#four and a half feet tall oh thank god—
Frodo: In your opinion, what’s the height of stupidity?
Gandalf: *turning to Pippin* How tall are you?
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Gray’s paying for her life with his immortality I jus know it😭
part one | part two | part three | part four | part five | part six | part seven | part eight | part nine | part ten | part eleven | angel/demon au | warning: 18+
Grayson followed Mando as he lead in towards the main part of the home. When Grayson turned the corner into the front living room he saw Lucifer standing in front of the grand fireplace, turning towards the men as they walked into the room. Everyone depicted Lucifer as a tall goat man like beast with sharp teeth and claws. But instead he was a beautiful man, still in his angelic form. His eyes were dark, just like Grayson’s were in his demonic form, but other than that he was beautiful.
Grayson kissed the top of Eli’s head before setting him gently into the bassinet that sat inside the living room. Lucifer smiled towards him before walking closer.
“You have called for me many times, my child,” He stopped right in front of the bassinet and looked down towards the child. Grayson couldn’t help but feel a sense of fear as his Dark Lord leaned closer towards his son. “What exactly could be so important for you to call that much?”
Grayson took a deep breath before speaking, “You know of my angel? [Y/N]”
“Oh yes!” Lucifer stood up straight and smiled towards Grayson, his strangely white teeth gleaming in the glow of the fire. “Michael’s daughter that you'd have held captive for years?”
Grayson frowned at the word captive.
“She wasn’t captive, Dark Lord. I love...” A grimace crossed over his face with a deep frown. “...loved her. She is the mother of my child and she...died during childbirth.”
Lucifer frowned “One of my most prized man fell in love with a angel.”
His face twisted in disgust before he moved to take a seat in one of the chairs that sat in front of the fireplace. Grayson stood before him with his head slightly bowed.
“You’re telling me that child,” Lucifer pointed towards the bassinet where Eli rested “Is half demon and half angel?”
“I thought I smelled something off,” Lucifer sighed and crossed his legs and sat with a pensive look “And what exactly is it that you want me to do?”
“Bring her back to me.” Grayson moved to kneel down in front of his master “Please sire, I beg of you. This child need his mother and I need my love.”
Lucifer’s frown deepened as he looked down towards Grayson. He’d never seen him like this before. Grayson was one of his strongest men, able to conquer and defeat anything that stood in his way. But now he was taken down and left with nothing by the death of a woman. He looked over Grayson a little more and was able to see that he was slowly fading away in front of him. His skin a little paler, dark circles forming beneath his eyes and cheeks sunken in.
Lucifer had only seen this one before, with himself. When he’d fallen in love with his Lilith. The woman his father had created for another, but the moment he saw her - she was his.
“[Y/N] is a angel, if she has passed away then she’s not going to be with me, Dolan. I know that you want her back, but if anything, my father has her.”
A deep frown set across his face. “There is nothing that you can do?”
“I can try and talk with...my father. See if there is anything that can be done. I don’t think he’d willingly let one of his go. She’s most likely in limbo currently.”
Lucifer stood quickly which knocked Grayson back on his feet for a moment, he stood from the ground and followed after him.
“I will get back to you, my child. But do know that something like this isn’t going to be done lightly”
“I understand, thank you for coming, sire.”
“Of course my child,” Lucifer turned towards Grayson and gently caressed his face, before walking out.
Grayson stood there for a moment and began to feel the small spark of hope sparking inside of chest. He heard Eli coo behind him and quickly moved towards him. He cradled the child in his arms, his coos softly soothing, before kissing his head.
“I’ve got you, I’ve got you.” Grayson whispered softly before walking back towards the nursery.
Months passed before Grayson was able to hear anything back. Every day he made sure to head to the crypt to spend time with you before going to take of Eli and anything else that demanded his attention. Every day that small spark of hope that started to form within his chest would lessen before completely dying out.
Grayson sat in his study with a whiskey in his hand as he stared off into the flames before him. His eyes transfixed on the dancing red, yellow and white that was before him. The rest of the house was silent which only seemed to cause his irritation more and more. His thought swimming with the memories of you too. Grayson couldn’t help but feel anger now, foolish for holding any sort of hope that you’d be able to be brought back to him.
“Sitting in your sorrows is never a good thing,”
A voice spoke from behind him, causing him to jump slightly from his seat and turning towards the voice. He stood there in shock for a moment, the whiskey glass slipping from his hand and crashing to the floor. Grayson slowly stood from his chair, but didn’t move forward as he looked towards the form standing in the doorway.
You smiled towards him before slowly walking forwards, your bare feet softly touching the marbled floors as you walked towards him. Nothing about you looked differently, if anything you looked to be glowing more than usual.
“Am I dreaming right now?” Grayson whispered softly to himself.
The smile spread across your face before you shook your head and walked towards him more. Your hands reach up towards him and caressed his face softly.
“Shh, shh doesn’t matter” You spoke softly as you moved closer to him, pressing your chest tighter against him. “I’m here now.”
Tears quickly came to Grayson’s eyes as he finally was able to feel you for so long. He grasped to you tightly before moving to nuzzle his face into your neck and holding you. Your arms wrapped around him and for the first time in forever Grayson finally felt like he was home.
“Oh god, I’ve missed you.” Grayson cried softly as he held you tighter.
“I’ve missed you too, my love.”
Grayson tightened his hold on you afraid that if he loosened it a little bit that you’d disappear. He pulled back slowly and held your face.
“How did you come back to me angel?” Grayson asked with a soft voice.
“None of that matters.”
You rose up on your toes before kissing him gently on the lips.
Grayson gasped loudly as he shot up from the sheets and looked around the room in a frenzy. A cold sheen of sweat covered his body as he panted, trying to catch and even out his breath. Once he was able to catch his breath and see that he wasn’t with you. That he was in the cold sheets of his bed...alone.
The anger returned. His mind was now torturing him. He threw the sheets off the bed before walking towards the door and walking out. The palace was silent as he roamed the hallways alone. When he walked into his study the first thing Grayson did was pour himself another drink.
Grayson looked from his glass and saw his brother standing before him.
Grayson brought the whiskey glass to his lips and felt the soft burn of the alcohol down his throat and settling in his stomach.
“Finally got word back from Lucifer about [y/n],” Ethan sighed and walked towards him a piece of paper in his hands. He held it out towards Grayson “Think you should read it.”
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pairing: namjoon x jimin
genre: smut, 18+ readers only
word count: 5.1k
summary: namjoon has worked as a bodyguard for an upscale BDSM dungeon for long enough to know that jimin is the most sought-after dom there. it only takes one miscommunication for namjoon to discover firsthand why that is.
warnings: unedited, sexually explicit content, power bottom!jimin, sub top!namjoon, unprotected sex, degradation, light pain play, BDSM dynamics, kinda temperature play, i think that's it but i'm so out of practice so i apologise if i missed something
a/n: this piece came to fruition thanks firstly to the @armyadvocates AAPI Justice and Advocacy initiative, and secondly to the kind commissioner @goldenwallsvol6 on twitter who requested this (i'm so sorry for not including everything you asked for, i got a little carried away kdsjfdssk). please check out the AAPI initiative here, consider donating, and check out the resources that come with it.
Clocking in to work has become such a routine for Namjoon that he often finds himself switching his brain off, preoccupied with half-thoughts as his body runs on autopilot.
He signs in, uses the staff changing room to replace his sweats with the company standard uniform - a tight t-shirt and slim fit jeans, the belt of which he hooks his keys on. He doesn’t actually start his shift for another couple minutes, and so he ducks to the bathroom, chews a breath mint, and stretches before heading out of the office and down the narrow hallway that leads to the den.
In fact, it takes him a few steps into the dungeon before his automatic schedule is disrupted.
It appears Namjoon is entirely alone in the facility.
His steps, taken with heavy-duty boots, echo around the hollow space with nothing but the walls to absorb them. It’s a Thursday night (he consults his phone just to be sure) and he was on the closing shift. On any usual day, he’d be starting work right at the bustling high of the BDSM dungeon, yet he finds himself wandering alone.
Shaped in a rough X, the center of the dungeon is open-plan, with more private spaces forking off. The wing he’s in is generally full of swingers and kinksters making use of costume changing stations and a room full of cleaning supplies and disposables like condoms or wet wipes. It was always the calmest section, but never dead like this.
In a daze, Namjoon glances inside the rooms anyway, half-expecting the place to burst into life at any given moment. But it stays undisturbed, and in no time he’s in the central atrium, weaving through bolted-down couches, benches and racks until he can sink onto a stool at the bar.
Coherent thought escapes him. His brain flails for a reason, but the absurdity of an entirely vacant sex dungeon has him lost for words. After a moment, in restless futility, he stands back up and goes behind the bar, back further into the mini storage/kitchen that he knows features a window.
Outside the narrow, slightly dusty frame is an empty parking lot. His heart sinks, feeling sorely left behind and out of the loop, but a glint catches his eye. Pressing his nose to the glass, he squints and peeks a somewhat familiar vehicle, pulled into the closest park to the entrance of the dungeon.
Namjoon stares pointedly at the Hyundai, racking his brain. God, who was it that had a-
A wooden scrape from behind has Namjoon jumping in violent fright, catching his forehead on the protruding frame of the window. Cursing, he whirls around and glimpses movement further inside. Another drawn-out scrape is followed by a very human-sounding huff.
Heart still racing, Namjoon makes his way out of the storage area and stands behind the bar, seeking out the presence.
“Oh, shit, you gave me a heart attack!” Park Jimin stands off to the left of the room, hands on his hips and head tilted back in relief. “I thought you were a burglar.”
“No,” Namjoon states redundantly, mouth not quite working beyond that. He knew he recognised that silver SUV - every Thursday he watched Jimin hop into it and pull away after a long night of scening. The two had exchanged words often, more than Namjoon could say for most patrons. Being the bouncer for a sex dungeon didn’t lead to that much genuine conversation, but he always appreciated the effort Jimin would put in, hair wet with sweat and lips curved with happy exhaustion but still asking Namjoon if he’d managed to work out whether it was birds or the neighbour’s cat eating his strawberry plants.
He forces himself to check back into the present when current-Jimin cocks his head with a slightly sheepish grin, awaiting an actual explanation. “I, um,” Namjoon stutters, having to avert his eyes to construct anything coherent, “I didn’t realise the club was shut, I’m honestly a little confused.”
Jimin’s smile drops, plush lips rounding in surprise. “Oh, really? Hoseok-hyung said he sent out emails to all the staff. There was a pipe leak so we called off our whole calender until Monday. Did you not get it? We’ve had troubles with work emails getting stuck in spam; something about a sex dungeon really seems to set off the detectors,” the man quips with a jovial lift of his brow.
Namjoon bites down on his tongue, offering up a silent nod of acknowledgement. He’d seen Jimin more times than he could count in black, red, royal purple. In the club he favoured leather, not buckled and studded but sleek and tight, often decorating his lithe body with harnesses, gauntlets and heavy rings instead. More often than not, he’d boast unsmudgable smokey eyes with sharp liner, cheekbones as harsh as they were dewy. It had taken a while, but Namjoon had eventually grown used to the sight, able to prevent chubbing up at the mere sight of his ass as he bent to open his car door.
For some reason, seeing him outside of that whole persona is far more intimidating. Still covered in a light sheen of sweat, that’s the only linker to the Jimin Namjoon is faced with today. He’s got chunky white sneakers weighing down his feet, long overalls rolled up at the cuffs to let some air reach his ankles. The overalls prove particularly problematic to Namjoon, as they don’t seem to have anything underneath. Namjoon can see collarbones, glorious collarbones, and the lean bare sides of Jimin’s torso. If he bent over, Namjoon would probably get a glimpse of his nipples. The thought dampens his mouth with need.
Jimin himself seems unaware of, or at least unbothered by, the way Namjoon stares him down. Instead, he reaches down to push a cardboard box as tall as his waist across the hardwood floor closer to the bar one shove at a time. “Anyway, you’re welcome to head home. I’ll get Hoseok to add half an hour to your payslip for your troubles.”
“What are you doing here then?” Namjoon asks reflexively, cringing at how loud he’s accidentally pitched his voice.
Jimin’s face is surprisingly round without the stroke of makeup to emphasise dimensions, and when he beams at Namjoon, it softens his whole face even more. “I’m taking advantage of us being closed to install some new furniture. D’you wanna see?” He seems to reconsider, shooting Namjoon a worried look. “It is sex stuff, though.”
“I wasn’t expecting a bookshelf,” he answers honestly, and is rewarded with the bubbling sound of Jimin’s laughter, drowned out prematurely by another shove of the box. “Here,” Namjoon says suddenly, darting out from behind the bar, “let me help.”
At first, Jimin pushes while Namjoon pulls, but after a few grunts of exertion, steps back and lets Namjoon take over, not disguising the way his eyes linger on the way Namjoon’s biceps and pecs flex under his t-shirt sleeve. Obediently, Namjoon lets the bleach-blonde guide him to an open space near the centre of the room, depositing the weighty box there.
With a satisfied hum and a lingering glance at Namjoon’s body, Jimin bends over with a pen from his pocket, using the nib to pop and rip the tape on the box lid, yanking back the flaps with ferocious enthusiasm. He lets out a delighted cry upon lifting a frame of styrofoam out of the box, revealing the goods inside.
One at a time, he takes out oddly-shaped plates of metal, plastic baggies of bolts and screws, and some rubber caps. Kicking the empty box away, Jimin slots his hands back on his hips and grins at Namjoon. “Can you guess what it is?”
Namjoon takes a moment to consider the different sections of stainless steel. The largest isn’t flat, but a rectangle with a slight curve to it, the gentlest arc. The rest come in mirrored pairs, most just for structure, but four of them featuring heavy-duty O-rings. Though he works outside the play area, Namjoon can guess what those are for. “Something for bondage?” he ventures, stomach flipping when Jimin eyes glint with thinly veiled interest.
“A breeding bench,” Jimin explains, squatting to let his fingers trail down the side of one bar, “the metal feels sterile and cold for those that like it. Have you used one before?”
Namjoon feels unsteady on his feet. “No,” he answers, but the softness in his voice betrays his lack of aversion to the thought. But Jimin might think he was a dominant, too, Namjoon worries. Everyone else tended to. “Not yet,” he adds after a moment.
Jimin sucks in a silent but sharp breath, chin lifting. “I could use a hand setting it up. Would you mind…?”
“Oh! Uh, yeah, no problem.” Namjoon tries to clear his throat, but the lump of anticipation remains. “Happy to help.”
“Excellent,” the dom beams, fishing around the pieces of styrofoam to locate the printed instructions, handing them to Namjoon. As Namjoon begins to make sense of them, looking over the basic diagrams, Jimin sits down on a nearby ottoman, intended for viewing the other stations, but continuing to face his new help instead. “I’ve been wanting to get to know you more anyway,” he divulges in a honeyed tone.
“Really?” Namjoon glances up from the instructions, feeling the heat of Jimin’s gaze. Even in worn overalls and unstyled hair, the man strikes a gorgeous image, and his posture screams distinguished dominant down to the curl of his fingers. His mere presence has Namjoon feeling off-balance in the most electric way. “There’s not much to know.”
“I don’t believe that for a second,” Jimin replies immediately, deadpan. “Why are you standing outside every night when you’re just as kinky as those of us indoors?”
Jimin leans forward, legs splayed wide and elbows on his knees. His eyes are intently focused, blazing. “For a while it drove me crazy,” he starts, “you looked so familiar. I saw you every evening and couldn’t put my finger on it. But you used to scene here, didn’t you? Years ago.”
Namjoon’s heart stops beating, sitting heavy behind his ribs instead. “You- You’re not meant to approach people you know from the dungeon outside. It’s against the rules.”
“We aren’t outside,” Jimin counters. “I want to know why you stopped. You don’t look happy, Namjoon, seeing others come and go while you’re stuck to your post. Help me understand.”
Taking a few deep breaths, Namjoon stays silent, opening his mouth seeming too daunting a task. After a moment, Jimin swallows hard and sits back again, giving up the inquisition. Namjoon chooses to continue the task at hand, consulting the instructions.
The bench itself is a relatively simple setup. There’s two long cuts of steel in an X below the main panel for stability, four legs with the O-ring bars at either end, and the rubber caps on the bottom to avoid scratching the floor. As he putters around with the nuts and bolts, using a tiny spanner provided in the baggies to tighten them, he feels Jimin’s curious gaze on him. Silent.
Eventually, the silence has its desired effect, and Namjoon lets his internal thoughts vocalise. “I played here for a while. My partner and I ended up going our separate ways, and I wanted to give him space.” He doesn’t make eye contact, pulse thudding and heating the pieces of metal he fiddles with.
Jimin takes a short moment to reply, but it feels cavernous. “It’s been years, then. Hasn’t he had enough space yet?”
Namjoon’s eye twitches. How many nights had he stayed up with that exact question in mind? “It doesn’t feel right anymore. People would know me for who I was then. And I’m- I’m not that person.” His partner, an eager sub with a need for a firm hand, had asked Namjoon one day if he was sure he was really happy being a dom, and it had entirely dismantled the place in BDSM that he’d cultivated for himself. That sub was right, and he didn’t know how to adjust his course to fit his true desire.
So he’d pulled away entirely, unable to fully leave this world, but unsure of whether it still had a spot for him inside it. He just wants to feel what it’s like to let go in the way his subs did. And as his hands focus on constructing the heavyset bench, his mind wanders deeper in this vein, loose-lipped enough to confess it all to Jimin.
Jimin listens without judgement, not even seeming surprised when Namjoon admits to feeling more submissive, and the lack of reaction is liberating in a way he couldn’t have expected.
It’s not until the final bolt is fastened in place and Namjoon leans back, slightly breathless, that Jimin stands up and approaches him again. He crouches in front of Namjoon, eyes tender and hesitant, reaching out a hand.
Confused, Namjoon holds his out, palm-up, and Jimin takes it carefully, circling his fingers around the narrowest part of his wrist. Still, it’s too meaty for Jimin’s fingertips to connect. He squeezes lightly, carefully, before locking his gaze with Namjoon again, who swears he’s no longer breathing.
“Do you want to try?” Jimin asks. His voice is low, soft but full-bodied. “Do you want to try to let go? Club rules would apply.”
And Namjoon is nodding, and the grip on his wrist is tightening, restraining, and Jimin’s surging forward, lips on his.
His free hand comes up to hook around the nape of Namjoon’s neck. He’s held there, unforgiving, as the dom deepens the kiss. There’s no space between them, just skin on skin, tongue on tongue. It’s uncoordinated on Namjoon’s part, but so calculated and thorough on Jimin’s, like he knows the exact way to unwind him.
Jimin’s fingers scratch up into Namjoon’s hairline. He’d been growing out the length a little for winter, just enough to cover his ears, and it provides leverage for Jimin to grip on and tug, tug, tug in sharp bursts, timed unevenly enough that Namjoon is never ready. Every pull sends an electric shock down his spine, right between his legs.
He’s hard already, achingly so, and it just worsens when Jimin shifts his weight, bringing a foot forward and over Namjoon’s thigh, half-caging his body flush against his.
Jimin’s body is hot, even through the denim overalls and searing when it’s skin-on-skin. Namjoon can hear himself panting when their mouths split apart briefly, but he can’t stop his head from spinning long enough to care.
Before long, a rumbling growl escapes Jimin’s throat, and his teeth find Namjoon’s lower lip, scraping and nipping at the flesh. It’s not until Namjoon’s hand is shaking in Jimin’s grip that he pulls away, eyes wild and alight.
Namjoon must look utterly debauched, with swollen lips, hazy eyes and rucked-up hair, but his cock is screaming to be touched, and his breaths become infused with pleas for more, begging Jimin to touch him.
“God, you greedy little thing,” Jimin remarks in wonder, and a shudder takes over Namjoon’s body. Jimin quirks a brow. “Good? Bad? I don’t know what you like.”
“Good,” Namjoon insists without shame, “oh my god, good. Say m-more like that.”
Jimin hums with a grin, hand on Namjoon’s neck slipping around front to fist his shirt, yanking it suddenly. “Up, then,” he barks, standing himself, “I want you on the bench you built for me. Thank God that body is good for something; it’s not much fucking use now, is it?”
Namjoon’s breath leaves him in a rush, and he gets up shakily, almost tripping over his own feet as he lowers himself back down on the end of the bench. It’s chillingly cold even through his jeans, and he trembles at the thought of touching it with bare skin. Jimin has no such qualms, however, planting his palm on Namjoon’s chest and pushing him backwards, insistently guiding him down without knocking his head on the metal.
His teeth chatter briefly, but it’s nothing compared to when Jimin clicks his tongue and reaches down to strip the thin fabric of his t-shirt off with one fell swoop, the stitches breaking as they’re forced over the broadest part of his shoulders.
Ice erupts across his back and he gasp, shooting up. Jimin’s hand prevents him from getting far, and his breathing grows loud and sharp, shivering violently as his body fights to warm up the steel. The slight arch of it slots perfectly into the divot of his spine, meaning every inch is flush against him.
“You stay where I put you,” Jimin scolds, flicking at a nipple in punishment. “It’s pathetic, isn’t it? You, lying here, asking to be degraded by somebody half your size? Pathetic. You’re lucky I’m a giving man.”
“Th-thank you,” Namjoon offers up with wide eyes. He doesn’t know the protocol, doesn’t even know how he should be acting as a sub, let alone as a sub for Jimin. He can barely believe the situation he’s ended up in, but he’s never felt so alive. The cold steel is a wakeup call to sluggish veins, his blood rushing faster than ever, most of it going straight to his dick.
Jimin huffs like he’s not quite pleased with the response - even as his eyes crinkle and glint with satisfaction - and simply hooks a finger into the waistband of Namjoon’s jeans, frowning. “Can’t even get undressed yourself. For goodness’ sake.”
Namjoon’s cheeks burn, and he squeezes his eyes shut, feeling so overwhelmed. Though it was years ago, the habit of being in control hasn’t left him, and part of him feels anxious being so vulnerable. Closing his eyes eases that, and Jimin lets him, briefly reaching up to give his upper arm a squeeze, a lilting hum asking the unworded question.
“I’m okay,” he breathes to the darkness behind his eyelids, and the squeeze returns before Jimin straightens up again, fingers yanking impatiently at Namjoon’s jeans, undoing them and yanking them off, taking his briefs with them.
The new level of nudity sends another shock of cold to his system, but this time Namjoon welcomes it with a groan, tilting his hips up so that his cock rests on his lower stomach. His fingers twitch, aching to wrap around himself.
His desire is answered, not with the delicious grip of fingers, but with the hard press of the heel of Jimin’s palm, pinning his hardness down without mercy. A moan dies in Namjoon’s throat as his body tries to curl inwards. A second hand holds him down still, leaving him unable to escape the heavy pressure.
He pants, writhing and toes curling, but Jimin just sighs softly, like he’s more relaxed than ever. “Such a waste,” he drawls, his voice blooming with all the flourishes of a Disney villain, “wanting to be treated like a slut, but what am I getting out of this? Hm?”
“U-uh-” Namjoon has no idea what to say, cracking his eyes open to seek out the comfort of acknowledgement above the level of the scene. His breath is taken away at the sight. Jimin, above him like an avenging angel, golden-haired and glittering with sweat, still fully clothed (as fully as you could call a single piece of denim). He finds Namjoon’s searching gaze and sends him a calm, dreamy smile of encouragement, before twisting his palm against the base of Namjoon’s dick, wringing a strangled groan out of the man. “You can take me,” he pants, filled with the urge to provide, to serve, “take what you want.”
Jimin tilts his head to the side, like this proposition is worth considering. As he makes a show of pondering, he taps his fingers lazily against his cock’s dripping head. Namjoon swallows the whimpers that threaten to bubble up, and forces his hips not to budge. “I’ll be honest with you,” Jimin says finally, “because you don’t deserve sugar-coating. If I was here with a fleshlight or a dildo, I would’ve come already. You’re wasting my precious time, sweet boy. I don’t want you to lay here and simper, I want you to be a good toy for me. So what’s it gonna be?”
Namjoon’s muscles are trembling; from his lips to his toes, he feels like he’s vibrating slightly, restless down to the very atoms that make him up. Jimin is patient, lazily drawing sticky patterns of precum on Namjoon’s abdomen with his pinky finger. Namjoon fights against the primal part of his brain for something coherent, replaying his words. Fleshlight or dildo. Be a good toy. Jimin was offering him the choice to top or bottom, Namjoon realises, and his cock twitches, feeling liberated and thoroughly taken apart with that heady mix of submission and power. He was giving control to Jimin, but never losing his choices.
For a moment, he does consider what it might feel like to let Jimin take him. He’d never bottomed before - at least not for anyone but his own fingers in his experimental years - but if anyone could make him feel safe, he suspected it would be the dom leaning over him. It’s once he really thinks about it that he knows he’s not ready, a thin strand of dread winding around his lungs that won’t go away until he’s stammering to Jimin that he can have Namjoon’s cock if he wants it.
Jimin sucks in a slow, pleased breath, a smile curling at his lips as he lays the weight of Namjoon’s length across the palm of his hand, looking it over. The chill of the steel beneath him is nothing compared to the iced shiver that runs through him upon being inspected in his most private area. Second most private, he corrects. Baby steps.
“I suppose,” Jimin declares finally with a sigh, “this should do. Not winning any awards, though, is it?” Namjoon’s cheeks burn with shame at the comment even as his face scrunches up in disagreement. If there was one thing to be proud of physically, it was that he could always bring his partners pleasure with the equipment he grew into.
Jimin sees the unfiltered reaction on Namjoon’s face and suddenly claps his free hand over his mouth, turning away. The giggle, impish and delicate, doesn’t get as muffled as he probably intended. “Dammit,” he mumbles, “stop being funny, that’s not fair.”
Namjoon blinks, still stark naked and hard as rock beneath the clothed and chuckling dom. “...Apologies,” he says after a pause, “but do you want to- um- are we-”
“Sorry, sorry,” Jimin says, clearing his throat and wiggling the muscles in his cheek to force the smile down. His fingers reach nimbly for the straps that hold his set of overalls on, and undresses down to skin as he takes some deep breaths as if to hype himself back into character. Once he’s done, he swings a leg over the metal bench and straddles Namjoon’s thighs with a swiftness that takes his breath away.
While it may take Jimin a second to slip back into his dom headspace after the break in mood, all Namjoon needs is the feeling of Jimin’s plump ass cheeks settling onto hs lap and he’s being smacked in the face with submission, ready to beg to feel it more intimately.
Jimin doesn’t wait for him to beg, however, rolling his body forward and down, all the way until their cocks are pinned together between their stomachs, and their noses bump. Close enough to kiss, Jimin stays right there, a breath away, and Namjoon freezes, unsure if he’s allowed to close the gap.
Pleased with the restraint shown, Jimin smirks, eyes wandering over Namjoon’s face in pure bemusement, slightly cross-eyed with their proximity. “Most toys can’t kiss back,” he mentions, a hand sliding up Namjoon’s forearm and shoulder to thumb at his jaw, tilting his head back and holding it in place, “so I figure I might as well treat myself.”
“Most?” is the final worried exclamation Namjoon manages to get out before lips are descending on his, and heat erupts.
There’s no way Namjoon could keep up. Not when his face is pressed tightly to Jimin’s, lips nipped at, tongue sucked at, and mouth thoroughly explored. Not when every inch of his front is pressed to Jimin’s, the latter’s nipples hard against the soft, relaxed flesh of Namjoon’s chest. Not when he becomes aware of slow rocking, Jimin grinding their cocks together.
It takes him an unknowable eternity of this to realise that the slow, indulgent groans passed between them aren’t all his, and that Jimin’s shifting motions are brought on by the way he’s reached behind himself with a finger slick with their shared spit, working himself open.
It’s that realisation that becomes the last straw for any of Namjoon’s reserves. He feels so - so passive, not even prepping the man who’s about to take his cock. He’s lying on unforgiving steel, body used as a grinding post and mouth deeply plundered, just a mindless toy, dumbed down to pleasure and need. He isn’t even really aware of his own body where Jimin isn’t touching it; he isn’t too sure where in space his hands are, or what his feet are doing. His lips are for Jimin and his cock is for Jimin and that’s enough to make him light-headed.
When Jimin sits up, Namjoon grunts a bit and fights for some clarity to help line himself up against Jimin’s awaiting body, but the dom just tuts and rebuffs the advances, suiting himself. Part of his weight is on Namjoon’s right shoulder as he props himself up, slowly bearing the rest down so that the head of Namjoon’s cock pushes inside.
The moan that leaves Jimin’s mouth is enough to make Namjoon’s bones shake, wishing he could hear it on repeat, and the dom certainly seems to be doing his best to make it a reality with the enthusiastic way he works his hips down in tight circles, clenching around the intrusion.
Namjoon feels like he’s floating, the hard edges of steel no longer grounding him. He doesn’t lift his hands up to hold onto Jimin, he doesn’t fuck up into him, he’s barely even looking at him with how low his eyes are lidded, but there’s liberation in that inaction.
The pressure to perform is entirely lifted, and he feels the pleasure twofold, once from his own sensation and then again like an echo with every sigh and groan that leaves Jimin’s lips.
The dom has the stamina of an athlete, lifting a leg up onto the metal base beside Namjoon’s hips to gain better leverage, and Namjoon has a front row seat to the way the muscles in Jimin’s thighs flex. They’re corded and thick, such an erotic contrast to the softness of his ass, and Namjoon feels drunk off of it.
He lets Jimin take what he wants, and he feels, and that’s all.
He doesn’t even think, not really, nothing deeper than mindless observation.
Jimin is beautiful, like nobody he’d seen before, and the lack of makeup and unstyled hair certainly doesn’t change that. It’s a reminder that he’s real, and that he’s sharing this experience with Namjoon. He sits up, leaning backwards with a hand on Namjoon’s knee instead of his shoulder, and the first time he plunges down, his whole body is wracked with a violent tremor.
“I’m close,” he pants outs, eyes flicking down to Namjoon, a lazy grin appearing momentarily, onto to be knocked off by an expression of pure euphoria as he swaps the bouncing out for grinding. He rocks his hips back and forth, Namjoon buried deeply inside, and seeks out his own end irrelevant of the body that cock belongs to.
Namjoon doesn’t care, loves the near out-of-body experience he’s having, and wills the pleasure to simmer long enough for Jimin to come first.
When Jimin gets really close, he loses some of the fluidity in his movements and becomes jagged, seizing up more and more until he’s stock still, breaths staccato and mouth wide open. The physical release follows soon after, and Namjoon shudders as hot white paints the underside of his chin and his chest.
Jimin has a hand around himself, tugging out every last drop as he sucks in desperate lungfuls of air, slowly curling in on himself until his burning forehead is on Namjoon’s shoulder. “Fuck,” he curses under his breath, chest heaving.
Namjoon reaches his end without even noticing. The pleasure throughout his whole body is so electric that an orgasm is barely a notch higher, more so a spreading warmth throughout his body. Wet where Jimin’s still joined to him, and damp everywhere else with perspiration, but it’s blissful nonetheless.
Jimin heaves himself back upright after a brief interlude, brows furrowed as he glances down at Namjoon. “Did you- oh,” he remarks, shifting a little and seeing the cum that’s split around the base of Namjoon’s cock. He lets out a deep sigh, eyes slipping closed for a moment as he tips his head back. “Okay, bye-bye dom.”
Namjoon’s mind slips back into awareness at a snail’s pace, feeling first the way his throat has dried up a little and his jaw hurts from clenching his teeth. Then his voice comes back to him, and he coughs a little, blinking up at the dom above him. “Does dom have a return date by chance? That was… fucking incredible,” he admits.
Jimin laughs, the action causing him to clench around Namjoon. With playful fingers, he reaches down and lightly pinches the fat of Namjoon’s cheeks. “You’re too cute,” he declares, before lifting himself up and off, clicking his tongue at the rush of wetness that drips down his legs. “Far out, it’s like you haven’t nutted in a year.”
Namjoon feels his cheeks heat against his best intentions. “That’s just normal.”
Jimin sends him a sharp look, searching his face. “Holy fuck,” he muses, stalking over to the nearest station to raid a small drawer of wet wipes, “and you’ve been letting that beast sit out in the cold every night instead of coming in here? Masochist.”
It takes all the energy left in his body to sit up, but Namjoon gratefully accepts a fresh wad of wipes and begins to clean himself off. “The beast doesn’t pay the bills,” he quips, already feeling more casual with Jimin after their intense shared experience.
“Then I suppose I’ll have to enjoy its company on your free time,” Jimin offers up, avoiding Namjoon’s gaze with what appears to be a shy streak as he dresses himself.
Namjoon smiles, appreciating the gorgeous sight of Jimin’s body before he covers up. Appreciating even more the way he feels so comfortable in his presence, enough to let go the way he did. “I’d like that.”
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Fallen (post episode 4)
Cletus, Keenie and Collin broke down in heavy tears as they surveyed the area around them. The audience lay slumped and dead in their seats after being shot with arrows and bullets. Metal scaffolding lay bent and wrecked on the wooden stage where Blitzo, Moxxie and Millie were moments before. The former opera singer now lay dead and crushed underneath a stage light that had fallen on top of her. And underneath a broken piano lay the dead crushed body of Lyle Lipton, the elderly inventor they had tried to save.
The scene was eerie and empty. The nervous well-dressed piano guy had promptly fled the scene, traumatized after the events. And those accursed imps had jumped through a portal back to Hell in triumph.
As Cletus cried some more, fountains of tears sprung from his eyes. Keenie and Collin rushed in to comfort him. The trio had never felt so vulnerable before.
“I…I can’t believe this!” Cletus wailed. “We were so close to helping out that man…even though he was shitty and old…”
“Language,” chided Keenie.
Cletus continued. “We did everything right, but now we can’t get back through.”
“It’s not…completely your fault,” Collin said, putting a hoof on his leader’s back in comfort. “It was all an accident.”
Cletus raised an eyebrow at his comrade. “What do you mean ‘not completely?’”
“Well…” Collin began.
“You’re right, it was those imps’ doing!” Keenie interrupted, her white lacy wings flapping in frustration. “If only Deerie had seen what they were doing to us.”
The three took some deep breaths and sobs as they slowly calmed down. With a wave of his hand, their fancy dresses and tuxedos clothes were replaced by their regular outfits: reddish overalls for Cletus, a light blue shirt and white bow tie for Collin and a yellow dress for Keenie.
“What do we do now?” Collin asked, almost in a whisper.
“First thing’s first,” said Cletus. “We find a safe place to stay for a while. Who knows how long we’ll have to stay on Earth?” The others nodded in agreement.
“Urgh,” Keenie scowled. “First those filthy demonic trash decide to mock us and now we have to live among these…messy mortals?”
“Oh come on,” Collin gave a small smile as the three left the theater. They looked again sadly at the deceased humans and made crosses with their hands before flying away through an open window. “Things will work out. We’ve helped humans all the time. Surely they can’t be that bad!”
The three of them later gasped in sheer horror on the streets in a nearby town. A homeless man sat on a corner smoking a cigarette, while his comrade vomited alcohol down a sewer drain. A large man with a mustache ripped off a woman’s shirt as she leaned into him with a messy kiss in an alleyway. A skinny thief snatched a woman’s purse before he was brutally shot in the head by a man with a baseball cap. Two men were fighting each other and swearing, one of them landing a punch that toppled the other to the ground. As a policeman dragged a body away, a nearby band blared on bloodstained instruments. The logo on the drum read “Hail Satan!” in red messy paint.
A group of men sitting on a bench glanced at the cherubs hungrily.
“Anyone want mutton chops tonight?” The others laughed and displayed sinister grins.
C.H.E.R.U.B. stood with open mouths for several seconds. Cletus laughed nervously and made a motion with his arm and fist. “Let’s go check out someplace else!”
The three took to the sky, trying not to look at the watchful eyes of passerby.
Collin’s fluffy light indigo ears perked up. “Hey, I know what we can do! We can keep doing our job like before, helping people in need! Now that those imps are back in Hell, we are free to do what we like.”
Keenie shook her head. “As much as I want to, I don’t think we should just yet. I’m worried that we’ll just cause more deaths.”
“I might have to agree as well,” said Cletus. “I mean, how can we tell anyone about our accomplishments if we aren’t in Heaven anymore?”
“I miss my mom and dad,” Collin whined. “How will they react when they find out about what we’ve done?” He gasped. “What if they already know? What if all of Heaven knows and now sees us as…one of them?”
The others gasped.
“You don’t mean…” Keenie began.
Cletus rapidly shook his head. “No, no, no, no! I refuse to believe that our one mistake would lead us into becoming demons!”
“What if…it’s already too late?” Keenie wondered in fear.
Collin imagined all three of them trapped in long black demonic hands, their wings and halos gone. Flames turning their eyes red and their skin a charred black. The pale face of Lucifer towering behind them and letting out a maniacal laugh.
“Oh my gosh, oh my god!” Collin cried, his eyes wide as he shook his head free of the fear.
Keenie slapped him hard on the head. “Hey, I told you to not use the Lord’s name in vain!” Collin sobbed again and rubbed his large white wool of hair as he flew beside them.
