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Caden Blue's Journal
I really don't know what I'm going to use this for yet...
Getaway
June meant that most of Gaia flocked to the Isle de Gambino's beaches, drawn to the allure of a tropical lifestyle. For those who lived there, though, summer was when all the best restaurants were suddenly choked with lei-clad tourists.

This year was especially horrible – you couldn't go three feet without tripping over some hideous fluff monster. On one of his days off, even though the sky was powder blue and the surf calling gently, Lex decided he'd had enough.

He picked Barton because it lacked Aekea's sulfur smell and because Durem reminded him how much he missed Edmund. The problem was that the shopping scene in Barton just wasn't that great. Sure, Barton Boutique had some wild stuff, and he could go get some cupcakes from Buttercup Cafe to take home, but it didn't exactly cater to his dressy-casual style.

Lex found a shirt he liked anyway. He headed into the fitting room, but as he started unbuttoning he felt a chill, like someone blowing on the back of his neck with icy-cold breath.

“Arturo,” he muttered. “Long time no see.”

The translucent face of the long-dead star came into view in the mirror. “I am hurt, passeroto. I enjoyed your company so on your last visit, yet you did not return.”

“You ogled me while I was trying on pants. It was... weird.”

“Very well,” Arturo said, voice laden with spectral melancholy. “If you do not desire your company as I do yours, I will depart. Yet let me make one inquiry. Have you been working out? Your torso is, as they say, totally ripped.”

“You noticed?” Lex asked, mood lifting. Maybe hanging out in a dressing room with a creepy ghost wasn't so bad after all.

why am i even doing this stupid event

Name: Caden Blue

Age: 28 (birthday is January 7 if anyone cares)

Height: 6’1”

Weight/Build: somewhat muscular (toned, but not hugely bulky); rather broad-shouldered

Color hair/eyes: black hair, blue eyes (and fairly dark skin)

Physical peculiarities: Besides his eyes, which look rather jarring with his otherwise dark coloring, he has several scars: some small ones on his back, a mark on his right hand where a knife went through it once, and a rather dramatic-looking one stretching from just to the left of his bellybutton around his left side

Educational background: Nothing formal. He grew up in a somewhat upscale whorehouse, and did learn to read. He also learned to play guitar, though the nerve damage in his hand makes that a bit difficult for prolonged periods of time. All his knowledge of sailing came on the job.

Sexuality: Gay. Has slept with women a few times, and didn’t precisely hate it, but is generally only attracted to men.

Best friend: At present, probably Linden North, a former crewmate (he was the ship’s doctor.) Caden had a brief fling with him as a teenager and recently reunited with him. Long story.

Enemies: None in particular. His rivalry with Mika over Arien’s affections has cooled considerably. (Also a long story.)

Family: His mother died when he was 10; his father is the infamous pirate “Thousand Blades” Artan, now retired and living quietly in Barton Town. Caden didn’t meet his father until adulthood. He also has a younger half-brother (also Artan’s son), Percy Anglemyer, who leads a fairly unremarkable life working in a bakery. (He does make some mean brownies.)

Core need: I really can’t pick one, but I think Caden’s top priorities are Idealism (he feels responsible for helping people if he thinks he can), Romance (he is very capable of casual sex, but once he gets attached to someone he falls pretty hard), and Physical Activity (he gets very restless if he can’t exercise; now that he doesn’t sail any more he’s taken a job in a warehouse, and he also recently discovered a love of jogging… and a Zony mp3 player to go with it. Gaia is a weird place.)

Pathological manner: (when core need isn't being met) If not in a relationship, he tends to sleep around; he especially enjoys going to gay bars and picking up nervous young virgins to deflower. He thinks he is doing them a favor by being gentle and understanding for their first time, but has probably left a huge string of smitten and heartbroken young men in his wake.

Ambition in life: After his mother died and he ran off to sea he hoped to find his father, but didn’t really expect to actually do it, so that was a pleasant surprise. Right now he’s mostly focused on Linden, who’s currently dealing with massive depression and guilt following the death of his lover. (Again… long story.)

Gestures when talking: Doesn’t particularly talk with his hands; has a tendency to rub the back of his neck when nervous or embarrassed.

