thatrcooper: (charlie and will)
Someone on Tumblr asked me about dragons who hoard stories.

And because I have been editing and working on difficult story (it's so painful but good but painful, you guys) for weeks and weeks now, my brain glomped onto this idea like nobody's business. So. Everyone gets a story, which is fun at least.

(And before I forget, no release date on Treasure for Treasure yet. But there will be a sale on a set of Beings stories in October at Dreamspinner. And yes, I am still working on the book after Treasure for Treasure. (It hurts, but it's also soft and gentle, I swear.)

Anyway. Back to dragons who hoard stories.

This story references some ideas and things from books that haven't been released yet, so sorry if that is confusing. Just know that Redwolf and Rum is a graphc novel series about a werewolf, written by an actual werewolf, and that modern dragon families are little... weird. (Plus, like, doesn't the world need more gay dragon regency romances????)


All the Futures That Could Be

Too many stories and not enough stories, thousands upon thousands of them in the room as they were in Edgar’s mind. But to others it was hushed, and the crackle of the fire was peaceful, so they would often come to sit on the couch and listen to him talk about stories as if they believed what humans did—that storytellers were Seers. That was why Edgar was shown respect although he was a dragon with no treasure of his own.

But he certainly didn’t feel wise or all-seeing. He felt slow and foolish, half-lost in a graphic novel about love and unable to pull himself completely free.

thatrcooper: (charlie and will)
Ehonauta over on Tumblr requested a Hanukkah snippet, and my brain gave her fluff between Eli and Riley from Butterbean and the Pretty Princess Make a Home. It's probably not what she was looking for, but it's pretty sugary if anyone is looking for that in a Hanukkah-themed snippet.


boyfriends in gay love together forever. with cats. )
thatrcooper: (paris by cunningcroft)
I'm at that awkward place where there is what I should be doing... and my brain is saying nuh uh. I finished Tulip, but the beta and I think it might need another scene, and then the way it was constructed means it needs a second half from a different POV. But then I think all the other story ideas I have floating around and I want to do them all and also none of them. Those writer feels. Winter Prince? This vague sex chat/Cinderella ish story? The rake and the lamb?--which involves neither a true rake or a true lamb and miiiight take place in the same universe as the dancer story I was compelled to do a month ago.

Did I tell people about that? I randomly had this MIGHTY NEED to write about a somewhat broken, not as fragile as he seems Chico (that's a Portuguese Chico, not a Spanish one) and a flirty dance teacher. So that happened. And Dreamspinner decided they liked it. So it's working title was Dancing Lessons and it's novella length, and should be coming out next year. January, I think?

Yay! Even if I don't really know where that story came from. (I'll find out later. I always do. The stories are in better touch with my emotions than I am)

In the meantime, The Firebird and Other Stories, the book of Beings shorts is out in September, I believe. Maybe late August, but I don't think so. The editing is done. Waiting on the cover (dying) and the final inspection. I've been debating doing a playlist or something for it, but many of the music/playlist services, um, suck, so I don't know. I just wanna talk about itttt and I can't yet. It's agony I tell you.

And then um, someone asked about Zoe, from Little Wolf. Over on tumblr I get questions sometimes about Charlie and Will, or Wicklow and Rhoades, or Amelia and Pilar (or Louis and Amelia, or Louis and Amelia and Pilar), but not Zoe. And it was funny, because my beta and I were just talking about Zoe meeting her mate. And the resulting discussion on tumblr about the lack of lady werewolves, plus a general agreement that Zoe is adorable, gave me thoughts.

So, since LJ doesn't allow long story posts anymore, I had to go the AO3 route, for now anyway...I wrote a story about Zoe meeting her mate. (It probably needs a thorough edit, but for now I am tired and pleased with myself for finishing it.)

A Mate of One's Own

Behold! There be f/f ahead!

I really do need to make a timeline or something for all the Beings. Because it takes so long for them get published after I write them that I always assume people have all the background on things when you don't. Like, um, there is some debate within the werewolf world that perhaps their commonly held beliefs about matings are incorrect. But I suppose you have to meet Diego for that.

That's a theme in the Beings stories anyway, I suppose. Poor confused babies. I just want all the little stories of them. All the arrogant, unthinking fairies and grumpity dragons and amnesiac werewolves and reluctant seers and trolls so fucking in love with you, Flor, how do you not see how in love with you he is aaahhhhh.

But getting me to focus on any of that right now? Poo.
thatrcooper: (Default)
Yeeeeah so I meant to post the other snippets but I got distracted by a random novella I suddenly HAD to write about a fragile little sugarpuss and his flirty dance instructor. Yeah I don't even know. It just had to be done. Anyway. I submitted it to DS so we'll see if they like it. If not, who knows?

Meanwhile um... I had news. Oh right. So they are tentatively interested in more Beings audiobooks, so Some Kind of Magic is up next. Possibly out in September I think. For anyone who doesn't follow me on Tumblr, all you really missed was me porning Wicklow and Rhoades, as usual, and some cutesy bits of fluff, like Zoe from Little Wolf meeting her mate. Um. hmm you would also have missed me talking briefly about Tulip, and about how Tulip's story (finished) now requires a story for Flor as well. So that is happening. I have a list of things to write, but my brain interrupted and ordered me to the dancing thing first, and it's best to just let my brain do what it wants in these situations.

ANYWAY. I can't remember what snippets were from where, so have a snippety/notes/commentfic type thing from Tumblr.

So. Someone asked about Nathaniel quieting Tim without words. And I mused on the subject. (all typos left as they originally were)

nathaniel and tim at the festival )
thatrcooper: (charlie and will)
First of all, congratulations to the giveaway winner, Ben! Hopefully USPS does not let us down.

Meanwhile, I asked for prompts for snippets over on my Tumblr. These are all Alternate Universe for existing stories. I did not include the Wicklow's Odyssey high school AU because it's more notes and squealing than a story, and the GODRIC AND BERTIE STAR-CROSSED LOVERS AU MADE ME SAD AND DOES NOT EXIST EXCEPT IN MY HEART.

Anyway. Thanks to everyone who keeps reading my stuff and who cares enough to give me fun prompts for the characters they like.

(Okay and LJ made me cut off one story because LJ sucks-so expect another snippet of Cory and Vincent later.... or remind me to post it.  I may forget. And the Checking Out Love one as well)


(the AU in which Tommy and Tavio from Medium, Sweet, Extra Shot of Geek, meet at a party)

Read more... )
thatrcooper: (sleepy holly by holly_ita)
Hey, everyone who hasn't yet seen my nerdy posts on Tumblr or Facebook, guess what? I've got a release date for Little Wolf. It's due out May 8.

Then at the end of this month I started editing Kazimir. Well, the collection of shorts, tentatively titled, The Firebird and Other Stories. (Also, hopefully, starting Tulip shortly before then. Oh Tulip. He has *presence*. Other fairies look out!)

Little Wolf (Nathaniel moons. Tim looks like a pissy, half-starved little thing, which is exactly what he is, really.)

Anyway, just a quick update. (And oh yes. I moved. Now it's the recovery. Sigh.) If you follow me on Tumblr, you got a cute, sort of porny, not really porny, kind of snippet with Will and Charlie the other day. Which is another reason to follow me there, if you needed one. I get why people don't. I mean, Tumblr is... Tumblr. But just putting it out there. Also if anyone ever wants to ask me anything, there are ways. Goodreads has a section (though my notifications only go through sometimes). There's my LJ. My Tumblr askbox. My Facebook. The link on the Dreamspinner author arcade. If you ever feel like contacting me, feel free, just keep in mind I am regular person with no secretary, so responses might take me a while, if I even see them. :):):)

More later. I am tired at the moment. Have an excerpt:

read more )
thatrcooper: (charlie and will)
If this doesn't make sense, it's because I wrote it will sick and very tired and avoiding real work, and because Coffeebuddha basically mind-zapped me with the idea of Will and Charlie/fake boyfriends/cheesy Christmas fluff.

So here. An Alternate Universe Will and Charlie, in which maybe Charlie was having a better pain day when he first encountered Will and wasn't as grumpy, and was accidentally charming, and Will is a smitten kitten, so when Charlie asks if he's willing to go to a Christmas party with him to get his sisters off his back, Will jumps at the chance.

Or, the simpler title: Forget the Mistletoe

stupid smitten kitten )


“You don’t have to do this. Really.” Charlie’s voice was low and careful and far too close for Will to prevent a shiver. Will glanced up at him and had to fight a sigh at how serious he was. A grown man, no matter how fine, should not be so earnest while wearing a green sweater with a reindeer on it. The reindeer had a light-up nose; Charlie ought to look ridiculous. But the collared shirt he wore underneath made him a hot professor suffering through an embarrassing Christmas gift, which was exactly what he was. The sweater was a gift from one of his sisters and Charlie Howard, it seemed, would never dream of telling her it was awful.

Charlie would do a lot to keep from hurting the people he cared about. Will should have been alarmed at how warm that made him, but at this point, he was far past flushing when around Charlie and deep into racing heart territory.

He took a breath to steady himself. “Be your fake date to get your sisters to get your sisters off your back? Or be seen with someone in that sweater?” He smiled as he said it, so Charlie would know he was teasing.

A line appeared between Charlie’s eyes, but then it eased away as Charlie gently, but pointedly, poked the Santa hat Will was wearing. Will wrinkled his nose and reached up to return the hat to its jaunty angle. “I look adorable, I’ll have you know,” he huffed, but had to glance away at the unbearably fond look Charlie gave him. His heart felt like it was being squeezed when Charlie did that, and then somehow Will forgot what he was saying or what to do with his hands. He settled for looping one arm around Charlie’s, and blithely ignoring Charlie’s shock. They were fake dating after all. That meant Will got to touch. He had thought about this.

He’d thought about it all week in fact, ever since Charlie had asked, embarrassed and apologetic for inconveniencing Will. He had seemed to think Will had some other plans. Maybe he had. But those plans could be broken for this. Will had been crushing hard on Grayson’s neighbor since the summer when Will had been apartment-sitting and knocked one of Grayson’s plants off his balcony, and an incredibly handsome, if cranky, man with a cane had stopped to yell at him about safety but then helped him clean it up and repot the poor plant.

It had taken an entire summer of languishing on the balcony like Tallulah Bankhead and talking about Charlie nonstop with his friends for Will’s sister to declare Will was smitten. Will had to agree. When Grayson had returned and Will had no reason to stalk, er, see Charlie again, it had been awful. Even friending Charlie on Facebook meant nothing because Charlie didn’t use social media for anything other than liking his sisters’ posts once in a while. Then Grayson had decided to go away around the holidays and Will had jumped at the chance to stay at his place again. And Charlie had smiled to see him and it had been exactly like it had been the first time, except now it was colder on the balcony so Charlie brought him coffee and sugary seasonal lattes, and then… this.

“My sisters--” Charlie kept trying to warn him off. They were on his sister’s porch already. Will was lit beguilingly by a thousand soft Christmas lights and ready to pretend-boyfriend his heart out. Nothing was going to shake him now.

“Pft. Listen, Cinderella, we are doing this, and it’s going to be great, forget your ugly stepsisters.” Will took his chance to snuggle closer and push the doorbell so Charlie couldn’t change his mind. Though the thought made him pause. “Unless, you think they won’t believe it… because we’re so different?” Charlie could make that blank cop face all he wanted, he knew what Will was talking about. He’d thought it too when he’d first met Will. He might still think it. Charlie was a respectable professor after all, and Will was a colorist with no permanent address. Will could pine all he wanted, but someone like Charlie wasn’t normally the kind to bring someone like Will home to the family.

Except here they were. He had no idea what Charlie was thinking.

“They aren’t ugly stepsisters,” Charlie insisted, like the good brother he was. It may have been all the red lights in the strands wrapped around the porch, but it looked like Charlie’s cheeks grew darker. “They’ll believe that I like you.” He cleared his throat. “But they can be difficult,” he added quickly, and straightened when the door opened.

A smaller, curvier version of him opened the door. She was also in a terrible sweater—red, with a drunk-looking felt Santa on it, and she grimaced knowingly when she saw Will glance at it. “Ann,” she explained, apparently to Charlie, because then she began to say something in a stream of Spanish as she took the bottle of wine Charlie offered and pulled Charlie into a hug. The Spanish still caught Will off-guard. He could barely speak the one language so of course Charlie was fluent in two. At least two.

But he missed it when it was gone, because then Charlie’s sister turned to get a better look at him. Every inch of Will suddenly felt like an aging twink in the Santa hat. He shouldn’t have worn it. He wasn’t Eartha Kitt. He should have worn some boring red sweater and flattened his hair. He shouldn’t be touching her brother. Charlie’s last boyfriend—real boyfriend—had probably worn a suit and tie and come off as masculine as the most repressed gay boy in the world.

He focused on the sister, who had indeed noticed how Will was leaning on her brother. She narrowed her eyes.

Charlie said, “Missy,” in a stern voice that went right to Will’s dick and took his arm from Will’s in order to slide it around Will’s back. Will turned to him with an expression he knew was adoring. He couldn’t help himself.

The meaner version of Charlie, or, as Will should probably be thinking of her, Missy, closed her mouth and then smiled. “Will, it’s good to finally meet you.”

The ‘finally” got Will’s attention, but he didn’t get a chance to ask. Charlie put his hand at the small of his back in a show of support that Will didn’t know what to do with, and Will stuttered in thanking her for inviting him.

“Come on in.” Again, Missy directed this at Charlie, but when she glanced at her brother, her face tightened. A moment later she was smiling widely at Will and holding the door for him. Charlie stopped to hug her in the doorway and exchange a few more words in quiet English, something about Ann—the sister Will was learning to fear.

But then Charlie was back at Will’s shoulder and guiding him to a closet by the foyer.

