May 30, 2003

Log excerpt--again

I know. Y'all are gonna think this is all I ever do, right? Well okay, so right now that's not far from the truth. I keep meaning to post and fill everyone in on the crap that is my real life right now, but I just don't have the heart. So instead, you get more MUSH logs.

This scene was fun. A lot of fun. Set about four or five months before this scene, my partner in crime, , and I wanted to build on this pose from the first log:

Is it an unlikely moment? Is it really? Has he ever seen her strip so casually in front of anyone else? If anyone else is around? Has anyone else gotten the same teasing displays of flesh, the same mischievous grins, like a child pushing her limits to see what she can get away with? In truth, she's been pushing and pushing him towards this, ever since...

New Orleans. Ever since New Orleans. A walk in the summer-sultry French Quarter, because she was bored and he wouldn't let her go alone, a walk where he actually talked about himself, letting down the bodyguard mask for just an hour or so. So. Since New Orleans.

And what a turning point it turned out to be. I have to admit, as much as I adore all the RP I'm doing right now, this particular bit gives me a lot of the same rush that novel-writing does. So, two excerpts from the conversation in New Orleans.

The two of them are a study in opposites in nearly every respect. She's dressed as casual as casual gets, and he looks exactly like what he is: a hired thug in an expensive suit and mirrored sunglasses. She finds life and vitality in New Orleans, but he finds exactly the opposite, for many reasons. He wants to relax, but it's just not an option.

"Maybe they ain't," he allows, shouldering past someone who gets a little too close for his liking. "But you pay me to think otherwise, an' the first person comes wavin a cross at you is gonna get it shoved up their ass sideways." Something's clearly wrong. Karl is often gruff, but rarely rude, and even at concerts he's not this edgy. And whether he realizes it or not, he's determined to be passive-aggressive as hell about it.

Samantha's a smart girl. She's been around him long enough to know what he's like, even when he's at his most alert, his most poised. And she knows that a city street, even this one, even now, isn't call for this sort of sharpness, this sort of attitude. She studies him for a long, long time, perhaps gauging the best way to approach him, or even if she should approach him about it at all.

Watching him shoulder through the crowd makes up her mind. "Hey, I dunno if the tour's liability insurance is gonna cover it if you break someone outside of the concert hall." Her words are light, but she follows them up with ones that are a little more serious. "Everything okay?"

The words bring Karl up short, and this, thankfully, keeps him from stepping in the steaming exhaust from one of the horse-drawn carriages. He carefully takes a step back, onto the curb, and turns to look at Sam, a kind of thoughtful evaluation in his gaze that has nothing at all to do with protecting her.

It's not a staring contest, but it could be mistaken for one; it goes on for a good minute. Several times he opens his mouth as if to say something, and shuts it again, dissatisfied with the words about to come out of his mouth. Finally, gesturing as if to assist himself in figuring out what he wants to express, he says, bluntly, "This city is dying. Can't you feel it? It's a rotting corpse someone's forgotten to bury."

Placid eyes, calmer than he's used to seeing them, not crackling with stage-energy, not flashing with impassioned anger, just... calm, brown-green like river water, simply watching his face, watching him come to a decision. It's clear that his words surprise her, drawing that arched eyebrow once again. "Dying? Parts of it, sure. All cities go through cycles, really. New Orleans, I think, tends to celebrate its deaths a little more, recognizes the passings... mourns, then rebuilds."

She pauses, motioning off the street a bit, an open patio of sorts tucked back under ancient elm trees, offering a little bit of respite from the hazy sun. Starting in that direction, knowing he'll follow, she comments, "I didn't know you'd ever been here before."

"I haven't," he replies, dutifully following in her footsteps, finding a bench for them. Mildly annoyed at the fact that there's no wall he can put their backs to, no single entrance he can face, he resigns himself to doing a lot of head-turning.

