#200% this ive been searching for a way to put it into words
where secrets come to die
pairing: steve rogers x ofc; steve rogers x graphic designer!ofc; steve rogersx black!ofc
* all my ofc's are unnamed
word count: 5.2k
warnings: smut (unprotected sex, dirty talk, fingering, oral sex -- f receiving); light mention at abusive childhood (not descriptive); fluff, please notify me of any warnings i overlooked
MINORS (NOT 18+) DO NOT INTERACT WITH THIS POST OR MY BLOG.
a/n: i hope you all enjoy this fic! i’ve been working on it for a while and finally made it into something i am truly proud of. any and all feedback is welcome! if you are interested in any of my other work, check out my masterlist or search #mjwriteshere. reply, pm or send an ask to be added to my taglist. i’ll see ya’ll next time. - mj :)
ps, ive almost hit 200 followers, are you kidding?? thank you so so much!
I’ve worked pretty hard for everything I have. Pretty much all I had, was because I earned it. I worked for it. I made it happen.
I owned a small graphic design company with a pretty regular influx of different (and regular) clients. It’s mostly a one-woman show on the design aspect but I did have an assistant, a social media manager, a fellow graphic designer who works with about 25% of our entire cliental. Within the past couple of years, I became comfortable keeping my head above water in New York and afford to put money away. There were a lot of tough moments including but not limited to crying in plates of butter pasta at 3 AM, evictions, sacrifices of new friendships or relationships, and plenty of contemplation of quitting and turning to a 9 to 5.
I got where I am, I had those moments and had to build the life I wanted by myself for the most part.
I don’t entirely blame the way my raised my parents or my circumstances for that reality, but those things made it quite difficult.
It’s hard to know how to build wealth when you never had much. It’s hard to take steps towards going to college when your parents never went and you weren’t the greatest student. It’s hard to navigate life without anyone to help you. It’s hard to really know what home is when you constantly move around. It’s hard to know what nurturing was, even sometimes what love is, when you can’t pinpoint many moments where you received that from your parents.
A lot of people pride themselves on making it all alone but I think we often neglect the importance of having a support system. Getting to where I am, without my family by my side and without many friends by my side was the most difficult part of my journey. It’s still something that I battle with. The loneliness that creeps up in some moments still, runs sadness through my entire body.
But through my experience, throughout my life, I’ve learned what it’s like to want for more and keep ambition for it because I know what’s like to not have anything.
I learned how to love and be loved. I learned what it means to be a good friend. I learned how to make something out of nothing and not make those terrible moments my entire life. I learned what home was, in all its infinite facets.
I had a lot of help on the way. I selfishly used a lot of people to learn those lessons that I sometimes cringe at just thinking about.
But, all those moments and all those people created the version of myself I love today.
I know what true friendship is – Nat and Wanda taught me that. I know what optimism looks like --what truly looking at things for their best is. Peter taught me that. He may be young and may still have so much learning to do himself, but you cannot argue with his energy.
I know what love is. I know what home is.
Steve taught me that.
A while back, Tony had hired me to redesign a logo for his brand amongst other things for the Avengers. He was trying to appeal to a more well-rounded audience and was just in desperate need of a change. How he found my small company, I would never know. One day, I’m worried about if I’m going to try the new Chinese place in Midtown. The next day, I get a drone-delivered invitation to have a business lunch with Tony Stark himself.
The lunch ended up being at the Avengers’ Tower and after extensive security clearing and searches, I was sat at a long conference table with the owner of Stark Industries. That new Chinese place I wanted to try out (but decided not to) had its logo printed all over the takeout boxes between us.
I really meant lunch! We can talk business after I eat this Lo Mein, Tony had said. I was too afraid to ask a question; His presence took over the room. Tony rambled on about this new invention that he was working on. He probably was revealing more than he was supposed to. I met his conversation with light laughs out of nervousness but he didn’t even seem to take notice. He was excited to talk and excited to share. I listen intently though and just admired this experience for what it was. At one moment, I heard the door open behind me and Tony hopped up, “Sam! Steve! I have someone I want you to meet.” I had turned to find two new faces, dressed down in gym clothes looking as if they just had worked out.
“I heard that you ordered like $500 in Tsao’s for two people so I knew you ordered too much. I just came to make myself a lunch.” It was Sam who said that. He continued, already started to make himself a plate, “Steve, too. He didn’t want to say it himself.” With chopsticks resting between his teeth, Tony told them to help themselves. He walked over to me, resting a hand on my shoulder and using the other to gesture to them had told them my name and how I was in charge of changing the way some of the visuals for the Avengers would change. That’s when I learned what I was there for. Sam gave me a bright smile and shook my hand once he finished up plating his food. Steve welcomed me and shook my hand as well, his eyes staying on mine the entire time.
Steve would later tell me that I was the most beautiful person he had ever seen.
After that meeting, I was frequently at the Tower. Tony always rang me up and to bring my other work with me. Designing, redesigning, editing and sometimes just at the Tower on stand-by, I was able to build friendships with the Avengers – especially with Steve. What started as a commonalty over the love of art turned into me teaching him a few things about the softwares I used and Steve asking me be a portrait model sometimes.
We had our first kiss during one of his drawing sessions. He just set aside his sketchbook and when I began to question him, he tugged back my head and connected our lips. We’ve been taking it slow since then with coffee dates, walks on the Brooklyn Bridge and late-night kisses. We didn’t put a label on anything, which I greatly appreciated it. We took out time just enjoying each other in whatever situation that was.
Tony eventually built a little set-up for me and my assistant, where I could work on the projects I had for him or the projects I had for other clients.
After the surprise of my own personal workstation, Pepper walked me to my car and told me that Tony looked at me like a daughter and he was so glad he could “give me this win.” It didn’t hit me that Tony would have researched where I came from until I got back to my apartment that night.
It all started to click.
As much as I appreciated his generosity, I felt my privacy being breached. The drone to my place should have been my first indication of that but the fact that Tony probably knew the depths of my childhood and that determined the way that he treated me, did not sit right with me.
So, I drove from my apartment straight to Steve’s that night in a flurry of tears. He answered his door a few seconds after the first knock in a onesie.
A fuckin’ penguin onesie.
Some of his hair was pulled back with a hair tie and a little nose strip was stuck on his face.
And with all the anger and sadness that rested in my body, I still laughed. And I laughed really hard. He didn’t join and just placed his hands on my cheeks, trying to steady me and calm me down; Because my laughs started to turn into more tears and sobs reverberated down my spine.
Steve held me. He didn’t ask me what was wrong. He pulled me closer to whisper ‘jump.’ I was very confused, and he just scooped me up in his arms and led me into his apartment. Steve let me stay clung to him the entire night.
I eventually told him what was wrong when I peeled his nose strip off. He said “Fuck Tony” and allowed me to calm down. I allowed myself to unleash some more vulnerability. I didn’t know if I was overthinking it or not, but it felt as if Tony was treating me as a charity case. He overpaid my company and for my company. I rarely did tedious work for him. We often just talked and talked a lot. It seemed like he was compensating me to live this great life the Tower and not for any work I put in. I didn’t want Steve to do anything bidding for me but he is so level-headed, that right now, I needed to express what I was feeling to him. I don’t know if he would give me a right answer or what a right answer was, but Steve always had something to say that had value to me.
“Tony knows you can take care of yourself. You’ve been doing it for so long. He’s not giving you a handout because of what you’ve been through. He’s providing you with an opportunity because he knows you’re good. And I don’t excuse Tony if went digging into your past but that’s a conversation you need to have with him. I appreciate when you come to me, honey. I always want to listen but you need to put Tony in his place. And I’m with you every step of the way.”
And that’s exactly what I did.
After a few days and calling telling Tony I have been “sick”, I asked him what he knew about me during our quick morning meetings we usually have every week. He started going on and on about what my company was about but not me. So, I asked him again, slower, and told him to tell me what he knew about my past. He admitted to knowing more than I have ever told anyone – more than I have ever told Steve.
He knew my mother was not kind. He knew that she used me as a way to take all her anger out on. He knew my father was good. But he knew he never stood up for me.
He knew that I was the strongest person he knew. He knew that I was “damn talented” and that he wanted to keep me around.
Tony also knew that he was wrong and he apologized. He gave me a hell of an apology and said he understood if I had to step back from working for him.
I stood up for myself and did take a step back. There was a significant cut to the money my company was starting to get used to but were able to deal with it, adding a few more clients. Steve spent a lot of time at my apartment when he could, working on his own art and helping me with mine. I invited the Avengers from time to time out for dinner or for game nights, which they always accepted. Tony tagged along sometimes too. I built and kept relationships outside of the place that once issued me a paycheck.
It feels good to have that.
This morning, over bagels and coffee, I knew Steve was holding something in. How? His face gave me that indication – he looked constipated.
“What’s up?” I was now working on the buttered side of my cinnamon raisin bagel. Steve and I found this place randomly one morning when we were out for a walk. It was a little hole in the wall that made the most perfect bagels. We became regulars.
Steve pushed aside his plate, “You’ve been working a lot…” That was an understatement. With new clients that we getting increasingly more demanding and trying to hire someone new to help my assistant with the workload – I was constantly on a computer, “And I want you to take a break. I booked a tiny house up in the Catskills for a couple of days. It’s secluded, nice, peaceful...” And that sounded like a dream. A moment to disconnect from everything and be cuddled up with Steve. I needed that, “And before you say you’re too busy. I know you are. So that’s why I made sure the tiny house had a hotspot. I want you to be all mine this trip but you can take a couple hours in the day to work if you need to. Your whole team knows you’ll be gone so hopefully they won’t bother you that much…. You just have to say yes. I just want to take care of you this weekend.”
I want to take care of you this weekend.
Steve and I only have had sex a handful of times. I was always busy. Steve was always gone. Our time together is romantic and special because it was between Steve and me. But there never an entire moment dedicated and created for our intimate moments. I was taken a bit aback. With a bagel stuffed halfway through my mouth, my headscarf still on and my glasses rested on my face, I’m sure I was not the vision of ‘you deserve a weekend away aka let’s go somewhere far away so I can fuck your brains out.’ After his tiny little monologue, it looked like Steve was just nervous but he still let a small smile rest on his face.
There was nothing to think about. It was all set up. Steve was already taking care of me. And I wasn’t going to bully myself and let the doubt at the bottom of my stomach tell me that I didn’t deserve this. The idea that I was unworthy, that insecurity, is exactly what I’ve been trying to grow out of for years. I wanted to leave that behind. And it started with small steps like this.
I allowed there to be silence between us for a moment. Steve wrapped me in his arms as soon as he saw the smile stretch on my face, “Of course I’ll go. Thank you, baby.”
The tiny house was perfect.
It was very tiny but it was enough space for Steve and me just to be together. The drive up was filled with loud music, even louder singing voices from the two of us, and lots of snacks that Steve made sure to pack.
We even stopped at a little thrift store where we found a ridiculous amount of tee shirts with Smith’s Family Reunion 2011 printed on the front. Steve and I bought two to match.
The house was in a loft format, our king size bed build high up and the rest of the house below. The bathroom stole the show and almost the entirety of the downstairs space. It was cozy with hints of emerald green and brown, with a large bathtub planted in the middle.
Still, a nice sized kitchen and living area graced the premises.
Yeah, this was the perfect place to be right now.
Once Steve and I got our things settled, we had to drive about 45 minutes back towards the city to do some grocery shopping. Steve was an excellent cook and does not give himself enough credit it for it. As we browsed the rows of vegetables, I cuddled up next to him and asked him to make the Bolognese I liked so much.
“No problem, sweetheart. This weekend is all about you.”
We bought probably way too much food than we needed for the next few days but Steve offered that whatever meals we didn’t eat all of, we could pack them up give them to the people we saw on the street as we traveled back into Manhattan.
So, Steve probably bought more food on purpose.
Steve was so good.
I ended up leaving my laptop in the car for the weekend. I knew I was missing out on some things but it would be nothing I couldn’t fix when I returned. I really wanted to be present with Steve.
As we spent this time together and as I took the time to be away from the business that I sometimes let consume my life, I just knew I loved this man. It’s in the sexy things like the way that his arms moved and flexed as he made breakfast for me. It’s in the silly, sweet things he does like how he decided that he would go outside to get more firewood for us in just a pair of briefs and in my flip flops that were halfway off his feet.
Steve was extremely sexy. For the first two nights here, Steve didn’t try to make a move or pressure me into having sex. We took a bath together and he even massaged me down without trying to fuck me. It seemed like he just wanted all my other needs of relaxation and destress to be taken care of. Steve was like that I learned; When he said “take care” of me, he didn’t mean anything else by it.
But I really needed that man to fuck me and it was going to happen tonight.
The trip was coming to a close soon and I find great joy in sleeping with my boyfriend without having to worry about nosey neighbors. This brings us to where we are right now. I was stretched out on the couch, occasionally sipping on a glass of lemonade while Steve cleaned up the kitchen. We decided to be ridiculous and dress up so my silver heels were kicked off beside me and I was very close to ripping off the strapless navy-blue body con dress I had on. Steve matched me, in a navy-blue dress shirt and grey pants. The taps against the hardwood due to his shoes provided some noise along with the small sprays of cleaner as Steve worked. I used my phone, with all its notifications silenced, to play Snoh Aalegra. Steve loved her.
“You want some wine or somethin’, baby?” Steve asked. He was finishing up, still moving quickly around the space. Steve was sort of a neat freak at times but I appreciated him being like that rather than being a complete slob.
I took another sip of my drink,” No, thank you. Come sit down with me?” I sat up against the couch with my body faced towards him. I watched him turn to me and usher a smile before nodding and turning back to wash his hands. The water ran for a few seconds, and with a couple of pumps from the soap dispenser we bought, Steve was eventually able to use a dish towel to dry off and join me. He rested against the couch, with a rough sigh and brought my legs over his lap. With his thighs spread out and a few of the buttons of his shirt undone, Steve was finally relaxing,” Take your shoes off…” I laughed. Steve closed his eyes and used the toes of one shoe to take one off before doing the same with the other one. He kicked them off to the side and began to massage my feet.
“Hmm, I like this toe ring. That’s cute,” Steve’s eyes were now open and he lazily tried to relax me. I wiggled my feet away from him after issuing him a thank you and stood up,” Watcha’ doin?” A smirk curled up on Steve’s face,” Sit down. Let’s relax…”
I stood between his spread thighs after setting my glass down on the coffee table,” Food was so good, baby.”
“Thank you, sweetheart. Could have used a little bit more thyme, though, yeah?” Steve was leaned all the way back with his hands behind his head. His eyes roamed around my body in my tight little dress. I knew Steve was getting turned on by the way a flush of red raised upon his neck. He cleared his throat but stayed in the same position nonetheless.
“It was perfect.”
“… Yes, you are.”
“You are so fuckin’ lame.” I giggled. I ran my hands down my sides to settle at the bottom hem of my dress. Steve smiled at that, flicking his eyes up to my face before going back down to my hands,” I wanna show you how really appreciative I am. For all of this.”
“Yeah? How are you gonna do that, beautiful?” Steve reached down to his crouch to readjust himself before raising it back to behind his head. I didn’t have to even say anything. Steve knew exactly what he was getting. I raised the bottom of my dress, showing off the surprise I had underneath. Steve’s eyebrows raised in anticipation, and he took his bottom lip between his teeth,” No undies, huh?” I shook my head as Steve slowly undid himself from the position he was in. He took his hands to squeeze my behind, pushing my flesh together before pulling it apart. He repeated that motion for a few moments, keeping his eyes on pussy. He licked his lips and steadily leaned closer to me,” Fuck, whatta thank you present.”
Steve buried his face against me and left soft kisses on my bikini line before moving down to my slit. His wet, hot tongue shot a warmth through my body when it began to run along my slit. Steve began to lick me, his tongue brushing my clit and along the folds of my pussy. Steve’s focus is all around, spreading my ass cheeks and also giving me intense pleasure with his tongue. I cry out when he sucks my clit into his mouth, holding it there before opening his mouth wider to give my pussy a long lick. Steve does the same move again, but his time when he licks me, he wiggled his tongue side to side against my clit making my hips buck against his face.
I clench my pussy and Steve takes one hand from my behind when he feels me do that. His fingers join his tongue at my core. His mouth opens wide and comes to a close slowly as he makes out with my pussy. Steve uses the just one finger to leisurely slide in and out of me. I can hear my wetness slightly at volume with my slow pants of pleasure,” Oh, Steve. Fuck you.” I give a high-pitched moan,” Oh, fuck you.”
Steve laughs against my clit, vibrating it a little making me want to cum all over his face. He takes the other hand that is still on my ass to deliver a small slap and continues pulling and pushing against my pussy with my lips,” You are so fuckin’ delicious, baby.” Steve flicks his tongue against my lips, making me reach back and tug on the back of his head. Steve leans his head back to give me a good look. His mouth is slightly red and swollen with a coat of wetness on the lips. His finger is still buried inside me, going in small circles. His eyes are on my face as I looked down at him in desperation,” Do you know how fuckin’ good you taste?” I smiled at him and shake my head,” Well, come here and find out.” Steve slips his finger out of my very slowly and he runs said finger up my folds. He withdraws his hands from me completely and awaits my next move.
I bunch up my dress to meet the bottom of my breasts and lean down to sit in Steve’s lap. I feel the outline of his cock through his dress pants and rub myself a little to the cotton fabric. It’s rough yet pleasuring to my pussy and I grind down in small, slow motions. Steve leans out his hand and I wrap my mouth around the finger that was just inside of me. He stares intensely as I bob my head up and down on his finger. I retract from his finger by allowing my tongue to run along it and giving him a smirk.
“You taste great, don’t you?” I nodded,” You wanna cum on my dick or in my mouth?” Meanwhile, I’m still grinding on him which should have given Steve the answer he was looking for. I look down at his pants and pout before giving him my eye contact again,” Words?”
“Your dick,” I said almost too quickly. Steve patted my behind to usher me up. I whine but get up. I almost tripped over his shoes and kick them further away. I watched Steve unbuckle his belt and just pull down his briefs and pants down to the top of his knees.
“Gimme some of that, yeah?” Steve took his hand to bury two fingers inside me and collect some of my wetness. He quickly retrieved his hand and with a little bit of his spit, he started jerking himself off a little. The skin of his cock moves with his palm, Steve keeping his eyes on my face,” Fuck,” Steve laughs, “Your face itself is gonna make my cum.” I push his hands away and move myself to hover my pussy over his cock. I grip the back of the couch and balance myself so I can ride the sexy man in front of me,” You’re gonna bounce on this dick or what?”
That’s all I needed to hear before I lower my entrance to the head of his cock. I hold his dick in my hand and sink myself onto him, hissing at the stretch his cock is giving me. Steve sucks in a breath, and awaits my next move. I settle there for a second. His cock feels so big and so warm inside me. I groaned at the sensation and began to lift my ass up and down. Steve guides me, with a grip on my behind and his own thrusts into me, following the same rhythm.
“Steve, oh fuck yes.”
“You like that, baby?” Steve whines himself,” You like that, huh? My big fuckin’ cock in your tight little pussy. Fuck!” Steve takes the lead and fucks up in me. He slides deeper and harder in my pussy,” You’re so fuckin wet. Oh, my god.” Our lips connect and Steve sinks his tongue deep inside my mouth, taking all control in the situation.
“Yes, yes, Ooh,” I squeal in his mouth. I’m so wet and hot. Steve seems to be hitting deeper and deeper with ever thrust, making me gasp and cry with every drive. I squeeze the couch tighter as I feel my release coming soon. Steve doesn’t get sloppy and continues hitting just the right spot, edging me closer and closer,” Steveee.”
“Yeah baby, I can feel it.” Steve suddenly pushes hard into me and stays there for second making me clench just as hard against me. I give a small ‘oomph’ before Steve is back to bouncing me up and down,” Come for me. Come for me, right now.” Steve whispers. I tug down the front of my dress to reveal my breasts to him and circle my nipples, ready to come. Steve groans at the sight and nods at me,” Baby, I’m gonna come, Gonna come.” I squeeze my eyes shut and feel the convulsing of my stomach near.
“Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve.” I repeated his name over and over. A warm feeling gathers in my stomach and I feel wetness gush out of me. I make soft sounds as my orgasm races through me and makes me milk Steve’s cock.
“Sweetheart, my god,” Steve’s load shoots into me and I can feel it settle inside my pussy. With his eyes shut tightly and the clenching of his teeth, his own orgasm comes through. I huff and relax myself against his chest. Steve runs his hands up and down my back, coaxing me through this bliss,” You’re so perfect,” He kisses my cheek and then the top of my head,” So perfect.”
Steve put himself in charge of packing the car. He had a box full of meals to give out and just our two duffels but still took the lead and told me to enjoy the sunrise. I looked around the house with a small smile on my face, sad this was coming to an end but happy I got to spend this time here. As Steve finished up, he told me he had something for me.
“I want you to take some time to read it. I’ll be in the car when you’re ready,” Steve said and handed me a white envelope. He gave me a peck on the lips, twirled the keys in his hands, and walked out the house.
My name was printed neatly on the front and I couldn’t pinpoint who’s handwriting this was. So, I just pushed open the envelope and slipped the paper inside out. It was a sheet of notebook paper and as I unfolded it, I recognized who’s script this was.
I hope you enjoyed your weekend with Steve. The Catskills are beautiful, aren’t they? That’s my tiny fucking house you’re staying in. Keep it nice. I rent it out sometimes. And no, I just didn’t allow you to stay there for free. Steve gave me some mula. He’s a good guy. I hope you two stay happy. Also, I hope you two wrapped it up. I still have a lot of work for Steve to do so no babies. Sorry, I know that’s selfish but I want to stay truthful with you, always.
That gave me the reminder I needed to take my birth control.
Anyway, there’s something I need to tell you. I didn’t know how to say it and you were so angry with me on your last day that I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire.
A long time ago, I met a man. He was a good man. He could love others no other and when he fell, he fell deep. He saw passed the mistakes someone made and often overlooked their bad actions. He just wanted to love and be loved in return. He was my best friend until he wasn’t.
That man was your father.
I tried for a long time to get him to leave your mother even after you were born. He told me that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that I was not a good friend for not supporting him. Your father was my best friend and I was terrified for him. But, when you came into the world, it became about something much bigger than him. I didn’t want you to grow up in the environment you did and tried so hard to get you away but I had absolutely no authority in the situation. Your father eventually cut me out of his life when you were about three or four. So hate me but I watched and made sure you were okay. Sometimes that meant allowing your mother to hold a job she didn’t deserve so she could keep food on the table. I couldn’t save you from the emotional trauma but I tried my best to help you in any way that I could.
