Electricdaisy Productions :: Nikutai no Yume

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Song :: Rainshine [ download ]
Artist :: Bran Van 3000
Genre :: reggae / punk / happy ethereal pop fusion
Comments :: BV3's Montreal-flavoured to a T, like Lili Fatale. Their newest album (which sold like hotcakes) is heavily party-oriented, but personal preference is for the laid-back grooves and clever lyricism of the last one. And like many Canadian outfits, they *do* have a sense of humour. ^_^

Song :: Kin no Utsuwa, Gin no Utsuwa [ download ]
 Artist :: Takada Satomi (Oniisama e OP theme)
 Genre :: intentionally retro jpop chanson
 Comments :: Opening to "Brother Dear Brother"... Lucky-find MP3 for the shoujo connoisseurs. :P I really love the tune to this, but then I was brought up on '70s-'80s enka.

 

Last watched :: "L.A. Confidential", "The Ninth Gate"

Currently listening :: Concrete Blonde, "Darkening of the Light"

Currently playing :: Vagrant Story (which is taking a rapid turn for the surreal - half my last gaming session was spent hiding behind Sydney's skirttails. o_O)

Currently reading :: Basara (past #22 tomorrow!), Martin Amis, "London Fields"

Profile

name :: Sabina

age :: hatachi ^_^

appearence :: [ natsuyasumi ]

sibling :: [ imouto-chan ]

domicile :: Montreal, where it snows in April, 16-yr-olds barhop and large bookstores carry manga in French

birthplace :: Shanghai, the city where they'd do anything (as opposed to Beijing where they'd say anything, and Canton where they'd eat anything ^.~)

alma mater :: McGill University

occupation :: RPG storyboarding, unpaid coding, website tweaking

indulgence :: novels, manga and anime, fanfiction written and read, MP3s, sleeping at odd hours, alcohol, mooching food, cooking

sign :: Pisces ascendant Venus + Metal Rooster = nasty chimera critter

keirsey :: iNTp (Engineer)

colour :: on me, lilac, violet, forest green and black; on others, whatever brings out the shade of their eyes and the highlights in their hair ^_^

perfume :: citrus / fruity floral (ex. Yves Rocher Orchidée)

flower :: intense, fragrant and seasonal (apple, lilac, magnolia, peony)

jewelry :: silver anklet

gem :: amethyst (birthstone), opal, moonstone, cat's-eye agate

season :: summer

animal :: Felis domesticus (a terrible misnomer). I live to be happily downtrodden by that privileged species :p

voted (by guy-pals) :: Washu

voted (by gal-pals) :: Crawford

guardian angel :: Tzaphkiel

anime series :: Berserk, CLAMP Campus Detectives, Card Captor Sakura, Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, Gundam Wing, Legend of Galactic Heroes, Rurouni Kenshin, Slayers, Shoujo Kakumei Utena, Trigun

manga series :: Angel Sanctuary, Basara, Five Star Stories, Fushigi Yuugi, Blade of the Immortal, Slam Dunk, X, Yami no Matsuei, Yuu Yuu Hakusho, Zetsuai/Bronze

ficcing series :: AS(?), FF7(and the rest?), FY, GW, Trigun(?), WK, YYH, Z/B

music :: Bran Van 3000, Nick Cave, Cibo Matto, Leonard Cohen, DEEN, Melissa Etheridge, Fantastic Plastic Machine, Gackt, Garbage, Globe, Guniw Tools, Oliver Haze, Kanno Yoko, Laruku, Gigi Leung, Lili Fatale, Sarah McLachlan, S.E.S., the Tea Party, Teresa Teng, Two-Mix, Uematsu Nobuo, Utada Hikaru, Faye Wong, the Yellow Monkey and various singles 'n' soundtracks

books :: [ partial list ]

non-alcoholic :: bubble tea, Coca-Cola Classic, Brio (viva Italia!), hazelnut coffee, peach Snapple, chai latte, pink grapefruit juice, green tea absolutely anything

alcoholic :: rum-and-Coke, gin-and-tonic, Irish cream, dark sherry, warm sake, Alsacian rosé, Hungarian white, gold tequila, merlot, cassis in sparkling wine

happy :: to know that one is living a moment of intense perfection; the sensation of drowning in beauty. Also, getting a favorable blurb on your work from a writer you yourself respect *^_^*

sad :: that time is slipping through my fingers, that there is nothing I can do to stop it - and that perhaps it is my fault