His accent is noticeably lessened. Not quite absent, but it could be missed.
"New Orleans is a fuckin pit," he begins, with the verbal momentum of a rant that's been building up for a good long time. "The estuarine ecosystem is irreparably devastated by silt dredging and urbanization, the sea level is rising at an average rate of point eight meters a year, an' biological diversity is down somethin like fifty percent. Saltwater intrusion is killing off the freshwater species in the Pontchartrain Basin, and the levees are worse than the problem they're supposed to correct." All this comes out in one breath, as if he were taking a great dump of all the crap that's been building. "This city," he says, very clearly now, "is a piece of shit, and it's going to be underwater in fifty years. All this life and celebration you see around you," he utters with a dismissive wave at the streets, "is a coping mechanism to deal with the fact that everyone in New Orleans knows they're fucked."

If he had grown a second head that started spouting Esperanto, she could have hardly been less surprised. Would have been less surprised, in fact. She's seen two-headed Esperanto-spouting creatures before. The less said about that the better. She regards him for a long moment. It's not that she doesn't understand what he just said, it's that /he/ said it. That alone means she needs a moment to recoup. Miss All Up In Arms about environmental issues missed something. "I didn't know that," she admits, and it /costs/ her to admit that. Not because he apparently knows something she doesn't, but because she honestly loves this city. It's like being told that an old family friend has cancer.

Oddly, appropriately, a woman on the edge of the small plaza, a street musician, sets up and starts singing, her voice rich and soulful, "Sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone... sometimes I feel like I'm almost gone... A long, long way from home..."
The gospel riff sends a shiver up Samantha's spine, her hands rubbing her arms as if a goose walked over her grave.

The candid admission is disarming, and it takes a lot of the wind out of his bellows. He's silent for a time, listening to the haunting music, which greets his ears like a funeral dirge. He doesn't quite look at Samantha, instead looking around him with eyes that are no longer cataloguing threats and assessing dangers. Instead, they're pinpointing guilt for the spots of disease on the elms, wondering how many heavy metals and waste are sitting in the pools of water on the cobblestone streets, waiting to be washed into the delta with the rain runoff. "When you hired me, I told you I had a college degree. I didn't tell you it was a Masters in Environmental Engineering. I was workin on my thesis when they passed a whole bunch of shit legislation here in the late nineties, and it was big news in class. It's all about reclamation and restoration, finally owning up to the fact that we've spent the last two hundred years fucking this place up. Except that some pencilnecks got the arrogance to think they can turn back the clock and stop the river and the sea from eating this city alive. They can't."

His hands flex on his lap, strong hands that are powerless to do anything at all about the subject at hand. It's not a comfortable feeling for anyone, least of all him, and he shifts uneasily on the wrought iron bench, as if he could set himself at ease by making his ass stop hurting. "The heat sucks. It stinks to high heaven, an' if I never hear another word of French spoken in my life, it'll be too soon. But you wanna know the real reason I hate this city? That's it in a nutshell."

Samantha knows that feeling though, that helplessness. Her hands may not be powerful weapons, but they flex that exact same way whenever she considers the social injustice that still constantly raises its head in this, the supposedly most civilized of nations.

For that one moment, she looks at him, really looks at him, and in a very real way she sees part of herself looking back at her.
It shakes her a bit. Hell, a lot. Shakes her so much that she looks away, watching the musician on the corner. The woman's /good/. After a moment's consideration--and to give herself time to think, she slips away from the bench, dropping a folded bill in the woman's hat. She hands the woman a card and murmurs something to her, all in the space of a few seconds, and comes back to sit beside him again.
It's another thing about her that drives everyone batshit. She can't pass a beggar on the street without giving him or her something. Can't. It's a compulsion with her, no matter how many stories she hears about scams.

The thunder catches her attention for a second as well, before she flashes him a grin. "I see. So a suit only keeps you from changing disposable diapers? What about cloth ones?" She raises her hand, "Wait, don't tell me. Polluting the ground water with the run off it takes to launder them, not to mention the electricity and detergents in the water..." Okay, so she's ribbing him. A little. It's just nice to find out that she's not the only one with weird little fixations and obsessions.

Another rumble of thunder, hazel eyes going to the sky again. She sighs, a little reluctantly. "If you really mind getting rained on, you better say something now."

She is indeed teasing, and he's not going to rise to the bait this time. Instead he considers her offer. It's not really even an offer; they'd have to find someplace to duck into to get out of the rain, and it'll be here before they could walk back to the hotel. And as if on cue to his thoughts, the rain arrives like a crescendo, announcing its presence with the kind of suddenness only a Southern summer storm can. Raindrops the size of gumballs, it seems, in sheets that cut visibility to a few dozen feet.

