why? There's better stuff out there to steal." He looks around, vaguely hunted. "Where are they?"

"We ran into Jesse on his way home, they're talking." Jen considers. "He looks like Gaston, but he's really, really nice. And--warm. And probably snuggly. He is like a giant muscular carebear."

"Oh god, not you too," Rob says. "Everyone is against me! He will replace me in everyone's life."

"He's going to start having sex with Kristen?"

"Maybe. I don't know. Leave me alone to die."

"Do you have ten bucks?"

Before Rob can answer, the door bursts open and there's Chris, filling it entirely, like a ray of Viking sunshine. "BOBBY!" he booms, and wraps Rob up in a hug. Rob is not actually a small person--he's got a good half a foot on Jen--but Chris is just gigantic on every level, and he makes Rob look tiny and fragile.

The sounds Rob is making also make him sound pretty fragile.

"It is such a pleasure to meet you! I've heard so much about you! My sister speaks very highly of you!" He thumps Rob on the back, and Rob staggers. "I will take you out to dinner!"

"You're paying?" asks Kristen.

"Of course I'm paying! Nothing is too good for my little sister and her Bobby!" He winks at Jen. "And of course their fair friend."

Jen swoons.

*

can I sleep with kristen's brother? here is a picture of him if that helps


SUPERNATURAL, Sam/Dean Babylon 5 AU intended for [profile] spn_j2_bigbang in, like, 2010, but then grad school happened, 6700 words


PROLOGUE

"So, that's it, huh?" said Dean. Not that anyone was listening.

The station in front of him seemed somehow small against the backdrop of planets and stars. There was a time in his life when five miles seemed unfathomably large, more space than anyone could ever need, but now it seemed like nothing--confining and tiny.

He always thought it would be a cold day in hell before he got himself stationed anywhere that stood still, but things changed. And besides, he didn't have so many friends these days that he could afford to refuse to do the ones he had left favors.

Bobby Singer had been a pal of his dad's from way back, served with him years before the Minbari war, on the same ship as him when he died. There'd been years when Dean couldn't stand that Bobby was alive and his dad wasn't, but once they met up on the Ulysses, he changed his tune.

Besides, he wasn't exactly swimming in job offers, recently.

"Attention passengers. We are making our final approach to Babylon 5," said the crisp voice of the computer. "Please remember your belongings."

The station wasn't even open yet, not to civilians. Everyone on the ship was maintenance, and he felt a little out of place in his security uniform. It was a strange feeling, knowing he outranked almost everyone here, and the distance they kept made him sure they knew it too. He was command staff.

The collar of his uniform was suddenly unbearably tight.

Bobby met him at the dock.

"It's good to see you, kid," he said, with a gruff smile. He clapped Dean on the shoulder. "How have you been?"

Dean shrugged. "Getting by, I guess." He never knew quite what to say to polite questions anymore.

"Getting by, huh?" said Bobby. He shook his head. "That's not the way I hear it."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Dean asked, defiant even though he knew exactly what people said about him.

Bobby didn't answer. Dean forfeited his identicard, wondering if it was always going to be like this.

"Come on," Bobby finally said, "I'll give you the tour."

*

Most of the crew hadn't arrived yet--Bobby was the only other one from the command staff, and none of Dean's specialized security guards. Maintenance techs were doing all the card checks, and Dean made a note to get that changed as soon as possible. It wasn't hard to read the card scanner, but not everyone knew how to deal when things didn't go smoothly.

The doctor, Moore, a great-looking blonde with a killer body, was already busy in Medlab, and she barely flicked a glance at Dean when Bobby introduced him.

"Another lift accident?" asked Bobby, looking over at the two bandaged men who'd been holding the doctor's attention.

Dr. Moore snorted. "I wish. Just a stupid fight, from what I hear." She didn't look at Dean as she continued, but he could tell she was talking to him. "I hope you're ready to stop this kind of shit before it gets to me."

"That's my job, sweetheart," Dean said, winking even though she couldn't see it.

She didn't look up or dignify it with a response, though, and Bobby shook his head. "She's not interested, kid."

"In what?" asked Dean.

"Anyone." Bobby gave him a calculating look. "What happened to Cassie, anyway?"

"Wanted to stay on Mars," said Dean, shrugging. "Space station didn't appeal to her, planetside didn't appeal to me. No hard feelings."

"With you, Dean?" said Bobby. "Ain't nothing but hard feelings."

Dean shrugged. "So, what kind of time frame are we looking at here? How long before we're gonna be open for business?"

"A few months," said Bobby. "She's mostly finished, just needs a little elbow grease." He glanced back at Dean. "If I ask you why you came so early, you're not gonna tell me, are you?"

Dean shrugged. "You don't tell me everything, do you, Bobby?"

"I got nothing to tell," said Bobby. "I got promoted."

You're not a lonely drunk with no other choices, Dean thought.

"You got food here yet?" he asked.

"Yeah," said Bobby. "I'll show you."

*

Dean couldn't sleep.

When he closed his eyes, he swore he could feel the metal spinning slowly. He'd never had this problem on ships--maybe he was too focused on going forward to worry about going around. He paced for a while, looked at his cupboards, which didn't have anything in them, flicked through the vid channels, thought about trying to knock himself out.

He wondered when the last time he went to sleep without a drink was. Then he wondered why he thought now was a good time to force himself to go cold turkey.

Maybe there was such a thing as too fresh a start.

He pulled a shirt on over his tank top and stepped into shoes. There wasn't any real night on a space station, any more than on a space ship, but the lights were dimmed in the hallways to save some money. Once the station was running, they'd be on all the time, but right now, it was positively eerie.

He got down to the marketplace, which was nothing but empty space. He tried to think what this place would be like when it's full of humans and aliens.

There would be an ambassador from Minbar. That was the point of the Babylon project--no more misunderstandings. No more wars coming from ignorance and miscommunication.

Dean had never seen a Minbari up close. He'd seen pictures; they looked more human than a lot of aliens. Closer than anything but the Centauri. He tried to imagine seeing a Minbari and not wanting to rip its throat out.

"I thought I was the only one up this time of night," he heard, and turned to see the doctor behind him, still in her uniform. She gave him a smile, more than a little guarded.

Barking up the wrong tree with this one, Dean decided.

"I must not be on the right timezone yet," said Dean. "Dr. Moore, right?"

"That's me," she agreed. "Security Chief Winchester, right?"

"Dean's fine."

"Dean." She nodded. "I can give you something to help you sleep, if you want."

"Not a good idea. So what's your excuse?" Dean asked.

"We don't have any other doctors yet. It's just me, and a lot of stupid injuries."

"Why'd you come so early?"

"I've never been with a ship from the very beginning," she said. "I wanted to see what it was like."

It was the kind of sentiment Dean was used to dismissing--too sentimental, not at all practical. What did he care about the lifetime of a station? But somehow, the way Dr. Moore said it, it sounded all right.

"Yeah," said Dean. "It's not too bad, huh?"

Dr. Moore smiled. "Yeah. Not too bad."

******

YEAR ONE

"Mr. Winchester, if I can just--"

"Yeah, yeah," said Dean, waving his hand. "You're breaking my heart, Chuck."

"If I don't get this artifact, the ambassador will kill me, Mr. Winchester. I don't want to die yet! I have so much left to do."

Chuck--his real name was Charatula or something, which Dean had decided was way too long and goofy--was the Centauri ambassadorial aide. From what Dean could tell, Ambassador Andelier spent all of his time either drinking or threatening to kill Chuck, which made Dean less sympathetic than he could be.

"Look, Chuck, you know I don't want you dead any more than I want anyone else dead, but rules are rules. You can't take anything onto the station if it hasn't gone through customs first." He quickened his pace, hoping that somehow he could get into the lift before Chuck caught up.

"Isn't there some kind of diplomatic immunity you can give me?" asked Chuck.

"No, there is not," said Dean, hitting the button for his stop and praying to whatever higher power might be listening that the doors would just close.

"Well," said Chuck, getting into the lift, of course, "could you come tell him that?"

"You know I have a job, right, Chuck? I'm not here to tell Ambassador Andelier about his packages from home."

Chuck groaned.

"What is this, anyway?" asked Dean. "What does he possibly need this much?"

"It's," said Chuck, looking shifty. "For a lady friend."

"Of course. I'm sorry to keep Gabriel from getting laid tonight," said Dean, "but there are more pressing things in my agenda. I'm on my way to a meeting, actually, so if you can--"

"So there's nothing you can do?" Chuck asked.

"Yes, Chuck, this is exactly what I've been telling you. There is nothing I can do. You're on your own." Dean waved his hand. "Go bitch at Ash if you really want, but he's just going to tell you the same thing."

The lift opened at his floor and Dean left Chuck with a backward wave. He was pretty sure the Centauri liked him, which was one of those things he didn't know how to take. He liked them, in theory--any race that partied that hard was good in his book--but he was pretty sure it was going to end poorly.

"Mr. Winchester!" Dean heard from behind him, and he groaned.

"What is it, Ambassador?"

The Narn Ambassador, H'Rik, hurried over to him. Dean couldn't help wondering if the aliens on this station thought he was there just for them. "I couldn't help noticing you were talking to Charatula."

"And?"

"It looked important," said H'Rik.

"Look, I get it, Ambassador, you and the Centauri aren't friends. But if you keep coming up to me every time you see us talking, I'm gonna have to assume you have a crush on me. In which case, I'm flattered, but not interested."

"Don't get smart with me, Mr. Winchester."

"Trust me, H'rik, no one has ever accused me of being smart."

"Mr. Winc--"

"Look, in the interest of intergalactic equality, I'm going to tell you the same thing I told Chuck--I've got a meeting. If you have a complaint, take it up with Commander Singer after I'm done with him. But I swear, I'm not giving anyone preferential treatment unless they have an awesome rack."

Thankfully, the lift up to C&C was restricted access, so he left H'Rik behind and sank against the wall for a minute.

He straightened by the time the doors opened again, and Lieutenant Commander Harvelle glanced up as he came into her territory.

Harvelle was the second lieutenant commander they'd had, and Dean preferred her to the one who'd left. She was no-nonsense and sharp as nails, but she had a wicked sense of humor and a smile that could light up a room.

If she ever used it.

"Hey," he said. "Supposed to meet with Bobby."

"He's in his office," said Harvelle. "Anything up?"

"I can't even walk across the station without causing an intergalactic incident, apparently."

"Some people got it, some people don't," said Harvelle. "Anyone gonna complain to me?"

"Chuck won't, H'Rik might. If H'Rik makes a stink about anything, let him know Chuck and I were talking about Gabriel's sex life."

"Please spare me the details of your personal life, Winchester," said Harvelle. "Get in to the Commander, he's been waiting."

When Dean went in to Bobby's office, he was already talking to Castiel. Dean stiffened--the Minbari ambassador unnerved him, and Bobby damn well knew it. Bobby was supposed to warn him about shit like this.

"Dean," said Bobby. He sounded--really serious.

"Mr. Winchester," said Castiel, polite and just slightly off. Castiel always sounded like he was trying too hard, but at all the wrong things.

"Ambassador," said Dean with a curt nod. "Bobby, you wanted to see me?"

"Look, there's no easy way to say this, so I'm just gonna give it to you straight," said Bobby. He looked Dean straight in the eye. "I overrode some of your security alerts."

"What?" asked Dean. "Bobby, what the hell gives you the right--"

"The crew of the Icarus," said Bobby. "I wanted to know if they came on this station before I did. You can cuss me out all you want, kid, but that's my right as the captain."

Dean's blood ran cold. "Are you telling me someone showed up? Bobby--"

"It's not him," said Bobby instantly. "You know if it was him I'd tell you the second it happened. It's complicated."

"If I may," said Castiel smoothly. "Mr. Winchester, we have been monitoring expeditions like the Icarus for some time."

"Expeditions like the Icarus," Dean repeated. His hands clenched into fists, and unclenched. He didn't punch Castiel.

"Those exploring parts of space which we believe may be--dangerous," said Castiel. "I'm afraid I cannot explain any more to you at this time. The Icarus went to a planet from which no one returns unchanged."

"But they return," said Dean.

"They can," Castiel said. He looked at Dean with an intensity that made Dean itch. "If your brother is alive, he will no longer be your brother."

Bobby caught him before he could actually land a hit on Castiel's stupid smug face.

"Don't you ever talk about my brother," Dean growled. "You don't know a damn thing about it."

"Easy, Dean," said Bobby. "He's trying to help."

"If Sam's alive out there--"

It was the first time he'd said Sam's name since he told Bobby what happened in the first place.

"From what I have heard of your brother," said Castiel slowly, "he would have been killed. There is no reason to hope--"

Dean snorted. "No reason, huh? Tell me, Ambassador, you ever had a little brother?"

Castiel didn't respond.

"Thought so," said Dean. He turned to Bobby. "Who showed up? What is it?"

"Her name is Meg Masters. Nothing interesting on her files, no red flags. If you didn't have every crew name from the Icarus down then no one ever would've noticed a thing."

"So where is she?"

"I didn't give her an armed guard, Dean," said Bobby. "She's done nothing wrong."

"She's back from the dead, Bobby, Jesus."

"I know, and I know this has been killing you, Dean. And I promise, we're gonna get to the bottom of this. But not yet. You gotta leave it alone, unless something happens."

