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31 May 2011 @ 02:29 pm
ficlets + icons | LOST | juliet  

lost_land 20in20 challenge
character: juliet burke

5 fics, 15 icons
notes: based on provided prompts. general spoilers for s3-s5.
drabbles became more like ficlets (300-500ish words each).











***




01. prompt: eating.



that there are less to come
juliet, juliet and rachel
word count: 486



i live to let you shine
boats and birds – gregory & the hawk




Her finger traces the rim of the mixing bowl, collecting a swipe of pink frosting. She tastes it. Nods.


***


"Can I have the pink one?"

Juliet is five, and she’s been coveting one singular cupcake all day. She watches her sister sink her teeth into it, mumbling
it’s my birthday through a mouthful of cake and icing.

On tiptoes, Juliet selects a yellow one, and tries not to care.



***


Two years of strange captivity have come and gone. She lets her curiosity get the better of her (she always has), and it helps with the day to day.

(It also killed the cat, but she doesn't focus on that.)

One healthy baby born on this Island. Just one. If she can’t leave, she can at least fix this (these are some of the things she tells herself).

Opportunity. She bites her cheek on the word, slamming a cupboard door shut.


***


"You can’t pass up an opportunity like this."

"But. I don’t know. What if I can’t-"

"Jules. We're in the car. We're already on the road. How many times do I need to tell you to stop with that attitude. You’re not backing out of this. You’re going to get away from him, cure every disease on God’s green Earth, take up hiking or whatever people do for fun in not-quite-Portland, win a million awards, and be home in time to tell me what the hell I’m supposed to do with this kid because wanting one and having one are two entirely different things. Okay?"

"Okay."



***


She hits play on the CD player, turns up the volume.

Sitting down at the table, she peels the silver paper off, and places a single candle into the frosting, now piled high atop a vanilla cupcake still hot from the oven. On a spectrum, the edges lean more towards brown than golden, but overall a successful dozen.

She strikes a match, lights the wick, and stares at the flame, watching as the wax begins to melt.

Her lips form a Life-Saver O as she blows the candle out, pulling it from the cake before the dripping wax tarnishes the frosted surface.

She breaks down when the sweet taste hits her tongue.

She had promised herself she wouldn't.

Quick and heavy sobs take her by surprise, shake through her shoulders.


***


If you choose to stay, Ben had said, the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks mimicking the din in her ears.

He promised.

Presented with option A (leave) and option B (save her sister), Juliet would choose to stay on the Island, every time.


***


She allows herself a minute before she stills herself, sits up straight. She brushes her cheeks with both hands.

Happy birthday leaves her throat in a whisper, through a small smile.

The empty chairs and the four walls that have surrounded her for two years, one month, and fifteen days don’t seem to care. She concentrates on sending her simple wish across the enclosing ocean.





***





02. prompt: writer's choice


the third time
juliet, juliet and edmund
words: 312



soon comes rain
dry your eyes
frost or flame
skeleton me

skeletons - yeah yeah yeahs




This was the third time.



Shocked faces meet each other as Juliet pulls herself upright and sinks her back against the railing, the edges of carved wooden beams digging in to her spine.

She refuses to make a sound for a full minute (the issue of won't or can't is debatable).

Instead of screaming to break the silence,

she laughs, and let a few tears spill.



(After the second time this happened, she figured out the most accurate way to describe the pain:

broken glass beneath her skin.

She also learned to adapt faster.)



She makes a quiet comment about clumsiness.



In her head, a replay:

Confronting Ed (weeks of buildup preceded this singular moment, a long time coming). They'd argued about work, first. Then. Something about another woman. (Secretary. Of course, she thinks. Of course.)

Storming away

(no, more like fleeing, a desperate need for everything to stop),

and then moving too fast, missing a step, slipping backwards on the stairs with force.

Landing at at awkward angle.

Pain.



She also knows it was an accident. Edmund has been a lot of things to her, but violent isn't one of them.



These two thoughts hit her at the same time:

Her bones continue to insist on fragility.

She's about to go through a divorce.



The first is a given, the second is confirmed to her in conversation several painkillers later.

There's something about papers to sign and she suppresses another hysterical laugh.

(Even going on the offensive, this was already waiting in the wings. The tables always turn against her.)


We can still do great work together, Juliet.


She squeezes her fingers into a now fixed but tender shoulder.


Digs her thumb against bone


(everything's numb, anyway).


These are a few more things she knows:


She'll still get up and go to work for him in the morning.


And the day after that.


And the day after that.


And the day after that.





***





03. prompt: writer's choice


acclimate
juliet, james/juliet
words: 500+



i hope someday somebody wants to hold you
for 20 minutes straight and that's all they do.
they don't pull away. they don't look at your face.
they don't try to kiss you.
all they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold on tight,
without an ounce of selfishness to it.

jenna hunterson - waitress




Juliet knows she’s been distant all night (she’s given better performances).

Sometimes it sneaks up on her. Constricts her lungs. Makes her freeze.


The absurdity.


She leaves them to their cards and beer and the Best of Cream spinning on the record player. She feels his eyes on her back as she goes, pushes down apprehensions over whatever this...thing is that's been passing between them of late.


(A few times, at the very beginning, she found her feet carrying her to the wrong front door.)


***


Acclimating. An interesting process, when the man who’d held her captive within these same cheerful yellow confines lives a minute’s walk away, sometimes waves to her if they cross paths.

After an awkward, shy smile aimed her way, he’ll turn his face to the ground, arms full of books on his way to class, or scurrying off to the cafeteria.

She knows that’s not him. This isn’t then.

That was a little boy in glasses, who, she’d decided earlier that day, was developing a crush on her.

Some moments make her want to run, but there’s nowhere to go.


***


Not long after taking her leave, James knocks (it isn't necessary, just a signal), and opens the front door without waiting. She hears her name, posed as a question.

“Kind of dark in here, ain't it?”

The only light hits her in slices of moonlight through the windows.

“You okay?”


And there's no use pretending.


“Okay,” she echoes, a tight, phantom grip on her wrist, images of the tiny world she’s inhabited for the last three years flipping back and forth in her mind’s eye.


Now. Then. Then. Now.

Interchangeable words.

The kitchen tiles flick from blue to brown to blue to brown.


She makes to turn around, but stops herself. He’s already closer that she thought.

“Is any of this okay?” she asks, but it's more of a statement, traces of sarcasm in an almost-monotone.

He takes a step forward.


“Is this about the kid?”


She huffs out a laugh, balancing herself with both hands on the counter edge. She’d been standing alone in front of the sink for almost ten minutes, contemplating liquor, staring at nothing.


They’d had several small exchanges (early on), and one significant conversation about "the kid" already.

He knows everything he needs to know.


James moves with thought; she reads it in the way his arm shifts in her peripheral vision. Slow, with a hesitating start, stop. He brings it back to his side, but steps closer.

“Is any of this okay,” he repeats, half a question, half a sigh.

“Think it can be.”

She feels his hand on her shoulder and it makes her straighten, hold herself upright. Reflex.


“Hey. Come here.”


Then there’s an arm around her. And then two.

After a moment, she allows herself the comfort. She leans back into him, letting long limbs drape over her shoulders, pull her in.

Her breathing aligns with the rise and fall of his chest. Tensed shoulders sink down, and she lets her head drop back.

They stay like this, she doesn't know for how long, until,


“How about this? Is this okay?”


“Yeah. This is okay.”





***





04. prompt: writer's choice


morning
juliet, james/juliet
words: 346
notes: 03. con't.


the earth says hello.
good morning, starshine - oliver




She wakes with the sun in her eyes, and his arm curved around her waist. She notes two things: his position on top of the blanket, and that he’s still wearing his clothes from the previous night.

She'd been the definition of drained, too tired to contemplate the idea of making a mistake.

