WRITING Broken Contracts Side Stories - The 100 Theme Challenge

Discussion in 'SHOWCASING' started by Sen, May 22, 2016.

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  1. This is where me and @Hana will attempt to post a hundred short stories featuring our beloved characters from the Broken Contracts series!

    Extra Rules
    - May use any characters or pairing in the Broken Contracts series.
    - May use alternative characters in AUs.
    - Must be within the 1000-5000 word range.

    The 100 Themes Challenge - Checklist

    The Original List - 100 Themes Challenge, found from DeviantArt
    1. Introduction (contact demon x hunter)
    2. Complicated (best friend -> hunter)
    3. Making History
    4. Rivalry
    5. Unbreakable
    6. Obsession
    7. Eternity
    8. Gateway
    9. Death
    10. Opportunities
    11. 33%
    12. Dead Wrong
    13. Running Away
    14. Judgment
    15. Seeking Solace
    16. Excuses
    17. Vengeance
    18. Love
    19. Tears
    20. My Inspiration
    21. Never Again
    22. Online
    23. Failure
    24. Rebirth
    25. Breaking Away
    26. Forever and a day
    27. Lost and Found
    28. Light
    29. Dark
    30. Faith
    31. Colors
    32. Exploration
    33. Seeing Red
    34. Shades of Grey
    35. Forgotten
    36. Dreamer
    37. Mist
    38. Burning
    39. Out of Time
    40. Knowing How
    41. Fork in the road
    42. Start
    43. Nature's Fury
    44. At Peace
    45. Heart Song
    46. Reflection
    47. Perfection
    48. Everyday Magic
    49. Umbrella
    50. Party
    51. Troubling Thoughts
    52. Stirring of the Wind
    53. Future
    54. Health and Healing
    55. Separation
    56. Everything For You
    57. Slow Down
    58. Heartfelt Apology
    59. Challenged
    60. Exhaustion
    61. Accuracy
    62. Irregular Orbit
    63. Cold Embrace
    64. Frost
    65. A Moment in Time
    66. Dangerous Territory
    67. Boundaries
    68. Unsettling Revelations
    69. Shattered
    70. Bitter Silence
    71. The True You
    72. Pretense
    73. Patience
    74. Midnight
    75. Shadows
    76. Summer Haze
    77. Memories
    78. Change in the Weather
    79. Illogical
    80. Only Human
    81. A Place to Belong
    82. Advantage
    83. Breakfast
    84. Echoes
    85. Falling
    86. Picking up the Pieces
    87. Gunshot
    88. Possession
    89. Twilight
    90. Nowhere and Nothing
    91. Answers
    92. Innocence
    93. Simplicity
    94. Reality
    95. Acceptance
    96. Lesson
    97. Enthusiasm
    98. Game
    99. Friendship
    100. Endings
    #1 Sen, May 22, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2016
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  2. one: introduction
    future broken contracts timeline

    selene averill


    “M-man, Selene. How are you still so stable?” a young man hiccuped, taking another swig from the medium-sized bottle of alcohol that he held in his hand. His cheeks were flushed, eyes half-lidded and his breathing unsteady. He was being tugged along by his companion, a fair maiden with hair like winter white snow, up a steep hill. Ahead stood a giant tree that loomed over the city. It was an important tree that was a symbol to their relationship. It was here they first kissed, and here they got married - for the second time. However, the man was sluggish with his movements, still able to walk but clearly intoxicated. “This is good,” Phynex mumbled, a satisfied expression on his face. “We should have taken m-more.”

    A small, decidedly unmaidenly snort came from the white haired ‘maiden’ as she rolled her eyes, looking to the deep night sky above as if imploring it for answers. “Why am I so stable? Because I could control myself more from drinking too much before we get there, perhaps.” There was a faint undertone of sarcasm laced with exasperated amusement in her voice, adding a faint bite to it that meant no harm to the happily drunken man.

    Selene had a firm grip on her husband’s arm, walking up the steep and grassy surface of the hill with a single minded determination. Despite her snark there was a faint hint of a flush on her own cheeks, though her eyes were still more focused than the fire demon stumbling behind her. They had to get to the top of this damn hill. It was their anniversary, dammit, of the day they first met. If her fifteen-year old self had an inkling of what the demon she summoned would end up being to her, the poor waif would have had a heart attack.

