Bitter Mint and Chocolate : Chapter 1

Wordcount: 1,921
Rating/Warnings/Genre: PG-13, Cursing & Violence, Urban Fantasy/MuseFic
Summary: The Writer shows up, new fictives in tow, and tries to convince everyone that this will be an awesome idea! …The fictives aren’t so sure.

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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~*~*~*~*~

Opening With a Bang– err Bond!

“Hey Muse-y, I’m home!”

The story mists churned as the Writer walked into the faux-living room with a file folder half-full of notes and story sketches for a new universe. Three fictives followed behind her, semi-coherent and prone to doubling.

“I can’t believe you’re writing a James Bond and Sherlock crossover fanfic,” the Muse grumped from the interdimensional sofa where she was curled up with her laptop. She nodded a greeting to the fictives as the Writer shooed the plot bunnies off the Writing Desk. “You’re barely involved in either fandom!”

“It’s not a fanfic, I’ve thrown canon so far out the window it’s in orbit. Consider it– fandom inspired? A homage maybe?” The Writer spread out the handful of already written scenes and general worldbuilding… and frowned at the chaos.

It was another werewolf universe, because of course it was, but it was dark and violent and possibly horribly unbalanced. Magic was a lot like gunpowder or nanobots– the possibilities could easily destroy a world if she let it.

The Grimdark bunny snuck back in to nibble on one of the corners.

“Are we allowed a vote in any of this?” asked the James Bond fictive, who was wavering in and out of the various actors. “Because it seems much simpler to just research your source material and write actual fanfic. I’d be less… wobbly.”

“Technicalities, technicalities.” The Writer snapped her fingers and locked him into the Daniel Craig version of Bond, then toned him down a bit so he was more real-world fit and less impossible movie abs.

He seemed quite pleased, but the Writer frowned. “Although having a fan-cast you doesn’t help much since I’ve never seen your movies. In my head, you’re just vaguely blond, ice blue-eyed, and older. Honestly, the rest of the actors just look too friendly for the sort of person the story needs.”

Bond was less pleased.

“We’re already wildly OOC, so I doubt knowing the source material would help,” pointed out the Q fictive (Ben Whishaw) who was helping the fandom good guy version of Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) raid the other end of the interdimensional sofa for drinks and snacks.

“Even when she does know the canon she’s horrible at it,” the Muse offered. “Just ask the Stargate Atlantis folk.”

“The less I know about the source material the easier it will be to file the serial numbers off.” The Writer said, picking up the opening scene. “You ready to get to work?”

“I get why James and I are werewolves and Q is the empath, but why is Q the only one with a new name?” asked Alec as he passed James a drink and settled into a graciously appearing Comfy Chair.

“Because I am not doing a find and replace on a letter,” the Writer sniffed. “I’ll get back around to the rest of you once I have a better idea of who you are. Right, so then, let’s get this thing started!” 

The Writer shooed everyone to their seats and the story mists churned.

***

Eighth has spent his whole life entombed in layers of carefully crafted lies. The Henry he used to be is hidden away under nicknames and cover stories and twenty-four years of figuring out how to live unnoticed in a world growing less and less private. 

He’s on his way home from a boring job fit for his current boring persona when the tanker truck halfway down the tunnel in front of him jackknifes, hits the wall, and explodes.

A brief fireball rips through the tunnel as he slams on the brakes and into the car in front of him. The impact’s enough to deploy the airbags and he’s still blinking from the blast when the sharp staccato beats of gunfire start up ahead. 

For a moment he freezes, because this can’t actually be happening, and then the wave of panic from the other drivers rolls over him like thick molasses. Eighth struggles out of the car, wincing as people push past him. 

The closer the get to him, the stronger their emotions echo in his mind as burnt pine and rotten lemon. It’s eye-wateringly overpowering and it takes him longer than it should to realize he can also feel the rushed crescendo of werewolves losing control.

He’s only felt it once before when he’d been too young to really understand what the bitter mint smell meant. Listening to his Uncle’s stories years later, he realized just how close he’d come to dying.

No one else notices the werewolves, because there’s nothing for them to notice. The men are just a few faint shadows in the fire that everyone else is frantically trying to escape.

So Eighth follows their lead and scrambles through the wreckage, only to be knocked to his knees by a spike in the smell. That’s when he knows none of them will make it out of this tunnel alive.

It’s not a choice anymore, so he peels off the layers of self until he’s just Henry again and pulls.

And the tunnel goes silent.

***

“Well, that’s one way to start a story,” said Q (now Eighth) after a pause. “I don’t think I’ve been in an opening that’s half info dump and half running away from exploding things.”

“Exposition via explosion is totally a valid storytelling method.” 

