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Okay, so...here's the deal. I'm not sure what I want to do yet about my higher rated fics, but I've decided today that I'm going to unlock the lower-rated fics. I'll try to do that today and tomorrow.

Also, yesterday [livejournal.com profile] teaspoon14 reminded me of the fact that I had written her two ficlets last year. We are both in [livejournal.com profile] the_blank_slate RPG, a panfandom RPG set on a mysterious island where people just show up out of thin air. For the holiday season, we do Secret Santas and give our person various gifts (icons, paid time, fanmixes, layouts, headers, ficlets, kudos, etc). I don't think I ever put them over here, so...here I am, rectifying that.

Data has been on the island for one day, eighteen hours, thirty-seven minutes, and 0.27 seconds. Until this very moment, he had yet to have seen a life-form appear as if out of thin air, as they say. Air, certainly, can not be thin nor thick, no matter if it is troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, ionosphere, exosphere, or magnetosphere. The trophosphere, the lowest portion of Earth's atmosphere, is the densest layer of the atmosphere. Containing approximately 75% of the mass of the atmosphere, carrying most of the aerosol and water vapor, it extends from the Earth's surface up to the tropopause where the stratosphere, stratified in temperature with warmer layers higher up and cooler layers farther down, begins.

Standing on Tabula Rasa's shore (Blank Slate in the Latin), Data blinks as he watches a life-form, one that resembles a human male – thin, blond, square-jawed, appear. One moment Data was alone and in the next he is not.

"Curious," Data says, blinking. Data had not expected company. Perhaps the human – a quick scan with the tricorder confirmed he was humanoid – will be in need of salutations. He is not indigenous, after all, and providing comfort or familiarity is necessary.

"Greetings," he calls, approaching the man.

The man doesn't look at him; he seems to be engrossed with his shoes. He lifts one skinny leg, navy trousers hanging elegantly, and kicks his foot. Tiny granules of sand – silicon dioxide, limestone, chlorite, gypsum – spray before him, flying off a confidently-crafted shoe, dark in color.

"The sand is chaffing my leather Prada logo loafers," the man moans. Then he swiftly steps out of his loafers, produces a neatly and crisply-folded square of fabric (linen, ivory luster), lifts one loafer heel-first from the sand, and begins to buff it with the flax fibers. "Never in all my life have I stooped so low as to tread upon a public beach in Italian calfskin." As the man completes his speech, he lifts his small, oddly-shaped head and looks at his surroundings.

"Greetings," Data says again, noting that the man seems to be functioning normally, although his blood pressure may be rising slightly at this very moment. He extends his hand for shaking, and the blond man stares at it for a long moment before fastidiously wiping Data's palm with the fabric square before accepting it for a shake. The man's shake is slight, weak, and Data makes a mental note to test the shakes of other humanoids on the island; perhaps this humanoid is suffering from a malady.

"Greetings." The man smooths down the front of his jacket – expertly cut, clearly expensive – and straightens in a way that reminds Data of those who had desired to please Captain Picard. "I am Dr. Niles Crane, Psychiatrist. And this is surely....Saint Croix? Saint Lucia? Saint Vincent? Saint–"

"I am sorry, sir," Data says, "but no saints are part of this settlement. Tabula Rasa is its name. My name is Data, and I may assist you."

"Tabula Rasa," Dr. Niles Crane repeats, his thin nose wrinkling in a most curious manner. "I suppose it would be too much to expect the name has anything to do with the resort tab." He laughs and Data frowns.

"I do not understand."

Dr. Niles Crane stops laughing after 0.38 seconds have passed and looks upon Data with utmost seriousness.

"The resort here is quite expensive, I expect. This is a private island, I presume – judging from the cleanliness of the beach, the absence of annoying gulls and tourists, and the lack of primitive boardwalks sporting gimmick-ridden cotton shirts bearing vulgar puns and subpar craftsmanship and the repugnant aroma of 'dogs on a stick' and pastel candy floss."

Data cannot compute much of what Dr. Niles Crane has said, though one thing is certain: "Negative."

"Negative?" Dr. Niles Crane gasps, one hand clutching at his chest.

If he is having palpitations of the heart, there is nothing to fear; Data's memory banks contain log upon log of medical procedures.

"Oh, be still my racing heart! This is not a public island, is it? There could be germs. There could be transmittable diseases and I have not packed properly for this trip! Actually, I can't remember booking such a trip, but Maris did say she had a surprise in store for–"

"There are many people here," Data confirms. "The island is inhabitable and so it is public in nature." He cannot help but to feel sorry for Dr. Crane; the man seems to be taken by surprise. Data supposes he can understand what 'surprise' feels like; his own first moments on the island were indeed curious, although he is still adjusting to being a humanoid being with emotions himself.

"Many– people–" Dr. Crane begins to breathe quite strangely, his breath coming out in short, gasping bursts. He leans forward slightly, then wretches himself back. "Public– boardwalk– hotdog–"

And then Dr. Crane is face-first on the beach.

Cautiously Data stoops down to shake his shoulder.

Response is negative.

As Data rises, his tricorder falls to the ground. Retrieving it, Data dusts sand granules from its surface and begins to scan; he must test its accuracy. If there are errors, he will need to make the proper adjustments to fix it.

