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Summer Skin - (M, Original)


Garnet

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Hey, y'all. I haven't posted anything in basically forever, but I cooked up this scenario for myself last night, and it became a thing that could be posted to public boards. You would require... a lot of context to accept it in full, but I'll attempt to TL;DR it. Main characters are my sibling OC's, Ibrahim and Sa'idah. Both are second-generation Arab kids living in Canada. They're also both monsters, part of my terrible universe with Nova and meepsy. Abe is an ifrit (fire djinn monster) and Sa'idah is a hinn (shapeshift  djinn monster). They try to get along. Abe is in his very young thirties and Sai is in her late teens/early twenties.

---


"Hey, if I bring Delilah by on Saturday, will you fix that fucky bearing?" Sa'idah prompted, as she sorted absent-mindedly through the mail that had accumulated on her brother's kitchen table. Most of it was uninteresting to her -- redundant paper copies of the internet and electric bills he paid online, credit card offers, coupons to local restaurants. The same waste-of-a-tree crap that piled up on her counter, albeit without the occasional, exciting OVERDUE notice stamped in red and hidden cheerfully by the supermarket circular. 

"Saturday no, might have time on Sunday. I'm headin' up to Crookston for the day," Abe said around a mouthful of the burrito she'd brought over, as a peace offering for their spat earlier in the week. 

That caught Sa'idah's interest, and her attention buoyed back up with her head cocked to one side, dog-like. "Why Crookston?"

"Car show. Meeting a buddy." 

Getting more than the bare minimum word count out of Abe could be pulling teeth, when he had formed a romantic attachment to his lunch. She reached over and snagged a tortilla chip, crunching it soundly as she rolled that information over in her head.

"Y'know where we haven't been in forever?" Abe's brows rose silently, expectantly, as he chewed. "Lingerlost is like, one town over, right? I haven't seen the lakehouse in years."

Abe's expression grew slightly guarded. Which was about what she'd expected, considering the argument on Monday. "Uh. You want to go to Lake Medomak?"

Sa'idah moved forward under her own cheerful steampower, now that she'd both generated and latched onto the notion. Stubborn to a fault. "Yeah, dude! We could stay overnight, Crookston's pretty far. Make like a mini weekend of it." She mimed a punching motion at his arm, then actually socked him in a thick, tattooed bicep when his look didn't falter. "C'mon! I'm all nostalgic now. It'll be fun. We need some brother-sister bonding time, right?"

"Which of your shitty drunk friends do you want to bring?"

Sai hit his arm again, this time with the right fist, because the left was still stinging a bit. "None of them, and you can't bring Casey or Mik. It's just you and me." She rested a hand on his shoulder, and held his gaze solemnly. "Alone, in a small cabin. No wifi. For two days, and this is after me listening to you talk about cars for like six hours. Can you handle it?"

Abe snorted, and shrugged her hand off. He took another huge bite of his steak burrito, and chewed contemplatively. "Why the sudden interest?"

Sa'idah hitched and relaxed the rigging of her shoulders into a aimless shrug, and plopped down into the kitchen chair next to him. "I dunno, guilt? Curiosity? I'm... I want to get better, about this stuff. Maybe I need baby steps, like. Let's revisit this fond childhood memory before I go face my own goddamned mother who is in prison forever."

Abe grew tense, but hesitant. He finished chewing, then slugged back a hard swallow and looked at her from the corner of his eye, whites sharp. "You know there's a super good chance of that all going ugly and then you have to sit in the car with me for two hours on the way back, right?"

"Man, if it gets that bad, I'm not above spending a whole paycheck on a really committed Uber," Sa'idah declared, then scoot-scooted her chair over and flopped forward to rest her brow against the arm she'd been ineffectively pummeling. "I just want to try, okay? Worst case scenario, we self-medicate with a cooler of beer and throw shit into the fire."

At last, some of Abe's posture let out with a sigh through his nose. He lifted the arm she was leaning against enough to snag her into a brutish, sidelong hug, which she immediately protested with a shout, and attempting to squirm out of.

"Okay, you fucking brat. But when we get there, just remember that it was all your idea."

"Yeah, my brilliant idea, soot-face," she scoffed as she finally shoved his huge arm off, and gave his chair a kick for good measure. "It's gonna be great."

