Snippits of WIP!

So, to show a bit of what I'm working on, and to show that, no, really, stuff is getting written, here are a few snippits from the last couple fic I've been tinkering away at.


There was a smart rap at his door, and Hojo looked up from his notes in annoyance, then saw the clock.

"Come in," he said, not bothering to stand until he knew he'd have to for convention's sake.

It was ten o'clock on the nose, exactly when his new assistant was to present herself. The door slid open, and his new arrival walked through.

When the door slid to a close behind her, he stood.

"Ahh, Dr. Laumbe," Hojo said, smiling in the bland way he had to for these tedious social interactions. "Please, have a seat," he said, gesturing to the seat he had placed in front of his desk for this.

"Thank you. And a pleasure to finally meet you again," Dr. Laumbe said, giving him a faint bow he hadn't seen since his time in Nibelheim, one likely long-ingrained in her and that she hadn't dropped even years out of the Narsland area--you could always tell who was from there by that Wutai-esque bow they had retained.

Her eyes gave it away, too - dark brown, almost black, and that familiar shape.

They'd met, once, not long after she was assigned to Junon after the war ended. Prior to the end of the war, she'd been a military doctor, one of the few women in ShinRa's military and one of the even fewer female doctors.

She had the same stiff, military way of standing that rubbed Hojo the wrong way - everything about her was no-nonsense and nothing like the young women who normally worked around ShinRa, all carefully sniffing for a husband. And at 35 and unmarried, it was no wonder she seemed to have thrown herself into her work; it was quite clear she'd have little choice. Her clothing was functional, she wore no make up and only small studs in her ears and a plain bracelet with a small round gem on it on her left wrist, and she made no attempt to hide the beginning of grey barely visible in the dark blonde - which was an unusual color for northerners - at her temples.

Really, he preferred the interchangeable, fresh-faced young girls with their make-up and perfume and heels, and legs that would wrap so tightly against him. They used him to get up the ladder, he used them for a fuck, and everything was simple that way because he usually had no other use for them and he knew how to handle them.

Still, she wasn't there to give him something to look at, but to manage his samples, and everything in her files indicated Laumbe would be more than capable in that respect. And despite the military background, she had a brain for science and medicine, in theory.


And also hopefully, the moronic troopers and guards would respect a "kindred spirit." At the very least, they would have to respect her rank.

She sat down, retaining that same stiff, military posture, but she at the least tempered it with a smile; at least that one thing seeming feminine about her manner.

Really, it was too bad ShinRa seemed to have almost utterly run out of pretty young female scientists. He was going to have to speak to someone about their hiring.

"So. You come quite highly recommended. There are very few people that have such excellent results with the SOLDIERs in Junon."

Her smile seemed to tighten slightly. "I suppose it helps that I've seen combat as well. I was a front line medic for several years, before finishing my medical degree. I've seen what they've seen. It helps."

Hojo fought the urge to roll his eyes. "Yes, yes. Seen the ‘horrors of war' that breaks some of the weaker ones who should have been washed out of the selection process. We've refined the process to admit fewer of them, but some still slip through the cracks from time to time," he said. "Your work with the more mentally damaged SOLDIERs has actually been a great help to the project."

Laumbe was still holding onto her smile, but it seemed strained. "Yes. Well. Thank you. Helping them is why I focused on psychiatry after the war."

"That is part of why I'm bringing you on for this…special project. It involves a new, experimental form of the SOLDIER process, and I'd like to have you on monitoring it."

The woman seemed to perk up slightly at that. "Oh?"

"As you know, the SOLDIER program has only used male subjects to date. However, I would like to see what might happen if we tailored to process to women."

"You're putting women into the program now?" Laumbe said in surprise.

Hojo gave her a smile. "In a manner of speaking. They are...prototypes, in a way. A test of a theory, if you will. And with both your background and gender, you seemed a good fit for aiding in Project O."

Laumbe smiled brightly, and showed the first flash of enthusiasm he had seen in her for anything other than getting out of Junon. "Well, count in for this project, then," she said. "I welcome any chance to allow more women into ShinRa's military. And despite some...difficulties, I've enjoyed working with the SOLDIERs so far, so I look forward to whatever I can do to help aid the new program," she said, and Hojo pushed up his glasses to hide another smile.

"Excellent. Currently, the two sa--test subjects being used are both rare cases. One in particular is from an area with a high natural level of mako exposure, so we're expecting to learn a great deal from her no matter what the outcome of the main experiment. Discovering her was, in fact, the impetus for this."

"Oh?" Laumbe said, looking as through she were trying to decide how to process all of that.

