|justira (justira) wrote,|
@ 2009-04-09 07:57 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||[!medium] fic, [!medium] fic: 2 medfic (1k - 5k words), [fan] vk - vorkosigan saga, [fan] vk: (char): byerly, [fan] vk: (char): ivan, [fan] vk: (ship): byerly/ivan|
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga
Theme/Challenge: 1sentence theme set beta
Rating/Warnings/Spoilers: PG13; spoilers through Civil Campaign; INABILITY TO TAKE ANYTHING SERIOUSLY not even the title or punctuation or ANYTHING EVER
Words: 2,500 (on a 1sentence claim, seriously Ira, SERIOUSLY?)
Crit/Feedback: Always welcome!
Notes: I was supposed to be working on some Gregor sentence-things and then I accidentally read some By/Ivan fic and accidentally went back to the sentence comm to look at the prompts and was totally coincidentally struck by how awesome this theme set is and how
Summary: Ivan is not an idiot (he just doesn't like getting involved) but some things still take a while to register.
Fools Will Fall
Ivan walks through the doors of Vorrutyer House; a warm wash of light and sound envelops him as he steps out of the night.
His left arm feels conspicuously empty: any girl who, upon hearing that he was attending a friend's wedding, got that gleam in her eye that made him think of his mother was summarily struck off the List of Possible Dates, except then he got to the end of his list (when had all those lovely young things gotten so... goal-oriented?), and now he's nursing his... sixth or seventh glass, and watching Dono open the dancing with Olivia — and fending off knowing smirks from By.
That memorable — and he wishes he could forget it, sometimes — occasion with Mark aside (and he had a very good excuse then, Miles had gone and died) Ivan is not normally given to the depressive-pensive variety of drunk Miles is prone to, but still, as he watches Dono and Olivia dance, he wishes he didn't feel so — thirty.
And he wishes he could stop thinking about the fabulous breasts Donna used to have and eying Dono's flat, broad chest, because it's making some part of his back-brain worried.
Right on cue, Byerly appears at his left elbow and simpers, "What a beautiful wedding, such a lovely couple — Dono did tell me once that his previous weddings were a little on the dull side, and he'd appreciate something a little more... interesting at his next," to which Ivan replies with a grumble and healthy sip of his drink.
"You know Ivan, you keep lamenting that it's 'such a waste' but I haven't seen you stop looking—" and here the eyebrow is raised strategically to underscore: "Perhaps Dono is not entirely wasted on you?"
08 Whiskey and rum
Ivan is not nearly drunk enough to deal with By — or with Dono, or with Miles, God the rat went and got himself married — so he ignores By's question and knocks his drink back in one shot.
It is only in hindsight that Ivan will realize that had been a declaration of war.
He is really, really beginning to hate weddings.
And birthdays, he is starting to hate birthdays, too, and he can't even remember why he invited Byerly to his— maybe because all the other guests were depressingly paired off, or because By is a sarcastic bastard but at least will talk about something other than babies and politics and more weddings — or maybe because Ivan got really, really drunk at Dono and Olivia's wedding and somehow got the impression that By was fun, and by God he is never getting that drunk again.
Except now— now is an excellent time to get that drunk, because the party is breaking up and the crawling races are over and Eugene from Ops puked in his fake plant and Byerly is making himself conspicuous by lingering.
The last guests are leaving, and Byerly isn't, and call him judgmental, but Ivan does not trust By's motives — but the invisibility trick doesn't work nearly as well in his own apartment, so he pointedly starts clearing away the liquor bottles (never mind that he has a cleaning service; he primly tells himself they won't be coming for two days).
The alcohol is making his chest burn, and it has nothing to do with Byerly sidling up beside him and leaning to whisper in his ear.
By's breath on his neck makes him shy sideways, like one of Miles's stupid massive beasts, and it takes him a second to register that Byerly just said, "You don't look like anyone's given you a proper birthday greeting yet."
Ivan blinks (blearily, rapidly), because he thinks his brain just broke.
"Happy Birthday," By says, and shakes his hand all proper, as if he wasn't just whispering obscenely in Ivan's ear, and he had not imagined that part.
Ivan is suddenly painfully aware of the bubble of privacy that surrounds them: they are alone in his apartment, and this is his cue to panic (he does not care to inspect exactly why he is panicking, thank you).
