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#((I feel like i'm getting sucked back into bad habits and that upsets me.))
Hiii I really love your blog 💖 I was wondering if I could request something that may or may not have happened to me recently 🥺 So I'm usually really bubbly/excited when talking about something that I care a lot about. And when I was with some friends I was telling a story but I noticed no one was paying attention and started their own conversations so I just started talking quietly and then just stopped all together and they didn't even notice it. And it really made me feel like I was bothering them and I was wondering if you could do an angst+comfort fic of either Paul+Marko or poly!TLB of something similar to this 👉🥺👈 💚💚
I know I said I wouldn’t be writing much for the next week, but I wanted to write something fluffy/comforting and this request was perfect for it. I decided to go for just Paul and Marko cause I’ve done a lot for all four of them recently. Also that really sucks, I hope this helps a little!
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It hadn’t necessarily been a bad day, per say. Just a bad enough day to make you hide yourself in your room, cuddled up with blankets and pillows, reflecting back on the key moment that turned your day from normal to deflated. 
You’re the type to get excited and energetic whilst speaking about something you love, a trait you thought your friends didn’t mind- you were even sure that your closer friends liked you for it. Today said otherwise. You were sat with your little group, just catching up on how things had been for you all recently, and you suddenly realised you hadn’t talked to them about this one thing that had happened. You began to ramble excitedly, but after only a few moments realised that no one was actually listening. Your voice went quieter and quieter, then you weren’t talking at all. 
It wasn’t the worst thing that had happened to you. But it felt awful- like no one actually cared enough to really listen to you, or like you were too excitable for them. So, instead of visiting your boys like you normally would, you retreated home and to the comfort of your room. 
It had long gone dark- you were still awake, staring at the wall opposite you and overthinking the events of the day- when there was a sudden clatter at your window. You glanced over at it, preparing to get up to investigate until it opened and the two blondes you were supposed to see tonight spilled into the room. Paul and Marko- your boyfriends- picked themselves up off of the floor of your room. They pushed and shoved at one another, arguing over whose fault it was for the bad landing. 
“Wh- hey, what are you guys doing here?” You hissed, not moving from the blanket. 
“We came to see you, duh.” Marko turned to you. He was smiling, as usual, but you could see a little bit of concern behind his eyes. He flopped down onto the bed next to you and seized you in his arms- blankets and all. 
“You weren’t at the boardwalk,” Paul explained, sitting on your other side and joining in the newly formed cuddle pile, “figured if you didn’t come to us, we’d come to you, so here we are!”
You smiled. It was sweet of them to visit you. You could probably do with a distraction, as well, so their turning up was very welcome despite the fact that they had probably broken your window lock (again). 
“You alright? It’s not like you to miss out on coming to the boardwalk.” Marko asked, slowly wriggling himself underneath the blankets with you. 
“Sort of...it’s nothing, really, just me being silly.” 
“Hey, no, what have we said before? You’re not being silly, no matter what, okay?” Paul poked your side, pouting at you- you had a habit of dismissing things that upset you, and your boys were determined to break it. 
“Okay- okay fine, just no more poking.” You giggled. “It really was only something small. I met up with my friends, tried talking about something, and you know how excited I get, and no one listened. It just made me feel small, you know?”
“That sucks.” Marko tutted. He had started to doodle random patterns on the palm of your hand with a finger, the sensation soothing your overthinking mind a little bit. 
“Yeah.”
“Hey, you know you can ramble whenever you want to us, right?” Paul poked you again, and when you shot him a warning look he just giggled. “Seriously, we like your excitableness, it’s adorable.”
“I know.” You smiled, leaning forward to gently bump your forehead against his. He snorted, bumping you back. “Can we just cuddle for now? I don’t really feel like talking.” 
“Sure.”
Paul got underneath the blankets with you and Marko, tangling your legs with his and fitting his arms around your waist. The vampires were cold, as usual, but it felt nice to have them held tightly against you like this. Marko was still doodling invisible patterns across your hand and arm, his face tucked against your neck. He and Paul chatted with each other- sometimes bickering over nothing in order to hear you giggle at them- whilst you just melted in their affection. 
Their excitement and energy often fed into yours, helping bring your mood back up and encouraging you to open yourself back up. Tonight was no different- their laughter distracting you from the disappointing day, and soon you were chatting with them like you would normally do.
“Thanks for coming over, you two,” you mumbled at one point, “it really means a lot.”
“Anything for our baby,” Paul grinned at you, leaning in to kiss you. 
“Hey, stop hogging them.” Marko tugged you away from the other vampire, prompting another one of their funny little quarrels. You laughed, shaking your head- there really wasn’t a dull moment with the two of them. 
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I can totally relate to that scenario- it used to happen to me all the time in high school- and it really does suck when you’re talking about something you’re passionate and excited about, and no one pays attention. That deflating feeling is the worst.
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elysianslove · a month ago
I wanted to ask to make sure I didn't make you uncomfortable! This turned out really long and all over the place 😭. You obv don't have to read it, since I just needed someone to talk to, bc I am very bad at expressing my feelings :'.
SoI took an important exam a few ago, and I heard some ppl got there results, so I went to go check if I got mine, and I did! But they were disappointing and not what I was expecting, bc the exam felt pretty easy. And so I was quite sad :(. And then I told my sister and she also got her results. But what made em really upset was that she got a higher mark compared to mine. And it's not that I was jealous or smn no i was very happy for her and im so proud of her! But when you keep getting lower than someone no matter how much you try, and how hard you work it makes you really upset. Especially if they didn't put in nearly as much as half the work you did.
I was just really disappointed in myself and it kinda made me question what I was doing wrong. Bc no matter how much work I put in, I still wasn't able to get close to the amount she did, even though I worked hard. It kinda made me think back about what i could've changed. And I feel like I am the problem. That I'm just dumber, or slower, or stupider. It really sucks to be thinking like that, but when it's not the first, or second, or third time it's happped, it makes me feel like there's something wrong with me.
And I only have one chance left for this exam which doesn't help :/. I also opened the results at the wrong time. Bc after I opened them i started crying (and I still am). An I opened them right before my final 😭 don't do that. Don't ever do that 😭
Self-deprecation isn't nice but sometimes you can't help but think that you're the problem when no matter what you do, or try to change,, you feel stuck and nothing changes. *sigh* I couldn't even sleep this morning or last nigh,, today is just not it
Thabk you for letting me rant! I seriously needed that!
hey lovely! i’m sorry i only just saw this but :( i’m so sorry that you’ve been led to think of yourself that way :( (had to put a read more cause this got long haha) 
 i promise that although something like one exam seems detrimental and catastrophic right now, but trust me, in the long run, it’s big results and achievements that matter. not to say that little successes shouldn’t be celebrated, because they absolutely should, but failures should never, ever put you down. i sound hypocritical because god knows i beat myself up for days when a bad exam happens, but honestly, i try to remind myself, it’s already happened. i did my best, and i did all i could, and this is the result. it’s not the best, it’s not me, but it happened, and i can’t change it. all i can do is aim for better on the next exam. 
i know it seems like all your chances have vanished, but i promise they haven’t. newer and maybe even better chances will arrive. and you’ll do amazing. 
take your study habits, and look through them. could there be something you’re doing that might not be 100% efficient? maybe you’re not studying in a way that best helps you. like for example, a lot of people are visual learners, so they require notes, watching videos, seeing things demonstrated, for them to fully understand. while some are auditory learners. there are so many different types to it. maybe try figuring that out first! it might help enhance studying. 
also i trust that you are proud of your sister, but comparing yourself to her will only make you feel worse. compare yourself to yourself. take a time where you’ve done really well, and analyze why. did your study methods differ, did you just understand the material more, did you get enough sleep the night before, etc. 
and i promise you, one bad day does not determine whether you’re meant to be happy or not. i’m really sorry it was bad for you, but i hope and pray that tomorrow’s better, or the day after, or the day after and then all the days after that. you’re going to be okay, i promise. everything will be fine, and you’re perfect the way you are, with your grades and everything. so long as you continue to do your absolute best, everything will soon fix itself, and you’ll be where you’re meant to be.
just trust in yourself, and in your capabilities. you’ll end up where you’re meant to end up, and hopefully that’s somewhere you want, and somewhere you deserve. i love you loads! and you can come to me at any time you need! mwah <3
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colofulinertia-rambles · a month ago
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Today is definitely "one of those days." My body is fighting hard for its covid immunity, for which I am thankful - my immune system has a habit of reacting to the wrong things, like, you know, sunlight, while ignoring things that are actually relevant, like mosquito bites. But I just don't have any energy left.
I sat here yesterday just reading science blogs on tumblr and spacing out and falling asleep because that's all I have left. My post of art tutorials took me about 3 hours because I'm that slothy. Hubby was driving his daughter back after her spring break visit, so I knew he'd be tired when he got back. He came home and we passed out.
But his daughter's visit means he kinda didn't know how worn out I've been. Don't get me wrong, it's not the vaccine's fault. I always get to a point where I end up on steroids because my body just gives up. But I am waiting until my vaccine kicks in, so I've gone months beyond where I usually would have.
So this morning he was talking to me and got upset because he thought there was emotional weight to my words, or though I was being snarky when I was just being factual, and I mean, the facts suck? I said something about 'I don't know where we'll end up' and he replied with something about it's going to be somewhere between here and Florida, where his daughter lives. Well I was thinking more long-term, like, I had been reading about climate change and air quality and stuff, trying to plan ahead. But he's right, in the short term - even though we had just been talking about the fact that this damp ass climate is probably making a lot of my health crap worse.
So I said, well, if you're talking about the short term, that's true, it just doesn't matter. Because the climate between here and south of here is pretty much.... humid and gross and moldy. Da souf is kind of known for its nasty mugginess. So it's just irrelevant what kind of climate would benefit my health, no? If I was feeling less blank slate, I might have made comments about the fact that his kid's mom had promised to move wherever he ended up - this whole deal got turned on its head *because she now refuses to leave Florida* and his reaction was oh okay. Which, honestly, no, I'm not cool with that. But I also recognize I have no say because I have no income and it's not my job that needs to be relocated etc. And I am too tired to have feelings about this right now. I just don't care.
But he got upset because apparently I was rambling and confusing him and kept switching subjects. Man I'm just not capable of following my own thoughts today.
He's upset and saying we haven't had much time together and how we've not been able to talk or do stuff together. But see from my perspective, I actually spend a lot of the time that I'm awake... doing stuff with him. So I hadn't noticed so much.