The setting sun turned the sky a brilliant orange as the three cherubs searched for a safe place to stay the night. Their white feathery wings and halos glowed and flickered in the fading light. Their silhouettes followed the setting sun before they landed in a quieter part of town. Neon signs were already humming in the twilight. From inside nearby windows, several woman were wearing dark lace and high heeled boots, pole-dancing to upbeat music. The cherubs huddled close together, staying under streetlights to avoid the dark unknown. Their wings flapped silently as they moved forward inches off the ground.
“I miss Heaven’s comforting light,” Keenie sighed. “And God’s light most of all. It seems like this place is devoid of it.”
“There’s always good somewhere in the world,” said Collin with a hopeful expression. “You just have to know where to look.”
“The only thing I see are shabby buildings and humans indulging in their disgusting desires,” Cletus remarked. He mentioned to a nearby man who burped loudly after stuffing an entire pizza into his mouth. “The sooner we get home, the better.”
Collin took a piece of cheese he bought and popped it into his mouth. He grumbled. “The food here is prison food in comparison to what we have back home. It just tastes so…bland and heavy.”
Keenie munched half-heartedly on a carrot. “It’s still edible at least.”
“Demons eat nothing but raw meat,” Cletus added. “Back up above, we could enjoy all the vegetables, holy fruits, and drinks we wanted. Every day was an endless buffet…”
“Stop making me hungry,” Collin remarked. They fell into silence as a nightly breeze ruffled their clothing and wooly fur.
“I think we should get human disguises soon,” Collin later mentioned as they hovered over the sidewalk.
“Yeah, like those hideous costumes worked out well for those imps,” Cletus rolled his eyes. “Relax, Collin. I’m sure some of the humans will notice and treat us with the respect I…um, we deserve.”
Collin huffed. “I sure hope so.” He clapped his large front hooves together nervously as if trying to say something. As they continued hovering past some alleyways, a low growl was heard. Keenie paused, her hair stood on end.
“Guys…what was that?” Keenie asked, looking around.
“Probably just Collin’s stomach,” Cletus mentioned.
“No, I swear it wasn’t me,” he said. “Through I am very hungry.”
The growling grew louder…it seemed to be coming from behind them. The three slowly turned around and spotted a figure in the shadows. It was a large gray canine with beady black eyes…and very sharp teeth. Drool dribbled onto the ground by its paws.
The cherubs screamed and scattered away in flight. The dog barked loudly and raced after them. The cherubs zoomed up ahead, avoiding passing cars and maneuvering around figures of people. They zoomed over black trash bags as the dog barreled through them at high speed. The dog raced on all fours, snapping its jaws as it moved closer to them.
“Get back!” Keenie called, moving her yellow hooves in a frantic kick, just missing its face. The beast just grabbed at her dress with its teeth and yanked.
“Aaaahhhh! Get off, you beast!” she cried.
Cletus yelled in fury and raised his hand in the air as he flew. He then glanced upward in sheer shock.
“I can’t summon my golden crossbow!”
Collin flew nearby, muttering a prayer while shaking. He took a deep breath and speed toward the dog. He landed a punch to the dog’s eyes…and with a yelp, the dog let go of Keenie’s dress with a rip. Keenie gasped and shook herself. “My dress!” she cried as she stared at the torn slobbery hole. “Look at my dress!”
“Be thankful it’s not your backside,” Cletus mentioned. Keenie seethed at him as Collin came flying back toward them, the dog at his heels. Keenie shoved Collin backwards toward the dog, sending the both of them tumbling to the ground.
Cletus and Keenie flew as fast as they could until Keenie spotted a beacon in the distance. A tall brick building had a large white Christian Cross on top of it, appearing golden as the sun continued to set. Several stained glass windows showed images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary surrounded by golden backgrounds. Even more spectacular was a nearby towering Christmas tree decorated with gold and silver ornaments and a six pointed star at the top.
“A church!” she called. “Hurry!”
They landed in front of the large wooden double doors, catching their breath.
“My wings are sore,” Cletus groaned.
“No more flying for a while,” Keenie agreed.
Cletus knocked politely on the door. “Hello? Anybody in there?”
So far, no answer.
Just then, they heard panting from behind them. They whirled around…only to find Collin hunched over, his clothes torn up. There were several scratches all over him.
“Oh Collin, thank goodness,” Cletus sighed in relief.
“Keenie…” Collin began. “What was that back there?! I’m lucky I escaped at all!”
“I had to distract the dog so we could get away,” she said.
Collin glared and stomped one of his cloven feet. “That’s the second time you pushed me in harm’s way! And the first time was with a whole pack of wild animals!”
“You’re still fine, right?” she asked.
Collin let out a “ha!” followed by a “no.”
“Don’t ever do that again,” he said, folding his arms. The cherubs waved their hands and their clothes and skin were repaired.
Just then, the door solely opened. A woman dressed in a black robe stared into the distance. “Hello?”
“Down here,” said Cletus. She looked down with surprise in her eyes.
“May I help you?”
“Hi,” said Cletus. “We got lost from our home and now we have nowhere to go. May we stay for a bit?”
The woman peered closer at them, narrowing her eyes. “You three look familiar…”
The cherubs gulped. Seconds dragged on.
“Do I know you?”
“Um…” Cletus began, sweat trickling down his forehead.
“Of course!” she called, standing up. “You’re those guardian angels who go out and save people, yes?”
Cletus stood proudly. “Yep, that’s us!” The other two let out soft gasps and looked at Cletus in worry.
The woman looked around. “Hurry, inside now,” she said. “The world is full of people willing to take advantage of you savior children.”
The cherubs bowed in thanks before heading through the door.
“Technically, I’m twenty-four,” Cletus muttered.
“I thought we were hundreds of years old,” wondered Keenie.
Collin grinned, redness briefly spreading to his cheeks. “You’re so beautiful, you don’t look a year over two-hundred.”
Keenie “bahed” at him in annoyance before they made it into the main chamber. The high vaulted ceiling made even the cherub angels feel small. The sky was a dark indigo through the opening above. Rows of arched gaps circled the area near the ceiling, and stone pillars held the ceiling on either side. The floor was in a black and white checkered pattern while a few Greek inspired designs caught Cletus’ attention. The rows of seats were polished and clean, and several white candles were lit in holders, emitting a peaceful glow.
The woman made way for them and came back with a bowl of fruit and grass. Collin munched on blueberries, Keenie on pineapple slices and Cletus started on red apples. Cletus stared into the apple’s red surface. “Just like the Garden of Eden,” he said to himself. “When Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, she had disobeyed God’s order. She gave the fruit to Adam who then ate one. God banished them from the Garden, cursed them to grow old and die…thus began the fall of man…”
Cletus stared closely at the apple’s surface, the red morphing into the face of a red goat. A grin of sharp white teeth, red eyes surrounded by black, a glowing black Ring with a Roman numeral five on it…
“Are you okay?” Collin asked.
Cletus whipped his head to Collin. “Oh yes, I’m fine, I’m fine,” he said, forcing a grin.
Cletus turned and set the apple aside.
“I sure hope we don’t age too,” Keenie added in concern. “I don’t want to lose my pretty face and looks.”
“That inventor managed to survive for a while,” Collin said.
“Barely,” Cletus mentioned.
“We’re still angels,” mentioned Collin. “It is very rare for us to be erased from existence without good reason…”
“Please don’t say such things!” mumbled Keenie.
The woman went up to the ornate alter and poured in some herbs into an incense burner. The smell of frankincense and myrrh calmed the cherubs down after a while.
“I’ll leave you to it,” said the woman. “Stay for as long as you need but stay out of sight more often than naught. If you need anything, just let me know. Be careful dear sheep babies.”
“Bless you miss,” said Cletus.
The cherubs bowed in thanks as she left.
“Sheep babies?” Cletus scowled. “I’m not a freaking baby!”
“Don’t worry about it,” said Collin.
Keenie walked up to a stone basin nearby as Collin and Cletus bickered for a bit. Gazing in a small pool of holy water, Keenie thought she saw a ghostly face of a pale woman with long blonde hair, a black crown and large curved horns. The face briefly shifted to another white face with orange eyes and flaming wild auburn colored hair. She blinked a few times and it was gone. She only saw her wide-eyed reflection faintly on the surface. She turned away and arrived beside her comrades.
The altar before them was made of gold, as was the ornate cross situated on top.
Keenie, Collin and Cletus knelt down in prayer, tears falling from their faces.
“Oh mighty Lord, please have mercy on us,” Cletus said. “Please forgive us for the mistakes we made here on Earth.”
“Father…we only tried to help a broken man get onto the right path,” Keenie said. “We didn’t mean to kill him.”
“We just want to go home,” Collin added. “We’ll take whatever punishment you give us but please…tell us if there is anything we can do…”
More moments passed as night fell. Stars and a moon were visible through the glass windows.
“God help the outcasts,” Collin chanted softly. “God help our cherub people. We look to you still. If you can’t help us, nobody will.”
“I ask for glory. I ask for fame. I ask for redemption to shine on our name,” added Cletus.
Keenie continued the chant. “We ask for your guidance, a way to get by. Help us right our fate, listen to our cry.”
Cletus finished, “Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, please watch over us.”
All three said “Amen!” before a colorful portal of clouds opened above them. The cherubs each looked up.
“Lord Gabriel?” asked Cletus. “Is that you?”
A sound of clapping hooves greeted them, followed by a haughty laugh.
“My my, what a marvelous…pitiful performance!”
The brown furry face of a winged deer cherub came into view. A sense of smugness and superiority was clearly reflected in her eyes.
“Deerie?!” the cherubs cried, their faces morphing into angry scowls.
“Wow, I’d expect a more proper welcome from deferential devotees such as yourselves. The human world getting to you so soon?”
“What are you doing here?” Keenie asked. “We called for Gabriel.”
“Gabriel sends you his best regards, and says that you guys can rise again and be fully redeemed after a while…”
The cherubs smiled until she added, “heheh, yeah, no.”
Their faces fell.
“I’m afraid you guys can’t re-enter Heaven, like I said before. Nothing you can do about it. Rules and all.”
Cletus turned red in the face. “But it was an accident! The imps fought us off. They were the ones trying to kill Lyle Lipton!”
“But they didn’t, correct? Based on what Heaven has seen, you three not only killed Lyle unintentionally…but you caused much more death and suffering.”
“What?!” all three cried out.
Collin thought back to all the dead audience members. They had been so involved in fighting off their rivals that they didn’t even notice them.
“It was I.M.P.’s fault!” Keenie argued.
“Yes, but you also played a role in it,” Deerie explained. “You blindly shot your arrow, which later caused the piano to crush the old man. We see everything, you know.”
Cletus then turned to Collin. “About that time earlier when you said it ‘wasn’t completely my fault…’”
Collin stood his ground. “It was though. It was all our faults.” He jabbed a hoof into Cletus. “But you were so adamant to kill off those imps that you didn’t consider who else would be at risk. We should’ve taken the fight outside! I tried to tell you guys earlier!”
“You’re a literal sheep,” Cletus replied, getting into Collin’s face. “You never said a word; you just followed my orders like you were supposed to.”
“Those imps are nothing more than dirt that the dead tread on,” Keenie added. “We may be angels, but we never go down without a fight. Surely you’d do well with being less of a wimp, Collin.”
Collin scoffed. “I’m sorry. I thought we were supposed to be the good guys. The loving guardians who actually help those we meet. I just realized that we didn’t let Lyle Lipton learn his little lesson.”
“Five times fast,” Cletus snickered, but Collin ignored him.
“We didn’t tell Lyle how sinful it is to be so immersed in his own greed. He really could’ve used his riches for good if we had stayed to help him like we were supposed to! We should’ve explained to our victims why any of their bad behaviors were wrong. But instead we just left them all behind!”
“What did you think we were trying to do?!” Keenie yelled. “We showed him nature, childhood wonderment, young love and the arts. And it would’ve worked if it weren’t for those meddlesome…”
“You done?” Deerie casually asked in the air. She finished filing her hooves and had a bag of popcorn with her. The cherubs turned back to her.
“Far from it, bitch!” Keenie yelled.
“Language!” Collin warned.
“You three have learned nothing, huh? You see scraps, I was briefly summoned here by you guys and I gotta get back soon, so I may as well elaborate on your consequences. Let’s see…”
Deerie summoned her clipboard and her reading glasses. On her notepad, she had drawn cats and Invader Zim characters. A side note read “more musical episodes?”
“Not only did you kill one human, but you also killed multiple mortals in the theater. This has made Azrael, the Angel of Death very upset. There are many people that are chosen to die at certain times and let me tell you, having to cross and uncross multiple names can get pretty irksome.”
The cherubs stood silent.
“In other words, you’re also in trouble for simply…oh I don’t know…doing a business and going to Earth without the permission from your superiors! A big no-no.”
“But we were saving people’s lives, and teaching them God’s true path…” Cletus began.
“…or more than likely, saving humans just to boost about your company accomplishments.”
“I knew it!” Collin called, glaring at Cletus. “Our main purpose is to help humans because it’s the right thing to do. I knew I should have stayed at my record-keeping job.”
“You and Keenie thought joining C.H.E.R.U.B. with me was a good idea and it was!” Cletus protested.
“Cherubs are supposed to do various record keeping for soul count, religions, sins and choices made by humans etc.,”Deerie said. “Just proves that I do my job better than you three after all!”
Keenie smirked. “You sure you’re still not jealous because we got to go on exciting adventures? That we became more famous than you?”
Deerie chuckled. “More like infamous now. Cletus especially, you gave into your pride and wrath during the fight. You cherubs are supposed to help spread the holy word of God, and not go into the human world unless necessary.”
The cherubs lowered their heads a bit.
“Not to mention several people you saved ended up as criminals. You know, the kind of people who abuse their children, scam others into giving them money, enslaving citizens in other countries…”
“How were we supposed to know all of that?!” Keenie cried. “We saved their lives at the request of their loved ones in Heaven!”
“Which, in turn can cause more global suffering and even an altering of history itself,” Deerie explained. “Lyle was destined to die and go to Hell anyway. Your actions are not befitting to your titles as cherubs in the first place. I’m surprised no one has managed to sell you on the black market yet. I guess you can be referred to as…black sheep now!”
Deerie burst into laughter, slapping her furry knees.
“Get out,” Cletus muttered.
Deerie laughed some more, wiping tears from her large eyes. “Oh dearie me, I’m so clever!”
Cletus thought he saw a grinning man’s face with red eyes and licking his lips behind Deerie.
Cletus shook the vision away before yelling, “No I’m serious, get the fuck out!”
“Language!” the other three shouted, their voices echoing in the vast space. The silence was deafening. Or the noises were hearing.
“Well then, I wish you three a fun time on Earth,” Deerie said. “Feel free to not call me again. I have no use dealing with fallen sheep anyway.”
“Can you at least tell us what will happen to us next?” Collin asked.
“Oh that’s actually pretty simple,” Deerie explained. “I.M.P. will be dealt with in due time. But as for you three…”
She pointed her hooves at Collin, Cletus and Keenie, who each gasped in turn. “In Gabriel’s words: ‘You will still redeem and protect human souls but this time under closer supervision. You will learn to live among them for a while in the hopes that your arrogance toward those different from yourselves will subside over time. Only after your true redemption may you return to Heaven. I have the utmost faith in you.’ End quote.”
The three cherubs sighed in relief.
“Oh one last thing,” Deerie grinned. “I forgot to tell you the best part.” Collin and the others did not like the look on her face.
Deerie continued. “Now that you’re here on Earth, you will all be vulnerable to human emotions and sins. Pride, greed, lust, anger, you know it.”
“Not gonna happen lady,” Keenie spat with her hands on her hips.
“Everyone save for God has flaws. You didn’t think that redeeming yourselves would be a stroll in the clouds did you?”
The cherubs looked at each other.
“Yeah, so basically you all have a limited time to prove yourselves on Earth. A couple days at the very least?”
Collin whimpered with droopy ears as his white halo above him briefly flickered.
“Yeah, so if you don’t complete your mission in time…it’s a one-way trip down for you!”
The cherubs yelled while grabbing onto each other.
“Yes indeed!” Deerie said. “I can see you three reluctantly joining up with I.M.P.’s rivals to enact your revenge, turning into the winged devils you were destined to become!”
“Nooooooo!” they cried in horror.
Deerie then let out a childish laugh, waving her hoof. “But hey, that’s just a theory! I look forward to hearing about your…pandemonium adventures in the next few episodes!”
Deerie waved and called, “That’s a wrap! Bye!”
Cletus charged at her again, but she vanished through the portal and it closed.
“No, no, no!” Cletus sobbed again, his co-workers comforting him.
After several minutes, the cherubs stared at the stars and moon through one long window.
“You know guys,” Collin admitted, “Though you might be a pain in my behind at times, you’re still like my family. Whether we’re in Heaven, Earth or Hell…we can get through anything as long as we stick together.”
Keenie gave Collin a comforting side hug. Cletus soon joined in and he sighed. “That’s one thing we can all agree on.”
After staring at the heavens, Cletus said, “We’d better rest up…we have lots of work to do.”
The three cherubs huddled together underneath another Christmas tree, sleeping on a comfortable red rug.
Though the mighty had fallen, they could only hope that the meek could rise.
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The Artful Dodger
Alternative Tom and Conny so fluffy and sweet it will rot teeth.
Author of this tosh, Ladyoftheteaandblood
It’s not often our soppy super villain is angry but when he came in from the garden having let Bobby out for a widdle, he was furious.
Behind our garden is a public road, it winds its way along the countryside past fields and small Copse’s, and out again to the main road and down to the village.
It is actually not used much, apart from us getting the car into the garage and the binmen using it to collect the bins that sit by the large hedge we put up to protect us from newspaper cameras, and ardent fans.
The hedge now also holds half the sparrow population of the local area and in the evening, you can hear them gossiping about their day with their mates the Starlings, before they settle down for the night.
I had seen Bobby from the dining room window rooting around the hedge and bins barking madly and had wondered what he was up to. Tom then seemed to be diving in the bins for a moment and came into the house carrying something with great care.
“Some arseholes!!” he said storming into the kitchen.
“Has left this in OUR bin, to die tied up in this bag…”
He opened an old canvas shopping bag and inside was a black kitten looking up at me with eyes as blue as Toms.
“OH my god” the little guy of course started to mew, And Tom started to rant
“How could you do this? Take them to a cat rescue, phone the RSPCA, get your cat done but Don’t, just abandoned the little dudes”. Toms eyes were all flinty grey and angry then he looked back into the bag again and the expression changed to that of the giant soft dollop, that I knew he was.
Like Hedgehogs, chickens, puppies, and even grumpy black cats (except for one) they all love Tom and Tom loves them back.
He carefully reached into the bag, gently took the little chap out and inspected him.
He had jet-black fur, just like Roper our cat that now lived next door with six-year-old Megan, except the small squirmy being had one white paw. Unlike Roper though his fur was dirty and dishevelled. Other than the filth, he looked and sounded, extremely healthy and wriggly, and of an age that said, I have just been weened. Tom let Bobby have a sniff at the kitten and then told his buddy,
“We have to find a home for this little guy” Bobby seeing that the dirty fluff ball was in very safe hands went off for an after play time little something.
“Right, I will call the RSPCA and see when they can come get him” Tom put him on the floor and took out his phone. Artful Dodger as we named him due to his size and grubby appearance, immediately crawled up him, climbing Tom like a tree and ending up on Tom’s shoulder.
“I think you’ve been adopted” I laughed Tom put small, back on the floor and tried again to phone the RSPCA, this time the tiny chap took no time in shooting up Toms body to his shoulder where he bit Toms ear.
Tom took the fluffy monster off him again, and held him out in front of his face and softly said,
“Oi, You I’m trying to find you a nice home with food and lots of love, give me a moment” the reply was a nose swipe with a tiny paw which I noticed had pink toe beans. Could this kitten get any cuter?
“Ok you take him for a second and I WILL phone”.
He didn’t want me; he wanted the nice tall man who smelt great in the soft warm maroon hoodie. I carried the tiny squeaky squirming fellow across the room and hoped Tom had a head start. Our new friend got off me and tootled across the room at speed with his tiny black tail sticking up like a mast on an exceedingly small ship.
Tom had to make the call in the end with his new mate attached, only to find out that the RSPCA would not be able to collect him till the next day. Would we be so kind as to keep him till then?
We got out Ropers old kitty litter tray and found the remains of a bag of litter.
I took a trip to the local Co-op (Snoopy face mask on) and got kitten food. I came home to find Tom sitting in his favourite chair reading Shakespeare ever so softly, to seemingly no one.
I then noticed he had his Hoodie on back to front and the hood was occupied by our furry visitor, his ears the only thing visible. Tom looking up saw me and whispered,
“He was tied but wouldn’t let me go so this seemed a plan” This was a photo opportunity not to be missed.
For the rest of the day Tom carried around Artful Dodger in his backwards hood. Sometimes there was a little black face with electric blue eyes, peeping out facing forwards with his paws on the hoodie edges and sometimes just a sleepy lump at the bottom. Tom had even tied his hair back because it got in Dodgers face.
Tom only put him down for a quick play, food, for litter breaks or to hold Dodger in those giant soft hands and talk to him in the soft low gentle tones.
On those brief moments he was allowed down Dodger could not wait to get back up. This was not always a great success, one time he got stuck at Toms butt. With all four paws stretched across it and his little body tight against Toms jeans, it looked for all the world like Tom had sat on the silly animal and it had stuck to his bum like chewing gum. Another picture for Munchkin.
In the evening having dealt with a relation on zoom, I came down to find Scala Radio on playing ‘Music to calm you, welcome to the space’ Well, that’s what the lady said.
Tom was fast asleep on the sofa with Bobby on his feet and The Artful Dodger still in the hood of the back to front top also asleep, who knew kittens snored.
The next bunch of adverts on this calming space seem to leave Tom asleep and our visitor waking up. I could see the Hood squirming about and before long the wee ears, the crystal blue eyes and then the whole head peaked out, followed by the rest of the small chap. The Artful Dodger climbed off his host and plopped over the side of the sofa in a furry puddle on the floor. Shook himself out to kitten shape again and set off to explore the world unaided. Our intrepid explorer had just set off, tail flying high, when, the former feline resident of the house, decided to make an appearance.
Roper noticed the kitten in seconds. Every muscle in his body went on high alert, all his hair stood on end and the ears went back. He went across the room at a speed I could not match and was by Dodger before I could yell a warning.
Roper put a paw on the little dude’s head holding him down, sniffed him and sneezed heavily as only a cat can before taking matters into his own paws.
The artful Dodgers pitiful cries awoke his lord and master who panicked till he realized I was laughing. Dodger was being thoroughly washed whether he liked it or not. And after washing Roper picked him up by the scruff of his neck and walked off with him to the kitchen where he took over Bobbies bed, growled at Bobby who had had the sense to leave Roper alone until he had had the cheek to get in his bed. Bobby backed off and so did anyone else who came near him and heard his warning sounds. Roper settled down in the dog bed with his new cuddle buddy and continued to glare out at the world.
“Well, my dear it seems you have been usurped” Tom looked very putout that his daddy duties had been taken away from him. There was nothing for it but take the disgruntled Hiddleston to bed and cheer him up.
“Come on you I will be your cuddle buddy” the grin was back in seconds.
In the morning, the RSPCA lady arrived early, Roper was at that moment clipping The Artful Dodger around the ears, for pooping over the side of the kitty litter box. He growled at the Lady as she approached him, Tom explained what had happened last night and she laughed,
“Hey you, I’ve come to help and I’m going to take your mate and find him a really lovely home where he is loved and cuddled. Can I take him please?”
She had by this time knelt down to Roper, and was scratching him between his ears, being the total slut he was at times, he was purring loudly and let her pick up tiny Dodger and place him in a cat box.
She thanked us for our help and went to leave, our tiny visitor peering out of the box like a criminal master mind finally having been caught, making noises like he was being killed.
Both Tom and Roper watched from the front door as Dodger was loaded into her car and she drove off.
Tom bent down to Roper and went to scratch his head as he said,
“Well done you” Roper growled at him and took a swipe at Tom with his paw, claws fully out. Tom stood up holding his wounded hand while Roper gave him a very, hard glare and strutted off back next door.
“Oh, look normal service has been resumed” I laughed.
Picture not mine I just played.
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One Night (Tsukishima x Reader, eventual Ushijima x Reader)
Warnings: nsfw, angst, arguing, uncomfortable situations, bullying (please let me know if I missed any!)
Wow this is my third time posting this; technology hates me. Lets hope this one works! The third time's the charm! <3
One night, a little over a year ago, I answered a phone call from my friend Shimizu. She told me that the next school year would be her last, and that I was the only person she trusted to take care of the idiotic volleyball team.
I accepted the manager position excitedly. Unable to play in college level myself due to an injury, I was eager to accept any volleyball involvement I could get my hands on.
“They’re a lot, are you sure you’re up for it, Y/n? You’ll be a freshman, and college isn’t easy for anyone. These boys are a handful.”
“I’m sure, I was actually disappointed that I lost my volleyball scholarship. I’m glad I kept my international one, though. I sure am ready to get out of the states again.
Shimizu laughed. “I understand.”
One night, about four months ago, I cuddled into the blanket of my new room in campus housing. I was finally here, starting my new life.
The next morning, after a dreadful 8am, I had breakfast scheduled with Shimizu and some of volleyball team she wanted me to meet. I wound up sitting in between a red headed boy named Hinata and Shimizu.
We all chatted and I mostly listened, getting to know the few boys that were here. There was a silver haired one, a brown haired one, one with a bleached streak, and one with greenish hair.
“How do you two know each other?” The silver haired boy, Sugawara, asked me.
“In high school, when we were 2nd years, I met Shimizu in the exchange student program. I loved Japan so much that I decided to go to college here.” I smile warmly.
“Do you play volleyball?” Hinata asks excitedly.
“I did, but I got hurt, making it so I can’t run any more. Tore a few tendons in my legs and feet that’ll take years to heal if at all.” I shrug, feeling a pang of sadness in my chest.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Y/n.” The brown haired boy, Daichi, said.
“No need to worry about it!” I chirped, pushing the sad aside. Today was supposed to be happy. “I’m just excited that I can be involved at all. Especially with my old friend. And new friends.”
“Yeah!!!” Nishinoya, the boy with the bleach said, clapping, making me laugh.
As the conversation moved on, I began to have a side conversation with the quiet boy Yamaguchi.
“I really am interested in America, I’d love to go someday.” He said, sipping his drink.
“It certainly is interesting.” I chuckled, brushing my hair out of my face. “I’m glad to be getting a break from it. I wasn’t in the best place there.”
He furrowed his eyebrows, “Mentally or physically?”
“Both.” I said, making us both laugh.
“Well I’m glad you’re in a better place. Wait no, that makes it sound like you’re dead,” he said, making us both laugh.
One night, about three and a half months ago, I found myself in the big gym of Karasuno University. I looked around and closed my eyes, enjoying the feeling of the hard floor under my feet. I inhaled, smelling the familiar smell. I guess all gyms smell the same.
“Y/n! Welcome!” An older man, who I assume is the coach, said, running up to me.
“Hi! Coach Ukai, correct?” I asked.He nodded, and I bowed my head. He stuck his hand out and I shook it.
“Man, it feels like I haven’t shaken a hand in ages.” I laughed.
“Yeah, I feel like you’ve had to get used to it here, I might as well bring you some familiarity, even though it’s small.”
“Thank you, sir.” I smiled up at him.
“No problem, kid.” He said, whacking my shoulder.
A minute later, the gym flooded with guys, some familiar, some not. I started to set up the net with Yamaguchi, chatting mindlessly.
“Hey, Y/n,” He said, tugging my arm, “I want you to meet my best friend.”
I nodded, going along.
“Y/n, this is Tsukishima. Tsukki, this is Y/n. She’s from America.” He said excitedly.
“Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” I say, bowing my head.
“Tsk.” He tutted, looking down at me.
“Hey, be nice.” Yamaguchi scolded.
“It’s okay.” I said, smiling softly up at the blonde giant in front of me. “Still nice to meet you. I’ve heard good things about you from him,” I nodded towards his friend, “I’d love to get to know you, Tsukishima.”
He hummed, turning away to go talk to someone. I sighed, watching him leave.
“He’ll come around. He’s always like that to people. Well actually, he didn’t say anything mean to you, so I’d say that went pretty well.” Yamaguchi laughs, and I smile.
“I can break him.” I teased.
One night, about two months ago, I found myself sitting in my dorm room, Tanaka to my left, Suga to my right. Tsukishima, Yamaguchi, Daichi, Noya, and Ennoshita were scattered around the apartment doing who knows what. I didn’t really care, the boys were all slightly tipsy or about to be.
“Y/n Y/n Y/n what do Americans say before they drink?” Noya asked, shaking my shoulder.
“Cheers.” I said, raising my glass of water.
“CHEERS, BROTHERS!” Noya shouted, prancing off to my kitchen, making me laugh.
“I’d better go with him.” Tanaka said, leaving me and Suga.
“I’m so glad you’re here, Y/n.” He said, nudging me with his shoulder.
“Me too.” I look at him, smiling.
He sighed, leaning his head back on my couch. “I’m so tired. I’m probably going to head home early, that good with you?”
“Of course, take care of yourself.” I said, patting his knee.
He nodded, pushing himself up to stand. “Daichi, you two ready?” He asked, and the captain nodded.
“Bye, Y/n. Thanks for letting us hang out here.” Daichi said, quickly hugging me before leaving with Suga.
I headed back to my place on the couch, sitting down and pulling my knees to my chest. I sat there alone for a bit, listening to the chatter coming from my kitchen.
“Hey.” A voice said, making me open my eyes and look up.
“Tsukishima, hi.” I said, smiling up at him, glad that he came up to me.
“Can I sit?” He nodded to the seat next to me. I nodded my head yes and he plopped down, saying a quick thanks.
“So, what brings ya over here?” I asked, turning my head to look at him. He looked a bit tense, but not super uncomfortable.
“Tired of babysitting drunk Yams.” He muttered, making me laugh.
“I get that.”
He sighed and closed is eyes, leaning his head back just like Suga did a few minutes ago. I close my eyes as well, nodding my head along to the soft melodies of my Hair record, humming along to the song “Don’t Put It Down.”
“What the fuck is playing?” Tsukishima asked, eyes open and fixed on me.
“O-oh, it’s a musical called Hair.” I said, suddenly embarrassed. “This song is making fun of old uptight people.”
“Hmm,” He hummed, not looking totally disgusted like I assumed. “Tell me more about it.”
I blinked at him, wide eyed.
“I don’t have all night, stupid.” He said, rolling his eyes.
I nodded, starting to explain the plot, how it was about the Vietnam war, and how controversial it was/is back in the states. He listened intently, slightly nodding along and asking questions when he was confused.
Be-In played, and I started singing “Marijuana, Marijuana,” Along with the record, making Tsukishima smirk and shake his head. I explained how the characters were burning draft cards, but I was cut off mid sentence by Tanaka shouting.
“What are those idiots up to now, I swear to god if they broke anything-“ Tsukishima grumbled.
As if on que, the song stops and the apartment goes silent, the A side of the record being up.
“Hey, I’m sorry, I’m gonna bring these guys home.” Ennoshita said, pulling the three drunken boys behind him. “Nothing’s broken, don’t worry, I tried to clean up most of it, I’m sorry Y/n,” He rambled, and I smiled, shaking my head.
“No worries! Stay safe, ok?” I said as they stumbled out of the door.
“Glad I didn’t drink.” Tsukishima said, standing up and locking the door behind them. Instead of returning to the couch, he walks over to my record player, his long fingers nimbly flipping it over and turning the volume up a bit.
“Am I intruding? I can leave if you want-“
“No, please stay.” I said, reaching my hands out. He got the hint and pulled me up, and I walked to the kitchen, nodding my head along to the song Where Do I go. He follows me, hands stuffed in his pockets. “Do you want anything to eat?” I asked, walking to my fridge and pulling it open. I took out some strawberries and he nodded, a ghost of a smile visible on his face. He took one out of the plastic box it was in, and I took one after him. We moved back to the living room and sat back down, closer than last time.
We talked about volleyball, his brother, American football and high school, and eventually our love life.
“I just haven’t found the time.” He shrugged.
“Me either, honestly. It’d happen, well, almost happen more frequently, but just when horny guys, mostly football and baseball players, would try to get in my pants.” I rolled my eyes, licking strawberry juice off my fingers.
“You never let them, did you?” He asked, looking down at me, eyes squinted.
“Nah. Not worth the dissatisfaction.” I shrugged.
“Good girl.” He said nonchalantly, almost making my jaw drop.
Did he just say that? I asked myself, slightly blushing.
He shifted his position, leaning back a bit more.
“This song played while I was born.” I commented, the conversation shifting. I started quietly singing along to Good Morning Starshine, and I could feel his golden eyes boring into me.
He hummed, drumming his fingers on his knees. “Personally, I like Aquarius.”
I raised my eyebrows, smiling at him. “I do too. I like your taste, tall boy.” I giggled.
He made an “ick” face at me, but his eyes were smiling, telling me he was joking.
“Well, it’s late, I guess I’d better get going, huh?” He said as the song ended, checking his watch.
“Hmm, I guess.” I frowned, standing up and following him to the door.
“Hey, don’t pout sugar, you’ll see me in the morning.” He said, tapping my chin, making me look him in the eyes. He leaned down, his nose almost brushing mine.
“Okay, I guess.” I said, my eyes staring into his.
“You can’t miss me. I’ll be the only one not hungover.”
I laughed, turning my head away a bit.
“I’ll see you then.” I said, and like that, he was gone.
The next morning, I ended up showing up about ten minutes late, but I wasn’t too worried. They’d probably just be stretching, I wasn’t missing much. I found myself outside the gym, eating shit. Face against the concrete, I groaned, pushing myself up. I brushed myself off and walked into the gym, hearing a chorus of cheery hellos from the non-hungover ones.
“Hey kid, I need you to run these papers to the dean,” Ukai said, handing me a stack of papers. I nodded and walked out, taking a breath. I took a detour on the way back to get some chocolate milk.
“Took you long enough.” Tsukishima’s voice made me jump.
“Oh, sorry. Did y’all need me?” I asked, tilting my head.
Tsukishima didn’t respond, he just turned around and walked back on the court, followed by a shrugging Yamaguchi.
I brushed it off, going to find Shimizu and help her.
One night, a couple weeks after Tsukishima stayed late at my house, Yamaguchi held a little get together. Not many people were there, just me, Tsukishima, Shimizu, Hinata, and Yachi.
Yachi was sweet, and joined as a manager after I did. We decided to split the work, alternating between being “it” every other week.
“I disagree, I think-“ Yachi says, beginning to ramble about something going on in her class to Yamaguchi, who was looking at her with heart eyes.
I smirked at them, cutting my eyes to Tsukishima. He acknowledged my smirk by wiggling his eyebrows jokingly.
“Hey Y/n, you’ve been here before, do you know where Yamaguchi keeps his bandaids?” Hinata asked, rubbing the back of his neck. I nodded with a laugh, waving for him to follow me.
We returned a few minutes later, and I doted on him, telling him to be more careful when cutting carrots.
“So, you’ve been here before, huh?” Tsukishima asked, suddenly appearing behind me.
“A few times. Why?” I asked, spinning around to face him.
He only hummed, pushing up his glasses with his middle and ring finger, turning away to walk to the kitchen. I squinted my eyes, before getting a sharp jab to the ribs.
“He likes you.” Shimizu whispered in my ear.
My eyes went wide, a small smile on my face. “Really? Well..”
I waited about thirty minutes before quietly walking up to Tsukishima, tugging on his jacket sleeve.
He glared down at me, raising an eyebrow. He looked at Yamaguchi, who he was talking to, and then gave his attention back to me. His eyes asked the question “what the hell are you doing?!”
“I feel sick, can you drive me home?” I gave him puppy dog eyes with a glint of mischief. If he said no, oh well. If he said yes, it could go one of two ways: he could take me home and leave, or take me home and stay.
He rolled his eyes, nodding. “The brat’s sick. I’ll see you guys tomorrow. Tsukishima announced to whoever before heading to the door, nodding his head for me to follow.
I turned to Shimizu, giving her a wink. She shook her head and laughed, giving me a thumbs up.
We got to his car and the ride home was nice, soft music playing in the background, his lazy figure making me smile. One arm slung over the armrest, tapping against nothing the the beat, the other hand on the wheel, his glasses halfway down his nose, head tilted forward, eyes trained on the road ahead. His left hand moved rhythmically, and eventually settled right above my knee, rubbing gentle circles.
Once we got back to my dorm, he walked me in, quietly saying, “You’re a terrible liar.”
I rolled my eyes, “I wasn’t trying to lie well, just wanted to leave.”
“Stupid girl. Thank god you’re so pretty.”
I chuckle, making a face at him. “Pretty, huh?”
“Yeah. Now be a good girl and put a record on so we don’t have to make out in silence.” He said, making himself at home on my small blue loveseat.
