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FIC: Fourteenth Century Girl

Title: Fourteenth Century Girl
Fandom: Watchmen
Characters/Pairings: Holly Mason
Date Written: 2009
Summary: I accidentally a rule!63. Scenes from the life.
Rating/Warnings: PG.
Notes: For the kinkmeme. Could stand some expansion but I don't have the energy right now.

*

The moment they should have known – they, her parents, her family, the world at large – was when she took all the skirts and petticoats off of her dolls, dressed them up like the heroes and villains from the crime and mystery stories she always managed to end up with, child's grubby hands clinging to them when they tried to take them away, give them back to the boy on the corner from whom she'd surely stolen them.

But she never stole, ever. She just had bigger dreams than playing house.

*

Her daddy takes her to the mechanics shop when she's old enough and she plays with the other workers' sons, invented games like 'catch the spy' and 'save the hostage' but she's never, ever the hostage – little Billy O'Neill, usually, a year younger and a head shorter than the rest of them – and goes home every night with mud and grease stains on her clothes.

The other girls in class tease, but she knows that her clothes are not dirty because she's poor – they're dirty because she earned the stains, because she played hard and long and won. Dirt just means you aren't afraid to put your hands into the guts of the world, her daddy says, and she always giggles a little at 'guts' but she still understands.

*

"Oh, for God's sake," she says, squaring her hands on the desk's edge. "What is this, the fourteenth century? Do I need to put my hair up under a hat or something?"

"I'm sorry, Miss Mason. We don't admit women to the academy in this district. You may want to try another borough; some would allow you to work in protective services."

She leans back in her chair, drumming fingers across the desktop. Her temper isn't hard to control; she's never had much of one, and it rarely slips its traces. "Be a nursemaid, you mean."

The sergeant doesn't answer – just shuffles her folder away to the top of a nearby filing cabinet. As soon as she's gone, it will be refiled to the trash can.

Two weeks later, she moves to a new place – she's old enough, and it's worth the effort for a shot at this – signs her apartment lease with a man's name, puts her hair up where it can’t be seen, and tries again.

Flying colors, they say, flying colors. It will be years before they realize their mistake.

By then she will have taken her training, tipped her hat and been gone.

*

When she chooses her costume, and it's not an easy thing because she's no expert in any of this, she realizes that the tunic reminds her a bit of Peter Pan, and the idea is warming. The headpiece covers most of her hair and the effect is good – the costume doesn't hide the fact of her gender, she never wanted that, but it does dispel the idea that a woman adventuring is in it for the glory and the photo shoots and the chance to show off her assets. It's practical and it means business, and so does she, and the criminal underworld figures that out fast.

'Not afraid to put your hands into the guts of the world', he'd said. And she isn't.

*

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
radishface
Mar. 13th, 2010 01:36 am (UTC)
I loved this on the KM! So glad you claimed it, it's gutsy and spunky and everything Holly should be!
etherati
Mar. 13th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
I agree, she would have been such a troublemaker as a kid. XD

Thanks!
sandoz_iscariot
Mar. 13th, 2010 01:54 am (UTC)
Yay, Holly-fic! There always needs to be more Rule 63 Minutemen.

Sorry to nitpick, but I'm a huge comics nerd--comic books weren't published until the 1930s, when Hollis/Holly would be in her teens. Canonically, Hollis was already a police officer when Superman first appeared.
etherati
Mar. 13th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
Ah, crap. Would like... pulp adventure stories have been around?

And thanks! It's the only 63 I've ever written, so I had no idea what I was doing, but I'm glad people like it. I can't really see Hollis/Holly in any form being anything other than Serious Business. XD
sandoz_iscariot
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:04 am (UTC)
Crime fiction like the kind serialized in Black Mask magazine was around in the 20s, but the real "pulpy" stuff like Doc Savage and the Shadow came a decade later. (Basically Moore was being very *wink wink* by making the Minutemen first appear in the year the first superhero appeared.)
etherati
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
20s works, I'll just be very generic about it.

Thanks for the help; I'd hate to leave a huge glaring anachronism just lying around where someone could trip over it. :)
sandoz_iscariot
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
No prob, glad to put my nerdiness to good use XD
quietprofanity
Mar. 13th, 2010 01:59 am (UTC)
I'm really glad more people are writing with 63!Minutemen! I really like the Peter Pan comparison (it goes nicely with the crossgender thing and the childish quality of superheroes). The guts of the world quote is also a nice touch.

I got to back up sandoz_iscariot on the superhero comics thing, though. Going by the timeline Holly's too young for those comics to have come out. Maybe replace with pulp/sci-fi novels?
etherati
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I was thinking, would that sort of thing have been out? I don't know why that didn't even occur to me, it seems so obvious now.

And thanks! The fact that peter pan was almost always played by an androgynous woman made it seem appropriate heh. :)
quietprofanity
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
Sandoz knows more than me on that. Going back even further and saying she dressed up her dolls like Sherlock Holmes and A.J. Raffles might be another idea.
tuff_ghost
Mar. 13th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
Your image of Holly's dad still makes me slightly wibbly

Also now look at this, I'm using the word "wibbly".
etherati
Mar. 13th, 2010 03:44 am (UTC)
that's horrible, you should get that checked right away!

Thanks <3
jack_infinitude
Mar. 13th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
Hollis! Girl!Hollis! My life is fulfilled!

Holly is great, she hits that perfect balance of strength and kindness.
etherati
Mar. 13th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
Hollis is always the same awesome pile of awesomeness, no matter the form. :D Thanks!
tonks07
Mar. 14th, 2010 02:03 am (UTC)
63!Hollis??

...you just blew my mind. (in a good way)
etherati
Mar. 14th, 2010 02:54 am (UTC)
I know, and I NEVER write 63. I have no idea where this came from.

Thanks! XD
mad_bertha
Mar. 25th, 2010 02:05 am (UTC)
This is not only one of my favourite 63 fics, but also one of my favourite Hollis/Holly fics :)

I like how you brought into the fic the gender discrimination, and how that affected the development of her character, and the description of how she perceives her costume (and how that differs from Hollis'). This leaves me wanting more Holly fics, actually!

etherati
Apr. 5th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
I tried to keep her close to the original - because Hollis is such a determined type, I couldn't see any version of him losing that, and that's what it would take to get through that world in that time - but yeah. tomboy!holly = <3.

Thanks!
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )