The Wrong Time to Visit the Supermarket

Author’s Note: So I did do this a while back, as part of a long story that is… oh, it’s a mess. I wish it wasn’t, but it has three arcs, I couldn’t pick one, kept thinking no one would want to read various parts of them, and so it’s all jumbled now and I even let myself skip around a bit while writing it, which is worse in some ways. I just… I have shared some with these characters before, but I was reviving the Kabobbles Sing Along Album Challenge again, and I randomly grabbed an album to pull out Melanie’s Stoneground Words. First song up was Together Alone, and I was going to do something with Dillon for this, but it fit to do Quinn, too, maybe even more than Dillon, and I wasn’t willing to start any new stories (tempted, but no) and so I picked out this section as it fit with the lines of

We’ll grow old, we’ll take care of each other
I’ll be your sister, your mother, your lover

and also, much more importantly, this part, as it is the betrayal Quinn’s forced to disclose here that did so much damage to him and his faith in everyone.

We’re believers, we’ve been hurt by believing
Needing people, we know looking’s not seeing

The Wrong Time to Visit the Supermarket

“And eggs. We’re going to need eggs.”

Quinn rolled his eyes, and Candelaria tried to ignore him. He hadn’t wanted to take her to the store, and he was making things as difficult as he could. She could hate him so easily, and most of the time she did, but with the Howells out of town for the weekend, he was the only one in the house with a driver’s license. She knew they probably would have been fine without the things they were low or out of, but she didn’t know that she could keep Quinn in line for a whole weekend. This wasn’t like the hours she had watched all of them in the past, not even the overnight trips. This was different, and she was nervous. Quinn made these times out like a joke, and so far he hadn’t done anything to defy her, hadn’t run off, but if he was going to do it, this would be the time.

“You know they’ll be back in a day, right? Why bother with all this food?”

“Because I know how much Beacan can eat these days, and I know you still like having your food in its own package, so we need stuff. At least this time I won’t have to ask for help with everything on the top shelf. You can get it for me.”

“You can’t reach?”

She gave him a dirty look. He was such a jerk. She always said that, but she kept being reminded of how true it was. “How many times have you made comments about how short I am compared to you?”

“I don’t know. Maybe you’ve grown a bit. Oh, look, you come up to my knee now. You’re so big these days. I don’t know what we’ll do with you.”

She smacked him, and he just shrugged. “Eggs last. If there’s something else you need, tell me so that we can get it and go.”

“If you go get a bag of flour and bring it back, I’ll take care of the fresh vegetables without you, since I know you hate that.”

“Fine,” he muttered, taking off in the opposite direction. She pushed the cart down the aisle, grabbing a couple of cans of soup before she left.

Turning the corner, she almost smacked into one of the employees, and she winced. That guy was always getting her the stuff off the top shelf, and she felt bad for bumping into him. She whispered an apology and tried to back away, but he saw her. “Miss Howell? I thought I recognized those ribbons. Where’s your mother today?”

She had never bothered to explain that Mrs. Howell wasn’t really her mother, and she didn’t intend to do that now. “Oh, she was busy today. It’s all right, though. I’ve got my—someone—with me to help me get anything I can’t reach or carry.”

“Someone? This wouldn’t be a boyfriend, would it? You’re not sneaking around behind your mother’s back, are you?”

Candelaria winced. She should have said her brother, though she didn’t call Quinn that, and he didn’t let her call him that, either. She sighed. “My foster brother. I’m sorry I bumped into you. Excuse me. I have to get the vegetables.”

“You haven’t gotten them yet? Why does it take so long to do one thing?”

“You had the one thing, Quinn, not me. We need plenty of vegetables and—”

“Quinn. Long time no see.”

Quinn swallowed, dropping the flour in the cart. The bag tore, and she frowned. She swore she’d never seen Quinn this scared before, not in all the years she’d known him. She looked back at the man, biting her lip.

“Not long enough,” Quinn managed, his voice cold. He took her arm, tugging on it. “Come on, Laria. If you need to cook something with vegetables, you can do it with something canned.”

