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Phew! Finally got this finished. :) It's not beta-ed, but I read it over a few times. Let me know if there are any mistakes so I can change them!!

Album: Horses in the Sky
Artist: Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra La La Band

To Oceans

James can’t admit it to the men who obey him when he calls it a day. He can’t tell Governor Swann that his reasons for allowing Sparrow - Captain Sparrow – to escape go deeper than charity. He can’t tell Elizabeth, “This isn’t a wedding gift.”

It is unexplainable, the rush of elation he feels when Sparrow beats the odds. Unexplainable, perhaps, except to say that in its own way Order loves Chaos.

They have this in common: The Sea. James knows – as anyone who has lived his life on or near the ocean knows – that the water is ungovernable. It will not bend to his will, his title. It will not calm because he asks that it calm. His life is ruled by laws, but for this small section, the heart of him, which embraces the destructive and chaotic power of waves and whirlpools. And this is the truth he has come to accept, that no matter how still and tall he stands his feet are rocked by the tides beneath them.

But he stands still, he looks tall, and he is thus a beacon of order in a disordered world. Anarchy, James will tell them, is the enemy against which civilization must ever be alert. Though it’s his soul, his heart, if not his clockwork brain, James will not give in because of another recently discovered truth: As much as James likes Sparrow to escape, Sparrow likes James to catch him.

Sparrow is the chaos James has preached against all his life. But they embrace the same madness of masts and sails, and in a way they live by the same troubled laws. Sparrow knows that the sea will never be measured and tamed – he wouldn’t like it very much if it were, James imagines. But even pirates know there are rules. The ancient pagan laws of white crest and air, of sky and star and the scent of the sea. There are compass needles and directions and the sea is not altogether free, however much they may pretend.

The laws of land are not the laws of the sea. And James loves the sea but he is married to terra firma. So in this second, that part of him swimming away from Port Royal looks back and James would almost say it smiles.

Messy Hearts Made of Thunder

“Not yet, Potter!” Severus screams, hair whipped by the wind and long hands twisting his wand in the air. Wordless curses. Wordless counter curses. Harry is dizzy from deflecting them. Silent magic still gives him a headache and he can’t help whispering, quiet as mice, just to take a little of the pressure off his brow. The wind tosses his words and they echo loud and useless against the cliffs.

It doesn’t matter. Every time they meet is the same. Harry casts curses and Severus deflects them. At some point Harry stopped expecting to hit him. At some point Harry stopped wanting to.

“Crucio” echoes on the air between them, and for a second Severus’ eyes are a darker black. Harry isn’t sure if the curse missed or if the man just didn’t feel it. He points his wand again and concentrates on silence. He can feel the oxygen leaving his lungs in a hard but soundless exhalation.

Wordless, he is flat on his back. The sky is dark blue and grey. Severus’ hand feels steady and warm as it moves through his hair. Harry wets his lips and stares up. Wordless, Severus says, Not yet.

AN: Ganalath belongs to steffox from her webcomic at Ganalath.com. Happy Valentine's day, steffox!

Angel Blood

Ganalath isn’t sure how he got suckered into teaching the fencer how to talk. Probably because he’s the only one with enough spare time – and he does have a masterful grasp of the English language. For the moment iambs and, well, basic grammar are beyond Kevaughn’s shaky grasp, but they’ve made leaps and bounds on subjects like, “local wildlife” and “fencing terms Ganalath made up.” He’s sure it’ll be no time at all before his pupil is discussing philosophy and fine art.

“Kitten?” Kevaughn points quizzically to a sparrow hopping from branch to branch. Seated beside him on the small wooden bench, Ganalath shakes his head, and Kevaughn’s brow wrinkles as he concentrates on finding the right word.

“Let’s try something new today, Kevaughn,” Ganalath says brightly. That’s him, always the optimist, even in these hopeless cases. “I think it’s high time we move away from the physical world and focus on abstract concepts. How do you feel today?”

Kevaughn’s brow wrinkles further, a crease appearing between his eyes. Ganalath has the sudden and unexplainable urge to run his index finger over that crease, but abstains from such childish buffoonery. “Feel?” The word sounds thick on Kevaughn’s tongue. “What are feel?”

“Feel is an emotion. It’s a sensation. Like, I feel hungry. It means I want to eat.” Ganalath isn’t sure why he even attempted this lesson; it’s already boring him.

