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#so consider this merry appreciation hour
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"You will live to regret it, young fellow! Why didn't you go too? You don't belong here; you are no Baggins -you-you are a Brandybuck!"
"Did you hear that, Merry? That was an insult, if you like," said Frodo as he shut the door on her.
"It was a compliment," said Merry Brandybuck, "and so, of course, not true."
The fellowship of the ring, book I, chapter 1, A long-expected party, page 42.
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shannonplease · a month ago
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Hullo Hullo! This is my first ever bnharem collab piece and omg it put me through the *ringer.* 
@spaceywarlock​ drew the art for me to include in my banner. <3 pls show my bb some appreciate and love, mby drop her a follow or two cause she do be DRAWING a LOT.
Anyways, if you’d like to see other collab pieces from the lovely bnharem bb’s click here!
Summary: You’re on lunch break at work when you’re hit by a libido boosting quirk- leading you on a wild goose chase to find your boyfriend Hizashi. Pairing: Present Mic x f!Reader TW: Car Sex / Public Sex Word Count: 1.7k
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“Pick up, pick up, pick up!” Sweat clings to your brow as you impatiently tap your steering wheel. Your cellphone sits on your dashboard, attached to one of those smartphone mounts, with a picture of your long-term boyfriend flashing on the screen. The word “Ringing…” staring back at you, dauntingly, underneath his name.
Hizashi - LOUD MOUTH
You look like a downright mess; your blazer tossed into the backseat, grey button down shirt untucked with several buttons undone, nylon tights nowhere to be found- likely wadded up and definitely ripped apart inside of a bathroom trash can.
And you were currently weaving your way through traffic, hellbent on getting some dick.
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You see, it’s Friday; also known as your last work day of the week. It was your run of the mill, standard day, up until lunch time. Your company policy states that any employee on lunch hour is allowed to leave the premises if need be, which is exactly what you do every Friday. You considered it a… special occasion, something to look forward to, as you typically pack yourself a lunch from home. You went on your merry way to one of the many food places that you frequently visit for lunch time, and subsequently walked in on a robbery.
You, being the quirkless individual you are, simply put your hands up in immediate surrender when one of the wannabe villain-thugs turned their attention to you. There were three of them: one with a winged-mutation quirk, another with a quirk that gave him gun barrels for fingers, and the last one who looked like… a catboy? Ears, tails, human to a fault except for those features. But then the… catboy… hit you with a quirk- apparently his feline disposition wasn’t the only thing he had going for him. And by the time Heroes showed up to apprehend the robbers, you were -for a lack of a better word- flustered. Quickened heartbeat, blood pressure rose exponentially, your clothes suddenly felt too constricting and tight, and a fresh sheen of never-ending sweat clung to your brow. Honestly, your first reaction was to assume that the boy had a quirk that spontaneously caused heart attacks. But the EMT who checked over you, and the two other bystanders in the store who were showing similar symptoms, was informed by a policeman mid-check up that the boy’s quirk was listed as “LIBIDO BOOST.” And after a quick and embarrassing rundown of the quirk, as well as seeing the quirks effect on the apparently well-endowed male shop owner, you came to the conclusion that you were turned into a desperate, horny mess. Which led to you rushing back to work, excusing yourself for the rest of the day, and then a wild goose chase to somehow find a way to relieve yourself. Sadly, your first instinct was to call Hizashi- a man who never answers his damn cell phone.
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“You’ve reached the voicemail box of-” “Oh, come on!” As your call forwards to voicemail for the umpteenth time, you groan and smack your head against the steering wheel- resulting in a nice, long, satisfying honk of your car’s horn. And seeing as you’d just pulled into the parking garage attached to your condo, the sound is that much louder when it echoes throughout.
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Unbeknownst to you, your radio DJ hero of a lover just missed your last call by one whole minute. “Oh ho ho~! What’s this?” - He was still live, and the last song had just finished, so his voice was currently being broadcasted over both the internet and the radio. Since it was summertime, school was out of session, so Hizashi was back to his normal daily radio streaming. It’s a pity that your car was off, or you would have heard him; - “My sweet lady love just called me!” He hadn’t seen the amount of calls made, however. Too busy with focusing on his show, as he had just been doing some prank phone calls on listeners’ loved ones- the kinds where he would tell them that they won something weird or not real. “You should call her back, Mic! Prank her like old time’s sake!” An unnamed producer told him through his headphones. The producer wasn’t wrong, it has been a long time since Hizashi had brought you onto his show; something that used to be an almost daily occurrence before you got your job a few months ago. With a quick glance to the large LED clock on the wall, he sees that there’s still a few minutes left of your lunch hour;
“Sure! She should still be at lunch, so it’s a perfect opportunity!”
With a flick of his wrist, a dial tone met his ears, followed by a random sequence of various beeps to signal that your number was being called.
RING, RING, RI-
“Oh, thank god!” - Hizashi blinks a couple of times, taken aback by your breathless greeting. - “You will not believe the day I’ve had! Where are you, are you still at the studio?!”
“Uh,” - The joke he intends to make simply dies on his tongue. - “Yeah? I’m still here, we’re live-”
You’re quick to interrupt, unaware of the thousands of people listening live on the radio and internet;
“Just great! Look, I need you to get the hell out of there and come home, okay? There was this guy with this stupid quirk during lunch-”
And in classic Hizashi fashion, he interrupts you;
“Wait, you left work? Quirk? Slow down, slow down! Are you okay?!”
There’s a soft grunt on the other side of the line, which makes Hizashi’s hairs stand on end with panic- how hurt were you?!
“No, I’m not okay! This guy had a quirk called Libido Boost, like, are you kidding me?! What kind of subpar porno- ugh! Look, I need you to make up some kind of excuse and come home, okay? Nothing is working and I can’t find my fricken vibrator!!”
Pause.
“... Baby. You’re, uh- you’re on speaker.”
Another pause, as you quickly check to see if he means what you think he means- newsflash, he does.
“Oh my god, I hate you.”
And then the line goes dead as you end the call, resulting in him and his producers doubling over with laughter. You, however, are definitely not laughing- just contemplating your life’s choices that led you to this point.
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Fifteen minutes later, your phone rings. It’s Hizashi, of course. And you’re sprawled out on your couch, still in your work clothes but disheveled even more so: your semi-perfectly styled hair now messy, one leg propped up on the back of the couch with your skirt hiked up underneath your ass. Hell, you’d even tugged your panties off of one leg just in hopes that you could just… rub one out. But, no; of course it couldn’t be that easy. You needed Hizashi and you needed him ASAP. “Oh, sweetheart- I am so sorry! I didn’t read your texts before calling you back and I thought I could prank you like old times!” You find yourself staring at the wall, blinking slowly as you try to register what he’d just alluded to. “Why am I surprised? You- whatever. Just- please get home? This quirk is really messing with my head-” Then he says the magic words; “Oh, I’m pulling into the parking garage now! The perks of being the radio host, eh?” . .. … You immediately hang up the phone, leaving Hizashi momentarily dumbfounded as he continues to make his way to his designated parking spot.
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Of all the ways you’ve ever welcomed Hizashi home, this was by far the most surreal. As soon as he puts his car in park, he sees you stomping your way over across the smooth concrete. When he opens his door to question you and comment on your appearance, he finds your finger on his lips, shushing him. Your other hand splays over the center of his chest, pushing him back against the seat as much as possible, where you then climb directly into his lap. One leg swings over the other, effectively straddling him, and your skirt shimmies up your thighs to bunch up under your ass.
“Woah! Yono, wait a second-”
His words die on his tongue as your mouth immediately captures his in a heated kiss, with your hands darting up to bury in his somewhat loose, golden locks. Since he wasn’t on Hero Duty today, he wore his hair in a simple messy bun: one of your favorites. When his hair is nice and pliant, easy to pull and tug, is when you have the best sex. Your devious intentions are clear and straightforward; you couldn’t wait any longer, you needed him now. 
And with the way you keep rubbing yourself on him, his cock can’t help but stir to life beneath you. With his cock straining against the zipper of his pants,, it’s when you let out a particularly whiny moan in his mouth that he realizes your panties are only holding onto one leg- leaving the space between your thighs completely bare. He ruts up into you, relishing in the way the bulge in his pants bumps into your wet cunt.
Between the passionate and messy kisses, his wandering hands that just can’t help but squeeze at the meat of your ass, and the temperature clearly rising the longer you and him stay in the damned car, one thing was clear; you wanted to be fucked right here and now.
He quickly grabs a fistful of your hair right at the base of your skull, pulling you back just enough so that his breath fans out over your parted, whining lips;
“If you’re dead set on getting fucked in this car, pretty girl, you gotta be quiet. We don’t wanna host a public show now, do we?”
You nod frantically, quirk-intensified desperation and arousal clouding your judgment. His piercing green eyes glow with mirth before they darken with sexual intent; “Well then,” his pants are quickly shimmied down past his knees, dark magenta boxers pushed down just enough for his hard throbbing cock to spring free and smack against your lower abdomen; “Start riding.”
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weepingvoidpenguin · a month ago
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One of Your Favorites
Jealous Bucky x Reader
Summary: You have an objective. Get Rumlow to confess. Simple enough, right? No. Aside from his usual condescending attitude towards you, Bucky has made it extremely apparent that he doesn’t think you’re capable of - well, anything, but especially not handling Rumlow. And yet, he is the biggest challenge of this entire ordeal.
Warning: T R I G G E R WARNING!! ATTEMPTED SA, DRUGS, language, light smut. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT READ IF SA WILL TRIGGER YOU. 
Word Count: 8.3k
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   “We have good intel stating he’s working as a double agent for HYDRA. Selling information, exploiting tactics, even going so far as to tell them where we’ll be and when.” Natasha scanned the room, making sure she had everyone’s attention during the briefing. 
   You slouched back in your swivel chair and twisted to-and-fro slightly with your hands gripping the arm rests on either side. It took all of your willpower to act engrossed in her words. And you meant every single drop. You’d been paying attention, sure, but the only issue was the dominating presence two seats to your right and directly in your line of sight to Natasha. You rolled your chair to the left to clear the path for the third time, only for him to block your way without missing a beat. The growl that left your mouth was nearly involuntary. Nearly.
   How long would this man act like a child? Despite his graceful and seemingly unsuspecting movements, you were fully aware his placement was intentional. This was not the first, nor did you doubt that it would be the last, time that Bucky acted impudently toward you. Frankly, you’d grown bored of his behavior. It was the same thing everyday. He would act a nuisance during the briefings, speak over you whenever he had the chance, steal the limelight from you and invalidate any concerns or thoughts you shared. The whole charade grew tiring and he had been dancing on thin ice for months now.
   You averted your gaze from burning holes through the freshly washed, brown locks and switched your attention back up to the redhead. Thankfully, too, because you managed to catch the end of her sentence just as she locked eyes with you.
   “And that’s why Y/N is going to be the one to extract the information from him,” she finished.
   You blinked, “Wait, what?” 
   Bucky straightened his posture and threw a quick glance your way, “Yeah, what? She’s got no heat, couldn’t toast marshmallows if we gave her all day. She shouldn’t lead this, she wouldn’t know how,”
   “Well, tonight might be a good time to start learning, then,” Steve chimed in, throwing a wink your way. You smiled and appreciated his aid, not because you needed it but because at this point, you were seething and if you opened your mouth to defend yourself this meeting would go south, quickly. Luckily, Steve always believed you were capable of a great deal of things and knew you strove for more experience so any opportunity to lead or expand was one he thought you should take. 
   “Besides,” Tony spoke up, twirling a platinum pen between his fingers from across the table, “our little double-agent has always had the hots for Y/N so unless you’re gonna be the one to bat your eyelashes at him and get him alone in a room, Mr. Barnes, we have to use his own flaws against him.” He turned to face you and held up a hand, “Not to say that liking you is a flaw, you’re great Hot-Stuff but exploiting him is our best option indefinitely,”
   “Do I have to seduce him?” You huffed, crossing your arms over your chest and raising a brow towards Nat, trying your damned hardest to avoid the unmistakable glare the brown-haired super soldier was sending your way. 
   “The only thing you have to do is extract any information on him that you can. Get him a little drunk, catch him in a slip-up or two, take note of any inconsistent stories and be on your merry way,” she reassured, “How you manage to do that is up to you,”
   “Ooh, extortion,” Clint chirped up from the far back corner, his hands rubbing together maliciously around an arrow he pulled from his sheathe, something you noticed he did a lot when he was uninterested; be it a person, mission, or conversation.
   “No. Not extortion,” Steve shut it down and you chuckled at how Clint’s countenance fell into one of disappointment. 
   “Not yet anyway,” Natasha mumbled and you sighed as she walked around the room and handed each of you a folder with your individual objectives inside.
   “But he’s such a pervert,” you grumbled.
   “All the easier,” 
~
   The rest of the day was drudged with Nat while she taught the pertinence of body language (both yours and theirs), verbal ruses, and overall ensnarement. You bat your eyelashes until you were certain you would catch enough wind to fly away, smirked enough that your cheeks began to ache and raised your eyebrows ‘til you felt the impending wrinkles on your forehead. By the end of the drill you weren’t sure you were even going to make it to the company party from the migraine creeping its way on.
   “How’s the bait coming along?” His voice alone caused you to roll your eyes but you paid no mind while you rubbed at your temples and stood up alongside Natasha.
   “She’s not gonna be able to lie to me any time soon but she can flirt her way to whatever she wants,”
   “Benefits of targeting a narcissistic misogynist, they don’t think anyone can fool them.” Tony belted as he sauntered into the room with strawberries, offering them out to you while he munched on one.
   “She’ll still mess it up,” Bucky countered, “Make someone else do it,”
   You plucked the fruit off Tony’s tray and examined it, trying to figure out whether you were going to consume it or use it as a weapon.
   “I really appreciate your words of encouragement, James. Unfortunately, they’re not wanted, nor are they needed.” You bit into the fruit and glided towards the door, looking over your shoulder at the super soldier, “So unless you actually have something to contribute, I suggest you stay the hell out of my way while I get the job done,”
   Nat walked out behind you and handed you a tiny, skin-colored device meant to conceal itself and you placed it in your ear. 
   “The conversation is gonna be recorded so we can catch any inconsistencies. We’ll all be able to hear what you’re saying so tread on delicate waters but don’t be afraid to shake mountains if you have to,”
   You nodded and opened your door for her to enter your room knowing she’d want to help you get ready for the event. Natasha, shocking as it turns out, enjoys company while preparing for events. She would much prefer to be surrounded by people than be alone. You never had gall to ask her why that is. Or maybe you respected her too much to ask.
   An hour had passed, maybe two, but you enjoyed the silence between you both. There was no need to fill the empty quiet when it was so comfortable and welcoming. You two spoke without words at times and that was probably your favorite personal skill. Eventually, there came a knock on your door and you opened to find Wanda with her flat iron and make-up bag in tow. It’d long since been decided that your room was the gathering center.
   Wanda helped you finish touching up your outfit and you waited on your bed while they finished getting ready. Nat occasionally quizzed you on certain situations and how you should act depending on the tones and moods of the conversation. You tried to explain that you didn’t have difficulty reading a room but Nat tested you all the same. 
   “And if he puts his hand on your thigh?” She called out from your bathroom.
   “Then he loses it,” you practically sang in response.
   You were met with a flying hairbrush and laughed at the onslaught.
   “You’re not the only one with that mentality,” Wanda called out as well, her iron glossing over thin strands of hair.
   “Nat knows I can handle myself.” You sat up on the bed and went over to your closet to collect your favorite pair of shoes to go along with the formal attire Nat selected for tonight. “What a coincidence that we happen to have a company party the same night we have to extract information,” you hollered over your shoulder, moving aside terribly worn shoes while you scoured for the pair you had in mind.
   “This objective has been in the works for weeks now,” Nat released the tendril of hair from around the barrel and pinned it to her head so it could cool.
   “Wow, thanks for the heads up, then.” You gripped the desired pair and placed them beside your nightstand for later.
   “The plan wasn’t solid until we knew for a fact that Rumlow was coming. It’s a company party so it’s not mandatory but once he heard you were making an appearance, it didn’t take very much persuading,”
   You rolled your eyes and plopped back down on your mattress, “He’s so annoying, I doubt I can hold much of a conversation with him,”
   “Take a shot or two to ease your nerves, if he sees you drinking it’ll put him at ease too. He’ll be more inclined to drink,” Natasha recommended. “But don’t act too out of character. If you were always curt and short with him and suddenly you start acting over-friendly, he may get suspicious. He’s an idiot but he’s a paranoid one,”
   You nodded, taking a mental note to have a half-empty bottle in your grasp when Rumlow arrives. If he thinks you’ve already been drinking, he might also consider catching up. 
   “Y/N? Not uptight for once?” Wanda sarcastically questioned. “I can’t picture it,”
   “Oh, fuck off,” you grumbled and in turn received laughter from the two girls. “Besides, of all of us I’m by far the least uptight. Barnes takes the cake for that one,”
   There was a beat of silence that you didn’t register before you were met with a response.
   “Ya know, he’s not as bad as you paint him out to be.” Nat unpinned the curl from her head and moved on to the next section, “He’s got some serious loyalty and always willing to volunteer first for everything,”
   You lifted your head to stare at her reflection through the mirror, “What are you talking about? He’s annoying and irate and lacks a filter,”
   “Mmm, irate isn’t the word I would use,” Wanda countered, looking over to Natasha.
   Nat shook her head in response, “I’d lean more towards . . . over-protective,” 
  “Much better,” Wanda agreed.
   You squinted your eyes at their image and felt the corners of your lips turn downwards, “Over-protective? Since when are you two defending Barnes?”
   “We’re not defending him, per say.” Wanda glanced over to Nat, “We’re just trying to give you a fresh perspective,” 
   “You could give me a brand new pair of eyes and I’d still see him the same,” you retorted, now leaning on your elbows due to the strain on your neck. 
   They ignored the comment, “And he’s only annoying to you,”
   “You’re telling me he doesn’t annoy you at all?” You asked, an eyebrow raised.
   “More like . . . he doesn’t go out of his way to mess with us.” Nat applied a nude color onto her lips.
   “So you agree that he goes out of his way to irritate me,” you stated rather than asked.
   “That’s been made very apparent,” Wanda responded. “But you have to wonder why,”
   You huffed a little and sprawled back out on the bed just to result in staring at the ceiling above. If you looked hard enough your mind would create pictures from the chaos of the cracks and shapes began to form. Sometimes, when the night lay still and life seemed to dwindle at the edges of your reality, you could swear a familiar face fashioned together and your imagination ran wild with the images you’d see. Some that brought a warmth to your cheeks even now. 
   You shot up out of bed and shook the memories from your vision. Ugh. He haunts you even when he’s not actively tormenting you. How he’s managed to crawl his way so deeply within your skin you had no idea but you fought for control of your thoughts whenever you caught them slipping into that hellhole.
   “Or slipping into euphoria,” Wanda chimed in.
   “Wanda!” You scolded, crossing your arms, “Euphoria my ass,”
   “Yeah, he thinks so too,” she continued and you chucked the abandoned hairbrush back their way. 
   “Stay out of my head,” you jokingly sniped at her but was met with a low chuckle.
   “I didn’t even have to be in your head to know what you were thinking of,” Nat defended and caught your weapon of choice.
   “Are you guys done yet?” You rolled your eyes and stretched yourself out before swiping up the pair of heels you’d chosen and sliding them onto your feet.
   “Why? Are you in a hurry to see a certain someone?” Natasha teased and Wanda let out an eruption of laughter.
   “All right, I’m done.” You made a beeline for the door and threw it open, “Lock up when you’re finished!” You bellowed over your shoulder and made your way to the top floor of the building where all the parties are typically held.
   You didn’t run into anyone on the way up and you used that time to calm yourself, prying inch by inch away from the invasive thoughts that called for you in the darkest hours of the night. But, then again, maybe those tormenting thoughts weren’t that bad? You mean, he certainly IS handsome, very much so actually. And he has the most knee-wobbling smirk you’d ever come to know, not to mention those little tricks he does with his knives always manage to entrance you. God, did he know how to use a knife. 
   On more than one occasion had you caught yourself staring at how his hands encapsulated the hilt of the blade. How they clenched and relaxed, drawing out some of the more prominent veins on one of the extremities; of course, you were even more so enticed by the hand he hid as well. You’d imagined what it felt like to have such strong hands grip onto your thighs and coax you into spreading them open with just a few teasing touches here and there. You couldn’t fathom the front you’d put up would last very long, he was stellar at pulling reactions from you. He’d see you break under his caresses and he’d degrade you like he always did but this time it’d emit a different response from you, one that made you whimper and shake. At that, he’d probably call you a good girl, he definitely seems the type to switch between degradation and praise, and would press his mouth up just where you wanted it the most. You’d try your hardest to be quiet but damn the way that tongue moved against you and the way he’d pull you harder against his face at each sound of pleasure you let slip past your lips. He’d enjoy it, too. Eyes closed as he devours you, he likes to put on a show for you to watch. Give you a memory that’ll slick your thighs later that night if he hadn’t fucked you into a coma by then. He’d make you watch him and if you dared to close your eyes you’d earn a firm, cold smack on your ass. He knows you like when he uses temperature play. He growls a little too, he can’t help his innate behavior. Then, just as the accumulation is coming to its apex he’d pull away abruptly and kiss you straight on your mouth so you can taste yourself and that’d earn him another whimper which would result in another smack that leads to that cold metal trailing its way to your core and just as he pushes the tip of his finger inside-
   You cough and straighten your posture as the elevator door opens. When had you leaned up against the back wall of the elevator? Oh Gods, you could feel the slick at the apex of your thighs and you squeezed them together as inconspicuously as you could in fear that you were producing a . . . scent that would be rather difficult to conceal. But the slick only grew worse when you locked eyes with the person stepping into the elevator.
   Fuck.
   “That’s what you chose to wear?” He asked, a certain venom in his tone that immediately calmed the ache in your heat.
   “And what would you have me wear instead, Barnes?” You quipped back, your body facing forward as he took his place beside you in the cramped space.
   There was a beat of silence. Then another. “Not that,” he responded.
   “Well I’ll make sure to ask you next time since you have such impeccable taste,” you retorted, your eyes yet to abandon the sight of the closing doors.
   You weren’t sure of all the effects of the Super Soldier Serum that had been injected into Bucky and all that it heightened but you prayed to any God that would listen that his hearing wasn’t one of those things. You were too preoccupied with attempting to settle the hot pulse beating between your legs to worry about how loud your discomfort came across.
   “What do you look so nervous about?” Bucky’s gruff voice prodded. “You can’t possibly be nervous about the mission considering how big-headed you are,”
   You took a deep, long breath and held it to soothe you. Had you not been so previously preoccupied, you’d have given him hell for the insult. “I’m not nervous about that,” you sniped and rested back against the cool wall to satiate your burning skin before lifting your gaze to him only to find him already examining you.
   “Of course not, I just said that,” he retorted, bringing a gloved hand to his face to rub along his jaw, “there’s obviously nothing for you to worry about,”
   You scoffed, “And why is that, Barnes?” Cue the dramatic crossing of your arms. 
   “You’re smarter than Rumlow and significantly better trained. Overall, he really doesn’t hold a candle to your ability,” He paused for a second, his whole frame tensing until he remembered to relax, “But that’s not really saying much considering it’s Rumlow,” 
   You hadn’t noticed you raised your eyebrows until you felt your face fall, “Ah, there he is. You had me worried there for a second, Barnes. Thought you might actually try something new and display common decency for once,”
   A corner of his mouth turned up subtly and he shook his head. You trailed your gaze down to his hidden hand and stared long enough to burn a hole through the fabric.
   “If something’s bothering you, Dollface, go ahead and speak up,” 
   You weren’t sure what possessed you to say anything, especially knowing how touchy the subject was for him but the words left your mouth anyway, “I don’t know why you insist on hiding yourself,”
   He lurched his head back, your statement seeming to have a physical affect on the man and you mentally slapped yourself for saying anything.
   “I’m not hiding myself,”
   “But you are,” you interrupted, your thoughts coming out in pools of candor, “you aren’t your hand. You aren’t your past. You are you. Presently. You’re not the Winter Soldier anymore. That’s not even the same hand you had back then. It’s not tainted and neither are you. I say drop the gloves,”
   “And why would I care about what you say?” He growled, his eyebrows furrowed together and his neck tight in potential restraint.
   The elevator dinged and you looked towards the opening doors, “You don’t have to but they don’t look right with your suit either.” You walked through the exit and sauntered over to the others who had already gotten the party started, leaving Bucky dumb-founded behind you. “I need a shot,”
   “Already ready,” Tony quipped up, holding the small glass in the air for everyone to behold before bringing his cheek to yours in mock welcoming, “This’ll up your tolerance for the next hour, try to get all your drinking done within that time-frame,”
   You pulled away with a warm smile after faux kissing his cheek, “Finally!” you displayed and threw the liquid back in one swift motion, your face scrunching together against your will.
   “Yeah, she’s got a kick to her,” he mumbled and handed you a fruity drink to chase it down with. 
   You went around and said hi to everyone as you recognized most of those present. You made small chatter with those lesser known and drank the liquid in your hand significantly quicker than you’d like to. You excused yourself after you finished the drink and walked over to the bar, scanning the room as you were handed another glass. No Rumlow in sight.
   You headed towards the foosball table and gripped the handles after setting the beverage down on the counter beside you. You flinched as a reflection of light caught your eye and at first you thought your glass was the source. Until your eyes fixated on the reflection’s actual origin. To your far right, and up a few steps you found Bucky conversing with Steve, a dull light emitting from his hand. Not a glove in sight.
   “So, where’s your boyfriend?” Sam inquired when he filled the opposing spot.
   You rolled your eyes, “Bucky’s not my boyfriend,”
   “Bucky?” Sam’s tone chirped up teasingly, a knowing look wearing on his face.
   Your grip tightened around the handles and you slowly pulled away to throw the little white ball through the circle, your hands immediately twisting the miniscule players around. Your eyes shot back and forth, your sight never leaving the darting sphere. Sam still managed to win the first point.
   “Ha!” He shouted in triumph, bringing his finger up as if to scold you, “Don’t think you got away with that comment either, Y/N,”
   “What comment?” you questioned and gulped most of your drink before slamming it back down on the table.
   You heard your earpiece come to life with quiet static and you tried to keep your face masked. Rumlow had entered. Not a surprise either, the party was finally starting to pick up now.
   Sam threw the ball in and you turned the players meticulously this time, brute strength hadn’t helped you earlier so maybe you should take it slow. Steve made his way over to the table and threw his drink back, the liquid trickling down the side of his face before he wiped it away. Sam won the second point.
   “I play winner,” Tony chimed, standing beside Steve.
   You made a point to catch up and now you two were tied at three each. 
   “Best out of five?” You proposed, quirking an eyebrow at Sam.
   “If you didn’t want to play anymore you could’ve just said that,” he teased and you smirked at him as Tony made a subtle show of handing you another drink and you finished your second. “Loser takes two shots?”
   “Deal.” You nodded, knowing you didn’t have much of a choice as a small crowd began to form around you two. Rumlow amongst them. 
   Your jaw dropped when Sam shot the ball directly into your goal as soon as he’d let the ball go.
   “What the fuck?” You shouted, “No fair! That doesn’t count!”
   Thor erupted in laughter to your right and you blinked slowly, staring at the gargantuan man. 
   “It most certainly does,” Sam shouted back, his grin practically touching his ears.
   “Sam, take it easy on her,” Bucky muttered from beside him, quickly averting his gaze from yours and his expression loosened, “The brat hates losing,”
   “Brat?” You snarled.
   Bucky took a swig of his beer, watching you the entire time and you reeled back the fire beginning to form in your chest just to bring your drink up to your lips and chug the entire thing down. You handed it over to Tony who left to replace it. 
   “Last point,” Sam stated, “It’s not too late to quit now,”
   You shook your head and blinked away the feign distortion you were supposed to have. “Just play the ball,”
   “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he teased and threw the ball in. 
   You wanted to win. Desperately. But you had a character to play tonight and she was supposed to be drunk. So you hit your hand against the corner of the table just as Sam happened to make the winning point. You grumbled and threw him a glare when Tony broke through the crowd.
   “Coming through,” he shouted, handing two small glasses to you while you gripped your knuckles in pain. “Noooo, you’re not getting out of taking these. C’mon, take your punishment,”
   “Yes, Daddy,” you grumbled and cringed at your own words when the realization hit you. Whatever. You were supposed to be drunk, anyway. 
   “Daddy?” Tony quipped and pulled the drinks back towards himself, “Maybe you should be cut off,”
   “What?” You argued, leaning slightly on the table with your hand and snatching the drinks from Tony’s hold, effectively spilling some on yourself. “See?” You lifted up the half empty shot glass, “This barely counts as a shot,”
   “I’ll get her a new one,” Rumlow offered and disappeared before anyone could argue. 
   “She really doesn’t need another-” Bucky tried to interject and take the shots from you but you twisted around and chugged down the one full glass.
   Water.
   You looked up at Tony and his smirk was barely noticeable. But you could tell. Bucky nearly ripped the other drink from you but Tony blocked his path and you exaggerated your next drink as Rumlow broke back into the crowd, shot in tow.
   “Here.” Rumlow’s calloused hand held the drink up above you and you stared at him with a questioning look. “Open,” he ordered and the fire burning in your chest fought to destroy everything in its vicinity. You bit your lip in refrain but tossed your head back and opened your mouth.
   Static broke over your earpiece. Don’t drink that! Wanda’s voice erupted.
   Your eyes widened as the liquid made its way down but you coughed hard to stop whatever you could. 
   Why? Steve’s voice came through right after.
   You choked on the liquid and shut your eyes at the way it burned its way down. You reached your hand out to grab someone’s drink to ease the burning and grasped a tall glass and tossed it back. The burning didn’t ease up and you felt a hand rest on your back.
   “Are you okay?” Rumlow’s voice rang out and your skin nearly recoiled from the contact, “How about we get you some water?”
   You looked up at him when the burning subsided minimally and nodded your head, letting him lead the way to the bar. He parted the crowd and someone took step right behind you to follow when the presence suddenly died out abruptly. You turned around to check who it had been and found no one.
   Why? Steve asked again.
   Where’s Wanda? Bruce broke through.
   You lifted your head and flitted your gaze around the room until you found the familiar Sokovian on the couch, laying down with her eyes closed. You pulled away from Rumlow but his grip on your hand tightened and his steps grew in haste. You whirled your head to yell at him but the way the room swayed with the movement cause you to shut your mouth in surprise. 
   Didn’t Tony say you would have a higher tolerance?
   “Couch...” you muttered, pointing over your shoulder just in case your target was curious enough to ask but the message was delivered.
   Rumlow hoisted you up onto the bar stool and stood on your open side, using his body to keep you from falling over. Or to cage you in.
   “I don’t feel good,” You rested an elbow on the countertop and held your head up.
   “I can’t imagine you would. You’ve been chugging those drinks like they’re water.” Despite that, Rumlow motioned to the bartender and asked for two more.
   You giggled and your head lulled forward with the action. You let Rumlow catch you from tumbling over. Why did your body feel so heavy? Not to mention the way everything around you dazed about. You couldn’t catch a single action, let alone attempt to read Rumlow’s body language. But you did happen to notice the way his eyes searched the room before coming back to you.
   “You okay?” You rested your forearm against his chest and pushed slightly to allow yourself a better view of his face.
   A small smirk, “Am I okay? What about you?”
   You smacked your lips and brought the ice cold glass to your lips. That’s not water. “I’m doing reeaalllyy good,” you drawled.
   Rumlow chuckled and pushed you deeper into the chair, “I can tell.” He took a sip, his attention never faltering from your body, “Just be sure to pace yourself from here on out,”
   You made a show of cocking your head to the side and letting a smile sprawl onto your face as you studied him. 
   “What?” he questioned, a curious lift in his brow.
   You shook your head gently and kept your gaze on him over the brim of your glass, “You’re just . . . not what I was expecting,”
   “And what were you expecting?” 
   Don’t forget to bat your eyelashes. “Worse,”
   “Sorry to disappoint,” he jeered, his attention once again cast throughout the room before centering back on you.
   You followed his action but quickly came to the conclusion that moving any pace faster than a sloth was going to make you nauseous and you could barely keep a thought together. Your stomach began to rise in your chest and the fear seized your throat shut. Why couldn’t you hold onto a thought for longer than a second? It was like you were aware of your lack of consciousness but could do nothing about it because any thought or bout of panic phased through just as soon as it arrived.
   “What are you so tense for, Rumlow? You know you’re not currently on the clock, right?” You teased, your head leaning on your shoulder as you spoke.
   He brought his drink up to his lips and finished it off in three gulps, “I’m not tense. It’s just hard to turn it off sometimes,”
   You nodded slowly and pushed your drink towards him, “Relax. You know everyone here,”
   He shook his head and placed your drink back in front of you before asking for another beer.
   “And two shots!” You shouted to the bartender, throwing two of your fingers high up and instantly regretting how fast you’d done it.
   “Are you trying to get me drunk?” He asked you, a side smirk beginning to form.
   You placed your finger over your lips and hushed, “Shh, I won’t tell if you don’t.” You dragged your lower lip down and his eyes fixated to commit the scene to memory. “Besides, I always feel dumb if I’m the only one drunk,”
   He motioned to the rest of the party, “Believe me, Sugar, you’re not the only one enjoying yourself,”
   “But are you?” 
   “Am I what?” 
   “Enjoying yourself?” 
   Your skin crawled when he placed his rough hand on your barren thigh, “Absolutely,”
   Don’t forget what you’re here for. Don’t let the objective slip. Gods, how the fuck were you supposed to retain anything when you were so sleepy? And why was it so warm?
   “Hot,” you mumbled, fishing around in your glass for an ice cube to rub on your face.
   “Thank you,”
   You threw your head back in laughter and nearly earned yourself an up-close and personal view of the floor had Rumlow not wrapped an arm around your waist and held you steady. Once he was certain you weren’t going to toss yourself onto the ground, he parted your legs and stood between them to keep you rooted to your seat.
   All the movement had you spinning and you white-knuckled Rumlow’s cotton shirt to keep yourself grounded to something, anything. Red warning lights were firing up in your chest and you tensed with the way your body buckled to the panic coursing through you. Your heart pounded in your ears and danced across your skin, lighting it on fire and making the room too stuffy to bear. Please, no. Not now. Focus. Snap out of it. Come back, stay back. Your breathing hitched and you looked down at the sensation crawling its way up higher on your thigh. Too hot. Everything was too hot, if you didn’t get out of this now you would never-
   “Vision!” You cheered, happy to see your friend.
   The presence on your thigh recoiled slightly.
   “I’m taking Wanda to her room, seems she’s had a bit too much to drink,” Vision informed and you’d only just then noticed the body in his hold.
   “Wanda!” You smiled, admiring her peaceful features as she slept in his arms. You poked at her cheek then jerked your gaze back up to Vision. “What? Wanda doesn’t drink,”
   She’s not acting, Sam’s voice erupted in your ear and you flinched at the sound. 
   Vision’s eyes went from you to Rumlow then back to you slowly, “Y/N . . . are you okay?”
   You beamed at him and slowly brought up your thumb. “Good,” you responded.
   You followed Vision’s gaze back up to Rumlow and smiled at the agent beside you. You guess he’s kind of cute. In a strange, unsettling way.
   “She’s had a lot to drink, so we’re just trying to slow down the pace. Aren’t we, Y/N?” Rumlow looked down at you.
   You nodded fervently, “Yup!” 
   Vision hesitated but knew he didn’t pose much of a threat with Wanda in his arms unconscious, so he quirked a smile and walked towards the hall.
   Someone get to Y/N, something’s not right, Vision ordered and you lifted your head up to find him. You could have sworn he just left.
   “Here.” Rumlow handed you a glass, “Drink this, it’ll cool you down,” 
   You stared at the glass in his hold and looked up at him, “You drink it first,” you slurred, holding your finger up at him.
   He cocked his head to the side but took a swig of the drink and you watched it go down his throat. You shrugged and grabbed at it.
   Do not drink that, Nat ordered from somewhere and you looked around in wonder at who she was yelling to.
   Bucky, Sit down! Steve growled.
   Like hell, responded a voice you knew all too well.
   Your smile grew and you looked through the crowd, “Bucky!” You feverishly called, completely expecting to see him before you. Rumlow’s head lifted instantly, his eyes scouring the area.
   “I’ve got this, Pretty Boy,” Tony hastily spoke, “How ya doin’, Hot Stuff?” He interrogated and you reeled at the tone.
   “Quite well, thank you,” you responded tenaciously and attempted to take a swig of the drink in your grasp.
   Tony’s hand shot out and covered the top, slamming the cup back down on the counter and effectively getting the drink all over your dress.
   “What the fuck?” You tried to shout but the words came out heavy and required too much energy to speak.
   “You’ve had enough for tonight,”
   “It’s just water,” Rumlow defended but Tony paid him no mind.
   Your jaw dropped open and you glared at the older man. Who the hell did he think he was? Tony’s stare burned through your skull and despite your irritation, you couldn’t help but wonder why he was so pissed.
   “Are you mad at me?” You drawled, lulling your head to the side.
   “No,” he responded curtly. 
   “Am I being too loud or something?” You pushed. You couldn’t imagine you were any louder than any other drunken bastard at this party.
   “No,”
   Get her out of there or I swear to God I will, his voice hissed into your ear.
   Your eyebrows rose slightly in excitement, “Mmm, Bucky,” you smiled and Tony nodded.
   “’Mmm, Bucky’ is right. Wanna go see him?” Tony offered, sticking out his hand for you to take.
   You fell forward into Rumlow’s chest but shook your head furiously none the less, “For what? So he can tell me I’m horrendous at my-”
   Oh shit. Your job. The job.
   If only your body didn’t feel so heavy and your mind so light.
   You pushed off Rumlow’s chest and glared at Tony, “I can handle myself,” you insisted, a new sort of sober tone making its way through that caused him to do a once-over. “I know what I’m doing,”
   “How many drinks have you had?” Tony challenged and you fell silent.
   Then you felt a tap, and another and a few more.
   “Six,” You said, hoping you’d counted right.
   Tony, don’t you even fucking consider it, Bucky threatened.
   “You could at least change, recuperate and then come back,” Tony offered and you sighed a breath of relief before nodding.
   “Deal,” you agreed, “I’m hot anyway,”
   Tony gave you one last glance before turning around and blending into the crowd on the other end of the room.
   You looked up to Rumlow who’s gaze was still locked on the sea of people, “Don’t you wish you’d taken that shot now?” you tried to jeer, every last word bringing you deeper and deeper.
   “Are they always that intense?” He questioned, not turning his attention to you.
   “They can be over-bearing,” you admitted, hand grabbing the water from earlier and pressing it up against your forehead, “They consider me the baby so they’re always criticizing and suffocating until I just wished they’d disappear.” You took a gulp, “Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the family and I like that I have a cause but . . . they don’t let me do anything. It’s exhausting,”
   You let out a long breath and smeared the condensation from the glass onto your chest. Rumlow studied you then, not just your body but your reaction. He was watching how you dropped your shoulders at the confession and how you faced your back to them to block them out. 
   You plastered your torso on the countertop and tried to slow your heartrate down. You couldn’t be the only one here unfathomably hot.
   “Why is it so fucking hot?” You questioned, fanning yourself weakly.
   “There are a lot of people around,” Rumlow offered, “how about we go somewhere else? Tony did say you had to change,”
   You peered up at him through half-lidded eyes and meekly groaned in compliance. “Fine,”
   You lifted yourself away from the counter and gently placed your feet on the floor. You’d touched the ground faster than anticipated. Had the ground always been so close?
   “Don’t worry, I gotcha.” Rumlow threw an arm around your waist and helped you trudge towards the elevator.
   Where the hell are you going? Bucky yelled and the sound of shuffling could be heard from his end.
   We can’t let you leave with Rumlow, Y/N. We’re not even sure you’re acting anymore, Sam stated.
   Rumlow pressed the button when you couldn’t muster the strength to do it yourself. The level that your room was on lit up and the doors began closing. You thought you saw Rumlow wave at someone but the mock smile on his face didn’t make it seem like a warm good-bye.
   Your legs had all but given out by the time the elevator reached your shared floor. 
   “Heavy,” you muttered, letting Rumlow carry your weight fully.
   “I know, Sugar. We’re almost there,” he soothed and you conceded to the fatigue wearing you down.
   Your head hung low and your arm dangled uselessly at your side. The familiar sound of your door sliding open caught your attention but you did nothing. You couldn’t. 
   “How . . . know . . . my room?” You questioned, each word causing you to pull from an empty well of energy.
   “I’ve been here before.” Rumlow tossed you onto the bed and sprawled you out.
   “Oh. Ok.” You tried to turn on to your side but strong hands gripped down onto your ankles.
   Rumlow sighed and slipped the heels off your feet, examining the pair like he wanted to wear them. You extended your feet until you felt every muscle in your leg stretch to its capacity and let out a groan of pleasure at the release. Those shoes hurt so bad.
   “You seem . . . intelligent, Y/N.” Rumlow dropped your shoes onto the floor and slithered to the side of your bed, standing beside it with his hands tucked into his pockets.
   A bead of sweat trickled down your forehead, “Hot . . .” you croaked and he nodded.
   “You’re right. It is getting kind of hot.” He brought a hand up to his neck and ripped off the tie hanging around it.
   Get the fuck out of my way, a growl erupted in your ear.
   We’re going with you, Buck, Steve responded before knocking something over.
   “So, what I have a hard time understanding is. . . why you’re here?” 
   You groaned a weak ‘huh’ but even that didn’t sound right.
   “You’re good at what you do, you finish every mission successfully and yet you’re underappreciated.” He took a seat at the foot of your bed and placed one of your legs into his lap, “Why do you allow them to treat you like that? We wouldn’t,”
   The shuffling in your earpiece halted.
   “We?” 
   He began to massage your calf and brought your knee up to his lips, peppering light kisses on it. “We could use someone with your skillset, babe. We’d take real good care of you,”
   The shuffling started again.
   Rumlow had made his way onto your thigh at this point and you let out an involuntary moan when he skimmed over a delicate part on your inner knee.
   “Ya like that?” he questioned but didn’t wait for a response. He brought a hand up to his temple and grabbed the earpiece. You figured he just hadn’t taken it out from his earlier shift but when he pulled it apart, you understood why he always kept it on him.
   “Flash . . . drive earpiece?” Your weak tone tilted a little. “W-why tell . . .”
   “I figured I’d give you the option to leave since you seem so . . . suffocated. If you said yes tonight then I would remind you tomorrow. If you didn’t,” he chuckled, “well, you wouldn’t remember anyway.” His hands trailed to your mid-thigh and you squeaked. “I’m impressed though, I’ve never given anyone else as much as I’ve given you tonight. The drug usually works so quickly on others, but not you. It’s kind of hot, actually,”
   Sick fuck, Natasha growled through a ragged breath.
   The world around you was slow or maybe it was you that was slow? You couldn’t tell, honestly. But when Rumlow moved as if he could predict your actions before you could make them, you wondered whether you were moving at all.
   “Don’t worry, it’ll be over soon,” Rumlow sighed.
   You shook your head, or thought you did but despite the way your body was live-wired, it remained still against all desire. 
   Fight. Move. 
   You managed to push your legs shut but his hand slithered between and spread them open similar to opening a door, but this required much less force.
   “Kill,” You threatened and the sinister smile that crawled its way onto Rumlow’s face was vile enough to sink your heart into your stomach.
   “Kill is fucking right.” Someone snarled and your door was ripped from its hinges.
   Rumlow’s hand jerked away from your body and Bucky seized his open palm, intertwining their fingers and pushing Rumlow’s so far back that they touched the back of his own hand. The cracks were sickening onto themselves but had you not been so weak you would’ve turned from the sight altogether. You really couldn’t fathom how his fingers were still attached at all.
   “Lay another hand on her and you won’t be able to use it again.” Bucky spit.
   Despite Rumlow’s pain, the sinister smile remained sprawled on his face, “You should’ve heard the noises she made,”
   Bucky’s grip tightened and the bones in his palm broke next, “I did,”
   Natasha flew in right behind Barnes but completely dismissed the two and headed straight for you with a needle in hand. Your eyes shifted from the needle to Nat’s face and back again until she stabbed it into your upper arm. Ouch. 
   “Wha-”
   “Shh,” Natasha hastily hushed, “Keep your strength, you should be back to normal soon,”
   Steve came behind Nat and scooped you up to lead you out of the havoc going on in the room. Nat turned her focus to Bucky and reached over to grab the earpiece from Rumlow. Who knows if his nose will ever heal back normally. You held one finger in the air as Steve stepped over the splintered door.
   “Goddamit, Y/N,” Steve huffed, jogging towards the elevator and pressing the floor that led to the infirmary.
   “We won,” you croaked out, a small smile on your face and Steve shook his head.
   “I’m never going to hear the end of this,” 
   Steve looked you up and down for bruises but couldn’t find any and you promised you weren’t lying to him when you told him Rumlow did not get very far in his ‘advances’ at all. You had to swear the mid-thigh was the worst that it came to. 
   Bruce was the one that took a few blood samples and made sure everything was reversing back to normal. Apparently, as soon as Rumlow took you to the bar Tony handed Banner the shot glass that Rumlow gave you and Banner ran analysis on it. The cure was pretty easy to find.
   After being given strict orders to lie down for the next hour or so, it had been decided that Rumlow was to be turned in considering all the evidence required to make the arrest was in the flashdrive and everyone was to gather together for a ‘family night’. Whatever the hell that meant.
   You were in the middle of debating which movie to pick with Steve when the infirmary doors flew open.
   “Where is she?” Bucky nearly shouted upon seeing Bruce.
   “That’s my cue.” Steve stood up just as Bucky rounded the corner, “If you need anything me and Banner will be right over there,”
   You smiled and thanked him then turned your attention to the super-soldier who just arrived at the foot of your bed.
   He didn’t say anything for a while, just looked at you. No, not really. Not at you but through you. A few painstakingly slow seconds went by that way.
   “You owe me a new door,” you joked, a half-smile on your face.
   “Are you okay?” He asked, finally registering your presence.
   You nodded slowly, “I am,”
   Then a few more seconds.
   Bucky turned his gaze down to his hands, both of them barren and on display for the world to see, before shifting his weight between either foot, “Did he- did he touch you?”
   “Not really. Just really liked my legs for some reason,” your attempt at another quip didn’t reach Bucky. He stared back up at you waiting for an answer, an honest one. You sighed, “The damage is more mental,” you admitted, now you were the one not able to look up, “I didn’t like being in this altered state of mind. It’s invasive and . . . scary. He could’ve done things, much worse things but it never got that far or that bad. It was more realizing that I wasn’t completely conscious or present and having that state of mind be taken advantage of, that mostly frightened me. Ya know?”
   “More than anyone,” he answered immediately.
   You looked back up towards him, finally making eye contact, “But I’m fine now, really. Just a little spooked. Steve wants to do a movie night tonight and I would actually prefer that over being alone.” Your eyes fixated on the way his hands clenched and unclenched on the bar by your feet, “If I’m alone then I’ll get stuck in my head about it. Besides, I consider this a hard victory with a few bumps in the road,” 
   He chuckled, lulling his head a bit, “You’re too stubborn for your own good,”
   You shrugged, “Maybe. How’s Rumlow?”
   Bucky hissed and moved over to the side of the bed where he took a seat, “He’s unconscious. And has a hand that he’ll never be able to use again. But other than that, he’s fine,”
   You chuckled and Bucky watched how the laugh met your eyes. He liked that look on you. It was one of his favorites.
   “Why are you looking at me like that?” You questioned once it fell silent between you two again.
   “You called me Bucky earlier,” he remembered.
   You scoffed, “I call you Bucky all the time,”
   “Not to my face,”
   “Not to your face,” you agreed, a teasing smile dancing on your lips and Bucky had one that mirrored yours. 
   “It was nice. Hearing it, I mean,” he admitted and a wave of warmth made its way to your face.
   “I see your hands are exposed,”
   He looked down as though he weren’t aware that he’d taken off his own gloves, “These bad boys? A friend of mine reminded me that I’m not my past. I’m my present. Why hide my growth?”
   You twiddled your thumbs together, “She sounds smart,”
   Now he scoffed, “Oh, it wasn’t a girl, it was some old buddy of mine.” He quirked up a brow, “Unless the person being a girl would make you jealous because in that case it was most definitely a girl,”
   You fought against the natural tug at the corners of your mouth, “Is she at least pretty?”
   “Stunning,” 
   “Smart?”
   “Genius,”
   “Good at her job?”
   “Amongst the best,”
   “Then consider me jealous, Barnes,”
   Bucky chuckled and you watched how the laugh met his eyes. You liked that look on him. It was one of your favorites.
355 notes · View notes
le-poor-writer · a month ago
Text
A Christmas Miracle
A cold winter night, with lights from shops and street lamps illuminating the square. From each shop, you can see colourful decorations of shiny or glittery ornaments and green garlands. Jolly voices singing blessed songs about the holidays, blasting from the speakers. Drowned out by the chatter of city folk as their feet hustle along the walkway. Each and every one of them dressed in layers to keep themselves warm. Vapour from their mouths rising and disappearing into the sky. Colliding with gentle fluffy snow that fall ever so lightly. So many movements at this moment which people called Christmas Eve. Amidst all of this, an angel watches over them silently.
Simeon sat on one of the benches. His gloved hands tucked away in the pockets of his long grey coat. A white scarf wrapped around his neck, showing people how warm he felt. Well, winter in the human world wouldn't be that cold for angels. But he had to dress the part. The last thing he wanted was people staring at him for dressing so lightly and he was also well aware that his usual angel garb would definitely defy the fashion standards of the human world. He had to admit, he's doing pretty great to camouflage himself among the humans. Still, he somehow earned a few stares. Their gaze kept darting between him and the ground. Was there something on his face? He took a glimpse of his reflection on one of the windowed stores, nothing seemed to be strange.
The angel tilted his head to the sky and leaned against the bench, waiting for his coworker. Every angel of the Celestial Realm was assigned by Michael to spread Father's blessing to the humans on Earth. Simeon and Luke were assigned to this bustling city. They had started from the church and went around the streets and buildings. For every person they pass will receive the blessing. Simeon rarely worked alongside Luke, but he can already tell that they will get along fine. Luke might be boisterous and opinionated at most times, but that is because he is honest, genuine and has a strict set of values. Simeon can see why Micheal has him under his wing. Hence he looks forward to be Luke's partner in the future. Before Luke, he was always working together with Lucifer.
A deep sigh escaped his lips. Simeon wondered how Lucifer is doing in Devildom. How long has it been since The Great Celestial War. Decades? Centuries? He suppose it has been a few hundred years. He couldn't really be bothered anymore to keep track of the exact time. Despite how the situation has cooled down since then, he knew Father was still a little angry at Lucy. He was after all the Lucifer Morningstar, a magnificent and beautiful angel. To think that he would wage a war against Father and going as far as becoming a demon. However, Simeon was well aware of the reason behind the war. Perhaps Lucy too is still mad at Father until this very moment. Simeon just hoped that he was no longer angry at him.
It was never his intention to have made his brother into his enemy. However, during that time they both had very different opinions. Lucifer would forsake the rules of Celestial Realm for love and Simeon believed that the laws existed for a reason and are to be abided. Yet, as those long years passed he wondered whether it was truly worth it. He did not regret holding on to his belief. It happened, his choice had already been made. And as he closed his eyes he could see the deep wounds from both parties. Arrows fell upon them all like rain and weapons clanging in their ears. He could hear cries of battle and agony. The metallic smell of blood and how smoke choked their lungs.
"Simeon."
The angel opened his eyes. He noticed a blond boy standing in front of him. "Are you done, Luke?" he asked, eyeing the big fancy red paper bag.
Luke lifted the bag towards Simeon. "There were a lot delicious looking sweets in there. So I tried getting a little bit of everything including the one that Michael wanted."
Of course Michael would ask Luke to get human world confectionaries. That darn sweet-toothed angel. But Luke seems to be getting a fair share for himself too. Baking is his hobby after all and sampling sweets from another realm would certainly add to his ever growing list of recipes.
"Is there something wrong, Simeon?" Luke stared at him with his big blue and yellow eyes.
Simeon smiled gently. "Nothing Luke. I'm just feeling a little tired."
"Oh... let's go back then."
They both strolled among the crowd. Simeon would like to hold Luke's hand so he would not get lost, but got scolded by the young angel instead. Grumbling about treating him like a little kid when he was in fact already serving directly under Michael. Simeon could only listen quietly in amusement. He was mesmerized with the twinkling decorative lights draped over the leafless trees dusted with snow. Admiring how the humans managed to find beauty even in the bleakest object. Everything was already aesthetically pleasing in the Celestial Realm. However, at times he found it hard to appreciate the beauty of his environment. Not that he did not appreciate Father's creation. It just felt different after whom he considered his brother, left.
"Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!"
They passed the centre of the city square where an old man sat under a huge decorated pine tree. The man was big. He had a thick white moustache with a long beard that reached his chest. He was donned in a red coat with furry white collar and cuffs. His trousers were also red with white fur cuffs. A red hat with a white furry pompom attached was sitting on his head, it looked like a nightcap to Simeon. The only thing not red and white was the black leather belt and boots he was wearing. This old man was sitting on a lounge chair with a line of children in front of him. Simeon wondered what on earth is going on.
"It's Santa Clause!" Luke exclaimed.
"Santa Clause?"
"Children of the human world believe that this old man called Santa Clause would grant any wish they had for Christmas. He has a factory in the north pole and hundreds of elves work for him. Most of the time children asked for toys but in the movies sometimes people wish for Christmas miracles."
Simeon stared at Santa Claus for a moment before making eye contact with Luke. "Do you want to go meet Santa Clause?"
"Simeon! Don't treat me like one of those human kids. I'm an angel and I'll have you know that I-" Luke began to chastise as he stomped away from the square.
Simeon apologized as he scurried after him. Chuckling softly as his ears endured another one of Luke's grumbling. At the same time, he found it funny how human children put faith in such make believe, though they had always been imaginative beings. He could also see how this was a capitalistic marketing strategy in the human business world. The toys and the movies. A franchise after the infamous Santa Clause. The idea of it all was intriguing. A being that could grant whatever you want for Christmas. It's like Father, but the once in a year fairy tale like holiday version. And the idea of a Christmas miracle that comes with it.
There is a nice ring to it. For thousands of years, humans had always asked for miracles. An event that could change their lives for the better. Or even something that brings assurance to their rocky hearts. And the idea of a miracle that happens with Christmas does give a special feel to it. Miracles don't always happen on the spot, or they could never happen at all. Yet humans still ask for it. They hoped for it. Simeon looked at the stars in the sky and wondered. Father had granted some of the miracles that humans wished. If an angel were to ask for it, would Father grant it too? He didn't know any angels that had asked for a miracle. That was because there was never a need to, everything they needed and wanted was already there in the Celestial Realm. Everyone is happy and content there. Except for Simeon.
There was something in the Celestial Realm that he wanted but does not exist there. Or at least what he wanted was in a different realm. But would Father allowed it? Simeon's heart began to beat faster in both excitement and nervousness. He did not know whether he should ask for it or not. But tonight is Christmas Eve isn't it? The night where Father tells them to spread his blessings to every being on earth. Simeon at this moment is walking on earth. And a Christmas miracle is also a blessing right? Right?! The angel took a deep breath and whispered a little wish to his heart. A feeling of relieved washed over him and his shoulders began to feel lighter than before.
It was only a few minutes later when he thought everything was rather ridiculous. He did not get the sense that something amazing was about to happen. The atmosphere was the same as it had been hours ago. Well, he suppose that all he needed to do was really acknowledge that he was still very much upset over the fact that Lucifer left the Celestial Realm and that his scars had not yet healed. And that he really did regret some of his choices. He should really accept the outcome already and start moving forward. Besides, now he has Luke. And he swears he will try to be a good mentor and brother figure to the young angel.
Simeon and Luke had finally reached the Celestial Realm after a lot of detouring in the human world. Simeon couldn't wait to get home and rest. It certainly has been a long day for all the angels. Luke has invited him to taste the confectionaries he bought earlier. He seemed extra jubilant to return. Hugging the paper bag that was a little too big for his size. Simeon had offered to carry it, but Luke insisted it was his duty to have the sweets delivered to Michael personally and he will see through it. Which reminds Simeon, he would like to have a word with Michael about his habits of having people get him his large amount of souvenirs. Though, he wasn't sure how to approach his superior about. Lucifer would have easily told Michael off... or not.
At a distance, one of the angels called out to Simeon and Luke. She approached them immediately and relayed her message. Apparently Michael was waiting at their humble abode and wishes to see them as soon as possible. Luke cheered and skipped off happily while Simeon internally groaned. Seems that the guardian angel of confectionaries could not wait for his sweets and pastries. He swears one day he will think of a way to tell him off. Luke seems to not mind however. So now he's not sure what exactly he needed to tell Michael. Perhaps if Luke feels alright about it then everything is well?
"Simeon!" Michael greeted him, a Belgium waffle in his hand. "You took your sweet time."
Was that pun intended?
"I'm sorry for the delay Michael. But it seems that Luke has already arrived with your sweet delicacies." Simeon motioned towards the said waffle.
"Yes, I was waiting for this." he popped the remaining waffle into his mouth and chewed quickly. "But that's not the only reason why I wanted to see you both."
Was it not?
Michael handed him a letter. "I received this today and I believe both you and Luke are suited for this."
Simeon took the envelope carefully. On the back of it the name of the sender surprised him, Lord Diavolo of Devildom. Wasn't he the son of the Demon King. If Simeon remember correctly, the last time he saw the Demon King was a thousand years ago during a ceremony. Now, what could the future king of Devildom possibly want from Michael or even the Celestial Realm? Surely this isn't a Christmas greeting card like the ones he had seen in the human world. He turned the envelope over and saw a seal with initials R.A.D..
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alaynethecreator · a month ago
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Carmine and Charcoal
NOTE: Modern day fan fiction of Shadow and Bone especially the Darkling. Main story will be posted in chronological order BUT I will still marked the additional chapter that will add no development to the plot. English is not my first language. Any feedback will be much appreciated. Enjoy!
Aleksander Morozova/The Darkling x OC !Modern Day AU
Summary: An encounter between the most feared general and a bastard junior Ambassador from foreign country said to be the solution of two nations’ strained relation. Knowing General Morozova, he would not agreed to anything that doesn’t benefit him. But what could she possibly offer?
MASTERLIST
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The Lost Prince (Chapter 7 in chronological order)
Erenya
I've always hated funeral. Yet, wherever I go, I'd always find myself putting on an all-black outfit, hiding my striking hair underneath a veil. Mother—Venla—would customarily wear one herself even though it wasn't common back home.
"Our features were too striking. Don't want to steal the attention from the deceased," she explained one day.
Like all of her actions and decisions, I couldn't catch on why she kept coaching me into wallow in Ravka's tradition. "Your father was a Ravkan. Show some respect."
And I had obeyed her like a docile daughter that I was. My father's name was an unknown fact to me. I only knew his last name—Romanova—and that he was from Ravka noble family and killed by them too.
Now that I know a bit of Venla's past, it didn't clear things up as well as it should be. If anything, it left me deeper in the dark. My mother was educated at the Academy of Grisha of The Academy, a place where they invented super soldiers. I was born when she was eighteen. She must have met my father while she was still a pupil.
My head is spinning, I swallowed a sleeping pill just to escape from this madness for a while. I dreamt about my mother in her youth, sitting somewhere in Little Palace with back straight, eyes wild, stacked of books on her table. Maybe she was good at fighting, punching her opponent's gut, sending whomever that is into the infirmary.
When I woke up, the world went madder. Prince Vasily was found dead so was Prince Rasmus of Fjerda. I felt hollow inside, like there was a big hole in my chest. Which was strange since those two were strangers to me.
Maybe it was fear that had gotten into me. The high-ranked royals dead just like that. As though their souls were worthless. For saint's sake they were human. People with hope, future, and family.
Speaking of which, mine had ignored my attempt at communication. I was inclined towards knowing her wellbeing and begging her to forsake the marriage plan. To begin with, seducing an heir to the throne was difficult. At this moment, the chance drifted towards impossible.
I stowed a rose on top of the cream casket, paying my respect. He was handsome with a rosy cheek, the colour of the sky for eyes, locks of gold. The photo had showed what the closed casket could not.
The King and Queen were present at the church. I didn't approach them, as it was not expected of me. What would I say, anyway? That I would rather be somewhere else if it's not expected of my job to be here?
Princess Ehri looked as sombre beside me. Her whole aura was as dark as her locks. Why wouldn't she? The entire world blamed the Shu for what had happened, albeit no official proof yet. If things went ugly, it would resulted in another war. A half-decent monarch such as her might do anything to prevent one.
"Use the front gate," I blurted out after the sermon was done. "Leave now with other attendees and take off that sunglass; that way, you will blend much more smoothly, and they won't come after you. Journalists would be focussing on the anonymous looking ones."
"Thank you for the advice, Miss Romanova," she gave me a small smile and squeezed my hand. "Until we meet again."
Considering I was not as important, I remained in my seat, eyes closed. I lowered my torso and intertwined my fingers. The Murphy weren't pious by any chance. Be that as it may, I felt like giving respect.
"Amen," breeze blew as soon as I finished my prayer. How beverage would be nice, I suppose. A small cafe just happened to be located near the church. I stumbled upon Genya and her husband there, eating croissant at one of the tables outside. We made a plan to meet later tonight. I should probably invite Jesper too.
"Oh didn't see you there," someone had just bumped into my shoulder. A stunning black-haired girl, who then walked pass me and kissed a man underneath a tree. I could recognise that pair of eyes everywhere.
"Nic!"
He wasn't ready when I wrapped him in a hug. "I miss you so much, you oaf! Where were you?" suddenly two men seizing me away from Nic, I was in panic, "What the—"
"Leave her be," Nic commanded through gritted teeth. "It's a friend of mine."
A sudden jolt of realisation hit me. Nic looked like someone in the picture standing next to the late Prince Vasily, "You... you are Prince Nikolai!"
"At your service" he bowed dramatically while the blue eyed girl—Zoya—scoffed.
"Oh Nic, I'm so sorry for your loss," this time, he wrapped me into a big hug, so warm like a brother's embrace.
To sum it up, Nic was still in shock. Years ago, he told me he and his brother weren't as close as he wanted them to be. To makes things worst, there was a rumour that went on that he was a bastard. A tear almost escaped from my socket.
My carefree charming Nic, what has become of you?
Zoya and I didn't get to talk much, but I was glad I got to meet her at least once in this lifetime. Nic would be fine. She was his anchor, strong and unyielding like one too. Besides, she's Grisha that had to count as something, right? Before they set off for the burial, I hugged them both, offering comfort in a way that I was able to.
It would seem today was an unofficial free hug day from one Erenya Romanova. I was still jittering from his cling. He had asserted he needed it, but being in his arms, I melted like a block of burnt ice. It didn't help that his name was regularly brought up by these folks.
"I want to confess," all three pairs of eyes were on me. I swaddled the bow of my silver dress. Lots of people were visiting this bar at this hour. I cleared my throat to make my voice louder, "We done, did it."
"Who?" David raised his index finger. Genya pulled his finger, pretending to bite it, making her husband jerked away.
"Morozova," my voice turned out to be a mere above whisper.
"Oh, Darling," Genya grappled my fore arm. "How was it?"
"Love!" David covered his ears.
I burst into giggles, yet Jesper didn't find my confession humorous anyhow. "Jealous that he picked me over you?"
I had never seen his expression as grim as this. "Careful, Erenya. His reputations preceded him."
"Oh now, you care about something other than his chiselled abs."
Genya gasped. "I knew it!"
"Come on, Jes. Be merry," I nudged him with the point of my silver heels. "Hey, you never objected to my past conquests before."
"Is he that? Nothing but a conquest?"
For the love of me, my brain couldn't form a single word.
"Well, we also bicker. Hugged, one time. Nothing grand."
"Ah," Jesper nodded. "So you two are together."
"No, not like that," I frowned. "What led you to assume that?"
Jesper rolled his grey eyes. "Your face went lovey-dovey."
"I did not do such thing," unconsciously, I touch my face, searching for any evidence of one's carelessness. "Genya, help me here."
"Oh, you are magnificent," she waved her bejewelled wrist. "If you don't mind, how did you two meet?"
I pointed my finger upwards.
"You nasty," Jesper shrieked. "Some friends you are. Where I was stuck sitting next to an ancient lady, you got him recruited into your mile high club."
"Get your mind out of the gutter, Fahley," I slapped the back of his head. "It was not where the deed was done."
"Then when?" he pressed. "Ah, must be at the banquet, was it?"
"No. I ran into him, invite him for a dessert, and that's the end of the story."
Genya pouted, "You are no fun."
"When was that? Last week?" Jesper sip his drink.
"As a matter of fact, two days after we landed. I started early, you know?"
"I take that back. Erenya Romanova, you are my hero," Genya planted a wet kiss on my cheek.
"He isn't like married or anything, right?" asked me, Genya shook her head.
"You ask that now?"
I ignored Jes' wayward behaviour. "He was probably married to his work anyway. Say, he didn't have an evil ex-girlfriend I could run into, right?"
"Oh, he didn't tell you?"
I shook my head.
"What? No pillow talk?" I shushed Jesper and motioned for Genya to continue.
David was about to say something, but Genya spoke in his stead, "He has no time for dating, I suppose. Nineteen years on the job, and you'll lose your touch of how real world works."
"Nineteen? Isn't he like in his early thirties?"
"Yes, but he was thirteen when he finished his education at The Academy. Baghra had been polishing her successor his whole life. Remembering, the General has 170 for an IQ, that mustn't be so hard on his part. And by work I mean not as a General in particular but in military and The Academy all together."
All Saints, he was a child soldier.
"And you know this, how?" Jesper pried in impertinent.
"Why, David and I were technically his pupil for years."
"You both are Grisha?" that didn't intend to come as blatantly.
The couple nodded in unison.
"But, how?"
"They tested us, and we passed just like everybody else who got in."
My mind blank. I thought Grisha were supposed to be intimidatingly remarkable, but these two looked just like everybody else in here. So... normal.
"Oh, Saints, tell me you didn't fall victim to that misleading Grisha propaganda?"
I just shrugged. Not knowing what to do.
They both shared a look. "Get this; it's a relief to know you are in a good hand. Morozova won't dare to let you be harm when you are his occasional night time buddy."
Is that what I am, now? A bed warmer?
If my memory served me right, he was keen on using me as his moral support this afternoon. He respected you and liked you at least. But it could be my vanity who was talking.
At midnight we said our goodbyes as Jesper and I took a taxi home. He was uncharacteristically not chatty since the Grisha topic was brought up.
"Bye Jes, see you never."
"Wait," I froze at my place. "I'm going to say this once; don't trust that Morozova dude. He's bad news. Right now I can't give away what I assume but please, for all Saints' sake, be careful."
Inej was devout. Nina was protective. Jes was neither.
That matter alone had terrified me to the bone.
"Sure thing, Fahley. Thanks for the heads up."
I peeled off all my clothes as soon as I was inside my domain, wetting my face with water. As I studied myself in the mirror, Jes' warning repeatedly playing in my head like a broken record.
Don't trust Morozova. He's bad news. Be careful.
Here I thought Grisha were nightmares, then I was proven wrong.
Decisions, decisions.
My phone chimed before I could consider shattering the glass. I pressed the green button.
"Erenya, it's me."
Naturally.
"Make it brief, I'm showering," I turned on the tap to make it believable.
Aleksander let out a deep, rich growl from his chest. My stomach churned as if it was singing back to his ache. "I'm hanging up now if you are done being an arse."
"No, don't!"
"Then talk."
"You are in an awfully ferocious mood," he sigh, I could almost hear him rubbing his beard repeatedly. "I'm about to sleep, as you suggested."
"Does sleep in your dictionary usually involves calling someone?"
"Not someone, you."
"Goodbye, Aleksander."
"No, wait, please," I could get used to hearing him begging more often. "One more minute."
"Are you in bed?"
"Yes," he said softly.
"Lucky you. My bed will have to wait since I can't finish my shower. Put down the phone, Aleksander."
His laugh was heavy, "You are something else entirely, Erenya."
"Ha, tell that to your other mistresses. Or had you beheaded them all since you've choose to call me?"
He kept quiet. The silence was too loud. "No need to be so fragile, I was just jesting."
I could hear his bed creaking, "You and your cruel humour."
"Less talking, more sleeping. Go, Aleksander."
"Alright, I don't need to be told thrice."
"See you in your dream, " then I hung up.
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sunflwrvolume6 · a month ago
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plausible deniability [thirty]
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calculated measures
Aila nods shakily and hopes Liam is right. She doesn’t want tonight tainted with a fight. Or worse. So Aila laces her fingers with Niall’s, staying close to his side as the group steps into the club. He leads her through the crowd of people, and she stumbles a bit when she sees a woman straddling a man’s lap in a booth. It’s dark in the club—the night has barely begun—but there is no mistaking what the woman is doing. 
[ao3 ☆ wattpad]
[previous ☆ next]
[masterlist]
He had a ring picked out. Aila stares down at the band on her finger. She doesn’t know how Niall knows her ring size—she’s never told him, and she hasn’t bought any rings for herself. But he knows it anyway. The silver band forms a Celtic knot, each twist leading to a brilliant blue gem surrounded by tiny diamonds.
“It isn’t going to disappear if you blink, darling.”
She lifts her head and sticks her tongue out at Niall. “Let me revel in its beauty for a minute, will you?”
“Of course, whatever you want.”
He drops to lie with her on the bed, his hand settling on her belly. Aila blows out a breath, blinking against tears. She said yes, and now she has a wedding to plan. Guest lists to make.
“Fuck.”
He lifts himself onto his elbow and frowns. “What’s wrong?”
“Your dad is going to be angry, isn’t he?”
“No, of course not. Darling, he may not like you—”
“No need to remind me.”
“Hush now. He may not like you yet, but he wouldn’t dare try to ruin this for us. I’ve shown him I won’t allow him to do anything to make you leave.”
She sighs but nods. He’s right. Of course he is. The fight has gone on long enough that Bobby has surely realised his son is serious. Undeniably, irrevocably serious. That Aila is too important to Niall for him to accept interference. Still, she chews on her lower lip.
“Let’s not tell him yet.”
“Okay. We won’t. But I can’t hide this from Ma. She would throttle me herself if I tried.”
“Your ma is fine to tell. I trust her to keep the secret.” Rolling onto her side, Aila pushes at his shoulders until he sprawls on his back. “Know what the best part of an accepted engagement is?”
“Sex?”
“So. Much. Sex.”
She swallows down his laughter as her hand slides along his stomach. Soon enough, he isn’t laughing anymore.
“You two are disgusting,” Tania announces when Aila and Niall walk into the parlour almost two hours later. “The ring fit?”
Aila pauses, clearing her throat. “Yeah, perfectly.”
“Good. By the way, you sleep like the dead after you and Niall fuck.”
“What?”
Tania finally looks up from her dagger though the whetstone doesn’t stop scraping along the blade. “Who do you think measured your finger for that thing? You didn’t even move.”
“I mean, you are a sneaky little shit, so it doesn’t surprise me.”
Niall puts an end to the banter before it can truly begin, and Aila pouts as she drops to sit beside Tania. She quite enjoys this side to Tania—witty, friendly, almost nice. So for Niall to ruin the back-and-forth is… frustrating, to say the least.
Aila leans over to kiss his cheek. His arm comes up to wrap around her shoulder, tugging her into his side, and she can’t help wondering if this is where she has been meant to be all along.
The Rogue stands tall in front of Aila, and she stares up at the bright sign for a moment. Her stomach tightens—they aren’t supposed to be here. Tania said it was off-limits. Yet Niall chose the club to celebrate the engagement.
Liam nudges her shoulder. “Don’t be so scared. Niall knows what he’s doing. Besides, this is the only place where people aren’t afraid of him. He isn’t in control here. Nothing’s going to happen.”
She nods shakily and hopes Liam is right. She doesn’t want tonight tainted with a fight. Or worse. So Aila laces her fingers with Niall’s, staying close to his side as the group steps into the club. He leads her through the crowd of people, and she stumbles a bit when she sees a woman straddling a man’s lap in a booth. It’s dark in the club—the night has barely begun—but there is no mistaking what the woman is doing.
Thankfully, Niall comes to a stop at the far end of the balcony. The rectangular table is slightly smaller than the one in the dining room at home. Harry, Mully, Zayn, and Louis take one side. Liam, Niall, Aila, and Tania sit on the other. Niall frowns as his gaze skims over the dance floor; the lights begin pulsing, throwing colours over faces and bodies dancing to the beat.
It isn’t much, this celebration, but Aila loves how laidback it is. How no demands are made of her attention, so she can sit here with Niall and bask in his warmth. His arm stays draped over her shoulder even when he scans for trouble. She joins in on conversations at her leisure, stays quiet when she wants. All she has to do is drink and be merry, and she does so with enthusiasm.
“Niall.”
Everyone stops talking at Mully’s voice. As one, the group follows his eyeline to the door. Aila’s brows furrow when her friends tense up. Tania notices—of course she does. She leans over, lips brushing against Aila’s ear.
“Don’t pay mind to them, it’s alright. They know better than to start something here.” Her gaze cuts back to the door. “Just thank—”
Another man steps inside. His face is familiar, though Aila can’t place it. She glances at Tania, but the woman doesn’t say more. Her pale face grows ashen, eyes hardening in the multi-colour throbs of light. Louis sits forward, and Aila nearly recoils at the dark glimmer in his eyes.
“That’s Irwin’s kid,” he explains as he pulls Tania into his lap.
Aila swallows down the bile. She stares at the face of one of the men who brutalised Tania. Forced her into a weapon. He’d winked at Aila from the balcony that night, back before she and Niall met. He had watched her dance with her friends, as she left the club.
His lips tug into a cold smile, and Tania hurries back to the seat beside Aila as he approaches. The music lowers but doesn’t shut off. Everyone watches.
“Well, well, what have we here?” His voice sends a shiver down Aila’s spine. Smooth, filled with ice. No warmth but cruel amusement. “Coming to our side, Horan? Hasn’t anyone warned you what we do to trespassers?”
“We’re celebrating.”
“Ah, yes. I heard you were getting married. I suppose congratulations are in order to you and your… blushing bride.” His gaze flickers to Aila, brow raising slightly.
“Thanks,” Niall bites out as his grip on Aila tightens. “Appreciate it.”
Irwin sighs as if disappointed and rubs his temple with long fingers. “But, see, that doesn’t change the fact you’re well into my territory. I really don’t like when competition comes into my territory.”
The man to Irwin’s right reaches behind his back. Another man removes a knife from its sheath on his thigh. From the corner of her eye, Aila watches Liam and Zayn reaching for their own weapons. Oh, god, this is going to go horribly. She stands quickly, ignoring the way Irwin and his friends react. The cold, slender hand tugging at her arm as Tania hisses for her to sit back down.
Aila plasters a smile onto her face, pretending there isn’t a blade an inch from her nose. When had Irwin moved? “Yes, thank you so much for your heartfelt congratulations. It means a lot to us that you’d come out of your way to deliver them personally. Not everyone has been so kind. Now please, let us enjoy our celebrations in peace. You could even consider it a wedding gift.”
Irwin doesn’t lower his hand, the blade doesn’t quiver. His lips press together, and he regards her with cool apathy. The blue-haired man smirks—he must know what his friend has planned. Aila draws on the last of her courage.
“And I truly appreciate it if you wouldn’t point that knife in my face.”
He remains immobile for a long minute. Her heart pounds harder than the bass pumping through the speakers, and fingers lace with hers. Tania’s silent plea, her support. A slow grin spreads across his face. It’s a dangerous one, but Aila doesn’t sense malice.
He finally drops his arm, gesturing to his crew. They put away their weapons, and Aila hears her friends doing the same. Her head spins as she recognises the too-close resolution. She doesn’t dare show relief.
“A wedding gift,” he murmurs before grinning again. “I like the sound of that. Fine, consider it a gift to the happy couple. In fact!” He snaps his fingers at a passing server, waves toward the table. “A bottle for our betrothed guest, please. Seal on, if it would make them comfortable accepting my generosity?”
Aila waits with bated breath. If Niall rejects the offer, this could go so much worse. Eventually, he gives a stilted nod. The lights catch on the planes of his face—hard and sharp. The server slinks off, her glittery dress disappearing in the crowd, and Irwin scrutinises Aila as the seconds tick past.
Once Zayn has inspected the bottle and deemed it safe, Irwin pours himself a glass, raising it. “You, Miss Bride, you and I will get on nicely. Horan, I’ll be in touch. Congratulations again.”
He swallows the mouthful of champagne then leaves with his friends. Sound rushes back into Aila’s ears, but she can hardly focus on that. The world tilts around her, her hands shake violently, and she wants to vomit. Irwin could have so easily killed her. What was she thinking?
“What the fuck were you thinking?” Niall snarls as he yanks her back into her seat.
“I… I don’t know. I just—Everyone was reaching for weapons, and I didn’t want things to go sideway. I didn’t, god, I don’t know. Niall, I’m so sorry. I—”
Niall’s face falls when she finally meets his eyes. Her vision blurs, tears spilling down her cheeks, and he pulls her into his chest. “It’s okay, darling, it’s okay. Take a deep breath. It’s alright.”
“Actually,” Tania starts once Aila pulls away, wiping at her cheeks. “I think her recklessness saved us all.”
“What do you mean?” asks Harry before he sips at his champagne.
“You seriously weren’t here for all that? He said he and Aila would get on. That he’d be in touch. Irwin doesn’t say that to be polite. He isn’t polite. He’s cold and calculating and doesn’t mind breaking someone’s bones if it means he has an extra move on the chessboard. If Aila hadn’t taken him by surprise, he would have left here with a plan to murder us all before we could even get out the doors.”
Aila’s breath hitches in her throat, and she reaches for the nearest glass of alcohol. “That’s fucking terrifying.”
“Yeah, well, that’s fucking reality,” Tania snaps. She blows out a breath, murmuring an apology. “Niall… I think you have to think about the potentials. The risks and benefits.”
“He’s not talking to her.” Niall doesn’t hesitate to respond. The words rip from his lips with a violence that terrifies Aila. This is a side to him she hasn’t seen, even at his worst.
Tania snorts and leans forward to rest her elbows on the table. “You can’t simply dismiss this just because you think he’s a raging dick.”
“He is. He’s a prick, and he’s dirty. He’s nearly as bad as Strickland in terms of cruelty. He’s worse than we are.” Niall glares at Tania, fingers tight around his glass of whisky. His eyes flash. “Or have you forgotten what he and his father made you do? He is not talking to her.”
Tania’s jaw drops. The group stills. Silence reigns over the booth despite the techno music over the speakers, the loud laughter and chatter from other patrons. Aila swallows thickly.
“Shut up. Now. Stop talking about me like I’m not right here. Niall, that was low. You know it was. You shouldn’t be a prick like that just because you’re angry. Tania is… She’s right. I hate to admit it, but she is.”
“Your faith in me is astounding,” scoffs Tania, and Aila rolls her eyes.
“Shut up, you know I like you. Anyway. Niall, please. If Irwin wants to talk to me, we have to consider it if means keeping the peace. Don’t argue,” she begs of him when his mouth opens. Her throat tightens, eyes burning, as his expressions hardens further. “I want us to be happy together. That can only happen if people aren’t trying to kill us constantly.”
Niall doesn’t blink for a long minute. Aila swallows thickly as the silence stretches on. His face gives away none of his thoughts, how he feels about her pleas. Finally, he sighs and leans around Aila, tapping on Tania’s forehead.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”
“No, you shouldn’t have. But I guess I understand. Trust me, Niall, I don’t like the guy. I don’t like the situation we’re in. You said it yourself ages ago, though. Irwin could be a benefit if was working with us. Looks like all we needed was Aila and her reckless courage,” she teases as she nudges Aila with a sharp elbow.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself. It isn’t guaranteed.”
“Yet.”
Niall’s face twists up, mouth opening as if he wants to argue, but he lets the subject drop. Aila leans into his side and watches the people dance as if they hadn’t come within inches of a fight breaking out. A fight that could have gone so poorly, all because she opened her mouth.
Tania announces she and Aila are going to join the crowd on the dance floor, and Aila follows her down the stairs. It isn’t like dancing with her friends. Tania’s every move is drenched in danger, a calculated edge that was engrained into her from a young age. Her pale eyes skim over faces the entire time.
Unfortunately, Irwin’s presence dampens the spirits. Aila glances up at the balcony where Niall sits, and he crooks a finger. She sighs, debating whether she can ignore him, but a flash of yellow light catches on his face. Highlights the cold ‘Don’t disobey me’. So she taps Tania’s shoulder and points to their friends.
The heavy weight of scrutiny presses against Aila’s back as she walks toward the exit hand-in-hand with Niall. She glances over her shoulder, toward the booth next to the railing. Irwin lifts his glass and winks just as he did the night she first saw him. She squeezes Niall’s hand as she turns around.
The others fan out, disappearing through various doors, when they get back to the manor. Aila barely waits for the bathroom door to shut before she pulls off her dress. Niall nips at her shoulder then steps around her to start the shower. His body holds a tension she has only seen when he yelled at her. When he told her the truth of his life. She steps in and plasters herself to his back.
His nails bite into her skin when she wraps her arms around his waist. “Don’t you ever scare me like that again. You have no idea what Irwin is capable of. You could have gotten yourself killed before any of us knew it was happening.”
“I’m sorry. I really am.” She rests her forehead against his spine, closing her eyes against the water dripping down over the curve of his shoulders. “Should I fear for my life now?”
“No. Tania was right. He doesn’t show... courtesy like that if he’s only going to turn around and kill you.”
“But?”
“If he wants to talk to you, he’ll want to do it without me around.”
Aila’s grip tightens, and she squeezes her eyes closed. Her stomach roils at the thought of facing Irwin alone. He could easily take her life, and no one would know until it was too late. Goosebumps ripple along her skin when she recalls the icy amusement, the gleam in his eye that promised danger.
“I’m guessing taking Tania with me is out of the question.”
“It would only end up as a game of cat-and-mouse.”
“I meant for her mental health.” Aila sighs and steps back. Brushing her wet hair from her face, she considers her options. “What about Harry? He’s the least intimidating of you lot. Except Lou, but I have a feeling he’d slit Irwin’s throat just as soon as look at him.”
Niall turns and loops his arms around her shoulders. “We’ll plan strategy when the time comes. For now,” he murmurs as he kisses her, “I should probably warn you I have things to do this weekend.”
“Messy things or things to prevent said messy things?”
“You’re clever, darling. Preventative measures, hopefully.”
Instead of replying, Aila leans forward to press her lips against his collarbone. He inhales sharply as she trails hot kisses along his chest, her hands slipping around his waist to press into his back. A groan fills the steamy air when she lowers herself to her knees. She winks up at him before wrapping her lips around his cock.
If she scared him so badly, it’s only right for her to make it up to him.
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lowfructosecornsyrup · 2 months ago
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Whistle While You Work [Request]
NOTICE: I have never truly 'opened up' requests before because I do not consider myself a good enough writer; however, I am doing this because I want to experience what it is like and may enjoy it (and because I have a hard time saying no 👉👈 ).  This is just a test-run of sorts, so please don't presume that I will accept any further requests in the immediate future.  Thank you for understanding.
[Request for Insecurecheeriotrash ! I somewhat unintentionally made it a song fic--the song used is "Whistle While You Work" from Snow White (I don't consider myself a Disney fan, but that is the first phrase that popped into my head at your request--heh heh--).
Thank you for everything, and enjoy!]
♪ Just whistle while you work~
And cheerfully together, we can tidy up the place~ ♪
Indeed, that seems like a much better options than questioning the strange happenings of the workshop...
But Wally tries to not do that--worry isn't any fun, and it hardly gets you anywhere.
It's best to just go with the flow and focus on the task on hand...or as the janitor's boyfriend had put it, "Keep my nose closed and my mind a-singing."
♪ So hum a merry tune~
It won't take long when there's a song to help you set the pace~ ♪
Wally releases an amorous sigh as he sweeps the Music Department floor, the dust dancing and delicately descending at the *whoosh* of the bristles; as soon as he finishes this, he can visit Jack in the sewers--an rather odd rendezvous spot, yes, but also a delightfully private and quiet one.
The lyricist's cute face appears in the maintenance worker's mind--the latter can practically see the former's deep, dark green eyes and hear his soothing voice.
Jack likes the quiet; this is one of the many traits Wally loves about him. While the janitor is definitely more chatty and louder than his lover, he has also learned over time to appreciate the peaceful moments life grants...especially considering that intrusive noises such as Sammy's *clang*ing and *honnnkk*ing and *crash*ing band, Thomas the GENT worker's barking orders, and the murmur of general disagreement and discord among the other workers usually resound during the workday.
But now it is after-hours, and Wally knows Jack will be at his makeshift desk in the depths (with a cup of coffee nearby, no doubt), patiently waiting for him to trek down the shallow yellow stairs and prattle on and on about the newest occurrences in the day.  Unlike most of the workers who are "far too busy" to tune in to the life and times of Wally Franks, the poet is a great and responsive listener.
It, of course, is no wonder that time spent with Jack immediately becomes the highlight of Wally's day.
♪ And as you sweep the room, imagine that the broom
is someone that you love, and soon,
you'll find you're dancing to the tune~ ♪
The janitor finishes cleaning the band room and heads down the creaky stairs to the sewers.
Jack smiles when he hears his sweetheart's footsteps--finally, the light of his life is here.
Even after almost five months of dating, Wally still blushes bright red at the sight of the lyricist; he pulls up a chair next to the other--it lets out a *shrrk* against the wooden floor--and practically melts onto his shoulder and chest.
"Hiiiiii, Jack!"  Wally's cheery voice is somewhat muffled by the other's shirt.
Jack chuckles and strokes his boyfriend's hair.  "Hi, honey.  How was your day?"
The janitor twists his neck so he can stare into those dreamy eyes and listen to the slight *thunkthunkthunk* of the poet's heart.  "Good!  'Cept Sammy was actin' weird--I mean, not that he doesn't act weird normally."  Jack's jovial laugh sends happy shivers down Wally's spine.  "Anyway--he kept mutterin' to himself and spent a lot of time near the art closet, for some reason.  Snapped at me when I asked what was the matter."
"Aw, I'm sorry.  Sammy can be like that...must be the stress," the lyricist replies thoughtfully.  "You know those pesky deadlines can get to him."
"Yeah...but this wasn't that.  It's like..."  Wally struggles to explain.  "I don't know.  Things have just been kinda odd lately."
Jack's contemplative expression turns to a concerned one as he rubs the other's shoulder.  "You're right..."
The janitor senses that there is more to this statement.  "What is it?  What have you seen?"
The poet bites his lip slightly in hesitation before disclosing, "Well...a few hours ago, Joey and that Thomas--you know the one, right?--were down here discussing something.  I don't know what it was about, though--I couldn't understand their mumbling."
"Why were they meetin' down here?"
Jack shrugs.  "It's beyond me.  But it was kind of strange behavior...like Sammy's..."
An anxious silence ensues...
Wally playfully flicks his lover's hat and snuggles closer.  "Ah, this worryin' is no fun.  Yeah, Sammy's being Sammy and sure, Joey and Thomas are keeping whatever a secret...but so what?"  He flips over in Jack's arms and leans his forehead against the other's.  "The world can be as...funky as it wants...but that doesn't matter as long as I have you."
"That's very romantic, Wally."  Jack kisses his blushing cheek and leans back with a loving smile.
Another silence passes, this one contented and peaceful.
"I love you, Jack."
"I love you, too."
♪ When hearts are high, the time will fly~
So whistle while you work~ ♪
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coffeeinallcaps · 2 months ago
Sorry for not playing by the rules but lmfao please explain all of those teen wolf ones
Oh buddy you’re going to love this. tw corp au = Teen Wolf corporate AU:
Monday morning, 10:16 a.m. Stiles has been at the office for a little over an hour. Ten minutes ago he was headed for the water cooler, considering getting his first cup of coffee of the day, and now he’s bent over Derek Hale’s desk with Derek Hale’s tongue up his ass and absolutely no idea what he has done to deserve this. Not that he’s complaining. “Oh my God,” Stiles gasps as Mr. Hale’s— Derek’s— his boss’s— well, not technically Stiles’ boss, Stiles doesn’t report to him, but the company is called Hale Corp. so he guesses it’s a matter of semantics, really— tongue thrusts in deeper. Another breathless moan escapes his lips. Hale’s stubble beard is scraping against his skin, setting his nerve endings on fire. Stiles’ fingers curl tighter around the edge of the desk. “Fuck,” he whispers. He closes his eyes. What did he do to deserve this?
And then there’s... the Christmas crackfic.
So this was going to be some sort of cracky werewolf society AU in which, as Laura conveniently explains, “[humans] get paid huge sums of money just to look pretty and be pampered and have sex with a hot werewolf of [their] own choosing whenever [they] feel like it.” Derek is a sad hermit who always refused to get a human, and. Well.
This is where Derek finds the love of his life: in a Christmas catalog. Specifically, it’s the Christmas Catalog For Moody Beta Werewolves Who Still Don’t Own A Human, or so Laura keeps telling him while waving it in his face and demanding he make a choice. “It’s what we do, Derek. You can’t just be part of the wealthiest and most powerful pack in the entire state and not have a human,” she says. “Uncle Peter didn’t have a human and look how that turned out.” “Uncle Peter was psychotic,” Derek says. “I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with—” Laura hits him in the forehead with the catalog. The laminated cover goes floomp. (…) “You need to pick a human.” “No.” “Pick a human.” “No!” “Derek, don’t make me call mom.” “Oh my God,” Derek says. “You’re kidding.” “Do I look like I’m kidding?” Laura does not look like she’s kidding. “Mom put you up to this,” Derek says. “Seriously?” Laura clears her throat and squares her shoulders and says, in a deeper, more solemn voice, “You’re a Hale, Derek. It’s time to start acting like it.” Derek growls. “All we want for Christmas is for you to be happy,” Laura adds in a sing-song voice, which, judging by the glint in her eye, is clearly a lie.
And then Stiles shows up:
“Wow, you look even better in real life,” the guy says, pushing past Derek and dumping his duffel bag on the floor. “Dude, I love your apartment building. Doorman, elevator music, the whole shebang. Love it. I feel at home already.” He turns to face Derek, flashing him an appreciative smile. “Nice to meet you. I’m Stiles. But then, you already knew that.” “No I didn’t,” Derek says. He stands frozen, his hand still on the doorknob. He feels, overwhelmingly, like Bilbo Baggins. “You didn’t?” Stiles says in a genuinely interested, tell-me-more voice. (He has a very pretty mouth, Derek can’t help but notice. Pretty eyes, too. Pretty everything, really.) “Did someone gift me to you?” “Gift you to me?” Derek says, faintly.
And then they fall in love, presumably! Merry Christmas!
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procrasking · 2 months ago
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Fyodor Dostoevsky SFW alphabet!
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This wasn’t requested, I just felt like giving him some love <3 Plus a really cool friend of mine likes him and I thought I’d give them some rat
Activities - What do they like to do with their s/o? How do they spend their free time with them? Fyodor often loses track of time because he’s busy working, so he appreciates anything he and his S/O can do together. I feel like he’d be the type of guy who’d like to lay in bed and just hold his S/O - they don’t even have to be doing anything together like reading or watching TV, he just likes to vibe with them.
Beauty - What do they admire about their s/o? What do they think is beautiful about them? Oof, he’s kinda picky ngl. But no matter what, he’ll always love his S/O’s eyes. He doesn’t know what it is about them; is it the way they betray any facade his S/O tries to put up? Is it the way they show how happy they shimmer under the moonlight that slips in through the window on a clear night? He doesn’t know why, but he loves his S/O’s eyes.
Comfort - How would they help their s/o when they feel down/have a panic attack etc.? Eh, he’s not the best. Verbal comfort doesn’t exactly come easy to him but he won’t hesitate to remind his S/O that if they weren’t perfect they wouldn’t be here with him, which sometimes helps but honestly sometimes makes things a little worse. Rest assured, he makes up for it with amazing blanket burrito wrapping skills, and he always has at least two blankets nearby cause mans fuckin freezing.
Dreams - How do they picture their future with their s/o? Ruling the world together. He sees the two of them as untouchable, moulding the world into whatever they want it to be. 
Equal - Are they the dominant one in the relationship, or rather passive? He’s pretty dominant, but it’s subtle - he’s not too commanding or rough, but he’s still the one in ‘control’. He knows everything about his S/O, even if they don’t realise it, and can just say one word or phrase that makes them shiver as if the hands of the dead were caressing their spine.
Fight - Would they be easy to forgive their s/o? How are they fighting? Haha good luck :)
Gratitude - How grateful are they in general? Are they aware of what their s/o is doing for them? Listen he won’t tell his S/O verbally but he’s incredibly grateful for them and everything they do. His S/O could just wake up in the morning and he’d go “ah yes, this person is perfect, I’m so glad they’re here” but he has a reputation to uphold and he’s stubborn so he won’t ever say it out loud, not even drunk or on his deathbed.
Honesty - Do they have secrets they hide from their s/o? Or do they share everything? 👀
Inspiration - Did their s/o change them somehow, or the other way around? Like trying out new things or helped them overcome personal problems? I think they’d definitely make him more,,, easily approachable. Like before he met them he was all cold glares and piercing looks but after he’s met them his eyes have a softer edge to them. Don’t get me wrong, he still comes off as a self centred bastard, but it’s not as bad as it used to be.
Jealousy - Do they get jealous easily? How do they deal with it? Nope. It took a while for him to trust his S/O as much as he does, but it’s the strongest bond he’s ever had and he’s not gonna let it go because some random person is getting a little too close for comfort. If they’re upsetting his S/O though he’ll smile coldly at them and pick on the person’s insecurities before pulling his S/O away.
Kiss - Are they a good kisser? What was the first kiss like? He doesn’t have too much experience but he’s not too bad. The first kiss between them was under the moonlight; he’d taken them for a short walk on a warm night, listening to whatever they had to say. Turning towards them and seeing their eyes spark with joy as they spoke made him fight off a smile, hiding his gaze in the trees as he stopped walking. It was quick, but it wasn’t rushed - he just leans towards them and kisses them, pulling back with a smug little smirk.
Love Confession - How would they confess to their s/o? Subtly, leaving them confused at if it was an actual confession or if he was just playing a little game. He was being 100% serious and takes them to a nice cafe, but because he’s so stubborn to actually ask “hey wanna go on a date” his S/O didn’t realise they were a thing until someone else pointed it out.
Marriage - Do they want to get married? How do they propose? What would the marriage be like? Not particularly, since he’s always busy and marriage doesn’t really matter to him, but if his S/O really wants to he’ll call them his spouse. No extravagant celebration, no fancy cake, just a plain ring and the bonus of telling people “that’s my beloved spouse”.
Nicknames - What do they call their s/o? “My beloved” is a big one, but he generally calls them by their name. It’s not that he’s not romantic, because he is in his own little way, it’s just that he doesn’t really see a point in calling them anything other than their name. He feels like it’s more intimate to call them by their name rather than a nickname that everyone would pick up on and copy.
On Cloud Nine - What are they like when they are in love? Is it obvious for others? How do they express their feelings? To the untrained eye, it’s hidden better than traumatic childhood memories, but to people who know him well it’s glaringly obvious. His hints may be subtle but his staring really fuckin isn’t, sorry buddy. He’s not very expressive when it comes to feelings but his S/O feels some kind of importance when he doesn’t kill them for stealing his hat :0
PDA - Are they upfront about their relationship? Do they brag with their s/o in front of others? Or are they rather shy to kiss etc. when others are watching? He doesn’t brag but he does. Like, he doesn’t go “oh look at my wonderful S/O, they’re better than you in every way” but he does have one arm around their waist at any given time, smirking at anyone who admires them for a second too long. It’s his way of going “yes, this person is my beloved, and they’re really cool” without actually saying anything.
Quirk - Some random ability they have that’s beneficial in a relationship. He’s scarily observant. The second his S/O’s mood drops or they look at something they want in a shop window, he knows about it. He can also tell the difference between “oh that looks cool” and “oh I want that”, which makes it easy for him to surprise his S/O with gifts. Literally surprise them with it - he comes out of nowhere sometimes.
Support - Are they helping their s/o achieve their goals? Do they believe in them? Yeah, he’s really supportive, and it’s probably the one thing he’s obvious about. It’s not like a loud, cheery yell of support, but more a quiet kiss on the temple as he whispers how strong they are, telling them how capable they are. He knows they’re more than worth it and he knows they can do it, so when they start to doubt their ability, he’s got a lot of words prepared.
Romance - How romantic are they? What would they do to make their s/o happy? Cliché or rather creative? Surprisingly, he’s pretty romantic. Not in the cliche rose petals and candles way but the kind of way where they know he has their back. The kind of romantic that’s sitting together on a bay window with warm drinks in hand, observing the world as it goes on it’s merry way. The kind of romantic that’s holding each other after a long day, blankets wrapped around cold shoulders.
Try - How much effort do they put into the relationship? He’ll only ever put in as much effort as his S/O does, honestly. If they’re willing to put in the time, the effort, to deal with him not being the most affectionate guy in the world, then he’s gonna obviously gonna do the same. 
Understanding - How good do they know their partner? Are they empathetic? Really well, especially with how observant he is. There’s nothing about his S/O that he doesn’t know, right down to their favourite foods and such. Not only is he good at finding information online, but he’s also real great at wiggling his way into people’s conversations and suddenly they’re telling him everything. He just sits there and absorbs all this knowledge like a sponge and uses it to his advantage by getting his S/O a bunch of stuff they like.
Value - How important is the relationship to them? What is it’s worth in comparison to other things in their life? It’s really important, maybe on the same level as the book. Someone managed to wriggle their way into his life and had the audacity to make him feel loved, and once he realises how much they have to deal with he’s putting this relationship at the top of his priorities list.
Wild Card - A random Fluff Headcanon. He’s really cold all the time so he has millions of blankets dotted around his rat cave. Most of them are really fluffy and get fuzz everywhere, which he absolutely does not clean under any circumstances.
XOXO - Are they very affectionate? Do they love to kiss and cuddle? It has to have been a really long day before Fyodor starts getting cuddly, but if his S/O is a cuddler he’ll sit and hold them.
Yearning - How will they cope when they’re missing their partner? He’ll never be caught saying it out loud but he loves to have his S/O on his lap while he does work. If he’s sitting in front of his monitors, he wants his S/O on his lap with their head tucked into the crook of his neck. So when his S/O isn’t there and it’s been a few hours of just work work work, he’ll go up to them and  sit next to them. If they start cuddling him, he’ll hold them close and maybe kiss the top of their head but he’s too stubborn to initiate anything.
Zeal - Are they willing to go to great lengths for the relationship? If so, what kind of? He doesn’t really consider anything to be a “great length” because if his S/O would do it for him, he’d do it for them, no questions asked.
Taglist: @fashionablyfailing12 uwu
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pinkpastels113 · 3 months ago
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Barking Morning
Rating: G/K+
Word Count: 1,741
Pairing: Chloe Beale/Beca Mitchell
Summary: In which Chloe is livid, Beca is defensive, and a beagle is happily barking away.
B/C. One-shot. Fluff. Neighbors AU.
Excerpt:
Her fingers pull at the gate at the corner of the sidewalk, and she swings it open, striding right in, “Hey!”
A woman about her age looks up from her crouch at the inside of her sliding glass door, her hands halting in their gesture at beckoning her pet forward, and Chloe’s feet falters at the sight of startled blue eyes meeting her gaze.
The beagle that had been making its happy way back towards its owner perks up at the sound and turns its head, its tail wagging like crazy as another bark permeates the air at the sight of its distraction.
“Yeah?” Her neighbor’s voice is skeptical and wary and just at the beginnings of being defensive as her eyes lose its spark of surprise and roves over her livid figure.
Chloe’s heart pounds at the gesture and then her feet are resuming its vehement traipse forwards because as if adding insult to injury, her neighbor is attractive and if she wasn’t so freaking mad, she would’ve smiled and flirted and tried to make her acquaintance, and surely someone that attractive would’ve at least had the decency to consider the insensitivity of her actions, “Next time let your dog out after the early hours of the day, will you? Some people have to sleep and get up in the morning to go to school.”
On ao3 or ff.net or here... (cuz it’s short)
Chloe had never been so livid over something so stupid.
She is generally a relaxed and pretty laid back individual, always have been and hopefully still will be (after this one incident of course), and have always allowed things to slide off her shoulders and not be taken personally, have always smiled away an “it’s fine” and continued on her merry way.
So this proves to be a highly unusual case of her losing her mind, and combined with the fact that it had been over something so stupid, she is now positively vibrating with rage by the time she’s done trying to suppress and ignore the strong but rare emotion.
Like, who the hell allows their stupid dog outside at freaking six in the morning and then not say or do anything when he/she/it starts and then continues barking it’s freaking head off non-stop at something that’s probably completely unjustifiable and not even consider the fact that it might be a high inconvenience and annoyance to the neighbor next door?
She is a freaking med student darn it, and she has a big potentially life changing exam in just a couple hours and she has had enough with the inconsideration and the barking and the suppression of her rare lividity at the expense of herself trying to be a good and reasonable human being.
Which is saying something else, because her neighbor—whomever he or she may be—is certainly not receiving the memo or even trying to reciprocate the gesture as well.
Tightening the knot of the bathrobe at her waist and trying to not growl like the dog just outside her bedroom window, Chloe stomps to her front door and throws it open, and doesn't bother to close it as she continues on her way into her neighbor’s backyard. She knows that her hair’s mussed and her feet’s bare and she’s practically naked under her robe and that her mom would probably freak if she went to greet some stranger in her current state of undress, but she could really not care less as she storms down the walkway at the side of the house that she had recently inherited from her deceased grandparents, her feet landing on cool paved stone and then soft green grass as she reaches the half wall separating her backyard from her neighbor’s.
“Come on, buddy, time to come inside!”
Oh great, now her neighbor decides to do something, when the damage was already well and done and she was already awake and on her way to give her neighbor a piece of her mind.
Her fingers pull at the gate at the corner of the sidewalk, and she swings it open, striding right in, “Hey!”
A woman about her age looks up from her crouch at the inside of her sliding glass door, her hands halting in their gesture at beckoning her pet forward, and Chloe’s feet falters at the sight of startled blue eyes meeting her gaze.
The beagle that had been making its happy way back towards its owner perks up at the sound and turns its head, its tail wagging like crazy as another bark permeates the air at the sight of its distraction.
“Yeah?” Her neighbor’s voice is skeptical and wary and just at the beginnings of being defensive as her eyes lose its spark of surprise and roves over her livid figure.
Chloe’s heart pounds at the gesture and then her feet are resuming its vehement traipse forwards because as if adding insult to injury, her neighbor is attractive and if she wasn’t so freaking mad, she would’ve smiled and flirted and tried to make her acquaintance, and surely someone that attractive would’ve at least had the decency to consider the insensitivity of her actions, “Next time let your dog out after the early hours of the day, will you? Some people have to sleep and get up in the morning to go to school.”
An eyebrow rises into chocolate brown hair and Chloe briefly notes that her neighbor is adorably a couple inches shorter even though she is still standing behind the threshold, “I hadn’t realized that six in the morning is considered early,” she says, crossing her arms.
Her beagle bounds up to her stop in front of the frowning brunette and barks at her feet, and Chloe tries not to eye at the soft coat of its fur and marvel at the small patch of black on its otherwise white and tan body, “It’s early enough for me to get pissed off when your dog won’t stop barking at whatever it was that it had been barking at and ruin any chance for me to go back to sleep.”
“Well, I’m sorry if it’s such an inconvenience for you that this is the only time that I can let him out before I go to work, and that you hate dogs enough to storm into my backyard in your robe and yell at me for letting him have some air before locking him up for hours on end,” she replies, shifting her weight onto one foot and leaning against the side of her sliding glass door.
Chloe sputters at the assumption and audacity of the short brunette to turn this on to her, “I don’t hate dogs; I was a vet student before I dropped out in favor of medicine!”
“I can’t imagine why.” Her tone is dry and sarcastic as her gaze travels over her robe clad figure once more, and Chloe is certain that her skin had by now turned into a shade of red rivaling that of her hair, for reasons not particular to her burning antagonism.
Before she could open her mouth for her next words however, the beagle at her feet rubs its head on her calves and twirls between her legs, tongue sticking out to lick at her shins in excitement and happiness, tail wagging enough to shake its entire rear end, and Chloe is delightedly distracted. Immediately, a laugh bubbles its way out of her chest and she shuffles her feet, trying to relieve herself of the tickling sensation and momentarily losing her hold onto her irritation.
“Guetta, stop.”
At the two word request, Chloe snaps her head up from the enthusiastic beagle and raises her brows in shock, “Guetta? You named your dog after an artist?”
A flash of interest crosses her neighbor’s face before it dissipates, her expression schooling back into neutral blankness, “Yeah, so what? Is that a problem for you as well?”
The thing about being usually laid back and rarely mad enough to lose her crap in front of a complete stranger is that it only lasts for a split second, and that once it was all done and settled and dealt with, she is back to being her usual serene self, curious about this woman who works at six in the morning and who is sarcastic in the most inopportune of times and who owns an overly energetic beagle and who names it after one of her all time favorite artists in the entire world. So she now bites her lip and steps forward, her fingers fiddling with the clasps of her robe, “Are you kidding? I love David Guetta; his song Titanium is my jam. My lady jam.”
She looks stunned at the sudden change of demeanor and subject and Chloe grins as she watches her arm uncross to run through chocolate curls, steely gaze darting away, “Oh. That’s...nice.”
“Yeah.” They make eye contact yet again, this time with none of the earlier animosity and mockery between them, and Chloe finally lets herself appreciate the angle of her cheekbones, the tattoo on her shoulder, the subtle curve of her nose, the pink glossiness of her lips. Her grin widens into a full on smile when her neighbor’s blank slate of a face cracks into an expression of tentative amusement, and she takes another step forward, toes curling in the grass, about to make another comment about her precise fondness for the song when a jubilant yip rises from her feet.
She had almost forgotten about the dog, about the subject of their less than pleasant meeting and now the subject of their more than promising connection, and she amends it by getting onto her knees and rubbing its face, patting his head and scratching his ears, and she giggles as Guetta barks happily and licks her cheek.
“I’m Chloe, by the way,” she says, pushing her hair out of her face so she can properly look at her, because it'd been only about five minutes since she had known this woman and she can already tell that she is hooked.
“Beca,” the brunette offers, rolling her eyes in fake exasperation as she watches her dog lavish Chloe with attention, not even bothering with calling him off anymore because they both knew that it would be fruitless.
“Awes,” the smile on her face seemed like a permanent fixture, and her serious lack of sleep and previous apprehension about her upcoming medical exam is the last thing on her mind, “Nice to meet you, Beca, and I’m really sorry about yelling at you for waking me up.”
Beca waves away her apology and gives one of her own, “I’m the one who should be sorry about being an inconsiderate jerk who didn’t do anything when this one here,” she nodded to Guetta who blinked innocently up at them, “Won’t stop barking at the mist in the air.”
Chloe coos at the beagle now kissing her neck about being silly before turning back to the short brunette, her appreciation for the reparation mixing with a sudden hope for a chance to make up, “It’s fine, I got over it. Let’s start over?”
Because this time she’s not a sputtering, storm-up-to-her-total-stranger-of-a-neighbor-uncaringly-half-naked mess—well, the storming part at least, the half nakedness is still glaringly obvious and the uncaring is still stubbornly in place—and her neighbor’s really attractive and not a completely insensitive jerkface, and she would now like to make her acquaintance, and then possibly, optimistically, something more, and a redo of their respective first impressions are a necessity of a step for her—them—to reach that goal...
Chloe really wishes that Beca would say yes.
Beca grins and and steps away from the threshold, beckoning for her to go in, “Yeah, lets. Join me for a cup of coffee?”
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youvebeenlivingfictional · 3 months ago
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The Maiden of Summerwood
Pairing: Oberyn Martell x Reader x Ellaria Sand Rating: Explicit - 18+ Only Notes: Hello, and welcome back to the This Got Away From Me Channel! I’ve never written for Oberyn or Ellaria before, so I am!! Hella nervous!! There are probably typos, this isn’t beta-read, I’ve read it over like four times but I’m sure as soon as I hit post I’ll spot five things
Length: 12.4K Warnings: Mentions of abuse (brief; nothing explicit), cursing, dirty talk, explicit sexual content (minors, get off my lawn) - vaginal sex, oral sex, threesomes
Summary: You are wary of courtships; you are bored of princes.
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You see him in the throne room, first.
As your mother is too ill to attend her hostess duties, and as you are the oldest daughter of your house, you’re left to take charge of your mother’s responsibilities in her absence. Your other sisters - well, the four of them that are still at Summerwood - are lined up beside where you are seated at your father’s right hand. You and your sisters are not typically included in these welcome ceremonies, but your father and his council have informed you that, as you are rarely visited by nobles or royals as well-known or important as Prince Oberyn, this is not the typical ceremony - nor will it become that. You only manage to just stop yourself from asking them to swear so, if only to return to the rest of your work. You’ve become knowledgeable and vital to the way your father manages your province. Your parents are older now, and your mother worries that you will remain unmarried when they pass on— but your father knows that you are determined to rule alone. You have not met the prince’s eye once; you have taken stock of the company that has trailed in behind him, and have listened to maybe a third of what he and your father have discussed, knowing that friendly chat is being established now, and the true issues will be saved for the meeting in the days to come. But your sister, Liri, leans in and murmurs, “He’s quite handsome.” And only then do you allow yourself to glance at the prince. To your chagrin, Liri is right: he is quite handsome. His eyes are dark and piercing; his full lips quirk into a smile at some joke that your father has made; the lilt of his voice is rich, pitched low, full of warmth and mirth as he jests in a way that makes your father laugh, the sound echoing around the hall. You arch a brow, unable to help it. Your father can be quite an austere man, and you wonder if the sound that he’s made is merely humoring a Prince of Dorne, or if he genuinely enjoys the presence of Oberyn Martell. You see the prince’s eyes begin to drift toward you, and you hastily lower your own; the action sends a wave of apprehension through your stomach. You feel as though you’ve been caught looking at something that you ought not to be looking at. You turn your head a little bit as Liri leans in again, murmurs, “Why do I feel as though I’m being undressed?” You tamp a smile down, sliding your eyes to hers, and she grins. Liri is the closest to you in age that is still unmarried.  Since she has been introduced into society, she has taken advantage of the knowledge and... entertainment that visitors to the province can provide. You’re certain that Prince Oberyn will be her next conquest. When your father dismisses you and your sisters, you rise from your seat and leave without a word, without another look at the prince. You’re certain once is enough. Besides— you’ve work to do. 
-- 
Your sisters are tittering about Oberyn all evening, as you all get ready for the feast that you’ve spent most of the last week arranging. You’re not in the mood to go, frankly, but you know that even if your mother were well enough to attend, you would still be expected to make a showing. Liri wears her most revealing dress, something you’re certain you’ll catch hell for in the morning. But when you tell her that she ought to change, she waves you off, and insists that, “These Dornishmen are used to seeing more of a woman.” You roll your eyes. You worry that Liri is truly planning on courting Oberyn’s interest in earnest. All that you know of Prince Oberyn is what you’ve heard in your court, or from those of your father’s council who are familiar with the man: he is a lothario, a hot-head, and a fighter. In your estimation, all that that makes him is a typical prince. You are wary of courtships; you are bored of princes. But while Liri is of marriageable age, she is young, and a little foolish. So you say nothing else, and let your sisters squeal in shock at her way of dressing, and the additional kohl that she’s used to outline her eyes, and the powder on her cheeks. To grown men, this may seem alluring. But you know how your sister is, and you are attending this party out of duty where she will go for sport. You love your sister, but you see a child playing dress up. 
-- As your father is aware of how well-traveled Oberyn is, he has demanded that this not be a typical feast. There is far more spectacle - dancers, jugglers, musicians, jesters - than would normally be found in Summerwood. Rather than immerse yourself in and enjoy the party, you hang back, keeping careful eye on each of your sisters (with the prince there, two others that have married make appearances with their husbands and children). You’re aware of the few murmurs around you— the whispers of your name, the question of your marrying from those that have traveled from Dorne. But you’ve learned to push that away. Your choice to rule alone when the time comes used to be a sticking point, a hole in your heart, but you’ve since patched it. You know what is best for this province; the prospect of bowing to a husband that has not put in the work you have is not only daunting, it is insulting. “Sour wine?” You turn your head to find a woman standing beside you. She is Dornish, you know that much— if her accent were not enough to give her away, the marigold-hued dress that she wears, similar to the rest of the Dornish party, is indication enough. Her eyes are a soft chestnut brown, and friendly; her long, dark hair is braided back, allowing you to fully appreciate her sharp, hawk-like features; her lips curl into a small smile as she waits for you to answer. “...Pardon?” “You’ve taken a single sip in the last hour,” She nods to the chalice in your hand, “I assumed it was sour and you were too polite to set it down.” You raise a brow. “I did not realize my consumption was being so closely monitored.” “I suspect it is only truly being monitored by you, my lady.” “And yet you’ve kept count.” Her smile grows a little wider, and she flashes you her teeth before she nods toward where a few of your sisters are gathered. “I suspect you’ve been more than occupied. But is not the point of this feast some fun before the work begins?”
“Perhaps,” You concede, nodding a little, “But some of us consider this feast the beginning of such work.” 
The woman chuckles softly before holding her hand out for your chalice, “If I may?” “Of course,” You pass it to her, and she takes a long sip as she watches you. She hums, mutters, “Too sweet for my tastes.”
“I hear Prince Oberyn often insists on travelling with his own wine.” “He does. You’re quite kind to share your wine with someone you’ve yet to truly know,” She says as she passes it back to you. You shrug. “I like to think my father would want me to be hospitable to our Dornish friends, Miss Sand.” Her smile grows wider still. It had not taken you long to discern that this was the prince’s paramour. Her clothing is embroidered with golden suns, as his; you’ve heard her name murmured, but had yet to match it with a face. But you’ve been introduced to everyone in the prince’s party— everyone but her. You turn your head as you see Liri break away from your pack of sisters, chin up and eyes set on the dais where your father is speaking with Prince Oberyn. “Quite a merry girl, your sister,” Ellaria says, watching Liri as you do. “A kind word for it— I do not think that she is aware of your entanglement with the Prince—” An apology is poised on your lips, but Ellaria chuckles. “Oberyn does as he wishes.” That takes you by surprise. “And this does not upset you?” “Not at all. I also do as I wish,” She adds, tipping her head toward you conspiratorially. A small smile pulls at your lips, but never makes it fully, and leaves as soon as it arrives. Your eyes drift back to Liri, wary. You see your father’s face twist with displeasure at her attire, and worry courses through your veins. You lower your eyes as you see him glancing around for you. “If you’ll excuse me,” You say softly. “You’ve elsewhere to be? Or are you off to find a wine that suits you?” A soft laugh shakes your chest and shoulders, but the sound does not leave you fully.
“I’ve an early morning,” You explain, “I hope you will enjoy the remainder of the festivities, Miss Sand.” “Ellaria,” She corrects you. You dip your head in acknowledgement before turning away. Your wine is deposited on a passing servant’s tray, and you leave the hall before you can take note of Oberyn’s eyes tracking your retreat. -- 
Your father is not as upset as you believed that he would be for Liri’s behavior - dress and flirtation and all. He understands that she is willful, blames himself for it— his indulgence, his allowance of you and your sister’s right to choose your own husbands. “For all of your sister’s… judgement regarding her other suitors,” he adds, “I do not believe I’ve ever seen her quite so fixated on any one mark before.” He winces as he says so, and you find your own mouth twisting in concern. You can only hope that your sister’s indiscretion will not harm your father and the council’s effort to improve the treaties and alliance that Summerwood has with Dorne. While your father eats his breakfast, the two of you discuss some of the points that you know that you know that day’s talks will hold. While he is working with the council, you are expected to see to the day’s public audience. It is hardly the first time that you’ve taken care of these showings in your father’s absence, and many of the people have come to know you and trust you with the problems that would typically be directed at your father. This is among the tasks that you will one day face alone, regardless. 
When your father dismisses you, you step into the hall. You hear sniffling, and you glance around to find Liri sitting in an alcove nearby red-eyed and pouting. She meets your eye before she scurries away, and you sigh softly. You will save your ‘I told you so’, if only for the fact that you’ve other things on your mind to tend to. 
--
Your audience with the public goes well. Some of those that arrive are used to the sight of you on your father’s throne, prepared to speak with you rather than him. Others balk at the sight; they hesitate at your presence, insist that their issue can only be tended to by your father. And it takes time, and patience, but you tease out their concerns, take stock of their questions, and dole out justice and help in ways that your father would. Those that were familiar and those that were unfamiliar with your skill both leave with the same thing: Trust in you. 
The presence of a few of your Dornish visitors does not escape your notice. They stand out like spots of sun amid the sea of green fabrics that many in Summerwood favor wearing. 
You do not take stock of which of them are in attendance; you’ve your people to tend to. 
But later that evening, when you dine with your father  and his most trusted advisor, their mention that Prince Oberyn was not in attendance for that first day of meetings does not escape your notice.
--
When you’ve a moment to yourself (though it is not truly to yourself, as you are holding a letter from one of your father’s bannermen, warning of an ongoing skirmish between himself and another bannerman) you feel tiredness come over you. Your eyes skim the words, and your eyelids grow a little heavy— it’s been a long day. “A letter from a suitor?” You hear. And suddenly you’re quite awake again, and though you’re standing up straight, your shoulders go rigid. “No,” Is your crisp answer. You leave it at that, assuming that he will lose interest and drift away, but the click of his boots grows closer. “Another query from your vassals, then?” By the time he’s come to stop beside you, you’ve forced yourself to refocus on the letter in your hands. You can see the bright fabric of his clothing out of the corner of your eye; the weight of his gaze was as heavy as your eyelids felt just moments ago. “No.” You lift your head from the letter when a moment of silence passes and finally turn your head to look at the man. You expect him to be reading the letter, but he is watching you. He waits patiently, brow arched in curiosity.  “...Was there something that you needed, your highness?” You ask, rather than offering him the answer he wants. His lips quirk into a sly side smile. “Not in the official capacity that you can offer, no.” You feel your own brow rise. His innuendo is not lost on you, and you turn your gaze back to the letter, folding it with care. “Take care not to confuse me with my sister, Prince Oberyn,” You say crisply as you turn away from him. “There is no fear of that, my lady,” Is Oberyn’s answer to your retreating back, and while it slows you for a half-step, you do not turn back to look at him. 
--
Your father permits you to sit in on the second round of negotiations. You have done this before; sat quiet and still, taking in your father’s wisdom, learning how he barters for your people’s prosperity and safety. You do not expect to see Oberyn, but he strolls in that morning, apologizes to your father for his lateness, and gives you a reverent nod as he lowers himself to sit beside the advisor that Doran sent along with him. You’re careful to listen throughout the day, but find your focus split; it does not escape your notice that Oberyn’s eyes stray to you more often than not. It does not escape your father’s notice, either. 
--
“The prince seems taken with you,” He mentions later, once the room has emptied of everyone but the two of you. The statement briefly catches you off-guard; just a moment ago, you were discussing ceding some land to Dorne. “...I do not take your meaning,” You tell him; your father’s head tips a little, face quizzical and critical. “I do know that you make it a point to distance yourself from these entanglements, but Oberyn did mention your having a chance to speak. He said he found you...Interesting.” Your father’s hesitation tells you that that’s not the word that Oberyn used. “I hardly said more than a few words to the man,” You insist, “Now what are we to do about Willowcreek?” You see hesitation in your father’s face, but he forges on with your question rather than chasing answers to his own.  
-- “You are something of a legend, do you know?” Ellaria asks you later. She’s sat down beside you as you eat dinner, and this time you do not find a reason to excuse yourself early. “A legend?” You repeat, brow wrinkled by the prospect. “Mm. The Maiden of Summerwood. All she could want is laid before her, and yet she never smiles.” You consider this for a moment, your finger trailing the side of your chalice before you shrug a shoulder. “Perhaps I’ve no reason to.” “You seem to have missed the part where I said, ‘all is laid before her’,” Ellaria teases, and that does make the side of your lips quirk for a moment before the show of amusement drops away again. “And is that what you think? That I’ve all I could want laid before me?” You’re careful to not shy away as Ellaria’s eyes roam your face, your form, your dress, before she turns to look over the rest of the dining hall. “I think… That you have a throne to sit on when needed, and people to attend to your desires, and pretty dresses and jewels, and a name that is known in all Seven Kingdoms…” Her friendly eyes and sly smile turn back to you in full force, “But that is not what you want.” You allow your brows to raise minutely, “You’ve made quite a careful study of me.” She sighs boredly, plucking up her drink, “With Oberyn engaged so deeply with work, what else have I to do?” That rouses a short, soft laugh from you, and you turn your gaze from her, “Summerwood has plenty of amusement to offer.” “And yet you still do not smile,” She counters. “Well, it is not Summerwood’s amusements that concern me.” You can feel Ellaria watching you still, feel the warmth of her knee brushing against yours under the table. “And your own amusement?” She presses, “Where is that to be found?” And that is an excellent question, one that you do not know how to answer. Instead you offer, “I could have Liri show you some of the best riding trails tomorrow.” Ellaria’s eyes narrow slightly, and she seems to consider your offer before she asks, “Is that where you find your amusement?” “Sometimes.” “And other times?” You do not know what answer this woman wants from you, but you’re certain you can’t give it to her. “There isn’t a song that accompanies this legend, is there?” You press. “Not that I know of.” You hum, thoughtful, “Legend’s not much of a legend without a song.” --
“Have you nothing better to do?” You ask him when the council breaks for a midday meal. Oberyn seems stunned that you’re choosing to address him in such a manner, let alone the fact that you’re choosing to address him at all. But it’s the fourth day in a row that Oberyn has drifted into negotiations well after they’ve begun, settled at his council’s side, and made it a point to concern himself more with your doings than with the tasks at hand. Your father has pressed you further for any indication that you’ve interest in the man, but all that you can feel is a rising irritation. He shakes himself from this quickly enough, says, “I am here in the interests of Dorne.” Your scowl chases his insistence, and he grins. “I’ve a feeling you do not believe me sincerely,” He pouts. “You are never on time.” “These meetings are early.” “And yet the rest of us manage.” 
“Perhaps the rest of you are more accustomed to rising with the sun. I find it difficult to draw myself out from my bed— it becomes more difficult still, depending on who may be there with me.” And the glint in his eye tells you that this statement is meant to hasten you from the room, hurry you off the way you turned from him the last time the two of you spoke. “It’s a wonder Ellaria can stand to be around you,” You hiss, “You’re insufferable.” “Perhaps she doesn’t remain for my company. Perhaps she remains for my cock.” Men have rarely spoken to you so bluntly, and it sends a bolt of something through you— it’s not quite rage, not quite shock, not quite lust, but you’re suddenly tinged with each of those. “If that is all she stays for, then from what I hear, she must be deeply unsatisfied,” You snarl in turn before brushing past him. -- It’s not a question when it’s said to you, it is an edict, as pointed and plain as your father’s other orders: “You’ll join us at the dais this evening.” 
-- You’re eating little and saying less. Oberyn’s eyes drift to you every few moments. You’re careful not to watch his lips as he licks a spilled drop of wine; when he swallows, his adam’s apple bobs, an expanse of his skin exposed to you by his low collar. Your father talks the most of the three of you, attempting to engage the both of you in conversation. Liri and your sisters watch in astonishment from further down the dining hall, murmuring to one another. They’re too far to read their lips, but you know them, and you can discern their conversation on that alone: how handsome the Prince is, as that still fascinates them daily; how sour you look, how little you speak, the hell you’ll catch for it later. And you do catch hell. 
Your father scolds you like a wayward babe, reminds you that the Dornishmen are your closest allies, and that you’ve created something to put right. -- “I’m to apologize to you.” You say so with your arms crossed, your expression as neutral as you can manage. “...And yet you begin in such a way,” Oberyn says thoughtfully, hardly looking away from whatever he’s writing. You don’t like this. You don’t like being alone with the Prince in his room, but not because you’re uncomfortable. You’re still feeling that welling of not-quite-rage-shock-lust when you see him. But the lust has welled over dinner, as his ankle brushed yours, as he observed you in closer measure than he’s been able to in meetings. Now he’s leaning over the escritoire with the concentration of a Maester, his hand working in fluid motions as you stand nearby. “Would you believe its sincerity?” “Would you mean it sincerely?” He counters, and you don’t bother to hide your eye roll. Unfortunately, he’s chosen to take that moment to look up at you, and he chuckles. “Not just now, I don’t think,” He answers his own question. He pots his quill and swivels in his seat to peer up at you. “Why do I infuriate you?” You lower your chin a little. “You give yourself far too much credit to truly believe you can excite such a potent emotion in me as fury.” “What do I excite, then?” He smiles knowingly as he asks, and a sudden discomfiture quickly overtakes that feeling of lust. “You think yourself good enough to excite anything in me?” You counter instead. Oberyn ponders this in silence for a moment before he draws himself up from his seat. “I think,” He drifts toward you with a slow deliberateness, “That the Maiden of Summerwood knows how to smile, and hides it from view, because she knows that she must show that she is as strong as her father. And I think,” He comes to stop in front of you -- you can see the flecks of gray in his beard that you did not see before, and smell the sage and cedar wood oils that he must use as the scents waft off of him, “That you will forget how to smile if you do not try it some time.” “...And all of this,” You nod to him, “Was...Some witless attempt to make me smile?” Oberyn smiles then, lips pulling wide and teeth flashing down at you, and that lust is aroused in you again. He glances from you as his brow lifts and falls in the space of a second. “If you were another maiden, it might have worked,” He concedes, “Your sister Liri, perhaps.” He says so to irritate you, and it works. “Should my father ask, I apologized to you. Pending your behavior for the remainder of your visit, I may actually bring myself around to it. But I do not offer an apology when I do not mean it, Prince Oberyn.” “A conviction I admire.” And because he’s done nothing but tease you, your ear catches on the way he says so— as if he means it. You give him a small nod before you turn away. As you reach the door, he speaks up again, “You should have your song by the time we depart.” You whirl back to face him frowning. “Pardon?” He’s resettled in his seat, taken his quill back up, and smiles. “A legend is not much of a legend without a song,” He says before he turns back to his task. He doesn’t wait for you to question him; you just leave, careful not to slam the door behind yourself. -- 
You choose to attend the next meeting from the safety of a secret room behind the Council chamber. It is one that future rulers have used for centuries before you, but you have always made your intentions known to the council, considering you are to be next in line. The room is small, equipped with a small slot through which you can view the council chamber, a small escritoire for you to take notes at, and a chair. There’s also a small window high on the wall, letting light bleed in for you to write by without giving the location of the room away to those in the chamber. You go in that morning, assuming that you will have an easier time focusing now, without Oberyn to stare you down. But instead your eyes are drifting constantly toward the Prince: to his bored expression, to the way his head is pillowed on his hand, his eyes flitting to and from the people that are speaking. You watch his eyes drift to your vacated seat a few times, and that seems to prompt a great deal of shifting in his own chair. When the group breaks for their midday meal, he is among the first to leave, along with your father. When the group reconvenes, he is notably absent. 
--
Ellaria is at your side that evening, and Liri across you from both. Liri has taken to hanging around Ellaria at every chance she gets, and you can see the Dornishwoman’s patience running thin. You find some reason to excuse Liri from the table— a letter you need posted, having forgotten to send it yourself. Wanting to seem a good sort in front of Ellaria, she springs up where she would normally pout, plucks the missive from your hands and promises to return quickly. And once she is gone, Ellaria stands, tugs your sleeve, mutters, “Quickly.” --
The two of you walk in step with one another, but you are forced to slow your usual pace. You’ve noticed that Ellaria tends to drift in her strides the way Oberyn does. You find yourself wondering if this is particular to the Dornish, or simply to these two. “I hear you’ve an apology to make,” She smiles, and you counter, “I hear I am getting a song.” Ellaria laughs, the sound light and clear. “So I’ve heard as well, but I would not hold out too much hope. Oberyn does many things wonderfully, but his poetry skills may be...Wanting where other things are not. His cock, for example,” She tacks on. And that same stunned feeling bubbles up at her candor, but she is smiling over the edge of her chalice. “Was that truly something you heard?” She adds. “...No,” You admit in a mumble, “The opposite.” “A wonder that you struck him where it hurts a man most— in word only.” “He will survive. Once he departs, he will find some other maiden that he believes he infuriates.” “You do not believe him earnest in any regard?” Ellaria seems oddly delighted by the prospect. “I’m sure the prince has his good qualities,” Is your diplomatic answer, and Ellaria laughs, “Well--” “I meant besides his cock,” You cut her off. Ellaria grins, a look that warms you thoroughly. “His mouth is another,” She promises. And perhaps you shouldn’t have left that door open, but she’s said it now, and the image of Oberyn licking his lips to catch a spilled drop of wine fills your mind. 
-- “You were missed at breakfast.” “Who by?” You ask, hardly looking away from the letter in your hands. “Ellaria.” “Mm.” “...And you were missed at council yesterday.” “I did not think anyone should take notice when there are more pressing matters for our families to see to.” Oberyn doesn’t make an answer to that, and you finish reading the letter before turning your head to see where he’s settled on the bench beside you. You are in your favorite garden: one that is not often visited by your family, or by visitors for that matter. It is a wonder the man has found you. “A suitor?” He presses, face neutral, but eyes warm with mirth. And for a moment you consider snapping back, but… But if Oberyn is truly as good a man as your father believes, and as Ellaria says, well— “One of my father’s bannermen is in the midst of a quarrel with another. He is asking for support from my father.” You hold the letter out to Oberyn, and his eyes dart between it and your face before he gingerly takes it from you. “We received another one similar to it a week or so ago from the man he’s accusing of deception. They want to know where our loyalty lies,” You add. “And where does your loyalty lie?” “To the people of Summerwood, which they both are. Should this conflict come to a head, people would look to us for guidance.” “What would you do, were you your father?” His eyes are still scanning the letter as he asks, and you take his distraction to study his profile as you mull the question over. “...Request that they both come here to discuss the matter. House their camps on opposite sides of the city, appoint guards to watch for movement from either, cut it off before a conflict can arise, if tensions boil over.” “And have you mentioned this to your father?” He asks. You shake your head a little, looking down at the letter as Oberyn holds it back out to you. “He has not asked. This is not yet the sort of topic that I can speak freely to him about.” Oberyn’s fingers brush your as he passes you the missive, and you ignore the goosebumps that the warmth of the touch sets skittering across your skin. It’s stupid— he’s hardly touched you at all. You lower your eyes to the words that you’ve already read ten times over. “...Why tell me?” Oberyn asks. “Something for you to occupy your mind with during today’s council meeting,” You shrug as you stand from the bench, “I hope it goes well,” You add over your shoulder before leaving the garden. -- 
Liri does not join you and Ellaria anymore; she is still smarting from being dropped that one evening. Instead she throws surly glances at you and Oberyn and Ellaria whenever she thinks that they will not be noticed. 
(They are noticed.) (Often.) That evening, when a servant comes over to inform you that both yourself and Ellaria have been entreated by your father to sit with himself and Oberyn at the dais, you are filled with some chagrin. But Oberyn is different when he’s with Ellaria, when it isn’t simply you and your father, and when you’re quite less stone-faced than you were the last time you were in this situation. Besides, you enjoy Ellaria; when she speaks to you, you answer, and allow her to draw you into the conversation, a little. It does not escape your notice that when this occurs, Oberyn’s eyes settle on you, and hold steady in a way they do not in the council chamber, to men who are discussing matters of far greater importance than you are. And he is not gawking or glaring; he is not ogling you, you do not feel exposed the way Liri teased that she did that first day in the throne room. Rather you feel that you are being studied, the way one studies a portrait or tapestry. Perhaps you should find that daunting. Somehow, you do not. 
-- 
“A suitor?” You’ve grown used to him asking so, and as you do not bother to hide your eye roll, he does not bother to hide his chuckle. “You cannot expect me to believe that you receive no letters asking for your hand,” He tacks on as he settles on the bench beside you. He is facing the other direction, however, gazing out over the reflecting pool where you choose to look at the flowers when your mind wanders from the task at hand. “On occasion.” “But that is not one of them now?” “No.” You glance at Oberyn and find him patiently waiting for your answer. “It is from my sister.” “Caliphe, Erissa, Liri, or Maie?” “Cadmi,” You lower your eyes back to the letter, “She is already married, has three children. You may have met her while she was at the welcome feast.” “She had hair like yours, did she not? And your ears.” “Have you made a very careful study of my ears?” “I’ve had to, as you so often turn your face from me.” Your mouth lifts with a half-smile before it falls away again. “She was the first of us to marry,” You tell him. “It must be a relief, the freedom your father has given you to choose.” You lift your eyes from the letter, watching flowers sway in the breeze. “...Perhaps for some,” You concede, “But the freedom to choose, to pick someone outside of our father’s good opinion also leads to...A differing. If we choose wrong, if father consents to the marriage, but does not bless it, you are left to fend for yourself, should things take a turn.” Such a thing had happened to one of your sisters, and it was for this reason that she had been taken to Dorne. “As with Vilotta,” Oberyn acknowledges quietly. You nod a little, jaw clenching at the sound of her name. You had done what you could, gone behind your father’s back and arranged for her to be spirited away in the night when you had found out that she was in danger; you’d gone so far as to find a way to have the man quietly disposed of. You cannot help the tears welling in your eyes, and you turn your head from Oberyn fully, taking in a deep breath to calm yourself. “You must miss her a great deal.” You nod again, lowering your chin to your chest as your emotions settle. “Though it is in no way the same, you know what it is to miss a sister,” You say quietly, “To feel as though you have no power or way to change what happened.” Oberyn’s nod is solemn and slow in your periphery. “So the Maiden of Summerwood has the freedom to choose...Though it could mean losing her family and all that she knows.” You huff a tight little laugh, no mirth in the sound or on your face. “Sometimes the safest choice is to make no choice at all,” You tell Oberyn. 
--
You are not as naïve to the ways of passion as some people may want to think. You have been with people, but the acts have always felt perfunctory, passionless, and, well...Quick. You are also not unaware of the love that Ellaria and Oberyn have for one another. You’ve seen it on their faces, have heard it in their voices when they tease. So maybe it shouldn’t be a complete surprise when you round the corner one day and hear a moan from an alcove. It’s Ellaria’s voice, you know so. And you’ll be late to your meeting if you backtrack now, so— so you hurry on your way and you intend to be fast, and are resolved not to look. But as you pass, Ellara gives this little whine. And you glance, and freeze. Because the prince is wrapped around Ellaria. Her dress is hiked up around her waist, one leg curled around the man’s hip, her hand fisted in his hair. One of Oberyn’s hands is gripping Ellaria’s thigh; the other is working...Somewhere that you cannot see. You can see his mouth worrying kisses and bruises against the long line of her neck. You lift your eyes to find Ellaria panting, lips swollen, and watching you. She grins, tugs Oberyn’s hair. It makes him moan, and she moans in turn at the feeling. That finally hurries you on your way. 
-- 
“You could’ve joined us,” She tells you later, a twinkle in her eye. “I had business to attend to,” You excuse, “Though you seemed to be enjoying yourself.” “And did you enjoy the sight?” “I cannot say I considered it.” “You seemed to take stock.” “I thought my eyes might be playing tricks.” “I did tell you of his mouth’s skill, did I not?” “...I suppose you did,” You concede in a mumble, turning away to reach for your chalice. 
--
In truth, you did take stock of them, and that night, as you lay in bed, you remember Ellaria’s eyes pinned to yours. You remember how sweet and wet and plush her mouth looked as she grinned at you; you remember the sound of Oberyn's moan, the movement of his hand, the slick sounds of his mouth. And you squirm in bed for a while until it is simply too much to take. You close your eyes, and imagine Ellaria’s eyes on you now, her mouth on yours. Your ears ring with Oberyn’s moan, and hers, and as you slip your fingers through the wetness that has gathered between your legs, you let out your own pitiful sound. You think about the flashing of Oberyn’s tongue at dinner, and imagine it where your fingers are. You press your head back against the pillows as you imagine that sweet, low voice murmuring in your ear, urging you on, and when you cum, you turn your head and sink your teeth into the fabric of your pillow to keep from making a sound. 
-- 
“A suitor?” It is his usual jest, but he is not incorrect. The letter is from one of the sons of a well-known and respected house in Summerwood. “...What brings you here this morning?” You answer instead, as Oberyn sits to look at the reflecting pool. “I am in search of something,” Oberyn tells you, and you raise a brow. “Is there any way I can assist?” You ask, looking away from the letter in your hands. Oberyn is studying your face again, and you tack on, “Or should I turn my head away again so that you may gaze upon my ears?” His face splits into a smile, and you cannot help your eyes dropping to his lips before you turn back to your letter again. You feel him lean a little closer, his shoulder brushing yours as he murmurs, “They are lovely ears.” “You are too kind. Now, what is it you’re in search of?” “Some company.”
“Has my father not already directed you to our brothels?” 
Oberyn laughs, a warm and full sound. 
“Not company of that sort, sweet.”
The term of endearment throws you for just a moment, but when you do manage to recover, you ask, “What sort, then?” “I would be pleased if you would join me for a walk after council. That is, if whatever has occupied your days as of late is not terribly pressing.” You don’t have the heart to tell him that you’ve been present at the council meetings, still, but you nod. 
“A walk would be pleasant.” You stand, folding the letter as you go. “You never did answer me,” Oberyn calls after you, and you turn back, frowning. He nods to the letter in hand, and you shrug. “A suitor,” You confirm, and take in the flit of surprise that crosses his face at your admission before you turn to go. 
-- 
The walk is not quiet, or awkward, as you assume it will be. Neither you nor Oberyn are in quarrelling moods. When he teases you, you do not take offence; rather, it is taken in stride, and sometimes you return his jests. When the hour grows later, and the sun dips low in the sky, Oberyn apologizes for keeping you so long, and insists that he escort you to dinner. You allow it, and absolve him of his apology. In truth, Oberyn’s presence was so bright, and you were enjoying yourself so much that you hardly noticed the world growing dark around you. 
Father is not at the dais, so Oberyn sits with you and Ellaria in your usual place. They, again, do the lion’s share of the talking, but you’re happy to settle back, and to hear of their travels. They tell you about Braavos, and Essos, and King’s Landing, and the Wall. These are places that you will likely never see, and while that makes you ache, some, you appreciate their effort to share the corners of the world that they’ve encountered. -- You and Oberyn begin to walk together every day, and dine with Ellaria in the evenings. They often entreat you back to your room, for a game of cards, or more conversation. And something about these invitations always makes you balk. Perhaps it is the way Oberyn’s eyes settle on you, or Ellaria’s hands brush your arm or side or knee. You do not think they really want to talk, or play cards. But the thought that you’re wrong, that these friendly offers are, indeed, merely friendly, worries you. The thought that you are right worries you more still. -- “When did you decide that you would renounce your choice?” Oberyn asks one day. The two of you are strolling through an orange grove. Council has taken a break for meetings for the entire day, and Oberyn found you at breakfast, rather for your company that afternoon. “When I was young,” You admit, “My father...Explained that my husband, whoever that may be, would take charge of Summerwood, despite the fact that they may be from somewhere else. It did not sit well with me.” “How old were you?” “Oh… I believe it was just after my fourteenth nameday.” “To swear off the prospect of a particular future so soon,” Oberyn’s brows raised, “This did not upset you?” “It used to. But I am resolved to it fully now.” “And you have never wanted marriage since?” “No,” You shake your head, “My mother and father have not shown any true model of devotion; I’ve never cared for anyone deeply. And...Well, having seen its effect on… Certain of my sisters,” You cast Oberyn a sidelong glance, “I do not think I would suit well to it. What of you?” You pressed before Oberyn could question you further, “Have you never wanted to marry?” He smiles, peering out ahead of you, “I have loved many people, but there have been none that I wish to commit my life to.” “Not even Ellaria?” “Ellaria and I are devoted to one another,” He nodded, “And we do not need the bond of marriage to prove that devotion.” You hum, thoughtful. You have envied Oberyn and Ellaria their bond for some time now.
“Why do you never smile?” Oberyn asks, and you force yourself to tamp one down, if only for the sake of appearances. “Running out of material for that song, are we?” You ask, glancing up at him. A smile eases onto his face, sweet and soft. “Not yet,” He swears. -- 
It comes in a letter one morning. You do not read it in the garden, nor are you able to meet Oberyn that day. Council with the Dornish is called off, as your father’s bannermen have come to blows. Your father takes his news from his advisor, and as he listens, his eyes are set on you. This is not only a concern, but it is a test. “I am sending you with a complement of 50 men,” He tells you, “Make this right.” Your heart jitters in your chest, but you’re careful to give your father a firm nod. You’re to leave in two days. -- This news spreads through the castle faster than a wildfire in a dry field. You do not know if it is because of the arrangements that your father must make in order for you to depart, or the news reaching your mother, and rippling through her handmaidens to the rest of the court. Your departure means that you will miss the remainder of the negotiations with the Dornish, and likely the remainder of their visit. At the start of Oberyn’s visit, this would bring some joy, but now it leaves you feeling… Oddly troubled. You know that you will miss Ellaria, and tell her so. And when she’s drawn away by your sister Erissa for conversation, you know that there’s one more thing that you have to do before you concern yourself with preparations for the journey. -- “When do you leave?” “The day after next,” You tell him, looking down into the wine he’s poured for you. You can’t believe that you’ve lingered– you came for a reason, but now that you know your time with him is limited, you find yourself wanting to savor it. You’ve sat down on the end of his bed, which in and of itself felt dangerous as you did it. “Are you worried?” “No,” You look up at him, shaking your head. Oberyn smiles, drifts closer, and your stomach twists. “I-- I did come with a purpose, though,” You add, setting the chalice on your knee. “Oh?” “Yes. When you first arrived at Summerwood, I was… Less than kind to you. Particularly the fourth day of your Council attendance.” Your eyes search Oberyn’s face, “What I said was rude, and inconsiderate. The evening that followed was as well. You are not insufferable— by any measure. You’re… Almost pleasant.” Oberyn chuckles, “I do not  believe I’ve ever been paid a higher compliment—” “I am sorry, Oberyn,” You add, and that quiets him. Oberyn dips his head in thanks before he walks closer and sits on the bed beside you. “I quite misjudged you, you know,” His voice is repentant as he says so, “Before I arrived, I had heard of a legend, and had been told that I would find an inflexible shrew.” “And what did you find?” “A treasure that guards herself of her own volition— but with good reason…” Oberyn watches you as he says so, and you feel a shyness creep up in you, “A woman of wit, possessing a clever mind and strong convictions.” You duck your head at that, peering into your wine. You feel the bed shift as Oberyn leans in, murmurs, “And a pair of lovely ears.” You laugh, then, turning your head from Oberyn as a smile works its way onto your face. “Are you smiling--?” “No--” “You are!” Oberyn’s fingers grasp gently at your chin, turning your face back to his, but by the time he has, you’ve worked your expression back into a careful, disinterested set. Oberyn pouts, and that threatens to well up another laugh from you. “That is not fair.” “There are many things in this world that can be deemed unfair, my Prince.” Something flashes in Oberyn’s when you say so, and you’re not sure what you’ve said that could provoke such a look. But the amusement that you’ve begun to feel drops away as Oberyn’s thumb begins to brush along the side of your chin. Your lips part slightly, of their own volition, you’d swear, and Oberyn’s eyes drop to them. Your heart rabbits in your chest as Oberyn’s thumb skates just a touch closer to your lower lip. You should leave. It was a bad enough to be alone with the Prince in his room, but you needed to see him, and— You’re not sure which of you makes the first move. You just know that Oberyn’s lips are on yours, hungry and soft, and your hands are lifting to clutch at the collar of his coat. Your chalice tumbles from your knee and lands on the floor, wine splashing the hem of your dress. Oberyn’s hand slips to firmly cup the back of your neck. You let him take control of this, let him tip your head back as his tongue teases against yours. You catch a groan in your throat, stoppering it and biting your lip as Oberyn’s kisses trail lower, over your chin and neck and collarbone. You feel his hand slip down to the buttons that line the back of your dress, and your stomach twists with anticipation. His fingers are deft, undoing in only moments what it took your handmaid minutes to do up that morning (but Cala is older, and her fingers are slow, and the buttons are small, and really you’re just thankful to have someone help you into your dress in the first place). 
Where you’ve previously hesitated in undressing for another partner, or have simply tugged your skirts up for a hasty coupling, you help Oberyn tug your dress from your body. Before you can stand to rid yourself of the skirt, he’s up and in front of you, gripping the bodice that you’ve already shrugged off. He leans over you, pressing hasty kisses to your lips and rolling the fabric down as you lift your hips up to help him. Before he can lean back down, you reach out, working at the belt that keeps his coat closed. He steps out of his shoes, cups your cheek, and you turn to press a kiss to his palm before you let the belt fall to the floor. Oberyn’s coat follows your dress, hastily dropped to the floor before he’s catching hold of your face again, drawing you up for a long kiss. You sigh into it, clutching at his forearms, his shirt, the band of his trousers— anything you can reach to draw him closer. You can feel him smiling against your lips, almost as though you’re being teased, but you can’t bring yourself to care. Oberyn is careful as he steers you back onto the bed, one of his hands hiking up the long skirt of your chemise as he goes. You move as he guides, torn between losing yourself in the man’s kisses and following where he leads. He hums as your head rests against his pillows, and he settles between your legs without a second thought. You grip at the fabric that pulls between his shoulders, urging it up, and he leans away from you long enough to pull it up and over his head. It’s thrown over the side of the bed before he is bending over you again. He mouths at where the swell of your breasts are exposed to him along the low line of the chemise as the hem is pushed further up still. You shiver as kisses cease to bleed heat through the fabric and instead make contact with your skin, as Oberyn’s tongue flicks out to tease at your hardening nipple. You sit up just a little to remove the chemise before it goes the way of his shirt.
You wait for it— for Oberyn to open his trousers and fuck into you and for this to be over as hastily as the other encounters you’ve had. It’s what you expect, and frankly, the prospect does not upset you; this has already been far more pleasurable than those have been. But Oberyn’s kisses drift lower, his hands soothing over your sides and smoothing along your thighs. And that’s why you gasp and jump a little, thighs moving to close as his breath brushes over your cunt. He peers up at you, concerned and confused for a moment. “What is wrong?” He asks. In that moment, the brief silence that follows, you realize just how hot your skin feels, just how much of yourself that you’ve bared to this man. You swallow thickly, mouth dry. “Wh-...What are you doing?” You pant. Oberyn’s brows raise, and he turns his head, brushing his lips against the inside of your thigh. “Have you never been with a man?” He asks. “Of course I have—” “But no one never used their mouth on you?” Oberyn tutts. He leans up a little, brushing his lips along your hip before he leans up to kiss your jaw. You can feel the hard length of him brushing against your core, and you roll your hips up against his. He hums against your skin, palming your hip as you repeat the action. He slides his hand between your thighs, trailing along your lips. You suck in a soft breath, closing your eyes. Oberyn sucks a mark into your shoulder as he teases his finger around your opening, and you find yourself whining a little as he slips the finger away. You open your eyes to question him, to demand why he stopped, but you’re silenced by the sight of Oberyn dipping his finger into his mouth. He groans quietly, and you feel the length of him twitch against your thigh. He pulls his finger from his lips and lowers his head to yours. “If you are so sweet this way,” He murmurs, lips brushing yours, “I can only imagine how it will be from the source. Will you let me try?” You nod dazedly, and Oberyn gives you a smile. He leans in, sweeping his tongue into your mouth for a moment before pulling away. You blink up at the ceiling dazedly, able to faintly taste yourself. When Oberyn’s breath brushes over you again, you hold carefully still, though his arm has tucked under your thigh, hand holding to your hip to settle you. The first touch of Oberyn’s tongue is a light tracing along your lips, as his finger did. You gasp softly as Oberyn presses a couple of soft kisses to your clit. He teases at it with the tip first— light, kittenish licks to ease you into the feeling. You feel the tension drain from your thighs as the flat of his tongue laves over it, and a quiet moan escapes you. Oberyn lets an approving hum before he uses his fingers to spread your lips. Your breath hitches as Oberyn’s tongue probes your opening. The movement is light at first, but becomes more insistent as your hips roll, seeking more of his touch. His hand slides up to cup and squeeze and toy with your breast. He thumbs your nipple as the fingers of his other hand rub soothing circles over your hip. Now and again, you can hear him grunt, or sigh. You finally pluck up the courage to slide your fingers into his hair, entangling them. The sound Oberyn makes vibrates against your clit, and your hips jolt at the feeling. His hand lowers from your breast. You whine as he slips a finger into you, clenching around it. You lift your head a little, peering down at Oberyn, and your mouth falls open at the sight. His eyes are closed, arm working as he teases you open. His hips are rolling against the bed; your stomach swoops at the sight. He— He’s enjoying this. The realization washes over you, and you moan, tightening your grip on his hair. Oberyn’s pace increases, his tongue lapping at your clit as he works a second finger alongside the first, and, soon, a third. You feel the first coils of heat in your stomach, the tingling that’s taking hold of you, and you whimper, “Oberyn,” softly in warning. He peers up at you from under long lashes, eyes smiling. He sucks at your lips before he sets to flicking his tongue at your clit, his fingers curling. You can see a little furrow in his brow, and you can’t help but wonder what’s causing it—
Until his fingers brush something inside you that makes your hips press down against his mouth, your cunt fluttering as he brushes it again. He works over it and your clit, and you let out a sharp cry as you cum suddenly. Your heels dig into the bed, pushing at the sheets, and your grip tightens on Oberyn’s hair as your head tips back against his pillows. Oberyn’s fingers and tongue never hesitate in their ministrations, even as you whine and whimper, and before you can warn him, you’re cumming again. He gives your clit short, quick sucks, even as you gasp, your stomach and thigh muscles tight. When you’re overwhelmed, your entire body awash with pleasure, your fingers weakly slip from his hair and you moan, “Please-- I can’t…” Oberyn eases away from you then, and lines your trembling thighs with kisses, his slick fingers settling on your thigh. As you calm, as your heartbeat nears its usual rate, you dare peer down at Oberyn. He’s watching, patient, smiling between the kisses he drops to your skin. “I take it you enjoyed yourself,” He teases. Your stomach flips with it, and embarrassment seeps into your arousal. “You seemed to be enjoying it, yourself,” You counter, reaching down and running a finger along Oberyn’s lips, “You were rutting into the bed as though you were inside me already.” Oberyn grins, and opens his mouth and nips at your finger. You haven’t the time for a smile to settle on your face before he’s surging up and sealing his mouth over yours. You squeeze your eyes shut at the feeling of his lips and chin slick with you; you can taste yourself more fully on his lips and tongue, and he isn’t shy about sharing with you. You reach down, palming at Oberyn through his trousers. He groans low in his throat. “Sweet,” He warns against your lips. You tip your head back to meet his eyes, and murmur, “Will you fuck me, my Prince?” His eyes flash again, and the sight sends a thrill through you. Even in his haste, Oberyn is graceful. You prop yourself up on your elbows, eyeing where his cock hangs heavy and hot. Before he can take hold of himself, you reach down, gripping him by the base and pumping him gently. He hums, watching you slide the head of his cock along the lips of your cunt. 
“How long do you intend to tease me, sweet?” He murmurs. You make a thoughtful little sound, slipping the head along your clit before tracing it lower, just at your entrance. 
“Not long.” 
Oberyn smiles, easing into you gently. Your mouth goes slack as he fills you, stretching you far more than his fingers did. Oberyn’s eyes have closed, and you watch as he folds over you, mouthing at your collarbone tenderly. You comb your fingers through his hair gently, gasping as he lays a bite between your breasts. He sucks and laves the skin, soothing the sting.
You can’t help your clenching around him, and you slip your ankles over his calves, urging him to move. Oberyn smiles as he continues to lap at the new mark, his hips rolling in slow, shallow thrusts. You tighten your grip in his hair, eyes falling closed. 
“How long do you intend to make me wait?” You murmur. “For what?” “Oberyn.” He chuckles, lifting his head and gazing at you warmly. “I am not making you wait,” he punctuates the statement with a particularly slow roll of his hips, “I am precisely where you want me.” “I want more,” You pout, batting your lashes down at him. “I want a smile,” He counters. Your pout drops, and you give him an unimpressed glare. “And you think this is the way to do it?” Oberyn’s hips snap against yours, drawing a sharp gasp out of you. Your hands scrabble at his shoulders as he sets a punishing pace. He slides a hand under your ass, gripping and squeezing as he drives into you. Oberyn’s mouth covers yours, giving you the most toe-curling, tantalizing kisses. Your lips tingle as you turn your head, brushing your mouth and tongue along his jaw, over his beard. You whimper into Oberyn’s jaw, biting down lightly as you feel cunt fluttering around him. “Oberyn, I--” You breathe. “Yes,” He murmurs, urging you on, “That’s it, sweet, cum for me again— Cum for your prince.” You cum calling his name, grinding your hips up against his as you come undone. Oberyn follows close behind. You watch as he peers down at you through bleary eyes, as his tongue flicks out over his lips before his head drops forward. You mewl as you feel him spill into you. His grinding loses its urgency, and after a few moments, Oberyn settles between your thighs, his forehead resting above a mark he’s made on your chest. You’re sure he can hear where your heart is still pounding in your chest. You reach down, running your fingers through his hair as you gaze up at the ceiling. He’s softening inside you; he’s mouthing at your sweat-slicked skin. You glance down at him as Oberyn lifts his head and draws away from you. You think that this will be it, that you’ll dress quickly and leave— but as with everything else that evening, you’re mistaken. Oberyn’s hands are pushing your legs apart, and he’s leaning down to mouth at where his cum is leaking you from. You gasp softly. “Oberyn!” You squeak. He blinks up at you, grinning. “I am not done with you yet, sweet,” He warns before he leans back in. 
-- You fall asleep with your head on Oberyn’s chest and a smile on your lips.
--
When you awake, you’re briefly befuddled. You blink the sleep from your eyes and peer around the room. You’re at Summerwood, and your limbs are heavy, and your body is aching pleasantly. You hear a sigh behind you, and you turn your head. Oberyn is there, sleep-ruffled and dreaming. You roll over to face him, and you allow yourself a moment to look over him in a way you didn’t take the time to the night before. You can see scars on his arms and chest, most likely won in battle. You glance at his face before you reach up, hesitantly trailing a finger over one that sits on his ribs. When that doesn’t wake him, you trail your finger up, to another that’s below his pec. “Enjoying yourself?” You hear. You lift your eyes again, and find Oberyn watching you. A smile pulls at your lips, and you don’t try to hide it from him. Oberyn’s brows raise, and he cups your cheek, brushing his thumb along your lower lip as he did the night before. “I thought I dreamt the sight last night,” he admits. You shake your head, lowering your head and dropping a kiss to his chest. “Don’t get too used to it,” You mumble, though you grin when a laugh shakes Oberyn’s chest. And then you freeze when the door opens. “Isn’t this a sweet picture?” Ellaria’s voice is teasing, and you relax, realizing that it’s not a maid. You roll onto your side and lift your head to look at her. She’s smiling, eyeing the mess that you and Oberyn have left around the bed. She takes her time crossing the room, stepping over the clothing strewn across the floor before she climbs onto the bed beside you without preamble. She does not settle on Oberyn, however, instead resting her head on your sheet-covered hip. “Where were you last night?” You ask, curious. “Oh, was I missed?” She glances between the two of you. “We found ways to amuse ourselves,” Oberyn reassures. “It rather seems you did,” Ellaria agrees. You smile, reaching down and cupping the back of her neck. She settles into the touch, pushing up into your touch like a contented cat. “And what is that I see?” She asks, reaching up and pinching your cheek. You scoff, twisting your cheek out of her grasp. “I’m afraid I have been stripped of my status as a legend.” “Among over things,” Oberyn murmurs against your temple. He chuckles as you slap lazily at his chest. “Is this how it always is with the two of you?” You asked, glancing between the two of them, “Easy?” “Perhaps not always,” Ellaria’s eyes drift up to Oberyn, a fond smile gracing her lips, “But often.” --
“So this is where you hide?” “Ssh!” You stand and hush Ellaria quickly, raising your hand to quiet her. The Council has stilled at the sound of someone’s voice; Oberyn is looking around the room with a frown, likely having caught on the sound of his paramore’s voice. You wave her closer to where you peer through to watch Council. Ellaria crowds up behind you and peers over your shoulder. You’re not wholly unsurprised that she’s found you; you suspect that Liri has given up the location of the room off of the main chamber. Miffed though she was, she’s still fond of Ellaria. You understand. “Must we be so quiet?” She murmurs. Her breath tickles your neck, and you shiver before nodding. She hums. “Then you best mind yourself.” Before you can ask what she means, her hands find your hips, and her lips brush your neck. You suck in a soft, shaky breath. Before you could leave them that morning, you’d taken a chance, and stolen a kiss from her, and she’d nearly tugged you back into the room. She hadn’t been able to draw you back in, though— you’d had to hurry back to your room, taking care to keep from running into any of the servants or the household. That had been its own challenge. Ellaria doesn’t waste any time now, her clever fingers inching up your skirts. You lean back against her, biting your lip as you fight to focus on the meeting in front of you. It doesn’t work, though— it can’t when Ellaria’s cupping your breasts and squeezing as she sighs against your skin. You reach back, grasping at Ellariadesperately. You let Ellaria guide your hand between her thighs. You slip your fingers along her the way you do along yourself when you’re alone. Ellaria makes a sweet little sound against your neck. You find your tongue sweeping along your lips, and you think of what Oberyn did to you to you the night before. You hesitate, carefully drawing your fingers away from Ellaria. You shakily raise your fingers to your lips, and tentatively allow your tongue dart out for a taste. A moan threatens to leave you, and you stop it as you press your wetted fingertips past your lips. It’s no wonder that Ellaria just lets out an amused little huff when you turn back to her and fall to your knees. Your hands shove her skirts up, and you peer up at her, pleading. She nods at you in the dim of the room, and you lean you, sucking a sloppy kiss against her cunt. A shaky, nervous moan leaves you at the taste of her. Your hands squeeze at her thighs as you slip your tongue along her lips. You can’t help the whines you make as you lap at her desperately. You try to keep quiet, and your sounds are muffled against her skin. She cups at the back of your head, as if she’s keeping you close— as if you need to be kept close, like you’re not desperate to taste her as much as you can. You hardly register the door opening, but you hear Oberyn’s voice: “I thought I heard you.” It’s just a murmur, and then the click of the door closing behind himself. “Have you-- escaped Council?” Ellaria asks. You smile at how distracted she sounds, and you flick your tongue against her clit. Her breath hitches, and her hold on you tightens, and you squeeze her thighs in turn. “A break for midday,” Oberyn tells her as he sidles up beside the two of you. You hear the sweet sounds of them kissing above you, and another hand rests on your head. You peer up at them and find Oberyn watching you with a smile. “Will you join us tonight?” He asks softly. You nod, humming against Ellaria, and she hisses, tipping her head back. “Will you make her cum now?” He adds, and you let your eyes fall closed as you redouble your efforts, and you feel Ellaria’s thighs tremble. 
-- 
You sigh as you feel Ellaria brush her lips along your lower back. You’ve spent the night tangled up in them, hardly separated from one or the other for more than a few moments. The kisses drift up the column of your spine before she settles atop you, nuzzling into your neck. “Have you fallen asleep?” She asks. “Nearly,” Your voice is muffled where your head rests on your arms. “Sweet girl,” She laughs softly, trailing her finger along your cheek. You turn your head toward her, smiling. “I will miss you,” You tell her quietly, “I wish I did not have to leave so soon.” “Perhaps you will be back before we depart,” She offers, sliding down to lay beside you. “...Perhaps,” You concede, “but it is unlikely.” You raise your hand, stroking your fingertips reverently over Ellaria’s cheekbone. “Are you quite done, lover?” Ellaria asks, casting her eyes toward Oberyn, where he’s hunched over, quill in hand. “Not quite,” He mumbles. You lower your head, kissing Ellaria’s breasts gently, passing your tongue along one nipple, then swirling your tongue around the other. “Take your time,” Ellaria sighs, “We are managing quite well without you.” You hear Oberyn’s chuckle, and feel him turn his eyes on you. “I promised you a song,” He says. “Before you left,” You remind him, “Not before I did. Now come back to bed, my Prince.” -- You ride from the castle at first light. Your hood is up around your face, so that it is difficult for those in your company to take in your fatigue, or your dismayed expression. You had stayed in bed with Ellaria and Oberyn for as long as you were able, had been granted many kisses as you’d finally had to leave to depart for your bannerman's territory. Before you had left, Oberyn had slipped one of the rings from his thumbs and pressed it into your palm, curling your fingers around it. “Collateral,” he’d told you, “Until such a time as your song is delivered.” “I thought we agreed that I was no longer a legend, Oberyn.” “Perhaps not to us.” He had tipped your chin up and given one more sweet kiss before letting you go. That ring now sat on a long chain, resting cooly between your breasts against the mark he’d laid only days before. --
When you accompany your father to Dorne the following year for the anniversary of Sunspear’s founding, you can’t help the churning of your nerves. You’ve had a couple of letters from both Oberyn and Ellaria, and you’ve ached with missing them. But your time together was so brief, you worry that the reunion will not be near as sweet as the time you spent wrapped up in them. -- 
Your worries are baseless. -- When your official duties are done, Oberyn offers you a tour of the Water Gardens. You don’t see much of it before you’re brought to his room. -- You’ve forgotten what it was like to be between the two of them, for their hands to skate over you, almost in tandem. Your undressing is haphazard, not nearly as methodical as it was when you and Oberyn first came together. As it’s revealed to him, Oberyn’s eyes rest on the ring of his that you wear around his neck. “You’ve kept it,” He murmurs. “I wear it every day,” You tell him, though it embarrasses you to admit it. The kiss that follows is bruising, his hand smoothing over your neck, following the length of the chain to grasp at the band. He uses the hold on the chain to lead you to the bed, and you crawl over him after he’s laid down. 
Ellaria helps you sink down onto his cock, and your head tips back onto her shoulder. Their hands guide your hips, and as you ride Oberyn, turn your head to busy your mouth with Ellaria’s neck and breasts. 
When you cum, you call their names out, uncaring at the prospect of the servants hearing and reporting back, or spreading rumors. 
Oberyn settles you on your back, and he takes his pleasure as you lick and suck Ellaria’s cunt. She sets the pace and you moan against her as she grinds against your tongue. 
You drift asleep with Oberyn curled against your back and Ellaria nestled against your front, their arms caging you safely in. You’ve your own room for the duration of the visit, but you’re sure you won’t use it. 
-- 
When you awake, Oberyn is brushing kisses to your shoulders. 
“Where is Ellaria?” You mumble. 
“Checking on our daughter.”
You hum and nod, stretching sleepily. Oberyn watches you settle onto your back, grins at the sleepy little smile that you offer him. 
“I’ve something for you.”
“Oh?”
“A song,” he says. 
Your brows raise, intrigued. 
“My song?”
“Yes, my smiling Maiden of Summerwood,” he chuckles, “Your song.” 
You hesitate before you raise your hand to undo the chain around your neck. Oberyn’s hand wraps around your wrist, stilling you. 
“Leave it on,” He urges quietly. 
“But it was collateral,” You remind him.
“And now it is a gift,” He leans in, pressing a kiss to your forehead, “You look well, wearing a ring.”
“Would just any ring suit?” 
“No, sweet. Only mine.” Tag list: @mylittlelonelyappreciationtoo​ ; @jedi-mando​ ; @massivecolorspygiant​ ; @yespolkadotkitty​ ; @blueeyesatnight
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calitraditionalism · 3 months ago
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Arc Two: Chapter Six
(AO3 counterpart here.)
Over the next few days, several cats arrived in pairs or trios. Some were simply there for the Clast life, while others had heard of Redheart and were curious. All promptly made themselves comfortable without waiting for further instruction. Mistface and Darkpelt kept their ears perked as the whispered grumbles of the native Clast cats grew to muttered complaints that sunk back to whispers whenever Redheart walked past.
“This may work out in our favor,” Darkpelt said to Mistface one day. “The less cats that agree with her, the better.”
“And the fact that it’s her own family, also,” Mistface added. “We may get lucky and have no one go with her.”
“Your brother likely still will, though.” Darkpelt smiled cheekily. “So we better get to work and see how to keep her here before you lose all of your family.”
Mistface said nothing. She seemed to sense his reaction anyway and smiled wider.
The blue sky was barely poking through spots in the dull clouds above the settlement when Redheart called for another meeting. This time, there seemed like the crowd was more a series of clumps than a gathered unit. From the variances in smell, Mistface gathered that the Clast cats were sticking to themselves, and none of them looked particularly happy. He caught sight of Snowshine frowning at the very back of the clusters.
“Should I sit by the seer?” he whispered to Darkpelt, standing near him. “She looks like she could use a ‘friend’.”
Darkpelt’s whiskers twitched in amusement. “Pretend to care a little more than that, my boy. Laurelclaw’s close, I’ll go hang out with him.”
With that, the two parted ways. Mistface glanced back once to make sure that Darkpelt had found Laurelclaw, then sidled up to Snowshine, announcing himself by clearing his throat.
Snowshine looked his way and the frown vanished. “Hi again.”
Mistface nodded and gestured with his paw to the spot next to her. “Mind if I sit?”
“No, not at all.” Snowshine suddenly seemed a little embarrassed and very quickly focused again on Redheart as she jumped up onto the round structure. Mistface forced his jaw to unclench and sat down, half-watching Redheart but mostly trying to keep an eye on Greyleaf through the crowd, which was nearly impossible with everyone shuffling around and blocking his view.
“I’m glad to have gathered more warriors here,” Redheart said. She slowly scanned the cats around her with a calm, unreadable expression; Mistface suddenly felt like an apprentice about to receive his name when she glanced at him. “It’s good to see that bravery I’ve spoken to you all about still exists. Before we begin, I would like to thank Thistletooth for his information on the western exterior of the Territory. Some of you may not know, but he joined us as a kittypet and has grown to be a magnificent fighter and hunter.”
The blue tom that Mistface had seen fight Flyfang straightened up where he was and puffed out his chest. Several cats murmured to each other in surprise and a few offered words of congratulations, but one near Mistface grumbled, “And he’s probably leaving with her and going back to that house of his, eh?”
“With his experience, we have knowledge of where the safest places are to take ourselves,” Redheart said, her cool voice ringing over that of the grumbler. “I intend to travel to the border myself to get a personal look at the landscape, but Thistletooth has provided invaluable knowledge on the safest places to be, and I am grateful for his help.”
Thistletooth tilted his head jauntily and grinned.
Redheart suddenly turned her eyes to Snowshine. “I would also like to thank you, Snowshine, for practically leading the Clast in my place while I organize this voyage.”
Mistface blinked and looked at Snowshine, who was just as surprised as him. She managed to stammer, “I- well, it’s not trouble, Redheart.”
“It's important to acknowledge you, even still. I’m aware I’ve been neglecting my duties.” Redheart’s eyes softened a little. “You’ve stepped up without my needing to ask, and I and the Clast appreciate you greatly for it.”
Snowshine’s eyes turned to the ground and she kneaded the ground bashfully with a small smile.
“Will she be taking your place, then?” someone called, not a little testily. “When you leave?”
“We will discuss that when the time comes,” Redheart said, with great patience, though the softness in her eyes vanished. “She may choose to leave with us-“
“And why would she do that?” that cat retorted. “We won’t be able to reach StarClan, so far away.”
Redheart’s face hardened and her eyes narrowed to slits, so coldly and sharply that Mistface leaned his head back a little, startled. Her voice ground out of her throat and spread its gnarled claws, gripping the air above the crowd.
“A warrior worth their weight,” she said slowly, intensely, “does not need StarClan to protect them. If you want them at your beck and call, you do not have to come with me. You’re free to stay right here and be petted and fawned over like a kittypet for the rest of your life instead of testing what you’re truly capable of.”
Utter silence in the clearing. Everyone was swapping unnerved glances or watching Redheart anxiously. A cat in front of Mistface even stepped back a few paces, leaving just enough room to see Greyleaf completely. Mistface was quite startled – Greyleaf’s face was just as hard as Redheart’s, but his eyes were much wider, and flaring with an intense…
No, that couldn’t be hatred. Not from Greyleaf. It was such an alien expression on him. It had to be something else.
Mistface was aware of Redheart speaking again, much more calmly and like herself – something about the plans for her departure to examine the border – but he couldn’t focus. He was frozen staring at his brother, whose face had relaxed as well, but…
That hatred, or whatever it was. Mistface could see a glint of it remaining in Greyleaf’s eyes.
It occurred to Mistface that this was the most awake he had seen his brother look since he arrived here.
 ---
 “So, um…”
Night was slowly approaching, the sun sinking in the south and the moon slowly rising. The aspect of the moon, Mona, was clearly in a merry mood, because the crescent was brighter than last night and grinning as it climbed up past the horizon. Stars were already poking out their heads, one at a time, and the sky had charitably given up its clouds for the time being, allowing the night to be a nice shade of deep indigo.
This beauty was lost on Beetlefoot, Laurelclaw knew that. He didn't need to remark on the view to see Beetlefoot’s apathy for anything that wasn’t the mission. It was hard to talk to the little tom at all, really, but the two were supposed to hang out together for now until it got dark and Beetlefoot could go off again with the day’s reports.
Now they were sitting a body-length or so away from each other, awkward and quiet and silently hoping for the night to come on faster.
But never let it be said that Laurelclaw couldn’t try.
“It’s interesting, isn’t it?” he ventured, hating how his voice both sounded so tiny and also carried in the silence. “The change of pace, I mean.”
Beetlefoot’s head turned slightly towards him and he gave him a questioning look.
“In Plage-“ Laurelclaw cleared his throat and tried to force his tone into confident casualness. “In Plage, we’re always on the move. Never really a moment to rest and look around and enjoy the view, you know? But here, you just relax and watch the world go on.”
“It’s…” Beetlefoot’s eyes flickered to the side, like he too was trying to figure out what to say. “Slow, yes.”
“I don’t think the slowness is too bad, at least,” Laurelclaw said quickly. “I mean, yeah, you can get a little bored if nothing’s going on, but there’s always something here. A fight, or a conversation, or… well, plenty of interactions with others, you know what I mean?”
Beetlefoot tensed a little, and his voice was oddly quiet. “No.”
“Oh.” Laurelclaw faltered, and the awkwardness was right back in full force. This time, though, it felt more like the sympathetic awkwardness one experienced when not sure how to respond to someone’s personal troubles. He felt like he was just within reach of coming to understand this stiff little tom more.
He opened his mouth to do something, he wasn’t sure what – ask a question or offer a kind word or something – but a perky voice behind him said, “What are you two looking at?”
Both toms jumped and looked round quickly to see Littlepaw standing there and looking at them curiously.
“Uh-“ Laurelclaw fumbled. “Nothing. Just… thinking. Talking.”
“We were considering whether or not to visit the Vultures tomorrow,” Beetlefoot said, with a smoothness that impressed Laurelclaw. “A friend is there living with them.”
Littlepaw’s eyes popped open and she gasped. “The Vultures are nearby?!”
Beetlefoot and Laurelclaw looked at each other for clarification that neither of them had, then back at Littlepaw.
“You didn’t know?” Laurelclaw asked. “They’re about an hour away.”
“Can I come with you, if you do go?” Littlepaw bounced on her toes, leaning forward in excitement. “I know they don’t do fictional stories, but the real ones are just as interesting!”
“They…” Beetlefoot seemed put off by her eagerness. “…aren’t doing any research. They just have a pregnant member resting for a while.”
“Oh!” Littlepaw seemed even more excited. “Then I can visit a couple times before they go! Maybe they’ll know where the Margays are going next, too!” She looked up with big, pleading eyes. “Can I go? Please? If Flyfang says okay? I won’t be annoying, I just want to meet them myself."
Laurelclaw’s soft heart kicked in. Before he could actually consider what he was going to say, he smiled weakly. “Sure thing. Just, uh, definitely ask Flyfang, so she doesn’t beat me up if you disappear with us out of nowhere.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Beetlefoot was scowling, but Littlepaw practically trilled in excitement and that scowl was rather easy to ignore.
“Thank you!” Littlepaw said, tail waving delightedly. “I’ll ask Flyfang when she’s awake. I never got to talk with the Vultures before, and-“
She started off, going over her interest in the tales of the Clan, whether real or fictional. Laurelclaw laughed, warmth in his chest at the happiness in the apprentice’s voice. Littlepaw was so happy, in fact, that she seemed to miss Beetlefoot silently taking his leave and disappearing behind a house. Laurelclaw knew well enough to keep Littlepaw occupied, so he engaged in the conversation.
Eventually, though, Littlepaw tired herself out. She excused herself after her fourth yawn with, “Well, when you decide to go, tell me, please.”
“Of course,” Laurelclaw agreed, grinning. “Our friend will love you, too. She’ll probably have some stories of her own to tell you.”
“Can’t wait to meet her, then!” Littlepaw said. She yawned again, stretched, and turned around. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodnight, and thank you.”
“Goodnight and you’re welcome,” Laurelclaw said, and turned around back to where he had been staring originally. Just within his range of vision, a small brown dot was streaking off into the north. Laurelclaw’s smile faded as guilt bubbled in his chest. That “no” troubled him more than it probably should.
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noctomania · 3 months ago
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Case #1:
My manager made the choice to have me do 2 full detail tours instead of 1 full & 1 semi. taking 2 full tours lands me behind the schedule i would meet if i did 1 full and 1 semi. I did my tours in the normal allotted time (2 hours each) and got to my post around 4am and waited to be relieved for my final break which would normally be at 5am. In the past he had told me I needed to go on my break at around 5. It was well past 5am probably 10mins so I called my manager to relieve me. He said I was late to my post so i had to wait because supposedly he was still on his break. Mind you they do nothing all night unless someone calls or i find something to concern them with. Further, I was not late to my post. So not only was he denying me my break at the time he had told me to take it he was also claiming that i was late which was factually wrong. it wasn’t but 5mins later that he relieved me so i’m not sure what exactly was the problem with relieving me when i should have been relieved. It felt as though I was being held accountable for his choices.
Case #2
We have a fire panel that occasionally (often) have “nuisance alarms” (mind you i think it’s fucked they allow for there to be anything considered just a nuisance alarm on a panel meant for emergencies but nobody gets it fixed.anyway) Often times “fire group” will come by to check on it and even though we are in lock down from 11-7 we will let them in. Normally the procedure would be i call base let them know fire group is there & then i have like 5 other things i gotta do for this literal 2 min visit. I gotta check their id their virus check make sure to sign them in & that they have a mask. Meanwhile they will show up and start pounding on the door so I’m already feeling rushed and the last thing I want to deal with is them breaking the door by pulling on it.
Because my coworker failed to tell me she was going on break, when i called base there was no response. Our dept usually operates under the protocol that if you hear the radio go off & there is no response, if you can serve the roll then pick up the call. So I was operating under that assumption so that instead of calling more just to get no response i figured well if nobody is responding nobody is listening so i move on to do the rest of my job. Right after fire group leaves my manager calls me to tell me that he watched what happened and to tell me what i did wrong. He admitted that he heard the radio heard there was no response, checked the cams to see nobody was in base & to see what i was doing. He sat there for about 5 mins just watching on the cameras instead of picking up the radio to let me know i had back up. He chose to neglect his responsibility as a “team player” to take the opportunity to chastise me. All I did “wrong” was not make a second call and not walk the guy to the door (which is not what i should do if im assuming im alone bc nobody is watching over me)
Case #3
Normally our last breaks are at around 5am. Because of how our manager has set the schedule up it ends up being a very short time between lunch and our last break so if it’s a schedule like that i will wait until a bit after 5 til i take my last break. Today I last track and at 530 my coworker said she was taking her break and then instead of letting me go to my break she just went to a task we have on odd days which forced me to have to take my break after 6am. I had asked her before she went if i could go to my break and she said no she had to go to the house right then. So I just had no choice but to sit there and not get my break. He called me when i got back to criticize me for taking my break after 6am. (Which mind you is realistically a non-issue that he turns into an issue when he’s bored)  I told him what she had told me and he went on his fucking soapbox - he has a bad tendency to be long-winded and it inevitably pisses me off more bc he will draw up strawmen and get exceptionally redundant. So i start off saying ok look this is what coworker told me and asked him for clarification. He told me to tone down. He claimed i was screaming. I was not screaming. I told him do not tone police me. Just because he had a tendency to mumble does not mean i am screaming. You can also turn down the volume on the phone if i talk loud. I project my voice so as to be heard clearly. I was asking for clarification on a statement he supposedly made because my coworker did not seem clear on the direction either. I’m still not confident my manager even knows what he said bc he doesn’t remember jack shit. He even referenced the case #1 & LIED OUTRIGHT ABOUT IT. Claiming that he’s never had an issue with me calling him to relieve me when in fact the ONLY time I ever called him to relieve me he DID have an issue and refused to relieve me until he was ready to.
I’m so fucking sick of this man. He does NOT do his job. He fills out the dispatch log at the top of the night and doesn’t touch it again for the rest of the shift. He ignores alarms. He sleeps (you can literally hear it in his voice when we wake him with the radio or the phone). He delegates everything he can and if he isn’t shirking responsibility he’s micromanaging. He has piss-poor communication skills. The only time he talks to me is to tell me what I’m doing wrong or to do something else. No appreciate, hardly even greets me. When he first came to this place he was like “oh im human first im not your boss im your manager we’re a team imma get yall pizza every month”blah blah blah. All lies. Fucking pandering pos. He’s one of the worst managers i’ve had. There was another scenario that was removed from all this (though it was another case of him not doing his job) where he said and i quote “I just dont want it to land on me”. He will do whatever it takes to not be responsible for his own actions and choices. But the accountability has to fall somewhere so where does it land? The bottom line. Of everyone on our shift I am the lowest paid & most overworked. The only way to get higher pay is to take 40hours out of my life to “train” for a job I already do. Which in part during that training would require me work time outside my shift. Even though I literally never pick up shifts.
I don’t even know what to do anymore bc it’s not like the union can do anything. I’ve complained about him to them before and all they can do is send a message that we need to be treated equally which isn’t done anyway and still nobody cares. I’m exhausted emotionally. I have been working through this pandemic both dealing with assholes who wont wear their masks when im walking to or from work and dealing with my institution trying to impose a fucked up method that is less about safety and more about presentation (tryin to force people to replace their masks with masks that have been sitting out around people who aren’t wearing masks - i responsibly refused to put on the potentially infected mask & keep my own on). The only comfort i get is being home. I’m just tired of being made to feel like i’m doing shit wrong when i know im not. I have a hard time biting my tongue bc this shit keeps building up.
whats more is i would take time off but idk how much time i have available bc they have it only accessible either by asking a manager or through an app one of SEVERAL ive had to download bc of this fucking institution which the password ive since forgotten bc i have like 39752 passwords a this fuckin point. And i dont want to fucking talk to managers any more than absolutely necessary. There is all of one manager i actually trust. there is another that is kinda cool but shes pretty new and i worry shes just trying to appeal to me the way the other manager did with the whole “im human first” bs & she’s buddy with that manager so
anyway i fucking hate that place and those people and wish them all a very merry fuck you hope they get a flat tired or lose their car entirely or stub every single fucking toe twice. Managers are the most useless position in any place ever. Get a real job you bums.
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unmistakablyunknown · 3 months ago
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Lightning In A Bottle [11]
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Chapter Eleven {Those Hungry Eyes}
[Previous] [Masterlist]
Description: Christmas is not nearly as relaxing for Teddy as she had initially hoped, what with her mother putting more pressure on her to find a significant other. Though a blind date doesn’t entirely go to plan, it helps put things into perspective for the young psychologist.
Word Count: 3,155
Warnings: strained familial relationships, blind date, unwanted advances, mild language, big argument
A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together –  Garrison Keillor
“Ma, please, I’ve barely been on the ground for three hours and you’re already trying to find me a date -”
“Oh, Theodora, please! It’s Chase Adams, you remember Chase -”
“It’s Christmas Ma, for the love of God -”
“Now you’re just being dramatic -”
“For not wanting to go on a blind date with someone that I barely attended High School with?!”
“For not giving him a chance! He’s a lovely guy and I think you’d be a great pair!”
“Oh, Christ, Patricia please, she just got in, let her get unpacked and settled first, huh?” her father finally interjected and broke the boiling tension between them. Teddy hung her scarf and jacket up on the nearest hook before she stepped out of her boots. She shook her hair out and brushed away the snowflakes that had gotten caught in the loose curls.
“Aw, who told Doctor Anti-Christmas she could come home?” Teddy turned and was greeted by both Caleb and Joey as they exited the kitchen. Caleb’s girlfriend - Amanda? Sophia? - appeared alongside them and flashed a smile at Teddy.
“Ha. Ha. You’re hilarious, Ethan. Forget being an engineer you should pursue comedy,” she remarked as she passed between the two of them, ruffling Caleb’s hair as she went. The kitchen was filled with seasonal smells and the sounds of cooking food. One of the house staff was flitting around between the counters and different foods that were in the process of being cooked.
“Maria, ça sent si bon!” The older woman smiled from ear to ear and gave Teddy a kiss on the cheek in her usual fashion. The travel-tired brunette ignored her mother’s spiel about dating and “finding a man to settle down with” and continued to walk through the house to the staircase that led up to her room.
“We’re not finished with this conversation, Theodora!” Teddy rolled her eyes and made her way up the spiral staircase. Thankfully, her room had been left untouched but kept clean. She flopped down on to her bed and let out a heavy sigh. It was already dark outside and the snow came down in thick and fast flurries. The skylight above her bed was completely blanketed by snow, which made her happy to realise that the sun wouldn’t wake her up in the morning.
“Knock, knock,” her father’s voice called from the other side of her bedroom door.
“Come in.”
“Pumpkin, I know you and your mother haven’t always seen eye-to-eye and you’ve certainly got your differences, but for the sake of it being Christmas, can you please try to humour her?” he pleaded as he took a seat at the end of her bed. His hair was streaked with more grey than Teddy remembered.
“I don't know what to tell you, Pa. I feel like she doesn’t even see me for who I am,” she lamented quietly as she ran her fingers through her still slightly snow-damp curls.
“I understand that, sweetheart. I know you don't hear it often enough, but we are proud of you and everything you’ve done for yourself -”
“She sure has a funny way of showing it.” Teddy rolled her eyes and flopped backwards on to the neatly made bed. Her father chuckled and shook his head at her reaction.
“Your mother just doesn’t quite understand you. The way your brain works is something she still isn’t used to and I know that’s not your problem, but that’s how it is.” She stared up at the ceiling fan and tried her hardest to make sense of it all.
“She doesn’t understand how I’ve managed to get a job and build a life for myself without financial dependency on you guys? It’s really not that hard to follow,” she stated with a shrug and her father patted her leg.
“It’s been a while since she’s seen you, try going easy on her, okay?”
“I’m not making any promises!” she called after him as he left the room. A wistful sigh left her parted lips before she decided to shower and get ready for dinner. As she approached the bathroom, towels and washbag in her arms, Teddy checked her phone. Nothing aside from a text from Penelope offering moral and emotional support upon her return to Virginia.
No email or text to be seen from Spencer.
Not that she should’ve been surprised by that after what happened in Utah. With a sigh of defeat, she locked her phone and set it on the counter. Teddy then got the shower ready and as the space filled with steam, she became all too eager to get under the hot stream of water.
With her hair brushed out and her necklace safely by the sink on the counter, Teddy stepped into the shower and let the stress melt away. She tipped her head up and let the water slick her hair back in dark, heavy tendrils that clung to her skin. Absent-mindedly as she warmed up, her fingers curled around the back of her neck to trace along the slightly raised lines of her tattoo.
Always admired them on other people though.
Spencer’s words rang in her ears as she remembered the conversation they’d had back in Sacramento. Before Christmas. Before the kiss.
Though she had no reason to rush, Teddy didn’t waste any more time in showering. After giving herself one last rinse under the jet stream of water, she turned it off and stepped out into the slightly chilly air of the bathroom. A towel was secured around her hair and then she pulled on her favourite fluffy robe. As she dried off and decided to change into her pyjamas, her phone began to ring.
“Hello?”
“Oh, my Sugar Bear. It’s good to hear your voice again,” Penelope greeted from the other end of the line. Teddy let out half a laugh as she sat down at the top of her bed, back resting against the headboard.
“Hey! How’s my favourite technical analyst doing so close to Christmas Day?”
“Practically ready to burst with festiveness. I was just making my rounds, calling my friends ahead of the curve to wish them a very Merry Christmas in the morning.” She could practically see the smile that plastered itself across Penelope’s face.
“That’s very kind of you, it’s certainly made my evening.”
“Really? Why? Have you had a not-good day? I thought you arrived in Boston today?”
“Well, I did. And barely three hours after touching down, she bombarded me with the fact that she set me up on a blind date -”
“Ooh! A flirty, festive date with a handsome stranger?”
“Not at all. It’s some guy that I haven’t seen since high school and never wanted to see again.”
“Oh. Not so flirty and festive, huh?”
“Yeah, exactly.” With a frustrated sigh, Teddy sat back and ran a hand through her partially dry hair.
“Well, how about I wing-woman for you? If it’s going horribly just text me and I’ll call with some kind of emergency!” she suggested enthusiastically and Teddy almost laughed at the notion.
“You’d do that?”
“Absolutely. Anything for my Sugar Bear.”
“You’re just the best friend a girl could ask for, huh? Thank you, Pen.”
“But of course. I got your back, gal.”
“Alright, it’s tomorrow at seven, I’ll keep you posted on how it goes and if I need you, I’ll text.”
“Sounds wonderful. Sleep tight! I love you and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, Teddy.” The sentiment made Teddy smile and she really appreciated Garcia’s constant drive for happiness. It made the world a little brighter, knowing someone so colourful and bubbly.
                                                     -/-/-
Christmas Day descended in a whirlwind of red, green and silver onto the Wilson family home. Teddy spent the majority of the morning in a new pair of teal-coloured silk pyjamas (courtesy of her mother) that had her initials monogrammed into the pocket with gold thread. From her brothers, she received new art supplies and stationary “because you’re getting old and boring to buy for” as they’d so teasingly explained, which had earned them a wad of wrapping paper launched at their heads.
Dinner had filled them all to bursting and as the day began to wind down, they were all nearly asleep in the lounge, spread out across the various sofas and chaise longes whilst Hallmark holiday movies played on the TV. Eventually, though, Teddy had to prepare herself and get ready for her forsaken blind date that her mother had set up.
“He said he’d meet you at Jitters Cafe. You know where that is, right?” her mother piped up as Teddy reached the doorway.
“Yeah, right at the bottom of town. Almost twenty-five minutes away by car.” Feeling less and less confident about the date, the more she found out the details, Teddy begrudgingly headed upstairs to get ready.
Sufficiently made-up and dressed in a nice button-up shirt, which she tucked into a pair of skinny jeans. Paired with a large cable knit sweater and boots, she was ready to go. As Teddy pulled her coat on at the door, she narrowly avoided her mother coming out of the lounge to fuss over her appearance.
The bitter winter air nipped at Teddy’s cheeks and nose as she zipped her coat up and headed to her car. When it was free of snow and deemed safe to drive, she climbed into the driver’s seat and fired up the engine, immediately putting the heating on full. Cheesy Christmas music played quietly over the radio as she navigated her way to the southern-most district of Melrose.
As Silver Bells by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney came to an end, Teddy finally reached the parking lot of Jitters. She found a decent space to park in and cut the engine. Before she climbed out, Teddy made sure to let Penelope know that she’d arrived and was waiting to go inside.
Considering it was meant to be Christmas Day, Teddy was surprised that the cafe was even serving takeout from a window in the wall on the side of the building. She approached the fairly busy waiting space and began looking for anyone that could possibly resemble Chase Adams. Just thinking of his name left a sour taste in her mouth.
“Uh, Theo - Theodora?” She turned at the sound of someone calling her name and was greeted with a weaselly-looking guy, not so much older than herself.
“Teddy, actually. Are you Chase?”
“Yeah. Y’know I’m surprised you remember me -”
“Barely,” she interjected with a forced laugh and exaggerated smile.
“Well, I got you a black coffee - I wasn’t sure if you took creamer or sugar or anything so I played it safe.” Teddy appreciated the gesture and accepted the cup with a smile, despite the fact that coffee gave her headaches. Which is why she stuck to tea.
“Thank you. You wanna go for a walk?” Desperate to escape the awkward air between the two of them, they began their walk around the surrounding streets.
“So, your mom mentioned you work in Virginia now. What do you do?”
“Oh, I’m a part of a team that solves crimes using psychology -”
“Like The Mentalist?”
“No, not at all,” she assured him with an overly enthusiastic shake of her head, which sent curls swaying in every direction.
“Ah. Right, so what’s the most screwed up case you’ve ever worked?”
“Technically it’s still an ongoing case because it hasn’t been to court. So I can’t disclose that information, I’m afraid.” Teddy appreciated the misguided interest in her career, but the conversation was already beginning to dry up and leave her floundering.
“I’ve done a lot of research on serial killers,” Chase admitted suddenly as they turned down a sidestreet. Teddy decided to humour him, as best as she could, anyway.
“Really? Was that for work, or -?”
“Oh, no, I work at my father’s accounting firm. But my interest lies in true crime and serial killer documentaries, y’ know? They’re just so interesting -”
Nevermind the fact that they’ve killed people.
Whilst he was occupied with rambling about the latest docuseries that he’d watched, Teddy sent an SOS text to Penelope. She hoped that the tech genius wasn’t too far from her phone as she continued to nod and follow along with the half-informed theories and explanations that Chase had to offer.
“- and don't even get me started on Aaron Hernandez -” Mercifully, Teddy’s phone began to ring and Penelope’s face and number flashed across her screen.
“I’m sorry, I’ve gotta take this,” she apologised with faux-embarrassment as she accepted the call and pressed the phone to her ear.
“Am I speaking with the most amazing and splendid Doctor Teddy Wilson?”
“Yes, this is Doctor Wilson, what seems to be the problem?” The curly-haired brunette tried her hardest to keep a straight face, but it was the most fun she’d had all day.
“You’re too good for this world, that’s what.”
“I see, well, can’t you just put them on my desk until I get back?”
“Absolutely not! This needs to be addressed now. It’s a matter of national importance and no man is going to stop you, alright?”
“I understand. Thank you, I’ll head out first thing.”
“Let me know when you’re home, sweetcheeks.”
“You have my word.” With a spike of confidence, Teddy hung up and turned to Chase with a doe-eyed pout.
“I’m sorry, that was work -”
“It sounded important,” he agreed with a nod as he sipped the remnants of his coffee.
“Yeah, they’ve had a last-minute case come through the Bullpen and need me back at the office ASAP,” Teddy explained with as much sadness as she could muster.
“Oh, that sucks,” he sympathised with a pouted nod.
“It does. I’m gonna have to go back and pack my things, they want me back in Virginia by lunchtime tomorrow. Sorry.”
“Well, when duty calls, right?”
“Absolutely.” They began walking back to their cars and Teddy was relieved to be almost free of the less than stellar date. The parking lot soon came into view and as she reached her car, Teddy realised that Chase was still walking with her.
“It was great, thank you so much for the coffee and the walk -” Teddy turned to face him and was taken aback by Chase kissing her. It was forceful and there was way too much tongue. A muffled yelp escaped Teddy as she panicked and punched him in the stomach to get him off of her.
“What the fuck?” The embarrassment and anger marbled together. Threatened to boil over and char everything.
“What is wrong with you?!” Teddy exclaimed as she wiped at her mouth with the back of her hand. The taste of his tongue still lingered in her mouth and left her slightly nauseated.
“I thought you wanted it!”
“No! Oh, my God -” 
“What?”
“I didn’t even want to be here what makes you think I want anything more from you?”
“You said it was great!”
“I was being polite! The only reason I came out here tonight was that my mother backed me into a corner over it. We barely knew each other when we were kids and we barely know each other now. You’re nothing more than a stranger to me!”
“I had no idea you felt like that.”
“Well, you do now. Have fun working for your dad for the rest of your life, Chase,” Teddy finalised before unlocking and climbing into her car. She gave Chase enough time to get out of the way as she reversed out of her parking space and drove off. Teddy’s cheeks burned with embarrassment as she navigated her way home.
Unbelievable.
                                                    -/-/-
“I don't know how to say it any plainer - I can’t stay here another day!” Teddy yelled back down the stairs at her irate mother.
“Theodora we never see you and then when we do you’re never in the mood to spend time with us,” the older woman countered as she followed after her daughter.
“Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my mother is a venom-spitting, over-entitled housewife with nothing better to do with her time,” Teddy countered as she began throwing her belongings back into her bags and cases.
“How dare you speak to me like that -”
“No!” Teddy reeled around to face her angered maternal figure with fire in her veins, “How dare you try and dictate how I live my life? For almost twenty-eight years, you’ve decided how I dressed, who I talked to, moulded me into a second chance for yourself!”
“Theodora -”
“I am done. I can’t stand spending another minute in this place when all you do is tell me that I shouldn’t have tried so hard, that I could just marry rich. I’m sick of it! And I’m not gonna hang around and let you berate my life choices anymore.”
“You walk out that door and you won’t be able to come back.” Teddy turned and took a few steps closer to her mother.
“The day you go to college, get a place to live with your name on the lease, have a car in your name or even just get a job, is the day I will finally take you seriously,” she stated with an even voice and an unwavering gaze.
“I - Well…”
“The second I step out of the door, I don't want anything to do with you anymore. I’m done pretending to be dutiful for sake of what your friends at the country club might think. I’m my own person.”
“That’s not fair, Theodora, we’re your family.”
“Oh, no, I’ll still talk to Pa, Caleb and Joey. But I don't want anything to do with the greying, toxic, matriarchal woman in front of me. If you ever actually acted like my mother, we wouldn’t be having this argument, would we?” Teddy resumed packing her belongings whilst her mother struggled to come up with any kind of decent response.
“Theodora, you’re being unreasonable.”
“For wanting to be treated like a part of this family? For wanting the basic respect you’d give to me if I’d been a boy? Or the fact that I’m finally realising what a twisted, bitter old woman you’re becoming because you missed your chance to do something for yourself, just to appease some out-dated values?” The silence that followed was resounding. That was all the answer Teddy needed as she finished packing up.
Without hanging around, she hefted as much of her stuff downstairs as she could and out to her car. As she secured everything in the backseat, she let out a heavy sigh. That argument had been a long-time coming, but it was beyond cathartic to have finally spilt her guts like that. Teddy had a final hug from her father and waved goodbye to her brothers before getting into her car and driving off.
The nine-hour drive back to her apartment lay ahead of her.
-/-/-
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commonwealthoccurences · 3 months ago
Text
The One You’re Looking For
CW: Blood mention, injury mention, alcohol mention
Word Count: 1,621
Prompt: I’m The One You’re Looking For
Day: 28/28
Note: And here’s the last post for Fallout 4 February! Thank you guys for reading and supporting!
The moment Sole stepped into the Third Rail they noted it was like stepping into another world. Not particularly significantly, but everything seemed to shift to the left, just off enough to be noticeable. The sound was softer, muffled, from the upper floor, smoke hanging in the air, shifting like shimmering waves, palpable enough it looked like you could reach out and grab ahold of it.
Notably, the floor was decently clean other than a few sets of footsteps that had tracked in dust and dirt, standing out even more from the rest of the Wasteland. The building creaked every now and then, light sighs of the energy it was holding in, the heart of Goodneighbor in all of its glory. Walking down the stilled escalators seemed to be like walking further into a lucid dream, surrendering oneself to the bleeding calm, the haze and blurriness of it all.
Sole’s boots met the metal steps with a soft clang every time they moved forward, barely heard over the crooning voice of Magnolia echoing downstairs. They appreciated a subtle entrance. The guns attached to their hips and thighs shifted easily with their weight, more obvious than they preferred, but it was house policy; this wasn’t the Combat Zone, and hidden firearms were seen more as a threat than a precaution.
They let their weight shift easily, the tension ease from their back, as they descended into the warm chaos of the Third Rail, letting the smoke and shifting lights drift around them lazily as they made their way to the bar. With a short wave of their hand they caught Whitechapel’s attention, and with a short firing of his jets, he headed their way. The conversation was short and to the point, the way both of them preferred it. Sole slid their caps over the wooden countertop and gave an appreciative nod before heading away with their drink.
A booth in the back corner was famously theirs, considering they kicked their feet up and rested there most weekends when they weren’t preoccupied with their work in the Commonwealth. Sometimes other regulars dropped by to say hello, but most simply sent a smile their way and continued shifting with the rest of the room. Like a merry-go-round half circle, everything spun slowly while Sole sat back and observed, drink in hand, head tilted back comfortably against the back of the booth.
It wasn’t the most relaxing seating, if they were honest. The fake leather had long been worn through, leaving what vaguely resembled padding and a wooden base. Every time they drew in a breath their spine shifted against the supports and within half an hour they were sore. Smoke and ash invaded their throat and lungs with a familiar sting, drawing forth soft coughing within the hour. It wasn’t traditionally comfortable, but it was comfortable in the way that it was familiar. They inhaled, the crowd swayed left, they exhaled, the crowd swayed right. Magnolia sang on.
So that’s where they ended up, a sight to be seen, the hero of the Commonwealth, with their boots resting on the table, a whiskey gripped lazily between the tips of their fingers, tipped back slowly every few minutes. The glass came away from their lips a little bloody; something had gotten the upper hand earlier in the day and they were nursing more than a split lip, but it just seemed to add to the way they blended in so well, the picture of the Wasteland’s spirit. Sweat from the ice cubes mixed with their blood and ran down the foggy glass, once clear, a muddy pink.
The cold alcohol stung their wound, making them draw in a sharp breath between their teeth. For a moment, their fists clenched, then released as the biting pain passed. They released the breath. The crowd shifted right. Oh, how reliable Goodneighbor could be. 
Sole’s eyes flickered upwards to the shining singer onstage, the way she leaned into the microphone with her signature smirk. She knew exactly how she captivated her audience, and the confidence looked good on her. Sole lifted their glass in regards and watched her smile grow before they redirected their attention back to the people in front of them.
A few couples they recognized. Mostly ghouls that had been around since the beginning of Goodneighbor, finding nowhere else to settle that was so welcoming in face of their appearance. It was easy to forget the cruelty of the outside world down in the depths of Goodneighbor, where everyone simply wanted to survive. No one asked why you were there, in the shelter for the community-less, everyone new. Goodneighbor was home to everyone and no one at all.
They let their head tilt back, their gaze shifting to the ceiling that would inevitably crumble under the pressure of acceptance. They swore they saw dust floating down from overhead, but delighted in the way that they were comfortable ignoring it. Now was not the time to worry about tomorrow. They drew in a breath of smoke and perfume and let it sink into their skin, stain them and leave them warm, fuzzy like the alcohol was making their thoughts.
When they shifted their back away from the shitty supports, a stretch overtook them, their feet in their boots pointing on top of the table as they pushed the exhaustion out of their limbs with a shake, arms extending to their sides. The blissful relief was cut short by a voice startling them. “Well someone looks awfully comfortable.”
A voice so familiar yet so distant. At least, it had been. The gravelly tone yanked their attention away from the relaxation flowing through their veins and they shifted their weight upwards to sit somewhat proper, eyebrows raised. The mayor of Goodneighbor stood in front of their table, drink in hand as well, a grin on his face like he had just caught a cat stealing cream. Sole wasn’t ashamed in the way they obviously looked him up and down, getting a good image of the fearless leader.
Sure, they’d seen Hancock before. He was of the people, for the people, which meant he was out giving speeches on his balcony nearly every couple of days. They’d been there for a few, eyes squinted against the sun, not moving from where they had been sitting before he decided to rally up his supporters and have a chat. Technically, they weren’t truly a settler in Goodneighbor, they simply hung around when they had time, therefore the announcements weren’t for them. Or so they claimed to themself to justify making sure they could keep their spot, warm in the sun.
But now the man himself was looking down at them, eye to eye, swirling his drink in his hand lazily as he observed and waited for their answer. After getting a better look at him, well, of what they could see in the dim, murky lighting of the underground bar, they shrugged. “Suppose I am.”
Hancock laughed at this, more amused than Sole assumed he would be. He invited himself to sit, though they figured technically every seat in the bar was his regardless, and slid into the booth beside them, following their lead by kicking his feet up onto the table as well. Magnolia moved onto another song, her shining dress blinding in the swaying lights, crooning out the first words to something Sole knew by heart. Their posture was turning to mush right in that very seat.
He wasn’t stealthy in the way he turned and looked at them, studying their features with a gaze that could melt the sun itself. He had seen them before, both in the Third Rail and out and about in the settlement. They kept to themself for the most part, but they had a good reputation for being there when needed, and definitely had a take-no-shit attitude that Hancock admired from what he had heard about it.
Truth be told, Hancock had been intrigued by their mysterious presence in his little town, surprising even himself. There were a lot of drifters like Sole who popped in and out of the community as they wished, but they never stood out to Hancock. They were different. Something about their calm confidence, lacking in cockiness but firm in the way they knew they could handle themself, drew him in. 
With a slow tilt of their head, they looked over at him, meeting his eyes with a quirked eyebrow and a self-satisfied smile, barely visible in the shadows of their corner booth. They nearly rolled their eyes when his gaze darted down to their mouth, undoubtedly influenced by the alcohol in his system and whatever chems had taken over before he had walked into the Third Rail. Regardless, they were a little flattered. Patiently, they waited for him to bring his eyes back to theirs. “I have an offer for you, sweetheart.” His voice was lower than it had been. It was hard to suppress the shiver that ran through them.
“Mm, not that kind of person, Mayor. Sorry.” The smile that followed barely masked the teasing lilt to their tone.
“Not that kind of offer. It’s something I need a skilled merc to take care of, but if you do the job I think you can, we can consider other offers afterwards.” He laughed.
Sole hummed in response, borderline hypnotized by the way the ice swirled in his glass, his wrist still rotating. They took another deep breath of smoke and instead was surrounded by whatever rich, warm scent was coming from Hancock. Firewood and rum and something a little flowery. It was a little addicting, and they swore it wasn’t them that replied, “I’m in.”
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Stealth Chapter 2: The Dare
Part 5 of the Dragon of the Yuyan
Read on AO3 | Series Masterpost
The second time is because of a dare.
It’s not officially on his duty roster, and hasn’t been for nearly six months, but Zuko always tries to visit the komodo-rhino stables at least four or five times a week. Stablemaster Guo appreciates the help—there are eight rhinos, and only three stablehands and him. The Stronghold doesn’t have a dedicated cavalry troop that would take care of the rhinos as part of their official duties, and the rhinos themselves are mostly used to help hail supplies from the harbor once or twice a month. In the meantime, the rhinos have to be fed, watered, exercised, and have their stalls mucked, as well as their health and training maintained and their tack serviced, all at least once a day but often several times a day. With only four people officially assigned to the stables and so much work to be done, there’s little time leftover for anyone to really give the poor beasts the individual attention they need. So Zuko does his best to fill in the gaps, spending as much time as he can spare giving the huge animals pets and rubbing their long horns with oiled cloths to keep them smooth and shiny.
Kai sometimes hangs out in the stables, well away from the animals who like to tease him by grunting threateningly at him and poking at him with their horns. Kai’s first experience with komodo-rhinos came from this herd, and they have long memories.
Today Zuko is brushing shed skin off of Daisy, one of the more docile rhinos, while Kai sits on a hay bale and makes color commentary. Another friend of theirs, an apprentice mechanic named Min-Seo, leans in the stables’ open doorway with her arms crossed and her nose wrinkled.
“Ugh, I don't get why you like these things," Min-Seo complains. "Smelly, dumb as rocks, and you actually have to train them to do what you want? At least with a tank, if it's not doing something right, you can take it apart and fix it."
Zuko shoots Min-Seo a dirty look as Kai shakes from the force of his silent laughter. Don't listen to the mean grease hog-monkey, he signs to Daisy, who stares calmly at him out of one half-lidded eye as she chews on some feed. You're a good rhino, and nobody is taking you apart. He rubs her behind the ear and continues removing the shed skin from her scaly hide with his soft brush.
He's so focused on his work (rhinos shed a LOT) that he misses most of the conversation, but there's no way he can miss Min-Seo's challenge.
"I dare you to take one of the tanks for a joyride," she crows, and Zuko peeks over Daisy's head to gulp at Min-Seo's toothy grin. "I'll slip you the key to the garage during dinner tonight. It should be easy to do a lap around the Central Tower, since it's so simple to drive, right?"
You're on! Kai signs, grinning back.
Zuko rests his forehead against Daisy's shoulder and pinches his nose. Agni help me.
Min-Seo does indeed drop off the key to the garage where the tanks are stored at dinnertime, dropping it down the collar of Kai’s tunic as she nonchalantly places a hand on the back of his neck and giggles weirdly. The whole thing kind of makes Zuko want to gag, but they have the key and now all they need to do is wait for light’s out.
It’s not until they’re standing in the cockpit of their chosen tank that they realize their (Kai’s) mistake.
The tank needs three people to drive it—two to steer, and one (usually a firebender) to stoke the engine. They look at each other and climb out, standing on top of the thing and debating who to ask to be their third.
The sound of snapping fingers slices through the silence of the garage and sends a jolt down Zuko’s spine. He and Kai freeze, staring at each other for a split second, before turning and looking down.
Jiyoti stands beside their tank, staring up at them with the most unimpressed expression Zuko has ever seen on her face. What do you two idiots think you’re doing?
Kai was dared to try and drive a tank around the Central Tower, but we need a third person, Zuko signs immediately, scowling. I can't babysit the engine and drive at the same time.
Forget it, Danger Noodle, Jiyoti's too much of a goody-goody to help us. Kai rubs his hand over his face, and if he was wearing his Yuyan facepaint it would be all smeared. Ugh, I'm going to have to tell Min-Seo we couldn't do it, she's going to be all smug and insufferable.
Wait, Min-Seo dared you to drive a tank? Jiyoti asks, brow furrowing.
Zuko blinks. Yeah?
The scowl on Jiyoti's face is one that Zuko's never seen her wear before. Get in the tank, losers, we've got a grease-hog-monkey to show up.
Kai and Zuko exchange a baffled glance, and get in the tank.
Zuko takes his place in the center of the cockpit above the grate where the engine fire is meant to burn. Kai and Jiyoti each take a driver's seat.
Nice mask, Zuko, Jiyoti taps out, switching to the signal-language the Yuyan use when too far away to see hand-language. It's primarily used with signal lamps, but the short and long bursts translate equally between light and sound.
Zuko slips his Blue Spirit mask back down over his face, smoothing out the snug hood he's wearing underneath to cover his hair. Thanks, he taps out in return. Ignition in three… two… one!
He forces fire from his feet through the grate, directly heating the boilers that run the tank. Firebending like this, without a form to guide the chi flow, is more difficult than he'd anticipated, but he keeps his breathing deep and even and steady and pretends that he's using the fire jet technique to fly. This actually works slightly too well, and he has to hold on tight to the handrails that encircle the grate to keep his balance.
The boilers heat up quickly, and soon they're chugging out of the garage (Jiyoti makes Kai hop out and close the garage door behind them) and well on their merry way around the base of the Central Tower. Zuko's not sure why no one has stopped them yet, and he's not really sure what they'd do if they are, since he can't speak and Kai and Jiyoti took vows when they joined the Archers that they wouldn't.
They complete the circle around the Central Tower, and something feels… unfinished. The three youngest members of Chihese Squad pause.
Tank has grap hook, Zuko taps out.
Park tank on roof? Kai asks.
Aim for finial, Jiyoti suggests.
As the most consistently accurate one of the three, Kai mans the tank's grappling hook, and hooks the ornate rod on the Stronghold roof on the first try.
Zuko, hold on tight, Jiyoti taps. She and Kai are strapped into their seats, but Zuko's still too short to sit in his position's seat and still firebend into the boiler cavity without the possibility of flames escaping. The tank jerks as the winch starts forcing the contraption up, and Zuko finds himself sitting on the edge of the grate platform, keeping his feet flat against the grate and hugging the railing for dear life. His fire sputters for a second as he gasps in surprise, but he quickly finds his rhythm again.
The winch does not work fast, and Zuko has plenty of time to consider the fact that they're hanging in a metal contraption in thin air, suspended only by a chain hooked around a decorative lightning rod, and he has to focus on his breathing before the terror overwhelms the exhilaration.
Finally, the tank shudders as first the front tread axle, then the back, hits the steeply sloped Stronghold roof. Jiyoti deploys the dozen telescoping spikes that ensure the tank stays in place, and Kai disengages the grappling hook from the finial and winches it back. Zuko douses his firebending and even attempts to suck the heat out of the boilers, with mixed success.
Well, now what? Jiyoti signs. We got the infernal machine on the roof, but how do we get down?
There's a hatch for roof access somewhere around here, Zuko signs, remembering his forays into the walls and ductwork of the complex. We need to hurry, sunrise is in about four hours.
They gingerly exit the tank, and Zuko finds the roof access hatch. With all of the stealth trained into them by the Archers, the three make it back to the dorm without alerting anyone to their presence.
Thanks losers, that was great, let's never do it again, Jiyoti signs before slipping into bed.
Spoilsport, Kai tosses back, flopping onto his own bed.
Zuko slips his mask and hood into his footlocker, pulls off his boots and lines them up under the foot of his bed, and loosens his clothes until they turn back into sleepwear. He'll be awake again in about three hours, but as soon as his head touches his pillow and Pandan is in his arms he's deeply asleep.
The next morning, the entire Stronghold is buzzing like a vulture-wasp nest, and Zuko, Kai, and Jiyoti are nursing the strongest wake-up tea they can bribe out of the kitchen. On their way out to PT with the rest of the squad, they pass nearly the entire Stronghold Tank Corps, clustered in the center of the Innermost Courtyard and all staring up at the Stronghold roof in shocked bafflement.
Min-Seo turns her wide eyes on Zuko and Kai as they pass, and Kai gives her his best smirk as he and Zuko tap their knuckled fists together. Mission accomplished.
That is the second time.
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tffw-sfwseries · 4 months ago
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The Maiden and The Outlaw (26)
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Series Masterlist (also available on AO3)
🏹 Chapter 26
“Stop fidgeting,” Steven scolded. “You’re making me nervous.”  
“I’m not used to so many people watching me,” James whispered.  
“Look. Here they come. All eyes will be on them now.” 
The grooms, in their gallant attire, were waiting outside in the bailey for their beautiful brides who made their way out of the main hall followed by Marian and Natasha.  
“Whoever would have thought those two would clean up so nicely.”  
Gemma smiled although she barely registered Peggy’s quip. Her eyes were all for James who looked back as though the sun and moon revolved around her. He again wore the same blue tunic that he’d worn the day he officially asked for her hand. The hurried arrangements hadn’t allowed time for the fashioning of new garments but his sisters had managed to add decorative embellishments to the all of the edges.  
His bride also wore the same color of a lighter hue signifying purity. This had been much to her chagrin since it was in actuality the dress originally tailored for her first engagement. Yet, as she set eyes on her handsome groom, all trivialities were forgotten.  
She took James’ hand as Peggy took Steven’s. The remainder of the wedding party, consisting of their friends and family, followed behind as they proceeded to walk across the castle courtyard to the chapel door watched by a healthy number of Nottingham’s townsfolk who were crowded in the open area.  
The priest was waiting at the entrance when the couples arrived at the prescribed hour. He asked the customary questions to ensure the marriages could proceed. Once given all the satisfactory answers required, there was next a short sermon given loud enough for most of the onlookers to hear. The wedding party was then invited inside where the couples exchanged vows then the rings which had been crafted by Banner. After prayers were said, the priest gave a kiss of peace to the forehead of each husband who then passed it on to lips of his wife.  
James, it seemed, could not wholly complete this last task to his satisfaction until the priest sternly cleared his throat.
 --------
As soon as the dance ended, Steven gave his partner a peck on the cheek and went in search of his bride. Gemma, who had lost track of her own mate for a good half-hour, found him adjudicating a drinking contest between Sam and Clint.  
The large hall was nearly packed with bodies. After the dinner had concluded, Steven opened up the doors to the entire village. He could not pass up the opportunity to reassure the community of the new sheriff's good will. People from near and far filtered in and out throughout the night.  
The happy bride edged her way next to James. He wrapped his right arm around her waist and held her close as he’d done repeatedly throughout the evening. It was as if he were afraid someone might once again try to get between them.  
“Who’s winning?” she asked.  
“At this point, they are both going to be losers come morning,” he laughed. “What advice was the wise Steven Grant Rogers imparting upon the poor ill-fated woman who has to put up with me for all of eternity?”  
“None really. He only asked we do our best to keep each other out of trouble and if at any time we need help doing so, we’re to send for him.”  
“Ha! I basically told Peggy as much.”  
“I shall miss them. And the others.”  
“You won’t. I promise. There's a lot of work that needs to be done at the manor so, we will come visit. Often.”  
“Thank you, again, for letting Marian stay with us.”  
“Don’t be silly. I’ll need all the help I can get to handle my problem wife,” he said giving a playful smack to her bottom.  
“James! Behave yourself,” Gemma teased.  
A mischievous look flooded his face. “In fact, maybe I’ll have to put you over my knee later.”  
“You wouldn’t dare.”  
“No, I wouldn’t. You’re becoming too good of a shot.”  
With the good sheriff in tow, Peggy joined the group and moved to whisper into Gemma’s ear. “We’ve decided to retire for the night.”  
“Shall we make the announcement so everyone can see you off?”  
“No. The last thing we want is a crowd following behind and kicking up a bawdy ruckus.”  
“Good idea. Perhaps we should do the same. What do you think, husband?”  
“My dearest wife, I am at your command.”  
 --------
Sherwood Forest, 1193 AD  
“Can I take off the blindfold now?”  
“First, take a guess where we are,” James said.  
“I could tell by the sounds and the smells that we entered the forest a while ago,” Gemma answered. “Given the packs you brought, I think we’re going to have a picnic. Considering how long we’ve been riding, I thought you might take me to the river, but I don’t hear it.”
He slipped the kerchief off her head then dismounted and began removing the saddlebags. Blinking to help her eyes focus, Gemma first only noted the trees in front of her. As she looked around, she saw the familiar circle of a fire pit and around the perimeter, three mud-daubed shelters.  
“It’s still here!” she exclaimed, sliding down from the horse. “I can’t believe, it’s all still here.”  
“Neither can we.” Peggy’s unmistakable voice rang out from inside one of the hovels. She stepped out followed by Steven and the others — Marian, Sam, Clint and Nat — emerged from the other dens.  
Amidst all the cheer and embraces, Gemma declared, “I could not think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary, James.”  
And so, one last time the merry band of collaborators enjoyed each other’s company around an evening fire and slept soundly within the peaceful refuge of the forest.  
Thus, we come to the end of the tale of the wayward maiden and the outlawed knight. The happy couple would for the rest of their days remain in Nottingham as man and wife nevermore to be parted.  
As for the forest itself, over the centuries, the once vast Royal Hunting Forest named Sherwood was sadly eroded by a developing nation. Most of the heathland, along with much woodland, has been lost to the point that a certain familiar demi-god finds it hardly recognizable today. Even the original Nottingham Castle was destroyed by fire less than 700 years later.  
But, thankfully, at least one thing does still remain: the ever-popular legend of Robin Hood.
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Fic Fan Art:  Bucky Barnes as Robin Hood
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katedrakeohd · 4 months ago
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A Very Merry Birthday (5)
[Masterlist]
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Hey let's make this a wacky drabble. This week's prompt #80 Stop looking at me like that
Word count: 2000
Cast of characters: Drake, Kate, Preston Davis. (OC)
Rated PG: talk of mature themes, sexual innuendo
Tagging:
@wackydrabbles @darley1101 @sfb123 @mom2000aggie @fluffyfirewhiskey @jovialyouthmusic @sirbeepsalot @kingliam2019 @no-one-u-know @nikkis1983 @glaimtruelovealways @texaskitten30 @bbrandy2002 @marshmallowsandfire
..
After exiting the stairway, Drake and Kate make their way down the hall to their room. He looked at her nervously as he dug into his pocket for his room key, "Are we really going through with this threesome thing?"
When they arrive at their door, Kate steps in front of Drake. Cupping his face in her hands she pulls him in for a kiss, her voice low, "Yes, we are. I'm only going to turn 27 once and I want it to be special." 
Drake smirks against her mouth and mumbles as their kisses continue, "What's so special about turning 27?"
Kate caresses the back of his neck and runs her fingers through his hair, "Nothing really, but do you know what?"
"Hmm?"
Kate runs the pad of her thumb across his bottom lip, and then licks her own. "I can still taste myself on your mouth and I like it."
Drake presses the room key into her hand and with the other hand goes into his jacket, making sure to slide his palm across her breast before retrieving his phone from the inside pocket. 
"You go on into our room, and I'll give Preston a call."
Kate chuckles, "Be nice to him, and please tell him again that I'm sorry for hurting him."
"I will."
Preston is sitting up in bed in his underwear and a t-shirt, with a small bag of ice wrapped in a pillowcase nestled against his groin. The pain had pretty much subsided by this point, but he wanted to make sure there was no chance of swelling. This hadn't been his first blow to the nuts, but knowing how it felt didn't make any time it happened again any less painful. 
Beside him on the bed is a half eaten sandwich on a plate that he had ordered from room service. It was still early in the evening and it bothered him to not have anything to do. If they were back home at Valtoria there would still be another two hours in his work shift. Back at home these were prime party hours and he'd have guests to keep tabs on with his usual crew of guards. If it was a quiet evening with no guests, he'd walk the halls and then patrol the perimeter outside and use the time to go over  the next day's sentry and active guard schedule in his head and get some welcome fresh air.
Once a month there would be an evening poker game amongst the senior staffers, which occasionally the Duke would join in on if the Duchess was away, but mostly it was a fun and casual night for the staff to tell funny anecdotes at their employer's expense. 
Tonight, after clicking through the limited channel options on his room's TV, he had resorted to browsing the social media on his phone. Thankfully the hotel had free wifi. Reaching over he grabs the last part of his sandwich and takes a bite, and then another to finish it. Now that his hand was free he shifted the ice pack to the side and gingerly fondled himself through his underwear. The ice had left him temporarily numb, but there didn't seem to be any unusual swelling so he transferred the ice pack over onto his dinner plate. Laying his phone on his chest he planted his hands on the bed and carefully scooted his ass down the bed so he could lie down on his back. With a sigh he folded his arms behind his head and stared up at the ceiling. 
After a few minutes of studying the crown moulding and lamenting the Ravenhurst's poor choice of wallpaper, he closes his eyes out of boredom. Out in the hallway he can hear the muffled voices of people approaching his room, expecting them to fade as they pass by. But this time they don't. Listening intently he recognizes the low tones of Drake's voice, and the faint inflection of Kate's laughter. So Mr. and Mrs. Smith, or Jones or whatever are back from their dinner date. Hope they had fun. 
There's the click of a door opening and closing and then the muffled footfalls of someone walking away, punctuated by the creek of the wooden floorboards under the carpet. Preston turns his head to look toward the door, curious. Pulling his hand out from behind his head he reaches for his phone before it can slide off his chest.
 …
Drake shoved one hand in his pocket as he paced back and forth in the hallway, looking down at his phone. Of course it had to be the pocket with Kate's panties in it. He bunches them in his fist and sighs in frustration as he picks Preston's name out of his contact folder. How in the hell do I call someone and invite them to be the third person in a sexual situation? Especially when I really don't want him there in the first place? I could lie to her and say that I asked Preston and he declined. Yeah right, Kate's like a human lie detector and would know I'm not telling the truth. 
He presses the message icon on his screen and then stops to lean against the wall. As awkward a conversation this was about to be, it would be better conducted quietly.
The Duke::   Hi Preston, how are you feeling?
There's a brief pause and then Preston responds,
Preston::  I'm doing ok. How can I help you Sir?
The Duke:: I have an unusual request. You're free to decline if you don't feel up to the task.
Preston:: Ok. That's not suspicious at all. 🤔
The Duke:: First some questions. And again you can choose not to answer if you feel they're too personal.
Preston:: Should I be worried? This isn't some dangerous mission is it?
The Duke:: That all depends on how you behave.
Drake grins to himself and rubs his jaw as he waits for Preston to respond. The seconds tick by and then Preston answers.
Preston:: Are you out in the hall?
The Duke:: yes
A few seconds go by and he hears a door open and he looks up to see Preston pop his head out into the hall. 
"Pssst. Over here," he whispers.
Drake pushes away from the wall and tucks his phone into his back pocket. He looks quickly up and down the hall before walking over to Preston's room. He takes in his underdressed state and then grins at him, "You're going to think I'm crazy."
Preston steps back to let Drake step into the room. "Now I'm really curious."
Drake stands in the middle of the room feeling awkward, knowing he still had to ask the questions he had on his mind. Preston gestures toward the chair for Drake to have a seat, but he shakes his head.
"I'd rather stand." I'm too nervous to sit down. "But you might want to sit."
Preston shrugs and then sits down on the end of the bed. "What's on your mind, Sir?"
Drake doesn't know where to start. Just get the personal questions out of the way, you idiot, before you chicken out.
Taking a deep breath in Drake forces himself to push aside his nerves and decides to sit down after all. He pulls his phone out of his pocket and then leans forward to rest his elbows on his knees. "Ok, then. Question one. Are you currently in a relationship?"
Preston's eyebrows shoot up in surprise, "Uh, no. But why -...?"
Drake holds his hand up to interrupt him, "Just bear with me and then I'll get to the point."
Preston tilts his head, frowning, but crosses his arms and then waits. 
Drake scratches the back of his head, trying to find the words to ask the questions on his mind before he gets to the invitation from Kate.
"Are..are you straight? Gay? Something else?" Drake stammers, feeling anxious.
Preston can't help but laugh, "Are you asking me out on a date Your Grace?"
"I...just answer the question."
Preston shrugs, noting the nervous bounce of Drake's knee and the way he kept averting his eyes. He also couldn't help but notice that his shirt was half unbuttoned already and his hair was slightly messy. "I'm straight...I guess."
Drake looks up, "You guess? Either you are or you aren't.  Stop looking at me like that."
"Well when you get right down to it, these days when you're lonely enough and looking for that kind of pleasure a hole is a hole. If you understand what I mean? Between two consenting adults of course."
Drake wasn't expecting that kind of answer from Preston, and he's suddenly reminded of his own 27th Birthday. But he had one last question before he mentioned the threesome idea. Taking a deep breath he thought about Kate, and how she was expecting Preston to come back with him.
"Well, if you're thinking straight, I want your honest opinion about something."
Preston wasn't sure where this was going, but this had to be the strangest conversation he'd ever had with any boss he's ever had. Was it even ethical to have this kind of conversation? 
"Ok, sure. What do you want to know?"
"How do you feel about my wife?"
Preston wasn't sure how to answer that sort of question without getting a punch to the face. She'd already slapped him and mashed his nuts with her knee, but being the one to escort her to the restaurant had been exciting to say the least. He wasn't sure if he'd interpreted her suggestion correctly, that he should get handsy with her in order to get Drake's attention, or not. Or perhaps he had gone too far. He was certainly confused as to why Drake would show up in his room and start asking personal questions. He decided to keep his answer as ambiguous as possible.
"She's a beautiful woman, and a man would have to be blind not to desire her."
Drake nods, appreciating his answer, "Go on, I think there's more you want to say."
Preston's eyes narrow and he feels uncomfortable with Drake's tone of voice, "If you're trying to lead me on into admitting something as some sort of trap, I'm not falling for it. I was following her orders…"
Again Drake interrupts, "Yes, I get that. What I really want to know is if you enjoyed touching my wife like that?"
Preston carefully considers his answer. Yes, he had liked being able to touch her. But acting like a total ass had earned him a slap and a knee to the groin, and he knew that wasn't acceptable behavior. Kate didn't deserve to be grabbed like that. She had looked like candy wrapped in a red satin bow, and damn she had smelled like it too. He'd love to be lucky enough to have a woman like that. She would be like a gift, one he could unwrap everyday and never get tired of finding the same thing waiting for him on the inside.
"No, I didn't. K...Mrs. Walker shouldn't be touched that way without permission. It was wrong."
Drake's phone chimes and he checks it. He has a text message from Kate.
Kate:: have you asked him yet?
Drake:: getting there, be patient.
Drake looks up from his phone. "Smart answer. Now how would you like the chance to make it right?"
His phone chimes again. 
Preston chuckles, "What do you mean?"
Kate:: this kitty Kat is getting awfully lonely over here, and with an itch that needs to be scratched. It would be a shame if I had to handle it on my own. 😽😈
"Kate...Mrs. Walker, wants me to invite you over to our room. For some fun."
"What sort of fun?"
Drake's phone chimes again.
Kate:: tick tock, Walker. Are you two coming over to play?
"The naked kind."
Preston laughs, "You're right. I do think you're crazy."
Drake stands up. "Well are you in, or not?"
Preston shrugs, "What the Hell, I'm in."
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blueeyesatnight · 4 months ago
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The Strongest Member of the Team: Part 10: Half Orange
Title: The Strongest Member of the Team
Rating: Mature/ Explicit yes based on a kid’s movie but NOT FOR THE KIDS
Pairings: Marcus Moreno x reader (eventually the wife)
Warnings: Language. I curse. There’s cursing. Also there’s smut. Smutty smut smut smut. Unprotected sex, slight cum play, bit of ass teasing, and also Anita Moreno is here so gird your loins.
Word Count: 5800k (Is this long? Short? I can’t tell anymore)
A/N: Guys....you all crack me up and make me smile and have I got some fun in store for you. We have a few really fun adventures. This story is 79,000 words long. My poor Mandalorian fic is half of that. But I (I think demonstratively) respond to like every comment so feel free to interact. This is so much fun. 
So note: I think it’s clearly established that Anita’s got a heavier accent than her son, I’m running on the assumption that he’s really used to switching around with her. I purposely do not include many translations-- there’s a lot of reasons why, there’s aesthetics (it interrupts the flow, makes you read the same phrase twice), there’s reading skill (we should be able to generally figure out the idea) and then there’s just this discomfort. A lot of my bilingual kids talk about the anxiety of like always looking at words in English (when they’re learning) and how its just expected they understand so they have to be uncomfortable until they do. I think it’s fair turnaround to make non-native Speakers get a dose of that, hence I don’t include the translations in text. Also I am not remotely conversational so feel free to correct me :)
And heeeeere we go.
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Masterlist
“Half Orange” 
“Am I the first non-super you’ve dated?” You choked on your hot chocolate. Marcus had decided he needed some sort of fix and got up to make it-- from scratch of course the fucking dork-- and then brought you a mug in bed. Of course it wasn't as hot as it should be right now because when you realized what he did you had expressed your gratitude with your mouth. On him. He hadn't minded. 
“For more than one date? Yeah.”
“I take issue with the fact that other women only needed one date to get into your pants.”
"Women I never brought home to meet my mother." He countered with a sharply pointed finger.
"That's unfair I totally already know your mother, you're just being unreasonable." 
He rubbed circles around your thigh, "You know her through work….it's still different for me to bring you to Casa Moreno for the dating evaluation. If you think she will give you a pass you are wrong. Anita does not believe any sorts of questions are off limits. She may ask for your tax returns." 
You didn't need a reminder the dinner was tomorrow night (or...tonight? What time was it?) and you made Marcus swear that nothing short of a full nuclear meltdown would tear him away and leave you alone with Anita. 
"And you're sure she's not telepathic?" 
He chuckled, "Unless she's a much better liar than I give her credit for." 
You shook your head, "Super reflexes and strength do not seem like enough to describe that woman." 
He smiled, "You know I always believed she had something…. She knows everyone's strengths. Like right away. Maybe it's just super good intuition. But she can size people up quick." 
"I buy that." You agreed, "I think you both have some weird super-genetic-team-leader thing." 
He snorted, "Sure." 
You slapped his shoulder and the covers slipped down your chest which he didn't mind, "Be serious. You are the only person alive who can wrangle that band of merry morons. You are… it's not just smart, you're smart, but you can see it. See how it'll work. How it needs to work. It's not just your job babe that's you. You got something special." 
He looked at you in the half light and felt incredibly warmed by you-- he didn't understand your confidence in him but he appreciated it. He often felt like he was mostly just lucky. But maybe….maybe there was something to what you were saying. 
But the mention of the team reminded him.
"So wait, change of topic, sort of. Crimson and Lightning?" 
You nodded.
 "Their wedding is next Saturday." 
"It's not canceled, right?" You openly wondered… there had been more than one meltdown. Many threats. You had completely ignored trying to sort through them and just kept forwarding to the head of PR. 
"She only canceled it in a mood the one time." Marcus shrugged, "That's actually great odds for them." 
You smiled, despite how busy and chaotic the time post Static Cling's destruction of the building was you'd had better interactions with most of the team. You probably got along with Tech and Miracle the best but InvisiGirl and LavaGirl were your favorite among the girls. LavaGirl had spent an hour the other day, dropping off her collateral damage forms, and waxing poetic about Sharkboy and how hard it was because they couldn't spend concrete long amounts of time together. It was hard. But they were working on extending that time. 
"Sometimes I worry that we…. Maybe we are too different. Maybe it can't work." 
"No, it's just hard. Difference is good. Doesn't mean it's easy but it's good." 
She gave you a smile that you couldn't read and you had a vague suspicion that she was hiding something but Miracle had come in and she had left abruptly.
Marcus was laying back, his breathing slow and even, and he was just watching you and the shadows on the ceiling. 
You nuzzled into him, "They'll be fine, but I don't get a relationship built on constant bickering. Works for some people but it's not my thing." 
He smiled against your hairline and pressed a kiss there, "Thank God I hate that petty bullshit." 
"Why were you talking about it?" 
He traced his fingers up your spine, up and down, and even without his currents he was raising little goosebumps. 
