title: makes a cathedral
pairing: Derek/Emily, implied Derek/Casey. Emily's POV.
a/n: I can never figure out whether to post fic here or not! Written for a ficathon. But since the last was over 23,000 words, it's fitting this is shorter. I started another fic too because somehow I can never get them out of my system. /sigh. But also, I am now obsessed with another Disney show that I just saw: Boy Meets World and I've decided Shawn Hunter is my soulmate.
warning: incoherency as a pretend art form. This is what happens to me when people prompt Richard Siken. You should definitely check him out, if you haven't already.
disclaimer: disclaimed. I don't own at all, and I'm sure everyone's really glad about that.
prompt: you do the math, you expect the trouble; this is how you make the meaning, you take two things and try to define the space in between them.

Somehow, you know this: when you started, it was a story about a girl writing a story about a boy.

You knew the boy, because you sat next to him in English, and he made paper planes out of thin air, with his name scrawled slightly to the left in bold letters, and landed them all on her desk like a metaphor that just stopped short of being one. He claimed territory with sketch-pen marks and fingerprints because that was all he could touch that belonged to her. Or at least, that's how you phrased it in your head. In poetry. The meter almost ghosting through your head like his fingerprints on paper that she picked up and then it was his name and fingerprints on her skin, and that was the final destination, thrice removed from reality.

She turned around sometimes. Only sometimes. But sometimes. And her glance was fire and, even though she wasn't looking at you, you shifted your desk back a little, because the heat singed and your desk was wood and you'd rather not take the chance. The boy leaned back in his chair, satisfied, and the girl leaned forward, outraged, and there should have been symmetry if your seventh grade math teacher was right about chapter nine, but there isn't.

But then again, if there's anything you know that overrules geometry, it's them.


When she puts her pen to paper to write, the shape that forms has a smirk like his.

The hair is darker, just a slight emphasis on the shade of red that defines each strand, when he tilts his head to drink after a hockey match, and the sun catches it in a particular way. You know this, because you have a book on this; color-coded and categorized according to the shades of brown and all the interpretation that Wikipedia affords.

Things, they mean something, you've always known. Colors mean something. Pieces of paper declaring your parents as man and wife mean something. But his hair on her paper is a little more red because she's catching the sunlight through her words and the way it lights up the sky, and the red is the closest she gets.

She lets you read, when you ask, but she never asks you what you thought because her sunlight clashes with his hair and you've been footnoting him for as long as she has, so she doesn't ask and you don't tell.


There's a touch of madness to her consonants you think sometimes.

They're hard and harsh and every time, one falls from the tip of her pen, it creates a pool of ink masquerading as his hands. The words repeat themselves endlessly till the meaning is lost between the distance from his door to hers and you think the story is sort of sad in the way that doesn't mean much outside a montage of Technicolor and desire and the darkened room and a giant screen and the roomful of people all alone.

Sometimes though, her punctuation is the vent in his room through which the air slips through the wall that stands in between, and she breathes too loud and he falls asleep to the sound. You've already read the story a thousand times over in his eyes and on her paper, it's repetitive and drowned in words that add up to mean less than she thinks, and more than she wants.

You still stay the night sometimes, his hands on you and in you and all over and his harsh breathing softer than the silence through the vent.

It's always left open, you know.


This one time the scene she describes is green and it's darker than his favorite sweater and she smiles, as you watch, because it's not the exact same color, and if you were to pick up the dictionary and read her head, she's thinking of something sensible and false; words like progress and falling out of love that she never fell in.

She doesn't use the word love, though; her dictionary ends before the alphabets that make any of his syllables and stops short of her tongue breaking his name in half. And love, love comes after. But it doesn't help that there is blue glitter on the page and she only wears eye-shadow to impress.


He stops by your desk sometimes, when she's creating him in her notebook through high-flown words of an assignment she'll submit much before time and then worry about the boy who didn't call, even though he doesn't enter the letters she forms in perfect cursive on the blank paper that is full of literary analysis with proper citations from the handbook that you lost on the second day of school and he never bothered to pick up from the store at all.

But when he laughs a little louder at something that wasn't funny and doesn't look sideways and she doesn't look sideways, even though her hand stills, you kiss the boy because you've loved him for a time longer than she's known him, even though he's loved her harder in the time that you've almost known her. And when she gathers her books and walks away and trips, he will leave your hand and trip her again next to her locker and then slam the door shut far too hard because the sound isn't as loud to him over the hammering in his chest.

And you will drill a combination over a color-coded notebook filled with them because this is what you know, even through all the missed glances: he reads her almost as much as she writes him.