“Feel,” Kevaughn says again, laboring over the foreign vowels. “I feel…”

“Happy,” Ganalath offers. “Sad, morose, melancholy, ennui…”

Kevaughn shrugs. He points to the sparrow again. “Antelope?”

* * *

The thing is, sometimes Kevaughn says things Ganalath is sure he didn’t learn in the house. Like the other day, Kevaughn was out in the garden under a tree, and Ganalath thought it might be good to call him for supper. He didn’t respond and, seized with one of those ever-increasing and increasingly obnoxious fits of concern, the bard had ventured forth to see what was holding up his young guard.

The sunlight was a hazy pink; it cast weak shadows through the leaves onto Kevaughn’s sleeping face. The dark lashes splayed over his white cheeks were like another kind of shadow, and Ganalath blinked, taken aback at how much older Kevaughn looked when he was sleeping. The childish naïveté didn’t cling to him, the wide eyed shock at the world. Even as he thought it, the man’s eyes fluttered and opened, focusing slowly on Ganalath’s face.

“I were dreaming,” Kevaughn said. His eyes still seemed far away, and too the bard he looked a great deal older now. “I were in city. There were people…” He blinked, a lock of hair falling out of the loose leather band and into his face.

It was like watching years disappear. The pensive look in Kevaughn’s eyes melted into a confused innocence.

“Dreaming?” Ganalath repeated. But the knight had nothing further to say, only smiled half heartedly and rose in an awkward fumble to follow his master inside. Over dinner it occurred to Ganalath that he’d never taught Kevaughn about dreams.

* * *

“I are feeling warm?” Kevaughn said, drawing closer to the fire. His teeth chattered loudly enough for Ganalath to hear them over the rush of wind outside.

“Cold,” he said. “That’s cold.”

* * *

Kevaughn’s favorite book is a cheap fairy tale collection he found in a spare room. It’s full of gaudy pictures – most likely the reason Kevaughn is so fond of it – of dragons and unicorns and princesses being rescued. Ganalath hates it with a passion, but he can’t explain why.

He thinks it might have something to do with what happened last Tuesday. Another stormy day, and Kevaughn was passing the time in front of the fire. The fencer laid on his stomach, staring at the book as he reverently turned the pages. He couldn’t read, so Ganalath supposed he was memorizing the pictures.

There wasn’t much to do, which still doesn’t excuse how Ganalath let an hour slip by watching the man look at a picture book. He probably would’ve kept watching too, except that suddenly that crease appeared between Kevaughn’s eyes, signifying that he’d encountered something he didn’t understand. “What is these people do?” He lifted the book up to Ganalath.

The picture was a garishly colorful depiction of a young knight and his rescued princess. They were kissing. In the background, a dragon lay vanquished. “They’re kissing,” Ganalath said, and he had to clear his throat twice for some reason.

“What are kissing?” Kevaughn cocked his head to one side like a quizzical spaniel. “Like eating?”

“Not exactly,” Ganalath cleared his throat again. The house probably needed dusting. “It’s something people do when they fall in love.”

“What is love?” The fencer blinked at him with big, child-like eyes and Ganalath felt something – maybe hope – slide out of place in his chest.

“Nothing you’ll ever have to worry about,” he replied briskly, and jumped to his feet.

* * *

Ganalath spends most of Wednesday wishing the rain would stop and kicking a particularly hateful section of the wall. He sees Kevaughn once, at lunch, and in bed his toes protest their ill usage.

* * *

Thursday is sunny again, and Ganalath breathes a sigh of relief. Another day trapped in the house with that fencer and he might really have gone insane. Not that the house isn’t big enough, if you want to avoid someone. Just that it makes it really obvious when you are avoiding someone.

Kevaughn isn’t at breakfast, so Ganalath decides to take his tea in the garden. The chairs are still wet, but he throws a cloth over them and hardly notices the cold. It feels good to have fresh air again. And he’s so wrapped up in the sound of the birds and the dripping of water that he doesn’t hear Kevaughn slinking out of the house and into the chair beside him. Unnervingly close, actually, so that Ganalath jumps when he does realise it.

“Oh,” he breathes, his heart fluttering more than can be easily excused. “You surprised me.”

“Sun,” Kevaughn points upwards. Ganalath hopes he’s not pointing at another sparrow. “It stop to rain.”