You wouldn’t know, but I met you a few times when you were a baby. I held you a few times as well. I was named your godfather. That is my most prized honor.
I am so glad you grew up to be the person you’ve become. You are amazing. And you’re so smart. And you’re right. You are not a charity case. You are strong. You are a hard worker and you will get everything you want in this life with or without me.
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Disney Romance - Brave’s Blue - 200 followers special
@holykillercake swan!!! Sorry for the wait! Thankyou for requesting! You know how much I love Killer, This story took a while for me to get inspiration and actually write it, but here I am with this! Please don’t keep high expectations, I may not reach them.
Pairing : Killer X Princess! Reader
Word Count : 3.6K
Warnings : Nothing but Fluff, a long ass fic written by me!
A/N : Yes Its the Movie Brave! I hope you like it! Its lengthy but please give it a chance! Its the story of our favorite Pasta Boy!
“Princess Y/N, its an honor to meet you. I’m Jason, prince of Goustvania, I’ve heard so much about you and your Kingdom”, Jason said as he looked at you. You both were in your garden which had beautiful plants and flowers.
“Prince Jason, don’t get me wrong but, as this is a formal meeting for suitors, and I would like to keep it that way”, the way you said it, made Jason to gulp. He was not a potential suitor and he knows that. By pulling some strings he made it to the list. There are many princes who wanted to marry you.
You were not only beautiful but were also the princess of the wealthiest Kingdoms. Not even a single death due to starvation was recorded in your country. As marriages are a part of a treaty, if a person could marry you, you’d definitely share your riches to help.
“So, I’ve heard that, your country is really big and has the absolute weaponry with a very powerful army”, she looked at the prince who was scared to even speak to her. But he didn’t want to waste the opportunity.
Putting on his brave smile, he said, “My country is beautiful and definitely has the most powerful machinery”, proudly he ended, only for you to nod in return by taking the silver cup in front of you. It contained the finest tea, which was brewed from the leaves of Assam.
“Prince Jason, but my resources say that your country is in the verge of war with another 5 countries. And in your last war, even though you’ve won, you’ve lost many soldiers. Is it true that you’ve been requiting many soldiers to compensate the loss”, you took another sip of the tea as he gulped.
“I also heard that you’ve already been engaged to princess Lucy from the snow kingdom. I didn’t hear anything about breaking your marriage”, Jason had chills sent up and down his spine because of the questions you were asking. Not even his friends knew about the information of him getting engaged to princess Lucy.
“I suppose that even she doesn’t know that you are here. The partner that I’m choosing needs to be loyal. I’m sorry but you are no longer a suitor. I’ll make arrangements for you to leave this place within a day”, you bluntly said getting up.
“Oh no, Please listen to me. I’ll break the engagement as soon as possible. Just give me anoth-”
“Please don’t make me repeat myself. Ive already made up my mind”, you replied sternly and walked out of the garden without giving him another glance.
You felt your mood was ruined after meeting him. ‘How can people be so disloyal towards their partner?’, you thought as you entered your chambers. It had blue curtains, blue carpets, a big blue bed. Simply said, it was a pastel blue aesthetic with also a touch of white to it. You had twenty minutes time before you had your next job to check the travel and trade matters of the country. You removed your closet before you plopped on the bed and closed your eyes.
Blue always calmed you down. That’s the reason why you wanted your room to be with blue stuff. Blue reminded you of the sky. The peacefulness was what you required in your hectic life as a princess, who is taking care of the country. As the King was feeling sick, you took the job on yourself and took care of the country yourself from the past two years. You knew the kings, princes wanted to marry you because of your country. Everyone was selfish and had the same motive. You were sick of this. You mostly tried not to meet princes and tried to dismiss the proposals. You wanted a person, who could love you and be loyal to you. To love the country as you loved. Would respect your opinions as a queen.
Little did you know, Prince Jason wasn’t happy with your decision. As he went to the house of the witch of your Kingdom. He sat before her and asked her, “I need a potion. A potion which can make a person to change, to go feral, like an animal”, rubbing his hands nervously he looked at the witch.
She asked no questions, just stretched her hand forward. He placed a bag of silver coins in her hand. The old witch went to her cupboard and took out a very small bottle with olive green liquid.
“Mix it in her food and it’ll do its job”, she mumbled and Jason started to return to your castle.
But little did he know, every single potion had a reversing effect. This potion was asked with a person with full intent to destruction, anger, greed. A potion was available to reverse the spell.
“My lady, my lady”, you heard a voice calling you so you opened your eyes and looked at the person before you. It was your butler Heat. You woke up with a groan and asked him, “How long have I been sleeping?”
“It’s been 30 minutes my lady, you are getting late to check the Travel and trades of the country”, he said sternly. You grunted as you sat on the bed.
“My lady, that’s not how a princess should behave and Oh lord!”, he exclaimed looking at the corset on the floor and walked towards the door, “Please dress appropriately”, he closed the door behind him.
“Damn corset”, you cursed as you picked it up. Heat was your head butler and also very skilled fighter. He talked less and worked more, a reason why you chose him as your assistant. He gave wise suggestions and always respected you.
You wore your corset with the help of a maid and went to your office to work again.
Being a prince, Jason easily slipped with the maids into the Kitchen, and saw the tray of food, which was supposed to be given to you, just before Heat could enter the place, Jason added the portion into the tea cup.
Like every day, as you were doing the paper work and Heat placed the tray of food in front of you. You took the cup of tea and savoured the fragrance. Before sipping it, you asked Heat, “Why were you late by 10 minutes?! You know how much I am addicted to tea”, your glossy eyes conveyed how you felt.
“Prince Jason was talking to maids in the Kitchen, so there were a lot of maids slacking off and not doing their respective works”, he replied.
“Is that so, then get him out of the castle as soon as possible”, you ordered and he bowed.
“By the way, don’t even think of skipping the work. Last time I had to do your work because you sneaked out”
“Tsk, how rude!”, you said to yourself as he left. You drank your tea with so much happiness and continued to work. Suddenly, you felt pain in your chest. You placed your hands on your back in an attempt to remove the corset. But even after removing the corset, your pain still didn’t subside. You fell to your knees and panted for air as you closed your eyes. Then suddenly your pain stopped. You opened your eyes and your gaze landed on your hands. Your eyes opened wide.
‘What the hell?!’, You looked at your torso and you noticed that you were not… normal.. You took the fine silver plate with your claws and saw your reflection in it. You couldn’t believe your eyes. You turned into a bear now. ‘But why? How?’, your thoughts were stopped with a knock on the door. Indicating Heat will enter now.
You didn’t know what to do, so you opened the window and jumped down it. If Heat was to see you, he wouldn’t even spare a second glance and Kill you as you looked like a bear and search for you. You slowly climbed down and escaped into the forest by not being seen by any soldier. You ran in the forest quickly trying to process everything. ‘Why? How?’, your questions weren’t stopping in your head.
You stumbled because of a rock in your way and rolled down into the deeper part of the forest. There you tackled some people in your way. You couldn’t stop rolling till you got hit by a tree in front of you. Clenching the side of your head with your claws, you slowly got up. You stood on two of your legs and cursed, “Oh Davy Jones! What have I ever done?”.
“What the hell?!”, you looked to your side and saw that you crushed 4 people and you saw a guy with a mask, standing a few meters away from you.
“Tsk, I hope I didn’t kill them”, you said and again the Mask dude flinched. You both stared at each other for a while before he spoke, “How the hell can you talk?”
Your brain took a few moments to process and then you gasped. “I can talk!!! I didn’t think I could talk! Hey Mask man, can you help me”, you asked and walked towards him only for him to swiftly take his weapons out.
You took a step back and said, “No! Don’t harm me! You don’t know who I am!”, you said as your back hit the tree. You maintained eye contact with the mask and hid behind the tree.
The man was very confused at your actions. He was actually about to fight some people but you crushed them to death. So he owed you one. He asked, “You shouldn’t harm me”.
“I won’t! And you also, please… don’t hurt me”, after hearing your request, he hid his weapons and walked towards you as you also did the same.
“How can you talk?”, he asked again.
“Oh! I am actually not a bear. I am a human, but I don’t know why I became like this. Please help me. I wanna turn back”, you requested.
‘The only reason why I am decided to help is because this bear crushed these jerks. But what it is asking doesn’t make any sense. Its way too much work’, he thought and said, “Too much of trouble. Do it yourself”, with that he started to walk away.
“No! Wait!! Please help me. If I go to any other human, they’ll freak out and I’ll be Killed. I am a human for real. Don’t leave me. If you were turned into a bear, you’d want to be turned back. Please help me, I never begged anyone in my life like this. Please understand”, you said as you walked beside the masked man. ‘Tsk… this stupid bear is kinda right’, he thought and stopped in his tracks.
He huffed, “let’s sit and talk”, he said as he sat on a big root of a tree and you sat opposite to him.
“Tell me clearly. How did you turn into a bear? Did you drink any potion or anger any witch by doing or saying anything rude?”, he asked you and you shook your head no.
“I didn’t even go to any witch and didn’t take any potion”, you replied looking down. “I never thought I’d turn into a bear. I’ve always taken care of the people around me”.
The man before you sighed and said, “Don’t be disappointed just yet. How much time has it been? Since you turned into a Bear”. You looked at him and replied, “Its been 3 hours, if Im correct. I’ve been wandering in the forest from more than an hour, and it took me a while to escape from my house”.
He hummed as he nodded and again asked you, “You said that you didn’t anger any witch but did you anger anyone in particular?”, he asked. You thought for a while and Jason’s image popped into your head.
“I… I rejected a proposal to get married and… the person was really mad at that”, you admitted.
“Did you eat anything, that person gave you?”, he questioned
“But after I rejected, I didn’t even meet that person again. I only got on with my daily tasks”.
“It doesn’t have to be given. Must’ve slipped something in your food”, the masked dude said and got up. He continued, “Let’s go, you must be hungry, Wandering the Jungle all by yourself”
You looked at him with a bit suspicion. ‘What if he kills me and sells my skin or make me a coat for himself’, negative thoughts started to run in your mind and he noticed how you were hesitating.
“Look, I have enough food thanks to the Princess. I don’t have any reason to kill you”, as he said it making your heart skip a beat.
“Okay…”, you mumbled and walked behind him to a small hut, which was inside the forest. Hiding from all the other villages. Apparently, he was a poor armorer, weapons specialist and also a former bandit. So, he didn’t want to be mingled with the villagers. He maintained few connections with some people who wanted customised weapons. Entering into his hut, you were mesmerised by the wide range of weaponry.
“Woah! You seem very talented, why don’t you work for the Princess? I’m sure she would love all your creations”, you said as the man washed vegetables and fruits for dinner.
“No way. It’s the palace. I’m sure there are so many people working for Princess anyway. Also… I’m a former bandit”, he confessed. ‘Why would a princess want a person like me in her castle working for her? I’d scare her’, he thought.
“Tsk… your talent is going waste. You would be really helpful to the army, they have been in need for weaponry and there might be a conflict with another country soon”, you replied as you took the apple and gobbled it in one bite. You were really hungry and were thankful for the food.
“Why are you speaking like you know all the things about the Kingdom?”, those words made you to choke.
“Rumours”, you lied as you drank the water from the jug leaving your claw marks on it.
“I’m sure the Princess will manage those problems in a blink of an eye”, he replied.
“Why are you so sure?”, you enquired only for him to sigh and lean back on the wall.
“Because she made the country enrich and developed the poor villages. Now people atleast can eat twice a day due to her. I became a bandit only because I had no food. But since I get food, I left that. But still some people are angry at me because of my deeds of the past”,”.
“Oh!! We have a fanboy here”, you teased him only him to trying to deny it. Even his neck was turning red because of your teasing.
“Did you see her?”, he replied by shaking his head no.
The next day you he wasn’t in the hut when you woke up. You started to search for him. Then you found him coming back.
“Welcome back! Where did you go?”, you enquired him as you looked at his mask. He noticed that you were walking on your fours this time. But the way you came towards him and greeted him, made his heart warm. He had never experienced such treatment.
“I met a customer to give his order to him. I also asked him about any witches he knew in the area”, he said and your eyes lit up with hope.
“I also met the witch and asked her about this condition, she said its cure able”, he ended and you cheered with happiness and rolled on the grass.
“YAY!!! Will she help? What should be done?”, you rolled again only for him to slip out a chuckle and stop it quickly. He himself was shocked at how you could make his sealed lips to talk more and also to let out a chuckle.
“She asked me to create something for her and in return she’ll give me the potion if she likes what I make for her”, he confessed. Guilt started to form in your heart. About how he had to work for her, to save you.
“I now need to think what she would like”, he said with relief in his voice and walked towards the hut.
After a lot of designs and dissatisfactions, you both started to eat. He cut his vegetables separately to eat them through his mask while you just ate them… well like a bear. Then you got an idea. Even if she was a witch, she was a girl after all.
“What if… you give her a blade, which can be hidden in her skirt?”, you managed to speak. You both noticed that your voice was getting hoarser than it was.
“I need to work quickly. I can’t fail you now. I guess the time is running out”, he sighed and added, “You are walking on your fours too”.
With in an hour the design was ready and the mask man started to create the new weapon for the witch. You went out and played with the butterflies as he made it.
After another hour with the beautiful blade, he stepped out of the place and waved you bye. You managed and said, “Thank… you”.
Now his time was slipping out and he had to be quick. He handed the weapon to the witch and she analysed it for a while and nodded her head as an approval with a satisfied smile. The masked man sighed in relief and took the blue potion which was in a small container. He quickly headed towards the hut in the forest. He had to save you as soon as possible.
By the time he reached home, he noticed that the hut was almost destroyed from the inside with many claw marks and the weapons were thrown everywhere. You were still in the house, emerging from the darkness. It was already evening and the sun was setting. He saw how your eyes seemed nothing like before. They were just like a wild animal. Before he could even think, you punched his face so hard that he flew and hit the wall. His mask broke into pieces because of the force.
Not giving up, he jumped on you and held your face tightly as he wrapped his legs on your waist. Your claws on his body hurt so much. Blood was dripping but he stayed like that. Trying to calm you down and call you.
“LISTEN TO ME! I KNOW YOU ARE STILL IN THERE! I GOT YOU POTION”, he screamed on the top of his lungs, as you tried to throw him away. But at last, you looked into his eyes. He had light blue eyes. Blue, was your colour. Looking into his eyes, you calmed down and stopped struggling. He took out the small container and opened the lid. He slid it into your mouth and patted your head. Soothing you down.
Slowly you could feel the change. The pain was inevitable. But you kept looking at those blue eyes of the man in front of you. That kept you sane and you closed your eyes and fell down on your knees. You opened your eyes, panting for air. You noticed that your hands were back to normal as well as your torso. Suddenly you felt a blanket over your shoulders. You looked up and saw the man with cheeks redder than any tomato you’ve ever seen. Your senses slowly got to you and that was when you noticed that you were… not dressed.
Pulling the covers even closer to you, he stepped away and walked towards the other room. He swiftly came back and handed clothes to you and without looking back he walked towards the main door and closed it.
“Why didn’t you tell me that you were… a lady?” he asked.
“Why didn’t you tell me that you were really handsome?”, you replied making him blush even more as you wore his clothes.
He wore a mask and agreed to walk you home. You apologised for messing his apartment. After you reaching your castle, he was absolutely stunned just as the guards at the entrance. He tried to leave but, you didn’t let him go. “Work for me, its an order”, you announced and walked with him still his hand in yours.
Heat was absolutely pissed at your behaviour and was surprised to look at the man beside you. “Who is this?”, Heat asked and you replied, “He is going to be our new armorer, I hired him and I want no objections from you”
“No objections huh? You leave the palace, dump your paper works on me, come back with a masked dude and demand no objections? Tell me what’s his name and where you met him?”, Heat inquired making you gulp. You turned towards him and asked, “What’s your name?”
“Killer”, he chuckled.
“Killer, I met Killer in the forest”, you said proudly to Heat as he shook his head and mumbled, “Unacceptable”. As for Jason, he thought he was scammed and never came across you ever again.
One Year Later
As you handled your paper work Killer stayed in your room to keep an eye on you. His work was exceptional and helped the soldiers to get good results in their weapon wielding. You glanced at Killer and said, “Killer why don’t we get married?”, almost giving the poor man a heart attack.
You knew he was turning into a tomato under his mask. “Killer, we have been dating since a year. Lets get married”, you said as you stood up from your place.
“Yes! Yes Lets get married”, he replied as he fiddled with his hands, head facing down. You placed a hand on his mask and removed it. Pulling him down you captured his lips with yours in a Kiss and smirked at your success. Now you were really marrying a person, who was kind, who was selfless, respected you, was loyal and also loved you to death.
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DEAR ADULT READERS/CREATORS,
18+ (MINORS DO NOT INTERACT)
^ see that? there is absolutely no way you missed that disclaimer if you understand the proper way to read english. but, let’s say you did miss it... here’s this message;
if you are under the age of 18, do not interact with 18+ adult accounts, or content.
there. hopefully you got the memo. if not, then i guess, one day, you’ll have the great opportunity to be featured in this brand new series of exposing, purging, and reporting minors! i mean... yay you?
disclaimer!; do not send any unnecessary hate to any of these people! it does not solve anything, and it could get you in trouble. just report, and block. thanks.
featured today, we have (drumroll please)... @/matching-with-my-demons!
warning: this post is very long!
alright, so i don’t actually know for sure if he’s necessarily a minor, but i do know that he’s been lying his age, and many, many other details about his life, leading to him getting caught by yours truly.
from this point forward, i will be reciting a briefed account of what exactly happened from a collective point of view of all of the victims involved.
so, (and i think all of the people involved can agree,) this person is a flirt. automatically. just giving everyone pet names, talking about doing stuff with us, role playing with us, you know. nothing too extreme. i wasn’t suspicious of him at this point. i mean, i was sure he was 18+. to be fair, he did mention that he was 21 turning 22. why wouldn’t we believe him? he was speaking like an adult.
II. little lies & suspicion.
now, i’m not saying that this is impossible, but at multiple times during our conversations, he’d mentioned that he was was fluent in seven languages. seven. it’s not entirely impossible, but you’d think that if english wasn’t someone’s first (of many) languages, they’d have some sort of accent, right?
not only that, but he stated that he was six years old when he moved to america from japan, and he hasn’t moved since. i know, i know, yeah, cool he knows a lot of languages, and he’s a foreigner. yadda, yadda. get to the point.
he said that he was of asian descent, and that his parents were both japanese, and they lived in japan their whole lives. where the hell is he learning all of these extra languages at the young age of 21?
if japanese is his first language, we can cut out the time needed to become fluent in it. next, i’m ignoring english, as he would’ve had from the age of 6 to 21 to become fluent in it, but somehow he claimed he wasn’t? (let’s not mention the obvious fake misspellings and misunderstandings of simple words.) how on earth would he have become fluent in (at least) five other languages in middle school-high school?
OTHER LITTLE LIES N DETAILS
- he claimed that he was a 6’7, 21 year old (cis) male.
- said he was a stripper, bartender, and a sex worker (we’ll come back to that later).
- sent a picture of “his” chest, but it was 100% from google or some shit.
- (not judging anyone who does) he said that his body count was 74, but literally no one asked?
- he texted us when he “got another body” tf? we don’t care. carry on, i guess. (said he went on for like 7 rounds but... what?)
- talked about getting a vibrator stuck in his ass n his roommate had to get it out for him, but once again, nobody asked. °-°
- said he could bench 200 lbs. not impressive, just thought it was worth mentioning.
- said he had the same birthday as bakugou, which, okay.. (4/20)
- he made multiple channels in the server where he could roleplay with certain people, which, i, and a couple other people never used.
III. the voice chat.
after a while of all of us messing around, the conversation started to get heated, and some of us were teasing him, including me. we decided to get on voice chat (his idea), and he started talking into the mic. all of us were very confused, as he did not at all sound like a giant of a grown man.
but, despite this, we all warily continued, until he left the call. when he left, everyone who was participating voiced their current concerns, and laughed out our nervousness. that is, until he re-joined and everyone muted. he continued doing what he was doing until he “broke character”, stating he was a voice actor and it was hard to keep up that voice because it hurt his throat. i would’ve believed him if he didn’t sound the exact same as he did when he was “in character”.
after that, we were a lot more concerned and on edge about his identity, and i started to focus more on the shit he was telling us, hoping to find out who the fuck this person really was. i stopped interacting with him in a nsfw way, and mostly observed what he was saying, just watching from the sidelines.
II. the pictures.
not only do the skin colors just not match up, the hands in each picture are totally different people. even if you take into account the lighting differences, the undertones should still be the same. these pictures are fake.
if you look at the fingers, you can see that the ones on the right are flatter, and shorter. if the hand on the left were to hold that phone, it would wrap all the way around the device.
from a common sense standpoint, we know that our palms are always lighter than our skin tone. the fact that the hand on the left is still darker, proves that these are different people. (not that we needed proof.)
also, if this guy is so muscular, why can he only bench 200lbs? and why is his wrist so skinny?
+ to me, the phone, (right image) and the quality of the picture, looks like a black iphone 4s. from what i can see, at least. meaning, if i’m correct, that picture is majorly outdated.
for both pictures, he flipped the image so that we wouldn’t be able to find it by just by reverse image searching. luckily, one of the people involved was able to figure that out, and told me immediately.
III. ID check.
like i said before, a lot of us were starting to get really suspicious, but at this point, i thought i was the only one that was sketched out, so i issued another ID check.
