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01 September 2010 @ 10:47 pm
A Finite Simple Group of Order 2 (PG)  
Title: A finite simple group of order 2 (1 of 2. Or 3. Maybe. We'll see)
Rating: PG
Summary: What happens when a fake relationship ends up in the real world?
Spoilers: Set between the events of 4.4 and 4.7, one explanation for Fawkes' change in attitude.
Word count: 2,500

PE-ESS: There is a podcast of this, care of super-fantastic hiding_places. Find it here!


Cyd's swirling scrawl stared back at her from the refrigerator calendar, highlighted with a red circle. Orchestra, of course. What better to follow intense personal rejection and niggling questions of ho-bag status than performing again in public for the first time in months?

It was a miracle they took her back at all, but her recent Avatar-fueled personal empowerment breakthrough and shrinking ramen budget led to only one obvious choice: begging for her old job back.

Armed with a letter from her therapist, who bedgrudingly admitted to re-instate priviledges after she showed up in-person and not hyperventilating, Cyd marched (well, not marched as much as quakingly crept) into the director's office on a Tuesday afternoon.

After convincing her boss to put the fire extinguisher down, she calmly and rationally (ok, mostly rationally with one tearful tirade about how cellos shouldn't be so flammable in the first place) argued her case.

Cyd preferred to think it was her newly-found confidence instead of the orchestra's evident desperation and rapidly shrinking strings section that won out in the end.

She hoped that her black concert dress still fit her. She'd been downing the old-lady butter pecan like a champ lately.


Fawkes settled into his seat, thumbing through the program emblazoned with film reels and the heading "A night at the movies".

Truthfully, the local orchestra seemed so... pedestrian before, not something worth a night off from raiding. But hearing themes from Star Wars and Hitchcock in the same performance was a rare chance, one he couldn't turn down.

Wait a minute...

Any thoughts of the musical genius of John Williams vanished as Codex stared back at him from the glossy pages. The photo was the generic posed artist shot, rendered in black and white, but the small text below was the particularly interesting bit-

"Cyd Sherman is celebrating her 10th year performing with the ensemble, capitalizing on her early skills as a child prodigy when she joined at the age of 15."

Former Child Prodigy IS number 72 on the list....

Evidently this was going to be a much more interesting night than he'd previously imagined.


Cyd was going to have a heart attack.

No, really. There was no way her heart could beat this fast and not explode inside her chest, she was sure of it.

Her coworkers were all whispering behind her, she could see the full concert hall just beyond the curtain and she was almost sure she heard the phrase "psychotic meltdown" at least once.

There's always the chance for a freak meteor to strike the power grid and then everyone will have to leave and you can go home and change back into your yoga pants and never leave the house again Cyd remembered now, that her comforting and rational side usually turned a little... creative right before performances.

No meteors! she snapped to herself. You are a confident and self-affirming hero of your own destiny.

Her hero status wavered in her own mind as Terrence poked her in the back with his bow, and she realized the horns had already filed out onto stage.

Naturally wavy hair. You have naturally wavy hair.


Fawkes was doing his best to ignore their old biddies chattering away behind about some great scandal in the violin section when he spotted her.

It was hard to miss her, really. Bright red hair and pale skin under stage lights against a sea of black dresses and tuxedos. She looked prim and proper, hair swept up in a bun and her black dress showing just the barest hint of cleavage. Certainly a far cry from the last time he'd seen her, blushing furiously as she clutched his favourite kilt to her naked breasts.

Later, he would rationalize the sudden stutter in his own chest as merely surprise in seeing her in such an unexpected setting. It made no difference if her ran into Codex in the real world. Any relationship they had was a combination of convenience and passing amusement.

That argument weakened significantly when she took her seat and Fawkes realized his seat was perfectly positioned to see her in profile.

And that the previously prim dress had a generous side slit, which revealed black stockings and slim thigh to someone sitting in the right spot.

His mouth went dry as he realized they were in fact, lace trimmed black stockings.


She didn't see him right away. In fact, they'd already played through the suite from Jurassic park before she caught him smirking at her.

Her hand stilled on the page she was about to turn, unable to look away. She'd rationalize later that it was just warm under the stage lights and the rush of heat that she felt wash over her had nothing to do with Fawkes.

It didn't matter that he was here, or was sitting directly across from her or that....she watched as his eyes dipped lower, down to her legs....

Oh God.

She'd grabbed the whorish dress. The one with the slit.

Her hand fluttered from the music stand to her own skin. Please tell me I remembered to shave.

The reassurance that yes, she was still acquainted with her Lady Bic was a comfort until she remembered how she'd put her thumb through her nylons getting ready that afternoon. And what she kept tucked in the back of her drawer as backup for said nylons.

Fawkes' arched eyebrow and grin confirmed her suspicion that she was in fact, blushing bright red.

A really BIG freak meteor shower.


Up until the moment he saw her play, Fawkes was certainly that alcohol and wild monkey sex were the only things that could get Codex to relax. He'd glimpsed the girl behind the neuroses for brief unguarded moments, and had been intrigued - but it was nothing like this. The other musicians were intent on the music but Cyd seemed enveloped by it, swaying in an invisible current as the light glinted off her bow.

She loved it, obviously. Being a connoisseur of women, he knew the difference between the front so many women would put up - the brittle and plastic smile worn by booth babes and bartenders, and this genuine pleasure written across Cyd's face.

It was a shame to see her barriers come crashing back when she spotted him, all nervous flutters and deer-in-headlight eyes.

But the blush told it all. Despite what even he recognized as completely dickish behavior, he still had an effect on her, and not just as a enemy guild leader or an ex-one night stand. If she blushed like that from him spotting her lacy stockings....

The sudden blush devours them, neck and brow; They have drawn too near the fire of life.

Ms Browning did have a certain insight into the female psyche, and Fawkes would bet anything it had been far too long since Cyd had gone anywhere near the fire of life.

He could change that.


The rest of the performance was a bit of a blur for Cyd. She was thankful it was their Movie night program - she'd grown up playing the Star Wars music, and could play it with her eyes closed.

Which she did, for some parts. It was hard enough to pretend she belonged back in the orchestra that was doing its best to ostracize her, even worse to do it while Fawkes watched, laughing at her the whole time.

Stupid, arrogant, smug....

Her growing list of insults for Fawkes at least distracted her from the part of the night she'd always dreaded the most. Growing up as a prodigy meant that your parents cheered for the first dozen concerts, and dutifully attended the next dozen or the big competitions.... but at some point her performances became so commonplace that they became a non-event.

The other people had family and friends to meet them, spilling out the back of the concert halls with cheers and greetings. Cyd would always dawdle, cleaning her bow and checking the case, knowing that she if left after everyone else, people wouldn't notice that she had nobody waiting.

So she figured she was safe, twenty minutes later as she stepped out into the humid night air. Everyone should have moved on to the bar or for the senior citizens, run home to early bed times.

And there he was.


Fawkes leaned against a nearby minivan as he watched Cyd leave. The name fit her, he decided - something as dull as Samantha or Tiffany would be an injustice to one of the very few women who he found interesting enough to even consider actively pursuing.

She seemed to brace herself against some attack as she stepped out the unmarked door, shields firmly in place. He was about to walk over when she stopped dead, turning even paler than he would have thought possible. He stilled as well, out of sight but within earshot.

"Sherman, you've got some fucking nerve" A tweedy looking guy with rounded glasses and short dreads confronted her. Just behind him was another man, who looked surprisingly fearful for his companion's bravado.

"Gunther... I, ah..." Cyd visibly flinched as the door fell shut behind her, and she backed toward it.

"I thought we all made it very clear that you weren't welcome any more, Cyd. Not after what you did." The one named Gunther was advancing on her, with his friend trying to look tough and failing miserably. His weak goatee and hipster clothes gave him away immediately.

"Look, we went over this... Trevor..." Cyd looked desperately at both of them. "I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do, please just let that stay behind us..."

"Fuck that, and fuck you Cyd."

The second one seemed to have found his balls. His fairly boring and vulgar insult resulted in a vidibly shaken Codex, who simply closed her eyes, shaking her head. "I'm sorry."

Fawkes watched as she seemed to melt into the wall - the same girl who he'd seen verbally bitchslap her entire guild was just... giving up. "You ruined my career! You tore apart the band - all because you were so goddamn jealous of my Talent!"

Each epithet seemed to cause her physical pain, and Fawkes felt that same strange stutter in his chest. It was one thing for him to torment Codex and her little buddies, but this little worm was out for blood. She'd done something to get under the kid's skin, but he couldn't fathom what.

And then Trevor caughter her by the arm as she tried to flee. "I should never have wasted my time on frigid bitch like you!"

Ultimately, it was her pathetic soft "Please, let me go" that stirred him to action.


Cyd could feel the tears behind her eyes as Trevor laid into her.

What was I thinking? I'm not ready for all this, I can't do this. Not with Trevor, I just can't-

Her thoughts were cut short as she felt a familiar arm curve around her waist.

"Hey sugarkins, who's this?"

Fawkes. She sagged against him in relief as Trevor released her arm. "This-" she swallowed back the sob that had been rising in her throat. "This is Trevor. And Gunther." Never in her wildest dreams would Cyd have ever thought she'd actually be happy to see his infuriating face. But anything was better than having to face down her ex and the man he left her for just when she'd been foolish enough to think that she might just amount to something again.

"Nice to meet you gentlemen. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to steal our little star away, we have reservations."

Miraculously, Cyd watched as they both gaped, too surprised by the situation to continue their verbal assault. She plastered what she hoped was a smile on her face and turned to Fawkes. "Of course, darling. Wouldn't want to be late."

She let him lead her away, trying to parse exactly what had transpired and how it was that her fictional not-boyfriend came to what could only be called her rescue. And why she felt protected when she realized it was Fawkes who was standing behind her, the same jerk who had just days before mocked her for being a gullible idiot and an easy lay.

"So what exactly did you do to that guy?"

Cyd snapped out of her reverie as she realized they'd reached her car and Fawkes was looking at her, waiting for an answer. He held her loosely at her hip still, leaving them in close proximity as she fumbled for a response.

"I ah.... well...we were dating and he cheated on me and..."

She looked up into his bemused face and realized the idiocy of what she was about to say.

"I may have set fire to his cello."

"Cyd Sherman!" she saw genuine admiration cross his features. "Had I known before about your devious and... pyromaniac nature, I may just have recruited you for the Axis."

She started at the use of her real name, until she remembered her bio page in the program. "It was an accident." she mumbled.

"So what about Mr. Tightpants with him? A bit of moral outrage on the behalf of the cello?"

"That's ah... that's the guy he left me for. I guess they're... together now, or something. I don't know."

She couldn't entirely blame him for the stunned laugh in response. It was funny, in a horrible wretched way.

A moment of silence passed and she cleared her throat, still acutely aware of that strange warmth in her middle. "Well hey, thanks for getting me away from them."

"Well, if you can't count on your fake in-game boyfriend to rescue you from your gay ex-boyfriend, who can you count on?" Cyd involuntarily grinned back as he smirked at her.

"Yeah, well, there you go." She started to fumble through her purse for keys, suddenly flustered by how comfortable this all was.

You are not actually dating, Cyd. Stop grinning at him like an idiot. Just stop!

She felt cool metal at the bottom of her bag and brandished her keys in front of Fawkes. "Right, well. I should be going. But, thanks, I'll see you around in the game, I guess."

"I'm sure you will...." he released her briefly and she breathed a sigh of relief until she heard his voice again, deep and husky in her ear as he leaned forward, letting his hand drift down her side.

"And Cyd, that is one hell of a dress. I approve." his fingers played at the lace of her stocking, sliding softly over the bare flesh of her leg revealed by the slit in the dress. Suddenly, she was on fire, as if his touch had kindled that warmth deep in her belly into an inferno.

By the time she was able to catch her breath, he was already gone.

(Deleted comment)
Kat, as in Feline.fortuna_juvat on September 4th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)
The antici-------pation? :)

(Deleted comment)
fickery: Codex Fawkes phonesexfickery on September 2nd, 2010 02:46 am (UTC)

A couple of my favorite lines:
You are a confident and self-affirming hero of your own destiny.

She'd grabbed the whorish dress.


I really really hope you are inspired to write more fic for us, because of the AWESOME. :-)
Kat, as in Feline.fortuna_juvat on September 4th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC)
Oh good, I worried about the whorish dress line. It was just so freakin' Cyd, I was reluctant to change
Cordelia Fitzgerald: codex and fawkes6reen6ables6irl on September 2nd, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
the sexiest girl on LJzelly_21 on September 2nd, 2010 03:03 am (UTC)
Oh my Lord, this is so perfect! I love word, every line, every single punctuation mark~

My favorites:
It was one thing for him to torment Codex and her little buddies, but this little worm was out for blood.
I always love when someone does the "S/he's a pain in the ass, but s/he's my pain in the ass!" bit. And it fits Fawkes so perfectly, I bet he really means it.

Naturally wavy hair. You have naturally wavy hair.
I love that you brought back her mantra! Even if she did come dangerously close to a mental breakdown in that episode, at least she learned something from it!

She loved it, obviously.
As much lulz as I get from her working with Bladezz, I really wish she could go back to being a violinist in the show. I think this fic is the first one I've read that incorporates her love of playing music.

"Hey sugarkins, who's this?"
Obnoxious pet names for the win! :D

But really, I loved every bit of it. It actually makes the show make a bit more sense - Fawkes seemed to have reversed himself awfully easily, but this fixes that. Please write more!

While I'm thinking about it, I can't help but wonder if, since he brought up the role-play thing, maybe that's how they're going to resolve it. Fawkes woos Codex, then talks her into helping him tick off the rest of his list!
Kat, as in Feline.fortuna_juvat on September 4th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC)
Someone definitely needs to write that role-play fic. I am no use at the outright sexy stuff.
seren_ccd: Eleven/Amy TIE!seren_ccd on September 2nd, 2010 08:23 am (UTC)
LOVE THIS SO MUCH! Oh, my gosh, this is so much fun. Oh, Fawkes.
culf: Privat chat?culf on September 2nd, 2010 09:33 am (UTC)
I love it!

Fawkes may be a douchebag, but he's not quite as cruel as he likes to pretend. I'm glad he stuck up for Codex.

That hint of something possibly going down in the future was great. It actually makes it seem more likely that he wants to be with her than if he'd gone straight home with her. He's prolonging it, and there's no way he's not coming back at some point after that.

Once again, great fic! It left me with my mind spinning around different scenarios as to what might happen next.
Kat, as in Feline.fortuna_juvat on September 4th, 2010 04:13 am (UTC)
I'm pretty damn excited and I have an inexplicable 72 hours off from work (save for emergency backup call) so we'll see what I can pound out before tuesday. :)
Purpleyin/Hans: breathmissyvortexdv on December 27th, 2013 09:59 pm (UTC)
Really fantastic first chapter. I love seeing more of her life outside the guild business.