---

Even Abe would have to admit it: this was a pretty great idea. The weather had actually turned out pretty spectacular, for the weekend. The car show had been hot, but not interminable, and Sa'idah had been content to sip lemonade and nibble on baked goods in the shade of a tent for a few hours, flirting with one of the older guys' daughters and enjoying the little live band who actually turned out to be pretty good. From there, they'd GPS'ed their way back through familiar-but-alien townships, stopped at a shitty gas station slash deli, and bought enough meat and meat by-products to last them the weekend. And beer. So much beer.

An ice-filled plastic cooler of it sat between them now, reclining in the sun. The plastic chest had seen some shit, and was a faithful soldier to summers at the autobody shop, when it sat out between a random selection of mechanics chilling in lawn chairs, catching five from the grueling work of hauling engine parts and disassembling vehicles of dubious origin. It stood the test of time and location, just as reliable out here where the sun was bright but a breeze off the lake kept Sa'idah from baking. She'd slathered herself liberally in a high-SPF sunscreen, even though she'd always been more inclined to tan than burn, then put on her skimpiest Daisy Duke outfit, ignored her brother's disgusted protests, and sprawled herself out to bask. 

Abe wasn't really protesting too hard. Even with eyes hidden behind his shades, Sa'idah wagered that this was the most relaxed her brother had looked in a long while, with the sun soaking into his skin and a beer sweating lazily in one hand. There had really only been two hitches in the whole weekend, so far. One had been shortly after they arrived.

The cabin was about wall to frame as she'd remembered it. Their parents had bought out the property long back, probably before she'd even been conceived, but by now it was a summer tradition, and one that she brightened to. A chance to splash around in the deep, cold lake, to hunt for bugs and small prey in the neighboring woods, to shove a bag of marshmallows into her father's lap and wait impatiently while he roasted them at fingertip until they were the perfect, caramelized shells of spun sugar, with their gooey white center.

They were good memories, all, and despite her dramatics in convincing Abe to come along at all, Sa'idah felt a real, certain sense of fondness and relief to see all the familiar fixtures.

It was also a bit fucking weird because she'd honestly expected the place to be caked in at least four or five years worth of grime. Algae growing up the dock, windows shattered in a storm, shingles that had fallen off. Instead, the cabin turned out to be just-about-goddamned immaculate.

Which was creepy.

"Has someone... been renting this?" Abe prompted hesitantly, as he opened a cupboard to find a variety of dried and canned goods. Enough to survive on for a couple weeks, at least. He turned the jar of peanut butter and fixed his brows to find it still well within date.

"I... don't think so? I thought we were the only ones who should have access. Dad wouldn't have been out here without telling us," Sa'idah said uncertainly, as she plugged in the fridge, cracked it open, and found the insides smelling clean and new. It hummed a bit differently than she remembered, as if someone had replaced the motor. Or maybe she was imagining things? Fuck, what kind of Twilight Zone motherfucking...

Her rising paranoia subsided when she yanked open a kitchen drawer and sighed at the discovery. She fetched up a half-empty carton of Duchess Black cigarettes. She held it up for Abe's view, and cocked her brows. "Casey?"

Abe had, almost simultaneously, found a dog leash hung in the hallway closet, and shook its worn pink leopard pattern for emphasis. "Casey."

"Jesus, I was freaked for a second. I didn't know he had a key." But could maybe image it now. The memories were distant and vague, but she had piecemeal snatches of imagery to consider. A thin, greenish man dropping by for a barbecue. Leaning over her mother with an arm clasped quietly, protectively to the lay of her shoulders. Sharp features and vicious teeth grinning in the light of a storm lantern, after the power had gone out and they'd all resorted to playing cards in the stifling July heat. 

"Yeah, well, don't get too relaxed. We should probably check the mattresses for drugs, now." 

The other hitch had been the sneezing. Which, whatever. It wasn't Sa'idah's problem. She did tilt her head in an expectant cant, however, as she heard Abe inhale deeply, desirously. He'd already angled himself to one side by the time she had him in her sights, and promptly crunched at the waist for a punishingly loud sneeze that flared bright and hot on the late afternoon air. "--AESSCHHH'uh!"

Her ifrit brother made the groggy effort of bringing an elbow to his face, although there was literally no one to offend or harm but she and the fish. Sa'idah was not fireproof, but she also wasn't fucking dumb or interested enough to be close to her brother when he was having some nasal issues.

"HAESSHHH'oo!" Flame flashed out in a violent cloud, but dissipated quickly. 

"Bless you?"

