Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
About Literature / Student Premium Member M.A. HinkleFemale/United States Groups :iconwriters-workshop: Writers-Workshop
Where writers workshop writing!
Recent Activity
Deviant for 10 Years
Needs Core Membership
Statistics 421 Deviations 11,477 Comments 36,421 Pageviews

Newest Deviations

Random Favourites




They spent the rest of the class discussing who would have custody of Lin at what times.

Well. Not really discussing. Toph told him.

“The only times I cannot actually have flour baby—”

“Her name is Lin,” said Sokka. He smiled at her lazily, like he was enjoying interrupting her at every turn. Toph was tempted to grab his ear and yank his head up off the desk, but she would get in trouble for that, not him.

“Fine. Lin. The only time I cannot actually have ‘Lin’ in my lap, like we are supposed to, is during my music lessons on Monday night and during my Tai Chi lessons on Friday. I will bring ‘Lin’ to you at the last bell. Fair?”

Sokka tilted his head from side to side, considering this. “You know, there really needs to be more trust present in our relationship. You talk like I don’t know anything about babies, but you’re not even holding her right.”

Toph looked down at the flour sack, resting between her legs. “What are you talking about? I’ve got hold of it.”

“Yes, but if you tried putting a real baby like that, she’d fall off your lap in two seconds. We’re imagining that Lin can sit up at her delicate stage of development and despite her disability, but, hey, the paper doesn’t say how old she is. Put her in your actual lap and wrap one arm around her waist. Like this.” He gestured, curving his arm around an imaginary baby. Toph frowned at him. “You know we get points off if we don’t handle her like a real baby, right? Better not let Joo Dee see you like that.”

Toph’s mouth twisted into a frown, but she picked up the flour baby and set it on her lap like Sokka demonstrated. “Better?”

“Good job. Now Lin feels safe and secure.” He slid his arm under his cheek. “There’s one problem with your schedule.”

“Don’t tell me you can’t handle having flour baby with you two nights a week.”

“No, that’s fine, but I work nights, so I can’t keep Lin. You’ll have to come pick her up.”

“What time?”

Sokka raised his eyebrows at her. “Don’t tell me you practice piano until nine at night.”

“No, but my mother takes me out to eat after music, and my father takes me out after Tai Chi. Nine is fine, though. My parents can bring me out where you work so I can pick flour baby up.” Sokka was making a face. “What?”

“Just must be nice to be able to eat out,” said Sokka, shaking his head. “Whatever. That sounds good. I work at the U. My shifts always start in the university center, so you can just meet me at the front desk.”

“Very good,” said Toph, leaning back in her chair. She paused, biting her lip. “Do you work Saturday nights?”

Sokka shook his head. “I’ve got Saturday and Sunday night off. Why? Will Lin interfere with your studying or something? You really should have thought of that before we decided to have this child.”

Toph glared at him. “I’m not studying. I have—stuff to do.”

Sokka raised his eyebrows at her, grinning a little. “What, like partying? Come on. I’m not even in your year and I know that you’re the biggest stick in the mud in the whole class.”

“And everybody knows you’re the biggest senior slacker in the history of this school, but I didn’t bring that up, did I?” Her voice was sharp; it must have surprised Sokka, because he blinked a few times and sat up.

“Okay, okay, that was out of line. Saturdays are just the only nights I get good sleep, but whatever. It’s not like I’m not used to little kids waking me up.”

Toph wanted to ask him about the kids he kept referencing—Sokka only had one sibling, and she was a sophomore, not young enough for Sokka to ever have to change her diapers or anything. But it wasn’t any of her business, and, anyway, the bell was about to ring. “Fine. You get the baby for the weekend. Same rules as before. Remember to come pick the flour baby up tonight.”


That afternoon, Toph waited out front, the flour sack balanced on her lap, for fifteen minutes after the last bell rang before scowling and marching into school to look around for Sokka. She cursed at herself for not getting his class schedule—she would fix that tomorrow.

The library was the last place she thought to check, but she found him stretched out on top of a notebook, a calculus book open beside him. Toph plopped the flour sack down on the table. Sokka sat up with a start. “Oh, jeeze, that time already?” He rubbed his eyes. “Cool, cool. I’ll take good care of Lin.”

