let's get high

rated M for drug use and coarse language.

I am not a druggie, or a "friend to drugs", or a casual smoker of weed -- I have just never felt the need to. I do smoke cigarettes when I'm stressed, but only rarely. Still, out of the blue, Alex gives me the two blunts before he leaves this morning, with a strange, sympathetic look in his green eyes. I give him an incredulous look in exchange.

"What the hell're these for?"

"You look like you could chill out a bit," he explains, looking a bit sheepish as he shrugs his shoulders. "If nothing else, they'll help you sleep for certain. Seeing as you don't smoke that much."

"Seeing as I don't smoke," I drawl sardonically, "What makes you think I'd light these up, anyway?"

"Well, you kinda..." He tucks his floppy fringe behind his left ear, and peers at me. I'm being over-scrutinised by that green gaze, I can feel it. "You kinda seem kinda...exhausted. And wound up tightly. So..."

"So you're giving me illegal material," I sigh, shaking my head.

"Please. It's just pot," he scoffs.

"I suppose that's true." I bite my lip as I close my hand over the joints, delicately. Alex must have rolled them himself. "Do I really look that bad?"

Alex looks at me, as if deciding what to say next, then nods.

"You look completely arsed. 'Scuse my French."

Well, then. At least someone can be honest about it.

"It's 'scused," I say, sighing again. "I'll keep these in mind if my brain tries to explode, or something along those lines."

"Good." Alex actually looks slightly relieved. I must look much worse than I first thought.


"Have you two ever smoked weed before?" I ask the boys that evening, once again curled up on the couch. Teddy nods silently, Llew looks curious.

"Yeah, a few times. When we were alive, I mean. Why d'you ask?"

"Alex gave me a couple of joints before he left this morning. He said I looked..." I pause. "...arsed."

Teddy gives me a sheepish, sympathetic look -- the kind of expression that is unique to Teddy Cassidy. It's kind of adorable, in its own way.

"You do. A little bit."

"Thanks for telling me, then!"

"It's not the sort of thing a gentleman would say to a lady," Llew says, in mock-haughty tones, and I resist the urge to hit him over the head with one of the cushions behind my back. He'd probably just let it pass right through him, anyway.

"I don't see any gentlemen in these parts."


"So...what happened to the two of you?"

"When I smoked?"


"Haven't you ever done so before?" Teddy's look is now as curious as Llew's. I shake my head.

"Only very occasionally have a cigarette, so I figured that..."

"Oh, what? No way." Llew shakes his head. "It's a completely different thing. I mean, yeah, it's still inhaling smoke into your lungs and all, but mary jane is nothing like tobacco. Nothing at all."

"Okay, fair enough -- but what does it do to you?"

"Oh, you know -- first timers usually just get sleepy and--"

"No, you dumbarse," I cut him off, rolling my eyes. "What does it do to you. You two in particular."

Teddy gives me an apprehensive look. "Why...?"

"Because if the whole vodka debacle last weekend is anything to go by, if I consume a consciousness-altering substance, it effects the two of you."

"I quite enjoyed the vodka debacle," Llew says, flopping back onto the seat with a grin that would make the Devil himself worry.

"Yeah, you would have."

"I..." Teddy trails off, shakes his head. "Didn't like it much. The sensation, I mean. It wasn't, like, horrible or anything, I just didn't like it too much. Got excellent sleep afterwards, though, that bit was nice."

"I loved it," Llew pronounces. "I was as chill as fuck whenever I did it and it was excellent. Lucky I don't have an addictive personality, or I could have gotten hooked on it, I reckon. But why d'you want to know?"

"Because I'm going to smoke one of them tonight. I feel--" I start giggling. "Arsed, yeah. I feel arsed as hell."

"Can't be having that," Llew says, cheerfully. "Where're the joints?"

"You're far too enthusiastic about this. It might not do anything to you at all, you know."

"Maybe, but you can shotgun me the smoke, see if that works."

"What's 'shotgun'?"

"That's when you breathe the smoke out of your lungs into someone else's mouth, and they breathe it in."

"Oh. But you don't breathe! I mean, not properly!"

"I know, but it's a happy thought all the same." He grins, and asks again. "Where're the joints?"

"In the fridge." Llew gets up and strides purposefully into the kitchen, opening the fridge door.

"The fridge?!" Teddy bursts into giggles. I blush.

"Well, I figured, you know, green leafy material, being in the fridge would keep it fresh. Or something. I dunno, I'm not a proper smoker!"

"It's not a bad idea, actually," Llew says, returning with one of Alex's perfectly rolled joints and my lighter -- where on earth had he procured that from? "Okay, you know how to do this?"

"Uh, light the roach and breathe in?" I give him a skewed look. He chuckles.

"It's not going to be that easy at first. You're going to cough and swear."

I make a face. "Urgh, maybe I should just leave it, then..."

