(this is traditional Croatian jewelry - from Šibenik, Dubrovnik and Konavli (Dubrovnik region). I picked the golden version but they're more common in silver. Our girl wants to visit The True Sea, this is what her adoring husband gets her as a present.
How would civil war Bucky react if he came home to find his s/o singing their baby to sleep?
Pairing: Dad!Bucky x Reader
Thank you @its-just-may for the banner! Comments, likes and reblogs are welcome.
"That'll be 42 dollars."
Bucky smiles softly at Alina, the elderly woman patiently waits as he searches for his wallet. While he's ruffling through his front pocket, she reaches under the counter and grabs a colorful reading book.
She boldly places it in in his bag beside your snacks and the teething ring, judging by the frayed binding and Romanian lettering, he can tell its probably one that been passed down through her family.
She huffs and snatches his money from his gloved hands, she plucks a dollar out of the pile and puts the rest between the pages of the book.
"Aw you know I cant-"
The tiny woman tilts her head back, her dark brown eyes daring him to finish his protest.
"Thank you," Bucky sheepishly finishes.
"You're welcome, James." She beams, her wrinkled cheeks puffing out. Her face drops and she grabs the front of his shirt, yanking him down to her face. "Dont come back without the baby or I'll hurt you." She holds up her tiny fist and shakes it, her bright eyes narrowing at him.
Alina swears she loves her more than the both of you and sometimes Bucky thinks she might be right.
Bucky has to bit back a laugh. Since he's moved his little family to this town, he's been 'threatened' by Alina more times than he count.
She loves to boss him around and she's always sliding extras into his bags, refusing to take more than a dollar or two from him. But she will make him fix the leaky sink in the back or replace a gutter.
Bucky quickly grabs his bag after the granite counter, taking a few steps back, reassuring her that he would bring her down tomorrow.
"Good. Hate to kick your ass in front of your family James. You have a good day son."
Exiting the small store, he puts his cap over his head, shielding his eyes from the blinding afternoon sun. Laughter bubbling in his chest, he shakes his head wondering how a renowned assassin with a metal arm manages to get bossed around by a 5'1" elderly woman every time he goes into her shop.
Ducking his head, he shoves one hand in his pocket, humming softly under his breath as he navigates the crowded street. He'll be home in five minutes and he can't wait.
Some days he doesn't know how he got so lucky to find you, but ever since that day you snatched his plum from his hand by accident, he's been smitten by you.
Then you gave him gift after gift. Your heart, your presence, your body and now a sweet chubby baby with your eyes. All things he could never repay, things he never thought he could have. He didn't feel worthy of a normal life until he met you and now-Bucky knows he can have that and so much more.
Bucky climbs the stairs to the apartment, the shopping bag tapping his leg with every step. Happiness settling in his chest, wrapping around him like a thick duvet, crushing and liberating all at once.
Opening the door, a rush of cool air greets him. The smell of warm vanilla and brown sugar fill his nose, he can't remember what his apartment was like before you moved in but now it always smells good, you're everywhere he looks. Your clothes beside his in the closet, your shoes neatly lined up in the hallway, beauty products in the bathroom, family pictures lining the walls. A few of your hair ties in his left pocket. Toys are scattered on the floor.
You're everywhere and he wouldn't have it any other way.
Bucky toes off his shoes, placing his coat on the hook. A faint smile crosses his lips when he hears you singing. Following the sounds of your voice, his smile becomes wider and wider until his cheeks ache.
He knows over a dozen languages yet he can't find the words to describe how happy you make him.
Bucky finds you on the bed, your back against the headboard with the baby bundled in your arms. You're singing a lullaby, your soft voice drifting through the room. Glancing up, your eyes meet and his impossibly wide smile gets a tad bigger.
Knowing how much he cherishes these little moments, you continue to sing the sweet tune while he undresses until he's down to his boxers, folding his clothes, he places them on the dresser. Now that's he's home with his two favorite people, he doesn't plan on leaving anytime soon.
Bucky climbs on the bed, the mattress dipping under his weight. He lays his head on your shoulder and gazes down at his little girl. Tears burn his eyes, he can't believe that she's so perfect, just like her mama.
She looks so much like you, god he hopes every baby you give him is exactly like you. He watches her yawn, her tiny chubby arms stretching above her head, he places his metal finger in her hand and she latches on to it. You swear she's never going to be afraid of his arm.
The song dwindles to a faint whisper as you both watch her fall asleep. You turn your head, your nose bumping into Buckys. Laughing softly, he mumbles sorry before kissing you. It's sweet and tender and passionate and oh when he kisses you like this, you swear you could melt.
Bucky releases you with a pleased sigh, running his knuckles down the curve of your face. "I've been thinking." He starts, his eyes flickering between you and her.
"Really? " You're teasing, you know what he's about to say. Alina already told you about the way he blushed and became flustered a few days ago when she asked him why you weren't pregnant again.
His cheeks tinge a light shade of pink and he swallows hard, his Adam's apple bobbing. "Yeah. How would you feel if-if we uh..."
You gently place your baby in his arms, smiling when his face lights up. He tucks her into his chest and kisses the top of her head. He's so good with her and you know that he would do anything for the two of you.
"Bucky I'll have as many babies as you want. In fact, we can start trying after my nap," you yawn, putting your arm around him and closing your eyes. Snuggling into his side, you drift off the sleep.
Bucky smiles to himself, envisioning his future with you in a large house filled with children, maybe a cat, or two. He wants it all. A life full of birthday celebrations, anniversaries, graduations, date nights, lazy weekends spent on the couch with you sleeping on his chest.
A/N: this is all over the place, forgive me y'all </3
WHEN you awoke the next morning, you found a single glass of water placed on your night stand. Your head pounded as you tried to recall the blurred events from the previous night. All you remembered was catching up with Alina and then finally leaving her room. From there it was as if everything had muddled together to form a single incoherent memory. The sun had just begun to peak through your window.
While you were away last night, a servant must have stocked up your closet with clean clothes. They had mainly been a few soldiers' uniforms and some new nightgowns. Along with a few robes, each one as soft as a rabbit's fur. The gold kefta still remained in the dresser, collecting dust.
You changed out of your dirty clothes that you had slept in, and placed them in a neatly folded pile on the corner of your bed. After throwing on a clean uniform and putting your hair into a low bun, you rang for a servant. You asked her to bring breakfast to you. It seemed like there was no use in eating with the other Grisha. Where would you have sat? You weren’t a Corporalki, Etherealki, nor a Materialki. You certainly weren’t the Darkling either. There would be no place for you if you’d chosen to eat there with Alina.
Soon enough, a light knock echoed on the wooden door. “Come in!” You said, and the servant strolled in with a cart. She placed down a golden tray in front of you. You were served sweet pea porridge and fresh figs with a tall glass of water. You thanked the servant before she dismissed herself, leaving you to your food. There was another covering that laid on the tray, no plate under it. As you shoveled another spoonful of the porridge into your mouth, you took off the covering. Under the dome laid your weapons, cleaned of the dirt and blood that caked them. You placed your weapons back onto their respective places: a pistol and dagger at your hips, a knife securely tucked into your boot, and the last knife hidden away in your sleeve.
Just as you finished your food, another knock resonated in your uncomfortably quiet room. You beckoned them to come in. A Grisha with a red kefta came in, the black stitching signifying that he was a heartrender. You gave him a polite smile as he stepped in.
“Hello. I am Fedyor. I am to escort you to the training grounds today.” He explained.
“Oh no, it’s alright. I don’t need an escort. I know my way around the palace, thank you though.” You assured him. Sitting on the corner of your bed, you put on your boots. You were surprised to find them in the normal place you had put them, at the foot of your bed, near the very corner. It was a habit you had since you were a child. Every other orphan at Keramzin always placed their boots either to the left or right of their beds. It was understandably easier than leaving your boots where you normally had, yet you couldn’t shake the habit.
“The General himself required me to accompany you. As you must know, I cannot obey the General’s orders.” He stated. After lacing up your boots, you made your way to the tray your breakfast was on. You put the small plate that once housed the figs into the empty bowl of the porridge you were served. Picking up the tray, you began to walk towards the circular table near the door and left the tray there so it’d be easier for the servant to clean.
You turned to him, arms crossed on your chest as you sighed, “Fine.” You examined the new jacket you were issued, it wasn’t the same as the frayed one you were used to. The hem of your sleeves were intact, unlike your old one when you had picked apart the stitching when you were nervous. The only thing that you were particularly happy about was the fur lining. Yours had matted from being used so much and slept on.
“You know, it’s quite odd that you’re staying in the General's hall.” You let out a hm, questioning what he meant by that. “Usually guests stay in the guest hall. The General never permits for anyone to stay in his. He’s the only person allowed to sleep in this specific hall.” He whispered as we walked past a group of Materialki. They were huddled amongst themselves, whispering and giggling as they made their way to their training rooms.
“Maybe it’s because I’m Alina’s friend? Perhaps he feels like he needs to watch over me himself since he has also taken her under his watch.” You said. You took a deep breath of the crisp winter air as the two of you stepped outside.
“Perhaps. But why is Alina staying in the vezda suite? Wouldn’t it make sense for her to be staying in the General’s hall as well?” Fedyor did make a good point, if Alina was the most important Grisha of all, why wasn’t she across the hallway from the Darkling?
“It truly is a mystery I suppose. But if I were you, I wouldn’t question his choices.” You teased. You thought you might’ve offended him until he lets out a short laugh.
“Saints know what he would do if I had.” He replied, making you giggle. Your laughter died as you arrived at Botkin’s training area. Grisha alike had already been paired up and were sparring. Alina had been paired up with a girl she had mentioned last night, you couldn’t remember her name. Madia? No that wasn’t it. Narie? It wasn’t that one either. Noticing a late arrival, Botkin walked up to you.
“Botkin has never seen little girl before.” You tried to suppress the surprise you felt when you heard him refer to himself in third person. “Who is she?” He asked Fedyor. By now some people had stopped training to hear the conversation. You noticed Alina was still sparring with her friend, unaware of your arrival.
“She’s here as Alina’s guest.” At the mention of her name, the girl stopped fighting. Finally taking notice of your figure, she let out a surprised gasp.
“What are you doing here?” She asked as she came closer.
“Training. If I’m going to stay at the palace I don’t want to rot away and do nothing.” You said, rolling your shoulders to loosen up your muscles.
“First Army girl wants to train with Botkin.” His voice, although baritone and guttural, brought a strange comfort to you. “Choose your opponent.” You surveyed the crowd, looking for someone who could pose a possible challenge. Your eyes landed on a tan skinned girl with raven black hair, bangs framing her face perfectly. Her black eyes stared into yours, challenging you.
“Her.” You stated while nodding your head towards her. Botkin weaved his head in the direction you had nodded off to.
“Ah, star pupil, Zoya!” So this was Zoya, the girl who told Alina that she reeked of Keramzin. “I have trained her since she was ten.” The raven haired girl offered you a way out, which you immediately declined.
“Fighters ready?” You put your fist up, getting into stance. “And..Fight!” You waited for Zoya to come to you first. She walked up to you, her fists hung up. You circled each other, playing the waiting game. You were about to make a move when you saw Zoya moving her right fist towards your face. You ducked left, managing to move in time to avoid the punch. With her back still to you, you jammed your elbow into her side making her hunch over.
She came at you again, this time with more veracity and anger behind each swing. Except she didn’t land a single blow. You were able to avoid each one as you let out a giggle, staggering a few steps back.
“Is that all you’ve got, star pupil?” Your comment only seemed to spur her on more. She ran at you in full force, this time you let her land a hit on you for the fun of it. What you didn’t expect was for her to punch you so hard that she drew blood. You sniffled feeling a drop of blood come from your nose. You began your attack with a right hook followed by a left one. In return she used her arms to block each time, leaving her abdomen vulnerable.
You were able to land a hard blow or two before you found yourself briefly soaring through the air, your back meeting the hard wall that was originally ten paces behind you. You let out a wheeze as you feel one of your ribs break.
Botkin had begun to reprimand Zoya, looking at her you could feel her shame as she upset her mentor. You couldn’t help but smirk as she looked at you, at least now she knows how someone from Keramzin fights. Her gaze hardened, about to walk up to you once more before she was taken away by some guards.
“Oh my Saints, now the General is really going to have my head.” Fedyor said in a panic. He helped you stand as he called for a healer.
“I’m quite alright.” You ensured, but the wince in your face gave you away. Alina came running up to you, giving you a once over before taking you from Fedyor and into her embrace.
“You know you shouldn’t be doing that.” She whispered into your ear. “It’s too dangerous for you.” She made a movement to grab one of your cold hands, giving it a squeeze.
“Everything’s a risk for me, Alina. The Doctor made that clear.” When you were younger, you were diagnosed with a heart condition. It was nothing serious really, and only acted up once in a blue moon. The tugging and squeezing feeling only lasted for seconds, but the pain left you feeling unstable for hours after. “The risk is always worth it.”
“But what if one day its not?” She pulled away from you, resting her hands on your shoulders. “The Doctor himself said there was no cure for this, no remedy that could help.”
“It’s worth it if it means protecting our honor.” You replied honestly.
“I don’t need you to protect our honor.” She protested. “I need you to protect yourself. Even if that means backing down from a fight.” You remained silent as a healer began to work on you. Starting first with your broken ribs then moving onto your bloody nose. After a few minutes of sitting still, the healer finally told you that you could leave.
Alina and Fedyor accompanied you back to your room. “What do you think will happen to her?” You asked. Alina shrugged her shoulders as the heartrender went to respond.
“She will probably get reprimanded by the General too. Zoya knows not to use her powers while training. Respectfully, especially not against someone who isn’t Grisha.” He commented.
You must’ve really gotten under her skin then if she went against all those years of training and discipline. “Good. She needs to know her place.” You snarked. “Now I’d like to get some rest.” You glanced at Alina, her gaze unwavering. “Alone, please.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I promise I’ll be fine. If I need help I can always call for the General.” You replied, placing your cold hand on top of hers and gave it a squeeze. With great reluctance, she nodded her head. Fedyor and her leaving to return to combat training.
As you close the door, you feel your resolve break. Wincing as the pain and exhaustion came back. As you grew up, your condition continued to tire you. You couldn’t fight nor run the same way you could two years ago. At this rate, you’d probably be dead in the next two years because of your heart condition. That was if the war didn’t kill you first.
The sun was nowhere near close to setting. You still had most of the day to kill yet you didn’t know what to do. You thought back to one of the places the Darkling had shown you, perhaps you could go to the library. Gathering whatever strength you had left, you returned to the calm and composed front you had always put on.
The walk there had been time consuming, nauseating even. But you were determined to snatch a book or two to read while you were cooped up in your room. The library of the Little Palace was grand, filled from floor to ceiling with various books. If you ever had the chance to visit the Grand Palace, their library would definitely be on a list of places of visit.
You ran your finger along the spines of the books as you walked through the shelves. There were two things that you loved most in your life: the feeling of the sun on your skin and the smell of books. Strangely enough, the smell of the books had reminded you of Keramzin in a way. Probably because you spent most of your childhood with your nose shoved into a book. Collecting two books, you were adamant on getting to your room in time to be able to sit in the sun and read a couple of chapters. All of a sudden the smell of incense and mildew had taken over your sense of smell.
“My Saints, where is that smell coming from..” You whispered to yourself. Unexpectedly you heard a shuffle behind you. Turning around you saw a greasy man in a robe.
“Hello, y/n.” Said the man.
“Do I know you?” You replied cautiously, reaching for the knife you had hidden in your sleeve.
“I am the Apparat, a priest. Advisor to the King.” He stated. Knowing who he was didn’t make you any less tentative, your fingers still gripped the handle of your knife.
“Okay...right. Nice meeting you. I’ll be on my way now.” You said, trying your best to move around him but he stopped you. He latched onto your arm that had been reaching for your knife, effectively rendering your weapons useless.
“Do you remember?” He acquired his answer from the confused look on your face, “Oh, soon you will remember. Everything will face into place.” You ripped your arm out of his rough hands and ran out of the library, never looking back.
When you were finally in your room, you threw the books onto the floor as you rushed to the tub. There hadn’t been any warm water around but you didn’t care. You filled the tub with lukewarm water as you began to strip yourself of your clothes. Skewing them across the floor as you picked up a velvet robe and tossed it on a nearby chair. Stepping in, you grabbed a loofah. Scrubbing yourself clean of the Apparat’s lingering touch. You scrubbed and scrubbed until your skin was raw. After dunking your head underwater to wet your hair, you picked up a soap. It smelt of lavender and honey. In the First Army, they had always given you a singular bar of soap to last you a week. Showers came scarce due to the fact that the soap practically diminished once it touched water. Gently lathering the soap in your hands, you cleaned your hair first. The repetitive circular motions of your hands had started to calm you down, almost lulling you to sleep. Quickly finishing off your hair and the rest of your body, you found yourself smelling good for the first time in a while.
Feeling satisfied enough, you let out a sigh, letting yourself relax as you rest your arms on the edge of the tub. It wouldn’t hurt to take a nap. You thought. After all, you fought a Grisha without the use of your weapons and came out somewhat victorious. You let your hair dangle outside of the tub to dry as you close your eyes, sleep taking over you.
“Stop it!” You screamed, you could feel someone splashing cold water at you. Wetting your hair and dress. “Aleksander, stop!” You said while laughing. You could hear him let out a laugh before coming up behind you and taking you into his embrace. He wrapped his arms around your belly as he rested his chin on your shoulder. The stubble from his face tickling you.
“How are you today, my darling?” He whispered into your ear, making you shiver. He began to pepper kisses up and down your neck, making your legs feel like jelly. Your hands flew to his in order to stabilize yourself.
“Good. But it could be better.” You teased, egging him on. One of his hands travels your hips, bunching up the fabric of your skirt to give himself better access. The other hand made its way to your core, ghosting past your eager bundle of nerves.
“Look at you, already so wet for me.” He shoved aside your underwear, plunging two of his fingers into your heat. He paused at the sound of your moan, “Taking my fingers so well.” He set an agonizingly slow pace, let out a few groans himself as he rubbed himself against you. His long fingers search for the spot he knew so well, the one that would make you mewl and fall apart in his embrace. He hits it once, twice, before extracting his fingers from you. He placed his slick covered fingers atop of your dry ones before guiding them back to your wet entrance. You were able to slide in with ease as he guided your movements.
“I can’t..” You breathed out, the feeling of his fingers and yours combined had been too much for you.
“Yes you can.” He purred, tilting your head with his own to get better access to your neck. “You’re almost there, I can feel it.” Just as he said that, he felt you briefly clamp down, signaling you were close. He guides your fingers deeper, nearing your g spot as his other hand lets go of your dress and goes to your clit.
The action makes you come undone as you moan his name repeatedly, your juices coating both his and your fingers. You let out a whine as he removes his fingers from you, only to place his hand into his mouth, sucking your cum off of him.
“Sweet, as always.” He gently grabs your chin and turns you to face him, his dilated pupils meeting yours. “Here, have a taste of yourself.” His words alone made another wave of heat pool at your core. He grabs your hand before inserting into your mouth. You wrap your lips around your fingers, staring into his slate gray eyes all the while. After lapping up your juices, you release your fingers with a pop!
Even in your dream state you could tell this man looked suspiciously like General Kirigan. They shared the same face structure, their cheekbones rested at the same angle. His eyebrows were as perfectly sculpted as the General’s. Lashes equally as dark and long. The only difference was that the man-- Aleksander, had a near clean shaven face and his hair was grown out to reach his shoulders. The General had a beard and sported a slicked back look. Yet the two looked identical.
Your eyes searched his face, his body, for anything that could tell you anything. You spotted a mole near his right collarbone. Nearly hidden by the collar of his shirt, small but it would have to do. Without thinking, you reach up to grab his face to pull him in for a kiss.
YOUR doors opened with a bang, startling you from your sleep. The person entered without even knocking, alerting you to three possibilities: someone had broken in and now was here to kill you, you were being kidnapped, or the Darkling was here to brutally murder you. You let the first two options leave your mind, knowing how well guarded the Little Palace was. So there was no possibility for an intruder to get so far into the grounds. Yet the third option did little to ease your mind.
Realizing you were still in the tub, you got out. Not wanting anyone to see you naked. Not like it hasn’t happened before. You thought, thinking back to your time at Caryeva. You quickly threw on your robe, haphazardly tying it while you grabbed one of your knives and unsheathed it. You threw the knife just in time, the person emerging from the curtains being nicked by your blade before it landed on the trimming of the bathroom entrance.
“Oh my Saints, I’m so sorry…” The Darkling stared at you, surprise flicking on his features. “I didn’t hear you come in. I was asleep.”
You walked to the side, picking up a towel to clean up his wound. You dipped it into a bucket of clean water, wringing it out afterwards.
“In the bathtub?” You gave him a nod, a blush forming on your cheeks. “Well you certainly sleep wherever you can.” He joked. As you shifted closer to him, you felt that familiar wetness in your thighs. Fuck. You thought, your blush becoming deeper. You’d been so caught up with the idea of someone coming to kill you that you had forgotten about your dream.
“Are you alright?” It should’ve been you who was asking the question since you nicked him after all. He awaited your reply as you gently pressed the towel against the cut.
“I am. Nothing serious happened to me.” You replied, assuming he had heard of the events that had taken place earlier that day. “Are you?” You asked, “I mean, you seemed very alarmed when you barged in.”
“My apologies for that. You just...you weren’t responding to my knocks or my questions. I’d assumed the worst.” He said, struggling to find the words. You didn’t know how to feel, in a way you were glad that he cared for your well being, yet it slightly made your gut lurch. You’d been here for less than a week and he seemingly cared more for you than Alina. Then again, you didn’t know what the two did behind closed doors. You stopped cleaning his wound, the bleeding had stopped. The two of you remained close, only an arms distance away from each other.
“Why do you care so much? After all, I’m only a guest here at the palace. I’m not a Grisha like you or everyone else here.”
“You're my guest. It’s normal for me to worry about my guests.” He explained. You crossed your arms over your chest, eyebrows furrowing as you listened to him.
“Yes, but..” You paused, “Yesterday I was Alina’s guest. Now today, I am yours. So which is it?”
“Whatever you’d like.” He whispered, taking a step closer to you. His gaze flickering to your lips then back to your eyes.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“You just did.” He replied, giving you a smirk that made you roll your eyes.
“Have we met before?” You asked, making the General freeze in his place. His posture goes rigid, you struggle to read the emotion on his face. “.. I could’ve sworn that we…” You doubled over, your left hand clutching your chest as your right hand flew to his shoulder. The pain had never hit you twice in a day. Not even twice in a month.
“Alina..g-get her.” The General called for a servant to fetch her along with a healer. In his panic, he swept you off your feet and carried you to the bed. He laid you upon it as he took your left hand into his. In a haze, your right hand began to wander, weakly pulling at the collar of his shirt. The pain went away as a moment of clarity came over you, General Kirigan had bared the same mole that Aleksander had. As you placed your hand on his face, the pain came rushing back.
Before you allowed yourself to give into the darkness that called you, a tentative whisper left your lips, your eyes searching his.
Another addition for Alina’s Closet, this time, Alina’s Jewel-Box: a ring designed to hold poison. This, I imagine, was a gift given with Ivan’s full endorsement. Notice the blue and white enamel, the color of her favorite irises...
request: hey can i request a fic with nikolai(aka loml) where the plot is them reuniting and after a couple of years and them being exes that eventually go back to being lovers also could you include the getting locked into a closet together trope. THANK YOU
a/n: this might be one of my favorite things i’ve ever written oh my god i hope y’all like it oh my god
warnings: lil bit of angst but everything is good by the end
this was not how you planned on spending your friday night. saints, it wasn’t how you planned to spend any night of your entire life. pressed up inside of a closet with your ex boyfriend who just happened to be king of an entire nation? no thank you.
“could you move?” you groaned and jabbed your elbow into the body behind you.
an unfortunately familiar scoff was heard and the noise of shifting clothes. “you want me to move?” another scoff, “i’m pressed into the corner while you’re just lounging around, how about you move princess.”
you winced and the nickname, letting the deep deep hurt you were feeling on some other level surface. but you quickly pushed it down and did a 180 to face the one and only nikolai lantsov. you crossed your arms over your chest, “i am not moving because i’m not the one that got us stuck in here.”
you watched him roll his eyes in annoyance, “this is absolutely not my fault. you’re the one that decided to show up here unannounced, causing this whole fiasco. i only pulled you in here so i could ask you to leave without snapping in front of guests at this party i actually care about.” his voice was steady and menacing.
uncharacteristically, you let out a small growl in anger. positioning yourself into a threatening stance, you pointed a finger at the boyish king. “you think i wanted to come here?”you laughed, outraged.
the glare he was sending in your direction dropped. and for a split second you saw the face of the man who had always looked at you with such adoration. but as quickly as it came, it was gone, replaced once again with an angry stare. “well i definitely don’t want you here” he whisper shouted.
you let out a frustrated sigh and ran a hand through your hair. “i know you don’t, and if it wasn’t for alina begging me to come i wouldn’t be here.”
“yeah you never wanted to be here” he mumbled under his breath in annoyance. he paid attention to his nails, refusing to look your way. you couldn’t tell if he was more angry or hurt.
you sighed, “saints nikolai i already explained this when we broke up! how many times do i have to tell you that it wasn’t my choice to leave!”
a few minutes of silences passed between the two of you, though it was obvious both of you had more to say.
you tried to open the door one more time, wiggling the handle like you’d done about a hundred times since the two of you got locked in here. silently, you cursed the you from ten minutes ago who agreed to talk to nikolai in a dim and frankly tiny closet. agreed might be the wrong word, more like forcefully dragged away from the party into a tiny ass room by the boy you had once thought you would marry.
truly, the situation could not get any worse.
except it kept getting worse every time nikolai opened up his mouth to speak.
“you wanted to leave” he accused, breaking the tense silence.
you groaned, louder this time. you faced him completely, the two of you were so close that if you moved your hand upwards you could caress his cheek the way you used to. “nikolai, i never wanted to leave. you out of all people should understand why i left the palace. i had a job, an obligation to lead the army. to keep your goddamn kingdom afloat. as much as it hurt me, and you, i will not apologize for it” you finished by jabbing an accusatory finger into his chest.
the tension in the air grew even thicker. there was so much history, so much unsaid. just barely touching him sent shivers down your spine. when you’d left a year and a half ago, fulfilling your duty as one of the leaders in the second army it had been sudden. from one day to the next you had to pack all your bags and travel across the country. away from nikolai, from every plan the two of you had for the future.
he’d begged you to stay, you hadn’t been able to give him that. and when you suggested taking some time apart he’d left the room in outrage. so hurt that he didn’t even come to see you off the next day.
“but you chose to leave me” he whispered, his voice cracking painfully as he tried to finish his sentence. he tucked his head into his chest. nikolai was known for his confidence, without it ravka wouldn’t be half of what it is today. he used to save his vulnerability for you. you were the only one who got access to every single part of him. he trusted you enough to let you tuck those moments into the part of your brain dedicated completely to nikolai.
your resolve faltered at the sight in front of you. you sighed for what felt like the hundredth time that night and rested your head against the door directly behind you. “what are you talking about?”
“you left me” he accused once again. “we could have made it work. i could have come with you, we could have written letters but you left. you gave up on us. you didn’t even try.” he crossed his arms over his chest and tried to step away from you, only to bump into the wall because of the tight space.
in the last year you’d spent countless nights crying yourself to sleep, attempting to stitch up your heart that had split in half when you left nikolai. you had longed for him, missed his touch. you still did. you had left a part of your soul at the palace with him, and he didn’t even seem to know it.
everything you had ever done had been for him. and saints forbid you were going to let nikolai make you seem like the bad guy. you threw your hands up in defeat. “you simplify the entire situation! you make me out to be some kind of villain like it didn’t tear me apart to leave, as if we didn’t decide that the distance would break us anyways together” you said, your voice bordering on yelling.
he matched your tone perfectly by scoffing and saying, “you didn’t even want to try. you left and i stayed here, waiting for you. it is that simple princess.”
that god damn nickname sent you into the full rage and hurt that you’d been holding back in an attempt to not totally unravel in front of nikolai.
“don’t fucking call me that” you screamed in his face, your voice amplified by the proximity and tightness of the closet, “you don’t get to sit there and act like you were the only one of us that was heartbroken. i might have physically left but in no moment did i stop waiting for you, did i stop loving you.”
if the silence from before was uncomfortable, now it was unbearable. the space felt even smaller and your breath came out in gasps, partly from yelling and partly the sudden tightness of the room. tears stung in the corners of your eyes, threatening to escape.
defeated, you sunk to the floor and pulled your knees up into your chest to hold them. you averted your eyes from him and played with your fingers. “i didn’t want to leave you” you whispered pathetically.
in your peripheral vision you saw him follow your movement to sit down on the floor. your knees pressed against his and just the small touch made your body feel hot. by sitting in front of you he didn’t give you much of a choice of looking directly at him. his lips were pulled into a tight line and the space between his eyebrows furrowed into the little lines. the urge to kiss those worry lines away rose up into your chest like an unexpected wave.
it seemed like the anger had faded from the both of you, replaced by the true feelings at play: loss, heartbreak, hurt.
“why don’t you want me to call you princess?” he asked with a tilt of his head.
you shrugged in an attempt to be casual but your answer was anything but. “it’s what you used to call me” you whispered, “because you were still a prince and i was going to be your princess. and now i’m not. that’s not what we are anymore and it’s painful to be reminded of it.”
he nodded his head in understanding. his hazel eyes, eyes that you had memorized and dreamed about for years now, seemed pleading. “we could have tried” he said desperately.
you sighed again, but this time it wasn’t out of frustration about being stuck in the closet with nikolai. instead it was a sigh of frustration towards yourself and your decisions. “i was scared nikolai” you helplessly whispered. you shook your head and shut your eyes. “i was terrified that you’d grow to hate me with the distance, that you’d feel obligated to stay with me because of it. and i was so frightened that i would have to be away from you for so long. so i ran and i’m sorry, i regret it everyday.”
slowly, though he didn’t have to make much of an effort because you were pressed closely against him, he took your hands. and very gently, he caressed the inside of your palm. the same way he used to when it was just the two of you in bed talking about the universe and its possibilities.
“i know darling” he whispered, “i was scared too. and i knew you and i knew exactly why you suggested us splitting up. but it was easier to pretend to hate you then let myself mourn your departure. and that is what i regret everyday, not chasing after you and making it clear that you are all i ever wanted.”
you pulled your joined hands up to your lips and placed a kiss on his hand. “am i still all you want?” you questioned, scared for his answer.
