Monthly Archives: June 2014

Barriers Come Down | 4. Hands

Summary: It became something that they couldn’t avoid — letting their guard down against their will.

Notes: A series of multi-genre ficlets centered on the growing bond of a mismatched crime-fighting duo. Initiated on 23 January 2014.


IV: Hands
[Written on 27/5/2014; 507 words]

For the first time ever, he notices his hands.

Sandor slowly approaches the slouched figure of his dozing companion from behind, copper-brazen eyes studying the form of his hands with a renewed curiosity. He furtively edges forward, sidling right next to him as he gently rests his own fingers upon the glossy surface of the wooden desk.

His own gnarled, calloused, worn-out fingers… inches apart from his.

He stares, fixated, entranced, at the shape, the outline, the texture of Zion’s hands. His eyes consume their detail, marvelling at the surreal exquisiteness that envelops them. They appear to glow beneath the feeble light of Zion’s desk-lamp, shedding clarity upon the true extent of the sanctity of his complexion — a seamless expanse from which remnants of scars have long faded. Fair and radiant, though hardly delicate at all — the sturdiness of his fingers holds the beauty in place, surrounding it with an adequate touch of masculinity.

His eyes drift to the watch that encircles Zion’s left wrist — he’s wearing his black one today, sleek and lined with silver rims. Its dark colours enhance the illusive brightness of his skin.

Sometimes, he wonders if it’s even possible to have such good skin.

He looks back at his own hand, positioned rather closely next to Zion’s limp arm. For once, he is careful not to stir him from slumber, wanting to drag the moment on for as long as he can. He stares at their hands, taking in the vast difference between them…

And suddenly, a spark of longing darts through his nerves.

A longing to touch, to feel, to reach forward and grasp…

Just inches apart. 

In another world, he reaches out, fingers clasping firmly around the hand of the friend he’s lived with for at least a year. He imagines caressing it, tracing his thumb over its smoothness, leaving imperceptible marks of his contact all over his skin. He imagines slipping his fingers through the crevices and binding his hand in place, allowing its warmth to seep into his own skin, his own tainted skin…

Reality crashes forth and Sandor stares at his hand, frozen stiff in its static position. He forces the yearning back into oblivion, and bars the electricity buzzing through his fingers.

“S… Sandor?”

“H-huh?” Sandor snaps his head to look at his now awakened companion, feigning innocence. “U-uh… what’s up?”

“What were you… agh….,” Zion lifts his forehead from the table, vision obscure as grogginess weighs down his motions. “What were you… do… ing… ”

“H-hey, hey…” At once, Sandor slings an arm around the brunet’s shoulders, hoisting him up… and hoping to evade the subject. “Heesh, Zee… you should really go to bed earlier or something, I mean, you look even worse than a zombie grandma.” He snickers.

Zion grunts irritably in response but leans on Sandor’s weight anyway, allowing the taller boy guide him across the room.

He doesn’t notice at all when Sandor lightly grasps his hand on the way — stroking it a while before letting go again.

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Barriers Come Down | 3. Mother

Summary: It became something that they couldn’t avoid — letting their guard down against their will.

Notes: A series of multi-genre ficlets centered on the growing bond of a mismatched crime-fighting duo. Initiated on 23 January 2014.


III: Mother
[Written on 12/5/2014; 432 words]

“Hey, hey! Luce~!”

“… Mmm… ?”

“Gah… come on, Luce, you aren’t even listening!”

“H-hey, I need to—!”

“Study later, will ya’?”

————

“She’s pretty obsessed with flowers.”

“… Why do you say that?”

“I mean, look,” Sandor jabs a finger, copper eyes widening as he extends his neck to get a closer look. “Flowers, flowers, flowers, more flowers… it’s like every flippin’ picture of her has flowers in it.”

————

“… Come again?”

An exasperated groan. “I mean… what do you think our lives’ll be like in the future? Geez… don’t tell me you’ve never thought about that.

“Well….”

“Nah, you probably haven’t. Considering all you do every day is study and ogle at—”

“AHHHHHH! SHHHHHH!!! DEB-BIIIIIIIE!!!!!!!!”

“O-okay, ok— ow! OKAY— OUCH! OKAY! I’m sorry! Forget I said anything!”

————

“You’re going to have to ask my dad about that,” Zion gives an absent-minded reply, sifting idly through the photos. “He’s quite the expert on ‘your mother used to’s’.”

Sandor nods wordlessly — a startling deviation from his usual demeanour — as he wonders how many more dads like Zion’s even exist in the world.