(be sure to click on the pictures. one of them is really long. also, when reading, read the date and times that messages are sent. i was trying to lighten the mood and be nice, but it was honestly so offensive that he thought i was legitimately dumb.)
so, obviously, these ID’s are fake. not only are the pictures the exact same, but the backgrounds are the same, the outfits are the same, the names are totally fake, and just, wow. i don’t really know how he thought that was gonna slip past me.
after i called both him, and @/yourmajesty-theking out, he went into his own discord and started ranting to some of the other people involved that he was freaking out because he didn’t have his ID.
remember how i said that he mentioned he was a stripper/bartender/sex worker? why the fuck don’t you have your ID on you if you claimed you were at work that day? you can’t get in without it. °-° just- everything he was saying didn’t come together cleanly. the timeline is all sorts of fucked up.
you can’t drive without an ID, how are you getting to work? you can’t get into a strip club without an ID, how are you getting in? you can’t serve alcohol without and ID, how are you a bartender? you can’t get an apartment without an ID, how are you living with a roommate?
he told us that he moved to america with his PARENTS, and somehow his grandmother is in america now? when did that happen? if you’re gonna lie, at least make it believable.
anyway, do what you want with this information. the people in the discord all agreed that based off his voice and the evidence, that he couldn’t have been older than 15, and at most, 16.
though he hasn’t deactivated his account, the last time he was active was april 7, 2021 at 12:39am (EST) he claims he lives in cali, so i don’t know what time that is there.
thanks for reading. i’m sure i missed a lot of stuff, but for now, this is all i could put together. also, lmk if there are any spelling errors. i’m too tired to check.
like i said, if i get any hate for calling out a minor, you will be blocked/reported, and i will not hesitate to turn anons off for the time being. besides, saying dumb shit doesn’t affect me. just makes me laugh.
- bum <3
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The Beatles Book Monthly (No. 5, December 1963)
‘A TALE OF FOUR BEATLES’ by Billy Shepherd
PART IV (PART I // PART II // PART III)
Part IV opens in June, 1961 and charts Brian Epstein's early involvement with the Beatles.
And so the Beatles, with two experience-garnering trips to Germany behind them, got back to Liverpool. A swingin’ scene... and they were very much a part of it. It was the end of June, 1961.
But though they liked having more money to spend, they hadn’t the foggiest idea of just how much they were worth. The offers came in. Anything between £6 and £14 was the pay-packet, to be shared between Messrs. Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and drummer Pete Best.
“We just didn’t know,” admits George. “We loved the work, the excitement. We didn’t realise we were often being exploited. But it was hard work and somehow we didn’t seem to have much money in the kitty after we’d kept our equipment up to scratch...”
July, 1961, could go down as a summit meeting in Merseybeat history. A steamy, summery, shimmery night at Litherland Town Hall. A young promoter named Brian Kelly announced his attraction: The Beatmakers.
George Harrison was on lead guitar. Paul McCartney on rhythm. John Lennon on piano. Drummers were Pete Best and Freddie Marsden. Les Maguire operated on saxophone, Les Chadwick on bass guitar - and Gerry Marsden nipped on and off behind a big grin to take the vocals.
Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Beatles had linked up. For one night only and for a fee which is the smallest fraction of what they’d command for such a show now.
It led to friendships between the group members... but it didn’t seem to be leading to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the Beatles.
Says John: “We went on knocking ourselves out night after night but somehow there was a bit of frustration creeping in to it all. It didn’t seem to be leading anywhere.”
But the audiences were greatly appreciative.
Says Paul: “We started accepting dates further south. We got pretty near London on some of them. No change of material for us - still the stuff that went down so well in Germany. But we were veering away from the leather gear. Don’t make this sound big-headed, but the fact is that a lot of other groups were copying the way we looked on stage. So we changed to more ordinary clothes for a while.”
But in September, depression set in. Paul and John took themselves off to Paris for a holiday. They remember being flat broke. Remember having to search through every pocket to rake up enough francs for a Coke. Now, of course, they can go where they please and not count the cost.
And George and Pete stayed on in Liverpool, virtually lost to the Beat scene. Ray McFall, owner of the Cavern Club remembers seeing Messrs. Harrison and Best around the lunch-time sessions but they seemed dispirited. They took a lot of persuading even to join in on the impromptu roar-ups.
Let well-known Liverpool show compere Bob Wooler fill in the background to this black spot in the Beatles’ history.
“I’ve known the boys since the early days. I’ve been a long-time admirer. What they really needed was a manager in those far-off days. They seemed content not to argue about the fees they were offered. And they didn’t seem to realise that they were pulling in crowds on the strength of their own name and performance.
“After all, they had to live. They had to look after their equipment - and they often had travelling expenses to pay. It’s all very well being popular and enjoying your work, but you should be paid what you’re worth as well.
“Ray McFall at the Cavern was different. If the crowd was good, he upped the fee. That’s why the boys have always been so loyal to the Cavern. But you can understand them being puzzled at the lack of hard cash from their other venues where they were so often doubling the attendances.”
Paul and John were meanwhile spending a lot of time on their song-writing. You’ll see how much they’d already achieved in this direction as the story pushes on to the first recording days.
John and Paul could never sit down and simply write a song to order. They admit: “We have to wait for the ideas to arrive. It can happen anywhere. On a bus, or a train, or backstage at a dance-hall or theatre. Sometimes the title suggests itself first. Then we get going on the words and music. Sometimes we’ve finished a very successful seller in less than an hour.”
But their most pressing need was for a manager. Paul has told me “When we first started on paid jobs, we honestly thought we weren’t manageable. We thought nobody would want to bother with us. We were a pretty off-beat bunch of characters, to say the least. And we had a sense of humour which somehow involved us all and which was hardly in the interests of discipline. So, for a long time, we just didn’t take any notice of the advice that we should be properly handled. ‘Who’d WANT US,’ was the way we thought...
“And that’s where we were wrong...”
A MANAGER. Liverpool man Allan Williams took on the chore for a while... he now runs the Blue Angel Club on Merseyside.
But the man who was to make show business history with the Beatles knew nothing about the group in that September of 1961. That man, of course, was Brian Epstein, one-time drama student, member of a family which owned a chain of furniture and radio-TV stores in Liverpool.
He was not exactly WITH the beat scene. But he WAS in touch with the public taste through his work in the record department of the stores. He’d been there for five years, building up the business, enlarging the staff roster and increasing the turnover.
And in September, 1961, he was a puzzled man. Fans kept approaching him with: “Have you any records by the Beatles?” Brian mused. Pondered. Wondered. One young lad was particularly persistent in his demands. Brian dug deep into the record-lists. And found reference to that “My Bonnie” single, recorded in Germany, on which the Beatles played a strictly supporting role to guitar-star Tony Sheridan.
“I became Beatle-conscious for a while,” he says. “I always tried to work on the theory that the customer was right - and if they wanted the Beatles, well... I’d do my best to supply the Beatles. Eventually I traced the source and ordered some 200 copies for the record-stores. They sold quickly...
“Then out of the blue I heard they were Liverpool boys, had a rapidly-growing following - and were actually playing in a club near the store. It was a place that I’m sure I’d visited before, a sort of teenage gathering-place, but I really didn’t know much about it.
“After a while, I thought I’d better pop down there and see what all the fuss was about.”
Brian Epstein went to the Cavern. Met the Beatles. And things really started happening for the ambitious but not-too-sure group.
There are two ways of looking at this near-historic meeting. Brian Epstein’s. And the Beatles’ viewpoint.
Beatles first. Said George: “He started talking to us about the record that had created the demand. We didn’t know much about him but he seemed very interested in us and also a little bit baffled.
“He came back several times and talked to us. It seemed there was something he wanted to say, but he wouldn’t come out with it. He just kind of watched us and studied what we were doing. One day, he took us to the store and introduced us. We thought he looked rather red and embarrassed about it all.
“Eventually, he started talking about becoming our manager. Well, we hadn’t really had anybody actually VOLUNTEER in that sense. At the same time, he was very honest about it all - you know, like saying he didn’t really know anything about managing a group like us. He sort of hinted that he was keen if we’d go along with him...”
Brian, quite honestly, thought that the Beatles looked a mess. He wondered what exactly they thought they were trying to be. Their strange jackets, the rather scruffy jeans, the hair-styles, which could only have been styled on something called “chaos.”
“But there was something enormously attractive about them,” he recalls. “I liked the way they worked and the obvious enthusiasm they put into their numbers. People talk about the Liverpool sound but I sometimes wonder what exactly they mean. These boys put everything into their routines but they didn’t use echo. That struck me as being a very good thing.
“It was the boys themselves, though, who really swung it. Each had something which I could see would be highly commercial if only someone could push it to the top. They were DIFFERENT characters but they were so obviously part of the whole. Quite frankly, I was excited about their prospects, provided some things could be changed.”
And Brian told his friends: “This could easily turn out to be the biggest show business attraction since Elvis Presley.” It’s a tribute to his foresight and intuition that that is precisely what has happened.
Brian decided to get the boys together at a round-table conference at his store. A time was fixed and the boys agreed. But Beatles are not always the easiest of people to organise. Brian sat waiting... and waiting... and waiting. He was trying to cope with the vastly complex figures of Christmas orders for the store and minutes were precious to him.
Eventually THREE Beatles arrived. George, John and Pete. No Paul. Story goes that Brian got George to ring through and see what had happened to the left-handed guitar-star. And that Paul admitted he was still in the bath... but wouldn’t be long!
Brian was rather on his high-horse. He felt it was not the right thing for someone who wanted to talk business to be kept waiting. He pointed out that Paul, the cherubic one of the four, would be extremely late. “Yes,” said George, forcing back a grin. “But he’ll also be extremely clean.”
Says Brian: “That sense of humour is invaluable. You could hardly feel annoyed at their lack of business ability. They were just four individual and off-beat characters.”
Prior to Brian taking such an interest, there was great concern among Cavern people that there was a chance of the Beatles packing in all thoughts of show business careers. Bob Wooler had tried hard to get BBC television producer Jack Good interested in the group. Jack had produced beat shows, like “Six-Five Special” which had been the stepping-stone to success for artistes like Cliff Richard. But Jack was also in demand in the States... and he’d gone there to further his own career long before Bob could get any decision from the telly-folk.
Brian, having eventually assembled all four Beatles in the same room, put his propositions to them. He went through a process of brain-washing, though he did it all very tactfully. He didn’t like their manner of dress. Wasn’t knocked out by the unruly hair-cuts. Was singularly unimpressed by the way they casually drank tea on stage while in the middle of shows.
He pleaded with them rather than ordered them. He knew they were a valuable property and he was knocked out at the way their personal following was growing through the Merseyside area.
Said John: “He’d tell us that jeans were not particularity smart and could we possibly manage to wear PROPER trousers. But he didn’t want us suddenly looking square. He let us have our own sense of individuality.”
He added: “We respected his views. We stopped champing at cheese rolls and jam butties on stage. We paid a lot more attention to what we were doing. Did our best to be on time. And we smartened up, in the sense that we wore suits instead of any sloppy old clothes.”
It was a master-plan. A long-term plan if necessary but it was aimed at making the most of four young men who clearly had that star quality in them... even though a recording contract was still more than nine months away.
Obviously, Brian Epstein’s main job was to get the group on record. He knew the strength of their popularity in Liverpool and he felt it wouldn’t be a hard job to interest some of the London companies. But that was where Brian was wrong.
He even delayed any sort of action until the results of the 1961 “Mersey Beat Poll” were announced. That came up at the end of the year. And the Beatles were high and dry in top place in this important survey of how the public felt about the myriad groups operating in the scene. Said Brian: “I thought this was the ‘Open Sesame’ to the recording scene. I felt that Liverpool was important enough to have London executives falling about to sign the boys. I was wrong...”
Brian, though technically still in charge of important parts of the family business, threw himself into the job of getting the Beatles known nationally. He had the backing of the Beatles’ parents and it was to be no holds barred for the major break through.
He started visiting London. Hopefully. Optimistically. But record executives showed an alarming tendency to register non-committal gloom. Brian had to keep reporting apparent failure to the boys - by now riding higher than ever in popular acclaim in Liverpool.
Cont’d next month in No. 6
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Here is a new story which was inspired by another user. Enjoy!
Jasmine is a 21 year old female who was always considered to be the prettiest girl in school. With so much attention on her she started to do things to increase her appearance including getting tattoos. She had long dark brown hair and long nails. She was skinny with large firm breasts. With the added attention that she got she began to become stressed and concerned about her appearance and it began to affect her mental health. To cope with this Jasmine started doing cocaine. For a while it was just here and there to have fun at a party but it gradually increased to a daily occurrence. One night while she was alone in her apartment she shuffled through her drawers to find the cocaine she had hid. Upon finding the bag she spread it across the top of the dresser and used her drivers license to form it into lines. Using a rolled up dollar bill she snorted five lines after a long day. The affects started to kick in but it had felt different from before. She got light headed and began to struggle to breath. She poured her purse out on her bed and searched through her phone. Dialing 911 she grabbed onto her chest and collapsed onto the bed. The operator answered “911 what's your emergency?” Jasmine was gasping with her face shoved into the bed she struggled to get the words out “...help...me”. The operator responded “What's the location of your emergency? Do you need medical attention?” Jasmine responded “... yes..” Jasmine let out a sigh as her last breath exited her body. Her eyes were wide open as her face was buried in the bed. “Hello? Are you there?” the operator responded. They were able to trace the call to the apartment building and it took another few minutes to find out which apartment she lived in. The apartment manager let them in with a master key and waited with one of the police officers outside the apartment.
The paramedics entered “EMS is anybody in here?” they made their way to the bedroom and found Jasmine spread across the bed with her face buried. They lifted her off the bed and laid her on the ground. Her eyes were wide open and stared at the ceiling. One of the paramedics placed to fingers on her neck. Finding no pulse he centered his hands between her breasts and began compressions. The other paramedic grabbed the ambu bag and began given her much needed breaths. They snipped away her baggy hoodie and black bra underneath to attach electrodes to her chest. As the monitor whined to life it showed that she was in v-fib so the placed the AED pads on her bare chest. One between her large breasts and the other on the lower side of her left chest. Charging the unit to 200 they backed away and shocked her. The shock coursed through her body and made her breasts shake. With no change CPR was resumed while the defib unit was recharged to 300. The second shock coursed through her body as her head snapped back and returned to its original position. With no change they charged the paddles to 360 and continued compressing her chest. In a matter of moments the defib was ready. They backed from her semi exposed body and pressed the shock button. The increased electricity coursed through her body as her chest came off the floor of her bedroom and came crashing back down. Her breasts shook with the collision. After a moment the monitors began jumping up and down as she returned to normal sinus. They scooped her up and rushed her into the ambulance. As they sped away one of the police officers remained in the back. As they pulled away Jasmine began showing signs of inadequate breaths so the paramedic decided to intubate. They metal blade was slid into her mouth as her head was tilted back. She moved the tube into place in her throat before securing it with a blue tube holder. They also started an IV in her left arm and hung a bag of fluids. Jasmine remained stable for the rest of the ride.
As they wheeled her into the trauma room they gave the info. “21 year old Jasmine according to ID found on scene. Found with no pulse after 911 call. Resuscitated for six minutes, shocked three times and returned to normal sinus. Been stable since, Intubated with a 7.0 ET tube. Apparent drug overdose” They moved her over to the trauma bed as a nurse snipped away her sweats and black panties. She now laid completely nude under the lights as the team began their checks. A second IV was started in her right arm. Her fully nude body was covered in wires and tubes as the team did everything they could to stabilize her. Not knowing what it was that caused the drug overdose they had very little that they could do. They drew some blood and sent it to the lab to see what exactly was in her body. While they were waiting for the results to come back Jasmine began to seize on the bed. Her body thrashed around on the bed as they pushed drugs to counter the seizure. Her airway began to become blocked with fluid as foam came out of her mouth. They tried to suction it out. After her seizure stopped so did her heart as she went into v-fib. CPR was started as a male nurse centered his hands between her large breasts. With each compression her entire body shook on the bed. After a few moments they charged the paddles to 360. They spread gel on each one before placing them on her bare chest. Pressing the shock button she jumped into the air before crashing back down. With no change cpr was resumed and the paddles were recharged. In a moments notice the cold metal was on her chest again. The shock coursed through her body. Her shoulders and feet scrunched up before releasing again. After the second shock Jasmine flatlined. CPR was initiated once again. The gel glistened on her bare chest as it was compressed. A round of epi was given while fluids were pushed. During CPR her airway became blocked again this time with a trace amount of blood in it. They suctioned it out and reattached the bag to continue to provide breaths and compress her chest. It took three minutes for her heart to convert back to v-fib. They charged the paddles to 360 again and spread another large amount of gel on the paddles. Placing them on her chest they shocked Jasmine as her head snapped back and her arms fell off the side of the bed. With no change the paddles were charged again. With each compression her legs swayed back and forth and her arms bounced hanging off the bed. Again the paddles were placed on her chest and she was shocked. Her chest heaved into the air before crashing back down. Her breasts shook from side to side. This time Jasmine once again flatlined as CPR was resumed. Her down time now crossed the ten minute mark of her second full cardiac arrest. The doctor slid open her eyes with his fingertips and shined his penlight into them. Her dark brown eyes stared back at him and barely responded to the light. Another round of drugs were being pushed through her body as her chest caved in rhythmically. Her large breasts shook side to side with each compression. After three more minutes her heart quivered in her chest as the monitors showed v-fib. The paddles were taken off the station. A new set of gel was spread across them. Placing one between her breasts and the other below her left breast the shock button was pushed. Her body shook violently on the bed before going still. With no response CPR was resumed for a short time while the defib recharged. In a moment the cold metal paddles were back on her chest. Her chest jumped and her head lolled to the side after the shock. It was an eerie moment as her eyes stared open at the doctor. Her head was repositioned so that ventilations would carry down her wind pipe correctly. They stared at the monitor as it once again showed asystole. As they looked back at Jasmine a dark stream of blood trickled out of her nose. They resumed CPR for another three minutes. At the eighteen minute mark of her code an ultrasound was brought next to the bed. The doctor took it in his hand a put a sliver of gel on it. Moving it directly above her heart he noticed on the screen there was no cardiac activity. Shining the light in her eyes again they were fixed and dilated as they stared at the ceiling. “Time of death 1:37 am” the doctor announced. Two nurses stayed back and disconnected the leads, turned off the machine, disconnected the ambu bag, cleaned up her body slightly. Finally they placed a toe tag on her right foot and draped a white sheet over her naked body.
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Return to the Throne IV - The Damsel and Her Saviours
Summary: In medieval North Carolina, the young King John Booker Routledge is scammed into giving his kingdom’s throne to the manipulative King Ward Cameron. It’s time to get it back.
Warnings: Cursing, mentions of death
A/N: I have to say this was probably the most fun to write. Also, I switched up my background music again this time (La Bayadere in case anyone was interested) :)
Tags: @alexandracheers @ofglitterandgiggles
(I forgot where I got this gif from, but credits to them because it isn’t mine)
IV - The Damsel and Her Saviours
The ride back to the palace was a blur. The whipping of the reins and the thundering of hooves against the ground served as the soundtrack to the princess’s awful thoughts of peril. Sarah couldn’t think about much besides the fact that she was screwed.
She was going to be hung or beheaded for treason and there was nothing she could do about it. She had already dampened her father’s reputation far too much and her death would be fairly easy to cover up. Medicine was a rare commodity and there weren’t many cures for the diseases that were present at the time. All the royal family had to do was say Princess Sarah Elizabeth Cameron had come down with something and died peacefully in her sleep. There would be a funeral (closed casket, of course, so nobody could know the real reason for her death) and all would be well again.
The carriage stopped in front of the back entrance to the palace where Sarah had first escaped. Two big guards opened the back gate to the wooden cage Sarah was in and pulled her out, showing no mercy and using as much force as they would with any other criminal. Sarah didn’t bother fighting. She was too tired and the guards were too strong.
They carried her through the older, less used hallways of the palace. That part of the palace hadn’t been renovated or updated since it was first built 200 years ago. The staff didn’t clean them as much since nobody used the outdated rooms, hallways, and corridors. Dust danced in the air and fell to the floor like snowflakes. It stuck to the burnt out candelabras and the intricate designs that traced along the walls. When Sarah was a child, this side of the palace was like something out of a horror movie. The children would dare each other to venture here and try and search for ghosts. But now it really was terrifying. Not because of silly childhood fears, but because of the prospect of death staring her right in the face.
The guards carried Sarah down a dim, winding staircase that went down into the depths of the palace. The dungeon. It was cold, damp, dark and dank. The guards threw her onto the stone floors into a cell. They locked her in, trapping her behind steel bars coated with rust, and walked away leaving only a lit candle so she could see in the dark. The door at the top of the stairwell slammed with a loud, threatening BANG.
The reality of the situation caught up to Sarah. She wanted to cry. To let all of her emotions out. But no tears came to her eyes. She sat up and pressed her back against the cold, dirty brick wall, wrapping her arms around herself and pulling her knees to her chest to try and get some warmth. She had never felt so helpless. She couldn’t do anything to save herself. There was no key dangling on the wall for her to reach and grab. There was no window she could climb out of. No way to squeeze through the metal bars, and even if there was, she wouldn’t be able to escape out of the top stairwell without a guard catching her. Sarah just had to hope and pray that somebody would come get her.
The stairwell door opened and closed again and heavy footsteps came down the stairs and towards Sarah’s cell. She lifted her head and was face to face with her father. He frowned at the sight of her curled in a ball wearing dirty, torn clothing that was once crisp and pristine. His perfect princess was nowhere near as perfect as he once thought she was.
“What the hell were you thinking?” He snapped.
“You’re an asshole. An asshole and a tyrant who cares not for his people, but only for himself.”
“I’m doing this for the good of our kingdom. I’m creating an empire, Sarah!” Ward stepped up to her cell, knelt down, and reached his arm through the bars to turn his daughter’s chin so she was looking towards him.
Sarah smacked his hand and slid away from him. “Don’t touch me!” She shouted. Her voice echoed against the walls in a repeated chorus.
Ward’s nostrils flared. He stood up and backed away from her.
“I expected more from you. You’re a disappointment, Sarah.”
She was unfazed by his words. She didn’t need his approval to be worthy. She knew she had done the right thing and she would not submit to him no matter what he tried to offer to her.
Ward turned on his heel and began walking out. As he made his exit, he called over his shoulder, “I’ll arrange for your beheading tomorrow at dawn.”
Sarah had been correct. She was indeed screwed.
She had gone into the rebellion knowing fully well the consequences if her father caught up to her. She knew that she could die. But at least she would die for a cause that she supported instead of dying unhappy in a life that she never wanted.
Sarah clenched her jaw and stared ahead, tracing the lines in the brick wall in front of her. She could feel her eyelids drooping, but she didn’t want to sleep in case somebody did come for her and they couldn’t wake her up from her slumber. She willed herself to keep her eyes open, digging the heels of her hands into her eyes.
Once again, the door at the top of the stairwell opened. This time much softer. The footsteps that came down the stairs were much lighter and quicker.
She turned her head towards the noise and looked up towards the figure coming towards her. It was a boy wearing ripped clothing and holding an Inopian sword. JJ Maybank.
