[identity profile] nos4a2no9.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ds_team_angst
Hi team!

I mentioned in my first rambly captain post that we're going to be doing some writing exercises to get warmed up for the Matchup Challenge. A Drabble Tree is a fun way to get started, and hopefully it will get everyone writing.

I'll post a comment to this entry with a short snippet, and someone else will riff off that initial comment with a response of their own. The next poster can either respond to my original comment, or the new comment(s) (again, using a line or an image from the prexisting material) and so on and so forth until everyone has posted.

There should be different comment threads branching off one another (like the titular tree, how appropriate!) and as long as it's angsty and at least 100 words long it'll fit the drabble requirements. Just make sure you're responding to the right thread - it's probably a good idea to make use of those "subject" lines. The key thing is to keep things interactive and to be using other peoples' ideas to come up with something new. Write as much or as little as you like, too. Hopefully everyone (even our pinch-hitters!) will take a couple of turns.

Okay, have fun! Bring the angst!

Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-19 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigantine.livejournal.com
( 'Kay I've never done a drabble tree, or a drabble, actually, so I hope I'm doing this right.)
*************

There are nights, the darkest of all, when Fraser finds himself aiming toward Ray's apartment building. He doesn't mean to. That's not his intention, to torment himself with waking dreams about yet one more thing that unsettles him, makes him feel like an outsider. Ray is one more thing beyond Fraser's reach, yet obstinately, some nights, his running feet take him there before his brain can figure out that his heart is short-circuiting his survival instincts.

He has to go around the rear of the building to find the windows to Ray's apartment, huffing down there in the alley way like some nervous burglar, like the stalker Lieutenant Welsh once cautioned Ray that he hoped he wasn't. On the nights when Fraser finds himself staring up through the darkness and the lights are on in Ray's living room… those are the worst. Those are the nights Fraser recalls that Ray is just as scarred as he is, in many ways, alone like him in so many ways, and then he starts thinking things he shouldn't, and the light burning in Ray's living room at 2 a.m. becomes just one more dream to run from.

Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-19 06:17 pm (UTC)
omphale: (Default)
From: [personal profile] omphale
Ray knows that Fraser's out there, somewhere. He calls the Consulate, and when the phone keeps ringing he doesn't hang up. He listens to the ring, hopes a little and then gives up, but lets it ring anyway.

That's what he's doing, waiting for Fraser, on the night that he hears someone out in the alley. Ray hangs up the phone, quiet and head cocked, listening for another rattling breath, another soft footstep. It's three floors down and fifty feet away, but somehow he knows that whoever it is is waiting for him.

Ray grabs his gun, clicks off the light, and settles in to wait. Whoever it is will have to come up the fire escape, and Ray's going to be ready.

Re: The Nightrunner

From: [personal profile] eledhwenlin - Date: 2007-09-22 01:10 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: The Nightrunner

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Re: The Nightrunner

From: [identity profile] keerawa.livejournal.com - Date: 2007-09-27 01:59 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-19 08:41 pm (UTC)
ext_1611: Isis statue (Fraser b&w)
From: [identity profile] isiscolo.livejournal.com
It had been a particularly trying day, and he should have been sleeping. But here it is past midnight, and there he is, in the alley outside Ray's apartment, looking up at the window.

The light is on. It beckons him like a siren.

There is no reason, he tells himself, that he couldn't simply go in, knock on the door. Why he couldn't say, "I was having trouble sleeping." Why he couldn't say, "I was in the neighborhood." Why he couldn't say, "I saw your light."

Perhaps Ray would run a hand through his hair, smile crookedly, say, "Sure, Frase, come on in. I wasn't exactly sleeping, myself." He'd be in sweat pants, perhaps, and a t-shirt. His collarbone would form a ridge in the soft fabric. He would be barefoot. He would be -

Suddenly there is movement in the lighted square of the window, and Fraser instinctively steps back into the shadows. Ray cannot see him. But he can see Ray.

Ray stands at the window, and the bright light behind him makes him look two-dimensional somehow, like he's a paper cut-out, all sharp angles and hard edges. He's wearing a black t-shirt, and his hair is mussed. For an instant he looks out, and Fraser's heart begins to pound wildly.

Then Ray smiles and turns fractionally away from the window. His arm comes up, out of the frame, and the light goes out, but he's still visible, a dark shape against a dark background. Another shape detaches itself from the darkness, presses itself against the first.

Oh.

When the shapes move away from the window, Fraser moves as well, out of the alley, back to the streets, back to the Consulate. Alone.

Re: The Nightrunner

From: [identity profile] shayheyred.livejournal.com - Date: 2007-09-20 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: The Nightrunner

From: [personal profile] eledhwenlin - Date: 2007-09-22 12:56 pm (UTC) - Expand

Re: The Nightrunner

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Re: The Nightrunner

From: [personal profile] eledhwenlin - Date: 2007-09-22 05:55 pm (UTC) - Expand

Comment re: eledhwenlin's 2nd snippet

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Re: Comment re: eledhwenlin's 2nd snippet

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Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-19 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spuffyduds.livejournal.com
What Ray learned from that, from all those years of work sold for a song, was that your home shouldn't be a house.

But it turned out he got it wrong too, because he decided it should be a person.

And sometimes, when he drove to her apartment building, parked across from it, watched people going in and out—-sometimes, yeah, he did it on purpose.

But sometimes-—he got off work and he was tired, and his brain turned off, he was listening to the radio and not thinking. And he'd suddenly find himself parking there, looking across at her doorman, and he'd be surprised, hadn't meant to do it. It was just that his hands had taken over the driving, and his hands still thought Stella was home.

Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-21 07:43 am (UTC)
ext_3554: dream wolf (Default)
From: [identity profile] keerawa.livejournal.com
I love the way you tie Ray's story about the house he grew up in, into his perspective on Stella.

his hands still thought Stella was home
Oh, ow. Damn. Sometimes on purpose, and sometimes not.

Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-19 06:38 pm (UTC)
akamine_chan: Created by me; please don't take (Default)
From: [personal profile] akamine_chan
(Follows after nos4a2no9's drabble...)

He tries to believe that, when the cool Chicago night carries just a tang of autumn, another reminder of what he doesn't have, what he can never have. What he doesn't deserve.


He runs, sweat-soaked, until the pain becomes bearable again. Runs, until he can fold the pain up, squash and push it down into a manageable package, small and neatly wrapped in paper and tied with string. Runs until he can look at himself in the mirror again without flinching.


On nights like these, he sometimes feels he could run forever, until the night swallows him up and leaves nothing, not even scars, behind.

Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-21 07:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simplystars.livejournal.com
And then one night, one awful, endless, empty night – tonight - he can't run fast enough, can't run far enough. Can't get away, can't lose himself in the comforting rhythm of a monotonous pace, or the burn of overtaxed muscles, or in sweat and endorphins as he so desperately wants to. Needs to.

He can't outrun the memory of Ray's shocked face, how it had gone utterly still, carefully blank. For one infinite moment, everything in Ray had simply stopped – until Fraser's lips slid away from his mouth, deflected by an invisible magnetism. Wrong pole, no attraction – two norths only repel.

How stupid, to forget that elemental truth of nature. How foolish, to risk everything he cherished in the pursuit of desire... again.

So Fraser runs – from humiliation, grief, fear of an unknown future – seeking the numbness of exhaustion.

Because there is no escape, and no solace.



Okay, I thought way too long about this. And then I broke them up! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??? o_O

Comment on simplystars snippet

From: [identity profile] keerawa.livejournal.com - Date: 2007-09-21 08:03 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: The Nightrunner

From: [personal profile] akamine_chan - Date: 2007-09-21 01:26 pm (UTC) - Expand

Comment on akmine_chan's snippet

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Re: The Nightrunner

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Re: The Nightrunner

From: [personal profile] akamine_chan - Date: 2007-09-22 05:04 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-19 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sprat.livejournal.com
He runs. It starts at the end of the first week after...after the cabin was finally finished, his first week back, his first week in his new position. He drives home at the end of a long day, up past the end of the pavement, listening as the tires' hiss deepens into rumbling over dirt and gravel, gives way to the crunch of fallen foliage and eventually to a silence so deep and absolute it threatens to swallow him whole. He stops long enough to feed Dief and to change out of his uniform, to pull on sweats and a t-shirt in the dusky half-light inside his bedroom alcove, before he makes his way back outside.

Endorphins are like nature's antidepressant, you see. He tells himself about their neurochemical effect as he stretches, slowly, in the cathedral hush beneath the trees. A jay scolds. His shoes slap the packed dirt as he jogs out to the road and then up along its right-hand edge, pacing himself, trying to settle his breathing into a rhythm he can sustain. The road has switchbacks built into it, but its ascent is still quite steep. This is not like running in Chicago, where one had to work to feel any sort of strain. The pull on the large muscle over his knees is immediate. The pain in his lungs comes soon after. He should do this more often, he thinks, wiping his face on an uplifted shoulder. He is out of shape.

But the wind comes down cool and fresh from the high mountains, smelling of ice and snow. And the sun is shining and he is well and whole, and from the top of the next rise he can see his little house, built with his own hands just the way he wanted it, simple and perfect, containing everything he needs. Almost everything. Near enough. Fraser knows he is lucky to have the things he has. Twice in the past, he lost everything he owned. He knows what it is to have nothing.

And he dreamed of this in Chicago. These mountains are his home. Nowhere else rings in him thus, like the deep tones of a struck churchbell. If he has a god, it is here beneath this sky, in these raw rocks, under these tall pines. He is lucky to be here. To have what he needs. To need so little. He says it aloud. His feet pound it into the dirt: lucky lucky lucky.

Liar.

(Got away from me a bit -- sorry!)

It Tolls for Thee (branching off Sprat)

Date: 2007-09-20 11:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hyperfocused.livejournal.com
No church bell's sedate and steady tones call Fraser out to prayer, nor the almost-symphony of the carillon. There is a bell that guides him, if he will only let it. Sometimes it's the brash A-Flat of his alarm, mornings after a night of too much longing, too little sleep. More often it's the telephone, that distinctive jangle that Fraser has learned to recognize as Ray. What he imagines most is the Liberty Bell, struck so soundly it cracks, yet despite its imperfection, still a symbol of freedom, independence, and of the liberties he dare not allow himself to take.

Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-19 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bertybertle.livejournal.com
Follows on from nos4a2no9's opener -

Some nights Ray’s apartment feels too small – fuck, Chicago feels too small to contain the tide that swells beneath his skin. It drags him inexorably to a place he’s not ready to be. A place he doesn’t know.

On those nights Ray drives.

Something about the engine’s whine and the tarmac miles that rumble under his tyres make him feel free. Like he has choices. Purpose. Direction.

He gets back as the sky begins to lighten, calmer, reconciled to his role. A shower, a change of clothes and he’s ready to keep up the pretense again.

“C’mon Fraser, pitter-patter.”

Re: The Nightrunner

From: [identity profile] bertybertle.livejournal.com - Date: 2007-09-22 07:10 am (UTC) - Expand

Comment on berty's snippet

Date: 2007-09-22 04:51 am (UTC)
ext_3554: dream wolf (Default)
From: [identity profile] keerawa.livejournal.com
I love this phrase: the engine’s whine and the tarmac miles that rumble under his tyres make him feel free. And if "tyres" is a mis-spelling, it is a brilliant and inspired mis-spelling. It somehow transforms the GTO into a magical beast.

Re: Comment on berty's snippet

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Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-20 12:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pearl-o.livejournal.com
At night is when he misses it most. During the day there are good foods and interesting smells and so many fun, exciting things, things that could only be here in the city, things Diefenbaker never knew could even exist, all through the years of his puppyhood. Sometimes he thinks this is where he was meant to be: there is just so much in Chicago, so much that Diefenbaker spent his entire life without, not even imagining--!

