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Sonata no 1: an Only Lovers Left Alive fanficlet (1/1)
bronxdawn
Title: Sonata no. 1
Characters: Eve/Adam
Rating: PG (for some violence)
Category: Drama

Summary: I've always wondered what attracted Eve to Adam and wanted to know how and why she turned him. Then I saw the painting The Violin Student, Paris by Stephen Seymour Thomas and was suddenly inspired! You can see the painting here:

http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/full.php?ID=127009


London, 16th Century


Eve was tired.

Time had seemed to fly by up until now; the decades passing like mere seconds, then hundreds of years gone by in a whirl of endless colorful experiences. She had spanned the globe, soaking up all of it with gusto; now suddenly, inexplicably she was tired.

Even being back in England on her home soil hadn't stopped the weariness she felt starting to creep into her bones or the apathetic mood beginning to take hold. It was taking longer for her to wake up each night; she found herself wanting to burrow deeper into her comfortable and safe tomb and never come out again. Her appetite wasn't nearly what it once was; she'd barely fed for a week and felt only vague hunger pangs.

Was it finally time for her to meet the sun?

She pondered this as she lounged languidly on the soft mossy ground of the cemetery, looking up at the sky full of countless stars. Suddenly she cocked her head to one side as she heard the faint strains of music floating on the night air. She got to her feet and leaped deftly over the wall, walking towards the sound.

Eve's unfailingly keen sense of hearing led her down dark and nearly deserted streets to the source of the music. She paused in front of an elegantly designed stone mansion and crept soundlessly up to the only window on the ground floor that glowed with candlelight and peered in.

A young man stood in the middle of the room playing a violin, his eyes closed in intense concentration. She guessed him to be about 25 years old, a mere boy. Pale, tall and slender, with sleek dark curls that gleamed in the candlelight. Both he and the room he stood in were dressed simply but luxuriously in fabrics that proved obvious wealth.

She was surprised to find that she didn't recognize the tune he played, though she had studied every conceivable form of music from across the world over the centuries. She realized with a startled thrill that this music was entirely new; being brought up from the depths of this young man's soul and out through his fiercely flying fingers.

He was exquisite.

She leaned against the cool stone of the house and closed her eyes with a satisfied smile, letting the music wash over her, breathing in every glorious note. Her joie de vivre began to return. How could she even think of leaving the world when there was such beauty in it? It was almost like feeling the sun on her face again, after centuries in the dark.

The sun!

Her eyes popped open with a start as she realized the sunrise was very close and if she wanted to survive it she'd have to hurry home. Reluctantly she moved from the window and rushed quickly away.

**************

The following night, she awoke alert and refreshed, knowing exactly what she wanted to do. She sang cheerfully to herself as she dressed in her most flattering garments, then headed directly to the house of the young musician.

When she was still yards away from his house, an overpowering scent of fresh blood almost buckled her knees. She knew without question that the blood was the musician's.

She hurried to his front door to find it wide open. The smell of his blood was stronger still and she was suddenly ravenous as if she'd hadn't fed for years instead of days. She fought to control herself when she walked further into the room and saw him on the floor, sitting upright but slumped against a settee. His right hand rested limply on his lap, a pool of blood growing around him that gushed from a long deep gash on his wrist. In addition to the cut, she could see the hand was quite obviously broken as well, his long slender fingers crushed and gnarled. A bloody knife lay on the floor beside him.

When the man heard her strangled gasp, he raised his head to look at her, his face covered with still-flowing tears. Without preamble, as if he'd known her always, he moaned miserably, "They took my VIOLIN!"

She knelt beside him, breathing heavily. "Who did this to you? What happened?"

"I came home and there were two thieves in here, taking my possessions. One of them was holding my violin. I begged them not to take it. I didn't care about anything else. I told them, they could strip the entire house bare, just please.....PLEASE leave the violin." He paused and let out a jagged sob. "They LAUGHED at me! One of them shoved me to the floor and held me down and the other one jumped on my hand to crush it. And he said, 'That's okay, lad, you won't be able to play it now anyway' and they both LAUGHED." He looked down at the hand hanging uselessly in his lap and sobbed broken-heartedly.

She picked up the bloody knife and it took all of her willpower not to lick it clean.

"And this? Did they do this to you too?"

He shook his head and closed his eyes, resting his head back on the settee. When he answered, his voice was fainter. "I did it myself.....I don't want to live anymore, not without my music. It was everything to me."

With gentle fingers Eve wiped away the tears rolling down his cheeks. "Look at me," she commanded softly.

He opened his eyes and stared at her, glumly at first, but as his eyes remained fixed on hers their expression softened.

"What if I told you that you COULD play violin again? Would you want to live then?"

"Look at my hand....you know it's not possible--"

"EVERYTHING is possible, if you just trust me." She stared into his eyes. "Will you? Trust me?"

"Yes," he breathed drowsily, his head lolling.

She stroked his cheek with the back of her hand. "Then, dear boy, you shall play the violin again. You shall play any instrument in the world that you like.....now, close your eyes."

As soon as she saw his eyes flutter closed, she picked up his bleeding, broken hand, brought it to her lips and drank.



End

Note: I was listening to some of Bach's Sonatas for violin as I wrote this little fic (YouTube them, they're beautiful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDdPvMayCY), and although Bach came along AFTER Adam was already a vampire, I decided to make it my headcanon that Adam was composing in a similar vein before Johann was, so Bach was actually sorta/kinda stealing from Adam. Adam is a bloody little prodigy, what can I say.....

Also, apologies for using such modern language in a story set in the 16th century, I wrote the dialogue down as I heard it in my head and it just flows better (to me) than using more stilted formal language.

The Captain (War Horse AU)
bronxdawn
Summary: A nurse in France during WW1 receives a much-needed boost

Rated T for violence

Disclaimers: I don’t own the character of Captain Nicholls; no copyright infringement intended. Just wanted to give him an alternate story because he breaks my heart.

France, 1914

1.
After the third time that day that she’d held a soldier’s hand as he’d died, the last one crying brokenly for his mother, she felt herself starting to come apart. She ran towards the exit of the hospital tent, tears blinding her eyes.

She nearly collided with a soldier who suddenly appeared at her side. “You mustn’t let the men see you like this,” she heard him murmur as he took her elbow and guided her outside. Too overwhelmed to respond, she let him lead her into another tent a short distance away. It was the makeshift mess hall, its post-dinner tables empty.

They were alone and it was blessedly silent.

“Here…sit down,” he said quietly, gesturing at one of the benches. When she crumpled wearily onto the bench, he sat down beside her and took a handkerchief out of his pocket, holding it out to her.

She grabbed the square of pristine white cloth and sobbed into it. The soldier patted her back gently and spoke softly to her. When she heard him saying the same sort of encouraging words to her as she did to the dying soldiers, it made her cry even harder. He handed her a small silver flask. “Sip this, it will help.”

The liquor was stronger than she was used to and made her cough, but its warmth spread through her body and did the job. She stopped sobbing and sat up straighter, raising her head to finally look at the soldier as she handed him back the flask.

He wasn’t one of the rank and file; he was a captain, in full uniform. Handsome, and young but with a mature air of authority that made him seem older. The corners of his large blue eyes crinkled warmly when he gave her a small smile. “Better?”

She nodded weakly but couldn’t manage to smile back. “Sometimes the cruelty becomes overwhelming….there are so MANY of them, and their injuries are so severe that most times we can do very little to help them. Today it became more than I could bear---I felt completely useless.”

“I can assure you that you are not.”

“For many of them, all I can do is hold their hand and tell them they’ll be alright, when I know damn well they won’t be—“ She had to stop and breathe deeply to gather herself when her eyes welled with tears again.

