chanter_greenie: a Pringles can with the words 'you can't write just one' written across it (drabbles are like pringles)
[personal profile] chanter_greenie
I'm posting this fic for [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith. As far as I'm concerned, it's still barter. :) It introduces two refugees now on the Canadian side of the border, both Resistance members and medics. If anyone recognizes who they, or a few referenced friends, might be in some other universe(s) or other, well. You're probably right.

Trigger warning for allusions to sexual violence and references to associated trauma, as well as information on the legality of interracial marriage in this America's south. The sexual violence trigger warning extends to the notes, because there's full-on character-related information about it there.


Doc knows about every single scar left on Sister's body. Not that he's seen them all; some things he don't want to get a look at unless he's treating somebody in real specific ways or close to them in the same, and with Sister neither one's all that likely, God willing for the former. He loves her down to the bone, he does, and it works both directions but she ain't interested in nobody but ladies, physical like. That was the case a long time before half those scars of hers existed and yeah, some people get it in their heads that those kinda things can be changed if somethin' happens to a person. Doc knows that's nonsense. Sister likes gals, and he himself don't always notice what other people do in a certain sorta way, at first or at all. That's always been, and that's always gonna be. It don't get changed just because. 'S just the way they're made, the two of them, and God don't make mistakes.

Sister's the same way. She knows about every mark's been left on him, even if there's a few he ain't likely to show off, same as her. They're some of them just like hers, and for good reason. Their hands and feet both show twenty years of kitchen knives and river stone sharp edges, and they both got the same sort of growin' up grazed knuckles and skinned knees, the marks folk get from wood splinters and concrete walks, bare ground and branches, same as just about any kid was ever brought up playin' outside. Bayou, New Orleans streetside, don't make no difference.

the marks on them don't all match up. Alike or not, they're two people with two stories. He's got a pinprick line across his right foot's sole from some drunken somebody's dropped glass years back, she has too-deep gravel gouges on both her kneecaps that she don't like to describe. He's wearing wire drag lines rent in parallel on his left shin for life, and wasn't that one hell of a long night's border crossing up North Dakota way? Don't ask about the goddamn wire. She keeps a knife slash under her sleeve, angling into visibility on the inside of her right forearm when she lets it show (defensive wound, say the half-handful of police types ever cared to take a second glance at it).

The two of them, they got a world all their own right in the middle of the wider one, inside it, mixed in and separate all at the same time. That world is his fingers tracing the damage to her forearm - it looks okay, but he's just plain gotta be sure it healed up right. That world is his asking before he does it, explaining himself, and her cautious agreement. That world is nerves eased with one word repeated and no damage done - just the opposite. That world is both her hands curled around one of his on long car trips, lending body heat and company on pure instinct, and the silent gratitude written all over his face and mirrored on hers for the action. That world is the mutual knowledge that he'd do the same for her in a second. Has done, if you gotta know it. their world is two pairs of uncommonly intense dark eyes. Their world is a warm blanket wrapped around his shoulders and a pot of strong tea split between two people, a quarter-empty bottle of leaf green nail polish and "I told y'all it'd look pretty! I'ma keep it, you g'won take it off later if you wanna." Their world is "The hell, I ain't wearin'... well, least it ain't pink." Their world is "Un, dé, trwa," and a stretcher with battered edges lifted at both ends, easy as the simplest thing in the world. Their world is stemmed bloodflow, hot coffee, rare laughter. Their world is learning and being learned from, both sides.

He can read the tightness around her eyes and the tension in her shoulders at a glance, and she can do the same with the naked concern in his face and the distance in his gaze. For them, what matters is "Mo tu fais confiance," "Nou travaillons bien ensemble", wooden rosary beads older than adding up both their ages, steady hands and talking glances, the calm that all but travels with him and the intent awareness that does the same with her, pins knocked loose from neat curls and frost-nipped noses in Canadian winter air, the silver bracelet under his sleeve, the tiny inherited gold earrings in her ears, the uncommon quirk of his laughing mouth and the clean dark spaces of her palms. Their world is working till somebody has to all-out tell them to stop. Their world is clean hands, forget what's under either of their nails.

