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#so he’s trying to fill the role others have assigned him
the-emo-asgardian · 9 days ago
"the show is retconning all of thor 2011 and pretending loki just always wanted the throne to have power and that he hurts ppl bc he feels weak so he wants to attack them to make himself feel stronger. ignoring all the suffering he went thru and the internalized racism and the mind control. I think the Asgard scene are probably going to be so he can go back and show his younger self as bad and maybe also apologize to his mom eve tho she gaslighted and lied to him" maybe not i think loki is playing the TVA
Hmm I assume you’re quoting someone on another post. And, yes, I’d have to disagree with them too. I think him calling himself weak is actually in character. He’s living in Thor’s shadow his whole life; he has self esteem issues for sure. And like I said before, he’s feeling hopeless at this point. So, with nothing left to lose, he drops the villain facade. Because he was going with that while at the TVA. I mean, look at his interaction with Casey: his thought is “I’m a villain, I have to threaten him.” You can even see him dropping that when Casey doesn’t know what a fish is. He says it too: “A villain.” This is who he thinks he is because of what other have told him; he can’t even see how good he is anymore.
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minniehohos · 23 days ago
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Happy Without Me [b.c]
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Pairing: Bang Chan x reader
Word Count: 20.8 k (don’t look at me like that... idk what happened either.)
Genre: angst and fluff! University AU!
Summary: Bang Chan swears that he’s made the right choice in breaking up with you. He also swears that he is 100% over you. Lucky for Bang Chan, he isn’t under oath. If Bang Chan is really over you the way he says he is, why can’t he seem to stop lurking on your Instagram, thumb hovering over each new picture of you smiling? And more importantly, why is he contemplating calling a number on his phone with the contact name “EX.”?
“An unfamiliar feeling takes over his body stemming from his gut. It rots away at his insides turning his heart green, the awful feeling spreads through his body until it reaches the tips of his fingers and they tingle with disdain. You were so happy, so breathtaking, so fucking beautiful, and all of it made him sick - because he had nothing to do with it anymore.”
Warning: Swearing! Slow burn I think??? Idk it’s long as fuck though. One mention of a dick and alcohol. 
Note:  ... this is a complete shit show and was never meant to be this long. I spent a little over a month drafting and writing this so feedback would be greatly appreciated! I hope you guys enjoy :) (special thanks to @jisungsplatforms for helping me in the home stretch!)
Moodboard
Series Masterlist
Masterlist
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𝐨𝐧𝐞.
Chan was a lot of things. Producer, singer, hell even dancer if he had to be… but therapist? Well, he didn’t know when he had picked up that role, but it seemed like all of his friends had already assigned it for him. Not that he really minded - surprisingly, being occupied with his friends’ problems proved to be a perfect distraction to his own. 
“Yeah, and then Yoojin stopped texting me for the rest of the night… and that was 2 days ago” Changbin sighs, resting his head on the small coffee table with a surprising thud. The iced coffee on the table shakes, the condensation beginning to drip into a circle below the cup. 
Chan, who had entirely spaced out for the whole story, looks at his friend sympathetically. Love could make people do stupid things. He would know. Chan doesn’t give himself a moment to think before shaking his head of his own thoughts. 
Moving to put his hand on Changbin’s shoulder, he rubs the huge muscle sighing with him. “It’s going to be okay Bin,” he nods, “just give her some time… she’ll come around.” 
Chanbin just barely lifts his head to peek an eye at Chan who is giving him an understanding smile, “Yeah? You think?” he pouts. 
Chan takes a sip of his own coffee, nodding matter of factly though he wasn’t entirely sure. What Chan did know was that Changbin was the type to fall a little too hard, and Yoojin didn’t entirely sound like good news: So whatever the outcome, he knew everything would be fine…. Eventually. 
“Should… Should I buy her roses?” Changbin, who suddenly seems reenergized by Chan’s words of wisdom, questions giddily, eyes cartoonishly bright. He pulls out his phone, and Chan already knows Changbin wouldn’t even hesitate to do something so stupid. 
“Woah, woah…” Chan cuts him off immediately, snatching Changbin’s phone from his hand. “No. Give her space man.” he reiterates, and Changbin who looks like a puppy with its tail between its legs nods in defeat, looking longingly at the wooden table. 
Sliding the phone back over to Changbin cautiously, Chan shakes his head at the sight before him. Changbin has resumed his position, forehead pressed firmly on the coffee table once more with no shame. He’s entirely ruined, distracted, distraught. Which is exactly why Chan knew he was in no headspace to be like Changbin right now… 
On the opposite side of campus, Lia groans in a similar position to Changbin: head pressed up against the wooden table of the library. “I can’t believe he would dump me…. DURING FINALS OF ALL WEEKS!” she whisper-yells into her physics textbook. 
You laugh at her comical posture, reasoning with her. “Come on… You were already going to break up with him after he stood you up for your guys' 4 month anniversary date… he just beat you to it.”
“Well that’s exactly why I’m upset!” Lia hisses at you, “Now I have to live with the fact that he dumped me.” 
You nod, offering an understanding smile though you know it won’t mean much - especially when you’d always despised Lia’s ex, and as a result your understanding smile was now morphing into a devilish grin. 
Lia glares at you, but it doesn’t take long before her lips twist into a grin following yours. 
“Look at it this way… now you don’t have to sit here fighting with the man over Snapchat and you can actually study for this final.” you emphasize, tapping your pencil at the open page. “Besides, I hated him.” You state plainly, scrunching your face, “Now you can focus on more important matters: like A) your physics final and B) me!” you motion towards yourself with a big smile. 
Lia shoos away your pencil with a huff. “You know, you’re lucky that Chan didn’t break up with you this week,” shooting you a cheeky glare, “At least you had months to recover for your finals.” She jokes, mocking your cries which had echoed through early December. 
You clutch your heart jokingly, the reminder of his name having no effect on your healed heart. Your breath no longer caught in your throat, heartbeat no longer stuttered, it was merely just a name now, flowing freely with the rest of the verbage Lia threw at you. “That was a low blow….” You respond, theatrically pouting and wiping away an invisible tear, “But to be fair he did break up with me during midterms week and I actually failed my business midterm.” You finish bitterly. 
“And, I refuse to let ANY other man ruin our academic career Lia! I promise you’ll be fine and once we’re done with finals I’ll treat you to a girls night in.” 
Lia smiles, genuinely, and you know you’ve done your job. “Fine.” she accepts your offer, eyes turning into crescent moons. You can only laugh at how quickly she seems to have let go of her ex, and only wish it would have been that easy for you.
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𝐭𝐰𝐨.
Seeing that it is finals week, Chan should be producing for his music production class, instead he finds himself staring at a blank laptop screen pulled up to his default browser. There is only so many minutes a man can stare at the Google logo without going crazy.
He shifts in his seat uncomfortably and scratches the back of his neck out of habit - though, there’s no itch there. There is an itch, however, that’s desperate to be scratched. It taunts him, tickling weird parts of his heart and mind. 
Instead of relief, he’s afraid scratching the itch will only pick a delicate scab, triggering a fresh wound filled with blood and emotions he’s not ready to deal with. Definitely not now, and he doesn’t know if ever. He picks up his phone, fingers hovering over his contacts list. It half attends to the itch, half distracts him from it. He’ll stick to itching his neck for now. 
He’s trying to find Changbin, who is unfortunately saved in his phone as: SpearB as per Changbin’s request. Unfortunately, for Chan, S is towards the end of the alphabet. This means in order to find SpearB, he must work through his alphabetized contacts list which contains a specific contact under the E letter he’s been trying to avoid for months. 
He scrolls nonchalantly, though once he hits the dreaded E’s, his fingers slow against his will. They hesitate over a fully capitalized two letter word sitting harmlessly between Emily (music theory) from his freshman music theory class and Eyun-Woo from his childhood church. Obviously none of these 3 contacts have been touched in the past couple months or years. He thinks he should delete Emily, being a senior now, and probably Eyun-Woo too considering he hasn’t been to church in at least 8 years. But then, you’d be so lonely under the E’s and he’d be able to find your number so much quicker without the clutter. 
He scrolls past quickly, shaking his head. He’s glad that his thumbs aren’t as clumsy as he fears. Eventually, making his way to the S’s where Changbin’s contact name sits between his friend Seungmin and Sydney (tinder) who he hasn’t spoken to in weeks. He deletes her contact swiftly with no second thought. 
Now that he’s staring at Changbin’s contact, he’s not sure what he’s meant to do. Call him? And then what? Talk, obviously, but Chan realizes he isn’t sure what he even wants to talk about. 
The words that are dying to be spoken are buried deep in the back of his mind. He hasn’t even let himself think about them - and now he’s debating on spilling all of these repressed thoughts out in the open. The words would have to be picked up eventually, and he doesn’t want to deal with that. Not now at least. 
Sighing, he pulls at his beanie to cover his eyes; and when the darkness engulfs him, there you are, appearing in the warm fuzzy material. 
“Fuck.”
He squeezes his eyes tight, like the pressure would cause you to seep through his ears. Instead, he now has a slight pressure headache accompanying the vision of you in his head. Great. 
He pulls his beanie up, and rubs at his eyes, but there’s no escape. ‘Hey, don’t do that! You’re going to get wrinkles’ he practically can hear your light giggles replaying in his head and he only rubs harder. It takes all of his energy to not punch himself in the skull. 
He’s about to deck himself in the face when his phone goes off, speaking of the devil:
New Message from SPEARB
Chan lets go of a breath he didn’t know he was holding. 
SPEARB: Hey, not to rush you but you haven’t done any of the work for our music production class yet. Do you know when you’re going to have that done by???
Frowning, he types a response quickly:
Chan: Yeah, sorry about that. I’ll try to have it done by this weekend. 
Chan doesn’t want to acknowledge his distractions. He can’t seem to focus on anything, not even work. For Chan, this is uncharacteristic, detrimental even. No amount of high frequency noise on the highest volume in his noise cancelling headphones can drown out his own thoughts. Not being able to work means a lot. It means being dangerously behind in his music production class, among other things Chan is unwilling to unpack. 
He stares at his phone as Chanbin responds with a ‘thumbs up’ reaction to his message, his phone screen is about to turn dim when Chan’s thumb stops it. 
Chan debates on sending a text to Changbin, but instead, his thumb swipes off of the messaging application entirely. It swipes through his home screen, moving on its own accord. Chan isn’t particularly inclined to stop it, though he has an idea of where this will lead. 
His screen goes bright white with the Instagram home screen. There’s a picture of his sister once the home feed loads, though Chan doesn’t really pay attention, fingers quickly moving to the search bar and typing a series of letters of a name he’s all too familiar with. 
“Chan?!” 
Chan quickly whips his head around, turning his phone off and setting it face down on his desk. 
“Yeah? What’s up Felix?” 
His roommate is awkwardly shuffling by his door, head staring at the carpeted floor. “Do you…” Felix hesitates before he continues, “I really don’t want to bother you but-”
“It’s really no problem Lix, what’s wrong?” Chan responds on autopilot, as if he doesn’t have his own problems he’s yet to address. 
“I got a really bad score on my finance final and I was wondering if we could have a boys night? I’ll buy pizza?” 
Chan grins, excited both for the pizza and any sort of distraction that is willing to stop him from his own demons. “Yeah of course!” He responds, hands immediately shutting his laptop. He looks at his phone, debating on if he wants to return to what he’s left on the screen. Instead, he heads towards a much more smiley Felix, ultimately deciding to leave it face down on his desk for the rest of the night. 
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𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐞𝐞.
Thursdays were always a weird limbo. Not quite the weekend, but close enough that you’re able to mentally relax a bit. That’s how you find yourself on top of a picnic blanket with boba and a haphazardly open English literature textbook which had been accumulating dust for the past 3 months. ‘Studying’ Lia had said, but by the looks of it, the nice outdoor study session Lia had suggested had ventured to more interesting activities as you were all too consumed making a flower crown from the weeds growing on the campus lawn and Lia being busy people watching, sucking on her boba straw occasionally. 
“Here, come here” you motion towards Lia, “I want to see if your fat head can fit this beautiful crown.” you delicately motion at the tangle of weeds you’d been playing with for the past 10 minutes. 
“Bitch!” Lia whines, “my head is not that big.” but nonetheless scoots in closer so you can put the crown on her head. It fits her perfectly, and you’re about to adjust it so that the bright yellow dandelion will be square on her forehead when she jolts, breaking the fragile chain of weeds in your hand. 
“Liaaa-” you’re mid whine when she cups your mouth quickly.
“Shut upshutupshutup” she hushes you, giving you wide eyes like she’d just seen a demon. 
“You broke my crown,” you pout quietly, showing her the handful of greens and yellows in your hand that no longer had any discernable shape. 
“Chan…” she whispers, “he’s right there.” motioning with her head as if it would make it less obvious. 
You look over Lia’s brown hair to see what all the commotion is about, and true to her word, there is your ex staring straight at you. He’s wearing a black oversized T-shirt with some shorts, you’d be blind to not spot him sticking out like a sore colorless thumb amongst the colorful tones of the spring flora growing on campus. You have maybe half a second to give him a friendly smile before he immediately whips his head down and beelines it for the nearest building. 
Smith Hall? The Center for Physics? You laugh to yourself at how obvious he was, knowing damn well he had never taken a science class let alone ever stepped foot into that building before.
Lia looks back and seeing that Chan is nowhere to be seen looks back at you. “Why’d you smile at him? Why not a snarl? Or like a heaving maneuver? Like this?” She demonstrates by gagging herself and retching on the grass.  
You laugh, punching Lia’s shoulder. “We broke up on good terms.” you sigh, throwing the handful of weeds a few meters away from your picnic blanket. 
You inwardly scoff at your own words. ‘Good terms’. How good could they really have been? 
Sure Chan had been up front with you as an honest man, which he’d prided himself on. He gave you all the logical reasons he couldn’t see the relationship going anywhere. Not with the both of you graduating in the spring, not with his career goals, and the future in general. And what were you supposed to do? There wasn’t much of an argument to be made without bringing feelings into Chan’s perfectly logical and objective view of the relationship. So you just swallowed them whole and accepted it.
What followed was weeks spent staring at the ceiling with blurry eyes, body numb from heaving, brain trying to wrap around how he walked away so easily. How he could’ve just left. 
It wasn’t until January where you’d realized it didn’t matter. 
Whether Chan left bawling his eyes out or giving you a 10 page statistical report of the relationship, he’d ultimately decided to leave nonetheless. No amount of honesty would have masked the layers of hurt he knew he was inflicting, and it couldn’t be used as a defense in the way Chan had wanted it to. No amount of honesty could ever make up for the fact that Chan had decided to give up rather than fight for you when things got hard. 
Letting go was pretty quick after that. You’d loved him enough to want the best for him, and you loved yourself enough to not beg for him to stay. Not when he didn’t want to. 
And despite the months of heartache, your final destination was acceptance, where you settled into a routine again. One which didn’t involve him. You’d learned that there was happiness outside of those past routines and quickly integrated yourself into the feeling again. You wondered if he was happy too, having been unable to look long enough at his face to see if the bags under his eyes were any darker or the frown lines between his eyebrows were any deeper. 
“Did you put a spell on him or something? Where did he disappear to?” Lia looks around for Chan’s figure. 
“He ducked into Smith Hall…” you say, stifling a laugh. 
“What a fucking idiot.” 
On the opposite side of the doors to Smith Hall, Chan finds himself in a strange building. The interior is wood, and it looks like it's giving into mold and mildew, just a couple years out from rotting from the inside out. 
He can’t help the unpleasant frown painted on his features, the line between his eyebrows getting deeper by the second. Pacing around the hallways of the musty building he’s never stepped foot in, he’s only allowing himself to breathe every 15 seconds for the sake of his lungs and the hairs in his nose - it smells absolutely vile and the air is weirdly heavy. 
Why on earth did he have to walk into this building? And more importantly, why was his gut reaction to seeing you immediately running into anything that had a door? And why did you smile at him-
“Chan?!” a familiar voice calls out behind him and he whips around.
From a few meters down the dim hallway, he can make out a female figure getting closer to him. “What are you doing here?” It’s Sana, her delicate voice calling out after him as she jogs slightly to catch up to him.  
Jesus fucking christ, Chan thinks to himself. “Oh uh…” he scratches at the back of his neck, “I- uh- I got lost?” he stutters, neck turning red. Of course he had to get caught here of all places.
“Aaaas a senior?” Sana raises an eyebrow, eyeing the red flushed skin of his neck.
“Erm- uh- yeah.”
Sana stands awkwardly looking at Chan, her hands tightly clutching the straps of her backpack. “Well, do you need help?” she offers, avidly deciding to look past the look of absolute embarrassment on Bang Chan’s face. 
“oh.” is all Chan can manage knowing damn well the only place he wants to be is home. 
“Where are you trying to go?” Sana asks, and Chan can only glance behind him at the heavy wood double doors he never should have opened in the first place. 
He chuckles nervously before looking back at the girl with bright orange hair, “You know what? Nevermind, I think I’m just going to head home now…” he trails off, starting to walk towards the doors, “Thanks anyways Sana!” 
“Wait!” she stops him, and Chan has no choice but to reluctantly stop in his tracks. “I’m headed home too, maybe we could walk together?”
The gut reaction which Bang Chan feels is not normal. He knows this. It’s a mystery feeling of ‘oh god no’ and ‘shit’ with a hint… a note of ‘what if Y/N sees me’ with an immediate aftertaste of ‘why do I even care?’. All feelings which ultimately result in Bang Chan feeling like a sack of shit with existential dread. 
Sana looks at him expectantly, doe eyes bright and smile never faltering. She’s pretty, he thinks, but that’s where the thought ends. 
“Oh, uh, sure.” he gulps, and hopes that it sounds more welcoming than the bitter taste it left on his tongue. 
Either Chan should add actor to the list of things he is, or Sana is really good at looking past Chan’s questionable behavior, but she giggles cluelessly, finding a steady pace next to Chan. Literally any guy on campus would die to be in Chan’s shoes, so why was he so antsy? And for all the wrong reasons? 
Just as Chan pushes open the wooden doors that suddenly feel 10 times heavier, he braces himself - for what? He’s not entirely sure. 
“Ahhh~ ” Sana hums, “The weather is so nice out!” Her orange hair is flowing in the wind gracefully, light curls dancing a duet with the soft pink petals falling from blossoming trees. Everybody who passes by can’t help but steal a glimpse at her beauty, everyone but Chan, who seems more interested in the cracked concrete of the sidewalk. 
“Heh, yeah…” Chan responds dryly, it takes everything in him not to glance back to where he last saw you, soft smile on your lips. 
Oh what the hell, he thinks to himself, so what he’s with Sana? So what if you see him with her? Maybe you’d get jealous. And maybe that’s exactly what Chan had wanted? And maybe that would do something? He doesn’t know what, but he thinks any reaction might be better than the radio silence he’s caused. He can’t even think properly to listen to Sana, and he cranes his neck over his shoulder to look back.
He prepares himself for the look of surprise, jealousy, hurt even. In the seconds it takes Bang Chan to turn his head, he plays out the scenarios where you confront him and he nonchalantly says ‘oh, Sana? She’s just a friend. Why?’. When his eyes finally focus on the patch of lawn that the picnic blanket is strewn over, he’s met with everything but your eyes. 
You’re laughing at something Lia must’ve said, mouth wide and teeth shining like pearls under the warm April sun, he can practically hear the melody. Your hair, though wildly untamed, is blowing uncooperatively with the wind, strands blowing into your mouth and across your forehead. You clutch at your stomach before shoving Lia playfully, and Chan can only imagine what it feels like to be sitting so close to something so genuine. 
You look so happy. 
And so blissfully unaware of him.
An unfamiliar feeling takes over his body stemming from his gut. It rots away at his insides turning his heart green, the awful feeling spreads through his body until it reaches the tips of his fingers and they tingle with disdain. You were so happy, so breathtaking, so fucking beautiful, and all of it made him sick - because he had nothing to do with it anymore. 
“You okay?” Sana’s soft voice interrupts Chan’s uncharacteristic frown; his lips full in a pout, the indent right between his brows is as deep as a canyon. 
“Yeah.” Chan breathes, though it sounds forced, and Chan no longer has the energy to mask how he feels. He forces himself to look back at Sana who has a gentle look of concern on her face. 
“Is it finals week?” she questions, “that’s why you’re so stressed?” 
Chan is willing to take anything over accepting his own feelings. “Yeah, it’s just been really stressful is all.” he nods quickly, “I have a music production final project that I haven’t gotten a start on that’s due soon…” that’s not technically a lie, he thinks. 
“I get you…” she nods sympathetically. “You know, if you want to destress, Bambam is holding a party this weekend. You should stop by and say hi.” She smiles at him and Chan brings himself to meet her gaze. 
“Yeah?” 
“Yeah, maybe I could help give you some inspiration for that music production final…” she flirts shamelessly, biting her perfectly pink bottom lip. It’s shiny and plump like she’d just applied a layer of expensive gloss. He can’t help that his eyes flicker down to her lips wondering if they would taste like strawberry or cherry, though when they do meet the plump pink, his brain can only flash a wicked vision of your smiling lips instead. 
‘What the fuck.’ he thinks to himself. 
“I’ll be there.” he declares, interrupting himself from another thought, mostly as a way to say ‘fuck you’ to his own uncontrollable feelings. 
“And I’ll take you up on that offer.” 
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𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐫.
“So instead of studying for the physics final on the weekend, you want to go to a fucking party?” you raise an eyebrow at Lia through the tiny FaceTime window pulled up behind your mess of tabs. While organizing the 7 random tabs pulled up to scholarly articles, you find the tiny window of Lia’s glasses clad face while she applies her nightly skincare. 
“Yeah! Ryujin invited us!” she says, applying her serum tediously like she had all the time in the world to rub the product into her supple skin, like she didn’t have a physics final that was worth 30% of her grade the following Monday.
You squint at her, hoping that your laptop camera can properly capture the look of incredulity painted on your face - though purposefully comical. 
“Oh shush.” Lia rolls her eyes and continues to gua sha her face. “Besides, we got studying done today, and we have tomorrow to study more!” 
You laugh in her face, “We didn’t even study today, but okay miss ‘I need to get at least 80% on this final to get a B in this class’” you roll your eyes, throwing your hands up in defeat. 
“No, you see I have a plan-”
You cut her off mid sentence, “yeah okay Lia… just don’t come crying to me when you fail physics.”
“Pretty people don’t need to understand science.” she retorts, matter of factly. 
You think for a moment before ultimately nodding in agreement, “touche.”
The call continues in comfortable silence, with you writing the conclusion of your final paper and Lia tediously running the marbled green jade stone over her skin. Everything seems fine when Lia lets out a shriek, you wince at the high pitched sound that’s fed directly into your ears through your earbuds. 
“Jayden just fucking texted me.” 
And instantly, your face sours like you’d just taken a bite of the most disgusting tart cherry at hearing Lia’s ex’s name. “What did he say?” you ask, entirely abandoning your paper. 
“I heard you’re talking to Jisung, should’ve known you were a hoe…” Lia reads off of her phone, and you gasp at his explicit wording and scoff at the implications. 
“What a fucking sleaze.” you sigh bitterly, “like he wasn’t just trying to get with Ryujin last week…”
Lia bites her bottom lip, eyes glued to her phone. You know that look, she’s considering Jayden’s disgusting words and, well, you’re not going to have any of it.
“Lia, stop.” You clap at the screen, “Forget him, you know that that’s not true.” and when you realize that Lia isn’t budging you begrudgingly pull out the big guns. “I’ll go to that party with you, we can forget all about that fucking asshole.”
Lia’s eyes immediately light up at your invite, flickering up to meet yours through the camera. YOU? At a party? It had been 4 years of Lia trying to drag you out to every party and girls night out to no avail. “Really? You’d do that for me?”
You nod smiling, you’d do anything for Lia. “Of course babey!” you coo into the camera. 
Lia sniffles, though you can’t tell if it’s because of Jayden’s text or your affection. You’d like to think it’s the latter as she glances at her phone again. “You better leave him on read. I swear to god Lia…”
It’s Lia’s turn to scoff, and she rolls her eyes, “of course.” she states plainly, like it was obvious. “The only thing men have is the audacity…”
You don’t catch the last bit of her statement when your phone goes off. 
ChrisBangCB97 just liked your post. 
Lia was right. All men had was the audacity.
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𝐟𝐢𝐯𝐞.
Just careful… make sure your fingers don’t slip and double tap… FUCK-
“Hey Chan, what are you doi-” Felix stops mid sentence when he realizes exactly what Chan’s doing balled up on the couch. Chan, who was once carefully zooming in on your most recent Instagram post, whips his head to look back at Felix, quickly turning his phone off to rid the evidence. Caught. Red handed. And twice at that. 
He leans back onto the couch in an effort to seem casual, “Nothing,” he mutters nonchalantly, except it comes out awfully choked up. The awkward tone makes the air feel heavy and Felix struggles to suppress a laugh at Chan’s expense. 
“.... Riiiight,” Felix drags out the vowel suspiciously. Felix knows it's not nothing, far from it actually. 
Glancing over at Chan, Felix decides today’s the day for Chan to talk. After all, Felix isn’t dumb. He knows that uncharacteristic look - that slight frown, lips tilted downwards with his eyebrows slightly furrowed - that Chan has been wearing more frequently nowadays. He also knows that it’s been showing up more and more often since you stopped showing up at their apartment altogether.  
“You sure you don’t want to talk about it?” Felix throws back the nonchalant tone at Chan, except he does a much better job with the execution. 
Chan feels the heat on his face make its way down his neck, and he shifts uncomfortably on the couch before responding, “Talk about what? I’m good.”
Felix only makes his way onto the couch and snuggles into Chan, “Well, if you ever do want to talk, know that I’m here for you? Yeah?”
“Yeah, alright.” Chan manages weakly, “What about you? Are you okay bud?” Chan wants an escape, a distraction, any of Felix’s problems to solve but his own. 
“Nah, I’m good.”
And Chan is left with everything he wishes he could verbalize, hanging heavy in the air.
The next time Chan is staring at the picture of you is in the safety of his room, under his covers for good measure. 
The picture, at first glance, is nothing groundbreaking, but for Chan it’s absolutely tearing him up inside. It’s a picture of you at the cafe, no doubt a picture that Lia must have taken for you. Unless, it’s someone new… Chan doesn’t even want to think about that, the very thought making him sick. You’re smiling with an iced latte in your hand. He notices the new decor in the cafe, having been unable to set foot in that cafe since the breakup. 
The thing that’s really killing him though is the smile on your face. 
Your smile was so unbelievably pretty. So pretty yet so foreign now. He wishes he could have taken notice of it more when it was right in front of him. Perhaps he would have let it linger longer before kissing it, feeling the upturned corners of your mouth pressed firmly against his. He wonders if it has a different effect now that he can’t see it outside of an Instagram post, and the fact that it has nothing to do with him anymore. 
He blinks, eyes feeling dry from staring at the bright screen under his covers, and when he opens his eyes again, you’re still there smiling as if to taunt him. 
Chan feels stupid. Of course you would be posting pictures on Instagram smiling. What was he expecting? For you to post pictures of you crying? frowning? Well, maybe that would have been better for Chan, because the picture he’s staring at is making him nauseous with regret and nostalgia. 
He swipes back on his phone, fingers impulsively going to the phone app and hovering over the contact name “EX” again. His thumb toys with the space around it, and he wants nothing more than to just click… even if just to hear your voice on the other end. 
He sighs, deciding to turn his phone off instead, feeling sick at the memory he’d willingly let go. 
He emerges from the covers, staring at the ceiling. Even if he wanted to reach out to you, how could he? After he made a big deal about prioritizing his career and watching you be so happy without him. Chan thinks maybe it was better left that way...for you and for him, of course, and just something he would have to get used to. 
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𝐬𝐢𝐱.
If you’ve learned anything in your past 4 years of college, you’ve learned that the weekend rolls around much quicker when there’s so much to do. On top of studying for finals and wrapping up any last minute projects of your senior year, you also had a party at 11 P.M. on a Saturday written into your Google Calendar. That’s how you find yourself in a dingy dim living room only slightly buzzed thinking about the mountains of work that still had to be done waiting for you at your apartment. 
“You look like you have a stick up your ass.” Lia groans in your ear, pouting at your stiffness. 
“I said I would come to the party with you. Not actually enjoy myself.” you say flatly, swirling the questionable liquid in your solo cup. 
“Are you gonna finish that?” she motions to your cup. You shake your head expecting another onslaught of whines from Lia. Instead she takes it from you and downs it in one go. 
“Jesus,” You look at Lia with wide eyes, “you good?”
“Yeah, I’m just trying to find the courage to go up to Jisung...” she trails off, eyeing the boy standing across the room. You’re surprised you could even find him within the dozens of sweaty bodies in the dark room only lip up by Bambam’s choice of mood lighting - which mostly consisted of cheap amazon LED lights.
“Go!” you giggle, trying to shove her in the direction. Besides, you’d only come to see Lia had a good time. 
“I need a touchup on my lip tint,” she pouts her lips, the pink slightly smeared across her chin. You offer her your lips to transfer your lipstick through a kiss, and Lia leans in jokingly before you push her away. Laughing, you give her your small purse, pressing it against her body so it doesn’t get lost in the couple inches between your bodies. “Here, I have a small mirror and some lip gloss in here.” you say letting go of the bag, leaving it in her hands. “I’m going to find the bathroom, brb.”
“You’re leaving me??” your best friend whines, jutting out her bottom lip. 
“You’ll be fine! Besides, maybe Jisung will actually have the balls to come up to you when I’m not guarding you like security with my resting bitch face.” 
You give her your best glare, and Lia sticks her tongue out at you, “Okay yeah, maybe you’re scaring him off…”
“Bitch!” you laugh walking away from her as she shoos you away. 
You’ve never been to Bambam’s house, and though it’s absolutely disgusting (how do men live like this…), it’s equally massive. It doesn't help that the place is packed, dim, and blaring some rap song that you don’t know the words to, the whole house feels like it’s vibrating and you’re starting to feel claustrophobic. You didn’t even need to go to the bathroom, only trying to find solace in an empty room. 
Disoriented doesn’t even begin to describe how you feel, slightly dizzy from the lingering scent of weed and alcohol all throughout the cramped hallways. 
You’ve opened at least 3 doors now, or tried to at least, all of them either locked or accidentally barging in on a smoke session. “Jesus,” you sigh, rubbing your temples. You've made it to the last door in the hallway, surely nobody would have walked all the way down here… unless they were doing hard fucking drugs or something equally secretive. You’re half expecting this door to hold a group of people smoking crack. 
You turn the door knob, and it moves, ‘oh thank god. It’s not locked…’ you think to yourself, turning it fully. The door opens, in slow motion almost, and you freeze at what you’ve just walked into, blinking rapidly. 
“Y/N?” 
A head of brown hair moves up from its position pressed up against another head with soft orange hair. His hands are wrapped around her waist, and he instinctively covers her with his shirtless body. 
Chan. 
“Shit! Sorry…” you stutter quickly, slamming the door shut. 
You hear the familiar voice call out after you again, it comes out muffled through the door and the bodies around you, but you’re already making your way down the long hallway. For once you’re glad that Bambam likes his music loud. 
If anything was a sign to leave the party, it was this. You laugh at yourself, thinking of the absolute look of horror on Bang Chan’s face and the bad luck that had seemingly been following the both of you. 
“I can’t wait to tell Lia about this…” you scoff to yourself, smirking at the salacious story time that would undoubtedly conspire the next morning when Lia was still hungover. Speaking of Lia…
Fuck. 
The key to your apartment. Is in the purse. That you gave Lia. 
You scan the room for her head of brown hair to no luck. You can’t find anything, and if anything, you realize that Jisung is also missing. 
You don’t have the patience to look for her again, instead making your way to the exit; your tolerance for the smell of sweat and weed pushed to the absolute limit. You bust open the door, letting the cool night air flood your senses. It feels like you’ve just breathed your first breath after being suffocated, the crisp air blowing against your face feels refreshing. You don’t look back once, and decide you’d figure something out. 
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𝐬𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧.
“You okay?” Sana’s breathy whisper registers in Chan’s head and he finally turns his head back to look at her. 
She’s standing by the bed, lipstick smudged, breath heavy from having Chan’s lips on hers. Her chest is rising and falling with her breathing, adorned in nothing but a delicate pale pink lace bralette. Something that is supposed to be pretty, sexy even, fills Chan with nothing but gut wrenching guilt. He feels like he’s just committed the biggest sin, he feels sick. 
“Uhh…” Chan doesn’t have the heart to lie again, but he doesn’t want to answer either. He opts to pick up his black T-shirt that’s been discarded on the ground instead, putting it back on. He picks up Sana’s blouse too and hands it to her awkwardly. She looks at him confused, like he wasn’t the one who’d torn it off only a couple minutes prior. 
“I--” Chan stutters over his words, his hands scratching at the back of his neck. His mind is entirely in another place, too occupied to come up with an excuse to leave. “I need to go.” he breathes quietly. He knows this isn’t fair to Sana, but he can’t. Not when he’d just seen you- no-  not when you’d seen him like this. He knows you don’t care, but he still feels disgusting. If he had to kiss Sana again, he’d surely throw up with the knot forming in his stomach. 
“Where?” She asks incredulously, toying with her blouse in her hands. 
“I just. I can’t, I’m sorry.” That’s all Chan can say, because he knows he’s the asshole here. To everyone. 
Sana huffs a breath, reluctantly putting her blouse back on realizing Chan isn’t turning away from the door. “You know this isn’t fair to me Chan.”
“I know…” he does, “and I’m sorry Sana,” he is, “but- but I just can’t.”
He doesn’t wait for Sana’s response, leaving the room and quickly shutting the door behind him. He winces as the door clicks behind him, but he doesn’t think he can deal with feeling like even more of an asshole right now. As Chan makes his way to the exit, he feels nausea overtake his body, though he can’t place why. It’s not like he would go home to you screaming at him for cheating, but maybe that’s exactly why he feels so sick. Because he knows he’s going home to an empty room with nothing but this sick twisted feeling in his own gut. 
He’s decided on taking the long way home, to clear his mind, to delay coming home to an empty room, to ease the feeling in his stomach. 
Chan’s head is down the entirety of his walk home, occasionally kicking at rocks in the gravel. He wants to cry, but it’s been bottled up for so long the tears refuse to fall - instead he can only feel frustration. So he holds it together, against his will. But with each step, he feels each thread holding him together slowly pop, snap at the pressure. He sucks in a breath and looks up at the streetlight, except to Chan’s surprise, there’s someone sitting right under it. The perfect distraction.  
“Y/N?” he asks before he can even stop it, the vision too familiar. He calls your name on instinct, and it flows through his lips so naturally though there is worry laced between the letters. 
You slowly look up at him, and to Chan’s surprise you’re smiling. Oh god, why does he feel so guilty? 
“Are you- are you okay?” he asks, jogging over to you. He doesn’t know why, for all he knows, he’s not even welcome to.
“Yeah…” you laugh at yourself, “Well.. No. Not really.” you motion to your phone, sitting beside you on the curb. “My phone died and I don’t have the keys to my apartment…” Now that you’ve said it out loud, you realize that no, you’re not okay at all. You can only laugh bitterly at how fate has decided to unfold the situation in front of you. 
Chan glances down at you, his breath getting stuck in his throat when he realizes your eyes are  already looking up at him expectantly. Their soft gaze feels torturous, though they seem so innocent. 
“Oh,” is all he can manage at the moment. 
The yellow light of the streetlight reflects off of your skin, the soft illumination makes it seem like there’s a spotlight on you. The dance of moths above the light, the slight spring breeze, all of it is nauseating to Chan. You smile gently and Chan doesn’t think he can get used to it. How could you be smiling? How? When he was always so hurt, so stressed, so distraught. And how could something so beautiful make him feel so useless? 
He stops, having to catch his breath. He knows what he wants to say, though he’s unsure how it’ll be taken. Unsure if he’s going to be able to handle the rejection and watch the smile fall off your lips. 
“Do you… do you want to come over for a bit? So you can charge your phone maybe?” Chan breathes after a while, he watches as you look out into the night sky as if the answers are written somewhere in the constellations and wonders if he’s royally fucked up. There’s a moment of silence and Chan scratches the back of his neck. 
“Yeah, I’d appreciate that.” you nod, and Chan whips his head to look back at you. He doesn’t know what he was expecting but your face is neutral, like you’d weighed the pros and cons and objectively decided that this was a better option than being stranded. And for some reason, though you’ve said yes, it upsets Chan. 
He stands awkwardly as you stand up, brushing the gravel from your pants. He wants to offer you a hand, but that seems inappropriate, so he simply stands feeling useless.  
“It’s this way.” he states, motioning to the direction of his apartment with his head. 
You laugh lightly, the sound is heavenly to Chan. It’s a sound he hasn’t heard in ages. He didn’t realize he’d missed it so much.
“I know where you live Chan,” you grin teasingly, like he wasn’t your ex, and like he didn’t break your heart months ago. Chan though, can’t seem to let it go, to him that’s all he is and every word spoken to you is a reminder that, no, you’re not his anymore. 
The rest of the walk to his apartment is quiet, mostly small talk that he’s managed to force out of his mouth, stuttering over every word. He should feel embarrassed, instead he feels strangely antsy awaiting the next words to be spoken. 
“Wow! It’s clean for once!” You say sarcastically as Chan opens the door to his apartment. He scoffs as he flicks on the lights, “yeah, me and Lix actually started up that chore chart you’ve been nagging me about…” Chan regrets the words as soon as they slip through his teeth, another reminder of the intertwined past you two share. He looks to you, and seemingly, this reminder doesn’t seem to phase you at all. Perhaps it was only painful to him. Instead you respond, steady toned: “I told you so.”
You move first, heading into Chan’s room and Chan follows in your steps. For a moment, he feels like it’s late fall, and that behind his door, you two would pick up where you left off. He wants it to at least, to let his arms snake around your waist, press a meek kiss to the side of your lips. But he knows better than that, and watches as you plug your phone in, and sit awkwardly on his bed. He knows his place and the distance that should be kept, so he opts to sit at his desk. 
The silence that settles is far from comfortable. To Chan at least. He feels itchy all over, body burning from the inside out making him feel restless. He scratches at the back of his neck. 
You’re sitting comfortably on the edge of his mattress. You look fine, and though Chan can visibly see your calmness, he still feels like he owes you some sort of explanation. Or maybe he just wants to make something abundantly clear. 
“I didn’t sleep with Sana.” 
That was what Chan has decided to break the ice with. Great decision Chan! 
You look at him confused, though there’s a hint of playfulness in the way your eyebrow is quirked. 
“Okay? Congratulations??” You respond by eyeing Chan, who suddenly is all consumed by the pattern on his socks. 
“I just-“ he stutters, forcing an awkward laugh to fill the silence, “I just thought that-“ he doesn’t know what he thought, because obviously it wasn’t any of your concern. 
“We aren’t together Chan,” you laugh, swinging your legs from his bed. “You can sleep with whoever you want…. just not me.” 
It’s meant to be a playful jab, but Chan feels his heart drop at the reminder that you don’t seem to care. Not like he does. 