"Bullshit you should. You get used to it soon enough. Here." Llew places the joint between my lips with his long fingers, leaving gentle sparks of chill where his skin touches mine. He flicks the lighter and holds it to the end of the joint. "Breathe in."

I do so, and immediately cough up a lungful of smoke, tears leaping to my eyes. "Bleh! Fuck! Gross!"

"I told you that'd happen at first!"

"Teddy, stop giggling!" I rasp out in indignation, which only causes him to keep on giggling, but harder.

"Okay," Llew says, his voice oddly calm and his eyes focused. "Now breathe it in again. It won't be as bad."

I do so, and it isn't, but I still fight the urge to cough. I give him a baleful look, which only makes him grin. Of course.

"See? I told you. You'll start feeling the effects once you start breathing it in properly."

"I'm not doing it properly now?" How the hell else were you supposed to breathe something in?

"No, not quite. You've got to breathe it deep and hold it. Here --" he reaches down and puts one of his long hands just below my breasts, soft whispers of coldness trembling through my clothes to my skin. "Breathe in, and then breathe in again, sort of...here. With your diaphragm and all that. Take another hit, and do that. Yes, that's it. Now breathe it deep -- yes, yes, perfect. Now hold it for as long as you can."

I hold the smoke in my lungs until my vision blurs and I feel giddy, and release it in a gasping sort of sigh.

"Yesssss," Llew hisses out, breathing in deeply himself -- or whatever it is he does that passes for ghostly breathing. "Ahhhnn. Smells wonderful."

"It smells like a compost heap on fire," I say. The hint of a languid feeling is beginning to settle in my shoulders, and I'm finding it quite pleasant.

"It does not. It smells like patchouli gilded in sunlight." I give him a sideways glance, and he is sitting back with his eyes closed, a tiny little smile playing at the corners of his mouth.

"What the fuck is that supposed to smell like?"

"Like pot," he says, opening his eyes and giving me that impish grin.

"You're a waste of space," I declare, and look over at Teddy, who is chewing his lower lip and watching the both of us. His eyes are very bright. "You feeling all right, Bambi? You said before you didn't like the feeling much. I can stop if you like."

He shakes his head, gently. "No. Keep going." His voice is soft, but not timid.

The languid feeling has seeped into the fingers of the hand that isn't holding the joint, and I trail them down the side of Teddy's face, ignoring the chill -- to be honest, I can scarcely feel it. He smiles and turns his face into my hand, pressing his lips to my palm in the gentlest of kisses.

"You absolutely sure?" I ask.

"Yes. I'm fine."


"Promise." Another kiss to my palm, and I smile. I take another hit, and again Llew puts his hand on my midriff.

"Deep, deep," he whispers. "Thaaaat's it. Yes. Good girl."

"Surely she gets it by now, Llew-Llew," Teddy giggles.

"Yeah, probably. Ah. Fuck. I love this. Forgot how much I liked it."

"A pity you can't breathe." I start giggling myself. I'm not sure why that's so funny, but it is.

"But you can," he says, with a definite edge of whine to his voice. That's even funnier. "So, you know. Keep doin' it."

"Yep. No problem." Another hit, another deep double-breath. "You can take your hand off me now, Llew. You're cold."

"It's not my fault," he replies, sulkily, but he does so all the same.

"Technically, it is," Teddy giggles, and sprawls against my side, hugging my left arm in a casual sort of embrace.

"Who asked you?" Llew mutters, but Teddy just giggles again, and reaches over to pat Llew's hair in the most adorable gesture, darling and ridiculous all at once. But that's Teddy in a nutshell.

"This stuff reaching your head, Bambi?" I ask, with an affectionate smile. Teddy grins at me, and suddenly I get a glimpse of what he must have looked like as a child. Those huge, dark, lambent eyes. His nickname is not without reason.

"Little bit, yep. It's not so bad when it's..." he tilts his hand around in a movement that indicates he doesn't quite know how to voice his thoughts. "When it's this. Filtered through you, I guess. Like the vodka was."

"Ted, the vodka made you feel sick for twelve hours, and you don't even technically have working parts to get sick from a hangover..."

"It was nice when we were drinking it, though!"

It's my turn to giggle. "Alcohol's always nice when you drink it. It's afterwards when it starts to suck."

"Isn't that pretty much the way with everything?" Llew points out, and I have to acknowledge he might be onto something there.

"This stuff as well?" I ask, nodding towards the joint in my hand. Llew shrugs and yawns.

"Never did with me, but it's different for everyone, I guess. Only time shall tell." He moves off the couch stretches like a kitten, eyes closed.

"I'm hungry," Teddy blurts out. Llew stops mid-stretch, grinning.

"The munchies, man. The munchies. You're not really hungry, Bambi. You just think you are."