I laughed, nodding and walking over and pulling out my Fine Line record. He closed his eyes as the beginning of Golden started to play. I walked over to him, feet gently tapping against the cool floor. I sat down next to him, making him open his eyes, peering down at me.
I looked back up at him, eyebrows raised, eyes slightly out of focus.
He breathed out a quiet breath before closing the distance between us. His lips were warm and soft, contradicting his rougher, colder personality. His cool hand reached up, cupping my cheek and pulling me closer, deepening the kiss.
He smelled nice, like a mixture of whatever laundry detergent he used, a hint of cologne, and just him.
He pulled me into his lap, hands momentarily resting on my thighs as our tongues moved together. His hands were almost constantly on the move, going up my back, back down, to my thighs, then knees, going back up to rest on my ass, slightly grabbing.
I grabbed his hair while he explored my body, slightly tugging.
“Harder.” He mumbled against my lips, and I obliged, gripping with more strength, making his eyes roll back.
His eyes opened, golden and shining, but tinted with lust. “You wanna keep going?”
I nodded enthusiastically, practically throwing myself closer.
“Mmm, good.” I felt his chest rumble with those words, making my stomach drop.
His hands firmly gripping me, he moves me back and forth, allowing me to feel how hard he is.
“I, hah, need more,” I whispered, eyes screwed shut.
“Get on your knees.” He breathed, pushing my shoulder down to help. I nodded, settling between his legs while he sat on the couch. I quickly undid his belt and unzipping his black jeans, listening to his heavy breathing. “You want this too, sweetheart?” He breathed, hands on his pants, waiting for my answer before moving.
I nodded, and he swiftly pulled his jeans down, and I hovered my hands over his as he undressed, barely ghosting his knuckles in encouragement. I stared down at him, jaw hanging open, almost drooling.
My eyes cut up to meet his, golden and sparkling. He smirked down at me, putting his hand on the back of my head, gently pushing my face towards his pretty dick. I tenderly held it while I kitten licked the tip, gently taking him in my mouth.
He hissed, gritting his teeth, eyes scrunched shut. “Oh,” he breathed, nodding his head and clenching his fists.
I’ve done this a couple times, and each time I’ve gone off of instinct, trying my best to please a silent man above me, but this wasn’t the case with Tsukishima.
“Ah, yeah, can I..?” He asked, grabbing a fistful of my hair. I nodded, mouth full, tongue teasing the underside of his cock smoothly.
Without warning, he gripped my hair tighter and shoved me all the way down, making me gag a bit. Tears started to prick my eyes, and he tutted. “Pretty girl’s crying because of my cock, huh?”
His words made my eyes roll back as I try not to lose focus on the task at hand. I whined, mouth full, eyes begging him to help me.
“You want me to make you feel good? Huh? Answer me, slut.” He growled.
“Please,” I whimpered after pulling back, his taste still on my tongue.
“Fine.” He snapped, grabbing me by the hair and pulling me back into his lap. His hands moved down to my thighs then move up, cold hands meeting the warm skin of my stomach. He effortlessly pulled my shirt off, admiring my figure through half lidded eyes. Next he unbuttoned my shorts and I wiggled out of them, tossing them somewhere off to the side.
“Fuckin’ hot,” he muttered, pulling my body flush against his. His hands on my hips, he moves me back and forth, the friction making us both close our eyes and sigh.
He lifted his legs up, spreading mine while he did. He looked at me, raising his eyebrows, and I nodded. He moved my underwear to the side, licking his lips slightly and breathing out a shaky breath before slowly pushing his middle finger in me, making me gasp. He hissed, adding his ring finger after a minute of slow, rhythmic moving and curling.
He rested his head in the crook of my neck, breaths hot against my collarbone.
“Here, I whispered, moving my hands from his shoulders to his face, taking his glasses off of his face and carefully setting them on the coffee table.
He looked at me again without the small glass barriers, eyes shades darker but keeping the “up to no good” sparkle.
“Please, keep going,” I whined.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take reeeaal good care of you,” he said, his voice lower than I’d ever heard it go before, curling his fingers slowly.
I sigh, my head rolling to the side, letting out a quiet moan. “Please, I want-” he cut me off by taking out his fingers and grabbing my hips, pushing inside of me, causing the both of us groan.
“Oh, yeah c’mon, let me hear you, pretty girl.”
“Hey Y/n, I got you a coffee.” Hinata says, handing it to me. It’s an early practice and the boys are slowly trickling into the gym, and I’m shifting uncomfortably on the bench, my red scarf wrapped around my neck, the hand that’s not holding the coffee is stuffed in my pocket.
“How’re you feeling?” Hinata asks, sitting down next to me, nudging my shoulder.
“Hmm.” I hum and shrug. He nods, a slight frown on his face.
“I hope you feel better.” He gives me a quick side hug before jogging to talk to Kageyama, who’s giving me a side eye.
I furrow my eyebrows and look down at my cup, taking a sip. There’s a rush of guys walking in, and I look to see who it is. It’s Tanaka, Noya, Ennoshita, and Suga, and they’re all talking with each other. Behind them is Yachi and Shimizu, and I raise my hand to wave at them, but they just scurry off to a closet to busy themselves. I frown, looking down at my cup again.
The entire practice, nobody speaks to me other than Hinata, who’s finding the situation just as weird as I am. Tsukki and Yamaguchi never shows.
There was no practice for the next three days, and on the fourth and fifth days, I stayed home because of a stomach bug. When I went back, things had changed.
I walk into the familiar gym, the cool air hitting my face, and the mindless chatter went silent. I scrunch my face, wondering what the big deal was. Were they wondering where I was? I texted Coach...
“Good morning, guys.” I say, but I don’t get a response, just looks.
I frown and walk over to an empty bench and pull out my notebook to take notes on the players.
I hear whispering and I look to see Kageyama and Suga talking, while looking at me. When I catch their eyes, they quickly look away. I sigh and continue to jot things down.
After practice, I catch up with Yamaguchi. “Hey, what’s going on?” I ask him nervously. “It seems like everyone’s talking about me.”
“Yeah, uh,” he scratches his neck, “we um, how do I say this, heard things from Tsukki.”
“Things?” I blush a bit, looking down at my feet. “What things?”
“Not great things.” He mutters guiltily.
“What- what did he say?” I ask, my stomach dropping from anxiety.
“I-uh,” Yamaguchi shifts uncomfortably.
“Did he say I was bad in bed or something?” I ask. It doesn’t seem like the right answer but it’s the only dirt he should have on me.
“No, uh, he just, ugh.” Yamaguchi frowns, scratching his head. “He tends to suddenly hate people after hookups. I didn’t even see you two flirting or anything like that so I didn’t even think to warn you about that, I’m so sorry.”
“But,” I feel a lump in my throat, “he was the one who initiated most of it. It was him, not me. All I asked was for him to drive me home. He made the moves. That makes no sense.” I start to tear up, hands tugging at the roots of my hair out of stress.
“He tends to do that,” Yamaguchi wrings his hands, face set in a frown, “but I never thought it could happen with you. Again I’m so sorry, I-“
“It’s not your fault.” I say, putting my hands over his. “Thanks for not hating me, the others seem to.” I chuckle sadly.
“Hey, they just don’t get it. I’ve known Tsukki throughout high school. Plus, I could never hate you.”
“Thank you.” I smile sadly, and after a minute, we both say our goodbyes. I head to my creative writing class, head swimming, heart heavy.
I text him: What the fuck.
My phone buzzes and I look at it. It reads: Fuck off.
Me: No dude, why would you spread shit about me? Read
Stop leaving me on read. Answer me.
Tsukki: Leave me alone
Me: No, I want an answer. Why’d you ruin what I had here?
Tsukki: I told you. Don’t fucking talk to me
Me: You think I WANT to talk to you? I just want to not be stared at and whispered about by people I considered friends. I want you to tell them whatever you said isn’t true. Please? I don’t want to live a living hell while I’m stuck in another country. I’m lonely enough as is.
Tsukki: They were my friends first, ok? And no. That’s embarrassing. Just leave me and the team alone or something.
Me: How is THAT fair?!
Tsukki: It’s not. Deal with it
Me: Fuck you. YOU were the one that made the advances. It was YOU.
I stare down at my phone, tears rolling down my cheeks.
“Kid? You good?” A male voice breaks me out of my trance, and I look up to see coach. -
“Hey coach. Nah.” I say, quickly wiping my cheeks.
“Something’s up, what’s the matter?” He said, bumping my shoulder.
“I apparently did something dumb.” I laugh sadly. “I hope this isn’t TMI, but I hooked up with Tsukki the other day, and he started spreading rumors after for no reason, just because he does that apparently.” I scuff my foot against the ground.
“Ah. I figured something happened. I’m sorry, let me know if I can do anything, yeah?” He says, fiddling with the cigarette between his fingers.
I nod, “Thanks coach. Depending on how things go, I might just let Yachi go full time. I don’t know how much of being avoided and talked about I can handle.”
“That makes sense, but we’d miss you. I mean, at least Takeda and I will, as well as Yamaguchi and Hinata.”
I smile sadly and nod, sighing. “I’d miss y’all too. We’ll see.” I smile sadly and start to leave, and we wave our goodbyes.
One night, a few months later, during exams season, I’m sitting alone outside the performing arts building, holding some sheet music with notes scribbled on them. Glancing down at the German, I tap my foot anxiously, waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up for lunch.
“Y/n, there you are.” I look up to see the familiar brown eyes of my boyfriend.
“Hey! There you are.” I say with a smile, pushing myself up off the bench.
“Sorry, I got lost on the way here.”
“Oh no, don’t be sorry. I’m sorry that you had to come so far just to get me.” I scratch the back of my neck.
“It was no trouble.” He reaches out his hand and I take it, entertaining my small hand in his giant one. “How did your music final go?”
“It went well, I’m glad it’s over though. German is tough.”
“Yeah.” He looks around, eyes examining the unfamiliar campus. “You get the transfer stuff figured out?”
“Yep! Next semester, I’ll be with you.” I nod, squeezing his hand. A soft smile graces his face, making me smile myself.
The breeze blows and I close my eyes for a second, enjoying the air. When they open, they meet the icy blue ones belonging to Kageyama. His eyes grow wide as they flick back and forth between me and my giant of a boyfriend. He averts his gaze and speed walks away, making me roll my eyes.
“I’m sorry about him.” I say, slightly embarrassed.
“It’s no problem. Kageyama Tobio, correct?” He asks, quirking an eyebrow.
“Yep.” I pop the p, frowning a bit.
“Hmm. I’ve seen him before. He should’ve come to Shiratorizawa, just like that Oikawa guy.”
I smile up at him, shaking my head. “Why? They have you, so I don’t see why they’d need smug bastards like them.” I tease/compliment. He looks away, slight pink on his cheeks. “You’re so cute, Ushijima.” I laugh.
“I don’t know about that.” He mumbles as we leave campus to head to pick up dinner before going back to his place.
It was one night at one of Shiratorizawa’s games that I got dragged to by Ushi and Tendou. I don’t really mind, I just have some studying I needed to do, but nevertheless, I’m here and cheering, the white & purple jacket with the number 1 on it tied around my waist.
“Y/n, we didn’t think we’d see you here.” A voice catches my attention. Yamaguchi.
“Hey.” I smile a small smile at him.
“Hi.” He says awkwardly.
“Hi, Y/n.” Hinata grins.
“Y/n.” Suga says, nodding his head.
“We miss you!” Hinata grins, quickly hugging me.
“I miss you too, Hinata.” I smile, not saying a lie. I do miss the carrot top.
“How have you been?” Suga asks.
“Mm, fine.” I shrug, glancing at the court before looking back at them. “You?”
“Good.” He nods.
“So, what’re you doing here?” I ask them, slight tension and discomfort in the air.
“We’re watching matches. The others are watching Seijoh or Nekoma.” Yamaguchi nods. “How about you? I thought you said you were putting volleyball behind you.”
“Well, I’m here supporting my boyfriend. I’d rather be studying.” I chuckle dryly. “Those boys just always seem to get their way.”
“Ooooh who’re you dating!!” Hinata asks.
“Uh, Ushijima,” I say quietly.
“Don’t seem too sure about that.” Yamaguchi raises his eyebrow and throwing me a smirk. “You sure you didn’t just miss volleyball?”
“Yup. Totally sure.” I take my boyfriend’s team jacket off my waist and shrug it on to show them. “I’m actually really uncomfortable.” I comment, somewhat pointed at them.
“Hmm.” Suga frowns slightly.
“That’s amazing, Y/n. I’m really happy for you. Do you think you could set it up so I could go to lunch with him someday or something? I’d love to talk to the Ushijima Wakatoshi.”
“Sure, I’ll talk to him. He can be a bit awkward to speak with sometimes though, so fair warning.” I find myself genuinely smiling a bit while thinking about the man who cares about me. Suga’s face softens a bit.
“So, are you going to Karasuno next semester, or going back to the states?” Yamaguchi asks.
“Well actually, I’m changing my major to music, transferring to Shiratorizawa, and moving in with Ushijima.” I nod, shifting back and forth on my feet a little.
“Oh.” Yamaguchi says, seemingly taken aback.
“I’m glad you’re happier now.” Suga says genuinely.
“Thank you.” I smile.
“We’d best be going. Bye, Y/n.” Yamaguchi says, and I wave at the three and say bye.
I take a breath and sigh, a weight feeling lifted off my chest. I look down at the court and see my boyfriend’s monster spike and I smile proudly, cheering for him. I decide to fill up my water bottle, so I awkwardly make my way out of the stands to the main area to find a water fountain.
Tapping my foot and filling up the water bottle, I hear someone clear their throat from behind me.
“Hmm?” I hum and turn, coming face to face with the person I was hoping to never see again.
“You’re taking too long.” Tsukishima said flatly.
“I was here first. Just wait.” I frown, turning away from him.
“Aww Y/n, you’re so cold.” He teases.
“Well maybe because I don’t feel like having a light conversation with the guy who ruined my social life.” I snap.
“Wow, you really are a bitch.” He comments.
“Hmm. Wonder who made me that way? I had to put up with all the shit you started for me while keeping my life together. Without any support. No wonder I got tougher.”
“Tch.” He scoffed.
“If you’d kindly fuck off, that’d be much appreciated.” I say, walking past him, ramming my shoulder against his. Well, against his arm, my shoulder couldn’t meet his, that tall bastard.
“Hey, don’t walk away from me mid conversation.”
“Oh, were we having a conversation? Since when did you want to talk to me? Also, why should I say yes when all you did was ignore me when I wanted to talk?” I fold my arms, glaring at him.
He glowers down at me, eyes burning with emotions.
“Y/n? Is this guy bothering you?” A familiar voice shakes us out of mine and Tsukki’s glaring contest.
“Yeah, actually.” I look up to meet the brown eyes of my boyfriend’s best friend.
“Hmm. Oh, it’s Mr. Vanilla.” Tendou teases, throwing an arm around my shoulder and pulling me close to his side.
“Me? Vanilla, huh? People should know I’m not vanilla. Just ask miss Y/n over there.” Tsukishima sasses, throwing me a smirk.
Tendou’s eyes cut down at me then go back to Tsukki. “I don’t really care to ask her, thank you. That’s kinda personal.” He squeezes me tighter. “Well, anyway, we’d best be off. Her boyfriend’s looking for her.”
“Poor bastard.” Tsukishima mock pouts before rolling his eyes and walking away.
I glare at the back of his head, flipping him off (even though he won’t see me, maybe he’ll mentally get it).
“You good?” Tendou asks, peering down at me.
I sigh and nod a bit, and he steers me away. We walk in time (surprisingly, i somehow manage to keep up with his long ass legs) and he doesn’t say a word. Not from anger, but from respect. He knows that false rumors were spread about me. He walks me back to my seat on the bleachers and I thank him. He jogs off as I sit, kicking my legs.
Glancing up, I see him again. The blonde smirks at me, fire in his eyes.
My phone buzzes and I look down.
Tsukishima: eyes to yourself, princess.
I sigh, rubbing my temples.
Me: give it up, dumbass. It was one night. Don’t talk to me again.
I quickly block his number and set my phone down, averting my eyes back to the game. After it was finally over, Ushijima comes and gets me and we walk to a small store on the way home, grabbing snacks and drinks, laughing and talking while we do so.
Despite it all, I’m thankful for that night. That one terrible night that made my life sour, it eventually made my life sweet again.
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BnHA Chapter 304: The Council of OFA
Previously on BnHA: Hawks and Best Jeanist were all, “what up Todofam, we are here to apply for the positions of ‘son #4’ and ‘weird uncle’, respectively,” and then proceeded to insert themselves into the family drama without waiting for an answer. Hawks briefed Endeavor on the nation’s current status of “totally fucked”, promised to help him sort that out, and then asked him about OFA. Endeavor was all, “oh do you mean One For All, the mysterious thing that my intern Deku was apparently being targeted for?” and then we cut away, presumably before Endeavor could clarify that it never occurred to him to follow up on that, and Hawks was all “no of course not, why would it occur to anyone other than me to follow up on any of this super weird and ominously important shit.” Anyway so meanwhile Bakugou was all “LET ME SCREAM AT DEKU UNTIL HE WAKES UP” and the other kids were all “NO”, and then the chapter ended with All Might being all “I wonder what the vestige!me is currently chatting with Deku about.”
Today on BnHA: Deku drops in on the Vestiges, who are all “sup Deku, how do you like our fancy chairs.” OFA II and III are all “if you need us we’ll just be standing here silently in the corner pretending to be invisible and sparking endless discourse with our mere existence.” OFA IV is all “and now I will explain to you in a very convoluted way that you being quirkless was actually a good thing, since it means that you are probably not going to suddenly drop dead at the age of twenty. But also you’re probably going to be the last user of OFA for that very same reason.” Deku is all “that is wild. I’m just gonna stand here and stare at my hand.” Nana is all “so now that that’s settled could you please do me a small favor and kill my grandson for me”, because having just one topic to discourse about this week WASN’T ENOUGH, apparently. Thanks so much Horikoshi.
(ETA: okay so just a note before I start, this week’s RHA translation was a huge mess, so I followed up this chapter by reading a couple of other translations. the main one I’m using for reference is the one by @hanashimas, whose weekly posts I highly recommend. anyway so you’ll see a couple of ETAs in this post in places where the initial translation was off.)
how many layers of bandages did they wrap this poor kid’s fucking hand in omg
jesus Deku. are you holding onto a bouquet of flowers under that thing?? or a tennis racket??
omg yes, finally
is he reading these names off a teleprompter lol. and if so, what has Jeanist ever done to slight you, Deku? “god bless Kacchan and Aizawa-sensei and Todoroki-kun and everyone else in the whole wide world... except for Best Jeanist. fuck that guy.” actually this joke would be funnier if half of tumblr didn’t legit feel that way lol but anyway
OH MY GOD
I NEED TO HAVE A TALK TOO. ABOUT, OH, EVERYTHING
I got immediate KHR vibes from ALL OF THIS. this is seriously such a Vongola aesthetic. “let’s use the luxuriously cushioned chairs with the seat backs that are ten feet high, and arrange all of the handsome ghost people in a big circle” like come on
that said there are also some slight LoTR vibes as well. “bring forth the ring, Deku”
I like how Six is sitting there with his feet drawn up all casual, but with his arms inexplicably sticking STRAIGHT OUT IN FRONT OF HIM and dangling over his knees like he’s doing some sort of zombie walk
apparently the Fourth wasn’t a big fan of shoes huh
interesting that All Might is the only one who’s still faint/indistinct, and and that Two and Three are fully visible
(ETA: the rest of my speculation about Two and Three has been moved into a separate post, the better to focus on the shit that’s actually happening in this chapter lol.)
and lastly, interesting that all of them are talking now, except for All Might (and I guess the Second and Third as well). to the best of my knowledge Deku hasn’t unlocked the Sixth’s quirk yet, so I guess the quirks don’t really have anything to do with it
oh and it looks like Deku’s mouth is still covered. I guess that’s convenient for the vestiges since we all know it’s hard to stop Deku once he gets going. but on the other hand it’s very inconvenient for people like me who wanted to see some interaction. alas
so First says that OFA’s power has grown a lot in the last four months (i.e. since Deku unlocked Blackwhip), and now the vestiges can communicate with each other as well as Deku
so even when Deku’s not around they can all just chill with each other. this is such a weird thing to me lol. like it’s cool, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also strange as hell to know that you’ve got eight other people hanging out in your head spying on everything you do and having conversations with each other about it. it would be like if Dark Shadow had someone to hang out with other than Tokoyami. good thing you weren’t triplets, Tokoyami
First says that it’s become easier for the vestiges to interact with Deku ever since TomurAFO barged into the OFA Domain back at Jakku. huh
(ETA: apparently this is because AFO forcibly pulled out OFA’s power when he was trying to steal the quirk, so I guess that makes sense.)
okay thank you Banjou for addressing this concern which I initially brought up as a joke, but which was apparently real enough for you to reassure Deku about
“don’t worry, even though we’re awake and hanging out inside of you at all times, we’re definitely not secretly watching and making fun of every single thing you do” hmmmmm
(ETA: “not that you could do anything about it even if we were, since you’re probably going to be the last OFA holder ever!” I don’t trust anything this asshole says lmao.)
YESSS DEKU now you can hold them accountable for all of their bullshit! because I do not doubt that there will be bullshit lol but let’s see how that goes
well okay then. you didn’t have to stand up and walk over to him and loom all threateningly like that but okay sir
this guy has kind of a Kimimaro vibe to him. remember? that bone-growing guy from Naruto? except I’m pretty sure he had eyebrows. and wasn’t twenty feet tall. speaking of which, that explains the chairs
why are you wearing only 3/5ths of a shirt
someone’s gonna have to explain this to me. is he just redundant or something lol, or is he strangely poetical or what
(ETA: apparently HE’S MAKING A PUN omg. I immediately gained +10 love for him lol. also it flows a lot better in Japanese. this is one of the things Caleb is usually good at, so we’ll see what he does with the wordplay.)
omg the hermit theory is true!!
“I’M NOT WEIRD, IT’S SOCIETY WHICH IS WEIRD.” lol whatever you say buddy. also love how Banjou tried to give him a big hearty slap on the back but Hermit Boy was not having it lmao
IS HE TRYING TO CAPTURE HIM WITH BLACKWHIP
AND ACTUALLY, NO, SIR, AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE ARE NOT AWARE. SO SPILL!!
okay my first response was LOL ARE YOU SERIOUS, THAT’S THE BIG SECRET!? -- and then it hit me what the significance of “died from old age... AT AGE FORTY” meant. at which point it was like “!!!!!” and then “OH, SHIT”
(ETA: there’s also an Iida joke here somewhere but I’m just too tired to make it.)
oh my god oh my god
did he somehow get a copy of the coroner’s report or something? like how does he even know that he died from “old age” as opposed to any number of other natural causes? ??
but anyway. so this is the quirk singularity coming into play then I guess. but then how come All Might is still alive and ticking?
(ETA: so this is one example of where this week’s translation is a mess lol. apparently the Fourth explains here that he didn’t know what the fuck he died from until All Might researched it. and it turns out there actually was an autopsy lol so there you go.)
so Fourth says he held OFA for eighteen years, and since he knew he would never be strong enough to defeat AFO on his own he basically just spent all his time punching rocks in the woods and training to power the quirk up
is he implying that his body literally fell apart?? like that’s how he got the scars on his face? -- IS THAT WHAT KEEPS HAPPENING TO TOMURA, THEN. oh shit
so you’re telling me that this quirk actively shortens the lifespan of anyone who uses it?? and my little boy here has had it now for a year already?? fuck me, I have immediately have a TON of thoughts about all this but let me save it until he’s done with his explanation
THANK YOU, DEKU
right?? how come All Might didn’t die then. even after he got injured. please don’t tell me he actually is dying still and is just being slow about it because I SWEAR TO GOD
what does this mean??
so what you’re trying to say is you all have NO FUCKING IDEA how long Deku’s gonna be able to hold this quirk before he SUDDENLY DROPS DEAD?! five generations ago this dude was able to hold it for eighteen years, and then four generations later All Might was able to hold it for thirty-odd years or so, and now Deku has it and you all have no clue which way it’s gonna go? actually this makes it sound like it really wasn’t OFA that killed the Fourth at all and you guys are just really bad at forming hypotheses. but since you’re making a big plot point out of it I guess it must be true
and don’t think I didn’t notice the part where you said you didn’t have OFA very long and then “died while fighting”, Firsto. I want to hear more about that. specifically who you passed the quirk onto before your death
and yes, if we are agreeing that OFA was the cause of the Fourth’s death, then the conclusion on this next page is the natural one to draw
so that’s a bit of a relief then, because Deku is quirkless too. so it means he won’t be able to hold OFA forever (and will probably have to find another quirkless person to pass it on to), but at least he won’t be randomly dying out of the blue next Tuesday or something
oh my god now he’s talking about OFA and AFO and user consciousnesses and all sorts of good theory stuff but it’s so much exposition. you’re really gonna make me read all this lol
wait what. why would All Might being quirkless have anything to do with the presence of his vestige in OFA Outer Space Party Land
but Deku is also quirkless and he’s clearly visible and chatting with you guys. so what gives. like how much of this is verified fact and how much of it is you guys just shrugging and making stuff up lol
BUT DEKU IS ALSO -- you know what, never mind sob. none of this shit makes any sense but whatever
(ETA: seriously, this all seems like an awful lot of speculation on their part. for Deku’s sake I sure hope they’re right.)
FSSKDJFLSKLKJLKJL ALL MIGHT IS FIFTY-FIVE?!
lol that’s a full ten years past my closest estimate, wow. but this pretty much confirms his age now at last! or at least confirms it within a couple of years, because we know All Might and Nana met when he was in middle school, and he presumably had the quirk by the time he took the U.A. entrance exam. so yeah. gonna go with fifty-five
so they think that because All Might was quirkless, OFA was better able to adapt to his body and became his true quirk, as opposed to being an extra quirk that stacked on top of the one he already had and overwhelmed him. ties in back to the whole “AFO used to bend people to his will by forcing quirks on them” thing, as well as the “Noumus are all mindless because of the strain of having multiple quirks”
Two and Three are really ruining the serious vibe of this scene here lol
they look like they’re doing the counting for hide and seek
and is this Deku talking now? I was about to get mad at First for implying that quirkless people are somehow freaks, as opposed to “normal” people jdslk
so in other words, don’t go giving it to your best friend all casually for shits and giggles, Deku. even if it would make a really cool climax for a movie. well shit. maybe that’s why they were so quick to nope back into Deku’s body afterward
so First says that because quirkless people are becoming rarer and rarer, the fact that All Might just happened to stumble upon Deku is “nothing short of a miracle.” which, yeah, that was definitely a stroke of luck there. being quirkless saved his life. but being quirkless is also part of why he was chosen in the first place, and we’ve always known that much
“in other words, kiddo...”
looks like there was some hurried clone stamp usage going on here lol. but props to RHA as always for putting this scan out so fast, especially given how exposition-heavy this week’s chapter has been
“anyways, that was the main topic” ARE YOU SERIOUS. there are like ten other topics imma need you all to get to here, people
(ETA: seems like this is a mistranslation; the line should actually read something more along the lines of “and now for the main topic.”)
“ENJOY YOUR CLIFFHANGER THIS WEEK.” dskfalkjlkjwlgkjl you really went and dumped this discourse on us yet again. fucking...
(ETA: forgot to mention, but as several people mentioned, this seems to be another mistranslation -- rather than asking Deku to kill Tomura as though it’s doing her a personal favor, Nana is asking “will you be able to do it.” in other words more of an “are you capable of doing it” type of thing. which is a very reasonable question to ask given that Deku is, well, Deku.)
anyways, and the answer is obviously going to be “no” of course. this isn’t going to end any differently than when the previous Avatars all told Aang to kill Ozai. but I guess it means we’re in for a fun conversation next week
so Nana looks pretty grim here though (nothing at all like the person who once taught All Might the importance of saving people with a smile), and I’m wondering if this means she believes that her grandson is already beyond saving. as in killing him would be a mercy, as opposed to him continuing to live with AFO bending his mind and body to his will. except if that is the case, I think she’s underestimating Tomura’s own will. and definitely underestimating Deku’s will to save
and also, just... I’m so fucking sick of AFO screwing the Shimura family over, honestly. this is exactly what he wanted. well fuck you, guy. you don’t get to have what you want. go out there and save Tomura, Deku. for his sake and for Nana’s. give them some hope. do your thing, boy. can’t wait for your big speech all about it next chapter lol
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Love Will Find a Way: Chapter 17
For the next few weeks after their return from their mini vacation, things between Alexa and Rafael resumed into a state of normalcy. Rafael continued to work long hours reviewing his case notes and preparing for ongoing trials, meanwhile, Alexa moved on to her duties pertaining to the registration and protection of women and children in need. However, when they had a break from their busy day to day lives, they enjoyed the comforts of snuggling on the couches of each other’s apartments while watching an old movie or giving his and hers foot rubs.
On more than one occasion, they partake in long strolls through central park, on a particularly crisp autumn morning; they walked hand in hand as their eyes basked in the glory that was the changing of the leaves. A rainbow of orange, yellow and small tints of brown flowed along the path, as the wind blew; a few leaves passed by them. Suddenly, in the middle of the gravel trail, Alexa felt her stomach bubbling with uneasiness; the contents of her stomach threatened to upchuck through her mouth until a hand is pressed up against it.
At one point, she leaned forward a bit with a free hand on her thigh, it took a few seconds to swallow down the buildup and regain composure. Rafael placed a hand on the small of her back and looked at her with a gaze of worry, once he was certain that she was alright, he asked:
“Carino are you alright?”
“Yeah…it must have been something I ate”
“Ok, how about we head on home and I’ll make you that honey milk tea you like and put you to bed”
Alexa returned his glance with a soft smile, as she gently stroked his cheek, she replied:
“You are such a sweet man…how did I get so lucky?”
“Luck had nothing to do with it”
She chuckled while her hand switched from his cheek to interlock with his, they made their way to one of the exits that surrounded the park and hailed a cab back to Alexa’s apartment, as soon as they entered, Rafael and Alexa shed their coats and slipped out of their shoes.
He reiterated that she lay down and that he’d be there shortly with her tea, with a nod, Alexa stepped into her bedroom where she changed into her black yoga pants and a grey shirt. She tucked herself under the covers and leaned back against her fluffed up pillows, in the meantime, Rafael was busy in the kitchen filling the tea kettle with water then sat it on top of the stove top.
A few minutes ticked by before he heard the whistling sounds from the tea kettle, once he switched the knobs to the off position, he picked up a dish towel and used it to cover the handle as he poured the liquid into an awaiting mug. He grabbed a tea packet from the box that sat across the counter then dipped and swirled it into the hot water, he used the same dish towel to cover the underside of the coffee mug while he walked towards the bedroom.
The door was slightly ajar so he elbowed his way through, he sat beside Alexa as he handed her the mug but also made a note to her to be careful since the mug was hot.
She took a whiff of the sweet and savory scent then blew at the steam emitting from it until the beverage was at an appropriate temperature for her to drink, slowly, she sipped the tea. A satisfied hum emanated through her closed lips as the warm liquid slid down her throat, after a few more sips, she could feel her stomach starting to settle.
She set the mug on the nightstand next to her and looked over to Rafael where he positioned himself on the bed where one leg dangled off the bed, while the other was crossed to where his foot was touching his thigh.
“Are you feeling a little better?”
“Yeah, thank you”
Alexa pulled back the covers on the right side of the bed and patted the mattress to signal to Rafael to join her, he crawled across the bed on all fours and turned his body into a lying position, then he covered himself from the waist up. Alexa laid her head on his chest while at the same time, Rafael wrapped his arm around her.
The tea began to take an effect on her, her eyelids began to flutter closed and a in a few seconds, she was sound asleep; Rafael stroked her back as his eyelids started to get heavy. Another few short seconds passed before he drifted off to sleep, by the next morning, Alexa was slumped over the toilet bowl with Rafael behind her holding her hair up.
A moment went by before he helped Alexa to her feet, he wiped off the little bit of vomit from her mouth with a piece of toilet paper and then cradled her face in his hands, he gazed at her with a sympathetic smile then told her:
“I think you should make an appointment to see a doctor”
“Rafi, it’s just a stomach virus…I’m not dying”
“Carino…you were throwing up half the night and even now, you’re still sick. I just think it’s better to be safe than sorry”
Alexa sighed, “Alright, I’ll see if my doctor can squeeze me in today”
Rafael gave a small nod and placed a kiss on her forehead, during the time that he was getting ready for another court appearance, Alexa made a call to her doctor; it was a stroke of luck that she could fit Alexa into her schedule for later that day.
After she hung up the phone, Rafael emerged from the bedroom dressed in a navy-blue suit and striped tie, he pecked her lips on his way out the door with his briefcase in hand. She took a quick shower and put on some comfortable clothes then upon exiting the building, she flagged down a cab and made her way down to her doctor’s office.
When the cabbie received payment, she got out and went through the double-sided doors of the small building, she checked herself in with the nurse at the front desk and sat in the waiting area; 10 minutes passed then at the corner of her eye, she spotted her doctor coming down the hallway. Her doctor, Elizabeth Gordon, lead the way down the hallway to one of the examination rooms, Alexa sat on top of the examination table all the while she explained to her about her nausea.
“I mean it’s probably nothing more than some kind of bug, right?”
“Yeah, sometimes stress can also be a factor, but let me get a sample of your blood and I’ll run some tests”
She rolled up her sleeve then in that instant, her doctor made a tourniquet around her arm, once a vein appeared; she stuck a needle into Alexa’s arm and in a matter of seconds, a test tube became filled with blood. A bandage was put in place before her doctor left the room with the blood sample, it took about 20 minutes or so for her to return, as soon as the door closed, the tall blonde dressed in a blouse and pencil skirt with a lab coat draped over her stood in front of Alexa with a clipboard in her hand.
“Well, what’s the prognosis?”
“I’ll get to that in a minute, but first I need to ask you some questions”
“Ok, are you currently in a relationship?”
“Alright, how often do you have sex?”
“Uh…well when he’s not too tired from a long day in court, I’d say a few times in a week…then of course we took a trip to the rockaways where it was a lot more than a few times,” she chuckled.
“Ok, do you use protection?”
Elizabeth displayed a serious look towards her, after a moment, she sighed and parted her lips to speak.
“Well per your test results, I’m afraid congratulations are in order”
Alexa sat in silence, a flurry of emotions spun in her head, wait…did I hear her correctly…there’s no way, I mean we’ve always been careful…oh man, it must have been that last day at the beach house. Oh, god, how am I going to break this to Rafael?
Elizabeth lowered herself at eye level with Alexa and put her hand on her shoulder.
“Alexa…are you ok?”
Alexa’s eyes met Elizabeth’s, her expression shifted from one of bafflement to one of acceptance, she grinned happily as she said: “Oh my god…I’m pregnant”
Tagging: @madpanda75 @laceybellerain @southern-magnolia @tropes-and-tales @madamsnape921 @teamsladsandgents @karens-imagined-world @glimmerglittergirl @thatesqcrush @youreverycolor @beccabarba
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I WAS LEANING up against one of the cliffs around Glas Linn lake, watching the shadows stretch longer and longer. We had been waiting for the knight to show up for hours. Crystin had taken a seat by the edge, dangling her feet in the cool, green water; her boots lay in the grass next to her. Nioc was working his prayer beads through his hands without really looking at them. Erik stood across the way, his back against another cliff. He had folded his arms, and he kept shifting, as if he couldn’t find a comfortable way to lean.
Another half hour passed and nothing happened. As the sky darkened and the first few stars came out, Erik huffed and stood up straight.
I shifted, figuring he was about to walk off without saying anything to the rest of us, but then he stopped. Very slowly, he turned and looked at the top of the cliff I stood at the base of.
“Ah,” he said.
I looked up. Then I gasped. The knight, tall and broad and arrayed in armor so rusted and tarnished that it seemed to absorb rather than reflect the moonlight, was seated on a black horse at the top of the cliff, looking down at us. I scrambled out to the middle of the clearing as he and the horse picked their way down. The others ran over to us. Crystin hadn’t had time to put her boots back on.
“Who are you?” demanded the knight, looking us over. “I have no business with you. Where is the Princess?”
When we didn’t answer, he drew his sword and pointed it at us. “Release the Princess!” he cried. “Release her, you fiends!”
He slid his faceplate up, and my heart stopped. No eyes glared down at us from behind it, only the deep eye sockets of a weathered skull.
Erik dropped to the ground and kicked one of the horse’s legs out from underneath it. I reluctantly admired his grace as I dodged out of the way of the horse, which buckled and almost sent the knight falling out of his seat.
Nioc bashed him in the head with his staff, dazing him; when the knight tried to stab him in retaliation, he missed wildly. Nioc dashed out of the way, and Crystin and I moved in.
We each whipped up a flame and fanned them at knight and horse from opposite sides. We skipped back as each other’s flames roared across, avoiding them by inches. The horse whinnied, terrified, and the knight roared in anger and pain. We had aimed well – the flames had only hit the knight.
