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Ned Coates

[ned] oh revolution

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March 21st, 2008

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[ned] what fresh hell?
“Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply; those who want to deny the world must have once embraced what they now set on fire.”
- KURT TUCHOLSKY



In the early hours, Ned Coates slept, and he dreamed of The City.

He could smell the lilac, and he knew that he was dreaming. You couldn't smell the lilac in the heart of the city. You could smell shit and garbage and piss. You could smell money and dirt. It was (in the dream) that hour of the morning that turned the light delicate, turned it lilac and he was sitting on the steps of the Watch House at Treacle Mine Road. He was sitting at the Watchhouse, and she was walking towards him.

She.

She was beautiful, even with her dirty face. Smeared in shit and muddy water, she shone. And he recognised her. He'd been in love with her since he was seventeen. There's a reason that they call them revolutions, Coates. It's because they're always coming around again.

And there she was. And she smiled for him.
She was the second most beautiful woman that Ned Coates had ever seen.

"That's it then, is it?"
"What's it, darling Watchman? Watcher of my streets, and by-ways?"
"That's what I get."

She pursed her lips. There had been a dream, once, an idea that was The City, and it hadn't worked out, in the end, but, for a moment, there, she'd shone.

"That is what you get, Coates. This is what you get."

Ned thought about that, for a second and then he stubbed out a cigarette he hadn't known that he'd been smoking on the step beside him.

"I love her," he said, as he stood up, his uniform a familiar weight. She leaned in and kissed his cheek.
"It's never enough," she said, and she leaned in to kiss his cheek. "And now you have to go."

Ned sighed, and shook his head.
Somewhere, far away or long ago, or not happening yet, the battle was starting. In Ankh Morpork, the lilac was blooming.

All the little angels rise up, rise up...

February 19th, 2008

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[ned] hold me closer dear
It was dirty dawn by the time Ned came home. He couldn't help but smile. It felt almost like being at home. Rogue was an indistinct shape in the bed, a bundle under the white sheets, a tumble of dark hair.

He sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled off his boots, trying to be quiet, trying not to wake her.

It had felt good to be up all through the night, keeping watch.

February 10th, 2008

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[ned] smile like you mean it
It still felt very strange to not always have something to do with his time. As a Nightwatchman, his life had divided very cleanly down the middle -- either he was on the street, or he was in his bed. Either he was on his feet or he was on his back. He'd never had time to, say, sit in the sun with bare feet and drink coffee while the woman he was marrying was sleeping naked in the bed behind him.

There was a scar on the side of his neck, and he traced it with his fingers.
It wasn't a bad sort of second chance.

December 21st, 2007

MAILBOX

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[ned] WTF?
I kinda miss letters.

Yeah, Sarge, I can read.

December 1st, 2007

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[ned] hold me closer dear
His toes were cold.

As usual, when she stayed, Ned had fallen asleep wrapped around Rogue with his nose pushed agains the back of her neck, buried in her long, fragrant hair. And his toes were cold.

He made a soft sound of protest and squirmed back under the...

Well, that wasn't the blanket that they'd gone to sleep under, was it? Absently, Ned's hand found Rogue's bare breast under the blanket.

He mumbled something.
It might have been along the lines of how warm she was.

August 26th, 2007

It wasn't much.

What had taken longer than anything was the table, low to the ground and lit with candles. It wasn't much of a dinner, but Ned had occasionally cooked in the Watch House and it wasn't bad. It wasn't food he had on his mind anyway.

He leant in, his mouth brushing her ear, the scarf wrapped around her eyes.

"You know, we can always just go back to the compound, darlin'."

July 16th, 2007

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[ned] oh revolution
The walk to the hut was almost unbearably long, her hand in his and his eyes on the path ahead of them. He didn't know why he was suddenly so nervous. He'd done this before. It was fine.

An adult life spent entirely in barracks had left Ned almost fantatically neat, and the hut is ordered and dim in the afternoon light; the made bed and the low table with the few things he owns here.

He turned to look at her and lifted the coin on the cord around her neck with the tips of his fingers.

"Hello."

June 26th, 2007

swimming

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[ned] oh revolution
"I can't swim," said Ned, for just about the thousandth time as they walked down the narrow path. He had his fingers twisted around Rogue's, something which still felt old, made his hand feel like someone else's but which at the same time he wouldn't have been willing to stop doing, either.

The box had been persuaded to give Ned a pair of shorts that were ridiculously coloured, and not in the least bit dignified, but he wasn't sure that he minded. He had two towels draped over his shoulder.

"I'm going to drown."

June 10th, 2007

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[ned] oh revolution
He hadn't moved from beside her bed in nearly three days, save the occasional walk outside for a smoke, a cup of coffee. After a few hours, he hadn't even looked at her all that much, but he'd still known that he couldn't leave her.

Years on the Night Watch meant that Ned never slept so well at night, so Monday morning saw him wide awake, with his bare feet up on the bed, reading a book that the bookshelf had given him, about some revolution in a place called France.

He glanced up at her every few pages. Everybody told him that it'd pass.
He scratched his jaw and went back to his book.

May 27th, 2007

In the end, he'd managed to sleep, but not much and not deeply. His head still hurt, and his neck ached. He was back in the clothes that Rogue had found for him, the sleeves of his shirt rolled up to the elbows. He was sat at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and his head cradled in his hands.

Waking up dead once was one thing.
Waking up dead twice was quite another.
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