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25 May 2006 @ 06:24 am
Ficathon Fic  
• Title: Braces, Buckets and Boys
• Author: avon7
• Recipient:kilerkki
• Rating/any warnings: G
• Any other information: A very big thank you to quietann for betaing this. All mistakes remain my own, particularly as a couple of times I didn’t take her good advice. Thank you also to paranoidangel42, altariel and kotirion for taking the time to read it and making encouraging noises, which were badly needed.
• Summary: kilerkki asked for I'd like to see Nikki a few years down the line, perhaps persisting in his quest to be a jump pilot or dealing with his famous stepfather. Or any or all of Gregor, Miles, Ivan, and Elena, childhood years; or anything involving Aral and the crew of the General Vorkraft, specifically Bothari and Koudelka. Not so fond of character death, slash, or explicit sex I couldn’t manage Nikki, so it’s Ivan and Miles as kids. There probably should be warnings for overcuteness ;-)
• Author’s Note: I don’t think I’ve broken canon, but I’ve certainly bent it. I’m pleading the LMB reason – it made the story work better. I don’t believe that there is anything in canon that actually says that Ivan and Miles saw each other frequently in their very young years – but probably that is the more reasonable belief. It suited me for them to have seen very little of each other prior to this story, and I believe that this is at least possible. If you don’t think so then please consider this AU.

Left alone in the room Ivan sat up straight and tried not to move, remembering what Mama said happened to boys who mussed their good clothes. Carefully, he smoothed the ruffle on his sleeve. It felt nice – soft and furry like the cook’s cat – and he liked its goldy colour. He moved his arm a little so the gold fanned out across his blue trousers and admired the contrast, nodding his head in satisfaction. He had been so tired of black.

He thought Mama was happier too now that she wore colours again; although she had cried the day she had taken all his old clothes away. Uncle Aral had been there that day and, even though his nurse said that the Vor never shouted, Ivan was sure he had heard very loud voices coming from the drawing room. Uncle Aral had been an admiral, though - and surely they had to shout to tell their soldiers what to do? He’d tried to say that to Nurse, but all she had said was that that was as maybe but she wasn’t to hear him shouting or there’d be trouble. That was the sort of thing that adults said, so Ivan didn’t argue but instead went over to the window to look out at Uncle Aral’s armsmen and his gleaming armoured groundcar. Ivan had wondered if Uncle Aral would come up to the nursery today. He did occasionally and once – oh shining day! – he had taken Ivan for a ride in the ground car. It was bulletproof and gas proof and had its own guns. It was almost like riding in a tank. Between the glory of it, Mama’s injunctions about being good and quiet and not bothering Uncle Aral, and Uncle Aral’s own intimidating presence, Ivan had been almost speechless.

Aunt Cordelia pushed open the door with a decided thump, swiftly recalling Ivan to the present. He slid off the chair and bowed, hoping it was the right thing to do. Mama would have said that of course it was – but Aunt Cordelia came all the way from another planet and even Mama said she was unpredictable. Aunt Cordelia hardly seemed to have noticed him though; she had stopped in the doorway and was staring back into the hall.

“Get yourself in here now, boy,” she said.

Ivan wiggled a little – this must be his almost unknown cousin. He’d seen him occasionally, carried, at family functions, but today he’d been told he was to play with him. Nurse and Cook whispered strange things about him and Ivan wondered if he should make the evil eye sign, like Daltoy the gardener did. Mama said that was what vulgar, ignorant people did, though, and he was Vor so he simply stepped forward to say how do you do.

Aunt Cordelia was still looking out to the hall. She raised her voice. “Now, Miles!”

Ivan blinked in astonishment: Vor ladies never shouted. He wondered if Nurse would say that his aunt wasn’t a lady. As she turned to look down at him, he decided hastily that even Nurse wouldn’t dare.

“Ivan, this is Miles. Thank you for coming to play.”

A scrape of metal on paint drew Ivan’s attention away from her and towards the darkhaired boy lurching awkwardly into the room. Metal rods circled his legs and ran up to his hips, but he was walking. Nurse had lied.

Ivan looked down at his cousin. “You’re really little!” he said in surprise.

His cousin scowled at him. “And you’re really in the way.”

Ivan scowled in return but moved back hurriedly – he’d seen what those braces did to wood and metal. Aunt Cordelia looked down on them and seemed to hesitate before saying, “Play nicely, boys” and leaving.

Miles kept walking until he reached a low table. Leaning on that, he looked back at Ivan.

“You look like a girl in all your pretty clothes.”

Ivan flushed. “Do not.”

“Do too,” gibed his sharp-voiced, odd-looking cousin. “Mama’s boy!”

Ivan clenched his teeth. That was an insult he’d heard before, and it was only the knowledge of how small his cousin was that made him stay where he was and not try and wipe the smirk off his face. Instead, he spat at him the worst insult he could find.

“My nurse says that they have to carry you around in a bucket!”

“Yeah? Well, my Da says that you’re an idiot… and a mama’s boy!”

Ivan gulped and blinked suddenly burning eyes. He felt like someone had kicked him. He wanted to deny it, to call his cousin a liar, but the taunting tones had held the ring of truth… besides he was Vor.

