Festival Splash

BY : escapeasy
Category: +S through Z > Silent Hill
Dragon prints: 306
Disclaimer: I do not own anything pertaining/related to Silent Hill: Homecoming and I’m not making any profit from this work.

[Original post date: February 2013]

I have a weakness for this paring. ;]

Festival Splash

Elle barely contains her smile.

Peering around the corner of the police department building like some sleazy stalker looking to indulge their voyeurism (which she totally isn't in any way, shape or form) is hardly a habit she entertains (once again, she's not a pervert), but there's always an exception to the rule. This exception happens to be an 18 year-old boy which would make her an utter cliché if he didn't also happen to be her best friend – no, instead that makes them a cliché. Regardless of whatever they are (…or aren't) she's watching him in his isolation as he tidies the remains of the petting zoo from their town festival under the glow of lampposts. Although the kids and critters have long gone since before darkness fell over their little town, Alex remains in the empty parking lot, soaking and spraying whatever messes that couldn't simply be swept away and forgotten. Instead of gathering by the lake like the majority of the town for the fireworks show, this Shepherd keeps toiling – as if it's more preferable to seeing coloured patterns burst in the sky and mirror on the lake in a wavy mosaic. Elle would be lying if she said she wasn't here to fetch him for the noisy production, so they could watch it together, but somehow finding him here (alone) while everyone else in their painfully tiny world has seemingly vanished is…

A scuff of her shoes against pavement gets Elle noticed, attracting his sharp eyes like a flicking blade up from one stubborn smear he's targeting with fierce firepower. He stands up straight as he acknowledges his spectator, an amused gleam softening the way his eyebrow arches at her.

"Enjoying the show?" Alex asks through curled lips, accompanied by the weak cackling of water as he relaxes his thumb from pressuring the nozzle of the hose, letting it droop lightly in his hand.

Elle internally grins at his choice of words.

"You might say that." she coyly shrugs, side-stepping away from the corner and closer to him with her hands locked behind her back. "Having trouble, Mister Shepherd?" He never likes it when she calls him that, which is precisely why she does it.

Alex huffs with a wry chuckle, eyes shifting from the water hose limp in his grasp to her—and his smile turns into a deviously pointed smirk. "I could use an assistant. Perhaps a member of the audience would like to volunteer?"

Elle's turn to cock an eyebrow at him. "Can't speak for everyone else, but I'm content to just watch."

"Maybe volunteer was the wrong word…" Alex tilts his head as he re-secures his grip on the hose, his gaze crisp with mischief like a pixie Elle once saw in one of Nora's old books. "Maybe victim is more accurate."

Elle knows that look.

"…You wouldn't dare."

Alex merely sharpens his lips at her like a hunter would a spear.

"Alex…!" Elle warns, fully aware the unstoppable smile growing on her face and the mild giggle weaving through her voice is very counterproductive. "You better not—!"

A stab of water crashes at her feet, causing her to jump like a surprised cat, complete with fluffed fur and springing claws.

"…Alex!" she nearly shrieks, her foot uncontrollably stomping the ground as she gawks at him with a faintly delighted fringe around her shocked face. Yes, she knows she's smiling, and that only makes him all the more pleased with himself.

Alex just laughs – that little, dry, husky chuckle with a slightly sinister edge he always has when he's deliberately instigating, and enjoying it.

A stray bundle of her flaxen blonde hair from her pony-tail gently swings into her face as she shakes her head at him. "You better not do that again." Elle doesn't even care all that much, honestly, but at this point it's a matter of principle (and something else that's more incriminating which she refuses to label).

"Or what?" Alex slyly asks through those teasing lips of his with a toss of one shoulder, making an obvious gesture of how he's taking aim with the hose. "Madam Holloway."

"You think you're funny," Elle says, easily pulling on a mockingly serious mask as she sweeps the stray hair aside.

"I think I'm the one with the water hose." –So quick to quip with that dangerous smile.

(…There's no way she finds that oddly charming. At all.)

"Seriously, don't." Seriously, try – is what Elle might as well be saying, and Alex is sharp, and roguish, enough to catch it—

So the slash of water that reaches for her once again is expected—

But not when it actually hits her.

A soundless gape where her face should be, Elle is left starting at her wet knees as if he wounded her. It was a short blast, but friendly fire is still fire and still unacceptable. Knowing her soggy blue jeans are now his small victory, she whips her eyes up to him with semi-feigned fury—

And Alex just laughs that same, mildly maniacal chuckle of his (frankly, she expected nothing else), setting her off like one of the many rockets that begin to streak the star-studded sky with cracking flares in the distance—

(Elle's track legs are certainly paying off more now than they did during school, perhaps even more so since it catches Alex a little off-guard when she quickly bombards him.)

Grasping for the hose from this boy's insidious clutches – rather determined to not only spare herself but fight his fire with fire (or, water with water) once she snatches it from him—

But Alex is a lot more nimble than he looks, Elle'll give him that much. For all her swiftness he's got maneuverability, and maybe a few inches of height on her, too. Elle can only seem to hear his breathy snickers hissing in her ears as they tussle, struggling in a playful battle while the hose is somewhat heedlessly waved about like a flag of war. Water breaks against the pavement in splayed, broken chains of fat plops by their shuffling feet gritting against the wet cement as Alex holds it out wide and far from their bodies – and from Elle's swatting arm.

She soon rethinks her rush tactic and settles for simply overwhelming him instead with a frontal assault by way of a rather unceremonious collide. She more or less pounces his devilish amusement with her own spunky verve, clamping one hand on his shoulder to try steadying him as her other claws at the hose. Although Alex isn't toppled over like a bowling pin, he does wobble and coils a grip around her elbow to not only secure himself but keep her invasion at bay. Elle finally manages to slap her hand around his wrist, however, a triumphant guffaw gushing from her throat as she attempts to reel in her win. Alex is nearly bending over backwards in his evasive effort, their bodies twisting and their hands slippery from careless thrashing, water loose and helpless as it's tossed around them—

And he's still laughing.

But so is she.

The possibility for any provoking words is replaced with grunting grins as they wrestle like children (that they used to be) in a world only as big as this parking lot (as their little town).

—Then the hose suddenly falls with a sharp clank of its metal mouth against the ground—

And their jostling quickly crumbles to a halt—

Then Elle's somehow encased in Alex's arms—

Forced to notice how the closeness of their faces are but a breath apart—

And she's stunned as she follows what her little spy session on him has evolved into, thinking herself a bit of a ditz because she couldn't (or just didn't) track it in real time… (Hell, she's not even sure which of them is responsible for dropping the hose.) With vivid, flooding realization Elle becomes aware of the placement of… everything. Elle has never been so self-aware, feeling like a tree with eyes on every leaf as her nerves feverishly feed her information; how their gasps cloud between their lips, the way they're fitted together, how their fronts are flush against each other with her chest against his, the meeting beats of their hearts… The pure heat of a closeness they've never shared.

For this moment that somehow stretches into space around them the sound of water bleeding into a lazy pool spreading away from their shoes is a subtle note against the cacophony of fireworks blooming in the background – but the loudest above all is the frenzied thrumming of her heart in her ears. It multiples, sinking into her stomach and writhing as if she swallowed a frog as it pumps in her head all the while pounding in her chest with radiating warmth. This panicky fire wades from her gut in fuzzy ripples, breeding where they're touching (where he's touching her) and she's certain that it's leaking over her face if the sudden baking on her skin is any indication.

Time is slowing and speeding all at once, nervous excitement warping whatever reality is supposed to feel like – funny, she can't really remember what it did (or should) feel like…

They were only mindlessly knocking together but a few seconds ago like rascal puppies; they were nothing but bumping bodies in a fit of tug-a-war, but now…?

(Their playful (albeit flirtatious) fumbling was an unforeseen foreplay to… whatever is currently happening right now.)