“Holy shit,” he said, wiping the back of his hand against his forehead. He pulled it away and revealed a thick red streak against his pale skin. Blood. Sarah’s eyes dashed towards his hand where he held the ring of keys that belonged to the guards.
“What did you do?” She whisper-hissed, hopping up to her feet and rushing to meet JJ at the bars of the cell.
“What do you think, princess?” He scoffed, fiddling with the keys until he found the right one.
“There you are, you little stinker.”
Sarah watched as he fumbled with the lock. His hands hurried, working as fast as possible so the guards that were surely on their way wouldn’t catch them.
“Why did you come save me?” Asked Sarah. “I thought you hated me. Out of all five of you, why did you come?”
The lock clicked free and JJ pulled open the door. He grabbed Sarah’s hand and dragged her out of the cell. “Because,” he said as he began running up the stairs with Sarah trailing behind him. “I care about John B. He likes you. A lot. I’d hate to see him get all sad if you were, yanno...killed.”
Sarah blushed. She was touched. She could tell that John B cared about her, but she didn’t know the true scale of his feelings until now.
JJ let go of her hand and bent down to steal the sword off one of the guards. It was much better quality than the one he currently had. He handed his old sword to Sarah and took off towards the window, which was now broken due to him throwing a rock at it to get inside.
“Come on, princess.” He broke off a bit more glass so there was more space to climb through and hopped outside. He put the sword down and helped Sarah out.
At that point, more guards had been alerted of their presence. They were coming towards them from the left, but not in front of them or to the right. JJ picked up his sword and began sprinting as fast as he could towards the forest straight ahead. Sarah followed, much slower than he was, but trying her best to keep up.
She was scared and her heart was pounding. She enjoyed the thrill more than she thought she would. She was proud of herself too for escaping her father’s grasp twice now, and she was thankful for JJ coming to rescue her.
JJ was waiting for Sarah at the edge of the trees. She caught up and once they were reunited they began running again. Slower, but fast enough so any guards wouldn’t catch them. Sarah was running in the direction of where she remembered the camp was, but JJ gripped onto her wrist and led her the opposite way.
“Where are you taking me?” She asked breathlessly.
“New camp. We moved after the battle. We actually got attacked again after they took you. The army is bigger, though. More villagers joined once the news of the rebellion spread.”
They came to a stop at a smaller clearing. Two tents were set up. Nowhere near enough to house everyone. There were the other four Pogues and the original group of soldiers. But now there were an extra twenty recruits. Their little rebellion was going places.
John B ran up to Sarah and pulled her into his arms. He buried his face in her shoulder and stood there for a moment, memorizing how holding her felt. Sarah wrapped her arms around him and laid her head against his.
“I thought I was gonna lose you.” John B whispered. He looked up at Sarah with sparkling eyes that kept darting between looking into her eyes and looking down at her lips. He wanted to kiss her. Just in case he never got to see her again. He would regret it for the rest of his life if he didn’t do it.
So he did.
He cradled her cheeks in his hands and pressed his lips to hers. Sarah reciprocated. Her hands found their way to rest against his chest. It felt like all of their problems existed in another universe. Somewhere far away from their own little world. They had each other and that was enough. As long as they were together, they could take on anything.
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LEGO won't make modern war machines, but others are picking up the pieces This is a story about a multibillion-dollar international conglomerate, arms manufacturers, a German peace group and renegades who make miniaturized weapons systems out of small shops.Not that those tiny weapons could actually hurt anyone. Well, not unless you stepped on one.The conglomerate is LEGO, with worldwide revenues of $6.2 billion in 2019 from its toys, retail stores, theme parks and even movie rights. Its toy sets -- which are intended to "inspire the builders of tomorrow," according to the company's mission statement -- run the gamut, from skyscrapers to boats, police stations to castles. There's even a kit to make Rome's famous Colosseum. Nothing from the real world, it seems, is off limits. That is, except for anything modeled on today's military. "We have a long-standing policy of not creating sets which feature real military vehicles that are currently in use," Ryan Greenwood, a spokesman for the company, said in an email to CNN.But during the summer, the Danish company released a set for the V-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor aircraft manufactured by Boeing and Bell Helicopter Textron that is only used by the American and Japanese militaries.LEGO pulled its V-22 Osprey amid protests from a German anti-war group. Credit: LEGOThe kit, set to launch under LEGO's vehicle-focused Technic brand, depicted a search and rescue version of the Osprey. But it drew a quick, harsh protest from the German Peace Society -- United War Resisters (DFG-VK in German), an almost 130-year-old anti-war group.The V-22 Osprey, the group said, has been involved in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Yemen and Syria. In a press release criticizing LEGO over the model, the DFG-VK then threw the toymaker's own words from a decade earlier right back at it:"The basic aim is to avoid realistic weapons and military equipment that children may recognize from hot spots around the world and to refrain from showing violent or frightening situations when communicating about LEGO products. At the same time, the purpose is for the LEGO brand not to be associated with issues that glorify conflicts and unethical or harmful behavior," the peace group quoted from a 2010 LEGO report.LEGO quickly pulled the motorized aircraft model from its inventory in late July. The few sets that had already hit store shelves made their way into the hands LEGO enthusiasts and onto internet trading sites at prices as high as $1,000 for a set that would've retailed at around $120.US Air Force V-22 Ospreys take off from a base in New Mexico. Credit: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Markus MaierThe V-22 Osprey LEGO set. Credit: LEGOGreenwood, the company spokesperson, refused to comment further on why LEGO changed its mind on the Osprey model or why it was produced in the first place.But LEGO canceling its Osprey set hasn't stopped fans from creating their own versions. In a video interview from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dan Siskind pulled up a large model of the aircraft to the camera. Although built from LEGO pieces, this one is bigger and, arguably, even more elaborate and life-like. He spun its tiltrotor propellers in a hand-held simulated flight.Siskind is a former "master builder," the top LEGO designers who assemble the models you find displayed in stores. He is now part of a subculture that unites adult fans of LEGO (or AFOLs as they are known) and military buffs. Through his company, Brickmania Toyworks, the 51-year-old takes the iconic bricks and turns them into custom military building kits spanning eras and multiple wars. An arms bazaar for AFOLs, his inventory includes a US F-16 fighter ($425), a Russian T-80BVM main battle tank ($340) and even a Phalanx close-in weapon system, the rapid-fire Gatling gun the US Navy puts on its warships to knock out incoming threats like missiles or speedboats ($175).There are also historical options, such as a Vietnam War-era Soviet MiG-21 fighter, a World War II Japanese A6M2 Zero or British Spitfire Mk I fighter plane, a US M4A3 Sherman or German Panzer IV Ausf G tank, or a World War I British biplane, all priced around $200.For those with lower budgets, micro military vehicle sets are sold for around $20.The parts are almost all genuine, made with new-condition LEGO bricks. But while the Danish company does not endorse its products being used for these purposes, it tolerates the practice, Siskind said."They've given us some guidelines -- here's how to stay out of trouble."He's nonetheless blunt in describing his job. "It's just stuff we've taken that weren't supposed to be made into military things, (that) we've made into military things," Siskind explained. "Ordinary LEGO bricks just used in a way they were never intended to be used." Because he isn't allowed to purchase bricks directly from LEGO for his military sets, sourcing is "one big, continuous scavenger hunt" that requires his staff to comb through Walmarts, Targets and toy stores for discounts on original sets. The company also uses the website Bricklink, a kind of eBay for LEGO parts, where specific bricks can be bought and sold. The AC-130 Spooky II gunship model, made using LEGO bricks and other aftermarket parts, from Brickmania Toyworks in Minneapolis. Credit: Courtesy Brickmania ToyworksAll the parts are brought to Brickmania's Minneapolis headquarters, where they are broken down and reallocated to the new kits, including its most expensive design: a Lockheed Martin AC-130 "Spooky II" gunship that contains more than 5,200 pieces and sells for $3,755.In real life, an AC-130 gunship is one of the most terrifying aircraft imaginable. Armed with 40mm and 105mm cannons and a 25mm Gatling gun, it can devastate an area in seconds, earning it the nickname the "Angel of Death" in military circles. When the company made the first 25 models available, they sold out in five hours. A second batch then went in the same amount of time, Siskind said. "We have more demand than we can keep up with."While Siskind will sell you a military kit, his company also encourages AFOLs to produce their own creations, sponsoring regular contests at Brickmania's flagship store in Minneapolis. Among the rules: They must be military or war-themed, bear no Nazi symbols, display no excessive gore and are not of the sci-fi or fantasy genres. Global communityPeople entering the competitions should probably be thankful that Ralph Savelsberg lives thousands of miles away in the Netherlands -- because the 45-year-old Dutch builder's portfolio of LEGO-based military creations would likely be easy winners.There's a Vietnam-era US Navy patrol boat, a Cold War-era intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), an Iranian F-14 fighter, an M-21 reconnaissance jet and a massive and stunning recreation of a B-52 bomber, the mainstay of the US Air Force's bomber fleet for more than six decades.Dutch LEGO builder Ralph Savelsberg shows off a model he made of a US Air Force B-52 bomber with a 5-foot wingspan. Credit: Courtesy Ralph SavelsbergSavelsberg, a physicist and assistant professor, said he builds LEGO for love, not money."This is just a hobby. I do get a lot of requests, but I always disappoint them; I have no interest whatsoever in having to deal with customers."Furthermore, making plans or instructions is no fun, so I don't actually have any plans for most of my models," he said in an email.What he does enjoy is getting together with LEGO military builders from around the world at various conventions, where they share creations and even make custom ones to commemorate anniversaries.For this year's Brickfair Virginia, Savelsberg and a few dozen military builders planned a display themed on the Cold War, including his ICBM. The event was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but Savelsberg plans to return next year.LEGO-style military models on display at Brickfest Japan 2019 in Kobe. Credit: Courtesy The Brothers Brick / Edwinder SinghIn 2019, he attended Japan Brickfest, Asia's largest AFOL gathering, which featured a section for military items by some of the 270 builders displaying their work.Those builders, who came from places like Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan as well as Japan, likely represent just a fraction of those pursuing the hobby, Savelsberg said."I suspect that the people who come to events represent the tip of the iceberg. For every builder who is willing and able to travel to events, there might be two dozen teenagers who rarely get out of their bedrooms and share their builds with a group of friends via social media," he said. Justin Chua, who runs LEGO aftermarket store Lioncity Mocs in Singapore, says this 1:100-scale model of a Singaporean littoral mission ship took him more than two months to plan, source parts and assemble. It has more than 2,000 pieces. Credit: Courtesy Justin ChuaA company for kidsIn a way, Savelsberg, Siskind and the other builders of LEGO-based military models are doing what LEGO has always encouraged -- "only the imagination sets the limit to what you can build," the company's profile says."There's nothing that stops me from using dark green elements I get from, say, a LEGO Mini Cooper for a US Navy patrol boat," like this one from the Vietnam era, Dutch builder Ralph Savelsberg said. Credit: Courtesy Ralph SavelsbergLEGO traces its roots back to Denmark in the 1930s, when carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen abbreviated the Danish words "Leg Godt," meaning "play well" in English, to brand the wooden toys he was producing. It turned to plastic bricks in 1949.In 1955, Kristiansen's son Godtfred launched LEGO bricks as a system, embracing the idea that the more you have, the more things you can make. "Our idea has been to create a toy that prepares the child for life -- appealing to its imagination and developing the creative urge and joy of creation that are the driving forces in every human being," he said.Over the years, wheels and human figures were introduced in 1962 and 1978 respectively. And in 1989, miniature human figures sporting more facial expressions than the usual slight smile also emerged.LEGO has also been determined to put smiles on the faces of children."As a family-owned company with a long-term mission, the LEGO Group is uniquely placed to deliver a positive impact on children, society and the planet," the company profile says. The 25-page company document mentions the words "child" or "children" nearly 100 times. Still, as LEGO grew over the years, so did the presence of weapons.A 2016 report analyzing the company's products, published on the peer-reviewed scientific investigation journal PLOS One, argues that LEGO sets "are not as innocent as they used to be" and have become increasingly violent over time. Since 1978, when the first weapon bricks -- a sword, a halberd and a lance -- were added to castle-themed LEGO sets, there the amount of weaponry has increased each year, according to the study. It found that by 2014, nearly 30% of sets contained at least one weapon brick.A LEGO James Bond Aston Martin set on the shelf of a Hong Kong store. Credit: Brad Lendon/CNNSome of this increase can be attributed to movie-themed sets. For example, the company's summer 2020 catalog features a model of the Aston Martin, the famous car driven by British spy James Bond. It comes complete with "a wealth of sophisticated details and 007 gadgetry, including rotating license plates, ejector seat, tire scythes and front-wing machine guns."There's also "Star Wars" X-wing fighters and Imperial star destroyers, and sets depicting "Minecraft" battles, with axes, bludgeons and cases of TNT.When it comes to the LEGO's ethical red lines, Siskind sees a disconnect in the company's logic. Is there really a difference between the Death Star or the violence of a galaxy far, far away and the machines that kill people here on Earth?"There's very direct historical connections between the 'Star Wars' world and World War II," he added. Following LEGO's rulesFrom his office in Atlanta, Andrew Roberts, co-owner of Battle Brick Customs, another aftermarket retailer, expresses what he sees as the LEGO dilemma."LEGO has always kind of struggled with filling boys' desires for action and adventure (while) staying true to themselves (by) not doing realistic military things," he said.For a long time, the company even went so far as to avoid gray-colored bricks (the obvious color choice for building military weapons and vehicles), Roberts claimed, saying early castle sets were made from yellow ones. (Siskind, too, recalled some rather colorful medieval builds, saying: "When I was a kid all my castles were red because I had the most of that color.") LEGO's avoidance of modern military themes provided an opening, Roberts added. He turned his college pastime -- messing with his old LEGO sets -- into a full-time job, churning out best-sellers like World War II M4 Sherman tanks and modern Gulf War M1 Abrahms tanks."I don't think they like what I do but at the same time ... They tolerate me because I obey the rules." A US Special Forces team in LEGO-style figures from Battle Brick Customs. Credit: Courtesy Battle Brick CustomsFor instance, Roberts buys minifigures from LEGO, strips them of their paint and markings, and turns them into soldiers, sailors and airmen to stand watch in the military-themed sets he sells. He likens it to how a custom car shop takes a showroom model and turns it into a street racer."If you're a shop selling custom Ford Mustangs, you can do that -- people have to know that this is a Ford Mustang, but it's not an official Ford product," Roberts said. "I took a Ford and I did a bunch of stuff to it."In the case of LEGO parts, he added, "It's a genuine LEGO minifigure that has had a bunch of aftermarket stuff done to it. I bought it, and it's mine. And I'm customizing it, and I'm not pretending they did it."A figure stylized as a US soldier from Battle Brick Customs. Credit: Courtesy Battle Brick CustomsFor much of the fanatic LEGO-building community, the "it's mine" mentality -- a personal stake in what they make -- is what's fun and what fills them with pride. And they're not going to let the company's ethos get in the way of their creations.After the company pulled the Osprey in the summer, The Brothers Brick, an independent, reader-funded website for LEGO enthusiasts, carried several posts about the set's demise. One showed a futuristic olive green vision of an Osprey with orange highlights, created by builder Simon Liu, using LEGO bricks.Brothers Brick contributor, Lino -- a Washington state-based artist and humorist, according to his biography -- drew inspiration from Liu's creation."The point of showing you this is, while LEGO occasionally makes doofus decisions, they provide the pieces so that you can build anything you want. Who needs directions and an official set?" Lino wrote."With LEGO bricks and a bit of imagination, the world is your oyster. Or Osprey."Top image caption: A figurine from Battle Brick Customs of a US soldier emerging from an armored personnel carrier. #lifestyle Read full article: https://expatimes.com/?p=15448&feed_id=22672
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❥: barefoot, sleepy wanderings
✘: forehead kisses
+: being led back to bed with patient whispers
TW: light blood, surgeries, mentions of hospital setting, needles, portrayal of OCD, vomiting
When people hear that Vanessa was diagnosed at five years old, they assume she doesn’t remember the experience. Her brain wasn’t developed enough. Other memories have clouded it over. Things got blocked out for being too frightening for a small child to deal with.
They’re all wrong, of course. She wishes they weren’t.
The experience isn’t totally crystallized in a perfect sequence of events; she doesn’t know exactly how her parents noticed her disorientation, weight loss, and difficulty with toilet training. She can’t remember the faces of the nurses who took care of her, or the doctor that tried to gently explain how drastically her life had changed forever. She doesn’t even know the title of the binder the social worker gave her parents on Type 1. Probably something ridiculous, though, since it was a pediatric ward. Sometimes she wonders if hospitals have crack teams specifically for that.
She remembers the IV, though. The way she couldn’t stop thinking about the way it lay under her skin, putting things inside her body she couldn’t see or understand, and the image of blood pooling underneath the clear tape from all the times she bent her elbow. Her mind looped the thoughts over and over again, expanding like a dense mass of black cotton that would, later in her life, prove persistent, and open to other topics of obsession. How she seemed to never be able to get warm. The exhaustion from being woken several times a night to be pricked and poked and sent back to bed for a few more measly hours of sleep, until the parade of doctors began anew. The blurry vision that seemed to take months to fade.
It seems almost comical, after twelve years of this, when a routine trip to the dentist reveals that her wisdom teeth are coming in wrong. The issue is so laughably common, so often played for jokes with laughing gas and woozy patients spouting nonsense before the anesthetic wears off, that Vanessa almost has trouble developing anxieties about the whole thing.
It’s then of course she’s informed about her own personal risk factors. The anesthesia could send her blood sugar either way: low because of the blood loss and healing required during the surgery, or high because of the adrenaline and falling asleep during the daytime. She’ll need to calculate her ratios, test her blood sugars, and monitor herself and her food while still recovering from the procedure. It makes a knot swell in her stomach as the dentist talks on, growing so large and choking that she nearly sprints for the car as her mother takes care of the paperwork, slamming the door and curling into the passenger seat to scream at the top of her lungs.
That night, Vanessa has to check the stove burners three times before she feels safe enough to go to bed.
Karla, bless her heart, doesn’t quite understand, but Hermann does. He tells her how he felt going under, and which over the counter painkillers help and hinder sleep. They go out and purchase an electric blanket to drape over her pillow, hoping the heat will help any pain in her jaw, and both him and Karla declare they’ll be sleeping over several nights while she recovers, Vanessa not even given a chance to dissuade them. She’s never loved her friends more.
Hermann’s correct in that she barely remembers nearly the whole hour before the assistant slips an IV in, Vanessa clenching down her jaw to steady her breathing. The drive home, too, is a blurry haze of aches and the wooziness that comes with hovering just above the lower end of her blood sugar bracket. They pass by a McDonald’s hanging just on the outskirts of the city, gripping to the slow crawl of modernity by its fingernails, and Vanessa thinks of her classmate Rebecca, who boasted two years ago after getting her own wisdom teeth removed that she ate nothing but ice cream for a week afterwards. The gauze in her mouth is sticky and bland. Her stomach growls.
Hermann and Karla are sitting on the porch steps when they pull in, overnight bags and cane sprawled beside them. Karla leaps to her feet before Vanessa’s mother is even parked, opening the passenger side door and taking her hand. Even with no small amount of anesthesia in her system, Vanessa still feels her heart skip a beat at Karla’s slim, cool fingers closing around hers.
“How are you feeling?” she asks anxiously, sliding her other hand around Vanessa’s waist and helping her up the steps. “Are you hungry? What hurts? Hermann,” she snaps, “get the Ibuprofen; I told you to have it out already!”
Hermann shoots Vanessa a look, and she gives a weak chuckle. The gauze in her mouth prevents any real speaking, but he understands.
“She’s not dying, Karla,” he says, holding open the door as Karla hurries her inside. Vanessa’s mother and Hermann follow after them, and after instructing the twins to call for her if they need anything, gives Vanessa a careful hug and kisses her forehead. Karla looks as if every second Vanessa isn’t tucked into bed like a sardine and being fussed over is causing her personal agony.
“‘c’n wohlk,” Vanessa mumbles, tongue refusing to shape the words right, but the gentle way Karla guides her up the stairs and down the hallway to her bedroom makes something soft and funny flutter in her chest. It’s been happening more often lately; this rush of discomforting elation whenever Karla shines that focused, diligent attention on her.
Hermann, seeming to sense that this is his role now, holds open her bedroom door and fetches her water bottle from the desk to bring it over. Karla pulls back the covers and eases Vanessa to sit down, kneeling to untie her sneakers. The world still hums with a muted fuzziness, but the sight gives Vanessa a brief, powerful urge to run her hand through Karla’s short, choppy curls. She wonders what it would feel like clipped and uniform, in the buzzcut she’s seen her admire on so many men.
Karla pulls her shoes, then socks off, and Vanessa crawls under her comforter and places the side of her jaw most painful at the moment onto the electric blanket. She fumbles for the switch to turn it on, but Karla brushes her hand aside and puts it on medium. “There,” she says with an air of frazzled satisfaction. “Right. Now Hermann and I will be right here, and we’ll wake you every two hours if we need to to take your medication. You’re supposed to alternate Ibuprofen and Advil, and you can drink and eat but only liquids at the moment.” She turns to Hermann with the sharpness of a military general. “Hermann, get the soup out. We made soup,” she clarifies. “Well, I did. Hermann’s a horrible cook. Are you hungry?”
Vanessa shakes her head as best she can, swallowing spit that tastes like iron. “’m okay. Th’nk y’.”
Karla pulls out her desk chair for Hermann to take a seat, then sets a cluster of Vanessa’s throw pillows on the floor next to the bed. She leans back against the side and looks up at Vanessa, face craned so far back it’s nearly upside down. “Are you okay?”
Vanessa nods into the pillow, letting one hand dangle down off the bed. Karla catches it without missing a beat and runs a finger over the tops of her knuckles. “Mmhm.” She’s hungry; no breakfast besides a glass of water for the first dose of medication, but can’t find the energy to even consider calculating how much insulin she needs, especially when she’s so sedentary. Sleep, however, is a tantalizing prospect so close to going low, and Vanessa is out the second her eyes close again.
She wakes excruciatingly thirsty, disoriented and heart pounding. Her body is the kind of overheated she recognizes as a telltale sign of a high, and panic races through her as she tries to push herself up and search for her bag.
It’s not there.
