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grishaverseficlibrary · 43 minutes ago
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the icarus to your certainty by phybe
"Unrequited love. What a pathetic situation. Zoya really thought she was better than that."
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A lot has changed since the civil war ended. The Sun Summoner leads the Second Army alongside her Triumvirate. Mal Oretsev is leaving Os Alta. Alina and Zoya have become something close to friends, and that should be enough.
It's not enough.
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finnreyfics · 2 hours ago
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Chapters: 34/? Fandom: Star Wars - All Media Types, Star Wars Sequel Trilogy Rating: Teen And Up Audiences Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply Relationships: Finn/Rey (Star Wars), BB-8 & Rey, Chewbacca & Han Solo, Rey & Han Solo, Finn & Han Solo, Leia Organa/Han Solo, Kylo Ren & Rey, Rey & Luke Skywalker, Finn & Luke Skywalker, Finn & Kylo Ren, Kaydel Ko Connix & Leia Organa, Poe Dameron & Finn, Kylo Ren & Snoke Characters: Rey (Star Wars), Finn (Star Wars), Unkar Plutt, BB-8 (Star Wars), Han Solo, Chewbacca (Star Wars), Maz Kanata, Kylo Ren, Leia Organa, Kaydel Ko Connix, Phasma (Star Wars), Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, Poe Dameron, Rose Tico, Snoke (Star Wars), Jannah (Star Wars) Additional Tags: Other Additional Tags to Be Added, Action/Adventure, Canon Rewrite, The Force, Hearing Voices, Force Visions, Lightsabers, Angst, Family, Force-Sensitive Finn (Star Wars), Rey Skywalker, Force Bond (Star Wars), Space Battles, Jedi Training (Star Wars), Undercover Missions, Torture, Reformed Stormtroopers (Star Wars), Stormtrooper Rebellion (Star Wars), Love Confessions Summary:
Full Sequel Trilogy rewrite. Alone on Jakku, a scavenger girl with a mysterious power meets a Resistance droid. Tossed right into the conflict between the New Republic and the First Order, the girl finds her destiny is entwined with that of a former stormtrooper.
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ereri-lost-and-found · 2 hours ago
Hi! I appreciate the work you put into searching fics, I've read some of these and not one of them was disappointing! Do u know any other fics that are Cinderella theme-based but not entirely the same plot as the author used some of his settings. ❤
Hi @huntingleviinhisdreams!
Try these~
T'Was The Night by AlexanderHyde
(Not Rated, 494 words, oneshot, complete)
Levi goes to a ball, and even though he planned to sit unnoticed, a young boy came and asked him for a dance.
Modern Ereri Cinderella. Short oneshot.
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With Closed Doors and Gloves by CreepyLittleLullaby
(Not Rated, 17,248 words, multichapter, complete, Read tags on fic)
A small play on the classic Cinderella story, not a direct copy, but takes inspiration and elements from the original story. The plot is my own design and the characters belong to their respective owner. This will be a short story intended to be a one-shot but grew too long. Minimal chapters hopefully. Enjoy!
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Shingeki no Cinderella by orphan_account
(Not Rated, 7,871 words, oneshot, complete)
Shingeki meets Cinderella. Some changes were made to avoid any one character being casted as evil. You all know the plot of Cinderella so i wont explain.
Part 2 of Shingeki no Fairytales
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The New Cinderella by orphan_account
(Rated M, 9,400 words, multichapter, complete)
Levi is one of the most popular guys in Trost High School, rich, handsome, and on top of that captain of the football team. Eren is a nobody with a slightly crush on a certain raven haired boy, their social status are just like North and South, how will these two souls come to meet?
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disastercomingfaster · 9 hours ago
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Chapters: 1/? Fandom: Pitch Perfect (Movies) Rating: Mature Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply Relationships: Chloe Beale/Beca Mitchell Characters: Beca Mitchell, Chloe Beale Additional Tags: Disney World & Disneyland, Fluff, Slow Burn Summary:
Chloe somehow convinces a reluctant Beca to join her in Disney World. Though reluctant, Beca starts to warm up to the idea of Disney World, though it is difficult to hide her feelings for the redhead in such a magical place. Beca has to decide if she wants to continue to hide her feelings or share her love for Chloe.
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Little Bit of Luck 4- Pharaoh
Series: The Untamed/ Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation
Chapter: 4- Pharaoh
Pairing: Wangxian ( But Ladybug Love Square this time)
Genre: Romance, humor, angst, action
Rated: T
Words: 10,072
Summary: (Miraculous Ladybug AU) In modern-day Paris a terrible power has taken root, Hawkmoth, holder of the Butterfly Miraculous, has started using his powers for evil and turning innocent civilians into supervillains who do his bidding. To protect the people of Paris from Hawkmoth, teenagers Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian are chosen to become Ladybug and Chat Noir. Not knowing one another's secret identities, the two of them try to protect Paris while remaining caught up on their school work and keep their double lives secret from their loved ones.
Chapter Summary: Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji are paired together for a project on Ancient Egypt but their field trip doesn't go according to plan when someone at the Lourve get's akumatized and they must transform into Mister Bug and Chat Noir to save the day
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tananoyaarchive · a day ago
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Falling in Love Isn’t Easy
Title: Falling in Love Isn’t Easy Author: auburnhairedemeraldeyedbeauty Rated: Mature Word Count: 13045
Noya and Tanaka are now at the end of their third year and moving on to university together. First loves are never easy. Loving your best friend is even harder. These two find out the hard way how difficult it can be to put your emotions out there, both finding it hard to understand what the other wants. They soon find out the pay off can be the most rewarding. Through thick and thin, these two are best friends until the end.
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Hi elf ! This has been so useful to me so thank you so much for working so hard. I really appreciate it :) .Do you have any fanfics where eren is actually a titan outside of the walls but kills other titans or he is a titan shifter that lives outside if the walls? I also prefer top/seme/dominate Levi and bottom/uke/submsive Eren.I have already read:Hunger,
Lazarus Phenomenon, Beyond the walls ,Who's A Good Killing Machine? :D , A Titan's Poisoned Chalice, Breaking the Walls, Outside The Walls, Inside My Heart, BFT (Big Friendly Titan),How to Train Your Titan, Lost in the woods, Breaking the Walls, Beyond the walls.
I read a lot if these and I couldn't find anymore so its okay if you can't either. And sorry for wasting your time. The reason I asked even though I read a lot is somehow you guys can find stuff that people have been searching for months. You guys really are amazing! :D but I know you guys are human too so don't work too hard👍...I think...haha. Thanks again!
One of the mods, Titanfever, was able to find you more fics~
The Hunter by Adishailan
(Rated T, 66,716 words, multichapter, complete)
The hunter is a monster, a titan, not a boy. This is a fact he has known for as long as he has lived in the forest, for as long he can remember. The forest is quiet but for the crooning of birds, the rush of misty water into the hidden valleys and the deep lumbering steps of his kin. That is until the day that changes everything. The day the humans came. The day he saw his human for the first time. One the hunter will never forget.
"The newest arrival was a 15 meter but quite unlike any Titan they had ever seen. It was thin and lean with muscles on its muscles. Sunken eyes sharp and glowing, really glowing, green over a hooked nose. Lipless serrated teeth formed a strange mocking Cheshire smile as it looked at them. It then fell to it's haunches and propelled itself forward with truly frightening speed. Cries of panic ran through the squadron as they attempted to spur the exhausted horses even faster. This panic gave way to shock however when the green eyed Titan pivoted, rapidly changing direction and barreling into the group of Titans, toppling them over like wooden bowl pins. There was a moment of silence in the squad then- "WHAAAAT?!" Exclaimed Hanji in extreme disbelief."
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An Unexpected Ally by certifiedclown
(Rated M, 29,610 words, multichapter, incomplete, major character death)
He screamed with excitement as he flew through the trees gripping the silver sticks tightly in his hands. It had taken him a few months, but he'd done it. He was thrilled. Now he could be like his human. He could help rid the world of his brethren. He could finally see his human up close. With his new body no one would notice him. He would wait for his humans pack to venture outside of the safety of their walls. In the meantime he would make the world safer. He would kill all the titans he could. Every last one.
Part 1 of from titans to men (who are the real monsters?)
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Ein Riese, der Fliegen Wollte by Closet_Cleaner
(Rated E, 113,752 words, multichapter, ongoing)
He needn't have worried. The small one was strong.
He sees the human many more times since then. It seems as if the herd doesn't venture out without it. He wonders if that one is the pack-leader. It seems logical, but humans are not always creatures of logic.
He forces back memories of that one, and continues to shadow the herd whenever it ventures out. He makes a habit of waiting in the small grouping of trees near the gate so as not to miss one of their outings. Eventually he learns to distinguish the small one from the others even before it takes to the air, and he feels proud of this accomplishment.
Months later, only hours after the humans had returned behind their walls, everything changes.
(In which Eren is not a human that can turn into a Titan, but a Titan that can turn into a human.)
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The boy in the forest by JAKishu
(Rated M, 45,779 words, multichapter, complete)
Levi is saved by a titan and is taken care of in his forest. A strange titan that is also a child. Survival is the first thing in his mind, second is to teach that kid how to probably clean itself. Disgusting dirty hand it has.
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The Difference Between You And Me by KrustyKruton
(Rated T, 69,473 words, multichapter, ongoing, major character death)
Eren has always been a titan, a titan that can shift into a human. With a dream to stand side by side with humans and the sudden opportunity of a short human showing up at his home, what will he do? Will he surrender to his titan instincts, or will he follow his human heart? (This is a total AU...kinda. Its also boy x boy, Levi x Eren, so be warned. Don't flame) R and R! This is my first time using AO3 so I'm sorry for any mistakes. please word corrections kindly!
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I, Titan by Marie_Phantom
(Rated E, 23,349 words, multichapter, ongoing, Bottom!Levi)
One single mistake, and the world changes on it’s axis.
Levi is left stranded outside the Walls when he is injured, and is rescued by an unusual Titan. This meeting changes not just their lives, but the entire fate of the Walls.
Part 1 of The Scent of Blood and Pine
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Legends by The_Silent_Assassin
(Not Rated, 28,198 words, multichapter, complete)
Whilst on a mission, Levi's squad see something strange. Starts just before the fall of Wall Maria.
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Rogue by RedCoaster
(Rated T, 866,285 words, multichapter, ongoing)
A strange but intelligent titan lives deep within the forests of Wall Maria, right under the military's nose. What happens when the mysterious titan comes across two small children and the Scouts? Titan!Eren AU
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axther · a day ago
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warning shot!! | chapter one
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This was a series (roughly four parts) that I was working on for @reddriot​ as a congrats/strength for her finals, when I got burnout around chapter two. I’ll work on it, albeit slowly. In any case, here’s chapter one. beta’d by @ererokii​ In which the new Tsaritsa, long after the events of the Two Travellers, finds that some legends never die. Inspired by Barbie’s Magic of Pegasus. dainslief x reader x childe
 tw: people being turned into water, possessive behaviour, and childe being childe, excessively so. 
YN LN was a free spirit, for a princess. 
She wasn’t fond of being kept indoors, nor being told what to do. She grew up in the great, wintery outdoors of her home kingdom, and loved to wander amongst the bold trees. The snow was present, year-round, and she knew how to tread lighter than feather down. She was like a spirit between the trees, with dogs at her tail and the ice at her toes. 
Her people called her the Ghost of the North, and they were right. 
She was a great soldier and a greater leader in the eyes of her people. They saw her as the beginning of a new era, a beacon of light for those that felt the monarchy was going a ways past what it was meant to be. The honest truth was that the throne of Tsar for Snezhnaya had long sat empty, but only in name. The holding court from when YN’s mother had been Tsaritsa ruled for YN’s childhood, but anyone could see that it was beginning to deteriorate. Corruption was rampant, and most knew that YN was their last hope for repairing the reigning government before a revolution was born from the bosom of the lower class. 
Which is what led YN to the situation she was in. 
Her eighteenth birthday was looming overhead, flightier than a bird but stronger than any leviathan. It was the day of her crowning, the day that the respect to the name Tsaritsa would be reclaimed. She knew that some within her mother’s court would try to stop it in its tracks, and she knew that she had to steamroll over them with as much mercy as, say, a very pissed off wasp. So, when she awoke to two poisoning attempts, three courtiers trying to get her to sign them off as her defacto Tsar in case she died, and seven different assassins being taken down, she thought it all ridiculous. 
“I thought you lot would try harder,” She spat at the breakfast table, eyeing down several slinking chamberlains. “Seriously, cyanide? Snezhnaya doesn’t even grow almonds for it to be passed off as “fresh” almond sauce. It’s always colder than my fucking balls!” 
One innocent page flinched when YN raised her voice, and she sighed and placed her head in her hands. 
“Go and get me something that, at the very least, isn’t too obviously poisoned so I can consume it in oblivious peace.” 
A chancellor stood with an uncertain look, biting his lips and trying to spruce up his collar. 
“What,” YN spat. 
“Your lady Tsesarevich, I must ask that you pick an heir apparent should you die, considering all of these...occurrences.” “Fuck off, Stolypyn.” “Of course, your lady Tsesarevich.” 
Stolypyn sat back down with as much dignity he could muster, squirming in his seat as other ministers tried not to laugh. 
“And go suck a blistered cock, all of you!” YN barked, waving a hand and rising angrily. The stifled laughter stopped abruptly, almost jumping in their seats from her outburst. “Don’t get comfortable, bastards. By sunrise tomorrow, we’ll see who’s laughing.” 
There was a shocked lull throughout the room, and YN sat down with a smirk once her food was brought out. Upon first glance, she saw no signs of poison and cast a cursory glance around the room. 
“If anyone wants to own up to this being made so I’ll throw up my own voicebox, then please, come forward. If not, and if I am poisoned, I will write in thirty different languages for your lungs to be ripped out. Understood?” 
There was a shuffling, eyes glancing around the table before YN nodded. 
“Alright then.” She took her spoon and sipped at the soup with a restrained curiosity, before swallowing and sighing. “This is literally just soup for one of my weaker allergies. Whoever made this is doing a poor job of killing me.” 
A minister hissed under his breath, and YN wiped her mouth, rolling her eyes. “Really, you can do better. Try something more drastic...like the one the ones in Liyue have. What was it, the rock dog?” “Azdaha, my lady Tsesarevich.” “Right, Goremykin.” YN nodded, pushing the soup to the side. “I mean, I’m sure you lot can come up with much more creative ways of killing me.” “Like burning at the stake!” A page chirped, but he was smacked in the gut by a guard. YN didn’t seem to care, though, nodding and smiling. “Exactly! Like burning me at the stake, or crushing me under a rock! Drowning! Honestly, with every Pyroslinger Bracer that tries to take me out with a shitty long-distance flamethrower, I just get more resolve to increase the military budget. Honestly.”  
“We can get that arranged tomorrow, my lady Tsesarevich.” 
“Good, Trepov. And today, I plan to go out to the town in order to quell whatever uprisings you lot have managed to create.” 
“As you wish, my lady Tsesarevich.” 
“Witte, Yeltsin, make sure to write eulogies for Ignatieff and Karshkov. Their attempts were the most boring. I’ll show them how a real assassination is done.” 
“Er... “ Witte bowed his head, glancing up towards YN, but Yeltsin nudged his side with a shake of the head.  “Are you sure, my lady Tsesarevich? I mean, there’s certainly...other methods of punishment.” 
“Hm?” YN tilted her head, a curious look on her face. Her voice was oddly earnest for her demeanour, and most of the other ministers seemed to be alarmed. “How do you think they should be punished, then, Witte?” 
“M-me?” Witte pointed at himself, almost like a child in class. 
“Yes, you.” YN nodded, blinking. “I want your opinion.” 
“Oh...er…” Witte glanced at Ignatieff and Karshkov, who gave him pleading stares. “Maybe...just banishment? Since, er…” “Banishment it is.” YN nodded, interrupting Witte but agreeing with him. Both Ignatieff and Karshkov slunk in their chairs with sighs of relief, and Witte looked proud of himself. “Now, you lot, get out. I want to eat without having my every move watched.” 
One by one, the ministers rose and bowed before their exits, until YN was in the vast dining room, all by herself. The table was long and cavernous, like a neverending mouth. If, for the first time in YN’s quite short life, she were honest with herself, she was very much lonely. Despite the strange, life-or-death banter she had with the court and all the adoring peoples, she was alone. 
She laid her head on the table, and sighed. 
“Oh...I made the pages leave, too.” 
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YN spent the day talking to strangers who knew everything about her and everybody liked her and it was a rousing success. YN received more imported flowers than she knew what to do with and several marriage proposals. Some older women warned against getting married too soon once she eighteen. The villages loved her and as YN laid in her bed, on her laurels, watching the canopy of her bed flutter in the open window, she felt empty. 
If she woke up tomorrow, then she would be Tsaritsa. 
Tsaritsa! What an empty role. Anyone could call themselves Tsaritsa, or Tsar, or the Tsesarevich and they would have as much power as the name holds. Tsaritsa was nothing more than a title, and YN knew that. She knew too much, and too little, all at once. It was a strange kind of melancholy that came over her that night, where the moon stood still and the shadows grew, and the little Tsesarevich thought about her place in the world. It didn’t matter as the hours drew on and she stared up, to the royal crest of the House of Snezhnaya, and she knew what she had to do. 
For the first time in eighteen years, there were no assassins in the night. 
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“All hail the Tsaritsa! A new day has dawned for Snezhnaya, and may the House of Snezhnaya last forever!” 
YN was terrified. The Imperial crown was heavy on her head. She remembered when she was a child, and her mother showed it to her. 
‘It looks like a crushed nut, Mama!’
‘Oh, but this crushed nut will be yours one day, should the Archons be kind to you.’ 
YN wasn’t sure if this was kindness on the Archon’s end, but she knew that she had to suck it up. She had to return to her witty, contempt ways before anyone saw that the crown wasn’t the only nut around. And so, she looked over to the thousands of cheering citizens who seemed to love her more than she loved herself. The ministers, in all of their greed and stupidity, seemed almost proud that she made it that far. It was all unspoken, all quietly kept in everyone’s hearts. But YN felt like she was surrounded, completely encapsulated in the calls of her people. Her head throbbed, and when she closed her eyes, they burned. 
She was now Tsaritsa, and now, she had the weight of her kingdom pinned on her. And for a moment, it was all pure. She could take it all in, in all of its painful beauty. 
And then, the sky grew dark. 
YN flinched, looking up but slamming a hand over the crown so it wouldn’t plummet to the ground. The commoners all stared, murmuring like a horde of nervous bees. Several ministers clutched their families close, while others stood near one another. Guards began huddling in front of YN, keeping an eye on her as the once pristine, frosty sky grew stormy. It was a strange storm, unlike anything YN had ever seen before. Most were of ice, and sleet, but this was water-warm water that hit YN’s nose and made her eyes widen. 
“What the…?” “Tsaritsa!” One of the older guards, who was descended from even her great-grandmother’s administration, ran up to YN with a look of dread. “Away from the balcony, now!” “Lovyatt!” YN turned with a confused stare, brow furrowed. “What is happening? Are the people in any danger?” “Not if we don’t get you to safety!” 
“What-!?” Before YN could finish her sentence, a cruel chuckle resonated through the square. There was a sound like a deafening sword sheathing, and when YN turned to look up to the sky once more, she was shocked to see what looked like a giant narwhal, born of stars, glittering in the sky. She gasped, allured by its beauty, before Lovyatt reached forward and grabbed her by the arm. 
“Tsaritsa! We must go, now!” 
“I don’t think so.” 
For what felt like the umpteenth time, YN turned around to see a young man, standing before the doors off of the balcony. His hair was a shade of red YN had never seen in her life, and he was dressed in Fatui armour that YN had only seen in museums. He reeked of the Old Age of the Archons, from the time when Rex Lapis still reigned and Lord Barbatos still thrived. And he looked like one smug bitch. 
“By the Archons-!” Lovyatt hissed, stepping in front of YN and holding his arms out. “You won’t get to her.” 
“So this is the new Tsaritsa. Where have you been hiding, girlie?” He sauntered forwards, smiling maliciously and clapping. “I’ve been trying to find you for forever!” 
“Who are you?” YN’s brow furrowed, taking steps back until her back hit the edge of the balcony. 
“I’m Tartaglia. Codename Childe, if that rings any bells for you.” His eyes seemed glued to her, lingering so much that YN felt more like an exhibit than a person. 
“Childe…?” She murmured, vaguely remembering stories from her childhood about the Fatui Harbingers, from back when the Tsaritsa was the Cryo Archon and was colder than the ice that surrounded Snezhnaya. They were relentless, and above them all was the notable eleventh: Childe. YN felt her blood cool. 
“But that was...over a hundred years ago…? What the fuck?” All it served was to bring more questions to the surface, but Childe simply laughed, placing a hand on his cheek.
“You look so cute when you’re confused! Really, you’re good at hiding. I’ve been trying to find the next fair lady Tsesarevich ever since your mother died, but I guess this guard right here knew allllll about me.” He gestured to Lovyatt, who winced. 
“Lovyatt.” YN’s voice was stern. “What do you know?” 
“Tartaglia, he’s always wanted-!” Lovyatt reared when Childe took another step closer. The murmuring below got louder, and there was some screaming in the distance. “Ugh! You won’t get to her, Harbinger.” “That’s funny.” He grinned. “I think I just did.” 
“No-!” 
At once, the guards did what YN could only call ‘liquidised’, collapsing to the ground a crystalline, blue, watery puddle that flowed and mixed with one another. It was horrifying, and when Lovyatt started puddling near her shoes, YN had to suppress a scream. Though, notably, her scream would’ve made no difference-the crowd below all started scream and wailing at once, until it went miraculously quiet. YN spun around, and to her dreading heart, it was like a lake had filled the square. She gasped, before it all seemed to catch up to her. At once, she pulled out the (rather useless) ceremonial sword, pointing it at Childe with a firm certainty. 
“Turn them all back, or else I’ll use your jugular as floss.” 
“Oh, how cute!” He laughed, almost lovelorn. “But I don’t think so. You might be stronger than the average Tsaritsa, but you’re still nothing compared to me, girlie.” 
“And what? You’ll turn me into slime?” YN scoffed, trying to cover up her horror. “I don’t think so. You seem like quite the one-trick pony, anyway.” 
“Oh, well.” Childe shrugged. “I just have one, tiny request for you if you want me to turn them back.” 
“What is it?” YN glowered at Childe, trying to see his edge. 
“It’s really no big deal.” Childe hummed. “Just marry me!” 
“Wh-!” YN choked, dumbfounded at his offer. “Why?!” 
“I’ve served the Tsaritsa for hundreds of years, girlie. I’ve always loved your bloodline. And what better way to show that love than to marry the Tsaritsa!” 
“That’s fucking ridiculous.” YN hissed. 
“Wrong answer, girlie!” Childe stretched out his hand, and twin blades, made entirely out of water, materialised. “I’ll give you one more try, okay?” 
“Hold on!” There was a shout from behind YN’s shoulder, and when she looked, she saw a massive, starry black hole behind her. The balcony edge disappeared, consumed by the hole, and Childe’s face fell into shock. A hand reached out and grabbed YN’s shoulder, and another held onto her waist. Before YN could do or say anything, Childe made a last ditch effort to grab at her, managing to get the Imperial crown knocked off her head and land on his foot. She was yanked through the hole with surprising force, only seeing Childe’s dark glare before being consumed whole. 
“Three days!” His voice echoed through the darkness. “Three days, or Snezhnaya will be an ocean!” 
“Don’t worry,” A voice of soft timbre came right next to her ear, gentle and full of worry. “He can’t get you now.” 
The world began to warp back around YN, before she was abruptly dropped onto cold stone, a stiff wind blowing through her air. YN felt sick, hands and knees on the stone before she rose with a vengeance and bile in her throat. 
“Who are you?! Take me back! I need to stop him!” 
“You can’t.” The voice came again, and YN whipped around to come face-to-face with a blonde man. He had a strange blue mask that covered only a slight portion of his face and gentle blue eyes that seemed to leak with pity. “As feisty as you are, you can’t face him alone.” “Fuck that!” YN bit, reigning back. “I can’t leave my people alone!” “And you can’t save them if you can’t face Childe.” “I can.” YN’s voice was firm. “You kidnapped me before I could!” “And you were going to marry him?” The man raised an eyebrow. “Let him get his way? Then what? He would ask for you to do something worse, and then worse than worse until you couldn’t stop him.” 
YN recoiled, almost stung from the man’s words. “Then I would cross that bridge when I got there.” “That doesn’t seem to be a very good plan, for the Tsaritsa.” 
“And who even are you?!” YN bit, furious. “Who are you to judge me?! I could’ve...I could’ve…” 
YN’s voice trailed off, her own willpower fading. 
“You couldn’t have.” The man sighed, forlorn. “He would live forever, always having your family and your people in his grip.” 
“I…” YN looked down and swallowed, before realising there was a little green plant under her foot. Her brow furrowed and she glanced up, realising with a chill that she was no longer in Snezhnaya. Instead, she was in a great, crumbling tower that was surrounded by brutal winds, and green hills and mountains as far as YN’s eye could see. There were stray field tillers wandering about, and YN realised she was in the ruins of the (strangely named) Old Old Mondstadt. She looked at the man.
“Who...are you?” “I am Dainslief.” He murmured, eyes low. “The Bough Keeper, and the First Abyss Queen’s Twilight Blade.” 
“Oh my gods,” YN whispered in reverence. More stories flooded back to her of the two Split Stars, Aether and Lumine. One saved Tevyat, and the other doomed it with Dainslief at her side. “You...why...I…” 
“I remember when Childe was mortal. He was kinder, softer, human. I cannot allow any of my liege’s old friends to fall to such a foul fate.” “You aren’t doing this for me.” YN clarified. “Or Snezhnaya.” “No,” Dainslief nodded. “This is to make Aether and Lumine’s memory rest.” 
“Fine.” YN’s tone was sharp, her spark returning. “How do we stop Childe?” 
Dainslief gave a hint of a smile. “There is an ancient blade that Lumine and Aether once used, as one, to stop Celestia. It was Dawn Breaker, forged in three parts. The Hilt, from the Spirit Locket of the North Wind, Boreas. The Blade, from the dragon lord’s Bloodjade Branch. And the blade would be sharpened by…” Dainslief stopped, a dark look overtaking his eyes. 
“Sharpened by what, Dainslief?” YN crossed her arms, firm. 
“By a Tusk of Monoceros Caeli. Only Childe possesses them, and gives them to worthy opponents.” Dread filled YN’s stomach as Dainslief spoke, eyes growing wide. 
“So...I must fight him before we have the whole sword.” “Yes.” “...” YN stayed silent for only a moment, before shrugging. “Alright, then. Let’s get started.” 
“What?” “Did I stutter?” YN began glancing around before seeing a fallen chunk of rubble leading down the ruins. “C’mon, blondie! We’ve got a job to do!” 
Dainslief watched her begin to walk down with what could only be described as naive confidence before he began to walk behind her. There was a glint of something in his eyes, just barely imperceptible, and a ghost of a smile. 
“I suppose the new tsaritsa fears no man.” “Nope! And I don’t fear you, either, so if you want to keep your fingers, then hurry up!” 
Dainslief laughed, and slowly, the winds of Old Old Mondstadt began to die down. There was a distant howl, and the winds heeded its call. 
Andrius awaits. 
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the-emo-asgardian · a day ago
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Ever Since We Met
Chapter 14
Pairing: Loki x reader Series Summary: After making a bet with Odin, Loki finally has a chance to prove he is worthy of being heir to the throne. Under mysterious circumstances, you find yourself stranded on Asgard, left with no option but to team up with Loki and help him win the crown. Now posing as visiting royalty, you must be careful of rumors in court that say you’re not who you claim, all while battling your growing feelings for the raven haired king. But some things are easier said than done because secrets, you’ll soon learn, can be deadly. Chapter Summary: With nothing to do after your last meeting with the advisers, Loki suggests a cure for your boredom.  Chapter Warnings: none I believe  A/N: This has one of my favorite moments from the series in it! Happy reading :) Permanent Tag List: @lucywrites02 @frostedficrecs @lunarmoon8 @twhiddlestonsstuff @lokistan @lowkeyorlokificrecs @gaitwae @whatafuckingdumbass @castiels-majestic-wings @kozkaboi @cozy-the-overlord @birdgirl90 @myraiswack @mythicalgarlicknot @what-a-flammable-heart @marvelouslovely @laurenandloki @fallinallinmendes @sophlubbwriting @mooncat163 @lokislittlesigyn @wolfish-trickster​
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Disclaimer: Gif not mine
The excitement of having something to do was very short-lived, and soon you were back to wallowing in boredom, as seemed to be a trademark of your visit to Asgard. Unfortunately, today was one of the days you had to spend time with the nobles of court. And, ok, it was at least something to do, but you always wanted to pull your hair out by the time it was over. It wasn’t really much of a cure for boredom, either.
Loki had been more engaged again recently. Ever since he promised to try, he really had been giving it his all. Sadly, in the last two weeks since your meeting with his advisors, Loki had been very busy with other tasks. So even if he was putting in an effort, you hardly got to see each other. There was, at least, dinner every night, and the walk back to your room, but you couldn’t speak as freely as either of you would have liked, lest you be caught out of character.
Most nights when you were already in bed, half asleep, he’d stumble in through the passage, equally exhausted but still in his clothes from the day, having just finished up some task or another. Tired as you were, you’d sit up and talk with him for a bit, and he’d share whatever was on his mind at the moment. Sometimes it was a great triumph or small accomplishment. Others, it was a failure or a roadblock in his path. You were there to weather the highs and lows with him, especially the nights when his anxiety made his hands shake, and he couldn’t stop wringing them in an attempt to hide it. You would grab them then, hold them and play with his fingers. It seemed to help.
Then he’d ask about your day, listening intently as you recounted it. When you were done talking, he’d praise your good work, sympathize with the difficulty of monotonous conversations in court, and give advice when you asked for it. Then you would thank him through a yawn, prompting him to tell you to get some rest. You would ask him to please get some sleep too, but more often than not he had some paperwork to finish up. Loki promised he would get some sleep as soon as it was done, but you were pretty sure that most nights he only got a couple hours of sleep, if any.
