#I’ve had the itch to write for weeks but every time I sit in front of a computer I just can’t
your lips, my lips | b.b.
𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝'𝐬 𝐚 𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐛𝐥𝐮𝐫𝐫𝐲 𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞 | 𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭
pairing: bucky barnes x fem!reader
warnings: language, possible tfatws spoilers
word count: 2404
summary: is there a more divine thought than being kissed by bucky barnes?
note: here's another installment in the twalb story <3 again, you don't have to read these in order, they stand independently, but they do all work together! PLEASE leave feedback/reblog! this is extremely helpful for me writing future parts to know what everyone likes or doesn't like!
how do you know when james bucky barnes is going to kiss you?
you’ve learned that you’re not good at figuring out when, how, or if he is going to kiss you. there have been countless moments outside your door, inside your apartment, inside his apartment, down the street at the pizza place, where you thought… this is going to be it. he’s going to hold your face in his hands and you’re going to feel the cold sting of metal that has somehow become so warm to you. he’s going to pull you in closer to him and your eyes are going to roll back into your head and you’re going to experience the bliss that is kissing james bucky barnes.
the time has never come.
because every time you tip your head back slightly and think this is the moment, it has simply never been the moment. sometimes, bucky clears his throat and gives his head a little shake, as if ridding himself of the thought that you both just shared. the thought that you could kiss right now and never look back and hope for the best. but you know bucky, you really know him, and you know that though he may not admit it often, he is fearful. and if he’s anything like you, he’s afraid of ruining this good thing that sits between the two of you, like a glowing ball of energy and goodness and understanding.
despite your fears of never wanting this feeling to subside or fade or crash and burn in some fiery death, that doesn’t mean that every moment you’re around bucky, you’re not thinking of him kissing you. because you are. and it’s driving you slightly insane.
right now, you sit with bucky in central park. you have learned many things about him, but one of the more recent things is that he has never been on a picnic. you had gaped at him then, and you think you said something along the lines of-- “you were wooing women in the 40s and never took one on a fucking picnic?”
that’s another thing about you and bucky.
you may fear a lot, but you do not fear him.
there has never been a moment where you have pushed bucky to tell you more than he was comfortable with. at the start, once he knew that you were already well aware of who he was and some pieces of his history-- it felt like you both started with a mutual understanding. an understanding that says, i know, and it won’t make me run.
but he has told you what he wants to, in bits and pieces. the first time, it was about yori. it was about the look in yori’s eyes when he talked about his son to bucky, it was about how bucky doesn’t know how he can make amends here, how he can say or do anything to possibly help a man who has lost his son at the hands of a man who he has come to call friend.
you have watched as guilt and anger have made a mess of this beautiful man.
and what did you do in return?
sometimes, you didn’t speak. you didn’t think that was what bucky was looking for. you were simply there, with a listening ear and a careful touch.
other times, you did. other times, you couldn’t help yourself.
it was hard to sit and watch and listen to bucky torture himself over and over and over-- you would burst, you would take his metal hand in between yours and you would squeeze and you would say-- “you are not the things that they forced upon you.”
and bucky halted at that. bucky halted and he stared at you, eyes that were moments ago frantic and full of fright, trying to blink some of those feelings away. he would blink and he would try to slow his breathing and he would finally say to you, “how can you know what i’ve done and not walk away?”
“bucky, ever since i’ve known you, the only direction i’ve wanted to walk is towards you.”
he tells you the hard things.
but he also tells you the good things. the things before hydra.
like the dates he went on, the way his life looked in the forties.
so, naturally, when you found out about the lack of picnics in the life of the winter soldier-- you had taken it upon yourself to decide that a picnic was exactly what you two needed.
it was four months ago that bucky asked if you needed help building your cat tower. later, you would call him a creep for spying on you, but you would say it with a smile on your face and a light nudge to his ribs. and in four months it has been hard to stay away from him. that is, when he wasn’t away himself-- you know of his work with the falcon, and really, you think it’s a good thing. you met sam briefly a week ago, after they returned from god knows where, and sam had been nothing but a gentleman. out of the corner of your eye, you even think that you might’ve seen sam nudging bucky and murmuring something that you couldn’t quite make out.
so when he is here, you try and savor every moment, every laugh, every brush of his fingers against yours and every sweet look you two share.
and you hope that maybe one of these times, he will kiss you.
“damn-- this is good.”
the corner of your mouth turns up as you watch bucky sip on the sickly sweet wine you brought. there is a wide assortment of food before you-- strawberries and brie, crackers and cheese, plump purple grapes and chocolate that makes your mouth water. you had made sure to go all out for bucky’s first picnic.
“i didn’t know if you would like it,” you say, taking a sip from your own. “it’s like juice. so sweet.”
bucky furrows his brows. “you know i have a sweet tooth,” he mumbles and it makes your heart sigh because, yes, you do know this. you know him.
for a moment, you turn your focus on the scene in front of you. there are kids running around the park playing, couples laying in the grass, a dog owner throwing a frisbee to a black lab. everyone with their own little lives, their own quiet eternities that you will never know of. when you look at bucky, you wonder what these strangers wonder about you.
you stare and you are not embarrassed to do so, not even when bucky meets your gaze with a firm smirk. “can i help you?”
“no,” you shake your head defiantly. “just looking. is that allowed?”
“i guess,” he says and leans back on the palm of his gloved hand. “don’t know i’m much to look at.”
a snort leaves you. his brows furrow. “are you serious?” you finally ask.
“yes, i’m serious.”
“bucky, i don’t know how else to tell you this, but you are certainly not hard on the eyes.”
you watch as his face goes red and you have to halt yourself. “oh my god,” you say. “you’re blushing.”
“i am not. that’s ridiculous.”
“yes, you totally are! you’re blushing because i said you’re easy on the eyes!”
“it’s a natural bodily response.”
there’s a beat of silence and you chuckle, if only to fill the air and to avert your eyes from his gaze. he’s staring at you with a slightly slacked jaw and a gleam in his eyes that you don’t think you’ve seen before-- and it feels like a bucket of ice water has been dumped atop your head. “you’ve never called me that before,” he says quietly.
“oh, yeah, well--” you chuckle again and you shrug. “i don’t have to--”
bucky shakes his head instantly. “no. i don’t mind.”
you smile at him and you look down at your empty cup and back up to him. “we should start heading back.”
the two of you make quick work of gathering together your picnic. you laugh as bucky takes a swig from the bottle and you swat at him, saying public intoxication is very illegal, to which he rolls his eyes. you take the last sip of the bottle and then you’re on your way back to your apartment building.
the earth is on the cusp of spring-- where the nights are finally starting to get long and the air smells crisp, smells like pollen and change. you lean against bucky as you walk and you let out a sigh. “i love spring,” you murmur to him. “the world always feels so new.”
bucky looks over at you and he nods his head. “it’s nice,” he says in quiet agreement.
that’s one thing that you like about bucky-- he doesn’t fill silence unnecessarily. you do. you’ve been trying to break the habit in the months you’ve known him, much to his amusement. he has called you out plenty of times. “i can tell you’re itching to talk. i don’t mind. i like listening to you.”
he’s carrying the majority of your things and you offer to take something off his hands at least three times in five blocks, and every time he screws his face up as he looks at you, as if to say-- funny.
he’s good at saying things without really saying anything at all. you don’t like to think too hard about how he picked up that skill.
bucky helps you into your apartment with your things, and he goes a step further and he helps you put away leftovers and wash the dirty dishes you two had created. “i know if i don’t help you now, they’ll be in your sink until i come over again.”
so you stand side by side, he washes and you dry and put away. you play the bee gees and you’re surprised by how much bucky enjoys it. you’ve been traveling through decades of music with bucky, and now, you’re on seventies. bee gees, fleetwood mac, blondie, abba-- you’ve curated a perfect playlist for him. when you come home from work and hear him listening to it through the thin walls of this old apartment building, you try to ignore the way that your heart swells.
and just as fast as you got swept up in your day with james buchanan barnes, it is coming to an end. you walk him to your doorstep and you lean your head against the doorframe as he stands in it, lingering still, staring at you. “can i help you?” you mimic him from earlier.
you love that laugh. you want to earn it again and again and again.
“just looking,” he says in a voice that you have a suspicion is an impression of yours. your jaw drops, and he laughs again, and you don’t know if your heart could swell anymore.
your laughter mingles with his, like a waltz floating through the air until it dissipates above your heads. all that’s left is you and him and the dim light of the hallway and the god awful carpet. “well…” he motions behind him. “i should…”
“yeah.” you bite down on your lip and push back off the doorframe. “night, buck.”
your breath hitches and you put on your best smile and you watch as he begins to step down the hall, and finally, you click your door shut.
it’s like pure energy courses through your body. you place your hands on your hips and you pace, looking down at kitty who has emerged from your bedroom. she meows up at you, and you sigh. “oh, honey,” you murmur as you bend down to scoop her into your arms. “why won’t he kiss me?”
you stand there for a few moments before you begin to grow frustrated with yourself. why do you have to wait for him to kiss you? you know that the lines have been blurred long ago, that there is simply no way that he can look at you like that and not want to kiss you too. setting kitty down, you wipe your hands on your jeans and you decide that you are going to be bold, you are going to be brave. and if it blows up in your face… well, you’ve always been somewhat impulsive. you’ve found your way through things blowing up in your face countless times.
you swing your door open and bucky is already there.
with all of your momentum, you almost collide into him. he catches you by the elbows and looks at you, pupils slightly blown, concern on his pretty face. “were you going somewhere?”
“no!” you stammer out immediately. “no… no. i was--” you sigh and you lick your lips and you finally fix your eyes on him. “i kind of-- i kind of thought that you were going to kiss me, back there. and i was disappointed that you didn’t because… well, i don’t think i’m reading into things, but i really think that we might be on the same page about--”
bucky will never know how you were going to finish that sentence, and frankly, with all the frantic nonsense you were spewing, you don’t know if you even knew to begin with-- because he takes your face in his hands and his lips brush yours.
he’s rid the gloves. that’s the first thing you notice, that delicious cold of smooth metal again your cheek. the next is that his lips are so soft. the third is that you could kiss him forever and you think you could never grow tired of it. he is gentle yet demanding, passionate but so incredibly tender that it breaks your heart. it breaks your heart over and over again thinking about the way he thinks about himself, the things that were forced upon him.
you part. a string of spit connects your lips and it makes you laugh and it makes your cheeks grow warm. bucky reaches out with the hand made of metal and wipes your bottom lip and it makes your heart thump, thump, thump in your chest.
“we’re definitely on the same page,” is all he says before he takes your face once more. this time, you shuffle backwards and into your apartment, the door clicking shut. "there's just a dance to these things, doll."
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Bring Me Back
Pairing: Tom Holland x Reader
Summary: Filming “Cherry” had its ups and downs for Tom. When filming finally takes its toll on him, you’re there to instantly bring him back from the world of Cherry.
Warnings: Mentions of drug abuse, PTSD, murder. A smidge of smut.
A/n: In honor of the Cherry🍒 trailer dropping, I decided to write this!
(GIF creds: @atealiers )
Any kind of project was a blessing to Tom. He loved being an actor. He was fond of telling stories through the big screen and got a kick from portraying many different characters. Acting was something he felt passionate about, it was his craft and he was very dedicated when it came to becoming his roles. Cherry was quite different from the other movies he’s been in. It was dark and contained many subjects like drug addiction, PTSD, and crime. The world of Cherry was something Tom was not used to; it was twisted. He hasn’t been exposed to things like drugs or the events that Nico Walker had been through. Which was why he was hesitant to take on the role of Cherry.
When the Russo Brothers approached him with the idea, he was excited. He was getting the opportunity to tell another story and would explore the world of a new character. Though the more he looked into it, he realized that maybe he wasn’t up for the role. Was he really ready to dive into the dark and traumatizing life of Nico Walker? As an actor, he was willing to take the job, it would give him an opportunity to expand his career and would possibly be one of his best work. As Tom, he wasn’t sure if he could handle learning or re-enacting the events that occurred in Cherry. But Tom did like a challenge, which was why he ended up agreeing to become Cherry.
He prepared himself mentally and physically pre- production. For research, he interviewed army veterans and former drug addicts to get an idea of what it was like to be in those positions. To get the look of Cherry, he did a variety of things. For example, going on a diet and losing weight, then gaining said weight again once they had to shoot the army scenes. Another thing he did was shave off the gorgeous brown curls that adorned his head. At first you weren’t too happy with his change in hairstyle, but later on you found yourself running your hands along the short strands of hair, loving the fuzzy feeling it gave your palms.
After the interviews and hearing others’ experience, Tom felt a level of responsibility to tell the story of millions of people around the world. Not only was it telling the story of Nico, but of other army veterans who suffered from PTSD and people who’ve had drug addictions. He was fully on board now and there was no looking back. He was going to push himself to the limit and to places he’s never been before.
Filming was tough. There were scenes he had to do that were so unlike him, that felt wrong, and sometimes he just had to take a step back. They didn’t feel right, but it was nothing he couldn’t handle. This was his job, if he wanted this movie to be the best that it can, he was going to commit. Thankfully, he was working with the Russos, who he’s known for a while now. He was familiar with the two and they were patient with him, giving him the time to regain himself before shooting an intense scene. The cast and crew were very understanding as well, creating a safe space for him on set. Having Harry along with him helped as well, the familiarity of his brother kept him grounded and avoided him from falling into the void of Cherry. Though he had all these supportive people around him, there was only one person who could calm him down when things got suffocating on set. The only person he wanted to be in Cleveland with him but wasn’t. You. Since you had your own life and job, you were unable to fly out to Cleveland with him. Instead you stayed at your shared home with Tessa as company. All he needed was you when he felt the affects of Cherry caging in on him. Just the sound of your comforting voice over the phone could clear his head and make him breath again.
He had his bad days on set, where he would have to take a moment and hide in his trailer for a few minutes. During those few minutes he liked to be alone as he waited for you to answer your phone. The line would ring, it’d stop, then the sound of your sweet voice would be the only thing he’d hear. Sometimes you didn’t answer the first time, but nonetheless you answered eventually. It wasn’t the same as having you with him in person, you had your responsibilities, and he understood that. He just wished that one day you’d come to Cleveland. He wanted to be in your arms, stuff his face into your neck, breath in your familiar scent, he just wanted to feel you. You were his home. His safe haven. And it was all he wanted right now.
Glancing at your phone, you wondered why Tom hasn’t texted you yet. Not that you were itching for him to text you, but because around this time he would be blowing up your phone telling you things that happened during filming or how his day was going. You decided that filming probably went into overtime making him busy during his break. You shrug to yourself and continue working on your laptop.
You hear the sound of Tessa’s nails clicking against the floors as she enters the office of your home. You greet her with a smile as she settles herself beside your legs.
“Is it dinner time already, Tess?” You scratch her head as you glance at the time on your screen. It was currently nine at night, a bit late for dinner, but you haven’t noticed.
“Just give me five more minutes and I’ll get us dinner. How does that sound, love?” A somewhat sound of approval emits from Tessa. You get back to work, fingers typing away as you finish off the last of your work.
You finish in four minutes, finally satisfied with your work. You let out a content sigh and turn your laptop off. When you get up you stretch and let your bones crack after being in the same position for hours. Tessa joins you, stretching out her front paws then shaking her body out. You chuckle as you lead the way to the kitchen. Taking the scoop for Tessa’s kibble, you fill her bowl up, causing the dog to look up in curiosity. Once you placed the bowl down, her tail wagged wildly as she stuffed her face into her food.
You decided on going for something simple, ramen noodles. You were too tired too cook anything and ramen noodles were the quickest thing to cook in your pantry. While you waited for the noodles to heat up you checked your phone. You went through your notifications, but there were still no texts from Tom. Though you were concerned, you assumed that they had a long shooting day, making him too busy to text. ￼
Hi love! I hope you’re doing well in Cleveland. I know you’re probably busy, but hopefully filming isn’t tiring you out too much. Have an amazing day! Don’t forget to drink some water from time to time and eat :) Tess and I miss you and love you so much! Talk soon xxx
You send the text with a smile. He won’t read it till he was free or done with filming, but you knew he’d see the message while you were asleep.
The microwave beeps, letting you know that your food was done. You end your night catching up on episodes of New Girl and eating soup. When you were done you did your nightly routine and settled in bed. You turn the lights off and snuggled under the warm sheets.
“Night Tessa.” You whisper to her. A huff comes out of her as she makes herself comfortable on the foot of your bed. When the both of you were settled, you slowly drifted off to sleep.
The harsh vibrations of your phone shook you awake. Desperate for sleep, you blindly grab your phone and turn it off. Silence fills the room again as you turn around to stuff your face into Tom’s pillow. You were slowly drifting back to sleep when your phone began to vibrate again. With a groan you stretch back and snatch for phone off the night stand. You don’t bother looking at the caller id.
“Hello?” Your voice rasps out.
“Thank God you answered.” The person on the other line said. “I know you’re busy, but how soon can you visit Cleveland?” The deep voice was belonged to Harry.
“Uh—I’m not too sure, I’ll need to check in with my boss.” You reply. When you start feeling more awake you become curious as to why Harry can be calling you. “Why? Is everything ok? How’s Tom? I haven’t heard from him all day.”
The younger Holland sighs. He takes a moment to answer your questions making you suffer in silence, wondering what could have happened to your boyfriend. “Um, they’ve been shooting some intense scenes lately. Tom’s been trying his best but everyone’s noticed that he’s been a bit different.”
You sit up in bed feeling more awake. “What do you mean by different, Haz?”
“Well he’s snapped at the Russos quite a few times. There was this one scene, that they shot multiple times, and Tom would just break down after every one. (Y/n), I’m concerned for my brother, I don’t know what else to do. He’s locked himself in his room after every shoot. A—and I don’t know. I’ve tried to tell him that he can talk to me but he wouldn’t.” Harry explained, his voice croaked. You heart felt heavy for him. Harry was always there for his older brother, so to see him feel so helpless made you feel sorry.
“Haz, calm down, you know how your brother can get. How long has this been happening?”
Harry sniffed over the phone, “About a few weeks now. It’s only started becoming worse last week and now.”
The concern you felt for Tom grew. From what he’s been texting you, filming had been going great. He appeared happy on your FaceTime calls and sounded like his usual self. But maybe he actually wasn’t.
“Harry everything’s gonna be fine, alright?” You assure him. “I’ll call my boss first thing in the morning and when I get the ‘ok’ to leave I’ll get the first flight out to Cleveland. How’s that sound?”
“It sounds good. Can you tell me if you can make it? I’ll have someone come with me to pick you up at the airport.” His voice is quiet, almost muffled.
“Yeah I will, don’t worry.”
“Ok, thank you (y/n).” A small smile forms on your lips. You rub the sleep out your eyes as you glance at your closet. “Alright Haz, I’m gonna go now. But if there’s anything else, just text me or call.”
“I know, stay safe (y/n).” You bid him goodbye and place your phone on the empty space beside your side of the bed. Tom’s side of the bed. You bite your lip in thought as you worry about your boyfriend. You knew he was doing almost everything he can to make sure the movie came out perfect. If that meant shredding himself emotionally and physically, he was going to do it. Tom was dedicated to his work, but he’s never done anything close to Cherry, making you worried about the thoughts that could possibly be going through your lover’s head.
Tessa, who’s now woken up, waddles closer to you, sensing your uneasiness. You appreciate the dog’s gesture and pull her into your side, resting your chin on her head. You were basically sleepless the whole night. Although you haven’t emailed your boss yet, you already had a suitcase packed of your clothes. Your passport and other important belongings were already in a bag, ready to leave London.
The morning had been hectic. You’ve managed to get two hours of sleep, waking up at six in the morning. Still in bed, you sent your boss an email about a family emergency and how you needed to be out of the country for at least a week. As if the gods above knew of your situation, your boss willingly let you go, no questions asked and gave you well wishes. With that out the way, you scowered the Internet for flights to Cleveland. Luck was on your side that morning because you’ve booked a flight that took off in the afternoon. With your bags packed, you drove to Nikki and Dom’s to drop off Tessa.
Now all checked in, you were at Heathrow Airport waiting to be called for your flight. You were sat at your gate, with an iced coffee and a croissant from Starbucks, texting Harry. The two of you were discussing the time you’d arrive and how he’d pick you up. When you were both in agreement, you two decided to catch up. He had been in Tom’s trailer eating his breakfast. An hour passes and you were being called to board the plane.
You settle in your seat, but your leg bounced in anticipation. After the things Harry told you, you just wanted to have your boyfriend in your arms. You knew everything was probably getting to his head, all you wanted to do was hold him and tell him that he was going to be ok. As the plane began to take off, your lack of sleep caught up on you. Throughout the whole flight, you slept soundly, the worries of Tom subsiding for the time being.
The plane lands in Cleveland safely. It was night when you arrived. With your bags, you looked around the airport for a familiar curly haired boy. Harry waves wildly at you before running and pulling you into a tight hug. You laugh wrapping your arms around the slender boy.
“How’s your day been, Haz?” You ruffle his hair as he rolls your suitcase to the parking lot. He shrugs, “The usual. Was on set with Tom, ran around and got things for him, nothing much happened honestly. But you’re here now, so this is the highlight of my night.”
The two of you approach a black car with a driver inside, Harry motions for him to unlock the trunk. He lifts your case in before the two of you get into the backseat.
“How was your flight?” Harry asks you. The car began to move, exiting the airport and entering the highway.
“I slept through all of it, I don’t remember a thing about the flight besides getting on and off it.” You chuckle, leaning your head back against the headrest.
Harry nudges your shoulder, “Thanks for coming out with such short notice.” You wave him off. “It’s no worries, anything for my boys.”
The car is quiet, the only sounds that could be heard is the car’s wheels against the pavement. You turn to Harry, “How was he today?”
“He was pretty good in the morning.” Harry started. “Then filming started and he would grow frustrated after a few scenes. His temper’s been short. He snapped at me during lunch, which is normal, but I just asked him if he wanted some water. He broke down after a certain scene today, I tried talking to him but he still wouldn’t open up about it.” Tom wasn’t too open about his feelings sometimes. He struggled to voice them at times making all his frustrations and feelings bottled up in his head.
Half an hour later and you guys arrive at Tom’s rented home in Atlanta. As soon as you opened the door, you felt the heavy atmosphere. It was somber and tense, the chilliness of the weather also felt inside the house. Harry gestures up the stairs, “Don’t worry, go see him. His room is the first door on the left.”
You quietly thank him and climb up the stairs. You find his door, taking a deep breath before knocking. You hear some shuffling behind the door, “Harry I’m fine! Leave me alone!” His voice was deep, a bit scratchy. You frown at the door.
“Tom?” The room falls quiet. Suddenly you hear fumbling and the sound of heavy footsteps behind the door. The door opens and you finally see him. He was dressed in a large shirt with sweatpants. He looked tired, dark circles under his eyes, eyes glassy, and chapped lips.
“(Y/n)? You’re here?” He asks you in disbelief. A tight lipped grin forms on your lips.
“Yeah, Har—“ You were going to explain how you got there but he immediately threw himself at you. His arms wrap tightly around your figure, his head dipped into your neck, pulling your closer into him. One of your arms go around his neck while the other rubs his back soothingly. A whimper bubbles out of him, his shoulders beginning to shake. You managed to shuffle the both of you back into his room, closing the door behind you.
“You’re ok.” You whisper into his ear, pressing a kiss to the side of his neck. His grip around you never falters. Though he was much taller than you, he seemed so small at the moment. His body drowned in the shirt he wore, making him look thinner. You feel tears soaking into your shirt, making your heart clench in pain. You rest your forehead against his shoulder, holding and whispering sweet nothings into his ear until he was ready to speak.
A few minutes pass until his removes his head from your neck. You frown at his tear stained face, his eyes and cheeks red from quietly sobbing into your shoulder. Your hands cup his face, wiping the trails of tears on his cheeks. Tom leans closer to your touch, his eyes shut while his lips kiss your palm.
“I’m sorry, you’re probably tired from the flight.” He apologizes but you shake your head. You lead him to his bed and sit against the headboard. Tom follows in suit, desperately trying to get closer to you. His arms wrap around your torso, his head rests on your chest, while your legs tangle themselves together.
“I’ve had plenty of sleep on the flight, how are you?” Your lips are against his short hair from holding him so close. You nails scratch softly at his hair, calming him down.
“I don’t know if I could finish it.” He quietly admits. He shakes his head at himself.
“Why’s that, Tom?” Your boyfriend takes a deep breath as he sits up, removing himself from your touch. He sits across from you with legs crossed as he holds his head in his hands.
“I—I, it’s too much. There’s so much fucked up things he’s done. And all the things he’s seen. I just—sometimes I feel like it’s me who’s committed all of those things. When we shoot the scenes in the war and when I had to do drugs and rob banks, I felt like I lost myself—“ He cries interrupting himself to take a breath in. Compared to your fingers that ran gently through his hair, his clawed at his head. His palms rub harshly at his face, turning his skin a bright tint of red. To see Tom in such pain made you sad. You hated seeing him like this.
You gently remove his hands from scratching at his face and hold them in his lap. He stares down at your hands, clinging onto them as if his life depended on it. “I get lost in the character sometimes and I have to pull myself out of it to bring me back. But it keeps on happening over and over again. Then the Russos kept telling me to reshoot the scene more like Cherry, and I lost it and yelled at them.” You feel his tears fall to your your hands, making tears well up in your own eyes. You shuffle closer to him and kiss his forehead before pulling him into you. You stay quiet, letting him get whatever he wanted to get out.
Tom’s face is against your shoulder again. He sniffs before continuing, “It’s like everyday I find something he and I have in common. Then I think that maybe I’m turning into him. I don’t want him to be part of me. (Y/n), I don’t want to be him, I don’t want to do the things he’s done.” He sobs into your shoulder. Your heart breaks at how broken he sounded. His shoulders shook again, his back burning up with tension. A few tears made it’s way down your cheeks as you pulled his face away from you.
“Look at me.” You urged him. His jaw clenched, still looking down at his lap. He shook his head in response. “Tom, please. Look at me.” Your voice cracks. He slowly tilts his head up, your eyes connecting. He didn’t have that twinkle in his eyes, it’s like they’ve lost the light in them. Instead they were dark, like there was no life behind them. There was a mix of sadness, confusion, and even fear in his eyes.
You sadly smiled at him, cupping his face with your hands. “You’re not going to be him. You never will. You’re Tom. You are nothing close to Nico or Cherry. You are the sweetest man I have known in the world, you wouldn’t even hurt a damn fly. You’re not him. I know you aren’t. You wouldn’t do the things he’s ever done even if you were forced to. I know you Tom, I assure you, you’re nothing like him.” Tom hiccups, gripping onto your wrists.
“When this is all over and you’re done filming, we can forget about him. We won’t even mention him.” You assure him, stroking his cheeks.
“What if—,” You cut him off.
“No, there’s no what if’s. You’re going to be fine Tom. You’re surrounded by people who love you and will make you realize that you’re nothing even near him. You are the kindest man ever, you love your family, you care about your fans, and your brothers. You’re busy always taking care of everyone else, I think it’s time you take care of yourself, love.” You tell him. A small smile is on your face but it falters, “You don’t have to go through this alone, Tom.”
Tom takes a shaky breath in. “You’ll be there right?” He asks like a child making sure his mother will be there when he wakes up. “You’ll be there with me to bring me back?”
Your thumb smooths the crinkle between his brows, “I always will. I promise.” He nods and pulls you into him. You climb onto his lap and settle on his legs. He stares up at you, one of his his hands supporting your back, the other pressed against your cheek. “Thank you. I missed you so much. I’m sorry for not texting, everything’s just been so taxing mentally and physically.”
“No, don’t worry I get it.” You turn your face to press a light kiss on his palm. For the first time since you’ve seen him, Tom managed to crack a smile on his lips. He moves some strands of hair away from your face before resting his large hand on the back of your head. “I love you. I love you so much, (y/n).”
“I love you too, Tom.” You whisper against his lips. He takes that as a sign to finally crash your lips together. After months being apart, the feeling of his lips against yours felt like coming home. The kiss was desperate, like it was the air you both breathed. Tom had been longing for your touch, he craved you every second of the day, whether it be sexually or just missing you. The kiss grew rough, your teeth clashing, tongues poking and gliding against each other.
Tom lays you down on the bed, hovering over you. His hands grab and stroke at your body, trying to pull off your clothes to get close to your skin. He suddenly pulls away from your lips. “I need you. Please, I need you.” He almost begs you. Panting, you nod and push him to lay on his back. “Ok, let me take care of you, Tommy.”
He yanks his shirt off, throwing it to the side. You do the same, leaning down to meet his lips again. You kiss your way along his jaw and down to his neck. When you find that certain spot, he lets out a throaty groan, head falling back against the pillows. You run your nails along his chiseled abs and slightly roll your hips against his growing length. Tom grunts, hands instantly connecting to your ass and gripping onto your cheeks. He helps you roll your hips more, deeper with more friction against you two.
“Mm, Tom. I missed you.” You moan against his neck. You bite down and soothe the spot with your tongue after.
Tom looks down at you, lifting his hips to meet your clothes pussy. “Fucking miss you so much. You have no idea how much I’ve been dreaming of being buried in you again.” You kiss your way down his chest, but Tom stops you. His hands grab onto your leggings and slide them off.
“N-no foreplay. I need to feel you.” He stutters out, mouth agape. You nod in agreement and take his sweatpants off along with his boxers. You spit in your hand, running your hand along his dick to give it some wetness. Tom helps you lift yourself over him and guides your hips down his erected cock. You let out a combination of a sigh and moan as your walls envelop and stretch around him. Tom slightly sits up against the headboard, your tightness wrapping around him. He lets out a cry of relief, your walls around him feeding his cravings. You use his shoulders as leverage to pull yourself up but Tom stops you.
“What’s wrong?” You eye him cautiously. Tom shakes his head, “Nothing’s wrong. I just—can we stay like this for a while? I just want to feel you, please?”
“Yeah, we can do that.” You send him a reassuring smile as you settle back down on him. His hands make themselves comfortable around your waist. You maneuver your arms under his and wrap them around his back. Tom smiles at you, rubbing your back and guiding you into his chest. Before you can nuzzle your face into his neck, he presses a kiss to your temple and lets his fingers get tangled in your hair.
With his eyes closed in bliss, he whispers, “Thank you for bringing me back. I love you.”
You kiss his collarbone basking in the feeling him being so close to you. “I’ll always be here. I love you too.”
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wrapped in warmth
pairing: sheriff hassan el-shabbaz/reader
word count: 752
warnings: none <3
a/n: after watching midnight mass last week (and seeing that there isn't nearly enough hassan content) i decided i had to write something. this is isn't anything special! but i enjoyed writing it. and there may be more where this came from if you guys want it.. maybe.
The sun hadn’t even began to rise as you peered out the window over your kitchen sink, the brutally cold air seeped in through the old window causing a chill to run up your spine. Wrapping your free hand around you as you sipped on the piping hot coffee you were holding in the other. Closing your eyes and relishing in the temporary warmth it gave you.
Just as you opened your eyes a strong pair of arms wrapped around your shoulders. Making you jump slightly.
“Jesus.” You close your eyes in relief. Feeling his chest rumble with a laugh as he pressed against you, hugging you from behind.
“Names Hassan, actually.” He was still half asleep as he rested his chin on the top of your head. A small smile made its way onto your face as you rolled your eyes, sitting the mug down carefully.
“Nice shirt. I’ve been looking for one just like that.” Sarcasm dripping from his gruff morning voice like honey making you breath a laugh as you glanced down at the flannel you were wearing.
“Oh this? Got it from a hot sheriff.” You looking back up at him as you tried to keep a straight face. Seeing his reflection in the window in front of you, watching you with a curious gaze. You felt a familiar warmth spread from your neck up to your cheeks as you looked back at him for a moment before looking down. His hands ghost down arms leaving goosebumps in their wake as he stops at your waist— Wrapping his arms around you again.
“I thought we agreed we were sleeping in this morning?”
You took a deep breath in through your nose as you looked down at your mug down on the counter top.
You did agree to sleep in. With Ali spending the weekend on the mainland with family friends, it meant that the two of you had the weekend to do whatever you wanted. Hassan's first request was that the two of you sleep past seven in the morning. You barely made it to four thirty and you were practically itching to get out of bed. Even on your days off your internal clock was almost as anxious as you were. Almost.
“I know, Hassan. I just-”
“Couldn’t take a chance to have some well deserved rest?” The concern in his voice was evident, you didn’t even have to be looking at him to know that he was looking at you with the same expression. He unwrapped his arms from around you and gently guided you to turn around, finally coming face to face with him. His dark brown eyes staring into yours as he brings a hand up to push a stray hair out of your face. “You can take a day for yourself every now and again you know.. You need to, love.” His eyes grew more sincere as he spoke. His hand ghosted over your jaw before moving back down to rest on the swell of your hips.
Hassan was right. You knew he was.. With all the extra hours you’d been picking up at work, plus helping Erin with things at the school. You barely had time to spend with him—Much less rest for yourself. This weekend was supposed to be one so you could catch up on both of those things. And you were already off to a not so great start..
You moved to rest your forehead on his chest as you sighed tiredly.
“I know.” Your voice sounded muffled from your face being pressed into his chest. Your shoulders slumped slightly as you let out a sigh. “I’m sorry.”
Hassan leaned down, pressing a tender kiss to the top of your head as he wrapped his arms around you gently. A cold shiver makes its way up your spine, causing you to practically burrow yourself into him. Seeking every bit of warmth you could find.
“I bet the bed’s still warm..” Hassan mumbled against your hair.
“Yeah?” You pulled back to look him in the eyes. The corner of your lips turning up into a small smile. He nodded sleepily.
“Yeah.” Hassan’s eyes searched yours as he waited for your response. You simply nodded, your smile growing ever so slightly as the two of you pulled the way from each other. He slid his hand in yours and gently pulled you towards the bedroom with him.
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Desire. The word of many meanings. Lust? Money? People desire what they can not have. You? You desired power. The power to hurt those who had wronged you. San? He desired to have you and if offering you your desire would get him that then he was going to give it.
>>Pairing: Choi San (dom) x fem!reader (sub) | demon!san x power hungry!reader
>>Word Count: 3.6k
>>Genre: Oneshot / Smut
>>Warnings/Kinks: Demonic themes, yandere themes, bondage, branding, biting, blood play, choking, cockwarming, corruption, creampie, degrading, fingering, marking, murder (graphic), oral (receiving), overstimulation, size kink, slapping, and spitting/saliva
The voice rang in your head as it always did. It was similar to a little devil on your shoulder. Someone telling you to do the worst you could do.
“Come on, sweetheart. You know you want to”.
You closed your eyes, the gun shaking in your grip. You had nothing against this person but the voice in your head knew how much you enjoyed the thrill.
The thrill of pulling the trigger.
The thrill of having the power to do so and end someone else’s life.
“We had a deal, baby. Each kill I help you with in your favor will result in one kill for me. Kill him”.
Your finger felt controlled, a silent pull to just come forward a little. Just enough to send a bullet into the man’s chest.
He looked at you with such pleading eyes, coated in the finest ocean blue that could have any other woman in his hands.
You were in love with the voice in your head.
A voice you couldn’t explain. A voice that offered you power in exchange for completing their dirty work.
Finally, you let yourself fall to the desire and pulled the trigger, a bullet flying into the man’s heart.
It was a raspy voice, one full of authority and mischief. You knew the voice better than you knew your own family’s.
A wave of relief overcame you when the voice went quiet. You looked at the man in front of you and wondered what he could have done to have been so worthy of death.
The gun was placed back into your pocket once the safety was on and you simply walked out of the place. You couldn’t dwell on what you had done. It was all worth it in the end.
Miraculously, the deal between yourself and the voice was true and, as you killed upon their request, you gained more power. More reputation and strength.
There was odd downsides to this deal, however. Like the dreams that occurred every night.
Dreams about the same man that left you wanting so much more when you woke up.
“Oh, it’s you again”, your voice seemed to echo in your own bedroom as you looked at the familiar... creature.
“Who else would be here?”, there it was. The same voice that appeared in your head throughout the day.
You felt witless. He was right. No other thing or person visited the realm of your dreams as often as he did.
“You did well today”, was all he muttered when you remained silent. All you could do was stare at him as he walked closer.
His wings were a masterpiece on their own, a marvelous display of black. It was a beautiful way of showing he was rather symbolic of darkness.
His eyes glowed a blood red as they looked into your’s, his pupils blown out due to his hunger. You winced as his fingers gripped your jaw, tilting your face to examine you as if he was deciding if you were worthy of another night with him.
“You still won’t tell me what or who you are”, the creature chuckled, a sound so unfitting for him.
“You’ll find out soon”, and he was gone.
Another unspoken rule of the deal between you and the creature was isolation. You were not permitted to speak to others.
That much was clear when one of your co-workers was found drained of blood, a horrific sight to anyone but you. You had seen it before and that’s when you realized you were literally in a deal with a devil.
So, you avoided others in hopes that the little devil on your shoulder would keep quiet. No one would get hurt that way.
You were wrong. Horribly wrong.
You hadn’t realized but people slowly disappeared when they were around you. Just because the little devil wanted you all to himself.
“Y/n, come here. I need your help”, your boss ordered you and you felt an itch within you. An itch and desire for that control you were used to.
Reluctantly, you walked over and picked up the heavy box.
What is this guy moving? Rocks?
“Where to?”, your soft voice asked politely, sucking up to the man that could potentially give you more wealth than you could imagine.
“My office obviously”, his tone was cold as it always was and you nibbled your bottom lip in annoyance. You turned around, about to make your way out of the meeting room and to his office when you heard his screams.
Your head whirled around to see him on the floor, his finger pointing in sheer horror at something across the room. The door slammed behind you and your eyes finally found what he was screaming about.
“Hello baby”, there he was in all his unholy glory. The same man inside your head and your dreams.
“I figured I’d take care of your little problem here”, you shook your head, either from shock, fear, or denial. You couldn’t tell which.
“N-no you don’t have to”, the creature laughed at that and with a wave of his hand, the boss’s throat was slit. He quickly bled out and his body fell in a heap on the floor.
“I didn’t ask”, his smile was insincere, a warning to watch your mouth. You noticed it and shut up, noticing how his wings were not as perfect as they had been previously in your dreams.
The bone seeming to hold them together to his back was unnaturally bent, looking horrendous and painful. The feathers surrounding those areas were anything but perfect. Yet, he seemed effortlessly attractive.
“What do you want?”, your voice came out small and weak, a contrast to the usual powerful voice that came from your body. It was obvious the creature could take away your power just as he had given it to you.
“Surely you remember why I’m even here to begin with, little one”, the nickname shocked you as the memory resurfaced once again.
The shovel was cold in your grip, causing a bone chilling spark to run down your spine as you covered up the box. It was the standard recipe.
The bones of a dead black cat, a photograph of yourself, and graveyard dirt. All compacted in the small box now buried deep in the center of the crossroads.
You were younger at the time by a few years, a little more gullible. A little more desperate.
As the blood moon rose, you could feel the presence of someone else in the area. Well, more like something else.
The red light shun on him gracefully as he sat on the hood of your car, not caring how dinted it could become. Your eyes trailed down his body, engulfing any feature you could take in to remember him by.
At the time, his hair was a light brown and his eyes were not that blood red you had grown used to. They were a warm brown. They were so welcoming.
“Are you the devil?”, you wanted to keep your distance from him, but it felt like an invisible string was pulling you right to him. Your body soon stood in front of his own, barely away from being considered between his legs.
“No, little one. Just something awfully close. Now, what are you selling your soul for?”, the demon expected many things. Things he had heard so many times before. Money, love, saving, etc.
What he didn’t expect you to say was that you needed a way to get revenge on the murderer of your mother.
“What? You don’t strike me as the revenge type”, his infamous chuckle came after the words and you huffed. You hated being considered too weak or kind. People already played around with you for that reason.
“Are you going to help me or not?”, your hand found solace on your hip as you waited for his response. He hummed as if in deep thought before tilting his head in a teasing manner.
“Depends. What do I get in return?”, you noticed how his gaze had lingered on your hand, watching how it softly kneaded the flesh there.
“Keep our options open? You can have my soul or whatever you want whenever you want. I just want that man in the ground by the end of the week”, he didn’t expect the hint of sass in your tone but he loved it.
“I’ll need to put that in writing darling, but you have a deal”.
“Why did I not remember you before?”, you were sure you had never had that memory before now. The demon only smirked before walking towards you, his hands holding your waist. He rubbed them up and down as if he was memorizing every curve.
“I couldn’t have you running off. Besides, it was so precious to watch you think you had killed that man. You seemed so... proud”, he bit his lip, admiring you.
“It’s been you, hasn’t it? The voice?”, the demon nodded and took your jaw in his hold, tilting it every which way as if he was deciding to auction you or not.
“Yes. Your power comes from me and I think I’ve finally decided what I’ll be requesting for your end of the deal”, a thick lump formed in your throat, hoping that this wasn’t going to be your last day on Earth.
“You have been doing my dirty work for years now. No one is more fit to be my prophet than you. I want you to be mine. My little prophet”, your eyebrows furrowed as his words processed in your head.
“Prophet? For what?”, you had to sit down, walking over the body on the floor still and sitting on the desk.
“To be the next crossroad demon. Imagine it, baby. All the power you have now will be tripled, you’ll be immortal, and we’ll be together forever. I can tell you desire nothing more than power”, you found yourself nodding before you could even register any consequences. He had you at the power being tripled.
“How insatiable”, the demon tapped his fingers against the desk as he hovered over you, “if I didn’t know better than I’d consider you a deadly sin. I think you’re more greedy than actual greed is” before you could argue his lips were pressed against your own in a feverous manner. It filled your body with warmth from the tips of your toes to the very top of your head.
Your arms wrapped around his neck as you kissed him back, feeling how his body got impossibly closer. You moaned into his mouth when you felt his crotch rub against your own.
“Unless you’re even crazier than I thought, let’s do this somewhere there isn’t a dead body”, he laughed once he pulled away, your eyes going to the forgotten body on the floor. Your cheeks went red as the demon picked you up, your legs wrapping around his waist.
His wings wrapped around your body, encasing you in a makeshift shield as black smoke surrounded you both. His wings opened up to reveal your bedroom and you realized something as your back landed on the soft mattress.
“Wait- what’s your name?”, contrary to popular myths, demons had no trouble sharing their names. He had just simply forgotten.
“San”, his lips latched onto your neck, sucking and biting the skin there as if you already belonged to him.
“San”, you repeated, testing the name and a rumble came from the demon’s chest. It was so similar to a growl that you had to look around the room to make sure no animals were there.
“Fuck, say it again”, his hands gripped the thin fabric of your shirt but he waited.
“San. Please”, there was a hint of desperation in your voice and it was something San had never heard from you. It made his eyes go blood red for a moment.
“Are you sure you want this? It will change everything”, you stared into his eyes and, for once, there wasn’t any fear in you. They were warm as they stared back at you, a sure fire way of San telling you he would never betray you.
“I’m sure. Let’s be powerful together”, you nodded and the demon smiled, ripping the fabric of your shirt apart like it was just some dusty old rag. Your hands held onto his suit and then you remembered something.
“Can I see them?”, San stopped to ponder what you meant. That’s when you lowered your hands to the small of his back, your hands gliding over the cuts on his back. That’s when he knew what you wanted.
“I didn’t think humans liked them”, he chuckled as he took off his own shirt, his wings springing out soon after. He kept them tucked towards him to avoid hitting anything on your end tables and all you could do was admire them as you laid there.
“I love them. So beautiful”, your fingers gently stroked them, trailing along the curve of the bone as if to memorize the feeling of them under your touch.
San nodded with a sincere smile, one you had yet to see. It took you off guard but you loved it. San pulled up your skirt and groaned when he saw how wet your panties had become. They were stuck to your folds, showing everything to him.
“You’re so wet, baby”, you whimpered when he trailed his finger up your folds and back down again. He simply pulled the panties to the side and you gasped when you felt his spit coat your opening. He then plunged it into you with his tongue, thrusting it inside of you and swirling his tongue to cut your walls with his saliva.
That’s when he realized you were already clenching around him in absolute sensitivity and pleasure. He looked up at you as he slowly pulled his tongue out, watching how your eyebrows furrowed.
“You’re a virgin, aren’t you?”, you flushed red from the question no matter how simple it sounded. San already knew the answer but he still wanted to hear it from you.
“Yeah, I am”, you sit up a little on your elbows, expecting the demon to stop. However, all he did was smirk and thrust his tongue back inside of you, causing your head to fall back. He swirled his tongue, searching for that certain spot inside of you that even you had never found before.
His fingers pinched and rubbed at your clit as he prepped you, causing your sweet moans to fill the room. The only thing San could think about was how badly he wanted to ruin you.
Eventually, he felt you were ready and he replaced his tongue with his fingers, scissoring you open. Then, he hit it. That special spot deep inside of you with his middle finger.
“Right there! Please”, you had never felt so good and your back arched as San kept hitting that spot with his fingers over and over like clock work.
You clenched around his fingers and he kept his pace steady as you came all over his fingers, coating them with your juices. He had you ride out your high and watched as you shook from the stimulation, barely holding onto his humanity.
