Aluminum and Steel

Pairing: Adam/Iris, Adam/Joan

Archive: A Small Drop of Ink, Tales of Arcadia, FF.net. Anywhere else, just ask.

Summary: Adam has a lot on his mind.

Disclaimer: These characters are not mine. They belong to the incredible Barbara Hall and CBS.

Author's Note: This was inspired by Erin (aka thehush), who wanted to see Adam make a sculpture for Joan. This is what appeared. Thank you so much to Starcrossed One and Cassie for beta reading this for me. I owe you ladies.

Multi-colored wires twist and turn around a rubber tire base. A mixture of red, blue, green, and yellow, they jut out in all directions with no rhyme or reason. Something is definitely missing. It needs a center, something to hold the wires in place, but I can't decide what to use.

Standing back, I look at the sculpture and raise an eyebrow. With no definite idea in mind, I started working on it as a way to forget about Jane and Iris. Lately, it's been tough just being in the same room with the both of them. Jane always seems irritated when Iris is around, and Iris always acts like she has to fight for me. I feel like I'm being torn in half.

I reach for the last two materials sitting on my worktable. Both cylinders would work in the middle of the piece, but I don't know which one to use. One is made from aluminum, and the other is steel.

Picking up the aluminum cylinder, I bend it and try to wrap it around the wires. Maybe it will hold them together and help them stand straight up. The material crunches and groans as I force it around the colored wires. It doesn't seem to want to bend, but it moves easily enough.

Just as I tie both ends of the aluminum together, I start thinking about Iris again. Ever since I met her, she's always seemed willing to go along with whatever I want to do. With her big brown eyes and her high-pitched voice, she's never really said no to me. In fact, I don't know what she's thinking half the time. Anytime I ask, she just bats her eyelashes and says, "I'm all about you, A."

She bows to me, which is really weird for me since no one even cared what I liked before. But Iris went to see the White Stripes, and she's even tried to be friends with Jane, all because of me.

Jane. Joan Girardi. A whole bunch of messed up pieces. She's so different from Iris, so unpredictable. One minute, she's on the chess team, the next she's trying to join the band. She even sprained her ankle while trying to do laundry. I should still be mad at her, though. After all, she did trash my last sculpture. But I can't get her out of my head.

Long, straight, brown hair, matching eyes, and a genuine smile are enough to make her pretty, but there's so much more. She doesn't change to suit me. She's just Jane, and she's always a constant, no matter what crazy thing she's doing at the time. She doesn't know it, but she's stronger than she thinks and she has a big heart. She even gave me a chance when nobody else would.

I take a minute and look at the sculpture again. The aluminum doesn't look right; it's constricting and tight. I undo it and set it to the side. Grabbing the steel cylinder, I place it in the middle of the wires and the rubber tire. Wrapping the wires around it, it brings order to the sculpture and it starts to make sense. Where the aluminum ties them down, the steel holds them in place and gives them freedom at the same time.

Happy with my choice, I stand back and look at it again. It's probably the most personal piece I've ever done. Mrs. Girardi would be proud. I think of Jane again and realize that I need to talk to her. Smiling, I pull up my hood and take off to her house, hoping she'll still be up.