“You’d better,” said Toph, already walking away.


Toph’s mother wrinkled her nose when Toph explained the assignment, which was the first time Toph remembered ever agreeing with her mother about anything. She almost opened her mouth to complain openly, but she buried the words. She and her parents never had anything to talk about. It was just the way they were.


Toph had assumed that a night job at the university meant some kind of custodial work, so she was surprised to see Sokka leaning against the front desk wearing an IT uniform. The flour sack was cradled in one arm. He was clearly flirting with the front desk girl; Toph set her jaw and marched up to the counter. “Did you forget about something?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.

Sokka smirked. “Course not. I was using Lin to get in with the ladies. Ladies love babies, don’t they, Jun?” He winked at the girl, who gave him a flat look. He held out the flour sack to Toph. “Remember she likes to be read Goodnight Moon  before she goes to sleep. And don’t forget her binky or she’ll cry all night. And—”

Toph realized he was not going to say anything serious and walked off, holding the flour sack between both arms.


The next day, Toph slid into health class. Even though they were only devoting one class a week to the flour baby project, she couldn’t help but glance back at Sokka. He was in the same seat as usual, his book propped up to hide the fact that he was already napping. Toph rolled her eyes and got her notebook out.


On Thursday, Sokka was late again. Toph checked the library first, but he wasn’t there, so she went to the cafeteria. Sokka was asleep in the corner, his face hidden behind his bag.

“Do you ever sleep in a bed?” she demanded, poking him.

Sokka grinned at her. “Only when I’m feeling really lucky.” Toph held out the flour sack, but Sokka shook his head. “Hang on a sec. I decided to come prepared this time.” Toph watched, bemused, as Sokka dug around in his backpack. He finally came out with a harness.

Toph stared as Sokka strapped it on. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Nah! I remembered my downstairs neighbor still had hers from when her kids were born, so I figured I might as well take advantage of it. I need my hands for stuff.” He opened the pouch of the harness.

Toph shook her head, but she placed the flour sack in it anyway. “Whatever floats your boat, I guess.”


On Friday, Sokka surprised her by actually showing up on time. “I set an alarm,” he said, sounding proud of himself. Like he deserved a pat on the back for staying awake for once.

“Whatever,” said Toph. “Just be here on Monday.”

Sokka flipped her the same two-fingered salute he had used on the teacher.


That Saturday, Toph went up to her room at nine p.m. sharp, just like every other Saturday. She lay in her bed reading until she heard her parents enter their bedroom an hour later. Then she waited a half-hour more. Once she heard her mother go to the bathroom and return, Toph slid out of bed and reached into the gap between her headboard and the wall, pulling out a drawstring bag. Then she slowly slid her window open and jumped outside, pulling the window shut just as slowly behind her.

Jumping the fence was the only hard part, but she was used to doing it barefoot, and the fall on the other side no longer jarred her. She walked barefoot down the sidewalk until she reached the end of her parents’ neighborhood, marked by a convenience store. She went around back to the bathroom and changed into workout clothes.

As always, she couldn’t resist looking at herself in the mirror once she was dressed, even though she’d seen herself like this a million times.

The Toph Bei Fong who walked down the hallways of her private school was dignified and refined. She didn’t wear dresses because her mother respected that business casual these days included dress pants, but she did wear delicate blouses and jewelry. Her makeup was always perfect, as was her hair.

This Toph was different. Her tank top was battered and ratty, the kind of thing her parets would burn on sight. Her shorts exposed legs corded with muscle. She flexed in the mirror, grinning at her bicep. Yeah. It sucked that she could only do this once a week, but at least she got to do at at all.

And in four years, as long as her grades were perfect, she would be halfway across the country, where her parents couldn’t manage every tiny aspect of her life, and she could finally be like this all the time.


The gym where Toph trained was rough around the edges and in a bad neighborhood, but the people inside were always pretty cool. On Saturday nights, she and other kids came to train in mixed martial arts, and nobody bothered them much.

Toph loved it. The guys in charge of the class were loud and rude and smelly; they yelled in her face when she wasn’t pushing herself and called her nasty nicknames. The other students weren’t much nicer.

That didn’t matter. She could take them all down. For one night a week, she was powerful and in control, and that was more than a lot of people got.


