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Title: In Which Innes Attempts to Smoke a Cigarette
Genre: crack, AU
Fandom: Fire Emblem 8
Characters/pairings:Innes, L'Arachel, mention of tons of others.
Summary/prompt: Prompt from Hooves on LJ.

Innes wasn't sure he'd ever had such a powerful need for nicotine in his life. Between the idiot who'd managed to take up two parking spaces in the front lot (one of which, of course, was his favorite), the peer-editing partner who'd burst into tears when he'd returned her essay on molecular biology covered in red pen (he wanted to say her name was Nina, or Nelly, or something equally flowery and strange), and of course the grousing from the jerk at the back of the lecture hall about how dull the lecture was and how he'd just get the notes from the bookish little fellow in the corner later, it had been a dreadfully frustrating day. Fantasizing about breaking said jerk's face was not quite as satisfying as Innes had imagined, either.

His fingers twitched as he dug into his messenger back for the pack of Marlboros he kept at hand – almost empty. It had been a bad week. Tana hated them. She said they made him smell like the inside of a seedy bar, though Innes preferred to think that was just her wild imagination and not an observation based in experience. Then again, Tana's opinion mattered less, now that she spent her days mooning after the jackass at the back of the lecture hall, whose ignorance only served to make her pay him more attention. Why did she have to go to the same university as him, anyway? Sometimes she was such a child.

He brought the cigarette to his lips and lit it, the taste of heady smoke a welcome change from the crisp evening air. He heard a little cough and wheeze from the bus stop nearby as the smoke wafted in that direction, but couldn't find it in himself to care. He'd been suffering all day; the little pipsqueak, whoever he was, could suffer a bit now. It wasn't like there was a "no smoking" sign around or anything like that.

"Stop right there!"

Innes recognized the voice immediately. The same one he'd heard "debating" the lecture-jerk's sister in the student government elections: L'Arachel Rochester, self-appointed president of the Campus Improvement Committee. Thankfully, the latter's promise of lowered coffee prices had beaten out the former's proposals of modest-but-totally-cute uniforms (Uniforms, in university? Really?) and rallying for ballroom dance to be taught in the required fitness classes. Unfortunately, she was just as passionate in her latest pursuit.

"You've got to be kidding me."

Before he could take just one last drag of his cigarette, she'd reached out and snatched it from his mouth. "Kidding? How could I be kidding about a matter as serious as this?" She tossed the cigarette down to the sidewalk and smashed it beneath her impractically high heel, then grabbed the little wheezing guy who Innes suddenly felt much worse for. "Look what you did to this poor, ailing student!"

"I-i-it wasn't the smoke, I-I just h-have allergies– " The kid, a freshman by the look of it, seemed to realize that his protests meant nothing, and so he hid beneath his oversized hoodie as L'Arachel went on a loud, impossibly fast tirade. Innes thought he heard something about "lung cancer" and "tooth decay", but somewhere things turned to "child labor" and "stopping pornography" and "saving the environment", all causes she had buttons for on her designer tote, and he doubted that it would make much sense even if she slowed down.

"All right, all right, I get it! I'll never smoke on campus again."

Her entire demeanor changed. Her fists unclenched, her face backed away from his, and her lips curled into an almost cute little smile. "Good," she sang, patting his head as if he were a dog. "Now that that's squared away. . . can I have your number?"
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July 2011

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