But at a certain time of night, when he is lying down besides Ben's cot, he listens to the angry blaring sounds of the city and listens to the sound of Ben's breath in and out -- quiet when he's sleeping peacefully, louder when he has his strange dreams, like he's chasing rabbits -- and Diefenbaker feels ... discontent. Because while it might be very exciting in the city, he can't help thinking of home. The wind; the snow; the smells and animals and everything Chicago can never be.

Ben misses it, too. Some nights Dief crawls into the cot and sleeps alongside him, though there isn't truly enough room.
(deleted comment)

Re: The Nightrunner

From: [identity profile] secretlybronte.livejournal.com - Date: 2007-09-21 02:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
ext_3554: dream wolf (Default)
From: [identity profile] keerawa.livejournal.com
It was with a certain sense of irony that Benton purchased a copy of 100 Years of Solitude. He had been raised by librarians; claiming sole and exclusive ownership of a book felt nearly profane. And yet, the local library's copies were all checked out. Just as the copy in Grandmother's lending library had been read by others for the past decade. She had a tendency to put others first that had only become more pronounced since Grandfather had passed on. Benton was determined that she wouldn't miss this last chance to experience Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Nobel Prize-winning prose.

He sat by her bed in the Yellowknife hospital night after night, reading aloud, sharing her fascination with the bizarre tale of a man whose father once took him to discover ice. The lush and exotic locales were as strange to them as the frenzied emotional responses of Marquez's characters.

Years later, when he tried to remember to Grandmother in her final hours, he could recall nothing but the stench of antiseptics, the sound of his evenly-cadenced reading covering the uncomfortable silence, and an overwhelming sense of failure.

Re: 100 Years of Solitude

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Re: 110 Years of Solitude

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Re: 110 Years of Solitude

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Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-22 07:10 pm (UTC)
ext_2034: (haunted by the ghost)
From: [identity profile] ainsley.livejournal.com
During the day, he stands. Stiff. Rigid. Perfect of posture, perfect in appearance. He stands, still and unmoving. The more he stands, the less he moves, the more of a whirlwind his thoughts become.

Long ago he learned to meditate, to turn off his brain and center himself, to find the truth buried within. Meditation requires relaxation, requires him to at least create within himself a point of safety. He cannot relax when standing guard because of the rigid muscles needed to play a human statue, he cannot create safety within while remaining aware of insecurity without, while protecting the consulate from enemies foreign and punk-ass.

He takes the whirl of this thoughts, the riptides that want so much to pull him under, and stores them. He locks them within muscle memory and works through them at night, running farther and faster than he can when running from external enemies.

He runs from himself, for no one wants to drown Fraser as much as his own id.
He runs from his love of Victoria.
He runs toward Victoria.
He runs from his father.
He runs to his father's ghost.
He runs to the comfort of Ray's arms, Ray's bed.
He runs from his own need, the weakness that propels him to Ray.
He runs.

He runs, and in running frees himself from his demons and traps himself in a cycle connecting ultimate freedom and self-loathing.

Re: The Nightrunner

From: [personal profile] akamine_chan - Date: 2007-09-23 03:37 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: The Nightrunner

From: [identity profile] ainsley.livejournal.com - Date: 2007-09-23 04:11 am (UTC) - Expand

Comment on ainsley's snippet

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Re: Comment on ainsley's snippet

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Date: 2007-09-20 05:11 pm (UTC)
sage: Still of Natasha Romanova from Iron Man 2 (team angst maple leaf)
From: [personal profile] sage
omg, all of these are fantastic!!! *loves*

Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-20 07:02 pm (UTC)
ext_3548: (DSRayReads)
From: [identity profile] shayheyred.livejournal.com
Hey! If you're not on the team, but may pinch hit, can you participate?

Re: The Nightrunner

Date: 2007-09-20 07:03 pm (UTC)
ext_3548: (DSRayReads)
From: [identity profile] shayheyred.livejournal.com
Um, yeah, it would help if I read your ENTIRE post, wouldn't it? ::facepalm::

Date: 2007-09-21 08:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zabira.livejournal.com
OMG, you HURT ME SO MUCH. good work, everyone! :)

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