“Yes, but you’ve left out anything that lets the reader know what I look like or where the story is set. Yet in three hundred words, you’ve crammed in that my name is Henry, my nickname is Eighth, I’m an empath who processes emotions as smells, I’m at least twenty-four, and that I’m in hiding.” He paused. “In an exploding tunnel.”

“And that you know what werewolves are, have run into them before, and are scared of them,” added James. “A little physical description would be nice, but since we don’t know what we look like yet– better to save it for the next draft, I guess.”

“Also, you’re an unreliable narrator,” grumped Alec, “I’m not ‘losing control,’ I’m enjoying a fight. I don’t just go berserk and murder people– well, most of the time. And those times are on purpose, so you are still horribly biased and I object.”

Eighth rolled his eyes. “I am going off horror stories that I heard as a child from my Uncle, what do you expect?”

“Right, anywho,” the Writer cut through the bickering, “back to the other side of the fight!”

***

The mercenaries have them trapped with their backs to the fire and James is torn between being impressed and being infuriated that Alec has gotten them into yet another messy end to a mission.

The rogue werewolf they’ve been hunting is still entangled in the silver net in the back of their badly mangled van, but it won’t hold her for much longer. The pup’s not a professional, but she’s not new to the game and her wolf’s been in charge since they trapped her. There’s little a wolf won’t do when it needs to and unless they can get her properly restrained she’ll be gone in a few minutes.

But he can’t focus on that, he has to focus on the silver bullets and sonic blasts coming from the two black SUVs that have them pinned against the flames.

There are too many civilians to risk fighting properly yet, but they’re all panicking nicely and running away from the fight. With luck, they’ll be clear in a moment or two and James and Alec can stop playing nice.

The bad guys know what they are, they’re trying to rescue the rogue werewolf after all, so there’s no need to hide once the innocent bystanders are gone. The Agency’s IT department is fast on their fingers and even if someone stops to look back they won’t have any proof.

James is counting his bullets and glaring at Alec to stay undercover when the rogue werewolf finally gets free– but instead of running, she launches into James like a furry torpedo.

What little control James has left over his own wolf shatters in an instant. Mother’s only vaguely apologetic as she takes over, shifting them to full wolf as she spins to meet the rogue. 

Alec’s wolf is more than happy to join in, but the moment the three wolves go at it for real, everything stops.

For a split second, James’s brain just doesn’t work, and the three of them tumble apart as momentum carries them when their muscles don’t. Then the second is over and he’s back in control, but his emotions are gone. 

He’s in pain, but he’s not angry or alarmed, just floating in the sense that he should be. 

There’s a Sink in the tunnel, somewhere.

“Well, fuck that was fast,” says Alec as he staggers to his paws with a headshake. “Don’t trust us on our own anymore Control?”

“That’s not one of ours,” comes the voice over the coms on their collars, clipped and tense in a way James can’t quite manage yet. “Abort the mission. Now.”

But Alec is already taking advantage of the situation and is carving his way through the mercenaries. Humans recover from Sinks much slower than wolves, but after Alec kills the first three the rest dazedly begin returning fire.

James makes a half-hearted move to help, but there’s no need, so he shifts back to human and secures the rogue werewolf instead. The pup’s never dealt with a Sink before and she’s still dazed and easy to subdue. 

I want, says James’s wolf in his mind as Mother tries to get him to leave the rogue and hunt the unknown Sink. She’s got the scent of something new and the wolf is curious to a fault. Want.

He fights her down, but only because she allows it, and waits for Alec to finish cleaning up.

Their real backup shows up a short time later, but the civilians and the unknown Sink are already long gone.

***

“I want to make ALL the jokes about collared MI6 agents and the fact that James’s wolf is called Mother,” says Alec. “But I won’t, and I want credit for that.”

“Not that kind of fic, sorry,” said the Writer without actually being sorry.

Bond frowned. “You do realize this version of Alec is the fandom one and he’s going to spend the whole story alternating between flirting with things and setting them on fire, right?” 

“…yes?”

“And you still want to write this story?” Bond seemed genuinely confused.

“She has a habit of picking up fictives who would rather be in other rating categories,” said the Muse. “Just roll with it, things always work out Gen. Mostly.”

Alec just grinned.

Eighth and Bond exchanged looks… and then shrugs. As long as the interdimensional sofa kept them in drinks and snacks they didn’t really have anywhere else to be.

“So we’ve got the bad guys, the rogue, James and Alec, MI6, the concept of Sinks, and then Mother popping in at the end. What else did we need in the first introduction?” The Writer chewed thoughtfully on her mechanical pencil.

“Description. Clarity. Everything? And if you want to keep this set in the UK, you are going to need to britpick it,” Eighth said. “But apparently research is for planners, not pansters, so… second draft stuff?”

“Or third,” said the Muse with a sigh.

“But it’s a start and that’s what rough drafts are for.” The Writer ignored Eighth’s eye rolls and shuffled through the notes. “So, onwards!”

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