Pairing/Character(s): Leah/Jake, Kate/many, and suggestions of OFC/banana
Word Count: ~3,500
Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers for Modern Warefare, taking place between chapters "India" and "Juliet"
Disclaimer: All characters, situations, quotes et al are properties of their respective owners and I am merely using them under Title 17 of the US Code, § 107, aka the Fair Use Doctrine, without intents to infringe upon or defame anyone's legal rights. It wouldn't be worth the cost to sue me anyway.
Summery: "The things I learned from Kate, I swear." An... odd... story about the creation of the banana daiquiri, set in Hapsburg Spain.
The Mythical Creature's Guide to Modern Warfare
Operation Delta, or How the Banana Daiquiri was Made According to Ekaternia Dobryninva
"I do rest, but it is not sleep and I do not dream. I simply remember, the memories tumbling over one another,
mixing and joining and mingling till I do not know when or where or how or why, and by nightfall it is
unbearable and I rise from my troubled bed to howl at the moon or pace the corridors …"
Garth Nix "Endings"
"Get your fucking eyes off of my brother, you toenail-chewing, toad-punching, squirrel-squashing bag of rotten banana peels!"
It was true, I had been admiring the shape-shifter in question. It would have been harder not to, and I was never one to deny my physical urges, not when it kept my other thirsts sated. The boy, after all, insisted on walking around Carlisle's home in nothing but shorts, showing off his well-muscled legs and broad shoulders in the best way. And it'd been a while since I'd seen someone so richly caramelised, even if he was vourdalak. I had had sex with many a vampire and several dozen human men... but never a werewolf. Not even the true children of the moon.
I, who'd been around since anno dominieight hundred seventy two, considered this a great problem, one I must rectify. I had heard the species was very strong and very passionate. I'd no problem with that. And this young one who the female – the leader's mate, Leah, I remembered – seemed to be so protective of seemed to be a good choice. Of the three males, two had mates already (although I had not yet seen the second male's. I took it as a sign she was guarded closely, or that he was ashamed of her. Either way, with two available males, I wasn't going to start breaking up relationships. If they were normal humans, I wouldn't have cared either way about some puta and her relationship with the man I wanted, but they were the Cullens' pets, and I did not want to offend our hosts... I'd learned that in during the campagne d'Égypte, when Napoléon Bonaparte and his Armée d'Orient invaded... But how was I, honestly, to know that Tia had taken Benjamin as her mate? The first and only time I'd seen her previously, about the turn of the first millennium before Irina had joined us, she was a small, cautious newborn of some sort of Greco-Egyptian decent. I doubted she even knew what the various fun things the human body could do with another, as Amun and Kebi were generally secretive about their doings together). One of them seemed unable to get past our scent to them, and so I chose the last to seduce.
He was the leader's mate's sister, and, if I hadn't known that, I'd have thought him one of her cubs the way she was concerned for him. It would have been amusing if it did not get in my way so much.
I turned to the girl – so young, really, only twenty-one. Older then I appeared, certainly, but her eyes of honey-brown did not hide a thousand thirty-seven years of knowledge. She was but twenty-one. I was but seventeen, but had seen the world change a hundred hundred times. I had seen my beloved homeland of Kievskaya Rus' transformed from my kuzyn Vladimir from a small, pagan state into a grand state... and then fall again, to become Muscovy, then rise as the Tsardom of Rus' and transform into the Russian Empire under Pyotr Alexeyevich... We were in Alaska already during the revolution, and I would have shed the most bitter tears if I could have at the news of the Romanovs' assassinations. I always was a monarchist at heart... most of us older ones are – and tried to remember that she was, truly, only twenty-one. She had seen no revolutions, no wars, no deaths. She had not seen the world change eight ways from Sunday. She was just a shape-shifter, and a young one at that.
"I have no recollection of ever chewing toenails, punching toads, or squashing squirrels. I do not recall if these were common activities in my youth, but I severely doubt it, as it seems to be your intent to insult me."
She rolled her eyes at me and set down the knitting Rosalie was trying to convince her would "sooth her inner beast." It did not seem to be working, and Rose had stormed off in anger several minutes ago. "Seth," she said rather more calmly, "is sixteen years old. You are old enough to be our ancestor. If you do not refrain from staring at him, trying to touch him, or – most disturbingly – trying to kiss him, I am going to be forced to break off your fingers and shove them through your pretty little eyes. Comprende?"
"I am not Catalán," I pointed out to her, and turned back towards Esme's miraculous glass window, which made up one entire side of her home. Were we not already settled in ours, I think I would have Esme design us one. Irina, who has always been the most straight-laced of us, says it would be ridiculous, because humans would be likely to notice such things as large glass windows and drywall heading into Denali National Park. I would point out to her that this is stupid, because, firstly, they've never noticed our existing place and, secondly, because it is ridiculously stupid, but I don't. We don't need her going off on another one of her five-year,-call-maybe-once-from-a-paypho
"I know, I know," the shape-shifter said, intentionally standing and moving to block my view out the window. "You are Russian, Tanya is Polish, and Eleazaar is from Castile and Leon. Carmen is the Catalan... You've told me these things several times. It is merely a phrase that we Americans use to ask for a reciprocation of understanding."