You catch the way his eyes fall, slight downturn in his lips. “Oh god… you didn’t think I was coming here to sleep with you did you?-“
“No!” He shoots his head up to look at you, his eyes wide as saucers. “Nonononono!” Chan is chanting at this point, arms flailing in an X formation to physically deny your claims. “No absolutely not no.” 
You snicker at his antics, still ever so awkward Chan. He glances up at you sheepishly and wonders when you’ve moved closer to his desk, now seated on the end of his bed. 
The silence that settles this time around is a little more comfortable. To Chan at least. Or maybe he’s just a bit traumatized from what he’s just said, so he decides he’d better get comfortable with the silence before opening his mouth again. 
This time, it’s you who breaks it. 
“How’s school been?” You ask, and Chan wonders if you genuinely care or if you’re just trying to make light of a sour night. 
“It’s been fine.”
He’s looking down at the carpeted floors, so focused. You wonder what he’s thinking about. Surely he wasn’t counting carpet fibers, but the frown on his face suggests something just as meticulous. 
You frown, sensing that things have not been in fact ‘fine’ as per Chan’s words. “Have you made any new music?” 
Oh. 
Chan looks up at you surprised. You can tell by the way his eyebrows are raised and head slightly thrown back. 
The feeling that washes over Chan is more than just surprise though… it’s unjustified, at least a little bit Chan thinks. It’s only a simple question, but one that hasn’t been asked by anyone other than his professors and project partners for the past 6 months. A question that usually isn’t asked when someone doesn’t care. 
He can’t help the flicker of hope that’s reignited in his heart. Hope of what? He’s not too sure. 
“Eh-“ he shakes his head, laughing off the feeling. “Not anything good…”
“Oh my god! Still? Shush!” you groan, shaking your head. “You always say that! Here let me listen.” You make grabby hands at the pair of headphones sitting on his desk, and Chan can only watch, flickers of nostalgia bringing him back to early fall. He knows it’s late spring, he knows you’re his ex, that only here because there is no other choice; but he wants to pretend. Even if just for tonight. 
And so he does, reluctantly connecting the headphones to his computer and handing them over to you. He watches with a smile as you put them on eagerly, and he feels his heart inflate. Lovingly. There’s no other word to describe it, though Chan knows it’s wildly inappropriate. But maybe not for tonight. Not when he’s still pretending. 
That’s how he finds himself nearly 2 hours later, headphones still on your head, and your head leaning on his shoulder tiredly. This is the longest he’s been able to focus on his music in the past 6 months. 
“I really like the 7th track,” you yawn, though you try to smile through it. “It has a lot of potential…” 
“Yeah? You think?” 
He watches you nod against the soft material of his sleeve. Your eyes are shut, eyelashes resting gently against your skin, and the light from his laptop illuminates your cheeks highlighting the points he wants to kiss the most. 
“Maybe you should get some sleep? Yeah?” He says instead, gently supporting your body and taking the headphones off of your head. 
“Want me to take the couch?” 
“Nah, you can sleep in my bed. I still need to get some more work done and then I’ll crash on the couch.”
“I see you still overwork yourself Bang Chan.” You huff, getting under his crisp covers without a fight. “If I wake up to you in this bed with me, I’m going to kill you.” You threaten him, though it’s not at all convincing considering you’re laughing halfway through your sentence. You’re too tired to keep up the act, grinning against the familiar scent of his detergent. 
Chan laughs with you, enjoying the comfort of it all. “Oh don’t worry.” He says, watching you fall in and out of sleep. He’s just about to put his headphones on when you stop him. 
“Goodnight Chan”
It’s barely above a whisper but Chan catches it, a warm fondness growing in his chest. “Goodnight Y/N” he hums back, but he’s unsure if you’re even awake anymore. 
Chan only puts his headphones back on once he’s sure you’re fully asleep, watching the gentle rise and fall of your chest. He feels full inside, heat rising up his neck that’s surely flushed red by now. After a while, he forces himself to look back at his laptop, the unfinished file 7 begging to be finished now - and so he does. 
He can’t help that he looks back at your sleeping form every once in a while. He tells himself it’s to make sure you haven’t woken up, but it’s so much more than that, for how could his heart swell so much at your minor inconvenience? It’s not until the track is nearly done, early birds chirping in the twilight that it registers in Chan’s tired mind. Your presence, which he’d been sure would have been a distraction, is quite the opposite. The lack of you is much more mind consuming in the worst way - the way that keeps you up at night wondering if this is what empty feels like. 
Chan doesn’t ever get to fully develop the thought; the next time he’s conscious, it's nearly noon and he’s still hunched over his desk and open laptop. He has a pounding headache and his back feels like it's just been snapped in half. None of it is his priority though as he whips his head back to look back at his bed. The empty feeling which he’d just filled suddenly creeps back up on him when he’s met with an empty bed. It’s made perfectly like nobody ever slept in it the night before. If it wasn’t for the lingering sweet smell of coconut shampoo and strawberry body mist, he would have thought last night was a cruel figment of his imagination. 
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𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭.
“You slept with Chan!?” Lia yelps behind her massive bug eye sunglasses which do an extremely poor job of hiding the fact that she’s hungover. If anything, you think they draw more attention to the fact… Lia winces at the volume of her own voice and slumps back onto your couch. 
“Bitch NO!” you whine, “I slept in his bed! Not WITH him!” 
Lia only shakes her hand and waves away your words, “Same thing!” she finishes while putting the cup of water to her lips. 
“NO!? VERY DIFFERENT?!” you defend, eyes wide. “One involved penis, and I DISTINCTIVELY chose the one without it.”
“Maybe you shoulda chose the one with it because you’re awfully worked up babe-” 
She doesn’t get to finish her sentence when you fling a throw pillow at her head. The fluffy pink hits her square in the face and Lia yelps, entirely defenseless. 
“It’s not my fault someone ran away with my purse.” you glare at her and she responds with a wide smile. 
“Oopsies.” she says like that word could somehow erase the mess of feelings you’d woken up with. 
Lia takes no time in changing the subject, eager to discuss her night with Jisung. You try your best to listen, you really do, but your mind only drifts back to your night. 
It’s hard not to when you still smell of him, the woody scent following you like a cloud you can’t run from. 
Nothing has happened, nothing past small talk and minor skinship that even Lia sees on a daily basis, but why does everything seem different and so much more complicated. It infuriates you. 
For a moment, everything felt so comfortable. The way things fell back into place so easily makes you think that you haven’t made any progress at all. That you’re still in love with that goofy awkward boy who ultimately decided to leave you. You frown again at the reminder that that shy gentlemanly Chan is the same Chan who wasn’t willing to fight for you, the same Chan who still walked away. 
You feel stupid to still have love lingering for someone like that. 
Falling out of love would be like that, you suppose. Not linear, much too zigzagged and curvy in its trend. Right now you were in a deep dip in the curve, spending a night with your ex, where everything is seemingly good but that’s just the problem. The good is only a reminder of what could have been, what he’d decided to leave behind. 
“Yeah and then I woke up and he made me breakfast,” Lia sighs, sinking into the couch cushions. 
At least someone had a good night, you think to yourself while nodding. Lia takes no time in telling you about the upcoming date she has, and this time you use every muscle fiber to pay attention to her story. 
You figure the feelings will fizzle down throughout the day, except they don’t. They bubble and boil on the backburner of your mind until everything shows its ugly head later that night…
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𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐞.
It’s not until later that night when Chan finds himself in the same predicament he’s always found himself in. Deja Vu. Except this time, he doesn’t think that the night will end just where it starts, far too weak from your lingering scent in his bedsheets to stop himself this time around. 
He’s spent the whole day wandering around his cramped room, pacing, walking the outline of his carpet down to the wooden structure, racking his brain for the words to say. Now that he knows he is capable of speaking to you without falling apart entirely, he figures he has to say something. 
That's how he finds himself staring at your number again. This time, it’s alone under the E’s, Emily (music theory) and Eyun-Woo, long deleted. The lack of clutter helps him find your number better. Big block letters, capitalized to remind him of the implications. His thumb stutters, but it’s more from habit than intention. He taps it, not on accident, not hesitantly, but with purpose. 
The silence between the ringing is deafening to Chan. He wonders if you’ll even pick up, and what he’s supposed to do then, not that he even knows what he’s doing now.
“Hello?”
The stoic tone cuts through Chan’s inner dialogue, and though harsh, Chan smiles at the cadence. 
“Uh- hi- hello.” He breathes into his phone. He has no idea where to start, what to say when all he really wants to say are 3 words. Before he can start to formulate his thoughts, you interrupt him. 
“Chan, this isn’t a good idea…” It sounds pointed, not the kind that just slips past the tongue, but purposefully sharp with intent. 
Chan frowns, brows furrowed in confusion. He hasn’t even said anything, the tone of your voice makes Chan wonder if last night really did happen at all. 
“Y/N, what?” he laughs it off awkwardly, the laugh is awfully forced coming out octaves above Chan’s normal range. “What do you mean?”
“We shouldn’t talk anymore. That’s what I mean.” 
Chan can’t even force a laugh anymore, a strange anger brewing between his lungs - each breath feeling hot. He has a subtle scowl on his face though he can’t help it, he bites at his bottom lip to stop the anger from coming through in his voice. 
“What do you mean? I thought we were cool last night-”
“Chan, I don’t think that last night was a good idea.” 
A perfectly understandable statement, Chan thinks, if something had happened. If you two had kissed, had slept together, had screamed at each other until lungs burst and tears fell. Instead the only thing that has happened was minutes shared together. Was it really all that bad? To feel whole again? 
Chan feels the anger build and lets out a sigh between his clenched teeth. It’s only fueled more by the slight agitation from the implication of your words. He’s even more frustrated knowing the anger entirely unwarranted - towards you at least. But he can’t help that your words through the phone, the antithesis of the ones spoken in person last night, shatter the expectation he’d been building all day. 
“I don’t” he scoffs, “I don’t understand?”
“We shouldn’t talk anymore.”
You sound so sure, so careless; like he could really stop talking to you for forever and you’d never even bat an eye, like that’s what you’d wanted. You wouldn’t spend days distracting yourself from the absence of him, you wouldn’t spend nights staring at the ceiling drowning in the feeling of emptiness, and you wouldn't spend pockets of time between staring at pictures of him smiling just to feel something - like he does now. 
“Y/N? Did- did I do something wrong last night?” he asks, as if he hadn't done anything wrong prior to it that has put him in this mess right now. 
“Chan, it has nothing to do with last night.” you sigh, it sounds frustrated and Chan frowns. “It’s just that-”
It’s at this point that Chan can’t help himself. The feelings bottled up for too long, bursts in his chest and he can’t hold it back anymore. The emotions spark up inside red with anger, frustration, denial. 
“Then what Y/N?” it comes out pointed too, matching your tone. “You can’t tell me that last night wasn’t… fine, good….”
Chan isn’t sure of the correct word to use without entirely blowing his cover. But he knows you were better than fine, better than good last night. It couldn’t have just been him. 
“Chan last night was… it was just an encounter.” his heart drops to his stomach, “Just because we ran into each other doesn’t mean we should continue to talk.”
“Just an encounter?” he breathes.
“Yeah, don’t think too much into it Chan. I hope you’re still doing good but-”
“It was so much more than that.” he interrupts you, it sounds accusatory like he’d caught you in a lie. It has to be. 
Chan’s frustration is challenged when he’s met with a sigh that sounds just as frustrated as him, you breathe heavily into the line and Chan can already tell he won’t like the next words from your mouth. So he stops them before they have the opportunity to leave your lips. 
“Don’t you ever think about me sometimes Y/N?” he pleads into the line. 
He doesn’t give you the time to respond, the question is more a self confessional than a genuine one when he answers for himself, “because I think about you all the time Y/N.”
“Y/N you can’t tell me that you didn’t feel something. Since you left this morning I- I-” he scoffs to himself, grabbing a fistful of his hair in frustration. “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you. For fucks sake I spent all day agonizing over you… over us!” 
“Chan there is no us.” you say, it’s much less pointed now - your tone beginning to falter.
“Don’t-” Chan clenches his jaw, fingers so tight in a fist his knuckles are nearly white. “Don’t say that! Don’t pretend like we weren’t ever good together, like there wasn’t some sort of an us last night.”
Oh god he should hang up, he thinks to himself. But it’s much too late. 
“Chan, it’s not good for me to talk to you.” you respond, avoiding his accusation. Your voice is much softer now and it only angers him more. How could you just forget? Let everything go? 
“Why?” he scoffs into the line.
“Because Chan,” he hears you sigh except this time it comes out shaky, your strong facade chipping away bit by bit. “I’m still falling out of love with you, it’s not good for me to be around you like this.”
“Falling- falling out of love?” he whispers back, but mostly to himself. Why would you do that? Why on earth would you still do that? When you’d felt it too last night? When he’d come back like this? Why?
“So you’re just going to forget about us? You’re just going to give up on us Y/N? Don’t lie to me, you know last night was more than just an encounter.” he spits his words back at you. 
“Give up on us?” you mock him only fueling his frustration. Your voice is no longer quiet, it’s hot with anger, much louder than your last words.
“Yeah.” Chan matches your volume, unwillingly matching your anger as well.
“I didn’t give up on ‘us’ Chan!” you yell into the phone incredulously. Never has Chan ever heard you like this - it’s so loud and hot with anger he might get burnt through the phone. “I’ve NEVER given up on us. It’s YOU. You left me. You left us. Is it really my fault that I can’t trust you anymore?” you’re nearly screaming now, when suddenly you finish, only your heavy breathing carrying the conversation. 
Chan feels something wet hit his arm, it’s then he realizes he’s crying - tears streaming down his face. He can’t get himself to say anything, because he knows this is exactly what he’s been avoiding. And he knows you’re right. 
Your breathing registers through the white noise in his head and it’s shaky, much like heaving, like you’d just been crying. His face drops, heart shattering into a million pieces, because as much as he doesn’t want to admit it, he knows it is because of him. And now, he had the audacity to do it to you twice. 
He bites his lip unsure if he wants to continue, but he forces the words out of his mouth anyways knowing they might be the last. “I still love you.” he breathes shakily. It’s the first time he’s voiced the thoughts, letting the words and their implications linger heavy in the air. As much as he despises the heavy silence on the other line, he feels a sense of relief flood over him. It's a huge weight off his chest and he can finally breathe. The floodgates burst open, he feels helpless to stop it now. 
The silence is deafening, Chan’s head filled with static noise that buzzes in his ears. Just say something, please. He pleads silently. 
Just say you love me…. 
Even if it’s a lie…
Please. 
“I just… I don’t think that is a good idea Chan.”
The line sounds fuzzy, it buzzes through Chan’s head and he can’t tell if it’s because of his poor connection or the way his heart is pounding in his ears, head going dizzy. He wishes that it would’ve been the bad connection so your words never made it into his ears, only existing in the fuzzy static between you two. He opens his mouth to say something, anything, but the line goes dead with a distinctive tone, the sound ringing in Chan’s ears as his mouth goes dry. 
He pulls the phone back from his ear to be met with a dark screen, a reflection of his sad face greeting him instead. He bites his bottom lip, threatening to tremble, vision blurry from tears. He sighs, it’s awfully shaky, the kind that takes every muscle fiber in your body to prevent you from sobbing, to support this single breath, and he lets himself feel it. Scratching the itch with fervor, basking in the blood breaking through the broken wound. 
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𝐭𝐞𝐧.
Felix isn’t entirely sure what’s happening. What he does know is that it’s a Sunday night, he has a Statistics final tomorrow, and that Chan is screaming in the other room. 
He wasn’t sure what it was at first, the sound and volume being so uncharacteristic from his roommate. It wasn’t until he took his headphones off and turned off his music he realized the yelling was in fact Chan. 
The yelling has long stopped now, and though it’s not even Felix’s conversation, his heart is pounding in his chest from the adrenaline. 
Just when Felix was getting used to the silence again, just when he’s about to put his music back on is when he hears it. It’s so quiet and faint but it’s the undeniable sound of sobbing. Another sound Felix isn’t used to hearing from Chan. 
Felix has been listening to the muffled sound for a couple minutes wondering if he should go into Chan’s room or if he should give Chan space; heart aching for his friend regardless. He’s about to get up when his door creaks open. 
Felix whips his head up to see Chan by the door. Chan red faced, teary eyed, so broken and small standing timidly by his door. Felix nearly chokes at the sight being so unfamiliar.  
“Are you ok?” Felix asks, he mentally face palms himself at his words. Obviously he was not. 
Chan ignores it, asking his own question instead. “Are you busy Lix?”
“Of course not,” Felix smiles at Chan, for whatever it’s worth. 
“Sorry for the noise…” Chan trails off as if that is the issue at hand, Felix can only let out an airy chuckle. “It’s fine bro, don’t worry about it.”
Felix waits for Chan to say something, except Chan only lingers by his door, unable to find the words to ask for help. It was so odd to see Chan like this; head hung low, cheeks wet with tears, so small and hurt. Someone who’d always seemed so put together crumbling right in front of his eyes. 
“Do you want to talk about it?” Felix finally addresses the elephant in the room, instantly feeling lighter at the implication. 
Chan nods before finding his seat on Felix’s bed. It’s a familiar position to be in, though this time the roles are entirely reversed. Chan bites at his lip, the feeling so unnerving to be vulnerable in front of someone. 
“How much…” Chan’s breath fails him for a moment, nearly giving into a sob and he buries his head in his hands for a moment to compose himself. “How much did you hear?” 
“Um, I didn’t hear any of it… I just heard the- the noise…” Felix trails off. 
“The screaming?” Chan chuckles, though it's sad down to the vibration. 
Felix nods as he gets up from his seat to sit next to Chan on the bed, hands moving to rub comforting circles on his best friend’s back. Felix has never seen Chan entirely ruined like this; so distracted, so distraught. He has no idea how Chan wants to be comforted, so he’s pulling out all the stops: a listening ear as well as some physical touch, and eventually he’ll order a pizza too. 
Chan only cries silently, hunched over himself in the embrace of Felix, and Felix does his best to coax all of it out of him. 
“What happened?” Felix asks after a while, refusing to leave Chan’s side until he feels better.
“Y/N…” Chan sighs, looking up at the ceiling. 
Oh, Felix thinks. 
“I fucked up bad.” Chan finishes, lip quivering at remembering the conversation. 
Felix can only hug Chan tighter, not wanting to push anything in such a sensitive position. Chan nearly melts in his embrace, crumbling in Felix’s arms. A few stray tears fall from Chan’s face though he’s already given up on trying to stop them. After a while of silence, Chan finally speaks up. 
“I- I hurt them.” Chan swallows thickly, the subject is still so unfamiliar to be spoken, “I hurt them so badly and I just left Y/N like that… god, fuck I regret it so much.”
“I don’t even know why I broke up with them. Why did I do it?” Chan’s small voice slowly increases in heat beyond frustration, it’s almost angry, but the tone is directed at himself. His hands are balled up in fists, blunt fingernails digging into the palm of his hand. He basks in the pain, it’s the least he deserves for what he’s done, he thinks. 
“I’m so fucking mad.” He continues after a moment, breathing much heavier now. “I fucked everything up so badly.”
“Hey, don’t beat yourself up over it.” Felix says softly, recognizing Chan’s anger. 
Chan ignores him, continuing in his rage induced word vomit. “And then I had the fucking audacity to say I still loved them!” he scoffs to himself.
“I don’t even know why I was so mad, it’s all my fault anyways”    
Felix can’t say much to that because Chan’s right, it is his fault. 
“Well, do you?” Felix asks timidly. 
“Do I what?” Chan turns to face the younger boy. 
“Do you still love Y/N?”
The question lingers heavily in the air and Chan’s fiery eyes return to their sad state. 
“Yeah,” he breathes, “I do.”
There’s a moment of silence, and when Chan realizes Felix isn’t going to fill it, he does. 
“It’s just, it took me fucking everything up and losing everything to realize how much I miss Y/N, even now. There’s this- this gaping emptiness that won’t fill. No matter what,” Chan says, hitting his chest to show where the emptiness lies. “I can’t go back though because I’ve hurt Y/N too much, all the trust is gone, everything is gone. God I hate myself for it.” He shuts his eyes tight, hating how it feels to admit that he’s the villain - no matter how much he’s hurting. 
“Besides, it’s not fair to Y/N. I shouldn’t be able to just walk back into their life after all the damage I’ve caused just because I realize something after the fact.”
Felix isn’t entirely sure what to say. From what Chan has said, he’s worked out most of it on his own. Silence blankets the boys as Felix thinks of anything that could relieve Chan’s heartache. 
“Would you wait for Y/N?” He asks after a while. 
Chan doesn’t even have to think, “Yeah. I would.” he responds quickly. He’s never really thought about it, though it’s not a question that requires much thought. If Chan could just return to a fraction of what he’d abandoned he’d wait for however long he’d have to. 
“Even if they never come back to you?”
Chan swallows the lump in his throat. Was this a risk he was willing to take? Would he be willing to wait days, months, years when he could barely get through a second without you? Was he really that sadistic and helpless that he’d wander aimlessly without you but never far enough to forget about you? 
If he could walk you back home again, if he could sit next to you on the couch comfortably, your legs in his lap again, if he could watch you cook lunch again, if he could watch you smile, if he could hear your laugh, if he could love you again, even if it didn’t last forever again the second time around - then yeah. He would. 
So he nods, he knows he looks stupid to Felix, but slowly he nods. 
“Maybe you should tell Y/N,” Felix suggests quietly. Chan opens his mouth to interrupt but Felix already knows what he’s going to say and stops him. “Tell Y/N face to face, not in a phone call where you guys are screaming at each other. Maybe apologize for that phone call too...”
“I don’t think I deserve to talk to Y/N.” Chan says plainly.
Felix is quick to respond, “Well, I think Y/N deserves an apology.”
Chan hangs his head in shame, mostly because Felix is right. You do deserve an apology. For everything. Chan feels so stupid to think that ‘I love you’ could fix anything. 
“So what do I do? Go over there to apologize?” 
“Yeah,” Felix nods, “but I dunno, maybe you could tell Y/N how you feel. Not just the love stuff but, how you know you hurt them… everything you told me. Lay everything on the table. Show them you’re willing to wait, to heal, to change. After that, it’s up to Y/N to decide if you get a second chance, but if anything it’ll provide closure for the both of you.” he smiles. 
God, why’d it seem like all of Chan’s friends were hopeless romantics but him? 
“You think it’s worth a shot?” He asks, looking up to meet Felix’s gaze. 
“Don’t you think Y/N is worth it Chan?”
Of course you are, Chan thinks, you were worth the humility, the fragility, the vulnerability, you were worth everything. Chan would do it all, just to right all his wrongs for you. 
Felix only smiles at Chan’s face which is significantly less upset, instead it’s swollen and scheming. He pats his back, a weird sense of pride to his older friend who’d finally managed to open up. “Do you feel better?” Felix asks. 
“Yeah,” Chan sighs, it isn’t relief, but it’s hope and significantly less weight crushing on his chest. “Thanks for listening Lix.”
“Of course!” Felix jumps Chan in a bear hug, returning to his much more bubbly and less serious version of himself. Chan can melt, feeling welcome in his arms. 
“Wanna do boys' night? Pizza on me?” Felix asks, eyes crinkled in a smile. Chan chuckles at how boys’ night has become a staple in the house, though he can’t complain. “Pizza on me this time, I came to you first.” Chan argues as he cracks his first smile that night. It’s undoubtedly still sad down to the glint in his eyes but it’s much better than solo depressive sobbing Chan thinks. 
Felix doesn’t give much of a fight as Chan fishes out his wallet and gives Felix his card. “You order yeah? I have to make a phone call quick.” 
Felix raises an eyebrow suspiciously at Chan, who’s already made it to the door. “I promise it’s only going to be Changbin!” Chan insists defensively as he heads back to his room. 
Chan’s not lying. When he’s just closed his own door behind him, Changbin is answering the line obnoxiously. 
“Changbin, I gotta ask you a question,” Chan whispers into the phone secretively after telling Changbin to quote ‘shut the fuck up’ after he’d screamed into the phone for 15 seconds straight. 
“Okay shoot.”
“You think buying roses for a girl is too much?”
There’s a beat of silence before a wild fit of laughter erupts on the other line. Chan winces in embarrassment and holds the phone away from his ear while the laughter dies down. 
“Oh how the turntables have turned…” Chan can practically hear the shit eating smirk on Changbin’s face. 
“Who’s the lucky lady?” 
Chan sucks in a breath before responding, “Y/N.” He says quietly. 
“Oh shit.”
Yes, oh shit indeed. 
“You know what? This was all a stupid idea anyways…” Chan tries to backtrack, if not for the brutal reality check of having Seo Changbin laugh in his face, but because his face is so hot in a blush he thinks his head might burst from the pressure. 
“No wait!” Changbin stops him, tone much more sincere now. “I didn’t know you guys were… back together…”
Ouch. 
“Uh, we- we aren’t…” The words cut up Chan’s heart as they leave his mouth and he pinches the bridge of his nose to hold it together. “But yeah, no, don’t worry about it bro. I don’t even know what I was thinking-”
“I’d say no to the roses, they’re too cliche, but maybe some other flower, something that’s more sentimental?” 
Chan blinks at Changbin’s honest response, “Why are you enabling my stupid behavior….”
“I’m not!” Changbin says exasperatedly through the phone, “I just want my brother to go get his love!”
There’s a pause before Chanbin admits reluctantly, “okay and I just want you to do something impulsive. Like you obviously wanted to buy flowers, just do it man. Don’t think about it.”
Maybe Changbin’s right. Maybe he is thinking about this too hard. Maybe Chan was a hopeless romantic deep down buried under his overthinking and overreliance on logic too. 
“God fuck,” Chan sighs, “you’re the worst you know that?”
Chanbin laughs into the phone, “No need to thank me, just go get Y/N.”
“Remind me to never go to you when I’m feeling impulsive, yeah?” 
“Shut up and buy the flowers.” are Changbin’s last words before the line cuts off. 
Chan already knows what flowers he should buy, it’s already manifested in his head though he’s trying his best not to let the expectations get too out of hand. He smiles sadly at the thought of you getting the bundle and tries his best not to think about how you might toss them in the trash immediately or how you might tear them up and burn them for your own therapeutic release. 
He just has to make one more phone call to ensure the best flower delivery you’ve ever gotten. 
He stares at the contact:
Lia Choi
Fuck it, he thinks, don’t think about it, just do it. 
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𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧.
So you’d concluded that falling out of love was a nonlinear super fucked up twisty turny shit road, and if it were a literal road, you’d much rather drive off of it than try to drive up it. Little did you know that the downward trend that you’d followed down on Saturday night would only continue to dive deep into the negatives - if this graph were plotted on a 4 quadrant x,y plane that is.
If a good harmless night was enough to derail you, you had no idea what hearing the words ‘I still love you’ would do. 
The 4 words would not leave you alone. Not when you were trying to study, not when you were taking the last of your finals, not when you woke up in the morning, and not when you lay in bed waiting to fall asleep. 
Why? Why did he have to say that? 
“Fuck, okay so the theme of the novel is…” you mutter to yourself as you type some final edits to your paper, shaking your head of intrusive thoughts. It felt like square one all over again, except this time instead of feeling hurt you felt mad. 
Mad because of the audacity of Bang Chan. 
Mad because he came back just to stab you again. 
Mad because everything was always on his timeline and what he wanted.  
You’d never called him when you were hurting. Never called him when you’d missed him more than the sun. Never called him when he made you feel so small. All for the sake of him and what he’d wanted. 
So what made him think he could? 
You type the last sentence of the conclusion with extra force, your poor laptop having to endure the abuse of your heavy fingers. When Chan had made you hurt, you could at least cry. Anger is a new feeling for you, unsure how to express it to free your body from the tight feeling. It felt like you could burst at any given moment. A ticking time bomb. 
“Okay, I think I’m done,” you sigh to nobody in particular, sinking in your chair and giving your paper a glance over. Surprisingly, anger was not as distracting of an emotion as gut wrenching heartbreak, the only thing it seemingly affected was your overly critical tone in analyzing the novel Wuthering Heights. 
You’re just about to submit the final paper of your academic career when a phone call ruins the moment. You squint at the caller ID before answering. 
“Hello?” you say particularly monotonously into the receiver. 
“Hello, this is the front desk. You have a package waiting for pickup.”
You frown at the news. You hadn’t ordered anything, at least that you could remember; all of your impulsive stress-induced purchases of clothes and questionable home decor had already arrived days ago. “Are you sure it’s for me?” You ask, staring at your Hello Kitty figurine, one of your questionable home decor pieces, standing on your desk. I can’t believe I spent 25 dollars on that… you think to yourself.  
“Y/N from apartment 321?” 
“Um, yes that’s me…” Had you ordered something else in your sleep deprived state? Honestly, you wouldn’t put it past yourself at this rate, fingers much too comfortable with pressing the ‘buy’ button at any minor inconvenience. 
When you do make it down to the front office, the package that awaits you is not what you’d expected. At all. 
You point at the small arrangement of colorful tulips in a pastel pink vase. “This is for me?” you ask the lady at the front desk unconvinced, face scrunched in disbelief.
“Person who dropped it off said.” she says matter of factly behind the counter. 
“Um, okay… thanks.” you say reluctantly. It’s not the poor lady’s fault, so you just pick up the flowers and make your way back to the elevator without asking too many questions. When you take a better glimpse at the flowers you realize the petals are… shiny? Wait, is that???
You sniff the bouquet only to be engulfed in the pungent scent of, definitely not tulips, but artificial chemicals. 
Plastic. 
You pull away, face twisted by the blast of chemical odor that you’d not expected. Hey, at least they won’t die, and I won't be sneezing all day… you think to yourself as you examine them more carefully. 
Only when you turn the vase around do you see it. It’s a little pale green card attached to the twine that holds the flowers together. 
I’m sorry. It says, signed with a little heart and the name Chan. 
The feeling that brews inside is confusing. Part of you wants to throw the vase at the wall (which you don’t because that would be messy.), anger. It’s easy to place. It feels hot and frustrating stemming from your gut and feeling strained within your body. Like you want to scream. 
The second feeling is different. It feels warm and hopeful and awfully out of place; like you shouldn’t be feeling that way. It distracts your anger with a flicker of hope, nostalgia even. It complicates everything; mind racing, heart thumping, body stiff. It feels like longing. 
You only stare blankly at the gathering of flowers in your hand remembering a time when the same person had gifted you the same flowers years ago in such a different context. 
The time bomb only ticks as you place them on your kitchen counter. 
Tick.
You leave them there because it’s where you frequent the least. You won’t see them - out of sight, out of mind. 
Tick. 
But you don’t throw them away. Why? You’re not too sure. 
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𝐭𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐯𝐞.
It’s only been a couple days since your tulip delivery, and though you don’t see the tacky plastic bouquet unless you’re sitting at your kitchen counter to eat, the idea of them haunts you - even as you eat at your cramped desk space. 
Fuck Bang Chan for making you eat all three meals at your tiny desk. Fuck him. 
“Fuck,” you hiss, the scalding ramen burns the roof of your mouth. You open your mouth to air it out a bit as you stare blankly at your laptop screen that is playing some episode of trash reality TV. Which episode? You’re not too sure, you’ve been letting your brain rot since you’d finished the last bit of your finals week. You would be with Lia, but she wouldn’t be done with finals until later in the week which gave you ample time to sit and rot. 
You’re just another forkful of ramen-in-mouth when there’s a knock at your door. You don’t think twice, shuffling your slippers to the door and opening it with no thought. To your defense Lia would come over unannounced all the time, your apartment building was old as fuck and needed constant maintenance, and you had no suspicions for murderers at 12 P.M. on a Tuesday. 
So when you fling your door open and the person who awaits you is not Lia, or the maintenance man, nor a murderer, you choke on your ramen. 
“Can- can we talk?”
Chan. 
It’s really a miracle for Chan that you’re fucking choking and coughing up limp noodles because you nod quickly while a majority of your brain is trying to remember how to breathe again. You open the door a bit wider for him and he awkwardly shuffles in, taking his shoes off by the door - like you’d always scold him when he came over. 
He glances around the small studio apartment, it looks almost unrecognizable from what he remembers. The bed has moved to the window, something that he’d offered to help with but never got the opportunity to follow through on. He wonders if you did it yourself or if someone had helped you; both leave a bitter taste in his mouth and he opts to look somewhere else, eyes landing on the colorful flowers sitting at your kitchen counter. 
They’re not in the trash, he thinks to himself, that’s a good sign….
“Do you want something to drink?” you ask, not because you want to make him feel at home per-say, but you don’t know how to get his attention without screaming or crying. It’s weird to see Chan here after your apartment makeover. You wonder if this space will be tainted too with the memories about to be made. 
“No, I’m good.” He says quietly, looking over to you. “I- I see that you got my flowers…” he motions to the god damned plastic tulips sitting on your counter. 
You nod curtly, “Yep. I did.” You don’t thank him because you don’t particularly find yourself thankful to be honest; instead you feel embarrassed that you’d left them sitting out like that… sitting out in the open like you’d liked them or something. 
Silence fills the room, it’s heavy, tension so thick it could be cut with a knife. Quietly though, in the back of your own head you hear it: the ticking time bomb. Tick. Tick.  
You just can’t help yourself. 
Fuck Bang Chan. 
After all, you had just been eating ramen at your small cramped desk and now said ramen was getting soggy all because of him. 
“What do you want Chan?” You ask abruptly. Your tone is much harsher than you’d intended but you can’t take it back now, not when it lingers so heavily in the air.  
“I- I just,” He takes a deep breath, eyes sad and scanning your face for any emotion other than hurt and anger. It’s only then you take a good look at him. Deep under eye bags, pale skin, he tries his best to cover it all behind his cap but it doesn’t hide anything. Not from you at least, not when you knew exactly all of the places to look. 
“I wanted to um- apologize… in person.” he sighs shakily. 
You can only stare at him surprised; half because of the fucking audacity and half because you’re finally hearing it. 
“I’m sorry… Oh god-” he stutters on his own breath, the rest of his words coming out choked, “I’m so sorry Y/N.” 
Tick. 
“Y/N I’m so sorry for- for how things ended. I’m sorry for calling you the other day, I’m sorry for screaming and getting upset. It’s all my fault.”
Yeah, you think, it is. 
Tick. 
“I wanted you to hear it from my mouth because it’s the least you deserve. I’m so sorry for hurting you like that. But-”
Of course there is a ‘but’. 
“I just need you to know that I still love you.” 
And there it is again. Those 4 god damned words that have haunted you since they’ve been said. You shake your head as if it would reject the words from entering your brain. 
“And I know it’s not fair to you. But god fuck Y/N I love you so much and I need you to know that I do. I never said it enough when I could, and I know it didn’t seem like I did when I broke things off - but I do. So much.”
It’s all too much, all too late.
Tick.
“And I don’t expect anything from you. I know I don’t deserve a second chance. But if we could start over. I’ll wait for you Y/N, however long it takes.”
Tick. 
Tick. 
Tick. 
You smirk at Chan, “You know what hurt me the most Chan?” You ask, tone sweet like honey, devilish grin on your face. 
Chan looks at you stunned, weary of that smile. He shakes his head, “What?”
You’d waited months for this moment, a tethered rope on its last thread, moments from snapping. You’d gotten over it all, or so you thought until Chan came back and with him: the ugly emotions that never got to be fully processed. 
“How you just left like none of it mattered. Like how I didn’t matter. Not when it came to the future.” 
Tick. 
Sure, you’d fully processed the hurt of heartbreak. But there are so many more emotions that come with heartbreak beyond the sorry tears - there’s the rage of being wronged. 
“I know, I’m sorry.” Chan hangs his head, helpless to the vicious words knowing he’s caused it. 
You spit out each word that’s been buried inside, ruthless to the damage it’ll cause because it’s nothing compared to the liberation you feel saying them. “You just left like I was disposable. Like you were just passing the time with me until our time ran out.”
Tick. 
Chan can only watch as your emotions consume you entirely. He watches the hurt that he’s caused unleash damage on your self control as you spit out each word, each sentence louder than the one before it. He only stands there and takes it, he knows he’s caused it, he knows he deserves it. 
“You’d already decided we didn’t have a shot without even asking me. You made that decision for the both of us.” 
You’re tired of caring about Chan’s career, caring about Chan’s emotions, caring about his feelings. You’re tired of caring about Chan. How many times have you cared for him only for you to get spared? Only for you to get walked all over like you weren’t worth anything? 
Tick. 
“Was I not worth it? Was I not worth the hassle? Why didn’t you just ask me?” Your body is boiling, tears spilling from your eyes steadily, lips twisted in a scowl. 
Chan repeatedly whispers ‘you are worth it,’ but it lands on deaf ears, as you scoff outlandishly. He watches as your body is entirely consumed by anger. It shakes as you move closer to him, wiping your tears aggressively. 
“Why Chan? You just left! Like I didn’t mean anything to you. You let go so easily.” Screaming. Voice so loud but you can’t hear any of it. Not when your body is buzzing on adrenaline, the ringing in your ears louder than anything. 
Tick. 
You step up right in front of Chan, looking at his face through glossy eyes. “And you know what I hate most about you?” 
Chan sucks in a breath as to hold on his own tears. “What?” He asks gently. It tears him up inside, repeated blows to his fragile chest, but he asks anyway because he knows it’ll give you the emotional release you need. 
“You left without a fight.” 
Tick. 
You push him in the chest and Chan stumbles back before regaining his footing, stepping back to you. You look so broken - and it’s his fault. 
Tears streaming down your face, you say it again. “You never gave a single fuck about trying to make us last. You never fought for us… for me.” 
Tick.
“Why didn’t you fight for us Chan?” You push him again, except this time he stands steady as you hit him in the chest weakly. The anger has nearly subsided into sobbing and you hit repeatedly at his chest. Chan only stands there and takes it as you let it all out. 
Tick. 
Tick. 
Tick. 
Tick. 
You wish he would be mad like you, you wish he’d scream back so you have some reason to hate him. Except he doesn’t, so you have to ask again. 
“Why didn’t you fight for me?” You plead, hitting his chest again. It’s weak, most of your energy is going into the heaving breaths of your sobs as you lean on him. Chan finally can't take it anymore, not that you’re hurting him physically, but seeing you like this is ripping him up inside; to see you like this and not be able to do anything. So he does what he knows. 
He wraps his arms around you and pulls you impossibly close until you go limp in his arms, sobbing into the cotton of his t-shirt. He holds you tight, unwilling to let go, fingers gently caressing your shoulders that shake violently with each sob. 
And he answers you. 
“Isn’t that what I’m doing now?” 
Boom. 
That was always the thing about bombs; the countdown is always the most exhilarating. Each tick leaves you antsy, one step closer to the explosion. The adrenaline grows and grows and grows until boom. And then it’s over; left with the mess of the explosion and collateral damage. 
“Get out.” You sob gently into Chan’s shirt, pulling back. 
“Y/N please -” 
“Please,” you sob, sinking to the ground. “Just leave Chan.”
And who is Chan to stay? He’s done enough damage hasn’t he? 
“I’m- I’m sorry Y/N,” he stutters as he heads to the door. You don’t look up at him, only balled up on the floor, shaking. Chan can’t look anymore, not when he’s met with all the damage he’s caused, not when it’s tearing him up inside so much he feels numb. So he leaves, gently closing the door behind him. 
You stay on the ground, choking on each breath and sob, basking in the relieving feeling but why do you feel so empty? The ringing in your ears has stopped, the heavy sound of downpour outside takes its place in creating a somber home, and you cry with the rain. 
You think back to Chan’s words ‘isn’t that what I’m doing now?’ They ring in your head over and over and over again. Isn’t this what you’d wanted?
So why are you the one running away? 
You’d hated Chan for leaving so easily, for giving up on you. But here he was, right before you, not giving up - not when you’d screamed, cried, hit, sobbed - not until you told him to. Why did you tell him to give up when that’s what you’d hated for so long? Why were you the one giving up now? 
When Chan makes it back outside, it’s pouring rain. The sky is a dark grey, and though it’s only afternoon, the sun is nowhere to be seen. Fitting he thinks as he begins to walk back to his apartment. He doesn’t have an umbrella, but he’s in no rush. Instead he walks slowly, letting the heavy raindrops mask the tears streaming down his face. 
He only lives a couple minutes away and he’s not ready to go home. Not like this. Felix would ask how it went and he’s in no shape to relive that experience let alone retell it. So he opts to sit on the curb, head in his hands as he sobs, processing everything that’s happened. 
He lets out a shaky breath looking at the small puddle forming by his feet, watching each raindrop fall creating a little ripple. He bites at his bottom lip when it finally hits him. 
Fuck, he screams in his own head, I’ve just lost the love of my life. 
Chan doesn’t know what to do from here. None of it has gone the way it planned but he knows it was a shot in the dark anyways. He only sobs harder knowing he’s done everything he could to fix it anyways. He hopes it’s enough for you to heal the way you deserve to. 
He squeezes his blurry eyes shut, tears draining and streaming down his face. When he opens them, he glances down at the puddle by his feet again. The puddle is much larger… and has a familiar slipper in it. 
He looks up. 
“Is this seat taken?” You ask gently. It’s a sorry attempt at a joke as you point to the space in the curb next to him. An attempt to ease the tension, tears still streaming down both of your faces now. 
“Yeah, no go ahead.” he says quickly, wiping his tears only for his entire face to be re-wetted by the heavy rain. 
You sit down on the wet pavement next to him, the soft sounds of rainfall filling the silence. You don’t say anything, but you don’t think you need to say much when you’re sitting next to him like this. It’s strangely intimate to sit next to someone in the pouring rain, though no words are exchanged, it’s a given that you care - care enough to get drenched for the other person. 
You glance over at Chan who’s already looking at you. He gives you a sad dimpled grin when your eyes meet. 
“Chan it’s hard for me to be with you when I’m still healing from the wounds you left me.” You admit, after some thought. You look back out into the rain, not willing to meet his eyes when he responds. 
“I’ll help you heal them,” he says after a moment, “if you let me.” 
You look back at him, and just as you’d expected, he’d never looked away, soft smile, sad eyes staring at you longingly. “And how do I know you won’t make more instead?” you ask, meeting his eyes this time. 
“You just have to trust me.” It falters out of Chan’s mouth because he knows he’s asking for a lot. But he’d show you, oh god he’d show you he could change. He wants to change. For you. 
“Yeah?” You laugh lightly, glimmers of hope dotting Chan’s deep brown eyes so bright, they light up within the rain storm. 
He nods quickly, hands moving to adjust his drenched baseball cap. 
You look back out to the sky. It’s so cloudy you can’t tell where the clouds start and where the sky ends. It illustrates your feelings nicely you think, looking at the marble of light grey into the deep greys. Unable to differentiate between the love and the hate and where they marble so effortlessly. 
You look back at Chan who is looking at you timidly. He thinks you can’t tell that he’s crying, not when the rain camouflages it so well, but you can. That specific look in his eyes where his pupils seem deep, left corner of his lips twitching ever so slightly unbeknownst to him. 
How would you feel if this was really it? It’s all in your hands now after all. You could break up with him if that’s what you’d wanted. You could break his heart right back. 
You focus back in on Chan’s soft face - that dimpled grin, soft eyes. He’s still staring at you. 
“Okay.” You agree softly. “I will try to trust you again.” 
It’s not much to just any ear but Chan feels his heart swell with hope, it pounds in his chest loud, hands shaking, mind racing. The second chance to fix it. Fix everything that’s been eating away at his mind and heart for months, fix the hurt he’s left you, fix us. 
He leans in slowly when you push his chest with a giggle. 
“Are you trying to kiss me?” you scrunch your face, laughing lightly at the blush that’s spreading on Chan’s face and neck. 
“I- uh- yeah…” he stutters, hands moving to rub the back of his neck. He’s embarrassed but he grins a charming grin right through the feeling. “I mean it felt like the perfect opportunity for a romantic kiss in the rain.” 
He’s not wrong. The both of you are now drenched, t-shirts clinging to skin not leaving much to the imagination. He’s seated right under a street light that illuminates him perfectly, yellow ambient light reflecting his cheeks and his pretty features. It would be the perfect romantic kiss. But you aren’t ready. 
You place a hand on top of his on the curb, “Don’t worry Bang Chan. If you play your cards right there will be another time.” 
Chan nods at your promise, sparks flying up his arm where your hand rests on top of his. 
You give him a cheeky smile, everything seems so easy with Chan. 
“Besides, you have to buy me dinner first.” You tease. 
He’s quick to respond, “Are you free this weekend?” He looks at you, eyes eager and lips split in a toothy grin. 
You can only laugh at his eagerness before nodding slowly. “Yes Chan, I am.” 
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𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐧.
“You’re going on a date with Chan?” Lia asks suspiciously.
You stare blankly at your closet filled with piles of clothes you didn’t want to wear to the date you weren’t entirely sure on - well, except for a pair of your thickest fuzzy socks. Cold feet. 
“I- I-” you can only sigh, knowing there is no way to justify the decision you’ve made. “Yeah…” you say quietly facing your closet. 
“Is this a stupid idea?” you swivel around to Lia who is laying on your bed, finally voicing the million dollar question. 
Lia doesn’t miss a beat before responding, “yeah.” she says plainly. You roll your eyes while plopping down on the mattress next to her letting out a big sigh. 
“You’re right, I should cancel-”
“I just said it was a stupid idea, not that you shouldn’t go” she cuts you off, same matter of fact tone. You quirk an eyebrow looking down at her, “Didn’t you just say that it was a stupid idea?”. 
Lia only offers you a soft grin, “Just because something is stupid doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it… I mean, we’ve done tons of stupid things together and I think they all turned out fine.”
You squint at Lia suspiciously, as if to challenge the smile on her face. Usually when ex’s were being discussed, her face was twisted in a scowl - the exact opposite of the grin on her lips. She only smiles brighter as if to hide your suspicions. This only makes you more suspicious. 
“Julia Choi.” You overtly enunciate each syllable. “What are you up to?”
“Ohh, nothing,” she hums sing songy, only to erupt in a fit of giggles. Well that was a lie, you think to yourself throwing a pillow at her. 
“What are you not telling me?” you nag, pulling at the bottom of her shirt like a little kid. She laughs harder at your desperation and shoos away your grip on her top. 
“Oh my god I really didn’t want to tell you but… I’m always going to be on your side as opposed to Chan’s side.” Chan’s side?? You think to yourself. Since when was there a Chan’s side? 
She fake wipes away a tear from her laughing fit and you nudge her, entirely too impatient for her theatrics. “Chan called me.”
Oh.
“He called me a couple days after the party, I almost didn’t pick up when I saw that fucker's name…” she trails off momentarily before continuing. “You know I was expecting him to call me crying and begging me to tell you to talk to him, but no.” she shakes her head. 
You stare at her confused, mind racing with all of the possibilities, what Chan could have possibly said to Lia to get her on his side - even if only momentarily. Lia can only smile at your wide eyed glance before finishing her story. 
“He asked me if you still had a severe pollen allergy.” She stifled a laugh at the memory, “I was so confused I just answered that you did... And then he told me about the flowers. Honestly, even I thought it was cute how much he cared...”
The tulips. 
The fake tulips. 
The bundle of plastic flowers that you’d thought was odd, and a bit tacky at best, was a result of that phone call. It’s only plastic, you think to yourself, it’s only plastic that’s been molded to the shape of your favorite flowers, only plastic that signifies the flower of forgiveness and deep love, only plastic than Chan had run around campus to find, only plastic that lasted forever that would never cause a single sneeze on your behalf that Chan had considered. 
It was all so stupid, so miniscule, but you can’t help but feel so understood, down to your stupid pollen allergy. 
“You know, Chan may be fucking stupid…” Lia starts, glancing at the loved up look on your face. She can only smile at how happy you look, though it’s just barely masked by the layers of hurt caused by the same man. 
“But??” You nudge expectantly. 
“But nothing. He’s fucking stupid for letting you go.” She says cutely. “And if he hurts you again I’m going to castrate him.” 
You burst into laughter, head thrown back into Lia’s stomach. She strokes your hair as she nods matter of factly like she’d just stated the law. 
“You think I should go on this date?” You ask, staring at the ceiling. The white popcorned sky begins to paint itself into a world of possibilities, your brain thinking of all the ways the night could end. Maybe you’d end up friends, maybe enemies, maybe lovers…
“I think you should go if you want to go.” She responds, “doesn’t have to be a reason for it… you’re not making any promises. What harm could one date do?” 
A lot of harm, you think. But even then, your heart refuses to get a grip. And so, after building up a wall for so long, maybe you’d listen to Lia. Maybe you’d just go because you wanted to without agonizing over why. 
“I guess we should hurry and plan my outfit then…” you smile at the ceiling which has returned to its normal popcorned state. 
When Chan shows up at your door, Lia is long gone with the promise that she would in fact castrate Chan on sight if you texted her the code word ‘mango’. You make a mental note to be careful with that word for the rest of the night. 
You’re giving yourself a once over in the mirror, wondering if this dress is really appropriate for a dinner date like this, and if you’ve taken it too far in listening to Lia on fashion advice when there’s a faint knock at the door. Well. It seemed like you wouldn’t have the chance to change. 
When the door opens, Chan can’t help the look on his face. He really does his best not to eye you like a piece of meat, but you were just so beautiful how could he take his eyes off of you? You quickly look down at your dress, prompted by Chan’s stare. 
“Is this too much? It’s too much isn’t it?” You say quickly, playing with the material of the dress. 
Chan snaps out of it, quickly shaking his head, “No! No! It’s just-“ he lets out a stuttered breath before smiling shyly. “You look stunning.” 
You can only laugh at his words, rolling your eyes dramatically. Ah, the romanticism of the courting stage. How weird to be back, and with the same man at that. 
You give him a once over, his broad chest nicely covered by a tight black polo accompanied by a pair of slacks and vans. Fuck, you forgot how built he was, biceps nearly bulging out of the sleeve. 
You swallow thickly, “you look good too.” It’s all you can manage without sounding too thirsty. 
Chan giggles at your compliment, looking down at his shoes. “No, no I don’t” he says, his neck is a bright shade of red that’s making its way up to the tips of his ears. 
You bump his shoulder like old friends would do, shaking your head. “Still shit at taking compliments I see,” you tease, only exacerbating the deep red blush on his soft skin. 
“Shall we get going?” Chan changes the subject, voice still muddled in giggles, skin still hot and flushed. You can only laugh along, his awkwardness weirdly just as charming as the real first date years ago. 
The restaurant Chan has chosen is surprisingly much more fancy than you’d expected, so fancy that you feel right at home in the dress you’d once deemed too much. So fancy that there’s even a separate champagne menu that you’re currently staring at wondering what the jumble of letters mean and if alcohol can really taste all that different. 
“Do you know what you want?” Chan cuts through the silence across the booth. While you were all consumed (better worded as overwhelmed) by the champagne menu, Chan has spent the last 3 minutes stealing longing glances at you. He can’t lie, the soft furrow of your eyebrows has a stronger effect on him than he’s like to admit, heart beating rapidly. He feels giddy though he’s been opposite you a booth more times than he can count, the effect never does seem to fade. 
“Can I be honest?” you say, eyes looking up from the menu to meet Chan’s.
Chan feels his heart constrict; though he tries his best to smile through it, the tips of his ears have started to turn pink. 
“I have no idea what any of this is,” you laugh at yourself, “I’ve only ever had boxed wine and way too much svedka…”
Chan laughs, the memories of holding your hair back while you were hunched over the toilet flooding his mind. And though the memories are far from glamorous, he would do just about anything to be there with you again - wiping puke off your chin and all. 
“You want me to order you something?” He asks, and you think I’m definitely going to need something sitting here in front of you again, so you nod. 
Though it’s been months since you’d been with Chan, there was one thing that never seemed to change: the ability to have one hell of a time on a date. The night progresses much better than you’d expected and you can’t tell if it’s because Chan is such a gentleman or because of the glasses of champagne you’ve had throughout the night. You’d like to think it’s a mixture of both. 
“Yeah and then Changbin literally bought her roses weeks after she ghosted him!” Chan concludes his story, so engrossed that his entire body is convulsing with his words. “Even after I told him not to!” 
You laugh, throwing your head back with wild giggles. “Ah, such a helpless romantic Changbin,” you hum.
Chan smiles widely, half at Changbin’s expense and half because he’s managed to put a huge grin on your face. He shifts in his seat, mouth open to say the next thing when he feels it. A spark. 
Under the table, covered by the expensive wine red tablecloth, he feels it: your bare ankle pressing right against his skin under his cuffed pant leg. Why is he getting so hot? He can practically feel the blush running up his neck, his heart constricting so tight in his chest. If you feel it too (which you’d had to), you have one hell of a poker face staring at him oh so innocently. 
“You were saying?” you prompt, giving him your doe eyes, leg staying put. 
Chan chokes on every word, “Oh- I- Uh-... Erm- Yeah.” and you stifle your giggles behind your hand. 
A comfortable silence falls between the two of you, still connected under the table. Chan gives you a soft smile, lips eventually parting to give you a toothy grin. 
“What’re you smiling at?” you tease. 
He laughs it off awkwardly, like he always does before responding, “Nothing, you’re just… so gorgeous.” 
You really don’t know why Chan keeps doing this to himself, surely the next time you’d need to call the fire department to put out the wild red blush that’s spread all over his milky white skin. “You know you don’t get any bonus points for the romantic compliments, though I appreciate them…” you laugh, “I’ve already heard them before.”
“I know,” he nods, “I’m not doing it for bonus points, I just want you to know.”
You can only roll your eyes, though there’s a wide smile on your face. “Let’s get going, yeah?” 
Chan nods, slightly bittersweet at such a nice night ending. He’s about to scoot out of the booth when he feels it. You press against his leg, still connected, the pressure causing an eruption of butterflies in his stomach. 
So you had felt it. 
Chan is insistent on walking you home despite your reassurance that you’d make it just fine on your own. 
“What if you get kidnapped?!” he reasons, already walking with you down the sidewalk. You roll your eyes, though you’re not all that opposed to the extra security. 
“I’m not a kid.” 
“What if you get the-most-stunning-person-ever-napped?!” 
Oh there he goes again, you think before responding: 
“I’m pretty sure the correct word is: abducted?” 
The rest of the walk is mostly quiet, the sound of crickets filling the silence comfortably. There’s a considerable distance between you and Chan, and though Chan wants nothing more than to reach over and intertwine fingers and pull you close, he stays put, knowing his place and the distance that should be kept.
Eventually, when Chan sees your apartment complex nearing, he’s in full panic mode. Fuck what do I do? He thinks to himself. Because he knows what he wants to do, just unsure if he should. 
“Well here we are…” you say, turning to him.
Fuck, what do I do?
“I had a fun time Chan…”
Should I do it?
“Thanks for dinner…”
Should I kiss them?
“Goodnight Chan-”
Fuck it.
He reaches his hand out, cupping your face gently, the other pulling you closer by the waist. His heart is ringing in his ears, lips only millimeters from yours…  when you stop pulling in closer, your hand moving to the one resting on your cheek and holding it tightly. 
“Chan,” you sigh, pulling his hand down from your face and letting it fall to his side. You still feel the heat from where his hand cupped your cheek and miss the warmth despite your words. 
“I-” 
Chan already nods, pulling back and apologizing profusely. “I’m so sorry Y/N, I just-”
“No, no. It’s really okay.” you smile, “I just… I  don’t think I’m ready yet. To just dive right back in.”
“I understand,” he smiles longingly. You search his face for a hint of disappointment or sadness, instead you’re only met by understanding, eyes sympathetic to you and the hurt that he knows he’s caused. 
“Okay,” you sigh, offering a smile in return. 
“Okay.” he repeats. 
“I’ll see you again?” 
Chan nods quickly, “Of course.”
“Goodnight Channie.” you smile, turning to enter the door. 
Chan’s ears ring at the familiar nickname, cheeks sore from a smile, “Goodnight Y/N.”
When Chan walks home alone, he isn’t as empty as he’d thought. Instead, he’s smiling like an idiot at the sidewalk, body nearly trembling from giddiness. He can’t put a word on it, the feeling entirely indescribable. All he knows is that he hasn’t felt this way in months. He looks up at the night sky, stars spotting the indigo and he thinks to himself, god, I’d wait forever forever if I had to. 
He would wait however long he had to, if waiting for you felt this good, if you were the only person who could make him feel this way, he would. 
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𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐧.
Summer storms were always Chan’s least favorite. They were always heavy, leaving a lingering earthy scent in the humid air. He avoided the weather at all costs, the muggy air too claustrophobic for him. Today was one of those days, though he was safely in the comfort of his own apartment. 
It’s a Saturday night in late August, and though he’s promised you that he wouldn’t work today, he finds himself in the living room with his work laptop and some late night  TV show playing in the background. Surely he’d get some bonus points for the TV….
And just as he’s about to really get to work, his phone interrupts him. Speaking of the devil:
He barely has a second to say hello before your voice cuts him off entirely.
“Chan I need you!” you call through the phone, tone light and airy despite the distinctive sound of heavy rain in the background. It’s like a breath of fresh air amidst the summer humidity. 
He can only laugh into the speaker, “What? Where are you?” From the sounds of the foreground, you’d have to be outside. But why? In this weather? 
“It’s an emergency!” you say, and though the sentence itself sounds serious, he can practically hear the soft smile on your lips. And before he can stop himself, a similar quirk of his lips has appeared on his face. 
“You need me to pick you up? Where are you?” Chan asks, getting up from the couch looking for his keys. His work laptop long shut and abandoned, left in the pile of pillows and couch cushions. 
“I’m outside of your apartment. Bring yourself… and no umbrella.” 
Chan looks at the umbrella already in his hands and hesitantly leaves it on the table, “... Are you- are you sure? It’s pouring outside...”
“Yes I’m sure! Now hurry up, I'm getting soaked.”
“Soaked?! Why-” the line cuts off and Chan’s incredulous words die on his tongue. He pulls back his phone from his ear to stare at the black screen, and only then is he met with the world's goofiest grin, only then does he realize how his cheeks are tight from a smile. He sighs, shaking his head, though the smile refuses to budge. 
On his way out, he stares at his umbrella for a second longer before ultimately deciding to leave it put.
When Chan does make it to the lobby, he’s met with the most peculiar sight. There you are, as promised, except you’re nearly entirely soaked by the rain and you’re motioning for him to come out. 
He exaggerates reluctance as he pokes his head out of the apartment complex, though he’s 100% willing to go wherever you tell him to. “You called madam?”
“Come out here. I have something for you.” you smile widely. You seem so out of place on such a gloomy day, your face is bright with a smile and much too soft to be dampened by the heavy raindrops. 
When Chan pretends to head back inside, you grab his wrist and pull him out of the door. He laughs, though cringing at feeling the hot raindrops fall onto his body. When he looks at you, you’re laughing loudly, no mind to the rain that’s now soaking both of you. He’s surprised the rain clouds haven't retreated from your smile, your face shining brighter than the sun, enough to put a rainbow in the sky. 
“Are you insane?” he laughs along with you as you pull him down the sidewalk. You only laugh harder at his question, and now it’s Chan who feels insane knowing he would do just about anything to keep that smile on your face. 
You hold his hand tighter as you run, the sky a muted navy blue lit up by streetlights and storefronts. He feels like a little kid again, running in the rain with nowhere to go, only reveling in the wet feeling of adrenaline. He squeezes your hand, trying to ground himself amidst the heavy downpour. 
“Where are we even going?” he asks after being dragged around for a while. You stop by a street light to glance back at him. His hair is undoubtedly soaked, laying flat against his forehead, and he tries his best to push it back, starting to feel self conscious. 
“Nowhere,” you hum at him, pulling him closer. Chan feels his heart rate pick up tenfold, realizing you’re so much closer than he thought. “Was just trying to get you somewhat drenched.” you giggle, using your hands to push back Chan’s hair. 
“Why would you do that?” Chan giggles. It comes out awkward and high pitched, his ears a bright shade of red. He can’t think straight - not when you’re looking at him like that. 
“So I could do this.” you smile. Your hands that were once pushing back Chan’s hair, snake around his neck to pull him closer until his lips are only a millimeter from yours. You’re calm as you glance at his lips, raking your eyes back up to Chan’s who’s entirely stunned, breath stuttering. 
“Can I kiss you?” you ask gently, lips ghosting against his. 
He nods frantically, like that was a question you would even need to ask.  
And so you do, leaning in gently in the pouring rain. The kiss, though not the first, is a first of its kind. It’s filled with promise. 
Chan wraps his arms around your waist, fingers grabbing at your flesh like you could disappear if he let go. Your lips work softly against his, and he gently bites at your bottom lip - just the way you liked. Your hands have moved down from his neck, one hand caressing the side of his face, the other pressed against his chest. The heavy rumble of his heartbeat could be mistaken for thunder amidst the rainstorm, his heart pounding against his ribcage. 
The rain only continues to fall hot and wet, but Chan wouldn’t be anywhere else. Chan’s shirt is entirely soaked through, the black fabric sticking to his skin and hugging every dip and curve.  You take advantage of it, fingers tracing every crevice leaving sparks in their trail, trying to remember the last time you’d been able to touch him like this. 
You pull back first, only a little, with a smug smirk on your face. “I told you you’d get your romantic kiss in the rain Bang Chan. You just had to be patient.” 
He laughs against your lips, eyes lingering on the pretty smile, taking all of it in, before he presses a soft kiss to each of the corners of your mouth. “I’d wait forever for you.” he admits. 
Chan watches the corners of your mouth twitch, cheeks growing fuller from your beaming smile. He takes all of it in knowing he was behind this pretty smile, and that he caused something so beautiful. Only after he’s fully basked in the warmth of your smile does he lean in for another kiss, feeling the imprint of your upturned lips against his. 
And so, the summer is filled with many seconds that are firsts in their own right. 
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Taglist: @koroleva–rezni @svrcoline @cecedrake2217 @seungstarss @putmetogetheragain13 @jisungsplatforms @reverielix @anna1126​ 
Unable to tag (but DM’ed!): @seochhj @charm-art @kimsaerom 
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bakugous-wifee · 24 days ago
Text
Not alone (Soulmate Au: Part ten)
Todorki: Midoriya, are you All might's secret love child?
Midroiya: W-What..?
Yuki: Can I get a waffle?
Todoroki *Glares intimidatingly*: I won't ask again.
*Midoriya sweat drops*
Yuki: Can I PLEASE get a waffle?
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As soon as we reach the stadium, I collapse on the ground, practically dragging Bakuou with me, who was holding his arm, staring at the ground. "Deku.....Not again!"
"Are you okay?" I called out to him.
He sneers at me, clearly upset about the race results. "Why the fuck are you on the ground?"
I shrug, "Why not?"
He stares at me for a little bit before stomping in my direction, grabbing my arm, and pulling me off the ground. I smiled at him as more students arrive.
"The first game for the first years is finally over, and what a game it was!" Midnight spoke, all the first years gathering around her, her voice echoing around the stadium, "What a game it was, Now let's take a quick look at the standings, shall we?"
Midoriya in first, Bakugou second, myself third, Todoroki fourth, and so on. A large amount of Class 1-A made up the top rankings, but Class 1-B seemed to be doing pretty well too. Scattered throughout are a couple of students from the support and general studies courses, as well.
"Only the top 42 will advance to the next round, but don't be too let down if you didn't cut; we've prepared other opportunities for you to shine," Midnight told us, "Now the real fun is about to begin, The chance to fully move into the limelight, prepare yourselves for the cavalry battle! Allow me to explain.
"The participants will form teams of two to four people as they see fit. In theory, it's basically the same as a regular playground game. But there is one difference, Each player has been assigned a point value based on the results of the obstacle course; the points assigned to go up in increments of 5, starting from the bottom. And the point value assigned to the first place contestant is worth 10 million!"
I've never been happier to come in third place. Suddenly all eyes were on Midoriya.
"That's right - it's survival of the fittest with the chance for those at the bottom to overthrow those at the top! These are the rules you'll abide by, the game itself will last 15 minutes. Individual point values will be added together to reach your team total; everyone will know how much you're worth thanks to your headbands. Swipe as many headbands as you can to raise your team score - stolen headbands must be worn from the neck up, So the more you steal, the harder it'll be to manage them," Midnight looked around, "Even if your headband gets stolen or your team falls down, you can keep playing until times up! " This is going to be rough; you may use your quirks as much as you like, but there are still rules, make a team fall on purpose and I'll slap you with a red card - you'll be disqualified! Now, you have 15 minutes to build your teams!"
In an instant, a few students begin to ask me to be their partner. I almost forgot I got third place in the last obstacle. "Uh hold on. I need to think," I said nervously, not really keen on being partners with people I don't know, or Mineta. I hear a "Wait, remind me what your quirks are again, and your names," making me turn my head, seeing a few others in class trying to get Bakgou to be their partner. I chuckled at the sight, gaining his attention, He stomped over to me, leaving the others behind, "Yuki, you're with me,"
That made me pause. He's never called me my name, especially not my first name. My mouth went dry at the sound. Trying to keep my cool, I lifted an eyebrow, "So we're on a first-name basis now?"  "Shut up," He snapped making me laugh, "Just be on my team,"
"And why would I do that?"
"Hey, Bakugou! I was gonna try Todoroki, but he already picked his team, and I don't know where Amaya is, so we should team up!" A familiar redhead yelled grabbing everyone's attention. His eyes slid from Bakugou to me, "Oh hey Amaya"
"Hey, shitty hair," "My name is Kirishima! And my hair's not that different from yours."
I glanced at Bakugou before grinning at Kirishima, "Lets team up, and we should have Bakugou join us, he could to some use," That made the blond yell angrily while Kirishima nodded in agreement, "Maybe we can help him stop struggling to remember everyone's names," Kirishima laughed while Bakugou continued to yell. "I'm the one who asked you to team up! Why are you asking him!?"
Ignored him scanning through the crowd of students. We're gonna need someone who can stop him from going after Midoriya and trying to kill him, someone who- In seconds I find my target. "Sero!" I yelled, gaining his attention, "Wanna team up with Bakugou, Kirishima, and I?"  "I never agreed to be on your team!" Bakugou yelled.
"Yeah, sure thing!" Sero responded to me, rushing our way.
I clapped my hands together, "Perfect, Kirishima will act as the front horse, using his quirk to try and absorb any hit we take while Sero and I will each take  side; I'll use my lightning to move quickly and provide cover, as well as protection, while Sero uses his tape to make sure Bakugou doesn't, like, leap off and do something stupid, I don't know, like kill Miodoriya or make us lose,"
That earns me another earful from the blond but once again, I ignore him. "You know, If Bakugou doesn't make any stupid decisions, we might win this!" Kirishima admitted "Our whole plan is revolved around Bakugou's stupid decisions," Sero added. I stood in between the boys, resting my arms on the shoulders, "Come on guys think on the bright side, you have me, on your team, not only do I win everything -the video game with Kaminari for example- but I can also keep our angry blond in check, we'll definitely win!" The siren blared, signaling the end of the team-building time. "After 15 minutes to pick teams and talk strategy, 12 cavalry teams are ready to go head-to-head!"
Present Mic begins to count down, as we get Bakugou onto Kirishima's back. "Get em'" He said. I guess he's trying to encourage us. "Begin!"
And so the games began. Immediately everyone went to Midoriya, no surprise there. He managed to get a good team, though he's my opponent, I'm happy for him. But at the moment we need those points. I blinked and they were in the air, but when they landed, I felt Bakugou steer us that way. I notice, Hagakure and her team running at Midroiya, but then a class 1-B student swiped her headband without them noticing. I exchanged a look with Sero.
"We need to be careful of those guys, Bakugou-" I started, but it was too late, Bakugou was already blasting himself into the air, going after Midoriya. "Goddammit, you moron!" I screamed. My team held its breath as Tokoyami's dark shadow blocked Bakugou's attack. "Woah! Bakugou has been separated from his horses! Is that even allowed?" Present Mic yelled over the cheers of the audience. "Sero!" I yelled as Bakugou began falling back to the ground. He acted quickly shooting his tape at the blonde, pulling back towards us, Sero and I catch him, placing him back in his place.
"He never touched the ground, so technically it's okay," Midnight states, making me sign in relief, though I'm quickly glaring at Bakugou.
"you're lucky we're in a game right now, or I'd beat your ass!" I hissed, "Warn us next tie before you-" Now who wants to take a look at each student's points so far? It's been 7 minutes, so let's get those rankings thrown up on the screen!" Present Mic announced to the audience. There's a sudden lull across the stadium. "Hold on here, this is an unexpected turn - other than Midoriya, Class 1-A isn't doing so hot!"
I jerk my head up to the screen seeing 'team Bakugou' at place 7. With zero points.
What...
"Your class is too small-minded. Think bigger."
I watched as the blond guy who took Hagakure's team points, took ours. "He got us!" Sero exclaimed. Rage filled both me and Bakugou. "What did you say?" We both yelled at the same time, "Come back here! "
"Midnight said the obstacle course was just the first game, and we figured they wouldn't cut that many of us right away, would they?" What the hell is this asshole trying to say? "Assuming they kept at least 40 contestants for the next event, all we had to do was stay within that group as we ran. From our spots in the middle ranks, we could fully observe our rivals' quirks and judge the capabilities they had. Only a fool would obsess over winning the preliminary round, wouldn't you agree?"
"You planned this as a class?" Kirishima questioned.
"It wasn't totally unanimous, but I'd say it's playing out pretty well," The arrogant prick tied our headband around his neck. "Better than chasing the temporary front runner like a horse with a carrot waving in its face, anyway."
I stay silent at his words, nothing but the flicker lights overhead, and the crackle of lighting at my feet, showed my anger. Oh, and while I have your attention, you're kind of famous, aren't you? A grin spread across his face. "For being attacked by that sludge villain? You'll have to tell me about it sometime, it must be strange to always find yourself in the role of the victim," As he talked, Bakugou felt more and more rage coursing through him, and though I had no idea what he was talking about, I shared Bakugou's anger.
"Kirishima, we have a change of plans," Bakugou growls.
The redhead turns his head with a confused look, "Uh-" "Before we take down Deku, we're gonna kill every one of these B-List idiots," Bakugou growled, and I couldn't help but agree with him. "Calm down, Bakugou!" Kirishima demanded, "You've gotta keep a level head or we'll never get our points back!" "I have a level head," I responded darkly, a ball of electricity forming in my hand, I shot it out, creating a wall behind the blond, stopping them from moving. "Get over there Kirishima!"
"Please don't make me regret this..." he signs but moves us to the 1-b students nonetheless. Bakugou's the first one to attack, throwing out an explosion that was easily dodged, and then..returned?
Huh. Wow, I see why you like this quirk." The 1-B student laughed before smacking Kirishima's head. What the hell? "Weird! That guy has your quirk!" Kirishima yelled. That caught my attention. His quirk... Bakugou attempted another attack but when the smoke clears, the blond guy is untouched, his body mirroring Kirishima's.
"You both have impressive powers, but I think you'll agree mine is better."
"Huh? what? Mine too?!" Kirishima yelled. I shook my head, stopping his rambling, "It's not that he has your quirk. I think his power is to copy other people's," "Woah!" The guy exclaims, "Your smart for a girl," I'm angry all over again, forcing us to move, only for another group to jump in front of us, coating us in a glue-like substance. "I can't move!" Kirishima cried.
In an instant, I slam my foot down on the glue, making bolts of yellow lightning shoot out, melting all the glue, freeing, Kirishima and Sero's legs. "Get them, now," I sneer. I look up at the screen, we have a minute left. Then I learn his name.
Monoma. You just messed with the wrong group of kids.
"Bakugou, do that thing I told you not to do," I told the blond, who immediately jumped into the air using his explosion to go faster towards the now second-place team. While I lifted my palm to the air, shooting lightning bolts down on the Monoma and his team, stopping him from moving.
He looked panic for a moment but quickly yelled out for his teammate, who created a sort of barrier, that Bakugou began punching at. "Haha, you'll look pretty stupid fighting with air!" Monoma's teammate taunted.
"You look pretty stupid, thinking he's your only problem," I snapped, drawing the other's attention to me. More lightning bolts began to shoot at them, but now closer.
The solid air shattered, allowing Bakugou to grab a fistful of headbands from Monoma's neck. Sero immediately wraps his tape around Bakugou pulling him back. "Can you two warn us before you come up with a stupid plan!?" he yelled as Present Mic announced, "Bakugou nabs two headbands and moves into third place!"
At the same time, we responded, "We did!"
"Whatever this means we're advancing," Kirishima added, but Bakugou screamed over him. "Were not done!" he began punching at Kirishima's head "we're gonna be the indisputable champions of the game!"
"Now, look at this: Class 1-B's strategy was a reasonable one, but there's one thing they forgot to consider," Aizawa spoke up, as we chased after Monoma's team.
"I couldn't brace myself earlier when I jumped," Bakugou told us, "Get closer," we ran even closer to Monoma's team, making him look nervous, "Elbow guy, Tape 'em!" he lifted his leg allowing Sero to shoot out his tape with a yell, "My names Sero!" "You missed," Monoma chuckled. "Yuki, give us a boost!" Bakugou yelled ignoring the other team. "Glad you know my name!" I said, putting a hand behind us, shooting lighting to make us go faster.
"Class 1-B didn't take into account Bakugou and Amaya's overwhelming tenacity and pride, They don't lose, especially when they're together, " Aizawa finished making me smile a little. Bakugou's explosions combined with Sero's tape catapulted us forward, My soulmate didn't hesitate to jump into the air, smashing through the solid air barrier Monoma's team tried to use in a desperate attempt at defense. "That team is a merciless force! What a point hog!" Present Mic yelled as Bakugou grabbed all of Monoma's headbands. "I can't wait to watch the replay!"
"Now," Bakugou growled, "We're going after Deku and Todoroki," And so we do, heading towards the main fight, Bakugou's the first to attack, jumping off. I lost sight of him as our classmates begin to yell. But then... "Times up!" Present Mic yelled, "And with that, the second round is officially over! In the first place, team Todoroki!" I sigh at that. "In the second place, team Bakugou!" Okay first of all it's basically my team but whatever. Sero and Kirishima stood by me, talking about our win, while Bakugou screams at the ground like a toddler.
"In third-place team, Testute-Wait, what? Its team Shinso? When did they come back from the dead?" I didn't really pay attention to that anymore and focused on my tingling hands.  "And in fourth place, team Midoriya! These four valient teams will advance through to the final round! Now, let's take an hour-long lunch break!"
______________________________________________________
How do I always get into these situations?
When Todoroki asked Midoriya if he could talk to him, I knew that he was gonna try to rough him up a bit, so I immediately stepped in, not expecting him to tell me he needed to talk to me too.
So that's how I ended up in a dark hallway next to a nervous look Midoriya, while Todoroki glared at me like he just caught me fucking his sister, and Midoriyas his sister. Midoriya tried to talk to Todoroki but was meant with cold silence every time. This cant be good.
I smiled at the two boys, "Hey so if we're just gonna stand here in awkward silence, I think I gonna go, I'm starving- " "I was overwhelmed,"
I stopped, raising a brow at Todoroki. "And it made me break the promise I made to myself a long time ago," He said to Midoriya as he pulled his hand out and stared at it. This is about his left side... "Iida and Kaminari...Yaoyorozu and Tokoyami....Uraraka... None of them felt it, at that moment, I was the only one who could truly sense your power, It reminded me of something, experiencing All-Might's quirk" He paused, "The power coming from you felt the same as All-Mights, So, tell me Midoriya, Are you his secret love child or something?"
I couldn't stop myself. Midoriya looked extremely uncomfortable, And Todoroki looked so serious. I've said it once and I'll say it again, sometimes I don't think before I act.
"Oh my god, Icyhot!" I laughed, "That's the dumbest thing I've heard all day! And I teamed up with Bakugou!" His glare was turned on me, "doesn't matter if I'm right or wrong, Midoriya has connections to All-Might," He sneered, "My father is Endeavor, the number two hero, That means I have even more reason to beat him" His gaze flicked to the green-haired boy, before going back to me. "And your father is Wipe Out, the number three hero, which means my father is standing in yours's way, giving you a reason to beat me as well, our fathers are rivals and I'm sure we will be too,"  He continued his speech about Endeavor being a shitty dad and forcing his wife to have kid after kid until one was born with both his and her power. Todoroki told us about his scar, his rebellion against his father. He told us everything, and I would be lying if I said, I didn't understand his pain.  Quirk marriages were an awful thing, especially mixed with soulmates.
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blogrivendell · 25 days ago
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#17  Sustenance or Service
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“As Jesus and the disciples  continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus, and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me”  But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke10:38f
This is a revolutionary remark that  Jesus made, and  it still challenges us powerfully today whether we are men or women. In that cultural setting,  Jesus was giving  Martha permission to abandon  the gender role assigned by a patriarchal society to women as servants and hostesses, which would have taken priority  over doing what the male disciples could do - feel free to focus on  hanging around him and soaking up  his teaching. I feel sorry for Martha, she felt very responsible, there was probably a lot of people to feed and  I guess she felt she would miss out on hearing  the conversations with Jesus if her sister left her to do all the work and she was trapped in the kitchen. She took the initiative to invite  Jesus to dinner, so it was an act of love on her part - to serve him in this way. If he was her most honoured guest ever, she would feel pressure to make the meal really special as an act of respect, especially in her Jewish culture. So I can relate to her getting stressed about  the details of the meal, most of us would feel that way if we hosted a much respected VIP. We don't know how many other people showed up with Jesus for the meal, but it may have been quite a few, so the logistics may have been tricky too! Martha was really trying to do her best for Jesus - giving love through an act of service that was quite costly in time and resources. Service was her expression of love and commitment. 
All of us are called to sacrificial   service following the example of Jesus himself, who was often exhausted and depleted in serving the needs of desperate people wanting his help. His remedy for that was to go to a lonely place, to spend the night in God the Father’s restorative company.  Serving is deeply ingrained in our Christian culture and many of us feel very guilty or useless  if we are not actively “doing service”. I think the cultural pressure to be very busy with Kingdom work is strong and so there are many of us of both sexes who may be like Martha. Giving and doing  is viewed as much more of a priority than receiving and just being with Jesus. Mary was so hungry for time with Jesus that she was prepared to be thought as  lazy or selfish or rebellious -  not doing her feminine duty. Jesus applauded her choice, regarding it as far more important that  Mary receive her spiritual sustenance from him than  join Martha in  providing the service of food for  Jesus.
 The power of the expectations that we put on ourselves and each other is forceful. I wonder  if Martha was able to give herself permission to do what her sister did, then or next time? did she appreciate the opportunity that would have been there for both of them, to spend more time receiving from him,  or did she  see it as impractical or impossible to relinquish her role  as hostess. Was it too far outside her comfort zone to  change? Did Jesus offer her a solution to her dilemma?  Could she trust him to find a way forward if she took the risk and accepted the challenge to become like  her sister?  From Jesus’ perspective it is one of those situations where “the good was the enemy of the best”. Again it shows us that God values our time with Him more than our service but we tend to see things the other way, exhausting ourselves in service that we regard as essential while we grow weary and depleted, doing things in our own strength and not checking whether these essentials are actually a priority with God. Do we have the courage to say “no” to expectations and pressures to keep the machinery running in order to radically re-organise our spiritual lives?  Are we hungry enough   for God or fed up enough to take the risk?  Do we need to re-evaluate our  culture of “doing”  in order to develop and disciple others into a spirituality of “being” that values and teaches us how to live in God’s presence so that we are filled with all the fullness of God when we go out to serve?  Do our leaders teach us how to commune with God? or do we only know how to become “Marthas”? So much of the time and energy of so many people is spent in keeping the machinery of church meetings happening, but are they the good that is the enemy of what God really wants for us -  more  time feasting on  Him, the Bread of Life? 
For myself, I feel like I have a split personality, being “Martha” is very ingrained in me  and she is  bossy - she is still ready to take over!  But  I have had the benefit of a mentor who has kept challenging my Martha assumptions about what is important, and God himself, who allowed what was my  precious ministry to be  taken from me, and sent me into a “wilderness” experience to learn how to be a Mary, putting my roots down deeper in Christ and hopefully having some of the weeds removed that are harmful to the quality of my service. This has been excruciating at times, but I now so enjoy hanging out with God that I fear getting pulled back into too much “busyness” and getting caught up making the lesser things more important. 
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politicaltheatre · 26 days ago
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Empathy, pt.3
Let’s start with this: Jamal Kashshoggi was a man.
Do you remember him? He was a man, a human being, and like any of us he had hopes and dreams and memories.
He was also a journalist. After years of supporting the Saudi royal family and their authoritarian regime, he was murdered in 2018 for writing and speaking out against their abuses and, eventually, their war in Yemen. That was the version of him who fled Saudi Arabia, and the one who was marked for death by the Saudi crown prince he had once called a friend.
Last fall, the Saudi regime commuted the death sentences of the men it offered up as his murderers. Three months ago, an investigation confirmed that it was the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who had ordered his death.
We’re forgetting him. Even now, reading this, we are already forgetting. We can’t help it. At least, we tell ourselves we can’t.
In many ways, Kashshoggi was a lot like Alexei Novalny. Novalny hasn’t left the news quite yet. Like Kashshoggi, he supported the corrupt, authoritarian regime in his country, Russia, before turning against it. The attempt on his life, by poison, failed. Barely. He’s still alive, locked up in a Russian prison, a cautionary tale for those daring to oppose Vladimir Putin.
How long before we’ve forgotten him, too?
It’s a lot to ask of ourselves, remembering everyone around us. Sure, in some abstract way most of us try, “Good will towards men,” and all that, but we have the luxury of looking away and of not having to commit ourselves to thinking of others the way those two men did.
For each of them, it was an inescapable empathy for the suffering of they saw around them that compelled them to risk their lives to draw attention to it. They did so knowing the cost.
That cost - personal loss, imprisonment, death - is enough to keep most of us looking away. So much of what we do is to enable us to look away, to keep unpleasant reality at a distance. When others are already physically far away, it only makes it that much harder for us to do the right thing.
Looking out past our borders, the world today is filled with men, women, and children suffering, more than a few at the hands of authoritarian regimes, and of them far too many paying that cost for standing up against abuse.
The most present case this past week, because videos on social media have made it impossible to ignore in ways that it has been, has been that of the Palestinians.
The facts of this latest series of abuses against them should not be in doubt. During the last days of Ramadan, Israelis began forcing Palestinians out of their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah district in East Jerusalem. This was followed in quick succession by Israeli troops occupying the Al-Aqsa mosque following a confrontation between Palestinians at the mosque for Friday prayers and Israelis celebrating the capture of the mosque in 1967.
This was all a deliberate provocation, beyond the aggressive offense of what the Israelis were doing. The timing of it, during the Muslim holy month while right wing Benjamin Netanyahu struggles to cling to power, was intended to add insult to injury.
It worked. Clearly.
Hamas, ever eager for an excuse to be violent and to be seen to be violent, gave an ultimatum that would make Netanyahu’s regime look weak if accepted, Netanyahu gratefully rejected it, and Hamas began firing rockets, knowing that Israel would escalate and retaliate with a kind of brutality that can only be described as criminal.
The unpleasant reality is that both political powers rely on perpetuating the conflict between them, doing so at the expense of the people they claim to want to serve and protect. And those people pay the cost of it.
Note, please, how I have avoided referring to those instigating these atrocities as Muslims or Jews. That they use their religions and their histories as justification for violence and abuse should not be taken as representative of either religion. If anything, it should be taken as a kind of cruel irony, or perhaps an insight into how the abused, as individuals or groups, can become abusers themselves.
Zionism is not Judaism. It never was and never will be. It grew out of two things: the technology-driven late 19th century belief by Europeans, and their North American “cousins”, in their right to colonial domination of non-Europeans; and the centuries-old, routine and systematic attacks on Jews - pogroms - especially in Central and Eastern Europe that led millions of Jews to flee for their lives, many of them to the United States.
The establishment of Israel in 1948 followed the same pattern: that same, late 19th century belief in the right to claim or assign ownership of others’ land - no matter that it had once belonged to your ancestors; and the routine and systematic attempted genocide of all Jews in Europe - the Holocaust - by Europeans who chose to believe Jews not to be Europeans but some other, lesser race from West Asia.
That, of course, has been the assigned role for Jews the world over: they are accepted as insiders when times are good and scapegoated as outsiders when times are bad. To be Jewish - I am - is to understand that this never quite goes away. There’s always somebody having a bad day, always a big lie ready for justification.
Technically, it is true that Jews are Asian, in the way that Palestinians are also Asian, and that Egyptians are, too, but also African because different people have had different maps which they used for different purposes at different times.
Also true is that these things are only true due to the arbitrary drawing of continental lines on maps made by Europeans, from the ancient Greeks to those carving up the “New World” in the century after Columbus to the 1885 conference in Berlin carving up Africa for colonial exploitation.
This is not, strictly speaking, a European thing. Every culture has a tendency to see themselves as the center of the world. Just ask those living in China, or as they call it, Zhongguo, the “Middle Kingdom”.
The difference here is that modern day Israel was carved out of Palestine, a colonial “protectorate” which was itself carved out of the Ottoman Empire and awarded to the British following World War I. As a spoil of war, formerly-Ottoman Iraq, with its vast oil reserves, had greater value to the British. Palestine had ports on the Mediterranean - “the center of the world” - but was otherwise an afterthought.
Not, however, to the Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. We must remember that the rest of the world didn’t want them. Jews attempting to flee the atrocity they and everyone else couldn’t help but see coming were turned away by everyone else, including the United States.
This in no way justifies what was done in Palestine in the 1930s and 40s, it’s just to place it in context. By turning Jews away, by attempting to forget them and their suffering, the world gave weight and power to right wing groups within the refugees.
Starting in the 1930s, those groups began to engage in terrorism against Arabs to force their position into Palestine and against the British to force them out. Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military Organization) and later the Stern Gang carried out assassinations and killed hundreds of Arabs and British with bombs.
After what the Nazis did to the Jews in Europe, memorialized in newsreels for all the world to see, who would take the Arabs’ side? Who could? The British were in no position to hold onto their colonial possessions anywhere, so they gave up and pulled out and in 1948 the state of Israel was born. Palestinian Arabs were forced from their homes and stripped of rights they had held under the Ottomans and even the British.
Again, this was not Judaism. As the name “Irgun” suggests, those terrorists were a right wing, nationalist militia doing what right wing, nationalist militias have done before and since, using an ethnic or religious identity to justify committing atrocities to take land and property.
After standing by and allowing the Nazis to do what they did, the world vowed never to forget; part of the price they were willing to pay - that they were willing to allow the Palestinian Arabs to pay - was to forget what Irgun and the Stern Gang had done, and to turn a blind eye to anything the Israelis did going forward.
There was a racist element to it, to be sure. This is part of the pattern of colonial withdrawal, negotiating a partition of land and possessions among the colonized groups, pitting them against each other, and then letting them fend for themselves. Nothing like creating a power vacuum to draw out the worst of us.
The British did the same thing in South Asia in 1947, pitting Muslim and Hindu groups against each other, erupting in spasms of violence before settling into a Cold War, complete with nuclear weapons. Even in their most secular eras, religious nationalism has defined the politics and leadership of each nation.
The result of this, naturally, has been an increasingly corrupt leadership exploiting religious hatred and mistrust to gain more power and wealth for themselves. It should be noted, yet again, that the political entities of Pakistan and India, though led by religious nationalists, do not represent Islam or Hinduism.
Their actions and failures do not represent those religions in any way. They are the actions and failures of men and women seeking power, seeking to acquire it and seeking to hold onto it. They are no different than the Netanyahu regime or Hamas, or our own right wing leaders in the United States.
For all of them, it is in their interest to cling to memory of conflict as a means of manipulation; in Israel and Palestine, nationalist leaders preach as if 1948 or 1967 are now; in India and Pakistan, it’s still 1947; and for America’s white nationalists, it’s either 1865 or 1965, take your pick. For the Serbs slaughtering thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica twenty-six years ago, it was 1389, the year the Ottomans conquered the Balkans.
The wars, cold or hot, can never end because time is never allowed to change. This, again, is a function of proximity. By freezing themselves in the increasingly distant past, the leaders and those choosing to follow them do not have to accept the changes facing them in the present. Their fantasy is to return to that idyllic, earlier time, when they possessed everything and did not have to be accountable to anyone.
And they will all fail for the same reason: in the present or near future, we will have reached a point at which we can no longer allow ourselves to ignore those suffering and in doing so forget them.
That is what we have done to the Palestinians. What has been done and what is being done now is in no small part because we forget them, routinely and systematically and purposefully.
The videos sent from Gaza of children being pulled from rubble should help us remember. They should. Ideally, they will have the same effect as those of last year’s Black Live Matter protests, but the people of Gaza remain far away. For many of us, it will be enough that the missiles and rockets have stopped.
Videos sent from India’s emergency rooms and crematoria should help us remember, but they, too, remain far away. Already, we’re starting to put India’s crisis behind us.
Will we remember either of them a month from now? Two? Or will they fade into the background, as the imprisoned Hong Kong democracy protesters have, or those dying of Covid-19 in Brazil, or those shot down in the streets fighting police brutality in Columbia, or those caught between warring factions in Ethiopia’s Tigray region? Or, for that matter, those half a century ago in Argentina who were simply “disappeared”?
What about the coup in Myanmar? Remember that? How about the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya people, supported by the now-deposed and jailed regime of fallen-hero Aung San Suu Kyi? What was done to them was no different than what was done to the Armenians in what is now eastern Turkey by the Ottoman Empire in 1915. That genocide was recently recognized by President Biden, an act of official, international recognition that took over a century and which itself is already being forgotten. The Rohingya may have to wait as long to be remembered themselves, or longer.
The point of all this isn’t that we forget, try as we might, but that despite it we find ways to remember. That Biden recognized the Armenians came because they did not forget and did not allow that crime to be forgotten. 
If this sounds like what nationalists all claim to do themselves - always demanding that everyone remember this date or that insult - remember that actual justice never seems to be their goal.
Justice requires memory, full memory. For us to remember anything fully, we must take the good with the bad. We must recognize the good and bad in each of us and in each group and in each series of actions. We must understand that for the worst act done by anyone in the name of any group or religion, there remain those within those groups and religions who stand against it.
So, let’s end with this: George Floyd 
George Floyd was a man, a human being, and like any of us he had hopes and dreams and memories. He died one year ago today in no small part because we forgot him. 
We remember now, today especially, because of what was done to him on this date, but we should recognize the role that forgetting him and people like him played in the events that led to his murder. We as a society have looked away from the suffering of minorities in this country, and from the violence done to certain groups within our society.
The easiest thing to say, certainly as we watched that video and the countless videos of police brutalizing non-violent protesters all last summer, was that “all cops are bad”. They aren’t. Hard as it may be to hear, they aren’t.
They are, however, led by men and women who push an adversarial culture, who encourage violence and racism, who are corrupt, and who thrive on the failure of reform. And most of them, far, far too many, stand by in silence as men and women are murdered in that culture’s name. In that silence, they have failed us all.
If we want to change that culture, we need those who would stand for justice to stand up and speak. They are there, just as they are in Israel and Palestine, and in Pakistan and India and elsewhere: intimidated, ostracized, and struggling to be heard.
Of course, May 25th, 2020 wasn’t just any other day in America. It was Memorial Day. That is a cruel irony. Another is how little we do to honor that day. It was created to honor those who died for this country, to remember not only them but what they did and what they supposedly did it for. Instead, we grill meats and drink beer and forget our troubles for just one day.
Few deaths may have the lasting impact on this country that George Floyd’s has had and will have, and he died in no small part because he, too, had been forgotten. This coming Memorial Day, let us take a moment to remember him and all of the others everywhere in this world who have died and deserve to be remembered.
- Daniel Ward
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berrydoodleoo · 28 days ago
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big bro gladio
This was just supposed to be a few quick headcanons? Instead it’s a fic. Less dialogue and action than I usually put in my fics, but eh. Anyway, have my thoughts about Gladio and his relationships growing up.
***
Like Noct, Gladio has spent his life on guard against false friends.
When he was seven, his dad pulled him aside after weapons training. “I don’t want you hanging out with that boy Lycus anymore,” he said, apropos of nothing as far as Gladio could tell. 
Shocked and angry, Gladio pestered him for an explanation, and eventually Dad said it was ‘a potential security issue’. Gladio spent hours trying to visualize how Lycus could be a threat to him -- Gladio was bigger and stronger, Lycus was hilarious and fast on the field but had no combat training whatsoever -- when he realized that wasn’t the point at all. Lycus could be a threat to Noctis. And as ever, anything that happened to Gladio was actually about someone else instead.
He imagined that his Dad had caught Lycus doing something when he stayed over. Going through his office, maybe, or trying to get into the weapons cabinet. He doesn’t mean to, but somehow the rest of the class turns against Lycus as well, and he stops speaking up in class, stops being funny and starts being mean. But not to Gladio; Gladio doesn’t talk to him anymore. As ordered.
Later, he learned that Lycus’ dad was in an argument with the King about infrastructure development in his district. That was all it was.
It’s not that he doesn’t forgive his father -- there are lots of things he’ll never forgive him for, but he’s learned to live with them -- it’s that he’ll never stop resenting him for it. Hating him, for making Gladio an instrument of his thoughtless cruelty.
~
It’s not that he envies Noct. Yeah, Gladio has to guard him, but Noct also has to guard himself, all in preparation for his future as the King. And Gladio has seen how the King lives.
Early in his training, he spent a lot of time trailing his Dad around, just seeing how things worked. After Noct’s thirteenth birthday, the press suddenly shifted their attention from the Prince (who they speculated about wildly -- was he doing well in school? Did he have friends, a girlfriend, post-traumatic stress disorder? Did he cry at his mother’s grave every year?) to the King. Was he planning to remarry?
Remarry? The King?
Gladio wasn’t sure where the question came from, but when it hit, it hit everywhere. Every state banquet was suddenly an opportunity for photos of the King and his conversation partners, accompanied by endless speculation about what that smile meant, that hand shake, that choice of drink, or tie, or watch, and so on. If the person they targeted didn’t answer their questions, they became the target of even more speculation. It wasn’t just the gutter press, either. Gladio turned on the TV at prime time one day and was shocked to see an hour-long special about the King, his courtship and marriage with the Queen, and the potential legal issues surrounding his (rumored) remarriage. They were going to have a special segment about the Prince, with a psychologist to talk about step-families and trauma.
Gladio turned it off, feeling voyeuristic. Everyone in the Citadel was tense after that, bristling with rage, but there was nothing they could do about any of it.
Gladio, in his role as his father’s obedient shadow, was also made privy to a top-level conversation on the topic between Clarus, Cor, and Drautos. Some of the figures pursued by the press had merely been caught in the crossfire, they concluded. Others were attempting to use the publicity to their advantage, which was not a problem for their offices. A few, maybe, had real aims on the King, and ‘love’ didn’t seem to be an option they even considered. Clarus ordered thorough security checks and surveillance on the biggest names, and the whole thing made Gladio sick.
But it didn’t end there. A few weeks later, to Gladio’s horror, the Council had their own version of this discussion, this time with a political slant. All directly in front of the King himself. His Majesty didn’t seem perturbed by the discussion -- he exchanged a Glance with his Shield, but remained otherwise unreadable -- and yet Gladio burned with embarrassment and indignation for him.
~
So as much as Gladio resents Noct sometimes, he also pities him. And so he guards himself, socializes carefully, makes friends among the children of his father’s associates, and never gets too close to anyone.
In high school, he falls in love once, and he’s too busy with dates that ended in making out and heavy petting to notice at first. When he did, he broke it off immediately, cited some excuse about his duties and his dad not thinking the relationship was a good idea. All he could think about was getting away, getting away, getting away. When he got home, his heart was still pounding, and he checked all the locks and codes twice. Was he scared, or guilty?
When they told him they’d confronted his father, his heart stopped. He was certain he was about to be caught in his lie. But the rambling, teary argument that followed revealed that Clarus had been sympathetic but firm, and had invented a completely false conversation to back up Gladio’s falsehoods. 
Afterwards, he never brought it up with his son, and Gladio never asked.
~
After high school, in the Crownsguard, Gladio makes a new set of friends. Many of them are older than him and worldly in ways he isn’t. They have their own routines, which Gladio is indoctrinated in. The whole idea of ‘friends with benefits’ was a pretty sweet deal, he felt, especially since these ‘friends’ often went out on assignment afterwards and he never had to see them again.
(Except Ignis. They only hook-up once -- okay, twice -- or maybe three times -- but they don’t talk about it. More than the weapons training or survival courses, it’s the most dangerous thing they’ve ever done.)
At the same time, fifteen-year-old Noct makes his first friend. Prompto. Weird kid, goofy, but likeable. Not cool, really, but then, neither is Noctis. They spend their time goofing around, playing video games and doing homework. Unlike Gladio’s ‘friends’, Prompto stayed, and Gladio was happy for it. Noct needed a friend.
Not like Gladio. Gladio didn’t need anything.
~
During his training with the Kingsglaive, Gladio developed a reputation of sorts. He was known for taking people on flashy dates to exclusive clubs (getting in was effortless, for him), hooking up, and then moving on. All perfectly friendly and above board. He worked himself to exhaustion all week, spent most of his weekend in bed with someone new, and went back to the routine again on Monday. Never the same person twice.
His peers admired him for it. His Dad asked a few questions, and when Gladio snapped, he backed off with a scowl. Iris … Gladio convinced himself she didn’t know what was happening.
Noct and Prompto started dating then, too. It was a terrible idea, and Gladio knew it, but it was clear the kids were in love and besides, he’d seen how the King lived. How Noct would one day live. Hell, he was already half-inside the bubble anyway. He covered for them, even from Ignis for a while (and boy did Ignis give him shit for that), and then he and Ignis covered for them together.
It was good. Nothing was missing, everything was in its place. It was good.
~
When the treaty discussions start up, Gladio ends his dalliances with his fellow Glaives and ‘Guard members. He needs to be focused. No holes in his, and thus in Noct’s, security; no gaps someone could wriggle their way through. It’s easier than he thought it would be. He takes up reading to fill his sudden spare time.
Before the betrothal is announced, Prompto and Noct stop … doing whatever they’d been doing. Noct called it ‘hooking up’, but couldn’t quite pull off the lie. Prompto started training with the Crownsguard, and Gladio had to stand by and watch Prompto run, face-first, into the same hook-up culture he’d just left behind. It was different, from this angle. He didn’t like that Prompto was getting off with people he didn’t know. He didn’t like how they didn’t care about him, how they used bad pickup lines and groped him in public. How they didn’t know about his photos, or his parents, or the kitchen scale on his counter, or his obsessive knowledge about calorie counts and chocobos.
They didn’t love Prompto, but Noct did. From a distance. The kid had turned into a good actor at some point
Prompto got pulled into the wash cycle of hook-ups and break-ups fast enough, but Noct continued on alone. More and more his eyes came to resemble panes of glass, from which something shadowy and mute peered out in silence.
~
After Altissa, Gladio starts sleeping beside Ignis. Just sleeping. They end up spooned together most of the time, Gladio at Ignis’s back, looking out into the darkness that Ignis can’t see. Guarding him from it. Ignis is weird, strangely muted and palpably discouraged, but he clutches back at Gladio as hard as Gladio clutches him.
~
In Zegnautus Keep, Gladio wakes one morning to see Noct and Prompto talking. They know he’s up and moving, their conversation soft and halting behind him. He hears when they fall into a kiss, and stays turned away, giving them their privacy. His face is burning but he’s also amused, a little heartsick, and quietly happy for them.
It’s the last morning the four of them will have together, although they don’t know it yet. Further in the Keep, the crystal and the darkness are waiting. Even further in the distance, a blood-stained dawn calls their names.
~
As they set out into the Keep again, Noct pauses and looks at him. At Gladio. His eyes are full of questions and uncertainty, like a kid who needs to hear that everything will be okay. That he’s done everything right.
“What?” Gladio asks, confused.
Noct just sighs. “Nothing.”
Gladio stares at his downturned face a moment longer, trying to figure him out. He doesn’t think he’s done anything to make him mad. 
“All right,” Gladio says finally -- dubiously -- and without another word, he leads the way.
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weepingvoidpenguin · 28 days ago
Text
Unfortunately Yours
Summary: When you and Bucky successfully infiltrate a HYDRA auction, you’re told to stay another day due to max capacity on the jet. But how are you going to survive a night alone with this insufferable Super Soldier? Especially considering the miniscule size of the room and the obvious dilemma presented; who gets the bed?
Warning: S M U T , the smuttiest thing I’ve ever written, language, spit kink, daddy kink, ptsd symptoms, slight voyeurism, slight exhibitionism, hate-s e x, rough, more like enemies-to-lovers kind of thing, gagging, m!receiving, f!receiving, lots of receiving lol, 18+, M
Word Count: 10.6K (Whhhyyyyy)
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   Your body burned with exhaustion and the sheer weight of your extremities felt enough to drag you to the floor and mirror a coma with the length of your hibernation. You no longer had the minimal strength required to pick up your feet properly which resulted in the sound of shuffling to fill the small, and by small you meant miniscule, room you’d been assigned to. 
   Well, you and Bucky had been assigned to.
   You’d both played your parts well enough over the course of the last few hours. You’d sauntered into the ran-shacked looking bar with Bucky’s arm tossed lazily over your shoulder, his distaste for the assignment evident on his face, but he’d cleared it away the second his foot crossed the threshold. He pulled you in tighter to his body and raised his chin into the air, emitting the energy of a man not to be trifled with. You’d portrayed your role as a damsel just as, if not more, convincing as Barnes’ opposite. Your shoulders hunched over and your steps were small and quivering, the wig on your head a tool used to curtain the hair in your face. 
   You were the lamb to this White Wolf.
   Word had traveled through the dark and twisted grapevine that a certain showing of sorts took place tonight and a high-ranking target was rumored to be amongst its audience. You and Barnes were on the first flight to Germany within minutes.
   Bucky had pulled you through the crowd moving along to the thundering music in the background and halted at the edge of the bar. His grip on your shoulder tightened once he’d caught the man’s attention and you winced, his fingers digging a little too deep for your liking.
   The bartender scanned you over and took in your frame, making you feel smaller than you had already displayed yourself to be. It took him a while to conclude but when he took in Bucky’s domineering gaze, a look as if to say Deny me, I dare you, he nodded once and wrote something down on a napkin, sliding it over to Bucky.
   Scum. All of them. 
   You nearly blew your cover trying to throw Bucky a look but you refrained from the hellfire clawing its way out of you. You had to be perfectly in control, emotions and beliefs aside. You were a damsel and you had to make certain they believed that. You knew they were watching; they always were.
   “Relax,” Bucky hissed, pulling you under his arm and bringing his lips to your ear.
   “When you pretend you’re the one being put up for auction, then you can tell me to relax,” you muttered, never looking up from the ground.
   “I have been.” When you paused your movement, he pulled away to scan the room, “Nothing’s gonna happen to you. I promise.” He led you backstage and turned the corner to a dimly lit hallway, barren of any decoration in sharp contrast to every other section of the building, “Besides, once they realize how insufferable you are, they’ll be begging me to take you back,”
   He opened an iron door and pushed you into the room, sending you tumbling down onto the carpet. He tsked, stepping over you and not looking back after shutting the door behind himself. You counted thirteen pairs of feet and judging by the way some of them were turned towards you, they had to be watching. You observed your hands for a second, counting slowly until you figured you’d stalled long enough and sent your trembling gaze to the exit. Bucky let out a low chuckle and clasped his hand around your upper arm, launching you back onto your feet and twisting your body to face him.
   Oh, darling, German fluently escaped his tongue and you nearly rolled your eyes at the condescending tone settled in his words, You know better than that, don’t you?
   His hold tightened and you winced, holding back the whimper in your throat. If you saw any hint of a bruise forming on your arm, you would give him hell later . . . and possibly even if you didn’t.
   You bit your tongue and let him lead you towards a leather chair before he pulled you swiftly down onto his lap where his hand remained on your thigh, brushing the inside softly. Had you not been so annoyed, you’d have been humiliated at all the stares devouring the scene unfolding before them. 
   Good girl, he drawled and pressed your back flat up against his chest where he could put you on display.
   You knew you should’ve been annoyed, or at least settled so into your role as his temporary whore-for-sale that the sensation coming alive between your thighs shouldn’t have made an appearance. But sometimes, the way Bucky brought his voice down real low and cooed an insult or jest your way just had an affect that your body would not deny. It kept you awake a lot.
   Instead, you swallowed hard and let yourself be splayed against him. You ignored the scent of sandalwood in his cologne.
   Your body trembled from the cold breeze floating around in the room and you shifted in Bucky’s lap to block everyone’s sight from the way your chest reacted to the change in temperature.
   Don’t be shy, he murmured and removed your arms from your breasts, letting the thin, practically see-through fabric show you to the world.
   “Buc-” You started, your panic creeping through the cracks at the cheshire sneers sent your way, but at the first sign of your discomfort, he retracted his hands and twisted you around gently, throwing your legs over the side of the chair and spreading them but forcing your upper half to face him. Effectively, cutting your chest off from their line of sight.
   You trembled out a sigh and he grabbed your face tightly, drawing your eyes to his. He examined you, his hardened gaze shouting words he couldn’t currently say. But you understood. He could be a jerk, but he wasn’t a bad man.
   Your body instinctively leaned into him for warmth as another breeze engulfed you, resulting in a shiver that made its way up your spine. “Are they still looking?” you inquired and he gripped your neck with a ferocity that made you squirm in his lap. Fuck.
   He pulled your ear to his lips and licked the helix. You whimpered. “No,” he whispered, running his thumb along your jawline, “But if you don’t quit fucking squirming you’re gonna have a problem, Doll,”
   You opened your mouth in question when you felt a sudden twitch on your backside and you swallowed. Hard. He never broke eye contact with you, instead choosing to raise a brow in mocking. Your chest heaved up and down and how you could feel his breath grazing on your cheek almost had you rubbing your legs together for some form of desperate friction. No, you had to keep yourself composed, keep the act going. But he’d seen it. All of it.
   You nod your head and slowed your breathing down until he released his grip around your throat and turned his attention towards the dim stage. You leaned back into him and followed suit, making sure to keep your attention downcast and appear disheveled. 
   “There,” Bucky whispered after a few minutes and you lifted your head only to find the man you had come all this way for walking straight towards you.
   Like a moth to a flame.
   “How much?” The older man inquired, his grotesque gaze settled on your spread legs.
   Bucky looked up at the balding man as if this was the first time he’d noticed his presence, “I guess you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?” 
   The man lifted his brow, or what would’ve been, and smiled wickedly, “I’ll give you double your price if you give her to me now,” he offered, his eyes slithering up to the apex of your thighs and this time you didn’t have to fake the shiver running up your spine. 
   A small smirk formed on Bucky’s face and he waved his hand dismissively at him, “Get in line,”
   The old man sneered but Bucky was right, most everyone had their attention fixated on what was happening currently and it was apparent there was, indeed, a line. 
   Bucky rested his gloved hand on your upper thigh and gripped tight, whether to refrain from hitting the guy or just to touch you, he wasn’t sure but he couldn’t keep you away when the man said, “I’ll give you four times the asking price but I want her now,” 
   Bucky’s grip on your thigh tightened and you squeaked at the pain, jumping slightly in his lap. “How about I give her to you for free for ten minutes and you tell me if you can handle her,”
   You jerked your head towards Bucky and furrowed your brows. Free? Dick. You nearly scoffed.
   The man gripped onto your calf and you shifted to kick his hand away when Bucky’s own shot out and and ripped his off of you, “Don’t touch my stuff,” he spit and the man let out a yell but that only spurred Bucky on and he tightened his fist, “Until terms are agreed upon, she remains mine to do with as I please. Understood?”
   The man nodded hastily and Bucky threw you off his lap when he stood up. “Anyone else?” Bucky shouted to the room, daring others to test his limits when it came to you. After a few moments of silence Bucky scoffed, “I didn’t fucking think so,”
   Bucky’s grip on the man remained and he stared down at the hunched figure, “Now, you,” he addressed and the room remained silent. This was allowed here. 
   Normally, merchandise couldn’t be touched until it was purchased. No buying before the auction, no discussing what you’re offering, no negotiating but most importantly don’t try to steal from anyone. These are criminals and that being said, they handle things amongst themselves. They know the rules and the risks they take breaking them.
   So, when Bucky drags the poor bastard away, you follow right behind him. Not a protest to be heard. Bucky throws open the door we entered through and finds the nearest room before chucking the HYDRA agent inside and locking the door behind you. 
   The room was brightly lit, with all four walls a dull cream color and dark brown couches strewn casually about. There’s no real order to this place. All cement corners and LED bulbs. Pure business. 
   “Let ‘em know,” Bucky orders and you turn around to argue only to find the man pulling a gun out of his jacket pocket.
   You jerk suddenly and kick Bucky square in the stomach, launching him towards one of the couches just as a shot rings out. You blanch at the sound, the noise filling your head and drowning everything else out. You hear yelling but you can’t make out the words, only the panic intermingled within them. Your hand reaches out around you and you grip the small button lined into your thin clothing, pressing it four times how you’d been instructed.
   Everything moved slowly and people began filing into the room. How did they get here so fast? No. It wasn’t possible, they were a quarter mile down the road, there was no way they were your backup. 
   Hands began flying in the air and you were picked up and dropped multiple times, each time landing harder than the last. You tried to blink back the spinning but the blows landing on your face and torso made it all the worse. 
   Instinctively, you threw your hands up to protect your face and fought to find some footing to help. Bucky was good but he wasn’t a God, he would need help. When the first blow met your forearms you reached out to grasp the hand and used your other to drive your fist right into the person’s nose. The bone crunched under your blow.
   You took a hit, then another when you managed to analyze the enemy’s fight pattern and waited until he left himself open before driving your knee into his rib cage. He bent over in pain and you grabbed him by the hair, hearing another crack when you shoved your elbow upwards against his nose. 
   You heard a shout and whipped your head over to see Bucky on his back, a looming figure with a gun aimed straight towards him. You galvanized towards them and threw yourself in the air, using your weight to kick him off of Bucky when another shot rang out. 
   Bucky shot up and crushed the gun with his metal arm. You scoured the room for the familiar HYDRA agent but found him nowhere. You shot out of the room, knocking into an opposing wall as you turned the corner and ducked when the sound of a bullet whizzed past you. 
   This is not going good. You had lost your target and rummaged through room after room until you’d become lost. Fuck. Where the hell did he run off to? You winced after breaking out into a sprint but pressed on, not allowing yourself to slow down. There was no way you were going to fail this mission, especially after coming so close to success.
   Sweat trailed down your face and your muscles screamed at you to halt, their exhaustion beginning to wear you down. Your breathing grew rapid and your vision blurred and just as you went to lean on a wall to rest, your shoulder exploded out in pain and you collapsed with a cry.
   “Dirty whore,” the HYDRA man seethed, a cane raised over his head. He brought it down and you spun to the side, feeling the air breeze past your ear.
   Your hand latched onto the cane and you shoved it into his gut, pushing him away. SHIELD wanted this guy alive, so alive they would receive him. That didn’t mean he had to come in one piece though. 
   You tore the walker out of his hand just as he tumbled onto his ass. You stood up, grunting along the way and hovered over his body, fear sprawled along his features. 
   “You can either stay still or get beat with your own cane, it’s your choice,” you offered, aching to bring the walker down onto his face. “Please test me. Please.” You begged.
   His gaze shifted between you and the weapon and he brought his trembling hands up in defeat. He must’ve been an agent of some Intelligence branch because his fighting abilities were evidently subpar at best.
   You sighed, sad to see the opportunity go but brought the cane down none the less. “That’s unfortunate,”
   You turned your attention to the sound of running coming around the corner and moved to drag and hide your captive in a nearby closet only to roll your eyes when Bucky came ‘round. You tossed the cane back and forth between your hands and smiled proudly towards the agent on the floor.
   “Look who I caught,” you toyed and were met with a grunt.
   “Only because you let him get away,” he retorted, pulling the balding man up to his feet.
   Everything began to slow and the hellfire you’d kept under mounds of ice had finally melted through its freezing cage. “What?”
   He turned his back towards you and trudged the hesitant man behind him towards the exit.
   “I said,” you hollered, not caring how the halls carried your echo, “What?”
   “I heard what you said,” he called back to you, not bothering to turn around.
   And there you were left, frozen and dumbfounded for five solid minutes before you could pull yourself together enough to stomp your way back towards the rendezvous point. You remained hazy for the most part while debriefing. You tried to recount everything but the way your anger engulfed you in its flame obscured your memory so you kept it short. 
   It was quickly brought up that SHIELD captured more HYDRA agents than expected and were gonna be at max capacity so you and Bucky had to stay at a base a few miles down the road. You grumbled in compliance but Bucky didn’t respond, not even a godforsaken grunt.
   What SHIELD had failed to mention though, was that this bunker was clearly meant for one. It barely counted as a room. There was a small bathroom in the corner just big enough for a shower and toilet. No sink. And a small counter with just enough space for a stove, microwave and radio. If you were to lay down vertically or horizontally you’d nearly be touching wall each way. Not to mention the singular bed.
   And that’s how you got to where you were now. Miniscule room. Exhausted body. Drained mind. Patience long gone. 
   You huffed and dropped your bag in front of the entrance before walking to the bathroom and turning to slam the door closed. You turned the faucet on and ripped the wig off, discarding your clothes in a pile before stepping into the shower. The warm water was nice and welcoming but your body already felt aflame so you twisted the knob and held your breath when the cold stream trickled down your body. It was difficult to breathe at first, but your body soon adjusted to the temperature and you began wiping the muck off your skin with the bar of soap supplied. But that’s all the was supplied. Clearly, this place was meant to be a quick pit stop. 
   You sat on the hard floor as the water streamed onto your body. You could nearly fall asleep to its rhythm; It was only when your head hit the wall that you realized you were so you begrudgingly stood up and shut off the water. You grabbed the only towel in the bathroom and pat yourself dry, noticing just then that you left your clothes outside.
   You let out a long sigh and twisted open the doorknob to find Bucky toying with the radio on the counter; not even purposefully, just looking for something to do while he waited. 
   You opened your mouth to ask him to hand you your bag but after what he said to you earlier you’d sooner eat hot coals than ask him to do anything for you. You stepped out of the bathroom, towel wrapped neatly around your chest and you bent over to open your bag. The shuffling on the radio stopped. 
   “You could’ve at least left me some warm water,” he grumbled and you rolled your eyes.
   You searched in your bag for the fresh clothes residing there only to turn around when you found them and have the bathroom door shut in your face. 
   “Are you fucking kidding me?” You shouted, pounding your fist against the door.
   You could hear the water running and you groaned, pounding harder. The door opened for a split second and you were hit in the face with the clothes you’d left inside only for it to instantly be slammed shut again.
   You punched the door with all the frustration built up over the past few hours and felt the wood crack with your force. Why did this man have to be incredibly baffling? You were not nearly paid enough to deal with such an unbearable partner. He would have you bald from stress before you knew it. 
   You spent the next few minutes grumbling to yourself after you changed and scribbled your frustration onto a small notebook you took with you everywhere. It was only when you heard the water shut off did you remember something. You still had the only towel. A villainous smirk tugged at your lips and you placed the folded towel on the edge of the bed, away from the door.
   Then you heard the creak. “I will walk out naked if you don’t give me the towel,” Bucky threatened.
   You shrugged despite him not being able to see you from your position on the bed, “I’ll just laugh at your dick,” 
   “You weren’t laughing earlier,” he shot back.
   Oh. So he did remember. Good. You thought he’d gotten amnesia within the past few hours, maybe he was just too ashamed to mention it.
   “Too disgusted to insult. Plus, I was playing a character,”
   “Fine,” he responded and quickly came into view, haughtily sauntering over to your side and you shouted.
   “Dear God!” You held the towel up to block your sight of his barren body. It was disgusting. He was all wet, hair dripping onto his muscled torso, water gleaming off his taut skin, 5 o’clock shadow drenched and straight out of a wet dream. Jesus.
   “Prude,” he commented, snatching the towel from your grasp and wrapping it around himself. 
   “Respectable,” you corrected, crossing your arms and shoving him away. “You get the floor,”
   He lifted his duffle off the ground and rummaged through it. “Then I get the blanket,”
   “You get fuck all,” you stated, flipping off the lamp beside you and snuggling into the warm cot.
   When the shuffling stopped and the bathroom light was shut off, you shut your eyes and let the wear of the day grab at you, lulling you into the beginning of slumber. That is, until the blanket was hauled from around you, damn near throwing you onto the floor. You shouted out and caught yourself last minute. 
   “Barnes!” You yelled, steadying yourself and reaching over the edge to grab the blanket back. Your hand fisted at the faux fur and you pulled with all your might to no avail. 
   He swatted you away as though you were a pesky fly and reached over to turn the light of the lamp on. You glowered at him and stood, wrapping the blanket around your arm and pulling upwards. Your arm strained to its capacity but the man on the floor didn’t budge. Only turned his back to you and shut his eyes. You reached over yourself and flipped the switch of the lamp, once again immersing yourself in the comforting darkness. 
   Bucky stiffened and opened his eyes then turned and froze you in your spot with his stare. He reached around and lit the lamp, slowly retracting his arm and daring you to turn it off again. So you did.
   He yanked the blanket from your grasp and threw you back onto the bed, bringing light into the room. “Light stays on,” he growled.
   “No! You’ve had your goddamn way since you stepped foot into this room. Light goes off and I get the blanket!” You shouted, not concerned about anyone else hearing considering the room was soundproof.