“I didn’t think you were the type that ran. You that afraid to face me after what you did?”

Quinn whirled back, looking like he’d attack the man in a second, and she thought it would be worse than when he fought the jocks. “What I did? You son of a—”

“Watch it. You were the one who attacked me, remember? You were the one who tried to cover up a bad drug habit with an even worse lie.”

“I didn’t lie. You did.”

Candelaria took a breath. “Quinn, why don’t you bring the car up closer so we can load it fast and go? We need to pick up Beacan and Leah in a few minutes.”

“I can’t believe they let you have a license,” Kevin said, and Quinn glared back at him. She looked at the cart and shook her head.

“We don’t need this. We’ll just go. Mrs. Howell can come back for it later.” She wrapped her arm around his, pushing him toward the door.

Quinn pulled away from her just outside the store, going to the trash and throwing up. Candelaria watched him with a frown, not sure how to react to any of this. He’d been ready to panic back there, and she didn’t like what that man had said, either.

He reached into his pocket and dug out the keys, holding them out to her. She frowned, not taking them. He dropped them, heaving again, and she watched, worried. She didn’t know what to think of what Quinn had done back there or what that man had said. If Quinn was sick—

“Go get the car. You’re driving us home.”

“I don’t have a license,” she hissed. “Just a permit. I can’t do that.”

“You have to. I don’t think I can get my stomach calm, and I can’t drive like this. It’s coming back. Not again. Not now…”

She reached down and grabbed the keys, ducking under his arm and letting herself support him like she had after one of his fights. He leaned on her, and she tried not to think about how he’d just puked. “Let’s get you to the car before you collapse.”

“The colors are all funny and everything’s spinning—no, this isn’t funny—not the monster, not again…”

Candelaria cursed, realizing what he’d meant by it coming back. He must have been in one of his acid flashbacks, and if he was, he wouldn’t be driving anywhere. That just wasn’t happening. She knew that. She didn’t want to do it without a license, but she had to get him home. “Kevin was the one that gave you the drugs, wasn’t he?”

Quinn shuddered. “Don’t… Can’t talk to you like this.”

“Yes, you can. You know I wasn’t a part of any of that. Use my voice. Stay here with me and forget the acid. Forget the colors and the monster. All that’s here is your watchdog. I’m here. You’re not alone.”

She stopped them against the car, going to open the door before she pulled him over to the passenger seat. “Think you can manage to put your seat belt on?”

He looked up at her. “You are way too small to take on the monster. When I was that small, I couldn’t stop it. It got what it wanted. Always. I tried to fight it, but it was stronger, and it would use those claws on me. Claws and teeth…”

“The monster won’t get close to you again,” Candelaria assured him, shutting the door and running around to the other side. She hoped that she could do this without wrecking the car or getting caught.

“Did you really attack him?” She asked as she pulled out of the spot, somehow managing to dodge the cars around them.

“I just wanted him to admit what he’d done to me. He… He wouldn’t even acknowledge that he’d given me the drugs, kept saying he didn’t know what I was talking about, and I thought I could get him to tell me the truth if I scared it out of him, beat it out of him… You heard him. He still says the whole thing was me.”

“You don’t know what he did to you?”

“No. I told you… I don’t remember what really happened. I remember before the acid kicks in—Kevin was the only one there besides me, and he was the one that gave me the food—and then it’s this monster and it’s trying to kill me… I could take it if he had knocked me around. He could have put me right back in the hospital. I don’t care about that. That’s upfront. I understand that part. I can handle it if I understand it. I don’t know why he had to mess with my head, make it so I’m stuck always wondering what happened. I thought I was going crazy the first few times it happened. I didn’t think I was high—I thought I was losing my mind. I just don’t get it. Why do you do that to someone?”

“Power? Control? He’s some kind of sadist? He liked watching you suffer when you were confused and having you doubt your own mind was… a bonus?”

“I hate him so much. I wish I’d killed him. I still wouldn’t have my answers, but I’d feel a lot better knowing he was gone.”

“You don’t want to be a killer.”