"Also, you're dead," I add, and suddenly that seems too funny for words. I explode into giggles and am having a terrible time stopping.

"I am hungry," Teddy insists. "I want tacos."

Llew snickers. "Yeah, let's all drive down to Montezuma's in this state. That'd be fun."

"Montezuma's is twenty flippin' minutes away; even if we were sober I wouldn't do it," I state, through the endless giggles. "Llew, is this normal? Is everything supposed to be incredibly fucking funny?"

"Yup," Llew states, completely deadpan, and I'm lost in another whirlwind of laughter. "Jesus H. Christ. You and Bambi here make a bloody pair, you really do."

"Tacos," Teddy states, and flops across my lap with a most put-upon sigh. It's his turn to yawn, and weirdly enough, I'm starting to feel oddly tired, too.

"Is feeling sleepy normal?" I ask Llew, who gives me one of his rare, affectionate smiles.

"Normal as anything, like I said. Go ahead and have a kip, Winter. I mean, that's the whole point of these things, wasn't it? For you to relax?"

"True," I admit, yawning again and twisting around on the couch so my head is pillowed by the left arm, and my legs are swung over the right. I have a vague feeling that this would be rather uncomfortable if I wasn't stoned, but seeing as I am, I relax further into the odd, languid sleepy feeling. Teddy grumbles when I shift beneath him, and curls up upon me, using my left shoulder as a pillow. I pet his hair, gently.

"You're cold," I say, redundant as ever.

"Tacos," he says again, in a sort of sigh, and then murmurs, "I wish I could fall asleep."

"You can," Llew says, giving him an askew look as he leans over and rescues the joint -- now almost nothing but ash -- from my lazy fingers.

"No, I mean normally. Naturally. You know what I mean." He yawns again.

"Never mind the natural normal nonsense," Llew chuckles. "Both of you should just take a nap now, before my head explodes from listening to any more of your stoned bullshit."

"You can talk," I shoot back at him, and yet again, my sentence is bisected by a yawn. "'Patchouli gilded in sunlight'...fuck's sake, Llewellyn..."

"Go to sleep, you mouthy bitch," he replies, with a shit-stirring grin. I raise my left hand, give him the answer he deserves with my fingers (it only makes him laugh -- typical), and do so.


I wake up later -- hours later, or minutes, I'm not sure -- and the first thing I feel is the lack of Teddy's chill and weight against my chest. I sit up, and look around. I still feel quite beautifully soft and blurry.

"Wait, where's Bambi?" I ask anyone, and Llew's exasperated voice comes to me from...somewhere to my left. Or maybe my right. I'm not sure.

"He's under the table sobbing because he doesn't live in a taco. I swear to God, Winter, if you ever get him this high again, I will stab you!"

This all seems perfectly reasonable to me, so I nod happily, then curl up and fall asleep again.


The morning dawns, finding all of us sitting together on the couch once more, with telltale bloodshot eyes and a rather herb-y scent still pervading the flat. I am suddenly -- for once -- ridiculously glad that I own the place, and don't have to deal with any inspections or anything of that ilk.

"You're not expecting any visitors today, are you?" Teddy asks, and I shake my head.

"No. Thank goodness. Not quite sure I'd explain the bloodshot eyes and all."

"Tell people you went swimming in the local pool," Teddy says. "Chlorine stings."

"Oh, yeah. Good idea. I'll remember that for -- Llew, the hell are you doing?"

Llew has extricated a piece of notebook paper from the general mess that is the coffee table, and is looking at it with confusion written all over his face.

"What's this?" he asks.

"How the hell would I know?"

"It's your hit list," Teddy answers.

Llew blinks slowly. "My...hit list."

"Yes. Don't you remember writing it?"

"No. After I managed to get your ridiculous arse out from under the table, everything gets a bit blurry. I made a hit list?!"

"Yup," Teddy says. I make a note to myself to find out why on Earth Teddy was beneath the table last night. Last thing I remembered, he was using my shoulder as a pillow.

"I knew I was a bastard, but not that much of a bastard." Llew frowns as he reads the spidery mess that's been scrawled onto the paper. "This...wait, if this is a hit list, why do I only have 'McDonald's' written on it?"

"Because when I told you that they don't do phone orders, nor do they make margarita McFlurrys, you tried to call Triple O." Teddy tilts his head. "Well, not tried, you actually did. But nobody could hear you, obviously, so you kind of erupted into rage and then made that list. And then fell asleep on the kitchen bench."

I am fighting a losing battle trying to stop my hysterical laughter. Llew's face is carefully blank as he returns his hit list to its place on the coffee table.

"Winter, you are never allowed to get high ever again."

go to chapter: i. wintering | ii. cast away your troubles | iii. hallucinoghosts | iv. planespotting | v. a short guide to the afterlife | vi. rules of engagement | vii. thin ice
side-stories: let's get high

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