   “No. You get the bed so I get the blanket. Tell me how that doesn’t make sense,” he countered.
   You didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of admitting that it did, in fact, make sense. The floor here was wooden and clearly uncomfortable, plus he hadn’t even argued about the bed situation. 
   You retreated, “Fine, light still goes off,”
   “No,” 
   “Yes,” 
   Silence fell between the two of you but you weren’t budging. Barnes had faced plenty of monsters, he could handle the dark. 
   “I need the noise to fall asleep,” he admitted and it was then you could hear the slight hum the bulb emitted.
   You didn’t speak for a while but reared back and pulled out your phone, “What do you want to listen to?” You scrolled through a few sounds you had stored on your phone, “We’ve got: nature sounds, frequencies, guided meditations, etc. You name it, but I’m not sleeping with this forsaken light on,”
   Bucky studied you, his expression changing a mile a minute but the one of indifference conquered, “Rain,” 
   You nodded once and selected the audio, placing the phone face up on the nightstand and turning the light off for the last time. Hopefully. You hunkered down into the thin mattress and reached down, grasping at the thick blanket. When you pulled, there was some give. He’d let you get just enough needed to cover your body if you laid at the very edge and your hand hovered in the air when you laid your arm over the side.
   Minutes flew by with your eyes shut and the exhaustion slithered over your body but your mind ran wild with the events from earlier. You tried not to get angry or sad or . . . bothered. Your breathing deepened when you began to succumb to your body’s fatigue and you drifted inch by inch into the welcoming void lulling your name.
   You didn’t hear when he shifted, only managed to register the faint tracing of his fingertips on your hand before finally giving out.
   You weren’t sure what time it was when you opened your eyes for the first time that night. This regularly happened. You’d wake up multiple times during the night to shift positions or throw off the sheets, no matter how insignificant the desire, your body always found a way to wake you for it.
   You opened your eyes slowly to a hazy vision and blinked at the sitting figure on the floor, “Bucky?” You croaked, bringing a hand up to wipe at your face, “What time is it?”
   “It’s almost one, go back to sleep,”
   “What are you doing?” You persisted, ignoring his demand and sitting up slowly, “Why aren’t you sleeping?”
   “Couldn’t,” 
   A heartbeat. Then another. And another. He didn’t care to elaborate.
   “Do you want the bed?” You offered, stretching yourself out and already placing yourself down on the floor, “It’s too hot up there, anyway,”
   His attention turned to you for the first time but you’d already began closing your eyes, not really having the energy to argue with him. You could hear shuffling from his spot and the ground disappeared below you, strong hands grasping your body and lifting you up to place you gently back onto the cot.
   “I prefer the floor,” he insisted, wrapping the blanket around you, “Besides, you’re a horrendous liar,”
   You didn’t hold back the singular chuckle, your haze still enveloping you. “Then why aren’t you sleeping?”
   He sat at the foot of the bed, his hand hovering over your leg in hesitation, “It’s complicated.” He dropped his hand to his side.
   “Isn’t the rain helping?” you mumbled, your sight now adjusting to the dark.
   “Yes,”
   “Then what?” 
   “I just . . . don’t want to wake you,”
   “Well, I’m already awake if that makes you feel better,” you jeered, a small smile forming on your lips.
   “It doesn’t,”
   “Nothing does,” you retorted, the inevitable annoyance you always felt when conversing with him already made its way up into your tone.
   He scoffed and stood from the bed, placing himself in the same spot on the floor with his head leaned up against the wall and his arm resting on his perched knee. 
   “Oh, so now you can’t handle a little attitude,” your tone came out incredulous, “You didn’t have any issues earlier when you blamed me for that guy’s escape. Which, he didn’t even get to do, might I add,”
   “I was projecting,” he replied, gaze still focused on the door opposite to him.
   You blinked, “Are you so tired that you’re actually admitting to being a dick?”
   “I know I can be a dick, but you threw yourself straight into the line of fire twice today. So I don’t really give a shit if I was mean to you,”
   “I only did that because you almost got shot twice today. Don’t take your anger out on me for your incompetence. Just say ‘thank you’ and move on already,”
   “Incompetence?” His head jerked in your direction. “What was incompetent was that you couldn’t keep yourself composed,”
   You sat up. “What in the hell are you talking about? My behavior is what got our target to basically give himself up to us! It was me that trapped him, not you!” His composure tensed and you crossed your arms over your chest, “You’re just mad your dick got hard so if anything you’re the one who couldn’t keep their compos-” His hand was wrapped around your throat and you were pinned to the mattress before you could finish your sentence.
   “Shut the fuck up,” he hissed at you, his face mere inches from yours.
   “Why?” You spoke hoarsely around his tightening grip, “Does the Big Bad Wolf not like that he was turned on? Who’s the prude now?”
   “Turned on?” He spat, his free hand resting by your head to cage you in, “You think what you did earlier turned me on?”
   You grasped at the hand around your throat and pried slightly to speak, “Fight me or fuck me, Barnes. But stop lying to yourself, it’s getting old,”
   The room seemed to freeze over and Bucky paused. His hesitation was enough to elicit the fire from earlier and your legs squirmed a little underneath him. God, you hoped he chose the latter.
   Then his lips crashed against yours. 
   You squeaked at the sudden onslaught but threw your arms around his shoulders and pulled him in tighter against you. He dropped when you intertwined your legs, his full weight pressing against you deliciously. You ground up against him, your core aching from the previous hours and the small friction elicited a moan from the both of you. 
   “So impatient,” he scolded, bringing the hand from around your throat down to your hips and pressing you into the bed. “What a whore,”
   His breath danced along your cheek and you mewled at his words. Gods, he was going to be the death of you. Or the beginning. 
   You breathed in deeply, his sandalwood scent intoxicating you in a manner that alcohol never could. When you drank, you were just drunk. But when you took a sip from the tall glass that was Bucky, it brought you to life. Your body sang melodies wherever you were plastered against each other and your skin burned with need.
   Touch me, your body screamed, touch me.
   “Fuck off,” you groaned and Bucky jerked your head to the side, exposing your neck for him to scavenge.
   The goosebumps that danced across your skin when he ran his warm tongue up from the curve of your neck to the bottom of your ear brought an arrogant smirk onto Bucky’s face. You ran your fingers through his hair and tugged when he reached a particularly sensitive spot that had your legs shaking when he kissed it sloppily. 
   Your mouth hung open in silent pleasure and your breaths were short and rapid, your body betraying all forms of control you previously had over yourself. The hand that wasn’t residing in his hair trailed down his muscled arm and you gripped at the brawn this man possessed. His skin reminisced lightly of silk despite the rough texture of his hands. 
  The same hands that now made its way into your hair and tugged at the strands at the base of your neck, jolting your chin higher into the air. Your grip tightened around his biceps and the strength they emitted sent a pool rushing to your core. You continued hunting until you found the hem of his black, cotton shirt and you made your way up his taut abdomen. You let out a sigh and he jumped lightly at the sensation of your cool fingertips across his scorching skin. It was a nice contrast for him. 
   You gripped at the shirt and hastily ripped the cotton upward. Bucky broke away from his descent down to your chest to let you remove the fabric and you’d suddenly wished you’d turned the lights on first. He mimicked your action and tossed your shirt in a deserted corner of the room to potentially be abandoned. You gasped when the cold air of the room grazed upon the perked mounds of your breasts. 
   His lips returned to their spot on the dip of your neck and his tongue slithered down in between your breasts. Your breath hitched when his wet muscle made its way up to the apex of your chest. His right hand mirrored his tongue and swirled around your nipple, his teeth pulling eagerly every so often and you hissed at the delectable pain. Your eyes devoured the scene unfolding on your chest and you reached over to flick the light on, desperate for a clearer image.
   Bucky halted and his metal arm reached over to switch the light back off but you swatted his hand away and he backed up lightly, his irritation evident on his face.
   “I want to watch,” you grumbled and shifted up to bring your lips back up to his. He let you. He pushed back lightly with his own lips and leaned in sync with your movements. He parted his mouth slightly and you followed suit, letting him lead his way into yours with the same muscle he’d just had flicking across your breasts.
   The light went off.
   You pushed him away and shot towards the switch but metal met your wrist firmly enough to keep you in place. “Bucky.” You wrestled against his hold and turned your full attention back to the figure hovering above, “I want to see you,” 
   Despite the darkness, you noticed his mouth twitch but his grip on your wrist remained solid. You sprawled back onto the bed and wrapped your free hand around the back of his neck and pulled him down onto you, pressing his surprisingly soft lips onto yours. You broke apart, his lips a hair’s breadth away from your own. “I want to see you,” 
   He didn’t move, only scanned your face over a few times and you brought him back down into a kiss. This one wasn’t like before. This one was warm, soft, patient. A ballet compared to its previous mosh pit. He danced along with you, an admission hidden somewhere in his tenderness.
   You hadn’t realized you’d been freed of his hold until you were wrapping that arm over his shoulder and the sound of a light humming began.
   “Fucker,” you jeered and the previous gentleness dissipated.
   “Shut up,” he ordered, pinning you back onto the bed and resumed his ministration on your breasts.
   The moan slipped past your lips at the sight and your chest heaved upwards, desperate for more stimulation. You licked your lips at how his mouth encased your nipple, his tongue flicking against the perked skin and you dropped your head back, shutting your eyes. You centered all of your attention anywhere that his bare skin touched your body and rubbed your aching clit against his v-line. 
   Your chest was pressed against the mattress before you could register what happened and the hard smack that met your ass evoked a yelp. Bucky pressed fully against your backside and he ground his dick down into your ass. He groaned at the sensation and you raised your ass onto him. You yelped again when Bucky ripped your leggings down and smacked the exposed skin on your ass.
   “Try something like that again and I’ll gag you around my cock ‘til you’re crying,” he growled, “Understood?”
   You nodded, wide-eyed and a mewling mess from the threatening promise of this God. 
   “Good girl,” he cooed, rubbing at the raw skin. “Now stay still for Daddy,”
  Bucky’s hand lingered on your reddening ass and the mattress dipped when he shifted to your side. He traced gentle circles onto your backside and pressed his lips on your shoulder blade, the butterfly kisses making their way down towards your spine and then lower. Your breathing grew uneven from the sheer amount of restraint you displayed. Your grip on the edge of the bed tightened when his tongue dragged from the point where your thigh and ass met all the way up to the bottom of your spine.
   “Fuck,” You shuddered, white-knuckling the blanket beneath you.
   Your skin blazed when you were met with another harsh slap. You mewled at the sensation, loving the fire that spread across your flesh and relaxed when his metal hand cooled the area. 
   Then his teeth bit into the cooling flesh and you jerked away despite yourself. Bucky tsked lowly and you chuckled at the hint of fear sprouting in your chest; you did not want to see whatever sinister expression resided on his face. 
   A strong hand gripped the roots of your hair and hauled you up. You followed his direction and knelt onto the ground between Bucky’s sprawled out legs, settling in your new position.
   “Oh, Doll,” he chastised, “you were so close,”
   “That shouldn’t count,” you retorted while Bucky pulled the blanket off the bed and lifted you up with his metal arm, shoving the barrier between your knees and the hard ground.
   “But it does.” His hands dove into his underwear and sprung his cock out onto your lips. “Now get to work,”
   Your eyes widened at the sight before you and you had to physically hold back from gulping. You were ashamed to admit your mouth watered in anticipation. You lifted your hands from his sculpted thighs and wrapped them around his length, enveloping just the tip past your parted lips. Bucky sighed and twitched in your mouth.
   You welcomed him in fully, or as much as you could anyway, and got straight to work, not bothering to act abashed at your desire. Your tongue swirled around his tip and you leaned into him until he hit the back of your mouth but you continued on, gagging around him when he’d gotten inside your throat. Bucky groaned when your throat tightened around him and he threw his head back, using his flesh hand to guide you up and down his shaft, showing you what he liked and didn’t. 
   “Fuck, Doll,” he groaned, “Just how I imagined your mouth would feel,”
   You pulled off him to comment when he shoved you all the way down to the hilt and you threw your hands up onto his thighs to hold yourself back. He used his metal arm to hold himself up and thrusted up into your salivating mouth desperately. He continuously hit the back of your throat and thick saliva coated his cock. Just as he promised, tears prickled at the corners of your eyes and he didn’t stop until your cheeks were drenched in the liquid.
   You let your jaw hang open, your tongue no longer swiveling around meticulous spots that you knew would make his legs buckle. No, you let him have the reigns. Let him fuck your mouth ‘til your throat grew bruised and jaw ached with fatigue. You committed his cries of pleasure to memory, the sounds euphoric to your ears. 
   He lifted his head and stared down at you with half-closed eyes. He was in heaven and you knew it. He watched you, how the tears trailed down, how your hands gripped at his thighs, how you stuck out your tongue just as you’d made it to the base of his cock to lick his balls in the most intoxicating way. Fuck. You were the intoxicating one. You brought out this side of him. This carnal desire that became him until he’d had to step out of the room just to compose himself. And he didn’t like being out of control. That’s why he always kept you at an arm’s distance.
   But now, watching as you sat between him with your mouth agape like the good girl that you were for him, he knew he’d never deny himself this pleasure again. Especially since you were so fucking good at it.
   He groaned, pulling you off his cock and grabbed tightly at your cheeks, nearly pinching your mouth together. “Tongue out.” He growled, waiting for your compliance.
   Your jaw ached with exhaustion but you managed to stick out the wet muscle as he pulled you closer into him and watched when he parted his lips above you, letting the saliva trail down from his mouth into yours. 
   “Swallow,” he ordered.
   But it was already done, and you left your mouth hanging open for more.
   “Jesus fucking Christ,” Bucky grumbled, putting his face right up against yours and feeding you once again; this time with a sloppy kiss that coated both your mouths in saliva.
   He brought you up from the floor and tossed you onto the bed before settling between your legs. The excitement in your eyes grew and he indulged in every minute of it. Bucky’s hand trailed down from your lower abdomen right above your pubic bone and pressed his palm into your neglected clit. The cry you let out was the unholiest thing he’d ever heard. 
   He slid his finger under the waistband of your underwear and flitted his gaze back up to your eyes, “Can I?”
   You nodded eagerly, dumbfounded that he would even ask and fought the temptation to grab your phone from the nightstand and record everything that was about to unfold. 
   At the first nod, Bucky slid your underwear down your legs and made a show of bringing the material up to his face. Your own went red hot and you hid behind your hands, poking through every millisecond to shamefully watch. He threw the panties into his open duffel and you squirmed in anticipation.
   “Remember the rules?” Bucky asked, brow lifted and already descending to your inner thigh.
   You nodded again.
   “I need to hear it, Doll,” he mumbled, kissing the inner part of your thigh, each placement closer and closer to where you needed him most.
   “Yes,” you whimpered out, “I remember the rules,”
   Bucky wanted to dive right in, he really did, but the way you sprawled yourself out so vulnerable for him, it incited a new pace that he wanted to follow. So, he did. He looked at you for a few moments, watched how the anticipation danced in your eyes, how your legs shook in wait and how you were already so goddamn wet for him.
   “This all for me?” he teased, mesmerized at your desire for him.
   You dropped a hand down to your side, near where his hands were wrapped around your thighs to keep you in place - and against his face. He cocked his head to the side, waiting for your answer.
   You nodded sheepishly and when he lifted an eyebrow in mock confusion you said, “You. Just you,”
   Like music to his ears. Just him. You weren’t for anyone else. He thought he felt his heart palpitate.
   He lowered himself down to your core and kissed your lip, drawing a desperate plea from you. You couldn’t wait anymore, couldn’t deal with the teasing. You were wet enough, needy enough, ready enough to take him, all of him. You’d been ready damn near the moment you first laid eyes on his arrogant smirk.
   “Buck - please,” you cried, drawling out the final word.
   The first kiss placed upon your soaked cunt erupted a sigh of relief and you laid back on the pillow, your eyes closed and mind gone with the sensation of those sloppy kisses blessing your needs. He flattened his tongue on your lips and licked upwards, stopping when your hips twitched into his mouth.
   “Sorry!” You apologized, fighting the desire to grind into his wet muscle. He’d just gotten started and you certainly didn’t want it to end so soon.
   He lifted his gaze up to you and you bit into your fist at the view, using the extremity to hold back your moans. He flicked his attention down again and repeated his motion, lapping at your fluids ‘til his beard was soaked in it. He shook his head into your cunt and his nose rubbed along your clit. The mewling that left your mouth urged him on and when you felt his muscle prodding at your entrance you threw your head back.
   “Please, Bucky.” You begged, bringing a hand up to tease your nipple.
   He prodded some more, his tongue gliding up from your clit and back down to your entrance, poking through enough to frustrate you. He wanted you to break for him. To lose all composure and control and just let him. He wanted you to submit to him but it wasn’t just that, it was more that he wanted to destroy you for any future experience you may have without him. He wanted you to come back to him, to need him, to beg for him and leave you with the understanding that nothing - no one - could compare to him. He wanted you. To himself. 
   So, when he could no longer refrain and had to use his metal arm to hold your hips down from squirming beneath him, he slipped two thick, rough fingers into your begging cunt. And the sound you emitted caused that carnal instinct to claw at the barriers caging it in.
   Your hand shot down, tangling itself into his hair and pushing him harder against you. He allowed it. Your thighs held him in place, crushing him with your soft skin and he groaned at the warmth you gave off. You pulled your hand away from your mouth and grabbed at his metal one resting on your pubic bone, pulling it up to your chest and wrapping his fingers on the sensitive bud for him to tease. He slowly retracted from your chest and brought it back down onto your hips and you huffed in annoyance. You looked down at Bucky but his eyes were shut, completely engrossed in the feast before him. You bucked when his fingers glazed across that sensitive spot inside your velvety walls.
   “There!” You cried, your fist tightening in his hair when the all-too-familiar wave of ecstasy began to pool together, waiting for its release.
   Bucky complied, dragging the pads of his fingers up against that spot over and over again. Your legs caged him in tighter as his tongue swirled over the hyper-sensitive bundle of nerves and you cried out at the way your body tensed.
   “Fuck,” you cried, your hands desperately grasping onto Bucky’s metal wrist and tugging at the roots of his hair. Bucky’s groan of pleasure was what tipped you over the edge.
   You gasped when the pool building released, your body shaking with euphoria and the flood crashed down onto you. And apparently, onto Bucky as well. He pulled his mouth away but continued rubbing at your clit when warm liquid squirted onto his face and his expression of surprise mirrored your own.
   When Bucky looked up at you, your face burned with embarrassment and you threw your head back, using your hand to cover your countenance. Not to mention the sight of him with your juices all over his mouth was one of the hottest things you’d ever witnessed.
   Bucky chuckled at your sheepish apology and removed your hand from your face, bringing his soaked mouth up to yours and having you taste yourself. You devoured each other, your arms wrapped tightly around the other, pulling so fiercely at the innate desire to become one in shared pleasure. He could feel his pride swell at your hidden confession. You’d never squirted before and he was lucky enough to be the one to give you that experience for the first time. 
   You clawed at him, divulging in the warmth his body radiated and intoxicating yourself in everything that was Bucky. You couldn’t get enough of it, of him. It was nearly too much.
   His hand trailed up to your gaping mouth and he inserted his fingers, “Clean them,” he ordered.
   Your hand gripped his wrist and pulled his fingers deeper into your mouth, never breaking eye contact with him, loving the way he ate up everything he was seeing. You noticed the way he swallowed.
   He retracted his hand and wrapped it gently behind your head so you were resting on him. He brought his full weight down onto your body and a warmth emanated in your chest when he brought his lips up against your forehead, each kiss closer and closer to your lips until they met their destination. When you parted your mouth against his, it wasn’t merely an action of carnal desire, it was like you were exchanging life forces. Merging and meeting in a manner that had your body exploding and crying out for more of the faint familiarity. Like seeing an old friend for the first time in years.
   Bucky looked down between your bodies at where you were about to connect before staring back up at you, taking you in as if he would never have this opportunity again. His thumb brushed your cheek and came to a rest on your bottom lip. “Ready?”
   You chuckled, “Fuck me,”
   He shoved inside in one clean motion and a breath of pleasure slid past both of your lips.
   “Fuck,” he groaned, his hand tightening slightly around your neck and he pulled out slowly then shot back inside and you moaned.
   You were still so sensitive from your previous climax that every brush against your clit sent you into a whirlwind of pleasure, the sensations shooting through every nerve in your body. 
   “Bucky,” you whined when his pace quickened and the sheer force of his thrusts drove you deeper into euphoria.
   He filled you just right, his girth and length impressive and you wondered why you hadn’t tried to screw him earlier. He slid past your tight walls, each thrust causing the room to echo with the sounds of skin slapping and moans of ecstasy. 
   He kept his actions controlled, not wanting to build up to something so intense just for it to fall short and end fast. No. Despite how good you felt wrapped around his aching and swollen cock, despite how warm and welcoming you were, how you spread yourself out for him to consume, he had to leash himself. This was going to be just as good for you as it was for him. 
   He kissed you one last time before gripping the back of your knees and bringing your thighs up to your chest, a shout of praise falling off your lips. He was drunk on the sight of his cock going in and out of your cunt and he threw his head back with a groan.
   “What a fucking pretty pussy,” he breathed out and you whimpered, biting your lip at the welcome profanities.
   At this angle, he was fucking against your g-spot and using his pubic bone to rub against your clit and watching the thin layer of sweat sheen off his skin was all too much to keep yourself put together. His eyebrows scrunched together and you caught him taking in your form, watching how your pleasure displayed itself on your face for him to bear witness to. Only him.
   He growled at the intrusion of thoughts that came to him. He pictured someone else in his position, someone else witnessing you so vulnerable and open to them, someone else fucking you and making you beg for them. It disgusted him. He brought his torso down and latched his teeth to your neck, biting down hard enough to have you tearing up.
   “Mine,” he growled into your ear and lulled his head forward when you tightened around him.
   A sinister smirk came to his face and he licked the shell of your ear, your breathy moans feeding him, “You like that?” He asked, pistoling further into your cunt and you shouted at the increase of pace, “You like when I tell you who you belong to?”
   Your mouth hung agape and the one arm wrapped around his shoulder pulled him closer to you, your desperation for his warmth taking control. “Fuck . . . off,” you hissed between breaths.
   He pulled out and yanked you up by your hair, twisting you around and pressing your torso into the wall but keeping your ass propped up for him to admire. You hissed at the pain when a sharp smack met your ass and your hands gripped at the wall for any way to ground yourself and prevent from becoming putty in his hands.
   Another hard smack met your ass and you lurched forward to get away from the sting. Bucky kept your head pinned to the cement, his hand holding your cheek from scraping the wall but applying a pressure that had your tongue lolling out of your mouth. 
   You moaned at the intrusion in your pussy and he plummeted in and out, a mix of your grunts and groans bouncing around the room. His pace constantly changed. One second it was fast, the next it was slow but filling, going so far as to hit your cervix a few times and leave you a crying mess under his hold. Your shoulder scraped along the wall and you fought to push away only to have your chest slammed harder against the cement.
   You brought a hand out, reaching behind yourself and grasping for Bucky’s hip, pushing him deeper into you when he slowed. Your nails dug into his flesh and the sound of his hiss shot straight to your core. 
   “What a goddamn whore,” he spat, bringing his teeth down onto your neck and you gripped at his hair.
   You laughed at his statement, “You’re the one that can’t get enough of this pussy. Why so desperate to claim it? Afraid I'll fuck someone else?” Bucky pulled you back and slammed you against the wall with vigor, causing you to flinch
   He stopped his thrusts altogether, “My patience only goes so far, Doll,” he threatened, tugging at your hair and you bit back a cry, “Choose your words wisely,”
   You nodded hastily, the rough texture of the wall digging into your cheek and splitting skin. You wriggled up against him to continue moving but he retracted completely and flipped you over so he was laying on the bed and you were straddling him.
   “Move,” he ordered, his hands digging bruises into your waist.
   You leaned over, pressing your chest against his to lift your hips up and down on him but he pushed you back up and held your arms behind your back to keep you in place. You whimpered but the cry quieted when you rubbed your clit against him and your pussy clenched at the friction. You moaned out a breathy fuck and swiveled your hips around his, noting how much deeper he filled you in this position.
   “Buck-” you huffed, eyes glued to the glistening abs beneath you. “I’m gonna cum,”
   “Already?” He jeered, an eyebrow raised in amusement.
   You’d lost all energy to sneer at him, your focus solely on how the sensation grew and began pooling in your cunt. “Cock . . . so good,” you breathed out, barely able to keep yourself from melting into him.
   “What was that, Doll?” He stilled your movements and you groaned in annoyance.
   You wriggled in his hold and you could tell by the furrow of his brow that he was fighting to keep control as well. You leaned over him, your lips hovering over his, “Mine,”
   His grip flew to the back of your neck and he crashed your lips onto his, giving you full reign again. You bounced your hips on his dick, slamming down vigorously and rubbing your clit in effect. It didn’t take long for your climax to build again.
   “’M gonna . . .” you whispered and Bucky placed you back up, gripping your hips and swiveling you around how you were earlier.
   “Cum, Doll,” he allowed, “Cum all over this cock,”
   You cried out, your toes curling as the dam in your core snapped and your climax washed over you. You hadn’t realized your fingers were intertwined with Bucky's until you came back down from your high, your chest heaving for breath.
   He sat up slowly and pressed his lips against your neck. “You’re beautiful,”
   Your body tensed at his words and you pulled away to give him a look of confusion. But he didn’t take his statement back, only slipped his hands around your back and gently placed you onto the bed, hovering over you.
   He moved with caution, like his gentleness might scare you off if he touched you too tenderly or stared too long in admiration. But he couldn’t help it, he did admire you.
   He spread your legs open and nestled between them, pushing into you slowly until your hips met and you both breathed out. His movements weren’t nearly as brutal as they were earlier, these thrusts were slow and deep and full of intention. He brought his torso down onto yours and you wrapped your legs around his waist, bringing him closer to you.
   He ran his hand, the only one he allowed himself to touch you affectionately with, through your hair and stared down at you, waiting. His gaze shifted between your lips to your eyes and he ran his thumb delicately along your mouth.
   You looked at him then, really looked at him with fresh eyes and your heart leapt into your throat at the realization. “Kiss me,” you whispered and he lowered himself onto your lips, setting off an explosion in your chest.
   “I’m yours,” he whispered, not able to bring himself to look at you, “I’ve been yours,”
   You opened your mouth to respond but he silenced you with a deep thrust and a moan erupted instead. He quickened his pace, watching where you connected and pushed deeper and harder, your cries of pleasure driving him. He had to fuck you, he couldn’t love you, he couldn’t make love to you, just fuck. That’s it. He couldn’t allow himself to replay your look of shock at his confession, though the scene would surely be on loop for the next few days until he could get over it. Just fuck. Nothing more. Not with that look of disbelief on your face.
   He held himself up with his forearms but you pressed him against you and wrapped your legs tighter around him. “Harder,” you whispered and he complied.
   He groaned when your tits bounced and brought his mouth to a nipple, the faint taste of sweat lingering on your skin. You brought his metal hand up to your chest and made him grip the flesh there but he pulled it back and placed it beside your head instead.
   “Bucky,” you whimpered and grabbed his hand again, bringing his open palm up to your lips and placing delicate kisses on the metal. “You can feel with it, right?”
   He nodded, hesitance sprawled on his face.
   “Then touch me,” you urged, bringing the hand down between your bodies and pressing the cold metal against your clit, “Feel me,”
   His brows furrowed slightly but the look of your certainty forced him to dismiss his own perceptions of his body; or rather, that arm. And when he began rubbing circles into your bundle of nerves the expression on your face made him hate it a little less. Only a little.
   You stared up at him, his pace growing erratic and sloppy and you knew he was close. “You wanna cum?” 
   He nodded, his hot breath coming out haggard and strained. You placed your hand on his cheek and brought him up to your kiss.
   “Then cum,” 
   He shook his head, “You first,” he swirled his finger around your swollen clit and you gasped at the force of his thrust.
   Your body tensed and you centered all your focus on his ministrations, “A little more pressure,” you directed and he quickly found a pressure that had you wobbling in the knees. “Close,” you murmured, gripping Bucky’s side and bringing your lips up to his neck to pepper the skin there.
   He groaned and judging by the way his dick twitched inside you, you knew he wasn’t far behind. 
   “Bucky,” you whispered, pulling his attention towards you and his gaze brought you closer to the edge, “I’m yours,”
   He blinked and his pace faltered for half a beat. He examined your facial expression, like he didn’t believe the words you’d spoken. Not like he couldn’t believe them, but like you’d said them just to appease him. 
   You placed your forehead against his, closing your eyes and taking a deep breath to center yourself in the haze of this fucking. “Yours,” you repeated, all the emotion residing in your chest poured into the singular word. 
   And then he was back to drilling you into the mattress, a new vigor fueling his thrusts. You cried out and Bucky pressed his sweaty torso flat against your own and it felt like the essence, the being, in your chest intermingled with his own and all the climaxes you’d previously experienced couldn’t hold a match to the flame, the intensity, the rawness of the one that washed over the both of you in that moment.
   Bucky moaned out, his hips bucking into yours and you rode out both of your highs. The sensation consuming and overwhelming and welcome on both ends as it flooded through your bodies, meeting at your point of contact.
   His arms flexed above you with the ferocity of his climax and the display had you writhing beneath him, already desperate for more.
   “Buck,” you whispered when his breathing evened out after he collapsed onto you.
   He didn’t respond, afraid it had all been a dream, a trick, despite still being inside you. He didn’t want to move, didn’t want to shatter the perfection of this moment. What if you’d only said that to get him to finish faster? What if you’d only fed him what he wanted to hear? What if-
   “Buck,” you repeated, pulling him from his daze and he lifted his head only slightly. You gripped his chin lightly and forced him to look you in the eye. “You’re . . . mine?”
   He wanted to shake his head, to tell you that he got caught up in the moment but instead he said, “Yours,” because he knew anything else would be a lie and he was tired of lying.
   You studied him and nodded, “Yours,” you stated, already rolling your eyes from the smirk forming on his face, “Unfortunately,”
   He brought your face to his and planted a tender kiss on your lips. He started shifting his position and grabbed the underwear he’d been wearing earlier before pulling out and using the cloth to clean the mess pooling out of you. But not before taking a mental picture, of course. 
   After a few minutes of laying together, his hand playing with a few strands of hair, you felt the warm welcome of sleep beginning to drag you into its embrace. You opened your eyes groggily and looked up at Bucky who was already looking down at you, a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
   “I know about your night terrors,” you whispered and his actions halted momentarily before returning to brush through your hair, “I hear you sometimes. And I understand why you don’t want to go to sleep but,” you sat up slowly and placed the thick blanket down on the floor, dragging the pillow down with you and patting the open space beside you, “you should rest. I’ll be here to calm you or stay up with you. Whichever one you need,”
   He didn’t move at first, his ears drowning out any thought he could have while processing what you’d said. He’d stayed silent so long you’d thought you’d crossed a line.
   “I can always sleep on the bed if you’d prefer, though,”
   Bucky shook himself from his thoughts and edged closer to the floor, slowly descending into the available space and wrapping the blanket around the both of you as much as he could. “No,” he said, “I want you here,”
   You hummed in response and snuggled into his waiting arms, lightly wrapping your own around him, making sure to kiss the part of himself he hated the most before fatigue swept you up into its clutches. Bucky followed soon after. 
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colorseeingchick · 28 days ago
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Period Pains (Iwa, Suna, Bokuto)
Periods still stuck. Nothing has changed since part one. But these boys continue to comfort me when I feel like my heart, head, and stomach are going to explode :D. I hope they comfort you too!
A/N: It’s been rough homies. It really do be your own body that tries to attack you -_-. 
Warnings: EMETOPHOBIA (in Suna’s there’s a semi detailed description of vomiting); swearing; foot massage in Bokuto’s (Ik that makes some people uncomfy); gym bros. 
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Iwaizumi Hajime
It was common knowledge that you and Iwaizumi were two halves of one insane power couple. 
No questions asked, you both were generally independent when it came to taking care of your own matters, and you were both were pretty independent. 
But there were exceptions- moments where you would both lean on each other, using the other as an anchor and a crutch to get back up and stay on your feet. 
Your period was one of those times when times you needed your beloved boyfriend to play that role. 
Today was one of those days. 
You and Iwaizumi head over to the gym at around 6 am to get your early morning workout in before you go through with the rest of your day.
You had told Iwaizumi the night before, and he asked if you still wanted to “go gym” the next morning. 
You said yes, hoping that a solid workout would help with some of the cramps. 
And once you had got there, you had your hopes up. 
The first half of your workout was going really well, and you hadn’t thought of your cramps at all. 
But then it hit you while you were walking over to get your water bottle. 
You didn’t know why, but the cramps hit you hard. Instantly you went to the bathroom to try and compose yourself, but that wasn’t really helping either. 
You didn’t wanna bother Iwaizumi mid workout, so you tried to carry on. 
Unfortunately, that didn’t work out too well. 
As you tried to keep going, the cramps in your stomach got worse and worse, until you were pressing your stomach with your hands, curled over yourself on your yoga mat. 
Taking deep breaths, you tried to relieve the only worsening cramps. 
It wasn’t until a warm, firm hand caressed your back did you look up from your curled up form. 
“1 to 10.” Iwaizumi asks you with a soft voice. 
“4.” You say as you curl into yourself once more. 
It was the pain ranking system that you’d both been using since early on in your relationship. You knew exactly what he meant, and you were honestly thankful that he understood you were in pain by just looking at you. 
“Lying to me doesn’t do any good, ya know.” His words are harsh, yet the concern in his voice kills any intimidation that was supposed to come across. 
“7.” 
“Sounds right.” Iwa’s one arm wraps around you, digging into your side, his thumb massaging circles into the spot right above your left hip, while the other hand rubbed softer circles onto your lower belly. 
You felt your muscles untense as his hands worked away at your cramping stomach with deep pressure only he had the strength to apply. 
“What’s wrong with her?'' 
Both of you look up to see some guy (he seemed like a newbie, neither of you had seen him before) talking to your boyfriend. 
“What.” Iwa’s voice is dry, in shock at the fact that this dude was in your business. 
“Did she injure herself working out or something?” He asks, as if you were incapable of speaking for yourself. “Not being careful in the gym can be really dangerous, especially if you’re not trained.” He speaks in your direction this time. 
Iwaizumi Hajime (27) ATHLETIC TRAINER, now looked like he was ready to commit murder. 
Some of the regulars had now turned to watch, most giving the guy dirty looks.
A couple of you and Iwa’s closer gym bros step towards you both, making some preparations for Iwaizumi to swing. 
But before anyone can really say anything, your voice cuts through. 
“That’s real rich coming from you. The only thing that’s gonna cause an injury is your horrendous deadlift form.” 
Your boyfriend goes from a state of shock into a fit of snickers, the guys on the side also amused. The guy in front of you goes completely red. 
“You don’t know what you’re talking about you bi-” 
“I actually think she’s right. I was a bit worried, too.” One of Iwa’s (very buff) friends stepped forward, smiling at you two before putting a hand a on the newbie’s shoulder. “Let’s go check it out.”
As you sigh out, your boyfriend stares at you with pride and amusement both bright in his eyes. “All that pain and you’re still able to come up with snarky comments.” 
As his hand returns to soothing circular motions, you dig your face into his chest. 
The soft touches from Iwa were enough to ease your pains, and allowed you to embrace your moment of vulnerability with your sweet boyfriend. 
“Let’s dip and get food, okay? And you can just rest at home. You deserve a break.”
“Weren’t you saying something about how the grind doesn’t stop-”
“It stops when your health is on the line. Let’s go.”
Suna Rintarou
When it comes to you being on your period, Suna is by far the most hands off while simultaneously being the most attentive. 
Suna wasn’t necessarily the biggest on PDA. But when it was just you two? He had no problem being all up against you.
The only situation Suna does not know how to navigate is when he can’t read someone’s moods or behaviors. Luckily for him, you were overly clear with his emotions and needs when you were on your period, even if those moods and needs were all over the place. 
Early on, when you got together, he was a bit surprised to see how bad your period could get.
He’d walked in to your room one day to see you in a fetal position, rolling around on the floor.
He’d seen you go a full day of eating only junk food, upset and trying to satiate all your cravings. 
He’d also seen you go without sleep because of how bad your cramps were.
Essentially, he’d learned you’d go through really bad health habits, and he’d assigned himself the roll of trying to make sure you maintained some regularity while on your period. 
He was ready for anything, so ready that he made it look effortless. 
When Suna came back from practice one day, he couldn't find you anywhere in your shared home. Which isn’t a problem, but he doesn’t recall you saying you were going anywhere....
It’s not till he lazily stalks over to the hallway and hears a horrible retching sound that he realizes you are still home. 
Swinging the door open, he finds you perched over the toilet, vomiting in what looks to be a super painful manner. 
“Rin...ta...r-oh fuck” you can barely get his name out before you start throwing up again. 
Your boyfriend takes a step into the bathroom, but you toss an intense ‘no’ his way with your hand. 
“It smells disgusting… and… I don’t want to be smothered right now…” you sigh as you breathe between your bouts of vomiting. 
He takes a deep breath, recomposing himself. He knows your period can get pretty bad, but he hasn’t seen it get this bad in a while. He obliges, but he doesn’t move from the doorway. 
As you start your next fit, Suna’s face remains blank, but his heart twists. 
He slowly approaches you, kneeling beside you. 
“I said to not.. To smother me....” your protest is weakened by your body inhibiting your ability to speak. 
Suna keeps a bit of space between you two, but he gently grabs your hair, pulling strand by strand, until its completely out of your face 
(alternatively, if you have short hair), Suna keeps a bit of space between you two, but he lets his hand gently rest on your back, rubbing in soothing circles . 
Your hand goes up to push him away, but he grabs your fist with his larger hand, weaving his fingers with yours, rubbing his thumb into the back of your hand. 
“I won’t smother, don’t worry. But I’m gonna be here.” He’s soft in his tone, unfazed despite the relative unpleasantness of the situation. 
As you finally stop, you fall back, your hands covering your eyes. 
As you lean back, your body giving out, your head finds its way onto the plush chest of your green eyed boyfriend. He doesn’t touch you, but just acts as a makeshift couch for you to lean on. 
“Rintarou.” “
Yeah?” 
“I need your touch.” 
Your words are blunt but effortlessly received as your boyfriend instinctively wraps his arms around you, languidly stroking your thigh with one hand and holding your stomach with the other. He adjusts you so that you’re pressed up against him. 
“Better, babe?” he asks as he backs up into the wall, loosening up as you relax against him. 
“Mmm.” You croon, sinking down against him. “I should  brush my teeth, I’m sorry you came back to this.”
“It’s fine. Get cleaned up. Wanna watch movies? I got Chinese takeout.” 
“I don’t want Chinese,” you comment.
 “What do you want?” 
“Pizza.” 
“...”
 “...”
 He sighs. “I’ll be back in 20.”
 “I love you.” you smile at him as you tell him what he already knows. 
He presses his nose into your hair, letting your conditioner’s scent fill his nose. “Mmm… and I love you.” 
“How much?” You ask.
“How much do I what?” 
“How much do you love me?” 
“Enough to get you pizza at 10 pm in the pouring rain.” 
