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#also please note that there are many things changed for the show
sang-woos · 2 hours ago
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friday evenings - cho sang-woo
word count; 7k cw; smut, sub!sang-woo, oral (m recieving), dirty talk, use of sex toys, choking, begging, ruined orgasms, vague mention of daddy kink, clothed sex. authors note; feedback is appreciated so please please give it! thank you so much! also tagging @xiernia as requested!
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“Back again?”
“Can’t stay away from you, can I?” Sang-woo said with a smile as he sat himself down on one of the many bar stools.
“The usual?” you asked, already going to pour him a whiskey just as he liked it. Sang-woo had been visiting the bar that you worked in for the last few months, a weekly trip on a Friday night to calm his nerves after a testing working week. “So, what’s stressed you out so much today that you’ve come back here? This is becoming a little bit of a routine.”
“The usual work. I’d rather not talk about my problems when all I'm trying to do is relax after a stressful shift,” he answered, handing you some money.
You already knew that you could keep the change, he didn’t even need to tell you anymore. The two of you had fallen into a casual friendship, he only ever spoke to you when he was at the bar and it's almost as if he knew what shift patterns you worked. You weren't going to lie - there was nothing better than getting ready on an early Friday evening knowing that you were going to see your favourite customer at some point throughout the night. Sang-woo always tipped well plus he was a delight to look at compared to the rest of the drunken idiots that stayed there drinking cheap lager right until the last minute.
“Want to talk about how pretty my new skirt is?” you asked with a smirk, doing a twirl to show Sang-woo the skirt you had purchased with him in the mind. It was a short black skirt that you had got the day before, dirty thoughts in your mind whilst paying for it at the till with the tips that Sang-woo had given you the previous week. You had spent a solid fifteen minutes admiring yourself in the mirror before your shift and wondered what Sang-woo would say, or do, when he saw you in the outfit. “Do I look like a dirty girl?” you added mischievously.
Sexual flirting had become routine between the two of you. Although the friendship had started off as normal, him giving you advice and you helping him relax with endless amounts of booze, it had soon turned into more. Neither one of you acted upon the feelings though, just odd comments throughout the night and quick glances which told you everything that you needed to know about the handsome gentleman.
“Watch your mouth,” he muttered, a hint of humour there however. He nodded towards the new barmaid who was still being trained up by your boss, she was a nice enough girl but you hadn’t conversed with her enough to know much about her. “Who’s that new barmaid?”
“Don’t ask about her when you are sitting across from me. She’s nice though, that’s all you need to know. Don’t be going and giving my tips to her.”
Sang-woo chuckled and shook his head. He reached down into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette. “Why would I do such a thing?” he asked, looking up at you through his eyelashes as he lit his cigarette in one quick movement.
“Maybe you want to fuck her.”
Sang-woo watched as you turned your back to him and grabbed the bottle of Whiskey, getting ready to pour him the next drink. Luckily, it was quiet for a Friday night so you were able to keep all your attention on him and only him.
“No, I don’t. I have my eyes on someone else.”
“Anyone in particular?”
“Nobody that concerns you,” he answered, saddening you slightly even though you knew what he was saying. This is how it had always been, mysterious comments that had you wondering if you were making all of this up in your head. You were fairly positive that Sang-woo wanted you in whichever way he could have you and you knew for a fact that you wanted him more than you had wanted anybody else in your whole entire life. There was just something about him that you couldn’t quite understand. “What time did you start?”
“Six, I'm on the late shift tonight. Been looking for other jobs like you suggested but no-one wants me, my qualifications just aren’t as good as everybody else's and all my CV shows is bar work so it’s not as if they are going to give me a well-paying job straight away.”
“You need to get some work experience somewhere and maybe go back to school. The place where I work is taking on summer interns if you’re interested in that sort of stuff.”
“You’re only saying that so you can stare at me all day.” You filled Sang-woo’s glass back up to the top and held out your hand, silently asking for the money. Sang-woo smiled with the cigarette dangling from his lips as he handed you another note. “Don’t deny your attraction, Sang-woo.”
“Attraction? You seem so confident,.”
You scoffed and stuffed the rest of the money into your pocket. Sang-woo was stubbing out the cigarette into the ashtray and watching you closely as he waited for your next response. “Your desire is blatantly obvious so don’t try and deny it.”
Before Sang-woo could fire back with another comment, a customer waved you down and shouted over his order. You looked back at Sang-woo and sighed, you really did hate your job most of the time. It sucked when other people came and interrupted your time with Sang-woo - he was entertaining and made your shift go quick and his sexual comments were not slimy and disgusting when they came from him. It was the elders that were the worst for making you feel overly sexualised in your job - the typical joke about the head of a beer something you heard multiple times a shift. With Sang-woo, it was different. He set you alight with his words.
“Are you going to serve him?” Sang-woo asked, slightly amused by your clear annoyance with having to leave him, even if it was only for a mere five minutes.
“Much rather serve you.”
“Sure you would, darling.”
---
“Another whiskey?” you asked.
Serving one customer had turned into serving another ten. It seemed that everyone finished work at the same time and that they all had the same idea. You had spent the last half an hour having to converse with other customers, none of them as exciting as Sang-woo. The whole time, your eyes had flickered back to him and watched as he scrolled through his phone and patiently waited for you to return. He had been nursing the same glass of Whiskey since you had left so he wouldn’t have to give his money to anyone else other than you. You found it rather sweet of him.
“Please,” he said as he side-eyed a group of young men who were being obnoxiously loud. “Think this will be my last one and then I'm going to go home and hit the sack. It’s been a long day and is there anything better than climbing into a big bed after all the stress of the working day?”
“Must be lonely.”
“Can be,” he said as he handed you some more money for the third time this night. “Maybe I need to find someone to keep me company.”
“What about that girl you had your eye on, hmm?” you asked teasingly.
You had decided that you wanted Sang-woo tonight. You were sick of going home on a Friday night and having to use your own fingers to get yourself off whilst thinking of Sang-woo when you could be coming because of him, because of his fingers and because of his cock.
“She’s working tonight, sure she will be too busy to keep me entertained.”
“What job does she do?”
“She’s a barmaid, has the charisma to go further than that though. I’m thinking about encouraging her to join my company as an intern.”
You turned around and smiled widely to yourself, you had gotten further with him in the last five minutes than you had done since he had first entered the pub and you couldn’t help but feel excited at the thought of what was going to happen when your shift was over and you were laid on his bed.
“Is she pretty?”
“She’s beautiful.”
“Tell me more.”
You turned around and looked at Sang-woo, taking note of the way he shifted around in his chair as if he was trying to hide something. You walked over to him and leaned across the bar, resting your chin on the palm of your hand as you looked at him with innocent eyes. You needed an ego boost, especially from someone like Sang-woo.
It was with this closeness that you could truly take in his beauty. There was no denying the fact that he was a handsome older gentleman who reeked of sophistication and money. He had told you all about his job and the things that he had done within his company and although a lot of it made no sense to you and went in one ear and out the other, you still paid attention. Sang-woo was always dressed so smart too, his suits clearly expensive and tailored perfectly to his body. And his hair, you desperately wanted to run your fingers through his hair whilst his hand was in between your thighs.
“Nothing to tell other than she’s the prettiest thing I’ve seen in a long time. She has legs for days, hair that’s begging to be wrapped around my hand and let’s not even get onto the topic of her ass because I think I'd be sitting here all night telling you why I think it’s the best thing in the world.”
You chuckled lowly at his words, every sentence he spoke going straight in between your legs. A part of you hated how calm and collected Sang-woo looked, almost as if there was no emotion there. You were positive that it was another story underneath the bar though and all you could picture was his hardening cock desperate to have some release - whether that be in your mouth, on your face or inside of you. You would let Sang-woo use your body however he wanted too.