“Yes, the weather has finally taken an appropriate turn,” Ganalath sighs. He sips his tea. It tastes like lemons. “How did you sleep?”

Kevaughn doesn’t answer for a minute. When Ganalath looks over at him his brow is wrinkled and his eyes are shut tight. “Kevaughn?”

Suddenly there’s a mouth pressing against his, cool, somewhat chapped lips absorbing the heat from his tea. It’s a brief, chaste press, and then Kevaughn pulls back and smiles shyly at him. “Is kiss?”

“Yes,” Ganalath squeaks. He clears his throat for what he hopes will be the last time today. “Don’t do that again,” he adds.

“Why not?” Kevaughn blinks innocently.

Yes, the less than noble part of Ganalath’s brain – admittedly the larger part – agrees, Why not?

“It’s…you don’t understand it,” Ganalath tries to explain. “It’s not something people like us do. It’s for people who love each other.”

“Love like in books?” Kevaughn eagerly joins. “Like in books, man fights and saves lady? I fight, save you! Love.”

It’s a somewhat emasculating conclusion. Ganalath isn’t sure how to explain that, so he pushes Kevaughn back into his own chair and takes a long drink of his tea. He holds it in his mouth momentarily. “Anyway,” he says once he’s swallowed. “That’s not really a very good kiss.”

Kevaughn has the brains to look somewhat offended at that. “Not good?”

“Right,” Ganalath says, warming up to his topic. “You don’t just stick your mouth on something and call it a kiss. There’s more…” Pressure. Movement. Passion. “Activity.”

“Activity?” That little crease is back, and this time Ganalath lets his hand smooth it away.

“Like this,” he whispers, and his hand moves down to cup Kevaughn’s jaw as he leans in. The fencer is completely relaxed. Ganalath sighs against his mouth and lets his tongue swipe over those sugary lips – he’s told Kevaughn that taffy isn’t a breakfast food but does that stop him? – before it retreats back into his mouth. Kevaughn’s eyes are wide when Ganalath pulls back.

“That’s a kiss,” he says in his most pedantic voice.

“Oh,” Kevaughn says. In the silence that follows a bird flies onto their table to peck at a soggy bit of left over bread. “Sparrow.”

Teddy Roosevelt’s Guns

It isn’t often Stephen does something wrong. The last mistake he can remember making was buying that fifty cent fish sandwich downtown and, while that was admittedly a rather poor decision, it doesn’t strike Stephen as morally wrong. It was a bad choice, but not, he thinks, a mistake.

Now, lounging on Jon’s expensive white leather sofa and trying to determine whether he’s spinning or the room is, Stephen concludes that his first real mistake in a long time – maybe in recorded history – was accepting that last drink.

“Jack Daniels,” he mutters under his breath, “you’re on notice.”

“What’s that Stephen?” Jon has the audacity to appear almost sober. Of course, Stephen knows better, but it’s infuriating nonetheless, and he’d say so if his mouth could still form words like “infuriating” or “audacity.” He settles for fixing his friend with an uncomfortable glare which, he hopes, conveys the extreme irritation racking his body and soul. “More booze?” Jon holds the bottle up, his hand swaying slightly before Stephen’s swimming eyes.

“No thanks boss,” Stephen manages. “I think I’m done.”

“Not your boss anymore, Stephen.” Stephen likes the way Jon says “Stephen.” He addresses people by their names a lot of the time – everyone in news does. “Thanks Cathy,” or “Excuse me Dave,” or “That’s right Jon.” But Stephen likes the way Jon says it, like they're friends but Jon’s still uncertain. It’s like a question. Stephen? Stephen who?

“Stephen fucking Colbert, that’s who!” Stephen realizes, somewhat too late, that yelling the end of his internal monologue was probably not the most rational of responses. Jon’s expression is amused and a little befuddled. “Why are you such a dick, Jon Stewart?” Stephen dissolves into laughter before he can receive an answer.

“Maybe I should call you a cab,” Jon suggests.

“Wait,” Stephen grabs his wrist as he stands. “Wait.”

And this is his latest mistake – one of few. It wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t accepted that last drink, he knows. One mistake leading to another, one fall generating a whole mess of imperfections, and Jon’s mouth is perfect against his. Stephen thinks, this must be how Aragorn felt when he saw Arwen again in Minas Tirith.

Of course, Arwen probably had less stubble. And Arwen probably didn’t kiss him back, tentatively at first, and then a little sadly, so that he felt like he was kissing a frown and not a yielding Elvish pout, before pulling away and saying, “You’re drunk, Stephen.”

