rewatching shl and thinking about that riverside scene in ep 6 right now, spoilers in the paragraphs head so slide on by idk how to read more on mobile
first of all, bc of the way they paralleled the fight scene in the bonus episode, im assuming this is narratively the moment when a-xu and wkx go from acquaintances to actually people in some form of relationship (friends, for a-xu, and man and person he's pining for in wkx's case)
so: i read somewhere that someone felt disappointed that the face reveal was unintended on a-xu's part, but i beg to differ. with the way he fell into the water, and we literally get a shot of wkx checking the faraway bank to see if a-xu surfaces there to make a quick getaway, i'd argue that a-xu deliberately made the choice to fall into the water
with his skills at qinggong, i doubt he didn't have a way to avoid falling in, if he wanted to, and even if it was unavoidable, we see that even wkx thought of the alternative which is to swim away and escape. with tian chuang's be unseen, be unnoticed motto, i doubt the ex-leader would've conveniently forgotten that this was an option, if he really didnt want wkx to see his true appearance
i present my theory of what a-xu intended. we know four seasons manor had the best techniques for disguise, wkx says he can't see any gaps in a-xu's disguise and beauty ghost liu qianqiao who is infamous for her disguises learnt from four seasons manor. so if the four seasons manor technique still doesn't hold up to water, i doubt any other technique could.
why did a-xu linger in the water if he wasn't trying to swim to the shore and escape unseen? he wanted to see if wkx would 1) panic, 2) dive in after him, and 3) it would wash away any disguise that wkx has. till now, and even afterwards, a-xu hasn't puzzled out wkx's "true identity" and he assumes that wkx is also disguising himself (from his dialogue and also his internal monologues).
literally the ep 6 river scene was a-xu's version of a trust fall. he set up a whole ass scenario to lure wkx into diving into the water after him, presumably risking his own true appearance to check on wkx's true appearance. once wkx is willing to dive in, it cements a-xu's tentative trust in him. his character is much more open and willing to play along with wkx now that he knows they're both not hiding their true appearances, at least.
this, coupled with the conversation they had on the shore before the river fight, where wkx insists that he's not lying about his true face, demonstrated to a-xu that this man can be trusted with his words. and tbh it's not like a 100% trust sort of thing, a-xu continues to be a little guarded for a while more, but this was a huge transition in their rls with each other.
and i really love it.
~~~~~~~~~chocolate chip mix~~~~~~~~
credence barebone x gender neutral!reader
request from @steamed3gg . thank you for entrusting me with such a wonderful prompt 😌
summary: credence, the soft speaking and gentle soul, wanted to do something special for newt scamander’s 30th birthday. however, his confidence begins to slip through the cracks as he spends some alone time with you.
warnings: fluff, a small amount of angst, credence is so fucking cute it’s ridiculous.
while i was writing this i had to google if they had ovens in the 20s
today was newt scamanders special day, the once in his lifetime that he would turn 30. it was a chilly feburary day, and as queenie, tina, and jacob were gift hunting, (its not easy to find a gift for someone who only values animals) you had the delightful opportunity to spend what you presumed to be a long time with an angel, credence barebone. baking had always been a concept credence was intrigued by, one he wished to pursue, and now that he was no longer under the oppressive custody of his “mother”, he had hours of free time do whatever he had pleased.
you had to gather all the ingredients the day before, secretly and away from newts attentive, curious eyes. no one but newt scamander was better suited to have birthday cookies over a cake. the only one who prefers long skinny candles next to said cookies.
when you first came into the kitchen, credence was already there leaning against the table in silence
“you haven’t been waiting long, have you,?” he shook his head ‘no’, silently, and you could tell he was still a tad on edge to be alone in your presence. “i’ll just be right back.” his eyes followed you as you walked towards the living room, still in his sight, and flipped through radio stations until you found a suitable track. “‘you okay with music, credence?” he nodded yes, once again silently, although this time he had a small smile on his face- an improvement. you had only just woke up, and were in nothing but a night gown and a fuzz robe as you strutted back to the kitchen and, as usual, credence was dressed in full professional attire. “get the flour... sugar... chocolate chips and... baking soda for me, please?” you tried you best to remember the ingredients to cookies. you shuffled past each other as you went for the cookbook. in the center of the kitchen, you propped it open on the island. “oh! and the salt.” you called toward him.
“salt?” this was the first time you heard him speak all morning, his motivation to do so purely based on surprise. “why yes, of course, creed. you must have a bit of salt in anything good.” his back was to you as he rifled through the cabinets, and although you couldn’t see him, he had to hold his lip between his teeth so as not to smile too noticeably as you assigned him his pet name. he set all the dry ingredients on the table, while you headed toward the fridge and for the mixing bowls. “a bowl for you, and a bowl for me. start with two level cups of flour.” you quoted the book. you let him get his ingredients first. “and then... we need the baking soda, sugar, and salt.” you laughed a bit as you said salt.
while you weren’t very well acquainted with cooking or baking yourself, this was credence’s first time using an oven at all, and so you let him go first; metaphorically held his hand through the process. you knew that, although it seemed such a trivial activity, it weighed on his very fragile self of steam. you even made little mistakes, secretly on purpose, to try and reassure him that mistakes were only human. saying things like: “oh! i forgot to preheat the oven.” or even dropping an egg; this may or may not have been on purpose. apart from that, you added on to your attempt at comforting him with simple words of affirmation. “good job! i’ve never been able to do that, no matter how many times i tried.” you complimented as he did a one-handed crack of an egg. you left the occasional pat or rub on his back, cautious not to overstep. with every new word or touch a few ounces of the weights on his shoulders fell. he was even smiling, and all had been going wonderfully. this stability was soon to crumble, however, as you began to mix the batter. he had finished his mix before you, and was attempting to mix the dough with a wooden spoon, something he was not entirely successful at. he began to become exceedingly frustrated, but more than that, he was embarrassed and self conscious. you felt as though all the progress you made in your relationship, despite it only being for a few hours, was slipping on thin ice. he dropped his spoon in the bowl carelessly and sighed before putting his head in his hands.
“i’m sorry, y/n... i just can’t do anything right.” your heart was breaking seeing him in this state. “oh credence that’s so untrue! it’s okay, it’s just one little mistake. you’ve never done this before.” you were rubbing his shoulder and he leaned into you. his dignity was barely there in the first place. an abused individual, never having experienced words of affirmation. “you’re been doing so, so well. it’s not like you dropped an egg.” he looked up at you, despite how difficult it was, and tears had built up in the well of his eyes and you quickly swiped them away with your thumb. “there’s no need to cry when you’re around me, dear. would you like some help?” he nodded, still silent, before hiding his face again and hunching over. you took the spoon out of the bowl and set it aside, setting down your own manners with it, as you dug your hands into the dough and began pushing and squeezing the ingredients. “juuuust like that.” he looked back up at you in surprise, smiling again. “now it’s coming together.” you took your dough covered hands away. “your turn.” his eyes lit up. “really? i can?” you laughed a bit. “of course you can, creed. nothings holding you back anymore.” with that, he resumed your previous technique and dirtied his hands. while he did so, you got to work on your own dough. “there we are, dear. see? it all comes together.” you weren’t sure what response this action would elicit, but you tried your luck and put a dot of dough on his nose with a warm smile. at this, he laughed, and licked his own fingers clean. it was a wide step in the right direction.
A/N: alternate smut ending???? i would not mind. i had sooo much fun writing this and i absolutely loved this prompt and the entire plot of having to mix with your hands Comes From Experience. i hope it lived up to your expectations! thank you again. 🤍
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