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Ghost and Aaron: Master List | Next Update

As visible above, I've finally put together an intro post for the boys, and made a few other changes so it's easier to browse their archives.

This update is epic-long (long enough that I'll put outtakes and random non-G&A pics in another post), and I'm sorry for that. But I enjoyed it, and mayhap you will too—and it opens the door for many things to come. Ah, less talk! More pictures! We open with:

Nika calls to invite Ghost over, pt. 1
Nika calls to invite Ghost over for the afternoon.
"Yeah, sure! I'll bring the boyfriend."

Nika calls to invite Ghost over, pt. 2
"You aren't all that attached to any of your household belongings, are you?"

Nika is so expressive
Nika is so wonderfully expressive.

Nika hugs Ghost
And wonderfully affectionate. They get along beautifully and share about four hugs.
...which is a bit creepy when you know she develops, at this same time, the desire to kiss Ghost.
(I wish I'd photo's more of her house. I love it.)

The unexpected surprise? Aaron read on her couch, then left for work. He stole nothing.

This begins Cornelius's extended stay
When he gets back from work, Cornelius is up and about, taking up their space, using their things.
And it stays that way because, for whatever reason, Cornelius hangs around for about three solid days, this time.

Oh for the love of
Apparently they did need a third full bathroom in the back yard.

It's almost as if he doesn't care, Cornelius
If the ghosts were ever a big deal, they certainly aren't now.

It's almost as if they don't care, Cornelius.

Cornelius chats with Ghost
36 hours in and he's still hanging around. He's not a fascinating conversationalist.

Cornelius watches Ghost play
But he knows good music when he hears it, at least.

Oh for the love of, take two
Now this is just ridiculous.

Ghost is a bit of a dork
Ghost doesn't mind being without an audience, in the meantime.
He loosens up when he's alone ... and turns just a little dorky.

Ghost and Lady remain constant companions, for he is learning to play the way he learned to paint: a whole-hearted passion bordering on obsession, a dedication that crowds out meals and disrupts sleep. And he loves it. His art can be a release, the vivid venting of all that he usually avoids and ignores—but it can also be pure expression, artistic and creative, leaving him calloused and hungry but happy. That is where he is now: rarely without music, and often content.

The boys share a bed
And because his sleep schedule is so fluid, he often gets to share a bed with Aaron...
...and they can sleep together through the first half of the day.

A group trip to the park
In the second half of this particular day, everyone goes to the park.
Even Cornelius, in part to see if he'd consent to it, in part because—what better is there to do?

Which is how it ends up: Cornelius, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the park, in the middle of a hotdog.
Totally normal.

The boys meet Luci
The boys, meanwhile, meet [livejournal.com profile] century_eyes's Luci.

Luci and Aaron get on remarkably well
Luci and Aaron get on remarkably well. It's all fun and games, you know, until he says something about your mother.
([livejournal.com profile] century_eyes: Saph is a little blond head in the distant background!)

Ghost and Aaron in the park
And then the boys take advantage of the romantic atmosphere of the park after nightfall.
(And maybe the privacy of the nearby bathroom stall, but I didn't tell you that.)

Cornelius enjoying the park
If you were beginning to wonder where Cornelius had got off too...
(To get Cornelius back home and back into his tombstone, I eventually reset him. But it was a fun adventure.)

Ghost: unexpectedly fierce, unexpectedly twee
It's good to know Ghost takes the occasional break from Lady, but...
Ah, dear Ghost. Unexpectedly fierce and unexpectedly twee.

Kitty visits Ghost, for more hugs
Ghost is seeing a lot of ladies these days.
Almost all of his female friends want to visit and hug him, and he has a lot of female friends. (This is Kitty.)
It seems a bit strange to me too, Aaron.

Aaron doesn't get on with Cornelius
Aaron meanwhile is stuck socializing with Cornelius ... and they don't get along too well.
To be fair, Cornelius is a bit of an asshole—and worse, keeps saying miserable things about love.

Aaron doesn't get on with Cornelius, take two
Aaron just doesn't have much patience for that, right now.

Aaron is getting on with someone, though
Because Aaron is getting along with Ghost, these days...

If you know what I mean, and I think you do, etc.
...if you know what I mean, and I think you do, etc.

Ghost paints
After they fuck (aw shit, I lost my subtlety), Ghost paints. He's in an abstracts phase, verging on color studies.

Aaron dreams of Ghost
And bedding down for some rest before work, Aaron dreams of Ghost, bless him.

Ghost plays
The spare room turned art studio also functions, now, as a music room.
Ghost practices there and in the living room, but the back room he prefers when learning (or writing) new material.

