One reader, one inventor. They depend on these talents to keep themselves, and hope, alive. But what if that weren't enough? Could they come to rely on each other, even more than each other's roles? Oneshot. Violet/Klaus. You know what that means...

Sometimes

By Sacred Dust

It never used to be like this.

When it all began, she never had to remind herself of who she was supposed to be. She knew her role, was perfectly comfortable with it, and rarely needed to go beyond it. Even if she was never sure what particular travesty would befall her, her younger brother, or her younger sister; at least she could be certain of who she was.

For all intents and purposes, Violet Baudelaire is an inventor. And not just any inventor, but the finest fourteen-year-old inventor in the world—uncontested. To uphold that position (although it is recognized by very few), she must maintain two basic convictions: that appearances mean nothing, and function is everything. There is always something to use, something to build, so long as she ignores what is on the surface and focuses on the process.

There was once a time when Violet never questioned these abilities, when she could safely take them for granted.

But now…

Sometimes, she isn't quite sure.

Back then, his books were the only things he had to study to make sense of. Everything else used to be so simple; unpleasant, perhaps, but at least comprehensible. Every once in a while, though, he realizes how strange his own feelings are, and attempts to read them as well. What little he can gather makes him uneasy, so much that pushing those thoughts from his mind usually requires another afternoon of reading. Knowledge is the only true power he has, but it is always enough to see him and his sisters through.

Ever since their loving parents taught him how, Klaus Baudelaire has been a reader. Three months shy of his thirteenth birthday, he is already a fountain of information who will read—and remember—every book he can get his hands on, from the Baudelaire library in the days before the fire to the titles he has picked up on the run from the hateful Count Olaf. Not even all the terrible events following the loss of Klaus' mother and father, as well as his home, have thwarted that ambition. And for whatever reason, he always imagined that it would be his only ambition.

That's what he continues to tell himself now.

But sometimes, he knows better.

Sometimes, when the nights are colder and darker than usual, and when the hopelessness stings their hearts more than ever before…things are different.

He paces the halls quietly, so quietly—too nervous and agitated to sleep, wishing he could just talk to his sister, because if he can just talk to her, everything will be all right.

Or, "talk" is what his mind tells him, though no other part of him agrees.

But he has a backup plan. Klaus is never without a book in his hand, and tonight is no exception. He leans against the wall and holds the novel up to his face, glasses shining as he squints in the dark to read the title. It appears to be something like The Many Talents of Blair, although he can't be sure. He knows the author is quite good, and should be more than capable of his attention, but somehow he just can't bring himself to read right now. And that, most assuredly, is a bizarre predicament.

All he can think about is her.

It deeply confuses him, has deprived him of sleep on so many other nights. Every time he tries to close his eyes, she is there.

It's been this way ever since the fire.

But enough already, he thinks. Violet must be asleep already—much like Sunny, the youngest Baudelaire, baby talker and biter extraordinaire. It's so late at night already. And even if Violet is awake, why bother her?

Frustrated with himself, he grips his book with one hand and rakes his fingers through his hair with the other, whispering angrily to himself. "This is ridiculous. I don't need her to get to sleep tonight."

But then he feels that ache in his heart, and knows that he just told himself a lie.

She sits on the edge of her bed silently, trying hard to force thoughts of sleep into her mind. But there are too many things in the room that catch her attention, she decides. The tall, half-drawn drapes, eccentric yet expensive (much like everything else in Uncle Monty's house); the overwhelming emptiness, as the bedroom is much too large for just one person; and the many sheets of paper already tacked up on her walls, some blank, some covered with rudimentary designs of new inventions not yet built.

She quickly takes a few of these down and stares blankly at the designs, standing there in a shaft of moonlight. But for, some reason, this lifelong refuge fails her now. The designs do not jump off the paper as they once did, nor does her mind begin refining their operations, which has come naturally to her for as long as she can remember.

Something is different. Not necessarily wrong…but…

Klaus.

That's what's different.

"No," she says quietly. "That's impossible."

But it isn't. Klaus has been different. And so has she. It's true that they've always been close; that's the way it has been for as long as Violet can remember. And now, with no one to rely on but each other, they are as familiar as siblings can possibly become.

Isn't that enough for her? At first, she was sure that it would be, and yet…

Why does she say his name inside her head when she's alone?

But no. These are pointless considerations. He's her brother, he always will be, and that relationship isn't going to change. Right now, he's almost certainly asleep in his bed. She certainly doesn't need his company at these ungodly hours.

Her distraction must still be due to the drapes. Or the unusual amount of moonlight. Or the unfamiliar softness of the bed, compared to the miserable cot in Count Olaf's mansion. Or natural concern for Sunny, safe and sound asleep in the next room.

Deep down inside, she wonders how many excuses she can come up with before she falls asleep.

Slowly, carefully, unable to stop himself, he reaches for the doorknob.

She just barely hears the tiny creak of the door opening, and turns around.

They look at each other. His face is mostly hidden in the shadows of the hall. Hers is hard to make out as well, with her back turned to the moonlit window.

"Klaus?" Violet whispers.

"…Violet." He whispers back. "I…I thought you might be asleep."

"So you came into my room?" she gives him a strange look.

Klaus feels like hitting himself in the head with his book. "No, no. I mean—I wanted to talk. I couldn't sleep, that's all."

She presses her soft lips together. "…Neither can I."

As they stand there so awkwardly, but without turning away, each one slowly but surely accepts that the other is the reason for their distraction.

Why? How?

They don't know the answers. Perhaps they don't need them anyway.

"You can come in." she says, finally.

He does, carefully shutting the door behind him. He walks over to her uncertainly, not sure what to do now that she's awake, and he's awake, and suddenly nothing is the same.

Klaus' hands are gripping his book harder than usual. Violet is almost crumpling the papers.

They can see each other now. That only makes them even more nervous.

Klaus turns abruptly and walks to the window, staring out at the full moon.

Violet comes up beside him. "You said you wanted to talk?"

"Well, I guess it was just…" Klaus' excuse dies on his lips as he looks at her again. She's so close to him now, he can smell her; a gentle, feminine smell he has noticed before—but never quite this way. And the way her face glows in the moonlight affects him so deeply, so strangely, that he feels his heart skip a beat. He has attached the word "love" to that face, has grown up with it always there to comfort him. He still feels that comfort now. But something about it is different.

He barely realizes that Violet is staring at him in the same way, with the same fascination. She has memorized every detail of him over the years: the slender body, the deep brown hair, those dark eyes that shine so keenly behind his glasses, staring back at her with an attention more rapt than he has given to any book.

It didn't seem, even thirty seconds ago, that they were standing this close together.

My brother, Violet thinks to herself over and over. My brother. My brother.

Klaus is just as confused. He doesn't know what this means. But however this impossible moment came upon them, he has been swept up in it with her. He wants it to last forever.

She gestures to the book in his hand, keeping her warm, reassuring brown eyes on his. "I can take that for you."

He slowly gives it to her. Even while she slides her papers into the book and tosses it gently onto the bed, she still gazes at him. Klaus has never seen that look in her eyes before. Or it a reflection of his own? He can no longer tell the difference.

One of them should be looking away. One of them should say something—anything—to the break the silence. One of them should be getting confused, or angry. One of them should leave. But neither one does anything.

As their faces seem to come closer and closer together, they realize this is it. This is the moment they have dreamed of, feared, and locked away with all the rest of their deepest, darkest secrets. As familiar as they are with each other's thoughts, there's always at least one secret your brother or your sister doesn't know.

And now, between them, there are none.

It's soft, so amazingly soft when her lips meet his. There is no way to truly describe a kiss; some things must be experienced to be understood. Klaus never could have imagined how good this feels.

Almost immediately, his breathing quickens, and his hands come up to rub the sides of her arms in time with the slow waltz of their lips. Violet sighs into his mouth as she trails her fingers across his back. She turns her head just slightly, and the kiss deepens.

Violet's eyes snap open suddenly, and she pulls away. Her entire body is shaking.

Klaus barely opens his eyes; he just stands there. He should have known this would happen. How could he kiss his sister that way? How could anything that like happen? He's already imagining the hell that might result from this. She might avoid him, ignore him for weeks. He wouldn't blame her.

"Klaus…what…what was that?" she asks.

She surprises him here. Instead of angry, or even disturbed, Violet looks more helpless than anything else. He wants to return that bewildered expression somehow, just so she doesn't think he's gone completely mad. But for some reason, he can't. Even now, he's still looking upon her just as before. Her skin shines like porcelain in the moonlight.

Violet turns away from him then. "Klaus, we can't do that."

His throat is dry. "I know…I know."

"You should go." She whispers, shifting from one foot to the other.