“you always will be” he sighed defeatedly, like answering honestly opened up a part of him that he’d closed off. it was painful to admit that love still existed between the two of you, it meant that the possibility of getting hurt was still very much there.
and while you understood the fear there was a new found confidence of your situation bubbling in your chest. “well then i think we’ll be fine” you said gently, taking in his reaction.
he tilted his head to the side in confusion, “what do you mean?”
you gave him a shy smile and grabbed the sides of his face. pulling him closer to you, you rested your forehead against his. “i’m staying.”
his eyes widened, wild and suddenly hopeful. he pulled back in shock, grabbing your face the way you had done only seconds before to him. “you’re what?” he said in disbelief.
you leaned into his hand and smiled. “i’m done with the second army. i’m coming back, i was going to find a way to tell you when you pulled be in here but you seemed to angry that i didn’t think you’d see it as good news” you sighed, “i’m coming back to the palace. i’m rooming with alina at the moment.”
a silly lopsided smile started to grow on his face. he was radiant, even in the dark room. the king he had become in your leave was clear on his face. and he was looking at you like you personally had put that crown on his head, like you’d given him all of ravka.
he let go of your face and stood up, pulling you up with him. he held onto your shoulders for balance and looked down at you. “your coming back” he stated, asking for our confirmation.
you nodded your head happily. he stayed silent for a beat and then a satisfied look passed over his face. “well then i guess i can start calling you princess one again”
you nodded again and pulled him a little closer to you. the two of you were smiling like idiots to each other. and for a second you were transported to another time, a time where the two of you weren’t stuck in a closet. instead his delightful grin reminded you of all those times nikolai would drag you away from a party into a dimly lit room just to get his hands on you and kiss you the way he wanted to.
right before sealing the deal and pressing his lips to yours he whispered, “my queen sounds more fitting though, doesn’t it darling?”
omg so i sent in an ask re angst jock jk n oc ! but then i also realized its highly possible these 2 break up at one point while in uni mostly bc of the "are we dating bc its convenient" kinda dilemma and then it just pushes them apart bc they think theyre losing theirselves while being in such a close relationship,,,cue save ur tears by theweeknd BUT i just know when they grow up a lil bit more, theyll end up together <3
here we go! (the beginning of the end....may be...)
didn’t include save your tears as the soundtrack but may haps for the follow-up :3
pairing: jock!jk and oc
warnings: angst, yes the break-up scene, jaykay being an ass (a very huge one motivated by his own insecurities and selfishness – translation: he’d rather break her heart and carry that weight than be the heartbroken one), chayoung is no longer Seed of Doubt but something else (still up for debate but she’s fairly nice here), not edited but hey atp that’s part of my branding (also i would like everyone to consider that oc is not the greatest gf ever like guys don’t hate jk alone!!)
soundtrack: bags, clairo + stay, gracie abrams + say you know, alina baraz
(titled — honeymoon fades)
Jeongguk’s contact name hasn’t lit up the screen of your phone for six days now and you haven’t seen his face for just as long. It’s weird to go from constant incessant communication to complete and utter radio silence. Not a single meme deposited in your Instagram inbox, no random notification from his Twitter. Just silence, quiet brewing silence.
It breaks two days later when Chayoung finds you coddled under your duvet, mouth stuffed with the saccharine sweetness of mint chocolate. (Jeongguk kept a stash of it at your place but who was around to eat it anymore apart from you?).
“And why do you look like you live in a dumpster?” She’d hummed, ripping open the curtains you’d involuntarily welded shut.
“Because that’s how I feel inside,” you’d retorted, pushing aside your laptop. The screen is stuck with an image of an idiotic character named Nabi kissing the spawn of Satan. You hope for her sake it works out. Chayoung had huffed at your response, fondly whacking your head with a stray pillow.
“Well get over that feeling cause we’re going out tonight.” A declaration, the fierceness in her feline eyes a warning that you’re not allowed to even think of saying no. That doesn’t mean you hadn’t tried – sorrowful eyes and pouted lips as you begged her to spare you. But Chayoung is a force of nature, one that could easily wreak havoc on your delicateness. And she does though, with a string of comments that propels you out of the miserable burrow you’d dug up.
“You’re killing everyone, you know?” She’d supplied, yanking open your closet. “You’re sulking, Jeongguk is shutting down. He’s said like five words since this whole...thing...you have going on.”
You couldn’t help but scoff at that, toying with the corner of the large grey shirt donned on your body. Jeongguk’s shirt. One of his favourites actually. You’d thought about stealing it after spying it on his obsessively neat laundry pile, but after seeing your wandering eyes he’d given it to you instead.
“He always does that,” you’d said after Chayoung had whipped her head in your direction, curved eyebrows perplexed. “I mean, shut down. It’s his emotional response to things that bother him. Complete detachment so it hurts less.”
She had just stared at you, a long meaningful look at left your skin prickled.
“What do you mean ‘huh’?”
A measured step forward, her body weight sinking into the edge of your mattress a moment later. “I mean, you know him so well.”
“Of course I do he’s my best-friend,” you’d said, indignation coating your words
“No–No you're not getting me. You know him. You know he wouldn’t make the move to reconcile–”
“But he should!”
“You told him to go away! He’s trying to listen to you even though he’s hurting!”
And maybe that was it, that simple implication that you were causing him pain that had you pausing, reviewing the things you’d said to him – the things you’d felt.
“But,” a timid rebuttal, “I just–I just need him to show me that he cares.”
“He does,” Chayoung had returned. “So much. And he misses you. He’s probably just afraid that you don’t feel the same.”
“But I do! He knows this.”
“Does he?” A question in her eyes, one that you’re afraid you know the honest answer to.
You say things and never mean them, he had said, eyes hard.
That had hurt you but perhaps he was right, there are things you hadn’t told him, feelings you hadn’t truly expressed. And Jeongguk had always been good to you, so understanding and caring, trying to fill the places were you lacked. Wasn’t he the one who planned the majority of your dates? Remembered all the important milestones of your relationship while you contributed the bare minimum. You hadn’t even told Chayoung about the surprise he had planned for your one-year anniversary, the shame of your own choice hanging heavy over your head.
So that’s why you’re here, staring at the back of his head forlornly as the music drifts around you, flashing florescent lights bathing him a hazy glory. He hasn’t seen you yet (something you’re thankful for because oddly enough you feel sick to your stomach). It feels like you’re skating on thin ice, waiting for the impending crack to sound through your heart, ice water swallowing you whole immediately. Chayoung is the one who pushes you forward, gingerly plucking the idle drink from your hand, Jimin aiding her efforts with a soft smile your way.
It’s time for you to try the way Jeongguk has, put aside that bumbling ego that oversees your actions and adopt the humility he’s always granted you.
“Go,” she murmurs. “He misses you.”
And God you hope he does because you’ve missed him too.
Except the moment his honey eyes land on you you know he hasn’t.