Juliet had stated, simply, that she didn't want to be alone, and they made their way from the kitchen to her bedroom.

She let the entire night slipped by enveloped in this position; if he'd moved away at all, she wasn't aware. And though it usually took ages to fall asleep, unable to turn off the stream of thoughts in her mind, last night she was out almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.

She remembers, before drifting off, his voice near her ear.

It's okay. We're safe here.

It takes a minute, adjusting to the state she's found herself in. It's been years since she’s woken up in the morning with her first thoughts striking positive notes (positive, mixed with growing embarrassment).

But no immediate twinges of fear, no assuming a defensive armor. No sudden thoughts of death, of flatlines and blood on gloved hands, of trekking through jungles with a rifle slung across her shoulders.

It's surprising, the notion of looking forward to the long stretch of hours ahead. The sound of engines roaring to life, new tools in her hands that always fix, always salvage (she had welcomed the change of occupation).

The thought of cooking them both a massive breakfast for no reason in particular makes her smile.

This new feeling startles, and she worries that even realizing it’s there will cause its dissipation.

She’s afraid to put a name to it, but the words that spring to mind are possibility and contentment.

He stirs, shifts, leans on an elbow.

Juliet turns on to her back, looks up at the dimpled face staring down at her, expression half bemused, half unsure.

“Mornin', Starshine.”

And it's in this moment that she fixes on a definition of time and place.

This is now, and she is here.


***


She thanks him over a Dharma-labeled breakfast (coffee and pancakes and bacon and eggs).

"Anytime. Back. Yours. I got it. Don't forget."

As he pours himself another cup, she looks around at the kitchen and furniture, at all of the knicknacks and decorations that were already there when she'd moved in.

She makes a mental note, and switches her usual vocabulary from house to home.





***





05. prompt: love


tangled
juliet, james/juliet
words: 303
notes: alternate take on 08.



one day is all it takes for things to turn around
now all i know is i got you and you got me, babe
and when that morning comes
i'll make coffee and you'll read the paper
we'll talk about our plans
and i'll keep saying how lucky we are

how lucky we are - meiko




They tip a little too far to one side.

This is going to take practice, she realizes, as the strings twist, and the hammock flips over, depositing them both onto the hard ground below.

She lands sideways on her hip (there’s going to be a bruise), and wipes at the grass stain on her skirt, but otherwise no damage done. She looks him over, one tiny scratch on his arm, and he’s smiling like a kid.

The expression on his face causes laughter to bubble up from her throat, deep and infectious. She moves to get up, but her eye catches his as a new look forms, gives her pause. She watches him swallow, pick a stray strand of grass from his jeans before turning his eyes back to her, certain and clear.

Elation and fear form a brutal combination of emotions; the quick succession of each makes her freeze. She thinks she knows what's coming; the same words have been on the tip of her tongue for weeks, tied in knots.

He beats her to the punch.

“I love you.”

Juliet has never been good at processing things going her way.

There's only time to open her mouth and close it again before he stands, holds out his hand.

She reaches for it, half-pushing herself up as he pulls.

“Take two?”

He nods.

This time, they settle without tipping, the hammock swaying back and forth with their leftover momentum.

They maneuver until achieving perfect balance, entwining limbs into a comfortable tangle. His arm forms a curve around her shoulders, and she lets a few minutes breeze by this way in silence.

He’s staring up at the sky, and, though peaceful, she reads the worried lines that crease the corners of his eyes.

She takes one hand and places it on his cheek, turning him towards her.

There’s no going back from this, but she’s finished with being stuck. With standing still.

She leans closer, and

whispers the words back.





_









1-5: sky, hands, red, flashback, new
5-10: far away, artist's choice, artist's choice, movement, fun (sleeping in like this is fun)
11-15: emotions: despair, anxiety, delight, sympathy, agony

 
 
mood: pensivepensive
tunes: billie holiday - solitude
 
 
 
E.: fringe; big fists that cracksoundspie on May 31st, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
Omg :'|
I love the drabbles. And "despair" downright breaks my heart. It's perfect.
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: fringe: bruiseohvienna on May 31st, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
That scene kills me everytime. It's one of the most heartbreaking shots on LOST (to me, anyway).