Contact

ICQ :: 67820805

AIM :: WingPetronia

Layout

From a Japanese film called "Otogirisou" (St. John's Wort), scanned out of the FantAsia film festival booklet. The film was pretty run-of-the-mill, but the atmospherics of the house were wonderfully creepy. ^_^

Archives

09/08/01 - 19/08/01
24/07/01 - 07/08/01
16/07/01 - 23/07/01
09/07/01 - 15/07/01
01/07/01 - 07/07/01
21/06/01 - 30/06/01
19/05/01 - 19/06/01
22/02/01 - 17/05/01
17/12/00 - 14/02/01
07/11/00 - 16/12/00

Other Blogs

apocrypha of st.heero (Suze)
basic black (Priya)
bishounenink [ Joy | Tenshi ]
encircled (Charmian)
handbasket (Talya)
joliefolie (Lu-chan)
keieru
kelemenopy (Thea)
in the tradition of lunatics (Sarah)
signal 11 (Erin)
sisyphus descending (Soma)
technomancy
velvetpaws (N-san)

Pitas.com! 

 

Saturday, August 25, 2001
08:42 p.m.

Lawd, I never want to see food ever again @_@

Thirty courses. Possibly thirty-five. All served in exquisitely presented appetizer portions, because the groom very sensibly headed off awkward seating arrangements at the pass by dictating a cocktail-party reception. The groom was British, btw, and the bride French-Canadian Nipponophile, so the food was Euro-Japanese fusion méli-mélo: scallop tempura with strawberry-pistachio coulis, ginger-tuna tartare, venison meatballs gratiné, that sort of thing. Heavy on the cream and the goat cheese. I ate myself nearly sick. XD It didn't help that I had to be driven up to the boondocks of northwest Laval and back down to Chinatown in Wasim's suspensionless crittercar, bounce bounce all the way. Oooh...

(The underwire made it worse, too. I only own one strapless bra, so there wasn't much choice in the matter, but really there's no excuse for a 32B *anything* to be underwire. >_< It's not as if it *works*, if you catch my drift. My ancestors figured out millennia ago that the most comfortable and efficient support for a girl with run-of-the-mill Asian boobs is something that wraps around the chest area and holds one *flat*. But try feeding that line to the North American population at large, let alone lingerie makers.)

I've digressed, haven't I? :P Well, they did indeed play a looped tape of Uematsu-sensei at city hall, and the champagne came with these little embroidered pouches full of Kyoto candy. (Yum.) And... I caught the bouquet! O_o; I went and stood in the very last row, but it sailed over the heads of all the other girls. I've got it in a vase to dry on the dining table - white roses. It's just as well Tania's out of town, or she'll never let me live it down. XD

Suze: zui(4)jia(1) qian(2) nuyou, near as I can figure. 'Best previous girlfriend', as one would say 'best supporting actress'. I almost said zuijia qian*ren*(4) nuyou because of the rhythm, but that would be 'last ex-girlfriend' - with connotations of 'ex-chief of staff'. *Wufei* just might say it that way, actually, if it's not crediting him with more of a sense of humour than it's in his nature to display. XD

And yes, most people speak Mandarin with some sort of accent. In a certain sense, *everyone* speaks Mandarin with some sort of accent, because it's like BBC English: who really talks that way except BBC telecasters? ^^; Even a real Beijing accent isn't exactly textbook Mandarin, if it's spoken a little broad on the tongue-rolling. (FTR I have a heavy Shanghai accent myself: perfect tones, but all rolled fricatives lacking. 'ch'->'c', 'sh'->'s', etc.) OTOH if you speak standard Mandarin out of a textbook, 99% of people will just assume you're from Beijing or environs. They might even be admiring - it's an educated and pretty accent. You can have all the colonies speaking classic Mandarin if you want, but the mainland gov't has been trying to standardize speech for 50 years, and all they've managed is to make everyone bilingual in down-home dialect and mangled Mandarin. XD Not to mention it's the Southerners who diasporize traditionally, although space probably removes the seacoast factor. (*Real* classical Chinese is closer to Cantonese than Mandarin, but don't get me started on the heavy-duty linguistics.)