"Your pack-mates and the male Cullens are playing football. It is amusing to watch."
"And yet your eyes seem to be following my brother. Who is sixteen."
"Yes, yes," I waved her off, and pointed in the direction of the chair next to me. "But I'm not touching am I? It is my right and prerogative as a woman to be able to stare at whom I choose. You may join me if you like. I will continue to stare at your brat, and you may stare at your mate. I do not mind."
"My brother is not a brat, you-"
Slowly, "Brat is brother in Polish."
"Oh," the shape-shifter said, taking the seat beside me and, indeed, staring out the window at her mate. A remarkable male specimen – but, again, life has taught me not to interfere in the relationships of my hosts and their friends. Benjamin and Tia only being the most exciting example – but I like the brown hair of this Seth with it's subtle hint of gold, which suggests to me that there may be a European in their lineage, but far enough back where no one remembers it. Probably the mother's, as I understand their shape-shifting genes have come from their paternal ancestors. I also find his smile infectious, and he reminds me a great deal of a young Filips de Schone. "Well, if you're Russian, why do you speak Polish so much?"
"Habit from the Red Scare years, I suppose – what?" The girl had bristled at that comment. I've not the slightest idea why. Was she a communist? Had offended her? I knew the shape-shifters had a communal pack-mind when they were wolves. Did that transfer over to other things as well?
"I thought," she said slowly, as if not sure of something, "Poland was communist. During the Cold War, that is."
"It was. I had a lot of fun making people worry about whether or not I was a commie spy, which was easier to do with Polish. Had I used Russian, they just would have assumed..."
Her eyes were following her mate now, I noticed. I was right to place my bet with Jasper for soon – which is to say, bet on when they were going to have to get married because she was carrying cubs. About half of us guessed they'd get engaged before the cubs, about half thought the cubs would come before the engagement; the pot was up to five thousand dollars now. I didn't need the money, but it was fun to bet, and the wonder of winning against Alice would be sweet indeed.
"Your brother reminds me very much of Filips de Schone," I told her aloud, watching the boy's muscles ripple as he moved. Delicious, even if, as a wolf, he didn't smell the freshest. But, as Edward was fond of telling Tanya, having been borne before the advent of indoor plumbing, our standards were not high.
"And who," she said, leaning forward onto the table, head resting in her arms. She was quite handsome, like her brother, but with a touch more to the exotic. Maybe there was some Polynesian in their blood. Or maybe she was just like Mary, Massasoit's daughter, one of the North American nomads (I could never pronounce her Wampanoag name), and just naturally exotic looking to us Europeans, "is this 'Filips' in English?"
"Phillip the Handsome. Husband of Juana the Mad. Twice third and five times each fourth and fifth great-grandfather of Charles the Second. Son of Mariana of Austria, whom Carmen served-"
Shouting, "Okay! I get it. Phillip the Handsome. Seth reminds you of him. Ew. Continue."
"Hey! Phillip had nothing to do with that. He wanted to have his daughter Eleonor marry Henry VIII, but he just had to go and marry Phillip's aunt, Catalina de Aragón and start that whole bloody end of the Tudors after so much struggle to get England at peace. But I can see you don't care.
"Oh!" I said with a small whistle. "Here's a story you'd like. You know that Phillip loved rum?"
"No," she said flatly, turning for a moment from the football scene (the boys were arguing over if something had counted as fifty-three or fifty-three-and-a-half yards) and looking at me like I'd grown a second head. "I didn't. Why would I know that?"
"Because he invented the Banana Daiquiri, of course!"
And now I was certain a third head was sprouting, because she was looking at me like there was something seriously wrong with me. There's obviously not, so I took it as surprise.
"Well," I said, diving right in, "Phillip loved rum. And he also loved women. Juana didn't like either much, but he could have asked to to stand naked in the middle of court for a week, and she would have done it. A lot worse, actually, but she loved him. He loved her, once, and if he hadn't been repulsed at her very presence after her schizophrenia got worse... Well, I cannot blame him, but it is a shame. She could have been such a lovely woman, if she hadn't been crazy."
"As I'm sure you would be," the vourdalak muttered. I chose to ignore it.
"We were going by María-Tatiana, Catalina, and Fernánda – Fernánda because it means 'ardent for peace,' and Irina means 'peace;' we like to have our fun with our names – Reyes, and were lesser ladies in the court of Juana the Mad right after her mother died, but before her father locked her up in the Convent of Santa Clara in Tordesillas..." I could tell I was loosing her as she watched the men. But I was falling into my own memories...
I am starting to live in my memories. I have done so much in my thousand years, and it all presses upon me like a great weight that I cannot overcome. My Rossiya, so very old now and uninteresting to all but a few, and all the places we have been... We stepped foot in the New World long before Christoffa Corombo's great-grandfather was the sparkle in anyone's eye, Sasha, Tanya, and I. I have been in pyramids lost to European explorers. I have climbed the heights of Mount Everest in three days of unhurried running and taken tea with Mongol emperors and Inupiat chieftains. Languages still fall from my tongue that are lost to their native descendants. The last two hundred and eighty-nine years in Denali have been slow and with limited excitement. Oh yes, the coming of Carmen and Eleazaar to our fold was quite refreshing, and the life we live is without danger... but I miss the days when we were The Mahdokht: the daughters of the moon. That is what Sasha called us, in the days before she lost all common sense and made Vasilii. Sasha, Tatiana, and Ekaternia... the daughters of the moon. That is what Sasha's creator, Aisha, called her... but Aisha was destroyed in Dacia centuries before my birth, so I do not know this for a fact. Things were simpler as the three of us, or as just Tanya, Irina, and I...
That is why I like the shape-shifters. They are new and exciting and different, something I haven't seen a thousand times before. There are no more powerful kings for us to hang about with, no more great courts where we can wear fancy dresses and pretend to be somebody we're not... There is nothing for us any more but hiding. The Cullens must do the same, moving from place to place to hide the fact their "children" never grow... and we do it by hiding from the world altogether, coming across people only in far off towns for brief week or month forays... and all over the rest of the world, the covens – the groupings of three or more non-newborn vampires – have gone to ground, Siobhan and hers in Ireland somewhere, Amun and his three somewhere in the Libyan Desert, Zafrina's in the Amazon, and the Chinese in the Gobi... or so I think. Ning Shu and hers haven't been heard from since the revolution in their country. They may be dead. Or just very well hidden.
"Anyway," I said, drawing myself out of my mind, "we were in the household of Juana the Mad before she went truly mad and started carrying Phillip's corpse around. Naturally, at this point Phillip was alive, and a philanderer who loved rum. And one day, shortly after Juana- Wait, have you heard the story of how Juana thought one of her Ladies was having an affair with her husband? Well, all but one of us was, really, but she thought one particular Lady to be the culprit that week and grabbed her by her hair and chopped her braid off. 'Fernánda' just happened to be that Lady, which is why for the longest time she had to wear wigs... She about fell to the floor in thanksgiving when the era of the Flapper came and she could use her own... It's Irina's own fault. Tanya and I always told her to be careful who you flaunt your conquests around... particularly insane wives of said conquests.
"So, one day, a week or so after Irina's hair was chopped off, Phillip invited all three of us and some others to his rooms for music and dancing and whatnot. He was a great one for music, Phillip, and always very jovial. Terrible thing for a King to be, too serious, and I suppose it would have done him all sorts of no good if he'd lived long enough to rule for a while, but it was great for a Prince and even better for a Duke of Flanders, 'cause everyone knew they were trying to be as un-French as possible, and the French loved parties, and so the whole chain of old Dutch non-party-goers was broken. So, he was drinking his rum, and there was a great bowl of fruit from all over the world – and I do mean mostly fresh fruit, the likes of which nobody, even kings saw in those days. And in that bowl of fruit were several bananas."
"I don't like where this is going," the female shape-shifter said, but she may have been referring to the football game. The vourdalak had been winning, and then little Alice had come out to... cheer her husband on. Future-telling by what she can't see, I think she calls her dealings with the werewolves.
"But have you seen a banana? Out of all the fruit in the world, there's nothing that looks so much like a phallic symbol as it. The dichotomy of it – a fruit, which by necessity is a ripened ovary, which looks so utterly phallic in nature! And, as drunken courtiers, that fact – the penile one, not the dichotomy – was naturally mentioned. And so, also very naturally, all sorts of jokes arose from it, and a few of the more daring among us Ladies tried to see if it worked – as a phallic device, that is."
Leah was defiantly looking at me right now, her little werewolf brain chugging away as it tried to imagine this and failed to like it.
"So, when we were down to one banana and quite sorely drunk – well, they were, but the three of us were drunk with laughter. I'd not seen anything so funny since an English farmer had had too much to drink one night and confused his dairy cow with his wife during the War of the Roses...
"So, we had this one banana, and Philip was looking at it. And I mean really looking at it. And then he said (in Spanish, as most of us were Spanish ladies): 'Si esto da a una mujer tanto placer, esto es el poder debe ser grande,'or, 'If it gives a woman so much pleasure, it's power must be great,' and, with that, he smashed the thing up inside it's peel and put it into his bottle of rum. He stirred a little, sniffed, added some lemon juice, and drank. And so you got the Banana Daiquiri. Kinda," I said in afterthought, "like mojo in the Austin Powers movies."
She looked at me, looked back through the window, and then looked back to me again. "Fine. Look at Seth all you want – so long as that's all you do. I'm going outside, where there're sane people," Leah told me, then ran off to join her mate outside. I, personally, doubt she watched him play football for long, but I let her go. I could always tell her the story of the lime jello shooter another time.