"Ugh," Abe complained, and sagged back into his lounge chair with a clotted sniffle. Gross. His arm draped loose over the side, and he took a slow, no-doubt-warm sip of beer. That he docked it back in the cooler ice sort of confirmed it, especially with the way the cubes slithered and melted at the contact. "This is a real buzzkill."

"Are you super sure you're not sick?"

Abe snuffled deeply, then rubbed the entire side of a hand, wrist and forearm under his nose with a crinkled expression. "Yeah, I'm like... I feel great otherwise? I'm just s-super.. ih-ihh--... itchy?" He paused for a second, hand in stillframe and brows arched, then slowly, shakily released his own tension, and scrubbed at pink nostrils in an angled seesaw. "I think it's the pine pollen."

Sa'idah glanced doubtfully to the thin film of yellow lapping at the water's edge, a patina left by the seasonal randiness of the local tree populace. "You never had issues with it before?"

"Yeah," Abe sniffed, shrugged, and fetched up his beer. Didn't seem overall too fussed, which was one of the things Sai actually appreciated about her brother. He just kept on trucking. One knuckle crushed his left nostril, arguable the weepier of the two, and ground until the gleam of tears threaded beneath his lashes. He sniffled again, more delicately, and dropped the hand. "I dunno, they say allergies crop up later in life? I went to go clean off the canoes, and they were covered in it. I almost s-set... set the... set the...!

Sa'idah took a slow, appraising sip of her beer as Abe's bare chest expanded, and he flurried across his own lap with a tremendous sneeze. "..--HAH'ASSCCHH-UE!" The plastic slats of the lounge chair melted and warped, on contact with the resulting flare. Abe recovered with another slow, dopey sniffle, then sank backwards once more. "Mm. Almost set the whole shore on fire."

"You're a natural disaster," she decided, mouth puckered. After a long space, warring with herself on how indulgent she wanted to appear, the hinn folded her brows. "... do you want to go back early?"

"Nah," Abe turned out immediately, even as he drew in another huge, snivelly breath and sighed it back out. "It's nice, the rest of it."

Sa'idah could agree. She watched quietly as the sun dipped towards the spired, evergreen treeline of the horizon. "Why'd they bring us out here?" She prompted, suddenly. 

Abe came to gradually. He evidenly hadn't been expecting this line of questioning, and was thusly unprepared for it. "What?" He sniffed, rubbed his nose. Made a mild, allergic grimace but held steady. 

"I mean, like. It's so white-picket-fence, nuclear middle class family, isn't it? They're both Arab, it's a totally different cultural sphere. Dad doesn't even like water. Mom was a social activist. Like... why here? No one is even close to being an outdoors-y person."

Abe was quiet for a long few, many minutes. He slowly dissipated the rest of the beer into his bloodstream, then let the empty bottle clunk slowly against the arm of his chair. "...I think it was for us?"

Sa'idah squinted him an obvious, questioning look, so he took a breath and continued.

"Like... okay, maybe I was born in Syria and I remember shitfuck none of it, but they raised me here, and had you here. They tried so hard to integrate us. I think part of it was like...inoculation? They wanted us to have that North American experience, the same one that our friends would have. They wanted us to know that we were different, but not feel it so much? So yeah, speaking Arabic at home but  let's trot us out to the lake every summer, because everyone went somewhere for the summer. Shitty hamburger barbecues and the whole deal. And Dad took me ice fishing a couple of times even though we both hate the snow, and I cried when I realized we were supposed to kill and eat the fish after. Like, I've thought about this. Do you think my stupid ice boyfriend's stupid ice dad ever took him stupid ice fishing? He didn't."

Sa'idah was silent for a long few minutes afterwards, clicking her teeth around the thickened glass of the bottle's lip. She only stirred when, a while afterwards, Abe took a breath and sneezed with rushing, fiery abandon. 

"H'EHSSHHH-'SHUE! Fuck!"

Then she sniggered, and sighed. "Some of it was for them, too. Dad built big fires on the beach and tended them like they were his fucking infant child, and mom loved the lake."

Abe chuckled, in spite of himself. "D'you remember campfire hash?"

Sa'idah's octaves elevated themselves, as she sat up straight. "With the fucking lamb? Oh my god! Why didn't we buy some, it was so weird and good. Sarah eyed me so hard when I told her about it all proud. Like... bitch what you talkin' bout?"

"Was that the one with the braces or the weird object attachment?"
 
"The braces."
 