The mirrored sunglasses are impenetrable at the best of times, but now he can't see out of them either. With dignity and grace that borders on the comical, the rain slicking his hair to his head and making his suit cling to him like a frightened child, he slowly removes the sunglasses and folds them up, tucking them into the breast pocket of his jacket. "Fuck it," he declares with exaggerated eloquence.

Samantha's laugh is bright, almost child-like, sounding for all the world like a kid who's just been told that recess is going to be fifteen minutes longer. She has no dignity to speak of, or at least, none that she ever really worries about. As the rain pounds down between the elm trees, she leaps up from the bench, impulsive, as sudden as the arrival of the storm itself. Arms outstretched, her face turned into the torrent, she spins in a circle, laughing as the rain soaks through the rainbow of her hair, soaking the light summer clothes and molding them to her.

The city may be dying, but she is /alive/, and each raindrop that trickles down her skin is a reminder of that, a tangible gift reminds her that the world is still, by and large, a vital, vibrant place.

There is power in rain, Karl knows, and life. Destructive as the forces of erosion may be, they are still a part of the cycle, and for any toxic by-products the fault lies not with the rain, but with the men who put the toxins in its path. Watching Samantha's rain dance, it occurs to him, and not for the first time, that she really is a force of nature. She is primal in some way, and she exhales life the way a tree exhales oxygen.

She's a frustrating, infuriating bitch, and he feels more alive around her than at any other time.
It's an unsettling realization, that, and he doesn't let himself think too deeply on it. There's a part of him that wants to get up and feel the rain with her, to let it fill him instead of falling on him, but he doesn't. He can't. Instead, he watches her, an audience of one for the greatest performance of her life.
That, and he needs to make sure a crocodile doesn't swim up and bite her leg off. The water's already up to his ankles.

It's not so different from the way she dances onstage, really. There's nothing planned to it, very little training. Hell, in this case, the only music is the hiss of the rain, the occasional percussion of thunder. The old chestnut about dancing like nobody's watching applies here. Her movements punctuated by laughter, as the worst of the cloudburst passes, slowing to drizzles, she finally comes back to the bench, collapsing, panting but invigorated. The smile on her face is damn near post-coital, satisified and relaxed.

It's a reaction he's seen before. The simplest sensory experiences, a rainstorm, a particularly tasty meal, a song... all can sometimes just grab her and shake her hard, leaving her open and aching for more. Watching you she suddenly laughs, oddly self-conscious. "I'll bet you think I'm a freak, don't you?"

Karl looks like a drowned rat, and he wasn't even the one dancing. No, not a rat--maybe a wombat, or a badger, or something equally nasty. The stoic way he holds himself, back straight, is really unsuited to how drenched he is, tongues of black hair licking at his forehead and chin dripping. He smiles for a moment, a rare ray of sunlight from him, and replies, "I ain't gotta answer that, do I?" The words are flippant, but there is no judgment behind the pale gray of his eyes.

In another impulsive movement, she reaches up and catches the hair on his forehead under her fingers, pushing it back with a decisive motion so it doesn't drip into his face. It isn't a particular gentle touch, just an automatic, unthinking response to visual stimuli. It's also the first thing she's ever touched him in some manner that wasn't strictly business-related.

"What would you do if I said yes?" she grins cheekily. If her own behavior throws her at all, she doesn't show it--but then, she's not one for a lot of self-analysis, especially not when she's in a mood like this.

There passes, at that moment, a charge between them that rivals the natural light show nature put on for them just minutes before. Karl knows it, and he knows she knows it. It causes him to freeze rigidly for the space of a few heartbeats as expression slips away from his face, as he wonders what the fuck just happened.

Any number of answers come to mind, ranging from the evasive to the flippant. He discards them one by one, like a man fishing through a trunk for some forgotten toy, casting all the others aside in a single-minded search for the truth. /I'd tell you I'm falling for you. And then eat a bullet for being the stupidest fuckin fuck ever./
"I'd tell you," he says slowly, "that you're impossible. And that maybe I'm starting to get why your fans like that noise you make."