    “Bah, normally you would be lounging on the couch half naked if we were drinking at home.” He laughed a hearty laugh, almost losing grip on the bottle if he had not stopped swinging it like he was about to throw it at any second. They always had fun on their anniversaries, no matter where they went. Last year it was another eventful journey back to Lumist…

    While the fire demon reminisced, his wife was all but singlehandedly dragging his form over to the top of the hill. Selene sighed as they happened upon their tree, glancing behind her with a look of mild annoyance. “There, Mister I Am A Strong and Powerful General. Your wife dragged your drunk ass to the top of the hill.”

    As soon as Selene let go of his warm hand, he tumbled into the short, emerald green grass under the shade of the tree, settling on his back comfortably. His hazy eyes looked up at his beloved, before patting the spot beside him, silently asking her to join him. “Yes, my dear. I would have collapsed at the bottom of the hill without you. Next time, I’ll carry you like a damsel in distress up here,” Phynex chuckled. Breaking away from her pale features, he looked up at the night sky. If they wanted to count the stars, they would have had to spend the whole night here. “Do you remember the first time we found this place?”

    A smooth silver brow rose at his question, the woman looking over at his sprawled out form under the tree. Selene still hadn’t joined him under the shade, but scoffed lightly at his question. If there was one thing to tell whether or not the fire demon’s wife was drunk, it was the increase in her more… Sarcastic remarks and maybe why knives mysteriously found their way towards him. “You mean our first ‘not-date’? Hell yes I do. Or was it the day when we went grocery shopping and you caused us to burn the steak?”

    Approaching him, she gingerly settled down beside him with a small sigh. Remembering that was so strange, the events of that day so clear yet so very far away. It had been many years since then. Looking out from this hill, she leaned back against the cool bark of the tree. Nora had changed so much, that it was hard to remember it was still that city she once grew up in.

    Phynex shuffled so that his head was resting on her lap, a joyful expression on his face. “Nope, definitely our first ‘not-date’. A nice picnic with everyone, remember? Jared and Ra kept moving so that we were always sitting next to each other.” He smiled fondly at the memory. At the time, neither of them had been aware they had feelings for each other. But to everyone else it had been as clear as still water. They smirked and laughed but never said anything, and on the other hand they were always there for advice on anything between them. The fire demon suddenly pouted, a fresh flush appearing on his cheeks. “I got scared at the sprinklers… how embarrassing.”

    A light chuckle passed through his wife’s lips in response. “Yes, the fearsome ex-CEO of Phoenix Industries, which was a technological power in its time, was so very cowed by the water sprinklers in that apartment. It has a nice ring to it, that story.” Her fingers were buried in the soft brown locks on her lap, though her eyes remained set on the blinking city lights in the distance. “You really were like an adorable, but slightly stupid, puppy back then. Shame my younger self didn’t realize it and had to end up being mortified by your…” Selene crinkled her nose. “Attempts with her. If you ever tried to apologize to me like you did in Lumist, it wouldn’t have flown since you ended up draped over me.”

    He crinkled his nose. “I thought it was raining inside,” the fire demon mumbled, still embarrassed. He had fled the room, half afraid of what ‘dark magic’ was being used and half afraid of the way Selene had been glaring at him yet not speaking a word. He hated it when Selene gave him the silent treatment, never replying to him even when he tried to be nice and apologetic. Though now… the demon knew some handy tricks to surprise and please her. “If I was an adorable but slightly stupid puppy then, does that make me a handsome and intelligent wolf now?”

    “Dream on,” another dubious look was sent to the fire demon on her lap. Selene smirked at his words a moment later before swatting at his hair. “And damn, don’t make me remember that stupid mutt who bit me. On the day of our anniversary.” Ah, Jet. The big bad wolf who bit her. It was a lighthearted joke to her by now. They had been long past that, but it might not have been as funny for her husband…

    “Oh.” The fire demon, even though half in a drunken stupor, narrowed his eyes as they darkened considerably. The bright glowing embers dulled in a dangerous flashing blood red. “Wonder where he is in the process of reincarnation. I hope he comes back as a maggot, easy to squash. Not a bad meal, either.” Though Phynex himself didn’t want to eat any sort of maggot if it was once Jet even if he had no choice. “That reminds me, I tried to bite you the first time we met, didn’t I?” His eyes glinted. “All because you interrupted my bath.”

    “Yes, you would have bitten my scrawny fifteen-year old self because she interrupted your bath. It was the best of circumstances to meet the person you would marry one day, right?” She remembered it. How she had been stubbornly set on summoning a demon on her fifteenth birthday of all days. “At least you liked the bread buns I gave you later on. When, you know, you stopped trying to tell me you could snap me in half.” If there was one thing Selene applauded her younger self for, it was what must have been nerves of steel even back then.

    Only those supposed nerves of steel somehow ended up dying a miserable death at the hands of this oblivious demon more often than not.

    Phynex closed his eyes, cuddling the half empty wine bottle to his chest. “I think it’s cute, bonding over bread buns and biting,” he said before backtracking. “Only when I bite you, of course.” The last thing he wanted was for a crowd of thirsty demons out for her when he wasn’t around. The demon yawned, flashing sharp teeth, before offering the bottle to his wife. “Drink some,” it was almost like an order, but his voice was a drawl and carefree. Selene’s reactions to him always made his life a little more fun.

    Chuckling, he sat himself up with a groan, using a fist to lightly punch his back. Selene, to him, meant a lot of things. Meant love, meant a partner, meant a friend who would always be there to listen, and someone who could understand him. Even though he was surrounded by many demons that were in the same circumstances as him, hailing from the world he once called home, there was something about Selene that made their connection deeper and more meaningful. Phynex reached out, pulling a lock of fair hair behind her ear, leaning in to quickly peck her cheek. “Happy anniversary, Selene. May we have many more.”

    Reaching to pluck the bottle from his hands, she sighed and let a more genuine smile soften her features. “You are such a sap, you know that?” He always got amusingly sentimental on the days significant to both of them. All shiny-eyed and a warm mass of affection. But all hers. She leaned back against his chest, taking a long swig from the bottle. The warm alcohol tasted sweet yet bitter and tangy, a slight warm burning sensation sliding down her throat and heating her chest; a good label it seemed like. “I wouldn’t have our first meeting and introduction any other way,” she mused, remembering that day. A quiet young girl and a cheerful fire demon. Certainly back then she never thought she would marry him, but here they were.

    “Happy anniversary to the day we met, Phynex. Now, stop reaching for the bottle and let me drink a little more. You want to get me drunk, anyway, don’t you.” The last part was spoken with a smirk, before she turned her her head and tugged him down for a kiss. She let her lips linger on his for a moment, before pulling back by a hair’s breadth to murmur, “Care to reintroduce yourself as the big, scary oversized lizard I first met, Mr. Phynex? I’m curious.”

    He smiled at her, returning her kiss naturally. It was a movement he was used to repeating over and over - not that he minded in the least. As she pulled away, he cocked his head at her playfully, a wild grin on his face. “I hope I don’t have to do this every year,” he laughed before he lunged forward. His body was a blur, quick and silent just as she had taught him, almost tackling her down as he tried to nip at her as gently as possible.

    A small muffled thud as her back met the ground, and Selene stared up at the shade of the tree branches and leaves. Trying to keep a straight face, she sighed as he started nipping at her. “I didn’t think I meant the biting part, but sure-” she cocked an eyebrow at him, slightly breathless before muttering, “And don’t say that when you’re grinning like that!”

    The old tree stood tall and strong, the silent watcher of the two people underneath its branches. It had stood strong and already aged decades ago, watching this very same pair. Playing, talking, napping, and falling in love. Fighting, arguing, pushing, and once again reconciling. It may not have been where their first introduction was made, but their first introduction to this place brought with it many other memories.
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  3. two: complicated
    three year timeskip between embers and broken contracts

    characters and pairings:
    selene averill
    jasper bailey
    jasper/selene (onesided)

    this fic is in italics for effect; as well as to punctuate it as a past event in canon.

