edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
[personal profile] edenfalling
[personal profile] mme_hardy said: Calliope/Roxy, having a cuddlepile on Earth C after all the fireworks have died down. Basically, what we can do now that we don't have to do anything.

Note: This ficlet was written in response to the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo square soft. It is also a [community profile] genprompt_bingo fill for the square monsoon.

This is tangential at best to Madame Hardy's prompt (and also only tangentially fluffy), but it's the only version of this thought that was willing to coalesce into a fic with a beginning, a middle, and an end, so I am declaring victory and getting out rather than letting this project devour me alive. *wry* (700 words)

[ETA: the slightly revised final version is now up on AO3!]

I Am the One Who Lives with the Ocean

1. Callie's skin is beautiful. Soft as baby pumpkin leaves, tough as sailcloth, and covered in a dusting of impossibly tiny scales: a thousand variegated shades of green, shimmer-glittery in the white-gold light of your new sun. Like butterfly wings, damp from the chrysalis, beating once, twice, and again as she gathers herself to fly.

That's the simile you say out loud, because you're pretty sure the other one -- that her skin reminds you of the iridescent slick of fish oil on quiet seas, a mélange of summer warmth, clear skies, and the rare sense of satiety after hauling in an unpoisoned catch large enough to feed the whole colony -- might come across wrong. Callie's references lean heavy toward generic 20th century America, before the fishqueen took over, and that culture thinks fish oil's a gross health food at best.

Still, you rub your fingers together after stroking her cheek or hand or ankle, and almost expect the callused whorls of your own skin to gleam with stolen rainbows.


2. The weirdest thing about Sburb wasn't the zombies or the magic powers or anything like that. It was standing on dry land for the first time in your life, knees braced for motion that never came and ears straining for the vanished sound of waves.

Being with Callie's like getting your land legs all over again every morning, familiar world turned upside-down to show vistas you never dreamed might be yours to grasp.

You have never been more excited to face each new day.


3. Callie loves the rain. She grew up on a world without weather, an Earth old and tired long past the point of clouds or even plate tectonics. She likes how rain feels on her skin, and the way it makes everything green and grow. She even loves lightning and hurricane winds, and you've already lost count of the times you've sat on your porch, obsessively reviewing supply lists and generator repair procedures, while she stands laughing in the middle of a storm.

Storms bring change, she says, when you take her out sailing in the bay at the foot of Can Town's verdant fields. Just like the sea, she says. Just like you.

Her lashes flutter against your cheek, delicate and tender like baitfish nibbling your toes or the tiptoe of butterfly feet.


4. On the ocean, there are no solid foundations. Your whole colony was always moving, even on calm days, and when a storm hit it was like being inside a blender, bouncing up and down on a fuckton of unhappy waves while the wind and rain bitchslapped you from every direction at once. And it's dark and slippery and totally disorienting -- people could blow right over the edge of the settlement if they weren't careful -- but you couldn't stay indoors and huddle because stuff always leaked and broke and if you didn't fix it right then and there, that fuckton of angry water would swallow you whole.

The number of hours you spent bailing out basements when the pumps shorted out does not bear thinking of, not to mention all the utterly weird crap you and your neighbors had to pick off the roofs and toss back into the water once the sun came back. The ocean is older than the land, and bigger than the land, and it never quite forgave life for venturing past the surface and forsaking gills for air.

All water comes from the ocean and returns there in the end. Every drop of rain remembers that ancient betrayal. Why else do rivers wash mountains into the sea?

You still tell Callie you love storms.

You love them because they make her happy.


5. Water shapes itself to its container, but its inner nature never changes. Water is only ever itself.

No matter how many countless generations ago your ancestors left the sea, the human body is still at least fifty percent water. Much of the rest is oil.

You don't know if the other scattered fragments are enough to let you follow Callie when she gets tired of resting, when she realizes soft isn't the same as weak. She's always been strong enough to spread her wings and spiral into the storm.


6. Even fish can grow wings.


End of Story


I have noticed, over the years, that I have a tendency to get kind of experimental (in both structure and phrasing) when dealing with water imagery. I am not sure why that is.

Possibly I should try doing something similar with other imagery sets.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-04 05:43 am (UTC)
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
From: [personal profile] mme_hardy
This is so beautiful. Wow. Thank you.

(Also, thank you for recalling that song to me; I love it so much.)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-06-04 04:44 pm (UTC)
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
From: [personal profile] mme_hardy
We got it just before a beach vacation with the children, and I played the whole album over and over as we drove around. (Album! I am old.) Most of my favorites of hers are about survival. There was a time in my life when I played her cover of "Better Things" over and over and over, seriously multiple times a day.

I remain amazed by her and Ani diFranco's cover of "Comfortably Numb"; who knew you could cover Pink Floyd?


edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Elizabeth Culmer

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