"Natural exposure since being in utero seems to cause extra sensitivity to mako. Which leads to the hope that she will 'take' faster and more fully to the SOLDIER process. I'll be comparing her overall process to a male control from the same area in another facility. You will, however, simply be monitoring the two test subjects here and making sure things run smoothly, should you choose to accept your promotion, of course."

"I see no reason why I wouldn't so far," she replied back.

"Excellent. Oh, and, Dr. Laumbe," Hojo said suddenly.


"You're from Narsland, correct?"

"Yes, from Urtharbrun."

"Urtharbrun, was it? That's on the other side of the valley from Nibelheim. I was stationed out there for a bit. Tell me, have you ever heard of the Ohnegesichterin?"

She blinked. "Ohnegesichterin? The hungry ghosts in the mountains?" she said, sounding surprised. "Yes, I've heard of them. You'd probably be hard-pressed to find anyone from the north who hasn't."

"Do you think they're real?"

She let out an equally surprised-sounding laugh. "There are a lot of things out in the mountains in the Narsland region, but no one has ever actually come across an Ohnegesichterin. If there were real, you would have thought someone would have long ago caught one. They're just fairy tales." She gave him a puzzled smile, but her brow was wrinkled. "Why do you ask? I didn't think anyone outside Narsland even knew about them. They don't even have a name in Standard!"

"No reason," Hojo said. "I only learned on them when I was in the north, and have been doing a bit of cross-cultural study since," he smiled in the way he knew to be disarming to young women, and was pleased to see it worked to some extent on Laumbe. Good. "Come with me, and I'll show you what I'm working on now."

He stood up, and she followed suit. "This way, doctor," he said, gesturing, then stopped. "Is that a bracer?" he asked, staring at the bracelet she wore that he only just now noticed wasn't just decorative.

"Yes," she said, her voice sounding distinctly no-nonsense.

"You'll have to remove it."


"Excuse me?" Hojo said, completely affronted.

"It only has a Sleep. It is purely defensive and nothing to be concerned of."

"That doesn't matter. It is materia that has not been authorized for this project."

Dr. Laumbe gave him a steely look. "I don't care," she said flatly. "I keep a Sleep materia equipped at all times. Especially if I am dealing with SOLDIERs."

Hojo gave her a strange look.

"They are bigger, stronger, and faster than I am," she said, her voice flat. "And some of them in Junon were a bit...twitchy. Especially after the war. You know what being assigned out to Junon means," she said pointedly. He thought that was a bit rich, since she likely had no idea WHY Junon had been designated the hole they sent the SOLDIERs having breakdowns to - after Genesis, Angeal, AND Sephiroth failed spectacularly, ShinRa had decided to try to cut off at least some of the risk of losing their investment, and set up the psych facilities at Junon. The war had had nothing to do with it, but he saw no reason to disavow her - yet - of her beliefs. "Having a Sleep has probably saved more than one SOLDIER from a court-martial and me from getting my neck snapped by someone having a flashback when I'm trying to administer tests."

Hojo gave her a patronizing smile. "That may be so, but you won't need it--"

"Fine, I get twitchy without it," she said, overriding him, and he felt a sting of irritation. "Like I said. It has saved my life more than once. I will not unequip it."

Hojo found himself wondering if this woman was going to be more trouble than she might be worth.

"It is, as I stated, purely defensive, Professor. You needn't worry about me casting Sleep willy-nilly. Unless my life is in danger, it's just a pretty little gem on my bracelet. I've written up reports for every time I've had to subdue someone with a Sleep. It's a last resort."

As much as Hojo hated to admit it, the woman had a point, and it was a far better route for restraining samples when they grew…unruly…than the current one, for all that had offered new insights. And if worse came to worse, it wasn't as if the small amount of mako used for a Sleep would cause the data to be skewed TOO much.

"Very well," Hojo said magnanimously. "Keep it, but use it only when absolutely necessary. I won't risk my results being skewed any more than they have to be."

She frowned slightly. "I'm not sure how a Sleep could possibly skew your results, sir, but it is and always will be a last resort."

"Good. Now, before we were interrupted," he said, and ushered her through the door.


Why They Actually Do Get On:

“Hello? Sarah Sawyer speaking,” Sarah said when she picked up the phone, sounded like she was still half asleep.

“Sarah? Yes, it’s John. I’m sorry to call you so late,” he said, wincing slightly as it hit him that was 2am.

“John? What is it?” she said, now sounding slightly more awake.

“I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to work my shift tomorrow.”

“Oh, you can’t work your--What?” Sarah began to sentence half-alseep, but her last word made it clear she had fully woken up. “Why not?"