“Jeongguk,” you mumble. Yoonoh is frozen beside him, concerned gaze flicking between your faces. Your own eyes are stuck on him, the shape of his nose, the curve of his lips, the subtle hint of the dimple in his cheeks.
You’ve missed him, and it slips from your heart and brims in your eyes, vision blurry as your blink those stray tears back inside.
“Hi,” you add, when his silence doesn’t break.
“I should probably go,” Yoonoh lets out, awkward words bumping into the wall of tension standing firm between you to. He settles a hand on Jeongguk’s shoulder, sending him a look that feels loaded. “See you guys later, right?”
You nod, finally noticing the lump clogging your throat. “Yeah, sure.” Jeongguk just hums, the edge of his cup caught between his lips. Yoonoh flees within seconds, leaving you to wade through this alone.
“I–I know you’re not happy with me right now, but please, can we just talk?” He blinks at you, it feels like a premonition. “Please?”
“Okay.” The simple word fills you, like a hollow you weren’t aware of finally found the cure needed.
“Okay,” a small smile on your lips. Jeongguk’s face is still unreadable. He guides you up and away from the deafening sound of the song bleeding from the speakers, into an empty room, the door closing behind him muting the music and giving way to the own pounding in your head. Nobody says anything for a second, both of you navigating this uncharted territory of animosity. Until Jeongguk sighs, melting into the bed at the centre of the room. You follow suit, allocating enough space between the two of you. You’ve ever had to do that before.
“You said you wanted to talk?” Jeongguk finally cuts through it, eyes unforgiving when he glances at you.
“I did! I do–Just Jeongguk,” you can’t help it drifting out. “I miss you.”
Nothing, not even a flicker in his eyes. He eyes shift to the floor instead. “Okay. I that what you wanted to say?”
“No–No not just that! I’ve missed you Jeongguk and I’m sorry. I’m sorry that i went off on you like that and I’m sorry I haven’t been the best towards you and I’m sorry that I’ve made you feel like I didn’t care about you–or made you feel like the things I said or did had no meaning behind them. Because they do–they do because I love you. I love you so so much and I’m sorry if I made it seem like otherwise.” You automatically extend out for him, hoping to grasp on his thing floating to fast away from you. Jeongguk shifts and you hand tumbles down to the empty space between you instead, halted by his hesitance.
His head drops into his palms a second later, a broken exhale leaving his lips. The motion cause the silver bracelet on his wrist to slip down the length of his arm. It jolts something in you. Jeongguk had given you a matching one but you’d ripped it off after the last argument and hadn’t considered putting it back on. But Jeongguk was still wearing his.
“Do you really?”
“What?” He’s staring at you know, doe eyes cloudy.
“Do you really love me?” There, that stupid evil vile question that you thought you had the answer to but the words vanish in your head the longer he looks at you.
“I do–what? What are you implying? Of course, I do.”
“Of course, you do,” Jeongguk echoes. His eyes turn to the window located over his shoulder. You can see his head working through something, and you’re suddenly terrified fingertips itching to wander through his curls and coax those thoughts from his head.
“Jeongguk? What the hell are you talking about? Talk to me, please.”
He sighs again, at it feels like your heart splinters. A sudden shake of his head and Jeongguk twists back to face you, a silent tear falling down his cheek.
“You don’t love me.”
“Wh–What are you talking about? I do! And how can you decide my feelings for me?”
“No. You don’t love me the way you think you do–the way you should.” It feels like he’s saying it to more than you, like he’s saying it to himself. “Maybe this the wrong choice to make. You know. Maybe we shouldn’t have done this.”
You shatter just like that, shards on the floor as you stare him, this person that you thought you knew. And maybe the feeling is mutual because Jeongguk is staring at you in a similar way, searching for the courage to say the words you know lie in his heart. Like a loaded cannon, waiting for the match to strike and leave you lying in pieces.
“I think we should break–"
“No,” you cut him off with an adamance that you didn’t know existed until right then. “No, you’re not gonna say that and we are not doing this.”
His eyes narrow then, jaw set. “This is not about ‘us’, I’m doing what’s right for me.”
“How is that right? Huh, Jeongguk? Don’t you care about this? Don’t you care about me?”
He looks away then, ignoring your questions, his throat stuck.
“Jeongguk...” You reach out again, and he allows it, shoulders sinking with the weight of your hand on them. “Don’t you care about me?”
Another heavy exhale, his eyes blinking hard. “I do. And that’s why this won’t work, not the way it should at least. I really think we should end this, or at least reconsider the reasons why we’re together. You say you love me–you say you always have but really–really think about it. About me and us and what we are. I’m sorry, I really am but I just can’t do this anymore.”
He rises then, your outstretched hand tumbling down to the empty space he’d left behind. You can’t move it, can’t breathe, your heart hurtling out of your chest and onto the ground where it lies, fragmented beyond repair and bleeding bare. You glance up through tears, watch him open his mouth and then it and look away.
“Do you mean it?” You finally ask, and his eyes snap to you. He knows what you’re saying. There’s a pause that stretches out for eternity, coloured by the sound of the ringing in your head.
“Maybe.” It cuts right through you, lodging itself deep with intent. And then you just have to nod, swallow the scream clawing at your throat. He murmurs one more apology before his feet carry him away, and you watch, forlorn as you burn his frame into your memory, as your whole world walks out the door.
the grishaverse characters sexualities in my opinion
alina-bi with a preference for men. you can’t tell me that nothing was happening between her and genya
mal-straight. was a little homophobic that sometimes ur like is he fruity. has now come to terms with his wife’s sexuality
darkling-honestly to be determined. may be pan. idk. definitely aromantic. alina was the closet thing he got to love but he just doesn’t feel it
zoya-straight. as much as I wish she wasn’t she just doesn’t have the fruity vibes
nikolai-definitely a bisexual you can’t tell me he didn’t have a thing for his childhood best friend in kos because i won’t believe you
genya-a lesbian. look david is the exception, he is her soulmate but besides that this girl is 100% gay or maybe that’s just me wishing she was but it’s fine
tomar-non-binary and a lesbian. maybe uses she/they but could be they/them
toyla-aroace, bisexual and uses he/they.
david-he’s straight but a great ally. when you come out to him he would not blink twice. our unbothered king. i miss him
kaz-pan but let’s be honest he will only ever have eyes for inej. he lowkey thought jesper was hot but nothing more.
inej-also pan. has never had time to explore her sexuality with all genders. even if she never dates or hooks up with a women she is still pan.
jesper-our double bi-con. both biracial and bisexual. he likes both and is not afraid to admit it. definitely very flirty. and we all know he had a huge crush on kaz
nina-our other bi-con. but waffles over people any day. inej made her blush once in a very non straight way.
mathias-straight but just like he had to unlearn that grisha were inhuman, and women were weak, he had to unlearn that same sex couples are wrong. and now is super supportive
wylan-he’s a twink and we all know it. he’s so gay it hurts. honestly it shocks me that daddy van eck cared more about his dyslexia then his sexuality. also it’s not surprising, if i was a guy i’d be in love with jesper too.