“Anyone would think that you were desperate to have me sit on your face, Sang-woo?”
With a huff, Sang-woo pulled away slightly from the closeness before placing his hand on top of yours. “I wouldn’t say desperate.”
“That’s a lie,” you said quietly so no-one else could overhear the conversation. You tilted your head to the side slightly and gave him a small smirk, teasing him in the most subtle of ways.“I can see it in your eyes, you want me more than you have wanted anyone. I’ve noticed the way that you look at me from across the bar, how you always come to me instead of the other bartenders. Just tell me that you want to fuck me…” you trailed off and removed your hand from his grip, only to move it slowly up his arm in a teasing manner. “Don’t tell me actually, ask me.”
“What makes you so confident that I want any of this, hey? You think because I enjoy your company whilst I have a drink, it means that i want to take you home and fuck you?”
Of course it did, Sang-woo was just messing with you. His lips were threatening to turn into a smirk but he managed to keep himself calm and composed, you hated that, hated it more than you had hated anything in your life. You wanted him to be in a frenzy like you were, wanted him to be desperate for any sort of touch underneath the clothing that he wore. You wanted him begging and desperate, teach him a lesson for all the teasing that he had thrown at you over the last few months.
“It’s the way you look at me, the way you lick your lips. You don’t even realise how desperate you look for me, out here looking like a puppy dog whenever I’m around. Everyone notices how you behave around me, Sang-woo…”
It was true. One of the other bartenders had made a comment about yourself and Sang-woo and the clear feelings there were between the two of you. You hadn’t noticed them yourself until your friend pointed them out and commented on the fact that Sang-woo would always be glancing over at you and checking you out, making sure that you were safe whenever a sports related fight broke out between a bunch of ridiculous drunken men.
“If it’s like this then shall we talk about the fact that you blatantly want me too?” Sang-woo removed himself from you completely and leaned back on the bar stool. You stood yourself up straight and watched him closely, awaiting his next comment that would have you weak at the knees. “I mean, your skirts have gone shorter since i’ve started paying attention to you and you just love to accidentally drop something right in front of me, don’t you? If anyone is desperate then it’s you.”
“Sang-woo. Do you want to fuck me, yes or no? It’s a pretty simple answer, don’t you think?”
“I’d fuck you right now in front of all these people if it meant I got to have your wet pussy wrapped around my cock.”
You took a deep breath and ignored the feeling that was rushing through all of your veins and straight into your bloodstream. You felt high on him, almost like a teenage girl who had just received her first kiss from her new boyfriend. No man had ever made you feel like this simply from his words so you could only imagine what fucking him would feel like but then of course, you remembered your intentions. As much as you wanted to be fucked by him roughly, it didn’t change the fact that you wanted him exactly how you had always wanted.
“I get the feeling that you think I'm going to submit to your every desire?”
“Are you not?”
“Oh, i’ll give you what you want but don’t think you’ll get away with it Sang-woo. I’ll have you handcuffed and blindfolded to your bed and begging me to let you cum if I really wanted to.” You leaned back down across the bar into the same position you were in before, this time dominance clear in your eyes. Sang-woo seemed taken back by your comments but not repulsed, if anything intrigued. It had been a long time since he had been at the mercy of another woman in the bedroom and he swore he would never do it again but with you, God he would do it every night. “I know you want to fuck me and you want to be in control but come on, let me take charge. I can see how stressed out you can get and don’t you think the thought of being handcuffed and me on top of you isn’t the best thing ever?”
“You will never have control over me, is that - “
“I will and frankly, I already do.” You glanced around the bar, suddenly grateful for the horrendous singing of some elderly drunk folk as it silenced yours and Sang-woo’s conversation from every-one else. You didn’t really want your manager to find out about the filthy conversations you were having on the floor, nor the fact that you were wetter than you had ever been in your life because of one of the customers. “i know for a fact that your cock is hard as fuck right now and probably leaking. Do you want me to suck your cock, Sang-woo?”