Vanessa’s breath catches, and she slides her hands over the jumble of books and empty plastic cups and pens on her bedside table. Where the fuck is her bag? She needs her bag; she needs to find out how high she is; never mind that she doesn’t know she’ll hold her finger steady enough to prick it, or insert the strip into the meter, but she needs her insulin because she’s hot, and exhausted, and her numbers are definitely so, so bad right now.
She stumbles out of bed and towards the door, catching herself on the doorframe briefly before fear propels her forward. Maybe she left it in the bathroom? Did she go to the bathroom? She might need to if she’s over 240; oh God, if she’s over 200 she’ll just stick her head in the bathtub and turn on the faucet because that is way, way too high, and if her numbers are too high her A1C will be bad, and if her A1C is bad then she’s doing it all wrong and failing diabetes, which is definitely something that is possible to do, and her stomach twists with anxiety so badly at the thought of her beautiful, perfect 5.7 going up even a percentage that she barely makes it to the toilet before dry heaving.
Pure bile, void of anything else from her empty stomach, splatters her tongue and the inside of the bowl, and Vanessa presses her face against the cool porcelain before the stench of bleach makes her retch again. She hears footsteps just outside, barely processing the sound of the door opening wider over the pounding of her heart in her ears.
“Vanessa--?” Karla asks, before seeing the scene before her and rushing to her side. She puts a hand on each shoulder and immediately begins rubbing them soothingly, a sensation that does a surprisingly good deal to steady Vanessa’s pulse.
She gags out, “High,” the last of bloody gauze finally falling into the toilet, and Karla nods against the back of her neck.
“Hermann!” she calls, “Hermann, get her kit! On the desk! Put a strip in the meter and new lancet!”
Oh, thinks Vanessa, that’s where it went, but Hermann is already clacking down the hall towards them. He quickly sets his cane on the bathroom counter and prepares the meter, then hands it and the lancet to Karla, who in turn hands Vanessa a tissue.
“Here,” she says gently, “for your mouth. May I see your hand?”
Vanessa clumsily wipes the acid from her chin and holds out a shaking hand, letting Karla take her pinky with careful fingers and prick it on the lowest setting she can. The pain is dulled there as well, thankfully, but the countdown as the meter processes her blood makes Vanessa’s stomach swoop.
When it shows 122, she frowns.
“But... ‘m hot,” she says, leaning back against the side of the bathtub. Karla hands the supplies back to Hermann and resumes rubbing her shoulders.
“Well you were lying on a heating bad under a bunch of blankets, ‘Ness. That might have something to do with it.”
“Thirsty?” Vanessa adds. Hermann makes a startled face and quickly leaves, returning with her water bottle. As she takes it and swallows a few grateful mouthfuls, he raises an eyebrow.
“Dry mouth from anesthesia is a common side effect. You really should be drinking regularly, especially since you weren’t able to for several hours.” He takes his cane from the counter and shifts his weight to it. “Come on. You should go back to bed.”
Vanessa tilts her head back against the rim of the tub and lets out a long, shaky sigh. “Yeah. Okay. Gimme a sec.”
She lets herself lean into the feeling of Karla’s hands on her skin, the chilled lip of the tub on her neck, and hears Hermann move to lean against the doorframe. Karla never pauses for a moment.
“You’re alright,” she murmurs, her head just brushing Vanessa’s hair. “We’re right here. You’re alright.”
She takes another breath, then nods. “’Kay. Let’s go.”
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The world slowed to a full stop as her ears filled with a strange roaring. She watched as the monitors went flat and the female’s chest stopped rising. She watched as her own body let out it’s last breath and heard her mother’s wail of heart broken anguish. Her father tried his best to take his grieving wife away from the warm corpse. It was strange, really, she’d expected more, she expected the blinding white light and the fear, a hand reaching out to her and bringing her to some other world. In the end she felt… numb, a faint grasp squeezing her poor heart. She tried to stop the spill of nonexistent tears as she reached for her parents one last time. Her parents- they lost a child- they lost something which they had brought into this world, created, and then be destroyed. It happened much too quick, too quick for her to even begin processing.
The midnight bugs buzzed in the silence of night, the drunk driver coming around the corner couldn’t be seen because he was too intoxicated to know that his own damn headlights weren’t on. He swerved into her lane as he saw her coming, swerved towards the light. She barely had time to react before he hit her, the car spinning out and going over the railing, down a 200 foot descent. It was like a roller coaster, her car making flips and and airy turns, turning her stomach inside out and making her heart flutter.
“Oh sh-,” was the only thing she was really able to say as she came to the terrifying realization of the situation. On impact she let out an oof sound, glass shattered, a muted pain already spreading throughout her limbs. Her body shook with adrenaline and she looked around wildly. Warmth escaped from her nose and the broken glass clattered down her body with her shifting. The seat beneath her groaned and the car lurched down. Something felt off, like the gravity wasn’t holding, like the ground beneath her would escape at any moment. The girl had the sense to freeze and hold her breath as the car around her groaned again, tilting forward as a strong wind blew.
“Oh gosh… please please no..” She whispered to whatever god was listening. The car tilted further and further till the branch that was supporting the heavy machine gave way, giving her a clear view of her impending downward descent. The fall was too fast for the girl to do anymore than let out a shout. When the final impact hit, the metal around her bent and contorted, the world upside down, it was suffocating. Panting and panicking she struggled against her confines, the adrenaline too high in her body for her to really feel the true extent of her injuries.
“Hel- Help..” She mumbled as she tugged and twisted in her seat, the roof of her car closed closer to her head and blood pooled on top of it, her blood.
“H… help me someone.” She tried to say louder as she finally managed to rip her seatbelt off. Her limp limbs tried their best to kick at the door next to her. A yelp ripped from her lips as her broken body hit the solid build. Her world started to spin as her body temperature increased rapidly, little black spots dancing in her vision. Whimpering again, that woozy feeling increased tenfold and she finally fell unconscious. By the time she came to, sirens sung in the distance, flashes of color filling her mind, flashing into her still closed eyes. Help… help was on the way.
The tube in her throat was the worst, stung like no other. The multiple IV’s and lines around her body made her feel crushed, crowded. They stitched up her broken and bruised body, hung bags after bags of blood to keep her body working, but it wasn’t enough. She could faintly register crying and a hand holding her own. Someone was speaking, almost like a script. She heard faint clicking as the lines and the IV’s were removed, then-the tube helping her breathe. ‘Finally, I’m getting better.’ she thought to herself. This was a good sign.. Right.. Removing her from the machines. As the tube left her throat, panic filled every cavity within her as she tried to take a breath but realized she couldn’t. She tried to struggle, tried to talk or move anything that would let the health care workers know that it wasn’t working, she couldn’t- no response. None. She wouldn’t move, she lied there still in the bed. Her body on fire, like someone was tearing her apart limb from limb. With one final burst of energy she sat up, a scream tearing from her lips.
“Mom, dad.. I’m ok!” She stuttered out and it was true. She felt fine, she could breath and move and talk. No reaction. None at all. Her mother still wept at her side as her dad looked distant in the background, silently grieving for his child. The doctor was still going through her script as she kept removing the machinery. Her body- her body now lay beneath her, still, unmoving. A sense of cold fear rang through her, grasping with its dark claws to surround her.
“No! No! Don’t…. Give up! What are you doing?” She tried to yell at the nurse with the pity filled eyes. Their voices were muffled. She hopped off of the bed and waved a hand in front of his face, no response. ‘They… can’t see me. They can’t see me.’ She thought to herself, another wave of pure fear rushing through her spine once again.
“This can't be happening. This isn’t happening.” Kitty said aloud, more to herself than anyone else. Well, no one would have been able to hear anyway. She couldn’t do anything else but sink to the floor, needing to feel the solidness of it beneath her, needed it to ground her to this new reality.
She watched, watched as they wheeled her quickly coldening body down to the morgue, watched as her parents filed whatever paperwork they needed to and eventually took the liberty of driving home to prepare for what she was sure to be her funeral. It was like she was frozen, a spectator of her own sick end. She stayed curled up in her little ball in her little room which had yet to be refilled. Eventually, the tears stopped, leaving her numb once again in their wake. She could feel it, like a phantom limb, that emotion. She wanted to be sad, wanted to grief fully, but her brain simply wouldn’t let her. She stared blankly at the wall as the world around her continued on. She was alone, so alone and void and angry and sad-
“Katherine” a voice hissed from outside the room. Her head whipped in the direction of the door. A person. It sounded clear, much clearer than the doctors’ and her parents’ voices had been. She leapt up. Body preparing for the woozy feeling from doing so so quickly, but nothing came. ‘Right, I'm dead.’ She thought as she exited the room, even the smell of the hospital was muted, as if she didn’t exist.
Around her, the hospital buzzed, the world moved through her. She looked left and right in search of the hissing voice, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. At the nurses station a woman was scribbling on a chart, a man coughed from somewhere within the hall.
“Katherine,” the voice hissed again. There, from the left, towards a dark hall.
“Well, that's not terrifying and mysterious,” she nervously said to herself as she took a step in advancement towards the noise.
“The name is Kitty, doll, Katherine was much too formal for my tastes.” Her voice wobbling slightly as she tried to put on a fake facade. The mysterious voice chuckled from within the hospital as she advanced, for a second sounding inhuman- dangerous.
“Is, doll,” the voice corrected her in a mocking tone.
“Is? But I’m not alive anymore. Who are you? Show yourself.” She demanded, maybe this person can give her answers. A flicker of movement was seen in the hall, Kitty’s head tilted as she watched. Till she watched, to her horror, what became in front of her.
A tall, shadow creature with billowing black wings and glowing blue eyes towered over her. She stumbled back some, every instinct left in her mind telling her to run from such an unnatural thing. She stuttered around for a response, but nothing came.
“Kitty, you said..” The thing spoke and all she could do was nod her head. “You are correct.. You are dead, there is no going back,” her heart dropped to the floor at the creature's words. Dead. She was dead. There was no hope. There was nothing at all. “And yet, unlike most humans you are here. Why?” She looked up at the thing.
“Why? Well aren't you supposed to tell me that.. Uh..” She stumbled in her words, wondering what to call it.
“Azazeal,” the creature- Azazeal- bowed down. “But I do not know either, young one.. It seems that this is a task for the both of us to accomplish.”
“Well, Azazeal, it's been super nice meeting ya hon, but…” Kitty started, but she truly had no excuse as to why she needed to get away. It's not like she had anywhere to go. She was stuck here, like he said. “Well, what do you mean?” She said slowly, her words still trying to form. She was still trying to wipe away the fog of grief.
“It is my duty to help the ones like you, the ones who get stuck here in the in-between, it's not the natural way of things, something is holding you to your past life. We just need to sever the tie and you can be on your way to eternity,” Azazeal’s expression had no movement as he spoke, his voice flitting around the room as if it didn’t belong to him.
“Sever the tie… my past life,” Kitty pondered aloud, “Does that mean there is a possibility I could go back?” Hope bloomed in her chest as she looked at him.
“No,” he responded almost immediately and her heart fell. It was finally sinking in, “Your body is dead, you are no longer.” Dead. She was dead. She tried her best to just stand there and nod, to have no reaction, to be strong. Her emotions had other plans. She broke down, crumbling on to the floor, a broken sob heaving out of her. Her parents. Her friends and family. She’d never see them again, never interact with them again.
“M..Mom, mommy.. Dad,” another cry left her lips. Scared, so scared and alone. Her whole life had changed in one night, changed because of one man’s stupid decison. Dead. She was dead. So she pathetically broke down in front of the creature. Azazeal just watched, stood there in silence and said nothing. This wasn’t the first dead one he helped and it won’t be the last.
After a few hours spent between wailing and staring at the floor, Kitty finally lifted her head. A brand new fire in her eyes as she looked at Azazeal.
“Help me get past this, help me move on. It’s what they would have all wanted, maybe I’ll get to watch over them, who knows. Maybe I’ll get to see their lives progress, so help me.” She said in a whispered tone as she held out her hand. Azazeal simply nodded and together they went.
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Terrible wonders part I
Pairing: Brock Rumlow X OFC (Stella Grace Rogers).
Word count: 2678 words.
Summary: Stella Grace Rogers believed that her twin had died that day, Steve did not know that he had passed with her when he woke up until they found her, what will happen when they meet again? And when Grace meets a certain STRIKE Commander?
Warnings: None at the moment.
A/N: This is my entry to the @peterman-spideyparker‘s Kristen’s 2020 Writing Challenge! With the prompt #12:
“Hey, I know you’re hurting…but, you’re not alone, okay?”
Also is my entry to the @crushedbyhyperbole ‘s Cloudy’s 200 Follower Hyperbole Challenge with the Hyperbole dialogue prompt #24:
“I’d rather stab myself in the eye than look at you for one minute longer”
And my entry to the @justmebeingtheweirdmeiam ‘s 200 Celebration Writing Challenge with the Movie/Series/Book quote prompts #3 and #21 and the dialogue prompt #12:
A: “No weapons. No friends. No hope. Take all that away, and what is left?”
“At the end of the day, you’re a garden rose, and that bitch is a weed”
“I’m not a damsel in distress. I’m a damsel doing damage”
My native language is Spanish so I wanna improve my writing skills in English, if you notice any mistake please let me know and I will correct it.
I don’t give any kind of permission that my fics be posted in other platforms or languages (I translate myself my work) or the use of my graphics (my dividers are included in this), I did them exclusively for my fics, please respect my work and don't steal it. There are some people here who make dividers that anyone can use, mine is not this type, please look for the other's people. The only exception is the ones I gifted 'cuz now belong to someone else. If you find any of my works on a different platform and is not one of my accounts, please let me know. Reblogs and comments are always welcome.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Marvel's characters (unfortunately), except for the original characters and the story.
My other media where I publish: Wattpad, Ao3, ffnet.
If you like it please vote, comment, and give me feedback to improve my skills and reblog.
Part II Part III Part IV Part V Part VI
Steve had searched for her in many places without success, he could not deny that he felt incomplete, practically all their lives they had been together, if something bad had happened to him it was his fault ... for having insisted on joining the army ... if he had never done so...
As soon as he received the news, he was afraid that it would be completed with the word “dead”.
"How do you know it is her?"
"From the photos, Cap, it's in the files," Fury explained.
What had happened to her then?
"We can do the DNA analysis to make sure if you want," Maria suggested.
"It is not necessary, I could recognize her anywhere, and she is special ... at least for me”
"That is clear to us, Cap, that's the reason we notified you immediately," Nick said.
He didn't dare say it, but needed to know if she was dead… he would have to see how to get on with his life, although he wasn't sure if he could recover from that news.
"She is alive, it seems in perfect condition, in fact, she seems asleep," Maria said.
Steve sighed more calmly, they were both fulfilling the promise they made when they were children.
"What happened to her?" Steve asked.
“We do not know”.
"I can't help wondering how took the news of what happened to me when they told her, sometimes I came to believe she become angry, gone and continued her life in the shadows," Steve confessed.
"As soon as she wakes she'll tell us," Nick assured.
Since Steve woke up, he felt incomplete, nothing was the same without Grace, his twin, surely she had felt the same after what had happened to him, and would she forgive him?
At first, he thought that she had continued with her life, which pleased him but at the same time saddened him, since all his life -until before he fell on the ice- they had been together, even before being born having shared the womb.
There was a constant thought in his head from the first day, maybe she had a family if so he would love to meet her children and grandchildren, to ask them how her life had been like, would she have found a good partner who will take care of her and love her?
That thought made him laugh, Grace was the one who always took care of him and defended him, even though she was only twenty minutes younger than him, although when they both got into trouble Bucky was the one who came to rescue them.
He missed both of them so much, Bucky was dead ... but he didn't know what had happened to her, he had been looking everywhere, the History books only referred to him, they didn't mention anything about Grace, not finding the information became concerned, it was as if they had wanted to erase the existence of his sister from the face of the Earth until he searched the S.H.I.E.L.D. files, there he found the news that she had also disappeared four months after he searched everywhere, he did not find it.
But now the Agency had found her and he was urged to wake up; if he was with his twin then everything else would be easier
From that moment in which Steve received the news he had not separated from her, he better than anyone knew the shock that it would be to wake up at this time for her too, he knew her perfectly and better than anyone.
The favorite song was playing in the room, Grace began to think that maybe everything that had happened had been a nightmare the last thing she remembered, if she woke up she would be without her twin, turning to feel miserable and incomplete, having to deal with a lot of things that she did not want, looking for a way to escape the proposal that had been made to her, so it was not such a good idea to wake up, although she could not be asleep all her life either.
She opened her eyes slowly, trying to adjust them to the light, suddenly she seemed to see a familiar figure, she blinked several times to be able to focus, when she saw who was in front of her, she got out of bed practically with a jump, she could not believe it, surely she was dreaming or hallucinating.
"Grace, calm down, it's me, Stevie," he said cautiously.
"No, no, it's a hallucination, you're dead, and this is not possible."
"No, wait, let me explain," Steve asked.
"Or maybe I'm dead, I'm in heaven and that's why you're here," the girl murmured without moving.
Steve approached her to try to reassure her.
"It's me, seriously, I'm alive and so are you," his twin assured him.
He took her hand carefully, knew what kind of reaction he might have, didn't want to upset her anymore, she squeezed him.
“Stevie? How? That day the communication was cut, I think you could not hear me, then they told me that they did not know where the ship you were on had fallen, “Grace said.
“It is difficult to explain, I have many things to tell you and none is easy.”
"Are you really real?"
Grace hugged her twin, she needed to check that it was indeed neither a dream nor an illusion. Many times she had had that dream, but it was only that, when they separated, she smiled when she saw that he was still there.
"Simmons will come to check on you, I have to tell you that you are awake," he informed her.
"She is one of the best scientists in S.H.I.E.L.D., I think you will feel comfortable if it is her."
It was obvious that she didn't know what his brother was talking about.
“Now that's how the Strategic Scientific Reserve is known. I'll update you soon, okay?”
“Why does she want to check me?”
“We were almost 70 years missing.”
“What!? How did I survive? ”Grace asked.
"I don't know, but she needs to check that you don't have any damage, so wait here a moment, I'll go for her."
Grace sat on the edge of the bed, she still didn't understand what had happened, and she wasn't even sure what had happened, someone knocked on the door to get her out of her thoughts.
"Lieutenant Rogers, I am Jemma Simmons," the scientist introduced herself.
"You have her accent," Grace said without thinking.
Grace looked her in the eyes, she feared there was the possibility that she was a relative of that woman, however, Jemma's eyes gave off something different, she was probably wrong, and then she would investigate.
"No, nothing. I just seem to have the same accent as someone who tried to make life impossible for me in the past."
Jemma nodded, she didn't know who she was referring to.
"I hope that person has had a due," said the scientist.
“I hope so too.”
Jack entered the gym, he had just found out. They would probably have a meeting soon to find out the plan to follow.
"Rogers' sister woke up," Rollins reported.
Brock did not stop training, he had never understood why that news caused such a stir.
“Do you think she knows anything about HYDRA?” Jack asked him.
"I don't think she knows more than Rogers, I'm satisfied that I'm not as unbearable as he is," Brock replied.
After the check, Steve entered again.
"I already spoke to Fury, you will go with me to my apartment."
“Do you have a apartment? And who is this Fury guy? ”Grace asked.
"The director," Nick said entering.
After introducing themselves, they left, Grace looked excitedly around her, many things had changed, she did not know if she would be able to adapt. When she entered the apartment she was frozen.
"What is all this?" She asked, astonished to see so many electrical devices.
"Welcome to the modern age, lil’ sis’."
"I think I would have preferred to die."
"Oh come on, it's not that difficult."
"Please tell me I don't have to do that horrible red lipstick again and promote a perfect image," he said, holding his breath.
Steve smiled, he knew how much he hated that lipstick that forced them to wear in the Army.
“At this time you can put on makeup as you like, I think you will like the new century.
“And the war?” Grace asked suddenly.
“They told we won”
“Are there no more wars?”
“Enemies remain, now we protect the Earth if you want you can unite”
“What if they are going to listen and take me into account?” She asked nervously.
She hated the "position" that had been assigned to him, she was never more than an ornament, they never let her make decisions or be in battle, and they always listened to Steve.
” Things are very different now, I promise you.”
There was a knock on the door of the apartment, Steve went to see and a few minutes later he returned to where he had left Grace, who was curiously watching the television screen.
"Who were you talking to?" she asked, still looking at the screen.
“With Kate, the neighbor; she’s a nurse, “Steve replied.
Grace immediately turned to Steve and watched him.
She did not like something, she was going to find out who that woman was.
The last two days had been very stressful, everything was completely different, while Steve was attending to some affairs, she went to the gym, looked indecisively at the punching bag.
"We also have weights," said a male voice behind her.
She was startled to hear it and turned around, Brock was shocked, he had seen the photos, but seeing her in person… she was more beautiful.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you First Lieutenant Rogers."
Grace smiled, they knew her, and they finally knew who she was.
“And you are? “She asked intrigued
“Brock Rumlow, STRIKE Team Commander.”
Brock reached out his hand, she shook it.
"Call me Grace, you have been with me working with brother, right?"
“Yeah, we have had several missions together.”
"I’m sure you hate him," Grace joked.
“Are you as bossy as he is?
"I am worse."
They both laughed.
"Grace, Fury wants to tal ..."
He fell silent when he saw the scene he was witnessing.
"I see you already know each other," Steve finally said.
After leaving Fury's office, they met Nat in the hallway.
"She is Natasha Romanoff."
"If you need to talk to a girl, you can find me," offered the Russian.
Brock took the report that he hadn't even read and signed it, he felt a little strange, he wasn't sure that something like this had happened to him before, what was he feeling?
He could not stop thinking about Grace Rogers, she seemed to him a very beautiful girl, he wanted to see those blue eyes again, he was sure that they reflected an innocence that he did not think he had ever seen before in his life.
To be honest, if he couldn't conquer her, at least he was content to have sex with her.
He was the third recruit Grace has given me to the hospital in that training.
“Hey, calm down, I think this is how far training goes.”
If she continued like this, the team would probably run out of members.
"I'm fine," the girl attacked.
"You don't look it," Brock replied.
He approached her and took her arm.
“What’s going on?” she barked.
“Hey, I know you're hurt… but, you're not alone, okay?”
"It's all very confusing, I ... is weird ... Steve managed, but I'm not sure I can do it," Grace confessed.
Brock was surprised, he didn't expect such an honest response.
"I can help you if you want," he offered.
He never expected that such an opportunity will present itself.
"Stevie, I don't like the way you get along with the neighbor," Grace complained as she took the cake out of the oven.
"Oh Gracie, come on, she's a good person," Steve defended.
"If you say so, I'll go get my clothes."
"I can do it by myself and don't even think about touching the cake, I haven't finished decorating it yet," she warned.
She found her torn clothes, knew who was to blame, tried to calm down, Kate reminded him a lot of that woman.
She went to Kate's apartment and knocked on the door, she was going to end that situation once and for all.
"What?" Kate said when she saw her open the door.
“Why did you do it?” Grace asked, showing him the clothes.
"No one wants you here”
“Are you going to prohibit me from living with my brother?”
"I'll figure the way to he kicks you out."
Both women began to argue.
"And for that reason, everyone preferred your brother," Kate said maliciously.
"I'd rather stab myself in the eye than look at you for one minute longer"
Kate closed the door angrily, Grace made a gesture of exasperation and headed towards the apartment just as Steve opened the door.
"What happened?" He asked in dismay.
"Look what your girlfriend did to my clothes," Grace replied aggressively as she showed him the clothes.
“Gracie, to begin she is not my girlfriend, are you sure she was?
“Who else could it be? She hates me, Stevie.”
"Come on, I'm sure you caused it, it's not the first time something like this has happened" Steve defended her.
Grace knew what her brother was referring to, they had had a similar fight in the past.
"Forget it," Grace said.
He tossed Steve's clothes, turned around, and started walking toward the stairs.
“Grace! I didn't mean...”
She ignored his brother and continued walking towards the stairs when he ran into Brock on the stairs, he seemed to have witnessed what happened.
"Brock ... I ... how much did you see?"
“The complete scene”.
"At the end of the day, you're a garden rose, and that bitch is a weed"
Grace laughed, at least it seemed like she had someone on her side.
"You are right, what happened?"
"What are you doing here, Rumlow?" Steve asked.
He was going to reach her when he found them.
"I came to leave you some documents."
"I just made a cake, come with me to try it," Grace offered.
"You said it wasn't ready yet," Steve complained.
"I said I wasn't finished decorating it."
Grace tugged on Brock's arm, who was not going to refuse, somehow he was pleased with the situation. Steve shuffled after them.
"What are you doing?" Steve asked, intercepting his twin.
"You owe me and you know it, consider that we are even."
Steve sighed, he didn't have much choice.
"I didn't know you know how to cook," Brock commented when he had the plate with the slice in front of him.
“I used to do it before entering the Army, we had to learn because mom worked most of the day, although Steve always burned food”.
"Grace," Steve warned.
"I am a better chef than you, star spangled man with a plan," Grace scoffed.
"You weren't complaining before," Steve attacked.
"It was eating it or starve to death when I was sick," Grace countered.
"Grace, enough," Steve said.
"Sorry, li’ bro’," Grace said sarcastically.
Brock was trying not to laugh.
Brooklyn, January 1918
Sarah Rogers was at the station to say goodbye to her husband, who would go to war.
"You know I don't want to go and leave you in this state," Joseph said apologetically.
"Duty calls you, we'll be fine, I'll write you letters every week so you know how we are and just return home safely," Sarah asked.
Sarah kissed Joseph goodbye, who boarded the train that would take him to his destination to participate in the war.
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The Beloved Big Sister Of 1-7, feat. The Beloved Number Five
“Diego used to use his big sister as a punching bag. She would block every swing and kick without fail. And as such, when he aged to be stronger as a teenager, he never had to worry about hurting her. Eventually even Luther stopped worrying. It’s weird, but it’s their thing. It’s what they do.” -Allison
1 2 4 5
Thanks to all who are enjoying the story, let me know what you think, what you’d like to see, your favourite things etc.
I wanted it to be longer but guess what? I use my phone and this has reached the 100 word block limit. Yay.
(Spoilers/info):In this chapter we see all her powers and almost all the limits of them.
‘Griddy’s?’ Five shoved a wallet of hastily collected house money into his pocket.
(X) laughed. ‘I’ll drive, you go in and order.’
Five nodded and jumped to the passenger seat.
‘No injuries?’ She asked, sliding behind the wheel and turning the key.
Five rolled his eyes, scoffing with a grin. ‘I’m fine.’
She glanced at him as she shut the door, mirroring his expression. She put her foot down hard and they were pressed into their seats.
After a hairpin turn to get around the corner near the drive, Five spoke up.
‘Where’s your car?’
‘I ran here.’
Five turned in his seat to watch her in surprise. ‘You surged here?’
‘That’s exhausting.’ His tone was concerned.
‘I wanted to see you,’ she said, looking away from the road for a moment to smile at him.
Five felt warm and small again, the knowledge he had her back again sinking in a little further. ‘I’ll have to introduce you to Delores. She’ll love you.’
She didn’t ask, just hummed in agreement conversationally. ‘I’ll look forward to it. How are your jumps? Still strong?’
‘Very, I got a lot better over the years. Though I won’t be trying the time jump again if I can help it.’
‘I can see why.’
Five was silent as they sped down the road. After taking a moment to enjoy the familiarity of her skilled driving, he spoke in a blunt tone.
‘(X), I want you to help me stop the apocalypse.’
She merely nodded. It came to neither of them as a surprise; the only person Five would ever openly ask for help from was her.
‘Coffee first,’ she said as the indicator clicked to turn into the shops. ‘Get me a latte.’
They pulled up outside and Five opened the door, marched around the front of the car, over the parking lot past a just-parked tow truck, up the steps and through the doors.
(X) laughed, hearing his heavy footsteps even with the door closed again, and turned to reverse the car.
When she walked through the doors Five was sitting beside the tow truck driver, a lady behind the counter taking their order.
‘Can I get the kid a... glass of milk? Or something?’
‘The kid wants coffee,’ said Five flatly. ‘Black. And one latte.’
‘Cute kid,’ said the lady to the driver as (X) walked up to the counter, leaning on it a stool or so down.
She saw the innocent, delightful grin Five plastered all over his face in response and tried not to laugh at the lady’s unease.
Being that he was her kid brother, Five was cute, just not if you called him such.
Awkwardly, the lady turned and looked at the woman, who looked 19 yet wise enough to be 200, and asked for her order.
‘I’m the latte,’ she said, tilting her head toward the cute kid.
The lady nodded and turned. (X) sat down beside Five, glancing at the truck driver.
Five glanced at him too, then around, and sighed. ‘Don’t remember this place being such a shit hole,’ he said quietly to the man.
(X) raised an eyebrow.
‘Used to come here as a kid. I used to sneak out with my brothers and ate donuts til we puked. Simpler times, huh?’ said the 13 year-old bodied Five.
Awkwardly, the driver responded with a ‘uh... I suppose.’
Feeling too sorry for the driver, and quite tired after having no moment’s rest since learning of Five’s return, (X) stood up and stretched a little, heading for the car for a book. She put a reassuring, comforting hand on Five’s upper back as he panicked a little seeing her moving away from him with no explanation. One subtle communication is all it took and Five returned to his conversation.
When she returned with a book, Five glancing to determine it was her returning, her latte was waiting.
She paid little attention to the small talk between Five and the man, pulling a bit of paper that sat in front of her brother towards her. Some address was written on it. She picked it up to use it as a bookmark and set to work on her coffee.
The driver left shortly after and after a long sip of his coffee, Five looked around for the paper.
He spotted it between her fingers with a scowl and stopped searching.
‘I found a glass eye in the apocalypse, seems to belong to the person that caused it. That address is the factory. We can’t do anything until it opens tomorrow.’
They drank silently, enjoying the coffee until the doors opened again. Both paid it no real mind until Five studied the reflection in the bell, seeing someone ready to hit his sister in the back of the head.
‘Don’t bother; she’s not a civilian,’ said Five, putting his coffee down. ‘Hm. That was fast,’ he continued, ‘thought I had more time before they found me.’
With no change of expression (X) looked up from her book to stare straight ahead, concentrating on the situation.
‘Okay,’ came the voice of a man right behind her head, ‘so let’s all be professional about this, yeah?’
Knowing from those words that Five was about to cause a scene, (X) surged power through her body to age it by a few years, to around 24.
Not turning his head, Five glanced over. Her body peaked its physical strength at twenty-four and a half, so he wasn’t surprised to see the slight changes in her features. She didn’t usually bother, though, which puzzled him. Then he realised she usually knew who she was dealing with.
‘On your feet and come with us. We wanna talk.’
‘I’ve got nothing to say,’ said Five simply.
‘It doesn’t have to go this way,’ persisted the man.
(X) twitched her neck in annoyance. She hated people in her blind spot.
‘Think I wanna shoot a kid?’ came the response. ‘Go home with that on my conscience?’
(X) sighed and put her book down quietly. She picked up her teaspoon and stirred her coffee, looking under her arm as best she could. Further behind her, Five would go for the leader, she saw a pair of feet.
‘Well, I wouldn’t worry about that,’ said Five pleasantly. He turned to smile at the man. ‘You won’t be going home.’
He stretched his hand for the butter knife on the counter next to him as (X) stopped stirring her coffee. As Five disappeared she shot backwards to the feet she had been watching, kicked the man in the knee, swatted his gun away and drove a spoon into his eye. One man collapsed with a knife in his neck, the other to his knees howling.
Then they were gone.
As the others looked around Five appeared on one of the table booths, lying casually across it. ‘Hey assholes!’ He said comfortably.
(X) laughed. As the men turned and bullets went flying, she appeared behind the counter and took her latte from the saucer, leaning back and taking a long sip.
Next Five next appeared at the door, gave a knock or two and disappeared with a salute.
(X) leant on the cupboard behind her, sipping her coffee.
With a cross grimace, Five glared at her from his hiding place for being quite so care free.
As the lights flickered the men saw her. She saw them, and immediately shot to the other side of the room into a booth in the corner, one leg over the other and cup in both hands.
Five used this to his advantage, stabbing one with a splintered mop handle and going for another one with a pencil.
He put his tie around the neck of one and nearly rolled his eyes when he saw where his sister had moved to.
She looked up at the sound of a smashing plate. Five was hidden again, frowning at her.
She raised an eyebrow, asking if he needed help. He glared at her blankly, panting. She sighed and stood up.
‘Will you move?!’ Five hissed, seeing they’d heard her sigh and shifted next to her, tackling her to the ground behind a booth.
Noticing Five was a lot more concerned about her safety than he used to be, to a point where he’d risk himself with little concern or for little things, she’d think about that later, she focused up and looked around, ignoring the bullet in her arm.
She put an arm over him protectively as bullets rained above them and looked around.
Pulling Five’s weight with her she saw across the floor under the tables to another booth and surged them there in two moves to avoid knocking anything.
Then she stood up and as Five looked around she was gone.
She appeared behind the closest man, kicking him across the room and through the wood of a table.
Unlike Five, who could teleport or shift anywhere he pleased so long as it was in range, she found cover very difficult. Cover was meant to be hidden, so being able to see it was not normally possible.
Resorting to head-on, she surged straight for one of the last two men, kicking him twice in the gut and twirled behind him as she was spotted by the last. She ducked down as the last shot the second last in the chest and then rolled to the ground.
Five knew that because she could surge only to where she saw, she couldn’t at that moment see the last man.
He shifted behind him and shoved him forward as much as his early teenage arms would allow.
The man stumbled into her line of sight and in an instant she had surged forward onto his back, sending him collapsing to the ground and drove a piece of shattered plate through the nape of his neck.
She retrieved her coffee.
Five finished off another on the floor and retrieved his tie then picked up a beeping device, decorated with a splash of blood. ‘Ive got a tracker; can you cut my arm open- did you get shot?!’
She was fishing the bullet from her arm. ‘I wish it didn’t hurt like hell to revert my age when injured,’ she complained as a response, tossing the bullet across the diner. ‘Don’t worry; I’m healing it,’ she said patiently as Five opened his mouth to yell at her. ‘Find me a sharp knife.’
‘Yes.’ Five’s voice was impatient and irritated. He tossed her a knife from one of the men’s belts.
‘Alright.’ She joined him at the bench, held his outstretched arm down at the wrist with one hand and cut into his arm with the other.
Five winced and groaned a little before beginning to fish in his forearm for the tracker.
‘Wish I could heal you,’ she said, patting his back.
‘Don’t we all,’ he replied before triumphantly holding up the tracker, studying it with a peeved sigh.
(X) got her book from the counter, wiped debris off it with her hands and looked around. ‘Got everything?’
‘Yep.’ Five slid off the stool and walked out beside her.
As they walked to the car he grabbed her arm and squinted at it to make sure she was in fact healing. Satisfied, he kept hold of her arm, subconsciously wrapping his own around it as they reached the car.
Taglist; @woohoney @i-think-you-are-gr8 @maiabiovillage @catvader101 @theamazinghana @livinlifelikeishould @itsintothegreatbeyondstuff @reallysparklychaos @queenmissfit @shadowsndaisies
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Just Like You (24)
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23
Summary: You are an experiment, the first of its kind. One day you escape and are living a normal life when you run into a perfect stranger or was he?
Pairing: Bucky x Reader
Word Count: 5365
A/N: Well...it’s my birthday today so I decided to post a birthday chapter. I originally wanted to post this on March 10th but realized right as I was about to post, the first half of the chapter had already been posted so...I’m dumb. But it’s up for today even thought being quarantined has sucked the life out of me and will do the same for me today. I hope someone enjoys this but I don’t know. Enjoy.
Warnings: angst, non-cannon info (?), kissing, some fluff, google translate, flashback, POV switching, a little bit of a cliff hanger
Tags: @thisisthelilith, @thesalsafic, @fangirl1802, @lust-for-pan, @iamwarrenspeace, @the-red-world-of-jess-chibi, @ssweet-empowerment
1 Month Later
I walked into the hospital room and sat down on the bed next to her, like I did every day since we got here. She was still asleep, no surprise there.
So I pulled out the next letter, an identical match to the other ones I had written to her every day since we got here, and sat on the bed beside her. I looked over at the ever growing stack of them, sitting beside her bed, all 207 of them, and opened the newest one. I grabbed her hand, moved real close to her, and began the next letter.
It’s been 6 months, 3 weeks, and 6 days since everything was normal. But it’s also been, officially, 1 year since we left Bucharest. Happy 116th Birthday.
Steve wanted to come in and throw some kind of party for my 100th birthday but it feels wrong to celebrate today without you. I thought we would both make it to this day and even though you’re physically here, it’s not the same. I wanted to take you out to dinner and I wanted to bake you cupcakes and everything else I had planned for us last year. I want to do these things because you’re here and you deserve it, I don’t want to do anything without you.
Bruce and Tony have been working really hard to figure this out and everyone else has been looking for new HYDRA information everytime they go out on a mission. They said that they had an idea, they’ve been working on it for a while though so I don’t know if it’ll work. They came to your room a couple of days ago to explain this idea and I want to say that I understood everything they said but I would be lying…
I wanted to wait until I understood everything to write it down but maybe when you’re reading these it’ll make sense to you. They couldn’t stop talking about trying to control the serum, that they thought that there was a harmless way to move the serum from all over your body to just a part of your body. The serum would be concentrated enough for you to control but they couldn’t tell me what the after effects would be to do something like this. Would you be in pain as the serum moved? Would you feel the serum once it was concentrated? What would move it and what would make it stay once it was moved?
Unfortunately I didn’t get those answers and probably because I am being hard on them. I hate to admit it but the things I’ve learned about what HYDRA did to you, about all the things you’ve endured, it’s made it hard for me to accept these experiments. I don’t want you to go through any more pain, I don’t want you to have to deal with this. God if there was a way I could take away your pain, I would in a heartbeat. But it doesn't work that way.
So instead I’m just waiting for some kind of miracle to happen and maybe next year we’ll get to celebrate our birthdays together.
The three of us stood outside of the hospital room, looking in through the glass window, watching as bucky sat there reading another letter to a sleeping Y/N. The last six months have been nothing but a huge search for answers. If we weren’t in Wakanda sleeping or resting from a mission, we were on a mission. It kept us busy but it also didn’t yield many results which was the most frustrating part of it all. That and the fact that we still had you in a coma.
I had wanted so badly to have you awake for Bucky’s birthday...and yours too I guess. Which is why I was hoping to anyone listening that Tony was right in this experiment.
“Tony, how sure are you about this?”
“I’m at like...98%?”
“Well I need you to be at 198%. We didn’t tell Bucky we were doing this so it has to work.”
“Look...I know that everyone wants answers to whatever is happening but I don’t know them, I act like I have them but I don’t. What I do know 100%, is that Y/N will know something that we don’t know. She knows a lot more about everything, HYDRA or otherwise. My goal isn’t to fix her right now, I just need to plug the hole so that I can wake her up. We have to stabilize her and I think that pushing as much of the serum as possible away from her brain and her arm would give her the control that she needs to wake up and give us some of the answers we’re looking for.”
“And what about these robots?”
“Well, when we x-rayed Bucky we noticed a strange reaction happening in the shoulder joint near his arm. Because his arm was amputated and healed before putting the arm on, there’s no real connection between the flesh of his shoulder and the vibranium of the arm, that we can see anyway. And yet the serum is still drawn to the vibranium, it’s why we think the arm was used as an additional way of controlling him. We think that when Bucky is activated the combination of the serum and mind control is what makes him obedient to whoever controls him and the metal would essentially behave in the same manner because not only is it attached to him but it can mimic the same reaction as the serum.” Bruce said.
“There’s some kind of connection between the two that we don’t understand. We did tests on the serum and the vibranium and the results were always the exact same. Ther serum was made with basic chemistry, there’s not much in there that we couldn’t find in labs today but vibranium...there’s a reason it’s locked up here in Wakanda. They know how powerful it is, they know the strength behind their technology that uses it. HYDRA found out what it could do and they connected the two together and somehow it works. So we wanted to use the same methods against them, to save her.” Tony said
“The vibranium microbots that we injected into her IV a couple of days ago, will essentially connect with the serum and will slowly push the serum down to her legs. This will give us the time that we need to wake her up and figure out how to fix this for good.” Bruce finished.
“I really hope so.” I said.
I was sitting in the chair, feet propped up on the side of her bed, holding her hand and watching some TV show that I couldn't understand. I was going in and out of consciousness pretty frequently, but it wasn’t sticking and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was because every time I opened my eyes I was waiting for some kind of birthday miracle. I just wanted to see her eyes again maybe even her smile, but I could settle for one.
I must have finally given up because the next time I woke up the sun was starting to set and Steve was now sitting in the room.
“How’s it going?” He asked.
“The same as it has been for the last 200 days.”
“Well I know that you didn’t want to do anything for your birthday but I thought it would be nice to do a little something to hopefully bring up your spirits.” He pulled out a box and opened the lid, pulling out one of two cupcakes. He reached out to hand me one of them and I couldn’t help but think about the moment that we met two years ago.
March 10, 2015
Keep your eyes on the ground, hat pulled down low, don’t look suspicious. Be aware but don’t look paranoid. Don’t give anyone a reason to believe that you don’t belong there.
I kept these thoughts as a constant reminder, kept them right at the forefront of my mind. I escaped. I escaped and I’m okay.
I just had to keep moving, I had to find somewhere safe to live, somewhere where no one could find me. Was Bucharest far enough away from them? Could they find me here or do I need to keep moving?
I’m so tired of running. I’m tired. And hungry.
Just keep moving.
Just keep moving...right into someone.
I ran right into someone, the only downside to keeping your head down was that sometimes you couldn’t see who was right in front of you, especially if they’re not looking either. She had been holding something in her hands, a cupcake, I think, and it was now smothered between the two of us.
“Imi pare foarte rau.” (I’m really sorry.) She says first.
“Este bine.” (It’s good.) I didn’t want to make too much of a fuss about it but I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel bad about ruining her pastry. I looked up at her to apologize as well, but couldn’t get the words out when I saw her face. She was beautiful, simple as that, easily someone that I would have dated back when I was normal. And yet at the same time she was somehow familiar which was strange and I couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I didn’t want to perceive her as a threat but I could have taken her down if needed. I really didn’t want to though...
“Apartamentul meu e chiar acolo, dacă doriți să curețe.” (My apartment is right there if you want to clean up.) The gesture was nice and under different circumstances I wouldn’t hesitate to take her up on her offer, not only because I was covered in frosting, but because I felt like I wanted to spend more time with her.
When I looked at her, I saw flashes of my past. They weren’t of her, obviously given my age and the fact that she couldn’t be over 25, but she reminded me of that time. How easy it was back then to be attracted to someone, to want to pursue a relationship, to be normal...
“Da te rog.” (Yes please) She shyly smiled back at me and let me follow her back to her apartment. I watched her as we walked and the strange thing I noticed was that she walked exactly the same as I did, eyes to the ground, head down low, trying to make herself as small and as unnoticeable as possible.
I followed her into this building that wasn’t the nicest place in the city but was much nicer than anything I had been staying in since I left them. We walked up flight after flight of stairs, still paying close attention to her and finding it strange that she wasn’t winded at all by the distance we had gone up. Maybe she was used to it? Maybe I’m overthinking everything?
I pushed the thought aside and she unlocked her door letting me into the apartment first. The place was much nicer than the building, she didn't have much but what she did have went together. There were no pictures of anything and no real decorations, just a simple layout, like she hadn’t been there long. I’m overthinking again.
“Do you speak English?” She asked amongst my inspection of her apartment. Her english sounded okay, but the Russian accent was heavy and more alarming than I would have liked.
“Yes.” I replied.
“That’s great. The bathroom is just down the hall, on the right.” She pointed to the hallway to the left of the door where I was standing,
“Thank you.” I quickly disappeared into the restroom, removed my backpack and grabbed a clean shirt to put on. I tried my best to rinse out the dirty shirt and dry it before putting it back in my bag, but it was just going to have to be a little wet. I was about to head out when I looked in the mirror one last time. I took in a deep breath and just reminded myself to remain calm. There was no way that she was HYDRA, they didn’t know where I was. There was no way for them to know.
Eventually I calmed down enough to step outside the restroom and right as I opened the door I saw her coming out of her room, in a new shirt and a bottle of water in her hands, but she seemed a little more nervous now...which made me nervous.
“So, I’m really sorry about the cupcake. The baker down the street had given it to me as a birthday gift.” She said, once again apologizing. She also seemed a lot more shy, having not looked me in the eye since we got into her apartment.
“It’s your birthday?” I asked, surprised.
“Mine too.” When I said that she finally looked up at me.