Dean thought about protesting, but there was a look in Bobby's eyes--he'd make it an order, and if Dean disobeyed, it was all over. He turned to Castiel instead. "There's a chance," he said.

Castiel looked at him, like he was trying to fit Dean together in his head. "No," he said finally. "No chance."

"I won't look for her," said Dean. "But if I hear a word--"

"If you hear a word you come to me first," said Bobby.

"There is more at stake here than just you, Mr. Winchester," said Castiel.

Dean grit his teeth. "Understood," he said to Bobby. "Sir."

*

Ever since the Medlab crew actually arrived, Jess got to keep regular hours in non-emergency situations. As soon as his shift ended, Dean headed down, dodging anyone who tried to talk to him. In a very real sense, none of them was ever off-duty, but right now, he didn't care.

Jess was in her office, doing her end-of-day report, Dean could only assume. He overrode the security on her door to get in.

Jess looked up, surprised, and quickly clicked off her log. "Hello to you too," she said.

"I'm going to get a drink," said Dean. Jess's eyes widened; Dean knew that she didn't know all the details of his past--she had her suspicions, he was sure, but even Bobby wasn't in on the whole story. "Want in?" He could see her hedging, and he continued, "Look, this is happening with or without you, doc. I just wanted to ask you before I went to the Centauri."

Jess's lips twitched. "You'd really go drinking with Gabriel?"

Dean gave her a cocky smirk. "What, he doesn't seem like a good-time guy?"

Jess sighed. "I take it your meeting with the Commander didn't go well."

"Nah, it was peachy. I feel like celebrating," said Dean.

She shook her head. "One drink," she agreed.

"One drink."

*

Dean's little brother's name was Sam. He was supposed to join Earthforce, follow in the family footsteps, lead the life dad had always wanted for them.

When he told Dean he wanted to be an archaeologist instead, Dean told him he was betraying the family, and he shouldn't come back.

He didn't mean it, but Sam always took things too seriously.

*

"One," said Jess, holding up her finger. Dean's only had one--it's his first drink in too long, but he's not willing to fuck this up. Not when Bobby and fucking Castiel know about Sam. Not when Meg Masters is on the station.

Jess was on her fourth. Her attention held on her hand, finger raised, for a second before she dissolved into giggles.

"You," said Dean, shaking his head, "are a lightweight, doc."

"What do you have to get drunk for?" she asked, still giggling. "Seem fine to me."

"I am fine," said Dean. "I am fantastic. And I'm not the drunk one. What's your damage?"

"No damage," said Jess. Dean had been sure, at first, that there was something--some defect in her personality that meant she couldn't get close to anyone, some concrete reason Bobby said she'd never go for him. Now he knew it was as simple as not shitting where she ate--Jess was pretty much happy.

He thought it was probably good for him to hang out with her.

"Me neither," said Dean.

Jess looked slightly more serious. "The commander gave me your medical history."

Dean thought about what she'd see in there. Breaks from fights, a few instances of being hauled in for being too drunk. Nothing that really explained anything.

"I'm full of surprises," he said.

"Trust me, Dean, that's not a surprise."

Dean laughed. There was mostly ice left in his glass, but it was a little brown. "Yeah, well. Leave me my delusions, doc. They're all I've got."

Jess snorted, completely unladylike.

Dean drained his glass.

*

Meg Masters left the station a week later. Dean never managed to get a look at her--he knew she was blonde and small from her file, but there were too many people on the station, and he couldn't put out an official security warning without Bobby finding out.

It was another week before he broke down and went to visit Ambassador Castiel.

"Mr. Winchester," said Castiel, in his perpetually even tone. "I was wondering when you would come here."

"I want to know what's going on."

"There are few things in the universe more dangerous than inaccurate knowledge," said Castiel.

"I'd say my knowledge now isn't exactly perfect."

Castiel regarded him for a long minute, and finally said, "What do you know about your brother's ship?"

"If I tell you that, will you tell me something?"

"That depends," said Castiel. "What would you want to know? You already know my question."

Dean considered. "I wanna know what you know about my family."

Castiel nodded. "That is acceptable."

"Okay," said Dean. It was harder to admit than he thought, and he took a deep breath before he said, "I got the call when the Icarus had been out of contact for one month. They were declaring it lost. I was his next of kin, so I got the good news." Dean shrugged. "I don't know much about what they were doing."

"Your brother didn't tell you?" asked Castiel.

"We didn't talk much."