"Will you go with me?" 
"Did she give you a plus one because I don't need her exploding in close proximity to deejay equipment." 
"Be serious." 
"I am have you ever had to replace equipment after one of her little lightning shows?" 
He pressed his hand flat against your back, "Honey, please--- I want you to go with me." 
You sat up on your hip a little and he looked a little nervous, you traced nonsense patterns all over his chest, “You sure you thought it through? Headquarters pulled out the stops for them, it’s the whole friggin’ building, it’s own press junket, publicity….”
“Listen I know that I’m no DiCaprio--”
“Oh he’s overrated--” You waved a dismissive hand but it made Marcus sit up in bed, dislodging you from your comfortable nook.
“Do you...really not want to be seen with me?”
He hadn’t given that much consideration: he was so into you he didn’t consider that it could be one-sided. He’d been a bedpost notch before and then dismissed: people wanted to say they had fucked a superhero but they didn’t want to deal with the red tape and the fuss. For a second his heart was hammering-- did you really not want to deal with it? Could you not handle it?
“Fuck, no, the opposite Marcus--- are you sure you want to be seen with me?”
His pulse slowed, “What?”
“I’m not….I’m not special or super. I’m me. And the odds of me dropping an F bomb on camera are really high. I’m just the assistant. Normal. Marcus Moreno and a normal woman. Can your press numbers even withstand that after the Static Cling fall out?”
He laughed at you. You’d been at least half serious and you strung one arm around around his neck until he focused but instead he dropped his hands to your hips and coaxed you onto his lap.
“Honey...I’d wear a shirt with your name on for the cameras, I could give a shit about them. They aren’t important.” He curled both arms around your waist and held you tight against his chest, “You are. I just… I don’t want to be in a stuffy room with people without you there making me laugh. I want to be able to hold your hand. Fuck people’s expectations, I want to show you off. I would like a second chance at seeing you all dolled up but potentially with less destruction…”
“Potentially same amount of underwear?”
“Definitely.” He nodded sagely, “But I don’t promise to behave if you do that.” 
“Promises, promises.” You moved your hips against him and felt him moan, twitch and stir.
“Promise.” He had his mouth on your collarbone, “Now you promise-- say you’ll come. Say you want to stick it out, say you don’t care about the circus, you just care about me.”
You picked his little puppy dog face up to look at yours, “Only you, you dork.”
You ground your hips lightly against him and he tightened his grip, “Now...what was that about saying I’ll cum?”
He smiled devilishly at you and flipped you onto your back, nipping one breast on his way down your stomach, and he had you making promises for the rest of the night.
*
In the morning you slept through two alarms and were rushing to get on pants so that you could get coffee before work. Marcus was in the shower. 
You two did not commute in with one another. 
You were going to beat him to the office but you honestly had no idea how you were going to look at Anita in the eye today.
There were a lot of questions you had regarding exactly what was known, what was expected, and frankly you realized that Anita was definitely not dumb: she did not think two adults sat around holding hands for months and batting their eyelids at one another. The question was how on earth did this not become awkward. 
You had never tried so hard to avoid Anita in your life. It was almost distracting you from the fact that you had to find a dress for Lightning’s wedding. This was a celebrity wedding-- the celebrity wedding. You….
You really had to stop getting yourself wrapped up in all this drama, had your time with Lindsay Lohan taught you nothing?
But it was for Marcus, with Marcus and you really didn’t know how you were expected to refuse him literally anything he asked for.
See it really wasn’t Marcus that stressed you. You were feeling the anxiety from a looming personal dinner with Anita.
You were trying like hell to just preserve your game face but here’s the thing about Anita at work: she was a ghost wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a whisper. You could never tell where she would be. You had gone literal weeks and not seen her once. Then there were days when she was there before you got in, and you were usually in by six-thirty, and she was still just looming in the building after you packed up, some nights well after nine. It was just…
How do you avoid someone when you couldn’t remotely predict them?
This was the thought you were having when someone snapped a cane by your foot and your response ran out of your mouth before you honestly figured out what was happening, “Jesus Anita!”
“Excuse me?”
“I’m sorry Mother Superior stop fucking scaring me.” You snapped.
Great.
You snapped. At your person-you-were-sleeping-with’s mother. His mother. His very scary mother who was in charge of feeding you tonight and could very well choose to poison you. This was...fucking great. Great start. Way to go you. 
Anita glowered, “I do not know why I am having to talk to the Prime Minister of Jordan.”
“Well, see, constitutional monarchies--”
She held up a hand and offered you a file, “This you will deal with. Something about a missile. Dinner is at six.”
Wait…
What?
*
You were at Marcus’ apartment again. It was quarter to five, you had tried to de-escalate Jordan’s tactical response to a minor incident where Miracle had exploded an oil tanker in their local ocean (you loved Shark Boy and his weird ocean powers, you loved him, and the fact that LavaGirl was practically a package deal and she could set oil on fire with her mind, really, you loved them) until four oh five. It was literally an all day process. Then you were trying to leave and a bunch of last minute approvals for Lightning’s wedding came and you had just shoved them in your bag, driven really unsafely to Marcus’ place and waited for him in the parking garage while you responded to last minute vendor scheduling which included a really winded phone call from Janine.
“Hey, so did you see the samples I sent you a picture of?”
“I did, I love, I want all of them-- I know this will shock you but they are going red and black as the colors, make those look...classy wedding. I don’t want Michael Jackson Thriller vibes, give me something to make Martha Stewart weep.”
Janine snorted, “Got you, so the ombre maybe a hair lighter but I can go for a few bold accents. Did you confirm the numbers for the boutonnieres? And the bouquets?”
“Yeah I just …. Uh….wait must...yup, just pressed send, you’ll see it in a second.”
“Great. Also Ravi is here.”
There was the sound of a struggle that concerned you slightly and you asked, “Janine? ...... Janine?”
“--I am going to ask her Janine you stop it you owe me from Burning Man--” 
A heavy sigh and then a transfer, “Hey, hi, how are you, it’s Ravi.”
“Hello my man, long time no see, how’s the floating arcade and hipster coffee bar business treating you?”
“Great, great, great...see...about that. Remember when you said you had this hot guy you were seeing and you needed the password for this killer date?”
“I have memories, yes.” 
And you had received four, yes four, noise complaints from the events of that evening. Your one neighbor caught your eye the next evening and just shook their head in something between reverence and annoyance. 
“So yeah we were moving the games, I glanced some leaderboard scores, and I was just sort of mildly wondering wasthatMarcusMorenobecauseIwentbacktothesecurityfootagewhenIsawtheinitialsandIjustsortofreallyneedtoknow.”
You cringed, you were probably a little mean for withholding this information but at the same time Ravi’s energy was a little high.
“Um...yes it was. It was indeed.”
There was a bit of screaming and slapping and someone took the phone after a scuffle and Janine was laughing, “I’m so sorry he’s just...he’s both really excited that a Heroic was in his pop-up arcade and I think extremely depressed that he does not have an autograph.”
You bit your lip and closed your eyes, “Well I mean I continue to go on dates with said individual and you guys not only helped me win a bet but like the flowers thing---”
“You’re paying me for the flowers--” Janine tried to dismiss the compliment but you shushed her.
“--Um, yes but I have to talk to all the vendors and you are, by a stretch, the nicest ones and you don’t treat me like the hired help and I like you guys and maybe, please say nothing to Rav, maybe...something can be worked out.”
Janine stifled a giggle, “I won’t say shit about shit.”
You could hear Rav demanding Say what about what...Janine….Janine.
Marcus knocked on your window and you tucked the phone away, he saw your expression and asked if everything was ok.
“Yeah...I may need you to sign something.”
“Prenups are considered standard but I thought what we had was bigger than that.” He joked and slung an arm over your shoulders and you slapped his chest. He pressed a kiss to your forehead, “You seem less freaked out about dinner with mom.”
“Yeah no I was freaked out about Lightning’s wedding but I’m throwing on the turn signal and hopping into the freaked out about Anita Moreno lane. Just proper signalling, safety first.”
He chuckled, “You’re going to do fine.”
“I have concerns.”
“Well, hit me with them, I’m ready.” 
“Yeah well I stink so shower first.”
And hence it was quarter to five, you had hopped out of a quick shower where you actually pointed a finger at Marcus like he was a shithead puppy you were training and said “Stay…..Stay there.”
He cocked an eyebrow and followed directions, when you were out he smacked your ass and then jumped in, “Why are you not in a sharing mood?”
“Your mother will sense we have been enjoying the sins of the flesh.”
He snorted, “She caught me red-handed once with Floxia so she knows I’ve been deflowered. Were you really trying to uphold the pure in the eyes of the Lord angle because, I’m not trying to be a dick, but you have fuck me pants on the bed and you suck a cock like you used to feature on Porn Hub.”
“What the hell are fuck me pants?!.....and Thank you.”
“They just do things to your ass and you move this way in them like you know. That’s it. It’s not the pants it's the knowing you have an ass I want to bruise and rail.”
You laughed while you attempted to do a really classy hairstyle, “I mean, one, confidence is clearly key, two, are we having an anal discussion right now? And three, how am I the one who got cited for language? You are just as bad.”
“I don’t say shit like that at work.”
“I mean...cunt is considered a really mild form of cursing in Australia.”
“Are we in Australia?” 
You huffed and started processing how to approach makeup. Too much, you risked hussy. Too little seemed dismissive. 
You were in your towel, staring at the mirror, trying to determine hair and make up and honestly not really paying attention to Marcus, “Hey babe, I brought four outfits, I want your input.”
He didn’t respond and didn’t appear to be moving.
“Marcus?”
One of his hands wrapped around your waist, and one snuck around and cupped your breast, “I heard you...input.”
Oh no.
Oh no no no.
“Marcus we don’t have time.”
“We have time.”
“We do not have time.”
“We have time.” He slowly leaned you over until you were bent over the sink in the bathroom and you could feel him, hard, right behind your thighs, and suddenly you were wet again and teetering on deciding to take him up on this really bad idea.
“Marcus--” 
He started sliding into you with a tight moan and you dropped your towel and pushed back against him, your makeup sliding out from underneath you and going God knows where in his bathroom, “Fuck, Marcus….you’re telling her an excuse, I’m not doing it.”
He bottomed out and your toes were curling and he changed from being hunched over your back to standing completely behind you, the hand that had been on your waist came down and slapped your ass cheek as he started to move, the hand that had been on your breast coming to brace your hip.
“Whatever you want.” He panted as the hand that spanked you came to rest right on the curve of your ass cheek and the thumb...the thumb was circling.
It felt…
Shit it felt intriguing. 
Good.
Was he really…
No.
He would never.
Fuck this felt nice. Maybe…
No. No. 
Maybe.
Oh but how on Earth does his cock seem to hit me just there every single fucking --
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
You were getting out of breath but he was more...intrigued with his circling. 
“Marcus?” 
He picked up his pace, and pressed his thumb down hard enough to make you feel the pressure of it and he said, “Yes dear?”
“Oh fuck….what….”
“You inspired me.” He sent a goddamn jolt into your ass and you made a brand new kind of sound, shock, and pleasure, and you sprung up and started mewling against him, pressing back harder and harder, “Fucking what….what is …. We can’t do this right now…”
He leaned over and bit your shoulder, not answering you, but he sent the current again and you came hard, buckled, almost falling but catching yourself on the sink. 
“Oh Christ Marcus…”
“That the best your mouth can do?” He hissed and you could hear his breath catching, feel him tensing and you made a “Hmmm” in the back of your throat and just barely breathed out, “Cum in me so you know you’re dripping down my legs all fucking night.”
He smacked your ass again and came in a fucking fury.
After a moment he let out a whoosh of breath, “Told you we had time. They’re called quickies for a reason.”
He kissed your back and reached around to brush his thumb over your mouth.
You smirked, “Going to report me to HR?”
He pulled out of you and held you in place, for a moment watching exactly what you suggested he watch, and then pulled you up, turned you around and kissed you, “Honey I want to be the only one you talk to like that.”
You wrapped an arm around him, “Well if you thought that was how I talked to Karen in Shipping…”
He squeezed you, “I mean, I know we never… discussed boundaries. I just want to set it straight: I don’t want to see anyone else and frankly I really don’t think I could take it if you did.”
You were smiling, “I was sort of hoping we were already on that page. I mean...do you normally take your side pieces to meet Anita? So she can...what? Scare them away? You trying to scare me Marcus?”
He put both hands on your shoulders, moved them slowly up to your face, “I just...I want you for myself.”
“You got me you big lug.” You kissed him, and he was pushing into you, deepening it, when the oh shit we got to go alarm went off on your phone and you shoved him, “Fuck! Fuck! This is your fault! We’re going to be late! She’s going to kill me!”
He laughed at your fears, “No, honey, she wouldn’t do that….she wouldn’t want to hire a new assistant right now.”
You threw a fucking shoe at him. You missed. But you threw it. And he wasn’t even scared he laughed and said his grandma had better aim.
God.
You were pulling on your pants and as you did the sensitive nerves on your clit nearly made you whimper again and Marcus’ eyes went right to you, watching you, and then cupped your ass and said, “All fucking night.”
God.
Absolutely.
But first….you had to remember to put on deodorant.
*
“Stop. Fidgeting.” He was trying to soothe you.
“We’re late.”
“We aren’t late yet….” He subtly looked at the clock and then the speedometer and tried to just give a little more cushion, “Ok, so focus on me, not the clock. What’s another question?”
“How many times have you done this?”
“Uh, drive? Daily.”
You were not amused by his attempts to make you laugh, “The mom meeting.”
“Three.” He held up three fingers and counted backwards, “Floxia, she was my like I guess you could say high school girlfriend. We started fucking around when I got the promotion to lead squad, then she dropped me for some K Pop star I’ve never heard of.”
“Floxia?” 
“She didn’t make the cut. There’s a few like that, their powers either never really developed strongly or they never learned to fight well….Mostly if they identified as super they got brought to Headquarters. Floxia could make flowers grow.”
“Super flowers?”
“Regular flowers. Just like...decorative flowers. Nothing special about them. They were nice.” He shrugged, “But like, she hated fighting. Wanted me off the squad because she didn’t want to be on it. She… I dunno. Your typical teenage girlfriend? At the time you think woah this is super important and significant and later you’re like this was never going to work out why was I so obsessed with it working out.”
You nodded, “Been there, done that….how long?”
“Three years.” He had a wistful smile, “Your turn.”
“Um, no, none of my information is pertinent to me understanding how to survive the evening.” 
“Oh come on,” He nudged you, “No fair.”
“Ok. His name was Michael. He lived down the block.”
Marcus made a continuation gesture with his hand, “Duke of Norway? Witness Protection Program? I’m just trying to see what company I’m keeping.”
“Uh, just Michael. Michael….Fuck I can’t remember his last name now, it was something I always said wrong as a kid….what the fuck was it….”
“He took your virginity and you can’t remember his name?”
“Oh no he was my high school boyfriend when I was still in normal-ish high school, I was a late bloomer, I didn’t drop the V card until after high school.” You looked out the window, “But that kid carried my backpack for me every day for over seven months and never tried to slide into home plate so he gets honorable mention.”
Marcus considered this and nodded, “Fair.”
You tagged him, “You’re it….and we are late.”
“We are not late yet.” He was starting to get a little nervous, “So… Madelyn Connor.”
You stared at him.
“The underwear model?!” You held up an angry finger, “You said I was the first non-super you’ve dated!”
“She is, technically, super but she never trained. She can touch things and make them stick together. It’s a bit useless, she hated it, never used it. Used to get dragged to events by her dad….” He had a funny smile on his face, “Has a thing for Latin guys. Her dad is Decodified.”
He paused and his face scrunched up, “And that information isn’t public so, you know, hush hush.”
Your mouth gaped open and shut for a solid minute, “Wait...I’m going to need to know how Anita reacted to this.”
Marcus snorted, “She...uh….”
He cleared his throat, “Made her cry.”
You cackled and had your phone out, furiously Googling pictures and held up one and said, “Just so we are clear, this person?”
Marcus gave it a quick side look, “If it makes you feel better that bra is seriously padded, they aren’t--”
“Oh no no no it does not.” You then looked at the picture carefully, “Ok, it does.”
You were going to buy that bra. You had to. It wasn’t optional. You needed that comparison to be made and you needed to win. This was completely nonsensical. You understood that. But nonetheless you were clicking, linking, putting it in a cart, woah woah woah what did it co--nevermind it was an essential purchase.
Marcus smirked, “She was sweet but sort of…”
He shrugged. 
He was being mild-- Anita had eaten Madelyn alive and they had barely squeaked out another month before he had to tap out. 
What are you thinking bringing that hussy to my house?
She’s not a hussy, mom, she’s my--
HUSSY. 
Mom, she can hear you--
Then tell her to cover her--
Please stop.
La muna aunque de seda, mona se queda.
Alto.
Anita had literally smacked him and said he needed to start thinking with an entirely different head. Frankly he was surprised by the turnaround in Madelyn-- she had gone from pretty confident to whiny, constant fishing for compliments and needing him to constantly say how wrong he thought his mom was. 
Floxia his mother had called flor vacia. Empty. 
Which, in retrospect, was accurate and it was, also, now, though not then, hysterical that Flox held onto the belief for years that Anita was calling her an endearing pet name. Whenever they had hit a milestone Anita would roll her eyes, “Still?”
He could only say he was happy to have been brushing up your Spanish for a couple months, it was going to come in handy in heading Anita off at the pass. He hoped. 
He felt...shockingly calm. He was actually not worried. He expected his mom to be his mom and you to be you….it seemed to work well in some settings.
“Who was number three?” You perked up.
“A story for another day.” He pulled into a long driveway and you inhaled.
“What the….” You were shocked, “Is this Wayne Manor? What is happening?”
Marcus rolled his eyes, “Just a house.”
“Does it have its own zip code?”
He was going to snip back at you and then paused, “Actually yeah but not for the reasons you think.”
*
You walked in holding Marcus’ hand-- just walked into a giant, gorgeous villa that you felt you had underdressed for and shook your head, “Should have worn the heels, they double as a weapon.”
“There is a training ground...she sometimes makes people use it. Just...you know, watch your footing.”
“Helpful Marcus. Real helpful.” He squeezed your hand and then pulled it up for a kiss.
“You do battle with her regularly, just treat it like that.”
“Listen, I’m going to be honest, I stopped filtering myself around her months ago and that’s going to be real hard to walk back from and something probably is coming out.” You shrugged, “You’ve been warned.”
He snorted, “Never seen someone hurt her feelings, you’ll be fine.”
Then a cane snapped behind you with a terse “You’re late” and you shrieked, “For fuck’s sake Anita stop doing that!”
“Excuse me?” She cocked an eyebrow at you and you had already started so you might as well finish. 
“Cruella, whatever, quit trying to give me a heart attack, I have something to live for.” You felt Marcus chuckle in his chest and wrap an arm around your waist.
“Lo siento.” Marcus was smirking. Smirking. His mother was going to kill you. He was smirking, “It’s my fault, I got distracted getting ready.”
She eyed you, inviting an elaboration or a contradiction to which you shrugged, “I had two alarms set and repeatedly warned him-- tardiness. It comes from the home.”
Her mouth didn’t move but her eye twinkled just a little. 
For what reason you couldn’t tell, she could be preparing to strike. 
But she straightened her back and pointed to a patio with her cane, “I thought we would eat outside, it’s lovely.”
*
Lovely was right. 
You stepped foot onto the patio and whistled, “My…God. I had no idea you were a gardener Anita.”
“Excuse me.”
“For fuck’s sake-- it’s that or mom, take your pick. Mrs. Moreno sounds like a sweet old grandma who doesn’t know jiu jitsu.” 
She handed you a glass of lemonade and you accepted it warily, “If it’s poisoned I want to know.”
“I wouldn’t stoop so low, if I want to kill you I will do it to your face.” She pushed both eyebrows up.
After a tense stare you both broke into smiles, “Alrighty then--- be honest do you do the gardening?”
“Of course.” She clicked her chin up proudly, “Best begonias in the state, two years running.”
“What’s your secret?” You were following Marcus to a table and he pulled out your chair for you.
Marcus leaned in to whisper, “You know how you’re supposed to talk to plants? Get them to grow?”
“Mmhmm?”
“She just yells at them. Never seen anything like it. Grow like gangbusters, you should see her tomatoes, big as softballs.”
Anita looked very pleased, “This year I thought they were a little muted, they were better the year before.”
You felt extreme sympathy for the tomatoes. 
You focused on the plate in front of you and looked up at Anita, she was regarding you with some interest. Her interest always made you feel like you were in danger but the novelty of such a feeling wasn’t fresh anymore.
You sniffed and offered, “Angelina’s?”
Anita looked shocked for a minute and then laughed, “Very good….how did you guess?”
“Best saltimbocca in town. Didn’t take you for an Italian fan. I would’ve thought the vague jealousy of Machiavelli interfered.” 
Under the table Marcus squeezed your knee and he looked...light. 
*
Dinner went well, you thought. At least nobody choked. Anita told a couple stories about Marcus as a kid that had you laughing and him blushing. She sometimes stopped to ask for him to give her a word in English, something you had never seen her do before. You forgot, sometimes, that she was super but still human. Dessert was more of a cooperative learning experience. Anita feigned fatigue and asked Marcus to help her with the flan. He rolled up his sleeves and stage whispered, “Don’t let her fool you, she never gets it right.”
She slapped him, but as lightly and playfully as you had ever seen her slap anyone. 
She watched him work and then eyed you, which you didn’t notice. As he got his area ready you did the only thing he let you do in the kitchen when it was his turn to cook: you were allowed to lay out ingredients. Anita had an easy to navigate fridge and Marcus would nudge you toward a cupboard when you needed something you couldn’t find. He was watching his mom who was watching you, trying to gauge how it was going. He tentatively thought well as there had been surprisingly little insult throwing. 
She had called you chatty at one point and you pretended to barely be able to understand her, “What’s that, french, Anita? J’dore you too you strange lady.”
She rolled her eyes whenever you did it but you wouldn’t give an inch. She was right, you were chatty, and you knew you had over-talked all evening but it was half a defense mechanism anyway. 
When you two made to leave Anita checked her watch, “Don’t be late to work.”
You were not sure what that meant but Marcus patted down his pockets after he closed your door and flicked the car on before saying, “Forgot my phone, be back in a second.”
Anita was holding his phone up for him.
"Mi hijo." Anita's voice was firm, a request but also a command. Marcus paused, "She's in the car, mom, do we have to do this now?" 
"You think you should wait?" Anita put up her hands, "Fine." 
He groaned and put his head in his hands, she knew exactly what she was doing, "Alright… I'll bite. What do you think?" 
Anita smiled, "Ella es tu media naranja." 
Marcus took a step back and looked at his mother soberly, his heart racing, because he had hardly admitted this to himself and as per usual Anita cut to the quick. He swallowed hard and smiled, Anita came up and gently slapped one of his cheeks, "You better hope she never realizes she could be off with someone who isn't afraid to tell her that." 
He snorted, "This coming from the person who kept my father on the hook for a year before agreeing to go on a single date? You want me to propose when I haven't even told her I…" 
Anita cocked an eyebrow at him, "You want to finish that sentence Tonto? Serves you right, sass your mama like that….and as for Emilio…" 
She got quiet, "I didn't make him wait because I wasn't in love with him. I knew… I knew he was the love of my life. I made him wait because….I knew. And I was terrified." 
This shocked Marcus, "You're not scared of anything." 
She snorted, tapping her cane on the ground, "You think that's true? You still a little boy believing in Santa and the Tooth Fairy? Of course I'm afraid of things. Before your father I wasn't afraid of anything. Then…." 
She got quiet and Marcus nodded, understanding, "You were afraid to lose him." 
"And then you happened and you don't even know the half of fears like that. Life is easier without those things...but it's empty. Go be full." 
Marcus stared at her for a moment and then hugged her fiercely, "Te quiero mami… quiero mucho." 
"Tonto." She petted his hair while he hugged her, smiling widely, happy he was happy.
__________________________________________
A/N: tu media naranja-- your half orange, an idiom for soulmate. 
Again, feel free to correct me Spanish speakers, it was hard as hell coming up with Anita-insults for these women. 
Usual warnings-- not beta read. Probaby riddled with errors. I have no idea how I’m being this productive with this fic. This is highly uncharacteristic. I blame the insomnia. 
Also this is everyone with Anita all the time:
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Tag list? I’m learning @tortles  @mrschiltoncat @swimmingsloths @imaginecrushes @dreamer7black​ @sarahjkl82-blog​ @finnisrioting​ @heresathreebee​ (I added you because you make me laugh) @seasonschange-butpeopledont​
^ Wait…I feel like I’m missing someone. Someone? REPORT! BEULLER?!
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shadowhuntertrash · 4 months ago
Text
High Notes
Chapter One
Characters belong to Cassandra Clare
Thomas almost screamed when his alarm went off. Yesterday had been one of his best friends, Matthew Fairchild’s, twenty first birthday. It would be stupid to say it was Matthew’s first drink but they went out and celebrated his ability to legally drink anyway. Thomas almost never drank but since his cousin Christopher was still underage and his sister Anna was there he knew one of them would be able to drive them home.
   He was currently cussing his drunk self out in every language he could for not turning his stupid alarm off. He slammed his hand on his alarm and was greeted by the sound of someone puking in the bathroom and Matthew cursing the gods before turning his cursing to Thomas. Thomas could hear Christopher laughing in his room.
   He and his three best friends shared a four room apartment together. It was a simple apartment with a living room and a kitchenette in the middle and two hallways off the sides. Down one hallway was a door to a bathroom with two doors on either side. One of which belonged to Matthew Fairchild and the other to James Herondale’s. You would find the same if you went down the other hall, but instead of Matthew and James’ room you would find Christopher and Thomas’.
   “Thomas Lightwood I might kill you if the thought of opening my eyes didn’t make me want to throw up!” Matthew yelled from his side of the room. The pounding in his head worsened and he just groaned back in response. “God dammit Math stop screaming.” He could hear James’ voice coming from the bathroom and realized that it must have been James throwing up. He heard shuffling from their side of the house and then Matthew’s now considerably quieter voice talking to James. “I’m sorry Jamie are you okay?” 
   Thomas sighed and let Matthew worry about his boyfriend. James and Matthew had been best friends since 6th grade and they had been dating for about 5 months now. Everyone had thrown a party when they had finally got together. Everyone knew it was coming but the idiots were too oblivious to believe the other liked them. 
   Thomas got up and walked to the kitchen where he found his cousin, Christopher. Kit smiled at him and put a glass of water and some pain meds in his hand. Thomas smiled appreciatively at his cousin. “God I knew there was a reason we kept you around Kit.” Christopher laughed and Thomas greedily threw the medicine back and swallowed it with a gulp of water.
   Thomas thanked him and walked back to his room. The house stayed quiet for about four hours until someone started banging on the door which set off another round of groans. The four hours of quiet they got helped everyone’s hang over but the insistence banging was not doing wonders for their heads. 
   Christopher laughed again looking unfairly chipper. Thomas walked into the living room as Christopher opened the door to see Lucie Herondale, James’ sister, and Cordelia Carstairs, Lucie’s best friend. They barged in with wide smiles on their faces. “Thomas!” Lucie said cheerily before running up to him and throwing her arms around him. Thomas let out a surprised ‘oof!’ before hugging her tightly back. 
   Thomas had two older sisters but they had never been close. He was very close to his parents but his sisters had always kept to himself. His parents were very close with his friends' parents. His father, Gideon, and Christopher’s father, Gabriel, were brothers. Christpher’s mother was James and Lucie’s aunt. Christopher and his older sister, Anna, were James, Lucie, and Thomas’ cousin. Lucie and James’ parents, Will and Tessa, were best friends with Jem Carstairs who was Cordelia and Alastair’s, Cordelia’s older brother, cousin. Jem had taken Cordelia and Alastair in when they’re mother died. They’re father had left when Cordelia was born. It was all a bit confusing but Thomas considered them all family. Well almost all of them.
    Alastair was a different story. Thomas had been in love with Alastair since he was 15, now here he was 6 years later still simping over the boy he would never be able to have. He didn’t mind though. His mother had taught him that it didn’t matter who he loved as long as they deserved it. Alastair was not a very kind person but Thomas was one of the only ones who ever saw past that, through his rough exterior to the kind person he was on the inside.
   Just because Thomas could see Alastair didn’t make them friends though. They were acquaintances of course since his sister figure was in a band with Cordelia. They were all musically inclined.
   Lucie and Cordelia both sang and played guitar. They had started a band with just the two of them when they were 16 around the same time Thomas, Matthew, James, and Christopher started theirs. The girls had named their band The Beautiful Cordelia as a joke but it quickly caught on. The four boys created their band which they named The Merry Thieves after Lucie’s nickname for them as children. Matthew had an amazing voice and occasionally played the piano, James was an amazing drummer, Thomas played guitar and he wrote their songs, Christopher played the bass guitar for them.
   Cordelia’s older brother, Alastair, was a solo artist who wrote his own songs and performed them. Thomas had never heard a voice as great as his. It was raspy whereas Matthew’s was smooth. Alastair had so much more emotion than Thomas could even dream of singing with.
   Thomas was brought back to the present when Lucie pulled back and laid a hand on his forehead. “Darling are you feeling okay?” Lucie gave just about everyone a nickname and for some reason instead of Tom or something of the like she simply called him Darling. At first everyone was shocked because they thought that meant that him and Lucie were dating but they quickly squashed those rumors.
   Thomas grumbles in response to her question. She raises one eyebrow and Thomas feels a jolt of jealousy go through him. He’d never been able to do that. “He’s fine, just hung over. They had lots of fun last night.” Christopher said, smirking, Thomas glared at him. He lifted his eyes to look at Cordelia. She was in a pretty white sundress with flowers on it. She had open toed sandals on and her toenails were freshly painted. Thomas flashes her a smile that she returns quickly.
   “Hello Cordelia.” She rolls her eyes. Thomas was the only one who called her by her full name and most people were under the impression it was meant to be teasing but honestly Thomas just found her name beautiful and incredibly underused. “Hello Thomas. If you don’t mind would you get the other boys? We have some news!” I nod and turn to go get them. 
   They were in Matthew’s room now. The door was slightly ajar and from Thomas’ vantage point he could see James was sitting criss cross at the head of Matthew’s bed, he still looked slightly sick but he was smiling down at Matthew who had laid haphazardly down on the bed with his head in James’ lap. His eyes were closed but he had a smile on his face. I knock on the door not wanting to barge in.
   James turned to look at him and Matthew opened his eyes. “Lucie and Cordelia would like to tell us something.” James nods and Matthew stretches before climbing off the bed. He turns and reaches a hand out to help James up. James grabs it and interlocks their fingers. Thomas sighed quietly. He wanted that, more so than he would ever willingly admit.
   The boys walk into the living room, Thomas a few steps in front of James and Matthew. James goes to hug his sister and Matthew hugs Cordelia. Matthew and Cordelia were rather close because she had let him rant about James to her when he was pining. “What brings you to our beautiful home ladies?” Matthew said enthusiastically, Thomas had a strong suspicion that Matthew wasn’t even hung over. He had a very high tolerance for drinks. 
   Cordelia and Lucie shared a bright smile. “Well,” Lucie started her smile getting bigger as she talked. “As you know all of our music has been taking off.” They all nod acknowledging the statement. It was true their music was getting big. It was even being played on the radio. They had each released an album. 
   Lucie smiled at Cordelia again and Cordelia took over talking. “So we’ve been talking with our manager and we were wondering if you guys wanted to go on tour with us?” There was a collective gasp and it was silent for a second before everyone started talking over one another. “You’re kidding! This is a joke!” Matthew. “Yes! Yes yes yes! YES!” James. “For how long?” Christopher.
   The girls laugh. “I can guarantee you this is not a joke. It would be for five months. And it would be split evenly between the three of us.” There was a round of cheers and Thomas watched as Matthew shot up and tackled Lucie and Cordelia where they were on the couch. “Oh my god you are my favorite people on earth!” Cordelia giggled and James smacked him on the back of the head. 
   Matthew pulled away pouting at James and rubbing his head. “After you of course Jamie.” James rolled his eyes and pulled his sister and Cordelia in a hug as well, granted much gentler than Matthew had. “Thank you so much.” He said quietly the girls gave him a soft look and hugged him back.
   The girls got up and started walking to the door. “I would start getting ready if I was you. We leave in a week.” Lucie said with a wink Matthew paled and put a hand to his forehead dramatically. “Lucie! You can’t spring this on me and only give me a week to get everything together!” Lucie laughed. “Calm down Matthew! You just have to pick comfy clothes and the costume people will pick our concert attire.” Matthew nods seemingly relaxing at the thought. 
   The girls were almost to the door when a thought occurred to Thomas. “Girls?” They turn to look at him waiting for him to continue. “You said it was split evenly between three? Who else is going with us?” Lucie and Cordelia seemed to have a silent conversation before reaching a conclusion. Cordelia was the one to answer. “My brother.”
   Thomas stared at them blankly. Cordelia’s brother. Alastair. Thomas groaned internally. He was so screwed. 
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