marginalia: (Default)
disagree (1) ([personal profile] marginalia) wrote2010-09-02 03:00 pm

Fic: Two irregular stones (Deadwood, Jane/Joanie)

Title: Two irregular stones
Fandom: Deadwood
Pairing: Jane/Joanie
Rating: PG
Word count: 1075
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my Deadwood box set. It is fuckin' pretty, though.
Warnings: Mmm. Suicidal tendencies & public drunkenness, I suppose, both of which are fuckin' canon.
Notes: Thanks to M&S for the readthrough, as always! Anything remaining issues are all me, baby. Title taken ridiculously out of context from "Stepping Backward", by Adrienne Rich. Like you do. For [personal profile] jae_w in [community profile] femslash10



It had been a day or a week or a year since Wolcott crossed the threshold of the Chez Amie and destroyed the tiny corner of the earth that Joanie had worked up for herself. It wasn't the first time a man had done it, and she was sure it was far from the last.

That was about all she was sure of.

She sat on the bed in her small room at Shaughnessy's. She held perfectly still, a motionless and silent space above the eternal ruckus of the thoroughfare. She listened to her own breath in and out, the beat of her heart ticking away moment after moment. She imagined the shock of the crack of the gun, the splatter of brain and bone. It wasn't difficult. She'd heard it before. Seen it before. Done it before to other, younger, dumber versions of herself.

There are so many ways to die and Joanie had seen plenty of them. She'd certainly survived more than her share.

She set the gun aside. She'd survive this day too, though in the moment she could not say which was the greater act of cowardice.

::

Jane was snoring outside the Chez Amie, the inevitable bottle cradled in her arm, and Joanie paused, unsure if to wake her or to not wake her would arouse the greatest ire. Jane cultivated the appearance of being part wild animal, a wounded creature lashing out at anyone who had half a mind to be helpful, but that was far from the truth of it.

If Jane was anything other than herself, she was a young man of fourteen, lanky and awkward in her own skin, filled to the brim with bluster, hoping desperately to please but expecting to fail. Joanie remembered her on the day of the Ellsworth wedding, fidgeting in proper underthings and a high neck dress. Joanie was not quite sure who was protecting whom in their odd little arrangement. Perhaps it depended on the day.

::

It's been a long time since Joanie was shy about touching a woman, so long that when the feeling comes now it takes her some time to mark it. But Jane's not a woman in the same way the others were. She's different from the whores, of course, but she's not even like the girls on the riverboats, ducking into shadowy corners for a quick fumble and thinking themselves quite daring.

Jane's hidden under layers, even from herself, and if anyone were to touch her with affection she'd curl up like the potato bugs quick as lightening, turning a hard shell on the world. Joanie's seen past it. She can wait forever if she has to. It's the first time she's had anything worth waiting for.

She kissed Jane one night after sponging her down in the bath, Jane having as good as dared her into it. Jane shook clean through and didn't risk opening her eyes, but kissed her back with a fierceness that reached into the forgotten depths of Joanie, burning and frightening her in equal measure. Joanie pulled back and slipped away, putting distance between herself and greater risk, and when in the morning she found Jane asleep on the floor next to her bed she counted it as progress. Any night that found Jane choosing to look at a ceiling rather than the stars was a good night.

::

Charlie saw Joanie making her way down the street, skirts held just so, head high, golden curls tumbling under her glorious hat. There wasn't another like it in the camp, neither the hat nor the lady. He tipped his own, far less impressive topper to her as she crossed the thoroughfare, somehow managing to exist above the muck. He thought of how he'd found Jane drunk in assorted alleyways and piss puddles rather less often than usual of late, and of how there was a warm pelt coat being wasted over at the jail. He smiled.

::

Hickok's coat was heavy in Joanie's arms as she walked back from the jail. She gripped it tightly whenever it tried to slip away. There was little practical point to fastidiousness as the coat had surely acquired all manner of dirt and muck in its years on the trail, but Joanie would not be the one to soil it further. It wasn't just a coat or even a memory, but an offering. It was a gift from the past to the future.

Back in their room, she covered Jane with it as if she were a child, then curled next to her, reaching out and pulling her close. "Tell me a story, Jane," she said. "Tell me a story about Bill."

Jane hummed for a moment, thinking, and then began. Joanie only half-listened to the tale, which was almost certainly no more than half-true. Jane took her hand, and soon they were both asleep, dozing away the afternoon, the story resolving in dreams.

::

Jane, as should surprise no one, was full of stories. She was full of songs, too, which Joanie hadn't expected, and which Jane never sang if she knew anyone sensible was listening. She sang to the sick and to the children, two groups who kept them both plenty busy, Doc Cochran and Mrs. Bullock needed all the help they can get it seemed.

When Langrishe finally opened his theater in the former Chez Amie, he insisted they attend the premiere performance free of charge, so as to best appreciate the transformation of the space, "or some such fucking nonsense", Jane said. The troupe chose to begin with Shakespeare, which she found unsettling, holding her hat at her knee with one hand and Joanie's hand tight in the other.

"I didn't know it was going to be like that," she said in bed that night, "Girls dressing up as fucking boys and the other way round".

"Many seem to be that way, though heaven knows why that is," Joanie said. "I could ask for a loan of another such story from the school, maybe? To read aloud in the evening?"

"Mmm." Jane shifted closer and slid her hand across the soft curve of Joanie's belly. "Could do."

::

Life with Jane was a complicated dance, steps forward and back, and toes being trod on from both sides. Each time, however, the sojourn away was shorter and the time indoors longer. Joanie saw the twinkle in Charlie's eye and wondered how he possibly knew. "I didn't," he said. "I had two friends was hurting. Thought they'd hurt a bit less together's all."

They do hurt less, it's true, and as odd as they are and as convoluted as their paths have been, they're exactly where they're supposed to be.

(Anonymous) 2010-09-03 02:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Augh! You totally made me cry!!

-Kat
iceinyourmusic: (on the wagon [by call_me_daisy])

[personal profile] iceinyourmusic 2010-09-03 06:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, how lovely. Wonderful, spot-on little morsels of insight into both of the characters and what (and how) they are to each other. And v. nice style, too.

I especially liked this:

If Jane was anything other than herself, she was a young man of fourteen, lanky and awkward in her own skin, filled to the brim with bluster, hoping desperately to please but expecting to fail.

And then the second-to-last section, oh, yes yes.
deathofmyth: (Default)

[personal profile] deathofmyth 2010-09-04 02:03 am (UTC)(link)
Gosh, this is wonderful. It’s got the tone of the series down, and Jane and Joanie are both as they should be--wry and a little weary, a bit beat down. Here they find solace with each other. Very nicely done.
zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (Default)

[personal profile] zulu 2010-09-18 03:46 pm (UTC)(link)
This has such a great style to it! I love the little descriptive turns of phrase--every time I came across one, I had to stop and smile and admire the craft. It was a great read!