We Came Along This Road

x-posted @ my a03 account

Fandom: Rule of Rose
Pairing: Wendy/Jennifer
Summary: On December 20, 1930, tragedy struck the Rose Garden Orphanage, leaving only one known survivor, nine-year-old Jennifer Brown. Years after the hideous event, Jennifer seeks to reopen the orphanage. News travels fast, and quickly piques the interest of a long lost dead girl who never forgot the promise made to her by her old friend.
A/N: This story is part of a 14-part album fic challenge, in which each song from a single album will serve as inspiration for the story. The album I chose is “And No More Shall We Part” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

WENDY
It was late, and the weather was poor. I should have been at home, half-finished with my nightly rituals, preparing myself for bed. Really, I should have been in my favorite nightgown, perhaps even crawling beneath the heavy blanket, sinking into the warm embrace of my glorious bed. Under less unusual circumstances, I certainly would have been.

Alas. I’m tired, but well awake, and instead of surrendering myself to the luxury of my soft bed, I have instead submitted myself to the indignity of the stiff, torn fabric of a bench seat at the back of a dreary bus. Trundling along at this indecent hour, looking for a girl I haven’t seen since I’d lead the dogman on the death march to the orphanage door, in the tender years of my own girlhood.

Jennifer.

Even now, her name fills me with such terrible longing.

If only she hadn’t betrayed me… chosen that filthy creature over me. Humiliating me not once, but twice. Without even trying, I still plainly remember the feel of her palm across my face, the heat in my injured cheek. The poisonous swill coursing through me, spilling black and viscous from the cracks in my heart, as I laid pinned beneath her on the floor, like a butterfly.

The memories are automatic, and unstoppable. The anger in her voice and the furious tears in her eyes as she demanded that I “give her back her friend”, even though I had not been taken from her, at all.

No… if only she’d understood, as I had, as all of the others had, that nothing of value had been lost to her… that the only friend she truly needed – after the lengths I had gone to just to prove to her the immeasurable depths of my devotion – was there already… everything could have been so much different.

We could have been so happy. All of us.

Royalty.

A family.

Instead, she’d been selfish. Cruel. Unbearably cruel. And in the end, it was she who was taken away from me, a second time.

I won’t lose her a third time, however. This time, she will be mine, and no one else’s, ever again.

I have been so patient.

Through the dirty, discolored window, there wasn’t much to see. Trees, mostly. The tedious landscape stumbled past on an endless loop. Trees and bushes, bushes and trees. How putrid. I sighed and turned my head away from the glass; I’d never really been one for the supposed beauty of nature.

Finally, the bus shudders to a halt alongside a bench I recognize immediately.

Once upon a time, I’d found a Stray Dog sitting there, waiting for his son.

I do not pause to linger on those memories. They are worthless to me. I leave the bench behind me without a second glance, as I follow the worn, dirt path up to the Rose Garden Orphanage.

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The Sorrowful Wife

x-posted @ my a03 account

Fandom: Rule of Rose
Pairing: Hoffman/Clara
Summary: Days, and years, and entire lifetimes have passed since Hoffman abandoned his post as the headmaster at the Rose Garden Orphanage, but those little brats are still a constant thorn in his side. But not Clara, his sweet Clara. His refuge, his salvation… his terrible sin. His sorrowful wife.
A/N: This story is part of a 14-part album fic challenge, in which each song from a single album will serve as inspiration for the story. The album I chose is “And No More Shall We Part” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.


It has not been easy.

I have not slept well since it happened.

Since I left.

I see it in my dreams, that horrid building. It waits for me, crouched in the corners of my wandering mind, looming in the creases of my eyelids, so that when I lie down at night and close my eyes, it drops heavily into view. I see it plainly, every inch and every detail. The enormous, rusted lock on the gate. The rows of darkened windows punched into the grimy walls. That odd picture they’d drawn of the dog, candy spraying from its screaming mouth.

Stray Dog gives us sweets.

I took Diana by her shoulders and shook her until her head wobbled and her eyes filled with tears. “What is this “stray dog” nonsense?”

Stray Dog kidnaps kids.

“Answer me, damn you!” She cried out when I struck her, but only once. After that, there was only the sharp sound of my hand on her flesh, and the anger in my voice as I demanded an answer that she would not surrender.

The shame bubbles up in me, every memory is a slap to my own face. It is inescapable, what I have done.

Inescapable, yes. The irony of it. I left in the middle of the night like a coward and a monster, but I am still there. I can never go back, but I can never leave.

I am trapped there as surely as they were.

It has not been easy.

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Mermaids, Part 2: Diana

Mermaids

Fandom: Rule of Rose

Summary: Diana and Jennifer are forced into a tentative partnership when the airship experiences mechanical difficulties.

Part 2: Diana

As a long time member of the upper echelon of the Red Crayon Aristocrats, Diana was not accustomed to being trod upon by anybody, let alone a miserable peon like the new girl.

Her lip curled as Jennifer continued mindlessly on her path, apparently unbothered by the prospect of collision. Her hands moved to her hips, a threatening pose she’d been working on to help better intimidate the underlings, but the foolish girl wasn’t paying mind enough to notice.

Stupid, filthy wretch. If she wrinkles my new dress, I’ll skin her alive.

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Cindy’s Place

I finished it sooner than I thought I would, or else I wouldn’t have posted that preview. Oh well.

Warnings: It’s a horror story, so…

Cindy’s Place

Mother was always the secretive type.

She was for shit at hiding presents or keeping her opinions to herself, and if she was angry at Father, everybody heard about it, but Mother kept her secrets just fine.

Mother used to teach preschool, but had gotten married and twice pregnant in the span of four years, and became a stay-at-home mom instead. This was supposed to mean that childrearing was her new job, but unlike her stint as a preschool teacher, Mother didn’t seem to take this job seriously.

Still, the house was kept, the children fed, the dogs maintained, and because her moods were usually intolerable, her company wasn’t exactly missed when she took to her room and didn’t come out for hours at a time.

Nor did anyone complain when she left the house in the early afternoon without so much as a goodbye, only turning up again at dinner time, each hand clutching a greasy paper bag filled with cold food.

The kids – two of them, ages 7 and 8, both girls and neither possessing of any true fondness for the other – rarely even noticed her absences. They had their toys, TVs, books, dogs, and imaginations to keep them busy. Since they didn’t much care for each other, they kept to themselves, and so neither was able to engage the other in any speculation in regards to Mother’s whereabouts, or bond over their shared disdain for the woman who had, for whatever reason, given birth to them.

After a while, Mother became a concept, really, just a formality. Someone to heat the frozen dinners and sign the permission slips.

It was a perfectly fine arrangement, until Father fucked it up.

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Awake

October. The sneaking onset of darkness suggested a much later hour, but it was early yet. Too early for her to be in bed already, but what difference did the hour make anyway? She’d been lying there for days…

The light patter of rain tapping at the roof muffled his footsteps as he crept down the hall to her room. There was no reason to be quiet. But there was no reason to rampage through the house like an asshole, either. So he was quiet. Stealthy. Sneaky. Moving soundless toward the door to her room, and the only noise to be heard was the endless ticking of that weird little clock she kept beside her bed, even though she’d never bothered to set the time.

“What difference does it make?” She’d asked, and he’d shrugged his shoulders in response, because he wasn’t going to argue with her over a cheap thrift store cast off she shouldn’t have bought in the first place. He’d shrugged his shoulders, and left her alone with her useless clock with the hands keeping track of some alternate timeline, in another universe where maybe she gave some semblance of a shit, but probably not.

The room was dark. The heap of blankets in the middle of the bed was motionless, but he knew better than believe it.

She was awake. She was always awake. She hadn’t slept since the night in the basement. Nightmares on both sides of her eyelids now, but at least the ones while she was awake could be contained.

So he hoped, anyway.

Her skin had taken on a vaguely gray pallor, and her eyes stared at him, unblinking, from heavy, sleep-bruised lids. He could still see the faint stains of unwashed makeup crusted in her lashes, and her hair looked both dry and greasy. He imagined himself trying to touch it and having it tear away from her scalp, stuck to his fingers in clumps and tangles, raw strips of skin still hanging off the ends. A real horror show. Movie-worthy.

He shook his head to clear his thoughts. It was a strange kind of perversion to think about his sister that way. Disturbing and filthy and unkind.

He just wanted to touch her. He knew, even before he reached out to her, that her old black shirt would be sweat damp, but she wouldn’t kick the blankets off. Even when they were kids, she had to have the blankets pulled up to her chest. The sweltering heat of summer couldn’t dissuade her; she’d just lie there and boil in her own sweat. Nobody fought her on it, because it was the only area of her life where she showed any determination.

So they let her suffer.

Looking at her now made him sick. She had to be miserable, lying there on her dirty sheets with her dirty hair and her bloodshot eyes that never closed. It had to be maddening to lie there and listen to the clock ticking and tocking as it sat there on the nightstand, lying about the time.

He didn’t talk to her as he gently touched her shoulder. He didn’t ask if she was hungry, or thirsty, or bored, or completely fucking insane, because she wouldn’t answer, and what difference did it make, anyway?

He didn’t say I’m sorry, or It was an accident, or I didn’t mean to. She already knew all of that. She had absolved him that same evening, tucked his hair behind his ear and kissed him softly on his forehead (just a feather light scrape of dry lips across his brow, because he wasn’t her favorite, wasn’t his twin, wasn’t her dog) and then she’d gone to her room to lie down and hadn’t gotten back up.

Instead, he just stood there, with his hand on her shoulder and felt the wet heat radiating off of her, felt her breathing even though he couldn’t hear it over the ticking and the pattering of the rain and the violent bloodstorm in his own head.

There was nothing to be done now, nothing that would make any difference. He just stood there, and stroked her hair and though it was almost gummy with filth, it didn’t detach from her skull in thick bleeding patches, and he let her suffer.

Barefoot in the Dark – Prologue

Fandom: Rule of Rose

Summary: A child goes missing without explanation; Eleanor resolves to find her. Also available at ao3.

It was vicious cold outside on the balcony, but she didn’t mind so much. It was just as vicious cold on the inside where Diana and Meg skulked and slithered; where Miss Martha the cleaning witch scolded and complained; where Mr Hoffman petted and whispered and slipped into the dormitory to watch them undress, insisting that he was simply there to keep them on task.

Hurry up and take off your dress, there’s no time for dawdling. When was the last time you changed your underwear, you dirty little wretch? No mummy and daddy is ever going to want a child who can’t take care of themselves. Give them to me, I’ll take them to the filth room for you…

Where everyone stopped what they were doing to point at her, the new girl, and hiss and snipe to each other as they stared at her with open distrust. The new girl, as if though she’d done it on purpose.

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Strangetown Gothic: Part 001

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There’s a nail in the door
And there’s glass on the lawn
Tacks on the floor
And the TV is on
And I always sleep with my guns
When you’re gone (x)

Sand and gravel crunched beneath the tires of her old, beat-to-hell sedan as she turned into the unpaved parking lot of the Deadtree Inn, the only motel she’d seen since she’d passed by the rusted sign that read “Welcome to Strangetown”, population: [ bird shit ].

Even with the windows rolled down, the hot wind of the unfamiliar desert night had her boiling in her own sweat, and she was relieved to have finally found a place where she’d be able to stretch her legs and maybe, if she was lucky, sleep for a couple of hours.

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