“Perhaps having a pretty young nurse hold their hand and speak to them kindly before they slip away is the best thing you can do for the hopeless chaps,” the captain said. “It’s a much gentler passing than they would’ve gotten on the battlefield.”

They passed the flask between them two or three times more as they exchanged names and small talk. She discovered that the captain hadn’t yet seen battle himself; his regiment was scheduled to arrive on the front in one week’s time. Her heart ached at the thought of him facing the same horrors these soldiers had been through.

Finally she felt restored enough to go back to the hospital tent. Before they parted, she offered her hand to shake his. “Thank you, Captain. Good luck, and God bless you.”

He covered his hand with hers. “And you, Jenny. You’ll remember to keep a stiff upper lip in front of the lads?”

“I’ll remember.”

“Good girl.” He smiled at her, and walked away.

****

2.
One week later, Jenny hurried around the hospital tent as the badly wounded survivors of Captain Nicholls’ regiment were brought in after their battle. She approached one stretcher which held an unconscious soldier whose features looked familiar beneath massively bruised skin, his face and torn uniform covered in blood and soil. She quickly examined him and began cleaning his wounds as best she could to prep him for surgery, though her experience told her it was most likely futile. When the soldier started moaning and his eyes flew open and darted around in a panic, her heart sank.

It was him.

She grabbed his hand and squeezed it. “Captain Nicholls…..it’s alright. You’re safe,” she said softly, and he turned to face her. His startling blue eyes were wide with fear as they focused on her. He was gasping for breath. She petted his hand gently and methodically and spoke to him soothingly.

“I don’t want to die.” His previously calm and mature demeanor was shattered; he sounded as young and vulnerable as all the others who knew they were close to death.

It took a supreme effort to keep her eyes dry and her tone light-hearted. “I’ve never heard such nonsense; you’re going to be fine. We’ll fix you up and you’ll be as right as rain before you know it.”

A sudden look of recognition crossed his face, and his panicked breathing slowed as his face relaxed into a weak smile. His fingers curled around her hand and feebly squeezed it.

“Good girl.”

He closed his eyes with a deep breath, still smiling, and his hand relaxed under hers.


End.



Author’s note: I want to leave this story here, with its ambiguous ending---maybe Captain Nicholls died right then and there, or maybe he miraculously recovered and lived a long and happy life. I leave it to the reader to decide!

NYC 1977 - a Loki AU fic
bronxdawn
Title: NYC 1977
Author: Bronxdawn
Fandom: Loki, Thor (movies not comics)
Rating: PG (for a bit of implied naughtiness)
Genre: Humor, AU (Alternate Universe)
Characters: Loki, Thor
Disclaimers: I don't own the characters of Loki and Thor (I WISH) this is strictly for fun not for profit!

Summary: Thor was not the first of Odin’s sons to be sent to Earth as punishment

Author's Note: This story is set BEFORE Loki found out he was a Frost Giant, so he's more rebellious teenager than damaged psychopath at this point

1.

He stood amidst a large throng of sweating, angry-looking mortals rushing past him. He was hot, tired, hungry and muttering a string of oaths to the All-Father under his breath. He knew he'd done wrong and had expected that Father would punish him, but Loki didn't think he deserved THIS harsh a sentence---two years’ banishment on Midgard.

Without currency or weapons or wardrobe, besides the simply-fashioned garments on his back.

Most importantly to Loki, without magic.

Knowing full well how much Loki despised feeling hot, Father had deliberately chosen to send him to the part of this realm known as New York City in the midst of their sweltering season of Summer. He'd been wandering in the swampish heat for hours on his own, loathe to lowering himself to ask a Midgardian for assistance. He explored the immediate area which he discovered was called "Times Square" -- teeming with humans of every conceivable type, and hideously designed with flashing lights and tawdry shops everywhere he turned. The sights, smells, noise and heat finally started to overwhelm him, and he slumped against the wall of a shop and sighed loudly, peering up into the hazy sky as if appealing to the Gods for help.

Two females approached him---young, dressed in short, tight-fitting, glittering garments. Not unattractive, as Midgardians went. "Hey mister, you lookin' for a good time?" one of them drawled at him.

Too weary to think of a suitably sarcastic retort, he answered truthfully, "I seek a place to dine but I haven't any currency. I know not where to go."

Their faces broke into beaming smiles as one of them blurted out, "Hey! You're from ENGLAND, aren't choo?"

"From...England?" he said uncertainly; then noticing how raptly they were gazing at him, he decided to proceed. He widened his eyes in a manner he knew made him look virtuous and younger than he was, and smiled warmly back. "Yes, I am! How did you know?"

"I'd know that accent anywhere, English accents are my favorite, ohmyGAAAWD!"

The other woman asked bluntly, "How come you ain't got no money, baby?"

Thinking rapidly, he changed his expression to one of dismay. “When I arrived here, I was assaulted, and everything I had was taken." His eyes filled with tears and his chin wobbled. "I don't know what to do now....I have nowhere to go."

One of the women whispered something in the other's ear, and after a moment, the one listening nodded her head in approval.

Loki had found his first night's lodging in New York.


2.

The females who had taken Loki in for the night proved to be full of advice about what dangers he should avoid while he was in New York.

They told him of the many human predators who surrounded the area of Times Square----men who would pretend to unintentionally bump into someone while they or an accomplice expertly slipped a hand into that person’s pocket or bag to remove their money, and men who stood behind small tables on the pavement and used trickery with cards to entice unsuspecting passersby to gamble their currency. The women called those who were gullible enough to play this consistently losing game of cards “Suckers.”

Loki listened with wide-eyed innocence, thanking both women effusively for their kindness to him and their sage warnings, all the while memorizing every scheme to implement on his own as soon as he could take his leave of them.



Within several days he’d amassed enough currency to buy himself garments more suited to a young male of New York, and procured a chamber of his own to sleep in. The room was nothing more than a hovel in a squalid dwelling full of vermin, but it was of very little cost, and the mortal who let it to Loki took his payment in cash and asked no questions.

For the time being, Loki was home.



3.

Once Loki had secured his new chambers, he ventured out to explore his surroundings, pausing when he passed a shop with lighted signs in the window reading:

“BAR” and “Ballantine Ale”

Ale!

Hoping to drown his misery in spirits, he entered the dark, dank drinking hall. As soon as he got inside, a powerful waft of stale spirits assaulted his nostrils. A portly man stood behind a long serving table made of weathered looking wood. A few men sat on tall stools in front of it. One of the men was slumped over, his head resting on the table’s surface, and was snoring softly. Loki sauntered up to them. “I want an ale,” he commanded.

I want to see some I.D., son,” the man behind the table retorted sarcastically.

“What?” Loki’s brows knitted together in angry confusion.

“You got any identification showing that you’re 18 or older?”

“No, but I am WELL past 18 years, so bring me an ale,” he answered haughtily.

“Sorry, buddy---I gotta see some legal proof or I can’t serve yuh. I could lose my license. You come back here with something proves yer over 18, I can serve yuh. And come back without that wiseguy attitude or I ain’t gonna serve yuh nuttin’.”

The soused looking man sitting closest to Loki snorted in drunken laughter.

With an exasperated exhale of breath, Loki stormed out of the drinking hall, muttering oaths. Identification?!? It was one more thing that Father hadn’t provided him with, just to make his life on Midgard even harder. As he strode furiously down the pavement, a seedy-looking man approached and walked alongside him. “Whatsa matter, kid, you ain’t got no I.D.?”

Insulted at being called “Kid” as he was hundreds of years older than anyone on this realm including this cretin, Loki stopped and glared at the man.