The four of us moved in together, parrying the knight’s attacks and landing blows of our own. The sounds of battle filled the night air, previously silent except for a few early-season crickets – shouts of attack and of pain, the clash of metal on metal and wood on metal and the occasional sizzle of spells, the terrified neighing of the horse. Erik proved himself extremely clever, inflicting what was clearly a great deal of damage even without a weapon.
Finally, the poor horse had had enough. It was a beautiful stallion, but it wasn’t used to battle – the rusted knight had taken it from a smith in Glas Linn, and he had treated it very gently. It reared wildly, clipping Crystin in the head with one of its hooves and flinging the knight off its back, and galloped back towards the city.
I moved to check on Crystin. She waved me off. “It’s fine,” she gasped. “Just a little bump. Watch for the knight!”
We all looked around to see him picking himself up off the ground. He didn’t look ready to leap back into battle, though. His faceplate had slid back down during the fight, but the slope of his shoulders said he was defeated.
“I don’t understand,” he murmured. “Why would the Princess send you in her place? Has she forsaken me in my absence? My beloved Rhona…”
His voice broke.
“Rhona?” Crystin said. “The princess in Glas Linn is Rathnait.”
The knight’s head snapped around to her. “Rathnait?” he asked.
We just nodded.
“Not Rhona,” the knight said.
Nick shook his head. “No,” he said. “She’s Rathnait.”
The knight bowed his head. “Oh, I’ve made a terrible mistake,” he moaned. “I should have known. Everything was wrong, changed…except for her face.”
He raised his head and turned away to face the lake.
“I was asleep…asleep for a time which seems endless,” he murmured. I had to strain my ears to hear; he seemed to be talking to himself. “But the earthquake awakened me, stranded in this strange land feeling as if I had been somehow freed.” He shivered. “I had no memory of who I was. Then I saw her and it brought me back to myself. Rhona.”
He turned back to us. “I am Erskine, the Golden Knight. Rhona is the princess of my homeland of Dhomá Arbás. She and I were to be wed once I fulfilled my quest.” He sighed. “I must do the honorable thing. I must return to the castle and apologize for the suffering I have caused to the people of this noble city.”
“Perhaps not,” Nioc said quickly. “They’ll panic if they see you approach again.”
The knight looked back at him. “Yes,” he sighed. “I suppose you are right. Then perhaps you could speak on my behalf?”
He looked around at us. Four heads nodded.
“Tell them I won’t go near the place again. I shall seek my way back to Dhomá Arbás, and my own princess.”
He picked up his sword and slid it back into his sheath as he walked away.
We looked at each other.
“Back to Glas Linn, then?” asked Nick. “I’m sure we can all use a good night’s sleep.”
“I’ll second that motion,” Crystin said. We had fought well, but it hadn’t saved us from getting battered and exhausted.
Erik was silent for a long moment, looking us over. It was hard to tell in the dark, but I thought I saw his brows draw together in thought. Then he shook his head as if to clear it. “Very well,” he said. “Let us rest.”
And, true to form, he turned and headed off without waiting for the rest of us.
The next morning, we met in the common room for breakfast and then headed off to the castle. As we reached the top of the stairs before the throne room, I realized that another confrontation was brewing. I could hear Rathnait speaking.
“Mother, Father, I am going to answer the knight’s demands.”
We reached the door of the throne room to see the queen put her head in her hands and sob, “Rathnait, please!” Her thin shoulders shook.
Ríoghnán looked annoyed. “There’s nothing to cry about!” he said. “I won’t allow her to go!” The queen didn’t acknowledge him, and he harrumphed. “They’ll be the death of me, these two…”
As his gaze drifted away, he spotted the four of us waiting in the doorway. Rathnait and the queen followed his gaze.
“Ah,” Ríoghnán said, “it’s you! Thank the gods. I was starting to worry. Come in, tell me what happened!”
We approached the throne and bowed, but he waved off the formality and said again, “What happened, then?”
Erik told the story shortly. “He lost his memory. He made a mistake in coming here – it was his belief that your daughter was his fiancée, Rhona of Dhomá Arbás. He left to find her. He wished us to deliver his apology.”
Ríoghnán looked at Erik, and then at each of the rest of us. Then he stood up, expression thunderous. “And you believed him?” he boomed. “You’ve seen the demands he’s made! It’s another trick!”
“Who’s to say he’s not telling the truth?” Rathnait snapped.
Ríoghnán folded his arms. “I’ve never heard of Dhomá Arbás, for one,” he said. “Difficult, finding a princess of a place which doesn’t exist.”
“It may have fallen during the Anglin occupation,” the queen said softly. At that, the king’s expression almost changed, but he wrestled it back into angry disbelief.
“That was hundreds of years ago. Here’s the situation,” he said in a voice which said don’t you dare argue. “He’ll be back. I’d put my crown on it. He’ll be back, and he’ll try to harm my daughter and my people again. So until you put a stop to him once and for all, you can forget about any reward!”
Before any of the rest of us could object – I could see on their faces that I wasn’t the only one who thought this whole thing was absurd – Rathnait said, “Why do you refuse to believe his story? If he’s truly alone and far from home, it must be terrible for him.”
Ríoghnán looked at her, seeming pained. “I’m doing all of this to protect you, you know,” he said. “Do try to understand.”
Rathnait looked like she was about to argue back, but then she stopped dead. Without saying anything else to her father, she turned and sprinted past the guards and out of the throne room.
“Rathnait!” Ríoghnán yelled.
We ran before he could turn on us.
Outside the throne room, I heard Rathnait’s voice. “Nioc!” she said. “Erik, Crystin, Tamara.”
We looked around and spotted her hovering beside the door.
“I’ve an idea,” she said, forestalling our questions. “I don’t want anyone to overhear. Follow me.”
We followed Rathnait through the corridors of the castle and through a door. She seemed to have led us into a room somewhere between a study and a parlor; another door at the other end of the room led into a bedchamber.
She closed the door behind us. “My apologies for the hurry,” she said, “but Father would interfere if he overheard. I’ve heard of Dhomá Arbás before.”
“You have?” Crystin asked.
Rathnait nodded. “It featured in a song my nurse sang to me when I was very young.” Her pretty blue eyes were intense; looking at them, I was reminded sharply of her father. “My nurse’s name was Ailís, and after I was weaned she returned to live in Crann Coimhdeachta, to the northwest of Glas Linn. I still see her when she makes trips to the city. If you tell her I sent you, she’ll tell you all she knows. I’d tell you myself, but I don’t remember anything of the song except its tune.” She sighed. “I understand Father’s fear, and logically I feel it myself. But the knight isn’t what he believes. Somehow I’m sure of it.”
“We’ll go,” Nioc assured her. She smiled in thanks, and I thought for a second that I saw a tear. But it was gone when I looked again.
Then we slipped out of the castle and headed up north to Crann Coimhdeachta.
“This place really is tiny,” Nioc said as we approached the village. “I swear that tree is bigger than anything else here.”
“Not quite,” I said. “Close enough, though. They treat the thing like it’s their Guardian.” Crystin and I had been to Crann a few times to perform. They didn’t have much coin to spare, but I loved performing there. The village was so tiny that anything new was wonderful. They always loved the acts.
At my words, Erik snorted softly.
“What’s that for?” I snapped.
“A tree as a Guardian?” he asked. “A foolish notion.”
I rolled my eyes and decided to ignore him. If he wanted to be a prat about it, I wasn’t going to stop him. What on earth is his problem?
It wasn’t hard to find Rathnait’s old nurse in a town so small. Less than five minutes later, we were knocking on her door. The conversation from inside paused and I heard a chair scoot across the floor. A moment later, a tall old woman with an aquiline nose opened the door.
“We’ve company!” exclaimed the other woman in the room, equally as old as the one who had opened the door but shorter and rounder. “Welcome, welcome!”
“Erm, hello,” Crystin said.
Erik got directly to the point. “Is it true that one of you was once nurse to the princess Rathnait?”
“Aye, that’s right,” said the tall woman. “’Twas I. Why?”
“She sent us to ask you something,” I said. “There was a song you used to sing her, she said, about a place called Dhomá Arbás. We were hoping you could tell us what it said about the place.”
Ailís seemed a bit confused by the request, but she only shrugged. “S’pose it must be urgent, if she couldn’t wait to ask me herself,” she said. She looked at the other woman. “‘Ballad of the Golden Knight,’ wasn’t it, dear?” she asked.
We exchanged glances. The Golden Knight. We were on the right track.
“Aye,” the shorter woman. “What do you want to know?”
“We’re not sure,” Nioc said. “Is – or was, I s’pose – was Dhomá Arbás a real place?”
The two women exchanged glances. “I know not,” said the shorter one.
“It may have been once,” Ailís said. “There’s nothing northward now til you get past the mountains, but with the forest in the way, it’s nigh impossible to be sure. No one’s gone through it in an age.”
“Northward?” Erik said.
She nodded. “The song – now mind you, I don’t know where it originated, but it said Dhomá Arbás was to the north.”
“What was the song about?” I asked. “You called it the ‘Ballad of the Golden Knight?’”
“Aye,” Ailís said. “It tells the tale of the Golden Knight of Dhomá Arbás riding away to fight a witch who had plagued the city for centuries. He promised to return with the head of the witch, and swore that upon his return he’d marry the princess, who was madly in love with him. But he never returned, and no one ever heard from him again.”
Things were starting to fall into place. I looked at the others. Crystin nodded.
“Thanks so much,” I told the woman. “You’ve been a grand help.”
“I’m glad of it,” said Ailís. “You tell Rathnait I’ll be back by Glas Linn in a week or two, and I’ll be asking her why she had such odd questions.”
“We will,” Nioc promised. “Thank you again.”
We left. As we made our way back to the village gate, I pulled my map out of my pack. “North,” I murmured, looking for Crann Coimhdeachta. “Okay, here we are.” I put my finger on the little dot which represented the town. “But I don’t see anything recorded north of here except the forest.”
“The old woman said as much,” Erik said. “’Tis the only clue we have. I suggest we follow it. Perhaps your map is lacking.”
I looked at him from under my brows. “There’s no need to take a tone. I’m perfectly aware that this map might be missing a thing or two, but I’ll be less likely to admit it if you’re going to be rude every time something’s not up to your standards.”
Erik drew himself up. “I am never rude," he said
I folded up the map and put it back in my bag. “No,” I agreed. “Just condescending. And disrespectful. And a prat. But rude? Never!”
He narrowed his eyes, but before he could say anything, Nioc stepped between us. “And north we go,” he said. “Come on. Let’s not argue.”
I crossed my arms and looked away from Erik. “All right,” I said. “Let’s go, then.”
Crystin fell into step next to Nioc, pointedly inserting herself as an extra body between Erik and me. I made a point of ignoring her.
As we rounded the tree and came into sight of the road out of town, I heard a scream:
“Help! Help me, please!”
A fat man, burly like a blacksmith, sprinted into town, his chest heaving. Erskine strode in after him. The man raised a hand as if in defense, but he didn’t look like he had the energy to try to fight. Fortunately for him, Erskine didn’t seem inclined to it either; he stopped several yards away.
“Why do you flee?” he asked the man. “I mean no harm. I only want to speak with you.”
“Don’t give me that lark!” the man said, rounding on him. “I saw that witch in the woods out lookin’ for you! Asked me if I’d seen her slave the Rusted Knight. That’s you, isn’t it? There’s not been a knight round these parts since we drove out the Anglins!”
“I am no slave!” Erskine said. He sounded affronted. “I am a knight of the proud city of Dhomá Arbás, a free man and – oh, you’re here!” he said suddenly, breaking off as he spotted us. He turned away from the terrified smith and joined us by the tree.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“We have been seeking information about Dhomá Arbás,” Erik replied.
“You have?” the knight said. He sounded touched. “Were you able to find anything?”
“Very little,” Nioc admitted. “The women who told us about it said the song referenced northward.”
“A song?” Erskine said. “There’s a song about me? How odd. I certainly never did anything so grand as to be worth a song.”
He looked back at us. “Northward, you said?”
We nodded. He turned on his heels. “I suppose there’s nothing for it, then. I thank you.”
With that, he began to run – far faster than I could have imagined from such a hulking figure, especially clad in what must have been nearly fifty pounds of armor. He was gone before I could draw another breath.
“Well, how are we supposed to catch up to that?” I muttered.
We followed his tracks up north, through the forest. It was not a place I had visited before, and it was not a place I wanted to visit again. I loved forests – feeling the weight and the age of the trees around me, seeing light filter down through the leaves and dapple the floor, sensing a stillness which I rarely felt however peaceful my surroundings – but here, the trees grew so closely together that none of them could get enough light; they tangled with each other, warring for the little sunshine that touched on their canopies. We picked our way through briars with thorns nearly the size of my little finger. Crystin tried once to cast a spell to burn them out of our way, but the instant the flame touched plant, the air seemed to vanish from my lungs and everything seemed far closer than it had been an instant before. The others seemed to feel it, too; Crystin let the flame go out, but none of us relaxed. Pools of murky, acidic water lay in the shadows, burning my skin when a wild ram splashed through a pool next to me. A chilly wind, one of the dying gasps of winter, blew through the trees. I could see through one of the small gaps in the canopy that it was bringing heavy clouds with it.
Even though we had followed directly after Erskine, it still took us a long time to find him. It felt like we’d been trekking through the forest for hours by the time we found him in a clearing. Now, with the sky above us clear, I could see that the clouds were a stormfront.
Erskine stood utterly still, looking out over what looked to me like the ruins of a castle. Slowly, we joined him.
“No,” the knight said. “This can’t be Dhomá Arbás. I don’t understand. How can I have been away for so long that it’s fallen into such disrepair?”
He was silent a moment. I shivered as I saw a flash of lightning in the clouds. The thunder came a few seconds later.
“And where is my beloved Rhona?” he whispered. “Princess Rhona! Rhona!”
He broke from his stillness and ran into the ruins, still crying out the princess’s name. We ran after him.
The first few drops of rain had begun to fall when we came across his lance, tossed aside at the foot of a staircase. I led the way up, pulling my hood over my head. He doesn’t know, I thought. He doesn’t know he’s rotted away to bone under that armor. He doesn’t know that he and Dhomá Arbás have been gone so long that they’ve all but faded from memory. He doesn’t know that Rhona’s probably long dead… Gods, it’ll kill him. I don’t know that we can help him.
Down a flight of stairs and around a corner, I spotted the knight’s dry-rotted cape whipping around a doorway. We hurried to catch up and peered around the frame.
The knight stood in the center of what must have once been the throne room, sword out, facing towards the back of the room. I couldn’t see who he was looking at, but I knew she was there, because she was laughing.
“Welcome home, my love,” she said. “I’ve been searching for you everywhere. That quake couldn’t possibly have driven dear old me from your memory, could it?”
I leaned further into the doorway, trying to catch a glimpse of her. All I could see was a bony arm with skin of drowned-man blue. I snuck around, trying not to catch her eye. The others followed me in.
Then I saw her. It wasn’t just her arm; all the skin on her body seemed tinged with that same drowned color, drawn tight across her bones. Her hair reached nearly to her waist, tangled and knotted, but it was pulled away from her face, and I could see that her eyes were nothing but red pits.
“Moírín!” snarled the knight. “I could not forget. I left Dhomá Arbás in search of you. To destroy you.”
Moírín rose and stepped towards the knight. She laughed again. “But ‘twas I who defeated you and claimed you for my prize. And the two of us had a lovely time together, didn’t we, all alone for a millennium or two?”
She smiled down at him. The knight settled into a fighting stance. “Enough!” he cried. “What have you done with her? Where is Princess Rhona?”
He leapt at Moírín. Her eyes flashed darkly. Blasts of violet light from each struck the knight mid-leap and sent him crashing to the floor. Witch-lights, I thought. I’d never seen them myself, but I’d heard and told enough stories about witches to know what their curses looked like.
Erskine struggled to his feet as purple and black energy crackled around him. He screamed. The sound threatened to rupture my eardrums. It was inhuman.
Moírín laughed. “Silly boy!” she said, advancing on him. “The earthquake broke my hold on you, but no matter. I’ll whip up another enchantment, and soon it’ll be just the two of us again. Won’t that be lovely?”
The knight had stopped screaming, but he had fallen to the ground again, and he was writhing. I strode up onto the carpet in front of Moírín, glaring. The others joined me.
“And who are you?” Moírín asked, regarding us. “You don’t think a few young mortals can stop me where the army of Dhomá Arbás failed, do you?” She smiled, revealing a mouthful of rotted teeth, and gestured to Erskine. “That’s just a sliver of the power I possess. Can you feel it from where you stand?”
I could. It was slowly, torturously wrapping its stranglehold around the knight. Faintly I heard the jarring chords of his pain and fear, and I busied myself blocking the sounds before they could get into my own nerves and set them aflame. If I could hear it without even touching the knight, it was powerful.
“If you can’t, fear not,” said Moírín, leering at me. “You’ll feel it soon enough yourself!”
Her eyes flashed again. I heard shouts from the others, but all I had time to do was curl in on myself and pray I wouldn’t die.
Then the curse hit me, and I screamed. Electricity arced through my veins and danced on my skin, flickering between utter black and blindingly white behind my eyelids. I could hear screaming, mine and the others’, but it was far away. There was nothing but the burning. It surged and hummed in time with the disjointed melody of Erskine’s agony, playing in my head so loud I thought it would make me deaf.
I curled in even more, my nails digging into the bare skin of my arms. Let me go! I thought. Let me go, let me –
"LET ME GO!" I screamed, straightening and flinging my arms out. Suddenly the pain dissipated. The fingers of electricity hissed and crackled, fizzing out.
I stood there shaking, my mind blank from shock. What in the…?
Moírín stared at me. “Impossible. What –” she spat the word – “are you?”
Be nice to know myself some days, I thought.
“Won’t matter once you’re dead!” Moírín cried, and sprang at me.
"Crystin, pull her away!" snapped Erik, dodging in front of me and jabbing his elbow into the witch's stomach. Crystin grabbed my arm and pulled me to the side. She looked at me, her eyebrows knotted up in concern.
"Are you okay, Tammy?" she asked quietly. "What happened?"
"I don't know," I admitted quietly. “Glad it happened, though.”
Crystin looked at me for a moment longer, and then touched my shoulder. "Come on," she said. "Let's stop her.”
We joined Nioc and Erik in the fight. Erik glanced at me sidelong as I flicked my whip into Moírín's arm.
"May I ask why you are staring at me?" I whispered as I backed towards him.
He gave me a look. "I believe you know, insolent girl."
"Yeah, call me that again," I said. "You're not changing your reputation as a condescending, disrespectful prat, you know."
He snorted softly and returned to the battle.
When Moírín's eyes gleamed again, I knew something bad was about to happen. I covered my face with my buckler and squeezed my eyes closed, hoping it would be enough. When I opened my eyes a slit, I realized that the others were paralyzed. Shit.
Moírín grinned at me. "Now let’s have some fun,” she said. "You won’t win out over my curse twice, no matter what you are!”
Before she could strike, I flung out my whip, catching her across the chest and sending her reeling back. She stumbled into the throne at the end of the room and fell. Before she could stand back up, I breathed a jet of flames up the length of my whip and lashed at her again. She collapsed onto the ground and leaned against the throne, breathing heavily.
"No…" she moaned, "damned brat…” She lifted her head to look at Erskine. He was still struggling against the curse, but it was obviously losing power. “It’s too late for us both, my love. You were under my spell for fifteen hundred years… your city and your beloved princess are gone. Soon I will be too; but you’ll still be here, and you will have to suffer your loneliness for all time.”
She laughed once more; then her head drooped, and she faded away into mist. There was a flutter of motion around me as her paralyzing spell vanished. I turned to look at the knight. The curse binding him had disappeared, but he had fallen to his knees.
"Rhona!" he cried. "It can't be true!"
His shoulders shook. It was a long moment before he spoke, and when he did, he didn’t look up. "With your help," he said, "I found my way home. But it is long gone, and my love along with it." His shoulders shook again. "I have failed my people. I failed my princess."
The end of my nose started to sting like it always did when I was about to cry. I could not have thought of a worse way for him to have found this out.
"You did not fail."
All of us looked towards the door. A slender girl with long hair and intense blue eyes stood in the doorway. She wore a simple, loose dress with a cloth-of-gold tabard secured at her waist, and a delicately wrought diadem on her brow.
Unsteadily, the knight rose. “You…” he whispered. “But I don’t – you’re gone.”
Rathnait – or was she Rhona? The others could obviously see her, but I’d heard of at least a few ghosts who even people without extra sight could see – walked into the room and stopped in front of the knight. She smiled and shook her head. "I swore to you that my love would last. I do not break my vows.” Then she held out her hand. "My beloved Golden Knight. Take my hand. Grant me the honor of this, our first dance."
Slowly, the knight stood. "Rhona," he murmured, looking down at her, "you forgive me?"
She only smiled.
The knight took her hand and they pulled each other close. As they began to dance around the room, I moved to join the others. Crystin had started to hum.
"Sing," I whispered. "I'll join you."
So we started to sing a simple duet. Nioc looked at us, and then back at the dancing couple. He began humming along with us. Then, to my shock, even Erik started humming quietly - out of tune, but it was definitely a hum.
Our song echoed off the walls as the princess and the knight danced together, far too elegant for the ruined throne room. Then, as they paused, the Golden Knight began to glow. The light took shape over his bare skull, forming a faint, flickering memory of a bold face, of flowing, golden hair, of gray eyes nearly as intense as his lover’s. He and the princess looked at each other. Crystin and I stopped singing.
"Thank you, Princess," said Erskine. "You are not my Rhona. But you have done honor upon her memory. You have saved me from an eternity of mourning.”
Rathnait smiled. "I knew you were the Golden Knight from the song," she said. "I knew you from the moment you arrived."
Erskine bowed his head. “I believe you are right,” he said. “The two of you are so much alike… I cannot think but that you inherited something more of her than any in her line.”
Rathnait's eyes went wide. "I am…her descendant, then?" she whispered.
The knight turned to us, and I realized that his feet had left the floor.
"Thank you, all of you," he said. "You did far more than you needed to for a wandering stranger. I am forever in your debts.”
I knew what was coming next. The glow from the Golden Knight grew until I couldn't bear to look at it anymore, but I couldn't look away. When the light vanished, he was gone.
After a pause, Rathnait tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and looked at us. "I know I asked you to do it, and I should have left it up to you, but I had to come. I had to know he was all right.” She smiled sheepishly. Then she paused. "This other princess, this Rhona. I feel as though I heard her when we danced. She thanked me.”
She sighed. "I shall return ahead of you, and let them know the city is safe," she said. "I'll make certain Father has your reward ready once you arrive." She smiled at us, and then turned and left.
The city was different when we got back. The atmosphere, which had been so tense and worried since the earthquake, had relaxed. I could hear the gratitude in the air.
"Ah!" said Ríoghnán when we reached the throne room. "Welcome back. Rathnait’s told me everything." He shifted uncomfortably. "Sounds like that knight was telling the truth after all. I let my fear get the better of me. You and Rathnait all have my sincerest apologies.”
“Your daughter’s safety lay in the balance, Your Majesty,” I said. “No one could fault you for it.”
“Yes, well.” The king seemed flustered. “All the same, you deserve an apology. And a reward.” He waved a hand, and a porter came forward, bearing a richly embroidered pouch laying atop some thick, folded woolen fabric. “As a token of our royal gratitude, a gift of coin for your travels, to keep you from troubles, and some of the finest weaving in Glas Linn.”
The porter bowed and presented us with the pouch and the fabric, which turned out to be four woolen cloaks woven in an abstract likeness of the hills and Glas Linn lake to the north of the city.
"Thank you, sir," said Erik. I was surprised to see how willingly he bowed with us.
“I hope they serve you well,” Ríoghnán said.
Rathnait smiled and bowed to us. Ríoghnán said, "I pray you have a safe journey.”
Outside of the castle gates, I looked around the city, and my eyes went wide. The gratitude that had been humming through the air hadn’t vanished, but now, rather than coming from everywhere, it seemed concentrated into golden particles, floating in the air like fireflies and shining so bright that they were clearly visible even in the sunshine. Neither Nioc nor Crystin seemed to notice them, but I saw Erik’s gaze flicker as if he was taking them in.
“The essence,” he murmured.
“Pardon?” Nioc said.
“I said nothing,” Erik replied easily. “There is something I must attend to. Pardon me.”
"What is it?" Crystin asked.
"A matter of little import," Erik said. "Go. And perhaps you ought to think of where it is you wish to go next. I may take some time. If I do, simply go on without me." He nodded to each of us. His eyes lingered on me half a second longer, but he walked away.
"Guys, go on," I said, watching Erik walk towards the nearest cluster of particles. "I've got to do something, too."
Crystin rolled her eyes. "Have fun, my darling oddball," she said. "Nioc, do you want to go back to the inn? Or shall we visit your father? He's back to work, isn't he?"
"Yeah, he is," Nioc said. "Come on."
The two of them turned around and headed back inside the castle. Nioc's father was the captain of Ríoghnán’s guards; he had been injured fighting Erskine when he first came to the city.
I headed down the road out of town, trying to keep out of Erik’s view. It wasn’t hard; he seemed entirely distracted by the particles. They seemed fully physical. He was gathering them, pulling them together and gently herding them into a small leather bag at his belt. I followed him through the whole city, until he had collected every single one. Then he walked through the gate. I followed at a distance.
Outside of the city, he turned east and headed for the mountain pass leading to Easanna. I pulled my new cloak over my shoulders and found it warm as I could please, for which I was immensely glad. The wind was blowing from the north, and far off I could see the edge of the clouds that had brought the storm to Dhomá Arbás. If the wind didn't change, Glas Linn would see some rain soon.
I followed Erik through the pass and down the road. As we came around a curve, I stopped, my eyes wide.
In a clearing at the base of a mountain, perched above a stream far too small to contain its bulk, sat a teak sailing ship, its sails rolled up, gleaming in the early spring sunlight. We were miles from the sea, and the way the ship sat made it look as if it had simply dropped from the sky.
What the hell?
Erik grabbed hold of a rope ladder which hung off the bow and climbed aboard. I stepped into the trees off the side of the path and, to be extra cautious, bent my mind towards a quick illusion to shadow myself. I blended in well with forests, but I had a feeling Erik wouldn’t like it if he knew I’d been spying. Once I was sure he wouldn’t notice me even if he looked right at me, I planted my foot against a tree and began to climb.
Fortunately for me, the ship was in a small ravine, so I didn’t have to climb as high as I might have. I reached a good viewpoint before he reached the deck, so I was in a perfect position to see what happened when Erik’s hand found the deck. The whole ship flashed with a gold that seemed to emanate from the grain of the wood and stitching in the sails, and it lurched, almost seeming to rise an inch or two before it settled. Erik clutched at the ladder. As the ship settled, a dozen or so small figures began to run and clamber from all parts of the ship towards him, making small noises of excitement. They looked like they were made of clay.
“Good morrow,” Erik said to them. “You are the crew, is’t not so? I have essence. I thought it might grant the Spinnaker power enough to fly again, but it seems I have not gathered enough.”
One of the small figures reached for the pouch. Erik took it off his belt and knelt to show them the contents. His body was between the pouch and me, but I swear I thought I could see the glow of the particles – the essence, whatever that meant – through him.
“It has had some effect,” he said to the figures. “The ship leapt when I came aboard. It is as I thought. The essence has power; if I collect enough of it, it may restore me to my proper Astrian form.”
I clung to the branch with fingers that seemed to have gone numb. Astrian. That was what Irfan had called himself – what the Guardians were. Was Erik one of them?
If he was, I supposed it made sense. Actually, it was shocking I hadn’t thought of it before. I’d never met anyone except Guardians who talked in that strange formal way he had, only rarely met humans who were as much of an asshole as them. But I was only thinking about that with one small part of my brain that was running at normal speed. The rest of it was stunned into inaction.
He said something else, but I didn’t catch it. I’d begun moving without thinking about it, scrambling down from my perch. I hit the dirt running, dodging between the trees until I was far out of Erik’s line of sight, and I didn’t stop running until I was back inside the walls of Glas Linn. There I slumped down against one, breathing heavily, my head in my hands.
Of all the strange situations I'd managed to get myself and Crystin into before, whether because of my ability to see things no one else could or just out of sheer stupidity, this was the strangest. Nothing else even came close. A Guardian. An Astrian who had somehow lost his wings, lost his invisibility to the world, and been stranded.
And that wasn’t even the strangest thing to have happened since he’d arrived. Already we'd met a knight whose body had died centuries ago and the evil witch who had imprisoned him. There was a lot more world to travel through, and lots more essence for him to seek out. Gods only knew how much it would take to restore him.
What had I gotten us into this time?
Ivar The Boneless x Reader
Requested by @porgsandtheirplace and Happy Birthday to your friend! I hope you and her enjoy!
Pairing: Ivar The Boneless x Reader
Warnings: Violence, Fluff, Romance.
Summary: Childhood friends to lovers.
The longboat was fashioned from an ancient oak, with masts that stood tall against the brilliant blue sky. Instead of its once green foliage, it was adorned by sails of white to dove grey. Though to some, these sails were a symbol of the devil.
You were sitting in the corner, lost in thought as the crew rowed with ease through the calm waters. It has been four years since you had last seen Ivar, but you had agreed to help fight in his Great Heathen Army, and get revenge for the death of Ragnar Lothbrok. Twirling a knife between your nimble fingers, you stared down the Saxon river. You were close now. Just a league ahead, you could make out the last of Ivar's fleet, sailing downstream like toy boats. Ivar and his brothers had already taken York and were waiting for the reinforcements: You and the rest of the Great Heathen Army, in case of another attack from the Saxons.
A smile worked its way onto your lips as you remembered when you and Ivar would talk about fighting side by side as children. Floki made you wooden swords so you could play fight with one another, and as young teens, you would devise elaborate battle plans for imagery wars. Up until two years prior, you were practically inseparable. You would stand up for him when others teased him for being disabled, and he would threaten anyone who as much as looked at you the wrong way. Though you could never bring yourself to tell Ivar, you were in love with him. You didn’t want to tell him, in case it would ruin your friendship, so you tried (unsuccessfully) to push those feelings down. But it didn’t work, because all those years later, the mention of his name made your heart beat faster. But you both had ambitions that sadly pulled you away from each other. Ivar wanted to conquer England, but your heart lay outside of England. You wanted to find new lands to explore and create settlements in.
Within the first three years of your quest, you had conquered parts of Francia, made a trade deal that lent in your favour with the City of Kyiv and created Viking strongholds and settlements throughout Scotland. In all, you had created a name for yourself. Y/n The Red. A byword for the terror that was known from the bustling Silk Road to the tropical Mediterranean Sea.
But your proudest achievement took place over the past year. After a storm had blown your fleet off course on your way to the outer Hebrides, you had found yourself travelling towards a new land. A land that was untouched by outside forces. The Golden Land. A land of plenty and beauty. The soils were rich and fertile, the water fresh, and the climate was welcoming. You had come across a native people that lived there and they called themselves the tribe of Navajo. And so you created the first peaceful settlement on the land that would later be named ‘America’.
You often thought about Ivar and his brothers. Wondered what they had done with their lives. You had heard that Bjorn had sailed to the Mediterranean in hopes of finding new land. You could already hear his disappointment when he found out that you had already made your mark on an island named Sicily. After Ragnar’s death two years back, you were sure that the other sons of Ragnar would seek their revenge on England. It was during a trade meeting with King Harald that he mentioned that Ivar wished for you to fight alongside him to avenge Ragnar and take the city of York. After careful consideration, you had decided that it could strengthen your position, but also you would get to see your best friend again.
“Ubbe!” You grinned, jumping off the ship that was being unloaded by your men. “You haven’t changed a day!”
“Neither have you, my old friend. Though, I think you have grown a couple more inches.” Ubbe laughed and you got a faceful of wolf skin as Ubbe tackled you into a bear hug.
“Yes, yes, it is all heartwarming, but we need to get out of here before the Saxons come and murder us all.” You said with a chuckle, pulling away from the embrace with a smile.
“I suppose you are right. On our way back to York, you can tell me all about your adventures. I’ve heard quite the tails.” Ubbe said, weaving you through the flurry of your warriors who were docking as quickly as they could.
“I’m sure you have.” You said, beckoning the first wave of your men to follow Ubbe and you from the river bank and into the forest. “And I have heard a tale or two about this ‘Great Heathen Army,’ and how they defeated the King Aella and the Saxons. Very impressive. So, how are your brothers?” You asked, hopping over a fallen oak.
“Hvitserk has become quite the warrior, and twice as hungry, since the last time you saw him,” Ubbe said, making you laugh. Why didn’t that surprise you? As children, Hvitserk would steal food off your plate at mealtimes when you weren’t looking. That continued until you were fifteen years old, and he was seventeen. After catching him in the act, an unspoken war had broken out between the two of you - stealing as much food from each other without the other noticing.
“And Ivar is still a pain in the ass. But he still talks about you a lot. ‘Y/n this, Y/n that. If Y/n were here, she would call you all stupid.’” The thought of Ivar still talking and thinking about you, made your cheeks burn slightly.
“What of Sigurd?” You asked. You were not close to Sigurd, but he was pleasant enough to you. It was his constant bullying of Ivar that made your blood boil, and on more than a few occasions, he wound up with a black eye. You looked at Ubbe, watching his smile drop.
“He died last year. Ivar killed him.”
After an hour of creeping through the lush Saxon countryside, you came to a clearing in the forest. Just ahead, lay the city of York. Its walls were tall and mighty, growing from the ground like grey, looming mountains, and had great wooden gates that were still slick from the blood of the last battle.
“Here we are,” Ubbe said, pausing in front of the gates, with you and your men in tow.
“Well are you going to let us in, or do we have to knock?” You snorted, swinging the huge gates open. You were instantly plunged into a town preparing for battle. Everywhere you looked, there were men and women hard at work, making swords, training, building up defences and drinking. The homes were turned into smithy’s workshops and ironmongers, and the ground had turned to sludge from hundreds of feet walking back and forth.
“I will take your men to start getting prepared, and then I will go and get the rest of Ivars men from the river. Follow the screams, and they should lead to Ivar.” Ubbe said, waving your men through a tall stone archway.
You wandered from street to street, trying to ignore the rats that would scuttle out from the shadows when you least expected it. The streets have been stripped from all stalls and markets and were replaced by the beginnings of great spiked traps and holes being dug and filled with oil. You presumed Ivar wanted to set the Saxons on fire.
“Have you seen Ivar Lothbrok or Hvitserk?" You would ask the men and shield maidens, but most of them would shake their head, or completely ignore you. Until you came across a tall, older man with shoulder-length white hair, dressed in black furs.
"Who's asking?" He grunted as he dragged parts of a splintered carriage behind him.
"Y/n." You said, starting to get annoyed at this point. "Y/n The Red."
The man stopped in his tracks, and looked over his shoulder, scowling.
"Follow me." He carried on down the street at a sluggish pace, pausing now and then to check on the progress of others, and muttering every time you tried to speak.
"I should let you know, I am not good at long, uncomfortable silences-" You were cut off by the man stopping abruptly, making you walk straight into him.
"Here." The man grunted, before carrying on down the street. You were standing in front of a large stone building - bigger than all the others. You could feel your heart beating ever so slightly faster, as you made your way to the door. The last time you had seen Ivar, he was eighteen, rather shy, but very intelligent. The anticipation of wanting to know what became of him, washed away your prior nerves, and you swung open the door.
Upon the throne that was covered in bearskin, sat the boy you fell in love with, only now, he was a man. His once short hair was pulled back in long braids, and his face had become more defined. Ivars piercing blue eyes shot up at the sudden intrusion, and when they landed on you, a familiar smirk danced along his lips.
“What took yourself so long?”
The past six days had been, to put it simply - amazing. You and Ivar clicked immediately. It felt just like the good old days. Apart from the battle planning, and preparing for another attack, you and Ivar had spent most of the time talking about what the two of you had been up to in the past few years, and planning to make the biggest army in history.
You were perched on the edge of your seat, sipping on a horn of Mead, ignoring Hvitserk as he tried to sneak half your meal onto his plate.
“So, Y/n. You mentioned this ‘Golden Land.’ Would you mind telling me more about it?” You turned to Ubbe, who had come in from the rain outside, and took a seat opposite you, shaking off his sodden cloak.
“Oh yes. It was beautiful. At first I thought it had thought that I had stumbled across the Land of The Gods, itself!” You said, with a smile.
“And how did you get th-”
“Y/n, would you mind coming with me for a moment?” Ivar had appeared behind you, leaning on his crutch.
“Very well. I will tell you more about it later, Ubbe. Goodnight, and take Hvitserk to bed already, before he drowns himself in Mead.”
Ivar had already turned, and was making his way through the lines of bustaling tables. Once you had left the fall, you were met with a downpour of rain, soaking you to the skin within seconds. Ivar didn’t say a word as he led you through the muddy streets and into his warm throne room.
“Why did you wish to see me?” You asked, once you were inside, watching as Ivar limped over to the stone slab that had the map of York sprawled out, over it.
