Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Prompt Fic: Fair Deal

I asked a word generator ( for four words, and it gave me:

Hn. Okay, let's see what I can do with it...


Dariel was playing the violin again. The notes shivered through the thin air and lodged in Arved's spine until he wanted to scream. He gritted his teeth until the song was done, and then sighed in relief. Now, maybe--

Dariel started a new song. Something with a lot of high-pitched, wobbly notes that made Arved's ears want to scrunch up and pull inward, like testicles in a cold shower. He couldn't take it any longer, he just couldn't. He stamped into the break-room. "By all that's holy, will you please just stop?"

The noise ceased as Dariel stared at him, bow still poised over the strings, eyes comically wide and dismayed. Relief and guilt washed over Arved in equal measure. "I'm just... It's just so... It sets my teeth on edge."

"But... But Mik has a guitar, and you like that," Dariel sputtered.

Arved shrugged. "Only sometimes. And the sound doesn't have that..." No musician, he struggled for the words. "...kind of a hiss? From the bow. Makes all my hair stand on end."

"Oh. So this--" Dariel plucked a string with a fingertip, "--doesn't bother you?"

"Not as much. I really don't like music that much anyway. I just like quiet."

"I'm sorry." Dariel laid the violin carefully in its case and looked back up at him. "Tell you what: if you'll take my walkabout shifts, I'll hold off practicing until you're outside. Fair?"

More than fair; Arved loved walkabout shifts like no one else anyway, and he knew Dariel hated them. He sagged slightly as relief won out, and grinned. "Fair, and deal. Why'd you bring a violin to a spacestation, anyway? I mean, Mik's guitar's nothing special, wouldn't cost more than a couple hundred to replace it if it got smashed. But aren't violins a little more expensive?"

"By about an order of magnitude, yeah. But this isn't my good one; she's back home. The acoustics here are pretty lousy anyway. Though the low humidity makes for a nice, crisp sound fresh out of the box."

"Then why?"

Dariel shrugged and grinned. "Just something to do in my off-shift, really. My other hobbies, back home, are gardening and pottery. I mess around in the hydroponics section sometimes, but I don't think Kalen likes me too much. And enough clay to be useful would have really exceeded my weight allotment."

Arved chuckled appreciatively. "If Kalen even lets you in the hydroponics pod, she likes you, trust me." Without the violin's screeching to put his back up, Arved was beginning to notice Dariel's fine profile, and the pure, snapping black of Dariel's eyes. "Ah... Well, my hobby is cooking. How about I make dinner for us, sometime, and we can figure out something else to do with your off-shifts?"

Dariel's eyes sparked with amusement -- and maybe something more. "Fair deal."


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