“What do you want?”

“It’s not what I want kid, it’s what YOU need. You don’t got any I.D., I can get you some…..for a very reasonable service charge, a’course....here’s my card. You come see me tomorra, I’ll take care a’yuh.”

Loki recognized the address on the card as a dubious-looking shop not far from where his room was, and he went there the next day. The same man who’d approached him the night before was behind the counter of the otherwise deserted shop, tapping his fingers in boredom. “Oh, hey, kid, how’re ya?”

Loki sighed in disgust at being called “Kid” yet again. He would have gladly throttled this fool for his impudence had he not required his services. “Let us proceed, shall we? How much?” The man quoted his price, then took out a piece of paper and a pen. “What’s yer name, kid?”

“Loki.”

“Low-key? Izzat your first or last name?”

Loki looked at him quizzically. “It is the name my parents gave me.”

“What’s your last name?”

“My…..LAST name?” he asked in confusion.

The man rolled his eyes. “Geeziz, what planet are YOU from? Your last name, what’s your last name?”

“I am of England. And I know not what you mean by ‘last’ name.”

“Your FAMILY name, genius. What’s your family’s name?”

He realized then what name the man was looking for, but he was far too angry at Father to admit to the name Odinson. He hesitated for a few seconds, and glanced out the window of the shop, spotting a restaurant across the road with a lighted sign that read “Howard Johnson’s.”

“Johnson,” he told the man.

The man wrote it down on a piece of paper and then looked up again. “Date of birth?”

He could not possibly tell the man his true age; he would be thought mad. “How old do you believe me to be?”

The man let out a frustrated whoosh of breath. “Look kid, I don’t really care how old ya are or when your birthday is. I’m assuming you’re underage or you wouldn’t be lookin’ for fake I.D. I’m just gonna put down that you’re 19 and you were born on June 1st, okay? Any older and it’d be pushin’ it. You can BARELY pass for 19 as it is.”

After they’d filled in the rest of the information needed, the man took a photograph of Loki and went in the back of the shop, returning a while later with a small laminated card that identified Loki as:


Name: Loki Johnson
Date of birth: June 1, 1958
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 170 pounds
Hair: Black
Eye Color: Green



4.

In spite of his wretchedness at being trapped on Midgard, there were some things about New York that he almost enjoyed. One was its subterranean transport system. It was dirty and crowded, but it had an element of chaos and unexpected lurking danger that appealed to him. And most of the Midgardians riding on it looked to be as miserable as he was.

Another was the wantonness of many of the mortals he encountered; he had his choice amongst a parade of young males and females who propositioned him daily (he learned which of them did so expecting payment afterwards and spurned them, indulging only those who simply wanted pleasure.)

Perhaps best of all was the night that every light in the city suddenly blinked out without warning, leaving many of the Midgardians in a state of panic. He was alone and prowling the streets when it happened. He halted abruptly on the pavement and paused to watch the mortals’ myriad reactions with increasing amusement, some of them looking around in confusion, others shouting oaths, some laughing and muttering nervously with their companions, some shambling along hesitantly as if blinded and some running down the pavement.

When he started walking again, he paused outside a shop and something caught his eye in the darkened front window. It was a square-shaped object he had learned was called “TELEVISION”. He grinned to himself and balled up his fist, smashing it into the window. The glass shattered with a loud, satisfying crash and he reached in to grab the object. As he rushed away with it in his arms, he heard shouts of excitement behind him. He glanced quickly over his shoulder and saw several mortals scrambling through the shop window to get inside. He ran on, laughing so giddily he could barely catch his breath.


5.

One afternoon as he walked towards his usual spot to set up the card gambling game, he heard a woman’s voice shout “Stop him, he’s got my purse!” at the same moment a man bumped roughly into him. The man dropped something at Loki’s feet as he ran quickly past, vanishing down a side street and out of sight. Loki picked up the object---it was a woman’s bag. Just as he considered dashing off with it himself, a harried looking woman rushed up to him, a small male child in her arms.

“That’s my purse!” the woman huffed, her breathing heavy from chasing the man who’d crashed into him. She put the boy down but held him protectively close to her, reaching one hand out to Loki to take the bag.

Judging by the woman’s appearance that she probably didn’t have much of value in her bag anyway, he decided to be merciful and handed it to her with his most charming smile. “Here you are.”

She clutched the purse to her chest. “Thank you SO much! At least there’s SOME honest people in this world. What kinda monster grabs somebody’s purse like that?!”

Feeling an unexpected pang of guilt, Loki found he had trouble meeting the woman’s gaze, so he looked down at the boy, who was staring up at him with wide, solemn eyes. “Michael, say ‘Thank You’ to the nice man,” the woman said to the child, who gripped her hand and timidly pushed himself back against her. “Come on, say thank you,” she coaxed him gently, to no avail. The woman smiled down at her child and looked back to Loki. “Sorry about that. He’s a good boy, he’s just very shy.”

A vivid memory from when he was very young flashed into Loki’s mind. He stood beside his mother, clutching her hand and trying to hide behind her skirt in fear as he peered up into Father’s angry face. Frigga’s hand squeezed his back reassuringly as she spoke soothing words to Odin to try and placate him about something Loki had done.

“Sss’alright,” Loki mumbled to the woman and ducked his head down further, hurrying away from her and her son. He was embarrassed to find himself wiping away tears.


6.

Loki slumped morosely in bed, mindlessly watching the Television and eating his favorite Midgardian delicacy, Chee-tos.

Ever since his encounter with the woman and her little boy several days earlier, he hadn’t been able to bring himself to set up the card game or steal anything at all. He was at a loss as to how he could survive on this realm honestly without having to debase himself with a mortal job. He would have to think of something soon; the currency he’d managed to save so far was dwindling quickly.

His eyes widened suddenly as he saw a man on the Television being introduced as “a magician.” He sat up abruptly and watched in appalled fascination as the man held a large audience of mortals in rapt attention with simple and obvious tricks that Loki could see through instantly. The performance was taking place in a part of Midgard called Las Vegas, in a glittering arena filled to capacity with what appeared to be expensively-dressed people with currency to spare.

Surely if those fools were naive enough to swallow this charlatan’s act, Loki thought, he could gain their devotion with ridiculous ease, even without his usual powers of magic.

And be paid handsomely in the bargain.

He licked the fluorescent orange Chee-tos powder off his fingers, got out of bed and reached under the lumpy mattress to pull out every bit of money he had.


7.

Las Vegas…..Seven Months Later…..



“Brother, wake up……..BROTHER…….LOKI!”

Loki felt someone shaking his shoulder roughly. He opened one bleary eye and groaned.

So he hadn’t just been dreaming. His oafish brother stood over him, frowning.

“To what do I owe this pleasure, brother,” he muttered sarcastically at Thor, sitting up and wincing at the pain in his head.

“I’ve been sent to bring you home, Loki. Father is furious. He says that you are bringing shame to the House of Odin.” Thor glared out of the hotel room window, no doubt irritated at the colossal billboard outside on the Strip featuring a larger-than-life Loki in an elegant magician’s tuxedo, striking a dramatic pose underneath the headline “LOKI - GOD OF MAGIC! CATCH THE MYSTIC KING OF LAS VEGAS NIGHTLY – ONLY AT THE STARDUST HOTEL!”

“So what else is new?” Loki’s tone remained caustic. He swung his legs over the side of the bed, picking up a silken robe from the plushly-carpeted floor and putting it on as he stood up, woozily swaying a bit before gaining his balance. He walked over to a low table and kneeled in front of it, pulling out a piece of paper currency from the robe’s pocket and rolling it up, leaning down to sniff a line of white powder off the table’s glass top into each of his nostrils. He snorted deeply and his heartbeat started thumping erratically in his chest.

He felt a hand on his arm and then Thor was pulling him roughly up to his feet to face him, yelling, “WHAT are you doing, Loki? What is this substance?”

Loki wiped his nose with the heel of his palm and sniffled, shaking himself out of his brother’s grasp. “It’s nothing, it merely helps to rise me in the morning.“

His brother’s voice became gentle. “Father is angry at you, brother, yes. But Mother is beside herself with worry. She thinks that Midgard is destroying you. I cannot say I disagree with her. “

“I’m perfectly well, Thor,” he answered defensively.

“You are NOT. You have an ill appearance, brother. There are darkish marks under your eyes and you look to be starving.” His brother looked around the room solemnly, perusing the piles of empty wine and champagne bottles, tipped over glasses and ashtrays strewn around the room, cigarette remnants and ashes spilling out of them and ground into the carpet; leftovers from Loki’s previous night’s company. Thor looked back at him. “Come home with me, Loki. We want to help you. Let us be a family again. Please.”

Truth be told, Loki was weary of Midgard. Its human inhabitants were ignorant, ill-mannered, easily-fooled buffoons who posed little or no challenge to his wits, and he had grown bored with them all.

He was ready to find his fun elsewhere.

He looked at Thor regarding him with genuine concern, and his own eyes welled with tears. “You are right, brother. I am not well. I want to go home.”

Thor pulled him into his arms, and murmured encouraging words to him. When a broken-sounding sob escaped Loki’s lips, he felt his brother’s arms grow tighter around him.

Loki cackled inwardly to himself.

“SUCKER.”




END


Notes: There really was a Howard Johnson’s Restaurant on 46th Street & Broadway

The legal drinking age in NY State in 1977 was 18 years old

The illegal card game Loki used to cheat passersby in Times Square is called Three-Card Monte; it was prevalent there in the 70s.


Lots of exciting real life events went on in NY during the summer of 1977:

The NYC blackout began the evening of July 13 and ended on July 14
The original “Star Wars” was playing in movie theatres to packed crowds
The “Son of Sam” serial killer committed his final murder in July in Brooklyn, and was arrested on August 10th.
CBGB’s was on its way to becoming a punk rock mecca (teenage Loki would’ve loved punk rock)

The albums “Rocket To Russia” by The Ramones and “Never Mind the Bollocks” by The Sex Pistols were released in 1977 (and I had them both on frequent rotation while I worked on this story)

Fictionally in 1977, Spike from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” killed a slayer on a NYC subway car. I wanted to incorporate that into this story somehow, but it just didn’t fit.

The Hollow Crown/King Henry V ficlet
bronxdawn
The Hollow Crown/King Henvy V ficlet-type thingy

I've been obsessing over Prince Hal and Poins lately, to the point where I finally had to write this little thing. Now maybe they will GET OUT OF MY HEAD. Yes, I wrote a fanfic about Shakespeare characters, I've got some damn nerve (forgive me, Will!) This is friendship stuff btw, not smut. If that's what you're looking for, sorry. It ain't here.



"Hal! Haaaaaaaaaal!"

Even through the thickness of the castle's walls, the voice floated up to him, full of drunken mirth.

"Come ye down, sweet!"

In his mind's eye he could see Poins restlessly staggering around outside, laughing to himself as he raised a jug of sack to his lips.

After more joyfully called entreaties, Poin's voice grew thicker with drink, and anger.

"Will you not come, Your *Majesty*?" he spat the last word sarcastically. "No? I've already served my purpose and you've no more use of me?"

He heard the sound of breaking glass from below, and then a rain of vile oaths spilling from Poins' mouth, the most cutting being the last. "You could not even face me, Hal? COWARDLY BASTARD!!!!"

The sounds of a scuffle were heard below, other voices shouting over Poins', and then he was silent.

He could hear the guards dragging Poins' unconscious body away, taking him to to the dungeon to await his punishment for disobeying King Henry's order of banishment---death by hanging.

*********

Harry awoke with a start, his heartbeat racing. He was alone in his bedchamber, enveloped in complete darkness.

The silence was so profound that his ears rang with it.

He brought his hands up to his face as if to try and block the vision in his head of Ned being dragged away by the guards.

He would be awake until the dawn.

Again.

/end

Paris 1918 - A Richard Harrow vignette
bronxdawn
Paris 1918 (1/1)

She had so few people stopping by her table even just to browse that she amused herself by watching the American soldier sitting alone at the café across the way. He was painfully young, of course. They almost all were. This one was dark-haired, mustached, very slim, very handsome. He was gaping around him in wide-eyed wonder and lowering his head to pencil something into a small notebook from time to time. She couldn’t be sure from this distance but it looked to her like he was drawing not writing into the book.

She saw him rise from the cafe table to leave, and then he was walking in her direction. He was just about to walk past her then he stopped, pausing to look at the sketches laid out for sale on the table in front of her. She was amused to see his eyes widen as he looked at the drawings, most of them nudes of her and her friends. She purred suggestively at him, “Do you like art, Monsieur?”

“Yuh--yes ma’am,” he stammered nervously and her smile grew wider.

“For American soldiers, I give special price. Do you see anyzzing you like?”

His face flushed as he scanned the sketches. “I like them ALL,” he murmured, laughing nervously. He paused at one of the pictures and stared at it for a few moments then he looked up at her. “This one….is that?---.”

“Oui, Monsieur. She is ME.” She winked at him and his face grew a deeper red. She brushed her fingers over the back of the hand he had resting on one corner of the sketch. “Perhaps you would like to see zee real thing, eh? My room ees very close by--”

His hand jerked away from hers, his face comically startled. “Oh, no, ma’am, I can’t. I have to get back to base, we’re leaving tomorrow---I---I’m sorry, ma’am.”

“Quel dommage, Monsieur. Perhaps anuzzer time, oui?”

“Yes, ma’am. I’d like to come back to Paris again. As soon as I can.”

“Until then, bonne chance, Monsieur--ehhhh, what is your name, cheri?”

“Richard, ma’am. Harrow.”

“Bonne chance, Reeechaaard.”

“Ummm, I’m sorry ma’am but I don’t speak French. I don’t understand?”

“I weesh you luck, Reechaard Harrow.”

“Thank you very much, ma’am. Goodbye, ma’am.” He bowed awkwardly at her and hurried away.

She sighed heavily as she watched him walk away.

Not one sale today.

She was getting too old.

She picked up the sketch of herself and looked at the artist’s signature in the corner. Her face brightened into a smile.

J. Dawson

She had an instant image in her head of a young man, a shock of blond hair falling over his face, blue eyes crinkling in amusement as they laughed together. She always remembered him laughing.

Ah, Jacques.

Jacques would not have said “No thank you, ma’am.” Jacques would have said “Yes!”

Jacques had said “Yes” to everything that came his way.

She didn’t think of him very often, but now that the Americans were in the war she wondered sometimes if he was fighting on a battlefield somewhere, a shell of what he used to be, his joie de vivre crushed by the horrors he’d seen all around him.

And then she’d pray that he’d escaped it somehow.


/end

The Amazing Tattooed Lady (a Richard Harrow fic) (1/1)
bronxdawn
Note: this fic was inspired by a poster I saw on tumblr titled “The Amazing Tattooed Lady”. Link to the poster is here (open in a new window): http://garagedump.tumblr.com/post/17803022081


The Amazing Tattooed Lady


She always spotted him right away.

Tall, thin, neatly dressed. Always on the edge of the crowd, towards the back. His hands were either in his pockets or jittering nervously at his side. The thing she noticed most was the mask covering the left side of his face. It was painted in great detail to match the other side of his face, including his eye. It gave her the creeps and fascinated her all at the same time. Whenever she made direct eye contact with him from the stage, he always dropped his head down or looked away, startled.

When he started showing up more and more to her performances her stomach would churn as soon as she saw him. She knew all the signs. He'd be showing up at the stage door one of these nights and she'd end up having to get the coppers involved.

She could always spot the ones who'd be trouble.

************

For a couple of weeks she had Eddie walk her home every night, but when the masked guy stopped showing up for her performances she started to relax again and went back to her old routine.

One night on her way home she was just passing the boarded up storefront that used to be Mandy's Candy, when she felt herself grabbed roughly from behind and pulled backwards.

"Shit!" she squealed, wriggling her body and kicking out as much as she could, trying and failing to make much impact while the man holding her struggled to get her into the dark alley next to the abandoned storefront. He was much taller than she was, and very strong.

He slammed her hard against the wall of the alley and hissed into her ear, "Bitch, hold still! I have a knife. I will CUT YOU." She froze in shock. As he jerked her around to face him, she expected to see the man with the mask, one dead painted eye staring into hers. She was surprised to see it wasn't him. This man was blonde and very handsome, blue eyes opened wide in psychotic rage. The whites of his eyes were bloodshot. He brought a beefy arm up to her chest and pushed all his weight against her, while his free hand sought something in his jacket pocket. He drew out a knife and held it against her throat. "See? Toldja. You'd better not move."

Her eyes widened in panic. "Oh, God....please," she moaned.

"Drop it." The voice was a guttural growl. Another man had joined them, and was holding a gun to the head of the man holding her against the wall.

It was the man with the mask.

She heard the gun click.

"Holy shit!" Her attacker dropped his knife in shock.

The voice growled again. "Get lost."

The attacker fled from the alley, and the masked man calmly lowered his gun and put it inside his jacket. He looked at her. "Are you okay?" His voice was still like gravel but much less harsh when directed at her.

She put her hand up to her throat, touching the spot where the knife point had been, relieved not to feel blood. She nodded mutely, breathing heavily. Her whole body trembled uncontrollably as the initial shock wore off. The attacker pushing his body against hers had brought her back to a place she’d spent years trying to escape. Only back then it hadn’t been a random stranger pressing himself against her, warning her in a rough whisper to be quiet or else she’d be sorry.

It had been her father.

The man standing in front of her reached back into his jacket and drew out a silver flask. He handed it to her. "This might..help."

She grabbed it from him and took a hearty swallow, not even bothering to ask what it was first. It was whiskey--the real deal, smooth and strong, not the usual swill they served in most of the joints she went to around town. This was what the rich swells drank.

She felt a satisfying burn all the way down to her stomach, and sank back against the alley wall in relief. She looked at the man. "Thanks, mister," she muttered, finally finding her voice again.

"It's Richard."

She took another long swig from the flask before handing it back to him. “I’m Trixie.”

"I know....I've seen your show."

She grinned at him. "Yeah. I think I've seen you there once or twice." The man’s face started flushing red, which she found strangely endearing. She’d never seen a grown man blush before.

She straightened her body up and took a deep breath. "Let's get outta here," she said, leading the way out of the alley and back onto the Boardwalk.

"I will walk you….home." He didn't ask, he was stating it as fact. She remembered how many times she'd seen him at her shows, and his jittery fingers twitching against his jacket when he watched her, and she started to wonder about him again. The other guy had had a knife.

This one had a GUN.

She decided to stall for time until she could figure out what to do next. She meandered along the Boardwalk, taking the slowest steps she could, and pausing to gaze in almost every shop window. Richard stayed by her side, at her pace, pausing every time she did. Frequently people passing them would yell out "Hey Trixie!" or "Hiya, Trix!" She'd been an attraction there for awhile and knew almost everyone working on and around the Boardwalk by now. She noticed that when the people greeting her would catch sight of the man walking with her and their eyes lingered on his mask, he always turned his head away from them to avoid their gaze.

"It doesn't bother you.....people staring at you….on stage?" Richard asked quietly.

"Nah. People have stared at me for one reason or another my whole life. Especially men. I decided I'd make 'em pay for the privilege."

"So, that's why...all the..tattoos?"

"Yeah. It was a gimmick. You gotta have a gimmick to get noticed around here."

He snorted and she saw his mouth jerk up in a smile.

"So what do YOU do, Richard?"

"What?" He looked startled at the question.

"For a living. What do you do for a living?"

An indecipherable “Hmmph” sound was all he answered as he turned his face away from her.

"Oh...sorry! I didn't mean to pry. I mean, maybe you're just between jobs or some----"

"I bootleg.....whiskey." he interrupted her.

"Oh!" She was genuinely shocked at his answer. "Honest?"

"Hmm…Yes."

"Well gee whiz, you must really trust me to tell me something like that! You could've told me you were a plumber or something, but no...you just came right out with it."

She wanted to smack herself for blurting out everything she thought as soon as she'd thought it. A cynical thought flashed through her mind that maybe he didn't care if she knew everything about him because he was gonna kill her when he got her home anyway.

He looked at her quizzically. "I want to trust…you. I didn't want....to lie." Her eye was drawn to a slash of a scar on his throat and she realized that his injuries made it difficult for him to speak more than a few halting words at a time. The wounds had left him with his unusually garbled voice and odd facial ticks. She was moved to pity.

"Well your secret's safe with me. Don't worry," she assured him.

Just then, they walked by the Arcade. She looked at Richard and arched an eyebrow at him.

"So....do you really know how to use that thing?"

"Excuse me?"

"Your gun....are you good with it?"

"Yes."

"Do you wanna prove it?"

He looked at her with such a puzzled expression she laughed despite herself and jerked her head towards the Arcade. "At the arcade, silly. Maybe you can win me something. You have to use their guns though, not yours," she teased.

As soon as they entered the Arcade, Richard gravitated immediately to the shooting gallery and picked up one of the guns. He held it for a moment, then jiggled it lightly. Frowning, he put it down and moved down the line to find another free one. The second gun seemed to meet with his approval although to her it looked exactly the same as the first one did. Richard put some coins on the counter and turned to her. "Which prize do you..want?" Her eyes scanned the shelves and settled on the largest thing in the booth---a gigantic Teddy bear that looked almost as big as she was. "I want that!" she challenged, pointing at the bear. "Okay," he answered matter-of-factly.

The man behind the counter shook his head. "No I'm sorry lady, that one's not up as a prize. That's got...whaddya call it...sentimental value. Pick anything else on the shelves." She knew he was lying that it had sentimental value. It was standard carny practice to have something that caught your eye immediately, drew you in and made you wanna play there. Seeing the annoyed look on Richard's face, she patted his arm lightly. "It's okay, you go ahead and shoot....I'll just pick out something else."

She completely forgot to look at the prize selection as soon as he started shooting. Her eyebrows raised as she watched him lean down, take aim and start firing, hitting every target that popped up without fail. After his third perfect game in a row, all the people around him stopped playing their games and started watching him too. Richard stood up straight and reached into his pockets, slapping more coins on the counter to keep playing, while the carny bounced on his heels behind the counter, looking agitated. More people walking by stopped to watch him shoot, while all the other guns stood empty.

After Richard's 5th perfect game, the carny blurted, "Okay there, bub. Yer girl can take anything from the top shelf she wants, those are the big prizes."

"She wants the bear," Richard said calmly.

"I told you, it's NOT a prize."

"Give her the bear," he answered, his voice still completely calm.

"Yeah, give 'er the bear, ya cheapskate!" someone shouted at the carny and everybody laughed.