“Okay?” Whispered against Will’s ear as Charlie removed his coat for him, it was like the gentlest, best torture.

Will let Charlie hang their coats in his sister’s closet and then swooned dramatically against him. “My hero!” He almost laughed when Charlie caught him, but then he remembered Charlie hadn’t brought his cane and eased off enough to let Charlie stand. He was completely unprepared for Charlie wrapping his arms around him to steady him.

“Oh.” Will murmured and forgot trying to be decent. He leaned into Charlie even more. “Okay. Yes.” Every breath was full of Charlie’s aftershave, which was probably something simple but expensive and Will loved it. He lifted his head and nearly forgot Missy entirely at Charlie’s questioning look. “What?” Will blinked a few times, mostly to clear his head. He kept his voice down and his tone innocent. “I’m your boyfriend. That means I get to put my hands all over you.”

Yeah, okay, that didn’t sound at all like Will had been dreaming of doing just that or anything. He would have been more embarrassed about it if Charlie hadn’t stared at him in blank surprise. His shock was only there for a moment before it was gone, and then Charlie swallowed. “Because that’s what boyfriends do,” he agreed, but in a funny voice.

“Well, yeah.” Will was about to roll his eyes, because he hadn’t ever had a boyfriend, but he knew that much, until he thought of why Charlie might be so surprised at being touched in public. Charlie hadn’t said much about the pretty jerk on that coffee mug, but Will had gotten the gist. Now he got a little more. So what if the guy had money or manners or a nice suit, he hadn’t been kind to someone who only wanted to take care of people.

Next time Charlie invited him over for coffee—actual coffee, sadly—Will was going to shatter that thing. For now Will was going to be the best boyfriend Charlie had ever had.

Since Charlie wasn’t complaining, Will let Charlie hold him up and looped his arms around Charlie’s neck. Charlie had said his sisters didn’t have a problem with him being gay, so this had better be okay. “Hmm, you are the best way to warm up from the cold,” he told Charlie, loud enough for nosy Miss Missy to hear. Then, when Charlie’s mouth went startled and soft, Will twisted to look at her. “I can’t help myself where Charlie is concerned. Sorry.”

He wasn’t sorry. Well, he was sorry if Charlie was uncomfortable, but to be honest, Charlie didn’t seem uncomfortable as much as confused. Will wished his fingers weren’t so cold, because when he stroked Charlie’s hair—too long and in need of another trim Will would be happy to provide—Charlie shivered.

Missy studied Will with her eyebrows drawn, then her brother for another second before she put a hand to her face. “I’ll just--” she waved in another direction. “Everyone else is in the living room.” Then she left.

“So we’re doing this.” How Charlie could still sound surprised that Will was down for pretend boyfriend time with him was beyond Will, although for the first time he was starting to get his suspicions.

Will hadn’t moved out of his arms. He really ought to feel guilty about that. Really. He was going to try, at least. Charlie dropped his arms, but kept one hand at Will’s back. “Let me know if you’re uncomfortable.”

“Yes, sir,” Will purred, because that was the kind of order he liked getting, and because Charlie definitely blushed for it. His chiding glance at Will was even better. Will petted his hair one last time and sighed. This was going to be hard to give up. “Anything else, Charlie? Should I ease up on the PDAs or act a little less twinky?”

He wasn’t going to lie; he about melted when Charlie pushed the fluffy white brim of his hat up in a gesture Bogart couldn’t have done better. Charlie smiled at him, a happy smile that made no sense with his eyes so dark and sad. “You’re perfect,” Charlie told him, then took a deep breath and squared his shoulders.

Will took that as his cue to turn with him and head into the lion’s den—living room. He stepped away only to nearly trip when Charlie stayed at his shoulder, one hand light but steady at his back. Will’s heart was a trip hammer in his ears.

“Oh,” Will said out loud again, and wondered if having a real boyfriend was as dangerous as having a fake one.




The thing about adult Christmas parties—real adults, not Will’s friends—was that while they served alcohol, they also served other things besides drinks. After making the rounds with Charlie at his back introducing Will in a voice that made Will burn, Will had ended up against the wall, next to a table full of Christmas goodies.

Will had eaten dinner, honestly, a whole half of a pack of grocery store California rolls leftover from lunch, but he had never seen so many frosted sugar cookies in his entire life. Snowmen and trees and stars like something out of a magazine, glossy bright frosting that was calling to him. He sipped his spiked eggnog, low calorie, according to the third sister, Katia, and stared longingly at gingerbread men. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a gingerbread man, and that said nothing for the trays of nuts and candies and the actual, honest-to-god gingerbread house in the middle of the table.

Charlie wasn’t far away. Someone whose name Will didn’t remember had called him over, so after a questioning look at Will and Will’s nod, Charlie had gone. He was still and not quite tense in the middle of the room. These were his sister’s friends from what Will understood. Or Missy’s husband’s friends. It was a little unclear. Katia, the youngest sister, had left her newest boyfriend in order to disappear into the kitchen with the other two. Somehow, Will didn’t think it was paranoid to assume they were discussing him. Charlie had said his sisters could be difficult, but Will wondered if he’d expected this level of reaction to the simple idea of Charlie dating someone.

Or maybe it was the idea of Charlie dating Will, with his silly hat and silly hair and tight black shirt threaded with sparkles.

It couldn’t be the hat anyway; he wasn’t the only person wearing a Santa hat, and a joker had brought in a sprig of mistletoe earlier as well. Not to mention that the people not drinking the spiked eggnog were drinking some kind of rum punch. Charlie was the sole person Will knew of who hadn’t taken a single sip of alcohol. He was drinking soda.

Will glanced at the cookies again, then across the room at the table filled with more nutritious and less fattening fare; meatballs and rolls and little taco things and some kind of dip. If he was going to eat, he should stick to that. Real food. Like the adult he could pretend to be. Like Charlie’s last boyfriend, the one who had obviously been very different from Will, the one who hadn’t held Charlie enough or fawned over him or confessed to his wide-eyed sisters that he’d fallen hard for Charlie from the instant Charlie had first frowned at him.

Charlie had gone so very still to hear that, though that had been nothing to how tense he’d gotten when Katia had added, “I can see that. You light up just talking about him.”

She had seemed surprised by that. Which, what kind of bitch couldn’t see how awesome her brother was? Charlie answered her calls no matter what he was doing, and she had the nerve to doubt someone would want him?

It was no good. Will picked up a sweetly decorated snowman and snuck a nibble.

“You can just eat them, you know,” Charlie’s voice in his ear made him choke. Everyone turned for a moment to stare at him and Will glared up to let Charlie know that was his fault. Charlie immediately took the cookie from him. “Sorry. Here.” He put down his cup of soda in order to hand Will his eggnog.

Like that, Will was done being annoyed with him. He obediently sipped then licked a drop from his lip when Charlie took the cup away. For a moment, Charlie seemed arrested. Then he let out a breath and lowered his head.

“Are you bored?” Charlie spoke just above a whisper. “Parties aren’t really my thing, but you must… you go to a lot.”

“Bored?” Will coughed and leaned in to indicate he’d like more eggnog please. He didn’t think Charlie even noticed how he lifted Will’s cup so Will could have another drink, not until Will licked his mouth again. Then Charlie was suddenly very still. “No, I’m not bored,” Will told him truthfully. “Although I’m not sure what your sisters make of me.”

“If they say anything to you, tell me,” Charlie rumbled.

Will made a happy sound and darted out his tongue once more, although he couldn’t have cared less about the taste of nutmeg.

“My big, strong boyfriend gonna do something about it?” Will teased, and momentarily could not breathe for the hungry expression on Charlie’s face. Then Charlie turned to look at the others in the room.

“Your boyfriend,” Charlie said after a long pause, a strain in the words, “was wondering why you’ve been staring at the table of cookies for an hour. Did you eat dinner?”

“I…” Will considered his answer carefully. He knew from experience that Charlie wasn’t great about lies, in that he tended to see right through them, but also disapproved of them. He hadn’t even lied to his sisters yet, Will had noticed. Charlie hadn’t actually said Will was his boyfriend. Instead he’d kept up with the light touches at Will’s back, and one at his shoulder. In addition to lies, Charlie was also not good about the times Will forgot to take care of himself. Will hummed and equivocated. “I ate a small dinner,” he explained at last.

Charlie immediately held out the snowman cookie. He probably meant for Will to take it. Will knew that. The eggnog in Will’s system, however, decided to push Will forward and to have him duck his head to take a bite from the offered snowman. A small sound from the other side of the table made him think that one or all of the sisters had seen that. Charlie’s cheeks were darkening with color. Will couldn’t make himself feel bad about it, although he didn’t think this was kind of thing boyfriends did. At least, not in front of family.

But he chewed and swallowed, and felt a tremor run through him when Charlie used his thumb to wipe a crumb from the corner of his mouth. Then Charlie offered the rest of the cookie.

Will had a figure to think of, but he took a nibble, like a good boy. Like the best boy. Like the kind of boy Charlie could take home and keep, if he wanted.

“Will.” Charlie’s voice made his chest tight, but when Charlie tipped his cup for him, Will took another drink. He thought distantly that this was obviously not pretend, not for him, and Charlie knew that and was probably curious about all the things Will had hinted at before, what he was into in bed. But a distant worry didn’t compare to Charlie gently dusting crumbs from his mouth or breaking off a piece of gingerbread for him when the snowman was gone.

“Your sisters are going to think I’m using you for sex,” Will confessed breathlessly, but whined softly until Charlie fed him another piece of gingerbread.

“They aren’t the only ones watching,” Charlie answered. Will had no idea what to make of Charlie’s frown for that, but finally pulled back and wiped at his mouth. His lips were buzzing too much for the small amount of booze he’d had.

“Good.” Will was one more cookie from giving no fucks. Charlie shot him a curious look and Will tried a shrug. “They don’t like it when you touch me. Your sisters, I mean. Have they never seen anyone want you, or is it because… is it because it’s me?”

Charlie’s eyebrows went up, then down. “I spoiled them when they were little. They’re used to having my undivided attention. Instead I’ve spent all evening with you.”

Will barely, barely bit back a comment about how Charlie wasn’t their father, but considering that two minutes ago he’d been about half a second from calling Charlie ‘daddy’, he thought it best to say nothing. He bobbed his head to the quiet Christmas music in the background, Mariah Carey of course, and finished his drink in an effort to make him forget Charlie touching his mouth.

The world seemed to tilt. Will put one hand on the table and the other on Charlie. Charlie turned back to him. “Oh,” Will announced for the third time at least that night, and curled against Charlie’s side in what was becoming a habit. “Your sisters got me a little tipsy.”

“Very probably.” Charlie seemed to curl around him too, and speak every word into Will’s ear, like he was telling very warm secrets. He put down Will’s empty cup for him. “I should have warned you. Their drinks only look innocent.”

“It’s cool.” Will buried his face in Charlie’s shoulder, almost at his neck, and took a deep breath. “I forgive you, because we’re boyfriends.”

“You say that like you like it,” Charlie observed, almost stopping Will’s heart. “But you said before that you’d never had a boyf…” Charlie trailed off. “That idiot is back and his mistletoe is missing.”

Will didn’t understand why that information was important, but raised his head anyway. Oh yeah, the sisters were giving him polite stares that were also glares if you happened to know they hated you. Well, except for the other one. Ann, she of the tacky sweaters and horrid pillow making. She was outright glaring. Will blinked at her, aware he was now flushed and probably looked as tipsy as he was. He pulled down his Santa hat, although it was starting to get hot.

“Are they onto us?” he asked in total confusion, even more lost when Charlie’s unhappy frown disappeared. Charlie curved his lips in a slow smile and tipped Will’s hat back up.

“Stop doing that,” Charlie instructed gently.

Will nodded. “Yes, Charlie,” he agreed, though then he scowled. “I can wear my hat however I want. But it’s hot now. But if I take it off, I’ll have hat hair.” Charlie’s smile got even better, or worse. He was so fucking charming when he wasn’t trying to be. Will waved at him. “This is because you’re sober. I’m going to have to get you drunk later.”

“When we’re home, Will.” Charlie did not seem to object to the idea.

“Are you going to take me home, Charlie?” Will wondered in the faintest whisper. Playing Charlie’s boyfriend must have gone to his head. Charlie had had plenty of chances to fuck Will and hadn’t yet, to Will’s regret. He sighed before Charlie could answer. “Well,” he said after a while, “should I fawn over you some more to get them used to idea of a boyfriend who adores your everything, or do you think that is really what’s upsetting them?”

“I…” Charlie took a heavy breath. “What do you mean?”

Will squinted at him. “Don’t be dense. They aren’t used to someone who’s actually competition for your attention, but they’ve met your last boyfriend. That guy,” Mark, but Will wasn’t going to say his name, “wasn’t like this with you. They don’t know what this means.”

Charlie had gone impassive and thoughtful again. He was thinking something over, or worrying. Will would never have guessed when he met Charlie that Charlie hid so much behind his blank expressions.

“Hey,” Will called softly, and nudged him until those brown eyes were focused solely on him. “Sooner or later they were going to have to accept that you would settle down. I mean, you’re you. No way is anyone with sense going to let you get away. Let them deal with it. If, uh, if you think they can.”

“It’s… not that.” Charlie worked his jaw, then leaned down so speak the words at the shell of Will’s ear. “Katia took the mistletoe. I think they’re going to try to get us under it.”

“God, I hope so,” Will exhaled without thinking, aching and warm in the moments before Charlie inched back to stare at him. “I mean….” Will ended that there, because he had no idea what he meant except that he didn’t care if it was a test from the sisters to see if he loved Charlie, he’d kiss Charlie right now if Charlie wanted. He wondered if that was on his face, if he was lit up for Charlie the way they had said. “Eggnog,” he tried to explain it away in case he was and Charlie’s silence meant he was uncomfortable.