On Monday morning, Toph set herself up outside on the stone wall in front of the school, expecting to wait for Sokka for at least half an hour. She liked arriving at school as soon as it opened in the morning at seven. Her parents thought she had a study group; really, she just liked spending as much time as possible away from home, and her parents wouldn’t let her do anything after school.

But Sokka arrived at 7:15, the flour baby cradled in one arm. He was arguing with his little sister about something—she waved at Toph, and Toph returned it even though she had never said a word to Katara in her life—but once they reached the steps, he stopped, and she went on.

“Here you are,” he said, setting the flour sack down in front of Toph. “Ready for inspection, captain.”

Toph made a face at him, but she still checked the flour baby over for any rips in the plastic wrapping. As far as she could tell, it was fine, so she shifted so she could rest it on her lap as she read.

She was surprised when Sokka set his stuff down next to hers. She lifted her head, expecting a confrontation, but Sokka just shrugged at her. “This is a good study spot. You don’t care, do you?”

She wanted him to leave, but she didn’t know how to say that without sounding like a total bitch, which was not something she needed this early in their partnership. So she shrugged, adjusting the flour sack on her lap. “It’s a free country.”

“Indeed it is.”

She tried to concentrate on her work, but she wasn’t used to studying with a partner—during study hall, she always stayed in the cafeteria because it was quieter than the library once everybody signed out. When she did go to the library, she didn’t sit at a table; she went and hid back behind the stacks, sitting on the floor where no one would think to come looking for her.

And. Well. He wasn’t bad-looking for a stoner/slacker.

Ugh. Boys were the last thing she needed to think about. She forced her mind back to her English project, one hand absently cradling the flour sack in her lap.


Sokka always beat her to class, and he was always asleep. Since she knew they were working together today, she eschewed her usual spot to sit by him to start with. He didn’t even glance up. She frowned, tapping her pen against her notebook as the teacher told them what they were working on today.

“Apparently we’re not very good parents if the baby’s already getting sick,” Toph muttered, leaning back in her seat as a member from each group went up to pick from a bowl.

Sokka snorted; Toph twitched, unaware he’d been listening. He sat up, wiping drool from the side of his mouth. “You really don’t know anything about kids, do you?” Before she could answer, he got up to pick a sickness for their baby and take a copy of the baby health book. They got colic, which was not so bad, all things considered.

“What was that supposed to mean?” Toph asked when he returned.

“What, colic?”

“No. The kid comment.”

“Oh. Well—jeeze, kids get sick from anything. I mean, they put everything in their mouth, and they spend all their time crawling around on the floor. It’s good for ‘em.” Toph wasn’t sure how to reply, so she reached for the book, but Sokka shook his head. “I got it. You keep an eye on the baby.” He flipped the book open to the index, then to the page for colic. “I do know how to do schoolwork, you know. You saw me doing it this morning.”

She frowned at him. “I don’t understand why you spend all that time studying if you just sleep through all your classes.”

Sokka paused. Then he looked over at her, his eyebrows raised as though to ask if she really wanted to get into that. She stared at him flatly, and Sokka shrugged in acquiescence. “I can sleep through all my classes and get straight A’s, so I don’t really see the point of being awake. Except shop. I’m awake in shop.”

Toph blinked. She’d never bothered to look at the honor roll for the seniors, but she never would in a million years have guessed his name would be anywhere near it. She almost asked him what the heck he had to study for, but that was more conversation than she wanted to make right now. She was confused enough.
Tokka Week: Nap Time

Getting a lot of pieces in place today so we can do more stuff later. 
There are two phrases every student dreads: group project and your partners will be assigned.

Toph ground her teeth, waiting for Miss Joo Dee to reach her name. When she did, she wanted to claw her face off. The class slacker. Because what else kind of luck would she have?

Joo Dee finished reading, and Toph glanced over her shoulder. Sokka hadn’t lifted his head from his desk; he looked like he might be asleep, like always. Scowling, Toph picked up her bag and moved to the back row. She accepted the assignment sheet from the girl in front of her and poked Sokka with her pen.

He stirred, then jerked upright. “Shit,” he muttered, lifting his head.

Toph narrowed her eyes at him; he didn’t seem to notice. As she skimmed the assignment packet—it was huge—the teacher called them up one by one to claim their flour babies. When she called their group, Toph started to get up, but Sokka beat her to the punch, sliding her the smile that made him so popular with the burnout girls.

Toph glared at him. She was a freshman, but she wasn’t stupid. Everybody knew Sokka’s reputation—he’d been on the fast track for early admission to college when he was her age, and then all of a sudden he’d turned around, dropped everything, and started falling asleep in class and spending lunch behind the school with the potheads. If he thought she was ever going to be that way—

He picked a ten-pound bag of flour from the pile. Miss Joo Dee weighed it and made a big deal of writing down the results in a pink composition notebook. Ten pounds, one ounce. Toph wrote this at the top of her assignment sheet. If the weight changed dramatically at the end of the project, they would lose points.

Next, Miss Joo Dee held out two bowls with folded slips of paper. The first was the baby’s sex; Sokka held up the slip so everyone could see the pink dot at the center. The second bowl held “special circumstances,” which Miss Joo Dee had not, in Toph’s opinion, adequately defined. Sokka picked one and squinted at the writing. “Our baby has congenital blindness.”

Toph blinked. Then she shoved her hands against her eyes, stifling the growl that wanted to escape. Of course.

Miss Joo Dee made a big show of writing all this down on the inside cover of the notebook. Then she passed the notebook to Sokka, along with a bag full of decorations for their “baby.” Sokka flipped her a two-fingered salute and went to sit back down.

Toph sat and fumed as the rest of the class received their babies. Finally, Miss Joo Dee stopped talking, and they had the rest of the period to themselves. Toph turned to Sokka and took the notebook. He raised his eyebrows at her; she glared at him. “This is how this is going to go,” she said, tapping the notebook. “I am in charge of this, do you understand? The baby stays in my care except at my practices. If I find out anything happens to it while you’ve got it, I will skin you.”

Sokka held up his hands, leaning back in his seat. “You do realize it’s not a real baby, right? It’s not like you’re going to hurt the flour’s feelings.”

“But it will hurt my feelings if I get anything less than an A on this project, considering that it’s half our grade. Some of us don’t want to retake this class.”

“Ouch.” Sokka shook his head. “Man, you are wired tight.” Toph kept glaring at him, and he shrugged. “Okay, okay. I promise to be a good flour father. It’s not like I don’t know what to do with babies anyway.”

Toph didn’t know what to make of this comment, so she ignored it. She dumped out the bag of decorations and carefully scooted the bag of flour into a plastic holder to protect it.

“So what are we going to name it?” Sokka asked.

Toph frowned at the flour. “I don’t know. It’s a girl.”

“We can’t just assume that,” said Sokka, leaning back in his chair. “I mean, sure, flour baby’s got girl parts, but that doesn’t mean anything. We should do something gender-neutral, just in case flour baby grows up and decides pink’s not for her.”

Toph looked at him in disgust. “Now who’s treating it like a real baby?” She picked up a glue stick and and a set of giant googly eyes, carefully applying them to the front of the flour sack.

“I’m just saying. We need to be considerate parents in this day and age.” He put his hands behind his head, one foot tapping a random rhythm on the floor.

“Fine, then. You name it.”

“Really? You’re leaving that to me? I barely have custody of flour baby. You sure I can be trusted with the name?”

Toph ignored the digs. “Well, if you’re so determined to be politically correct about it, then you should name it.”

“I suppose it’s all just part of how I’ll screw flour baby up,” said Sokka thoughtfully, watching as Toph picked out a nose and glued it on. “Name her and never be around. She’ll wonder all her life why I named her the way I did, and then I’ll tell her, and she’ll never be satisfied.”

Toph stabbed the nose on the bag with more force than necessary. What would he know about parents screwing you up? She picked a mouth at random and applied it upside-down.

“Aw, she’s frowning,” said Sokka. “Why would you do that?”

“She’s a baby. That’s what they do.” She moved to sweep all the pieces back into the bag, but Sokka stopped her. He picked out a glittery bow and wagged it at her. Toph scowled, but she glued the bow on anyway. “Bows aren’t gender-neutral.”

“That's where you'd be wrong. Clothing is genderless, Miss Bei Fong, and fashion is universal. ”

“It’s Toph.” He shrugged at her. “We have to name it before the end of the period and turn it in. Are you going to contribute to this family or not?”