If Castiel was surprised by his explanation, it didn't show on his face. "I see," he said. He nodded. "I know that your mother, Mary Winchester, was the captain of the Jackson, and that you, your brother, and your father escaped from the ship before it was destroyed. I know she did not. Your father served on the same ship as Commander Singer during the Minbari War. He was killed in the Battle of the Line." Castiel met Dean's eyes. "This is why you still distrust Minbari." He shrugged. "As to your brother, he disappeared during an expedition into an area of space which is surrounded by prophecy among my people. I have no concrete knowledge of what happened to him there, but I'm sure that your brother is no longer with us."

"But this Meg chick," said Dean, "she's fine."

Castiel considered him again. "I met with Ms. Masters," said Castiel. "She came to me. I believe she is no longer the person she was when she went aboard the Icarus."

Dean snorted. "You knew her, huh?"

"No," Castiel said. "But we have done research."

"Who's we?"

"Mr. Winchester," said Castiel. "I assure you, I will explain everything. When the time is right."

"And when's that supposed to be?"

Dean wasn't surprised when he didn't have an answer.

*

Dean learned about the Centauri attack when a brawl broke out in the Zocolo.

He'd never exactly been an expert on Narn/Centauri relations. He knew there was a lot of history there--Narn had been enslaved, broke free, and that was the kind of thing that left a lot of lasting bad blood.

But it was supposed to be history.

"Ash, what the hell do you have down there?"

"Looks like we got a riot on our hands, Mr. Winchester, I--"

There was a crash somewhere and then static.

"Fuck!" Dean exclaimed. "Any security personnel in the Zocolo, report. Anyone in the area, get down there, it sounds bad."

"Narn opened fire on a Centauri outpost--no warning, no provocation," Lieuntenat Commander Harvelle supplied. "News just hit ISN. I'd get down there, chief."

"Fantastic," Dean muttered. "Thanks, Lieutenant Commander. On my way."

It wasn't that he thought the Narn and the Centauri were all friendship and rainbows now, he just hadn't ever really had to deal with it. It was a distant thing that involved those other races, the ones he never really had to see.

Now, it was a riot in his station.

He met H'Rik on his way down.

"Tell me you're here to mediate," said Dean, "because otherwise I might start a riot."

"My people didn't start this," said H'Rik.

"Your people attacked a colony," said Dean. "Explain to me how that isn't starting it."

"The riot in the Zocolo is Andelier's problem," said H'Rik. "Let him calm his people down."

"Yeah, because Gabriel is who I want acting as a voice of reason. He's gonna tell me I should cram every Narn on this station into an airlock and hit the button."

"He's wrong."

"No shit. Come on."

Gabriel wasn't in the Zocolo, but Chuck was, doing his best. Of course, Chuck's best was pretty pathetic, but at least he was there.

"Mr. Winchester!" he said, sounding somewhere between hopeful and scared shitless.

"What the hell is happening, Chuck?"

"I tried to stop them, but I guess I'm not really very authoritative," he said.

"No kidding," Dean muttered. "Where's Ambassador Andelier?"

"I haven't seen him."

"Perfect." Dean glanced around, checking if he actually had any backup. It was a smattering of guys, but--they actually had training. "All right!" he shouted, as loudly as he could. No effect. He glanced at Chuck. "Are you helping?"

"I'm not really a fighter," said Chuck. "I'm more--backup."

"Great," said Dean. "Then get out of the way."

*

"The Commander wants you to come to the Council chambers as soon as you're feeling better," said Jess, shaking her head. "You're gonna have one hell of a shiner."

"Don't you have some magical alien cure-all that fixes that?" Dean asked. He tried his jaw out. "Fuck."

"Even if I did, I wouldn't give it to you."

"Don't you have a Hippocratic oath or something? About not being a bitch?"

"Hmm, it's not ringing a bell!" said Jess. "You are totally medically sound. Get out of here."

Dean headed up to Bobby's office, stopping by the Zocolo to check out the damage. Maintenance were out in full-force trying to put the place back together, and medics were patching up the injuries that weren't bad enough to warrant a trip to Medlab.

No excuse to put off seeing Bobby.

Gabriel was already there when he arrived.

"Oh, now you show up," said Dean.

"Mr. Winchester, I don't know what you're talking about."

"Leaving your aide to deal with a goddamn riot? Yeah, that's exactly how an ambassador is supposed to act."

"Calm down," said Bobby.

"The Narn attacked our colony," said Gabriel. "We were provoked. If you want to solve this, I say you find the nearest airlock and get the Narn in there."

"Yeah," said Dean, "that's what I thought you'd say."

"No one is getting put in an airlock," said Bobby.

