Julian Files, Chapter 1

Julian Files is a series set in the past for In the Company of Shadows. It contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Fade, so do not read until you have finished Fade!


Julian Files, by Ais

One

Thursday May 12, 2005
Lexington, PA

Even on the far end of Crandall Park’s sprawling playground, shrieking kids disrupted the otherwise calm morning. Julian’s fingers twitched and he resisted for the third time reaching for his pack of Winstons. He’d have gone for it anyway if the adulterating mom across the way didn’t give him the evil eye every time he touched his pocket.

Jennifer Groves, twenty-seven years old. Whitebread America mistressing it up with a certain Latino charmer named Joaquin Padilla. Julian doubted she knew he was the PI who had given her husband the racy photos of the two of them going at it like horny teenagers against a window of the White Oaks, but being as she recently stopped smoking she knew a fellow nicotine addict when she saw one. Not that her attempt to go clean living was liable to last long, once good ole Chris Groves was done raking her through the divorce proceedings.

It never ceased to amaze Julian how stupid so many people were. What made them think being in a mid-range hotel made the windows any less transparent when they decided to play out their little fantasies? And so many of them had the receiving partner facing the window, too. Made his job a whole hell of a lot easier to get the money shot.

He considered whipping out a smoke anyway just to fuck with her, when he noticed Cedrick approaching.

The man was a conundrum. He wasn’t bad looking by any stretch, but he easily could have been forgettable. Stocky build, average height, brown eyes, brown hair… Nothing stood out at a glance. In a photo, he would have been the guy in the background no one thought to look at twice.

The gift of anonymity.

Julian wished he had the same, at times.

But in motion, that was when all the little bits came together and made Cedrick recognizable. His easy, loping gait. The smile that seemed ever ready on the edges of his lips, and that goddamned infectious grin that popped up at the least expected moments. Made his whole face light up like a Christmas tree, and at times even made Julian fight a grin in return.

The trademark Beaulieu not-yet-smile was in place as Cedrick strode toward him slower than normal, and when all the trees and kidlets were out of the way Julian saw why.

He raised his eyebrows and flicked a glance down at Cedrick’s side.

“Brought the kid, huh?”

“Couldn’t get a babysitter.” Cedrick rested his hand around Boyd’s skinny little shoulders, pulling him against his thigh like some sort of tall dog. The fond smile aimed down at him probably wouldn’t have looked out of place in those circumstances, either. “Can’t say I’m sad about it, though. I don’t get enough time with him as it is.”

Cedrick dropped easily onto the park bench next to Julian, and soon it was the both of them who stared at Boyd.

Truth be told, the kid creeped Julian out. Like Cedrick, his photo op impression was different than his video. He was a cute kid by looks alone: fine blond hair, huge eyes an unusual amber; a skinny little thing with pouty lips. He hovered in that childlike androgynous zone of not seeming resigned to any gender entirely.

Maybe if he smiled once in a dinosaur’s age it’d be fine but he was like a little alien. He stared at people like he was dissecting their motivations, filing it away in some five-year-old version of Enemy vs Friend, or maybe he was just trying to figure out what the fuck was going on around him. Julian might have thought he was slow but he’d seen the kid write and draw well beyond his nephew who was four years older. And when the kid talked, which wasn’t often, there were times his sentence structure and astute observations were like he was twice his age.

Julian sometimes wondered if the kid was going to turn into a serial killer someday. If so, he should probably make sure he wasn’t on the kid’s hit list. Continue reading

That moment in the rubble, Lou/Boyd backstory from ICoS

Ok, I originally wrote this (IMO terribly embarrassing) story back in 2011 for The Slash Pile’s Anthology in the winter; it was called Presents and had to be holiday-themed in some way. You can still find the anthology nowadays but apparently  it’s a bit more difficult now. Some readers had found this old story and mentioned how difficult it was to find. Since some people may want to read this, I thought it was only fair to share it.

It’s not terrible, really. I don’t know why I’m so embarrassed by it uggghhh but I ammmmmm ugggggggghhhhhhh OTL

But I make it a point to share even things that embarrass because it’s true that I wrote it and it’s part of my progression as a writer so pretending it didn’t happen doesn’t make it not have happened. Also, lbr. I think everything I write sucks so, by my measure, I would never share anything and some people may find that problematic lol

So here you go. Below is what I sent them back then, in its entirety.

Welcome to a Lou and Boyd backstory for In the Company of Shadows. Have fun and happy reading! (?)


Title: That moment in the rubble
Author: Ais
Rating: R for swearing
Warnings: Swearing. Fluff? And light kissing-type scenes. Also, this is a Lou/Boyd back story for In the Company of Shadows. You don’t need to have read ICoS or know anything about it to read this.

That moment in the rubble

In the Company of Shadows back story by Ais

“You’re gonna fall in that water one day and I ain’t gonna do a thing to stop it,” Lou called up to Boyd. It was a lie, of course. He knew he’d end up jumping in the filthy water in some ridiculous and unnecessary rescue attempt but he figured he’d keep that part to himself. “Get your ass down here, man. It’s gettin’ cold.”

“You’re such a wuss,” Boyd said from atop his favorite pile of rubble. Crater Lake spread before him; stagnant water that filled a massive hole one of the bombs had created just off center of the city.

When he looked down at Lou, the sky silhouetted him. The sun was setting behind the clouds, turning the ever-present grey to deeper silver. The half-crumbled buildings lining the street framed him perfectly as he balanced on a looser chunk of concrete, one hand held out as counterweight.

It was that teasing grin Boyd gave him that had probably done Lou in all those months ago– the way it stretched Boyd’s full lips and made his golden brown eyes spark. Boyd’s blond hair swirled in a stirring of wind that Lou couldn’t feel down here on the ground, and with it Boyd tilted his head to look out at the water once again.

