Julian Files, excerpt 10: Cedrick, Julian, and the search for the house

The street was lined with tall, skinny buildings pressed up against one another; old houses and commercial buildings converted into apartments and offices. Windows were broken out of lower levels, with old, faded signs tipped at angles against the blinds. Julian shrugged the collar of his jacket up against the pale touch of the wind. He skimmed the addresses as he passed, listening with relief he didnโ€™t want to acknowledge to Cedrick’s every counter step against the rhythm of Julian’s own gait.

Graffiti covered every available surface, with the gangs crossing out each other’s messages and leaving one of their own. Bullet holes punched through windows and walls, with glass crunching underneath their shoes. The occasional splatter of blood and collection of pictures and mementos marked the places where someone had lost their life.

Julian only hoped he wouldn’t have to build a shrine for his brother in this godforsaken place too. Constriction grew in his stomach first, and moved python-slow up his esophagus. Tightening his throat until it was air, only air, that could release, and even that grew stale and dim and unattainable.

Cedrick bumped lightly against his side and Julian looked over. Saw his friend with his hands buried in his pockets, shoulders hunched against the weathered wind, with a Mona Lisa smile on his lips.

Julian breathed.

The city seemed endless; stretched taut to the sky with valleys and plains in an unknowable pattern. Lights were here and gone in fits and bursts; throwing this alley into relief and that street into shadows too dark for the day. Now and then he caught a hint of music or voices carried along the wind. Laughter and tunes he couldn’t place and the occasional screech of tires, and it was home of a sort, and it was life of a sort, and it should have been comforting to have that urban backdrop even here but it wasn’t.

It wasn’t, because Jeremiah was somewhere in these streets, buried deep somewhere beneath a home, and he could only hope it wasn’t literal by the time he arrived.

“There.”

Julian slowed his stride at Cedrick’s voice, and followed the line of his finger pointing in the distance. The railroad tracks were a dark crosshatched pattern staining the ground, winding here and there in controlled chaos. Several trains were vacant; dormant maybe since the war, or maybe only since the morning. Julian didn’t know at a glance. Julian didn’t care.

“It has to be around here.”

Julian didn’t know where Cedrick got his certainty, but he wanted to believe in the belief Cedrick had. He wanted to believe that life really was as simple as finding a way to smile after loss, and trust blindly in the dark.

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ICoS questions, mostly related to sex + ace things – SPOILERS FOR FADE/AFTERIMAGE

On tumblr, boydbaeulieu had some questions about ICoS, mostly related to Afterimage and Fade. The questions/answers areย SPOILERS for people who haven’t read at least midway through Fade. So I’m putting everything behind a cut, just in case. Also because, as usual, I wrote THE LONGEST ANSWERS EVER.

If you want to read bae’s whole question post, you can here: http://boydbaeulieu.tumblr.com/post/131304627515/all-right-ais-thanks-for-giving-me-the-green ๐Ÿ™‚ For this post, I tried to summarize the questions in order for my answer to make sense to other people, but definitely read her whole post if you want the full context ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially in case I accidentally misrepresented anything. I am directly addressing bae in a lot of this when answering so that’s what all the “you”s are for the most part, unless it’s a generic ‘you’ anywhere.

I ended up putting this only on my blog instead of tumblr because the answer became SO LONG that it felt like it would just look utterly insane on tumblr XD Plus this way I got to use pretty colors and various sizes ๐Ÿ˜€

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ICoS AU HS drabble: Scene 6 – Detention

Lexington High School – Scene 6. Detention

“…and then I grabbed that motherfucker by the back of the head and beat his face into the wall until it was bloody as shit,” Cade concluded with a proud smirk.

“Because he called your brother out on being gay?” Seth asked idly.

“He called him a faggot. Faggot! Can you believe it?”

Seth’s laugh was harsh and mocking. “You call him that every night, dude. Seriously. Every night.

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ICoS AU HS drabble: Scene 5 – PE

Lexington High School, Scene 5. PE.

PE was probably the most worthless class in the history of all classes. Ryan was 110% sure of it. They stretched for exactly five minutes at the beginning of the period before lapsing into an unorganized game that resulted in 70% of the students wandering to the back of the gym to text, gossip, or harass each other.

But even so. Even so. Coach Ferguson gave him shit for his asthma.

“Stop being such a pussy, Freedman,” Doug snarled.

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ICoS AU HS drabble: Scene 3 – French Class

Scene 3. French Class

The bird had been hopping up and down the branch for twenty minutes. It took precisely five hops to the right, three back to the left, two to the right, and four back to the left to end up nearly where it had begun. Even after it flew away briefly, when it returned it did the exact same thing. Even when sitting still, its little head hardly stopped moving.

A perfectly choreographed chickadee.

Focusing on the cheerful bird was the only way Boyd kept his mind off the morass of despondency that had befallen him lately. It had been four days since Hsin had been suspended for attacking Mr. Carhart.

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ICoS AU HS drabble: Scene 2- The List

Lexington High School – Scene 2. The List (for members 100 and 101)

The crawl space above the ceiling tiles was surprisingly clean. Hsin had discovered the spot after studying the blueprints of the building when attempting to locate an adequate location to get lit during the school day. Previously, he’d just smoked under the bleachers or in the basement. But then Dean Archer found all of his hiding spots and started chasing him down. He got a little too physical with Hsin sometimes, grabbing arms and dragging him– It was certainly against regulations, but Hsin figured he’d deal with it by breaking a limb or two. It was like the guy wanted to end up hospitalized.

He exhaled slowly and watched as the small cavern filled with smoke. He hoped that it got out through the vents and everyone got messed up on a contact high. Mostly he just hoped that the school would blow up. Or that he had explosives to blow up the school. Or that everyone would commit ritualistic suicide while he and Boyd watched.

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ICoS AU HS drabble: Scene 4 – The Vega Conference

Lexington High School, Scene 4. The Vega Conference.

Two years of being Hsin’s guidance counselor, and Zachary had never met his father. He’d started to think that perhaps Hsin didn’t have a father. That this tall, skinny, emotionally disturbed teenager lived on his own and just faked a really believable West coast accent when someone called for an IEP phone conference or whatever.

But that was not the case. And Emilio Vega wasn’t what he’d expected.

Clearly under 30 years old, obviously some kind of gang member, most definitely as high as his son tended to be, and ridiculously hot. Tattoos everywhere, gold shutter sunglasses, skintight black t-shirt…

Zachary decided it would be best to just stare at the wall for the entirety of the meeting. Maybe Boyd was onto something with that technique.

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