I know. I needed another set of characters to fixate on like I need another hole in my head. But... they're just so COOL!

Posted by Lisa at 04:07 AM | Comments (0) | MUSHING/Online RP

May 28, 2003

Scene logs

I don't usually post scene logs, but one of the scenes I played yesterday was cool enough that I feel compelled to share. Not, I have to note, that the other scenes I've done lately haven't been insanely cool, but there's a sense of novelty to this one, both in how it was written and how it came about. I'd been talking to a player on Shangrila for ages, and we finally decided to do a scene together, but instead of using existing characters on the MUSH, we both dragged out older MUSH characters and threw them together.

Heh. So some of you might recognize Samantha, my old CoX mage character.

The coolest thing about this, to me, is how little setup we did beforehand. Samantha's been getting threatening letters from a fan, and Karl is her ever-increasingly more paranoid bodyguard. (All similarities to a Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner movie are completely coincidental.) Oh. And this being Shang, there's sexual tension as well. So anyway, here's the first half of the scene, cut-tagged for your enjoyment.

/I hate this part,/ Karl thinks, the words written plain on his face for a few moments before he once more governs his expression. He peers intently into the crowd, unseasonal sunglasses sparing him from the glare of the light show, watching with trained eyes for what he hopes will never happen. /The hell with a gun, or even a knife. Most of these assholes are wearing enough sharp things on their wrists to gash a hole in her throat if she keeps doing that hand-pressing PR shit they love./ The thoughts are unpleasant, but necessary, and often they're one of the few things keeping him from rushing out there and dragging her off the stage.

Well, that and the fact that he'd give her better than even odds of breaking his nose if he did.
Unconsciously, Karl's hand drifts to his holster as the show begins to die down, the cool molded plastic of the grip a reassuring touchstone that tells him all is right with the world--or will be, in the regrettable event that he has to use it. He masks the motion as a prim straightening of his suit, his appearance in stark contrast to the rest of the band--and to her. It's his job to be visible, to be the sword that deters the thief at market, and it's a job he's good at. And as the last shrill tones of the guitar die away, he begins to breathe just a little easier. Just a little.

By the end of every show, Samantha is invariably wrung out and exhilarated at the same time. An hour and a half of pure, insane, vital energy, alternating between pogoing around the stage and drawing in the crowd with impassioned speeches between songs, heart and soul poured out to educate, to enlighten, as well as to entertain. The last encore's always her favorite, and least favorite part of the show. Ending on a blistering cover of "Killing in the Name Of", Sam feels the overpowering rush of hearing an auditorium full of kids chanting/screaming with her, "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me!" Hair flying in a damp rainbow about her head, she thrashes as the guitarist flies through the last few riffs, then drops to her knees onstage, panting as the crowd cheers.

/I love this part/, she thinks.
Only after the noise start to fade does she thank the crowd, pulling herself to her feet and bounding offstage, eyes and face burning with energy, body drooping and drenched with exhaustion.

It takes effort, as always, to watch the crowd instead of her. She's a force of nature, terrible in beauty, like a tornado that founts poetry instead of splintered buildings and a dilapidated Chevy. /And aren't we in a surreal mood,/ he muses, checking his concentration. He doesn't relax until she's off the stage and out of sight, and even then he goes before her, rounding the corners that lead to the dressing room with a wary eye. "Sam, I got a question," he says, running his fingers through his short-cropped black hair as if he expected to find answers in it. "Does you /have/ to get so fuckin close to 'em every time? You was close enough to kiss that one guy, an' I think he coulda impaled you on his hair." There's no antagonism behind the words, just a sense of profound weariness--they've been over this ground before, and the disagreement has only intensified since the threats began.

It's the same old argument all right, but Sam's high enough from the crowd's energy not to be annoyed, not even this can drag her down right now. She laughs, still a little breathless from her performance, watching the shape of his back as he pulls point duty, making sure no wannabe assassin lurks around corners. He can hear the wicked grin in her voice, the teasing sound, "Karl, what bothers you more, that I was close enough to that kid that he could've hurt me or that I was close enough to kiss him?" Pausing just a second to let that sink in, she chuckles. "They're payin' good money for a show. I can't hang back behind a barricade and shut myself away from 'em. That's not the message, and that's not me. You know that. Besides," she adds, a little of the teasing draining away from her voice, "nobody's gonna get to me while you're on the job." Still teasing a little, sure, but there's a strong sense of trust there too.