As for chopsticking, I doubt there are regional variations, but there *is* baby-chopsticking and grown-up-chopsticking. ^^; I can't tell the difference myself, but my mother insists that both my father and I hold ours like five-year-olds.

...It's so cool that you're taking Mandarin. :)

W2... actually, I think I'll just mail you. :P I have a gazillion Angel Sanctuary summary/rants saved up in a folder somewhere, just ripe for the occasion. And - Alexiel would never wear a feather boa with leather pants. That's Rociel-sama all on his own. XD

(Know what I've always wondered, though? Where Raphael gets his cigarettes. I mean, the mortal plane is in stasis, they couldn't possibly *grow* baccie fields Up There - or could they? o_O)

They didn't have the end of Basara in at the rental shop. Grr. Guess I'm *not* the only one reading the series after all. :/ So I got Lu-chan some CCS and myself some PSoH - which my *father* is now reading. My father reads all the manga I bring home, as long as the story and artwork are reasonably good: ex. Blade of the Immortal, and (embarrassingly) Zetsuai. He would have been such an otaku fanboy if he hadn't been born in '50s Communist China.

Friday, August 24, 2001
11:08 p.m.

Wedding tomorrow

Not mine, though. :P I've been invited to the nuptials of a Squaresoft employee I've never met, although I'm told she's the reason once removed that I'm playing Vagrant Story - she worked on the European localization and convinced our mutual friend to buy the game. Rumour is the groom dislikes the common Bridal March, and they'll be playing the ending theme to FFX instead (isn't there supposed to be a wedding in the game?). So I said, this I've *got* to see. XD

I've been remiss, haven't I? Can't even look at my mail. Erin: I know yours was in there. You've prolly worked on it oodles more. Sumanakatta... ;_;

Lorraine: Thanks, darling, I'm quite recovered. ^_^; Bad beer and worse air were all. At least the semi-definite version of the fic is trickling out (see the last entry for a comprehensible version of the first part).

W2: hope the whole Tzaphkiel/Anael/Laila/Sebothtarte backstory business is scanning well. I remember having to wade through that part three times just to gain a proper understanding of what *happened*, and I was reading in my mother tongue. ^^;

D: my keys are your keys, just water the daisies on the dashboard from time to time. XD Tho' I wouldn't say my talent was for description so much as it is for padding - what I have in my head is cinematography, I just stick whatever's necessary in the text to keep the paragraph moving. It's one of the reasons I find writing such an awful slog at times.

Some weeks ago everyone was posting essays on their ficcing method. I didn't - because 90% of what I do doesn't seem to fall under the header of 'writing'. A lot of it is shifting punctuation marks around. Then there's crossing things out and replacing them with synonyms (on one of multitudinous copies printed in eyestrain-sized font to save trees); cutting bits of description out and pasting them into a passage three pages down to see if they sound better there; and the crowd favorite, cribbing my parents' booze to dull the masochistic wretchedness of the work. -_-; And then I go through the process again. And again. Five, ten times... and every round the frame gets padded with a few more sentences where the flow demands it, and thus the fic grows. I don't write and then edit, in other words, I edit *as* I write - meaning that my first coherent draft is very close to the final one, and everything before is a meaningless jumble of crosshatchings. I do have Inspired Days like anyone else, when the process runs like clockwork lightning (i.e. 10k/day ^^;), and in general every word from those sessions is kept verbatim. But mostly it's brutal hackwork. My dirty secret is that I don't *really* care about the meaning of the words. Plotbunnies are a dime a dozen, and I murder mine regularly for the sake of a pretty turn of phrase. If I can't manage said pretty turn of phrase, on the other hand, I sulk for a very long time indeed. XD

Watched Polanski's "The Ninth Gate". Noted with surprise that it was adapted from the Perez-Reverte novel the imouto-chan's been reading for ages, except with all the Dumas bits cut out. ^^; It's to be hoped that the book's ending makes more sense, although the film was magnificently creepy... Thank small mercies for Johnny Depp's French. Cameron Diaz's attempt at Japanese in "Charlie's Angels" broke my brain, and I still haven't taken it in to be fixed.

As for "L.A. Confidential", they cut half the plot, three-quarters of the smut, and made all the characters much more likeable than Ellroy's versions. But the casting made up for it. And *damned*, but that was a great gunfight at the end. XD

Friday, August 24, 2001
07:49 p.m.

In great haste

Updated NnY. (Pigs flew, hell froze over, and Koizumi converted Dubya to j-rock - I wish.) The first nine pages of tBD are consecutive and legible. And *now* I have to go eat dinner before my family clobbers me. -_-;

Thursday, August 23, 2001
04:29 p.m.

So... tired...

Livejournal is down. Kekkai is down... Throat feels like grade A sandpaper, head feels like it was stuck full of dirty cotton wool instead of brains. Last night's fault, mostly - that and all the plastics factory air I've been breathing today. A potentially lucrative contract if I can deliver... the first stage is no problem, but what they really need is a technical jack-of-all-trades, and although I can set up a network for'em the idea of having to rebuild their databases (a distinct possibility) makes me giku-giku. Oh well. Web design first, then we'll see.

And as for last night, that was me in a barn-shaped Pointe-Claire beer joint packed with white 'burban kids, downing a pitcher of Molson by myself within the space of forty minutes. I was thirsty, after DDR (which I am prodigiously bad at), but all the same I don't know how I let myself be talked into these things. Free drinks are all very well, but when it's just *not* your scene... -_-;

Basara #22 left off grappling the cliff's edge with the fingernails of one hand. T_T Ever since #18 or so the warfare and politicking aspect of the plot has gotten... choppy, somehow, with very little set-up and so much cutting back and forth between characters and timeframes that it gets confusing. (And there are *so* many characters. Here I thought Angel Sanctuary suffered from overload. ;_;) One gets the sense that she's not letting the story breathe, because if she did it would woosh out to 35 volumes or so. Abbreviated, everything rushing toward a single conclusion... I must say Tamura does suspense extremely well. With other writers one can generally tell when a character is about to be killed off for good; with her I can't say. Sometimes the worst happens, sometimes it doesn't, and the reader on tenterhooks all the while. I am not best pleased with the events of the last volume, though. *weeps*

(Not to say there aren't very pretty passages in the last few volumes, because there are. It's just that before they melded into the grand adventurous scheme, and now they stand out in the midst of the general hurly-burly. Like the scene between Sarasa and Asagi in the ruins of that island fortress: the fever-dream, the ghostly past, the duel... A page or two to get you there, a page or two to get you out, and before you've caught your breath a whole other battle is being fought. But in between!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2001
06:55 a.m.

Manga! Manga!

Finally got around this week to reading the Kodansha Bilingual edition of Card Captor Sakura I got for my sister. Glad I did, because it's rather different from the anime: less card-chasing, more 'shippiness all around. I'm up to vol.6... discussed the finer points at dinner (red-cooked salmon, sparkling white wine) with my sister, who'd spoilered herself an age ago with on-line summaries on her way to setting up one of those unusably pretty fansites with a bazillion little frames. (It's a stage, she'll grow out of it - she's prime fangirl age, after all. ^_^;) Something to do with Clow Reed's motivation: why create all that he did, the way he did? Why the cards, why a Cerberus, a Yue? Why set up the entire system - dispersal, judgment - if he'd loaded the dice from the first? (Kaho.) Because he knew Yue would have issues? Because he knew the end was coming and had to get his affairs into order? (Assuming he didn't die in an ill-fated explosion while cooking up a domino set. XD) Again, why the cards? For fun? Something in my bones tells me it was for fun, for the joy of feeling the magic at one's fingertips wake to breath and wing, of giving name to what was yet was not. What would I have done if I were Clow Reed?

Sabina: I *know* what I would have done if I were Clow. Heh heh heh heh. H_H
Lucinda: -____-;;;

Well, seriously. Say you were CLAMP. You have the ability to create your own bishounen, and are paid to exercise it. For the love of the lord, why would you ever leave the house? XD

*and Winamp rotates up Forever Love*

One element that's more apparent in CCS than any of CLAMP's other series, because there's less uber-angst and world-destruction to muddy the waters: the utter lack of preconception relating to sexual orientation. Readers of yaoi/shounen-ai manga series (I don't, not often) come back talking about Yaoi-World, in which all the women have disappeared except for the rare little sister and harpy-like rivals screeching about unnatural tendencies. Meanwhile, the good ladies have CLAMP-World, in which there is simply no qualitative difference made between m/f, m/m and f/f. No suspicion attaches to homosexuality in and of itself; there's nothing *there* to be remarked upon. X is Y's "Special Person", end of story. No surprise, no recrimination, no fighting against one's own closeted confusion or the prejudice of society. It's incredibly warm and fuzzy and comforting, like a peek at the utopian society we should all be living in.

