dedication: to movie nights
notes: um this is definitely not what I said I'd be writing oops
notes2: don't look at me I had an image of Meg in a studded leather jacket smoking a cigarette stuck in my head don't judge
notes3: what the fuck kind of modern name is Hercules I'm calling him Henry suck my dick
chapter title: tales of a glass window
summary: Someone once told me that shooting stars are just angels throwing away their cigarettes so that God doesn't catch them smoking. — Megara/Hercules; AU.
"You gonna come back in?"
She snorts in the back of her throat, a raspy sound. "Hell no. Close the door, the noise is giving me a headache. Those douches don't know what class is. You'd think they'd have learned by now, jesus."
Henry hesitates for only a moment before he closes the door behind him.
She's leaning over the railing, the pleather of her jacket cracked and peeling. There's a lit cigarette dangling from her fingers, smoking thinly, and she looks at him over her shoulder with sultry bedroom eyes. Her smile is just another curl of smoke, a wisp that is gone so fast it might not have been there at all.
Her knuckles are all bruised, and he doesn't even know her name.
'It's getting cold," he offers, too-big shoulders hunching up around his ears clumsily. He still isn't used to this new body, the muscle that hadn't been there even a year ago. He'd grown up and out fast and hard, and his bones still ache with the last lingering pains of the growth. "Are you sure—?"
She chokes, coughing, on a smoker's laugh. "Damn, Wonder Boy, who even are you? Don't you know not to talk to strange girls at parties?"
He shuffles his weight awkwardly. There is no grace to him, but his mother told him once that the people to talk to are quiet girls with exorbitant dark eyes, and this girl in front of him is exactly that.
"You don't seem strange," he says.
"Liar," she tells him, but there's amusement just past her lips. "What's a boy like you doing in a city like this?"
"I—I got a—" he's not sure if telling her he got a full ride to one of the best universities in the country is bragging or not "—school. Classes. Here."
"You sound like you need them," she snickers. "English isn't your strong suit, huh?"
"Not—not really," he says, more resigned than he should be.
"So what is your strong suit?" she says, pauses, surveys him up and down. "Football? Sorry, dude, you don't strike me as the type."
Henry has to choke back something like hysteria. Football, no, not football, he'd never been allowed to play as a kid. He'd been too fragile from the treatments, too weak. His bones wouldn't have taken well to the violence.
"Math," he says. "I'm good at math."
She looks at him for a long, long time. Finally, she makes a little huffing sound like she thinks he's funny (he's not funny), and she grins. "Shit, you learn some'n new every day. Call me Meg, Wonder Boy."
"I'm Henry," he says, flushing all down his chest.
"Wonder Boy's better," she says, and drags on the cigarette hard. Her cheeks hollow out with the force of it. He feels sick with himself, because he's never seen anything so pretty so the dirty filter between her fingertips.
"Yeah, I guess."
They go quiet then, but it's not a bad quiet. The bass is thumping inside, the strobe light swinging sick and bright, cascading little lights dancing along her skin when it slides through the glass door.
"Want one?" she asks, eventually, holding out an almost-empty pack of smokes.
"Oh," he says, "I don't—I mean—"
"Good," she says, softly. Her hair is an unnameable purple colour falling over her shoulder. "Smoking's bad for you."
"You smoke,' he says, like that means anything.
Her lips twist, ugly and ashy for a second before they settle into something resembling a smile. "I'm pretty bad for you, too, you know."
He nods like he does know, but they both know he doesn't. He still has the country on him—he reeks of wide open plains and big sky, clean air, clean skin. And she's not like that. She's not like that at all. She's flat-ironed her curls out, made herself something sharp and cutting-edge so that no one can ever hurt her.
He's so naïve, it's almost cute.
Meg reaches up and pats his cheek.
It should make him feel like a child.
She's a galaxy in human skin, he can see that now—she's beautiful but she's dark, and she doesn't need saving.
(He doesn't know anything about girls who don't need saving.)
She breathes in again, smoke curling into her hair. She probably has a boyfriend, and a best friend, and a whole life that he doesn't know about. It's probably a good thing, because she's right, she's right, girls like her eat boys like him for breakfast.
"You know," she says, and it pulls him out of himself. She's looking up, head tipped back. The twinkles of light scattered across the sky is an empty gaping grave. "Someone once told me that shooting stars are just angels throwing away their cigarettes so that God doesn't catch them smoking."
She looks so small, out here.
"Are they?" Henry asks.
Another snort escapes her. "Yeah, right. S'all bullshit, Wonder Boy. The universe is only as big as we are. There is no God."
"You don't believe in God," he says it back, muted like an echo.
"I don't really believe in anything."
It's the most honest thing he's heard out of anyone's mouth since he came here. The city's spread out in front of them, an unfurled blanket of street lights and stop signs, stardust and tears. He doesn't know it at all, doesn't know its seedy corners and its late-night sandwich shops.
Meg probably does, though. In all her smoke-eyed glory, hair flat and shiny like an oil slick, heavy boots and flower print on her jeans—she knows this place.
Henry wipes his palms on his pants. "Want to go for a walk?"
The cherry of her cigarette burns merrily. She grins up at him, shrugs a shoulder, and then flicks the burning stub off at away. It sails off into the night, a flare of light and then the gloom consumes it, just like the rest.
He voice is a husky rasp, loud over the music from inside.
"Sure, Wonder Boy," she says. "Where to?"