The first barb sinks in, finds flesh, and won't let go--not until the mollifier she adds afterwards takes hold. His face is stony through both, but it can't remain so for long--her mood is infectious, and she's still one of the only ones who can break Karl out of his on-the-job reticence. "Yeah, yeah," he says, waving his hand as he shuts the door behind them, throwing fast a series of locks that would've impressed the Lone Gunmen. "S'how it works, ain't it. I keep you from gettin capped, an' all I needs is someone to keep me from havin a friggin heart attack every time I think you're gonna go crowd surfin." He takes off the suit jacket and hangs it on a nearby coat rack, the antique wood looking as if it'd break under anything more weighty than a necktie. The straps of his shoulder holster hug his chest and back like a sinuous black snake, a snake with no eyes and a single deadly mouth. He performs his usual ritual of checking the same loads he checked an hour and a half ago before replacing it, talking all the while in a slightly gentler voice. "Look Sam, we been over this. I knows you got a job to do. But I got one too. You don't wanna lose sleep over the shit I dream up--an' lately, I ain't gotta dream it up, not after the last letter." He worries about her. That's plain enough, and perhaps it's bordering on obvious that he worries more than a bodyguard should. But he's worked for her for a very long time, and there are some things that don't need to be spoken. You don't talk about the air, you just breathe.

"Hey," Sam grins, picking up a towel from the cluttered vanity with its series of blinding lights around the mirror thankfully turned off, and starts to wipe her face, never bothering with much makeup on stage for just that reason, "I haven't gone crowd-surfing since that time in Santa Barbara, remember? I keep my promises. How was I supposed to know what was gonna happen?" Teasing him again, trying to make another incident with an overzealous fan into a simple misunderstanding. She sobers a bit at the mention of the letter, dropping the towel back down on to the vanity before starting towards the screen blocking off one corner of the room. Of course, she starts pulling off the tank top well before she gets there, a glimpse of bare back broken only by the fall of her hair and the thin white material of a sports bra, the image soon vanishing behind lacquered wood. Safely hidden, she calls, "There any more leads on how they got the letter into the dressing room at all?"

Karl is thankfully spared the necessity of replying until after she's concealed--he's not sure what his voice might've done if she'd put him on the spot while pulling off her shirt like she did in Denver. "None," he replies, once he's confident his reactions are under control. Aside from certain involuntary ones, that is; fortunately his face and voice are once more a businesslike mask of calm. "But this is Texas we're talkin about. Everyone an' their cousin had keys to that room, an' sometimes they're the same people. Fuckin Texas." The sounds of rustling clothes are, as usual, an exquisite kind of torture. The screen was a concession; the first time, she started to strip in his presence, and then he nearly /did/ have a heart attack. He can still remember the sight of her bared chest, her expression half impish, half surprised at his own reaction as she started to hook her thumbs under the waistband... /stop that, damnit!/ he chastises himself, lost in the visualization that the sounds in the room bring. Aware that he's been silent for a few moments, he adds, belatedly, "But we're workin on it. An' if I finds the sonovabitch who did it..." It's an unspoken threat, but a curiously vacant one; nobody in the band has ever seen Karl use any more force than absolutely necessary--usually his presence alone is enough to make people think twice about crossing the line.

Just to make things a little worse--and is that deliberate, or is she just that unaware?--she peeks around the side of the screen, bare shoulders and arms draped against the wood, still largely modest, but just barely. An imaginative person might think they could see the curve of a breast silhouetted behind a lock of blond and purple hair. "You'll find them," she says confidently, giving him a smile just now starting to fray around the edges, the exhaustion starting to tear through the post-show euphoria. Mercifully, she retreats, Cheshire-cat-like, and after a few more moments of torturous rustling she reappears in a perfectly ordinary, almost boring, flannel robe, wrapped and pulled tight around her body. She sighs a bit. "The promoters weren't happy about me skipping out on the after parties on this leg of the tour, you know." She smiles wryly. "We need to find the bastard writing the letters if for no other reason so that I can get on their good side again."

