so I may or may not have completely lost it and written some four fics for the multi-fandom comment ficathon right now. All prayers to be directed to this journal kthx. with plans to write more, dear god. also, the poem used throughout is Erica Jong's Evidence. If I write more, I shall probably add it here for ~thematic purposes.
a catalog of non-definitive acts
Evidence of life:
That’s the first night he comes to her room when she’s not dying.
She turns around and he’s there, leaning against her table like he’s fought battles to win this right, and she needs him to get out.
“What do you want,” she asks. Because she’s a lot of things – insecure, shallow, useless – but she’s not stupid. That’s the one Damon got wrong.
His gaze sweeps unmistakably over her, and hey, what do you know, Damon was right about that as well. “Not what I meant” she says.
He doesn’t answer. He isn’t looking at her at all now for that matter, he’s looking past her at the photographs on her mirror and she resists the urge to cover them protectively. To not let him have her history like he wants her future. He doesn’t deserve Elena’s fringe from the eighth grade or Bonnie’s wide, metal braced smile.
But she doesn’t, because that would be ridiculous.
It annoys her though, the part where he’s not looking at her. Because who is he kidding anyway. He wants her. And he’s probably going to spout more poetic descriptions of what her world once was. Could be. Poetry like how Jeremy’s bloodless body was once aflush with the carmine hue of life. How Tyler’s eyes—
“Fuck off,” she says tiredly, (Do you want me to wash that mouth with soap and water, Care? Her dad would say. Except he wouldn’t. Because hey, her dad’s dead. She can curse now.)
“I thought,” he says, “you might need company.”
In this totally random moment it strikes her— his voice doesn’t sound strange anymore. She barely notices the accented inflections. He’s becoming familiar.
It’s the most terrifying feeling she’s ever known.
“I don’t need your company,” she says. And she thinks—once, a long long time ago, she would’ve flipped her hair back, emphasized the need, emphasized the your, walked away with a slight sway, only noticeable if you look for it, because she spent hours watching the fashion channel and knows how it’s done. And they always look. Boys. Even when dead and a thousand years old.
But she doesn’t care enough, and she knows he’ll know it, because somehow he does.
Maybe she can get him to kill her instead. Or at least she can try hard. Say all the things she really wants to. Get herself killed. And then maybe he’ll be remorse-ridden and write about it or something and her history will be the sum of his memories. Which possibly wouldn’t be terrible or anything, because she’s beautiful and strong and full of light in them, and that’s not a bad way to be remembered. She’ll be beautiful and strong and full of light forever in the pages of a book, and nobody will ever know that she once deliberately dropped ink on Elena’s dress just before junior-prom because it was purple and gorgeous and suited her skin-tone to perfection.
He’ll have time enough anyway, because he’s going to live longer than all of them, she knows. Even if they live forever, he’ll have lived longer.
She slips a strap off her shoulder, still stained from mopping his brother’s ashes of the floor. Thinks of Jeremy lying on the floor, glassy-eyed. Thinks of the replicated emptiness in Elena’s eyes. Somehow this isn’t as important; dropping her shirt in front of the man she hates. She’s covered with him anyway. Or at least with the ashes of the man who shared his blood. And she’s read enough in class to be able to carry a metaphor through.
“I hate you,” she says, unzipping her pants, they sound unusually loud as they hit the floor, “and nothing will ever change that. I hate you so much, I’ve already stabbed you with a white-oak stake thrice since you last blinked.”
If she’s dead; like, really, really dead, then she’ll only be as dead as all the people who’re dead. As dead as Vicki, as dead as Alaric, as dead as Jenna, as dead Grams, as dead as Carol, as dead as Jeremy, as dead as her dad and no deader. She's already died once, it can't be that bad to stay dead, considering so many people seem to be doing it.
“I could compel you,” he says easily, but at least he’s looking at her and not the mirror anymore, “to love me, you know, sweetheart.”
She laughs. Sort of. Almost. “You could compel me to love you. You can’t compel me to be in love with you.” She’s a vampire. And she knows some things now.
He’s vaguely impressed, she knows, even though he’s looking at her hands unclasping her bra.
She doesn’t bother with vampire speed. She doesn’t bother at all these days. Maybe she turned off the humanity switch accidentally while she was sleeping or something. Or maybe she was always a cold-hearted bitch. She thinks of Elena’s tearful gaze as she looked at her ruined dress. (“God, I’m so sorry, Lena. I don’t know how—shit. I’m so, so sorry. I’m so clumsy, god, I should be institutionalized.”) Yeah, the latter. Definitely.
“You’re stunning.” He says suddenly, and she hates him. He’s doing this wrong. They're playing a part and he's going off-text, and he can't. Because now it’s more, because his voice is lower and he’s a bastard who killed people she loves and he’s the hot guy who looked at her like she was the one and god, she hates him so fucking much.
She wears her nightdress with vampire speed. And maybe he has the kind of superpowers where it doesn’t make a difference to him and he can slow her down or pause her movements, but it’s a point she’s making.
“Fuck off,” she says again, lamely, brushing past him, but only because he’s taking up too much space. Too much air. He doesn’t need to breathe and he doesn’t need to use up her air, “go die in a ditch.”
Sometimes she hates being seventeen.
“I’m not going to kill you,” he says, when she’s switched off the lights and gotten under the covers. He’s on the other side of the door now, but he’s still far too loud because her heart doesn’t beat anymore and every other sound is amplified, “sorry.”
Somehow he always does. Know.
She closes her eyes.
park that car, drop that phone, sleep on the floor
the vampire diaries | elena | pg-13 | post 4x15 | non-linear
I wanna be a bottle blonde/I don’t know why but I feel conned/I wanna be an idle teen/I wish I hadn’t been so clean
Evidence of life;
When she’s six, she brings a puppy home from school, and mommy and daddy look at her, half-amused and half-exasperated.
“Elena, you know you can’t keep it, honey. It requires a lot of work to keep a dog.”
“Jeremy requires a lot of work,” she points out, because he broke the vase yesterday; mother’s favorite vase, the one Aunt Jenna got from that weird place with the long name, which is really no different from all the other weird places with the long name that she got all the other stuff from— her Aunt Jenna is kind of the coolest ever, “and we keep him.”
That argument doesn't work, which is, like, so totally wrong, because Jeremy is much dirtier than the puppy and is too stupid to get that you don’t eat dirt because Mrs. Reynolds from homeroom says it has germs and everyone except stupid Jeremy knows that germs are bad.
So she invents one with her words instead. And she can keep it.
When she’s sixteen she buries them. (Her parents, not the dog. Maybe the dog’s still alive and seventy in dog years. That’s irony. Somehow. Caroline talks to her again these days, because she’s the girl with the dead parents and it’d be terrible not to.)
A year (six months, fourteen days, seven hours) later Jeremy is black soot and dust. Except this time he's someone else's mess to clean up.
(See, the thing is, she’d usually follow the rules of narrative and structure so there isn’t an idyllic childhood scene and a murder following as a non-sequitur of the worst kind— she killed her parents and her brother, just fyi— but she’s done following rules. And if that messes your expectations of what this is, stop reading.)
This one time Caroline looks at her and goes, “I could frame you.”
She’s painting her nails, and she wants to do them with the florescent green that Caroline’s done hers in, but it might not look as good. And then Caroline will know it doesn’t look as good, and every time she looks at her afterwards, even if she doesn’t say anything, her eyes will have a hint of ‘the green nailpolish suits me better than it does you.’
She picks red instead. Red is the safest. It always looks good.
Caroline makes a lens with her hands, rising from her bed, “maybe I won’t be the news-lady. I could be the director of a blockbuster Hollywood flick and you could star in it.”
Caroline always wants to be everything all at once, she knows. Caroline always wants everything there is to want. But Elena knows that's not how the world works. If you want too much, you end up with nothing. The trick is to want just enough and no more.
She paints another coat. It does look good. She knew it would. Besides red goes with everything. (Caroline’s will clash. Bright green and that orange dress her daddy got her last week would clash so horribly.) “Wouldn’t you want to be the star in your film?”
“That’s obvious,” Caroline says, rolling her eyes through her fake lens, “but you could be the best friend. That’s a huge role in all romantic comedies. And even the supporting male cast is pretty decent these days. I’ll take Matt obviously, because he’s blonde and gorgeous and I’m blonde and gorgeous. And you could— Lockwood? I don’t know, he’s an ass, but he’s not difficult on the eyes, you know?”
She laughs because this is Caroline. Being kind. This is her version of yes, I know you liked him, and I forgive you for being lame.
(She sleeps with Matt four years later, and just for a moment, she imagines blonde against blonde. It’s beautiful. Caroline doesn’t talk to her anymore.)
“You can say something now,” she says, “I know you’re dying to.”
Caroline is silent. She’s standing stiffly, awkwardly, like she doesn’t know what to do with her body. Caroline who’s always known exactly what to do with her body.
I could frame you, she thinks. Not with a video-camera, obviously. Maybe in a photograph. Confined to the boundaries of four edges. Because that’s all Caroline and her precious humanity are. Dead, tied, even if pretty to look at.
She licks a drop of fresh blood off the corner of her mouth, and makes a sound at the back of her throat in exasperation as another drop falls on her already stained blue shirt.
But that’s okay, really. Red goes with everything.
(– Don’t tell anyone this, but the first guy she liked was Tyler Lockwood. He was an ass, Caroline always said and Bonnie nodded, as they looked at him playing the fool and flipping his hair in a way he obviously knew was attractive.
But he looked at her once, and grinned that half-grin in a way he obviously knew was attractive and her heart skipped a beat and she blushed and—
Caroline always notices everything, “Come on, Elena, seriously?”
Bonnie laughs, “oh, stop it, Caroline, she doesn’t.”
“I don’t,” she said hurriedly.
(But the hero in her story has initials that begin with T.L. and he sometimes flips his dark hair in a way that he obviously knows is attractive.))
The first boy she brings home— that’s what she calls it now— home. Like, where the heart is. And Damon and Stefan is definitely where her heart is. Or if not her heart, her fangs and her bite-marks and her blood and all those things that substitute poetry.
She left that sentence incomplete, but the first boy she brings home looks at her through glazed eyes like he loves her. (You love me, she’d said, looking into his eyes, and then he did.)
Damon look at their joined hands, “Elena,” he says. And she waits. Because she has time. But it’s just that. Elena. Her name. Like, Not Katherine. Elena. A non-standard signifier. She is not 'Elena' or 'Katherine'. She just is.
She kisses the boy right in front of him.
“Stop it,” he says, through gritted teeth. And she hopes it hurts him enough to make him switch it off, because why doesn’t everyone? If this is what it feels like, why doesn’t everyone?
She tries to simulate feeling, play-act, because she remembers the motions, even if she doesn’t remember what it used to feel like to love him. To love. Whatever.
She moans as the boy lightly bites with human teeth, doesn’t break skin. Because she can. Because the blood never rushes through her skin, she doesn't blush anymore and nobody can tell any longer.
When she bites his neck in turn, the blood stains her blue shirt and Damon watches. It doesn’t feel like anything she’s ever felt before. It doesn’t feel like anything.
(Her desk drawer and the notebook safely locked inside it are the last things to burn.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, she’d written once, in perfect cursive, because clichés like that look good in perfect cursive.
Evidence of life:
He runs out of two centuries of remembered lullabies two days into it.
And then he’s just black leather and cigarette smoke and a whole host of fuck sorry, bit, couldn’t save her, couldn’t do anything, should've been me—
Why should you have saved her, she wants to ask, because she's not real and he's dead and they have no right to mourn when there are people both real and alive who loved her too.
Instead, she sits by the foot of her bed and lets her hair hang in front of her face, like she used to when she was very little. (She was never very little.)
“It’s okay,” she says, forgives instead of being forgiven. It’s easier to do that.
Some days, she’s six months old. Some days, she’s a million.
“Old enough,” she says, the practiced seduction slipping into easy defiance. Seeping through her bones till her whole body is nothing but defiance of everything she was made of; memories and bright green light.
“Not if you have to say that, you aren’t,” he replies.
She glares at him, fingernails biting into palm, before turning away, “whatever.”
Some days, she’s fifteen.
The bit asks him over and over, her voice low, breathy, like all she knows about it, she learnt from the telly.
It’s only this one time when he comes back from the hunt and she’s sitting on his crypt.
“Please,” she says, just once, brittle bones and sharp angles, no longer playing dress-up, “Please.”
Isn’t right, he thinks, wouldn’t do that, not to you, sweet bit. Good men don’t—
Wouldn’t do that, he thinks when he’s inside her, wouldn’t do that, he thinks when she’s around him. Good men don’t—
She moves away whenever he touches her reverentially. It’s the only way he’s ever known how.
Drusilla (mad and lost and alone and broken and sliced and Spike, Ms. Edith has been so naughty today) and Buffy (she falls and falls and he’s never even touched her and still she falls and falls and—) and the only way he’s ever known how.
She hides her face in her hair and he strokes her and he almost hates her with a love so strong it’s every woman he’s ever loved and hated and now she’s here and it’s the only way he’s known how.
Good men don’t—
(See, here’s the thing to know about him: he’s not a good man. He’s not good. He’s not a man.)
He bruises her once. And he touches it again and again like he can’t believe he did it and he says sorry again and again till it’s jumbled in her head and she’s not sure what the word means anymore.
She doesn’t say she doesn’t mind because he likes to believe she does. And the only way she believes these days is if he does.
She fills the gaps in the head within the unending litany of his apologies sorrysorrysorry.
Sorry—I couldn’t save—sorry sweet bit, broke—sorry—never loved—sorry—I hurt you so—sorry—sorry—
Good girls don’t— a teacher she’d never had, had once said in some grade she was never in.
Drusilla—Buffy—Spike likes fixing things. She knows this. And, it follows, Spike likes broken things. He slips his fingers inside her and maybe turns the key a little because she can function for a while afterwards. She’s a wind-up doll.
Good girls don’t—
(See, here’s the thing to know about her: she’s not a good girl. She’s not good. She’s not a girl.)
the girl who did
peter pan | peter/wendy | pg
there's a boy here in town, says he'll love me forever.
At times i hardly can believe in you,
This is how long forever lasts—
He kisses her. Once. Cool, curious, disinterested. And she is a woman.
“Please come play, Wendy,” Peter says sometimes, still, and she thinks she may like the way his arms close around the bow.
“No.” she says.
He laughs like a boy when he runs his fingers through her hair.
She shades her eyes against his touch.
(“Will you love me forever.”
“Yes,” he says, immediately.
She would have liked him to wait a little.)
“Grow up,” she says, once, when she is very angry. It is what mummy used to say when Wendy had been naughty.
Peter laughs, Peter always laughs, and it makes her angrier, “why would anyone want to grow up, Wendy?”
She doesn’t know. (She thinks she might know. But only sometimes. Only when he looks at her and she lowers her eyes and she knows.)
“You don’t belong here anymore,” Tinkerbell says.You have never belonged here, Tinkerbell doesn’t say.
“I do,” she answers, even though it was not a question. Like the marriage vows that mummy and daddy had once told her about.
Sacred, they'd said and smiled at each other. She does not know what that word means.
(There is no marriage in Neverland. There are no priests, no religion, no birth, no death. There are no children who are not lost. There are none but children who are lost.)
I belong here.
But then Peter smiles, bright-eyed, open, and kisses her—
—and she is unlost.