Did Lilac make out with Bryce while they were watching Ethan and Naveen treat that patient in chapter 3 (or 2 I cant remember😂)? And if yes did she ever tell Ethan 👀
She did make out with Bryce in the observation deck, lol.
Ethan breaks the kiss, a rush of satisfaction coursing through him when she hums in protest.
“Might I remind you we’re still at work, Dr. Allende,” he says in his best scolding tone. Instead, his voice sounds hoarse, laden with the need to kiss her again. “And in the middle of a hallway, no less.”
“You’re such a prude,” she teases with a small laugh.
This statement is laughably inaccurate, particularly when Ethan has to make the conscious effort to move his hands up to the small of her back.
“But if you’re that worried about an audience, there’s an empty OR nearby. Observation decks are an excellent make-out spot. And a step up from supply closets.”
Ethan pulls his chin back to give her the ghost of a smile. “Know this from experience?”
“You do know there are cameras in there?”
Her eyes widen almost comically, cheeks shining bright. “There...are?”
Ethan nods solemnly, fighting the urge to laugh.
“For all his swagger, Lahela really has lackluster moves. Pretending to fall so you'd end up on to of him? Sloppy.”
Lilac seems to recover, blinking away her shock in rapid succession.
“And the long game you played was any better?”
He summons the lopsided smirk that affects her so much, leaning in to whisper, “Last time I checked, you married me. So I'd say it worked just fine.”
Note: This was so short but I started typing a reply to the ask and decided that it’s be better in fic form lol
"Shadow and Bone" is a story about the Chosen One. "Six of Crows" is a story about people who demanded something of the world even though they had been anything but chosen.
Similarly, Mal and Alina's story is all about destiny, meant-to-be, written-in-the-stars kind of love. Kaz and Inej don't have any of it. There is no grand destiny. They chose each other. Their love is anything but easy. They have their traumas, their demons, "skeletons in both their closets plot hard to mess it up". But they fight. They try. They want to overcome whatever keeps them apart.
And that's exactly how I perceive love. I don't believe in destiny. I believe in choosing each other.
How do people justify Leigh writing the crows and the Nikolai duology? I say the duology because it came after tgt which people write that off as because it was early work/writing. How can you reconcile that she wrote something so praised and went on to write nikolais story? You can’t say she doesn’t understand what she is doing. You can certainly hate the direction she takes things but it’s weird to me how people lay down their lives for soc and in the same breath say she doesn’t know how story works. I guess what I’m trying to ask is what did she do that is so right with soc that she didn’t elsewhere? If she doesn’t understand story, something fundamental, wouldn’t all her works carry these messes? (I hope this doesn’t come off accusatory I’m just fascinated by these discussions and in particular how I never see any criticism of soc in fact it’s universally praised as peak excellence while tgt + nikolais story gets shredded)
I'm actually trying to answer asks so here we go.
This is a great question anon! What DOES make the six of Crows duology so much better than Leigh's other work in the Grishaverse? How could she go from the Crows duology (a tightly written, interesting, character driven fantasy) to the Nikolai duology (which, while I haven't read it, seems like a mess when it comes to character, world building and plot).
I think Six of Crows succeeds precisely because its a very contained story. Bigger does not always equal better. Sometimes bigger means giving yourself too many toys to play with and it can be overwhelming. Smaller means that you can take more time to reaaallly dig into the material you have.
There are three things that Six of Crows does right that the other books don't:
1. A magic system with limits. The Grishaverse is playing with a lot of world building powers. Six of Crows, on the other hand, doesn't. Only a couple of it's characters are Grisha and even then, only Nina was trained as a Grisha. This means most of our characters can't pull a magic deus ex machina out of nowhere and they aren't OP. The only thing that DOES make them OP is Jurda Parem, which has its own problem of being highly addictive and does a number on Nina. There are some problems with the world if you have read the other Grishaverse books (like human amplifiers suddenly being super common), but over all she keeps the magic system simple and doesn't have it cheapen the plot.
2. Character driven. The characters are at the heart of Six of Crows. The heist is important, yes, but its all about the characters and their relationships. The plot is small stuff compared to the Grishaverse. There we're dealing with war and world bending conflicts. Not a bunch of crazy kids trying to make money and survive. And that means we can focus more on individual arcs and such. Also, because of this:
3. Moral ambiguity. Because there's more room for character arcs, we also have more room for moral ambiguity. Characters are allowed to be selfish. They're allowed to do bad things. And the books aren't trying to convey some MORAL lesson. No one is coming out of the closet with a broom to shame us from liking Kaz because the text frames him as one of the protagonists (even if he's not heroic). The grisha trilogy, on the other hand, gets very stuck in the archetypal roles it assigns the characters. Alina is the hero. Aleksander is the villain. Characters' moralities are decided by whether or not they side with the "good guys" or "bad guys". There is no such dichotomy in Six of Crows. There are neutral people, bad people and worse people.
I honestly am amazed the series were written by the same woman. I think she grew since the first trilogy for sure. But then how did she go back and write the Nikolai duology if she improved so much? Simple. Because instead of telling her own story with the Nikolai duology, she set out to try to "fix" the problems with the original. Only she was fixing the wrong problems and retconning material from the book rather than just moving on. The Nikolai Duology is weighed down by the problems of the original trilogy while Six of Crows is allowed to be its own thing.
That said, Six of Crows has problems. Leigh cheats on POV a lot. In order to mislead the audience she'll hold back info that the POV character would FOR SURE know because she needs to get her twist. She's also sometimes a little too explicit about what the characters are feeling. As if she is afraid of us interpreting it "wrong" so she has to spell it out extremely clearly.
But these are the types of problems I can ignore well enough. Six of Crows is kind of a diamond in the rough for me. But it all warrants discussion.