————

“You wanna be with him, don’t you?”

“… Yes… But…”

“Luce, you can’t just ‘but’ around when you want something. Just go for it. Follow your heart, you know.”

“… Yeah…”

————

“Mening— whut?”

Meningitis,” Zion enunciates with exaggerated clarity, breathing a sigh. “It’s caused by an inflammation of the spinal cord—”

“Ooookay, can we stop talking in Zionspeak and go back to English ‘cuz I’m kinda lost right now.”

————

“After college, I’m gonna get married.”

“… ?”

“I’m gonna get married, and you are too. And then, we’re gonna have kids and when we meet up again, we’re gonna introduce them to each other—”

As Deborah chants on, Lucinda lets a soft smile sneak onto her lips.

“… and our kids are gonna be best friends!”

————

“Sandor.”

“H-huh?” He snaps out of his reverie. “… S’up?”

“Have you ever,” he pauses, his throat feeling dry, “… wondered what your mother could be doing right now?”

“…. Who knows,” Sandor shuffles away, tone laced with a sudden brusqueness. “Maybe she hooked up with another jackass, I’unno, or maybe she got run over by a car or someth—”

“Stop it,” the brunet snaps, feeling mildly disgusted. “You’re giving me a headache.”

“…. Sorry,” his companion whispers, before slipping into a bout of silence — one that is enough to send a pang of guilt rippling through Zion’s heart. He is about to apologize in turn—

“Hey.”

“… Yes?”

“Can we…”

“……”

“Can we… stop talking about moms now?”

“… Alright.”

Barriers Come Down | 2. Fear

Summary: It became something that they couldn’t avoid — letting their guard down against their will.

Notes: A series of multi-genre ficlets centered on the growing bond of a mismatched crime-fighting duo. Initiated on 23 January 2014.


II: Fear
[Written on 13/2/2014; 938 words]

Sandor Mothwing knew no fear.

It was something that all of them had come to know, had grown to accept, and had come to acknowledge that it was simply an intrinsic part of his very essence without even realizing it. It became such a natural, everyday part of life for them — his very partners whom he had to work with on a regular basis — that they’d learnt to let it breeze past them as quickly as Sandor would often do himself, darting down the path in pursuit of a fleeing evildoer with a cocky grin etched deep into his features.

Bethel had stopped throwing tantrums and chiding him for his recklessness and utter ‘idiocy’ soon enough, and it didn’t take long for Marcia to follow suit, now only able to express her frustration in the most energy-conversing way she could — a deep, indicative sigh. Gil managed to hold out a little longer though, having a rather impressive degree of patience that far outweighed that of the girls. Jehiel, on the other hand, had scarcely bothered to even try, deeming it nothing but a waste of time in his typical condescending manner.

And sure enough, only Zion was left. Left to shoulder the ramifications of his friend’s recklessness all on his own.

It wasn’t like he had much of a choice either, being the only member of the group with known healing capabilities. More often than not, the beanie-clad boy would be the one saddled with casting recuperative spells over Sandor’s many cuts, bruises, wounds and injuries — most of which were completely unnecessary. More often than not, he’d make scathing comments about Sandor’s disregard for his own safety as he did, putting it as bluntly as he could that whatever he was doing was only making himself a nuisance for everyone. There were times when Zion even withdrew from speaking to the boy for as long as it took for his anger to subside, and Sandor would simply wait for him to cool down, keeping his distance while looking visibly downcast.

Because it was just that aggravating. How he didn’t listen. How being fearless was something he so foolishly prided himself on, and so he wouldn’t listen.

Sandor Mothwing knew no fear, and his sheer stubbornness had made it clear.

Zion knew it was rather horrible on his part to wish for any harm to befall his partner-and-friend, but if it was the only way – the only way – that he could knock some sense into the boy then so be it. He was silently hoping for the day that he’d wind up in an even worse state, with wounds and injuries and a pain far worse than what he’d experienced so far, and finally concede to the fact that they were right and he was wrong and that he had been acting stupid all the while and he’d never do it again.

And sure enough, it came, in a way he had never expected.

It had been the middle of the night when a sudden noise pierced into his consciousness, jolting him out of his slumber… on the couch. Zion blinked blearily, and it took him a moment to remember that they’d settled for spending the night watching a movie at Sandor’s insistence. He turned his head, searching warily for the source of the sound before it came reverberating through the hollow corners of his head again.

Whimpering.

