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#fat professor oak
staticnoises4 days ago
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one professor Samuel Oak
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thewidowsghosta month ago
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The Unknown Muggleborn - Chapter 5
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3rd Person POV
Harry would have never believed that he would hate anyone more than Dudley, but that was before he had met Draco Malfoy. Still, Gryffindors only had Potions with the Slytherins, so they didn't have to put up with Malfoy much. Or at least, they didn't until they spot a notice pinned up in the Gryffindor common room that makes them all groan. Flying lessons would be starting Thursday 鈥 and Gryffindor and Slytherin would be learn together.
"Typical," says Harry darkly. "Just what I always wanted, to make a fool of myself on a broomstick in front of Malfoy."
Harry and (Y/N) had been looking forward to learning to fly more than anything else.
"You don't know that you'll make a fool of yourself," says Ron reasonably. "Anyway, I know Malfoy's always going on about how good he is at Quidditch, but I bet that's all talk."
Malfoy certainly did talk about flying a lot. He complained loudly about first years never getting on the House Quidditch teams and told long, boastful stories that always seemed to end up with him narrowly escaping Muggles in helicopters. He wasn't the only one, though: the way Seamus Finnigan told it, he'd spent most of his childhood zooming around the countryside on his broomstick. Even Ron would tell anyone who'd listen about the time he'd almost hit Charlie's old broom. Everyone from wizarding families talked about Quidditch constantly. Ron had already had a big argument with Dean Thomas, who shared their dormitory, about soccer. Ron couldn't see what was exciting about a game with only one ball where no one was allowed to fly. (Y/N), who was tired of listening to the two argue, walks over and calms both Ron and Dean down, though when she turned away, Ron shot a glare at her that Hermione catches and glares straight back.
Neville had never been on a broomstick in his life, because his grandmother had never let him near one. Privately, (Y/N) though, she'd had good reason, because Neville had an awful lot of accidents, even with both feet on the ground.
Hermione was almost as nervous about flying as Neville was.
"Hermione, dear, this isn't something you can learn in a book," (Y/N) tells her nervous bushy, brown-headed sister. Though, it's not like she won't try, (Y/N) thinks. And she isn't wrong. At breakfast on Thursday, she bores them all stupid with flying tips she'd read out of a library book called, Quidditch Through the Ages. Neville is hanging onto every word, desperate for anything that might help him hang on to his broomstick later, but everyone else is pleased when Hermione's lecture is interrupted by the arrival of the mail.
A barn owl lands in front of (Y/n) and sticks it's leg out to her and (Y/n) unties the letter from the owl's leg.
(Y/n) opens the letter, reading:
Hey, (Y/N),
Good luck with flying lessons today. I hope you have an amazing time. One of my most favorite things about Hogwarts is Quidditch. See you,
F.W.
(Y/N) looks up again and nods to Fred, who had been watching her read the letter.
Another barn owl brings Neville a small package from his grandmother. (Y/N), startled by the large owl landing just in front of her, Neville was sitting beside her, drops the letter, and Hermione picks it up, handing it back to her green eyed sister.
"Thanks," (Y/N) says, smiling at Hermione before turning her attention back to Neville, who was opening his package. He pulls out a glass ball the size of a large marble, which seems to he full of white smoke.
"It's a Remembrall!" he explains. "Gran knows I forget things 鈥 this tells you if there's something you've forgotten to do." Look, you hold it tight like this and if it turns red 鈥 oh..." His face falls, because the Remembrall had suddenly glowed scarlet. "... you've forgotten something..."
Neville was trying to remember what he'd forgotten when Draco Malfoy, who was passing the Gryffindor table, snatches the Remembrall out of his hand. Harry and Ron, who were sitting beside Iliana, jump to their feet. They were half hoping for a reason to fight Malfoy, but Professor McGonagall, who could spot trouble quicker than any teacher in the school, was there in a flash.
"What's going on?" Professor McGonagall asks sternly.
"Malfoy's got my Remembrall, Professor," Neville says quickly.
Scowling, Malfoy quickly drops the Remembrall back onto the table. "Just looking," he says, and slops away with Crabbe and Goyle behind him.
"Neville, you've forgotten your robes," (Y/N) says, and Neville's eyes widen.
"I should have noticed that," Neville says, jumping to his feet. "Thanks, (Y/N)," he calls over his shoulder, heading to the Gryffindor dormitories, (Y/N) guesses.
At three-thirty that afternoon, (Y/N), Hermione, Harry, Ron and the other Gryffindors hurry down to the front stops onto the ground for their first flying lesson. It's a clear, breezy day, and the grass ripples under their feet as they march down to the sloping lawns toward a smooth, flat lawn on the opposite side of the grounds to the forbidden forest, who's trees were swaying darkly in the distance.
The Slytherins were already there, and so were twenty broomsticks lying in neat lines on the ground. (Y/N) had heard Fred and George complain about the school brooms, saying that some of them started to vibrate if you flew too high, or always flew slightly to the left.
Their teacher, madam Hooch, arrives. She has short, gray hair, and yellow eyes like a hawk.
"Well, what are you all waiting for?" she barks. "Everyone stand by a broomstick. Come on, hurry up!"
(Y/N) glances down at her broom, it was old and some of the twigs were sticking down at odd angles.
"Stick out your right hand over your broom," calls Madam Hooch at the front, "and say 'Up!'"
"UP!" everyone shouts.
(Y/N) and Harry's brooms jump into their hands at once, but they were some of the only ones that did. Hermione's broom had simply rolled over on the ground, and Neville's hadn't moved at all. Perhaps brooms, like horses, could tell when you were afraid, thinks Harry; there was a quaver in Neville's voice that said only to clearly that he wanted to keep his feet on the ground.
Madam Hooch then shows the first-years how to mount their brooms without sliding off the end, and walks up and down the rows correcting their grips. Harry, Ron, and (Y/N) are delighted when she tells Malfoy that he'd been doing it wrong for years.
"Now, when I blow my whistle, you kick off from the ground, hard," says Madam Hooch. "Keep your brooms steady, rise a few feet, and then come straight back down by leaning forward slightly. On my whistle 鈥 three 鈥 two 鈥"
Neville, nervous and jumpy and frightened of being left on the ground, pushes off hard before the whistle had even touched Madam Hooch's lips.
"Come back, boy!" she shouts, but Neville is rising straight up like a cork being shot out of a bottle 鈥 twelve feet 鈥 twenty feet. (Y/N) could see his scared white face look down and his broom carries him over near the wall, Neville gasps, and slips sideways off the broom, his newly found robes catching on a metal rod, before tearing and 鈥
WHAM 鈥 a thud and a nasty crack and Neville is lying face down on the grass in a heap. His broomstick still rising higher and higher, and starting to drift lazily towards the Forbidden Forest and out of sight.
Madam Hooch was bending over Neville, her face as white as his.
"Broken wrist," Harry and (Y/N) hear her mutter, and the two first-year's gazes meet, both sets of green eyes wide. "Come on, boy 鈥 it's alright, up you get." She turns to the rest of the class. "None of you move while I take this boy to the hospital wing! You leave those brooms where they are or you'll be out of Hogwarts before you can say 'Quidditch.' Come on, dear."
Neville, his face tear-streaked, clutching his wrist, hobbles off with Madam Hooch, who had her arm around him.
No sooner were they out of earshot than Malfoy bursts into laughter. "Did you see his face, the great lump?"
The other Slytherins join in.
"Shut up, Malfoy," snap Parvati Patil.
"Ooh, sticking up for Longbottom?" says Pansy Parkinson, a hard-faced Slytherin girl. "Never thought you'd like fat little crybabies, Parvati."
"Look!" says Malfoy, darting forwards and snatching something out of the grass. "It's that stupid thing Longbottom's gran sent him."
The Remembrall glittered in the sun as he held it up.
"Give that here, Malfoy," said (Y/N) quietly. Everyone stopped talking to watch. (Y/N)'s usually green eyes flash silver, and Malfoy looks nervous for a second before he smiles nastily.
"I think I'll leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find 鈥 how about 鈥 up a tree?" Malfoy says.
"Give it here!" Harry yells, stepping up to stand beside (Y/N), but Malfoy leaps onto his broomstick, and takes off. Malfoy hadn't been lying, he could fly, and well. Hovering level with the topmost branches of an oak he calls, "Come and get it Potter, Mudblood!"
At Malfoy's final word, all the Gryffindors gasp, and even some of the Slytherins share wide eyed looks. (Y/N) snaps, she grabs her broom, Harry grabbing his.
"No!" shouts Hermione, "Madam Hooch told us no to move 鈥 you'll get us all into trouble." (Y/N) silver eyes pass over her.
Harry ignores Hermione, blood pounding in his and (Y/N)'s ears. The two first-years mount their brooms, and in unison, kick hard against the ground and up, up, up they soar; air rushing though their hair, and robes whipping behind them. Harry 鈥 in a rush of fierce joy, realizes they he'd found something he could do without being taught 鈥 this was easy, this was wonderful. (Y/N) and Harry pull their broomsticks up a little to take them higher, and they hear screams and gasps from the students back on the ground and an admiring whoop from Ron.
The two turn their broomsticks sharply to face Malfoy in midair, and Malfoy looks stunned.
"Give it here," Harry calls, "or I'll knock you off that broom!"
"Oh, yeah?" says Malfoy, trying to sneer, but looking worried. Harry knew, somehow, what to do. He leaned forward and grasped the broom tightly in both hands, and it shot toward Malfoy like a javelin. Malfoy only just got out of the way in time; Harry made a sharp about-face and held the broom steady, his green eyes meeting silver just over Malfoy's shoulder. A few people below were clapping.
"No Crabbe and Goyle up here to save your neck, Malfoy," (Y/N) calls coldly.
The same thought seems to have struck Malfoy.
"Catch it if you can, then!" he shouts, and he throws the glass ball high into the air and streaks back towards the ground.
(Y/N) sees, as if in slow motion, the ball rise up in the air then start to fall. She whips around, leaning forwards, her broom handle down 鈥 next second, she was gathering speed in a very steep dive, racing the ball 鈥 wind whistling in her ears mingled with the screams of the people watching 鈥 she stretches out her hand 鈥 six inches from the ground she catches it, throwing the ball back to Harry who was diving down just above her. Harry catches the ball, and topples gently onto the grass with the Remembrall clutched safely in his fist, though (Y/N) didn't have such a gentle landing. Going to pull her broom up, the handle, understandably six inches from the ground, catches on a patch of grass, and the (H/C) haired girl tumbled off her broom, rolling a couple of feet, before stopping, and jumping to her feet. Combing her hair out of her face, (Y/N) eyes, returning back green, sees all the people looking at her in shock.
"HARRY POTTER! (Y/N) (L/N)!"
Harry's heart sinks faster than (Y/N) had just dived. Professor McGonagall was running towards them. (Y/N) walks over to Harry, and pulls him to his feet, and the (H/C) hair girl looks at her teacher, her eyes returning to a soft silver.
"Never 鈥 in all my time at Hogwarts 鈥" Professor McGonagall was almost speechless with shock and her glasses flash furiously, " - how dare you 鈥 might have broken your necks鈥"
"Actually, Professor, that would have been me," (Y/N) couldn't help but saying, before slapping her hand over her own mouth. Hermione gasps in shock at her sister's comment and Professor McGonagall looks down at (Y/n), her eyes wide.
"It wasn't their fault, Professor 鈥"
"Be quiet, Miss Patil 鈥" Professor McGonagall snaps at Parvati.
"But Malfoy 鈥" Ron tries to say.
"That's enough, Mr. Weasley. Potter, (L/N), follow me, now." McGonagall snaps.
Harry catches sight of Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle's triumphant faces as the three leave, and (Y/N) catches the eyes of her three best friends' gazes, all three terrified. Harry and (Y/N) walk numbly in Professor McGonagall's wake as she strides towards the castle. They were going to be expelled, Harry and (Y/N) knew it. Harry wants to say something to defend himself, but there seemed to be something wrong with his voice. Professor McGonagall is sweeping along without even looking at them, (Y/N) and Harry's gazes meet for a moment, and they walk up the marble staircase inside, and Professor McGonagall still hasn't said a word to them. She wrenches open doors and marches along corridors with Harry and (Y/N) trotting miserably behind her. Maybe she was taking them to Dumbledore. Harry thinks of Hagrid, expelled but still allowed to stay on as gamekeeper. Perhaps Harry could be Hagrid's assistant, his stomach twists as he imagines it, watching Ron and the other becoming wizards while he stumps around the grounds carrying Hagrid's bag.
(Y/n) thinks of Hermione, Mr. and Mrs. Granger, her family, the three who had taken her in . . . What would they think of her now?
Finally, Professor McGonagall stops outside a classroom. She opens the door, and pokes her head inside. "Excuse me, Professor Flitwick, could I borrow Wood for a moment?"
Wood? thinks Harry, bewildered; was Wood a can she was going to use on them?
But Wood turns out to be a person, a burly fifth-year boy who comes out of Flitwick's class, looking confused.
"Follow me, you three," says Professor McGonagall, and they march down the corridor, Wood looking curiously at Harry and (Y/N).
"In here," McGonagall says, and the three students walk into the classroom.
"Peeves, can you leave?" (Y/N) asks, and the poltergeist look at her, before quietly leaving the room. She turns around, "What?" she asks, as the other three were looking at her strangely.
"Anyway, Potter, (L/N), this is Oliver Wood. Wood 鈥 I've found you a Seeker and a Chaser."
Wood's expression changes from puzzlement to delight.
"Are you serious, Professor?" Wood exclaims.
"Absolutely," says Professor McGonagall crisply. "They're both naturals, I've never seen anything like it. Was that your first time on a broomstick?"
The two nod silently, Harry didn't have a clue what was going on, but they didn't seem to be getting expelled, and some of the feeling had started coming back to his legs.
"She caught that thing in her hand after a fifty-foot dive," Professor McGonagall tells Wood. "Charlie Weasley couldn't have done it. And Potter here caught that thing from a 45 foot throw."
Wood was now looking as all his dreams had come true at once.
"Ever seen a game of Quidditch, Potter? (L/N)?" he asks excitedly.
"Wood's the captain of the Gryffindor team." Professor McGonagall explains.
"She's just the build for a Seeker, too," says Wood, now walking around (Y/N) and staring at her. "Light 鈥 speedy 鈥 we'll have to get them decent brooms, Professor 鈥 Nimbus Two Thousands or Cleansweep Sevens, I'd say."
"I shall speak to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can't bend the first-year rule. Heaven knows, we need a better team than last year. Flattened in that last match by Slytherin, I couldn't look Severus Snape in the face for weeks..."
Professor McGonagall peers sternly over her glasses at Harry and (Y/N), "I want to hear you're training hard, Potter, (L/N), or I may change my mind about punishing you two." The she smiles, turning to Harry saying, "You're father would have been proud, Potter," she says, "He was an excellent Quidditch player himself."
"You're joking!"
It was now dinner time, Harry is telling Ron what happened when he and (Y/n) had left the grounds with Professor McGonagall. Ron had a piece of kidney pie halfway to his mouth, but he'd forgotten all about it.
"Chaser?" he says. "But first years never 鈥 you must be the youngest house play in about 鈥"
"- a century," says Harry, shoveling pie into his mouth. He was feeling particularly hungry after the excitement of the afternoon. "Wood told me."
Ron was so amazed, so impressed, he just sits and gapes at Harry.
"We start training next week," says Harry. "Only, don't tell anyone, Wood wants to keep it a secret."
Fred and George Weasley come into the hall, spot Harry, and hurry over.
"Well done," says George in a low voice. "Wood just told us. We're on the team too 鈥 Beaters."
"I tell you, we're going to win that Quidditch Cup for sure this year," says Fred. "We haven't won since Charlie left, but this year's team is going to be brilliant. You and (Y/N) must be good, Harry, Wood was almost skipping when he told us."
"Anyway we've got to go, Lee Jordan reckons he's found a new secret passageway out of the school," George says.
"Bet it's that one behind the statue of Gregory the Smarmy that we found in our first week, see you," Fred says, and they walk away.
Fred and George had hardly disappeared when someone far less welcome turns up: Malfoy, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle.
"Having a last mean, Potter? When are you getting on the train back to the Muggles? I haven't seen Mudblood (L/N), so I assume she's already back home?"
"You're a lot braver not that you're back on the ground and you've got your little friends with you," says Harry coolly. There was of course nothing at all little about Crabbe and Goyle, but as the High Table was full of teachers, neither of them could do more than crack their knuckles and scowl.
"I'd take you on anytime on my own," says Malfoy. "Tonight, if you want. Wizard's duel. Wands only 鈥 no contact. What's the matter? Never heard of a wizard's duel before, I suppose?"
"Of course he has," says Ron, wheeling around. "I'm his second, who's yours?"
Malfoy looks at Crabbe and Goyle, sizing them up.
"Crabbe," he says. "Midnight all right? We'll meet you in the trophy room; that's always unlocked."
When Malfoy leaves, Ron and Harry look at each other.
"What is a wizard's duel?" says Harry. "And what do you mean, you're my second?"
Well, a second's there to take over if you die," says Ron casually, starting at last on his cold pie. Catching the look on Harry's face, he adds quickly, "But people only die in proper duels, you know, with real wizards. The most you and Malfoy'll be able to do is send sparks at each other. Neither of you knows enough magic to do any real damage. I bet he expected you to refuse, anyway."
"And what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?" Harry asks.
"Throw it away and punch him on the nose," Ron suggests.
"Excuse me." Harry and Ron look up to see Hermione, with Thora and Iliana at her shoulder.
"Can't a person eat in peace in this place?" says Ron.
Hermione ignores him and speaks to Harry. "I couldn't help overhearing what you and Malfoy were saying 鈥"
"Bet you could," Ron mutters.
" 鈥 and you mustn't go wandering around the school at night, think of the point you'll lose Gryffindor if you're caught, and you're bound to be. It's really very selfish of you."
"And it's really none of your business," says Harry.
"Have you seen (Y/N)?" Hermione asks, her voice suddenly sounding worried. "I haven't seen her since she went off with you and Professor McGonagall," she says.
"Nope, good-bye," Ron says, then walk away.
(Y/N)'s POV 鈥 While others are at dinner
After Professor McGonagall dismissed us after talking with Wood, I return to the Gryffindor Common Room. I run up to my dormitory, and grab my copy of, Hogwarts, a History, sitting down on my bed; I flip to the chapter about Muggleborns. As I read, I start feeling really sad. "Muggleborns," I read, "are also called Mudbloods by Purebloods. The term, Mudblood refers to a witch or wizard with non-magical parents, Muggleborns, that have 'filthy blood' or Mudblood."
I stare down at the page for a moment, before shutting the book, and throwing it back in my trunk.
I run my hand through my messy hair and then make my way downstairs, a different book on alchemy I had picked up in the library the day before.
3rd Person POV
Hermione wanders up to the Common Room to find (Y/n) sitting in a sofa by the fireplace.
"Where'd you run off to?" Hermione asks, sitting down beside her sister.
"I was reading," (Y/n) says simply, avoiding Hermione's brown eyes.
"What's wrong?" Hermione says.
"I feel like you'd be mad at me for joining the Quidditch team," (Y/n) confesses softly.
"Of course I'm not mad at you," Hermione says, and (Y/n) looks up and into the brunette's eyes.
"You don't like people breaking the rules though," (Y/n) argues, her voice soft.
"Yeah well, that prat needed to be put in his place," Hermione says and a smile spreads across (Y/n)'s face. "And anyway, I couldn't be mad at you if I tried."
"Aww, I love you too, 'Mione," (Y/n) says, wrapping her sister in a tight hug.
Hermione pokes her sister's back. "(Y/n). Need. Breathe."
(Y/n) quickly lets go, her smile turning slightly sheepish, "Ha, sorry. I'm glad you're not mad though. I can't wait for training to start," (Y/n) says excitedly, grabbing Quidditch Through the Ages from in front of her, and flipping to the chapter on Seekers.
"You always get excited when you start a new sport," Hermione teases, smiling happily at her sister's excitement.
"Did you know Harry and Ron are meet up with Malfoy at midnight," Hermione says and (Y/n) looks up from her book.
"Sounds like an adventure," (Y/n) her green eyes sparkling with excitement.
"We should try to stop them," Hermione says.
"I guess you're right," (Y/n) agrees. "It's 9:00 now, Hermione, wake me up at 11:00. I'm exhausted," (Y/n) stifles a yawn.
Hermione smiles, "Sure thing."
(Y/n) gathers up all her books and jogs up the stairs to her dormitory. She sets them on her nightstand, jumps into bed - Marvel jumping up after - and pulls the covers over herself and her cat.
Two hours later, Hermione comes and wakes (Y/n) up. (Y/n) pulls on a pair of jeans, a (F/c) colored shirt, and a pair of black and white Converses.
Before hurrying downstairs with Hermione, (Y/n) grabs her Alder wand and walks downstairs.
Meanwhile . . .
"Half-past eleven," Ron whispers to Harry up in the boy's dormitory, "we'd better go."
The two boys pull on their bathrobes, pick up their wands, and creep across their dormitory, down the spiral staircase, and into the common room. A few embers were still glowing in the fireplace, turning all the armchairs into hunched black shadows. The boys had almost reached the Portrait Hole when a voice speaks from the chair nearest them, "I can't believe you're going to do this, Harry."
The two boys turn around to see a figure - Hermione - wearing a pink bathrobe, and a frown.
"You!" shoots Ron furiously. "Go back to bed!"
"She's right you know," comes a quiet voice. With a flick of her wand, the tip alights. The tall, lean figure stands up and the boys see (Y/n).
"Ugh," Ron complains and one of (Y/n)'s (H/c) eyebrows raises. "There's two of them."
"I almost told your brother," Hermione snaps, the boys' attention turning back to her. "Percy - he's a prefect, he'd put a stop to this."
Harry couldn't believe that any two people could be so interfering.
"Come on," Harry tells Ron. He pushes open the portrait of the Fat Lady, and climbs through the hole.
Hermione and (Y/n) weren't going to get up that easily though. The two sisters follow Ron through the Portrait Hole, Hermione hissing like an angry goose.
"Don't you care about Gryffindor? Do you only care about yourselves? I don't want Slytherin to win the House Cup! You'll loose all the points (Y/n) and I got for learning about switching spells," Hermione hisses.
"Nox," (Y/n) murmurs, her wand tip distinguishing.
"Go away," Harry snaps.
"All right, but we warned you, you just remember what I said when you're on the train home tomorrow, you're so 鈥" Hermione is cut off.
But what Harry and Ron were, they didn't find out. Hermione had turned to the portrait of the Fat Lady to get back inside and found herself facing an empty painting. The Fat Lady had gone on a nighttime visit and Hermione and (Y/n) were locked out of Gryffindor Tower.
"Now what are we going to do?" Hermione asks shrilly.
"That's your problem," snaps Ron. "We've got to go. We're going to be late."
Harry and Ron hadn't even reached the end of the hall when Hermione and (Y/n) catch up with them.
"We're coming with you," (Y/n) says, her wand still out.
"You are not," Ron snaps.
"If you're dueling someone, don't you think you'd like someone who knows defensive magic?" (Y/n) asks.
"And d'you think we're going to stand out here and wait for Filch to catch us? If he finds all four of us, I'll tell him the truth, that we were trying to stop you, and you can back us up," Hermione adds.
"You two've got some nerve -" says Ron loudly.
