Don Giovanni, Leporello | 170 words | Set post opera
Leporello outlives his master by an embarrassingly short amount of time – a misunderstanding involving the husband of a woman he may or may not have seduced, a sharp knife, and a rather thick length of rope – and isn’t really all that surprised when he finds himself in Hell. It would have been nice to think he could be redeemed, but he hasn’t had long enough to fix all his past mistakes.
Don Giovanni almost looks pleased to see him. “I was wondering when you’d arrive,” he observes dryly.
“Is my punishment being trapped with you for eternity?” Leporello asks.
Giovanni shrugs. “Hell isn’t so bad,” he says.
The smile on his face is one Leporello has seen before. “Only you,” he sighs. “Everyone else gets eternal torment, but you’re fucking the Devil.” Don Giovanni only grins wider, flames in his eyes. “Or you already are the Devil.”
“Not yet.” He flicks back his dark hair, with that determined look Leporello has learned to cringe away from. “I’m working on it.”
Jack, Alice | 100 words | set during Exit Wounds
Jack’s teeth taste like dirt and he’s quiet in the horse-drawn cab with black curtains over its windows – they’ve done their best, after all – on the return to the Hub.
Alice is watching him with semi-crazed interest, though Jack won’t jeopardise the timeline.
“Just one thing,” she says, leaning forward, “If you’re from the future, you’ve found the Doctor.”
Jack remains silent.
“Did you kiss him and then kill him?” Alice asks outright.
He considers not telling her. But she’ll die in four months anyway.
“No,” he sighs.
She sits back, smirking in a satisfied way. “I knew you wouldn’t.”
Owen/Ianto | 125 words
“You know, Ianto,” Owen slurs cheerfully, “You’re really not so bad after all.”
“That’s so nice to know,” Ianto replies. Owen’s arm slung around his shoulders and he’s attempting not to walk their horribly drunk doctor into the road. He hates how the clean-ups are always his.
Owen laughs softly, and then leans close. Ianto turns his head so Owen’s kiss merely brushes his cheek.
“Because you’re drunk and you won’t remember this tomorrow, and in three to five minutes, depending on how much alcohol you’ve ingested, you’re going to vomit all over my shoes, and I’m going to let you because I like you far too much and, well, these aren’t my favourite shoes.”
Owen frowns at him. “Fuckin’ mad, you are.”
Ianto | 125 words
“The aliens have eaten google,” Ianto announces in an appropriately melodramatic tone.
He is answered by a sigh, and a request for more coffee.
“I am wasted here,” he tells no one in particular. “And if they’re in the internet, the chances are they’ll be here in a matter of hours. Since there is a paper trail leading right to us as harbingers of doom and all that.” Yet more silence. “Well, the online equivalent of a papertrail, anyway.”
“Ianto; coffee,” Owen repeats loudly. “Not a monologue on… whatever it is you’re talking about.”
“Wasted,” Ianto repeats softly, because somehow it’s going to all become his fault when the aliens eat the rest of the internet and come to find them.
It always bloody is.
Becker, Lester | 258 words | Set post 3x03
When the worst of the smoke has cleared and Cutter’s body has been loaded into an ambulance, Becker seeks out Lester.
“I’ve failed, sir,” he says quietly.
Lester has pulled himself together, but there are still shreds of narrow hysteria under the surface. It’s understandable.
“Yes, you have,” he responds calmly; it somehow stings more than if he’d snapped it. Becker swallows down an I’m sorry because it would be useless.
He takes a breath and says: “I’ll understand if you want to appoint a new head of security.”
Lester frowns. “Why would I want to do that?”
“My mission was to protect Nick Cutter,” Becker points out. “And… I didn’t.”
Lester looks put-upon. “Most of this isn’t about you,” he says, in a tone that’s a strange mixture of snappy and comforting, “And I’ve got enough on my plate what with Cutter being murdered and the ARC being destroyed without having to interview new heads of security.”
Becker feels himself grimace, though he manages to turn it into a rueful smile. “Of course,” he responds, bowing his head, and turns to go and see if he can help out with the aftermath. He thinks he might be a little in shock; he thinks they all are.
“Becker!” Lester calls. He obediently turns. “This wasn’t your fault,” Lester adds, expression entirely unreadable. “We’ve all underestimated Helen on too many occasions. Better men than you have been fooled by her.”
Better men like Nick Cutter, Becker assumes. He obediently widens his scraped-up smile a little more, and walks away.
Matt/Alesha | 298 words
Beer cold and wet against his palm, Matt watches Alesha watch James. She’s subtle about it and God knows he needs to be discreet – they’re coppers, after all, trained to notice things, and Ronnie will spend tomorrow making his life hell between paperwork and croissants – but it’s still there.
They don’t do this often. The four of them, tied together with strings of evidence and the mutual desire for justice, but it’s not enough to claim friendship and so there aren’t a lot of nights like this. Matt thinks it’s probably for the best; for an evening they can get along perfectly. But James has his demons and his principles and it’s all a little too sharp.
James comes back from the bar, four glasses in his hands, a curl of a real smile on his mouth that reminds Matt that actually, he’s a nice guy; maybe just too nice, nice to the point of damage. Alesha is doing a pretty job of pretending she hasn’t been watching him pay for their drinks and bring them back, throwing stock answers to Ronnie and Matt. Ronnie doesn’t care; Matt thinks he might care a little bit too much.
Alesha is wearing a petrol blue cashmere cardigan; tidy and neat as usual. The wool looks soft and Matt curls his fingers against the drink-stained table to resist the urge to touch it.
“We should do this more often,” he says, trying for easy.
Ronnie’s look says oh, you’re a bloody idiot, and the thin curl of James’ mouth says something similar without the invective.
“We should,” Alesha agrees, her knee brushing his beneath the table.
He smiles, and the four of them clink their drinks together, leaving the toast unsaid because none of them are sure how to phrase it.
Mina, Ruby | 256 words
The words well, I was young once too crack against her teeth, splitting to ashes in her devoid mouth.
She was young once; and then not quite as young, with a husband who could never quite forgive that she did not recover, who ran out of conversation over the morning papers. That was a fate she never foresaw, teenaged and dreaming.
Ruby is youth, she smells of spring flowers and potential; the waves of her scent are golden. Mina could tell her about the futility of loving a man who has given so much of himself to the Dark that he can never hope to take it all back, but Ruby is young enough not to listen, and Mina knows at that age she wouldn’t have listened either.
Mina only drank innocent blood once (maybe twice, but she’s hiding that from Galvin because he hardly tolerates her now, whatever pretty cover he’s rolled over the whole thing). It was better than the best sex she’s ever had (which wasn’t with her poor lost husband, but shhh! that’s a secret), better than adrenalin, better than anything. It tasted like angels, and shimmered in every pore of her body.
But of course she has self-control now.
“What’s it like,” Ruby asks; earl grey and an empty afternoon.
Mina is tempted to look for clarification: what does she mean? Being a vampire? Being precognitive? Being insane? Being so old that it hurts? But she doesn’t enquire; she just sighs.
“Lonely,” she promises, and bites her tongue against seeking empathy.
Playing with shuffle on my ipod:
Take The Long Way Home
Mickey, Rose | 210 words | set pre/during season 4
You feel like your life’s become a catastrophe; oh, it has to be, for you to go, boy.
It’s an August afternoon, he thinks, trainers scuffing the pavement. There’s sunlight, sure, but the sky is getting greyer and darker daily. And the nights…
Rose is quiet, hands shoved in the pockets of her new jeans. She’s growing more different by the day, and Mickey often finds it laughable that she was ever his girlfriend. They’ve barely got anything in common now, except that neither of them really belong here and no one’s noticed.
Sometimes, he longs for afternoons in a white van and the promise of Cybermen to at least provide him with entertainment. Now, there’s really only the television, full of the beginnings of mass hysteria and inane quiz shows that try to mask the real problems, and he knows all the answers now, even the ones they won’t say.
“Do you think there’s a way back?” Rose asks dully. Her mouth is tighter now too.
Mickey doesn’t ask where she wants to go back to; and anyway, it’s not so much a place as a who. He drove a truck until a chain snapped just to get Rose back, once, what feels like a lifetime ago. He’s never really been an option; not ever.
“I’m sure we can find one,” he mumbles, one last masochistic promise.
Could’ve Been Anyone
Alex, Gene | 190 words | set post season one
Don’t worry, you can learn to live without; you’ve got a lifetime of that to draw upon.
- Aimee Mann
“My parents blew themselves up,” Alex mutters into half a glass of something potent that she shouldn’t have let Gene push at her. She’s kind of… malleable – and that isn’t the word that she wants – with regard to him, and still, whatever she’s sipping that’s meant to help her with the shock is just being potent and horrible and she’s already drunk.
“That’s shit,” Gene agrees mildly, in what he probably thinks is a sympathetic tone. It’s not, it’s just drunk, but Alex’s words are slipping out weirdly and her thoughts are soap in her hands and this isn’t real but she can’t get out so she might as well leave it as reality for the moment.
“I don’t like you,” she spills, head dropping to rest on the table. Mostly, she feels sick, and when she shuts her eyes she can see clowns. She’s never liked clowns. Clowns are crap.
Gene just sighs. “If you’re going to mope, you can piss off.”
Alex nearly smiles. He’ll never tell her to go; never with conviction. She can’t work out if she hates or loves her subconscious for that.
Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me
Jonathan Crane [/Batman] | 200 words
You don’t know what you’re doing; babe, it must be art.
It is a pity, of course, poor little crazy boy, to go from Man Fucking Ruling Gotham to the considerably more pathetic Man Wearing A Sack On His Head And Dealing With Petty Criminals. Batman took everything that was worth anything.
He had an asylum once, which was lovely, all the crazy people clawing the walls and his own mask of devastation. Now it’s just a sack, and it’s there to spare him from security cameras. And most days, it’s not even that, it’s to spare him from Batman.
Sometimes, in the nights, he wakes up, skin raw with sweat, the taste of a dream with The Batman’s melting face trapped against his mouth and eyeballs. He sure created fun; slithery hallucinations for anyone who wants them. Especially for those who don’t.
Nowadays, the fun is draining out of things, and he doesn’t look at himself in the mirror mainly from frustration – because he’ll never confess to shame – and tells himself he’s not just killing time, waiting for Batman to track him down. To break him apart.
Mostly, he’s just not sure if he feels anticipation or dread. It’s a sticky combination, and the lights across Gotham are going out.
This Is How It Goes
Door, the Marquis de Carabas | 155 words | set near the end of the tv series/book
And you – what on earth did you expect? Well I can’t tell you, baby.
- Aimee Mann
“You still owe me a favour,” the Marquis de Carabas reminds her carelessly, voice like torn silk. “A really big one.”
Door nods distractedly, her cheeks still damp. She isn’t sure what she expected, really, since Richard spent half his time in London Below repeating I want to go home in an increasingly desperate fashion, but nonetheless she had vague hopes. After all, he’s been showered with the highest accolades London Below could give him, and yet returned home anyway.
“He’s ungrateful,” she decides firmly, the words slipping past the sizable lump in her throat. “Bloody ungrateful.”
“He’s human,” Carabas responds carelessly, with his unsettling smile.
Door doesn’t really feel better, and instead she turns away from him, from the scarf still tied around his throat and his truth and lies.
“I wouldn’t worry,” he offers, “There was a reason I didn’t say goodbye.”
It’s a nice thought, but Door doesn’t allow herself to hope.
The Littlest Birds
Claire, Zach | 225 | set between seasons 1 and 2
You pass through places and places pass through you but you carry them with you on the soles of your travelling shoes.
- Be Good Tanyas
The backyard is full of sunlight and it’s peacefully quiet; out here, Claire can’t hear mom trying not to cry or dad packing up boxes and sealing them with duct tape.
“So you’re going,” Zach mumbles.
Claire could say duh, but doesn’t, because he’s kind of the only thing she’ll be sad to leave behind in Odessa. There’s Jackie’s grave, which is mostly just surrounded in guilt, and Brody still messed-up in a wheelchair, leg trapped in plaster and still all confused.
“It’s not safe for me here any more,” Claire shrugs, as she’s already told him, and their shoulders are pressed together. It doesn’t seem like enough, all the things Zach’s done for her and tried to do for her and well, she kind of owes him a fucked-up homecoming seeing as how his vanished out of his head.
“Am I going to forget you?” Zach asks, like he’s suddenly reading her mind. For a second, Claire kind of hopes he magically has superpowers too and will have to flee Texas with them and then she won’t need to leave anything behind after all.
Claire shrugs, throat stinging. “I don’t know.” Her voice catches.
“Right.” Zach falls silent, gazing up at the blue sky, and Claire glances up, wondering if Peter’s still up there somewhere, and manages to smile when Zach takes her hand.
Blair, Serena | 190 | set pre season one
Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend somewhere along in the bitterness.
- The Fray
Blair and Serena take delight in playing let’s never communicate, mostly because Serena’s trying to forget the whole champagne sex thing and also ‘cause hey; boarding school is kind of… fun. Especially since she seems to be able to smile and get anything she wants, and sure it’s not quite the existence she wanted but writing to Blair becomes secondary because Blair is sad and Blair is tired and Serena is pretending to sparkle.
In the end, Blair stops talking to Serena because her dad is gay, of all things, and Serena apparently doesn’t care at all but Nate does, Nate who she always wanted with his prettiness and his smile and his big, warm, steady hands. She tells herself that she’s in love because, you know, not all kindergarten fantasies need to be abandoned with growing up.
In a few months, they’ve gotten around to forgetting each other, which is fine with Blair ‘cause now she’s the only queen bee, and fine with Serena because… boarding school really is fun.
Neither of them gives a single thought as to what will happen if they ever need to meet again.
Jack | 200 words
Enemy sighted, enemy mad; I’m addressing the real politics.
Torchwood is professional of course; or, at least, it claims to be professional because the truth is just plain depressing. Under all the other leaders – like Emily, who was somewhat psychotic, but didn’t really let that get in her way; or Gerald, who was so completely damaged that no one actually noticed until Hattie died – Torchwood had a sort of honour, bruised and dirty as it was.
Jack honestly can’t work out if Torchwood now looks tired and broken because he took over and messed the whole thing up, or if it’s just that UNIT have got so cold and harsh recently that anything that’s not handled in a sterile and unforgiving manner just seems to look ragged and useless. Or it could just be that he’s stripped back all the protocol and taken it to the basics: mean aliens bad. Put an end to mean aliens. Give everyone guns. See where that goes in the end.
It’s nice that Yvonne Hartman no longer conducts ridiculously frequent spot-checks, because Torchwood Three would fail every time. It’s sad that she’s dead, of course; she was great in bed.
Of course, it’s possible that that could be the heart of the problem.