"Where's H'Rik, anyway?" asked Dean. "I figured you guys would already be at each other's throats."

"He's still in Medlab," Harvelle interjected. "Dr. Moore was going to him after you, Winchester."

"Now see, if I'd been down there, you would have no ambassadors," Gabriel quipped.

"And my life'd have a lot less headaches," Bobby shot back. "Listen, Ambassador, I understand that you have history with the Narn. Hell, I'm on their side in this one. But you have to make sure your people keep this off my station."

"If the Narn are going to bring it to us here, we're going to bring it back."

"Except they didn't," said Harvelle. "They attacked a colony."

"And if they attacked one of your colonies, you would be just fine," Gabriel sneered.

"The goal of this station is peace, Ambassador," said Bobby. "Not barroom brawls. If you don't like it, we'll show you the door."

"And before you get all snippy," said Harvelle, "yes, we're going to tell H'Rik the same thing."

"I still think you should go with the airlock," said Gabriel. He smirked at Harvelle. "Narn don't listen well to reason."

"Believe me, Ambassador Andelier," said Harvelle, with a smile so sweet it couldn't be real, "I'm not ruling out shoving all of you out an airlock."

"Have I ever mentioned you're my favorite, Lieutenant Commander?" said Gabriel. "If you're ever lonely--"

"I will never be that lonely," said Harvelle brightly.

"Please don't hit on my second-in-command, Ambassador," said Bobby mildly. "How are the colonies doing?"

Gabriel gave him a smile, all teeth. "We take care of our own, Commander. Don't worry."

*

Dean mostly slept normal hours these days. Not as long as he was supposed to, but enough that he was functional, capable.

There was a time when he would have been awake at three in the morning, but now, the call on his link shocked him out of a dream he didn't entirely remember, and it took time for him to lug himself out of bed and check in.

"Winchester."

"A Narn colony just got taken out," Harvelle told him. Dean sometimes wondered if she ever slept.

Dean woke up instantly, grabbed at his uniform. "Centauri?"

"No one knows. No one saw anything," said Harvelle.

"There's always witnesses."

"Not this time," she replied. "Are you on your way to the Zocolo?"

"Of course I am."

Harvelle sighed. "Good. It sounds like a massacre."

"If there were no witnesses, it'd have to be." He headed out the door. "Give me the quick run-down."

"No one knew anything had happened until the colony didn't respond to a carrier that was coming in. They came out of jump and it was a graveyard."

"Shit," said Dean.

"I know the Centauri are going to be blamed," Harvelle said, like she wasn't sure she should be telling him this, "but I don't buy it."

Dean nodded, and then remembered she couldn't see it over the link. "Yeah, I'm with you. The Centauri haven't got anything that can do that."

"Exactly." Harvelle huffed. "If it was them, I assume we'll hear from Gabriel about it soon enough."

"Great, looking forward to it." Dean sighed. "All right, I'm going to get a team together to make sure everything stays quiet in the Zocolo. I'll let you know any developments on my end."

"Same here," said Harvelle. She paused. "Good luck, chief."

Dean couldn't help a smile. "You too."

*

Gabriel took the credit.

"They don't have the fire power," said Harvelle.

"I'm with her," said Dean.

"New weapons?" Jess suggested.

"Nothing I've heard about," said Bobby. "And God knows Gabriel can't keep his mouth shut."

"Yeah, he'd be bragging to everyone who'd listen," said Dean. "Kinda like he is now, but legit."

"It doesn't really matter," said Harvelle. "H'rik believes it, and we're about to have a war on our hands. Are you ready for that, Winchester?"

"Did my force triple in size during this meeting?" asked Dean. "If not, then no, we are not ready for a fucking warzone in Babylon 5. Jesus."

Bobby'd been quiet this whole time, thoughtful, but now he looked up at Dean with a grim expression. "Not to pile on with the good news, but I just got orders from Earthforce. I'm being reassigned."

Dean's jaw dropped. "Reassigned?"

"You're looking at the new ambassador to Minbar."

"Commander--" started Harvelle. She was pale, much paler than Dean would have expected. She looked horrified. "You can't--I thought that was a rumor."

"You really thought your own mother would be spreading rumors?"

Jess raised her hand hesitantly. "Am I missing something here?"

"Captain Harvelle will be here in a week," said Bobby. "She'll be taking over."

"And you're just--leaving," said Dean.

"That's how being a soldier works, son. They say jump, you say how high. They say go to Minbar, you say when do I leave?"

