Half Past Never – Part 1

Wordcount: 1,472
Rating/Warnings/Genre: PG-13, Urban Fantasy/MuseFic
Summary: In which we begin at the beginning!

This is my Camp NaNoWriMo July 2016 NaNoWriMo ‘Novel’ in which I and my Fictives attempt to polish off all of the in-progress stories in the Tales of the Drunken Unicorn ‘verse.

MuseFic is in black, the original draft is in blue, and the new draft is in green.

NOTE: This is a MuseFic in which the Writer, the Muse, and her fictives work to create the rough draft of a story (or just worldbuild). There will be spoilers for the story being drafted, which will most likely contain plot holes, retcons, and other inconsistencies.

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~*~*~*~

“So, this is… different.” Sam followed her Writer into an echo of Sam’s sophomore dorm room. It was hazy and indistinct, except for the bunk bed, which was pretty much how the fictive preferred to remember that year. “I thought we were doing a proper NaNo?”

“Proper-ish.” The Writer frowned down at the nebulous furniture shapes until one of them gave in and turned into a basic wooden desk and chair. She poked the chair and it grumpily morphed into something a bit more comfortable. “I was all set to start writing from the middle and then I decided not to.” She unpacked her laptop and settled in to write.

“So we’re starting from the beginning,” said Sam.

“Yup!”

Again.”

“Technically other than the one snippit, I never really wrote the beginning so this isn’t ‘again.’” The Writer pointed out as she started organizing her notes. “But I promise it will be the last first time I write it?”

Sam made unimpressed noises and flopped down on the bottom bunk, pulling her hoodie closed to the point where the rest of the world was a happy blur again. Maybe if she pretended hard enough her Writer would go away and let her sleep in peace.

“That’s not how that works.”

I dun care,” came the muffled reply and the Writer shrugged and got on with her work.

***

“Alright, so let’s see how bad this really is.” The Writer pulled up the eleven-year-old copy of Sam and Fluffy’s first encounter. “I should be able to save something…”

***

There is nothing quite so disturbing as waking up nose to nose with a horse. A very large, very white, very mystical looking horse.

Samantha groaned and closed her eyes, shutting out the hallucination. She had vague memories from last night’s All Hallows Eve party, and they were enough to confirm the four-legged visitor was imaginary. Orange food coloring and vodka made a nasty combination. Or was it orange juice? She buried herself back under the covers with a whimper.

***

“Wow.” The Writer paused for a moment to take in the trainwreck of an opening. “Okay, dear eleven-years-ago self, let’s just… not.” She stared at the words a little longer, then got to typing.

***

No one expects to wake up to a unicorn nibbling on their blanket, no matter how crazy the Halloween party might have been.

Sam groaned and closed her eyes, shutting out the hallucination. She had vague memories of Ava handing her something orange, but they’d also had this talk when she’d seen the werewolf after Freshman homecoming. Alcohol good, drugs bad.

Still, she had a nice buzz keeping her thoughts soft and sleepy instead of the panic she was pretty sure she should be feeling. Maybe it wasn’t all bad. There were the beginnings of a hangover as well, but that could wait.

Whatever it was, it’ll wear off in a few hours, Sam thought as she buried herself under the covers.

:No it won’t.: The unicorn tugged on the blanket as his mental voice rampaged through Sam’s hangover. :Wake up.:

***

“Not that seeing actual not sucktastic words on paper isn’t great,” Sam interjected, “but shouldn’t you have some sort of outline or idea where the story is going before you start?”

“I do have an outline: Sam Meets Fluffy.”

“And?”

“There is no ‘and’.” The Writer looked up from her laptop. “It’s an opening vignette, a DVD extra about how you two met. There is no plot.”

“And no point,” Sam muttered. “I object to DVD extras when you haven’t written the movie yet.”

“I’m getting there! Look, I have this one and then Beware the Pointy End–“

“Which is more of the same.”

“– and then we can do the ‘first’ adventure which is Slaying the Princess.”

“Can I make bets about how many drabbles and useless extras you are going to write in between now and Princess?”

“…No.”

“Thought not.”

***

“No, no, no,” Sam sleepily hauled the blankets back and rolled over to face the wall, her bunk bed swaying somewhat alarmingly with the movement. There was a faint noise of objection from the bottom bunk, but Leah could be trusted to sleep through anything short of an actual earthquake.

