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insert witty remark about long delays here - Diary of a Necromancer
Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
insert witty remark about long delays here
...Um, yeah. Not sure how much sense this makes, considering how many elements of it started out as parts of other scenes and I only got it finished at all because Muse was distracted trying to talk Inner Cecily down from a serious cranky about the pope quitting (it doesn't exactly help anything to have Inner Trevor pointing out that Cecily doesn't even hold with the idea of the Tridentine Mass, which is way too complicated a theological argument for the hour of the morning at which they were trying to have it), but let's see how it's come out in the blender wash...


If I'd begun to think that the city's reputation for frightful winters was an exaggeration I'm not now, sat safe on our settee with Jason watching the news-video of cars immured in snow on the waterfront road. We've rung round to be sure everyone we'd be most concerned for is well -- Jill's marooned at hers, lonely but working her way through a well-stocked pantry -- and there's nothing for it now but to be thankful to be inside, on a sort of night when having someone to sleep beside wouldn't be unwelcome. I'll have to make do with Jason's habit of nocturnal wandering.

At least it's cold enough he's wearing pyjamas.

In the morning we gird ourselves to venture out for a look at a changed landscape, where the rare passages hewn all the way down to pavements pass through walls of snow to my knee. "I know it used to snow like this more, it just... hasn't been," Jason says, looking about with a faintly disconcerted air. (Max, for his part, grudgingly admitted that this storm was almost as bad as the great blizzard of 1967. Almost.) I suggest that we go round to Jill's to see how she's getting on. It does make secret alien-hunting government agencies harder to believe in, Jason says of the haphazard efforts the city's making to clear the side-streets. Then brightens: Maybe the private sector's after us.

Jill is out in front of her building flailing away at a mound that I presume contains her car. Up and down the street a few vacated excavations have been marked off after the custom of the city with old chairs and milk-crates and gigantic plastic builders' buckets. (I can see that Jason is valiantly holding himself back from making a crack about territories and yellow snow.) Jill seems on edge, startling at shadows. Winter, she says when I ask if she's all right. The season would be difficult for her, when a wendigo embodies the idea of cold, and dark, and the fear of running short before the days grow soft once more. She changes the subject to our bright new mittens: "Grandma has a thing for bees, huh?"

I come from a long line of Hufflepuffs, Jason admits.

Once we've unearthed the car Jill asks us up to the building's roof to try to knock some of the snow off the glass of her conservatory. I hadn't realised there's a deck up here; "Yeah, it's more or less just mine because downstairs have the back," Jill explains, but waves an arm round at the snow-heaped shapes of flowerpots in a gesture of abdication; "I never seem to be able to do much with it, though."

"Maybe in the spring I could... help you to plan it out?" At our building I've fallen into looking after the scraps of garden front and back, letting them run riot with daffodils in the spring, and later on the poppies, bloodied red, hopeful white, the little yellow weeds of home. Our landlady's bemused but for once not overtly hostile. So far Jason has only broken two of the gnomes I try to cheer the dismal patches up with.

Jason leans over the railing to begin to jab at the snowpack on the conservatory with a broom. "Spring," Jill says wistfully, making it sound as if the orderly progression of seasons is somewhat in doubt at the moment, and goes to steady my flatmate. A great mass of slush slides down the incline to fall the three storeys into the front garden. When I look over the edge to follow the crash I see shadows reflected in a pane of glass; I can't but avert my gaze from the empty space where my own should be up to the city centre beyond bared treetops, more dulled mirrors refracting an ice-grey sky.

To a squawked curse from Jason the broom follows another heap of snow down into the garden. Jill cranes to look after it, then throws up her hands: "Come down and warm up?"

Jason leaves off trying to jam a damp rasta-hat farther down over snow-clotted dreads and makes a break for the promise of warmth. He's nowhere to be seen by the time Jill and I get inside; we settle ourselves in front of the fire, her on the settee and myself on the floor resting my head against her knee, and a few moments later my unselfconscious flatmate pads in from the direction of the bath wearing nothing but a towel and plops down to loll on the hearth. "I suppose we're past the point of standing on ceremony," Jill says.

Jason stretches until his toes splay wide. "Hey, I've only been holding off proposing a threesome because I already know Trev would never go for the idea," he says, and folds his arms behind his head with a self-satisfied expression.

I think sometimes he'd be the one to be shocked if I told him about Paris, how it had seemed the most natural thing in the world to be petted and nibbled at until at last we all lay in an indiscriminately sated heap. "I see you naked too often as it is," I say.

"You two." Jill draws her fingers through my hair. "I'd miss this if you left."

I shift away until I can tuck a foot under myself. "Not got my head round the idea that I could yet."

"I guess you wouldn't ever be in a rush to do anything, would you."

"Sort of an... occupational hazard for us. Losing track of time, I mean."

She has very much noticed the us, eyes gone hard when I risk a glance up. "Fuck that," Jill says. "Sorry, it's just.. It's been fifteen years, I, I think about doing this for a hundred..."

"Ninety," I protest.

This gets the beginning of a smile for my sheer vanity. "Would you really, though? I mean, be around to see the 'hyperevolved ant-people'?"

I shrug. There's the theory, the inescapable evidence that suggests it's a distinct possibility, but then one bumps up against the problem that such a stretch of time presents. What the practical limits of the human mind may be. (Although I suspect Cecily may not have been a sterling example of sanity to begin with.) "I wouldn't have wanted to put this on you," I say, settling against her again.

Jill rests a hand on my head, lightly, though whether in absolution or mere affection it's difficult to say without turning to see her face. There's the clearing of a throat from the hearth. "If you two want to be alone I could go home," Jason suggests. "I got people I could booty-call too, y'know, not completely without resources."

Jill takes her hand away. "No, it's all right," she says, voice edged with the promise of a conversation that we'll be having once she's had a chance to sort herself.

I can only hope I'll have sorted myself, before she thinks to ask the next question.

feeling: confused confused

2 responses | moved to respond?
ashnistrike From: ashnistrike Date: February 15th, 2013 01:48 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
It does make secret alien-hunting government agencies harder to believe in, Jason says of the haphazard efforts the city's making to clear the side-streets. Then brightens: Maybe the private sector's after us.

All the love ever.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: February 15th, 2013 05:21 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
Totally an actual thought I had after that storm. {nodnodnod}
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