frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Mechanisms - storybook)
Frith ([personal profile] frith_in_thorns) wrote2013-02-10 03:20 am

[fic: the mechanisms] Falling

Today is very much [community profile] the_mechanisms day. The début performance of Ulysses Dies At Dawn was a few hours ago and it was fantastic.

Therefore, I decided that this was definitely the impetus to post the fic I wrote for Once Upon A Time (In Space) which I have been poking at for way too long. (And now I'm trying to think of a good way to categorise posting fics for canons within canons, argh! I suspect this problem will have to wait until I write UDAD fic, or general Mechafic.)

Title: Falling
Characters/Pairing: Cinders, Rose; Pre-ship
Rating: T
Word count: 700
Notes: Written for [personal profile] amaresu's [community profile] fandom_stocking.

Summary: The war is lost, and the Princess's surrender the only formality left.

- - -

The towers here are tall and slender, reaching up and up in the light gravity. But even the top of the tallest isn't high enough to escape the smell of smoke. Ash and cinders and sparks twist in the updraught through the evening sky. The fires have never burned this fiercely here before.

The towers are built from the planet's bones and their shielding has kept them whole even though your world has being smoldering for longer than your life. But today the cinders tumble towards you unimpeded, landing on your outstretched hands like the snowflakes you reached for when you were a child.

(Only, the snowflakes never made it through the force-fields.)

You catch hot sparks on your palms, not intending to live long enough to bear the scars. The traitors have won and your father's war is lost and the gravity may be light but the long fall will still be more than, more than enough.

"Stop!"

The woman wears the dark green uniform of the Old King's forces. Her hair is cropped short, and glows red like burning cities. The mechanical weapon she holds is old fashioned, but she is after all here to take surrender from the Princess. A formality, traditional.

You step back. Cold granite presses against your skirts.

"Don't. Please."

Death upon defeat is also traditional, and you have one last card to play. There is ash in your hair. "Cole won't take me."

"He already has," the soldier says. You know her name, of course; everyone across worlds and star systems knows it. "Your mother conceded."

"She isn't my mother."

"No." Rose stares at you, her eyes bright and intense. When you jump, she won't be able to move fast enough to catch you. "And, on my advice, she isn't going to be allowed to rule for long."

"I'll die before I surrender," you say, and glance towards the drop. It looks deeper now, darker. There would be stars in the sky if the smoke weren't masking them.

Rose holsters her gun, not taking her eyes from yours. "If you come with me you'll be my prisoner, and I won't let you be taken anywhere near Cole, or New Constantinople. I swear."

The allure of living grows stronger with the sound of her voice. In another moment you'll weaken. You turn swiftly, long hair flying as you leap up to onto the parapet, and you reach out into the gathering dark…

…and you cannot fall. The barrier is invisible, but impenetrable.

Rose's arms are tight around you, her breath warm through your hair. She holds you up as the fight in you fades, as the falling ash is turned aside by the shields she re-raised only moments ago. "I accept your parole," she says, speaking quietly. "You're a non-combatant, a political prisoner. No one will harm you."

No way left to escape. She has won wars, after all, and you have never even left your homeworld. You look down on its remains from this dizzying height, and realise whom it was who doomed it. Not the woman beside you, who is offering something different.

"Where is my stepmother? Her daughters?"

"Some levels below us, in the command centre. My orders are to leave her in nominal control of what's left of the surface. Of course, forces will remain in orbit."

You pull free, and turn to face Rose. You both still balance on the parapet. In the dusk the fires are reflected from the low clouds, and the smoke, and her hair. "My father built in a fail-safe," you say, as you've never breathed to another soul. "This tower is linked to my biometrics. If I die, or move beyond signal range, it will trigger explosives wired through every level."

Rose's eyes widen as she stares at you, her lips parting. She's the finest, the most brilliant in all of Cole's armies, and in her face there's respect. "Cinders," she says, and your name burns on her tongue. "Will you leave with me?"

"Yes," you say, and take her offered hand.

- - -
glinda: a tower with a crown (once upon a time in space cover art) (mechanisms)

[personal profile] glinda 2013-02-10 10:01 am (UTC)(link)
Oh this is gorgeous, I really like it.

[personal profile] patchwork_changeling 2013-02-10 03:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Argh god damn you. I did not need more things trying to make me cry today. (This is amazing.)
veleda_k: Tori Amos, with the text, "But you don't really mean it." (You Don't Really Mean It)

[personal profile] veleda_k 2013-02-10 04:59 pm (UTC)(link)
This is excellent! I love the atmosphere, and the ending is just right.