Them two, they got a couple of nicknames outside they own given names getting shortened. One each. One's been real obvious and used on him for years, the other come from a boat-traveling refugee (ended up in Ottawa with his kids, that man) calling her a little like a nun early on, just from looking at her. She nearly laughed herself off her feet about it the first time, but the name stuck to her, and Sister, she don't mind it any more than Doc minds his.

To them it's all about little things, human things; she burns the eggs in Windsor and he sets off the Brampton fire alarm with a candle match, she flinches at shadows and he loses objects he swears he had two minutes before, she only sings when it's just him around and smiles like sunlight on clear water when he joins in, with or without accompaniment from the guitar kept in the Brampton safe house's front hall closet. Their world is them both staying up nights out of plain old habit, keeping each other company at the kitchen table. Their world is some things not needing too many words, or words at all. Their world is bilingual, trilingual prayers that neither one's ashamed to catch the other saying, anywhere, anytime. Their world is two people being thrown together by chance and liking it plenty well enough to stay thrown, their world ignores color lines and defies conventions, and their world is both of them carrying a tune damn well, merci beaucoup.

Sure, there's others a little like them - Anna and Renee from Quebec City, blue coat and brown, trainer and trainee; Meg in Montreal who's got all the school know-how a university can give and a mind like a box with two hundred neat little compartments inside; Adrian who was a refugee himself once too, and the scars Doc knows about on that man come from saving his life, Dieu mèsi - but Doc and Sister, they're their own.

Some days, Doc thinks, he'd maybe ask to marry her if she liked fellas at all, damn what the laws back home say about black folks and white folks pairing off.

Some days, Sister thinks, she might ask him the same thing if he were a lady - and hasn't that particular image sent her running for a room with a closed door once or twice - and to hell with everything their home courts'd kick up about it.

But she don't, and he ain't, and fleeting under-covers ideas or not, neither one's like to spend too much of their time thinking about the if-onlies. They know they've each got the other in all the ways that matter, all of them, right here, right now and on down the line, and never mind the details that ain't never gonna fit the situation. They're partnered up, them two, and that passes each of their ideas of 'good enough' right on by and goes straight to il est bien, to what's wanted, and needed, and welcome.

Doc and Sister, their world's about quiet happiness in unexpected places, persistent, consistent, and over and over again. Il est bien, sa bon, even when it ain't.




Notes are here:

*The title comes from the Beyonce song of the same name. The reasoning behind it is a long story.

*Doc and Sister speak, think, and code switch effortlessly and constantly in English, Cajun Bayou French, and Kreyol Lwyziann. Doc tends a little more toward Bayou French, Sister a little more toward Kreyol, but they're both fluent in all three languages.
Translations:
Un, dé, trwa: One, two, three.
Mo tu fais confiance: I trust you.
Nou travaillons bien ensemble: We work well together.
dieu mèsi: thank God
merci beaucoup: thank you very much
Il est bien, sa bon: It's good.

*Sister is homosexual and black, Doc is grey-biromantic grey demi-bisexual and white.

*Sister is a survivor of rape, committed by an American border patrol agent during her first attempt at crossing into Canada.

*In this universe, Sister's real name is Sharice.

*In this universe, Doc's real name is Antoine Bernard.

*Doc can call Sister Sharice whenever he likes. Helen and sometimes Sandy or Leigh get a pass too, as does Eric when he's clowning around, but Doc is the only one who isn't likely to weird her out or otherwise unsettle her by using her real name.

*Sister is the only one who really calls Doc Antoine-Bernard or Twan-Bernard. She usually does so when not too many other people, or nobody else at all, are listening. She knows, and he knows she knows, that he's not ashamed of his given name. She just feels strange throwing it around, somehow.

*These two can and do work separately, and do so well. They have a strong platonic partnership, however, separate from any other relationships one or the other might get into. They're working partners and best friends at the same time, and that improves both aspects rather than causing them to conflict.

Date: 2014-11-03 05:29 am (UTC)
thnidu: warm red heart on orange streaked background (heart)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
OH, I love this! Mèsi beaucou.

Yay!

Date: 2014-11-03 08:27 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
From: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I really like this story, the intimacy built up from common ground.

Date: 2014-11-04 07:20 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Nice.

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