Gait: WTF I have no idea. I never really notice how people walk. I rarely even see writers bring this up unless the character is crippled or something.

Strongest character trait: Extremely protective of people he thinks are weaker than he is.

Weakest character trait: Somewhat naïve; he tends to think working hard with good intentions will always produce optimum results, when real life is much more complicated

Laughs or jeers at: Loves stupid sex jokes and immature potty humor (though he isn’t totally tactless).

Philosophy: Believes that the strong have the responsibility to protect the weak, and that people should be allowed to do pretty much whatever they want as long as no one is being hurt by it (for this reason he’s completely all right with promiscuity as long as no one is being misled). He grew up with no religious instruction and is basically completely agnostic.

Political leaning: Doesn’t know enough about politics to really have one, though he’s a bit mistrustful of those in power (especially those who were born into it), mostly because he feels so disconnected from them.

Hobbies: Does sex count? = ) He also likes playing guitar and singing, though again, he can’t play for significant lengths of time because of his hand. He’s also gotten a library card since coming to Barton, which excites him. He’s developed a bit of an interest in cooking, encouraged by his brother, but his experimentation there is mostly limited to “let’s throw these things in a pot and see how it tastes”.

What other characters notice: His large, bright blue eyes, which are the source of his self-given surname, are pretty noticeable. Also, sexy sideburns <3 (wait, maybe only people with sideburn fetishes like me notice those…) His size can be rather intimidating at first, which he knows and occasionally uses to his advantage.

What character does alone: Well, most of his hobbies can be enjoyed alone = P

Will reader like/dislike character: I think he’s pretty likable, but how should I know?

Significant event that molded character: His mother’s death is probably the most influential. It left him independent at a fairly young age and forced him to grow up very quickly.

The Gauntlet
Random ficlet I wrote about my fifth Grey Warden (agh I have an addiction), Hermia the female city elf. I really feel like it would've made more sense for her to encounter Nelaros in the Gauntlet than Shianni... so I wrote it. Woo.

--

Hermia had stridden past a sleeping High Dragon without even glancing upward. She answered the riddles the spirits of the Gauntlet posed with no doubts or hesitation. Yet when she reached the door the spirits had opened and saw who was waiting inside, her hands shook.

He was just as handsome as she’d remembered, his eyes just as warm, his smile as gentle. “Hello, Hermia,” he said, as though he wasn’t at all surprised to see her, as though he had forgotten he was dead.

“Nelaros,” she breathed. “This can’t be possible.” He was smiling and healthy, like the first time she had met him just before their wedding, yet she couldn’t stop thinking of the bloodied corpse she had left lying in a pitiful heap on the floor of the Arl’s estate.

“You’re crying,” Nelaros said. She touched her wet cheek in surprise as he continued. “Hermia, please don’t cry for me. I’m glad I died for you. You’re a great woman, with the strength to save the world. I played such a small part in your life, but I’m proud that I touched it at all.”

She nodded, swallowing the sudden lump in her throat. “I will never forget what you did for me.”

“That’s all I ask.” He reached for her hand; his body felt solid and real. “Take this; maybe it will help you. Live your life, and be happy.”

For a moment he glowed a bright white. Then he was gone, and Hermia held a small silver amulet on a chain in her hand. She blinked at it for a moment. Had that really just happened?

“Maker’s breath,” Alistair whispered beside her. “Maker’s breath!”

Wynne looked pale; Leliana had her eyes closed, and seemed to sway on her feet for a moment. Had the others seen what Hermia had seen? It seemed unlikely. If this place knew all the secrets of their pasts, surely the strange magic of the mountain could call up someone important to each of them. None of the rest of them had ever met Nelaros.

Hermia slipped the chain around her neck. There was no time to waste, after all.

--

Much later, with the Ashes safely retrieved, she lay in Alistair’s tent, her head on his bare chest, listening to his heartbeat and the soft rise and fall of his breath. “Hey, are you awake?” she murmured.

“Nope,” he replied. From her position she couldn’t see if he had opened his eyes or not.

“I was just wondering something…”

“Yes, I did get some… advice… from Zevran. It was extremely embarrassing. Please don’t bring it up again.”

“No, not that! I just—wait, really?”

He laughed, and the motion greatly reduced his effectiveness as a pillow. She retaliated by climbing up and sitting on his chest.

“Well! All right, my dear, if you wanted my undivided attention, you’ve certainly got it now.” Alistair grinned up at her.

“I was just wondering. In the second room of the Gauntlet, just before we had to fight the mirror images of ourselves… what did you see when we opened the door?”

His brown eyes widened, and he averted his gaze from hers. Hermia slid off him and he sat up with a sigh, putting his arm around her shoulders. “I saw Duncan. At least… I thought I was seeing Duncan. I don’t know if it was a vision or a spirit or what. He told me that if I’d stop doubting myself I would be as strong as he ever was.”

“He was right,” she said, leaning against his chest. “What you told the Guardian… it bothered me a little. I know you miss Duncan, and I know you respected him very much. But I… well, I’m glad you survived Ostagar. I don’t know if I could have done this without you.”

“You could have,” he murmured. “You’re the strongest person I’ve ever met. But I… I’m sorry if what I said made it seem like I’m unhappy. It’s just the opposite. You make me so… so stupidly giddy, sometimes, it seems… well, almost like I don’t deserve it.”

It was Hermia’s turn to laugh. “So we’re both convinced we’re not good enough for each other. I guess there could be worse problems with this relationship.” She looked down at her left hand, and the simple gold band on her ring finger. Some day, when she could find the right words, she would tell Alistair about the man she had nearly married. For now she would keep moving forward, trying to find that balance between remembrance and guilt, between happiness and responsibility.

She owed that to both of them.

This is what happens after I drink some beer.
I wrote this Thursday night, after going out drinking and then getting home at two in the morning. It's mostly unedited. It has no ending. I hesitate to say "enjoy", but if you do, great!


---


Lex was half dozing on the couch in his underwear, the weather channel droning quietly, when the doorbell rang. It jerked him awake rather unpleasantly, and he rubbed at his eyes as he stumbled to the door and put his eye to the peephole. Then he stepped back, shook his head, and looked one more time, just to make sure he was really seeing what he thought he was seeing.

There was no mistaking it. He pulled the door open and Edmund hurried inside. The other man was dripping wet – it had been raining for hours – and he pushed past Lex, pulling his overcoat off and tossing it on the couch without a word of explanation or greeting.

“Uh,” was all Lex could manage at first. Edmund had never visited him at home. He was amazed the older man even had any idea where he lived.

Edmund sat on the couch and pulled his wet boots off. He still wasn’t even acknowledging Lex’s presence. At a loss, Lex sat hesitantly at the other end of the couch and watched him. Droplets of water clung to Edmund’s hair and as Lex watched one drop slid from his forehead down his cheek and dripped off the side of his chin. It was oddly beautiful.

“Is… something wrong?” he managed. Something must have been; why else would Edmund be acting this way, be showing up at Lex’s apartment at all?

Edmund turned, grabbed Lex’s shoulders, and kissed him hard. It wasn’t precisely an answer to the question, but it may as well have been.

An hour or so later Lex stumbled from the bedroom, feeling deliciously sore, to get himself a glass of water. The TV was still on; he’d quite forgotten it after Edmund had assaulted him. He reached for the remote, and froze as he caught a glimpse of the banner scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

BREAKING NEWS: JOHNNY K. GAMBINO FOUND DEAD IN HIS HOME. POLICE SUSPECT HOMICIDE.

The remote hit the floor with a clatter. Lex nearly dropped it again as he scooped it up with shaking hands. He hit the power button quickly and then just stood in the dark and silence, shaking and trying to figure out what exactly was going on.

Gambino, dead? Lex’s boss? The most powerful man in Gaia?

Edmund’s best friend?

And Edmund’s first reaction had been to come… here? To Lex’s apartment? Not to his own home, or Vanessa, but… here?

Lex slipped back into his room and stood by the bed for a moment, watching Edmund’s face in the moonlight. He looked so peaceful asleep.