Exasperated, the carny pulled the bear off the shelf and thrust it over the counter at her. She grabbed it tightly and smiled over at Richard, mouthing "Thanks!" over the crowd around them hooting, laughing and clapping. He smiled at her with a proud look on his face that turned startled when the beefy man next to him smacked him on the back and shouted jovially, "Atta boy, pal!"

The carny glared at Richard and said "Okay, okay, the lady got her bear. Now can you kindly leave my establishment? Yer bad for business!"

A short while later they left the Arcade, her arms tightly hugging the bear. Its plush softness felt comforting against her body, soothing her jangled nerves.

Richard walked placidly beside her, breaking off tiny pieces of the cotton candy he held in his hand and turning his head away from her each time he stuffed one in his mouth. She realized he was embarrassed to eat in front of her and she didn't ask him about it, pretending not to notice.

Before she'd realized it, they were in front of her boardinghouse door. She remembered what he'd said to her earlier about trusting her.

She decided she wanted to trust him too.

"Well, this is it. This is where I live," she said to him, putting the Teddy bear down on the ground to fumble for her key to the front door. She got the door open, picked the bear back up to place it just inside the door, and turned to Richard.

"Thanks again, Richard. You maybe saved my life. I won't forget it."

He dipped his head shyly. "Hmmph." He looked back up at her. "Can I see you....again?"

She realized then that he really had just intended to walk her home. He wasn't gonna try to push his way inside the place, like a lot of creeps she'd known would've.

She grinned at him. "Well...I dunno, Richard. I get off at 10 tomorrow. Why dontcha meet me after work and we can discuss it while you walk me home?"

His face relaxed into a smile. "Ok.....Goodnight, Trixie."

"Goodnight, Richard." She closed the door, picked up her Teddy bear and started walking up the stairs towards her room. Then she dropped the bear, ran back down the stairs again and flung open the front door.

"Richard!!" He stopped in his tracks and turned around to look at her.

"It's Jenny."

"I’m sorry?"

"My real name. It's Jenny. I don't wanna lie to you either." She smiled at him and shut her front door again.


End.

The Window (a Richard Harrow fic)
bronxdawn
Note: This vignette is set between seasons 2 and 3 of Boardwalk Empire. It is rated safe for all readers. It was inspired by a picture of a room I saw on tumblr. I wanted to give Richard Harrow this room, like a gift. So I did. Link to the pic is here (you may want to cut and paste in a new window to see it as it will take you to tumblr): http://underthesamesofa.tumblr.com/post/17584840435/a-desk-by-the-window-by-chizuru-bis


The Window (1/1)


Here, he slept with the windows open, the way he’d always been used to.

He’d tried at the last place. The first night there he’d pried open the one grimy window, stuck shut with dried paint, and raised it as high as it would go. An argument soon started in the building across from his, angry Irish brogues floating across the alley getting louder and louder, then the sounds of heavy glass smashing.

After several men had drunkenly stumbled down the alley and used the side of his building as a urinal, he’d shut the window and never opened it again.

Here the primary sounds were birds chittering through the trees outside from sunrise until dusk; then the crickets all night. Both windows stayed open always despite his landlady “tsking” at him that he’d catch his death of cold now that the weather was turning.

When she'd said that to him, he'd shrugged and grunted a noncommittal reply. He didn't know her or trust her enough yet to tell her those open windows were freedom to him.

Now when he slept, sometimes a strong wind would blow in and caress his bare face and he was back home riding Shadow across the open fields, his favorite because she was the fastest horse they had.

Or he was playing tag with Emma, chasing each other until they were both laughing in exhausted heaps on the ground. Letting her win most times even though his legs were much longer than hers and he could easily outrun her with no effort at all.

There were still those nights where he woke up drenched in sweat, forgetting where he was, and he'd have to lay there reminding himself he wasn't still over there while his pounding heart finally slowed down to normal again.

But those nights were becoming rarer.

Here, he could breathe.

Most days something came in through the open windows---spiders, ladybugs, ants. One day a praying mantis. And these days, there were always late fall leaves in various states of decay blowing in and onto the desk, the chair, the floor, even his bed if the wind were strong enough. He would sweep them all up and toss them out the window.

One afternoon he came into the room and there were several large oak leaves, brown and curled, lying in a shaft of sunlight spreading across the desk. He tossed the package he was holding onto the bed and walked over to the desk. He reached down to sweep the leaves into his palm, then stopped and left them there, staring at them for a few moments. He felt a familiar nagging pull stirring somewhere inside him.

He opened the desk drawer and pulled out a pencil, then he ripped a piece of parcel paper from the package on his bed and sat down at the desk. He smoothed out the paper and placed the radio on one corner of it to hold it in place.

It had been a long while since he’d attempted to draw anything, since the only time his hand seemed completely steady now was when it held a gun.

But it had been a long while since he’d felt this relaxed.

He started to sketch the leaves, detailing every one down to the smallest vein as best he could, until the setting sun made the room's light so dim his head was lowered very close to the page to see it. When he finally picked his head up, the last of the sunlight spilled onto the drawing, making the leaves appear a reddish pink, as if he’d drawn them in color rather than plain lead. One side of his mouth twitched up in approval.

“Hmmph.”

The next day he made a special trip into town, spending more than he could really afford on a drawing pad and the best colored pencils he could find.

End.

End Note: Brian Selznick's wonderfully detailed pencil drawings for his book The Invention of Hugo Cabret was also an inspiration for this story.

Give it a Shot (HIMYM/BarneyRobin)
bronxdawn

 

 

Title: Give It A Shot

Author: BronxDawn

 Rating: PG-13  (some cussin’)

Fandom: HIMYM/Barney & Robin

Summary: Barney really needs a “bro” and Robin is there

Spoilers: Through the end of season five

(Note:  For the purposes of this story, assume that Robin has moved out of Ted’s apt into her own.  Which really needs to happen ASAP.  Just sayin’.)

Disclaimers: Characters not mine, just having a bit o’fun, blah, blah, blah

Feedback is always appreciated and acknowledged!

 

 

In the not-too-distant future..........

 

“I need you.”

 

Barney was standing in her doorway with a lost look on his face, looking disheveled, which for Barney meant his tie was slightly askew and the top two buttons of his shirt were undone. 

 

This was BAD.

 

“Barney, what is it?”

 

“I got *fired* today.”

 

“Oh my God!  Come in.”   Robin stood aside to let him enter and closed the door behind them.  “What happened?”

 

“Someone I thought I could trust ratted me out on something I did that wasn’t *entirely* on the spectrum of total legality.  I’d tell you more but then you might be called on to testify against me if this comes to court.”

 

“Jesus, Barney!”  Her mouth dropped open in shock.  “What’re you going to do?”

 

“Long term, I don’t know yet.  They had to pay me a sweet chunk of change to let me out of my contract.  So I’ll be okay for awhile.  Short term—get dressed.  We’re going out.”

 

Robin looked self-consciously down at her comfortable but well-lived in flannel PJ bottoms.  She noticed that some of her toenail polish was chipped too.

 

Shit.

 

“Where are we going?”

 

“I plan on getting legendarily-shit-faced.  But not at MacLaren’s.  I’ve gotta really let off some steam.  So let’s go, Scherbatsky---chop chop.  I’ve got a car waiting downstairs.”

 

“Alright, let me go get changed…….”

 

As she headed towards the bedroom, Barney called out to her “A *true* friend would put on a very tight, very short skirt.”

 

She peeked her head out and smirked at him.  “Did you say that to Ted and Marshall too?”

