Fandom: Twitch City
Prompts: Crisis, strike, chill (in that order, even!)
Word Count: 284, 300, 173 respectively.
Summary: Newbie goes on strike at the convenience store, protesting unfair management policies.
AN: Thank you so very much to mrs_laugh_track for beta'ing this for me! Written for the most recent prompt set at ds_snippets. I had intended this to be one snippet, but then it grew and nom nom nom'd up all my words and took all THREE prompts! Title shamefully stolen from Bob Dylan. ;-)
Shelter from the Storm
Hope ties her scarf, pulling on her bright-red thrift-store mittens. One of the little dangling pompoms is missing, but otherwise they're as good as new.
"Where are you going?" Curtis asks curiously. "You already did the shopping, didn't you?"
"Yes." Hope grabs her jacket, crossing over to him.
"And the laundry." He looks down at his t-shirt. "This shirt had a stain on it yesterday."
"And the laundry," she agrees, shrugging into her jacket, fumbling with the buttons because of her mittens. Curtis stands, doing them up for her with quick fingers. "I'm taking Newbie dinner."
"Why isn't he home?" Curtis's eyes dart towards the television, making sure the program's still in commercials. "He doesn't have to work today."
"He's on strike, remember? Newbie is staging a protest." Hope's voice is full of pride. "I think it's very good that he's taking a stand against unfair working conditions. You should be proud of him, too."
Curtis blinks. "Unfair working conditions? Is this about the new rule that they have to pitch the expired food?"
"Well, he takes that very seriously," Hope reminds him. "That's his contribution to our household. Like I do the laundry and the dishes, pay the bills, cook, all those things." She pats him affectionately. "Like how you make sure we have entertainment."
"Take him a blanket." Curtis sprawls back on the couch. "It's freezing outside and he'll get nerve damage. That's very bad, you know, he could lose a limb."
Hope takes the blanket from the back of the couch and puts it with the thermos of soup. "All right." She leans down and kisses him; Curtis tastes like sugar, like the cereal from the box on the coffee table.
* * *
Newbie's standing outside holding a poster, shivering, his hair sticking straight up. He's wearing fingerless gloves. The poster reads "Unfair", and it's very colorful; glittery and covered with a myriad of strange, nonsensical stickers. There are some stars, a unicorn and a very sad looking puppy.
As Hope walks up to him, she can hear his voice getting louder as he explains to a shopper what the sign means.
"...and they used to let us take it home, and now we can't and that's--that's not fair--"
The woman gives Newbie a disgusted look, walking into the store and muttering about people that want things for free without working for them. Newbie looks mortally offended by this.
"Hi," Hope says, walking up to him. "I brought you dinner. Some soup. And Curtis sent this blanket, see?" She holds it up, an afghan of spun-thin yarn, probably too holey to be of much use. But she drapes it over his shoulders anyway.
"Thanks," Newbie says, and Hope stands next to him, slipping her hand in his shyly and trying to hold onto the slippery edges of the posterboard. "I tried to get some more people to show up, but I guess they don't care."
From inside, Hope hears someone ask demandingly, "Where's the cereal?"
Newbie, unable to help himself, calls out, "Aisle four!"
Hope tsks at him. "Newbie, you're not supposed to help out, you know? You're protesting. And even if you weren't, and I'm glad you are, I'm very proud of you--you're not even supposed to be at work today."
Newbie's bright blue eyes widen in horror as he realizes what that means. "I'm a scab, Hope."
Hope had planned on going back home, but she stays with him instead. She feels bad no one else came.
* * *
When they get back, they're both freezing. Hope bundles Newbie on the couch next to Curtis, and pulls off his fingerless gloves. She takes his hand in hers, rubs feeling back into it, her own hands warm from her mittens.
"Curtis," she admonishes, trying to get his attention. "Newbie's cold."
"Well, he was standing outside while poorly dressed for the weather, what else did you expect--oh, all right," Curtis says, grabbing Newbie's other hand gracelessly.
"Are you going to go back tomorrow?" Hope asks, raising his hand to her mouth and blowing lightly on his fingers. Newbie shivers, but Hope doesn't think it's from being cold. On his other side, she watches as Curtis mimics her movements, breathing out slow against Newbie's frozen fingers, his dark eyes meeting hers over the spikes of Newbie's windblown hair.
"No. Tomorrow I gotta work," Newbie says, his voice gone low and rough, looking between them both.
"You're a scab," Curtis says with a smirk, and then sucks Newbie's fingers in his mouth before he can answer.