:You’re being childish.:

“You’re bein’ ‘maginary,” Sam muttered and tucked the other pillow over her head.

:Fine.:

There was a blissful moment where her hangover was alone inside her head and then Sam felt something blunt poke her between the shoulder blade followed immediately by a sharp electrical shock and her world went white with pain.

Sam’s involuntary attempt to escape the pain by lunging at the wall was enough to send the bunk bed tilting wildly. It didn’t quite collapse, but the resulting chaos was enough to wake Leah and probably half the hall.

“What the hell?” Leah peered sleepily over the edge of the bunk bed, ignoring the confused looking unicorn who’d retreated to the far side of the dorm room.

“It bit me!” Sam pointed from her perch, having built a small blanket wall between herself and the equine.

Leah blinked. “Wha?”

“The unicorn, it bit me!”

Leah turned to look, but turned back after a second with a confused frown. “S’nothing there. Wha’did Ava give you this time?”

:She can’t see me.: The unicorn pointed out, his mental voice sounding almost alarmed as Sam felt. Only this time it wasn’t stomping all over her hangover. Or her buzz.

You did that!” Sam glared, her brain still fuzzy from lack of sleep instead of her normal weekend trifecta.

:It wasn’t supposed to hurt!: The unicorn stomped a forehoof. :It’s a cleansing spell.:  

“It cleansed me.” Sam looked to Leah for backup for her outrage.

“You need to go back to sleep.” Leah said, after a long slightly lost pause. “Sleep.” She pushed blankets at Sam until her roommate grudgingly laid down, still glaring. “Ava’s so dead.” Leah crawled back into bed herself.

:Are you seriously going back to sleep?:

“Yes.” And she did.

***

Several hours later Sam woke up to a sleeping unicorn. It was still standing in the far corner, one hind leg cocked, eyes closed and ears twitching as her dormmates tromped down the hall. She stared at it for a long moment, having run out of things to run interference between her brain and her hallucination.

Apparently rising panic was all it took to rouse unicorns from slumber and it blinked.

:Hello again.: The mental voice was still loud and overly stompy inside her head, but it lacked the hangover reverb. :Are you going to stay awake this time?:

“Are you going to go away?”

:No.:

For a moment Sam pondered going back to sleep, but ‘cleansing’ or not, she was thirsty. She glared at the unicorn, focusing on turning fear into annoyance. Once she was suitably irritated, she carefully slipped out of bed and got dressed, ignoring the insanity in the corner of the room.

:You aren’t crazy,: the unicorn pointed out, apparently amused. :But most people can’t see me, so if you ask them you’ll sound crazy.:

“Right, because that would be the end of the world.” Sam muttered and kicked Leah’s bunk.

“Whassit?” Leah blinked up at her roommate, only slightly more coherent than their earlier conversation.

“You can’t see the unicorn?” She gestured in its general direction.

“…No?”

“Gotcha.” Sam shrugged and headed out, politely waiting for the unicorn to follow her before she locked the dorm room door. She was on the late end of the breakfast rush, but there were plenty of students still heading towards the cafeteria. Sam made a point of asking everyone if they could see the unicorn, regardless of if they knew her or not.

So far the answers were all ‘no’, but it seemed to be annoying the unicorn so Sam kept it up.

***

“So, yeah.” Sam eyed the small army of new words from over the Writer’s shoulder, having given up her sulk as soon as she realized her Writer was actually writing. “You threw all the old stuff out.”

“It was pretty bad.” The Writer agreed, taking the interruption as a welcome break to brainstorm what was coming next.

:And horribly out of character.: Fluffy had wandered into the dorm room and brought a trough of azaleas with him to snack on. :Amusing as the original me was, I much prefer to not be an idiot.:

“Am I allowed to point out we’ve made it out of the dorm room and appear to be heading towards a plot?” Sam sat back down on the bottom bunk giving her Writer a thoughtful look.

“Nope, no plot.” The Writer insisted, “Basil Exposition all the way!”

:But Pantsing means you don’t know.: Fluffy nibbled innocently on the azaleas.

“No. Plot.”

“By all means, carry on then,” Sam said.

And the Writer did.

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