lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
[personal profile] lb_lee
Hey everybody!  This story won the Patreon poll for November!  It was prompted by [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith  and sponsored by the Patreon crew.  I hope you enjoy!

Caught In A Rad Bromance
UniverseMagical Moonbeams
Word Count: 1333
Summary: Marge works at a meta-fictional coffeeshop which hosts the Bromancers support group, for straight male characters who are constantly shipped with their male associates, and gay male characters who are never allowed to show it. When Marge gets harassed by someone from her past, she discovers an ingenious way to get rid of him for good.
Notes: You really would be well-served reading the first two Magical Moonbeams stories before this.  Also, I have been wanting to use this title and concept for literally YEARS.  You have no idea how excited I am to finally get the chance.

The massive online role-play/fanfiction site Homescross mostly had its events controlled by the fans who contributed to it. However, while participants were all over the world, the site still had its quiet times—mostly during the early mornings for the most active countries. It was during these times that the characters of myth, legend, and pop culture were free to act as they saw fit. They staged festivals, visited friends and families, and worked the jobs that often got ignored in their canon.

Marge, former magical moon princess, started her days the way she always did: getting ready to open Homescross Coffee.

As a renegade character in exile, she was beholden to no one. Unlike her friend James, who regularly associated with his writer, she never had to worry about surprise role-play situations or her writer wanting to talk to her. Her life was made up of customer service, and that was how she liked it. Opening shift was the quietest, which meant that this morning was the Slashers Anonymous group.

The members of the group—known locally as the 'Bromancers'--came in two flavors: the queer men who were never allowed to express their sexuality in their canon, and the straight characters who were constantly paired with their male friends/enemies/coworkers. Many of them were perfectly nice, but a few were massive tools.

Marge wasn't worried. Pudgy and blue-haired, she was a sexual nonentity, and more importantly, nobody wanted to take on the favored barista of not only Coyote, but eccentric genius the Lucky Duck.

That day, Marge got up at three in the morning and bicycled to Homescross Coffee, only to find Hephaestus waiting outside the door.

“Good morning,” he said. “Sorry I'm so early; I've got something on my mind.”

“No problem,” Marge said. Hephaestus's writer was English, and he was Greek; it wasn't early to him. And anyway, she liked Hephaestus.

He wasn't Hephaestus from God Night, but Hephaestus Stefanopolos, a modern magical cyborg from a popular series with a Brobdingnagian cast. He was polite, nice, tipped well, and helped run the Bromancer meeting, as well as stopping a lot of the fights.

“I hope you don't mind waiting while I prep,” Marge said. “I still have an hour to go.”

“Not at all,” Hephaestus promised, and sat on the stoop while she went in, pulling some markers and name-tags from a compartment on his arm.

Marge did her usual opening run—check cleaning, grind, brew, ice, open and display the pastries, stock the condiment bar, and take down the chairs. Hephaestus stayed where he was on the stoop, and didn't even seem to notice when she flipped the sign to 'OPEN.'

“Everything okay?” Marge asked.

He started, then followed her inside. “Hmm. My author's got my next book to the editor, and… well, I'm just a little concerned about Venus.”

Venus Stefanopolos was his wife. She was appallingly written (thus why Hephaestus was shipped with everyone but her) but seemed to be a truly nice lady with whom Hephaestus seemed deliriously happy.

“She's not getting killed off, is she?” Marge asked with alarm. Hephaestus's writer was known for that.

“Oh, no!” Hephaestus said. “He only does that with main cast, we should be safe. But, well...”

The bell over the door jingled, and Marge hurried back to her position.

“Welcome to Homescross Coffee, how may I--” she saw the customer's face and dropped the smile. “Ryan. You've been banned from here.”

Ryan—AKA the Sun King—came from the same book Marge did. While she had loathed her characterization, he'd loved it, and he had tried to drag her back to the book until the gods (and the coffeehouse’s management) had intervened. It'd been so long, Marge had almost come to hope that she was rid of him for good.

“Margaret, please, you...”

“You've been banned from these premises,” Marge explained patiently. “Leave.”

“You have to help me!”

“No I don't. Leave now.”

But Ryan didn't go. He stayed, looking haggard and upset. Marge hadn't kept up with how their series was going; it looked as though it hadn't been kind to him. He'd lost a fair amount of weight, his arm was bandaged, and there was a new scar over his eye.

Hephaestus gave Marge an inquiring look. She nodded, and he began to stand up. While his prosthetic limbs were heavy and slow, he was still a broad, intimidating man. Ryan squeaked and scuttled out the door, much to Marge's relief. The Bromancers were sifting in now, and she had work to do.

For a little while, she took orders and served coffee, and everything was fine. But then a space marine came in and said, “Hey Marge, there's some guy hanging around out there, asking about you.”

Marge resisted a sigh.

“You want us to get rid of him?”

Marge glanced at the front window. Ryan was there, staring pleadingly at her.

If Homescross Coffee had been a real coffeehouse, she could've called the cops. But it wasn't. Marge was sure that Ryan would feed on any and all attention, but she didn't want him bothering her customers either. “Yes, please. He's banned from here. Don't get rough, just send him off.”

“You heard the barista!”

They left, then returned a second later, looking satisfied. Ryan was gone from the window. Good. Marge got back to work.

“Pardon me, ma'am?” It was a well-known superhero in plainclothes. His face was apologetic.

This time, Marge did sigh. “There's someone out there asking for me, isn't there?”

“Yes.”

“Blond, handsome, looks like he's seen better days?”

“That's the one. Would you like...”

“No,” Marge said, rubbing her temples. “No, I'll handle it. Now, what can I get for you?”

Marge filled everyone's order to perfection. As the group settled to business, she wiped down the counters, checked the bathroom supplies again.

Ryan was back at the shop window. For the love of…

Marge reached under the counter, grabbed the wooden duck the Lucky Duck had given her, and went out to deal with her old love interest, the Sun King.

“Get out.”

“Margaret, listen to me...”

“I'm working, Ryan. Do I need the Bromancers to rough you up first?”

Ryan paused. “That's the Bromancers meeting?”

He was peering through the window again, at the Bromancers now. Some were staring back, and Hephaestus looked concerned.

“Ryan, stop harassing my--”

“I'm gay, Margaret.”

“You're a lot of things, Ryan.”

“I've been married to you—the new you—for a year now. I—I can't do this anymore.”

“That's nice.”

“Margaret, I'm going to become a father in the next book! And she's going to make me into a cyborg! You're the only one I know who's left our book! You have to help me!”

“No, I don't--”

“Excuse me.” Hephaestus had come out from the coffee shop.

“I'm sorry for the inconvenience, Hephaestus. I've got this.”

“No, it's… did you say she's going to make you into a cyborg?”

Ryan paused, took in Hephaestus eye, arm, and leg.

Hephaestus rubbed his chin. “My writer plan to break up my wife and I.”

Marge thought, bit her nails.  She hated Ryan, but liked Hephaestus, and knew how he loved his wife.  Hephaestus was background enough, and Marge's book was so poorly written that... “You know, if you made her up, Venus could pass for me—well, the Moon Princess. You'd have to dye her hair, but...”

“He looks nothing like me!” Ryan protested. “Who are you, anyway?”

“Our writer never bothered describing you, except as 'handsome,' 'statuesque,' and 'freaking hot,'” Marge scoffed, and when Ryan looked at Hephaestus incredulously, she added, “have you seen his fanbase?”

“They think I'm gay,” Hephaestus said. “I think we could help each other.”

He put a heavy metal arm around Ryan and led him away, talking. He slipped Marge a wink from his glowing left eye.

Marge never saw Ryan again. But Hephaestus and Venus sent her a lovely Christmas card that year, with a photo of them hugging at the Sun Palace and a new baby in Venus's arms. Hephaestus began tipping even more generously, and the way Marge's author wrote, nobody ever knew the difference.

Except the rest of the cast of Princess of the Moon, who deeply appreciated it.

Date: 2015-12-01 06:10 am (UTC)
somekindoflight: Animated icon: Too long Doctor (Default)
From: [personal profile] somekindoflight
EEEE that makes me so happy!

Date: 2017-04-18 01:29 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Agreed. This one might be my favorite of the series!

Date: 2017-04-19 05:59 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
:D
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