Halloween-black cat

Nicked from Recessional

Trick or Treat! Time for something sweet to —- read. Since I can’t hand out snickers bars over the internet, I’m giving away fun-size fanfic for the first five lucky ghouls to reply to this post with their fic request. (Unless I get a lot of responses fast, in which case I might up it to ten.) Any series or characters you know I'm generally familiar with. :D

ALL SLOTS FILLED! I'll do my best to write these by Halloween. :)

1. Autumn/harvest/day-of-the-dead traditions in Asgard [contains Thor 2 spoilers]
2. Werewolf!Peter and werewolf!Diana being wolfy together [Peter & Diana gen, 2200 wds]
3. Natasha anything (but perhaps post-Written in Blood and Bone Natasha & Bucky)
4. Methos anything
5. White Collar, Kate meets June
6. Neal and Mozzie planning a heist on Halloween (or any Neal & Mozzie)
7. Trick-or-treating with SGA or Avengers
8. Theo trick-or-treating at the Burkes' or anything Peter/El
9. Steve & Bucky friendship or White Collar Halloween (Steve & Bucky comfortfic, posted over on AO3 due to length)
10. Anler/Taiv (Torn World)

.... Though I will add the caveat that since I'm traveling/visiting/not at the computer much this month, these might be REALLY short! I'll guarantee a couple of paragraphs but not more than that.

Avengers or White Collar are most likely to get more than a couple of paragraphs, but I'll try my hand at anything I've watched/read, and any character, pairing, or prompt is acceptable. If I truly don't think I can do it, I'll ask you to pick another.

ETA: Since I may not be able to check this post very often, you might want to look at both the LJ and DW side to see if there are still slots! First come, first served.

This entry is also posted at http://sholio.dreamwidth.org/975523.html with comment count unavailable comments.
Natashaaaaaa! Anything Natasha, really. Though if you want a specific prompt, post-Written in Blood and Bone Natasha & Bucky?
There may be more of this eventually ...
... but here's what I have for now. :)

--

It's a little after 8 a.m. when Natasha gets a text from James. She's in a cafe in Brussels, watching a suspected Hydra mole have breakfast with his kids. It's not an assignment for anyone. She's just freelancing, and she hasn't figured out whether the person she feels like today is a person who would kill this man, or corner him in an alley for a swift and brutal (but nonfatal) discussion of alternatives to his current activities, or whether this day's Natasha is a person who would simply walk away.

James's text simply says, Hi. She does a quick mental calculation -- 8 a.m. in Belgium is 3 a.m. in New York. On the other hand, she's not sure if James is still in New York with Steve. All she knows is that he was living in Steve's apartment two weeks ago, when she was there, before the restlessness got under her skin and she had to go, do something else, be somewhere else.

She really wanted to stay that time. But her skin wasn't the right size or shape for it.

Maybe someday it will be.

Today her hair is black and blade-straight, hanging to her shoulders beneath a wide-brimmed brown hat. Straight hair always makes her feel more austere, lacking the softer edge of hair that curls around her face. Straight-haired Natasha likes darker colors and prefers not to be the center of attention. Straight-haired Natasha might put on a designer evening dress and go to a party because she needed to for an assignment, but she probably wouldn't do it just because she wanted to.

Tony has made a running joke out of it: the way she changes her hair, her colors, her personal style, putting on and taking off personas as the mood moves her. Which is mildly ironic and very Tony, because she thinks that out of the people she knows who aren't in the spy business (the bare handful of them) he might be the only one who understands why she does it, and what it means that she does it.

Once, when she was younger, she thought she could find a skin that fit her, and never have to change again. The world doesn't work like that. Steve wants to know the "real" Natasha; he doesn't understand that he already does, and yet never really will. But then, neither does she.

And as for James Buchanan Barnes ... she still hasn't quite figured out what he thinks about her. Who he thinks she is. Who he wants her to be. Which is one of the things that makes him interesting. Usually she knows within minutes of meeting a person. The only person who's ever really been able to surprise her in that way is Nick Fury, and that's still too hard and sharp to think about, like a knife blade that's snapped off in her chest.

Salut, she texts back to James, typing one-handed on her phone because there's a delicate white demitasse cup of coffee in her other hand. Can't sleep?

Guess not, he texts back, and she imagines she can hear his wry tone in the letters on her phone's little screen.

Bored?

Little bit.

You could wake Steve up, she points out.

Steve's not here.

Ah, not at the apartment, then. Her phone could retrieve his GPS location if she asked for it. She thinks about it. Decides not to. With most of the others -- Steve, Tony, even Clint -- she'd have no compunctions about doing it. With James ... she tries to let him volunteer information as much as possible. Maybe this is what passes for trust with them.

Have coffee then, she types. I am. We can have coffee together.

It takes him a while to respond. Natasha drinks her coffee and watches her target laughing with his kids. Golden in the morning sunshine, they look like a movie family, happy and wholesome.

In the sleek black leather handbag resting on the chair beside her leg, there's a loaded Ruger LCR and there's also a cyanide injector disguised as a ballpoint pen.

Got coffee, James reports.

Good for you. I hope you're enjoying it.

Not really. Made it myself.

She smiles involuntarily. Not anything calculated. There is no one looking at her and nothing to be gained or lost by it. Just a smile, because the sun is warm on her shoulders and chatting with James makes her happy.
Part 1/2
[many thanks to Frith-in-Thorns for suggesting a possible scenario for this!]



June spots the young woman immediately, of course. She's not a bad tail, but makes a few amateur mistakes, especially catching the cab to follow June's car. Most people probably wouldn't have noticed, but June isn't most people.

The driver catches June's eye in the mirror, alert to her moods. "Mrs. Ellington, should I return to the house? Or take a different route for your usual Saturday shopping?"

"No, thank you, Barton. Please carry on as normal."

At a guess she'd say this is probably Neal's young lady. It could be something entirely different, of course. There are plenty of reasons why June might have picked up a tail. But the young woman isn't law enforcement -- she doesn't have the look. She could be a private detective, perhaps. June doesn't think she's dangerous.

After purchasing birthday presents and cards for Lisa's twins and a bridal shower gift for her maid, she pauses at her favorite chocolaterie. The young woman is at a cafe across the street, pretending to read a newspaper. June purchases purchases two cups of gourmet hot chocolate and a pair of truffles, and crosses the street with them.

The young woman does a barely concealed double take at June's approach. She rises in haste, dropping her newspaper.

"No need to leave so soon," June says. She sets the cups on the table. "Have you ever had a Mayan chocolate? It's a bit of an acquired taste, but it's truly excellent."

"I --" The young woman hesitates. She's not underfed, but has a lean, desperate look to her that June remembers very well from her own young days. "I really can't stay."

"Even long enough for a cup of cocoa? I hate to see food go to waste. Humor an old woman." When the young lady remains poised on the verge of flight, June adds, "We can discuss my handsome lodger, if you like."

The flurry of emotions across the young woman's face fascinates June: the split-second shock and fear and anger, then the blank mask that drops down, followed by a serene half-smile. June marvels that she herself was ever that young.

The woman sits. June passes her a cup and a truffle in a tidy paper wrapper.

"I'm June Ellington, but I expect you already know that. May I call you something?"

"Perdue," the young lady says after a brief pause.

French for "lost". "It's a pleasure to meet you, Perdue. What do you think of the chocolate?"

"It's good," Perdue says after touching it briefly to her lips for form's sake.

June decides it's cruel to play games with her. "Neal is fine, if you were wondering. He will continue to be fine unless he gets himself into trouble. He'll have no trouble from me."

This time the mask is so firmly in place that there's not even a flicker at the mention of Neal's name. "I'm afraid," Perdue says, "that you have mistaken me for someone else."

"I hope not," June says. "He wants to find you very much, you know."

Something catches in Perdue's face, somewhere around the eyes.

"And no," June goes on, "I don't plan to tell him that we spoke. I only want you to know that, and to think about it. I could see that he gets a message, if you like."

Perdue draws a breath. "No," she says. "That won't be -- No." She drains the rich chocolate in her cup as if it's neat whiskey, and leaves the truffle untouched on the table when she rises.

"If you need help, my dear," June says, "you have only to ask."

Perdue stands looking down at her, hands shoved in the pockets of her long wool coat. "And why," she asks quietly, "would you help me?"

"Because I've been young and alone too, you know," June says. "And I have let my heart lead me unwisely where young men are concerned, and regret none of it. I think we have a lot in common, you and I."

Perdue's jaw clenches. "I never said I don't regret it," she says, and then closes her mouth tightly, as if she didn't mean that to slip out.

"But do you?" June asks.
Part 2/2

Perdue doesn't answer. After a moment she says, "Sometimes it's not about regretting or not regretting anything. It's just about making choices."

June stands and holds out a hand. Perdue studies it, then shakes it, and June takes the opportunity to slip one of her gold-embossed cards into Perdue's -- Kate's -- pocket.

She's all the way across the street before she checks her purse and realizes that at some point during the conversation, Kate lifted her wallet. Kate might have a ways to go before she can run an undetectable tail, but June has to offer her a hat tip for remarkably acute pickpocketing skills. It is, however, something of a pain. She contemplates canceling her credit cards, then decides to give it a day or two. She did, after all, offer to help, even if this isn't quite what she had in mind.

In the morning, the wallet is in a heavy unmarked envelope in her mailbox, all contents intact. The card has been dropped into the envelope along with it.
Re: Part 2/2
Awww, that was amazing. I can totally see this happening. And so sad, knowing what is to happen later :(
I'm guessing SGA would be too hard to do anything for anymore. I love Avengers. Any chance of some sort of trick-or-treating story?
I decided to do you an SGA one. :)

--

The first year it was just the team, and it was Jeannie's idea.

Since returning to the Pegasus galaxy, Atlantis had been able to supply daily data bursts with Earth, including bandwidth for civilian communications, and Jeannie and Teyla had been emailing regularly about mom-related topics. Despite being the younger of the two women, Jeannie -- as the more experienced mom -- had been delighted to take on a mentor role as Torren worked his way through the milestones of early childhood, from potty training to temper tantrums.

Jeannie had attached a picture of Madison in a Halloween costume to one of her emails, so then she had to explain about Halloween.

"I know this holiday," Teyla wrote back. "People tape paper images of orange fruits and fierce black predators to the doors of their quarters, and there is a city-wide costume celebration. I did not know children were included as well."

"That's right," Jeannie wrote back, "though I think pumpkins are vegetables, not fruits. But it's really more of a children's holiday than an adult one. It's just that there aren't any children on Atlantis, or there didn't used to be, so you wouldn't have seen how people with children celebrate it."

Teyla was always up for learning about different cultures' holidays, and she thought it was also important for Torren to know the customs of the dominant culture on Atlantis. She did not expect John and Rodney to get into it quite to the extent that they did, as well as roping Dr. Beckett and Dr. Keller into the process. Ronon was happy to join in (it was very like a costumed holiday on Sateda, he said). And so they made Torren a little costume and Teyla took him around to her friends' quarters, where they plied him with sweets. By the end of the evening, Torren was exhausted but revved on so much sugar that Teyla was afraid he would be sick. This holiday did not seem very healthy. However, she also remembered the way that she and her cousins would eat honeycakes every Harvest festival until they were quite ill. Perhaps overindulging in treats was just part of childhood in any culture.

She didn't expect it to catch on.

But it did. In fact, she was slowly realizing that all of Atlantis seemed to have adopted Torren. He was the only child who was regularly on the station -- Athosian children came and went, as did children from some of Atlantis's regular trading-partner worlds, but Torren was the only one in full-time residence. And even if they wouldn't admit it, perhaps not even to themselves, she could tell that the people of Earth missed the children of Earth -- even if not their own children, they missed their nieces and nephews, their cousins' and friends' children, their own younger brothers and sisters. They doted on Torren, and if this meant that once a year the entire station was dressed up in Halloween finery so that one young boy could traipse from door to door and hold out his basket, then the people of Atlantis jumped on the opportunity to do it.

There were more doors than one child could visit in an entire week of holidays, and more sugary sweets than he could eat in a year, so Teyla suggested that perhaps some of the Athosian children would like to try it too. Soon Torren was only one of many children who made the city's sun-washed, cathedral-vaulted halls ring with their (sugar-fueled) laughter.

The Ancients might not approve, Teyla thought. But the Ancients did not live here anymore. They didn't make the rules. And she watched with delight as her own people's festival customs were incorporated into the celebration of the Earth holiday -- people wore Earth-style costumes and Athosian-style masks; children carried treat bags and dancing Harvest lanterns on sticks.

She hoped that a hundred years from now, people would still celebrate the Atlantean Festival of Treat-Giving; she hoped it would have spread to other worlds, even if no one still remembered that it had been born beneath a sun in another galaxy.
I don't know if something like Theo going trick or treating at the Burkes would inspire you, otherwise, anything Peter/El. Please?
Theo trick-or-treating
There were times when the Burkes' neighborhood was too cliche to be believed, Diana thought as she looked up and down the street. Lit jack'o'lanterns on every top step, ghost decals in windows and costumed little clusters of children going from house to house. Peter had reassured her that kids trick-or-treated in their neighborhood all the time, but it still felt strange to her -- like very poor parental behavior -- to entrust Theo to the tender mercies of candy-wielding strangers in the city.

She'd had to detour several times on her way to the Burkes' neighborhood to get around streets that were closed off for Halloween parades or processions of trick-or-treating children. Before having a child herself, she'd never really noticed how the city came alive for Halloween. She'd been to a few costume parties, but generally the Halloween party scene wasn't her scene, and she had never even noticed there was an active kiddie party scene as well: haunted houses, parades, kiddie-size costume parties and so forth.

This was the first year Theo was old enough, at two and a half, that he might conceivably enjoy trick-or-treating. He was dressed up like a little dinosaur; she'd purchased the costume and then Elizabeth had helped her make alterations to it, particularly hot-glueing several packages of colorful fabric stars to the dinosaur's green baize exterior. (Why stars? She had no idea, but Theo insisted on stars.) The costume was still so bulky that it made him waddle, and she had to lift him up the stairs to the Burkes'. Privately Diana couldn't help thinking that she hoped he got bored after a block or two, because Mommy certainly would be.

For her own part, she'd rolled her eyes at the array of women's costumes available -- sexy witch! sexy cat! sexy ... pumpkin?! -- and was dressed in a reasonably convincing facsimile of a police uniform, with a fake nightstick that was heavy enough to be just this side of legal.

The Burkes' door was heavily decorated in purple, orange and black streamers, with rows of mini pumpkins along their porch railing. Diana rang their doorbell and then crouched down by Theo to prompt him. As it turned out, he needed no prompting: when the door opened, revealing Elizabeth dressed as a ladybug, he chirped, "Ticker treet, Auntie!"

"Oh, my goodness. What a terrifying dinosaur. Can I hear you roar?" Theo obligingly roared, and Elizabeth delivered a double handful of candy into Theo's waiting basket.

"If that's how much he gets at every house, we'll be done in about three houses," Diana said, peering in at the heap of fun-sized candy bars. "Not that I'd mind, exactly. Is Peter around?"

"Hiding on the back patio with a beer," Elizabeth said, smiling. "We've had quite a few trick-or-treaters already, and I think he's worn out. Do you want to go say hi?"

"Maybe when we get back. I'm hoping that while Theo looks through his treat bag, Mommy can enjoy a treat bag of her own."

Elizabeth laughed. "We have drink mixers and several kinds of wine. I think we can find something to ease the Halloween stress. Also, I have liqueur chocolates for grownups only."

"Music to my ears." Diana stood up and took Theo's hand ... paw ... whatever. "Come on, kid. Let's go bother the neighbors."

Edited at 2014-10-27 08:02 pm (UTC)
I'll take anything that's either Steve and Buckuy friendship, Neal and Peter or Neal and Mozzie Halloween Shenannigans (although I did watch Cap 2 recently and it gave me a major craving for something that involves some kind of Bucky comfort. Poor Bucky).
Not too late at all - you just got the last slot! (And maybe this'll get me back into writing Anler again ... I'm excited about working on the next storyline!)
Here's an attempt anyway. :) I hope this works for Taiv as a character; I haven't written her before, and I had to go brush up on a ton of canon to try to figure out how the Anler/Taiv part of the timeline goes together ...

---

Well, this was turning out to be one of Taiv's more awkward bead exchanges.

The trouble was, Anler wasn't what she typically looked for in a lover. Taiv liked variety; she liked innovation; she liked men who aroused and excited her. Anler was a nice man, a pleasant and attentive lover, but that was all he was. And unfortunately, she was pretty sure he was picking up on her lack of enthusiasm.

She hadn't meant it to turn out this way. None of Anler's previous lovers had a bad word to say about him, beyond the carefully phrased rumors about fertility or lack thereof -- he was the sort of person everyone liked, even if nothing about him really stood out. And she did like him. It had been a couple of months since she'd accepted anyone's bead, but people were starting to talk and she did miss having someone to share her bed. Anler had seemed, on the surface, like a perfect duty-match. If the rumors about him were true, she wouldn't have to be quite as careful as usual about timing, and she knew his age-set was planning to leave for Smokewater before too long in any case.

For her purposes, it was a good duty-match.

But a duty-match was all it was, and Anler, she thought, was looking for more. She knew he had trouble these days finding women to accept his bead, and, guiltily, she worried that she'd dealt his ego a blow by accepting mere days before he was leaving the village for a while. It was only obvious to her in retrospect that it had sent a pretty clear message that she considered him a second-choice partner.

She couldn't figure out whether it would make it better or worse to talk about it, and then he was off to Smokewater anyway, so there was no chance. His bead still nested against the hollow of her throat, useful for politely fending off suitors ... and perhaps, she thought, it would be a bit of an apology (not to mention useful) if she kept the bead for a month or two longer than she needed to.

Maybe when he came back from Smokewater, they could smooth things over; maybe she wouldn't mind having him to warm her bed again. If he wasn't an innovative enough lover to please her, then perhaps she could teach him some new tricks rather than being dissatisfied with what he had to offer.

On the other hand, perhaps it would be enough to quietly let the disappointing love affair slip away into the past, while they both moved on to other people.

In any case, she kept his bead for now.

Edited at 2014-11-01 05:17 am (UTC)