Charlie angled his head up to glance around the room then returned his focus to Will. He slid his palm along Will’s jaw. Will made a low sound of surprise that turned to a small, heady moan when Charlie brushed his mouth over his.

Charlie immediately pulled back. “I’m sorry.” He apologized as though Will wasn’t blinking at him in shocked need and wetting his lips. “Eggnog,” Charlie echoed Will’s earlier excuse, then cleared his throat. “Missy is signaling that she needs help in the kitchen. I won’t be long.” He looked flushed and uncomfortable and took off before Will could think of a damn thing to say.

Like how Charlie hadn’t had any eggnog, or how Will had been all but asking him for a kiss, how that one had been too short.

Will wasn’t drunk, but he was confused, and getting more so by the minute. He didn’t doubt Missy needed her brother’s help for something—those women always seemed to need their brother’s help—he wasn’t sure it was a good idea to be separated from Charlie’s side right now.

Will took a step, then jumped without any grace at all when Ann appeared in front of him.

Ann crossed her arms and swept a look from Will’s shoes to the top of his Santa hat. Will switched on the smile he used on unpleasant brides. “Ann. We didn’t really get to talk before.”

Charlie had prevented it, in fact, now that Will thought about it.

“So you’re what my brother has been hiding from us.” Ann made a grumbling sound, not unlike the one Sam made when he wanted Charlie to scratch behind his ears.

“Hiding me?” Will raised his eyebrows. “I’m not his dirty little secret. Not that I’d mind.” That was a lie. He’d sleep with Charlie this very second if he asked, but the right to be with him in front of his family was something Will was going to miss after tonight. No one had ever brought Will home.

Ann did not seem amused, or to care very much that Will had been doing his best to make a good impression. “Did you not want to meet us?”

“Well, I’ve never met a guy’s family before. And Charlie was really worried you all wouldn’t like me. Which apparently was a good instinct since you hate me.” He snorted when Ann opened her mouth. “Girl, please. You guys have gone out of your way to question everything or make me feel so uncomfortable that Charlie hasn’t felt safe leaving my side for a second.”

“You think that’s why he’s--” Ann closed her mouth with a snap.

“Someday he’s going to bring someone he really cares about to meet you, and I hope you guys are kinder to him than you’ve been to me, because let me tell you something about your brother,” Will stepped into Ann’s space to hiss the words, “he’s the sweetest, softest marshmallow under that hot, grouchy exterior, and he’s practically dying of loneliness. If he meets someone good for him, really good for him, not like me,” Will wasn’t choking, nope, not at all, “if he meets that guy, that guy he gets to care for and protect and be crazy about….” Will cleared his throat. “If he finds someone like that and you and your sisters scare him off just because you want Charlie to spend all his time on you, well, I will… I will do something drastic. Okay, I have no idea what because violence isn’t really my area, but something!”

He was breathing hard when he finished.

Ann let her arms fall, then crossed them again. She bit her lip. “You look back at him,” she said, then narrowed her eyes. “You’re in love with my brother and you don’t care that anyone can see it.”

Will bumped the table with his hip. Love was different from smitten, so very different. Nonetheless he put his hands to his cheeks and glanced away. “You act like that’s weird,” he answered at last. “Anyway, he doesn’t seem to see it, so it doesn’t matter if I have… If I have feelings. Like that.”

“My brother isn’t stupid.” If Ann was offended again, Will wasn’t in the mood to handle it. He rolled his eyes before looking at her, but then stopped because she was shaking her head. “He’s been hovering over you like he thought we were going to eat you. But it’s not that.”

Will disagreed but didn’t get to say so. Ann took Charlie’s abandoned soda and took a drink, then made a face, probably when she realized it was non-alcoholic. “I have no idea what you mean,” Will admitted, and Ann slammed the cup of soda on the table.

“When that son of a bitch was with him, you wouldn’t even have known they were dating. He wouldn’t go near him, wouldn’t even take his hand. I thought my brother liked it that way, but now I see him with you.” Ann waved at Will, her posture and expression both incredibly uncomfortable. “How he is with other people is how he should be all the time. And he never was. Never got to be, I think now. Then you let him. You encourage him.” Her frown wasn’t happy but somehow Will didn’t feel like it was aimed at him this time.

Will lowered his hands then slowly turned from her to Charlie, who was by the kitchen. Charlie was looking sternly down at Katia, who had the sprig of bagged mistletoe in one hand and wasn’t concealing it very well.

He was going to be a gentleman and insist Katia not force Will to kiss him. Charlie was going to be a gentleman if it killed him, because he was an idiot, and assumed no one would want to kiss him, least of all in public. It’s like he didn’t know Will at all.

Tipsy off eggnog or not, Will pushed past Ann and the straight couple blocking his path. He stopped in front of Charlie and grabbed hold of handfuls of reindeer sweater before Charlie had finished turning to look at him. “Forget the mistletoe,” Will panted, and pulled Charlie down to press their mouths together.

Will’s lips were parted, his breathing heavy before the first incredible second of contact and the puff of Charlie’s startled exclamation. He wanted to beg, murmur, “Charlie, please,” as shivers shot down his spine and electricity burned through him wherever they touched, but he couldn’t pull away. He pressed forward softly, mouth open, inviting, and clutched at Charlie’s stupid, sexy sweater when Charlie finally slid a hand to the side of his face to hold him still and kiss him back.

Gently. Charlie kissed gently and Will should not been so surprised, so charmed by it that he groaned and tilted his chin up for more, only to feel Charlie’s teeth nipping at his lower lip and the firm pressure of Charlie’s hand at his back, keeping him against Charlie’s body. Will pushed his hands up to tangle them in Charlie’s hair and cling to his shoulders. He thought he was begging after all, hiccoughing nearly silent, hitching sounds into Charlie’s mouth, words he couldn’t form.

Then someone coughed roughly, a few times, and someone who wasn’t Will called Charlie’s name.

Charlie raised his head, not far, too far. Will was so hot and confused. He didn’t look at the rest of the room, not with Charlie staring at him with stunned heat. “Oh,” Will whispered. His knees were weak. If he hadn’t been holding onto Charlie, he had a feeling his hands would have been trembling.

Charlie ran the backs of his fingers across Will’s cheek and someone, possibly Katia, gasped.

“Forget the mistletoe?” Charlie repeated, very serious for a man who couldn’t catch his breath.

“Take me home, Charlie,” Will returned, just as serious.

Charlie didn’t take his eyes off Will, but he gave a small twitch. “Everyone can hear you.”

“Duh.” Will had never gone to college, and was no kind of boyfriend, even pretend, for a professor. The smile his reply brought out of Charlie though, was the kind of beautiful sight that people wrote songs about.

Yeah, Will could admit it, to himself anyway. He was all kinds of in love with Charlie Howard. Charlie smiled at him and Will had probably lit up like the tree in the corner. He was going to be the boyfriend Charlie’s sisters never forgot, even if the boyfriend part wasn’t real.

Charlie raised an eyebrow at him. Will could tell he wasn’t sure how much of this was acting. Will wrapped his hand around Charlie’s and pulled it down between them. He kept their fingers twined together. Holding hands, of all things, made him so hot he could have burst out of his skin.

All at once, Charlie’s sisters began talking. Some of it was English, some of it wasn’t. Will found he didn’t care about that anymore either. They were upset, and Charlie stared at Will for another second anyway. “I have to say our goodbyes,” Charlie said finally, rough-voiced and quiet.

“So say them.” Will was as bad as Ann said. He did encourage this. And instead of ignoring him, Charlie wiped the smile from his face and turned to his sisters to say goodnight to each of them.

Will nodded along, tightening his grip on Charlie’s hand through each startled stare and pleading protest. The other guests probably didn’t know what to make of them, but what were the odds Will would see those people again? The three that mattered were fluttering around their brother for another few minutes, and then growing silent and hugging him with expressions that could only be described as pouts.

Ann followed them back down to the foyer and stood watching as Charlie helped Will into his coat. When they were done, before her brother could say another word, she announced, “I’ll package up some of the cookies and bring them for you tomorrow.” She spoke to Charlie, but her gaze was steady on Will.

He couldn’t decide if it was friendly or not, and didn’t think he cared until he was outside and Ann was closing the door behind them.

“They aren’t that bad.” Will surprised himself with the pronouncement. “I mean, all together they are a little much, and talk about not afraid to speak their minds… But you know, one on one, they weren’t….” Okay, he couldn’t quite lie. “Ann was all right, in the end.”

“Yeah?” Charlie didn’t move. A line came and went between his eyes. He didn’t reach out to take Will’s hand and now that they were out in the cold, away from their audience, Will didn’t have the balls to try to take his again. He shoved his hands in his pockets instead. He regretted it when the line returned between Charlie’s eyes. Charlie was going to get wrinkles and it was going to be Will’s fault.

“They love you a lot.” Will added diplomatically, then looked around at the dark street, the bare trees, all those Christmas lights that almost made him wish he lived in a proper suburban neighborhood. Almost. This was as close to playing house as he was ever going to get anyway.

“Thank you for doing this.” Charlie kept his attention on Will. “You didn’t have to.”

He’d already said that at least a dozen times. Will gave him a little eye roll, only to end up glancing out into the street again when staring at Charlie made it hard to breathe. His heart thundered against his ribcage.

“I wanted to do it.” Will wrinkled his nose, because he didn’t regret it, but he hadn’t expected to feel this strongly when it was over. “I’m glad I did it. I wish….” His face was getting cold and yet he was making no move to head toward Charlie’s car. “In old movies this would have been hilarious. Well, if it was a sixties sex comedy we would have been an ongoing gay joke that Middle America wasn’t supposed to get. But, you know, if this was Christmas in Connecticut or something you would have realized by now that the pretense was just that.” He sighed wistfully. “Are you still taking me home?”

“You want to?” Charlie didn’t keep the surprise out of his tone.

Will exhaled roughly, then threw his hands into the air. “Damn it, Charlie. Don’t pretend you can’t see it when your sisters saw it plain as day!”

He shook his head in frustration, then stilled when Charlie reached out to tug Will’s hat down over the tips of his ears. Charlie seemed focused on his hand as he tipped the brim up off Will’s forehead and swept a few stray hairs out of his eyes.

Charlie was killing him. Will whimpered and closed his eyes when Charlie touched his cheek. “Please keep touching me.” Will had no shame and no dignity. “Nobody touches me like that, except you, Charlie.” Will licked his mouth, the lips that had gone cold because Charlie hadn’t kissed him again the second they were alone.

Charlie pressed his thumb to Will’s bottom lip and Will opened his eyes. Charlie was sad and dark-eyed. “Will, you had a lot of eggnog.”

“If I’m dizzy, it’s not from eggnog.” Will took hold of Charlie’s wrist to keep his hand where it was. “I’ve been dizzy since you rescued Grayson’s plant for me. How can everybody see that but you, you big dope?”

“But you’re….” Charlie left that unfinished and stared at Will. He was all warm surprise again. “You aren’t drunk?”

“Tipsy, Charlie, is not drunk. I’ve had more to drink on a slow Wednesday.” Which wasn’t an argument that strengthened his case. Will drew in a long breath. “Is that so hard to imagine? You… like that… with me?”

“It’s hard to believe you’d want me,” Charlie responded without hesitation, and swept his thumb across Will’s lip like he couldn’t help himself.

Charlie’s honesty knocked the wind out of him.

Will was going to find that ex and tear him a new one. “That’s… are you joking?” Will wheezed. “Is that why you never--?” This wasn’t the time to remember how desperately he’d been flirting with Charlie and whatever Charlie had convinced himself Will meant by it. “But you invited me here.”

“And you accepted.” Charlie regarded Will with a puzzled air. “You didn’t even think about it. You said yes, even though I was asking you to--” Charlie stopped and the soft Christmas lights didn’t the hide the realization taking over his expression. “You were excited.”

“Merry Christmas to me,” Will told him fiercely, so Charlie could finally grasp what a stupid smitten kitten Will really was.

“I didn’t want to read into it.” For a professor, Charlie was pretty dumb. Will had waited for him on that balcony in the rain. Which, admittedly, had led to Charlie taking Will instead and drying him off and making him soup, and Will curled up on Charlie’s couch.

Then he’d fallen asleep there and Charlie had gone to sleep in his own bed. Will was going to scream. But later, much later.

He tugged Charlie’s hand closer, bringing Charlie closer in the process, and met Charlie’s gaze as he flicked his tongue against the tip of Charlie’s thumb. Charlie brought his other hand up to cup Will’s cheek.

“Will,” he rasped when Will licked his thumb again before taking it into his mouth. “Will.” His voice was the stuff of Will’s fantasies. “Will, we are on my sister’s porch.”

Honestly, Will couldn’t tell if that was a warning or a dare. He was absolutely willing to blow Charlie underneath a canopy of Christmas lights. This was something Charlie needed to realize. Will wanted him exactly that fucking much.

He pulled his mouth away long enough for Charlie to slide his hand under his chin and urge his head up. Will met his stare. “If you want me to stop, Charlie, tell me to stop.” He wasn’t sure what he wanted more, to keep going or for Charlie to give him an order.

Charlie stroked his cheek, then his jaw, his fingers slipping back toward Will’s mouth. But when Will darted out his tongue for another taste, Charlie made a rough noise.

“Will, stop,” he growled, and appeared startled when Will did. He opened his mouth, as if he wanted to argue something, then closed it again. He skated his fingers over Will’s mouth and blinked in astonishment when Will whined. He took a cautious step forward, almost tense. “At least,” Charlie swallowed, “at least until we’re home.”

Will lifted his head. He couldn’t stop his smile. “Oh right.” He’d almost forgotten the best part. “You’re taking me home with you.”