He took his fingers out and you whined, feeling so hopelessly empty without them there. San licked one of his fingers, humming from how sweet you tasted. Then, he had another finger in front of your mouth.
You opened your mouth and he put the digit inside, your lips closing around it as you sucked on it to taste yourself. You did taste perfectly sweet.
“Sorry sweetheart, I can’t wait any longer”, you gulped when you saw something inside the demon snap. His hands quickly pulled his belt off and he tied your wrists together with them, attached to the bedpost.
You were too in awe from the sight of his cock to even care about the rough leather rubbing against your skin, his tip red and angry, coated in pre-cum. You wondered how it would even fit.
“Don’t worry. You’ll be just fine”, before you could even wonder what he meant by that, his lips were on your’s as he lined himself up with your pussy. He slowly pushed in and you began to fill the pain until... you didn’t anymore.
It was as if the kiss was enough to blur your nerves and, before you knew it, San was all the way inside of you. The sight of his bulge was prominent in your stomach and, when he pulled away from the kiss, you could feel the tip brush against your cervix.
Your feelings rushed back in and you felt the stretch but it was no longer painful, your cunt used to being stuffed now. As he realized you were fine, San slowly started moving, groaning as your walls hugged his dick. You were so small in comparison to him and it felt perfect. You felt perfect.
Restraint inside of the demon slowly disappeared as he pounded into you, his hips snapping against your’s. His hand wrapped tightly around your throat when you got louder, squeezing it to cut off the air going to your lungs a little. Your eyes rolled back from all the pleasure and stimulation.
“Such a pretty whore. You feel so good”, San chuckled darkly, licking his lips as he looked down at you. Your breasts bounced from the force and he watched them, almost mesmerized by the movement as his tip continuously rammed into your g-spot.
You winced when San slapped you, a red hand imprinted on your skin. The sting only seemed to add to the pleasure and he noticed, deciding to slap your clit just as hard.
“Fuck! San!”, your breathing got caught in your throat as he continued to slap it, hitting the nerve over and over to watch your reaction. You clenched around him again as you began to feel overstimulated, the knot in your stomach releasing all over his cock.
San followed soon after, filling you up so much that you could see the bulge stay in your stomach even when he had pulled out. Your heavy breathing was all you were able to let out as San undid the belt.
You expected for it to be over but the demon simply gripped your hips and spread your legs to straddle his lap. You could feel his hard cock rubbing against your pussy lips and a rush of arousal went to your core again, his cum covering your thighs as it leaked out of you.
“It’s not over baby. I wanted to really look at you when I mark you”, your eyes went a little wide when San moved your hips to grind against his erection.
“Mark? What does that mean?”, San just shushed you and gave you his mischievous smile.
“You’ll see”, you were too needy to even care as you slowly lowered yourself onto his cock, feeling for the first time how it truly stretched you out. San gripped the back of your head and pressed his forehead against your’s in an attempt to distract you from any pain.
“Ride me and you’ll be all mine”, his words made you roll your hips faster even if you already knew you were putty in his hands. You were already his and have been. He made sure of that.
Soon, you began to get tired and San smiled, gripping your hips to keep you moving. He didn’t seem angry but you could tell his impatience was coming through.
“Useless whore. You can’t even ride a dick properly”, you looked down in embarrassment from his words. It was the only time you enjoyed not having control, when San had it.
The demon took control and thrusted up into you, controlling your movements to meet his own. The new position made your mouth hang open in a silent scream, your body too overwhelmed with pleasure to even let out sounds.
Even without words, San knew you were close with how your nails dug into his shoulders and your little cunt clenched around him. As you both approached your orgasms he nuzzled his face between your neck and shoulder.
You came together and he bit you, causing a scream to erupt from your body. Your body thrashed against him but he held you still as he slowly pulled his teeth out.
The bite slowly healed to reveal a distinct ‘S’ marked into your skin. San smiled and watched as the blood from the wound went down your body and stopped at the curve of your breast.
“Good girl. Finally being put to use”, the demon leaned his face down and licked up the blood from your breast to the mark on your shoulder, sending pleasant shivers up your body.
He was still buried inside of you as he maneuvered you both to lay down, spooning you to keep you warm.
“Now you’re all mine. Remember that. Or this deal may not last”, you could tell the end was meant as a threat. You belonged to San and that was that.
“I’m all your’s”, you nodded and closed your eyes, trying to calm your body.
“That’s right. Forever”.
“Even in-“, you were cut off when he pressed a kiss to the back of your head.
“Even in hell. Then it will be...”, he hummed as he thought.
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Chapped lips | Shigaraki Tomura
after that night, the night he'd first reached out for your hand, you and shigaraki had gotten a lot closer, even if that only meant you were holding hands a lot. or did it?
pairing: shigaraki tomura x gn!reader
warnings: head empty just tooth-rotting fluff, also shigs being insecure about his skin, he’s still touch-starved :c
a.n: @hufflefluffslytherin asked for a part two and i really really really adore touch-starved shigaraki (and writing him) so i just had to comply!🥰🥰 (also if you’ve never seen fanart of shigaraki with his hair tied back i am so sorry, but you’ve been deprived)
Holding hands had become somehow normal between Tomura and you, although it usually ended up being in the privacy of his room. If Kurogiri noticed how close you’d gotten after he sent you to his room that one time he didn’t mention it. He’d only smile gently at you when you caught his...floating orbs. You weren’t sure if you could call it a smile when the guy didn’t have a mouth, or eyes….or a face. It was more like a vibe that you got from him.
The rest of the league had noticed the two of you had gotten closer, too. They were not stupid, after all. Well, they were all idiots, but they were smart idiots. You’d spent a lot more time at their lair now in consequence of you spending more time with Tomura. And of course every one of them had to give their two cents to the situation.
Toga would beam at you, teeth flashing and eyes sparkling with excitement, whenever the both of you were in the same room. When Tomura wasn’t present the girl would dreamily stare into the air, planning your wedding in detail. It was cute, almost endearing, if it wasn’t so embarrassing. You’d turn red as a beat and Toga would giggle at your flustered state.
Dabi turned to relentless teasing, constantly making jokes, some of which were so beyond inappropriate you’d loved to wash his mouth and your memory out with soap.
Compress was surprisingly soft on you, never once mentioning the new undetermined relationship between you and the boss, although you were certain he sent you winks from beneath that mask of his.
Spinner was being a little shit like always.
Tomura and you had grown closer in the process of your occurring hand holding sessions. Often you just sat next to him on the bed (yes, you’d gotten the privilege of being allowed on there), you would scroll through your various social media while Tomura explored the skin of your arms and your hands with his fingers.
You would have never expected he could be so...soft...quiet...calm...innocent. Just silently sitting next to you, staring at the ceiling or somewhere else (anything but you) while he let his fingers gently glide over your hands until you’d end up with your fingers intertwined.
He didn’t like talking a lot, you realized. Still private, still unrelentless.
It had taken weeks between then and now before you’d even gotten to this point. A point where Tomura felt comfortable enough to request your touch whenever he felt like it. Sometimes he just sent you the blank faced cat emoji and you knew that your presence was requested. You didn’t comment on it, just silently complied, sitting next to him in silence until he initiated the contact.
You knew he was still in disbelief about your nonchalance whenever he did reach out to touch you. He always did it so carefully, barely gracing your skin. As if he wanted to leave you enough time to react and pull back.
It was endearing.
Sometimes he tested you, brushing his fingers over parts of your upper arms, shoulder, leg, stomach, watching you out of calculating eyes, expecting, awaiting you to flinch back. You never did. Like you said, you didn't have it in you to mistrust Shigaraki in that way. All remaining resolve had crumbled the moment he’d first reached out for your hand.
When you knocked on his door that night, you were already buzzing with excitement, clenching the little item in your palms, something you’d brought for Tomura. You didn’t wait for his answer, already opening the door and slipping a moment later since he had sent the cat emoji earlier.
Tomura was sitting on his bed, game controller in his hand, the screen of his tv showing a shooter game was the only light that illuminated the room.
You had quickly realized Tomura enjoyed quiet and dark places.
He didn't look up, just glanced at you from the corner of his eyes, as you approached him and sat down next to him, already smiling. The item you brought was securely hidden in your palms.
The man hummed in greeting, scooting closer until your legs were touching slightly, barely brushing.
That was another thing you had noticed about him. Tomura wasn’t only enamored by holding your hand, but he craved the simplest of touches. It didn’t come as a surprise to you, considering most of his life everyone had been avoidant of him. You had figured he must be incredibly touch-starved, searching your warmth now that you’d willingly given it to him already, taking whatever he’d get.
It was cute.
You watched him play for a little while, supporting your weight on your hands as you leaned back onto your palms. But quickly your attention shifted, your eyes settling on the side of Shigafaki’s face. Eyes wandering from the scars around his eyes, to his dry lips and then to the sensitive skin on his neck...you could imagine it must hurt a lot.
You were a little familiar with impulsive behaviour like that, you’d bitten your fingernails for years, picked at the skin around them, too. It was a bad habit, one fueled by stress. Something you sometimes went back to whenever it would get too much. But you knew that was hardly comparable.
“Why are you staring at me?”
You were pulled from your thoughts by his hoarse voice, soft despite the scratchiness of it. You didn’t reply immediately, watching the ways the shadows danced across his features.
“Does it hurt?”
You didn’t have to point out what exactly you meant, he understood immediately.
“I’m used to it,” his answer was curt and you noticed how he lowered his head to let more of his hair fall into his face.
You hummed, not mentioned how tragic that truly was or how badly you wanted to hug him. He probably didn’t want your sympathy, perhaps even mistake it for pity.
You sat up instead, smiling widely in hope to ease the sullen mood as you raised your hand to finally uncover what you’ve been hiding all along.
“I’ve brought something,” you declared proudly.
Tomura glanced at the little item you held up to his face, eyes narrowing to read the name of the product. When he recognized what it was, he glanced up at your face, eyebrows furrowed in scepticism.
“Don’t tell me you want me to put that on my face.”
You laughed at the look of disgust in his eyes.
“It’s just ointment, don’t be so dramatic.”
He didn’t seem all too convinced by your words, face settled into a scowl.
“It’s really good, if you want to know my expert opinion,” you ignored the amused snort, “It’s moisturizing and helps with itches as well.”
He glanced at the object again, not very enthusiastic about the idea of it, you noticed, his face still purposefully lowered, his red eyes peeking out from beneath his white strands.
You cocked your head to the side.
“I could heal some of it, too, if it bothers you,” you suggested, although you knew you could really only do something against the recently damaged skin, nothing against the several small scars collected at the corner of his eyes or the base of his neck.
“Why, does it bother you?” he murmured, a sudden edge to his voice.
The grip around the game controller had tightened, although his pinkies were still skillfully spread to avoid disintegrating the piece of plastic.
“No,” you replied sternly.
Tomura hesitated for a moment, eyes darting between the tub of ointment and your face a few times before he made a choice. He paused the game and carefully placed the controller on the nightstand.
“Fine,” he mumbled, head angles towards you, “You can put that shit on me.”
You raised your eyebrows in surprise, itching to ask him to repeat himself, because you weren’t sure if you understood him correctly, if he really just agreed you could put ointment on his face. You. Not him, you.
But then he turned, until he was facing you completely, his legs crossed, knees bumping against the side of your legs and he watched you expectantly. You turned, too, positioning yourself so you were cross-legged as well and directly in front of him, trying to ignore the tingling in your stomach at being so intensely stared at by Tomura. You inched closer, bumping your knees more and the man leaned forward, almost expectantly, awaiting.
You stopped him with a raise of your hand and Tomura halted in his movements, squinting at the small object that you were now holding into his face. His forehead scrunched up at the sight of the hair tie in between your fingers and he gave you a sceptical look.
“Tie your hair back, Tomura.”
He grumbled, but complied to your request, lazily binding his hair together. A few strands fell out and back into his face and you softly pushed them behind his ears, not commenting on the way Tomura stilled at your touch.
Opening the tub of ointment, you put some of the substance on your fingers, glancing up at the man in front of you for approval. He was already looking at you with awaiting eyes.
Okay, if he didn’t make it weird you shouldn’t make it weird either.
You reached out to hold his face in place, cupping his left cheek gently. Tomura closed his eyes at your touch, leaning into your hand a little. You smiled slightly, raising your fingers with the ointment to the area around his eyes and started to carefully apply it to the skin.
The skin was rough under the pads of your fingers as you moved them over his face. He let you work in silence, the only sounds coming from him was the occasional hum whenever the cool ointment touched a specific sensitive area.
You moved on to the other side quickly, switching hands to apply the ointment with your left hand and hold Shigaraki’s face with your right, instead, to accommodate.
“Do you feel a difference?”, you asked softly, massaging the substance into his cheek.
You smiled softly.
“Is it itching?”
He shook his head.
You moved on to his neck, occasionally glancing up at his face. It was relaxed, his eyes still closed, the corners of his lips slack. You smiled at the smoothened out features, your eyes getting stuck on the way down until you were staring at his lips. Dry and chapped but still kissable.
You froze in your movements.
Hold on, what.
Tomura had noticed you had stopped moving and cracked his eyes open, watching the expression on your face with interest.
“Why are you staring at me?”
You shook your head, desperately fighting the blush on your cheeks.
“Just thought you might wanna put lip balm on as well,” you replied calmly.
The man scrunched up his face.
“You’ve brought that, too?”
You shrugged, spreading the last bit of ointment across his neck before you pulled back, massaging the leftovers of the substance into your hands.
“Well, i’ve got some with me,” you suggested, pulling it out of the back pocket of your pants.
Shigaraki eyed it suspiciously, raising his hand towards his neck before he halted in his movement, as he remembered your treatment, before he let it sink back into his lap.
“Don’t look so sceptical. It’s just a chapstick,” you laughed at the way he scrunched up his face in disgust.
To demonstrate you opened up the cap and rolled it up. Lifting it up to emphasize the plainness of your action before putting the lip balm on your lips. Smacking them together when you were done, presenting them with a grin.
Tomura looked thoughtful before he suddenly started smirking, his eyes gleaming with mischief as he gave a nod of approval. You frowned in confusion but didn’t get the chance to ask him what he was being so cocky about before he suddenly leaned in and caught your lips gently between his.
Despite the tenderness behind his touch you felt like the air was just punched out of your lungs. You were completely frozen against him, not moving, not knowing how to move. The line connecting your brains and limbs, the one that was supposed to exchange signals had been cut off the second Tomura’s mouth had touched yours. The man’s lips moved against yours just before he pulled back again.
You blinked up at him, mouth agape in shock as a warmth, a burning heat, spread through your skin, your face turning red.
He watched you in amusement before he smacked his lips together, loudly, a wide grin spreading over his features when he saw your eyes widen in shock.
“Like this?” he asked innocently.
You choked on your spit at the boldness of...literally everything.
“You! I...” you stuttered helplessly.
He chuckled slightly, strands of his bangs falling back into his eyes, which made him look even better than before. You huffed in mock offence.
“I can’t believe you, Tomura,” you grumbled, playfully hitting his knee as you tried to calm down your fluttering heartbeat.
The man just cocked his head at you, calculating eyes trained on your features. His stare was so intense you felt your face heat up again, just as you had started to calm down again.
He chuckled slightly, slowly leaning forward again, which led you to stop breathing for a second or two...or longer. He came to a halt right before your lips would have touched again, innocently glancing up at you through his lashes.
“Why? Do you want to kiss me?” His voice was deep and alluring.
You didn’t answer, the words got caught in your throat, the trust in your own voice vanished.
How could he turn from an innocent touch-starved gamer boy into this in a matter of seconds? It didn’t seem very fair to you. Especially when you were the one on the receiving end of this behaviour. Worse of all, Tomura seemed to enjoy your sudden speechlessness greatly, eyes drilling into yours as he inched even closer, the look in his eyes dared you to make a move.
He was close enough so you could feel his hot breath on your lips, so close the fruity smell of the ointment (you’d chosen a peach scent) assaulted your nose. All you could think was “Fuck it.” and throw caution out of the window.
You closed the remaining distance, planting your mouth on his and gained a satisfied hum in response. You smiled at the reaction, grabbing his face and pulling him more into you.
Tomura gave into your touch with ease, leaning in even more, searching your touch. He held your wrist, his pinky spread.
His lips were chapped and felt rough against yours, but you didn’t mind, not even a little bit. The kiss was heated, both of you getting more passionate as you deepened the kiss, the feeling indescribable. Your whole skin was tingling, your brain surely turned into mush.
Tomura wasn’t allowed to be this good at kissing, you thought. Did he kiss someone before or was this his first kiss? It couldn’t be...or?
The two of you parted when you ran out of air, both of you breathing heavily into the small space you’ve left between you. Tomura squeezed your wrist and chuckled breathlessly, shaking his head in disbelief as he stared you down. His eyes were sparkling with an emotion you couldn’t quite pin down but knew enough about for you to feel a little dizzy being looked at with.
“You really are crazy, you know that,” he whispered, a tone close to astonishment in his voice.
You just smiled, thumb brushing over the warm skin of his cheek.
Crazy for you, Tomura.
Taglist: @crystal-lilac @hufflefluffslytherin @duf3h6237 @chucky-26o1
332 notes · View notes
summary: Harry's shy and you need a tutor.
warnings: like none, cursing?, severe fluff
You rushed into class, and scrambled over to sit in your chair, huffing as the clock struck 9:00 a.m. the moment you touched the seat. Why you signed up for a morning class you knew you would never want to wake up for is beyond you. Why the class you were taking was about English literature, a genre you had only read less than 3 books in was also beyond you. Being undecided in your major didn’t have many perks, you had come to find.
“Alright class, first things first, you’ll be having a test in this class next week about what we studied this past month.”
As your professor droned on, your heartbeat started to pick up. A month into your second year of university and you already had a test? This was absolute torture. You were psyching yourself out at this point, almost positive you would fail, until you zoned back into class to hear a deep voice speaking.
The boy with the curls almost reaching his shoulders in the back of the class, Harry, you thought. He was terrifying and intimidating, but he raised his hand almost every other question and got it right. Always. He was the answer to all of your problems. The one who always wore those tattered brown Chelsea boots and long coats. You had even seen a peek of tattoos on his hand once.
The rest of class was spent thinking of ways to ask him to tutor you. So far, you would suggest to pay him for his time, do it only when he’s available (you would switch your schedule around for him, you were already going to ask a lot of him), and just try to be really nice. You always tried not to judge on looks, but Harry seemed quite scary, and you were afraid he’d turn you down immediately.
Soon class was dismissed and you grabbed your trusty bag (it had survived multiple sleepovers at Niall’s and that boy could destroy anything by just touching it) and slung it over your shoulder, looking to see Harry walking out of the classroom. You hurried over to him out of the doors and caught up to him. “Hi, um, Harry?” You asked, and he stopped in his tracks.
He looked back at you and his eyes widened. He had to look back down for a moment so you couldn’t see him flush out of surprise. He looked back up at you and smiled softly. “Hello.” Harry mumbled, adjusting the strap of his bag on his shoulder. No one really ever spoke to Harry all that much. People just never approached him and he had no idea why (his friends had tried to clue him in that he did seem a bit intimidating with his brows furrowed almost all the time, his body littered with tattoos, and the fact that he’s quite a buff guy, but you couldn’t really tell from his oversized sweaters that he seems to wear every single day, but that’s besides the point) and it confused him a bit. It also made him a bit shy around anyone he didn’t already know, because he didn't want to come off too strong at first and scare anyone away.
You smiled at him and introduced yourself before you continued to ask him what you had been dreading out of pure nerves. “Um, I know this is weird, but we’re in the same English lit class and I notice you know like, all the answers to what Mr. Reeves asks, n’I just really wanna pass this test so I was maybe wondering if you could tutor me or something? I would pay you of course-”
“You don’t-you don’t have to pay me.” He interrupted you from rambling on for too long because you tended to do that a lot, and Harry had no idea but he had just saved himself about ten minutes of time. If you were his chance at a new friend, he wouldn’t want it to start off on money, because helping a friend wouldn't be a job. “Oh!” Your mouth formed an “o” shape and your eyebrows raised at him. “Are you sure? I mean that's fucking awesome if you really don’t want money, but I would just feel so bad taking up your time without giving you anything in return.”
You prayed that he would say that you really didn’t need to pay him anything. If he meant it, it means this boy was a godsend and you would be happy spending time with this bloke if he is really that sweet all the time. You wouldn’t expect it just because he rarely ever speaks to other people. The most words you had ever heard him speak was when he was answering a question from Mr. Reeves-
“S’fine, really. If I tutor you, um, it's basically like studying m’self so...” He trailed off scratching the back of his neck, and bringing you back to Earth. You broke out into a grin and bounced a bit on your toes, because he was going to help you pass the final and you didn’t have to pay him. “Perfect! Wow, Harry, you’re an angel. Thank you so much,” You complimented him as you grabbed your phone from your back pocket and as your eyes darted away from his face for a few moments, he attempted to bite back his smile, because you were talking to him, and calling him an angel.
You pulled your pink-case covered cell and unlocked it, handing it to Harry and saying, “Here, put your contact in so I can text you about meeting up, s’that cool?” To which he nodded and took your phone gently and began typing his name and number in, and biting back his tongue when he was about to tell you he had the same phone case as you, because you probably wouldn’t care (you actually would care a very great deal, but Harry had been so used to being ignored he figured he wouldn’t muck up his one chance at a new friend). he handed your phone back to you and you just shoved it back in your pocket, the smile never leaving your face.
“Thanks again Harry, it really means a lot. I’ll text you later, yeah?” You said, slowly beginning to walk to your next class. He just offered you a small smile before continuing the way he was before you had asked him to tutor you. Why he didn’t want money was still itching at the back of your brain, mostly because when you told your best friend, Niall, about it later that night he had said “What kinda college student turns down money?” before going off into a rant about how he wished he actually knew what he was learning so he could tutor someone and get some extra cash. You reminded him he already had a job, but it seemed tutoring was “so much easier than dealing with kids whose parents didn’t give a rats-ass if they yell in the restaurant.”
You and Harry had arranged to meet on Wednesday, because you only had one morning class as did he, and would meet in the library at 12 p.m. You don’t think you had ever been so anxious walking into a library before, but here you were, opening the double doors and swiping your student I.D. (which had a horrid picture on it, they really never tell you when they take the photo) before your eyes scanned the front part of the library you could see. It was safe to say you weren’t in the library very often, if seeing your frazzled face as you zig-zagged through the rows of bookshelves was enough to go by.
You made your way to the back, where you assumed the tables for studying and reading would be, and as you turned the corner of one of the oddly tall bookshelves, you thanked your instincts for the first time, and scanned the area until you found a certain flop of messy brown curls hunched over at a table.
“Hi Harry,” You chittered, flopping down in the seat across from him and immediately pulling out your notes and the book you had been reading for class, Pride and Prejudice. “How are you?”
For the first time, you noticed he wore glasses, when he looked up at you and pushed the clear tan frames up the bridge of his nose, a bit startled by your arrival. “M’good, you?” He asked, no emotion or tone behind his voice really. It sounded like he just wanted you to stop talking almost, but you settled on the fact that it was your nerves telling you he hated you.
“’Bout as good as I can be with teachers up my ass all week.” You said, and a small smile struck his face. You wondered what it would be like to make him laugh. Shaking your head from your thoughts, you cleared your throat and looked at your notes before back up at him. “Alright, so m’a bit confused on why Charlotte marries Collins? I mean, ignoring the fact that they’re all related, I’ve re-read it so many times but the old English they use is so confusing.”
After your question, Harry delves into the answer, not going on an extraordinarily long tangent, but a decently long one, explaining the relationship between them, and why they married when he wanted Elizabeth first, and so on. What was even better was that he explained it all so easily you understood it all (and his voice was sweeter than honey), you just kept wanting to ask more questions, so you did.
Harry was talkative when you kept asking him questions, and it seemed like he was enjoying himself, but whenever the conversation swerved into personal life, Harry shut off and became more quiet. It wasn’t like you were asking him about his family drama, the conversation had smoothly sailed into something about high school.
“I wish I read this book in high school when they gave us the chance.” You sighed, flipping through the pages to where you had put a sticky note to write down your confusion. You truly regretted not being one of those reading types, but you preferred to hear things more (like Harry’s voice), and listening to music became your ‘hobby’ instead.
“Yeah, reading it earlier makes it pretty easy now.” He shrugged, going through his own notes. “I just wasn’t much of a reader, did you read a lot in high school?” It's an innocent enough question, and after spending about 2 hours with Harry, you already knew you would want to get to know him more, but it seemed he didn’t feel the same. “A bit.” He said, tensing up. While you were mildly confused by his body language, Harry just didn’t want to talk about highschool. He read a lot, and was so in his own world he found it hard to really have many friends. He had a few loyal ones, but books would always be there, as cheesy as that was. High school wasn’t fun for anyone, he was sure of it.
“You seem like you’d read a lot, you just give off that vibe, y’know?” You said, looking at him. He lifted his gaze from his notes and you truly could not tell what he was thinking. He gave a small “hmph” in response to your question that wasn’t really a question and looked back down at his notes, gathering them all quite fast. “I think we’re good for the day, just text me if you want anymore help.” He mumbled, slinging his bag over his shoulder and rushing out of the library. You sat there with your mouth slightly open in shock at the way he left so abruptly. After a few moments you packed up your own things and practically ran after him, bursting through the double doors and trying to find him, to-you actually didn’t know what to do. You didn’t even know what happened. That’s why you found yourself on your couch with Niall as he ate all your snack food, deep in a long-winded advice session from him.
“He just ran out Niall, I don’t even know what happened, like did I say something?” You asked, picking your nails in distress, your eyes following the chip that disappeared in his mouth seconds later. “What’s this bloke’s name, again?” He asked, after chewing (Niall could be vulgar, but he wasn’t an animal). “Um, Harry. Longish brown curls, pretty green eyes, y’know? I-I don’t even know his last name.”
The blonde’s icy blue eyes widened in recognition after a moment of thinking, and he slapped your bicep gently. “Harry Styles! I’ve heard o’him. Apparently he has like two friends and never speaks, s’not hard to believe you have a thing for him, bug.” Your brow raised incredulously, and you were quick to defend yourself, and Harry. “I do not have a thing for him, and just because he doesn’t have many friends doesn’t mean he’s a-wait what do you mean it's not hard to believe?”
Niall rolled his eyes and sat up a bit more, turning to actually face you. “You like the quiet types, s’why we aren’t dating, obviously, n’I never said he was a dud, love, just tellin’ you what I heard.” You just nodded, deciding to not worry about it so much. “There’s many reasons we aren’t dating Ni.” You gave him a compassionate smile and pat his knee. The two of you then burst out into laughter and your worries about Harry faded away.
Until the next morning that is.
You had been going over the study guide Mr. Reeves had emailed everyone that morning and realized you weren’t sure about quite a few of the things you were supposed to know. Sighing, you opened your phone and clicked on Harry’s contact typing out a text.
Hey Harry! Wondering if you could meet up sometime again this weekend just to go over the study guide?
You hit send and prayed that he wouldn’t just ignore it, especially after running out last time. After looking back at the email, you heard your notification bell go off just a few minutes later.
I can do Friday at 8pm, and Sunday around 3.
A smile of relief graced your face at his quick response, no matter how short his texts were, he was still willing to help you, and you were extremely grateful. After texting him back and agreeing to meet back at the library, you went back to working on another assignment, happy that you were able to get more studying in, not about the fact that you got to see the quiet and unusually attractive Harry Styles again. That was not the reason.
Eventually it was Friday night. Your friday nights usually consisted of Niall dragging you somewhere you did not want to be, like a frat party (he always made sure you got home safe though), or you sitting at home, watching a movie and binging on cookies that you had baked just 30 minutes prior. Tonight was different however, and you were attempting to open the doors of the library, because it was locked, but you were positive the library wasn’t closed.
A soft voice said your name, and you turned around to see Harry standing a few feet behind you, his hands in his pockets and his bag on his shoulder. “Harry,” you exhaled in relief. “I was about to text you, but it’s locked and I know for a fact it shouldn’t be closed because the hours say 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every weekday.” You stated matter of factly, pointing to the hours painted on the door. He walked a bit closer to the door and adjusted his glasses a bit, pursing his pink lips as he read the hours. “You’re right.” he said simply, his sage eyes darting to the handle. You wordlessly stepped back and he went to the handle, pulling the door a bit, and pushing it. It moved a bit for him, but it was obvious it was locked.
Your mind raced for solutions, the only ones you were able to find was going to your flat, or wherever he lived, and you were almost positive he wouldn't want you in his house. You heard a little sigh leave his lips as he let go of the handle, and stuck his hands back in his pockets, rolling on the balls of his feet adorned with black boots today. “We could go to my place? If you’re comfortable with that of course, I won’t force you, but it’s like the only place I can think of and my roommate won’t be home tonight to distract us, something about staying the weekend at her boyfriends, but-”
Your eyes fell back onto his face at his words and you gave a small smile, happy that he had agreed. “Alright, c’mon then.” You said, walking towards the direction of your flat. Only a few moments after you began taking steps he stopped you with his voice. “Wait, you walked here?” He asked, his face twisted up with something you couldn’t tell. “Yeah, m’only fifteen minutes away.” You shrugged. “It’s pitch black-um, come with me, I drove here and you can just direct me to yours.”
You just agreed and followed him to his car, which was an awfully nice black one, you weren’t sure of the brand, but as you got in, you could tell he took really good care of it (not that that was attractive to you or anything). Your words during the drive consisted of you telling him the four turns to take before directing him the best place to park in your lot. You ignored his gaze on you as you led him up the two flights of stairs to your hall, because “The elevator has been down for ages, and I’ve sent about four letters to the landlord, but all I’ve gotten in return is just unnecessary exercise for two months.”
He chuckled a bit at that and you swore your heart grew two sizes as you led him down the hall to your door. You unlocked it, and let him in, quickly walking in front to scan and make sure it wasn’t messy. You were never one to leave the house while it was dirty, but Niall had come over earlier to convince you to come to a party, and you were scared you hadn’t picked up his mess. He truly was like your child in a sense. Taking a sigh of relief at your clean flat, you turned around to see Harry closing your door and you brushed against him to lock it, you never kept your door unlocked at night.
You led him to the living room and dropped your bag on the floor next to the couch, and he did the same, pulling out your books and notes, as well as your laptop. Harry followed your actions and you could tell he was a bit uncomfortable in your flat, or at least that’s what it seemed like. “Do y’want some water or anything? I’m not sure what other drinks I have because I’m pretty sure Niall drank everything in here, and ate it probably as well.”
He looked up at your words and hesitated, bringing his bottom lip between his fingers. “Erm, I’ll have a water, please.” Now was not the time to ask about Niall or who he was to you, he told himself, because it didn’t matter. You nodded and stood up, hurrying over to your kitchen and grabbing two glasses of water for the both of you before handing one to Harry and sitting down on the couch again.
It was a bit weird at first, but soon enough the two of you slid into an easy conversation about the study guide, it was mostly you asking and Harry answering, but occasionally he would ask you something (that you were sure he already knew), and you would answer. It was a good back and forth, and you found yourself thinking about how it would be nice to talk to Harry like this about himself. You wanted to know everything, his favorite color down to the weird little quirks he has (you’ve already picked up on one, like when he itches the bottom of his nose with a curled index finger and slides it to the button of his nose before scrunching it).
“We’ve been studying for about two hours,” You noticed, looking at the time on your computer screen reading 10:03 PM. “I’ve just about filled my brain with enough information about fictional characters for today.”
You looked over at Harry to see him grinning a bit at your joke, and for the first time you noticed he had dimples. You were positive there was nothing wrong with him, other than the fact that he didn’t seem to want to be your friend (it wasn’t his fault, you could be a bit too much for people sometimes). “Okay, I should probably get back home to Luna anyways.” He said, his offhand comment filling your brain. Luna? You prayed you haven’t been taking his time away from a girlfriend, and before your brain could catch up your mouth was already moving. “Oh, who’s Luna?”
Harry looked at you like he forgot he mentioned her and his eyes widened a bit. “Oh, um, she’s m’kitten.” A wave of relief rushed over you, as well as another reason to want to get to know him more. A man so intimidating people didn’t approach him, had a kitten? Harry was flushing out of embarrassment of telling you this little fact, and looking down as he put his things in his bag to avoid eye contact with you, you did not care about his kitten, and you were indirectly telling him to leave, he didn't think he ever hated speaking more.
“That’s such a cute name!”You exclaimed. “Do you have any photos of her? It’s okay if you don’t want to show but I love cats, always wanted t’get my own.”
30 minutes later, and he was sitting next to you awfully close on the couch, showing you his photo album of Luna. Some of the photos had Harry in them, one in particular, a mirror picture, where he was wearing sweats and had chosen to go without a shirt, holding Luna in one hand by his side. He swiped off of that one with lighting speed, and although you were telling yourself he obviously was embarrassed by you seeing his bare torso, which he shouldn’t be because wow, you couldn’t help your curiosity. “How many tattoos do y’have?”
He moved his head to face you, and only then did he realize how close the two of you were sitting. “Uh, I don’t know, fifty-something? I lost count a while ago.” Your eyes lit up at his words and a grin spread across your face. “Wow, that's so cool. Did it hurt a lot? I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo but I have no idea what, and where. I thought a small little butterfly on my ribs or something would be cute for a good year, but I don’t have much connection to butterflies really, and I feel like if I get something tattooed on your body for forever I would want something that really sticks with me.”
He couldn’t help it.
As you watched Harry while you were rambling on about tattoos you could see him smile. Truly smile, one where his teeth showed and everything. You tried not to get too giddy about it, but it was just so beautiful. “It started hurting less the more I got, and tattoos don’t have t’be something y’really connect with, I have a bunch jus’ because I thought they looked cool and had a decent meaning,” He said, and you were positive that’s the most he’s ever spoken to you. “I actually have a butterfly on m’tummy.”
“What other one’s do you have?” You asked, attempting to get him to talk as much as he could.
It worked, because soon the 30 minutes became an hour, and the hour became two, and he was in your flat at midnight. It seemed the two of you had no idea how much time had passed, because when you checked your phone it said it was five past midnight, and you reluctantly told Harry.
“Shit!” He muttered, and that was the first time you’ve heard him curse before. He looked at you, concern taking over his features. “M’so sorry for staying so long, I didn’t want to impose, I-”
“Harry, it’s okay, I promise. If I didn’t want you here, I would've told you to leave.” You said, and that seemed to calm him down a bit. “I’ll walk you down.”
You slipped on your coat and grabbed your keys, while Harry grabbed his tote and the two of you made your way down the stairs, this time a comfortable silence overtaking the stairwell. You reached his car and smiled at him as he unlocked it. “Thank you Harry, for everything, m’sure after Sunday I’ll be aces at analyzing characters.”
He smiled at you and fiddled with his sleeve before stepping closer and wrapping his arms around you. You were surprised to say the least, but your arms found their way around him as well and you reveled in his warmth. He stepped back after a moment and let his hands slide down your arms before bringing them back to his sides. “M’sorry, I should’ve-I just-you’re so nice n’I just-thank you.”
You couldn’t help but watch him try to stay afloat as he struggled to explain the hug. He really felt like he did though, because you were just so sweet, possibly the sweetest person he’s ever met, and you wanted to know about him, and his tattoos, and his kitten, and he doesn’t think he’s ever wanted to be with anyone for a hours on end, but he’s already decided that he’d want to be trapped in a room with you for days.
“No need to thank me, get home safe okay?” You smiled at him, reaching out and squeezing his arm and holy shit he’s fit. He looked down at your hand for a moment before smiling big and nodding, parting with a “G’night, I’ll see you Sunday.” before hopping into his car and insisting you walk up first. Rolling your eyes you smirked a bit and started walking up your stairs, turning around and waving at him before he sped off. That was quite possibly the best Friday night you’ve ever had.
Harry was reeling, in the best way possible, but still reeling. After you got together to study on Sunday (and after you both aced the test, which you had given him the largest hug and a kiss on the cheek for), the two of you had hung out almost everyday after.
You met Luna during that following week, and he was expecting her to stay in his bedroom, because Luna didn’t really like new guests all that much, but she had immediately scurried up to you and walked in figure-eights around your feet. Your giggle of excitement was the best thing Harry had ever heard, and he had to take a moment not to squeal out of adoration.
He had opened up to you about, well, a lot. Told you how people just didn’t approach him, which was why he was so off-put when you did, and that he just didn’t want to scare anyone away. You shook your head and sat closer to him on the couch, lifting your hands to pinch his cheeks and pout as you said that he was “the sweetest person” you knew and you had “no idea how anyone could be scared of such a softie.” It was safe to say his face was flushed the entire conversation.
You had also commented on his sweater collection once, and everytime you would shiver, he’d pull off his own sweater and give it to you to wear, even in the courtyard when the weather was reaching 30 degrees. You had refused due to the fact that he would be cold, and eventually he just gave you a sweater you had expressed your liking for. He had handed it to you and you frowned in confusion and said, “Did you bring that just for me?”, because he was already wearing his own, and he had nodded and once you put it on he mumbled, “Keep it.” You did.
It got to the point where the two of you had spent so much time together you introduced him to Niall, to which Niall had commented, “So this is the Harry bloke you’ve been talking about all the time. Nice to meet ya, mate. So, how did you grow your hair out so long?” You had hit his shoulder for embarrassing you, but it seemed Harry didn’t even skip a beat when he started talking about how he had decided to grow his hair out. It was a story you’d heard before, but with Harry speaking, you would listen to the same words over and over again.
When you each went home for winter break, Harry had hugged you tightly and kissed your cheek, telling you that it was only 2 weeks, and the both of you would be back before you knew it. When the two of you weren’t texting, you were calling each other, and he was right, because you had both gotten back yesterday, a day full of hugs of goodbye’s from families, and full of cheek and forehead kisses, along with hugs and cuddles from Harry. You teased him about the gift, a book you had told him was the only one you wanted to read, he mailed you, and he teased you about his gift, a sweater with a hand-stitched (by you) small little moon where the left breast was, for Luna, and posters of his favorite artists, because he didn’t have anything on his walls.
Today was a day of “movies and cookies, it rhymes” as Harry had put it, and you had just knocked on his door, adorned with the sweater he gave you and some sweats. He opened the door almost immediately, a large smile on his face as he brought you in and gave you a large hug, to which you returned. “Missed you.” He mumbled into your shoulder. “I saw you yesterday, dimples.” You said, squeezing him before letting go and poking the indent in his cheek that just got deeper. “I told you I hate that nickname, bunny.” He smirked. “Oh, shove off.” You smiled, making your way to his living room where Luna was curled up on the couch on the right side, close enough to the end that no one could sit there, but close enough to the middle that practically half of his couch was taken.
“Don’t move her,” He said, walking up beside you. “She’s been crazy all day and she's finally relaxing, little devil.” You just shrugged and looked at the cookies he had already set out. “As long as I get these, I don’t mind where she is.”
The two of you settled next to each other on the couch as he chose an old horror movie that you begged not to watch but according to Harry, “S’not even scary, pet. Nothing is realistic, swear.” You just grumbled in defeat as he started to play it and just stuffed cookies into your mouth as you fell against the back of the couch.
Half an hour later, and your head was tucked in Harry’s chest, while your legs fell over his own. His hand was splayed across your back, rubbing up and down gently and mumbled “It’s okay”’s and “I’ve got you”’s while you peeked out to see the giant ant’s taking over. He really couldn’t believe it, you of all people were in his arms at night. He wished it could be every night, and when he heard your breathing slow down he suddenly took it back.
What the hell was he supposed to do?
You hadn’t planned on sleeping over, but just the other day were you complaining about not getting enough sleep because of your “stupid Philosophy professor”, and there was no way in hell Harry was going to wake you up. He hesitated for a moment, before turning off the T.V. because in the time he was deciding on what to do the movie had long stopped playing, and wrapped his other arm under your knees, gently picking you up and taking you to his bed.
He laid you down and tucked you under the covers, grabbing a pillow for himself before making his way to the couch for the night. He made sure to set an alarm to wake up before you did, and make you breakfast.
When you opened your eyes, the last thing you were expected to be met with was a white ceiling with a sleek silver fan nailed in. You sat up groggily, looking around the room to recognize it as Harry’s room. You had only been in here a few times, mostly to scavenge his closet, but you knew his room when you saw it. You swung your legs out of bed, and slowly made your way to the living room, where you were met with a sleeping Harry, spread out on the couch in his sweats, without a shirt. You tried not to linger your gaze on all his tattoos and abs as you walked by him to check the time on your phone. Almost 9 a.m., and by the vibrating phone next to yours, with the same case, you could tell he meant to set an alarm but forgot to turn his ringer on.
He had an alarm set for something, and he never told you what he was doing this morning, so you decided you would wake him up, just in case. You grabbed his shoulder gently, and tried not to think about how warm he was, shaking him gently and calling his name. “Harry…” You said in a sing-songy voice a few times. He pouted in his sleep and grunted a bit, before scrunching his eyes open. He practically jumped back when he saw you and his head fell back against the arm of the couch. Of course he wouldn’t wake up before you. “Morning.” You grinned. “G’morning. M’sorry if you were confused when y’woke up. I just brought y’to my bed cause you fell asleep, n’I was gonna wake up before you but obviously that didn’t work out.”
You just shook your head and smiled, trying not to think about his morning voice. There were a lot of things you had to try not to think about with Harry. “No worries, wanna go grab breakfast at the diner down the street? Heard they have killer hashbrowns.”
And all thanks to you, Harry wonders what he had to worry about in the first place.
After breakfast, you went back to your place, Harry in your living room while you got dressed for the day, changing your sweats to jeans and slipping back out of your room. “Alright, what’s the plan?” You asked, tugging the sleeves of his sweater down to make paws. It wasn’t like Harry hadn’t seen you with his sweater on, but it seemed to make him more flustered everytime you did wear it. He shrugged and looked you up and down quickly. “I like your sweater, where’d y’get it?” He joked, in an attempt to mask his blush.
“From this really cute guy, he just gave it to me one day.” You shrugged, and watched as he bit his bottom lip in an attempt not to smile too much. “Really cute?” He asked as you stepped closer to him. “Mhm, his name is Harry.”
“Please stop.” He said, and you stepped back, confused by his sudden change in emotion. “I’m just joking, Harry.” You said, attempting to save the moment. His bottom lip trembled and he sat down on your couch, his head falling in his hands. “I know, n’I don’t want you t’be.” He mumbled as you sat next to him. He pulled his head out of his hands and looked at you, his heart beating faster than it ever has.
“I really like you, bunny. And I don’t wanna ruin our friendship because you’re the best thing that's happened to me in a really long time, but I cant- I can’t listen to you joke about how you think I’m cute if y’don’t feel the same.”
You swear your heart bursted at his confession. A smile overtook your face and you moved so you were right next to him. You placed your hands on the sides on his face and kissed his nose. “You think I don’t feel the same? For someone so smart, m’surprised you haven’t realized it before,” you said softly, as he looked at you in wonder and shock. “I really like you too.” You leaned in and placed your lips on his, about to pull back when he didn’t respond. He then began to kiss you back and his hands found a home on your hips. When the two of you pulled away, he smiled like a fool and pecked your lips once more.
There was never anything to worry about with you, he was sure of it.
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―𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐒 𝐈𝐒 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐏𝐑𝐈𝐂𝐄 𝐘𝐎𝐔 𝐏𝐀𝐘 𝐅𝐎𝐑 𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐔𝐑𝐑𝐄𝐂𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍
Summary: L’appel du vide. “The call of the void”. A phrase your grandmother would tell you about over and over whenever you saw her at the care home she was staying within. “It’s an itch”, she would whisper, “and ungodly urge for self-destruction. It’s an ever present being, my little one. And you will know it well one day.” You wouldn’t believe her until she passed ― when her sickly sweet prose became nothing but your constant reality.
or; the four times you set yourself on fire and the one time he joined you.
Prompts: "You think this will make me stay?" + "I don't owe you an explanation."
Pairing: Jacob Seed/dep!reader (Rook)
Word Count: 6037
Warnings/Tags: Reference and mention of depression, anxiety, self harm, intrusive thoughts, medication for depression, suicide attempt and suicidal ideation. Smut, mild torture, canon typical violence, mental health issues and unhealthy coping mechanics. A Sylvia Plath poem is used right at the end, because it felt right.
A/N: I’ve been dealing with some really bad seasonal depression so I thought I’d put all of my shit out into the open and within what I think I do well ― writing. Please heed the tags, only because I wish for people to be safe. I tried to keep this as gender neutral as possible, let me know if I did okay with that!
You were stripped down to nothing; sprayed with chilling water from a power washer, next to the other prisoners that were cuffed to tall bars against the wall of the building. They wailed; yanked and pulled on their binding in hopes to get away from the biting pain but you stayed and you endured, biting into your cheek until the taste of iron coats your tongue. They spray off the blood and grime left over from the trials, but the memories of the red hued halls and the sickly sweet bliss still cling to your bones ― nothing can wash that away.
Their harsh shower seems to be all for naught when they throw each and every one of them back into their designated cages, dirt clinging to wet skin.
They’re given the day to rest, but come nightfall it's a rinse and repeat cycle. You’re given a measly bowl of raw meat that’s always getting swarmed by large flies and a plastic cup that's only half way filled with murky water, but you can’t bring yourself to take any of the rations they’re giving you through the bars of your cage.
You give Jacob’s Chosen a look; an expressionless onceover that the man barely registers as you go back to watching the birds fly overhead from your corner of the cage. You hear the Judges howl and whine as they’re fed whatever is thrown their way, the heavy scent of gunpowder lingering in the air as soldiers train and prepare for whatever orders are next for them.
Prisoners are given the same amount of rations as you are, but they’re more prone to begging and pleading; grabbing at the Chosen as they whimper out in humiliation and pain. Some of them are beaten ― their cages are ripped open with such force that it rattles the adjacent cages ― while others are pulled out from their cages and thrown into a cage with a Judge that’s been starved for days.
And you? You sit; you listen; you wait; you wallow.
Come nightfall, no one’s come to collect you for your trials. In reality, that should be okay; good, really. You are being spared in some fucked up sense of the word; given more than a few hours rest under the hot Montana sun.
Only, it's never that simple for you.
Six days without your proper medication, and you’ve begun to spiral out. Any semblance of control you felt you had over your mind was now melted away, only to be replaced with the haunting melody that Jacob plays when he wants to see what you have to offer.
You feel numb; a god awful feeling that doesn’t allow your skin to soak the sun, doesn’t allow you to feel hunger even if you know you’re merely starving yourself. You don’t seem to understand the concept of time, though you watch the sun rise and fall with the moon following close behind ― lost lovers bound to chase and chase until one gives out from the howling grief.
Goosebumps travel up your arms, down your thighs, over your navel. The crackle of fire coming from metal drums near the cages is the only sound you can easily focus on, even as the cage is pushed open and made way for the Herald of war.
Jacob stands over you; a looming threat that you feel nothing towards. You feel an itch ― that stupid fucking itch ― at the back of your throat, telling you to lunge, take him to the ground and allow him to kill you; to take you from your misery.
You don't have the energy to watch him as he slowly crouches down, unyielding eyes watching for every twitch and taut pull of your muscles but you make no motion to move. You’re still bare, thighs pressed tight into your chest with heels digging heavily into gravel and dirt you sat upon. There’s not much cover and at this point, what else is there to hide from this family.
You’re certain that even under the pale light of the moon and the dim fire from the barrels, he can see the pale intricate scars along the tops of your thighs and over the meat of your shoulders ― the raised and depressed lines of pink and pale white that shine under the right light.
“My Chosen has told me you’ve refused to eat for the last four days.” His words are rough, almost hoarse from the way he keeps his voice between the two of them. He says nothing more than that; but his expectant glare shows that he wants you to say something; anything.
But you don’t. You look up with dull, bloodshot eyes, bags have formed under them but you can tell that he’s only more annoyed now that you’ve started to look away from him and lean your temple against the cool bar of your cage.
“You plan on starving yourself, and for what? My attention? To get out of the trials? Just out of pure spite?” The bite in his words barely leaves teeth marks along your skin because you’ve heard it all before. The growing annoyance from your parents because you can barely get out of bed in the mornings, the disappointment from friends when you cancel plans last minute from the nausea and marked up skin, the scoff of disgust because that one time you asked for help it was met with a deadly force of gaslighting and mockery.
You huff and scowl and turn your full body away from him until your back is shown and not your side, and that’s all Jacob is getting from you.
An indignant growl is left in his place, the rattle of the slammed cage door shakes through your skull and to your teeth. You can hear a chair being thrown open, the rickety metal legs scuffing along dirt, dust and gravel before it creaks under the weight of whoever’s taken place within that seat.
When you finally have the urge to see who was now watching over you, you find yourself awfully disappointed that it was merely the same Chosen with a Judge at his feet and not Jacob Seed who showed the slightest bit of concern ― which was more than anyone has ever given you.
Two hours before the sun rises, the haunting melody is played and your vision swims. Red coats your skin, a man’s entrails are wrapped around your hands like rope and the taste of iron is thick on your tongue, your cheeks, your lips as you spit out the flesh and torn muscle of a woman. She holds her throat, blood pours like a waterfall over her front and partial over yours before she falls and writhes.
She chokes on her own blood, spit and tears and where you would normally find an inkling of remorse, and guilt and sympathy, you find nothing more than an empty void that craves for more and more and more. It craves for more destruction, but it yearns and howls out for your own. A form of destruction that was wrought on by only you for yourself alone.
You felt nothing, even under the praise, even soaked in blood, even when you are presented with more opportunities to fill your void.
When you reach the clinic in Holland Valley, and hear the doctor tell you that she has nothing to supplement the anti depressants that were taken from you in the Whitetails, you lose everything within yourself. The doctor claimed that ever since the tunnels were closed off by the Peggies, she wasn’t able to get her shipment in all those weeks ago. Her clinic was running off fumes in terms of medicine and supplies, and since the Peggies have interfered with her every effort in trying to fix that, finding the medication you desperately requested would be slim to none.
A one man mutiny against John’s region and a nauseatingly heavy dose of self-destruction that would put Bliss to shame was already in order by the time you took the first few steps from the creaky screen door of the clinic. The summer sun shone high, but you felt no warmth, only a chill from a shiver brought on from your anxious trembling.
You had no time to cope with things in the way you needed to, time away from a war wasn’t something that was often given out willingly. Only the dead saw the rest they deserved.
The time that could have been placed in taking care of your needs, was placed within bloodshed and howling taunts towards the youngest Seed brother. He calls with taunts of his own, but you hang his man from his Yes sign and staple black birds to the sides of Project Eden cars that still hold the bodies of his dead soldiers.
His words are met with your actions. Your actions are met with his words.
You set fire to his valley, watch the way the fire licks and consumes, and you crave nothing more than for that to be you within the flames and not him.
He sends his Chosen after you with intent on making you atone for your wrath; to show you what it means to be set free from sin and to finally be shown the light. You don’t let him; you never can, even as you speed away from John’s men and into Jacob’s mountains.
But where John’s Chosen ends, Jacob’s Chosen begins.
Your car was hit from the passenger side ― a straight fucking T-bone crash that causes you to lurch and twist awkwardly ― and they keep pushing, pushing, pushing until you’re met with a cliff and the deafening rip of metal on jagged rock and the shatter of glass and the rushing of water and―
You’re not feeling that awful void in the pit of your belly. You feel weightless, groggy, nothing but fucking pain, but its not empty and you relish in that.
It’s better than nothing.
Adrenaline rushes your system faster than you can really explain to your mind that you want to stay. Panic can’t be subdued as you hear the chatter and excitement of peggies circling your damaged car. You can’t pull at your door or your seatbelt fast enough to find a way to avoid the push and pull of hands grabbing at your limbs through the gap where the windshield once was.
You scream, you kick, you fight but you still find yourself relishing in the glorious feeling that isn’t utter emptiness. The fear, the pain, the panic ― you adore every last drop that’s oozing from your skull, into your veins, soaking your organs until it’s a flooding sense that you can now identify as.
A barrel of a rifle is pressed against your skull and you press your forehead into the hot metal with a seethe and bared teeth until it burns a hole into your mind.
“Do it.” Your plea sounds out in nothing but anger. The men that hold you down, the man that has a gun pointed to your skull ― they aren’t Jacob’s Chosen, they’re simple soldiers made to run simple tasks and point a gun at anyone that threatens what they build or destroy. Their discipline is less structured compared to the Chosen that are often sent out to gather you for your endless hallway of delusions and bloodshed, and they’re much less organized than those who are blessed with the title of being Jacob’s Chosen.
But a bullet is a bullet and you’ve begged for much worse from far less evil.
The rifle is pulled away from your head, and all you can do is rage against the arms that hold you down. Your foot makes contact with someone’s stomach, an elbow is thrown into someone's inner thigh, the sound of gravel under heavy footsteps echoes behind the blood that pumps through your veins. You can’t keep up with the rage and panic in your body, but it still reacts under the scrutiny and the judgement and the heavy words of the man who calls himself a wolf.
He stands before you, that stupid red rifle over his shoulder and his pistol in his right hand. His Chosen surround the area, you can see it in a blur in the way they move like predators surrounding their prey.
You were prey, you should have realized that.
You don’t fight the way the needle stings at the meaty part of your shoulder, but your muscles tense when the Bliss hits like a wave during a tsunami. It crashes, takes you with it, and it leaves nothing but euphoria and a wash of cold.
Your vision tunnels, and it turns hazy but Jacob leans down next to you as the measly soldiers that gripped your arms too hard scurry away from the wolf before them. His eyes reveal nothing in terms of emotion, but his lips move softly as if to tell you something you’ve longed to hear.
You don’t hear a damn thing.
You wake up in bed. Soft sheets, thick wool blankets, a firm pillow under your cheek.
There’s a chill that leaves goosebumps along your bare skin, dried blood, bruises and scabs littered your skin, your muscles are sore from the overexertion of all work and no play.
As you swing your legs over the edge of the bed, bare feet along worn wood, you notice the lack of clothes along your body. Scars; of new and old, on full display but there's nothing within you that drags out an inkling of care, not when you wobble out of bed and make your way towards the room you thought held a shower.
At least you were right about the shower.
The cold tile contradicts the heat of the spray over your chest, steam rising in a dance of plumes as it clears out your nostrils of blood and dirt and snot. The drain holds no clear water as it swirls down the drain. Murky browns and red show the wear of your life; nothing but bloodshed and a mess you can’t clean up anymore.
You stand under that spray for who knows how long, allowing your skin to soak and burn under the heat ― a different feeling compared to that of when you were in those cages. But you prefer the certainty of those cages then the unknown of this room with the warm water over sore muscles.
The door creaks open, and you don’t have to look over your shoulder to know who stands behind you watching the way dried blood and hot water burns along your blemished skin, but when you do look over at the man, you can see the way his eyes follow the cascade of water over scars and scabs and bruises.
“It’s rude to stare.” You find your voice, but you sound so weak and tired that you inwardly cringe at the hoarse sounds.
“There's clothes for you on the bed. Find me when you're done.”
He leaves without a second glance, but you can hear the way the door hesitates before it's clicked shut.
You agreed as Joseph played into your weaknesses, tore you down until you were nothing but raw flesh and bone marrow for him to pick at like a hungry vulture sent by the devil, and then you agreed through tears and pleas towards God.
You agreed, and now you stay within Jacob’s home.
He no longer stalks you like the wolf is, instead he watches you like a hawk. His eyes piercing and unreadable as he watches you train with his Chosen. Watches you hone skills you never knew you could achieve, perfecting skills you knew you already had, and learning new things about yourself as you fall and get back up until your limbs shake and tremble under the weight of your exhaustion.
And at the end of the night, you are escorted back to his office that shares that soft bed with the thick wool blankets and the firm pillow that smells of the redwoods and citrus and sandalwood.
This rinse repeat cycle allows you to grow comfortable, almost content. For months, you allow this comfort. This silence between you is no longer tense and grueling. It never got easier to be around, but you can sense the way Jacob slouches softly under your presence.
But the months grow short and the seasons grow long where summer turns to fall later than predicted but no one seems to complain. The river starts to slow and freeze from the cold, and the flowers start to wilt around the time trees start to lose their leaves and all of summer's hard work starts to dull in color, you find yourself growing cold once more.
There’s a call; a need to fill your belly with fire but you can’t seem to get out of bed to strike flint against steel. You can only seem to bring a drenched cold from your tears that stain the pillow, from your numb finger tips that shake when you see the knife at Jacob’s thigh, from your hallowed, silent weeps when your back is turned but you still know Jacob can sense the emotions flooding the sheets of his bed.
He’s grown soft, that or he doesn’t give one fucking shit about if you kill yourself or not.
You’re not ready to play with that fire, not yet.
You take it slow; under a steady pace as you take time to plan. You listen, you watch, you learn. Jacob is a strict man with a strict schedule; one that you’ve noticed is easy to learn. It’s day in and day out, he never seems to slow down but he doesn’t ever rush. His path is meticulously placed; none of that wild pacing John takes part of, no… Jacob’s grounded; his roots are placed so deep within the dry dirt that you can trace each and every curve and bump of his crooked, earthy genesis.
So, when he messes his schedule up, and he finds you with his pistol pressed under your chin and your thumb pulling back the hammer of the gun, you act like a dumb deer in headlights.
He’s frozen, and he’s angry and you’re foolish, stupid, awful. Fuck, fuck, fuck―
“What do you think you’re doing?”
He demands an answer, your finger hovers over the trigger guard. You could just do it ― pull the trigger, pull the damn trigger, PULL THE FUCKING TRIGGER―
Jacob crosses the room in five heavy steps; his heels landing on old flooring as he pushes the gun off to the side of your head, your finger pulling the trigger milliseconds after his hands landed on the muted gunmetal. Your ears ring, your vision blooms in stars but you’re not sure why. So much happens at once; the gun is ripped from your palms, your body trembles, a scream tears at your vocal chords.
Warmth takes over, something protective, something wild covers you from your despair as you come back to yourself bit by broken bit.
It takes you a solid twenty minutes to realize that the Herald of war is holding you; arms tight around your shoulders, your waist. By that time, you’ve started to gather your hearing once more, and he’s humming to you though you can’t place what it is he hums so close to your ears. His chest rumbles with each exhale, a pause is present when he inhales deep and it makes his belly push out and into your side.
He is comfort, he is warmth, he is home ― he is war, he is destruction, he is carnivorous.
That doesn’t stop the way your body shudders or the way your tongue laps at sweat and dirt that sticks to his neck.
Doesn’t stop the heady pleasure through carnal desire as you ride him through tears and whines in search of serotonin and dopamine to lift your soul.
It doesn’t stop the way you give yourself to him ― wholly and completely ― and it doesn’t stop the way he takes it with an open mouth, sharp teeth, and a wet tongue along your jugular.
Jacob knows heavily what relapse looks like. The self-destructive behavior, the anger that bubbles far too quickly, the desire to feel something ― no matter how painful and raw it leaves you in the end.
So, when he sees you being dragged back to the Veteran’s Center, a pool of blood that collects under the rusted metal of the cargo bed until it drips past the bumper and over the license plate, he knows what you were seeking within that firefight against the Resistance.
Ever since you defected, it’s not a shock that the Resistance wants your blood just as much as they desire his and his families ― but for them to leave you with three bullets lodged deep into your flesh has him baffled.
He shouldn’t be, but he is, even as you gasp like a fish out of water only to carefully smile up at him moments before they drag you off to pull those pieces of lead from your belly.
You were strong, he knows that, but he also knows that you desire death stronger than he desires you.
His Chosen explains what happened; how you saved several of his men’s lives by running to take over the mortar that a Whitetail had taken. The shots were from a distance, and they knocked you over but you didn’t stop until you were sure you could make a Martyr of yourself in the name of the Project.
Part of him knows that you didn’t do it for the Project ― you did it to feel something. To fill that void that still consumes you day in and day out. It’s a never ending process, and he knows that.
Doesn’t make it any easier seeing you laid out on a stretcher, being rushed into the infirmary as blood drips, drips, drips, into the dirt below.
Jacob doesn’t remember much of what happened after that.
He knows he made it back to his office, the slow and steady click of the lock on his door echoes till it deafens his senses. He knows he found himself standing by the table covered with maps, important papers, documents that needs to be once overed, twice overed, thrice overed―
It turned to shambles under the weight of his anger. A howling rage that leaves him breaking everything he touches. The table flips without much resistance, papers scatter over the floor and end with boot prints over pristine cardstock, maps end up ripped and torn this way and that until he can’t figure out how to piece that self made puzzle back in place.
The lamp is thrown, and it shatters until he won’t be able to pick up the pieces. Everything breaks, or bends, or snaps to his undiluted wrath and if he were in his right mind ― he’d beat the shit out of every last Whitetail; tear them to shred, use their entrails for morbid ornate decorum.
Jacob sees red; he’s not sure if it’s in his vision or on his hands, but he sees it, he sees it, he fucking sees it, and he doesn’t stop his ministrations of war arrangements with his best. Wolves howl, engines groan, red still glows but now it’s not on his hands, and it's not in his eyes. No, it’s in the lick of flames that eats anything it touches; a fire that boils and burns until it no longer finds a voice to scream for the destruction it craves.
Some call it scorched earth, he calls it fucking revenge.
When all is said and done; the voice of his brothers sounds through the radio in worry. They’re distraught, and rightfully so ― but he explains through grinding teeth, uneven gravel and ash. John lets out his unruly laughs, Joseph soothes with admonishments; each and every word spilled from their throats simply left buried and burned just like the rest of his region.
He still smells like wood smoke and he’s covered in ash and his skin is warm, so fucking warm but he still seeks you out even though you barely had a reason to move from the infirmary; hell, you barely had a reason to live.
But he sits there, on the edge of your thin mattress with a tremble in his palms.
He can hear the way your hand shifts over sterile white sheets, and he can feel the way your pinky finger wraps gently around his thumb. The pads of your fingers are so cold against the heat of his skin, but he welcomes the way your hand moves to caress his bloodied knuckles, tracing each and every scar and callous and blemish. It stings, but he makes no motion to pull away or show his discomfort.
Ice blue eyes catch yours in the dimly lit room; a cough permeates through a bunk, a groan from another, but neither of you can seem to notice the pain and suffering within the room ― not when the both of yours can satisfy the Devil himself.
Your words hang heavy over him, and you can see it in the way his shoulders tense and shudder under your snarling whisper. You bare your teeth, more out of fear than a threat, but Jacob isn’t one to take chances, not with someone like you.
“I don’t owe you an explanation.”
“You owe me something.”
He doesn’t answer you, and you let out an indignant groan. You grow frustrated with the man before you, pushing yourself from the worn in chair that sat across from him. He barely makes much of a huff as you start to pace, he simply keeps his eyes over the marked up maps of Hope County.
You want to piss him off, throw something at him and wish he would wrap his hands around your throat and squeeze until your eyes pop out of their sockets. Only, you are met with something softer than what you think he is capable of. He says he understands, he says that he gets the feeling of that all consuming void that sits heavier than a ball of molten lead in your gut. He gets it; he fucking gets it. He knows what it's like to live the way you do.
Doesn’t make any of this shit any easier.
"You think this will make me stay?"
He stills, his fingers twitch under the laminated maps at your words, and you watch as his head lifts to look at you. He scowls, a look that's meant to corner you simply from the anger and annoyance he exudes, but you challenge like you always have, and you don’t stop until you get what you desire.
A god damn answer.
“It’s torture. This fucking game of control you have over me.” You try not to slump as you slide back down in your chair, but you can’t help the mental exhaustion that leaks and oozes from your body. “These curfews, the stupid bodyguards, the constant watching ― you don’t fucking let up. Why? Just tell me why?”
Jacob goes back to what he was looking over before you threw your mini temper tantrum and you watch. You watch as he cleans a red line only to replace it with a new one that covers a different direction before circling an area you know he has checked many times before.
He does it to ignore you, and you can’t stand that shit. Not anymore.
“Jacob.” Your voice is stern, laced with a smoking anger where the embers burn your throat. You rarely call him by his name; most of the time it’s sir, or Seed, or some other term meant to get his attention or piss him off.
But this? This was just a stupid, sick joke.
He’s grown stiff; a tree unrooted and unmoved within your hellish storm. You’re asking for it; you are so asking for it, you can see it when his scowl grows dark and his brows furrow deeper at the sound of his name along your tongue.
“Just tell me why, then I’ll drop it.”
They say that the eye of the storm is the calmest ― where tepid temperatures and softness mingle at the center of a hell scape that ravages everything around it ― but as Jacob takes his predatory steps; one right after the other towards you, you realized that you weren’t the storm.
You were the tree, and he was the storm and he’s moving, moving, moving.
Until you were within his torrential hell; heat and teeth and nails and rust and ash and him, him, him―
He smells good, you think, he tastes good too, you whine.
Jacob’s over you; not even bothering with the threats of ripping your flesh ― he just goes for it. A lone wolf lapping at his midnight lamb. The wall finds you back ― or does your back find the wall? You can’t tell anymore because you’re overwhelmed; over stimulated with just him, only him.
He growls something so feral and his hips roll against yours. It’s all lust; all rough; all heady need and little substance. You can’t keep up, you don’t want to keep up ― not in this flurry of motions that leaves you bare to the winds of his bloody hurricane. He soaks you red, teeth mark his territory, and you fucking let him.
You fight him, but it's nothing compared to the actual fight you have in you. If you wanted him to stop, you could put him down with a hole in his lungs, in his heart, in his head before he can even ask if you’re okay with this ― okay with him.
It’s not like he needs to ask ― he leaves you filled; sated, more so than any bloodshed and firefight ever could.
“Tear me up. Eat me whole. Make me feel―,” he cuts you off with his fingers in your mouth, and it's filthy the way you drool over scars. He’s ripping more of your clothes, and you can’t bring yourself to care. You want to bleed, you want to seep deep into his pores, into his hardwood floors, you want to stain his bed in white and red until you can’t recognize yourself against the linens and the wool and the furs.
Jacob’s fingers are pulled from your mouth as they trail saliva down your throat, over your esophagus before he pushes. He’s playing it safe ― he’s testing the waters ― but you push, and you push and you fucking push until you can’t breath and his heat is the only thing that keeps you afloat.
He finds a way to use his large knife to take away your sweats, the rip of fabric leaving you bare to him. The buttons of your flannel pop until they fly and sound softly against hardwood, his thigh finds a home snug between your own and he growls at you; something low, something guttural.
“Is this what you wanted? Is this a good enough answer?”
His hand leaves your throat for a moment ― a split second that allows you to inhale deep and inflate your lungs. He watches your chest rise and rise and rise before he leans to take the hard peak of your nipple between his lips. His palm pushes once more, and you can’t find your voice with the pressure.
You nod ― you hope he can feel it ― you nod.
“Show me―,” you sound so small; overtaken and weak, but he loves it, he’s lapping it up. “Show me more―.”
And he does. Oh, how he does.
He’s guiding you to the mattress placed in the corner of his room ― pushing you with a roughness only he can give you. You take what he gives you; you can’t refuse what he gives you ― not without punishment.
The tip of his blade is pressed along the scars of those three bullets that have taken a permanent home along your navel. Sinew and scar tissue grow taut under thick muscle, and you tense because he presses and he knicks before he runs his tongue over the inflictions he’s brought upon you.
Your thighs drape over the tops of his, and he works you the best way he knows. With aggression, with ferocity, with a primal need to take and never give. You grind your hips in such a rolling motion, that it helps with the awful burn of his rushed movements.
He presses and pulls, he tries to give you something, but you don’t want it. You don’t want to have anything, you only want to give. You want this man to be selfish ― to be what he always is.
The wolf that rips your jugular and devours you.
You hiss, you push him, you signal your wants to him with bared teeth and that stupid glare he barely finds intimidating ― especially now when he tries to open you up with nothing but spit and fury ― but he takes it all in, soaks up the way your roots pull at the dirt and you allow him to sweep you up within his storm.
He takes you the only way he knows how ― with heat, with rage, with a carnal desire to mark what’s his.
You’re no one else’s. You can’t be ― not with the way he nips and tears at your chest, not with the way his hands burn marks of his prints at your hips, not with the way he just takes and takes and takes and you just give and give and give.
You don’t ask for much; just the destruction of your whole mortal self by someone else’s hands.
He’s fully seated, but he doesn’t give you any time to understand your situation. It’s no longer a game, it’s just a show. A show of power, a show authority, a show of feral teeth and dirty claws.
His words are filled with a raunchy, filthy disregard for your whole self. He calls you names, he pushes your head into the mattress, he squeezes the breath from your lungs. His nails dig in; they draw blood, so do his teeth. He suffocates you, tries to drown you in white and red ― tries to stain you in white and red.
Your orgasm ripples, then tears and you cry out with this awful, guttural sob that’s so muffled by pillows and sheets and Jacob that you’re not sure if you’re hearing yourself correctly. You beg him, you’re not sure what for, but your mantra and prayers of his name on your lips is heavy; so fucking heavy.
He calls you sweetheart; his pup; his only and then he shudders; something full bodied while he presses so deep that you wince and whine and strain your hips to stay up.
Stillness takes over, and you can feel that void grow full ― even if it’s temporary, even if it lasts for only mere seconds.
He pulls out and away from you, but you don’t give him much time to try anything that could resemble any thought of aftercare. You stumble like a newborn fawn as his seed oozes down your inner thighs, and his eyes bore holes into your back. A deafening numbness takes over, your fingers pull at the drawer of his desk before you yank out a cigarette and a small matchbox he keeps hidden from his brothers.
He continues to watch, and study the way the small flickering flame illuminates your nose, your cheeks, the dullness of blown pupils.
You think of a poem you read back in high school; of prose that calls out whenever you look at that man laying on white linen sheets with the ice blue eyes and the scarred up skin.
“A vulturous boredom pinned me to this tree. If he were I, he would do what I did.”
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see? - [Reid x Reader] - Chapter 3
previous chapter // series index // next chapter
Summary: Months after Reader left, Reid has tried to put his life back together. He’s never stopped trying to find Reader, but he may find her in the worst way possible.
Pairing: Spencer Reid x Fem!Reader
Word Count: 3.3k for Chapter 3
Content Warning: Normal Criminal Minds stuff. Mentions of drug addiction. This series has a villain, and he harms women. There is no s*xual assault, but there is brief talk of torture, and then the death of the victims. Spoiler: Our unsub targets pregnant women, one of the infants does not survive. Reader and her baby are fine. I don't go into detail, but if you need to skip this, I understand.
A/n: How can I ever thank you all enough for being so patient with me? That being said, this chapter does end on a cliffhanger that you probably saw coming if you read “River” by @yours-truly-r. She shared this plot with me, so this is my version. I’ll try my best not to make you wait too long for chapter 4. Chapter 3 & 4 are in Spencer’s point of view, but the remainder of the series will be in Reader’s POV.
-- Linear Progression --
The night we came back from my first case with the BAU, Morgan declared that he was going to a bar near his apartment to "get lucky." When I pointed out the fact that it was almost 2 am, he had told me, "time is an illusion, Pretty Boy."
That was the first time he called me pretty boy, along with the first time I tried to explain a theoretical concept he had no interest in hearing.
He was right to a degree. The way we understand time is an illusion. Time doesn’t happen in the linear way that we as a society perceive it to. The physics of time are still widely debated, but the running hypothesis is that everything that has ever happened is still happening right now. Every single moment in time is happening all at once, and it always will be.
Morgan didn’t “get lucky” that night, but he did give me a ride back to my apartment. I think that was the beginning of our friendship; I had never been able to understand the social constructs of relationships and friendships, but I think he felt some sort of responsibility for the skinny kid with glasses who was babbling about the physics of time at 3 am.
My friendship with Derek Morgan was one of the most important of my life.
Which is why I wasn't going to murder him for banging on my door at 7 am.
“Open up, Pretty Boy!”
Grumbling, I got out of bed and padded down the hallway towards my living room where Morgan was pounding on the door so hard, I was concerned it was going to fly off its hinges.
“If you break my door, you’re gonna fix it,” I muttered out when I finally pulled the door open.
The man who was the closest thing to a brother I had just smiled at me. “I restore houses, kid. It’d be an improvement.”
Smirking, I waved him into my apartment. In the months since…Since February, Morgan had made it a habit of coming by several times a week whenever we were in town. I don’t know if the rest of the team knew he did it, I don’t know if they were as worried about me as he was, but it wouldn’t have surprised me.
“Coffee?” I asked, making my way into the kitchen.
"We'll grab some on the way," he said, flopping down on my couch. "We have a case; I told Hotch I'd swing by and get you. It's wheels up as soon as we get there and finish the briefing."
I frowned. “I didn’t get any message.”
“I know. I asked Garcia to let me wake you.” He turned his head around to look at me. “You haven’t been sleeping, kid.”
He wasn’t wrong. “It’s…I’m trying, Derek.”
I didn’t need to say it, because he knew it. Much like time, recovery isn’t a linear process. You start, you stumble, you go back, sometimes you go up then down. It’s an imperfect journey because there isn’t a finish line; addiction can’t be beaten, only beaten back.
Derek Morgan had been beside me through every step of my recovery.
Lumbering off the couch, he walked over to stand before me. “Reid, you’re doing the best you can. Everyone stumbles.”
I shook my head. “It’s different. I can…I can still see it. I can still see it all, Morgan.”
I could still see the look on Ben’s face when he found the vials of Dilaudid I had hidden all around my apartment. I could still remember the look on Hotch’s face when he told me she was gone. I could still see the anger on Garcia’s face when she refused to help me find her.
Most of all, I remember how y/n looked when I told her I would kill her, give up her precious life, for one more moment with Maeve. Every morning, right before I wake up, that memory flashes behind my eyes.
I’ve called in every favor I’m owed, reached out to every connection; no one could find her. She vanished.
I quickly realized the only way she could vanish like that is if she had help from inside the bureau, and if I had to guess, I’m sure I know who helped her. If she went to all these lengths, she didn’t want to be found, least of all by me.
"We'll find her, Spencer," Morgan said gently, pulling me from my thoughts.
He said the words to comfort me, but even he knew they weren’t true. No one would find y/n y/l/n until she wanted to be found.
Nodding my head, I made my way back towards my bedroom to get ready for the case.
Making amends is very big in the recovery process. I wanted to make amends to y/n, and while I wanted that to be in the traditional sense, I settled for a symbolic one.
I tried to make myself into the man she thought I was before that night. Every time I felt the itch crawl up my spine, I thought of her face. It didn't make the craving go away; it just made it easier to bear.
I didn’t deserve to have her back in my life, but I wanted to be someone who did.
After I had finished getting ready, I made my way over to my bedside table to pick up the coin I carried with me everywhere, running my fingers over the edges before placing it in my pocket.
Two hundred and forty-seven days sober, and each one of them was for her.
We never made it to the bullpen that morning. Hotch called and informed us that it was wheels up "immediately," and that we would debrief on the plane. Morgan and I were the last members of the team to arrive. He took a seat on the couch beside Callahan while I opted to sit at the table across from Hotch and JJ.
“Garcia is going to be out for the remainder of the week. She has the flu,” our unit chief informed us, his eyes fixed on the tablet in front of him.
Morgan toyed with his phone, no doubt trying to text his ‘baby girl’ before take-off. “Who is going to be running things from here since she’s out? Kevin?”
Hotch nodded, but I couldn’t help but notice he seemed distracted. “He’s the most familiar with Garcia’s systems.”
“Is that what they’re calling it these days,” Rossi muttered just a bit too loudly, earning a mock glare from Hotch, a confused look from Kate, an eye roll from Morgan and JJ, and a soft huff of laughter from me.
“Let’s get started,” Hotch ordered, drawing all of our focus back to the present. “The Oregon State Police have requested our help.”
I couldn’t help but wrinkle my nose at the tablet in front of me, further proof Garcia wasn’t on this case. Despite how mad she was at me over Y/n, she still always accommodated my wishes for paper files.
The state police?” Morgan asked. “Not the locals?”
"No," Hotch answered, right as I brought up an image on my screen. "He's not sticking to one county."
I heard a strangled gasp from JJ, but I didn't need to look up to know why. “How many?” I asked.
“When the original request was made two women had been abducted. Both of them were pregnant, days from giving birth, and both from the same town of Silverton, Oregon. The first victim was Iris Jenkins. She was a 31-year-old woman, and she was 40 weeks and 2 days gestation when she was taken by the unsub. The M.E. estimates he held her for less than 24 hours before she died.”
“The baby?” JJ asked, her voice thick with emotion.
“He was left outside of a local hospital in Silverton. He was completely unharmed. The next intended victim is Nancy Williamson. She was abducted outside her workplace. Also 40 weeks pregnant with a boy.”
“Could that be a coincidence?”
Hotch still didn’t look up from his tablet. “It could have been before the latest victim.”
“But Nicole Williamson escaped?” Morgan asked. “That’s lucky. Did she give a description of the guy?”
“No, she said he kept her blindfolded and bound to a chair.”
That caused me to pause. "That doesn't make sense. Why would the unsub blindfold them if he plans on killing them anyway?"
Rossi spoke for the first time. “Psychological torture? Sensory deprivation?”
I thought about that as I swiped through the crime scene photos; pausing when I saw a photograph of a letter on the screen. "He makes them write letters?”
“Just the first victim and the third. The one that got away was only held for 12 hours.”
I frowned. “Is this blood? Or just red ink?”
“The first is red ink, the second letter is still being processed.”
It was obvious based on the letter spacing and how many loops were in the letters that a woman wrote this letter. Based on the contents of the letter, I could also assume she was under duress.
Hotch spoke again, pulling my focus. “Morgan, I'd like for you and JJ to drive up to Silverton. Visit Miss Williamson and ask if she's up for a cognitive interview, then visit the M.E., ask him if he remembers anything about the first victim.”
“Where was the…” JJ’s question trailed off when he got to the same image Kate’s hand had been frozen over for the last 47 seconds, the same photo that was described in the incident report that Hotch had on his screen.
My unit chief, my friend, cleared his throat before he spoke. “Kayla Whitmore was found an hour ago in Eugene, Oregon. The autopsies are already underway, and the scene is being processed.”
“The cause of death seems pretty apparent,” Morgan said with a look of disgust on his face.
"The time between this most recent kill and the last abduction is much shorter. We need to move fast," Hotch said, his voice grave. "Kate, I'd like for you to come with me to the FBI satellite office in Bend, that's where we're landing. Kayla Whitmore's credit card was used to buy gas right outside the town limits. Rossi, I'd like for you and Reid to ride out to Eugene. It should be undisturbed."
"I already don't understand this guy," Rossi muttered. "The first baby survives, the third doesn't. The second victim is blindfolded, but it doesn't appear the others were. He makes them write their own letters. Then he uses the third victim's credit card. This behavior…it's erratic."
“Is the message on the wall the same in both crime scenes?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
The media hadn’t named our unsub yet, but I was sure it wouldn’t be long, especially once word of Kayla Whitmore reached the public. This type of violence always draws attention.
Rossi was moving around the room, silent, but his eyes moving rapidly over everything. “He’s a cocky son of a bitch, I’ll give him that.”
I nodded. “Do we have the original note?” One of the deputies brought over an evidence bag, inside of it was the wrinkled piece of paper. “Have we analyzed this yet?”
The man nodded. “It’s red ink, just like the last.”
"It makes sense; blood might start to coagulate and make it more difficult to work with. Rossi, come here." I called, offering him the note.
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked,” he read. “It sounds biblical.”
“It is. It’s Psalm 82, verses 3 through 4.”
“Was the first note biblical?”
“The first victim was made to write, ‘Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.’ That’s from Ephesians. There are similar themes in both letters.”
“So, he’s perverting the bible to fit his own fucked up narrative? How original.” The older man handed the paper back to me. “We have to find out how he’s choosing them.”
My gaze moved over to the right wall of the room. "Did the unsub leave any prints when he wrote on the wall?"
It wasn't the first message I'd seen written in blood, but I don't think it's something you ever get used to. “’Do you see this, son of man?’ could be another biblical reference. It’s Ezekiel chapter 8, verse 17. “Do you see this, son of man? Yet you will see still greater abominations than these.’”
“So, are the children abominations? Or the mothers?” The deputy said quietly.
“The mothers,” I answered. “He doesn’t harm the children. I think it must go against his…moral code.”
The deputy scoffed behind me, and I was inclined to agree; the idea that someone could do something like this and have a moral code was almost impossible to imagine.
But devils hide in plain sight all the time.
“His rage is escalating,” I pointed out.
I heard the deputy ask Rossi what that meant.
“This guy is a bum,” the man who developed the art of profiling explained. "He can't get a girlfriend, and he has this idea in his mind that it’s the women’s fault. He thinks women owe him sex, love, whatever he wants.”
I walked away from the wall, turning to face the two men. “He thinks they’re dirty, unclean. It’s why he makes them write the note. By making them say they deserved what he did to them, he’s humiliating them even after death.”
The deputy’s face was pale as he survived the scene around him. “Why does he make them leave the messages in their own blood?”
“Only one message is from them,” I replied, gesturing to the evidence bag. “The message in the blood is from the unsub.”
Before we exited the room, I turned back to that message again, feeling the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
Both victims had been discovered in the exact same way. The women were naked, stabbed multiple times, but with no signs of sexual assault. They were positioned in the middle of the blood-soaked mattress, their arms spread wide.
He had left the same message on the walls of the room, written in the blood of the woman he killed.
“Do you see this, son of man? Do you see?”
“The media is calling him The Prophet.”
Rossi scoffed. “I bet it was that wet behind the ears deputy who leaked the note and told him the kid’s biblical theories.”
Rossi and I had arrived at the FBI office in Bend, Oregon about an hour ago. Kate and Hotch had already set up; JJ and Morgan were on their way back from Silverton now.
“So, what do we know about this jag-off?” Rossi questioned, staring at the evidence board.
Hotch came to stand at the head of the conference table, his eyes sharp, his voice clipped. "Reid, Dave, what did the M.E. say about the Eugene autopsies?”
"He said he suspected it was a botched c-section. Kayla was just over 40 weeks pregnant, but he said it's not uncommon for first-time mothers to go up to 42 weeks.”
“I know that’s right,” I heard JJ mutter from the speaker placed in the center of the table.
“Indicates a lack of medical knowledge,” Morgan offered. “Because we know this guy isn’t squeamish.”
I agreed with my friend but didn't comment on it; my mind already on another topic. "What's interesting is that Kayla had an anterior placenta, meaning it attached to the front of her uterus. Usually, the placenta attaches to the posterior wall, meaning it's more towards her back. Because of the unusual placement of the placenta, I think that the death of this fetus was accidental."
“It wasn’t a fetus, Reid,” Kate snapped. “It was a baby.”
I cleared my throat, meeting her angry gaze. I knew Callahan was the guardian of a young girl, and based on my years working with fellow agents who were also parents, I knew it was best not to argue about definitions and semantics. "I'm sorry, Kate," I murmured.
Her gaze softened. "It's fine. Sorry. This case is just…this is a lot." She looked down to swipe across her tablet screen. "This child was a boy too?"
I nodded. “All three of the victims were pregnant with boys.”
“So, he wants boys?”
Rossi turned to Kate. “He wants mothers of boys. Probably his way of killing his mother over and over again.”
“But how does he know the babies are boys?” JJ asked.
“So, what do they have in common?” Hotch asked. “Let’s add Nicole Williamson into the mix too, what do we have?”
“There were quotes from the bible in the two complete notes. Those specific verses are often referenced when they speak about protecting children,” I said, my eyes moving over the files. “The women were all in their 20’s. They were all at least 39 weeks pregnant, and...huh, there’s not a father named in any of the medical charts.”
“But how does he know that!” JJ huffed again in frustration.
“And are we sure this unsub is a guy?” Callahan questioned. “There was no sign of sexual assault.”
“If we follow statistics, women take babies, and men take children. With that in mind, it would be safe to assume this was a woman, but the amount of rage we’re seeing makes me think it’s a man.” I turned my back to the team, my eyes moving over the crime scene photos. "The letter was written under duress, but the language is very misogynic. Based on the information Kevin gathered about Kayla's online life, she had a normal amount of self-esteem. It's out of character that she'd talk about herself this way. By all accounts, she was excited for the baby. It's also incredibly difficult to stab someone 54 times. All the women would have fought him until the end. He'd have to be stronger to subdue her. It's a biological instinct, mothers' will stop at nothing to protect their children."
Hotch had pulled out his phone before I finished speaking, dialing Kevin Lynch to give him the criteria of the person we were searching for. "We need women in the Bend, Oregon area that are close to giving birth. There will not be fathers listed on the medical charts. She'll be at least 39 weeks into her pregnancy."
“Alright, so that would leave us with…” Kevin wasn’t able to finish his sentence before an alarm started blaring over the speaker, almost drowning out Kevin’s yelp of surprise.
“What is it?” Hotch asked. “Did something happen?”
"I…I don't know, sir," Kevin answered after he had finally gotten the alarm to quiet. "I was running the search, and…it triggered some sort of system-wide alarm. It completely locked me out of Penny’s system.”
Morgan clicked his tongue. “That doesn’t make any sense. Penelope wouldn’t set some alarm without a reason.”
“Wait. Kevin, was there any sort of message that came up when you triggered the alarm?” Hotch asked, his tone urgent.
There was a weird tension on Hotch’s face while he waited for Kevin to reply. “Yeah, uh, just a dialogue box that says ‘Nightingale.’”
“Nightingale?” Kate asked. “Isn’t that the…”
Hotch didn't reply; he hung up abruptly while Kevin was still speaking. I felt a chill run down my spine when I noticed his hands trembled slightly.
“What is it, Hotch?” Rossi asked urgently.
But he never got a chance to answer; a deputy stormed into the room. "We just got a report of an abandoned car outside of a grocery store about half a mile from here. It's registered to a young woman, and there was an empty infant car seat strapped in the back."
Hotch took the paper from him but didn't look at it. His eyes were screwed shut, and his shoulders were tense.
I heard when the voice spoke on the other end of the line. I heard the deep breath Hotch let out before he spoke.
“Penelope, I need to know where y/n is.”
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Hc’s about knowing Shigaraki since childhood and then meeting him years later with the league? How would he feel meeting his childhood friend and would he try to talk to them again, or would just treat them like any other person and act like he doesn’t know them?
A/N: Anon you are speaking to my heart right now. I’m a sucker for this headcanon (also look at these two babies, I must give up all my love). Also, I could go with the angstier option, but I’m a sucker for giving Tomura a little happiness considering how much he’s suffered.
+ Tenko and you became best friends on the first day of school.
+ The two of you would always hold hands.
+ He loved coming to play at your house after school. He wasn’t itchy when he was at your house, and he could be free to talk about heroes. So when your mother said it was time for him to go home, he’s always really upset.
+ The few occasions you went to his house, you would play with Hana and Mon-chan. You would notice how his father yelled at him and the dirty looks he gave you. Even still, you stayed his friend and someone he could confide in.
+ Tenko was in puppy love with you as a child.
+ Despite only being five years old, he wished that you would stay with him forever because you were one of the only good things in his life.
+ After his quirk manifested and he killed his family, he found himself trying to walk to your house but the lights were all off and no one came to the door.
+ He wanted to come back again in the morning, but he was afraid you’d reject him after what he did, and he wanted his last memory of you to stay pure in his mind so he could at least imagine you as the angel you were.
+ Tomura didn’t forget you because you were the one thing he wanted to remember.
+ One day when he’s on one of his walks, he notices someone in front of him, a flash of (h/c) hair and a shine of (e/c) eyes, and he tells his mind he’s just imagining again. It’s not possible. So, why was he following them?
+ Then both your eyes look up and he can’t believe it.
+ His memory had long evangelized you, but sometimes he struggled to remember your face in specific detail, but seeing you again after all the years, he can fully remember that little kid in your face now with the same glow.
+ Despite how much he had changed in fifteen years, you could clearly recognize his vermilion eyes and the wrinkles that surrounded them, and the little mole at the bottom of his right cheek you used to teasingly poke.
+ “Tenko?” she speaks, heartbreak present in her voice.
+ The two of you sit down somewhere private to catch up on the past fifteen years. He let’s you speak mostly, because he doesn’t really want to mention how he’s spent those years becoming a ruthless killer who was currently planning to attack UA and kill the symbol of peace.
+ The only thing had says is that after the death of his family, he was adopted and changed his name to “Tomura Shigaraki” because he doesn’t want to hear his given name from you anymore, it’s too painful a reminder.
+ You write your number on a napkin and ask him to call you.
+ Tomura immediately stole a phone and then spent an hour brooding over your number at the bar, wondering what he was going to say to you. But eventually, that night he calls you just because he wants to hear your voice again.
+ During the next few weeks while he’s planning the USJ attack, he also meets up with you and texts you whenever he can. He uses his quirk-canceling gloves because you so easily slide back into the habit of holding his hand.
+ And soon he finds himself falling for you hard.
+ Those feelings of love he had for you as a child have come back full force and matured. You’re still this angel he created in his mind during all those years of suffering, and you still look at him with warmth. He doesn’t need his hands when he’s with you, he doesn’t itch. You soothe him.
+ But after the USJ attack and his debut as a villain, you instantly recognized him from the description of him. You remembered how he talked in passing about his dislike for society’s dependency on heroes, and other cynical thoughts you ignored as twenty year old angst.
+ Suddenly, you realize what happened to the Shimura family.
+ You start ignore his texts, he realizes you know he’s a villain and now you must be terrified of him, an inevitability he had been dreading from the start.
+ He still texts you twice a day, and scratches his neck until he’s bleeding a bit out of frustration after you ignore them for a week.
+ Utter heartbreak over you.
+ That’s when you just text the address of your apartment.
+ Tomura doesn’t know what to expect. Was this that inevitable moment when you reject him? You call him a monster, look at him with fear and hatred, maybe even lure him into a trap for the heroes.
+ But he needs to see your face.
+ He’s shocked when you open your door and immediately cup his face and press your foreheads together, your eyes rimmed with tears.
+ “For fifteen years I’ve been searching for that little boy with wrinkles on his eyes. In every face, in every crowd. I don’t know what’s happened to you. But, I don’t care what you’ve done or what you’re going to do, just let me stay with you. Tenko or Tomura. I lost you and I can’t lose you again.”