Zion cocked an eyebrow, wondering if his ears were playing tricks on him. Nevertheless, he slowly got off the couch he’d been occupying, pacing closer and closer to the source.

It wasn’t long before he realized that what he heard had been completely real.

As real as the trembling form that lay lengthwise on the opposite couch, drenched in a daunting layer of perspiration.

Trembling, panting, tossing, turning.

“Sandor… ?” Zion ventured closer, eyeing him tentatively.

Desperation. Fright.

“Sandor,” he called again, now in a clearer tone as he approached him, reaching out to grab his convulsing shoulder.

Fear.

Absolute fear.

Sandor!” Zion yelled, giving him a single, forceful shake to snap him out of it. In an instant, his flatmate awoke with a start, letting out a gasp of pure shock before whipping around to face him.

Zion could’ve sworn he caught a glimpse of a tear.

“O-Okay,” he spoke slowly, trying to reorganize his thoughts. Thinking that it would be best to first calm Sandor down, he kept a firm grip on both of his tense, hunched up shoulders. “Relax. It was just a nightmare. Okay? Just… relax.”

It was difficult to even hear himself talk against Sandor’s heavy, erratic breathing. Zion could tell that he was struggling to string a proper sentence, only managing to give a few stiff, subtle nods in response to his prior coaxing.

“Geez, that guy could go on talking for days if you’d let him.”

Zion loosened his hold on his shoulders, slowly sitting down next to him on the edge of the couch. He tried speaking to him a lower tone, ignoring the whirlwind of confusion that had taken root in his mind. “Sandor?”

He almost felt his soul escape him when Sandor seized him roughly by his shirt, crumpling it up in a desperate hold.

“S-Sandor—“

“S-Sorry…” he stuttered between pants, burying his face deep into Zion’s chest. “I-I’m s-sorry… I—”

“……”

“—n’t wanna go back… Please—“

“……”

“… D-don’t l-leave—“

Zion remained silent as he felt the tears soaking through, before hesitantly putting his arms around his friend’s sobbing form.

Maybe he didn’t want him to experience something worse after all.

Barriers Come Down | 1. Smile

Summary: It became something that they couldn’t avoid — letting their guard down against their will.

Notes: A series of multi-genre ficlets centered on the growing bond of a mismatched crime-fighting duo. Initiated on 23 January 2014.


I: Smile
[Written on 22/1/2014; 475 words]

He would never have guessed that he — the most ungracious, boisterous person of all time with the most blatant disregard for the purpose of all forms of etiquette to boot — could be capable of something so gentle.

The first time he’d seen it, it was as though it’d never happened. It’d fizzled out as quickly as it’d flashed into existence, so quickly that Zion was half-convinced that it just simply didn’t happen.

 Did it happen?

The days, the months, the expanse of time that followed were ample proof.

Nevertheless, it just seemed so unreal, though, that such a smile could manifest itself on Sandor’s lips — a smile worlds apart from his trademark grin of mischief. Modest, tender, warm, and oozing with an almost nun-like compassion, accompanied by a sudden softening of his brazen, copper eyes.

The shift was subtle, but surely enough, the sight became increasingly difficult to elude.

Most of the instances accommodated mere half-seconds. Sometimes, Zion would catch a glimpse of it amidst their conversations. Sometimes, it’d happen whenever the taller boy had his eyes fixed upon a select few things that appeared to enrapture him more than usual (scampering stray puppies were no exception), surveying them silently from wherever he might have been — the change would then take time, settling tentatively over his features, gradual as the first signs of spring.

Eventually, Zion lost restraint before he could even stop himself, becoming daring enough to silently observe the process from the corners of his cold, appraising eyes, having mastered the art of turning away and pretending to be occupied with other things should his friend perk up and eye him with another round of his typical childlike curiosity.

It came to a point where no one could spot it as well as he could… this he’d come to realize a while later. It began to puzzle him, how it was that he’d always be the one to catch a fleeting glance of it before it hid itself beneath another vibrant mask of laughter, jokes, hollers and hoots.

How it was that it didn’t bother anyone else as much as it did him.

How was it that it didn’t intrigue anyone else as much as it did him.

So much that before he knew it, it’d become a habit of his to capture and then commit every single sight of it to his memory — a possibility that he’d deny, and deny, and deny all over again.

Why was he getting so worked up anyway?

… It was getting a bit frustrating that he couldn’t answer the question.

Why did it bother him? Why did it intrigue him? Why was it that he seemed to be the only one who knew, who’d seen this side of him.

It had never occurred to him it might have been because he had let only him.