The readings are the same as before – the environment is Class-M and appears to be tropical in nature and Terran in origin – save for the reading regarding lifeforms. It shows one humanoid lifeform rather than two.

As Data does not feel differently than he had only moments ago and assessing his interactions with Dr. Niles Crane, Data can only conclude that his tricorder had been malfunctioning minutes earlier and now is functioning properly again.

When Dr. Niles Crane awakens, Data must inquire as to his sentient artificial lifeform classification.


**********************

Susan shouldn't have looked. Curiosity oughtn't be yielded to when it came to others' belongings. That had been what Mum had always said, hadn't it? It had been so long and Susan couldn't recollect specific things about home properly, but it certainly sounded like something Mum would have said.

Had she been quick and discreet about it, Susan would merely have placed the tunic she'd just finished (black, emroidered about the collar with the Starks' sigil), with Sansa's help, atop Jon's things, set the feathers she had reamed for fletching beside that, and gone on to the kitchen to prepare Sunday breakfast with nary to fret about.

But she hadn't been quick and she had looked. There, beside a pair of worn, threadbare breeches, had been a white cloak, one she hadn't seen Jon wear before. Though it was folded, a good portion of the embellishment showed; Susan didn't need but a moment to discern what it was: a large grey direwolf. The cloak was a bride's cloak. How long had Jon had such a thing?

The question played over and over in her mind as she left Summerfell, her sturdy shoes falling firmly against the ground as she ascended the path toward the compound. On her hand was the small wooden ring Jon had gifted her for her nameday. Though it was plain in appearance, it was more precious to Susan than any amount of gold or jewels. Knowing he had crafted it with his own two hands for her afforded the simple circumference its pricelessness.

When she had showed the ring to Sansa, talk had turned to the importance of rings in Earth customs and naturally the conversation had gravitated to marriage and wedding customs on Earth, in Narnia, and in Westero. While Susan didn't fancy herself as the sort of girl who had any interest in being married at the time, seeing the bride's cloak with her own two eyes had unsettled her for reasons she cared not to even admit to herself.

Lost in her thoughts, her stomach clenching unkindly, Susan picked up her skirts and hastened along the path. Perhaps losing herself in the preparation of food would take the edge off. She hadn't made strawberry tarts in some time; perhaps she could make them, they always went over well with the breakfast crowd–

"Su." The voice was one she had, shamefully, begun to forget, but in the moment it reached her ears after such an unkind absence, she remembered it in waves and colours.

Susan froze; were her ears deceiving her? Surely the island could not be so cruel as to taunt her in this manner?

"I say, have you forgotten me?"

No, she was not being taunted.

Her stomach unclenched as she pivoted, long hair flying behind her. There, long and lean and lordly as he leant against a solid palm tree, was Peter, looking well and quite resplendent in his royal clothes.

"Peter," she whispered. And then, unbidden: "Stay." She could not bear it if he left her again. Losing him once had been difficult. Losing him twice had been a fate worse than death. A third loss would be immeasurable in its destruction of her.

Peter stared at her for a long moment, his pale brow furrowing for an instant. And then Susan saw recognition light upon his face, and quickly she became encircled by his strong, sure arms. "Stay," he murmured against her hair. "Do not ask of me what I can no longer promise, Susan." The pads of his thumbs ran lightly along the line of her jaw on either side of her face, and she felt tears, hot and stinging and wet, well up in her eyes. "And do not cry, for you are meant to be here."

"And what of you, Peter? Lucy and Edmund are here; what of you?" Susan asked, her voice breaking. Lest she cry in front of her brother, her High King, she pressed her face against his shoulder. Inhaling his scent, she felt more at peace here and with herself than she had since he left.

"Susan." Her name was like a prayer upon his lips and Susan's heart skipped two beats.

Peter's hands were strong and sure as they cupped her cheeks, tilting her head back so she could properly see him.

"Peter," she said softly, scarcely daring to hope his answer was favourable; she could not endure disappointment again.

"I am no longer friend to Tabula Rasa, just as you are no longer friend to Narnia," he said carefully, leaning toward her. His breath rolled against and over her skin, and Susan inhaled deeply, his exhalations becoming her air, her lifeline, if only for one moment. "This is the way it is to be," Peter added, and then his mouth was upon hers, hot and longing yet gentle.

I cannot do this, a voice sounded in the back of Susan's mind, though she ignored it, smaller hands finding purchase upon Peter's shoulders, upon his nape, upon his scalp, fingers carding into his hair.

Mouth to mouth, soul to soul, blood to blood, brother to sister, King to Queen. Worlds away now and yet not at all.

"Su," Peter murmured, his lips moving against hers. "It is the will of the Lion." He placed a hand upon her heart and took one of hers to do the same to him. "Away I must, but I shall always stay with you here, just as you will in me."

Beneath her palm was heated flesh, sinewy muscle, and the heart of the greatest king Narnia would ever know, and she did not care for the will of the Lion, not at all.

Just then something minute and wet fell upon her cheek, and Susan raised her eyes to the sky. It was snowing. On the island.

"Peter," she breathed, the Lion momentarily forgotten. "Winter is coming. Queer, isn't–" As her eyes returned to the place where Peter had been, they settled on nothing. Like the protective warmth that had encircled her moments ago, he was gone.

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August 2013

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