—Alex doesn't appear to share her daze; a calmness is lying on his face that's neither neutral nor innocent – and then she wonders just how insidious he really is (or capable of being). His lips are lacking a smile or a smirk, but his eyes are trained on her with such a defined glint Elle has never seen on him before (or anyone else, for that matter.) She's practically transfixed by this magnetized stare he's giving her, mind not quite going blank as she very rapidly becomes accustomed to the sensation of his embrace. Elle doesn't particularly know how his hand went from her arm when he was trying to hold her off to, well, holding her by her waist in a tender wrap, and she doesn't rightly care. The sheer, heated coziness of Alex (of this partial hug, of his body) is enough to drain her mind (though not enough to keep her from feeling like a trite girl in some lousy romance flick… not that she would know anything about that) instead of drowning her in the pressure that this moment will (re)define that friendly line separating them.

That defiant lock of hair has fallen into her face again, Elle lastly realizes with an irritated flutter of her eyelashes, and it's the delicate slide of Alex's fingers that herds it back to the side, fingertips sliding over her temple in a tingling drift. Such suavity pulls a sardonic and thinly-veiled half-smirk over her mouth that fights with the bashful bubbles boiling in her belly as his palm cups her cheek, fingers teasing over her ear as they settle along the side of her jaw. With her hand now empty of Alex's wrist it seeks a grip, grappling to the side of his shirt as her other hand twitches on his shoulder (and maybe, just barely, slipping downward a little to relish the firmness of his chest). A somewhat desperate grab to steady her nerves. Alex's lips are shaped into a mild smirk of his own to rival hers with his head tilting close to a snide angle and tightening his arm around her, a palm hot and strong against her back – shrinking whatever minuscule space that might still exist between them—

And she shuts her eyes after looking over his mouth – not like a child who can't bear to see what happens next, but one who can't stand the suspense—

His breath wafts over her lips—

And she's holding hers to still her flopping stomach and hammering heart—

"Alex! What are you—!?""

—Strikes the pin to the moment (their moment), spilling it out awkwardly between them like a bursting water balloon as they divide with abashed speed.

Alex's father – what perfect timing he has.

The grievous – somewhat surly – expression on the elder Shepherd's creased countenance is the iciest look Elle has ever seen that she can't blame Alex's sudden rigidness, but something's… off. Did Elle miss that something? It doesn't look like the scowl of a man who just found his son in a… compromising situation with the neighbor girl. (No. The instant those old eyes spear at her Elle realizes this anger isn't newly born. She knows seething when she sees it.) She glances at Alex, but his soft, brownie eyes are stony and set on his father. The mood from before hasn't just been butchered, it's been erased, and it leaves Elle feeling pretty much as uncomfortable and out of place as she would've thought (…not that she's ever thought about it).

Mister Shepherd steps up to them with an-almost march, starchy legs to support his stiff posture, inserting himself right in the middle of her and Alex like a slow-stabbing dagger, and everything about it just so wrong. It's more than the way Alex seems to shutdown (or lock-up?) pretty much completely, eyes dimming as if mirth is something he never felt – Elle knows his relationship with his parents isn't perfect, but this

"Miss Holloway, your mother has been looking for you." his back is to her when he speaks, voice crawling out of his throat as if the mere words are nothing but a bother to him – in truth, he doesn't even bother to properly look at Elle. "I suggest you go find her."

…What the hell? (Discourteous, sir?)

Elle is looking at Alex, waiting for… she doesn't know. A sign to jump to his rescue? She doesn't even know how she could, but damned if she won't try

"…I'll see you later," Alex offers with not even half the enthusiasm he would normally say those words – it's as though everything about him has just… died. It's odd. She's never witnessed any actual interaction between Alex and his parents, now that she thinks about it. Very odd. But she takes the exit Alex urges onto her, although not with much choice, feeling like she's leaving a fellow soldier behind.

This abashed impression only knots more tightly in her stomach when she hears the berated scolding of his father's voice cut him down once she turns the corner – no exact words (although she does catch something about wasting water), just strained tones that gnaw on her spine, goading her to stick her nose as far into their business as she possibly can.

But she doesn't hear Alex's voice…

Somehow that keeps her feet moving, but she doesn't quite understand why (even if it brings her own mother to mind…). Hopefully later Elle and Alex can pick up where they left off (in more ways than one) and he can talk about what exactly just happened…



But when that "later" never comes, Elle is left to wonder about more than what simply could have been

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