Sokka drummed his fingers on the desk. “Toph is a Chinese name, right?”

“Yes, and?” She raised her eyebrows at him.

“How about Lin? It’s gender-neutral, and the bag is green.”

Toph blinked, trying to hide her surprise. “…You speak Chinese?”

“A little,” said Sokka in Mandarin.

She stared at him. “…Your accent sucks,” she muttered after a moment. But she wrote Lin Bei Fong at the top of the worksheet anyway.

“What, our baby gets your last name? So we’re not even married? No wonder I don’t have custody.”

Toph pointed at the worksheet, which held randomly generated data about their “family.” “We are married. But, since you are so progressive, you took my last name.”

Sokka considered this. Then he shrugged. “Y’know, that wouldn’t be too bad. Sokka Bei Fong. I like the ring of it."

Toph was tempted to hit him with the bag of decorations. But she did not, because she was a good person.
Tokka Week: TLC

I realized that I'd never done a high school AU before, so here we are.

Toph is not blind in this AU for reasons that will be stated eventually. Sokka also might seem a bit odd, but that will come up, too. 
Benji kisses like she talks: slowly, deliberately. I never thought I would be into that.

Then she pulls back, frowning a little, but her eyes are here with me and that’s all I care about. “You realize this is exactly what I meant, right?”

I feel like I should frown back at her, but I can’t stop smiling. “I’m sorry. Should I have submitted a written proposal or something?”

“Don’t be pedantic. It doesn’t suit you.” She bites her lip, then cards her fingers through my hair. “You know what I mean. You never look before you leap.”

“If I did that, I’d never kiss anyone.” I blush, dropping my eyes. “Not that—there’s anyone else I really want to kiss.”

“Good.” The way she says it sends a tingle down my spine.

“I mean—” I reach over and pick up her hand, lacing our fingers together. “I mean maybe what we were doing wasn’t working out, so we should try something else. Like this.”

“Kissing doesn’t fix things, Mar.” But she takes my other hand, tracing the lines of my palm.

“No, but honesty does. And I’m really tired of pretending I don’t want this.” I glance at her face; her expression is thoughtful, her eyes still fixed on my hand. “Aren’t you?”

Benji doesn’t speak for a moment. Then she picks up my palm and kisses it. “Yes, actually. I am.” She bites her lip again and lifts her eyes to mine. “I suppose… I suppose I like catching you, really.”

“Good,” and I kiss her again.


“You could at least pretend to be a little surprised,” I mutter to Rowan as I cap the nail polish.

“I’m depressed, not blind,” Rowan replies, wiggling her toenails.

Benji leans back in Rowan’s desk chair. Her face is calm, but I know she was as nervous as I was to tell Rowan because she made origami cranes while we were talking. “It really doesn’t bother you?”

Rowan snorts. “Please. This way my parents will stop asking me if I’m going to date one of you two. And you guys will stop fighting over stupid shit. Everyone wins.”

She stretches out on the bed. I wiggle up beside her, scooting an arm around her neck. Benji gets up and lies down on Rowan’s other side, putting her arm beneath Rowan’s head so she can run her fingers through my hair. The three of us, linked.
Between the Stars
And that is that. Thank you for reading.

Title is from "As the World Falls Down" off the Labyrinth soundtrack. Most perfect love song ever. 
I’m going to start crying if I keep standing here waiting for her to say something. I should know better. I’m always the one who breaks the silence, not her. I turn back to her doorway, but I hear Benji get to her feet. I can’t make out her expression from her reflection in the glass; her face is a blur.

“Would you just—”

“What.” My hand is still on the doorway.

She puts her hand on her head. “I’m not going to ask you to wait for me,” she says, her words slow and even and her posture straight and tall. “But you should sit. If you want to.”

The easy way is walking out the door. To have the last word, since I’ll never come up with an actual phrase better than Benji’s. To hold on to my anger and let it burn through me and leave me empty. To leave the fallout for another day.

But the truth is—I don’t want to leave. I turn, slowly, and try to think before I speak, even though that’s impossible for me even when the subject’s not so important. “…I’m not going to sit,” I say, cupping my elbow with the opposite hand. “But I’ll listen. If you’re actually going to say something to me.” My voice is cold, but I can’t help it. It’s only what she does to me, after all.

