Two Times Delia Learned About Gender

This is part of a longer piece (6 times Delia learned about gender, and one time she didn’t), but the other bits mostly kinda suck right now, so I gotta rewrite them. This does reference those a bit, but uhhh, you’re gonna have to guess from context, I guess.

CN: mention of snakes in a metaphor, gender feels, mild misgendering-ish. Yes, this is a happy piece. Reminder, Delia is Zanchese-Anitian, which is pretty much equivalent to Chinese-American, and speaks Ie, which is a conlang of mine (that I need to work on more…). Please let me know if I screwed up. Nathan is her husband.

There’s some more notes at the bottom.

Continue reading “Two Times Delia Learned About Gender”

Sharing because I forgot I rewrote it (Puzzle-verse)

Dammit. Typed up a bunch, loving the banter and Daniel’s attitude, and then got to the page where I was rewriting it from James’ perspective. So y’all get an early version of the longer unfinished piece. Content note: kidnapping/abduction

Continue reading “Sharing because I forgot I rewrote it (Puzzle-verse)”

Let’s talk about Swordcat

(TW: mental institution / prison setting, mild threats, cold)

As a reminder: you can request to find out more about the world of the White Knight! Check out this post for topics.

This guy
This guy

Swordcat, aka Leon Smith (the mostly human part) / Lenxoli (the part associated with the sword, which wants to destroy all humans) (See this post for details – tw for ableist language)

 

So they found out that keeping the sword in the freezer helped out Leon one day, during the coldest winter Shard City had had in decades, when the heating system in Stomlin Ward (the special security ward of Stow Prison) broke down, completely.

A little before the normal free time they herded all the prisoners that weren’t horrible security risks into the break room. There were extra blankets and electric heaters. Swordcat was usually found without a shirt 1, but today was covered up, while most of the other inmates were wrapped up in blankets (except Wild Rush, who didn’t appear to notice temperature changes of any sort).

The biggest and baddest claimed spaces in front of heaters, pulling chairs and sofas closer. Wild Rush claimed a couch and heater and curled up next to Daisy. Swordcat dropped a blanket to the floor in front of a heater, growling slightly when another inmate gave him a dirty look, and curled up on the the blanket, his tail covering his nose.

Pretty soon, people were getting cozier, forming clumps of those that could get along.

Magpie sat down next to Swordcat, scratching his shoulders. When that had no negative affect, she curled up next to him. Others joined them. Daisy pulled Wild Rush over, and he sat warming what would have been her cold side.

Finally Techrat was the only one left, sitting on a couch near a heater, with his blankets carefully positioned to not aggravate his phobia of being restrained, and bearing a look that said clearly “Do not touch me. I will turn you inside out. I have the technology” as his teeth chattered. He apparently decided that being close to others was less offensive than freezing and sat between Daisy and Gimmick who both scooted over enough that he was only barely being touched.

It was when the heating was fixed and the store room where the sword was kept rose above freezing, that Swordcat returned to what they had thought was his normal, growly, threatening self, in contrast to the purring snoozing Leon they had found as they checked the break room (It was inhumane to not let the inmates be warm – and there was nowhere they could have been shipped off to – but it would be just carelessness to not check for trading of contraband while they were all so close).

It took only a few experiments to confirm it, and from then on the sword was stored in the kitchen’s deep freezer. While Lenxoli could still be talked to (for those doctors that wanted to risk it), it was much easier for Leon to shut it out.

 

(Note to self – each cell has a window on the other side of the bars made of nearly unbreakable plastic that can be opened as the inmate prefers)

  1.  Which totally isn’t author appeal / fan service, I swear

Snippet – Wild Rush does not react in a healthy way

TW: abuse, assault, threats, threatening with knife, blood, victim blaming

(I’ve decided Charles’ pronouns are ne / nem / neir / neirself)

Wild Rush had the habit of threatening / yelling at / blaming / etc Charles and Andre before Daisy came along.

They’d been expecting it. The boss was predictable about a few things at least. And when they heard his office door slam against the wall, they glanced at each other and dropped their mugs in the sink (less chance of them getting broken that way – they had to replace dishes too often already).

Now Wild Rush has Charles pinned down against the table, one of his knives that always seemed to appear from nowhere pressed against the back of neir neck. It was kind of amazing that the boss could so easily take down someone as big as Charles. Mostly terrifying, but kind of amazing.

“You told me it was guaranteed,” Wild Rush growled.

Andrew watched the sweat trickle down Charles’ neck. “Practically guaranteed. How was I supposed to know that Tectrix would decide he wanted it?”

Charles thought it was funny that of all the things that gave Andre panic attacks, getting chewed out wasn’t one of them. And he’d been the one with a knife against his throat or a gun against his chest plenty of times. Ne wasn’t laughing right now, of course. Ne’d gone pale – you’d think they’d get used to it – and ne was trying to breathe as little as possible.

“You’re supposed to find out these things. What am I paying you for?”

The knife twitched. “Gimmick said-”

“What are you doing?” Daisy shrieked. She pulled Wild Rush off.

He blinked at her. “I- they- we were just talking.” He sounded way too reasonable for someone with a bloody knife dangling from his fingers.

Andre pressed a clean washcloth against Charles’ neck as ne sat up. “It’s not bad,” he whispered.

“You were not!” Daisy said, her voice only slightly less high. “Why would you do that?!”

“They screwed up.”

She made a pained sound and pushed past him to them.

“It’s fine,” Charles said. “I’m fine.”

“No, it’s not!” she said. Andre glanced at the boss. He’d expected him to be pissed, but he just looked confused.

Wild Rush put a hand on her arm. “Daisy…”

“Don’t touch me!” And she fled. Wild Rush glanced at them, still puzzled, and went after her. Andre heard a door slam.

~~~~~

Andre scowled as he heard the door unlock. He’d just finished bandaging Charles’ neck – it really wasn’t that bad, hardly worse than a papercut, but it’d bled a lot – and the andrenline surge was dying down.

The boss perched on the chest at the end of the bed, bent all in angles. “Why is she upset?”

“We’re not exactly thrilled either,” Charles said coldly. Andre squeezed neir hand warningly.

“So what? Why is she upset?”

“She likes us,” Andre said.

Wild Rush’s brow furrowed further. “I like you too. So?”

“Generally people don’t assault people they like,” Andre said, suddenly tired.

“If you hadn’t fucked up-”

“Yeah, we know that,” Charles said. “She doesn’t. She hasn’t been here that long, remember?”

He pursed his lips, then said, “She won’t talk to me.”

“She probably needs to calm down,” ne said.

“From what? I didn’t do anything to her!”

“Didn’t her dad used to hit her?”

“Yeah, but…” He glanced away, his eyes crinkling as he thought. “I won’t let anything hurt her. I wouldn’t hurt her.”

“You’re missing the point,” Andre said.

“She knows I wouldn’t hurt her.” He looked back at them. “Doesn’t she?”

“I don’t think that’s the point. She probably doesn’t like to see her friends get hurt either. Most people don’t.”

“And there’s a difference between knowing something and, y’know, feeling it,” Charles said.

“But you fucked up,” Wild Rush said.

“Yeah, we know,” Andre snapped. “You don’t have to threaten us. We know.”

Wild Rush frowned, apparently still baffled. “Okay. Talk to her, okay?”

That was the last time he pulled a weapon on one of them.

I don’t think Wild Rush fits any specific diagnosis. (I’m not doing any research for him at least). He considers Charles and Andre his closest friends and he’d be upset if they got injured or killed, but only to the extent of how someone would be if their favorite shoes got ruined. ‘Well, shit, how am I going find some that good again?’ But he’d be wrecked if Daisy got killed.

Writing – BJD (Puzzle-Verse)

The sequel to Doll Eyes. There’s another vignette coming (focused on Rowan) and a short story I need to finish writing. And I need to edit Doll Eyes to reflect me changing Roland to Rowan. But anyway, enjoy.

 

The screwdriver slipped from my fingers. This wasn’t working.

“Rowan!” I yelled toward my sister’s flat.

A shouted reply from the other flat. “Oy! Some of us are trying to sleep!”

I ground my teeth. The new tenant. A physician. Moved in two days ago. Kept mostly diurnal hours. I wasn’t sure why Ms. Harris thought he would work out. Bother. What time was it?

I glanced at the clock set to this time zone. Nearly eleven. The doctor would have gotten in an hour and a half ago, most likely and Rowan wouldn’t return to her flat until one. I’d just have to make do until then.

~~~

Ten till one. The smell of curry from the hallway – Rowan’s usual takeaway. I opened my door slightly. “Would you come in?” Her mouth twisted. “Please?”

She huffed slightly. She hated eating anywhere but home, but I wouldn’t ask unless it was important. She pushed the door open with her foot, her expression growing darker as she gazed around my flat. I found cleaning a distraction and rarely bothered.

“What is it?” she said irritably. She caught sight of my left arm and her tone changed. “Oh.”

I’d already laid out the tools on the kitchen table and she gingerly set her bag on the cleaned counters as I sat down. I’d scrubbed the kitchen, as well as I could considering. It’d given me something to do while I waited, as boring as the process was.

“What happened?” she asked as she leaned in to inspect. My arm hung limply, the shoulder slumped.

“I must have jarred it harder than I thought during the fight last night. The rotor’s frozen.”

She frowned, peering over her glasses. “The socket is corroded.”

“I’ll have it looked at.” She glanced up, eyebrows raised. Admittedly, I had the habit of forgetting things, but I’d filed this one as important. “Tomorrow. I’ve no desire to have it fail again.”

It took her only a minute to adjust. The time wasted waiting for her was irritating, but there just wasn’t a way for me to get to the back of my own frozen shoulder.

“I’m reconnecting the terminals now.” She closed the access panel and the skin melded, once again seamless. I bit my lip hard as sensation rushed back down my arm. It was nearly overwhelming but I allowed myself only a hissed breath as Rowan washed her hands.

I rose, flexing my hand to chase away the last of the pins and needles. “Thank you. Enjoy your dinner.”