this was written for every_click. xposted there.
author: the elfie (elfiepike/xposted in inthekeyofpike)
pairings: karen o./brody dalle
obvious: the following is all fictional. the lyrics are by stellastarr*.
notes: these are semi-related, but not. i'm honestly not that sure if i got the the whole idea of the challenge correctly, but basically each drabble is more likely to be based on the feeling of the music than the lyrics. or something. anyway.
Brody doesn't like sleeping next to other people, largely because she's a mild insomniac and has trouble sleeping through the night. She wakes in fits and starts: she's heard something, she's dreaming something strange again, or she just does and there are no reasons behind it.
"You're like a baby, still, like you never grew out of that phase where you need to be reassured that there's someone alive to look after you," Karen says. She doesn't mean it as an insult.
"Yeah, well. Maybe I am," Brody says.
"It's all right, it's all right," Karen says. "Stay awake with me then."
"Yeah, okay," Brody says.
She needs to be awake in a couple hours anyway.
"What are you looking for?" Karen asks. She's a comfortable weight on Brody's chest.
"Nothing," Brody says.
"You're lying," Karen says. "I can hear your heartbeat, and the rush of blood says to me, 'don't believe her, because Brody wants things so hard that she sometimes gets bruises because of it.'"
Brody laughs at that. It's true. "Nothing that I don't already have," she amends.
Karen smiles, and Brody thinks: nothing that you'd be willing to give me. If Karen were to ever say, "No, tonight I'd rather not see you,"--Brody thinks she might die. (Brody's never known anyone who had this much power over her. She doesn't know yet whether she minds.)
Karen is teaching Brody how to dance, not just any dancing, but full-on stylish ballroom dancing. "How the fuck do you know this kind of shit?" Brody says, and she's tripping over her own feet at least in part because she's been drinking steadily for three hours.
"I watched too many dancing movies as a kid," Karen says. "Dirty Dancing, Strictly Ballroom, that movie with Cheyenne," and casually dances Brody across the hardwood floor of her bedroom, the bed pushed to the wall to make space.
"Who?" Brody asks, but she doesn't really care. "I think the more butch of us should be leading here." Karen's shorter than Brody, and Karen's hair smells so good, and her hand is warm and maybe a bit damp, from the condensation on the beer.
"You think you know enough?" Karen says, smiling and soft and it's only then that Brody realizes they had never put on any music.
"I think I can manage."
They have sex like they could go on forever, heart rates up, slick and hot. Brody loves this, sliding her hips against Karen's, kissing Karen and sucking on her skin and fucking her with fingers and tongue. Brody's good at this part, and she knows it only because Karen's honest about everything in her sly, back-alley manner, and Karen is vocal in her appreciation.
(When Karen says her name like that, "Brody," Brody forgets that anything else matters. Really, what else could matter, if you have Karen O. looking at you like you're the only one who could do this to her?)
The truth is that Karen really is something of a slut, and it does matter, and Brody can't stand it. It makes Brody want to break things, smash someone's head in, take a broken bottle to those fuckers who still come to shows shouting, "Go back to Tim!"
Fuck 'em, fuck 'em all, and she dreams about owning Karen, shackling her to that bed of hers, Karen's make-up smudged around her eyes like somebody's punched her. Brody dreams about never letting Karen out of her sight, and Karen liking it.
"You wouldn't have had a chance if I wasn't a slut," Karen says, the real Karen, and Brody hates her for being right.
Brody's never met anyone quite like Karen, who prefers it when things are a little bit dirty. (Karen once said to Brody: all the things that are truly beautiful in the world are a bit ugly as well; oil slicks, for example. They shimmer like there could be nothing more perfect, but they are in fact a pollution.)
In that case, Brody thinks, staring at Karen's hair, slick and reflective in the neon lights of the bar, you are the most beautiful thing.
She would never say it out loud. Sometimes Brody thinks that she's just a bit too vulnerable when it comes to Karen.
"Brody," Karen says, "Brody." Her voice is different when she's on the phone, a bit softer, a bit higher, like she almost doesn't believe that the technology will work unless she treats it gently.
Brody wishes she could see Karen's face. Karen's a very expressive person. "Yeah?"
"Tell me what it would be like for you to live without me."
Brody thinks she may have stopped breathing for a moment.
Or maybe her heart skipped a beat. "What, you mean like if I'd never met you?"
"No, I mean--"
Brody knows what she means: --if I stopped associating with you, --if I dropped off the face of the planet, --if I were to suddenly disappear like Houdini in reverse, --if I died in some horribly tragic accident.
Brody doesn't want to contemplate it.
Brody finds the note tucked in between the pages of her magazine:
I sometimes think that you are the fox, it reads, Karen's messy handwriting elide the letters into more an idea of a word than the word itself, and I am the hound. I'm chasing you through the streets of your city, under the cars, past the nervous ankles of new mothers, through the faulty links of the fences that surround every yard, around the swimming pools--why are you running so fast?, I want to shout, but of course I'm a dog so you merely hear me barking, barking, barking. I think it terrifies you. You don't need to be afraid of me.
Brody has twenty-twenty hindsight. She has to laugh at what she used to do to herself, how she used to mislead herself all the time, with drugs, with Tim, with Josh, with her band; if she weren't laughing she might never do anything at all.
She wants to think that it's different with Karen. With Karen, she wants to think, I won't fuck up quite so much. She won't--doesn't--overreact whenever I do the littlest thing, and I won't be such a fucking control freak, and --
She doesn't quite believe it. Brody finds it very difficult to lie to herself.
They remind each other of the facts, regularly; they're not afraid that they'll forget so much as they enjoy the telling of it. "You started it," Brody will say, her voice like heavy machinery, "You started everything." (Karen once said that Brody's voice could grind the world to dust. Don't ever stop talking to me, don't ever stop, she said.)
"Not everything," Karen says, and she's smiling with her eyes closed. "You approached me, the very first time."
"Only because you kept looking at me," Brody says. "Like I was there just for you to look at."
"You were," Karen says. "You are."