And I don't even consider shounen-ai/yaoi the real bees in CLAMP's bonnet. Those would be may/december relationships and romantic love between mature women (mothers, in several cases), to which the attitude I stated above fully applies. But of course, no one ever starts up a flame-free discussion on *those* topics, because we're all blinkered yaoi fangirls. -_-;

Something else I've been reading: Blade of the Immortal #11. Makes up for #10's lack of Rin or Anotsu with priceless scenes of... Rin *and* Anotsu. O_o; "Go sit over there and watch"-- I almost died. Rin and Anotsu. Magatsu and Manji. What is wrong with this picture? @_@

And I do like the new dame - Hisoka, isn't it - but she is *so* doomed, alas. And why do I have the feeling that Shira's going to be back... again? >_<

Basara... tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 21, 2001
05:29 a.m.

Social blogging

Suze: regardless of whether the Japanese creators botched the meaning they were aiming for - they probably did - Wufei is a perfectly smart-sounding Chinese name. ^_^ For instance, one of my father's university mates and now NYC artist/fashion designer is named Chen Yifei ('one fly'). It's a mainland sort of name, with a vaguely socialist, race-to-the-moon anti-Star-Wars ring to it, but then most of the praenomen of the period did. They gave you a party-approved list of hanzi to pick from. ^^; We also know people named Sanping ('three balanced'), Shifang ('four directions'), and so forth. It just makes people think you were the Xth boy to be born in your generation to the clan, or that your grandpa was into Tao mysticism.

Charmian: I categorize my series in much the same way. I'd put most/all of CLAMP into the first, myself, along with Esca, Blade, Berserk, AS, FSS, Trigun, Utena, Bebop and probably Basara. In the second are RK, Slayers, FY, GW, PSME, Slam Dunk and WK. YamiEi I'm sure is in the first - by all the criteria you noted - but YYH and Z/B I'm not certain of. That's excluding one-offs, and just the series I've finished/am up to date with and would consider re-watching/reading, not everything I've seen. ^^; Note how all the shows I've written successfully for are in the second. If the canon said it all, I'm damned well not going to bother. XD

On another front... People who know me, know I have no sense of direction. I am Girl!Ryoga sans kerchief or porcine disability. I get turned around by walking into a shop and walking out. My friends have learnt not to assume I know where I'm heading, especially if I'm conversing at the same time as I'm walking. So it was that approximately 3.5 seconds into m'friend G's Snowfly Forest of Doom (he ranted about this level in VS for months), I gave a nod and a smile, handed the controller to my sister and hunkered down to draw myself a map. With connector dots. And it worked. XD

Add to that the fact that we didn't get massacred by dragons or elemental spirits... I think I'm finally getting the hang of this game. Decided I like Samantha (how, Ashley's talent for synching with beautiful women must be envied down at the pub XD). Didn't nobody tell me Grissom was Irish, though.

Monday, August 20, 2001
06:19 a.m.

More website tweaks

Cleaned up the potential 404s on Tomodachi and added comment links at the bottom of the stories on NnY, as per Inarae's suggestion an age ago. ^^; Rotated the front image of my da's webpage to the famous tale of King Chu bidding farewell to my mom - I mean his concubine. But she looks a lot like my mom. XD

I have money coming in. I have contractual difficulties of which I shall spare you the tiresome details. I also have fic, since I found to my surprise today that a section of tBD I thought didn't scan... does. Tags onto the end of the 23/06 entry (which in itself has been re-written, but never mind), and followed by the 10/06 entry. And if you're following closely - with this I'm a passage or two away from seventeen consecutive pages in tBD, or two *postable* sections for wkyaoi. ^_^v W00t!

Before school starts, she promises, before school starts...

********

A click, probably a Bic lighter. The darkness of the senses lifts somewhat. The soundtrack includes, now, the muted whirring of a tape deck; the scrape of a chair as its occupant straightens. The same voice says, "you mean it was a probe."

