#sunshine puppy human form
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Moving In With An Office Plant, The Hidden Benefits Of Getting A Plant At Work
Thankfully, it doesn't cause humans any hurt and doesn’t feed, reproduce or carry out another life processes throughout winter. I additionally use mild & scorching sausages as my hubby doesn’t like too scorching. The high quality hairiness is simply found once we really feel the leaves, (They really feel really feel like puppy’s ears.) Hence the identify. Having the flag customized with the name of a selected liked one lets not solely that particular particular person know you care, but in addition tells all that cross that you are personally invested and truly do care. To let these brave men and women ,who're serving now or have previously, know how much we respect their dedication and bravery. To let these who're serving now or have previously know the way much we admire their dedication and bravery. But most people who have stopped lately do not want to purchase the entire farm. There are some of us with a Garden Flag obsession itching for excuses to purchase new flags. The sunshine from an LED won't be as bright as that generated by a standard bulb, thus if you're in search of a more intense gentle you might have to buy lights which have a financial institution of LEDs.
Add finely diced kale and proceed to cook for 5-10 more minutes. I just throw it in the washer on a gentle cycle after which into the dryer on LOW for just a couple of minutes to get some of the moisture out after which I hold it to dry. If you're additionally among the many few that haven't heard of this simply search "pumpkin snowman" and you'll see a great selection. We don't get much snow around here, so to see a snowman it usually does must be in the type of a decoration or on a winter garden flag. So come see us at Custom Flags and Gifts Please fill out our suggestions form beneath the "Contact Us" link if you wish to make any feedback or are in search of a product we don't carry. All that's involved is marking the inside of the bucket to point the fill ranges that characterize the right proportion of water to pee. The LED mild inside the glass orb is bright white and creates attention-grabbing patterns because it shines by way of the glass and the metalwork.
A a hundred and twenty volt excessive wattage mild creates high quantities of mild trespass and glare. This room is excessive and of fine measurement, but it accommodates so many accumulated treasures - pictures, old magazines, and trophies picked up in the sector, comparable to hornets' nests, dried flowers, cat-tails and so forth, that it appears small. Just take two small wood planks perhaps three or four inches wide and drill 3/four inch holes close to the top of each . gubi multi lite pendel hvid rising in 1 1/2 inch soil blocks made using Johnny's 512 Mix and I think they appear notably healthy, in contrast to the sickly starts I had last 12 months using Burpee’s Seed Starting Mix made with coconut coir. Wherever you discover your seeds, if you've got never saved seeds before, consider saving seed from a minimum of one plant in next 12 months's garden. In response to a examine accomplished by the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and the Institute for Housing and Urban Research of the Uppsala University, the greater the variety of plants positioned within one meter of the work desk, the lower the level of perceived stress.
So if you are reading this, we so do admire that, as it means our hard work should be paying off. I need to admit, it is a vacation I've taken in varied significance throughout my life. Although we may have one for every doable ocassion and holiday. These garden flags can decorate your yard all winter lengthy and one among our Snowmen Garden flags can even be personalized. Listed here are few of the picture gifts, personalized gifts and garden flags at Custom Flags and Gifts that you could be consider. They compared our thumbs for a few seconds -- and then the questions began. I came back and seemed it up on the internet and that i , apparently, was one of the few that had never seen it done before. I might put it again in storage for subsequent 12 months OR I could donate it to a instructor for their classroom. Then my husband dug a hole deep and large enough to take this concrete block base, which (I swear I'm not making this up) we discovered whereas clearing away a debris pile in the again corner of our property. Cut a 5/8 in dowel about 16 inches long slip the dowel in the first gap slide on your garden flag after which proceed to slip the dowel via the hole of the alternative plank.
We offer garden flags from a number of of the military branches along with a "Welcome Home" flag,all which have the option of becoming customized flags. All these army garden flags have the option of becoming customized flags. When I was a newbie gardener, I used to be trying for ways on beginning a garden from scratch throughout winter. We offer garden flags from a number of of the navy branches along with a "Welcome Home" flag. It's so essential for us to honor our military. A Military Garden Flag is a technique to do that. The solar is probably your garden flags' worse enemy. I discovered when I used to be working at a neighborhood flag store that teachers, particularly in youthful classrooms, like to have used flags donated to them. With all the artistic minds out there, I'm sure there are many different ideas and we'd love to hear them. Uses Of Greenhouses Greenhouses can provide help to significantly for those who love to develop trees and plants in your yard. It is going to help to reduce nutrient leaching; will keep the soil hotter; will reduce soil moisture evaporation; will produce earlier and better yields; and will make weeding just about nonexistent.
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Many months ago I found myself on /r/fanfiction explaining the history of the AO3 tag "Serious Human Male/Handsome Gay Living Archive", and made a mental note that it would make a good HobbyDrama post if I wrote it up more comprehensively. Today, I wasted an entire working day doing just that.Background: What are AO3 and the Hugo Awards?The Hugo Awards are one of the most important awards in science fiction and fantasy - they're the genre fiction equivalent of the Oscars, awarded to the best SFF works published the previous year in a bunch of categories (currently 15 (+2 Not A Hugo)* permanent categories, plus occasional temporary categories). The big difference between the two is that while the Oscars are voted on by members of the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has relatively stringent membership criteria, the Hugos are voted on by the members of the World Science Fiction Society, which is made up of whoever is prepared to shell out ~$50 for membership. Being able to put "Hugo Award-winning author" on your book covers is a big deal - it's generally considered one of only a handful of awards where this actually makes a difference to your sales.The Archive Of Our Own (AO3) is a fanfiction archive first proposed in 2007, which entered open beta in 2009. The impetus for this was twofold. Firstly, existing fanfic spaces (fanfiction.net, livejournal) were increasingly showing that they were at the mercy of site owners - and outside interests such as advertisers who didn't want unwholesome content associated with their brands - deleting works which they didn't like, sometimes without warning and despite the content complying with the site's Terms of Service.** Secondly, a commercial project called FanLib, run by a bunch of people who had no existing fandom experience and funded by venture capital, had just been set up as a panfandom archive: this was widely seen as an attempt by outsiders to exploit fans for profit.So in 2007, a fan called Astolat wrote an LJ post which is arguably one of the founding documents of modern transformative works fandom: you can read it here on Fanlore. Another well-known fan, Csperanza, posted in early 2008 supporting the project, and her opening line, "Because I want us to own the goddamned servers, ok? Because I want a place where we can't be TOSed and where no one can turn the lights off or try to dictate to us what kind of stories we can tell each other", neatly encapsulate's the Archive's raison d'être. This fact about AO3 - that the fans did the work and the fans own the goddamn servers - would end up being important more than a decade later in a context that Csperanza could not have possibly forseen.* The Hugo/Not A Hugo distinction is one of those "ha-ha only serious" things which is simultaneously incredibly trivial and of supreme importance. You don't have to care.** Inexplicably, as far as I can tell nobody has HobbyDrama-ed Strikethrough.Transformative Works Fandom and Worldcon Fandom begin to meetFor a long time, Transformative Works Fandom and Worldcon Fandom basically left one another alone. Mostly, the the kinds of works that the Hugo Awards went to were not the kinds of works that the fanfiction people were writing fic about.* This all changed in the 2010s. A new generation of SFF authors were coming to the fore, many of them women, many of them queer, many of them more racially diverse than the Old Guard of SFF authors. And many of them had cut their teeth in Transformative Works Fandom. Notable examples include Naomi Novik (she'll be important later) and Seanan McGuire. Both are open about the fact that they have a history in transformative works fandom, and both had by 2019 won several prestigious SFF awards: Novik the Locus and Nebula; McGuire the Hugo for Best Novella twice; both the Astounding (then Campbell) Award for Best New Writer, which is Not A Hugo (but voted on at the same time, by the same people, using the same voting system, on the same ballot). Both, indeed, were on the 2019 Hugo ballot for their pro work: Novik for Best Novel, McGuire for Best Series (a category which is itself a source of much Sturm und Drang in Hugo circles). And Novik's fannish identity is one of the Biggest of the Big Name Fans in AO3 circles, and an open secret - plenty of people were by 2019 well aware how much she had contributed both to modern pro-SFF and modern TW fandom.**But still, most transformative works fans didn't know or care that much about Worldcon fandom, despite some major authors overlapping the two. The drama with the Sad Puppies changed all that. The Sad Puppies have been ably covered previously on /r/HobbyDrama, but the effect on Worldcon fandom was twofold: Worldconners started to worry more openly about whether they were becoming irrelevant and needed to appeal to new fans, and the transformative works fandom learnt about the Sad Puppies. They didn't particularly like the idea that a small group of conservative fans could hijack a prestigious award for their own ends, and a bunch of TW fans got interested in Worldcon fandom and the Hugos.* At least in the prose categories - several popular TV series were important in both WSFS fandom and TW fandom; Star Trek in the 1970s and Dr. Who after the revival in the early 2000s being notable examples.** Out of long-ingrained habit, I have avoided tying any fandom ID to that person's wallet ID, but in the case of several of the people who appear in this tale, it's fairly easy to find out who is who.The Hugo Award for Best Related WorkThe Hugo Award for Best Related Work is... kinda a mess. According to the Hugo Awards' website it is for:a work related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom [...] either non-fiction or, if fictional, is noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fictional text, and which is not eligible in any other category.If you're thinking "that seems kinda vague and broad" - you're right. People have been wanking about whether things should be eligible for BRW, and whether the rules should be tightened up, for years. Originally, Related Work nominations were all for Serious Non-Fiction About SFF, but by the 2010s other kinds of work were increasingly being nominated. The "Writing Excuses" podcast made the ballot four years in a row from 2011 to 2014 - despite the existence of a "Best Fancast" category from 2012 onwards for podcasts (I don't know whether it was deemed too professional to be eligible for that category?). In 2012, Seanan McGuire was nominated for her filk album Wicked Girls. There's a perennial debate about whether long-form works are more deserving than short form ones. Basically, there's no agreement, and the Hugo Award admins (who change every year) are generally reluctant to make a Definitive Ruling that something is not eligible for a category that it was nominated for unless the WSFS constitution is Very Clear on the matter.In 2018, AO3 made the longlist for Best Related Work, only a single vote away from the shortlist. In 2019, it was shortlisted.According to its detractors, problems with AO3 being nominated were legion. There were debates about whether AO3 was eligible as a non-fictional work or a fictional text "noteworthy for aspects other than the fictional text". There were debates about whether nominators were "really" nominating it for the fictional texts it hosts (i.e. all the fanfic). There were concerns that if AO3 won the award, people wouldn't Really Understand that the award was for the Related Works aspects of AO3 and not for the fics it hosted. There was some out-and-out "but it's full of icky porn".And then there was the Hugo awards are for works published in the previous year wank. The rule is actually a little more flexible than that: for related works, the rule says published or substantially modified during the previous calendar year. So the arguments started about whether AO3 really was substantially modified during 2018, and whether it was only eligible for the bits of it added in that time or whether people should be voting on the archive as a whole. As it's still in beta and updates are rolled out every year, there were concerns that people would end up nominating it every year from now until the end of time. In fact, it so happens that AO3 had rolled out some pretty big changes during 2018 (most obviously the "exclude" filters), so the case for AO3's eligibility was probably as strong as it could be.At any rate, not everyone was happy, and they certainly not everyone was happy when AO3 won. But many of those in the convention centre in Dublin when the award was announced were very happy - it got one of the loudest cheers of the night (perhaps beaten only by Jeanette Ng's Campbell acceptance speech, which is its own pile of drama). Four of AO3's volunteers went up to accept the award, with an acceptance speech given by none other than Naomi Novik. Novik asked that everyone in the audience who considered themselves part of the AO3 community stand up to be recognised, and lots of people did so - including a signficant number of those sitting at the front as nominees and their guests. And everything was sunshine and roses.ReactionsIt all started out well. AO3's win got some mainstream attention. The Daily Dot published quite a good article on why this win was significant. The Mary Sue also reported, with the provocative headline: "Everyone Who Contributed to Fanfiction Site “Archive of Our Own” Is Now a Hugo Award Winner". And of course, transformative works fans took to twitter and tumblr to celebrate. This was proof that Astolat had been right back in 2007, after all - Transformative Work fandom was a valuable artistic culture in its own right, and if AO3/OTW made the case for it, it could be seen as legitimate. A bunch of people made tweets joking about how everything published on AO3 could now call itself a Hugo winner. Multiple Hugo nominee Tansy Rayner Roberts tweeted about how the award will "probably make whole generations of fans feel like the Hugos are more relevant to them".It couldn't last.A bunch of longtime Worldcon fans were annoyed by what they saw as people trivialising an Important Award by joking about having won 5.4e-5% of a Hugo. This was made worse when a couple of people started kickstarters or etsy shops for unofficial "Hugo Winner" merchandise. To the Hugo people who were already pissed about what they saw as a serious award not being taken seriously, this was the final straw - an infringement of the Hugo Award trademark. So the World Science Fiction Society, who administrate the Hugos, asked AO3 to make a news post to clarify the situation. Which AO3 did. It didn't help. The jokes continued, and the announcement was rapidly inundated with comments, many scathing about WSFS's handling of the situation.(Over a year later, it's still not clear whether this post was requested by WSFS, the Hugo Awards' Mark Protection Committee, or some other entity. Nor is it clear who drafted the wording of the post, or whether anyone from WSFS agreed to that wording. This lack of clarity did not help the subsequent drama. Nor did the fact that there was no actual mention of the commercial trademark infringement, which WSFS' supporters would subsequently claim was the main reason the clarification was needed. If the post had made it clear that it was about the commercial misuse of a registered service mark, it is likely that much of the subsequent drama would have been avoided.)Typical responses included:Oh wow did they really take everybody joking about being award winners seriously xDand:Yep, the Hugo award might be RUINED! Never mind that they gave one to noted child molester Marion Zimmer Bradley, noted racists and misogynists Niven, Pournelle, Heinlein, and Piers Anthony - what might ruin the Hugo is fanfic authors enjoying a joke to express their celebratory joy.Lady GoatHugo Award WinnerTime Person of the Year (twice)It wasn't helped by Kevin Standlee, a member of the Hugo Awards' Mark Protection Committee, responding to a bunch of these comments and seriously misreading the room. In particular, this comment really annoyed a bunch of people.AO3 folk were annoyed by the claim that the issue was people making merchandise. If that was the problem, why were the MPC going after AO3, who weren't making Hugo-related merch, rather than the people who were actually doing the thing that the MPC were supposedly concerned about? And why did the initial statement not say that? This wasn't helped by Standlee's condescending explanation that not every contributor to AO3 is "really" a Hugo Award winner, in part because most of the people making that claim were pretty clearly joking, and in part because he appeared not to understand that the volunteers who did the coding and tag wrangling and all the other things which the site did win the award for had significant overlap with the writers who were publishing the fic. Thirdly:I was responding to an apparent assumption that those of us who spend our volunteer time and organizing the World Science Fiction Convention and the Hugo Awards had some sort of hatred for fanfic, which certainly isn't the case. Fandom is a "big tent," and the Worldcon is the original big tent, and has been since 1939.Lots of TW fans who had also been involved in SFF convention fandom for a while had... quite a different view about how welcoming Worldcon had traditionally been to TW fans. Many were especially disappointed that lots of the pushback against AO3's win was coming from people who had opposed the Sad Puppies only a few years before on the grounds that a few fringe people shouldn't have the power to gatekeep who was deserving of a Hugo win.Meanwhile, equal amounts of pixels were being spilled at File770, a major news source for convention-going SFF fandom. Eventually there would be fifteen pages of comments on that post, mostly fighting about the AO3/Hugo issue, including a bunch of argumentation about who is legally in the right, and claims that the whole kerfuffle is proof that AO3 shouldn't have won in the first place.Most of the conversation was between F770 regulars, many of whom were both longtime WSFS members and longtime supporters of AO3; additionally several AO3 users weighed in on the discussion.An IP lawyer also weighed in on AO3, and recieved... mixed reception. Some thanked him for his contribution, others disagreed with his points, and still others suggested that despite writing 1200 words on the issue, he had failed to engage with the only actual point of contention regarding trademark law in the entire affair - i.e. whether what the AO3 side saw as WSFS' heavy-handed policing of obvious jokes was in fact legally necessary.The AO3 people, on the other hand, were entertaining themselves in the way transformative works fans always have: by writing fanworks about the whole ordeal. The mockery had begun in the comments section of the news post, but soon spread to stand-alone works, the most widely-read being Stanley Cup ─ What It Means. Soon, an AO3 collection had been set up to group all the works related to the kerfuffle together.And, to bring things to a full circle with the puppy!wank of the previous years, an AO3 user by the name of LoverSnapper wrote a Tingleverse fic satirising the horror some apparently felt at AO3's win: Ficced in the Ass by the Handsome Living Award-Winning Archive (Who is Also a Dinosaur)And that, boys, girls, and those of you who know better, is why there is a work on AO3 with the relationship tag "Serious Human Male/Handsome Gay Living Archive". via /r/HobbyDrama
CW: discussions about bullying, sexual harassment, ableismPLEASE NOTE: all the posts that I've linked that are in English are TRANSLATIONS of the original posts. Please do not think that the translators are the original posters; all the original posts are in Korean.BackgroundWho are SEVENTEEN?SEVENTEEN (sometimes shortened to SVT) are a 13-member South Korean boyband who debuted under Pledis Entertainment on May 26, 2015. They've enjoyed decent popularity since debut; their second EP, Boys Be, was the highest selling K-Pop rookie album of 2015. They had a VERY successful 2020; their EPs Heng:garae and Semi;colon sold over a million copies each, and their weekly reality show Going Seventeen 2020 netted over 1 million views for each episode, cementing them as one of the biggest boy groups in K-Pop.Who is Mingyu?Mingyu is SEVENTEEN's main visual and one of its most popular members. Basically, he's one of the most attractive and charming guys out of a group of extremely attractive and charming guys. He's gone viral on K-pop Twitter multiple times for being hot; one video, where he's performing in a button-down on a hot summer day, has over 1 million views. He also has a bit of a 'best boy' image - basically very wholesome, loving, and endearing. He was seen as the ideal boyfriend. A perfect guy. A puppy. Human sunshine. You get the idea.Why do people care so much?An important thing to note going into this post is the context surrounding the drama. Since February, South Korea's entertainment industry has been undergoing a reckoning similar to the #MeToo movement in the West, except with bullying. I can't speak fully to this because I'm not Korean, but the reason why people are taking it so seriously now is because bullying is seen as a systemic issue in SK, with 1 in 100 students having experienced or witnessed some form of bullying. If you want to learn more about it, here's a good summary of the inciting events and some thoughts on bullying in SK as a whole from a Korean-American.So you have an extremely popular, well-liked, handsome idol, an industry in the middle of some serious upheaval, and a frustrated and embittered public. And then the first of the bullying allegations surfaced.Round 1: Bottle Cap BoogalooOn February 22nd, 2021, an anonymous user posted to an online forum claiming to have gone to the same elementary and middle school as Mingyu. The original post has been deleted, but the gist of it is this: Mingyu was involved with a group of delinquents who regularly verbally and physically bullied the accuser. Besides being a regular bystander, he also threw a bottle cap at her face, and took her money so he could ride the bus to practice. As proof, the accuser posted a photo of her middle school yearbook. (You can read a summary of the accusations here.)The reaction was lukewarm - most people questioned the authenticity of the claims, pointing out that the accuser's yearbook didn't match Mingyu's, and that there were inconsistencies in the timeline. Sure enough, Pledis responded about half a day later, completely denying all the claims and reiterating the discrepancies that were already pointed out. (The original response is here, and a fan translation is here.) People made memes, some criticized cancel culture, and Mingyu got out relatively unscathed. All was well.Round 2: Until It Wasn'tThen on February 25th, a new allegation surfaced. The accuser - we'll call her OP1 - claimed to have attended the same hagwon (Korean cram school, taken outside of regular school hours) as Mingyu back in middle school, before he joined Pledis. According to OP1, Mingyu would frequently make sexual jokes with the other boys in the class, and told her to shut up whenever she tried to contribute to discussions, to the point where she stopped talking altogether. Years later, while in therapy for separate reasons, she brought up Mingyu to her therapist, at which point her therapist suggested that she might still be hurt by his actions.Because these posts are all made in Korean, international fans have to wait for fan translators to translate the posts for them. The most widespread initial translation of OP1's post has since been deleted, but it lives on in screenshots. This is what it said:basically [Mingyu] made sexually harassing comments to a girl in his class & told everyone else... horrible rumors about her and she had to go to therapy for it because the [rumors] were that badBefore this was deleted, it had almost 19k quote retweets and 17k likes. It was by far the most shared translation on Twitter. The problem is that it was wrong. OP1's post never said that the sexual jokes were directed at her, and she never mentioned any rumors. She also said that she only mentioned Mingyu briefly during therapy, not that he was the cause of it. But with this mistranslation, Mingyu went from telling A to shut up and making sexual jokes in her presence, to targeting her with sexual harassment and rumors to the point of needing therapy.Eventually, the translator deleted their tweet, posted an apology, and went private. But the damage was already done. People were furious. They were calling Mingyu a sexual abuser, a bully, a misogynist, etc. They sent death threats to him and his fans, and called for his departure from SVT, even going so far as to write a letter to Pledis, SVT's company, demanding he be kicked from the group and banned from the industry. Many fans either started supporting SVT without Mingyu, or stopped supporting SVT as a whole. Those who chose to stay neutral, or called out the mistranslation, were accused of supporting an abuser.It couldn't possibly get worse, could it?Round 2.5: It Gets WorseA few hours after the first post, two other allegations surfaced. The first (HUGE disclaimer here that I'm going off my memory, as far as I can tell the original post has been wiped from the Internet) poster claimed that, in middle school, Mingyu was part of a group of kids who physically bullied their friend, frequently laughing and insulting the victim while the bullying happened. We'll call this poster Instiz OP, after the forum they posted on.At the same time as Instiz OP, an anonymous user leaked screenshots of multiple group chats between Mingyu's former middle school classmates. (You can read a translation here.) We'll call the poster Daum OP, again after the social media platform used. They allege that Mingyu bullied a classmate with autism (we'll call him B), including throwing wrappers at him and banging on his desk to rile him up. The post included another claim, from a separate victim we'll call C. C claimed that a bully in the school (not Mingyu) grabbed his chest and said something along the lines of, "since I heard you're a girl, your chest will grow bigger if I do this." Mingyu then allegedly laughed and grabbed his chest as well.To make this clear, Mingyu is now being accused of (excuse my paraphrasing):making sexual jokes and bullying people into silence by OP1;being a frequent bystander and inciter of physical bullying by Instiz OP;ableism (B) and groping (C) by Daum OP.Where was Mingyu throughout all of this, you ask? Nowhere. His entire social media presence is managed by Pledis, who was remaining radio silent while all of this was going down. You can imagine how stressful it was for SVT fans. Some scribbled over their albums with permanent marker in an impulsive rage; some sold their merchandise; most flocked to social media in an attempt to make sense of the situation, and process the betrayal that comes with realizing one of your emotional support K-pop boys is actually a monster. (Here is the megathread on Mingyu's accusations over on r/seventeen; I didn't touch Twitter.)It gets... Moderately Better?Finally, on February 27th, Pledis tweeted out an official statement in response to the accusations, including an official English translation. It's quite lengthy, but the most important points are:Pledis is exercising due diligence in investigating the claims.Mingyu is temporarily suspending all activities until the issue is resolved.The ableism claims are completely untrue. Pledis contacted the mother of B and B himself, both of whom verified that B and Mingyu have always been on very good terms. B also expressed discomfort that his past trauma was exposed without his consent.The tide of public opinion was starting to turn in Pledis and Mingyu's favor. Fans across Reddit were expressing their surprise at how well Pledis was handling the issue, relief that one of the worse claims was more or less debunked, and sympathy for B and his mother. More and more people claimed neutrality, and the general consensus was to not draw any conclusions until further statements were released. Finally, it seemed like some semblance of peace had been restored in the fandom.Round 3: Or So We ThoughtOn March 1st, yet another former hagwon classmate of Mingyu's posted online. This is where things get complicated - this poster, who we'll call OP2, defended Mingyu and accused OP1 of being a bully. She described OP1 as a student that constantly victimized herself, whom others were afraid to approach because she would accuse them of bullying the second they said something she didn't like. According to OP2, Mingyu was a relatively normal and nice student, and the times he told OP1 to stop talking were taken as lighthearted jokes by everyone else in the class. OP2 also claimed OP1 framed her for bullying back in middle school, ruining her reputation and causing her to seek therapy herself.As the days passed, OP2 and OP1 both made response posts to each other, basically arguing about whose version of events is correct and accusing the other of lying, all while OP2 posted increasingly personal information as evidence to back up her claims. Here's a relatively accurate summary of events. I'm not going to go too much into this because Mingyu wasn't even being mentioned in the posts anymore, and both OPs brought up a lot of personal trauma and information that wasn't relevant to this drama.Around the same time, another development surfaced - Daum OP, who made the accusations about both B and C (the student with autism and the student who was groped on the chest, respectively) posted again and doubled down on their claims. Why they would do this and essentially ignore B's wishes to not be involved in the drama any further, as well as invalidate B's stance on his own trauma, no one knows. They also claimed that there were other victims, but that they were unwilling to come forward and risk being exposed to public ire.To make things worse for themselves, Daum OP would then get caught a few days later commenting under their own post as if they were a different person. They claimed it was just a friend using their account; however, many suggested that this could mean Daum OP was using multiple accounts to comment and sway public opinion in their favor, and forgot which account they were using at the time. Regardless, account sharing wasn't permitted by the platform they were using, resulting in a temporary ban.At this point, the situation was gradually devolving into a he-said-she-said, as all accusers involved threw doubt on their own credibility. The general K-Pop fandom was no longer paying attention, but the SVT fans who were tracking each update because of their relation (however tangential) to Mingyu didn't know who to believe anymore. Was Mingyu a bully? Was he just a regular kid swept up in a toxic school environment? Was he the victim of an elaborate smear campaign? No one could say for sure, and Pledis' return to complete and utter radio silence sure wasn't helping.Breaking the SilenceSeveral days passed without any official statements, updates, or developments. And then on March 12th, almost two weeks after the first statement, Pledis puts out an updated statement. Here's the summary:Mingyu said he did joke around with classmates after school, but never bullied or tried to embarrass anyone. He apologized to OP1 if she suffered because of his actions.OP1 accepted his apology, and expressed that she did not want Mingyu to suspend his activities or leave the group.Pledis is "looking into other matters". Most fans took this to mean they're looking into the outstanding allegations with C (groping) and Instiz OP (bystanding).A few hours later, a group of people posted online claiming to be friends of OP2, advocating for Mingyu's character in middle school. According to them, Mingyu was a normal kid, who often called out the bullying that was happening. One person even thanked him for joking around with their sibling, who was being ostracized by the rest of the school - notably, using similar jokes to the ones OP1 described in her initial allegation as targeted, malicious attacks. They also said that OP2, who was previously living overseas, returned to Korea for therapy as a result of the vitriol she received online.What followed from the fandom can only be described as a collective sigh of relief. The main, and most widespread, allegation was now resolved peacefully. On top of that, it seemed as if the behavior OP1 was describing was largely due to a misunderstanding, and that Mingyu was not the monster we feared he was, but just a regular middle school boy. People also expressed their sympathies for OP2, who revealed her trauma in a similar fashion as OP1 but received much more criticism. Now all that was left to do was wait for the upcoming statements addressing the unresolved allegations.Breaking the Silence: Part 2On March 21st, a solid week and a half since the previous statement, we got an update. But this time, it wasn't from Pledis, but from Instiz OP themselves. First, they revealed that they were actually the victim mentioned in the accusations, not just a witness. They went on to say that they got in contact with Pledis, who contacted former classmates and Mingyu himself, all of whom said they had no recollection of these accusations ever happening. Instiz OP also contacted a friend who allegedly witnessed a lot of the bullying, who also said they didn't remember anything like that ever happening. They concluded that their memory must have been faulty, and decided to "put an end to this situation."Roughly four hours later, Pledis released a third statement basically confirming Instiz OP's update: no one they contacted, Mingyu and OP's friend included, remembered any of the behavior described by OP ever happening. They also added this:We are deeply concerned that a claim was published online regarding an event solely based on the memory of a certain individual... while it is fortunate that this and all other previous incidents have been confirmed to be unrelated to our artist, we are forced to contemplate how much suffering must be allowed to be inflicted on those involved in such an allegation, in addition to the time and effort required to dispel such claims.Basically: all this work because of faulty memory?Yeah. Ouch.The Finale: Happy Birthday???Another two weeks passed following the third statement. While Mingyu was still technically on hiatus, he started showing up in promotions for their upcoming single, and in interviews with magazines. People started wondering whether this meant the issue was resolved, despite the fact that Mingyu was never officially taken off hiatus, and there was still one outstanding allegation.And then, whether deliberately or coincidentally, the final statement was posted on Mingyu's birthday, April 6th. While they never explicitly mentioned what allegation they were addressing, there was only one it could be - the groping allegations from C.They were able to contact C. Although Mingyu had no recollection of the event C detailed, he did acknowledge that he often laughed at jokes his friends made without thinking, and apologized to C if he did anything that caused harm.C accepted Mingyu's apology and expressed that he did not want Mingyu to have to bear any more responsibility for what happened in the past.Mingyu will resume his official activities.Mingyu also issued a statement to fans, basically thanking them for supporting him and promising to use this chance to reflect on his behavior more seriously moving forward. He also said this:I’m sorry to have made you worry. This experience has been trying for me as well.After a month and a half of turmoil since the first bottle cap statement (yeah, I bet you forgot all about that one) came out, you can imagine how bittersweet this was for fans to read. Although we were all glad that everything was finally resolved, in the end, it seemed as if most allegations were either somewhat exaggerated or straight-up didn't happen - a conclusion that was disproportionate, to say the least, to the toll this took on everyone involved. OP1 and OP2 mentioned receiving death threats from fans. People living near the Pledis building in Korea reported seeing the lights on late at night, presumably because of the staff staying up late to resolve the issue. Fans were kept waiting for weeks at a time, and some were reminded of their own trauma as a direct result of the entire situation. And of course, I can't imagine what Mingyu went through throughout all of this, being unable to say anything until the very end, and being lambasted for things he knew didn't happen.The AftermathWithin the fandom, things have largely returned to normal. SEVENTEEN, including Mingyu, are currently promoting their latest Japanese single. The much-awaited, long-delayed 2021 season of Going Seventeen has finally premiered. 'Mingyu best boy' is once again a widely agreed-upon sentiment.Outside the fandom, however, this drama will most likely follow Mingyu for the rest of his career. Most non-fans pretty much checked out of the situation after Daum OP's first post, and missed all of the statements countering and debunking the allegations. The posts on Pledis' statements on r/kpop only have a fraction of the upvotes of the posts about the initial allegations, a testament to how much of this drama has passed under the general K-pop fandom's radar.Whether this shift in public sentiment will affect SEVENTEEN's future success, I don't know. The fandom is the one driving MV views, album sales, award show voting etc., and the fandom's opinion of Mingyu is as positive as ever. I guess we'll just have to see. And if you're interested, check out Not Alone by SEVENTEEN. Those boys make some good music. via /r/HobbyDrama
Headcannons 1 (Drafts)
- sad and dead
- generally friendly
- Depression, Insomnia, Anxiety (shadow form)
- Trust issues
- a pushover
- humor as coping mechanism
- VERY different around other people (shy)
- cries a lot
- is literally dying again
- loves cooking hates eating (Ed)
- is the adult in his own household
- voice of reason
- Party mom
- falls fast and pines very long (simp)
- nerd (especially comics and movies)
- can be toxic and jealous
- hates being touched by ppl outside of his main circle
- oblivious to flirting
- bi (leaning towards girls)
- in a relationship with Mantha
- three Opossums in a Trenchcoat
- party animal
- n.o 1 My chemistry nightmare fan girl
- angry and loud
- very(!) protective
- ironically not very jealous
- also oblivious to flirting
- the only one in the group without parental issues
- plays basketball
- gets clingy when drunk
- not a dealer but mysteriously always has weed
- scared of big animals
- her arm has a Life on it's own (sometimes)
- bi (leaning towards bois)
- in a relationship with Casper
- Pharaoh of himbos
- ray of sunshine
- golden retriever Boy
- Good at reading People
- very charismatic and popular
- very good with words
- the bigger party animal
- wants to enjoy his youth
- wdym daddy issues?? Never heard of that
- loves to dance, the 2000s pop music
- feels the music
- a simp
- he doesn't get politics (except for Egypt)
- very touchy
- looks forward to he Pharao
- Bad in school but his future is save so fuck it
- loves animals
- bottom tm
- in a relationship with Harpy
- demon in a flowerdress
- poisoned, (human esque form, Hair/Skin Color)
- PTSD, anxiety, depression
- possessed (bcs more is better right?)
- nerd (books and school)
- Can't handle failure
- Mommy issues
- tends overworks herself
- could sing
- abandoned by og fam
- ex heir of The Harpy Isles
- adopted by the Garcias
- witch in training (learned magic not born with it)
- loves animals
- Outsider (both among Monsters & Witches)
- loves reading (especially dramas)
- In a relationship with Ra
- fancy asshole
- Half Upior (=resistant to sunlight)
- can't handle emotions (especially not other's)
- anger issues
- rather introverted
- Mama's little boy
- Has a soft spot
- trust issues
- one year older than the others (technically)
- v insecure among other Vampires
- he is a car guy, he really is
- his family was always very noble and proud (a Vampire thing) their wealth grew recently
- he still has his black rubber duck (nobody knows except that everyone knows)
- playfully jealous
- Protective though
- looks good and he knows it
- plays the violin and guitar
- bi (preference for Bois)
- in a relationship with Dummy
Marina „Dummy Girl" Collodi
- monogamous slut
- she knows everything about everyone
- theatre kid (dramatic)
- loves to sow and Design clothes
- pretty and she knows it
- heavily insecure though
- gives everyone fashion advice (even if not asked for)
- she's also an asshole
- very jealous (bcs of being cheated on)
- trust issues
- she is a hothead
- could kill you, really she could
- very considerate
- bottom (brat)
- bi curious
- In a relationship with Thatch
- scared be(a)st boi
- depression, anxiety
- daddy issues (he's just getting milk okay!)
- a Good listener
- gives great advice
- ironically is immune to Thatch's nature
- hates the heat
- fights stress with sports
- gives best puppy eyes
- Mama's boy
- has a great relationship with his big bro
- confidence increases with the fullmoon
- loves science
- is always warm
- problems to fit in (used to have no fix friend group)
- hetero (ally)
- in a relationship with Monaco
- former Gretchen Wieners
- the oldest sister (usually steps in for mom)
- The mom friend
- loves to bake
- does hair
- bad at making decisions
- switches between human form and skeleton form (that's on me lmao I can't decide)
- beta twin
- daddy issues
- great listener
- Good advice
- shy until someone's mean to people important to her
- tries to not be Mickey 2
- her needs tend to be ignored
- hetero (ally)
- in a relationship with Wolfie
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Celebrating 1k+ Part 1: Zhongli x gn!reader
Crossover: Ancient Magus Bride
content: fluff, little bit of angst, romance
warning: themes of depression and mental illness, alluding to suicidal tendencies
The bath water was warm, soothing your inner turmoil and washing away the stress in small tides. What a day it had been, selling yourself off in an auction was strange enough but the man or creature that had purchased you was even weirder. As the auctioneer had said beforehand, you didn’t care about your own life, it didn’t matter who you were sold to. Even so, you were taken back by the sudden dragon like skull that appeared before your face on stage, bidding unreasonably high and sweeping you away in a noir cloak to his home. Calling you his apprentice, he had immediately invited you into his home and insisted you bathe.
Your thoughts were interrupted by a giggle, your neck snapped up and you were face to face with a strange creature. The creature was human like but much smaller with wings and long claws on it’s hands and fingers. It’s face was boyish, framed by two braids with traces of green and blue in its hair. Patterns of dandelions danced on it’s skin.
“Hello, sunshine,” his voice was clear as day, like a melody in the wind.
“What are you?” You breathed out.
His pointed ears twitched and he grinned, “I’m Venti! A wind spirit of course, nice to meet ya! ehe.”
“I see,” you tilted your head, remembering that Zhongli had told you it was impolite to call the fae as fae but to refer to them with familiarity. “Are you a neighbor?”
Two other humanoid creatures peered from behind Venti, the same viridescent wings sprouting from their backs and gold dandelions printed on their skin. One’s hair was red and her skin was a darker hue of green than the others. The other was blonde with a ponytail held by a flower stem.
“You know, ehehehe,” Venti giggled, and flew down, kissing your cheek. “That Morax is no good! You’re better off with us, we could cherish you truly, little sunshine.”
The fae left with those words, leaving you to your thoughts. Sighing, you emptied the bath and dressed yourself as the door shook gently with a knock. The door swung open just as you pulled your shirt over your head, finally clothed. The man stood in the door way, his gold eyes twinkling as he praised you for being patient with him and cleaning up so well. He shifted his weight and pulled something from his pocket, offering it to you.
Shyly, you took a step towards him, allowing him to slip it over your head, he chuckled, “Good puppy, this is a protective talisman. It’s a stone called Cor Lapis that formed close to a river. Over time the water from the river wore down the stone and created a hole in the middle, if you look through it you can see a fae’s true form.”
He patted your head and led you towards your room. The silver lady, Ganyu, darted into the bathroom to take care of your soiled clothing. Ganyu was a silky, a type of neighbor who liked to do chores and she looked after the house for Mr. Zhongli. She had already taken quite a liking to you.
Zhongli sat down on the edge of your bed, tucking you in, “From now on you will be my apprentice, and I your teacher, (y/n).”
His deep voice made your heart flutter just a bit, and you turned over to avoid that calculating gaze he always held. The bed squeaked as he stood, his footsteps were heavy as he walked out of the room, gently shutting the door.
Zhongli watched your fragile figure walking away from the safety of his home and sighed, “I suppose this will make a good lesson.”
He creeped out, following you and hiding in your shadow. Venti was trying to persuade you to leave him. For some odd reason, this made Zhongli’s stomach twist up in a knot. Still, he maintained his composure and stayed hidden from the view of the troublesome fairy and you.
“Where are you from?” Venti asked you.
“A land far from here,” You sighed, “I was passed around by relatives so I was all over the place.”
“Oh?” a crooked smile formed on the fae’s lips, “Were they kind to you, sunshine?”
You grimaced, “It is.. hard to remember. But I think if I was loved by them and did love them I wouldn’t be here at this moment.”
It grew quiet as the fairy led you further into the forest. Zhongli was beginning to grow restless. You stopped and Venti turned to look at you, still hyper. He beamed at your emotionless face.
“We’ve been walking for so long, I might get lost,” Your eyes moved to the side.
“It’s fine!” Venti cheered, “You don’t have to go back there now. We have to go far to get to our land, and the others want you so badly you know.”
“Ehe!” Venti grinned even wider as a gold light began to shimmer behind him, “There it is. A place for us, it’ll be lots of fun and we want you with us so bad, my sunshine. It’s okay, nobody’s waiting for you. You can come with me, come with us!
He continued, “Come along now, sunshine. Won’t you come with me?”
“It’s true that there wasn’t anybody waiting for me,” You began, seemingly entranced by the melodic words he spilt, “But..”
You swatted the floating boy away from you and stepped back. Your hand flew to your head as the forest around you spun. It wasn’t right. This wasn’t where you were supposed to be.
Venti screeched as you stumbled, “Sunshine! What’s wrong?”
“I don’t care if he throws me away.” You whispered, “Mr. Zhongli gave me a home and has taken care of me. He called me his apprentice and said he’d care for me like a family. Even if he does get tired of me or get rid of me, it’s okay. He’s already done enough for me.”
“Well, it seems my puppy already knows where home is,” Zhongli’s deep voice rumbled in your ear as he wrapped his arms around you.
“Morax! Eh? How did you find us?” Venti cried out, scowling.
Zhongli’s fingers went to your necklace, fidgeting with it as he held it in the palm of his gloves, “You see, this puppy did need a collar and bell if you would. It’s not as if somebody like myself wouldn’t notice a place so full of magic and energy like this.”￼￼￼
Venti shrieked in anger, flying off into the light. Shame filled you as you turned to your master, head down. He chuckled and patted your head, pulling you closer to him. His strong arms wrapped around you and your feet left the ground, a panicked gasp left your mouth as he carried you in his arms.
“Let’s go home now,” His long hair tickled your face.
You nodded in response, still taken back by his sudden affectionate side. He was a strange man.
“You have a scratch on your arm,” His eyes were piercing as they stared at the wound you hadn’t even noticed, “I’ll have to take care of that when we get home. As your future husband, I can’t allow you to get scars so easily.”
“Huh?” You grunted, craning your neck to look at him, “Husband?”
“Ah, I forgot to tell you. You are my apprentice but you are also to be my bride and I your husband.” He spoke with a straight face, his eyes never wandered from the path as he continued towards the house.
Your eyes widened, “Whaaaaat?!”
Zhongli had insisted you find a familiar, and you had. Xiao was a wonderful familiar although quiet. Most of the time, he was in his doglike form just trailing behind you. Occasionally he’d switch to his humanoid form to gobble up some almond tofu. You sincerely cared about Xiao, and he you.
Zhongli, however, didn’t seem as happy about this. He had locked himself in his room for days now. You knew he was exhausted from the battle against Signora and her experiments at the church but still, you were worried. Silver had begun to grow worried too, frantically checking on the strange man constantly.
“Zhongli?” You knocked on the door, waiting for a response.
The door opened but before you could react, you were pulled into the dark room and heard the slam of the door shutting. From outside you could hear Xiao panicking and calling out for you. Zhongli was sitting in the dark, still stuck in a partial draconian form. You could feel his claws digging into your skin as he growled.
“Why?” His voice shook as he buried his head into your shoulder, “What is this?”
“Zhongli, what’s wrong?” Your hands brushed his, gently trying to pull his claws from you.
His grip grew tighter and you winced in pain, “Why are you spending so much time with him? Cant you tell I miss you? Why can’t you see I need you right now?”
“Zhongli,” Your voice shook, “You’re hurting me. Stop it.”
He removed his hands from you abruptly and pushed away from you, his back on the wall. Your eyes had finally adjusted to the dark room and you could see the outline of his body. He had horns sticking out of his head and a long spiked tail. His hands were almost normal but his nails were long and sharp like claws. Every so often a forked tongue would make its way past his lips. His expression was confused, lonesome even.
Taking a deep breath, you crawled towards him, pushing yourself closer to him. You faced him, taking his face into your hands and making his cold eyes look at yours.
“I think,” You squished his cheeks gently, “You are jealous.”
He frowned, “What is jealous?”
“Jealousy is a feeling. It’s when you care about somebody and you don’t want to share them. You want them to look at you, spend time with you, and care for you instead of others. It’s a feeling us humans feel a lot.”
“Hm,” He grunted, “Is that what this is?”
You chuckled, he was like a child in your hands right now. You pulled him closer, feeling the sigh of relief he let out at your embrace.
“Zhongli, you’re feeling new feelings and that’s okay. If you’ll be my magic teacher, I’ll be your human teacher, okay?” You squeezed him in your arms.
“Okay.” He agreed quietly.
For a moment, the two of you stayed like that. Holding each other in the darkness, both of you were at peace even momentarily.
“You wanted me to have a familiar,” You kissed his cheek lightly, “As a part of my training. Xiao and I will spend time together often now. But you are my husband, my master, and that hasn’t changed. I promise, Zhongli.”
You pulled back to look at his face. He was blushing slightly which made a snicker leave your lips. His hair was loose and wild and his eyes were no longer empty but full of longing and adoration. The two of you had already seen so much together, your heart thumped even harder thinking of all the moments you’d spend together.
This man had taken you in and taught you magic. He’d sworn to save you from your curse of a short life span. He’d given you so much love and kindness. The time the two of you had spent together had only been a few short months but it filled you with joy.
His amber eyes bore into you, you could feel your face heating up as he continued to examine your infatuated expression. His palms trailed up to your face, and he pulled your lips onto his. The kiss was warm and sweet, innocent even.
“You are mine.” He whispered.
“Where’s (y/n)?” Lumine peered at Xiao.
“With Zhongli in the garden,” Xiao grumbled, “Why’d you bring this brat?”
Lumine laughed as Aether climbed Xiao. She has brought cookies to share with her friend. Aether had also wanted to see the two who had saved them both only a year ago. Aether was obsessed with Xiao and his teal hair and tattoos.
Lumine smiled at Ganyu as she walked towards the back door. Ganyu nodded and opened the door for the young woman, letting her outside. It was a beautiful day, not too chilly and not too warm. The sun shone down and the blonde could hear your laughter from down the cobblestone path. She followed the sound, excited to see you.
As she approached the garden, she stopped seeing Zhongli twirl you around. She felt breathless seeing the two of you dancing in the sunlight. His long hair shimmered as he spun you around and caught you in his arms. The rings on your fingers twinkled and Zhongli took a flower and tucked it behind your ear. The tall man planted a kiss right on your lips and turned to Lumine, winking at her.
“Hey!” Lumine waved at you and Zhongli, “You’re finally back from the honeymoon. I brought cookies for you guys. Congratulations!”
You grinned and waved back at her. Lumine was overcome with bliss at the sight of your smile. Zhongli had really helped you grow more confident and you had opened him up more. The three of you ate cookies and laughed as Xiao barreled out, chased by Aether.
“Oh! How many kids will you have?” Lumine wiggled her eyebrows at you as you laughed at Aether.
“Kids?” Zhongli turned to you as you flushed at the question.
Lumine nodded, “Yes, when couples get married they usually have children and start a family.”
“Oi,” you laughed nervously, “We’ve only just got married..”
“Children would be nice,” Zhongli looked at you expectantly.
Xiao cackled at your embarrassment. As your familiar he could feel those strong emotions since you allowed him to. You glared daggers at the adeptus, but he only smirked. This was your karma for laughing at him while a child harassed him.
“Lots of them,” Zhongli muttered, “A big family.”
Your face only grew redder. Lumine laughed and Zhongli looked confused. You all spent the rest of the day talking of the future and munching on cookies.
235 notes · View notes
Julie And The Phantoms: A (Unhelpful) Guide For The Newbies
- Played by: Superstar Madison Reyes, funniest human alive
- Nicknames: Underachiever, Jules, Star
- The Star
- Co-lead singer and pianist/keyboardist of Julie And The Phantoms
- Would stan Sunset Curve
- Fashion icon
- Wants to learn the fiddle
- Bisexual icon
- Stans Selena Quintanilla
- Lowkey stans her 'bully''s musical group
- Her type is white guitar boys and all girls
- An angel
- Needs a hug
- Human Wrecking Ball™
- Crescent moons
- A little bit in love with her bestie tbh
- Queen of setting and enforcing boundaries
- Great judge of character
- Accidentally fell in love with a handsome ghost, whoops!
- Always nice to literally everyone, even when she's beefing with them
- Loves purple, butterflies, flowers and glitter
- Songwriter & Poet
- Can. Not. Lie.
- 👐 Jazz Hands 👐
- Good at apologizing
- GIRL CAN DANCE
- Awkward but in a cute way
- Literally Magical
- Pretty sure she's a Siren/Witch Hybrid, I have Evidence
- Good lungs
- Loud voice
- CAN R U N
- Played by: Danube Hermosillo
- Julie's mom
- SIREN QUEEN
- Fashion icon
- Loves music
- Loves dahlias
- Stans Sunset Curve
- Has been in a couple bands, one of which was called Rose And The Petal Pushers
- Plays piano, probably also guitar
- Super nice
- Played by: Carlos Ponce
- Julie's dad
- One cool dude
- The Best Dad Ever
- A King and a Witch (trust me)
- Probably also bi tbh
- Supportive and loving
- Knows the words to Julie's songs
- Good at apologizing
- Films Julie And The Phantoms performances for their youtube channel
- Played by: Sonny Bustamante
- Julie's little brother
- BEST LITTLE BROTHER
- Went into Protect Mode when Julie was scared of the ghost in the garage
- Helped a ghost chef cross over
- The Ghost Toaster
- Plays baseball
- Likes rap music
- Stans Julie And The Phantoms
- Also films their performances
- Played by: Jadah Marie
- Nickname: Disappointment
- Julie's bestie, marketing team, manager and roadie
- Will not tolerate lying and secret keeping
- Crazy glue of best friends
- Also stans her 'bully''s musical group
- Is in love with her 'bully' and is Big Mad about it
- DEFINITELY a lesbian
- The coolest person ever
- Cat person
- Eat The Rich
- Literally The Most Supportive Friend
- Also a fashion icon
- Made a promise with Julie they would form a band called Double Trouble when they were 6, made t shirts for said band, wasn't mad when Julie formed her own ghost band
- Came up with the name Julie And The Phantoms
- Rap Queen
- Gives me Destiny's Child stan vibes
- Knows who Julie likes before Julie knows
- A Very Literal Person
- Also films performances
- Played by: Alison Araya
- Julie's maternal aunt
- Also a fashion icon tbh
- Probably has a succulent named Pablo
- Terrified of demons
- Has seen enough horror movies to know that when shit's going down in a house, you leave the damn house
- Knows how to relieve you of demons
- Drops in with food so they don't eat leftovers every night
- Occasionally babysits Julie and Carlos
- Is on Julie's school mailing list
- Played by: Charlie Gillespie
- Handsome Ghost Boy #1
- Julie's best friend, boyfriend and Soulmate
- Flirted with Julie's mom once, oops!
- Former lead singer of Sunset Curve
- Current co-lead singer and guitarist of Julie And The Phantoms
- HOO BOY DOES HE NEED A HUG
- His type is dark curly haired latinas and all boys
- Really, really, really likes roses
- No one knows how to describe his eye color
- BAD handwriting
- 👐 Jazz Hands 👐
- The Most Supportive Boyfriend
- If Julie doesn't like a thing, he doesn't like it, either
- Tied with Flynn for #1 Julie Molina Stan
- Would do anything for Julie Molina
- ANYTHING. FOR. JULIE.
- Ships Willex & Boggie
- Music is in. his. soul.
- Literally died for music
- D E T E R M I N A T I O N
- Kinda bad at apologizing at first but he gets better
- Does not give a damn about school
- Just really loves his parents
- Guitar Boy
- Preeeetty sure pretty boy is pan/ace
- Has chemistry with everyone he sings with
- Probably has ADHD
- Loves food
- Appreciates a good show
- Sleeves? Don't know him
- Cries a lot
- Played by: Owen Joyner
- Handsome Ghost Boy #2
- Gay Little Drummer Boy
- Allergic to girls
- Formerly Sunset Curve drummer
- Currently Julie And The Phantoms drummer
- Julie's other bestie/older brother tbh
- Garbage parents
- Needs a hug so bad
- Also literally died for music
- Ships Jukebox sooooo hard
- Fashion icon
- A N X I E T Y
- Thinks he's the smart one
- Whitney Houston and David Bowie stan
- Boy can SING
- Does not subscribe to Luke's 'if Julie doesn't like it, I don't like it' thing
- Played by: Jeremy Shada
- Handsome Ghost Boy #3
- Julie's other other bestie/older brother
- Also flirted with Julie's mom
- Formerly Sunset Curve bassist
- Currently Julie And The Phantoms bassist
- Parents hate each other, no one knows where they are now
- Doesn't handle yelling well
- In desperate need of a hug
- Protect Him
- Golden Retriever Puppy
- Red, black and white
- LOVE HIS VOICE
- Country Boy
- Shreds on a banjo
- Also literally died for music
- BEST BOY
- Jukebox & Willex Stan #2
- The Actual Smart One
- Is also The Cute One
- His religion is leather jackets and flannels
- SWEETEST ANGEL BOY
- Loves Julie's dad
- Hypes up his friends a lot
- Just wants his friends to be happy
- Star Wars stan
- Hates Jar Jar Binks
- Gives me Disney fan vibes
- Had a massive crush on Trevor Wilson, known as Bobby at the time
134 notes · View notes
Ok so hear me out. Mud dogs having a crush on a sweet and shy human that works in a bakery house. Like lives in a house that’s a bakery. Imagine when the reader hugs them, they smell like vanilla or chocolate. ￼and gives them a kiss on the cheek when they save them from danger or something? Idk, I just really need fluff because I’m going through shit....
Me:*Happy till I read that last sentence* WHOM MUST I DESTROY?
Your so warm like a little walking oven
Like, hugging you feels like his own personal ray of sunshine
You always come in with sweets and his not only first to devour them, but compliment them as well
However, he eats a whole uncooked onion with zero hesitation, so, ya know, maybe don’t trust his judgements on your cooking all the time
You don’t see it, but when you walk by him he closes his eyes to see if he can decipher what sweets you made last
He literally believes you are the physical embodiment of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, personality and all.
You kiss him on the cheek after he catches you from jumping three stories to escape the Yokai cops
It sent him on high you had to drag him away to make sure the cops wouldn’t follow behind
It felt like freshly baked soft bread, and Jesus did he wish it lasted longer
When he first met you it was a relief you smelled of freshly baked bread and delightfully tempting sweets
Having to deal with rotten onions and freshly peed-in ocean water smells for Lord knows how many years, you were a wonderful change of pace
Often has an arm around you if you’re within reach (and comfortable obviously)
You frequently smelled like strawberries, or maybe it was because somehow Danny formed a mental connection between you and strawberries
But if he were to describe you, it would be a freshly made strawberry cheesecake
Teasing nicknames like “sugar” and “sweets” are a MUST for him, he can’t resist it
You kiss him on the cheek in pure joy when he perfectly catches a cake from the brink of destruction on the floor. It was for a first time client and you always got anxious with the first impression.
He almost dropped the cake again in response
It felt like warm snicker-doodles, and smelled like it too
It almost constantly wrapped around you for warmth
“I’m cold blooded! I need it!” he says, also just wanting to cuddle you because you smell like lemon squares
Seriously, the guy has a border-line obsession with lemon-flavored sweets
“There desserts made out of something sour! Isn’t it weird??”
You, almost constantly smell like lemons. And he loves it
Enjoys learning how to make sweets from you (though no matter what it is, it always ends up burned)
The first time you kiss him on the cheek is when he is actually able to make a dessert without burning it (the one and only time this happens btw)
What was the dessert? Lemon meringue pie
He was so stunned he didn’t even here the rest of what you said, just stared at you with wide, awe struck eyes
Because up until this point, he hadn’t realized he was in love with you
And the whole time he was making the pie, he was thinking about how happy you’d be
“What’d you do differently Mickey?” You ask excitedly, practically hopping in place and snapping the eel out of his trance
“Oh, uh, I don’t know,” he shrugs, grinning at you like a love-sick puppy “guess I just really like lemons!”
And after that, you’d been dubbed the nickname “Lemon”
I hope ya like it! And I hope it makes you feel a bit better anon! I had a lot of fun writing this! Kinda forgot how much I enjoyed the mud dogs honestly lol! Thanks for the ask!
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Free! as Dads | Haru, Ikuya, Natsuya
Pairings: Haru X Reader (gender neutral though reader isn’t mentioned), Ikuya X Reader (gender neutral though reader isn’t mentioned), and Natsuya X Reader (female)
Genre: fluffy domestic swimmer dads
Author’s Note: free! needs more appreciation ✨
Free! as Dads | Rin, Sosuke, Makoto
Haru: gif from @makeusfreefromthisfandom
The water welcomed his body as natural as air and food, making his hair dance as freely as the wind with every stroke he made
It was like the water had embraced him after so long
But he was back
And this time, he brought someone with him
“Do you like it, S/N?” He pushed his hair back as he stood, the water just below his waist, his son puppy paddling toward him pushing a kick board with a dolphin on it with matching dolphin floaties on his arms
He was quiet as he focused on paddling and keeping his head above the water, nodding his head
Haru smiled as he held the front of the board, guiding his son
“Do you wanna try without the board? You can hold my hands.”
His son hesitantly paused, letting his legs sink down before he nodded
The little dark haired boy was like a carbon copy of Haru in terms of looks and personality, it made you wonder if your genes had even mixed in or not
The water glimmered beautifully as the reflection marbled on the ceiling of the swim club
The little boy clung onto Haru’s hand as he slowly walked backward in the water, letting the little boy paddle
Haru’s eyes were filled with adoration for his son, content he liked the water as he did
“Wanna try it for yourself?” He asked after a bit of swimming in the shallow area
Your son, quiet as he was, nodded after hesitating
“He’s gotten so big,” the chiming voice of Makoto returned from the office of the swim club, his hair damp as he was finally free from the wetsuit
The same swim club from their childhood that he was now the owner of
A large splash sounded from the deeper end as Makoto dove in, freely swimming his way over to the shallow ends where he spent most of the days as he trained the little kiddos to swim
“Yeah,” a small smile spread on Haru’s lips. “Do you want to try to swim to uncle Makoto on your own?” He asked as he picked his son up, holding him in his arms as Makoto stood where he was, the water was a bit above his waist
His little boy took deep breaths as he held onto his father’s shoulder, his hair crazy on his head before Haru reached up and fixed it fore him, pushing his hair back
“Do you wanna swim over there?” Haru pointed to Makoto as Makoto waved to S/N a few meters away
His little boy was even quieter than he was as he shook his head, not wanting to go into the deeper end
Haru walked closer toward the deeper end towards Makoto
“S/N, would you like to join my class?” Makoto looked down to the little boy, his eyes bluer than any ocean and sky combined, hair as dark as the night
The little boy looked up to Haru with wide eyes. “Can I?” He asked
“Of course,” Haru smiled, his heart content now that he could have a swimming buddy
Ikuya: gif from @makeusfreefromthisfandom
“It’s dark, papa,” the timid voice of Ikuya’s son were caught by Ikuya before proceeding into the open ocean exhibit
The sheer size of how much water there was was daunting itself
But the views were unforgettable once you were able to see the various ocean life forms that lived so differently than humans
“It’ll be alright. I’ll be with you, okay?” He knelt down beside him but he still knew it would be no use
His son was just too afraid of the dark and what his imagination made him believe what lurked within
“Papa will be with you the entire time though. Is that still too scary too?” He tried to urge his son but of course he didn’t want this special trip to turn sour
The little boy clung onto his father’s hands with his head down and lips pouty
“S/N, would it help if you had a friend with you?” Ikuya looked to his deep teal haired boy, hoping it would help
“Come, let me show you.” He stood back up with his body leaned down, his son holding his hand as they walked toward the gift shop, a place significantly brighter
He wanted to save this part for the end of the trip, for his son to pick out a souvenir to remember this trip
The store was so open and welcoming as kids like Ikuya’s son’s age, both older and younger as they ran about
The store was so much bigger inside
“Do you want a shark?” Ikuya lifted his son into his arms, giving him a better view of all the various stuffed animal
His little boy quietly shook his head in response, his hand holding onto the collar of Ikuya’s sweater
“Mm, how about this one?” Ikuya pointed to a colorful starfish to which his son still shook his head in response
“Hmm,” Ikuya pondered as he looked at all the colorful fish and other toys, wondering which would be good
Maybe a bubble machine? One of those overpriced yet cheaply made wand lights?
“Papa,” the small voice of his son brought him out of his thoughts as the little boy timidly tugged on his father’s collar, bringing his attention to one of the smaller, single colored stuffed animals
“This one?” Ikuya pulled one off the shelf towards his son whose eyes never left it. “A beluga whale.”
“You sure, Buddy?” Ikuya wanted to give his done a big one like a whale shark plushie that was almost as big as him
But the little boy nodded as he already hugged the plushie close, petting the bulbous head of the plushie, content
“Okay.” And with that
His son was able to bravely go through the dark tunneled entrance of the open ocean exhibit with Ikuya and his new little friend in his arms as his eyes and mind were blown away at the grand exhibit
And every time Ikuya looked over to his son, his little one couldn’t take his eyes off of all the different aquatic creatures that swam right before him
He could see sea the ocean and all its wonders in his son’s wide vermillion eyes
Heavy rumbles echoed all throughout the sky as the dark gray clouds blocked out the sun, not letting a single ray of sunshine sneak through
You typed away at your computer, catching up on some work, your eyes occasionally drifting to check up on your daughter as she crawled about
As little and young as she was, she was so curious, always sticking with you to keep you company while working
But once Natsuya was spotted
She was determined to find him
You paused your typing, letting the room fill with the tapping noise of the rain pelting against the side of the house as she crawled away, disappearing into the room where Natsuya was
The room was calm and silent, filled with the deep breaths of Natsuya as he laid as still as a log in his futon taking a long nap
She approached her father, only slowing down to a stop beside him as she just sat there and watched him
But this wasn’t enough for her
She crawled on top of the blanket on top of him, and sat herself on his chest
She leaned forward and pressed her hand to his face, abruptly waking him from his peaceful slumber
But instead of annoyance, he immediately saw who it was and saw his little flower
He could never be annoyed
“Hi, buttercup,” his voice raspy and dripping with sleep as his eyes blinked slowly up to her
A small smile spread on her face as she cooed
“Whatcha doin here?” He yawned, in turn making his baby girl yawn as well
She only tilted her head as she patted his face again, bringing her little hand to the top of his nose as if to say “I got you”
“Wanna join papa? Hm?” He asked as he already began drifting but before she could respond in any way, a clap of thunder scared her
She buried her face into his shoulder into a little ball
Natsuya could’ve sworn his heart skipped three beats
She was so tiny
“There’s nothing to be scared of, papa’s here to protect you, alright?” He turned toward her, rubbing his hand to her back, bringing her out of her little ball
“Papa’s here,” he smiled as he tucked her hair behind her little ear
The longer she stared, the drowsiest she got as yawns began to fall from her lips
“Oh it must be your nap time,” he mumbled as he rubbed his fingers to her chubby cheeks, as she pouted, her little hands rubbing her eyes
“Nap nap time,” he tapped the back of her hand to which she peeked open her eyes before being laid down beside Natsuya’s head onto the futon with her own pillow and little blanket
He turned onto his side, his face inches away from hers as she began to drift too
His smile only grew bigger seeing how her wide eyes were drifting
The longer she tried to say awake, the longer she couldn’t stay awake
“Go to sleep buttercup, papa will still be here when you wake,” he whispered as he leaned close, pressing a little kiss to her forehead
And with that, his little princess drifted off, her hand wrapped around his fingers as Natsuya drifted off too
The last thing he saw, was his little girl
And even in her sleep, she couldn’t let go of his fingers - she couldn’t let him go snd he never would
Thanks for reading! Masterlist for more! Please do not repost anywhere else!
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'96 (Tamil) - Thoughts
K Ramachandran, a photographer, gets nostalgic after he goes to his school in his hometown. During a reunion with his classmates, he meets Janaki, his childhood sweetheart. (FUCK THIS SYNOPSIS. Go watch the movie.)
I'm on a V.S BINGE-SPREE. Bear with me.
Also, this is the second time I am watching this film and I realized that I had slept through all this shit the first time.
The Life of Ram. They rip your soul out with it. The song makes you fall in love with Tamil. It becomes a mirror. Makes you want to be in his shoes. I don't think you can live Ram's life in any other language. Period.
Sticking his tongue out to taste the first showers. Letting the waves bathe him in the essence of motherhood, the sea rocks him in her cradle.. Her womb. When he hangs from the tree. When he feeds the deer bread right from his mouth.. Travel montage porn. FUCKING WANDERLUST PORN I HATE EVERYONE BYE. I WILL GO AND DIE UNDER A ROCK.
It makes you live every moment with him, seeing his world through the lens.
And then he had to go to his FUCKING SCHOOL. MADE ME WONDER WHY I COULD NEVER MAKE IT TO ANY OF THE REUNION PARTIES IN FUCKİNG DUBAI BECAUSE I DON'T LIVE IN THAT FUCKİNG CITY ANYMORE.
Life is a motherfucking whoreson.
Reminiscence. School. The scent of the school ground. Canteen food. The markerboards. The ultracold classrooms after a heavy ass meal before the special classes during 11th & 12th grade. The teachers who put up with our shit. How we put up with their shit. Endless obsessions - magazine cutouts, posters and playlists on CDs. And the dumbfucks who were brave enough to follow you into battle. Who had accepted you as their captain, their brother, THEIR KING. Yeah. I went there. If you know you know.
At the '96 batch reunion, they thrust us into the world of these adults getting a chance to relive the past in their old skins. Every smile, every tear. Every fuss, every fear. The pores of their hearts resonate with a longing of your own. The ache of desolation. And how they entwine to form one being. I can't fucking explain this. Ugh.
I live for the Shubha-Ram sibling shenanigans. And the third wheel class leader from NKPK. I just know that guy as Baks.
Their deadpan when Jaanu and Ram eat from the same plate like - AB TO GAAND PHAT GAYI. (Now my ass is torn.)
Shubha using Ram as a personal punching bag is friendship goals. And oh, the "mother-hen" preggo lady being cute and fussy over her chicklings.. NAILED IT. TBH, I've seen movies where they overdo that shit.
Ooooo and Shubha calling to check if both of them had reached their respective homes after they drop her off. LOL. If you only knew... Sweetheart.. 😋
I hated it when he lost his beard and stache. Sorry. That's just a no-no for me. I love the man's beard. And like I live for the silver hair WHY WOULD YOU APPLY DYE ON IT?!?!
"Enakaaga singakutty madiri vandhu ninna. " (He came for me like a lion cub.)
The fact that they had missed that one moment. It could have changed everything. The crossroads of their relationship. They could fucking be together if not for that ONE FUCK UP BY THAT KID WHO COULD NOT REMEMBER RAM'S NAME.
She relives that possibility with his students when she recounts the incident. When she hears his name, races to see his glorious bearded face, her little lion. Her Ram. Fucking. Perfection. THAT SCENE MADE ME BAWL AND TEARS MY EYES OUT LEAVING STREAKS OF BLOOD ON MY PILLOW. WHYWHYWHYYYY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO MY BABY BOI?!?!
And his face is SO PURE I THINK SOMEONE TURNED THE SUN UP IN MY WORLD.
What is Jaanu even?! Ethereal Brilliance!! THAT'S WHAT!! OMG. I CAN'T EVEN. I HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO CAN'T EVEN.
Thank you, Trisha. Just fucking thank you for breathing life into Jaanu. Oh how they had underutilized you!! You, talented ball of sunshine. 😭😭😭😭 AND WITH THE VOICE BOX OF CHINMAYEE. WHY? Just why?
And the student who crushed on him super hard has this puppy eyes you want to coddle her and say, 'yeah, been there, it's a tough motherfucking feeling.'
After all, he is the "Aambala Naatu Kattai". Hey, if you know you know.
Vijay Sethupathi can go from 'I'll bring your daughter home by 8." to "Your daughter calls me Daddy too" With a snap. How does he fucking do that? How the fuck is that even possible???!
I see Ram here. So pure, naive.. BEAUTIFUL. This kid has a heart of Gold. A cinnamon roll! A box of sunshine and rainbow poniess!!! You wanna fight anyone who does him harm.
AND THEN THERE IS BAVANI. 🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️ (Refer to the Master (Tamil) - Thoughts post for further information)
Like how?? LIKE WHY?! NA KETANA? NA KETANAAAAA?!?! (Did I ask for this?????)
I feel so blessed to see his craft drawing breath on screen.
The impending doom of one night. Just one night. And the sheer madness that lies after her departure. You can see them struggle. You can see them battling their demons. Flitting emotions on their sunkissed faces. I CAN'T FUCKING NOT CRY WHY DOES THIS MOVIE HAVE TO BE SO FUCKING SAD?! WHERE ARE MY TISSUESSSS ARRRGGGHHHG????!
When Jaanu closes his eyes because who can fucking stare into those bottomless pits of charcoals and live to tell the tale? I feel you, sister.
She sings 'Yamunai Atrile' during the power cut and Ram forever breaking shit in his room. LOL. CUT THE MAN SOME SLACK. HE DIDN'T EVEN GET LAID!!!! 😬
She knows. It's one night. Of conversations in the dark. Cups of bitter coffee. Translucent glasses of Sulaimani Chai. An old briefcase of memories. One night of being wrapped in the scent of his pitchblack shirt. If not the safety of his arms. She wants him to be safe. It's.. So fucking poetic.. I'm lost. This is madness. This is illegal. You cannot show me things like this and strangle my soul fibres.
They have the 'Tamil-est' album in the music history of recent past. If that even makes sense. Like they cannot make songs without infusing English or any other language in the lyrics. But this.. This album. THIS IS LYRICAL PORN. POETRY PORN. EVERYTHING.
Finally, the wretched song - Kaathalae Kaathalae. Yeah, WHOEVER MADE THIS MOVIE CAN FUCKING ROT IN THE BASE OF HELL AND BURN, INFINITELY, REGROW NEW SKIN AND THEN BURN ALL OVER AGAIN.
Because they made us FEEL EVERY POSSIBLE HUMAN EMOTION.
Thank you for coming to my ted talk.
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Nephil’s Best Friend
Alec’s heart lurches in sympathy, and he drops slowly into a crouch, keeping himself angled away slightly so as not to seem confrontational. ‘Hey there,’ he croons, gratified when the dog doesn’t immediately run, at least. ‘What’re you doing out here, huh?’
Pretty much pure fluff, set a couple of years post-canon. Alec finds a puppy on his way home, takes it to the local shelter, and accidentally descends into a web of lies.
Read it on ao3, or below!
Magnus is always out late on Tuesdays. With his position as High Warlock of Alicante still being relatively new, the higher-ups of the Spiral Labyrinth are eager to keep their fingers on the pulse as Downworlders slowly become established within the bounds of Idris – and Tuesday evenings are apparently when the Council’s schedule most conveniently overlaps with Magnus’ own.
Which means that tonight, Alec is walking home. Thankfully, it’s a pleasant evening for it, the thunderstorm from earlier having cleared up into a bright and cheerful summer sunset; and the streets are quiet by this time, too. After spending all but a few of his earliest years in New York – where the Shadowhunters are up all hours on patrols, instead of keeping a nine-to-five in political offices, and where there are Mundanes causing noise and light all around them too – Alec’s not quite sure, still, whether the quiet of his journey home is pleasant or eerie.
But tonight, a better word for that tranquility might be useful, or lucky. Because in the bustle of New York, he likely would have dismissed any non-demonic rustle in the shadows.
Now, however, he stops in his tracks, his hand automatically going to his single holstered blade as he turns towards the alleyway, even though he’s not so much wary as curious. ‘Someone there?’ he calls softly.
The whined answer he gets isn’t human, he knows that much, and so he moves forward slowly, not wanting to spook -
- the puppy that he finds there, cowering in the meager shelter of the building’s overhang, which clearly hasn’t been enough to keep it out of the storm because the poor thing is soaked through.
Alec’s heart lurches in sympathy, and he drops slowly into a crouch, keeping himself angled away slightly so as not to seem confrontational. ‘Hey there,’ he croons, gratified when the dog doesn’t immediately run, at least. ‘What’re you doing out here, huh?’
He wonders if the pup has a home – it’s not likely, given its emaciated state and the lack of a collar. Strays never used to be a problem in Idris, really; but of course, that was before a rift opened above the capital. Before dozens of soldiers left their beloved four-legged companions safely at home in their kennels and yards and cellars, and went to fight a battle they wouldn’t return from.
He pushes that thought aside, for now, and roots around in his pocket, smiling when he encounters a few chicken-flavoured biscuits. ‘They’re meant for our balcony cats,’ he explains gently, scattering them in a line between him and the puppy. ‘But I think you’ll like them anyway.’
He’s immediately proved right, of course, the starving pup sniffing out each biscuit quickly and following the line towards him, scarfing them down. When it steps out of the shadows a bit, Alec’s heart melts a little further – this isn’t exactly a small puppy, it’s already nearly as big as a fully-grown cat. But it’s clearly still young, ears which look like they ought to be pointed still floppy around wide, dark amber eyes, and not even any gangly quality to the paws just yet.
A pup this young, he reasons, likely doesn’t have any reason to be afraid of people yet. The way it’s come close enough to get the last few cat treats would suggest that, too. If he’s right, and if he’s careful, it should be happy enough for Alec to pick it up and take it somewhere safe.
And if he’s wrong… well, that’s what iratzes are for, right?
Decided, Alec reaches out – firmly, but not suddenly – and scritches the pup’s scruff for a moment. ‘Alright, then,’ he murmurs, reaching out his other hand in the same manner, ‘up we go.’
The pup squirms in his arms for a moment, clearly surprised by the change in elevation. But then the water in its fur seeps through Alec’s shirt, and in turn, the pup must realize that it’s essentially being treated to some body heat after being out in the storm. It settles down, snuggling into the crook of his elbow.
Alec smiles, satisfied. ‘There we go,’ he says, slowly, slowly coming up from his crouch. ‘Let’s get you someplace warm and dry, huh?’
He turns on his heel, and starts walking in the direction he came from.
Just past the offices of the Gard, a response to the increasing stray problem has finally popped up in the form of a small, fairly informal animal shelter. The Shadowhunter behind the desk right now looks up as Alec walks in, and their polite smile immediately shifts into something more sympathetic. ‘Oh, dearie me. What have we here?’
Alec gently sets the pup down on the lowered, cut-away part of the desk, its claws tapping sharply against the anti-slip metal – the receptionist doesn’t seem to disapprove, so he thinks he’s understood its purpose well enough. ‘Someone who got caught in the storm,’ he says by way of reply. ‘There’s no collar, so I hoped you might be able to help.’
‘Absolutely – you did the right thing bringing her in,’ the receptionist confirms. They crouch a little to look the dog over, examining the ears and eyes before running gentle, deft hands over each limb.
It's not long before they straighten up again. ‘Well, good news,’ they say. ‘She doesn’t seem to be hurt in any way.’
Alec finds himself breathing out a sigh of relief. ‘Glad to hear it. Thank you.’
The receptionist rolls up their now-damp sleeves, and gives Alec a wan but genuine smile. ‘We can take it from here. Rest assured, she’s in good hands.’
And Alec knows that’s a dismissal – but between the sight of the puppy still shivering a little, and the slightly concerning number of endurance and stamina runes on the receptionist’s bared forearms, he hesitates. ‘I could… stay and help for a while, if you want?’ he offers. ‘Either with her, or if there’s something else that needs to be done while you’re…?’
The receptionist considers him for a moment – and then gives a slow nod. ‘You’re very kind,’ they say. ‘We are pretty understaffed right now. You’ll need supervision, obviously, but it could be useful to have an extra pair of hands.’ They turn briefly to a square blue folder, opening it up and taking a pen. ‘If I could just take your name and get you signed in for our records?’
‘…Gideon,’ Alec finds himself saying. ‘Underhill,’ he adds, hoping that Andrew wasn’t exaggerating about the number of cousins he has in Idris.
Apparently he wasn’t, because the receptionist doesn’t think twice, just jots down the name he’s given and closes the book. ‘All right, Gideon. I’ll find someone to cover the desk, and we can go and get this one – oh,’ they say, their face lighting up. ‘Which reminds me, the first order of business should probably be a name for this little one. Since you brought her in, any ideas?’
Alec looks at the puppy once more – and is suddenly reminded of red fields under warm Spanish sunshine, the image as vivid as it was in person thirteen years ago.
A soft smile pulls at his expression. ‘How about Poppy?’
His evening at the shelter passes quickly. Alec helps to set up Poppy’s new little room, cleans up the muddy footprints a collie cross tracked in from outside, and helps the receptionist – who introduces herself as Christina – scrub down and rearrange the outside exercise course; and by the time they’ve done all that, Alec is excusing himself and rushing home, only getting there a few minutes before Magnus portals in and immediately starts waxing lyrical about how incredibly annoying that pompous old moron Claudius has been all day.
It’s not until they’re in bed, with Magnus already asleep, that Alec realizes they’ve managed to talk about everything except his trip to the shelter. Oh well, he muses – it’s not really that important. He can tell Magnus all about it another time.
The rest of the week is something of a nightmare. It feels like every ten minutes there’s another hour-long meeting, every Shadowhunter Alec deals with has an interfering political agenda, and – worst of all – everyone on the continent suddenly needs Magnus’ help and can accept no substitute. (Which is fair enough; Magnus is, Alec’s pretty sure, one of the most powerful warlocks alive. That doesn’t mean Alec has to like how in-demand and busy his husband is, though.)
Still, it’s something they’re both used to by now; they make do with stolen snatches of time, curling up exhausted on the couch or digging in ravenously (and therefore silently) to their takeout before clambering into bed, all clumsy tired kisses and murmurs of I love you, get some sleep, okay?
Overall, their evenings are an oasis of calm that make the week bearable. They don’t, however, provide Alec with an opportunity to tell Magnus about his unusual evening at the dog shelter.
And then suddenly, it’s Tuesday again.
Alec packs up his things, heads out of the building… and turns left, towards the shelter.
When he gets there, it’s not Christina who greets him from behind the front desk this time – it’s Sophie, the young woman who took over last week while Christina and Alec moved Poppy in. ‘Hi,’ she says brightly. ‘I remember you – Gideon, right?’
‘Right,’ Alec says with a smile. ‘I thought I’d come check in, if that’s okay – I wanted to ask how the dog I brought in is doing? Poppy?’
Sophie nods and scrolls through something on her computer, before reporting that Poppy is apparently settling in quite well; she’s a little timid around the bigger dogs, but she’s taken well to her food and her new routine. Alec thanks Sophie for the update.
And then he says, ‘Do you guys need a hand with anything this evening?’
The walk home this week isn’t such a rush, and so Alec has some time to think about the situation he’s gotten himself into – the one that’s based on a lot more deception than he’d typically be comfortable with.
He’s realized, now, why he lied about his name the day he took Poppy in. However much he values the opportunities his career path has given him to make the world a better place, he’s never been one for the spotlight, and he misses the anonymity of just being a foot soldier sometimes. So when he wasn’t recognized, that part of him clearly latched onto the opportunity and ran with it.
Alright, he decides. So that means coming clean about his real name at the shelter isn’t an option. But equally, he doesn’t want to stop going – he wants it to be a regular thing, if they’ll have him. Even if they don’t know his real identity (or maybe even because they don’t), it’s nice there. He likes spending time with the animals, of course; and on a deeper level, it’s nice to make such clear progress without nearly as much pressure, when his day job feels like the exact opposite sometimes.
Fine. So he’ll keep going, and keep using the fake name while he’s there. That just leaves the fact he hasn’t told Magnus yet, and that’s easily rectified. All it takes is for Alec not let it slip his mind tonight, and just tell Magnus about his evening.
…Except, for some weird reason, he doesn’t want to.
That’s the snag Alec’s mind keeps catching on, and he can feel himself frowning as he walks the last few blocks home. He tells Magnus everything, provided it’s his to tell. He likes telling Magnus everything. Keeping secrets isn’t something he usually enjoys, especially when it comes to his husband.
But for some reason, this is different. This secret – however accidentally it formed – feels fun, for lack of a better word. Alec kind of wants to keep it to himself, at least for a little while.
Their building comes into sight, Alec instinctively glancing up at their windows on the top floor – and then he smiles, his decision made. There’s no harm in keeping his weekly exploits quiet, for now. He thinks that Magnus might even approve of it.
After all, a harmless, light-hearted secret, kept only for the sake of mystery… isn’t that pretty close to being coy?
On Tuesday, September 7th, Magnus has a plan, and he’s fairly proud of himself for it.
He’s not the best at keeping track of ages – truth be told, he hasn’t known his own to the year for a good few decades now – but he does try to keep track of milestone birthdays. For example, he knows that he doesn’t have to worry about Ragnor’s millennium for another century or so; he knows that the plans for Catarina’s fifth centennial in a few years are safely underway; and he knows that Raphael is still over a decade off of one-hundred, plus that he’s already threatened disownment if Magnus makes a big deal of it.
Relevantly for today, he also knows (yes, all right, after a quick text to Isabelle just to check) that Alexander is turning thirty in five days; and obviously, that calls for something special.
He’s thought on it for a while, and he knows exactly what to get his husband on such an occasion – which one of their idle conversations over the years holds this newest key to making Alec smile.
I feel like I’ve missed something. Is there a reason Madzie’s drawn you with a hellhound?
It’s a regular dog, Magnus. The red eyes are just because the black marker ran out. But no, there’s no reason, she just knows I like dogs.
…I didn’t know you liked dogs. I wasn’t aware you had any experience with them.
Well, not a lot. But there were all these strays around the Madrid Institute, back when Izzy was stationed there, and whenever I got to visit her we’d spend hours outside with them. Kicking a ball around for them to chase, feeding them whatever scraps we’d managed to sneak out – you know, that kinda thing.
That sounds like a good memory. So, does this mean canine companionship is in the cards for your future?
I don’t know. I hope so.
Of course, in Magnus' opinion, Alexander deserves a pedigree companion – a dog with the best possible genetic history, screened against all illness and with irrefutable evidence of long-lived parents and grandparents.
But, as with many things, there is a certain gap between what Alec deserves and what he wants; and because Magnus has turned out to be surprisingly good at this whole husband thing, he generally knows which one to go for on any given occasion.
So, on this particular Tuesday evening, at a time when he's usually working and so Alec has no reason to expect him home, Magnus heads to the local animal shelter. 'Good evening,' he says cheerfully to the receptionist. 'I'm Magnus Lightwood-Bane. I called yesterday about potentially adopting a dog?'
They talk for a while about what might be best for him, dog-wise - he asks for one that's fairly large, if possible (after all, Alexander is a veritable tree, and deserves a dog he can rough-and-tumble with if he wishes), emphasizes that they absolutely must be able to exercise a certain level of civility with cats, and reassures the lady from the front desk – Christina – that the nature of his work means that he is very rarely out of the loft for prolonged stretches, and that he is more than happy to establish the proper care on the rare occasion it does happen.
Christina smiles at him, and leads the way to an enclosed outdoor playpen of sorts, with a few dog toys spread over the simple agility setup. 'I think we might just have the perfect fit for you, Mr. Lightwood-Bane,' she says. 'I'll get Gideon to bring her out so you can meet her.'
Alec is rationing out servings of cat food for tomorrow's breakfast service when Christina appears. 'Gideon,' she says with a smile, 'we have a -'
'Chris!' Josef suddenly rounds the corner, skidding into the room with a vaguely panicked expression. 'We need you – Tibbs got into the storeroom somehow.'
Christina curses. 'Alright. Gideon, I need you to take Poppy through to the meet-and-greet, I think she's finally got a good match here. I’ll check in with you afterwards.' With that, she turns on her heel and strides off to deal with the stubborn moggy who, for some unknown reason, only lets her near him.
Once he's alone again, Alec deflates a little – but this is good news, he tells himself firmly. In the months he’s known her, Christina's very rarely been wrong with her instincts on rehoming, and Poppy deserves a good, loving place to grow up. She deserves a family – one that can focus more wholly on her needs than even the best-run shelter could.
Still, that doesn't stop Alec’s heart breaking a little as he goes and fetches one of the leashes, then bends down to scruff Poppy behind the ears as he clips it on. 'Come on, girl,' he says quietly. 'There's someone here for you to meet.'
He leads her down the now-familiar corridors, turns towards the meet-and-greet area, plasters a professional smile on his face as he opens the door -
- and stops dead in his tracks.
Magnus looks back at him, wide-eyed for a moment; and then his mouth curves up into a surprised smile. 'Well, hello there,' he says teasingly. 'Gideon, I presume?'
By the time Alec's done with his explanation, Magnus' expression has shifted into something amused and fond.
'It wasn't about keeping it from you,' Alec tries to explain anyway. 'It was just -'
Magnus raises a hand to stop him, before letting it fall down to clasp Alec's. 'I know, darling. I'm not annoyed, I swear – a little mystery simply serves to keep the romance alive, hm?' He winks. 'I'm almost sorry I've discovered your secret. Though I suppose fair's fair, as I imagine your birthday present is hardly a surprise now.'
Alec blinks - and then his gaze darts down to Poppy, currently sitting between them and receiving pettings, though another zoomies-venture around the meet-and-greet is likely imminent. 'Oh,' Alec breathes – and he can feel his face twist into an excited grin as he looks back up at Magnus, god, in all the excitement he almost forgot why - 'You like her, then?' he checks, suddenly anxious. 'She can be ours? She's so smart, you wouldn't believe – she's got some issues with possessiveness, but we're working on it and she's making such good progress; and she's so good with cats, honestly, we've tested her with them and she -'
Magnus cuts him off with a laugh, nodding. 'Yes, darling,' he says, a playful, affectionate tilt still to his tone. 'Yes, we can take her. How could we not, when she's clearly already so attached to you?' He glances down with a smile at where Poppy's now stretching out and begging Alec for a belly rub - and then he looks back up, all business but for the glint in his eyes. 'All right then, Gideon. Would you please show me where I can sign the proper papers?' He smirks. 'I have a feeling my husband's going to love his birthday present.'
The two of them manage to keep their cool through the signing process, thankfully.
Magnus hands in the paperwork, and is given an appointment that Sunday to come pick Poppy up, once she’s had her final vet check.
Alec finishes up his shift and heads home, with his colleagues none the wiser as to just who is going to be taking care of Poppy in the future.
On the afternoon of Sunday, September 12th, Magnus goes to the shelter – alone, of course – and brings home their new puppy, who barks with joyful excitement once she realizes who’s waiting for her on the other side of the portal.
Naturally, Alec’s 30th birthday is his best one yet.
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Can you please make a Vampire Sora x human Female reader where Sora gets protective over the reader when another Vampire (Vantias) wants to drink her blood? Sora comes and saves them. Vantias says random stuff like “oh you’re saving her for dessert then?” Sora gets really mad upon hearing this.
Yeah! Of course! I had fun writing this! Enjoy!
Bite Mark Part 2
Warnings: Vanitas(i love him) being Sora’s brother, mentions of blood, Sora being a cutie
It’s been a few months after you and Sora started dating. You were walking towards your shop while Sora went to go get some coffee for you. You opened the shop and walked inside. You got your workstation ready when someone walked in. You looked up and saw someone who looked like Sora. But it wasn’t. It was Vanitas.
“Hey, babe.” you said cluelessly.
“Hey, babygirl.” Sora never called you babygirl. He usually call you sunshine, and other cute nicknames like that.
“What’s up the name change?”
“What? You don’t like it?”
“I do. It’s just surprising.” Vanitas pinned you against the wall.
“B-babe. What are you doing?” you asked nervously.
“I’m starting to get hungry. And you are looking really tasty.” Vanitas was about to suck your blood, but was stopped by Sora.
“Get your hands off her, Vanitas.” he said.
“Oh, is she yours?” Vanitas mocked. “She’s a cutie, brother.”
“No one gets to suck her blood except me.” Sora growled.
“Oh you’re saving her for dessert then?” Sora got really mad upon hearing this.
“(Y/N). Let’s go. He’s not worth our time.” Sora wrapped his hand around your waist and walked out the door. He took your keys and locked the door
“But what about my shift, Sora?” you asked.
“You can take the day off.”
“Sora, are you jealous?”
“What?! No! Of course not!”
“Aw, you’re jealous. That’s so cute! But I do have a question.”
“Who was that? And why did he call you brother?”
“That was my brother, Vanitas. He’s also a vampire. He thought it was a good idea to claim you as his.” Sora explained.
“Oh. Why did he want to claim me?”
“Vampires need to find mates. He must’ve saw me with you and wanted to steal you away. It’s what most vampires do.” Just then, Sora’s stomach growled.
“You hungry?” you asked.
“Yeah. Can we go home?” He looked at you with puppy dog eyes.
“Sure!” You and Sora headed home to eat some lunch. He sucked your blood, trying to be super gentle, while you had your lunch. You then spent the rest of the day with Sora. When you two finally went to bed, Sora silently prayed that Vanitas or any other vampires wouldn’t come after you. He looked at your sleeping form and cuddled closer to you.
“I love you.” he whispered. He then went to sleep, dreaming of you.
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I know you're beta-ing my fic (love ya) but couldn't resist. Number 25 or 26 for the drabble challenge please 🙏
Ngl I really like this one!! Also it’s unedited so beware 💀and if you guys haven’t checked out Alex’s stuff, you should!! It’s amazing!😉
Word Count: 1.7K
Prompts: “Aren’t you supposed to be the adult?” // “I’m stuck! Help me!”
Motherhood was never a route Kiara saw herself going down.
It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be a mother, it was just that with all her dreams and ambitions and goals for the future…it just happened to clash with what she knew she definitely wanted. But that’s how these things always go, doesn’t it? Just when you least expecting it, shit hit the fan and you’re left scrambling around as you try and wrap your head around everything. That’s what happened with Kiara and motherhood. She wasn’t expecting it, it wasn’t planned. But she also wasn’t as opposed to the concept like her younger self was.
Kiara was fourteen when she decided she wanted to travel the world, to see new places and experience new cultures and open her eyes to a world beyond the small island she grew up on. And she did just that, lucky to enough have someone to share the experiences with. With the money they gained from the treasure, JJ and Kie had enough money to go wherever they wanted (after Pope made sure they kept some in the bank so they wouldn’t be idiots and spend it all, well to make sure JJ didn’t). But it was great, it was everything Kiara could’ve wished for her future, for their future.
Except on one of those breaks between adventures, Kiara found herself thrown into the deep-end of adulthood and she was lucky enough to have someone as supportive as JJ by her side.
And that, my friends, is how James Maybank was brought into the world.
Kiara had never seen herself being a mother until the second she held her son in her hands. Tears in her eyes and a wide smile on her face as she looked at the little human she and JJ created was enough for Kiara to realise that having a child didn’t change any of her plans. She and JJ would still travel and have their adventures, they would just have an extra little explorer with them.
James Maybank was the perfect mix of his parents. In terms of looks, he was truly a kid that drew attention to himself. Tousled brown hair that was an exact copy of his mother’s, with little strands of dirty blonde running through his little curls. His skin was tanned and sun-kissed, a warm golden-bronze so fitting for a summer baby. But his eyes—it was his eyes that caught people’s attention. Bright blue just like his father. It was a shock to both parties when they saw those little blue eyes of his. At first, the doctor told them it was common for new-born babies to have blue eyes and their natural eye colour will develop over the next few weeks. Except James’s eyes remained blue—vibrant and captivating and complementing his tanned skin so well and framed so neatly by the little round-rim glasses he wore. Like mentioned before, he was the perfect mix of JJ and Kiara: his eyes and her hair, his nose and her lips, his bone structure but her cheekbones. The perfect product of JJ Maybank and Kiara Carrera.
However, despite the physical similarities she shared with her son, his personality was driven straight from the chaos of his father. Wild and rambunctious and energetic. He always kept the couple on their toes: JJ’s scheming skills and Kie’s intelligence was a dangerous combination that James just so happened to have. A little troublemaker even at the ripe age of three.
It’s usually why Kiara avoids leaving the two of them alone together for long periods of time, because who knows what nonsense they would get up to.
And of course, Kiara’s point was proved once again.
It was a hot summer day when JJ suggested they head over to the mainland for a wee day trip, just have a little family day before the big Pogue family trip next week to California. Most of the summer had been spent with the other pogues—not that she minded—and James being coddled by her parents, so Kie was all up for them to spend some time as just the three of them. It was the ideal day: walking around the mainland boutiques, grabbed some ice cream and walked along the beach as they ate it, all before heading towards the little play area that was on the pier that James had been eyeing all day.
They had put all their stuff down at a small café table where Kie was able to grab a seat outside. There was the perfect view of the play area from here. But before she could head over with James, JJ was pushing her down in a seat, telling her to relax and assuring her that he could watch over James while she had a coffee or something. So like the fool she was, she went ahead with JJ’s plan (as though their teenage shenanigans hadn’t taught her that JJ’s plans were always the worst).
However, things were going fairly smoothly. Kie was able to order a tea for herself and indulge in a book she had just bought that day. She was able to relax in the sunshine and enjoy a few moments of piece without her favourite hectic boys. Well, only for a short amount of time before a distressed James came running up to her.
“Mama! Mama!” He was panting and huffing, exhausted from how far he ran on his little legs. His fists gripped the hem of her shirt, tugging on it to gain her attention. And when Kie placed her drink and book down, she noticed how dishevelled his appearance was.
“What’s up, bub?” She asked as she gently fixed his askew glasses so they rested comfortably on his nose. However, before she could even attempt to fix his hair, James was grabbing her hands and attempting to tug her up.
“C’mon!” He whined and Kiara only laughed a little as she finally stood up. In an instant, he began to drag her towards the play area where she assumed that he had built some sandcastle in the sand pit he wanted to show her or even show her some neat trick he learnt on the jungle gym.
