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It’s up! The rest of Ch 13, with the Neko Atsume stuff and meeting Lakeisha’s family and getting some of her Tragic Backstory. We’re also getting more of James’s cyborg deal revealed. I promise that’s cooler than it sounds. 

Chapter 13, That’s All Right (Mama), and I’m so high on knockoff Mucinex that I’m starting to think I’ve already used that chapter title somewhere else so maybe I’ll fix that and maybe I won’t. Fuck, we’re all lucky if I haven’t just pasted the script from the Bee movie in there instead of the chapter I wrote, because I don’t know where my face is.

I am most proud of this line:

Lakeisha stared at him, and it was really good she’d transcended her physical form or there would have been more hitting. “You would love for this to be about that, wouldn’t you?”

Oh siblings. I love siblings. Also I might set a record for the number of times I have a character curse in one segment of dialogue. 

Also, Baghead Idiot: 

My dude literally has an actual figurine of this character on his keychain. He’s got a real name, but in our household he’s just called Baghead Idiot. 
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Chapter 12 of Full Of Grace: Alright, Okay, You Win

Natasha and Bucky’s sex tape, an Avengers’ Girls’ Night In, introducing Vision, and a bunch of debates on what makes a person a person. 

“This is a video of the Winter Soldier,” Jess said, “noted international assassin and agent of chaos, having sex in the back of a car with the legendary Black Widow.”

“You’d think it would be less boring,” Natasha said. “Oh, there I go again.” One of her feet appeared briefly above the back seat of the car as she rearranged position.

“Did you get off?” Jess asked.

“Psh,” Natasha said, “like eight times.”

“And that didn’t tip you off that he was showing off for somebody?” Jess asked, pained.

Natasha slid a look over at her. “It would have had to be unusual for it to tip me off,” she said. Sharon made a little choking noise. Jessica literally boggled at her.

Chapter 11

Nov. 24th, 2015 01:09 pm
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Full of Grace chapter 11 update: Can’t Help Falling In Love

In which there is a blanket fort, a renegotiation of terms, and the aftermath of a mission gone right. 
There’s also maybe some progress on the theme that was the original entire premise of the first fic in this series, Ora Pro Nobis: why James remembers a tragic love story with a long-past Natasha, but she does not remember ever having known him.  (That’s the thing with writing epic-length stories: I got themes, I know I do, but damned if I can remember to work them back in.)

Natasha watched the explosion in the rear-view mirror and thought to herself with grim satisfaction that, very occasionally, her job was kind of cool.

James, not driving, had the freedom to turn around and actually watch the explosion face-on. He startled her by letting out a whoop; she had to glance over to realize that the noise was genuine high-spirits. “That was the fuckin’ nuts,” he said, yelling over the noise of the engine. “Yeah! Eat fire, you fuckin’ Nazis!”

He cackled like a lunatic halfway back to civilization, and as they swapped their gear out at the stash point and pulled on civvies to blend in enough to make it to the safehouse unremarked he was still in refreshingly high spirits. “Fuck yeah,” he said, apropos of nothing.

“That one was pretty rewarding,” Natasha conceded.

“C’mon,” he said, “ain’t you even a little worked up?”

“I’m not the whooping type,” she said primly.

He telegraphed his next move so she didn’t fucking deck him, which she appreciated: he came toward her with his hands out, grabbed her by the ribs, picked her up and swung her around. She allowed a laugh, then grabbed him and shoved him against the side of the Jeep and kissed him hard.

He liked that, he opened right up for her and went sweet and pliant, and she grabbed him by the hair and manhandled him around. His eyes went dark, pupils huge. “Such a good boy,” she purred. They were at a shed in the middle of the woods, and it was the middle of the afternoon and there was nobody around for miles and they really should keep moving to make sure there was no pursuit, but—

She pushed him down onto his knees, and he stared at her like he was a dog and she had a treat— worshipful, hopeful, wide-eyed, avid. “You’re going to help me with this zipper, aren’t you?”
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Chapter Update: Full of Grace, chapter 10: If I Can Dream 

Sam Wilson is a superhero. And Natasha starts to think maybe they’re in over their heads. 

Content warning for discussion of suicidal ideation.

“I thought you were dead,” he said, blank-eyed. She retrieved the discarded grenade launcher– those things weren’t cheap– and started to walk back to the transport, but he was still standing there, so she doubled back and caught him by the arm. It wasn’t just his hand, his whole body was trembling finely.

“James,” she said. “Are you okay?”

“I thought you were dead,” he said again. “I couldn’t find you and I thought you were dead.”

“I’m better than that,” she said, a little crossly.

He blinked, and the expression he turned on her was so blank it didn’t look like he’d ever been a human. “Anyone can get unlucky,” he said.
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Inspired by this post, over a year later I’m finally publishing this story. Do Your Nefarious Worst, featuring Bucky protective-instincting the hell out of Clint, and Natasha turning this to her advantage. 

Natasha’s phone buzzed again. Steve, following up with, “Sometimes though when Bucky’s being a pain in the ass it’s so adorable I just want to fuck him silly,” and she bit her lip because well, it was kind of true.

She wrote back, “Both of them,” and looked up at them. Clint was watching her, doing the thing he did where he looked like he was a big stupid mutt but was actually analyzing probably fifteen things at once, none of which he’d be able to explain clearly how he knew. Bucky had settled into a patient glower that promised he could do this all night and never one time ease off his commitment to whatever course of action he’d initially decided on.

Well, he’d survived Steve Rogers somehow, and HYDRA after that, so he probably could do this all night.
“Ambitious,” Steve wrote back. “Go for it.”

“Is that a dare?” she texted him, nonchalantly tossing her hair back and climbing to her feet, stalking slowly down the steps. 

Her phone buzzed again in her hand. “Good conversation, huh?” Bucky asked. She quirked an eyebrow at him, and read the text. It was Sam.

“Yes that’s a dare,” Sam wrote, and followed it immediately with “PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.”

“I demand a forfeit in return,” she wrote back to Sam. “If I can do this I should be granted a boon.” But then she put her phone away and smiled savagely at Bucky.

“Yeah,” she said, “it kind of is, but not as good as this conversation could be.” 
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So I haven’t slept tonight, and that’s really annoying, and I’m too unsettled to do any real writing, so instead I dug up that damn missing scene.

And yeah, I never used it; I wrote it during the drafting process when I wasn’t sure how long Ora Pro Nobis was going to be or where I was going to go with it at the end. (And it ended up suffering, like all my attempts at writing fic for a challenge thing, from being really absurdly truncated at the end.) 

I wound up discarding the entire angle. But the image was good, or has somewhere within it the seeds of something poignant. Rigas Melnais Balsams, or Black Balsam, is sort of in the Jagermeister family, approximately similar to Fernet Branca; an intensely bitter herbal “digestive aid” type liqueur. It’s the sort of thing my dude’s grandfather drank. Traditionally, it is diluted with vodka– it is very high-proof and very bitter. Two parts vodka to one part Balsams is the accepted dilution. During the Soviet era, it was widely held that spiking terrible Soviet champagne with a liberal helping of Balsams made it just about drinkable, or made you incapable of caring, and either was acceptable. 

So here, have a salvaged scrap from a derelict storyline. Maybe I can rework it and use it; probably not, though, so here it sits for now. 

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