LJ heard the scuffling of footsteps long before he looked up to see who was approaching, and what he saw when he finally did didn't make him feel any better. "Dreamwidth," he scowled, trying to hide his patched and bandaged arm on the side of him where she couldn't see. "What the fuck do you want?"
"Though you could use these," Dreamwidth said diffidently. She held out a stack of patches to him. They had a, well, a patched, homemade kind of look. He didn't really want them, not if they were hers, but he took them anyway, weighing the stack of ossified code in his hand. LJ could already feel where his body wanted them to go, fields of skin itching for the relief he hadn't yet had time to code.
"Thanks," he mumbled. With his good arm, LJ nudged a stack of his own patches along the bench, towards Dreamwidth. "If you want any."
"Don't mind if I do." She sat down next to him, red hair swaying as she sat. Dreamwidth pulled the cascade over one shoulder, purple highlights appearing and disappearing among the shiny mass. It was…well, it was kind of pretty to look at, sleek and shiny, though LJ would be damned before he admitted anything that might insinuate Dreamwidth was even remotely attractive.
"Whatever," LJ said, looking away. But he felt his gaze tugged back to Dreamwidth when the sound of her humming in pleasure reached his ears—her eyes closed to the fading sunlight, a faint smile on her lips. She'd slapped one of the patches on her chest, arm, just past the delicate knob of bone at her wrist, and its edges sparked gently as they faded into her skin.
"Feels good," she murmured, opening her eyes. "Thanks." She smiled at him tentatively, a peace offering, and LJ wavered on the edge of taking it and not.
LJ looked down at his hands so he wouldn't have to look at her. "So…" he cleared his throat. "How are…how are things with you and Fandom?"
"Me and Fandom? Pretty good, I guess," Dreamwidth sighed. She crossed her legs and looked out over Lake Internet, its surface glinting with sunlight and its usual inhabitants—trolls bobbing about in their anonymous boats, the throbbing calls of hungry LOLcats lurking in the reeds, and the stray piece of badfic bobbing here and there among its waves.
LJ swallowed. "That's…good," he made himself say. "I mean…yeah. Congrats."
Dreamwidth glanced over at him sharply. "You don't sound very enthusiastic about that."
"I'm trying, I'm trying," LJ grumbled. "It's not…easy, you know. I thought I could be what she wanted."
"So do I," Dreamwidth admitted, turning back to the lake. "But…the thing with Fandom is that she'll do whatever she wants to do, you know? Things are good between me and Fandom now, but in a year? Six months? A week? Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and find out she's with AO3 or FF.net now. Fandom does what she wants to do, you know? The best we can do is try to keep up, and hope she'll stay for just a while longer."
"Yeah," LJ said into his hands. "Yeah. I guess you're right."