+ You wanted him. You saw what he had become and you still wanted him. Tomura thought he had to still be dreaming.
+ He leans down and in a moment of vulnerability, he presses a soft kiss on your lips and when he feels you return it, relief spreading throughout your body, he pulls you into a more passionate kiss.
+ You come to the hideout with him to become a member of the league so you can stay with him at all times; protect him, advise him, whatever you can do to stay with him. Even if that means you become a villain as well.
+ Tomura needs you with him.
+ He’s never going to lose you again.
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hi hi I hope this doesn’t bother you but I just wanted to let you know that I just read Bumpy Roads and I LOVED IT (I’m such a sucker for angst)! 🖤 I hope it’s okay to make a request bc I really like the way you write and I was wondering if possibly you could do another super angsty one (and maybe make it end up fluffy if we’re gonna get wild with the emotions hahaha) perhaps something like the reader is really anxious about meeting Corpse in person for the first time because she doesn’t want to disappoint him? I hope that’s not too vague; honestly I just really want angst because I’ve been having a bad week and I cope with that by getting even more up in my feels 🙃 Anyway sorry for the ramble and I just wanna end by once again saying I really really really like your writing 🥰
the mirror always lies (c.h.)
ask for the angst and you shall receive it! sorry for the shorter paragraphs, there’s a lot more speaking in this one. hope this is alright, thank you so much for your request! i’m really excited to keep writing for you guys 🥺💞
dope lemon - hey little baby
low hum - comatose
the marías - i don’t know you
summary: Corpse is finally coming to see the reader after months of face-less facetime dates. As she waits for his arrival, her insecurities start to take over and send her straight into a downward spiral.
word count: 3, 360
WARNINGS: she/her pronouns, coarse language, self-deprecation, negative talk of body image, panic attacks, shouting
(angst, hurt/comfort, and you know it baby-- crying!)
“So I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Yea I’ll see you tomorrow.”
It was almost funny. You’d been waiting for this day for months, skin practically itching as you stared into the endless black abyss that plagued your phone screen; only the deep rumble that came through the mic confirming his presence on the other line. He was anxious, and you’d never dare to push him to do anything he wasn’t completely comfortable with. Of course, you selfishly wished everyday that he’d decide on a whim to press that little button and finally show you the face behind the voice that you fell deeper in love with every passing day; but you knew of his impulsive decisions that he’d later regret as well. So you waited patiently, smiling at the black screen as you assured him every time that you understood and knew he’d share it with you as soon as he was completely sure and comfortable. You know that he’d beat himself up later over the fact that he “couldn’t do something as simple as showing my girlfriend my face” but you knew it’d be better than the downward spiral he’d send himself into if he did something without being completely sure of himself. You’d been sitting on the edge of your seat for months, body shaking with anticipation as you waited for the day he’d say he was ready.
So now that that day was finally here, why were you the one who wanted to crawl right back into that dark abyss?
It wasn’t even a week ago when those fateful words came rumbling through your speakers. You’d been making yourself dinner at the time, laptop propped up on the counter open to the recipe method with that familiar black box sitting in the corner, green light blinking on the screen telling you that someone was behind it watching you. Reading to yourself under your breath, your brows furrowed in concentration as you stared at the screen barely able to process the words while you stirred the steaming pot of pasta atop the stove— when your speaker rang out with words that made your heart stop.
“What would you say if I wanted to come see you in L.A.?” You jumped, eyes widening at the words as you lost your grip on the wooden spoon you’d been stirring with, dropping it straight into the boiling pot. Steaming droplets flew into the air, splashing against the skin of your arm as you yelped rushing to the sink throwing on the cold water and shoving your arm underneath the stream to try and sooth the tiny welts threatening to blister your skin. Whipping your head around back to the laptop on the now-opposing counter you stared wide eyed into the black box.
“Holy shit are you oka-“
“You want to what?” You sputtered, effectively cutting him off, completely forgetting about the burning sensation in your arm as your mind moved a thousand miles a minute trying to process what he’d said a few seconds before.
“Babe, your fucking arm-“
“I’m fine Corpse.” You sighed, taking another breath as you turned around to shut off the water. Grabbing a rag to dry off your arm, you began walking back toward the boiling pot as his words ran through your head. “You want to come see me?”
“Yeah uh..” He trailed off, you could hear some shuffling from his side of the screen as he fidgeted with himself— something he always did when he was nervous. As much as you wanted to comfort him in the moment, your mind was still running with his words scrambling to process them fully. “I uhh, did some extra recording so I could have some time off and uhh..”
“Corpse,” Cutting off his nervous rambling you smiled sweetly at the screen, heart pounding as your mind ran free with the thought of seeing the face behind the voice you’d fallen so helplessly in love with, “I’d love that.”
That was a week ago now, every late night facetime since then filled with chatter of with plans once you met as time seemed to crawl slowly on by. You did anything to pass the time more quickly— keeping yourself busy by cleaning around your apartment, tidying your things, and making sure everything was perfect; Corpse’s laugh echoing through your phone speaker as you scrambled around your kitchen throwing open the fridge and cupboards as you fretted over what you’d cook for him. He was no help of course, only replying with “Hmm I like pizza” or “If you cooked it, I’ll like it” whenever you tried to pry at his palette. You’d lay awake in your bed after you’d both said goodnight, staring at the ceiling as you thought of the endless possibilities of what you’d do together. Shaking your head you’d squeeze your eyes tight, forcing yourself to sleep so you could be one night closer to finally seeing your other half.
You’d been so excited, practically shaking in your seat as you tried to keep on top of your own work while your mind ran wild. But now as you stared in the mirror, phone on top of the bathroom counter in front of you displaying a text from him letting you know he was only 20 minutes away, all you wanted to do was shrivel up, crawl right into your closet and hide yourself away from the world.
See, you’d made the mistake of getting ready too early, your nerves getting the best of you as you scrambled to put on your makeup and choose an outfit as soon as Corpse messaged you that morning that he was on his way. It was a two hour drive at best without the busy L.A. traffic, you knew that, but nothing could shake the feeling of wanting to make sure everything was perfect. You’d finished getting ready in just over an hour, preening in front of the mirror as you smooth out your top and skirt for the 50th time, running shaky hands through your hair making sure it was just the right amount of fluffy to look like you’d woken up like that. Trying to calm your nerves, you decided to spend some time scrolling through your phone, hopping onto the bathroom counter and swinging your feet as you scrolled. That was your second mistake.
You knew Corpse was in the middle of the most important time in his career, his YouTube was channel taking off and his music that he worked so tirelessly on was blowing up as a result of that. Brand deals and music labels were scrambling, trying to be the first to get him under their contracts but he wouldn’t have any of that. Of course, he was grateful, he’d gone from struggling to pay medical bills the month before to being able to donate $10k to charity this month, but giving his freedom to a contract wasn’t something he was ready for. You were ecstatic at his success, loving being able to watch him finally receive the recognition he deserved; he was grateful for you too, keeping him grounded in all the chaos that surrounded him in every aspect of his life. But you’d seem to have forgotten one little thing that came with that type of fame— the endless attention he got from all his new beautiful fans. You’d never once questioned your relationship with Corpse, sure you kept it quiet from family and friends but that was just something you were both comfortable with. He lived a quiet life and you respected that. But now, as you tapped through his Instagram story of picture after picture of gorgeous girls using his song as they spoke so openly about how much they adored him, you were starting to question yourself.
The pictures seemed to go on forever, every girl just as stunning as the last as you paused and admired each one. They all looked perfect for him, gorgeous smiles painted on flawless faces as their glossy eyes stared into the camera lens. Hopping off the counter you turned around and stared at your reflection in the mirror, not doing anything to ease your mind as your gaze dropped helplessly down to your phone again. Continuing through, you marvelled at their flawless bodies— tiny waists sporting the cutest skirts and curves in all the right places; you would never compare, ever. You didn’t even notice the tears welling up in your eyes until your phone screen became too blurry to see. Blinking hard, you felt them trail slowly down your face, sniffling to yourself as you began to tap on their profiles. That was your third mistake. As you tapped on their photos you scrolled through the comments, endless messages idolizing their beauty and exclamations of how perfect they would be for Corpse. You agreed.
Continuing your scrolling, you jumped as your phone sounded loudly through the room, a banner flashing at the top of your screen displaying a message from the man himself saying he was only a few minutes away; that was the last straw for you. Finally releasing the knot that had been caught in your throat, your body began to shake with sobs. The seemingly endless tears running down your face surely smudging the makeup you’d worked so hard on this morning, but as far as you were concerned in the moment, no one would be seeing it. You couldn’t bare to face him, not when he’d been spending days looking at all these gorgeous girls that were completely in love with him. Phone slipping out of your hand and clattering to the floor you followed slowly after it, knees giving way as your heart dropped down to the pit of your stomach. You leaned your back against the bathtub, pulling your legs up to your chest as you sobbed helplessly into your knees, heart aching with the thought of your soulmate leaving you for these beautiful girls. Heart pounding in your ears and sobs completely taking over your body, you completely missed the soft knocking on your front door until your name was being called out by that oh-so familiar voice. Even with your sobs echoing through the room, he sounded like home.
“(Y/N) are you in there?” Confusion laced his shaky voice as he called out for you only making you sob even harder, you knew how hard it must’ve been for him to even leave his house and here you were, selfishly listening and doing nothing to help. Lifting your head to try and even out your breathing, you looked over to see the blurry outline of the phone that had fallen beside you with the screen lit up. Reaching out with a shaky arm you grabbed it and pulled it to your chest, wiping the tears from your eyes the best you could to try and make out what was on the screen. *Corpsie💞💞 is calling.* Fuck. Taking a second to try and calm your relentless sobs you placed your finger on the screen to answer. If you weren’t going to let him see you, you at least owed him an explanation— no matter how difficult it may be. Pulling another shaky breath through your lungs, you slid your finger across the screen and held the phone up to your ear.
“Y’know if you didn’t want to see me you could’ve fucking told me.” Your breath hitched, eyes widening as you listened to him spit the words through your phone receiver. He’d never been this angry, you didn’t even think it was possible for him. You sputtered, mind going blank trying to think of a response when those venomous words came through the phone once again.
“I drove 2 fucking hours to see you, and you can’t even give me the decency of rejecting me to my face?! Fuck, I really thought you were different (Y/N), I really did.” You could hear his heavy footfalls in the background as you assumed he was walking back to his car, your heart splintering with every step he took. Finally finding the words as you heard a car door open and then slam back shut, you tried your best to spit them out through the broken sobs that had crawled back up your throat before it was too late.
“N-No Corpse, p-please I-”
“Just shut the fuck up (Y/N) I- hold on. Are you crying?” The confusion lacing his once venomous tone was it for you. Not being able to hold your tears back any longer, you completely fell apart. Your chest heaved with messy sobs, your heart not able to handle the thought of him leaving you despite that being the reason you didn’t answer the door in the first place. Maybe you could salvage just a little more time with him before you lost him forever.
“Why.. Why are you crying? What’s going on? Are you at home?” You couldn’t even imagine the war he was having with himself inside his head as he tried to decipher your vague words through your stuttering sobs. Now the both of you were hurting over your stupid little insecurities. Trying to get your thoughts in order, you heaved in a shaky breath you opened your mouth to speak.
“I- I’m not g-good for you Corpse,” your voice came out in stuttered breaths pitched just above a whisper. You wished you could find better words, he didn’t deserve this half-assed explanation but it was the best you could do in your weary state of mind. “T-The other girls, they’re s-so pretty. You d-deserve so much better.”
“Is that what this is about?” While the venom in his tone had completely disappeared, the edge in his voice gave away how his guard was still up. Trying to convince yourself that he wasn’t as angry as he was, you swallowed your sobs down your throat forcing yourself to speak again.
“You should be with them, not me-“
“(Y/N) open the door.”
“Baby, open the door.” Edge completely disappearing from his tone, his voice came through the speaker in a pleading whisper. Your mind was overwhelmed, thoughts running a mile a minute as it struggled to keep up with the sudden switch of how he was speaking to you. Was he not angry anymore? Not upset? Why was he speaking to you as if you’d done nothing wrong when 30 seconds ago he sounded like he never wanted to see you again. You couldn’t even make out a coherent thought before you heard soft knocking on your front door once again, his voice being heard from the other side as well as the phone speaker.
“O-Okay.” Body moving on its own, you slowly rose to your feet, legs shaking as you stumbled slowly towards the door. Your knuckles were turning white with how hard you were gripping your phone, still holding it to your ear as your thoughts tried to catch up with your body. What were you even doing? You swore you told yourself that you weren’t going to do this, did his voice have that much power over you?
Before you knew it, though, your other hand was grasping your doorknob and turning it slowly. You had just barely opened the door a crack when it burst open, strong arms surrounding you completely as your mind finally caught up with what was happening. Sobs burst from your body, your phone dropping from your hands and crashing to the floor as you sunk into his embrace. He felt like home. Gripping at the back of his sweatshirt you could feel yourself slowly being lowered to the ground as you helplessly cried into his chest. Tucking you snugly into his lap, he leaned back against the now closed door as his chest fell with the breath he’d been holding.
Shushing you gently, he rubbed your back slowly as his other hand ran gently through your hair. No words were shared between you for a long while until your breaths started to slow, your sobs turning into soft sniffles as the soothing motions of his hands lulled you to a complete calm. Pulling your face back from his chest you rested it gently against his shoulder, glancing up at his face through bleary eyes as your breath hitched realizing this was the first time you’d ever seen his face.
God, he was beautiful.
His head was leaned back against the door, eyes closed as his hands continued their soothing motions. Your eyes darted across his face trying to take it all in, the perfect curve of his jaw, the smooth bridge of his nose, high cheekbones sporting a tiny dust of pink; he was perfect. As your gaze trailed back up to his eyes you jumped as you saw one of them peeking open, peering down at you as a small grin began to spread across those oh-so kissable rosy lips. Your mind went completely blank as your mouth gaped open.
“You’re so beautiful.”
“Right back at you princess.” The deep rumble of his voice that filled the empty air of the room had you practically melting in his arms; it was so different in person. Pulling his hand from running through your hair, he rested it gently against jaw, face turning so he could look at you fully. You watched as his eyes wandered across your face, completely mesmerized at you stared back taking all of him in. His thumb ran gently across your cheek, then right under your eye smoothing away the last stray tears that wandered down your face. You knew you probably looked a downright mess, but with the way he stared at you like you made the world turn, you couldn’t be bothered anymore.
“You are so fucking perfect, so perfect for me. You’re it for me baby...” The mumbled promises poured endlessly from his lips, not leaving room for the denials that had been lying at the tip of your tongue. You don’t think you could disagree with anything he said again with the way he was looking at you, his lips curving around every word so beautifully as you continued to memorize every inch of his face. How could he keep this from you for so long, depriving you of the greatest treasure as it waited right around the corner. Body finally catching up with your thoughts, you shook your head gently, lifting a hand and pushing it against his face; a deep chuckle escaping his mouth as he pulled his own hand from your cheek to grab at yours, pulling it down a bit as he pressed his lips against each of your fingertips as his eyes stared into your own.
“Y’know, you really fucking scared me there.” A wide grin spread across his face as he turned your hand around and began to press soft kisses against your knuckles. Shaking your head, you glanced at your clasped hands and how his completely dwarfed your own as he began to trail his soft kisses up your wrist; a small smile painting itself on your face while you giggled underneath your breath at his antics.
“There’s that pretty smile.” Face heating, you turned to bury your face in his shoulder as your whined at his words. You could feel his grin widen against your arm, a chuckle being pulled from his lips as he dropped your hand into your lap in favour of once again burying it in your hair. “Hey, no more hiding.”
“Or what?” You challenged as you turned your face to peek at him from the corner of your eye, watching as he shook his head disapprovingly. Giving in, you pulled your face back to once again be mesmerized by his loving gaze. But as you watched as his eyes flick from your own, down to your grinning lips then back up again you could feel your heart begin to beat hard in your chest. You’d been waiting for this for forever and fuck if you were going to let your insecurities stand in your way.
“I.. I really want to kiss you right now.”
“Then do it.”
hope this was okay 🥺 i lowkey hate when people write that whole speech at the end bc i know i’d be too overwhelmed still to actually compute the words lmao. less is more sometimes, also physical touch is my love language so hugs yes please. time zones r fucking me up, hope u had a good halloween and blue moon!! 🎃👻
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see you again (george weasley x reader)
(or 4 times george says goodbye and 1 time you get to say hello)
a/n: Im working on a few things but this idea came to me and I really wanted to write it because i’ve never done one of these types of stories. I really hope you enjoy it!
warnings: mentions of Umbridge, mentions of death, no major character death, blood/injury.
1. June of 1990
With your first year at Hogwarts done it felt very bittersweet to say goodbye to the castle you came to know and love for the past school year. It was even harder to say goodbye to your new best friends Fred and George. You really hated goodbyes. You always did. You avoided it as best as you could. When all your dormmates were saying goodbye you snuck out to distract yourself.
It felt silly. You knew you’d see them again in a few month’s time but just the idea of having to say bye hurts. The whole train ride back to Kings Cross George noticed something was off with you. You joked around with everyone but he could tell you held sadness in your eyes.
“You alright?” George leans over as his brother was busy proving to Lee that he could eat a handful of Bertie Botts Jellybeans without getting sick.
“Just fine George.” You flash a smile at him and nudge his shoulder playfully.
He bites his lips and tilts his head, not fully believing you but putting it to rest for now. When King’s cross came into view you could feel your stomach drop. Such a bittersweet moment. Getting to go home, to what was familiar but for the next few months you had to leave the friends you had come to love.
“Darling!” Your mum shouts as you hurry off the train. Running up to her you give her a big hug as your father takes your trunk.
“We missed you.” She says pulling away from you. You know that as muggles, it must have been hard to send their daughter to some magical boarding school for 9 months.
“Are you ready to go?” She asks putting a hand on your shoulder.
You quickly scan the crowded platform for that familiar ginger hair. As much as you hate goodbyes it doesn’t feel right to not say something to Fred and George. Luckily for you they stand out in the crowd. The whole family of red hair was easy to spot and it also helped George was scanning the crowd himself. The moment his eyes landed on you he started waving his hands like a mad man to get your attention.
“One moment, I need to say goodbye to some friends.” Your mother smiles knowingly and sends you off to say goodbye. Weaving between the people you meet George somewhere in the middle of the crowd.
“Here I thought you forgot about me.” He pouts playfully as he rubs his arm nervously. You nod along and look down, your nerves overtaking you.
“We’re really going to miss you. Home is so boring without friends you know? With Mum always on our backs and Percy scolding us every-” He stops talking as he notices the sound of quiet sniffles.
Even with the chaos of the platform George could hear them. In a moment of panic he begins to stumble out apologies, worried he upset you somehow. You shake your head as you try to say what you needed to.
“What’s wrong darling?” He carefully lifts your chin so you can meet his eyes. Your watery eyes and quivering lip sends a wave of shock and sadness through his body.
“I don’t want to say goodbye.” You hang your head in embarrassment at your silly worries.
“Hey, you’ll see us soon. Summer is only a few months and think about it, you won’t have to deal with Snape for a whole 3 months.” He stands awkwardly as one of his best friends cries in front of him. Something Fred would tease him about for years to come. Looking up at George you wrap your arms around him in a tight hug. He tenses up at the sudden contact but he quickly relaxes.
“If you want I can ask mum if you want to come over and visit for a week or two, if it’s alright with your mum that is.” He wraps his arms around you and rests his chin on your head.
“T-That would be n-nice.” You mumble as you tighten your grip on George. You stay together for a few moments before Fred comes running up to the two of you.
“Hey! You weren’t gonna leave without saying bye to me were you?” Pulling away from George you shake your head.
“Course not Freddie.” You give Fred a quick goodbye hug as he rambles on about all the stuff he’s planning for next years pranks.
“You don’t wanna say goodbye right?” George asks you with a soft smile.
“Then how about see you later?” You giggle at the cheesy nature of the line but in all honesty it did make you feel better. Looking between the two gingers you wipe your eyes and smile brightly at your two best friends.
“Alright Freddie, Georgie. I’ll see you later.”
2. May of 1993
“Egypt?!” Your voice went higher than you meant it to but it wasn’t often your best friend tells you that he’s leaving for another country for the summer.
Ever since first year you had gone to the burrow for at least a few weeks in the summer but now George was telling you his family was going to visit their brother Bill for the summer. You couldn’t lie your heart was broken about it. You loved spending time at the burrow.
You loved home but it was quite, boring without your best friends. George watches as you pace back and forth. He was sitting down on the couch, he did feel bad about it. If it was up to him he would have stayed at home with you all summer.
“It’s only one summer love.” George opens his arms for you to come sit next to him. He’s found that when you get stressed you felt most comfortable when someone held you and played with your hair and he was more than happy to help.
“Georgie.” You whine as you collapse into the couch, your head coming to rest on his shoulder as he throws an arm around you.
“What am I supposed to do all summer without you?” His heart skips a beat as you don’t correct yourself.
Without him. No mentions of his family. Just him. It was no secret to George that his feelings for you have changed. From the sweet girl he met on the train you had changed into his best friend, the one person apart from Fred where he felt comfortable. Like he could be his whole self around you without fear of judgment.
“I’m afraid you’re going to have a really boring summer love.” George jokes as you smack his chest lightly.
“It’s only a few months, I’ll write you a letter when I can.” He offers making you grumble in response.
“Me and Fred will shove Percy into a tomb for you.” That makes you smile as you move closer to George. Your head now resting on his chest and your arm casually resting on his waist.
“Promise?” He chuckles and kisses your head lightly. “Anything for you my love.” Your heart flutters as hand falls to your waist. His hand mindlessly drawing shapes, the motion soothing you from your previously angered state.
“Always the flirt Weasley.” You tease trying to mask the way your heart suddenly started to beat faster.
“Only for you.” Pushing yourself off him you meet his eyes which hold nothing but pure love. His tone coming out as joking but his eyes proved he meant it.
“I hate saying goodbye, especially when its you I'm saying goodbye to.” You say softly. Your body moves faster than your brain as your hand comes to cup his face. His skin was surprisingly soft but not as soft as his lips looked.
“I really fancy you, love,” George mumbles as he covers your hand with his own.
“I fancy you too Georgie.” His eyes travel to your lips, in a moment of courage he leans forward and connects his lips to yours.
Your hand moves from his face to his hair as you lightly tug on it, deepening the kiss. Sparks shoot through your whole body at the feeling of his lips. Pulling apart his hands remain holding your face.
“Now I really don’t want to say goodbye.” You joke. George laughs and pulls you onto his lap.
“Well, we still have a month left of school. Besides its not a good bye. It’s a see you later.”
3. April of 1996
The silence between you two was horrible. It had been an hour since George told you about his and Fred’s plan to leave. You knew they had that dream. They had been selling their products all year long, you just thought they would finish school before taking off and leaving.
You don’t blame them. Umbridge had been terrorizing the school for months and you could tell George was itching to get out. He left you alone, not wanting to upset you further but when he came back with a few treats you were in the exact same spot he left you at. Sitting next to you he sets down the napkin full of sweets. You glance at them briefly before going back to staring at the fire.
“Are you mad at me?” He asks nervously. No you weren’t. You couldn’t blame him for leaving. It was just. He never told you that he was thinking of leaving and now he would be up and gone in a week.
“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” You mumble sadly. George takes your tone to mean you weren’t mad at him so he moves closer. He wraps an arm around you and kisses your shoulder.
“I wasn’t sure if it would really happen, we got the owl today that we secured the shop.” He sighs and leans back against the couch. “I didn’t want to tell you about it in case it failed. I didn’t want to be a disappointment to you.” The last part barely inaudible.
“Georgie you could never disappoint me, you know that right?” He nods but refuses to meet your eyes.
You were aware of the insecurities he had. Being a disappointment to his mum. to Fred, to you. It was his biggest fear. All the years of being scolded for not being like Percy, the professors who were sure they’d amount to nothing, all of it was motivation for him to prove them all wrong but he couldn’t lie it would bother him.
“Hey,” you tilt his chin up with your hand. He smiles but it doesn’t reach his eyes.
“I love you George.” You mumble softly as you lean forward to kiss him. He melts into the kiss, wanting to hold onto the feeling of being with you like this and keep it in his memory.
“If I knew all it took was to drop out of school for you to kiss me like that I would have done it years ago.” Your face drops as you take in the reality of it all.
That he was leaving and even if you weren’t mad at him. You couldn’t ignore the pain in your heart at the thought of having to face Umbridge alone. Not that you’d ever tell George that. He already feels guilty for being the cause of most of your detention with Umbridge.
“When you step off the Hogwarts express I’ll be the first face you see.” He wraps his arm around your waist pulling you closer to him. “I’ll have the shop all ready and the little flat will be ready for you and-” You shoot up in surprise causing him to stop talking.
“What is it love?”
“Ready for me?” George’s eyes widen as he realizes what he said. His face flushes red but he doesn’t deny anything.
“If you want love, I want you to move in with me after Hogwarts.” He waits for your response but you just have shock written all over your face.
“Unless of course you don’t want to.” He adds quickly, a part of him fearing that he mucked something up.
“No I’d love to I just, I didn’t think you even thought about that.” You admit sheepishly.
It was safe to say you were head over heels for this boy and nothing was going to change. Even though you knew he loved you, you never thought he’d be one to think about stuff like this. Especially with the shop on his mind. Grinning wildly he kisses your nose making you giggle.
“I think about it. I think about what our life after school will be like a lot. A ring on your finger in most of those fantasies.” He kisses your hand and squeezes it tightly.
“You want to marry me?” Your voice raising by a few octaves in surprise. “Of course I do sweetheart, I love you.” A smile creeps its way onto your face as you think about getting married to George.
A week until he leaves. A week left to spend together before a few torturous months without him. Though with George’s sudden confession about your future, it will make things a little more bearable.
4. July of 1997
The war was getting real. Too real for your liking. You always knew what was coming. It was hard to ignore that Voldemort's return was real and it meant something big was coming. If George’s ear getting blown off wasn’t a sign, then death eaters running Bill and Fleurs wedding was. With the Ministry being infiltrated nothing was safe anymore.
Especially for you being muggleborn. You had warned your parents long ago what was coming and they begged for you to come back home, to move with them to America but you couldn’t leave George. The Weasleys were a target. Being so close to Harry they were already under heavy surveillance and with you it would make them a bigger target.
So knew what you had to do.
You tried to leave without any fuss. Not telling anyone your plan besides Ginny who walked in on you writing your letter to George. It was working as you packed the essentials into a bag.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing!” Your heart stops as George’s voice booms through the flat. Instead of answering him you keep packing, knowing if you turned to face him that you would breakdown right there. You hear as he walks towards you. His hand grabs yours stopping you.
“I’m leaving George.” You wince as your voice wavers. You wanted to stay here with George. You want to spend every night by his side and wake up to him every morning but you couldn’t stay here.
“Leaving?” He asks in complete disbelief. “You aren’t just going to leave.” You rip your arm away and face him.
“Yes I am George. I can’t stay here. Not when you know who is after people like me!” You shout stomping your foot down.
“I refuse to put you in anymore danger.” George scoffs and rolls his eyes. “My family is already in danger! I refuse to let you just leave on your own!” George shouts back.
“Where will you go? What happens if you’re found?” His voice increasing in volume with every word. His voice straining as he tries to control his emotions.
“Use your head George! The war is coming! It’s not safe anymore. I-I, I-” Falling to your knees you burst into tears.
This wasn’t how your life was supposed to go. You and George were only 19. You should never have had to think about your life being in danger. George collapses next to you. His arms holding you tightly as he lets his tears fall. George was absolutely terrified. He couldn’t sleep anymore because of the worries that kept him up at night.
“Please don’t go.” He chokes out as he buries his head in your neck. His hands gripping your hair and back as tight as he can. Your familiar smell washes over him and he does his best to commit it to memory.
“I can protect you, I need to protect you.” He whimpers.
The mere thought of you being alone and scared without him made him sick. He knows you can handle yourself but he doesn’t want you to have to take on something like this alone.
“Georgie you know I can’t.” You say sadly. It breaks your heart to have to leave like this, and the worst part was you couldn’t guarantee either of your safety. You might say goodbye today and never see him again. George scrambles way from you and starts to throw clothes out of his drawer.
“George what are you doing?” He doesn’t answer you. He moves clothes around until he finds what he’s looking for.
“Take this with you, please.” He opens his hands to reveal a small black box. You drop your bag in surprise as you admire the sparkling diamond ring that sits in the small box.
“It’s a promise. That as soon as its all over you’re going to walk down that aisle and become my wife.” His hands shake as he carefully takes out the ring and places it on your finger.
“Darling, Will you-”
“Stop” You hold up your hand. He looks at you confused but you close your hands around his.
“I’ll wear the ring but don’t ask me until its all over alright? Because we’re both going to get out of this okay and then you can get on one knee and ask me. Got it?” Tears fall slowly down your cheeks as he nods along and pulls you in for one last desperate kiss.
His hands wander all over your body as he kisses you with such desperation. Like its the last time you would ever see each other because in his mind, it might be. Pulling away hurt more than words can express but if you stayed for one more moment you would never leave.
Standing up you grab your things and your wand and get ready to leave. George grabs your face for one last close look at the girl he fell in love with all those years ago.
“I really hate goodbyes love.” He mumbles, his lips ghosting yours as they ache for another kiss.
“Me too.” Squeezing your eyes shut you use all your willpower to step away from him.
“I’ll see you later Georgie, I love you.”
“I love you too sweetheart.”
And with a pop you’re gone.
1. May 2nd 1998
It was over. Finally over. Hogwarts was in complete ruin. George could barely recognize the place he once called home. Sitting in the Great Hall he felt a mixture of emotions. Relief that this war was over and that they had won. They really won. He was happy that he no longer had to worry about death eaters patrolling Diagon Alley. His family was safe.
Everyone was safe.
Fred was the worst off with injuries that would take a while to heal but he was okay. Yet the Great Hall was filled with bodies. Classmates, friends he knew are now lying under a thin white sheet and many more bodies were still being discovered. It was so much to take in. He almost didn’t believe that it was over. That a Voldemort was going to come back and ruin it all again. There was one thing his mind kept drifting to.
For the past year he’s had no contact with you whatsoever. Nothing. Not a letter or a sign that you were okay. Did you even know the battle happened? Were you still in hiding? Where you here? Under the rubble of the castle. No. He couldn’t think like that. George missed you so much and sitting in the Great Hall with his family he just wanted to run and run until he finds you. He didn’t see you at the battle but you could have been here, he was focused on not dying for most of it but if you had seen him then you would have said something.
Resting his hands in his face he curses his brain for running wild with all kinds of possibilities. The Great Hall doors creak open. George doesn’t even bother looking. For the past 30 minutes he’s been torturing himself think you were going to walk in through those doors and every time he has been wrong.
“Hey Georgie,” Fred elbows him harshly making George groan in pain and glare at Fred. If he only all his ribs weren’t bruised at the moment or he would have hit him back harder. Fred points towards the door and George looks over.
His feet move before his mind can even comprehend that you’re standing a few meters away from him. You had a cut on your forehead and a limp but nothing was going to stop you from finding George. All your pain faded as you finally spot the ginger haired boy sitting on a bench. In only a matter of seconds you’re on your knees in his warm, familiar embrace. For the past year you had nothing to keep you warm at night. No arm around your waist. No George to tell you that you were safe. You missed it all so much.
“Hi George.” You say with a watery smile. He just buries his head in your neck as he lets go of all his emotions.
“You’re okay.” He chokes out as he hugs you tighter than he ever has before. Like he’s scared you’re just going to disappear if he lets go. He was crying. Mumbling nonsense and he could care less because you were here. In his arms. Pulling away he checks the rest of you for injuries, his protective side coming out as he lightly traces the cut on your face.
“How did you know to come here?” Smiling you pull out a coin. You brought it with you just in case it would have some sort of use again and thank merlin you did because it’s what alerted you about the battle.
“I thought about you every day you know.” You cup his face and trace the small scratches he had from the battle.
“Every day I hoped that you were safe and okay and that you would come back to me.” You wipe away some of his tears with your thumb.
“I’ll always come back to you George.” Letting out a sob of relief he smashes his lips onto yours.
It was messy and desperate but exactly what you needed. His hand travels to your back to pull you closer to him as he deepens the kiss. It had been 5 years since your first kiss but it felt just the same. The passion, the sparks shooting through your body electrified you. All the pain, the lonely nights, the fierce battle had all been worth it when you got to hold him tightly and never let go. Gasping you pull away from the kiss but stay close to him.
“Oh!” George lets go of you in order to get onto one knee. Grabbing your hand he’s happy to see the ring still on your finger.
“The war is over darling,” He kisses your hand softly making you smile. “So it is.” You reply knowing exactly where this was going.
“Will you marry me?” Looking up you purse your lips as if you’re thinking. “Mm I need to think about it.” You tease lightly making George chuckle.
“Then I guess I need to take this back.” You quickly jump into his arms before he could touch the ring.
“Of course I’ll marry you big idiot.” Looking over you see the rest of the Weasleys beaming at the two of you. Fred throws you a thumbs up making you laugh.
“No more goodbyes?” You ask softly taking his hand as you stand up.
“No more goodbyes love.” Squeezing your hand he takes you over so you can reunite with the rest of his family, your family.
The world wasn’t going to be perfect. Recovery would be long and it wouldn’t be easy. But there was no more threat. No more war or fear. No more hiding.
@pit-and-the-pen @thoseofgreatambition @iprobablyshipit91 @levylovegood @theweasleysredhair @emcchi @cryptid-troll @harrysweasleys @msmimimerton @immobulusmalfoy @weasleysmuchh @georgeweasleyx @susceptible-but-siriusexual @alpineweasley @lumielikesbooks @strawberriesonsummer @shadowsinger11 @mytreec @extra-trash77 @tinylumpiaa @pandaxnienke @protect-remus @theweasleytwinsgirl @myblissfulparadise @fredswh0re @hexmione @hemmoporro @thisismysketchbook @thesimpforfredweasleyclub @hufflrpuffforfred @lunalovecroft @kpopgirlbtssvt @phuvioqhile @ickle-ronniekins @wonderful-writer @feetoffthetable @hufflepuff5972
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✒ word count : 2.9k
✒ characters : college!armin arlert x gn!reader
✒ warnings : nothing except debate talk, armin being a teasing little shit, erenn mikasa r mentioned like once, same with porco and annie, armin is very good at debate bc ofc he is, its a college!au surprise surprise, armin and the reader r friends but also more, friends that kiss, reiner and colt in this bc i love them
✒ summary : Armin’s always had your devotion. Even when he ran his mouth.
✒ notes : this came to be based on talking abt what armin would do in college and how he’d like having playful arguments with his s/o that would get distracted by how pretty he is when he’s cocky...i’ll probably write a part two that’s just smut and nothing else bc im a whore for one armin arlert
“I call this debate to order.”
Your eyes jump from the index cards in your hands to the administrator at the front of the room, rolling your shoulders back in preparation. It’s a practice debate, you have to remind yourself. The irregular beating of your heart isn’t slowed, palms slightly sweaty, leg jumping in nervousness. A practice debate.
“Seated on my right are the affirmative debaters, namely, their first speaker, Colt Grice, and their second debater, Y/N L/N.” The moderator nods their head in your direction, and you can feel all the eyes in the room shift to you and your partner. “To my left, and supporting the negative side, are it’s first speaker, Reiner Braun, and it’s second debater, Armin Arlert.”
When you switch your gaze from the front to the opposing side, your eyes meet cobalt blues right away.
A practice debate, but against Armin Arlert, it meant as much as any official match.
The curve of hair against his forehead shifts as he tilts his head, unwavering gaze trained on your spot at the table. He’s got his hands clasped together atop his own desk, slim wrists shown from underneath the sleeves of his white button up. He looks...nice. A weird feeling claws at your stomach when other words for just how nice he really looks come to mind.
You suppose you’d always held a certain admiration for Armin. What with the way he seemed to be every professor's favorite, or the pinpoint amazing grades he kept every semester. Maybe it was the way your TA from last semester’s chemistry class, Erwin, had talked so highly of him and the way he went about his life.
So you’d harboured a slight sort of awe every time he walked by, or every time his name was mentioned. The pretty shade of his eyes and soft looking strands of hair did nothing but add to that feeling, especially when you’d talked to him for the first time. Armin had been nothing but perfect that time, and every time after that. He’d been the reason you’d joined debate club anyways; it gave you a chance to talk to him every Tuesday and Thursday, and looked good on applications for internships.
And that gentle, quiet admiration for him grew. And grew, and grew, until you were hiding the smile that sealed your cheeks when you were around him, calming the pitter patter of your heart every time he said your name. You wanted to make him laugh, and listen to any story he had to tell you. You were enamoured by him, you could hardly look away.
Then the debating started. Which you’d come prepared for, of course. But there was also a certain anxiety that came with arguing your point against the blond himself. He was good at it, and of course he was, because Armin Arlert was good at everything. Seeing him defend his side of an argument was akin to watching a single flame spark into a fire. You held onto every smirk and click of his teeth during every speech, the way his fingers seemed to itch in anticipation for his rebuttal. He was the debate club’s golden boy, a poster child for getting new members to join your little group.
Which is why you longed to win against him so badly. He was great, more than great, and every part of you wanted to reach every point that he continued to surpass.
And you suppose that starts now.
“Each debater will make a three minute construcutive speech, and later a three minute official rebuttal period to attack his, her, or their opponents’ argument. I will grant debaters the right to speak by introducing them, and they may then hold forth until either they sit down, or I demand they relinquish the floor, whichever occurs first.”
In any other debate you’ve participated in since joining, you’ve never gone against him. You’ve been on his team, side by side, giving him a reassuring nod, even if he didn’t need it. He’d win, so he probably didn’t need your affirmations, but he always accepted them anyways, a gentle smile pulling at that dimple in his cheek.
Things are different now. You sit up straight in your chair, the droning of the moderator a familiar tune you’ve grown accustomed to in the past few months. Armin’s eyes haven’t left your own, and when you raise your eyebrows, corners of your lips lifting into a barely there grin, he returns it with a quirk of his own brows, wetting his lips. He looks like he’s going to do something else, but the next sentence from the moderator’s lips have his head turning.
“I call upon the first affirmative debater to deliver his constructive speech, including a definition of the terms in the resolution. If the affirmative team desires to introduce a plan,” they speak, body completely facing you and Colt, “it must be completely described during this address.”
Colt turns to you, shuffling his cards together neatly. “Good luck,” you murmur, following his path up to the podium in between the tables, front and center of the spacious club room. He begins his speech with a smile, words clear and concise as he begins revealing his stance on the argumentative topic you’d been given earlier that week.
Despite the focus you have on your teammates talking, your body is hyper aware of the eyes on you.
Armin had always been a friend. Something simple, something you could put a neat little label on, and stick it in the corner of your mind. He’d introduced you to Eren and Mikasa as his “friend from debate club”, and you’d done the same for him upon his first meeting with Porco and Annie. Friends was a good word. Sure, one that made your stomach twist at times when you’d see someone lay a flirting hand on his shoulder, but one that you could live with nonetheless.
He’d been the one to tease you whenever you’d tripped over your words during a speech, but was just as quick to spend an entire afternoon helping you commit it to memory. He liked getting to class before you to grab the seat right next to the one you liked. He’d been a friend, until he hadn’t really, your relationship trapped in this weird limbo of teasing remarks and lingering hugs. Either way, he was in your life, and had your heart clenched ruthlessly in those pretty hands of his.
So maybe he had a habit of holding your hands, and maybe he’d kissed you a few times before letting you walk into a class you had without him. Maybe you stuck to his side like glue at parties, and were with him more than anyone else. But he’d been your friend, before that, and you’d never figured out if your relationship had jumped to a next level, or had stayed stuck in between.
You suck a quiet breath between your teeth, allowing yourself a peek in his direction as Colt finishes addressing the judges. He’s smiling now, shoulders shaking as you squint your eyes at him. Leaning back into his seat, he tilts his head at you, nodding his head to the front of the room.
“Thank you, Mr. Grice. We shall now hear the constructive address of the first negative debater.” As your teammate begins his journey back to your desks, Reiner stands, shuffling from between the table and chair to make his way to the podium. Armin mumbles something to him from the other side of the room, giving the taller male a thumbs up.
“Hey,” Colt retakes his seat beside you, laying his cards flat against the table. Unlike you, he’d gone against both Reiner and Armin multiple times, and if Armin was the best, Colt was surely a runner up. “Still nervous about going against Arlert?”
“Very. I don’t think my hands have shaken this much since...freshman orientation.” Swallowing the lump of nerves swelled in the back of your throat, you shrug your shoulders slightly. “It’ll be fine. I’ve just gotta not throw up in front of everyone and embarrass myself. Easy, right?”
He chuckles quietly, nudging your leg with his own. “You’ll do just fine. I believe in you.”
You murmur a grateful thanks to the boy sitting on your left, turning your focus to Reiner as he starts his own address.
Time goes by quickly, the only noise being the sound of your opponent’s words, the quiet click of the time keepers watch, and the scratching of Colt’s pencil as he takes notes for his rebuttal. Each second that ticks by only makes your hands sweatier, leg still jumping about as a visual representation of your nerves. You almost wished you’d had Armin to coach you through this one, too. He was never this nervous about debates, always taking whatever happened in stride, solving any mishaps in a flash.
“I call upon the second affirmative debater to deliver their constructive remarks.”
Colt taps your arm in quiet support, watching as you gather your index cards and stand. “You got this, yeah?” The screech of the chair moving against the wooden floor makes you wince, but release a quiet laugh at the choked snort you hear from who you’re sure is Armin himself. Another few titters arise before coming to a stop.
The few steps there go by far quicker than you wish, and eventually you’re standing in front of the entire club, knees knocking together and heart lodged in your throat. Glancing down at your hands, you check to assure your cards are in the right order, then recheck, and then recheck again.
When you move your sights back up, you find Armin’s gaze immediately. He’s still smiling, but it's so warm and reassuring that you straighten your posture, clear your throat, and begin speaking. The lilt of your voice is quiet and unstable at first, but steadies out as you continue, words coming across with clear diction. Before you know it, your time is up, and you’re retracing your steps back to your seat. Colt gives you a giant smile, even bumping his fist against yours when you relax into your chair.
Armin takes the stand next, diving into his oration as soon as he reaches the podium. Even going against him, it’s easy to be hooked on the way he speaks, the confident deliverance of words leaving you silent. His speech rips through the group of people just as it always does; the judges nod their heads along with his statements. He wraps his conclusion up with a polite smile, and allows the moderator to move on with the rebuttals of Reiner and Colt.
The back and forth between the two males lasts for a handful of minutes, before the moderator steps in, forcing Colt to relinquish the floor, and ending the primary speakers’ final debate.
Which means it’s your turn to face Armin, take every witty remark and criticism into consideration before giving your own right back.
From your place across from him, you can see the blue of his eyes clearly, sunlight coming through the windows in sliced pieces.
“The negative debater, Armin, has stated that our affirmative has taken the wrong approach to this, and have brought about reasoning as to why this study shows its detriment to university students in finding their place in the campus community.” You can feel a swell of pride in your chest, catching the look Reiner throws at Armin’s back from his place at their table. “However, there are many examples of this, for instance the recent study at Columbia University, where the study results taken from students attending the school proves the affirmative argument. That this case makes forward progress.” You throw out another remark, refuting the previous arguments Armin had brung forth.
Clearing your throat, you take in the eyebrow Armin raises at you, chest shaking with a chuckle. He begins unbuttoning the sleeves of his button up, rolling the fabric up to his elbows with a small smirk. Heart stuttering, you look away from him to collect your thoughts, locking gazes with him once more to finish your rebuttal. “Now because of this, we chose to propose this argument. If the negative were to have taken a closer look at these, I believe they would have taken this into account.” Letting out breath, you nod. “I rest.”
“The negative may now commence with his rebuttal and or defense.”
Armin’s eyes sparkle as he begins, missing their usual gentleness in exchange for a sort of cocky sheen. His hair shifts as he tilts his head at you. “Before I come to my own argument,” he voices, tongue running across his bottom lip while he pauses, “let us first take a look at what the affirmative, our darling angel Y/N, has said.” The only plus of this, you think, is the fact that this is a practice debate. He wouldn’t get told off for any remark he made that had no relevance to the case he’s defending. Laughs spark from around the room, and you see Colt flash a smile at your demise.
Armin shuffles the papers in his hands, nodding as he taps at the page. “I’ll continue our case in a moment, but before that there are some things about the affirmative argument that need to be addressed.” He rests his elbow on the edge of his separate makeshift podium, and begins pointing out flaws and holes in your first remarks that you hadn’t even realized yourself. “They told us that multiple in depth studies show that these methods help students assimilate into the community; but in fast, there are several studies that show the decline of this on students’ journey into the community, as my first speaker already told you.”
