labyrinth2015: (happy cookleta)
[personal profile] labyrinth2015
Anything Your Heart Desires
(When You Wish Upon a Star)

Cook/Archuleta, PG-13, 2,000+ words
Hundreds of thousands of stores across the known worlds and absolutely nothing to buy.
Written with my dearest [livejournal.com profile] frackin_sweet. Beta by [livejournal.com profile] rajkumari905.
Written for [livejournal.com profile] domesticbingo’s prompt “gift shopping”.
For [livejournal.com profile] aohatsu, the awesome remixer of Somewhere Out There. Thank you for your remix, hon. A belated Merry Christmas, and may 2012 bring you the gift of your heart’s desires.
Not for profit work of fiction.



(When you wish upon a star
Anything your heart desires will come to you
)

Dave Cook, former Star of the solar-system-wide 19 Network, was online gift shopping.

Hundreds of thousands of stores across the known worlds and absolutely nothing to buy.

He levered himself up on his elbows and adjusted the angle of the vidscreen, frowning as the pixels wavered, first too dark and then too light. It had been more than a hundred days since his return from space and he was still having a hard time configuring his home jack to how he liked it. Even the deluxe sensofoam of his two-meter-wide mattress felt alien after months in a cramped sleeping capsule in a satellite that orbited the Earth.

He scrolled restlessly past websites advertising datastreams of Nobu-Michelin-starred dinners, views from the terraformed mountains of Venus and the depths of the ancient Valley of the Kings, one-night-only concerts from the Rolling Stones and Jose Carreras and Kristine Lambert – too lavish, too weird, too not-David.

To say nothing of the too many streams offering sex – on a beach, in zerogee, with a Martian motorcycle gang. He could just hear David now: What’s “Tetrapods from Tellarium 5”? Actually, haha, I don’t think I want to know. Neither did Dave, as it happened.

Sex with David was still very new – a thing best navigated carefully and in-person. David was absolutely about in-person, like how he loved to hang out in the coffee shop where he worked and play piano until they were both giddy, or to ride the old-fashioned ferris wheel at Teddystone Amusement Center. His new favorite thing was fooling around in the Park; afterwards, they’d lie in the new grass in each other’s arms, nary a tentacle in sight, watching the stars in the night sky.

There were stars at Dave’s fingertips now: synthetic diamonds, manufactured zircalite, real gemos from the volcanoes of Mars. They shone from wrist-phones and cock-rings and antigrav boots and a hundred other useless ornaments for sale from outposts all around the solar system.

Dave had seen other Stars and their management dripping with the biggest and best gems when he’d been attending Hollywood parties at the Idolcorp Mansion, wearing faux-lynx inlaid with LED lights and headgear made from neon or stalactites. None of their purchased brightness could match the light he could see in David’s eyes.

Which was why buying some million-credit piece of carbon was a bad idea. It was a meaningless extravagance that only Stars employed, something his manager would pick up if Dave had asked her to choose a gift, and David would see right through it.

Dave made a pfft sound of annoyance, and jacked out of the online shopping stream. Seemed there was only one real way to get things done.


~


“You have 4,073 messages waiting, Mr. Cook,” the doorman said mildly as Dave strode into the lobby, coat in hand. “Ms. Iraheta asked me to notify her immediately if you left the building. And it’s raining, so if you were going out you might want me to call for your car.”

Dave tried not to roll his eyes.

“Thanks, Max,” he said, clapping the guy on the shoulder, best-of-Hollywood-like. “Let’s see if I can let the mail build to 5k without the feed exploding, okay? Tell Allie if she wants to see me before the concert on Saturday she can come stalk me in-person.”

He peered out at Doheny Drive through the security doors. Yep, there be rain, all right. “And I am headed out, but I think I can walk to Rodeo without melting.”




Twenty minutes in and Dave had gotten pretty soaked despite his weather-proof outer layer.

He didn’t mind, though. The smell of rain, the sound of his boot-heels on the old-fashioned paving stones of Rodeo Drive, the polished flexi-glass and colorful seasonal displays in the store windows, the city dressed for the coming Christmas holidays – he’d missed this, all of this, when he’d been playing at being a Star in the vastness of space, locked for months in a capsule satellite of high-tech perpetual polymers and electrons.

As a Star, he’d had fame and fortune and every experience and pleasure in the known universe at the touch of a simulator. He’d had millions of fans across the solar system jacked into his feed, seeing what he saw, hearing what he heard, feeling what he felt.

Now: the simulated pleasures of the known universe were nothing to the immediacy of rain on his face, the rush-hour gridlock on the roads, the gray morning around him.

And, much as he was grateful for his fans, he loved that there was now only one person who felt what he felt.




Dave was wandering wetly and half-heartedly down the display rows at Montblanc-Parker’s when his wristphone buzzed.

Shine a light/Cause you’re the road that got me home: David had, of course, in more ways than one.

“Hey, you. Playing hooky from class?”

“Prof. Lopez is running late,” said the small image of David cheerfully. His dark hair looked mussed up, though it could just be the low-res screen. “What’re you doing?”

Dave glanced away from his phone at the elegant display screens, each softly illuminating a different model of writing implement. “I’m on Rodeo Drive,” he admitted.

David raised his eyebrows. “Fancy,” he said. “Are you, you know, buying something for this weekend’s gig? I thought you said Kristie already sent over a dozen shirts for you to try on.”

“Yes she did, and no, I’m not.” Dave watched a salesperson make her smiling, somewhat unctuous way over to him, and said, “Tell you about it later, I gotta go. No shift tonight, right? I can come get you from school.”

“It’s okay, I’ll head over on the M,” said David. The maglev subway would get David from the university suburbs into the luxury residentiabuildings on Doheny Drive in seventy minutes.

Dave didn’t want to come across like a lovesick fool who couldn’t wait but the way David grinned he figured he wasn’t fooling anyone. “Sure,” he said, and David dialed out.




“Something special for someone special?” the salesperson enquired. She was older than he was, garbed impeccably in the Montblanc blue and gold uniform, and perma-jacked into the store catalog, which was possibly why she didn’t recognize him.

“Absolutely,” Dave said.

“An old-fashioned someone who might appreciate an old-fashioned Christmas gift?”

Dave had to admit, fountain pens and ink and vellum were as in-person as they came, but totally impractical. David used a padd and program to write his music, same as everyone who wasn’t a Star. “Not really,” he said. “Small town boy. He doesn’t like things that don’t mean anything.”

She blinked, rebooting the jack, and the catalog screens scrolled to writing sticks, flexible styluses, virtual ink. “These cost half the price, and you can easily personalize them,” she said.

“Don’t think I’d be able to personalize them enough,” Dave said, honestly. “Thanks for your time, anyway.”


~


Dave’s wrist-phone beeped warningly as he went out into the street again: 5,001 messages. He’d thought he’d disabled the push mail, but clearly 5k did in fact hit some kind of threshold.

Dave ignored the message. Millions of megs of mail; fanmail, propositions, irate messages from his management – all left over from his former life as 19N’s newest Star. He was done with his days being a live virtual feed. Done running from love, as well – he’d ignored his feelings for months, and look where that got him: a sudden white-out of his satellite systems and a smoking crater in Griffith Park, from which he still didn’t know how he’d managed to walk away. Luckily insurance had shelled out under the no-fault clause – hitherto no Star had ever had lovesickness override their link-up to the worlds-wide neural network before.

The tabs had loved the story: a runaway Star, falling back to Earth as if love was gravity. They’d have staked out his hospital room and stalked his feed if 19N hadn’t got a worlds-wide restraining order.