“It’s raining??”
“Yeah.”
“...Nevermind I don’t want pizza anymore.”
“Well I want pizza now so I’m going.” He pulls himself up and out of the bathroom despite the way you tried to cling to his leg to keep him from leaving. 
“Rin!”
Bokuto Koutarou
Bokuto is honestly the ideal boyfriend, especially when you are on your period. 
Early in your relationship, when you got on your period, you didn’t tell Bo. But he ended up learning the hard way. 
He’d come back from practice a bit later than usual and didn’t text you. Usually he didn’t, especially if he knew he’d only be a little late. But when he walked through the doors, instead of finding his usually happy, bubbly girlfriend who usually showered him with love, he was greeted with you crying. 
“W-why didn’t-t you text me, Kou? Do you-u not care about me?” 
He had nooo idea what was going on, and he was very panicked and sad. 
He felt like the rug was pulled out from under him when you proceeded to snuggle into his chest 2 minutes later, cries completely stopped. His little owl eyes were wide open and very confused. 
2 days later, he asked about the situation again, scared to bring it up.
But you were really embarrassed as you explained how you were on your period and could get extreme mood swings. You apologized and promised that you’d never do something wild like that again.
But Bo wasn’t content with your answer. 
He went and asked Akaashi if he knew anything about what periods were like (he was shy to ask you). 
Akaashi found the lovely statistic of “period pain being of equal pain levels of a heart attack” and Bokuto lost his shit. “
I’ve never had a heart attack, but they kill people! And they go for the hospital for those! And she apologized for being a little emotional… that doesn’t seem right, right Kaashi?”
Akaashi agrees, of course. And sends Bokuto off with the advice of “she’s always there for you. All you have to do is be there for her.” 
When the next time you had your period rolled around, and you found yourself a little emotional, you did your best to control it. But Bokuto was having none of it. 
“Baby, you don’t have to hide it! You can be emotional!! I don’t mind. You always help me when I’m emotional! I can do the same for you. I’ll take the best care of you, I promise!” 
You would honestly call it a turning point in your relationship, cause this was when you learned to start really depending on Bo. And you realized just how dependable he could really be. 
When Bokuto comes back from practice today, he finds you splayed out on the couch, koala-hugging a pillow, whimpering a “welcome home” between grunts of pain. 
Bokuto stays quiet as he walks up to the couch, dipping down to place a kiss on your cheek before stripping his sweaty t-shirt off as he walks off to take a shower. 
Once he comes out, fresh and clean, he throws on a comfortable t-shirt and shorts before coming back to find you on the couch. 
He grabs your legs, pulls them up, sits down, and then places them in his lap. “Baby, do you want a massage? I can press your legs.” 
“You don’t have to, Kou, it’s okay.” 
“I want to!” He cheers back as he starts to knead at your calves, moving down to your feet and slowly pressing over your socks. 
You sigh and huff, slowly relaxing as the soothing feeling of the pressure applied to your feet counteracts the pain you felt in your lower abdomen. 
While Bokuto concentrates intensely on massaging your calves again, he perks up at the sound of a sniffle.
 Swinging his head, he sees you slowly dissolving into sobs. 
Panicked, he slides your legs onto the couch and comes by your face. 
“Baby, did I press too hard? Did I hurt you? Please tell me.”
“No, no, Kou, you’re fine. I’m just- I’m so lucky and blessed to have such a loving amazing boyfriend~” you get the words out as tears stream down your face, turning to look him in his big, gorgeous, gold eyes. “I don’t deserve you, my love.”
Now, for reasons unknown, Bokuto finds himself crying as well. 
“Why are you crying!” You cry and laugh out at the same time. 
“Because I have such a sweet girlfriend who always showers me in love! Don’t say I don’t deserve you. You’re perfect for me.” 
Cheesy as the exchange was, it was really soft for you. Because you knew Bokuto, and you knew he meant every word exactly as is from the bottom of his heart. 
Crying while your laughs got lighter, you pull him in and kiss him all over his face. 
He laughs too, and holds your face as he pulls away, swiping the tears from under your eyes. “Your turn!!” 
After smothering you with kisses, he picks you up and carries you to your shared bedroom, so he can love on you more, with enough space for both of you to lay next each other and peacefully drift off to sleep. 
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A/N: Gym guys who don’t mind their business seriously bother me. I hope you all enjoyed! Requests and commentary are greatly appreciated :D 
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loadpico733 · 28 days ago
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Jerry Reed Blogspot
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Raised in Georgia, Jerry Reed moved to Nashville in 1962, taking jobs as a session guitarist and writing songs for country heavies including Porter Wagoner. Encouraged by guitar great Chet Atkins, Reed developed an instantly recognizable and idiosyncratic guitar style that suited humor-filled compositions including “Guitar Man” and “Amos. Jerry Reed Hello, and welcome to my education blog! Here I post class assignments and opinions in regards to social studies education. Any names other than my own.
This question makes me think of one of my favorite words in the English language, culture. It is important to know the specific culture of your classes; how they act, their typical energy and participation level, how they work in groups, and many other factors. As educators we have to be flexible in almost everything we do, just because a lesson plan works wonderfully one year, doesn't mean it will continue to impress students in the future. One of the things you often hear from new teachers is that their time outside of the classroom consists of a lot of lesson planing, because they have yet to collect a variety of methods to teach each concept they need to. It is definitely difficult to teach in a manner that can be meaningful to the entirety of the increasingly diverse classrooms we find ourselves in. How exactly can we differentiate our teaching so that every student can learn? What exactly is the most important factor in effective teaching? How exactly can we differentiate our teaching so that every student can learn? According to dictionary.reference.com
Jerry Reed Blogspot Facebook
(2015), to differentiate is to 'to form or mark differently from other such things; distinguish'. That is exactly what differentiation of instruction is, to change how you teach, or the lessons you plan, so that a concept is taught in different ways. This is important simply because not everyone learns in the same way, some people need visuals to learn more effectively, others, like myself, are much more of a lecture learner, and even more are hands-on learners. Learning style varies from student to student, but this doesn't mean a student can only learn through their preferred style. A hands-on student can learn just as much from a lecture as a student who prefers lecture, it just means that the concept may not come quite as easily or naturally to them. Mr. Black, my placement teacher, was a lecturer, his lessons consisted primarily of student guided lecture, letting students determine what gets focused on, by simply asking a question here and there during the lecture, this also increased student attention with the constant threat that they could be called on. Although lecture is his preferred way to teach, he always took one or two days out of the week to do some activity to mix up the teaching methods, and attempt to break up the monotony of an everyday lecture. All it takes is a day a week, change your style and help your students grow, you cannot be sure how many students will suddenly just understand an idea with an activity until you try, and if it doesn't work, don't scrap the lesson, wait until the right group of students come along.
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What exactly is the most important factor in effective teaching? The NCSS (2015) gives five factors for what they call 'powerful teaching' these factors are for the lessons to be: meaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and active. Meaningful referring to lessons that stay with a student in a way they deem valuable. Integrative means not only to integrate all the disciplines of social studies into our lessons, but also to incorporate things like writing skills, into our lessons. Value-based stems from the idea that our purpose is to educate well-informed, responsible citizens. Challenging is self explanatory, just remember that everyone has limits. Active lessons get students thinking about more than just the content, but why the content is important. All of these are equally important in education, but what exactly does this mean for teachers? I believe that this really only gives us a small part of what we need to be effective teachers. I think it is important that we find the best way we can teach that works for us, Mr. Black was more comfortable lecturing, and when his class was polled on his performance, the vast majority praised him. A teacher down the hall from Mr. Black does many activities with her students, and there is no one to say that one of these teachers is more effective than the other. We have to make the classroom OUR classroom, we are going to be more effective teachers if we remember to differentiate our instruction, but primarily stick to what we are good at. Some teachers do not have the necessary emotion or humor to keep student's attention during a lecture, Mr. Black does, the teacher down the hall probably does not. It is up to us to combine the five NCSS factors into something that we can teach almost naturally.
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References Dictionary.com. (2015). Differentiating National Counsel for the Social Studies. (2015). A Vision of Powerful Teaching and Learning in the Social Studies: Building Social Understanding and Civic Efficacy
Jerry Reed Blogspot Blog
Silver Spring, MD: The National Counsel for the Social Studies.
Raised in Georgia, Jerry Reed moved to Nashville in 1962, taking jobs as a session guitarist and writing songs for country heavies including Porter Wagoner. Encouraged by guitar great Chet Atkins, Reed developed an instantly recognizable and idiosyncratic guitar style that suited humor-filled compositions including “Guitar Man” and “Amos Moses.” He and Atkins won a 1970 Grammy for instrumental album Me and Jerry, and Reed followed that a year later with a Grammy for country male vocal performance on “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot.” A third Grammy, this one for country instrumental performance, came in 1993 for another duo effort with Atkins.
Other major Reed hits include “Lord, Mr. Ford,” “East Bound and Down,” and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft).” He also won positive notice for his acting roles in films including W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, and Smokey and the Bandit.
“Every move he made was to entertain, and make the world more fun,” said Reed devotee Brad Paisley. “Because he was such a great, colorful personality with his acting and songs and entertaining, sometimes people didn’t even notice that he was just about the best guitarist you’ll ever hear.”
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nikkibell1937 · a month ago
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Valentine
Part Four: Choose your story!
(??xFem!Bell 18+ NSFW)
If you haven’t already, read part 1, part 2, and part 3!
Word Count: 5800+
DECISION 1: Red dress, high up do, black laced heels
WARNING: Blood, Violence, Death, Mature Content
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Isabella “Bell” Williams
“The Dorchester”
London, United Kingdom
Date: February 14th, 1981
The 20 minute drive to the venue seemed to pass by quickly. Music played softly as you sunk into your seat, while Mason’s hand remained on your thigh for the rest of the ride. He unknowingly kept the fire of your confidence alive as he slid his thumb across your skin. Neither of you said anything, you just watched out the window as you made your way through the city.
-------
The weather was quite warm considering the time of year, but you could still feel the small bite of the cool breeze that slithered over your arms and legs as you stepped out of the vehicle. Mason had passed the keys to the valet and then opened your door for you once again. A crackle of static came from the undetectable ear piece you had lodged in your ear as everyone began to check in on the radio.
Mason discretely murmured “We have arrived” into his piece, letting everyone know we were at the location. Park and Lazar had already arrived, and Sims was positioned close by for extraction of the target, and also in case any unavoidable altercations came about that needed a quick exfil.
You looked around to see a couple of paparazzi's whose attention you caught, situated next to the black carpet that was outstretched in front of the large building. You turned to Mason who was immediately on the same page as you, wrapping his arm around you shoulder as he ushered you into the front doors and away from any cameras that were attempting to catch a photo of you.
You were greeted by a rush of warm, flower scented air as you walked into the lobby. Mason moved his hand down and around your waist as you looked around the room, comforted by his touch. Roses decorated the entire entrance and pedals lined the carpet that lead to the open doors of the ballroom. The concierge, who was standing behind the desk, nodded to you as you passed by their beautifully crafted wooden desk.
You couldn’t help but to be in awe as you entered the ballroom. A majestic chandelier hung from the ceiling, glass crystals shimmering the light around the room. Large pillars framed the row of windows on the eastern wall and a fire place crackled wildly across from them. A live orchestra consisting of 3 violin players, a cellist, and a flutist sat along the north end of the room, situated next to a stage with a pedestal set in the center.  
Elegantly dressed individuals were scattered throughout the room, mingling with their fellow elitist's. Ball gowns of every kind made the room a rainbow of colors, but you noticed there were none other like yours. Your silky red dress caught the attention of the onlookers next to the entrance as you walked to an open area next to your table. A couple of jealous coughs were heard from the dates of the onlookers and you couldn’t help but giggle at the reactions.
Your attention trailed to a tall, well dress blonde approaching you with a judgmental look in her eyes as she looked you over..
“Good evening. I’m Kathleen Walsh, you must be Ms. Isabella Williams, correct?” Her shrill voice said it with an obnoxious criticism. You could feel the anger present itself to you, bubbling slightly at the tone when, as if on que, the hand that was placed on your waist squeezed gently. Mason was reminding you that there was a job to do, and that you needed to stay in character. You mentally readjusted yourself, feeling the Isabella persona take over you once more.
“I am, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Walsh.” You outstretched a hand and planted a convincing and warm fake smile on your face as she hesitantly shook it before turning her attention to Mason.
“And you are?” She looked at him alluringly, reaching out her hand as she questioned you both, “We were under the impression that you would be coming without a date, Ms. Williams.”
You felt Mason’s hand tighten again, but this time it was his annoyance that he was pressing into your hip. Just as convincingly, Alex grabbed the hand of the woman, bowing his head down to meet it, planting a kiss on the back as he smiled sweetly to her. “You can call me John.”
You stopped yourself from rolling your eyes as she giggled and blushed rather obviously, but you had a part to play, so you sent a friendly smile back at her. “John is my guard, its just a bonus that he’s so nice to look at.” You looked at him and winked, before turning your attention back to the woman in front of you.
Her smile dropped as she looked back to you, “Well, in that case, here.” She handed you a small piece of paper with the number 27 on it, “You’ll be the last item to go on the stage, so keep track of the numbers being called so you don’t miss your que.” She looked you over was more with a small sneer on her face before she turned a flirty smile back to Alex, “Enjoy your night, John.”
As the blonde walked away, you let out a long sigh as looked back up to your guard. “Well, hopefully we don’t have to deal with her anymore.”
A playful smile spread across Mason’s face as he leaned down to kiss your cheek and whisper to you, “Am I sensing a hint of jealousy in you, Bell?”
You rolled your eyes again as you pushed his face away from your ear, laughing together before an aggravated voice chimed in over both of your earpieces.
“Hey Mason, I thought you were supposed to be playing the body guard. I haven’t seen your hand leave Bell’s hip since I got here.”
Woods was obviously calling out his best friend, annoyed that he was “making a move” on you, which Alex seemed to find amusing. He kept the smile on his face as he looked at you with mischief in his eyes.
“Well, I am guarding her body, aren’t I?” He turned you towards him, placing his hand on the eye of you back and pulling your body against his. He leaned down and placed a kiss on your neck. A jolt of electricity rushed through you as you titled your head up to look over his shoulder.
Woods met your eyes from a table near the fireplace, and you couldn’t help but smile at the frustrated look on his face. You winked at him before Mason lifted his head back up to your ear to make it look like he was whispering to you. “I have eyes on the target, Park. 7 o’clock.”
Another voice chimed in over comms, this time it was the gruff voice of Adler, who almost sounded as irritated as Woods did, “Alright bell, we’ve got a job to do.” The sound of his voice seemed to double as you felt Mason move away from you completely. You looked up at him questioningly, but his eyes were locked behind you.
A familiar scent filled your nostrils as your attention was pulled from the serious face of Mason. You knew exactly who was standing behind you and you weren’t exactly sure what he was planning. You turned around, a playful smirk planted on your face to hide the nervousness that just sprouted from you core.
Your eyes met Adler’s almost immediately. It wasn’t often that he took his sunglasses off, but the atmosphere of the room put a rare sparkle in his deep blue eyes. His scarred lips tilted into a smile as he looked you over once again, offering you his hand as he spoke in a sultry tone.
“Ms. Williams, may I have this dance?”
The gentle growl in his voice sent butterflies through your stomach, and you attempted to hold back the sudden shakiness that hitched in your throat while you answered him.
“You may.”
The short answer was all you were confident enough to say, but you turned your face to a pleased smile as you accepted his hand that lead you to the center of the dance floor. As he came to a stop in a clearing, he twirled you with his leading hand, elegantly spinning you before gently grabbing your waist and pulling you close to him.
You looked into his eyes once again, your chest pushed up against his. With his face only a few inches from yours, he began to effortlessly glide you around the dance floor, your legs entwining with his as your thigh peaked out of the slit in your dress.
He held your gaze, only breaking it to look at your parted lips for a few moments and then returning to your eyes. You had to know what he was thinking. Although it seemed obvious that he wanted to kiss you, you couldn’t help but assume that he was just playing his assigned role.
Trying to remain in character as the large, dominant man lead you through the dance, you narrowed your eyes into a dangerously curious gaze. Your mouth tilted into an equally dangerous smirk as you bit your lip and pushed your breasts against him a little more, cleavage bulging at the seam of the low cut fabric.
“You seem distracted, Russell. Is there something...on your mind?”
His grip on your waist tightened leaving only clothing separating your bodies, his eyes hovering over every feature on your face. A small smile escaped his luscious lips as he followed your collar bone down to observe your perky breasts.
“You know Bell, as your Commanding Officer, I really have been trying to hold it together,” His eyes stayed on your chest as he controlled your movement. He shook his head lightly before continuing, “but this whole act just seems like the perfect excuse for me to finally get my hands on you... I just can’t seem to resist anymore.”
His voice was low, almost a whisper, as he said those last words. His eyes trailed up to linger back on your lips and his hand slid down to gently caress the curve of your ass. Your breath hitched in your chest as the elder man touched you, lust filling your mind at his words. The shock of his interest only appeared momentarily, dissipating as you moved your hand to the back of his neck, pulling his ear to your lips.
“You better not be fucking with me, Adler” You whispered it to him, nibbling his earlobe gently, “I don’t know if you would be able to handle me in bed.” You moved your lips to his face, kissing his scarred cheek tantalizingly slow, making him grunt seductively at the feeling of your mouth on his skin.
You pulled away from him as the dance ended. With your hand still in his, he squeezed it gently, lifting it to his lips before he whispered back to you, “I don’t know if you could handle me.” With a look of seduction you never thought you’d see in his eyes, he released your hand and let his fall back to his side, adjusting his suit jacket and nodding to you suggestively, “Isabella.” He smiled as he spoke the name before turning and walking away.
You watched as he disappeared into the crowd, leaving you by yourself on the dance floor; hot, bothered and ready for anything.
--------
You found Mason watching you from the side of the room, looking almost as baffled as you felt. You smiled at him as you approached, wondering what he had witnessed of you and your senior agent. His raised eyebrows gave you your answer as he smiled playfully at you once again.
“I thought you were supposed to be distracting everyone else, not the others on the mission.” He chuckled as he said it, noticing how hot your cheeks were at the mention of your not-so-secret dance.
You shook your head at him, trying to convince yourself that you were just doing what you were supposed to, but you knew exactly what had happened. And you loved it.
Before you had a chance to respond to Mason, Woods came up beside him, a criticizing look on his face as he stared at Alex.
“Is this supposed to be your body guard?” He said it as he smirked at Mason, chuckling as he continued, “He didn’t look like he was doing much when that old man had his hands all over you. Would you let me show you how a real gentleman treats a lady?”
He took a step towards you offering you his arm, his clean cut appearance was a completely different look than his usual gruff, sexy lumberjack. Still slightly flustered by your previous dance, you almost declined Woods’ offer, but as you met his ocean-blue gaze, you couldn’t say no. He seemed to be looking at you with a sense of bewilderment, like there was no one else in the room, and all he could see was you.
After a moment, you intertwined your arm with his, not letting your gaze be interrupted. You smiled daringly at him, raising an eyebrow as you slid your free hand up his bicep and leaned into his body, your lips grazing his cheek lightly. “I would love to see how well you can treat me.”
His breathe seemed to hitch at your gesture, as if he wasn’t expecting that sort of answer from you. He cleared his throat as he straightened slightly, “Yes ma’am,” Was all his raspy voice could muster before leading you to another area on the dance floor.
As your reached an open space on the crowded dance floor, the arm Woods had linked with yours gently slid around your waist, pulling you close to his large chest and taking your other hand in his. You met his eyes once again, and the entire room seemed to dissipate. His warm embrace captured you in his presence and you couldn’t help but sigh in comfort as you placed your free hand on his chest.
“You look absolutely breathtaking.”
His words were quiet, keeping his eyes on you as you both rocked gently to the music. You smiled sweetly at him, trying your hardest not to break character, but the soothing tone of his voice made you want to savor the moment as yourself, rather than Isabella.
“You clean up pretty nicely too,” You giggled at him, who gently smiled back at you with soft eyes. You paused for a minute as you stared at each other in awe. “How come I never see this side of you and only the straight-forward, rough, sex machine that everyone has grown accustomed to?”
A chuckle escaped him as he looked away from you momentarily, “In all my years, not a lot of people have seen this side of me,” He looked down with a timid smile, “Except for Alex. And now you... I don’t usually feel comfortable enough to show anyone this side,” his found their way back to yours as he spoke softly. “I don’t know, Bell, I... I seem to have quite the soft spot for you.”
His eyes were tender with a heat rising within them as he confessed himself to you, flickering between your lips and your eyes. As his arm tightened around your waist, he pulled you closer to him and planted a soft kiss on your cheek, lingering for a moment and letting his breath slide across your neck as he sighed heavily.
“The things I want to do to you, Bell. This whole night is making it very hard for me to hold back from fucking you right here.”
Once again, your alias kept you from reacting the way you usually would have- gasping, turning away to hide the flushed color of your cheeks at the dirty comment- but with Isabella still in control of most of your body, a seductiveness engulfed your face as you whispered back to him.
“I’m all for foreplay, but words are just that—words.” The hand you had placed on his chest slowly slid between the open edges of his jacket and down the buttons of his shirt. When they finally reached the edge of his pants, you stopped, sliding one finger down to feel the tip of his half-erect cock behind his briefs, “I like a man of action, Frank, so prove it to me,” He stifled a quiet moan as you twirled your finger teasingly, “Win the auction, and I might just indulge your wants.”
In that moment, the music stopped and you retracted your finger from the flustered man’s pants, his face awestruck with the sensations you brought him. Stepping away, you smiled cunningly up at him, “Thanks for the dance.” Winking, you turned, leaving Woods on the dance floor alone, and making your way back to your body guard.
—————
When you found Mason, the tall blonde from the beginning of the night had found her way to him, trying, unsuccessfully, to catch Mason’s attention with her flirtatious gestures, but he seemed to have no interest in her. The situation made you chuckle, making it much easier to approach them.
You caught Alex’s attention almost immediately as you walked through the grouped patrons. He smiled thankfully as you walked up to them, and you gladly ignored the blonde as you linked your arm with his.
“Would you accompany me to the restroom, please?” You said it with a smirk, causing the blonde to chime in quickly with a snarky comment.
“Excuse me, we’re actually in the midd—“
She was cut off by Mason’s hand raising to her, his eyes not leaving yours to acknowledge her, “Duty calls” was all he said before turning and escorting you towards the restroom.
He thanked you quietly as you heard the blonde scoff rudely behind you, another giggle escaped you, nodding reassuringly at him.
Before you could reach your destination, Park chimed in from over the comms, an obvious concerned tone in her voice.
“Bell, I have the target in the bathroom, but she’s brought four of her guards in with her. I could use some assistance.”
You answered quietly, being as reassuring as possible, “On my way.” You looked up at Alex as he nodded, leading you to the hallway outside of the ballroom.
There was a guard situated by the door to the ladies’ room. He was a large man, dressed in a black suit, similar to Mason’s. He had a light scruffy beard and his eyebrows were in a permanent furrowed position. He didn’t have a ring on his finger and you knew you needed to do to get him out of the way.
Only a few feet away from the ladies’ room, there was another door propped open with a mop bucket- assumingly the janitors closet. You whispered to Alex sternly, needing him to follow your instructions carefully.
“Stay here, I’ll take out this guy.” He rolled his eyes at you about to retaliate with another plan, but you shook your head, “If I’ve learned anything tonight, it’s how to turn on my inner prowess.”
You winked at him before you continued, “When I come out of that closet, come and lock the bathroom door behind me. We can’t have anyone coming in or out while Park and I are in there.”
He sighed, nodding at you. As you unlinked your arm from his, you noticed both Adler and Woods coming to the doorway just outside of the ballroom. You pointed your chin at them and Alex understood instantly. It was like you were on the same brainwave.
He turned, stopping both the men as you walked down the hallway towards the tall, bulky security guard. As you reached for the door handle, you stopped in your tracks, looking up at the guard whose attention was on you already.
“Hey, do I know you from somewhere?” You raised an eyebrow at him, biting your lip as you dropped you hand and sauntered towards him.
He grunted and shook his head, looking back up to the spot on the wall he had trained his eyes on, “No ma’am, I’m sure I’d remember if I met someone like you before.”
A dark smile claimed your face, a sense of danger coming over you, like a lion lurring it’s prey in for the kill. You walked in front of him, looking him up and down, and moving in closer.
“Didn’t you need to... use the restroom, ma’am?” He brought his eyes down to yours, quickly getting distracted by your barely covered chest and seductively tight red dress. He cleared his throat, trying to remain calm under your gaze, but the intensity in it was making him fidget as you took a step closer to him and your finger met his bicep, trailing down to his forearm.
“You know.. I was actually just so hot in that ballroom with all those boring people that I came to the restroom to... pleasure myself.” His widened eyes met yours and his mouth opened slightly, your words making him breathe a little heavier, “I could really use some help with that if you’re.. interested.”
In your peripherals, you could tell your colleagues had stopped to watch the show, which was the perfect distraction to get the man into a private area quickly.
“But it looks like there are a few prying eyes here,” you gestured towards the doorway you had come through where Mason, Woods, and Adler were all watching you make a move on the guard. You knew you had said everything loud enough for them to hear it, but you only let the guard peak in their direction.
Your words became a whisper as you moved closer to him, your hand moving from his arm to his stomach, sliding it down to the bulge that was now apparently peaking through the man’s trousers, “What do you say we go into that closet over there and have some fun?”
He took a deep breathe, closing his eyes at the feeling of your hand on his erection. He nodded quickly once, snaking his hand around your waist as you lead him to the closet, winking to the men at the end of the hallway who were watching you with baffled looks decorating their faces.
As you shut the door, the man’s hands immediately found you waist, spinning you around and pushing you up against the door. He leaned in kissing your neck, so distracted that he didn’t see you pull the hidden blade from your thigh holster.
Swiftly, you shoved your knee into the mans crotch, causing him to buckled over and back away from you slightly. Using your knife, you jammed it in and out of the side of his neck, severing his jugular and spraying blood across the small closet and across your face and chest.
He fell to the ground, grasping at his wound for a couple moments before his body became a lifeless mound in a puddle on the floor. Using a dirty towel folded on a shelf next to you, you wiped your blade clean before exiting the small space.
You opened the door to find the three men you left standing at the end of the hall, standing right outside of the closet. You watched their faces change as they eyed the blood splattered across your face and cleavage, and you swore they were all looks of hunger.
A dirty smile crossed your face as you looked between them all, “What? He was a lowsy tipper.” And with that you walked passed them and into the ladies bathroom, hearing Alex’s chuckle as the other two grinned to themselves.
Entering the bathroom, you found the target standing at the sink while four more men, with the same stature as the other, stood around her. You glanced over to see Park’s white pumps underneath one of the stall doors while the rest of stalls were baren.
As if on que, all 4 men turned to look at you. The sound of Alex locking the door, as requested, and the blood on your body caused them to draw their weapons. Each had a silenced pistol and, just as you had hoped, the sound of them readying their guns triggered Parks response.
She quickly burst through the stall door, shooting two of the guards in the head and distracting them all enough for you to rush forward with your knife. As one of the guards lined up their shot for Parks head, you sliced their arm with the knife, bringing his aim down, but not completely off of Park. You watched as the bullet penetrated the outside of her bicep, causing her to hunch over and wince at the pain.
Reacting quickly, you threw the knife at the fourth guard, landing it directly into the center of his forehead. He collapsed instantly, leaving the man with the sliced arm and Eliana. Recovering her pistol in her unharmed hand, Park shot the last guard as you made your way towards the target.
“Where’s Perseus?!”
You almost yelled the words at her, adamant for some kind of legible response, but she only shook her head saying she didn’t know anything.
She began to plea for mercy, but your response was quick, kicking her in the stomach and using your fist to quickly uppercut her jaw while she was hunched over. She fell backwards against the wall. You looked down at her with no remorse to her cries before you snapped her neck in one swift motion, letting her body slump to the floor.
Going to Park, you spoke calmly into the comms, letting them know the job was finished, “Unlock the door Mason, Park needs assistance and I have an auction to get to.” Park looked at you as you were talking, laughing and cringing as you wrapped her arm around your neck, “What’s so funny?”
You glanced at her as she pointed to the bathroom mirror with her chin, “You need to get cleaned up before you go up on stage.” The door opened as she said it, Lazar was the first in the room, rushing to Parks side and taking your place as a support.
Mason moved in shortly after, making his way to clean up the bodies. He looked at you as he came in, a bit of worry in his eyes when he saw your current state, “You better hurry and get cleaned up Bell, they’re on item 24.” You hurriedly moved to the mirror to look at yourself for the first time.
Blood had splattered on the tops of your arms and across your chest. The fabric that clung to your body might have had few stains on it, but they weren’t noticeable. You sent a silent thank you to Inez for suggesting red. You bun had been slightly disheveled, a few peices had fallen out and were hanging down your back. Across your nose and lips was a perfect strip of blood, flaring slightly on the edges as a couple of bigger drops had slid down your cheek.
You fixed the stray strands of your hair before grabbing a towel and hurriedly scrubbing the blood from your body, fixing your appearance to the best of your ability. Fixated on cleaning yourself, you didn’t notice the presence that had moved up next to you.
Adler turned on the sink beside you, washing off the knife you had thrown at the guard. He watched you in the mirror as you washed yourself, and you couldn’t help but continue to entice the man. Delicately, you slid the towel across your breasts, watching the mans face in the mirror as he reacted tantalizingly to your gesture.
After a couple moments of staring, he finally noticed your eyes on him. He looked back down as he dried off the wet knife and smiled to himself as Mason left the room with the second body, “Woods told me about what you said if he wins the auction.” Your eyebrow raised at him, waiting for him to continue, “What if I win the auction? Do I get to do what I want with you then?”
His eyes looked back up to meet yours as you cleaned the last patch of blood off your skin. Tossing the cloth into the garbage, you turned towards him, placing a hand on your hip and leaning against the counter with the other.
“I’ll tell you what, Russell, if you win the auction,” you took a step closer to him, sliding a hand down his arm to the blade in his hand, “I’ll let you do anything to me...” you guided his hand to the edge of your dress, lifting it just enough to keep everything but the halter out of view, carefully sliding the knife in “... while Woods watches.”
You kissed his cheek carefully while his hand tried to move up the skin of your thigh to your bare ass, but you moved away from him before he could make that progress. The man produced a small, growly sigh before you walked passed him and out the door.
In the distance, you could hear the auctioneer calling out the number 26 and a little bit of stage jitters hit you as you made your way to the side of the ballroom. You shook them off as you waited patiently for the bidders to finish waring over the item on the pedestal.
Your eyes shifted around the room, patrons filled the chairs of every table, paddles in their hands for placing their bids. At one of the back, center tables, Adler found his way to his chair, a paddle in his hand as he peered through the rows of bodies at you.
Similarly, only a few tables away from him, Woods sat with his gaze on you as well. The idea of the two men fighting for you in a bidding war seemed like something out of a cheesy romance movie, but you couldn’t help but to flourish in the chaotic love-triangle.
—————
At last, the item was removed from the stage. You made your way up the stairs as the announcer came over the microphone, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the last auction of the night is an extra special, all-expenses paid date night, with the very lovely.. Ms. Isabella Williams.”
As you walked to center of the stage, there were a couple of men who gasped, resulting in getting smacked by their dates on the arm or head, making it difficult to hold in any nervous giggles. Hudson chimed in over the comms as you stood in front of everyone, “Start distracting them, Bell. We’ve got to move the target’s body out of the building without being detected.”
After the announcer finished shuffling a couple of papers, he returned to the microphone, “The bidding will start at 500..” As he started rambling away, dozens of paddles flew to the air, easily distracting the animalistic people in the room, but you knew you would have to do something more to keep everyone’s eyes on you.
You took a deep breath, and began striking poses on the stage. You cringed internally, feeling like a stripper as you flaunted around the stage. After doing a sassy cat walk, you bent down your leg and slid your fingers from you toes to your hip, up your body as you raised your hands above your head and shimmied your hips.
You bit your lip as you looked around to each person who raised their paddle, meeting Woods and Adler every so often. You could hear the numbers rising, but it took you a minute to realize the bidding had already reached 5,000 and there were still about 10 people bidding on you.
You tried not to worry about it but you weren’t exactly sure how Woods and Adler would be the remaining two bidders with only 10,000 in their pockets. As you moved your hips in a seductive dance to the classical music echoing through the ballroom, you could see your fellow agents carrying the lifeless body of Eliana through the halls.
A couple of people looked as if they were starting to get up and leave as you were the last part of the auction, Adler and Woods noticed too, radio static crackling over the comms, “Come on Bell, get their attention,” and “We’ve got people trying to move out.”
In a bit of panic, you did the first thing that came to your mind that would get everyone’s attention. You casually walked to the edge of the stage, moving lightly as you danced into a spin. Purposefully, you stumbled on your heals, flailing your legs just enough to tear the slit of your dress up to your hip as you fell to the edge of the stage and rolled off elegantly.
It was in your training to learn how to take a fall without getting hurt, but in this circumstance, you still had to act as if you were. You landed on your back, winding yourself as multiple people in the crowd rushed to your side, and everyone who had stood to leave, stopped themselves and turned to see if you were alright.
Moments later, Hudson came over your earpiece again, a small bit of amusement in his voice as he told you they successfully got out without any detection. You sighed heavily as you looked at all the people around you, shoving them off as they tried to inspect you.
“I’m fine thank you, I think I just need to go home.” You stumbled to your feet as two strong pairs of arms found each side of your body. You looked to see Adler on your left and Woods on your right, casually muttering that they would help you to your car as Mason appeared in the entryway of the ballroom.
“Thank you gentlemen, but my guard will take it from here.” You smiled sneakily to yourself, keeping in mind that neither of them had actually won the auction due to your clumsy distraction. They both sighed as you shrugged their arms from you body, straightening yourself as you linked up with Alex once again, “let’s get out of here, Mason.”
He happily obliged, leading you out of the building to the valet who grabbed your keys and rushed away into the parking lot.
“That was quite a show you put on. Everything tonight, I mean. You were quite the seductress, I didn’t know you had it in you.”
Mason smiled playfully down at you, an eyebrow raised as he egged you on. His eyes were quite lustful and he moved his hand back around your hip and rubbed his thumb on the newly exposed skin from the tear in your dress.
You shivered at his touch, the cool air of the February evening dancing across your skin as he moved his hand along it. You gazed back up at him, smirking seductively as you reached up to adjust his tie.
“I’m just getting started.”
Tag list: @smokeywhalee @thebestdecoder @bowlovercat @ghxstduty (let me know if you’d like to be tagged!
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nikkibell1937 · a month ago
Text
Valentine
Part Four: Choose your story!
(??xFem!Bell 18+ NSFW)
If you haven’t already, read part 1, part 2, and part 3!
Word Count: 5600+ 
Decision 1: Champagne gown, curled half up do, black jeweled heels
WARNING: Blood, Violence, Death, Mature content
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Isabella “Bell” Williams
“The Dorchester”
London, United Kingdom
Date: February 14th, 1981
The 20 minute drive to the venue seemed to pass by quickly. Music played softly as you sunk into your seat, while Mason’s hand remained on your thigh for the rest of the ride. He unknowingly kept the fire of your confidence alive as he slid his thumb across your skin. Neither of you said anything, you just watched out the window as you made your way through the city.
—————
The weather was quite warm considering the time of year, but you could still feel the small bite of the cool breeze that slithered over your arms and legs as you stepped out of the vehicle. Mason had passed the keys to the valet and then opened your door for you once again. A crackle of static came from the undetectable ear piece you had lodged in your ear as everyone began to check in on the radio. 
Mason discretely murmured “We have arrived” into his piece, letting everyone know we were at the location. Park and Lazar had already arrived, and Sims was positioned close by for extraction of the target, and also in case any unavoidable altercations came about that needed a quick exfil. 
You looked around to see a couple of paparazzi's whose attention you caught, situated next to the black carpet that was outstretched in front of the large building. You turned to Mason who was immediately on the same page as you, wrapping his arm around you shoulder as he ushered you into the front doors and away from any cameras that were attempting to catch a photo of you.
You were greeted by a rush of warm, flower scented air as you walked into the lobby. Mason moved his hand down and around your waist as you looked around the room, comforted by his touch. Roses decorated the entire entrance and pedals lined the carpet that lead to the open doors of the ballroom. The concierge, who was standing behind the desk, nodded to you as you passed by their beautifully crafted wooden desk.
You couldn’t help but to be in awe as you entered the ballroom. A majestic chandelier hung from the ceiling, glass crystals shimmering the light around the room. Large pillars framed the row of windows on the eastern wall and a fire place crackled wildly across from them. A live orchestra consisting of 3 violin players, a cellist, and a flutist sat along the north end of the room, situated next to a stage with a pedestal set in the center.  
Elegantly dressed individuals were scattered throughout the room, mingling with their fellow elitist's. Ball gowns of every kind made the room a rainbow of colors, but you noticed there were none other like yours. Your silk dress caught the attention of the onlookers next to the entrance as you walked to an open area next to your table. A couple of jealous coughs were heard from the dates of the onlookers and you couldn’t help but giggle at the reactions. 
Your attention trailed to a tall, well dress blonde approaching you with a judgmental look in her eyes as she looked you over..
“Good evening. I’m Kathleen Walsh, you must be Ms. Isabella Williams, correct?” Her shrill voice said it with an obnoxious criticism. You could feel the anger present itself to you, bubbling slightly at the tone when, as if on que, the hand that was placed on your waist squeezed gently. Mason was reminding you that there was a job to do, and that you needed to stay in character. You mentally readjusted yourself, feeling the Isabella persona take over you once more.
“I am, it’s a pleasure to meet you Ms. Walsh.” You outstretched a hand and planted a convincing and warm fake smile on your face as she hesitantly shook it before turning her attention to Mason. 
“And you are?” She looked at him alluringly, reaching out her hand as she questioned you both, “We were under the impression that you would be coming without a date, Ms. Williams.”
You felt Mason’s hand tighten again, but this time it was his annoyance that he was pressing into your hip. Just as convincingly, Alex grabbed the hand of the woman, bowing his head down to meet it, planting a kiss on the back as he smiled sweetly to her. “You can call me John.” 
You stopped yourself from rolling your eyes as she giggled and blushed rather obviously, but you had a part to play, so you sent a friendly smile back at her. “John is my guard, its just a bonus that he’s so nice to look at.” You looked at him and winked, before turning your attention back to the woman in front of you.
Her smile dropped as she looked back to you, “Well, in that case, here.” She handed you a small piece of paper with the number 27 on it, “You’ll be the last item to go on the stage, so keep track of the numbers being called so you don’t miss your que.” She looked you over was more with a small sneer on her face before she turned a flirty smile back to Alex, “Enjoy your night, John.”
As the blonde walked away, you let out a long sigh as looked back up to your guard. “Well, hopefully we don’t have to deal with her anymore.” 
A playful smile spread across Mason’s face as he leaned down to kiss your cheek and whisper to you, “Am I sensing a hint of jealousy in you, Bell?” 
You rolled your eyes again as you pushed his face away from your ear, laughing together before an aggravated voice chimed in over both of your earpieces.
“Hey Mason, I thought you were supposed to be playing the body guard. I haven’t seen your hand leave Bell’s hip since I got here.”