Another weird fic XD
Reveries

----------------

The midnight-8 am shift at Gold Mountain was always painfully dull, especially during the week. Lex might have some bursts of activity during the first couple hours when groups of drunks wanted to buy more tokens, but from about 2 to 8 there was usually nothing to do. He could only clean the counter so many times, so usually he just sat there with a book and a cup of coffee, trying not to nod off and fall off his chair. When Jinx came in at 8 to relieve him he practically sprinted for the door, looking forward to getting home and sleeping until two or three.

He headed down the hall towards the front doors as Becky came toward him. Her arms were loaded with papers, and she seemed completely flustered. “Why me?” she was muttering. “I don’t know anything about tax forms, dang it! Don’t we have accountants for this sort of thing? Oh! Lex!” She stopped, clutching the papers tightly and looking as though she was near tears. “Some guy from the GRS is here. I told him to wait in the lounge while I figured out where the heck we kept our tax paperwork. Can you do me a huge favor? Wait like ten minutes, then tell him to come up to the meeting room. I need an espresso shot or something, seriously.”

“Uh, sure,” Lex said. Whatever was going on seemed to be stressing her out; sleep could wait a few more minutes. As Becky hurried off to get some caffeine, Lex headed for the lounge. It wasn’t actually open this early in the morning, but as he hesitated outside the door, checking his watch, Lex was startled to hear a strain of piano music coming from the room. Who on earth could be in there playing it? The music was beautiful, too – he didn’t recognize the tune but it was strangely haunting. Becky had wanted a little time to herself anyway, so he just waited there, listening with his eyes closed, until the last notes trailed away into silence.

Lex jerked upright. He’d been somewhere perilously close to dozing on his feet while listening to the music. Shaking his head quickly to clear it a bit, he opened the door.

The GRS agent was standing next to the piano, holding a clipboard in one hand and a briefcase in the other. He was an exceedingly professional-looking man in his crisp dress shirt, slacks, and tie, but Lex thought he saw a bit of a blush on the man’s bespectacled face. He must have been the one playing the piano; there were no other options.

"Becky asked me to let you know that she’s waiting for you in the meeting room upstairs,” he said, amazed he’d even remembered his message. “Did you need me to show you the way?”

“No, I’m sure I’ll manage, thank you,” the GRS man said, giving a little nod of acknowledgement and sweeping out of the room. Left to himself, Lex crept over to the piano and took a little peek at the sheet music propped up on it.

-------

“He was pretty handsome really, but he didn’t exactly look like a classical pianist. He was really pretty good though. And the tune was… amazing. I wish I could remember the title. Tro… something. It had a lot of vowels and I was really tired when I looked at it.”

Lex was tired again, but for a very different reason. He stretched out languidly, enjoying the feel of thousand-thread-count sheets against his skin, and whistled the song as best as he could remember.

Edmund’s eyes widened a bit. “Traumerei? It’s a piece by Robert Schumann. Mr. Gambino’s late wife was quite fond of it.” Edmund slipped out of bed, and Lex rolled into the warm spot he’d left behind, watching him cross the room.

He opened a cabinet, selected a CD, and put it on the stereo. Lex nodded to himself as the strains of piano music drifted throughout the room. This was unmistakably the one. It was such an odd piece; it seemed infused with emotion, but not one he could give a name to. Edmund climbed back under the covers next to him, and Lex threw an arm across the other man’s chest. The music was like remembering something nostalgic, he decided. Something that had been wonderful, but was now gone forever. He slid his fingers idly across the scar on Edmund’s chest and mentally amended his thoughts. Maybe it wasn’t something in the past that was gone; maybe it was something in the present that was sure to end soon.

There was something nearly heartbreaking about it. But even so, Lex decided that he was quite fond of the piece, too.

Holiday Cheer
This is a story written for a contest in the Slash Challenge thread. Yes, I pulled Edmund/Santa as my pairing. Yes, I made them college roommates. XD Santa's appearance is based on the concept art Reapersun did for the Santa Baby set. It was hot. Anyway... enjoy. XD

-----------------------

Edmund had known from the start that his new college roommate wasn’t quite human. It wasn’t the pale skin and white hair that gave him away, or the way he somehow seemed to smell like pine needles all the time; it wasn’t even his vaguely pointed ears, which could have just been a genetic curiosity. No, he just had an aura about him, and Edmund had had enough experience with the occult that he could sense it immediately.

The two young men didn’t seem to have much in common. Edmund was applying himself diligently to business and economics, and Santa – well, Santa’s class schedule seemed to be all over the place. At first he took Religions classes, and then Anthropology, and then suddenly added Engineering, of all things; Edmund started coming home to find bits of machinery spread over the desk of the living area.

“What are you doing, exactly?” he finally asked one day, watching Santa screw a leg onto some kind of tiny humanoid robot.

“Do you really want to know?” Santa asked, taking a swig out of the glass of milk he seemed to always have beside him. “Somehow I don’t think you’d believe me.”
“I already know you aren’t human. You may as well not hide it any more.”

Santa wheeled around in his chair, staring wide-eyed through his messy white bangs. “Is it obvious?”

“Not to most, I imagine. I wouldn’t worry about it much. I just want to know what you’re working so diligently toward.”

Santa looked down at the scribbled blueprints and mechanical pieces covering his desk, than back at Edmund. “All right, I’ll tell you,” he said finally. “But only because I haven’t been able to talk about this with anyone else, and it’s driving me crazy.”

--

Watching Santa as he outlined his plans for the ultimate holiday, Edmund was astonished at the depths of the other man’s fervor. Astonished, and impressed. He couldn’t imagine ever being quite that devoted to anything. Then again, Santa was an immortal, magical being, and one with an obvious gift for invention.

After that, things got even more crazy in the tiny dorm. Edmund would often do his homework in the library; now that he felt he had nothing to hide, Santa was going overboard planning every minor detail of his holiday, and the room was constantly full of plans and prototypes and decorations and even recipes. The latter was sometimes a blessing, Edmund had to admit; he was especially fond of the eggnog. But watching his roommate pull farther away from him and into his own world, Edmund found himself feeling surprisingly lonely. He had plenty of dates, of course, but sometimes he wished Santa would accompany Edmund to parties or just dinner once in a while. Often Edmund would come home in the wee hours of the morning to find Santa asleep at his desk. He looked younger when sleeping; the whiteness of his hair and skin made him almost pretty. On several of those mornings Edmund found himself watching the other man sleep. Once he even brushed the bangs out of his eyes with his fingertips. Later he couldn’t stop thinking about how soft Santa’s hair had been.

--

One night in late November, with the heavy chill of imminent winter hanging in the air, Edmund opened the door to a sight that took his breath away.

The overhead lights were off, and hanging from every corner of the room – from the desk, from the bookshelf, from the window frame – were tiny white light bulbs, as though hundreds of glittering stars had been sprinkled around the room.
“Santa?” he murmured hesitantly.

“Do you like it?” the other man asked eagerly. Edmund could vaguely see his outline in the desk chair. “I’ve decided. My holiday has to be in winter. Because winter is so bleak, you know? We need a reason to celebrate. We need a reason to light up the darkness for a while.”

“This… it’s beautiful!” Edmund dropped his bookbag on the floor and peered into the bedroom, where lights glittered from the posts of the twin beds. He stepped in to take a closer look before he realized there was something else hanging from the ceiling. “What’s that?”

“Mistletoe,” Santa explained, coming to stand next to him. “It’s one of the only plants that has fruit this time of year. I thought it would make a good decoration, and maybe a symbol of life, or fertility, or… something. And there’ll be a tradition, where if two people are standing under the mistletoe, they have to kiss.”

Edmund looked again at the bunch of leaves and berries hanging over his head, then over at Santa. “I suppose traditions have to start somewhere,” he said, leaning forward.

Santa gasped in surprise when their lips met, and Edmund took the opportunity to deepen the kiss. Santa tasted like cocoa and mint and his lips were so warm and soft that Edmund wasn’t sure he ever wanted to stop. He put his arms around Santa’s waist, felt the other man’s on his shoulders – and then they slid down, down his back, and still down, until it was Edmund’s turn to be surprised.