Karl responds with an anatomically impossible suggestion for the promoters that would likely only be possible with the assistance of the expensive Cross pens on their desks. In the moments where she peeked out, she'd be treated to a brief glutch in his expression, a sudden rush of shit to the heart, and it still recurs every now and then. "Still, business is business," he goes on, pulling out a chair for her in front of the large mirror. "I been thinkin that mebbe what we needs is a trap. We're comin up on Seattle soon, an' I knows a guy at the Paramount who'd be willin to take a bribe if I told him what it was for."

Sinking gratefully into the chair, Sam picks up a hairbrush and starts trying to undo the worst of the tangles brought on by sweaty hours of thrashing, jumping, writhing around on stage. "Darlin', you know somebody in /every/ town," she grins up at him, hazel eyes shading to green in her mischief. "It's enough to make a girl wonder, really." Then she gets distracted, finding a particularly difficult snarl, blue, green, and gold twisted into a hell of a knot. She leans over, spilling her hair off to the side in her efforts. Of course, in the meantime that also exposes the clear white line of her neck, arched and extended, and what it does to the V-opening of the robe is enough to make a lesser man cry. Still, she seems unconcerned, unaware, just a woman brushing her hair. It would take an awfully perceptive person to pick up the slight air of tension rippling around her like heat waves. Perceptive, or someone who just knew her well.

Fortunate, then, that Karl isn't a lesser man. He is, however, a man who's been pushed to the very edges of his limits, and on many levels. More than once during this tour he's had to flex his hands to keep from wrapping them around some asshole fan's throat, and while nobody saw him do it, the boy who tried to grab Samantha while she was signing autographs got more than he bargained for--Karl hadn't really meant to break his finger, it was just a lack of calcium. Similarly, that really is a roll of dimes in his slacks. Standing behind her, he finds himself in a position both merciful and torturous; she can't see him except in the mirror, and even then only above the waist.

On the other hand, she's close enough to touch.
As she worries at the stubborn knot, a large and calloused hand closes over hers, stopping the brush in its tracks. "Make a girl wonder--sheesh, listen to you. Let me give that a try. You can't see what the fuck you're doin."

Her hand is tiny in comparison. She's not a large woman; she's short and rounded and tough, tough enough to scare off all but the most determined freaks on her own--but she's not large. She stops moving for a second when his hand closes over hers, the spark that leaps almost an audible thing, a little 'pop' of tension in that moment, the moment before she relinquishes the brush. Looking up at the man behind her in the mirror, Sam slowly sits up, a hint of a smile ghosting on her lips. She pushes the still damp, unruly mass of hair to fall down her back once more, sitting very straight, very still. Her eyes never leave him, quiet, curious.

/Well, fuck, now you've stepped in it,/ goes the parade of thoughts behind Karl's eyes. There's actually a few moments of dead silence and stillness as possession of the brush transfers from one smaller hand to a larger one, a few eternal seconds in which his eyes meet her through the mirror, suddenly concealing nothing. He looks down at the brush in his hand, and at the tangle of hair, his heart beating double time in his chest. And then he takes up the knot in his off hand, knuckles grazing against the back of her neck as he feels for the bottom of the knot, easing the brush through the ends. Right. Brushing. How difficult can it be? Seen it done a million times before; just start at the bottom and work your way up. He can't look at her eyes now, and perhaps that's a blessing in disguise, for it keeps that flare from starting up in his gut again. Except now he has to contend with the sight of the back of her neck, the expanse of pale skin revealed by her robe, and the tingle every time his hand brushes up against her neck or shoulder.

The unfortunate thing about him being so close behind her, in such close proximity to her neck, is that he can likely see the flutter of her pulse beating against her neck like a panicked, caged bird. No matter how impassive she might be able to keep her face, how still and schooled her expression--/Yup, this is ordinary, people brush my hair all the time/--the pulse gives her away. The tension radiates from her now, a fine thrum of nerves, the simple act of his powerful fingers patiently working through her hair, tugging it against her scalp, building up into something far more intimate, far more erotic, than she might have been ready to face.

/Stop looking at him. He'll see./ Her eyes lower to the countertop before her, but electric sparks all but leap along her skin with each accidental brush of his hand.

If Karl sees these things, if he notices the quickening of her pulse or the closeness of her scent, the sweat of exertion and fading euphoria--he tries very hard to keep a lid on it. It begins to show in the occasional tremble of his hands. Despite their size, they're surprisingly nimble, as if trained to far more delicate work than breaking faces or being a human riot shield. Inexpertly but patiently he weaves them into her hair, loosening the knots and tangles and eventually using his fingers far more than the brush as he discovers they're more versatile for the task of detangling. Minutes pass in silence, and Karl becomes aware that the tangle she'd been worrying at is long gone, and he's been simply finger-combing her hair, his fingertips raking lightly along her scalp. It gives him pause, a brief flare of panic on his face as his hands hesitate. /Oh, smooth. How long have I been doing that? Never mind, if I have to ask myself, it's been too long./

Too long, yes, but he doesn't stop. Two handfuls of fingers sink back into her hair, combing down the length of it to the ends. /I'm just making sure I've got all the tangles out. This is easier than using the brush, anyway./
He almost believes it.

The first she realizes that things have changed from a simple hair brushing to something else entirely, is when he hesitates. He might have gone on for hours, the soothing motion lulling her into a drowsy-eyed trance, and Sam would have never noticed, never thought anything was amiss--until that moment's hesitation. That moment of hesitation, followed by the deliberate, slow way he resumes running his fingers through her hair, makes her eyes close. She can't hide it. She can't stop it. Somewhere a door just closed--or maybe opened.

For an age she holds still where she sits. /If I say anything, he'll stop./ She hardly trusts herself to breathe, knowing that the slightest thing could make her sigh, an audible giveaway, that much more impossible to ignore. So instead, she holds still for as long as she can, feeling the goosebumps forming and reforming on her skin in slow, drifting waves, like a tidal pull across the surface of her body.
When she can stand it no longer, she reaches up and carefully takes one of his hands, disentangling it from her hair and wrapping her fingers around it, only now daring to open her eyes and look back at his image in the mirror.

Once again, there's a moment of hesitation, a stunned pause in which all time and motion stop, leaving only the evanescent sense of connection where her skin touches his, holds his. He doesn't trust his voice, nor his face, and especially not his eyes--not after that brief eye contact in the mirror before. He doesn't look up, and fixates instead on her slim hand around his, the swarthiness of his skin a striking contrast to her paleness. Vaguely, distantly, he's aware that something important has changed; a line in the sand has been crossed, and if he retreats back across it, he'll die. Or wish he had.

It takes a minute, but finally he looks up and finds her face reflected back at him, and as he looks into her eyes, a bolt shoots down his spine and into his gut, like an aimed blow. There's still a multicolored web of her hair woven around his other hand, which now rests on her shoulder, and it seems like he can feel every strand, down to the sweat which holds locks of it together.
He wants to kiss her, but that would involve turning her around, and taking his eyes off hers. So he does neither. Instead, he lifts her hand to his mouth, slowly, and nuzzles his lips into the hollow between her thumb and forefinger.

A gasp tears itself from her throat before she can think to control it. The sound, while actually quite soft, sounds like a thunderclap in the stillness of the room. Her spine stiffens, the hair on her head, the hair his hand still curls around, nearly tries to stand straight up on her scalp, galvanized by that single, simple, composure-rending kiss.

And so she faces the same dilemma, only multiplied. Now... if she moves, she loses the visceral pull of his eyes on hers, and she loses the soft teasing of lips against her fingers. They are, it seems, at an impasse, until a new need comes along to override the current one.
Her lips part. The words are on her tongue to murmur something teasing, something lighthearted, something that will ease the aching tension in the pit of her belly. She almost says it. She draws breath to say it, small smile already starting to form. Then his lips press a sensitive nerve against the web between her fingers, and the air rushes out of her in a low sigh.

The first sigh is like a warning cry, cautioning Karl that perhaps he might've pushed the limits, triggering the remaining shreds of duty in him and causing them to stand up and yell: What the hell do you think you're doing? It's a simple rule. You don't get involved. You don't get attached. And you sure as hell don't fuck the person you're protecting.