I can't tell whether he's having some kind of existential crisis or whether it's just his tiredness from the drive. It'll have to go at the top of stuff I need to worry about when my brain wakes up from this but damn. I don't even know if I'm gonna be awake long enough to try to cheer him up. I definitely don't have the energy to seem enthusiastic about anything.
I really hope I get into the undiagnosed network. There has got to be some better option than mega steroid doses 3-4 times a year to prevent this kind of robotic state of exhaustion. And I hope my hubby manages to hold on long enough... things weren't anything like this bad when we got together. I feel like a totally different person now. And there's nothing I can do. Docs have made it clear they have no more ideas for me.
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Right now I feel like they could wrap me in a sleeping bag, put me in a dark air conditioned room and keep audiobooks playing and I would be fine with not moving indefinitely. Keep me on a shelf in cold storage and wake me up when you can cure me. Meanwhile just let me sleep. 😭
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quietlegends · 3 months ago
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Obscured Chapter Four: Enter Mask
Chapter Word Count: 5, 629
Link: AO3
Relationship: Izuku Midoriya X Reader
Previous Chapter: Three
Next Chapter: Five
MASTERLIST
Warnings: Language, violence, blood, drugs
...
The house was quiet. No one wanted to speak, especially you. The entire ride home you sat in the back and fumed, refusing to talk to anyone. Childish, yes, but you felt like you were being treated like one. It was bad enough that Izuku was treating you like some frail little doll that would break the instant anyone touched it, now your friends saw you as some pathetically useless civilian. He didn't even bother to explain his reasoning, he was more paranoid than you've ever seen him.
Ochaco and Momo were sitting across from you, on the couch in Inko's living room, each trying their hardest not to acknowledge the awkward tension in the room. Ochaco was buried in her phone, typing away. Momo was staring into her teacup with such an intense focus, you'd think it was revealing some deep secret to her. You could smell whatever delicious food Inko was whipping up in the kitchen. She'd kicked everyone out of there, said dinner was her treat.
Inko was the only one you weren't mad at. If anything, she should be just as upset as you. She hadn't been allowed to leave the house for those two weeks either. Izuku claiming it was for her own safety. It was like he couldn't see how much of an overbearing blockhead he was being. You loved the man, but sometimes his fears outweighed his senses.
You'd been effectively ignoring everyone for the past few hours, scrolling through articles on your phone. You'd been sent a link to an article about a possible gang war creating tensions in the Agamar Quarter. You didn't recognize the sender, some obscure online blog that you'd never heard of before. It didn't really interest you and you were about to click out of it, but saw something that caught your eye. It was a picture of Izuku, well Deku.
With a renewed interest, you read the entire thing. Apparently, the Hashira gang had been found murdered in one of their stash houses. It was a massacre and it could possibly lead to more gang violence over territory. Deku had been called in to help with the investigation which you found odd. He didn't normally investigate gang crimes, especially something so far from his sector. The information in the article was scarce so you focused on Izuku's face in the photo. It was a side shot of him leaving the scene, and he looked nervous.
"Would you like some more tea?" Momo broke the silence.
You glanced up. You'd been so engrossed in the story that you almost forgot they were sitting across from you.
The cup on the table was untouched and probably cold by now. "No, I'm fine."
You went back to the article, but Ochaco spoke up next.
"Uh, so," She put her phone down. "Did any dresses catch your eye today? We can always try another shop if you didn't like any of those."
With a sigh, you dropped your phone. They weren't going to leave you alone now that you finally started talking again.
"I don't even know if I want to go anymore." You murmured.
Ochaco frowned. "To the gala?"
To be honest, you didn't feel like going anywhere with anyone at the moment. You hadn't had a moment to yourself for over two weeks and it was really starting to get on your nerves. You especially didn't want to go anywhere with Izuku either. You were angry at him, at yourself, at the entire criminal industry. He was taking this whole protective thing way too far. There was a limit to how much coddling you could take and he'd already surpassed that a long time ago.
It might have bothered you less if you didn't keep comparing yourself to how he treats Momo and Ochaco. You knew for a fact that he treated them as equals when facing disastrous circumstances, that he could count on them to handle themselves. It wasn't a fair comparison, you knew that. They were heroes. They trained for years to fight villains and had quirks to protect themselves. You had nothing like that. All you had was your experience running a busy E.R. They weren't the same, but he could at least give you some credit on handling stressful situations.
There was a small voice in the back of your mind telling you that it was because you were born quirkless. He didn't see you in the same light as the others because you had a disadvantage, a weakness.
You shook that thought away. Izuku respected you, he always had. He would never look down on you because you were born without power. He used to be the same as you. He would know how it felt better than anyone, it was what made him so determined to be a hero in the first place. You two might not have had the same career goals, but you did share one motivation; helping people.
You brushed the hair out of your face and finally looked up at them. "Are you bringing anyone?" You asked Ochaco.
She blinked. "Um...maybe."
"You found a date?" Momo smirked. "When were you going to tell us this?"
Ochaco blushed. "No, it's not a date! We're just going as friends."
"Come on," Momo elbowed her. "Spill the beans."
Your phone buzzed as you got another email, but you ignored it. This was actually getting interesting. Ochaco didn't date all that much, and she usually just went to the gala with Tsu and some of the other girls. But if she was bringing someone to the gala, a highly publicized event, then it had to be serious.
Ochaco rubbed the back of her head and shrugged, covering her burning face. "It's um..."
The attention in the room shifted as the front door opened. You jumped out of your seat and zoomed to the door, the girls trailing behind you.
Izuku stepped through and closed the door quietly. He wasn't expecting you to torpedo straight into him, almost knocking him off his feet, in a fierce hug. As quickly as you slammed into him, you jumped back and slapped his shoulder.
"Ow, what was that for?" He rubbed his shoulder.
"For worrying me!" You crossed your arms. "And for making me angry. And all the other dumb stuff you did."
Guilt flooded his eyes as he stared at you, but you'd been waiting for hours to chew him out and you weren't stopping there.
"You gave me some ominous demand to come home and then leave me to worry all day while you've been out doing who-knows-what!" You shouted. "You've been running around crime scenes with your little secrets while you force me to stay here like some sort of pet! I've had it!"
Izuku shrunk as you finally sucked in a breath. "Y/N... I didn't realize th-"
"No, you've had your head stuck too far up your ass to realize anything!" You stepped closer. "Now tell me what the hell is going on."
He glanced behind you. The others had gathered at the end of the room, looking very stiff and out of place. You'd forgotten they were here again. It was already embarrassing enough that they had to play bodyguard, now they had to witness your tantrum.
You rubbed your face and stepped away from him. "Please just explain what's going on."
Izuku was silent, almost like he was afraid to speak. You'd gone too far and you were too embarrassed to even admit it to everyone. What the hell was going on with your moods lately? You were like a compass that had gone haywire.
"I'm sorry." He finally whispered. "I'll explain everything."
He lead everyone into the dining room. Izuku sat at the head of the table and Inko sat at the other end. He scanned over everyone, looking so uncomfortable, squirming in the hot seat.
"I'm sorry," He said again. "I didn't want you to worry."
You held up your hand. "I don't want excuses, I want answers. So talk."
His green hair was frizzy, he kept running his fingers through it, a nervous habit. "I think....I think Tatsuya, everything about him, was orchestrated by someone else."
There was silence. He locked eyes with you, waiting for some type of reaction. When you showed none, he continued.
"The Hashira gang was murdered early this morning. I think the same person was behind it as well."
"What makes you say that?" Momo asked.
"It was a message." He frowned, staring a hole into the wood table.
Ochaco leaned forward. "They left you a message?"
"The entire scene was a message." He whispered. "I think this was personal. Someone I must have wronged in the past, someone that wants revenge."
He threaded his fingers together, nervously fiddling with his thumbs. Staring at him, you lost that fire of anger that had been squatting in your stomach for so long. He was scared. This case was getting to him. You'd been so caught up in your own little ball of emotions, you overlooked just how much he was carrying with him, and it was a lot. Guess he wasn't the only one acting like a blockhead.
"Do you have any idea who?" Momo asked.
He shook his head. "Not at the moment...It's a long list."
Silence enveloped the room in cool tension as the information was processed. If this was personal and they had been behind Tatsuya and these other mass murders, then you could see why he'd been so freaked out lately.
Dammit. This was supposed to be over.
"What happens now?" You locked eyes.
"Whoever this person is, they won't hesitate to attack anyone close to me. They've proven that already." He paused. "But I refuse to let that happen again."
"How can I help?" Momo asked.
Ochaco nodded. "Yeah, we’re with you. Tell us what you want."
Izuku gave them a small smile. "Kacchan and Kirishima are working together on this. So is Shoto. They have some leads we're following." He glanced at the door. "Tsukauchi stationed some uniforms outside the house." He looked back at you. "I can station a hero with you here too, someone we trust."
You turned to Inko. She'd been sitting quietly this whole time. No one had asked her what she thought of all this. She would be in just as much danger as you, so she should have a say. Plus this was her house.
"Inko, what do you want to do?"
She sniffed and looked at her son. "I trust your judgement Izuku."
He nodded, looking slightly relieved. "Okay, I'll start making calls, see what the others have come up with."
A timer went off and everyone flinched. Inko waved everyone back down. "Dinner's almost ready." She scurried off into the kitchen.
"Y/N," Izuku leaned towards you. "Can I talk to you?"
Ochaco stood up, pulling Momo up with her. "We should get going. I'll check in with you later."
Momo nodded. "Yes, let us know what we can do to help."
"Shoto has the case files. You can talk to him."
Izuku walked them to the door where they gave quick goodbyes to everyone. Once they were gone, Izuku pulled you into the living room and sat you down.
"You have every right to be angry with me." He said quietly. "I just wanted to keep you safe."
He looked so hurt, like a puppy that had just been kicked. Damn, you could never stay mad when that stupid baby face of his looked so sad. Why did he always have to look so adorable, it was maddening sometimes.
"I'm not angry with you." You cocked your head. "Well, I was. It's just that you're treating me like a kid. I'm perfectly capable of handling myself you know."
His eyes grew wide. "Of course I know that! You keep proving that."
"Then why are you treating me like some kind of glass doll." You narrowed your eyes.
He shook his head and leaned forward. "I'm sorry. I just keep thinking about what could have happened. What can happen, if a villain gets to you. It, it terrifies me."
You stared at him for a moment. His hands had curled around your own, squeezing gently, as if you might disappear if he let go. His head was bowed, the edges of his curls were brushing against your neck as he rested against your shoulder. You leaned your head on top of his and closed your eyes.
Well, I'm not worried." You whispered. "You should have more faith in your abilities honey. In case you forgot, you're pretty outstanding."
You brought a hand up to run through his hair. It amazed you that it always still retained its softness even through the frizz. He loved when you would rub his head, so he curled up next to you, laying his head in your lap and staring up at you. His giant green eyes scanned over your face, as if trying to memorize every little detail.
"How the heck did I ever find someone as amazing as you?" He smiled, tracing his fingers along your arm.
You booped him on the nose. "You landed yourself right into my E.R."
He grabbed your hand and pulled you down for a quick kiss. "And I'm so glad I did."
You hummed in agreement and leaned back on the couch, shutting your eyes and relaxing for once. Of course the real world never stops, and so once again, your phone buzzed. You were hoping that one of your colleagues would get back with you about what's happening at the hospital. They've been reluctant to keep you updated while on your temporary leave. You were itching to get back to work.
"Izu," You nudged him. "Can you grab my phone?"
His eyes were shut, but he fumbled his hand around on the coffee table before he found it and handed it to you. Then he went back to snuggling in your lap, burying his face in your stomach. You absentmindedly played with his hair while you looked at your notifications. There were a few of them, all from that same blogger. The first one's subject line read; For your viewing pleasure. You clicked it and an image popped up.
"Oh my god!" You dropped the phone in your shock, straight onto Izuku's face.
He bolted up, rubbing the spot where the phone landed. "What?"
You blinked, staring at your phone, now lying facedown on the couch.
He grabbed it and turned it over. "Who sent this?" He asked in quiet disbelief.
"I don't know," you sat up straighter, "some blogger."
The email contained only pictures. A lot of them. They were all from the Hashira crime scene, except these weren't from some forensic photographer. These were taken while some of the members were still alive, taken by the killer. Now, you'd seen your fair share of bloody scenes at work, but nothing so brutal and....personal before. You could hardly stand to look at them, but one thing that you did focus on was one common element in all of the pictures, all the victims were being done up in Deku attire.
The phone buzzed again, with another email. Izuku opened it up this time. There were no pictures, just a short, simple message.
Change is happening. Get ready.
.
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Ground Zero bit his tongue as he listened to another dumb story Red Riot was telling. He was half tempted to mute the comms, but that could jeopardize the stakeout. He hated stakeouts to begin with, but he absolutely loathed stakeouts with other people. Red Riot was a people person and Ground Zero was, to put it simply, not. So two hours in, he was ready to blow up the entire block.
"Anyway," Red Riot went on. "So now my foot's suck in there right? Kaminari's short-circuited and I still got half a pie left," He cracked up. "So then-"
"Shut up!" He finally exploded. "We're supposed to be quiet and I can't take any more of your shitty stories!"
"Ah, your just mad cause you weren't there." He said through the communicator.
Ground Zero grit his teeth and put his hand up to the comms, but forced himself to let it be. Instead, he focused his attention on navigating the rooftop he was on. It was narrow and the gravel crunched softly under his feet as he made his way across. Once he got to the edge, the building offered a nice view of the district. Red Riot was a few blocks over slowly making his rounds.
He was sure this guy would show tonight. He'd been pretty consistent with his appearances. Not so smart when your running drugs, but helpful to the hero who has to catch him.
"You know, maybe if you actually came to our get-togethers, you wouldn't miss out so much," Red commented. "I know the gang would like to see you again."
Ground Zero rolled his eyes and glanced down at the street below him. The building he was on was almost twenty stories up. "I don't have time to mess around."
"Dude," He sighed. "You've been working this case non-stop. Why is this so important to you?"
Ground Zero leaped off the building over the almost 5-meter gap and landed neatly on the other side. "They're criminals. Isn't that reason enough?"
Red was hesitant. "Yeah, but it seems like lately...I don't know."
"Exactly." He retorted. "You don't know."
Ground Zero scanned the surrounding buildings. The night was clear and the moon shone brightly overhead. Even though it was nearly two in the morning, the city lights made it easy to navigate the maze of buildings. He still had to watch himself, the rooftops were still pretty dark.
He ended up at the edge of the building, ready to move onto the next when he saw a shift in the shadows on the next roof over. He watched the spot like a hawk until he saw the faintest of movements. A figure darted between air conditioning units and paused on the ledge of a building, turning to face Ground Zero. A slight glint of metallic shined off a mask in the moonlight.
"He's here." Ground Zero smirked. "86th and 7th, heading east."
"Copy that. I'm close."
Ground Zero took off with a running start to jump over the huge gap separating their buildings. The figure didn't run, which he thought was strange. He only stood there, watching him as he landed in a roll. It was only after Ground Zero stood up and they locked eyes, well eyes to creepy Kabuki mask, that he finally took off.
Kabuki leaped off the ledge, down onto a smaller building below. Ground Zero was hot on his tail, practically flying off the building in his excitement.
"Oh no you don't!" He said still sailing down towards him using his explosions to control his flight. "Ha! Got you now!"
He slammed down towards him and almost managed to hit him. Kabuki was slicker than he thought and barely dodged. He jumped over Ground Zero as he stood back up and landed behind him. This guy was moving around with such agility that every time Ground Zero tried to swing around and clip him, he was already behind him again.
He growled and shot out a huge blast, using the momentum to spread it completely around him in a circle. No way someone could avoid an attack like that. When the smoke cleared, Kabuki was already on the next building.
Ground Zero narrowed his eyes and jumped after him. He landed on the slanted roof, almost slipping as some of the loose tiles gave way. He launched himself into the air again, scanning the rooftops in search for him. It was hard to find him when he was wearing all black in the dead of night. After a few tense seconds, he spotted movements a few buildings over. Damn, he was fast.
"He's headed your way, get ready!" He yelled into the earpiece.
"I'm ready." Red Riot answered. "I think I see him!"
Ground Zero boosted himself towards the villain, coming up fast. As Kabuki prepared to jump off the edge, a flash of red tackled him from below and pushed him back onto the building. Red Riot landed on top of him, pinning him to the ground.
Ground Zero quickly caught up and stood over the two. Kabuki struggled for a moment before deflating, choosing to turn his head and look up at Ground Zero.
"Katsuki Bakugo." Kabuki's voice was distorted with electronics. "What a pleasure to see you again."
Ground Zero reached for his cuffs and restrained his wrists.
"Why so silent?" Kabuki asked as he was hauled up. "Could it be that you’re afraid?"
He ground his teeth as he tightened the cuffs. "Shut the fuck up psycho."
Kabuki cocked his head. "Or is it that you're afraid to hear the truth?"
"I wouldn't keep talking if I were you." Red Riot said, grabbing one of Kabuki's arms.
"Oh, I'm not here for you." A spike shot out from the folds of his clothes, straight into Red Riot's stomach. Red Riot tumbled backwards, his hardening quirk the only thing saving him from being impaled. "I'm not here for either of you. "A second spike shot at Ground Zero who was quick enough to dodge it, but he had to let go.
Kabuki used the opportunity to escape, running towards the edge, hands still cuffed behind him. His fingers found the metal of the cuffs and in an instant, they seemed to melt right off him, drooping into a shiny puddle on the roof.
Red Riot was slow to stand while Ground Zero raced for Kabuki. He fired off a dozen mini blasts, all scattering around him until one found home, slamming into Kabuki's mask just as he turned to look back. He lost his balance and tumbled off the building.
"Shit." He hissed and ran to the edge.
Luckily, there was a building below that caught Kabuki. He landed hard, a small impact in the loose gravel around him showed that much. He turned over and pushed himself up to his knees.
"I don't think so!" Ground Zero hopped over the edge and fell on top of him, pushing him back into the ground.
Kabuki groaned, which sounded weird coming through the electronic mask. He stilled again as the knee guard drove into his back. Kabuki grasped at the gravel, trying to find a hold to squeeze out of his position.
"Let's see who's under that mask." He reached for the mask, but as soon as his fingers touched it, the mask sparked, sending a jolt of electricity up his arm, numbing it.
Kabuki pushed him off in his moment of weakness and rolled to his feet, pulling out a sharp metal spear from somewhere in his robes.
"Come on then," Ground Zero stood, flexing his hand. "Let's see what you got!"
Kabuki stepped towards him, the spear moved so fast, that he couldn't even see it in the dim light. The only thing that stopped the spear from smacking him in the side of the head was his arm brace. The brace took the brunt of the impact, almost cracking in half from the sheer force of the swing. The spear disappeared, only to reappear on his other side. He blocked again, but rolled with the blow this time, lessening the damage.
Red Riot jumped down to join the fight, running straight for the man. Kabuki reached into his robe and threw out a dozen little daggers. Red Riot easily batted them to the side and continued to charge. Or they should have been swatted aside, but when he looked down, he saw the daggers had melted down and wrapped around his arms and chest. He suddenly lurched backwards, almost loosing his footing, as the metal crawled up his skin, towards his face.
"What the-" Red Riot shook his arms, trying to scrap the warped metal off. The metal had a mind of its own and with sudden force, manipulated his arms, trying to pull them behind him in a makeshift cuff. It took all of his strength to counter the metal. It looked as though he was struggling with an invisible enemy.
Ground Zero focused back on Kabuki, firing an explosion at him. Kabuki used the spear to jump above the blast and drop behind him. The spear jabbed at his back, but he was quicker this time. He leaned to the side just as the spear was about to pierce him and wrapped his arms around it. He used the momentum to twist it around, throwing Kabuki off his feet.
Ground Zero gripped the spear, ready to use it against his opponent when the metal started melting. He wasn't an idiot, he'd seen exactly what would happen. He let go before it could crawl up his hand and blasted it away for good measure. So metal manipulation was his quirk.
He was too focused on the spear, he didn't catch the dagger Kabuki had thrown. It struck him in the shoulder and he stumbled back. It was small, but twisted around as if it had a life of its own. He grabbed his shoulder, gasping as the dagger dug deeper. His shoulder screamed in pain and blood gushed from the wound as the thing tried to burrow straight through.
To manipulate something so small and precise, that took a great deal of skill and training. He wasn't dealing with an ordinary drug runner, although that didn't surprise him all that much. A person who could eliminate an entire gang alone wasn't someone to piss off. But if Ground Zero had a specialty, it was pissing people off.
"What?" Kabuki dusted off his coat. "Is that all you got?"
Ground Zero dug his fingers into the wound, searching until he found the tiny hilt and pulled it out. The thing was stubborn and seemed to grow thorns locking it in place, but he managed to rip it out of his shoulder with a sharp groan.
Red Riot was in a dilemma of his own. The metal was trying to crawl its way up his arms and around his neck. The only thing he could do was keep scraping it off, but it was like glue.
Ground Zero charged again, but Kabuki only pointed to Red Riot. "Ah, ah." He wagged his finger. "I wouldn't move if I were you. It doesn't take much to break a neck you know."
He faltered, warily eyeing Red Riot, who had sunk to his knees. This metal wasn't like ordinary metal. The one that found a home in his shoulder was heavy, much heavier than metal should have been. He was betting it was stronger too, probably strong enough to break through Red Riot's quirk.
"Let's have a chat, shall we?" Kabuki put his hands on his waist. "Now, as I recall, you're only the number two hero. What happened to your dream of being number one?"
"What does it matter to you?" He spat out.
"It matters very much to me." Kabuki put a hand on his chest. "Your dreams were crushed as soon as he entered the playing field. What right did he have to take away something you worked so hard for, something that would help society as a whole!"
"The only thing that's gonna be crushed is your head."
"You know as well as I do that he shouldn't have been given that power." Kabuki growled. "He should have never become a hero!"
The metal on Red Riot had wrapped around his throat and he clawed at it, but even his quirk couldn't hold out for long against it.
"What do you have against him?" He asked. "what did he do to you?"
Kabuki waved his hands. "You're nothing like Midoriya, are you?" He took a step closer. "Always one step behind him. Always second place."
He had to mentally tell himself not to react. He wanted a reaction out of him and that would just put Red Riot in danger. He might also be able to get some answers out of this guy, if he kept calm enough.
"You know it's the truth." He went on. "But I can change that. I can help you change that."
"What are you on about?"
"I know all about you too, Mr. Bakugo." Kabuki casually crossed his arms. "I know what your life should have been like. We're very similar, you and I."
"Like hell we are." He barked.
Kabuki shrugged. "Think on it." He slipped out a gun and aimed it at Ground Zero, who tensed up. "In the meantime, I think this will be a suitable test run."
He released the metal that flew back and sunk beneath his robes. Red Riot gasped and fell forward, taking in heavy breaths. In a slight move, Kabuki redirected the gun and fired at Red Riot. The bullet struck the ground just beneath his hunched form and exploded into a cloud of blue dust.
Ground Zero charged him again, but Kabuki used the metal to springboard him off the roof. He was about to jump after him, but Red Riot gagged on the dust as he tried to move away from it. The blue powder seemed to cling to his skin, coating him. He waved it away from his face, choking on whatever substance it was supposed to be. It was a loosing battle and he crumbled back to his knees.
Ground Zero glanced back to where Kabuki had jumped off too. He put him in a bind. "Fuck!" He turned back to his friend who was struggling to breathe on the ground.
Red Riot's eyes were darting everywhere as panic overtook his senses. If blue powder wasn't already covering his face, Ground Zero was sure, he was turning blue from lack of oxygen.
He searched through his belt for something, anything, that might help. All he had was water. He gave it to Red Riot who tried to swallow the water, but only ended up gagging on that too. He fell forward, Ground Zero catching him before his head hit the ground.
"Hey Red Idiot," Ground Zero gently laid him down. "Keep fucking breathing!"
Shit, this was not how this was supposed to go. He'd let Kabuki escape and his teammate get hurt.
Red Riot suddenly lurched forward, throwing up all that blue dust that clogged his throat and rolled to the side with a groan. His fingers were twitching and his face was pale underneath the dust. He looked so out of it, eyes staring right through Ground Zero, as if he wasn't even there. Something was definitely wrong.
"Hey Eijiro," Ground Zero grabbed his shoulder. "Look at me."
With a low groan, he pushed himself off the ground, shaking his head. He was breathing heavy and his arms were trembling, but at least he was getting back up. That was good, right?
"Hey-" Ground Zero was cut off by the sudden punch to the jaw and fell backwards.
Stunned, he blinked in surprise as Red Riot tackled him with a ferocious growl. The two rolled in the gravel until Ground Zero caught up with what was going on. He shoved his friend off him and jumped to his feet.
"What the fuck man!" He yelled, but Red Riot wasn't listening and charged again.
Ground Zero grabbed his head and arm, twisting downward and out, flipping him onto his back. Red Riot's face was bent into a permanent growl as he lashed out, swiping at Ground Zero's legs. He blasted him before picking him up by his shoulder straps and bringing him face level. When he looked into Red Riot's eyes, he saw almost completely black. His pupils were blown, which meant it was definitely some sort of drug at play. He was just hoping it wasn't the long lasting, damaging type.
"What the hell is wrong with you," He shook him. "Snap out of it!"
Red Riot held up his arm, trying to harden it, but only half of it worked. Two of his fingers hardened and half his forearm. He swiped down, slamming it into Ground Zero. He let go, letting Red Riot stumble backwards. His balance was off, he could hardly stand straight, and it didn't look like the light was really on in the attic. That didn't stop him from coming back for more.
"That's it!" He waited for Red Riot to come to him. He was a few feet away before he hit him with a huge blast. "Time for a nap!" He grabbed his head and slammed it into his knee guard so hard that the guard bent.
Red Riot's eyes rolled into the back of his head and he slumped down. Ground Zero laid him out and cuffed his hands in front of him, just in case. He didn't want either of them to get hurt while he was acting like this.
Ground Zero stood up and glanced around, trying to see if Kabuki had stayed to watch the show. No doubt he did, but it wasn't like he could run off now to try and find the villain. That would be irresponsible and he was slightly worried about his teammate. He requested an ambulance through his earpiece as he inspected the area. Whatever was in that bullet had done this. He searched the ground for the capsule while he made a another call. He was met with a groggy hello on the other end.
"We need to talk," he said as he picked up the fragment of the bullet.
Tag List @miriobaby @awilddreamerwrites @hmm-cats @thecindy @sailorstupidsblog @kehlaniwwe @kenmaskitten10 @slytherintothedms
...
Chapter 5
if you wanna be added to the tag list, let me know Loves!
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goldnsnowflakes · 4 months ago
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╰> [You push them away with Kenma and Nishinoya]
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Kenma: Unlike Kuroo, who seems to be avoiding the issue as much as possible, you feel like you’re drowning. No matter how hard you try to push the negative thoughts away, they only bounce back fiercer, not giving you a chance to mentally rest. The more time goes by, the more graduation approaches, and though it still needs months for it to happen, it makes your heart beat faster.
To say that you’re worried about the future is an understatement. Long-distance relationships don’t last, they’ve told you, and knowing Kenma, the possibility is quite high. You really don’t wish to lose him, but at the end of the day, it seems inevitable. In two years at most, you’ll both have taken your own paths, walking down the routes you’ll have chosen for yourselves.
It’s not Kenma’s fault, it really isn’t, but hanging out with him seems harder and harder each time, as you can’t help but imagine the day you’ll kiss and hug him for the last time, the last time you’ll die his hair, or the last time you’ll play games with him...It’s a persistent ache in the stomach with no signs of alleviation, and it sucks.
Maybe you should let him go, not break up with him directly, but simply let the knot untie on its own. This way there will be time for both of you to heal from potential heartbreak. Kenma is caught up in other things most of the time, so it should be relatively easier, especially if you stop asking him to meet. Besides, you’re the one who always takes the initiative when it comes to the majority of things in your relationship. It’s not that Kenma doesn’t care, it’s just that he’s either too shy to ask, or he depends completely on you because you know him all too well- there’s really no need to say anything.
You do your best to avoid him in the hallways, and you eventually stop going to the gym during his practice, too. Kenma doesn’t notice at first, but after a few days, Kuroo notes that he hasn’t seen you around in a while, and the former frowns, trying to think. His best friend’s right, Kenma doesn’t remember the last time he talked to you face-to-face this week. He only shrugs his shoulders, saying that you’re probably busy, because never before have you acted like this. However, he can’t help but feel that there’s something wrong.
When he goes home, he takes a closer look at your recent messages, noticing that you don’t seem as lively as usual. The words of endearment you normally use are gone as well, leaving nothing but an almost dry texter behavior that’s really unlike you. He hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary that upset you, has he? He tries to facetime you while he plays later that night, but you don’t reply until about an hour later.
I left my phone on mute. Everything okay?
Yeah I just wanted to see you :(
I’m sorry...
It’s okay :) Can I call you now?
I’m still studying but maybe some other time, yeah?
Tomorrow is Friday let’s go to the arcade
I think I’ll stay in but thank you, really.
Oh alright
He’s internally freaking out at this point, not really knowing what’s gotten into you. His finger lingers on the send button for a few moments, but he decides to say it, anyway. It’s been a while since he did- maybe he’s messed up, making you think that he doesn’t care about you anymore without noticing.
Love you y/n
Goodnight, sleep tight <3
He looks for you the next morning, and even calls to ask you to meet, but again, you don’t answer. Luck is on his side, however, because he finds you leaning against the door of the faculty offices during one of the breaks, your eyes tired.
“Oh, h-hi Kenma-”
“You’re avoiding me.” He says firmly as he tugs the sleeve of your shirt, a sign to follow him somewhere quieter. Maybe this is your opportunity to come clean, he deserves to know how you feel, but the thing is, are you ready to talk about your fears and insecurities?
You sit on a staircase that’s less crowded, and you do you best to be as close to the wall as possible, arms coming to hug your upper body. God, you feel awful. None of you mutter a single word for what seems like hours. Kenma takes a deep breath, realizing that you aren’t going to explain yourself without a question.
“What are you trying to do? I know I can be forgetful at times, but-”
“I don’t want to be with you anymore, Kenma. I...I have to focus on my studies to get into university and I don’t think I have time for any of this. I wanted to tell you, but I didn’t know how and that’s why I tried to keep my distance.” You do your best to hold back the tears caused by your rolling lies. Why, why can’t you tell him? Why are you hurting both of you like this?
Kenma’s eyes widen at the sound of your untrue confession. He turns to look at you, and he swears he barely recognizes you; his girlfriend has never been scared, distant, lifeless...
“But...But you love me, right? We can figure something out, I can give you more space-” He tries to move closer to you but you shake your head, getting up like you’ve been hit by lightning.
“I’m sorry, please. Don’t make this harder, Kenma. I don’t...I don’t...I have to go, I need air.”
You’re gone in the blink of an eye.
Kenma took your endless “I love you”s for granted, because never before has he wanted to hear it so bad. 
You didn’t say it this time, though both of you know you wanted to.
Not so endless, after all.
Nishinoya: You're really stressed with exams, so stressed that you don't get to rest properly. You're constantly walking around, a cup of coffee always in your hand, and with just a look at you, anyone can tell that you haven't slept in days. You know that your recently developed habits won't boost your memory capacity at all- if anything, you feel like all your studying goes to waste since you can't even remember basic things anymore. Anxiety is consuming you faster than you thought, and you doubt that you'll successfully make it past the exam period.
On top of that, you really don't want to add more pressure on your boyfriend's shoulders, who's already preoccupied with practicing. You lock yourself inside a dark room with no intentions of jumping out yet. You shouldn't burden him with your worries and even though he always claims otherwise, you feel like opening up to him, especially now, will only make matters worse.
You're jealous of Nishinoya sometimes, of how he manages to combine both studying and volleyball, of how he makes time for his passion. Then there's you, failing miserably due to your mental- now also physical- restlessness. You wish you were stronger than this, you wish you could just let everything loose and not worry about it so much. But you simply can't, and it's alright. You just hope the storm passes soon.
Buried in your algebra book, you forget that you're supposed to meet him after class for lunch. You just decide to skip for today, not making it that big of a deal, as it totally slips your mind that you agreed on eating together. However, that's all Nishinoya's been thinking about, and thus, he's the one that eventually comes to your class, hoping to find you there.
He hesitates for a moment when he spots you; head on the desk, hair covering your face, it almost seems like you're sleeping. He doesn't wish to be a bother, you deserve to rest even for a bit, after all, but then you start mumbling to yourself, and he can't help but smile.
"I'm gonna fucking burn all this shit to ashes-"
"How's my favorite pyromaniac doing? Actually, scratch that, you're the only pyromaniac I know-"
"Not now, Noya. I'm studying."
"Do you usually study with your head down or is it a new thing?" He grabs a chair before sitting right opposite of you. You finally lift your head up to take a look at his features, and when your gaze meets his, Nishinoya frowns, knowing that he’s probably making it worse. Under different circumstances, you would have laughed at his attempts to tease you, but all you feel like doing right now is cry. Why do you have to be so miserable?
"What's wrong, y/n?"
"Nothing, I just got sleepy all of a sudden. Why are you here anyway? Oh- oh- I'm sorry, Noya, I completely forgot our conversation this morning. I'm afraid I don't have an appetite, so you can just ask Tanaka-" You muster every single drop of energy stored in your body in order to sit up. You instinctively fold your your arms to your chest and you decide to look out of the window, it just seems easier than facing your boyfriend's worried stare.
"No, I want to be with you right now so please tell me what's going on- oh my God, are these dark circles real? You haven't been sleeping?"
"Drop it already, I said I'm fine. Don't waste lunchtime on me, I have a lot of studying, anyway, and you shouldn't skip your meals."
"How do you still manage to care about me when you're the one that obviously needs to eat something? Is this because of your exams?"
"Noya."
"Tell me."
"Yes." Your voice comes out shaky and low, you know you won't be able to hold your tears for much longer. All this pressure is suddenly trying to escape and you're losing, bad.
"Yes what? I want you to talk to me, y/n, I'm sorry I didn't notice sooner."
"Yes, I've been super stressed with exams. Yes, I haven't been sleeping or eating. Yes, I hate myself for making you worry. Don’t apologize for my shitty ass, I promise I’ll do better, this situation isn’t even helping."
That's all it takes for him to jump from his seat. Nishinoya gives you one of the longest and tightest hugs you've ever received in your life, kissing your warm tears away, telling you that it's not the end of the world, even offering to help as much as possible. You don't deserve him.
"Thank you, shorty. I mean it."
"Hey, I've grown a whole 2 inches, joke's on you!"
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moonlight-onyx · 4 months ago
Please can I request a pogues x routledge reader where I'm john b's little sister & like a little sister to the group & I'm really close with jj & they all start noticing how jumpy I am & wont let anyone touch me or near me & they notice bruises & how i am with my boyfriend & I accidentally drop a glass & get really upset about it & start apologising & I think that john b was gonna hit me & sarah tells them about my boyfriend abusing me and they all look after me & make me break up with him x
sᴀᴠɪɴɢ ɢʀᴀᴄᴇ; ᴊᴊ ᴍᴀʏʙᴀɴᴋ
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pairing: (jj maybank x routledge!sister)
summary: Y/N Routledge has been acting more jumpy and shaken lately. What happens when her brother and his best friend find out that the cause is her not-so loving boyfriend? More importantly, how long will it take before JJ comes to terms with the fact that he’s in love with JB’s little sister, or with the fact that Y/N’s in love with her Saving Grace?
word count: 3k
warnings: cursing, domestic abuse, mentions of drug abuse, violence, mentions of blood, threats of death, angst, manipulation, victim blaming, anxiety, panic attacks, crying, fluff, mentions of sex, personal growth, self deprecation
request status: open
links
navigation | taglist | library
jj maybank | outer banks
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Your brother’s friend group has always acted as your protectors. Sarah and Kie as the older sisters who guided you and gave you advice. Pope as the smart older brother that tutored you when you were failing your classes. John B as the brother that stood up for you no matter what. And JJ. JJ Maybank was your absolute best friend, and vice versa. You told each other everything about everything and you both knew that there was always something hidden between your interactions, never choosing to focus on it. 
All of them gave you your space when it came to your love-life. They trusted you, and that’s exactly why you couldn’t tell them. 
At first, Callum was sweet. That was why you fell for him. He was respectful, thoughtful, funny and smart. He had his entire life ahead of him, it also helped that he was very similar to JJ in appearance. But over time, he just got mean. 
It was months before he hurt you physically, and you weren’t sure what to think of it since he didn’t punch you. No, it was more of a bump against the wall. You figured it wasn’t intentional, it was probably just an accident that took place in the heat of the moment. 
Then it got worse. He’d grab your wrists as tightly as he could and yank you around like a rag-doll. You knew that he was fully aware of his actions when he started forcing you to push your family away. 
They were worried out of their minds, but there was nothing they could do. You were stubborn, only because you were terrified of Callum. Only because he’d have you put the phone on speaker to be sure that you weren’t giving them hidden messages. 
He’d slap you straight across the face after you hung up if you’d gotten even a little choked up. And then he’d pull you to his chest and say, “You know I’d never ever hurt you, baby. I’m just doing what’s best for you. Besides, it’s not like you don’t deserve it.” 
Your mind was so jumbled up most of the time, constantly self-medicating with whatever drug you could get your hands on to numb the pain. You didn’t even remember convincing Callum to let you go to the Chateau for New Years Eve. Of course, his one condition was that he come with you, to “protect you.” 
You knew what that meant. He meant that he was scared you’d tell your family what he’d been doing. What he knew was wrong but he couldn’t care less.
You knocked on the door to the Chateau, your hair pulled up into a messy bun, the bags under your eyes very visible even under the makeup. You fiddled with the sleeve of the hoodie you were wearing, the one that covered all the bruises and nearly-healed needle holes littering your arms. Callum had been hiding your hard-core drugs from you for almost two months now. 
John B opened the door with a smile, immediately pulling you into his arms for a tight hug. “It’s so good to see you, Tink. God, we missed you around here.” He grinned, nodding a quick hello over at your boyfriend. 
“I told you to stop calling me that crap,” you deadpanned with the beginning of a smile lurking on your lips. 
He only shrugged in response. You’d earned the nickname from your childhood. It was short for Tinkerbell as you used to throw the biggest temper tantrums when you didn’t get enough attention from your family. 
“Where is everybody?” You questioned as you moved to sit on the couch, eyes scanning around to see if anything inside had changed since the last time you saw it. It hadn’t. 
“Should be here any minute now. Can I get you anything?” JB answered, throwing his thumb over his shoulder to point at the kitchen. 
“Sweet Tea?” You requested with a hopeful smile and he nodded before looking over at Callum. 
“I’m good, man,” he shook his head. “Uh, is Maybank coming?” 
You tensed up at the mention of your best friend. Especially at the mention of him out of Callum’s mouth. That didn’t go unnoticed by John B who was walking towards you to hand you your drink. 
“He lives here, so yeah,” JB furrowed his brow in suspicion at the buzz of weirdness in the air. 
You looked up from your drink, a genuine smile finally gracing your lips. “He left?” 
John B grinned back and nodded gratefully. “Yeah, he had enough of him.” 
“Oh, thank God. I was so worried about him, y’know? I just-” You shut up immediately, shrinking into yourself when you heard your boyfriend clear his throat. 
“You just what?” John B tried to encourage but you shook your head dismissively. 
“Nothing. I forgot what I was gonna say,” you raised your hand to smack your forehead playfully, your sleeve riding up just enough for him to see the bruise on the top of your wrist. Your Y/E/C eyes locked with his brown ones and you sighed in relief when you saw the look of realization pass over them. 
“I hate when that happens,” your brother did his best to hold back his words of choice, opting to wait until the rest of your group arrived. 
“Yeah, it sucks,” Callum chuckled as he made himself comfortable on the couch, completely oblivious to the fact that John B was silently plotting out all the ways he was gonna beat the hell out of him. 
Sarah showed up a few minutes after that with Kie and a basket of fireworks. John B went outside to meet them at their car, claiming that he needed to help them get everything, but you knew it was so that he could clue them in. 
He did the same thing when Pope showed up, JJ still nowhere to be found. You knew that they were waiting on him. That he would be the match to light the fuse that was the bomb sitting in your lap. 
All of the pogues, with the exception of one, sat in the living room of the Chateau, eyeballing Callum with a look of death, occasionally glancing at you with looks of comfort and assurance. 
“So, Callum,” Sarah started in the passive aggressive tone you knew all too well. “Do you play any sports?” 
He shook his head, “Nah, I’m more of a watcher.” 
“Really? You look like you’d be into boxing,” Kie snarked, an ingenuine smile on her lips. 
“Nope, not really my thing,” Callum shrugged, his grip on your hand tightening to the point where your eyes watered, landing on John B. 
“C’mon, guys,” JB deflected. “Stop picking on Tink’s boyfriend. Wouldn’t want him to think we don’t like him.” 
Pope caught on immediately. “Don’t take it personal, dude. It’s just how we treat each other around here.” 
Callum’s grip loosened tremendously and your eyes shut in relief. “Yeah, me and my cousins are like that, too.” 
JJ finally walked in, his eyes landing on you first. “Holy shit. Tink?” He scoffed out in disbelief and you stood, a wide smile on your lips. He ran over to you, hopping over the coffee table, pulling you into a rib-crushing hug, not giving a damn if your boyfriend was sitting right there. 
For the first time in a year, you felt whole. It’d been over 365 days since you’d seen your best friend, and you’d been empty ever since. He was your other half. Your better half. 
“I missed you so much,” he mumbled in your ear, still holding you tightly to his chest.
“I missed you, bub,” you breathed out, your voice shaky and quiet. You could almost feel the way that Callum’s energy changed and so you pulled away, your eyes trained on the floor. “This is my, uh,” you couldn’t say it. You didn’t want to say it. He wasn’t your boyfriend, he was your captor. He was your abuser. He was your manipulator. 
Callum stood, unable to stop himself from glaring at the back of your head, “I’m her boyfriend. Callum.” He introduced as he not-so-subtly yanked you back away from JJ. 
John B clenched his jaw, standing from his spot on the opposite couch to head into the kitchen to fix himself a glass of water. Surprisingly, Callum allowed you to follow him. 
JB could tell you needed one too, so he handed it to you. And it slipped right through your fingers, the noise immediately bringing tears to your eyes. 
“I’m so sorry. I’m so so sorry,” you started, a mantra of apologies as you dropped to your knees, desperately trying to clean your mess. 
“It’s okay,” your brother dismissed as he grabbed a dish towel and a plastic bag to help, crouching down next to you. 
Out of habit, you flinched away from him, your eye closing from the impact of the ghost-punch. 
That was the last straw. “That’s it-” 
“No, JB don’t-” you grabbed his arm, your eyes wide in terror. 
“Look at what he’s done to you, Y/N!” You cocked back from his use of your real name. “I’m not just gonna let this keep happening. No, I’m taking care of it.” 
He walked out of the kitchen, and you stood in the doorway, half hidden behind it. 
“Everybody outside. Now,” John B paused to look back at you. “Except you, Tink. Hurricane. And you two,” He nodded at Sarah and Kie. “Stay with her.”  
That was your code word. You knew that whatever was about to happen was gonna be bad. That word meant one thing and one thing only. Get in the closet and stay there until I come and get you and don’t come out for anybody else. You listened. Without hesitation, you took off down the hall, running into JJ’s bedroom and locking yourself in his walk-in closet, gripping onto the old teddy bear that the Maybank boy had won for you from the fair when you were 12. 
Everybody followed John B outside silently, a clear understanding of what was going on. Well, everybody except JJ understood. “JB what the hell are we doing out here? And what’s with the code red with Tink?” 
It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop in the grass. 
“Hellooo?” JJ questioned again, looking around. 
“You wanna tell him, Callum?” John B smiled an evil smile, knowing exactly what was gonna happen when the Maybank boy was finally clued in. 
Callum rolled his eyes defensively. “You're crazy. You know that? All of you are fucking insane.” He started walking toward the house, instantly cut off by John B and Pope. “Get out of my way. I’m getting my girl and we’re leaving.” 
John B scoffed with a shake of his head, looking over at Pope for confirmation before pursing his lips in agreement and shoving him on his ass. 
“Woah! John B, you wanna explain to me what the fuck you’re doing, bro?” JJ’s eyes went wide in confusion and shock. 
“What I’m doing is giving a woman-beater exactly what he deserves. Ain't that right, Callum?” John B walked over to the boy that was currently crawling away. 
JJ’s face dropped. “A what?” His tone was icy. It finally clicked, why you were so quiet and acted like his dog. 
John B winked at Callum before stepping out of the way, hearing the tell-tale footsteps of the blonde nightmare approaching from behind. 
Callum didn’t even have time to process what was happening before JJ was on him, beating his face in with all his strength. “You like hitting on girls? Huh?” He barked in his blacked-out state, grabbing a nearby rock. 
John B jumped in, restraining the boy by holding his arms behind his back. “That’s enough, JJ! He’s had enough!” 
JJ thrashed against him, a string of threats and curses spewing from his mouth. “I’m gonna fucking kill him! LET ME GO!” He bit John B on the wrist, the boy’s grip loosening enough for him to weasel out. 
It was a lot harder for them to restrain him the second time, needing both John B and Pope’s strength. 
Callum flipped onto his hands and knees, spitting out mouthfuls of blood and what looked like a few teeth, wobbling to get up. “She didn’t get anything she didn't fucking deserve.” He spat, doubling over in a coughing fit when Pope’s fist connected with his stomach. 
“She didn’t deserve anything you did to her, you piece of shit!” He growled, taking the boy’s lanyard that had been dropped in the fight and throwing it at his truck, cracking the windshield. “Now get the hell out of here and don’t ever contact her again!” 
Callum looked like he was gonna say something but decided against it, choosing to just retreat and count his wounded.
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You’d been clean by your own choice for about a year, smoking nothing stronger than the occasional blunt. You’d been clean from a lot of things, relationships, sex, drugs, the whole nine.
The last year was spent rebuilding a lot of things, yourself, your mindset, your relationships with the pogues, your boundaries. And you’d tripped up a lot, recovery was a very tricky road. But you had your family, and they were always there to pick you up. 
You knew that you had a long way to go, but you’d given it a lot of thought, and after talking with Kie and Sarah, you thought you were finally ready. 
You and the Pogues all sat in hammocks. You and JJ in one, facing opposite directions. Kie and Pope cuddled up in one, and Sarah and your brother cuddled in another. “Hey, guys?” You started, your heart beating loudly in your chest. 
A chorus of “Yeah?” and “What’s up?” rang through the air, followed by an encouraging smile from Kie.
“I think I’m ready to start dating again?” 
Everyone’s head snapped over towards JJ, whose cheeks went bright red. 
“Why are you all looking at him?” You questioned, brows furrowed in confusion. 
They only laughed in response, each of them hopping out of their hammocks to head inside. 
“JJ?” You looked at him with a mix of concern and confusion. 
He shook his head, sitting up slightly to be closer to your face, his chin resting on your knees. “Well, I’ve been thinking. And I realized that the reason I’ve been so protective over you for forever, was because…” 
“Because what?” You leaned closer, not worrying about the fact that your faces were barely two inches apart. 
“Because I’m in love with you, Y/N. I’ve been in love with you before I knew what love was,” he sighed, the guilt finally coming out in words. “I was gonna be the one to ask you out at Prom that night. I was just stuck in the bathroom terrified that you’d say no.” 
Your eyes watered up at the thought. Callum approached you that night, wooing you with his charm and dazzling smile. 
You took a deep breath before grabbing JJ’s cheeks gently, forcing him to look at you. “Hey, that’s in the past, okay? I would’ve said yes, but that’s besides the point.” 
“You would’ve said yes?” 
“Of course I would’ve. I still would,” you chuckled, shaking your head slightly. 
JJ’s baby blue eyes were locked on yours, both of you leaning in slowly. 
The pogues cheered from the front porch, the two of you pulling apart awkwardly. Sarah handed your brother a $20 and he smirked. 
“I thought it would’ve been another six months, for sure.” She rolled her eyes in annoyance at her loss. 
You hopped out of the hammock, your mind racing a million miles a second as you ran towards the house, locking yourself in your brother’s room. Everyone’s face dropped, including JJ’s, who looked like he’d just lost his puppy. 
John B sighed and went inside, knocking on his door quietly. “Tink, it’s me.” 
You paced around the room, your hands running through your hair as your mind told you all the ways you didn’t deserve happiness. 
“Open the door, Y/N.” 
You bit your lip in anxiety and unlocked it before backing up so that he could let himself in. 
But you didn’t speak. Instead, you curled up on the bed, trying to calm your breathing. 
John B moved to sit next to you. “What’s going on, kid?” 
“I’m not good enough for him.” 
He closed his eyes in disappointment and pain. “Look at me.” You didn’t. “Y/N, look at me,” you turned your head to meet his eyes. “You deserve the world. And you and JJ deserve each other. You two are perfect for each other.” He chuckled, “Besides, weren’t you the one that used to say you’d end up marrying him one day?” 
Your jaw dropped in horror at the memory. “I was eight!” 
“You still said it,” he smiled and you smacked him on the arm before sitting up to hug him. 
“Thanks, JB.” 
“It’s what I’m here for, isn't it? Now,” John B hopped off the bed before you could punch him. “Go get your husband.” 
You walked out with hopeful eyes and Pope pointed to the front porch. 
JJ sat on the steps, bouncing his leg anxiously. He was so trapped in his head that he didn’t even notice when you walked up. 
You took a seat next to him and took a deep breath. “Sorry about before, I was just...It doesn’t matter,” you shook your head before grabbing his hand. “If you still wanna give us a shot, I do too. But I’m still a mess, J, I’m still broken.” 
He scoffed slightly, “I know, Y/N. And I don’t care. Because you’re you, and that’s more than enough for me.” 
And it happened. 
The kiss you’d been dreaming about since you were eight. It was almost exactly like you imagined, too. 
JJ tasted of a mix of his favorite spearmint gum, weed, and the cherry chapstick he’d stolen from you an hour before. The thought made you smile against his lips, which caused him to smile, which caused you both to break out in a fit of giggles.
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captain-fives · 5 months ago
"You're wrong, I'm fine...I know I'm fine.... I'm fine..." for Fives and Rex maybe?
It took me way too long to get back to these, but I had a few interesting brain days in a row. Some May the Fourth ‘verse here, set shortly after Kadavo/Echo’s return. Under cut because it got really long and for some talk of slavery, dehumanisation, injuries, and Umbara. Also, I’m still on a buir!Rex kick, so prepare for some Softe Moments.
It’s been one thing after another for Rex, and it’s wearing him down. Fives and Echo are there to reassure their brother, but Fives’ bad habit of kicking his own issues aside is also catching up to him.
=====
It’s Echo who first notices the shake in Rex’s hands, clenched in his lap as he sits in the chair by the medcot.
It’s Fives who catches them in his own at his twin’s silent signal, eyes going soft and worried at the faint startle the movement produces. ‘Ori’vod, what happened out there? Jesse wouldn’t tell me much.’ ’I’m fine, Fives.’ ‘Banthashit.’ ‘I’m fine... I know I’m fine...’ ‘Rex, what happened?’
Rex resolutely watches his feet at the question, fingers twitching in Fives’ hold. ‘You didn’t get the mission reports from Cody?’ ‘Nothing in there explains why you’re like this,’ Fives replies. Kix left earlier to discuss Echo’s ongoing treatment with Wooley, leaving the three of them to talk, but Rex has barely spoken a word after his original shocked outburst.
The older Captain’s jaw clenches, and his voice is terse as he speaks. ‘And what am I “like,” then?’
‘Scared,’ Echo says, quiet but determined, and Rex slumps. He swallows hard several times as the silence drags on - clearly trying to parse his words - and Fives shifts where he sits on the edge of the cot so he can grip Rex’s forearms, trying his best to ground his vod while he struggles to explain.
‘You read the reports, so I won’t go over the basics too much. Kiros, Kadavo, slavers, captures, rescues, all those things.’ He stares at his hands, palms facing up, and touches thumb to fingers one after the other, silently counting. ‘They had the colonists, were forcing them to work. General Kenobi and I got caught during the undercover operation. Shackled us, sent us down to the pits with the Togrutas.’
He shifts his shoulders uneasily, and Echo sucks in a sharp breath as it tugs on the collar of his blacks to reveal a still-healing burn. Fives makes a similar sound, raising a cautious hand above where the mark sits. He’s no Wooley or 99, the healing doesn’t come as easily to him, but he lets the Force flow in the tiny space between his palm and his brother’s skin, and watches some of the pained lines disappear from Rex’s face as he leans their foreheads together.
‘I have never felt less like a person than in the three days I spent in those slave pits,’ he admits, voice nothing more than a rasp as he remembers the pain of a shock staff and the alienation from both guards and slaves alike, ‘and I don’t... I don’t know how to process that on top of everything else.’
Echo reaches his arm out, grabs for Rex’s free hand and holds on. Fives settles the hand hovering beside his brother’s neck on his shoulder instead, keeps their foreheads pressed together. ‘You’re staying with the ‘hawks tonight. I don’t care if you have things to do on the Resolute, both these ships are on the way back to Coruscant anyway. You’ll stay here and we’ll wrap you in blankets and tell you stories and hold you until you stop shaking because you shouldn’t be feeling like this, ori’vod.’
Rex’s jaw clenches as he turns the words over in his mind, and he opens his mouth to argue because there’s so much to do -
‘You’re wounded, Rex. In the Force,’ murmurs Fives, stopping his half-hearted protest in his tracks. ‘It hurts to look at, because it shouldn’t be there. You need time to heal from it. Please, buir, let us help you.’
Echo’s eyes go wide just as Fives realises his slip-up, and the young Captain claps a hand over his mouth, face burning with embarrassment. ‘Sorry. That wasn’t supposed to - sorry.’ He shrinks away, curling into himself as he drops his gaze.
Rex breathes out, the sound wavery, but he clutches Echo’s hand tighter, reaching to try and pull Fives back. ‘It’s okay, kid,’ he says, trying to ignore the damp feeling around his eyes. ‘I’m sorry.’ ‘You don’t have to be.’ ‘I know you’re supposed to be our CO and not... not a father figure. ‘S probably some kind of regulation about that, right Echo?’ There’s no reply, but Echo’s hand curls tighter around Rex’s, prompting his ori’vod to refocus his attention. ‘Echo? Everything alright?’
‘... Ni kar’tayl gai sa’buir, Rex,’ comes the tentative reply, and Fives’ breath hitches in shock, watching frozen as his older brother leans over to touch his forehead to Echo’s and murmur a tearful acceptance that has Echo’s face breaking into a grin.
He slips out of the room to let them talk, leaning against the wall to try and calm his racing mind.
He wants to go back, say the words. Follow the voice in his heart that desperately wants to make Rex proud, hear the familiar voice call him son. But there’s a part of himself that laughs, says he’s not worthy, and it sounds like Bric and Bravo Squad and Krell and everyone that only ever saw 5555 and not Fives.
And maybe he did the right thing on Umbara, but Rex deserves loyal sons, not troopers who disobey orders.
Echo deserves to say the words; he will never begrudge him this. He’s been through so much and is still braver than Fives will ever be, still the strongest person he knows.
It all piles up - the still-fresh memories of the Shadow Sector, the residual grief from the Citadel and the horror of Echo’s imprisonment, the sharp ache that still bleeds through Rex’s Force signature even now - and he slides to the floor, burying his face in his hands and trying to breathe.
You have a habit of brushing your own issues aside because you think others deserve help more than you do, 99 had said, and Fives lets out a slightly hysterical giggle from behind clenched teeth as the memory rings in his head. You think so? he’d replied, trying to laugh, and the old vod had seen right through him as always. Why do you always think no one will want to help you, Fives?
His comlink had interrupted before he could say anything.
He wasn’t sure he could have given 99 an answer anyway.
There’s a clack of plastoid, the shuffle of footsteps, and a far-off voice calling his name. Is he hyperventilating? It’s hard to tell when his brain keeps running in circles. A cautious hand splays in the centre of his chest, a second moving to run gentle fingers through his hair. ‘Fives. Take a breath, khi’vod.’
He chokes down the desperate sob of buir that threatens to escape - forces out Rex instead even though it hurts - but Fives listens, dragging in a shuddering gulp of air only for it to wheeze out as another sob escapes.
‘Easy, easy,’ his brother says (muffled through the noise in Fives’ head but loud enough nevertheless,) and pulls him close, wrapping strong arms around him where he trembles on the floor. ‘I have you. Just breathe.’ ‘C-can’t...’ ‘Rayshese, udesiir. Come back now, it’s okay.’ ‘Should-shouldn’t be worrying about me,’ he manages to croak, weakly pushing at his brother’s armour. ‘Got your own problems.’
The hug doesn’t let up, and Fives lets himself go limp in his brother’s embrace, tired head falling onto a plastoid-covered shoulder. ‘Was supposed to be helping you...’ ‘It helps me to know you’re okay,’ Rex replies, ‘and you shouldn’t be burning yourself out just because other people are hurting.’ ‘You sound like 99.’ ‘Good. He always knows what he’s talking about, so maybe you’ll listen, hm?’
They sit in silence for a long minute, waiting for Fives’ breathing to return to normal, before Rex shifts them so he can look his brother in the eye. ‘You aren’t the type to panic over a simple slip of the tongue, khi’vod. What’s going on in that head of yours?’
A sluggish shake of his head, eyes fixed on the floor, and Rex lets out a worried sigh as he cradles Fives’ face in his hands, thumbs wiping at a few stubborn tears. ‘You can say the words, Fives. I don’t understand why you’re afraid when I already accepted-’
There’s another hitching sob from the trooper slumped on the floor. Rex’s eyes fill with realisation as fresh tears slip past his fingers, still gently pressed to his brother’s face. ‘Is that it, Fives? You think I would reject a gai-bal-manda from you?’ He brushes his thumbs beneath amber eyes, the hunter’s spark behind them dulled by upset emotions. ‘Have I given you a reason to doubt me?’
Fives shakes his head again, more frantic as he tries to reassure him. ‘No, no, you’re fine, I’m just-’ ‘If you say not good enough, you’re going to make me incredibly sad, Fives.’
The hesitation that follows is damning enough.
Rex’s jaw works, trying to phrase his next words, before releasing another sigh. ‘You are good enough,’ he whispers, tilting Fives’ head to meet his eyes. ‘You’ve proven yourself so many times and faced overwhelming odds. You’ve dragged yourself back up from the lowest points of grief and pulled back your rage to allow justice to be served without malice. No one should tell you you’re not worthy here.’ He bumps their foreheads together once more, presses a kiss to the spot at the third sob to escape. ‘But none of that matters, Fives. None of these standards you’ve set yourself have any bearing on the situation, because we are aliit regardless, and have been since you first entered under my command.’
‘Ni kar’tayl gai sa’ad, Fives,’ he continues, the strength in his voice chasing away any doubt. ‘I know your name as my child and it is an honour to be considered your father.’
Fives makes a wounded noise, and begins to cry in earnest, hands shaking where they curl around Rex’s arms. ‘Buir.’
’It’s alright, ner’ad,’ Rex replies, moving to hold him tight again, tucking him in close, keeping him safe. ‘I’m right here. I’ve got you.’
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butterfly-showers · 11 months ago
[1/3]Hi! i'd like a FMA and Bleach matchup 👉👈? I'm a INFJ-T, female, Virgo sun, Libra moon, Pieces rising. I'm 5'11 and very insecure about my height, because of that I'm very awkward around others, when I'm awkward I DO NOT stop talking. I'm very shy and reserved, frankly judgmental with people I don't know. it’s something I'm trying to work on. those who I feel are trusting enough or even really worth of me as a friend, I cherish completely.I'd do anything to protect the people I care about
[2/3]I’m a little different around my friends, i'm much more bold and open with myself. I find myself to be a little annoying given how loud I can get. I like to pick on my friends, playfully of course. little pranks, stealing things only to give it back. I worry sometimes I go too far. but I trust they'd tell me that. I'm very protective over the people I care about, I've been told I 'mother' a lot. I enjoy artsy things, and I draw and write occasionally.
[3/3]Though I'm very critical of anything I'm interested in or create, not to mention obsessive. Once I'm interested in something I kind of suck the life out of it until I know everything about it, or just lose interest. I do tend to get clingy with people I care about though it's something i'm trying to work on. I do tend to procrastinate on things but motivations aren't hard to find for me. most say I have a shortish temper, but really I just have a variety of pet peeves. have a wonderful day!
Okay, so I’m sorry it’s taken me a little bit to get back to you! You gave me LOTS of information to work with and I had to do lots of research! I really wanted to make sure I matched you with the best possible people and I really think my picks are good ones! I hope you think so as well. Please make sure to let me know! I pair you with...
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Okay so first up, we’ve got Mr. Jean Havoc from FMA!
I know, I know he’s a huge flirt and a ladies man, but he’s the type of guy who, once he’s with someone, he’s with THEM and drops his habits
Honestly? He loves your height! 
Dude, it’s seriously such a huge turn on 
He loves long legs and will literally drool over and worship them, no joke
Also, he thinks your nervous blabbering is rather endearing, as is your shy and reserved nature
I feel like Jean is also fond of pulling pranks on others as well and whenever you open up to him, the two of you will def work together to prank Mustang and the others
Or you’ll just have prank wars between each other, which honestly terrifies the entire group, because they will inevitably get caught up in it somehow
Jean would honestly be really invested in your hobbies
He’d want to see whatever it is you create or read whatever you write, doing his best to compliment it in an “artistic” way, but ultimately unable to say anything more than “Wow, this is great!”
Havoc could for sure handle your temper, he’s a really chill and laid back dude
He would DEFINITELY love the clinginess
It would probably be a huge ego boost for him actually
He’d want you by his side all the time anyways, can’t have anyone stealing his literal goddess
That’s his favorite nickname for you; Goddess
He is constantly calling you that, omg, it’s so cute because he really thinks your height gives you an ethereal aura
Jean is at a loss for words most of the time that you’re around, which is really unusual for him
But he doesn’t mind, in fact, it’s the opposite
This man really does worship you I s2g
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Next up is Strawberry Boi, Ichigo!
I feel like at first, he wouldn’t really be bothered by your excessive talking, shy nature or your height
Honestly, he would probably say something to offend you because the poor boy is a bit oblivious at times
However, as soon as he realized he did it, he would be a mess and constantly apologizing
He’d also fight anyone who said anything to upset you
No seriously, you’d have to pull him off of them because he would not stop
Ichigo really cares about you and feels bad for anything and everything bad that happens to you and in your life
After the two of you have gotten together, he really appreciates your height
Tbh, he’s so used to having to look down at everyone around him that you’re really refreshing to be around
Not to mention the fact that he thinks your height is ‘powerful’ if that makes any sense
Like, it makes you exude an aura of power and authority and he thinks it’s hot
He really is understanding of the trust issues
He has his own emotional baggage that he has to deal with, so he doesn’t really hold it against you
I don’t feel like Ichigo really participates in pulling pranks with you, but he thinks they’re funny and he will joke around with you
Ichigo knows nothing of art or writing, all he can do is play guitar and sing, so I feel like the two of you write songs together/for each other, once you’ve been together for a while of course
It’s really adorable honestly
I feel like he’s the exact same way with his hobbies though. Very critical of his skills, both with singing and playing and he cycles through periods of obsession and disdain
So, you won’t really have to worry about him in that aspect. In fact, he’s right there with you, struggling just as badly
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cynicalrainbows · a year ago
Text
Inner Voice Chpt 4
Sorry for the slight pause! I've been working hard on trying to get Kitty's inner-Henry right.... and to properly show the absolute agony of trying to negotiate non-fucked up conversations when you're used to....a certain degree of fucked-up-ness as normal. I hope I did it justice- feedback is always so very welcome please!
TW for refs to an emotionally abusive relationship.
In the bathroom, she splashes water on her face and leans her forehead against the cool surface of the mirror, willing her eyes to stop stinging and her breathing to go back to normal before she has to face the others again. The last thing she needs is to have to explain herself.
It isn’t long though before there’s a tap at the outer door.
Well, at least they aren’t just coming straight in….
‘Kitty?’
Wearily she wipes her eyes: it will cause more of a fuss if she refuses to answer, as if she’s manipulating them into being more concerned than necessary.
‘You can come in, Anna’
‘Are you ok?’
She begins to nod, mostly out of habit, but as she does, she feels her face crumple and the tears return.
‘I’m- fine-’
‘No you’re not.’ Anna’s arms are not the same arms that had comforted her in their first friendship but they’re just as warm. ‘But you will be.’
‘I’m- sorry’ Her voice catches in her throat, and she nearly chokes on it. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong- what’s wrong with me-’
By rights, Anna should push her away for making a fuss over nothing but she doesn’t. (She never has done.)
‘Just one of those days?’ There’s no judgement, just understanding, as if Anna too is guilty of interrupting rehearsals to whine beside a sink.
She lets her heavy head rest in the hollow of Anna's neck. She doesn’t have the strength to lie. ‘I’m…..so tired. Of everything.’
‘I know, liebling. Do you remember, you said the same thing to me back then?’
She does remember. Her fourth day as a Maid In Waiting, still walking on pins with the anxiety of being officially in Royal Service, still unable to find her way around the enormous palace and, as consequence, late for every one of her duties. When the new queen-to-be had singled her out and called her to speak privately, she’d expected a scolding- or worse, to be sent home in disgrace.
‘I was so homesick. Court wasn’t how I'd imagined it.’
‘It wasn’t how I’d imagined it either- but d’you know, seeing that you were new to everything too made me feel so much less alone. It made things easier, I could worry about how you were getting on, rather than thinking about how strange it was for me-’
‘I thought I was in trouble- but you were so kind…..’
(It’s funny, in a sick sort of way, to think that sending her home in disgrace is, in hindsight, the very kindest thing Anna could have done for her then.)
‘I’m glad you thought so.’
‘You said it would get easier....’
‘I did. I was wrong then, I think.’
She gave the tiniest of nods and Anna tightens her hold.
‘It will be easier this time though. I promise.’
‘How do you know?’
‘Because I'm going to take better care of you, this time around.’
She says it so very certainly, as if it’s something she’s been thinking for a while. Kitty pulls away slightly. 
‘You don't need to, Anna.’ She doesn’t want to make herself anyone’s duty. All duties, even those taken on willingly, pall over time, she knows. ‘I know what I’m like, but honestly I can take care of myself.’
Anna looks at her oddly. ‘What do you think you’re like?’
It’s the sort of question that was usually a trap- it makes her anxious. It reminds her of conversations with Henry, round and round, trying to escape a snare that she couldn't see coming until she was already inside it.
(‘What did you mean by that? What are you really saying? What does this mean?’ He was always better tuned to picking up the intricacies of what she ‘really meant’ than she was. She usually didn’t even realise that she’d said something grossly offensive- or ungrateful or cruel- until he pointed it out to her.)
‘I’m didn’t mean- I’m sorry- I-’
Oh Kitty’ Anna reaches out a hand and instinctively, she flinches away. It’s just a twitch but she still feels dreadful for it…. She’s sure Anna will be hurt by her lack of trust.
But when she takes Kitty’s face in both of her hands, her dark eyes are full of love. They made the tight bands across her chest loosen slightly.
 ‘Look at me. I promise I'm not upset with you, liebling. I’m not getting cross. I was just asking because I'd like to know, so that I can reassure you. Ok?’
There’s a moment before she can make herself respond.
‘Ok.’
Anna gives a little nod for her to continue.
‘Ok. I-’ She takes a breath that is only a bit shaky. ‘I’m-’ It’s hard but she makes herself, Anna deserves that much at least. ‘I’m….not a good person. I…. think things. And I say things. And-’ She sucks in a quick gulp of air. Being this honest is hard, she feels as if she’s breaking herself open. ‘And...I’m afraid that over time, you and the others, you’ll start to see things in me, soon, and I’m afraid of that, that you’re maybe seeing them already-’
Anna's thumb brushes away the wetness on her cheek, her face calm. ‘What things, liebling?’
‘That I’m-’ Her voice catches. She’s afraid to list her worst traits to Anna in case it makes her notice them, she’s even more afraid that they won’t come as a surprise  ‘That I’m selfish. That I'm….bad. Like earlier- when they said that I was singing for vulnerable girls, that by making my song better, I was supporting them?’
‘Yes’
‘And my thought- my first thought? Was just… that I didn't care.’ She talks faster, she wants to get it over with. ‘That I was too tired to think about that, that I just wanted to get on with things, even if the song wasn't quite right, just so it could be over. And that's- I know that’s terrible but it’s...its how I felt-’
(‘Selfish, selfish girl, selfish girl, you have a cruel soul and a hard heart. What sort of person would think such things? What sort of person wouldn’t sicken at putting herself first in every case, what sort of person could live with themselves?’)
Tears blur Anna's face and she’s glad of it- she doesn’t want to see the shock and rejection that she deserves. The moment stretches like elastic, longer and longer- and then Anna moves and she flinches away again, from the blow that she expects, that she surely deserves this time- and instead, she feels herself being pulled back into the safety of Anna's arms.
‘Oh liebling. Oh Kitty.’
‘Im sorry, I-’
‘Shhhh, it’s alright.’ Anna’s voice is heavy with emotion and it sounds odd. ‘I promise you- Kitty, I promise you, there is nothing wrong with you. Nothing at all. You’re- you’re lovely-’
‘I’m not, I’m-’
Anna talks over her.
‘You’re worn out, of course you wanted it to be over. That doesn't make you selfish, that doesn't make you bad, it makes you normal.’
There's so much sincerity in Anna’s tone that it’s hard, for a moment at least, to disbelieve her.
‘Why don't I feel like it?’
‘Because you’re a good person. Do you think bad people spend time worrying about being good? No.’ Anna doesn’t wait for a response. ‘No, they don’t. But you do. Because you care.’
Anna is waiting for a sign of agreement, and it’s hard but she doesn't have it in her to lie, even to give Anna the reassurance she wants. She shakes her head slowly, feeling the tears come back- (‘You’re just trying to make her feel guilty, to milk more sweet words and reassurance from her. She’ll tire of it, soon enough-’) but Anna doesn't look annoyed, just cuddles her close again, while Kitty grips the back of her shirt. 
‘That’s ok. I'll….just keep reminding you until you believe me.’ Anna’s voice holds a smile. ‘I can be very persistent, you know...Remember my battle with Anne over the pillow?’
She does, and it’s enough to shake a weak laugh out of her. Anna chuckles too and moves a hand up to rub her tight shoulders.
‘The others will agree with me, you know.’
Anna says it with conviction but she knows she's wrong somehow. She isn’t sure if she wants to try to convince Anna of it though.
‘I…..I don't know if i want to keep talking about this now-please-’
Anna doesn’t look irritated at her attempt to end the conversation. (It had always infuriated Henry though.)
‘That’s ok, you must be exhausted.’
‘Just a bit...’
Anna detaches slightly to pass her some tissues, and waits silently while Kitty dries her eyes for what feels like the hundredth time. They’re already feeling sore and swollen.
‘Are you ready to go back?’
‘Not really.’
‘Ok.’
‘But we should.’
She knows she’ll have to face them sometime after all.
‘Ok.’
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