Benji purses her lips. Then she sits on her bed and smoothes her cargo pants over her knees, her eyes off to the side. “I like plans,” she says, her voice flat. “I like knowing where things are going to go. I don’t—I don’t know what to do without them.”

“I know that.” I dig my fingers into my elbows. “You know I do.”

“I know you know. That’s not the point I’m trying to make.” She glances at me, frowning. “That’s the other problem—you never let me finish. If you want me to talk, then let me talk.”

I open my mouth. But she’s right, just like she’s always right, so I close it again.

Benji clears her throat. “That’s not the point. That’s just—establishing premises. The other thing that you already know,” she raises her eyes to me, “is that you’re impossible to plan for.” I stare at her. “Don’t look at me like that. You know it’s true. And I’m not talking about when you want to vandalize something or go—urban exploring or whatever. I mean—” She clenches her hands into fists. “I mean sometimes you are perfect, and I just… I just don’t understand it.”

My lips part. I’m still staring at her, but it’s for a different reason now. I keep very quiet and very still, and maybe this won’t end the way it always does. Maybe I’ll be let in instead of pushed out.

Maybe. Please.

Benji continues, her voice still flat and even. She could be talking about mitosis for all anyone else would know, and that kind of drives me crazy, but it’s not really important now either. “The third thing that you and I already know is that I do not do well when my plans fall apart.” She rubs her forehead. “Exhibit A is how I handle Rowan. You just do whatever you want, but I just keep—ruining it. You talk about how you fuck things up, but I never do. Even though I do.”

She lapses into silence again. I bite my lip hard enough to hurt. I want to talk so badly, but I know she isn’t finished yet.

Benji closes her eyes and lets out a slow breath through her nose. “So. I like plans. I can’t plan for you. When I can’t plan, I ruin things. Therefore—” She doesn’t finish the sentence, covering her face with one hand.

I dig my fingernails into my palm. Then, slowly, I walk over to her side and sit down. “It’s really hard for me to let you finish,” I say, slowly, “when you drop a subject and then never bring it up again.”

Benji’s fingers part, just slightly, and she sighs, taking her hand away from her face. Her voice is almost a whisper. “I didn’t want to fuck you up, Marta. But I guess I did it anyway. I was wrong.”

I can’t keep my mouth shut anymore. “Are you finished now?”

Benji nods.

“Because—goddammit.” I dig my fingers into my hair, turning away. “Because you talk like you are the only person who is here, right now, like you are the only person who gets to make decisions. Like you’re the only person who’s ever thought about this junk.”


“Quit acting like all my problems are your fault!” It comes out sharper than I meant.

Benji blinks, her eyes wide.

“I mean—” I keep looking at her because I don’t want her to turn away, because I don’t want her to find some logical way out of it, because I want to look at her. “I let you take the lead all this time because I thought you knew better than I did. Because you do, usually. But you—” I swallow. “You were just as scared as me. Shit, Benji, I fuck everything up. I do. And you know what that taught me about fucking up?”

She shakes her head, her lips thin and her eyes distant. She’s still trying to pull away from me, and I can’t stand it. Not anymore.

“Yeah. You fuck stuff up. But that just means you have to find a way to make it right.” I bite my lip.

Benji watches me, right there but so far away. “So what would you do? To make this right, I mean?”

“I’d do what I want instead of lying about it and see if it’s the right thing instead of letting you tell me it isn’t.”

“Which is what, exactly?”

I kiss her.
I Move the Stars for No One
I have just always wanted to call a story this, so... 
Title is from "Within You" still. 
Benji gives me a ride home, but we don’t talk. Her hands are tense on the steering wheel, her lips pursed. Usually I would respond to this with chatter.

But right now—Rowan’s words keep echoing in my head.

You can live with a broken thing. Until you can’t.

I’d never thought of me and Benji as broken. But I’d never thought of me and her as fixed, either.


I try to go to sleep early that night, hoping I’ll wake up feeling better. But I toss and turn—it’s hot, and nothing makes it better.

And every time I get up to try and fix it, it gets harder and harder to lay there, still and quiet, when none of my thoughts will finish themselves.