“I’m waiting until I can’t see the color anymore.”

Lou made a face at Boyd and kicked a rock into the water. Crater Lake was nothing but foul-smelling water that slowly killed the scavengers and Ferals, as far as he was concerned. They were the only ones stupid and desperate enough to drink and bathe in it. But Boyd loved the browns and greens of it; the way it stained a near-red at just the right moment of sunset and looked nearly black afterwards.

He wanted to be irritated with Boyd but he couldn’t be, not entirely. Not when he looked at Lou like that.

Continue reading

ICoS Master List (Feb 2016 edition)

So, tumblr decided to be an asshole and remove literally over 600 hyperlinks from the master list I had over there. I thought I’d have to redo the ENTIRE thing to which I said no way no how, not right now. That took me a week or longer to make the first time. And Internet Archive and Google cache didn’t save it, and I thought I’d saved an older version but I didn’t apparently.

However, the good news is I DID apparently email myself the entire thing when I first finished it in February. This means I’m missing 2 months worth of information and all of the tagged Santino & Ais convos I had ugggghhh BUT it does mean eventually updating it will take less time. I’m not going to spend the time right now to update it since February 15, 2016, but at least I can share what was available then (and this time, fuck tumblr, I’m going to migrate the list somewhere else — eventually my site but, of course, right now my site isn’t working either):


In the Company of Shadows/ ICoS Master List of Links

Master list last updated: February 15, 2016

On this page you will find a compilation of information from around the internet (mostly tumblr) regarding In the Company of Shadows and/or Santino & Ais. Many of these were questions asked by readers that are answered by one or both of us (Santino & Ais) somewhere online. If you know of information that is not listed here, please let me know so I can add it. This is a work in progress and I will try to keep adding information as it goes.

I tried to note spoilers where possible but I probably missed information. Just assume there will be spoilers.

Note: within the specific categories (like, “Boyd + family” or “writing questions” etc) there is no specific order to the bullet points – you may notice the links jump around between years or books, unless I knew a specific conversation was happening across posts and then I tried to keep them in order.

I also am considering making a second master list, which would list all the questions that are in the Q&A/interviews linked in the #1 group below. I considered putting that at the end of this page, however the length of this page prohibited such an endeavor, when tumblr and/or chrome and/or firefox repeatedly froze in the course of me making this page. If I ever make that separate page with the listed questions, I will link it here. For now, you can just go to the Q&As and read through the questions at your leisure.

Note: Santino used to be known as Sonny, in case you are confused by old links.

Last note: to make it less confusing, in most of the links I tried to say “Ais” instead of “I” – so if you see “I” outside of the Santino & Ais section that should mean the wording is coming from a reader, unless I made a mistake.

Sources for this page include: Santino’s tumblrAis’ tumblr, our Santino & Ais tumblr, our Goodreads blogs (SantinoAis – although I didn’t go through those to be really complete, only did what was linked on tumblr), livejournal (The Slash Pile), and host blogs where we did interviews.

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Please see the below breakdown to better navigate this page.

THIS IS SPLIT INTO GROUPS:

  1. Questions about Santino, Ais, ICoS as a series, the Agency in general
  2. General character information (like birthdays, ages, height)
  3. Detailed questions about relationships
  4. Detailed questions about individual characters
  5. Post-Fade, sequel, and prequel questions
  6. Bonus material and fan-made items (includes fancasts of characters)

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2014 DC Evenfall Q&A – SPOILERS PAST EVENFALL, post 2 of 2

Please reference this post for a full explanation of this. This is regarding ICoS.

SPOILERS PAST EVENFALL BELOW!!! BEWARE!! Read with caution! There could be spoilers as far as the end of Fade!

This is the second section of the Q&A Santino and I did on our S&A GR group in September 2014. This is the section with all the spoilers past Evenfall. ONCE AGAIN – BEWARE SPOILERS!!

Continue reading

2014 DC Evenfall Q&A – EVENFALL SPOILERS ONLY, post 1 of 2

Back in September 2014, in honor of our release of the Director’s Cut of Evenfall (volumes I and II), Santino and I decided to do a massive Q&A on our Santino & Ais Goodreads group. You can find the thread here, but you have to be a member of the group to access the page.

Recently on tumblr, I was asked if there was a way to share Q&A material somewhere that was accessible to people who didn’t have Goodreads accounts and therefore could not join that group. I have split the Q&A into two posts to stay in line with the way the Q&A was split up on that thread: the first section, this post you are reading, contains only spoilers for Evenfall. The second section, this linked post, contains spoilers past Evenfall so you should proceed with caution if you are not finished with the series.

There are two places in this section where there is a reference to something in Fade, and although it does not give specifics I still put it between **SPOILER** notes in case anyone wants to be very careful and skip those parts.

MAJOR THANKS to everyone who participated in the Q&A in 2014, and an especially huge thanks to Lenore, who took a lot of her own time and energy to compile all the questions that were asked and get them to Santino and me, and then she also organized the questions and posted it on our S&A group. Lenore, you are a legend. Thank you!

All the questions and answers are below a cut for length and so that anyone who has not even finished Evenfall will not see spoilers.

For anyone who may stumble upon this post and be very confused: All of this is regarding the series Santino and I wrote, called In the Company of Shadows.

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Fade ch 40 spoilers – the Scottish dude

I SWEAR I had posted this somewhere before but now I can’t find it, so I’m posting this here. A quick overview of how I was going to go full Scottish brogue with the character who appears in Fade chapter 40.

SUPER SUPER SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE!! THE BIGGEST SPOILERS EVER ARE BENEATH THIS CUT!! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THROUGH FADE CHAPTER 41!!!!

 

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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 didn’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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