But it’s safe to say that she wasn’t expecting to see the sight in front of her.
She pressed her lips together, trying to stop herself from bursting into laughter. “JJ?”
“Kiara!” JJ’s head snapped up, looking relieved to see her. “I’m stuck! Help me!”
JJ Maybank: surfing legend, notorious troublemaker, a little schemer since he learnt how to walk. JJ Maybank: the boy that became the biggest pain in the ass to the OBX police force since they were probably first formed. JJ Maybank: the boy that shocked everyone and became a better man than anyone with his last name ever could.
And now he was JJ Maybank: the 26 year old moron who was currently stuck in a children’s jungle gym. It looked like one of those tunnels that kids climbed through to get from one side of the climbing frame to the other. Except instead of being able to crawl through completely, JJ had his head sticking out whilst everything below his shoulders was stuck in the tunnel.
“Oh, baby, this has gotta be a new record for stupid things you’ve done.” Kiara commented, hand over her mouth but he could tell by the shaking in her shoulders that she was laughing.
“Is Dada gonna be okay?” James spoke up, tugging on Kie’s hand he hadn’t let go of as he glanced between his parents. In an instant, Kie’s expression softened up.
“He’s gonna be fine, bub,” She assured him with a smile as she kneeled down to his height. “No need to be worried, in fact, you should be laughing!” She told him.
“Oh.” James muttered, turning to look at his father with his head tilted before he burst into a fit of giggles.
“Great,” JJ muttered bitterly as he stared at the ground. “Now ever my own son is laughing at me!”
“Oh, c’mon, it’s funny!” Kiara countered, arms wrapped around James with her head resting on his shoulder as they both snickered at JJ’s current predicament.
“Just help me get out!” He whined out. “I really need to pee.”
Eventually, Kiara headed back to the table at the café to grab her phone. After taking enough photos for her own amusement later, she called the local authorities that sent a team out to help break JJ out of the jungle gym. It took a total of two hours, by which the time JJ was finally free from his entrapment, the family had to head back to the island if they wanted to catch the last ferry.
“I can’t believe you.” Kie murmured as she leaned against JJ, the young boy fast asleep on their laps as they headed back to the mainland. They spoke in quiet whispers, letting James get the rest he deserved after such an eventful day.
“It wasn’t my fault!” He hissed quietly, looking down at James and gently pushing some hair out of his face. “It was his idea.” He added with a childish pout.
“Aren’t you supposed to be the adult?” She countered, a small smirk tugging on her lips.
“He’s a troublemaker, I’m telling you. Flashes you some puppy dog eyes and suddenly you’re crawling through some hellhole that is designed for Oompa Loompas.” He muttered, narrowing his eyes at the sleeping child. “He’s like an evil little mastermind.”
“Just like his father then.” Kiara commented, only causing JJ to look at her with a shocked expression. “Oh don’t look at me like that! You know I’m right, Jay. You were probably worse than him!”
JJ’s eyes widened slightly before he nodded. “Yeah, no fair enough.” He murmured with a nod before he grinned down at his son. “Ah, I feel like such a proud father knowing he is going to be such a charmer when he’s older.” Kie let out a scoff as she lightly elbowed him, but they both had massive smiles on their faces.
“Let’s just hope he doesn’t take years to finally make a move like his father.” Kie commented.
“Oh, wow, really? That’s the game you’re playing?” He retorted. “You literally made up a whole rule that stopped me from making a move.”
“Should’ve read between the lines.” She said with an innocent shrug. But then she turned to him and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “But I’m glad you finally did make a move.”
JJ grinned at her before he looked down at James, who was still fast asleep with small snores escaping his lips.
“Yeah, me too.”
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Sunshine and assbut
A Destiel oneshot
Castiel gnashes his teeth. He is sure, one day he will have to explain to his kid - to God himself - why he smote the body of his other father - the love of his very long life - and had to rebuilt it again molecule by molecule. He's praying - no that would be bad; Jack would fly in instantly. He's hoping that today is not the day.
It started as a measly teasing right in the morning. "Cass, how often do I have to tell you? Staring at me the whole night is creepy."
Castiel just looked at him like caught in an indecent act. But what else was he supposed to do?
Ever since his grace and his wings had been fully restored, he had no need for sleep. But Dean insists again and again to fall asleep with Castiel in his arms or wrapped around him like a four armed octopus, and every night the angel just can't bring himself to risk Dean waking up, just because he extracts himself. The righteous man deserves good, long sleep. He never had this when he was alive back on earth.
Dean might not have had a single nightmare in heaven, but you can never be too careful when it comes to your partner's well-being, can you?
And - honestly - he isn't staring. He knows his gaze is way too soft whenever he looks at Dean, studies the wrinkles around his eyes, the perfect Cupid’s bow of his upper lip, the freckles on his sun-touched skin, the long eyelashes that make the harsh lines of his face so soft, especially in sleep.
Just yesterday Balthazar and Gabriel had teamed up in teasing him how 'dreamy' he is whenever Dean is around, how much he resembles a human teenage girl.
Castiel is pretty sure they were exaggerating, but he knows that Dean makes him soft. Maybe that's why Naomi - chastened by Jack and reinstalled as one of heaven's commanders - sends him on all these ugly missions, all dirt and gore. "It'll do you good, Castiel," she had voiced her opinion. He still doesn't trust her and technically she can't give him orders. But his son looked at him and he could not help but agree to the first mission. Those damn puppy eyes!
But Castiel's thoughts are straying. Maybe it's for the better, because one more 'joke' from his ex-hunter and Castiel might just lose his shit.
How can one man be this infuriating? Really! Sometimes Castiel wishes that Dean's attention would be a little more scattered, but ever since pretty much everyone he ever cared for is in his heaven, Dean just settled down into a comfortable domesticity that barely needs anything but having his angel around. He has eternity left for spending time with Sam, Eileen, Bobby, Ellen, Charlie, and all the others after all.
"Stay a little longer," Dean whined shortly after scolding him for being a creep. Castiel won't ever fathom how a grown man, his body still in his early 40's, can manage to look like a petuliant child. Although the bigger mystery is that the look works on a billions of years old celestial being like him. Again: Those damn puppy eyes!
It didn't get any better when Mary dropped by and Dean's focus left Castiel at least temporarily. But as the angel tried to fry them some eggs and bacon, Dean goosed him again and again, in front of his mother who looked away in embarrassment, and asked him if he needed help.
Castiel might never become a starred chef, but the repeated question bordered on an insult. He swallowed his agitation, though. His partner may not know what behaviours beseem in front of his mother, but Castiel - as strange as human customs still might be to him sometimes - knew that scolding Dean in front of her sure wouldn't be either. So he closed his mouth shut and served the totally edible breakfast staples with gritted teeth and a superficial smile, before excusing himself to work.
Dean's cheeky grin biting into the first strip of bacon was still on Castiel's mind when he teamed up with Hannah on one of her few earthly missions. She's still not comfortable in possessing human bodies, but she does whenever needed.
It was her intense look, scrutinising as only a friend can see to your very core, that made him let out some steam. First at the demon they came to banish for, then with words just flowing out of his mouth.
"He's infuriating, Hannah. I love him, but he just never stops complaining about my work, about the way I do things, the way I look at him."
Castiel ran a hand through his already messed up hair only to feel Hannah's today brown eyes on him in a strange mix of amusement and sympathy. Her throaty laugh, seemingly vibrating out of her stubby body, made Castiel feel small. Maybe he was just oversensitive.
Coming home to a house full of people wasn't exactly what Castiel had expected. Dean's rumbling laughter about his blood soaked trenchcoat and smoky shock of hair neither.
Castiel stomped into the bathroom. He finally understood Hannah's love for showers after Dean had persuaded him more than once of sharing one. But today the warm and steady water raining down on him, the scent of the bodywash, and the usually relaxing lather don't soothe the feeling of fraying on the edges, of not fitting in this vessel anymore that had been his body for quite some time now.
His stupid, stupid boyfriend! Why can't he just be normal for once? Just because he is already dead doesn't mean that he can act like nothing could ever hurt his angel.
Castiel scrubs his vessel's skin until it's angry red and his whole body smells like Dean's. The scent isn't helping his mood as it usually does.
He sighs and shuts off the water, steps out of the shower, not caring that he drips all over the floor. He brushes a hand over the steamy mirror and looks at the distorted reflection of his face.
Why the hell did he have to fall in love with Dean Winchester?
As if on cue the door behind him opens and Dean strolls in, teethy grin and all. Castiel rolls his eyes.
"What do you want?" he growls, not looking at him. Dean's smile falters for a second before he puts it on again.
"Just wondered if you drowned in the toilet or something."
"No, Mister Smart-aleck, I don't need to use the toilet. Just like you, no matter how much you like reading your comics on it."
"Not comics, graphic novels, Cass. And yes, a man needs some privacy from time to time. Sue me."
"There is no courtroom in heaven, Dean," Castiel sighs in annoyance. "And I would appreciate it very much if you wouldn't bother me for the rest of the day. I heard enough stupid things coming out of your mouth. I'm tired and you are the last one I want to see right now."
Dean works his jaws into something stubborn as if he were pulling himself taut like a sail on the stormy sea, willing to brave the weather in all its forms. The angel still isn't looking at him.
"Thought I was your happiness," Dean teases, forcing his voice to sound chirpy even though his heart is thoroughly in his mouth. "Come on, sunshine."
The endearment usually brings a smile on Castiel's face, but it's falling short today. Dean knits his brow together in concern and his heart stops still for a long, painful moment as Cass replies, "Not at this specific moment in time."
His voice is grumpy and hurt. Dean would kick himself if he could. He knows he's bad at this relationship thing. He warned Castiel about it right after their first kiss. But he kind of expected it to be different with Castiel. The angel knows him like no-one else, not even Sammy. He'a aware of all his flaws and shortcomings, and still doesn't expect from him to change just to be worthy of his love.
He watches Cass' reflection in the mirror, his usual soft features like set in stone, unapproachable and cold. It sends a shiver through Dean's body. What has he done?
"I love you?" It's the only thing Dean knows to say, one of the few things he knows to be real and true. And still his voice tilts up at the end in a silent question that he hopes Castiel can hear while he is sinking into self-doubt again, feeling as if the Empty would come any minute to this time engulf him in black darkness.
Castiel feels the shift in atmosphere and sighs exasperatedly, in a way that heaven and the whole universe is surely able to feel.
"Yes, Dean," he says, bracing himself a last time on the washbasin, and turns around, damp hair sticking in all directions. Usually the sight would do beautiful things to Dean's heart, but that still seems to be out of order.
Castiel cups his cheeks with wet hands, waiting until Dean dares to meet his eyes. "Unfortunately, I love you too."
Dean's heart stutters like the motor of Baby before it purrs into life. The first beat is painful, but at least Dean can breathe again.
"I'm sorry," he says.
Castiel smiles one of his sad smiles that Dean is well accustomed to from their time on earth, but hasn't seen since he had heard the words, "You weren't meant to arrive this early, Dean." He had promised himself to never place it on those lips ever again. Just another miscarriage on his long lists of failures.
"I know," Castiel's soft voice cuts through the unrelenting wave of self-loathing. He leans his forehead against Dean's whose breaths come out in a broken sob. "I just sometimes forget what a tease you've been back on earth. It didn't strike me as often then as it does now."
Dean nods silently.
"What's up, Dean?" Sam's voice comes out of the dark. Dean doesn't even flinch on his spot sitting in the armchair on the veranda. It had taken him some time to lose the reflexes, but time in heaven can even heal the most ingrained reactions to potential danger.
"Nothin'," he answers, hoping against all odds that his brother might leave it at that.
"Come on, man. I'm not stupid. You coming back without your angel in tow, grumpy and sad looking. What monkey business have you been getting up to this time?"
Dean sighs and Sam is taken aback at the intensitiy of it. Ever since he arrived in heaven, Dean has been nothing but flowers and sunshine. It's disgusting, really. Of course Sam loves seeing him so carefree. And he loves teasing him about it, too.
"I think I finally jinxed it."
Sam furrows his eyebrows. "What do you mean?
"Cass is finally fed up with me. I knew this day was gonna come, but I hoped it might take longer."
"What have you done?"
Dean laughs self-depreciatingly and takes a slug from his near empty beer bottle. "Opened my mouth. Should'ave kept it shut."
Sam's frown morphs into one of his trademark bitch faces. "That hasn't kept him from falling in love with you in the first place, has it?"
Dean pulls at the label of his bottle, still wet from condensation. "He doesn't want to see me for the rest of the day and went 'to sleep'."
Sam suppresses a chuckle. Being with the angel for so long clearly is rubbing off at his brother, at least the habit to use air quotes.
"He doesna need to sleep, Sammy. He's just sitting up there, hating me and probably all of his poor live decisions ever since he pulled me out of hell."
Dean runs his hand over his face, trying to chase away the tears welling up against his will. Sam lays his hand on his shoulder. It's meant to comfort, but Dean doesn't think he deserves sympathy. Still, he doesn't shrug it off.
"He'll come around. Just give him time and then you'll talk." Dean hums non-committally. "Let's fetch you another beer. I think you need it," Sam says and squeezes his shoulder before walking inside again.
Dean looks up the stars and the moon above him. They are not the real ones, but Castiel put them up there - just for him.
Dean sighs. Cass is too good for him. He always knew that. Why did he have to fall in love with Castiel, angel of Thursday?
Sam looks at the bottles of beer in his hands and shakes his head. He knows his brother and he knows his friend. They are the most stubborn people he knows. They will never properly fix it. They will fall into each others arms, push back their anger and fear and will wait until the pent-up tension rips them apart over and over again.
Before he can talk himself out of it he climbs up the stairs and strides to the master bedroom. He knocks and opens the door without waiting for an answer.
As expected the angel sits on the side of the bed, still clothed in his freshly cleaned, ridiculous trenchcoat. For a split second Sam wonders if he gets undressed at least for some fun time, but that involves his brother and he for sure won't allow his thoughts to stray that far.
He clears his throat to get Castiel's attention. "Did Dean send you?" the angel asks, sounding tired.
"No, not really. Thought you could need a beer," he says. At least half of it is the truth.
Cass smiles knowingly, but takes the offered bottle nonetheless.
Sam fidgets with the label on his own, moving his weight nervously from one foot to the other.
"Whatever he said that hurt you, he didn't mean it. You know that, right?"
Castiel huffs a mirthless laugh. "He's saying a lot of things he doesn't mean then. Probably everything apart from that he loves me."
Sam winces quietly. This is worse than he thought. "What do you mean?"
Castiel sighs. "He teases me from the first moment he opens his eyes until the last breath he takes before he falls asleep. I have this the whole day from my brothers and sisters who still find it hilarious that I fell in love, with Dean Winchester of all people. I don't need this shit at home."
Sam turns his face down to hide his grin. Castiel isn't the only one rubbing off in this relationship.
"You do know that teasing is Dean's favourite language of love? Have you ever heard how he's talking to me? Or anyone else? Save Mum and Dad, maybe."
Castiel looks up at him. "What do you mean?"
Sam chuckles. "The way he is bickering with me all the time, that he first learnt to sign insults for his loved ones before even asking the sign for bacon, calling me bitch. It may sound like an insult to you, but I think Sammy aside, this is the fondest expression he allows himself to show his love to me."
Castiel moves Sam's reasoning in his mind and entertains the thought. It sure sounds like a thing Dean would do. Not that Castiel is good at feelings. Love is the only one he really comprehends fully and it took him the better part of a decade to figure this one out.
Sam had once called his brother emotionally constipated, but that was before Castiel lived as a human and learnt how unpleasant this physical condition really is.
He fixes his gaze on Sam and nods. "I think I understand."
"Good," Sam replies and adds one for good measure. "Good."
It's late when Dean finally finds his way into their joint bedroom. He may be a little drunk, needing the liquid courage to face his boyfriend after failing him.
The room lays in darkness, the moonlight slipping through the curtains the only light showing the unmoving lines of Castiel's body. Dean undresses himself, hovering his hands over the waistband of his briefs, unsure if his nakedness would be welcome. He leaves them on and slips under the covers.
He stares at the back of Cass' head for a long moment. There are those stupid tears again, burning like holy fire in the corners of his eyes.
"Won't you scoot over and cuddle me, assbut?" The words and Castiel's soft voice don't seem to fit together and Dean wonders if the last beer was spoiled and makes him hallucinate now.
Castiel raises his blanket and repeats, "Cuddle me, assbut."
Dean's breath explodes into a fit of laughter. Through half aborted laughs he asks, "What's gotten into you?"
Castiel chuckles. "I learnt today that insults can be used as terms of endearment and obnoxious behaviour can be a vehicle of expressing love. It dawned on me that you might be one to use it, although the concept still bothers me."
Dean scoots over to him and pulls his boyfriend flush to his front, pressing a kiss to his neck. "I will try to hold back if you promise me to tell me if I make you uncomfortable whenever I do it."
Castiel hums in agreement.
"What is it? I can hear you thinking," Dean murmurs after a while of silence between them.
"I was just wondering if this constitutes our first fight as a couple," Castiel muses.
Dean's face morphs into a near predatory grin. "If it means make-up sex, I'd say yes."
"You're a menace," Castiel scolds him without heat.
"Yeah, but I am your menace, sunshine," Dean chuckles.
"That you are indeed ... assbut."
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Can we please get a yamairu story about Yamato sprouting flowers every time he sees iruka without realizing it. Maybe sprouts a bunch when he finally works up the courage to ask for a date and iruka says yes
Iruka’s smile is stunning. There isn’t a single thing Tenzo can think of that lights up a room quite like it.
Soft and full of kindness it quickly becomes one of Tenzo’s favorite things to see. A ray of sunshine on his otherwise never ending days getting teased by his Senpai and trying to keep Naruto from doing something incredibly reckless.
“Captain Yamato,” Sakura’s voice brings him back to reality and forces him to drag his eyes from that beautiful smile. “What is this?”
As she speaks, Sakura reaches out to touch something on his arm. Following her hand with his eyes he groans when he sees a small light blue hydrangea blooming on his bicep.
This was the third flower to sprout up out of nowhere this week.
“It’s, just...” Sighing, he reached out and plucked the flower off of his arm. There was nothing quite like having flowers growing all over him to catch unwanted attention. “Just ignore it. That happens sometimes.”
Usually when he was feeling exceptionally emotional about something.
“It’s beautiful,” Sakura smiled up at him. “Your Mokuton really is amazing.”
Amazing. That was certainly one way to put it.
“Here,” holding the flower out to Sakura, he smiled. “You can have it.”
It wasn’t like he was short on flowers himself.
“I-thank you,” waiting for Sakura to take hold of the steam, he released his grip on the flower and smiled. It was always interesting to see how others reacted to some of the things that grew from his Mokuton. “It’s gorgeous.”
“It would look good in your hair,” He smiled over at her. “A nice little accessory for the day.”
She wouldn’t be the first to wear one of the flowers he had grown, though he didn’t think his Senpai would like it if he told her about how Kakashi-Sensei liked to wear flowers that Tenzo had grown on his uniform sometimes.
Now if only he could figure out why there were flowers growing on him this time.
“H-Hey, Naruto that’s not funny,” Iruka’s voice caught his attention, and he can’t help but smile when he looks back at the Academy Sensei. “You’re not being serious right now are you? please tell me this is a joke.”
He has no clue what Iruka’s talking about. All he knows is he can’t take his eyes off of that gorgeous face even when Sakura tries to talk to him again.
This is definitely worse than the puppy crush he had on Kakashi when he was younger.
A day off.
He had a whole day off with no responsibilities, no requirement to be anywhere and no expectations, and here he was.
Sitting in a tree watching Iruka teach his students Taijutsu.
“You’re hopeless,” Glaring over at the man beside him, Tenzo huffed when he saw him looking over the top of his book at Iruka. “You should just ask him out.”
“I don’t recall asking for advice,” he grumbled. “Especially not from the guy who asked his boyfriend out by challenging him to an eating competition.”
“You say that like it didn’t work,” There was actually no come back to that one. Kakashi’s plan had worked and not only did he end up with a dinner date from it, but he actually managed to act like enough of a functioning human for that date that Gai-san agreed to another. “This one’s purple, by the way.”
glancing down at his body he started to search for the flower his Senpai was talking about. That had to be what it was he was referring to.
But for some reason he didn’t find anything.
“Here,” seeing Kakashi reach out, Tenzo cringed when his hand went straight for his head and returned with a dark purple tulip. “See? Purple.”
Great. Whatever was wrong with him was starting to get annoying. The last thing his Senpai needed was more reason to tease him mercilessly.
“Just ask him out, Tenzo,” Kakashi sighes and turns his attention back down to his book. “He’s not going to say no.”
“You can’t know that,” Tenzo’s mind instantly starts to come up with all of the worst case scenarios. The look of disgust on Iruka’s face when he asks him out, the slap to the face. All the things that would make him feel like an idiot for having this crush. “I’ll get over it. I always do.”
“He’s not going to say no,” Kakashi repeats himself, giving Tenzo a soft look when he glares back at him. “Trust me, Tenzo.”
Tenzo had learned long ago never to trust those words. The only thing that ever followed them was disaster and headache, even if their missions did end up being a success after Kakashi had dared to utter those terrifying words to him.
“Tenzo,” diverting his eyes, Tenzo huffed when he felt a hand land on his shoulder. “He’s not going to say no. If he does, I'll just stab him for you.”
“That’s not a solution, Senpai!” He knows he has made a mistake as soon as the words leave his mouth, but hearing Iruka calling out to them to ask if Kakashi’s bugging him isn’t any easier to handle just because he knows he screwed up.
He actually feels a pretty strong urge to die right then and there so he doesn’t have to deal with the overwhelming feeling of embarrassment that was now taking over. The only reason he didn’t drop dead in his spot was because of Kakashi, who had actually fallen out of the tree laughing and crashed into the ground.
That was actually funny enough to make him forget about dying for two seconds. At least he wasn’t suffering alone now.
This was it.
Today was the day he was going to do it. After three weeks of debating and struggling over the perfect plan, and collecting an entire three vases worth of flowers to decorate his apartment with just thinking about Iruka.
He was finally going to ask Iruka out.
Stepping into Iruka’s classroom, he smiled when he saw the man of his affections leaning over his desk marking papers frantically.
How was it that man could make even school work look good?
“You look like you’re having fun,” Iruka’s head shot up when he spoke. “Whoe, sorry. I didn’t think I would catch you off guard.” After all those years in Root and then ANBU he was so used to keeping his Chakra hidden that sometimes he forgot he didn’t actually have to do that in Konoha anymore.
“As long as it’s you and not someone worse,” Tenzo’s gut told him that ‘someone worse’ was Iruka’s way of saying ‘Hatake Kakashi’, and somehow he wasn’t surprised. He only wondered what his Senpai had done to set Iruka on edge like this. “What can i do for you, Captain Yamato?”
“Well, ummmm,” Suddenly hours of practice finding the perfect words disappeared, and Tenzo was left with an empty brain and an heart pounding so hard in his chest it was actually starting to hurt a bit. “I was just…”
“Hmmm?” Iruka tilted his head. “What is it?”
This was not going as easily as he had hoped. In fact, this was a disaster.