 

Barney shook his head.  “Nah, we’ll be bro-ing it alone tonight.  They don’t even know about me being fired yet.  You know Marshall won’t leave Lily’s side for 5 minutes these days---and Ted’s got plans with Whatsername---“

 

“Barney.  STOP calling her ‘Whatsername.’  She seems really nice.  And Ted thinks she may be ‘The One’.”

 

Please.  How many times have we heard *that* one before?”

 

“True.”  She grinned at him and went back into her bedroom to change.

……………………………….

 

 

As the Lincoln Town Car drove over the QueensboroBridge, Robin’s eyebrows raised.  “Queens, Barney?  What’s in Queens?”

 

“FUN, Robin.”  At the look she gave him, he added, “Just *trust* me, okay?”

 

A short time later the car pulled to a stop in front of a seedy looking cement building.  The entire block looked dark, remote and deserted.

 

“Okay now I’m officially scared,” she remarked.  “This looks like the place Dexter takes his victims.”

 

“Robin, will you RELAX?  Come on.”  He pulled out his cellphone as he got out of the car and when Robin caught up to him she heard him murmuring into the phone “Lenny sent me.”

 

As soon as they reached the front door of the building, the door opened and a burly Asian man stood there, grinning widely at them.  “Barney!  What’s up?”

 

“’Sup, Ying,” Barney answered, bumping his fist.  Ying ushered them both inside.  Another Asian man, this one shorter and slighter and wearing an elegant grey suit rushed up to them.  “Mister Barney!” 

 

“Hey, Mister Chang.”  Barney shook his hand.   Mr. Chang looked at Robin with surprise.  “Mister Barney, you never bring girl here.  This special girl?” 

 

Barney smiled.  “Yeah, Chang, she’s special.  This is Robin.  Robin, this is Mr. Chang.”   Mr. Chang bowed his head to her and she followed suit.

 

“I give you best table.  You want the usual?”

 

“Nah, this has been a really bad day, Chang.  We’ll have the usual AND the best champagne you’ve got.”

 

“You got it Mr. Barney.  This way.”

 

Chang muttered something rapidly into a walkie-talkie as he led them into a dark, smoky room with crowded tables facing a stage.  On the stage was a handsome young Asian man drunkenly wailing a song in a language Robin was sure wasn’t Japanese but couldn’t quite identify.

 

“Is this a Korean karaoke bar?” she whispered to Barney as they followed behind Chang.

 

“Chinese, Robin---all the rage,” he murmured back.

 

They passed a table of very young, very pretty Asian girls and Robin saw them start giggling to each other as they stared at Barney.  They chattered in their own language and the only word she clearly understood was “Barney!”    When he heard his name, Barney turned to their table and said something to them in Chinese and they burst into fresh giggles, some of them blushing.

 

When Chang stopped at a small table not far from the stage, it was already being set up with a bottle of whiskey, a bottle of champagne chilling in an ice bucket, two champagne glasses, two whiskey glasses and two ashtrays.  He pulled out one of the chairs to let Robin sit, bowed to her again and then left the two of them after exchanging some words with Barney in Chinese.    

 

Barney pulled out two cigars from his jacket and handed her one across the table.  “Cigar?”  She took it, shaking her head at the surrealism of it all.  “Are we even allowed to smoke in here?  Isn’t it illegal in all 5 boroughs?”  

 

Please.  This place is off the radar and the rules are there AIN’T no rules.  I hear the Chief of Police runs the Russian Roulette games down in the basement.”  At her shocked look, he laughed and reached over to light her cigar.  “Relax, Scherbatsky, I’m kidding.  Champagne?”  When she nodded, he poured glasses for both of them and they sat back and watched the guy on stage mangle the rest of his song and begin another.

 

Barney loosened his tie more, and shrugged out of his jacket.  “I’m having a shot of whiskey, do you want one?”  

 

Robin shook her head.  “Maybe later.”

 

He downed his shot and stood, just as the guy on stage finished his song and started staggering off.  Robin noticed the gaggle of girls start buzzing in excitement when they saw Barney stand up.   He looked down at her.  “I’ll be back in a few.”

 

“Are you going up there?” she asked in surprise.

 

“Yup.”  He headed for the stage and the table of girls started applauding and bouncing in their seats.  They weren’t alone; Robin noticed excited murmurs going around a number of the tables as Barney took the stage.

 

The opening strains of the song sounded familiar but it took her a full minute or so to recognize it.

 

Barney was singing Bon Jovi’s song “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

 

In Chinese.

 

Robin poured herself a hefty shot of whiskey and downed it, watching and listening in total disbelief.

 

She had to admit, he was not only good, he had the entire audience in the palm of his hand.  Almost all of them were singing along with him by the final stanzas.  Hell--if she’d known Chinese, she would’ve joined in.

 

He bowed to the audience at the end of the song, to wild cheers and applause, then he made his way back to their table.  He grinned at her open-mouthed shock.

 

“Holy CRAP, dude!  That was *amazing*.”  She held up her hand to high-five him.   “How long have you been coming here?”

 

He shrugged nonchalantly.  “A few months now.  I needed a new outlet since I got banned from every laser tag place left in the city. ‘S nuthin’.”

 

Mr. Chang headed over to their table with another bottle of champagne and pointed to the table of squealing girls.  “This bottle on them.”

 

“Awww, that’s sweet.”  He faced the girls’ table, raised his glass to toast them and mouthed “Thank you!”  They giggled excitedly and raised their glasses to him in return.  Robin caught a couple of them glaring at HER and she smirked to herself.

 

When Mr. Chang walked away again, Robin nodded her head towards the table of girls.  “So, Barney, how many of *them* have you brought home so far?  You must make out like a bandit in this place.”

 

“NONE of them, are you crazy?  First of all, I don’t think all of them are even legal yet.  They don’t card at the door here.  Second of all, I really *like* this place.”  His face grew serious.  “I don’t wanna do something stupid and get myself banned.  I don’t pick up any women from here.  You’re the first person I’ve even brought here.”

 

“I’m flattered, Barney.”  She genuinely was.  “Thank you.”

 

“You can thank me by getting your ass up there next.”

 

“WHAT?  No way!”

 

“Come on, Robin, I know you can sing. It’ll be fun.”

 

“Nooooo!”

 

“Come on, be a Bro.  I got *fired* today, Robin.  I’m facing an uncertain future in a hopelessly bleak job market.”  He gave her a pathetic, pleading look.  “*Please*??  Just one song---”

 

“Oh, God,” she sighed, pouring herself another shot and moving the shot glass around nervously, watching the whiskey swirl around. “I don’t know…..”

 

Barney picked up a menu from the table and browsed it.  “Here’s the list of songs they have available, there’s *gotta* be something you’d like to sing…..hmmmm….no….nah….uh-uh…..OH!  Oh. My. God,” he stated dramatically, looking up at her.

 

“What?” she answered with a feeling of dread.  She pulled the menu out of his hand and looked at the list of songs.  Her stomach flopped when she saw listed on the page:

 

“Let’s Go To The Mall” (Robin Sparkles)

 

She glared up at Barney. “You *bastard*!”

 

“Whut?”

 

“You knew this was on here, didn’t you?”

 

“No!  They change the song list every week, I SWEAR I didn’t know it was on there.  It must be fate.  Oh please, Robin, come ON.  *Please do it.*  You know how much it’ll mean to me.  I could be *homeless* in a few months----”

 

She huffed loudly and angrily flipped through the pages of the song list.  “I’m gonna *think* about it, but first you have to sing ANY song I choose off this list.”

 

“I’ll sing anything you want but you have to PROMISE you’ll do it.”