“I have reason to believe that the Saxons will attack tomorrow morning, after dawn. Some of our scouts reported that the Saxons were gathering in strength, East from here.” Ivar said, but you waited for him to continue. “I think we can improve our defence plans. And I believe we could improve our plans by using the layout of the city. But I do not know how.” Ivar finished, his eyes trailing from the map, to you.
“Well, all plans can be improved, I guess.” You said, walking over to the slab and flicking your eyes down to the map. It was drawn with intricate detail, it showed the spiraling towers, archways, buildings, houses and the Villa. You and Ivar had planned to use the marketplace as the main battle area. It was big, flat and had many vantage points. You would place your men on the tops on the buildings and shoot arrows from above. You stared at the parchment, fingers trailing the outlines of buildings, unaware of the Ivars' gaze. Your fingers paused as they reached the sewers at the bottom of the map. Then it clicked.
“The sewers.” You said, looking up at Ivar. His brows drew together as he stared at you in confusion.
“The sewers?” He repeated slowly.
“Yes, look, they are identical to the streets - a mirror image.” You said, as relizastion started to dawn on Ivars features.
“And it is underground. We could pretend that we evacuated-”
“Lure them into a sense of security.” You grinned, finishing his sentence.
“Y/n, you bloody mad genius! This may just work.” Ivar said, smiling wider than ever.
The pungent stench of rotten human waste made your nose wrinkle. You had been in the sewers for an hour, waiting on the Saxon warriors, and at long last, they had arrived. Their muffled cries of false victory sounded through the thick stone walls, making Ivar smirk at you.
“How long should we give them, until we attack?” Ivar leaned down and whispered in your ear. The hairs on your neck stood up at the sudden closeness, but you tried to ignore it.
“Another minute I would say. They seem happy.” You whispered back, suppressing a chuckle, as you slowly started to wade through the shin high muck water.
“I’ll take my men to the south side gutter, and attack from there, and meet you in the marketplace.” You said to Ivar, who nodded.
“Don’t do anything stupid. I know what you are like.” He said, patting you on the shoulder.
“I’d never do such a thing.”
The battlefield lay quiet, for it was now a graveyard of the unburied. Their corpses lay among the cobbled streets that were now a slick red. The sun still shone and the wind still blew, but somewhere mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters waited in vain for their Christian warriors to arrive back home. The battle was won against the Christians and yours and Ivars men cried in victory as they finished off the injured Christians that clung to life.
“That was stupid of you to rush into that crowd of Saxons to save me. You could have gotten yourself killed.” Ivar said, as you bound his injured arm. The two of you were sitting alone in the room as your warriors celebrated outside.
“But I didn’t get killed, and you are still alive. It is a win, win situation. But if you keep complaining, I might just send you to Valhalla, myself.” You said, finishing the binding of his wound, before flopping down on the ground next to Ivar.
“I’m guessing you want me to say ‘thank you,’ then?” Ivar said, rolling his sleeve down with a smile.
“It would be appreciated. But I don’t think I have ever heard you say those two words, in my whole life.” You said, making you both chuckle. A silence fell upon you again as you sat there, enjoying eachothers company, and resting after the intense battle.
“Y/n?” Ivar asked, breaking the silence. You turned your head and looked at him.
“Stay. I have missed you for years, and I don’t think I could bear you leaving again, so soon.” Ivars voice had dropped to whisper as he stared into your eyes, making your breath catch in your throat.
“I have missed you too, Ivar.” You paused, locking eyes with him. “I’ll stay then-”
Before you could finish, Ivar enveloped your lips with his. Your eyes instantly fluttered shut as his hand traveled to your waist. Your face burned as he applied more pressure. His slightly chapped lips tasted of blood and sweat, yet they seemed perfect against yours - dominating, yet gentle. A small moan left your mouth as he gently nipped your bottom lip, before he pulled away. Your heart was fluttering against your ribcage as Ivar rested his head against yours.
“Thank you, Y/n.’
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Shrimp Dick Azog.
Kili x reader, requested by anon.
Summary: Kili convinces you to to join him on hiding from his royal duties as a prince.
Word count: 2899
Warnings: Language , sorry watched Moulin rouge.
So, you hadn't actually grown up with Kili and Fili, more like bloody thrown from the sky a year ago, into their world. Not their world, middle earth. Was not the best thing you wanted, you had just been walking down the stairs with a lightsaber,why a lightsaber? You knew the answer, whether it was yours or someone else's, you knew.
Oh, the dwarves did not like that at all. Surrounding you in a circle a circle , most under average height men, one tall old man and a cute curly haired toddler. Activating the lightsaber, glowing blue, humming as you held it, several confused faces around you.
"Witch!" The men definitely did not know of the modern world, you thought you had landed right into 17th century.
"I do not know what your game is, kidnapping me , but I will use this, stay back!" Feeling like Wendy from the shining, swinging the lightsaber.
Yeah wasn't long after that you were a part of the company, you had a higher purpose according to Gandalf, so be it. Okay, it would've been horrifying if you had accidentally hit one of the dwarves when you first met them, not long would they have killed you. Why? Because some how it had became real getting into this world.
Basically you were a padawan and a Jedi master at the same time, highly dangerous with no experience. Was this necessary for the Gods to do this? No it was not, however , Lili just misses Obi-wan, okay?
Being very young, not a minor, but young in the eyes of the dwarves being between the ages 60 and 300. You had been befriended by Fili and Kili quickly;even if you were shy and made friends difficultly. They welcomed you and made you feel comfortable, oh don't get me started on little Ori. He knitted you a blanket within an hour of your arrival, he wasn't just the youngest , he was the sweetest.
Kili right off the back he was a teasing, you weren't sure if he just wanted to get a hold of the lightsaber. Of course you couldn't just be Fili or Kili's friend you had to be both, they were not just brothers, they were best friends.
You did end up being best friends with both, Kili on a slightly higher level.
At the battle of the five armies, no one stood a chance, the orcs struggled to defend themselves from the lightsaber. Though, you should've let Thorin killed Azog he would not have made it. So, you had simply cut Azogs shrimp dick off and then sliced him in half.
Thus, the battle was won, saving the line of Durin was your greater purpose.
Though, once Azog was defeated Fili and Kili had run into the ice ,unharmed mostly , towards you and their uncle. Kili had slipped pretty fast, smacking his face right into the solid ice, you were surprised he didn't break his nose. Fili went to stop but his younger brother was already back on his feet grinning larger than ever running again.
Your lightsaber still on, humming in the background, stuck out to the side. Thorin heavily breathed, his arms crossed like he was not exhausted , thankful his nephews were safe.
"Oh, OH, who did that?" Kili and Fili smiling up to their uncle and you briefly before Kili had noticed the tiny dick on the floor. Maybe Kili had trouble distinguishing what the small thing was, Fili and Thorin joining in to look. Thorin's face snapping back to yours with disgust ,sighing.
"Y/n, you cut Azogs cock off?" Jabbing Kili in his ribs, at his language , Fili had let out a snort of laughter, patting you on the back.
"I'm sorry, who killed him? Me? So,"
Kili hadn't hesitated picking up the small dick, with two fingers, holding it up to you, too close, stepping back, he had stepped forward.
"Stay back, stay back, I'll kill you with the lightsaber or I will run away with Legolas I always wanted to taste a princess's puss- STAY BACK."
The rest of the company not long after had made it to the four of you, and the shrivelled dick was taken and put on to a cocktail stick . Placed in a glass box on display to present their power towards the Orcs. You were not sure really why they thought that would be a good idea.
Imagine bomber comes in and mistakes it for cocktail sausage.
Erebor was reclaimed, you Bilbo welcome to stay for your contribution to the quest, not just because you saved their stupid arses. Anyone could have seen that was a trapped. Bilbo had went home not long after, promising he would come back, he just really wanted to check on his hole. You having nowhere else to go you stayed.
Though it was a good idea to start, as Erebor filled up the less time you spent with the brothers. The royal duties pulled them away constantly. It was not like you exactly fitted in, you were human, you didn't have a beard to your hips, you were a 'warrior' now but that was because you a had a fucking lightsaber.
Most days you'd be in your chambers with a book, good from the kitchen, or taking your little money from the quest to the now rebuilt markets of dale. It was hard to make friends, so, you were alone. Sometimes you'd visit Bofur in his toy shop or Ori in the library.Frankly , you went to Ori often, he gave the best book suggestions.
You rarely saw Fili or Kili anymore unless they were rushing by you in the halls in a hurry , not even glancing at you.
A whole month of being alone had went by, on that night you began to pack. You figured to go visit Bilbo before heading Gondor, it had been without an heir for years, with Ecthelion II as the steward. Minas Tirith was the city of man, you had no where else to go. Unless you lived in Mirkwood as a witch.
With your bag packed, you left your chambers, during the night, early morning, so that you would not be questioned. Your shoes tapping against the stone , leading yourself out of Erebor quickly.
At the top of a set of stairs is when you head it, the pounding against the stone someone was running. Rushing down the stairs , at an increasing speed, trying not to trip. "Y/n?"
Your face. Your race. The way you talk, I kiss you are beautiful. You knew that voice, the voice of a flirt now panic, as you ran towards the entrance of Erebor.
"Y/n, wait!" But you didn't you continued running as fast as you could, ignoring Kili's pleads that echoed through the empty halls. Well, until you tripped landing flat on your face, against the cold stone, just as Kili had.
"Y/n!" Rushing towards you still, he had knelt by you, flipping you on your back, your eyes shut and motionless. "Please , don't be dead." His voice soft, letting out a load dramatic sob, you were not sure if it was real, his hands on your cheeks squishing them. Pushing his hands off you forcefully, sitting up to look at him. The moon light brightening his face from the sark halls, only a few candles were lit.
"I'm not dead; just wanted you to go away." His shoulders sank , as did the smile he gave you, his chestnut eyes dulled looking over your form and your bag.
"Where are you going...y/n?"
There was no point lying, you were clearly going somewhere, no I'm not going anywhere bullshit.
"Gondor? Gondor?! Why would you go there? What do you have there?" He was not happy, you both just sitting on the cold floor, staring at your feet as Kili stared you down.
"What do I have here? I've done what I was meant to." Kili had scoffed in annoyance his face scrunching up as you stood from the floor.
"You cannot be serious. Y/n/n, please, I was coming to see you before I saw you in the hall. Don't leave."
"Well, that's lovely."
"Y/n, please don't leave me, please..." The voice soft, cracking into a higher pitch, your feet halted in place.
"Walk me back to my room."
With that, Kili did a bright smile on his lips, grabbing your bag, and your hand. As he skipped to your room, pressing a large kiss to your cheek.
"See you in the morning, love!"
You were alone again, sleeping in your bed with all the furs over you, you fell into slumber. What only felt like minutes had been hours , waking up from your door being slammed open. You forgot to lock it... Jumping out of sleep to see who was there, your hair stuck to your face , your eyes sagging.
Closing the door, there stood Kili smiling at you panting, his hair wind swept, leaning against your door. You had let out a groans falling back onto your pillow, your eyes slamming shut. For a moment there was no sound no nothing, but you knew you would not be able to go back to sleep. Especially when Kili had jumped onto your bed, specifically onto the pillow next to yours.
Turning your head to the side, there laid Kili his head held up by his hand with his arm in a triangle. Yeah on his side, that pose, grinning at you.
"Good morning." Half tempted to grab your pillow and cover his face with it you had let out a moan again, flipping to face the other way. The bed got lighter, Kili had left no he had not, he was going to do something you wouldn't like. Seconds later, the squeaking of draws being opened , hit you, you were not getting more sleep.
Your eyes now wide, after rubbing the sleep from them, sitting up against your pillow- You could clearly see Kili going through your draws picking items of clothing out. Wait, what was he wearing? He had a long brunette wig on. Hold on he was not picking out one outfit, but two. Did he think you were the same size?
"I'll buy you more." Like he knew what you were thinking, he turned and threw some clothing at you. "Hurry up, I need you to help me." His tone serious, not harsh nor loud just differently his flirtatious usual tone. There was no point arguing, the stubbornness of dwarves.
Going behind the divider after peeing you had gotten dressed quickly. "Take your tunic , and pants off, put on the undergarments for when I'm done." Standing still for a moment Kili watched your shadow, opening his mouth to disagree but quickly closing it. He wondered about how you did not even question what was going on.
After it was clear for you to come out, Kili had thought you would laugh, but instead you loosened corset lifting it over his head and over the shift. "Do you want it tight?" Your casual tone, caused Kili to become distracted, your hands gripping the strings waiting.
"I'm sorry, did you say t-tight?" Kili looked at you in the body sized mirror his cheeks pinched pink noticing you holding the corset strings. "Oh, just believable not too tight." Kili's mind was somewhere else. Letting out a dramatic cough at the slightest pull you had decided that was enough, he'd moan for the rest of the day. You hadn't been used to these dresses either , you rarely wore them, only since you had been in Erebor. That was only for special events, today must be one of them.
The petticoat already on him, helping him into the hoop. Keeping his own shoes, you had pulled the final dress layer on him, helping him with his wig no gloves his hands were too big. Okay he had thick arse, muscular chest so he looked like dam. Kili stood before you, dressed in your clothes, he had only stubble , passing as a Darrow dam would not be hard.
"Truly beautiful, Kee." As he spun around in front of the mirror before stopping in front of you, grinning widely. "You think?" Nodding at him, he spun again. "As do you ,my lady." You had scoffed, as you brushed your hair.
"Why did you need me do this?" Dramatically he had turned back to you with his mouth open. "You of course, how else am I supposed to get out of my duties, if everyone can recognise me?" That was very clever for Kili anyways, had he been thinking about this for a while?
“Well, what are you going to do today, Miss?”
“We are going to flirt with old men.”
“Come on, we have some mischief to cause.”
That’s how you ended up at a ball, which Thorin was fuming because he could not find his nephew, Fili had told Dis that Kili had went to Dale for Bofur. She did not believe it. A ball without a Prince? Disgraceful.
Whereas he was there, with you. Pretending to be well behaved woman as you ate food and drank. Music playing in the background...wait was that Jareth singing? Yes it was, sorry about that, oh and Freddie Mercury? What? I’m sorry Kenobi too?
Men approaching the both of you, Kili laughing along with their jokes, and slapping them ‘gently’ on their shoulders, one had dropped their glass, rubbing their shoulders when walking away.
It was very embarrassing when both of you were facing the food table when you had been tapped on the shoulder. “Can I have a dance, my lady?” Both of you turning around, at the same time, Fili’s eyes widened when seeing it was you.
“Oh, Y/n, you look absolutely lovely, and who is your friend?” His eyes meeting Kili as he sipped his drink, spitting his drink all over Kili. His eyes travelling up and down his brother in shock and disbelief.
“Shh! I am Keanu, of the blue mountains.” Fili had looked back at you covering your face from trying not to cry with laughter, his face reddened snorting out a laugh too.
“This was his idea wasn’t it?” Nodding at the Prince he had bust out with laughter, lifting your hand to his lips pressing a kiss to your knuckles before travelling away, towards Dwalin...
“Would you like to dance, y/n?” It was not strange for woman to dance together, nodding, he had grabbed your hand as the song changed, leading you to the floor. Heroes tune playing , anything is possible.
‘And you, you can be mean.’
‘And I, I’ll drink all the time.’
‘Cause we’re lovers’
The two of you elbows locked as you swung around together, dancing around , Kili had even lifted you above his head like he was Patrick Swayze. You told him you couldn’t do that back. Eventually ended up become tired really fast, your heads in each other’s shoulders, careful Kili’s wif did not fall off.
Swaying together, your eyes locking as smiling at each other, giddy. Kili’s eyes flickered down to your lips for split second before returning to your eyes, trouble is what comes from that smirk.
“You know what would really cause a scene?” Shaking your head slightly, frightened, well not really.
“If we kissed, right now.” Your heart pounding in your chest, he wasn’t seriously surely? His hand reaching to cup your chin, his chestnut eyes glistening in the yarn light.
“What are you are you asking, Kili?” You weren’t sure if he even heard your whisper over the noise of the ball.
“Y/n/n, darling, can I kiss you?”
“Yes.” His lips were upon yours pressing a long peck against your soft lips, before pulling away from them. The cold air hitting your lips from the loss of warmth. Cheeks pink ad you looked at Kili. “You know, I love you, Y/n.”
“Yes, I lov-“ Though your confession was cut short, as several gasps had alerted Thorin and most of the original company, as well as Dis. Who all saw some of what had just happened, yes lesbian relationships did happen in middle earth just not often. Nor were they so public.
“Y/n!” Thorin called you other, your hand intertwined with Kili’s you pulled him with you, towards Thorin, Dis, Fili , and Dwalin. Thorin’s disproving gaze on both of you, jealous not disproving, he longed for a certain small fellow.
“I am sorry to disrupt your night with your date, but for your safety I must advise you do n-“ “ Kili?!” Dis had interrupted her brother, Dwalin had sighed under his breath. Thorins head had snapped to his sister looking around for Kili with no luck. Until, he had followed her eyes, to next you.
“Kili?!” Smirking at his uncle, oh gosh he looked like he was going to have a stroke, how could he not see it, this was like Clark Kent with no glasses just a wig.
“Sorry, this is Keanu, Kili is in Dale at the moment.”
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“ADERYN, ADERYN, MY love,” I sang, looking up to the wooden balcony we’d rigged up at the edge of the square. “Come down to me, my love, come down and sing with me…”
My friend and fellow minstrel Crystin stood on top of the balcony, her long curls pulled away from her face. She looked down at me and sang, “My love, Madoc, my love, how I long to sing with you; but alas, you ask the one thing I cannot do…”
We traded snippets of song back and forth, me pleading, her refusing, as the audience watched. “Aderyn and Madoc” was one of Crystin’s favorite songs, and usually it was popular with audiences, too. Hopefully, it would get us a good payoff. We needed money for our stay at the Easy Rest, and we were starting to run low on food.
The song was a ten-minute ballad. At the end, Crystin leapt off the balcony – it was only about three feet off the ground – and into my arms, and we performed a sweeping stage kiss. As I bent her away from the audience, she giggled. “No matter how many times we do this,” she whispered, “it still feels so silly!”
“Shh, they’ll hear you,” I replied, and swung her back up. We turned to face the audience and bowed. The ones who were paying attention (and even some who really hadn’t been) burst into applause. A grin spread across my face. Who cared if anyone tossed a coin or two our way? I loved this more than anything in the world.
Back at the Easy Rest, Crystin and I sat down to count up the money we’d earned.
“Fifty copper and a few silvers over here,” Crystin said. Away from the audience, her voice was soft; even in the near-silence of the inn’s common room, I could barely hear her, and I knew that the woman behind the bar couldn’t. I’d been astonished the first time I’d heard her sing. I hadn’t thought her gently lilting voice could be so powerful.
“I’ve got thirty-five c,” I replied. “Not bad. Enough for a couple nights and plenty of food, I’d say.” I stretched and felt the tight undershirt I’d put on to hide the small swell of my breasts ride up over my stomach and refuse to ride back down. “Oh, hell,” I said, laughing. “Give me a second, Crystin. I’ve got to get this stupid shirt off.”
I didn’t enjoy playing men, given that I’d gone through quite a bit to find out I wasn’t one, but Crystin’s voice (although it could admittedly get quite low) didn’t quite reach the depths of the range Madoc required, and the combination of the changes in my body as I’d transitioned over the past few years and my general disinterest remembering to shave meant that I looked far more androgynous than she. We did switch up when a male role was either fully spoken or had a high enough range, but Madoc was a baritone and so was I.
Crystin waved a hand in acknowledgement and turned her attention to our food supplies as I walked away.
Peig, the lady who ran the inn, passed me as I headed for the bathroom. “Afternoon, dear,” she said. “You two have a good show?”
"Earned enough to feed ourselves,” I replied. “You ought to try hosting a show or two in here. Might drum up a bit of business, I think.”
“You may be onto something there,” Peig replied. She smiled. “I’ll see about that. You and Crystin may get a few gigs before you leave town.”
"We’d accept,” I told her. “Just so you know.”
Peig laughed. “Good,” she said. “I’ll think about it. Now go let the girls loose.”
She laughed again. I pushed through the bathroom door, blushing. Peig was far too pretty to talk about my breasts without flustering me.
A few minutes later, free at last, I grabbed some of our newly earned money and set off to buy us some food. There was a market that usually sprang up near the temple of Ygga; with any luck, they’d have some food for a pair of hungry minstrels. As I walked that way, a tall, muscular man passed too close to me and collided with my shoulder.
“Oi, watch it,” I said, and then stopped.
The man had wings.
He’d stopped when I’d spoken to him, and his eyes had gone wide. But he didn’t say anything. He was holding completely still, like he hoped I would lose sight of him if he didn’t move. The longer I looked at him, the more uncomfortable he seemed.
“You’re a Guardian,” I said quietly.
“Impossible,” the man said. “You can see me? You are a mortal.”
“Which one?” I asked. “You, I mean. Irfan or Taic?”
His eyebrows nearly disappeared into his hair. “I do not… How are you able to see me?”
"If I knew, I’d tell you,” I said wryly. And quietly. I’d learned by this point in my life that when you wandered around town talking to invisible people, you usually left escorted by a guard. “So? I’m guessing you’re Irfan. I’m almost certain Taic is a woman’s name, though I’m the last person who ought to assume on those terms.”
When he didn’t answer, I snorted. “Seems to me that if a mortal saw a Guardian, she ought to be the one freaking out, not the guy with a pair of wings.”
The Guardian pursed his lips. “I am Irfan,” he said. “And I would advise you not to be so flippant to one so many years your elder. Particularly when that one is an Astrian, a being charged with overseeing your foolish race.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Sorry, mate,” I said, making no effort to hide the sarcasm in my tone. “Didn’t mean to push your buttons.”
Irfan glared at me coldly, but I decided to ignore him and stalk off to the market. The encounter would rattle him more than it would me. This wasn’t the first time I’d run into beings which no mortal should be able to see.
That night, Crystin and I enjoyed a peaceful dinner at the Easy Rest. The place was practically dead – aside from the staff, we were the only people there. Peig had drifted over to chat with us.
“But girls,” she was saying, “this place really used to bustle. If you’d seen it fifteen years ago, before Domhnall left! You wouldn’t even recognize it. But after he took off, well… I was new and young, and he was the best there was. Things went downhill.” She shook her head and sighed. “That’s why I’m taking off tomorrow. Domhnall went to Easanna with his daughter. She was a sickly little thing; he hoped the air and the water there would help her. I need to find him and ask him to come back. This place was his life’s work – he can’t just let it die on us like this.”
She brushed her hair back over her shoulder and sighed. Gods, but she was pretty. I was starting to think I was a little bit in love with her.
"Good luck,” Crystin said. With her quiet, pretty voice, you couldn’t doubt her sincerity. “This place is lovely. I’d hate to see it go.”
“I would too,” I said. “Speaking of – do you want me to go put that sign on the town board? I’m done eating.”
“That’d be grand,” Peig said. “Thanks, dear.”
“Sure,” I said. “Back in a moment.”
I grabbed the notice off the inn’s check-in counter and headed out into the Glas Linn twilight. As I crossed the square on my way to the board, I noticed a glow across the way. In the cemetery, the ghost of an old man stood by a grave.
I sighed. I had no idea why I saw stuff like this. Every so often, I’d come across another person who could see spirits to some extent, but none of them had ever seen a Guardian – Astrians, Irfan had called them. Sometimes I spoke to the ghosts and helped them to move on, but there were times it didn’t work. And even when I managed it, as the ghost passed on, the emotions which had tied them to the earth stayed behind, and they found their way directly into my head. Sometimes I would be useless for days. One time the girl I’d helped to move on had been so sad that I had spent a week crying at the slightest provocation.
Crystin knew; we’d been travelling together for four years, and by now she understood when I went into depressions or whatever else after I helped one on. I’d never told her about the Guardians, though. She believed in them, but I thought expecting her to believe I could chat with them would be a bit of a stretch.
I shook my head to clear it and continued on. Last thing I needed was to get so wrapped up thinking about myself that I forgot what I’d left the inn to do. I’d wander til sunup.
As I pinned up the paper, I felt something strange beneath my feet. I paused. The feeling was familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on why.
It came again, a little stronger, and then again and again. As it strengthened, I recognized it for what it was: an earthquake.
The shaking grew stronger, and I felt myself start to panic. It had been almost five years since I’d been caught in an quake, but I knew this was different. It felt wrong. There was something unnatural about it.
Screams rang out all around me. I scrambled on the cobbles, trying to keep my footing on the unstable ground and block out the sounds of terror pounding into my head. The air itself seemed to shake, and the clouds which had been blocking the stars lit up in flashes of cold blue lightning.
Then there was another source of light. This one, however, was coming from the east, and it looked entirely different. Half a dozen bright comets streaked down from the sky, shooting off in all different directions. They flew south, none closer than what I thought must be five miles, but their passage was still followed by a bone-rattling whoosh which nearly blew me off my feet.
Slowly, the wild shaking of the earth began to steady and then stopped altogether. I let go of the notice board and took a few unsteady steps; then I took off running for the Easy Rest. I needed to make sure the others were all okay.
But my mind was only half on that. The earthquake had changed something. And the comets meant something big.
And I had a funny feeling that I was going to be involved.
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Jim Meirose Auxx-Coo the Computational Man – ALIVE!!! Long-haul trucker “Horse” heard himself laughing, and figured, quite wisely, as I-80 east streaming past might as well not be any more, due to his extreme fatigue, and, this not being a TV show, showing a curious first-person’s view of what’s bigrig running off to a peep-froggy supermudded sidewise ditchful of salamanders, it seemed time to run off at the next place, which may have hot black coffee for sale. So; all handy, yes, here comes a rightside sign-shout, fresh, bright, gaily saying, Auxx-Coo the computational man – ALIVE!!! Exit 5a (Business) local access only - Puppy Bottom Industrial Greenway. Truckers Welcome! And below all underbottomed; clean beds – one quarter. Showers extra. Welcome home! The dusk darkening ‘hind his saggy eyes topped it off, uh his foot off his loud pedal, into the brakerpushdowny-ing fat steel shaft goin’ going gone down, swept on to the right turnoff, and somehow slow-stopped, the Samaritan having done its job in his tight flat face. “Horse” parked neatly, sammartino’ing himself all successfully. Yes. His feet pushed down the Earth, and it did not give way, making him able to head for the door, which opened out into a big warm of a light-space, come on saying brightly, Welcome son, eh, eh, hind which had come from some big head of a woman uphinding back o’ the counter—to which ‘Horse” replied, Hey, yah, hello—it’s been a day, you know. I bet it has. Well, you’re here now. Relax, and welcome. What can we do for you? Thanks—hey. Got coffee? The sign said it—so I think so. I mean, Do you? Sure, yep. In there. Uphanded again, she pointed in there, so then it, et, once more had-to-be-true, so to speak, and, once in there, sho’ ‘nuff he popped down, up, into and out from, the flow of a little Keurig machine he loaded up with Donut Shoppe Breakfast blend looking old, but—usable. After the flow died, he drank it back, black. Back-black. Black. Back. So what? And he carried it backward, facing front, this time though, to roughly in front of her, and took the drink lukewarm—having no choice, no option. Hey, you look bushed, she said—how many miles you covered today? Not sure. Maybe three hundred, more or less. Where you headed? To a layover at Lent Truck Stop. Know that? Oh sure. Who doesn’t? So. You been on the road all morning? Yes. Hey, listen. Go back and see the show. It’s air conditioned, dim and dark, the seats are new, all plush. Adjustable too. We remodeled last year—hey, listen. Tell you what. What? Wait here. Just wait—and she went from behind the counter to a door ‘hind the side, unlocked it, disappeared through its open, leaving the door wide, saying, I will be just a second—sayeth the door actually, not her, she’s inside already but, her words—yah they followed and. Hidden in there comes a sound of some dense loud rough-tumblin’ so, be curious—but here she comes out, so, face her and smile, right into whatever’s next. Hey, she said breathlessly, holding out something wrapped tight—here you go—a fresh ham and cheese hoagie. Just for you, and—on the house! I made these this morning. Go on, go one, take it. Take it and go in see the show, you’ll love it I mean—I mean, it’s a blast. A killer blast, and, for you, half price—ten seventy-five, and I will even swallow the tax. What a deal! I would take it in a minute, ep. You reach to say Okay, but— She jumped on him harder with, So how ‘bout it? I mean you got to consider that after all this, to not go to the show would be extremely insulting. But, of course, of course I would smile, and forgive you, and make light of it all and even say, Sure, sure, no problem, no mas—as matter of fact, keep the free hoagie as a token of appreciation for coming in, having free coffee, and getting something for nothing and just leaving like that. Why should we mind that? After all, we exist only to serve the public. You know? With each word she’d grown twice over, more impossible to say no to, fearsome, actually—and so, ah—go on, give up, and surrender. Yes, sure, he said, smiling, then adding, As a matter of fact, I think I got exact change. Let’s see. Hey, yah, yeh. I do. How’s ‘bout that? Some days everything goes right. You know? He thrust her the money, and it disappeared. She tipped back her head, saying, Well, sonny. That knocks it down tight that you’re doing what was meant to be—go on inside, now. That door back there. Show will start when you’re in. You’re the second victim today! I think, you know—God has just told me we’ve been waiting especially for you. Quite specifically, for you—but, go. It’ll start in a minute. Nodding, turning, searching and thinking, okay, so “Horse” walked back to a brand new unpainted door, its faux brass knob new—it opened he entered too dark step careful the hoagie gripped cold and fresh in his hand as he passed an invisible sidewall to the left opening into a dark space whose front’s a lit stage and so—she didn’t provide any napkins. Shit. Feel for the seats forward. The dim rows, ah, this here’s one, sit there. No stumble, thank God. Sit. Sit safe. Settle. Settle. Down, as— All start; all a’ once s-s-s-s-o all light’s down darker still, curtain, up—flowing light over all from the stage, onto which slid a portly unsmiling man and a straight tall b-blondie, who took places on either side of the stage, facing the audience. The man shook free a sheaf of purple paperwork he’d pressed to his chest, booming, My name is Omar Giapunka. I am indeed a Cobol mainframe programmer of over fifteen years’ experience, hup! With strong analytical and design skills of over twenty-five more, hup h-hup! I wish to join the excellently elite Auxx-Coo Consultancy. My experience, as you can clearly see, adds up to forty years so far, h-hup! Further questions anyone? Ook. Say—you? I, uh, yes, me, eh—said the straight tall b-blondie, doodling roundabouts ‘ver a hot pink Scarlet Long style clipboard—the first fifteen and the other twenty-five—are they fully consecutive, fully concurrent, or tapering into and out of each other— Yes, watch okay yes oh now hoagie, unwrap okay which fingernail, long fingernail. —somehow because, it is odd, greatly odd, actually an actual freak of the corporately organizational nature that one lops the one totally off and begins into the other so can you answer that in some way we do get? Abruptly, without apparent notice, Mr. Giapunka slickly replied, No, no. So unimportant, quite so very, uh; since additionally, I am indeed able to work independently and deliver high quality results and have done so for over twenty years, hup! And also, having been responsible for application design, d-development, c-c-code r-r-r-reviews, w-w-w-w-writing and m-m-m-m-m-maintaining p-p-p-p-p-programming d-d-d-d-d-d-d-documentation, p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-project c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-coordination, and d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-deployment super-support for e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eeek! Over thirty-four years in totality, hup! I wish to join the excellently elite Auxx-Coo Consultancy. My experience, as you can clearly see, adds up to seventy-four years so far, h-hup! Further questions anyone? Ook. Say—you? You? Please, please, but; let me speak to someone in authority, please. —turn sandwich over turn again over and feel ‘round the ‘round-wrappering to pull— No, hold it. My question’s not only unanswered, but now’s onlywise fourfold largerscoped now, because now you must stop, breathe, and explain not only ‘bout your first two claims regarding experiential duration, but now this new claim of twenty and its partnered-up thirty-five. So not only change lanes go back and would answer the first question, but then set that aside and formulate an answer to the same style question, except substitute twenty and thirty-five for the fifteen and the other twenty-five in the first question, then, study the answer to the first question which you put to the side in relation to the answer to this second question, and then, think down through and backundering up to me, are the two answers also fully consecutive, fully concurrent, or tapering— For the ends of th’ tapes rounding turned ‘round this sandwich while c’mon—get it— —into and out of one another somehow because, it is even more odd now more greatly so actually and even more of an actual freak of the corporately organizational nature that one side lops the other totally off and butts so unnaturally at the ‘hind of the other, so. Can you can you answer answer this this now in now in some way we some way we do get and do get? said b-b-blondie. No, no, no, waved Mr. Giapunka. So unimportant, even more so eh, uh; since additionally, atop those there top-weighty but correct fact-panels, I have indeed over t-t-t-ten years of e-e-e-experience and have had that for over fifty-five tenths of ten years, hup! I have indeed been quite intimate— The wrap’s smooth, no—c’mon ‘round the spiraling roundy around of the cold thing so. —with C-C-C-Cobol, D-D-D-DB2, S-S-S-Stored P-P-P-Procedures, B-B-B-BMC and I-I-I-IBM utilities, C-C-C-CICS, J-J-J-JCL, P-P-P-Procs, M-M-M-MQ, S-S-S-Sola, D-D-D-Data S-S-S-Services and i-i-i-interfaces with m-m-m-multiple o-o-o-online p-p-p-platforms for over ninety-five fifths of fifty years, hup! I wish to join the excellently elite Auxx-Coo Consultancy. But please, call in someone in authority, to consider me. So that I have not to speak this all over and again. No hold it a minute mo’ hold it there, eh—ten years of experience for over fifty-five tenths of ten years comes to—from a rough estimentation derived ‘hind my head—ninety-five years, which is impossible—and, additionally, https://ojalart.com/prose-discourse-experimental-fictionjim-meiroseauxx-coo-the-computational-man-alive/?utm_source=tumblr&utm_medium=tumblr&utm_campaign=ReviveOldPost
Now That We’re Done - HS
This is a fic I've been working on for some time now. It's actually the 'sequel' to a fic I wrote a while ago, and something inspired me to keep going. I intend to post both, but wanted the story to begin this way :)
Warnings: There are mentions of abuse, PTSD, and anxiety throughout every part. Also- mature content. One of the guys doesn't turn out to be so great- this story is not intended to give him this image. This is all purely fiction.
Summary: A twenty year old dancer, Elizabeth Payne, is recovering from a traumatic past with the help of her older brother, Liam. The two of them have been yearning for peace for quite some time, and when a good friend comes to live with them for the summer they start their journey towards finding it. Through ups, downs, relapses, and two albums- Liz fights through her own mind to get better.
I sat on the couch alone, cold. I shivered and pulled my jacket tighter around myself. Looking to my left I saw picture frames on the side table full of pictures of myself and old friends. I glanced away quickly, my heart beginning to ache. Looking to my shoes, then to the ceiling, I groaned and quickly stood to my feet.
“Let’s go!” I called, getting out of that living room. I made my way to the bottom of the stairs listening for footsteps. “Elizabeth!” I called again.
“Liam!” She mocked me, plummeting down those stairs like she used to. She landed at the bottom and watched me watch her. “What?” She asked.
I looked her up and down. My baby sister. Twenty years old. The last time she was in this house she was eighteen and in love, with long brown hair past her shoulders and a smile that couldn’t be replaced. She was her own boss and didn’t take shit from anyone, not even me. God, she used to hate herself for that after what happened. Running my hands through my hair, I sighed and shrugged.
“Memories,” I said flatly.
“Ugh, you’re gross,” She rolled her eyes, “Are we going?” She motioned at the door. I nodded and she started for it. Her hair was short now, hidden under a beanie hat. She wore sweaters in the summer and talked to her therapist on the phone twice a week. Wednesday and Saturday. Her sunglasses were always dark and she only talked to me, our parents and one other person. She got to the door, put her hand on the knob and looked at me.
“Liam?” She asked.
“Liz?” I answered.
“Can you go first?” She whispered.
This was normal for her. Media blew her up once they all found out. All the stories made me absolutely sick. Her phone was shut off for two months because she couldn’t handle it. Her Twitter was deleted and she had to make a new private Instagram. Since July sixth, two years ago, she hasn’t left my side and there is not one part of me that wants to leave her alone.
“Come here,” I stood next to her, put her hood on over her hat and my arm around her shoulder, “The car is right down the stairs, okay?” She nodded, “Don’t you dare listen to one word anyone says.”
I pushed the door open and instantly we were both being shouted at, flashes going off like mad. Elizabeth kept her eyes down, but she clung to me tight. My guard opened the back door for us while pushing paps away. We slid in and the door slammed shut.
“Oh my god,” Elizabeth gasped, throwing her head into her lap, “OH my god.” She began to cry.
“Hey,” I laid my hand on her back and rubbed in circles. She sat back up and pulled her hat off along with her sweatshirt. She wore a dark blue tank top. Looking at me, her cheeks were red and eyes swollen. I wiped away tears with my thumb. “I’m so proud of you.”
