Here are the fic bits that I wrote for it!
1. Iron Fist for yhlee, for a request for the characters playing D&D
Originally posted here
"I still can't believe you're playing a barbarian, Ward. It's so wrong for you."
"Hitting things with a club is very cathartic," Ward retorted. "As opposed to you, who are playing exactly according to type."
Danny grinned. "It's so cool they added 'monk' as a character class in the new edition. I don't think they had that in the version of the game we had when we were kids."
Ward had few fond memories of that game and still couldn't believe he had been talked into playing it again. Trying to run Dungeons & Dragons games for two ten-year-olds had been a nightmare. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. He'd learned to play at boarding school, and ended up taking the books home when the kid who owned them lost interest in it. It was a structured sort of make-believe, perfect for keeping the brats entertained without him having to do a whole lot other than run them through a pre-made adventure.
.... or so he had thought.
Unfortunately it turned out that he had to handhold them through every aspect of the character creation process, neither of them could understand the rules very well, and then they also completely failed to understand any part of the "structured adventure" aspect and just wanted to go wandering around the map, forcing Ward to make up new encounters while they utterly failed to go through any of the preset parts of the adventure. Danny kept trying to adopt every monster Ward sent at them—successfully, too, since he had somehow randomly ended up with a ridiculously high charisma—and when Ward, in exasperation, killed off Danny's druid, they both cried until he gave up, gave the druid a miraculous escape, and let them go play Ranger and Druid all over the living room.
But as it turned out, just playing as a player (and not with ten-year-olds) was a lot more fun. It was true that running around an imaginary labyrinth hitting things with a club while Danny fired ki at everything was worryingly like their real lives, but at least it didn't actually hurt. It was a strangely soothing way to spend a rainy afternoon, sitting around Danny and Colleen's coffee table with cups of tea (coffee in Ward's case) while Colleen tried to murder them.
Behind her dungeon master screen, Colleen cleared her throat and rolled some dice.
"Oh God," Ward said. "Now what."
Ward had a distinct suspicion that she was actively trying to kill them. Well, him. So far, between the insanely high DEX of Danny's monk and the near-indestructibility of Ward's barbarian, they had managed to survive everything she'd hit them with, but it was only a matter of time before—
"The ground disappears under Throg's feet," Colleen said. "You have to roll a saving throw or fall."
"Ward, no!" Danny protested, looking almost as alarmed as he had when Ward had actually almost fallen down an actual shaft in that ruined temple in the Himalayas last year. This game was definitely too much like their actual lives. "Grab hold of me!"
"Danny-Kai is nowhere near Throg," Colleen said. "Unless you want to run over to where he is. As a monk, you can spend ki to Dash as a bonus action so you can get farther in one turn, and also double your jump distance."
"Yes! Ki! And running!"
"Danny, you're almost out of ki," Ward said, adding under his breath, "as usual. Don't bother using it on—dammit." Since Throg had almost no DEX to speak of, Ward had completely failed his save vs. pit, as he'd figured he was gonna.
"I'm going to try to grab him and fling us both to safety," Danny declared.
"You're almost out of actions," Colleen said. "And ki."
"I'm doin' it anyway."
A brief flurry of rolling later ... "You both fall headfirst down the pit."
Way too much like their real lives.
2. Dark Matter for acherry, for a prompt for Three/Android (among other pairings) and a character receiving a cybernetic body part
Originally posted here
"This has got to be the only hand heist in the history of crime," Three said, carefully rotating the mechanical hand. It responded, but sluggishly.
"Can you feel anything?" Five asked, looking up from her readouts. Beyond her, standing in the doorway of the infirmary with folded arms, Two looked up sharply.
"It doesn't hurt, if that's what you mean." Though his nerve endings still vibrated with the memory of pain from having the thing hooked up.
The Android had done the surgery, using a routine she had uploaded to give her the knowledge and skills to graft the cybernetic implant to his damaged wrist. She was standing beside him now, her fingertips resting lightly against his forearm—a gentle, strangely warm pressure. Three glanced up at her, not sure what he expected to see on her face, but there was little to be seen. She was deep in concentration, her half-closed eyelids flickering occasionally as electricity pulsed against his skin. He found himself tensing against pain every time it happened, but instead there was only a light tickling.
She had been wearing her upgraded human guise during the theft, but had switched back on the ship. It was odd to find how much he preferred her like this. This version was her, in a way the other, more human-like version wasn't quite. Well, it was still her, but—
"Three," she said, and he started a bit. "Move your hand now."
There was a sharp electrical zinging sensation, like whacking your elbow on a doorframe. He gasped out loud.
"What?" Two and Five said at once, and he felt the Android go even stiller than usual, an abrupt cessation of motion.
"Nothing, it's just—" He twisted the hand and flexed the fingers. It still tingled around the wrist, an odd twitchy ache, but now he could feel the movement of the fingers. They responded quickly and easily. He flexed them, twisted them, folded two of them over each other, tried a rude gesture—
Two laughed, and Five rolled her eyes. The Android, however, slid her hand up his wrist, up his palm, and curled her mechanical fingers through his. And he could feel it: the pressure of her palm, the strong fingers closing around the back of his hand.