There was more to the meeting--strategies for how to deal with the Narn and Centauri, discussions of the new captain, some gentle ribbing of Harvelle about her reporting to her mother. But Dean didn't really hear any of it. All he had was the roaring in his ears, and the abject terror of someone new. He wasn't fit for this job. No one but Bobby would take him. Captain Harvelle would take one look at his file and replace him with someone more suited to the position, someone who didn't have a record a mile long.

He came back to himself when he felt Bobby's hand on his shoulder. "She's not gonna kick you out, kid."

"Yeah, because I'm such a great bet for this job."

"The job's your's, dumbass," said Bobby. "You're already doing it, and you're good at it. Ellen's not going to kick you out. She remembers John too."

Dean jolted up. "Ellen? Not--"

"Your dad always called her Starkiller, yeah," said Bobby. "Don't worry about it, Dean. She knows you've had a rough time." He clapped Dean on the shoulder. "I'm sure your second year here will go just as smoothly as the first."

Dean snorted. "I dunno if I can handle another year this smooth."

"Yeah you can," said Bobby, and, strangely, made him feel a little better.

********

YEAR TWO

The first thing he saw was crystal, everywhere, like he was inside a geode. And then a face. Minbari, he thought. The word came to him, unbidden, not quite recognized.

He tried to move, but a firm hand pressed him down. "You must rest."

He was tired. "Where am I?" he asked, relaxing into his strange bed. He had no sheets, and the hard mattress was at an odd angle. His head felt as if it had been wrapped in cotton.

"In Tuzanor, on Minbar," said the woman. "Do you remember anything?"

It was strange to realize he didn't, not really. "No," he said, slowly. "I don't--nothing."

The woman nodded. "I did not think so. We found identification--your name is Samuel Winchester."

"Samuel," he repeated, frowning. "Sam. I'm--Sam."

"My name is Annan," said the woman. "You were found adrift in an escape pod from a commercial ship from Earth, the Icarus."

Sam shook his head. "I don't remember any of that."

"Do you know a man named Bobby Singer."

He shook his head again. "No. It doesn't sound familiar."

"He is the Earth Ambassador," she said. "He said he knew you, and asked to see you when you awoke." Sam just looked at her blankly, and she continued, "Do you feel prepared to see him?"

"Sure," said Sam, shrugging. "Why not? I'm not doing much else."

Annan bowed slightly. "Of course. I will return shortly. Do you require anything else?"

"Um, no," said Sam. "Thanks."

He tried to relax, but the weird bed was hard to get used to. Why could he remember but beds were supposed to be like, but not where he grew up? He knew about Earth, but the specifics of his own life were a complete mystery.

And how the hell did he get to Minbar? He didn't think--

"Sam? Is that you?"

An older human man came in, dressed in brown robes. There was nothing familiar about him.

"I guess so," said Sam.

The man clapped him on the shoulder. "It's good to see you, son. Your brother's been going crazy missing you."

Sam wrinkled his brow; something was niggling there, just a little, but--no. He had no idea. "My brother?"

The man's face fell, and Annan said, "As I explained, Entil'Zha, he has no memories."

"Not even Dean?" asked the man.

"No," said Sam, feeling a little guilty. "Not Dean."

*

The third time Meg Marsters came to Babylon 5, Dean arrested her.

She was pretty much as he'd expected--small, blonde, looked unimpressed with the world. Ash looked pretty unimpressed too, Dean assumed because he'd arrested some random chick for no apparent reason. He couldn't really blame the guy.

"May I ask what this is about?" asked Meg.

"You were on the Icarus," said Dean.

"Excuse me?"

"The Icarus. Owned by Interplanetary Expeditions. Left for an archaeological mission in December of 2256. No one from that ship has been seen for four years, and now here you are."

"Is that a crime?" she asked.

"No," he granted. "But I'd like to hear the story anyway."

"You're--Dean Winchester, right?" asked Meg. "Sam's brother."

Dean clenched his jaw. "You know Sam?"

"I did," said Meg.

"What happened to him?"

She shrugged. "I don't remember."

"Wow. Convenient."

"It's true. I don't know what happened to the ship. I woke up, and Sam wasn't there."

"Where?"

"With my rescuers."

"And your rescuers were...?"

"You don't know them," said Meg shortly. "Are you accusing me of anything, Mr. Winchester? Or am I free to go?"

Dean sighed. "Yeah, get out of here."

He slumped down in his chair, debating the merits of calling Jess to grab a drink. On the one hand, they were both on duty. On the other, it would be worse to drink alone and she'd have his back.

"So, uh, can I ask about that?" said Ash.

