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[personal profile] velvetfiction
Title: Accordingly Adorned (The BFF Remix)
Author: [personal profile] velvetmouse
Fandom: Baby-Sitters Club
Characters: Claudia Kishi, Stacey McGill
Rating: G
Word Count: ~1250
Summary Good fashion sense is gender-neutral. So is friendship.
Original Story: Accordingly Adorned by Piscaria. Written for Remix Redux 9
Notes: First, a huge round of applause to Piscaria for writing the original - this was one of the Yuletide pieces that I squeed about a ton, so the chance to remix it was both awesome and terrifying. This work is but a pale imitation of the original, and all the credit in the world goes to Piscaria.
Second, a huge thanks to my betas, M. and C., who don't flinch when I ask them "so... any chance you can beta [insert obscure fandom here]?"

She'd sent the email in a half-hearted attempt to reconnect with her former best friend. "C - Hey, I'm on break next month, and I'll be back in NYC with my dad for all of it. Wanna meet up? <3 S"

The three weeks of silence following the email hadn't really surprised Stacey in the slightest. She and Claudia had been best friends since seventh grade, all the way through high school. But ever since they'd gone off to college - she to UCLA (much to Dawn's delight) and Claudia to FIT (to no one's surprise) - there had been a growing gulf between them. Sure they were on opposite coasts, studying different things, but that shouldn't matter - should it? But somehow it did.

When she eventually gets a reply in her inbox, it is all of two lines: “I hav big news. Want 2 meet for lunch?” plus a time and location. It just solidifies in Stacey's mind that something is going on with Claudia - but at least maybe now she'll find out what.

She dresses carefully. She always does, but she acknowledges that she is being extra careful, because this is Claudia that she is meeting. Fashion queen extraordinaire herself. And who knows what two years at FIT had done to Ms. Kishi's sartorial sensibilities. A little bit of Stacey's subconscious wants to prove that she could still keep up.

She considers and discards a light sundress - too California - and a mini-skirt with leggings - too '80s - before her hands stray to the black jeans hanging in the closet. Her west coast friends were slowly breaking her of the habit of wearing all black, but her inner New Yorker longed for it. Deciding that if she couldn't indulge in an all black ensemble for a lunch date at the Hard Rock Cafe, there was no justice in this world, Stacey dons the jeans and grabs a light off-the-shoulder sweater to go over the black cami she wears. It is low cut, not so much as to be obscene, but enough to properly show off the assets that puberty has gifted her with. A silver chain around her neck, matching hoops in her ears and ballet flats nearly complete the outfit.

She stares at herself critically in the mirror and then takes a couple of butterfly barrettes and tries pinning back the sides of her chin-length blond hair. Wrinkling her nose and giving an annoyed shake of her head, she immediately pulls the barrettes out again. Way too junior high. They're in college now, for goodness sake. But the outfit does need a touch of color.

Stacey wanders around the room looking for inspiration. It is an impersonal room, for all that she had been staying there since they moved back down to the city in eighth grade; it is more of a guest room than her room. Her room is on the other coast now, in the tiny apartment she shares with Amy and Cora. Even her room at her mom's place in Stoneybrook isn't really hers anymore.

Stacey spots a scrap of fabric poking out between the boxes on the top shelf of the closet. Curious, she reaches for it and she breaks into a smile when she realizes what the small knitted bundle of purple yarn in her hands is.

Cheerfully, she dons the crocheted beret - one that Claudia made for her in one of her textile phases in high school - and skips down the stairs to catch a cab.


Stacey climbs out of the cab at 8th Ave & 46th Street, opting to walk the last few blocks to the Cafe. She loves New York, and loves Times Square even more. LA is great, but nothing will every compare to the thrill that she gets from the way the neon lights, the bustling people, the street musicians and even the blare of the traffic all combine to form the thrumming, pulsing heart of the city.

She reaches the Cafe and flirts her way into a table with a good view of the door and orders a cappuccino. Then she settles back for her second favorite New York City pass-time: people watching.

A young man at the door catches her eye. He's cute, in a waif-like sort of way, with messy black hair and good fashion sense. His jeans are tight without being obscene, and he obviously knows what he's doing with the eyeliner - the smudges aren't at all feminine, but do serve to highlight his gorgeous almond eyes. She makes a note to see where he's sitting; she's certain that Claudia will love the turquoise shirt with a red octopus that he's wearing.

Her eyes slide over him, moving onto the next group of people coming through the door, when something catches her attention.

Even later, she'll never be able to say exactly what it was. Maybe it was the red jellyfish earring. Maybe it was the turquoise laces on the hightops. Maybe it was the way that he was chewing on his bottom lip, just like Claudia always did when she was nervous about something.

Whatever the reason, it catches Stacey's attention and she does a double take. No way. . . I was just checking out my best friend! she thinks as she scrambles to her feet.

"Oh my God!" she says as she rushes over. "Claudia?!"

"It's Claude now," she - no he - says shyly, reaching to hug her. But then s-he hesitates at the last minute and lets he-his, dammit - hands fall to his sides.

Stacey reaches for her friend and takes him by the arms and gently spins him around, taking in all the changes.

"Wow!" she says. "I've heard of people who've . . . but I've never actually known anybody -" She knows she's babbling and clamps her mouth shut before she says something unforgivable. She can feel the heat rising in her face and curses her fair complexion.

"Surprised?" Claudia - Claude - asks, and Stacey can see the fear in her friend's eyes. It's the same fear she saw when Mimi had the stroke. It's the same fear she saw when Claudia was told she was being sent back to 7th grade. It's the same fear she saw when she accompanied her friend to tell Mr. and Mrs. Kishi that she'd been given a full scholarship to FIT, and would they please let her go?

And that, more than anything else, drives it home to Stacey. This is her friend, no matter the packaging.

She nods. "Stunned!" she says, but with a smile that she hopes conveys that it's stunned in a good way, like suddenly finding a Gucci bag at the bottom of your closet, and not stunned in the I'm-going-to-yell-at-you-any-second-now way.

She leads Claude back to the table and takes a sip of her cappuccino to steady herself. She eyes her friend over the cup. He looks more relaxed now, but still wary.

Randomly - or perhaps not so randomly - something one of her housemates said floats through her mind. It's not the coming out to people that I mind, Cora said one evening over beers, it's answering the same damned questions over and over again. That gets to be a pain in the ass.

Making a decision, Stacey smiles broadly. "So," she says casually, as if her best friend hasn't just dropped a life-altering bomb, "when did you get your lip pierced?"

Claude looks startled for a moment but then laughs, the same wonderful laugh that Stacey has heard for the last eight years.

Yeah, they're going to be okay.


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