“Yes.” Charlie’s growly, confident voice warmed Will up even faster than the hand he snuck underneath the reindeer sweater. But Charlie wasn’t moving.

Will peeked up at him, and spoke loudly to be heard over his pounding heart. “Because that’s what boyfriends do?” he asked, hopeful and pathetic, and felt like the real Santa Claus at the way Charlie smiled for him, brighter than any of the lights around them.

The End
thatrcooper: (stephen by aixsponsa)
So I was killing time yesterday in between cleaning and food prep, and asked if anyone on Tumblr would donate to a foodbank in exchange for a snippet with a prompt of their choosing, and Starrla89 kindly donated. She then requested Wicklow/Rhoades, with Wicklow initiating a kiss.

(It might be a little strange. I am sick and was sick when I wrote it. Ah well.)

Spoilers for Wicklow's Odyssey. (duh)

i can breathe again )





Love, if that was the word for it, was a terrible thing.


Wicklow wasn’t overly fond of the word itself, love. It didn’t say nearly everything it should. It was too small to contain the vast, ocean-like ache that he was only now beginning to be fully conscious of, and it was too simple to explain his need to sometimes come and see Rhoades when he had no reason and no plans to.


He supposed that was why the Greeks, the ancient, dead ones Rhoades was so fond of, had different words for it. Words Rhoades whispered to him in his bed and out of it. Words that tickled the back of Wicklow’s neck in the morning and that echoed unsaid over the radio. Names for the warmth in him when Rhoades remained safe in his library and the strange heat that had Wicklow shivering in Rhoades’ arms.


But none of those words felt right when Wicklow looked at Rhoades and saw him as he was, the way others saw him, and had seen him. Rhoades was a light, a dark, wicked, dancing fire, there to illuminate the way or burn Washington itself to the ground. That was a fool’s way to describe him, but that was how Wicklow felt, at times, when Rhoades was working and seemed to have forgotten him.


Alexander Rhoades did not forget, not anything, not a slight, and certainly not Wicklow. Wicklow felt Rhoades’ regard for him in his bones—another sensation he had grown so used to he had not even realized it was there until Rhoades himself had drawn his attention to it.


“You come back to me, and I can breathe again,” Rhoades had told him, voice and hands shaking. He’d been panting despite his words. The smashed radio at the side of Rhoades’ desk had distracted Wicklow when he’d first entered the library. The dozens of pieces had spoken of anger, and a loss of control that had left Wicklow puzzled and silent.


“You came back, beloved,” Rhoades had breathed against Wicklow’s neck and rested his hands on Wicklow’s sides without pulling him closer, as though Wicklow were not ready to drop into his arms. Wicklow had approached him, making a sound to bring Rhoades’ gaze up, and then Rhoades had said those first words and Wicklow had pushed himself into Rhoades’ lap.


Rhoades had been surprised. Wicklow would not forget that, whatever the length of his life. Rhoades had been surprised that Wicklow had returned to him, and devastated to think he might not have. Wicklow had thought only that Alexander Rhoades should not tremble because one thief and spy had left him.


Wicklow had yet to ask why Rhoades would have thought Wicklow would leave him. Then, he had whispered, “Alexander,” and Rhoades had kissed him, placing hot, pleading kisses to his mouth and his cheek, before pressing Wicklow to his desk there with the door wide open and sucking his cock. And when Wicklow was empty and weak, Rhoades had kissed him again and called him, “Beloved,” and led him up to bed. He’d pressed his fingers inside Wicklow in the way that was making Wicklow burn to ask for more, although he’d again bitten back the urge and cried out instead when Alexander had drawn seed from him with little more than his fingers.


The release had felt as though it had been drawn from the depths of his soul, strong and blinding as good drink. Wicklow had been shaking too, by the end.


“I won’t push you,” Rhoades had murmured, kissing at Wicklow’s hip as though his own cock wasn’t hard and no doubt aching. “I forgot myself. I’m sorry.” He seemed to think Wicklow angry with him, and Wicklow had been too close to sleep to argue.


In the light of day, with Wicklow the kind of fool in love who would visit Rhoades’ office while he was working and better left alone, the things Rhoades had worried over made Wicklow hurt.


They brought him low, like a punch to the belly. But that pain was nothing to seeing Rhoades with his own kind. Washington had stupid men aplenty, but it was a town of clever, ambitious, ruthless men too. Men like Rhoades, as much as any man could be said to be like Alexander Rhoades, well-bred and moneyed and full of knowledge. Some of them were even the sort to enjoy other men, and, in the past, many of them had certainly known Rhoades’ bedroom as thoroughly as Wicklow did.


Wicklow stopped in Rhoades’ doorway and watched him in conversation with a nicely dressed gentleman, not as dandyish as Rhoades, this fellow, but with eyes nearly as sharp. His eyes saw Wicklow before Rhoades did. The man pulled his hand down from where it had hovered near Rhoades’ back as Rhoades reached for something on his shelf, and then he stepped away.


Rhoades was smiling faintly as he turned around. He had soft smiles when with people he liked. He was a soft man in certain respects, fine clothes, delicate foods, silk in his bed, gentle words.



Wicklow was none of those things. Wicklow had not known or wanted softness, before. When Rhoades whispered, “Beloved,” at him, the best Wicklow could offer in return was, “Alexander.”


What was that but the man’s name? Nothing. Rhoades needed softness and he’d foregone it for Wicklow, as though Wicklow’s wellbeing were paramount when the man himself was starving.


When he noticed Wicklow in his doorway, his smiled changed, widening and flaring bright. He turned the rest of the way to greet him and Wicklow clenched his fists to stay where he was. He looked away from Rhoades to study the stranger, the man of Rhoades’ kind. He wore velvet, and a waistcoat of ivory. He had no pomade in his hair and his eyes were light. Blue, Wicklow thought they were, though nowhere as dark as his own.


Rhoades liked Wicklow’s eyes, liked to look into them as he caressed Wicklow’s body. Wicklow had thought that had been enough. Rhoades had said so, with all his deeds and distractions and late suppers by the fire. But Rhoades was a liar.


A liar in love.


Wicklow barely noticed the other fellow excusing himself, though he did not think any of his displeasure showed in his face. Wicklow was not jealous; he was no outraged husband. But he swallowed and lowered his head to study his hands. Fists were about the same size as the heart. The heart was naught but blood and toughened flesh. It made no sense for love to be contained there, any more than it made sense for love to be a small, harmless word.


“Private?” Rhoades spoke carefully. He had to take care, since he had chosen Wicklow for his beloved, the madman. “You needed to see me?” Rhoades tread lightly but despite that Wicklow could hear the vein of hope in his voice. “You forgot something when you left this morning?”


“Please.” That was what Rhoades had said, his voice breaking for one small touch of Wicklow’s mouth to his shoulder. “Beloved, please.” Like a dying man in need of water.


Wicklow would give Rhoades anything, and he had not known the truth of that until he realized what one thing Rhoades had not asked for. He would die for Rhoades in an instant, which they both knew full well. Perhaps that was why Rhoades held back from requesting this small thing that was not small at all; he wanted Wicklow to give it. Although, knowing Rhoades, he had made plans to never receive it. Knowing Rhoades, he’d thought himself safe from admitting to the need.


Then Wicklow had kissed his shoulder, and Rhoades had begged for more.


“You thought I would leave you for that?” Wicklow could not seem to feel any rage over the matter. He raised his head. “Alexander,” he began again when Rhoades opened his mouth to debate or talk something Greek. Wicklow’s face was hot but he repeated himself. He would rather have emptied his heart. “Alexander, I--”


“Private.” Rhoades would not stop speaking. Every word in existence would cross his lips before he would give in again. But Wicklow knew how to make him weak. He stormed forward and slid his hands over soft, soft lapels, inky blue silk, and one large, smooth pearl, in order to draw Rhoades down. He placed a kiss on Rhoades’ parted, pink mouth before he pulled away. Then he ducked his head and exhaled against Rhoades’ shoulder.


He had no grace, and the blood remained in his pounding heart. Rhoades’ thundered equally as strong beneath his ear. Wicklow frowned. “I repaired your radio.”


Rhoades, as great a fool as Wicklow himself, ran his thumb along Wicklow’s jaw and seemed both amused and frustrated. “And I love you too, Private. You don’t need…” There, Rhoades trailed off, startling Wicklow for one hushed moment until he used his thumb to tilt Wicklow’s head up. He traced Wicklow’s mouth. “You don’t need to be soft for me in the way I am to you. It is only….” Again, Rhoades fell silent, as if considering how best to temper his response.


He had forgotten Wicklow was not a scared boy. Wicklow let Rhoades’ thumb between his lips, then pulled back in order to place another kiss on the tip, a kiss like velvet. “Show me,” he ordered, as serious as he had ever been. “Show me, and I’ll be soft in my way, for you.”


From the sound Rhoades made, he also thought love was a terrible thing, too large for his ribs to hold and too fierce to be denied. But his kiss was gentle, and for all that his hands grasped at Wicklow there with the doors open for anyone to see them, it stayed so, until Wicklow was brave enough to push upward, and give him his own gentle kiss in return.

thatrcooper: (charlie and will)
Look! I remembered to post a reminder!

I still haven't heard back from the auction people (??) but I'm going to assume it's all going as planned.


October 11, there will be a silent auction with all sorts of things from various authors, with all benefits going to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.


Here is a link to the auction's Facebook page. Authors, Bloggers, and Readers Raise Awareness


I am will be offering to either a) write a series of letters or emails (at least two) between any two of my characters (your choice) OR you can get another short story set in the alternate universe version of Play It Again, Charlie in which Charlie is the reluctant host of an online cooking show and Will is a fan. (You can find that here). (and um, okay so a friend and I have a whole thing about the first time Charlie mentions Will on the show... and also a show Will hosts with Jeanine, in which he imbibes a bit and maaaybe says things he shouldn't, and then worries about what Charlie will think when he sees it. Ahem.)

Hopefully it all goes well and everything gets bid on and donations are huge.

In the meantime, here is the last prompt fill I promised to post. The *other* Will/Charlie AU, in which the prompt was "meet at a masquerade ball"



tale as old as time )
thatrcooper: (charlie and will)
Well, maybe.

There is going to be a silent auction for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance on October 11. The event (which once again will be happening on October 11 from 11am to 11pm CDT) will feature many donations from m/m authors for everyone to bid on.

Totally for a good cause, and you get stuff out of it too. Yay!

I, maybe, perhaps, will be auctioning off something as well. Though it's kind of a weird thing (because hey, I would just sign a book and donate that to auction, but who would bid on that and also international shipping is ouch to my budget). I just signed up so I don't know if my auction offer will be okay.

But if you're interested, I offered to either a) write a series of letters or emails (at least two) between any two of my characters (your choice) OR you can get another short story set in the alternate universe version of Play It Again, Charlie in which Charlie is the reluctant host of an online cooking show and Will is a fan.

Ah, but Rispa, you say, frowning in confusion, what universe is this? We've never seen this universe.

To which, I say, right. Well, here it is. Part of a Tumblr prompt I did a while ago in an attempt to wake up my brain. So read, enjoy, and hopefully, maybe, give a little to a good cause to get more of it.


.....

Less with Bread )



Will juggled the six pricey chocolate bars in his hands and the bottle of wine he was still debating, and stared down at the barrels of cheese in dismay. He’d promised Dani he’d bring something good to the surprise birthday party-slash-potluck tonight, but between work and life he’d forgotten to even try to plan until today. The expensive grocery store probably wasn’t the best place to get ideas either. He had no idea what half this stuff was for, or best paired with, or what nutritional yeast even was.

He was going to end up bringing a pizza, like always. It felt especially wrong since he had genuinely tried this time. He had scoured through episodes of Less with Bread, searching for something that wouldn’t be too difficult, and hadn’t come up with anything that he thought he could make with confidence.

There was nothing he could make, period. He knew that. Yet something about Charlie Howard’s measured, calm voice tricked Will into thinking he would succeed, just this once. And then Will wound up with burnt cakes and separated sauces and undercooked potatoes. Will’s inability to cook even the most basic food was almost legendary. Why his sister had ever thought an internet cooking show would help him was a mystery, unless of course, she’d sent Will the link to the first episode because of the host.

Charlie Howard had certainly set Will’s bells to ringing. Handsome didn’t begin to describe him, with his square jaw and dark eyes and serious expression. He was handsome, with strong shoulders and height and strands of gray in his black hair, but his appeal went deeper than that. Will wouldn’t have sat through a cooking show just for a good-looking host; he knew that for a fact because he’d tried. Charlie was different. For one thing, he shot the smaller videos in a tiny apartment and the longer ones in this huge, gleaming kitchen in his grandmother’s house. For another, his family was often in the videos with him, and when he cooked for them his whole demeanor changed. He was never rude, or angry, or loud, like some other chefs Will had seen, but the line of concentration between his eyes vanished when his family was near. And though he never let them help him, keeping them always at a safe distance from the knives and flames and boiling water, he asked what they preferred and smiled when they answered, and his smile… his smile was, well, there were entire chats on his website devoted to that warm, careful smile.

Will had been sprung after episode one and by the second video—because of course he’d watched them all, his stomach growling and his heart pounding—he’d been cruising the show’s website for information on the host. He wanted to know why Charlie limped, bad enough sometimes to require a cane or for Charlie to sit down for the entire show. He wanted to know why Charlie had a last name like Howard and spoke English, but then fell into fluent Spanish whenever he cooked with certain members of his family. And, yes, okay he’d wanted to know if Charlie was queer, if he was single, if he wouldn’t freak out if Will messaged him through the website, or if he would think Will was going to stalk him like Kathy Bates.