 

Most of the song titles on the list were written in Chinese but there was a large selection in English as well.  She spied one particular song and stopped short.   She thought for a few seconds then drew in a deep breath and nodded.  “Okay, I found the song.”  She slid the list over to him and pointed to the song she wanted. 

 

“Ugh.”  Barney’s face soured.

 

“Dude, you said ANY song.  This is the song.”

 

“You have to PROMISE me you’ll sing your song if I sing this one.  I’m holding you to it.  Bro’s honor.”

 

She held out her hand to shake his.  “I promise.  Bro’s honor.”

 

Barney got up muttering curses under his breath and made his way back up to the stage.

 

He settled onto the stool on stage, rubbed a hand nervously over his face, and started to sing:

 

 

“Oh - thinkin' about our younger years
There was only you and me
We were young and wild and free

Now nothin' can take you away from me
We been down that road before
But that's over now
You keep me comin' back for more

Baby you're all that I want
When you're lyin' here in my arms
I'm findin' it hard to believe
We're in heaven
And love is all that I need
And I found it there in your heart
It isn't too hard to see
We're in heaven—“

 

At the words “We’re in heaven,” Barney winked directly at the table of girls and Robin laughed as they giggled and swooned at him.

 

He continued:

 

“Oh - once in your life you find someone
Who will turn your world around
Bring you up when you're feelin' down

Ya - nothin' could change what you mean to me
Oh there's lots that I could say
But just hold me now
Cause our love will light the way…..”

 

At this point in the song, Robin joined almost everyone in the place in waving their lit lighters and cell phones at Barney, swaying along to the music.

N' baby you're all that I want
When you're lyin' here in my arms
I'm findin' it hard to believe
We're in heaven
And love is all that I need
And I found it there in your heart
It isn't too hard to see
We're in heaven

I've been waitin' for so long
For something to arrive
For love to come along

Now our dreams are comin' true
Through the good times and the bad
Ya - I'll be standin' there by you...”

 

 

Barney headed back towards their table to loud applause, slaps on the back and high-fives from various people around the room.  He sank into his chair with a visible shudder of disgust at what he’d just done, and then looked over at her.  His expression immediately brightened.  “Scherbatsky?  Are you *crying*?”

 

“No!  It’s smoky in here!  I’m not used to it---“

 

“Bullshit, you ARE crying!”  He cackled evilly.

 

“*Okay*, I’m crying,” Robin sniffled.  “It’s BRYAN ADAMS, dude.  He’s a national treasure!”

 

“I hope I did him justice,” he teased and she nodded and blew her nose loudly.

 

“Good---your turn to get up there.”

 

At that, she stopped sniffling and felt a wave of panic hit her.  “Oh CRAP!”

 

“You promised.”

 

“I know, I know.  I’m doing it……God, I really have to pee.”

 

“G’head.  I can wait.” 

 

“I don’t know, Barney.  Your groupies have been giving me the glare of death all night, I’m afraid they’re gonna shiv me in the Ladies’ Room.”

 

“Ah, g’wan Robin,” he laughed. “You can handle it.”

 

She took as long as she possibly could in the ladies’ room before going back to their table and doing a double-shot of whiskey to gather her courage.  She was swaying just a bit when she made her way up to the stage, accompanied by Barney’s loud clapping and yells of “WOO-HOOOO, SCHERBATSKY!!!!!!!!!!  YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!”

 

She glanced quickly at the monitor with the song lyrics, and as the first strains of the song began she shut her eyes and started singing nervously, vowing to kill Barney in his sleep someday.

 

“Let's go to the mall everybody! Go!
C'mon Jessica, C'mon Tori,
let's go to the mall you won't be sorry.
Put on your jelly-bracelets,
and your cool graffiti-coat,
at the mall havin' fun is what its all about.

I haven't done my homework yet...
And you know how my parents get...
I don't care 'cause all my friends are gonna be there….”

 

 

She opened her eyes and spotted the entire table of Barney’s fangirls stomping off, while Barney excitedly watched her singing, looking like a kid on Christmas morning.  When she caught his eye he rocked in his seat and gave her a “thumbs’ up.”  She grinned back at him, shaking her head, and decided to just relax and have fun with it.  She started doing some vintage Robin Sparkles dance moves a bit as she sang:

 

“Everybody come and play
Throw every last care away
Let's go to the mall...
Today…………..”

 

By the time the song was over and everyone was dancing in their seats, whistling and applauding her, she had to admit---it WAS kind of a rush.  She bounced back to her seat where Barney was waiting, arm up to high-five her.   “YEEEEEEEES!” he blurted drunkenly.  “Tiffany and Debbie Gibson can both SUCK IT!”

 

She winced in embarrassment as she sat down, but she grinned at him too.  “Did I really sound okay?”

 

“Scherbatsky, it was WORTH getting fired just to hear that.  You were *beyond* awesome.”

 

Before the night was over, they’d gone back up to perform their tipsy rendition of “My Sharona” together, and finally Barney and Mr. Chang ended the night on stage, arms around each other, swaying and singing “Summer Wind” in Chinese to let the crowd know it was closing time.

 

…………………………

 

 

Robin leaned back against the soft leather of the car’s backseat and closed her eyes, enjoying the comfortably numb buzz she had from the whiskey, the champagne, the cigars, and the applause.  She was feeling pretty great, until she felt Barney move closer to her and heard him breathe into her ear “Hey…Robin?”

 

She opened her eyes and saw Barney leaning in to kiss her.   She put her hand to his chest and pushed herself back from him, holding up her other hand to him. 

 

“Whoa, whoa….FLUGELHORN!”

Barney groaned.  “You’re using the ‘F’ word on me?  *Really*?”

 

“I’m NOT sleeping with you, Barney.”

 

“You *just* slept with me, two weeks ago!”

 

“That was different.  The Canucks had just won their first ever Stanley Cup; I can’t be held responsible for my actions that night----“

 

“Your ‘actions’ had me walking funny for two days after that—What UP”  He held his hand up for a high-five and lowered it again when she ignored it.

 

Robin glared at him.  “I’m serious, Barney.  NO.  This was a really fun night, let’s not complicate it.”  Sleeping with him again had been a big mistake, bringing up all sorts of feelings that she wanted to forget.  She knew from bitter experience the more she gave herself to someone, the more it was going to hurt when it was over.

 

Barney whooshed out a frustrated breath and banged his head against the leather seat, crossing his arms like a stubborn kid.  “FINE.”

 

After a moment or two of tense silence he said calmly, “B.T.W. I wasn’t really fired today; I made that up so you’d feel sorry enough for me to sing the song.  I didn’t think getting you drunk would be enough---”

 

“God-DAMMIT, Barney.  I *knew* it!”

 

“Mission Accomplished,” he said smugly.

 

She sighed in resignation and laid her head back against the car seat, still keeping a bit of distance from him but surprised to find she wasn’t truly angry.   “You know, Barney, someday you’re *really* gonna get fired from your job.  And when you do, don’t’ come crying to me because I won’t let you in.”

 

“Yeah you will,” came his quiet, matter-of-fact answer.

 

They both knew he was right.

 

The two of them relaxed into a drowsy, comfortable silence as the Town Car drove back over the QueensboroBridge into the Manhattan morning.

 

…………………………………..

 

 

End notes:

 

From an online translation of Chinese boy names:

Ying = “Eagle, Falcon, Clever, Hard or Strong”

Chang = “Smooth” 

 

P.S.  Personally, I can’t stand Bryan Adams’ music and I’m sorry to have subjected Barney (and you, Dear Reader) to it.  It just fit the story. Robin *made* me do it!   ;)

P.P.S - Thanks to Ocelot_Summer who gave me inspiration for this story by a fanfic idea she posted on the Slapbet discussion post recently.  :)

 




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