"Shut up, both of you!" (Y/n) says sharply. 聽"I heard something," she says, hearing a sort of snuffling.
"Mrs. Norris?" breathes Ron, squinting through the dark.
"Lumos," (Y/N) whispers, her wand tip alighting for the second time that night.
It wasn't Mrs. Norris.
It was Neville, curled up on the floor, fast asleep, but jerks awake as they creep closer.
"Thank goodness you've found me! I've been out here for hours, I couldn't remember the password to get into bed," Neville says as (Y/n) helps Neville to his feet.
"Keep your voice down, Neville. The password's 'Pig snout' but it won't help you now, the Fat Lady's gone off somewhere." Ron whispers.
"How's your arm?" asks Harry.
"Fine," answers Neville, showing them. "Madam Pomfrey mended it in about a minute."
"Good 鈥 well, look, Neville, we've got to be somewhere, we'll see you later 鈥" Harry says.
"Don't leave me!" says Neville, "I don't want to stay here alone, the Bloody Baron's been past twice already."
Ron looked at his watch and then glared furiously at Hermione, Neville, and (Y/n). "If any of you get us caught, I'll never rest until I've learned that Curse of the Bogies Quirrell told us about, and used it on you."
(Y/n) levels her wand in warning, and Hermione opens her mouth - probably about to tell Ron exactly how to use the Curse of the Bogies, but Harry hisses at her to be quiet and beckons them all forward, and (Y/n) distinguishes her wand light again.
They flit along corridors striped with bars of moonlight from the high windows. At every turn Harry expects to run into Filch or Mrs. Norris, but they were lucky. They speed up a staircase to the third floor and tiptoe towards the trophy room.
Malfoy and Crabbe weren't there yet. The crystal trophy cases glimmer where the moonlight catches them. Cups, shields, plates, and statues wink silver and gold in the darkness. They edge along the walls, keeping their eyes on the doors at either end of the room. Harry takes out his wand in case Malfoy leaps in and starts at once, the minutes crept by.
"He's late, maybe he's chickened out," Ron whispers.
Then a noise in the next room makes them jump. Harry had only just raised his wand when they heard someone speak 鈥 and it wasn't Malfoy.
"Sniff around, my sweet, they might be lurking in a corner." It was Filch speaking to Mrs. Norris.
Horror-struck, Harry waves madly at the other four to follow him as quickly as possible; they scurry silently towards the door, away from Filch's voice. Neville's robes had barley whipped around the corner when they hear Filch enter the trophy room.
"They're in here somewhere," they hear him mutter, "probably hiding."
"This way!" (Y/N) mouths to the others, and petrified, they begin to creep down a long gallery full of suites of armor, and they could hear Filch getting nearer. Neville suddenly lets out a frightened squeak and breaks into a run 鈥 he trips, grabs Ron around the waist, and the pair of them topples right into a suit of armor.
The clanging and crashing were enough to wake the whole castle.
"RUN!" Harry yells, and the five of them sprint down the gallery, not looking back to see whether Filch was following 鈥 they swing around the doorpost and gallop down one corridor then another, (Y/N) in the lead, without any idea where they were or where they were going 鈥 they rip through a tapestry and find themselves in a hidden passageway, hurtle along it and come out near their Charms classroom, which they knew was miles from the trophy room.
"I think we've lost him," Harry pants, leaning against the cold wall and wiping his forehead. Neville was bent double, wheezing and spluttering.
"We 鈥 told 鈥 you," Hermione gasps, clutching at the stitch in her chest, "we 鈥 told 鈥 you."
"We've got to get back to Gryffindor Tower," pants Ron, "quickly as possible."
"Malfoy tricked you," (Y/N) says, not out of breath at all from being on a cross-country team the past summer. "You realize that don't you? He was never going to meet you 鈥 Filch knew someone was going to be in the trophy room, Malfoy must have tipped him off."
Harry thinks she was probably right, but he wasn't going to tell her that.
"Let's go."
It wasn't going to be that simple. They hadn't gone more than a dozen paces when a doorknob rattles and something comes shooting out of a classroom in front of them.
It was Peeves. He catches sight of them and gives a squeal of delight.
"Shut up, Peeves 鈥 please 鈥 you'll get us thrown out."
Peeves cackles. "Wandering around at midnight, Ickle Firsties? Tut, tut, tut. Naughty, naughty, you'll get caughty."
"Not if you don't give us away, Peeves, please."
"Should tell Filch, I should," says Peeves in a sanity voice, but his eyes glitter wickedly. "It's for your own good, you know."
"Get out of the way," snaps Ron, taking a swipe at Peeves 鈥攖his was a big mistake.
"STUDENTS OUT OF BED!" Peeves bellows, "STUDENTS OUT OF BED DOWN THE CHARMS CORRIDOR!"
Ducking under Peeves, they run for their lives, right to the end of the corridor where they slam into a door 鈥 and it's locked.
"This is it!" Ron moans, as they push helplessly at the door, "We're done for! This is the end!"
They could hear footsteps, Filch running as fast as he could towards Peeves's shouts.
"Oh, move over," (Y/N) snarls, her eyes a bright silver. Tapping the lock with her wand, she whispers, "Alohomora!"
The lock clicks and the door swings over 鈥 they pile through it, shut it quickly, and press their ears against it, listening.
"Which way did they go, Peeves?" Filch says. "Quick, tell me."
"Say 'please.' "
"Don't mess with me, Peeves, now where did they go?"
"Shan't say nothing if you don't say please," says Peeves in his annoying singsong voice.
"All right 鈥 please."
"NOTHING! Ha haaa! Told you I wouldn't say nothing if you didn't say please! Ha ha! Haaaaaa!" And they hear the sound of Peeves whooshing away and Filch cursing in rage.
"He thinks this door is locked," whispers Harry. "I think we'll be okay 鈥 get off, Neville!" For Neville had been tugging the sleeve of Harry's bathrobe for the last minute. "What?"
Harry turns around 鈥 and sees, quite clearly, what. For a moment, he was sure they'd walked into a nightmare 鈥 this was too much, on top of everything that had happened so far. They weren't in a room, as he had supposed. They were in a corridor. The forbidden corridor on the third floor. And now they knew why it was forbidden.
They were looking into the eyes of a monstrous dog, a dog that fills the whole space between ceiling and floor, a dog with three heads. Three pairs of rolling, mad eyes; three noses, twitching and quivering in their direction; three drooling mouths, saliva hanging in slippery ropes from yellowish fangs.
It's standing still, all six eyes staring at them, and Harry knows that the only reason that they weren't already dead was that their sudden appearance had taken it by surprise, but it was quickly getting over that, there was no mistaking what those thunderous growls mean.
Harry gropes for the doorknob 鈥 between Filch and death, he'd take Filch.
They fall backward 鈥 (Y/N) slamming the door shut, and they run, almost fly, back down the corridor. Filch must have already hurried off to look for them somewhere else, because they didn't see him anywhere, but they hardly cared 鈥 all they wanted to do is put as much space between them and that monster. They didn't stop running until they reached the Fat Lady's portrait on the seventh floor.
"Where on earth have you all been?" she asks, looking at their bathrobes handing off their shoulders and their flushed, sweaty faces.
"Never mind that 鈥 pig snout, pig snout," pants Harry and the portrait swings forward. They scramble into the common room and collapse, trembling, into armchairs.
It was a while before any of them say anything, Neville, looking as though he'd never speak again.
"What do they think they're doing, keeping a thing like that locked up in a school?" asks Ron finally. "If any dog need exercise, that one does."
Hermione and (Y/N) had gotten their breaths back, and Hermione's bad temper was back again.
"You don't use your eyes, any of you, do you?" (Y/N) snaps. "Didn't you see what it was standing on?"
"The floor?" Harry suggests. "I wasn't looking at its feet, I was too busy with its heads."
"No, not the floor," Hermione says, looking exasperated. "It was standing on a trapdoor. It's obviously guarding something." The two girls stand up, glaring at them.
"I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could have all been killed 鈥 or worse, expelled. Now, if you don't mind, we're going to bed."
Ron stares after them, his mouth open. "No, we don't mind," he says. "You'd think we dragged them along, wouldn't you?"
But Hermione and (Y/n) had given Harry something else to think about as he climbs back into bed. The dog was guarding something... What had Hagrid said? Gringotts was the safest place to world for something you wanted to hide 鈥 except perhaps, Hogwarts.
It looked as though Harry had found out where the grubby little package from vault seven hundred and thirteen was being kept. 聽
Malfoy couldn't believe his eyes when he sees Harry and Ron still at Hogwarts the next day, looking tired but perfectly cheerful. Indeed, by the next morning Harry and Ron thought that meeting the three-headed dog had been an excellent adventure, and they were quite keen to have another one. In the meantime, Harry fills Ron in about the package that seemed to have been moved from Gringotts to Hogwarts, and they spend a lot of time wondering what could possibly need such heavy protection.
"It's either really valuable or really dangerous," says Ron.
"Or both," says Harry
But as all they knew for sure about the mysterious object was that it was about two inches long, they didn't have much chance of guessing what it was without further clues.
Neither Neville, (Y/n), nor Hermione show the slightest interest in finding out what the dog was guarding, or what lay underneath the trapdoor. All Neville cares about is never going near the dog again.
Hermione was now refusing to speak to Harry and Ron, but she was such bossy know-it-all that they see this as an added bonus. All thy really want now is a way to get back at Malfoy, and to their great delight, just such a thing arrives in the mail about a week later.
As the owls flood into the Great Hall as usual, everyone's attention is caught at once by two long, thing packages carried by six large screech owls each. Harry is just as interested as everyone else to see what is in this large parcel, and is amazed when the owls soar down, dropping one of the parcels in front of him, and the other in front of (Y/N). They had hardly fluttered out of the way when another owl drops a letter on top each of the parcels.
(Y/n) and Hermione exchange looks and (Y/n) rips open the letter.
It reads:
DO NOT OPEN THE PARCEL AT THE TABLE.
It contains your new Nimbus Two Thousand, but I don't want everybody knowing you've got a broomstick or they'll all want one. Oliver Wood will meet you and Potter tonight on the Quidditch field at seven o'clock for your first training session.
Professor M. McGonagall
Stunned, (Y/n) hands the letter to her sister, who then jumps up from the table, knocking her bacon to the floor.
"Let's go open it," Hermione says, pulling (Y/n) excitedly to her feet.
"Jeez 'Mione, I'm supposed to be the excited one," (Y/n) says with a laugh.
The two head out of the hall.
"Well, it's true," the two hear Harry chortle as they reach the top of the marble staircase. "If he hadn't stolen Neville's Remembrall, I wouldn't be on the team..."
"So I suppose you think that's a reward for breaking rules?" the two boys turn to see the two walking up the stairs, (Y/n) standing sheepishly behind Hermione, clutching her wrapped broomstick.
"I thought you weren't speaking to us?" asks Harry.
"Yes, don't stop now," says Ron, and (Y/n)'s eyes flash silver. "It's doing us so much good."
Hermione marches away, her nose in the air, and (Y/n) follows.
(Y/n) has a hard time keeping her mind on her lessons that day. It keeps wandering up to the dormitory where her new broomstick is, lying on top of her trunk at the foot of her bed, or straying toe the Quidditch fields where she'd be learning to play that night. She bolts down her dinner that evening, and rushes upstairs to unwrap her broomstick with Hermione.
"Wow!" (Y/n) breathes as the broomstick rolls onto her bed.
The Nimbus Two Thousand is sleek and shiny, with a mahogany handle, a long tail of neat, straight twigs, and Nimbus Two Thousand written in gold near the top.
As seven o'clock draws nearer, Harry and (Y/n) leave the castle together, crossing the grounds. The two had never been in the stadium before. Hundred of seats raised around the field so that the spectators were high enough to see what was going on. At either end of the field were three golden poles with hoops on the end. They kind of remind (Y/n) of the little plastic sticks she blew bubbles through with Hermione when they were younger.
"Race me?" (Y/n) asks Harry, eager to fly again. Also eager, Harry nods and the two mount their brooms, kicking off from the ground.
Lying flat on her broomstick, the pulls a couple of feet ahead of Harry. The Nimbus Two Thousands turned wherever they wanted at their lightest touches.
"Hey, Potter, (L/n), come down!" Oliver Wood had arrived, and he's carrying a large wooden crate under his arm. Harry and (Y/n) land beside him.
People at Hogwarts seemed to disregard (Y/n)'s hyphenated last name, and (Y/n) had gotten tired of correcting everyone multiple times everyday.
"Very nice," says Wood, his eyes glinting. "I see what McGonagall meant... you two really are naturals. I'm just going to teach you the rules this evening, then you'll be joining team practice three times a week."
He opens the crate, and inside are four different-sized balls.
"Right," says Wood. "Now, Quidditch is easy enough to understand, even if it's not too easy to play. There are seven players on each side. Three of them are called Chasers, Harry, you're one."
"Three Chasers," Harry and (Y/N) say in unison as Wood takes out a bright red ball about the size of a soccer ball.
"This ball's called the Quaffle," continues Wood. "The Chasers throw the Quaffle to each other and try to get it through one of the hoops to score a goal. Ten points ever time the Quaffle goes through one of the hoops. Follow me?"
"Me and the other chasers throw the Quaffle and put it through the hoops to score," Harry recites.
"Hmm, remind me of basketball," (Y/N) says, and Oliver looks curiously at her.
"What's basketball?" asks Wood curiously.
"Never mind," (Y/N) says quickly.
"Now, there's another player on each side who's called the Keeper 鈥 I'm Keeper for Gryffindor. I have to fly around our hoops and stop the other team from scoring."
"Three Chasers, one Keeper," says (Y/N), determined to remember everything. "And they play with the Quaffle."
"What are they for?" Harry asks, pointing at the three balls still left inside the box.
"I'll show you now," answers Wood. "Take this," he continues, handing (Y/N) a small club, a bit like a short baseball bat.
"I'm going to show you two what the Bludgers do," Wood says. "These two are the Bludgers."
He shows the two first-years two identical balls, jet black and slightly smaller then the red Quaffle. (Y/N) notices that they seem to be straining to escape the straps holding them inside the box.
"Stand back," Oliver warns Harry and (Y/N). He bends down and frees one of the Bludgers.
At once, the black ball rises high in the air and them pelts straight at (Y/N)'s face. (Y/N) swings at it with the bat to stop it from breaking her nose, there is a slight crack as the Bludger spirals away from her, zigzagging away into the air 鈥 zooming around their heads and then shoots at Wood, who dives on top of it and manages to pin it to the ground.
"See?" Wood pants, forcing the struggling Bludger back into the crate and strapping it down safely. "The Bludgers rocket around, trying to knock players off their brooms. That's why we have two Beaters on each team 鈥 the Weasley twins are ours 鈥 it's their job to protect their side from the Bludgers and try to knock them towards the other team. So 鈥 think you've got all that?"
"Three Chasers try to score with the Quaffle," Harry begins.
"The Keeper guards the goal posts, and the Beaters keep the Bludgers away from their team," (Y/N) finishes.
"Very good," Oliver says, smiling.
"Er 鈥 have the Bludgers ever killed anyone?" Harry asks, hoping he sounds offhand.
"Never at Hogwarts. Though we've had a couple of broken jaws but nothing worse than that. Now, the last member of the team is the Seeker 鈥 that's (Y/N) 鈥 and you don't have to worry about the Quaffle or the Bludgers 鈥 "
"- unless they crack my head open," (Y/N) mutters.
"Don't worry, the Weasleys are more than a match for the Bludgers - I mean, they're like a pair of human Bludgers themselves."
Wood reaches into the crate and takes out the fourth and last ball. Comparing it to the Quaffle and the Bludgers, it was tiny, about the size of a golf ball. It's bright gold and has tiny fluttering silver wings.
"This," says Wood, "is the Golden Snitch, and it's the most important ball of the lot. It's the Seeker's job to catch it. You've got to weave in and out of the Chasers, Beaters, Bludgers, and Quaffle to get it before the other team's Seeker, because whichever Seeker catches the Snitch wins their team an extra hundred and fifty points, so they nearly always win. That's why Seekers get fouled so much. A game isn't over until the Seeker catches the Snitch, so it can go on for ages 鈥 I think the record is three months, they had to keep bringing on substitutes so the players could get some sleep."
"Well, that's it 鈥 any questions?" Wood asks, and the two first-years shake their heads no. They understand what they had to do, it was just doing it was going to be the problem.
"We won't practice with the Snitch yet," says Wood, carefully shutting it back inside the crate, "it's too dark, we might lose it. Let's try you two out with a couple of these.
He pulls out a bag of golf balls out of his pocket and a few minutes, he, (Y/N), and Harry are up in the air, Wood throwing the golf balls as hard as he can in every direction for the two to catch.
They didn't miss a single one, and Wood is delighted. After half an hour, night had fallen and they couldn't carry on.
"That Quidditch Cup'll have our name on it this year," says Wood happily as they trudge back up to the castle. "I wouldn't be surprised if you turn out better the Charlie Weasley, (Y/n), and he could have played for England if he hadn't gone off chasing dragons."
Word Count: 7632 words
So yeah, here's Chapter 5 . . .
Chapter 6 should be out soon
See y'all!
Love,
聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 Kaitlynn 鉂わ笍馃槏
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doloroushaz34 months ago
Text
A Sorry Grrl
A couple of brazen firefighters in uniform
and their friends w the wits to take the yellow off
stand in a warm crowd just within project doors
and in clear, legal cups sip brown fluid
to chatter and laughs, faces rat pink
"scuuuse me" the social mask hums, the graceful swoop
of a feminine form both shrinking and pushing forward
intent and still giving heed to her training
perfunctual "sorry"(ies) in reply, cropping up around her body, blooming incessantly around her
(as men's voices do, incessantly, and all around)
and then the one closer to her ear. "sorry"
he's backed into the corner w a drink in his hand and has practiced making his voice
oak wood smooth for
ripe lil things
I recall another form of my training, one conducted by ear,
I replicate: "nah, you're good"
and she's out the door, slinking like a cat
you can be the casual girl in bobbing black
with long hair, Maria Maria de Santana,
or; Amaya Maria de Nueva Yol'
or; 袦邪褉懈褟, 泻褌芯 薪械 谐芯胁芯褉懈褌 锌芯-褉褍褋褋泻懈
or none of them, because they're not even the least of them, the yous
my growth contained in my own cage, budding within the red of my flesh, the wet of my blood on muscle and bone
their outcroppings multiply and pursue me and they will never see me
the shrunken firefighter with a handful of whiskey
who can't see the wine in my bag or the festering of my head
a myriad of symbols pass him, not a girl with defined voluptuousness, with acceptable smooths and rounds
i'm the spit that droops, exposes its foam and discolorations
the marbled fat streaks of white on steaks that bring the blood iron
and the person who sucks it back into my lips before it touches the ground
and the person groaning, and the new feeling of cold on my saliva, and the gag at a morning cigarette
and none of those things.
I'm wearing doc martens gifted to me on Christmas
Transporting my dog from my grandma's house,
where firefighters, crowing the lobby, look for a holiday break,
to my apartment. where i may make my sister dinner
with stubby fingers that can't quite season right but can poke tattoos into skin.
and i got the wine from my grandmas friend.
and through the language barrier all I could say was 褋锌芯褋懈斜芯!
greedy fingers clutching cold wine, I retract from her apartment
dressed in all black, trying to be a lot of things that strike her fancy, and not the
material girl with all her logistics, vulnerable to the world,
the one that has to pass through men in order to finally go home.
I type poems on the bus.
tip tip tip, wow look at how fast her fingers move
tip,tip, kids these days, texting as second nature I suppose
fire fingers, you material thing, why take up an extra seat for ur dog?
selfish grrl, vapid grrl, won't ever be a riot grrl
u can dream. amidst city co2
fumes of their making and ur own, sticky fingers, stupid stoner grrl
goin' nowhere grrl, or; when the literature professor sees a promise
nerd grrl. "nerd girl"
"you're a nerd girl"
"
He's on a rooftop w me, and he's letting me know all the types of girls he's slept with
(to entice? to beguile? where was my ready disgust?)
emo girls, ratchet girls, sporty girls"
and that's when I come up
amidst the lot I'm nerd girl
even tho i never speak and hardly contribute and smoke all the free stuff he jipped from me
on a roof on 150th, wondering why he'd say that,
pretending like the 20 smth yr old living with his mom and grandma
is the deciding voice of my universe.
but i've never left new york. maybe men like that are. maybe they're all that exist
maybe I'll always be leaning over his fire escape, blacking, vomiting stars in and out while he pulls down my jeans
no couldn't ever be, dumb fucking grrl, that's why you'll never be real
u think like the animal caged, who wonders which of her captors to appeal to most,
which amongst the devils seem most benevolent.
look up before the bus hits the highway grrl,
you'll vomit if you don't grrl,
like the school bus...u remember don't you grrl?
can u ever forget grrl?
sorry; sorry, the thoughts become millions
thebustheroofthefirefightersthenightithappened
nah... you're good, this thing happens all the time. this is all that's ever happened after all. you're good, iss all good, sorry...
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animebw4 months ago
Text
Binge-Watching: Pokemon Johto Journeys, Episodes 4-7
Today I have seen Jessie in a flamenco dress and James in a ballet tutu, and everything is right with the world.
Detours
It always fascinates me what parts of the Pokemon anime I end up enjoying more than others. I mean, let鈥檚 be honest, this is a very, very, very simple show. Episodes usually wrap up all conflicts within their timeframe, there鈥檚 little in the way of character growth or story progression, and what little in the way of a greater narrative their is usually only pops up during specific episodes that decide to focus on it, otherwise remaining all but invisible. This is a show designed to spin its wheels with endless sidetracks and detours for as long as it can manage. Heck, when we first run into Gary Oak again in episode 5, it鈥檚 kind of a big deal because it isn鈥檛 treated like that much of a big deal. He just shows up, kills a few minutes, then leaves without affecting the rest of the episode, and yet he鈥檚 noticeably less insufferably smug than usual as a result of his previous interactions with Ash. In short, he鈥檚 acting like an actual character who鈥檚 undergone a bit of an arc聽without the show putting that growth in focus. That鈥檚 not the way this show usually works. I doubt that鈥檚 gonna be much of a trend, but the mere fact it stands out so much is evidence of how powerful the Endless Status Quo effect is in this franchise.
My point is, you鈥檙e not on this ride for where it鈥檚 going; you鈥檙e on this ride for the countless interesting pit stops it takes along the way. And your enjoyment mostly comes down to how interesting each individual pit stop is, with little connective tissue between them. It certainly doesn鈥檛 make this the easiest show to analyze, I tell you what. But there鈥檚 merit in considering what parts keep my attention and what parts lose it, and why. For example, the episode with the Donphan gold miners was pretty much Pokemon on cruise control, with no real unique hook beyond showing off the new Pokemon and almost no creativity in the dialogue or situations. I felt my attention slipping fast, and not even Team Rocket鈥檚 usual antics were on-point enough to salvage it. By contrast, the episode with the dancing Bellsprout team was solid all the way through, doing what this show does best and exploring what life looks like in the Pokemon world for the countless normal people who aren鈥檛 immortal ten-year-olds on an endless fetch quest. That kind of slice-of-life uniqueness is the shit that draws me to this show; there鈥檚 no other piece of Pokemon media that鈥檚 able to really showcase such a breadth of the world鈥檚 possibilities. Plus, it鈥檚 got Flamenco Jessie and Ballet James cross-dressing their way through a cavalcade of dancing puns (鈥滻s this what they mean by a whirlwind tour?鈥), and if that doesn鈥檛 make you happy, I don鈥檛 want to know you.
Best of Team Rocket
-鈥漈he rolling stones missed us!鈥 Okay, you deserve to fall for that pun.
-They don鈥檛 even get to finish the motto dkjhsdkf
-鈥漌hat鈥檚 with the fan?鈥 鈥淚t鈥檚 for all this hot air.鈥
-鈥漇eems the only successful thing we do is nothing at all.鈥
-鈥滺ow could you let yourself be lassoed by some twine merchant?鈥
-鈥滲ecause I get very inhibited when I鈥檓 being exhibited!鈥
-鈥滻 thought I was the Team Rocket prima donna!鈥
-鈥滲utterfree the low-fat Pokemon.鈥 I am wheezing
-鈥滻鈥檓 wearing tights instead of pants!鈥
-As they鈥檙e being blown away by a tornado: 鈥淭his is a real twist ending!鈥
-鈥漌ill they elevate me to the top of this tower next time?鈥 The things some people do for showmanship.
-I love how nobody even questions Team Rocket bungling their dramatic timing (鈥漌e fell asleep.鈥) That鈥檚 just how they roll.
Odds and Ends
-It bears repeating: this theme song is a fucking bop.
-鈥漌hy is it whenever something rotten happens, you three are always behind it?鈥 Ash channeling big Professor McGonnegal energy today.
-鈥漈his is no time to stop for a snack!鈥澛犫淗e鈥檚 never said that before.鈥 pfft
-鈥漌e鈥檙e in the middle of nowhere!鈥澛犫淓verywhere鈥檚 somewhere.鈥 Ash ffs
-鈥滾ook, have you ever seen anything this ugly in real life?鈥 And countdown to regret in 3...2...1...
-鈥滸uess who.鈥 he鈥檚 so done aksdhaksdhaskld
-Okay but how do you even set up a tree gondola on such short notice
-I don鈥檛 like how much we鈥檙e leaning into Brock鈥檚 womanizing. A little of that goes a long way.
-鈥滲ecause dancing and battling aren鈥檛 so different.鈥 When suddenly, RWBY.
-Okay, the Pikachu catapult was a nice touch.
-Ooh, I didn鈥檛 know Spinarak could change the face on its backside. That鈥檚 cool!
-Lol, they鈥檝e got a reputation among the Jennys? Nice.
-It鈥檚 good to know the Jenny cloning pool is a proud tradition dating back centuries. What a messed-up world.
-NOT HIS BOTTLE CAP COLLETION YOU CADS
-鈥滻 don鈥檛 have a bedtime!鈥 Methinks he doth protest too much.
-鈥漈hat鈥檚 very nice! The cart is on my hand!鈥 sdkfjhsdkhf poor Brock
It鈥檚 a whole new world we live in. See you next time!
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bizmaster6 months ago
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鈥淗ow do you like the water today?鈥 asked the whale.
鈥淲hat is water?鈥 answered the fish.
A fish that has lived its whole life on the sandy bottom of the sea will have no concept of water. Water is what is.聽 How else would it be?
That is my main question for you today:
How else could it be?
Because in some ways, most of us are like the fish.
Like the poor fish pulled out of the water, many people feel estranged when they have moved far away, perhaps to another country.聽 I know. 聽Because I did.聽 I moved from a small country, supposedly one of the happiest on Earth, Denmark, to California, the sixth-largest economy of the world.
Some differences are obvious: people speak differently; the weather; the food; the plants; the very air we breathe鈥
And then we have the more subtle 鈥渨hat is important here?鈥 and 鈥渢he way things are done here鈥: The local culture.
To many, this meeting of internalized and unconscious expectations and a changed external reality starts a process of thinking - perhaps for the first time ever 鈥 what do I really stand for?聽 What are my values? 聽And why?
These days people readily signal what they are against, but what are they for?
I have traveled to a lot of countries so I was never surprised by the many practical differences. But I was surprised by how much living in another country meant I had to examine my values.聽 The feeling of being estranged was so deep that I had to do something drastic: I went back to school.聽 A degree, a website, and a book later, culture and values are still questions close to my heart.聽 I call myself a Bridge Builder partly because I help 鈥渢ranslate America鈥 to immigrants moving here, partly because I help people better talk to each other.
On this complicated subject of culture, I want to share some of what I have learned with you, although it can in no way be a complete picture.聽 Hopefully you, too, will follow your curiosity and learn of ways other people look at the world.聽 Because even if we just want to talk to fellow countrymen from the other side of any cultural divide, we can benefit from knowing what is already discovered about cultural differences.
Let us start by taking a step back and first ask where cultures come from?
One parent is the history of the community:聽 What dangers have been faced together?聽 What successes have been shared that are now 鈥渓ocal legend鈥 鈥 and which failures?聽 (Do we even remember the latter so we know not to do that again?聽 Do we remember the same historic events the same way?)
Do we not share important events?聽 Are we aware that we don鈥檛 share them?
Another parent is our systems.聽 The word 鈥渟ystems鈥 easily makes us think of computers, but systems are much broader. It is the way gas and water and electricity are delivered; the roads and how they are maintained; who look after our senior citizens; who teaches the kids; how we cast our vote; how we shop鈥 It is also our Constitution, the way we make laws, and the way we uphold the laws.
Once systems are in place they can be very hard to change. 聽People who have grown up with a certain set of systems often believe that this is the way things have to be; the unconscious expectations.聽 The systems become like water to fish.
There has been nothing like a worldwide pandemic to make many more people think about which system assures that they can get toilet paper? 聽Or which system will look after their parents or children if they themselves are no longer capable to do so?聽 Many are painfully/gratefully aware that the way we shop for just about anything in the USA has been hugely changed over the last 10 years; a change accelerated by the pandemic.
Just as people don鈥檛 choose where they are born, they don鈥檛 choose which systems they grow up with.
The third parent of culture is our values. Thousands of people have been asked how much they are similar to people as described in these examples:
He strongly believes that people should care for nature. Looking after the environment is important to him.
Tradition is important to her. She tries to follow the customs handed down by her religion or her family.
(Questions like these are included in the U.S. Social Survey, the European Social Survey, and have been asked multiple times from Australia to Japan to India to Egypt to Chile. Over the last 25 years, at least a million people have answered.)
From the answers, social psychologists can evaluate how populations prioritize values across countries all over the world; where they agree, where they differ, and which values have a pattern of being present together. 聽The work of Professor Shalom Schwartz and an international team of researchers found seven value clusters shown below.
Notice that I wrote how populations prioritize.聽 Most people can find something positive to say about all the values examined.聽 But some values are just more of the norm in some populations than in others.
If you look at the circle, starting at one o鈥檆lock you see Embeddedness oppose two forms of Autonomy in the model, Hierarchy opposing Egalitarianism, and Mastery opposes Harmony.
Populations high in Embeddedness put a high priority on a.o. tradition, safety, honor, cleanliness, social order, devoutness, and self-discipline.聽 This is contrasted with peoples high in Autonomy who cherish curiosity, broadmindedness, and creativity (Intellectual Aut.) and enjoyment, excitement, and variation (Affective Aut.)
I am sure you know people that fit either description.聽 Sometimes they are members of the same family.
Hierarchy is a cluster of values that include power, social status, wealth, and influence.聽 This is opposed to the values of freedom, equality, honesty, responsibility,聽 and accepting one's position in life included in Egalitarianism.聽
Can鈥檛 you value both social status and honesty highly?聽 Yes, off course you can.聽 It is just that when all the other people answered these questions, people who valued power and social status highly generally didn鈥檛 think honesty was quite as important 鈥 I am sorry to say, by quite a lot:
聽 And finally, where Mastery, which includes daring, ambition, pursuing own goals, and success, reigns there will be less value put to protecting the environment, beauty, and nature; values covered by Harmony.
Where does that leave us if we want to find common ground?聽 We can start by recognizing that everybody values being capable and most people have respect for wisdom.聽 So if you want to reach out to somebody not in your own 鈥渢ribe鈥, commenting on something they do really well could be a place to start.聽 (They may even recognize you for the wisdom of trying to find common ground rather than starting with subjects where you think they are completely bonkers.)
When data from different countries are analyzed and put into the model, a country that values Embeddedness higher than Autonomy will show up in the 鈥渘orth-eastern鈥 half of the circle. If the country is also higher in Hierarchy values than in Egalitarianism values it will pull further east, and the exact position will be adjusted by how it balances Harmony and Mastery values.
I have been in doubt whether I should include this graphic in the article because at a time where the USA 鈥 and some other countries in the world 鈥 are so split, taking a big fat average of data from the whole country may seem futile.
However, because BizCatalyst 360掳 is rooted in the USA, and because the results from many other research projects over the last 30 years confirm that the USA is very hierarchical and power-oriented, I think it is important that we can have a discussion based on data, not gut feelings. 聽In the US, we may think of ourselves as egalitarian because we use first names and don鈥檛 bow deeply to one another. 聽But there is a deep and widening gap between this idea and reality - and a lot of people are tired of feeling they are being pushed around.
How data are collected, more of the questions asked, many more implications of value differences, and more on communication are discussed in more depth in my book Building Bridges Across Cultural Differences, Why don鈥檛 I follow your norms.
A shortcut to discussing values and the divide specifically within the US is through the work of Professor Jonathan Haidt. His book The Righteous Mind from 2012 was a gut punch to the idea that people are motivated by rational thoughts - and thus why rational arguments only push people further apart. 聽Unless we are curious about which values underlie the positions both we and other people hold, it can be difficult to have a fruitful conversation across divisions.聽 Haidt鈥檚 TED talks and website are worth a visit 鈥 you can even examine your own positions and compare to the other 30,000 people who have taken the test.聽 The questions are very similar in form to the examples I listed, but the set of values he measures are not quite the same.聽 (Each researcher, their own sandbox.)
As for yours truly 鈥 the fish out of water?
On the practical issues, my English has improved over the years. 聽Who from the cold, wet north can complain about the weather in California 鈥 or about the most varied ethnic cuisine selections on the planet?聽 I enjoy growing my own oranges and learned the hard way to avoid Poison Oak, and now I love the scent of Redwood trees (as long as they are not on fire.)
On values, you can take Danes out of Denmark but it is hard to take Denmark out of Danes.聽 I am still a bit of an idealist.聽 My book is free, the better to be a resource for the many who have had to flee their home countries because of war or disasters. 聽Half a million people have downloaded it.聽 Over my many years in the USA I have sensed an ever increased recognition that hyper-competition comes with a price of overarching anxiety;聽 a desire among many that they, too, could be of more service to others; an understanding that for social coherence there are things more important than the Dow Jones index, things like trust and decency.聽 So I have found a tribe here as well.
These days, regardless of whether I fly to Denmark or to San Francisco, I am going home.
-鈥淗ow do you like the water today?鈥 asked the whale. 鈥淲hat is water?鈥 answered the fish. A fish that has lived its whole life on the sandy bottom of the sea will have no concept of water. Water is what is.聽 How else would it be? That is my main question for you today: How [鈥- #SHOWCASEHOMEPAGE, #BIZSPECTRUM, #FEATURED -Charlotte Wittenkamp
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faerieghos-t7 months ago
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Blood Tastes Like Water
The summer before your sixth year at Hogwarts had been doused in grief. Cold and miserable and utterly unshakable, you wonder whether you will ever find salvation. Draco Malfoy is caught in his own silent battle of wills. He doesn't know if he is strong enough. A diary, a secret chamber, and a mysterious dark-haired boy will bring into question all you thought you knew about the world. A tale of trust and betrayal; hurting and healing. "No matter how much we want it....some stories just don't have a happy ending."
*****
The train ride back to Hogwarts was, like the summer before it, tainted with an infrangible sadness. Since Sirius鈥 death nothing had quite felt real. It was as though you were a spectator - your head two feet away from your body, watching people and things and days pass you by with no end in sight. The holiday had been mostly spent in your bedroom, each day somewhere between wailing for the mercy of some- any -God, and a hollowness that you couldn鈥檛 shake away. Your exceptional OWLs results qualified you for some advanced classes this year, and the relief you felt when you had opened the letter confirming this stemmed undoubtedly from the quiet gratitude that maybe you would be busy enough to forget. Forget. That word seemed almost impossible. Dangling just out of your reach, begging you to overstretch for it and topple into oblivion. How could you possibly forget? Forget the screams and the flashes and the blistering white hot agony that choked you when Sirius fell through the veil. Tears pricked your eyes and shook you back to reality. You were alone in the carriage save for two first years comparing the sweets they had bought earlier in the journey. Outside the window, the sky was finally beginning to darken from the warm September glow into a wan purple: the hue beneath a sleepless eye - often, lately, your own. The colour washed the barely-visible Hogwarts in a sickly light, as though it, too, felt the hum of evil in the air.
The Great Hall was bright and warm and abuzz with a hundred different conversations all at once. To your left, Ron was speaking incoherently through a mouthful of jelly, ignorant of Hermione鈥檚 disdain that he was - 鈥渆ating when your best friend is missing!鈥 You couldn鈥檛 help but roll your eyes at this; you loved Hermione, you did, but there were moments she could be a little overbearing. Besides, her concern was unnecessary, because Harry came stumbling through the large oak doors several seconds later. He was covered in blood. Your subconscious drifted back to that day - those events now flicking through your mind like a photo album. 鈥淲hat happened to you?鈥 Someone further down the table asked him; he shrugged it off. Conversation resumed, and continued in a sluggish, reluctant recount of summer exploits until Dumbledore cleared his throat and the room fell silent.
There was some calm, quiet energy about Dumbledore - one you could never totally put your finger on - that seemed all-knowing yet totally intrigued. Nobody doubted his abilities as a headmaster (at least, nobody with whom you chose to associate), but his ability to hold and maintain the full attention of every person in a room was a singular marvel. The usual formalities of his yearly speech barely registered in your mind, and you weren鈥檛 fully paying attention, picking at your finger nails until his utterance that 鈥淧rofessor Snape will be filling the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.鈥 It had been something of a running joke among your peers that Defence Against the Dark Arts was a post whose inhabitants rarely stayed for long. In your fourth year, Seamus Finnegan had joked that 鈥渋t鈥檚 the most dangerous job in the whole wizarding world.鈥 At the mention of their Head of House, you heard some rowdy cheers erupt from the Slytherin table. Looking over, however, your eye caught a head of icy blond hair, and skin as pale to match. If anyone else鈥檚 summer had proven excruciating, it was Malfoy鈥檚. Several rumours had already been circulating that his father was placed in Azkaban for his involvement with the Dark Lord, and it was Harry who, in a letter he sent to you over the holiday, confirmed it to be true. Something had changed about Draco over the summer - his typical scowl of arrogant contempt had been replaced with something sadder. Something hollower. The loneliness in those pale blue eyes could not be disguised by his erect carriage and feigned nonchalance. You indulged, briefly, guiltily, in the romantic notion that maybe you were two forlorn souls amongst a sea of blissful idiots. It was when his eyes locked on you, mouth already twisted back into that disdainful snarl, that you remembered. Draco Malfoy did not care about you, or your sadness, or your foolish romantic indulgences. Draco Malfoy did not play nice.
You were ushered back to the Gryffindor common room, the hallway a cacophony of first years鈥 exclamations at the stairs - even you had to admit, there was some residual excitement as the heavy stone rumbled beneath your feet - and merry exultations from the paintings, welcoming every student back for another year at Hogwarts. Outside the Gryffindor common room - as was annual tradition - the students huddled around the entryway to hear the fat lady proclaim the password, to be used right until school ended in July. 鈥淲elcome back, my lovelies!鈥 She sang. 鈥淜eep your ears peeled children; I will say the password once and only once.鈥 A hush fell. One year, Fred and George managed to hex the doorway so that, while the password was Grindylow, the painting would only swing open at the merry exclamation of 鈥淚鈥檓 in love with Professor Snape.鈥 It was a grand success for about a week before someone - their brother, Percy, they had speculated - reported them to McGonagall. Gryffindor did not win the house cup that year. 鈥淎nagnorisis!鈥 Pulled you from your reverie. It was a word you were unfamiliar with. Hermione, however, wasn鈥檛, and as you filed into the common room, she began explaining its literary significance to any unfortunate souls who happened to be in her vicinity.
You spent very little time in the common room that evening, choosing instead to unpack all your things and place them meticulously neatly in your drawers. Having already been given your timetable - free periods reduced from nine to a pitiful two thanks to the advanced potions and arithmancy classes bulking up your busy schedule - you plucked tomorrow鈥檚 books from your suitcase, throwing the rest into the bottom drawer, beneath your clothes. Afterwards, there was nothing much to do but lay on your bed for an hour or so before the others began trickling in. The events of the evening, arriving back at Hogwarts had distracted your heavy head for a while. Now, though, the dull ache of sorrow set its way back in. Maybe it was selfish of you, to be grieving so bitterly over Sirius - Harry鈥檚 godfather, and a man you hardly knew before last year - but you couldn鈥檛 help yourself. In a way, the secret pain almost felt thrilling, as though in some hedonistic way you finally had a reason to look at the world through somber, sober eyes. Your wandering mind found its way back to Draco, sitting alone - though surrounded by his peers - in the Great Hall. It had been strange, catching him in a moment of doubt - so much so that you wondered whether you really even had. Either way, it was a reminder that - no matter how hard the Ministry tried to hide it, no matter how innocent and oblivious the new students, no matter how desperately you wanted it to go away - something dark was on the horizon, and you could not shake it away.
*****
hi
I hope you enjoyed my first foray into fanfiction (entirely inspired by the fact HP has been dominating my tiktok for you page) Ive got a brief outline for this story, but updates may be few & far between any/all feedback is welcome :)
PS here are thinks to this story on my wattpad:
https://www.wattpad.com/959623615-blood-tastes-like-water-chapter-one
and my ao3:
https://archiveofourown.org/works/26700265/chapters/65129323
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sahmfanficbts7 months ago
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A Date with Destiny (KSJ)
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Pairing: Superhero!Seokjin x Superhero female! reader
Genre: SMUT. Adventure. Fluff. Humor. Puns. SUPERHERO AU / CAMPUS AU
Rating: NSFW. Explicit.聽馃敟馃敟馃敟鉂わ笍馃敒
Tag warnings: Lots of making out. Oral, (m/f receiving), virgin (f), unprotected sex, first-time sex, cock-warming. Mentions of terrorist activity. Cock-blocking (lots).聽
Word count: 14.8k
Summary: You are asked to save the city of Destiny with Jin from a bomb threat. The fireworks will explode. The question is... when?
Beta: @hobi-gif鈥 for the most amazing edits and @hesperantha鈥 for the best advice and @midnighttifa for the most incredible suggestions. All mistakes are mine.聽聽
Incredible moodboard by: @prodyoon鈥
Dedication: This is dedicated to the specifications of Seokjin鈥檚 number one fan, Ellie, @seoksjin鈥. Thank you dear Ellie for being the sweetest ARMY to me, for your patience with this fic, and for spoiling the fandom with your amazing gifs. I hope you love this Jin.聽
A/N: I basically did zero research on explosives or thermodynamics. Enjoy the ride!
*Also available on A03. Please find me on sahmfanficbts there. Can鈥檛 include links. Sorry! Blame tumblr tags.聽
-----------------------------
A Date with Destiny
Early winter 2007.聽
Fourteen-year-old Kim Seokjin is a little terrified when his father sits him down across the beautiful polished oak desk. The exquisite hand-carved desk is the only family heirloom that made it through the Japanese Occupation, across the 38th parallel, survived the Korean War, and endured the ultimate upheaval of immigration to American soil.聽
The last time Seokjin was here in this study, at this desk, was the night before his first day of elementary school. His father had given him a speech about working hard, respecting his teachers, and maintaining the family honor. Seokjin had no idea what that last one meant, but concluded in his young six-year-old mind that he should stay out of trouble, or at least, not get caught if he ever was in trouble.聽
Seokjin wonders why his father has summoned him here after all this time. Has he done something wrong? Was his math score too low? Maybe it鈥檚 about how much he鈥檚 been gaming?
鈥淪eokjin.鈥 Spoken like that by his father, his name takes on the shape of something strong and unyielding, of someone dignified and polished, very unlike the lanky, awkward teenager that he is. Jin shifts uncomfortably. He wonders if this is how the bad guys that his policeman-father catches everyday feel.聽
鈥淵es, Appa?鈥 Seokjin dares not to raise his eyes to meet his father鈥檚.聽
鈥淭here is something you should know.鈥 The words are slow and deliberate.
Oh shit. Is this going to be about the birds and bees? Seokjin鈥檚 ears are starting to bloom crimson.聽
The elder Kim ignores the blush of embarrassment that overtakes his son鈥檚 complexion. He starts with the narrative given by his own father; one passed down in secret through the generations of the Kim family. To Jin, he recounts tales of his ancestors鈥 heroism, of battles saved and wars averted. There was the general in the army, the personal advisor to King Sejong, even a court-appointed assassin from the earlier generations. There was also Jin鈥檚 grandfather who served in the Korean War, and his great-grandfather who helped in World War 2.聽
Jin鈥檚 father reveals to him that the superpower will manifest on his fifteenth birthday, exactly similar to the previous generations of the male Kim line. It is his bounden duty to know how to use it well and use it wisely especially when its side-effects can be severe. Training in endurance and in technique is thus essential.聽聽
鈥淔rom now on, you will be here at my desk, after dinner, every Friday night at 7pm sharp. Your training with me will commence after your birthday tomorrow.鈥
鈥淵es Appa.鈥澛
And so it begins.聽
---------------------------
Present day. July 2nd. City of Destiny. 1500 hrs.
The note in elegant, typed script gazes boldly back at the Maestro. Each fancy curl and flourish is designed to tempt him into fear.聽
鈥淓xpect Fireworks on the Fourth of July. Time to learn your ABCs.鈥
It is a pity that the sender of this sinister letter does not know the Maestro. He fears nothing, he sees everything, and he is quite the something.聽
As the chief of the Destiny Police Department, letters like these come a dime a dozen. Teenagers out on a dare to prank the DPD or bored old men from the retirement village have all been guilty of sending bomb or death threats. The cases have always been straightforward open and shut - ending with a stern word, a cup of coffee or a game of chess depending on the perpetrator.聽
This letter, however, on thick, creamy paper carries the weight of an ominous reality: Atlanta, Boston and Cleveland have all been rocked by terrorist activity targeting large-scale gatherings in the last two years.聽
A quick call to a buddy in the FBI confirmed that the threat is credible, and this same calling card, kept quiet from the media, has been received by the police chiefs in each of these cities.聽
The Maestro sighs.
He prefers his own department to handle it unless absolutely necessary. Having the Feds swarm over his beloved city just a few months shy of his retirement does not sit well with him. He had painstakingly turned Destiny from a crime-ridden city to one that is safe and family-friendly during his twenty-five year tenure. There鈥檚 no way in hell he鈥檚 going to jeopardize all that.聽
It鈥檚 time to call for back-up.
-------------------------------------------
Destiny University - Graduate School of Media and Design. 1800hrs聽
鈥淥of. I can鈥檛 wait for this project to be 鈥榦ver鈥!鈥 Your friend Flora loves an air quote with her fingers. She stands up from her desk and gives her tired body a stretch.
