#and seeing the group dancing with Dr. D made me smile
I had the weirdest fucking dream last night (and by "last night" I mean an hour ago while I was napping).
So, like, it starts off in this hotel place, and there's a musical number about these gang members outside, and they're telling ME and the Red and Yellow M&M mascots that we need to run because the mafia wants us all dead. I'm like, "RED, the fuck did you do?!"
And Red was just, "I'm out, peace" and ran away. Me and Yellow went after him and stuff, till we realized we were just...running around different areas of the hotel and not actually leaving ANYWHERE. So Yellow was like, "Why don't we just...go somewhere else?"
And I'm like, "Oh, what a BRILLIANT idea, why did I think of that."
And he was like, "...are you mocking me?"
And suddenly we're in some...Alice in Wonderland place and I'm like, "YAY, I teleported us to safety, they can't find us here!"
But Yellow was gone. I think I left him behind...may he RIP, the mafia probably ate him. And if they got Red...screw Red, this was somehow all his fault.
But yeah, I eventually got bored with THIS dream, and I "changed the channel" so to speak to a lost Phineas and Ferb episode/movie (thankfully not the creepy, Candace is crazy one), about Perry having ran away from home for...some reason. And everyone, including Dr. D, was looking for him. And I'm like, "OH YEAH, this was the movie that just came out, but I don't remember any of this...what was the movie called again?"
So while I "watched" this very fake movie, and skipped over stuff, I saw Doofenshmirtz talking to Perry and having a heart-to-heart with him (apparently something happened to Perry where he was convinced that ALL the good moments he had with Doof and even his family were nothing but a buncha lies and THATS why he left - I couldn't tell if Perry was amnesiac in this "movie", or a total moron), and Perry could actually TALK, but every time he did, it would cut to some weird black and white cartoon of a bunch of talking candy, that would be saying exactly what Perry is saying to Doofenshmirtz.
THEN I skipped to the finale song of the movie, and everyone was dancing with Doofenshmirtz, and I was laughing really hard because it looked kinda ridiculous, they were running an absolute marathon while they had this musical number, they were running through what I can ONLY assume is a sewer, and then danced on this raft, and then these yellow submarines, it was weird. Then I apparently was able to see a deleted scene, all in storyboard form, about a joke that Dan and Swampy were apparently not allowed to make in the movie for some reason, and it went down like this:
Phineas: I know, let's pass the time by telling jokes! Think of something that's low energy and low budget to make-
Buford: PINKY AND THE BRAIN!
(Everyone turns to Buford with confused expressions, as described by Dan and Swampy, who are kinda talking over each other)
Buford, with confidence: Pinky and the Brain, duh.
Isabella: Don't you diss Pinky and the Brain in my presence, peon!
And then I woke up. And I remembered the movie was called "Candace Against the Universe" and was confused why that movie was actually all about Perry and Doof, before I realized NONE of that actually happened and I had SOMEHOW dreamt a very drug-induced sequel.
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I have a idea for a smutty story with Peter Parker :D maybe Y/N is a new Avenger, Peter see her at her "welcome" Party but they know each other from a few months ago where they had very great sex (maybe a few details in the story, both love hard sex. Peter is the dom :D). Y/N had a great night with all, the girls love her but peter is a bit shy because he doesn't know if she reminds him. So time after time they repeat the night (please mention it) and fell in love. That would be great haha thaaanks :)) maybe a bit Action, where Y/N looks great in her suit and Peter is surprised what she is able to
Requested by : @fabienneweasley
A/N : Reader's character is inspired by Susan Storm of the fantastic four she basically weilds the power of invisibility and creating forcefields. Hope you like this. Feedbacks and suggestions are always welcome.
Pairing : Peter Parker x Avenger! Reader
Warnings : 18+, SMUT, mature content, unprotected sex (not a wise choice to indulge), dom! peter, fwb -> lovers.
The Avengers are fighting against madame Hydra and her troops
"Parker! Status?" Tony's voice crackles through the intercom whilst Peter fights against a group of Hydra soldiers which seems to just keep on increasing in number.
"Uh Mr Stark things are getting a little crowded over here a little back up would be nice" Peter replies back struggling to keep up the fight as he successfully webs up a bunch of the soldiers. But to his surprise a whole new troop emerges from nowhere.
"Oh no! Karen activate instant kill!" Karen activates the instant kill mode but it still wasn't enough to tackle the whole army as Peter was soon outnumbered. One of the soldiers threw a gamma ray infused bomb which if detonated can be catastrophic to anyone who is hit by its radiation. The bomb detonates with a huge blast but to Peter’s surprise a forcefield forms around it containing the blast inside it, soon the forcefield disintegrates, sucking in the deadly radiation with it like a black hole sucks in everything into it.
"Woah! what the hell was that?!" Peter was awestruck at what just happened.
Suddenly a feminine figure appeared out of the thin air in front of Peter. She was wearing a blue suit which hugged her curves perfectly, hair cascading down her shoulders. And as she turned to face him Peter felt like he was hit by a truck, it was you. He stood there like a statue still processing what he was seeing.
"You're welcome by the way" you quipped, breaking him out of his daze.
"Who are you?" Peter asks though he knew very well who you're but seeing you like this was a huge shock to him.
"Y/N Y/L/N aka storm and you're the famous spiderman"
"Yeah I'm indeed" he chuckles nervously, he was grateful that he was wearing his mask so you couldn’t see his face. You were about to say something when you got interrupted.
"Great work, Y/N" Tony's voice buzzed.
"Thank you Mr Stark" you and Peter fought side by side forcing the Hydra to retreat accepting their defeat.
After the city clean up was done a welcome cum victory party was arranged for you in the evening at the compound. Peter was shuffling on his feet in anticipation of meeting you face to face. The huge spacious hall was feeling stuffy for him. Everyone was enjoying themselves as you walked in a shimmery electric blue number looking stunning as always hair styled into loose waves a dazzling smile adorned your face, eyes scanning through the crowd and momentarily you lock eyes with Peter from across the room but you were soon to look away as if you didn't recognize him.
Peter's mind was a mess, never did he imagine he would run into you again and in a circumstance like this. He had so much to say to you. But you acted so oblivious. Don't you remember him at all? Moreover he was feeling way too shy to approach you what if you actually don't remember him. Tony clinked his champagne glass to draw everyone's attention standing at the center of the room with you beside him
"Ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce you to our newest addition to the team’’ He introduced you ‘‘The very young and talented Y/N Y/L/N!" everyone clapped and cheered for you.
"Hello everyone honored to be a part of this incredible team and looking forward to working with you guys" For a fraction of second your eyes met Peter’s and memories rushed back in. You never expected to see him again not at a place like this. What is he even doing here?
"Y/N come let me introduce you to the rest of the team" Tony offered you happily followed him as he introduced you to Steve, Sam, Bucky, Rhodes, Dr Banner and then the other ladies of the team.
"Welcome to the circus girl" Natasha joked patting your shoulder "we girls always stick together, you'll love it here"
"Yeah and any problem feel free to come to us" Wanda insisted.
"Sure" you gave a broad smile as you engaged in a hearty conversation with them, your eyes occasionally fleeting towards Peter who was standing at a corner.
"Hey kid, why are you standing there all alone? Come here" Tony called out to him. Peter hesitantly made his way towards where you were standing as you watched him intently.
"And last but not the least my young and promising protégé, kid this is Y/N and Y/N this is-" you cut him off
"Peter" Peter looked at you wide eyed you indeed remember him.
"You know him?" Tony asks amused
"Yeah we met last year at Uni. I was an exchange student there before you know I got hit by some weird cosmic rays"
"Well then great! Peter can show you around won't you kid?"
"Yeah would love to Mr Stark" he smiled.
"Looking forward to working with you, Parker or may I say spiderman" you smirked with a playful glint in your eyes strutting past him to mingle with the other guests.
The summer of last year will always be memorable for you. Firstly because you accidentally got hit by cosmic radiation and got your powers and the epic one night stand that you will never forget. You were an exchange student for the Biophysics programme at the Empire State University though you actually never fitted the perfect description of a nerd because you were never a bookworm, very much outspoken, loved to go out and yet managed to score a perfect A during exams one could say you were the best of both worlds. You were a burst of energy in a classroom full of a bunch of nerds and none of them interest you. But in that classroom full of geeks one particular brunette in glasses caught your eyes. The cute awkward guy of the class Peter Parker. He had this boyish charm that you tried but couldn’t resist. You have often caught him stealing glances at you but every time he used to turn away flustered.
Peter himself couldn't deny the fact that he was attracted to you since the day you walked into the class, you were beautiful as well as witty but he knew it very well that you were out of his league and then you started to hang out with Harry Osborn and he started dating Gwen so nothing really happened between you two. And since none of you took the initiative to make a move both of you continued to secretly have a crush on each other though it was just a matter of time.
The club was crazy packed. It was a Friday night so you weren’t exactly sure why it surprised you. You were standing near the bar deciding your drink for tonight when your eyes caught a rather unusual visitor, Peter Parker. He was sulking at the corner of the counter looking a bit tired. You ordered two drinks and took them in your hands making your way towards him. You slid a glass to him, breaking him from his thoughts as he looked up to you.
"Rough day?" you ask nonchalantly. He smiles letting out a long sigh.
"Is it that obvious?" you chuckle lightly.
"Oh no, just never took you as a club going person"
"Well you’re kind of right, I was actually thinking of getting out of here"
"So where's blondie?" you ask while taking a sip of your drink.
"Uh we're taking a break" He answers nervously.
"Oh I see" you "Then let’s drink to that" you raised his glass in front of him
"No it’s fine, I’m not a drinker actually"
"C'mon for one night, now drink up" you insisted. He gulped down the drink, slightly wincing at the burning taste down his throat.
"Let’s go" you grabbed his hand pulling him off his seat.
"To dance! We are in a club Peter" You exclaim.
"I-I can't dance" He stutters nervously.
"Rubbish! Everyone can dance" you dragged him with you. Peter stood in the middle of the dancefloor feeling a little uncomfortable as well as nervous after all he had a crush on you and the last thing he wants is to disappoint you. He watched you intently as you swayed to the music. You took his hands and placed them on your hips placing your own around his neck making him sway with you. He slowly began to loosen up and dance with you enjoying the vibe. After sometime you went to have a couple of shots together and you were nevertheless drunk.
"So you and Harry, huh?" Peter asked, downing another shot.
"Nah we're just messing around" you shrug
"So no one in our class interests you either?"
"Good boys aren't my type. I mean they're real softies and that's cute" you scrunch your nose "But I prefer a little hardcore" You gave a subtle wink.
"Maybe you're wrong to judge just by the looks"
"Well I would be happy if you prove me otherwise" You practically challenged him.
"With all my pleasure if you want" he smirks. His eyes had a mischievous glint that you have never seen before. Things escalated pretty quickly as you found yourself back in your apartment in your bedroom. Your back arched up, face buried in the pillows as Peter took you from the back.
"Fuck!" Your grip tightened on the sheets as he rammed into your throbbing cunt. His grip tight on your ass, as he pulls you back to meet with his thrusts. Your elbows felt weak nearly in the state of giving out as you jolted forward everytime he snapped his hips going deep inside you hitting your sweet spot. He places a slap on your ass as you yelp in shock. You couldn't think straight the only thing you could focus on how well he was fucking you.
His hand goes to grab your hair pulling you back, flush against his strong and sturdy chest.
"You like it don't you? To be fucked hard like the slut you’re" he growled pressing his lips roughly to yours swallowing your moans one hand snaking down to rub your sensitive bud as he fucks you hard and fast. You felt delirious as you felt the knot build inside you. You screamed out his name as your orgasm washed over he was quick to follow suit.
Though it was a one night thing but it was worth it. After that night he had truly left you wondering how a nerd like him was so fit and strong and now you know why and if you had to put it quite plainly you were properly railed by spiderman last summer.
"Sparring with you on my first day is it really necessary?" you quip
"You need to start from day one now C'mon give me your best shot" Nat stood defensively as you lunged towards her throwing a punch that she dodged without any effort before tripping you and causing you to fall on the ground. You groan in pain before pulling yourself back on your feet.
"Ow! that hurt"
"You really need to build up your lower body strength, start with some leg exercise today, do squats 3 sets 10 reps"
Peter was sparring with Sam, the moment you walked in that sports bra and skin tight pants he knew he was gone, his eyes frequently drifting away to you as he watched you work out squatting in those skin tight yoga pants which just perfectly defined your plump round ass.
"Yo Parker! Eyes here"
"Yeah, yeah sorry" Peter stutters as he feels his face heating up.
After you finished your set of workout you went to grab your water bottle. Peter's eyes were transfixed on you the whole time as he noticed a little bit of the water drizzled down the corner of your mouth trailing down to your chest just between your perfect cleavage. The only thing he could think of right now was to rip that sports bra off you and suck on to those perfect tits. You noticed your secret admirer through the glass as you sent a playful wink his way. Peter choked on his spit, turning away flustered as if a deer caught in the headlights. You turned around lazily walking towards him.
"You know I'm not a psychic so if you got something to say just say instead of staring at me like a creep" you quip.
"Wha-what do I have to say to you?" He stutters.
"I don't know, maybe hey how are you? It's been a long time" you half shrug.
"OK my bad" you turn to leave Peter scrunches his face at how stupid it was of him.
''Umm Y/N!" he called you as you turned to face him again.
"It's good to see you again"
"Good to see you too Parker" you smiled.
A few days went by like this, both stealing glances at each other from time to time when you were present in the same room or during your missions a lot of unspoken words and emotions bubbling inside of you trying to come out. Peter couldn’t help but admire this new and powerful you. He never got the chance to talk to you after that night because you just vanished from his life and now he knows why.
A new threat arrived from madame Hydra again when she seized the cube and shielded it in a dome of lethal gamma radiation. The team had already sorted out a plan to defeat her malicious plans and you were to play a big part in it.
"May I come in?" You knocked at Peter’s door. He was busy on his computer as he turned to see you outside his room.
"Huh,yea-yeah sure" He says nervously. You smiled in return and walked into his room, eyes looking around.
"Umm so Tony asked me to discuss with you the plan of how we are going to execute the whole infiltration thing to retrieve the cube which is shielded with gamma radiation’’ you showed him a holographic structure of the dome. ‘‘Anybody entering the dome will become an abomination. So you guys will distract them and I in the meantime will disintegrate the gamma dome so you can retrieve the cube" You looked up from the hologram to find Peter staring at you intently.
"What? Is anything wrong?"
"No-no, it’s absolutely fine" Peter fumbles
"Then what is it?"
"Jus-just still can’t believe that you are here and-and-"
"have super powers just like you which by the way was shocking for me too given that we knew each other for a while" You snicker, Peter smiles shaking his head.
"So how did this all happen?"
"Well a little misadventure with the quantum tunnel in the lab I got exposed to its energy and ta da! Now I make force fields as well as can go invisible"
"But now you can save the world"
"Yeah that's true" you chuckle "So how's blondie?" Peter stiffens at your question.
"Don't know, haven't been in contact for a while" He shrugs.
"Why what happened?"
"There were some differences so we parted ways"
"Oh I'm sorry" you place a hand on his gently
"Don't be" he smiles, eyes soft, gazing at you longingly as you gazed in his eyes too for how long you didn't know before you shook yourself from the daze clearing your throat.
"Uh I think I should go to my room now"
"Yeah-yeah sure" He stutters.
The tension between you was thickening at each passing day and soon it reached its breaking point. The other team members were out on a mission in which you weren’t required so you were now in the kitchen leaning on the counter with a nutella jar in your hand and a spoon in your mouth savoring on the delicacy when Peter walked in unannounced making you jump in fright.
"Oh god!" you gasped, surprising him even.
"Woah! relax it's just me"
"I thought you were Nat, jeez" you blew out your cheeks as he chuckles.
"Please don't tell her I'm not allowed to have this as per her new diet plan"
"My lips are sealed" He assures you with a playful smile as he goes to open the fridge and takes out the juice carton to drink. You poked your finger to swipe the nutella from the edges of the jar as you lick on to your fingers. Peter was following each and every movement of yours the way your eyes fluttered closed whilst you licked and sucked your fingers clean. He gulped as he felt heat rising in his body at your teasing gestures. Your fingers fell short to scoop the leftover at the bottom of the jar as you huffed in defeat. Peter stood in front of you as he gave out his hand
"May I?" You gave him the jar his long slender fingers easily reached the bottom of the jar as he scooped the cream on his two fingers and brought it to your lips. You stick out your tongue giving a kitten lick before wrapping your lips around his fingers. You hummed sucking his fingers a little deeper as you looked at him with big doe eyes. Peter groaned feeling himself harden at the mere sight of you sucking his fingers, a little moan escaped from your own mouth as you continued sucking, swirling your tongue around his fingers coating them with your saliva. You release his fingers with a pop, a trail of your saliva connecting your lips with his fingers.
He swiped his thumb on your plump lower lip eyes flickering between your eyes and lips. Your vision was clouded with lust and so was his as his lips came down to brush against yours. Both of you were breathing heavily as you grabbed his face and sealed your lips together. He slipped his tongue in your mouth, prying it open exploring it. Your hands go to grab on to his soft curls making him groan into the kiss. His hands trail down to your ass giving it a light squeeze through your shorts
"Oh missed this so much" He gasped, pulling away for some air.
"Does Mr Stark know that his young protégé isn't that innocent he looks like?" You bite your lip as one hand goes to palm his growing bulge through his sweatpants. He grips on to your wrist a cocky grin forming on his face.
"Maybe you need a little reminder of whose name you were screaming last summer"
"Then remind me Parker" your voice is challenging yet sultry. His eyes darkened as he threw you over his shoulder like a sack of potato and carried you to his room. He dropped you on the mattress whilst climbing on top of you whilst taking of his tshirt revealing his toned torso. You ran your hands through his muscular chest encircling them around his neck as you pulled him down, your lips meeting fervently as he grinded his hips to your clothed core.
"Mmmph Peter" you pull away after sometime
"What? Is something wrong?" He asks with concern in his eyes.
"No just lock the door, don't want others to come back and know about us do you?"
"Oh, yeah OK" he went to lock the door when a mischievous idea crossed your mind. You quickly stripped out of your clothes and got off the bed. Peter turned to see your clothes lying on the floor with no sign of you in the room.
"Y/N this is not funny!" He whined as your giggles could be heard in the room.
"Find me if you can spider boy" you giggled. Peter smirked accepting your challenge as he closed his eyes and focused his senses. He was able to hear you breathing and he swiftly moved to the direction pinning you against the wall. You squeal as your whole body slowly becomes visible to Peter.
"Gotcha!" he says pining both of your wrists against the wall.
"I’ll give you that spider boy" you smirk as you went to hold on to his face but were unable to move your hands when you noticed he had webbed your wrists to the wall.
"Parker!" You glared at him.
"Who's laughing now?" he chuckles as he brushes lips on the sensitive spot behind your ears making you shudder. He parts your legs placing his knee between them whilst he drags his lips down the column of your neck to your collar bones as you whimper at his touch. He trails further down to your exposed tits attacking your soft mounds with wet kisses before latching on to your hardened bud, rolling the other with his nimble fingers. He sucked and nipped on it as you moaned loudly. He pulled away gasping eyes dripping with lust as he went to kiss you passionately meanwhile his fingers brushed against your wet heat as you arch into his touch, making him smirk as he dips a finger and brings it to his mouth.
"Mmm tastes perfect just as I remember" He sucks his finger before continuing his journey further south slowly kneeling down. He hitches your leg over his shoulder as he looks at your soaking cunt hungrily. Two of his fingers spreads your slick folds as he licks a bold stripe drawing a loud moan out of you.
"Oh fuck!" he smirks before his thin lips wrap around your sensitive bud as he dips a finger inside your heat. He thrusted in and out of you with a steady pace swirling his tongue exploring more of your pussy. He added another digit pumping them in and out of your core as you squirmed above him. One of his hands held your thigh, keeping you in place. You wanted to touch him, tug on to his hair so badly as you struggled to free yourself from the restraints biting your lips hard as jolts of pleasure coursed through your body.
You felt a tight knot building inside you and as you were about to tip over the edge to your shock he pulled away.
"What the hell Peter!" you snapped at him with frustration at your ruined orgasm.
"With that attitude did you think I would let you cum?" He chuckles darkly, you whined in anguish and desperation as you rubbed your thighs to get yourself some relief. He stands up face glistening with your arousal, his hand reaches to cup your face.
"What happened pretty girl? You want to cum?"
"Yes please Peter" you gave him your best puppy eyes.
"Such a needy little thing aren't you?" He chuckles seeing you at his mercy.
"Only for you Peter"
"Well if you be a good girl maybe I’ll let you cum on my cock" saying so he quickly got rid of his sweatpants and boxers and lined himself to your dripping entrance. He kisses you roughly before slowly sliding inside you, stretching your walls deliciously.
"Ungh shit so tight!" He grunts lifting you up from the floor with his strong arms as you lock your ankles around his waist pulling him closer to you. He begins to pound into you making you see stars hitting your spot every time he bottomed out.
"Oh feels so good Peter" you moan.
"I know baby. You feel so snug and warm around me, so perfect, my beautiful angel" he showered praises whilst sucking the nape of your neck marking you up.
"Peter please let me touch you!" you begged him desperately. He finally complied to your request as his hand went up to your wrists and ripped off the webs. Once free your hands greedily go to grab on to his face and kiss him hungrily while he keeps on with his punishing pace.
He halts for a moment still inside you as he pulls you away from the wall and carries you to the bed and lays you down gently with him on top of you. He draws back his hips and slams back right in picking up the pace from where he just left.
"Peter…" you breathed out as you felt the knot growing inside you.
"Yes baby, you going to cum? I can feel you squeezing me real hard" Your back arched when he brought his thumb to your clit drawing tight circles around it coaxing you to fall over the edge. Your eyes rolled to the back of your head as you gripped on to his biceps nails digging into his skin. You were a moaning mess by now, the fire burning in the pit of your stomach made you feel like you would combust any minute
"That's it baby, give it to me" Peter encouraged you.
Your body convulsed as your orgasm came crashing down on you. Peter continued with his thrusts fucking you through your high as he chased his own. His movements grew sloppier and with a few more labored thrusts you felt him twitch as he came inside you his warm release coating your pulsating walls. Your body trembled with the aftershocks as Peter collapsed on top of you panting head buried in the crook of your neck as you both gasped for air completely exhausted. He pulled out after sometime, placing a gentle kiss on your shoulder he rolled over to your side. Peter gazed at your figure as he watched your bare chest rise up and down when his eyes went to the bruises on your skin courtesy of him as concern clouded his face.
"You okay?" he asks, rubbing soothing circles on the bruised areas. You turned to him gazing into his soft brown eyes.
"I'm more than okay" you breathed out smiling with content.
Though you thought once this sexual tension between you subsidized you would be able to think clearly. But you were wrong as now you couldn't keep your hands off each other for a second. From lingering teasing touches to sneaking away from the eyes of the senior avengers in the lab or a quickie while on the quinjet during a mission. You had become addicted to each other making you come back for more after each time. Still you guys never acknowledged the course of your relationship. It scared you both what if the other didn’t feel the same way so you were content with this current arrangement of yours.
"Oh shit we’re late!" you shrieked checking the time as you turned to meet with a sleeping Peter you took your time to admire him. He looks so sweet and peaceful you really wished you could wake up to this sight everyday. You nudged Peter to wake him from his sleep.
"Peter! Peter, wake up!"
"Ungh what is it?" he groaned pulling the covers over him.
"We are late for our training" he forced his eyes open
"Huh what? What’s the time?"
"It’s ten past seven already"
"Oh shit! Cap's gonna kill me" Peter hurries out of the bed stumbling as he got tangled in the bed sheets before running to the bathroom. You laugh at his antics as you sneaked out of his room to go back to your room.
You were busy sweating it out in the gym after getting an earful from both Cap and Nat for your lack of punctuality you heard Bucky saying
"Hey queens what's with all these red marks on your neck?" you swallowed hard as Peter’s eyes bulged out in fear of getting caught.
"Umm nothing-nothing it-it was a cat, that-that I saved yesterday" he spluttered. "that darn cat, heh" he chuckles nervously.
"Wait let me see" Sam joins in too "Looks like some really big cat" he laughs
"Seems like the kid here is getting some, who is this unlucky girl who fell for you" Bucky teased
"Shut up man! It's nothing like that" Peter shoved him with his elbow.
"Oh c'mon leave my young adult alone he's way too innocent for this" Tony intervened meanwhile heat rose to your face listening to their conversation. Natasha noticed you standing all flustered.
"So is something going on between you two?" she asks you directly
"Between who?" you frowned at her question.
"You and Peter"
"Nothing! we're just good friends" you shrug "He's not even my type" you clarified totally flustered with the whole ordeal. Natasha decided to let you go though she was still suspicious with you two.
You were at the Hydra base the other avengers were busy fighting their whole army making it easier for you to reach the shielded dome. Tony and Banner had devised a plan to blast the shield off which will release a tremendous amount of energy that you will contain inside your forcefield. And as per the plan Tony blasted off the dome you created a forcefield immediately shielding everyone Peter noticed the discomfort you were facing to hold it.
"Y/N no! It's dangerous for you don't force yourself" concern laced in his voice
"I can do it, trust me" You gave all of your strength you had in your body creating a massive forcefield to contain the radiation from the blast but it was true you never did this on such a large scale and it was taking a toll on you. Your ears and nose started to bleed. Peter noticed that as he grabs you by your shoulders and tries to stop you from using more of your powers.
"Y/N stop it, you're getting weak" he was scared of losing you.
"No I can do this!" You assured him as you managed to diffuse the radiation inside the field, finally letting go. Your body was completely drained out, your vision blurring out as you collapsed unconscious.
"Y/N!" Peter was quick to catch you. You were immediately rushed to the med bay in the compound. Banner checked your vitals and everyone was relieved that you were fine but you needed a long bed rest to recover.
You woke up after how long you don't know but your body felt rejuvenated. You sit up to find Peter sitting beside you dozing in his sleep. Your slight movement woke him up.
"Oh Y/N! thank god you're finally awake" he sprung up to his feet "How are you feeling?"
"Refreshed to be honest"
"Never ever do something like that again or I swear I'll web your hands" he scolds you
"Hey it's okay, I'm OK. Come sit beside me" he sat beside you as you looped your fingers to his "See? I'm absolutely fine"
"You know how scared I was? You have been unconscious for twelve hours"
"You don't need to be so worried about me Pete"
"Yes I have to because-because.." he fumbled
"Because what Peter?"
"Because I love you Y/N!"
"What?" you couldn't believe your ears.
"Yes Y/N I love you and if anything happens to you I will be not able to forgive myself ever"
"Peter… " you cupped his face.
"I know you never had feelings for me but this the truth I love you…"
"Hey who said I never felt anything for you? You were all I could think of since last summer"
"For real?" Peter was finding it hard to believe that you actually liked him too.
"Yes you idiot, I love you too!" You pressed your lips to his. It was all soft and gentle at the beginning which pretty soon escalated into a more passionate one with teeth and tongue involved in it you got on his lap as his hands kneaded the soft skin of your ass.
"Hey Y/N! We heard you are awake-" all the older avengers were stunned at the scene in front of them as you jumped away from each other in embarrassment. Steve was shaking his head in dismissal, Sam and Bucky had a huge grin plastered on their face while Tony was utterly shocked and amused. Nat was the first to speak up.
"Umm you seem to be doing quite well, we'll leave you two alone" she says clearing her throat.
"Aww I'm so happy for guys!" Wanda chirped before Nat dragged her away.
"Be safe kid" Tony added before leaving, adding more to your embarrassment. After everyone left you were the first one to speak up
"So how long have you been into me?"
"Since forever my love" he smirks tackling you down on your back, you squeal as he smothers you with kisses.
Requests are open.
Taglist : @peaches-parker @hollanddolanfangirl @starcoadrienette2 @spideyth @allthisfortommy @thenoddingbunny-blog @larrystylinson-sus @bloodyscarlet @itstaskeen @dummiesshort @tutuabby28 @dramaholic18 @thehumanistsdiary @majo240820 @lokibuckylove6 @sarcasticallywitty15 @parkerpeterparker2004
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Imagine being Azula’s unofficial drinking buddy at parties and her getting jealous when Ty Lee takes you away from her.
It wasnt often fire nation teenagers celebrated anything. There wasn't always much reason to celebrate and parties were frowned upon for being “frivilrous” so when they did occur it was a big deal. They were usually excuses for the youth of the fire nation to get out all their pent up energy meaning they weren't just chilled dances but big shows of ego fuelled by bucket loads of alcohol with atleast five fights breaking out. All the teenagers were filthy rich so money was no object meaning the parties were extravagant, the alcohol imported, the location classy and the event itself always memorable. The fire nation knew how to throw an event.
When parties did happen it was even rarer that your friends would all be in attendance. Ty lee was always down for any party but Mai and Azula were harder to convince. Azula could be enticed sometimes, she liked people watching so with the right timing you could convince her. Mai was harder, it had to practically be the right cycle of the moon for Mai to agree to come, that or Zuko had to be going which was even rarer than the right moon cycle. But maybe it was because your school years were running out drastically but when a party was announced Ty lee, Azula, Mai and Zuko all agreed to go and you were thrilled. The four of you were good friends, five including Zuko, and you loved seeing them in situations that didn't involve brains or brawn.
The very first fire nation party you attended with Ty lee and so you copied her lead. You followed Ty lee around, nodding and smiling at her friends, talking to them all with as much energy as she did but it was soon exhausting! At the end of it all you found you didn’t care about all the acquaintances you wasted time talking to. So you weren’t looking forward to the next party but there was one major difference...Azula came and that changed things significantly. Azula did not care about some guy from english class and so she distanced herself from everyone and you decided to join her. After having one of the best times of you life isolating with Azula you started a tradition. Every party from then on the two of you would find some place where you could watch but be out of the way of the party. You’d gather a large supply of alcohol and nurse it all evening just in each others company. Ty lee would flick in and out when guys bothered her. Mai would join you when she came or if Zuko was here she'd disappear with him. Zuko would sometimes appear if he' d lost Mai and you'd point him in her direction but mainly it was just you and Azula, relaxing and drinking. You and Azula could be sat in silence or laughing loudly. One of the things you liked most about Azula was that she didn't do anything without a reason, she didn’t partake in small talk just because she felt awkward or wanted to look like she was having fun. If she didn’t have anything to say she didn’t speak and it was as simple as that. You could sit in comfortable silences together for ages, or sometimes you’d think of something and both be laughing, the alcohol making it seem even funnier, and you’d forget there was anyone else in the whole world let alone room.
When you and Azula did this nobody dared approach you apart from Ty lee, Mai or Zuko. You remember in one of the earlier parties a guy had approached Azula and tried to hit on her using a back handed compliment. In response she'd burnt his eyebrows off and since then nobody dared approach her. It didn’t bother either of you, it was nice to be in the company of others but not have to worry about interacting with them. Another time some guys had noticed the amount of alcohol you were gathering from the main table and questioned it before realising who you were. They challenged girls couldn’t drink that much before pailing realising Azula was beside you. Azula challenged them to a drinking competition in response and they (without a choice) accepted. You won of course and since then the whole youth population of the fire nation had regarded the two of you with respect and courtesy. Nobody dared to bother you if Azula was around and even if she wasn’t, they knew who you were and didn’t dare mess with Azula’s best friend.
You were thinking about this as you walked next to Azula on the way to the party and contemplated how tonight would go. Considering your company you figured there would definitely be a intensified version and sure enough when your group walked in most of the party stopped what they were doing to look. Azula and Zuko were royal but you, Mai and Ty lee all had reputations too. Your friends were the smartest most skilled people in the entire academy, not to mention the richest teenagers with the best prospects and it showed. They just seemed to demand fear and respect and you got why, you were in just as much awe of them as the rest of the fire nation.
Of course your friends knew they were wildly impressive and they owned it. "Im going to miss this" Mai smiled as she asked for the best whisky and the kid went into his dad’s study to get it her. "Miss it?" Azula asked "this will always be our lives, you could show up on anyones doorstep and tell them who you know and they’d do what you asked". Mai nodded her head "i suppose i could". Ty lee frowned "but you won’t right?". Mai smirked and Azula laughed, you’d never seen azula and Mai get along better than through a mutual hatred of humans.
You gathered your alcohol and Azula gestured for you to follow her spotting a good table. The five of you flocked to it and started dishing out the alcohol. You were soon having a good time and could tell Azula was too. Zuko seemed content and Mai was enjoying her whisky but oddly the most happy member of your group was not enjoying herself. "So whats the plan for tonight?" Ty lee asked and Azula raised an eyebrow "plan? You’re looking at it". "This is what you want to do all night?" Ty lee frowned and Azula nodded. "But this is boring i'm bored" Ty lee frowned "don’t any of you want to dance? Mai? Zuko?". Mai shot Ty lee a glare so powerful even Azula looked away and Zuko turned up his lip in disgust. "Okay fine, y/n? Azula?" she asked. Azula laughed in response "what about the many times me and y/n sit here drinking makes you think we’d want to dance?". Ty lee sighed "i...i don’t know" and lowered her head. She looked so sad you frowned "i don’t want to but because you want to so badly....". Ty lee’s head shot up and she grinned "you mean it?". "Seriously?" Zuko and Mai asked both shocked and slightly horrified. You nodded "why not?" and downed your drink. Ty lee grinned "youre the best y/n!" and dragged you away.
You didn’t enjoy the dancing but seeing Ty lee so happy made it worth it. She was the kindest person you’d ever met so you didn’t care if you felt awkward or looked very weird trying to copy her movements, your friend was happy and so were you. After a while Ty lee took pity on you, asking if you wanted to get a drink and relieved you left the floor to go grab one. You made your way back to your table to find Mai and Zuko gone and Azula sat alone. "Hey" Ty lee said brightly but Azula just looked at her. Ty lee grabbed her drink and barely put her lips to it when someone called out to her and she rushed away leaving you and Azula alone again. "So where did Mai and Zuko go" you asked. Azula shrugged in response and you frowned. She was angry at you. "I didn’t know they’d gone" you said trying to stop a full blown argument "you shouldve caught my eye and got me to come back". Azula tutted "what makes you think i’d prefer your presence to my own company?". "Well the fact you’re mad i left you?". "I’m not mad you left me" Azula glared "i don’t need you y/n, least of all to sit beside me" she rolled her eyes. "So what’s got you all bitter?" you asked. "Nothing" Azula shrugged "i just never thought you were on of those basic girls y/n, i mean dancing like Ty lee, copying her to fit in... it’s just disappointing frankly". You narrowed your eyes "Ty lee wanted to dance so i went with her, end of story". "If you say so" Azula smirked and you felt your temper peak. "Your seriously this mad at me for having fun with Ty lee?" you asked "i don’t have to stay by your side or ask permission to do things! Our arrangement isnt like that, we never even made it official". Azula blushed and went the most flustered you’d ever seen her "what are you talking about! I know we’re not official!" she cried. "Our plans... I meant we never made our plans offical" you clarified "that we would stick together in parties" you trailed off and saw Azula turn even redder. She'd misunderstood what you meant and that seemed to make her even angrier. "Yes well i shouldn’t have to clarify everything with you y/n, i’m too busy for that". "Well i’m not a mind reader if you don’t tell me what you want me to do i won’t do it, maybe just say what you want next time". Azula rolled her eyes and you sighed "whatever Azula" and walked away.
As you got outside you realised it was never a smart idea to yell at Azula or storm away from her and you'd done both. Part of you was worried what she’d do to retaliate but another part of you was more worried by the concept of the argument itself. Azula had always been your closest friend, you’d seen her be harsh to other people but she wasn’t like that with you. No she wasn't all honey and sweetness but your years of friendship has earned a more raw version of Azula and from that your friendship had blossomed into...well you weren’t sure what it was. You knew you liked Azula a lot and you suspected it was similar to how Mai and Zuko liked each other or how every boy seemed to like Ty lee. You even suspected Azula migh feel that way too due to the way she acted around you. She'd do things like invite just you to places even Zuko wasn’t allowed to go or she’d show you small acts of kindness...securing the drink you liked best or switching lockers with you because she was taller. Nobody saw the small things Azula did, only the big awful ones and you were pretty sure you were the only person Azula allowed to see her like that. But now she seemed to have curled back up in on herself and you hated how that felt.
You were outside pouting when Mai caught sight of you and came over. “What are you doing way out here, it’s freezing!” Mai commented and you shrugged “I had to get some air”. "Why aren’t you with Azula" Mai asked and you sighed "we had a fight". "Ow no trouble in paradise" she said sarcastically smirking but she dropped it when she saw your face. Mai was the most perceptive of all your friends and you were pretty sure she suspected you had a crush on Azula. "Was it bad?". You nodded "i don’t even know where we stand anymore...if we're even friends". "You'll always be friends" Mai reassured you "Azula can stay mad at anyone but you? I’m certain she won’t stay mad at you for long". You frowned "don’t be too sure". Mai didn’t like seeing you gloomy, that was her thing, so she grabbed your arm and tugged you back inside. "Where are we going?" you asked and Mai smiled "to go find Ty lee, she has a way of cheering people up and you are in major need of that".
Sure enough when Ty lee caught sight of your sad face she made it her mission to make you happy again. From jokes to hugs to twirling around of her hands Ty lee tried it all and it was slowly working. Mai got you a comfortable seat hidden away from Azula’s sight and your good mood came racing back.
You were enjoying spending time with Mai and Ty lee but it was your turn to get the drink so you made your way to the main table and started loading up a tray. You stretched to grab the wine Ty lee liked when some guy appeared, leaning across you to grab it first. You looked at him and he smirked "here" holding it out to you. You raised an eyebrow but took it "thanks, i think". The boy smiled "no problem, you know i haven't seen you smile so much, you’re y/n right?". "Can't say i’ve ever noticed you" you replied and he laughed "i didn’t mean it as an insult just you look pretty when you were dancing and smiling...compared to when you just sit in a dark corner drinking". "Thanks for the feedback" you replied and turned to walk away when the boy grabbed your arm. "Hey whats the rush? I was thinking we could get to know each other". "I'm good" you said dryly but the boy was persistent. "Ow come on you don’t even know me! I bet i could make you change your mind just give me 5 minutes". "Look i’m flattered but i came here with my friends and they're the only people i want to spend tonight with". "But you're always surrounded by girls it’s like you scared or boys or something...wait are you scared of men?”. You raised an eyebrow and put the tray down. You opened your mouth ready to lay into this idiot when someone cut you off.
"Youre the one who’s going to be afraid if you don’t step away from her right now" a voice called. The guy smirked and turned around cockily but all that confidence fell away when he saw the princess Azula stood behind him. "Azula....". "Princess Azula to you" she snapped "now take your hands off her before i break them in 3...2..". The boy bolted and you couldn’t help a small smile at Azula. You were pleased the boy was gone but you were more pleased Azula was here. That could only be a good sign. "You didn’t have to do that i could handle it" you smiled "the boys going to be having nightmares for months". "Good" Azula nodded her head "if he can’t take a simple hint then he needs teaching". You nodded watching Azula carefully. You wanted to make up with her but you refused to apologise, thankfully Azula skipped over it. "Want to get some fresh air with me?" she asked and you nodded "okay". You passed the drinks to Zuko who was helpfully passing by and followed Azula outside.
There were some other kids out there but Azula led you past them to a quieter corner. "So about earlier....". "Azula it’s...you dont have to" you winced waiting to skip over it but Azula didnt want to. "No you’re right, if i want you to do something i have to tell you and i'm nothing if not open to efficiency tips" she smiled and you laughed. Azula looked back down and was quiet for a while. You watched her worriedly but smiled as soon as she spoke. "I like being with you" Azula said awkwardly. "Me too, which is lucky considering how much we're together" you smiled and Azula nodded "yes but at school Mai and Ty lee are there or at the palace Zuko’s around...at these parties it’s just me and you and it’s...nice, i like our time together at parties, i’m surrounded by people but it feels like it’s just you and me" Azula blushed "and i felt like Ty lee took that away from me tonight...you took it away from me" Azula sighed. You frowned, you had no idea Azula was so protective over you or that she valued your company this much. "Well i’m here now" you offered grabbing her hand. Azula nodded her head "yes you are" and smiled before looking away her cheeks red. She rubbed the top of your hand with her thumb before speaking again "and you told me to tell you what i want so, to make sure there’s no future confusion, i...when we go to parties i want you to go with me, as in attend with me, we go to them together as an exclusive duo". "Azula friends aren’t exclusive" you blushed and Azula nodded "i know i’m not asking to be your friend y/n". You paused and Azula kept her eyes on you "i want you to be my...more than friend". You smiled and nodded your head "i’d like that very much". Azula smiled blushing too "that is good" and you both stood awkwardly holding hands while grinning from ear to ear.
Everyone ended up at your table as the night rounded down and you wondered if Azula would mind but she seemed content. Really content. She even laughed at Zuko’s joke which was unprecedented. You were sat pretty close anyway but Azula decided to be comfier and put her arm around the back of your chair. You saw the others notice your and Azula together even though they pretended not to. Mai was smiling, Ty lee was suddenly really affectionate with you two and Zuko kept trying not to look but was being very obvious until Mai nudged him. You and Azula noticed but she didn’t care so neither did you. You glanced at Azula and she smiled at you. You blushed in response and smiled back at her. Azula shifted closer and you leant into her, leaning on one another. You fitted together well and felt so safe and protected with her arm around you. You’d always known your place was by Azula’s side but this was the proof. Now you were never going to be parted from her.
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Photograph (Ethan Ramsey x MC)
Pairing: Ethan Ramsey x Claire Herondale
Word count: 1,8 k
Summary: Claire and Ethan attend Naveen’s birthday party ft. jealous Ethan
Warnings: None (though MSWord told me that ‘bastard’ might be offensive to my readers so who knows)
A/N: @justanotherrookie look, I made it :D it’s an honor to be considered your friend, you slay my life, pls continue to do so <3
A large clothing bag was thrown over his shoulder as he strode towards his office. The light of the day was slowly giving way to the dimness of the evening. Ethan exchanged his working clothes and a white coat for a tux, hair styled meticulously and an alluring scent of his cologne filling the air around him.
He expected her to be waiting for him inside, but upon entering the room, he noticed her absence. Before he could reach for his phone to call her, the door opened and a very frenzied and out of breath Claire appeared. Their eyes locked and she breathed out in relief at the sight of him.
“Sorry I’m late, our patient in 507 needed additional tests run and then there was hold up in the lab and I couldn’t get the results fast enough- “
“Take a breath, baby, calm down.” He laughed under his breath, wrapping his arms around her to pull her closer. She stared up at him for a moment, then stood on her tiptoes to press a quick kiss to his lips. She let out a low hum of contentment.
“Mmh Ethan Ramsey, the best tranquilizer known to humankind.” Claire complimented, brushing her nose against his. “I’m not sharing with anyone, though.”
“Spoken like a true addict. Though, I have to say…” he gripped her hips tighter, smirking at the way her pupils dilated slightly at the motion. “You’re addictive too.”
She leaned up to kiss him again only for her lips to meet his cheek when his head turned. Slightly confused, she leaned away to look at him.
“If you kiss me again, we’ll never make it to the party.” He muttered, stroking her jaw with his thumb. “Go get ready, there’s still time.”
It takes her entire twenty minutes for her to put her dress and shoes on, touch up her makeup and tame her hair. Ethan was waiting for her by the wall, his head rising to look at her when she came back. His breath got caught in his throat for a split second, awe induced by her entire being stopping his thought process momentarily.
He walked over to her, smoothing out one unruly lock of hair, his over hand tracing the edge of the cleavage of her dress.
“I take it you like it?” Claire grinned, toying with the lapel of his jacket. He hummed affirmatively, bringing her closer to his side as they began walking.
“If it wasn’t for the party, I would have shown you just how much.”
Naveen, unlike his protégé, liked to celebrate his birthday. He didn’t manage to organize himself a party every year, so he settled for throwing a rather big get-together every few years. Other than that, he settled for small celebrations with Harper, Ethan and, since last year, Claire.
This year, however, was the party year. Claire couldn’t wait. Ethan, on the other hand, wasn’t looking forward to it as much. Tradition was tradition, however, and combined with very convincing arguments from Claire, he didn’t argue.
Due to the situation at the hospital, they were running a bit late. Their saving grace was that they bought the present a few days earlier and that the host was their very dear friend.
“I was beginning to think you two wouldn’t make it!” Naveen exclaimed, greeting the two by the entrance to the bar. He embraced Claire, then Ethan, smiling widely at the pair.
“I like to think we’re fashionably late.” She winked, then passed the gift she was holding to him, warning him of its weight. The oldest doctor deposited the bag at the table near the side of the room, then guided the pair to the group of people by the bar.
“I’m sure you all remember Ethan, so let me introduce you to Claire Herondale, a brilliant young doctor that I literally owe my life to.” Naveen spoke up, a pride tone in his voice when the memories of the pair working together on his case flooded his mind. Claire blushed a bit, taking a small step towards the group.
“Naveen is entirely too generous in his assessment.”
“No, he’s not.” Ethan argued, smiling down at his girlfriend. His hand glided up and down her side affectionately. “You are brilliant.”
Among the people in the group, most of them shared a common feature of surprise at the affectionate side of Ethan Ramsey. They’ve met a couple of times at public functions more or less formal than this one, but all those instances had one thing in common. Ethan Ramsey was alone. Ethan Ramsey was solely focused on his work and his patients. So, to see him with a woman on his arm, and to see him so infatuated with her, was a sight for sure.
Ethan didn’t mind most of the people Naveen invited. They were all amazing doctors and scientists; talking to them was usually an interesting and challenging for his brain experience.
That statement, however, wasn’t entirely true when it came to Jonathan Millstone. In general, he didn’t mind the man all that much. As a researcher, he was great. As a man, not so much. From his more than forward attitude, to his treatment of other people, women especially, everything combined into a not so alluring picture in Ethan’s opinion. He never voiced it, however, as the behavior of the researcher never impacted him directly.
Up until that point, that is.
Because Jonathan had wandering eyes. And his gaze has made itself at home on Claire. Her face, her neck, her waist. The slit of her dress. But most of all, the neckline of the said dress.
There was no shame in his ogling, not a hint of embarrassment when she noticed him staring. He didn’t say a word to her, just stood there and watched.
She breathed in heavily, trying to keep her annoyance at bay. Sensing how motionless Ethan has become, she snaked her hand around his arm, pushing herself closer to his side, twisting her body slightly to shield herself from insisting eyes of the other man. Ethan’s arm immediately wrapped tighter around her, amplifying the effect of her actions. It was the subtlest way she could have given Jonathan a hint that she was in a relationship and wasn’t, even in the slightest, interested or flattered by his behavior.
Surprising no one, he didn’t take a hint.
As they walked away from the group, Claire turned towards Ethan with a glint in her eyes.
“That was some impressive jealousy management you had there, Dr. Ramsey.” She gripped the lapels of his jacket, pulling him closer. His hands squeezed her sides, his lips hovering right above hers.
“I was holding onto the last bits of patience.”
“I’m glad you did. Tonight, is about Naveen.”
A teasing grin grew on his lips in one moment, and in the next, he was twirling her out and into his arms. His fingers twisted the fabric of her dress slightly, the material rising off the ground a bit. Claire wrapped her arms around his neck, their face coming so close together that they were breathing the same air.
A soft sound of a working camera broke the bubble they were in, causing them both to look over. A photographer stood there, asking them if he could take a portrait of the two of them, per request of the host.
Ethan didn’t have to search very long for Naveen, who had a satisfied smile on his face. He shook his head with a sigh, then turned back to the photographer, nodding slightly in agreement.
With his arm wrapped tightly around her waist, they faced the camera, easy grins lighting up their features. Claire’s hand glided over his back, then slipped into the pocket of his jacket, the tips of her fingers pressing into his side playfully.
“Remind me to get that photo from Naveen later.” He muttered into her ear when they were alone again. She nodded, pressing them together so they could dance.
A few songs later, Claire managed to persuade him to let her get them drinks. And it did take some heavy convincing, especially when the first response she got was ‘I’m not going to be drinking any colorful nonsense’. She promised to not disappoint, then went towards the bar.
He turned around, coming face to face with Jonathan Millstone. He watched something right above the diagnostician’s shoulder, and Ethan didn’t have to guess or turn around to know just who was on the end of his gaze. When two men looked at each other, smugness and arrogance met irritation and disapproval. An explosive mix.
“Well, I’ll be damned. Ramsey with a date.”
“Would it kill you to be more respectful towards anyone?”
“She’s a real piece of beauty. You’re one lucky bastard, getting to score her.” Jonathan admitted out loud, watching how his words affected the doctor. Ethan’s hands rolled into fists and he was about to take a step towards the man, when a deadly calm voice called out from behind him.
“And you’re a real piece of an asshole.”
Both men froze in place when Claire walked to stand next to them. One would expect an angry scowl to reside on her face, but instead, she was neutral. Not a single emotion shown.
Wordlessly, she passed Ethan his glass of scotch, her eyes zeroing in on Jonathan. She weighed her own drink in the glass, swirling the liquid inside a couple of times. When she raised it, the researcher took a step back, expecting her to throw a drink in his face. Instead, she took a sip, smirking at his scared expression.
“You’re also lucky. I won’t make a scene at Naveen’s party.”
He thought he was off the hook. Oh, how wrong he was. Ethan took a definite step towards him, gripping his arm in a vice-like hold. “I’m not that generous, though. I suggest you learn your lesson and beat it.”
With a curt nod, he bid them goodbye (very respectfully) and got lost in the crowd. Claire’s face finally broke out into a smile.
“That felt good.” She shook her shoulders a bit, laughing in relief. Ethan bent his head, lips tracing the shell of her ear, his breath hot against her skin.
“It was also incredibly attractive.”
“And what are you going to do about it?” her fingers slipped beneath the waistband of his pants to drag him closer, her expression feigning innocence despite very suggestive looks they were both giving one another.
“Let me get you home so you can find out.”
We’re absolutely going to ignore the difference between the dress in the fic and the dress in the pic (yes, I’m a poet)
Denise, find the Hamilton reference (a literal line, no shame) :D
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TWB 1x04: The Wrong End of a Telescope - Analysis
So, I really loved this episode of TWB as well. Lots of good stuff in it.
Early on, the call the CRM the “hidden city.” I was really glad they said that because it further proves our Avalon theory. (Read HERE.)
There was more talk of luck and being lucky in this episode as well. The group gets to a high school and decides to go in, both to get out of the rain and to scavenge for supplies.
They end up dividing into three groups: Huck and Hope, Felix and Elton, Iris and Silas.
With Felix and Elton, they happen upon some iodine, and Elton calls it the “Holy Grail of water purification.” So, water theme. They also come upon a walker who’s stuck in a locker. (That rhymes, hehe.) But it’s actually locked into the locker with a padlock. It makes Elton claustrophobic and we some flashes of his past, though they’re not entirely clear yet.
I think this is an important theme, though. The walker is imprisoned and can’t get out. Felix couldn’t get it out if he’d wanted to because it was locked in, and he didn’t have a key. So key and lock theories, imprisonment, etc. At one point, we even saw Felix picking a lock, so it was there a lot.
It also becomes clear that there’s an animal, a predator, in the high school. We see it drag a walker away and hear it growling. As it turns out, it’s a wolf, living in the vacant school. Sirius Still feels, no? The first thing I thought of was the Up the Wolves song from Still and the idea of Beth being the mother wolf.
And get this: Huck and Hope are the ones who see it. They are looking at it (from behind a door) and decide it’s acting weird. It’s not pacing around or really trying to attack them or running away. It’s standing in the doorway like a sentinel. Huck apparently knows a thing or two about wolves and says it’s probably protecting it’s young.
So, we have a mother wolf protecting its children in a school with yellow walls and lots of water jugs. Hmmm.
The other thing is that Hope took a lesson from Huck and the wolf and applied it to her father. (We also get flashbacks of Hope arguing with her father in this episode, before he left with the CRM. He tells her some things that at first seem pretty innocuous, but also make me think she might be special in some way. We’ll have to wait to find out how/why.)
Anyway, Huck says sometimes you think you’re reading a situation right, but really there’s a lot going on you don’t know about. She said this in reference to the wolf. It wasn’t really out to get them; just protecting it’s young. And Hope took that and applied it to herself saying perhaps she’d totally misunderstood her dad all those years and there was a lot more going on than she knew.
So, for me, the line about being a lot more going on that you’re not seeing could apply to Beth and TD, no? But also, the fact that Hope applied it to her dad gives me hope that maybe Beth’s story will, as we’ve theorized, be tangled up with the father and his research in some way. I can’t help but compare him to Dr. Edwards, who was also a research doctor.
Also, side note: Hope is SUPER smart. Like her dad. She knows about chemistry and how to build chemicals and compounds and such. Pretty cool.
Now let’s talk about Iris and Silas. It has crossed my mind in earlier episodes that they might become love interests at some point, but it wasn’t clear, so I truly wasn’t sure if that’s where it was going.
As of this episode, it’s VERY clear there will be romance between them. Why? Because of all the Beth/Daryl parallels.
The two of them get locked in a gym together for a short time before getting out again. The dialogue and vibe was very Bethyl. First, Iris, who love art but hasn’t been pursuing it in past years, picks up paintbrushes. Then she gets embarrassed and says they aren’t essential. But he says they’re essential to her and puts them in her bag. So he’s supporting her in her art. Reminded me a lot of Daryl telling Beth to sing.
The dialogue wasn’t word for word in this case, but had a lot of the same meaning. For example, Silas says Iris is different now, being a leader. She says, “I’m trying.” And he replies, “you are.” So, we have parallels to both the line where Beth said she wished she could just change, and Daryl said she did. And also to when Beth said Daryl got away from his past. When he denies it, she says, “you did.”
Silas also opened up to Iris about the negativity in his head and how he can’t escape it on the inside. But “out here” he doesn’t hear the negative voices. It reminded me of Aaron and Daryl talking about how Daryl sometimes needed to be “out here” in 5b, with Buttons.
There was also a “you okay?” exchange, kind of like Bethyl in Beth’s cell in 4x01.
There were signs all over the school for a Sadie Hawkins dance. They made a funny joke in which neither of the kids had heard of it and assumed it was the name of a girl who went to the school. My high school did the Sadie Hawkins dance, but all I really know about it is that it was girl’s choice and less formal than prom. But I wondered if there was more to the symbolism here, because the signs for it were EVERYWHERE and it was really emphasized. So I looked it up. Look what I found:
I think the emphasis of the girl’s choice is important, especially as we’re dealing with romance here and in both cases—Beth and Iris—the girl really reached out to the guy, rather than vise versa, and helped him come out of his shell and open up to her.
Also, notice the dog reference (Dogpatch) in where the Sadie Hawkins dance originated from. I’m kinda thinking that’s why the writers chose it rather than just doing a prom theme. It has canine roots! ;D Also reminds me of the “dog trot” in Still.
They also shared “green soda.” Obviously the green thing, but Silas just randomly found it and Iris really liked it. I feel like this was the teenaged version of Beth and Daryl’s moonshine.
There was a really adorable moment when Iris and Silas danced together to music. Obviously the music gave me Bethyl vibes. There wasn’t really any dance themes around Beth and Daryl in particular, but I couldn’t help but think of his line about singing out in public. Most of his other “I Nevers” have since come true in some way, and I’ve long suspected that, at some point, he and Beth will sing together in some capacity.
I have no idea what that will look like, but Iris and Silas dancing felt like some version of that. He kept objecting that he didn’t know how to dance, but she talked him into it and they figured it out together and were laughing and smiling and having fun. Yeah, I ship it. ;D
The next thing I noticed has to do with the Pink Theory. This episode did this thing where they kept showing flashbacks. Not of the man characters per se but of the school before the apocalypse hit. So, it would show kids walking through the halls, dancing at school dances, having fun, etc. And it kind of zeroed in on one girl who was very happy and somewhat popular. Lots of people talking to her, taking her picture, etc. She was very happy. And she had pink hair. The significance of that didn’t hit me until about halfway through.
We even saw a guy at her high school smile at her, as though there might be some romance blooming there.
Iris sees a picture of this same girl in a yearbook. The caption says, “most likely to march to the beat of her own drum.” That made me think of Beth because 1) pink hair 2) drum = music reference and 3) Beth definitely marched to the beat of her own drum, taking a different path than the rest of the group and kind of existing outside the main story line.
At the very end, we see a walker with pink hair. It’s obviously supposed to be her. So, it’s sad, because she died in the school. Symbol-wise, I do think she represents Beth. She was a teenager (18), enjoying her life and romance was perhaps even blooming for her, when everything was cut short. She was sort of like the sacrificial lamb.
And then we have that wolf image. I feel like they’re hinting at the death of the lamb and birth of the wolf, here. And this works for these characters too as they grow and mature and leave their innocence behind. So, pretty potent—not to mention biblical—symbolism here. The lamb and the wolf are mentioned together often, especially in the book of Isaiah.
Hope and Huck find foodie supplies and there’s all kinds of symbolic goodness here. Pretty sure there’s some peanut butter on the shelf, Huck grabs sardines, which are a type of fish.
There’s a walker with a missing leg that got caught in a grate (missing foot symbolism). At one point, Silas finds a flare, which is sitting right next to a water jug. (Lots of those in the school, too.)
So, interestingly, we had the pink theme in both FTWD and TWB this week. (FTWD = Rich Bitch walker and TWB = pink haired Beth proxy.) We also saw flares lit in both. One by Al on the roof of the office building and one by Silas in the school.
Silas has an anger moment, lashes out, and accidentally hurts Elton. He gets depressed about it and wants to be left behind, but once again, Iris reaches out to him and helps him work through it. And they all leave together at the end.
Then there’s the coda. Yes, this episode had a coda. There weren’t any SUPER obvious Beth ties, but we saw “test subjects” being experimented upon.
So this obviously has something to do with the girls’ dad and where they’re going. But any after-the-credits-coda I can’t help but link to Beth. And then there’s the bite/cure theory. So I’m definitely side-eyeing this. The woman we see doing the tests calls them “Test Subjects” just as Jenner did in Season 1 of TWD. Very interesting.
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🔥 + the new rachel competition in season 4
The stupidest fucking way they could’ve kicked off the McKinley bit in s4. I wish that instead, the show had tackled Kurt’s drug problem bc I wanna know what exactly he’d been smoking when he told Blaine that Rachel always made everyone feel included
Blaine is a selfless person, despite what the antis would say. From sharing the spotlight with Kurt to encouraging Rory to wanting to do a song with Tina and Artie for their valedictorian thing to risking his entire damn job to try and get Jane into the Warblers. Frankly, it was shocking to see him spit on Rachel’s legacy by trying to make Marley feel included in s4. He didn’t even send her to a crackhouse??? Blaine clearly did not deserve the title in the first place
It was also a slap in the face to Tina. I mean as if anyone was taking Props to heart and being like oh for sure season four is her year! :D I believe it!! Like no. Right out the gate she’s not getting her dues and she’s doomed to spend every year of her high school career smiling and swaying and harmonizing in the background while making everyone’s costumes and forced to be grateful to do it. Pure clownery
I don’t know why Brittany was in the running. I really don’t. Is she an amazing dancer? Fuck yes. Does she bring qualities to the table that no one else could?? Absolutely. No one else could do Kesha like her. No one could do Britney like her. They could’ve used that for four seasons but they didn’t. One featured dance in ten competitions? Pathetic. They never bothered to play to her strengths. And she never bothered to pretend to be a leader. Suddenly demanding all the solos in Britney/Brittany and then running that sham of a class president race in s3 and s4 does not mean she’s equipped to be the lead of the club. Although maybe she would be perfect bc she’s about as obnoxious and self centered as Rachel. She certainly would’ve sent someone to a crackhouse so there’s that
Unique. I hate all the jokes about how she’s just Mercedes but lbr she stepped into Mercedes’s shoes and filled the role of underutilized powerhouse that could’ve blown all these skinny bitches away with one note if she was allowed to open her mouth at all. It’s really such a joke. Like her one drawn out “HEY” at the beginning of Diva is better than Kitty and Marley and Brittany’s entire discography combined
IN CONCLUSion it was a complete farce and I hated it. And it didn’t even matter because unlike Rachel, Blaine didn’t have 42359 competition solos and duets and also “group numbers” but it’s just him singing 95% of the lyrics with everyone else getting one line. In all his s4-5 competitions he had two duets and one featured part in something that was actually a group number. And honestly, as much as I hate the song choices for all those competitions, I like the performances better. Because it’s an actual glee club singing together. And we honestly hardly ever got that. Because 85% of the “glee club” performances at competitions were Rachel (or say Jesse, or Sunshine, or Unique, or Harmony, or Sebastian, or Hunter, or ______) singing a solo while everyone else harmonized and ran around behind them. That’s not a glee club. That’s one person singing a solo while everyone else harmonized and ran around behind them
ANYWAY this has gotten kind of off track but it’s all many rants stemming from the same source that is The New Rachel competition. TL;DR - It was pointless and awful and I hate it :)
Send Me a 🔥 + a Glee Topic, and I’ll Tell You My Honest Opinion About It
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Humans are Space Orcs, “Black Tie.”
I hope you guys like this. Writing has been weirdly difficult for me these past few days, so I sort of hope it isn’t showing lol
This is a little peak into the way that humans try to subtly one up each other in social situations, so Karma is fun :)
Krill was mildly uncomfortable, and so was Sunny. They had all been invited to what the humans described as a “black tie” event on mars mostly for political delegations, rich sponsors, a couple of famous people, and the occasional member of the UNSC or the GA. Most of the GA reps were Rundi since they tended to like this political sort of thing. There was at least one Tesraki, who had made the executive decision to come since he saw financial opportunity in getting to know some rich humans.
Sunny had been invited to stand in for the Drev counselor, who could not attend due to some issues back on Anum. Dr Krill and Dr. Katie had been invited to attend the event in case medical personnel were required for any reason.
Adam was the only one who had been invited for himself.
The black tie event had been sent by way of a physical letter which Adam had called, “Excessively pretentious.” in a day and age where everything was sent electronically. The fact they had managed to get a letter to him out in the middle of space in the first place was pretty impressive.
Sunny hadn’t really known or cared what all of this meant, but Adam had been nervous and very serious about the dress code. Despite thinking the entire thing was pretentious, that didn't stop him from immediately sending away for his mother’s help.
Sunny was, of course, encouraged to wear ceremonial formal armor to the event.
Krill was keeping very close track of this odd human behavior constantly asking questions as Adam was preparing himself.
“Why don’t you just wear a regular suit?”
“Because that would be a social faux pas.”
He sighed, “I don't know, it's french or something. I think it’s a ballet term. IT just means it would be a social screw up and people would totally judge me for it.”
“They would judge you for wearing the wrong thing?” Krill wondered curiously.
Adam nodded, “That is the point of these parties, and has been for the last two and a half thousand years. These parties are honestly just the biggest pissing contests where people try to out dress each other in subtle ways, and the old people who know what they are doing make fun of the new people for having no idea how to do it properly.”
Krill looked interested, “how fascinating. So it is a way to show your status subtly.”
“Oh yes. Status is a big deal. It started to go out of style for a while, but this whole adherence to dress code has come back with a vengeance in the last few years. The fashion world has seen an upheaval in pretentiousness, and celebrities have been laughed out of parties for trying to be avant-garde.”
“To be what?”
“Sorry, pretty sure that’s also french too. It means new, interesting, or out of the ordinary usually to make a statement.”
Sunny leaned in a little, “And they expect an air force commander to know how to properly dress for black tie?”
“They don’t, which is why they invited me. I am supposed to make others look good by looking bad. Of course I also make them look good by being invited in the first place. Of course joke's on them because i have a secret weapon on my side…” He patted the front of his shirt, “Thank you mother.”
“I am now confused.”
Adam waved a hand, “Yeah, I know, It’s pretty stupid
“I thought you recently decided that you like dressing up.” The human turned in place a couple of times in front of the mirror trying to get a better view of himself, “Correction, I have always enjoyed dressing up -- got that from my mom -- what I don’t enjoy is the pissing contest that comes along with it.
“What is that?”
“You look like someone’s Christmas present.”
He adjusted the bow tie, “Well than someone is getting a sexy as fuck Christmas present now aren’t they.”
He buttoned up the front of the ‘waistcoat’ and pulled on the jacket.
When he was done, the two aliens had to admit that he really did stand out, all in black black pants black tuxedo jacket, cuff links, black tie, black waistcoat, and a purple/blue carnation threaded through the buttonhole on the lapel.
His shoes were almost as reflective as the mirror behind him.
“How do I look?”
“Like a goofy idiot, but the suit wasn’t going to change that.” He lifted a finger to flip Sunny off.
“Not very dapper of you.” Katie said from the doorway.
They looked up to see Katie, who had also commissioned a dress from Martha, and honestly made Adam look a little plain.
“Ready to go.”
“As I will ever be.”
Krill kept a shrewd eye on all the strange human protocols. As far as dressing up went Krill could immediately see who the in-crowd included. Ost of those people understood the rules Adam had laid out for him wearing the proper evening attire, where those not in the-in wore clothing that approximated the rules but missed them on several occasions.
The way the evening was set up was a little bit more like a ‘ball’ as Adam described being announced as they were walked in, and then ordered to mingle with the crowd. Adam and Katie got a few glances from the in-group who seemed surprised that a simple ship captain would known anything about formal evening attire.
Sunny just found the entire thing hilarious. All of this subtle dressing up to impress each other.
If Drev held balls, instead of dancing they would probably just beat each other to death.
But here, there were a lot of subtle clues and hints that went right over her and the Doctor’s heads, while Adam seemed to know what he was doing.
As they walked in waiters offered Adam an alcoholic drink, while Krill received water, and sunny a rather strange tincture that was generally just water with plant flavoring. It was pretty good though so she didn’t complain.
They were met on arriving by the event coordinator whose eyes opened wide when she saw Adam pausing and holding out a hand.
Due to the conflated and rather twisted nature of black tie events in the future, Adam took the hand, and bowed a bit lowering his head, a strange area between the less formal handshake and the more formal kiss on the hand, which was also not a thing in societies post WWIII
“Commander, I… you look…” She trailed off
Even to sunny it was clear the woman hadn’t expected him to know anything.
He smiled icily at her.
Krill leaned in in fascination.
This was one of the most intriguing parts of humanity. The polite way in which they were totally rude to each other, “Well than you. My mother has a Ph.D in the information age and a masters in historical fashion.”
That shut the woman up and she politely dismissed herself walking away straight back.
Adam smirked, “Her dress isn’t the right length for an evening event.”
“I thought she coordinated the event.” Sunny muttered
“She couldn’t coordinate herself out of a paper bag.” He winked at Sunny and Krill, “You can’t out-dress the son of a historical fashion expert. Simply not possible, she even used the correct materials.” He tugged lightly at his jacket.
Dr. Katie had disappeared on entry leaving the three of them to wander about the room as Adam pointed out the other important people.
There were a few military commanders, rundi, and the aforementioned Tesraki. There were at least five major political leaders, and even larger handful of actors who had their hands in charities or political causes related to the event.
Adam was only halfway through his first drink when he was waylaid by one of the younger actors. Even Sunny could tell straight off that he was not dressed appropriately. He had clearly tried very hard, but his efforts were in vain. While everything looked alright from a distance, up close something was wrong about everything. The material of his jacket, the style of his shirt, the type of pants, the lapels on the coat, and even the patterned pocket square which should have been a solid color but wasn’t.
He was joined by another group of men who then began some pretentious conversation about noticing how Adam was new to these sort of events. The way they spoke made it pretty clear they had no idea who he was or what the proper dress code was either.
Adam smiled and didn’t say anything.
“And what do you do for a living?” One of them asked
“Simply a UNSC representative.”
“Ah that explains a lot.” They glanced down at him with pointed looks
The conversation continued. Sunn wondered why Adam didn’t just shut them all up by telling them exactly who he was, but Krill had a theory that Adam was just playing with them as a human way to build up the moment so that he could socially crush them.
As humans do, their conversation wandered until it eventually moved around to the UNSC and other related topics.
One of the men nodded knowingly, “I am somewhat knowledgeable on the subject myself.” Adam raised an eyebrow.
“Well yes, I have a brother in law who flies shuttles and planes for the UNSC. Tell me, what is your opinion on the D-4 class engine on a F-90 darkfire. I honestly think they are rather overpowered for what is being asked of them.”
Adam frowned, “The darkfire doesn't have a D-4 engine. That is a warp classification which-”
The man raised a hand, “No no. I heard my brother in law talking about it. Personally I think they should have just kept the jet engines they would have been plenty enough power to make it into orbit.
The Commander’s face scrunched in confusion as he shook his head, “No, it's a fusion engine, and the jet engine can’t fly in the upper atmosphere because there is no lift-”
“Look, Adam, was that your name. I generally tend to know what I am talking about. The darkfire jet engines would have plenty of power to make it into atmosphere,”
“But its a jet engine which implies it is for a plane and not for a rocket-”
The guy cut him off again and continued to ramble onward about how he took some engineering classes in college and would know what he was talking about. Since Adam Joined the UNSC and didn’t go to college, that he probably didn’t know anything at all, or at least that is what they said in not so many words.
Sunny was getting a bit annoyed and would like to have squished the guy, but Adam just shook his head at her.
She stayed silent and grumpy as the other men continued to correct Adam on knowledge of his own favorite aircraft.
“My brother owns a spaceship with a class E warp core one of them boasted.”
Adam rolled his eyes, “There is no such thing-”
“My brother owns the craft, I am pretty sure I know what I am talking about. It’s one of the most powerful cores in the galaxy.”
“Um, I don’t think.”
“Yes the E is more powerful than the A. A ship like the Harbinger or the Enterprise would only make it part of the way across the galaxy but the-” He kept going.
Adam looked like he was dying but why didn’t he say anything.
It was just then that someone appeared from the crowd. Sunny recognized a political figure they had met at GA summits on occasion.
He raised his glass and stepped into the group, “Ah commander! I am glad to see you could make it.”
The group of men glanced at each other in confusion.
Adam nodded, “It’s good to see you two counselor.” He motioned to the group we were just having a fascinating discussion on warp engines.”
“Oh yes.” He turned to look at the men, “Than I am sure the commander has told you about his escapades as a darkfire pilot.”
The satisfaction Sunny got from watching their faces was priceless, almost orgasmic. She could tell from the look on Adam’s face that he was feeling similarly, “Well no we had not made it to the subject, “I was just going to explain to them how the duel E 20 engine has both a jet engine and a fusion engine. The jet engine for flying in atmosphere and the Fusion engine for moving out of atmosphere considering that the jet engine is not powerful enough to lift the craft without air buoyancy.”
Sunny was laughing on the inside.
“Ah yes. I seem to recall a discussion along those lines. Tell me commander, what about the Harbinger’s engine is it a class A-1.”
Adam nodded, “Could potentially get you to the other side of the universe if you asked her. The classification system is A-D 1-4 on each, so my ship has one of the most powerful engines mankind has ever bothered to build.”
He glanced out of the corner of his eye and the other men who were beginning to slink away.
Sunny chirped in pleasure.
The rep nodded as they left, “I heard the futility of your conversation from the other side of the room.”
“Thanks for the help. I was dying inside.”
The two men laughed and took their drinks.
Krill was very pleased with his examination on how humans subtly tried to one up each other with their dress and understanding of certain topics, though it seemed odd to him that someone would claim to be an expert when it was, in fact, their brother or brother in law who knew about the subject and not them.
But he supposed that was the social nature of humanity.
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The Radiator Chapter 1. The Recovery of Mercy Heiss
Mercy: (rollerblades into her therapist’s office drinking a smoothie) Amanda, you’re not gonna believe what the fuck happened.
Warnings: Death, more emotional abuse,
In the small nation of Speakeasy, child abuse is at an all-time low, thanks to many social programs and laws put in place to prevent abuse, help survivors, and more. When a woman known as the Matriarch threatens to destroy that system, a hero will rise, the hero she didn’t sign up for:
The child she didn’t sign up for.
The Radiator, a young woman who gained heat powers thanks to a combination of a highly advanced medicine, a bout of heat exhaustion in her youth, and a lack of oversight on her abusers’ part, must defeat the Matriarch before her country returns to the dark days of child abuse, but is there more to this survivor’s story than meets the eye?
In this chapter, Mercy picks up the pieces after the trial is over. She can rest as easy as an abuse survivor is capable of, but things get complicated at McBride Institute.
Mercy started to recover, more or less, after her parents were sentenced to McBride. She kept seeing her therapist, Dr. Amanda Weaver, to deal with some of the emotional fallout, and spent more time with her friends, at Weaver’s request.
“Your abusers are gone. They’ve never been gone before,” Weaver explained. “Don’t be surprised if you’re in a state of shock the first few days.”
“Okay…” Mercy said. “Why? Uh… why does the shock happen?”
“Because you can still have doubts that you’re actually safe now. You probably won’t be emotionally equipped to do a lot of things. I recommend having some friends around to help.”
“I can keep the same support system.”
“And how are things with your sister?”
Mercy fell silent.
Weaver peered over her glasses. Mercy did the same back at her.
“I take it things haven’t been good,” Weaver said, silently chuckling at how Mercy mimicked her.
“She smashed a plate on the ground when I asked her to help me with the dishes the other day,” Mercy said. “Yesterday I took her out to dinner after her recital, and she was… angrily cutting her tofu at me. Like, she was doing it at me. Just like mom and dad used to.”
“Who’s she been seeing?”
“Dr. Frank Mitchell.”
“I’ll make sure he discusses this with her. If she starts acting like your parents, I am required by law to take action on this.”
“Why am I still freaked out by that?” Mercy asked. “Why does everything she do scare me?”
“Didn’t your lawyer talk a lot about your trauma?” Weaver asked. “Made a big point about it.”
“Well, there you go. The body keeps the score. I believe Mr. Crenshaw said the abuse… ‘literally changed your brain chemistry.’”
It was a good thing Dice was willing to help. She had plenty of time in between trade school and taekwondo, and she and Mercy were neighbors, more or less, with Dice living directly below Mercy. She could go to and from taekwondo with Mercy and stay for dinner.
Dice usually ended up bringing dinner for the three of them, as Mercy was usually too tired to cook, and Abigail refused to cook half the time.
Tonight was burgers from a local joint called Reggie’s. Dice and Mercy walked in with paper sacks and a cardboard drink holder, their sparring gear bags slung over their shoulders. Because Reggie’s was near Refuge Taekwondo, they would eat there a lot.
“Food’s here!” Mercy called, assuming Abigail was upstairs.
Mercy and Dice began unpacking the food, putting their own burgers and fries onto plates and setting them on the end tables by the couch. Mercy untied her belt and removed her dobak jacket, revealing a white tank top tucked into her high-waisted pants and white sports bra underneath.
“I never get tired of sparring with you,” Dice said, removing her belt and dobak jacket and replacing it with her Refuge Taekwondo jacket.
“Really?” Mercy asked, fake-teasing her friend. “Because I’m pretty sure I was winning today.”
“I wasn’t winning, but I was having fun,” Dice said.
“Ah,” Mercy said. She took a bite of her burger. “Good sport.”
“How’s… uh… well, yesterday, you stayed in bed all day. Didn’t even leave to get a snack. Claude said he brought a footlong corndog right to your bed.”
“Because I asked them for a footlong corndog. He said ‘is there anything I can get you?’ and I asked for a footlong corndog.”
“Well, did you need one today?”
“No, I think I’m out of the proverbial state of shock.”
Mercy turned on the tv, flipped through a couple channels, and a Futurama rerun caught her eye.
“It’s Jurassic Bark,” Mercy said. “Should we watch it? It’s sad.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen this one. Keep it on,” Dice said.
She didn’t say anything to Dice, but Dice obviously had another question that she wasn’t in the mood to answer.
“What about the nightmares?” Dice finally asked.
“Well…” Mercy hesitated before taking a long sip of her lemonade.
“Mercy,” Dice pressed.
“I may or may not have had one…”
“And Abby yelled at me for waking her up.”
“Oh, come here,” Dice cooed, putting an arm around Mercy. The two weren’t shy about platonic physical affection, and while the same went for the rest of the group, Mercy didn’t mind the closeness. She had feelings for Dice.
“Thanks, Dicey,” Mercy said, returning the embrace and leaning her head against Dice’s. “I did need that.”
“What was the nightmare about?” Dice asked, feeling the braids against the sides of Mercy’s head. “If you’re okay with processing that.”
“Abby chasing me down a dark hall and yelling at me,” Mercy said sheepishly. “So technically… she woke me up.”
Abigail came downstairs, clad in a pair of skinny jeans and her dance school’s jacket. Her hair was down, not in a braid like usual.
“Speak of the devil,” Mercy sighed, not even looking up. Her footsteps were distinctly Abigail.
“Where’s my food?” she asked.
“In that bag on the table,” Mercy said.
“You heard her footsteps?” Dice whispered.
“Of course I did,” Mercy said. “I had to learn everyone’s footsteps. Hers are distinct. Trained as a ballet dancer for so long that she just moves like one now. Kinda like us, except we break names and take boards, so we’re not as graceful.”
“Who needs grace when you have Mercy?” Dice joked.
“Stop that or I’m gonna roll you for a perception check!” she joked back.
“You know I don’t play D&D! I just--”
“I know, you just think they’re neat.”
“You didn’t put it on a plate?” Abigail asked, angrily grabbing a plate from a cabinet and bringing it to the table. It seemed as though she was preparing her plate at Mercy as intimidatingly as possible. Mercy flinched at the loud banging and footsteps. Not again…
“I didn’t know if you were busy!” Mercy said defensively. “I told you the food was here!”
“You didn’t yell loud enough!” Abigail said, angrily shuffling fries onto a plate at Mercy. “Text me next time!”
“Well, that’s because the other day, when I called you down for dinner, I was too loud! I’ll text you next time, just please…” Mercy said, visibly upset. “What more do you want from me? We got you your veggie burger! It’s not cold yet!”
“You didn’t put it on a plate like mom—”
“Abigail, stop it,” Dice said firmly. “Haven’t you done enough to her?”
“Whatever. At least I don’t pretend to be some tortured, gothy artist,” Abigail said, sauntering back upstairs with her food.
Mercy started to get up, but Dice pulled her back down.
“She’s not worth it,” Dice said.
“You’re right. You… wanna stay the night?” Mercy asked.
“That’d be great! It’s been a while since any of us got together for a sleepover. Should I invite Kia and Claude?” Dice replied, ecstatic.
“I was hoping it’d just be us tonight,” Mercy said. “Besides, Kia’s at the shop, and Claude has to finish sewing a shirt.”
“Oh! Even better! I mean, it sucks that they can’t make it, but it’ll be nice to catch up face-to-face. I was hoping you’d ask anyway. Because of the nightmares, and all. I could, you know… comfort you if you needed to.”
“Like the night before the verdict?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Dice said.
“And the night before the hearing?” Mercy continued.
“And the night after I got out of the psych ward?”
“Yeah, you were so scared.”
“And the night before graduation?”
“Well, that was at my place.”
“Because your parents were taking both of us to the ceremony.”
Dice snuggled in closer. “Because your parents were taking Abigail to her recital.”
“Yep…” Mercy said sadly.
“You should shower,” Mercy said after a moment.
“You should too.”
They finished their dinner, Dice went home to shower and change clothes, and Mercy showered and changed into a pair of lavender pajama pants and a large, light pink fleece hoodie. She had removed her braids, allowing her hair to fall to the sides of her face like it normally did. It was still curly, but because it was so damp, it was mostly plastered to her head.
Dice came back wearing pastel yellow pajamas. She had blow-dried her hair and braided it to the side.
“If there’s any nightmares tonight, I’ll be right here,” Dice said.
Sure enough, Mercy did have a nightmare.
She was nine and wearing a stark white Tyvek suit with a bright red sash around her waist. Her hair was longer, as well as a lighter color, and she was laying on a couch backstage. It clung to her face, soaked with sweat as she panted, trying to stay conscious. She would have to join the rest of the ensemble soon. She could hear the song before theirs playing from just outside. Sure, her bad singing had landed her the ensemble role to begin with, and it wasn’t like one missing child in a sea of thirty of them would make a difference.
But they weren’t baking in the heat like she was. If she gave up, she’d just seem weak.
The theatre had been built in the 70’s and the HVAC system was in desperate need of an overhaul, at least backstage. The bright lights couldn’t be helped, but Mercy truly thought she was dying.
The suit’s sleeves and pant legs ended in elastic, trapping any and all body heat. Mercy felt like she was being cooked in an oven, the heat radiating off of her being bounced right back.
She began to cry. She felt like she was dying.
Maybe she was?
For some reason, she was okay with that.
“Mercy?” one of the older kids called. “Mercy! Mercy, are you okay?”
Mercy wasn’t registering the voices. There were people talking, but that’s all she knew. It was like driving, but looking through the windshield, not necessarily paying attention to the road.
“Mercy!” someone else called.
“She’s not saying anything!”
“Is she passed out?”
“Not yet! Get help!”
“Mercy? Hey, it’s me, Kia. Just stay awake, okay? Help is coming. Mercy, say something!”
“It’s… hot…” was all Mercy could say.
She shot up in bed, hyperventilating and crying.
“Come here,” Dice murmured, pulling Mercy back down into bed and wrapping her arms around her. Mercy buried her face in Dice’s shoulder and sobbed heavily. Dice’s body muffled most of her tortured sobs, but Mercy was shaking and clinging to her friend, as if for dear life.
They held onto each other as if it was a typical hug, arms wrapped tightly around each other. Even their ankles were in between each other, embracing with the entire body.
“Shhhhhhh,” Dice soothed, combing her fingers through Mercy’s mostly dried curls. “You wanna talk about what happened?”
“Yeah,” Mercy said, her voice shaky. “Remember when I did that theatre camp, and my costume was that long-sleeved suit?”
“Oh, yeah, you told me about that,” Dice said.
“And the ancient HVAC and the lights just made everything hot?”
“And I almost died backstage?”
“Oh no! That’s what you were dreaming about?”
Mercy just nodded.
Dice squeezed Mercy’s midsection tighter.
“The worst part? Mom, she… when I bring it up now, she doesn’t remember, even though she was there. I think it’s because she’s so old, but you think you’d still remember the time one of your kids almost died!” Mercy said.
“I say she’s bluffing,” Dice said.
“She would have remembered if it was Abby,” Mercy sighed. “I think it’s because I still powered through it and went out on stage anyway, even though one less member of the ensemble wouldn’t make a difference.”
“You know? You’ve always been a fighter, Merce. Remember when they asked if your parents ever spanked you?”
“And my dad tried once but I was willing to fight him?”
“Yeah, that’s the one.”
“Yeah, a four-year-old trying to fight a grown adult! I must have had a death wish, even back then! They said I was angry as a kid! I think I was just aware of my situation.”
“And when you were sparring Emma Barry and she punched you in the nose and you just wiped the blood off on your sleeve like the badass you are?”
“The medics got to me first.”
“You get my point. You’re a fighter, and you’ve been fighting and fighting, but now? Now your parents are out of your hair. You can rest now.”
“Thanks, Dice,” Mercy said, nuzzling Dice’s neck.
“Sorry, you’re just so warm. You just… radiate warmth,” Mercy said.
“No, you’re the radiator here!” Dice said. “You’re just a big warm marshmallow…”
“Please don’t fetishize my body type,” Mercy said.
“Are you though?”
“I hope I’m not!”
“Nah, Dice, you do fine.”
“What was that about resting?”
So Mercy rested. Dice was out like a light, engulfed in Mercy’s soft, warm embrace, but Mercy took a long time to fall asleep.
She did eventually fall asleep, but was awoken not by a nightmare, but a phone call.
Groggy and irritated, Mercy tore herself from Dice and fumbled around on the nightstand for her phone.
She had saved the phone number and email for McBride Institute in case anything significant happened, and the staff had agreed to only call if the situation was too important to send an email about. Something was fishy.
“Why are they calling at this ungodly hour?” Dice asked.
“First of all, time is an illusion and you know that,” Mercy joked. “Second of all, what makes you think I know why?”
Mercy answered the phone.
“Hello?” she said.
“Mercy Heiss? This is Dr. Pine, your parents’ case manager. We met when they were convicted?” came a male voice.
“Yeah, I remember,” Mercy said, still sleepy and potentially coming off a bit hostile. “Sorry, I was asleep. Is there something wrong?”
“I’m sorry to bother you at this hour, but your father hung himself and we just discovered the body. We thought you’d like to know.”
Mercy sighed, but in a relieved, happy way. She believed in the goal of rehabilitation, but she still wanted to watch child abusers burn. Wanda’s teaching certificate was fraudulent if it meant she couldn’t properly raise a child, her black belt in taekwondo was undeserved, if anyone deserved to die, it should have been her. Aaron was the lesser of the two evils.
But she was satisfied.
“What happened?” Dice whispered.
“Dad’s dead,” Mercy whispered.
“Thank you for letting me know, Dr. Pine. Should Abigail and I collect his stuff?” Mercy replied after another moment.
“Sure, whenever you’re free,” Dr. Pine replied. “How… do you feel about this?”
“Would I sound like an asshole if I said I considered this good news?” Mercy asked.
“Not at all. Besides, you’re about to inherit his savings.”
“Abigail and I will come in tomorrow morning. She wants to visit mom too.”
The next morning, Mercy, Abigail, and Dice all took the train to McBride. Mercy wore a light pink dress with black leggings and a black jean jacket, Abigail wore a blue sweater and ripped blue skinny jeans, as well as a black beanie, and Dice wore a yellow blouse, blue jeans, a black blazer, and a d20 necklace.
The group split up after checking in at the front desk. Abigail went off to visit Wanda, while Pine took Mercy and Dice to discuss what to do about Aaron.
“He had 42 Grand saved up,” Pine said. “And it’s all yours, Mercy. Now, as for the funeral…”
“I don’t want one,” Mercy interrupted. “He does not deserve to be honored.”
“That’s fair,” Pine said. “So what do we do with the body?”
“Bury him, I guess, but I get to choose what the tombstone says.”
“Do you want an obsidian tombstone?”
“What does that mean?”
“It’s tradition for those who committed unspeakable acts to be buried under an obsidian tombstone in this country. That way everyone will recognize who they actually were. We have war criminals, abusers, and more buried under obsidian in Speakeasy. Or would you rather he be cremated?”
Mercy just shrugged.
“Dr. Pine, I’d rather we discuss this some other time. I need to catch up on sleep before taekwondo.”
“That’s fine. I did kind of call you in the middle of the night anyway. You two can wait in the lobby while your sister finishes with your mom. Why don’t you come with me and we can retrieve the rest of Aaron’s things?”
Mercy and Dice went to Aaron’s cell. Abigail had sent him a few gifts, but there was nothing to be found.
“Oh, is that Aaron Heiss’s cell?” asked a passing nurse. “His wife already cleared out the stuff. She’ll give it to your sister.”
“Oh,” Mercy said. “That’s fine.”
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A/N: The only thing better than Damian fics, are Damian fics where they allow Damian to be the innocent little boy he is. Here is my take on it! Based on Owl City’s ‘Fireflies’! -Thorne <3
You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
Damian could be described as many things. Grandson (Ra’s), son (Bruce), little-brother (Dick), demon-spawn (Jason & Tim), and best friend (Jon). It was tiring to him to be everything at once; not that he would tell a soul. Since he was a child, he was trained to not show his weaknesses; that weakness was failure, and failure was not allowed. But there were times when Damian could feel at ease with himself. He could let himself go and not be everything everyone saw. Damian could just be himself.
Over the years of living in the manor, he’d become used to being ‘alone’ and not waited on hand and foot by servants like he’d been when he lived with his mother. His room was his solitude; Jon had even joked that Damian’s room was his version of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Of course, he’d made a smart remark to the assumption, but deep down, he’d been startled at the accuracy of the statement. Damian’s room was simplistic in the basic terms. When he’d first arrived, his room screamed, ‘I’m just here for a few days. I’m not staying forever.’ But over the course of the years and the realization that he wasn’t leaving, his room began to grow and take shape of the boy he was. His collection of weapons littered the walls, as well as a few paintings Bruce had bid on and won for him. His desk sat by the window, and on it laid his usual things: his laptop, his school bag and jacket, and his sketchbook and pencils. To other people, Damian’s room was still that of a temporary tenant; but to Damian, it was home. And it was his.
He’d discovered one night when he was falling asleep that his dreams would almost come alive before he was entirely unconscious. He’d never mention it to anyone, for fear of being labeled weird, or being subjected to unending tests. But Damian saw the way his dreams lit up his room at night; and it all started with millions of tiny fireflies.
‘Cause they fill the open air
And leave teardrops everywhere
You’d think me rude, but I would just stand and stare
I’ve got to be dreaming. He told himself. There’s no way this many bugs are in my room. He stared in idle wonder, watching the tiny, living lights float across his room. Where they went, they left small silver drops that sparkled like diamonds. He crawled out from under his covers and looked around, seeing them in all directions. Damian reached out a hand, feeling some of them land on it. They sat upon his palm, small and blinking before taking off and moving around again. He spun in bewildered circles, his eyes taking in every light he could see. I must be dreaming…this isn’t possible.
I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
If you asked Damian how much he knew, he would tell you what he tells everyone: “I’m smarter than you’ll ever hope to be, and that is all you need to know.” Of course, this usually made his family laugh, except for his father, who would just run his hands down his face in exasperation. Tired or not, what Damian said was true. He knew more knowledge than anyone could ever hope to gain in their life. Sometimes, Damian wished he could change the things he knew; sometimes, he wished he could unlearn the things he knew. Damian wished he was still a young boy, crawling out of the bed from beside his mother and walking to the window to stare up at the billions of stars in the night sky. He wished he could make himself believe that the Earth turned slowly, giving everyone time to be where they wanted to be, instead of it spinning the thousands of miles an hour that it did.
He placed his suit back in the glass case and pulled down the shirt he’d been putting on. A hand rested on his shoulder and he looked up, seeing his father stand beside him; Bruce wore a calm expression as he said, “Don’t beat yourself up over what happened tonight Damian. No one could’ve predicted Penguin joining the fight.” Damian scoffed and ripped his shoulder from his grasp, slamming the glass case shut.
“I am not in favor of beating myself up. That is Todd and Drake’s favorite pastime.” Sharp noises of offence came from Jason and Tim, but he paid them no mind as he began walking towards the stairs. “It was not my incompetence that ruined the plan tonight.” He ascended the stairs into the manor, leaving the group behind. Dick walked beside Bruce and crossed his arms.
“Do you think Damian’s been rather occupied of late?” Bruce nodded and murmured,
“He’s been confined to his room more than usual. I’m beginning to worry that something is wrong.”
“I’ll try and talk to him later.” Bruce nodded, watching Dick and the others climb the stairs.
Damian closed the door to his room, locking it behind him and racing to his bed. He climbed in, pulling the covers up to neck; he closed his eyes and began slowing his breathing in hopes of drifting off to sleep faster. He was almost asleep when the sound of a fist knocking on his door reached his ears, and his eyes snapped open, turning in the direction of the sound. “Little D? Kiddo? Can I come in?” Damian’s eyes narrowed and he climbed out of his bed, stalking towards the door and unlocking it before opening it a crack.
“What do you want Richard?” Dick’s lips curled upwards and he leaned against the doorframe.
“I want to talk. Can I come in?”
“No.” Dick’s eyebrows shot up at the flat-out refusal and he questioned,
“No? Why not?”
“Because I am tired. Go away.” He started closing the door when Dick stuck the toe of his boot into it, halting it.
“Damian is something bothering you? Do you want to talk to someone?” A snarky reply crossed his tongue, but he bit it back, closing his eyes and sighing.
“Richard, I am fine. There is nothing wrong, I just want to go to sleep.” Dick opened his mouth to reply but he cut him off. “Please.” Dick’s eyes widened, but he soon nodded and pulled his foot back.
“Alright Damian. But if you need to talk to someone-” Damian cut him off waving a hand and muttering,
“I know, I can talk to you. I have been told that before.” Damian closed the door, locking it again before running back to his bed and hopping in, closing his eyes once more.
‘Cause I get a thousand hugs
From ten thousand lightning bugs
As they try to teach me how to dance
His eyes snapped open, and the vision of lighting bugs came back. Damian shoved the covers to his ankle and crawled out of the bed, standing in the middle of the room. His lips drew into a smile and he laughed at the sight of them. They flew around him, and he followed, stepping gracefully across his floor. They felt warm as they drew across his open arms, feeling almost like the hugs that his father and Richard gave him. Another laugh drew from his mouth as he realized they were trying to teach him how to dance.
A fox-trot above my head
A sock-hop beneath my bed
The disco ball is just hanging by a thread
The more they danced, the more Damian began to see the patterns in which they flew. Above his head he could see them dancing a fox-trot. Crazy. He told himself. But amazing all the same. The lights flew low and he dropped to his knees, lifting the covers and looking under to see them performing a sock-hop. Damian did something he’d never imagined he’d do when he saw it; he giggled. It tore through his lips and he clamped a hand over his mouth. What did I just do? He looked around, as if expecting to see someone who’d caught it. Upon seeing no one, he pulled his hand down and let the smile cross his face. His gaze wandered up as the fireflies flew high and he caught sight of a disco ball hanging by its last thread. The shine from the lightning bugs, scattered light across the room in the reflection and Damian felt alive in it as he began to dance along.
I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m sleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems (When I fall asleep)
Every night was the same to Damian. Crawl into bed, fall asleep, or fall into what felt like sleep, and dance with fireflies all night. He’d pondered telling his father what he was seeing but opted not to in the face of any repercussions that could happen. Tests galore and nights of no fireflies were what lied ahead if he did; so, he kept his mouth shut and continued to dream of them.