“I’m on a case with Sherlock, and we’ve finally hit on a lead as well as a countdown.”

“Sherlock,” she said, with the same tone of voice she almost always used with him. “You’re blowing off you job and your responsibilities yet again to chase after Sherlock."

“I’m not—“

“Do you have any idea how much you doing this throws the surgery into confusion? How much it completely inconveniences everyone?” she asked sharply.

“Yes, I know, and I’m sorry. But it’s an emergency. You know I wouldn’t call in with this short of notice otherwise.”

Sarah made a sound that John could only describe as “rude.” He couldn’t honestly blame her for it, but he would be lying if he said he in any way appreciated it.

“Yes, you would,” she said pointedly, and John took a slow, deep breath to keep his temper in check. She was right, yes, but it was an emergency. It wasn’t as if he enjoyed putting his more stable line of employment in jeopardy, but he did have his priorities. “John, I’ve tried to be patient with this, but you’re a doctor. Have you forgotten that? You have a responsibility to this surgery and to your patients to care for them. Not just traipse alone after Sherlock. Just where, exactly, do your loyalties lie, John? Because it doesn’t seem to be to medicine any more."

Sarah’s words were like a slap to the face, and John clinched his free hand into a fist, and took a slow, steadying breath before he dared to speak. “We are tracking a serial killer. We think we only have another day, maybe two, before he gets his next victim. You want to know where my loyalties lie? They lie with saving a life. I became a doctor to save people. I went to bloody war to save people. And I am going to go with Sherlock today, to help track down this bloody serial killer, so I can save someone. My priorities have never changed. If you can’t see that, I honestly have no idea what I can say any further.

“A day, Sarah. Maybe two. Before someone dies. And you ought to know by now that when I do anything with this short of notice, lives, actual human lives, are at stake. I’ve seen the crime scenes, I’ve seen the autopsies, I have seen the bodies and the blood with this one. I can no more sit this out than you could pass by an accident and not stop to help, even if it meant not going to the surgery,” he ended.

There was a long silence on the other end of the phone. “Fine. I’ll see if Anjali can come in. I expect a double shift out of you once this is over, to make up this.”

“Fair enough,” he said, and Sarah hung up before he could say anything else.

“Well, that went well,” John muttered, then stuffed his mobile into his pocket. Then tried to put the entire conversation out of his mind, and failed utterly at the attempt.


The Things You Never Knew About People (Shi Qu):

"You know," Jie's mom said, and there was something somewhat speculative about her voice, "Your wuzi are beginning to look like a human being wrote them, not a drunken chocobo."
Coming from Jie's mom, that was high praise, and Reno grinned. "Thanks, I think."
She actually smiled, and not the bad-for-them kind of smile, and that was rare when she was meting out punishment. "I really ought to teach you how to write properly, one of these days," she said, frowning slightly. "Aside from bopomofo and a menu, you're illiterate, and that's just a waste."
"DO IT!" Jie said from the side, taking the chance to put his brush down and massage his hand. "It's just not fair that that little punk hasn't had to learn how to write!"
"Hey, whose side are you on?!" Reno snapped, looking wounded.
"Sides can go fuck themselves, as much crap as you give me over me having to go to Wutai school, asshole," Jie said, making a face at Reno when his mother wasn't looking.
Jie's mom heaved a sigh, but ignored them. Reno wondered some times about Auntie Qian's English--she didn't have too many problems making herself understood, and while she still didn't actually speak it very well, he strongly suspected that at this point, she understood damned near every word they said.
She frowned slightly, obviously thinking. "Well, for starters, I'm going to at least teach you how to write you name in wuzi. And maybe find Jie's old workbooks..."
Jie started all but crowing. "YES! I'll even go dig 'em out for you!" he said, jumping to his feet.
Reno only managed to refrain from throwing something at Jie because Jie's mom was sitting there. As it was, Reno got the feeling there was gonna be some serious words--and by words, he meant punches--coming up soon.
Jie's mom laughed. "Later, later." She raised an eyebrow. "You still haven't finished yet."
Jie let out a curse under his breath and sat back down, and Reno shot Jie a smug grin.
"For now," Jie's mom said, ignoring them both again and putting a weight on a clean sheet of calligraphy paper in front of her and then smoothing the paper out. "Hand me the brush, and I'll teach you your name. And not YOUR brush, Jie," she finished, snapping in short-lived irritation and glaring. "You still have several lines of that left to do!"
"It was worth a shot,"
Jie said, in a tone that was almost good-natured for him, and he went back to copying the morality track poetry she had chosen for him; something full of the virtue of remaining peaceful and calm and some other shit that made not one bit of impact on either Jie or Reno. Reno had to give Auntie Qian credit: she tried. That, or she had a sadistic streak, something equally possible, since Jie always looked like he wanted to throw up whenever he read what she chose for him.
"Could be worse," she'd once told him when Jie started complaining. "You never saw the 'Eighty-One Womanly Virtues' my mother made me copy every day from the time my wedding was arranged until the actual ceremony.  By the end, I thought that if I had to read one more line about being quiet and obeying my husband that I was going to bite my tongue off and die."