“I-N-Never mind,” turning on his heel he was about to make an escape when a hand came down on his shoulder and pulled him back, Iruka’s smiling face greeting him when he found the tiniest bit of courage to look at him again. “Ummm…”
“Why don’t you tell me what it is over Ramen?” Iruka suggested. “I was getting a little hungry anyways, and I could always use the company.”
Ramen? With Iruka?
How was he actually getting dinner with the man when he couldn’t even figure out how to form a coherent sentence around him?
“I-uh, s-sure…” His face feels like it’s on fire, and he’s certain he’s going to burst into flames when he sees Iruka reaching out towards him.
“Those are pretty,” Pretty? What in the world was he talking about. “Is this normal?”
Tenzo’s about to ask what Iruka is talking about when it clicks, and suddenly he feels like he’s going to melt into the floor. Actually, he kind of wishes he would. It would provide an easy escape, but he was stuck now. If he ran away Iruka may never talk to him again.
“It...it happens sometimes,” he grumbled under his breath. Reaching up, he sought out the flower in question and plucked it off of his shoulder. Bright yellow. It sort of reminded him of the bright smile Iruka always had on his face when he saw Naruto. “Sorry. I don’t always have full control over how my Mokuton responds to some things. The stray flowers get out once in a while.”
“Oh, Captain Yamato,” Iruka laughed, pulling his hand back to reveal another flower. This one vibrant purple like the one Kakashi had picked from his head a few weeks ago. “It’s more like a whole garden.”
A garden? Did he mean...was there…
Reaching up once again, Tenzo ran his hand over his shoulder. Too afraid to look and see how bad it really was, but needing to know anyways.
His entire soul left his body when he felt a whole row of flowers there on his shoulder. All bunched up close together.
“Everywhere?” Iruka chuckled when he nodded his head. “Oh ya. Yellows, blues, purples. There’s even a cute little orange tulip on your head.”
Why did the tulips like to grow from his head?
“Give me five minutes to make myself look human again,” he grumbled under his breath. The last thing he needed was for people to see him walking around with flowers sprouting everywhere on him. “Then, if you still want…”
“Ramen,” Iruka finished for him with a smile that lit up the room and somehow calmed Tenzo’s nerves a bit. “I’ll just put everything in here away and meet you outside?”
“That sounds…” perfect. Wonderful. Amazing. So many words ran through his mind but not one of them agreed to be spoken. “Beautiful.”
Finally something left his mouth, but he’s pretty sure it has more to do with that smile he can’t take his eyes off of than it does with the plans Iruka just laid out for him.
For the first time since he met Iruka, he doesn’t care.
Absolutely nothing he says could make him look worse than Iruka seeing him sprout flowers from every part of his body. He was a garden of his own emotional creation and there wasn’t a damn thing that could make this situation any more embarrassing.
“Beautiful works,” Iruka laughed, bright and happy. “It describes your face really well.”
Maybe there was something that could make this whole scenario even more embarrassing. That thing was Iruka and his damn perfect complements.
“You, uhh… you have a few more,” Iruka pointed at his head, and this time Tenzo is certain his spirit has actually left his body.
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Remoras Full Chapter XXI: Sunny Side Up
Everyone was to meet up by the end and make our trip back home. Earlier in the morning, the cubes with the tents were placed in Ray’s pocket. He and Tigershark would at least be fine, at the very least. Those two got their head start. As for me…
I thought we’d make it out all together. We had won, hadn’t we?
“Come on, you two! Let’s go! For real this time!” I called to Demetria and Remora. D&R, like ‘doctor’, which was something I was sure we all needed. There I went, going on about names and acronyms like I was delirious. Then again, I probably was.
After all, I walked ahead of them. I must have figured that they would follow behind, if they weren’t following behind already. But I must have been halfway in, my mind so focused on returning to Ray and Tigershark, when I looked behind and couldn’t see them. At one point, I thought I heard Demetria call out to me, but it was faint, and I couldn’t be sure. Fuck it. Being sure had nothing to do with it. If there was some reason why they weren’t following behind, I had to know what that reason was.
I tried to run back toward them, but the ceiling above began to crumble and it came crashing down ahead of me.
Maybe with my trusty brass knuckles I can break through the rocks and save them…
It was wishful thinking. Granted, that was the best kind of thinking. Much better than wistful thinking, which still had its time and place. All that rubble beaten and broken through, and there was still more. I wanted to keep going, not give up, but the ceiling continued to fall around me. Stone fell over me and scratched my arms and legs. I jumped back, then ran off.
Cowardice. If I didn’t run out of there, I would have been trapped as well. As well? No. I don’t want to believe they’re trapped in there. There has to be another way out.
Once I made it out, I leaned over to catch my breath. When I looked back, the cave had collapsed and I gasped.
No. By some miracle, or whatever, they must have made it out. I don’t want it to be like when I first came back after almost a year away and assume they died.
When I looked forward, I had trouble seeing anything. Winds swept the landscape and made it near-impossible to see just about anything around me.
“Ray!” I cupped my hands and yelled out into the air. “Tigershark!”
No answer. None at first. All I could do was move forward, even though I didn’t know where ‘forward’ was. Soon, I heard a voice in the distance to my left.
“Hun?” It was that same wispy and soft, plain as day voice that I knew so well; that Ray of Sunshine. I ran over and saw him and Tigershark, seated together next to a tent. That emotion of seeing something so familiar and so dear overtook me and I couldn’t help myself as I tackled him to the ground and wrapped my arms around him.
“Ack. Careful. I’m supposed to be dead,” he groaned. I released him from my grip and sat next to him. Tigershark then went for the tackle, herself. I welcomed it, hell, even staggered back in surprise of her strength.
“It’s so hard to see! It’s scary!” Tigershark exclaimed. I nodded.
“It certainly gives off a feeling, doesn’t it. But there’s a comfort in it, don’t you think? The mysterious? Despite the current state of the weather, it doesn’t seem to bring us any harm. Rather, even if it’s something to be cautious around...it feels right. Natural, even.”
“Uh…” Tigershark looked away. “It’s still scary, though.”
I hope she’s not reminded of the blizzard, I thought, remembering what was said about Tigershark’s parents. To think that the thing that took them was a deliberate manipulation, even if I didn’t fully understand it. Some kind of power to control the environment, create temporary blizzards at any time...was there any sort of explanation that could be made for such a thing?
“I know how this day must have been a frightening experience for you,” I gave her a nod. “But we’re safe now. We have shelter.”
“I’m not saying I’m scared! I’m just saying it’s scary!” She stood up and put her hands on her hips as she declared.
As much as I still had my worries about the two missing from our group, I couldn’t help but let out a laugh.
“Sure. You are a brave one. Strong, too.”
Hearing those words, she grinned. I was glad to see such a smile. My thoughts drifted once more to the two I became separated from, however, and I looked away from the two I was reunited with.
“Where is Remora and Demetria, by the way?” Ray asked. He must have seen through me. If there was one fault with either of us in relation to each other, it was that neither of us could get anything past the other.
“I walked ahead of them. I thought they would follow behind. I went a long way before looking back, and I know that was a bad call, but maybe I felt overconfident, sure they were close…” My voice trailed off. I had to clear my throat before I spoke up again. “There was a cave in. As far as I knew, there was only one way out of there.”
I looked down. Through my peripheral, I could see Ray nod.
“You think they didn’t make it?” He inquired.
I shook my head.
“No, I have to believe they did,” I concluded. It was a selfish thought, almost as selfish as believing that I had left them behind. But nonetheless, it felt like the right line of thinking to have.
“But it’s very likely they couldn’t have, right? Not if there was only one way out. No matter how strong they are, both of them are only human, right?” He continued to ask. Maybe he wanted to test my resolve. Hell, I wouldn’t have blamed him. But again, I shook my head.
“We’re talking about someone who not only survived a monster, a burning building, and a forest fire, and still managed to walk all the way back here on her own. I assumed she died, and at the time, I had good reason to believe so. Then there’s Remora. We both know she’s a different beast entirely. True, she’s human, but if she wanted to, I’m sure she’d find a way to survive. Even though there’s a chance they didn’t make it, I have to believe otherwise, not because I prefer to be optimistic, but because I need to have faith in them.”
“I see. I hope you’re right,” he looked up. He let slip a smile, then continued. “As much as I like it being just the three of us, I do find the dynamic when we’re all together to be quite amusing.”
Such a thought on the fun we all had together resonated with me and I sat closer to Ray and placed my hand over his as I looked up as well. He locked his fingers in with mine.
“...And if they did die, I’d be real mad!” Tigershark chimed in. “I’d go find their corpses and yell at them!”
Now that I had no doubt about.
When the sky cleared up, we made our trek back down to where we believed the diner to be. Still no sign of those two. We set up camp once it grew dark, all three of us hungry and huddled together in one tent. The next day, we continued down and reached the diner in the afternoon. We all scrambled to the heat and wrapped ourselves in blankets. Ray didn’t take long to warm up and he decided to take it upon himself to fix us some soup. Tigershark got up and ran into the kitchen, as I suppose she felt well enough to help. Rather, she may have thought that Ray wouldn’t be able to handle it well as he was still taking some time to get used to things. In any case, I’m sure he appreciated it.
I continued to look out the window. If they didn’t show up sooner or later, I swore that I would go out and search for them. Whatever the outcome, I needed to know for sure. If that meant searching, I would.
Silence. Time slipped by. Darker.
Evening came and I was so sure I would continue to see no sign of them. But it was just as my eyes began to flutter down and my head bobbed, ready to drift off into dreamland that the front door slammed against the walls and jolted me wide awake. I steered myself in the direction of the door and my body must have been confused as to whether to grin or gasp because my mouth went to form a grin and instead I hiccuped.
There they stood, huddled together, both blue in the face. For once, even if it was for such a painful moment, they were totally in sync with each other. Their hair both a total mess, along with their clothes, as they were both torn and dirty. Together, they shivered and staggered over to the nearest booths.
“Guys?!” Startled, yet relieved, I stood and hurried up to them. “Are you alright?!”
“Take-a-wild-ass-guess,” Demetria rasped through chattered teeth and short breaths.
“No,” Remora turned to me, her cheeks looked locked in place and her mouth opened just a crack, like a window begging for fresh air.
At least she can answer. That’s something.
Both of them looked worse for wear, frostbitten, even. But alive. That was a good place to start, at least.
“Ray! Tigershark!” I cupped my hands and yelled to the kitchen. “Prepare some miso soup and elk stew! Stat!”
They sat next to each other, a sight I wasn’t yet used to, even if they had already done so in some capacity during the camping trip. In unison, their heads fell onto the table and the shivering festival continued.
“We could have had a puppy…” Demetria whined. Okay, maybe she was in better shape than I thought, if she was able to whine. Though whatever she was on about, I had no fuckin’ clue.
“Will you stop going on about that? If Tigershark hears, she’s going to get ideas,” hissed Remora through shivers and little twitches.
“Seems you two are recovering already,” I remarked, trying to offer words of comfort.
“No. I’m just used to this,” Remora muttered.
Demetria lifted her head up little by little as if her head had become a boulder. She glared at Remora.
“Sh-sh-sh-show off,” she struggled to get the words out as she continued to shiver uncontrollably.
“How am I showing off? Just because I’m used to it doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with it.”
Against all odds (and logic) they continued to banter like that and I gave a blank stare as I tried to take it all in.
Is it wrong to think that they act like an old married couple? Yeah, probably. I won’t say anything.
“Well, sit tight, I’ll get you guys both some blankets. Ray and Tigershark are making you guys food,” I assured them. That prompted Remora to look up at me with a dead expression on her face.
“I can’t pay,” she replied, flat and monotone. Say what you will, but I rather missed the lack of expression in her voice. It was something familiar. As for the reply...I was confused. Maybe just a tad.
“You don’t have to. You’re not a customer, you’re…” Family? A friend? I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. At last, I found a word to settle on. “Special.”
“Why?” She asked.
Numerous reasons, silly. Such as…
Instead of listing reasons why, as I found I lacked a proper answer, I instead smiled real wide and said, “I don’t know. Isn’t it better just to be for its own sake?”
No. That wasn’t a good answer. It was for me, but for her, that wouldn’t have satisfied. By now I knew that she needed a concrete answer, and one that made sense to her. I just couldn’t be the one to satisfy, as I didn’t have a concrete answer to give.
To her credit, she said nothing in response and lowered her head back onto the table. Dissatisfied or otherwise, it would seem that she too was at a loss for any real response.
I motioned over to the little window behind the counter that overlooked the kitchen. I leaned up to it and told Ray, “those aren’t customers. This meal’s on the house.”
“Yeah, I saw,” he let out a sigh. “Here I was hoping I could get some money out of people.”
I wanted to elbow him but he was just out of reach.
“C’mon! Aren’t you happy to see that they’re back?”
“Happy? I’m not sure. Relieved? Most definitely. It warms my heart, or at least as much as it can at this point,” his voice was had some grit to it and yet I understood that he spoke in earnest. It seemed I needed to “speak his language,” so to speak.
“This place really can be harsh, can’t it? It’s not easy to keep a positive attitude in a place like this,” I shook my head and smiled as I spoke such words.
“Yes, but it can be a beautiful place as well, full of wonder,” he replied, his voice softening. “Joy and comfort can be found even in a place like this.”
Sometimes it seemed in order to help the both of us, we needed to sort of “swap” with each other. After we traded off energies, then we could level out and continue on.
“That reminds me,” he added. “After their meal, I’d like to make myself a hot cup of chamomile tea to soothe my tired soul.”
“I second that motion,” I nodded, then made my way to the back and grabbed a blanket for the two. Once I returned to the dining hall, two bowls of soup were situated at the table and both recipients had already begun to dig in. As I approached them, I noticed they were in the middle of a conversation:
“What if I had a different name?” Remora asked.
“Then I’d think of you the same. I thought that was obvious,” Demetria replied without so much of a second thought.
“I see. Say, if there was an alternate version of yourself, what kind of life would you like to live?” Remora quizzed Demetria again. I didn’t know what prompted such a discussion, or if it was some oddly specific game of 20 questions.
“I don’t know,” Demetria shrugged. “That’s a rather broad question. I mean, if there’s a limitless amount of universes and there’s the potential for a limitless different versions of me, then I could do anything.”
“But if there was an alternate path your life led, what kind of life would you like to lead?”
“I don’t know. Maybe an assassin? What about you?”
“I think I’d like to be a school teacher,” Remora answered, something which surprised me.
“You, a school teacher?”
“What? If I had a choice, why not?”
While I still didn’t know what prompted such a discussion, nor why she would choose that of all things, I found it interesting nonetheless.
“Here’s your blanket, you guys,” I greeted them as I passed them a thick blanket. To think just a little over a week ago there was another two seated who had been stranded out in the cold and needed a blanket.
“Thank you,” Remora looked up and told me with her dull voice. I couldn’t help but grin.
I turned my attention toward the empty seat across from the two.
“Mind if I sit?” I asked them. They both shrugged. As I took my seat, I took note of the two; there was a slight bit of distance between the two. If Tigershark were to crawl under the table, she could’ve squeezed in between them. Their heads were both focused more on their respective meals than each other. Of course, that was all too understandable. Still, the question cropped up in my mind, what thoughts stir through the ripples of their soup?
“So what happened to you guys?” I questioned them. As glad as I was to see them back, there was still the slightest bit of concern which hung from the edges of my mind.
“Remora suffered some injuries and I wasn’t just going to leave her behind. I tried to call out to you to help, but you must not have heard, so I tried to take it upon myself. We just barely made it out and the whole thing collapsed after that,” Demetria explained to me. I was a little astonished to hear such things, not just because of how impressive such a feat was, but the fact that they had made it out at all when from my end, it had caved in.
“I heard, actually,” I replied, a sour taste in my mouth as I did so. “I tried to make it back to you guys, but I was blocked. You must have come out from a different end, if there even was one,” I then suggested.
“That could have been it,” Remora seemed to agree. “In any case, we all made it back. What’s done is done.”
“Still, you guys don’t look in very good shape,” I pointed out. Considering the whole ordeal with Ray, I wasn’t about to let something like that go.
“I’d have been just fine going out on my own, but she insisted on staying behind with me,” Remora dismissed my concerns.
“You were so convinced you were going to die. I couldn’t just let that happen,” Demetria argued.
“Yeah. What do you think I meant by ‘going out on my own’?”
Demetria fell silent, opting instead to look away. I gulped, not realizing that I would dredge up some kind of tension.
“I don’t think you should talk that way…” Demetria then muttered as she continued to look away.
I felt like butting in, going “so guys, how’s the soup?” But I resisted.
“Because I care about you,” she answered, her words dry and strained.
“Wh – I see. Thank you.”
I began to whistle, as I really wasn’t good at moments like those. Especially when I wasn’t involved with them.
“Stop making noises. It’s distracting me from eating,” Remora scolded. I piped down. Really, it was fine just to watch them. Did I need anything else? I didn’t think so.
Not long after the quiet set in, it was taken over by Ray and Tigershark’s presence as they both approached the table. Tigershark lunged out and plopped down on Remora’s lap. Remora made an audible “oof” sound, but allowed it. Now that I thought of it, both Remora and Demetria must’ve been sore and in a great deal of pain. Though I could imagine Remora was more used to it.
“You know, it really is good to see you two again,” Ray greeted. “It just feels complete.”
“Yes,” Remora looked up and added. What ever happened to ‘let me eat soup’?
“At the same time, it does feel weird to think that it’s all over now. We don’t have to worry about any more attacks, there’s no more mystery to solve. Now we might finally see people return, or at the very least be at peace. But it goes without saying, where do we go from here?” Ray mused...no, that may have been the way he talked in the past, but there was now an earnest uncertainty.
“Well, you’re in luck, then. I don’t think our problems are over. Only delayed. That monster in the mansion, there being attacks up here from one man with little note or explanation, neither of those are a coincidence. When I faced that guy after you fled, he mentioned working for, or with, someone. I think the motivation for this person, or group of people, is based partly on a desire for revenge. But the fact that they’d kill others, just for being around, tells me that it’s more than personal – they just want to kill. No matter how complex they may see themselves, I can’t help but think their reasoning is anything other than shallow.”
“I see. So you’re saying our accomplishment was pointless?”
“No, not pointless. It needed to happen, just as that mansion needed to burn down. It removes one obstacle, and things may die down for a while, but I would expect something else to crop up, and probably from the same person or group of people.”
“It’s just a little bitter how there’s been so many attacks and deaths and all we’ve done is chip away at something we still don’t understand.”
“Even so, I don’t think I could have done this trip without you guys. For that, thank you. However…” She cupped her palms over her forehead and looked down, almost like she was ashamed at what she was going to say next. “I still tricked you guys.”
“How so? We were all in on it. Well, there was Demetria, but other than that –” Ray began, before being interrupted.
“No, that’s not what I mean. I told you guys that upon successful completion of this, I would split all the money I had between you guys. Well, all the money I have is...no money. See, a while back, my house was burned down. I presume from the same guy who was responsible for those attacks. Along with my house and the money I had stored, several of my possessions, including my teleportation device, barrier projectors, as well as other tools were destroyed. I’ve known this for some time now and stayed here, not wishing to tell anyone.”
She talked like she expected some big shock amongst ourselves. Perhaps if we were all a different group, we would have been appalled, but instead, I waved it off.
“Oh well, it’s not like Ray or I needed the money. Besides, it’s the journey, not the destination, isn’t it?” I smiled and reassured her.
“I could’ve used the money…” Demetria muttered. Ray concurred, even if he took it a little more seriously than I had.
“This affected all of us,” he informed Remora. “We would have helped regardless. I’m more concerned that you felt you needed to trick us in order to receive help.”
Upon hearing this, she wasn’t much reassured, but hung her head lower.
“Yes, I realize that in all likelihood, making such empty promises were unnecessary. I should know you all better by now and trust you all. Maybe I’m just so fixed on what’s worked before for me, so it makes sense for me to act that way. But I know if it was someone else who did that, I would have told them off. That’s the thing...I can tell all the flaws of others and call them out, yet am prone to the same mistakes. I say I value honesty, but am dishonest.”
“Well, I can understand that in certain situations, it may be necessary,” Ray empathized. “To you, it may seem that you only do what you believe is necessary or justified. I won’t fault that line of thinking.”
“Indeed. I will strive to be more open with all of you.”
“Remora, you can stay here as long as you need to, you know,” I tried to assure her once more.
She shook her head.
“I’ve never needed a home in the first place. So it’s not a huge loss for me.”
Even if that much was true, or what she believed, it must have affected her in some way. In her old life she had what I imagine was a great deal of money at her disposal and whenever she wanted, she could just warp to wherever she wanted. Whether she realized it or not, things would be different for her. If being around people was already a great adjustment for her, being without many of her resources was going to be even more of one.
“I agree with my wife. We’re happy to help in any way we can. You’ve got friends here.”
She looked up now, her eyes wide and mouth ajar, like she was shaken by a great revelation.
“What? Since whe –” She began, before cutting herself off and retracting. “Thank you. I don’t understand, but I appreciate it.”
Ray smiled. “It’s good to have you back.”
He went on about his way, perhaps to make that cup of tea he so wanted. Tigershark also jumped down and went off to the back of the diner. Soon after, both of the two ladies next to me finished their bowls and I took them. Any other time, that would’ve been Demetria’s job, but I figured she had been through enough and needed to relax a little. When I returned from placing the bowls in the kitchen sink, there was only Demetria. Remora must’ve gone back to her room, but she stayed where she was, for whatever reason.
“Hey hun, what’cha doin’ all by yourself?” I checked up on her. Her face was fixated on the window, but it didn’t look like she was looking out, and just wanted to look away.
“I was hoping I could talk to you,” she replied. “Alone.”
“Oh?” I sat down and figured I was in for something. Some kind of heart-to-heart.
“You know as well as I do that I first came here for shallow reasons,” she began, still facing away.
“Well, I’m not sure if I’d call it shallow...even a swimming pool has substances at the bottom of it.”
First came a heavy sigh, then, “look, I’m not good with metaphors, Sunny.”
Oh wow. She said my name. This must be serious.
“It’s obvious that I came here because of my crush on Remora,” she continued.
“Yeah, and I think that’s beautiful,” I countered. She glared and that was my cue to just let her talk.
“Back then, I hate to admit this, but I don’t think I really saw her as a person. I idolized her and thought of her as this larger than life figure. No doubt, she is beautiful, but thinking back, it was more like I thought of her as a fictional character. Just something straight out of a comic book. Maybe this way you can understand it – I didn’t know what kind of life she led, but I figured if I followed her, I would be dropped into a world of action and excitement. It certainly has been that, too, but the longer time has went on, the more clear it is that she’s a person.”
I wonder if Remora herself would’ve liked to hear that seeing as she at times had trouble seeing herself as a person, what with struggling to understand others.
“What I’m saying is, I don’t think it’s a crush anymore, and I don’t know what I feel,” she included.
“How do you figure that?” I asked.
“Well, for starters, I just said I see her now as more of a person. I also care about her. People with crushes don’t care about the person they have a crush on, do they?”
“I mean...the two aren’t mutually exclusive. You totally can.”