Armin continues on, opposing many of the statements you’d made earlier with backup from Reiner’s speech as well. Even when he’s done, giving you your own time to debate the evidence and thoughts that he’d brought to attention, you can feel the energy of the group shifting to support his side. “So, ladies and gentlemen, what have I told you today? Firstly, the affirmative seems to stem their argument off of invalid evidence from a community with other activities and cases aiding university students entry into social life. And second,” he relocks his sights upon you, making direct eye contact with you as he cocks his head at your form, scoffing, “and second, that affirmative debater Y/N has not taken the direct steps into this case, as frustratingly stunning as they are, to see the correct results of these studies, to refute our, the negative’s, argument.” Not taking his gaze from yours, he rolls his tongue against the inside of his cheek, not bothering to conceal his smile. Your cheeks are warm, and this being a practice debate means he can throw in any witty thing he wants without care. “I relinquish the floor to them.
“Second debater?” The moderator, as well as many others, are smiling, and you know boy wonder has won once more. You probably couldn’t dig yourself out if you tried. He had you in all ways, hook, line, and sinker.
Pushing a rush of air past your lips, you cough out a laugh. “I relinquish the floor as well.”
“I declare this debate officially concluded.”
Another burst of laughs come from varying spots around the room, chairs squeaking against tile as everyone moves around, gathering supplies and bags. Colt claps you on the shoulder, giggles making his shoulders shake. “You, uh, you held your own for awhile, to be fair.”
“Whatever, I lost horribly because of Armin and his stupidly—”
“Stupidly unfair good looks, I’m hoping.” An arm hooks around your shoulders, the smell of warm honey and sea salt encasing you. Leaning your head back against the arm, you roll your eyes when Armin’s face appears above you. “You did good, for your first time with me.” You can feel his words as much as you hear them, already being pulled away from where Colt stands, towards the door. You give one last short wave to the boy before letting Armin tug you forward.
“You’re annoyingly good at running your mouth is all,” you shoot back, ignoring the gentle click of his teeth he directs towards you in favor of lifting your hand to tangle with the one hanging over your shoulder. He hums, shuffling his feet in time with yours.
He lets a few more teasing words float between you, leading you out the main door of the university to wear he’s got his beat up old car parked. It barely works, the engine giving out sometimes in the middle of the road, the two back windows stuck in their shut position. But it gets him from Point A to Point B, and reminds you so much of its owner that it hurts. Armin keeps those old butterscotch candies in the glovebox, and always has the same Seabreeze air freshener hanging from the rearview.
Armin follows you to your side, turning you slightly before you can reach for the door. Your back presses into the side, head tilting back to see him properly. “I meant it, you know. You did good today.”
“Still lost.” At the slight pout of his lips, you smile, shaking your head. “Thank you.”
“I’ll just help you prepare next time, yeah?” Pulling you away from the door and into his arms, he sways your bodies slightly, lips pressing against the skin of your forehead. He reaches behind you, pulling the passenger door open for you. Before he lets you go, he smiles, half of his mouth lifting at the sides.
“I’ll try not to distract you with my stupidly pretty face next time.”
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mr. i love you.
[ chapter 003 ]
- phonebook -
——— wilbur soot x reader, short story ———
searching without completion, head twisted in ache..impossible to find, but a beautiful read once found.
How is a name that impossible to find? You weren’t there that morning at the train station.
Or the day after..
Or the day after that.
Desperately searching for the familiar name, so simple yet so abstract..it’s beautiful in an art form Wilbur can’t quite place.
“Y/n, Y/n..” Wilbur said, almost a curse, your name. Tongue to the roof of his mouth after each time he said it, resting his troubled mind.
Wilbur tried to give up, leaning back in his hardwood, mahogany chair..chestnut eyes glaring at the phonebook in front of him.
He couldn’t find you..and he did not find peace in that.
Wilbur’s hand reached up to his lip, biting at the delicate skin upon his lip. Quickly, Wilbur stood up from his chair, head pounding..indicating he stood up way too fast. That’s when he found it.
He found your name.
But he had closed the book.
“Fuck!” He scrambled down to his chair, nearly falling as he opened the book faster than light. Every bone in his body itched to see your name again, only to fail..he was pages away from the letter of your name. “Damn it..” Wilbur cursed to himself..his self wallowing came to a end with an abrupt knock at the door.
Reluctantly, the brunette approached the door with sulken eyes and a slouched back..he opened the door, as soon as he recognized the face in front of him, Wilbur was now obviously annoyed as he leaned against the doorframe.
“What now, Tommy?” Wilbur asked, dissatisfied. The blonde waved wildly before running inside Wilbur’s flat.
“Wilbur! You won’t believe this,” Tommy exclaimed excitedly. “There’s this concert later tonight and me and Phil have been talking about it and we really think you’d like it and-”
“Jesus- dude, calm down, say that all again!” Wilbur grouched. Tommy furrowed his eyebrows, sitting down in a chair to appear smaller. A common tactic when embarrassed..
“Are you alright, Wil? You don’t seem well,” Tommy’s voice small and frail, genuine with worry. Wilbur couldn’t help but shake his head, humming.
“Mhm. I’m fine..there’s just this person,” The brunette continued, Tommy used to hearing about Wilbur’s crushed and romances. “I think I love them and I’ve only seen them twice.” Wilbur tried to explain, only to be received and flamboyant laughter.
“TWICE?!” Tommy exclaimed, the phrase seeming absolutely ridiculous to the blonde. Wilbur rolled his eyes, tapping his foot in annoyance. “Cmon, you can’t be serious!! Was it a date? Two dates? Are they good looking?” Tommy was on the edge waiting for a good answer..and the air only seemed to thicken. For what reason, Wilbur didn’t know, is that he wanted to find you. Desperately. There’s so much he wasn’t able to do this week because all that was in his mind..was you. “Well?” Tommy interrupted Wilbur’s thoughts, he swallowed hard.
“Well, uhm, they goes on the same train as i,” Tommy nodded, waiting for more. “And yeah.” The blonde continued to nod, hands clasped, ears bigger than a elephant like he’s a reporter wanting to hear the biggest slip. But the silence wrote it all down for Tommy, the blondes mouth went slack..realization hitting him like sun does a mirror..blinding and a small inconvenience.
“You saw them twice,” Tommy said quietly, Wilbur nodded. “And those two times you saw them..” The blonde went on, only to have the other Brit nodding. “Was on the train.” There it was. That’s what Wilbur was waiting for. That confirmation from another, the words coming out of their mouth and not from his maniacal, daydreaming mind. “You gotta be kidding me Wil, you can’t fall in love with a glance!!”
“Well, I think I just did, Tommy.”
desclaimer: i also want to clarify, there is NO sexual mentions in this short fic, absolutely none. i will write about him romantically, with strict limits…
WOOP WOOP IM BACKKKK LESGO!!
- deacy! <3
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How we feeling clowns? Wrecked? Anyway, here, have an episode tag for both the crossover and Buck Begins. Also on ao3.
Eddie’s driving nearly on autopilot, the roads familiar as they get closer and closer to El Paso. Part of him almost wishes he hadn’t taken the driving shift to get them to his childhood home, even if it made the most sense—he can feel the tension in his jaw and shoulders creeping in, curling tighter with every mile they come closer, and his fingers itch for his phone, for the commiserating sympathies of his sisters who understand what he’s likely to walk into much more than Buck or Hen.
Technically they could have skipped the detour. Eddie hadn’t even planned on telling his parents he was coming to Texas at all—it was Christopher who let it slip, and then Eddie had been immediately put on the spot and he hadn’t been able to come up with a good way out of stopping by after his weak deflection that it wasn’t a social trip was met with well, you have to stop and eat somewhere, don’t you.
Sophia told him to lie and say the department said no. But she’s always been much better at lying to their parents outright than he is. Adriana shrugged and said if he didn’t want to go he didn’t need to give them a reason and should just say he wouldn’t be coming. But then, that’s her tactic as well and always has been—putting her foot down to establish hard boundaries, forging her own path and bucking all expectations. Eddie’s always fallen somewhere in the middle, which he supposes is fitting—struggling to set boundaries, often getting there only when pushed, wanting approval but lacking Sophia’s talent for gentle manipulation that usually leads people to think that whatever she wants was their idea.
So. Here he sits. Driving to El Paso.
He blinks and clears his throat as he registers Buck’s voice, the edge of concern that says it’s not the first time Buck has called his name.
“I was going to ask if you could pass back the aux cord,” Buck says. “But now I think I should ask if you’re okay.”
Eddie glances over his shoulder—Hen is in the back of the truck, head pillowed against the window, dozing with her eyes closed. He swallows.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve seen my parents is all,” he replies. “And usually when they call it’s to talk to Christopher so...it might be uncomfortable.”
Buck’s voice drops. “Have you talked to them since the thing? Other than about this I guess.”
The Thing, also known as the huge fight they got into when Eddie decided that if he was going to keep working he couldn’t live at home for awhile and they tried to once again insist that he take Chris back to live with them. Like some terrible combination of the arguments they had before he moved to LA and after Shannon’s funeral, only even worse because Eddie had been raw enough over the decision to move in with Buck and let his abuela take care of Chris for awhile and really didn’t need to hear anyone tell him that choice made him a bad parent—
Sophia had been spitting mad when he told her and while he doesn’t know what she said in her own subsequent call to their parents, he knows that the next time they called him, the subject didn’t come up again. Which, he supposes is as close to an apology as he’s ever likely to get.
He probably could have used that as an excuse to not visit. But then, that’s not really how they are. Don’t apologize, pretend you don’t hold grudges, act like everything is fine, and repress until it feels like it is—the Diaz family way.
Eddie sighs as he focuses on the road.
“Not really,” he replies. “They’ve called Christopher every few weeks, but we’ve only talked directly...three times maybe since then? Things seem to go south more quickly when we’re in person though so I guess I’m…”
“Bracing for impact,” Buck fills in quietly. “I get that.”
Buck shrugs. “I don’t talk about my parents,” he points out. “Don’t talk to them either if I can avoid it because they always have a way of managing to just—anyway. The last time I even called was after everything with Maddie and Doug. Haven’t seen them since...since before I started with the 118 at least. So. Yeah. I get it.”
He hesitates, then adds, “You know I have your back, right? You’re my best friend and you’re an amazing father. I’m not going to let anybody get away with talking badly about you in front of me, even if they are your parents.”
Eddie glances back and manages a faint smile, some of the tension leaving his shoulders.
“I’m glad you’re here,” he admits. “Even if you did try to steal a fire truck in the middle of the night without me.”
Buck laughs and shoves at his shoulder. “At least it wasn’t this truck. Besides—you caught up before I did it anyway.”
“Yeah, my Buck’s about to do something dangerous senses were tingling, couldn’t let that slide,” Eddie teases.
“Just give me the damn aux cord,” Buck shoots back, but he’s grinning.
And as they pass the next exit, Eddie feels like maybe things won’t be quite so bad.
Buck hates Eddie’s parents.
It’s not the most charitable thing to think about someone you’ve only just officially met—he saw them at the ceremony when Eddie passed his probationary period, but he’d been on pretty strong painkillers at the time and Maddie had shuffled him back home as soon as possible—but he really does.
He hates the tense, anxious set of Eddie’s shoulders, hates the way his smile looks forced—it triggers the same fierce, protective instinct that rears its head whenever he gets between his parents and Maddie, and, well, he did promise, so—
He really doesn’t feel bad for interrupting the very first digs about how seeing Christopher over video isn’t the same as in person, but it’s nice to have the option and technology really is wonderful, Zoom calls must have been a great improvement from your army days, right son with—
“You know, it is wonderful isn’t it? Did Eddie tell you how amazing Christopher is handling hybrid learning? It’s really so great how his teachers have adapted, I can’t imagine he would have kept up so well anywhere else.”
Buck smiles brightly as Eddie’s mother’s lips thin. Hen coughs and takes a long sip of lemonade. Eddie blinks in surprise from across the table and clears his throat, grasping at the lifeline.
“Yeah, top of his class,” Eddie says.
“He even has a reading group once a week with some of the other kids in his class that Eddie started to help them stay social. I know a lot of the other parents appreciate it,” Buck adds, and Eddie rubs at the back of his neck.
“We definitely do,” Hen says, glancing at Eddie’s father as she clarifies, “I have a son Christopher’s age. They used to play together all the time before all of this.”
“His therapist said kids are resilient, but I wanted to at least try and give him something normal,” Eddie replies, and his mother’s brows raise.
“Christopher is in therapy?” There’s a note in her tone that makes Eddie tense and Buck’s hackles raise.
“I took him to see someone for a few sessions after Shannon died, mom,” Eddie says evenly. After the tsunami, Buck fills in for himself. “It didn’t seem like a bad idea to go back again to make sure he’s okay during a time that’s pretty unprecedented for just about everyone.”
“Really, I think more parents should send their kids to therapy,” Buck interjects. “If it’s a feasible option, I can’t see that it’s anything other than great parenting to make sure your kid has the best tools they can to take care of their mental health.”
God knows if he’d gone to therapy a hell of a lot sooner, he might not be struggling through sessions with Dr. Copeland now that he’s nearly thirty, but that’s not really the point.
“Well, some people feel those sorts of things are best taken care of within the family,” Eddie’s mother replies.
“With all due respect, sometimes the family’s way of handling problems just makes things worse,” Buck replies, his smile dropping briefly before he forces it back again.
“This lemonade really is delicious, Mrs. Diaz,” Hen jumps in as Eddie pushes his chair back and starts collecting empty plates. “I would love to get the recipe before we leave. If you don’t mind.”
Startled, the older woman blinks. “Oh. Yes, of course. I’ll write it down for you.”
Buck pushes back his own chair as Hen continues redirecting the conversation and follows Eddie into the kitchen where he finds his best friend gripping the edge of the sink.
“Hey,” he says quietly.
Eddie looks over his shoulder and exhales heavily. “Hey.”
“Sorry if I overstepped.”
“You didn’t,” Eddie assures. “I’m just...exhausted. And ready to get back on the road and home to my kid.”
He hesitates, then adds, “you know, my sisters would be impressed. I haven’t seen someone manage our parents like that since they left. I—thank you.”
“I meant what I said in the truck, Eddie,” Buck replies. “You’re an amazing father and a great man and—it’s not right that anyone should pretend any different. So. I won’t let them.”
Eddie glances at the hallway. “Guess we have to go back eventually. I didn’t quite think this escape plan through.”
“Once more unto the breach?” Buck offers. The smile he gives Eddie is far different from the fake one he’s had up since they arrived, and when Eddie returns it, a spark returning to his eyes, it makes Buck’s stomach flip and his pulse race.
He tries not to think too hard about that. They still have a long drive ahead of them—plenty of time to save it for later.
“Yeah. Yeah, okay.”
When they get home, Eddie barely manages to shower and plug in his phone to charge before falling into bed and immediately going to sleep. When he wakes up, he finally checks his messages and sees several missed calls and texts from his sisters.
So? Sophia asks. How was it?
<em>You were right</em>, Eddie taps out, and then waits. His phone rings a few seconds later.
“I’ll save the I told you so in favor of asking if I should get Adriana on the line for an emergency Diaz sibling parental grievance vent session or if I’ll suffice,” Sophia greets.
“It’s not that serious,” Eddie replies. “I’m okay—a little annoyed still, but...I’m okay.”
He’s not quite sure what compels him to add, “Buck was there. He, uh, he told them off about it a little actually. Politely, but that kind of polite...you know the one.”
“The one that’s basically go fuck yourself with a smile and/or plausible deniability?” Sophia fills in, and Eddie laughs.
“Yeah, that.” He rubs at the back of his neck and leans back in his chair. “It was—he kept pointing out things about what a great dad I am.”
There’s something about the feeling in his gut that he can’t name. Something he wants to poke at, to explore, but that also makes him wary. Like a yellow caution light—it’s not a do not enter but it’s not risk free either—and he’s not sure whether it’s a risk he can take yet.
Sophia is quiet for a moment. Then she says, “You are a great dad, Eddie. In spite of them. I’m glad you have other people in your life who recognize that too. You deserve that. You deserve to trust that you’re good at things, even if mom and dad say you aren’t. You deserve to be happy, so...”
The silence that follows feels weighty.
“What?” Eddie asks.
“Is Buck—?” Sophia cuts herself off. “—nevermind. Hey, the twins are calling, so I’ll call back again later, okay? Love you.”
Is Buck what? Eddie wants to ask. But he swallows it back.
“Love you, too,” he says instead. “Talk to you later.”
As he hangs up and tosses his phone aside, his mind wanders back to that feeling. Right up to the edge of warning lights and caution tape. And Eddie wonders for a moment if he should—
There’s a knock at his door.
“Dad? You awake?”
“Yeah, buddy,” he calls back. “Be right there.”
Later. He can think about it later.
Eddie figures it out at the worst possible time—in the middle of a five-alarm fire when Buck’s trapped inside and he doesn’t know if—
What do you do when you realize you might be in love with your best friend and they could die?
“We have to go back in there,” he says, before he can think of any reason why he shouldn’t. “We can’t just leave him, we have to—”
“You’re right,” Bobby interrupts, and the other captain makes a noise of frustration.
“You’re right,” Bobby repeats, holding Eddie’s gaze. “We’re going to get him back.”
Maybe it’s stupid, four trained firefighters diving back into an active blaze in an unstable building with unclear direction, but Eddie can’t regret it when he sees the desperation on Buck’s face. The relief. The impending breakdown.
After, he’s assigned to take care of the victim and Buck’s carted off to the hospital to get checked, and Eddie thinks maybe that’s better. It gives him time, at least. Time to figure out what to say, what to do, whether he should say or do anything at all. Part of him doesn’t know. The rest is screaming I love him, I love him, I love him, wants to get his hands on Buck to verify for himself that he’s fine. That he’s alive. That he’s going to stay that way.
But when he gets back to the station, Buck’s parents are there, sitting at the table, and Eddie just—
He thinks about the look on Buck’s face earlier in the shift when he spilled everything, when he explained how he was apparently born just for parts and how he used to throw himself into bad situations because it was the only way to get their attention.
He could ignore them. But he doesn’t.
“He saved my son, you know,” Eddie says, gripping the top of the staircase as the Buckleys look up. And it’s probably somewhat insane to keep talking because he knows they don’t even know who he is, but he can’t help it because he just needs them to understand— “Buck. He wasn’t even working at the time, he was on medical leave and didn’t know if he would ever be able to be a firefighter again. But he saved my son in the middle of a tsunami—my then eight-year-old son, and god knows I can’t imagine losing him, I think that would be the worst thing I could possibly go through, and I’m not sure I would survive it, but I didn’t have to because Buck saved him. And probably twenty other people as well. That’s just the kind of person he is. The kind who saves people.”
They don’t say a word, so he keeps going. “He could have died today. Because he didn’t want to leave anyone behind. Because he is a good man, even if he doesn’t ever feel like he’s good enough. And he hasn’t said a lot about you, but he’s said enough for me to know that while he’s gotten the latter impression from you, he learned the former himself. He built his life here himself. So...I don’t know why you’re here, if you want to explain yourselves or just want him to forgive you because you feel guilty, but I just wanted you to know that. That he’s a good man. The best man that I know. And if you’re proud of him for that, he deserves to hear it. That’s all.”
Eddie walks away then, heart beating too fast, blood rushing in his ears.
The best man that I know. And I’m in love with him.
That wasn’t for their ears though.
It thrums in his veins, the words caught in his throat as he showers, changes, waits for Buck to return to the station. And when he does, Eddie almost—
But something stops him.
“You have visitors,” he says instead. And leaves Buck to it.
Buck finds him in the locker room after.
“So, my parents said they heard stories about me while they were waiting,” he says. “When I asked them who from, they said they didn’t know, but that I saved their son in a tsunami—and trust me, that got a hell of a lot of questions.”
Eddie is grateful for the open locker, the excuse to hide his face as he pulls out his street clothes.
“Yeah, well—just because they’re not going to appreciate you doesn’t mean that nobody else does.”
Eddie pulls back and takes a breath before looking over at Buck. There’s a look in Buck’s eyes like he’s trying to piece Eddie together like a puzzle, to work out all the things he hasn’t said. And Eddie suddenly feels exposed, far more than he had when Buck was sitting in his childhood dining room staring down his own parents.
“You’re a good man,” Eddie says quietly. “They should hear that. And...someone should be willing to defend it.”
Buck’s quiet for a moment.
“I have to go see Maddie,” he says finally. “But maybe I could come by later? And we could...talk?”
“You don’t have to ask, Buck,” Eddie replies. “You know I—” I always want you. “—you’re always welcome.”
Buck watches him in silence for another long moment, then nods. “Okay. Okay, I’ll see you later then.”
It’s hours before there’s a knock on the door. Hours in which Eddie burns dinner and then orders takeout because he’s too busy thinking, hours that he spends trapped in his own head, thinking through all the worst case scenarios, through every what if of how things could go wrong.
But also how they could go right.
And by the time he opens the door, he’s almost ready to just let the words trip off his tongue, but before he can, Buck says—
“Please don’t tell me I’m wrong about this.”
—and kisses him.
Eddie freezes, but before Buck can pull back, he slides a hand around the back of Buck’s neck and kisses him back with everything in him—every bit of thank god you’re alive and I was so afraid and I can’t lose you that he can muster. By the time Buck pulls away, they’re both breathless.
“I’m in love with you,” Buck admits. “I’ve been—”
“Me too,” Eddie replies. “I thought—I thought you were—”
Buck kisses him again.
“I can’t believe you told off my parents.”
“Well, you told off mine, so—”
Eddie pulls Buck through the door.
“Chris is in his room,” he says quietly. “But...you should stay for dinner. And…”
You should stay. Just stay.
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The Art of Hearts | Lee Juyeon
summary — trembling hands? flushed face? nervous stuttering? this wasn’t like you, you’ve never reacted like this to anyone before. so why is it that when you were with him you acted this way?
word count — 17.2k words
pairing — juyeon x female!reader (w/ mentions of chanhee, sunwoo, younghoon, and hyunjae)
genre — princess!reader, knight!juyeon, fluff with a hint of angst if you really squint, slowburn-ish, strangers to lovers-ish
disclaimer — mentions of minor violence and sword fighting !! I spent three days writing this through a hyper fixation and I REFUSE to get this beta read, so if u see any errors pretend like you didn’t see it at all 👁 this is also really self indulgent and I’ve never even written for tbz I’m so so sorry if this is extremely inaccurate
You were a little upset with yourself, you weren’t going to lie. For the past few months you had found yourself curiously leaning over your balcony railing, trying your best to catch a quick glance of all the knights in training that were just a few feet below. Eagerly you watched as they honed their skills, determination fueling their bones as they swung, slashed, and clanged their dull and worn out swords against each other in a mock battle.
They fought with all their might to become the next knights of your kingdom’s army or the next royal guards that would patrol the palace with the king and his family. Though, you knew that your mere presence made them strive for their goal even harder than before. Who wouldn’t want to demonstrate their rising abilities in front of the princess of their nation?
Your prying eyes made them itch with anticipation and wonder. Will they get a chance to greet you if they flaunted hard enough? To take your dainty hands in theirs, rough with hard work and tenacity, and place a gentle kiss atop your skin?
You weren’t interested in them, per se. In fact you had never been very interested in the upcoming knights that trained in the barracks below you. Since you were a child, the tiara and gown lifestyle wasn’t really for you, longing to hold the hilt of a long sword within your hands and slash your opponent in one clean swing. You wanted to fight, you wanted to run, you wanted to get rough and dirty with the knights that were sworn to protect your kingdom. It had been your biggest dream and fascination to even sit in on one singular match between the generals and their young and hopeful squires.
However, the amount of times you’ve been scolded for your unattainable dreams was too many to count on one finger. How unprecedented of you to even think such a thought! Young ladies are to never step foot on the battlefield, dirtier their long gowns or scraping their soft skins, that’s what you’ve been told. The swords are for the young men who fight for their country and the women who stay home and wait for them. A sword was to never be picked up by a lady, especially the princess.
But it was so boring! Why must you have to sit and smile like a porcelain doll too expensive to be rough housed with? You could never understand how your mother, how past queens and princesses, could handle such a repetitive job. Smile for the allies, smile for your king, smile for your people, and most importantly, produce an heir that will make the kingdom thrive. That was nothing you wanted to do!
Yet you were the only child of your nation’s queen and king, so that’s what was expected of you. You had no brother to hide behind and force to take the throne. You had no sister you could hide behind and force to smile and wave. You had to do it without any questions and without any backlash.
You’d think they’d at least let you learn to defend yourself since you were the only heir to the throne? Sure you will have royal guards protecting you for a majority of your life but it wasn’t bad to be a little precautious just in case a happy incident occurred.
Just thinking about the mistreatment made you frown, slumping over the balcony railing with a huff and using your hand to prop up your head in annoyance. Not even watching the knights-to-be scramble to display their tiny growing muscles or aimlessly swinging their blades around could make you feel any better.
And then you heard it, a deep and loud horn echoing across from the barracks all the way to the balcony you stood on. It caught your attention almost immediately, standing up straight and leaning over the railing to see what was going on. Unfortunately you hear what they must be saying from the height you were at, but the slow opening of the barrack gates was enough to clue you in on what was happening next.
“Oh, I’m just in time!” A voice chirped behind you, your skin jumping off its bones at their sudden appearance. You turn your head innocently to catch the sight of a fellow member of royalty slinking you to your side, his tiny physique making his footsteps light and silent as he stepped across the marble flooring of the balcony.
“Why, if it isn’t his Royal Highness, Prince Choi Chanhee of Fantasia!” You teased, watching as he rolled his eyes at his formal title. Only recently had the boy been pronounced the next king of his nation and he still wasn't used to the new form of address he had been given. You took this as an opportunity to poke fun at him, knowing all of the times he’s done the exact same to you. “What do I owe the pleasure of seeing his Royal Highness today?”
“You are so annoying,” Chanhee snided, earning a knowing smile from you as he leaned over the balcony railing just as you did before. “My father has come to discuss some important matters with your family, something involving the trading between the two kingdoms. I was forced to tag along being the next heir and I came to give you a bit of company, but it seems as though you’re already a little preoccupied.”
You couldn’t help but scoff at his last words, knowing he was trying to jab right back at you for watching the squires of your kingdom. “Very funny, Chanhee, but I’m not here to watch the scrawny pretty boy’s fight for a simple smile from me.”
“You find enjoyment in their pinning though, I know you do,” He noted, not taking his eyes off the barrack gates. They were completely open now, leading out into the field that was right front of the balcony the two of you were standing on. “You would never give a singular one of these men a chance because the little she-devil inside of you likes toying with their hearts.”
“You describe me so coldly, it hurts,” you laugh, watching a smile etch on the prince’s face at your words. You enjoyed your little banter like this, fighting back and forth like a pair of siblings rather than potential suitors. And let it be known that everyone in the palace wanted Chanhee to be the one who would finally court you, but he didn’t seem too interested in the idea either.
Once again a horn was blown to catch the attention of the people, it’s deep sound resonated across the field and the two of you turned your gazes towards the barracks once more. This is what Chanhee was looking forward to, the weekly evaluation that the knights-to-be of your kingdom endured four days every month. To be honest, you looked forward to it as well, as it usually was used as a way to not only assess the squires but show off the power of the kingdom’s next knights and royal guards.
After a few moments two horses shot out of the barrack gates, galloping across the open field at such intense speeds that if you blinked you would have missed them.
“This week is archery!” Chanhee exclaimed, clapping his hands together in glee as he pointed out the worn red targets that were placed about the field.
You narrowed your eyes as you finally settled your eyes upon one individual, Chanhee’s gaze following the other rider as they rode in the wind. The boy you were watching was riding upon a black stead, the steeds jet black coat nearly matching his slate colored hair. The only reason you could see the boy upon the black horse was because of his contrasting blue tunic and the evergreen colored grass underneath them.
As the two approached the first target, the boy began to rise off of the saddle straightening his back as lifting up a bow and arrow held in his hands. He focused in on the target in front of him, quickly snatching an arrow out of the quiver strapped around his back and nocking his bow. Both you and Chanhee watched in silence as the boys drawed back on their bowstrings, aiming carefully for the bullseye with unheard precision.
Thwish! Chanhee’s boy was the first to release his arrow, the object flying through the air and sinking deep into the plywood of the target. The boy let out a cheer as his chestnut steed began to pick up the page, charging straight for the other two targets that were left to clear. Only a few seconds after the first the boy you were watching released his arrow, stabbing into the target just as, if not harder, into the target than the first.
There was no cheering coming from him, no gesture of victory, not even a hint of an eager smile. He only grabbed onto the reins of his horse and commanded it to continue forth.
After the first moment of hesitation, he was no longer the one waiting for his fellow knight-to-be to make the first move. He surpassed the other boy in a matter of seconds, shooting his arrows deep into the plywood targets in a heartbeat.
“That’s incredible,” Chanhee couldn’t help but comment, reaching out for your arm as he stared down at the field in pure amusement. “Did you catch that Y/N? Each one of those shots, straight into the bullseye? And on the back of horse running at full speed? He’s inhuman, there’s no other way.”
“What can I say?” You bragged, a smile donning in your face as the boy’s horse began to slow into a casual trot. Only then did the remnants of a grin don his face, basking in his easily gained victory. “My kingdom’s soldiers are the best in the region? There is a reason everyone wants to be our allies and not our enemies? The boys from the village could crush yours in a fell swoop.”
The current squires weren’t everything to brag about now, but once they finished training? Ascending to the ranks of knights and royal guards? They were unstoppable, worthy of not only your praise, but the kingdom’s as well.
“That’s so unfair,” Chanhee pouted, stepping away from the balcony to throw a small fit. It was nothing too serious, just blowing off some steam from being the lesser royal member in the room. “You should really send some of your knights to Fantasia once you become queen. We could really use the unstoppable knights of your kingdom to better protect our own.”
You snort at his words, glancing down towards the open field where the targets laid. “Not a chance, your Royal Highness,” you tell him, your eyes glued to the slate colored hair of the squire below you. In a heartbeat he turned his head to the balcony, turning to the side like a dog as his gaze met yours. “Not a chance.”
“Forgive me for speaking out of turn,” you say, your brain barely keeping up with the words that were spilling out of your mouth. “But what? You’re doing what?”
Your father couldn’t help but smile at your confusion, leading you down the busy hallway of the barracks. Any knight or general that would walk the same path as the two of you would gasp and bow before you, letting the king and his daughter pass them before even daring to continue on their way. Squires young and old would all gawk and stare from the windows and doorways of their rooms, their gazes never leaving their sovereign’s side until they were out of view.
You were in the barracks. For the first time in your life you were walking the corridors of the knight’s barracks, their training grounds, side by side with your father’s permission. Sure, you were still dressed in the long feet covering dress and shiny silver crown you had inherited so it meant you were not going to do any sort of fighting while you were here, but they didn’t matter to you. This was a big step for you to be taking in first place! Just walking within the barracks was a simple dream come true.
“Progress has been made,” your father’s royal adviser spoke first, explaining the situation to you as simply as he could. “The general in charge of training the newest squires from around the nation had reported that he believed that some of them were ready to ascend the ranks. So your father is here to judge and give the final verdict personally.”
“You saw the evaluation a week ago, didn’t you?” Your father suddenly asked you.
Your brain was doing marathons around the room as they spoke to you, trying your best to keep up with the conversation. Though the mentioning of the weekly evaluation snapped you back into reality, remembering the talented boy that rode across the field on the black stallion and easily demolished his competition. “Of course,” you responded, a little too fast for your liking. Quickly you added on, “who doesn’t remember the evaluation? Prince Chanhee was so impressed by the skills of our knights-to-be that he begged me to send some to his kingdom.”
“I know,” your father sneering, reminiscing over a memory you hadn’t witnessed. “These boys, the ones I’m going to evaluate, are around your age. I thought it was useful for you to see them personally, as there is a very strong potential that you’ll be growing as the next queen alongside them.”
“So…,” you mumble, stopping with your father in front of the door archway led to the courtyard where most of the knights-to-be were being held. “No training with the knights?”
Your father shot you a glance before laughing to himself, allowing his royal advisor to pass by him and walk out first into the courtyard. “No training with the knights.”
“May I present to you, his Majesty the King and Her Royal Highness, Princess Y/N!”
Both you and your father stepped out into the courtyard, everyone in the vicinity of the two of you bowing in respect. Your father spoke a few words to the general in charge, an exchange of words you didn’t quite catch. You were too distracted by your surroundings to focus on what was being spoken to you.
The ground around the archways was paved in cement, creating a small pathway to be walked on around the courtyard. Yet in the middle courtyard was completely dirt, grass only making an appearance in spotty areas from being traversed on so many times. The dirt stained the hem of your dress with a brown tint, having it been raining a few nights before and the ground hadn’t completely soaked up all of the water that had been doused upon it.
But you didn’t mind, why would you care about your dress when you were finally in the barracks! Your eyes were glued to the more important things, like the targets that were hung up against the walls with arrows puncturing the wood or the many dull swords and swords that were littered across the ground forgotten with the king and your arrival.
You must look like an idiot as you looked around the barracks like it was the most exquisite place of the century. To them squires, it was just another building that barely had anything to give. But to you? This was heaven on Earth, the garden of Eden in a cold and unforgiving world.
“General, please, no need to flatter,” your father’s voice spoke, finally snapping you out of your daydream-like state. When you looked up towards him, he was laughing and smiling with the man over all of the knights-to-be, turning towards the younger boys with an expectant glint in his eyes. “I am here to see the potential we’ve gathered within our ranks.”
“Of course, your Majesty!” He replied in an instant, turning towards the young men as urging a few of them to stand in front of him. It was only three of the boys close to your age that stood before you and king. “These are our finest boys to date, great fighters they’ve proven themselves to be, and hopefully even greater knights as well. Kim Sunwoo, Kim Younghoon, and our prized apprentice,”
It was him, the boy who has easily shot three arrows into a target’s bullseye on horseback. “Lee Juyeon.” You had never seen the boy up close before, you had never seen any of the knights-to-be up close before yet somehow, he made you falter. Your breath stopped upon finally laying eyes on him, unknowingly eying him as you tried to regain control of your brain. You weren’t used to this, being the person who was struggling to compose themselves, it was usually the other way around.
Most knights and knights-to-be were all talk and no bite, carefully trying to court you with sweet words and no skills to back up their courageous attitudes. Not even a single bat of an eyelash could make you want to give them the time of day. Yet Juyeon simply stood there, his head held high with well earned confidence and naturally captivating looks. He knew he was better off than most of the boys that had been spent off to become knights for the king, he must know!
Why else would he drop his gaze from his father to you, unspoken words passing between the two of you before he turned back towards your father. He knew you, he recognized you, and he was simply going to continue about his day. It killed you to know that you had been caught lacking, bewitched by his skills and appearance after being known as the princess who plays with knights for so long.
Was anyone watching you? Of course they were watching you, you were the princess and were standing right next to the king! Everyone must have seen you gawking at the boy before you and who could tell what was racing through their minds now?
“You're the boy from the weekly evaluation last week, aren’t you?” Your father questioned, addressing Juyeon first. You glanced between the two men for a moment, racking your brain around so you could follow along with the conversation. “Mounted archery, black horse?”
“Yes, your Majesty,” he responded politely, his voice making your hands twitch with a sudden spark. Immediately you put your hands behind your back, fumbling and fidgeting with your fingers nervously. How did he do that? The boy said three words and now your body was beginning to lose control!
You pinched the inside of your palm, cursing at yourself for allowing yourself to act in such a way. What was wrong with this? This wasn’t supposed to happen, you weren’t supposed to be reacting this way to a person you had just met!
Your father gasped in response to Juyeon’s answer, not even noticing your change in demeanor. “They don’t call you the finest for no reason then. Truly, your one of the most talented people I’ve seen come into our barracks in years. How long have you been with us, Juyeon? It must have been a year or so, hasn’t it?”
“You flatter me, your Majesty,” he smiled, his ears burning at the compliments given by the sovereign. “It’s only been two months.”
“Two months?” Both you and father exclaimed, sharing nearly identical expressions of shock. You cover your mouth with your hands, not meaning to speak out of turn. Your father cleared his throat not long after, trying to shake off the minor embarrassment from reacting in such a way.
Juyeon didn’t seem to mind though, his smile growing from ear to ear as he glanced over towards you once again. Your eyes followed his as he leaned down just slightly before speaking to you. “Are you okay, your highness?” He questioned, his own hands twitching from their place at his sides.
“Yes, I’m fine, thank you,” you quickly reply to him, cutting the conversation short between the two of you almost immediately. Was your face red? You hoped it wasn’t red, that would have been embarrassing.
The entire courtyard’s breath stopped as they started at the two of you. Juyeon, the finest upcoming knight, and you, the princess of the kingdom, spoke to each other. Out of turn and slightly more casual than expected, none of the knights and squires had ever gotten close enough to even get a decent response from you. Yet Juyeon had not only gotten a reaction out of you, but a flustered response as well!
“Juyeon,” your father called, snapping the boy’s attention from you to the king. Thank the heavens he stopped looking at you, you didn’t know how much longer it was going to be until you melted on the spot. You hated it, the sudden and newfound emotions the squire was putting you through. Your head was going to explode if you shared one more conversation with him, and that was barely a conversation to begin with. “How good are you with a sword?”
“Excellent, your Majesty,” the general cut in, giving the boy a stern pat on the back. Juyeon didn’t move from the position he was standing in, but it definitely looked as though he felt the brunt of the general’s hit. “He probably rivals those of the recruits from last year, already on their level or higher.”
“Perfect,” the king smiled, glancing around the courtyard for a moment. Before turning back towards the general and Juyeon. “Then shall we have a mock battle? If you don’t mind, I’d like to see your skills in action.”
“Of course,” Juyeon responded, “I can do anything for you, your Majesty.”
“What the hell was that?!” Sunwoo yelled, punching Juyeon in the shoulder as hard as he possibly could. The boy winced as a result, numb from the mock battle he had participated in just a few minutes earlier. Though he didn’t retaliate like he should have, slumping into the bed that was provided for all the knights within the barracks. He was exhausted, having to exert a lot more energy than he was used to in order to impress the king as best as he could.
Had he known the king and the princess were visiting the barracks today, he wouldn’t have stayed up the night before.
“I have no clue what you’re talking about,” Juyeon responded, his voice muffled against the worm pillow he laid his head on.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about,” the boy insisted, twirling the dull longsword in his hands by the hilt. He stopped as he pointed the tip at Juyeon’s back, threateningly hovering the blade over him. “You? And the princess? Flirting not only in front of our faces, but the king’s face? Are you crazy or what!”
“I wasn’t flirting with the princess,” he answered, turning to snatch the sword out of Sunwoo’s hands. He wasn’t even supposed to be bringing weapons within the sleeping quarters, all of those were supposed to stay within the barracks army for safety reasons. “I have no reason to flirt with the princess.”
“You were kinda flirting with the princess man,” Younghoon spoke from the other side of the room, glancing at the two boys with a curious glint in his eyes. Juyeon had totally forgotten he was even with them, quietly slinking around the room to eavesdrop on Sunwoo and his conversation. Usually he could tell when the boy was trying to sneak around them, but it seemed as though he was too tired and preoccupied to notice this time. “I mean, what else could that whole situation with you and princess have been?”
“I said like five words!” Juyeon insisted, holding the right amount of fingers up. “Five! How could I have flirted with her when all I asked was if she was okay?”
“Yeah, yeah, leave out the important details like the way you were smiling at her when you spoke to her,” Sunwoo pointed out. “Or the way you specifically were fighting much harder than normal to catch her attention during the mock battle? Huh? How do you explain that?”
“The king!” The boy argued, “the king was right there! Did you want me to slack off right in front of the sovereign of our kingdom and embarrass myself? You saw the way the general and king kept showering me with compliments, I had no choice.”
Younghoon shook his head in disappointment before dropping it up with his arms and speaking. “The princess couldn’t keep her eyes off you man, you suddenly became eye candy for her. And it definitely wasn’t just because your skills were really good, the princess doesn’t know enough about swordsmanship in order to be watching you for your skills.”
“You don’t…,” Juyeon stuttered, trying to find a way to defend himself. “You don’t know that…”
“Yes, I do,” Younghoon confirmed. “Everyone knows the princess barely knows a lick of swordsmanship. She was watching you, Juyeon.”
He knew that, everyone knew that the princess didn’t know anything about fighting in general. It’s the first thing that a person learns upon reaching the barracks from their hometowns, the princess does not know how to fight. She’s tried for years to run towards the barracks to even just watch the knights train their apprentices but every time she’s been denied access to the barracks.
Truth be told, he also knew that the princess was watching him during the mock battle too. How could he not, for every glance he threw the king’s way he would nearly make direct eye contact with the king’s daughter. Juyeon would quickly look away, ducking below blades that were swung above his head or dodging a jab that was aimed directly at his chest.
Everyone wanted to impress the king and the princess now, knowing that it was up to the king to decide whether or not they’d ascend the ranks and become fully fledged knights. The only thing in their way was Juyeon, the two month old apprentice from the more rural area of the kingdom. If they could take down him in a mock battle, or even get a small nick on his body, they’d get a sure fire way into the ranks of knights and royal guards.
The mere fact that the princess was accompanying her father for the first time ever wasn’t really in their favor either. Juyeon knew how much everyone adored the princess of their kingdom, scrambling and begging for just a peek of her from the balcony above the barracks. Now she had been right in front of their faces, breathing the same air as them and watching them carefully for the first time in her life. There could be no mess ups here, for who knew when they’d next see the princess within the walls of the barracks once again.
But it seemed as though Juyeon continuously kept snatching up every little opportunity there was to catch her attention. It wasn’t even on purpose, but his charms and skills stood up more than anyone else who had fought against him.
It’s impossible to catch any woman’s attention when Juyeon stood in the way.
The worst part about it was that he didn’t even mind all the attention he was receiving. Usually he’d humble himself, placing his fellow peers on a pedestal to try and uplift them and provide a source of support and strength for them. Yet the electrifying feeling he got from watching the princess’s face shift from bewilderment to flustered was addictive in the worst way possible, Juyeon almost cracked a smile just thinking about it. His power was truly unrivaled in a way he didn’t even mean for it to be.
Juyeon covered face with his hand, trying his best to conceal the ever growing flush on his face. This feeling… it shouldn’t have been this addictive.
“Either way,” Sunwoo began, cutting straight through Juyeon's thoughts like a sword to the chest. “You can’t be flirting with the princess.”
“Why not?” He asked, responding a little faster than he anticipated. Both Younghoon and Sunwoo gave him a knowing look, as if the boy had confirmed their suspicions of courting the king’s daughter. “I’m not saying I was, god! I’m just asking… why I can’t if I ever wanted to try…”
“Number one!” Sunwoo called out.
“There are dozens of knights trying to court her at this very second,” Younghoon pointed out. “Becoming one of those people will not only give you an unfair advantage but also make you gain a lot more enemies than you think. I’m almost one hundred percent sure you don’t want to mess with the already established and trusted knights within the king’s circle.”
“She’s a princess, daughter of the king of the entire nation,” Younghoon stated, pointing an accusing finger towards Juyeon. “What are you compared to that?”
Juyeon rolled his eyes at their words, leaning up against the bed once again before answering. “I’m a knight’s apprentice, son of a barely known blacksmith in the rural areas of the kingdom.”
“You’ve got nothing to offer. She’s got a whole kingdom, you’ve got nothing but a sword and your face,” Sunwoo told him, shaking his head in disappointment. “If you’re going to try and court a princess of all people, I think you’d need a decent background to even try. Most of the people who try and flirt with her are people with lots of money, connections, or are just close to the king and his circle.”
“Alright then…,” He mumbled, glancing between the two of them. “What’s number three?”
The two boys looked at each other for a moment, a smile growing on her faces as they turned back towards Juyeon. “We kill you for leaving us behind!”
“I hate this stupid game,” you mumbled, keeping your head propped up with one hand as you stared down at the chess pieces in front of you. Chanhee had come to visit again, companying his father on legal matters that neither of you could care for. With nothing to do for the day he had offered to play a game with you, a game he was learning to play back in his own kingdom.
You agreed believing that both of you wouldn’t be very good and manipulate the rules in order to play, but that wasn’t the case at all. Chanhee was beating you badly, snatching a majority of your black chess pieces off of the board and assaulting your side with his white pieces. He said he wasn’t good but it seemed as though he was natural at this game. “It’s not a stupid game,” he corrected you, placing his white pawn near your black queen. “This game is all about trickery and strategy, if you can’t do that how will you win a war?”
“There is no war to be fought,” you explain to him, grinning to yourself as you moved your black knight piece and took his white pawn. “Even if there was, I have generals, allies, and a council of people to help win said war. That’s kind of their job after all, planning battle strategies and executing them flawlessly.”
Chanhee snorted at your answer, innocently looking down at the board and carefully plotting his next move. “Thinking like that will make you a weak queen, Y/N. I hope you know that. It’ll make you easy to manipulate if you can’t think for yourself… checkmate.” He stated finally, using his white bishop to move diagonally towards your black king. You curse to yourself quietly as you realized the predicament you were in.
Without knowing, Chanhee had nearly completely surrounded your king. His white chess pieces were all clustered up around your king, his bishop, both his knights, two pawns, and his queen closer to him for backup. “This game is so stupid!” You call out in frustration, moving another the last black pawn on your side to take his knight. Without hesitation the prince moved his bishop and quickly took your king within his hands, replacing your most crucial piece with his mocking white bishop. “I don’t want to play anymore.”
“You don’t want to play because you’re bad at this game,” the prince teased, placing the chess pieces back into their original order as you pushed your chair away from the table like a child. “It’s not my fault you can’t use your brain to its full capacity, my Royal Highness, Princess Y/N.”
“You’re so lucky you’re my friend,” you threatened, mentally wiping that catlike smile off of his delicate features. “Had you been any other person I would have hurt you by now.”
“Oh no!” He gasped, sarcasm dripping off his tongue as he mockingly waved his hands around in fear. “The princess with no fighting experience is going to hurt me! I’m so scared, what will I ever do?”
“Chanhee!” You yelled, jumping out of your chair in a heartbeat. The prince laughed at you as he leaped out of his seat, sprinting out of the room and closing the door behind him as fast he could knowing he was going to be faster than you. While you’ve been wearing fancy dresses and expensive, custom made heels your entire life, that didn’t make it any easier to run in. “Chanhee, you annoying little prince! Come back here and take back those words!”
You grumble to yourself as you kick off your shoes, desperate to catch the boy and give him a piece of your mind. You may have little to know fighting skills, but you didn’t need to know how to defend yourself to choke someone out. In a rush you hurry towards the door, swinging it open with an intense speed you didn’t think was possible only to open it to the face of your father’s royal advisor. “Good day, your Royal Highness.”
“Oh,” you say, trying to compose yourself as best as possible before properly responding to him. “Good day, sir. Is there anything I can help you with today? I’m kind of in a rush right now… his highness, Prince Chanhee—”
“—Can wait,” the royal advisor finished, urging you to open the door wider so that he could step in. Awkwardly push it open a little more, stepping to the side and inviting him inside. He gratefully entered, not hesitating for even a moment to begin explaining things to you. “As you know your father, the king, had decided a month ago to allow a few of the knights in training to ascend to the ranks of true nights and royal guards.”
“Of course I know,” you respond, grabbing the heels you had discarded in your attempt to chase after the Fantasia prince and throwing them off to the side where the royal advisor couldn’t find them. “He told me and my mother about it, he was thinking about adding new royal guards to the ranks since a few of them had notified my father of their retirement from the ranks.”
“Excellent, I’m glad you’ve been caught up that far,” he explained, making you raise a skeptical brow. Caught up that far? What else were you missing? You were the princess, it was rather important that you were updated on things that involved you and your family’s safety and security.
“Unbeknownst to you, the king and queen had sworn in a total of five knights earlier in the day while the king of Fantasia and his family were discussing their own matters of importance.”
“Without me?” You questioned.
“Without you.” The advisor confirmed. “Prince Chanhee of Fantasia had you occupied, and no one wanted to bother you while you were having one of your very few days off within the palace.”
You didn’t know whether you should be grateful for the privacy with Chanhee or upset with the fact that your father and mother did not think to invite you to the swearing in of the new royal guards. “Do not be distraught, your highness,” the royal advisor told you, a small smile playing on his lips as he began to speak. “It was simply a matter of keeping your best interest within sight, you will meet the newest royal guards whenever you feel the need.”
You nod your head in understanding, there was no need to be upset now. The damage was already done and it wasn’t too hard to move from. “Can I at least know who has joined us in the palace?”
The royal advisor nodded his head in response, standing up straight in response as he began to recall the names of all the knights that had joined them. “The most notable names I can recall at the moment are all from the barracks here within the palace walls. Knights Kim Younghoon, Kim Sunwoo, and Lee Juyeon, your personal guard.”
You froze upon hearing the royal advisor’s words, slowing processing everything in your brain as the gears began to turn inside of your brain. “I’m sorry but,” You laughed softly, trying your best to hear correctly. “Can you repeat that one more time? Who is the new royal guard?”
“Of course, your highness,” He agreed, “the new royal guards are Younghoon—“
“The last part! I just need the last part.”
“Lee Juyeon, your new personal guard. He was the barracks finest apprentice, being the most talented and skilled boy we have received in a few years.” Your father’s royal advisor explained, highly praising the boy as he spoke, “your father decided to place him as your personal guard, to protect you from any dangers while your father is away. It’s simply a safety precaution— Princess Y/N!”
It was too late. By the time the royal advisor called your name, you had already thrown on whatever pair of shoes you could find and scrambled out of the door to find your supposed personal guard. Out of all the people the king could have picked to be your specific guard, he chose Juyeon? The one that had made you flustered and fidget? The one that made your face and ears burn with a pinkish hue at just the mere sight of his smile? The talented mounted archer from just a month or two ago? That Lee Juyeon?
You stepped out into the corridor with a disheveled look on your face, your eyes darting around anxiously for the boy. Why him? Why was he popping up into your life again, right after you had gotten over the way you had completely embarrassed yourself at the barracks?
“Princess Y/N?” You sucked your breath as you turned around, coming face to face to the boy you hoped to never see again. He was still just as breathtaking as before, his eyes shining even brighter than when you first saw him full of confidence as his face glowing like the sun rays filtered through the windows was just a simple accessory for him.
Nothing much had changed about him since the day you first saw him, the only difference was now he had a genuine sword held within the scabbard that was hanging from his belt and that he was wearing your kingdom’s crest on the fabric of his tunic. Juyeon smiled at you as he pushed himself off of the wall, taking a few steps in front of you before speaking once again. “It’s been awhile since we’ve last seen each other, hasn’t it?”
You finally exhaled, the emotions tied into your sigh unknown as you worked up the courage to reply back to him. “I believe it has been… Sir Juyeon, I guess I should start calling you? With the whole… rank change and all.”
He shook his head at your suggestion, unable to shake the happy grin off his face as he spoke to you. “No, you don’t have to. I don’t like being too formal, plus we’re around the same age, aren’t we? You can just call me Juyeon.”
“But… you’re a knight now, a royal guard even,” you insisted. “You’ve worked hard to earn this rank, to earn this title even, I should address you the correct way at least.”
Though Juyeon was persistent whether you liked it or not. “Seriously, I don’t really care about titles and things like that. You can just call me Juyeon, it’s fine I promise.”
You nod in understanding, feeling your hands begin to twitch in anticipation once again. How were you going to handle being Juyeon being your personal guard when you could barely keep yourself from nervously fidgeting around? The boy was stuck with you until your father appointed a new guard or took away his knight status completely and you could barely compose yourself just standing in front of him.
You hated this feeling he gave you. It was like he casted a spell on you, where you could no longer think correctly or control yourself upon being in the same room as him. But you didn’t know how you could get rid of it, you don’t know if you could even get rid of it at all.
“I see you two are already acquainted with each other,” your royal advisor noted, smiling at both you and Juyeon. “Perfect this will be a smooth ride from here on out.”
It had been about three months since Juyeon had been assigned to you as your personal guard and you genuinely hadn’t believed things would ever shift between the two of you. Your original dynamic had been stiff and tricky, you were withholding yourself from trying to become close to the knight and he was very determined to get to know you better.
Every time he would flash you one of those dashing smiles of his while the two of you would walk down the hallway you’d have to force yourself to not twitch, hands down at your sides and face turned forward to avoid making eye contact. Though the boy seemed to enjoy your very clear struggle to compose yourself, carefully prying into your thoughts when no one was around and teasing you about how you could never truly look him in the eyes.
For a good four weeks or so, that’s how the two of you functioned. Juyeon would smile, you’d become flustered, and he’d tease you for your reaction.
That’s as far as he’d ever go though, never reaching over boundaries or talking out of turn when he was with you. Because of the clear line of comfort the two of you had placed in between each other, you never thought that you’d become any closer. You put him at arm's length for two months because you were afraid of shaking and fidgeting under his gaze.
But then somehow, he had been able to crack your nervous shell. Juyeon had pointed out one of the swords you had hooked up against the wall, shining in the dim light of your room and covered in rare and bright gemstones. Somehow he had finally found the on switch for you, pressing the button and watching you suddenly ramble on and on about your interest in swordsmanship like no one had even tried to ask you beforehand. It was a little embarrassing to explain your long term obsession with fighting, but Juyeon never seemed to mind.
After that the two of you clicked. No longer was your relationship just ‘Juyeon your personal royal guard and Y/N the princess of the nation’, but Juyeon and Y/N. Two people of the same age that got along like birds of a feather. The palace itself seemed to notice this change the two of you went through, their eyes lingering on the two of you as you passed to try and decode your muffled giggles and his beaming smile.
Though the person who was most astonished by the change was none other than Prince Chanhee of Fantasia.
He hadn’t visited the palace at the same time you had first gotten Juyeon as your guard so he had not first hand experienced your growing friendship with the knight so it was understandable how he was a little confused. “Y/N…” Chanhee began, fumbling with his fingers as he glanced between the two of you. You looked back as well to find Juyeon walking behind the two of you, distracting himself with the walls of the palace to give you and the Fantasia prince some privacy. “Of all the people you could have picked… it had to be the archer from that day?”
“It wasn’t my decision,” you insisted, turning away from Juyeon to walk forward once more. “It was a situational circumstance and it was bound to happen now that we were going to walk the same path as each other, literally walk the same path as each other.”
“I know, you’ve told me this a million times.” He nodded, yet still unsatisfied with the answer you had provided him. Chanhee quickly picked his pace to match yours, not wanting to be any closer to Juyeon than he already had to be. “But I can’t help but… odd about this.”
You raised a brow at his words, letting it sink and marinate within your mind. “You feel… odd about me getting close to Juyeon?”
“Not in a weird jealous way,” Chanhee clarified, “I would never care about you that much. I mean I’ve been noticing your body language when you’re around him. You’re very much relaxed and it’s very clear that you enjoy his company but you have… nervous quirks. When you talk to him your hands shake like a woman with hand tremors and not to mention the way your ears will burn like a night’s lantern at the same time!”
“They still do that?” You whispered, holding your hands close to your chest. You could have sworn that once you and Juyeon had become friends all of your nervous habits stopped. You were anxious around the boy because you barely knew him and the way he made you felt in a crowd of people made you embarrassed, but that should have all ended once the two of you had gotten close! “God, do you think he’s noticed at all? I tried to get over the whole hands shaking thing after our first encounter at the barracks and I didn’t feel my hands shaking at all after I started treating him like a friend.”
The prince had to conceal a very heavy sigh that wanted to escape his mouth, glancing around the hallway for a moment to find a place where the two of you could receive some privacy. Without warning Chanhee grabbed your hand and dragged you towards the study on the right side of the hall. “Juyeon!” You called, allowing the boy to pull you along with little to no effort. “Give us like… five minutes? Stand guard, we’ll be out soon!”
You didn’t get a chance to see or hear the boy’s reaction as you were yanked inside of the study, the door closing behind you as Chanhee finally let go. “What was all that about?” You demanded from him, standing in the middle of the sunlight study with a scowl donning your face.
“I can’t believe it took you this long to realize… it took you three months to realize!” Chanhee exclaimed, shaking his head in pure disbelief as he paced back and forth. “Honestly at this point you’re either completely clueless or stupid, though I could bet it was both at the same time.”
“That was rude,” you bite, slapping his shoulder in retaliation for his harsh words. A smile broke out on the prince’s face for a moment, as if he couldn’t believe you had the utter audacity to hit him. “I don’t understand what you’re saying, Chanhee. Explain yourself.”
“Y/N! Her Royal Highness, Princess Y/N of her nation!” The boy exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air before bringing them down onto your shoulders. “The princess has finally fallen!”
“Fallen in love!” Chanhee dodged out of the way of your fist this time, skipping around the room with a spring in his step. You couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of his mouth. You? The princess known to make knights and squires squirm for just a small glimpse of you? Fallen in love?
“No, Chanhee, I haven’t—“ you tried to explain, distracted by the boy’s overwhelming excitement. “—I’m not in love. That’s crazy, Chanhee. Get a grip on yourself, this is absurd!”
The boy turned to you with his catlike grin, refusing to take no for an answer as he began to take light steps toward you. “How is this absurd, your Royal Highness? I mean, does the pieces not make a clear picture for you? You’ve fallen in love with your personal guard, that’s what all these nervous habits you have are suddenly about! Plus the fact that you turn as red as rose when you address him sometimes, there’s no other way to describe it!”
You wanted to fight back the Fantasia prince’s words, debating him on what your true feelings were and that you simply saw Juyeon as a new close friend of yours. But when you looked back on all your memories of him, the ones with the two of you together and the ones where you were alone, your words didn’t match up with your actions. All the tiny stolen glances you’d give Juyeon when he wasn’t aware, the way your heart would accelerate every time you saw him in the morning, the way your hands twitched in anticipation when speaking to the personal guard.
“No…,” You mumble to yourself, standing there in disbelief, before trying to find a chair to sit in. “There’s no way…!”
“Yes way!” Chanhee insisted, almost as if he was reading straight into your thoughts as he walked towards you. “Y/N, it’s time you come to terms with the facts that've been placed in front of you. Your own body is telling you that you enjoy your personal guard’s company a little more than the average person! Face it, Y/N, you like him.”
“This has got to be some sort of mistake, I don’t like Juyeon. Yes, I think he’s attractive, one of the most stunning knights my kingdom has ever seen, but they doesn’t mean—“
The prince let out a frustrated groan, covering his face with his hands as he fell on to a chair not far from yours. “Do you even hear yourself at this point? Y/N, you’re telling me to get a grip, you need to get a grip! How are you going to deny all of the evidence that is right in front of you? What else do you need to confirm my suspicions?”
“I don’t know!” You snapped, a burst of confusion and frustration exploding out of your mouth in the form of your tone. “I don’t want to believe that I’ve fallen in love with Juyeon, do you know how awkward that’ll be for me? I’m with him at every waking moment of day, I’ll never get a moment's rest if I really do like him. And there’s no way I could like him, I’m the one who makes knights and squires swoon, it’s not supposed to be the other way around.”
Both you and the prince sat in silence for a moment, struggling with each other to come to terms with the arguments you presented. The worst part about it is that if you have in fact fallen for your personal guard, you wouldn’t be too bothered by the thought.
Chanhee suddenly spring up out of his seat, a smile growing across his face as his brain began to twist and turn at the new thought that had popped into his head. “That’s it!” He exclaimed, turning towards you with a mischievous look on his face. “I know a way you can figure out if your feelings for the boy are true or not, and you actually like the idea I’ve come up with. It keeps your best interest in mind.”
“Prince Chanhee of Fantasia…” Juyeon began, peering into the sleeping quarters cautiously to make sure no other knight was inside of the room. The only people inside were Sunwoo and Younghoon, both who had shot up out of their beds at the sound of the boy’s voice. “Who exactly… is he to the princess?”
“You see us for the first time today and all you have to talk about is the princess?” Sunwoo snorted, falling right back into his bed with a huff. That was a fair reaction, seeing as Juyeon spent nearly twenty four hours with the princess on a daily basis. He could at least have something new and different to talk about when he was with his friends. But he couldn’t help it this time, not when he was curious about the prince who had visited for the day.
Both the prince and his father were gone now, sleeping in their giant and extravagant beds of their own kingdom instead of spending the night here. But Juyeon couldn’t help but feel some sort of way about the Fantasia prince, his eyes had been locked into his head since he had first approached the princess when he arrived. Though whether he was watching him out of intrigue or jealousy was unknown to him.
“He’s the princess’s close friend,” Younghoon shrugged, answering for the stubborn boy who refused to give him any sort of help. “I heard they’ve been friends since they were children and many people including those outside of the palace walls thought they were going to be betrothed to each other at one point. It made sense, both of them were of royal descent and have known each other well enough for it to happen. The kings of their respective nations were close to each other.”
“Oh,” Juyeon responded, falling into his assigned bed a little harder than he had originally planned. “That’s good to know.”
“Prince Chanhee has not tried to court the princess though,” Sunwoo explained, staring at the ceiling with his arms crossed. Despite handing over the information he knew, he still seemed upset with Juyeon but the boy was simply stubborn like that. “They’ve been friends since forever and not once in my life have I heard he’s ever tried to make a move on her. As much as the kingdom wants the two to get together, they’re probably just friends.”
A quiet sigh of relief left Juyeon’s mouth as he nodded, covering his face with his hands as he responded in a slightly chirper tone. “Oh, that’s good to know.”
“Hey!” Sunwoo scolded, sitting up at the speed of light as he caught the boy’s tone of voice. “What did we say about the princess?”
He groaned in response to Sunwoo’s words, sitting up out of his bed as he recited, “dozens of knights are trying to court her, she’s a princess and I have nothing to offer, and you’ll kill me if I leave you behind.”
“Exactly,” Younghoon smiled. “I’ll drive a sword right through your stomach and Sunwoo will shoot your heart with an arrow if you even think about abandoning us for the princess.”
“I can’t shoot an arrow through his heart,” Sunwoo argued, shooting a mischievous smile towards Juyeon as he called out. “Not when the princess already shot one in the bullseye!”
“Leave me alone!” Juyeon hissed, ignoring the boys devilish giggles behind him. He couldn’t help himself from being so enamored by the princess’s mere presence, especially when he was around her for the majority of the day.
When he first came to the barracks, he couldn’t have cared less about the royal family’s daughter. He simply there to train as a knight for his kingdom and provide some sort of stability for his family back home. Juyeon was usually the one innocently teasing the other knights and squires for their one siding crush on a person they could not have, but the tides had completely turned on him. Now he was the one secretly pining after royalty.
His attention was caught when he heard soft knocking on glass, turning his head towards the window as confusion crossed his face. Sunwoo and Younghoon didn’t seem to notice the noise as they were too caught up in their teasing of the boys unfortunate feelings so the boy didn’t even bother to alert them at the sudden intrusion.
As swiftly and quietly as he could he slipped out of the bed and peered through the window’s glass, trying his best to see what had caused the sound. So one could only imagine his disbelief when he caught sight of your face in the window, standing in your tiptoes to look inside of the barracks. When your eyes caught each other's, you immediately smiled back at him and confirmed to him that you were truly standing outside of the sleeping quarters. “Y/N?” He exclaimed, a little louder than he originally had meant to happen.
Juyeon turned around and saw both Younghoon and Sunwoo staring at him, unable to comprehend the fact that he had called you by your name instead of addressing you by your full title. “You’re…,” Sunwoo began, struggling to get the words out of his mouth, “you’re on a first name basis with the princess?”
“I’ll be right back, okay?” He assured them, knocking the glass to signal that he was coming to meet you. Immediately both Younghoon and Sunwoo jumped up, scrambling towards the boy with a million questions on their mind. Juyeon just narrowly dodged their onslaught, dashing to the door and closing it on their faces. “Just give me ten minutes! I promise I’ll explain everything when I get back!”
“You’re in a lot of trouble when you get back!” The younger knight whispered, but there was just enough diction in his voice to know that he was threatening him. Juyeon only smiled to himself as he took a few steps away from the door, searching for the nearest archway to lead him into the courtyard. How had you even gotten this close to the barracks? If he remembered correctly, most guards within the palace would have stopped you before you could even get close. Did you really only need to walk inside the barracks once to sneak in for good?
“Want to explain how you got here without getting caught?” He asked you as he rounded the corner, leaning up against the wall with a knowing smirk on his face.
You stood up from where you were sitting on the ground, the white nightgown you were supposed to be wearing to sleep practically glowing in the moon’s light. You hesitated to respond to him as you played with the sleeve of your nightgown unconsciously, though sharing that same smile you had given him earlier in his sleeping quarters as you asked, “did you call me by my first name in there?”
“I did not.”
“You did!” You gasped, pointing an accusing finger towards him as you walked toward him. “I know you did, you said my name without any titles attached to it. You can’t play dumb with me, I knew as soon as you noticed I was there and said something from behind the glass.”
“You’re avoiding my question,” Juyeon pointed out, putting a hand out in front of him to keep a small distance in between the two of you. “How did you get here without being caught?”
“You’re avoiding my question!” You argued. “Did you call me by my first name when you were with your friends? It’s totally fine if you did, you realize this right? I don’t mind if you don’t use titles with me, but I just want you to admit what you said.”
The two stood stared at each other in silence, refusing to let up first and wanting the other to reveal the information they had. Juyeon would have thought you would go on for longer, being the fiercer out of the duo about what you wanted. Though after a few seconds you nervously cleared your throat, stepping back and away from Juyeon to stay out of his personal space. “You know what, forget it, that’s not why I’m here.”
“Yeah, you were just about to tell how you got into the barracks without anyone catching you,” he insisted, watching as you rolled your eyes in annoyance. Despite losing the ‘staring contest’ you weren't about to give away any of your little secrets to him. “That’s a big achievement for you, isn't it? Knowing that you haven’t stepped foot into the barracks since the day you arrived with your father makes it even—“
“I want you to train me, teach me the whole swordsmanship thing,” you blurted, cutting off Juyeon in the middle of his sentence.
Slowly his smile began to drop into a look of disbelief, unsure of whether or not he had heard you right. In a rush, you quickly rambled on, “it doesn’t have to be as intense as your training from when you were a squire! And I don’t need to know everything you know, I just want to be able to fight. You know, slicing and dicing my enemies up in order to protect myself if need be— I know I have you and the entire royal guard on my side but this is just something I’ve always wanted so… please?”
“Why… why me though?”
You froze upon being asked his question, struggling to form coherent sentences to continue the conversation. “Because…,” you stuttered, your ears turning a rosy red hue as you tried to make an excuse. Juyeon attempted to not notice, keeping his eyes focused solely on you and waiting patiently waiting for your answer, but he couldn’t help himself. Whatever you were going to say to him next wasn’t going to be good enough erase the undertones of your silence.
There was a very likely possibility that you harbored the same feelings for him as he did for you, if he was reading the nature of the room right. Of course, there was the offset chance that you were simply embarrassed to give him your real reason, so he couldn’t just put all his money on one option only to be disappointed in the end.
“You’re my friend,” you finally explained. “Not only are you my friend, but you’re my personal guard and the ‘supposed’ finest knight within the kingdom’s men at the moment. So wouldn’t it make sense to learn from someone who is an acquaintance and is skilled in the area I’m trying to learn in? I don’t know, it sounds like logic to me.”
“Right,” he nodded, thought speaking more for himself than for you. Juyeon couldn’t get his hopes up, not when the person he had fallen for was a member of royalty. High hopes would only get him utterly disappointed when everything came back around. “That’s logical thinking, you’re right.”
Two nights out of every week you snuck out of your room and met up with Juyeon at the barracks. He’d cautiously sneak you inside of one of the very many training rooms that the barracks had to offer with the help of his friends and there he would teach you all he knew about sword fighting. Well… kinda.
It was a very difficult process to endure as you were something less than a beginner and Juyeon was something more than a master. Your varying levels of proficiency made it hard to work together since the personal guard wanted to skip the basics immediately and you had never even touched the basics beforehand. All your experience of sword fighting had only ever come from watching others from afar, so you truly didn’t know anything.
The perfect stance, how to hide your weak points, you didn’t even realize how heavy a genuine sword was! The mere thought that you were supposed to be the one controlling the swords slicing and slashing and not the other way around was astounding to you.
It was embarrassing to know that Juyeon had watched you nearly topple over yourself when you grabbed a sword for the first time, your arms not used to the amount of weight that you were carrying. You could barely pick it up, let alone sling it over your shoulder as the boy did ever so flawlessly. He’d giggle and tease you for floundering all over the ground with the sword in hand, slightly mocking you as he twirled his blade with ease. You’d sit there mumbling under your breath small threats and empty promises as your face would burn in shame.
If anyone had caught you two in the act of training, they would think you were a lost cause at first.
“A quick jab and turn isn’t going to do anything, Y/N,” Juyeon innocently told you, his sun rivaling grin growing across his face as he pointed the tip of his blade towards you. You were on the complete other side of the room, keeping your distance away from the personal guard instead of attacking him head on. “This isn’t fencing, these weapons are made to cut, not poke.”
“I know,” you angrily reply, growing tired with his ongoing cat and mouse game you two played. “You’re just really obnoxious.” You tried to attack him, rushing in with no genuine plan in your head. The dull swords clashed together with an angry metal screech when you swiped your blade at him, your attack quickly being blocked by Juyeon as he lifted up his own sword to block against your attack. Frustrated, you began to press the majority of your weight onto the sword, forcing it to move towards the boy’s torso at a slow pace as he fought against it.
Wordlessly he stepped forward, pushing back against your attack and forcing you to move back with a heavy foot. You yelped when you suddenly lost your footing, the weight you had pressed into the blade betraying you as you hit the ground with an unfortunately loud thud. You stayed down on the ground for a little longer than you wanted, catching your breath and making sure you didn’t potentially crack your head open on the stone floors. The two of you couldn’t train in the courtyard in fear that someone would catch you in the barracks, but now you were willing to risk the chance.
“I’m not obnoxious,” the boy defended as you secretly rolled your eyes at his words. “You’re just bad at fighting and… wildy easy to predict.”
“That’s because someone didn’t teach me the basics like they were supposed to!” You complained, lifting yourself off the ground and pointing an accusing finger at him. Juyeon sheepishly smiled as you continued to call out, “you just threw a sword at me the first day and said hit me! I nearly fell when I grabbed that thing and you wanted me to fight first thing? I thought I already established to you that I knew nothing at all?”
“I know the basics are so boring after you’ve completed it all. If you want someone else to teach you just say so, I’m sure that Sunwoo and Younghoon would kill to be in your presence and teach you how to fight,” Juyeon argued, leaning up against the pommel of his sword and curiously looking down at you. When you didn’t respond to his suggestion, he shrugged his shoulders and joined you in the ground for a moment. “That’s what I thought.”
The entire ‘Juyeon teaches you sword fighting’ idea was all Chanhee’s plan, conjuring up the brilliant idea in a matter of seconds. The Fantasia prince had suggested it as a way for you not only to learn swordsmanship but figure out if you truly held feelings for the personal guard as you would be engaged in a lot more close combat and would be alone with each other for a few more hours within the day. Honestly you think that was the first time you had ever called the boy a genius, mainly for the reason that you would finally dabble in your long term interests.
However instead of falling completely and uncontrollably in love with Juyeon, you just wanted to slice his head off. He was nothing like he usually was when it came to fighting, his condescending smirks and over the top mocking getting the best of him whenever he had fought against you. Though his continuous and annoying teasing only fueled your drive to master sword fighting even stronger than before, so you guessed that was one thing that was working out for you.
Though, if you had to be honest, you did have your moments where you faltered not because of your own lack of skill but because of Juyeon in general. Let it be known that whether you had feelings for the personal guard or not, he was conventionally attractive. Running his fingers through his hair, his beaming smile of knowingness, even the arrogant looks of victory was enough to distract you from your adrenaline fueled drive to stab Juyeon in the chest. Did he even know he had that effect on you?
Maybe it’s best he didn’t know, you didn’t need another weakness to add to your ever growing skill set of cans and can’ts.
“Why didn’t you actually teach me the basics though?” You asked him, catching his attention almost immediately. “I mean… I learned the basics by myself with no help by mock battling you for several nights straight. I’m not the best fighter but I’d at least like to stand a chance against you instead of humiliating myself over and over again.”
Juyeon thought to himself for a moment, staring at the ceiling and anxiously running his hands through his hair. “Is ‘because it’s fun to mess with you’ a valid answer to your question?”
You gave the boy a strained smile and you hissed, “No. Absolutely not.”
“Then i don’t know,” he admitted, lifting himself off of the ground and fumbling around with his hands. Juyeon wasn’t looking directly at you as he spoke, staring off into the void with an unknown emotion swirling around in his eyes. “I’m not that good of a teacher for close friends if I’m gonna be honest. I get competitive, more focused on the fulfillment of my joy and worth than actually… teaching someone how to do a task or skill.”
You nodded in understanding, all of the frustration and annoyance from earlier gone within a flash of his words. What he said was fair, some people just don’t have the ability to teach others and he just happened to be one of them. “So then why’d you agree that night?” You asked him, now trying to wrap your head around that fact. “I mean if you knew you’d have a hard time teaching me how to sword fight, you didn’t have to say yes… you do know that right?”
“I know,” he responded, before turning to you with his signature smile. Your hands began to shake once again at the sight of it, the same exact smile he had the audacity to give you in front of all the knights and squires when he was among their ranks. The one that would go from ear to ear in pure amusement and endearment from your words and reactions. That one, the one that started this mess in the first place. “I know I could have declined if I wanted to but… something in me wanted to help you anyways.”
“And that something was…?” You questioned, your words trailing off just a little as you urged him to explain. You don’t know exactly what you’re expecting for him to say. That he agreed out of obligation? The kindness of his heart? That he simply wanted to spend time with you? Did you even know what you wanted his answer to be? Or how disappointed you’d be if it wasn’t anything that would give you the false hope you were unconsciously reaching for?
He sighed to himself for a moment before shrugging his shoulders. “I don’t know, really. Like… I know but at the same time I don’t? It’s complicated and I don’t really want to bug you with it.” Juyeon explained, glancing down to your nervously trembling hands with a teasing smile growing on his face. “What’s with the shaking hands? When you were holding that sword you were as tough as a rock, feeling a little vulnerable without it?”
“Shut up,” you snapped at him, immediately putting your hands behind your back, squeezing them together as you tried to keep a straight face. Of course he was going to notice that nervous tick of yours one day, it was inevitable especially after the Fantasia prince had caught onto it. Chanhee wasn’t even at the palace every day to even pick up on it, he just knew you well. So why would you ever believe that Juyeon, your personal guard for heaven's sake, wouldn’t have noticed it? “It’s just cold,” you lied, “we aren’t doing anything right now and the night’s cold just gets to me something.”
“Well why didn’t you say so?” Juyeon questioned, earning himself a skeptical look from you. In a heartbeat he reached behind you and scooped up your hand and his, holding it tightly in his grasp with a grin.
You snatched your hand in retaliation, your ears burning the unfortunate rosy red as you shout, “woah! Hold on, what are you doing?”
“Relax, Y/N,” the boy laughed, gently taking your hand back and holding it up for the both of you to see. “I’m holding your hand because you said you were cold, and exchanging body heat might warm you.” His hands were so much bigger than yours, rough and firm from the work he put in as he trained with the other knights of your kingdom. It was a very stark difference from your dainty and softer hands, the only work you had ever done was smile and wave to the people and royals of other nations. Yet somehow, despite these differences, his hands fit perfectly into the gaps of yours.
You wondered how many knights and squires would have ridiculed Juyeon if they could see you two now. The princess of their nation, who was notorious for playing knights like lyres and rejecting their advances, was willingly holding hands with the finest and most favored knight within the palace walls. “Well don’t tell anyone I let you do this,” you warned, relaxing after a moment of silence. “Not even your other knights friends can know I let you do this! I have a reputation to keep up.”
“Yeah, yeah,” the boy nodded, no longer paying attention to you specifically and simply observing the way his hands fit in yours. “I promise I won’t. Your secret is safe with me. I like the way your hand fits in mind anyways.”
When your parents asked you if you had found a potential suitor to be your future king, you told them no almost immediately. Your quickness made your father raise a skeptical brow at your answer and your mother nearly fainted in shock, gasping hysterically.
Their daughter, the princess, the future queen of their nation, had not yet found a boy to be her king? Unacceptable, impossible! They couldn’t allow this behavior of yours to continue, knowing how you had played with the hearts of countless knights within the palace walls. So they had decided to take matters into their own hands, they needed to place down a platter of men around your age that you could pick and choose whatever your little heart desires.
A ball, they had told you, they were planning a ball and were inviting all their noble and royal allies to attend. They were going to bring their sons ,have them attempt to court you, and then you would pick one of the boys to be your king. Genuinely, when they first informed you of their plans you thought they were joking. They wouldn’t actually do all of that because you said you didn’t have anyone in mind yet right?
And they did.
Here you were, standing on the ballroom floor with Chanhee by your side with the most bewildered expression your face could muster. You were adorned in a large wine red ballgown, matching your family who wore nearly identical, with jewels scattered across your arms and ears for an extra shimmer to your already extravagant look. Not to forget the most important piece of the whole attire, the signature silver rhinestone crown that identified you as the princess of the nation.
The tiara and grown lifestyle, the lifestyle you haven't been fond of even as a child. You were unwillingly living it.
“Careful,” Chanhee whispered, placing a comforting hand on your bare shoulder. “I don’t need you exploding in front of everyone right now, who knows what kind of scene that’ll create.”
“I might as well!” You snap, catching the unwanted attention of the nobles around you. Both of you turned to them and smiled, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible about your true feelings of the event. When they bowed in greeting before finally turning away from you and Fantasia prince, you were back to being the ticking time bomb you had entered the ballroom being. “You think I wanted to have this event planned? You think I wanted to have this event at all?”
“Of course you didn’t, I know you. You like to horseplay and run around like a little village girl.” Chanhee explained, rolling his eyes at your prevalent attitude. “But you can’t really do that right now can you? One small misstep and you’ll embarrass your parents right before their eyes, you need to keep it together.”
“How?” You asked him, maneuvering through the crowd of nobles so that you and Chanhee could have a little more privacy. Who knew what random noble or king’s son would walk up to you in the middle of your conversation and beg you to have a dance with him? “I don’t feel comfortable in what I’m wearing, I don’t want to be here in the first lance, I’m getting on my last nerves, and who knows when some random boy I don’t know tries woo me into liking him? I might actually lose it here!”
Chanhee struggled to keep up with your demands, trying to think of another quick solution to your problems like he always did. He must have something in that brain of his doesn’t? Or was it all just full of strategies to absolutely destroy you at chess? “I got it! Just talk to me.”
“What?” Chanhee’s suggestion stopped you dead in your tracks, giving him the most bizzare expression you could make at that moment. “Your very Royal Highness I’m sorry to inform you, but people won’t care if I’m talking to you, you understand that right? They know you wouldn’t even attempt to try and take my hand in marriage so they’ll just barge in anyways.”
“I don’t mean like that,” he hissed, softly hitting your shoulder in retaliation. “Talk to me about the personal guard and I’ll lead you away from the party. We just need to super busy in order to pull off the act that we’re walking around and definitely not trying to leave the ball.”
You nodded in understanding, though feeling your face begin heat up and turn into that all telling rosy red color. “Why— why him specifically? Can’t I talk about something else?”
“Where is he now?” The Fantasia prince questioned, holding out his arm for you to take so he could drag you out of the ballroom. “He's your personal guard isn’t it, your Royal Highness? Why isn’t he flanking your every step and protecting you like a dog to its owner?”
The boy snickered at his words until you elbowed his side, stopping both of you in your tracks to watch him crumble to his knees for a moment. Did he really think he could get away with insulting Juyeon like that? To your face no less? “He’s on duty with the rest of the royal guards,” you explained, nonchalantly glancing at your nails as you waited for Chanhee to recover. The boy was all sticks and bones, easy to hinder thanks to his small body. “They’re patrolling around the palace and the ballroom to make sure no incidents occur.”
“Incidents?” Chanhee questioned.
“Like putting the king and queen pieces into checkmate type incidents,” you told you, referencing the game of chess they had played months ago. “Either way, Juyeon couldn’t come with me and enjoy this god forsaken ball with me, but maybe that’s for the best.”
“Is that in terms of you two had a sudden falling,” The Fantasia prince tried to clarify, “or as in you think you’ve finally gotten your feelings figured out?” You grimaced at the thought, unsure of how to exactly answer Chanhee’s question. Did you have your feelings figured out?
Juyeon (with the exception his friends) was the only knight whose heart you hadn’t ever attempted to toy with. You let him get away with countless things: saying your name without a title, holding your hand when it trembled, willingly allowing him to make you flustered and not suffer any sort of retribution for it. On top of all of that, you even enjoyed his company! Juyeon didn’t make you feel like a prize that needed to be one, just made you feel like… you. And you liked it.
At first, you loathed the thought of being in the knight’s vicinity because he made do and feel things you weren’t used to. You thought that maybe, just maybe, he was going to use you in the way that you lead the squires and knights of the palace along. But he didn’t, the only thing he had done to you was send you flying deep into this well of the unknown without even realizing it.
“Oh I hate you,” You mumble under your breath, shooting Chanhee a knowing look. “I hate you so much.”
He blinked a few times at your hurtful words before it finally clicked in his brain, covering his mouth with his hands as he squealed. “You’ve figured it out? You realized that you like him? Y/N I’m so—“
“Princess Y/N!” The two of you turn your heads in alarm at your name being called, the worst case scenario of someone actually having the audacity to stop you coming true. You tense up upon seeing your mother wave her hand towards you, bringing attention to both of the royals from all the bystanders around you. With her was an older man, perhaps around your fathers age, staring up straight and tall with a curious glint in his eyes. His attire for the ball was littered in gold and silver medallions, purposely flaunting all of the achievements you wouldn’t bother to learn.
Though beside the older man was a boy, around your age this time, nervously glancing between the queen and the man who seemed to be his father. He tugged on the man’s sleeve desperately, trying to get him to take action but was ultimately getting ignored due to the adults taking the lead in the conversation. The queen pointed to both the boy and man with an expectant look on her face as she spoke, “please, Y/N, come join us! I’d like you to meet someone.”
“Potential suitor,” you whispered to Chanhee.
“On the count of three, run in the total opposite direction and get out of the ballroom,” He replied back.
One. “This is General Lee from a neighboring kingdom near Fantasia,” your mother explained, quickly introducing the two of you and unaware of the chaos you and the Fantasia prince were about to create.
Two. “This is his son, Prince Hyunjae. The general is the brother of the kingdom’s current king and his son will be taking the throne as the king and queen of that nation cannot produce an heir on their own.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Hyunjae began, awkwardly bowing in front of you now that all eyes were on him. “Truly it is, I’ve heard so much about you Princess—“
“Three!” You and Chanhee split from each other as quickly as possible, darting through the crowd of people in a desperate get away. You could hear the general and the queen call for you, struggling to keep up with your speed fueled by adrenaline but you paid no mind to it. They needed your presence so that you could sit and have an unfulfilling conversation with Prince Hyunjae and you weren’t going to give it to them. No offense to the prince or anything, you just don’t think you could handle that situation knowing your heart had settled on someone entirely different,
It only took you a matter of two minutes to reach the ballroom doors, muttering soft yet empty apologies to everyone you ran into and slipped through the crack in the door.
“Stupid princess,” Juyeon muttered, charging down the palace halls as fast as his legs would take him. “Stupid Y/N!” One could only imagine his panicked expression when he was suddenly approached by Sunwoo with a nervous glint in his eyes. He was so used to seeing the younger knight’s bright smile that it took Juyeon completely off guard when the boy grabbed him by the shoulders and steadied his footing.
“The princess,” Sunwoo told him, glancing between him and the corridor leading to the ballroom. “Princess Y/N, she ran from the ballroom and no one knows where she went.”
Juyeon thought he was joking at first, brushing off his words with a small laugh and teasing smile. Yet when Sunwoo’s expression didn’t change and the weight of the situation had finally processed in his mind, he shot off like an arrow towards all the spots the princess could have been hiding.
He knew you didn’t enjoy the big fancy balls and extravagant dresses of the royal life, but he thought you were going to be able to stick it out. Every time you had mentioned the king and queen’s wild idea to throw a gathering to find you a suitor, a king of your own, you were relaxed. You weren’t bothered by the thought of all and even joked about it with him every so often, so Juyeon had trusted you to be fine.
He didn’t like the idea of the ball for completely different reasons from you. He liked you, and the thought of your parents sending you off to some noble child or prince he’s never heard of made his blood boil. Because why have a ball to father suitors when he was right there? But the constant reminder from Sunwoo and Younghoon that he had nothing to offer to you and he wasn’t even in the status to even try to become betrothed to you, made him unwillingly back down from voicing his opinion to you and opposing it.
Now he was regretting, because you were missing somewhere in the palace and he didn’t know why.
He wasn’t in the ballroom when it all had happened, instructed to stand guard and patrol around the perimeter of the gathering to protect all the guests and the royal family. Juyeon didn’t understand why he was tasked to do such a thing in the first place, when he ascended the ranks into becoming a knight he was specifically told he was your personal guard. He was supposed to watch over you and protect you, so why did they have him stationed away from you?
It wasn’t until he realized that a majority of the palace, specifically the knights among his rank, had recognized his growing fondness for the princess. If they couldn’t have the princess to themselves, then neither could he.
“Y/N!” Juyeon called, completely throwing out the titles and addressing you by your first name. It’s not like anyone was around shooting him dirty looks for having the sheer audacity to call the princess by your name only. Even if they did, he wouldn’t mind. There were more important things to worry about than what he can and can’t call you. “Y/N, where’d you go? Come on, we can’t play this game of cat and mouse forever.”
He stopped at a door at the end of the corridor he was running down, grabbing a hold of the handle and shoving it open with unnecessary ferocity. Could you blame him for being a little too aggressive? With every growing second you weren’t in his sights the more anxious he was becoming. What if you were hurt? What if you were crying? What if you were—
“Juyeon, right?” Prince Chanhee asked, sitting in a chair with his feet kicked up on top of the desk. Juyeon has opened the door to one of the very many studies within the palace and out of sheer coincidence he opened the doors to the one the princess’s friend was using. Well at least… he thought it was a coincidence. I hoped it was a coincidence.
“Prince Chanhee of Fantasia,” he began, looking the boy up and down for a moment. It didn’t seem like you were with him, not a trace of your existence left in the study. It was possible that you didn’t even come in this room at all. “Where is she?”
“God, you skipped right to the point a little fast for me,” Chanhee grimaced, taking his feet off of the desk and sitting up straight. “Do you have to know where she is like right now? Because I had this whole speech I was going to give you set up and I really wanted to—”
“Prince Choi Chanhee,” Juyeon demanded, putting emphasis on each word that came out of his mouth. He didn’t have time to play around with others right now, as much as he would have loved to encourage him any other day. You were somewhere in the palace, alone, and he had to know where you were and what happened. He needed to know if you were hurt so that he could find the culprit and drive his sword straight into the chest of the wretch.
The boy raised his hands up in defeat, shooting Juyeon an annoyed glare before clearing his throat. “Y/N is at the balcony above the barracks, where the field for the mounted archery evaluations was held months ago.” The memory of the weekly evaluation was immediately triggered in his head, seeing him back months prior to his falling for the princess. The day he had proved to all of the knights and squires around him that he was the best of the best, the day he had first laid eyes on you.
“I know where that is,” he breathed, turning in his heel and getting ready to rush out the door once again. Though Chanhee scrambled out of the chair to catch up to Juyeon, stopping him from moving any further towards the balcony to reach you. “What?”
“Before you go,” the prince began, letting go of Juyeon with the hope that he wouldn’t run off at the sight of freedom. “Please don’t do anything stupid, Y/N is my friend. And as much as I tease her and bully her, I won’t let anyone hurt her. Even if that’s her wildly skillful and kinda scary personal guard.”
Juyeon couldn’t help but laugh at Chanhee’s words, reminiscing on the fact that only a few months ago he couldn’t tell whether he was intrigued by the prince’s closeness with you or jealous of it. “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t dare.”
You leaned up against the railing of the balcony taking night time air with a deep breath. It was hard trying to avoid all the royal guards and knights within the castle, knowing that after the scene you caused they’d be searching for you. It felt like a scene from a fairy tale really, clutching the fabric of your wine red dress so you wouldn’t trip and hastily running up the stairs. Behind you you could hear the calls of all the knights and royal guards of the places looking for you, their boots heavy against the marble floors and their armor clanging against each other.
They were like walking bells, unaware of the fact that their prized armor was alerting you of their position. If the guards were coming up the corridor, you turn around and run the opposite way. If they were going down the corridor, you’d spin on your heels and make a complete u-turn. Sometimes you’d sneak into a room on whatever hallway you were on and wait for them to pass, sometimes you’d just keep running and hope your legs didn’t give out on you knowing you were wearing heels.
It was a little funny in your eyes, but that’s because you were you. You’re almost one hundred percent sure no one else thought this game of cat and mouse you were playing was fun.
“Wait, I should have gone and found Juyeon first,” you realize, shooting up off of the ground. You were so busy with attempting to successfully make your get away that you had forgotten that Juyeon was also one of the knights in duty. He was probably worried about you, searching for you around the palace like all of the other knights within the palace. With no explanation of exactly what went down in the ballroom, he’d have no clue on what was actually going on.
“I should go find him, leaving him with no context will probably drive him insane,” you nod to yourself, marching towards the balcony doors to run back into the palace. Though you stopped once you reached the door, your hands hovering over the door handles hesitantly. You should tell him what happened, it was the right thing to do after all. But were you really ready to face him again?
In the middle of that ballroom, just seconds before you had been involuntarily introduced to Prince Hyunjae, you had a revelation. You liked him. You liked your charming person guard that had caught you weak kneed from the first time you laid eyes on him. No one had ever made you feel the way you felt about Juyeon and he had done it nearly completely by accident. He was trying to court you and you simply fell for him anyways.
His skills, his face, his smiles, his personality, just him a person entirely. You adored it all, you liked him.
Well liked was an understatement now, you had truly fallen deeply in love with him and you just had to realize your genuine feelings in the middle of a party meant to find you a king. Horrible timing on your part but you just weren't sure until then.
So maybe you should wait, wait until you can gather your thoughts and feelings together without fidgeting and shaking in front of him. The nervous habit probably would have increased tenfold now that you realized why exactly you trembled when he smiled at you, and you weren’t ready to watch that whole fiasco go down. How embarrassing would that be? To get completely weak kneed in front of Juyeon without a coherent thought in the brain? Surely you’d like an idiot, wouldn’t you?
“I’ll wait,” you convinced, stepping away from the door with cautious steps. “I’m not even going to be able to look him in the eye if I see him again, I should just wait until tomorrow… but I’ll probably get scolded by my parents for running away during the ball when they had done all that planning just for me. But it’s not like I asked them to throw that ball in the first place, just because I didn’t suggest any suitors I liked!”
You yelped in alarm when the door to the balcony swung with great speed, making you jump out of skin at the sudden intrusion. “Heavens, do you know how to knock?” You asked in retaliation, your heartbeat running marathons as you tried to calm yourself down from the shock. Though when you turned to look back toward the door again, you were greeted by the rather familiar sight of your personal guard, “Juyeon?”
The boy’s eyes widened at the sight of you, as if he couldn’t believe that you were standing in front of him right now. “Y/N,” he said in between gasps, trying hard to catch his breath as he reached his hands out for you. “Y/N, you're okay.”
“Of course I’m okay,” you tell him, unsure of the thoughts that were running through his mind. “Why wouldn’t I be okay?”
Juyeon didn’t respond to your questions, letting go of the door handle before running towards you and scooping you up in his arms. Instinctively you wrapped your arms around him for support, not wanting to fall out of his grasp despite knowing he wouldn’t dare drop you even if he commanded to. “I thought something bad happened,” he confessed, “when Sunwoo came to me and told me you had left the ballroom, I thought someone had hurt you.”
“No, nothing like that happened,” you assured him, urging him to let you go. Just looking at his relieved face made your heart begin to race again, though this time marathons weren't the only thing that it was running. “My mother was trying to set me up with his prince from another kingdom and instead of doing as she said me and Chanhee ran for it out the room.”
“Why would you do that?” Juyeon questioned, stepping away from you in disbelief. “The queen, she’ll be furious when she sees you again. The king— your father, what will father say about you running away?”
“Juyeon I don’t care about what they think, haven’t you noticed by now?” you argued, your hands beginning to tremble at the rising tension between the two of you, “they can’t just force me to pick a boy from that gathering when I didn’t even bother to learn their names. When none of them are you.”
Juyeon thought to himself for a moment, letting your words sink and replay inside his brain. “When none of them were… me?”
“I wish I had realized before they even had a chance to plan the ball but I just have the worst timing possible,” You admitted, thinking back to all the very clear signs of your growing feelings for Juyeon that you had avoided. “I think I fell in love with you, Juyeon. Not think, actually, I know I have.”
“You’re serious?” Juyeon questioned, unsure if he had even heard you right. When you nodded your head to give him confirmation, he pulled you closer to him with warning, his eyes growing wide like the full moon that was hanging above the two of you. “You’re not joking at all, no tricks, no teasing, you’re being one hundred percent serious with me right now?”
“Of course!” You exclaim, grabbing him by the shoulders with a beaming smile etching across your face. “I’ve never been so sure about something in my entire life. Why do you think I asked you to train me in the first place a few months back, because I was just trying to use your skill set to my advantage? I know I have the reputation of being desperate for sword fighting, but Juyeon I was in love with you! I was just using the training as a way to figure my feelings or not.”
“I didn’t want to get my hopes up,” he confessed to you. “I wanted you to like me back, but Sunwoo and Younghoon didn’t want me to get my hopes over a fruitless crush. They told me that pursuing you wouldn’t work, because I didn’t have a decent enough background for me to even compare to anyone else. I mean, you’re a princess! I’m just barely a knight, I’m a blacksmith’s son, Y/N, not some high ranking noble from across the land. I have no connections, no power, no money, nothing to give you in return for your affection.”
“Juyeon,” you respond, confusion crossing your face at his words. Did he really think you wouldn’t like him just because his status was up to the standards of the king and queen? He thought you cared about things like that?
“I have nothing to offer you,” Juyeon whispered, holding your hands in his as gently as possible. It was if he thought he’d let go of you now he’d wake up from this dream like scenario you two were in, where you were no longer in his arms and in a place he could not reach. “There’s nothing I could even dream of giving to you.”
You can’t help but smile at his words, removing your hands from his and cupping his face instead. He didn’t even flinch at your touch, only turning a crimson red at your next few words. “Why do you think that matters? None of that matters to me, it never has. You could be a poor boy from a family of farmers and I’d still fall in love with you.”
“But your parents—“ he tried to argue with you.
“They mean nothing to me,” you assure him, pulling his face towards yours as you whisper, “they may be able to control this kingdom to their will, but they can’t control who exactly I fall in love with. They couldn’t even control my urge to learn sword fighting and that’s an interest I’ve had since I was a child.”
“I hate you so much,” Juyeon laughed, the words he spoke not carrying the same weight thanks to his jittery and hopeful tone. He was happy, happy to know that you felt the same way about him and that you didn’t care for anything of the things that should have been hindering your feelings for him.
“Clearly you do,” you tease in response, “you haven’t even attempted to kiss me yet.”
You didn’t need to tell Juyeon twice. He gave you one small kiss on the forehead, pulling away as fast as he registered what he had done in that moment. It felt illegal to be kissing a princess after being told countless times that trying to pursue you was a horrible idea. Though you didn’t give him any time to try and open his mouth as you threw your arms around his neck and kissed him back, grabbing onto his shirt collar and pulling him close.
His eyes fluttered closed immediately, smiling against your lips as he brushed his thumb against your cheek. “Does this mean I get to become king if I end up marrying you,” Juyeon questioned, his tone lightheartedly as he stopped for a moment.
You didn’t even open your eyes as you pulled him back towards you again, a sly grin prevalent on your face as you whispered to him. “Only if you finish the sword fighting lessons we started,” you teased, “maybe then I’ll consider making you my king.”
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Just a Spark | Ch. 5
Guitarist!Eren x Singer!Reader, Fem!Reader
Content: Friends to lovers, slow burn, forbidden love
Warnings: Mentions of masturbation if you squint (I don't think I'll ever be too graphic with descriptions but I thought I should still give a warning, and things might become a little more heated later on)
Summary: The reader and Eren have a conversation about their almost kiss, the Reader also learns more about Eren's past.
A/N: Hii~ so there are two songs in this chapter that the characters have 'written' so here comes my disclaimer I do NOT own the songs used in this fic, they are NOT written by me, they are only used as plot devices. Also I know how some people feel about Taylor Swift but this song was crucial when coming up with the nature of their relationship!
Songs used: Treacherous - Taylor Swift
Gives You Hell - All American Rejects
For the most part, things were going well for the band. It’s been a couple of weeks since Y/N joined and band practice has been going smoothly. Y/N had learned almost every song that The Jaegerists have and she had even started showing them the songs that she had written. Y/N felt secure with her singing and her place in the band. The other boy’s have taken a liking to her and they already treat her like the younger sister they never had. Well, Jean and Reiner that is. With Eren, there was so much tension between them whenever they were alone. He would always end up finding an excuse to get away from her. She was starting to suspect that he hated her. The time he walked her to her car was the last time they had any real time alone together. Y/N couldn’t lie and say she wasn’t disappointed with the distance that now stood between the two. He was the one who discovered her, they had a connection the first time they played together, and now the most she received from him was small talk over their instruments, five minutes before they had to start practicing. Y/N was lost in thought over the whole situation as she made her way up into the studio, or more like struggled her way up. She had decided to get there early to set up the keyboard that she brought from home, which was proving to be a tedious task due to the unexpected weight of the instrument. She wasn’t the best at piano, but whenever she wrote songs she liked to practice the melody on the faux ivory keys. She wanted to start writing songs in the studio, so she could share the process with her bandmates. That, and she couldn't find any more inspiration in the four walls that made up her apartment. Y/N figured that she would be alone this early in the day, but when she opened the creaking door to the studio she noticed the room was already occupied. Occupied by a man who's been avoiding her this whole time.
“Oh, sorry, I can just come back.” Y/N muttered, starting to turn to leave. Eren looked up from his phone to find the girl, struggling to hold up the forty-five pound keyboard. Eren sighed, stood up and grabbed the piano from her arms.
“You can stay.” Eren told her, placing the piano down on the emerald couch that sat under the window. “What’s this for?”
“I like to use it to write songs.” Y/N explained, “I’ve been having writer's block so I thought maybe a change of location would help me.”
“Makes sense.” Eren confirmed, watching the girl as she pulled the stand out of her backpack.
“If you don’t mind, I’m just going to set this up.”
Eren nodded and went back to scrolling through his phone. It was almost laughable that she would show up here when he came to the studio to clear his head from the thoughts he had about her. He couldn’t stand another minute of staring up at his ceiling fan, imagining forbidden scenarios between the two that could never happen. Scenarios that had his fingers itching to sneak under the waistline of his sweats. But before he could indulge in the memory of her body pressed against his, her breath lightly fanning over the expanse of his neck, he practically sprinted out of his apartment. Grabbing his keys and heading to the studio to get some peace of mind. But that plan seemed to fail since his mind still wasn’t free from thoughts of her. Though these thoughts were far less scandalous. He noticed how well she was getting along in the band. He also noticed how he had been a complete dick to her, not wanting to get closer in favor of keeping their relationship pure. He wanted to get closer with her, laugh with her like the guys do. But he didn’t know if he could stop his feelings from developing further if he just went with the flow. So for now he kept his distance, which was proving to be difficult as the subject of his problems was setting up a piano in a ridiculously short skirt. He cleared his throat, trying to focus on his instagram feed rather than how her thighs were currently exposed. However, the girl was now struggling to carry the piano across the room to where she set up her stand. The piano was a lot heavier than it looked, it was a miracle that Y/N got it up the stairs in the first place. She was determined to get it to the other side, but the strength in her arms was receding. And right when she was about to set it down in the middle of the room for a break, the burden of the piano lightened, as a pair of large hands grabbed it from the other end.
“If it’s too heavy you can always ask for help.” Eren murmured, easily lifting the piano as if it was nothing.
“Yeah but if I let you help then I would be a failure to feminism.” Y/N jokes, Eren let out a soft laugh and it brought butterflies to Y/N’s stomach.
“Well I say you should take advantage of us men.” He teased back, Y/N smiled, glad that he was finally joking around with her once more. The two of them placed the piano on its stand, Y/N bent down to plug the piano into the electrical socket (Eren averted his gaze to the other side of the room at this moment), and the two of them stepped back to admire their work.
“So, have you got anything good?” Eren asked, Y/N looked up at him, confusion written on her face. “A song, I mean.”
“Oh! Well kind of, but like I said, I sort of got stuck.” Y/N explained. Eren nodded and then grabbed two stools that were standing idly by. He sat down on one of them and then motioned for Y/N to sit on the other.
“Show me.” Eren insisted, pressing the on button and then testing out a few keys with his tattooed fingers. The soft jingle of the piano rang out from the speakers as he did. “Maybe I can help you figure it out.”
Y/N hesitated. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to sing what she had to Eren. The song was one that was vulnerable, she wasn’t even going to suggest it to the band. She scolded herself for mentioning it to Eren. He was probably the last person she should sing this song to. But the problem with Y/N is that she can’t start a new song until she finishes the one she is currently working on. And if she wanted to write new songs for the band, she’d have to get this done. She probably couldn’t do that without his help. So, she swallowed her pride and took the stool next to Eren.
“I don’t think that the band would want to use this, but, I guess I just have to get it out of my system.” Y/N whispered, placing her hands over the keys that made up the D chord. “And it’s not finished, I only have one verse.”
“That’s fine, just show me what you have.” Eren said softly from beside her. Y/N took a deep breath. She was scared of how he would react to her lyrics. But she thought that she might as well show him. She played through the opening chords a couple of times, getting used to the sound and then she started to sing.
Put your lips close to mine,
As long as they dont touch.
Eren knew exactly what she was singing about from the moment she opened her lips. His entire body stiffened, her words made it seem like she was looking right through him, down to his very core. But he supposed those words did the same to her. He didn’t know that what had happened between them had caused her as much emotional stress as it did for him. He was surprised that she was being this open about the situation, that she was so ready to show him the words that were on her mind. That she knew the words that were on his. He kept his eyes trained on the keys in front of him as he listened.
Out of focus, eye to eye,
‘Til the gravity’s too much.
And I’ll do anything you say,
If you say it with your hands.
And I’d be smart to walk away,
But you’re quicksand.
Y/N’s hands slowed to a stop after finishing all that she had of the song. Eren stayed quiet, her lyrics lingering in the air between them, swallowing at the lump in his throat. He didn’t know what to say. It was painfully obvious what she had written about. The push and pull of their current relationship like a gentle tide lapping at the shore. The question of ‘will they, won’t they’ circled them like a predator who’s found its prey, taunting their will power to stay away. Through these lyrics he knew how she felt about the situation. He should be happy that she wrote this song about him, that she had just given him proof that he wasn’t the only one who felt this way. But what could he say that could ease their problems?
“That song was about…” Eren didn’t finish his sentence.
“Yeah…” Y/N responded, “I figured, if I can’t do anything about it, I might as well write a song.”
Eren finally had the courage to look over at her, he was surprised to find her already staring back. A sad smile graced her features and Eren returned it. He thought that the universe must be cruel. Putting them together, so close where they could almost touch, but not letting them. He wanted to reach out to her, to hold her hand, to caress her face, anything. But he knew if he did that the dam would break and everything would come flooding out all at once.
“I know things are awkward right now. But I think it would be cool if we could be friends?” Y/N inquired, going into the nervous habit of fiddling with her rings. Finally bringing up the conversation that has been weighing on them the moment they decided she should be in the band.
“Yeah, I’d like that” And he meant those words. Her friendship meant everything to him. Even if his feelings begged him for more.
“So do you think you can stop avoiding me then?” Y/N asked, nudging his shoulder with her own, “I don’t bite I promise.”
Eren laughed, “I can’t make any promises that I won’t.” He teased. Y/N let out a heartfelt laugh, lightly hitting him on the arm. The atmosphere around them, becoming softer, and the tension, fading away. Eren supposed that this was nice, them being friendly, and nothing more. But he wanted to say one more thing, before they buried this conversation in a grave. If she could tell him, or rather sing to him, what she was thinking, he could return the favor.
“I want you to know… your song, I feel the same way.” Eren confessed, suddenly becoming serious. Y/N paused, and slowly nodded, understanding what he was saying. The words eased her worries of this being one sided, but she couldn’t do anything about it.
“I don’t think that’s something a friend would say.” She whispered, trying to be the reasonable one of the two. “That’s a slippery slope.”
“I know.” Eren nodded. The two found themselves back in silence, feeling melancholy about the whole ordeal. She was content with the fact that he wouldn't hold himself back around her anymore, that they could be friends, but that didn’t feel like a win for her. This thing or whatever it was that she had with Eren was something that she had never felt before. Not with any of her previous relationships. But she had to make a choice, either him or their music. Y/N found it unfair that she had to choose. But before the question could overwhelm her with uncertainty, she stood from her spot by the piano, looking for a distraction from the source of her dilemma. When she busied herself with uncapping a water bottle from the mini fridge, Eren couldn’t help but feel lonely at the site of the empty stool next to him, shivering at the absence of her warmth.
“We’ve got a gig!” Jean shouted as he burst into the room thirty minutes later, Reiner following closely behind. Y/N and Eren were sitting together on each of the couches, both had their guitars as Eren suggested that they should improvise guitar solos to fill the silence that had surrounded them.
“A gig?” Y/N asked, “Where?”
“A party. This Saturday.” Reiner tells her, “It’s nothing too exciting, some friends asked us to play.”
“Who’s party?” Eren asks next, wondering which of their friends was throwing one. Since they were on tour they haven’t had time to meet up with any of them. He missed his friends and the chaos that surrounded them whenever they were together. Only meeting up with Armin and Mikasa for a quick coffee break between their intense lives.
“Before we get into that, Eren you have to promise you’ll do it.” Reiner emphasized, staring Eren dead in the eyes.
“What do you mean, why would I back out of it?” Eren questioned, looking between Jean and Reiner. The two of them exchanged a look. Y/N’s curiosity piqued.
“Historia is the one throwing the party.” Jean clarified, Eren immediately stood up, throwing his guitar on the couch cushion next to him and opening his mouth to protest, but before he could, Reiner stopped him.
“You already promised!” Reiner accused as he pointed a finger at him.
“No I didn’t! Those words did not come out of my mouth. Y/N back me up.” Eren shouted.
“Well that’s true but… why are you so against playing at her party?” Y/N asked, setting her own guitar down, and folding both her legs under her.
“Eren and Historia dated.” Reiner explained. Y/N’s heart twisted at that, but she had to ignore the feeling, given their previous conversation.
“Yeah they dated until she realized she liked girls then totally dumped his ass.” Jean explained, Eren sent him a death glare for spilling the details of his past relationship. Y/N’s eyes widened looking at Eren for confirmation to which he nodded.
“Look I’m happy for her, I’m glad she can be with who she really wants, who am I to hold her back.” Eren said, “But I haven’t seen her since the break up, I don’t even know how I’m supposed to act around her.”
“Come on, It’s almost been a year. I’m sure it’s all water under the bridge. Or else she wouldn't have invited our band to play.” Reiner reassured him. Eren knew that Reiner was right. It’s been so long since that horrible day. When Historia left him standing stranded in the middle of a rainstorm in front of the bus stop, after uttering words that told him she didn’t love him anymore at least not in the way he wanted her to. At first he hated her, blaming her for leading him on if she always knew that it was going to end. Afterwards, he found distraction from the heartache in other girls' beds, going off the deep end and replacing her with any warm body. It was fun, for a while, but then he got bored and he realized he actually had to face his problems. And when he did, he found out that maybe his feelings for her weren’t as deep as he thought they were. Maybe he got into the relationship in the first place because he thought he had to. He found comfort in Historia, and he ended up confusing it with love. It took him a couple of months to get to that conclusion, but once he finally came to it, everything became a lot more simple. Ultimately, he couldn’t be anything but glad for Historia, she found a girlfriend, she was happy, his music was getting noticed, and he was happy too. His feelings towards the girl weren’t negative and he wouldn't mind playing at this party, but the last things he said to her were cruel. Said in a moment of weakness, trying to hurt her as much as she was hurting him. He never had the chance to apologize, and the longer he waited the harder it was to face her.
“I think that this could be a good way to make amends. Don’t you?” Y/N chimed in, as if she were reading his mind.
“Exactly! And we’re not playing until later in the night, you can talk to her beforehand. Besides, we need this gig to debut our new singer.” Reiner agreed. Eren sighed, it looked like he didn’t have a say in the matter. Better late than never.
“Alright, I’ll do it.” Eren groaned. The room erupted in noise as the boys clapped Eren on the back and immediately started discussing what songs they would play. Eren forced a smile but he soon became distracted by his own thoughts. He flopped back down on the couch, resting his elbows on his knees and rubbing his temples as they went on with the setlist. Y/N, who had kept her eyes on him during the whole exchange, spoke up from her spot on the couch.
“It’ll be great.” She reassured him, moving so that she was on the cushion next to him. Eren peered up at her, strands of his hair falling free from his bun and shifting over his eyes. Y/N resisted the urge to brush them behind his ear.
“And if it isn’t” He half-joked, tucking the strands himself and leaning back to get a better look at her.
“Well then we’ll just ditch.” Y/N smiled. Eren chuckled at her words, if only they could. If only they could sneak away to hidden corners, finding relief with one another and ignoring the rest of the world and it’s problems. But they both knew that they couldn’t back down from a gig, especially since it was for their friends. So for now, that’s all it was, a joke. Y/N patted Eren on his knee, sending bolts of electricity up his leg and through his spine, and then stood up, joining the others as they flipped through Jean’s leather songbook to find the soundtrack to Eren’s worst nightmare.
Later that evening, after band practice was over, Eren had found himself at Tea & Leaf once more. He didn’t want to go back to his apartment where the walls whispered for a certain someone’s name, and he didn’t have the energy to call up one of his friends to bother them. So, here he was, sitting in the corner of the little tea shop which was a lot less crowded than the last time he was here. Hange, being the only one working that day, had made him his favorite drink. Not that the task was difficult as it was just a black coffee. They made light conversation with him as their practiced hands made his coffee. Eren kept them updated on the whole Y/N-joining-the-band situation and they were elated to hear that things were going well. But that was all the two discussed before Eren went to his usual corner, coffee in hand and a brown paper bag full of pastries that Hange insisted he take. He had been sitting there for twenty minutes now and at this point he had his notebook splayed out on the table in front of him as he worked through his latest compositions. Eren felt peace in his little world, scribbling in his notebook, the caffeine running through his veins. He ignored the worries that surrounded him, enjoying his time of solitude in his personal bubble. But it didn’t last long, his bubble bursting when he felt a presence sit at the seat opposite of him. Eren looked up to find his demise sitting there with an iced matcha to go.
“Um, I saw you across the shop and I thought it would be weird if I didn’t say hi. You know… since we’re bandmates and friends and all that.” Y/N said, as she set her drink down and wrapped her cardigan tighter around her, it was getting colder in this city of theirs as summer turned into fall. Eren wondered why she decided to get an iced drink if she was so cold, but he thought that it was a topic that didn’t really matter. “So… Hi.”
“Hey” Eren returned, leaning back in his seat, smirking, slightly amused by her ramblings.
“What are you working on?” Y/N asked, leaning closer to the papers on the desk to get a better look.
“Just some songs for the band.” Eren explained, the girl nodded, sifting through the papers. She found the usual sheet music that Eren always had lying around. She also found a couple of doodles, making her smile at the child-like illustrations, he wasn’t very good. But there was one piece of paper that caught her eye, hidden beneath all the other pages, what looked to be like lyrics.
“What’s this?” Y/N inquired, plucking the paper out of the bunch. Reading the words scrawled on the page.
Now you'll never see
What you've done to me
You can take back your memories
They're no good to me
And here's all your lies
You can't look me in the --
Before Y/N could read any further, the paper was torn out of her hands. The culprit crumpled it in his hand and shoved it deep into his backpack. Embarrassed that she saw his attempt at writing lyrics.
“It’s old. And it doesn’t matter, I don’t even feel that way anymore.” Eren articulated, after promptly zipping up his bag, trying to say that this conversation was over. But Y/N wasn’t going to let up so easily.
“But you felt like that at one point. It must’ve mattered then.” Y/N insisted, “And just because you’re over it doesn’t mean those feelings are gone. They stay with you. They make you who you are.”
Eren stared at her from across the table. He didn’t know if he found comfort in her words or not. The things he felt back then were painful, he felt hopeless in that moment and the only thing he could hold onto was his pride as he spit words of venom at a girl he thought he loved.
“I don’t know if I want to be the person those feelings are telling me to be.” Eren said softly.
“You’re looking at it wrong. It’s not what your feelings made you do, it’s the lesson that they’re trying to teach you.” Y/N told him, “Sometimes you have to push your ego to the side and change for the better. Which to be fair, I think you have.”
“You’ve known me for three weeks.” Eren gave her a half smile, he found it funny how comfortable she felt with him, but he couldn't deny that he felt the same way, “How do you know I’ve changed for the better.”
“Well looking at these lyrics, and then looking at the person that I know now, I can say with confidence that you and the person who wrote these are completely different people.” Y/N told him, “Whatever you went through, it changed you, whether you noticed it or not.”
Eren took Y/N’s words into consideration and he supposed she was right. It’s been a year since his break up and in that time he definitely saw a change in his mindset when it came to his ex-girlfriend. And if he didn’t change from the person he was on that rainy night then he wouldn’t feel regret for the words that he said. Eren was grateful for Y/N, for saying these words to him, now maybe he can face Historia with dignity. But he still didn’t know what he would say to her. He needed advice, and maybe he could trust the girl who has already made such an impact on his life.
“It’s about Historia.” Eren spoke up after a moment.
“I figured.” Y/N nodded, “Did you want to talk about it?”
“I mean there’s nothing to say really. It was like any other messy break up.” Eren told her, “But I guess I’m the one who made it messy, she didn’t do anything but be honest with me and I overreacted. I said some pretty awful shit and there’s not a day that goes by where I didn’t regret how it ended..”
“What did you say? If you don’t mind me asking.” Y/N asked, she wasn’t sure if he would tell her and she wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t. Eren paused, tilting the coffee cup in his hands and swirling the liquid inside as he contemplated. After a breath, he told her.
“I lied to her. I told her that the break up meant nothing, that the relationship meant nothing.” Eren swallowed, his eyes focused on the mahogany table, “I told her that I never even cared about her in the first place, that I was only dating her to pass the time. Of course none of it was true, I just… didn’t want her to know how broken I was.”
Y/N kept quiet after he finished speaking. She didn’t have any opinions to voice since none of this involved her. All she could do was lend a listening ear. When she didn't say anything, Eren continued.
“I guess now, I just don’t know how to face her. I don’t know how I can fix this.” Eren confessed, finally looking up from the table he met Y/N's eyes. He was half expecting her to laugh at him, to roll her eyes and tell him to stop being stupid and to just apologize, that it was easy. But she didn’t. Her eyebrows were furrowed, taking in the information he just burdened her with. Her eyes told him that she understood his problem. She understood how it wasn’t that easy, how hard it is to handle delicate situations like this. Not knowing how to navigate without a guiding hand. He was hoping that she could be his.
“I think…” Y/N started, talking slowly so she could piece together the right thing to say, “That you need to do what you couldn’t before.”
“And what’s that?” Eren questioned, leaning into the table, worried that he might miss her answer.
“Be vulnerable.” She shrugged, “Tell her the truth.”
She held his stare from across the table. Her eyes pierced through him as if he were made of glass. He didn’t say anything in return, and after a moment she told him she had to go. Leaving him behind in the small tea shop to contemplate the lingering words that accompanied him and his sheet music.
A/N: Okay so they lowkey admitted their feelings to each other? That's why I was confused whether or not to call it a slow burn but I guess it might take a while for them to get together. Also I was so iffy on the whole Historia being his ex-girlfriend part, I almost deleted that like five times but I decided that it would help strengthen the relationship between Reader and Eren. Anyways! I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter!!
Taglist: @countthemoons @prxttyguardian @lunethien @lunardepresso @mywldflwers
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Always | Draco Malfoy
M A S T E R L I S T
Harry Potter Masterlist
wow I got such an amazing response to Part 1, thank you! So here is the highly requested Part 2! Enjoy :) also I miiight have listened to the Lion King soundtrack (this song specifically) while writing this?? I know that doesn’t make sense but it’s what was making me feel creative don’t judge me. Part 3 maybe? ;)
(Part 1)(Part 3)(Part 4)(Part 5)(Part 6)(Part 7)(Part 8)(Part 9)(Part 10)
also there aren’t enough words in the English language to describe the amount of love I have for Draco Malfoy. I’ve been reading these books and watching the movies since I was like 3 or 4 years old (I’m not even kidding). I always connected so deeply with Draco, I truly adore him. And while Tom Felton did an excellent job as Draco, it really is the character I’m in love with.
Read Part 3 here!
Missed Part 1? Catch up here!
Nothing felt right, and you didn’t know why. Everything just felt, off. The looks you were getting from Harry, Ron, and Hermione didn’t help either. You tried to keep your focus on the parchment in front of you, but the look Hermione was giving you was starting to irritate you.
“What?” You asked impatiently, looking up at her and thoroughly startling her. She quickly shook her head before you packed away all your things and pushed out of the common room. They all looked at you with pity or concern, and the fact that they’re worried isn’t what annoys you. It’s that you don’t know why they’re worried. You felt emotion swelling in your chest and you don’t know why. Dammit! What’s the matter with you? You furiously wipe away tears, desperately wishing you knew what was going on lately. You followed the direction your feet took you and found yourself nearing the top of the astronomy tower.
“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t realize anyone was here.” You mumbled uncomfortably when you noticed somebody leaning against the railing. He doesn’t answer, but by the glimpse of white blonde hair atop his head you know who it is. Draco Malfoy.
You feel the urge to speak to him but you don’t know what to say. “It’s fine, I was just leaving.” He says gruffly, his face void of emotion as he turns to head to the stairs. You watch him go down the stairs and your feet are moving before you can stop them, “you don’t have to go. I don’t mind if you stay.” You say softly, a blush searing over your cheeks. Draco’s eyes flutter across your face before laughing bitterly. “I’d rather not, you’re nothing more than a filthy mudblood.” He spat, with something you couldn’t understand gleaming in his eyes. You flinched, recoiling from him before turning back up the stairs- wiping tears from your eyes. You don’t know how you let yourself forget how cruel he is, how unloving. You won’t make that mistake again.
Draco turns down the stairs, his throat closing as he blinks hot tears from his eyes. You have no idea how badly he wants to hold you, to press his lips to yours and tell you how much he loves you. But he’s a Death Eater and you’re related to Harry Potter. Being with you, even in the same room as you, is too dangerous. Draco just feels numb, and he doesn’t want to feel anything anymore.
Harry knows sooner or later he’s going to have to ask Malfoy what on Earth happened to you. One second you’re crying into Harry’s shoulder about how you feel like you’re losing Draco and then that evening you’re your usual bubbly self, laughing and doing your work and saying ‘Draco who?’ If Draco altered your memories like Harry feared he did, he wants to know why. The only reason Harry isn’t angry is because he knows how much you mean to Draco, so if Draco changed your memories then he must have thought doing so would keep you safe.
You lean against the railing, feeling a weird sense of deja vu as you turn to press the railing to your back. Your hand curls around the cool metal railing, looking straight ahead of you at someone you feel should be standing there. It feels like an itch at the back of your head that you can’t scratch, just bugging you constantly. Something is wrong. You want to know what it is. You hear footsteps up the stairs and when you lock eyes with Blaise Zabini, surprised is an understatement. “Blaise?” Your voice comes out at a question, and he offers you a half-cocked smile. In truth he’s always had a thing for you, and now that you and Draco aren’t together anymore he assumes you’re fair game.
“Nice night,” He comments off offhandedly. You nod with a slight blush, Blaise is cute. He’s certainly not the most attractive person in this school, annoyingly Draco is probably the best looking man in this school. Despite his cruel remarks. Blaise comes to stand next to you, slightly closer than you’re comfortable with. “So I’ve been meaning to ask you something, since you and Draco aren’t together anymore,” He starts and you furrow your eyebrows together. You and Draco?
“There never was a me and Draco.” You correct, confusion in your tone. The confusion on Blaise’s face is unmistakable but he chooses not to say anything.
“Right, so I’ve been meaning to ask if you wanted to got to Hogsmeade with me tomorrow.” Blaise asks, letting his eyes drift down your body briefly. In all honesty, you hadn’t ever given Blaise much thought all you knew was that he was part of Draco’s group of bullies. “Uh sure.” You answer uncertainly, it could be fun? You’d never been to Hogsmeade with anything except for that one time with Harry when the two of you sneaked into Hogsmeade through Honeydukes cellar. It would give you a chance to know Blaise better, maybe he wasn’t as bad as he seemed.
The portrait closed behind Blaise as he’d entered the common room, a look of smug victory strew on his face. “Hey Draco, I asked Y/N to Hogsmeade, hope you don’t mind.” Draco stiffened immediately. His eyebrows furrowed together and a pit formed in the bottom of his stomach, “what?” Draco’s voice was tense as he turned to look at Blaise. His first reaction was to lash out violently, but then Draco took a deep breath. As far as he knew, Blaise wasn’t a Death Eater and neither were his parents. Being with Blaise could keep you safe, so despite how every single cell in Draco’s body wanted to strangle the life out Blaise, he turned back in his chair. “Okay.” Is the only word Draco could manage, much to Blaise’s surprise. He wasn’t expecting Draco to be alright with it.
His heart feels like it’s being squeezed in his chest, but Draco simply stands from the couch placed in front of the fireplace and heads up to his bed. He can’t bare the thought of Blaise’s hands or lips on you.
The next afternoon you’re stood in the courtyard outside the main entrance waiting for Blaise. You regret agreeing to go, Blaise makes you feel a little uneasy. When you look up again, your eyes lock with Draco’s and you feel your entire body heat up. You can’t seem to look away as he strides past you with Pansy walking with him. You ignore the nausea in your stomach when you see her laugh and grab Draco’s arm, why did that bother you so much? Seeing them together never bothered you before a few weeks ago. You tried to clear your head when Blaise approaches you with a wide smile on his face before taking your hand to lead you down to the train station.
Hogsmeade was beautiful during the winter, with all the snow falling upon the roofs and the cobblestone streets. You let your eyes drift over to Draco, who has his eyes pointed up at the sky and a small smile spread across his face. He looks deep in thought, almost as though he’s remembering something nobody else does. There is a tint of pink across his pale cheeks, and his nose is rosy from the cold. You snap your attention back to Blaise when you feel him tap on your shoulder, “look if you have a thing for Draco still...” He trails off and you vigorously shake your head. Still?
You might be able to make the mind forget things, but the heart will always remember.
“S-Sorry.” You stammer nervously and a sigh escapes Blaise’s lips before he smiles again. He takes your hand and leads you away from Draco and Pansy, towards the Shrieking Shack. You take the snowy path down to the Shrieking Shack, the silence between you and Blaise awkward and uncomfortable. You stop at the fence, the Shrieking Shack actually looks quite beautiful against the snowy backdrop behind it. “Cold?” Blaise asks, lifting his arms to wrap them around you. You smile awkwardly, while you are cold you’d rather not have Blaise’s arms around you. You don’t know why you feel so repulsed by Blaise, he’s been nice and he’s good looking. It just feels so insanely wrong.
Blaise wraps his arms around you before reaching over to turn your head towards him. You close your eyes and brace when you see him leaning in, and soon you feel his lips press against yours. Well this isn’t so bad. It doesn’t send tingles through your body or give you butterflies. It’s nice, not amazing and not bad. You wouldn’t willingly do it again though, but you doubt you’ll fight him if he chooses to kiss you again. As soon as the two of you part, you pull away from him with a nervous smile. Why do you feel so nauseous? It’s almost as though you feel guilty.
Draco’s heart had fallen far beneath him and into the fiery pits of hell, he was sure of it. He watched Blaise press his lips to yours, and while you didn’t melt into Blaise the way you did with Draco, you still didn’t reject him. Draco leaned against one of the trees, feeling the onslaught of tears surging up his chest with little he could do to stop it. He slid down the tree to sit on the wet and snowy ground, bringing his knees to his chest he lowered his head and did his best to blink the tears away, but they just kept falling. Draco heard Pansy calling his name in the distance, he’d managed to shake her somewhere on the path. He couldn’t bring himself to move, he didn’t want to move. This was by far the most painful thing he’s ever had to do- watching you with Blaise didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the way you looked at Draco.
You were the only person to truly see him, now nobody did. He’s never felt so alone.
You’d begun to see Blaise more often, and you actually kind of liked him. He was sweet, and per your request he stopped bringing up Draco. Although you’re confused as to why he brought Draco up in the first place. You’d spent a lot of time with him in the Library, helping him study for Arithmancy. Blaise had said his Father told him to take more advanced classes, and when it came to Arithmancy, he was clueless. You however were very good at Arithmancy, so you’ve been helping him study. You and Blaise will take evening walks along the Rickety Bridge, talking about how creepy he found Professor Binns to be. Blaise was nice, but despite the hand holding, the kissing, the fooling around he still felt like a friend at best.
You have not slept with him yet, for some reason you couldn’t bring yourself to go all the way with Blaise. You’d be kissing, taking off clothes, and then it’s like an alarm goes off in your head and you have to stop. You’ll feel tears building at the backs of your eyes, and every cell in your body would be screaming at you because of how wrong it is. You just wished you knew why it felt so wrong.
You knew that’s how tonight was going to end. You sat by the edge of the Black Lake with Blaise, watching as the Lake monster dug around for gifts to give you. Blaise found your friendship with the Lake monster unsettling, and weird. You always rolled your eyes when he told you not to accept the things the monster gave you, but you found the Lake monster to be deeply misunderstood. Dennis Creevey had fallen into the Black Lake during his first year here, and the Lake monster carefully lifted him out of the water and placed him back inside the boat. Still Blaise refused to see it as anything other than a monster, which sort of bugged you. Oddly enough, the Lake monster didn’t seem to like Blaise either. Blaise leaned back against the truck of a large tree, with you leaning back against his chest in between his legs.
Harry did not approve of your relationship with Blaise at all, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. You tend not to judge Slytherin’s as quickly as the others and sometimes you wondered if you really belonged in Hufflepuff instead of Gryffindor. There were moments, like now, where you did not feel brave at all. Instead your kindness took over and you would often push down feelings of discomfort in order to please other people. You were feeling rather uncomfortable with the way that Blaise’s hand was slowly sliding lower down your abdomen, towards the hem of your skirt. You bit your bottom lip to avoid saying something, maybe if you just forced yourself to do it then you wouldn’t feel this way anymore. It would be your first time having sex, maybe that’s why you’re so nervous about it.
So when Blaise dips his hand into your skirt, you don’t fight him. It’s easily the worst decision you’ve ever made.
It was awful, it didn’t hurt but the entire time you were clinging to him and keeping your face pressed to his neck so he wouldn’t see the tears. You felt a horrible heavy feeling all over your entire body, your stomach was twisting. You felt as though you should drop to your knees and beg for forgiveness, but you didn’t know why. You felt such overwhelming guilt it felt like it was suffocating you, you have to break up with Blaise. Something is very wrong with you, and you can’t lead him on while constantly trying to avoid any physical contact with him. You didn’t even cum, you didn’t want to.
When Blaise rolled off you, he smiled at you and you forced a smile back. “Thought you said you were a virgin?” He questioned and you nodded slowly, unsure of where he was going with this.
“Didn’t feel like it.” He shrugged and you only blinked at him before reaching for your clothes. You felt far too exposed. You didn’t want Blaise to see your naked body any longer than he had to. You refused to meet his eye, and when Blaise placed a hand on your shoulder you slowly turned to face him, exposing your tear stained cheeks. “Woah, baby what’s wrong?” He asked, his arms reaching to pull you close to him, but you shrugged him off.
“Blaise I can’t do this anymore, I just can’t be with you. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, you haven’t done anything I just want to be alone.” You gasped through tears, wanting more than anything to be left alone with your Lake friend. Blaise’s eyebrows pinched together in anger, scowling down at you. He quickly turned and began to pull his clothes on, “I can’t believe you Y/N. You’re just a stupid whore mudblood.” He seethed, and you flinched. You felt tears running down your cheeks as he stood. Blaise turned to look at you once more, but his eyes flickered behind you. You turned to follow his gaze and saw the Lake monster reaching out to you, with something curled in it’s tentacle.
It was a small glass vial. It was whispering to you.
“Do you hear that?” You ask Blaise, as if you hadn’t been fighting with him 30 seconds prior. He doesn’t respond but with a quick glance you see he’s still there, his eyes transfixed on the bottle. You reached your palm out, letting the Lake monster drop the vial in your open hand, listening as it sounded as though someone was whispering your name from inside the vial. Who was that? It sounded like Draco. “I don’t hear anything, just toss it back. It’s a weird bottle.” Blaise huffed, crossing his arms. You shook your head, bringing the bottle up to your ear. There was unmistakably whispering.
“No, I can hear it. It’s calling out to me.” You say softly, your fingers reaching to un-stopper the vial. Shakily you reached up to take the stopper out, and the wispy blue liquid from inside flowed out into the open air before turning directly into your temple. It hit you like a train. A kaleidoscope of memories slammed into you at once. The steps, Hogsmeade, the Hospital bed, the Lake, Draco all of it came rushing back. The night he had taken your memories, the Dark Mark. It was like a dam broke open in your head, and the memories flowed back in like water. You gasped, stumbling back. Blaise immediately reached out to catch you, “D-Draco!” You stammered wildly, looking up at Blaise. All the moments over the last few weeks between you and Draco felt different now, and all the pieces fell into place. This is why being with Blaise felt so wrong, why everything felt wrong. You’re in love with Draco!
Oh God you had sex with Blaise.
“What did that stuff do to you? I think you need to see Madam Pomphrey.” Blaise began but you quickly shook your head, your palms trembling. You pulled away from Blaise, stumbling as you turned towards the castle. “No I need to see Draco.” You gasped, breaking out into a sprint as you headed for the castle. You heard Blaise calling your name but you ignored him, your feet pounding against the ground and the wind rushing in your ears. You felt tears flowing down your cheeks, you felt so many different emotions it felt like you were drowning in them. Draco has been alone this whole time, and you were forced to suffer you just didn’t know why you were suffering! You ran through the front doors of the castle into the main hall before turning right and sprinting down towards the dungeons, that’s where the Slytherin common room is.
You slid to a stop in front of the portrait key, you don’t know the password. It’s late, Draco has to be inside the common room or in his dorms. You pace around outside, waiting for any Slytherin to come out or go in. You released a frustrated sob as you tugged at your hair, and after about 30 minutes of nobody coming, not even Blaise, you turned towards the portrait door. You began to knock on the portrait door, “Draco!” You called his name as loudly as you could, you doubt he could hear you but you didn’t know what else to do. You sat there, pounding against the very irritated painting, that refused to open for you when finally Blaise came around the corner. He rolled his eyes when he saw you.
“Blaise, please can you get Draco?” You ask him but he laughs bitterly. He begins to stride to the portrait door but you stand in front of him, “why would I? You’re breaking up with me for him aren’t you?” He snaps, and you feel guilty as you look sheepishly up at him.
“Either get Draco or I’m following you into the common room.” You threaten, pulling your wand out. There’s nothing you wouldn’t do to see Draco right now. Blaise rolls his eyes.
“Whatever, I just want you to leave me alone so fine.” Blaise snaps, whispering the password so that you wouldn’t hear before disappearing into the common room. You can only hope that he didn’t lie to you, and that he really will go get Draco. You pace around the hallway nervously, you’re not sure where you and Draco will go from here but all you know is that you need him right now.
Draco sat on his bed, he rubs his temples as the door swings open to reveal a very irritated looking Blaise. “Y/N dumped me.” He snapped and Draco merely nods, while turning so that Blaise wouldn’t see his victorious smile. Of course you dumped him, Blaise is not the type of guy you’d go for at all. He’s too cocky, too full of himself. You admire personality, and Blaise is all about looks. How good he looks, how good his girlfriend looks. He’s too superficial for you. “And she’s outside the common room asking for you.” Blaise adds after a few minutes of silence and Draco cocked an eyebrow. Why on Earth would you be asking for him? Noticing the look of confusion on Draco’s face, Blaise turns to him.
“We were down by the lake, and she found this weird bottle. As soon as she opened it she got all crazy and started saying your name.” Draco’s blood turns to ice in his veins as soon as the words leave Blaise’s mouth. You found your memories of him. Draco is trembling as he launches to his feet and nearly stumbles down the stairs. He’s trembling harder than he ever has as he pushes the portrait open, revealing you standing there. Wide eyed and teary as you lock eyes with him. You don’t even say anything, you launch yourself into his arms, crying softly against his shoulder. “Why- why?” You cry, you can barely speak and you’re grabbing him so tightly he’s worried you’ll break his ribs. The amount of relief that Draco feels having you here in his arms is surmountable to anything he’s felt before this, but the dread quickly follows behind.
Draco pulls away from you, but you refuse to let him go. You keep your hands clung tightly to his arms, “Draco why?” You cry, looking up at him with watery eyes. Draco keeps you at arms length from him, how is he going to explain stealing your memories from you? He never thought you’d get them back, he thought they’d sink to the bottom of the Lake... the Lake monster. “I was trying to keep you safe-” Draco began shakily but you quickly shake your head.
“Not that, your arm.” You gasp, looking down at the forearm that had the Dark Mark inked onto it. He fell silent, merely looking down at you, trembling and holding his hands as though he’d disappear if you let go. Suddenly you pressed yourself against him again, your lips finding his with desperate need. “Don’t care, right now I just need you Dray,” You gasped in between kisses. Your lips moved languidly with his and Draco’s arms wound around your waist, feeling as if he was home for the first time in weeks. Nodding quickly, Draco lifted you, your legs wrapping around his waist as he carried you off towards an abandoned classroom by the dungeons. Nobody comes down here, if only he’d discovered this earlier. You wouldn’t have had to have your first time by a Lake.
Draco pushes into the classroom, the door swinging shut behind him as his lips move with yours. Your fingernails bite into his shoulders as you grasp him tightly, gasping when Draco drops you onto a table. He stands in between your legs, his hands reaching up to cup your cheeks, pulling your face closer to his. You whined against his lips, wriggling your hips closer to his. “Dray,” You begged, your hand sliding down his front to cup him through his pants. He groaned softly, his shaking hands quickly finding the bottom of your shirt and swiftly removing it. His pupils dilated upon seeing your bare breasts, his hands reaching up to cup the underside of each one. You throw your head back, your back arching into him as his lips wrap around one of your nipples.
Your hand winds into his hair, pulling him more firmly against you. “Fuck baby,” You moaned, grinding your hips into his. Draco works your nipple to a peak before doing the same to the other, and his mouth feels heavenly against you. “I missed you so much,” Draco whispered, pressing kisses in between your breasts. You sighed softly as he kissed down your body, removing each layer of clothing between his mouth and your wonderful heat as he went. Your back ached and you collapsed back against the table when Draco’s lips found your clit and wrapped around it, sucking and biting softly. Your hand curls around his shoulder as he slides two fingers into you, pumping slowly. You feel that coil of pleasure building in your pelvis, winding tighter and tighter. You begin to pant as Draco brings you up to that edge and with one flick of his tongue you’re cumming hard against him.
“Dray, I need you inside me. Now.” You gasp as you calm down, grabbing him to pull him back up to your lips. Draco nods frantically as his lips find yours, and his hands fumble with the button of his pants. Eventually the fabric is pushed down past his hips and Draco is lining himself up with your entrance before slowly pushing in. His eyebrows furrow when he notices you’re not as tight as he was expecting, but when you press your lips to his neck he gets lost in your body and begins to thrust into you at a steady pace. Your forehead presses against his, your hands holding his body close to yours as your lips find his once more. You kiss him sloppily, slowly, pouring all the emotion you felt bottled up these last few weeks.
When you cum around him it feels like magic, it feels more perfect then anything else ever has. It feels right.
Draco carries you back to your common room, ignoring snickers from people passing by. He kisses you sweetly, “I love you.” You whisper to him, Draco smiles. “I love you too.” He says, kissing you again and again before finally turning back to his common room. There are tears in his eyes, he had a plan b from the very start. This is going to be harder on you then it will be for him, and honestly he’s scared of the person he’s going to become because of this. It was you that made him a better person, if he never met you he shudders to think the kind of person he’d be today. Guess everyone is going to find out.
Draco kneels in front of his bed, his wand in his hand, and a letter tied to his owls leg. The letter is addressed to you. Draco closes his eyes as he lifts the wand to his temple, and he concentrates on the memories he wants to remove. You underestimate just how far Draco would go to keep you safe, you really do need to stay away from him. Feeling a tear cascade down his cheek Draco takes one last shaky breath, letting himself remember you in a way he knows he never will again.
With another breath, and a tremble in his palm Draco opens his eyes.
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So I'm playing around with this idea for a Fic I'm writing called Altered. I'm just trying to get some thoughts down about it. Let me know what you think.
Tsunade died quickly and painlessly one morning before her retirement. Shikamaru was sure it was the punch line of some cosmic joke at her expense. He wouldn’t be surprised in 20 years he was the butt of a similar one. Both of them hated the job and both worked tirelessly forward. So he supposed it just couldn’t be helped.
The funeral was huge. Kage and shinobi from all villages came to pay respects to the woman who saved the lives of thousands in the war and who’s leadership had come to bring together all the shinobi nations in peace. Each Kage made a speech that was some variant of this narrative, standing in a noble line to the side of her portrait, large enough for the entire gathering to see. On the end, flanking Kakashi, was the only non-hokage, Sakura.
Her frame was small. Smaller than most of the Kage lined beside her, but it was sturdy and unshakable to Shikamaru’s surprise. She wasn’t crying. So often he’d seen Sakura break down, over teammates and Sasuke and strangers, but now of all times her face was dry. She looked strong, respectful, at peace. A mirror of Tsunade’s portrait on display. The perfect apprentice.
“Wasn’t she the one that found her?” Temari asked. She’d followed his gaze to Sakura’s form.
“Ah,” he affirmed, not sure what else to say.
“Must have sucked,” Temari said, and for some reason this made Shikamaru a little irritated.
Sucked. Sucked? Shikamaru knew first hand how much it sucked seeing your teacher die in front of you and having no way to stop. Sucked didn’t even begin to describe it.
Sakura had worn that face when she’d marched into the Hokage’s office, like it was any other day. She didn’t look dazed or broken, but she wasn’t smiling her normal cheery smile.
This was the only clue she’d give as she squared off in front of Kakashi’s desk and said plain as day, “Tsunade passed away this morning. We should begin making arrangements before word gets too far.”
Both him and Kakashi froze.
“Mah, Sakura. That’s not a very funny joke so early in the morning,” Kakashi recovered more quickly than he had.
“It's not early. Its noon. It's not a joke.” She didn’t snap and this shook Shikamaru more than if she’d stormed across the room and slapped her Hokage across the face. Normally she’d snap. But this was just a tired statement of fact after fact.
“How did it happen?” Shikamaru asked, still in shock. He remembered Tsunade barreling in just a few days ago, informing, not requesting, her leave from the hospital for retirement. Kami knows I’ve earned it.
Sakura’s clear gaze turned on him and he felt the weight of his body acutely. Maybe it was that lack of smile.
“A heart attack. It was quick. She was gone before she could feel any pain.”
Kakashi swiveled in his chair, peering out the window at the cloudless blue sky. Not appropriate weather for news like this.
“I see.” Is all he said. Processing, Shikamaru guessed. “Didn’t even get a chance to retire.”
Shikamaru stifled the dry, ironic laugh itching at his throat. Or maybe he just needed a cigarette.
“No,” was all Sakura said.
“Who else knows?” Kakashi now all business.
“Just me and a nurse I trust to stay quiet until an announcement is made.”
Shikamaru felt the floor warp a little. “You were there when it happened?”
This time she did smile. Yeah, isn’t that just the darnedest thing? “Yes. I did everything I could to save her, but there was nothing I could do.”
He knew she wishes there would have been.
“Where is the body” Kakashi asked. Shikamaru winced. The body. Such a careless way to say it.
“It's already been taken care of.” Sakura lowered her eyes to a knot in the wood flooring.
Kakashi let out a weary breath and Shikamaru could tell he wished it wouldn’t have been Sakura taking care of it.
“Sakura,” Kakashi still looked out the window, “We can take this from here. Take some time off and see one of the counselors or be with your friends.”
“With all due respect, there much to be done at the hospital with Tsunade’s departure. I’ll continue working, Hokage-sama.” She bowed stiffly, the Tsunade’s departure hanging in the air. Departure, like she’d just left for retirement and that was that. Shikamaru wondered if that’s what Sakura was thinking. Just that she’d left like planned and she was supposed to carry on. The good little apprentice.
A long moment passed. A battle of wills.
“No,” Kakashi finally said. “You need time to grieve.”
Finally, some of the fire comes out in Sakura. “So do you, but you’re not taking time off, are you? We both have jobs to do here – important jobs - and I’m not going to sit on my ass eating icecream and crying into teddy bears while her hospital goes to shit -”
“Sakura this is not negotiable.”
“I’m fine.” And she does sound fine. “I. Am. Fine.”
They exchange a look loaded with history Shikamaru isn’t privy to. He watches for a moment, then two, wishing he could shrink away and become shadow.
“Thank you,” Sakura says tightly and walks out of the room. If Kakashi gave any sign he assented, Shikamaru didn’t catch it.
“Was it really a heart attack?” Temari says in the present. Shikamaru blinks twice, extracting himself from the memory.
“Ah,” he grunts in confirmation, wishing she’d drop it.
“Seems like it’d take more than that to take her out.” Temari speculates. Again, he’s irritated by her casual tone over the matter. “I mean, she was literally blown apart in the war and she still survived that. The woman was tough as they come. Seems like a little heart attack –,”
“Drop it.” Shikamaru barks, surprising himself. He’s not one to ever take a tone with her, not one to lose control over anything. But the past week has done something to him though, dredged up old memories of Asuma lying still and cold and it frays him at the edges.
Temari opens her mouth to snap back, ever strong-headed, but he interrupts, eyes turning toward Sakura’s steady form, his mind flashing between now and then.
“If Sakura says that’s what happened. That’s what happened.” It's too much trouble to think further than that. So he believes it. He has to. “She did everything she could, so just drop it.”
For now, she does. But he’d be an idiot to think the discussion was completely over.
Tsunade was dead. Her teacher was dead. The teacher that believed in her and saw in her what Kakashi and all the rest hadn’t was dead. And she’d just walked into Kakashi’s office and lied through her teeth about every single part of it.
Tsunade didn’t die quickly and painlessly. It took several minutes for her spirit to finally untangle from her body and move on. Sakura watched it all happen.
It did happen suddenly. One breath she’d been discussing retirement plans then next – well. Sakura’s stomach turned. She hurried into the ladies' room and hurled her coffee up.
It’d been horrible. Nothing like Sakura had ever seen. And when it was over, nothing remained of the teacher she knew and loved. The image of Tsunade old, shriveled, blackened – Sakura dry heaves into the toilet again - wrong. So, so wrong and it wasn’t supposed to have happened like that. Sakura presses her forehead into the cool rim of the toilet, not caring how dirty might be. She deserved it. Tsunade didn’t.
Knowing how vain her teacher had been, she’d taken care of it. All of it. So that her teacher would have the dignified death she deserved. She had destroyed any evidence of the truth all on her own. And Sakura would carry it, her secret, until her dying breath.
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Love me roughly part two
A/N: here’s part two! thank you guys for all the love on part one, it rlly means a lot <3 sorry the first half or so is so angsty lmao I was listening to Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo on repeat (go stream if you like good music btw!) Hope it lives up to the first part! I defo loved writing it :)
Warnings: angst :( SMUT! (oral: f receiving, soft!dom!tom sort of, not that obvious, unprotected sex) language, Tom being a dickhead, slutshaming (which we do NOT condone in this household), sad Tom
It’s been almost a month since your last encounter with Tom, and as much as you missed him (and the amazing sex), you knew you made the right decision. You were sad, sure, but your heart felt lighter. You weren’t constantly dragged down by the ideas of what you and Tom could be if he ever allowed you into his heart, not just into his bed.
You spent more time with friends, they helped you keep your mind off the curly-haired boy who stole your heart with no intention of keeping it. On the nights you’d usually go to the frat house you would either be studying in your dorm or hanging out with your friends. Tom still texted you, practically begging you to come over. You didn’t have the heart to block him, but you managed to find the strength to ignore him.
After having ignored all of his texts and dm’s for two weeks, Tom starts to appear everywhere you go. From your classes to the coffee place you often visit for an afternoon pick-me-up, to the library. It was like he was stalking you. He always tried to grab your attention, and of course he got it, but you didn’t show him that. You held your head high and ignored him, leaving as soon as you possibly could. You couldn’t let him see you cry at the mere sight of him, you wouldn’t give him that satisfaction.
The only time he actually got close to getting you alone was when he was waiting outside your European History class. You had to talk to the professor after class, which meant you were the last to leave, a perfect opportunity for Tom to get you alone. You thanked the professor for answering your questions, and left the lecture hall, books pressed against your chest.
“Y/N, hey.” You heard a voice behind you as soon as the door shut behind you. Your entire body tensed up, and you slowly turned around. There stood Tom, looking… nervous? But you noticed a hint of anger behind his eyes, which confused the fuck out of you.
“Leave me alone Tom.” You muttered, and turned around to leave. But before you could get very far, Tom had caught up to you and grabbed your wrist, forcing you to a halt. You shut your eyes tight, eyebrows furrowed. All you longed for was your warm and comfortable bed, but he was keeping you from it. “Do you not understand me when I say leave me alone?” You ask him, finally looking up at him.
“You need to stop ignoring me, you owe me a conversation after what happened two weeks ago.” He says. You raise your eyebrows, looking at him in disbelief.
“I owe you? I don’t owe you shit Tom, like you said, we aren’t in a relationship, nor are we friends. I don’t want to have a conversation with you, I want you to get out of my life.” You spit, anger bubbling up in your chest. How dare he demand a conversation from you, after what he put you through time and time again? The gall this man had disgusted you.
“Oh so you won’t talk to me, but you will stay twenty minutes after class to talk to that dickhead professor? What, are you fucking him now? Wouldn’t put it past a slut like you.” Tom is angry, you know he isn’t thinking rationally, but this went too fucking far. Sure, you enjoyed the way Tom would degrade you in bed, but this was out in the open, for everyone to hear. You gasp, and before you even knew what was happening, you slapped him. You felt bad, but didn’t tell him that.
“Don’t you dare call me that Tom. I was asking him questions about the course material, like every fucking student does. If I wasn’t sure I never wanted to talk to you again, I sure fucking am now. Get the fuck away from me.” You storm off before Tom can respond, and this time he doesn’t come after you.
You cried that night, for a long time. You knew you and Tom always had a toxic relationship, but for him to slutshame you where everyone could hear went too far. It hurt you, it really did, that he would even think that you’d just hop onto the next week not two weeks after you’d left him because he couldn’t love you the way you loved him. Which he knew.
After that horrible encounter you stopped reading his messages, leaving him on delivered instead of read.
Saturday night, you’re alone in your dorm, trying to focus on the paper you’re supposed to be writing. But today marks the day you left Tom, and the urge to go over to him and forgive him for everything is so strong.
The screen is bright, practically blinding you, but you keep staring at it, doing your best to ignore the messages you know are pouring in from Tom. Your fingers hover over the keyboard, eyes flickering over to your phone, which is face down on your desk. Your fingers itch to grab it and just read the messages, but instead, they write some nonsense you’ll probably delete in the morning. You just needed to get something down, something to get you going, something to get your mind off everything around you.
It works somewhat, you manage to write three pages on your topic, though you know half of it will be edited until it’s not even the same conclusion anymore when you manage to get out of your haze and actually focus on the task at hand. Your flow is interrupted however, when your phone starts ringing out of nowhere.
No one ever calls you, only when it’s serious. You hesitate for a second, but decide you can’t risk anything. You pick up your phone, the words on your screen confusing you.
No caller ID
You frown, but answer.
“Y/N?” You should have known. You sigh loudly, and quickly go to hang up when Tom calls out through the phone. “No, don’t hang up! Please, I just want to talk to you and you’ve been ignoring me for so long.” You hear the desperation in his voice, which makes it fucking impossible for you to hang up. You’re not that heartless.
“I thought I made myself extremely clear Tom.” You huff, shutting your laptop. You know you’re not getting anything done for the rest of the night anyway.
“I know, I know. I just- I need to talk to you. Please?”
“Alright, so talk.” You hear the hesitation on the other end of the line, and some shuffling. You realise then that it’s very quiet on Tom’s side. You can’t hear a party around him, which is very unusual for a Saturday night, especially as the leader of the most infamous part frat. You don’t say anything though, you wait for Tom to speak up since he’s the one who wanted to talk so badly.
“Not like this. Can I come over to your dorm?”
You don’t want him to, you want to tell him no. You want to tell him that it’s either over the phone or not at all. But you don’t. You hardly comprehend the words coming out of your mouth, but you can’t stop yourself.
“Yeah, give me fifteen minutes.” And with that you hang up. You mentally curse yourself out for giving in so easily to whatever Tom wanted, as always. It seems you would never be able to break free from the tight hold Tom had over you, and you used to be fine with that, but you’re starting to see how much you need to. You tidy up your room a bit, not wanting Tom to see your depressive room, cluttered with all the clothes you’ve worn the past month and all the take-out boxes littered over your floor. You clean quick enough, the tiny space not leaving much room to make a mess out of anyway, so you take a deep breath and decide to read all the messages Tom has left you the past two weeks.
y/n i’m so sorry
I shouldn’t have lashed out like that
I was jealous
I miss you
please text me back
is this pointless?
you’re not even reading the messages anymore
I want to talk to you
I need to talk to you
can you please come over?
I promise we wont end up fucking
unless you want that of course
I miss you
i’m so sorry
you’re not a slut
I was so wrong
I’m always wrong
I don’t want to lose you
or what we have
I guess we don’t really have anything
but you know what I mean
I need you
I’m calling you now
hope you’ll pick up
might turn caller ID off so you’ll pick up
The last message arrives as you’re going through the many texts he’s sent you. You get up from your bed, wiping away some stray tears that fell from your eyes whilst reading the messages. Taking a deep breath and trying to shake out your nerves, you shuffle over to the door. Opening it, you’re met with a sight you’ve never seen before.
Tom stands in front of you, looking smaller than ever. He’s wearing a hoodie with sweatpants, hood up with his hands stuffed in his pockets. When he looks up at you with those big eyes your heart melts a little. His eyes are red, and he looks tired. He looks… broken, almost. Even under the hood you can see how messed up his hair is, and not in the good post-sex way you usually see it.
“Hi.” He nearly whispers. You don’t say anything, continuing to stare at him. “Can I- Can I come in?” You step aside, letting Tom enter your room. He looks around curiously, and that's when you realise he’s never been here before. How did he even know where you live?
“How did you know where I live?”
Tom takes his hood down and scratches the back of his head, sheepishly looking at the ground. “One of your friends told me after I begged her for two days straight.” You make a mental note to strangle whichever friend gave him that information later.
Silence falls over the room, the both of you avoiding each other's gaze.
“I’m so sorry Y/N.” He finally breaks the silence, and looks up at you. The sadness in his eyes is heartbreaking, and you know he’s being genuine, but you can’t help the sarcastic chuckle that leaves your throat.
“So I’ve read.” You sit down on your bed, motioning for Tom to take a seat on your desk chair.
“No, I- I know. But texts don’t reflect the way I feel when I type them, you know? I’m really so sorry for all the hurt I’ve caused you. The worst part is, I realised I was hurting you. I fucking knew what I was doing. I saw the look in your eyes every time I basically kicked you out, but I was too much of a coward to fucking say anything. I couldn’t face my own feelings. I got this fucked up idea in my head that I’m young and shouldn’t be tied down just yet, which is absolute bullshit, especially considering I haven’t fucked anyone but you this past year. I’m shit with dealing with my own feelings Y/N, and I’m so sorry you had to deal with my shit. My manipulative, twisted, fucked up shit. But you did something right, you walked away. And you walking away might have been the best thing that could’ve happened to me because it made me really look at myself for once. And this time alone made me come to the conclusion that I love you.” You’re sitting wide-eyed, letting Tom ramble on about his feelings. “I love you so much, I love you more than just fucking you, I love you in the way that I want to take you out on dates, I love you in the way that I want to show you off to my friends, I love you in the way that I want you to meet my family, I love you in the way that I want to wake up next to you everyday. And I’m going on and on, because I’m so nervous to hear what you have to say. Because I understand if you still don’t want to speak to me, but i’m praying you’ll have me.”
Tom is practically panting at the end of his speech, and you’re in disbelief. The campus fuckboy, who everyone warned you about getting involved with, who basically fucked everything that walked, just proclaimed his love to you.
“I don’t know what to say Tom…” You whisper. You see Tom visibly deflate, and you just want to hug him. “I love you. I do. And I think you know that already. But you’re so complicated, and I don’t want to have to feel responsible for everything you do.”
“You won’t have to be! I want to change, for you! I don’t want you to change me, I want to change myself, also because of you, but mainly because you make me want to become better in general.”
“I might give you a chance. But, you have to accept that if you fuck up, or if you ever talk to me the way you did two weeks ago that I am out of there in a second. I do not tolerate that shit from anyone, not even you. Understood?” Tom nodded eagerly, and stood up to walk over to you. He pulls you up, and within seconds his lips are slotted against yours. Whilst most of your kisses were desperate and lustful, eager to get each others’ clothes off and feel your bodies, this kiss was slow and romantic. You felt the love Tom was pouring into this kiss, and it made you feel like you were flying.
It escalated from there, Tom’s tongue slipping easily into your mouth as your innocent kiss turned into a make-out session. You pushed him towards your bed, making him sit on the edge with you on his lap. His hands ran up and down your body, through your hair and squeezing your ass. You grind your hips down, the feeling of Tom’s growing bulge against your core already making you wet.
“Y/N.” Tom mumbled, pulling away from you. You hummed, leaning down to start trailing wet, sloppy kisses down Tom’s neck. “Are you sure you want to do this? I understand if you’re not comfortable.” You detach your lips from his sensitive skin, but not before playfully biting at him.
“I’m more than okay Tommy, but maybe not as rough as usual, yeah?” Tom nods, a soft smile on his face before going back to kissing you. You lean back from him to take off his hoodie, followed by yours. You’re not wearing a bra, and the sight of your bare chest instantly makes Tom groan. His lips latch on to one of your hardened nipples, whilst the other one got attention from Tom’s fingers. Your head is thrown back as you let out whimpers, fingers running through Tom’s curls and tugging at them harshly.
“Tommy, please fuck me already.” You pant, pulling Tom away from your chest by his hair. He smirks at you, gently laying you down on your tiny twin bed. His curls fall in front of his face as he hovers over you, peppering kisses all over your face and chest. He trails down, looking up at you one more time for approval before pulling down your sweats and panties in one go after you nod.
“Fuck Y/N, haven’t tasted this delicious pussy in way too long.” He groans, letting one finger tease your slit and collecting the wetness. You whimper, hands fisting the sheets next to you. Tom notices, and grabs your hands to guide them to his hair. He winked at you, before diving into your pussy. He licks a long strip up your core, a loud moan escaping you as the feeling. Tom's lips sucked at your aching clit, whilst his fingers crawled up to tease your hole. You felt delirious with pleasure, this man never failing to make you see stars. He pushes one finger into you, your hips raising as an instinct. Tom pushes you hips down, shaking his head at your pathetic attempts. He pulls away from your clit.
“Be a good girl for me now, and I’ll make you feel better than you ever have sweetheart.” He tells you, your juices covering his mouth and chin. You whimper and nod, doing your best to keep still so Tom would keep going.
He goes back to sucking and licking at your clit, while adding a second finger to your entrance and pumping the digits in and out slowly. Your moans never stop, only spurring Tom on more to get you to your high as fast as possible. You notice him grinding at the mattress, trying to relieve himself in some way. The sight of Tom so desperate to be inside of you turns you on even more, and gets you closer to the edge.
“Feels so good Tommy, gonna make me cum.” You whine, tugging at the roots of his hair. He groans, the vibrations feeling like heaven against your pussy. You almost scream when he plunges a third finger into you, the stretch feeling uncomfortable at first but that feeling quickly subsides and is replaced by pure pleasure.
“I know you’re close darling, don’t hold back on me now.” Tom smirks at you, replacing his tongue with his thumb momentarily, but as soon as he felt you approaching your high his face was right in front of your core, wanting a first-row seat to your orgasm. You hit your high harder than you expected, you even squirt all over Tom.
“Oh my god.” You pant, pulling Tom away from you. Your cheeks feel like they’re on fire at the sight of Tom. You thought he was drenched in your juices before, but now you’re all over his face and chest. Tom chuckles, wiping his arm over his face. “I’m sorry that’s so embarrassing.” You hide your face behind your hands, wanting to crawl away from Tom. He pulls your hands from your face, revealing a smirk on his face.
“Don’t be embarrassed, that was so hot baby girl.” His face is impossibly close, and you think he’s about to kiss you, but instead he leans down and attacks your neck, littering it with hickeys. His hand is on his cock, dragging it along your slit, head prodding at your sensitive clit. You whimper, legs wrapping around Tom’s waist.
“Please fuck me Tommy, wanna feel you inside me.” Tom wastes no time, positioning himself at your entrance and slowly pushing in. You’ve never had Tom fuck you like this, so slow, but it was so amazing and intimate. He bottoms out, whispering sweet nothings in your ear as you adjust to his size. “Move please.”
He pulls out, checking to see if you’re okay before pushing back in. You moan his name, letting Tom know he can speed up and set a nice rhythm. He does so quickly, being way more gentle and slow than usual, but still forcefully impaling you with his cock. His hand finds your clit quickly, rubbing tight circles on your bundle of nerves.
“Tommy, you feel so good, fucking me so well.” You choke out, nails scratching down his back. He hums, changing the angle slightly to fuck you even deeper. This time you actually do scream, because he hits that spot inside you that makes you feel like you’re in heaven. You feel kind of bad for the people in your hall, but fuck it, you’re getting dicked down so well for once in your own dorm, they can handle it.
“Doing so well for me doll, squeezing me so tight.” Tom murmurs, eyes looking deep into yours. Tom normally isn’t so intimate with you, hell you hardly do missionary because he doesn’t like the intimacy of the position, so this is all very new to you, but god damn if you didn’t love it. You clench at his words, making Tom fall forward and curse loudly.
He fucks you for what feels like hours, his stamina never fails to amaze you. You know he’s close, you can feel the stutter of his hips every once in a while, signalling that he’s trying to hold it in, to not bust before you cum around him. But you know that you’re not going to cum before him, so you tell him to let go for you. He does so instantly, filling you up with his cum. The feeling of Tom unloading in you triggers your own orgasm, more intense than the last.
Tom stills inside of you, dropping all his weight on top of you. You giggle, mustering all your strength to push the large man off of your tired body. You feel empty when his cock slips out, and shiver at the feeling of his seed dripping out of you and onto your sheets.
“That was amazing.” He pants, eyes still closed, hand on his chest as he tries to catch his breath.
“Yeah, it was.” You softly say, tracing his face. Suddenly, Tom jumps up and pulls up his sweatpants. You feel your heart sink for a second, thinking that Tom was just going to leave after having one last fuck with you. He sees your sad expression and quickly kneels on the floor next to you, pressing a chaste kiss to your lips.
“Don’t worry love, I was just grabbing a towel to clean you up with.” A smile makes its way to your face at the lovely gesture. He grabs a hand towel from your sink and holds it under the tap, making his way over to you with the damp cloth. He sits between your legs, tenderly tending to the mess he made. You shudder when he swipes past your still overly sensitive clit, making him giggle a bit.
“Thank you Tommy.” You whisper. He crawls up your body, tossing the rag somewhere into the room.
“Anytime darling, now how about we cuddle and go to sleep yeah?” You nod happily, snuggling into him under the covers once you find a way to comfortably fit your bodies together on your tiny bed.
“I love you.”
“I love you more.”
@pure-ghost @greatpizzascissorstaco @sushiinmidnight @damnrancidchicken @thenoddingbunny-blog
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Slow Down - Bill Hader x Reader
Theme: Fluff + 1/4 of Angst
Summary: Hi I’ve literally been binging all of your fics and I didn’t know if you were still taking requests, but I was wondering if I could request an imagine with Bill Hader where the reader is sick and passes out at SNL and Bill helps them and takes them home
Word Count: 4.1k
A/N: Ahh thank you so much for your patience @bduchrnskei I really hope you enjoy this fic and it met your prompt expectations. I absolutely loved writing this one amongst all of my evil schoolwork, but what can you do?
Living in a small-sized New York City apartment was not all that it’s cracked up to be. Whether it’s the heavy traffic and clutter of construction that never halts or the extreme temperatures during any season.
In this case, in particular, winter.
Or, more specifically, in this case, your heater broke, and it had become like an iceberg within your apartment space. As stated by your landlord, the repairmen were supposed to come on Saturday night, and as of right now, it was Thursday.
So bundling up had to do, in a way, you kind of missed the heater’s incessant rattling, as it had become a sort of a white noise these last few months.
You hadn’t been in New York City for very long, a little under a year, maybe? It wasn’t like you to pack up and move randomly to the Big Apple, but after clearing a spot as a new cast member with Saturday Night Live. It was most certainly a must.
Ever since you were little, you’d always had a knack for making others laugh or just getting to see someone smile. Saturday Night Live became your goal, and to secure it was like winning a million dollars. Even if it meant having to endure New York’s extreme seasonal changes.
This week was no different in the typical workflow; you were technically a new cast member. So the number of sketches you had been in was significantly limited. Still, you loved it nonetheless, with the lack of skits that you had been in lately allowed you to get to know your cast members more.
Specifically, your other recurring cast members like Nasim Pedrad and Jenny Slate, the three of you would often meet up for coffee on Sundays. Taking the time to decompress and discuss your favorite sketches of the week. It was nice to have a group of people you could relate to and find solace in, especially when the weeks became stressful or exhausting.
And oh boy, did your week’s become exhausting, especially on Saturdays. You shuddered at the thought of dress rehearsal as it stretched late into the night; losing sleep was worth the excitement.
You looked at the clock, it was nearing close to four in the morning, and you still had been awake at this point. Maybe it was the cold or the thousands of thoughts swirling through your mind, much like the snow accumulating outside.
Work was gonna be a bitch tomorrow.
You sneezed at the thought, sighed, and made sure to set your alarm before letting sleep take over.
You awoke with a headache and a blaring alarm that was erupting from your phone. Groaning, you shut the phone off and tried to ignore the incessant pain protruding from your forehead.
Swallowing some painkillers, you got dressed, grabbed your keys, and headed to work. Totally not picking up a coffee and a breakfast sandwich on the way.
“Why good morning Y/N!” Jenny chirped as you walked into the room, still rubbing the sleep out of your eyes.
“You sound oddly chipper, what happened?” you said as you put down your stuff, eyeing her curiously.
“She got some sleep, that’s what happened.” Nasim replied, nursing a cup of coffee in her hands, giving you a sleepy smile.
“Lucky duck,” you murmured, instinctively reaching for your coffee as well. It coated your throat nicely, you sighed in content.
Jenny only smirked before starting up another conversation with Nasim; you let your eyes wander across the room. Everyone in motion, working hard to make sure shit got done. That’s the thing about working at 30 Rock; no one ever really stopped moving.
One thing that you still had not gotten used to was Monday’s. The grueling and exhausting twenty-four hour stretch period of planning and concocting up sketches. It was a scary feeling, as if you could ever compare to everyone else.
Every now and then, a pitch you threw into the ball pit would get picked, the tiny butterflies in your stomach reminding you why you did what you did.
Your eyes landed on a particular figure as he strolled into the room. His hair beautifully tousled, eyes half-open, and shirt resting ever so comfortably upon his chest. You diverted your eyes quickly, only to feel yourself begin to sneeze.
Fuck, for the love of all that’s holy, please do not sneeze in front of Hader.... too late.
He looked up, meeting your widened eyes, and gave you a soft smile. It lingered for a bit until Andy swept up from behind and hugged him along by the arm. For a second, you could’ve sworn he was gonna look back, but Andy had appeared to say something.
“Bless you!” Nasim and Jenny said in unison.
You mouthed thanks and leaned back against the wall, replaying the scene over and over again.
“Thinking about Hader again?” Jenny asked, following your line of sight, as she nudged you in the side playfully.
“Jenny! Not too loud, he might hear you.” you frantically whispered, a stern look aglow in your eyes.
“Oh honey, it’s so obvious.” Nasim chimed in, Jenny nodding eagerly in response.
“Plus he’s too far away, you’re more than safe Y/N, I think it’s cute that you like him. All the more reason to make fun of you.” Jenny says quickly before she is shoved by Nasim.
“I’m joking! I’m joking! Okay maybe not fully joking.” Jenny yelps, giving you a wicked grin.
You groaned, rubbing your hands over your eyes in embarrassment. It was so bad, crushing on cast members, but man, was he handsome. Although you had denied it, a lot of your favorite sketches from the past weeks always seemed to involve Hader.
It was not like it was gonna go anywhere; you two barely spoke, and plus you’d probably be a mess if you did. Every now and then, though, you’d often find Hader sitting beside you at table reads. His laugh is always so goddamn infectious, and Jenny and Nasim eyeing you playfully like schoolgirls.
God, you were a mess, and it seemed like everyone knew it. Maybe even Hader knew; let’s hope he doesn’t.
“You know Y/N, I’ve never seen Hader as shy as he is when he’s around you. I mean the man literally sniffed my hair yesterday,” you quirk a brow, “But- but with you, he’s soft” Nasim’s voice crowds your thoughts, and you instantly look up to meet her in disbelief.
“Bullshit.” you retort, trying to ignore whatever attempt she was trying to make.
“Girl, you’ve kind of got a point. He’s not as jokey as he usually is whenever he’s around you Y/N.” Jenny adds, only to be interrupted by Lorne calling for a meeting.
Ah, how could you forget? Dress Rehearsal. While these days didn’t run as long as the others, they were equally draining and stressful. The three of you walked to Lorne’s office just in time as the rest of the cast stood beside you.
You felt yourself to begin to shiver unexpectedly, hugging yourself tightly. Since when was 30 Rock so cold? You felt Nasim look at you questioningly, and you shrugged her off.
Lorne had discussed the skits’ arrangements for the day, murmurs of excitement beginning to spread like wildfire around the room. Everyone just itches to get out and see if their sketch would succeed or bomb.
You took your seat in the audience as the sketches would come and go, meeting your cues whenever necessary. At the same time, your painkillers had seemed to wear off as your headache only seemed to get worse.
You made your way backstage to find the building’s first aid kit, only to brush past another coworker. That just so happened to be Bill Hader.
You opened your mouth, but nothing came out, slowly clamping it shut; his eyes met yours in slight confusion before softening slightly.
“Woah, hey Y/N, everything okay? You were in kind of a hurry there.” he asks; you could barely meet his eyes as they searched yours for any sort of response.
“Oh,” you gulped, “Yeah I just have this crazy headache, um I was just looking for the first aid kit.” you say, shifting the balance on your one foot to the other.
His eyes widened before nodding quickly as if he was just reminded of something. The butterflies in your stomach crescendo as he quickly rested his palm upon your shoulder. You didn’t even know how to act, your body practically freezing at the contact.
“Actually to save you the trouble I have some painkillers upstairs in my dressing room. Not that I have like tons of drugs, but it’s no problem with me if that’ll help your headache.”
You quickly nod in response, trying to hide back a small smile before following him up several flights of stairs. God, you hated being so shy around Bill; it wasn’t like he was some mean old jerk; he was oh so genuine and thoughtful.
The two of you halt at a labeled Hader door; he looks back at you almost to check if you’re still there. Opening the door, he led you in, giving you a quick smirk, before crouching down and digging through the contents of his bag.
You had realized that this was the first time that you had ever been in a specific cast member’s dressing room. In particular, Hader’s room was neat and tidy, but you could see bits and pieces of his character sticking out. You couldn’t help but smile at it all, so caught up in the intricate details you didn’t even notice him get back up.
“Y/N, you good?” he asks; you focus your attention back on him quickly.
His hands outstretched, one holding a bottle of Advil and the other clamped tightly around a water bottle.
“Oh, um yeah. Thank you so much you have no idea how much I appreciate you for doing this.” you say rather quickly, but Hader doesn’t seem phased by your awkward nature.
You reach for the bottle and water, fingers gently brushing against his. The two of you looking down at the contact before parting ways.
Hader clears his throat, and you feel your stomach begin to tighten. Slipping two pills into your mouth, you unscrew the cap and down it carefully.
“You nervous about tomorrow?” he asks while placing the pill bottle back within his bag.
“A little I guess, I mean I tend to get nerves closer to the show. I’m sure at this point though, you’ve become an expert at staying calm.” you reply, his gaze falling towards the floor.
“Oh my god, I’m a wreck Y/N. This show is so stressful it eats at me every week, no matter what. I mean, clearly I’m doing something right and Lorne’s not gonna fire me, but, my anxiety gets so bad.” he says quickly. His eyes widened, and his posture became slightly tenser than before.
You couldn’t help but soften your gaze; you had no idea that he even went through this every week. Even now, with the buzzing tension in the air for tomorrow night, you couldn’t imagine what he was going through. Let alone the fact that he made the time to help you out.
“I wouldn’t have ever noticed,” he looks back up at you. “I mean, you’ve always just looked so...confident. I just can’t even begin to imagine what’s that like, every week constantly. I’m so sorry you have to go through that.” you quietly admit.
He shakes his head quickly, putting out a hand almost as if he was trying to stop you.
“No, no, it’s fine. Thank you though, it’s awfully sweet to hear that. Especially from someone like you.” Hader’s eyes filled with such warmth.
Was Hader blushing? Or were you losing it? Probably losing it.
“Oh about that headache, everything okay up in there?” he murmurs, stepping just a tad bit closer to you.
“It’s probably nothing, but I do appreciate the help.” you look back at the door, “We should probably get back? Right? Don’t wanna miss our dress.” you say quickly.
Hader nods within an instant, eyes widening at the realization of how long you two had been gone for. He led you to the door, giving you a quick smile before he ran out, murmuring something about a skit that had something to do with the guest host.
You giggle softly, heaving a contented sigh. It definitely was gonna be a long day, and you could’ve sworn that the temperature had just dropped.
You couldn’t have stumbled into it until at least one in the morning, but sleep had been desperately calling your name. Oh, how you missed having a regular sleep schedule; it would make mornings less of a struggle.
Except this morning was different, or more so than you were used to. The headache that had arrived less than twenty-four hours earlier was now ten times worse. Your body ached, and you couldn’t decipher if the bed was too hot or too cold.
This was torture, and quite possibly the flu, not to mention, you had the show tonight, shit. You practically sprang upwards before feeling the instant aftermath of that decision settling in. It felt absolutely criminal to leave those sheets as you groaned and grimaced your way towards your kitchen cabinet. Eyes barely opened while you blindly searched for the thermometer you had kept.
One quick temperature check later, you were running a low-grade fever. Shit, shit, shit, shit. I mean, you couldn’t miss the show, right? It just didn’t seem plausible, or maybe it did?
You frantically wondered while your fingers grazed over the Google search bar whether going to work with a low-grade fever would be beneficial?
Every answer didn’t really seem to fit the unrealistic expectations that you had set for yourself. Still, one disgusting shot of Dayquil later, you were out the door.
The day went by in a haze, and the headache never really did seem to falter. It was almost like yesterday in a sense, but seeing Hader waltz into the room made you smile. He smiled back.
Of course, Jenny and Nasim knew something was up; they always did. It wasn’t like Lorne was gonna fire you for missing one show; it was the flu. Except, you had made it this far, how bad could it possibly go?
The lights were too bright, far too bright for you to even think properly, and your fever was sure burning up. Or maybe it wasn’t, you always had to ask others around for that sorta assistance. Except, this was the primary night of the week and you weren’t gonna ask a cast member to feel your forehead.
Imagine if Hader did, Y/N, please stop being a dork.
You found solace in a large water bottle, but it didn’t do much to help the way your body ached miserably. You looked like a mess, you felt like a mess, but this was the big leagues.
The last time you had checked, the previous performance of the musical guest had been underway. Which meant you had survived, but the exhaustion that had been ever-growing was begging for you to lay down.
The floor looked so good right now, yeah, just for a hot second, ugh why is everything burning up?
Slowly closing your eyes, you let yourself press up against the wall, except there wasn’t a wall right there, and down you went with a thud.
Bill had been anxious all night, of course for the show, but for you in particular. You usually always looked so put-together, but tonight something about you was just off. It was beginning to rub him the wrong way.
“Andy, do you notice anything strange about, um, Y/N over there?” he said, trying to muffle the concerned edge that rested within his voice.
“Y/N? Oh that new cast member you like?” Andy replied without much thought, earning a stern look from Hader.
“She’ll hear you, god man you sure can be loud. Whatever, she just looks kind of off man, I’m a little nervous for her.”
Andy’s gaze softened just a tad until something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye.
“I mean normally I would say that she looks fine and you’re just crushing, but I don’t think that is normal.” Bill’s gaze instantly locked onto the same thing, which was you fainting onto the floor.
His body going rigid before ultimately bolting upright, he wasn’t gonna catch you in time. Still, he definitely was gonna help if he could. Although he most definitely wasn’t the only one, other stray coworkers who happened to be backstage stood, jaws dropped.
There you went, tumbling to the ground, and Bill couldn’t help but feel his heart drop. Maybe that headache was worse than you had let up. He felt guilty for not speaking up sooner, but there was nothing he could do now.
They called a medic on the site, trying to keep it discreet as possible. It was a live show; he didn’t think it would be professional if broadcasted that shit.
He tried to fill in all of the details of how you had been acting the past few hours. It felt like he couldn’t do much to help, but he didn’t wanna leave your sight. It was odd; something about you really drew him in, leaving him reaching for more.
Plus, at this point, the last thing he had to do was go on stage while they rolled the credits. Bill was optimistic that this would count as a good reason.
He watched anxiously while the medic’s placed you upon a stretcher, his feet following without much thought. They wheeled you out to a waiting ambulance; he gulped at the thought of you having to be taken to the hospital.
Surprisingly they allowed him inside the ambulance; he was so convinced he’d be forced to wait until god knows how long. The vehicle provided seats off the side, allowing him to catch his breath and try not to worry about his current state.
That is until he saw you looking back groggily at him; now, this was definitely normal, as the medic had explained. He just didn’t see it coming; you blinked a few times, looking around at your surroundings.
“Hey, saw you took a little snooze there.” he teased, his gaze never leaving yours.
The ambulance rattled slightly, and you gasped a little before focusing your attention back onto him.
“Is this an ambulance? What happened?” you sat upright, feeling ten times worse, trying to piece together precisely why you and Bill Hader, of all people, were in the ambulance?
“Y/N, you fainted. The doctor’s said you’re burning up, they’re taking you to the ER.” he explained carefully, as you groaned in frustration.
He cocked his head slightly, clearly not expecting that response.
“About that, yeah I think I have the flu, I had a low-grade fever this morning.” you admitted sheepishly, not even daring to meet his gaze.
“I’m sorry what?” he exclaimed, his eyes as wide as literal saucers. “Lemme get this straight, you went to work, with the flu?” you nodded, and he ran his hands over his face.
“Listen, I didn’t wanna disappoint Lorne. I mean it’s the night of all nights.” the words came out softer than you had intended; Hader practically melted.
“Oh, did you really think that Lorne’s gonna get pissed at you for having the flu? Oh sweetie, you know your health comes first right?” his words falling ever so sweetly off his lips.
You could barely look at the man, let alone control the multitude of butterflies that jolted in your already queasy stomach. Not to mention that he even thought to tag along, you nodded, not saying a word, focusing on his blue eyes like they were a safety net. Until you closed them, letting sleep overtake you.
You awoke once more to the sounds of machines beeping, people going from room to room, and an incessant tapping of one’s shoe.
This was most definitely the emergency room, your eyes scanning its surroundings until they landed on one person in particular. He looked exhausted, more so than you did, and you felt awful given the time it was at night. In fact, it was practically morning.
“You’re still here,” he sat upright, rubbing his eyes, “Thanks for sticking it out, Bill.” you tried to give him the most genuine smile you could possibly muster.
“Of course, I mean I overheard the doctor anyway. You’re cleared to go when you wake up, and definitely have to get some rest. I already spoke to Lorne.” you gaped, but he only stood up.
“Bill, what did he say?” you whisper.
“That you should listen to the doctor, and me.” you raised a brow. “Okay maybe he didn’t say me, but you get the point?” he exclaimed as he helped you get out of the bed.
The two of you walking towards the desk in which you had to sign out some papers, the pen unsteadily perched upon your fingers. Bill’s hand holding securely upon your back, in hopes you wouldn’t stumble. In reality, just being near him set your heart aflutter.
“Now I’m taking you home, but first I was thinking I could get you some soup for home. That sound good?” you could only look at the man in pure awe.
“You don’t have to do this Bill, really, I mean you’ve already done enough.” you gulped, only to see the man give you a smirk, his eyes glinting at you mischievously.
“Soup it is.” his hand clamping against yours, he led you out of the hospital and into the cold streets of New York City.
It didn’t take long for the two of you to reach the little soup shop he’d been talking about; it was cozy and apparently open twenty-four seven. Against his offer, you paid for two soups that looked the most delicious and cupped the cups while strolling back to your place.
“How do you think you got the flu?” he asked gently, looking at you with curiosity.
You had to try not to laugh; I mean, at this point, it was your fault, you subjected yourself to the tundra in your bedroom for the past few nights.
“Well, my heater has been broken for the past few nights. I assume that’s how I got it.” a smile aglow upon your face, giggling at Hader’s shocked expression.
“It better be fixed tonight when we get to your apartment complex. That’s ridiculous, Y/N.” you kept giggling, and soon he joined in with that gorgeous laugh of his.
You enjoyed your time with Hader even though internally you felt like shit; he made it so much more bearable. The air was light between the two of you, he made it easy to open up, and you wanted to know so much about him.
God, wait till you let Nasim and Jenny know about this night. They’re so gonna flip; you just knew it. Not to mention, the big looming ‘I told you so’ that was so coming your way.
“This is it.” he came to a halt, admiring the quaint little building that you happened to call home.
“You do know I’m not leaving until that heater is back on, right?” he ordered, but underneath his serious tone, you could see the concern.
“Oh come on Hader, let’s go see.”
The two of you taking the steps at a time, your body wanting to collapse, but you couldn’t let him know. He stood beside you while you inserted your keys into the lock, twisting it, before walking inside.
“What’s that rattling noise?” Hader wondered aloud.
A huge grin meeting your lips, you looked at him in pure delight, and he soon got the memo. His eyes widening before heaving a sigh of relief, only to halt.
“You call me if you need anything okay? Get some sleep, and um, stay warm. That’s an order, you hear me?” you could see his performance wavering as he tried desperately not to laugh.
“Yes, Sir.” you saluted weakly, but he only began to break instantly.
You really did love that laugh.
Thanks, Bill, for everything, really.” you said as he turned to head to the door, stepping up on your toes to give him a quick kiss on the cheek.
His face instantly turned red before trying to compose himself as he walked away. You watched while he left the residence, giving you one last smile.
You awoke in a drowsy stupor that next morning to a text message from an unknown number.
Unknown Number: Want me to bring you some coffee and breakfast? - btw, this is Bill. Hope this l wasn’t too creepy. I ain’t no stalker.
Maybe: Bill: ps. How do you like your coffee?
Bill: ps.s yes or no?
You fell back on the bed with such a shit-eating grin, only to groan in response to the mistake you had just made.
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