shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (Default)
[personal profile] shallowness
Title: Still freeze capture
Author: shallowness
Rating: Teen.
Genre: General, angst.

Summary: Joshua hadn't thought that the likeness would haunt others.

Notes: Epilogue to 'Snow-wrought' which you really need to read for this to make sense. Contains vague spoilers for the tie-in novels. With thanks to izabelevans for pointing out that I needed to write about Alec's reaction to the sculpture, and to her and lusmeilti for betaing this, all idiocies are mine. Originally written and posted in July 2005, revised June 2015. 1,084 words.

Disclaimer: The characters are not mine and I make no profit from their use.

Still freeze capture: shallowness

Max and Joshua burst into the warmth of Gem's place. The booths were mainly filled by their own kind, along with one or two cops, looking more out of place than usual. The snow that had got the Arctics grinning had kept most of Seattle’s streets quiet. Not like here, coffee central, where X-6s were still replaying spectacular dives and throws around the tables. None louder than,

“Dalton,” Max greeted him, noticing that the X-6 had found a bunch of the opposite sex to play audience for him.

He raised his cup of coffer towards her. Deciding not to stay there and cramp his style, Max and Joshua headed further back towards the counter, where there was a booth large enough to accommodate the command team and Gem, who was snuggling her sleepy daughter in her lap.

"Guarding the last of the doughnuts?" Max asked Alec and Luke - who were sitting on either side of baby and mother, with their backs to the empty counter - referring to the food that was still stocked up on the table in front of them.

"I'm working on being more responsible," answered Alec, watching Joshua grab some doughnuts and sink next to Dix.

Max didn't quite snort, and asked Gem more softly, "Is there still coffee left?"


"Sure, in the pot,” Luke beat Gem to it, “I'll get it - want some, Josh?"

"Sure." Luke left them and Max took her perch, smiling with Gem.

"Huh, he never asked if any of us wanted more," Dix grumbled from his corner.

"Go tell him," Max replied, having to lean and speak softly where normally she'd just have yelled, but there was a baby to bear in mind.

Dix shrugged, mumbled, "It's the principle of the thing," and sank back into his chair. Max wondered how seriously she or anyone was meant to take his bellyaching.

It was warm enough for her to take her jacket off, they had enough stocks to face all the promised snows, everyone apart from the desert guys was settled, it was all good.

"So, where were you guys?" Alec asked, Josh had finished his first doughnut, though there were two more piled up right in front of him. No-one at the table was going to smack him for stocking up personal provisions. They all understood how little niceties mattered when a trannie was hungry.

"Sculpting," Josh said.

"Is that fancy talk for building a snowman?"

"Snow cat," Joshua told Alec, the pride softening his consonants. "For Max."

Sincerity trumps teasing, Max thought, looking at Alec’s expression change at Joshua’s response. It was mostly like that with Josh.

"And I love it," she flashed a smile, a currency she was less miserly with these days. "You guys should go look at it before everything melts."

"Maybe someone could take a picture, record it for posterity," Gem said, shifting her daughter slightly. Toddler transgenic bone-density was a pain sometimes, and there was no way she was risking waking her baby from dearly-won sleep to go herself. "We could pin it up here, if that's okay, Josh."

Joshua nodded, apparently too busy filling his stomach with doughnuts to respond otherwise.

"So this work of art's a little snow kitty, then?" Alec asked, leaning Max-wards over the table.

"No—" Max turned away, hearing Luke approach, her nostrils flared, he was bringing her real coffee. All good had turned even better. "Hey Josh, you'd better get this down, warm you up."

Alec settled back in his chair as he rolled his eyes, which only Gem saw, as the others were concentrating on the coffee distribution. Gem nudged Alec with her foot, as he made a face that was meant to convey that Max was fussier about Joshua than Gem was about her own baby girl. Gem indicated with her head that Alec should go, mouthing 'take a picture.’

He got up, clambering back over the counter easily enough, and walking around, made sure that dogboy had swallowed his first sip, before tapping him lightly on the shoulder. Josh twisted his head to look up, and saw Alec mime taking a picture. Instead of flinching, Joshua grinned.

* * *

Later, Alec would apologize to Gem and the others about there being no picture of the sculpture for posterity, but he would offer them no real explanation for why he had taken none. The snow cat would become part of the snow-fight story: something that the fighters all claimed to have seen from the corner of their eyes.

* * *

He'd heard the enthusiasm in the coffee-soaked descriptions of what had gone down at the snow-ball fight, now Alec saw the remains for himself, the snow under onslaught from the sun. Some of the snow wouldn't last the afternoon, and the rest of it would be covered afresh soon enough. Either way, Joshua's work and the traces of the big fight would be lost.

Alec stopped walking a few steps into the enclosure, his right foot crunching heavily down as he saw he sculpture. He'd called it a little kitty, expecting something cartoonish, quickly done. Instead, this was a figure who slunk around his nastier dreams. This was his dark sister, captured in white…

He could hear the water running, the flick of the knife-blade coming out, feel it wrench deep into her back through fur and flesh, silencing the snarls, stopping her attack; he could hear the splashes as she tripped away until the body fell – gravity, not willpower, responsible for its last movement. The water still ran. A dog barked, and he had to flick the knife out again, so that he could carve off her barcode.

He wondered if this snow cat had a barcode, if Joshua had carefully etched it out with his nails. Alec could imagine his friend's diligence as clear as Max's smile as she'd talked up the sculpture, Joshua's duck into another doughnut making his hair fall down and hiding him from the compliments, the baby shifted up straighter by her mother, him catching the knife that White had thrown him. Easy.

Alec didn't walk any closer to the sculpture to check out that hunch. He breathed through his nose as he walked to Command instead. When he got there, he didn't ask Mole if he wanted to be relieved, seeing that he was sitting pretty, cleaning a gun, watching the monitors. Alec took communications, listening out for police and military chatter. It was a quiet shift.


Feedback is loved.


shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (Default)

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