And thank you! :)
E.: fringe; the drip split lipssoundspie on May 31st, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
(I usually don't cry during tv shows or movies. But when Elizabeth Mitchell cries, I cry, too.)
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: lost: juliet. juliet it's me.ohvienna on May 31st, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
Same. Though over the past few years, I've become a much bigger softie when it comes to breaking down in front of the TV. :) But there are a few people who, no matter what, if their faces get all wibbly, so does mine. EM is one of those people.
Even artichokes have heartslormats on May 31st, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
the icons are gorgeous and the fics, omg... acclimate couldn't be more perfect ♥
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: lost: technically legalohvienna on May 31st, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, my dear! :) Very happy that you enjoyed reading! You'll have to pardon me while I flail about for the rest of the day now. ♥
Even artichokes have hearts: (lost) james oceanlormats on May 31st, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
yup sweetie, straight to my memories to read it whenever I wanna ♥

(also I'm gonna snag some icons jhdsjhsjsd)
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: lost: and he's got magic handsohvienna on May 31st, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how you're always the best (well, no, that's a lie, I do), but you're actually the best and I just though you should know. :)
Even artichokes have hearts: (lost) Juliet HBIClormats on May 31st, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC)
I was having a very crappy day and you just putted the biggest smile on my face Katie,(I thought you should know that too :P) TYVM *squishes* :) ♥
koralllkoralll on May 31st, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Morning is awesome! I love how you showed the change of her mood, home not a house.
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: lost: not celebratingohvienna on May 31st, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :))
sing me a song.propernice on May 31st, 2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
Well, I knew I was screwed when I started crying during the very first one. Son of a bitch.

These are hauntingly beautiful. And the icons are gorgeous. I just. I don't even know what to say. Everything is perfect here. 05 is about as perfect as perfect gets.

And your icon for anxiety just...it's gorgeous.
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: lost: not celebratingohvienna on June 1st, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
Always consider causing tears the ultimate success. :)

[RE: 05, I'm so enamored with that scenario; I can't adequately explain! I think I made a post about wanting to read about them being blissed out in a hammock a year ago. Just makes me happy.]

Other things that make me excessively happy = this awesome comment. Thank you so much! I'm really glad you liked these. And for the icon props, too! :D


Yen: [Lost] Left Behindersriddledfate on June 1st, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
This post is made of awesome! You made me tear up reading some of those drabbles (despair! ;_;) and the icons are ♥ Great job! :)
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: lost: is that for me?ohvienna on June 1st, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! :)))
The Adorable and Fantastic: LOST - Sulietlule_bell on June 1st, 2011 07:23 am (UTC)
Lovely, darling. :)
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: lost: little spoonohvienna on June 1st, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :))
Stef: LOST: Sawyer/Juliet (grief)afishwithawish on June 1st, 2011 11:19 am (UTC)
:') just perfect. I especially love the first and the last one. Really sweet!!
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: lost: baby detonate for meohvienna on June 1st, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! ♥
ozmissage: Lost. S/J. Always At His Backozmissage on June 1st, 2011 04:26 pm (UTC)
These are all gorgeous. <333
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: lost: still alive who you loveohvienna on June 1st, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
Franwhatismuch on June 1st, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
The drabbles. They are doing such things to my heart. OH THE EMOTIONS.
The first one is amazing - the images, the structure, everything.
And Acclimate made my shipper self squee hardcore.
Wonderful job with all of them, though, and great icons, too - I love 8 and 11.
Beautiful entry all around!
chug-a-lug, donna: tv: lost: my hands remember hersohvienna on June 1st, 2011 07:35 pm (UTC)
Aaaaah thank you so much!! You just made my afternoon with this comment. ♥