But of course Byerly foils— something, everything, and leaves, shutting the door with polite quiet (how does he manage to make that an ironically flamboyant gesture?), so Ivan retreats to the lawn chair on his balcony (carefully stowed away when female company is imminent) and stares up at the sky, refusing to think about anything— because if he stops to think he will get that sick dizzy feeling like right before Miles ropes him into some scheme and he can see it coming and can't do a thing to stop it.
Byerly is quickly becoming the bane of his existence, and if he never sees the smarmy devil after this ridiculous birthday party it will be too soon.
Which is of course why he somehow ends up staggering home from a bar on By's shoulder two weeks later, lamenting about Donna's magnificent breasts and: "Ivan, shut up," and oh no, no, this is not happening — but that is indeed Byerly Vorrutyer's tongue in his mouth.
Oh God, oh God, he's thinking of the obscenely, deliciously assertive way Donna would kiss him and that cannot be a good sign.
A corner of his mind wails: "Why does this always happen to me?"
It occurs to him (entirely belatedly, and he is not touching that part) that he has not yet punched Byerly in the face.
So he does.
When Byerly hasn't attempted to break down his door knocking and trying to weasel his way into dinner or drinks or God knows what else is on his mind — and Ivan thinks he knows exactly what is on By's mind now, he sure catches on quick, and he is not having that — but when By hasn't come by trying to do things together with Ivan in almost two weeks Ivan begins to imagine his stupid covert ass in some stupid covert mess or, worse, stuck in the bowels of ImpSec for God knows what reasons and Ivan doggedly tells himself he is not jumping to any conclusions whatsoever and firmly pours himself more coffee.
When he finally caves and leaves a terse message on By's comconsole, and the subsequent return call (no trace of the black eye, the bastard!) is all By's lips unfurling into a slow smile — yeah, that is when Ivan realizes the joke's on him.
Ivan is going to hang up on him, except: "How about some drinks Friday night?" and Ivan's hand is still on the button, he is safe, so he bothers to answer "No," but Byerly won't stop talking ("No?" — "Yes" — "So, Friday?" — "NO!") and it is useless in any case, because Byerly shows up on his doorstep anyway.
They have a staring contest over the vid — amazing that By can keep that up without being able to see, and of course he knows where the concealed pickup is, those covert types all think they're so clever, God, why can't he just go bother Miles (and this is where Ivan's brain jumps the tracks and runs howling into the night) except then Byerly leans close and whispers: "Hey Ivan, why are you still watching me?" and Ivan's hand jerks to cut the pickups; Byerly's sly smile dissolves into a crackle of jeweled sparks and Ivan can start breathing again.
The world is unfair to innocent bystanders.
He sees By from across the room at Mark's engagement, and God, he wants to wipe it off By's face — with his fist.
Ivan takes his quiet mourning for all the Koudelka sisters outside, because he is tired of watching Mark trying to not look like a fat cornered rabbit and Kareen actually succeeding in looking fiercely happy, and he's wandering through Miles's garden with his filched bottle of fine Vorkosigan brandy when By's hands — and he knows, somehow, those are By's hands, and some part of him is still howling that an assassin's would be much, much better — slide up his chest from behind, and Byerly's breath is on his nape and he nearly drops the bottle.
Part of his brain (probably the part that is in charge of remembering his training; he is not sure why else he has not yet planted his elbow in Byerly's liver— or balls) is gibbering that he should have stayed inside where it was safe — and then his knees stop cooperating with him because Byerly is crooning questions in his ear.
Like: "So why are you out here all alone, Ivan?" (God, he really should have stayed inside) and "You don't even like Mark, so why did you come to his party?" and Ivan grabs hold of the questions, because it's better than thinking about what By's hands are doing and— "Wait a minute, what are you doing here, By?"
"Besides turning your knees to water?" By purrs, and Ivan ignores that part and tries again: "Um, who let you in?" because Vorkosigan House security is very important and his voice did not squeak in the slightest.
Byerly is clearly ignoring him and Ivan decides too late that he should be returning the favour because: "You know, your Uncle Aral was rather known for—" and Ivan wails: "Things I don't need to know, By!"
"Oh, would you rather not think about that sort of thing right— now—" and By makes it sound obscene ("sound obscene?" some corner of his brain asks him) because he's sliding his hands under Ivan's shirt, and Ivan is valiantly ignoring everything and focusing on the vital issue of Vorkosigan House security, mouthing off the checklist of possible infiltration points to himself, except there are no dead guards discovered, no security is descending on them, it is just him talking to himself about force screens with By's hands up his shirt.