Which, he realizes, his teeth nipping and dragging across the sensitive web of skin, is exactly what he wants to do. /No, cut the bullshit, you've wanted to for a long time. You've just had the good sense not to pull something like this until now./ The voice is strident, but weakening, as is his resolve. Weakened, it shatters with her second sigh.
It's so much easier than he thought it would be, to swivel the chair around to face him. The hard part is letting go of her hand, and he solves that by crushing her lips in a breathless kiss, fingers woven into her hair and tightening as he pulls her to him.

The worst thing is, now I wanna know what happens next. Or maybe that's the best thing, I dunno.

Posted by Lisa at 12:37 PM | Comments (0) | MUSHING/Online RP

May 17, 2003

Finally a purity test for the rest of us...

Your
Ultimate Roleplaying Purity Score
CategoryYour ScoreAverage
Hacklust58.49%
Will kill for XP
54.2%
Sensitive Roleplaying16.46%
There is no player. There is only.... Zuul.
51.4%
GM Experience44.93%
Puts the players through the wringer
63.8%
Systems Knowledge90.54%
Played in a couple of campaigns
88.1%
Livin' La Vida Dorka47.13%
Has interesting conversations in public
58%
You are 55.99% pure
Average Score: 65.6%
Posted by Lisa at 07:21 PM | Comments (0) | General

May 10, 2003

Warning, game heavy stuff

So, Thursday night, in 's Buffy game, amidst all the other plot craziness going on, Charity went on patrol and found herself face to face with Zach, the boy who lived across the hall from her who, before he became a vampire (which Charity blames herself for), was a friend and a roommate to Max, the boy she has a crush on. When it came down to it, she staked him, but had a really hard time with it, almost hesitated enough to get herself hurt.

Afterwards, I mentioned that she was going back to her dorm room, and made a joke about her having a "sad Slayer montage". (If you've watched many episodes of BtVS, you know exactly what I mean.) As a group, we jumped on that, and spent several minutes detailing the shots and images. It stuck with me, so I decided to try and write it up, a la the campaign trailers I've been doing. (Also, for the truly interested, Charity's in character journal entry about the whole thing can be found here.)

MUSIC: "Do What You Have to Do", Sarah McLachlan (lyrics here)

FADE IN: Fight. Sounds of Mel yelling. Charity plunges a stake into Zach's chest, who promptly dusts (although not the cool dust effect, as has been pointed out, this is only first season).

Silence.

MEL: He would have just kept coming after us.

CHARITY: I know.

MEL: He was already dead.

CHARITY: I know.

Charity turns and walks away as the music starts. She walks through the darkened Ann Arbor streets as the opening lyrics are heard, "What ravages of spirit conjured this temptuous rage, created you a monster broken by the rule of love..."

Interspersed with a pensive Slayer walking the streets, in flashbacks, are various shots: The girls meeting Zach and Max on moving day, Zach asking Oriel out--repeatedly, always emphasizing Zach, the loner, not quite part of the group. Zach, the day of the truth spell, trying to ask out every girl on the hall. Zach, vamp face, moving through the tunnels under town. ("Fate has led you through it, you do what you have to do...")

By the end of the first verse/beginning of the second verse ("I have the sense to recognize that I don't know how to let you go..."), Charity reaches her dorm. Reaching the top of the stairs, she pauses, glancing at Max's door--should she go in and tell him? She turns away with the lyrics, "The yearning to be near you, I do what I have to do..." As she turns, the scene flashes on Zach's death again: stake plunging in, Zach's startled face, then dust.

Charity's room. The girls seem to be asleep at first, but Charity sees that Oriel is awake. The music fades after another repetition of "I don't know how to let you go."

CHARITY: Zach won't be bothering you anymore.

Oriel looks back for a moment, wordlessly nods. Is it possible she understands? Music comes back up on a repetition of "I know I can't be with you; I do what I have to do..." Close shot on Charity's face, cherry red hair like a stain against her pillowcase. A shaft of light from the window catches her expression at a slant, sorrowful but trying hard to be resolute, as the music repeats, "I don't know how to let you go..." Finally the song ends with no real resolution, it just stops, feeling unfinished.

BLACKOUT

I love gaming angst, I do.

Posted by Lisa at 04:56 AM | Comments (0) | Buffy RPG