“Why?” Her voice shook.
“Because,” I started, “You went into that house yourself.”
“You were with me, Li.”
“Yeah, I was. But you wanted to go. You asked me to go, and for that I am proud.” She bit her lip and smiled, resting her head onto my shoulder.
Days with my sister and I were always led by her and what she wanted to do. Asking her what she wanted to do today, she wanted to visit the house my old bandmates and I lived in for a few years. I hadn’t been there in years. The last time I had actually been in that house was April, when I left with everyone to go do a tour in the US. Liz was with us then, she and a good friend of hers were staying with us. When the tour was cut short after July, Elizabeth and I both went straight to our parents home. My old label had everything personal packed in the house and sent back to us. For what reason she wanted to go back to that house? I do not know. I just know that she wanted to go out, so I took her.
In order for no one to follow us back to my home that I had bought shortly after that month of our tour, another car like the one we were in was with us following different paths to ensure my sister and I made it home safe and alone. It added more time to the drive than I would have liked, but it was worth the ease of mind.
Fifteen minutes into the ride, Liz was gazing out the window pointing things out to me that she saw. It was always either a fast food place she missed, or a car she knew I liked. I nodded along, smiling with her. In my back pocket one of two phones vibrated and then blurted out a ringtone that I heard often. Elizabeth whipped her head around and held out her hand.
“That’s Harry,” She said sternly.
“I know.” I got her phone and handed it to her. The one other person she would talk to was Harry. After the split he and I would only talk on occasion- when it was our birthdays, holidays or when Elizabeth wouldn’t answer the phone.
“Hey, Harry,” She lit up when she heard his voice. They only talk through the phone, or FaceTime. He stops by when he can, but he’s always in the US working. “Yes, I’m good. I promise. What? I can’t hear- Oh, yes. I’m with Liam.” She always tells him she is with me, even though he already knows.
“We went to the Syco house, we are on our way back- Yeah, the Syco house,” She looked at me, her eyebrows lowered, “Well, there wasn’t much in there. Harry, I hadn’t seen it in two years,” She lowered the phone holding the mic and she whispered to me in a panic, “He’s mad.” Lifting the phone to her ear again she listened.
“Harry, I wanted to see it again.” There was a long pause while she listened to him, her face flashing different emotions. One of the early signs of one of her panic attacks. She knew how to handle this type of feeling though, I talked to her therapist about it. “Harry!” She shouted, her eyes squeezed shut. I snatched the phone from her.
“Harry?” I said angrily. There was a pause.
“Liam.” He answered, his voice gravely and low.
“What were you saying to her? You’re the one person she doesn’t talk to on the speaker around me, because we both trust you.”
“I said that she shouldn’t have gone to the house.” He spoke calm and slow, his usual manner.
“Because that house was hell? Liam you and I both know that house was hell.”
“Liam, I didn’t tell her this. He went there last week.” My heart sank to my stomach. Flickering my eyes at her she was watching me with wide eager eyes.
“Okay, Harry. Yes, we appreciate it. Are you going to call later? Alright, she looks forward to it. Bye.” Faking a conversation was easier than blurting out the truth. I put her phone into my pocket and pulled mine out.
“He apologized, and told me that he will call you before seven,” Elizabeth smiled and looked at my phone. I usually never have it out when I’m out with her because my main focus was always making sure she was alright, “Mind if I send someone a message?”
“No, that’s okay.” She said and turned back to look out the window with half an hour left until we got home. I unlocked my phone, opened my messages and tapped onto Harry’s texts. I began to type.
L- We do not talk about him being there.
I waited. Then the three dots popped up.
H- To who? You or Liz.
L- Liz. Do you know why he was there?
H- No. Heard it from this girl I worked with the other day. Didn’t want to believe it.
L- Who was the girl? How did she know?
H- Her name was Gigi. And I’m not sure.
L- Ok. Hear from you at 7 when you call Liz. Thank you Harry.
The rest of the ride home was quiet and when we arrived, I did the usual. I stepped out of the car first, checked the scene, then let Elizabeth step out. It made her feel better, and if she feels better so do I.
We were pulled into the long black driveway that connects my garage to the street. Almost every bit of my house was surrounded by trees. I bought this home with the purpose of privacy, and it’s been perfect for everything my sister and I were going through. It was on a private street only the neighbors by me could access, and even then you couldn’t see another house in sight. It was spacious, quiet, relaxing and the environment we needed to be in. The house itself was only a story tall. It had four bedrooms, one of which I turned into a home studio to work on music in, a cozy living room with bookshelves for days and a beautiful backyard with an inground pool and plenty of patio space around it. It certainly was not as big as the Syco house I once lived in or as glamorous as some houses celebrities live in, but my sister and I adored it and we’ve been happy here for two years.
“I’m tired,” Elizabeth mentioned as we walked inside the garage, “I might lay down.” I told her to go lay down and she went to her room. I flopped onto my sofa and pulled out my phone. I opened Google and searched for news on the man Harry brought up. Curious as to why Elizabeth would want to go to the house if he was just there. The first story that popped up was of him on the streets of NYC locking lips with a rail thin, long haired blonde. It read their names with the title ‘Heating Things Up?’.
Opening it, I scanned the lines not caring about what he was doing until the girl's name came up again. Sure enough her name was Gigi. I locked my phone, slid it onto the table, stood up and took myself down the hall to knock on Elizabeth’s door.
“It’s open,” She called.
“As it should be,” I joked walking inside, “What are you doing?” She was sitting at her desk with nothing on it. She shrugged.
“Sitting,” She said seriously. I cracked a laugh and sat on her bed.
“Obviously,” She stared at me, “I have a question, if you don’t mind.” Squinting her eyes she nodded.
“Why... why did you want to go to the Syco house today?” I asked quietly. Elizabeth looked at her hands then at me.
“I wanted to feel something,” She said, “Haven’t felt anything. In a long time. In two years.” She stared off into space, her mind wandering. I watched her closely as her eyes danced around her room in her mirror, and then she frowned.
“Elizabeth,” I said, raising my voice a little to regain her attention. She snapped out of it and looked at me.
“What were we saying?” She asked, “Oh, Syco house.”
“What did you want to feel?” I asked.
“Something. Anything,” She muttered. “I don’t even know what’s happening with the world. I don’t go on my phone.”
“No,” I shook my head answering her quickly, “Kens says you can have it when someone calls.”
“Then let me call Ken's myself,” She raised her eyebrows. “I need new rules. Liam!” She held out her hand and I sighed. I felt both my pockets and found nothing.
“Use mine, it’s on the coffee table.”
She bolted for the living room and snatched my phone. I heard the buttons click and the phone unlock, then I heard a thud on the floor a few seconds later. Leaving her bedroom, I found her staring at my phone on the ground at the story of him that I forgot to close out of. Her face was straight as she stared. Then she looked up at me. I couldn’t make out any words to say. She hadn’t seen anything or heard anything of or about him in a very long time. She bent down and picked the phone up, exiting the screen. I saw her go to my contacts, find Kens’ number, her therapist, and call.
“Hi, Kens. Yeah, it’s me. I just went on the internet for the first time.”
It was easy to understand why anxiety made you hide, why it made you feel small and stuck. It was difficult for Liam to understand opposite action, which meant doing exactly what anxiety was telling you not to do. After my conversation with Kens I realized that if I wanted to get out of feeling like I was stuck in a hole, I had to do just that.
Liam agreed to take me out, which he did quickly after learning what opposite action was, after I mustered up the courage myself to ask him. Setting his phone down on the coffee table I looked to my brother and nodded.
“We’re going to do this, yes?” I asked. He lowered his eyebrows and squinted his eyes at me.
“We’re going to feel alive,” He said seriously with some humor behind it. I smiled and stood up, heading towards my room. Liam called after me, “And for as long as you need. I’ll be out here on the phone Kens.”
When I started living with my brother back when, I never knew he and I would end up here. I had envisioned that I’d be dancing my way through life, literally, and be in an amazing relationship with someone I truly loved. Liam would still be making music with his band and maybe he and I would eventually be working together merging our talents. Instead, I live with him somewhere his fans can’t find him and we work together on my therapy while he still works with the media. I never liked the paparazzi. Not even when I was living in the Syco house, living the dream for a few months.
After then the headlines were horrific, my name caught up in something I wish I could erase from my memory, but Kens says it is important to have because she says look at how I’m starting to grow from it. I can never see what she’s talking about when I’m stuck in a low. I only see why what happened to me happened, but once I’m feeling okay I understand.
I sat down in front of my mirror and took a deep breath down into my stomach. My makeup hadn’t been touched in months. It was still set up from when Liam had helped me clean up from a panic attack weeks ago. Brushes went flying, it wasn’t pretty.
I put my cold hands over my pale cheeks and groaned. I wasn’t sure if I even remembered how to properly put on a simple face of makeup. I dabbed some concealer under my eyes and brushed on some bronzer and mascara.
I changed into some ripped blue jeans, a lavender sweater that fell just off my shoulder and a pair of black slides. My red hair I pulled back with a braid in the front and a little ponytail in the back. It was not as long as it used to be. I had to cut a whole lot off after it thinned out extremely from stress. That was a heartbreaking moment for someone like me who used her hair as a personality trait. Liam sat beside me the entire time it got done and had even helped which shade of red to color it. I’m his own special mix of chocolate cherry.
Stepping out of my room an hour after speaking to Liam I found him patiently sitting on the couch scrolling through his phone. His head popped up after he heard my door close, and his jaw fell open.
“Well, look at you!” He gushed.
“Ugh, Liam, don’t,” I forced back a smile, but it peeked through as I walked over to him.
“You look great,” He said standing up offering me a hand, “Shall we?”
I took his hand and laughed.
Elizabeth and I had a quick, fun evening out. My driver drove us around the small town outside where my home is, where some paparazzi can be found but also some amazing restaurants. I kept my hand sat on top of hers in the car and thought about the conversation I just had with Kens about accepting this decision my sister made about her recovery. Kens told me I need to make some new boundaries as Liz starts to grow with her treatment. Eventually she would want her phone back and that’s the only problem I had.
For nearly a year after it happened I was the only one on her phone. I deleted messages, incoming and outgoing. I deactivated Twitter and created a new Instagram for her. I told Kens I was not ready for her to be back on Twitter, and she agreed with me. She said she will not allow Liz back onto social media full time until she knows she will be okay reading what she’ll be reading.
Looking at her beside me in the car she was gazing out the window, a soft smile on her face again, but her right knee was beginning to bounce a bit. Kens told me to watch for that as a sign of her anxiety being present. I squeezed her hand and she turned to look at me.
“You okay?” I asked calmly. She took a deep breath and nodded.
“I’m okay. Excited and nervous. But okay,” She smiled and I returned it to her.
We pulled up along an Italian restaurant she used to love and she gasped so loud I thought I was going to jump out of my pants. It didn’t seem too busy for a Thursday night, so we decided it would be alright for us to stay. As usual I got out of the car first and held her hand as she slowly took her time to step out and watched as she looked all around. I noticed that some people realized who I was, and then saw their reaction when they realized who I was with. A girl shouted out her name and Liz jumped in her shoes slightly and latched onto my arm.
“You’re doing great,” I said to her quietly as we walked towards the doors, “They’re looking excited to see you.” She let out a breathy laugh the moment we stepped inside. She let go of me and shook her hands and stretched out her arms.
“My heart is beating like a drum,” She whispered, bouncing on her toes.
There was some commotion outside, some louder voices, and Liz and I both turned to look through the windows. Sure enough there were two paparazzi with camera lenses nearly pressed against the glass. Liz’s eyes went wide so I quickly turned her away and asked for our table.
We sat in an empty section of the dining room which was perfect for us both as we can be quite loud together. We always knew how to make our own party.
During dinner it was extremely easy to forget the world and I can only hope Elizabeth felt the same exact way. Our conversation drifted from shopping for some new clothes for her, to when I auditioned for X-Factor, to some old family vacations we took during the summers. We sat in front of our empty plates and I looked at her curiously.
“Do you have any plans for the rest of this summer?” I asked. She blew a raspberry on her lips and sighed.
“We can do this every night,” She giggled, “Although...” Her words trailed off as did her eyes. I held my focus on her and then shook the ice in my glass around before taking a sip to help bring her back.
“Although?” I questioned between sips of cool water.
“I want to see Harry,” She said and looked me right in the eyes.
“I don’t have a problem with-“
“I know you don’t,” She cut me off quickly not breaking her eye contact, “It’s been almost a year since I’ve seen him.” Her voice turned to a whisper. I watched her as she explained to me how great I’ve been with helping her, and how she loves me very much but that she needs to have a friend by her side, too.
“You know I’m still your friend, right?” I teased her and she rolled her eyes.
“You know what I mean!” She groaned.
“Yes, I do,” I laughed, “I’m proud of you for bringing all of this up. For talking to me, and helping me understand. If Harry-“ I was cut off again, but this time by that distinct ringtone. Elizabeth fell serious and held out her hand waiting for her phone to be placed there. Slipping it from my pocket, I smiled at her, and handed it over.
“Hi, Harry,” She breathed and listened to what he had to say, “Yes I am! Liam’s here with me,” as always, “We came out tonight... Oh, you saw already? Where?” I watched her talk to him every single phone call. She became a different person who lit up with excitement and energy. If she didn’t bring up Harry coming home to him, I was certainly sure that I was going to.
He was there afterwards, holding her, squeezing her hands. She was folded in his lap sobbing uncontrollably, nearly screaming, and he just sat there listening to her, somehow understanding her. He helped me through those few weeks of the hospital, then going home, then going back to the hospital. He stayed overnight with me most nights. Before any of this ever happened he was dating Liz’s old friend. He tried a slick move on my sister, but she’s so strong on her feet she put him in his place. Shortly after that night in July on tour, he was single again with no reason behind it. I just know we don’t bring up that girl anymore or hear from her. Eventually, once Liz and I were in my new home, he set off to do his solo music work. But he never forgot to call. He always called.
“Thank you, I bought it last year and had never worn it...” She glanced up at me and smiled, “Harry, I have a question for you later if I could call you when I’m home? That’s okay? Okay... bye.”
She hung up and handed her phone back over to me.
“Thank you for coming out with me tonight,” Liz said to me with a smile.
“Thank you for giving the best night I’ve had in awhile,” I said back to her with a small wink.
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Secrets of the Shore (Chapter9)
Pairing: Pogues x OC, Eventually JJ x OC
Summary: This is just my rewrite of the show Outer Banks with my own twist by adding another main character which also happens to be John B’s twin sister.
Note: Thank you again for reading. I’ve gotten so much great feedback from the last chapter and I’m so grateful. I’ll be honest, I was nervous about posting it at first because it contained descriptions of sexual assault and I know that’s triggering to some people, but your responses have been amazing! So thank you! Hopefully, I added everyone who asked to be included in the tag list. If I missed your name, please let me know!
Warnings: I don’t believe any?
That night, the five of us relax around a bonfire in my backyard. JJ and I share the hammock, laying down on opposite sides. His fingers trail up and down my shins in a slow pacing motion. His touch makes me melt into the cloth of the hammock and my skin tingle. It also makes me grateful that I shaved my legs yesterday.
My eyes are heavy between the warmth of the fire and JJ's touch. I close my eyes, relaxing in the comfort of my friends' voices.
"You really think it's out there?" I hear Pope ask, deep in his thoughts. "Like, no bullshit?"
John B shrugs. "My father thought it was."
"But do you?"
The low grumble of thunder sounds above our heads, somehow only making this night even more peaceful. Luckily it hasn't started raining, letting the thunder be nothing but a soft lullaby hum.
"After hearing his voice on that tape..." When I look up, I see John B is looking straight at me. He wears a small smile and nods his head. "I think I do."
"Only one way to find out."
"Look, we're gonna find it, you know? Even JJ believes."
I look up from my spot, craning my neck to smirk at the blonde in front of me. "Oh my God, JJ, do you really believe?"
"Totally," JJ says, craning his neck up to look at the rest of us, his eyebrows scrunched together. "Wait. Are we walking about four mil?"
"Four hundred mil," Pope and Kie say at the same time.
"Jinx," Kie laughs and playfully punches Pope in the shoulder.
"I'm gonna dream about shipwrecks," JJ says, more to himself but the rest of us hear him and laugh.
When I glance at him again, his eyes are closed but his fingers still dance against my skin. He's grinning softly. He looks so peaceful, so relaxed. It sounds creepy but I love to look at JJ when he's asleep or close to it. He's safe and comfortable and most importantly, happy. Well as happy as you can be when you sleep.
"Good night, Bird!" He says playfully, smirking to himself.
John B is quick to reply, "Good night, bird shit."
We all fall asleep right there, outside, surrounded by the fire and each other. The tranquility and calmness of the night is enough to make me forget everything that happened earlier in the day. I don't think about Rafe or the bump on Pope's head or how John B was fired. Its just me and my friends with a dream of being rich by the end of the month. And that leaves me with the best dreams.
~ ~ ~
The next morning we set out with Heyward's boat and the drone...or whatever Pope called it. JJ is in charge of steering the boat while Pope and John B pay attention to the screen, directing JJ which way to turn. Meanwhile, Kie and I will tether the drone down the ocean. I'm in charge of counting how many feet of rope we have left until we're out.
"You don't have to wear your sunglasses you know," Kie says as John B and Pope surround the drone while JJ takes us to the coordinates my dad wrote down on the map. "We all saw the mark yesterday."
When I woke up this morning, the green and yellow bruises turned dark purple against my cheek. I tried covering it with concealer but the shadow of the bruise still peaks through.
John B was relentless. When everyone went home to change for today, he pestered me with questions. Who did it? Why? I thought you were at work? Why don't I believe you? I didn't say anything because I didn't want to throw Pope under the bus. Kie and John B still don't know that he was hurt, his bruises and the bump on his head were easier to hide.
So I told him what I told Kie. Mr. C was cleaning the back room at The Wreck and I ran into one of the pushed out shelves without even looking. My eye hit the corner and Mr. C sent me home straight after. John B bought the lie a lot more than Kie did. It didn't help that I chose a lie that involved her dad at a shift she knew I wasn't at. But I was less worried about Kie knowing what happened. She knows my past with Rafe, which I know always worries her as if she was my mother, but she won't go out of her way to find Rafe and beat the crap out of him. I can't say the same about John B.
I shrug my shoulders nonchalantly. I don't want to talk about it, especially with my brother right behind me. "I know. I always wear my sunglasses on the boat," I say.
"Then why are you squinting?"
"Because I'm trying to read your mind," Kie says seriously.
I sigh and turn towards her with a huff like a temperamental teenager. "I told you. I ran into a shelf."
"My dad said you weren't even at The Wreck yesterday."
"Well then maybe your dad should get his eyes checked."
"Let it go, Kie," I say with more finality to my voice. Like I said, I don't want to talk about it. Not now, and presumably not ever.
Kie looks hurt, but not because my words were a little forceful but because she can read me like an open book. Because she's my best friend and can read between the lines. She knows I'm not mad at her but mad at what happened and that's why I refuse to relive it by telling her the details. She can put two and two together. She doesn't need me to fill in the blanks. Plus, without talking about it, I don't have to worry about accidentally spilling the beans about Pope.
"All right, JJ. Pin it here," John B says.
"Roger that!" JJ yells from the cabin. "X marks the spot. All right ladies and gentlemen. To going full Kook."
"All right," John B nods. "JJ, we're right over it. Ten seconds northwest."
"Got it! Ten seconds northwest!" JJ calls back to let John B know he heard him.
Kie starts lowering the rope down into the water. I pay attention to the white marks on the tether that indicate every 100 feet. When the first line disappears into the water, I mark it down on the side of the boat with some chalk.
"One hundred feet!" I yell back.
I hear Pope gasp behind me at the screen, causing me to turn around and my heart to pause mid beat in my chest. There's no way he saw something. That would be way too quick.
John B runs back to him and looks at the monitor. "What? What? What?"
Pope shakes his head. "Sorry I thought -"
My brother sighs, "Don't do that to me, man. Come on bro!"
"My bad. I just thought I saw..."
"Four hundred feet!" Kie calls out.
I snap my head in the direction of the rope and sigh. "Sorry," I say. I mark three more tallies next to the previous one and keep my eyes on the water.
Above me, the sky rumbles with thunder. I bite my lip nervously and look back at the water that's getting more choppy by the second.
"The tide's turning!" JJ yells at us, echoing my thoughts.
"Hey JJ?" John B calls out.
"Ten seconds easy. South-southeast!"
"JJ, twenty seconds mid-speed, all right?" John B says again. "South!"
"Copy that! Aye, aye!"
"Come on," John B mumbles to himself. He looks up but looks at Kie and I. "Keep the tether out of the prop!"
"I'm trying!" Kie yells back with a grunt.
"JJ keep going!" John B yells.
JJ turns the wheel and looks over his shoulder at my brother. "John B is that good?"
"We're good!" John B confirms.
I mark a couple more tallies with the chalk. I squint from the wind that's starting to blow harder. If we don't find the shipwreck soon, we're going to lose the tether to the storm.
"Okay. Seven hundred feet!" I yell.
"JJ hold it steady!" John B calls out.
"Nine hundred feet!" I tally two more marks.
"JJ, we'll turtle in this storm!"
"Nine-twenty!" I shout. To who? I don't really know but I hope one of the boys is listening to me.
"Crank it North by Northwest!" John B yells again. His shouts are muffled by the wind. "Ten seconds!"
"Pope, how are we doing?" I yell.
"Almost there," Pope tells me.
"There's too much current," Kie says. "We're gonna lose it!"
Another crackle of thunder rings out above us. I glance up and notice the sky is another shade of dark grey.
"South, Southwest, JJ! Hard!" John B yells.
I can hear the monitor beeping behind me, causing me to turn around and try to read Pope and John B's faces. They're both entranced by the screen. If they get any closer, they'll be kissing it.
"Half speed. Steady at this bearing, JJ!" John B says again. "What do you got Pope? Come on, man. What do you see?"
"Nothin," Pope says with a grumble. "A whole lot of nothing."
"You should be right above it, brother." John B says, then looks at me. "Marleigh!"
"Nine sixty!" I answer, knowing his question without having to hear it. Another ten feet. "Nine seventy!" Another. "Nine eighty!"
Kie's hand comes to an abrupt stop. "I'm at the bottom! I'm at the bottom!"
"Okay, steady here, JJ!" John B says. "Steady here. Quarter speed, all right?" He turns back to Pope. "You should be seeing something, man."
"I know, I know!" Pope says frustratingly. Then his body freezes up and his face jumps closer to the screen, his nose almost right against it. "Wait. Wait!"
I can't help myself. I pull myself away from Kie and the tether and run up to the boys, taking the other side of Pope. I narrow my eyes at the monitor and watch something other than a dark screen come into view.
"See anything?" JJ calls back to us.
The Royal Merchant slowly comes into view as the drone sweeps over it. It's broken into large pieces and covered in algae and rusticles. The golden mermaid pillar stands tall at the front point of the ship, something I've seen a thousand times in pictures.
A smile breaks out on my face. My dad wasn't crazy. He found the Royal Merchant and the proof is right here in front of my eyes. I wish he was here to see it. I wish he was the one to say he found it. The thought dampens my good mood slightly but I push it to the back of my head.
"It's the Royal Merchant," John B says with a smile.
Kie runs over to us and stands behind me, peering over my shoulder. I hold my breath, waiting for the gold to appear inside the wreckage. Every second that ticks by feels like an hour as we wait. My smile quivers down into a straight line and I glance at Pope to see if maybe he's seeing something that I'm not, but he looks just as unenthusiastic, as does John B and eventually Kie.
John B's the first one to speak. His voice pierces the air like a gun shot. "It's not there."
I feel like my breath was cracked out of my chest from the disappointment. All my hope that I poured into finding this gold, gone. The dreams my friends and I concocted to keep us excited, squashed.
I should have known this would happen. Nothing ever really goes our way on this side of the island, why should this be any different?
"Look, just - just pull the drone up," John B sighs and runs his fingers through his hair, turning away from us.
"Shit." Kie shakes her head and walks back to our side of the boat.
"Look, we can do another pass, recharge the battery!" Pope tries to sound convincing and optimistic and I love him for that. But it's not there. And it won't be when we recharge the battery again. "We can - we can go back down."
"We've done it three times," JJ says from behind the wheel. He's turned so he's looking back at us, one hand on the wheel. He shakes his head. "There's nothing there."
"Shut up!" Kie yells at him.
"What? It's true!" JJ says defensively.
"The gold could be buried," Kie yells, turning to John B and I. She's trying to be positive too, holding on to hope that she should probably let go. "We don't know!"
"If it was there, it would've been found on the metal detector, okay?" I say, making everyone turn to look at me. "Either somebody beat us to it or it was never there."
Not liking the stares I was receiving, I walk into the cabin and lay on the bench near JJ. The lack of gold only leaves me with more questions than answers. More dread than confidence. Dad didn't find the gold so he somehow found a way to make sure John B and I did. Since he's not here, I can only assume that he's dead - possibly murdered. What if he died for nothing? Because we still couldn't find what he spent the second half of his life looking for.
The ride back to the shore is silent. Everyone's too busy letting their brain run wild with their own questions that will stay unanswered.
~ ~ ~
John B drops me off at The Wreck for my afternoon shift. I'm still upset about the gold, but I try not to let it get the best of me or my day. I'm exhausted and so sick of being sad and disappointed all the time. So I'm not going to think about it. I'm going to focus on the customers who come in and try my best to butter them up so they give me a big enough tip to cover both mine and John B's asses until he gets a new job.
"Listen Mr. C, I'm telling you, once you get that liquor license, you're gonna roll in green paper," I tell Kie's dad. I'm leaning over the breakfast bar as he sits on the other side, looking at his receipts. "Margaritas are a girl's best friend in the summer. We can make pina coladas and daiquiris in the blender. Sell one of those bad boys for like eight dollars and you're rich. A bottle of cheap tequila and rum run like fifteen-twenty dollars." Mr. C gives me a pointed look. I smile innocently and play dumb. "...So I've heard."
"What about the kids with fake IDs?" He asks with a quirked brow.
"They drink for free on Thursdays," I shrug innocently and smirk when he shakes his head with disapproval but there's a hint of a grin on his lips. "We'll teach your other employees how to spot a fake."
"I happen to have seen a lot of fake ID's. Some of them worse than others." I say. Mr. C opens his mouth to say something but I quickly shut him up. "And before you ask, no. Kie does not have a fake ID."
"What about you?"
I purse my lips and push myself back to stand up straight. "Well I use to until the guy at the Beer and Beverage store down the road cut it in half like a declined credit card."
Mr. C rolls his eyes and stands up from his spot too. "I'll think about it. Your proposal's not bad. Your presentation could use some work."
"I could come in with a powerpoint presentation next time. And I volunteer to taste test all the liquor before we sell them." At this point Mr. C is already walking away from me. "We don't want to sell bad product!"
"I've got to run out for a bit. You okay here on your own?"
"Do I get to bring home the left overs?"
Mr. C leaves with just a wave of his hand and his back turned to me. I smirk to myself as I make my way to the kitchen. Mr. C's hard to read. Some days I think he likes me and other days I think he wishes Kie never met me. But I like messing with him sometimes. He just has to be in the right mood for it. That conversation we had? Was the most playful conversation we've ever had.
Throughout the day a couple of tables come in to sit down. Business has been slower because of Hurricane Agatha. We get more take out orders than dine-in seats. That means less money for me but at least we get to close the store earlier and I have more time to spend with my friends.
I walk down to the docks to give a family on a rental boat their take out food. I can immediately tell that they're tourons and their tip proves it. Not that I'm complaining. Tourons usually tip more than the average Outer Banks resident.
When I walk back into the restaurant, I stop in my tracks and my breath hitches in my throat. It's Rafe and his friends. Topper, Kelce, and someone I recognize but couldn't care less to learn his name. When Rafe spots me in the doorway, he smirks and waves his hand.
I look at the clock hanging off the wall above the doorway to the kitchen. We're still open for another hour.
With a heavy sigh, I approach their table with my pen and paper. I try to keep my face as blank as possible. I didn't need him to see that I was still deathly afraid to be around him, especially when I told myself I wouldn't be anymore. But that's a lot easier said than done. I hate him when he's not around and I fear him when he is.
"Let me guess. Four waters and a side of self respect?" I force a smirk that quickly drops.
Rafe laughs humorlessly and slaps his menu closed. "I'll have water, the fish and chips, and some answers."
"Do you want cocktail or tartar sauce with that?" I ask, ignoring his third request.
"We just want to know which one of you did it?" Rafe says.
I clench my teeth together but I keep my facial expressions blank. I know exactly what he's talking about but I'm not going to give anything away. I'm not going to give Pope away.
"I'm sorry. I can't read your mind, especially through your thick skull. I'm gonna need a few more details." It's how I would have responded if I was truly clueless.
"Which one of you scumbags sank my boat?" Topper says through clenched teeth. Anger shakes in his voice and his jawline is as sharp as a knife. His eyes are murderous and for a split second, I'm scared of him too. I understand why he's pissed. He's going to be without a boat for a couple days but it's nothing his family can't fix by the end of this week.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," I say. JJ's voice rings in my head. Deny, deny, deny.
"I know it was you. You and your friends."
"Like how I know you and your friend," I glance at Rafe and my words taste like acid. "Jumped me and my friend yesterday?" Rafe chuckles at me which only makes me angrier. "Besides, if I wanted to get back at you for hurting my best friend I wouldn't do something that mommy and daddy Thornton could fix with a swipe of their credit card."
Topper stands up with a jolt, almost knocking the table over. He takes another step closer to me and I force myself to stand still, to act tough even if all I wanna do is run away.
The abrupt chaos forces one of the cooks to poke their head out from the kitchen. I give him a look that tells him to stay there. Topper has a temper but he's not dumb enough to pick a physical fight in a public restaurant where he can easily be caught.
Rafe chuckles against pressed lips. He walks around to stand next to Topper and gently nudges him away. "It doesn't matter. We'll figure it out. But don't say we didn't warn you."
Rafe nods his head to the exit where his friends follow him out. I exhale the deep breath that I've been holding since they got here and look at the exit way they just disappeared. They know, and we're screwed.
~ ~ ~
I don't text John B to pick me up when my shift is done. A walk home would clear my head and I think that's what I need until the anxiety that creeps through my skin dissipates into a thin blanket of calm.
I keep my head down until the road becomes a rocky gravel crunching under my sneakers. The last thing I want is to attract more Kook attention. When I finally make it home, my feet come to a halt. There's a police car sitting at the top of the driveway, right outside the Chateau.
"Shit," I curse to myself and whip my body behind a thick tree trunk off the side of the road.
Keeping my body covered by the trees, I circle around my neighbor's house until I'm in their back yard. I walk down towards the docks, hidden by the downward hill. I army crawl up the grass like a freaking sniper in one of those army video games. I push my back against the siding of my house right underneath my window. I've sneaked in and out of this house far too many times in the last couple of years. I know the tricks to not getting caught, even if it's by the police.
I push my window up and pause my movements, listening for another voice or a set of footsteps in my house. After waiting two minutes, I push myself through my window into my room. I think there's only one cop and he's waiting in his car, which make me think he's waiting for me to show up.
I change into a pair of jeans and a halter top. Kie's making the boys and I go to an outdoor movie with her on Figure Eight so I ditch the bathing suit for the rest of the day. I grab my backpack from my closet and shove some clothes and bathing suits in there. Looks like Kie has found herself a new roommate until I can figure out why the department has Bozo chilling outside my door.
I inch my bedroom door open and wait for a voice to mention it. But nothing happens so I push myself through and walk to the other side of the house to John B's room.
His room is a mess. Nothing new here, but it's more disorganized than usual. Some of his clothes hang out of his drawers and the top of his desk is clear of picture frames and some of Dad's old books.
My gut twists with an unsettling feeling. I walk to the other side of his bed and open his nightstand and smirk to myself when I find my favorite bandana of his tucked away in the back corner. He use to hide it from me because I would always steal it, using it for headbands and wearing it around my neck like he does.
I snicker to myself and tie the the tie-die bandana around my head, making a knot right at my hair line. When I'm about to turn and make my getaway, I see something poking out from under John B's pillow. The corner of a piece of paper. I swipe it from his bed and see John B's handwriting. I flip it over and grin at the picture of John B, Dad, and I fishing on the dock when we were about ten years old. John B has a small fish attached to his line and I'm sitting on my dad's lap with the biggest smile on my face. I remember that day like it was yesterday. It ended with me catching the biggest fish and my dad trying to hide his smile while he shushed me when I wouldn't stop bragging to John B about it.
I read the note on the back, biting my lip in anticipation.
Rocket, if you're reading this than you've managed to side pass the DCS that's posted outside waiting for you. I can't say I'm surprised. You were always light on your feet. I, however, ran straight into Cheryl. I have no choice but to go with her, but don't worry about me. I'm not going to let them take me. Not even to the station. I'll find you as soon as I get out. Be smart until then, Mar. You're all I got left. - Bird.
I sit down on the edge of his bed and read the note over and over again. DCS. They know about Uncle T living in Mississippi. They're going to take us away. Put us in foster care.
Growing up on the Cut you learn your way around the law. You learn how to talk your way out of things and if that doesn't work, you find a way to escape. Then you run. John B may be the better Routledge sibling. Better grades, better attitude, better ethics. But he's done his fair share of running out of trouble. Literally. I know he's going to find a way out of it.
I shove the photo in the backpack with my other things and hop out of his window. I make my escape with the same route I used coming in.
Instead of going straight to Kie's house, I walk to JJ's. His house is the closest to mine and after the day I've had, all I wanna do is just see him. He makes my day instantly better even if he doesn't realize it. Whether it be from the stupid jokes he makes or the stories he tells, he finds a way to make me smile even when all I want to do is hide away.
I approach his yard slowly, keeping an eye out for his dad's truck that's usually parked outside. JJ's made it clear that he doesn't want anyone at his house when his Dad's around. The others think it's just because he doesn't get along with his Dad. That he doesn't want them to see he and his dad argue. Although this is true, I'm the only one who knows just how far the argument can go.
I jump back when I hear the echoing of a gun go off in the backyard. Fear ignites through me when the worst train of thought comes to my mind. Just because Luke Maybank's car isn't here, doesn't mean he isn't home.
I push myself around the side of his house, cursing myself out for being stupid if it really is something this serious. Yeah, Marleigh, just walk into a gun fight with nothing but a backpack of clothes on you. That's smart. But right now, I don't care. If there is even a possibility of JJ being hurt, I'm going to do my best to get him away from the situation.
However, my fear is quickly turned to relief when I see it's just JJ standing outside with Scooter's gun aimed at a stuffed teddy bear on a wooden post a few yards away. He's wearing protective ear muffs and goggles, dressed in the same clothes I last saw him in.
He doesn't see me coming, so I stand to the side and wait for him to put the gun down. Last thing I want to do is startle him into accidentally shooting me.
After firing a couple more rounds, he lowers the gun and takes off the head gear.
"Damn, what did the bear ever do to you?" I tease as I lean my side against his house.
JJ whips around. His eyes are wide with surprise when he sees me but they quickly soften when he realizes it's just his friend and not some stranger or police officer.
"That bear deserves every bullet," JJ says, pointing his gun at the bear like he would his index finger. "What are you doing here? I told you you shouldn't come here."
"Don't worry I made sure your dad wasn't here," I say, walking closer to him. I cross my arms over my chest. "Though, I wish you would just let me see him so I can knock some sense into him."
"I know you do," JJ says. I notice his jaw tighten and his hand clench harder around the gun. "Which is why I don't like you coming here and getting ideas."
"Don't worry. I'll respect your wishes...for now. Besides, no Mr. Maybank means no rules and I'm allowed here whenever I please."
"Whenever you please?" JJ repeats with raised brows. There's now a teasing tone in his voice and a hint of a smile on his lips.
I don't like seeing him on edge when it comes to talking about his father. I know how he feels about me seeing his dad and I don't want to jeopardize JJ's safety and make it worse by confronting his Dad. Sometimes I don't believe I could ever do it. Fighting JJ's dad, whether it be verbally or physically, sounds incredibly stupid when it's not in the heat of the moment. Hell, I can barely stand up to Rafe, someone I hate almost just as much. But when I think about JJ being hurt...when I see the marks his dad leaves on his son's body...I feel murderous. All I want to do is get to him with no one stopping me and beat the shit out of him. But JJ's always there to ground me. To hold me and tell me he doesn't want to see me get hurt either. Even when he's falling apart in agony, he manages to worry about me. It just proves how loyal he is to all of his friends, to me. A kid like that doesn't deserve the beatings he gets.
I ignore the pang of guilt in my chest that always appears when I think about JJ's living conditions and force a smile on my face. "Yes. Whenever I please. Which happens to be now."
"What's with the backpack?" JJ asks, pointing to the bag on my back.
"There's a cop waiting for me outside my house to take me to foster care. So I grabbed what I could and ran like hell. I'll probably crash at Kie's until I think of a better plan than hiding for the next year and a half."
"Hm," JJ hums like he's deep in thought about what I just said. "You think there's a reward for turning you in?"
I fein offense and place a hand over my heart. "You would turn me in? And here I thought you were my best friend."
"Look, all I'm saying is a face like yours is definitely worth at least six to seven figures, if not more. I could do a lot with that kind of money."
"And here I thought you might think I was priceless," I play along.
"Oh, don't worry. There's no number that could ever describe what you're worth to me. However, if I'm being honest, I don't think the cops like you as much as I do."
I bite down on my bottom lip to suppress the growing smile, but it's impossible. His words send butterflies swarming around my stomach and my heart race. I want to come up with something witty back but I can't. My brain has turned to mush and all I can think about is closing the space between us.
Instead I cough awkwardly and look down at my feet. Who is this girl? Certainly not the confident and tough woman I grew up to be. It's crazy how easily JJ can turn me into something else. Something more...vulnerable? Soft? I don't know if I like it. Maybe I love it.
"Wanna teach me how to shoot?" I ask, changing the subject and directing the attention towards the gun.
"Really? I thought you didn't like that I had the gun?"
"Sometimes I don't. But when you inevitably die from doing something stupid, I'm going to have to take over as the protector of this group."
"Really?" JJ says like he doesn't believe me.
"Yes, really. Pope won't do it and Kie's too smart to do it. And I don't trust John B's aim."
JJ chuckles. "Fine. Here."
He pulls the ear muffs off his neck and places them over my head. I push one of the muffs against the back of my ear so I can still hear him until it's time for me to shoot. I slide the eye goggles over my eyes and he turns me around so we're facing the bear.
"Wait." I say when I look directly at the bear. Its dark brown, it's 'fur' matted and torn in different places. The thing looks like it needs a deep clean wash. Probably reeks of mildew and mold. There's a pink and blue medal around it's neck, the brighter colors popping against the disgusting brown. It's missing an eye and there's a distinct "M" and "C" written on both feet. "Is that my teddy bear?"
"What? No." JJ says too quickly and shakes his head.
I walk closer to it and narrow my eyes in it's direction. "Yes, JJ! That's totally my teddy bear! It's been missing for almost three years! I wrote that 'M' on it's right foot."
I'm not mad that JJ took my teddy bear. If anything, I'm just confused and also very amused. I went on a date with a guy named Cole when I was thirteen. He took me to the local carnival and won the bear for me by throwing a ball into a stack of bottles. The whole thing was very cliche, but I remember having a great time and really liking him.
"Okay, fine I took him," JJ finally admits and grimaces at my shocked expression. "But only because the thing wouldn't stop staring at me every time I came over."
"JJ. It's a teddy bear. You could have thrown it in my closet or something."
"Besides, you were so upset after that guy left, I thought getting rid of the bear would help you forget about him. Out of sight, out of mind."
Cole's dad got a new job that required him to move with his family to Charleston, South Carolina. I was really sad when he left. I was a naive thirteen year old who really thought she was going to love this boy. I was devastated when our time together was cut short. JJ was there to help me through it. He tried telling me Cole wasn't worth my tears and that my person was out there somewhere. 'He's probably closer than you think. Closer than Charleston.' I didn't believe him at first. At the time, all I wanted was Cole. But as time progressed and I grew closer to JJ, I realized he was right.
"I can't believe you remember that," I say. It's all I can really think about. I didn't realize JJ cared so much back then about how I felt.
"Of course I remember that. You cried for like three weeks."
"Shut up. No I didn't." I punch him in the shoulder and laugh. Blush rises up to my cheeks at the embarrassing memory. Thirteen year old me really thought her future husband left her for Charleston.
"Yes you did. But that's okay 'cause now you can take out all your anger from that time out on the bear. Here, let me show you." JJ walks up behind me and kicks his foot between mine. "Spread your legs further apart -"
"Wow, J, at least buy me dinner first," I joke, even though I don't mean it. I would drop in a second if that's what JJ wanted.
"Shut up," JJ says through a grin. "Okay. Then," JJ reaches around me from behind. His chest is pressed against my back and I'm finding it harder to concentrate. His fingers work down my arms until they're at my elbows. He pushes them up so my arms are aligned with my shoulders. "Now keep one hand here and the other...good right there." I try to ignore how his fingers burn against my skin or how his breath feels like fire against my neck. "Then when you think you've got the shot, then fire."
"Now?" I say, my voice close to cracking.
"Now," He whispers next to my ear.
My head slowly turns away from my target towards his voice. His face is so close to mine that our noses almost brush up against each other. I can't help but stare at his lips. Light pink, soft and so close to mine. He smells like mowed grass, weed, and a hint of spearmint gum. His breath touches me like a wave of warmth running down my body.
My eyes flicker up to his, noticing how he's looking down at my lips too before glancing up at my eyes. My heart pounds against my ribcage as if urging me to push myself into him. And I almost do, until Pope's voice jumps out of nowhere, startling me enough to accidentally clench around the trigger of the gun. The bullet shoots out into the woods, completely missing the bear. At least it wasn't Pope.
JJ jumps away from me and I immediately drop the gun. I press my hand against my chest to steady my racing heart that's no longer caused by the closeness between JJ and I but at the fact that I just fired a gun without paying attention.
My head snaps in Pope's direction I glare daggers at him. "Jesus, Pope. You can't scare people like that when they're holding a gun."
Pope's so distracted by his own thoughts that he doesn't hear me or say anything about what he almost just walked in on. He's pacing back and forth in front of us with his fingers raking through his short hair.
"They know," Pope mumbles, mostly to himself but loud enough for JJ and I to hear.
"What?" JJ says, but I know exactly what he's talking about. After they left the Wreck, the Kooks must've went to Heyward's to see Pope.
"They know," Pope repeats. "They know!"
"All right, chill, bro. All right?" JJ approaches him. "They don't know shit!"
"Topper knows I sunk his boat."
"How do you know they know?"
"Because Rafe and Topper posted outside of Heyward's and mad dogged me."
"Will you calm down and get a grip, man?" JJ slaps his hands on Pope's shoulders and shakes him. "They don't know shit."
I bite my lip and raise my hand, grimacing. "Actually, I think Pope's right." This has JJ and Pope snap around to look at me. "They came into the Wreck earlier and they made it crystal clear that they think one of us did it."
I look over at JJ and quickly glance back at Pope. Only a minute ago, I wanted nothing but to be pressed against JJ's skin, now I can barely look at him without my cheeks heating up.
"Wait, they talked to you?" JJ says, taking a step closer to me. "What did they say? Did they touch you?"
I could see the anger growing on his face. I quickly shake my head. "No, but they weren't exactly happy when I wouldn't give them answers."
"They have cameras," Pope says. "They could've seen me."
"There was no power," JJ says. "How could they have seen you?"
Pope shrugs, "It's Figure Eight. They got generators. They don't give scholarships to kids who vengefully sink boats. It's not a good look on my transcript."
"Enough with the regret bro!" JJ snaps. "They caved your face in! They hurt Marleigh! They hit us, we hit them. It's the law of the jungle." His voice softens. "Now, if any Kooks come up to you and ask if you had anything to do with it, you walk up to them, look 'em in the eye, and..."
JJ stops, waiting for Pope to finish the sentence. "Deny the living shit out of it," Pope says quickly, making me smile.
"That's right," JJ smiles. "Deny, deny, deny. But just for safety, we don't go anywhere without protection." JJ holds up the gun I dropped earlier and wickedly smiles. Pope glances between the gun and JJ before swallowing thickly and nodding. "Right?"
I roll my eyes somewhat playfully. One of these days, I'm afraid JJ might get too excited and accidentally actually shoot someone. But for the first time since finding the gun, Pope is actually comforted by the the thought of having the gun near him. Just in case.
"We should go," I say. Both of them look at me. "Kie's expecting us at her house in like twenty minutes."
Tag List: @notyourcupofteax @acvross-the-universe @realistic-breadstick @jjmaybankzz @jeeperky @urbinoutfiters @moniamaybank @brebear121 @x-lulu @freddymaybank @jjpouggues @kkmikayla @folkloverr @alexa-playafricabytoto
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The River Runs Deep, Chapter 3
Also available on AO3
Rating: Teen & Up
Summary: Loki always keeps to himself, never attending group social events with the other Avengers. Is it because that’s what he wants, or because that’s what he thinks everyone else wants? You’re determined to draw him out of his self-imposed isolation and into the group.
Warnings: Mild language, maybe? Do we need warnings for “ass”? Also, a mortifying but short-lived misunderstanding, and romantic fluff.
My Loki Fic Masterlist
Nat caught you grabbing coffee in a breakroom a few days later.
“Hey, what’s the story between you and Loki?”
A sharp stab of jealousy pierced you as you wondered why she was asking. She was gorgeous and clever and sexy and knew how to attract a man’s attention. If she wanted Loki, she’d probably be able to have him wrapped around her little finger in seconds.
“Um, what? He- we’re friends. What? Why? What?” you babbled as she watched you, an amused grin on her lips and an eyebrow raised.
“Are you sure you’re nothing more than that?”
“Nope, the path is clear,” you answered, your heart sinking into your stomach.
“Oh, I don’t think so, honey. I’ve seen the way he looks at you, and you at him. I’ve watched him light up when you walk into a room. I just wanted to know if either of you had been smart enough to act on it by now. So no making out yet?”
You knew your cheeks were a deep pink, but you braved it out.
“Okay, here’s what we’re going to do…”
“Are you free this Saturday?” you asked Loki later that night.
“As far as I am aware, yes.”
“How do you feel about virtual reality?”
“With regard to what?” he asked, his brow furrowed.
“There’s a VR place in town with a bunch of different things to do. I wondered if you might want to go there with me on Saturday afternoon, and then out for dinner that evening. Just us.”
Your heart was pounding as you’d broached the subject. You were really doing it. You were asking Loki out. On a date.
Loki’s face broke into an easy smile, and your blood pressure began to go down, although your heart was still beating like you’d just run up a dozen flights of stairs.
“That sounds delightful. What time would we need to leave?”
“Very good. I’ll come by your place.”
A nervous current of excitement ran through you at the thought that you’d just made a date with Loki for two days from now. You wanted to screech with a giddy elation but managed to tamp it down as you smiled at Loki and told him you’d see him later.
And if the elevator was empty and no one was around to hear you except for F.R.I.D.A.Y. when you finally let that giddy screech out, who was to know?
There was a knock on your door at four on the dot. You shushed Wanda and Nat and went to open it. They had wanted to help you get ready, Nat working on your makeup while Wanda gave you perfectly tousled curls. When they were done, they wore matching smirks.
“Loki won’t be able to keep his eyes off of you tonight,” said Wanda.
“Or, with any luck, his hands,” said Nat.
“Natasha! This is their first date. Do not rush things. They’re very sweet. It’s okay if they take their time.”
Nat shrugged, the smirk not leaving her face.
Now they hid in your bedroom as you went to the door and opened it. Loki stood there in his tall, slender yet muscular glory, looking every bit the god that he was. He had on a pair of dark wash jeans that molded to his muscular thighs, encasing them enticingly. You were betting his ass looked really good in them, too. The emerald henley he wore made his eyes look a beautiful shade of green.
Those eyes stared at you without speaking for a few moments. You shifted your weight from one foot to the other, but he still wasn’t saying anything, and you wondered if something was wrong.
He gave his head a quick shake. “My apologies. Are you ready to go to this ‘VR place’ you spoke of?”
“Absolutely! Let’s head out.”
Your heart was pounding as you walked to the elevator. This was a new step in your friendship with Loki and you weren’t quite sure how to proceed. And he hadn’t said anything about your appearance, which made you wonder if he liked the look or not. But he was at ease with you as he always had been, and you soon loosened up, finding it easy to talk to him as you took the subway to VR World.
You bought two 2-hour passes, making Loki put away his money when he started to pay for his. “I invited you, so I’m paying.” He gave you a tiny frown but assented.
There were so many things to do that you had a hard time choosing. You shot down the zombie-themed one. “Zombies freak me out. I know they’re not real, but they feel real.” The post-apocalyptic game had mutants that were too creepy for your comfort, so that one was also out.
You started with Elven Assassin. Of course, Loki was absolutely amazing at it, even though a bow and arrow was usually Clint’s domain. But you were no slouch. Skippering old-fashioned ships as pirate captains in a fantasy naval combat game was your next choice, and Loki leaned into the role of pirate with gusto. You found it sexy, even though he was supposed to be your opponent. It was hard not to want your ship to be boarded, despite your deep competitive streak. There was an art experience that let you paint virtual creations, an escape room set in a haunted house (Loki had far too much fun adding extra scares to that one), and a silly game where you sliced through fruit with a katana.
The final thing you two tried was one of the immersive films, which took you below the surface of the ocean. It was amazing to see things as if you were really there. Sea turtles, rays, seals, and brilliantly colored fish surrounded you. When you touched the sea anemones on the coral reefs, they closed. You hopped onto virtual underwater scooters and could move around throughout the world. You and Loki stayed near one another in the virtual ocean, tapping each other to point out something special when you saw something particularly cool. You almost didn’t want to leave that exhibit, but you didn’t want to miss your reservation for dinner.
The sun was beginning to set when you walked out of VR World. The Italian restaurant you’d picked was less than half a mile away, so the two of you headed there on foot, enjoying the slight breeze. The sunlight was illuminating Loki’s skin and shimmering on the sleek black hair that fell past his shoulders as you walked alongside each other. He really was astonishingly beautiful, and you kept stealing glances at him, feeling his eyes on you at other times. It still blew your mind that he had accepted when you had asked him out.
Your breath caught in your throat when Loki’s fingers brushed against yours. After the two of you brushed hands two more times, you took a chance, slipping your hand into his.
You could feel Loki’s eyes on you as you kept walking, and you turned your head to see a surprised look on his face. Then he smiled at you, his hand closing over yours. He seemed pleased that you had made the first move, but his confusion was puzzling.
Dinner was delicious, a short rib and bone marrow agnolotti for you, and nero tagliolini, a squid ink pasta with lobster, for Loki. The two of you looked over the dessert menu and decided to split the chocolate cake with banana toffee sauce. You were surprised that Loki didn’t want his own, but sharing it was perfect in your estimation after that hearty meal of pasta. You were struck anew by how easy things had been with him this evening. You’d been afraid that it might feel awkward, but then again, building a relationship on a friendship was often a really great way to start.
As you waited for the dessert to arrive, Loki glanced down at the napkin in his lap. When he looked back up at you, he looked nervous.
“I wanted to thank you. For making me feel more welcome at home. I know it was your influence and the way you showed such acceptance of me that caused the others to start doing the same. I truly feel as if I belong now. I am genuinely grateful to you.”
His index finger was drawing anxious circles on the tablecloth as he spoke, and you finally reached over and took his hand, wanting to ease those nerves of his.
“Loki, you’re a wonderful man. Well, not man. God? Being? Anyway, you’re wonderful! And once you were ready to be a part of things, you would have found your way in regardless, and the others would have welcomed you, whether or not I was there to do anything. Not that I did anything special-”
“Oh, but you did, sætleik. You ought not to discount yourself in such a way. You have a gift for making people feel included and wanted. You set them at ease, and you smooth over awkwardness and divisions, and you make things that once seemed insurmountable feel possible. You are very special.”
You squeezed his hand as he finished speaking, feeling your eyes start to well up a little. The arrival of dessert saved you, and the two of you dug into it, using your enthusiasm for chocolate as a shield for the emotions that had been brought to the surface for you both.
When the check came, he tried to grab it, but for once, you were quicker than him. “I already told you that I invited you, so I’m paying.”
“Very well. But next time, it will be my treat.”
Your stomach gave a flip. Loki was already planning on a next time? You’d been having a great time with him, but knowing that he was enjoying himself enough to already want a second date was exhilarating.
It wasn’t a long walk back to the Tower and the evening was still pleasant, so you walked back. Loki gave you a sidelong glance as his fingers brushed yours, and you took his hand once more.
He walked you back to your place, and you thought about inviting him in. But you thought it was best for both of you to take things slowly, and you didn’t know how easy that would be if he was twenty feet away from your bed. There was something sweetly old-fashioned about how it was progressing, and you wanted to savor it a little while longer before taking things to the next level.
But that didn’t mean you weren’t ready to feel his mouth on yours.
“I should probably head inside, try to get some sleep.”
Loki inclined his head. “I enjoyed this evening very much. We shall have to do this again soon.” His eyes slid down to your mouth, then quickly back up to meet yours.
You shuffled from one foot to another, but Loki made no move to kiss you. You guessed he was leaving it to you to decide when you were ready, but you’d been waiting long enough.
You stepped closer to him, slipped a hand behind his head, and pulled him down to you gently. You slotted your mouth over his, giving him a short, sweet kiss that held the promise of your future together. As you stepped back, you could see the look of puzzlement on his face once again.
“What? What’s wrong? You didn’t like it?” you asked, worried.
“I did, but I am confused about why you kissed me.”
“First dates often end with kisses. Was that too soon?”
“We were on a date?” he asked, his look of confusion deepening.
“What do you mean? Of course we were on a date. Did you- did you not know that?”
“No, I assure you I did not.”
“But I asked you out,” you said, the sinking feeling in your stomach beginning to deepen.
“You never said date, sætleik. I thought we were spending time together as we always do.”
“My hair and makeup were different. Nat and Wanda helped me.”
“I thought you looked beautiful when I picked you up, but I always think you look beautiful, darling.”
“I paid for things.”
“You told me it was because you were the one who had done the inviting, sweetling.”
“I held your hand. Multiple times!”
“I will admit that had me bewildered. But I liked it, the physical closeness, and I did not want to question it. I considered myself fortunate, dearest.”
“Oh my god, I’m so embarrassed. I’m the only one who knew we were on a date tonight.” You started to turn away to flee into the safety of your apartment, but he caught your hand and pulled you back to face him.
“My only regret is that I did not also know. I would have been far more flirtatious with you if I had,” he said with a wicked smile.
You looked into Loki’s eyes, afraid to believe what he was telling you. “You would have?”
“Mm-hmm,” he hummed, his large palm coming up to cup your cheek. “Have you never wondered what sætleik means?”
“I have. I wanted to ask but was too chicken.”
“It means ‘sweetness.’”
Your mind took a few seconds to process that as his fingers moved distractingly down to gently stroke your neck. “You’ve been calling me ‘sweetness’?”
“Yes. It’s how I have thought of you, almost from the day I met you. You are the essence of all that is good in this world, all that is delightful and charming and appealing.”
You were starting to shake your head in denial by the time he finished speaking, but he took hold of your chin firmly to stop you and make you look him in the face.
“It is true, whether you see it or not. And people are drawn to you because of it. Then there is the rose that I gave to you over lunch. Do you know the meaning of a deep blue rose?”
You shook your head.
“It means a longing for that which is unattainable, something that is destined to remain a dream.”
“You...you…longed for me?”
Loki smiled down at you softly. “Do not look so astonished, sætleik. You are someone of rare value.”
You were warmed by his words, but your mortification hadn’t faded completely yet. Although his long fingers continuing to caress your neck were definitely helping.
“Are you sure you’re not just saying nice things to make me feel like less of an ass?”
“I promise that I am not. Haven’t you been reading my emotions this evening?”
“No. I try not to do that on dates. Well, not on first dates, anyway. It feels too invasive.”
“I want you to do it now. Determine how I am feeling.”
There was some nervousness as you began to open yourself up to him, but you knew that Loki would never be cruel to you. You trusted him completely.
Through the narrow channel you opened, you could sense warmth and affection, to be sure. It soothed your frayed nerves enough for you to open up a little more. There was an uncertainty in him that you knew was because he was finding it hard to believe that you really cared for him as you did. That astonished you, to know that he felt inadequate to be with you.
There was something dangerous there, but within it was a fierce protectiveness that told you you were safe with him. You sensed passion, too, and it made you blush.
And underneath it all, when you dug deep, was a current of emotion so intense that it nearly overwhelmed you. He seemed to be trying to hide that one thing. It was an emotion you’d felt from others you cared deeply about in past relationships, but never to that degree. And if this was how it felt when he was attempting restraint, you weren’t sure how it would be if he ever gave it free rein. But you thought it would probably be the most wonderful thing in the world. In any of the worlds.
You quickly retreated, giving him the privacy he was seeking, and looked him in those gorgeous green eyes. They looked so vulnerable.
Cupping his face with your hands, you smiled tenderly at him. “Thank you,” you said, leaning up to give him a soft kiss.
You began to pull away, already planning to put distance between you and tell him goodnight, but Loki wrapped an arm around your waist and pulled you against him.
“You were not thinking to escape me before I had the chance to kiss you in return, were you? Not now that I know we were on our first date?”
His charming smile eased your embarrassment. Your stomach flipped as your heart began to pound. You were highly aware of his firm, muscular body pressing against you as his hand moved to gently cup the back of your head.
He brushed his lips over yours before he settled them more firmly. His kiss was confident without being aggressive, his lips moving softly, caressing your mouth in a way that made you want more. His tongue playfully teased you where your lips were barely parted, encouraging you to open up for him. When you did, he used it skillfully, giving the inside of your mouth silken strokes and parrying with your own tongue. You weren’t even aware of your hands sliding up the front of Loki’s shirt to clutch at his shoulders as you rose up on your toes, trying to get closer.
When Loki began to ease off on the kisses, gentling them before pressing a few more soft, sweet ones on your mouth, you felt dazed. If he could make you feel this amazing with only his mouth, you could hardly wait to see what else he could do.
He stroked your cheek as he looked down at you tenderly. “Thank you for a lovely evening, hjartað mitt. I am quite looking forward to date number two.”
He turned and walked down the hall as you watched. When he rounded the corner for the elevators with one last provocative look that sent heat through you all the way down to your toes, you entered your apartment, closing the door and resting against it for a moment as you took in everything that had happened since you had left. Although there was that awkward patch you would have preferred to skip, it had worked out so well, and you had gotten such an intimate look into Loki’s heart, that you couldn’t be upset about it.
You wandered into your bedroom to start getting ready for bed, spotting a rose laying on your bedside table. It hadn’t been there when you left. Loki must have used a little magic to leave you a surprise. This bud was a deep yellow, with edges that were a vibrant red.
Picking it up, you twirled it in your fingers for a few seconds before pulling out your phone. You had to know if there was any particular meaning in this color.
“Yellow rose with red tips” was your search. Your heart flipped when you saw the explanation:
“A yellow rose with a vibrant red tip is a beautiful flower to give when you're looking for something one of a kind. The yellow represents the vibrancy of your love and the red represents passion.”
You felt giddy as you held the rose to your nose. This one was getting pressed and put away, along with the blue one you had already saved. And you had a feeling that more would be added to their number over time.
Now if you just knew what hjartað mitt meant. You were definitely going to ask this time.
hjartað mitt - my heart
Everything Taglist: @wolfsmom1 @nonsensicalobsessions @caffiend-queen @nuggsmum @sallymagnoliaposts @just-the-hiddles @vodka-and-some-sass @is-it-madness @lokislastlove @otakumultimuse-hiddlewhore @xxxeatyourh3artoutxxx @toozmanykids @alexakeyloveloki @nildespirandum @catsladen @arch-venus25 @plastic-heart
Story Taglist: @sassybouquetrunaway-universe @penguinbert @ciaodarknessmyheart @kimanne723
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Mikey x Fem! reader ch: 2 & 3 (combined)
(Y/N) had no idea who that stranger was. Despite the dangers ahead, she doesn't care much about that. She couldn't stop thinking about those hands however. She has never seen anyone with three fingers in her whole life. Other than that, she wants answers. With a boost of confidence, instead of going home, staying out late should be a breeze. In her opinion to be exact. It was the next morning, and she grabbed some extra food and soda to help her stay up all night as much as possible. School is the same as yesterday. Thankfully she wasn't given any homework today either. She met up with her friends at an after school club and hopes she doesn't forget what she has to do afterwards. After the club has ended, it's time for her to find the mystery stranger.
I was walking around trying to find the figure. It was very quiet as usual. There was no sign of anything....nothing. Just myself. I sighed thinking to myself if I would just give up, but I chose not to. I kept on walking far and wide into the streets. That is until I found it. The figure.....it was standing before me. But why? Whatever it may be, I do feel a bit uneasy. Without saying a word, the figure runs off quickly. I decided to follow it. I ran to its direction as fast as I could. When It got to a corner of a random street, it stopped. I hid in a corner of a wall that way it won't see me. I waited for the figure to make its move. That's when it jumped into a sewer. "A sewer? B-but why would- *sigh*. Who am I kidding?" I walked towards the sewer area. I know I couldn't get in that way because the lid itself is too heavy to lift. I looked around to see if there may be a second entrance to it. And I did. There was a rectangular hole that seemed big enough for me to squeeze in. I took off my backpack, and managed to enter. I grabbed my bag, and started to walk into the sewer line. It was really dark so I had to take out my phone to turn on the flashlight. I kept on walking until I fell into a slide like area. I was sliding downward screaming but laughing at the same time. It was kinda fun, it almost felt like one of those water slides you go on in a local water park. I landed on my ass which kinda hurt. "Ouch!" I rubbed it, and got up immediately. There are so many sewer pipes, I couldn't figure out where the figure may be, so I decided to go straight. It was a long path to get through. Just as I felt like I may be close, I heard footsteps. No. more than just footsteps. A skateboard too? I started to panic a bit but managed to find a sewer pipe large enough for my tiny body to fit. I hid in there, and waited for whoever was coming straight ahead. What I saw, made me wonder. There was.....four creatures running passed me. "Hey guys! Wait up!" said the fourth mysterious figure trying to get its skateboard running. What's weird, is that it has rockets on it. Plus, I can't even see the person at all. Just a silhouette. "Come on Mikey! We got some foot clan butt to kick!" another one said in the distance "okay okay! Calm down Raph! It's not the end of the world you know!" it rode away with the others and the sound soon went to silence. I slowly got out, and decided to keep walking "that was.....Fucking weird." I said to myself trying to figure out who those people were. I walked a couple more steps until I found this strange looking door. Well technically it's not a door per say. I noticed it was slightly opened. I looked back for a quick moment to see if no one else was around. The coast is clear thank god. I slowly opened the strange yet mysterious entrance, and revealed some kind of lair. It's weird that a lair is located in a sewer. I also noticed The height of the entrance from here all the way to the ground does seem a little high. So basically I had to jump down like as if i'm in an action movie. I took a deep breath and counted to three. "one.....two.....Three!" I jumped and managed to land on my backpack since it's on my back obviously. I got up and stared at the place. "Woah!...." I walked around, and it had crazy technology, bedrooms, exercise weights, and a ramp for I'm guessing skateboard tricks like the ones you see at a local park. I looked around and noticed there was a sleeping rat in one of the rooms. A huge rat to be exact. I almost made a single sound after it scared me. But thankfully my words were stuck down to my throat. I sighed in relief that it didn't wake up at all. Guess it's a heavy sleeper. I walked around some more, and the bedrooms have doors. The same exact shape as the one where I entered the place. I entered one of them and noticed a small TV with a PS2 and DVD player sitting there. The room was kind of a mess too. It was littered with pizza boxes and candy wrappers. Gross. In the corner of the room, there was a mini fridge with a pack of Orange Crush Soda hidden in the back of it. After taking a look at that, I checked at the condition of the TV and PS2. surprisingly, they were in good shape. Even the DVD player is too. The TV is an early 2000s model. Old, but still good. I turned both of them on, and they work. "Oh. neat" I smiled a bit and I made the decision to play with it. I slowly and quietly closed the strange door, and took out one of my old games I always played in my childhood. "I haven't played Sonic Unleashed in a while. Might as well go ahead and play for a bit." I turned down the volume as low as possible so I didn't wake up the strange rat, and started playing. An hour in a half passed, and I started to get tired. Although I did eat a few of my snacks and since I ran out of drinks I ended up drinking some of the orange crush soda from the back of the mini fridge, I kept on yawning. Since I'm too lazy to head home, I might as well just spend the night here. I paused the game, and ended up falling asleep on the nice bed. It's kinda nice here. Quiet, no interruptions, a nice spot to play some games and have some time for myself. I just hope nothing goes wrong at all.
end of P.O.V
The Mysterious heroes who are actually turtles have returned home to the sewers and one of them spoke. "Sensei! We're back!" the rat was meditating and no longer sleeping. "Where have you four been?" The turtle with the blue bandana named Leonardo spoke "we had another foot clan attack. We managed to stop them on time." The rat sighed. "Did anyone see you? Anyone at all?" they all shook their heads. "No Sensei. We got away as quickly as we could." The rat nodded and responded. "Good. you may all rest now my sons. We have a big day tomorrow." they all looked at each other. "What day is it?" Leonardo asked. "Training day." they all groaned and the rat chuckles. "Now go. I must concentrate." they all went to their rightful rooms and the youngest of the four named Michelangelo stretched his arms and fiddled with his orange bandana. "I'm gonna go on ahead and play me some video games!" as he got to his room, he noticed the TV was on along with the game system. "Huh? Hey wait a second! I don't remember playing this game at all!" He removes the game disc from the system, and yells out to one of his brothers. "Raph! Were you messing with my game system again!? And where did you get this game!? Did you rent it or something!?" The red bandana turtle named Raphael comes into the room. "What? No! What are you talking about? Lemme see that!" he takes the game disc from him and takes a look at it. "You serious? Do I look like the kind of guy who likes playing as a blue furry that runs like the flash?" Mikey stares at him in an irritating way as his own brother tosses the game disc across the room. He looks down and notices the empty cans of soda on the floor and looks back up at Raph. Raph himself was now getting angry. "You hid a stack of orange crush soda from me without even telling me!?" Mikey starts to get angry too. "Yes I did! And don't lie to me! I know YOU found them, and did this for a good laugh!" Mikey and Raph argue back and forth until they stopped when they notice movement in Mikey's bed. "What was that?...." Raph pushes him out of the way, and takes out one of his weapons. "Stand back." He grabs the sheets, and snatches them out of the way and sees (Y/N) sleeping. They both stood back as Raph dropped his weapon in complete shock. "How- what-.....where-?....oh god there's a g- a gi-..." he couldn't speak and they both looked at each other and ran out of the room in a panic. "Donnie! Leo!" they both yelled as the other two were busy doing their thing. "What? What happened?" Donatello said as he adjusted his glasses and purple bandana. "There's a g-girl in my room! And a- and uh R-Raph almost killed her on my own bed! And-" Donnie stopped Mikey. "woah woah woah! Slow down! You're saying there's a girl in your room?" Mikey nodded frantically. Leo shows up eventually and spoke to them. "what are they talking about?" Donnie responds to him with a sigh. "it appears they saw a human girl in Mikey's bed." Leo looks at them and takes a deep breathe "show me. Now!" they take them to the bed, and see (Y/N) still asleep. They all looked at her and Donnie started analyzing her. "Okay. according to my analysis, she is 18 years of age, 5'0 feet tall, 125 pounds, (H/C), (E/C), and somehow it shows me her uhh.....cup size. They're quite an impressive size for a young adult if you ask me. Wish it didn't scan them though." the other three's eyes lit up when they heard that word "cup size huh? What is that?" Mikey asked. Donnie whispers to them what cup sizes are, and they widened their eyes in surprise. Mikey blushes bright red. "Aaaaand I am now questioning my own innocence, thank you very much." Raph smirks giving his younger brother a noogie "all right Mikey! Our own little bro's first lesson in becoming a man! Woo!" Mikey playfully pushes him off shaking his head smiling. "tch. whatever bruh." Donnie finishes analyzing, and looks at Leo. "what shall we do?" Leo looks at the girl and sighs "well uhhh-" Mikey interrupts him jumping up and down excitedly "Can we keep her? I promise to take good care of her! please?" Raph and Donnie facepalms, and Leo looks at Mikey with a long pause, then proceeds to speak. "We'll might as well let her stay for the night. But we're taking her back home tomorrow!" Mikey squeals excitedly "Yes!" Leo then talks again "and one more thing! If Master Splinter finds out, we gotta tell the truth. But first when she wakes up, we gotta know how she got here. First thing in the morning before our training day starts. Got it?" Mikey nods. "Oh yeah! Totally. Yeah...." Leo nods. "Good. come on guys. We gotta go to bed. Sensei wants tomorrow to be on point. That goes for you too Mikey!" Mikey nods with a smile on his face "aye aye captain boss bro!" Raph looks at Mikey who is staring at (Y/N) "she's really pretty man." Raph nods "yeah. Never seen a girl like her before. Hopefully when she wakes up, we can have a nice chat with her." Mikey nods. "What about April? She's pretty too." Raph chuckles shaking his head "nah. She's too bland. Maybe this one may be a keeper." he winks with a daring smile. Mikey chuckles and Raph pats him on the back. "Well it's getting late. Night Mikey. See ya in the morning." Mikey looks at his brother as Raph leaves the room. "Night bro." Mikey decides to sleep on the floor and hopes this girl may be the one for him. Despite that, in his heart, he can feel it beating like a steady drum right now which means it's love at first sight for him.
TO BE CONTINUED!....chapter 4 and 5 are next soon! :)
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Tagged by @theoutcastrogue. (Her post)
Rules: It’s time to love yourself. Choose your 5 favorite works you created in the past year (fics, art, edits, etc.) and link them below to reflect on the amazing things you’ve brought into the world. Tag as many writers/artists/etc. you want (fan or original) so we can spread the love and link each other to awesome works!
Thanks so much, sweet rogue, for tagging me! Firstly, this is exactly the kind of thing my therapist tells me I need to do for myself more often. Secondly, I tend to fixate on reading back over my past writing, so this gives me an excuse to do just that. Under the cut because there’ll be several writing excerpts and it might run long. Tagging @chenria, @9musesandanoldmind, @queer-trans-amazon, @jeanjauthor, and anyone else who wants in!
1. I did a lot of tinkering on Hero Forge after they released the colors and new engine. Firstly, I found it therapeutic and helpful for my anxiety. Secondly, I have a tendency to create stories for the new OCs I come up with. In particular, I like coming up with themed versions of the twelve base D&D classes. My favorite so far is the Desert Elf minis and their story.
2. My second favorite Hero Forge buildup was the Muskets and Snow designs, pitting Frost Elf tribes against musket-armed, multiracial commonwealth soldiers, once again based around the D&D classes. (Check my Hero Forge tag for more mini designs!)
3. I added four chapters to my Legend of Korra gladiator AU last year, and commissioned a movie poster for it from my amazing artist friend, Telenia Albuquerque. I added a few fighting scenes and several explicit lesbian bedroom scenes that I’m kind of proud of, including a fun, racy striptease. In the following scene, Asami breaks up a meeting between Varrick and none other than Marc Antony after Varrick attempts to abduct her and poison her bodyguards, including Korra:
“You said our host tried to abduct you?” [Antony] continued, turning to Asami.
“Of course not!” Varrick interrupted, stepping between Asami and Antony. “We’re pals, right, Antony? You know I’d never abduct anybody!”
“Mm, I seem to recall you abducting Titus Atticus’s wife, as well as the late Clodius Pulcher’s favorite catamite,” Antony replied.
“Allegedly!” Varrick protested, turning away and crossing his arms. “I allegedly abducted Atticus’s wife and Pulcher’s catamite!”
“Everything you do is ‘allegedly,’” Asami glared.
“So you’ve had dealings with this bastard before,” Antony laughed. “Please, come in,” he invited, gesturing to Varrick’s office. “No doubt we can handle this like civilized people, miss…?”
“Asami Sato,” Asami answered, allowing Antony to take and kiss her hand.
“Ah! Master Hiroshi’s daughter,” he identified her. “I’ve heard about you, and I’m delighted to make your acquaintance.”
“I’m sure,” Asami agreed with a hint of smooth annoyance.
“Great, thanks a lot, Zhu Li,” Varrick grumbled as the six of them trooped into his office. “What the heck happened, anyway?”
“It would seem you underestimated Mistress Sato, sir,” Zhu Li informed him, [still tossed over the gladiatrix’s shoulder]. The armored pauldron pressed into her gut was really uncomfortable. “She already had her guards inoculated against our poison.”
“What? How could you possibly know that?” Varrick demanded, turning to Asami.
“I’m more intelligent than you thought, and you’re less clever than you’d like to believe,” Asami answered, taking one of the three chairs in the room. “And, frankly, that old Persian trick of poisoning the dancing girls’ lips isn’t as cunning as you thought. It was all a matter of knowing what poisons you have access to and researching which ones work on contact and can have resistances built up for them.”
“Smart,” Antony agreed, taking the second chair while Acainissa stuffed Varrick in the chair behind his desk. Hebasken and Acainissa took up positions on either side of Varrick’s chair, looming over him.
“Varrick, this other door leads to your bedchambers, doesn’t it?” Asami asked, pointing to the curtained doorway.
“Yeah, why?” Varrick frowned. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
“Korra, are you up for a bit of… revenge-sex?” Asami asked.
“I’m always up for revenge and sex,” Korra assured her.
“Take Zhu Li into Varrick’s chambers and fuck her stupid, please.” Asami instructed. “She’s a very intelligent woman, so I suspect that will take a lot of fucking to accomplish.”
Korra laughed and turned to pack Zhu Li through the door.
4. I’ve also made some progress on an older story I started a long time ago about my OC Elindra, a Drow paladin of the Red Knight who gets turned to a Drider by fanatics of Lolth. The following scene comes during the big escape from Ched Nasad between her and her dwarf cleric friend, Nell:
I used the glaive to parry the [Drider] warrior’s first assault. The snarly bastard was skilled, blocking and parrying my every attack, despite my Haste spell. And even if I did land a hit, my odds of breaking his Stoneskin were frustratingly small. I gave way instead, using my quickened speed to my advantage. An arrow flashed past us, announcing the return of the annoying ranger from earlier. I grimaced from frustration as another arrow shattered against my Mithral spaulder.
This was taking too damned long. No doubt the alarm had been raised and more guards and spell-casters were on their way.
Dueling with the warrior, I deliberately backed myself toward another aperture in the webs. I parried the warrior’s mace, managing to rap him across the face with the butt of my glaive. As he lunged again, I dropped my glaive and caught his arm. From there I leapt backward, pulling him though the gap with me. He caught the edge of the webs with two clawed legs, flipping us through upside-down. Still clutching his arm, my weight yanked him through the gap behind me.
A slightly larger Drider, I flipped myself onto his back, riding him downward as we plummeted. Gripping him by the hair, I screamed, “Smite Evil!” as we hit, slamming his head into the hardened webbing below.
The impact threw me from the warrior’s back, and I skidded onto my side perhaps twelve feet away. The warrior’s head was obliterated—a black, bloody smear across the calcified web floor.
“You alright?” I asked Nell as I picked myself up.
“Ye’re focking crazy, ye know that, Elindra?” Nell grumbled behind me, [still harnessed to my back]. “Ooh, that’s a pretty mess!” she laughed when I turned to look for a way back up. “Aye, let’s see ye Stoneskin protect ye from that shite, motherfocker!” she taunted the dead Drider.
5. And, lastly I’m happy with a lot of the progress I’ve made on my novel, First Empress. The following excerpt is a cute, racy little flashback scene of Elissa and Queen Viarra’s first time having sex:
“O–oh, gods!” Elissa groaned, catching her breath as she came down from her third climax.
Princess Viarra gripped the blanket on either side of Elissa’s shoulders, grunting as she thrust against Elissa’s leg to ride out her own climax. Broad, muscular arms trembling, her thrusts continued to get slower and more deliberate as she finished herself off. Her highness’s entire body shook one last time, and she gave a panting laugh before collapsing halfway atop Elissa.
They lay laughing and gasping for breath for long moments, their legs tangled together, their right breasts squashed against the other’s sternum. Princess Viarra’s arms splayed off to the sides while Elissa’s trembling arms clutched her love’s shoulders. Their shoulders were about even, but Viarra’s cunny now rested against Elissa’s knee. Their clothes lay discarded to one side with the wine they’d stolen from King Vaso and the erotic poetry they’d stolen from Prince Kallis. Above them, the peach trees of King Vaso’s orchard swayed in the afternoon breeze.
“I’m not squishing you, am I?” Viarra asked, her face still half-pressed against the tangle of brown and copper hair next to Elissa’s right ear.
“No,” Elissa laughed, wishing she had the energy to clutch her beloved princess tighter. “I feel safe beneath you,” she promised. “You make me feel safe and happy.”
“And you make me happy,” her highness assured her, turning her head to kiss and nibble at Elissa’s cheek. Elissa squealed and used one hand to try to push her away.
Unrelenting, Princess Viarra made a nasal, growling sound and pretended to gnaw on Elissa’s neck. “Grar! I just want to eat you up, you’re so sweet!” her highness declared, making exaggerated chewing noises against Elissa’s neck and shoulder.
Gods, her highness had gotten so strong the last few years, Elissa acknowledged as she squealed and giggled, unsuccessfully attempting to fight back. Viarra’s arms were probably bigger around than Elissa’s legs, and her shoulders were almost half-again as broad as Elissa’s. And she was tall. Possibly as tall as her mother as well as thick and big-boned, Princess Viarra was just too big and strong for anyone except maybe a wrestler or a gladiator to overpower.
Clearly Elissa would have to resort to guile instead.
Viarra shrieked out a series of giggles as Elissa reached up to tickle her sides. “Gods, no!” her highness squealed, attempting to push Elissa’s hands away. Unable to quite grab onto them, Viarra pushed herself away, laughing as she rolled onto her back.
Instead of renewing her assault, Elissa rolled over next to her, draping her left arm across Viarra’s chest and left leg across her waist.
“That was amazing,” Elissa admitted, snuggling up against her beloved’s nude form. “Thank you for being my first.”
“Thank you for being my first,” Princess Viarra countered, wrapping an arm around Elissa’s bare back. “I never imagined sex would feel like that.”
“You seemed to know what you were doing,” Elissa observed. “I mean, I could tell you were trying out techniques and all, but where did you learn them?”
“I asked Captain Vola,” her highness admitted looking over at her. “She’s pretty candid about sex advice, and even Captain Kellor admits it’s usually good advice. Part of the reason I brought you out here was because I wanted to try it, and there’s no one I’d rather try it with than you,” she added, reaching over to stroke Elissa’s cheek.
Elissa blushed and smiled, stroking her love’s powerful belly. “I’m glad you did,” she admitted, unable to think of anything else to say.
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The Paramedic (c.v.n) - Waning Crescent Hotel
Please read this (W.C.Hotel) if you this is the first post of this series that you see.
Warnings: Swearing, Mentions of death, mentions of blood, one gun shot
Genre: Angst, Hotel Del Luna AU, Choose your own adventure, SVT x Fem! Reader
Staff: Yong (Spirit General Manager) / Jiwoo (Human General Manager) / Soon Bok (Room Manager) / Mun Hee (Front Desk Receptionist) / Shin (Grim Reaper assigned to Waning Crescent)
Word Count: Ending A - 3.4k / Ending B - 3.5k
W.C.Hotel | Seventeen Masterlist | Masterlists
"Did he just arrive?" I ask Yong when I reach the top of the main staircase where she stands. My heart flutters realizing that he finally has arrived. Vernon.
"Mun Hee just checked him in." Yong answers with a nod, "Soon Bok is showing him to his room now."
"What's his room number?" I question, leaning against the rail watching our guests mill around in the lobby.
"182." She responds.
I nod, "How, uh, how did he look?" I ask with some hesitation, unsure if I truly want to know the answer.
"He looked well. His cheeks are full and his appearance is full." Yong tells me, "From his appearance, I'd say he had a fulfilling last life."
"How many days?" I ask, standing up straight.
"Five." Yong simple answers.
"Five days." I breath out. "A good amount."
"We'll set up the garden for you on the last day." Yong informs me then moves onto other information, "The new volleyball net has been installed in the beach. Would you like to go inspect it?"
I pucker my lips, "Do I have to?" I ask, hoping I could slip away and be a recluse.
Yong shakes her head. "No, I really think you should go check it out."
"Do I have to?" I repeat my question, now pouting slightly more.
Yong gives me the 'really?' look just as Jiwoo joins us.
"Do you have to what?" He asks.
"Yong wants me to go inspect the new volleyball net outside." I explain.
"OH!" Jiwoo's eyes brighten, "You should totally go inspect it."
I scrunch my face at him, "What are you talking about? It's just a volleyball net."
Jiwoo rolls his eyes, "Still, you haven't been outside in a while and it'll be good to get some Vitamin D on your skin." He attempts to persuade me and physically starts pushing me towards the beach.
"Vitamin D!" Yong repeats, "That's so important for your skin and your health."
"I'm dead." I remind her in a monotone.
"You have a body and a body needs taking care of." Yong argues.
"This body is dead." I say flatly, purposely digging my heels so it's harder for Jiwoo.
Jiwoo notices and stops pushing, "I swear to the Gods, (y/n), I will carry you over my shoulder if I have to." He threatens.
I look back at him funny, "Like you have the muscles for that."
Jiwoo unbuttons his shirt cuffs, challenging me.
Not wanting to be unceremoniously thrown over his shoulder, I surrender. "Fine, I believe you. Let's just go see this net."
Jiwoo slings an arm over my shoulders and smiles happily. "You'll love it." He tells me.
"I'm sure." I say unhappily.
The bright sunlight makes my eyes squint nearly shut. My feet sink into the warm sand and I wrestle my heels off my feet, letting the gritty sand weasel between my toes. Off to the right, near the little shed where the beach things are stored, four people are playing beach volleyball with a net sitting tall and shiny in the middle.
I sigh, "It looks nice."
"Doesn't it?" Yong says dreamily.
"I think we should get some more, having just one doesn't seem like enough." Jiwoo comments.
"If you find room for it in our finances, then by all means, run it by me first though." I tell him with a half smile.
"He's all settled in." Soon Bok's voice says from behind us.
I turn around to face her and clasp my hands behind my back, "Thank you."
Soon Bok bows and takes her leave. I follow almost immediately.
"Where are you going?" Jiwoo asks, catching up to me. Yong goes off to do her own duties.
"To the bar." I tell him.
"Drinking to celebrate?" He suggests hopeful.
"Drinking to forget." I dip my head to the side.
Jiwoo's mouth drops open in an 'oh' then thinks about how he should respond.
"You don't have to respond." I tell him as we reach the elevators. "Just work on finding room for another net. I'm sure the guests would appreciate it."
"I can do that." Jiwoo says as the elevator makes its arrival with a chime.
I give him a nod before stepping into the elevator and pressing the sky bar floor.
~The Fifth Day~
The sound of a gun going off and car tires screeching away stops me in my tracks. I whip around and Sang Kyu is laying on the sidewalk, blood staining his clothes and pooling around his torso.
I scream. Not because of what I see. But because the Gods would take Sang Kyu away from me in such a gruesome way. Anger is behind the scream, not sadness. I know he'll go on to live more lives but why are they pulling him away from me now?
Kneeling onto the hard ground, I let the concrete dig into my knees as a few bystanders gather and one even presses his hands against Sang Kyu's wound to help stop the bleeding. But I know it's no use.
My human managers never get into bodily harm, never get into accidents, they never even get sick. With this accident, I know Sang Kyu's not going to make it.
Hot tears filled with anger aimed at the Gods stream down my face. Someone lowers themselves next to me and asks if I'm okay. But I can't process their voice because my heart beat is beating so loudly. I can only see their mouth moving.
Somehow, through the pounding of my heart, the approaching sirens break through the haze. In what feels like mere milliseconds, two police cars and an ambulance screech to a halt. Officers and paramedics come rushing towards Sang Kyu.
The person next to me waves over an officer but my eyes are trained on the two paramedics hovering over Sang Kyu's body.
"I don't have a pulse." The taller paramedic informs the other. "I'm starting CPR. Get the air bag." He instructs but the other paramedic doesn't move. His eyes are trained on Sang Kyu's face.
"Vernon!" The taller paramedic yells and breaks Vernon out of his haze.
I hear the officer talking to me but I ignore his words and just watch Vernon. He moves and grabs items as needed but his hands are frantic. I know he's trained to keep his calm in emergency situations but the amount that his hands are shaking tells me that he is having a hard time.
At this point, my tears have dried and a new wave of anger rumbles through my body. Not only do they take away Sang Kyu but they also send Vernon to the scene to try and save a soul that isn't going to be saved. They are making Vernon experience this death as if my pain won't be intertwined with his in unexplainable ways.
Soon more paramedics arrive and Vernon voluntarily backs away. He searches the crowds quickly and spots me behind him. When he reaches me still sitting on the sidewalk, he kneels in front of me, grabs my shoulders and looks worriedly into my eyes.
"Are you okay?" Vernon asks, shaking me slightly to get my attention even though he's had it this entire time. (y/n)." He says my name but I keep my mouth tightly shut, afraid that the anger would speak for me.
Vernon sighs and looks to the ground before meeting my gaze again. This time his eyes are filled with sadness.
"Just, can you nod or shake your head for me?" He nearly begs, "I need to know, are you okay?"
I shakily nod my head then pause then slowly shake my head as the sadness finally arrives. Vernon catches me as I fall into his arms with tears cascading down my cheeks and my heart breaking into a million pieces. While I grip onto his jacket for dear life, he strokes my hair and holds me tight.
His grip tightens when we hear the paramedics unfold a sheet to place over Sang Kyu's body.
I look up and follow the sidewalk to where Sang Kyu lays. But just before I get one last look at his face...
"Sang Kyu!" I yell and jump to my feet. Turning around, I realize I'm standing in front of the biggest couch in my office. Running my hands through my hair, I blow out a breath to try and control my rapidly beating heart.
"It was just a dream." I mutter to myself, then wonder, "When did I fall asleep?"
Blowing out another breath, I walk over to the window where the moon sits low in the sky. The Man on the Moon nowhere to be seen.
My office doors open and a pair of confident footsteps enter my room.
"He's waiting for you." Yong informs me, stopping a few feet away.
I take a few more moments and a few more deep breaths before turning towards the door.
"Take all the time you need." Yong tells me, shutting the doors behind us, "Mun Hee, Soon Bok, and I can manage." As I stay silent, Yong takes her leave and allows me to walk alone to my private garden where Vernon awaits my arrival.
I walk with heavy steps, my clothes seem to weigh several pounds and drag behind me. It has been a long while since I last saw Vernon and I can't help but let my heart replay every detail of that love.
When I arrive at the entrance to the garden, a bench has been placed in the middle of the open space between me and my tree. And sitting on the bench, with his back to me, is Vernon.
I take a deep breath to steady myself and then make my way towards the bench. Slowly, I sit down next to him, not daring a look in his direction.
"They told me that five was a pretty average amount." Vernon says softly, "Is that true?"
"On average, every soul has somewhere between 5 and 9 lives." I answer him, honestly. "So, yes, you did live an average amount."
"That's comforting." Vernon lets out a breath and slouches back, "How long did you wait for me?" He asks.
"A long time." I answer and look over him. His face hasn't changed and the calm expression he always wore has returned. His eyes still shine with determination.
"And when this day ends, I won't remember any lives?" He questions.
I shake my head, "No, your soul will return to its original state. The one that interacted with the Gods."
"Can I ask a question?" Vernon changes the direction and sits up.
"Ask away." I nod.
"Do you hate me for that night?" He asks and I'm taken aback by such a serious question.
"Which night?" I probe, slightly confused why he would think I could hate him.
Vernon cleared his throat, "The night I couldn't save your friend."
My body slumps back as the memory surfaces.
I was out with Sang Kyu, my Human Manager at the time. We were walking back to the hotel when a bullet came out of nowhere and hit Sang Kyu. A bystander had called an ambulance and Vernon’s had been the closest to where we were.
Vernon tried to do everything to save Sang Kyu but in the end, he didn't make it.
I shake my head vigorously, "Absolutely not." I tell him and grab his hand, "I couldn't hate you when you did everything to try and save him."
"But I could've done more." He comments, squeezes my hand.
"No, you couldn't have." I say, "The Gods said that life for Sang Kyu was done. Even I couldn't stop something like that."
"Then why did you leave?" Vernon asks, his eyes meeting mine, pleading to give him an answer.
I lower my head before bringing it back up.
"I couldn't stay." I simply answer.
"But you said you loved me and I said it too." Vernon continues, "And then you just vanished."
I smile softly, "I just couldn't stay. The Gods wouldn't let me." I tell him, remembering the night we said we loved each other and the subsequent note left on my desk that simply read 'It's time to leave.'
"I really did love you." Vernon scoots closer.
"I did, too." I tell him and he wraps an arm around my shoulders, closing the distance between us. I sink into his familiar warmth and smile happily.
"Did you ever miss me?" I ask, listening the echo of a beating heart that's now passed.
"After you left?" Vernon clarifies and I simply nod against his shirt. "Of course I did. For the first year I searched everywhere for you. I couldn't really believe that you would leave like that but I never could stay mad at you. I was always just worried."
He pauses and runs a hand mindlessly through my hair, "Even throughout the rest of my life, I would wonder about you from time to time. Where you were, what you were doing, how you were feeling. I was always just wondering. When I was raising my kids, I tried to teach them what you taught me about strength, even if it was only a fraction of what you had. I tried to remind myself of you. Cause I just couldn't forget you." Vernon presses a kiss to my forehead. "You didn't forget about me, did you?"
I shake my head, "Of course not. But it hurt to think about you because I didn't know when I'd see you again."
"Well, I'm here now." He mutters and squeezes me closer.
"Can I ask you a question?" I use his earlier sentence.
Vernon curtly nods, "Shoot."
"When did you know you loved me?" I ask, needing to hear the answer for myself.
"Like the exact moment?" Vernon questions.
Vernon tilts his head to the side in thought, "Oh geez, I feel like I gradually fell deeper and deeper."
"There was no significant moment?" I ask, hoping to get something out of him.
"What about you?" He suddenly turns the question to me. "When did you know?"
I take in a breath, "The night you tried to save Sang Kyu." I tell him without hesitation. "I just remember watching you do everything in your power to try and save him. I remember how worried you were for me. It's something that one doesn't forget. How tightly you held me when we got to the hospital but he had already passed. That's when I knew I loved you."
Vernon looks at me in awe then smiles, "I think the moment where I could really say 'I love her' for the first time was the day I came home after a terrible night shift. We had a prank call about a baby not breathing and went on a wild goose chase for an hour. Then the very next call was a couple who had gotten into a bad car accident but I never got to hear whether or not they lived until two days later."
"Why that night?" I ask.
"Because when I came home, I was expecting an empty home but you had come over because something felt off." Vernon explains, "And I didn't even have to tell you what had happened. You just opened your arms and let me fall apart. You just knew. I could feel it in the way you patted my back, the way you kept whispering words of encouragement, the way you just stayed with me. That's when I knew I loved you and I wanted to come home to you every day."
I close my eyes and let the memory sink into my conscious.
"Is this the tree you were always talking about?" Vernon wonders, "The one that you hated but had to protect?"
I open my eyes and stare blankly at the bare tree standing front of us. "Unfortunately."
"It's bigger than you made it out to be." Vernon comments, tilting his head side to side.
"It's been here as long as I have so it's got a lot of years." I tell him, closing an eye and pretending to flick the trunk with my fingers.
"So, how long have you actually been here?" Vernon asks, taking a hold of my outstretched hand.
"Longer than you can even imagine." I tell him.
"Try me." He challenges.
And that's how we spend the next few hours. Answering each other's questions about our lives and reliving the shared memories.
He tells me about his kids and what they grew up to be like. He tells me about the adventures they went on as a family. I tell him about what life was like living through the centuries in a hotel that served as a souls last stop before rest.
The setting sun shines through the window, illuminating the garden in a fire-y glow. As the bottom of the sun grazes the horizon signifying the end of his five day stay, I know it's time.
He knows it too.
His grip on my shoulder tells me he doesn't want to go. And frankly, neither do I.
But he has to go and I have to wait for the others.
"What happens now?" He asks.
"You will ride the car that'll take you to your final resting place. And I will continue to be here until I meet the others." I explain to him. "We should get going." I whisper, not moving a muscle, "Shin'll be waiting for us."
"Can't I spend one more day with you?" Vernon asks, nearly begging.
I pull away from him and shake my head sadly. "There are rules here. Rules that need to be followed. And one of them is that souls aren't allowed to stay longer than permitted."
"Damn my average number of lives." Vernon tries to joke and it only brings a tiny smile to my face.
Part of me really doesn't want to let him go, but the other part of me is relieved that his soul will be resting and at peace for eternity.
Vernon stands up, then turns and holds out both hands. I look up at him and instead of the a front of sadness like I'd expected, Vernon looks down at me with a soft happiness. No regrets, a smidgen of sadness, and a large amount of happiness that he was able to see me one last time.
Returning his small smile, I grab both of his hands and we slowly make our way out of the garden towards the forest that backs the hotel. The forest where souls depart from.
Where Grim Reaper Shin is waiting to take Vernon's soul to its final resting place.
The cool night air dances around us as we walk outside, hand in hand. The moon shines down on us with a soft white-grey glow.
Just as expected, Shin stands next to a waiting black town car.
When we approach the car, Shin opens the rear passenger door and simply waits for Vernon to enter.
"Will I ever see you again?" Vernon turns to face me, squeezing my hand tightly.
"You might." I answer, "But I don't know if we'll remember each other."
"I hope we do." Is all Vernon says before crashing his lips onto mine.
For a few seconds, our lips dance together, solidifying the memories of our love. When he pulls away, tears line both of our eyes.
"Don't you forget me." He whispers.
"I won't." I whisper back, afraid that any louder and my voice won't work.
Vernon presses one more quick kiss to my lips then wraps me up in a hug. With a deep breath, he releases me and walks to the car. He pauses just inside the door and turns back for one last look.
I use every muscle in my body to stay upright and to not let a single tear fall. Not yet.
I watch as Vernon ducks into the car and Shin closes the door. A couple seconds later, the car begins to drive away into the foggy forest. Just before the car completely disappears, Vernon looks back and waves.
I wave back but in a blink of an eye, he and the car disappear. As my hand lowers back down to my side, I let the first tear fall, then the second. Then the tears continuously fall from my eyes as I cry with a longing for Vernon.
As I let go of my tears, one of the chrysanthemums surrounding my bare tree withers and dies.
When my tears dry, long after Shin leaves, I dry my cheeks and take deep breaths. Holding my head up, I turn back towards the hotel, cradling my broken heart. I head back up to my room, where I will piece it back together and wait for the others.
Return to the Navigation Page (Waning Crescent Hotel) to choose the next guest.
"So what happens now?" He asks.
"Well, since you were my first love and you are the last one I'm meeting, my punishment is over and I can follow you to the afterlife and finally rest." I explain. "There were thirteen chrysanthemums standing there for over a thousand years. And with each love I met here, one of them died and I was a step closer to being free."
"That last one is mine?" Vernon nods towards the single chrysanthemum still standing at the base of my tree.
"It's been waiting for you since the day I left." I tell him with a smile.
Vernon walks over to it and plucks it from the ground. "I do believe this belongs to you." He says and places it on my ear. "And I do believe we have a ride waiting for us." He holds out a hand and I gladly take the help up.
We walk hand in hand to the lobby where Yong, Mun Hee, Soon Bok, and Jiwoo stand solemnly.
"So this is it?" Mun Hee asks with tears in his eyes. "This is the day you leave us?"
I wrap him up in a hug, only a little annoyed that he's being so sappy. "Maybe I'll get punished again and be back here by the end of the year." I try to joke but Mun Hee abruptly pushes back from me.
"Don't say that. You better not return here." He says angrily through his tears.
I chuckle, "I won't come back. I promise."
Turning to Soon Bok, I thank her for her service and her amazing work. Something I never did.
Next to Jiwoo, I also thank him for his and his family's service and I unclip the bracelet that has held him to this place.
"When you leave today, you won't be able to find this place again." I inform him, "I hope that you'll be able to go and live your life happily."
Jiwoo nods, "Thank you for letting me work with you. I won't ever forget you."
I smile sadly, "You will. But thank you."
Finally I reach Yong who is sniffling and trying so very hard not cry.
She looks at the flower on my ear, "You know, I never did like the way those flowers looked."
"Thank you, Yong." I rests my hands on her shoulders, "For everything. Thank you."
With lips pursed together, she leans forward and wraps me in an unexpected hug. But I soon wrap my arms around her and squeeze her tightly.
We pull apart after a couple seconds and I wipe the few tears that have escaped from her eyes.
"Keep this hotel running beautifully." I tell her before Vernon grabs my hand again.
With final waves of goodbye, Vernon and I walk out to the foggy forest that will take us to our resting place.
At the edge of the forest, Shin stands next to an idling car, a somber look on his face.
"(y/n)." He says when we reach him, "It has been an honor working with you. I wish you both a peaceful rest." Shin bows his head and I pat his arm.
"The honor was mine." I tell him with a smile. Now the tears start to line my eyes as the realization fully sets in.
I'm free. I served my years of punishment and now I'm free to let my soul rest.
I turn back towards the hotel and look up to the top where the rooftop patio is lined with string lights. Then to the mid floors where random room lights are turned on. Then to grand base where guests would be milling around, waiting their turns to leave this world.
"(y/n)?" Vernon softly asks pulling my attention to where he sits just inside the car, "Are you ready?"
I take one last quick look at the hotel before turning away from it. "Yeah, I'm ready. Let's go."
I lower myself into the car and Shin securely closes the door after I am completely inside. As the car begins to drive forward, Vernon securely grabs my hand and I let his warmth guide me towards our final destination.
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Love In Print [Masaru] - Episode 1
“But Mari, I don’t WANT to go read this on Wattpad, I want to stay here on Tumblr!” Listen, my friend. Let me help you. Here’s all of Episode 1! (But the rest is over here if you decide you want to read it!)
— SATURDAY NIGHT —
She’s started to think of it as the summer of weddings. Like purgatory, but with more flowers.
Reiko sighs. Another Saturday, another charming garden venue. Soft, flickering tea lights float in shallow porcelain bowls. It looks like something lifted straight out of Pinterest, and it’s pretty in all the right ways, hitting every obligatory aesthetic beat. The music is loud and many of the guests are amiably drunk, swaying in slow circles on the dance floor or queuing up for one more lap around the buffet.
Alone at her table, Reiko hides behind the towering lily centerpiece, nursing a headache. She fishes her phone out of the tiny, mostly useless evening bag she’s bought to go with this dress and takes refuge in her work inbox.
She’d love to go home, but it’s too early to make her retreat. Another two hours, she coaches herself. You can make it for two more.
“Come on,” says Ren, prodding her in the shoulder. Reiko jumps half a mile and nearly drops her phone, not that her cousin notices. “We’re missing a cake opportunity,” he whines.
As usual, Ren resembles a figure pulled directly off some runway in Milan. Impeccably attired, hair artfully tousled, a Rolex gleaming from his left wrist. Reiko plucks at a tuft of fur caught on the cuff of his tuxedo.
“You know, there is such a thing as a lint roller. You have one somewhere in your apartment.”
Ren peers down at the wad of cat hair slowly drifting down to the grass beneath their table. “Lint roller? What lint roller?” And then his face lights up. “Oh! You mean that tape-on-a-stick thing from the last time you came over?”
“Yes,” Reiko answers patiently. “That tape-on-a-stick thing. You use it to make sure you aren’t leaving the house dressed in cat fluff.”
Suzu pops up behind Ren. “He likes for everyone to know that he’s more complex than he appears. An insufferable playboy and a sophisticated cat bachelor.” She loops her arm through his and makes a show of sniffing at his clothes. “Ah,” she breathes. “The smell of too much money, layered over eau de too many cats.”
“I have three. How is that too many? And why aren’t either of you interested in getting some cake? This is a wedding. You go to weddings for cake.”
“That’s definitely the primary reason for attending weddings.”
“It’s from Fujiwara’s, you know. They never do weddings anymore. You’re missing the dessert event of your lives.”
Suzu straightens his boutonniere. “You accosted the Fujiwara grannies for these people?” A low whistle. “Wow. Dad must really like them.”
Reiko follows her twin’s gaze. Their father, Ryuuki, is busy holding court at a neighboring table. He laughs raucously at someone’s cheesy anecdote and is having the most fun out of all of them. “It’s all business, I suppose,” she says, unable to keep from smiling despite how little she’s enjoying herself.
Suzu snorts. “Of course it’s all business. Isn’t it always?” To Ren, she says, “Hey, how long before we’ve done our duty for the family market stall? I still have ten pages left to write on a research paper and it’s…” She grabs his arm in order to check the time on his fancy watch. “… 9:34. With half an hour’s drive back to my apartment.”
“You can spare ten minutes to have a slice of legendary cake, Tachibana Suzuna.”
“God, okay. But it better not be weird like that sheet cake you ordered for the charity auction last month.”
“Not weird. Avant-garde.”
“Uh-huh. Also, it tasted like beets and had radioactive magenta icing. So gross.”
“You and Reiko just really have no appreciation for the finer things in life. Let’s go, the line’s only getting longer.”
“Don’t want any,” Reiko pipes up. “I’ll have a slice vicariously, through Suzu.”
“Twin powers,” Suzu concurs, initiating the special handshake they invented when they were six. Almost twenty years later, they’re still augmenting the sequence with new moves. “Anything I ate, Reiko also ate. And vice versa. Page 2, Line 21 in the Twin Manual.”
“The worst plus-ones anybody ever brought to a wedding,” complains Ren. He pours Reiko a fresh glass of water from the pitcher on the table and gives her a pat on the head, a gesture of silent sympathy.
She watches Ren and Suzu as they stop to tease Ryuuki along the way. And then she blinks back the onslaught of unwanted tears, reaches for her phone again, and taps the newest e-mail notification. Three unread messages beckon through Reiko’s blurred vision. She scans the subject lines, head bowed over the glowing screen. Slipping into the steps of a familiar dance, she starts at the bottom with the oldest message first, because that’s easier than confronting her emotions.
PRE-ORDER CAMPAIGN - SPS OMNIBUS EDITION. A reply from the manufacturer about a shipment of Star Princess Sanna enamel pins she asked about on Friday afternoon. Delayed for another two weeks. Not ideal, but better than never getting them in at all. Reiko marks it for a response later.
TENJOU DELIVERY WEDNESDAY. Timestamped a mere ten minutes ago. She isn’t the only one working on a day off. Reiko notices right away that the message has been flagged as important, which is odd. This e-mail appears, without fail, every Monday of her life. Throughout the long history of this exchange, the message has never been flagged as important. At least, not that Reiko can remember.
She almost opens it, curiosity triggered, but then she sees the subject of the next e-mail and momentarily forgets everything else.
ALL DEPTS: QUARTERLY MEETING — MON @ 10AM
A thrill dances through her, momentarily displacing the throbbing ache in her skull. The sounds of the reception fade away. She taps the message and it unfurls into a calendar invite. Representatives from every department at her publishing house will be expected to attend, including Reiko and the other senior marketing staff.
Most meetings are a dreary prospect, especially when scheduled for first thing on a Monday. At these quarterly gatherings, it takes hours to discuss things like sales figures and future business plans. But this one is special, because they’ll finally present the twentieth anniversary plans for DUCHESS Magazine’s most iconic franchise to date: Red Thread. The first manga she ever read all the way through, start to finish. The reason why she applied at Yumeisha in the first place, as soon as she’d graduated.
Reiko accepts the invite and adds it to her burgeoning, meticulously color-coded calendar. She can’t keep from breaking into a smile. She’s still beaming at her phone when she hears the grass crunching softly under someone’s feet and looks up to find that she is no longer alone.
The someone is tall, just about as impeccably turned out as Ren, and wearing a pair of dress shoes so highly polished that Reiko can see her reflection in them. He’s shed the jacket and rolled up the sleeves of the crisp white shirt underneath.
There is only a bowl of tealights to see him by, so it takes a moment for Reiko to recognize the man now seating himself across from her. But if the head of blond hair hadn’t given it away, the green eyes and trademark smirk would have made it very clear within the next two seconds, anyway.
She blinks at him. “Oshiro?”
“Um, hi. What are you doing here?”
He leans back into the chair and stretches his long legs under the table, instantly making himself at home. “Attending a wedding,” he replies. “Chatting with the bride’s aunties. Waiting for you to pay attention to me.”
“And sending e-mails?”
“No rest for the wicked, as they say.”
Reiko puts her phone down. “It’s weird seeing you outside of work. This is the last place I’d expect to run into you.”
“Why? Because you figured that I live at the office and camp out under my desk on days off?”
She laughs. “I mean, yeah.”
“To be fair, I’d expect the same of you.”
Well, that really is fair. Sometimes Reiko looks up from the endless loop between work and her apartment, her apartment and then work, and realizes that her entire existence can be summed up in three boring sentences or less. And then she’ll go back to her computer screen, her half empty coffee mug, the pathetic little granola bar that will have to serve as her lunch. But that’s just the way of things, isn’t it? At least she genuinely loves her job. It would be much harder to bear, otherwise.
“I’ve considered just packing myself a bag and living in my cubicle,” Reiko admits, without any real shame. In the background, the band segues into their much livelier cover of a depressing breakup anthem. Over the noise, she adds, “At least it would save me a commute.”
She shrugs. “So lazy.”
“Anyone truly lazy wouldn’t be checking her inbox at a wedding reception,” Oshiro points out.
“Guilty as charged. Have you come to scold me for not participating in wedding activities?”
“No, I’ve come to ask you why you haven’t opened my e-mail.” He waves his own phone at her. “I checked three seconds ago. It definitely still says unread.”
“It’s flagged important and with a read receipt? Seriously?”
“Seriously. It’s high priority. Read it right now.” He angles a covert glance over her shoulder, in the direction he came from earlier. “Oh, and if you don’t mind, don’t reply until I’m back over there.”
“Wait, you want a reply, too? What am I supposed to say? You send me the same four lines every week. I have the thing memorized by now.” To prove this point, she clasps her hands behind her back and recites, “Heading to Tenjou on Wednesday. They need endcaps, window decals, sticker packs, blah blah blah, for insert-manga-title-here. I’ll stop by and grab them on my way out. Thanks. Oshiro Masaru, DUCHESS Sales, 81-4-8914-1111, extension 822.”
His demeanor shifts, now part bemusement and part blatant self-satisfaction. “Look, Tachibana, I’m beyond flattered that you hang onto my every word like this. Not surprising. I’m extremely eloquent in my digital correspondence.”
She rolls her eyes. “There it is. I knew it was coming.”
“You even know my extension by heart,” Oshiro continues blithely. “It’s like my wildest dreams coming true. But what I really need right now is for you to open that e-mail and write me a timely reply. By timely, I mean don’t hit send until I’m at my table again. And then I’ll read your response and write you back. So on, so forth, rinse and repeat, until this torture is over and we can both leave.”
“Ah.” Reiko crosses her arms. “You want a prolonged reason to be on your phone.”
“Because you don’t want to be here.”
“Also correct, but needs clarification. I don’t want to be at this wedding. I do want to be at this table with you.”
He tips his head towards his original seating arrangements. Reiko risks a covert glance and notes that Oshiro’s vacated chair is surrounded by chattering ladies ranging from middle-aged to elderly. Somehow, without ever speaking to a single one of them, Reiko can tell that they’re the problematic aunties who don’t get along with any of the other aunties. Consequently, they’ve been placed where they can ostensibly do the least damage. From the looks of it, they’re having a fabulous time.
Reiko bites her lip, smothering a surge of laughter. “Wow. How did you end up with the best seat in the house? Like, who did you offend?”
“Ha ha. I owed the groom a favor and he cashed in, majorly.” Oshiro leans forward. “They’re a nice bunch, don’t get me wrong, but if they set me up with another of their nieces, I’ll be double booked from today until Christmas.”
“You’re welcome to sit here instead,” she offers. “We have an extra chair. My dad prefers to migrate between friend groups.”
“Thanks, but I can’t just abandon my post. I wouldn’t put it past them to follow me over here, or else I’d take you up on that suggestion. I figure random texts to my brothers will seem rude, unlike important work e-mails. So play along, won’t you? And keep in mind at least one of them will be reading over my shoulder the whole time.”
“What’s that supposed to mean? What on earth do you think I’d be putting in that e-mail?”
“I’m just saying, don’t use this as an opportunity to confess your undying love or anything. Maintain professionalism and all that.”
“Gosh, what a tall order. How will I ever comply?”
“Dig deep, Tachibana. Find that inner strength.”
Reiko pulls a face. “You came all the way here just to make me do this?”
“Yes,” says Oshiro. “You’re welcome. I’ll look for your thank you note in the mail. I also like gift baskets. The ones with baked goods are okay, but no edible fruit bouquets or artisan cheeses. Nobody wants those.”
“But why me?” she persists. “Don’t you have anyone else you can trade fake work e-mails with? What about Ueda? Or your boss?”
“Hey, take it easy. I’m not used to outright rejection.”
“I’m not rejecting you, I’m just confused.”
“What’s there to be confused about? I don’t want to be here. Neither do you. Let’s help each other out.”
Neither do you. Reiko feels very, very obvious, now.
He watches her expectantly. She can tell that he’s fighting hard not to break into one of his insouciant grins. Reiko can’t decide if she wants to smack him or bask in the infectious warmth of his attention, like a deprived houseplant straining to soak up every drop of sunshine it can get.
This conflicted reaction is more embarrassing than being caught on her phone. For God’s sake, it’s just Oshiro.
Their departments — Sales for him, Marketing for her — are often flung together, which means running into him at Yumeisha is pretty normal. They take the same elevator from the lobby and frequent the same break room on the tenth floor. He stops at her desk most Wednesday afternoons, as promised in his e-mails. Once in a while, if she stays even later than usual, Reiko might see him striding ahead of her through the lobby’s sliding glass doors, crossing the street to catch the same train. They never talk much, though, unless it’s about work.
Still true, she concludes, as Oshiro stands up and pushes the chair into place, preparing to return to the Island of Matchmaking Aunties. He walks backwards away from her, hands in his pockets. “Talk soon,” he tells Reiko, smiling as if he’s guessed all her secrets. And then he’s gone, threading his way through the crowd while she stares after him, utterly bewildered.
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