Art, work, one another—they've reached a period where everything is ... well, good. That sounds simple, even dull, but it's not—Ghost's internal worries have calmed and he's been engaged and creative, Aaron has found a balance of work and home that's still letting him rise in the ranks, and that means they're both approaching their current goals: Ghost mastered painting a long time ago, and is nearing the same with the guitar; Aaron is rank eight in his career, with eyes set on the top. And they've built a steadiness between them, companionship and desire meeting in a middle ground that is passionate without losing all calm. Ghost still forgets to eat and has nightmares, Aaron will always difficult to live with, but perfection is overrated anyway.

I present a brief interlude: Everything you need to know about having Aaron as a houseguest.

Aaron as a houseguest, 1/4
After he invites himself onto your property, he will hang around looking handsome and watch your TV.

Aaron as a houseguest, 2/4
He may even carry on some charming conversation about his career choices.

Aaron as a houseguest, 3/4
But he will also insult your mother. Or you father. Sister. Brother? Darling babies? It's all fair game.

Aaron as a houseguest, 4/4
And then he will steal your personal belongings, and book it out of there.

The more you know [sparkly star and rainbow]. And speaking of stealing...

Aaron makes his own bonuses
Said trinket? Two paintings worth a combined 9k, and he repeats the same trick later in the week. Not bad.
Not that he'll sell them, of course. I hope they weather well in the yard.

Full text: "Aaron was out on a job and while he was getting out of the area he managed to stash an extra trinket. Look for it in your family inventory. Nothing like handing out your own bonuses for once, eh?"

Mouse visits
Ghost is still quite popular with the ladies in the platonic sense...
But he almost wishes for fewer visits and some more time with Aaron.

Aaron is a dick
But it's easy to forget—so easy that even Ghost does—that Aaron is still something of a dick.
In front of Mouse, for no reason, he goes on another tirade about Ghost's parents...
...or rather, given absent-minded Sylvie and no father in the picture, the lack thereof.

Mouse plays chess or admires the trove...
So while Mouse heads out back to play chess (or admire the trove, you'd have to ask her to be sure)...

Ghost watches Aaron game
Ghost ought be sleeping, but instead he settles on the couch to watch Aaron game for a bit.

Ghost watches Aaron, too
And he watches Aaron. With this bit of companionship, Ghost soothes feelings left sore by Aaron's behavior.
Being happy with Aaron is a blessing but it's also a daily effort—one that Ghost does make, consciously or otherwise.

Aaron and Mouse in the trove
When all's patched up, Ghost wanders off to bed and Aaron wanders to the backyard.
"It's it beautiful?" He's so sweetly proud of himself.

Do they need a toilet? No.
Which is why he keeps adding to the trove. They now have damn near a whole bathroom set.

Current contents, then: two benches, three chairs, a chess table, an armchair, a coffee table, a trashcan, six lights (two standing, one ground, one wall, two overhead), two headstones, one clock, one vase, one TV, one game console, two sinks, a toilet, a shower, four paintings, a statue of Grim, and a car ETA: Oh yeah, and a standing globe that he "acquired" as a work promotion (all but TV, console, and car stored in the trove). Seriously.

Just a pretty shot of Ghost
This is just a pretty shot of Ghost. (Playing guitar as Aaron, across the park, does as above.)

Ghost in the trove
In his way I think Ghost, too, appreciates the trove. Not for his own sake—but because it's Aaron's.
His coming to terms with Aaron's thievery has been a quiet thing, half-conscious and never spoken, gently wonderful.

And it may be one of the reasons that the boys are doing so well these days.
They spend some pleasant time up to nothing much in particular...

Ghost is confused
Ghost has another woman visitor, and this one confuses him.
Because honestly, how can anyone think the house is lovely?

"Seriously, the stories I could tell you about trash..."
"Honestly, the stories I could tell you about trash ... we are in it up to here."

Another pretty picture of Ghost
Do you ever have one of those days where you can't help but take pictures of Ghost?
No? It's just me? Okay, then.

Ghost meets Sapphire
The next day Ghost meets [livejournal.com profile] century_eyes's Sapphire. (In exercise gear, no surprise.)
And Jude has that creepy slightly-too-intent look, again.

Aww Gibson, how sweet
Awww Gibson, how sweet—and how predictable.

Nika is crushing on Ghost
Nika is crushing hard on Ghost, silly girl.
(We're trying out cat ears. I wish they were pointier.)

The boys share some them-time, part 1
The next day, the boys take Aaron's day off to spend some long, intimate them-time...

The boys share some them-time, part 2
Giving over the whole morning to indulging themselves on the living room couch.

Aaron answers the door
The door rings as they finish, so they slip back into their PJs.
Ghost, hungry, digs some pasta out of the fridge. Aaron answers the door.

Aaron finds his parents on the front step
To find his parents waiting for him outside.

To state the obvious: there is much to come (and I'm nervous about it all). In the meantime we take a step back, returning to Ghost and Aaron's pasts and to issues of music and theft—and rings. Have you noticed that they both wear—and have always worn—plain black bands?

Storybit 09: The rings.
1700 words
Takes place when Aaron has been living with Ghost and Sylvie for 11 months, and around the time of this update.
No warnings.

* * * * *

Ghost comes into his room to find Aaron sprawled out on his bed, shirtless and fly half done so that his boxers peek out the top, his hair curled with damp, holding a book overhead and reading.

"You're getting sweat all over my clean sheets," Ghost says, and turns his sad little desk fan to its highest setting.

Aaron lowers his book and grins, shameless. "Could be worse, dude. Could be dogshit. At least I showered first."

"Well that's just lovely."

"I try. So do the Greeves. They take special care not to clean up after their mutt just so I have the privilege of stepping in its crap." Aaron drops his book off the edge of the bed and wiggles towards the wall, freeing the corner of the bed if Ghost wants to sit there. Ghost takes his chair instead because it's hot as hell out, and Aaron puts out body heat like a furnace.

"At least they pay," Ghost says.

"Not nearly enough."

Ghost nods, and they fall to silence. It's the dead of summer and the second week of this oppressive heat, but it feels like it's been months. The door open, the lights dim, the fan on high, and the air is still stagnant and dense, torpid with summer and the city's polluted haze. Ghost wipes his brow and contemplates stripping off his shirt. Instead, he turns to fiddle with the fan again. That's when he sees the rings.

There's a pair of them lying on his desk, solid black bands with flat raised fronts but no ornamentation to speak of. Ghost picks one up and it's gritty against his fingers, marred with the sandy dust that seems to be everywhere these days. The black enamel is cheap and has already chipped on a corner of the raised front, but once his fingertips have brushed away the grit he's surprised to find that the surface of the ring is smooth, slick, metal-cool to the touch.

"Where'd these come from?" Ghost asks, looking over his shoulder at Aaron, holding the ring between two fingers. Aaron's retrieved his book and he doesn't look up. Still reading, he murmurs a sound that could end in a question mark. "The rings," Ghost says, turning to face Aaron. Aaron folds the book closed, one finger marking his place, and glances over.

"Oh," he says. "Yeah. Just picked them up."

"You'd waste a paycheck on that?"

Aaron chuckles. Leaning his head back, he gazes up at the ceiling. "Hell no. Just picked them up," he repeats.

He doesn't offer more, and Ghost puts the ring back beside its twin on the desk. He looks at them for a moment, shining black in the room's low light, and avoids possible explanations. He fidgets with the rings instead, prodding one across the desk until it clinks against the other. He's never seen Aaron wear a ring before—he's gotten a number of piercings since he moved in, but that seems to be jewelry enough for him. Ghost's never thought to try on a ring in his life. The whole thing seems almost silly. Almost inexplicable.

"Picked them up, yeah?" Ghost asks, his voice soft beneath the whirring of the fan.

"Yeah," Aaron echoes, still staring at the ceiling.

"Ah." Ghost stands and Aaron glances over, his expression neutral but for the life of his eyebrows. "I'm gonna take a shower," Ghost says. "It's hot as hell." He has his shirt pulled over his head and half off when he hears Aaron ask:

"Do either of them fit you?"

Ghost drapes his shirt on the chair back. "What?"

"The rings," says Aaron, shrugging a shoulder as if Ghost is silly to ask.

"I hadn't thought to try," says Ghost, and as Aaron watches he picks up a ring again. It fits a few of his fingers well enough but slides onto the middle finger of his left hand as if it were measured and made just for him, skin-tight but not snug, a perfect fit. "I guess so," he says, flexing his fingers.

"Pass the other?"

Ghost does and Aaron slips it on, same finger, same hand, then holds his hand in front of him, stretched to the ceiling with the ring on display, and laughs.

"I knew it! Man, I fucking knew it. You're like this much smaller than me, it's uncanny—I could shop for you if I wanted to, I swear. The bigger one fits me," he adds though it's obvious, and says it with a smile that Ghost can't help but return. There's a moment of quiet, but it's a companionable pause: the buzzing fan, the torpid air, and that smile shared between them. The rest of the world is so distant and still that they may well be suspended alone within it.

Then Ghost tilts his head towards the door, towards the shower beyond, and Aaron nods and then says: "Go ahead and keep it. Who needs two rings, anyway? I know it's stupid, right, but it's yours."

"Thanks," says Ghost.

* * * * *

Ghost is tuning Lady when his ring clacks against her fretboard. He hears it, feels it, and after a moment of confusion smiles to himself. He sets Lady down on the couch beside him and raises his hand to look at it from the front, the back, watching sunlight slide over the ring. The afternoon light is golden, mellow and warm with the onset of autumn, and it flows over the metal so smoothly that it almost obscures the silver nicks and dings accumulated in the last year.

He hasn't taken it off much in that time. There haven't been many reasons to. Ghost almost thinks to himself that he hasn't noticed it much in that time, but he shakes his head and presses the flat, raised front of the ring to his cheek, where the thin coolness of metal lingers just a moment before rising to his skin temperature. He hasn't thought about the rings but he's never forgotten them, either. Like the pile of black jeans that he and Aaron share, which they'll wear until the denim thins to threads, the rings are—

But Ghost can't find the word for it, and his thoughts drift. He pulls Lady into his lap and tunes her last string, then strums her into song. He has a feel for the strings now, their wires imprinted on his callused fingertips, but he plays this melody quiet and slow because it's still new territory. It's a song he's writing. He plays through the intro again, settling into the sound of his music, and then hums what will be the first stanza, if he ever finishes the song. The sunlight is warm on his skin and even makes Lady's worn wood glow, and Ghost lets his eyes slide shut and plays.

The bedroom door opens and Aaron walks into the room, step quiet, carrying a wet soapy scent. Ghost opens his eyes and gives Aaron a smile—and he's right, Aaron is so fresh out of the shower that he still carries a towel, and Ghost knows he'll leave it in a pile on the floor—and continues to hum, continues to pluck out the music for that first stanza.

Aaron leans his hip on the couch arm, giving his hair a quick toweling and dropping the towel to the floor. He's rarely the quiet sort, but: "Sing, instead," he murmurs, softer than Lady thrums her song.

So Ghost does.

The lyrics, at least, haven't changed. A word or two has, over the weeks, and he's had some problems fitting them to song—working out the careful negotiation between melody and harmony, finding keys and chords that he hasn't learned from songbooks. But it feels less like he's writing this song, more like he's discovering it; as he worries over the few notes which still twang off-key he knows that everything else, each strum and syllable, is exactly as it's meant to be. So he sings of the cold February night, the thin February light, without fear. His voice is rough over the words, but that doesn't matter. Aaron listens in silence and Ghost closes his eyes again, and sings.

Ghost would think that the ring is an extension of himself—as innate but perhaps unnoticed as his pinky finger—but that Aaron gave him his. It wasn't part of him, but it is now. It's an external, internalized.

Aaron still wears his, too. It's worse off than Ghost's, a little duller, a bit more dinged, but the rings have held up remarkably well. So it's not something internalized. It's something shared, a link between them distinctive as the Richlen nose. It's the internal, also external.

He could write a song about all of this too, if he could find clearer words for it, or a metaphor perhaps—something precise or imprecise enough for the poetry of music. Instead he has these fragments of thought to turn over, absently, gently, while he works through the chorus a second time. "Endlessly," he sings, last word of the chorus, almost three words in that word, a different note for each one: "end" changing into "endless," "endlessly" held in a breath long as the word itself. The last note falls into a scale, and Ghost plucks out the instrumental refrain.

The couch arm lets out a low groan of protest as Aaron leans over and kisses the nape of Ghost's neck.

Aaron stole the rings, and that matters too. Aaron can't remember anymore where he picked them up—a store downtown, probably, but it's been a year and he's stolen a lot of shit. It doesn't matter, because Ghost would never ask. But in the back of his thoughts, as he strums through the song again in silence this time, Ghost knows it's not just about externals and internals. It's about the fact that Aaron slipped the rings into his pocket, fingers quick and eyes guileless. It's about Aaron.

It's about the fact that the two of them were linked long before they knew it.

And maybe it's about the fact that Ghost is thinking about all of this now—and he wouldn't have, before.

Ghost plays other songs, song which aren't his; he sings low, rough lyrics to a few of them. Aaron listens with a smile. The sound of music glows in the room like the early autumn sunlight, golden, gentle, lovely.

Ghost and Aaron: Master List | Next Update
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