Leave my door open just a crack (Please take me away from here)
‘Cause I feel like such an insomniac (Please take me away from here)
Why do I tire of counting sheep (Please take me away from here)
When I’m far too tired to fall asleep
The manor was empty that night; Dick was in Central with Wally, Jason with Roy and Kori somewhere in California, Tim with Conner and Bart, and his father with Selina. Damian had the whole manor to himself; save for Alfred, who’d already gone to bed. He crawled out from under his sheets and tiptoed to his door, cracking it open ever-so-slightly so that the light from the hallway filtered in. it created a sliver of light allowing him to see across his floor as he tiptoed back to his bed, climbing back into it. Damian’s head hit his pillow and he sighed, feeling so tired…but not tired enough. Endless sheep danced in the field he’d imagined, but the counting sent him nowhere, and he sat back up, the feeling of what seemed like insomnia creeping upon him. I just want to sleep. I just want to…see the fireflies. He shook his head, laying back down and closing his eyes, hoping for a quick drift into sleep.
To ten million fireflies
I’m weird ‘cause I hate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell (They said farewell)
Damian always knew when it was time to wake up; the fireflies began whispering quiet notes of farewell to him as they drifted to the open balcony door. He watched them, silently wishing they would stay. They gave him such a sense of peace and belonging; one he usually didn’t feel, even being with his family. But he could see the very beginning of sunrise climbing up the sky, and the lighting bugs hovered towards the brighter light. He stood, feeling them brush beside him. He blinked, feeling something warm in his eye and he brought up a hand, feeling it and pulling it back. A single drop rested along his fingertip, but it shone like a star, making him smile softly.
But I’ll know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
‘Cause I kept a few, and I keep them in a jar (jar, jar, jar)
When Alfred first heard Damian’s request for a glass mason jar, so many thoughts ran through his mind; but the only one he voiced was, ‘Whatever for?’. Apparently, Damian wanted to catch something, and that was all he was willing to divulge. He stared at the young boy for a few moments before walking to the pantry and pulling out a glass jar, taking it to the sink and rinsing it before drying it and handing it to him. Damian accepted it quickly and turned around, taking off to his room throwing out a quick, ‘Thank you Pennyworth!’ Alfred smiled at him before continuing his work.
Damian’s eyes snapped open again and he saw the fireflies once more. Joy filled his body as another night of amazement and dancing fluttered by him. But soon, it was time for them to go, and Damian looked around for the jar he’d brought with him. He picked it up, unscrewing the lid and gliding it through the air, watching as several of them were contained. He put the lid back on, smiling at the holes he’d punched into it, and set it on his dresser. They hovered around the small jar, bumping its sides and latching on, blinking a steady greeting in what Damian had learned was their way of Morse code. His smile widened and he stared at it, knowing that no matter how crazy his dreams would get, those fireflies would still be there for him.
I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems (When I fall asleep)
They watched Damian play with Titus in the yard, running back and forth with the stick they’d found. Small smiles graced their lips and Alfred murmured, “Master Damian seems to be in a better mood than he was last week. Don’t you think Master Bruce?” His eyes drifted to Bruce who simply smiled and nodded. “Did you ever discover what made him so frantic?” Bruce shook his head and said,
“Something about dreams and fireflies.” Alfred’s eyebrows furrowed slightly, and he whispered,
“Fireflies, sir?” Bruce eyed him.
“What did he say?” Alfred shook his head, turning back to Damian.
“Nothing. Just he asked for a mason jar the other day. When I asked what for, he simply said he was going to catch something.” Bruce turned back to Damian, but said nothing, simply happy in his son’s presence.
I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems (When I fall asleep)
The four of them reclined in the grass, staring up at the blanket of stars above them. The night had been full of hotdogs and junk-food, before smores and an open fire, and now they were finally resting. A joke between the older three made them laugh save for Damian who was gazing at the bright lights. Dick looked down and nudged him. “You alright kiddo? You look pretty deep in thought over there.” Jason and Tim expected a smart remark, but Damian simply asked,
“Did any of you ever dream of fireflies when you were younger?” The simple question stunned them into silence, and they looked at each other as they sat up; Damian followed in tow, looking at them. Dick was quiet and then he said,
“I didn’t dream about them…but I remember nights when I would go out with my parents and catch them.” A smile crossed Dick’s lips as he whispered, “My mother used to say that when they landed in your hand and blinked, they were giving you kisses.” The others snorted at his story, but he paid them no mind, instead turning to Damian. “Did you dream about them?”
“No. I was just asking.” Dick nodded and turned out to the backyard, suddenly pointing.
“Look! The fireflies are out!” They all stood up, watching them gather in the yard, small and blinking. Jason happened to turn and glance at Damian, then he nudged the others as he whispered,
“Is it just me? Or does two-bit look over the moon?” They all glanced over at Damian who had stepped a few feet forward and had his hands outstretched. Lightning bugs landed on his hands, and he was smiling. Dick grinned and held a finger to his lips murmuring,
“Let Damian be the innocent little kid he deserves to be…alright?” They nodded, still watching the small smiling boy holding fireflies without a care in the world.
I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
Something tickled his nose, and he opened his eyes looking up blearily. A million lights scattered across his vision, and suddenly everything was clear as he sat up straight in bed. The firefly that had landed on his nose took off and joined the rest, dancing across the air in free motions. Damian pulled the covers away from his body and stood up on his mattress, holding out his hands. “I thought you all had gone away,” He whispered. “You should have told me you were coming back.” They didn’t respond, they never did. But Damian knew they meant him well and he smiled at them. “Another night of dancing with lights I assume?” Again, there was no answer, but he didn’t mind. He sat on his bed, crossing his legs, and watched them in wonder, thinking to himself, that this was his dream, and it was by far the best he’d ever had.
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams
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The year that was...
Ten years ago, in December 2010, for the first time I wrote my reminiscences of the year. It was inspired by a short photo-blog that my friend Aditya J. wrote after his first few months in Seoul, where he had been sent onsite. Looking at my work over the past decade through my writings should have evoked in me some sort of emotional response, be it joy or disappointment or pride or despair or even disdain. I read through all the older posts (which, in total, came to around 10,000 words) and by the time I was done, there was a strange feeling of “Ok, fine, but never mind. What next?” It was not apathy, for I undertook most of those activities with genuine interest. It was also not dissatisfaction, because I’ve accomplished a fair deal in ten years given my limitations and circumstances. It was more an acceptance of what has happened without any sentimental coloring added to it. There was inexplicable sense of detachment; a feeling that these memoirs are those of a familiar character but not me.
When I started writing these end-of-the-year e-mails—initially to a small group of family and friends, and later online—there was a need for me to prove to the world that I was indeed doing something of value, especially given that I had quit a mainstream career and was pursuing my interests full-time. It was perhaps a plea, a boast, a shout that was aimed at bringing people’s attention to the fact that I was not wasting my life but actually doing something worthwhile. By the end of the following year, I seem to have realized that it was really pointless trying to prove anything to anybody. However, this cute little exercise in self-awareness was captivating for the sort of perspective it offered me. And I decided to write it again. And again. And again. For ten years on the trot. It is now aimed merely as self-reflection and I post it online simply because there are a few people who have shown interest in browsing through these yearly jottings of mine. Maybe there is yet a self-indulgent streak in me but I suppose this annual drill has a modicum of value.
In the grand—and painfully slow—process of the maturing of the mind, I found (to my utter surprise) that a few precepts that I had known in theory for several years seemed to be slowing blossoming into practice. More and more I moved towards my sva-dharma, my innate nature. I began refusing opportunities, staying away from certain people, avoiding particular institutions, putting a stop to certain activities – basically saying No! to anything that took me away from my natural temperament. I was also privy to several episodes in the lives of my friends where they suffered a great deal simply because they went against their fundamental nature. Only now do I truly understand what Krishna said in the Gita when he said, “The dharma of another is dangerous!” I also began realizing the value of being more inclusive and getting work done rather than trying to do everything myself. I ended up doing something that I had deemed impossible when I was a college freshman.
One accomplishment that I’m genuinely glad about this year is losing fifteen pounds (at least it sounds more than seven kilograms!) Mostly thanks to the persistence of my friend Shreesha and the good nature of people around me who allowed me to act whimsical with regard to food and pushed me to exercise. Another is the publication of the Bhagavad-Gita Audiobook, which appears as a series on Shaale. I had recorded this with Jurgen Nigli and Somsubhra Banerjee in 2015–16 but had somehow not found the time to edit and bring it out. I’ve started publishing it from Gita-Jayanti 2019 and it will run as a series with 20+ episodes (a new episode every Saturday).
This year I was involved with the production of quite a few books, the prominent ones being Art Gallery of Memories – Volumes 1, 2, 3 (by D V Gundappa), Evolution of the Mahabharata (by S R Ramaswamy) and Shiva Rama Krishna (by Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh). I designed a bunch of books and also worked on the digitization of portions of some Sanskrit texts. I made my Kannada writing debut with an essay I co-wrote with my friend Vikram for the anthology ‘ನಿರ್ಲಿಪ್ತಿ.’ I got a chance to present a few lectures and workshops through the course of the year for variegated audiences on different topics. I also attended two excellent workshops on Indian temple art and architecture.
My unfinished projects and failed schemes are, quite naturally, far more in number but I’ve learnt not to take those too seriously. One year’s failure is another year’s success. One year’s incompleteness is another year’s discretion. This became amply clear when upon the request of my colleague I prepared my curriculum vitae after a gap of seven years.
In April 2019—along with a group of friends—I completed reading the five-volume pièce de résistance of Bharat Ratna Pandurang Vaman Kane – History of Dharmaśāstra, which runs into some six thousand pages. The study group started in October 2016 and met once every week. We read fifty pages before every session and met every Wednesday night for a few hours, discussing the nuances with rich insights provided by all participants. I continue to be a part of several study groups with friends, which is really a wonderful way to spend ‘social time’ without feeling guilty for having wasted the hours and yet having a great deal of fun. As part of these study groups, I got the chance to read two classics – Macbeth and Parva. महापुरुषसंसर्गः कस्य नोन्नतिकारकः? (When has the company of a great person ever failed to elevate the lives of others?)
A few months after I finished reading the History of Dharmaśāstra, I had the golden opportunity to meet P V Kane’s grandson in Pune (along with my friends Kashyap and Raghavendra). He shared wonderful stories about his grandfather and was glad to hear about our study group that read the entire work from cover to cover. Sudha Murty, the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation had invited the Prekshaa team for dinner to her home and we had a great time interacting with her as well as with N R Narayana Murty and Rohan Murty about a variety of topics related to culture. Along with my friends Arjun and Kashyap, I had the great fortune of visiting Dr. S L Bhyrappa’s home twice this year.
I had the remarkable experience of encountering the works of two great artistes of our time: I saw a couple of dance concerts of Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, who is a phenomenon in the world of dance and culture. No music, no film, no drama can come anywhere close to watching her perform live. I say this as an ardent connoisseur of all these arts. I got the chance to see the paintings of Sri. G L N Simha and also meet him briefly. A most unassuming man, he has painted some of the finest works related to Indian traditional texts.
2019 was a year of meeting several friends (who don’t live in Bengaluru) and of making new friends. It was also a year of losing many elderly relatives and friends. We can’t avoid old age and death but we sure can prepare for it better.
As always, my year is incomplete without a certain amount of travelling. Apart from trips to Ajanta-Ellora, Belur-Halebidu, Chennai, Harihara, Hampi, Kanchipuram, Mysuru, Panjim, Pune, and other smaller towns and villages, I had the chance to visit two important pilgrim centers – Prayagraj for the Ardh-Kumbh Mela and Kanchipuram for the darshana of Atthi-varadar. Although I’m rather faithless in many ways, it was fascinating to see the devotion in millions of our people. It is rather discouraging when I come face to face with the truth that simple faith of the so-called ignorant masses is what keeps Sanatana-dharma alive and not the kind of stuff that I do. That said, I can’t not do what I do because my joy lies here :)
I look forward to 2020 with a hope to cultivate more focus, more stillness of mind. Can I be happier for longer? How can I be more mindful on a daily basis? Can I live with lesser? How can I best choose my projects? – these are the sort of questions I shall probably be grappling with through the year.
One more year has whizzed past. Perhaps I’m just getting used to the speed. Or perhaps I’m somewhat more confident of slowing down in the future. Who knows what’s in store! I smile as I look towards tomorrow.
Wishing you and your family a joy-filled, healthy, and prosperous new year!
PS: At the start of the year, India’s political situation was rather dicey. The country was going to have the once-in-five-years Lok Sabha elections. PM Narendra Modi had done a decent job during his first tenure (2014–19) and there was not a single leader in any party (including his own) who came close to him in terms of either integrity or skill in implementation. The opposition parties were threatening to unite across board with the sole agenda of defeating Modi. Inspired by what Dr. S L Bhyrappa told me and my friends when we met him in 2018, I called for a meeting of a few friends on Republic Day 2019. We all had the same goal: to get Modi re-elected in 2019. To ensure that we don’t have a hung parliament and to give another chance to a politician who had done something positive after ten long years of absolute corruption, deceit, and anti-nationalism, we wanted to work in our own humble way. Starting from that meeting on a warm Saturday afternoon, we went a long way in our campaign. It was entirely funded and run by volunteers who came together of their accord. What we did in terms of the details is unnecessary here but it came as a huge relief that Modi & co. stormed back into power in May 2019. The extraordinary work that they have done in the past six months makes me feel that everything we did during those early months of the year was worth it. Things are not perfect but at least we can be happy that the best people among the ones available to us have been elected to the highest offices of the country. I don’t know what value I added in the process but the process added a lot of value to me!