“Yes, I do. Him I want dead. I came close. If I hadn’t hesitated…”

Candelaria swerved, jerking the car back on the road with people honking around them. She didn’t believe what she was hearing. “Quinn…”

“Thanks to him I have probation ’til I’m eighteen. And they think I’m deranged. I hate him. I wasn’t good, I wasn’t perfect, but drugs were one of the lines I didn’t cross. I didn’t do that, and I didn’t… I didn’t.”

“Didn’t what?”

“No matter what anyone says about me—I never turned tricks. Ever. Not even when I was desperate for something to eat. I stole, and I’ve vandalized places, but I didn’t do that.”

“I never thought you did.”

“You’re going to have to watch me close, watchdog. Now that I know where he is again… I don’t trust myself.”

Still Standing

Author’s Note: I only really had one part of this song I wanted to do, and I knew who was getting the fic the first time I glanced at the lyrics. This one suggests a marriage that can stand in the face of everything to me, and that is Kate and Fletcher Kennedy. They withstood a lot over the years and are still married and ridiculously in love after more than thirty years.

This, of course, is just a brief look at one of the trials they had to overcome, as it fit with these lyrics:

This old routine will drive you mad
It’s just a mumble never spoken out loud
Sometimes you don’t even know how you’re still standing.
Well she looks at you now, and you see how.
Well you look at her now, and you know how.

~First Aid Kit, “This Old Routine”

Still Standing

He just put his son in the ground.

Nothing made this right. Nothing could.

Fletcher stared on at the grave, ignoring the words from the sermon, not caring what others might say, about hope or consolation or even sympathy. None of them could change the facts, and the fact was that Fletcher had outlived his son. He might even lose both of his brother’s boys. That was unacceptable. All of it was.

Kate’s hand brushed his, and Fletcher took it, instinct overriding the numbness he’d felt since they heard about the crash. He’d struggled to believe it, not wanting any of this as truth, and he knew his Katie girl was aching just as much if not worse than he was, that it wanted to kill her as it did him, but neither of them were the sort that gave in. They were Kennedys. They didn’t break easily, though this…

This was coming damn close.

His eyes met Kate’s, and he yanked his wife into his arms, needing to hold onto her. He was supposed to be the strong one, but he’d always found that she was tougher than him, more able to bear what life threw at her than he was.

“We’ll get through this somehow, Katie girl,” he promised, knowing that as much as neither of them might want it right now, they could. They would.


This Old Routine

This song is beautiful in its way, and it makes me think of a marriage that lasts and sees it through despite the tough times.

This old routine will drive you mad
It’s just a mumble never spoken out loud
And sometimes you don’t even know why you loved her.
Well you look at her now, and you see why.

I used this part for a prompt not long ago. It inspired a ficlet for a pairing I didn’t read, but it did inspire, so that’s something. I also chose to use it myself for my own fic.

This old routine will drive you mad
It’s just a mumble never spoken out loud
Sometimes you don’t even know how you’re still standing.
Well she looks at you now, and you see how.
Well you look at her now, and you know how.

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

Can’t Keep Reaching for What You Don’t Have to Give

Author’s Note: Despite the many great lyrics in this song, there was only one real choice for doing fic from it, one story and one set of lyrics.

Now you’re just a shell of
Your former you
That stranger in the mirror
Oh, that’s you

~First Aid Kit, “Blue”

And since I have not shared any of this story on this site before, I will put the story’s summary at the end of this entry for anyone who needs it.

Can’t Keep Reaching for What You Don’t Have to Give

Recall should have cut and run years ago. Maybe the agency would find her and bring her back. Maybe not. She might have been free. The one who stood the best chance of finding her was gone, again, and she could be so far from here and all of this. She wouldn’t be staring in the face of broken promises and empty vessels.

He’d said he’d remember, and she’d almost believed him, but he didn’t. His eyes held that same vacancy, the lost and bewildered look he got when he didn’t know where he was or who he was. He did not know her, not as he had, not as he’d promised he would, and the man she’d made the mistake of considering a friend was gone.