"God, she was so weird. But yeah, what the fuck. They were all missing -- snlffh! -- ... missing out on campfire lamb hash." 
 
Sa'idah strayed him a sidelong look for a long moment, then switched to admiring her pearly-pink pedicure, through the worn Hello Kitty flip flops. "You're gonna make one tonight, right? I gotta roast some weiners." Something something, penis joke. It never quite fully manifested, as Abe smiled mostly to himself.
 
"Yeah,sure." He sniffed. "Maybe whether I want to or not." He gaze canted towards the rest of the deck, for emphasis. A fine film of allergic gold still defined its layout and seeped into weather-worn cracks of its floorboards. Abe had stepped out, earlier, gasped, and sneezed six times nearly without pause for breath. Sa'idah had been impressed that the whole fixture was still standing.
 
"Good thing you're a trooper."
 
"Good thing," Abe sighed, then smooshed onto one cheek. All of the sunglasses and verbal protests in the world couldn't dissuade it. He liked the lake, loved the memory of their mother plunging beneath the waves like a beast displaced. Her blue, reptilian eyes glowed at them tauntingly from the incredible depths, even if she never surfaced more than a token spine or ridge of her natural form. Raima would by now be puttering around the kitchen making adult iced coffee with her black hair slipping in wet ringlets around her smiling face. Sa'idah felt a sudden, strong panging for her mother, and stifled the emotion quickly before it made it to her lips. 

"How was she?" She choked out instead.

Abe sniffed and turned to look at her, even though she couldn't pinpoint it behind his sunglasses. "Mentally, physically?"

"Both?" Sai chattered, anxious, and drew her legs up. "Like, is she okay? Did Mikkel come? How..." She trailed off, grasping for truths and untrouths. 

"... he didn't come," Abe answered at last, deep and thoughtful. He snuffled again, and crush-passed a knuckle against and below his nose with a weepy, allergic squint. Meh. "I thought about inviting him? And maybe he was disappointed that I didn't. I dunno, it's..." He waited for a long, pregnant moment, then eventually spilled over into Arabic. Sipping beer, sitting tense beside a still and cold Canadian lake.

"I'm building it up in my head. He'll be apprehensive and she cautious, they won't like each other at first because he's prickly and Mom speaks her mind. Six hours of driving time and then he'll get insulted and ignored. Is that worth it? How do I explain it?"

Sa'idah gave him a cautious look, that she herself couldn't explain. "That's stupid. Mik is always prickly, but he can be anxious, even charming, and Mom's perceptive. She sees the truth in people. If you like his truth, she will too. I think it's worth it. She loves you. Mikkel should know her, know that part of you."

Completely unbidden, Abe's eyes prickled and he turned his head away hard, staring at some distant loon calling it mourning bell out over the lake. Sa'idah quietly sipped away her beer, letting the emotion pass. Abe sniffed, and eventually choked back a swallow. "Hey, uh... what time is it?"

Sa'idah flashed him a brief, puzzled expression, then patted down her pockets. Nothing. "Uh, I left my phone up at the house. Why?"

"Just checking," Abe assured, then lurched up off his seat and snagged an arm beneath her knees and shoulders. With an idea of where this was going, Sa'idah widened her eyes, kicked, and thrashed in protest.

"Abe, don't you fucking dare! Don't! Please! NopleaseIloveyou!"

She'd try every trick in the book and then some, even as he secured her twisting, undulating shape and stepped down off the deck, off the beach, until he was strolling out the length of the dock with his little sister screaming profanities into his shoulder. "Abe, no! Ayreh feek!"

"No what?" He grinned at her, deflected her blows, and swung her in a momentum-building pattern. Back and forth, poised to release. Sa'idah scrabbled at the back of his neck.

"Don't do it, don'tdoit! I have a wife, kids, a family." None of the above were true, but Abe was apparently moved as he stopped mid-body with the saddle of his sister weighing down in his locked hands. His eyes half-lidded.

"Aw, do you?"

"... I mean. Not actually."

Abe swung back, both his arms, and bodily launched his sister straight into the churning, dark lake waters. She screamed as she went under.

The ifrit plopped down to the edge of the dock, his bare feet dangling in the water, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Eventually, he sighed, and leaned back upon the heels of his palms. "Sa'idah, I know you're not dead."

Also eventually and some minutes later, a little brown river otter poked its head up above the crest of waves. "You don't know that," it accused.

"I do now." Abe stretched and sprawled onto his back, a slung forearm blocking his eyes from the sun. His sunglasses had been knocked askew some time in her flailing. A few moments later, claws scrabbled against weather-treated wood, and up the hinn came. He sniffed cautiously, but wet weasels, as it turned out, were not an allergen in and of themselves. Sa'idah clicked her teeth at him cheerfully, arched her back, and turned to flop her thick, damp fur against his abdomen. 

"Tada!"

"You feel like a wet sock full of beans," Abe grunted as he pushed her dense pelt and pliant spine away from him. 

Sa'idah's head lifted and rounded ears pricked. She could have easily adopted the shape of a fish, a duck. Even a grossly misplaced, streamlined dolphin who grinned its beakish pleasure up at him. Instead, she'd gone the cute route and milked it for all of her huge black eyes were worth. 

"Yeah, but I look great! Are you going to come in here or not?" Sa'idah sighed, as she wove her wet brown head back and forth. Eventually, Abe palmed her face away and took a moment to himself. He sniffled hard, tightened his eyes, and took a sharp breath.

"... heh-KNGNHXXHT-sshuh!" The resulting sneeze was bit back behind the crush of fingers and willpower, dismissed to a low flurry of sparks. Afterwards, he surfaced hazy-eyed, and reached out to absent-mindedly rub the peaky fur of her otter head. Sa'idah grinned. A minute later, he said a mental to hell with it, with his jeans and all, and slipped down into the lake. Sa'idah circled him on little paddling paws, as he treaded water.

"Race you to the other side?"

"Bitch, you know I'm gonna lose."

"I know!" She piped, but ducked her head under the current, heading north in a hurry, and smiled to herself to feel her brother haul in fast after her.

It had been a good idea.

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Garnetsaywhat? Swoops in

Girl. You know I love your Abe. And Sa'idah is a wonderful new character to add to my limited knowledge of your awesome crazy monsterverse.

Also loving: Your descriptions of everyone and everything. You're so good at finding the right metaphors, ya dig? I can't even be bothered to trawl through for all the places I paused at a sentence to go "ooh, nice one."

Single inadequate example:

2 hours ago, Garnet said:

Sa'idah hitched and relaxed the rigging of her shoulders into a aimless shrug

a) solid alternate use of the word "hitched" in a sff fic. I congratulate you. And b ) "the rigging of her shoulders" gives me such a good and attractive mental image, like dayung (Probably helps that I literally just finished reading Master and Commander and my head is full of ships).

Also:

2 hours ago, Garnet said:

soot-face

Is a super appropriate sibling nickname and made me snigger.

2 hours ago, Garnet said:

crunched at the waist for a punishingly loud sneeze

Aaand the on-topic good stuff. As always, me likey. And the thunderbolt of a mental image this sentence gave me was too good not to quote for extra flailing.

2 hours ago, Garnet said:

"Yeah, I'm like... I feel great otherwise? I'm just s-super.. ih-ihh--... itchy?"

hmnng. Go on....

2 hours ago, Garnet said:

He sniffed, rubbed his nose. Made a mild, allergic grimace but held steady. 

Tie my insides in a knot, why don't you?

2 hours ago, Garnet said:

Abe had stepped out, earlier, gasped, and sneezed six times nearly without pause for breath.

Unfair. Unfaiiiiiir. I need to take some time with this sentence. hnnf.

I'm always overjoyed when you share your stuff with us, Garnet. Thank you for this one!

 

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I absolutely ADORE your writing, Garnet! It's lush and imaginative and so totally interesting and unique! Your characters are easy to immediately love and their relationship is so clearly defined and fascinating. A+ descriptions of little Canadian cottage country too ;)

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Hi hello I am here at last to upend the dump truck of love I have for this precious gem of Garnet fiction. I am so sooo late, but it was so sooooooo important that I found the right marriage of time and brain power to respond to this, because I love it so very much :heart: :heart: (/TuT\) :heart: :heart:

I think you by now have a pretty good grasp of my feelings for Abe (beautiful cinnamon bun greaser fire boy heartthrob, would die for him basically), but let me tell you how extra pumped and delighted I was/am about Sai in this also and getting to see brother sister bonding time (spoiler: I cried) Sooo many good moments, such a fucking great awesome setting that you paint so well, and a new allergy that is just fucking my whole shit right up. So yeah, lots to talk about. I hope you are prepared to have your whole story quoted back at you basically, bc thats what's about to go down. Here we go:

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

"Hey, if I bring Delilah by on Saturday, will you fix that fucky bearing?" Sa'idah prompted, as she sorted absent-mindedly through the mail that had accumulated on her brother's kitchen table. Most of it was uninteresting to her -- redundant paper copies of the internet and electric bills he paid online, credit card offers, coupons to local restaurants.