You grab your coffee mug and take a sip absentmindedly, forgetting that it had been left in the air-conditioned room for the past five hours.
Tepid coffee sucks.聽
You choke back the urge to spit it out. Nonchalantly, you wrap your fingers around the cup and begin to direct your heat flow to warm it up as you nod along absently to Flora鈥檚 verbal vomit of cuss words and air quotes.
鈥淚 know what you mean, Flo. Professor Jeon can be so picky on the details, it drives even me insane.鈥
Ahhh鈥 now the temperature of the coffee is just right, hot but not scalding. Little tendrils of steam rise gently to the surface. You take a delicious sip and let the coffee warm your insides.
Flora, who is in the same master鈥檚 program, complains bitterly, 鈥淗e fucking dared said my camera angle was too 鈥榰ninspiring鈥. Well, let me tell you what鈥檚 鈥榰ninspiring鈥 Pro-fess-or Jeon. What鈥檚 鈥榰ninspiring鈥 is your 鈥榰ninspiring鈥 broad chest, your 鈥榰ninspiring鈥 muscular thighs and your 鈥榰ninspiring鈥 dreamy eyes and that 鈥榰ninspiring鈥 fat, thick鈥︹
You heckle along with Flora and dissolve in a pile of witchy laughs. Since the start of the program, you and Flora have both shared a huge crush on Professor Jeon. But for the past many months, your attention has been diverted to the handsome neighbor who lives across the hall.
鈥淪houldn鈥檛 your coffee be cold by now?鈥 asks Flora incredulously, pointing at your mug.聽
鈥淯m? It鈥檚 not too bad. Still kinda warm,鈥 you lie.
Flora narrows her eyes at you. Underneath that ditzy, disco chick facade, Flora is as sharp as a Christian Louboutin 4.724 inch heel. She doesn鈥檛 miss a thing.聽
You change the subject quickly and make up an excuse about having to do laundry or you鈥檒l be naked tomorrow. Besides, you haven鈥檛 gone home before 8pm in ages.
Flora鈥檚 eyes light up at the word naked. 鈥淏et your smoking hot neighbor would like that. Say hi and have a bite of his 鈥榤ozzarella stick鈥 for me!鈥
鈥淪hut up!鈥 you laugh. 鈥淟ook, he was just trying out a new breading technique that day and had some leftovers.鈥澛
鈥淏reeding technique?鈥 Flora raises an eyebrow.
鈥淏reading! BREAD-ing!鈥 you insist.
鈥淗ave you wondered why he wouldn鈥檛 just 鈥榝reeze鈥 the 鈥榣eftovers鈥 huh?鈥 Flora comes at you like the lead prosecutor of a heinous criminal trial. A trainee chef like him should know about portion sizing. Why does he always have leftovers? It must be because he likes you, she insists.聽聽
You shrug her comment off with practised nonchalance, though it ignites in you a spark of longing for it to be true.聽
Flora eggs you on. She doesn鈥檛 know what鈥檚 holding you back since according to her expert opinion, he likes you, and you like him. To Flora, if a guy can make a good Eggs 鈥楤eneDICT鈥, then he鈥檚 a keeper. 鈥淏ene, by the way means 鈥榞ooooood鈥. That鈥檚 Latin. Dict means Dick. That鈥檚 English. Gooood Dick. That鈥檚 your neighbor.鈥 Flora says it like you鈥檙e a dumb four-year-old.聽
鈥淲ell鈥 I wouldn鈥檛 know what鈥檚 a good dick.鈥 The words come out too fast before you could stop them.
Flora whips her head towards you.
鈥淲hat did you say?鈥 Looks like Air Quote Flora forgot her air quotes.
鈥淯m鈥 I said, I don鈥檛 know what鈥檚 a good dick?鈥
鈥淎re you telling me you are a virgin?鈥 Flo looks flabbergasted at your revelation.
You take a deep breath and launch into your TED talk of virginity as a social construct. You鈥檝e done lots of stuff with guys, sometimes further than you had liked. But trust was always missing in those relationships and that kept you from doing the鈥 home run, so to speak. Plus you hate feeling like you鈥檙e not in control. So yeah, you鈥檙e a penis-in-vagina virgin. What鈥檚 the big fucking deal?
Mock pity fills Flora鈥檚 eyes when she decides to volunteer Hunger Games style. 鈥淚 volunteer! I volunteer as tribute! I can take one for the team!鈥
鈥淟-O-L Flo! I鈥檒l bear that in mind! Gotta head home. I love you, I love you, I love yooou.鈥
鈥淒on鈥檛 love me, go home and lurrrrve your 鈥榥eighbor鈥 instead!鈥 Flora starts to make kissy noises.聽
鈥淐ome on, he鈥檚 just a friend. He hasn鈥檛 indicated he wants something more.鈥
鈥淔riends who wanna 鈥榖ang鈥 each other. Just don鈥檛 forget to wrap up his big ole 鈥渓eft over鈥 or you might get a 鈥榖un in the oven,鈥 a 鈥榟am in your sandwich,鈥 or a 鈥榖urrito in your bowl鈥.鈥 Flora鈥檚 air-quotes are exaggerated as hell as she waves you off.聽
鈥淎lready on it, Flo! No 鈥榚gg in the tart鈥 for the time being!鈥 you call breezily, laughing at your double-entredre on the way out.聽
鈥斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺-
It鈥檚 been way too long since you actually head home when it鈥檚 still light out. With just one year left of your Master鈥檚 degree in Motion Graphic Design, you are pushing yourself very hard to build your portfolio to score a great job after graduation.聽
The noisy sidewalks of downtown Destiny are bustling with the weekend dinner crowd, and the entire town is gearing up for the city-wide Fourth of July celebrations. Banners and buntings adorn the buildings that line Main Street. Flags and ribbons of blue, red and white hang from every possible crevice like a Ralph Lauren ad on steroids. It鈥檚 picturesque, and cute, and it鈥檚 home for now.聽
As you climb the steps into your apartment building, you feel the familiar buzz of anticipation build in the pit of your stomach. Will you see your neighbor-crush in the hallway? Will there be a sample dish he has made for you to try? Will you run into each other in the laundry room again and crack dad jokes?聽
You shiver in excitement.
The warm, spicy aroma of home-made tomato sauce and melted cheese wafts down the hallway on your floor.聽聽
Kim Seokjin is cooking again.聽
You slow down and take your time to find your apartment key, jiggling it a little extra loud, hoping to prolong the possibility of an invitation.
With key in hand and a sigh on your lips, you are about to unlock the door when聽鈥斅
The door to Seokjin鈥檚 bursts open.
鈥淵/N! You鈥檙e back early! Want to have a bite with me? I鈥檓 going to have leftovers again if I don鈥檛 share.鈥 Seokjin sighs at himself in mock exasperation for cooking too much food again.聽
Yes!
鈥淚鈥檓 not sure 鈥 my cold cereal and milk smells better than what鈥檚 coming out of your kitchen,鈥 you shrug nonchalantly, but the corners of your mouth quirk into a smile.
鈥淎re you sure? Because I have鈥 Hawaiian pizza.鈥
It is your favorite.聽
鈥淚 guess, just tonight I can聽 sacrifice my delicious cereal ,鈥 you sigh dramatically.聽
鈥淵our cereal and your country thank you for your sacrifice.鈥 With a smirk, Jin ushers you into his home. It smells heavenly. A large pizza still bubbling with melted cheese sits on the counter to cool next to a colorful bowl of salad.聽
You thank Jin for having you over and your tale of woe of many nights of cold cereal suppers come tumbling out. After five days straight of Lucky Charms for dinner, you confess to him you no longer feel lucky. Or charmed.聽
As you both dig into the salad, Jin starts chatting. He could talk about food for hours. The sheer joy of seeing people light up when they eat his food made it clear that he had to make the career switch to be a chef after working for a research lab in biotech for a couple of years.聽
He鈥檇 rather deal with macarons than mitochondria; a Kitchen-Aid mixer than a PCR machine. Give him a hot, hellish kitchen anyday over a cold, sterile lab. Like you, he has one more year left of his Master鈥檚 in Culinary Arts, and he鈥檚 making the most of it by learning, baking and cooking.聽聽
You鈥檙e lost in your thoughts as you steal a quick look at him. The desire to be kissed by those soft, plump lips appears like a damned pop up window from hell that just won鈥檛 go the fuck away no matter how many times you click on it.聽聽
Those shoulders. That jawline. And鈥 that look he gets when he鈥檚 listening to you.聽
When he鈥檚 not cracking dad jokes, Jin has this quiet way of looking at you when you pour out your heart at his dining table. He doesn鈥檛 interrupt, doesn鈥檛 advise, just listens and lets you unfold your day to him, in bibs and bobs, allowing the chaos to come tumbling out, the frustrations of life, the small wins and the big triumphs.聽
With Jin, you never feel like you need to impress him or hold yourself back from your opinions. You've told him about how you want to take motion graphics into ed tech to help kids struggling in school 鈥 but you鈥檙e worried if it will ever pay the bills. You鈥檝e told him how you love Brawny over Bounty paper towels, how as a kid you once brushed your teeth with squeeze tube cheese, and how sometimes when you dream, you dream in colors that there are no words for.聽
You鈥檝e even told him your deepest, darkest secret - that you hate reality TV yet can鈥檛 resist watching every episode of Real Housewives, yes including Atlanta.聽
It feels new to be so open and honest with someone.聽
It feels a little like trust.
And it feels a lot like you鈥檙e losing control.聽
鈥淪o do you want to go?鈥 Jin鈥檚 voice comes as though you鈥檙e underwater and he鈥檚 trying to talk to you from the surface.
鈥淲hat? Go where?鈥 You were caught daydreaming about Jin by Jin. Shit. That鈥檚 embarrassing. 鈥淪orry, I was a little distracted. Something at school.鈥 You lie. It鈥檚 not your first with him.聽
鈥淲ell. I happen to have naturally distracting features. Are you sure it wasn鈥檛 me?鈥
Oh Jin. If only you knew.聽
鈥淎s I was saying, do you want to watch the fireworks with me?鈥
鈥淲hoa. Like on a date?鈥 You cannot believe your ears.
鈥淣ot a date like the Medjool variety...鈥
鈥淛in, I鈥檓 pretty sure I know we both can鈥檛 fit on a Medjool date, not with that ego of yours.鈥 You shoot back, trying to buy yourself some time to process this. Jin is asking me out on a date!
鈥淭ouch茅! Well, I鈥檇 rather take you out, than go by myself. Although... I admit I am pretty amazing company for myself.鈥
鈥淚 guess I have to save you from your own 鈥榩retty amazing company鈥 and bless you with my super amazing company.鈥 You roll your eyes as you try to play it cool. Your heart, though, is pounding like mad.聽
鈥淲ell, I always knew you had superpowers,鈥澛 Jin says with a smirk.聽
Fuuuuuck. Is it possible he knows?聽
鈥淚鈥檓 super hungry for that pizza now, Jin. How did you know Hawaiian was my favorite?鈥
Jin doesn鈥檛 know how to answer you. For a fraction of a second, his face twists in tortured conflict but you鈥檙e too busy eyeing the pizza to notice. How he wishes he could tell you.
The pizza is heavenly: a perfect blend of crispy crust, gooey cheese, smoky bacon, tart pineapple, and aromatic tomato sauce.聽
鈥淢mmm鈥 nothing tastes as good as free food...鈥 you sigh with contentment. A long, throaty moan of pleasure escapes as your eyes roll back at the incredible symphony of flavors on your tongue.
Jin gulps a little.聽
鈥淲ho said anything about free?鈥 Jin pretends to be insulted. 鈥淚t鈥檚 priceless, not free.鈥
鈥淐鈥檓on Jin, this is good, but not that good. How can it be priceless?鈥 you ask deviously.
鈥淚t鈥檚 priceless because I made it with love, just like how I make everything,鈥 he smirks.聽聽
Well. There just isn鈥檛 an appropriate response to that. You scramble for something witty to say because you鈥檙e suddenly feeling hot under the collar, hot inside your jeans, hot everywhere.
He is leaning into you from across the small table. Those lips are coming nearer and nearer. Oh shit. It鈥檚 happening? It鈥檚 happening.聽
You lean in a little closer. And then he leans in. And he鈥檚 angling his head, and you are too. And you鈥檙e closing your eyes, a little out of breath because this is just the very thing you鈥檝e been wanting for the last few months and months鈥β
Suddenly, your phone buzzes urgently in your back pocket. You ignore it and try to keep inching towards his lips but the phone keeps ringing. The vibrations are loud as fuck. You try to lean in closer, hoping he鈥檒l do the same. Fuck this phone call.聽
But the phone continues ringing and ringing.聽
Who the fuck would call you at this time? It dawns on you that it might be 鈥
鈥淛in, I鈥檓 sorry, I need to get this. It might be important!鈥
Quickly, you fish out the phone and see that the caller ID has confirmed your suspicions. You have to get out of here. Now.
鈥淪hit. It鈥檚 my uncle. Sorry Jin! I really need to go!鈥澛
Jin has never heard you mention an uncle before in your conversations. But he sees the frantic frown, the hurried flurry of your actions and knows whatever it is, it鈥檚 important enough to you. He leaps up to grab some foil to wrap a few slices of pizza and put it in a brown lunch bag while you gather your things.聽
You smile at Jin and almost want to give him a little peck on the cheek.聽
鈥淭hanks Jin, and rain check on whatever it is you were gonna do.鈥澛
And with that, you鈥檙e out the door, cheeks burning from delight at being so forward and such a tease yourself. Who is this girl? You wonder.
________________
Jin cannot believe how close he was to kissing you. His heart was thumping wildly before that damned phone rang. Over all these months of having you here at his dining table, he has savored every conversation, enjoyed every laugh and joke with you.聽
He could feel himself falling, falling, falling for you.聽
When he bumped into you in the laundry room in the first week of school, you had forgotten your Student ID card, leaving you stuck outside the door with a big basket of laundry. He kindly let you in with his card and offered to pay for your three loads of laundry, and you shyly repaid him in detergent.聽
That was when you both discovered your love for Arm and Hammer laundry detergent. Shyness dissipated, you told him a factoid about Proctor and Gamble and its massive market share in the laundry detergent industry and felt a certain conviction to go with the underdog. He had felt so lame when he told you the truth 鈥 Arm and Hammer was what his mom used, and so he just followed along.聽
When you both walked back to your apartments, he was surprised to see you lived on the same floor, just across the hall from him.聽
鈥淚t figures that the last two living people on campus who use Arm and Hammer live on the same floor. It must be fate.鈥
鈥淎rm sure it鈥檚 Destiny,鈥 you had deadpanned right back.
He loved it. He鈥檚 a sucker for puns.
From there, it just became easy to listen for your footsteps and invite you for suppers, to sample this or try that. He liked feeding you, and enjoyed your company and your compliments. You were fun to be with, sassy when you traded verbal spars, and sweet to everyone.
Once, he saw you tape an anonymous care package for the janitor鈥檚 daughter by the cleaning supply closet by the elevator. You bit on your lower lip as though he had caught you doing something cheesy. You had made him promise not to tell the janitor, and said you knew his little girl from a local youth mentoring program.聽
At that moment, a thought flitted, unbidden, to him: I better be worthy of her.
He wants so much to impress you that it hurts -- which led him to mess up big time with that Hawaiian pizza. He broke his promise to his father for the first, last and only time. Now he wishes he hadn鈥檛.聽
That damn Hawaiian pizza. He had caught sight of your face in mid-ecstasy when you took your first bite. What he would give to see that expression on your face again. For a brief moment, Jin lets himself wonder before he quickly composes himself.聽聽
He can鈥檛 wait to collect that rain-check.聽
______________________
2nd July, 2000hrs
As you hurry off the downtown city bus 5B, you are kind of glad your dinner was interrupted. You had no idea what got over you to be so flirty, so forward with Jin. What were you thinking? He鈥檚 hot, yes, but you don鈥檛 know if you鈥檙e ready for that next big leap without some sort of commitment. It was just that over the many unplanned dinners with Jin in the last year, you鈥檝e grown so comfortable with him.聽
Jin. Even his name could not be more perfect. It inspires confidence and invites trust. What can you say? You are irresistibly, irrevocably drawn to him like a compass to her true north.
Slowly you climb up the solemn stone steps to the Destiny Police Department. Each step reminds you that you are probably on your way to important business where thinking about Kim Seokjin would be highly inappropriate.聽
鈥淯ncle M?鈥 You knocked tentatively on the door of his private office, glad that there were not many detectives present at this late hour in the outer staff area.聽
鈥淎h Y/N, come in!鈥澛
You open the door to greet your uncle. Uncle M鈥檚 stocky, muscled body turns from his computer to greet you. He has the kindest eyes deep set in a face tanned from still walking the beat on most days. Above a warm smile, sits a silver moustache that is his pride and joy. The half-moon glasses that perched on his nose a second ago are now removed as he takes out something from his drawer.聽
鈥淭ootsie Roll for my favorite niece?鈥 he offered as if you were still a little girl.
鈥淟ater Uncle M! I have pizza. What鈥檚 up?鈥
The foil package you take out from the paper bag looks like a flattened UFO with a dick at half mast. Jin must have attempted his fancy restaurant-style swan origami shit with the foil. You giggle a little and feel a little pleased he made that extra effort for you.聽
But the pizza 鈥 wow. It鈥檚 still as perfect as you warm it slowly with the palm of your hand. You chew slowly, recalling what he said about how he makes everything.聽
Your eyes are half-lidded as you picture those long, slim fingers kneading and pushing against the pizza dough, then stretching and pulling it. You imagine how those very fingers would move over the surface of the dough to roll and pinch and spread and鈥 Your body gives a little shudder.聽
鈥淵/N! As I was saying, we got a credible threat. Fourth of July. Think you can help?鈥
鈥淯m, sorry Uncle Maestro, could you brief me again?鈥
Uncle M sighs. This is never a good sign. He is not one to sigh easily. He grunts, he shouts on occasion, sometimes he even takes off those glasses and glares. The only time you have heard him truly sigh was when you met him at the hospital 鈥 the time when the doctors were trying frantically to save his wife.聽聽
鈥淩emember what happened in Atlanta in 鈥18? And then last year in Boston during Memorial Day? Cleveland was just hit during the past Thanksgiving鈥︹
Images from the tragic carnage suffered in the previous cities come flooding back.
鈥淯ncle M, you are scaring me. What are you saying?鈥
鈥淩ead the note. My buddy in the FBI thinks the threat is real.鈥
A blanket of dread descends, chilling every bone as you read the bold letters seared on the paper.
鈥淟earn your ABCs? Is that why we鈥檙e next? D for Destiny? Why not Denver? Destiny is nowhere near as big as Atlanta, Boston or Cleveland! How can we be sure that this city is going to be a target?鈥澛
鈥淲e can鈥檛 be sure. Perhaps the perp thinks we鈥檙e smaller and so have less resources to take him down. Maybe the Senator is the target. She鈥檚 making a speech at the carnival. Whatever it is, we can鈥檛 afford to ignore this. We have a quarter of a million people living here. At least two-thirds will be out in the streets on Fourth of July.鈥
The enormity of his words hit you
Uncle M looks intently at you. His voice is quiet and deliberate.聽
鈥淵/N, do you think you can do this? I know you have only tried your powers under controlled situations and this will be your first time. Are you ready?鈥
You know what Uncle M is talking about. From the time you were a kid, you felt that something about you was a little different. It was not until middle school when your superpowers manifested. As if growing hair in weird places and boobs and having periods were not enough, no, you would get the worst hot flushes like a menopausal woman. Your mother warned you about them. She said it would come, suddenly, for no rhyme or reason.聽
x 虏鈥 6 x = 16, solve for x was the rhyme and the reason. You could never forget how three digits, two letters and one equation were your undoing. It was your third attempt to solve for x when the watery elements of your hot frustrated fears called forth a fiery force deep within you.聽
You self-combusted in flames.聽
The homework was incinerated, your desk, scorched, and you finally knew for sure your mother鈥檚 genetic anomaly was also passed to you.聽
Immediately after the homework-on-fire accident, your hurried move to homeschooling on a ranch in the desert ensured your safety while you learned the extent and limits of your superpowers. To master the flow of heat energy, you needed lots of space and minimal vegetation.聽
Rain and Uncle M were the only occasional visitors.聽
Secrecy was important. The government has a SPOIL unit that takes care of people like you - Special Persons of Interest and Liability - with a surveillance program for their own protection and for the sake of national security. The CIA has no desire for SPOILs to fall into the hands of an enemy of the state, but every interest in engaging SPOILs for government projects. Depending on how the die rolls, the freedoms for SPOILS could be very much restricted.
And so your mother trained you. She trained you to ensure if your identity was ever compromised, you would have bargaining power to negotiate the terms of your freedom. She trained you to value human life, to respect the power of heat, to master self-control.
For five critical years of your adolescence, the principles of combustion, explosions, heat flow, heat control, and fire dynamics were memorized then applied in the lonely desert ranch. Your mother鈥檚 mantra has never left you.聽
Control. Control is everything.聽
鈥淯ncle M, you think my pyrokinesis can help control the explosion?鈥澛
鈥淵es, I believe so. You up to it?鈥
鈥淚鈥檓 in.鈥
Your uncle looks at you gravely and reminds you that depending on how you manifest your powers, the SPOIL unit might come looking for you. You know the risks but you can鈥檛 say no to your obligation to human life. If it happens, you鈥檒l deal with it. The question remains: just how will you know where the explosions will occur? You need to be right there when it happens. One second too late and you won鈥檛 be any help.聽
Uncle M, is already one step ahead of you. 鈥淚 have a contact, a mind reader. He鈥檚 a good guy. Helped us out a couple of times. All unofficial of course. But he will need to comb the streets to find the perpetrator鈥檚 mind ASAP in order for us to locate the explosives. He鈥檚 on his way as we speak.鈥
鈥淭hat would give us a shot at this,鈥 you say. 鈥淎nd if he doesn鈥檛?鈥
鈥淭hen we hope and pray.鈥
----------------------------------------------------
The heavy silence that hangs in the office is suddenly broken by a loud rap on the door.聽
鈥淐ome in!鈥 Unce M calls out.
You turn to the door to greet the stranger, only to meet 鈥 your neighbor.
鈥淛in! What are you doing here?鈥
鈥淵/N!鈥 His face is as shocked as yours.聽
鈥淵ou two know each other?鈥 asks Uncle M.聽
鈥淲e do. We鈥檙e neighbors. Evening, Maestro.鈥 Jin鈥檚 voice seems deeper, serious and grown-up, and not your boy-next-door neighbor who cracks Dad jokes while messing around with butter and flour, sugar and salt.聽
鈥淲hat is she doing here?鈥 Jin asks your uncle in disbelief.聽
Maestro looks amused. 鈥淥kay, so you鈥檙e both here because of your superpowers. Jin, my niece, Y/N, has pyrokinetic powers, trained in heat control, explosives management and all that fun stuff. Y/N, Jin is the mind-reader. Now that we鈥檙e all up to speed, Jin, you鈥檇 better read the note.鈥澛
鈥淗old up a minute! You鈥檙e a mind-reader?鈥 You glare at Jin. 鈥淲hy didn鈥檛 you say anything about it?鈥 Shit, you鈥檙e embarrassed.
鈥淚t鈥檚 not something I can tell people about. You, of all people, should understand that,鈥 Jin replies quietly, a faint smile playing on his lips.
You want to crawl into a hole and die. He can read your fucking mind. Oh god, did he know you were fantasizing about fucking him?
鈥淐hildren. Could I have your attention please? We have two days left. Let鈥檚 focus. Jin. Can you work the streets and try to find the bastard?鈥
鈥淒o you have any other leads? Like where he could be staying? Even with my powers, it will be looking for a needle in a haystack.鈥
鈥淎t this point we have nothing. Lots of people from out of town are visiting family for the Fourth. I just got this letter in the afternoon. This is all we have. Are you in?鈥
鈥淵ou know I never turn you down Maestro,鈥 he says.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 settled then. Okay, the plan is for Jin to walk the streets and do his thing鈥︹
You interrupt Maestro. 鈥淲hat do you mean 鈥榙o his thing鈥?鈥
Your uncle looks exasperated at your interruption. Time is of the essence but he realises that for both you and Jin to work together, you need more information.聽
Jin explains that reading people's minds isn't an everyone-everytime kind of power. He can turn it on or off consciously. He doesn鈥檛 have an amazing reach, maybe a square mile. It slows down when there鈥檚 more people, but gets a lot easier when he has a face or a name.聽
Like a fisherman, he casts his mind out like a net and searches for the right fish. If he doesn鈥檛 find the bad guy, he casts his net again. The process is tedious and exhausting but physical proximity always eases the process of finding the right mind, the right thoughts, at the right time.
Uncle M is all business once you鈥檙e up to speed. 鈥淛in, start on it straight away, go downtown, river promenade, the public gardens, the usual spots where the crowds will gather on the Fourth. The perp might be scouting sites as well, and there鈥檚 a chance you might be able to catch his mind.鈥
Your uncle turns to you. 鈥淵/N, be on standby. The perp might even have explosives on him. And if he feels threatened or takes hostages or starts detonating anything early, I want you right there. Remember, we need to communicate to navigate this, so be on your cell.鈥澛
The Maestro gives you both a long look. The years of police work -- protecting and serving the folks of Destiny -- line his face. Suddenly, he doesn鈥檛 look like the invincible police chief of Destiny of twenty-five years. You realise that behind the legend of the Maestro, is just a man 鈥 old, tired and vulnerable.聽
鈥淏e good, kids. I鈥檓 counting on you.鈥
---------------------------------------
You wait till you are outside on the steps of the DPD before you trust yourself to speak.聽
鈥淛in? Um, why didn鈥檛 you say anything about it to me?鈥澛
鈥淵/N, the same reason why you couldn鈥檛 say anything about your superpower to me.鈥 His tone is gentle. 鈥淚t鈥檚 just not something I can blurt out to every girl I like and say 鈥榦h by the way, I have this superpower that allows me to read the deepest, darkest secrets of your mind鈥.鈥
鈥淲hat did you just say?鈥澛
鈥淒eepest, darkest secrets of your mind?鈥 Jin鈥檚 voice is faltering, his usual bravado is gone. All that鈥檚 left is vulnerability.聽
鈥淣o, before that.鈥
鈥淚 have this superpower that --鈥
鈥淣o, before that.鈥
鈥淚t鈥檚 not something I can blurt out to every girl I like鈥︹ the words rush out of his mouth in embarrassment, accompanied by a faint blush across his cheeks.聽
鈥淵ou like me?鈥
He chuckles a little. 鈥淚 like you, that鈥檚 why I asked you out, Y/N,鈥 he says softly. 鈥淚 thought I made it obvious enough. The leftovers? I mean, I鈥檓 training to be a chef. I should know about portion sizes and shit. Or I could always just freeze the leftovers. I just happen to鈥 you know鈥 like eating with you?鈥澛
Somehow, hearing this for the first time is disconcerting and weird. It鈥檚 one thing to go on a date, but for him to actually like you?聽
鈥淥kaaaay. Um, so, have you ever read my mind?鈥
Jin knows this was coming. He prays for courage to tell the truth.聽
鈥淥nce. Just once. It was about the pizza.鈥
鈥淭he pizza?鈥
鈥淵eah. I wanted to impress you and make something you鈥檒l definitely like, and uh, when you came over for the mozzarella sticks, you wished for a Hawaiian pizza and I caught on that it was your favorite.鈥
鈥淲hat the hell, Jin! It kinda feels like you can see me naked or something.鈥
Jin swallows hard at the word naked. 鈥淚鈥檓 sorry. I really tried not to read your mind. I just wanted to make something you like. I don鈥檛 do that to just anyone because it takes a lot of actual concentration. But I swear this was the only time.鈥
You let his words sink in. It鈥檚 confusing and disorienting and you鈥檙e not sure how to process this new side of Jin.聽
鈥淟ook Y/N, I鈥檓 really sorry. We should definitely talk about this later. Let鈥檚 focus on getting the job done first?鈥 he says.聽
You know he鈥檚 right. People鈥檚 lives are at stake. You鈥檙e about to agree when you remember something.鈥淲ait. One other thing. About the paper towels. Do you really like Brawny or did you say that because you read my mind that I prefer it to Bounty?鈥
Jin flinches at your accusation that he might have also read your mind about the paper towels. But he composes himself and musters up his usual smirk.聽
鈥淣ope, I already like Brawny,鈥 he adds, lifting up his arms to flex his biceps. 鈥淐an鈥檛 you tell? It鈥檚 just like me.鈥澛
You give him an eye-roll like you can鈥檛 believe he won鈥檛 lie about it. But a deeper part of you senses that he鈥檚 telling the truth 鈥 that the pizza thing was the only time he read your mind. Whatever it is, you鈥檙e putting it aside for now, for the sake of Destiny.聽
____________
2nd July, 2100hrs
The night finds you both heading towards the river promenade at a rapid clip. It鈥檚 half a mile away and the smell of the waterfront alerts you that you鈥檙e getting close. By the time you鈥檙e there, a full moon has arisen and sits heavily in the balmy night sky, pregnant with expectation.聽聽
The quiet calm of the night brings you to your senses. You realise that if not for Jin鈥檚 pizza, you would be faint with hunger by now. As you slow to a walk, you venture to thank him for dinner. You鈥檙e still a little mad, but you鈥檙e grateful that he wanted to make something you love.聽
With a sigh of one who realises he鈥檚 been so damned stupid, he berates himself confidently, a Jin specialty. 鈥淵ou probably would have loved whatever type of pizza I made anyway 鈥榗ause I鈥檓 such a great chef and all,鈥 he looks away from you, feeling utterly contrite about this whole mind-reading thing with the pizza.聽
鈥淵eah, I probably would have,鈥 you say softly. 鈥淚 forgive you. Just... just don鈥檛 do it again.鈥
Jin explains how his father also had the same superpowers and the ethics of mind-reading were drilled into him ever since he could remember. He鈥檚 sorry he fucked up with you on this and聽gives you a grateful smile. 鈥淚 better thank my mom for my forgiving good looks, 鈥榗ause I sure didn鈥檛 deserve that.鈥
鈥淵eah. Thank your mom and not me, smartass.鈥澛
The promenade is dotted with evening joggers, dog-walkers and couples out for a stroll enjoying the moonlight reflecting off the water. Jin tries to sift through the thoughts of the first group of people closest to him within his line of sight. He lets their thoughts swirl around him like a vortex. It is a melange of words, snapshots and soundbites. There is an image of a puppy cuddling on the couch with a baby. A worry about a mortgage. He delves a little deeper and senses a health scare, a hatred for a boss, a disappointment over a failed relationship.聽
Nothing.
Concentrating, he expands his reach and casts his mind once more, willing himself to be patient, to sift and sort.
Meanwhile, you watch Jin. Every fibre of his being is intent on looking for something in his mind. Sweat is beading across his forehead but the frown on his face says everything. Still nothing.聽
Together, you jog to another corner of the park where the bandstands for the senator鈥檚 speech have been set up and the skeleton of a stage with its overhead tent is already in place.聽
鈥淲hat鈥檚 that?鈥 you whisper to Jin, pointing to the outline of a shadowy figure near the back of the stage.
Jin tenses up. He casts his mind out, hoping to reach the figure.
/Stage looks good. Plenty of space under to put the explosives. Good luck Senator. Happy Fourth鈥/
鈥淚t鈥檚 him,鈥 Jin whispers to you.聽
The shadowy figure seems to sense a presence around. He creeps from behind the stage and straightens up, as if stretching in a warm-up. As the suspect twists his waist and stretches out his arms, he takes a good look around.聽
鈥淒o you trust me?鈥 asks Jin.聽
He doesn鈥檛 wait for a reply and immediately draws your body flush against his. Dipping his head down, his lips nudge against yours, coaxing them to open. The soft, wet lushness of his mouth slides and slants against yours. There is no debate, no hesitation. You yield your lips to his. Jin turns a little, hoping to shield your face from the suspect behind him. Gently cupping your face with his hands as an added measure to conceal you from the suspect, he leans down further.
His lips are soft and tender and all you can think of is more. You want him to kiss you harder, to plunder your mouth for longer. Your hands instinctively wind themselves around his neck. A soft moan leaves your lips, and he echoes with one of his own. It feels so right.
Jin wants so much more too. He wants to cup your ass with his hands, pull you so close to him to let you feel how hard you make him. He wants to do everything he has fantasised about you ever since he saw you walking into the laundry room at the very beginning.聽
But for now, he settles for having your hands around him, your lips against his, your body pressed up against him.
Gasping for breath, you pull away a fraction of an inch, for a fraction of a second.
鈥淚s he gone?鈥 you ask, heart thudding.
The presence of the suspect鈥檚 mind is heading in the opposite direction. Jin considers lying for the sake of an extra kiss, but he knows better. 鈥淗e鈥檚 gone.鈥 Breath is still labored from the kiss of his dreams, he apologizes for the kiss. 鈥淚鈥檓 sorry. I鈥 I just didn鈥檛 want him to see us. But um, let鈥檚 call the Maestro. The suspect is planning to put the explosives under the stage.鈥
鈥淪houldn鈥檛 we follow him? See where he鈥檚 staying? Maybe figure out if he鈥檚 working alone or with an accomplice?鈥
鈥淕ive me a moment to probe his mind.鈥 The truth is, Jin needs a moment because just one kiss from you has rendered his mind into a mess of mental rubble.
He concentrates again. He casts his mind towards the direction of the fleeing figure and senses that the perp is spooked. He delves further, looking for clues. Images of the river promenade, the DPD, the children鈥檚 carnival flash across his mind.聽
Jin鈥檚 entire body is trembling now with weakness from the profound focus he鈥檚 exerting. Sweat is pouring from his forehead. He digs deeper, trying to get a name, an address, or a location but is blocked by the intensity of the bloodlust of the perpetrator.聽
鈥淚t鈥檚 bad Y/N.鈥 His voice is wobbly. 鈥淚 can see kids, families. Carnival show. Bandstands. He has two sets of explosives. Name and address鈥︹
Jin suddenly doubles over on the ground, exhausted.聽
You quickly call Uncle M on your cell. 鈥淯ncle M? We saw him. Two possible sites for the bombs, or just a really big one because he saw two sets of explosives. Carnival show. Bandstands. Jin鈥檚 trying to get a name or an address but he鈥檚 looking exhausted.鈥
鈥淚鈥檓 on my way. Stay with Jin. He鈥檚 likely to lose consciousness, maybe seizure. Whatever you do, don鈥檛 call for an ambulance.鈥
鈥淕ot it,鈥 you say quietly.聽
Jin is still kneeling on the grass. He鈥檚 trying again to reach the perp鈥檚 mind. This is too hard. He feels like he鈥檚 about to black out.聽
鈥淛in! Stay with me. Staywithme. Staywithme.鈥 Even though Uncle M informed you of the possibility that Jin will lose consciousness, you鈥檙e not prepared to actually see him go through that.聽
It seems like an eternity before you hear footsteps, heavy and sure, that can only be Uncle M鈥檚. Together, you and the Maestro haul Jin back to the Maestro鈥檚 car and then into your apartment. Uncle M assures you that Jin should be all right soon. His dad suffered the same way when he worked with Uncle M in the police force. The key was to keep him safe during his seizures, stay hydrated and monitor his temperature.聽
Once inside your apartment, you help Uncle M to deposit Jin onto your bed.聽
鈥淲ell. That鈥檚 that,鈥 says Uncle M. 鈥淐all me when he wakes. At once. We need to know if he remembers any new information from the last mind-reading before he passed out.鈥澛
鈥淚 will. But what happens next?鈥
鈥淲ell. It depends how much Jin found out. Tomorrow鈥檚 the third and hopefully, we can stop this thing before the fourth. Get some rest Y/N.鈥
You nod.聽
鈥淕oodnight Y/N. Hey, Tootsie Roll for my favourite niece before I go?鈥
鈥淪ure, Uncle M.鈥
He tosses the candy to you, and gives a last parting shot. 鈥淒on鈥檛 grow up too fast, Y/N.鈥
鈥淭oo late, Uncle M.鈥 Your quiet words echo after the Maestro鈥檚 footsteps.
鈥斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺
A moan from the bedroom sees you hurrying back to attend to Jin. One touch to his forehead and you know his fever is raging. You grab a cold wash cloth from the bathroom hoping to sponge his temperature down.
I should take off his clothes. It will help to cool him. I鈥 I鈥檒l just try not to look.聽
Quickly, you unbutton his shirt. His chest, lean and broad, is slick with sweat, dusky nipples redirecting the rivers of sweat pouring off his body, even as the touch of cool air hardens them instinctively. As you fight to shrug off the shirt completely off him, your eyes are drawn to the lean muscle of his abs and the sharp v lines coasting past his hips disappearing into his pants.聽
Shit. I am going to have to take off his pants.聽
Nervous fingers trip over the belt buckle and clumsily, you undo his belt and unzip him. You half expect Jin to wake up at this instant and scream, 鈥淲hat the hell are you doing?鈥 but he is still in a feverish unconscious state. When you yank the jeans past his hips, you can鈥檛 help but stare at the distinct bulge in his crotch hidden under a pair of plain black boxers.聽
Get a grip, and get those pants off to cool him down.聽
You stare at the ceiling, imagining your mother, and all the saints you have heard at catechism standing here in the room surrounding you like a cloud of prudish witnesses, their fingers at the ready to point accusingly at you. Keeping your eyes fixed on the ceiling, you move to the end of the bed and start pulling at the pant legs. Who knew taking a pair of jeans off someone can be so unsexy?聽
Quickly and methodically, you rinse the wash cloth and wipe him down. To get him hydrated, you try to coax a few spoonfuls of water past his lips. Most end up dribbling down his chin but at least some of the water went in.
Finally, making sure that he鈥檚 as comfortable as possible, you pull out a thin sheet and cover Jin with it and head to the couch for the night.聽
Some time around 3am, you hear Jin muttering incoherently in your room. Frightened, you creep in to take a peek. Jin鈥檚 body is shivering noticeably, his mutterings are fast and fluent in the language of nightmares. You put a hand on his forehead, immediately shocked by how cold and clammy he is.聽
鈥淛in, stay warm for me, baby.鈥澛
Baby? Where did that come from?
鈥淛in, stay warm for me, neighbor.鈥
Well, that just sounds weird.
You drag out the quilts and blankets you have and pile it on him. After a few minutes, you check Jin鈥檚 temperature. 95.5F. Hypothermia starts at 95F. He needs to warm up straight away.聽聽
I鈥檓 sorry-not sorry, but I think I have to hold you.聽
There is only one thing left to do. You get into bed, willing him to absorb the heat from your body. Concentrating on your powers, you raise your body temperature by just enough, holding his hands, hoping he will be able to absorb the heat through your palms and the blankets will do the rest. Jin鈥檚 hands are warm after a few minutes, but the rest of his body is still shivering, jerking wildly at times.
The best way to do this is probably to turn him to his side and slot yourself in a hug. The heat transference will be quick and reach every part of his body.聽
Don鈥檛 get too excited. Don鈥檛 set your bed on fire with Jin in it now. Control is everything. The voice of your mother comes flooding back to you.聽
Tentatively, you pull Jin towards you until he is resting on his side. Lifting up his arm, you scoot in a little by little, heart thudding, breath quickening.聽
This is only for a couple of minutes. It鈥檚 JUST to warm him up.聽
Moving in, you drape his arm over your back and nestle your head against his chest, his chin fitting over the top of your head like a puzzle piece. He feels entirely too cold. Pressing your hands on his body, you feel for his heartbeat. It is steady but alarmingly slow.聽
鈥淐ome on Jin. Warm up.鈥 You focus on transferring the flow of heat to him.聽
Imperceptibly, degree by degree, the stiffness and shivers slowly give way to a warming and softening of his limbs. His lean,hard body thaws to mould to yours as his own body heat returns to him.聽
He will be okay.
It is now that you are aware of how little you are wearing -- a thin camisole with matching pajama shorts and nothing else pressed against his bare body clad only in boxers.聽
But in the comfortable curve of Jin鈥檚 body, the exhaustion of the day鈥檚 events and from using your powers on Jin catch up with you. You drift off to sleep, the last thought being: This is not a good idea.
鈥斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺
Jin knows he must be dreaming. In that nebulous zone between being fully asleep and fully awake, he dreams of your body flush against his, your head buried in his chest, your legs entangled with his.
When Jin鈥檚 eyes open, he is disoriented. But instinct tells him to take in his surroundings quietly. He is definitely not in his own bed - the sheets smell too good to be his own. And you are curled up into him, nuzzling your pretty nose into his chest.
For a moment, Jin panics. Why hasn鈥檛 he remembered anything about last night? How many times did he make you come? Was he good? Or was he great?
Wracking his brain, he suddenly remembers. The perp. The kiss with you. The violence and then probing for an address鈥 he must have passed out.聽
He finds his hand splayed on your waist, another under your head. You鈥檙e warm and soft and feel incredible. He enjoys the moment for a few more seconds, lingering as long as he conscience allows. He knows he鈥檇 better get the hell out of here before things got out of hand. Carefully, he tries to entangle his legs from yours in order to roll out of bed in stealth mode.
鈥淢mm鈥 don鈥檛 go.鈥 It comes from you, part whisper, part sigh of sleep and slumber. You curve into the warmth of his body instinctively, the unconscious desire to snuggle and be held in a safe cocoon of arms and legs propels you deeper into his embrace.
Jin slowly brings his hands to your hair and gently runs his fingers through it, enjoying the little moans of pleasure that you make while you dream.聽
Someone is playing with your hair. It feels so good. Something is poking you in your belly. It feels a little rude. Sometime last night, you fell asleep next to鈥
Your eyes fly open.聽
鈥淥h my god!鈥澛
Jin looks down at you and gives you a disarming smile.
鈥淣ot quite. Y/N. Although, it鈥檚 not the first time I鈥檝e been mistaken for Him before.鈥澛
Like lightning, you scoot yourself away from Jin鈥檚 body, alarm and embarrassment written on your face.
鈥淗ey. I must have passed out. Thanks so much for taking care of me,鈥 Jin鈥檚 voice is soft and warm, calming, even. The dark circles of your exhaustion are evident around your eyes.
鈥淚t鈥檚 nothing. Uncle M said to keep an eye on you.鈥
鈥淎bout last night鈥︹ Jin says,
鈥淯h鈥 nothing happened,鈥 you say quickly. 鈥淵ou were running too hot so I had sponge you and then too cold and I just uh鈥 had to help you warm up.鈥澛
鈥淚n other words, I was that irresistible, huh?鈥澛
鈥淪hut up. You were really hot last night.鈥
鈥淚 am still really hot,鈥 he teases. But after a serious pause, he adds, 鈥淎nd I still need to apologize.鈥澛
鈥淔or what?鈥
鈥淔or reading your mind without you knowing. I promise it鈥檚 not going to happen again. And I鈥檓 going to earn back your trust.鈥澛
His eyes still on yours, he reaches out tentatively for your hand and presses a kiss to it. It is chaste and sweet and altogether a move that puts the ball in your court.聽
The wetness between your thighs however is anything but chaste. You鈥檙e not sure what to do. Your body is definitely responding to Jin鈥檚 presence and proximity. And you want him. Oh, you want him.
鈥淲hat if sometimes I want you to read my mind?鈥
鈥淭hat can be arranged.鈥澛
鈥淟ike now?鈥 you ask.聽
鈥淟ike now?鈥 he echoes.
鈥淟ike now,鈥 you say.聽
Collect your rain check and kiss me.
Jin moves unhurriedly to you. He had rushed the first kiss, but like hell he鈥檚 going to rush this with you now. His fingers stroke your jawline, up the back of your ear, down the length of your neck, up the curve of your chin. You shiver at every stop his fingers make, waiting and waiting for the kiss to come.聽
鈥淲ant me to kiss you huh?鈥 he murmurs.
鈥淧lease.鈥 He slowly slants his mouth over yours and sucks ever so gently on your lower lip. Without thinking, you entwine your arms around his neck, pulling him closer to you, urging him to deepen his kiss.聽
More. More.
He twists his body up and holds nothing back now. He devours you with his lips, tastes you with his tongue, marks you with his teeth.聽
His hands rest on your hips lightly, waiting for permission. You quickly guide his hands under your cami, licensing his hands to roam the expanse of your body.聽
His fingers brush your nipples lightly at first, and then he cups your breasts, groaning at their delicious weight. Jin swears he can鈥檛 get any harder than this.聽
鈥淪uch pretty tits.鈥
He rolls up the cami to expose your breasts, nipples hard and aching for his tongue. The first contact of your nipple in his mouth makes him growl. He can鈥檛 get enough as he sucks and laves on one and palms the other. You don鈥檛 know what else to do but press his head closer to where your nipples are hardening, wanting to prolong the pleasure he brings.聽
Jin鈥檚 swirls and licks are pulling desperate whimpers from you. The ache in your core is throbbing with need. Instinct takes over and you grind down on the hardness of his thighs, moaning the moment your clit makes contact on the expanse of hard muscle. Your nails dig into his shoulders as you push your hips against his for more friction.聽
I need your fingers.
鈥淢m鈥 what do you need my fingers for?鈥 He feigns ignorance.
鈥淛in, hurry.鈥
Jin slips his hand under the hem of your shorts and draws in a shaky breath when he feels how soaked you are. His ghosts a finger across your mound, coating it with your arousal before slipping it inside. Your inner walls clench him immediately.聽
鈥淲ant more?鈥 Jin is not teasing now. Your responsiveness is so hot that he just wants to take you all the way to the edge and come apart on him.聽
鈥淵-yyyyy鈥︹
Your phone on the nightstand is ringing loudly.聽
You both freeze.
It has to be Uncle M. Again.聽
鈥淕o on,鈥 Jin motions to you to answer. He can鈥檛 help but half-grin, half-sigh resignedly. The Maestro always has perfect timing when it comes to his niece.
鈥淯ncle M? Jin just got up. We鈥檒l hit those spots he saw yesterday from the perp鈥檚 mind later,鈥 you say, hoping to placate your uncle so you can go back to finish what you and Jin started.
鈥淭here is no later. Put me on speaker phone now.鈥澛
The mood shifts immediately at the urgency of the Maestro鈥檚 voice.聽
鈥淭here has been a new development. We got a new note today. It says, 鈥楪uess the Fourth will come early for Destiny today. Enjoy it while you can.鈥
Shit.
鈥淕et your asses out on the streets NOW. It鈥檚 Saturday and downtown is going to be packed. This bastard is a smart one. Our security plans were all laid out for tomorrow, bag checks, road cordons, the works. Not for today. We are scrambling for manpower now and I need a couple of hours before everything is set in place. Meanwhile, you both need to be out there and catch the perp ASAP. I have called the hospitals to put their surgery, burns and ER units on standby. They are paging for more staff in as we speak. Let鈥檚 just hope things don鈥檛 spiral to that level.鈥
鈥淕ot it.鈥
鈥淩emember, be on your cellphones. Communicate to navigate the situation.鈥
Without a further word, the Maestro hangs up.聽
Jin looks at you. He鈥檚 so turned on... but Destiny awaits.
鈥淩ain check?鈥
鈥淩ain check.鈥
鈥斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺斺
3rd July, 1100hrs
The Maestro was right. The streets are packed with families out for a good day in the sun. Lines snake out onto the sidewalks and traffic is almost at a standstill as cars inch along, looking for a parking spot.聽
You and Jin are by the bandstands again, hoping to get hold of the perpetrator鈥檚 mind but there is nothing there this time. The site of the children鈥檚 carnival show also proves a fruitless endeavour.聽
As you walk back to Main Street in the downtown area, you and Jin continue to brainstorm possibilities.聽
鈥淔or the explosives to have maximum impact, it needs to be in some sort of semi-enclosed place with a good amount of people so he can slip in and out.鈥
鈥淩estaurant? Concert hall? Museum?鈥
鈥淵ou said you saw families?鈥
鈥淵eah, but the children鈥檚 carnival only starts tomorrow.鈥
鈥淏ut what if there are other family-friendly events today?鈥
A puppet show at the local puppetry theater is the only event that comes up in your Internet search.聽
鈥淭hat鈥檚 in fifteen minutes!鈥
Together, you jog towards the puppet theater. It鈥檚 not far but the crowded streets make it difficult to get there quickly. Once there, Jin finds a quiet corner to focus his mind. It is a small area but densely packed with about 200 kids and their parents. For Jin, the challenge is to fish for thoughts about bombings and carnage from the dross of thoughts about pooping, of the I鈥檓-tireds, and of snacks of all kinds.
Oops, I need to go potty / Is it going to dark?/ I want a snack/ The AC better be good here for the price of the ticket / It鈥檚 his goddamn turn to change the diaper / Good, everything is in place under the stage. It鈥檚 going to be pretty. Pretty ugly --
鈥淚 think I got the perp,鈥 murmurs Jin.聽
Jin probes deeper, and he suddenly sees an image that flashes to the satisfaction of the perpetrator鈥檚 mind.聽
The explosives are packed under the stage, set with a timer to go off when the curtain rises.聽
鈥淗e put the explosives under the stage,鈥 he whispers to you. 鈥淕oing off when the curtain rises.鈥
/Beautiful day for a beautiful job. Time to get out of here./
Jin hones in, he wants to locate the bastard once and for all. He鈥檚 sweating.
/Fuck, this uniform is uncomfortable. Gonna burn this piece of trash once I get outta here./
And then, Jin sees him. A security guard, nonchalantly walks out from the side of the building and brushes past Jin as he steps off the sidewalk. His face is covered by an official-looking cap, eyes hidden behind a pair of dark aviators.聽
Jin mouths to you - It鈥檚 him. He turns to give you a parting look and your gazes meet for just a second. In his eyes, you see the same message you wish to tell him:聽Stay safe. You鈥檙e not sure how this is going to end, but you both have your destinies to pursue -- his is with the perpetrator, and yours, with the explosives.聽
You run to the entrance of the theater to the ticket staff. Glancing at her name tag, you go for pity.
鈥淗i Stacy. I鈥檓 sorry, my husband and kid went in there accidentally with my ticket. He鈥檚 not answering his phone and my kid is screaming for me. I swear, I鈥檒l come right out with my ticket.鈥
Stacy sees your desperation and honestly doesn鈥檛 give a fuck anymore after waving in screaming toddlers and irate parents for the last 20 minutes.
Inside, the atmosphere is chaotic with kids and parents talking over each other as families look for their seats. Screaming babies, whiny toddlers, grumbling kids pack the aisles and the rows of seats, shoving, crying, complaining and combusting into tantrums right in the middle of the aisles.聽
Strollers and diaper bags are all over the place despite signs to keep the aisles clear. You weave down the aisles and edge towards the stage. With no staff in sight, you flip the velvet skirting under the stage to take a look.
They are all there. Your mother taught you enough to recognise that the homemade bombs you see are nothing trivial. With the light from your phone, you can make out four large cases of homemade explosives, probably packed with nails and ball bearings to inflict maximum damage. With less than five minutes left, you have to act fast.
You call Uncle M.
鈥淯ncle M! Puppet Show. Explosives under the stage. Jin is following the perp. He鈥檚 in a blue security guard uniform, black aviators, and a cap. He鈥檚 about as tall as Jin.鈥
鈥淚鈥檒l send my men. Where are you?鈥
鈥淚鈥檓 under the stage. It鈥檚 packed with explosives, looks like a DRX100. Cheap phone detonators. Timers show I have less than five minutes. There鈥檚 no time to get people out. At least 200 people here with lots of kids. It鈥檚 gonna cause a stampede. I鈥檓 going to direct the blast out via backstage into the alley behind.鈥
Uncle M pauses for only a split second.
鈥淚 will send firetrucks and ambulances right away. Be safe Y/N.鈥
You hang up and sprint from under the stage to the area backstage, looking frantically for a fire escape door. Having these doors open would help direct the flow of the blast outwards instead of locking in the pressure.
鈥淓xcuse me? You can鈥檛 be here鈥-鈥澛
鈥淯h... Stacy from the front-of-house told me to keep the back doors open for ventilation. Parents are complaining about the air. She said she has a situation and needs you at the box office.鈥澛
The backstage manager looks doubtful.聽
鈥淯h, I鈥檓 just following orders. Said it鈥檚 urgent? That you better bring as many staff to the box office asap? There鈥檚 a bunch of families who are demanding something about ticketing?鈥
The woman looks a tad confused but thanks to your straight face, she jogs to round up a few of the crew and heads to the front.聽
The key is to minimize damage. You know you can鈥檛 save them all.聽
You quickly position yourself under the stage.聽
You have two minutes left. You feel like you are missing a piece of the puzzle. There has to be an easier way.聽
Melt the plastic. Melt the plastic to the detonators so it won鈥檛 detonate.聽
The solution comes to you in your mother鈥檚 voice. It is clear and simple.聽
In the darkness under the stage, the light from your phone shows the twin detonators set over the four cases of explosives. Only in movies are there blue wires versus red wires. Here, it鈥檚 just a plain detonating device with a cheap cell phone. You place a hand on each of the two devices, willing the plastic and the phones and the circuit board beneath to melt. Control is everything. Too high, and the heat will trigger the detonators, too low, and you run out of time.
As you feel the surge of heat from your hands, you focus hard on keeping the temperature even. The acrid smell of melting plastic hints that success is within your reach. You need to raise the temperature. It鈥檚 melting too slowly.聽
There is no way to keep track of exactly how much time you have left since the phones are slowly disintegrating. Above stage, you can hear the puppeteers getting ready for the show and the emcee telling everyone when to find their seats.聽
It鈥檚 gonna be close.聽
You prime yourself to be ready at a moment鈥檚 notice to direct the explosion towards the back stage doors. Hopefully the solid wood flooring above you will help to minimize the blast impact on the stage and away from the audience.聽
And鈥.
鈥淲ELCOME to the Land of Make-Believe! Are you ready for a wonderful puppet show today?鈥澛
鈥淵ES!鈥 scream the audience.聽
鈥淲e have a puppet treat for you today! Let鈥檚 countdown together, boys and girls! FIVE!鈥
Brace for impact.聽
鈥淔OUR!鈥
Direct heat flow to the back.聽
鈥淭HREE!鈥
Focus on the pressure.
鈥淭WO!鈥
Control is everything.聽
鈥淥NE!鈥
Breathe.
-----------------------------------
At the DPD, a sense of relief and rejoicing is palpable. The congratulatory calls have come in for the Maestro. He takes all the credit, careful to leave out your name and Jin鈥檚. As far as he鈥檚 concerned, the detonators had some sort of malfunction and catching the perp was due to an anonymous tipoff.
You, however, are quietly ensconced in the cocoon of your home.聽
After a long shower, you traipsed over to Jin鈥檚 apartment in comfortable loungewear, too tired to fuck around with makeup and outfits and making an impression after the most intense 24 hours of your life.
聽Jin has frozen leftover Hawaiian pizza heating in the oven because microwaving frozen pizza is an apparent sacrilege.聽
You head straight for his couch, knocking back a glass of (what else but?) Gin and Tonic.
Jin settles beside you comfortably like he has been doing this all his life. His arm, strong and protective, around your shoulder.聽
鈥淗ow are you doing?鈥 he asks.
鈥淕lad to be alive. You?鈥 you say.
鈥淕lad you鈥檙e alive,鈥 he says. 鈥淏ecause I have a rain check to collect.鈥
鈥淗ow will you collect it?鈥 you ask, all innocence.聽
鈥淲ell, it鈥檚 no fun telling you. My English teacher from high-school always said to show, not tell.鈥
A tingle runs down your spine. It鈥檚 the way he said it, that made it sound like he was going to show you something delectable yet dangerous at the same time.聽
鈥淪o show me,鈥 you say, your breath hitching a little.聽
Jin leans towards you on the couch and brushes a strand of hair back behind your ear. It is sweet and electrifying at the same time.聽
鈥淢ay I?鈥 he asks.聽
鈥淢ay you what?鈥 you whisper.
鈥淐ollect the rain check?鈥 his calm voice belies the riot of desire that鈥檚 threatening to break his self-control.
鈥淵eah.鈥
鈥淚鈥檒l collect it here,鈥 Jin kisses you on your eyelids. 鈥淎nd here,鈥 he kisses your nose, 鈥渁nd here,鈥 and he kisses your lips. It is a slow and luxurious kiss and is as good as you remembered. Your bodies are moving and melding into each other in a mix of sighs and groans of finally and more and good and please. You hands slide under his shirt when--
The doorbell of Jin鈥檚 apartment jarrs you apart.聽
Oh fuck!
鈥淟et鈥檚 ignore it,鈥 you say, desperate to map out his face with your kisses, line his jaw with nibbles and pecks.聽
鈥淚t鈥檚 the Maestro,鈥 he says knowingly. 鈥淵ou know him鈥 He won鈥檛 give up and I鈥檓, uh鈥 not decent.鈥
You stare at what he鈥檚 gesturing to. The erection in his pants is obvious and you can鈥檛 believe Jin is already that hard from just kissing you.聽
鈥淚t鈥檚 not my fault. You鈥檙e hot,鈥 he complains.聽
With an exaggerated sigh, you give your mussed hair and clothes a quick patting down and open the door.聽
鈥淗i Uncle M!鈥
鈥淭hought I鈥檇 find you here. You weren鈥檛 at your apartment.鈥澛
鈥淓vening, Maestro!鈥 Jin calls from the sofa.聽
鈥淲anna come in?鈥 you ask politely. Please say no.
鈥淣o, I have a press conference to hold in thirty minutes. But I just wanted to come personally to thank you both for your service to the people of Destiny today.鈥
Jin appears behind you, apparently decent enough now.聽
鈥淛in, it鈥檚 a pleasure to serve with you. Your father would be proud.鈥澛
鈥淭hank you, Maestro,鈥 Jin looks a little wistful and solemn as he shakes the Maestro鈥檚 hand.聽
鈥淵/N鈥 you did great. Your mom trained you well, she would have been proud too. Tootsie Roll for my favorite niece?鈥
鈥淚鈥檓 all grown up now, Uncle M. You don鈥檛 have to spoil me like that.鈥
鈥淚 know. I know.鈥 The Maestro suddenly feels his years catching up with him. He looks at you, then at Jin and he sees something. He smiles a little and adds a little ruefully, 鈥淭ake care of her, Jin.鈥
鈥淚 will.鈥
With a tip of his hat, the Maestro heads off.聽
Finally with the door closed, Jin turns to you.
鈥淲here were we again?鈥
鈥淪omething about taking care of me?鈥
鈥淢mm鈥 yes.鈥
Jin backs you gently into the door and dives in for your lips again.聽
The kiss is fervent this time, desperate and urgent. You meet him like a star pulled into his orbit.聽
鈥淲ant you so much Jin.鈥 Your hands are entwined around his neck and hitch your legs around his waist, eager for friction. His hips thrust right back into you, tired of waiting, sick of restraint as he bites and nibbles behind your ear and the length of your neck.聽
鈥淲ant you too. Get away from this damned door. Don鈥檛 want anyone to interrupt us again,鈥 Jin murmurs in between breathless pants, and hot wet kisses with tongue and teeth.
He leads you to his bedroom.
鈥淟et鈥檚 take this off? Is that okay?鈥 He tugs at your sweatshirt. You take it off quickly, eager for his hands on you.聽
鈥淵ou too.鈥澛
Jin is momentarily caught off guard. The sight of you in the cami from this morning is back to haunt him. It leaves nothing to the imagination, your nipples clearly outlined through the thin fabric.聽
You suddenly feel shy under his intense gaze. The ceiling becomes interesting and you let yourself look there, unsure what to do next.聽
鈥淗ey,鈥 he comes up close to you and whispers in your ear. 鈥淚t鈥檚 just me. You鈥檙e beautiful, Y/N. So perfect for me.鈥 His whispers thrill you right to your core.聽
Jin lays you down on his bed, shrugs off his t-shirt and helps you out of your cami.聽
鈥淣ow we鈥檙e even,鈥 he sighs. 鈥淭he last time, you had more on than me and I thought it wasn鈥檛 fair.鈥
Jin puts his mouth over your nipple and sucks gently, pulling desperate moans from you.
鈥淟ike raspberries,鈥 he says. 鈥淚 could suck on these all day.鈥 You let out another moan, a very deep one that brings a rush of pleasure to Jin鈥檚 cock. You feel how hard it is against your pelvis, and you are just so hungry.聽
鈥淛in. I want鈥 I want you to鈥︹ Words fail you. Why is it that what you don鈥檛 want to say always rushes out of your mouth and the very words you want to say seem to get stuck in your throat?聽
Jin is quiet. He observes you to see if he has somehow crossed a line. You are leaning in, not pulling away, in fact, very much reaching for him, judging by your hands that are wandering down the valley lines to brush against his boxers.聽
鈥淭ell me what you want,鈥 Jin asks.
鈥淚鈥檒l try? But could you also鈥 you know....鈥
鈥淪ure. Just tell me here what you want from here鈥 -- he presses the softest touch to your lips--- 鈥渙r from here鈥 -- he outlines a heart shape near your left breast. 鈥淚鈥檒l listen for your words or your thoughts, and let you take the lead alright? What do you want to do?鈥 he asks. Jin is determined to take it slow for your sake. You鈥檙e suddenly a little skittish and all he wants is to reassure you that you鈥檙e safe with him.聽
What do you want to do? You realise you really want to nestle against Jin鈥檚 chest and trace the outline of his collarbone, worship his pecs, feel his shoulders around you.聽
鈥淚 can do that.鈥 Jin grins. This is where his superpower comes really handy.
He holds you close, wraps you in his arms, and luxuriates the incredible feel of your bare skin against his. A sigh of contentment escapes you as you nestle in his arms. He鈥檚 all lean muscle and soft whispers, rubbing gentle circles on your back. You bend a little and lave at the dusky flat nipples on his chest. It feels good to hear him seethe a little with pleasure.
Make me feel good.聽
鈥淪weetheart, I鈥檓 going to do that. So good you won鈥檛 be able to remember your name.鈥 Your stomach flutters at his words.聽
Jin goes back to tasting your lips as he cups your face tenderly and strokes your cheeks with his thumbs. Better than any dessert, your mouth is warm and rich and luxurious. Still kissing, his hands travel further down and starts to explore every curve, every slope, every expanse of your skin.聽
鈥淛in, please take it all off.鈥
Jin smiles, glad to hear the desperation in your voice. He wants this. Wants you to want him. He works off your lounge pants and hesitates at your underwear.
鈥淭his too?鈥 he coos at you.
鈥淧lease,鈥 you whimper.
He gently untangles your legs from the thin fabric, his eyes closed for a moment as his fingers glide against the slick arousal already soaking through your underwear.
He takes his time, presses kisses along the inside of your thighs until he reaches the apex, breathing in the sweet, musky smell that is entirely feminine. His muscles quiver involuntarily as he thinks how this is a thousand times better than all that he has imagined.聽
Taste me.聽
You鈥檙e too shy to say this but you could feel his smile against your cunt.聽 His tongue darts into you, branding you with his lips, drawing sweet, desperate cries of his name from you. Desire and want flood your veins and you鈥檙e gasping for more. Your fingers are carding through his hair, tugging frantically with every swipe and curl of his tongue.聽
Again.
鈥淲ant my tongue and fingers now, hm?鈥 he asks.聽
鈥淪o much. Want it so much,鈥 you choke out.聽
He slides a finger in, working it inside your hot core, your inner walls instinctively clenching around him, coating one, then two, then another finger in smooth and syrupy slick. Jin blows gently on your clit and the entire effect of cool air against hot skin, dry breath against wet arousal is too much to bear. Your hips buck into him, hands grabbing his face into your cunt. You鈥檙e biting your lips, hoping you aren鈥檛 too loud or too embarrassing.
鈥淟et me hear you come, my sweet. I. Like. It.鈥澛
You trust Jin. You trust him that he means what he says and so you stop holding back, stop fisting wildly at the sheets, and let the pleasure of his body on yours take over, a low primal moan taking over you.聽聽
Jin shudders at how beautiful you sound.聽
He knows exactly how he got you to where you are. Hooking his fingers just right, he massages that aching spot with his fingers and stiffens his tongue against your clit until you make soft desperate pleas that he can鈥檛 quite make out; until you start gasping for more; until you come apart all over him with his name like a frenzied chant.聽
Jin exults in your worship of his name. He trembles at how gorgeous you are when you come for him like that.聽
鈥淵ou liked that, huh?鈥 He鈥檚 fishing for compliments here, but you鈥檙e too blissed out to pander to him.聽
You can barely register any coherent thought 鈥 your name is just a distant memory, but his聽name, his name is imprinted on your lips and tongue and mouth.
He flops聽 beside you, self-satisfied with his job well done. He鈥檚 still hard, achingly so, but he promised himself to let you take the lead, and if nothing else happens tonight, just seeing the pleasure he has brought you is more than good enough.聽
You turn to face him. His eyes are soft and tender, looking at you like you鈥檙e a miracle. A dream come true. All you can manage is a shaky smile because you are entirely boneless and soft after your orgasm. You curl into your now favorite spot in his chest and purr.聽
How did you end up with this super amazing man? Who also happens to be an amazing super-man?
鈥淚 know. I鈥檓 incredible,鈥 Jin answers for you.聽
You smile into his chest and hug him closer. Right now, you are in the safest place in the world, so protected in those arms, so spoiled by the comforting thrum of his heartbeat.聽
Jin glides his hands up and down your back. Why is it that you fit into him so perfectly? He never wants to leave this bed, never wants to give up holding you. You feel soft in all the right places, silky and smooth. Wet in all the right places too.聽
You hold each other like this in a cocoon of soft sighs and softer murmurs until the smell of something burning seeps into the bedroom followed quickly by the shrill of the smoke alarm. Jin shoots out of bed and into the kitchen with you not far behind grabbing his shirt to put over you.
The pizza! It is burnt to a crisp. He opens the windows to let the smoke billow out and stares dismally at the incinerated pizza. It is charred, completely black and completely inedible.
鈥淚鈥檝e never, ever burned anything before.鈥 He looks so crestfallen, devastated really.
You鈥檙e not sure how to respond so you go for humour.
鈥淣ext time, all you need is to ask me to heat up the pizza.鈥
He smiles but looks all solemn again. This is bad. He has never fucked up food before. It鈥檚 you that has done this to him and he feels utterly powerless under the pull of love. 鈥淚 keep fucking up when I鈥檓 with you and I never fuck up. Not like this.鈥
鈥淛in, it鈥檚 just a pizza.鈥
鈥淵ou don鈥檛 get it do you? It鈥檚 not about the pizza,鈥 his voice is trembling.聽
鈥淲hat do you mean Jin?鈥澛
鈥淚鈥檓 not the same again. I have these ideals that I hold myself to, and it鈥檚 like I can鈥檛 when I鈥檓 around you. And it鈥檚 all because of you. I break my rules because of you. I鈥檝e never felt鈥 weaker when I鈥檓 with you.鈥澛
鈥淛in, if it鈥 if it... makes you feel better, I feel like I鈥檓 losing control and it has never happened before.鈥澛
He walks towards you, each step slow and deliberate in closing the distance between you. 鈥淚 don鈥檛 even have a dad joke and that never happens.鈥
鈥淎nd I don鈥檛 have a pun.鈥 You take a step towards him.聽
You stand there, nose to nose, breathing in this new atmosphere of vulnerability between you.聽聽
鈥淐an鈥檛 let you go anymore. Need you forever and ever. Especially when you look so sexy in this,鈥 he whispers, tugging his shirt off of you.
鈥淚鈥檓 not going anywhere,鈥 you echo.聽
He scoops you up bridal style back into the bedroom. He wants to feel all of you, hear all of you, have all of you.聽
Once on his bed, you sit up to help him pull down his boxer shorts as he stands awkwardly over you by the bed. You want him. You want him to be your first. Maybe even your last. The thought thrills you and scares you at the same time.聽聽聽
鈥淟et me make you feel good, Jin.鈥
鈥淥h baby, you don鈥檛 have to.鈥 His words are out in breathless pants but his hands are stroking your hair, encouraging you.
You wrap your hand around the hard length of his cock, enjoying how hot he burns in your palm. You gather some of the precum leaking from the tip of his cock on your fingers to stroke and finger the vein that runs its length, the thick head of it, the smooth undersides.聽
He鈥檚 magnificent.聽
鈥淪o hard for me already?鈥
He groans the moment you put your mouth on him, swirling your tongue around the tip, pressing into the seam of his cock. Hollowing your cheeks, you gently suck him into your mouth, lowering your lips from the tip and easing ever so gently down on the rest of him, letting him glide further down into your throat.聽
Jin almost comes then. He鈥檚 mewling your name, grunting at how good you feel, breathless from holding back.
He threads his fingers into your hair, and steels himself from jerking too roughly the moment you start squeezing the undersides of his balls lightly. You add just a little bit of teeth, of sharp against smooth to heighten his pleasure.
鈥淟ike that. Oh sweet, just exactly like that,鈥 he鈥檚 muttering with so much effort as he trembles in your mouth.聽
You鈥檙e enjoying the rush of power. To see him so close to losing control just from your mouth alone is intoxicating. You try to take him a little deeper, loving the feel of his hands guiding your head and the growls he can鈥檛 hold back as you rest your fingers on the back of thighs to pull him further into your mouth.
鈥淣o more, baby. I can鈥檛 take it. Let me, let me get a condom,鈥 Jin is choking out each word. You feel too fucking good and he doesn鈥檛 want to come in your throat.聽
You finally release him, lips swollen and red from taking him in.
鈥淛in, it鈥檚 okay. On birth control. Clean. You?鈥
鈥淵eah.鈥
鈥淚 want to feel only you, Jin.鈥 You lean back into the bed pulling him along with you.
He sinks down on you, spreading one leg open as he kisses you hungrily. His fingers explore the apex of your thighs and you jerk your hips reflexively into him. His fingers are coated so thoroughly with slick that he almost comes just from feeling your hot wetness.
In the haze of his lust, Jin feels like he has missed something. But he鈥檚 too far gone to analyze it. Your soft whimpers to hurry hurry prompts him to swiftly line himself at your cunt and push the head of his cock slowly in.聽
鈥淵ou鈥檙e so tight,鈥 he moans.聽
You鈥檙e grimacing from the pain and pleasure of the stretch and your walls automatically convulse around him, making you even tighter and hotter around the tip of his cock.聽
Don鈥檛 stop Jin. So ready for this for you to be my first.聽
Jin stills for a moment. 鈥淲hat? Your first?鈥
鈥淚鈥β I haven鈥檛 trusted anyone else before. Too scared. Too scared of losing control. But not with you.鈥
Never in his wildest dreams would he imagine this to come true. You. Trust. Him. To take your virginity. Raw.聽
鈥淥h my god,鈥 Jin groans in your ear.
鈥淣ot quite. It鈥檚 goddess to you. Want you fully inside. Please.鈥澛
鈥淣eed you wetter. It鈥檚 your first time, babe. Let me go down on you again.鈥 Jin scoots back, ready to lick you up.聽
鈥淛in, no. Please, I鈥檓 practically the Niagara Falls already.鈥澛
Jin entwines his fingers with yours in one hand and with the other, guides himself into you again. It鈥檚 true. You鈥檙e so wet that he鈥檚 worried he might slip out of you. Slowly he eases in, bit by bit, watching your face to signal for him to stop.聽
Want all of you.
The wet heat around his cock feels too good. Every ounce of Jin鈥檚 strength is needed to hold back from rocking those last few inches hard into you.
He stills for a moment, giving you time to adjust to him, for your breaths to synchronize because shit, you were both hardly breathing.
You welcome his weight on you, his cock inside you, his breath so hot against the nape of your neck.聽
The little bit of pain is nothing you can鈥檛 handle, and you bring your hips up to meet his, urging him to start thrusting into you.
鈥淕oing to make you mine,鈥 he breathes a little more harshly now, all his strength is bent on holding back to make you come first. His body hovers over you with all the promise of pleasure as he bites gently along your neck, then by the shelf of your collarbone, causing you to arch again and again into him, wanting more.聽
Needy cries tumble from your lips, your whimpers for him to fuck you now are drowned out by Jin鈥檚 own low grunts of exertion. Jin finally snaps his hips slowly to meet inside you again, his cock curving to rub your g-spot gently with each thrust.
Harder. Right there.
He doesn鈥檛 need to be told twice. He pounds into you harder enjoying your pleas for more. You have no desire to hold anything back from this man. You want to give yourself fully to him just as he is giving fully to you. You lock your ankles behind his back, hoping this will help drive him deeper into you. The friction burns a little, but the pleasure, the pleasure is so much more.
Jin cannot stop groaning at how good you feel. At each snap of his hips, he鈥檚 calling your name, calling you beautiful and perfect for him.
He鈥檚 trying to prolong this as much as he can but he knows with every thrust he鈥檚 getting closer. His fingers search out for your clit, and tenderly teases you again until you鈥檙e breathless and panting again.
He鈥檚 holding himself back now, making sure you come first before he does. He sees it on your face first, the way you bite on your lower lip, how your eyes start to become unfocused, and then he feels it, the tensing of your thighs around him, the clenching in your walls that seem to want to milk him dry. He waits till he hears you. The way you cry for him, how you gasp his name, breathy and desperate and dying for release. He hears you and only then -- he follows, true to his promise to let you lead.
鈥淐ome inside Jin. Please, let me feel you.鈥
Jin鈥檚 thrusting turns a little wild, a little shallower as he breathes against your skin hotter and harder. With a final focused thrust that鈥檚 all he can muster, he moans out his release that comes in wave after wave as he fills you with the warm heat of his come. It sounds like a curse and a cry as he pushes the last of himself into you, shuddering as you clench your walls tight and wet around him.聽
As the last of the ebb and flow of pleasure washes over your body, you let out a soft hum of contentment as you cradle his face. Every feature has been touched by the bliss that had just happened. His eyes are still half-lidded in ecstasy, lips swollen, his nostrils flared from all the effort of holding himself back until you came.聽
鈥淵ou鈥檙e so perfect,鈥 he whispers.
鈥淵ou just have to say that because your cock is still buried in me. Ugh, get off of me you big oaf.鈥澛
You鈥檙e teasing him for sure. Even with his softening dick inside you, the feeling of being connected with him feels incredibly right.聽
鈥淒on鈥檛 wanna come out yet. Feels all warm and cozy inside you.鈥
鈥淎ww baby, I鈥檓 glad鈥 but who鈥檚 going to make dinner?鈥 You decide to dash all his hopes that you鈥檙e so perfect for him. Better now than later for him to know what a prankster you can be. You direct your heat energy聽down there. And then鈥
鈥淏ultaoreune!鈥 Jin exits in a hurry. 鈥淲hat the hell was that?鈥
鈥淛ust a little 鈥榗ock-warming鈥 Jin.鈥 You smile sweetly at him, eyelid batting innocently. 鈥淒on鈥檛 worry, your dick is safe with me, unlike the pizza in your oven.鈥
That damn pizza. He hopes he will be burning up a few more in the lifetime to come with you.聽
鈥淚鈥檓 thinking we might not make it out of bed for tomorrow鈥檚 fireworks,鈥 Jin says lazily as he traces the outline of your face.
鈥淵eah why not?鈥
鈥溾機ause I know I just want to have our own right here.鈥
鈥淢mmhmm鈥 鈥榗ause I鈥檓 just your dynamite huh?鈥
鈥淵up, you鈥檙e my dynamite.鈥
More from my masterlist here
Posted on Sept 25, 2020 by sahmfanficbts. All Rights Reserved 漏 2020 @sahmfanficbts. Please do not translate, post or upload this content on to any platform including YouTube without permission. This is a work of fiction.
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xjoonchildx8 months ago
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just a taste | kth x reader
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summary:聽 he鈥檚 hot. he鈥檚 considerate. he鈥檚 refusing to make a move.聽weeks of sexual frustration come to a head at a wine tasting and -- this is going to shock NO ONE -- smut ensues.
pairing: taehyung x reader word count: 2.9K
rating: 18+ genre:聽 smut, PWP, that鈥檚 pretty much it please don鈥檛 look for redeeming value here warnings:聽 considerate!tae, welldressed!tae, massivedick!tae, sexuallyfrustrated!reader, protected sex, oral (m/f)
A/N: hey guys! so this fic is part of 鈥渢he summer bucketlist鈥 collaboration. the rules: pick a summer activity and smut it up.聽 so here we are -- my prompt was for a wine tasting and the member i wrote for is the insanely handsome and charming kim taehyung.聽 i hope you guys enjoy!
beta read by the amazing @hobi-gif because apparently i am incapable of writing a grocery list without her approval.聽 hope, i鈥檇 be lost without you xoxo
******************
Wine is not your jam.
You can never taste cherries or oak or whatever other bullshit people swear they鈥檙e tasting when they drink wine.聽 You pretend you do, of course -- because you鈥檇 much rather fake it than look unsophisticated in front of the cardigan-wearing cork-sniffing crowd.聽聽
On any given day, you鈥檇 be much happier drinking a beer.
But that doesn鈥檛 stop you from changing your tune the moment Taehyung calls.聽 When he asks if you鈥檇 be interested in going to a wine tasting, you damned near fall over yourself at the chance.聽聽
Because you might not like wine, but you sure as hell like Taehyung.
And one little white -- or red -- lie isn鈥檛 gonna hurt anyone.
********************
Taehyung has taken you to a lot of places since you鈥檝e been dating -- museums and galleries and restaurants and movies.聽 He never rushes a meal and never misses an opportunity to savor a moment or an experience.聽 He is unpretentious and authentic and totally fucking frustrating because the one place he鈥檚 never taken you --聽聽
-- is to bed.
Before Tae, you鈥檇 dated a series of total Saint Bernards -- humpy, jumpy, slobbery men who at no point seemed into you beyond trying to get into you.聽聽
Then he swooped in like a breath of fresh air with his consideration and charm. He looked you in the eye and listened when you spoke and never made you feel like the only thing he cared about was getting into your pants.
But now it鈥檚 been weeks.聽 Doesn鈥檛 he want to get in your pants just a little?
Dating Taehyung is like having the keys to the world鈥檚 most luxurious sports car and never getting the chance to drive.
By now, you are way past ready to go for a ride.
************************
This vineyard is so picturesque it looks like a movie set.聽
Perfectly manicured rows of grapes stretch as far as the eye can see, well past the 1920s-style hotel and restaurant on the grounds. The sun is high in the sky this afternoon, warm on your skin but the light summer breeze is just enough to keep you from sweating in your dress.
You couldn鈥檛 have ordered a more beautiful day.
Taehyung looks flawless every time you see him -- of course -- but today he somehow manages to look even more handsome than usual.聽 His lightweight cream shirt hugs his trim chest but not too tight and his slacks hug his sculpted ass but not too much. His dark, wavy hair is just long enough to fall into his eyes.
He catches you staring at the way the sun plays off his face and you flush, looking away -- but not before you catch the hint of a smile.
It鈥檚 the perfect date.聽 With the perfect man.
The two of you spend the afternoon on an organized tour of the grounds, listening to experts explain how the grapes are grown and how the wine is made here.聽 A tour guide pulls one volunteer from your group to demonstrate how to stomp the grapes. Tae turns to shoot you a comical grimace when the woman loses her balance on the slippery mess and has to be helped up by a vineyard employee.聽聽
You shoot one back.
A short while later, the tour ends at the large bar inside the hotel and the tasting begins.聽 A sommelier walks everyone through countless details about each wine -- explaining everything about the grapes and the climate and the fermentation process.聽 He lectures like a professor and Taehyung listens like his star student -- leaning into the bar, mouth half-open in concentration.
You can鈥檛 help but catch some of his enthusiasm.聽 It鈥檚 infectious.聽 He鈥檚 fucking adorable.
You startle when the sommelier interrupts your quiet ogling.聽 He sets a pair of glasses down in front of you both and pours the first selection.聽 Something white and dry, he explains.聽 Crisp, clean.聽聽
You鈥檒l taste grapefruit, he promises and you smother a laugh.聽 Fat chance.聽
Tae turns to you with a brilliant smile, glass raised.
鈥淏ottoms up.鈥
You smile back.
*********************
Turns out you might like wine.聽
You鈥檝e tried half a dozen varieties by now -- white, red, sweet, dry, the works.聽
Each one tastes better than the last, and you can鈥檛 be sure if that鈥檚 because you鈥檙e starting to have an appreciation for this stuff -- or because you鈥檙e now well on your way to being hammered.
Turns out you should have eaten properly before you got here.聽聽
Panic scarfing two pieces of cheese and a half-sleeve of Ritz crackers when Tae texted from downstairs was not ideal.聽 You鈥檇 blown all of your pre-date time on your hair and you鈥檙e starting to realize that not eating an adequate meal before going to a wine tasting was probably not one of your brightest ideas.
Because it also turns out that wine gives you a very weird buzz.
Your whole body feels warm and relaxed as you sip on your Shiraz.聽 One dark curl falls into Tae鈥檚 face when he sends you a lopsided smile from over his glass.聽 You stare at him, dumbfounded by his beauty.聽 It鈥檚 more than you can handle at this point, when you鈥檙e loose-limbed and loose-lipped after an afternoon of drinking.
You crack.
鈥淎re you ever going to have sex with me?鈥
Tae sputters mid-sip, eyes going wide.聽聽
鈥淪ay what?鈥
鈥淣-Never mind,鈥 you stammer, looking away.聽 鈥淣othing.鈥
鈥淥h, I don鈥檛 think so,鈥 he chuckles. 鈥淵ou can鈥檛 proposition me in the middle of a wine tasting and then pretend you didn鈥檛.鈥
You can feel him staring but you鈥檙e too afraid to look and confirm for yourself.聽 Your face is probably as red as the wine in your glass right about now.聽聽
鈥淚 didn鈥檛 proposition you,鈥 you mumble childishly.聽 鈥淚 just asked the question.聽 Which I am un-asking, for the record.鈥
When you finally work up the courage to look at him, he鈥檚 leaned back on his barstool, arms folded over his chest.聽 His eyes are narrowed as he studies you from behind his dark curls.
鈥淯n-asking is not even a thing.聽 Nice try, though.聽 Are you interested in hearing my answer?鈥
You can鈥檛 figure out if the look on his face is mocking or serious -- but there鈥檚 something dangerous about it.聽 You grab your wine glass and down what鈥檚 left of the Shiraz in one gulp.
鈥淔ine.聽 Let me hear it.鈥
He grins.
鈥淲anna get a room?鈥
Yes.聽 Yes, you do.
**************************
鈥淚 think you should get naked.鈥
Taehyung鈥檚 long body is sprawled across the antique poster bed, arms crossed behind his head.聽 The slow smirk that plays over his face after he delivers that statement makes your throat dry.
It makes other places -- well, less dry.
You stare at him from the foot of the bed.
鈥淟ike, now?鈥
鈥淲ell, downstairs you all but demanded I take my pants off,鈥 he laughs.聽 鈥淪o where is that energy now, huh?鈥
Good question.聽聽
The bravado you鈥檇 mustered after downing all that wine at the bar seems to have gone down the drain.聽 Now that you鈥檙e here -- and what you鈥檝e wanted for so long is finally within reach -- you hesitate.
鈥淵ou鈥檙e teasing me,鈥 you frown, winding your fingers into the sides of your dress.聽聽
鈥淚 am,鈥 Taehyung agrees, grinning.聽 鈥淏ecause you鈥檙e cute.聽 And I like you.聽 And as much as I like that dress on you, I think I鈥檇 like it better on the floor.鈥
鈥淲ell, hang on a second,鈥 you say hotly, pointing an accusing finger in his direction.聽 鈥淲e鈥檝e been dating for seven weeks and not once have you mentioned sex.聽 Now you want some kind of impromptu striptease?鈥
Taehyung sits up straight in the bed.
鈥淚 was being a gentleman,鈥 he deadpans, looking offended.聽 鈥淭his whole time I鈥檝e been waiting for you to give me a sign.聽 Gotta admit that I didn鈥檛 expect you to be quite so direct about it, but hey --聽 I like a woman who goes for what she wants.鈥澛
He winks and your cheeks flame hot with alcohol and embarrassment.
鈥淣ow as for the strip tease -- 鈥 he pauses, lifting his shirt overhead to reveal his lean, defined chest, 鈥-- I鈥檓 a big believer in equality. I鈥檓 more than happy to go first.鈥
Your jaw drops.
*************************
You shouldn鈥檛 be surprised -- not really -- that the man who never rushes a meal and never misses an opportunity to savor an experience takes the very same approach to sex.
Lucky you.
Taehyung drops the teasing.聽 He pulls you onto the bed alongside him and then takes his time about kissing you as his hands smooth up your legs, dragging the hem of your sundress with them.聽
鈥淪hiraz,鈥 he breathes through a smile as he kisses you, 鈥淚 like the taste of that one even better now.鈥
You laugh but the second Taehyung changes course, the laughter dies.聽 He kisses his way back down the skin he鈥檚 just exposed -- chuckling when he feels the goosebumps he鈥檚 raised along the sensitive skin just below your belly button.
You sigh when his fingers grip your thighs with light pressure; close your eyes when he hooks his thumbs into your panties.聽
But then he stops.聽
Your eyes fly open and you go up on your elbows.聽
Taehyung is looking up at you, gaze hooded, mouth curved into a playful smile.聽 He dips his head down to drop a kiss on your thigh but keeps his eyes locked on yours.
鈥淔unny girl,鈥 he teases in that deep baritone of his. 鈥淚鈥檝e been thinking about this the entire time we鈥檝e been dating. Did you convince yourself otherwise?鈥
You nod slowly, lips parting when his hands start to drag your panties down your legs.
鈥淭hat time I took you to the Degas exhibit,鈥 he breathes, nudging your thighs apart with his massive hands. 鈥淚 spent half the night fantasizing about fucking you in the coat room.鈥
Your breath catches in your throat.
鈥淗ow about that time we went kayaking?聽 God, your ass in that wet suit,鈥 he groans.聽 His hands slide under you to cup the aforementioned ass and your body locks tight.聽 鈥淒o you know how hard it is to hide a semi in a fucking wet suit?鈥
It鈥檚 a rhetorical question, surely -- he must know there鈥檚 no way you can answer it when he immediately silences you with a thick drag of his tongue across your slit.
Your elbows come out from underneath you and you sag back into the bed, gasping.
鈥淥h my God, Tae.鈥
One long finger breaches you then, drawing another gasp from you and a throaty groan from Taehyung.
鈥淚t鈥檚 been a struggle,鈥 he teases darkly.聽 He slips a second finger into you.聽聽
鈥淏ut I鈥檓 a patient man.聽 And patience -- 鈥 he crooks his fingers against a spot that makes you writhe, 鈥 -- pays off.鈥
His mouth covers your clit then, tongue warm as it laves you slowly.聽 Your hips jerk in response and your fingers dig into the sheets.聽 Tae chuckles against you, fingers working in a steady rhythm as his tongue continues to slide against you.
鈥淵ou鈥檙e good at that,鈥 you whine, thighs quivering.聽 You slide one hand into the thick mass of his hair, fingers curling into the dark strands.聽聽
鈥淚 can tell,鈥 he taunts goodnaturedly.聽 鈥淵ou鈥檙e gonna rip my hair out.鈥
You throw one arm over your face to hide the furious flush that spreads across your cheeks.聽 Not that Taehyung could see it anyway -- his face is buried in your cunt, mouth working you so hard your legs start to tremble.
鈥淥h fuck,鈥 you pant, hips jerking.聽聽
Taehyung locks his hands around your thighs to still your frantic wiggling, forcing you to endure the direct assault of his lips and tongue.聽 You suffer through it, whining with the little air left in your lungs.
Then it hits.聽 Like a goddamned freight train.
You might be embarrassed by the sounds you make when you come -- the desperate, wrecked noises that emerge when the sensation melts over you -- if Tae wasn鈥檛 so damned into it.聽 He groans a sound of approval directly into your cunt that鈥檚 so sexy you nearly come again.
鈥淗oly shit, Taehyung,鈥 you murmur, breathless.聽 You lie there, boneless, waiting for your heart to stop racing.
Then the bed dips and you jerk upright.
Tae stands at the foot of the bed, staring you down with a look so heated you flush.聽
Your eyes roam over the golden planes of his chest, down to the dark dusting of hair that disappears just under his belt, down further to where he鈥檚 palming himself roughly through the fine material of his slacks.
鈥淭aehyung,鈥 you whisper, crawling in his direction.聽 He watches you silently, eyes dark and glossy beneath his bangs.聽 You get up on your knees and close one hand over his belt.聽 鈥淚鈥檓 a big believer in equality, too.鈥
His lips twitch into a smile.
Taehyung watches you work his belt open without a word, defined muscles straining when you pull it apart and unfasten the button of his slacks.聽 You press a kiss into the side of his neck and push his slacks and boxers down with your hands.聽
Taehyung鈥檚 body is sleek and defined, skin smooth and golden.聽聽聽
He stands there like a good sport, letting you inspect him, chuckling under his breath when your eyes lock on his massive cock.
You wrap one hand around it, sighing at the firm, warm feel of him, enjoying the way he pulses in your palm.聽 Taehyung lets you stroke him like that -- slow and unhurried -- until he wraps his own hand around yours, stopping you.
鈥淚 said I was a patient man,鈥 he breathes, tone laced with warning.聽 鈥淏ut even patient men have their limits.鈥
鈥淥f course,鈥 you breathe, affecting your most innocent look.聽 鈥淚 wouldn鈥檛 want to keep you waiting.鈥
You dip low to take the head of his cock into your mouth, savoring the strained sound that comes from deep in his chest.聽 You grip him with one hand, stroking him firmly as your tongue flicks out to press against the sensitive spot just under the head of his cock.
His mouth drops open then, eyes falling shut as he winds one hand into your hair.
鈥淥h, fuck,鈥 he groans, head dropping back when you scrape your teeth lightly against him.聽 He lets you tease him like that for a while, chest rumbling with satisfaction when you take him down as far as you can.
You pull away -- breathless -- and he opens his eyes, smiling down at you.
鈥淚 really need you to get out of that dress,鈥 he murmurs.聽 You scramble to pull it over your head and he reaches for his pants, producing a condom.聽 He holds it up with a grin.
鈥淚鈥檝e been carrying this around for weeks,鈥 he admits and you laugh.聽 鈥淪hall we?鈥
You nod eagerly, lying back.聽 Tae remains standing, slipping his hands underneath you to pull your hips flush to the edge of the bed.聽 You hold your breath while you watch him roll the condom on.聽
鈥淩eady?鈥 he asks, one brow lifted as he lines himself up, nudging the head of his cock against your entrance.
鈥淕od yes,鈥 you whisper.聽 He buries himself inside of you in one firm stroke, stealing the breath from your lungs.聽 He feels enormous inside of you and the stretch brings tears to your eyes.
鈥淚s that okay?鈥 he asks, holding himself still.聽 You nod.聽
鈥淵es, Tae.聽 So good,鈥 you assure him, lifting your hips to meet his.聽 You wrap your legs around him and he strokes into you carefully, allowing you some time to adjust to the thick slide of him.聽聽
Your hands fist into the sheets as he slowly picks up the pace with determined strokes.聽 You start to moan then, unable to contain the desperate sounds he pulls from you.聽
鈥淪hit, you feel incredible,鈥 he sighs.聽 鈥淪o fucking tight.鈥
Your back arches as he pulls you into him, ensuring he鈥檚 buried to the hilt with each thrust.聽聽聽
鈥淥h God, Tae,鈥 you whine, winded.聽 鈥淔eels so good.鈥
He likes that, the praise.聽 You know it because he starts pumping harder, groaning deeper.聽 He bends over you then, locking his arms on either side of you as he pistons into you. You meet him thrust for thrust, back arching off the bed as you angle yourself against him.聽
Tae drops down onto his forearms, close enough to kiss you -- covering your mouth with his and slipping one hand between you to circle your clit with the pad of one finger.聽 You cry out into his kiss when he connects with it, massaging it with rough strokes as his thrusts go erratic, rhythm faltering.
You shudder from head to toe when your second release comes over you, chanting Taehyung鈥檚 name in his ear as his own release hits.聽 He pulls out to the tip then buries himself to the hilt again and again, fucking you so deep you鈥檙e certain you鈥檒l feel him for weeks.聽聽
Then he collapses on top of you, panting.
鈥淗oly shit,鈥 he groans, rolling over on the edge of the bed, chest rising and falling with his rapid breaths.
鈥淣o kidding,鈥 you agree, working to get your own breathing under control.聽 鈥淲ish we鈥檇 done that sooner.鈥
鈥淣o going back,鈥 he reasons, turning on his side to drag his fingers across your stomach.聽 鈥淏ut going forward鈥︹
He trails off with a smile and you return it.
鈥淲hat time is it anyway?鈥 you ask, disoriented after an afternoon of daydrinking and fucking.
He peers past you to the clock on the nightstand.
鈥淥nly 5:30,鈥 he says, pressing a kiss to your shoulder. 鈥淣ext tour starts at 7. Wanna do it all over again?鈥
You smile.
Yes.聽 Yes, you do.
************************
tagging the peeps!
@ladyartemesia鈥 @ppersonna鈥 @taetaewonderland鈥 @midnighttifa鈥 @yeojaa鈥 @sahmfanficbts鈥
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cjcroen13939 months ago
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Part two of my Eddsworld HW AU profiles, Tom. Profile (template by KairraNaille on DeviantART) under the cut:
Basic Information
Full name: Thomas Thompson Nickname: Tom Gender: Male Species: Human Date of birth: June 27 Nationality: British Blood status: Half-Blood Wand: Red oak with Dragon Heartstring core, 11 and a half inches, rigid
Appearance
Hair colour: Brown Hair style: Spiky Eye colour: Black Skin tone: Light Height: Short Weight: Average Clothing style: Fond of blue hoodies Accessories: An earring Other distinguishing features: His eyes are completely black, looking like empty sockets at first glance
Personality
Traits: Sarcastic, kind of grumpy, ultimately a good guy deep down Likes: Music, hanging out with his friends, drinking, harpoons Dislikes: Christmas, Tord, Matt's toy collection, diet Smirnoff Good at: Drawing, making music, destroying Christmas stuff Bad at: Talking to people, celebrating Christmas Hobbies: Drawing, making random jokes Fears: That he'll never be good enough Ambition: Not sure yet
Family
Father: Mr. Thompson (deceased) Mother: Mrs. Thompson Sibling: Unknown Paternal grandparents: Unknown Maternal grandparents: Unknown Uncles: Unknown Aunts: Unknown Cousins: Unknown Pet: Mr. Muffin, a barn owl, given to him by Edd as a present Other noteworthy relatives: Unknown Family home: Located at 28 Durdam Lane, across the street from Edd Blood Status: Half-blood Social standing: Average Family background: Has an American ancestor named Sheriff Thompson, who attended Ilvermorny and was sorted into Thunderbird house
Individual magic
Wand reaction when first held: A pleasant, cool sensation Boggart: A black man from outer space Patronus: A dog Animagus: N/A Polyjuice: N/A Amortentia: The smell of pineapples, smirnoff and burning Christmas trees
Prologue
Born to a half-blooded witch mother and muggleborn wizarding father, Tom is one of those wizarding kids who's more familiar with the muggle world than most others. His mother's side of the family has the strange hereditary trait of being born with pitch black eyes, something that Tom inherited. No one knows the magical significance of this, if any, but Tom doesn't like it due to worrying that people will think he's evil. He befriended Edd, Tord and Matt because they didn't think so--Edd in particular thought his eyes were cool. For reasons unknown to everyone else, Tom really hates Christmas.
Tom's father died in an accident involving a bear and a gun.
Years at Hogwarts
First year Sorted into: Ravenclaw Best subject: Potions, Charms Favorite subject: Charms Favorite teacher: Professor Flitwick Worst subject: History of Magic, Astronomy Least favorite subject: Astronomy Least favorite teacher: Professor Sinistra Quidditch: Doesn't play Friends: Edd, Matt, Tord (kind of), Laurel, Ben, Lucy, Diwi, Kim, Katya Christmas holiday: Heads home to get away from the festivities of Hogwarts, its Christmas celebrations considerably too festive for his tastes. He doesn't like Christmas. Other: - Spent much of the year trying to get into his friends' dorms with their help. - Edd keeps a list of the Fat Lady's passwords to give to his friends. The Fat Lady refuses to allow them in unless they're accompanied by a Gryffindor. - His friends are unable to answer any of the Ravenclaw door knocker's riddles. - Tord tries to sneak him into the Slytherin Common Room but he ends up getting caught by Eduardo who reports him to Professor Slughorn. Slughorn reveals himself to be extremely lenient here and allows them to stay, but Edd, Tom and Matt can't stay because the Common Room is unbearably cold for any non-Slytherin students. - Hufflepuff's Common Room drenches them in vinegar. - Eventually Edd discovers the Room of Requirement, which he tells his friends about so they can hang out there together.
Second year Best subject: Potions, Charms Favorite subject: Charms Favorite teacher: Professor Flitwick Worst subject: History of Magic, Astronomy Least favorite subject: Astronomy Least favorite teacher: Professor Sinistra Quidditch: Doesn't play Friends: Edd, Matt, Tord (kind of), Laurel, Ben, Lucy, Diwi, Kim, Katya Christmas holiday: Goes home. Other: Professor Flitwick overhears him singing in an empty room and invites him to join his music class as an elective extracurricular.
Third year Elective subjects: Care of Magical Creatures, Muggle Studies, Divination (dropped at the end of of the year), Music Best subject: Music, Charms Favorite subject: Music Favorite teacher: Professor Flitwick Worst subject: History of Magic, Astronomy Least favorite subject: Divination Least favorite teacher: Professor Trelawney Quidditch: Doesn't play Friends: Edd, Matt, Tord (kind of), Laurel, Ben, Lucy, Diwi, Kim, Katya Hogsmead: Goes to the Three Broomsticks frequently, attempting in various ways to obtain alcohol. On his first trip, he goes with Edd, Matt and Tord to Zonko's and Honeydukes before trading Chocolate Frog Cards at the Three Broomsticks. Christmas holiday: Goes home. Other: Finally becomes brave enough to quit hiding his eyes at Hogwarts.
Fourth year Best subject: Music, Charms Favorite subject: Music Favorite teacher: Professor Flitwick Worst subject: History of Magic, Astronomy Least favorite subject: Divination Least favorite teacher: Professor Trelawney Quidditch: Doesn't play Friends: Edd, Matt, Tord (kind of), Jon, Laurel, Ben, Lucy, Diwi, Kim, Katya Hogsmead: Once again tries to get alcohol at the Three Broomsticks. Christmas holiday: Goes with Edd to his house. Other: - Joins Flitwick's Frog Choir and the Hogwarts Orchestra. - Does not join the others in cheering Tord on during Gryffindor vs. Slytherin.
Fifth year Best subject: Music, Charms Favorite subject: Music Favorite teacher: Professor Flitwick Worst subject: History of Magic, Astronomy Least favorite subject: Divination Least favorite teacher: Professor Trelawney Quidditch: Doesn't Play Friends: Edd, Matt, Tord (kind of), Jon, Laurel, Ben, Lucy, Diwi, Kim, Katya Hogsmead: Hangs out here frequently with the others at the Three Broomsticks Christmas holiday: Goes home. Other: - Gets angry at Tord for housing an occamy in the Room of Requirement, but ultimately opts not to rat him out. - Provides music for the school's production of The Tale of the Three Brothers. - Spends some time teasing Matt about his relationship with Anna. - Bombs his Astronomy O.W.L, first with the theory segment where he answers half of the questions incorrectly and doesn't answer the other half at all, then by falling asleep during the practical exam before it can even begin.
O.W.L. Scores
Astronomy - T Care of Magical Creatures - A Charms - O Defence Against the Dark Arts - E Herbology - A History of Magic - D Muggle Studies - E Potions - O Transfiguration - E
Sixth year Dropped subjects: Astronomy, History of Magic Best subject: Music, Charms Favorite subject: Music Favorite teacher: Professor Flitwick Worst subject: Care of Magical Creatures Least favorite subject: None Least favorite teacher: None Quidditch: Doesn't play. Friends: Edd, Matt, Tord (kind of), Jon, Laurel, Ben, Lucy, Diwi Hogsmead: Continues to try and get alcohol Christmas holiday: Goes home. Other: Is overjoyed to discover that he failed Astronomy so badly that Professor Sinistra refuses to take him for the next semester and happily sleeps through midnight on the day that everyone would usually be taking Astronomy.
Seventh year Best subject: Music, Charms Favorite subject: Music Favorite teacher: Professor Flitwick Worst subject: Least favorite subject: Least favorite teacher: Quidditch: Doesn't play. Friends: Edd, Matt, Tord (kind of), Jon, Laurel, Ben, Lucy, Diwi Hogsmead: Is finally able to try Firewhisky legally. Christmas holiday: Goes home. Other: - Like Edd with his artwork, he requests to be tested on his skills in music. - He and the rest of the graduating members of the choir perform a farewell song in the Great Hall.
N.E.W.T Scores
Care of Magical Creatures - E Charms - O Defence Against the Dark Arts - E Herbology - E Muggle Studies - E Music (special exam) - O Potions - O Transfiguration - E
Epilogue
Tom becomes a musician and entertainer; like Edd, he gains fame in both the Muggle and Wizarding worlds, though unlike Edd he makes sure not to mix the two up. He's invented a spell to make his eyes look normal when he's recorded by Muggle devices and wears sunglasses or iris contacts when in public. He and Edd live in an apartment together in London and are still in contact with Tord and Matt.
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thenerdycarat10 months ago
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Year 1: Ch. 7
The next week of classes went by without any more trouble. Monday through Wednesday was the usual classes such as Herbology, History of Magic, Transfiguration, and the once a week Astronomy class. Nothing made Colleen鈥檚 stomach uneasy in any class.
Seamus had begun walking with Colleen to classes they had together along with Dean, Valerie, and Neville; and she appreciated the company. His constant blushing around her had finally calmed down and only happened if she complemented him. They had grown into friends, but he still stammered when he鈥檇 try to return the complement. Teasing with some snickers from other classmates had become common, but it didn鈥檛 turn into Seamus or Colleen being picked on for it.
Thursday rolled around, and it was the first years鈥 first flying class, and almost everyone had a story to tell about their experiences with Quidditch or just flying on a broomstick for fun. Colleen had to listen to an earful of boasting from Malfoy, who claimed to have narrowly escaped Muggle flying contraptions and complained about first years never having the opportunity to tryout for the House teams. Seamus discussed growing up flying on a broomstick in the countryside, and Neville had never ridden a broomstick despite being raised in a wizarding home. Colleen recalled Bill and Charlie teaching her, Ron, and Ginny how to fly them, but it was only them holding on the broom while their brothers kept it steady.
It was a pleasant afternoon outside, so Colleen was excited about a flying lesson with Madam Hooch. Class was held on the grounds near the front steps. The lesson was mainly the Gryffindors and Slytherins, but it somehow managed to squeeze into Colleen鈥檚 and few other Ravenclaws鈥 and Hufflepuffs鈥 schedules.
The broomsticks were laid out in two lines on the ground. When the Gryffindors arrived, Colleen took the broomstick next to Valerie鈥檚.
Madam Hooch was the last to arrive, and she stood at one end of the two lines.
鈥淲ell, what are you waiting for?鈥 she said. 鈥淓veryone stand by a broomstick. Come on, hurry up. Stick your right hand over your broom, and say 鈥楿p!鈥欌
鈥淯P!鈥 the first years shouted simultaneously.
Harry鈥檚 broom jumped to his hand immediately. After the third 鈥淯p!鈥 Colleen鈥檚 broom was the next one to jump to her hand. Eventually, the other students were able to make their brooms jump to their hands.
Madam Hooch then taught them how to mount their brooms properly and proceeded to correct each of the students鈥 grips.
鈥淣ow, when I blow my whistle, you kick off from the ground, hard,鈥 she instructed. 鈥淜eep your brooms steady, rise a few feet, and then come straight back down by leaning forward slightly. On my whistle 鈥 three 鈥 two 鈥撯
Before Madam Hooch could blow her whistle, Neville nervously kicked the ground and immediately took off. Within the blink of an eye he had reached an altitude of twenty feet.
鈥淐ome back, boy!鈥 their teacher shouted, but it was already too late.
Everyone saw Neville鈥檚 frightened expression just before he lost control of the broom and flew off of it. With a loud thud and what sounded like a crack, Neville had crashed to the ground while his broom disappeared into the Forbidden Forrest.
Madam Hooch rushed over to Neville. 鈥淏roken wrist,鈥 she said. 鈥淐ome on, boy 鈥 it鈥檚 all right, up you get.鈥
She managed to get the now crying boy, who was holding his wrist, to his feet. She then said to the students, 鈥淣one of you is to move while I take this boy to the hospital wing! You leave those brooms where they are or you鈥檒l be out of Hogwarts before you can say 鈥楺uidditch.鈥 Come on, dear.鈥
As soon as the two had gone from sight, Malfoy immediately started laughing. 鈥淒id you see his face, the great lump?鈥
His fellow Slytherins joined in the laughter.
鈥淥h, shut up, Malfoy,鈥 Colleen snapped at him.
鈥淥oh, sticking up for Longbottom?鈥 Pansy Parkinson teased. 鈥淣ever thought you鈥檇like fat little crybabies, little Miss Weasley. I鈥檝e always thought it was tiny little leprechauns.鈥
The other Slytherins laughed as Colleen felt her face grow hot. She turned to Seamus, who was also now red as a tomato.
鈥淟ook!鈥 Malfoy pointed as he rushed at something shining in the ground. 鈥淚t鈥檚 that stupid thing Longbottom鈥檚 gran sent him.鈥
Colleen recognized the object in Malfoy鈥檚 hand as a Remembrall.
鈥淕ive that here, Malfoy,鈥 Harry demanded, but Malfoy just sneered at him.
鈥淚 think I鈥檒l leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find 鈥 how about 鈥 up a tree?鈥
鈥淕ive it here!鈥
Malfoy ignored him as he mounted his broom and took off. He wasn鈥檛 joking when he claimed he could fly well, and he flew himself high over an oak tree. 鈥淐ome and get it, Potter!鈥
Harry was about to mount his broom when Hermione and Valerie stopped him.
鈥淣o!鈥 Hermione said. 鈥淢adam Hooch told us not to move.鈥
鈥淵ou鈥檒l get us all into trouble,鈥 Valerie backed her up.
But Harry went against them and took off on his broom.
鈥淲hat an idiot,鈥 the two girls commented simultaneously.
The rest of the class watched on as Harry soared up towards a smirking Malfoy. A few gasps roared and Ron let out a whoop for his best friend.
鈥淕ive it here,鈥 Harry shouted, 鈥渙r I鈥檒l knock you off that broom!鈥
鈥淥h, yeah?鈥 Malfoy responded. 鈥淐atch it if you can, then!鈥
The blonde boy threw the glass orb without hesitation, and Harry darted off towards it. Thankfully, he caught it just before it caught hit the ground and shatter into thousands of small shards. Cheers from everyone but the Slytherins erupted in celebration towards Harry as if he had saved a village from being attacked.
鈥淗ARRY POTTER!鈥 a woman鈥檚 voiced boomed. McGonagall was running towards them. 鈥淣ever 鈥 in all my time at Hogwarts 鈥 howdare you 鈥 might have broken your neck 鈥 鈥
鈥淚t wasn鈥檛 his fault, Professor 鈥撯 Parvati piped up.
鈥淏e quiet, Miss Patil 鈥撯
鈥淏ut Malfoy 鈥撯 Ron chimed in.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 enough, Mr. Weasley. Potter, follow me, now.鈥
Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle鈥檚 had looks of victory on their faces as Harry followed the professor out of the courtyard.
After class, Colleen caught up to Seamus on her way back to Ravenclaw Tower. His normal color had returned to his face, but he was still shrugging, even with Dean trying to comfort him.
"Are you alright?" she asked.
"I should be asking you the same thing," he replied.
"I'm fine. I just wanted to say I'm sorry for what happened in class."
"That was Malfoy's doing," Dean said. "None of us did anything wrong, and Harry was doing the right thing. He might get into trouble, but Neville's our friend."
"Yes," Colleen agreed, "but I was talking about what Parkinson said."
鈥淒on鈥檛 worry about it,鈥 Seamus smiled. 鈥淚鈥檝e been called worse.鈥
鈥淪till, it鈥檚 not fair that she called you a leprechaun just because you鈥檙e from Ireland.鈥
鈥淚f Parkinson wants to apologize, she can. If she doesn鈥檛, which I doubt she will, it won鈥檛 bother me.鈥
Colleen sighed. 鈥淎lright. See you both at dinner then?鈥
The two boys nodded before they all went their separate ways.
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shining-red-diamonda year ago
Text
Ch. 7
The next week of classes went by without any more trouble. Monday through Wednesday was the usual classes such as Herbology, History of Magic, Transfiguration, and the once a week Astronomy class. Nothing made Colleen鈥檚 stomach uneasy in any class.
Seamus had begun walking with Colleen to classes they had together along with Dean, Valerie, and Neville; and she appreciated the company. His constant blushing around her had finally calmed down and only happened if she complemented him. They had grown into friends, but he still stammered when he鈥檇 try to return the complement. Teasing with some snickers from other classmates had become common, but it didn鈥檛 turn into Seamus or Colleen being picked on for it.
Thursday rolled around, and it was the first years鈥 first flying class, and almost everyone had a story to tell about their experiences with Quidditch or just flying on a broomstick for fun. Colleen had to listen to an earful of boasting from Malfoy, who claimed to have narrowly escaped Muggle flying contraptions and complained about first years never having the opportunity to tryout for the House teams. Seamus discussed growing up flying on a broomstick in the countryside, and Neville had never ridden a broomstick despite being raised in a wizarding home. Colleen recalled Bill and Charlie teaching her, Ron, and Ginny how to fly them, but it was only them holding on the broom while their brothers kept it steady.
It was a pleasant afternoon outside, so Colleen was excited about a flying lesson with Madam Hooch. Class was held on the grounds near the front steps. The lesson was mainly the Gryffindors and Slytherins, but it somehow managed to squeeze into Colleen鈥檚 and few other Ravenclaws鈥 and Hufflepuffs鈥 schedules.
The broomsticks were laid out in two lines on the ground. When the Gryffindors arrived, Colleen took the broomstick next to Valerie鈥檚.
Madam Hooch was the last to arrive, and she stood at one end of the two lines.
鈥淲ell, what are you waiting for?鈥 she said. 鈥淓veryone stand by a broomstick. Come on, hurry up. Stick your right hand over your broom, and say 鈥楿p!鈥欌
鈥淯P!鈥 the first years shouted simultaneously.
Harry鈥檚 broom jumped to his hand immediately. After the third 鈥淯p!鈥 Colleen鈥檚 broom was the next one to jump to her hand. Eventually, the other students were able to make their brooms jump to their hands.
Madam Hooch then taught them how to mount their brooms properly and proceeded to correct each of the students鈥 grips.
鈥淣ow, when I blow my whistle, you kick off from the ground, hard,鈥 she instructed. 鈥淜eep your brooms steady, rise a few feet, and then come straight back down by leaning forward slightly. On my whistle 鈥 three 鈥 two 鈥撯
Before Madam Hooch could blow her whistle, Neville nervously kicked the ground and immediately took off. Within the blink of an eye he had reached an altitude of twenty feet.
鈥淐ome back, boy!鈥 their teacher shouted, but it was already too late.
Everyone saw Neville鈥檚 frightened expression just before he lost control of the broom and flew off of it. With a loud thud and what sounded like a crack, Neville had crashed to the ground while his broom disappeared into the Forbidden Forrest.
Madam Hooch rushed over to Neville. 鈥淏roken wrist,鈥 she said. 鈥淐ome on, boy 鈥 it鈥檚 all right, up you get.鈥
She managed to get the now crying boy, who was holding his wrist, to his feet. She then said to the students, 鈥淣one of you is to move while I take this boy to the hospital wing! You leave those brooms where they are or you鈥檒l be out of Hogwarts before you can say 鈥楺uidditch.鈥 Come on, dear.鈥
As soon as the two had gone from sight, Malfoy immediately started laughing. 鈥淒id you see his face, the great lump?鈥
His fellow Slytherins joined in the laughter.
鈥淥h, shut up, Malfoy,鈥 Colleen snapped at him.
鈥淥oh, sticking up for Longbottom?鈥 Pansy Parkinson teased. 鈥淣ever thought you鈥檇like fat little crybabies, little Miss Weasley. I鈥檝e always thought it was tiny little leprechauns.鈥
The other Slytherins laughed as Colleen felt her face grow hot. She turned to Seamus, who was also now red as a tomato.
鈥淟ook!鈥 Malfoy pointed as he rushed at something shining in the ground. 鈥淚t鈥檚 that stupid thing Longbottom鈥檚 gran sent him.鈥
Colleen recognized the object in Malfoy鈥檚 hand as a Remembrall.
鈥淕ive that here, Malfoy,鈥 Harry demanded, but Malfoy just sneered at him.
鈥淚 think I鈥檒l leave it somewhere for Longbottom to find 鈥 how about 鈥 up a tree?鈥
鈥淕ive it here!鈥
Malfoy ignored him as he mounted his broom and took off. He wasn鈥檛 joking when he claimed he could fly well, and he flew himself high over an oak tree. 鈥淐ome and get it, Potter!鈥
Harry was about to mount his broom when Hermione and Valerie stopped him.
鈥淣o!鈥 Hermione said. 鈥淢adam Hooch told us not to move.鈥
鈥淵ou鈥檒l get us all into trouble,鈥 Valerie backed her up.
But Harry went against them and took off on his broom.
鈥淲hat an idiot,鈥 the two girls commented simultaneously.
The rest of the class watched on as Harry soared up towards a smirking Malfoy. A few gasps roared and Ron let out a whoop for his best friend.
鈥淕ive it here,鈥 Harry shouted, 鈥渙r I鈥檒l knock you off that broom!鈥
鈥淥h, yeah?鈥 Malfoy responded. 鈥淐atch it if you can, then!鈥
The blonde boy threw the glass orb without hesitation, and Harry darted off towards it. Thankfully, he caught it just before it caught hit the ground and shatter into thousands of small shards. Cheers from everyone but the Slytherins erupted in celebration towards Harry as if he had saved a village from being attacked.
鈥淗ARRY POTTER!鈥 a woman鈥檚 voiced boomed. McGonagall was running towards them. 鈥淣ever 鈥 in all my time at Hogwarts 鈥 howdare you 鈥 might have broken your neck 鈥 鈥
鈥淚t wasn鈥檛 his fault, Professor 鈥撯 Parvati piped up.
鈥淏e quiet, Miss Patil 鈥撯
鈥淏ut Malfoy 鈥撯 Ron chimed in.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 enough, Mr. Weasley. Potter, follow me, now.鈥
Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle鈥檚 had looks of victory on their faces as Harry followed the professor out of the courtyard.
After class, Colleen caught up to Seamus on her way back to Ravenclaw Tower. His normal color had returned to his face, but he was still shrugging, even with Dean trying to comfort him.
"Are you alright?" she asked.
"I should be asking you the same thing," he replied.
"I'm fine. I just wanted to say I'm sorry for what happened in class."
"That was Malfoy's doing," Dean said. "None of us did anything wrong, and Harry was doing the right thing. He might get into trouble, but Neville's our friend."
"Yes," Colleen agreed, "but I was talking about what Parkinson said."
鈥淒on鈥檛 worry about it,鈥 Seamus smiled. 鈥淚鈥檝e been called worse.鈥
鈥淪till, it鈥檚 not fair that she called you a leprechaun just because you鈥檙e from Ireland.鈥
鈥淚f Parkinson wants to apologize, she can. If she doesn鈥檛, which I doubt she will, it won鈥檛 bother me.鈥
Colleen sighed. 鈥淎lright. See you both at dinner then?鈥
The two boys nodded before they all went their separate ways.
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ivanhoebloga year ago
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Vintage Music Cassettes
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