All Sorrows Are Less With Bread, which was the inspiration for the show’s title, was also the name of the website, where they explained that Charlie had started out making the videos at a friend’s request, to give him something to do when he’d been recovering from an injury. That’s why the show tended to focus on simple, filling meals that could be reheated or frozen, but also on the kind of guilty pleasure, fattening foods designed to tempt someone with no interest in food into eating. The show, and Charlie, were pretty honest on that subject, although Charlie never referred to his own injury beyond the blurb on the site.

This being the SF Bay Area, the show also tended to blur all sorts of cuisines together. Will thought that was called fusion, in foodie circles. Occasionally a local chef came on to make something new. Once, notably, a therapist had come on with Charlie and talked about self-care while Charlie had made quiche and kept his gaze on his hands as he worked. Other than that, only members of the Howard family had guest-starred. Never a boyfriend, or a girlfriend, or anyone else. Not even for Valentine’s Day, which was when Charlie had talked about cheese and let his sister talk about wine.

Will tried to recall the names of any of those cheeses and then gave a dejected sigh and took a step toward the next display. He bumped into something that he realized was a person a second too late and turned quickly, which made his basket swing around and hit the person again. This time of day the place was packed with stressed soccer moms, all yoga pants and loud cell phone conversations, giving Will side-eyes for his hair and tight shirt, the hint of glitter. But he spun around to apologize anyway since it was his fault, then stopped dead.

He blinked.

Very slowly, he tilted his head back and then licked his lips. Not to be sexy, but because his mouth legitimately went dry at one glimpse of the man in front of him. His stomach seemed to tighten and then flip, all while going cool, which he didn’t understand, because his everything else was burning up.

“I was just thinking about you,” he exhaled in amazement and then immediately froze to stare up in embarrassment. Charlie Howard stared back, mouth open before that familiar line began to form between his eyes.

His eyes, which were a deep brown in person and close up, were focused on Will as if he was as surprised to see Will in this store at the moment as all the moms were. He was wearing a white, button down shirt, with the sleeves rolled up and the top few buttons open, just like he wore on the show. His skin was darker than it seemed on the videos, like he’d gotten some sun, and Will could see the chest hair he’d only glimpsed before.

He took a long, deep breath, inhaling cheese and cologne and garlic.

“Oh my god,” Will said after countless seconds of internal squirming and getting lost in Charlie Howard’s eyes. He recalled what he had just said. “Oh my god. I meant, I watch your shows. And I was wondering what you would do in my situation. Not that I don’t also think about you in the way you are probably thinking.”

Will closed his mouth, very deliberately, when Charlie Howard’s stunning brown eyes went wide.


“I really never intended to be that kind of fan,” Will explained himself, hoping his soft tone would keep things calm. Instead, Charlie blinked and then his expression went as stern as it did on the show when his little niece had started to reach for a hot pan. Will’s palms went damp. It was the first time in his life his palms had ever gone damp for someone. He didn’t think Charlie would be interested in hearing that, however, even if Will was kind of fascinated. “It’s just, in person you are even hotter than you are in the videos.”

He had no idea what was wrong with him. Will was a talker, but his talking was usually a lot smoother than this. In fact, most of the time it didn’t matter what he said. Men took one look at him and wanted him. They never listened to what he was saying. But Charlie Howard wasn’t saying a word and maybe that was why Will was suddenly panicking. His online crush wasn’t only in front of him; he was listening.

“You know that scene in Singing in the Rain where Debbie Reynolds is totally cool with Gene Kelly until she recognizes him as her screen idol, and then she doesn’t really know what to do at first? Yeah. I kind of feel like that right now.” Will made himself breathe again. While he did, Charlie’s frown didn’t lesson, although he did skip a glance down to Will’s sleeveless t-shirt with the faded Debbie Harry picture on it. “I wasn’t expecting it would be this bad. Not that I was expecting to meet you ever. I’m not a stalker—except in the normal way that everyone follows everyone on Facebook. But I’ve seen all your videos. I’m… well, clearly, I’m a big fan.”

“But you don’t know what to buy?” Charlie spoke at last. His voice was gravely and hesitant, not like what it was on the videos. But then, on the videos he knew what he was doing, and he didn’t have Will acting like a psycho. Still, of all the things he could have said, or done, like tell Will to get lost, or flee in the opposite direction, he’d asked a question.

Will shrugged, although his shame was completely obvious. “I can’t actually cook. Like, at all. It’s the one part of adulting that continues to escape me.” He saw Charlie mouth the word, “Adulting?” but he didn’t interrupt. Will felt a fraction calmer. “My sister sent me links to your videos in the vain hope I could learn to make toast. I’ve watched them all, some of them more than once, and well, those chocolate pancakes you made for your niece? Those almost came out okay, except for how they didn’t look like yours and the first five were crisp at the edges. I ended up just licking the batter and eating the bananas later.”

Charlie’s scowl grew more intense. “There’s raw egg in that batter.” The gravel left his voice but it was no less serious. Will swallowed, although his mouth and throat were still dry. Charlie studied him and then continued in the same stern daddy tone that had earned him a legion of gay fans. “You shouldn’t eat raw egg. You could get sick.”

He appeared to be genuinely concerned that Will had once eaten raw batter. Will wanted to blow him more than he’d ever wanted to blow anyone in his life. He made a noise, a frustrated little squeak that would have had his friends laughing at him, and then shook his head. “The risk of salmonella is slight. I looked it up.” He nearly lost his voice in the face of that unwavering disapproval. “But, uh, it tasted good, anyway. So thanks.”

No one, not one of the men who had ever pursued Will, would have even noticed that Will had eaten raw egg. Of course, Will would never have cooked for any of them. None of them had been worth it.

Charlie Howard inclined his head as though there were no more serious topic to discuss than Will’s cooking habits and safety. “Tell me you haven’t been doing the same with uncooked chicken.”

“Gross.” Will wrinkled his nose. “I haven’t gotten brave enough yet to attempt anything with meat. But, yes, of course I wash my hands. I am pretty strict about disinfectant in general, you have no idea. Should see my work kit—I do hair—and my tools are disinfected on the regular, trust me.”

He didn’t think he imagined Charlie’s relieved sigh, and though he waited, Charlie didn’t have anything to say about Will doing hair for a living. Will perked up. It occurred to him that this was hardly the usual conversation Charlie probably had with his fans, but whatever. Will was going to think about these few minutes for months. He was going to make the most of them.

“All right, no more eating the batter,” he promised, although Charlie hadn’t asked him to. A strange look crossed Charlie’s face. Will watched the flush darken the skin of his face and his neck.

Charlie cleared his throat. “Are you using fresh herbs or dried?” The moment the question was out of his mouth, he froze, then coughed and stared down at the cheese as if the cheese had misplaced his potato peeler.

Will angled his head to the side. “You said dried herbs were perfectly acceptable for someone on a budget, or for someone too emotionally or physically exhausted to seek out the fresh version. You just have to adjust the amounts because the flavor is different.”

Charlie’s gaze met his. His frown slowly eased away. “Yes, I did,” he agreed, so low and approving that a shiver went down Will’s spine, as if Will had been a very good boy.

But that couldn’t have been how Charlie meant it, before he tossed his head and asked a different question. “If your friends know you can’t cook, why ask you to?”

“I volunteered.” Will sighed for what couldn’t be, but explained further. “Sometimes watching you makes me ambitious.” He offered Charlie a playful grin, then realized they were blocking this part of the cheese section. He shifted to the side but Charlie stayed where he was. He was leaning against one of the cheese barrels and Will wondered guiltily if Charlie was in pain.

“No cane today?” he blurted. Charlie usually had the cane on the bad days, but maybe he’d only run into the store to get a few things and Will was making everything worse. Then he thought he probably wasn’t supposed to mention the cane, because Charlie stopped moving and glanced away. “I hope I’m not making things worse, if you are having a bad day. I wouldn’t want that,” Will added quickly.

“You really have watched every episode.” Charlie looked back at him after what felt like far too long.
Will smiled in relief. “Of course. Don’t all your fans?”

“Yes. But.” Charlie took a hand from his own shopping basket, and Will belatedly noticed that he had a white-knuckled grip on the handle, and that there was nothing inside but bread and two apples. “I don’t know.” Charlie waved a hand in a confused gesture. “My friend handles all the comments and things, unless it’s a chat. I don’t… I wasn’t meant to do all this, so I don’t understand a lot of things.”

That was likely true enough. Charlie had never attended any cooking school or worked in a restaurant. He’d been a cop of all things, and then suffered the injury that had forced him to retire. According to the site, he’d always cooked for and with his family, and his friend had recorded him cooking and posted it as a way to distract him during a low point.

“What don’t you understand? Having fans?” It was Will’s turn to frown. “Of course you do. You’re hot, and you make good food, and the way you teach is…” Will blushed like he hadn’t in years. Charlie probably wasn’t interested in being anyone’s daddy, but even if he was, it wasn’t something to discuss in the cheese aisle.

“Hot?” Charlie stared at him with an adorably surprised expression. Then he scowled and shook his head. “Having fans at all takes me by surprise. And you don’t… seem like you would find my show interesting.”

“Oh.” That hurt. It hurt a lot more than it should have. Will ran a hand through his artfully messy hair and lowered his head.

“I don’t meet most of the followers face to face, and I’ve never pictured them like you,” Charlie went on.

Just what Will needed, someone else refusing to take him seriously because he dressed like this, or talked old movies like some clichéd queen, or was unashamedly proud of being the bottom that he was. He made himself look up. “What’s wrong with me?” he demanded, still more hurt than furious, though the anger would come later.

“Nothing.” Charlie regarded Will without blinking, as utterly serious as he was about homemade tortillas and mole and stirring the melted butter and sugar for fudge so it wouldn’t burn. He seemed confused that Will would even ask that question. “There’s nothing wrong with you.”

Will bumped into a display then spun around to fix it, all the while on fire with a blush. His hands were shaking. This was also new. He didn’t think it was nerves and it was clearly stronger than a mere crush. “Oh,” he repeated himself, although in a much warmer, softer tone than before. In any other situation he would have been looking up coyly, but he couldn’t manage it now. “Well,” he mumbled in the direction of Charlie’s shoulder. “Well, you have quite the gay following, just so you know. Lots of guys I know have crushes on you. If ever want to get to know your fans, they would eat you up, and your dishes too.” He risked a glance up in time to catch the blank shock on Charlie’s face. The smile just took over Will’s face. This man was real. “Your friend didn’t pass on those messages?”

“She did.” Charlie spoke faintly. “I thought she was kidding.”

“Don’t worry.” Will almost patted him. “I don’t think any of them have any immediate plans to make you their daddy.” Well, aside from Will, but there was no need to say that at the moment. Anyway, at the word ‘daddy’, Charlie looked right at Will, and Will was aware that his feelings were probably all over his face.

“You aren’t kidding,” Charlie declared, with certainty. Because right, he used to be a cop and was probably good at spotting lies.

Will gave him a helpless shrug. Charlie went even more still, except for his gaze, which traveled slowly over Will from head to toe. Then, unbelievably, Charlie looked down at himself with an expression of deep confusion, as if he could not comprehend this development. His free hand passed over his hip, on his bad side, and then Will understood.

“I am absolutely not kidding,” Will told him, voice unaccountably husky. Even if he didn’t have a chance here, there was no way he could leave without letting Charlie know exactly how attractive he was. “It isn’t just that you’re hot. It’s how you are with the food, with your family. God, you care for them and you feed them and you barely remember to feed yourself, and they don’t even notice. I just want to make you sit down. I’d feed you myself.” Will wanted to press himself to Charlie Howard’s every stunned inch. “And then how you praise people. The way you gently walk us through everything. Who wouldn’t--” Will abruptly recalled the way Charlie had frozen when one of his sisters mentioned his ex during a video. “Trust me,” he said instead. “There’s a legion of men out there ready to bring you home.”

A soccer mom gave Will the most arch look he had ever received in his life as she passed them, as if she didn’t care about if they rubbed their dicks together, but could they do it somewhere else out of her way? He heard her complaining to someone on her phone about people standing in front of the Pecorino.

He focused on Charlie, thinking that he’d probably said too much. He was going to blame it on being starstruck, even if that wasn’t the case. “I am one of them. Clearly,” Will added after too long of a pause. “This is probably time for a graceful exit.”

“You haven’t picked out anything,” Charlie observed, then cleared his throat again. “You should make something easy. Something you can take there with minimal fuss, and then prep in someone’s home. What kind of gathering is it? I could… I could shop with you.”

Will put a chocolate-filled hand to his chest. “Be still my beating heart,” he murmured in disbelief. “You want to help me? Even after I went all crazy fan on you?”

“You didn’t--” Charlie shut his mouth and took a breath before he met Will’s amazed stare. “Just because you promise to avoid batter doesn’t mean you’re safe with anything else. Have you sharpened your knives recently? Dull knives are how accidents happen.”

It was a lot to take in, until it wasn’t, and Will got it. He bit his bottom lip to keep from purring out an appreciative, “Oh, daddy.” He let himself grin, his forgotten flirting skills returning with a vengeance. He leaned in closer and smiled even wider when Charlie let him do it. “You’ll take care of me?”

Even embarrassed, Charlie managed to give Will’s wine and chocolates a significant look. “Someone should.”

Will nearly dropped everything to the floor. “Will.” He blanked on everything else for a moment. Charlie’s gaze was hot, hotter than it had ever seemed in the videos, before he hid it all away again. But it was too late now. Will had seen it in that one shy, careful glance. He finished introducing himself. “My name is Will. Will Stewart.”