Ahhh, I love this intro <333 Good slice-of-life feelings right from the get-go, and also I am extremely happy about Sai only referring to her car by her given name. (She is her two-ton child after all ;):heart:)

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

"Car show. Meeting a buddy." 

Getting more than the bare minimum word count out of Abe could be pulling teeth, when he had formed a romantic attachment to his lunch. She reached over and snagged a tortilla chip, crunching it soundly as she rolled that information over in her head.

OMG STOP THIS IS A TEASE. You know how I feel about this boy and his Love For Sandwiches omgg. My knees are weak. I cannot deal (xux) I love how Sai is well aware of this relationship, and is just biding her time until he returns from Lunch Zone lol

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Sa'idah moved forward under her own cheerful steampower, now that she'd both generated and latched onto the notion.

This is a great description of Sai, and a very evocatively worded one in general. "We're doing this thing bc I just decided we were a second ago ok?" I love <3

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Sa'idah hitched and relaxed the rigging of her shoulders into a aimless shrug, and plopped down into the kitchen chair next to him. "I dunno, guilt? Curiosity? I'm... I want to get better, about this stuff. Maybe I need baby steps, like. Let's revisit this fond childhood memory before I go face my own goddamned mother who is in prison forever."

ahhhh omg :cry: Very good subtle touches on feelings here. Just enough to squeeze my heart.

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

At last, some of Abe's posture let out with a sigh through his nose. He lifted the arm she was leaning against enough to snag her into a brutish, sidelong hug, which she immediately protested with a shout, and attempting to squirm out of.

And omg, I love Abe's skepticism also, and then this moment of caving. Both so stubborn, in such different ways, but at the same time they get each other so much. I just... I love it. ^_^:heart:

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

and Sa'idah had been content to sip lemonade and nibble on baked goods in the shade of a tent for a few hours, flirting with one of the older guys' daughters and enjoying the little live band who actually turned out to be pretty good.

 

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

The plastic chest had seen some shit, and was a faithful soldier to summers at the autobody shop, when it sat out between a random selection of mechanics chilling in lawn chairs, catching five from the grueling work of hauling engine parts and disassembling vehicles of dubious origin.

OMG SCENE DETAILS I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. They are such little treasures and add so much to coloring the environment. I feel like Link smashin pots and gathering up all his rupees =u=

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Abe wasn't really protesting too hard. Even with eyes hidden behind his shades, Sa'idah wagered that this was the most relaxed her brother had looked in a long while, with the sun soaking into his skin and a beer sweating lazily in one hand.

Speaking of details, ummm??? How dare you??? Put these hot-as-heck words together with no shame at all??? Ommg now i need to jump in a lake jfc...

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Her rising paranoia subsided when she yanked open a kitchen drawer and sighed at the discovery. She fetched up a half-empty carton of Duchess Black cigarettes. She held it up for Abe's view, and cocked her brows. "Casey?"

Abe had, almost simultaneously, found a dog leash hung in the hallway closet, and shook its worn pink leopard pattern for emphasis. "Casey."

OMFG I DIED HERE. Leave it to creepy-af dullahan to leave trails of unease where ever he ventures. I love Casey's weird relationship to the al-Aswad family so much. Is he a weird creepy brother, or friend or uncle or some combination of the three?? We don't know, and he won't say, and that is why i love him. <33 

But omg, ommggg. Here is where is truly die:

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

He'd already angled himself to one side by the time she had him in her sights, and promptly crunched at the waist for a punishingly loud sneeze that flared bright and hot on the late afternoon air. "--AESSCHHH'uh!"

dcvghgkbj fucking goddamn this sexy fire boy uggh... "Crunched at the waist" is veery unfair, and putting my mind in dangerous places...

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

"HAESSHHH'oo!" Flame flashed out in a violent cloud, but dissipated quickly. 

"Bless you?"

"Ugh," Abe complained, and sagged back into his lounge chair with a clotted sniffle. Gross. His arm draped loose over the side, and he took a slow, no-doubt-warm sip of beer. That he docked it back in the cooler ice sort of confirmed it, especially with the way the cubes slithered and melted at the contact. "This is a real buzzkill."