    The phone buzzed insistently; a continuous, nagging vibration breaking the silence inside the office. A moment later the melodic sounds of piano keys started playing a soft tune. Scattered on the table were half-done papers; financial reports mingled with new project proposals and blueprints. The dim light of the laptop shone off of the young man’s glasses as he was made to stop the rhythmic tapping of his fingers across his laptop keys.
    Caller ID: Selene
    That one name immediately caused him to forget, to drop, all that he was doing. Pushing aside the papers and the laptop, he snatched up his phone. He had to swallow back the sudden thickness in his chest.
    There was a sudden loud cacophony blaring out from the phone speakers; amidst the staticy noise the music was nearly deafening. Voices mixed and mingled; sentences and phrases getting mixed together and mostly drowned out by the music.
    A sudden burst of static, before a familiar voice spoke. Low and monotonous, and perhaps a little slurred. Despite everything, his heart still skipped a beat at hearing it. “Jasper - Just thought to give you a sign that... I’m still alive. Cheers. By that, I mean I actually haven’t managed to drown myself in alcohol like you’re worried I am going to…” Someone aside from the first speaker spoke, cutting off the rest of the sentence.
    “Who’s that, sweetheart? Your brother?” There was a man. That was all that suddenly stood out to him.
    Her voice cut through again, this time much more controlled and neutral. “... He could be, yes. But that’s none of your business now. He just needs to know.” Sometimes he wondered if she knew how much those words can cut, how much even just the sound of her own voice had him dancing on puppet strings. She had the talent to make him feel both needed and unneeded, unwanted, from one sentence to the next. And at the same time he knew she cared.
    A loud and hearty laugh, not from her but from whoever else was with her on the other end of the line. “You tellin’ your brother you’re going to have a one-night stand?”
    There was a lull on the other end. “I liked you better when you didn’t open your mouth and instead touched me.”
    There was no way to describe the feelings this brought bubbling up to the surface. He clutched the phone harder, ignoring the sudden sharpness stabbing into his chest. His fingers started shaking as he jerked the phone up, speaking almost harshly.
    “You’re going to - what?” What had he just listened to? Before he knew it the words were rushing out, he was standing up from his office chair. “You’re going to stay there and you’re not going anywhere. I’m picking you up.” Throwing on his messy and creased jacket he slid out another phone from his pocket, rapidly tapping on it with his other hand. His thoughts raced along with the sudden swell of something painful and angry in his chest.
    Ending the call abruptly, he focused on the one he had just pulled out. It took a few seconds for his actions to register, but soon there was a blinking dot on a map of Nora he had pulled up. That was Selene. This was the only secret he didn’t tell her, and it was for her sake. If he had, his best friend would have tossed her phone away and purchased a new one, just so it would be harder for him to find her whenever things like this happened.
    Jasper took the elevator down, shuffling his feet impatiently. If she was going to go outside and drink herself silly, she might as well have spent the night in his penthouse. He had wine, he had comfort, and there was no chance of her making a stupid decision. “Ugh, if he hadn’t upped and dusted, this wouldn’t have happened.”
    The lobby was dark, most of the doors locked and guarded with surveillance cameras. No employees remained, but the guards were always lurking in the shadows. Pushing past the ‘employees only’ door, he quickly dialed up for his personal driver. “Smith! Smith! Hurry up, we need to get somewhere!”
    “At this time of night, sir?” A voice answered, a little drowsy. He was probably downing cups of coffee to stay up.
    “Yes! Now hurry!”

    Laughing from him. Stumbling across the hallway. Groping from him, fingers lifting up the edges of her shirt. Closing the door. Where were they again? It didn’t matter. The thought was immediately swept away on a hazy cloud as she shook her head, grabbing for the shirt he wore. Pushing her down, down, down on - where were they lying down on? She sat up, making him laugh as her hands stilled from unbuttoning his shirt.
    His shirt was maroon.
    Or some shade of red, she guessed. It was dark and her head spun slightly as she squinted at his face. Laughing dark eyes, an amused grin with straight white teeth. The grin made her relax slightly, though there was a nagging feeling that she ignored. Of course. He always seemed to be amused by something, right down to when -
    He wasn’t Phynex.
    But his grin and his dark features, his build was close enough. If she just ignored the differences, the way his eyes were more of a dark coffee color and his lips just didn’t retain the same shape -
    She sighed lowly, shaking her head. Thinking was tiring. Thinking made her dispel the illusion she tried to cast on herself.
    He reached for her, sliding his hand up her stomach under her shirt. She responded, moving closer and letting him move his hand across the expanse of her skin. Despite the circumstances, he was surprisingly gentle.