Charlie raised a hand, as though for half a moment he’d thought about touching Will’s face. Then he blinked and frowned and appeared as stern as a blushing man could. “Charlie Howard,” he said gruffly, as if Will didn’t already know. He was wonderful. “How about enchiladas?” Charlie asked seriously. Of course he was serious. Will had forgotten about food, and Dani, and the rest of the world, and still, Charlie was serious about helping him. Will was going to marry him. “Would enchiladas be okay?” Charlie continued, oblivious to this for the moment. “We could make vegetarian, if you prefer that?”

“Charlie Howard, I am almost swooning at the thought of you in my apartment,” Will told him, using the same earnest, matter-of-fact tone that Charlie had. “But I don’t think I can make those.”

“I can.” Charlie seemed to surprise himself with the speed of the offer. “I mean, I can show you. If you’d like.”

This time, Will did purr. “Yes, Charlie. I’d like that a lot.”





And I will let you know if my auction offer is accepted. :)
thatrcooper: (sleepy holly by holly_ita)
Back to that official news I promised.

Dreamspinner accepted "A Beginner's Guide to Wooing Your Mate" --shocking me more than anyone. Now, of course, I have even more doubt about it. Should I have made it longer? (It's only about a hundred pages.) Should I have given it an epilogue?

Sigh.

This is good news though. It also means that I had to submit the story that follows it, the story that wouldn't go away, "Little Wolf." (Which is over 300 pages somehow). I made myself submit it this evening. Now I have even more doubt, and eight weeks in which to feel it.

But that's okay. Feelings are good.

Speaking of which. I want all of you awesome people to know I'm okay. A little slow, at the moment. Some anxiety issues and some crying but okay. Good even. Better than I was. As I was just telling a kind anon, my mood swings usually aren't so sudden or dramatic and there was a lot of personal drama that made it worse. (It's still happening, in fact, but I finally remembered the ways I've learned to deal with things, and I feel better about starting to face all of it. Someday. For today it was enough to submit "Little Wolf" and make myself work out a little.) Anyway, I wanted to say again that you all have been amazing. To show my love, I thought I'd post this.

So on Tumblr last week, I tried to kick start my brain into active/writing mode again (it didn't really work. Everything was painstaking and slow and focusing sucked) but I did manage to answer three of the writing prompts people gave me.

Here is one. I will edit the other two and post them at a later date. (They were Will/Charlie prompts.)

The prompt was amnesia, and I chose Ray and Cal from "Some Kind of Magic" because lately, the Beings stories I've done have involved werewolves dealing with their instincts, and how they might trust their instincts, but they don't really understand them. Also there is a very, very vague "Little Wolf" reference in there, but it isn't a spoiler or anything.

~~

Read more... )
thatrcooper: (paris by cunningcroft)
A Very Rhoades Christmas

In which I was going to write a snippet after the events of Wicklow's Odyssey with all kinds of smut in it, and wound up distracted by a jealous Rhoades. But he's so adorable when he's pouting.


(Some slight spoilers for the novel, but nothing too bad I don't think. Also, unedited because this was for Tumblr)

Thank you to everyone who turned up to my Meet The Author chat. You were wonderful! *mwah*


A Very Rhoades Christmas )
thatrcooper: (pye pye pyewacket by rani)
Audiobook has arrived! The one for A Boy and His Dragon has, I mean. A Boy and His Dragon at Audible (Confession: I get the giggly squeals when I try to listen to my own words being read out loud. I am blushing right now.)

In other news, it occurs to me that those not into the geeky online things might not realize what AUs are. I write a lot of AUs of my own characters, usually in unedited little snippets to amuse the people who follow me on Tumblr. For example, I posted a short Bakery AU of Ray and Cal from Some Kind of Magic for Kristi P for Valentine's Day. An AU is a story set in an alternate universe from the one in which the original story is set. I tend to still consider AUs Original, in a sense, (because change one fact about a character and you change the character) but it's not really a point I'd argue because mostly AUs are supposed to be fun. :) Though to make it even more confusing, sometimes I just label them "crackfic"... which they basically are. A cracky, nutty version of a story you already know.

I mention this now because every once in a while I will read a comment from someone very confused or someone will remind me that not everyone is a giant geek like me and so people don't always speak my language. If anyone ever doesn't know what the hell I'm talking about, feel free to ask me so I convert you to a giant geek too.

Anyway! AUs. I love my characters and I love variations of them because it's interesting to see how a slightly different background can entirely change the way a story would go. I tend to write fuzzy little AUs just to make me smile but if you want to know more about them, may I suggest Wikipedia? (Obvious caveat that Wikipedia is Wikipedia and always open for debate and editing.)

(Oh my though, modern AU of My Man Godric in which Godric is the head of security for a rich, old, noble family and Bertie is the public scapegrace, always in the tabloids, usually caught staring adoringly at Godric. It's really quite embarrassing. And I still think about that AU of Play It Again, Charlie in which Will gets to know Charlie while he's still recovering in the hospital. I think about that one when I need some angst.)

I forgot my point. I guess, just... look at these idiots.

Ray the baking werewolf and Cal the besotted customer


This was originally an unedited Tumblr post. Original notes have been left in.

(I bet he makes savory pies and quiches filled with ham and croissants rich with butter. I bet someone else normally makes all the sweet, delicate things, like someone else normally works the counter. But one day Penn, who runs the register and does their books, has to go do some family thing with her mother and since it's a slow day she tells Ray he has to come out to help customers if anyone rings the bell.)

He was right in the middle of preparing the beef for some spicy mini beef pies, done Louisiana style, when someone rang the bell and it didn't put him in the best mood. He only had so much time to get some prepared for their lunch rush. He'd ask Murphy to go deal with the customer but Murphy had a special order of lemon tarts to complete. Someone had ordered them at the last minute. Ray was not fond of people who made huge, demanding orders at the last minute. Penn tried to remind him that business was business, but some customers needed a basic understanding that their bakery was not a McDonald's. Things took time, even with the occasional magical assistance.

In his nose was an irritating mix of lemon and onion which did not improve his mood as he pushed through the bat-wing swinging doors that led to the main room. He knew there was a frown on his face but he couldn't be bothered to care.

What did make him pause was the reaction from the fairy waiting by the counter.

"Oh, a face like that should not be scowling so," the fairy remarked, tilting his head back to study Ray with wide, swirling eyes of brown and purple and green. The colors made Ray think of Mardi Gras, and King's Cake, and frosting.

Ray didn't usually care for frosting but for a moment he licked his lips at the imagined taste of sugar. Then the fairy spoke again. "Then again the frown suits you. You're a were, aren't you? Maybe fierce is exactly how you should look." The fairy was not subtle in looking Ray over, but then they never were.

"Can I help you?" It came out a lot crankier than it should have. Penn would have had something to say about that if she'd heard it. Ray shrugged it off and didn't apologize or explain his frown. The fairy would forget about it in a few minutes anyway once he got some sugar.

He was actually pretty low-key for a fairy, with much smaller wings than usual, as if he was part human. He even had a shirt on, unbuttoned to reveal a bare chest glowing with health and sparkles, but still a shirt.

Ray headed over to the pastry counter after a moment's hesitation. The fairy wasn't going to want anything savory and he probably wouldn't want a whole cake, but a box filled with individual pastries was always a fairy favorite.

"So you're finally out here." The fairy's gaze darted to Ray's apron, coated in flour as well as hints of blood from the meat. "Oh, Ray," he realized out loud and then stopped. He twirled his wrist and looked slightly guilty as he explained. "Penn talks about you."

"She does?" It was not what Ray meant to say at all but he fought off a blush and stared back at his winged admirer as impassively as he could. The fairy--half-fairy, smiled at him. It was possibly the kindest smile Ray had ever seen.

"Penn is wonderful," the fairy offered with that same beaming smile. Ray thought Penn was wonderful too. She had never once scoffed at a werewolf living in a city and working as a baker. He loved Penn. He had no idea why he'd frown harder to hear that the fairy liked her too.

"She thinks the world of you, you know." The fairy leaned forward, putting his slender hands gracefully along the top of the glass case, sending glitter raining down the lace doily underneath the display of cupcakes that Penn kept out to tempt the lunch crowd. Ray realized his hands were also on the glass counter but couldn't remember having moved forward. Yet there he was, the glitter almost close enough to touch him.

He could hear Murphy swearing at his crust in the kitchen but the sound seemed far away, drowned out by his own heart in his eyes and the rapid, hummingbird beat of the fairy's heart right in front of him. He inhaled, noting a new scent, like fresh caramel and cinnamon, overlaid with a desire that somehow surprised him despite the fact that this was a fairy, and fairies were, well, given to showing desire openly and often.

"You talk about me?" Ray could not believe himself. He didn't know what had come over him. If anything he was known for not talking. Now he was asking stupid questions in a hoarse voice and he felt hot, hotter than usual, hotter than the kitchen at its busiest.

The fairy danced from foot to foot as he nodded. "I asked her and she was only too happy to talk about you."

Ray blinked. His head was swimming. His vision seemed to sharpen on the increasingly bright cloud of glitter around the fairy. He thought the fairy's mouth was the most beautiful mouth he'd ever seen. He considered whether, being half-human, the fairy might like one of his pies, or at least a croissant. Ray would fill it with dark chocolate and dip it in cream if the fairy would prefer it that way. Ray would feed it to him himself, anything to keep him smiling and happy.

He shook his head but the scent only got stronger, like crisp meringue and caramelized pears.
"You see," the fairy began again, leaning in and staring at Ray as though Ray was one of the bon bons on the shelves below, "I catch a glimpse of you from time to time, and you and your frowns are the shiniest thing I have ever seen. But you never come out. Not once. Not ever. And then Penn said--"
"Yes?" Ray was growling and too distracted to be embarrassed about it.

"Penn said she'd make you come out. As a favor to me. And to you. She said, 'The wolf needs to indulge his sweet tooth' and grinned and told me to come in today."

"And you remembered?" Ray couldn't keep the surprise out of his tone.

The fairy's smile was only a little saddened by his rudeness. "When it comes to what matters, Ray, fairies remember everything."

"And I matter?" Ray took another long breath. Hope was sweet and light like powdered sugar. He didn't know what that meant.

The fairy danced in front of him again, though wriggled might have been a better word. "You matter so much I put on clothes," he offered, wrinkling his nose in a way that made Ray feel even warmer.

"I wouldn't have asked you to do that," he murmured, only to hitch his shoulders at the fairy's delighted laugh.

"I knew I would like you, Ray." It wasn't something Ray should argue with. Weres also tended to like or dislike others immediately, although based more on scent than any "shininess".

"You don't know me," he argued anyway, inhaling so much want/want/want that he pulled at his apron. He wanted to lean closer so he did, forgetting lemon and onion in order to breathe in blackberry jam and spiced peaches and rosewater. There was a sweat too, human scent, man scent, and the combination made him flush. The fairy smelled like the best things in the world.

"That's easy enough to fix, isn't it?" The fairy stuck out his hand. "I'm Cal.

His hand was warm. His glitter was like being sprinkled with chocolate dust. And he smiled when Ray brought his wrist up to his mouth.

...


Still fierce Ray, but not nearly so, er, dickish about fairies uptight because he isn't a cop and doesn't have all those pressures on him. I imagine they were almost kissing by the end of that encounter and on a date/screwing shortly afterward. Maybe they make it through one date first. Then everyone at the bakery has to deal with Ray, ridiculously in love and Mated. Aw.

To sum up, I am weird. I write weird little things. People can always write me and ask me what the hell I'm doing if it's too weird. :) Also, SHINY NEW AUDIOBOOK!

(Also, apologies if this really is obvious to you. I just noticed several comments from confused people recently and didn't want them to continue being confused.) :):):)
thatrcooper: (stephen by aixsponsa)
I never know what to say in these blog posts. Sure, if you want fannish squeeing and random pictures of food and porn there's always my Tumblr, but an author-y blog posts people are supposed to be more author-y, have things to say about writing or the world in general that aren't just notices about upcoming release dates, all that. Only honestly I know next to nothing about the publishing world, and I feel like everything else comes out in my stories anyway. What does that leave? Just the updates. *sigh* But, you know, they are exciting to me and exciting things are fun to share.

First things first, everyone knows I posted a free short story, right? Well, I did. It features a slightly cracky (a lot cracky) fairy tale version of two characters who have been TORMENTING ME FOR OVER A YEAR NOW.

Ahem. I suppose that is something to talk about. Some stories are like that. You know exactly what is going on and you're compelled to write them as quickly as you can get the words out and you remain obsessed with them even once you are done. Wicklow and Rhoades were like that for me. But other stories are just a big mess. They keep growing and nothing ends up as you originally planned until you finally make yourself finish after many stops and starts and then suddenly it's exactly how you wanted it. But different. Will and Charlie were more like that. Er, Nathaniel and Tim are apparently like that as well. They insisted on writing themselves and that is always a struggle.

And can I tell you how much I regret giving werewolves quick healing powers and a fast refractory period? And how much I regret writing a sexual frustrated, *incredibly* confused young werewolf? Because I have spent hours upon hours upon hours writing porn and I'm not done yet! At least they have kind of reached an understanding, the two of them. Soon Tim might even understand what cuddles are.

(He needs lessons. Wicklow, now, you could give Wickow cuddle lessons and he'd still stare at you like you're crazy... So, I write characters with space and touching issues. So I write characters with issues. Ah well. That isn't news.)

Hmm. Updates. So. Wicklow and Rhoades were accepted (yaaaaaaay!) Preliminary title: Wicklow's Odyssey. That might change. Expect Civil War Steampunk sometime in July or early August.

Meanwhile, I was sent notices that audiobooks are going to happen for both, "A Boy and His Dragon" and "Play It Again, Charlie." I even got to listen to some samples. That was thrilling! And anxiety-inducing. And strange. And fantastic. And I don't generally listen to audiobooks so I hope those turn out okay. I will let you guys know what they are coming out.