“So birthday boy, do you have a name?” She smiled at me but immediately tried to hide it. I just looked at her and I hesitated because I was paranoid and because I wasn’t sure if I wanted her to know my name, but then again HYDRA never called me by my name let alone my nickname.
“Nice to meet you.” I tried to come off a little less tense but I think she could definitely tell that I was.
“Nice to meet you too. Can I get you anything? Water, food?”
“A water would be nice.” I was starving but I really didn’t want to impose, especially if she was an innocent bystander like I was trying to convince myself she was.
She made her way over to the kitchen and I absentmindedly followed her, just watching her move again. She was so graceful, there was just this sort of ease about the way she moved, almost mesmerizing. She looked back at me briefly to hand me the bottle of water and then grabbed a plum from a bowl on the counter.
She took a big bite of the fruit, trying her hardest not to look at me as she thought real hard about something, wrinkles forming on her forehead from the effort. I watched her lips move, the act itself being more mesmerizing than her movements; It was such a strange action from me. Keep my eyes on the ground, head down low, easy steps to follow and yet I couldn’t help but look at her.
I had to distract myself so I opened the bottle of water and nearly chugged the whole thing.
“Can I ask you something?” She said, cutting the thick tension in the room as if she had a knife in her hands.
“Have we met before? I know it’s a weird question and I don’t want to freak you out, but sometimes I have problems with my memory and I just feel like I have seen you before.”
“I don’t think we have but I’m kind of in the same boat as you. My memory is not in the best shape.”
“Then can I ask something else?”
“Okay.” Now she was making me very nervous. She hesitated before asking her next question, obviously just as nervous to ask.
“Do you know what HYDRA is?” I automatically took a few steps back, wanting to get as far away as I could.
“Who are you?” I asked, every single nerve on high alert and telling me to get away as fast as possible.
“So you do?” She seemed...scared. We couldn’t tear our eyes away from each other, watching each other intently.
“Can I explain myself?”
“If you try anything, you'll be dead before you know it.”
“I’m a soldier, the very first. I was born on March 10, 1901. My father was in charge of the HYDRA Siberian Facility and he willingly gave me over to be experimented on. I don’t remember much after that, the only thing that keeps running through my head, the only thing that I have never forgotten was putting a bullet in his head. It was August 17, 1963.” She looked upset and I couldn’t help but relax a little at her words. She was like me, she was running from them. And for the first time in a long time I began to trust again.
“You’re a soldier?”
“I am too. James Buchanan Barnes. I was born March 10, 1917. I fought in World War II with my best friend. I fell off a train and lost my arm. HYDRA found me and made me an arm of metal and then they made me their soldier.”
“I guess we really are in the same boat.” She relaxed too. The tension that had spiked as soon as she mentioned them was gone again and the thing that remained was that feeling from before, the attraction.
“It would appear that way.”
“So why are you in Bucharest?”
“About a year ago I had been on a mission. They sent me after the Avengers and I tried to kill my friend. I don’t want to hurt anyone and I don’t want HYDRA to find me. Anywhere I have gone just didn’t feel right and I was too nervous. Romania is what I thought of, something easy, familiar almost. I just got here but I want to start over really.”
“You can stay here if you want. I know it’s not ideal but I have a pull out couch and you wouldn’t have to pay for anything, at least until you get on your feet. And I’m sure we could help each other.”
“You want to be around someone like me?”
“We’re in the same boat remember?” She smiled at me and I couldn’t help but smile back, relief washing over both of us in waves. We would be okay.
God...her smile. It had had a way of lighting up a room.
I just stared at the cupcake...thinking about her smile.
Steve had left the room to find a lighter for the candle and I just held the pastry in my hand.
A vanilla cupcake with white frosting and blue sprinkles.
I laughed, how it was her favorite, I didn’t know. It was the only flavor she had ever tried.
I don’t know what I was expecting the cupcake to do, but I stared and stared at it hoping it would...do nothing I guess. It’s a cupcake. It wasn’t meant to do anything.
It made her smile though, so that was something.
But not now. There was no smile now. Just a cupcake.
I leaned over, elbows propped up on the side of her bed, my left hand holding up my head and the right holding the cupcake. I stared at the little cake decoration, declaring that it was my 100th birthday. Yippee for me.
“You better not drop that on me.” I heard, whispered to me. It took me a second to realize what just happened.
Now...some people would call me crazy for assuming first that it was the cupcake that had said that. Then again lets remember that the only other person who had been in the room had just been in a coma for 6 months and would be unstable and possibly kill us all if awoken from said coma. Also I probably could have allowed myself to leave the hospital every now and then so I wouldn’t go insane but that was a whole other issue.
But no...it was definitely her who had said it. I don’t know how but she was awake.
I genuinely smiled for the first time since we put her in a coma, placed the cupcake on the table beside the bed and grabbed her hand in mine.
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
I was really hoping that Tony’s plan worked. I told Bucky that I was leaving the room to get a lighter but I was kind of hoping that Y/N would be awake by now.
Tony said that these robots were in the right place and from what he could tell, she would be safe enough to wake up. So that’s what we did.
We waned her off the coma medication and with the serum burning off most medications quickly, we thought she would be awake already. It took a little longer than we thought though.
That was this morning, while Bucky was sleeping, and I had bought two cupcakes in the hope that she would be awake already but I guess we just had to give her more time.
To make Bucky less suspicious of me, I walked back into the room within a reasonable amount of time and looked over at him. He was on the bed with Y/N, arms wrapped around her, his head resting on her chest and she was awake. She was so calm, just running her fingers through his hair.
“Y/N?” I asked.
“Yeah. I’m not really sure about what happened, but he’s not really in the mood to tell me anything. He seems kind of angry.” She pointed at Bucky who had his eyes closed and had a scowl on his face.
“Come on Bucky...you should be happy right now.” He sat up and glared at me.
“I should be happy? I was happy and then realized that there was no natural way for her to be awake right now. All three of you perfectly explained that in order to wake her up we had to do some robot thing and something about moving the serum around. I know for a fact that I didn’t approve of that so then she should be asleep right? Not unless all of you lied to me and did it anyway. So I should be happy? I’ll be happy when you tell me that you didn’t do anything stupid, like expirementing on the one person I told you not to!”
“No! I had one request in all of this. I said no experiments! No guessing, no trials and errors! Nothing but answers!”
“We didn’t have the answers! It’s been six months and we couldn’t keep doing this. There’s only so much failure we can handle before it’s time to try something else. I let Tony do this because you needed her to be awake and frankly, so did we.”
“Okay...I’m thoroughly confused now.” We both looked at Y/N, who was just taking in everything we said.
So we stopped the argument for the meantime and took some time to catch her up on the last six months. She read all of his letters and Bucky seemed to calm down some, which was good. And while we explained everything it gave Tony and Bruce enough time to come to the room and explain the more scientific things, everything about the robots and the serum.
She seemed to be following okay but I could see that she seemed a little overwhelmed by everything.
“Why don’t we give the two of you a moment?” I said when the room was quiet. I ushered Tony and Bruce out of the room and we waited to see what Y/N wanted to do next. Everything was up to her at this point.
I was now sitting in the chair beside her bed and staring at the wall because I didn’t want Y/N to think I was mad at her.
“Look at me.” I took a deep breath and tried to soften my gaze before looking at her.
Even after being in a coma for six months, she was the most beautiful woman in the whole world. Seeing her smile, even though it wasn’t a full one, made me soften up; I felt my shoulders relax and my face unscrunched from its glare.
“Hi.” She said.
“There he is.”
“I really missed you.” I felt my eyes start to tear up.
“Come here.” I climbed back on the bed, sitting right beside her as close as possible, and she grabbed my hands, holding them in hers. I just sat there, looking at her hands, feeling her touch again, but not really having anything to say and yet having so much I should say. “Why are you so upset?”
“I just...I didn’t want them to do anything that could hurt you. And they went ahead and just did this experiment anyway, knowing that I had already said no and was not okay with trying this on you without more research to back it up. God knows, you’ve been experimented on enough and they couldn’t tell me if this was going to work or what the side effects were going to be and I didn’t want you to be in any pain.” I was like a fountain, just spewing everything I was feeling. I needed her to know everything. I needed her to know how badly I had messed up.
“But I’m not in any pain.”
“But you were...and everything was so bad and I didn’t know how to help you.”
“I hurt you. I had to hurt you to stop you. I had to break your arm so the whole building wouldn’t collapse on us. And then they had to put you under and you were gone...you were gone for six months!” I was sobbing by this point. I had pushed everything so far down that I didn’t realize just how hard I was beating myself up over everything that had happened. “They kept talking about the serum and how they didn’t know how it worked, they didn’t know anything other than what HYDRA had written down about the formula. And they said that they thought the best thing would be to activate you. To just straight up activate you and hope that the serum would burn away like it did the first time and yet they couldn’t even confirm that that would happen. So what, then you just do a quick little mission and all is fine? No! They don’t understand what we went through, they don’t understand what those words do to us or what we have to go through afterwards. I couldn’t put you through that, not after everything you’ve been through! All I ever wanted was for everything to be okay. I wanted you to be awake and I wanted us to move here so that everything could be like it was in Bucharest. I wanted you to be happy.” She just stared at me, knowing that I wasn’t done lifting the weight from my shoulders. “There was so much I couldn’t do. I couldn’t save you, I couldn’t stop Antonoff, I couldn’t find the answers to wake you up and I obviously couldn’t keep them from injecting some weird robots into you. I couldn’t do anything to help you.”
“First of all...all of that is untrue.” She reached out and started to wipe my tears away. “You have helped me more than anyone ever could. You helped bring back all of my memories, you protected me when we left Bucharest, you fought for me when I was activated, but most of all you love me like no one ever has before. There are things that are just out of our control. Antonoff was never going to back down and even though we all knew he outnumbered us you still fought him. With the serum...there’s a lot to still understand and there are reasons that HYDRA never shared or even wrote down the things that were most important to them. And the robots, well I’m not exactly sure about those yet but it sounds like Tony, Bruce and Steve had the right idea. They were thinking of you, thinking about how they were going to get me back to you. So yes we’ve been through a lot, probably more than any one person should ever deserve to go through, but I’m not upset with you or with Steve or Bruce or Tony. What matters to me is that I’m here with you and I’m okay. We can still have that life that we always dreamed of and we’ll figure out a way to permanently fix this serum problem of mine. We just need to take each day a step at a time and we’ll get through this just like we always do.”
She pulled me to her and kissed me the way I should have kissed her when I saw that she was awake.
“This is all I want right now.”
“Don’t be sorry.”
“I just—you were gone for so long. And I didn’t know what would be the best thing or the worst thing to do. I didn't want to hurt you and I didn’t want to make it worse. I just got so...scared.”
“You don’t have to shoulder this alone anymore. And you definitely don’t need to be scared, when are you going to learn that I’m always going to come back to you?”
“Maybe you should remind me.”
“You just want me to kiss you again.”
“Can you blame me?”
This time I kissed her, moving on the bed to lay down beside her so that I could feel as much of her as I could.
I pushed everything out of my head and just allowed myself to feel normal again, to love the woman that I loved more than anything in the world. It had been six months since I had kissed her, since I had held her, since I had done anything with her resembling the life we once had. It was this moment where the haze had cleared and for the first time in half a year that everything was okay.
We kissed like two people starved. It was a mixture of, for me, not wanting him to feel bad about everything that had happened to me, for him, not having any real connection to me in six months, and genuine need to be close to one another.
We heard the door open and were cut off when Tony, who had his eyes covered, interrupted us.
“Person coming in! I don’t want to see any body parts that are normally hidden!”
“Tony.” Steve said, slapping his arm and making him look at him who wasn’t hiding his eyes.
“We just wanted to make sure everything was okay now.” Bruce said.
“Yeah everything’s good.” Bucky said to me with a smile on his lips.
“Good, we’re very happy that you’re awake Y/N.” Steve said, smiling at me.
“I am too. But I actually would be a lot happier if I could get some coffee.”
“You and your coffee.” Bucky mocked.
“You’re the one who got me hooked on it.”
“Do you mind?”
“I’ll be right back.”
“Anything for you.”
He climbed off the bed and put his shoes back on. I grabbed his hand before he was able to get too far and pulled him back to me one more time, giving him a quick kiss.
“Happy Birthday Bucky.”
“Happy Birthday Y/N.”
He gave me one more kiss before leaving me with the other three guys in the room.
“So I just have a couple of questions to ask before Bucky gets back.”
“Yeah?” Tony asked.
“What are the side effects of using these robot things? Or I guess having the serum so concentrated?”
“We actually don’t know, we weren’t able to test this outside of the lab.” Bruce confirmed my worry.
“I was just asking because...I can’t feel my legs.”
They just looked at me with horror in their eyes and fear that maybe they hadn’t been right in doing this experiment so soon.
And yet the most feared question, the one that was most likely in all of our minds:
What was I going to tell Bucky?
Let me know what you think here
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Semi-Useful Notes for Writing for THE ROYAL TUTOR
(Author’s Note: This includes all twelve episodes of the anime (plus the movie), as well as up through Chapter 84 of the manga (18 Oct 2019) and what info I can glean from the Character Book (unfortunately it’s all in Japanese). I will continually update this post as the series progresses and new spiffy stuff shows up, so visit my Master List of my ROYAL TUTOR Stuff to see the latest version.)
While writing A Noble Soul (which is done, by the way!), I had the idea that I personally love the little touches of authenticity that make a story more 'real,' and hey, if nothing else, I learn a few things along the way. (I *am* a researcher, after all!) So I did a lot of searching to find the real-world analogues of the buildings, references, history, and so forth from the series. As you’ll see in the descriptions, I explain how I determined which ones were which.
You’re welcome to post questions, comments, share this, etc. Hope it helps anyone else who wants to write for the ROYAL TUTOR fandom! (Quick question - would everyone prefer me to include chapter references for stuff? It’d make this post much longer, but if the fandom thinks it’d be useful, I can give it a shot.)
So, here we go!
GRANZREICH FAMILY INFO
Viktor von Granzreich, current ruler of the kingdom of Granzreich, assumed the throne at 18 (considering his father’s much later death, this may have been for reasons of health on his father’s part, possible abdication on his father’s part, or other political reasons)
Maria von Granzreich, Viktor’s mother, still living
NOTE: Her sibling (name and gender as yet unmentioned) is the Queen’s parent
Father’s name as yet unmentioned, died of natural causes at ‘a ripe old age’
NOTE: The princes mention in earlier chapters that they do remember their grandfather from when they were small, so his death is relatively recent)
Viktor’s wife (appears only once in flashback, name as yet unmentioned)
NOTE: One of her siblings (not sure if brother or sister) is the parent of Beatrix von Lothringen
(Beatrix also has three younger brothers and one younger sister)
Eins von Granzreich, Viktor’s eldest child and firstborn son
Kai von Granzreich, Viktor’s second son
Currently engaged to Beatrix von Lothringen, first cousin to the princes
Bruno von Granzreich, Viktor’s third son
Leonhard von Granzreich, Viktor’s fourth son
Licht von Granzreich, Viktor’s fifth son
Adele von Granzreich, Viktor’s sixth child and only daughter
GRANZREICH (real world analogue: Austria)
Granzreich population: ~6 million
Side note: Both Viktor and Leonhard are shown riding white horses - these are the famed Lipizzaner stallions, from the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria
Other side note: Viktor’s typical outfit is clearly inspired by the military field uniform of Franz Josef I, Emperor of Austria (the white variant that the princes wear on some of the covers/inside art is the gala/formal version); the three medals shown on Viktor’s uniform are the Order of the Golden Fleece around his neck, what appears to be a simplified version of the Long Service Cross over his heart, and what appears to be a simplified version of a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Maria Theresa just below that (a round circle with a cross).
90% of Granzreich’s population is Gherman (see below)
3% of Granzreich’s population is Kvel (see below)
Wienner (capital) (real world analogue: Vienna, Austria)
Wienner's population: ~1.3 million
Weissburg/Weisburg Palace (both spellings are used) (real world analogue: Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria) - specifically, the part often shown as denoting the palace is the Neue Berg wing
Karl Theater (real world analogue: Carltheater) - operettas
Remnant Theater (possible real world analogue: Raimund Theatre) - operettas
National Opera House (real world analogue: Staatsoper (originally Vienna Court Opera)) - opera house
National Art Museum (real world analogue: Kunsthistorisches Museum - directly opposite the palace, it is the largest art museum in the country; the image of the museum behind Heine when he announces the prize matches the façade of the building)
Granzreich University (real world analogue: there is no University of Austria, per se, but there is the University of Graz (the second largest city in Austria), which is the second largest and second oldest university in Austria)
Wienner University (real world analogue: University of Vienna, the building shown in both the anime and the manga is the main building - this is where Doctor Dmitri (and later Bruno) comes to lecture – it is also recognized as a leading institution for studies in Humanities – Bruno would do well here studying Philosophy!)
Prunksaal (real world analogue: Prunksaal) – the national library (also housed within the palace in another building)
Within the Prunksaal is the Royal Archive, where historical documents, judicial records, going back hundreds of years, and other documents the royal family keeps from one generation to another are preserved; only royals and a fraction of statesmen are permitted to use it (this is the place referenced in the anime that Prince Licht says even princes can’t visit without the king’s express permission)
The plaza/fountain where the KaseKrainer stand is (real world analogue: Donnerbrunnen Fountain in the center of the Neuer Markt)
Granzreich Military Academy (real world analogue: Theresian Military Academy (one of the oldest in the world) - yearly had 100 nobles and 100 commoners enrolled)
Princes are enrolled at the age of 15 (in-series)
Schwarz Palace (real world analogue: Schloss Neuwaldegg, aka Villa Schwarzenberg - at first I thought this was the Palais Schwarzenberg, but double-checking the architecture confirms it's the Schloss) - in-series, given to a general who played a major role in the war 150 years ago by the reigning king, Friedrich IV, and currently Prince Eins’ residence
Kohl Street, the site of Café Mitter Meyer's second location (real world analogue: Kohlmarkt, which is indeed right next to the palace, and leads past the Catholic Church of St. Peter)
The train station (mentioned in-series when Viktor gives directions, as well as the departure point for various trips) (real world analogue: Wien Südbahnhof, Vienna’s main train station)
Wienner Grand Hotel (mentioned in-series as Herman Koenig’s previous place of employ) (real world analogue: Grand Hotel Wien, Vienna’s first Grand Hotel, opened in 1870, and *the* last word in elegance - Herman would have worked in the Kavalierbar, the hotel’s bar/lounge)
Augustinian Church (Augustinerkirche) (not mentioned in series, just a useful note) - the parish church of the royal court (located next to the Hofburg)
Salzichl (the royal villa and hot springs) (real world analogue: the Kaiser Therme at Bad Ischl, aka the ‘Emperor’s Spa, favoured holiday resort of Emperor Franz Joseph I - and yes, the architecture as shown in the manga is exactly what the villa looks like... Leonhard would his own reasons to love it there, as it also has a renowned pastry shop)
Fonsein/Fonseine (both spellings are used, though Fonseine is used more often) (real world analogue: France)
Capital - Fleur (real world analogue: Versailles - while the capital of France is actually Paris, Versailles was the primary residence of French royalty until the revolution, and the art in the manga depicts the Palace of Versailles and its famed gardens (which, as Bruno ruefully notes, are in fact larger than the gardens of Weissburg Palace, aka the Hofburg). Rather than differentiate between Versailles and Paris (approximately 15 miles away), the manga conflates the two of them together, as the map that Claude shows the princes depicts Paris’s center. Also, the manga accurately states it’s a half-day from Wienner to Fleur by train - at a guess, the train station that the princes arrive at is Gare de l’Est.) Some of the famous sights in Fleur include:
The Etoile Arc (real world analogue: the Arc de Triomphe, and as Claude points out, is a monument to France’s endurance through war and hardship, and is carved with bas-reliefs indicating peace and friendship)
The Opera House (real world analogue: the famed Paris Opera House (immortalized in literature by Gaston Leroux in his novel The Phantom of the Opera), stated to have been completed “five years ago” (as the Paris Opera House was completed in 1875, this puts the current date at 1880-ish)
The Art Museum (real world analogue: the museum depicted here is the Louvre, and Claude is not kidding when he says you could spend a week and STILL not see all the art museums in Paris)
The Cathedral (real world analogue: Notre-Dame de Paris - immortalized in literature by Victor Hugo is his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, although Leonhard possibly mis-translates Claude’s description as to when it was built - Notre-Dame de Paris was completed FIVE hundred and fifty years earlier, not FOUR hundred and fifty)
The Department Store (real world analogue: because the interior art is so limited, this is likely one of three places - Le Bon Marché, the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville (BHV), or Printemps Haussman)
Current queen: Queen Isabelle (distant blood relatives of the same family as the von Granzreichs) (real world analogue: debatable, as post-1870, France was ruled by republican government, rather than a monarchy - also as of Chapter 69, Claude confirms that his mother and father are both abroad (so yes, Isabelle is currently married).
Her son, Claude, first prince of Fonseine, the only child (and a child not much older than Adele, and THIS is Adele's intended fiance!) (I was under the impression she was affianced to someone else already!)
Granzreich and Fonseine have been in friendly relations for the past 200 years through royal intermarriage
AND EINS IS TO BE ENGAGED TO SOMEONE IN FONSEINE (correction - Eins is later revealed to be engaged to the Princess of Belgian (see below); however given the close intermarriages between their real world analogues of France, Austria, Spain, Germany, and Belgium, this may have been a negotiation point between Fonseine and Granzreich for upcoming treaties or other political purposes)
Beyer (real world analogue: Bavaria (southern state in Germany))
Belgian (real world analogue: Belgium)
Current queen: Queen Charlotte (real world analogue: Charlotte, Princess of Wales, wife to Leopold I of Belgium)
Princess Paola, second princess of Belgian (later referred to in Chap 77 as Charlotte) (real world analogue: Charlotte, later Empress of Mexico - possible reason for the name change is to avoid confusion - her brothers are also mentioned in the chapter... real life analogues for them would be Leopold II and Phillippe (their third brother died in infancy)
Viktor confirms in Chap 77 that the two nations are still on good terms
Ghermany (real world analogue: Germany)
Iel (real world analogue: Palestine/Israel)
Kingdom fell 1800 years ago. Kvel is used more as an indication of the Jewish populace rather than a specific nation, both in terms of bloodline and social/religious heritage
Madri (real world analogue: Spain)
Nederland/Neterlanden (both spellings are used) (real world analogue: the Netherlands)
Orosz (manga)/Erosz (anime) (real world analogue: Russia)
Capital - Pietarigrad (real world analogue: St. Petersburg - while the capital of Russia is Moscow, St. Petersburg (at one point named Petrograd) is Russia's second largest city, is Russia's cultural capital, and is the port city referenced here) (and it's 1800 km from Wienner to Pietarigrad, and the railroad route they show IS accurate to travel from Vienna to St. Petersburg!)