It was a little odd, Reno thought, to watch how calm Jie's mom went when she had a calligraphy brush in her hands. She had explained, once, that her family had made her study calligraphy since she had been old enough to hold a brush--that, and many other various lessons designed to groom her into a well-bred lady. "It didn't work," she'd said with a self-disparaging smile. "I used to sneak into the kitchens to get away from my lessons.  That was where I learned to cook.  And when my mother discovered I had an interest in that, she decided it was at least something feminine and, in her mind, better than me bossing around my little brothers."
"So why're you making me learn to cook?" Reno had asked with a grin.  "I'm not a girl!"
"Because you need a marketable skill, you little grass-brained hooligan, and beating people doesn't qualify!"
she'd snapped.  "And this way, you stop eating all of my food."

It hadn't stopped him from eating all of her food, as she had put it, but it was something Reno was grateful for.  Between the lessons on how to cook and the money he made working at the store--and the leftover food he usually took with him--there was always food at home.  He remembered all too well being hungry all the time as a kid, so having a way to provide his own food was something that he definitely appreciated.

"Redo this menu and you're done," Jie's mother said, picking out one of the menus from the ones he had copied.  "You messed up two characters." 

"Aww, c'mon! It's only two!" he said, whining, and got swatted with the menu.

"If you had done it right the first time, you wouldn't have to do it again," she snapped, and Jie bit back a laugh.  "Then, while you wait for Jie to finish the next stanza, I'll teach you how to write your name," she said, and Jie groaned.

"The next stanza?  But you said up to this verse!" he said.

She gave him a look, and Jie slumped back with a sour face.


Harrow Children:

"We need to talk," Vincent said, his voice low.

"Yeah, so, anyone ever tell you you're a creepy motherfucker?" Reno said, looking jolted for a second. "When the fuck did you learn that teleport thing? And ya couldn't wait for a normal 'Sure, c'mon in' thing like normal people?! I open the door, you teleport in before I can shut the door in your face, that's fuckin' creepy! An' how'd you not, y'know, teleport halfway in a frickin' table or wall or nothin'?!"

Vincent ignored Reno's babble, focusing instead completely on Rufus Shinra--while he had known that Rufus was alive, this...this was not what he was expecting. The sins of the fathers, he thought, his eyes stilling on the mottled darkness of the Geostigma of Rufus' hand. Old lore; everything about this old, two thousand years old, Jenova and the Cetra, and so it was no wonder the old lore seemed to apply, that the sins of the fathers would be visited down upon the sons. There was nothing in all of this that was anything but--the sins of the past, circling forever and being revisited on the generations who continued the same follies and mistakes and madness of their progenitors. "What is it that you know, Rufus?" Vincent said, his voice toneless and no expression on his face. "About those three larvae of Sephiroth."

There was a slight pause before Rufus spoke, the words coming a hair slower in coming than normal; that pause shorter than a breath indicating that Rufus was choosing his words carefully, his far too quick mind evaluating everything in that span of an instant, deciding how much truth to give. In some ways, it was a good sign--a sign the truth was at least being considered, because it was the fluid speed of the lies and half-truths you had to be careful of. "Likely not much more than you," he said, but Vincent doubted that highly. "We have encountered them several times. The last time was not to our advantage," he finished, and Vincent knew exactly what was behind those mild words.

"Torture rarely is," he said flatly. "What is it that Elena and Tseng had that those three were after to that extent?"

That got a reaction, but not from Rufus. Reno let out a hiss, and a muscle in Rude's jaw tightened.

"'To that extent,' you say. Those three are not sane, so you can not ascribe sane reasons for their actions," Rufus said, but there was an edge to his voice.

"I know what their 'actions' are; I am the one who got Tseng and Elena away from them."

"They're still alive?" Reno blurted out, and Vincent looked over at him from the corners of his eyes and nodded once, sharply, owing him that much, before turning his attention back to Rufus, who also seemed to relax slightly at the news.

"What is it that they were after, Rufus?" Vincent asked again, more forcefully. "They were willing to torture your people, they abducted children, and seem to have some tie with the Geostigma. It seems that they want to continue where Sephiroth left off, and if that is the case, we need to know what we are dealing with. Or we are all doomed."