OMG this whole thing! Sa'idah's so over it ahaha :heart: And omg that post snez description of lowkey suffering omggg bury me honestly. I also love that warm beer is a perpetual annoyance. It's the real reason he keeps Mikkel around, let's be honest here. <33

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Abe snuffled deeply, then rubbed the entire side of a hand, wrist and forearm under his nose with a crinkled expression. "Yeah, I'm like... I feel great otherwise? I'm just s-super.. ih-ihh--... itchy?" He paused for a second, hand in stillframe and brows arched, then slowly, shakily released his own tension, and scrubbed at pink nostrils in an angled seesaw. "I think it's the pine pollen."

OMG.

I cannot you the adrenaline rush I had reading these sentences. I was waiting for cats, like there's a cat around here, I know it BUT OOPS NO SORRY. NEW PINE POLLEN ALLERGY ACTUALLY HELLO.  FUCKING PLOT TWIST of the highest and hottest caliber, and I am so very pleased :heart::arrowheadsmiley::heart: Also that hitch, omg, and "scrubbed at pink nostrils in an angled seesaw" is... far too good a string of words, let me just fucking say.

Omg, I am just going to quote this whole next section aren't I? Yes I sure goddamn am...

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

One knuckle crushed his left nostril, arguable the weepier of the two, and ground until the gleam of tears threaded beneath his lashes.

stooop

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

I almost s-set... set the... set the...!

OMG STOOOP

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Sa'idah took a slow, appraising sip of her beer as Abe's bare chest expanded, and he flurried across his own lap with a tremendous sneeze. "..--HAH'ASSCCHH-UE!" The plastic slats of the lounge chair melted and warped, on contact with the resulting flare. Abe recovered with another slow, dopey sniffle, then sank backwards once more. "Mm. Almost set the whole shore on fire."

"You're a natural disaster," she decided, mouth puckered.

ckvhhbljlkn Godd, I am goddamn annihilated. Fucking dark magic paragraph, honestly. The chair melting, and his slow collapse back after unhh. "Slow, dopey sniffle" has been added to my collection of favorite words. And that Sai sass at the end is icing on the very delicious already cake <3

 

Omg, and now it's Feel Time. I can feel my heartstrings pulling already ahhh...

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Abe came to gradually. He evidenly hadn't been expecting this line of questioning, and was thusly unprepared for it. "What?" He sniffed, rubbed his nose. Made a mild, allergic grimace but held steady. 

All of this is very good <3 Abe's groggy fielding of the sudden new tangent is so cute and lovely, and those last few words are a tease in the best possible way...

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

I think part of it was like...inoculation? They wanted us to have that North American experience, the same one that our friends would have. They wanted us to know that we were different, but not feel it so much?

 

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

And Dad took me ice fishing a couple of times even though we both hate the snow, and I cried when I realized we were supposed to kill and eat the fish after. Like, I've thought about this. Do you think my stupid ice boyfriend's stupid ice dad ever took him stupid ice fishing? He didn't."

AHHHHHH, MY HEART. Goddamn... I love this so much you don't even know. Abe can be oblivious, sure, but he can be very introspective and feelings-aware also, and that comes through so beautifully here :cryhappy: I seriously cried a little my first time reading, no joke. He has so many layers, and the fact that he thinks of himself as a dumb meathead is so widely off the mark it hurts my heart. I love the ice fishing part especially. Sweet cinnamon boy, don't you ever change :heart::heart::heart:

Also, this...

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Abe took a breath and sneezed with rushing, fiery abandon. 

"H'EHSSHHH-'SHUE! Fuck!"

...killed me fuckin again, omg. 

I love very much the recollections of camp fire hash and Sai's weirdo friend too. They have a very real, sibling bond feel to them, and makes my heart so happy. 

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

"Good thing you're a trooper."

He is such a trooper, always. :heart:^_^:heart:

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Her blue, reptilian eyes glowed at them tauntingly from the incredible depths, even if she never surfaced more than a token spine or ridge of her natural form. Raima would by now be puttering around the kitchen making adult iced coffee with her black hair slipping in wet ringlets around her smiling face. Sa'idah felt a sudden, strong panging for her mother, and stifled the emotion quickly before it made it to her lips. 