“Huh,” she replied, although if she were surprised, she kept focus on where her thoughts were instead. “There’s something there, that much I know. I’ve told you how it was meeting her at the aquarium, my impression of her, not wanting to be ordinary. How I made her into my motivation for anything. If there’s one thing I fear, it’s losing interest in her, but at the same time, I think my interest has already shifted. At least in the sense that I don’t see her the same way.”
“That doesn’t have to be a bad thing though, right?”
“No, but...I just don’t know how to place how I feel anymore. It was easier when I was more...that. But now it’s like she’s still important to me, but it’s different. I was thinking you could help me out with that.”
Man, I recalled how things were on our adventure, but I really wasn’t good with things like that. If only she had gone to Ray. But maybe she just related more to me because of the adventure…
“I appreciate you coming to me,” I cleared my throat as I told her. “But I don’t really know what to tell you. It’s probably not what you want to hear, but I can’t really say where your feelings lie. It’s really up to you. I’ve always just let my feelings take me wherever and worried later. Seems like the better option, anyway.”
She slumped down. Her face hadn’t brightened at all. I really wished I had been of more help.
“I thought you’d have some kind of answer for me…” She rasped.
“I’m not really sure, and that would be wonderful if I was, wouldn’t it? But that said, however you feel, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”
“I hope not. I just wish I had words I could put for it.”
“Hey,” I stuck my thumb up. “Just take some time here and there to think about it. You might just be pleased with whatever conclusion you come to. If nothing else, I think it’s a good sign that you care about her!”
I left her with that, unsure where else to go. If I was better with such things I could have been ‘it’s love’ or ‘it’s friendship’ but instead I was just like ‘thank you, but hell if I know.’
Maybe that was just the sign I needed. I’ve spent a while back at home really getting to know and spend time with everyone, but with things calming down and Ray recovered, I felt it was due time to head off once again and embark on another adventure.
Even though that itch had return, I had to rein it in. There wasn’t any word of treasure to find or any destination in mind. Nothing slated in the works. Ah, but I knew what the solution was. First, a good night’s rest was in order. Then I would explore my options.
Once morning came around and I had myself a hearty breakfast consisting of an omelet with bacon, sausage, five different kinds of cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, gouda, feta, and gorgonzola), pickles, onions (red, green, white), spinach, olives, and last but not least, salmon, I was ready and raring to go.
“Hey Ray! What kinda requests we got?” I charged through the back door and slammed it against the wall as I announced my presence. He looked up.
“Please be more gentle with our home,” he stated before he looked back down at his desk and grabbed the stack of papers. He held it out and I snatched them from him as I shuffled through one by one. He leaned over and I caught his gaze.
“Does this mean we’re back on for doing this? Missions and what not?”
“It is if I can find something good!” I couldn’t stress that enough. Many of them I skipped through while looking and hoping for inspiration until at last I found one that interested me. It wasn’t even one that suited me (it might have been more suited for Remora) but it was the closest I could find to one that piqued my interest. It read:
There have been reports of unexplained killings happening in Chicago, Illinois. Sightings of a tall figure basked in the darkness of night carrying large bladed weapons might be suspect. Other signs point to a blue-tinted hair without a match to anyone in the city’s database. Upon successful identification and elimination of the killer, a lump sum of $100,000 will be mailed.
“Wow. Short,” I commented. No details on the bodies? Not who had been killed or possible reasons why? Some help that was. Still, if it meant exploring and uncovering a mystery, I was game.
“What is it?” Ray asked. I handed the request to him and he scanned through, then shook his head. “Reads like a police report. Was never a fan of those guys.”
“Obviously I’m right there with you, but still, this is something! This could be fun!”
I shook my head with such vigor it was a miracle it didn’t fall off.
“No! Mystery solving! And then murder, I guess. But I mean, if it’s someone who’s already going around killing others, they’re probably bad, anyway, right? So I’d just be killing a killer.”
“If you want to, be my guest. You just don’t strike me as the kind of person into that kind of work,” he argued.
I thought it over. Yeah, he was right. Exploring? Yes. Some mystery? Yes. But taking a life? Hmm…
“Well, it’s not like we need the money, I just wanna go out. Besides, what if it turns out that upon finding this person, they’ve got a pretty good reason and instead I convince them to come to our diner?”
“That sounds like a me thing. But do as you will, just try and be careful. As long as you’re having fun, I can’t complain,” he relented, then scratched his chin. “There’s little I can argue against when it comes to your happiness. I’ll go ahead and give Cybele a call, let her know where you’ll be heading.”
“Thanks hun! I’ll try not to be gone too long, but you know how I can be when I get distracted!” My excitement was too great for any reassurances. But just to top it all off, I leaned over and kissed his forehead.
Right as I was about to run out, Demetria came out of her room and she must’ve overheard the commotion.
“What are you up to?” She demanded to know. I pointed to the paper in hand before explaining:
“I’m off to go find and kill someone.”
She gave off an incredulous look, then scoffed.
“I get that you’re all tough and stuff, but have you ever taken a life before?” She questioned.
“Let’s just put it this way: you know how when I go on adventures there’ll be bad guys shooting at me on bridges, and I use my wit to make those bridges fall? Well, often times, I’m pretty sure those guys don’t have fall with a smooth landing.”
She stared once again, though rather than incredulous, she looked just a tad disgusted.
“I’ll be fine, really!” I pushed past any concern she may have had and ran off, ready to set foot in the windy city.
Once the plane landed down on a rooftop, I jumped out, then waved bye to Cybele.
“I’ll call you when I’m done!” I yelled to her.
She yelled back, but I didn’t catch what she said. At least I was sure she didn’t catch what I said, either, so no big deal.
From the rooftop, I scaled down from the ledge and descended little by little until I made it to the sidewalk where I plopped down. As far as I could tell, no one batted an eyelash, so it must not have been all that out of the ordinary.
“Wow,” I mouthed the words as the crisp air drifted along. Oh, sure, crisp, but nothing quite as bone-chilling as where I was from. It felt more like a gentle breeze, instead. While I watched small crowds go by and the smell of food carts and restaurants nearby mingled with musty odors of trash bins scattered about the sidewalk, I felt a shove against my shoulder. I turned and someone walked past, hands in their pocket and grumbling about how I wouldn’t move over.
“Oh yeah,” I commented. “That’s why I don’t go to cities often.”
As I stomped along at a roadrunner’s pace against the crowded sidewalks, I thought of what little I knew.
So night is the most likely time I would find this person. Right now it’s a bright and cloudy day. Goals right there. Though the cloudy day is a little overshadowed by the skyscrapers muddying everything out. Not so goals.
There weren’t huge crowds, just swathes of people in drips and drabs. Some in small groups, some going on about their business. As much as there was a steady stream of people, it wasn’t a large mass with no room to breathe. There were gaps in between. Similar were the traffic. Little groups at all times, but no long lines waiting to go.
I checked my phone. It was a little before the evening, an hour or so before sunset. Just after rush hour must have ended.
Since I had no clues and ‘large bladed weapons’ along with ‘blue-tinted hair’ was far too vague, I decided to enjoy myself a bit; ferry tours, stops at pizza shops, and listening to jazz bands at a nearby bar. While listening along and shoving a slice of a deep dish pizza as far into my mouth as I could, I turned the bartender and swallowed.
“Hear any rumors as of late?” I tried to nudge the bartender’s beefy tattooed shoulders, but the counter was too wide. She leaned in while polishing a glass.
“What do you wanna know?” She inquired, a sharp smile on her face. It reminded me so much of Ray’s whole persona. However, this person was younger and looked to be entwined with the city’s culture.
I almost asked “Anyone tall with colored hair?” Until I realized that didn’t really narrow it down much.
Instead, a smile spread across my face as I thought of what I wanted to ask.
“Like any abandoned places around here? I’m somewhat of an urban explorer and looking for my next fix.”
She placed her finger on her chin and tapped her foot. I took another chomp at my pizza. Such gooey pepperoni, anchovy, and pineapple goodness, all in a thick layer.
“There’s this office building at the docks that’s been sitting around for lord knows how long. Couple’a folks I know say they’ve passed by and expressed interest in breaking in, but you know…” She trailed off, as if I was supposed to catch her drift.
“Nah, I don’t. What?”
“Oh c’mon, are you a cop?”
Upon hearing that, a couple of sardonic thoughts on what to say played through my head: 1) Sis, my husband’s got ties with time traveling mobsters and likes to cheat billionaires out of their money just for fun. 2) Wanna feel under my shirt for wires? Shit, I don’t even have a gun. All’s I got is a lasso and some brass knuckles.
Instead I did the least convincing thing I could have done: shoved the rest of my pizza into my mouth and told her (while my mouth was full of food), “I’m just ignorant.”
I swallowed then took a big gulp of water.
“Sorry ‘bout that. Anyway, no need to worry about me. Now, I’m guessing there’s gangs and homeless people who like to hang about, then there’s teenagers who’ve already broken in before?” I suggested.
“Mm-hmm. Pretty much. Though I dunno about the dumb kids part. Mostly the folks I’ve talked to said they’ve seen lights turn off and on in different parts of the building. No shadow or sign of anyone, though.”
Huh. So maybe it was a ghost.
“Oh, and just a fair warning: there’s been rumors of this shadowy figure roaming about around those parts. Some say that same figure’s also the one responsible for some killings as of late.”
“Oh? Like what?” My interest was piqued. In such a big city and I already had my lead.
“No one important. Just a few cops and a landlord. Oh, and I think the CEO of a construction company. But that’s it. I’m sure give it a few days and more deaths will be attributed to this mysterious person. Give it another day and people will have moved on. I’m betting whoever this person is, they don’t even have anything to do with these deaths.”
Even if that does turn out to be the case, I have to know for sure, I mulled it over, and decided to listen to a few of the jazz performers, but vowed to investigate the building as soon as closing time came around.
By the time I left that bar, however, I had forgotten all about the mission.
“Man, I could listen to those saxophones all week!” I cackled as I exited. “I’ve gotta bring home a saxophone when all this is said and done!”
When I looked into the sky and saw a pale moon obscured by a thin layer of gray clouds, I drew a breath of air and the cloud that formed from my breath was a lighter shade than the ones in the sky.
What am I doing again? I went to get a bite to eat, and now I’m a little buzzed and hazy. Should I go to a motel? Or...well, there was that abandoned office building the bartender told me about. Good enough place to sleep as any, right?
Then it clicked: that was the place I needed to check out, anyway.
Excited, I rubbed my hands together and ran down the street and headed for the office building. For how long I ran, I didn’t know, as I was lost in the trance of the night. Every action was an after thought from the initial run down to me taking a leap over the fence.
When I made it over, I stopped and the world had caught up with me as I felt its stillness take over. Everything from then on was more clear: I stood in the dark of the night in front of a tall building while people lay scattered around, some huddled in sleeping bags, others in tents. Some close together. Off to my left was the smoke from a makeshift fire. There were a few folks who paced about or went on about their business, making conversation with or propositioning others.
None of them seemed to notice me. I motioned closer to the building as I inspected the windows and doors; all boarded up, no sign of entry.
How did the bartender’s friends see anything through the windows if they’re all boarded up? Unless they were only recently boarded up.
Right when I made my way to circle around in order to find a way in, I was stopped.
“Hey lady. What are you doin’ here?” I heard the gruff voice of a man with curly white hair and a brown leather cap. half-tired was his voice, weary, with just a bit of grit.
“Trying to get in here,” I replied and figured I had nothing to lose by being honest.
“What do you want in there for?”
I reached to my hip where I kept a rope and hook fastened. Beats me why I didn’t think to do so sooner.
“Hey!” Alarmed, he took a step back. “What you reachin’ for?”
“Relax. Just some rope,” I replied, then held the hook in my hand, ready to throw it up to the roof so I could pull myself up. “As for why I want in, mostly just to see what I can find.”
In the corner of my eye, I could see him shake his head.
“There’s nothin’ of value you’ll find there,” he grunted. That was a response I couldn’t help but find odd.
“Who says there’s not value in seeing for myself?” I flashed him a grin, then threw the hook and watched as it landed on the roof. If there was no way in, I’d make a way, and what better way in than down?
Once I pulled myself up, I saw a door that hadn’t been boarded.
“Ah, so this must be how this person’s getting in,” I muttered. Although I must have made all sorts of noise climbing up, now that I was up, I wanted to be as silent as possible.
When I turned to open the door, I found that it was locked. Without further delay, I fished out a hairclip and jostled it in the keyhole. After I heard a click, I turned the handle and was met with...a brick wall.
You’ve got to be kidding me. Sealed out?
I shook my head. It was as if I had been put in some elaborate prank, except no one popped out to announce “you’ve been punk’d!”
I paced about and tapped my foot against the concrete floor. One spot in particular felt weaker than the other.
I’d like to think my legs are strong as well, but I’d hate to kick down and crash all the way to the bottom.
I fastened my brass knuckles on each hand and knelt beside the weakened concrete. Then, with a raised fist and a swift punch to the floor, a crack formed. One more punch, then the floor collapsed next to me and I heard the crash as the concrete collided with the next floor below. It seemed to stop before it got too far, as I didn’t hear such a long series of crashes. With a sigh of relief, I clicked a small flashlight and saw the outline of a hallway along with the hole in the floor that I had caused.
After dropping below, I pointed the flashlight as I scanned around the area. Doors, which when opened, held empty rooms. Some held filing cabinets with empty drawers. Some had desks and chairs, but nothing within or on either. Through the empty halls, I traced each pace with careful movements, every footstep a crawl’s pace.
At the end of the hallway was a rundown elevator. I thought that I could use it to reach the lower floors, but I couldn’t pry the elevator doors open, so after a good struggle and no budge, I left it alone and headed back where the hole in the floor lay. I dropped down and as I did so heard what sounded like crackling electricity in the distance. Like wires broken, but with a charge.
I preferred the silence.
I kept close to the wall and approached the sound. Since my descent, there had been no indication of any traps to avoid. Just the thought made me miss my trips to ancient temples. Soon, the hallway opened up into a large space with carpeted floor and many doors against the walls. At one point in time, I could picture a series of cubicles. Through those doors were offices. This building had a history and although such a history was unknown to me, the pieces to its story was there.
All movement from me had ceased. My flashlight dropped upon seeing someone crouched down against a panel on the far end of the wall, their back turned to me. The drop of my flashlight echoed throughout the halls. I couldn’t make out many of their features, save for their height and dark clothing, along with a helmet over their head.
I don’t think I’m seeing a ghost. Not only that, but this person must have noticed me. Any chance of sneaking has gone out the window. Oh, who am I kidding? The crash of the ceiling should have given me away before I even entered.
Since there was little else I could do, any movement would have given me more away whether forward or back, I watched; a spark of light displayed their hands, gloved, and nearby, a light turned on in one of the rooms. Then another light. No other lights turned on and at last, the person spoke:
“Damn. Still not enough,” cursed the figure in a harsh, yet wispy voice. Almost like a breeze, but less gentle and more brisk.
“What are you doing?” My words forced themselves out in a hoarse, reluctant question. Sure, I was curious, but if this was the person I needed to kill, then I had to get right into the action.
“Trying to bring power to this place. Electricity can provide light. Heat. Power,” came the reply, a breathy one at that. In spite of its seriousness, their pitch was on the higher end.
“Renovation?” I suggested.
Without so much as turning to me, the figure replied with a nod.
“There are many rooms here. It can provide shelter to many. It’s illegal to use electricity without paying the electric company. It’s also illegal to enter abandoned and unused property. But then again, it’s also illegal to be homeless. Some crimes cannot be helped.”
“Indeed,” I agreed, then added to it, “so is murder.”
To that, the figure stopped what they were doing and got up. I heard the clang as their helmet fell to the floor. Its metallic features and shape became illuminated by the small amount of light brought on by my dropped flashlight. Also illuminated were the figure’s legs, both bulky and well-toned muscles.
Muscular. I can respect that, at least.
While I could tell their stature from what little light there was, their face remained obscured by the darkness.
“As I said: some crimes cannot be helped,” tight spoken words, a hint of anger.
I took a step back and got into a fighting stance. That all but confirmed that I had found the killer.
“Are you the shadowy figure who’s been murdering people?” I raised my voice, not out of anger, but just to make sure we were both on the same page.
“I am, and I take it that you’re someone of authority, come to bring me to justice?”
“Close,” my smile widened. No sound of weapons drawn, but I needed to be ready, nonetheless. “But I’m just doing this because I want to.”
I charged in, fist raised, and threw it forward, only for figure to swerve out of the way. So I elbowed back and felt their grip against my arm squeeze in.
Such a tight grip, holy hell.
Although I struggled, I managed to push back and spun back. They had let go and I heard their footstep take a skip back.
“See, that’s just not a good reason,” returned their voice, more pronounced now. Rather than the breezy voice before, it was more husky in tone and carried a bite to it.
I reached for the rope and hook once more and spun it around, then flung it forward. Whether I would miss or hit, what I didn’t expect was to feel a tug against the hook and the rope cut from it. Then, footsteps tapped at an alarming speed, and although I managed move out of the way, the hook slashed across and made cuts against my arm.
“I would say you’re foolish, but no: you’re just impulsive,” they spoke again, almost analytical in tone now.
Another slash soon came, and I heard the blow of the swing in time for me to move, then I reached for the other side of my hip from where the rope had been and pulled out a whip, then crackled it against my enemy’s hand as the hook they had taken from me fell out and I heard a grunt in pain. While disarmed, I thought I could throw a punch in, but my fist was caught with their palm, and the grip tightened in.
I can’t let them have their hands free, I then threw my other fist in and we were both locked in now. Our strengths seemed a near match as we kept pushing each other back and forth, a tug-of-war with our respective strengths. Then, as I pushed forward, I managed to push them far enough back that the sparks from the open panel they had been at illuminated their face. No, her face.
An audible gasp escaped me. There it was, the blue-tinted hair, with a matchstick in her mouth.
“Rhea? Is that you?” I uttered in shock, the resemblance, with what little light I could tell, was uncanny. Her smile spread, then gave her reply.
“Heh. Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in years.”
She then raised her knee and kicked me away. I fell back. Next to me was my hook from the rope. Well, I could undo the knot in my lasso and use that as a replacement. Damn, maybe I really did have a thing for ropes and whips.
I grabbed the hook and picked myself up, ready to strike. Even if she was this person who...who I thought had died, or who I thought Remora was, well...I still had a job to do.
“There was a request for your death,” I explained.
“So you fancy yourself some kind of bounty hunter, then?” She mused, almost as playful as I.
I nodded, then slashed across with the hook, but she jumped back. She then grabbed the wires and plunged them against my wrist. The shock coursed through me and I fell back.
Although my heart was in a rush, I still had plenty of wind left in me. As I struggled up, she slid a long sword from a sheath and held it out, pointed at me.
“Don’t move a muscle. I could kill you right now,” that playful, but icy voice rang through my ears. It lingered and created goosebumps against my shoulders and the voice carried like an aftertaste. Rather than do what she could have done, she sheathed her blade.
I drew a breath and tried to pick myself up, but then she grabbed me by my neck. Only inches in the air, I was still surprised to be lifted at all as she looked me in the eyes and flashed a toothy grin.
“I could kill you, but instead, I think I’ll give you just enough strength to go back wherever you came from as a warning.”
Fair deal. It’s just too bad I don’t go down that easily.
I swung myself forward and hoped to kick her so I could be released, but it took her no time at all to catch on to what I tried and she unsheathed her sword once more and plunged it into my kneecap. Just as fast as she had done so, she pulled it out and held her blade close to her. I let out a piercing cry of pain as I knelt down, blood trickling down my jeans and onto the floor.
“I’m allowing you to walk away. How are you going to do that if you don’t walk?” She asked and sounded too bored to know the answer to such a question.
Although I struggled, I leaned against the wall and tried to move closer to her. Even as I limped, I wasn’t ready to give up. I’d throw every last punch I could. Rather than give me such a chance, she took her sword and rather than stab me once again, held it back and pushed the hilt against my shoulder. I fell back once more.
“Now. I won’t doubt that you could have put up more of a fight, but you’re at a disadvantage. You can hardly see. You’ve already taken some serious injuries. You didn’t know who you were up against.”
“Heh. No pain no gain,” I rasped out the words. Already lightheaded, I felt myself soon to lose consciousness.
“Yes. But something tells me you’ll need a break.”
Damn. Yeah. A nice bath, some patching up, a few days and I’d be back at it for another fight, and then I’d be more prepared. There wasn’t any reason to give up…
“Here’s what will happen next: I will take you back to the rooftop, you will make whatever call you need to, and then you will leave so that you may tell whoever you need to not to come here. Understand?”
I was in no position to object. Rather, the only oddness I found was that for a killer, she sure seemed generous. Ugh, but it sure was a blow to the ego to have to return home. Still...Ray and the others needed to hear about it, so I tried to take it in stride.
When Cybele found me on my back and a bloody mess, she fell into a panic. I had to be the calm one and reassure her that yes, I’d survive, and I’ve had worse injuries in the past. Despite such words, she continued to fret through the ride home and I walked her through how to treat such injuries as best as she could with what was available. Poor girl still had trouble calming herself down even when I told her that she did a fine job and that I would be fine.
Once I arrived home, it was about midday the next day and I was in good enough of a state to limp through the door and into the back.
If Cybele wasn’t bad enough, everyone else gave me frightful looks. Less so with Remora, but she looked like she didn’t know what kind of look to give.
I winced, but managed a smile as I sunk into a chair and leaned back. Ray, at his desk, got up.
“Honey, what happened?” He urged for my answer, a profound upset reverberated.
I just got carried away. That’s all.
“I saw...I saw…” I heaved and stuttered out the words, surprised by my own shock. At last, I told them, “I saw Rhea.”
“What? How is that possible?”
“Uh, didn’t she die? Also, we’re really doing this again, after the whole thing with the cave just the other day,” Demetria added in her own two cents. At least the place was lively.
“She had blueish hair and a matchstick in her mouth. Similar build. I…” Really, I didn’t understand what I saw any better than I could describe it.
“What shade?” Remora asked at last, and it was her input I was most interested in. “Also, did she shiver? What was her fighting style?”
So many questions…
“I couldn’t tell. It was dark. No shiver. And...she had a sword.”
Remora leaned her head back and her eyes widened. She turned her head just as I noticed her face tightened, then she muttered, “that wasn’t Rhea.”
“Who was it, then?” I asked her.
“I don’t know, but Rhea didn’t use swords. Anyway, just leave that person alone. They’re no one important and there’s nothing to worry about. Probably.”
“You know something, don’t you?” I pressed.
“I just know who it isn’t, and so it’s probably nothing. Just forget about it.”
Demetria’s face grew serious, a scowl formed. She turned to Ray.
“Do I have permission to get a plane ride there?” It wasn’t a beg, nor a plead, just a confirmation, as if she were already set.
“If you wish,” Ray replied, despite the concern he had displayed.
“Why? What is for you there?” Remora interrogated. “Money? Curiosity? Violence?”
“I just need to know,” Demetria replied before taking off. Remora didn’t try to stop her or press further, it was a surprise at all that she showed any sign of objection.
As Demetria took off, Ray faced Remora.
“What about being more open with us?” He echoed her earlier words. “If you know something, you should tell us.”
Remora lowed her head further and replied:
“I don’t know anything for certain and it sounds like nothing important. So we can move on from this.”
She then strode over to her room and I blinked.
“What about you?” Ray inquired.
“I’ll be fine. Just gimme a few days and I’ll go on another adventure.”