"No," said Dean. "No, Ash, you cannot ask about that."

Ash nodded. "Yup. That's what I thought."

*

From the Ambassador--call me Bobby--Sam learned more about himself. His parents were both dead, but Dean was alive, on a station called Babylon 5, where Bobby was last stationed. Bobby didn't want to tell Dean about Sam yet, not as long as Sam didn't remember anything. It seemed strange to Sam, but it's not like he could claim to know his brother. He could defer to Bobby for now.

And he liked Minbar. He thought he might have wanted to visit, before. His father died in the Minbari War, according to Bobby, but Sam knew in the way he still knew certain things that he had still been curious about Minbari. He asked Bobby about it, but that made him go tight lipped and closed off, and Sam figured he shouldn't push it.

So he could stay put, for now. He liked being here. But he wasn't allowed to go far, and after a month of just reading and trying to remember, he was starting to feel more than a little bored.

"Who are the humans?" he asked Annan, when she brought in his meal.

"The humans?" shed asked.

"The ones in brown robes, like Bobby's. I've seen them around the complex. Who are they?"

"They are the Anla'Shok. The Rangers, in your language." Sam gave her a blank look, and she smiled. "Even if you had not lost your memory, you would not know of them. Only since Entil'Zha--the ambassador--came here have we allowed humans to join their ranks. They are--not quite soldiers. They are tasked with the protection and preservation of life."

"Oh," said Sam. "Why did you let humans join?"

"It was the only way Entil'Zha would agree to take command."

Sam frowned. "Bobby's in charge?"

"Yes," said Annan. "That is what Entil'Zha means. Ranger One."

Sam had just kind of assumed it meant Ambassador; his study of Minbari wasn't going particularly quickly. "Why did you want him in charge? If you weren't even letting humans in before that."

"It is a long story," said Annan. "There are prophecies."

"Oh," said Sam. He knew Minbari believed in prophecy, but it was strange to be faced with it like this. "So, um, can anyone become a Ranger?"

*

"You look like you're about ready to shoot yourself."

Dean looked up and gave Jess an expression he hoped came off as a rueful smile. "I'm running out of space to lock up the Narn and Centauri who have been fighting. I don't have enough time or enough staff to deal with all the other brawls breaking out. I don't really want this war to end because the Centauri are winning, and I kind of like Gabriel, but he has as much power as I am ever comfortable with him getting. Captain Harvelle is watching me like a hawk, Commander Harvelle is pissed she's reporting to her mom and taking it out on everyone else, and I'm starting to think taking this job was the absolute worst way to stop drinking."

"Wow," said Jess. "Sucks to be you."

"Have I mentioned how much I appreciate your positive attitude and sympathetic bedside manner?"

"Once or twice."

"So what brings you my way?"

Jess bit her lip, like she wasn't sure she should really be saying anything. "Have you heard from Commander Singer?"

"Admiral Singer," Dean corrected. "No. Why?"

"I feel like there's stuff going on," Jess said. "Big stuff. You think it's a coincidence that he got sent to Minbar right as our Minbari ambassador goes into a cocoon and comes out as--some weird hybrid."

Dean snorted. He'd been trying not to think too much about what, exactly, happened to Castiel. It was firmly in the realm of Shit That Did Not Concern Him. He didn't really have to know why the guy suddenly had hair. "Weird hybrid? Is that a medical term?"

"Screw you," said Jess. "But you get it, right? There's something going on here. Something bigger than the Centauri and the Narn, something bigger than the station. But we're right in the middle of it anyway, and I don't know why."

"Because we're awesome," said Dean, going for levity. Jess didn't look impressed, and he sobered. "Yeah, I get it. You know, I met a dead woman a few weeks ago."

"A dead woman?"

"From my brother's ship."

Jess's eyes widened, and she put her hand over her mouth. "Was he--"

"She didn't know anything about him," said Dean. "She said." He rubbed his face. "Look, I don't know what's happening. I don't know where the Centauri are getting their firepower, or why Bobby left, or why Castiel decided to grow hair. I'm still hoping everything is just gonna blow over."

"You really think that's gonna happen?" asked Jess.

"No," Dean granted. "But denial's going really well for me, okay? Let me have this one, doc."

Jess shook her head. "Just as long as I'm not the only one who sees this."

"You kidding?" asked Dean. "Everyone sees this."

*

He was reminded just how true that was

Date: 2013-10-31 03:33 am (UTC)
elizardbits: (dino love)
From: [personal profile] elizardbits
i feel very strongly that there should be more of this

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