It’s the scent that stops you - pulls you up so short you nearly stumble, nearly fall on the dirty sidewalk. It’s a scent of metal and sweat and something dark and loamy and something resinous, and something you have long ago stopped trying to name and have just tagged in your head as Not From Around Here.
You were walking down the street. Just walking to walk, to be out in cool night air, just needing motion of some kind. When you’re never getting back to where you really want to go, it doesn’t really matter where you do go. With no destination you can reach, it’s fine to have no direction. So it takes you a minute to figure out where exactly you are, a long minute while giggling girls push around you like you’re the rock in their stream, toss what’s-wrong-with-her looks over their shoulders and forget you in the next instant. A long minute of resolving your location, and the door next to you opens and out spill a herd of men talking too loud and a concussive blast of noise that you realize is music; the men smell of sweat and booze and tobacco, but that other scent wisps out not from them but around them, streaming silver and ribbonlike out, out, out to somewhere else.
You catch the door and slip inside, into darkness and noise and too much of everything, and you breathe, just breathe, as your eyes adjust. Bouncer’s watching you with arms folded and eyebrow cocked and you fumble out a few crumpled bills and your ID, and he grabs your hand - your instinct is to pull away and you almost do, but you force yourself to be ever so still and he rolls a wet stamp over the back of your hand, a star that glows purple, and he lets go and jerks his head to motion you back.
You catch the scent again, and follow, follow right up to the edge of the dance floor; you smell him before you see him, and when you see him your fingers fold around the metal rail and you just watch, silent and very still.
The first thing you see is that he matches his scent perfectly, so perfectly that even if you could smell nothing now you still would know him. He moves like he smells. He is grace, he is a ribbon of light in darkness, he is a shining thread of something else. His hair is long and it swirls behind him in strands of silvercoppergold in the lights, long and straight and shining, moving with him almost as if he’s underwater. He moves so perfectly with the music that you would not be surprised to find that the song was written for him, only him. There are other people on the floor, but none that you get more than the vaguest impression of, because he glows. He is slightly displaced, slightly more and less real than his surroundings. He is tall and slim and silver and he smells like somewhere far away, somewhere you have never been, somewhere that he once called home.
Before he was stranded here.
The music stops.
He stumbles like you did outside - not quite like you, because he only does for half a heartbeat. But it is enough for his grace to dissipate, for his glow to become just a flash of light on his fair hair. He opens his eyes and heads for the bar.
So do you, but you don’t stand by him. You wouldn’t dare, not you, not ever; you could never approach him. He is like you, yes, but not like you
; he is as untouchable as the unbroken people you can never even bring yourself to speak to.
He orders a drink and leans over on the bar, forearms braced, head down, all that hair spilling over his shoulders. You’re close enough to see metal glint in his hair, and you study him, trying to figure out what that is - small charms, braided in? - And he looks up suddenly, and you can’t look away in time.
He is beautiful, yes, but so very tired. His smile is just the barest twist of his mouth, the ghost of a smile, the social obligation, but you can’t return it - you are just frozen.
And suddenly there is a hand on your shoulder - you turn, and it takes you a moment to recognize the girl even with her bright pink hair. Someone you know, someone you’ve been with. She’s talking and you can barely hear her, and by the time you turn back he is turning away, pushing off the bar with both hands; he is walking past you, walking out the door, and his scent twists in the air and in your gut and he does not look back.
Fingerless mitts by Shira! The pattern is Cherry-Red Handwarmers by CreativeYarn; the yarn is KnitPicks Gloss DK, a wool/silk blend. These aren't snug on slim-wristed me; they're pictured on Adam, and will be best for men and women who aren't bird-boned. Based on my character Aaron from Cicatrix, who would wear them out dancing. So should you.Bid here
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(You get three previews today, as I have too much stuff to highlight everything during the 'thon itself.)
1 : a scar resulting from formation and contraction of fibrous tissue in a wound
2 : a mark resembling a scar especially when caused by the previous attachment of an organ or part.)