"But…"

"Klaus, please leave me alone. Go." She repeats softly, trying not to cry. She doesn't understand this at all. It doesn't make any sense. This is her brother, and…it's just not supposed to be that way. That's what they've always been told.

Klaus finally turns and leaves the room, his face burning. He doesn't want to go, but he knows he's just done something very wrong. Nothing is going to be the same after this, and he knows it. Her smile won't be as wide as it was before, her laughter (rare as it is) not quite as beautiful. He couldn't keep these wrong feelings to himself, and now he's ruined it all.

He'll leave the room, he'll shut the door, and that's the way it will be.

He already feels the tears on his cheeks as he steps out, his senses wrung with despair. Please. Please, not this way. She's all that's left in my whole life. Not this way…

His hand finds the doorknob.

Klaus doesn't know she's there until her arms are thrown around his waist, stopping him.

"No." she implores him, not knowing what to do, what to say. "I'm sorry. I…"

He turns around, and they stand there in the doorway. For a time the only noise in the enormous house is their muffled breaths as they cry on each other's shoulders.

Finally, he steps back in, and she closes the door. Klaus tries to apologize, but she distracts him for a moment, touching her lips to his cheek without taking them away.

"Violet," he begins, "I'm…"

She knows what he is. And she doesn't care anyone, as long as he stays. She lets out a sigh, half in surrender, half in contentment. His body jerks just a little as he feels her breath on his cheek, and then their lips meet again as he pulls her body to his, holding her tightly. It's improbable, unforgivable—a thousand ugly words flash behind his eyelids.

He erases them all.

It feels too good.

A short time later, they stop, breathing hard, unwilling to let go of each other. Klaus realizes that any hopes (or fears?) of awkwardness that might discourage them have been dashed. One taste of this amazing thing just leaves them wanting more. They are young. They are foolish. And yet, in some way, they know exactly what they are doing.

Apparently, Violet's mind doesn't quite believe that.

What are you doing? This is Klaus. This is…this is…

Their lips are already meeting again.

…This is so amazing.

Everyone knows that this is wrong, truly wrong—that no brother and sister can do this. And they don't care. They live in a dark, threatening, tragic world, and they have finally found a place where they belong. They can't give it up. Not now. Not ever.

Suddenly, function doesn't mean so much, and appearances mean so much more.

All knowledge but the knowledge of this moment is forgotten.

He breathes her in, delighted with her smell, as they surrender to each other's arms. Despite a few odd human biology volumes here and there (which his parents probably forgot were on the shelves), nothing he has read could prepare him for this, could equal this. They break the kiss for air again, and he moves down to her neck, slowly and torturously pressing his lips directly beneath her jaw.

And when an amazing noise escapes from her—a low, soft moan unlike anything he's ever heard before—the vast library of information that is his mind comes tumbling down, and they sit down hard on the bed together, oblivious to its dusty remains.

Finally Klaus stops teasing her and renews their kiss, almost immediately brushing his tongue across her teeth. She gasps in protest, demanding more. Their tongues begin to slide together once, then twice, then three times, feeling it little by little. This is when Violet's complex mind of gears and ropes and buttons and wheels is flooded with something intangible, something that melts all the precious machinery into impossible, molten desire that flows down into her stomach and hips.

As he gently strokes her through the front of her dress, and her trembling fingers trace exquisite shapes in his hair and on the back of his neck, suddenly there is nothing wrong with their world, and the very thought seems impossible.

All that is left for her to invent now is a chance to do this again, but more of it; another night when they can enjoy each other like this before the sun can rise and discover their passionate sin.

They go as far as they dare together, but soon enough is enough. It can't all happen now, not all at once—but it will, she promises him between their final kisses, it will. It has to.

After all, things are different now.

If you knew enough about the experiences of others, you might presume to know who they are. And while apparently logical, you may very well be wrong. And chances are if you have been told enough times that something is wrong, you come to believe it. But who is to say that you couldn't be wrong about that, too?

The reasons may be unattainable. The implications may be uncomfortable. Yet despite all that, whether it's right behind them or just around the corner…

Everyone, everywhere, has a "sometimes."

Author's Note: What's up, guys? I am Sacred Dust, notorious critic of almost every Violet/Klaus ever written on this set. They're one of my favorite pairings ever. Use 'em well—or else. Hopefully, I took my own advice here. What did you think of this story? By all means, please review.