“Obviously, Jon,” Stephen slurs, reaching for Jon a second time, but the comedian intercepts his hand and holds it away, lacing their fingers and closing his eyes and Stephen could have sworn there was more than rejection a second before. And suddenly there are so many mistakes. There are so many wrong things, so many times he smiled when he should have frowned and laughed too long or too hard and said the right things at the wrong moments and he feels like the room is opening up to swallow him whole. But he can’t say this to Jon. So he says, “Oh” and that seems to contain the world.

“Yeah,” Jon licks his lips, eyes still shut and face still too far away. “Yeah. I’ll call you a cab.”

Stephen could have sworn they were holding hands a second before.

Hang On To Each Other
AN: Elvish from http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/tree/nazelvish.html

Miranda knows this has gotten out of control when she starts to think in Elvish. At first it’s just the stray phrase she’s caught on set – mae govannen, mani – and she doesn’t think much about it, because everyone’s starting to slide into their characters. Viggo has taken to saying “Nammarie” when he leaves a room. She doesn’t bother too much with it until she starts to realise that she’s not memorizing random phrases anymore.

Their paths don’t often lead them to one another. Now and then they wind up on the beach with the same people, but she’s on the outside and she knows it. She goes to their late night poker games when she feels brave enough. Over John’s laughter and Billy’s jokes she wants to say Lle naa vanima.

Liv isn’t as graceful as her character, and Miranda isn’t as foolish as hers. She knows when she hasn’t got a chance, or she thinks she does, until one morning after breakfast Liv bumps into her gently and smiles.

It goes on like this for months. They see each other once every couple of weeks and Liv’s eyes are deep blue and hungry under heavy lashes. Miranda thinks she should be a little braver and just say what she wants. It’s not like Miranda is going to refuse.

They kiss once, because Dom dares them to one day at the beach. Liv is giggling and Miranda blushes scarlet. Further up the beach Sean and Viggo are discussing something civilized, but down here with the tide lapping at their feet Miranda feels like she’s fourteen again. Orlando and Elijah are insistent and Billy cat calls and splashes their legs. Liv yelps in protest.

Miranda is about to say that she doesn’t think this is appropriate behavior for the cast of so illustrious and epic a film, but Liv chooses that moment to shrug and turn purposefully and Miranda forgets that she knows how to breathe. For one chaste second all she knows is cool water and warm lips, a soft press of mouth to mouth. Liv is softer and fuller and more beautiful by far.

And then the boys are cheering, but they feel far away. Liv feels further still, drawing away a fraction of an inch at a time till they are open eyed and staring at each other. Liv smiles at the boys and calmly announces, “This will never happen again.”

Miranda wishes it would but filming proceeds and soon they are all making plans to return to their respective homes. Liv leaves a message on her cellular: Cormamin niuve tenna’ tae lea lle au’.

Glow And Glow

It was an unusually bright and sunny morning in early April when Septimus awoke to birdsong. The pocket watch he kept by his bed informed him it was only half past six and, since Lady Thomasina’s lessons were not scheduled to begin on Fridays until a quarter past nine he decided to indulge himself in a few more moments of sleep. No need to see his pupil over breakfast, after all, they’d be spending the day together. And besides, it was not Septimus’ custom to take breakfast with the family.

As he slid back into sleep Septimus looked to the side and the view from the window struck him as somehow wrong - as if his bedchamber were much lower than it had been when he went to sleep. He had the vague impression of previously absent rolling hills before sleep reclaimed him, the twittering of the sparrow becoming quieter and further away.

It wasn’t often that he dreamt, but he knew this was a dream. In the dream he was laying in a bed not his own, with a girl who was not Lady Croom or Mrs. Chater. He was asleep dreaming he was sleeping. As he watched himself sleep he noted the way his arm covered the girl’s waist, holding her to him in a tender, protective way. He could almost recognize her, but her face was obscured by a mess of brown hair.

Septimus felt an uncomfortable heat creeping up the length of his body and, looking down, realized that the bedclothes were on fire. He blinked at the flames slowly engulfing his body, then turned to his partner and asked, “Did you leave the candle burning again?”

“I suppose,” said Thomasina – for he recognized her with a start now that she shifted to view the blazing sheets, “there is nothing for it but to be burned to our deaths.”

“This is where foolishness and passion land you,” Septimus sighed. “Alone on a hellish plane facing utter destruction.”

“Silly man,” Thomasina chided and her eyes reflected the fire. “You’re not alone.”

He awoke with a start, remembering. The fire. The waltz. The music. And Thomasina, alive and warm in his arms just that once. The rest was silence.

He got out of his bed – it was a quarter to nine now, if she were still alive he would have overslept – and he got up and he made breakfast and ate his toast and tea while her ghost sat in the chair across and laughed her tinkling, girlish laugh. Unstir this, Septimus watched her lips move. Unstir your life. My death. You life.

Before and during there were always other women, but now there is only her. Brown curls and she smiled at him from the garden he’d created in front of the hermitage. Bright eyes as she clumsily embroidered beside the window. Small hands and a child’s quick smile. She is here, she is here, Septimus thought.

Lady Croom came by twenty minutes after one and sat heavily in Thom’s chair. She sighed and looked at him wistfully. If she spoke Septimus did not hear. He felt confident that there was little she could say and besides, her presence seemed to upset his little spirit, who he only now and then remembered wasn’t real.

The world is ending, Thomasina mouthed over Lady Croom’s shoulder, and he mouthed back: Prove it.

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On February 9th, 2006 08:03 am (UTC), vaihne commented:
Because I'm not asleep. And because I think you're adorable.

"Sparrow likes to James to catch him."

"Unnerving(ly?) close" "Kevaughn’s blinks innocently"

"like their friends but Jon’s still uncertain." "But he can’t say this (to) Jon."

"dares them too one day"
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On February 9th, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC), lixtetrax replied:
Ah, thanks muchly.
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On February 9th, 2006 10:48 am (UTC), steffox commented:
*falls over*
Wait... but...
dammit, you make everything sound good. *sighs in a not unhappy way* How am I going to explain these drawings to the guys?
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On February 9th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC), lixtetrax replied:
Hold up - drawings? *big grin* I want to see!
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On February 9th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC), steffox replied:
*even bigger grin* You gotta wait, you gotta wait! *Sniggers* I totally need reference though. Awkward. Probably shouldn't go looking for it in the school computer lab... O_O
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On February 9th, 2006 05:26 pm (UTC), steffox commented:
And so now I read the rest of them...
1. Yay for foils!
2. Really makes me want to write some fic before class starts in an hour... hmmm. Maybe I will.
3. ^_____________^
4. I am so confused by this... I like it though. Which is odd considering I have no idea who you're writing about.
5. "Unnerving". I like this one a lot, it's very dreamlike and all smartypants-sounding with the syntax and diction and pacing, which is not to say I pay attention to such things... nope.

Was this CD only 5 songs long? All of mine are like... 12 or more, which feels like a lot of fic when you have no idea what to write about. But I'm gonna try. It'll wake me up, probably.
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On February 9th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC), lixtetrax replied:
It's six tracks long. I wanted a short one, lol. Each track is like ten minutes long though. :) Thank you!! I want you to write some too! I wanted to write the PotC one since that time we were watching it and making candles and stuff. :) You help inspire two fics! You're like my fic muse.
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On February 10th, 2006 05:43 am (UTC), steffox replied:
Yar, fic muse. Roar. I totally wrote a whole fic this morning, am so cool. Only 11 to go... >_< and if I write GtE fic it's creatorfic, not really fanfic, eh? And I probably shouldn't, I'll ruin stuff. But it's so tempting, I write it for myself to get into the mood for drawing sometimes and damned if it isn't fun as hell.
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On February 10th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC), lixtetrax replied:
lol. I'd love it if you wrote gte fic, but I think that you probably would give something away. Which is why I'd love it. le sigh. Write fics for other things! Care Bears...? *grin* I like that your webcomic is now a fandom. :-D
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On February 12th, 2006 10:16 am (UTC), steffox replied:
I revel in that fact. Joy! I feel really silly being part of my own fandom, though. But I guess it's a good thing I really love it, otherwise I wouldn't do it.
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On May 4th, 2006 03:33 am (UTC), steffox commented:
OOH! Hil, you should TOTALLY send the Colbert fic to the guy... Look look look:
and it's linked off his site
And yours is 500x better.
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On May 4th, 2006 04:18 am (UTC), lixtetrax replied:
ooh, I saw that. It made me pale with terror.
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