Ivan looked away, tilting his chin up so he was staring at where a pair of crossed bayonets hung on the wall. He heard the clunk of metal and wood and then Miles spoke again from much closer.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

“What?” snarled Ivan, turning to glare at him - just let him say he was crying.

“Be that rude. Mother is going to burn my hair with me still in it.”

Despite himself, Ivan almost giggled. “She said that?”

“Yep,” said Miles. “And that she is going to turn me into textured protein if I don’t play nicely with you.”

“My mama said I should be kind to you.”

Miles grimaced. “I don’t need kind – Da says I need drowning for being an obnoxious spoilt monster.”

Ivan grinned a little. Maybe it didn’t matter as much if Uncle Aral called him an idiot.

Miles shuffled a step or two sideways and sat down awkwardly in a low chair.

“Do you want to see where they cut my leg open?”

“They cut your leg open?”

“Twice,” said Miles, who’d unlocked his brace and was busily rolling up his pants leg. “See? They had to dig all the broken bones out and stick them back together.”

Ivan looked at the impressive raised pink lines zigzagging up his cousin’s leg.

“I’ve never even broken a bone…,” he said, almost enviously.

Miles waved a dismissive hand. “I’ve broken about 7 million.”

Ivan wiggled back a little from admiring Miles’ scars. “Once, but, I shut my finger in the ground car door – and there was all this blood under my fingernail! Then it went all black and it fell off.”

Miles looked suitably impressed. “Right off?”

“Yeah – and it was all gooey underneath.”

The door opened behind them. Aunt Cordelia’s oddly accented voice said, “Are you two playing nicely?”

Ivan jumped to his feet, but didn’t answer. Miles nodded.

“Yes, Mother. I showed Ivan where they cut my legs open and he told me about his fingernail. It went black, Mother!”

Aunt Cordelia looked at them and pushed back a hank of her long reddish hair. She shook her head. Her voice had that quiet tone that Ivan knew grownups used when they weren’t really talking to you.

“I wonder if it is because you are Barrayaran, or because you are boys?”
firefly_124: biologicalwealth by asefirefly124 on May 24th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC)
+++“I wonder if it is because you are Barrayaran, or because you are boys?”+++

ROFL!! Oh, I love it! That is *so* Cordelia!
nishatalitha: Ankle x-raynishatalitha on May 25th, 2006 06:51 am (UTC)
That line made me laugh too. It's so Cordelia. And you know, I can't decide whether it's because they're Barrayaran or boys. Probably the latter, though.
fuzzyboo03fuzzyboo03 on May 24th, 2006 08:41 pm (UTC)
This was adorable. Given the epilogue of Barrayar, I suspect it's AU, but that's fine! The boys are so cute together. Reminds me of the time when Miles and Nikki were comparing scars.
Kassia: Insanely cute pokebirdkassia06 on May 24th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
Ivan looked down at his cousin. “You’re really little!” he said in surprise.

His cousin scowled at him. “And you’re really in the way."

Heh. I like that, right off, they're acting like themselves, with Ivan being tactless, and Miles being... well, I guess "mean" is the word. Poor Ivan. Very cute story.
Could use a little more cowbell: milesbaffledthewhiteowl on May 24th, 2006 09:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, they're so cute! I love Ivan trying not to cry because he's Vor, and Miles being mean to him.
Kilerkki: squee!kilerkki on May 24th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is adorable! Thank you so much. I can see your reasoning very well--Miles probably didn't get out all that much as a kid (Barrayar aside, he's still with family there), and Alys was probably rather overprotective, and this is just plain adorable. The fight and the swift make-up is very true to young boys, as well.

Ivan needs hugs, and Miles needs kicks and then hugs, and they're both perfectly themselves, for kids. Thank you!
quietannquietann on May 25th, 2006 02:31 am (UTC)
lovely! Though Of course I saw it beforehand...
Eglantine Brandybuckcarbonelle on May 25th, 2006 04:20 am (UTC)
Most excellent!
Jedi Interdictor: boots by lj user=rainydjedishampoo on May 25th, 2006 05:26 am (UTC)
You know, when I read the summary I thought, well of course they would have already met, lots, probably. But I still found the story to be completely enjoyable and cute, so kudos to you for the premise. Bonding over injuries-- how very boyish, AND Barrayaran! It was both, I would swear! :) And they're perfectly in character, even as children. Nice job.
Nico: friendsvilakins on May 25th, 2006 10:00 am (UTC)
Lovely and so believable!
jetta_e_rus aka Жоржеттаjetta_e_rus on May 25th, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC)
Wow! What a two nice pugnacious little Barrayarans! And their mothers are fully in character too; Alys is "right and proper" and Cordelia is rational and jesting a bit.
leadensky on May 26th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
I vote "boys".

I really liked how there were things going on here that went beyond Ivan's comprehension, and I think it fits in well with canon - surely there would have been stretches of time when Ivan and Miles saw little of each other.

Nicely done characterization of the adults, and cute kids. Codelia was especially well done.

- hossgal
filkferengifilkferengi on May 30th, 2006 12:19 am (UTC)
Nice characterization! Especially the gooey bits. ;)