With By's hands up his shirt finally registers and he jumps away like a scalded cat, and By puts his hands up and has the gall to look non-threatening and shrugs, and says: "I told Miles I needed to talk to you, so, sadly, I can't stay long."
"Of course," Ivan hisses, it's all Miles's fault, all the past weeks' troubles becomes clear! — so he brandishes the brandy bottle at By: "You are plotting against me with my crazy cousin!" but Byerly sighs dramatically: "No—" and alarm bells ring distantly in Ivan's head when By steps closer to continue: "but since you're offering, I would like to try his brandy," and Ivan stupidly clutches the bottle for a moment before By swats it aside and takes Ivan by the collar and kisses him.
And then he disappears, and Ivan is left alone in the garden, with his untucked shirt and his brandy bottle and, he suspects, looking— molested.
Something is not adding up— many somethings, besides the entirely obvious ones, and after several days of getting nowhere with this impossible math — people math is even worse than five-space, Ivan has discovered (a stray saying of Miles's floats by: lives add up as infinities) — he realizes that his choices have narrowed to talking to Miles or talking to Aunt Cordelia (or Uncle Aral, a recently suppressed memory whispers, but he is not going near it, that is not even an option), and in a moment of dumb panic, he chooses Miles.
He decides, as a stroke of brilliance, to conduct the interview over comconsole, because he knows how Miles can get in person, and he gets off on a good start with: "So, Lord Auditor Coz, could you explain to me why you are conniving with Byerly Vorrutyer?" which is a nice, neutral way to start this conversation— except then Miles does that patented frown-and-"Excuse me?" — entirely Lord Auditor Vor-Coz-igan, that one, no trace of Naismith, some part of him notes distantly, but it really should have been keeping tabs on the rest of him because Ivan suddenly discovers that he is telling Miles that Byerly Vorrutyer has been molesting him in Miles's garden and Miles, damn him to every hell imaginable is laughing at him and Ivan thinks he should have talked to Aunt Cordelia after all.
Except then Miles sobers up and looks him in the eye and asks him, "Seriously, Ivan, you know where the library and my parlour are— why did you go outside — alone, even — when you saw him?" and Ivan gapes at the screen for a second before hanging up.
Ivan tracks Byerly down at his apartment, and By answers the door with an eyebrow quirk that silently says, "Yes, was there something?" and it makes Ivan want to roll his eyes, so he grabs for By's collar and gets their faces nice and close together so that he can see By's eyes when he starts snarling at him.
"What part of I like women do you not understand?" is met with "But Ivan, I like women too — delightful creatures — but terrorizing you is so much fun—" and By's eyes go all obscenely half-lidded and Ivan tightens his grip on the shirt because: "besides, you haven't been complaining... nearly enough."
He realizes rather abruptly that he is holding By by his ridiculously flamboyant purple shirt collar against the doorframe of By's apartment, neatly straddling the threshold, and suddenly he is very dizzy.
Byerly is watching him, hands resting on Ivan's wrists, looking quite unperturbed and deadly serious, and Ivan blurts out: "I'm not— I'm not an example, By, I'm not like Miles!"
"Did I ask you to be?" and Ivan remembers: this man is perfectly aware of how dangerous Barrayar is and to hell with it all because Ivan realizes something important: Byerly Vorrutyer is loyal to people, not ideas, and on this crazy planet it makes him feel like he suddenly found one sane soul to share his lonely corner of no heroics unless absolutely necessary.
He shuffles himself and By one step sideways out of the gathering night, and the door closes behind them.
Ivan leans forward — and part of him is gibbering something unintelligible and terrified, and another part is saying this isn't over By — and at the moment he can't care, and his eyes slide closed as By's mouth slides open against his own.
A/N: I AM SORRY I COULD NOT TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. I am sorry I abused every punctuation mark ever and italics to boot. I AM SORRY FOR WRITING BYERLY/IVAN IN THE FIRST PLACE
Okay. Now that that is out of the way. I had probably too much fun with this, and somehow I ended up trying to write these not only in chronological-numerical order, but this set had alliterative groupings and somehow those groupings ended up being scenes. So, uh. I tried to make it not only in order, but with each set of words comprising one scene.
Yeah, uh. I have suddenly fallen in love with this pairing and POOR POOR ME because there are like five fics of them on the internet EVER and this is of course my cue to start building huge plotty fic for them in my head =(
In the meantime, I wrote this to have some fun and, uh, let some of that, uh, pressure out. So, at least this was fun. God.
x-post: 1sentence, bujold_fic, fanfiction.net, my journal.