He did not mention everything that had happened with Cloud--he wasn't sure enough of it, neither in knowing what they had tried to do to Cloud or what Cloud had done in reaction, and nor did he want to simply hand Rufus more information. It was a trump card; a sign of the larvae having a weakness, and he was not ready to play it yet, not when he didn't know what cards Rufus held, or how far Rufus would go to protect whatever it was he was hiding.

The ShinRa Company may have been broken, but Rufus Shinra was very far from powerless and very far from moral.

"Tie to Geostigma?" Rufus asked, frowning and leaning forward slightly as his hand tightening against his armrest. "I had assumed as much, but what proof do you have?"

There was something about his voice; Rufus knew something. "What are they after, Rufus?" Vincent said, crossing his arms. He had been a Turk; he understood the value of information, and how it was too valuable to simply give away. There would be a price for him saying more; there would have to be a trade.

There was a long, long silence before Rufus slumped back slightly into his wheelchair. "Jenova's head," he said softly, and Vincent realized that things were only beginning.


The Yellow Farce:

Grant Monroe was waiting for them at the train station.

"Wait, I thought he was--why is he called--?" Grant began suspiciously, frowning at John's legs, and Sherlock cut him off.

"Pray you don't find out," he said darkly, and Grant's mouth shut with an audible snap, as his teeth clicked together. “And don't put us at risk again," Sherlock said, narrowing his eyes, and Grant swallowed thickly.

"Yeah...yeah, right. Sorry," he said, and nervously licked his lips. "So, Mr Vernet, and, um...?"

"Wilson, James Wilson," he said, using his last alias since Sherlock was obviously still using "Vernet" despite Moriarty having tied both aliases to Rache. This was something he and Sherlock were going to have to discuss, after the case.

"We haven't time for these formalities," Sherlock said suddenly, shooting a quick glance at the CCTV cameras surrounding them. CCTV cameras that were almost conspicuosly not pointing in their direction. "Your car, quickly."

"Yes, yes, of course," Grant said, seeming flustered. He quickly led them to his car as cameras pivoted away in carefully timed sweeps, creating an illusion of not being intentionally turned, that he and Sherlock timed their own movements to, to stay in the blind spots.

John went on alert quickly. This was something big, then. Something big enough that Mycroft was running interference, making him wonder again, as he often did, just where it was exactly Mycroft stood and whose side besides his own that he was on.

He also, by then, knew better to ask Sherlock. Whatever his relationship with his brother was, "complicated" didn't seem to even begin to explain it, and John had long ago learned to leave it alone. He treated Mycroft the same as he had warlords and tribal leaders in Afghanistan that seemed to be on their side: accept their help, but know it came with strings, and that they might turn on you at any second.

For now, Mycroft was helping them, it seemed. Or covering his own arse. One never quite knew. The result was the same, and what it ultimately meant - that this was dangerous - was the same. He wouldn't question it, but would take it for the warning it was.

Once they were in the car, both he and Sherlock ducked low, so they wouldn't be visible from the outside, and Grant drove quickly as he could within the speed limit, throwing occasional glances at them slouched low in the seats, but saying nothing for several minutes.

"My house is...there's no one there, now. Or shouldn't be. My wife is out for a few hours working."

"We will need to speak to her," Sherlock said quietly.

"Yes...yes, of course. Like I said, just for a few hours. She works part time at a bookstore. She'll be home in a few hours," the man said, repeating himself.

"That gives us time to look around, then," Sherlock said, and Grant nodded.

"Yes, yes, time," he said, and John didn't miss how the man's voice shook.


There, so those are bits and bobs from everything I'm currently working on. And yes, I am indeed working on both Harrow Children and TTYNKAP. Thagirion and some of my Sherlock stuff is ahead of it in my queue, but I am actively working on everything listed it.


*desperately intrigued by Dr. Laumbe*
I created Dr. Laumbe to use in the late Puppyverse stories, then realized that she'd fit perfectly here.

And hee hee, to add to a bit of the intrigue, here is where her name comes from:

Laume is a fae that works much like the Fates but can also be seen as an evil figure that snatches babies or kills them to punish greedy mothers. But the "b" comes from John Rabe, aka, "The Good Nazi of Nanking," who helped save the lives of 300,000 people during the Rape of Nanking and tried to put a stop to some of the Japanese atrocities there. "Anneke" comes from "Anna Perenna," who was the goddess who could end a year well and begin a new one auspiciously, and "Ananke," the goddess of inevitablity.
*even MORE intrigue!* *chin in hands* :D