Written for kinkfest over at IJ.Title:
I Met A Man (Save Me)Fandom:
Luck, Taxi Driver Djinn (oh yeah)Summary:
Energy must convert, one form to another, switching to conserve.Warnings:
Uh. AU?! 3am writing?! Dave Matthews rip-off?! 832 words, and it is totally not fun at all being awake at this hour with your head unable to be switched off.walkin' through the desert I met a man, and he told me 'bout his crazy plan: he'd been walking for twenty days; he was gonna walk on for twenty more.
New York City; centre of the universe. Contingent beings: that which may or may not exist. Causality: a higher order giving purpose, existence, substance to a lower one. Newton's Cradle.
It's been eighty years since the first pin dropped. Nothing done since then but living like the living. Times Square, lit up like a never-wilting Christmas tree. Luck feels bad for the neon, subject always to burn.
42nd street. Midtown. Bryant Park. Small little square. Freezes up in the winter. They have little shops down there, and yellow lights strung up so you don't see too much of the black and dark green, in between this here city of the millennia.
The thought of millennia scares Luck. He walks past the dumpster and keeps his feet firm on the ground. Black tarmac. Dirty yellow road lines. It's slick with melted ice, and filthy near the drains. You can see the green and red of the traffic in the reflections. It's a kaleidoscope, except which way's up, and what are the pieces?
The diamond district's not too far away, he thinks. In those shops sit the domesticated carbon, millennia worth of pressure turning black right through to glass.
Luck hails a cab, stepping out halfway onto the street like any New Yorker would, and is he a New Yorker. City moves too fast these days. Conservation of energy: something has to change. Move from one form, and right into another.
They keep a pet demon in the Alveare, except Mr Suchiato doesn't like being called that. When Luck meets the eyes of the driver in the rear view, the horns and tyre noises boom out, muted through water. He's on a ship, riding the waves. The taxi rocks to the Empire State. 'Where to?' the driver asks, his voice like desert sand dissolving.
Luck should say, Little Italy. He doesn't say anything, just keeps looking until the driver takes off his 12 a.m sunglasses, and his eyes are red.
'You're not,' the driver says, and Luck shakes his head. The man thumps the wheel, and pulls off the road shoulder when the shouts behind them get too loud. Luck doesn't think he hears them. 'You're lucky,' the driver says, and if only he knew. 'Closed circle, that kind of old magic. Belief does not come into the equation. A wise kind of knowledge. You cannot rely on belief for anything. Where to?'
'Little Italy,' Luck says, but he doesn't mean it.
The driver takes the long way round. 'I haven't slept for three days,' he apologises. 'I don't want to end up in an accident nodding off through an orange light.'
'It's not a problem,' Luck murmurs. The driver looks at him again. Luck didn't look away to begin with. 'You're running from something,' he says.
'There's a storm coming,' the driver replies, sounding as tired as Luck can imagine.
'All I feel is the calm,' Luck admits. Midtown begins to melt. It's raining, but from the inside of the cab, it looks like paint dripping, like the windows of the world oozing away. 'Ozone gathering like pressure. Nothing that I can change. Potential energy, too much of it.'
'My kind,' the driver says, softly, 'we are afraid. Once, we would have been afraid of nothing.'
Luck doesn't say anything until the reach the jazz club. He tells the driver to park in the meagre private lot, a fought-for rarity. 'I'll pay you anything,' he says, when the driver looks ready to hesitate. 'Stop here for the night.'
It storms hard enough that night that even the empty corridor doesn't hear whisper of their sighs, old angst in the walls and fear enough to soak through to the foundations.
The djinn looks into Luck's eyes in the darkness. They lie close enough together that the faint glow of his pupils reflect orange, bloody fire mixing in with Luck's gold. If he looks deep enough, Luck thinks he can see the same sight. He knows that colour, has seen it before, burning bright like a kind of unquenchable flame.
Claire died last year, or maybe he chose to go.
The taxi driver falls asleep to the sound of the thunder.
Luck is the one who rises at four o'clock, that witching hour that the city doesn't know whether to call night or day. He takes the djinn's identity card, his taxi and his story, and walks out into the desert of black tar. The roads run east to west, north to south, capillaries in an epicentre, threading outwards, going nowhere.
Kinetic motion is all, when he steps on the accelerator, thinking of nothing in particular. Luck feels his spirit jerk out of old inertia, the vibrations of the past spinning through too many memories, charging them, and turning them into something new.