Woods was obviously calling out his best friend, annoyed that he was “making a move” on you, which Alex seemed to find amusing. He kept the smile on his face as he looked at you with mischief in his eyes.
“Well, I am guarding her body, aren’t I?” He turned you towards him, placing his hand on the eye of you back and pulling your body against his. He leaned down and placed a kiss on your neck. A jolt of electricity rushed through you as you titled your head up to look over his shoulder.
Woods met your eyes from a table near the fireplace, and you couldn’t help but smile at the frustrated look on his face. You winked at him before Mason lifted his head back up to your ear to make it look like he was whispering to you. “I have eyes on the target, Park. 7 o’clock.”
Another voice chimed in over comms, this time it was the gruff voice of Adler, who almost sounded as irritated as Woods did, “Alright bell, we’ve got a job to do.” The sound of his voice seemed to double as you felt Mason move away from you completely. You looked up at him questioningly, but his eyes were locked behind you.
A familiar scent filled your nostrils as your attention was pulled from the serious face of Mason. You knew exactly who was standing behind you and you weren’t exactly sure what he was planning. You turned around, a playful smirk planted on your face to hide the nervousness that just sprouted from you core. 
Your eyes met Adler’s almost immediately. It wasn’t often that he took his sunglasses off, but the atmosphere of the room put a rare sparkle in his deep blue eyes. His scarred lips tilted into a smile as he looked you over once again, offering you his hand as he spoke in a sultry tone.
“Ms. Williams, may I have this dance?” 
The gentle growl in his voice sent butterflies through your stomach, and you attempted to hold back the sudden shakiness that hitched in your throat while you answered him.
“You may.”
The short answer was all you were confident enough to say, but you turned your face to a pleased smile as you accepted his hand that lead you to the center of the dance floor. As he came to a stop in a clearing, he twirled you with his leading hand, elegantly spinning you before gently grabbing your waist and pulling you close to him. 
You looked into his eyes once again, your chest pushed up against his. With his face only a few inches from yours, he began to effortlessly glide you around the dance floor, your long gown flowing beautifully around your legs as your thighs peaked out of the slits.
He held your gaze, only breaking it to look at your parted lips for a few moments and then returning to your eyes. You had to know what he was thinking. Although it seemed obvious that he wanted to kiss you, you couldn’t help but assume that he was just playing his assigned role.
Trying to remain in character as the large, dominant man lead you through the dance, you narrowed your eyes into a dangerously curious gaze. Your mouth tilted into an equally dangerous smirk as you bit your lip and pushed your breasts against him a little more, cleavage bulging at the seam of the low cut fabric.
“You seem distracted, Russell. Is there something...on your mind?”
His grip on your waist tightened leaving only clothing separating your bodies, his eyes hovering over every feature on your face. A small smile escaped his luscious lips as he followed your collar bone down to observe your perky breasts.
“You know Bell, as your Commanding Officer, I really have been trying to hold it together,” his eyes stayed on your chest as he controlled your movement. He shook his head lightly before continuing, “but this whole act just seems like the perfect excuse for me to finally get my hands on you... I just can’t seem to resist anymore.”
His voice was low, almost a whisper, as he said those last words. His eyes trailed up to linger back on your lips and his hand slid down to gently caress the curve of your ass. Your breath hitched in your chest as the elder man touched you, lust filling your mind at his words. The shock of his interest only appeared momentarily, dissipating as you moved your hand to the back of his neck, pulling his ear to your lips.
“You better not be fucking with me, Adler” You whispered it to him, nibbling his earlobe gently, “I don’t know if you would be able to handle me in bed.” You moved your lips to his face, kissing his scarred cheek tantalizingly slow, making him grunt seductively at the feeling of your mouth on his skin.
You pulled away from him as the dance ended. With your hand still in his, he squeezed it gently, lifting it to his lips before he whispered back to you, “I don’t know if you could handle me.” With that he released your hand and let his fall back to his side, adjusting his suit jacket and nodding to you suggestively before turning and walking away. 
You watched as he disappeared into the crowd, leaving you by yourself on the dance floor; hot, bothered and ready for anything. 
--------
You found Mason watching you from the side of the room, looking almost as baffled as you felt. You smiled at him as you approached, wondering what he had witnessed of you and your senior agent. His raised eyebrows gave you your answer as he smiled playfully at you once again. 
“I thought you were supposed to be distracting everyone else, not the others on the mission.” He chuckled as he said it, noticing how hot your cheeks were at the mention of your not-so-secret dance. 
You shook your head at him, trying to convince yourself that you were just doing what you were supposed to, but you knew exactly what had happened. And you loved it.
Before you had a chance to respond to Mason, Woods came up beside him, a criticizing look on his face as he stared at Alex. 
“Is this supposed to be your body guard?” He said it as he smirked at Mason, chuckling as he continued, “He didn’t look like he was doing much when that old man had his hands all over you. Would you let me show you how a real gentleman treats a lady?”
He took a step towards you, the nicely groomed man in front of you offered his arm, a completely different look than his usual gruff, sexy lumberjack appearance. Still slightly flustered by your previous dance, you almost declined Woods’ offer, but as you met his ocean-blue gaze, you couldn’t say no. He seemed to be looking at you with a sense of bewilderment, like there was no one else in the room, and all he could see was you.
After a moment, you intertwined your arm with his, not letting your gaze be interrupted. You smiled daringly at him, raising an eyebrow as you slid your free hand up his bicep and leaned into his body, your lips grazing his cheek lightly. “I would love to see how well you can treat me.”
His breathe seemed to hitch at your gesture, almost as if he wasn’t expecting that sort of answer from you. He cleared his throat as he straightened slightly, “Yes ma’am,” Was all his raspy voice could muster before leading you to another area on the dance floor.
As your reached a clearing in the crowd, the arm Woods had linked with yours gently slid around your waist, pulling you close to his large chest and taking your other hand in his. You met his eyes once again, and the entire room seemed to dissipate. His warm embrace captured you in his presence and you couldn’t help but sigh in comfort as you placed your free hand on his chest. 
“You look absolutely breathtaking.”
His words were quiet, keeping his eyes on you as you both rocked gently to the music. You smiled sweetly at him, trying your hardest not to break character, but the soothing tone of his voice made you want to savor the moment as yourself, rather than Isabella.
“You clean up pretty nicely too,” You giggled at him, who gently smiled back at you with soft eyes. You paused for a minute as you stared at each other in awe. “How come I never see this side of you and only the straight-forward, sex machine that everyone has grown accustomed to?” 
A chuckle escaped him as he looked away from you momentarily, “In all my years, not a lot of people have seen this side of me,” He looked down with a timid smile, “Except for Alex. And now you... I don’t know, Bell... I seem to have a weak spot for you.” 
His gaze returned to you, a heat rising within them as he confessed himself to you, flickering between your lips and your eyes. As his arm tightened around your waist, he pulled you closer to him and planted a soft kiss on your cheek, lingering for a moment and letting his breath slide across your neck as he sighed heavily.
“The things I want to do to you, Bell. This whole night is making it very hard for me to hold back from fucking you right here.”
Once again, your alias kept you from reacting the way you usually would have- gasping, turning away to hide the flushed color of your cheeks at the dirty comment- but with Isabella still in control of most of your body, a seductiveness engulfed your face as you whispered back to him.
“I’m all for foreplay, but words are just that - words.” The hand you had placed on his chest slowly slid between the open edges of his jacket and down the buttons of his shirt. When they finally reached the edge of his pants, you stopped, sliding one finger down to feel the tip of his half-erect cock behind his briefs, “I like a man of action, Frank, so prove it to me,” He grunted quietly as you twirled your finger teasingly, “Win the auction, and I might just indulge your wants.”
In that moment, the music stopped and you retracted your finger from the flustered man’s pants, his face awestruck with the sensations you brought him. Stepping away, you smiled cunningly up at him, “Thanks for the dance.” Winking, you turned, leaving Woods on the dance floor alone, and making your way back to your body guard. 
—————
When you found Mason, the tall blonde from the beginning of the night had found her way to him, trying, unsuccessfully, to catch Mason’s attention with her flirtatious gestures, but he seemed to have no interest in her. The situation made you chuckle, making it much easier to approach them.
You caught Alex’s attention almost immediately as you walked through the grouped patrons. He smiled thankfully as you walked up to them, and you gladly ignored the blonde as you linked your arm with his.
“Would you accompany me to the restroom, please?” You said it with a smirk, causing the blonde to chime in quickly with a snarky comment.
“Excuse me, we’re actually in the midd—“
She was cut off by Mason’s hand raising to her, his eyes not leaving yours to acknowledge her, “Duty calls” was all he said before turning and escorting you towards the restroom.
He thanked you quietly as you heard the blonde scoff rudely behind you, another giggle escaped you, nodding reassuringly at him.
Before you could reach your destination, Park chimed in from over the comms, an obvious concerned tone in her voice.
“Bell, I have the target in the bathroom, but she’s brought four of her guards in with her. I could use some assistance.”
You answered quietly, being as reassuring as possible, “On my way.” You looked up at Alex as he nodded, leading you to the hallway outside of the ballroom.
There was a guard situated by the door to the ladies’ room. He was a large man, dressed in a black suit, similar to Mason’s. He had a light scruffy beard and his eyebrows were in a permanent furrowed position. He didn’t have a ring on his finger and you knew you needed to do to get him out of the way.
Only a few feet away from the ladies’ room, there was another door propped open with a mop bucket- assumingly the janitors closet. You whispered to Alex sternly, needing him to follow your instructions carefully.
“Stay here, I’ll take out this guy.” He rolled his eyes at you about to retaliate with another plan, but you shook your head, “If I’ve learned anything tonight, it’s how to turn on my inner prowess.”
You winked at him before you continued, “When I come out of that closet, come and lock the bathroom door behind me. We can’t have anyone coming in or out while Park and I are in there.”
He sighed, nodding at you. As you unlinked your arm from his, you noticed both Adler and Woods coming to the doorway of the ballroom. You pointed your chin at them and Alex understood instantly. It was like you were on the same brainwave.
He turned, stopping both the men as you walked down the hallway towards the tall, bulky security guard. As you reached for the door handle, you stopped in your tracks, looking up at the guard whose attention was on you already.
“Hey, do I know you from somewhere?” You raised an eyebrow at him, biting your lip as you dropped you hand and sauntered towards him.
He grunted and shook his head, looking back up to the spot on the wall he had trained his eyes on, “No ma’am, I’m sure I’d remember if I met someone like you before.”
A dark smile claimed your face, a sense of danger came over you, like a lion lurring it’s prey in for the kill. You walked in front of him, looking him up and down, and moving in closer.
“Didn’t you need to... use the restroom, ma’am?” He brought his eyes down to yours, quickly getting distracted by your barely covered chest and seductively tight beige dress. He cleared his throat, trying to remain calm under your gaze, but the intensity in it was making him fidget as you took a step closer to him and your finger met his bicep, trailing down to his forearm.
“You know, I was actually just so hot in that ballroom with all those boring people that I came to the restroom to... pleasure myself.” His widened eyes met yours and his mouth opened slightly, your words making him breathe a little heavier, “I could really use some help with that if you’re... interested.”
In your peripherals, you could tell your colleagues had stopped to watch the show, which was the perfect distraction to get the man into a private area quickly.
“But it looks like there are a few prying eyes here,” you gestured towards the doorway you had come through where Mason, Woods, and Adler were all watching you make a move on the guard. You had said everything loud enough for them to hear it, but you only let the guard peak in their direction.
You words became a whisper as you moved closer to him, your hand moving from his arm to his stomach, sliding it down to the bulge that was now apparently peaking through the man’s trousers, “What do you say we go into that closet over there and have some fun?”
He took a deep breathe, closing his eyes at the feeling of your hand on his erection. He nodded quickly once, snaking his hand around your waist as you lead him to the closet, winking to the men at the end of the hallway who were watching you with baffled looks decorating their faces.
As you shut the door, the mans hands immediately found you waist, spinning you around and pushing you up against the door. He leaned in kissing your neck, so distracted that he didn’t see you pull the hidden blade out of your bodice.
Swiftly, you shoved your knee into the mans crotch, cause him to buckled over and back away from you slightly. Using your knife, you jammed the knife in and out of the side of his neck, severing his jugular and spraying blood across the small closet and across your face and chest.
He fell to the ground, grasping at his wound for a couple moments before his body became a lifeless mound in a puddle on the floor. Using a dirty towel folded on a shelf next to you, you wiped your blade clean before exiting the small space.
You opened the door to find the three men you left standing at the end of the hall, standing right outside of the closet. You watched their faces change as they eyed the blood splattered across your face and cleavage, and you swore they were all looks of hunger.
A dirty smile crossed your face as you looked between them all, “What? He was a lowsy tipper.” And with that you walked passed them and into the ladies bathroom, hearing Alex’s chuckle as the other two grinned to themselves.
Entering the bathroom, you found the target standing at the sink while four more men stood around her. You glanced over to see Park’s white pumps underneath one of the stall doors, the rest of stalls were baron.
As if on que, all 4 men turned to look at you. The sound of Alex locking the door, as requested, and the blood on your body caused them to draw their weapons. Each had a silenced pistol and, just as you had hoped, the sound of them readying their pistols triggered Parks response.
She quickly burst through the stall door, shooting two of the guards in the head and distracting them all enough for you to rush forward with your knife. As one of the guards lined up their shot for Parks head, you sliced their arm with the knife, bringing his aim down, but not completely off of Park. You watched as the bullet penetrated the outside of her bicep, causing her to hunch over and wince at the pain.
Reacting quickly, you threw the knife at the fourth guard, landing it directly into the center of his forehead. He collapsed instantly, leaving the man with the sliced arm and Eliana. Recovering her pistol in her unharmed hand, Park shot the last guard as you made your way towards the target.
“Where’s Perseus?!”
You almost yelled the words at her, adamant for some kind of legible response, but she only shook her head saying she didn’t know anything.
She began to plea for mercy, but your response was quick, kicking her in the stomach and using your fist to quickly uppercut her jaw while she was hunched over. She fell backwards against the wall. You looked down at her with no remorse to her cries before you snapped her neck in one swift motion, letting her body slump to the floor.
Going to Park, you spoke calmely into the comms, letting them know the job was finished, “Unlock the door Mason, Park needs assistance and I have an auction to get to.” Park looked at you as you were talking, laughing and cringing as you wrapped her arm around your neck, “What’s so funny?”
You glanced at her as she pointed to the bathroom mirror with her chin, “You need to get cleaned up before you go up on stage.” The door opened as she said it, Lazar was the first in the room, rushing to Parks side and taking your place as a support.
Mason moved in shortly after, making his way to clean up the bodies. He looked at you as he came in, a bit of worry in his eyes when he saw your current state, “You better hurry and get cleaned up Bell, they’re on item 24.” You hurriedly moved to the mirror to look at yourself for the first time.
Blood had splattered on the tops of your arms and across your chest. Miraculously, none ended up on your gown, which was lucky considering the way the beige fabric would have stained. Your curls had become disheveled in combat, but they were easily fixed with some fluffing. Across your nose and lips was a perfect strip of blood, flaring slightly on the edges as a couple of bigger drops had slid down your cheek.
You grabbed a towel and hurriedly scrubbed the blood from your body, fixing your appearance to the best of your ability. Fixated on cleaning yourself, you didn’t notice the presence that had moved up next to you.
Adler turned on the sink beside you, washing off the knife you had thrown at the guard. He watched you in the mirror as you washed yourself, and you couldn’t help but continue to entice the man. Delicately, you slid the towel across your breasts, watching the mans face in the mirror as he reacted tantalizingly to your gesture.
After a couple moments of staring, he finally noticed your eyes on him. He looked back down as he dried off the wet knife and smiled to himself as Mason left the room with the second body, “Woods told me about what you said if he wins the auction.” Your eyebrow raised at him, waiting for him to continue, “What if I win the auction? Do I get to do what I want with you then?”
His eyes looked back up to meet yours as you cleaned the last patch of blood off your skin. Tossing the cloth into the garbage, you turned towards him, placing a hand on your hip and leaning against the counter with the other.
“I’ll tell you what, Russell, if you win the auction,” you took a step closer to him, sliding a hand down his arm to the blade in his hand, “I’ll let you do anything to me...” you guided his hand to the hidden slot in your dress and slid the knife in “... while Woods watches.”
You kissed his cheek carefully, the man producing a small growly sigh before you walked passed him and out the door.
In the distance, you could hear the auctioneer calling out the number 26 and a little bit of stage jitters hit you as you made your way to the side of the ballroom. You shook them off as you waited patiently for the bidders to finish waring over the item on the pedestal.
Your eyes shifted around the room, patrons filled the chairs of every table, paddles in their hands for placing their bids. At one of the back, center tables, Adler was sitting with one in his hand, peering through the rows of bodies to you.
Similarly, only a few tables away from him, Woods sat with his gaze on you as well. The idea of the two men fighting for you in a bidding war seemed like something out of a cheesy romance movie, but you couldn’t help but to flourish in the chaotic love-triangle.
At last, the item was removed from the stage. You made your way up the stairs as the announcer came over the microphone again, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the last auction of the night is an extra special, all-expenses paid date night, with the very lovely.. Ms. Isabella Williams.”
As you walked to center of the stage, there were a couple of men who gasped, resulting in getting smacked by their dates on the arm or head, making it difficult to hold in any nervous giggles. Hudson chimed in over the comms as you stood in front of everyone, “Start distracting them, Bell. We’ve got to move the target’s body out of the building without being detected.”
After the announcer finished shuffling a couple of papers, he returned to the microphone, “The bidding will start at 500..” As he started rambling away, dozens of paddles flew to the air, easily distracting the animalistic people in the room, but you knew you would have to do something more to keep everyone’s eyes on you.
You took a deep breath, and began striking poses on the stage. You cringed internally, feeling like a stripper as you flaunted around the stage. Flipping your gown back and away from your leg, you revealed part of you ass as you bent down your leg and slid your fingers from you toes to your hip, and up to your hair as you tussled the curls roughly.
You bit your lip as you looked around to each person who raised their paddle, meeting Woods and Adler every so often. You could hear the numbers rising, but it took you a minute to realize the bidding had already reached 5,000 and there were still about 10 people bidding on you.
You tried not to worry about it but you weren’t exactly sure how Woods and Adler would be the remaining two bidders with only 10,000 in their pockets. As you moved your hips in a seductive dance to the classical music echoing through the ballroom, you could see your fellow agents carrying the lifeless body of Eliana through the halls.
A couple of people looked as if they were starting to get up and leave as you were the last part of the auction, Adler and Woods noticed too, radio static crackling over the comms, “Come on Bell, get their attention,” and “We’ve got people trying to move out.”
In a bit of panic, you did the first thing that came to your mind that would get everyone’s attention. You casually walked to the edge of the stage, moving lightly as you danced into a spin. Purposefully, you stumbled on the long material of your gown, tearing it slightly as you fell to the edge of the stage and rolled off elegantly.
It was in your training to learn how to take a fall without getting hurt, but in this circumstance, you still had to act as if you were. You landed on your back, winding yourself as multiple people in the crowd rushed to your side, and everyone who had stood to leave, stopped themselves and turned to see if you were alright.
Moments later, Hudson came over your earpiece again, a small bit of amusement in his voice as he told you they successfully got out without any detection. You sighed heavily as you looked at all the people around you, shoving them off as they tried to inspect you.
“I’m fine thank you, I think I just need to go home.” You stumbled to your feet as two strong pairs of arms found each side of your body. You looked to see Adler on your left and Woods on your right, casually muttering that they would help you to your car as Mason appeared in the entry way of the ballroom.
“Thank you gentlemen, but my guard will take it from here.” You smiled sneakily to yourself, keeping in mind that neither of them had actually won the auction due to your clumsy distraction. They both sighed as you shrugged their arms from you body, straightening yourself as you linked up with Alex once again, “let’s get out of here, Mason.”
He happily obliged, leading you out of the building to the valet who grabbed your keys and rushed away into the parking lot.
“That was quite a show you put on. Everything tonight, I mean. You were quite the seductress, I just didn’t know you had it in you.”
Mason smiled playfully down at you, an eyebrow raised as he egged you on. His eyes were quite lustful and he moved his hand back around your hip and rubbed his thumb on the newly exposed skin from the tear in your dress.
You shivered at his touch, the cool air of the February evening dancing across your skin as he moved his hand along it. You gazed back up at him, smirking seductively as you reached up to adjust his tie.
“I’m just getting started.”
Tag list: @smokeywhalee @thebestdecoder @bowlovercat @ghxstduty (let me know if you’d like to be tagged!)
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byldgroup · a month ago
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Master The Skills Of Coaching And Mentoring And Be Successful
Your small company can be struggling to grow – the type that you have to think creatively. You have young staff, middle-aged staff, and senior staff. With respect to knowledge, they bring expertise from recent college graduates to knowledgeable executives. they are at the conference table. It's no wonder you're trying to develop coaching and mentoring programs with the potential for progressive new ideas to converge with the constant influence from experience. It's a smart move that should excite, motivate and encourage your employees to contribute untold to your business. Distinguish coaching from mentoring People tend to conflate the terms "sales" and "marketing," just as they do the terms "coaching" and "mentoring." However, the two roles are stylistically and substantively distinct. And, if you're going to assign certain employees to only one role, you must be able to explain where the line is drawn. Coaching and mentoring differ in a number of critical ways: Coaching focuses on tasks and performance. It is precise and concrete. A coach, for example, may demonstrate to a coworker how to develop search engine optimization strategies, design new spreadsheets for your company, or deliver public presentations. As these skills are mastered, the coach provides feedback. * Mentoring emphasizes a fruitful relationship that leads to the mentoree developing both professional and personal skills. The mentoree may request instruction on how to complete a specific task, but the nature of the relationship is dependent on the development of trust so that issues such as self-confidence and learning how to achieve a positive work-life balance can be discussed. Coaching is a short-term endeavor that concludes when the mentoree champions the set goals. Mentoring is a long-term commitment. Officially, it may end after one year, but well-matched mentors and mentorees can (and do) keep the relationship going for as long as they want. Coaching necessitates the participation of the employee's immediate supervisor, who provides ideas and feedback to the coach. Mentoring does not necessitate such direct involvement from the mentoree's direct supervisor. In fact, once the mentor and mentoree have been matched, the supervisor typically fades into the background (unless a conflict arises that he can mediate). Discover Coaching Techniques and Strategies Knowing your employees as well as you do, certain individuals may appear to be "natural" candidates for the role of coach or mentor. This is a promising sign. And it almost certainly means that they will approach the role with a lot of their own ideas about how to proceed. Put your two bright minds together and try to come up with some basic coaching strategies: Create a clear set of objectives that include benchmarks and deadlines. The employee should always be aware of what is expected of him and how to achieve it. Prepare to assist with time management. Many employees want to learn new tasks but are often perplexed about how to organize their time so that they can master them. A good coach not only paints the big picture but also provides the employee with a brush to fill in the details. Frame feedback in a straightforward and positive manner. Expect setbacks from the employee, but be prepared to offer new strategies to help him persevere. Take action on feedback. It's called accountability, and the best coaches devise a system (whether formal or informal) that constantly tracks both parties' contributions. Put effort ahead of ability. When an employee uses the word "coach" as a personal pronoun, a coach knows he's made it. Recognizing effort usually motivates people to try harder. And when they try harder, they are more likely to succeed. Recognize and appreciate achievements. They may be minor in the grand scheme of things. However, each achievement represents a step forward. And each one is worth celebrating in order to boost an employee's self-esteem. Learn Mentoring Strategies and Techniques As tempting as it may be to designate yourself as a mentor, it's probably not the
best idea because you may be perceived as "picking favorites" with the mentoree. Furthermore, as the business owner, you are in an excellent position to act as a de facto mentor to all of your employees. Your natural mentoring abilities have most likely led you to: Outline your objectives in detail. Even a mentoring relationship that focuses on personal development should have specific goals, such as completing a reading assignment and writing a reaction paper by a certain date. Set a good example. The word "good" denotes value, and it is up to the mentor to define what that means (Honesty? Are you sympathetic? (Gentle?) Good mentors do more than just advocating for good behavior; they live it. Approach problems with a positive mindset. You are unlikely to select a mentor for your small business who has a negative attitude; this could be disastrous. However, it is critical for a mentor to set a good example for the mentoree. Encourage risk-taking and creative problem-solving. Most people are naturally averse to risk, but if a mentoree is to grow, it is important to recognize that mistakes (rather than victories) provide the most lasting lessons in life. Expect conflict on a regular basis. Mentoring, like any other personal relationship, is bound to produce the occasional squabble. Arguments, too, provide opportunities for learning if they are not allowed to fester. * For every criticism, provide three positive statements. Call it a "life ratio," but people are stingier by negative feedback than they are flattered by positive feedback. Praise and encouragement are essential components of a mentoring relationship. Make confidence in your overarching goal. It's not necessary for the mentoree to know this early on in the relationship; it's sometimes more fun to reveal the secret later on after they've overcome a few challenges they once thought were "impossible." Your employees are most likely your most valuable asset; confident employees hold the promise of revitalizing your company.
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horsemenrp · a month ago
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MARCUS REYES.
Age: 31 Affiliation: Famine Rank: Dominion Pronouns: he/him Gender: cis man FC: Michael Trevino Status: played by Joey.
Yours is a life of a heart split in two. One half longs for the possibility of a future where you don’t wait anxiously for your spouse to return home after a night of fighting; where comfort and tenderness reign and terror is left to the past; where your sister has never felt the warmth of blood on her palm and you do not witness a look of fear in her eyes. The other half of you, though, is born to Famine. It is hungry for more, desperate to sink its jaws into everything that could be yours. Becoming Horseman would ensure that your family prospers in a vision for them that is your own, every piece in its right place on the chessboard ready for attack.
ROLE.
During the day, you can be found managing Femenias Energy’s Head Office HR department, nepotism having served you well ( you’re certainly not one to complain about your mother’s maiden name being Femenias ). At night, you carry out your duties as Dominion, identifying potential threats to protect the family and, especially, your Virtue. You can’t deny, though, the way your gaze drifts to that coveted prize of Seraphim, torn between wanting to support your cousin and the siren call of the throne.
BIO.
being born into ruin and greed is at least partly to blame for the things marcus reyes wants to change about himself. nurture showed him that money wins, that power and knowledge come as a by-product. and when your mother comes from a family where money is an afterthought, power and knowledge are the only things left that spark anything in him. it also shows him that anger is usually better bottled up until the bottle explodes. it teaches him it's best to use words over fists, and the impact of a sentence that cuts deeper than any blade. but no one can fight nature, not even the perfectly presented marcus reyes. nature teaches him rage, but it also teaches him love. marcus is not a man to love many, but he is capable of it at great lengths. this makes for a polite boy with a short fuse.
that boy grows into exactly what you'd expect a boy in a multi-billionaire family would bloom into. he parties until there's no feeling in his skin, consequences be damned because consequence meant nothing to a boy made of gold. expectation settles in early, showing great promise as a child means being lauded in front of his favourite uncle and now having a bar of expectation to dip under. and yet, marcus never dipped. with every accomplishment, he would strive for more, reach higher. to this day, he's still not sure if it's all for himself or to see a glint in tío rafael's eyes. apathetic party boy and perfect prodigy child begin to coexist. in fact, one can't exist without the other, or so it seems.
family is everything, and yet there was never much of a bond with his father, not like the bond between a mother and her eldest son. that isn't to say that watching his mother remarry was easy, it certainly contributed to his long period of never letting another human being close enough to get a real look at him. but it does make the acceptance of jessica easier, so much so marcus can't recall having anything but adoration (and all consuming concern) for his half sister. marcus' inner circle is his family, but most importantly it's rafael, it's kitty, it's jessica. these are the people he can't live without. they bring marcus smiles that are not orchestrated. if anyone were to lay a finger on his cousins, the last thing you will see is marcus. and he will be smiling.
the glamourous mirage surrounding his family breaks, but to say it came as a surprise would be another of his crafted lies. there's only so many things rich powerful men would sit in a private room for hours over and marcus had stitched the evidence together long before the big reveal. it was just another thing on the list that marcus was happier to ignore, but ignorance was no longer an option. gone are the days spent enjoying parties with his mother (an excuse to sometimes keep an eye on jessica) he starts as a power, a grueling position and by far the darkest years of his life. the reyes boy was always good with people, but joining famine is where he learns to use those abilities to hurt rather than help.
love had always only ever been reserved for family, a carefully curated few that will have marcus' loyalty up until the end. until ravi. there was something deeply freeing about their presence. he touches marcus for the first time and the bachelor feels fucking alive. finally the abyss in his chest is filled in with something warm and electric. where he once spent every waking moment to see pride in his mother's and tío rafael's eyes, now his eyes are locked on ravi, chasing the things that make him light up. there is an angel, and marcus isn't sure why but he loves him back. there is an angel, who doesn't have a home, and when marcus shares his, he can suddenly endure the weights on his shoulders. there is this angel, and he makes marcus' heart sing, so he asks ravi to marry him. the angel says yes, and marcus thinks this must be what it's like to be human.
but as a dominion and his virtue, marcus certainly hasn't been able to leave his concern in the dust. ravi was not born to people like this and if it was down to marcus at all, ravi would be away from it all. far, far away. if marcus could have his way, he'd wrap his mother, jessica, kitty, rafael, and ravi up in cocoons of kevlar and keep them away from the horror. jessica especially, he's unable to stop himself from trying to guide her away. some might call him controlling, marcus would sugar coat it as protection. but in the end, he is just a dominion and keeping certain people out of the line of fire is not his decision to make. but oh if it was his decision to make.  
his hunger is a body that comes crawling to his front door each night, and each morning he can be found throwing the body back into the earth and covering the grave with more and more pressure. but when nights are spent thinking about all the ways that famine could thrive under his hand, his hunger grows stronger. will the power be worth the pain caused to get it? and what's the use when all of this is for them, to continue waking up each day to faces he adores? marcus is caught between a rock and a hard place, frantic in wanting to protect and dreading the path to get there. specifically, what kind of person that could bring out of him. how long until the family diplomat exposes his rot?
CONNECTIONS.
Jessica. You are your half sibling’s anchor, keeping them in the real world as they dream of fanciful ideas. It can lead to arguments, at times, and you know that some have accused you of being a little controlling, but you only want what’s best for them. You’d do anything to stop them from feeling pressure or getting hurt.
Rafael Jr. & Kitty. The four of you, Jessica included, have always been as thick as thieves. You are the foundation that Famine is built on but, for all your efforts, you know that there are people out there who want to see you crumble. It worries you that Rafael might not have what it takes to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Ravi. It’s certainly no easy task having your spouse assigned to be your partnered Virtue, nights spent worrying whether they will return home safely, but at least this way you can advise them to the best of your abilities and do all you can to keep them from harm.
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jayankles · a month ago
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Beautiful View
Pairing: Bucky x Reader
Word Count: 1998
Summary: Bucky asks you on a date but you have no idea what to wear so you enlist the help of your friends.
Warnings: Angst / Fluff
Written for: @star-spangled-bingo | @anyfandomgoesbingo | @badthingshappenbingo
Squares Filled: play fighting | foolish/responsible | self harm
Feedback is gold and appreciated
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You were panicking. You had no idea what you would wear tonight. Going through your closet, nothing felt or looked right, especially for a night down at a restaurant then spending it down near a river.
Bucky had been way too sweet and by the sound of it, he had been working up the courage to ask you out on a date for over three months. Bucky called Sam an asshole for ratting him out and revealing his little secret to you when you and Sam went out to grab some coffee. Sam had even told you the next day that Bucky thwacked him over the head enough times for Steve to get involved and stop the petty arguing before it got out of hand. Children. He worked with children. He always said but it fell onto deaf ears.
Clothes were thrown on the floor an on the bed. Nope, you needed help. You needed your family, your Asgardian's and your new friend, Carol.
You rushed to the common room where the three of them were lounging. “I need all of you fashion kings and queens.”
“Why? What’s in it for us? Me especially?” Brunhilde inquired, leaning forward with a hand on Carol’s leg. Oh yeah, Val didn’t even try to hide the relationship she had with the female Captain.
“I don’t know. What do you want?”
Val hummed just thinking about it. “Free booze. Free pizza. A little privacy.”
“Fine, whatever. Take my apartment for the night and get it on with Carol, I just need some style advice… for a date tonight!”
The three of them jumped up from the couch and pumped their fists in the air in celebration
Three hours later.
“I didn’t get all the gay genes, but I did get the style ones.” Val said, admiring her work, Thor and Carol behind her approving of your outfit whilst also praising their own handiwork with your hair and makeup.
It was definitely something different, something that you wouldn’t wear on a daily basis but it was definitely something that had the wow factor. When you looked in the mirror, you were shocked at how good you felt.
“I think you’re ready for your date, Flower top.”
You were outside of Bucky’s room, taking a deep breath, you quickly built the courage to knock on the door. Four rapids taps came.
“Hi.” You smiled as you spotted his outfit. He obviously received the leather jacket memo.
“Wow, you look amazing.”
“I had just a little bit of help.”
“So did he!” You could heard Sam shouting from the back of the room.
“You wanna get out of here? Away from the terrible yet great friend.”
Bucky nodded, knowing that you were right about Sam - he was pretty much assigned the role of the annoying best friend the he loved to hate so much. He held out his elbow and you graciously took it with a smile on your face.
When you were outside of the diner, Bucky paused, apologising for the diner not being a fancier restaurant. You told him that you had absolutely no problem with eating at the diner. “Most restaurants suck anyway, half of the stuff I can’t even read because they think it’s fun to write it in French.”
“Have I mentioned how great you are? I mean you are easy to please and you dress like a stunning rockstar. You’re hair is on point and I love that you aren’t in a dress.”
“Two things. No wait, three things. One, thank you. Two, save some conversation for when we sit and eat and three, you spend way too much time with children for ‘on point’ to come out of it. But I like it, so I guess it was only two things.” You shrugged, linking your fingers with his, walking towards the diner. “Let’s go eat some finger food.”
The dinner was one of the best you had, you had great company and a full stomach after that ice cream and shared milkshake, he was an old fashioned romancer and you loved it.
After you let the food be digested, Bucky insisted on paying the bill even after you said you would evenly split it with him. Bucky stood from the booth, holding out his hand for you to take.
Gnawing at your bottom lip, you suppressed a smile before you took his proffered hand to help you out of the booth.
“Shall we take a walk?” Bucky asked, pulling his jacket back on as you both stepped into the cool air. You nodded eagerly in response.
The two of you made it to the river, smiles on your faces when he slipped his hand into yours again.
“Can I tell you a secret?” You toyed with the skin around your thumbnail, preparing yourself.
“Sure. I promise I won’t tell.”
“I was scared to come out today.”
“Why? Was it because I asked you out and not Sam? You like Sam.”
“Hey, Buck. I like Sam, sure, but not the way you think I do. I wouldn’t be here with you if I was into Sam.” Smiling at his jittery outburst, you squeezed his hand trying to bring him back to you.
“Oh, right. Of course. I knew that.”
“I was scared because the last time I was on a date, I got stabbed by some creepy guy. He said something about how my date should have been him. I didn’t even know who this guy was ”  You had slowly been gaining the confidence over the whole date to tell him, you didn’t know but he needed to know, you wanted him to know. “I’ve been scared go to out until recently. I met Thor, and Val, and Carol, and you. And suddenly, I’m not so scared anymore because I have a new found family, I have Sam. Now I have you. I feel pretty safe and secure.”
“I promise you that if anyone comes at you, I will most likely choke him, throw him into the river and make sure they are never seen again.” He said it with such intensity, a slight edge that made him a little dangerous that would do anything for you. “I’ll protect you, as best as I can. Always.”
“Thank you, Bucky. It’s always so beautiful at night. Do you mind if I take a picture of the lights?” You asked Bucky, trying to change the subject but it was out there in the open, he knew now and there was no going back.
“Go ahead, I’ll snap a few myself.” He took a few of the lights then his focus shifted to something else, someone else. The someone that had begun to capture his heart.
When the photos were taken and the two of you were no longer photographers, your phones were put away and you resumed the date.
Seeing the river nearby, you bit your lip in thought. Should you? Yeah, screw it. You slipped out of your shoes and rolled up the bottom of your jeans, urging Bucky to do the same, and join you in dipping your feet into the water below.
This was something that you hadn’t done since you were a kid and you missed acting like that, care free girl that didn’t mind what happened if you skipped today’s class just to take a breather. You missed that girl.
“So what was it like in the 30s and 40s?” You asked him, genuinely intrigued at what life was like for him before everything horrible and terrible happened to him.
“Rations of everything. Had to make everything last a whole week before you could really enjoy it. Boiling everything, it got old but it was what you had to do.
“I don’t think I could live like that knowing what it’s like now. I love food way too much. I mean I almost had a meltdown yesterday but pizza and chocolate saved the day, and everyone around me.” You explained, thinking of the possibilities of you trying to live in the early 1900s. There was no way you could do it.
You would think it would be crazy even with Steve punching Adolf Hitler every week as Captain America, not as bad as you think. “A real good memory is before I went off, when Steve was just a scrawny little kid that just wouldn’t say no to a fight to defend others - anyway, we went to a cool convention and there was a car, a normal car and then the scientist pushed a button and it was flying.”
“Oh my god, you’re a total nerd! We should have gone to the museum, that would have been awesome!” You got a little bit too excited. “We should go there on our next date.”
“A next date? Really?” A shyness overtook him, you really wanted a second date with him. He wanted to jump up to the rooftops and shout at the top of his lungs. Bucky was overjoyed.
“Yeah, why is that not what you want?”
“No it’s definitely what I want. Shall we head back?” Bucky stood, wiping his feet on the grass, scraping his hair back before holding his hands out for you to help you stand. “You were right.”
“About what the water because-”
“There’s that but I was talking about the view.” Bucky chuckled, interrupting you, never once taking his eyes off of you. “The view looks beautiful in these lights.”
He smiled, his eyes darting over your face as he leaned closer. He stopped.
Suddenly, Bucky looked shifty as hell, his eyes wandering from left to right then looking right over your head. Before you had a chance to confront him, his eyes bugged out of his eyes.
“Y/N, look out!”
Everything then just happened so fast, you didn’t know if the world around you sped up or slowed down. But something wasn’t right.
Bucky had pushed you to the ground, twisting his body to face the trees once more before he fell, a gunshot sounding from the riverside.
You yelled, your ears ringing from the shot as if it was right next to you. The shot! Bucky was shot! “What the hell? Why would you do that?”
He coughed, “eh. You’re worth saving.” His head bounced on the grass below him, eyes closed.
“Dude! I’m just a nobody, the world needs a Bucky in their life. Jesus. What is wrong with you?” Your nose started to tingle, tears pooling in your eyes. No movement. No words. No breaths.
Hands roaming from your hair to his, his face to yours, you tried to find blood or even the location of where Bucky had been shot. But there was nothing, no trace of a shot other than the sound and a hole in his shirt.
You tapped his face, trying to wake him when you noticed a small movement; if you hadn’t been looking you would have missed it - but it was a twitch of his mouth, turning into a smile.
“What the hell?” Smacking his chest when he groaned and almost began to cackle.