And now he was just Dave Cook, former winner of Idolcorp’s Search for Star 2508, ex-Star of vidscreen and bioprint. He made enough from his cut of datastream royalties to move out of the low-rent residentiablock enclave at Fifty-Second and Park. He had a gig with his old in-person band from his Tulsa days. Sonycorp kept trying to sign him to a year’s datafeed and had lately raised their offer proposal, hence the renewed messages from management, but he was staying off the neural net for a while. He just wanted to make his own music, just him and the guys and in-person instruments, and be his own person again.

The rain had lightened, and Dave turned around and headed for home, past storefronts with their Christmas displays of virtual clothing and equipment and jewelry, restaurants and showrooms and officeblocks. The noon sun turned the wet streets of the famous boulevard to silver. Prosperous matrons and moguls strolled past and didn’t give him a second glance.

Dave was rounding the corner of Robertson Boulevard when he was stopped by a sign in distinctive font that claimed the store had been in this very location for several centuries.

In the store window, rather than vidscreens and virtual displays of cunningly-lit inventory, was an actual instrument: all two and a half meters of shining, polished wood and ivory keys that Dave’s fingers ached to touch.

He pushed against the old-fashioned Steinway & Sons showroom door, and went in.


~


It was evening when David walked into the apartment.

He was dressed in nondescript casuals, just like a normal college student, but when he smiled it seemed like he could light up the night all by himself.

Dave was nervous. He’d gone out himself to pick up the Thai food from the IKA Building, but he’d had to rush to be home in time for the movers, and then he’d had to arrange for flowers, and, what did you know, seventy minutes wasn’t nearly enough.

“It’s dark in here,” Dave heard David mutter to himself as he hung his jacket and satchel on the antigrav rack in the hall, and then David called out, “Cook, are you there?”

“In the lounge,” Dave called back, and then dialed up the lounge lights and the Christmas tree.

David walked over to the edge of the circle of ambient light, the lines of his body becoming more and more distinct the closer he got. His eyes got wider and wider, like they belonged to some anime character. His mouth opened, but words didn’t come out.

He put one hand on the lacquered surface of the black 23rd century Steinway in the center of the circle and then pulled it back, as if it was the superheated surface of a dwarf star. Dave had had the store assistants put a red ribbon around it; the fabric made a neat bow across the lid.

“Surprise?” Dave said. He got up from the sofa capsule and walked over to where David stood.

“Oh my gosh, when did you get this?” David asked, not taking his eyes off the instrument.

“Remember I went shopping today?” Dave said, watching David’s rapt expression. “Do you like it?”

“Does,” David said, “does that mean that this is, uh, for…?”

“Yeah, she’s yours,” said Dave. He sat down on the piano bench, and took David’s hand.

David squeezed back. “But it's not Christmas yet,” he murmured, still staring.

“Yeah, well, seeing how we're headed over to your mom's house for Christmas, I thought the freight charges might bankrupt me? And I would have sent it to your flat, but I’m not sure the guys could fit it into the turbolift." Dave smiled. "And, well. I wanted to hear you to play it. I want to hear all the songs you play on it.”

David’s mouth tightened like he was wrestling a little with himself: I’m not sure how you say thank you for a gift like this and It’s way, way too expensive and …I have never wanted anything more.

Dave kind of knew how he felt.

Moving very slowly, he slid onto the piano bench beside David. Their thighs aligned against each other’s, and David put his free hand on the ribbon, tugging it loose.

“That might take some time, because I know lots of songs,” he said hesitantly.

Dave reached over and took hold of David’s chin. “Well, I’m not going anywhere.”

David turned to face him at last. Long-lashed anime-eyes, hot as a supernova. Just another small town boy in the big City, but when he smiled – like this, slowly, carefully, then wider and wider, out of sheer joy he couldn’t contain – he could pull the very stars from their courses.

Once upon a time he’d done just that, and Dave had fallen straight to Earth, helpless to do anything else, into his startled arms.

“Merry Christmas,” David said now, smiling, lifted the lid and started to play.
From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.

Profile

labyrinth2015: (Default)
labyrinth2015

July 2016

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627 282930
31      

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 04:45 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios