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#its gruesome as f***
celestialholland · 2 days ago
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the fighting sequence in kingsman with galahad/harry and all those people in church remains one of the most elite scenes ever
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jadelynlace · 3 days ago
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Ink Drinker / Modern Vikings AU [Ivar x F!Reader], Chapter 5
catch up here!
synopsis: Ivar was only meant to be a friend with benefits, but he caught feelings for his older brother’s best friend, and co-worker: you.
pairing: Ivar x F!Reader
***content warning [PLEASE READ]: this chapter is quite gruesome, please read at your own risk. yes this is based off of a trauma call I actually went to, and yes I am sparing some of the sicker details because it truly was one of the worst calls I had ever walked in on. and yes, it actually happened this way and yes, this helps me heal from it. ok, that is all.
author’s note: I’m so sorry.
A sinful noise comes from Ivar’s mouth in the exact moment you entered in through the threshold. Truthfully, the sound sent a shiver down your spine, worrisome as the twenty four hour shift ended and Ivar had chosen to go to your flat last night, not his own. 
“Why are you in my house, Ivar?” You say to him, eyes scanning over his half naked body as it tangled throughout the sheets, biceps set to curling around the rather feminine color of your duvet.
“Good morning to you too,” Ivar says back with a yawn that croaks from his mouth as he pulls the covers back. “Come lay with me,” Your mind rolls ideas between your ears, behind your eyes as you calculate why Ivar willingly came to your empty place the night prior, when he knew you were working yourself to death on the back of a never ending ambulance.
“That didn’t answer my question, Ivar,” Your voices teases him as you walk about the small space, pulling pins from your collar. He goes silent after your statement, moving the blankets to cover his face out of a twinge of embarrassment, not sure how you would take to learning that he felt better here. Felt happier, even when you weren’t home it gave him that sense that he wasn’t alone. You peek your head back to make out the large mound under the duvet, Ivar rolling under it and flopping on to his stomach. Tossing the discarded blues into your hamper, the tags, keys, pins and your tactical belt are all put away neatly in their homes as you pull on a shirt that no longer has a real shape to it. Ivar’s eyes peel open when you creep the covers off of his face, the cold air rushing against his skin and you’re in his vision—not as blurry to his glasses-less eyes as you make way to snuggle into him.
“Don’t want to creep you out,” Ivar says to you lowly, voice hoarse like sandpaper, scratching in its new use and you only turn your head to give him a sideways look. “It makes me feel better to be here,” He finally admits, fingers busying themselves with the loose hem on your shirt as he still won’t look at you. “Makes me feel less alone even if you’re not here,” You want to sigh, you want to cup his cheeks and push them together like he’s a toddler who’s being too damn adorable for your undertaking, but you can’t. These are words that took him a while to finally speak, progress for what darkness seems to leech in his mind at all hours, and now only a sliver of light comes through because he’s telling you how he feels. The reasoning behind it all, the baring of his soul on the bedsheets and stark naked with his emotions.
“You can come here whenever you want Ivar, you know that.” You say back, eyes searching his and they close briefly, sighing in a moment of relief because you’re not throwing him out on to the street for his choice. “Anything that makes you feel better, you should do,” You tell him, a peck to the corner of his mouth as you settle against him. “As long as it’s legal,” You add quickly, picking your head up in haste to move your point across and Ivar only chuckles as you do.
“You know what makes me feel better?” Ivar whispers and he’s climbs over you, pressing a weight to rein over you and you giggle. Sluggish as he moves with his hair tickling your face and he’s finally made the leeway with his figure, bending his forearms to catch his weight.
“What makes you feel better?” You ask him, looking up at this man who is so hopelessly in love with you he doesn’t even care to hide it on his face.
“You make me feel better,” Ivar tells you and the words hardly escape before his lips are against yours. Languid and soft, relishing in how your nails scratch up his back, humming as they press along his skin like keys on a piano and he finally drops his weight. Laying over you as his lips find their place on your pulse point, grazing the skin like thousands of little needles and you let a breathless moan pass from your tongue. Ivar only hums in response as his mouth stays busy, splotching you and navigating the skin to make sure more of the dots will stay hidden when you put your blues back on. His forehead rests on the length of your collarbone, his hand moving around the mattress to find yours. “I’ve never been in love until I met you,” Ivar whispers against you skin, sinking the praise into your pores and it shatters your heart but repairs it just as quickly. Resting his cheek he finally looks up at you, dragging his fingertips down your nose and there’s a low light that’s dancing off of his features, paling his blue eyes as he gazes at you.
“I love you, too Ivar,” You say softly and you mean the sentence with every single fiber in your body. You’d say it until you were blue in the face if it helped to heal every demon in his mind. He smiles as you say it, like he still can’t believe his luck.
“Want you—but I know you’re tired,” He mumbles and his lips take back to the game against your skin and you know he doesn’t mean to try to turn you in his favor. But you tell him about the coffee you had—more than you should have had if you planned to sleep some of the day away and he’s moving back over you again. Worshipping you with each press of his lips, each roll of his hips as he grinds down against your spread legs. He’s not rushed with how he feels you, how he only kicks his pants off and pulls your bottoms off as you undress fully for him, his eyes just watching your skin as he kisses each knee cap and then he’s back over you. Mouth against yours as the tip of his cock brushes against your opening, how that small notion is already so heavenly and when he’s finally pushing into you, you’re holding back on to him. Letting him know you’re there as he moves slowly in the morning light. Heavy breathing and soft mews between the both of you while Ivar brings you to your peek with the rolls of his hips and his tongue on yours. And he falls with you, panting and coating your walls and humming in pure contentment because this is a sensation he never wants to forget, never lose, as long as he lives, sleeping the morning away tangled between you and the sheets.
*
It had rolled into another slow morning left with nothing other to do than mop the bay’s floors and terrorize Hvitserk with unruly sprays from the soap gun. Laughing as he flinched, all but made inhuman noises whenever your aim got closer to his pristine blues. You two had gone on coffee runs, stopping to grab lunch and snacking away with boots up on the benches as another unrealistic drama show flashes from the screen. It was a bright change for the days that you two had spent together, but the quietness was never welcomed completely without the slow thoughts of what was to come lingering behind it. A car into a semi-truck. Hvitserk tipped his head back and groaned so loudly he nearly fell backwards from his chair. At least you were just able to blaze through the streets of town with loud horns and bright sirens and command the authority to have everyone bow to your right of way. 
It was warm, growing increasingly so in the last few hours and the sun hung well above the road. Scattered with the remains of scrap metal, tangled mess of a car and the comically unbent eighteen wheeler. The fire engine met you on the scene, already blinking with two police cars and in your maneuvering to park the rig close, you caught more of the vehicle wreck. A tangled mess of a black mustang and you could feel the blood drain from your face as your heart stopped.
“Hvitserk,” You whine and that snaps his attention from the back the rig as he’s pulling gloves for both of you. “Oh my god Hvitserk it’s Ivar,” You all but yell and he bolts from the back of the double doors to round the ambulance. And then he sees it. And you see it. Your partner takes off, no protective gear as a shield and you grab him, locking an arm to pull him back as a look of panic crosses him like a field. “Focus,” You hiss at him. “Do your job and fucking focus—you’re the best medic on the god damn team and you need to prove that right now,” But you could say the speech until you’re blue in the face, gasping as the words fall with no meaning because Hvitserk is out of control for the first time ever on a call.
“He’s awake in there,” A voice calls from the other side of the car.
“Get the trauma bag.” You call to your partner and then you take off, steel toes rounding the car and there’s no door to open anymore. Just a blown out rear view window that’s already been cut by those jaws. You see Ivar blink and your mind shuts off completely. 
“Hey baby,” His voice rasps when he sees you in his sight, picking his head up while the crushed front end of the car covers his legs like a blanket. Your heart is stabbed with a knife and you can’t worry about that right now, you can’t worry about how you feel because your uniform is telling you that you’re the only hope for the man you so deeply love.
“Ivar keep your head down please, I need you to stay as still as possible.” You tell him and Hvitserk makes his way behind you. 
“We need the take this side off!” Hvitserk’s voice calls to the fire department. The noise of his voice floats behind you and he pulls another fire fighter to aid him in the collection of equipment he’s sending to you.
“What’s that?” Ivar asks you and you’re reaching behind you for the c-collar. 
“This keeps your neck straight, Ivar, it’s very important that you don’t move. How else are you feeling?”
“My legs feel funny,” Ivar mumbles to you as you lock the device around his neck. At his words you peek down for the first time and your stomach rolls. Churning like a great open sea as you see the mess that is before the two of you. There is no clear cut determining factor of where his legs start and the car ends. 
“Ivar can you feel my hand right here?” You ask him as you have it on his thigh.
“I like it when you touch me there baby,” Ivar slurs and it’s a twist of his words drooling from his mouth as he’s trying to stay awake. Even as his body shuts down. Even with the same bastard smirk. You back out slowly and Hvitserk replaces your spot as quickly as he’ll allow; tunneled vision as he asses Ivar’s closest vein and through a shake in his fingers, hooks him up to a line. “What are you doing brother?” He asks and his voice is smaller now, like a child and Hvitserk only sadly smiles.
“This is pain medicine Ivar, so we can get you out of the car. You’re going to get really tired and I don’t want you to fight it, alright? I’ll see you when you wake up.” Are the last words Ivar registers and his world becomes dark.
The hiss of the saw catches your attention as you watch the sparks sizzle on the heated asphalt. Linens down on the stretcher and reflective gear covering you but your body is so cold, chilled and down right hypothermic as the car groans lowly once it is peeled apart. Like bark from a tree as it curls into scrap metal and Hvitserk cranks two tourniquets on each of Ivar’s legs. 
“Helicopter?” You call to him and he shakes his head.
“It’ll be faster if you drive him down to the trauma center. They won’t fly—it’s too cloudy today,” He calls back and you can’t help but think of the ever going joke about how the pilots don’t fly, even with only one cloud in the whole sky. There’s yelling, screams, the buzz of machines and too much noise but Ivar is still asleep, and you find comfort in the fact that he’s not seeing what you are. Your reflective vest catches the sunlight and it bounces into your face, mixes with your tear filled eyes and you wipe them along your sleeve to smear mascara and sweat. As soon as the command comes from around you that it’s safe, the car is stable and you can reach your patient, you waste no time.
It takes you, Hvitserk and two of the largest firemen on the team to pull Ivar from the wreck. Hooking around his arms and you can still smell his cologne over the burnt rubber that takes up home in your nostrils. His legs are crushed, obliterated and shattered and you’re queasy for the first time ever on a call. They drag behind him like dead limbs as he’s sliding up the back board. Hvitserk tears what was left of his jeans in adrenaline as he tries to wrap what he can to stay sterile but the injuries are far too extreme for you two alone to treat. The mess of mangled flesh and your heart breaks even farther as you see the art work on his skin now a waste because you know how Ivar loves his tattoos. They’re smashed and bent and somehow still there and if it were any other call there would be pictures being taken and you would be exchanging glances with your partner. Treating the rest of what he can and Hvitserk pales, because you both know Ivar may never walk again. 
From above his belt, Ivar looks normal—he looks like the man you saw this morning—your Ivar. Obvious contusions from the seat belt and the airbag, torn shirt cut right up the middle as you attach the stickers to his chest. The Like Pak squeezes an already bulged bicep for his blood pressure and it’s dropping quickly. The non-rebreather mask’s reservoir fills with oxygen and you watch the plastic palpate, the fingers in his left hand twitch like they do when he’s asleep. It feels like a nightmare, loud noises and beating sun with clouds that pass and every time shade greats you, you find another injury on his body. The motions come so simply because your mind has gone, sucked out the window and on a vacation because you need to focus on what you’re doing, now more than ever.
Protruding tibia bones look back at you, knee caps that are now mere powder mock you. You see his bones, you see his muscles, you see every inner part of both of his legs stabbed with shrapnel and the glass, raw and cherry colored, and you think you’re going to pass out as you pull the gurney to the machine that grabs it, sucking into the back of the ambulance. Hvitserk jumps back there you slam the doors so quickly, trying to shut that world out to focus on this one. And then you pull the ambulance around and gun it, sandwiching the peddle between your blood covered boot and the ambulance’s floor. Even over the sirens, the blare of the horn you can hear your partner praying. Praying to a God he doesn’t believe in for his brother to live through this as the monitor sings a tune that Ivar is crashing.
“Come on brother—don’t do this to me,” He curses and pulls another vile, cranks the oxygen flow and sends more fluid into his body. “Don’t do this to me Ivar. Not today. Not today, Ivar,” And the tears finally start again in your eyes as you curse the vehicle for not going any faster. For its limit of one hundred and twenty miles per hour on the open lane of the freeway because cars have spread. They’ve parted as this creature screams for them to obey and you see the cop cars ahead of you, trying to pave the way and then the flight car. Your section chief right on your front bumper and you know he can tell its you driving the ambulance. You’re the fastest driver he’s ever employed and now is the time to remember that—and your job as you all carry Ivar’s body from this battle, into a much worse one.
Ink Drinker Tags:
@smileysam13579 @dreamtherapy @heisentwerk  @angelofthenightposts @ill-skillsgard @youaremyfamiliar @unbetaedimagines @kathryn-jane @readsalot73 @skrsgardspam @lihikainanea @queen-sarang   @anastasiaskarsgard @andmyannabellee @walkxthexmoon  @flowers-in-your-hayr @peachyboneless @heavenly1927 @istorkyou @victoria-styles @quantumlocked310 @xbellaxcarolinax @mighty-ragnarssons @alexhandersen-marcoilsoe-fandom @queen-of-upshur @nanahachikyuu @fandomlifeandeverythingelse @ivarhoegh @a5hl3y5ibley  @apenas-mais-uma-pessoa  @youbloodymadgenius @love-all-things-writing  @theanxietyqueen17 @trip2themoon @tgrrose @synnersaint 
*please message me to let me know if you would like to be added or removed from my tag list. specifications for series/etc. are also welcomed, as well as feedback.*
full masterlist can be found here.
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zrtranscripts · 5 days ago
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Season 9, Mission 8: Imarhan
Medusa's Zombies
~
[crickets chirp]
SAM YAO: Hey Mo, what's that on the horizon, the Red Sea?
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: An excellent guess, but very wrong. The Red Sea is thousands of miles from here. That is salt lake Chott el Djerid. The minerals dye it that especially gruesome shade of red. In fact, the desert rose crystal on my walking stick handle was found in the lake itself by my daughter.
SAM YAO: It's lovely. And the lake's spectacular! Shame Frances is missing it.
JANINE DE LUCA: Miss Dempsey will see it some other time. She's made it impossible for us not to include her in our party, but I don't wish to put her in harm's way unless absolutely necessary. I've asked her and Mr. Lynne to guard the camp, though with her track record, I wouldn't be surprised to find her stowing away in Veronica's briefcase. You have the case, Runner Five? Good. Now, Mr. Boujettif, please brief us on the mission.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: I failed in a sacred trust, Colonel De Luca. I was hired to transport an item to New Agadir of great, almost unimaginable, value.
JANINE DE LUCA: What item?
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: It's safest we don't speak of it. Alas, a villain stole it from me, and now its owner holds me responsible for the theft, an owner who answers to the sobriquet Skull-Kicker.
SAM YAO: Oh, they sound lovely.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Indeed. Skull-Kicker is a shady figure who has run much of New Agadir's criminal underworld for the last few years. Unless I return the item and apprehend the true thief, I'll never again be admitted to the city. And without my help and Skull-Kicker's approval, you will never gain entry yourselves. So you see, it's not only for my own benefit that I ask this of you.
JANINE DE LUCA: We do not need a reason to help an innocent man clear his name, Mr. Boujettif. How do you propose to locate our targets?
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Fortunately, I was able to shoot the thief with a tracking device as he fled. This receiver will lead us to him, but not until the city's satellite passes overhead. To be in place when it does, we need to head to his last known location, the salt lake.
SAM YAO: Sounds like we haven't got any time to waste. Let's go!
~
SAM YAO: Wow. It's really vivid, isn't it, Five, the salt lake? I want to compare it to something beautiful, but my mind just keeps coming up with blood SLUSH PUPPiE.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: It's said that a giant sent his wife here for salt to season his soup so often that in the end, she used his blood to season the salt.
JANINE DE LUCA: The basin is endorheic, Mr. Yao, meaning it doesn't drain. Minerals from rainwater and runoff from the Atlas Mountains crystallize here and give the lake its distinctive coloration.
SAM YAO: I prefer the one about the giants.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Thank you! Gods and heroes and grand tragic love! I adore such stories. Born in the wrong age, my wife says.
SAM YAO: You all right, Mo?
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Yes, yes. It's just... my family, I-I sent them away from me and my sometimes dangerous work. They're staying with an itinerant people who pass this way only once a season. It feels – it feels as if the sun only arises when they return.
JANINE DE LUCA: We know the value of family, Mr. Boujettif, and we know what it is to lose them. We'll do our best to help you.
SAM YAO: We will, Mo, I promise. And what are those? Are those statues? Thousands of them, in all different poses. Looks like Medusa's been out here having a good old stare.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Those are the dead, entombed in the salt. Once a year, when the lake liquefies, they walk free again.
SAM YAO: Um... is that story true?
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Unfortunately, yes. Listen, do you hear? That's the sound of the dead beginning to stir. Don't worry, we have a few weeks yet before they reanimate. The satellite should be passing overhead. One moment. [cloth rustles, device beeps] We have him! The thief has made his lair in the Roman ruins. I've spent many pleasant hours there with my family, admiring the mosaics. You can see the remains of the triumphal arch ahead. Let us leave these lone and level sands behind and exact our justice in the decay of that colossal wreck!
JANINE DE LUCA: Lead the way, Mr. Boujettif. We must apprehend the thief and secure the stolen property as swiftly as possible. Your family is waiting for you, and the success of our expedition is contingent on our gaining entry to New Agadir in good time. Let's run!
~
[device beeps]
JANINE DE LUCA: We're closing in on the thief. He's not moving. We must have found his lair!
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: In the ruins of the court! Just look at these mosaics! I myself have dabbled in the art of the tile and believe me, these are the very zenith of the form. This section here is my daughter's favorite. It depicts a holy woman, perhaps a Celtic shaman, and her familiar. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, my daughter always says the woman with the wolf. I miss her.
[beeping accelerates]
JANINE DE LUCA: You'll see her soon, Mr. Boujettif, but we must be quiet. The thief is just beyond the remains of the wall ahead. Runner Five, go left. I will go right. Now! [footsteps] Freeze!
SAM YAO: There's no one here.
JANINE DE LUCA: So I see. Miss McShell, do you have any insight into the thief's likely whereabouts?
VERONICA MCSHELL: The tracking device is primitive and lacks a z-axis. I suspect the thief is beneath you.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Your bag talks?
SAM YAO: [laughs] Yeah, I probably should have mentioned that. Bit of a surprise, I'd imagine.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: You have heard of panpsychism, the idea that consciousness is a fundamental property of matter? Our ancestors knew this. It has taken us millennia to learn it again. The real surprise is that so few bags talk. What do you have in there, a voice assistant?
SAM YAO: Not... exactly.
VERONICA MCSHELL: I've acquired plans of the ruins. We're on top of a much older structure the predates -
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: The Berber tombs, yes! This place is a collision of times, of cultures, as New Agadir is today. You'll see when you get there.
VERONICA MCSHELL: There are two entrances to the tombs, built for tourists. Five, you and Sam take the entrance to the left. Janine, you and Mo take the other. It's labyrinthine down there, and doubtless also dark. I'll guide you. Hurry. before the thief moves on. Run!
~
[device beeps]
SAM YAO: Well, we've been in some dark places, Five, but I think these tombs might be the darkest. It's like having oil over your eyes, isn't it? So uh, what do you think of Mo? I like him already. You can tell he feels things. Being apart from his family for so long must be really hard. [rock clatters] What was that?
VERONICA MCSHELL: Just a rock, Sam. This place isn't stable. Keep moving, I'll be your eyes. This corridor leads to a central chamber. The thief isn't there.
SAM YAO: Oh. Yeah. And what's in here?
VERONICA MCSHELL: Tombs. Hundreds of tombs cut into the rock, the resting places of the ancient Berbers.
SAM YAO: Ah. As long as they are actually resting.
VERONICA MCSHELL: Many of the tombs have statues beside them, depictions of an old man with the horns of a ram. They were worshipers of Ba’al Hammon.
SAM YAO: He sounds... [wind whistles] Veronica?
VERONICA MCSHELL: Just a draft, Sam. Must be an aperture leading to the ruins above. You've entered the central chamber. My sensors indicate a presence.
SAM YAO: Oh, I can't see! Wait. Look, Five! There, where the shadows are darkest.
VERONICA MCSHELL: Approach with caution.
SAM YAO: It's a person, it’s-it’s definitely a person.
VERONICA MCSHELL: Slowly, Sam. Quietly.
SAM YAO: Why is he staring into the corner like that? What's he staring at? Is it - is it Ba’al Hammon?
VERONICA MCSHELL: Grab him on the count of three. One, two, three!
[zombie screams]
SAM YAO: Zombie! It's a zombie!
VERONICA MCSHELL: Five, Sam, head for the opposite end of the chamber to the one you've entered from. You'll meet up with Janine. Run!
~
[zombie screams]
SAM YAO: I think we're losing the zombie, Five. A bit of light in here, too, thank heavens. Glinting off all these shiny things. Must be the thief’s lair. It's a bit like Aladdin's cave, isn't it? If Aladdin hoarded consumer electronics. Ah, there's Janine. And here comes the zombie! Janine, Mo, behind us, zombie! The thief's been bitten.
JANINE DE LUCA: I think not, Mr. Yao. There, protruding from the flesh of its thigh, the tracker. The thief planted it on the zombie.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Allow me.
[blade cuts through zombie flesh]
SAM YAO: Oh, your walking stick is actually a sword stick. Cool! Ah, wasn't the fastest zombie in the world, was it? Feel a bit embarrassed for running so hard.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: That was a zombie of the salt lake. Its seasoning hasn't fully softened. In fact, it shouldn't be moving at all. The dead aren’t due to rise for at least a fortnight. Judgment day has come early this year. The salt lake lies between us and New Agadir and are about to resemble the ninth circle joining a heatwave. We must conclude our adventure posthaste.
JANINE DE LUCA: Miss McShell, do you have an update on the thief's location?
VERONICA MCSHELL: Yes. That draft, Sam, it must be coming from one of the tombs dug into the walls. I suspect the thief has created a shortcut to the surface. Behind the tombs are the pipes that once fed the baths above. They are narrow. He'd have to crawl. If you hurry, you may be able to intercept him when he emerges.
SAM YAO: Uh, well, shouldn't we search his lair for the-the thing, the mysterious stolen thing?
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: No need. He'd keep it close. Unless he's sold it already, it will be on his person.
VERONICA MCSHELL: Janine, the entrance you came through is closest to the baths. Go quickly, run!
~
[crickets chirp]
JANINE DE LUCA: Here are the baths, and there is the opening. Prepare to apprehend the thief, everyone. He will emerge from that... bath plug.
SAM YAO: Anyone got a newspaper I can roll up?
[MEDHI groans]
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Hello, Medhi.
MEDHI: Oh crap!
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: How could you do this, Medhi, after I raised you as my own? After I paid for your schooling? Perhaps I should have paid more, then you might have learned that I am not so easily outwitted! Come on, spit them out!
[MEDHI spits, dentures clatter on the ground]
SAM YAO: Gold dentures.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Yes, even more sparkling than the last. Skull-Kicker is most eager to acquire them. You foolish boy, Medhi! Did you think to ransom them back? You are fortunate I prevented such a suicidal plan! Skull-Kicker's smile is famous. Or rather, Skull-Kicker is famous for smiling while doing things that really don't warrant a smile.
SAM YAO: Oh great, can't wait to meet them.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Thanks to your heroics today, you won't have to wait long. Indeed, you can't wait long. Look, through the Corinthian columns!
JANINE DE LUCA: Oh... oh my.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: The dead have risen. Like the zombie we met in the tombs, they are not fully reanimated. We will be able to cross the lake in relative safety, but when the dead rise, so do the city's defenses, and they remain raised for the entire season. This is the point of no return, my friends. This is your Rubicon. If you enter New Agadir, you will not be able to return this way.
SAM YAO: Well, that's okay. We want to enter. That's why we're here. We need to set ourselves up in New Agadir as Death's Hand, or we won't be able to get into Red Scorpion base.
MOHAMMED BOUJETTIF: Ah, but how much do you know of New Agadir? Gaining entry to the place is only the first of your problems. What lies before you is the most technologically advanced city in the Maghreb, and also the most perilous. Eyes watch from every window and only the most virtuous resist its blandishments. The city of a thousand sins lies before you. Enter if you dare!
~
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clamwoolen6 · 11 days ago
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NBA players aren't being delicate. lovers have long gone to the land of assault.
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The NBA might barely delight in its gradual return to normalcy, infrequently get its toes right into a non-bubble postseason before fanatics in three cities handled gamers to a full serving of disrespect. gruesome incidents Wednesday in Philadelphia, long island and Salt Lake city did nothing to foster appreciation between the avid gamers and fans, most effective reminding gamers why they frequently resented the paying valued clientele to begin with. lovers being allowed again into NBA arenas delivered some soul to a online game that depends on the entire atmosphere being electric, creating a shared journey for 15,000 people and a wistful one for these viewing — the more desirable the reveal, the extra the video game seems like an adventure you don’t are looking to leave out. That aspect had been lacking, arenas being as sterile as they have been sterilized for security within the wake of playing a season in the middle of COVID-19. It’s a massive reason final summer in Orlando didn’t suppose as genuine, and these few weeks had been speculated to suppose like the honeymoon duration. NBA gamers brazenly pointed out how they missed the enthusiasts, the added chills and delivered intensity. The television networks certainly did, considering the fact that how the announcers make observe of the brand new instances as in the event that they’re contractually obligated. And it’s tough to deny the games haven’t been better with the added heat, because the crowds are a critical component of the game, akin to the referees or the popular sounds of a longtime play-by way of-play voice. but while most paying enthusiasts understand how to habits themselves like adults who've appreciate for the athletes in entrance of them or their families regional, the few outliers taint the photo of the complete. Russell Westbrook — a excellent citizen by way of all accounts — has time and again caught abuse within the closing few years, most lately getting popcorn dumped on him through a fan as he limped to the locker room in Philadelphia, a real addition of insult to injury. © supplied through Yahoo! activities A fan at Madison square garden spit on Atlanta's Trae young Wednesday evening. (Elsa/Getty images) He’s had incidents in Denver and Utah, the place he’s apparently minding his personal company and lovers think entitled to pass the road. fanatics in Utah were harassing the folks of Memphis Grizzlies aspect defend Ja Morant, resulting in the ejection of three americans Wednesday evening. and those extraordinary, lauded fans in big apple went from taunting Hawks point shield Trae young to one feeling so compelled to spit at him. Gallery: Reinventing Derrick Rose: How has his game modified because successful MVP? (SMG) Even throughout excessive-stakes competition, this become speculated to be a communal gathering, a respite from a 12 months of world distress led to by using none however dealt with by using all. We were all supposed to include during this gradual crawl to a new commonplace, but in all probability this resentment is just some thing that needs to be added into the equation moving ahead. This isn’t the case of the coddled, NBA gamers being delicate, being unable to take a bit heckling from opposing lovers all over the playoffs. It’s long gone to the land of assault, and however the lovers were identified and suspended “indefinitely,” they should still be suspended for life. It’s tough to barter the visible of white enthusiasts going after Black players, unprompted and apparently doing so beneath the shroud of privilege and entitlement. Westbrook may be a lot of things, but he’s spot on when he says nobody would try this to him within the streets, where the penalty for such disrespect can be palms — and not in a biblical method. “To be completely sincere, man, this s*** is getting out of hand,” Westbrook referred to. “mainly for me, the quantity of disrespect, the quantity of fanatics simply doing something the f*** they wish to do. In any other setting, I’m focused on enthusiasts having fun with the online game. It’s part of sports; I get it. but there are some things that pass the line. In some other surroundings, i do know for a undeniable fact that lovers … wouldn’t come up, a guy wouldn’t come up in the street and pour popcorn on my head. as a result of we’d understand what happen." Of route, being an athlete skill signing a pact with the intimacy of the online game, peculiarly NBA avid gamers. The courtside seats are expensive and a part of the appeal of being a fan relative to the different expert sports. Being a little blind and a bit deaf should come with the territory is fairly. Most fanatics are respectful and most players can appreciate a bit banter, a bit trash talking. It’s a part of the game, however it’s additionally a job — and we will’t forget that when expecting them to mechanically check their feelings at the metal detector yet empty their emotional and athletic tank at the identical time. we all know what would happen if gamers channel their internal Ron Artest circa 2004, take umbrage to the disrespect and create an incident that reverberated everywhere. basically, someone like Westbrook would take 30 seconds in a metal cage with one of these brave enthusiasts, WWE-trend, and have them in a figure-four leglock earlier than the bell rings. © supplied by using Yahoo! activities Kyrie Irving hopes he isn't faced with racism from Boston lovers this weekend. (Steven Ryan/Getty photos) due to that risky relationship, either side ought to behave and the fans have been the ones dragging their end of the bargain.
 Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving took flack overtly hoping the Boston Celtics fanatics do not code their displeasure with racism this weekend, given the metropolis’s delicate historical past with race and the franchise’s background with Black gamers. “I imply, it’s no longer my first time being an opponent in Boston, so I’m simply longing for competing with my teammates and optimistically we will simply retain it strictly basketball, there’s no belligerence or any racism occurring, delicate racism and individuals yelling s*** from the crowd,” Irving said. And although one could query his causes or sincerity, the events of the closing few days means all eyes could be on Boston this weekend to make certain the fans reside above board. Irving is a straightforward goal to poke enjoyable at, and so is Boston as a city and activities town. Irving might be the target of a adverse and scorned Celtics fan base, nonetheless burned over Irving leaving their parquet floors for the ones in Brooklyn — and it’s their correct. The ardour is what fuels hobby within the NBA, so the league workplace has to lean into that as adverse to deterring or chastising the viewing public. It’s much more convenient to hold the players to a stronger general than the lots who make their method throughout the turnstiles, chiefly as the league is trying to re-set up its relationship and recoup misplaced income from empty seats in the pandemic. The NBA assumes its fans are chuffed to be back, and that they very might also smartly be. however they can't count on decent habits or element in just a few unhealthy apples as some thing suitable. no one can say they didn’t know greater, or that their conduct may still be necessary of redemption. There’s only 1 solution since it’s clear some lovers can’t be trusted. extra from Yahoo activities: 토토사이트
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fanfictionlive · 16 days ago
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I think it's time to move on
[LONG RANT AHEAD; wondering if I should move on from my main fandom and made a serious mistake getting into it in the first place.]
I rarely participate in this subreddit other than to read and make the occasional comment but I've recently had an... epiphany of sorts and am stuck with my thoughts and feelings on the matter.
I've written fanfiction for more than a decade but it was almost a year ago that I actually started publishing my works. Made an Ao3 account and went ham with my chosen fandom. My first fic was pretty popular and gained a lot of traction considering that the fandom is massive and my account was new. I went on a bit of a spree after that and churned out 500k over the past year with 95% of that being for the main fandom. I had lots of ideas and while I used most of them in oneshots, I started a few multi-chapter WIPs. Over time, writing became harder and I took a break for a month or so before telling myself that I'm ready to get back at it.
I wasn't. Writing has become a chore. It's not something I sit down to do because I enjoy it but because I feel like I have to. It's not even that my readers are pushy or demanding. I've been spared all those horror stories about entitled and whiny readers who have no respect for the person behind the fanfic. It's just that I'm tired. And I think I have figured out why.
My main fandom is Naruto. Some smaller fandoms I occasionally dabble in are Warcraft, Harry Potter, and then like, a single fic for a few fandoms each like Dishonored, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, etc. although those are uploads of fics I wrote many years ago.
Then, completely by accident about two weeks ago, I discovered something new. I admit it's not exactly dignified, but I have a thing for older women, and when I stumbled across tall hot vampire Lady Dimitrescu the deal was pretty much sold. I got my first Resident Evil game, played it, and loved it. I'm a wimp. I can't watch horror movies. But I loved every second of it. The game is fantastic and the characters all to my liking (except Ethan. Ethan is a cardboard cutout). Obviously, I went looking for fanfiction with my favourite character. And, well. I was not prepared that almost all of it is femslash. If I write ships they're almost exclusively F/F and my fics typically centre around female characters. Of course I was happy and excited, especially considering Naruto is a shonen anime and comes with all the problems and baggage that entails.
Reading all those F/F fics obviously inspired me to write my own and... I wrote a 20k 3 chapter fic within two days. But I didn't just write it like I usually write things. I tried. I actually noticed myself trying to write well, to make it exactly what I want it to be. Usually, when I write I make compromises. I try to convey something or write something a certain way but can never quite manage to get it just right. For that fic, I didn't make a single compromise and I didn't even mind looking up synonyms and the right words (English is my third language). It didn't feel like a chore at all.
I was proud of myself when I was done. And the reception was mind-blowing. Readers were praising me to the high heavens and one of them even drew parallels between my fic and T.S. Elliot's "The Hollow Men", highlighting similarities that I didn't even try to achieve. It's not that I typically get hate on my Naruto fics or that readers don't seem to enjoy them. But this time, it was completely different.
And it got me thinking. I don't know why I did so well. If it was just the novelty of having a different universe and a different cast to work with and the feeling of being on a paid vacation from my main fandom. Or if maybe, there's an underlying problem that I, until now, never realised.
Naruto is for children. Things that are for children aren't bad; Lord knows I still watch Kim Possible well into my 20s. But while Naruto touches on adult themes, the way it handles them is that it implies there are serious, darker aspects to the world without ever following through. It takes child soldiers, murder for hire, gruesome scientifical experiments, and a whole bunch of potentially disturbing themes and dresses them up in a kid's Halloween outfit.
I write dark fics. I write about murder, horror, manipulation, abuse, you know, the whole circus. I tried my hand at a variety of shipping or feelgood gen fics but it's not what I naturally gravitate towards. At first, it felt rewarding to take a universe that has the potential to be a massive playground for someone like me and use its elements to twist them into the dark stories I favour. To manipulate events and people to create believable (at least I hope so) dark and gloomy narratives.
Then I wrote for a fandom that doesn't try to be anything it's not. That doesn't only go halfway. That doesn't have any of those anime stereotypes and limitations to work around. Resident Evil is an awful, awful thing and that's what makes it wonderful. I wrote that fic and felt like everything just fit together. I'm not sure how to describe it, really. Writing dark fics for Naruto is like performing on a stage while writing dark fics for Resident Evil is like sitting in the audience.
And it really made me ask myself if I made a mistake by even getting into Naruto in the first place. I don't hate (most) of my fics that I wrote for it and I don't think they're (mostly) terrible but when I think of them I feel tired and something like dread pooling in my belly. I'd say it's just standard fandom exhaustion but I'm not so sure. I have many unfinished fics. I have many more ideas and WIPs that I haven't published. And I always told myself to clean up those I published, finish them one by one, before going for either of the massive passion projects I designed in my head. But those too would be for Naruto. Again, I would be setting myself up for creating a dark narrative in a universe that, by design, has no place for them. I know that the thing about fanfiction is to make things happen that canon didn't. It still feels like an uphill battle.
So now I am sitting here, genuinely considering moving on for good, unfinished WIPs be damned. I hate the idea of abandoning any of my works. I would lose 90% of my following. I'd probably do the thing I hate where I find a fic I love only to realise it will never be finished - just, you know, to others.
I just don't want to do it anymore. I want to write for Resident Evil instead. For Dark Souls. Warcraft. Dishonored. Fandoms that are made for gritty and gruesome stories that I don't have to make work. Because they make themselves work by default instead.
And then, when I feel like it, occasionally wander into places like Harry Potter or Naruto that have the framework and maybe even the walls but still need me to build the roof.
Rant over. This ended up being longer than I thought it would. I'm still not entirely sure what to think. Maybe someone has had the same issue. If so, I'd welcome some insight. Or advice. At this point, I'm not picky.
submitted by /u/chararii [link] [comments] from FanFiction: Where Magical Ponies battle Imperial Titans https://ift.tt/2SDHsuj
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brooklynislandgirl · 28 days ago
📝
Bits and Bobs || Accepting
Two glasses of wine deep and Mikhail has a new game. His fingertips glide back and forth across her wrist and maybe it’s distortion or the fact that everything is surrounded by a nice Sirrah glow but he feels far closer to her than he actually is and that the intensity of his dark eyes seem to block out everything else. Maybe it’s both and she doesn’t realise it yet, but she is very agreeable in this moment. She takes one last sip for the moment and sets her glass down on the coffee table before narrowing her eyes {inadvertently scrunching her nose while doing so} and tilting her head to one side, considering the first question carefully.
what color reminds your muse of mine?
“Oh, dat one easy,” she says as soon as it processes through her mind, distilled into its rawest essence. “Midnight blue. Now you’d t’ink I’d go black but you’re more subtle dan dat. You’ve got depths an’ shallows an remind me of a star strewn sky ovah Mount Ka’ala, highest point on O’ahu, part of Waiʻanae mountains. If ya nevah seen da view from dere, den ya nevah really live an’ it scare me jus’ a lil cause I no like da dark but I t’ink I’d brave it t’ show you. Like take you to see, not shoyu...uh..soy sauce.”
~*~
what song reminds your muse of mine?
“Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love. F’I close my eyes, I could almost imagine ya sitting at our piano an’ singin’ it.” She gives a little blushing shrug and clears her throat. It’s a fraction of a key off, and without accompaniment it might sound a little rough.
“When the rain is blowing in your face...And the whole world is on your case...I could offer you a warm embrace...To make you feel my love...When the evening shadows and the stars appear..And there is no one there to dry your tears...I could hold you for a million years...To make you feel my love.”
~*~
what scent reminds your muse of mine?
“Dere’s dis library in Prague, da Klementinum, and is one of da most beautiful kine I’ve ever seen. An’ I know ya sit dere an say ‘but Beth, dat no smell...but it is. Subtle. Dream of a million books, paper, parchment, skin. Da binding of glue an’ leather an’ wood. You can smell da ink, too an’ alla bits used t’ make it. An’ dere’s a cleanness, a dustiness, an’ from people, dere’s a hint of colognes or perfumes, no kine quite distinct enough to linger. And of course dere’s always a lil bit coppery tang, a sharp but never cloying sorta aftertaste. And when I breath ya in, is...is like dat. Bes’ way I can describe it.” ~*~ what meme reminds your muse of mine? It’s the first time she’s pulled out her phone in hours. Unlike most people of the modern age, Beth isn’t so attached to the device that she needs to be on it every sparing second, and certainly when she is spending time with someone, they are her sole focus. Her little fingers fly over the screen on their search and is seemingly ignorant to being observed.  Moments like these are rare, when she doesn’t seem painfully aware of every detail in the world around her and the shy smile that blooms is unrestricted, uncultured, and a little crooked.  “Here, dis one.” She offers him the phone.
~*~
what sound reminds your muse of mine?
“Jus’ before one storm break, da air all but crackles wi’ ion particles dat ya can feel dance on ya skin. An’ den it get really hush, holdin’ it’s breath. The tide doesn’t roar so much as it hums, expectantly. Tentative kisses on da sand, an’ even da trees shake deir branches before goin’ all still. It’s a combination of all of doze...da loudness an’ da stillness...dat you remind me of. Only happens on ocean coasts, is nevah da same inna city, an’ pity dat.”
~*~
what setting reminds your muse of mine?
“Somewhere in da English or Scottish moors, when da sky all grey alla time, an’ every kine is misty an’ green, despite lack of sun. Some kind of dilapidated country estate li’dat Thrushcross Grange from Wutherin’ Heights. One of them white shirts and dark pants. Boots up to your knees. Lurking in half-glass windows. Mebbe is haunted, mebbe not. I can see you ridin’ horses too, for wha’evah is worth.”
She laughs. Takes her glass off the table and gestures at him with it before looking away. It’s too easy to picture him like that. And to come up with a dozen what ifs. It almost feels a little silly. She lifts the wine and takes a less than delicate drink.
~*~
what fashion style reminds your muse of mine?
“Dat one coat of yours. One with all dem buckles an’ and silver buttons? Or mebbe a cloak, long an’ dark an’ fluttery in da wind. ‘S nevah dat ya look bad in regular clothes, I mean you make any kine look good, really. Like should have been a model or somet’ing...but I dunno. I jus’ t’ink ya can pull off more historical kine wi’out making it look...cheesy. I t’ink it mebbe your cheekbones or jus’ how slinky you are.” ~*~ what feeling does your muse associate with mine?
This particular one saw the levity drained out of her and enshroud Beth in a sense of...confusion. Brows knit above her gaze and her eyes themselves darken not exactly with suspicion but something in the relative neighbourhood. She grows both quiet and nervous at once. She is silent for almost a full minute. 
She neither explains nor pads out her answer. “Longing.” ~*~
what animal does your muse associate with mine?
“Uhm...” It’s hard one-eighty degree turn from where she’d been to where she’s going with this and perhaps she’s more specific than she ought to be, but if experience has taught Mikhail anything is that Beth’s brain tends to latch onto ideas like lifelines. “Pallid Harrier. Circus macrourus. Is a migratory bird kinda like a hawk or falcon. Scientific name from ancient Greek, in reference to da way it circles its prey in flight, an’ possibly da long tail. Tends to breed an’ hunt in eastern Europe, an’ dere’s a rare kine variant dat live in Britain. Is a beautiful an’ deadly creature, preys on small vertebrates an’ sometimes fish. Doesn’t really belong in da world of man...well, people. Like putting an angel or a god on display an’ den aksin’ dem to treat it wi’ respect.”
~*~
what holiday does your muse associate with mine?
“Midwinter. Or Yule. Whatever ya wanna call it, is da winter solstice an’ da longest night of da year. Traditionally celebrated to appease da Wild Hunt, or out of fear of it. I dunno. But as wi’ mebbe all winter holiday, seems like da key to it is celebratin’ with a feast, drinkin’, an’ a sacrifice. Mos’ people now a days forget dat winter ‘til spring were once called da starvation months....an’ by giving up dat blood, dey were ensurin’ survival as well as da sun’s rebirth. But I mean dat in a good way, not nearly as gruesome as it sounds. Uhm...mebbe giving a couple days an’ I come up wi’ some kine mo’beddah an answer.” ~*~ what season does your muse associate with mine?
“Winter. Is my favourite... all da t’ick an’ warm clothes ya get t’ wear, an’ snow...which true story...nevah did see until I came t’ New York when I was sixteen. It was so weird an’ wonderful an’ I kinda fell in love with it. Like waddah-sky-glitter, too hard f’ explain. It’s cocoa an’ coffee, an’ it’s long nights inside with a fire in da hearth, and cuddling up, reading an’ stuff undah da blankets, an...too... Winter’s da best time to surf, da conditions are perfect for killah swells. But like me, I t’ink you prefer da quiet, dim, an’ jus’...intimate nature of a quiet winter night.”
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ajaxwrites · a month ago
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Genshin Impact Fanfic Rec List
(because this is my most current obsession~~)
The Narwhal of Dihua Marsh by GreyLiliy
Childe hears of a strong Adeptus living at the Wangshu Inn. Despite warnings from Zhongli that fighting Xiao would be a deathly mistake, Childe seeks out the Adeptus living in the Dihua Marsh eager for a proper fight.
However, Childe severely underestimates his opponent, and the consequences of his actions may keep him from returning home to Snezhnaya.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: This fic is interesting primarily because it's not necessarily what you would call an easy story to read. The content can surprisingly get quite heavy as the relationship between Childe and Zhongli isn't healthy and it becomes increasingly obvious as the story progresses. You swing between wanting to separate the two and also desperately wishing that they'll work out because there is something there. The story snowballs from what seems like an innocuous, if stupid and rash, decision on Childe's part to a complicated mess that you can’t help but be enthralled in. I went in expecting your typical romance and ended up in something that was more complex than I expected but also beautifully thought provoking.
Entirely Out of Spite by Bgtea
"Welcome to a new user experience! You have triggered this interface with the keywords, ‘Stupid game! Stupid devs! I want my f*****g money back!’ You are now bound to the character Tartaglia, the Eleventh Harbinger of the Fatui, codename: Childe! We hope you have an enjoyable user experience and we welcome you once again to Genshin Impact 2.0!”
Those are some of the first words Ajax, starving college student extraordinaire, has the misfortune of hearing upon waking up in a brave new world from what he's fairly sure is a very, very fatal accident involving water and a shit ton of electricity.
Okay, so he's not dead. That's good. But what's this about him being stuck playing the character Tartaglia? Tartaglia, as in the shitty, one-dimensional, cartoonish villain who met his untimely, gruesome death in the first act of the original game?
Fuck that noise. Like hell Ajax is going to share that fate.
And so begins one man's journey to unfuck himself.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: Whenever this updates, I squeal. If you’re a fan of The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System or just transmigration/reincarnation plots in general, you’re going to love it. Bgtea does a beautiful job in balancing humor with the trauma that comes with the whole reincarnation plotline. The whole of it is beautiful written and watching Childe/Ajax interact with the other characters (and the perspective of those characters) is a delight! 
the sister by glassdrachma
The tragic and unexpected death of Zhongli-xiansheng of the Wangsheng Funeral Parlor occurred to the sorrow of many and the deep skepticism of a few.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: glassdrachma has a gift for humor and romance. In short, Zhongli fakes his death for plot reasons and comes back as Jianlao, the bereaved twin sister. Shenanigans ensue, featuring overprotective Liyue-ians (?), chaotic gremlin Venti, and Kexing. Very light hearted, good for the soul.
The White Cicada Society by clementinesgulag
After his little brother is bundled back to Snezhnaya, Childe makes good on his promise to the traveller and takes the first boat out of Liyue Harbor. Any sense of homecoming lasts about as long as an uncooked steak in front of Xiangling, however, when his boat sinks, grounding him back in the mainland.
It's just as well, because the next morning, a body is found in the Northland Bank. A visit from a fellow Harbinger reveals a far more insidious plot than anything Childe could concoct with a god of the vortex and twenty minutes without supervision. The murders aren’t limited to the one Bank. They’ve been trailing down the Liyue border, getting closer and closer to the city. The Tsaritsa has a new mission for him: to figure out who, or what is targeting Fatui forces.
Against his best wishes, Childe is forced to see Zhongli again at the morgue. It becomes clear that he’s going to need a guide, and Childe resolves to quash his pride, and their differences to request his help to navigate Liyue and solve the case.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: A diamond in the rough that I slept on and then stumbled back to by accident. I had it marked for later on AO3 and forgot about it for like a good week to my utter self-disgust. It. Is. So. Damn. Good! The mystery is intriguing but I live for the realistic portrayal of the aftermath of the whole gnosis plotline. The betrayal, the bitterness, but ah, the sexual tension. The harbinger interactions in this fic make it gold though.
Lungs full of Roses by SecretlyACatLady
Childe had always assumed that he would die young. He had accepted that a long time ago, ever since he accepted the mantle of a Fatui Harbinger. However, he always thought that he would die in a glorious fight, his body broken but spirit relishing the strong opponent that had bested him. He was okay with that type of death.
Unfortunately, it seemed like Fate had decided to add one last insult to injury, because, here Childe was, dying because he had fallen in love with the ex-Geo Archon. The same Archon who seemed to have discarded him like an old toy ever since the Osial Incident. --- In which divine beings are cruel and a cursed Childe starts preparing for his inevitable death because no Archon could ever love a mortal.
…Right?
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: The fic that started it all for me, the one that sucked me into the fandom. This fic is heartbreaking. We always do love a hanahaki plotline but something about the way it frames the disease and the shame that comes with it...I highly recommend giving it a read. The angst is real I tell you.
The Bride of The Golden Dragon by Erika_Bee
“You’re to be sent on a special mission, Tartaglia.”
The young man’s eyes gleamed in interest. “How special?” He asked as he wiped the blood off his daggers.
His superior grinned. “Special enough to put your name in Snezhnaya’s history books.”
In which the Archon War ravaged the land of Liyue and to ensure the people’s survival, the God of Geo established the Harvester Contract: One bride per village, every year, in exchange for protection and a good harvest.
Or: Childe is sent on an undercover mission to kill the Geo Archon, but things don’t go as planned.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: Don’t let the title scare you off--this isn’t one of those fics where they feminize one of the male characters and reduce their personality to a mindless submissive bobblehead to the point that I want to throw my laptop out of the window. Not that there’s anything wrong if you like that kind of thing, just not my cup of tea. This fic though---READ IT! There’s just something refreshing about the writing and the plot, the way that Childe’s character reads off the page. I live for the interactions between the characters and how the author has mapped the relationships. Warning that recent chapters have swerved decided into NSFW territory though.
the brothers grim by izabellwit
Left in an unfamiliar land with a mission he never wanted, a young Kaeya lies, survives, and somehow finds a family in the process.
Or: How Kaeya came to Dawn Winery, and why he left it. Includes lore, sibling bickering, found family struggles, and a more in-depth look at the years between Kaeya’s arrival and Crepus’s death.
Ships: N/A
Notes: Ahh, little Kaeya. Cheeky ass little shit that’s too angsty and adorable for his own good. I don’t have words for this fic. It makes my heart warm but also makes me want to weep because god, this fic covers exactly how traumatic Kaeya’s situation is and why child soldiers/spies just shouldn’t be. And the dynamic he has with Diluc and Crepus--do me a favor and read it. Screams found family.
the wind through the mountain tops by glassdrachma
Boredom brings Barbatos of Mondstadt to bother a certain ex-Archon of the Earth.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: A light-hearted, humorous and fluffy as hell piece. Short word is that Venti comes to Liyue for some fun, causes chaos, accidentally plays matchmaker, and steals some vegetables. A get-together fic for Childe and Zhongli that includes a surprisingly self-aware (if blunt and snarky) Zhongli and jealous Childe that gets increasingly flustered.
melt (speak or forever hold your peace) by anatakana
Falling into bed with Diluc was an unbelievably bad idea given their tumultuous shared history, but Kaeya’s impulsive urge to amuse himself knew no bounds.
It’s all fun and games until emotions got involved.
Ships: Diluc/Kaeya
Notes: THIS IS NSFW. With plot though? This is THE FIC that got me shipping the two (though the game did a good job on its own). The angst is real here and we love the sheer gal of both of these two stupid men.
Cascading (In a good way) by Hubbleablubble
Kaeya is a fascinating annoyance.
(Or: A series of events in which Albedo gets to know Kaeya, and they slowly go from strangers to acquaintances to something more.)
Ships: Albedo/Kaeya
Notes: Sweet fic. Not my typical ship pairing. Loved the Khaenri’ah mentions. Kaeya is Trans FTM here though it’s only briefly mentioned. There is also an incomplete sequel (as of May 2021) featuring an Overprotective Big Brother Diluc on a warpath giving shovel talks to everyone except apparently Albedo that’s also worth reading.
The Language of Flowers by Jules (Penwyn)
Kaeya Alberich has made a habit of lying—after all, the only truths he’s ever spoken cost him everything—but there are only so many lies a man can tell before the truth comes spilling out.
Ships: Diluc/Kaeya
Notes: Hanahaki! Except not! Basically, Kaeya pukes up flowers that say the truth whenever he lies. Cue, angst! Lovely and quick read--love Kaeya’s voice here.
i know i'm where i'm meant to go by paperclips (pastel_paperclips)
"Childe," Zhongli says suddenly. "I am enjoying myself greatly."
Childe’s face breaks into a grin. "Then-"
Zhongli gasps, grabbing his wrist and tugging him over to an unsuspecting peddler with a cart full of rocks. "Is that an intrusive igneous pegmatite formed in the Inazuma regions?"
Childe’s grin smooths into a small, adoring smile. He has all the time in the world to figure the other man out.
OR: Finding the Geo Archon is on Childe's to-do list but hanging out with Zhongli is significantly more fun.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: Childe, you idiot. Humorous and funny, very light hearted. Makes you wonder if Childe has an IQ. He’s too busy pining/lovesick to realize that he told his target that he’s going to kill him for his gnosis. Zhongli and Liyue remain confused on how Childe still DOES NOT get it but half-ass hiding his Archon status anyway.
the bird without wings by Anonymous
"Kaeya!" someone yells. Small arms wrap around his waist tightly, red hair spilling out of the ponytail, and Kaeya's heart almost stops.
He's talked his way out of all types of situations. From placating international disputes to buttering up his informants, he's always had a quick response to everything.
But for once, Kaeya is speechless. He stares down at the boy with puffy cheeks, slightly crooked teeth and sparkling bright eyes.
Eight year old Diluc beams back.
Ships: Diluc/Kaeya
Notes: Diluc gets de-aged and Kaeya gets angsty. The interactions between the two are heartwarming and will induce tears. Childe makes a brief appearence that *chef’s kiss*
call me "lover boy" by Anonymous
Zhongli turns back, eyes bright with amusement, a stray lilypad still stuck in his hair, and Childe thinks, wow. I want to kiss him stupid.
Childe's not into the whole "swooning maiden patiently waiting for his beloved to swoop down and smooch the daylights out of him" thing. Nah, that's not his style. He's Tartaglia, eleventh of the Fatui harbingers, and he's going to kiss Zhongli right now.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: FUNNY AS HELL. Childe is straight up just trying to plant one on Zhongli but fate and people just keep interfering. It’s a weird trope aversion where the character is actively trying to confess rather than avoiding it but life gets in the way. 
springtime in snezh-nya-ya by miaomaomei
Tartaglia’s body moves before he can even think about it. He arches his back and flattens his ears against his head, baring his teeth in a hiss. Considering he barely even reaches Scaramouche's knees — Scaramouche, of all people! The guy is practically the size of a fourteen-year-old — he doubts that he is cutting as imposing a figure as he hopes.
It isn't a surprise, though. No one could become a Fatui Harbinger if they were scared of a little cat.
OR
Tartaglia is turned into a cat and he goes to Zhongli for help. It goes about as well as expected.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: TOO ADORABLE FOR WORDS. This is just pure fluff I swear. Love how Childe is written and the interactions between the two are just ahhhh. A balm on the soul.
Melt by tanktrilby
“My name is Diluc,” he says. A scowl naturally furrows his brow, and Kaeya looks like he wants to laugh.
He’s looking at him through his lashes again, blue eyes teasing and warm. “Diluc,” he says. “A knight in overalls isn’t quite where I thought my preferences would lie, but here we are.”
(or: Kaeya loses his memories and makes some assumptions. Diluc can't honestly tell him that he's wrong.)
Ships: Diluc/Kaeya
Notes: As the summary says, Kaeya loses his memories. Diluc plays babysitter for plot reasons. Meanwhile, Kaeya freaks out and has an essential crisis because his instincts freak him out which = angst. Simultaneously, sort of love confessions? 
you are cordially invited by ktenologious
When the Traveler receives a mysterious invitation from a Snezhnayan businessman, they seek out help from the only Snezhnayan they are on good terms with. They decide it is a wonderful idea to go to this business party in the middle of the ocean because, well, what could be better entertainment than watching a Fatui Harbinger at work? It is too bad Childe couldn't come with them...
Meanwhile, the Tsaritsa needs someone to track down the source of a brand new drug at a party on a cruise; it just so happens that she has two Harbingers who specialize in causing chaos and sinking ships. Scaramouche is a sadist and loves this, and Tartaglia... Well, Tartaglia just wants to know why is he the one in the dress again.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe, sort of Diluc/Kaeya & Scaramouche/Childe
Notes: Features a crossdressing Childe and Kaeya for plot reasons. Funny as hell. Love Fatui dynamics/interactions. Highly recommend. Go read it. I’m serious. It’s so beautiful, I can’t. Also Zhongli is so love-sick and jealous, it’s hilarious.
The Road to Snezhnaya by paranoid_fridge
Everything's done and over. Now, Zhongli only needs to adjust to living like an ordinary mortal. Or that is what he thinks until a familiar face shows up in Liyue. Teucer comes looking for his brother who failed to return to Snezhnaya on the Fatui ships. And as Childe's declared "friend", Zhongli must help Teucer find him.
Or: Teucer drags Zhongli on a cross-country goose chase looking for Childe. Zhongli just happens to find a bit more along the way.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: I have no words for this fic outside of the fact that it is clear that Teucer has the only functioning brain and should be Best Man because he obviously did all the work here. Features an oblivious Childe and overprotective Zhongli, plus bystander Kaeya that is getting allll of the gossip. And also the most destructive group of children ever.
basket of knives by oronine
“I just want to be loved,” Childe says to himself, to whoever is listening. “Is that too much to ask?”
They are on the roof once more, this time Childe’s foot touches the edge of the building as he daydreams of something that cannot be. The sky is blank and cloudy and perhaps Lumine fears it’ll all end when he takes a step.
“Not at all,” she says. It’s still the truth.
Contrary to popular belief, Childe hates his family but loves them all the same.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: TW for suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, self-harm, depression, etc. Not a light read by any definition. Set in a modern AU, not in the genshin impact universe. Features a Childe that is Not Okay, good friend but also probably traumatized friend Lumine (and her brother Aether), and Zhongli. Family dynamic is messed up as hell and explores mental health quite well in my opinion. I’m not sure how healthy necessarily Childe’s relationships are but I think that’s a given considering the context and how derailed his mental health is in this fic. Definitely angst as heavy, made me tear up quite a bit. Read, but pay attention to the content/trigger warnings as it does get quite explicit.
Bane of All Evil by tzitzimeme
When Chongyun unintentionally offends Liyue's second most powerful adepti, he vows to mend the thorny relationship between Adeptus Xiao and human exorcists-- even though no one has succeeded in currying Xiao's favor for over a thousand years.
His best friend Xingqiu offers to come alone, mainly because he's worried about what kind of trouble Chongyun will run into. Along the way, they receive help from others: Xiangling packs them meals for their journeys, while Zhongli gives them advice on what demons to track.
Childe is just there because he thinks the whole thing is hilarious.
Ships: Chongyun/Xinqiu
Notes: JFKLFJS I LOVE THIS. I love Chongyun’s characterization and the interaction between all the characters. The dynamic between Chongyun, Xingqiu, and Xiangling are to die for. Also, this line: “Stuck-up Persnickety Bastard.” Random note but Xiao throws Chongyun off a balcony yet is also 100% a softie.
Talks about Nothing by tzitzimeme
In which Zhongli unlocks the Memory of Dust, only to find out:
1. Guizhong is 100% alive (just disembodied) within it, 2. Guizhong has been watching over him this whole time, and 3. Guizhong is very excited by the prospect of Zhongli getting a cute Snezhnayan boyfriend.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe, Venti/Xiao
Notes: The pure judgment that Guizhong unleashes on Zhongli (as well as her sass in general) is pure comedic gold. The dynamic between Xiao and Venti are also adorable. Meanwhile, Childe misunderstands and also just wants to know what the fuck is going on.
xi wangmu by tzitzimeme
Xiangling scales entire mountains to satisfy the palettes of her two pickiest customers.
(Or, two men who are emotionally stunted by their own immortality inadvertantly turn an overly enthusiastic chef into their messenger pigeon.)
Ships: Zhongli/Xiao (?)
Notes: Not sure if it reads romantic exactly, can definitely be read as platonic. The fic boils down to Xiangling trying to expose Xiao to variety because just eating plain almond tofu is a no no. Zhongli gives advice/uses Xiangling as a messenger pigeon. Backstory is explored!
Falling (Fallen) by asinglecrow
It’s only when Childe finds himself in front of Zhongli, a spear protruding from his stomach, that he thinks oh I might have fucked up.
Or: The worst (best) day of Childe's life.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: Funny and lighthearted! Gets sort of NSFW with passing mention of mpreg but otherwise, it’s just pure humor/fluff. Get-together fic featuring deadpan dragon Zhongli and Childe that is just done with everything. 
the louvre by morisuke
Here in Liyue, the air is filled with the ocean, and the sun shines through the mountains like it’s flowing through a crack in the sky. Here in Liyue, there is a man with no wallet at a vending machine that is going to waste the rest of his day showing a stranger around their school campus for a pocket sized can of iced coffee.
It’s interesting here in Liyue, Childe thinks.
or
Where Childe flirts with a stranger at a campus vending machine.
Ships: Zhongli/Childe
Notes: Set in a modern/college AU. This is a relatively quiet, soft kind of story. Childe comes to Liyue because reasons and falls in love quietly. It’s more of a snippet of life type of fic that’s sweet and peaceful. Love the change that comes over Childe as he finds a home.
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mrcifci · a month ago
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Spiral's Ending Almost Saves a Gross But Bland Saw Sequel
You don’t, but do, want to know why Chris Rock’s shirt is like that in Spiral.
Photo: Brooke Palmer/Lionsgate
io9 ReviewsReviews and critical analyses of fan-favorite movies, TV shows, comics, books, and more.
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to Spiral: From the Book of Saw. The good news is you don’t need to rewatch any of the eight previous Saw films to completely understand what’s going on here. The bad news is, devoid of that dense mythology, the film lacks a much-needed identity and originality. The ending does its best to change that, and there are some good moments along the way. Ultimately, though, the film is a letdown.
Spiral—directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, a veteran of the Saw franchise—stars Chris Rock as Zeke, a police detective loathed by everyone in his precinct because several years prior, he ratted out a dirty cop who killed an unarmed man. He’s forced to take on a new partner, William (The Handmaid’s Tale star Max Minghella), just as a new killer who calls himself Spiral begins targeting victims in elaborate, terrifying contraptions inspired by the Jigsaw killer we came to know in previous films. Jigsaw existed in this universe, and the cops agree Spiral is one of his many copycats, but that’s really the only connection to the originals. In both, an unidentified serial killer is targeting morally reprehensible people with torturous devices meant to teach them a lesson.
With the well-worn Saw plots less prevalent than one might expect, the bulk of Spiral follows Zeke and William around town (and partially their interactions with the current police captain, played by Riverdale’s Marisol Nichols, and the former captain, Zeke’s father, played by Samuel L. Jackson). As a result, the film could more accurately be categorized as a hard-boiled detective film than a horror film. The unlikely partners go from crime scene to crime scene, attempting to unravel Spiral’s clues while bantering about marriage problems and feuds with co-workers. Everyone’s in sweaty button-down shirts with loose ties and sunglasses. The cinematography makes it seem like the sun is always beating down on them. They drink coffee, go undercover, and shuffle papers in conference rooms with evidence thumbtacked up on the walls. Lots of tried-and-true movie cop stuff. All of which becomes so prevalent that when the film does occasionally pivot to a Spiral scene, it’s kind of jarring. “Oh. Right. That’s the movie we’re watching” is a thought likely to cross your mind.
It’s a Saw review, we had to put in a little gore.
Photo: Brooke Palmer/Lionsgate
Those scenes, as one would hope and expect, are the best in the entire movie. Spiral director Bousman helmed Saw 2-4, and Spiral’s script is by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger, who wrote the most recent installment, 2017's Jigsaw. With all that reverence and experience within the Saw franchise, Bousman and the writers create some of the most brutal, disgusting kills we’ve seen yet—real edge of your seat, cover your eyes stuff. If you enjoy your appendages, Spiral will occasionally make you squeamish. The problem is, while the gory Saw scenarios are entertaining, there’s not nearly enough of them, and the rest of the film doesn’t work nearly as well.
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In terms of basic plot, Spiral’s clues are all relatively easy for Zeke and William to unravel and red herrings about the big mystery are largely obvious. The cop characters, even the leads, are uninteresting, flat archetypes; most detrimentally, Chris Rock is simply not very good in the film. He’s trying so hard to be so emotional and intense in every scene it feels like he’s in a whole other movie. Yes, his character Zeke is in a serious situation, but ultimately this is a story about a person in a pig mask who kills people with booby traps—only so much seriousness is needed. Rock’s pumped-up performance as a tough guy going through a divorce who’s also on-the-edge rogue cop knocks the whole film out of balance. His best scenes are when he’s more relaxed, human, and Chris Rock-like, tangentially riffing on Forrest Gump or pretending to be a drug addict in order to get a clue. However, those scenes are also few and far between.
Now, you might be thinking, “Samuel L. Jackson has to be a highlight, right?” Well, his aloof, mysterious performance at least fits with the movie’s intended tone, but he’s simply not around enough to have much of an impact. He plays a small, crucial role in the story but the few times he’s on-screen, he basically just walks around with a gun and drops the F-bomb a bunch. Which, admittedly, does buy some goodwill, but not nearly enough.
We bet you can guess Jackson’s favorite line of dialogue in Saw. Yes it starts with “mother” and ends up “cker.”
Photo: Brooke Palmer/Lionsgate
Without really spoiling anything, in classic Saw fashion, the final few minutes start to put everything together. The recognizable music kicks in. Muted flashbacks fill in the blanks and all is revealed in a way that’s befitting of the franchise. Compared to the other films, Spiral doesn’t have the most shocking of endings, but it might be the most purposeful. You’ll come away from it talking about not just the gory deaths, but what the film is trying to say. Which, let’s be frank, the fact it’s trying to say anything besides “Isn’t this disgusting?” is a win on its own. That the message is also timely and interesting is an added bonus. The end recontextualizes the entire movie in a way that almost makes the bumpy road to get there worth it. Almost.
In a franchise that’s largely known for being overly complex and gruesome with no redeeming values, Spiral goes in the complete opposite direction. It’s got the gruesome stuff but it’s not complex, yet it does have redeeming values. Unfortunately though, by trying to be something simpler, important, and different, Spiral loses much of what made the Saw movies unique and memorable. Those were horror movies with a few cop scenes sprinkled in. This is a below-average cop movie with Saw sprinkled in.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw is in theaters only May 14.
For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.
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sombreboy · a month ago
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Mused obsession (19)
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Written by @sombreboy​​​​​​​​​​​ as Jungkook & @chimoona​​​​​​​​​​​​​ as Jimin Banner by @carly-bean-blog​​​​​​​​​​​​​
[ masterlist ]
⇢Explicit (18+) ⇢Pairing: Jungkook & Jimin ⇢Genre: yandere, smut, mxm ⇢Word count: 4.2k ⇢Ch.warnings: Profanity, angst, crying, graphic descriptions of gore, death of character (I won’t say which cuz tf I don't wanna spoil it), corruption, toxic/manipulative relationship.
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The final chapter.
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The gleaming knife would drop from Jimin's hold if Jungkook removed his hand. It rests heavy, much heavier than it felt any other time he used it for simpler tasks like slicing fresh fruit. But the blade has never felt this sharp or looked this shiny. He can practically see his own reflection, so he swivels it until he can't. 
"I u-underst—" the model releases the arm around his partner and covers his mouth to muffle a choked sob. 
He's seen the skeletons in Jungkook's closet, and there are many, filed neatly in plastic pockets with pristine labels. When he began to realize what the folder of photos meant, he knew Seung couldn't leave. It was a dark thought, but he knew it just as well as Jungkook did. He was just too afraid to accept it. 
"He'd try to k-keep us apart..." he confirms, vacantly, barely able to see Jungkook through pools of tears, "He's seen too much..." 
They've all seen too much. Jimin thinks, there has to be an end to this. Like an ouija board, the knife in his sweating palm is guided closer to its target, where the photographer needs it to sink. 
"Kookie, I can't," the blonde shakes his messy curls and closes his eyes tight, "I c-can't..." and yet, while he truly begins to lose his composure, he holds onto the knife tight, of his own volition.
"Don't worry, baby. I'm here with you." Jungkook soothes, feeling his own heart beat faster, pumping the excess adrenaline through his veins. The previous itch in his hands remains, and he can feel the remedy that'll soothe it approaching the closer he guides Jimin towards Seung. "This is for me... For us." The photographer snakes behind Jimin's small frame, his hand on top of Jimin's to hold the knife in a tight grip. He feels the model's frail body shake with every breath, his fingers gripping the handle so hard it must hurt.
"Slowly. Do it slowly." Jungkook keeps his free hand on the blonde's waist, guiding them to kneel on the floor by Seung. He’s gentle, yet adamant in his movements, aiming the sharp tip of the blade on top of the fabrics covering his chest, right above his heart. The beaten man is barely conscious, but still breathing. 
It's better this way, Jungkook muses to himself. He knows if the man was fully aware and struggling, Jimin would never be able to do it like this—it'd tear him apart. And this still might, but it's okay... This is the last punishment for the model to clear his record before removing it entirely. Prove his devotion for the visionary, then they can be together forever without anyone in the way. They'd be unstoppable. Jungkook swears he’ll break him down only to put him back together again, one last time.
"F-for us," Jimin whispers, barely audible to even himself, before tensing the muscles in his arms to drive the blade down into Seung's heart. "Help me, please," he sobs above his fallen ex, begging his partner for every bit of assistance he can get. He's strong, but this action takes more strength than he's capable of producing alone. When Jungkook's hand tightens around his, and he can feel the heat and energy radiating off his body, he knows that they've truly become one unit, ready to carry out the act. 
Chests heave in tandem as the men bring up their arms, breathing out shaky exhales, silenced by strangled grunts and the gruesome slice of flesh against metal. Jimin remembers the blade being sharp as he's watched Jungkook slice sweet chunks of watermelon. But it cuts through fresh meat effortlessly, like it was made to fulfill this task. Jimin swears he saw Seung's eyes flick open just as the tip of the weapon pierced his chest. Even if he did, the moment was so brief, he quickly shoves the image to the darkest recesses of his mind. 
"Sorry, I'm sorry—fuckk!" Jimin shakes through his tears, lifting the blade once more to drive it down again in a panic. "I'm sorry, I—" Hot rivulets of blood pour out of the man and onto Jungkook's studio carpet, drenching the fibers. "It's the only way, I'm..." His voice is ripped from his throat as he drives the blade down again. He's incapable of knowing when to stop even when Seung is far past gone. "I underst-stand, Kookie. I know..."
Jungkook watched in awe, his hot breath close to Jimin's neck as he supported the model's grip, encouraging his strength. Until he didn't need it anymore. It was a lot easier than he thought to coax his actions to spiral into a frenzy. 
"Good boy..." Jungkook whispers as he releases the blonde's hand, allowing him to lose himself without any restriction, just to see how far he'll go on his own. He’s surprised—chest fluttering at the devotion Jimin displays right at this moment. He cries, completely and utterly shattered; yet, he keeps going with Jungkook in mind. He's really doing it for them, and it makes the young photographer’s heart swell with every positive emotion he's capable of feeling. 
Without another word, Jungkook sits back on the floor and watches the scene unfold. The urge strikes him, and quicker than a cat, he springs to his feet to grab the camera on the desk. He returns to crouch and lifts the lens to cover his face as he presses record. He captures the scene—vibrant pools of red seeping onto the floor. The blade shines every time Jimin pulls it out from the flesh, only to plunge it back down. But the most beautiful thing Jungkook could ever capture is the look on Jimin's face. Lips are bitten, swollen, and his cheeks are rosy and glistening with sweat and tears. His eyes are glassy, filled with so much despair, grief, remorse...and dedication...love and obsession. Jungkook could watch him forever, but that's the entire point of saving the moment saved to digital memory. 
Then it started to get way too messy, even for Jungkook... it was enough.
"Jimin." Jungkook sets the camera aside, allowing it to keep recording them. He gets up on his feet to stand behind Jimin, bending forward to place his hands on his shoulders. He doesn't make him stop, enjoying the sick pleasure it brings him, but encourages him to slow down. "It's enough."
Jimin doesn't know where he went or how long he was gone for, but his mind was transported far from his body after the first stab sunk deep into his ex's limp body. He supposes, if he had to guess, he went to the same place he visited when Jungkook challenged him the very first time—the day he demolished the mirrored room. 
As violent as the act is, it's…liberating. He starts to feel weightless, just as he felt when he wielded that sledgehammer. He nearly blacked out from the gore of Seung's thick blood stringing from the knife as he pulled it out and sunk it back down, but he continued, for the sake of his love's vision. He continued until he was called out of his trance by a familiar voice, then slumped to the side completely exhausted, with sweat, blood and tears gleaming off his angelic face. 
“He's d-dead. For us. I did it. He won't hurt us anymore..." Identical to the moment he sat back and observed his work of demolishing the mirrors...His hands shake from the adrenaline coursing through his veins; heart beating in his ears.
“E-enough...” Jimin concludes, nodding his head and dropping the drenched knife to the floor. This is the farthest Jungkook has pushed him from his comfort zone. The model hopes, as he feels their inseparable bond solidify, that he did well. He opens his eyes and turns his head to look up at the photographer, only to see him smiling down at him with the most sincere and comforting smile. "I...love you, puppy. Please trust me."
Jungkook's smile grows wider as he drops to his knees, pulling Jimin's light, trembling body into his embrace. It's filled with warmth, a welcoming comfort that the blonde surely needed after such an intense scene. 
"I trust you..." He whispers into the blonde's ear, his hands moving to soothingly cup his face, looking straight into his brown, glassy eyes. Jimin has never looked more beautiful to the photographer than he did tonight. "I love you, you did so, so well." 
Silence drowned the room for a moment, the only sound heard is the heavy breathing coming from Jimin's strained body. Kook was patient, in no rush to get up from the floor as he stared at his butterfly for what felt like hours. 
"You're so pretty, baby." Jungkook breaks the silence with his affectionate murmur. He swipes his thumbs over Jimin's cheeks to wipe away the mixture of blood, sweat and tears before drawing his plush lips in for a gentle kiss. It feels so natural, the way his lips move against Jimin's for the millionth time. It's familiar, it's home. 
"I'll take care of this... Don't worry about anything anymore, okay?" He kisses Jimin again, leaning back to look at him for the umpteenth time. He couldn't get enough of this—ever. The blooming in his heart aches, he's never felt love like this before in his entire life, and now he knows that the feeling is more than mutual.
"Okay." The restless model nods once more and brings up his hands to dry a damp spot on his face. He recoils when he catches how bloodied and sticky he is, anywhere he touches. A dark smear of Seung's essence coats his plump cheek and replaces a strangling tear left from his exertion. "Thank you, Kookie.. I love you so much...thank you for taking care of me." He's incredibly grateful, given the opportunity to move away from the lifeless body at the center of the floor. 
Imprints of his love's warm lips on his skin linger and fill his entire being with renewed purpose, implicitly desired...wanted...needed, more than he'll ever be by anyone else. It gives him the muscle he needs to stand to his feet, wobbling a bit from a wave of nausea, bracing himself on the couch arm near the recording camera.
Nothing will separate them now. Jimin is sure of it. There's no chance, after this life-altering experience, that either of them will be the same. Life will be impossible to survive alone or simply cease to have purpose without the company of the other. 
"I'll shower..." the model muses quietly and bites his lip until the skin breaks. He adjusts his stained robe and tries with futile effort to dab off a slick trail of red that coats the embroidered PJM on his chest, right over his heart. "You don't need my help, you can...take care of it?"
The sweet offer has Jungkook's lips tug to a smile. He slowly approaches Jimin, grabbing the camera next to him with one hand, as the other reaches to swipe away the red stain on the model's plump cheek. 
"You've done enough, butterfly." He swipes again, ensuring that most of it is gone, leaning in closer as if he's inspecting Jimin's face, only to steal another light kiss from his bit swollen lips. "All I need you to do is to draw a warm bath. Take your time, I will join you in a moment. Okay?" Jungkook adds while he stops the recording, staring down at the screen as he's flickering through the content—deliberately keeping it pointed away from Jimin's eyes. 
"Oh, and..." Jungkook turns the camera off after he's seen just enough. He gives the model his full attention once more as he steps into his personal space—their personal space. The tip of his nose grazes Jimin's jawline and traces all the way up until his lips reach his ear. "You can't ever speak of tonight outside these walls..." Jungkook whispers, leaning back to smile at Jimin, using his fingers to brush away his blonde curls. "But you know that already, don't you?~"
"O-of course," the model replies meekly. All he wants is for their lives to go back to the way they were. If he could transport his mind to this morning, he would. When he was cozy in bed with his partner, unaware of...all of this. 
Jimin keeps his eyes on Jungkook and leans in to match the kiss, planting one against his lips to seal his approval before taking a step back. He doesn't intend on thinking about this any longer than he has to. In fact, he doesn't glance at Seung's body for a second longer. It's just easier this way. He understands. 
“We're safe now..." The blonde trails on, losing his train of thought, becoming even more nauseous from the overbearing aroma of sweat, iron, and decay. "It's done...I-I'll never say a word." The room starts to feel much smaller. Crushingly small, actually. To Jimin, the surrounding walls begin to feel quite hot and suffocating, so he gives Jungkook another knowing nod before slipping out and staggering to the bathroom to clean himself up.
Jungkook keeps his eyes on Jimin until he's out of sight, listening to his normally light-weighted steps thud heavily against the floor. Jimin was pushed beyond his boundaries tonight, he thinks, so he must be absolutely exhausted. Jungkook isn't surprised—he broke him down, and now the process to build him up had begun. 
He isn’t worried. Jimin had taken this...all of this, way better than he anticipated. Jungkook brings his phone to his ear as the dial tone rings once, twice... 
"Kook." Namjoon's voice answers sleepily. 
"I need a clean up." Jungkook murmurs as he slowly approaches Seung's body, crouching by the pool of blood spreading across the floor. Silence follows on Joon's end for a second, before he whispers. 
"Jimin?" 
"No. Seung." 
"Oh..." Namjoon sighs, but he isn’t surprised. 
The faint sound of keys clattering and heavy steps out the door ruffle in the background. 
"Where?" 
"Studio..." Jungkook reaches out to gently swipe his thumb over Seung's cold cheek, a small smile tugging on his lips. Jimin did this for me, he muses.
"On my way." 
"Great. I don't want to hear a thing about it. Just clean up." Jungkook stands up straight, giving the body one last look before he puts the camera away in the drawer, exits the room and heads down the hallway. 
When Namjoon hung up, they formed a silent agreement that this never happened. Yet, Jungkook keeps a digital memory of the scene for himself—one piece of proof that no one will ever find. If they did, they would surely wish they hadn’t. When it's all done and swiped clean, he knows Jimin can pretend nothing happened too.
Jungkook puts the phone back in his pocket, hearing the sound of water in the bathroom. He gives the door a light knock before peeking inside. "Baby?" He coos. "Are you done already, or is there time for me to join?"
Jimin stares blankly at the wall as rivulets of water stream down his face. He fell into a trance the second he stepped foot into the luxe shower. He hadn't even combed his fingers through his hair or attempted to wash away a bit of the dried blood from his skin. He's just stared at that tiled wall, matching shapes between the lines and clearing his mind completely. 
‘Baby?’—the call from his love feels miles away. It could be due to the loud tapping of water against his body, or the throbbing headache that attacked him the second he left the studio. ‘...is there time for me to join?’ 
"Please," he replies weakly. "Come inside...I need you."
Those words are like music to Jungkook's ears. He doesn't waste a single second to close the door behind him and get undressed, discarding his dirtied clothes on the floor before stepping behind Jimin's delicate frame. He looks so small, broken and pretty. Jungkook can’t wait to watch him slowly heal with the aid of his affection. 
"I'm here, baby." He reassures Jimin, running his fingers through his stringy blonde curls to comb them out. He grabs the shower head and carefully sprays his lover’s back to warm it up. "Tilt your head back a little." He resumes by gently washing the blood-matted hair, slowly stroking his long fingers through it and watching the diluted red water flow down the drain. "You're okay,” he repeats over and over between his calming ministrations, soaping the pretty boy in his signature scent and rubbing it all over his skin. "It’s just you and me now." 
Jungkook hangs the shower head up and lets the steamy water rain down on them. He grabs some soap for himself and lathers his sweaty body, finally washing the day from his skin. When his hands continue to soothe over Jimin's bare skin, the model is brought into the moment, slowly pulling him from his lucid daydream. 
Jimin looked away from the glossy tiled wall when his head was tilted back and soothed with warm water. Each passing second gave him back a bit of his sanity and reminded him of what's most important—what he fought for, tooth and nail, in that studio. The light scratching of the younger man's nails on Jimin’s scalp awakens his senses to the calming scent of the shampoo, cradling him in a cloud of comforting aroma. As Jungkook lathers his own lean body, they become equalized, enveloped in the same scent, like they always should be. Like a Pavlovian response, Jimin feels each muscle relax bit by bit, knowing that this soapy lather and tiled haven represents security. 
In the photographer's care, he'll always be safe, cared for, loved. This is a place where Jimin can reset his mind and start anew. As the blood rushes down the drain, so do his problems, to meet any other unpleasantries down below. Out of the hot mist and loving care of his partner, he becomes reborn—a new man. 
Jimin turns to face his towering love, wraps his arms around his torso, and peeks his dark brown eyes up from his shaggy dripping curls. "Can I wear your hoodie...the one with the holes in the sleeves? It was so cozy and warm. ...it smells like you."
Jungkook combs his fingers through his own hair, away from his face with a light smile. "Sure, anything you want." 
He wraps one arm around Jimin's clingy body whilst the other turns the shower off. Stepping out and onto the bathroom rug, he tugs the blonde with him as if he were a helpless child. Without a word, he grabs a towel and begins to ruffle Jimin's hair, patting his body down before doing the same to himself. He chuckles at how cute his lover's blonde locks look as they stand in every direction, begging to be tamed by a brush. 
"Wait here,” he smiles as he hands Jimin the towel to finish off. “I'll go get the clothes." Still naked, Jungkook shamelessly heads towards the bedroom and fetches underwear and the hoodie for Jimin to wear, and a simple pair of sweatpants for himself. "Here you go, baby.” He returns with the clothes and quickly dresses himself, leaving his torso exposed. 
While Jimin pops his head through the hoodie, Jungkook  grasps the hair brush he'd bought for the model a while ago and begins to tame down his sweet ruffled curls. He loves this, he realizes—washing Jimin, dressing him up, taking care of him in every way he possibly could. Brushing his hair included, it’s a small way of making him feel loved.
Jimin’s eyes shut gently as he indulges in the moment, swaddled in his partner’s favorite hoodie—a rare article of clothing that the man has held onto for years, before he was Jeon Jungkook of GJK Photography and just Jeon Jungkook. It’s still soft after all this time, faded from many washing cycles and daily wear and tear. It’s become Jimin’s favorite too. A custom hoodie made from the finest linens or even a multi thousand-dollar piece from any luxury brand could never compete with something sentimental. Oddly enough, Jimin has learned this through the photographer—the man who has it all, yet only craves the company of his butterfly. There’s unspoken sentiment in this wholesome action, brushing the blonde’s hair after he’s murdered a man in cold blood. Jimin is thanked, praised, and dutifully rewarded for the sacrifice he’s made, for the good of them both. With each gentle pass of the brush, Jimin knows he’s done well. 
“I’m hungry too,” he says sheepishly, voice weakened with exhaustion. He never had a chance to eat those dumplings. “Are you hungry Kookie?” He tilts his head to look up at the man endearingly, harkening back to the moment they shared on the kitchen counter weeks ago. “Will you feed me?”
Jungkook nods. "I'm pretty hungry." Of course he’ll feed his pretty boy. At this point and beyond, he will give Jimin whatever he asks for. He’s earned it, after all. 
Kook kisses Jimin's head, smiling as his cute doe eyes stare up at him like a hungry puppy. He guides him downstairs to the kitchen and lifts him up on the counter to seat him nicely, giving his love a nice view while he works. He hums in thought, saunters to the fridge and scans the variety of food they can indulge in. Initially, he wanted dumplings, but they’ve gone cold and are now tossed into the trash—mild scent still lingering in the air. He reaches for the first thing that catches his eye; a full watermelon.
"I'm not super hungry, but some fruit seems refreshing, doesn't it?" Jungkook crooks an eyebrow, matching the mischievous smile that tugs at his lips. He looks at the magnetic hanger holding his knives, noting that his favorite one, the one Jimin used to show his dedication to their cause, is polished to perfection. It’s so clean, no one would suspect it was ever used to end a man’s life. 
Namjoon sure worked quickly, he thinks. 
He doesn't think twice before grasping the knife and meticulously slicing the fruit into neat pieces, content in the repetitive action and soothing sound of the blade hitting the cutting board with every chop.
Chop..chop... 
Thick wood clinks against the gleaming damascus knife. Jimin's eyes dance over the beautiful swirling pattern etched over the metal and remembers how vibrant it looked as it dripped with Seung's blood. His mouth dries at the mere thought, but waters slowly as the crunching sounds of the blade become rhythmic—a metronome tick, keeping time. 
We have time, Jimin thinks. Forever. As long as Jungkook will have him, he will, with every fiber of his being, prove that his three strikes do not define their future. Together, they've taken life. They've drenched themselves in the blood of those who tried to keep them apart and cleansed their bodies to start anew. 
Jimin will never be the same. He doesn't want to be. Since the moment he met the tall mysterious man with dark circles adorning his eyes, shaggy raven-hair, and a sweet banana milk clutched in his hand, he felt his life would change, for better or worse. Over the weeks, there were moments of complexity, to say the least—however, vastly overshadowed by moments of clarity. 
"Thank you," Jimin beams at the younger man as he slices through the quenching flesh of the melon. "It looks so good, Kookie." 
He isn't irreparable...just a little damaged. His heart doesn't ache for the loss of his ex, it only beats for the acceptance of the photographer. It always has, even before he truly knew the man. The corruption of his mind, the driving desire to please Jungkook in any way he can humanly muster...it was always there within him. As he closes his eyes, content on the kitchen counter, he listens to the tempo of the knife as it syncs with the thrumming in his chest. 
Chop...chop... 
The weapon takes and gives, kills and feeds, strips and frees. The gentle rhythm pacifies him; mends his mind, reminds him that together, they can work through anything.
Fresh chunks of melon appear before the model, eyes widening at the mouth watering sight, ready to receive the crisp sustenance his love provided generously. He opens to receive his first bite, right off the tip of the knife. The small barbell of his tongue clinks against the cold metal and catches dewy droplets as they slide off the blade's edge. 
"Mm, come here," he whispers after swallowing it all down. He sits upright and pouts his plush lips to steal a kiss, noting how desperately Jungkook needs it too. He cups the younger's cut jaw in both palms and gives him a taste of the sweet juice that lingers on his tongue. Together, they breathe in their joined scent, taste one another, connect the best way they know how. Jimin parts their lips and grazes his fingertips along Jungkook's arm, where his tattoo lays. Then he takes his partner's free hand and places it on his thigh to feel the heat radiating off it. 
“You’ve helped me see sides of myself I didn’t know existed." The model proclaims, just as he did the first time he said I love you. "You make me better." He squeezes the man's arm, feeling a wave of emotion and gratitude bathe his entire body. "So for that, I'm yours, Jeon. Until the day I die, I belong to you." 
His butterfly. His muse...
"I'm yours, forever."
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aion-rsa · a month ago
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Mortal Kombat (2021) vs. Mortal Kombat (1995): Which is Better?
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This article contains Mortal Kombat (2021) spoilers.
“Test your might.” These are the words of a minigame in the original Mortal Kombat arcade fighter from 1992. They were meant to signal an interlude between the simple pleasures of digitized sprites spilling buckets of blood. Yet they’ve also become synonymous with a franchise that’s arguably the most popular video game fighter of all-time. The phrase is also a pretty apt description for the various filmmakers who’ve attempted the challenge of taming this crazy dragon on screen.
More than any other video game series, Mortal Kombat has seen a plethora of live-action adaptations, from Hollywood movies to syndicated television. This weekend marks another milestone in that history, too, with Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema’s hotly anticipated Mortal Kombat reboot opening in theaters and premiering on HBO Max. It’s the third Mortal Kombat movie released under the New Line banner, but let’s just call it the second serious attempt at putting this universe on screen after the 1995 cult classic directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.
That ’95 movie holds the dubious honor of being generally considered the best video game movie adaptation of all-time, thanks to a tongue-in-cheek tone perfect for its mid-‘90s moment and maybe the greatest use of techno music in film. Genuinely, how many other pictures have the soundtrack scream the title of the movie over and over again, and it seems like a good idea?
The new movie took a different approach to the material, and certainly a bloodier one. While both adaptations share the same basic premise of chosen “Earthrealm” guardians protecting our dimension from an invading force via martial arts fights, the executions diverge radically. Here’s how.
The Story
The starkly different approach to storytelling in director Simon McQuoid’s 2021 Mortal Kombat is evident during the film’s opening scene. Beginning in 1600s Japan with a gnarly, brutal fight sequence between Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) and Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada), this version of Mortal Kombat relies heavily on lore and world-building. If you know the video game backstory of Sub-Zero/Bi-Han, and how he was kidnapped as a child by the Lin Kuei cult so they could brainwash him into the magical ninja we now see slaughtering Scorpion’s family, the scene has a sense of fateful tragedy.
If you don’t, well Taslim and Sanada are such gifted martial artists that it still looks really cool. By contrast, Mortal Kombat of the ’95 vintage is pretty straightforward and to the point. This is basically an interdimensional version of the Bruce Lee classic, Enter the Dragon (1973), only with magical powers and the fate of the world at stake.
We’re introduced to three fighters in ‘95, Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby), and Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras), who all get on a boat to the tournament for different reasons. And while Liu Kang was raised by his Shaolin monk upbringing to know what this tournament is, the other two act as our eyes and ears into this strange world of mysticism and Outworld menace. By the time they reach the island, they understand they need to compete with superpowered foes to save Earth in a structured tournament.
Conversely, Mortal Kombat (2021) is curiously both more secretive and open about its bizarre universe. For a much larger chunk of its running time, the new movie’s point-of-view character Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is completely mystified by the superpowered horrors happening around him while the viewer is keyed in early by scenes set in the evil dimension of Outworld. There we see the dastardly sorcerer Shang Tsung (Chin Han) scheme from a throne about killing Cole in order to prevent a prophecy vaguely connected with the movie’s prologue scene in the 1600s. So he sends Sub-Zero to kill Cole in his day-to-day life as an MMA fighter, slaughtering him before he understands he’s been chosen to participate in the sacred Mortal Kombat tournament, which is held in secret every generation.
In fact, there is no actual tournament in the new film. Rather the plot eventually becomes Shang Tsung’s chosen band of evil warriors attempting to cheat ahead of the conflict by attacking Earthrealm’s depleted champions before they even discover they have superpowers (or “arcanas”) and know what Mortal Kombat is. The film thus becomes a quest movie with Cole joining forces with other “chosen ones” (or chosen one-aspirants) to find the Temple of Raiden, a lightning god (played by Tadanobu Asano) who represents the interests of Earthrealm in the tournaments. From there the heroes must learn their powers and evade preemptive, cheating attacks from Outworld’s thuggish baddies.
Side by side, the approaches appear to be the differences between a traditional (if derivative) martial arts flick and a modern studio blockbuster that is trying to cram as much fan service and world-building lore into a two-hour movie as possible in the hopes of making fanboys happy. I hesitate to say the 2021 film is fully following the Marvel Studios template given its copious amounts of blood and (seeming) lack of interest in building a shared universe of interconnected franchises. However, the 2021 film was certainly released in a post-Marvel world where the focus in studio committee rooms is less on telling a single story and more on building a whole convoluted mythology filled with fan favorite characters who are begging to be explored endlessly by future movies. It’s less story-driven than it is content-driven.
As a result, it leaves the narrative lacking. Viewers know long before Cole or 2021’s Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) what’s going on, and all the anticipation for a tournament that never materializes feels anti-climactic. With its simple structure, the Anderson-directed movie in the ‘90s plays out much more satisfyingly with three heroes (plus poor dead meat like “Art Lean”) entering a tournament by choice or trickery and then trying to survive it while learning vanilla, if tangible, life lessons. Liu Kang needs to accept his destiny; Johnny Cage must look before he leaps; and Sonya has to accept she’ll be the film’s damsel in distress even though she kicks ass. It’s an Enter the Dragon knockoff but it still has more kick than fan service.
Round One goes to 1995.
The Tone
The tone and aesthetics are also jarringly different between the two movies. Released in 1995, the same year Pierce Brosnan became James Bond, and two years before Arnold Schwarzenegger chilled out as Mr. Freeze, Mortal Kombat (1995) is an unmistakably campy movie and it leans into that fact.
Working with a low budget for a Hollywood spectacle even before New Line Cinema cut his funds by another $2 million right before cameras rolled, Anderson directed a B-movie that accepted its limitations and had fun with it. Apparently stars Ashby and Christopher Lambert, who played Lord Raiden in the ’95 movie, improvised dialogue throughout the shoot and rewrote entire scenes. As a consequence, Lambert’s lightning god was more of a jovial trickster in temperament, reminiscent of Loki instead of Odin. Johnny Cage, meanwhile, was essentially the film’s Han Solo: a cocksure wiseacre next to the stoic hero (Liu Kang) and a no-nonsense woman who doesn’t like to be called princess (Sonya).
As again signaled by the almost funereal opening sequence of Mortal Kombat (2021), where Sub-Zero murders Scorpion’s young family, the 2021 film is going for a differing sensibility. There is actually quite a bit of humor still present, with the real reason the Johnny Cage character got cut becoming apparent the moment we meet Kano (Josh Lawson), a loudmouth smartass who takes on the comic relief role but with an added slice of thuggery. Hence his dialogue has a lot more F-bombs than it does cracks about $500 sunglasses.
Other than moments where Kano is allowed to steal scenes, however, Mortal Kombat (2021) plays it pretty straight. Asano’s Raiden is imperious and his fighters stoic. However, it’s also worth noting Raiden is played by a Japanese actor, as opposed to a white American-born Frenchman who was raised in Switzerland (Lambert has quite the international background). Indeed, one of the more admirable qualities of the 2021 film is the focus on a diverse cast that includes more roles for Asian actors and people of color, whereas the 1995 film whitewashed Raiden and left out the Black American character Jax for little more than a cameo.
The 2021 film also upped the gore quotient considerably. While the martial arts of the 1995 film were decidedly PG-13, the tone of the movie was only a few steps removed from Power Rangers in some respects, including its introduction of a horrible CGI creation known as Reptile. The Reptile in the 2021 film appears more convincingly, like the latest monstrosity out of a Jurassic World lab, and the violence he commits is visually gruesome (more on that later).
Honestly, preferences over the aesthetic differences between the two films comes down to a matter of taste. I prefer the tongue-in-cheek eye rolls of the 1995 film given how nonsensical this universe is, and how at the end of the day its target audience remains children. Yet I imagine many adult fans of the video games will prefer the blood-soaked earnestness found in 2021.
Round Two is a draw.
Chosen Players
Anyone who’s picked up a fighting game will tell you it’s all about finding a character or two you like and then training up with them. In 1995, Anderson had the advantage of primarily adapting the original 1992 arcade game with its limited collection of playable characters. Ergo, his film’s lineup easily focused on the three aforementioned heroes of Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya Blade, plus the ambiguous Princess Kitana (Talisa Soto), and Lord Raiden. Meanwhile he divided his villain screen time between the sorcerer Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and Shang Tsung’s minions, who were essentially glorified Bond henchmen with individual gimmicks.
Fan favorites Sub-Zero and Scorpion are present in the ’95 movie—with much more colorful, game-accurate costumes—yet they’re relatively low-hanging fruit in the tournament’s brackets. Their rivalry is given lip-service but they are dispatched by heroes Liu Kang and Johnny Cage relatively easily. Meanwhile Trevor Goddard’s Kano is more a hapless comic relief baddie who Wilson-Sampras’ Sonya kills with a great laugh line. “Give me a break,” Kano pleads with his head pinned between her thighs. “Okay,” she shoots back before snapping his neck.
Still, the movie largely belongs to Tagawa who makes a meal out of the scenery as the big bad. The guttural pleasure he has in so naturally turning all the over-the-top commands in the video game into his dialogue—“Finish Him!;” “Fatality;” “Test Your Might”—is infectious.
The 2021 film relies on a much larger cast of characters and, unlike the 1995 movie, attempts to give them each a moment to shine in the way Kitana and the original Kano could only dream. This surprisingly begins with the introduction of a totally new character in Cole Young as our point-of-view protagonist. While fan favorite Liu Kang was the hero in ’95, the character is now a supporting player played by Ludi Lin in 2021. And he’s not alone. The new Liu Kang’s cousin, Kung Lao (Max Huang), also gets enough screen time to show off his character’s beloved razor-rimmed hat, which he dispatches one of the movie’s villains with.
There is also the new Sonya, who may have the most complete arc as she strives to be accepted as a champion for Earthrealm, and Jax (Mechad Brooks), who is Sonya’s partner with the chosen one birthmark and who gets a new nasty origin story for his metal arms. And then the new Kano spends as much time working with the good guys as he does becoming a villain in an entirely rushed and unconvincing third act plot twist.
Read more
Movies
Mortal Kombat Easter Eggs and Reference Guide
By Gavin Jasper
Games
Mortal Kombat: Biggest Changes the Movie Makes to the Games
By Matthew Byrd
There are even more villains, most of whom amount to glorified cameos, including Mileena (Sisi Stringer), Nitara (Mel Jarnson), and Kabal (Daniel Nelson). However, they’re all even more perfunctory than Sub-Zero and Scorpion were in 1995. At least the ‘90s ninjas each got a few minutes to show off before being dispatched. Even the ostensible main villain of 2021, the new Shang Tsung, is fairly underserved, left to state banal dialogue from a throne without a throne room, and he’s never allowed to dominate scenes the way Tagawa did so gleefully back in the day.
Unfortunately, this is because the 2021 film has so many characters that it lacks any sense of narrative focus or cohesion. Tan’s arc of wanting to learn his power/arcana to defend his family is as broad and serviceable a hook as Shou’s 1995 Liu Kang wanting to avenge the murder of his brother. But Tan’s Cole Young gets lost in the shuffle after the first act and until the movie’s ending. Character turns like Kano betraying the other heroes similarly feels hackneyed because there is too much noise on screen to really care about who’s making it. Even Kang Lao’s death falls flat. It’s admirable that it’s a good guy fans theoretically should care about (unlike 1995’s token Black character created by the filmmakers to die), but the 2021 movie fails to make the uninitiated be concerned.
Of course there are exceptions. Namely Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Even though Scorpion ill-advisedly disappears for nearly all of the movie’s running time after the film’s terrific opening 10 minutes, Sanada has such presence, and such strong chemistry with Taslim’s Sub-Zero, that their opening salvo leaves you waiting the rest of the movie for Scorpion’s revenge. Taslim is also able to give Sub-Zero some surprisingly tangible, if only hinted at, pathos even after he kills a kid in his first scene and is then forced to act behind a mask thereafter. He’s the real villain of the piece you want to see go down, and his death scene is incredibly satisfying as a result.
It’s probably enough for fans of the games to favor this kitchen sink approach. But overall, less is more.
Round Three goes to 1995.
Fight Scenes
If there is one realm where the 2021 movie truly excels in over the previous film, this is it. And yes, a big part of that is the gore quotient. Whereas the 1995 flick was produced with a PG-13 rating in mind (my elementary school thanks New Line for that), the 2021 movie was able to embrace the gross out charm that made the original game stand out at the arcade all those decades ago. Street Fighter might’ve been first, but only Mortal Kombat let you pull the other player’s spine out.
While that effect doesn’t quite happen in the 2021 movie, almost everything else does. Nitara goes face first into a Kung Lao’s buzzsaw hat, which cuts her cleanly in half; Sub-Zero freezing Jax’s arms and then shattering them in a stomach-churning effect; and instead of going off a cliff, Prince Goro is disemboweled by Cole Young—which almost makes up for the fact that Goro is reduced to a mindless mute this time.
It’s like a highlight reel of fatalities from the video game. But the reason why this film’s fight scenes really stand above the 1995 film isn’t the bloodletting; it’s the action leading up to it. With brutal fight choreography, the new Mortal Kombat shines whenever it lets actors who can actually do the stunts take the arena. That includes Lewis Tan, whose Cole Young mostly fights other MMA types or CG monsters. But it’s especially true for Joe Taslim of The Raid fame. As the villainous Sub-Zero, his moves are lightning quick, even if his powers leave opponents frozen stiff. So when he shares the screen with Tan or Sanada, the action reveals an auhentic flair.
In comparison, the 1995 film suffers a bit from the sin Johnny Cage is trying to dodge within the story: it relies on stunt doubles and tight editing to make the fights exciting. It’s a shame too since Shou is an excellent martial artist, and the one scene he got to choreograph—Liu Kang versus Reptile—has an edge. But much of the time, Shou’s constrained by the direction and editing. Ashby and Wilson-Sampras, conversely, are not actual martial artists, though credit must be given to Wilson-Sampras for doing all her own stunts when getting the role of Sonya at the last minute.
Still, the fights stand taller in 2021. It’s a bit of a shame though that the movie is so heavily edited that it too often hides this fact. Unlike the 1995 ensemble, most of the cast has the moves in 2021, but the editing still feels stuck in the past with its reliance on confounding quick cuts and coverage. During our current era of John Wick and Atomic Blonde this is both a bizarre and disappointing choice. Nevertheless, this is an easy call.
Round Four goes to 2021.
Ending
The final fight was relatively satisfying in 1995. Tagawa is a preening villain, and when the Immortals’ techno “Mortal Kombat” theme plays, it’s a pleasure to watch Liu Kang wipe that smug smile off Shang Tsung’s face. However, the ending keeps going with a Star Wars-esque sendoff to Liu Kang’s force ghost brother, and then the movie undermines its catharsis by immediately setting up a sequel.
In the picture’s final moments, our three heroes, plus Kitana, return to the real-life Thai temple that’s supposed to be Liu Kang’s home. Lord Raiden waits for them there, getting some final sideways cracks in before Outworld’s evil emperor Shao Khan appears like a giant specter in the clouds. He immediately threatens an Earthrealm invasion, despite losing the tournament.
I can attest that in 1995, this was a stunning cliffhanger for eight-year-olds everywhere. But then… Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), one of the worst films of the late ‘90s, happened.
Meanwhile in the 2021 film, we have a much more satisfying death for its villain when Scorpion returns from hell to send Sub-Zero to the hot place. Their fight is much more technically satisfying, and the cliffhanger setup is a lot more subtle. After defeating Shang Tsung’s warriors, if not Shang Tsung himself, the heroes of Earthrealm saved us all without an actual tournament ever occurring. And instead of Outworld cheating in this moment by invading anyway, they retreat. It’s an odd choice since they’ve been cheating the whole film, so why start playing by the rules now?
Even so, it leaves a destination for a second movie to actually head toward. And to tease that fact further, it’s implied Cole Young will now travel to Hollywood to recruit movie star Johnny Cage for a sequel. It’s pure fan service, but the kind that leaves the possibility open for better things to come. Considering we know where the 1995 movie’s cliffhanger leads—to pits of cinematic hell worse than any faced by Scorpion in the last 400 years—this is a victory for 2021 by default.
Round Five goes to 2021.
Final Victor
Ultimately, neither of these films are high art nor do they aspire to be. In some ways, it’s a case of picking your poison between schlock or schlock. Each has advantages over the other, as laid out above, and each is a long way from a flawless victory. Nonetheless, due simply to narrative and tonal cohesiveness, and just more memorable lead characters, I’ll go with the one that actually gets to the tournament this whole damn thing’s designed around.
Game over.
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draig1948 · a month ago
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In New Hampshire, trapping bears is considered so cruel it is against the law. The NH Trappers Association (NHTA) is promoting a contest for its members, and the winner gets the gruesome prize of trapping a black bear in neighboring Main. Two NH Fish & Game Commission members are also on the Board of Directors for the NHTA. This is a massive conflict of interest!
Care2 member Kristina started this important petition asking the Governor of New Hampshire to remove the two obviously biased members from the state Fish & Game commission, will you support her by signing the petition?
New Hampshire has decided that bear trapping is inhumane, yet two rulemaking members of the F&G Commission (Paul DeBow and John Caveney) promote bear trapping through their ties to the NHTA. They are in direct conflict with the laws of the state of New Hampshire regarding bear regulations. Sign the petition to demand these two commissioners are replaced!
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ao3feedsaileen · 2 months ago
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Hey man, now youre really living
read it on the AO3 at https://ift.tt/32hyJ2J
by sc_achilles
Dean Winchester never wanted a life stuck in board meetings, he likes adventure and is a tad bit reckless. what better sums that about than mountain climbing? however when the family business- a multimillion dollar pharma company- is thrust into his hands, he lets climbing take sort of a backseat. Castiel Novak, an accomplished neurosurgeon, is methodical, tactful and organised. when he can stick to the rules and come out on top, why break them? when Winchester Pharma comes out with a groundbreaking neural drug, Dean and Cas are forced to work with each other. theres OBVIOUS attraction but theyre both idiots... until they arent. will they both make it through this harrowing tale of the dangers faced when youre standing at the top of a mountain, 8000 metres high, or when lives are thrusted into your hand, because youre the only one who might be able to save them? read to find out.
Words: 2590, Chapters: 1/13, Language: English
Fandoms: Supernatural
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Categories: F/M, M/M
Characters: Dean Winchester, Castiel (Supernatural), Eileen Leahy, Sam Winchester, Adam Milligan
Relationships: Castiel/Dean Winchester, Eileen Leahy/Sam Winchester
Additional Tags: mountain climber dean, idk what this is either its just me rambling enjoy, no one ever really dies, projecting my love for mountains on dean, kinda slow burn idk, gruesome descriptions of high altitude sickness, lots of taylor swift, what died didnt stay dead, Sex, Angst with a Happy Ending, enjoy this, i wrote this instead of stuyding, if i fail its not on me, doctor cas, this should have been put first smh
read it on the AO3 at https://ift.tt/32hyJ2J
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lululandd · 2 months ago
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Chance Encounters (V)
pairing: Vergil x f!reader
word count: 4k+ (im SORRY)
warnings: soulmate AU, vergil’s POV, soft!vergil but he’s an asshole
notes: dear @/mcshooty i put in the thing that you sweetly and thoughtfully came up with but all fucked up pls forgib (also on ao3) (*^▽^)/the last bit of line is from The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White~
summary: Vergil realised his whole life has revolved around you as of late. And he doesn’t mind at all.
[ch 1] | [ch 2] | [ch 3] | [ch 4] | [ch 5]
It used to annoy him. The fact that his soulmate words appeared on his palm. Detests how it developed in such an exposed and vulnerable place, loathed how demure and delicate it looks against his skin. Such affectionate words do not belong on the Son of Sparda, who should be the embodiment of power and strength.
He will not—should not—succumb to such trifle human things.
Being Nelo Angelo changed everything.
If Dante’s amulet broke him free of his chains, those words kept him sane, it kept him grounded, it’s a reminder that he’s has a human part inside of him. The human part that dreams of sunlight even after he had forgotten the warmth of it on his skin. He yearns to be alive once more.
But to be truly alive, he needed power.
---
Years in the demon world brought him and Dante closer together. Dante recklessly shows off his soulmate bond, told fanciful dreams of them, hearing laughter, seeing glimpses, the crinkle in their eyes as they smiled, felt the ghost of their fingers grazing his stubble. Vergil’s reluctance of sharing his soulmate words with his brother prompted a gruesome fight that lasted for three weeks in which of course he—the previous Demon King—emerged victorious, only for Dante to inadvertently see it while they were resting, not even a week later.
“Cute words.” Dante grinned, using his sword to point at it.
“Hold your tongue Dante, or I will cut it off you.”
His twin barked his comforting, heartfelt laughter. “I swear Vergil, you’re gonna say something similar to your mate and they’re gonna run.”
He despised how correct Dante’s offhanded remark was, amongst everything. He smiled to himself that you literally ran away from him the first time you met. It irked him that Dante found you first, claiming it a complete accident that a Riot caught him off guard, and had to flung it away.
He came flying to Devil May Cry as soon as you had gone from the house.
“Vergil, come with me.” Dante urged him, not even bothered to change back into his human form.
The hand holding Yamato twitched. “Trouble?”      
Dante opened the door to draw him out faster. “I think I found your soulmate.”
He sighed. “My what, Dante?”
“I think I found (Name).”
His words, the sheer simplicity of them, made him feel something in his gut, so Vergil rewarded him with a sword to the leg.
“Fucking hell Vergil! I found your soulmate for you and this is how you repay me?!”
“I will not fall victim to your human pranks, brother.”
Dante doesn’t answer, just kept on constantly coaxing, insisting him towards the door.
With a shake of his head, he relents. “I will humour you just this once.”
“You won’t need to because I swear to you, she’s the one.”
The certainty his brother spoke with perplexed him. Does that mean you also have his name painted on your skin?
He wanted to kill Dante there and then when he first showed him what he meant by ‘the one’.
You liked the colour blue.
Remnants of dark blue kitchen stools, a smashed vase that once held blue roses, shards of different hues of blue ceramics.
“Dante, you have three seconds to explain before I impale all your limbs to the sidewalk.” He snarls, fingers flexing around Yamato.
He dragged him over to a broken picture on the floor of a young girl with a large black cat. “That looks like shadow!”
All eight Mirage Blades pierced Dante’s heart. That didn’t stop Dante to continue spouting his nonsense, he continued to guide him into the living room. “It’s Griffon!” He pointed at a large, light blue, bird shaped doll that sat on the sofa.