    She had been in a club when he had left the building. But as they drove onto the main street - beeping and engines starting - she was beginning to move away. His worry deepened, everything in the world was suddenly in focus, sharpening his senses to heights never before. The thumping inside his chest became more and more painful as he stared at his phone, directing Smith towards his friend’s location. It seized him like a vice grip, wounding tight around his heart and making it difficult to breathe.
    This late at night, the city was still bustling. It was around this time nightly demons came out to do their deeds, prostitution, drug dealings… it was commonplace here. Jasper himself was no fighter, but Smith could be his fists for him.
    Looking away from the window back to his phone, he watched as the blinking dot entered into private property. It looked liked an apartment, on the second floor, the third room from the stairs. The young man scowled. What on earth was she doing? And how had the guy managed to drag her all the way there?
    She never let herself get dragged by anyone. He remembered that she was usually the one to pull him around, to usher him out of holing himself up in his room to see the world outside. But she didn’t let anyone… Except for that demon.
    “Turn left, take the shortcut to Queens Street,” his voice was direct and calm, and full of bottled up rage. Or worry, hurt and jealousy, it all mingled together into something ugly. He could see his eyes in the rear view mirror, shadowed and flashing. So unlike himself. She was always capable of bringing out this side of him, but did she ever know? The tension in the air around him was prominent, even Smith did not say as word as he followed orders.
    He was first out of the car, dashing into the lobby of the building. It was tall, intimidating, the wind howling around it like it was teasing him of what was to come. He hoped with all his heart he wasn’t too late. The old man sitting behind the desk reading yesterday’s newspaper barely had the time to look up when Jasper dashed up the stair, his driver following suit.
    “Please don’t do anything stupid,” he grumbled to himself, unsure of whether he was talking to himself or to her, as he ran up another flight of stairs. His chest heaved as he struggled to breathe. The worrying was getting to him. It was unhealthy.
    A wooden door with a golden number ‘3’ stuck on it appeared in his field of vision. He could almost sense his best friend behind that door, doing goodness knows what with a stranger. A man she nor he knew. Someone she picked up from the bar, someone who could hurt her. Without hesitation and dread in his heart, he threw himself at the door.
    Bang! It shuddered, but the sturdy door refused to budge. For the first time in a while, Jasper swore. He cursed his own weakness, his lack of physical prowess and strength. “Smith, knock it down.”
    “But sir-”
    “I said KNOCK IT DOWN!” He let out a ragged yell, making the calm older man who had been his escort and bodyguard inhale sharply in shock.
    The man hurled himself forward like a cannonball, the hinges creaking as they gave way and the wooden door crashed to the ground, shaking it like an earthquake. Splinters of wood stuck out like icicles in a winter cave, but Jasper didn’t care, not even when some of them caught onto his trousers. “Selene!”
    “What the fuck-” a yell. It wasn’t the person he was looking for. Looking over his shoulder in bewilderment, half-standing up from a couch was a man with a body that had a defined build. It was made all the more obvious with the shirt that was already pushed aside and hanging on one corner of a coffee table. He felt his fists clench convulsively, knuckles white.
    “Who the fuck are you to walk in here?” He drowned out that stranger’s voice, though there was a ringing in his ears growing louder and louder. It made his head hurt.
    Obscured behind the man, glimpses of her were seen. Jasper felt his mouth go dry at the amount of milky white skin left bare, the best friend he had known since they were young was… She was half-dressed. The only thing protecting her decency was a plain black bra.
    Half crouched over her, the man made her look so small. Her shoulders were drawn around herself, as if she had been shrinking into herself or shying away, though her pants were already halfway off her legs. Jasper raised his eyes, feeling a vein throb on his temple. He wondered if it was possible for a man his age to go into cardiac arrest.
    Selene’s own eyes were widened as she stared back at him, shock for once open on her face. There was still a heated flush on her cheeks, and he certainly hoped it wasn’t from whatever she was doing with this man. Her gaze immediately dropped and avoided his as she reared back, stumbling to get the shirt. He immediately noted how her movements were clumsy, or what could pass for clumsy for someone like her. Sluggish.
    He saw red. “Get off of her,” the young man almost snarled at the stranger. “Get off of my friend!” Jasper repeated again, this time louder. Following silent orders, his driver lunged for the man’s arm, tearing him back. Smith primarily served as a driver, but he was no stranger to fights and break ins. He was trained just as much and just as long as the other guards, though he preferred to travel around the city when possible, landing him his position. Despite the man’s build and being an obvious gym regular, Smith easily hauled him away from Selene.
    There was a sharp intake of breath from Selene. She started to move, away from the man as he was yanked off of her. “Jasper-”
    “No, Selene. Don’t. Talk.” He raised a hand, closing his eyes as he took a deep breath to calm himself down before raising his head to glare at her. Whatever she saw on his face caused her to stiffen. Jasper was hardly ever angry at his best friend. She did so much for him, even when they were wee children. She held his hand and protected him against the monsters of the night.
    There was not only anger swelling inside of his chest, but acidic bite of jealousy as well, seeing how this… man, had managed to get so far with her. In a single night, at that. And he? In his past years of knowing Selene, had he ever been able to get anything with her?
    She looked stunned. Jasper almost laughed hysterically inside, since when had the tables turned and he was the one holding her hand as she stumbled along, lost? Selene gulped audibly, eyes still avoiding his as she stared downwards. She licked her lips, before trying to speak again. Her voice was hoarser than it had been when she had called him earlier. “Why did you come-”
    “Tell me a good reason I shouldn’t have,” he snapped back, before shrugging off his jacket. The look on her face… His jaw tightened. Her eyes were widened still, and blank with incomprehension. Or shock. There was a mix of what looked like shame that made the red on her face more pronounced, as if she was slowly becoming mortified of what had just happened.
    That expression was so unlike her, it looked strange. He was used to seeing a calm but somewhat confident look on her, someone dignified, someone who had respect for herself and carried out her duties to the point. But also someone who cared about others.
    Sighing, he tossed his jacket at his friend with a cold but calm expression. She caught it with a slight fumble, before pushing her hands into the sleeves and tugging it around her shoulders to cover herself up. What sort of shirt was she wearing? He waited as she pulled her pants back up, eyes averted. When she was done, he grabbed her by the wrist tightly, his fingers digging into the skin and pulled her up from the bed, heading out towards the door with no intention of ever returning - and he hoped it was the same for Selene.
    She was quiet, hushed and mute, and he only felt a hesitant tug at his hand as she moved to pull away. Jasper’s eyes flickered to her, his hand tightening its grip. “You are coming with me, Selene.” His words left no room for complaints or questions. He expected her to come home with him, sit with him, talk to him. If he wasn’t always so busy, perhaps he would have been able to lend more of himself to her as comfort.
    And not that man. He let out another breath, almost a hiss, as he remembered once again the situation he had found her in. She seemed to have lost any complaint, her wrist limp in his hand. Starting to pull her out of the room, he made his way for the door -
    Only for the man to suddenly block the way. How he had fought off Smith, Jasper hadn’t seen. But if that was possible - someone like that could have taken advantage of her in this state - he was hyperventilating again. Then the stranger spoke. ”Wait, snowflake, is this your stupid brother? Hey, she’s old enough to make her own decisions, calm the fuck down! This is trespassing-”
    Jasper’s head turned, shooting a venomous glare. “Shut up. She’s not a snowflake.” What sort of fucking nickname was that, anyway? “And as for your door, I can pay to fix it. And stay away from her. I hope I never have to see you again,” he spat out like the words were made of poison before storming out of the room with his driver in tow, who looked somewhat stunned himself.
    He had not told the poor soul why they had come, and seeing the woman who frequented Bailey Industries being ‘rescued’ was not a normal occurrence. Selene and getting ‘rescued’ shouldn’t happen in the same sentence. Ever, either.
    They got into the car, the three of them silent. “Smith, when we get back, send the money for repair to the apartment,” he said in his business voice, serious and collected... Until. As the vehicle’s engine began to throttle, and the car began moving towards the city central, Jasper exploded. All the emotions seething underneath his skin suddenly rushed out, sharp as a whip. “What were you thinking? What is wrong with you? What makes you think it’s perfectly alright to sleep with-” he jabbed a finger towards the direction of the apartment building, “him?”
    He raised his voice into a shout that shook the three people inside the car. “If you wanted to get wasted, you should have just stayed at my place, for fuck’s sake!”
    She shrunk away from him, he saw the movements with sharp eyes. Her jaw clenched and she lowered her head, hiding her face from his sight with a veil of white hair. It was as if she had been rendered mute by what had just happened. But he needed answers. It was not helping him calm down. “I shouldn’t have called you.” Her voice was still a hoarse whisper, low and with a hint of… Something. “This is so stupid.”
    “And what? Just let him has his way? What is enjoyable about having an one night stand with a complete stranger?” He thought of people that she had once dedicated her time to, random names appeared in his memories. Names of hunters, names of demons, his name. “What do you think your friends would say? Their demon partners too?”
    She was still and silent, almost as if she wasn’t breathing. Not a word slipped past her as he ranted on about the people he knew she once laughed and talked with. Before everything.
    Jasper narrowed his eyes, mind racing for something to say. “What about him?” Although he despised her partner, hated him for what he had done to his best friend, and was ever so jealous of how she always spoke of him with love and adoration completely different from how she loved him, and even though this was a card he normally would never use… he was afraid Selene wouldn’t listen to reason.
    It was as if a switch had been flipped and he watched as she flinched, but her head raised and she met his eyes. “So damned what about him? He’s dead!” Her own words made her flinch and she ducked her head again. “You know if you wanted to call me pathetic you could have just come out with it.” She let out a laugh, short and choked before she fell silent.
    “And what if he isn’t? What if he’s alive and you did it?” Jasper suggested. After learning what had happened, he truly was torn for Selene. Was it better to believe him dead, so he might have a chance? Or was it better to believe him to be alive, for the sake of his best friend’s happiness? “I don’t care if he is a demon or what, but no guy would ever want to hear that,” the young man breathed out.
    She laughed hollowly, catching his attention. Selene should never laugh like that. His stomach lurched, and he felt slightly ill as he heard her speak. Harsh, cutting. Almost like her usual ferocity but this was different. “But he’s dead and you think I wouldn’t know, the contract is broken and I can’t sense if he’s anywhere-” As she spoke, she wound her arms tighter around herself, hunching over. Her words were cut off as she bit her lip, and shook on her seat.
    “You know, it doesn’t help if you keep telling yourself that.” The young man looked out the window as the car drove past bright signs and buildings full of people feasting and partying late into the night. “The Selene I know knows how to think positively, not whine on about the worst possible outcome and go out and drink.”
    He couldn’t bear to tell her, he couldn’t afford to tell her otherwise. Her breath shook, uneven in the silence of the car. But she was trying. He could tell that. Trying to even out her breathing, and maybe if he spoke - even if it was of that demon - that terrible sound would smoothen out and away…
    Glancing at her, he could still see her almost curled in on herself, huddled in the other corner opposite of him. But she was looking at him, with… He didn’t know how to describe her expression.
    Jasper shook his head. “From now on, if you plan to get yourself drunk, you can come to my place and raid the wine collection.” He crossed his arms, a glare on his face. “I would rather you fall asleep in a couch than some random man’s arms.” Or if he dared hope… his. The thought caused him to swallow back a lump in his throat. If only… If he could - Could he?
    He shuffled in his seat, sliding across the leather until their legs were touching. Like a best friend should, Jasper wrapped his arms around her, bringing her closer to his chest. Even if he wished that he could be something much much more, even if it hurt, she was his best friend. She was slightly cold, while he was warm. She smelt like wine, clearly intoxicated, underneath of gunpowder and metal. Had she come out to drink after her work? Was she tired? He worried. He, himself, smelt faintly of metal and motor oil. “You know I’m here for you, right? I just don’t want to see you do anything stupid.”
    For what felt like forever, he almost held his breath, she was still in his arms. He had to listen hard to confirm that she was still breathing, uneven but there. Then she moved forward, making his heart thump in his chest as he felt her head rest on his shoulder.
    “I’m pathetic. Why do you still want to help me,” she murmured, voice husky, exhausted. It was calmer than earlier, but still soft. Selene sounded lost. Her arms unwound from around herself slowly, until she was embracing him back. Her touch burned him through his shirt, and he was suddenly aware of what little she was wearing. Only a jacket that he lent her, and little else… He forced himself to focus as she pulled back, before resting her head on his chest.
    Maybe she could hear his heart almost bursting out of his chest, fighting and trying to claw out all his emotions for the world to see. For her to see.
    Idly, he began to stroke her hair. It was soft and pooled in his hand as he gathered some of the white locks. “Because you’re my best friend. You’re very important to me.” Jasper hugged her closer, trapping in body warmth. “Am I important to you?” If he was, she would never do this again. Never.
    “You are. I’m sorry.” Her words were quiet, barely audible as she raised her head slightly, where she still rested on his chest. Her eyes met his, before she closed them with a sigh. “That was completely stupid of me.”
    Seeing her so tired and unresponsive, it made him feel upset as well. Whenever Selene was sad, he was sad too. They was a true sign of friendship, connected even beyond words. He leaned down a little to see her expression. He knew it when he saw it. It was one where she appeared to be forcing herself not to think about something.
    Despite this… How did she still look so completely fucking stunning? The lights from the outside passed by quickly yet lit up her face with different hues, all showing the same pale skin. Her hair was a mess, tumbling down her back in ungroomed waves, some falling in her face. The white locks shone silver, framing a soft face.
    When she turned those violet eyes on him moments earlier he wanted to cry. The world was unfair, he thought, to have him love someone who was so unreachable - even when she was practically in his arms.
    But her words. He wanted to protect her with his own weaker strength, he wanted to hide her away. The world was terrifying now, with its demons and all the fighting, but she could be safe. With him.
    Yet her eyes were still dull with unforgotten mourning. Because of that demon...
    Don’t worry about it, he wanted to say. But that was not true. She would always worry. Feeling confident, he pecked her quickly on the cheek before withdrawing. Her skin was so soft, under his lips, that he could still feel the softness even as he pulled back. His cheeks felt hot, something fluttering in his stomach. How was she so capable of making him feel so angry to this. He wanted to cry out at the unfairness of it.