Before he left, he would tuck you in and caress your cheek or kiss the back of your hand. As much as that made you happy, you wished he’d kiss you more than in just that way. You wanted to feel his lips pressed to your own as your hearts joined together. But you wouldn't tell him that and risk scaring him off. You’d just have to learn to be happy with having him at all. Every night he walked away, and you regretted not asking him to stay with you. But again, it was the same thing; if he didn’t want to, it could make everything awkward. So as you laid alone in your bed, you would remember the one time you had asked, how he had stayed. And it was with that in mind that you always found yourself drifting off to sleep.
There was still a good bit of day to get through until you would be able to share those soft moments with him, though. No, right now you had to deal with Fandral calling after you before you could peacefully scurry away to your room. You’d been avoiding him and his ego as much as you could, but had no such luck today. One of the few other times you hadn’t managed to dodge him, he’d introduced you to his friends: Sif, Volstagg, and Hogun. All together, they were better known to the public as the Warriors Four, Thor’s closest allies. Of course that also meant they didn’t seem to be the biggest fans of Loki, or at very least the idea of him winning the throne. Not that they ever said it outright, but you were able to read in between the lines.
Once Fandral reached you, he bowed and flashed what you supposed was meant to be a charming grin.
“And how is our most beautiful, distinguished guest today?” he asked after greeting you.
“I am quite well,” you lied. “Thank you. And how are you?”
“Much the same as you,” he replied. “I do not suppose you would like to join me in the courtyard and watch me train again?”
You had accompanied him once before and absolutely hated it. His so-called training was just a series of attempts between him and his friends to one-up each other. It was so tedious to have to stand there, oohing and aahing and clapping as if you were impressed. Alright, to be completely fair, some of it actually was impressive, but their superiority complexes basically took away any awe you may have felt in watching them.
And then there was the fact that Loki had passed by, smiling from a distance until he recognized who your companions were. You were pretty sure you saw a flash of jealousy cross his features, but he quickly dispelled it, most likely remembering what you’d said about not much enjoying your time spent with them. Every once in a while they said something genuinely funny or interesting, but nowhere near often enough to make it all worth it.
As Loki had gotten closer, Volstagg had invited him to join in their training. He declined, though, saying he had some duties to attend to. Still, you saw something in his eyes, a look that said a part of him wanted to show off for you too, that he was irked he had to let them have all the glory. But even as he moved away, you thought about him. About how he probably had a much more graceful fighting style. About how his lean muscles would have mesmerizingly rippled in the sunlight as he sliced the air. All of that made you quite flustered, a reaction that Fandral regrettably thought was because of him.
“I appreciate the invitation, but I am feeling quite fatigued right now,” you feigned. “I was going to retire to my rooms to rest for a spell.”
“Oh! Have no worries! I shall escort you to your rooms so you make it there safely. Unless you would like to come to my rooms?” he not-so-subtly hinted, wiggling his eyebrows. It made you want to gag.
“No, mine will suit me just fine,” you curtly replied, beginning to walk away.
Still, he escorted you as he said he would, talking along the way. It wasn’t much of an actual conversation, of course. Mainly Fandral just regaled you with his highly hyperbolized tales of his battles and feats. By some miracle, you were able to fake interest the whole time. Hurriedly, you bid him goodbye and closed the door practically in his face.
Finally alone, you sprawled out on your couch, grabbing a pillow and hugging it. There were still a few hours until dinner, and you were expecting your friends to stop by at some point soon. Asta and Sidra had been teaching you how to play some card game or other. You were slowly catching on, though you had yet to win. Checking the time, you saw there was still half an hour before any of them would be here, even if Ro had made it a habit to come a little bit earlier than the rest to have a chance to chat alone with you. It was sweet, and they’d become like a little sibling to you. You guessed you could go find any one of your friends now, start spending time with them earlier than planned. However, Loki was supposed to be relatively free now, just in his office taking care of some things. And you didn’t have anything to do. So if you both had some free time, why not spend it together?
You walked over to the hidden passage and pushed open the heavy door. The only other time you’d been inside was when Loki had carried when you were sick. The realization that you had never used it of your own accord gave you a pause. Maybe he wouldn’t want you to. There was only one way to find out. So, one deep breath later, you were on your way over.
Arriving on the other side in his drawing room, you closed the door behind you. It seemed like he wasn’t in his office like expected, though. Moving toward his open bedroom door, you called, “Hey, Lok-”
You cut out mid-sentence as he walked out of his bathroom, only covered by a towel tied around his waist. Some water rolled down his neck, drawing your attention there and then to his toned chest. His hair was framing his face, still weighed down by water instead of being styled back like usual.
“Oh! I, uh- Sorry,” you squeaked, turning around. Loki laughed in reply. You pouted, “What’s so funny?”
“Well, my little mortal has finally come to visit me,” he answered. You realized it meant he was aware of the fact you hadn’t chosen to use the passage yet, though you’d just realized that yourself. “Plus, I seem to recall you being the one to be worried about a situation like this, one where I would walk in on you in such a state. I do not much care, to be honest. Everything important is covered. Besides, I... I trust you.”
All any of that did was serve to make you more flustered than you already were. Besides one small peek over your shoulder, you refused to turn around. No matter how good he looked, you’d rather not embarrass yourself any further.
“Um, wow! Thanks. I- I trust you too, by the way,” you added.
“Well then, what brings you here, anyway?” he asked. “You are feeling alright, correct?”
“Mhm. Just bored. Even if it’s just another meeting, I want something to do.”
“I see,” Loki replied. “I most certainly can arrange that. But what about something a bit more entertaining, too? I could take you for a walk in the gardens since you have yet to see them. Would you like that?”
You bit your lip to contain a smile. There was something about the uncertainty in his voice that you found adorable, the way he so kindly asked nearly melting your heart.
“I would love that, Loki. When, though? What should I do in the meantime?”
“Tonight. And you should get ready,” he said, coming up from behind and pressing his now clothed body against yours. He wrapped his arms around your waist, making you jump a little as you still had not been looking. “Because I will be wearing something much more appropriate than what you caught me in. Unless, of course, that disappoints you,” he joked in a low voice.
“What? No! Not to say you looked bad, because you looked really good—but, err, not in a weird way, of course! But, um, no- I mean, yeah! What I mean is, changing is fine. Or, uh, preferred,” you incoherently babbled, even more flustered than before.
“As you wish, my little mortal,” he chuckled.
You finally relaxed against him, his head coming to rest on your shoulder. Loki’s hot breath sent the good kind of shivers down your spine, his damp hair tickling your cheek. Your hands fell to cover his large ones, clasped over your stomach. Without realizing you were doing it, your thumb ran back and forth over his knuckles as you smiled at him in all his radiance.
“So shall we go after dinner then?” you checked.
The god shook his head. “Before. I will take care of it, make up some lie about taking my meal in my room and you feeling tired or unwell. That way everyone will be occupied, and we undisturbed.”
“That sounds perfect,” you dreamily sighed.
You fell into a comfortable silence standing there, held in his arms. Just like any other time you found yourself in a position similar to this, you began wishing he would never let go. You wondered if he might be thinking the same thing as he closed his eyes while still resting on your shoulder, enjoying the bliss of the moment. When he opened them, it seemed he came to a split second decision and, somewhat hesitantly, placed a very light, gentle kiss to your cheek. Naturally, that was enough to make you a mess again.
“Well, I suppose I had better let you go get changed then,” he said, releasing you, much to your chagrin. “I shall see you later, my little mortal.”
“Right!” you replied, dashing out of the room and to the passage before you said something you regretted. Like confessing your feelings. “See you later.”
As you walked back through the passage, you already began planning what you would wear for your date.
“Wait,” you said to yourself, stopping abruptly, your latest thought giving you a pause. “Date?!”
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jo-lmao · a day ago
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The Gardener
Chapter Two
so. chapter two here we are?? yay??? idk.
chapter summary: Peggy can't help but be continually drawn to Steve - try as she might.
warnings: intense gazes and pining but nah it's like a T rating
ao3 | prev chapter | next chapter
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The next few days passed quite uneventfully - Peggy deliberately avoided being outside as much as she could.  It was warm and humid, anyway; what was the point in going outside to read, when she could just relax in her room and read? 
No, there was nothing of significance occurring. However, that did not make Peggy feel any less bored and, at times, annoyed at Steve Rogers.
Not that it was Steve's fault for how she was feeling. He was doing nothing wrong - it was quite the opposite. He was being a gentleman. He was being polite and friendly. 
Peggy was acting like...Peggy was acting like a damn hormonal teenager. She couldn’t think of Steve Rogers and his smile and his muscles and his eyes and his arms and his abs without nearly embarrassing herself.  She was overreacting. It was all too easy to look at him and want more, to want to drink in more of him.
It wasn’t like Peggy hadn’t seen handsome men in her life. She’d certainly seen handsome men, a lot of them. She was familiar with the concept of handsome men. 
The point was, she had seen handsome men in their own right, and didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary when she saw them. 
So what was it about Steve that was so captivating? What was it about him that made her palms sweaty, her heart flutter?
She needed to have a good long think about this.
---
The next day when she saw him, she tried to keep her cool. He looked breath-taking today - he was wearing a black tank top and some well-fitting, dark blue jeans. 
She swallowed nervously, walking over to him rather quickly. “Hello, Steve,” Peggy says, smiling kindly.
He fiddles with his pruning shears before looking at her, grinning and nodding. “Good morning, Sister Margaret.” 
Something about his voice puts Peggy at ease. She adjusts the cross around her neck before walking around Steve, observing him. "How are you doing today?" She asks.
He looks at his handiwork, and he nods slowly as he replies, "My hand is a little sore from working this morning. But I'll be alright."
"Would you like to take a break for a bit?" Peggy asks, her hands clasped in front of her. She's not really sure why she's asking, as he can take a break whenever he pleases.
"No, I'm fine. I can work a little more. The grounds aren't going to prune themselves." Steve jokes, and Peggy can't help but notice how he's looking at her; a warm, soft look in his eye.
She doesn't know why, but she felt the need to get closer to him. She walks behind him, standing very close to him, observing him as he works, hands on her hips. He seemingly doesn't seem to mind her observation. 
For a while, they don't speak; they don't need to speak.
Peggy was more comfortable with Steve than she should be in that moment - there was no need to keep up an awkward facade. 
"So, did you ever find the soccer ball?" Peggy asks teasingly, playfully, and without warning. 
Steve turns to face her, smiling softly as he sets down his shears. He's so close to her now, far closer than she expected. 
Steve chuckles. Peggy could practically hear the smile in his voice when he spoke next.
"I did. It was in the dead rose bush that I cut down yesterday. I got it back, but I might've scraped my hand up getting it." He looks at his hand.
Peggy shakes her head fondly. She stares at Steve for a fleeting moment. "You're very sweet, Steve Rogers."
Steve merely shrugs. "Couldn't have you hunting it down and getting dirty, Sister Margaret."
Peggy playfully scoffs, crossing her arms. "We have special habits to wear if we need to get dirty, for your information."
He laughs lightly. “That so? I wouldn’t guess you’re the type to want to get dirty.”
“Hmm, maybe you just don’t know me well enough,” she counters, eyebrow raised. 
“Maybe I should test you on that theory.” he replies, taking a step towards her, but she doesn’t back away.
Peggy’s mouth suddenly becomes very dry and she wonders if they’re still talking about soccer. “And how exactly would you do that?” Her heart was beating wildly in her chest, she knew she was playing with fire.
Steve leans in closer, one arm against the tree for support, almost touching her. His breath was pleasant against her skin; it made her tingle. An unholy urge passes through her.
He was about to respond when Peggy saw Angie out of the corner of her eye. Hastily, they both step away from each other, now at a respectful distance.
"Hey, Peggy! There you are." Angie waves. "I've been looking all over for you." Peggy wants to simultaneously thank and punch Angie for the interruption.
Peggy tucks a stray piece of hair back into her coif. “I was just seeing if the gardener found the soccer ball. Since a bunch of us are going to play tomorrow I figured I’d check.” 
Angie nods, looking at the two with an indiscernible look in her eye. “Well, it’s almost time for lunch, come on.” she says with a tilt of her head.
“Right, coming.” Peggy trails behind Angie, giving Steve a sheepish smile over her shoulder. 
---
Angie sits down next to Peggy at lunch. “So, what are you two up to?” she asks. "You seem to spend a lot of time with the gardener."
“Let’s just say we had an interesting conversation.” Peggy says, sending a deathly glare at Angie as she sits down.
“Oh, c'mon, Pegs! Share the details.”
Peggy makes a noncommittal noise. “It’s not a big deal. I go outside a lot, he happens to be there.”
Angie snickers quietly to herself as she turns to her food. “Fine, don't tell me. I'll figure it out myself.”
"There's nothing to figure out, Angie, so good luck with that." Peggy shrugs before turning to her own lunch. She wasn't going to tell Angie anything. Not that she couldn't trust her not to run her mouth, but Angie would make a huge deal of...the entire situation. If Angie knew that Peggy had this sort of reaction to Steve, she wouldn't let up. 
Not that there was anything...wrong, about this situation. All that Peggy did was talk to Steve. And, so what if he plagued her thoughts at night? Actually, Peggy kind of thought about him a lot lately -
Ugh.
Thankfully, Angie let it go, and the rest of lunch went about the same as any other. 
---
tagging some people who liked ch 1:
@caleysteggy @blackbatpurplecat @megthomas24601
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katsuki-bakubabe · a day ago
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I need some good dabi or bakugo multi chapter fics (that aren't A/B/O au) to read this weekend. I feel like I've been through them all 😅
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ellaimagines · a day ago
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Heartlines VI: Unexpected
𝓢𝓾𝓶𝓶𝓪𝓻𝔂: In a world where soulmates are decided by lines going from your collarbones down to your arms and reaching the back of your hands, this heartlines, and the love and connection they represent, are valued above all. Yet, as you were cursed with six more heartlines than the usual person, life isn’t quite as good as one would think.-Soulmate AU, DC x Marvel Crossover 𝓟𝓪𝓲𝓻𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼: Clark Kent x fem!reader, Barry Allen x fem!reader, Bruce Wayne x fem!reader, Steve Rogers x fem!reader, Loki Laufeyson x fem!reader, more to be added (Poly relationships) 𝓦𝓸𝓻𝓭 𝓒𝓸𝓾𝓷𝓽:  10,978 𝓦𝓪𝓻𝓷𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓼:  Major angst, amnesia, strong language, depiction of toxic relationships, manipulation, Lois Lane bashing (just don’t read this story in general if you like her character). Mentions of death, alcoholism, depression, loss, grief, unhealthy coping mechanisms, violence and bullying. Be aware I have not warned for every possible trigger, please read with caution and at your own risk- remember, if there’s anything you don’t like, there’s an exit button you can click anytime.
Chapter 5 | Heartlines Masterlist | Masterlist | AO3 (To read on AO3, you have to be a registered user to read this particular story) 𝔻𝕠 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕤𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕠𝕣 𝕣𝕖𝕡𝕠𝕤𝕥 𝕞𝕪 𝕨𝕠𝕣𝕜. . 𝕀𝕗 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕤𝕖𝕖 𝕞𝕪 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕥𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕒𝕟𝕪𝕨𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕓𝕦𝕥 𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝔸𝕆𝟛, 𝕡𝕝𝕖𝕒𝕤𝕖 𝕝𝕖𝕥 𝕞𝕖 𝕜𝕟𝕠𝕨.
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Grey clouds move rapidly in the sky, blocking the sun shining on Damian’s squinting eyes. After a couple of seconds and a few blinks, he’s able to see clearly once again, and get out of the back of the limousine. He doesn’t say anything to the chauffeur or the maid supposed to open the door for him— he doesn’t need such attention, he’s said it multiple times, but they insist on treating him like any other spoiled brat in his school. Still, he isn’t completely uncourteous to them; you had taught him better. He nods to the maid in acknowledgement, refusing her silent offer to take his backpack with a simple shake of his head as he continues his path back to the manor.
“Master Damian,” the maid, he thinks is named Gillian (or something similar), falls into step right behind him. He doesn’t respond, he’s not very talkative and everyone in the staff knows this, so she takes his silence as a permission to continue. “Another letter has arrived for you.”
That makes him freeze. He feels the urge to ask the obvious, to ask for a confirmation of what he already knows to be true— the use of “another” in this sentence let’s him know that his hopes are finally being answered and he shouldn’t have to ask for confirmation. Talia would slap him if he dared to do the question burning in his tongue, there was no need to ever ask for something that was already clear, but she wasn’t here… and you’d never allow such treatment for your sons. So he asks anyway.
“Is it…?,” despite his inner monologue, he isn’t able to finish the question, instead turning to look back at the older woman. Gillian seems to understand his question nonetheless. Her brown eyes grow softer, brows furrowing with sadness before nodding.
“Yes… another letter from Dr. L/N. They were delivered earlier today, all of your brothers have been delivered theirs,” she motions for someone else to come closer and Damian looks to where she motions. A young looking butler walks to them, a silver platter in hand. Once he’s close enough, he takes the cover off the platter and extends it for Damian to take the emerald green envelope and start running towards the inside of the house.
If it had been any other thing that had been delivered to him, he would’ve rolled his eyes at the ridiculous theatrics some of the servants liked to make, maybe even laughed a bit about it, remembering some sarcastic remark you’d made when presented with the same theatrics. However, long gone were the times he allowed himself to enjoy such little things— the only happiness coming from similar envelopes to the one he holds on his left hand, careful not to make a single wrinkle on it.
Now, he only worries about getting to the library as soon as possible. The library was your favorite place in the mansion, it was full of antique books and information you often cited in your social articles and full of stories they all had bonded over with you. It was now Damian’s favorite spot because he could almost picture you hunched over the desk, writing away on your laptop with five or more books open around you. He used to wrinkle his nose in disgust at how disorganized you tended to be. You never did care for his disdain and cutting words, always smiling brightly and asking for his input in whatever piece you were writing, always welcoming and warm. Pushing the doors open, he’s ready to rush to your favorite spot, drag a chair near your unused desk and start reading— but he’s left breathless with the sight that greets him.
There you are.
His mom, looking up at him from a thick book— eyes warm and understanding, a small smile full of love and tenderness, almost as if you had been waiting for him to come back from school. Knees weak, he almost loses grip on the precious letter held in his left hand.
“Finally,” Alfred is by the door, Damian hadn’t noticed him before he spoke and it almost made the boy flinch, “the painting Master Bruce commissioned arrived. I… We thought this was the most appropriate place to have it in.”
Damian is speechless. He knew about the painting Bruce— his father, it was so hard to refer to him as such these last few days, he doesn’t look like his father, doesn’t talk like his father, doesn’t behave like his father used to when you were here— had commissioned, he had given one of his favorite photos with you as reference rather reluctantly. However, now that he admired the painting, ridiculously big, dwarfing the green velvet french settee below it, he felt relieved. The artist was good enough to catch the warmth in your eyes, the welcoming of your stance, the tenderness of your smile; it all calmed Damian’s fears of forgetting what your motherly love felt like.
Alfred seemed to note that, as impressive and welcoming it was to have this kind of surprise on top of the letter in his hand, Damian would need a moment alone to process it all. The old man placed his hands on the young boy’s shoulders, squeezing reassuringly before releasing his hold, taking a step back and turning away to leave him alone.
Damian doesn’t know how long he stares at the painting, how long he stands there stunned and simply admiring the artwork, feeling his heart clench the more he watches and admires, wishing you really were there.
The sound of paper crumpling has him waking up from his reverie, looking down at his hands and feeling his heart drop at the sight of the now damaged envelope. He’s quick to open his fist and assess the damage, feeling relieved once he noticed he hadn’t crushed the letter inside and, when opening it, the words were still very much readable. Sighing, he walks over to the sette under your painting, sitting down and admiring the painting once more, burning the image of you on his mind, to try and imagine you being there, reading this letter to him.
Smoothing the wrinkles out, he starts reading.
Dear Damian;
My baby boy, this is the 15th letter I’m writing for you. I hope you don’t mind the amount of letters I’m sending, though I’ve tried to limit them to one per week, seeing them all sitting in my desk feels a little ridiculous and over the top— and very pessimistic too.
Ideally, none of these letters will be sent out. The reason for them being sent is the prospect of me being away for a project. They warned me that I would probably be unable to communicate with anyone for two months, but I’m doing extra letters for the worst case scenario that it takes more than three months for me to contact you. After all, the last thing I’d want is for my boys to feel forgotten by their mom or like I didn’t care enough to tell you about this project. You’re probably sick of me apologizing by now, but I can’t help myself. I’m sorry for not telling any of you sooner, but so much has happened in my personal life, in my relationship with your father… that I found it difficult to even think about it. As I’ve said countless times during these letters, as much as I loved writing them and reaffirming how much I love all of you, I sincerely hope none of you have to read these. Instead, I hope to be there with you, by your side, showing you how much I love you, instead of having to tell you like this.
On that note, I predict this letter should arrive after a regular school day. I’ll try not to make this one too long, so you’re not distracted from your homework. I know all the work they ask of you is easy and almost insulting to have to do such basic work, you’ve shown your reluctance to it all every time I’ve offered my help— I always worry that you’ll get mad at me for hovering over you when you’re doing your work. I know it’s simple and you don’t need me to make small comments here and there, but it’s something my mom used to do when I was your age and even until I was in high school and no longer needed her help. I promise it’s not meant to be annoying. I’m not as good as my mom was with words and explanations, but in short, I just see it as quality time spent with you. It also helps me know what you’re learning (or relearning) at school, hopefully with time, it will help you open a bit more about your day. I know it’s hard work to adjust to all the changes you’ve been through, this is why I also hope so much for things to be okay tomorrow so that these aren’t necessary but I just want you to know that I’m here for you. These letters are my way of staying by your side even when I’ll be on the other side of the world.
I know that if, by now, you haven’t received a call from me, I’m probably going crazy just wondering how you’re all doing. My baby bird, I hope that you’re okay and, even in my absence, you can feel how loved you are. I love you so much and I wish I could hug you right now, instead of having you read this.
However, even in the scenario that you are, indeed, reading the letters, that I’m not in Gotham, and that I haven’t contacted you, I will come back to you. I’m not leaving you behind, I could never. It might feel like a long time, but it’s time that I, personally, will need to heal and rebuild myself. I pray that you don’t think I’m too selfish by doing this, and hope that through all this you can feel how much I will always love you.
Anyways, I’ve been assured that, even with the worst weather forecast and circumstances, by the third month I should be able to communicate with you. This means this should be the last pre-written letter I’ll leave and, any further letters, I will write once I’m settled and, hopefully, already in contact with you. I will do my best for them to get to you every Friday, just like they should’ve up until now. This means no more apologies and repetition throughout my letters! I’ll tell you all about my new, temporary, life— or as much as I can, without revealing where I am, for obvious reasons. I’ve been told there’s a lot of wildlife in the outskirts of the city I’m going to live in, so I’ll make sure to take photos and send you a description of all the new furry friends I happen to make. I’ll try to tell you about my projects too. I know you don’t particularly like sociology of all things, but I’ve seen you’ve read a lot about heartlines— hopefully this trip will have some interesting discoveries about them! I’m not expecting much, but it’s always thrilling to hear the legends and folklore from different cultures about something so universal and yet, still so mysterious. We could have some written debates too, if you’d like (unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll get enough phone time to have a long conversation with each of you). I saw you read Hammon’s book on heartlines recently (at the time of writing this letter), and I would recommend Pearsey’s work a lot more, since she includes a lot more diverse cultural references for her theories— opposite to Hammon’s detailed study of isolated cases and making general assumptions out of them.
I look forward to knowing what you think of it, Dami. Maybe you’ll be able to convince me Hammon has much better research than Pearsey (though, I doubt it).
Remember I’ll always love you and I’m missing you dearly.
We’ll talk soon,
Mom
P.S. I swear, if I receive a single complaint of any of you on why the last letter for one was longer than the other during a call, I’ll talk to the next sibling in line. I’m writing these all in the same day, for god’s sake— that said, remember I love you all the same, you’re all my children and the length of these letters have nothing to do with my love for you.
Damian re-read the letter until the words were imprinted on his mind, able to recite it from memory… and it almost felt like you were saying those sweet words to him, softly nudging him to give you a hug and he, with false reluctancy, would oblige. He had to be careful not to let any tears or snot fall into the paper and make your handwritten words to fade away.
This is the last letter he will receive from you, the last time he will be able to fool himself, even if for a short time, that you were still alive. The last time he gets to pretend as if things had gone the way you planned them when his father and your other soulmates failed to save your relationship, as if you were simply on a trip and unable to communicate for some time— but still as loving and caring for them as always.
The mom he never knew he needed so much. Softness and kindness he had never received, never even thought he deserved; but you disagreed and in turn, gave him more love, understanding and kindness than he could even understand. You accepted him almost immediately, smiling in welcome and never once looking at or treating him any differently than you would any of your other sons, not once scowling or blaming him for his unfortunate origins, never once conditioning your love. He had felt like belonging, like the elusive warmth of a home was finally being given to him— only for it to be ripped away from him, just as he was getting used to the idea of a family and a loving mother, just as his fears of waking up back in his cold and terrible world were beginning to settle down… it was all taken away. He had tossed it away, rather. That night, that terrible night, he knew things were wrong, he had known things were wrong for months but he had been convinced things would work out without his interference.
He should’ve been there. He should’ve saved you.
He saw you leave that night in tears, saw and heard the cruelty of his father and the heartbreak in your voice. He should’ve reached out, should’ve told you to stay or insist to be with you— then he would have avoided you getting kidnapped in the first place, so that you never felt like you had to exchange your life for theirs, for his.
It was an unfair trade off, because now, three months, four days and thirteen hours after your death, nothing in their lives was the same— all the happiness, playfulness and warmth of the mansion had been buried with you, leaving empty shells in its absence.
Nothing was the same and now Damian couldn’t fool himself any longer. The warmth and happiness he had felt was like a cruel punishment, because before it all, he didn’t know what he had been missing— you cannot miss something you’ve never had. But now? Now he knew how having a home, having a real, loving mom, felt like— only to lose it all. How could he ever try to love someone, open up to someone, get close to someone, when he had lost you like this? When he didn’t even get to enjoy the feeling of having someone always on his side, silently cheering him on and comforting him and still, it hurt this much? It was all too hard, all too strange, all too painful. He couldn’t deal with it, didn’t even know how to begin fixing himself up or if there was even a fix for all the pain he had.
With you gone, Damian was convinced, all the happiness in the world left for him, was gone too.
So, with blurry eyes, he sets to read the letter once more, just once more, to get the feeling of you being there again— even if each time he did it, the sensation kept fading away, he still held on for any speck of warmth and comfort his brain could come up with at the memory of you. Your little boy read and re-read, until his red eyes strained, until exhaustion won over the pain on his chest and, all alone, he drifted onto a fitful sleep that was sure to be filled with nightmares, just like every night before it.
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Taking a deep breath, Bruce tries his best to gather all the courage he can. He’s waited long weeks for this, the only reason why he’s been able to sleep a little better, the only spark of hope he’s been holding on for so long— the idea of being able to look at you once again. Admire your beauty with more freedom than the small pictures in his phone and around the house allow. He’s seen the other paintings from this particular artist and his hopes are high, he knows the painting will look extremely realistic and it will ensure your warm presence stays alive, at least in some form. He just doesn’t know if he’s ready to watch such a beautiful sight, if he’s even worthy of it. Then again, he tries to reason you wouldn’t want his last image of you to be your heartbreak and fury towards him— you had loved him, so deeply, so freely, at least once; keeping the image of you, crying and unable to look at him because of how deeply he had hurt you may be what he deserved, but not what he wanted, nor what you would’ve wanted for him. So, taking a deep breath, he pushes the library doors open… and he almost drops down to his knees.
The painting was exactly what he had asked for, almost as accurate as a photo with your big, beautiful eyes seemingly staring right through him, full of love, a small smile welcoming him into the room and making his heart melt, skin glowing from a lamp in the desk you always used in the library for your research. A vision, a beautiful mirage hanging from the wall, larger than life and imposing with all it’s beauty. As he keeps admiring the artwork, he distantly wishes he had asked for a smaller size in the painting, something more real life size… maybe then it’d be easier to think of the painting as a door of some kind.
He’s becoming more and more creative with his theories and fantasies to be back with you— he notices how his musings get more and more distant from logical reality. He doesn’t particularly care, though. Harmless fantasies are the only thing keeping him occupied from actual deranged plans to get you back somehow, pushing down the ideas and suggestions from his sons, especially his youngest, of simply taking your body to the Lazarus Pit. Temptations he desperately wishes he could turn to— but you’d made it clear in your last will, that you knew there were ways of coming back and you had no interest in them.
He had memorized your exact words from that rushed letter, the one that Diana was reluctant to even let him get near to, the only one partly addressed to him after your death:
“Death is an irreversible thing, a rule of life — I hope to live a long, beautiful life and have no need to come back as anything other than a sassy ghost; even if that’s not the case, once I’m dead I will remain like that, I do not believe one can come out unscathed from a fight with death and I’m unwilling to find out in the flesh.”
He already had gone against your wishes for too long not to grant you this last petition. No matter how much it hurt him and his family, he couldn’t bring himself to let you down another time.
He’s woken from his musings by a small noise, a strangled whimper. He looks down from your beautifully depicted face to the green settee below, catching sight of Damian laying on it. It takes Bruce a moment to discern his son is fast asleep, tears stains still present in his cheeks as he grips a piece of paper close to his chest.
His breath catches on his throat as he recognizes what it is: a letter from you. He remembers that today is Friday, the day your letters have been arriving for three months— five letters on his mailbox, every Friday without fail, a week after your funeral. A blue envelope for Richard, a red one for Jason, a yellow one for Tim, a green one for Damian and a simple beige one for Alfred— none for him. He had been waiting week after week for an extra letter, for a sixth envelope, maybe a black one or even just a plain white, he would’ve cherished either, but you’d been cruel for the first time with him and he hadn’t been considered in your little prevention project for the plans you had laid for yourself.
It hurts to think that, even if you were alive today, he wouldn’t get to see you or be with you— his actions from Richard’s celebration would’ve been enough to drive you away from his life for years to come… his decision two nights later made it impossible for you to ever be back, impossible for him to even dare to hope to rebuild your relationship and someday get a letter of his own with those in the mail for his family.
Thanks to Alfred, he knows the letters were meant to let your children know how loved they were despite your inability to contact them, explaining to them how your decision to be away wasn’t influenced by any of their actions but rather your own need of distance to be able to heal and grow. In each letter, you try to assure them of your love and how much you must miss them, apologizing for the distance and trying to explain that this was a necessary change in your life— at least, that’s what your letters to Alfred explain, for the old man was the only one who let Bruce read them. All of his children refused to share their own letters with him and he couldn’t blame them. He was, after all, the reason you wouldn’t be sending more or call soon as you promised again and again to them.
Still, he wished to share the same fantasy of you speaking to him even now, to read your cute and messy handwriting and feel as if you were talking to him again.
Before he can even plan on taking a step forward, go wipe Damian’s damp cheeks and take the letter from his small hands, read it before folding it and taking him up to his room, a smaller door from the library is opened.
Richard comes directly to Damian and, as if he had done this a million times, carries him up and walks away, without disturbing the sleeping boy, maintaining the letter in his hands. He turns and catches Bruce on the main entrance, both freezing up.
It’s been months since they’ve been face to face and it hurts to see the clear marks of grief in each other's faces. Bruce notices Richard's pale complexion and hollowed, red eyes, tears still shining on the corners, telling him that he’s read his own letter and is still processing it. Richard, in turn, notices Bruce’s unkempt appearance, the tired eyes paired with deep shadows below them, the long shaggy hair and the growing beard that his dad never really liked to have, the way his clothes seem to sag a bit instead of perfectly fitting. It’s all to clear for both men the suffering the other is going through. However, before any words can be exchanged, Bruce turns around and goes back to his room— the room he has barely left for months because that’s where most of your stuff is kept— leaving Richard to carry Damian back to his room, just like he has done every night after your funeral.
Bruce doesn’t look back, not even a glance. He just rushes back to the comfort of his own room that was once shared with you— catching sight of Damian and Richard wasn’t part of what he was prepared to face that day. He only wanted to see your face, admire you… but it seems that until they all leave the mansion again, he’d have to settle for the photos he had of you.
It would be another long night of staring at those smiling, small pictures of you, trying to convince his own mind to give him a reprieve in the form of any other memory aside from the night when everything went wrong, any other dream that may make his life a little bit easier to live, instead of the constant repetition of your death.
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Another hit and you stumble back, falling on your butt as Loki placed his foot right by your ankle. You groan as you hit the ground for the umpteenth time in the last hour. This wasn’t really what you had in mind when you asked him for some self defense training.
“Come on, get up! You can’t expect an enemy to not take advantage of you being on the floor,” he chastises, taking a step back as he keeps his fighting stance. You flop back onto the floor completely as a response, making him chuckle.
“At this point, I’d prefer death,” you answer in a breathless gasp as you continue to enjoy the cold floor beneath your heated skin. “How long have we been at it?” you ask with a frown.
“Barely five minutes,” Loki smirks as he taunts you.
“I wasn’t talking to you,” you answer before sticking your tongue out to him, “I was talking to J.A.R.V.I.S., I trust him more than I do you.”
Before Loki can sass you back, J.A.R.V.I.S. answers your previous question, “As of now, it’s been three hours with twenty two minutes and forty two seconds of physical training.”
“I think that’s enough for today,” you say as you close your eyes, concentrating on getting as much air as you can and calming your pounding heart.
“I am the teacher here, I decide when enough is enough,” Loki reminds you, but you can hear his retreating steps towards the water bottles you had brought with you.
“Dude, I’m literally melting here,” you quip, barely opening your eyes to watch him uncap one of your bottles and take a gulp of water. You consider telling him that’s your water bottle, but decide against it, lest he starts teasing you about being bothered with sharing a water bottle but not your right heartline. “The last hour has been just you tackling me or making me fall. I’m pretty sure I’m bruised all over.”
“You specifically asked to know how to defend yourself in exchange for more heartline touching time, so this last hour is the most important one— the one where I teach how to actually deflect an attack,” he reminds you before throwing another bottle to you. You don’t manage to catch it midair, having to reach out as it rolls away from you to get it.
“Fuck off, I was having way more fun trying to stab you,” you groan before finally taking the water bottle and starting to drink it.
“I noticed,” he comments dryly before standing in front of you, offering his hand for you to take and get up. You stop drinking water, closing the bottle cap and wiping the excess water from your mouth with the back of your hand.
You’re about to take his hand and make him bear all of your weight, just to annoy him, when you hear J.A.R.V.I.S. talking again: “Miss Y/N, the helicarrier is close to the tower— S.H.I.E.L.D. has just confirmed that Captain Rogers and the rest of the avengers are now done with the mission and are about to arrive home.”
It’s like an electric current has just gone through you, filling you up with energy as you take Loki’s hand and practically jump up, already filling bubbling giddiness starting in your throat.
“I should get going then, thanks for the training,” you say with a bright smile, ready to rush towards the hangar and receive Steve. However, before you can turn, Loki holds you down by your forearm. You look at him in confusion as he rolls his eyes before explaining himself.
“A deal is a deal. Aren’t you forgetting something?” he asks, annoyed. It takes you a moment to know what he’s talking about, but once you remember he only agreed to these lessons because you promised he could touch your remaining right heartline more than once a day, you sigh. Extending your bare arm to him, he lifts up his long sleeve and places your arm against his— your forearms (and therefore, your heartlines) touching as his hand grips the back of your right elbow for stability, and you do the same to his elbow. You count down the seconds, from sixty to zero, feeling nothing but a slight shiver because of how cold his skin is. Once you reach zero, you let go of his arm and he does the same.
You’re about to turn and follow your original plan when you notice he’s huffing and seems more upset than other times. Again, you’re tempted to ignore whatever is going on in that mind of his— only to find you’re unable to. You can’t just leave without knowing what’s bothering the man child.
“Something wrong?” you ask, wanting to appear as nonchalant as possible.
“Isn’t it obvious, midgardian?” he answers without turning to look at you.
“You’re going to be a bitch about it or tell me what’s happening?” you groan, tapping your foot against the floor, already anxious to get to Steve.
“That was my last chance for getting your right heartline,” he says, finally turning to look at you.
“Last—”
“Isn’t it tiring to be this stupid all the time?” he asks exasperated before you can complete your question. “My brother is back from his mission and I’ll be going back to Asgard,” he explains and you simply blink, processing the information he’s just dumped on you.
From what little he’s told you and the reactions you’ve gotten from him, you can imagine his current stay in Asgard isn’t all that pleasant. Going back to prison and being treated quite terribly again, (not that he doesn't deserve the punishment) can’t be that exciting for anyone. Still, what can you do for him? He sees you as a means to a goal and you should be relieved that he’s going to be gone now… but you’re not. Damn it all, you’re not relieved in the slightest. In fact, you feel fucking sorry— and you shouldn’t, he’s a villain, he’s the bad guy who tried to conquer Earth years ago and killed people and… and you still care for the bastard. His daddy issues and constant sarcasm have grown on you, so now you want to help him stay, maybe just long enough for him to realize that whatever mystical power he believes you will give him, won’t solve whatever self-esteem issue he’s working on.
Ah, but you need an excuse for him to stay and for the Avengers to be somewhat okay with it— you could say he could train you, but you doubt that will make them more at ease with his presence. Then, what can you do?
Just as you hear J.A.R.V.I.S. notifying you of the recent landing of the helicarrier, your face brightens as you think of an idea. “Indeed, you will have to go back to Asgard,” you say, making Loki turn back to you, curious as to why you’re re-stating the obvious, “once you’ve learned the lesson your mother said you should learn.” You try to sound serious, but the smile in your lips and the mirth in your eyes are impossible to hide.
“What?” he blinks, seemingly confused by what you just said and you have to stifle a giggle at how clueless he looks.
“I’m saying I should tell Thor my position as god-sitter can be prolonged as long as it’s necessary for you to learn how valuable midgardian’s life is. What do you think of that?”
There’s a small, pregnant silence as he seems to analyze your words. You observe his expression shift from one of surprise to a small, genuine smile before he answers, “I think that you're a cruel mortal, forcing me to stay longer here than necessary.”
“Atta boy, I'll see you tomorrow for more knife training,” you say with a nod before turning around and start running to the hangar, more than ready to hug Steve after so long and to rub all your hard math work on Tony’s smug face.
You turn and start running. You’re already tired from all the exercise you’ve already done, however the simple idea of getting back into Steve’s arms, getting to see his blue eyes light up when he catches a sight of you and having that fuzzy warmth running through your veins makes you keep up your fast pace. You take turns and avoid people gathering around the halls, ignoring the annoyed glances they send your way, until you finally reach the hangar.
You’re just in time to catch Steve about to leave. Without an ounce of hesitance, you throw yourself at him— he catches you with ease, lifting you from the ground and smiling wide at you, a rumbling laughter making its way through his chest as you giggle and hold him tighter.
“Someone’s excited to see me,” Steve teases, still holding you up and looking right into your eyes. You feel your heart beating faster, cheeks heating up as you struggle to keep a light smile in your face and not turn around embarrassed.
“Oh, don’t act as if you weren’t anxious to see her too, Capsicle,” Tony rolls his eyes, walking by you two. “I thought we were going to die with how fast you flew us back.”
You’re delighted both by this new information and the sudden blush appearing on Steve’s cheeks. He seems ashamed, which lets you know he was indeed just as excited to see you as you were to see him. He had missed you!
Steve, slowly, places you back on the ground. You, in turn, stop hugging him, thinking he’s going to release you and let you talk to the other avengers arriving— a perfect chance to talk to Thor about Loki’s prolonged stay. However, he doesn’t release you completely, instead just half hugging you by the waist, almost as if he needed to keep you close. You look up at him, question in your eyes. He simply smiles bashfully, still blushing as he leans down to kiss your cheek as his only explanation.
You’re in cloud nine with all this sudden affection, so you don’t dare to question Steve further. Rather, you lean into his touch and follow his lead to get back to the hallway and wherever he wants to lead you. He could lead you right to the gates of hell and you’d follow him happily right now.
However, the distant glimmer of green down the hallway reminds you of your earlier promise to Loki and, not wanting to waste another moment, both in fear of being too late and hope that Steve might stay with you all day long, you turn around to call for Thor. The movement is sudden and it makes Steve jerk back, trying to follow you.
You open your mouth and just as the words are about to fall from your mouth, you catch a glimpse of something black rushing towards you. Everything is slow after that. You watch Thor’s and Natasha’s eyes widen as they look down towards your chest. You follow their gaze and find a metal rod pointing upwards and buried deep into your ribcage— a pool of blood soon forming around the area.
You’re suddenly very aware of your inability to breathe properly and the weakness spreading through your whole body. You’re unable to hold yourself and fall onto your knees— someone holds you by the waist and holds you back from falling flat on your face and digging whatever it is in your chest even deeper. Your ears might as well be filled with cotton, everything seems muted but you can still hear desperate screams and shouts of help, the very distinct sound of bullets being fired and people running around. Opening your eyes, you stare up at Steve’s pale face— he’s by your left side, the faint buzzing that always accompanies his proximity muted by the overwhelming sensation of warm blood flowing out of you. His face is splattered in blood and he’s looking down at your chest in horror. You avoid looking down and just concentrate on looking at him, admiring his blonde hair, gelled back perfectly as always except for a stray strand of hair that you want to brush back.
“Steve…” you whisper, feeling the coppery taste of blood in your mouth as you weakly lift your left hand towards him. He takes it firmly in his own, gloved one.
“I’m right here, sweetheart, right here,” he assures you, kissing your limp hand— you notice how harsh his movements are, how it feels like he’s hitting your hands against his lips more than a soft kiss, but you don’t think you have the strength to point that out. “You’re going to be okay, honey, just hold on for me, okay? Okay,” he nods for you, frantically looking around and shouting something you can’t quite understand before looking back to you.
You can’t help but smile weakly at him, feeling the blood dripping from your lips. You’re not too sure what happened, but your slow brain picks up on Nat’s shouting and a male voice, more like a whimper, confessing something about killing Steve. It takes you a second or two to understand you had taken a hit for him.
“‘m sleepy,” you slur, feeling your eyes growing heavy and your vision starting to fade to black.
“No no no no no,” Steve pleads, squeezing your hand tighter and forcing you to open your eyes for a moment longer. “Don’t sleep doll, I need you to stay awake, okay? Just for a while, I need you to fight for me, okay?”
You can’t find the will in yourself to even respond to him, simply trying your best to keep your eyes on him, noticing his eyes now filled with tears looking at you pleadingly, begging for something you’re not sure you can give.
Hushed whispers and a sudden movement by your right breaks your concentration from Steve’s reassurances and pleadings. On the corner of your eye you catch the same shade of green you had seen down the hallway what felt like ages ago.
“Not even five whole minutes away from me and you’re already half dead,” Loki’s voice has it’s usual mocking tilt, but you can distinguish the tightness behind them. However, the words make you frown as you turn away from Steve to look at Loki’s grim face, staring right at the metal rod sticking out of your chest and seemingly deep in thought of what to do.
“F…” you try answering, but your mouth is full of blood and your lungs are out of air. You spit out the blood, gasping for some air and try again. “Fuck… you…” you grumble, glaring at him when he looks up at you again, smirking just as he was doing during your training that same morning.
“Don’t you worry about that, we can have hate sex as soon as you stop bleeding and can breathe again,” he says placing his hands right above your chest, you see a faint glow of green and blue, but don’t feel anything outside of increasing cold and numbness.
Still, you manage to reply. “I’d rather… rather die.”
“Well, you will if you keep talking. Now, why don’t you keep looking at your crying soldier while I try to save your life?” he quips just as he places his left hand inches above your chest and his right hand about to grab the end of the metal rod. Your eyes widen as you understand what he’s going to do, but before you can scream or try to stop him, he’s already moving the metal rod.
However gently he could’ve done it, you felt the movement down every nerve ending instead of the numbness you were getting used to— you scream, throwing your head back in absolute agony. You feel fire and pain piercing through you and your whole body tries to move away from the pain, trying to do something. You think of pushing Loki away and do just that, using your right hand to push him away from you, hitting him square in the chest as you keep your eyes closed, trying to settle down the pain.
You hear something crash and break, hear a few gasps but you can only care about the pain slowly subsiding.
“I deserved that…,” you hear Loki, farther away than you expected him to be. You barely open your eyes, catching sight of his black leather boots making their way back towards you.
He kneels again by your right side, you catch sight of some sand and chalk covering him as he gets closer, but have no idea what could’ve caused it--nor do you have any energy to ask. You lift your right hand up again, ready to push him again before he lifts up his hands in a sign of surrender, “I’ll be gentle, I’ll be gentle! I just needed to know if the arrow was stuck in bone,” he explains, but you barely pay attention as you catch sight of your shining right heartlines.
The three that are lightened up seem to be flowing with energy, looking almost like lakes of color running through you— your pinky heartline was glowing a bright blue, brighter than the other two, shining in white at your ring finger and green at your index finger. It’s hypnotizing how vivid the colors look to you, almost like ink flowing through your veins in rapid motion.
“I have to try and stop the bleeding now, so you don’t die, okay? I’m just going to keep my hands near you and try to determine if any major organ was pierced,” Loki explains gently, taking your attention from your right arm and right back at his grim expression. You notice Steve holding you firmer than before, almost as if readying himself from stopping you to move around.
You don’t have the strength for that anymore, you’re not even sure how you’ve managed to stay awake this long but you can feel your energy being depleted. You can’t even hiss at the pain you feel from whatever Loki starts doing— you simply try to focus your gaze back on Steve one last time. He’s looking paler than before, but his cheeks are red, as well as his eyes. He catches you staring at him and he smiles down at you, tearfully. You try and squeeze his hand, and you notice him looking down at them, his expression becoming even more broken as he catches sight of them. You can’t decipher why he looks so desperate, and you don’t have time to think about it when you feel like you’ve lost your life line once he frees his hand from your hold.
It’s mere seconds, but you’re almost completely gone when Steve takes your hand again, ungloved for the first time.
It’s such a pity that you’re dead by the next heartbeat, unable to carry the electricity and connection through your veins, only being able to feel a gentle pull from your right heartlines and faint tremors on your left one as you die a second time.
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He never thought wearing a suit would be this tiring or uncomfortable. His hero suit was the comfiest thing he had worn all day, considering he was now using clothes that weren’t exactly meant for his comfort day in and day out— even his usual sleepwear was changed for actual pyjamas or a wife beater, along with shorts that he wasn’t entirely sure were new. Still, he resists the urge to take the tie off or even ease the knot in it as he walks inside Iris’ apartment, knowing she’d like to watch him still in full uniform…
Opening the door with a small sigh, he welcomes the warmth of the apartment with a small smile. It was nice to get back home to some warmth after a long day, there was no doubt about it. It’s almost like he’s returning to his own apartment, finding the perfect surprise of your unexpected visit, probably taking a shower to prepare yourself to spend the night at his place or maybe surprising him with take out from his favorite place, or even one of your cute and thoughtful (and more often than not, failed) attempts to cook some new dish he had sent you earlier during the week in a random cooking video he had thought was neat. Closing his eyes, he lets himself be taken away by such memories.
The unpleasant smell that reaches him almost makes him laugh. He wants to open his eyes, search your stressed out-form, probably staring down at your latest failed attempt and trying to figure a way to fix it, and hug you from behind, kiss your neck and teasingly ask what smells so good. His stomach never did agree with him, but he loved how much effort you placed in doing things for him and he’d be damned if he left even a crumb of whatever you had diligently tried to cook for him. You were slowly getting better and he was always sure to compliment you in whatever you’d manage to do right. The smell though… that’s something you still couldn’t get quite right.
He opens his eyes, still high in such an illusion, heart beating faster as he thinks of your embarrassed expression— and is that you? Is it you, in the kitchen, talking in hushed whispers by the phone? The flowy t-shirt looks like something you’d love, something similar to what he’d use as sleepwear or during an off-day, the same kind of clothes you loved to steal from him.
However, the illusion had to be shattered sooner or later. Iris turns around and he is reminded he’s not at your nor at his apartment, he’s at Iris’. She is wearing some uncommon clothing for her usual style… a recent change, one he hadn’t commented on but had welcmed all too easily; just as she had accepted his own change of style, wearing suits and more formal clothing on the regular. He briefly wonders if she feels as uncomfortable as he does. After all, she’s used to sharp clothing fit for her work, fitting blouses, stylish skirts and pants, sets of pajamas and her own loungewear; not taking his shirts or wearing unfitting clothes like you used to.
Such thoughts are forgotten as soon as she notices him walking towards her, hurriedly hanging up and turning to him, smiling at him pleasantly. He notices how she doesn’t look into his eyes or up at his face, instead concentrating on the suit. She looks happy, admiring his new unofficial work uniform, almost on the verge of tears as she smooths her hand down his tie. Before he can say anything, she hugs him tight, burying her face against his chest, inhaling the scent of the cologne she had recently suggested he used. He, in turn, embraces her too, feeling the warmth and softness of the t-shirt more than her.
They both close their eyes for a moment, wishing the illusion they both harbor could last for longer than mere seconds, wishing that if they opened their eyes, it wouldn’t immediately come crashing down.
However, he’s tired, more so than other days for some reason. His whole left side aches, but he knows it’s wiser to avoid mentioning that, so instead he gives Iris one last squeeze before gently pushing her away. She takes a step back, taking a deep breath before finally greeting him with what looks like a broken smile rather than a happy one, “Hey darling, how was your day at the station?”
He doesn’t miss how she avoids saying his name. It doesn’t hurt him as much as it should. He's used to it, understands it, even. It’s natural now, better than the option of getting their own names wrong.
“It was okay, babe,” he corresponds, following her into the kitchen as she softly pulls him by the sleeve of the suit. “A bit tiring. I just really want to take a shower and get out of this suit,” he says with a small chuckle, fumbling with his collar with his free hand. He pretends not to notice how she clings to the suit even tighter before releasing it.
“Well, you can do that right after dinner, hun!” she answers, ushering him to sit as she brings a take-out bag. “I bought your favorite for dinner, after all,” she announces proudly as she sets the bag down the table.
The unpleasant smell he had detected as he first got inside the house gets more intense and he can tell, without a shadow of a doubt, that whatever is in the take-out bag is what’s causing it. He tries his hardest to remember the logo of the bag, tries his hardest to recognize anything of what Iris is taking out of it, but eventually surrenders. He doesn’t know what he’s about to eat and it certainly isn’t his favorite anything.
However, he simply smiles and says, “Thank you, babe, I’m starving,” even though his appetite is long gone due to the intense smell. Iris beams at him, gently pushing his hands away and insisting she serves them. He doesn’t dare to ask what he’s about to eat, simply following her lead and eating as she does, carefully schooling his expressions to show nothing. She seems happier despite how disgusting it tastes for him. Everytime he has the temptation to pull a face or spit whatever he’s eating, he’s reminded of how Iris has ate every single triple chocolate cookie he has brought back from work, smiling at his gesture and only remembering days later that Iris doesn’t particularly like chocolate cookies from the cafeteria three streets down the police station— rather, they were your favorites, but she never once mentioned it to him. They both maintain the illusion as alive as possible for each other in the tacit agreement they live in.
Both are quiet during dinner. They don’t have much to say, nothing that won’t break the peace and illusion they’re both trying so hard to maintain. Iris eventually, as every night, reaches for his hand. He obliges and holds her hand, both touching their now unmarked heartlines, feeling cold shivers travel down their spines. They hold on tighter, hoping against hope for some warmth to spark between them. It never comes. Not when they hold hands, not when they hold each other at night, not when they kiss, not at any moment. Still, they sleep as close as they can, spend every free minute they have by each other… trying to chase the warmth they’ve lost in some way.
Dinner is over and they move almost robotically. They clean up and throw away the garbage, wash the dishes and go back to the main room. Iris goes to brush her teeth while Barry takes some clothes to take a shower— he thinks of how comfortable it’d be to have his own clothing in here, but that’d mean going back to his apartment… and he’s not exactly ready for that. Instead, he thanks Iris’ generosity with a smile as she leaves the bathroom for him to use.
Once he’s done with his shower, he walks back to the room. It’s dark and Iris is already tucked in.
He can tell she’s awake.
He doesn’t mention it, nor does he think much of it. He simply pulls the covers from his side and gets inside. They’re both frozen for a moment and it’s like that first night every time; they don’t know what they’re doing, why they’re here, how they got to this… but the warmth they each offer is better than the cold of loneliness. Eventually they both get closer, holding each other like lovers… but not really relaxing. The cold is almost unbearable and they get closer, closer yet. It’s suffocating, both literally and metaphorically.
Yet, they stay afloat.
“Goodnight, honey,” Iris whispers, and he can feel the yearning… because he too, yearns for something that can no longer be.
“Goodnight, babe,” he whispers after a second, kissing her forehead. His lips feel ice cold right after, but he ignores it.
They stay in silence after that, each trapped in their own head. They don’t sleep peacefully, they never do… but, they think, this is better than drowning alone. Once exhaustion beats them, they know one will wake up because of the other’s nightmares. They will hold each other close, tremble with the cold they spread through each other until the morning comes and the sunlight takes away any illusion the dark helped to create.
Then, they’ll go back to pretending, back to suffocating… back to surviving as best they can with the choices they’ve both made.
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Beep… beep… beep…
The sound was slow and nerve-wracking for Loki. He hated this midgardian apparatus and its sounds are making his anxiety rise with each passing second. He has half a mind to try and ask Thor to take you to Asgard, simply to have you have much better medical care and one that wouldn’t get on his nerves with incessant… and extremely weak sounds. He knows it’s meant to be your heartbeat what that machine is imitating, however the weak and slow sounds do nothing to calm him down— he wishes he could be in an asgardian medical room, where the actual sound of a thump, thump, thump would assure him of your extended existence.
This struggle seems to be only his own, however. Your crying soldier seems rather comforted by the same sound making Loki cringe. The blond is gripping your limp hand with both of his, kissing it every few seconds like a repentant devotee asking for forgiveness. Loki supposes there must be some guilt, seeing as he was the original target of the attack— an attack that would’ve probably ended in a much less dire situation, judging by the soldier’s reputation and good reflexes that Loki still remembered from the failed invasion.
Looking at the crying blond makes Loki eventually look at you… and he can’t avoid the uncomfortable pit in his stomach at the sight of your pale face and sunken eyes. You look like a corpse, the only indication for it not being the case is the vapor released from your mouth into the air mask after every shallow breath you take. It’s such a deep contrast to the mischievous smile you wore only hours before as you giggled, trying to stab him with a fake knife… and suddenly, he can no longer bear the sight of it.
He simply gets up and out of the room without a single word. None of the supposed healers and midgardian warriors say a single thing. They’ve all been solemnly quiet ever since you lost consciousness… but he knows you lost more than that. He had felt it.
You were gone, you died.
He had tried denying it, the shock of his only chance at a better life, at finally having the respect of the asgardian people, slipping through his fingers, was something he didn’t want to accept. You were cold and unresponding, Thor had even tried using his thunder on you, the blood on your chest already clogging and your lips already looking blue… yet he tried once more, he placed all his healing intent into another sphere of light, just like his mother had once taught him… and then he felt it.
Suddenly, you were alive again.
Your soul should have been long gone, deep into Hel or Valhalla, where not even he could interfere with your fate… and yet, there was energy already beating inside of you again. It was faint, small and… strange. It was miniscule in the grand scheme of things, it would’ve taken days for it to expand and be enough to get your heart to pump even once… but it was enough for Loki’s magic to latch onto. Even when he felt the energy suddenly running through you again, blood flowing as everyone cried in surprise at the sudden revival and second chance of saving you, he knew there was something off. Your soul was there still, not even a bit separated from your corporeal body… almost as if stuck.
There had been no time to think of any of this at the time. Everyone rushed him to keep helping you as midgardian healers finally arrived and started their treatment. He was forced to stay by your side as they did their procedures. He kept injecting energy into you, expanding what was there… and getting surprised each and every time, sensing some kind of power he felt as familiar but still unknown. The best he could get out of it was that the energy came from your heartlines, specifically, your right ones, the enlightened ones. There were rivers of energy and ancient magic running through them and into you, giving you a second chance at life that he couldn’t understand.
He stares out a window, not really seeing the bright lights beyond him but rather the stars above him. How was it possible? How were you still alive?
“Brother,” Thor approaches him, seemingly out of nowhere, touching his shoulder with the same fondness he had once, when they had battled together a lifetime ago.
“Thor,” Loki answers, not moving and still staring at the stars, wondering about Heimdall having a clue to what had happened today… or his mother, or even Odin… anyone that could explain what happened.
“You… Everyone is thankful for your heroic act today,” Thor is unsure about his wording, but this makes Loki startle.
“Heroic act?” he repeats with confusion clearly written all over his face. Thor smiles a bit at this.
“Of course, brother. Saving Lady Y/N was very heroic from you. I think our mother was right indeed, you’re still—” Thor’s boisterous laugh of celebration is interrupted by Loki pushing his hand from his shoulder.
“I didn’t do such a thing,” Loki denies, taking a step back. “ You think I can bring a soul back from Hel, brother?!”
“What? No, obviously not,” Thor denies confused by Loki’s sudden humbleness, “but her soul was obviously not taken yet—”
“You saw her blue lips, you felt it as much as I did, she was gone, she should’ve been gone… and yet…” Loki shakes his head, starting to pace to calm his wandering mind.
The fact that he didn’t know what happened bothered him more than he cared to admit. What exactly was this magic he felt? Why didn’t you die? Was there a curse placed upon you? Could it extend to him due to the heartlines?
So many questions, no answers. Your amnesia probably meant that even if you— when you woke up, you wouldn’t be able to tell him anything of value.
“What are you saying, brother? Everyone assumes you returned her to life with your curative magic, just like mother taught you,” Thor questions, his voice raising in volume.
“I tried that!” Loki justifies. “It didn’t work! She lost too much blood too fast, there was nothing I could do.”
“So how is she—?”
“I don’t know! That’s the problem!” Loki almost screams in frustration before gritting his teeth, “There was something else at work here… and I can’t tell what it was.”
After a long moment of silence, Thor questions, “Do you… do you at least have an idea?”
Loki sighs before looking at his brother, “I know it came from her heartlines, but I know of nothing similar.” He confesses before deviating his eyes again and explaining, “Heartlines are not supposed to be able to transmit magic in any way… they just transmit emotions, as far as we all know. I’d like to talk to our mother about this,” Loki finally says with a small nod, as if accepting that outcome.
“You know that’s not possible at the moment,” Thor reminds with a tired sigh, “If I return with you to Asgard now, you’ll be imprisoned again, for your behaviour hasn’t changed as expected to free you.”
“Well, too bad for me. Don’t think I need your pity for this, brother, I will find a way around this thing when we get to Asgard, but right now our priority is to discover what happened to your dear Lady Y/N,” Loki says trying to appear as if he couldn’t care less, as if this was a case of mere curiosity, leaning against the window. Both men knew this was certainly not the case.
“I was informed by Stark that she apparently planned on keeping you here for more time, and keep teaching you about the value of midgardian life,” Thor says, seemingly out of nowhere.
“What does that have to do with anything? How did he even know that?” Loki startles, straightening and glaring at the blond.
“Your conversation was recorded… or something like that,” Thor tries to explain with a grimace, but he’s still not too well-known in midgardian technology to be sure he phrased that correctly. “Was it true? Was lady Y/N willing to sacrifice herself for more of your freedom? Is that why you saved her?”
“Again, I didn’t save her. And no, I had my own reasons to try and help her… however she did offer to keep me here,” Loki relents after a moment of silence, suspicious as to what Thor wants to get to.
“Very well,” Thor nods solemnly, “then I say we take her up on that offer.”
“May I remind you that she currently looks like a barely living corpse in that room over there?” Loki tries to sound sarcastic and mocking, but his voice comes more as angry and disbelieving, almost as if he couldn’t believe Thor’s audacity.
“She will not be in charge of you for now, rather, you will be in charge of her for a while,” Thor explains as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “This is the only way you can keep your freedom.”
“My freedom?” the raven haired god repeats, now seemingly more interested.
“You’ll stay in midgard, learn the lesson our mother wanted to— meanwhile, I’ll do the research you mentioned. I will be the messenger between you and mother to help you solve the mystery of her being alive.”
“I can manage on my own,” Loki sneers, but still, he can see the logic to his brother’s plan.
“Sure you can, but you’re still a prisoner and under my responsibility in Asgard’s eyes, so this is what we shall do. If Lady Y/N is indeed cursed, we’ll find a way to take that curse from her,” Thor says the last sentence with resolve, almost like a knight in shining armor to save the dearest princess from whatever ails her. It makes Loki roll his eyes in annoyance. Another valiant promise that will only mean more work for him. Just like old times.