I continue to write Tim and Nathaniel (working title(s): Little Wolf. Or The Alpha of Wolf's Paw. Or What Wolves Do. Or... something chess related. Because when you think werewolves, you think, chess.) Getting closer to the end. Woo hoo! I still don't know what to do about my short Beings stories. I want to write a few more and put them all together, but then again I don't know if Dreamspinner would want that. I'm such a weird writer.

And um, oh hey. Conventions and things. Fun? Something people in more than a hang around the comic book booths kind of way? What kind of conventions do people go to where they want to interact with authors? *Do* they want to interact with authors? (Or m/m authors for that matter?) What's that like? I have only ever gone to one convention and it was a very large one and very expensive and well... I did not enjoy it much despite my nerdiness. So I am trying to see the appeal. They aren't something you can explore on a whim when you are on a budget.

Depends on what you want to get out of them I suppose. y/y? y/n?
thatrcooper: (pye pye pyewacket by rani)
So... I was writing Christmas snippets for people on Tumblr while also editing Little Wolf and someone asked for a fairy tale and what was meant to be a short thing turned into a slightly longer story.

Ah. Me and my weird brain.

Anyway, so, Little Wolf is an unfinished novel about a very confused little werewolf finding his mate and for whatever reason, he reminds me and Selenographics of a cracky fairy tale about a princess locked in a tower. Which is probably how this happened.

Little Prince
(The Little Wolf Fairy Tale AU)

Summary: Prince Timothy is betrothed to Prince Nathaniel, who is handsome and kind and perfect. It's awful.




Read more... )
thatrcooper: (paris by cunningcroft)
For everyone as broke as me--COUPONS! You get a coupon! And you get a coupon! I'm throwing coupons at you!

They're for stories up on Smashwords, but still, coupons. (And remember, there are free stories up on Smashwords too. FREE! THE BEST THING!)

Treat yo' self! Personally I have a hard time spending money on myself. Sometimes it helps when there is a sale. In this case, 50% off! *sings like Donna and Tom Haverford* Treat Yo Self 2013!

Coupon Code for With Everything I Have is CH88S

Coupon Code for Ideas of Sin (for the brave who are into pirateses and rough sex and 1600s religious debate and things) is LD78Q

Both good until January 6, because I like the sound of Twelfth Night. And don't forget the free ones. Freeeee! Have fun.

Meanwhile, people, so all I seem to want to do is write short stories about Wicklow and Rhoades and that is no fun for anyone since I don't even know if Dreamspinner wants them. (ah the nervewracking wait for a response) What should I do if they don't? Smashwords them? Amazon? Hmm I also kind of want to write a cracky alternate universe story with Tim and Nathaniel where Tim in a prince(ss) trapped in a very tall tower (until he escapes) and Nathaniel is the long suffering knight trying to help him/get laid.

Poor Nathaniel, he never gets laid. At least not by Tim.

I am really failing at short stories for the Christmas season. Hmm... maybe John and Rennet at Christmastime? Oh shit. I don't think anyone knows John and Rennet either. Well boo. I swear I've been writing. Just... I've been working on long things and short stories that don't really have a home. (yet) Sorry. Have an excerpt while I continue to plug away.


A little bit of Kazimir the Firebird.


Read more... )

"That was quite a show," remarked a voice from the shadows, and Kazimir angled his head toward his audience. His head still ached, but he kept his chin up while the man came forward until his toes were on the edge of Kazimir's soft circle of light. His audience was a man of average height, handsome, though part of his face was hidden by an unfashionable growth of beard and a small mustache. Curls of brown fell into his face where they were not tucked behind his ears, and glasses hid his eye color, but his clothes were plain, a shirt and pants, with braces, or suspenders as Americans called them. He was American too, though his French accent was better. Kazimir had the impression of a direct gaze before the man glanced away again. His lips were full and pliant.

"At the theater tonight, or what just took place on my balcony?" Kazimir stared at him, waiting for the man to look at him again, wondering why he would look anywhere else with Kazimir in the room with him.

"That." The emphasis in the word was almost amusing. "What just took place. Though I also thought your performance tonight was incredible. Not everyone gets an opera written for them, not everyone deserves it."

He implied that Kazimir did, which Kazimir already knew. But Kazimir nodded after a moment, and the man took a drink from his own glass. It held something brown, with ice. The man swallowed with evident pleasure and then said nothing, continuing to keep his eyes from Kazimir.

"You should not capture a Firebird," Kazimir addressed the topic at hand, and watched soft lips open on what could have been a silent laugh. His glow was flattering to the man's cheekbones, the light olive tone to his cheeks.

"Should not?" The stranger moved and Kazimir got a hint of dark eyes narrowed in thought. "Was that act for his benefit then?"

"If not his then for the next creature he tries to buy." Kazimir shrugged and sighed loudly at the stillness from the man opposite him. "You have more to say? You think I was cruel? That he did not deserve rejection?"

The man considered him over the wire rim of his glasses, direct and indirect at once. Kazimir knew he was being studied, and yet could not catch the man's gaze. The strange, somewhat insolent human took another drink of his brown booze. "You didn't have much respect for his feelings."

Kazimir surprised himself by letting out a short, icy laugh "He should have had respect for mine."

"Were yours clear?" If possible, the man seemed equally amused, though Kazimir did not understand why he should be, unless he found Kazimir himself funny. The human could have been one of those men who feigned disgust at things like magic or the blended world that magical creatures lived in, where human morals and customs did not apply. He barely looked over thirty, but it was not only old men who regarded fairies and demons with hatred and loathing. Lately many seemed to, as if the problems of the world were to be laid at their door, as if beings of magic had been the ones destroying banks and dividing countries up into arbitrary pieces.

Kazimir drew himself up and curled one hand into a fist, two remaining pearls hard in his palm. "What responsibility is it of mine to make my feelings clear? My feelings are mine." His voice was clear, the little American would not argue. Kazimir kept on. "He was told no. It is not my fault he did not listen."

He let out a puff of air and wished for more vodka. It was a long time before he thought of speaking again, but when the American did not say a word, he chose to answer with silence, and so they stood. Then the American shifted forward again, coming further into Kazimir's light but stopping before Kazimir had to step back. Kazimir wondered if the man had seen him shudder away earlier, or if this human had simply been raised with better manners. He inclined his head, as though granting Kazimir the point, but did not admit his fault aloud.

Kazimir felt something, not altogether fear, slide down his back. He frowned and made his smile cold. "Human men in general do not give ground until forced to," he pronounced, bitter and unsurprised, and wondered if a mere glimpse of his neck would be enough to undo this one, or if more would be required.

The American stared to the side for a moment longer, then took another drink. He gave Kazimir a short look, then snorted and spoke in English. "Fucking true enough," he remarked, "we will defend to the last man salients of no value to avoid the appearance of retreat."

It was a confusing statement, one Kazimir was not entirely sure he translated correctly. Before he could ask, the American went on, growing warmer at the subject or from his liquor. "Not to say you have no value, or that you are a piece of land. Merely agreeing with you. It's difficult to let go. It can be difficult." He scowled down at his glass.

"You are drunk." Kazimir was neither amused or shocked, though he was not certain why he bothered commenting. His guests were currently swimming in gin.

"Usually," the American hummed a little, a piece from the opera tonight, "I usually am, when not working. May I ask you something?" He paused. "Did you not like the pearls? The gesture was beautifully executed, and I applauded, but outside of this apartment people are hungry."

"And the inhuman creature throws away pearls while the bread lines grow." Kazimir looked down to straighten his robe and when he raised his eyes, the American was looking right back at him. It took him too long to speak again. "Perhaps I prefer diamonds." He held the man's gaze even with the touch of electricity down his back and the ache in his bones. "Do you have diamonds?" he ducked his head to inhale greedily, and glanced up, an unrivalled courtesan. He swept a look over the American's clothes, noting the lack of starch in the shirt as if it had been worn a few times since its last cleaning. It might be the man's only dress shirt. Kazimir clucked his tongue pityingly and straightened. "I don't think you do," he sighed as if bored and waited. When insulted, some dogs licked your hand, others bit.

This dog tilted his head to one side. "You want diamonds? Common diamonds?" He seemed unwilling to admit the possibility that anyone would see a diamond as anything other than a shiny stone, though he returned the same sweeping look Kazimir had given him.

Kazimir felt himself go still. The human pretended not to see, though he must have.

"No, rubies surely. You must have been offered rubies too," the American went on, then wrinkled his nose and gave Kazimir another of his brief, searching looks. "Forgive me but as much as I can see you in jewels, your own natural beauty would render them redundant. You're handsome, yes, your jaw, your shoulders, your tapered waist and straight nose, but mostly… beautiful. Beautiful is the only word that suits you, or, I should say, it is the only word that comes to mind that wouldn't embarrass me."

"So you offer me no jewels at all?" Kazimir could have played coy, accepted the compliment and whatever money the man did have. He intended to, but the words came escaped him in a lilt, a graceful humming note when there should have been a blast of sound.

"Flowers. Those I would give you, if I had the money to, which I don't." The American nodded and took another drink. Kazimir could not tell if he meant it at all; the man looked at him in the same way as before, direct and then from the side, strangely shy. He was a schoolboy until he spoke.

"Roses?" Kazimir angled his head up and let out a pointed, light yawn. His heart would not slow. "Orchids?"

"Mere weeds!" the American scoffed, serious or playful, Kazimir could not determine, and did not allow himself to react though the American went on, "painted blooms in paper coffins, cut and wrapped and stuffed into a vase for display. No, not those. Not for you."

"What then?" Kazimir leaned back against a wrought-iron stand, velvety fern fronds tickling his bare skin. He put his wrist to his forehead like a film actress. The American's breath seemed to leave him in a rush, and when Kazimir looked, the man was watching him, earnestly now, if he had not been before.

"Wild flowers, the kind I have only ever seen in fields in Belgium. The kinds that grow on this continent no matter what is done to the land. Cascading colors so bright they're obscene. Blooms so beautiful they make you forget that even flowers fight for survival. Wild flowers, hardier than anything grown in a nursery. I'd make you a crown of them."

"Free flowers then?" Kazimir countered, his hand falling to his throat, though the weight of the pearls was long gone. The American threw his head back and laughed. It was too loud from drink, but still a rich, pleased sound that drew attention. A few people stopped at the doorway to peek at them.

"No jewels and no flowers will please you, Monsieur Firebird?" He was charming now suddenly, this American, leaving Kazimir to stare and wonder where his shyness had gone.

"I have never asked for them," he insisted, still with his hand at his throat, and the man dropped his crooked smile before Kazimir had even fully realized it was there.

"So you throw them away as though they are nothing?" He was gruff but quiet, and once again Kazimir could not tell if he was joking. He could not ask any more than he could ask for stories of these fields where wild flowers grew. He had traveled by train many years ago but had never stopped to look out at farmland turned grey with trenches and rain. He took a breath.

"That is no way to talk, Monsieur L'Américain, not if you wish to win a firebird." He was not drunk, but he sang it out, so sweetly it seemed a mockery.

The American frowned. "You said I should not--" he started, but was cut off by the arrival of Michel, who turned on the lights as he strode in. The American shut his eyes for a moment and swore, in the crude manner that seemed his habit. "Fuck."

Kazimir took a moment to study him in the light, from the shine in his brown curls to the dull scuff of his shoes. His trousers were recently ironed, but frayed, and a tarnished watch was ready to fall from his pocket. His lips were indeed yielding and pink, but held lines at the corners that spoke of pain. He was no schoolboy, but older than thirty, though not much. He was thin, and his skin had a tint of its own, as if good food and sun were all that were needed to make him beautiful, and perhaps a shave. He was not a picture of health. His skin was dotted with sweat despite the chill, like a human, a tipsy human without much money who had not eaten a solid meal in some time.
thatrcooper: (paris by cunningcroft)
I promised better links once I had covers. To what? Some might ask. Well to a pair of steampunk stories I wrote a while ago that didn't know what to do with, so I put them up on Smashwords.

And I Am Happy

My steampunk Alternate Universe story for Will and Charlie from Play It Again, Charlie

Description: Will is a terrible valet. Until he came to the house of war hero and respected MP Charles Howard, he was more of a rich man's convenience than a valet. No one predicts he will keep the position for long but Charles Howard is not at all what Will expects. A reserved, insecure man who hides his pain from the public, Charlie--as Will secretly thinks of him--believes that no one, especially his pretty valet, would want him. Will longs to convince him otherwise but even if Charlie were the type to dally with a servant, Will is a valet, a man, with a scandalous past, and Charlie is a famous figure.

In a late Victorian England where cars exist, if only for the rich, and telephones are a symbol of wealth, a progressive spirit has led to the appearance of acceptance. But though certain laws have been repealed it doesn't mean people's attitudes have changed or that class differences don't still exist. Will is content to serve his gentleman with no expectations of anything more. He only wants his master to be happy. Will makes Charlie smile but master and servant is all they can ever be, or is it?

Price: FREE. Everyone's favorite word! But if you like it and are curious about this Peter and Sebastian that Will mentions, then skip on over to


With Everything I Have


Description: Sebastian has a problem. He's in love with his best friend Peter and has been since their schooldays when they were outcasts together. His pining is so obvious that all of London knows, even his frustrated mother who just wants him to be happy. The only person who doesn't know is Peter. An abusive childhood with a controlling father left Peter emotionally detached and socially anxious and now he mostly hides himself away in his house where he designs the unique, fast cars that are status symbols among the town's elite. People would kill to own a single one of Peter's cars. Sebastian owns four. The meaning in that is obvious to everyone but Peter.