    Her eyes opened slightly, half-lidded and almost calm. “You are the most important to me. I don’t know…” She let out a long breath, somewhere between a sigh and a choked back sob. “What I’ll do without you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” The words made something seize inside him. Most important? Or most important after he was gone? What was she trying to do to him?
    It hurt. It hurt. The feelings he had been harboring for the past eight or so years hurt him, she hurt him but why was it that he could never get angry at her? He never lashed out, never hated her for her feelings. Only jealous and envious, having known her for so long and seeing her with someone else - and not even a human, at that. All this tangled into a complicated ball of emotions that he could never dare to tell her-
    Before he knew it, he was tightening his arm around her and tangling his other hand into the softness of her hair, pulling tight. His mouth crashed down against hers, and Jasper experienced heaven and hell. Heaven was in the pliantness of her lips against his, cool and so soft. As delicate as he imagined them to be, despite the strength of the woman who had them. He shuddered and pressed himself forward against her, closing his eyes tight.
    And hell was in the way she was still and unmoving under him, even as he never felt more alive with his arm around her waist. Despite the way her body fit like the missing piece of a puzzle, molded against his, she wasn’t responding. She was frozen underneath his desperate touches, even as he pressed forward harder as if to coax warmth and life into her.
    He felt a stinging behind his closed eyelids, and a sob that yearned to escape his chest. Heaving himself away he stared at her. “Do you- I -” He saw her glassy, stunned expression and felt his stomach twist. What was he doing to his best friend? She was drunk and in one of the lowest points in her life. What kind of fucking friend was he?
    And despite that he hoped. That she would acknowledge it, acknowledge him. He was just as deserving of her notice as that demon, if not more so. Yet he also hoped that she wouldn’t notice, that this wouldn’t mean the end of their friendship.
    “Jasper, I don’t…” He held his breath, and his world narrowed down to her. Only her. She was staring at him, her lips parted, before her head fell forward against his chest. “I don’t- I can’t-” A shaky breath rasped from her throat. “‘M not well. It hurts. I’m sorry.” She shuddered, face pressed against him. And he felt himself lose.
    “Shh, shh. It’s alright now.” Jasper comforted her, patting her back. She was shivering, Jasper knew it wasn’t from the cold. And she felt soft against him, fitting perfectly against his own body. He almost felt he could protect her, like this. She never acknowledged the kiss, she never acknowledged or said anything, and it was all he could do to push the thought out of his mind.
    She only shivered and huddled close to him, and he curled his arms tighter around her.
    “Promise me you’ll come to me if you ever feel sad.” The young man laid his cheek on the crown of her head, holding her tight. Something hard and steely was forming inside of him. She hadn’t said anything, but was her silence and her continuing to cling to him something to give him hope? It didnt matter. He wasn’t going to let her go without a fight. “It’s my turn to look after you now.”
    The car silently drove onward deeper and deeper into the city. The lights began to blur, voices mingling and mixing. Jasper paid the world no attention when they finally stopped at the foot of the Bailey Industries Headquarters, standing strong for his best friend as he led her to a world much safer and welcoming.

    Authors' NotesThis short story is considered a part of canon. It's a joint attempt between @Hana and @Sen to portray the onesided Jasper/Selene ship. Though Selene may not remember or recount the happenings of this event within the Broken Contracts roleplay, Jasper is fully aware of what he was doing.
    #3 Hana, May 24, 2016
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
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