"Not exactly. Controlled contact, certainly, but in all other respects... a crude approximation. Primitive..."

"Untrained."

"Yes."

"You recognized it immediately."

"I was shielded. I did some work with empaths during my course of study at the Institut. I was specifically trained to differentiate—"

"Yes, I understand." Paper rustles. The wilful obscurity retreats further: there is a desk on which they are piled, an edgeless surface of polished gleaming wood. There is a taste of cigarettes to the air. “You shield yourself as a matter of course?”

“To a basic extent, yes. It serves to reinforce my training. The exercise of my talent is dependent upon rigorous control if it is to be of appreciable use.”

“I see. But this still must have been unexpected.”

“It was.”

***

The wall at his back brought him up short. Crawford took a measured breath, centering himself, but did not lower his gun. His gaze flickered from side to side, searching for the intrusion's source: found nothing.

"Who's there?" he said aloud.

Laughter. Laughter without sound – and a vision flared in his mind, the image as bright and diffuse as fire.

Crawford lowered his gun slowly.

The corridor was dim, cluttered and shadowed by bric-à-brac: bibelot tables, statuary, rhododendron fronds overhanging the nacred lip of a Chinese vase. Its only illumination came from the chandeliers beyond the half-ajar doorway. Crawford could hear snatches of laughter from the salon, conversation... He waited, shuttering his sensorium within himself as he'd been taught, but the teasing touch did not return. There was only the low steady ticking of a clock from the study behind him, and a similarly nagging sensation of presence. Seconds passed.

Was he mistaken? Surely he couldn't have—

A glint of light.

Telltale, eye-catching in the penumbra, near the floor beneath one of the ubiquitous painted-silk folding screens. Crawford stared, keeping his mind carefully empty, and the errant spark resolved itself—

Into spinning gold—

A heart-shaped charm. A chain about a slender white ankle, shadowed behind the panel's base.

Crawford took several rapid steps and reached into the darkness. There was laughter again, real sound this time, and warm hands caught him by the sleeve and pulled him behind the screen, against a warm slim body.

"You found me," the voice said close to his shoulder. It is a boy-voice, pitched unexpectedly low: mocking, Crawford thought. "Congratulations, mein herr."

***

"Invasive telepathy," the man says. A hand pushes a stapled sheaf of papers across the desk. "Rarely encountered in the field, and never at such an advanced age."

"I had only a rough idea of the ramifications at the time." There is light; there had been light all along. Crawford is seated before the desk, posture alert and hands folded before him. He is careful to make eye contact. "I had been taught that it was a relatively rare talent, even within the sub-group of psi communicants."

"You didn't attempt Sondeheim's Number Test?"

"I wasn't aware there was a distinction to be made. I assumed that I was in the presence of a strong empathetic talent, naturally."

"You are conversant with the Dufort and Castegnella cases?"

"I've researched them, yes."

"At the time?"

"No."

"Please continue, then."

***

It was a moment before Crawford thought to struggle, and so of course he did not. Instead he brought his other arm up and pressed the barrel of the gun against the base of the other's throat.

"No sudden movements," he said, and stepped backward. The – boy, it was a boy – dropped his grip on Crawford's arm as soon as they were clear of the screen, but Crawford continued backing up until his knees bumped the edge of a récamier pushed up against the opposite wall. His assailant leant back against the curving banister of the stairs, smiling widely in seeming delight.

"You won't shoot me," he said. "It'd make a mess for you, and I haven't done anything."

"Don't surprise me," Crawford said. "I don't take to it well." Twelve, he thought, and a moment later revised his estimate upward. He was slight, certainly, in the way of a boy who had not reached his growth spurt, but there was something in his face that appended a year or two. Fourteen. Very pale. Features that were – irregular, but striking. Triangular face, fine bones, wide mouth. Dressed in a dark, near-military-styled suit that made him look like a pre-war Gymnasium schoolboy, except for the open collar and the gold ankle-bracelet winking over bared feet. Mussy red hair, long enough in front to shadow his eyes. Crawford couldn't be sure in the half-light, but he thought they were green.

Talent said: not a danger. Not now.

Crawford holstered his weapon abruptly. His mind was working fast.