I mean—

I am not an angry person. There is righteous rage, of course, when someone breaks my friend’s heart or when I get caught breaking a stupid rule at school. And Benji only lets me drive her truck when I promise I will not swear at other drivers. But, in general, I don’t let things get me down. When something’s in your way, you move around it. That’s easy.


I sit up in bed, digging my fingers into my scalp. My hair is damp with sweat, even though I cranked the AC. And—


Benji’s house is a ten-minute walk from mine. I used to go this way all the time; we would rotate sleepovers, gorging ourselves on pizza and Mountain Dew and watching anime. When it started tapering off, it seemed so natural, but I can’t remember why.

I think about going in through her front door, but tonight is not a night for front doors. Tonight is a night to drive Benji crazy because she is driving me crazy.

Instead, I walk around to the side of her house. Benji’s room is on the second floor with a balcony, just like Rowan’s. An oak stands beside the house. It’s been a while since I did any tree-climbing, but it comes right back to me, although I have to take off my shoes because the bottoms are too slick.

I have to walk out along a limb to get to Benji’s balcony, but compared to this conversation, the jump is nothing. I make the leap, but I overbalance on the landing and smack into her balcony door.

Benji is working at her computer, too engrossed to hear me. Scowling, I pull a bobby pin out of my hair and start picking the lock. Of course that is what gets her attention. She looks up; her eyes narrow. She’s not angry. She’s just walled off, just like she was at Rowan’s. Most of the time, that makes me shut down, but right now it pisses me off.

I get the lock and pull open her door. Benji opens her mouth; I talk over her on purpose for the first time in my life. “Rowan’s right. What the hell is your deal?”

Benji looks away, one hand tightening on her knee. She never speaks in haste; I can see her drawing up a speech, like this is another debate club meeting and we’re on opposing teams.

Fuck. That.

I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to say, but now, looking at her, the words are spilling out. All the things I have kept down all this time are not staying down anymore. “Goddammit, Benji, I just want you to talk to me! We used to talk, and it wasn’t just about Rowan, either. I mean, if—” My voice catches; my hands clench into fists, but just so I won’t start crying in front of her. “If you don’t want to be friends anymore except for Rowan, then you should just fucking tell me instead of—”

I wait for her to finish my sentence for me; Benji can never stand silence. She’s always there to step in, always there to smooth things over. But she doesn’t. She looks at me; her eyes are brown and endless, like a hallway in a nightmare. “Instead of what, Marta?”

I wish that I could sound as detached as she does. Or maybe I don’t, really. All this time I’ve tried to follow her lead, play it cool even though I’m not like that. I’m the girl nobody tells about the surprise party. And if she can’t put up with that—

“Instead of letting me think you actually liked me or something.”

Benji doesn’t say anything, but maybe that’s kind of an answer.
You've Run So Long
Marta always has a lot to talk about, so this conversation will last a while.

Title is still from "Within You" off the Labyrinth soundtrack.


M.A. Hinkle
Artist | Student | Literature
United States
I write. And write. And that's pretty much all you need to know about me. :heart:

Yep, it'll be noisy around here again.

I don't know why both my Flash Fiction Month projects involve people with gender-related issues and suicide. Also gay ladies. I guess it is just my thing. 

In other news, my group is a year old now! :iconpersistent-practice:

ETA: The lovely, the perfect, the wonderful :iconrobinrone: is doing another Kickstarter for her comic Ley Lines! Please, if you haven't, take a look at the comic. It is funny, touching, and epic at turns, and you will not regret it. 

AdCast - Ads from the Community


:iconwriters-workshop: :iconpersistent-practice:

Journal History


Add a Comment:
Tamamakitty Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I love your icon sooo much! It is adorable!
IrrevocableFate Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014   Writer
Happy birthday. <3
JadestarXL Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Happy bworfday
williamfdevault Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014  Professional Writer
Happiest of birthdays!!  :blackrose:
SadisticIceCream Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014   Writer
Happy happy birthday! :tighthug: :party:
Sammur-amat Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014   General Artist
happy happy birthday! may you be blessed with unlimited cake! :glomp:
raspil Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014   Writer
happy birthday! :cake:
haileyanimefreak Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the llama!! ^~^
IrrevocableFate Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2014   Writer
Wishing you well. ♥
SkysongMA Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2014  Student Writer
Same to you! :D
Add a Comment: