|A Little Off Center
Author: oldandnewfirm PM
An assortment of short fills written for various prompts across Livejournal. Multiple pairings/genres within; peruse and enjoy!Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 12 - Words: 10,356 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 10-24-12 - Published: 11-06-10 - id: 6457773
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Guerrero/Ames. Done for the prompt "Imagine your OTP in the afterlife" from the imagineyourotp tumblr.
"Um— should I be worried that you're here?"
"I'm not sure," Guerrero admitted, once he'd recovered from shock. Because of all the people he'd expected to run into in this strange place, Ames ranked so low that she hadn't even made the list. "I mean—what have you done?"
Since he'd last seen her, anyway, and for her that could have been two weeks or twenty years ago. Here there was no day or night to mark the passage of time, nor any celestial features to speak of. The sky was an ever-shifting striation of greys, blues, yellows, and greens that twisted in on itself over and over, a vortex to nothing. He avoided looking at it, because whenever he did he felt like a child who'd peeled back their bedsheets from their face and discovered that the thousand horrors their mind had conjured out of the darkness were looming over them, warm, real, and hungry.
Ames stared at it now, surprisingly unaffected, her face screwed up in concentration. She hadn't aged a day beyond his memories, he realized. She was still a young woman on the cusp of her thirties, with a body that years of training had honed for efficiency and grace. And now that she was before him, details that time had stolen from his mind returned with overwhelming clarity: the brown jasper shade of her hair, the fullness of her bottom lip, the way she cocked her hip when she was deep in thought. He'd missed her on the same abstract level he'd partitioned off for missing all of the people he'd cared about in life, but now that she was here again his arms were damn near trembling with the urge to hold her. But even in death he was a master of composure— he stood quietly and waited for her answer.
"Nothing worse than when you knew me," she said, finally. "And what I did do was for the greater good, of course."
"Most of the time, anyway. A girl's got to have fun. Maybe I had a little too much fun, actually."
She said it while glancing around, concern leeching her brief levity from her features. Guerrero stepped forward and rested a hand on her elbow. She wasn't warm or cold— nothing here had a temperature, really— but she was solid. She looked in surprise from his hand to his face.
"I'm real? I mean, we're not ghosts?"
He shrugged. "Even if we are, we can touch each other."
"Can we go back? To Earth, I guess?"
"Doesn't seem like it."
"Why? Planning on starring on an episode of Ghost Hunters?"
She smiled, and it was about as close to sunlight as he'd ever seen in this place.
"That show ended ages ago, you know. Jesus, that was before HPTVs."
"Holographic panel. They came out in, oh, the mid 2030s I think?"
He balked. 2030s?
"How old are you now?" he asked.
She tsked him. "Rude! But if you must know I am—well, was—eighty-four."
He tried to imagine how the wrinkles would have settled on her face, or how the contours of her body would have changed as the years wore away fat and muscle to leave her frail and soft. But he was no better at projecting old age onto her than he had been onto Chance, or even himself. He'd (correctly, it seemed) never expected that he'd live long enough to have to worry about it.
"You died the day before my birthday, you know."
He blinked out of his reverie not because of her words, but because she'd stepped into his arms. He'd grown accustomed to only rare, brief contact with his fellow dead. When he embraced her it felt good, but strange. Like blood flowing back into a limb he'd compressed for so long that he'd stopped noticing that it had gone numb.
"I did?" he asked. Though he'd tried several times, he couldn't remember the circumstances of his death. Given that some of his enemies were as creative as he was when it came to testing the limits of human endurance, he'd decided that that was a good thing.
"Yes. It was very inconsiderate. You don't remember?"
She was quiet for a moment.
"Well I guess it doesn't matter now, anyway," she said.
He couldn't say how long they stood there, he still amazed by her presence and she seemingly content to remain in his arms for as long as he'd let her.
"What then?" he asked.
"What, after you died?"
"No— well, yeah, actually. I mean, what was the rest of your life like?"
"Really? You want the whole story?"
He shrugged. "Why not?"
"It'll take a while, you know."
He gestured to the crumbling city that stretched on forever around them. "I think we've got all the time we need."