He gritted through clenched teeth, not even trying to hide his sarcasm. “You’re missing nightmare.”
Dante grabbed his upper arms, turning him towards a tidy corner where your computer and little shelf sits.
It was a dark grey blob of clay, with a purple-coloured marble stuck near the top. It was nightmare in its most basic form. He couldn’t help but to pick it off the shelf to take a closer look at it.
His stomach churned. What are the odds that a woman with the same name, has all these paraphernalia that is connected to him? Even if he dismisses the cat picture and the adorable Griffon sized plush that sits on the sofa, the nightmare shaped clay looks to be undeniable proof that this woman does have some intimate knowledge of him. He puts it back on your shelf, grimacing at how it looks grotesquely out of place next to your other displays.
The next few days went by agonisingly slow, too slow for his liking. Dante had asked for Lady to arrange so you have to take the keys in Devil May Cry, to meet you seemingly by accident. It smelled foul to him, it seemed to much like entrapment, but Dante was dead set on his plans, and he knows no matter how many swords he put through his skull, his brother would not change his mind.
But the dreaded day came, and you didn’t show up. Dante ran out of time to dawdle around and had to finish the job he had on the demon rampaging at the town outskirts, so he was left alone in the shop. He had planned to rest his eyes for a few moments before patrolling the town for stray demons, but he had forgotten how easy it was to lose track of time, doing such things.
Sunlight.
Reaching out slowly, he felt the warmth of it on his skin, the gentle tingle of the daylight sun hitting his face. A tug rippled comfortably in his chest, seeing a smile in his dreams, and seeing it widen into a silent laughter had him—
His dream is cut short as he felt someone unfamiliar in the room, slowly inching towards him.
“Come any closer and I will cut you down.”
When the awaited ramblings and apologies didn’t reach his ears, he opened his eyes and laid eyes on you for the first time. Humans usually apologise, say whatever crosses on their minds, anything to make the silence disappear. You just stood there, waiting, with your shoulders curling into itself, fingers constantly clenching and unclenching, the distinct look of a prey caught in the presence of a predator. He can tell you felt fear, but your eyes don’t leave his, not even for a moment. It brought an odd sort of satisfaction, for a mere human to be able to do so even in their state of fear.
“You’re here for the keys.” He stated in the most uninterested, aloof voice he could muster, and tested to see when you’d dare look away from him
It was when he placed the keys on your hands, you had lowered your gaze from his eyes, to the keys exchanging hands, before flitting upwards to see his once more.
He had no choice but to follow you home, to see your reactions. You were a large ball of anxiety trapped in such a fragile vessel, ready to explode and break down from the slightest provocation. Your hand kept touching your side for some reason. An old wound perhaps? A weapon?
Doesn’t matter.
He found you.
---
He saw you again weeks later. Someone had sold a demon artifact to the local antique shop and it started whispering, so of course he and Dante were called to take care of the matter. It had started to pour—to his annoyance—when he saw you. Apprehension and distress seem to naturally emanate from you, but in the midst of all those feelings, you looked oddly peaceful and happy. He eyed you as you exhausted the array of rings on display, trying the most elaborate ones and grinning to yourself.
You were about to move away—of course you’d be careless—and bumped into him.
Colour drained from your face. The fear you exuded was delicious, the sheer concern reflected in your eyes, the quickening of your heartbeat had raised his own.
“No apologies?” He struck, not even tilting his head down, merely glancing downwards in your direction. It was cute when you bowed to him, oh how it made his blood sing. The utter power that his mere presence had over you.
Of course, Dante came to your rescue, with polite conversation, which you return with curt nods, braving the storm not minutes later, no doubt to avoid him.
He suddenly had a brilliant idea on how to make you talk.
---
The library had limitless array of sign language books, and he picked up one of them. He’s not a man built for kindness and affection; he’s doing this to mess with your head. To trick you into speaking, to see when you’ll speak, if they were the correct words.
Denial was what he’s currently experiencing. He didn’t want to believe the meek, skittish woman was his soulmate.
Oh, what a fool he was.
---
Correctly guessing that you’d choose that café for shelter—after running away from him—almost made him roll his eyes. Watching you from afar, fiddling with your receipt was maddening to see. What do you have to be afraid of? You’re in a safe human space. The music blaring from the speakers has no more than one hundred beats per minute. It was supposed to calm you, trick you into a false sense of relaxation. No demon has even come close to this place, what could you possibly fear?
He chose hot assam tea from the array of drinks they have, glared the barista into silence when he asked if he would want it sweetened or add milk into it. If he wanted weak tea then he would have not asked for assam, did they not teach these employees anything about the drinks they sell?
You actually jumped when he talked to you. You motioned him to sit, and he did, smirking at the fact you’re taking the sight of him in.
Good.
I apologise if I was rude the first time we met.
He took in every micro-expression you showed in that brief moment of pure confusion, your pretty eyes widening like a little rabbit cornered by a vicious, hungry, wolf.
A shame you didn’t take the bait, but he was content to know that you’re not one of those chatty humans that needed to talk every second of everyday to fill the silence. He played the waiting game. How are you going to leave the premises? You’re not the kind of person to just stand up and leave without saying goodbye.
Of course, Dante had to come and ruin everything.
Game over.
Seeing the hurt on your face was something Vergil never wanted to experience ever again. At that moment in time, he could not understand why his demon side trembled with fury, the immeasurable urge to rip and tear apart whatever was in his reach.
Dante suggested a letter. To make peace.
Human sentiments are almost unknown to him.
He winced as he saw Dante’s horrible penmanship underneath his neatly printed ones, he might just burn the whole th—He slipped it under your door.
---
Slaughtering as many demons as he possibly could was the only thing on his mind the next day. How dare these lowly demons hinder his plans. How fucking dare they.
 What would you think of him? Would you understand the situation if he explained it to you? Would you believe him? Would you accept him?
 A glimpse of movement of a seemingly abandoned bus broke his train of thought. The bus strained to hold up his weight, every single movement of his sends the bus shaking. The sweet smell of fear reached him. It was some human. But before he could investigate any further, Dante flew past him, so he decided to join his brother with the fun.
Argosax was the being responsible for the attack. He thought it impossible. His father had dethroned Argosax a long time ago. The thought ran over and over in his mind, and Dante’s comments about how he also defeated the demon when he was younger did not help.
“Dante?” He couldn’t help but notice similarities between Dante’s Sin Devil Trigger attacks and the dethroned Demon King. “An explanation is required.”
“Not now Verge!” Dante dismissed him entirely, and that’s when he entirely lost focus and got hit with one of the Embodied Despair’s lethal attacks, which threw him off the skies, and back into solid ground.
Oh, the humiliation hurts more than the actual impact. Both of them will pay for this.
He turned his head and saw you.
Flashing his fangs, he had hoped to scare you off, every fibre of his being screaming,
(wrong, wrong, this is not how it should be—)
Something deep in his chest unruffled, “Walk away.” His voice is clipped, low, there’s a deep urgency for him to get you away from here right now.
But you stayed, feet firmly planted.
“Vergil, it’s me, (Name).”
His own name uttered from your mouth felt like music in his ears, and he saw you as beautiful, then. Radiant, the mere sight of you burns every part of him, slowly at first, before imploding upon itself, leaving only ashes.
“Finally.”
Nothing else mattered to him that day.
---
Not until he came upon your doorstep, fresh from battle, although his clothes are worse for wear, his wounds had closed, and maybe you’d be gracious enough to lend your showe—
The look on your face broke his heart. The same look that you always had now registered. Everything crashed down, the anxiousness you felt, the agitation. It wasn’t the rest of the world you’re worried and uneasy about.
It was him.
You feared him.
“Do I frighten you that much?” He hated how his voice wavered.
Burning agony surged through him when you nodded, but at least he gets a chance when you ushered him in.
He could tell you weren’t yourself, your eyes empty, your movements clumsy, and you were stirring a cup of water, the teabag forgotten on the counter.
His heart broke for the second time. He did this to you. He just had to involve you in his life, and of course demons crossed your path. So, he did what he wished someone had done to him.
Help. In any small way he can.
---
Nero watched him with disbelief when he dropped by unannounced in Fortuna the next day. The furrowed brow—which he inherited from him—expression felt like a hot knife against his neck. He felt judged and scrutinised for the first time, and it took all of his self-control to not draw his sword right there and fight his own son.
“Maybe just give her time.”
Oh, it stings. “Are you talking about yourself or her?”
Nero can almost taste his father’s anger in his tongue, but shrugged, “Dad,” he emphasised the word to hammer it closer to home, “She’s human. The hardest thing she probably ever had to handle was a death in the family, being lied to, got her purse stolen, or something human like that. I remember Kyrie not speaking for over two weeks after dealing with a demon face to face. Your girlfriend probably saw mangled dead bodies around. Give. Her. Time.”
Avoiding you completely didn’t work.
---
i found a psychiatrist –(name)
 The tightly coiled chain in his chest seem to loosen and warmed, and for a brief moment he felt something unfamiliar flutter in his stomach. Staring at his phone for what seemed to be hours, he was on his way to type his reply when another message came from you.
 he’s pretty cool, will see him again next week
 I am glad things are working out for you. -Vergil
 you dont have to sign your name i have your number saved lol, you gave it to me the other day rmember?
 I do remember.
---
He contentedly listened to your babble as you two walked, eyeing the at the dome lidded cup in your hand that you sporadically move around as you told him the story of how your co-worker fell from her chair and rolled twice on the floor before reaching a full stop. The liquid sloshes around near the rim of the cup, worryingly close to spilling.
“—want some?”
You had shoved the cup near his face. The edge of the straw glistened by whatever product you put on your lips. He looked at you curiously.
“You kept looking at it. Here, take a sip.” Your smile had widened into laughter, and he found himself unable to take his eyes away from you. He’s dreamt of this smile for so long, the smile that kept his sanity intact, the smile that help mend his broken mind.
The drink itself was atrocious—it was corn syrup in sweetened water with whipped cream and sugar on top—but he can’t stop drinking it. Not after seeing you laugh until tears roll down your cheeks and clung onto his arm to take it away from him when he drank a third of the cup in one long inhale.
Time passes slowly for him; he finds that a curse and a blessing at the same time. He enjoys the days he gets to spend with you, and feared for your life every time you coyly ask him to come over. As much as he would love to accept your gracious invitation, as much as he would love to touch you, and be touched in return, he knows you’re not ready.
Not when you often still have that glassy look in your eyes, not when you tremble for no apparent reason when the two of you are out, not when you won’t tell him what’s troubling you. He holds you close, when you are afraid, soothes your tears when they fall, keeps you company during the day, and sometimes during the night, but always in public, there’s always at least one other person around. He’s afraid of what will come after if it’s just the two of you.
He notices your discontentedness whenever he refuses to come home with you, and when he doesn’t explain his reasons. He kisses your pouting lips when you do so, his palms settling against your face with gentleness that feels so foreign to him.
---
Days turns to weeks, and weeks turns to months. You had made progress during the past few months—even though you still won’t tell him what ails you—he can see you’re getting better and managed yourself in a different manner from before.
“(Name).” He greeted mildly, his hand slid to rest at the nape of your neck and he smiled as you leaned into his touch. “Nero’s birthday is in a few weeks.”
Your eyes brighten, and you turn to him excitedly. “Are we going to Fortuna?”
He shook his head, “Not this year.”
This year he asked Nero to come to him instead. He wanted you to feel as comfortable as you could, he doesn’t know if you’d like Nero’s brash, vibrant personality, and if you ever felt overwhelmed by him—and Nico—he can always take you home, and meet Nero at another time once you’ve calmed down. He has seen how you are around Dante, how quickly you tire during the days Dante is around.
Vergil realised his whole life has revolved around you as of late. 
And he doesn’t mind at all.
---
He eyed you as you introduced yourself to Nero, Kyrie, and Nico, ready to intervene if you get too overwhelmed, but your nervousness and worry dissipates rather quickly, likely because of Kyrie. Vergil couldn’t believe his eyes when the mechanic showed you her words, lined along her numerous tattoos. As if you know he was watching, you turned your head in his direction. He was sure that you would show you hers, causing him internal conflict.
You haven’t been modest with the way you dress. The words are sure to be somewhere you haven’t revealed. If he had taken you to a date at the beach, would he had seen it?
Dante arrived late, with cake and wine. He eyed the wine suspiciously, he knows Dante couldn’t have afforded the win, not without at least selling something in his possession.
The thought dissipated as soon as it appears as he saw you pour yourself a cupful of wine. Are you uneducated in alcoholic drinks and spirits? You’re not supposed to drink that large amount in such a short time.
He stared at you carefully, watching for any signs of inebriation. You look like you can handle your liquor, but when he saw you start giggling around Nico and his brother, pouring yourself a second cup of wine, he had to put a stop to it.
“Enough.” He told you sternly as you giggled, still trying to pour the wine. He grips you securely to him, “We are going home. Please know your limits with alcohol and make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
You happily waved goodbye to everyone as he takes you outside.
“Are we going home?” you asked, softly, your gaze intent and unflinching.
How bold of you to look at him like that, when hours ago your hands shook when you met Nero and Kyrie for the first time, not even daring to make eye contact. The thought made him smile instead, how comfortable you must be to be with him if you dare to look him in the eye.
Changing into his demon form, he holds his hand out between you as a silent offering, waiting. He suppressed a smile as you slowly placed your tiny, soft hands in his large, demonic one. The same hand that wrought carnage and destruction now held yours with such care and unexpected tenderness.
Which didn’t last as long as he’d like, not when you tempt him so.
---
Heaven and hell began with his mouth on yours. You ruin him so with just timid touches and sly little comments that sends his mind swaying towards oblivion.
“You only needed to ask nicely.”
Those words alone had provoked him, his human side had to muster up all coherence self-restraint to stop himself from tearing you apart right there and then. Love might be starlight and gentle blushes, but passion will leave your fingers sore from clawing the sheets while shouting his name. His vicious but gracefully written words lie on your ribs, printed in-between bones. You stifled a giggle when his hand brushed over the delicate spot.
Hello again, my heart.
Decades had passed since he felt truly alive. The Qliphoth might have game him power, that crackle of energy still rests within him, but he had forgotten how it feels to utterly live.
“Vergil,” you had pleaded so desperately, igniting the heat of pleasure in his veins. “Please.”
Oh, how he’s going to leave you wholly spent and exhausted after all of this is done. Your eyes gleamed with lust as they met his and he after that he wasted no time toying with you.
---
Silence stretched comfortably around you as the two of you lay against each other, his hand resting against your mark, the other absentmindedly brushing against the curve of your cheekbone.
“Hey.” You whispered softly, turning sideways to look straight into his eyes.
“What is it?”
You buried yourself deeper against him, your face hidden against his chest, legs entangled even more, “You were very persistent when we first meet, even before I spoke. How did you know it was me?”
Thinking about Dante right now brought a unique kind of discomfort, he did not want to admit his idiotic brother brought you two together. But he can’t lie to you. “I didn’t.” He paused for a long time before he spoke again, “I think I dreamt of you. Sunlight. A smile turning into silent laughter. An untroubled comfort.”
He pulled you away from him to take in your features, and he spoke again, in a hushed whisper, “I think that’s what drew me to you. I felt something familiar in you that I don’t understand.” He kissed the crown of your head, “Now I do.”
Never, in the few months he had known you, has he ever felt the need to be this honest and open with you before. You watch him watch you, before you hide your face in your hands and giggling, “What? Did you fall in love with me immediately or something?”
He brought you up to him, pressing his lips onto yours for a brief moment before his gaze turns serious,
 “I didn’t fall in love with you. I walked into love with you with my eyes wide open, choosing to take every step along the way.”
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