She could give him back those memories, try and reclaim who he’d been, but she rejected the idea almost in the same instant as she had it. What would be the point? Any time he used his ability, he’d be lost all over again, and she had always told herself she would only give him the memories he needed, not force him to be any of his various fractures again.

His eyes found her, so frightened and scared, overwhelmed by the lack of recognition for anything, and she sighed. She knew she would not run, but she would not bring him back, either. She wasn’t going to let herself get hurt all over again.

She wouldn’t let herself care.

He wasn’t a friend. He was a task. She was there to give him memories, and she did. He wasn’t a friend, could never be one. He might want to, might think he could, but he would always forget, always disappear, and she wouldn’t allow herself to feel that pain again.

She wouldn’t get attached. Not to Fracture. Not ever again.

The agency’s most valuable asset, Fracture can bend his genetics to become whatever he needs to be. The same ability that makes him special erases all of his memories when he uses it. With the ability to store and share other people’s memories, Recall was assigned as his partner, able to restore some of what was lost during the last fracture. She adjusted to the cycle years ago, but this time Fracture seems different, and he might not be willing to let that cycle continue.


I had a hard time writing anything for this song. I love it, but it hits too close to home.

You sit and stare out at the rain
Or bury yourself in your books
Don’t look at no strangers
No, don’t give them any looks

I’ve always had a problem with eye contact and dealing with other people. So I wouldn’t want to look at strangers and used to hide in books all the time.

Why you ask yourself, why you’re so afraid
Why you hesitate when someone asks your name
They’ll come too close if you tell them the truth

I have had and shed many pen names over the years and I have also found myself thinking that my name didn’t fit me. I never liked my middle name, but more recently I was signing things at work and found myself tripping over the name I was using because it wasn’t me. I didn’t know how to explain that to anyone, though. I tried, I considered renaming myself, but I didn’t find anything I liked or that felt like it fit (well, I did get a new pen name, but that I will discuss later.)

And the only man you ever loved
You thought was gonna marry you
Died in a car accident when he was only 22
Then you just decided, love wasn’t for you
And every year since then
Has proved it to be true

No, there was no car accident and no man I loved that died, but I have mostly come to accept that I will be single for the rest of my life. I don’t enjoy doing the things it takes to meet people (not even sure I like people when I’m honest about it) and I don’t consider myself a good prospect. Plus, my idea of an ideal marriage mate seems impossible when I think about it.

Now you’re just a shell of
Your former you
That stranger in the mirror
Oh, that’s you
Why’d you look so blue?

I can answer the last one easily enough: I have depression. I know this. And a lot of times, especially around a certain arbitrary date each year, I look back at my life and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing and all the things I thought I’d have and where I’d be by now never happened and seem impossible.

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

Chosen Roles

Author’s Note: I began today by staring at these lyrics and going, “okay, I don’t think fic is going to happen any time soon.”

Then I started thinking about different stories, different possibilities, and also that perhaps I’d be able to show off the updated cover for A Perfect Sunset soon.

Add in these lyrics (and remind me to prompt Liana Mir with them later)

In the hearts of men
In the arms of mothers
In the parts we play to convince others
We know what we’re doing
We’re doing it right

~First Aid Kit, “In the Hearts of Men”

Chosen Roles


The woman turned, and Jis shrank back, dodging the blade and her mother’s attack. She had not thought she had to train today, but she supposed that she knew better. The life of an esbani was always training. They could not allow themselves to make a mistake and fail to protect the royal family. No one had done that, not in centuries, not back to when her people had supposedly flown.

“Jis,” her mother chided, and she grimaced. “That was not a proper evasion, nor should you be here now. You have lessons with the tutors.”

“No, Zaze has lessons. She’s the princess. She’s the one that has to know all those things, not me. I just have to be willing to kill or die for her,” Jis said, shaking her head as she spoke. She did not see why she had to go with Zaze to the lessons, why they kept trying to make her act more and more like her. Zaze was prideful, stubborn, and stupid, and Jis didn’t want to be like her.

“Oh,” her mother said, pulling her into her arms, “my little jisensoji.”

She curled up in her mother’s embrace, aware of all that her mother would not say—that the life of an esbani was not one for a child, that Jis should have freedom to play and be herself, that she should be too young to understand what it meant to be in this role, to know that she would die in the princess’ place if it was necessary.

“Do you think the king loves you?” Jis asked, daring to look up at her mother’s face for the truth. Was that what had distracted her earlier, thoughts of the king? Or was it her own pain of knowing that she was meant to die in the place of the queen?

“I think your father loves you very much.”

That was not what Jis had asked, but she feared it was answer enough. She closed her eyes, trying to console herself with the knowledge that it would never be her. As the king’s daughter, she would never be forced to give herself to a man she didn’t love just because she was esbani.

She was born to take Zaze’s place and die for her, though. Jis would never be free to live her own life or marry anyone. She was esbani. Her life was already forfeit.

In the Hearts of Men

I admit that I’m not as familiar with this song as I am many others on the album. I wasn’t sure at first that I’d know what to pair up with it.

This part, though, is all I really needed:

In the hearts of men
In the arms of mothers
In the parts we play to convince others
We know what we’re doing
We’re doing it right

I did also like this:

But when there is no use
And the lights are all out
I just give it up and I walk home

and this:

I still try to speak up but my voice won’t make a sound
And I thought it all over too many times

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

The Complications of Language and Breakfast

Author’s Note: I had a hard time getting this second piece of the challenge done. I suppose the simplest way of explaining it is that the other aspects of publishing sapped all my creativity and writing just wouldn’t happen. Not on this, not on anything. I didn’t write a word for over a week.

Today I looked at the lyrics again, and this part sparked something:

Now so much I know that things just don’t grow
If you don’t bless them with your patience
And I’ve been there before I held up the door
For every stranger with a promise

~First Aid Kit, “Emmylou”

And I was able to write more for the upcoming serial.

The Complications of Language and Breakfast

“Here,” Stratford said, holding out the fork to the boy. “Try this.”

Eyes wide, their terrified gaze held on the implement in front of him, the boy shrunk back against the headboard, trying to disappear into the bed. He let out a stream of unintelligible words, protesting as he tried to hide or escape, and Stratford frowned.

“I think he thinks I mean to hurt him when I am only trying to get him to eat,” he said, turning back to Whistler in frustration. “I wish I could make him understand, but even when he speaks more, I get no sense of the words that he uses. His speech is unlike any language I’m familiar with.”

“We do have no sense of his origin. He could be from anywhere,” Whistler reminded him, keeping his tone gentle. He went around to the other side of the bed. Taking the cup from the tray, he held it out to the child, waiting for the boy’s trembling to cease.

After a moment, the boy sat up and peered at the cup. His nose wrinkled, and he shook his head, rejecting the offer. He glanced toward the tray, hesitating before reaching for a small piece of fruit. He studied it with a frown.


“I’m not sure what that means,” Stratford said, taking a piece for himself, “but it is safe to eat.”

The boy watched him eat the bite and then coughed, rolling over in the pillows until his injuries reminded him of their presence. Grimacing, he straightened up and threw the fruit at Stratford.

“I can see he shares your table manners,” Whistler observed dryly, and Stratford glared at him.

The boy picked up a piece of bread and bite into it, chewing it down with an expression Stratford found difficult to decipher. He swallowed it with what seemed like difficulty, but when Whistler renewed his offer of tea, the boy shook his head again.

“He does not seem to like tea.”

“An unforgivable sin, according to your mother.”

Whistler smiled. “Yes, well, I happen to believe it is an acquired taste. Perhaps another flavour would suit him. He does not care for your favourite kind of fruit, either. I also would suggest that may have been the source of his reaction to the fork.”

Frowning, Stratford saw that the boy was actually playing with his fork now, using it to push around the food on the plate. “I take it you don’t want anything else that’s on there?”

The boy pointed his fork at Stratford.

He blinked. “I may just have been threatened.”