"You guys," he said. He had to blink back tears. "It works."
"Well, of course it does," Five said briskly, closing her readouts down to the tablet they had sprung from. She would have seemed completely flippant if she hadn't been blinking a little bit, too.
"Have some faith here," Two said. "We wouldn't go to all the trouble of stealing you a hand that didn't work."
"Thank you," Three said sincerely.
"What does it feel like?" Five asked. "Is there full sensation? Can I test it?"
Two smiled. She touched Five's shoulder. "I need you to take a look at the engines first. We took some heavy damage getting away from there."
"Right, yeah, so—" Five waved her hands. "Don't break it until I get back!"
And she was gone.
"Nice job," Two said gently to the Android, and smiled at Three, then followed Five out of the medbay.
So it was just the two of them. He spread his fingers, and the Android untangled her fingers from his and moved her hand away so that he could flex it, make a fist, spread it out. There were still little bumped-elbow flickers occasionally around his wrist. But it was so much more than he'd had, ever since a flare of blue light had taken off his hand at the wrist, and taken something vital in him with it.
He had his gun hand back.
"I like that you are a little bit like me now," the Android said, and added, almost hesitantly, "I'm sorry that I hurt you."
"Had to be done," he said, and smiled. "You didn't know. And I gotta tell you, didn't hurt anywhere near as bad as losing the thing in the first place."
She sat carefully beside him on the bed, and rested her shoulder against his, one hand slipping down to rest against his side, curling lightly over his hipbone. There was a time when he had thought her cold, but she was the opposite of that, furnace-warm as she propped him up and held him and watched him test out each finger, one by one, glorying in having sensation where there had been none before.
"You know, we're gonna have to test out this hand," he said.
"Yes," she said, with a slight hint of question on the end.
"Sweetheart," Three said, "in case it was unclear, that was a sexual innuendo."
"Oh," she said, and one of her odd little smiles tugged her mouth. "Yes. Definitely yes."
3. White Collar for leesa_perrie, for a request for June & Neal friendship (post-finale, a bit angsty)
Originally posted here
The first envelope came in the mail, three months after Neal's funeral.
It was a plain white envelope, postmarked from the UK. It was lying in her silver inbox when she came in from her morning walk with Bugsy, along with a pile of other mail: donation requests, complimentary opera tickets, a contributor's copy of an architectural magazine with a piece on her house.
She sorted through them while sipping coffee, feet up on a footstool and a pillow, Bugsty snoring on the rug by her chair. The plain envelope gave her pause. There was a return address in Swansea with no name and an airmail stamp. Holding it up to the light, she saw a folded paper inside and something else, dark enough to block the light, small, of angular and ambiguous shape.
She slit the envelope with her antique letter opener (stolen by Byron, many years ago; it was one of his first anniversary presents to her). When she opened the sheet of paper, it was thick cream-colored stationery, expensive and entirely blank. It enclosed a small piece of cheap, crumpled yellow paper.
No, she saw, when she began to unfold it. Not crumpled. It was folded. Folded in complex pleats that didn't unfold so much as open up. It was a small origami flower, flattened to fit in the envelope.
Her eyes prickled with tears.
For years after Byron's death, she had received flowers every birthday and anniversary from a particular florist in the Village that she had always loved. She had never asked questions, knowing with her rational side that Byron must have paid for years of deliveries in advance, but preferring to believe in the impossible instead. She had once found a quarter on the sidewalk, lying in front of their favorite restaurant two days before their anniversary, with their wedding date on it.
So. Someone had sent her an origami rose. How interesting.
She put the envelope and the sheet of paper neatly with rest of the recycling—the address would mean nothing, no matter who had sent it; she knew that, at least, and she had no interest in subjecting it to FBI analysis that would find nothing anyway. The flower she placed on the backboard of the rosewood writing desk where she did her correspondence.
The second one came a month later. It arrived a few days after her birthday, but the overseas mail was always unpredictable, wasn't it? This one came from Italy and the flower was on cheap lavender-colored paper. She placed it with the other.
Two months later: a crane on pale blue paper, from Brazil.
Six months went by then. She knew that it meant little. She knew that there was no reason to expect another little origami figure to join the others in her small collection. She didn't think about it, not too much. Only a little, now and then. In general, she went on with her life, went to symphonies and plays and art openings, and enjoyed the luxurious life that she and Byron had sacrificed so much for.
She was walking Bugsy on a gloriously sunny day when she realized that it was a year to the day after Neal's death. The air was vibrant, full of the perfume of flowers. She thought mostly of writing a reminder on her calendar to send a long-overdue congratulations card and small gift to the Burkes for the birth of their son.
She was unlocking her front door when she noticed Bugsy sniffing something on the mat.
"What's that you've found there?" she asked, carefully crouching with care for her stiff knees.
It was sitting on the mat, a small piece of rose-colored paper, folded into a heart. It had not been there when she had left for her walk. She was quite sure of that. Between the two of them, she and Bugsy would have noticed.
Smiling to herself, perfectly content, she went inside and put it with the others.
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