Grand Hotel Orosz (real world analogue: Grand Hotel Europe (confirmed via pictures of the architecture compared to the manga; opened in 1875, and one of the three most luxurious hotels in St Petersburg)
Orosz University (real world analogue: Saint Petersburg State University, the oldest university in Russia)
Doctor Dmitri references an art museum while discussing Pietarigrad (real world analogue: the Russian Museum)
Grand Theater (real world analogue: Mariinsky Theatre, the preeminent music theatre of late 19th century Russia, and the site of the premieres of most of Russia's most famous ballets, operas, and other music)
Romano (real world analogue: Russia or POSSIBLY Poland, more on that in a second)
King: Alexander Alexandrovitch Romano (real world analogue: Czar Alexander II)
Crown Prince Ivan Alexandrovitch Romano
Prince Eugene Alexandrovitch Romano
Russian uses patronymic names, so your middle name is a derivative of your parent)
ALTERNATE real world analogue: Poland - since Austria and Russia do not share a border (and mention is made of inspecting mines on the border between their nations), it’s possible that instead Romano (while borrowing heavily from Russian inspiration for names) is actually Poland. (Rationale: what is modern-day Czechia was originally part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, which DOES share a border with Poland.) While Polish is traditionally written in Latin script, it *can* be written in Cyrllic.
I’m still nailing down whether the Romano flag is based on an actual nation flag.
Venezia/Veneto (both are used) (real world analogue: Venice)
Laguna Empire (real world analogue: TBD)
Kingdom of Kataro (possible real world analogue: Qatar)
Yapan (real world analogue: Japan)
Eastern Continent (real world analogue: Asia)
Western Continent (real world analogue: Europe)
1 florin = 100 kreutzer (real world analogue: the florin and the kreutzer, ratio the same following Austria-Hungary's decimalization of the currency system in 1857)
A doll costs 55 kreutzer
The Royal Guard makes 30k kreutzer/year (300 florins/year, as per the anime and the manga)
The ransom for Maximilian and Heine was to be 1500 florins, or 150,000 kreutzer… meaning the ransom for Kai at 1 million florins was 100 million kreutzer -- Heine wasn't kidding when he says it's the annual budget for a small country in the 1880s, (In the manga, the ransom is set at 300,000 florins for the prince, and 1500 florins for Heine and Maximilian)
Licht, on the other hand, earns 120 florins working at the cafe... which strikes me as odd because he only works one shift a week (even if a shift is potentially 12 hours). Now, this might actually be him figuring he works full-time, which would make more sense. But this has to be a YEARLY income, there’s no way he makes this much in a month if a member of the Royal Guard makes 300 florins a year.
Rosenberg quotes a rent of 150 florins for a 2br flat... again, this has to be for a year, there’s no way this is monthly.
Economic crisis 30 years ago (real world analogue: the European financial crisis beginning in the 1850s)
Granzreich's main industries: porcelain and wine
Also agriculture, according to the author's notes at the end of Vol 2
COMMUNICATION: Cables/telegrams are now fast enough for a 24-48hr message even all the way across Europe -- and crossing the English channel by ferry takes 1.5-2hrs
LOCAL TRAVEL: Primarily carriages, horseback, and walking -- trains are for longer-distance travel
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL: You can get from London to Perm, Russia within SEVEN DAYS
TRAINS: The Orient Express (1883) went from Paris to Vienna in 15 hours overnight (not much different from now, actually!)
TELEPHONES: The telephone exchange does exist but the infrastructure is still VERY new and not heavily in use yet
POWER: Electricity is rapidly gaining ground for newer construction, but older buildings are still using gas, lamps, candles, etc.
1880′s EUROPEAN CULTURE:
Ballet, opera, operettas, plays, music
Social halls are still separated by 'class' (nobility vs commoner)
Popular dances in Europe at this point include the waltz (DUH, this is Vienna), the redowa, the mazurka, the polka (big shock with Germany next door), the cotillion, and the varsouvienne (another Polish dance)
Social etiquette at an event included the use of 'dance cards' (or fans!) - these were presented with a list of the songs/dances to be held over the course of the event, and if a gentleman wished to engage a lady for one, he wrote down his name (like making a reservation)
There is a TON of information out there about how one does (and does not) behave at a social event during that day and age, and safe bet that our dear princes have had it drilled into them from the time they were small. Some fun ones include:
WHY one wears gloves (because bare hands indicates holding hands, which is SHOCKINGLY intimate)
Not dancing with the same partner more than once (unless you're either engaged or about to be, because it puts you on intimate terms with your partner)
What is socially acceptable to eat at a party (the reason trifles and 'snacks' are served is so no one can embarrass themselves at table)
Games are occasionally combined with dancing (if you've seen AMADEUS, where during the masquerade they're playing Musical Chairs as they dance, and the loser has to pay a forfeit, you get the idea)
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“I Broke You.”
A fic brought on by too much caffiene, a spurr of creativity caused by the new OW character, and a lovely lady on FB who showed me her texts from a friend. Thanks Jasmine! this was fun as hell to write, cause its been so long since ive given it a go.
Rating: M for extreme violence, language, possibly psychological warfare.
Ship: Moira/Mercy?? in some fucked up way i suppose.
Word Count: 1,637
‘Worms. Little, tiny worms… floating in the air, almost transparent. The moment I try to look closer, they disappear. Over and over, like a rather unfortunate game of hide and seek. I know they’re not real, yet I find myself chasing them with my eyes. How frivolous.’ The scientist huffed, her head swaying momentarily in a pathetic attempt to clear her thoughts. Sleep deprivation always did one of two things to her: complete hyper focus, or the opposite. And today was the latter.
“When will we arrive?” Moira groaned, tilting her head towards the pilot.
“ETA is 30 minutes, ma’am.”
“Well, hurry. Sombra stated the security systems will only be down for another hour.”
Her head fell against the back rest as she travelled into her thoughts. She began to go over the plan once more, so that no detail was left unnoticed. She made sure to not be as forgetful as the others.
‘Go through entrance H… Reaper takes care of the guards… Sombra oversees that security is taken care of and no one wakes up… I follow the hallway, take a right…. Room 203. Once I’m in, I grab the research, the samples… and get the hell out before the security systems turn themselves back on. I’m curious as to what she’s found, it’s been a long time since I’ve overseen her research, I’m sure she has grown. Angela was incredibly intelligent, really a shame she let morals get in the way of her incredible advancements…’
Moira searched the cluttered counter haphazardly, throwing anything that wasn’t the documents. She NEEDED to see what Angela had found, what that brilliant young mind had conjured. If it was advanced enough for the young doctor not to speak of it, it HAD to be the key to furthering her own experiments.
“Ah, there you are.” She cooed, opening the file. What the older doctor had seen was everything she had hoped it was. Dr.Ziegler had finally found the formula for rapid cellular regeneration, and quite possibly, resurrection if caught quickly enough. The geneticist’s eyes went wide, her heart beating rapidly. She needed to test the formula, now. To see if it truly worked.
To the lab she went, file in hand. And after several sleepless hours, she had conjured the serum. It was warm to the touch, indicating an odd chemical reaction was taking place. The sight of the deep, indigo liquid swirling rapidly was unlike anything she had seen before.
“Now… who to test it on…” the woman quipped, looking around the lab for any animal or test subject she could find. Nothing.
‘If no one is here… then I’m the only one. It’s a risk, but a risk worth taking. Would I truly be a scientist if I didn’t take risks when needed?’ she thought to herself, laying on the cold, stiff padded chair. She prepared the injection site, cleaning her arm thoroughly before placing the injection mount. The shiny piece of metal clung to her skin, allowing the vial to be injected quickly, and without fail. With a huff, the vial was screwed into the mount, needle nanometres away from her skin.
“All set…. Dia cabhrú liom.” With those words, she pressed the trigger. Within seconds, the white-hot serum was rushing through her bloodstream. She wanted to scream, the agonizing pain unlike anything she had felt before. It felt as if every single cell in her body was being cauterized, the liquid destroying any tissue it found, like acid. The torment lasted about 3 minutes, but it was the longest 3 minutes of the scientist’s life. However, the young Irishwoman was not expecting such pleasant after effects. Her body felt clean, chilled, fresh, and her skin bright and glowing. It’s the strongest she had ever felt.
She smiled, remembering her incredible discovery. No one knew what she had done that night, save for Angela, who found out much later. ‘she was only upset I put her research to use, instead of letting it rot in a desk file for 50 years, or whenever Overwatch deems it “safe to use”. The girl didn’t understand the importance of her own work.’ Moira thought to herself, before the jets altitude began to drop at a familiar rate. They have arrived.
She unclasped the seat belt, fading out of the jet and onto the base. Reaper quickly followed suit, while Widowmaker stayed back, in case cover fire was needed. The mercenaries touch was all it took to wipe the guards of their lives, and the Irishwoman couldn’t help but giggle at the monster she had created. He was exactly what she had imagined, and then some.
“let’s move.” He growled, fading into the shadows so that he may take care of any other guards about the facility.
Moira made a beeline to the office, knowing she was on borrowed time. 4 minutes before security systems are back up. ‘188…. 194…197… 200…. 201… 203!’ with a quick fade, she was in the lab. “now, where are those samples?” she questioned, thinking aloud.
She knew that voice.
“Angela. I thought you would be asleep. This is… quite troublesome.” She sighed, turning around to face her old co-worker.
“I’d love to stay and chat, old friend, but I’m afraid I don’t have time for your thoughtless questions. Allow me to take… those.” Moira declared, pointing at her prize, and the whole reason for this adventure.
“And I’ll be on my way.” The words rolled off her tongue like silk, but Angela was not amused. Moira darted toward them, pocketing both the samples and the documents before she ran toward the door, heals clicking against the marbled concrete.
“Hey! I won’t allow you to leave with those!” Angela yelled, her tone filled with malice and hatred, something very rare for the normally sweet Overwatch agent. A pale hand darted towards the redhead, grabbing hold of the garb that flowed beneath her arm and halting her in her tracks.
“Unhand me, child!” Moira spat, the seconds she has left quickly ticking away.
BEEP BEEP. “SECURITY SYSTEMS RESUMED. RUNNING DIAGNOSTICS ON INTERNAL DATABASES…”
‘Shit.’ Moira thought to herself, knowing full well that her only hope of getting out was reaper, if he wasn’t already electrocuted. The scientist was fuming with anger, the perfect plan set in place ruined by her once counterpart.
“You… insolent… FOOL.” Moira growled, losing her patience. ‘No... If I’m stuck here, I must keep calm… maybe, just maybe I can have some fun with her. Let the experimentation begin.’ Her features softened, a coy smirk being the only thing left on her expression.
“You’re not leaving with my research AGAIN. You’re stuck here, until I alert the authorities. Your reign of terror is ending, Moira. you won’t harm another soul with my work. Had I had the opportunity, I would’ve done this sooner, after Gabriel.” She spat, pulling out her cell phone and dialling the security desk number.
“Scheisse…” the doctor cursed. Of course, Sombra had made sure the phone lines were dead. Moira chuckled. ‘Gabriel, hm? I sense a weak point. Time to stab it.’
“Ahh, but Gabriel isn’t Gabriel anymore. He’s the Reaper, and Angela, with your discovery, and my pure talent, we’ve made such an incredible monster. You should really take a look, watch him drain the life of others. Nothing is more incredible.” She teased, making sure the intel was safe before stepping forward, now only inches away from the smaller doctor.
Angela’s anger began to boil, her body shaking as tears welled up in her eyes. She didn’t want to think about what happened to Gabriel, because it was, in fact, her research. ‘No… This is NOT my fault…. Its HERS. Not mine.’ Angela thought to herself, as the anger stewed even more inside her.
“YOU made a monster. Not me. YOU turned my best friend into a thing that can’t even be considered human. NOT ME.” The doctor yelled, a few tears running down her face. Her fists began to ball up, knuckles turning white as she grips her lab coat.
“Ah, but I wouldn’t have done it without you, dear. Without that night alone, in your lab. So, Thank you.” The Irishwoman cooed mockingly, a finger traveling up her neck and onto her chin. ‘How pathetic. I wonder how long until she breaks? How long before I get her to bend to my will?’ Moira thought to herself, her smug grin growing wider across her face.
“no… thank you.” Angela stated flatly. She couldn’t take it anymore. Just seeing this woman made her blood boil, let alone the torture of being in the same room with her until she can contact someone. ‘Only one way to shut her up.’ The Swiss’ fist swung upwards, and into the older woman’s jaw. It hurt so, so much, but her anger was far more important than the state of her hand. She could always fix it later.
Moira stumbled, the small, bony fist catching her completely off guard. She laughed. ‘yes, Angela. Loose control. Do it.’
The doctor swung again, this time in the ribs. CRACK. Her hand began to throb, but it just felt too good to hear Moiras’ bones crushing under her hands. The broken scientist fell to her knees, then to her side, spitting out blood as Angela continued to punch. Over and over, almost in a rhythm of hatred, until she was too physically exhausted to try anymore.
Moira coughed, the wet, gurgling noise echoing in the otherwise dead quiet lab room. Her face felt 8 times larger than she’s used to, blood everywhere she looks. It’s so hard to see the source, with her eyes almost swollen shut. She laughed, staring into Angela’s eyes as she sat up from the floor.
“I broke you.”
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A Beautiful Lie and Painful Truth [Chapter Three]
Summary: Frankenstein Inspired. All Phil wanted to do was help people. Instead he was the apprentice to an eccentric old doctor in smoggy old England. He didn’t expect the doctor to dig up a body. He certainly didn’t expect the body to wake up.
Warnings: Murder, character death (but it doesn’t last), violence, abuse, homophobia
Previous Chapters: (1), (2)
It is our terrible task to present the details of a murder committed a few evenings ago. On Thursday evening last, Mr. Daniel Howell, previously known as the son of the prestigious Howell family and a talented pianist, was murdered. His body was discovered in the River Thames where he had been strangled to death by the murderer.
The Howell family is pleading for any information on the untimely death of their beloved son. Mr. Howell’s fiance, Eliza Barton, also tearfully pleads for justice for her slain love. The Queen graciously had offered a reward of 200 pounds for the information leading to the arrest of this scoundrel.
Phil’s fingers trembled as he read and reread the story. The pageboy gave a frustrated grunt as Phil stayed right in front of him and eventually pushed past him to sell more newspapers to the bustling crowd.
Finally, he managed to fold the paper several times and shove it into his coat before he continued on with the crowd. He hadn’t connected the name Daniel Howell with the Howell family. They owned several factories and were practically swimming in money.
Most importantly, everyone knew where they lived.
As if possessed by some other force, Phil walked through the busy streets before he found himself among perfectly manicured lawns and elegant buildings.
Once, when he was a small child his father had taken him to London and pointed to the streets. He had told him with pride in his eyes that one day when he was a successful doctor he would live among the wealthy like the Howells.
Phil wandered down the street, feeling out of place in his threadbare coat and scuffed shoes. Finally he came upon an elegant manor with the name Howell on a plaque near the front door.
With a deep breath, he knocked on the door.
“How may I help you?” A young woman dressed neatly in a maid’s uniform asked.
“Oh…I…” Had he come up with something to even say? “I wanted to express my condolences about the young Master Howell.”
Sorrow passed over the young girl’s face. “It is dreadfully sad. He was the kindest young man…I’m afraid that the family is not accepting visitors at this time but I will make sure to let them know you came to call Mr…”
“Lester,” he flinched, realizing that he probably shouldn’t have given his read name. “And it is just fine. I just…thank you.”
He started back down the steps, ears burning, when a voice called out. “Margaret, who is it?”
“Mr. Lester to express his condolences,” the girl was turning and closing the door when another woman appeared.
“You don’t have to leave so quickly sir,” the woman gave him a warm smile. She was a beautiful girl with her dark hair pulled up on top of her head. Her gown was pitch black and elegant gloves were pulled up to her elbows.
“I don’t want to disturb you…”
“Nonsense,” the woman waved her hand. “Please come in for tea.”
Too uncomfortable to refuse, Phil stepped into the house. The servant took his coat with a raised eyebrow and he followed the woman into the parlor.
“So, tell me how you knew my fiance,” the woman turned to him and his heart stuttered.
“I…I was a friend of his,” Phil finally managed as he took a seat on the edge of the sofa. “I am so very sorry about your fiance.”
Her blue eyes fixed on him for a moment as she took a cup of tea from her servant. “I am too. Daniel was a wonderful man. Where did you meet?”
“Um…I’m an apprentice for a doctor and he met me at the office. We struck up a friendship,” Phil shrugged and stared at the milky liquid in his cup.
A soft smile spread across Eliza’s face and she leaned back. “I knew I would meet one of Daniel’s friends eventually. You must have cared for him deeply.”
“He was a good friend,” Phil said shortly, confused by her expression.
Eliza tapped her finger on her tea cup and pursed her lips. “How did you really meet Daniel?”
I helped reanimate his body and now he is alive in my office. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Don’t you?” Her eyebrow arched. “You seem like a kind young man Mr. Lester. Daniel did not have many friends outside the family. I know for a fact that he hasn’t been to a doctor in a very long time. How did you meet my fiance?”
“I…I…” Phil wanted to jump up and run but was frozen by her gaze.
“It is alright,” Eliza smiled warmly. “Ive known about Daniel’s…interests since we were children. If you came all this way to pay your respects you must have meant something dear to him.”
When Phil didn’t respond her smile dropped and she leaned back. “Unless…oh damn it all. I can’t…well, does it even matter any more?”
Tears flooded her eyes and she sucked in a shaky breath. Phil leaned forward, taking her gloved hand in his. “I won’t tell a soul. I swear.”
“I apologize…I usually can hold myself together much better,” Eliza dabbed at his eyes with a napkin. “Thank you.”
“Of course,” Phil smiled at her and she sighed.
“Daniel and I grew up within the same social circle. We always knew we were going to be married,” Eliza said softly, tugging at her gloves. “He was my best friend. We would get into so much trouble as children, always stealing treats and ruining our clothes after running around in mud. Our parents would be so angry. Then we had to act like young man and women and things changed. Daniel confessed to me that…that…”
“He wasn’t interested in women,” Phil said and Eliza nodded.
“I didn’t care. He was my best friend and I only wanted his happiness,” she blinked furiously again. “I shouldn’t tell you any of this. I’ve never told a soul but…I want you to know that I don’t hate you. If Daniel found love then that is what is important.”
The words caught in his throat and Phil just nodded. Maybe he could give this woman some closure.
“And you two would still be married?” He asked and Eliza laughed.
“We made an agreement that he would continue being happy and maybe I could find someone to love me the way he could not. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if we could sit together as wife, husband and lovers? How modern of us,” she giggled then her face became serious. “I just wanted him safe.”
“Did he often search out companionship?” Phil twisted his hands together.
“Daniel was a handsome young man, of course he did. He…he was out that evening in fact. Someone must have found out and…” Her body shuddered. “I hate to imagine how scared he must have been in his final moments.”
Phil swallowed and nodded. Daniel risked death just being with someone he wanted to be with. If the dangers of going to see strange men weren’t enough he risked being executed if he was ever found out.
The life Daniel led before his death had to have been heartbreaking. He had to always live in fear.
“He was lucky to have someone like you in her life,” Phil finally said and Eliza smiled.
“And you too,” she said softly. “I don’t want to live my life in mourning. Daniel wouldn’t have wanted that, he wouldn’t want that for you either. All we can do is try to teach others that love is love. No one should be afraid to love someone else…no one should die because of who they love.”
Phil nodded, feeling a weight in his chest. Should he just tell Eliza that her fiance was alive? Again, the words stuck in his throat. She had lost her best friend in a horrible way and seemed like she was finally moving on.
“I shouldn’t take up any more of your time,” Phil stood, making sure that his delicate cup was placed on the table. “But it was lovely to meet you.”
“You as well,” Eliza smiled. “Thank you for coming, you have really put my mind to rest. All I wanted for Dan was for someone to care for him the way he deserved.”
Phil nodded, still feeling dazed. The conversation repeated in his mind over and over again as he slowly walked through the streets.
Why had he just played along with Eliza’s misconceptions? He had pretended to be the man’s lover for goodness sake. Maybe it was because he wanted her to have a little peace after Daniel’s passing. Maybe he wanted her to think that he had someone who loved him instead of him trying to chase down happiness and only finding death.
When Phil finally returned to the office he locked the door behind him and hung up his coat. Ever since Dan woke up Thompson had closed to dedicate time to his study which only led to bills piling up.
“Phil?” He smiled at Dan’s voice when he walked into the main room. It was amazing how far Dan had come with speaking and walking.
“Hello Dan,” Phil greeted him and the young man walked towards him, stumbling faintly. “Have you had supper yet?”
Dan cocked his head to the side, seemingly not understanding. Sometimes it felt like he was talking to a cat or dog instead of a person.
“Okay, let me get that started,” he made his way to the kitchen to quickly make up a bowl of porridge.
Dan ate slowly but his fine motor skills were far better than before. His hands barely trembled and he was neat. With a sigh, Phil sat in the chair across from him and studied the man in front of him.
Was any of the person Dan used to be still there?
“What do you remember from before?” Phil asked and Dan glanced up. “Do you remember your family? Your home? Eliza?”
A flicker of recognition flashed in Dan’s eyes and his brow furrowed.
“You played the piano, remember?” Phil asked softly and Dan spread his hands out on the table, apparently fixated on them. After a few minutes of nothing, Phil sighed and leaned back.
In his old village there was a man who had been kicked in the head by a horse. He had reverted to acting like a child and needed constant care. Maybe Dan was like that now? What kind of life was that?
His thoughts were interrupted by Dan softly humming to himself. Curious, Phil glanced over to see Dan with his head tilted down and his fingers drifting across the wood. Suddenly Phil recognized the song Dan was humming as Beethoven’s Sonata in D Minor and his breath caught in his throat.
He was moving his fingers across the table like it was a piano.
Maybe there was something left of Daniel Howell.
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