|Ring the Changes
Author: Elizabeth Culmer PM
Rose and Roxy connect via a shared literary interest.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family/Friendship - Rose L. & Roxy L. - Words: 1,382 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Published: 07-07-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8295664
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Andrew Hussie. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: This story was written in response to the 6/29/12 word #239 at the 15_minute_fic livejournal community. (It is actually more of a one hour fic, but that's only because I am terrible with time limits and deadlines. Shhh, don't tell!)
Summary: Rose and Roxy connect via a shared literary interest.
Ring the Changes
"I used to write fanfic for The Complacency of the Learned," Roxy says out of nowhere.
You look up from your knitting, startled. You've grown used to knowing where people are, but even when inebriated your not-mother is cat-foot quiet and her Void powers cancel your sight unless you both work strenuously and simultaneously to cancel the effect.
Roxy wraps her free hand around the doorframe and swings in and out of your bedroom, the picture of casual, carefree aimlessness. You know better than to believe the surface image.
"Well, when I say 'used to write' I actually mean 'write,' like something I still do. Like I finished a fic last night. Dirk usually fixes my typos and grammar and anatomy and stuff, but that's just 'cause we're always fucking bored out of our minds, not because he actually gives a shit about the story, and he's got weird ideas about the characters and themes, and I don't wanna bug him too much and overload him in the feels - he talks a good game, but he's bad with feelings, I guess it comes of being raised by robots and puppets - and Jane still hasn't finished the series so she's all tight-assy about spoilers, and-"
There are ways in which Roxy reminds you absurdly of Dave. This verbal diarrhea is one of the strongest. You interrupt the stream of meaningless words, sparing both of you the awkwardness of continued avoidance. "To be blunt, are you asking me to edit your creation?"
Roxy twitches, then meets your eyes straight on, as if daring you to refuse. "Yeah. Guess I am."
"Even though I haven't read my alternate self's work in its entirety?"
Roxy shrugs. "Hey, you're not my mom just like I'm not yours, but it's the same genes and the same brain. You think twisty just like she did, and Davey says you write wizard slash, so I'm betting you know the big picture even if you haven't figured out all the deets. Also, even a total lamebrain can read your pesterlogs and realize you're the bomb with grammar and spelling and all that shit. I bet other me was so proud of you. Her own little genius baby girl."
There is a shadow behind her eyes as she talks. Your needles slow as you remember once again that she grew up as one of the last two humans on a devastated Earth, with only the confused fumbling of Dersites and Prospitians for comfort. You failed to connect with your mother, but at least she was there, in the same home and time, able to physically touch you. Her attempts at displaying maternal affection were so over the top that they were impossible to perceive as genuine, but at least she tried.
The version of you that lived and died in Roxy's iteration of the universe either failed to make any gestures of comfort to her temporally dislocated daughter, or was unable to ensure they would survive the centuries intact. Either way, Roxy had nothing but statues and books to fill her instinctive need for human contact. It's amazing she and Dirk are capable of normal social interaction at all.
(You refuse to harbor the fantasy that you could have done anything better than your other self. No matter how much you want to eviscerate her for not trying harder.)
You clamp down on that train of thought, recognizing it as a silent version of Roxy's audible avoidant ramblings. Returning to the subject of her request, you wonder what she sees in your self-indulgent fiction that attracts her enough to elaborate on the published words. You've avoided reading your alternate self's oeuvre - it smacks of cheating, somehow, and at least on that point you understand Jade's determination that ideas should originate from their proper sources instead of via self-creating temporal loops - but fanfiction often takes a different enough perspective on the original text that Roxy's story shouldn't count as a spoiler for your own. Or so you justify your pending actions to yourself. (Your sneaking curiosity and desire for connection are absolutely not factors in your decision. No matter what the laughing simulation of Dave in your head seems to think.)
"I suppose I can take a look," you tell your mother (who is also your daughter, and feels more like a cousin or perhaps a long-lost sister). "Do you have it in hardcopy or shall I expect a file transfer?"
Roxy grins and produces a bottle from her sylladex, shaking out a sheaf of paper. "All your interviews said you like writing longhand so I printed it out for you," she says. "Brought a red pen too, so you can make it bleed."
She slides forward to set the items on your bed. You drop your knitting and catch her wrist before she can withdraw. "Stay," you say, patting the open spot on the comforter beside you. "This will go faster if we can talk in real time."
Roxy squirms for an instant, before slapping up an insouciant smirk. "You sure? Because there's some pretty hardcore porn in the middle. You might want a little privacy while reading, if you know what I mean." She winks.
You pause, briefly unsettled at the idea of someone else writing erotica about characters born from your own mind and tuned to your own preoccupations and - be honest, Rose - your own kinks. (Which include power, knowledge, magic, xenobiology, and a nuanced dissection of the infinite shades of gray that any 'simple' moral system diffracts into under the conflicting pressures of necessity.) But really, who better to share such things with? Particularly now that you know your mother's interest in wizards was real rather than a passive-aggressive sham.
"I can't think why that should be a problem," you say, tugging Roxy up onto your bed. "We're effectively sisters, all technical details of ectobiology aside. Who better to share confidences of an intimate nature?"
For a moment, Roxy is as unreadable as Dirk or Dave at their most stone-faced. Then she tucks her legs underneath herself and bounces on her knees. "Awesome! We're gonna be the best sisters in the history of paradox space. Not that you're replacing Jane, 'cause she's my bffsie forever - except maybe for Calliope, she's my bffsie too - but it's different with sisters, right? And she's way too uptight to read porn with me, no matter what she wants to do with boys, but I knew you'd be cool and you totally are cool - did I ever tell you that thing where you stuck your walkthrough in the Furthest Ring was super neat coding and thinking outside the proverbial box? - and I hope you don't mind what I did with Zazzerpan, 'cause you never said much about what he was like back when he was a student, and I thought it'd be hot if he-"
Smiling, you bend your head to her printout and begin to read.
AN: Thanks for reading, and please review! I appreciate all comments, but I'm particularly interested in knowing what parts of the story worked for you, what parts didn't, and why.