This is honestly one of my favorite descriptions in the whole fic, bc Raima is still so mysterious, and the fact that we get to see this snapshot of her through smol Sai's eyes has this weird sort of power to it for me. Also, Sai's wave of emotion at the end omg. My heart is breeeaking....

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

"I'm building it up in my head. He'll be apprehensive and she cautious, they won't like each other at first because he's prickly and Mom speaks her mind. Six hours of driving time and then he'll get insulted and ignored. Is that worth it? How do I explain it?"

Sa'idah gave him a cautious look, that she herself couldn't explain. "That's stupid. Mik is always prickly, but he can be anxious, even charming, and Mom's perceptive. She sees the truth in people. If you like his truth, she will too. I think it's worth it. She loves you. Mikkel should know her, know that part of you."

This part, omg this goddamn part. I cried here too, let me just tell you. I love Abe's anxious predictions for how the meetup will go down, like, so sooo much, and ahhh! Sai, you hero! I wish i had words for how complete and profound my love is for this moment. My heart is full to the brim with feels for it ahhhhh <33333333

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Completely unbidden, Abe's eyes prickled and he turned his head away hard, staring at some distant loon calling it mourning bell out over the lake. Sa'idah quietly sipped away her beer, letting the emotion pass. Abe sniffed, and eventually choked back a swallow. "Hey, uh... what time is it?"

And this too. The first sentence is fucking me up ommgg. But, I love how sneaky this transition is into what happens next. I totally didn't see it coming. Poor Sai lol <333

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

"Just checking," Abe assured, then lurched up off his seat and snagged an arm beneath her knees and shoulders. With an idea of where this was going, Sa'idah widened her eyes, kicked, and thrashed in protest.

"Abe, don't you fucking dare! Don't! Please! NopleaseIloveyou!"

Ommmg I'm dying X'DDD Priceless big brother shenanigans, I simply cannot handle :rofl:

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

The ifrit plopped down to the edge of the dock, his bare feet dangling in the water, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Eventually, he sighed, and leaned back upon the heels of his palms. "Sa'idah, I know you're not dead."

Also eventually and some minutes later, a little brown river otter poked its head up above the crest of waves. "You don't know that," it accused.

OMG I DID NOT SEE OTTER SAI COMING EITHER. Too cute, the best even. I love (/=u=\) 

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Abe stretched and sprawled onto his back, a slung forearm blocking his eyes from the sun.

This is also a very good sentence, a very good visual. To borrow Rivers' phrase, I might need to take some time with this sentence. Hot damn. 

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

Eventually, Abe palmed her face away and took a moment to himself. He sniffled hard, tightened his eyes, and took a sharp breath.

"... heh-KNGNHXXHT-sshuh!" The resulting sneeze was bit back behind the crush of fingers and willpower, dismissed to a low flurry of sparks. Afterwards, he surfaced hazy-eyed, and reached out to absent-mindedly rub the peaky fur of her otter head.

Ahhh, all this is... very nice also :heart:. I love "took a moment to himself" as an intro to incoming snez. It gives it a private suffering sort of feel, which is just so hot. And ahhh, Abe's stifles -- things of beauty. They always seem like they hurt so much, but a boy's gotta do what he's gotta doo~

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

with his jeans and all, and slipped down into the lake.

Noooot a bad visual to end on either, I have to say :naughty: And...

On 8/9/2017 at 9:51 AM, Garnet said:

"Race you to the other side?"

"Bitch, you know I'm gonna lose."

"I know!"

I love their sibling snark so much, omg. The perfect note to end a supremely wonderful fic.

 

Ahhh, jesus. Oh my god. TuT I haven't been nearly as articulate as I'd like to be, but honestly every sentence was like big hearts and exclamation points going off in my head, and it's really hard to translate those into coherent language. But, I love Abe so much, and Sai so much, and the moments in here are ones i'm holding very close to my heart. So many emotions, and I love them all. AND, I don't think I emphasized this enough but I absolutely love this setting to death, and would maybe like for it to make a return sometime also >u>

 ALSO ALSO you are great, amazing writer and I will never not be blown away by your colorful and poignant and deft af handle on words. It is such a treat, always -- one I haven't yet gotten over the novelty of, and likely never will :heart: :heart::heart: 

 

 

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I do so enjoy your stories. It really doesn't matter if I know the characters or the 'verse. Thank you for this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OMG look who's baaaaack :heart:

You're a truly infinite fount of beautiful words of description. It makes a world a better place, the way you word.

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