Only the strongest empaths were capable of active probes. It was a talent that developed young, a world of power away from the proliferation of minor sensitivity during puberty, and the window of opportunity before permanent damage was incurred was short: a few months, a year at best. The Institut sifted through referrals from psychiatric specialists across Europe and North America, racing continuously against time. Crawford had been taken to see the new arrivals as part of his training, so he'd recognize the psi signature in the field. Little girls of eight or nine or ten, in several cases eleven, in one case twelve. That one had retreated into herself by the time she was found; she screamed for hours if a hand was laid on her shoulder.

He'd read up on the more extreme cases in private, after that, and found nothing of use or danger to himself. There were only two accounts of true invasive telepathy verified by the Institut in the twentieth century. Both individuals, it seemed, had been discovered by the age of five; both were severely autistic. The immature nervous system had protected itself as best it could. A breeding program had been contemplated, and abandoned.

A boy of fourteen—

"Thirteen," the boy said. Crawford's reaction must have shown, because he ducked his head with the same soundless laugh; Crawford had thrown up too heavy a shield in that moment to tell whether it carried psychically. "You're... interesting, herr Bradley Crawford. Usually they think I'm too young, not the opposite."

His name. Crawford kept his breathing even. He could pick up numbers. There had been a diagnostic conducted in the Dufort case... "Usually?"

"When they see me," the boy said. He was still smiling. "A lot of boring people come through here. I don't like them, so I don't talk to them."

"I'm flattered," Crawford said, dry despite himself. He adjusted his glasses. "You live here?"

The boy shrugged.

"Does anyone else know that you can—" Crawford paused. A thought had come to him: does he realise what I'm doing here?

As if in answer, the boy held up a hand, palm forward. In it was Crawford's minitape deck.

Which should have been in his outside jacket pocket.

Crawford dismissed a ridiculous urge to reach for his holster. He adjusted his glasses again instead, not taking his eyes off the boy.

"There's nothing on that you'd be interested in," he said. "It has nothing to do with you." The boy looked unperturbed.

"But you're interested," he said. "Isn't that the point?"

Pause. "What do you intend to do?"

"Give it back to you, I guess." But he did not move. After a moment Crawford took a step toward him – and stopped. The boy only watched him, resting his elbows on the carved wood. His eyes were bright and calculating.

"You want it back, right?" he said. "What do you intend to do?"

Crawford moved quickly. The boy didn't even try to escape: he laughed and half-twisted his body, shielding the tape behind his back. Crawford reached down and gripped his arm, pinning him against the banister.

"Now—" he said.

The boy caught him by the front of his shirt, pulled him close and kissed him.

The unexpected warmth of lips against his own startled Crawford out of his original purpose – and in that moment something like instinct took hold of him, and he responded, leaning into the kiss. The boy's mouth opened to him, willing and unhurried: he tasted like sweet things, without the sweetness itself. Cinnamon, almonds, cardamom. Crawford fancied the scent would cling to the boy's skin as well. The faintest of aftertastes, elusive...

He was falling. It was untenable. His heartbeat was thundering in his ears. He clenched the arm under his fingers, hard, and broke the kiss. The boy blinked at him with jade-green eyes that filled his unfocussed vision; they were still close enough that his breath ran a moist caress over Crawford's lips. There was a flush on his cheeks.

"Don't stop," he said.

Crawford opened his mouth and found no name to conjure with. "You—"

The boy turned his head abruptly toward the salon door. "Oh, hell," he said, and before Crawford had time to react he'd slipped his grip and was darting up the stairs. Halfway to the top he stopped and tossed something at Crawford, who caught it by reflex: the minitape deck.

"I'll see you," he said, and disappeared into second-storey darkness. Crawford glimpsed a flash of gold and started forward unthinkingly, then stopped with his hand on the banister. A child, he told himself incredulously, a child. And following hard upon, the Organization would... Possibilities gripped at him, vertiginous.

"Herr Crawford?"

He turned, and the moment froze.

********

Sunday, August 19, 2001
04:26 a.m.

56 downloads? O_o

I don't think that many separate people visit this *page*. Better nobody be direct-linking my MP3s, you don't want me to hafta come down there... >_<

(As always, though, the last songs on the rotation stay linked for a few days from the archived page. This because I can't very well give warning when I'll be changing them.)

I'm kind of tired of the layout - again. Eep...