“Amusing.” Whistler did not sound amused, but under the circumstances, it almost was comical. The boy had suffered grave injuries and should have died, either from them or the fever that wanted to carry him off, but he would seem to be braver than his wounds. Or perhaps he believed a threat from a fork was a custom everyone here used, which would be Stratford’s fault, though far from his intention.

Stratford grunted. “How are we going to explain what happened? To ask him about his family or how he ended up on that shore? We cannot even communicate about food.”

“Patience,” Whistler advised. “We will learn. After all, we now what mish means, and that is a start, certainly more than you had before.”

Stratford nodded, sighing as he did. He pointed to the fruit again. “Mish?”

The boy’s face crinkled with distaste. “Mish.”

Stratford pointed to the utensil in the boy’s hand. “Fork.”

He had to duck when the boy threw it at him. Shaking his head, he watched the child, uncertain if he did have enough patience to learn the boy’s language or teach him theirs. Maybe it would have been easier if he had found some sign, someone else to give the child to, or even if the boy had died.


This song has such nice lyrics, so many ficcable pieces.

I wanted to use this part of the song at first, but I couldn’t make it work:

Oh, the bitter winds are coming in
And I’m already missing the summer
Stockholm’s cold, but I’ve been told
I was born to endure this kind of weather

And then I wanted to do this part and came closer to it:

When it’s you I find like a ghost in my mind,
I am defeated, and I gladly wear the crown

This suggested yet another story to me, though it didn’t make it down on paper:

But I’m holding back, that’s the strength that I lack
Every morning keeps returning at my window
And it brings me to you and I won’t just pass through
But I’m not asking for a storm

I thought it would be simple to use these lyrics:

No, I’m not asking much of you
Just sing little darling, sing with me

Strangely, it wasn’t. I ended up using none of the above.

I may have to come back and do this part, too:

And yes I might have lied to you
You wouldn’t benefit from knowing of the truth
I was frightened but I held fast
I need you now at long last

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

Seeking out and Searching for You

Author’s Note: I hereby present the first “track” of my Kabobbles Sing Along Album Challenge.

It took me a bit to decide which album by First Aid Kit I wanted to do, and I may end up doing both. That, and I got sidetracked in part by summarizing the book I’m using characters from today. This is in part a celebration for getting the summary written and in part because the initial hurdle of the challenge has been overcome (I started it, finally.) It should be more upbeat for a celebration piece, but it fit well to do this part, since the lyrics apply in different ways to the main novel.

This is based off this part of the lyrics:

Sometimes I wish I could find my Rosemary Hill
I’d sit there and look at the deserted lakes and I’d sing
And every once in a while I’d sing a song for you
That would rise above the mountains and the stars and the sea
And if I wanted it to it would lead you back to me

~First Aid Kit, “The Lion’s Roar”

Seeking out and Searching for You

Nerissa didn’t visit the overlook often. Maybe because she was afraid it meant she agreed, that she believed what everyone else did, what was sane and normal and right—that Sebastian was dead and buried. Or maybe it was because she thought coming here would mean they would lock her away, thinking her grief had driven her mad. Again.

She let out a breath, closing her eyes and trying to tell herself not to listen. That part of her that had never accepted that her other half was gone was no quieter now than it had been after he first disappeared, though if they were right and he was dead, then it should have been silent by now. Years had passed as proof, hadn’t they?

So why couldn’t she let him go? Why was she here, where they had supposedly found his body, instead of out with the man from her office that wouldn’t stop asking her out?

Nerissa sat down, running her fingers through the grass. She didn’t feel any closer to him here. She still felt as empty and sick as she had when he missed his valedictorian speech.

“If you’re out there, Seb,” she whispered, knowing she’d get herself committed if anyone heard her, “come back to me. Find your way back. I know you can. If I can feel you, you can feel me, and you’ll find me again.”

The breeze didn’t pick up, the glade remained still and quiet, and others would take that as an answer, but she didn’t. She wasn’t looking for a ghost, wasn’t hoping for relief from the other side. She was holding out hope that somewhere Sebastian was very much alive and they would follow that pull they’d always had when separated. They’d end up right back at each other’s side, inseparable as they had always been.

As they always should be.