“Please rest longer if you need to,” he added.
“I’ll do my best,” I assured him.
As I continued to sit in that chair, my thoughts stewed on how unusual everything was. How unusual that person had been. How unusual Remora’s reaction was. How unusual Demetria’s reaction was as well. There were so many questions and no conclusion came to mind. Most of all, what I wanted to know was whether I still had it in me to do those dangerous adventures and come out on top or if time had begun to catch up with me.
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so. I’ve officially failed at completing my to-do list in chronological order.
in other news, I have this one scene I really want to write for this au but it takes place two years in the future from where we’re at now which means I also have to write everything in between... (┬┬﹏┬┬)
edit: this chapter now has fanart by @too0bsessedformyowngood!!! :DDD
Masterlist ◈ Previous ◈ Next
There is a new girl when Marinette walks into class, one with brown hair pulled into a hairstyle that reminds her of sausages, though her inner Alfred insists that her observation is impolite.
Marinette takes her usual seat in the far back, her newly cut hair making her feel just the slightest bit lighter, and that makes all the difference. She reaches into her bag and pulls out a plain black sketchbook, flipping it open to the newest page and idly doodling as she waits for class to begin.
Moments later, the new girl comes up to her, a simpering smile on her face that reminds Marinette of galas, where both men and women alike would approach her and her siblings with that exact smile on their faces before cooing over them in hopes of winning her father’s favor.
There was a reason why Marinette always hated galas, and it wasn’t because of the venue or the food.
“Hey,” The girl says, voice positively dripping with obviously (to her, at least) false sweetness. “What’s your name? I’m Lila. Lila Rossi.”
Marinette glances away from her pencil, which has formed a sweater that, if knitted with the right kind of yarn, promises many days of comforting warmth in the winter.
“Marinette,” She says shortly, eyes already returning to her sketch. Hopefully, Lila gets the idea and backs off.
If she was anything like the people at galas (and so far, she was acting just like them), however, Lila would not take the hint and continue.
Sadly, Marinette’s theory was proven right and she suppresses her initial instinct to headbutt the other girl when she leans over into Marinette’s personal space, brown sausage-tails skimming her sketchbook pages as she observes Marinette’s drawings.
“Those are some really nice designs,” Lila’s voice grates on her ears. Marinette closes her eyes and tells herself that her family would be very disappointed if she broke their no killing rule over something so trivial. Their exception to that rule was for demons, aliens, and spirits, not transfer students who were most likely Italian, judging by the accent, and got in your personal space. “You know, I know a really great designer-”
“No thanks. I’m not interested,” Marinette cuts her off, voice a little sharper than intended. It was a little ridiculous, really, that one measly liar managed to get on her nerves so fast. She might have heard Lila out otherwise, if it weren’t for the fact that Marinette had been trained to read body language, albeit not to Cass’ level.
And right now, the subtle twitch of Lila’s left hand, the way her nose scrunched up a bit and her eyes were just a little too devious to be innocent told Marinette that she was lying.
Those were tells, she knows, because Lila didn’t have those when she told Marinette her name.
Lila huffs, but Marinette lifts her head up and turns on the look her family has dubbed the Batglare, which, along with Adrien’s entrance into the classroom, successfully dissuades the other girl.
The new girl moves away from her desk and to the blond model’s side in an instant, and Marinette allows herself a small sigh of relief as the other girl exits her personal space bubble.
There are only a few people she allows within those lines. Lila Rossi is most certainly not one of them.
During lunch, Marinette is greeted with a surprise when she enters the cafeteria.
“Kagami!” She says with a little more shock in her tone than she actually feels as she sits down in the seat opposite the fencer. “It’s been a little while.”
Only around two weeks, really, but the last time she checked, Kagami was homeschooled by a private tutor. So why was she here?
Kagami gives her an awkward smile, as if her facial muscles aren’t used to being pulled that way. Considering her strict upbringing (though nowhere near the League’s), that was entirely plausible. “Hello, Marinette. My mother finally agreed to allow me to attend a public school. I may or may not have used you as an argument to sway her.”
Marinette has met Tomoe Tsurugi exactly once, just a little bit before she went home for the holidays. Kagami’s mother was a formidable woman, and it was a bit more difficult to gauge her thoughts from her body language, as the woman was impressively stoic, but Marinette had been taught by her older sister, whose first language was that of the human body. She thought Kagami’s mother had liked her well enough.
Evidently, she was right, if Kagami had been allowed to go to public school after telling her mother that she went to the same school.
“Well,” Marinette says, eyes sparkling. “I, for one, am certainly not complaining.”
They spend lunch chatting about anything and everything, and it’s the best day that she’s had in a long time.
Marinette pulls her mask off and tucks it back into her duffel bag, stowing her fencing gear away into her locker.
“I’d almost forgotten what it was like to duel you,” Kagami remarks from beside her over the sounds of the other fencers packing up. Marinette’s lips twitch.
“It hasn’t been that long.” She replies. In her pocket, her phone vibrates with an incoming call. A quick glance shows that it’s from Jon.
“Excuse me,” Marinette says to Kagami. “I need to take this.” The other girl nods with serious brown eyes as Marinette quickly exits the locker room and accepts the call.
“Jon, are you not still in school?”
“Lunch break,” Her friend replies cheerfully, chipper as ever. “Look outside, Mari.”
Well, wasn’t that interesting sentence. “Jon,” She says calmly. “Did you fly to Paris during your lunch break?”
A pause. She hears the sound of his feet shuffling on concrete. “Uh… I plead the fifth?”
“That only applies in the United States,” Marinette retorts. “Which you left when you flew across the Atlantic Ocean.”
On the other end, Jon stays silent. She can almost hear the sheepish smile that is most certainly on his face as she strides towards the school’s exit.
Jon’s head snaps up, radioactive blue eyes meeting hers immediately when she pushes open the door and steps out.
“It is nice to see you in person,” Marinette smiles at her best friend, who beams back at her. “But you can’t just fly to Paris in the middle of the school day, Jon.”
The face he makes resembles a kicked puppy, and Marinette hates the little skip her heart does when she sees it. Emotions are a weakness, Marinette. You do not let yourself feel, and you will be all the stronger for it.
Marinette supposes that Talia may have been right, because she can never resist Jon for long, but she doesn’t particularly mind.
“But since you’re already here, I suppose we should make the most if it,” She relents, and Jon’s expression immediately shifts back into that blinding smile, the one that never failed to sway someone to his side.
“Great! Where do you think we should go?” Jon asks, and Marinette tilts her head, pretending to think for a moment, though she already has a place in mind.
“The park,” She says decisively. “It is also near the bakery, so you can try Sabine’s egg custard tarts as well on the way.
Jon hums thoughtfully. “Are they as good as Alfred’s?”
Marinette stands on her toes so she can whisper in his ear, though the gesture is only superficial because of his super-hearing. “Do not tell Alfred, but I think they may actually be better,” She confesses. “Alfred never quite found the perfect ratio of egg yolk and cream to get the texture exactly right.”
She basks in the sound of his laughter the way a cat seeks out a patch of warm sunshine. “Lead the way, Mari.”
Marinette is walking alongside Jon in the park, listening to him talk about the Titans’ latest mission, when she notices a familiar person sitting on a park bench, thumbing through an ancient-looking book.
As soon as her mind registers that it’s Lila, the new girl from earlier, Tikki wriggles frantically inside her jacket pocket – a sign that they need to talk.
“Cover me,” She hisses to Jon, who nods instantly as she ducks behind a tree, and he strategically places himself so that he can both hide her from outside eyes and still remain casual. Curse parks and their lack of good places to hide.
As soon as they’re tucked away from prying eyes, Tikki zips out of her jacket.
“That book,” The kwami says, flitting agitatedly through the air. “We need to get that book, Marinette. It belongs to the Guardian.”
“Tt. Did that pathetic fool lose it along with the butterfly and peacock miraculouses?” Marinette tuts, before growing serious again. “Why is this book important?”
“It has all the known information on the miraculouses,” Her kwami replies, looking at her with wide, pleading blue eyes. “That information could be super dangerous in the wrong hands. I know you don’t like the Guardian, Marinette, but the book is much safer in his care than it is in the outside world.”
Marinette sighs. “I know that. Fu is still an idiot, but I’ll retrieve the book for him.”
Tikki nods once and tucks herself back into Marinette’s jacket pocket. Jon, having heard the entire exchange, knows that is his cue to leave his position, and they fold seamlessly back into their walking rhythm, Jon picking up his story right where he left off like it never even happened.
But they both watch the brunette with sharp eyes, always keeping her in the corner of their vision, waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Out of the corner of her eye, Marinette notices Adrien enter the park. Moments later, Lila sees him too, and stands up, throwing the book into a nearby trash can in one smooth motion before moving to meet him.
Inside her pocket, Tikki gives a scandalized gasp that she elects to ignore in favor of flashing a hand signal at Jon. Go.
If he weren’t here, she’d find a way to sneak it out of the trash can herself in broad daylight with no cover. After all, she was a Bat. They always found a way.
But it is so much simpler to just have her friend put on a burst of super speed, gone and back in less than a blink of an eye with the ancient book in hand.
Thank you, Marinette signs with one hand, bringing her fingers up towards her lips before moving them down and out towards Jon, who tilts his head in a cheerful grin, radioactive blue eyes sparkling in the late afternoon sun.
Always, he signs back, right index finger pointing to the sky as he draws a circle in the air, the back of his hand facing her. Always.
Previous ◈ Next
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so i have real bad rejection sensitivity and i keep having flare ups- even when it’s just my stupid brain being stupid... this is a comfort piece i suppose... i just needed to get some energy out.
— do not read if you are easily upset please.
— hurt/comfort w bokuto + cw: mental health + heavy angst + barely any fluff + very heavy thoughts of self deprecation + spiraling + bad thoughts + no smut + f! pronouns
there was a suffocating need to make things better. the panic surging through your body felt like little pockets of electricity in the field of your vision- hands twitching with a need to reach out and tug him back into your body.
“i’m sorry.” you whimpered, voice shaky from the tight ball of something hot lodged right behind your tongue.
he turned around, eyebrows shooting up at the way you looked- you looked like you were collapsing in on yourself, eyes tearing up, bottom lip shaking.
he came back, immediately crouching down to cup your face- thumbs brushing away tears.
“hey- puppy... you’re okay.” bokuto murmured, those hands that felt so warm against your already heated skin didn’t make you uncomfortable- you needed his warmth to displace your own sticky and nauseating flare.
it hurt. it felt like you were dying, you’d screwed everything up, he surely hated you- there was no other reason for him replying to you so shortly- he was sick of you and there was no one else who would love you. he was going to leave you and he was going to- he was going to-
“puppy, pretty girl please look at me.” koutarou whispered, moving his hands to take your shaky ones up to his mouth. he kissed them both, smiling at the wideyed look you gave him.
“i’m sorry.” you warbled once more, he was so kind, he took such good care of you always... the only thing you could offer into the relationship was a big ball of broken pieces. pieces that surely cut him up over time, wear him thin- he was going to get sick of you.
no one wanted to carry around shards of a jaded human.
but he made you feel good. he never recoiled at the way your fingers dug into his skin in the middle of the night, when the bad thoughts felt so real- when the fear and ickiness manifested into almost real night terrors. he always held you, those warm hands pressing your shivering form into his own. he curled you up, shielding you from the world.
he shielded you from the night- the stagnant, and endless darkness that always overflowed into the parts of you he’d healed previous.
you knew it was futile- knew that even if he kissed every bad thought away, they’d always come back full force.
and even if he did understand... it made you feel guilty. made you feel even worse because you were so meek and sensitive... it made you think that he couldn’t even get upset around you, all in fear of not upsetting you- and it hurt. it made you feel like you were stifling him, he deserved, was valid in things that bothered him. there was no way he wasn’t on the brink of leaving you, leaving you for something more stable, someone who could simply... function right.
but he was always there- always came back to you no matter what.
it made you feel that maybe there was a chance, maybe there was a way an endless beam of sunshine wouldn’t wane in the overwhelming, inky black fear and terror playing in your head at a constant.
“why are you apologizing silly girl.” he whispered, pulling you in by the gentle grip ‘round your still shaky hands.
“i should be the one saying sorry. i’m tired- had a long week. know my precious puppy’s senstive.” he responded, breathing out a note of happiness when you let yourself meld into his embrace.
it nearly hurt hearing him say it- but you knew he was right. there was never any sugarcoating when it came to bokuto... you really appreciated it.
“should have told you i was going to be a little... down. but it’s never directed at you.”
the tears started back up, followed by a silly laugh- a giggle at the volatile nature of your emotions.
“i’ll always be here, okay? no matter what you do, no matter how sad you are- i’m here and i love you.”
rumble of his chest felt like a lullaby, it felt good.
“love you... i love you.” the words came easy, even in a tumultuous headspace, they were spoken loud and clear, only moving your mouth from his chest to say those things.
even if you had murmured them, muffled by his being- he’d known their truth.
he always thought there was no easier thing than loving you.
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Yuuji Itadori || Training
Content ║ Yuuji Itadori x Reader. You and Yuuji train quite often and like to make a competition out of it. However, his quick learning and your insecurities get the best of you.
Count ║ 1,514 words.
Consider ║ Fluff. Fighting. Probably grammatical errors.
Creator ║ Aight! First little drabble up. Hope you guys like it! It’s not nsfw but I was feeling fluffy and Yuuji is a literal sunshine child. Also, whenever I write for the students, I automatically have it be that Jujutsu Tech is a college rather than a high school and everyone is over the age of 18.
“Sir, we’re surrounded!”
“That just means we can attack in all directions!”
A smug smirk tugged the corners of your lips, “I mean… you’re not wrong, Yuu.” The boy gave an overly enthusiastic thumbs up, pearly white on full display. Training with him was always a delight.
You were back to back, crouched in a way that your back right foot was slipped between his wide stance. You made a few enemies from ink, letting them drench the field’s grass in black gel. Five human-sized creatures were your limit after training for what seemed like years. No one needed to know they were the shapes that haunted you at night, paralyzed with fear as they came from all corners of you bedroom. That fear is what strengthened them. You channeled it into them, strengthening the cursed energy behind the specialized ink.
Right now, they were just npcs in a videogame to the two of you, “These ones are 3 points, right?” Yuuji looked over his shoulder at you and you nodded. Training with him was always a game. Human-sized blobs were three points. Child-sized ones were two. Rabbit-sized ones were one. Anything larger went up by every two feet of height. So far, he somehow managed to kick your ass every time. Today would be the day you showed him up. Maki had shown you a few decent moves and like hell you’d let him trample over your personal best with this up your sleeve!
With a springboard hop forward, he drew back a fist, “I’m gonna kick you’re ass!”
“Oh like hell-“ You bent back at the knees, left hand keeping your back from fully colliding into the ground. An ink blob came right for your neck, swiping dangerously had you not ducked, “OI, play fair!” Both palms planted into the blades of grass, balancing you as your legs vaulted upwards. The tip of your tattered sneaker connected crisply with its lower ‘jaw’. The shoe had swept through the inken mandible, triggering the creation to melt to the earth. As the handspring flowed through, you recollected yourself on both feet only to propel forward at the next targets.
Alas, there were only two by the time you had gotten through your first. Yuuji was always fast. Faster than a goddamn car, too. Exceptional physical prowess was presented with each corded muscle before he had even eaten the first few fingers. Rumors from his high school years didn’t fail him once, not even here amongst elite Shamans. It was something you always admired and envied about him. Your own form had been delicate, feminine, and rather weak. Some rumored it to be a heavenly restriction in exchange for your expert control over your Ink Children. You refused to believe that, however. Like hell you’d allow yourself to be restricted like that.
A pout found its way onto your lips as you ducked another straight punch from the last standing enemy. As you swung your punch, a fist made its way to you first, kissing the space between it and your nose. With barely enough time to dodge, you managed to slip to the side, arm hooking into the one that had aimed for your face. Ink exploded onto your clothes and face. Some splattered into your open mouth, triggering a coughing fit. Your shoulder ripped backward as you were practically hauled into a spin with the aggressor’s arm still linked with yours at the elbows. One of you lost stable footing. Your heart squeezed at the impact of dense earth hitting spine, followed by Yuuji landing directly onto your chest with a resounding, “WOAH!” He popped up, forearms caging you in at either side of your head, mouth sputtering apologies, “Didn’t even see you behind that thing! Are you okay?”
Your eyes blazed against his with explosive fury. Words ripped from your throat before thought could come before it, “Yuuji, what the fuck was that?!”
“I wanted to get the last point!” The goof-ball grin sloppily made its way to his cheeks. The world still spun around him as it always did with you. It wasn’t until you spoke again that the grin slipped down, dragging away any semblance of pride with it.
“You were already nine points ahead!” A pout made accompanied averting eyes. Chin nudged to the side to emphasize the massacre of ink littering against the ground, “You couldn’t have saved me the last one?! C’mon man.” You knew it was irrational to cut into him for something so silly. It was just training. He knew how much this meant to you, though, how hard you had to work to even take the impact just now.
Yuuji’s mouth opened the slightest, guilt trickling into his chest like a steady faucet. Whoops. You had always been competitive. Much more competitive than Nobara, even, and temper to match it, too. A large hand came to rustle the back of his hair, moving to scratched his temple, “Sorry. I got caught up in it. And…” Rose crept up subtly to his cheeks and ears to match his rose colored locks, “I wanted to impress you.”
Your head snapped back into place, locking hues with his honey-browns, “Wha-“
“You always make such strong opponents to fight against! I wasn’t even able to hit one last week!” His brows lowered slightly, lips jutting in their own embarrassed pucker, “Just wanna show you I’m strong too. How else am I supposed to protect you?” The sentence trailed out in a grumble, gaze meandering to the space next to your cheek rather than maintaining the kerosene-lit gaze of yours.
A warmth crept up your own cheeks, lips slightly parted in surprise. Really, you shouldn’t be shocked by this. He was always considerate of your safety. The sheer concept that it displayed during something as inconsequential as training was the bolded punctuation mark to his statement. You hated to admit it but, it made your heart flutter in its boned cage.
He wasn’t your stereotypical muscle head (despite that being your first impression of him.) He didn’t look down on you like the men in your family did for being physically weak. In fact, Yuuji looked up to you. He acknowledged your strengths and hard work. For the hours of grueling training to even be able to move the way you did, the boy made it a point to come out and watch you. Yuuji saw how you overcame challenge after challenge. It dowsed gasoline on the fire lit under his ass. Even when it seemed like he was selfishly destroying your own target, he simply was trying to meet your bar of approval. He admired your strength, your graceful movement, your technique, and most importantly he admired you.
“Yuuji,” You began, voice softening from its resin casing, “You don’t need to protect me. I just…” Your hands moved from their crossed position to your cheeks. Eyes fluttered shut briefly before opening again, “I just want to be stronger physically is all. I don’t want to feel like you have to protect me every time we go on a mission because of these noodle arms,” To drive the point home, you wiggled your arms beside his head before lazily resting them at his shoulders, “How the hell’s that fair, huh? Can’t a girl protect herself, Mr. Knight-in-Hooded-Armor?” You playfully stretched his cheeks, tugging the goober’s mouth this way and that, “’sides, you beat my ink kids way too quickly this time! I gotta step up my game.”
A sunshine laugh beamed from the boy above you. His hand swatted yours away, “Alright, alright! It’s almost like I like you or somethin’!” He dipped down, nuzzling your noses together. The way his lashes dipped as his lips connected with yours was transfixing. Why did boys always have the prettiest eyelashes? Why did they have the softest lips? You leaned into him, hands clasping behind his neck and locking him in place. A content hum harmonized between the two.
It was a moment you wished to last forever. The warmth of his sprite-flavored Chapstick slid against your teeth-bitten lips. One calloused hand cradled the side of your neck, thumb stroking the pink lingering on your cheekbone. He was so delicate and careful with you, yet somehow so sure in each touch and movement that it left you breathless every time. No matter how strong you were, he had an ability to make you weak for him every. Single. Time.
The thonk of a used paper towel roll whacking a cardboard box broke the sweet moment apart. Yuuji shoved his face into your neck with a puppy-like yelp before ripping up like an angered Pomeranian, “WHAT WAS THAT FOR, NOBARA?!”
“Maybe if you weren’t sucking face on the training field-!” The two growled at one another. The only thing tearing away their standoff was your shrill cackle. In comedic synchronicity, the two shouted, “What?!”
“D-did you hear the sound h-h-,” Words barely escaped your lips, chest heaving with each labored cry-laugh, “His head made! Yuuji! Oh my god you’re a basketball!”
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New Year’s Drabble Collab
Sero Hanta X Reader Fluff
Your hands felt icy as you shoved them under your legs, too cold to be comfortable, but also too cold to let your feet touch the unforgiving expanse of the uncarpeted apartment floor. The heat was on, but the cool, dry air from outside seemed to permeate the room.
“y/n?” a sleepy voice yawns out, footsteps trodding towards the couch at a slow pace.
You envied their walking ability right about now, huffing you turned your head to your boyfriend, “Yeah, what’s up Sero?”
He glances at you, a tired but concerned look crosses his face before he seems to have a realization and trots back to his room, leaving you confused and cold.
Looking at him in mock offense you gasp and reply, “Well you just fetched for this puppy now hand ‘em over duct tape!” You jump up, careful to keep your feet on the couch, reaching for the socks he now is pulling back over his head, and just out of your reach.
“y/n! This is the thanks I get?” He smiles snarkily back, a little more life in his voice, clearly much more awake now that he’s amused. “At least say, ‘Oh Sero~ My hero, thank you so much!”
You clear your throat, “Oh great hero Duct Tape! I give my sincerest thanks for your delivery of the lifesaving goods! Now please! The socks, my feet are fucking freezing here.” You laugh and launch yourself at Sero as he frantically drops the blanket to keep you both from tumbling over as you snatch the socks out of his hand and he grabs you tightly, eyes wide, with a loud “OOF.”
You stare at him.
He stares back.
And you both burst into laughter as he unceremoniously drops you back onto the couch as you hustle to put the fuzzy socks on and grab for the blanket.
Sero, the ninja, snatches it up first and spreads it wide, jumping on top of you and wrapping it around your struggling form, laughing loudly.
Now, finally, you are warm, fuzzy socks, warm blanket, and a human furnace wrapped around you. Eyes glancing to your side, you see Sero’s face as he rests his head on your shoulder still chuckling, and you smile yourself.
“Were you seriously out here huffing because you were too lazy to get up for some socks?” Sero chuckles out.
You gasp indignantly, “Absolutely not! I was huffing because it was too cold to justify touching the ground WITHOUT socks on. So of course I couldn’t move!”
He hums in response, still grinning your way. A comfortable silence overcomes you both as you lean back into his chest with a sigh of content.
You look up, letting your head rest along his shoulder as you look him in the eye.
“I love you,” you say with a soft smile, eyes closing peacefully as you snuggle further into the blanket.
“Love you too,” he says with a small smile you can’t see, leaning over and wrapping his arms tighter around you.
“Here’s to another year together, yeah?” you say softly, barely opening your eyes as you peer up at him from under your lashes.
“Another year and many more sunshine,” he leans down and kisses your nose, causing you to giggle as your nose scrunches up.
“Happy New Year.”
“Happy New Year sunshine.”
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