--

Afterward they lay together in Edmund’s tiny twin bed, Santa watching Edmund sleep and marveling at the way his normally stern face looked so relaxed and peaceful. There was no denying that he’d just made a foolish mistake, but there was one thing he had never told Edmund, and wasn’t planning to. Once Xmas became a real holiday, no one would be able to remember a time without it. Everyone’s memories would be modified so it would be as though Xmas had always existed, and no one would remember that Santa had once lived among them and gone to college like a normal person. In other words, Edmund would forget him entirely.

For the time being, though, he would let himself be content to lie there under the twinkling Xmas lights, basking in Edmund’s body heat. For a while they could be connected; for a while they could be warm. And that was what Xmas was all about.

Reunion
I pulled Louie and Ian as my pairing in a Slash Thread thing ages ago, and wrote this long rambling scene, and then didn't know how to end it. So today I tacked on an ending, and here it is. Obviously I'm taking a guess as to what's gonna happen to Ian, but I think it's a logical guess...

--------------------------------
Ian hummed a little to himself as he tied the trash bag shut. It was good to be back in the shop again, but much as he loved his customers, the quiet moments after hours when just he and Rufus cleaned up were his favorite.

He stepped into the alley behind the shop and tossed the bag into the dumpster. When he turned around again, a tall shape was clearly visible in the shadows next to the shop’s back door. Ian nearly jumped out of his skin, but then the shadowy figure stepped into the light, and he saw that it was Louie.

“Oh man,” Ian chuckled softly. “Couldn’t you come around front and knock like a normal person? Not that I’m not glad to see you…” He stepped back into the shop, holding the door for his brother.

“I’m sorry,” Louie murmured. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I just thought I’d stop in and see how you were doing.”

“Oh, Rufus and I are great.” Ian smiled. “How about you? The girls staying in line?”

“As far as I can tell.” Louie stepped forward and suddenly caught Ian in a tight hug. “I wish you’d come back and live with us.”

Ian tensed for a moment, surprised by the act but quickly relaxing in his brother’s arms. He’d been alone for so long, with Rufus his only real friend – and as cuddly as Rufus was, the cat couldn’t hug him back. This was… nice, even though Louie’s body didn’t exactly radiate warmth.

“I told you,” Ian murmured. “I like it here. It isn’t as though we can’t see each other any time we want, right?”

“Damian,” Louie said. “You smell… human.”

“Well, I am human now. You knew that.”

“I know. I know, but…” Louie stepped back, holding Ian at arms’ length, his eyes on the floor. “Why did you take the cure? You’re… you’re weak now. If you’d been a vampire I never would have been able to sneak up on you in the alley like that. If something happened to you…”

“Weak? You think so?” Ian’s voice held a hint of coldness. “Do you think Mom was weak because she was human?”

“That’s not what I… and anyway, if she hadn’t been human, she wouldn’t have died like that!” Louie stepped back, eyes flashing with anger. “Our sisters are crazy. You know that. You’re the only real family I have. If I lost you, I…”

“I know,” Ian sighed, moving to wrap his arms around Louie’s shoulders. “I feel the same way about you, you know.”

Louie’s voice sounded a little hoarse. “If you change your mind, I’ll turn you myself. You know that, right?”

“Of course. Thank you.” He patted Louie’s back a few times. “Now, you want to get out of this place? There’s not much to do at my place, but… well, we could talk. I guess we have a few years to catch up on, huh?”

Louie smiled at him, showing just a hint of fang. “Of course. I’d be delighted.”

“You need more private time, or am I allowed too?” Rufus asked, materializing out of nowhere and rubbing against Ian’s leg.

Ian laughed, picking him up. “Of course you can come. You two may as well get to know each other, while we’re at it.”

Louie turned his attention on the cat and said very seriously, “Thank you for looking after my brother all this time.”

“No problem!” Rufus’ purring was so strong his whole body vibrated in Ian’s arms.

As they walked down the street, Rufus in Ian’s arms and Louie close beside him, it occurred to Ian that he had never even dared to dream of this situation before. Nothing could bring their mother back, but maybe, finally, the Von Helson brothers could put things right.

Lazarus Larkin
Community Member
Lazarus Larkin
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