“I did not anticipate getting shot today.” He said, nonchalantly unbuttoning his shirt, pulling out the bullet that entered… a goddamn bulletproof vest. “Alright, I might have had a feeling.”
You released a breath that you didn’t realise you were holding, foreheads pressed together. This man was going to give you a goddamn heart attack, you couldn’t breathe before, heart racing at all the horrible possibilities running through your mind.
“You knew, didn’t you?” You collapsed into his chest before even waiting to receive an answer.
Burying your face in his chest, Bucky placed a hand over your head. “Sam took care of him, there is no need to be scared anymore.”
“Just promise me something?”
“I can’t promise that there may or may not be anymore shots fired but I’m here.”
“Don’t risk your life for mine again or I’ll call Steve”
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Text
You are the miracle I was hoping for
This is my entry for Thominho Week 2021, Day 1 “ Minho's first impression (Canon compliant) ”
Characters: Thomas x Minho
2129 words
Tags: Canon compliant, takes place in the first book, grey-aroace Minho (hinted)
Summary:   When Minho volunteered to be a Runner, he didn't expected to be so alone. Until everything changed.
Note:   I'm so excited for another Thominho Week! Hope you enjoy all the fics I have prepared!
You can also read it on AO3 and ff.net
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When Minho first arrived in the Maze with the first bunch of teenage boys, with no memories, it had been a mess. Trying to figure everything out took a while and they lost few boys to what they decided to call Grievers. But he remembered being somehow attracted to what was beyond those walls. He wanted to know more.
When they started dividing the different jobs, Minho had jumped on the "Runner" one and was soon assigned as the Keeper of the Runners since he was the fastest and bravest one. He wanted to know what this "maze" was all about. If their theory was right and that they were sent there to solve what appeared to be a Maze with the few small exploration they made during the first days, then Minho wanted to be the one to find the solution.
So he ran. Everyday.
With time, they started figuring more things, like how the Maze had sections that changed every day. Or how The Grievers seemed to come out more at night. The young Asian was thrilled every time a new discovery was made.
Soon enough, it had been a year. A year of running every day, mapping out the Maze, eating at the Glade before sleeping. Starting all over the next day.
And after a year… there was no new discovery. They stagnated.
And after a year of running alone in the Maze… Minho realized how lonely his life had become. Beside the few times he had to train a new Runner, the Keeper spent most of his days alone, running his ass off in hope to find an escape to this hell.
He wasn't in the Glade long enough to become close to someone. He had been close to Newt, another runner, even if they still didn't spend much time together. But one day, Newt tried to kill himself and was no longer a Runner. And ever since, the blond stuck to Alby.
And Minho was lonelier than ever.
It was hard, really, being the Keeper of the Runner, having the biggest responsibility on his shoulders while also having to see everyone in the Glade having friends, or even partners, while he was alone.
He hated it. Hated it so much. He hated those who put them there. He hated loosing another Glader, like it was his own fault that he couldn't save them all. He hated that he had no one.
He was starting to lose hope. And he hated it even more. It was his job, his responsibility, he couldn't lose hope! So every time he set foot in the Maze, he wished for a miracle. Every time one of his Runner was about to give up, he took on the role of the optimistic one, giving words of encouragement, ignoring how hard it was to do so when he was also falling apart.
Another year passed. Same loneliness. Same old Maze who couldn't be solved. Same hatred for those who put them there.
Despite all this, he did his job every day. Despite losing their leader, Nick, to the Grievers few weeks ago, he still wished that things would change. Despite the routine making him sick of everything, he continued. He couldn't stop. Everyone counted on him.
Another Greenie came. The first one since Alby became the leader. Minho didn't think about it too much. Just another Newbie that he won't be able to get close too. But then, on his daily run in the Maze, he came across something he'd never seen before. A dead Griever.
Was this the sign he was hoping for? Were things starting to change?
He ran back to the Glade. He had to figure it out. This was big!
He never ran faster before. His lungs were burning, but he didn't stop. It's only once in the safety of the Glade that he allowed himself to crash down in exhaustion, finally allowing his body to escape the pain from his long sprint.
The Greenie, a brown-haired boy, a little younger than him, ran to him, asking if he was okay. Minho was momentarily distracted by the many moles covering the boy's face.
He was beautiful. So beautiful.
Perfect lips, curious amber eyes that looked golden in the sun, messy brown hair that made him look younger than he probably was… He was perfect. And it was so unsettling for Minho, all those feelings… He had never felt the need – the urge – to kiss someone else before, and this boy comes and steals Minho's breath away, not that he had any left after his run.
Alby's arrival got him out of his daydream. Quite annoyed that him for that, he commanded their leader to get him some water. He wanted to have the Greenie for himself, just for a while.
Of course, he couldn't help but be his sarcastic self. He was a bit afraid that Thomas, as the boy told him what is name was, would take offense in his sarcasm, like all other Gladers who couldn't stand him for that, but unlike them, Thomas, after seemingly understanding Minho's way of communicating, seemed to not mind it. It was a pleasant surprise. There was something about him that made him different from the others. Minho only wished he could spend more time with him.
And then, Ben was banished for attacking Thomas, saying that it was all Thomas's fault, which only was adding to Minho's suspicions about Thomas being different.
Trying to push back the thought that a Glader died once again, he went into the Maze the next day along with Alby to show him the dead Griever. No matter what, he still had a job to do.
He would never could have guessed that Alby would be dumb enough to poke the disgusting flesh of this monster with a stick. He would never could have guessed that he would have to smash their leader's head with a rock in order to carry him to safety.
After hours of walking in the Maze with Alby on his back, Minho knew time was running out. He didn't have to look at his watch to know that. After years in the Maze, it had become a second nature to just know when the doors would close.
The idea of leaving Alby there and saving himself made its way into his mind, but he pushed it back. If he couldn't save as many Gladers as he could, his job as the Keeper of the Runners meant nothing. He had to save Alby. He had to save everyone.
The finally saw the doors, but to his horror, they were closing. He knew he had no chance. He knew that if he just dropped Alby there, he could still run to the doors and save his life. But he couldn't. He couldn't give up!
So he continued his way to the Glade, Alby on his back. He saw Thomas. He saw the boy looking at him in horror as the doors were closing. Before he could yell him to stop, he saw the Greenie rushing into the Maze, as the doors closed behind him.
Minho wanted to scream, but no sounds came out. His throat was raw and he was breathless.
He was trapped. He was trapped in the Maze.
And Thomas, the dumb shank, was there too.
Minho couldn't understand why the boy would throw away his life like that. It was a death wish. The boy was suicidal, there was no other option.
But Thomas wanted to help, wanted to find a solution. Minho couldn't believe how dumb the boy was. Sure, he had arrived in the Glade not so long ago, but he was pretty sure Newt told him about the Maze and how dangerous it was.
Fear filled his whole body. He didn't want to die. He still had his goal to achieve. He still had to solve the Maze and save everyone!
He was the best Runner, he knew the Maze by heart. Maybe he would be able to escape the Grievers?
With that thought in mind, he left Thomas there with Alby. Alby was going to die anyway and if the Greenie was bright enough, he'll escape the monsters too.
So he ran. He was exhausted, but he couldn't stop. The Maze felt alive, as if it was watching him. The blood pumping into his hears couldn't stop the noise from the Maze. The Grievers were there.
He was terrified. Only the familiarity of running kept him going.
But then, he was hit with a strange feeling, making him stop in his track. Thomas had went into the Maze. He went into the Maze! He went to help him! And Minho just left him there. The boy knew nothing about the Maze, he was going to die without his help! And the thought of Thomas dying twisted Minho's stomach.
He didn't know exactly why, but Thomas couldn't die. Thomas was different. His act of stupid bravery back there was enough proof. No one in the Glade would have done the same. Everyone, himself included, would have just stayed in the safety of the Glade.
Thomas was important. Thomas could not die. With that in mind, Minho turned around and retraced his steps to where he hoped Thomas still was. His fear was pushed back, taken over by the pure determination of helping the Greenie. The only thing he allowed himself to be scared off was finding Thomas dead.
He wasn't dead when Minho finally saw him. But he was about to be killed by the four Grievers surrounding him. Minho was too late. Thomas was going to die. The Keeper wanted to scream, but his throat was squeezed shut.
But then, Minho saw something that changed everything.
Thomas sprinted towards one of the Grievers. The monster seemed surprised for a second before rushing at the boy, but before he could get him, Thomas stepped aside letting the Griever pass by him, not able to stop, before running again.
It wasn't the fact that Thomas shucking escaped a Griever. It was the fact Thomas didn't give up, even if all the odds were against him. That's what they needed.
And as Minho came up with a plan of his own after seeing the boy's stunt, as they ran together towards the cliff, as he took Thomas in his arms after they pushed the last Griever down the hole, trying is best to comfort the crying kid because of an unknown feeling in his guts told him to, as they came back to the Glade alive, as Minho took Thomas's defense during the Keepers meeting, as they became closer on their daily run in the Maze, as his feelings for the one he now considered his best friend grew… Minho knew he wouldn't be able to live without Thomas.
Because Thomas was the miracle he was hoping for.
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Hope you liked it! See you tomorrow!
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ajokeformur-ray · a month ago
Is Jareth one of your f/o? 🥺 If you want to share ❤️
Hello, darling!💜
Thank you so much for this ask; I do love sharing things like this with people!!!💙🌸 Please know that you or anyone else can always share F/O things with me as well, if you would like to!💗
I’m not sure how to answer this question because my feelings for Jareth are very complex and beyond words. So I’ve just word vomited below the cut and if anyone has an opinion on what my feelings are, then I would genuinely love to hear about it. (Also if anyone has any thoughts on Jareth’s perspective of this then I’d love to hear those too - I’m happy to write something for you or anyone else if you do as a thank you!👀)
If you've seen any of my posts over the last week or so then you've me gushing over Jareth and all of those things are true but they also pale in comparison to the way my heart squeezes in my chest to the extent where it hurts (in the best of ways) every time I see him.
When I say that he's in my earliest memories, I mean it. I have memories of black cats, bright yellow and teal walls (it was a nicer colour scheme than it probably sounds) and popcorn which my mum made herself, and she and I cuddling up together with my other siblings on the sofa to watch Labyrinth every day after school. I would come home and immediately begin to ask mum "can I go see kingy now? Can we? Please?" with enthusiasm to match my age and she'd roll her eyes but she always put it on for us every night. I would throw tantrums as a child if she wouldn't let us watch Labyrinth - to be sure, there were nights she said no because I threw a tantrum, but mum has always known how much Jareth comforts me, and so in the morning we would watch it after breakfast, and once I'd apologised. I had to earn Jareth back in those instances. I know now that mum was just teaching me deferred gratification and the importance of apologising when it's necessary, and she'd reward me with what I wanted once I'd done that.
One year for my birthday mum bought me a crystal ball and she told me to "hold it tight and make a wish" whenever I got sad and more often that not, I would try to wish myself away - not because I didn't like being at home - I loved that house, and I cherish my mum, though we don't always see eye to eye - but because I wanted to see Jareth. I would cuddle it in bed and wish that Jareth would materialise, sit at the end of my bed and croon As The World Falls Down to me as I fell asleep. It's been my lullaby for my entire life and as a twenty-three year old, I still very much prefer to sleep with that song playing on a loop.
My point is, Jareth has literally been with me for my entire life. He has seen the good, the bad, the downright ugly... for as long as I can remember, he's been this untouchable figure in the back of my mind and when my F/Os can't help or if there's a certain place within my heart which is cut and bleeding, Jareth will be the one I turn to, and he will be the one to catch my fall, even if I don't know I'm falling. Sometimes, like this week, I’ll just watch Labyrinth over and over and over and the more I see it, the more I miss Jareth and I do become quite... clingy. I can never have enough of him. I have wished myself away to him hundreds of times over the years and though he's obviously never answered me, I still yearn to be able to tell him all of these things. I'm sure he would find me annoying, especially when I get clingy like this week, but a part of me likes to think he'd be flattered, too.
I don't know if Jareth is an F/O, nonnie. I have known him for so, so long and when I was a teenager, I wanted to have Jareth be an F/O of mine (I've been a self-shipper for my entire life, even before I knew what that meant; it comes naturally to me), but I felt a little strange about it because he's been with me for my whole life. I cover my face because my smile is so wide that it hurts my face when I see Jareth. I get upset if I have one of his soothing and hypnotic songs stuck in my head but I'm not able to listen to it at that time. I have watched Labyrinth seventeen times this week and it's Friday (I watched it six times this Wednesday because I just couldn't get enough of Jareth - every time the end credits rolled, I started the film again). I lay down at night and don't want to put my phone down because it means I have to wait until morning to see Jareth and that makes me want to cry. I fall asleep listening to his songs because he makes me feel safe and secure; like I'm that same girl he's always known. I lay down and I think of him holding me and my head nuzzles against my pillow like he's actually there even though I'm painfully aware of the fact that I'm all alone and he's not here.
Sometimes, I don't know what I'm feeling or how to help myself. If I open up to my mum about it, she just smiles knowingly and says, "go home, Erika, go see Jareth". I'll do as she says and more often than not, the second I see him, I realise that he was what I was needing most of all. My mum's always been big on making sure that her children know how to take care of themselves and how to make sure that they have their needs, whatever they may be, met, and she's never let me forget how important Jareth is to me. I always make sure to thank her for reminding me every time she does. My mum's magical.🥺
I love Jareth (romantic? Platonic? I know not). So, so much. He's my light in the dark, my safety and my security and someone I have always looked up to and admired. There's lots of lessons in his world and I like to think that over the years, he's taught me many of them. He is a deep comfort to me and I... when I see him, I can't look away. It's like I'm entranced by him (hah!) and by his magic. He's.... just so handsome and sassy, sardonic and, oh, so good at playing the role he's assigned. But he's lonely, too, and that breaks my fragile, mortal heart.
Jareth has always been beside me and I know that he always will be. It's only forever, not long at all, and though I'm unsure of how to describe my feelings for him, I hope that this post is enough. Maybe you, dear reader, have a better idea than I do. Jareth isn't an F/O of mine (should he be?) but he's definitely a very important part of me and of my identity. I wouldn't be who I am without him. He fills me with a bittersweet melancholy and a sense of inner peace which I've never found anywhere else. Can I just sink into everything that he is and all of his music and never resurface, please? 🥰💛
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xstrawberryboyx · a month ago
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More self insert characters for my needs...my brain said “make a love story involving aoyama and a gentle giant oc”
Did I write the last part while listening to so this is love from Cinderella? Absolutely. Cause that’s their song fight me-
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Aoyama always did look for a support hero to work with, his quirk was stronger than it was back in high school but he still needed some extra help. He definitely didn’t expect someone to actually be assigned that role when he walked into the agency.
“T-this, is my sidekick?” The blonde mumbled out as he gazed up at the very tall male who stared down at him blood pouring out from his strange muzzle like mask before he reached out flinching at the sight of aoyama’s startled and nervous expression.
“Nice to meet you, I’m muérgano ..” he mumbled out his voice coming out as a deep rumbling autotune robotic like voice, so his mask had a voice modulator in it? There was also an accent in there that aoyama couldn’t detect too well cause of the voice modification. The blonde stood there in silence for a few moments clearly unsure how to respond, was this really a pro hero?! Something about his gaze was utterly intimidating. With a forced smile aoyama reached out softly grabbing the male’s hand and giving it a quick shake before moving to remove the cuffs.
“Pleasure is all mine~ what a large hero! How magnifique~” aoyama cheered out now taking the cuffs off a feeling of dread filling him but he pushed it down, after all everyone had a special beauty in them! Even those who had blood coming from their mouth. “You must be in awe! I know I’m quite the sight, no? Don’t be too dazzled by my good looks~” Aoyama cheered out with a flamboyant pose making muérgano glance away.
“I’ll try.” He mumbled out now reaching up wiping blood off himself best he could. Aoyama definitely wasn’t expecting such a response but he retorted back with just as much energy as before. “Oozing with blood from the utter sight of me? Am I that amazing? Try to hold back such urges” Aoyama cooed out with a grin only to watch muérgano lean down to his level “that’s not it. My teeth..I bite my lips a lot, they bleed” He mumbled out and aoyama actually got a good look at the male, he definitely had pretty eyes for sure, the two stared into each other’s eyes for a bit before aoyama simply smiled going back to his flamboyant ways
“Well I suppose one of us had to be the beauty~ that would make you the beast! Now if you’re going to be my sparkling little sidekick you have to show me what you can do!” The blonde swooned out and rokuna gave a simple nod following aoyama to a training area. Muérgano stretched with a long sigh cracking his neck.
“Hit me with your best shot..” muérgano hissed out and charged forward which definitely startled aoyama since he has no idea what his quirk was so he just went for it firing his lasers. “Charging in headfirst? That’s how you get hurt though your bravery is quite thrilling~” aoyama purred out making muérgano hum “that’s what I’m hoping for” he mumbled out feeling the sting of the lasers hitting him multiple times. Muérgano put his hands onto the ground his eyes having devilish glow to them.
“Might wanna hold onto something ” muérgano warned before a rumbling bass vibration escaped the palm of his hands shaking the ground intensely making aoyama squeak lightly in surprise as he tried to keep balance. “My quirk..I take kinetic energy and turn it into bass vibrations. You hit me and I hit back stronger” muérgano growled out before taking this chance to claim his victory.
“Take me a bit more seriously won’t you? Some small rumbling won’t scare me mon ami~” aoyama cheered out dodging when muérgano tried to reach out and grab him only for him to release a vibration right at his belt just as the laser released which not only hit his hand giving him more power but blew the laser back. The belt mirror cracked distracting aoyama just enough for muérgano to pin him down both of them falling to the ground.
“Your quirk, I know all about it. You need that belt to regulate it don’t you? So any attack aimed at it..you take seriously.” Muérgano whispers out looking down at aoyama who was shocked but greatly impressed. Muérgano definitely had brute force and a quirk that could do some damage, plus there was something different about him from other heroes. “Oh? So you studied me? How devoted~” aoyama mumbled out with a grin. The two stayed like that for a while, muérgano straddling aoyama down pinning his hands above his head faces inches apart. “Could say that, so. Does this make me your support hero?” He questioned out and aoyama grinned “make sure you keep up! I’m can’t stop twinkling after all! One of the best~” he purred out before softly tugging his wrists only to be perfectly bound down. “Mind letting go?” He cooed out and muérgano shuddered immediately getting off face flushed as he turned away muttering out a soft apology.
“Only issue, if we become partners..I’ll ruin your reputation” muérgano said seriously as aoyama got up dusting himself off “oh? And how is that?” He inquired now moving closer to get a good look at the male’s face, he kinda wanted to see what was under the mask. “Look at me..I’m a monster people don’t even recognize me as a hero..I don’t have a costume cause no designer wants to ever work with me. I almost didn’t get my license, I’m an outcast all the other heroes rejected my offer to team up” he explained making aoyama paused a feeling of pain filling his chest.
So he was different and singled out? Aoyama reached out patting Muérgano on the back “I always attract special twinkling souls! You are no exception! Though we do have to get you a costume! Something fabulous and with style! How about a cape! Like mine! Though I’m curious what is your hero name?” Aoyama purred out and muérgano looked down at aoyama before glancing away “ataraxia” he said softly making aoyama hum curiously.
“Why choose that? Such a pretty term though” he questioned and Muérgano leaned down “my quirk, it’s music in a way..peaceful music” he said softly and reached out placing his hands on either side on aoyama’s head his palms to his ears.
“No no no what are you doing that’s gonna hu-” aoyama panicked but was cut off by a soft steady bass, it resonated with his heart making his heart race but in a good way. “My quirk is music..in a way. When you soften it it’s just music. Really loud bass” Muérgano explained only to flinch at the soft touch if aoyama’s hands ontop of his
“how absolutely beautiful” he cheered out making Muérgano flustered as he looked at him with wide eyes face slowly turning red “you think it’s beautiful?” He mumbled out making aoyama nod rapidly, no one has ever even thought about saying that about muérgano or his quirk and it made him shudder with joy. Aoyama softly moved the male’s hands holding them in his
“So you ready to spend all of your free time with moi~ there’s no going back” aoyama purred out and muérgano let out a soft chuckle “absolutely. I guess this makes us partners” he said softly and aoyama grinned excitedly, he liked that word..partners.
Muérgano was really hoping he didn’t catch feelings, god that would kinda suck.
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hueseok · a month ago
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DEXTERITY + STUPIDITY. (01 of 18)
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━ “in which you have a crush on one of the interns you're mentoring, jeongguk, even if it feels wrong and he’s not the type of guy you usually go for (oh, and did we mention that he kind of has a crush on you too?).” ━ surgical intern!jeongguk x surgical resident!reader | 1.8k words. | pg-15 | fluff, implied workplace romance au, noona!reader | warning/s: swearing, fantasizing about jeongguk's hands???, possibly inaccurate medical stuff
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you’ve heard it somewhere that females mature faster than males, 4 times faster to be precise, as in one guy and one girl can be both 25, and yet the girl would be mentally 29 while the guy's mind would stay that way. it’s the reason why you always told yourself that you wanted someone older, someone who you wouldn’t have any problems with, someone you’re sure you can rely on and depend on, and someone you didn’t have to baby all the time because he was capable of being his own.
but then you met jeon jeongguk, the passionate, humble, and incredibly capable surgical intern that you’re supposed to supervise as the assigned senior resident of the little intern group he’s part of, and everything just went downhill from then on.
“he’s definitely the real life mcdreamy,” jihyo whispers to you as you review some of the patient’s charts by the desk, “don’t you think so, ____?”
you raise your eyes up, acting as uninterested as you possibly can before daring to look at where jeongguk is working, suturing a drunk guy’s forehead after the man accidentally bumped himself on a pole attempting to walk home.
from your field of vision, you can see him chuckling and conversing kindly with his patient, skilled hands stitching over the spot as carefully and as fast as he can—and without even meaning to, your mouth curves up in a smile, obviously enjoying the view.
“oh no,” jihyo interrupts your sightseeing, “you so have a crush on mcdreamy.”
“what?”
“you have a crush on your intern!”
“shut up!” you immediately hit her arm with the chart you’re still holding. “don’t say that out loud. people might think it’s true.”
“isn’t it though?”
“no,” you deny too quickly, placing the folder down on the counter. “it’s not like that. i’m just appreciating what he can do. he’s a very promising surgeon.”
“yup, you’ve definitely fantasized about his hands at least once.”
“no, i haven’t—”
“i mean, look at those immaculate fingers, it’s impossible not to think about what they could do other than try cutting people open.”
“you’re disgusting.” you snort, though your face is starting to heat up at the idea playing in your mind because of her words. “and not about the cutting people part.”
jihyo smirks, her pager beeping momentarily that makes her distracted and preoccupied for the meanwhile. it gives you the opportunity to compose yourself, readjusting your coat and scrub top, but jinyo doesn’t even take too long in checking the message and granting you more time to act cool for she's immediately back at giving you a teasing look. “whatever you say, dr. ____. don’t worry though, your secret’s safe with me.” she winks, heading then to the elevators.
you’re tempted to shout another ‘i don’t think of him that way!’ but you notice that jeongguk’s done with his patient, putting the suturing equipment back on the tray and proceeding on placing a bandage over the area, still appearing like he’s having a friendly conversation with the man who still looks dazed about his current situation.
from a little to their side, you can see an emergency medicine resident steal quick glances to jeongguk’s way, and you frown, knowing that he practically has the whole floor whipped for his ass. you can’t blame them though since even you, who usually doesn’t like going for younger guys or your own interns for that matter, finds yourself being attracted to the young doctor.
but in your defense, this feeling you have for jeongguk, it’s just a tiny crush—a happy crush, like what the younger generation would say—that you don’t think too much of it and instead just let it flow freely rather than treating it as some curse.
of course, that is until moments like this happen, moments wherein jeongguk coincidentally turns to you, catching you stare at him as he finishes doing his work, and then he has the nerve to abruptly flash a curious yet kind smile towards your way, that you clench your tucked hand inside your coat and just think to yourself—
fuck, maybe this shit really is so wrong.
***
“won’t you at least be on-call for tonight?”
“nope,” you beam at jihyo before teasingly patting her shoulder as she groans and dramatically lays down on the desk, knowing that she’s not keen on working in night shifts anymore like she used to be in the last years.
it’s times like this wherein you remember what your professor told you in medical school once, that you should choose a specialty that you know you won’t get tired of even if you get old and not as fast paced as you were when you’re in your 20s. when it comes to jihyo, she seems to be going into a phase in which she dreads staying up all night, doing her rotations, and anchoring emergency surgeries. you commend her for still trying to get things done efficiently though, even if she does complain about it to you in every chance that she gets.
going inside the changing rooms to go wear your civilian clothes again, you almost yelp a little too loud once you open the door and see jeongguk by his designated locker space, standing sideways from you and just in the process of taking off his top. he’s officially half-naked in front of your eyes and you catch the glimpse of a tattoo over his bicep, a couple more scattered along his arm, tattoos that you don’t get to see often since he typically conceals them by wearing a long-sleeved undershirt under his scrubs.
there's just no way someone's that hot, the thought pops up inside your mind, there's just no way someone can be that intelligent and that hot at the same time, shit.
you quickly face the other direction, pretending to appear chill but you know he already heard you make the humiliating noise (a combination of a squeal and a gasp), head slightly slanted to where you’re slowly heading to your own locker space, opening it and getting your things slowly outside.
god, you feel like some hormonal teenager. everything about this whole situation embarrasses you and just bruises your ego, more so at the fact that you’re reacting this way because of a guy who’s four years younger than you.
not that you felt superior to younger people in general, but you at least take it upon yourself not to look like you’re experiencing life and attraction for the first time, crushing over someone and being so jumpy whenever they’re around—as if jeongguk’s this hotshot senior and you’re a naive intern, your roles reversed.
in your defense, you can keep up the facade of not being affected by his presence whenever there are others around, but if it’s just the two of you and he’s, well, unintentionally showing off his amazing upper body physique, it’s kind of inevitable not to function ridiculously.
“dr. ____, do you have any plans for tonight?” he asks and you lean your head back, a little surprised again to hear him speak, watching him wear some of his earrings on, thankfully clothed this time.
“uh, is taking a week’s worth of sleep considered as a plan?”
jeongguk chuckles. “well, i was wondering, you know, that if you have the free time, can you help me with the surgical instruments, like memorizing and being fast in handing them? i would do it on my own, like go sneak inside the operating room and just get a feel of it by myself or whatever, but i’d feel more confident if you’re there.”
you stare at him long enough for him to think that you’re somehow unpleased by the request.
“you don’t have to though, if it’s bothersome, or it’s stupid, or too much, like it’s cool if—”
“jeongguk,” you cut his blabber, noticing that his ears had turned red, and you can’t help but quirk an eyebrow at that. was the jeon jeongguk being shy with you right now? “it’s okay, i’m fine with it, just maybe not tonight.”
“oh, yeah, sure, i wasn’t aiming for tonight anyways,” he clears his throat, “but just thought that since i got you alone, i’d ask you.” he smiles, and then it drops. “wait, that actually sounds wrong. i didn’t purposely get you alone here, dr. ____, i just meant that i’d take the opportunity to ask you with no one else around because i don’t want them to get the wrong idea—”
“i get what you mean, don’t worry.” you’re trying hard not to laugh, enamored by his cuteness. “i’ll help you with that sometime this week.”
come to think of it, this might be your first time really talking to jeongguk without the others around like he mentioned, that you’re filled with wonder by his behavior right now.
he’s usually so magnetic, daring, determined, absolutely competitive, and not at all so unsure like how he just asked you to help him. you’re even stunned that he needed help with something like that since it didn’t seem a hard task for him to accomplish. so far, he’s done a great job in all the procedures he needed to perform and the cases he needed to identify, that lacking about this one thing didn’t come as likely or plausible in your mind.
“thank you, dr. ____.” he grins. “i appreciate it a lot.”
“it’s no problem. it’s what i’m supposed to do, right?”
jeongguk nods and mutters a quiet, “i guess so,” finishing the last of what he needs to do before closing his locker door.
you’re waiting for him to leave so that you can start changing your clothes, but he takes longer than usual, seemingly pacing back and forth when he walks to the exit, and as you’re still not hearing the door open and close, you know he’s still in the room.
“uh, dr. ____, one last thing,” he says and you look at him again.
“what is it?”
“do you need a ride back home?”
you humiliatingly almost choke on your own saliva at his unforeseen question, your eyelids blinking rapidly. “do i… do i need a ride, ride back home?”
“yeah.”
“you're offering to drive me home?”
“yes.”
“oh.”
“only if you like though, no pressure.” he's moving back and forth on his heels. “but just saying, i can drive you home. it's a nice save from taking a taxi or a bus.”
“is that so?” the phrase comes off flirtier than what you intended, and at that playful pitch of your tone, jeongguk smirks, as if he just got the confirmation he needed.
he regains his confidence at that and it’s notable how the smirk he showcased seconds ago doesn’t leave his lips, that just when he finally decides to grab the door handle to go out of the changing room, he gazes at you in a manner that evidently looked all knowing, a strange feeling being sent to your way.
“i’ll wait for you at the entrance.”
and he leaves, just like that, abandoning you in a totally confused state.
what the hell?
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note. yes, i am still not over my medical au phase AHAHAH anyways, this might have a lot of parts, where the dynamic of this pairing just gets further explored. i have no plot in mind for this au so that's why i'm kinda making it like a drabble collection instead?
if you have any scenes in mind for this au let me know ! i might write them down hehe
thank you for reading & feedback is always appreciated ♡
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andifnotheisstillgood · a month ago
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Didn't Get Promoted- Should I Quit?
I've been working at a job for about three years (roughly entry level). In July 2019, my caseload doubled as a result of a superior leaving. Then, they never filled the vacant role. I had twice the amount of clients as the other two people in my department: both are in higher positions and getting paid more.
There was always an excuse not to open the vacant position. First, it was office reassessments, then there was a pandemic, etc. Then, in March 2021, the position finally opened. Having done a lot of work I felt I was a strong candidate.
I found out yesterday I did not get the position. I spoke with my director today and he first told me it was because I had grammatical issues in my correspondence to clients in Oct 2019. I tried to explain it was was due to the increased volume of correspondence due to my additional duties. I also told him I spoke with my supervisor about this in Nov. 2019. I asked him to provide feedback when I made errors so I could work to resolve them. Since this request (which I have documented as an e-mail) I have not received any e-mail feedback. Not to say I haven't made errors, but my supervisor has not informed me.
Then, he seemed to imply I did not do any extra work worthy of a promotion. He stated the volume of work is not determined by position level, so there's no reason for me to get special recognization for this. He also seems to dwell on the fact that I have questioned the amount of work assigned to me in the past.
Given the fact that I have done a lot of work and done it well, I feel discouraged. I want to leave more than anything, but I would be flushing a pension down the toilet. I've spent years trying to get another job, and nothing has worked for me. I feel doomed to stay in this position forever if I don't leave.
Of course, I write this with a level of frustration. At this point, I want to quit. Has anyone been through a similar process or have any advice?
submitted by /u/DonutVision [link] [comments] from Jobs https://ift.tt/3uHhdBB
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maxwell-grant · a month ago
Thoughts on the Shadow's Doppelganger, Lamont Cranston
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The funny thing about Cranston in the original stories is that, yeah, one of the most famous scenes across all Shadow media is the “Lamont Cranston Talks to Himself” chapter in The Shadow Laughs, where we learn that The Shadow is not Lamont Cranston, but has usurped his identity, and now shows up at his bedside looking like him, talking like him, knowing more about his own life than he himself does, and ordering him to leave town, effectively blackmailing him into letting him use his face. It’s a very iconic scene that exemplifies a lot of what makes The Shadow unique as a character, and you can imagine why so many adaptations have gone with the idea of Cranston being either a hapless stooge bullied into submission, or an actual villain, because that whole scene is very much a horror movie scenario. 
Thing is, none of them seem to remember how Cranston and The Shadow’s relationship developed past this. I’ll post this excerpt from Atoms of Death:
"Good morning, Cranston," came a quiet tone from the foot of the bed.
"Good morning, yourself," returned Cranston, rubbing his eyes without noticing the visitor.
"You should say: Good morning, myself," chuckled The Shadow, dryly.
Cranston was pulling down the sleeves of his pajama jacket. He sat bolt upright, staring. Then a slow smile showed on his lips; one that was almost a replica of The Shadow's.
"So it's you," remarked Cranston, sleepily. "Well, I knew that last night. It was about time we crossed paths again. Well, old man, you landed me in for plenty this trip."
Cranston shoved bedclothes aside and perched on the edge of the bed. He found cigarettes on the telephone table; The Shadow supplied a flame from a lighter before Cranston could ignite a match. The millionaire noted that The Shadow's lighter bore the initials "L. C." 
"You handle every detail, don't you?" questioned Cranston in admiration. “Jove! I remember the first time I met you. In this very room. You dropped cloak and hat and left me looking at my own face as plainly as if I had seen it in a mirror. Just as it is today."
"And I advised you," recalled The Shadow, in Cranston's own tone, "to take a trip abroad, while I used your identity. You were a bit exasperated at first."
"I must admit that I was. I threatened to have you arrested, as an impostor, until you proved that you knew more about my affairs than I did. I really believe that if it had come to a showdown, I would have been proven the impostor and you the genuine Lamont Cranston. Jove!"
"Jove," repeated The Shadow, quietly, "You have acquired that expression recently, Cranston. I shall remember it for future reference. You have a penchant for acquiring anglicisms during your sojourns in British colonies. Jove!"
"Bounder and blighter," laughed Cranston. "Don't forget those. I still use them occasionally."
Or this excerpt from The Hydra, which is an incredible book where the chemistry between the two really shines:
Lamont Cranston woke up and wondered why his head still whirled. It took him about half a minute to learn that the motion came from the fact he was riding in his limousine. Someone must have put him back in the limousine and Stanley was driving him home. 
He didn't have to guess who had helped him on his way, for at that moment Cranston heard a low-toned laugh beside him. He turned to see the black-cloaked figure of The Shadow.
"What did you hit me with?" asked Cranston. "All four of your automatics?"
"I'm only carrying a pair tonight," replied The Shadow
Look at these two dorks, just palling around and getting into shenanigans and The Shadow outright joking around Cranston, like they are just two old chums having a laugh at the weirdness of their lives. The “real” Cranston didn’t show up very often in the original stories, especially in the last stories when Lamont Cranston essentially became the real identity of The Shadow, but when he did, part of what makes him stand out as his own character is that he’s funny. Gibson gets a lot of mileage out of Cranston as this guy who is completely nonchalant and chill about all the weird shit that happens to him, even in The Hydra after he kills a man with an elephant gun, he’s still more or less the same, he largely just walks out of it with a newfound realization. 
Relieving Cranston of the elephant gun, The Shadow steered his friend into the closet. Hauling the big weapon with him, The Shadow opened the door to meet and dismiss arriving servants who had dashed upstairs when they felt the house quake. 
"Whenever I see this gun," began Cranston, coming from the closet, "I'll remember what I did with it -" 
“Quite right," interposed The Shadow approvingly. "What you did to Mance will make amends for any elephants you may have killed. Too bad Mance didn't bring along a few more Hydra Heads.”
Slowly, understanding dawned on Cranston. He'd never compared his big-game hunts with The Shadow's quests for men of crime. He felt that The Shadow's cause was justified, but it had seemed outside the field of sport. It still was, but Cranston, now that he had dealt with a murderer who deserved to die, was realizing that his game hunts were more deserving of rebuke.
His encounters with The Shadow gradually changed Cranston from a useless millionaire wasting his resources and talents on idle pursuits, to...still largely a useless millionaire, except his resources and talents are no longer wasted and he’s gradually grown into a useful ally and friend to The Shadow. The Shadow tends to have that effect on people who work by his side and even Cranston, the guy whose main role in his organization is to just stay away and be useless somewhere else, can’t help but change a little into a better person when he appears. 
There’s an interesting article written by Bob Sampson called “The Third Shadow” which refers to the Bruce Elliot run of The Shadow Magazine, which is incredibly maligned by fans and not without reason, the stories all largely suck and the Shadow bears little resemblance to his former self, instead mostly feeling like a diet take on the radio show Lamont, more of an average detective. The theory Sampson puts out is that, during this period, it was actually Lamont Cranston who became active as The Shadow while Allard was busy overseas, and I definitely like this theory. It makes sense specially considering The Hydra sets up for Cranston to become more pro-active and serious:
While not the towering master-mind of Allard, he does become the next best thing: A post-war sleuth. He even indulges in wearing the cloak and slouch hat from time to time (to varying degrees of effectiveness), while trying to laugh like Allard (also to varying degrees of effectiveness) as if to fulfill that forbidden fantasy until he finally gets it out of his system. After all, The Shadow pretended to be him, why not the other way around?
As Bob Sampson put it: “It is always Cranston who explains all and takes the credit”. 
Probably very cathartic for Lamont, who for the last 18 years was relegated to being a distant supporting player in his own life. Cranston is still in contact with the agents however. He even receives "assignments" from Burbank. 
This entire arrangement could only be with The Shadow's tacit approval. Let us remember, Cranston was not merely some insipid fop. He certainly had done his own share of exploring and was indeed a hunter. He could handle a variety of firearms, was familiar with exotic peoples and their customs, knew how to stalk dangerous animals through the jungle and veldt, but he was not, nor ever claimed to be, a master secret-agent and soldier.
I think it is fitting that the writing is completely different for this period as well. Not the enigmatic journalistic style of Allards exploits, but the witty, modern champagne fizz of Cranston's odyssey in a Post-War world. He feels a full range of emotions. In the Gibson stories, The Shadow is at arms length. In the Elliott stories, Cranston is sitting right next to you on a train or an airplane or roadster. 
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It’s also interesting to consider how Lamont Cranston has basically become the true name of The Shadow in pop culture. Often times it’s the name people use when they specifically want to reference The Shadow, the supposed “Ghost of Gay Street” hauntings in Gibson’s former apartment took the form of Lamont Cranston, and even in the stories, more and more people became aware of it as the years went by (which also helps reinforce the idea that the “real” Cranston eventually took to acting as a fill-in for The Shadow, to draw attention away from the real Shadow’s operations), and Gibson even mentioned a few times that Cranston was The Shadow’s “favorite” identity along with Arnaud. Which is kinda fascinating to think about and does hint at some weird underlying aspects of The Shadow’s psyche, that his favorite identity is one not his own.
And at last, there’s these passages from The Whispering Eyes, a book that does not mention Allard once, and the very last Shadow novel: 
From beneath the seat he was taking his black garb. Cloaked and hatted as he stepped from the cab, Cranston merged immediately with the darkness. He had become The Shadow. 
Cranston's switch to his other self could well be attributed to a hypnotic mood. The mental lapses produced through hypnosis were the sort that would often cause a subject to revert to habit. Now, as The Shadow, Cranston was still in what might be termed a haphazard mood. He was skirting through darkness, pausing, changing direction, behaving generally as though avoiding something that did not exist.
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Lang had flung away his glasses; his eyes now showed the shining, hypnotic force that the lenses normally softened. He recognized the eyes that met his above a leveled gun muzzle.
The Shadow's eyes, yet strangely Cranston's, for this was one time The Shadow did not care to disguise them.
Which begs the question: Did Cranston succeed in fully becoming The Shadow? Or did The Shadow succeed in fully becoming Cranston?
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