In a late Victorian England where cars exist, even though they aren't exactly comfortable, and computers allow the shy to avoid human contact , a progressive spirit has led to a begrudging acceptance of the sexuality of certain members of society. The sodomy laws have been repealed so that two men might spend the rest of their lives together, but that is no guarantee of happiness. Peter risks his neck driving at dangerous speeds for fun but sees passion as something to be frightened of. Sebastian has been struggling to get Peter to realize his own feelings for years but he is starting to worry that it may never happen. Peter seems to want no part of the future that Sebastian is offering him, on the surface at least. But a future without Sebastian might be something that not even a mind like Peter's can imagine.

Price: $1.99 But um, there's feelings! And smut! And suspenders... which... okay thanks to Selenographics and Wicklow, I have kind of a kink for now. hmmm Peter and Sebastian need some more smut. Maybe I will commentfic that with Selenographics when I get bored.
thatrcooper: (pye pye pyewacket by rani)
Oh, Rhoades, you sly, sexy scoundrel!

I just want people to read my steampunk thing with Wicklow and Rhoades so that they can lust over the other characters like I do right now!!! Whyyyyy? I need my pain and love for them to be shared by others!

I mean honestly, when you accidentally make every character in your story crazy hot in different ways and you imagine all their epic loves but at the same time, just picturing all the monkey sex fanfic that I hope some of you are inspired to write, well... good luck keeping your chonies on. (If that sentence made no sense, remember I am extremely tired.)

Of course, even if Dreamspinner wants the thing (so far I have heard nothing. Not even a reply to report receipt) it will be forever until it comes out. Forever, I say! And yeah okay that depends on people also reading the thing and then liking the thing. That part might be tricky. Sigh. Hmmm I'm probably going to have to fic them all myself, and no one will have the slightest idea what I am talking about. Sadface.

Before I get too upset about my eternal dorkiness, I should explain a few other things.

See, I wrote this Wicklow and Rhoades steampunk saga as a short story for Dreamspinner's steampunk anthology. Only my reader was like... "No, this needs to be longer. I need to know all about these two delightful muffins." (Only she's British, so those might not have been her exact words.) So it ended up much longer. But meanwhile, because I was trying to get a feel for steampunk, I wrote two other short stories.

The first was a steampunk Play It Again, Charlie AU, with Will the terrible valet and Charlie as his gentleman. The second was a story set in that same world about two other characters. I didn't know what to do with them, so I put them up on Smashwords. You can check them out if you like. One of them is even free! They don't have covers yet. Next week probably. R. Cooper on Smashwords. Proper links when I have proper covers. :)

Also I was going to do an "all the proceeds from the sales of this story go to charity" thing for the holidays (because I live in the US and our government cut foodstamps and other aid programs because our government is full of assholes) but I wouldn't even get the money from Smashwords until after the holidays, so instead I am just going to give to my local foodbanks some food and money. I encourage everyone to do the same. Seriously. Just drop something off in the donation bins in your grocery store or look up a local foodbank online. :):):)


This is more random than even my usual ramblings. I've been very busy, okay? My brain is little fried.
thatrcooper: (paris by cunningcroft)
Note: This short was a birthday gift to the lovely Yolandaash.

Summary: Frangipani is a fairy with a problem; he has a found a human that shines like no other, but he can't seem to get that human to notice him.


Frangipani and the Very Shiny Boy


Read more... )


"Hey there," Frangipani began, only to immediately fall silent, because wow, way to sound like an idiot. Thankfully, there wasn't so much as a twitch from the boy he'd been trying to talk to, the impossibly cute human boy deeply engrossed in his book, so if Frangi wanted, he could slip away right now in a flutter of wings and humiliation.



He would have, if that hadn't been what he'd done last time, and the time before that, and the time before that. Just thinking of it made Frangi let out a small whimper and slink back to his wrought-iron table in the café's patio, where his vanilla-caramel-mocha with a dash of praline syrup was waiting for him. It was his sixth of the morning, and at this rate, he was going to burn through his college money in coffee alone.



Maybe if the shiniest human he had ever laid eyes on didn't come to this coffee shop everyday for what must be his downtime between classes, and maybe if that human didn't sit outside so the breeze could stir his light hair and make it fall in front of his eyes so he would absently brush it away as he kept reading, and maybe if he didn't always get the cheapest drip coffee to save money but then drop a quarter in the tip jar, then Frangi could give up and fly away and get his sugar somewhere else.



But he wasn't so lucky. In fact, he'd swear he'd been cursed with this. This, this condition, as he was starting to call it. The stuttering tongue, the cold uncertainty in his stomach, the heat in his cheeks. He knew what humans called this, but he wasn't human, and he knew that couldn't be the case. The human was simply very shiny, so shiny that Frangi was kind of amazed that every other Being on campus wasn't as drawn to him as he was. It was strange enough to him that the other humans didn't seem to see anything special about this boy.



Frangi thought him beautiful. Handsome, yeah, but Frangi had always had a weakness for a human male with a strong jaw. He fluttered a little closer at the thought, trying to display his body as best he could despite shivering every few moments. The fall days were colder than he liked. Most fairies did not take well to cold, and Frangi's kind, used to tropical climates, suffered more than most. Winter was on its way, but he did not want to think of that now, and stretched in the open air to feel the sun soak into his skin.



The sun perked him up more than his morning's intake of sugar and he raised his face toward it, stilling his wings and then extending them to absorb the heat. His wings were sheer white, tipped with a yellow-gold, the same yellow-gold that swirled through his brown eyes and tinted his black hair. He had tucked a white flower behind his ear that morning, full of hope and determination that today would be the day he got this human's attention.



Sure, okay, he'd swiped the flower from a professor's garden, but if the humans didn't want fairies taking their flowers, they should allow gardens in the on-campus housing. And the flower made him look good.



Better. It made him look better. Fairies already looked good, especially to humans, and Frangipani was no exception. If past experience was anything to go by, Frangipani was even more of a draw to these mainland humans with his warm brown skin and sunny smile. Humans, all humans, liked him.



Except this one. The shiniest one. The one who did not smile, but wore ragged, thin jeans, ratty sneakers, and thick glasses with a scratch in the lens. The one who had a pink mouth and kind eyes, and skin that burned in the sun, and who shined, shined so brightly that silver lights streaked around him when he moved. He was different, that shine said, he was special, and Frangipani wanted him.



He wanted him so much he had accepted this daily shame of coming here to stare at him, which was something fairies did not do, because they did not have to do it. They were beautiful, and the beautiful do not pine.



His sister, the Lit major back at the University of Hawai'i might disagree, and quote a fairy poem of longing at him, but he could never tell her about this. She would never let him hear the end of it.



Frangi let out a sigh and dropped his head. The boy, his boy, looked up, giving him one startled, blue-eyed glance that said clearly he thought he'd been alone out on the chilly patio, then swept a look over Frangi's bare chest before quickly ducking back down over his book.



Frangipani sighed again and flopped down in the nearest chair. He put his chin in his hands and stared morosely at the rosy color painting the human's cheeks, which was a positively lovely sight. Frangi must have embarrassed him. Yes, it was a little cold to be walking around bare-chested, but anyone who had been around fairies before should be used to that, and Frangi had a very nice chest.



A sweatshirt would have been nice though. The one his boy was wearing seemed especially comfortable. Frangi wanted to sit on his lap and slide his hands underneath it to feel bare skin. He could apologize for his cold fingers with a kiss, something soft, just there, under the human's ear, and laugh if it tickled and he finally got the boy to smile. The boy rarely smiled. Obviously he was working hard at school, but if he had friends, Frangi never saw them. He'd pulled out a phone a few times and texted back and forth, but Frangi had never heard it ring, or overheard him make plans on a Friday night. He'd never even heard him laugh out loud.



"I bet your laugh is amazing," Frangipani told him softly, unsurprised when that got no response. The boy continued to frown down at a gigantic chem text. Frangi was half a second away from doing the Bend and Snap out of desperation, and wouldn't his roommates think that was hilarious? Rooming with other fairies had its downside, even if they did understand his lack of a sleep schedule and inability to stay dressed for the periods of time that humans seemed to need to stay dressed.



Clothing wasn't natural; there was no way around it. But Frangi looked at the boy's university sweatshirt again and imagined it draped over him in the library while he waited for the boy to finish his studying so they could go out.



Which was a thought that made him pause, because he wanted to roll around naked with this human. He didn't want to date him. He didn’t even know him, and anyway, he was too young to be settling down. Frangi had decades before he had to start considering settling down, especially with a human. But then he wondered if the boy liked flowers, or boys, or fairies.



"Can’t you just look up and see me and drag me away for sex?" Frangipani asked, though there was no one around. If the boy was shy, as humans tended to be when it came to things like public fucking, than they could go somewhere else, but Frangi would have been fine out here on the patio, slipping down to suck him off under the table, or straddling his lap to kiss him, or bending him over a table to trust between his pale, skinny thighs until they were rosy too. Maybe the boy liked to top, maybe he was fierce and strong and he'd kiss back hard and tug Frangi close by his hair. Maybe….



What was the use, Frangi thought, and stood up, loudly scraping his chair against the cement and stalking back over to his coffee, which he drained in a gulp while wishing he could get drunk and forget everything the way humans did.



He gathered up his things and slung his bag over one shoulder and decided that no matter how tempted he was, tomorrow he'd get his coffee somewhere else. The pastries weren't even that good here. He had to pour sugar on top of his donuts to make them edible.



Of course, feeling so resolved didn't keep him from turning around to get one last look at the shiny boy--or from jumping in surprise to find the shiny boy standing a foot away and looking right at him.



Frangi made an embarrassingly squeaky noise and flew backwards into the table, knocking his paper cup to the ground, though he didn't risk bending over to get it. At this rate he'd probably fall on his ass.



His wings were racing faster than the rush of his heart, but he did his best to lean against his wobbling table and look like a graceful fairy of legend, or at least like a sexy potential hook up at a bar. His stomach flipped uncontrollably, but he ignored it, and smiled widely.



The boy's lips parted at his smile, but he frowned without smiling back. He focused on Frangipani's mouth for a moment, his eyebrows in a tight line, and then he raised a hand. Between two of his fingers was the flower Frangi had tucked behind his ear that morning. Frangi reached up automatically to feel for it at his ear, but realized it was gone. He hadn't really expected a haole from the mainland to understand what he was trying to say with that flower, but he still felt stupid to know that it must have fallen to the ground sometime during today's attempt to get the guy's attention.



"Sorry," he mumbled, feeling even more like a dumbass when the guy frowned harder at him. But he accepted the flower with the lightest, most careful touch he could manage with the boy this close. Despite his efforts, their fingers touched. He shivered, and thought it was his imagination that the silver, shining light around the boy seemed to flare brighter.



That was the sun playing with his aura of fairy glitter, he told himself, but held his breath when the boy didn't move away. There was still that pink blush in his cheeks, slowly spreading to his ears the longer he stood there. Frangipani hesitated with the flower in his hand, then slipped it over his ear, only to be completely taken aback when the boy stared at it with wide eyes and then at Frangi's mouth a second before he dropped his head. His blush went from pink to red, and he was so close it felt like sunlight. Frangi cupped his cheek without thinking then remembered he was dealing with a human, and humans tended to be awkward about that kind of thing, the way they were about clothes, and sugar, and the natural beauty that fairies had to offer. He pulled his hand away and then stood there, waiting for the boy look back at him.



He could do this. He could speak. "Howzit? I mean, hi! I mean, nice day," he blurted, and briefly closed his eyes at his own stupidity. "I sound like an idiot," he complained a second later. "Talking isn't something I have much practice with, not to get someone to sleep with me. That makes me sound like a jerk, doesn't it?" He pushed out a breath and wondered why his human was glancing from his mouth to his eyes with such startled intensity. "Maybe you just don't like fairies, huh?" he pondered aloud, more to himself since the guy still hadn't answered him. "Or maybe you want a fairy who is less of a dork. My sister always called me a dork. And the kids in high school. Maybe it's true." Frangipani huffed at the memory and got his wings under control at last. He looked deep into ocean blue eyes, past the scratch in the right lens of the guy's glasses. "I still talk plenty though, eh? Sorry."



"No!" The human burst out, almost too loud for just the two of them, and frowned so deeply that Frangipani wanted to apologize again. He must have had a weird look on his face anyway, because the boy shook his head and wet his lips before speaking again. "No, but please speak slower," he enunciated, still loud, and watched Frangi's mouth.



The frown on the boy's face wasn't going anywhere. Frangi studied him, totally confused, until he realized what was going on. His smile returned and he bounced back to life, extending his wings with a flash of gold glitter.



"Thank you for my flower," he said, as slowly as he could, making sure the boy could read his lips as well as his sincerity, and was warmed all over by the boy's answering grin.



The human ducked his head for a moment, like he was shy and delicious after all, but when his gaze came up it was bold and bright. "You haven't worn it before." This time he moved his hands as he spoke, using Signs, which Frangipani could only wish he understood.



Frangipani reached up to touch the petals without thinking. His wings were creating a breeze of their own, stirring the boy's hair and sending it into his eyes.



"You noticed?" Frangi nearly panted it, a dork to the core. "I mean," he tried to stay cool, "I mean, my name is..." Hesitant over the unusual word, he paused, then leaned in, "Frangipani." They were close enough to kiss. He wondered if the boy would mind and flicked a look up into his eyes, which were wide and stunned and really pretty, for a human, for anyone.



The boy's hands curled, skittering out like he had a thought he didn't share, so Frangi said it again. "Frangipani," he pronounced, then shrugged, "or just Frangi. Like most fairies, I got stuck with a flower name."



"Adam," the boy volunteered and brushed his hair impatiently from his eyes. Frangipani had wanted to do that for him, but only sighed and inched in closer.



"Adam," Frangi repeated, liking the quick, happy grin that appeared in Adam's serious face, "Hey there."





The End

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