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Title: Lucretia
Series: unfinished
Rating: PG?
Word Count: 2060
Summary: Sleep-deprived genius catches ninja off guard.
Notes: Posted this on my regular journal a while back. Heavily influenced by the Ninja Turtles. Originally the sister was going to get kidnapped by evil ninjas and they'd have to use the magic katana to save her which isn't a spoiler because A) I'm never going to finish it and B) anyone with any familiarity with fiction of any kind could figure that out. Interesting in that it appears to be populated entirely by gentiles! But they still seem kinda gay. I'm not sure if that was intentional.

Lucretia Carmichael was a genius. You didn't need to tell her sister that. Hell, you didn't need to tell either of her sisters that, but you definitely didn't need to tell Tricia Marie of Hoboken, New Jersey, because Tricia Marie, unlike that other Carmichael girl, actually talked to her kid sister every once in a while, so what Olivia might recall from years long past, Tricia ran smack up against every time Lucretia opened her mouth.

Which wasn't that often, really, Tricia amended. Lu had always been more the listening type. More the type to ask questions. More the type to smile and nod but really mean it, to listen in earnest and then, much later, to take your answers away with her to a quiet room to be considered but never unleashed. Lucretia listened. She took everything in and kept it in, unless she was asking a question about it.

She was a hard person for Tricia to be around if she didn't have anything to say, because all then all she could think to do was ask her own questions, haltingly and uncertainly and then would come that sweet, shy smile and Lucretia would open her mouth and smack Tricia in the face with the weight of her ignorance. It wasn't like she meant to do it, of course – Lucretia wasn't a braggart and she was likely trying to keep it simple, but that was twenty years of trying to keep it simple and Tricia had only been paying attention for the last three.

And the plain truth of it was that Lucretia was a genius. A genius who was hard at work on her PhD, with a Master's in Technosomething-or-other, a running partnership with some bigwig at a University-with-emphasis. A genius who was sweet and wonderful and very much beloved by an older sister who was nonetheless uncomfortable aware of the difference between them every time they spoke. How the fuck was she supposed to spend a week in a house with her and three roommates who were – with Tricia's luck – probably just as brilliant as she was? (Tricia's luck was not, in fact, particular bad, she realized even as she thought this. It was better then average, in all probability, and she was aware of this. It was only now it seemed awful.)

Tricia was the pride of the District Attorney's office, back in Jersey. Fearless, tenacious, smart, and everything you could want in a good attorney. It was absolutely silly that she should be so afraid of her little sister. Even is she was a genius. (Did she mention that Lucretia's a genius?)

It was a train of thought that had been going around and around in Tricia's head virtually nonstop since the visit had been decided upon. She's talked it over at some length with her boyfriend and her best girlfriends, which had only made her feel better for as long as it took her to recall that none of them had ever met Lucretia. She was just a story to them, just another facet of their friend Tricia – finished third in her law school class, loves horror movies but couldn't finish a Lovecraft story if you paid her, likes her fish fried in butter, has a prodigy for a sister.

None of them had ever sat across the dinner table from Lucretia, watching her smile and ask questions about Mom and Dad's days, about the ins and outs of lawn mower repair and dry cleaning, knowing all the time she'd remember every word of it a week later. They'd never thrown out a desk lamp only to find only to find it cleaned and repaired and back in it's place three days later just like it had never been gone. They'd never watched her pixie-thin face go from near-hysterical tears to almost-perfect composure in an instant, only to be told, later, that she'd been making a something Pyramid to calm down and was on row forty-six. None of them had ever lived with a genius, so how would they understand the terror?

Tricia was pleasantly surprised, when she turned off on the exit that would take her Lucretia's house, to realize that she was quite looking forward to seeing her sister, after all.

Ashton got in about a quarter to seven, tired and achy, and ready to crash land in bed with a book and a sandwich until time for bed. She'd been out since eight with Leo and Sir Richard doing what Dora had succinctly termed 'freaky high-level ninja crap' before declining the invitation to join them.

“I don't really fancy getting my ass handed to me,” she'd said, adding. “Especially when there's rockin' to be done this evening.”

Ashton stashed her gear in her room was halfway back to the kitchen before a vent caught her clothes just so and she was momentarily frozen in horror as how badly she reeked.

Right, she thought. Shower. Then sandwich.

She added a nice cup of tea to her wish list as she flicked the lock on the bathroom door. Fatigue can be the only explanation for why this desire, laden as it was with history of disaster, didn't immediately send a spike of foreboding through her empty belly.

Twenty minutes later, clean, pyjamaed, and feeling a hundred times more human and three hundred times for ravenous, Ashton stood, barefoot, in the kitchen, making a sandwich that would have made the heavens weep. She piled on every vegetable she could dig out of the refrigerator, slicing fresh tomatoes and tearing the lettuce just so. Her thick, heavy hair fell in a quickly drying heap over one shoulder and she swore to herself she'd brush it before bed even as she chastised herself for putting it off until then. Once again, Dora's voice echoed within her.

“Can't be perfect all the time, Fearless. That much order could even drive you nuts.”

Order might, Ashton thought. Hunger definitely will.</i>

She brushed all other thoughts aside as she splashed oil and vinegar over the expertly piled vegetables. And then the sandwich was done. For a split second, Ashton considered taking it to the table and eating sitting down, like a civilized person. But just as quickly, she made an executive decision to save her civility for when she was somebody's sensei and devoured it where she stood.

It wasn't until later, when she was licking the tomato juice and vinegar from her fingers that it occurred to Ashton to wonder where her roommates might be. Dora was out with the twins, of course – or at least that's what Ashton assumed the “rocking” remark had meant – most likely at a skate park or night club. Rafaela was as likely gone as here so her absence was no cause for alarm. But Lucretia?

Ashton cast a quick look around, feeling unaccountably paranoid. Not likely Lucretia would jump out at her – she was probably sealed up her lab or curled up with a book in her room. Through force of will, Ashton relaxed and turned her attention to the kettle. Spending a day with Leo always put her on edge and Sir Richard was worse. So few people could really get the drop on her, these days...

It occurred to Ashton only much later that the hand that dropped onto her shoulder at that precise moment shouldn't have been a surprise at all. When one is smugly contemplating how unlikely it is that anyone should be able to startle them, it's only fair that they should immediately be given a small heart attack by someone who is not actually trying to be sneaky. That is how the universe works. It's a rule. Her thoughts sounded strangely like Rafaela, at that point, and she decided not to read too much into what that meant.

But these ruminations came only later, in the cold light of day, when she was able to smile at her own arrogance and cringe at her attachments. And when the hand dropped onto her shoulder, she jumped. And maybe shrieked, a little bit. Reports are mixed and further investigations (embarked upon with gusto by Dora and smugness by Rafaela) were inconclusive. But whether she shrieked or not, Ashton was very, very surprised.

She might have her assailant injury if her shock hadn't transferred over in an instant, prompting a soft 'huh!' of surprise and a stagger back from Lucretia, who's exhausted stumblings from bedroom to kitchen had completely failed to attract ninja master Ashton's attention.

“Lu?” Ashton gasped, turning to face her with rather less grace than she'd care to admit to.

“Hey, Ash.” Lucretia grinned at her, wide and unguarded and completely unlike herself. Ashton was immediately suspicious. “Did I scare you?”

Ashton, pulling herself together with truly remarkable efficiency, reached out and lay a hand on Lucretia's shoulder.

“Scare me?” she asked, pushed disobedient back with her free hand. “No, I was just surprised. What's going on, Lu? You feeling all right?”

“Oh, yeah,” Lucretia said. “I feel great.” She smiled even wider, pleasure radiating from her very core. “Ash, I made you something.”

Ashton felt some of her wariness flagging in the face of that guileless smile. She slid her hand a little nearer to Lucretia's neck and squeezed, gently. Lucretia met her gaze with eyes as wide and brilliant as Ashton had ever seen.

“Made something?” she asked, pitching her voice lower and more intimate without any conscious effort. “Can I fight crime with it?”

She thought fleetingly of Dora's pleas for a jetpack, of insistence that they four should form some kind of super hero team, and felt herself beginning to smirk. Lucretia, maybe following these same lines of thought, giggled, leaning into Ashton's touch.

“If you want,” she said, and began to lean forward. She swayed worryingly and Ashton gently caught her other shoulder.

“Magic katana,” Lucretia said, softly, and and giggled again.

Ashton regarded her with fond amusement, for a moment, then pulled her close, folding the smaller woman up in her arms. She pressed her face into Lucretia's hair and when her nose brushed the rim of her ear, she muttered, “When's the last time you slept, Lucy?”

Lucretia gave herself over to Ashton's embrace immediately, relaxing into the familiar comfort of her body like sliding into a favorite coat. When she felt breath tickling her ear, she sighed happily. It took a moment for her process Ashton's words and slightly longer to formulate a coherent response.

“Mmm...” she said. “Eightish?”

Ashton glanced at the clock and formed a theory.

“Morning or evening?” she asked.

“Morning,” Lucretia replied promptly, smugly.

Too smugly. Ashton paused long enough to form an alternative theory.

“Which day?”

Lucretia's arms went tight around Ashton's waist, a sign of joyful surrender.

“Yesterday,” she said.

Ashton sighed, and kissed the top of Lucretia's head.

“Magic katana?” she asked, a little wistfully.

“Magic katana,” Lucretia confirmed.

“Why don't you show it to me tomorrow, Lu?” It hurt a little to say. Magic katana. “It's time we got to bed.”

“Bed?” Lucretia asked. She looked up at Ashton and Ashton was able to identify the light in her eye as mania. “It's not even nine. You tired, Ash?”

“You know?” Ashton said, with honesty she wasn't aware of until she said it. “I am. Been out with Leo, you know.” She pulled Lucretia in close, again, and pressed their foreheads together. She closed her eyes and begged any passing deity for forgiveness for her blatant abuse of Lucretia's better nature.

“You should come to bed, too, Lucy.” Lucretia made a sound like she might protest and Ashton pressed on. “It's training day. I'm tired. You're exhausted. Come with me. Let me take care of you.”

Lucretia swayed and sighed as her flimsy resistance began to crumble but said nothing.


Whatever shot Lucretia might have at refusing disappeared at this last, quiet appeal. The exhaustion that clouded her brain shorted out all her defenses and left her helpless against any show of vulnerability.

“All right,” she murmured. “To bed. Your room or mine?”

Ashton let out a little huff of breath that might, if she wanted to risk vengeance, have been a laugh, and said, “Yours, I think.”


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