“It may be the only thing keeping her alive, though,” Loki reasons, almost as an afterthought.
Thor nods in grim acknowledgement before saying, “If we know something about curses concerning life and death is that, if true, then she’s not really alive anymore… and whoever was powerful enough to cast such a curse is a danger to all nine realms.”
So that’s his biggest concern, Loki thinks with a smirk. Always the diligent warrior, ready to defend father's kingdom.
“Very well, brother. I’ll follow your plan, for now,” Loki agrees with a smirk, offering his hand to Thor, who in turn looks at it with distrust for a moment before taking it firmly and nodding his approval.
“I’ll communicate the general idea to the others. We won’t mention a curse until we’re sure that’s what this is, so you’ll have to make yourself useful and help Lady Y/N heal as fast as possible”
“If I have to…” Loki rolls his eyes, but deep down, he knows he would’ve done so even if Thor hadn’t mentioned. He tried to convince himself it was only because as soon as you were conscious again, he could try to get your right heartline to light up… and not some misguided small attachment he could have developed.
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myswanqueenficlist · a day ago
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Regina is madly in love with Emma and she is sure Emma feels something, too but after Emma chooses Hook, Regina leaves town. She builds up her new life but when the blonde appears at her doorstep, things grow more and more complicated and no one knows if their obvious love still has a chance. Especially because Regina met someone. Someone amazing.
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grishaverseficlibrary · 2 days ago
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and then my heart was soft (like moonlight breaking white waves) by OceanSpray5
"What are we going to do about her?"
"I don't know." Kaz finally replied.
Inej blinked once. Then again. In all her years of knowing Kaz Brekker he had never uttered these three words and had meant them. He always had a plan. And the full realization settled on Inej that Kaz really did make this choice on impulse. He was still too quick to deny any goodness in his heart but Inej knew otherwise. It was also why she knew his choice before even he did.
"The orphanages won't take care of her. She'll be dead in less than a month and I…" Kaz looked down then. Inej sat down next to him and he took her hand, "I promised her brother she wouldn't get hurt."
Inej knew Kaz was many vile things. But one thing she knew best about him was that he did keep his word. He didn’t make promises he couldn’t keep.
Better terrible truths than kind lies. She knew that better than anyone.
"Then I suppose the best way to do that is to protect her ourselves."
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tananoyaarchive · 2 days ago
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Love Me, Ryuu
Title: Love Me, Ryuu Author: Nishinoya4Yuu Rated: Explicit Word Count: 46268
It didn't happen all at once, but one day Noya realized he couldn't stop looking at his best friend and wondering what it would be like to have more.
The only problem is just when he's getting up the courage to confess, Tanaka gets a boyfriend. And it's not him.
So Noya tries to make do with what he's got. It's a long, hard lesson to learn: You should never settle.
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kitsfics · 2 days ago
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Sansa is slightly apprehensive as her fling with Jaime settles into a relationship. Dany and Missandei need help with their fixer-upper.
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ereri-lost-and-found · 2 days ago
Hello! Any recommendations for pining/fwb fics where they both are actually in love with each other or end up falling in love for each other? Preferably with top!Levi but top!Eren is fine as well!
Try these, Anon~
An Exercise in Self-Restraint by kirakiracats
(Rated E, 10,980 words, oneshot, complete)
Levi moves away from the only town he's ever known, off to university and away from his two friends, Isabel and Farlan. Having roommates is a new experience, one that he thinks will be totally unpleasant, but when the last person to turn up is a gorgeous male omega, his perspective changes.
Unfortunately for him, it's bad practice to fuck your flatmate. Levi has a tough year ahead.
[Ereri Secret Santa gift 2014]
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The Dorm Incident by orphan_account
(Not Rated, 3,274 words, multichapter, complete)
(Attack on Titan college AU. Ereri) Eren and Levi happen to be assigned as college roommates. One day, on his set cleaning date, Eren finds his yarn. He accidentally tips over the box becoming entangled in it and when Levi tries to help, he too becomes entangled. The rest is history.
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A Gradual Development by Senpai_Actually
(Rated E, 122,445 words, multichapter, ongoing)
Eren is looking for a new roommate, and Hanji said that her short friend would be a great candidate.
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guardianofrivendell · 2 days ago
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Guarding Your Heart - chapter 4
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Modern!Fíli AU written by @laurfilijames and @guardianofrivendell
Summary: Bodyguard AU: Lucy gets dragged into her father’s past against her will and is possibly in danger. Fíli gets assigned to her as her bodyguard. He doesn’t want to be there, she doesn’t want him to be there either. But then things get serious and in turns out Lucy is indeed in danger.
Warnings: gunfight, description of an anxiety/panic attack and we’re so sorry, but no half naked Fíli this time... (yes, really, we can’t believe it ourselves)
A/N: Chapter 4! Lucy and Fíli are on the run, the story is really picking up! Thank you so, so much for all the lovely comments and reactions to the previous chapters! 
GUARDING YOUR HEART MASTERLIST
Laurfilijames masterlist Guardianofrivendell masterlist
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This was it. This time it was official.
Lucy wasn’t very fond of motorbikes to begin with, but now she officially hated them. Why couldn’t he drive a car like a normal person?
Fíli had been driving his bike as if someone was chasing after them, which was of course very likely even though she tried not to think about that too much, but that didn’t mean she would’ve appreciated it if he respected the speed limits for one. Ever since they left her condo her stomach had been in her throat, her eyes closed and her arms wrapped tightly around his waist, terrified she would fall off every time he took a turn.  
He still hadn’t told her where they were headed. Not that they could maintain a conversation with the way he was driving, she could hardly hear herself think over the noise of the engine and the tires on the asphalt.   
After what felt like almost an hour, Fili finally slowed the bike and pulled up to a long driveway that seemed to be leading to the middle of a field. Where the hell were they going? 
If he didn’t look out, the bike’s tires would get stuck in the mud and then what? Lucy didn’t feel like trying to dig it out when they were on the run. She didn’t even know how exactly they got compromised, for all she knew Fíli had received a serious threat or this could be all based on a hunch. It wasn’t like he was telling her anything...
And then her eyes fell on an old, small, has-definitely-seen-better-days rusty trailer, hidden beside a treeline leading into a forested area. The upcoming sun made the scene a little more inviting, giving it a warmer look, but it was still an old trailer… 
It was secluded, there was no doubt about it, but just this first glance at it made her miss her condo already. 
Fili eventually slowed the bike to a complete stop when they were a few yards away from the trailer and put the kickstand down with his foot. 
He turned his upper half to glance back at her and mumbled through his helmet. 
“This is home for the foreseeable future.”
“I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but what is this place?”
Fili chuckled as he worked at unbuckling his helmet, having lifted his visor up so she could hear him more clearly. 
“It’s my cousin Nori’s trailer. He works for EPIC as well and his home functions as one of our safehouses. No one is going to look for you here.”
Now that she could believe. But wait… if this is his home, that means he lives there too?
“You’re telling me there’s going to be three of us holed up in that tiny camper?” Lucy asked in alarm. Just having Fili in her condo with her made it feel a lot smaller, and this trailer was a fraction of the size.  Maybe she could convince him to go back to her place, who knows, the danger could be gone by now.
“You’ll survive, I promise,” he smiled, getting used to her antics by now. “He’s never here much anyway and will probably make himself scarce if you have anything to do with it.”
Lucy smacked him on his shoulder and started to carefully swing her bad leg over the bike using him for support, when Fíli noticed some movement in the trees behind the trailer. 
He reached behind him, placing his hand on her thigh to stop her as he stared intently at the area where he thought he saw someone. 
“What is it?” Lucy mumbled through her helmet as she began taking it off. 
“Leave your helmet on,” he warned. 
“Why? Are we not going inside? It looks like it’s about to rain and I don’t feel like getting wet.”
“Something’s wrong,” Fíli said, eyes trained on the trees. “I can feel it.”
“Okay mister Psychic, whatever you say,” she snickered, unaware of the seriousness of the situation.
The terrain between them and the trailer was muddy and completely open, so he couldn’t sneak up to the trailer and do a sweep of the area just to be sure. And there was no way he was leaving Lucy with the bike by herself, she would be a sitting duck. 
Which was exactly what they were now, Fíli realised. They were standing too much out in the open.
His eyes scanned the area to see if there was somewhere he could hide the bike and Lucy, when the growing light bounced off something in the bushes and caught his eye. 
Fíli knew exactly what it was and his body reacted accordingly. They needed to get the hell out of there.
He yelled at Lucy to hold on tight and close her eyes, and as soon as he felt her arms wrapped around him he gave full throttle. Fíli made the bike turn at the same time, the rear wheel spinning in the mud creating a roost of dirt in the air to help disguise them momentarily. Lucy screamed, not expecting the sudden manoeuvre and held on to Fíli so tight she was convinced he couldn’t breathe, but what took her breath away was the sound of gunshots. 
Lucy had never heard a gunshot in real life before and didn’t see the shooter, but she’d seen enough action movies to know what they sounded like. 
And now she wished she never did. Fíli was doing his best to get them out of there as fast as he could, but she would never forget the sound of bullets flying past her. The fact that she could hear them through her helmet and over the noise of the bike made her aware of how terrifyingly close they got to her and Fíli. Every single muscle in her body was tense and she expected the sharp sting of a bullet hitting her at any moment. 
Fíli wasn’t doing much better. 
As soon as he saw the reflection of the morning sun hitting the barrel of the gun, he shifted into survival mode and had only one thought on his mind: get Lucy out of here alive and unharmed.
He heard her scream and her grip tightened around his waist when he took off, and as he heard the gunshots he wished he could have switched their positions so he could shield her with his own body while they raced away. With her sitting behind him, she was entirely exposed to being shot. 
So Fili did what he could and pushed his bike to its limits, which wasn’t easy on the dirt road, but as soon as he reached the tarmac again he gave full throttle to put as much space between them and the gunman as quickly as possible. 
This wasn’t the first time in his life he was taken under fire and it wasn’t going to be the last one either. But that didn’t mean it didn’t affect him every time it happened. His mouth was dry and he kept thinking about Lucy. She was still clutching onto him, which at least gave him some reassurance. 
His heart skipped a beat when Lucy’s grip loosened all of a sudden. No! Was she hurt? 
He had felt her body bump against his when they took off but he thought it was from the jolt of the bike… 
He grabbed her left arm that was now resting on his thigh and wrapped it around his middle again to remind her to keep a firm grip. “Come on Luce! You’re fine, you’re alright,” Fíli muttered, more to himself than to Lucy. You have to be okay...
After a few agonizing seconds, her right arm followed and he felt her squeeze his stomach. 
Was this her way of letting him know she was okay? He tried to look behind him to check up on her but the bike immediately swayed as a result, eliciting a cry from her which brought him back to his senses. She was fine.
Fighting the urge to pull over to make sure she was uninjured, he kept driving with no destination in mind and his thoughts all over the place. He couldn’t drive back to her home, the safe house was out of the question now, and the other safe house their company had was all the way on the South Island. 
He couldn’t believe they’d been compromised a second time. 
Everything was going horribly wrong and it had him desperate to figure out why. 
This was supposed to be an easy assignment, a simple walk in the park! And thus far things have never gone so wrong for Fili on any of his missions. Not even the ones where he knew he had a good chance of being killed in action, no, he came home without a scratch because he was EPIC’s best guy. So what was so different about this case? 
After driving for a little over half an hour, Fili decided they were far enough from danger to take a break and pulled into the next petrol station. He needed to call headquarters for further instructions and fill up the fuel tank, but most of all he was very anxious to check if Lucy was really okay. She hadn’t moved a muscle in the last half hour and he started to get seriously worried.
He shut the bike off and reached back to grip Lucy’s thigh. 
“Are you alright?” he asked and she nodded to him when he looked over his shoulder at her. Relieved she wasn’t injured at all, Fíli removed his helmet and slicked his sweaty hair back on his head. What a day and it wasn’t even 10 o’clock yet...
Lucy’s hands were trembling when they tried to undo the fastens on her own helmet. She must be terrified, Fíli thought. 
He managed to dismount from the bike without knocking her off of it in the process and reached to undo it for her.
“Here, let me.”
He pulled the helmet off of her head, revealing her usually soft features now tainted with fear. Without thinking he cupped her cheeks in his hands to force her to look at him, worried she was going into shock. 
“Luce? Hey, it’s okay,” he spoke softly, rubbing her cheeks with his thumbs, “You’re safe now, I promise. I’m sorry that happened, I—,”
“It’s okay, I’m fine,” she shook her head to dismiss his worries, “I know none of this is your fault.” She cast her gaze down to the side, avoiding his eyes and her brows knitted tightly together. “Who was that anyway?” 
Fili dropped his hands from her face and rested them on his hips, sighing heavily. 
“I don’t know. But I need to find out. Why don’t you head into the shop and get us something to eat and drink,” he suggested, pulling cash out of his wallet and handing it to her. “You’ll be safe in there.” 
“You’re not coming with me?” she asked, looking warily at the small store that was attached to the petrol station. 
“I need to make a call.”
“Okay,” Lucy said, a little hesitant, standing from the bike before she limped into the store. 
Once Lucy was out of sight and safely inside the petrol station, Fíli found a nearby trash can and kicked it hard, now beyond the point of anger for driving her straight into danger. 
What if she got hurt on his watch? He ignored the pain in his chest at the thought, blaming it on his fears of ruining the whole mission. There was yet to be an assignment he hadn’t successfully accomplished and he would make sure this wasn’t going to be the first one. Fili vowed to keep her safe and he intended to keep that promise.
He pulled out his cellphone and was about to call headquarters when he suddenly thought better of it, what if his phone was somehow being traced?
He opened the back and tossed the battery on the ground, stomping hard on it with his boot as he snapped the SIM card into pieces with his fingers. 
Collecting the remnants of his phone, he tossed them into the garbage and walked over to the pay phone. 
“Hello?” Kili’s voice sounded from the other end and Fíli was relieved to hear it was his brother. To be honest, he was nervous to tell Thorin things went wrong again. Not that it was his fault there was a gunman waiting for them, but Fíli couldn’t help feeling responsible somehow. So hearing his brother answer the phone instead was a big load off his mind. 
“Kee, it’s me.”
“Fee? Where are you calling from? Wait, is everything alright?”
“Not particularly, no. We went to Nori’s as planned but someone was there waiting for us.”
“Fuck, are you serious? Are you okay?”
“Yes, physically we’re fine. Lucy is a bit shaken up, which is understandable since she got shot at. The important thing is we got away in one piece. Nori wasn’t home though so please warn him before he goes back there.” 
“You got it. Where are you now?”
“We’re at some petrol station, I’m not giving you a location just in case. I’m trying to figure out where to go from here.”
Kili was silent on the other end. 
“Kili?”
“I’m thinking!” 
Another minute had passed and Fili still couldn’t come up with anywhere reasonable to go, but Kili soon broke their silence. 
“I got it! The cabin!”
“The cabin?” Fili repeated, a bit taken aback.
“Yes! I mean, none of us have been there for years aside from Uncle Thorin and Bilbo, and no one else knows about it. It’s remote and you can’t find it on any map. It’s perfect.”
“And far.”
“Yes, but far away from people who are trying to kill your girlfriend.”
Fili ignored that comment and thought over the suggestion instead. It just might work. 
Kili was referring to the Durin family cabin. The same cabin they hadn’t been to ever since their father died. Fili knew going back there would bring back the memories and feelings he worked so hard to bury deep inside of him, but right now it seemed like their only option. 
“Okay. Good thinking. We need to get going if we’re to make it before it’s too dark. I’m leaving it up to you to fill Uncle in and please don’t forget to warn Nori!”
“I won’t, don’t worry! Everything will be fine, brother. Be safe and I’ll see if we can maybe send Dwalin down with supplies soon.”
“Thanks Kee,” Fili slammed the phone down and exhaled deeply, hoping this would all turn out okay. 
Now to break it to Lucy that she’d be sat on the bike for the rest of the day. 
He could see her through the window, chatting and smiling to the older gentleman behind the counter while looking over the options of crisp flavours. Although she had a smile on her face, he could tell by her body language how terrified she still was. 
A few minutes later, Lucy walked out as Fili finished fueling up the bike. He had his sunglasses on and it almost seemed like nothing had happened. How could he stay so calm while she couldn’t stop trembling, Lucy wondered. 
“So now what?” she asked quietly, looking down the road and Fili figured she was keeping an eye out for the person who tried to shoot them. 
“Now we are going to my family’s cabin.”
She simply nodded and pushed the dirt around with her foot as she thought, her brows furrowed. “How far is it?”
“It’s a long drive, but right now it’s our only option,” he looked at her intently, sensing she still didn’t quite know what to make of the situation. “Luce, are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine,” she answered quickly. A lie. 
“Okay.” Fíli decided not to pry any further, she’ll break down eventually and he would be there for her when that happens. It may sound harsh to simply skip over her emotions right now, but they really needed to get a move on. “We need to get going then, it’s going to take us the rest of the day to get there.”
Lucy’s head whipped up in surprise at this, and all Fili could do was shrug and give her a playful smile. “You might like the bike by the end of it.”
“I somehow doubt that.”
He took a few tissues from the dispenser on the side of the pump and cleaned his hands.
“Did they have much of a selection of food in there? We should bring some stuff with us since supplies won’t be coming for a couple of days,” Fili explained.
“Not really, just the usual convenience junk.”
“Well, it’ll have to do. Come on, let’s go make some poor choices.” 
Fili held his hand out for her to take and walked into the store with her. The friendly clerk greeted them warmly and it made Fili hope that one day Lucy would be able to walk freely anywhere she pleased without the worry of having to look over her shoulder. 
She was right though, the selection of food was pretty slim. They stood together before the rack of crisps and display of various chocolate bars and cookies as Fili took off his sunglasses and scratched his head. His stomach was growling, he hadn’t eaten anything since dinner the night before and looking at what was in front of him he knew he would barely get by. Lucy on the other hand was happily filling her arms with various snacks. She reached for a pack of oatmeal raisin cookies and Fili scoffed. 
“Really? You like those?”
“What? These?” she questioned, holding up the bag to confirm.
“Yes, they’re horrible. I mean… Raisins? Come on, at least try to be a real cookie and have chocolate chips.”
“I’m sorry, have you actually tried them before? Because they’re the best,” she gave him a small smile before continuing, “I’ll prove you wrong. You’ll love them by the time I’m through,” and she added 3 more packages to her stash. 
They stepped up to the counter to pay, and Lucy carried on another conversation with the shop owner. Fíli was still holding on to her hand, hoping it would give her some kind of comfort. It seemed to work, looking like she was distracted from reality for the moment and Fili was happy about it.
Until a man walked through the door and eyed them suspiciously. Lucy had stopped speaking mid-sentence and swallowed hard.
“Let’s go,” Fili said, placing his hand on the small of her back and guiding her out of the store while keeping tabs on the man who he didn’t think had anything to do with their situation, but he could never be too careful. 
*
“Come on, Jasmine, you know you want to,” Kili drawled to the receptionist for the umpteenth time that week, trying to convince her to give in and go on a date with him as he leaned against her desk and gave her his undeniable grin. 
“Kíli, I can’t,” the blonde receptionist pouted. “I can lose my job if I go out with you.”
His grin grew even wider if that was possible and he wiggled his eyebrows at her. “I promise I’ll make it worth your while…”
This was the first receptionist to refuse his advances and he honestly didn’t know how to feel about that. When she started a few weeks ago she acted like everyone else did, flirty and giddy, but not anymore…weird. So he continued to give her puppy eyes and his best attempts at persuading her, but was interrupted by Thorin. 
“Kili.” 
He nearly jumped out of his skin, not having heard his uncle approach from the front door behind him. 
“Christ’s sake, Uncle!” Kíli gasped, clutching his chest while Jasmine hurried across the counter to deliver the morning mail to Thorin. He quickly went through it before he locked eyes with Kíli again, who was still casually leaning against Jasmine’s desk. 
“What are you doing? Don’t you have reports to finish?”
“Uh, yes, I was just about to make an update on Fíli’s case actually. He called me about 30 minutes ago.”
“About what? Did he get to the safe house without any issues?”
“Not exactly. Someone was waiting for them when they arrived and opened fire. So they had to relocate. I called Nori to tell him so don’t start panicking, everyone is fine!”
Thorin sighed and ran a hand over his eyes. Leave it to Kíli to deliver such bad news in the most nonchalant of ways. 
“And I came up with the wonderful suggestion of having them go to our cabin instead!” Kili continued proudly, still pleased with his quick thinking of what would undoubtedly be the safest option for them. 
“Kili! Enough!” Thorin hissed, grabbing his arm and dragging him away from the main lobby toward the elevators. “You need to be careful with what you say in front of others.”
“Oh come on! It’s just Jasmine. She’s not paying attention to any of that. She’s only interested in getting in my pants.”
Thorin rolled his eyes. “Yes, we all saw how well that went. Let’s go to my office and then you can repeat everything Fíli told you.”
“Hey, it’s me,” Jasmine said quietly into her phone from her desk. Kili and Thorin had just left the lobby after discussing details of the case, and she thought they would like to know of EPIC’s next plan of action. “I just overheard that they’re headed to some kind of cabin. I’m trying to find the exact location, I’ll let you know as soon as I have it. I don’t think you’ll have any issues taking him out there.” 
“Perfect. I hope you’re doing a better job than Bolg did, he let them get away this morning. It seems like we’re underestimating the little soldier. Maybe it’s time that I go after her myself.” 
*
The drive to the cabin took far longer than expected due to Fili constantly changing up his route in order to confuse any potential followers, which meant they also had to make a few fuel stops. 
It was getting dark, and he knew Lucy was exhausted by the limp way she was now holding onto him versus her usual tight grip. 
The driveway leading to the cabin never looked so inviting as it did today when Fili finally spotted it between the trees. 
Even though it had been years and years since Fíli visited, everything felt as familiar as if he was here just last week. 
From the narrow driveway hidden between the bushes with the crooked mailbox that definitely had seen better days, to the swing he and his brother broke when they were little that somehow never got fixed. He got the same excited jitters in his stomach as he always did when he spotted the cabin by the lake, although now the feeling was mixed with grief and melancholy. 
Fìli parked the bike underneath the carport, more than content to have finally arrived. He shook out his hands once he shut off the bike, the vibrations from the handlebars still radiating through them and up his arms. He was sore. 
Lucy took her helmet off and looked around them. It seemed peaceful and undisturbed. She hadn’t noticed another house or cabin for a few kilometers either, which meant they were completely secluded. 
And also away from any help if they weren’t safe. 
She carefully dismounted the bike, her legs feeling like jelly and her butt completely numb. 
“This seems nice,” she said, noticing Fili wasn’t speaking yet. 
“Yeah, it is,” he replied softly, and she didn’t miss the crack in his voice, which made her wonder what this place meant to him. 
“I need to check the perimeter and inside before you go in. Stay here, okay?” 
“Yeah, sure,” Lucy agreed, seeing a weariness in his eyes for the first time since he arrived at her door. 
She stayed beside the bike as promised, stretching her limbs slightly as she waited. It was getting cold and considering the late hour, it was also difficult to see her surroundings in the heavily wooded area. 
Her thoughts began to get the best of her, and each time she heard a bird call out or the branches and leaves rustling around her, she felt herself getting more and more anxious by the second and panic started to slowly take hold of her. 
Normally Lucy would find peace in a place like this, admiring the beauty that nature was offering her, but now she couldn’t help but think of someone hiding and waiting to make their move to hurt her. Every sound she heard was a possible threat and she expected someone to jump out at any moment. 
Her arms were wrapped tightly around herself and tears pricked her eyes. Her breathing quickened and although she knew she had to remain calm, she couldn’t help letting her body take over. Would she ever feel safe again? 
By the time Fili returned she was shaking and fully sobbing, barely keeping herself on her feet. 
“Lucy!” he panicked, running over to her and gripping her shoulders. He ducked his head to meet his eyes with hers, trying to figure out what was wrong. 
“I’m sorry, I’m fine,” she lied again and rubbed her trembling hands across her cheeks to make the streaks disappear. 
Her emotions finally caught up with her, Fíli realised. She was stronger than he gave her credit for, he’d expected her to break down at the petrol station. 
“I know you’re not fine, Luce. And that’s okay… Hey, look at me-,” he instructed when she averted her eyes from his once more, placing his hand on her chin to turn her head back toward him, “Look at me. I promise you’re safe, okay?”
She nodded in agreement and leaned slightly into his touch when he brushed his thumb over her cheek to remove another fallen tear. 
“I’m never going to let anything happen to you.” 
Somehow his words made her continue to cry, and he pulled her into a hug, knowing the full extent of the terror she was experiencing. “It’s okay. Just breathe,” he soothed her, gently rubbing her back until the sobs died down.
“Come on, let’s get you inside.” 
Fili pulled away from her and turned to walk toward the illuminated cabin, halting when he didn’t hear or feel Lucy following him. 
She stood there frozen, seemingly unable to move, and it prompted him to intuitively scoop her up in his aching arms and carry her inside like he’d done so many times before.
The door creaked as he pushed it open with his shoulder and Fíli made his way over to the bed standing in the corner of the cabin. He placed her down gently and sat beside her, rubbing his hand over his face. He was exhausted, but knew he would be awake all night to be sure they weren’t in any more danger.
“Fíli?” He met her equally tired eyes when she called his name. “Are you okay?” Lucy asked him this time, her voice strained from crying. 
He sighed, the weight of the situation and being in this cabin starting to get to him slightly. 
“I’m fine,” he glanced over at her and gave her a weak smile, patting her arm as he stood, “Get some rest, Luce.”
*
He didn’t think he would ever return here. 
Fíli was lying on the old, brown leather couch, unable to fall asleep. Not that he was supposed to, he was determined to keep an eye on Lucy, but if he was asleep, he wouldn’t have to think about the reason why he stayed away for all these years.
Everything in the cabin reminded him of his father. Of happier times. Thorin and Bilbo made some adjustments over the years, they got rid of some furniture and did some redecorating but it didn’t matter. It still felt the same.
He could see his younger self playing with his brother in front of the fireplace, his dad telling them scary stories which Fíli knew could never happen but kept him awake at night anyway. 
How he promised his dad to always watch over Kíli, no matter what. He remembered how serious his father had been about family, how everyone looked out for each other. And Fíli kept his promise, looking out for both his mom and little brother. He wondered if his dad would be proud… Or disappointed that he followed in his footsteps and joined the army.
The longer he thought about it, more and more memories came rushing back, making his head spin and his chest ache. With a grunt he sat up, his arms still sore from the long drive and the adrenaline leaving his body, and he looked over at Lucy’s huddled form, trying his best to focus on her. 
She was safe. He kept his promise to her. 
But they got too damn close. The fact that neither of them got hurt during the shooting wasn’t because of his fast reflexes or his great driving skills, it was mostly because of luck. And since when did he count on being lucky? 
He prided himself on taking everything into account while on the job. On every mission, every stake-out, he considered everything. There were no surprises, always a plan B and a safe way out. 
So what the hell was going on with him now? 
It wasn’t his fault the gunman was waiting for them, he knew that. But he blamed himself for letting them get compromised at Lucy’s place. 
He should’ve been more careful, more strict with Lucy who was taking his rules too lightly at the time. 
Was he letting his emotions take over? This was exactly the sort of mistake that got you in trouble or worse. It became his father’s downfall and he swore he wouldn’t make the same mistake. He won’t make the same mistakes.
He let his head rest in his hands for a few moments before he got up to do another check on the windows. 
“Fili?” Lucy quietly called out from the bed, having heard him walking through the small cabin. 
“Mm?” he hummed from where he was ensuring the locks were secure on a window on the other side of the room. She should’ve been asleep long ago.
“I can’t sleep,” she paused, and he could sense her hesitation through the dark, “I’m scared.”
There it was. It didn’t surprise him. She should be scared after everything that happened today. He just didn’t know what else he could do about it.
“Would you mind lying with me?”
Oh. 
He rubbed the itchy stubble on his face, thinking how this could possibly cross a line in them having a professional relationship versus something more. A few minutes ago he had sworn not to make the same mistakes as his father and here he was genuinely considering doing what she asked him. 
“I-I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked,” Lucy stammered with embarrassment, bringing him out of his thoughts. 
He crossed the room to the bed, and without saying a word he climbed in beside her, opening his arms for her to rest her body in. He let go of the breath he’d been unknowingly holding and allowed his hands to relax against her back.
“Thank you,” she mumbled against his chest and within minutes she was sound asleep. 
Fili lay in the bed he had countless times before as a child, snuggled up beside Kili to keep warm on cold nights like this, only this time it was with Lucy. 
The exhaustion he felt was crippling, and he was fighting to stay awake. He could only remember a handful of times he had to force himself to not give in to the temptation of sleep, his eyelids heavy and his body warm from the weight of her against him almost forcing him to succumb. 
Instead of surrendering to sleep, he went over  the events of the day again. How could this innocent and kind-hearted woman who dreamt softly in his arms be the target of such horrible violence? Fili found himself no longer thinking of her as his task, his client to protect and defend. Of course she still was, but during these past weeks she became so much more to him. Someone tangible instead of statistics on a piece of paper, someone with real feelings and emotions whose life was being ripped apart before her eyes because of something she had nothing to do with. 
Lucy let out a contented sigh in her sleep and Fíli had to resist the urge to pull her even closer to his chest. That would definitely be crossing a line. 
He remembered how he felt when he thought she was injured after the shooting. It was a feeling he didn’t understand. Of course it was normal for him to feel worried, he was supposed to protect her, keep her safe, so if she had turned out to be shot, that would mean he failed his mission. 
But it hadn’t been just fears about failing a mission… he was afraid for her. 
He didn’t want anything to happen to her, not because it was his job, but because he didn’t want anything to happen to her. To Lucy. 
And that was new to him.
Maybe he’d spent too much time with her? How long has it been, a few weeks? They were getting used to each other, getting comfortable even. It would certainly explain why he felt differently towards her now. 
They were starting to become more like actual roommates. Maybe he had let his emotions take over...
But right now he didn’t need to worry about her. She was safe.
Freed from the sleazeball called Chad. Far away from the cartel and from any danger. Far away from the outside world even. She was safe, with him.
Those thoughts turned out to be enough to let him lose the battle against sleep and Fili closed his eyes.  She was safe.
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A/N: Let’s hope the cabin will be a lot safer for Lucy so they can have some peace and quiet!
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