“Yes.”
Leaning closer to him, you began to whisper in his ear, your breath warm on his skin. “Do you want me to do it whilst you're handcuffed and unable to touch me?”
“Yes.”
“Do you want me to tease you until you’re begging me to let you cum? Suck your cock nice and slow and bring you to the edge over and over and over again until you're just about bursting at the seams?”
“Stop - “
“Answer my question, Sang-woo.”
“You already know the answer.”
“Say it,” you said more forcefully, turning your head so you were looking at him directly in the eyes. You had him exactly where you wanted him.
“Yes.”
“Yes what?”
Sang-woo took a deep breath. “I want you to suck my cock until I’m begging you to let me cum.”
“That wasn’t too hard, was it?” you giggled to yourself as you stood up straight and grabbed the bottle of Whiskey from the other side of the bar. Sang-woo looked shell shocked as he watched you move around so effortlessly and without any thought, almost acting as if you had just not whispered filth in his ear. “My shift finishes soon so wait here and when I’m done, I'll help you relax better than that whiskey ever will. Understood?”
“Understood.”
+++
The walk back to your house with Sang-woo had been pleasant enough. The two of you had engaged in small conversation, mostly about work and things they liked to do outside of working but nothing more when it came to the sexaul conversations you had both been engaged in earlier.
You found that Sang-woo was more relaxed when the two of you were alone. He had held your hand the whole walk home and rubbed his thumb across your skin to soothe you when he noticed that you were getting stressed out at the mention of some drunken man who had made a fool of himself and you had been left to deal with the cleaning up of his sick.
“It was kind of gross,” Sang-woo said with a chuckle as the two of you walked peacefully.
“Gross? It was absolutely rancid, Sang-woo. This is why I don't like my job. I shouldn’t have to clean up after people who don’t know where the toilets are.”
“But if you didn’t have this job, you wouldn’t have met me.” Sang-woo looked down at you as he spoke and he took note of the blush on your cheeks at his words, a small smile appearing on his face.
“That’s true, suppose you are the silver lining to it all. However, it doesn’t change the fact that I want something more for myself.”
“And you shall have more, don’t doubt yourself.”
You hummed at his words before taking a deep breath. “Let’s stop talking about the fact that my life is a disaster.”
“Don’t be a drama queen.”
“Shut up,” you responded with a smile. “Welcome to my house anyways,” you said as you opened the door for Sang-woo to step into. “It’s not the best but it's okay for the price of rent and it’s close to work so can I really complain?”
“I think it’s nice.”
“You’re just saying that to be kind. I bet you live in a nice big apartment, don’t you? That overlooks the city and looks really lovely at night time,” you said, moving yourself effortlessly around his body as you grabbed two glasses from the cupboard and a cheap bottle of rose wine that you had picked up the day before. “This is a hostel compared to where you live.”
“No, I disagree. A big apartment or house always seems like a great idea until you actually move into it and then you realise just how lonely it can actually be. Plus, this has character. Mine looks like it belongs in the middle of a showroom.”
You handed Sang-woo the glass of wine that you had poured for him and moved towards the bedroom, grabbing his hand with your spare one. “I think if i had to choose between living here and living somewhere nice and expensive, I’d choose somewhere nice and expensive.” You paused and twirled around until you were facing Sang-woo, your spare hand now pressed against his chest as you took a sip of your wine. “Although, I’d be happy anywhere as long as there was a bed with you handcuffed to it.”
Sang-woo chuckled and took a large gulp of the wine, he was going to need all the alcohol he could get to deal with you. “You really want me all to yourself, don’t you?”
“I want to tease the fuck out of you until you are obbessed with me and want me every day.”
“Don’t need to handcuff me to do that.”
“Well, I still want to see you beg for me repeatedly, is that a crime?” you asked as you sat down at the bottom of the bed, now looking up at Sang-woo through your eyelashes, the height difference between the two of you was nothing more but a huge turn on.
“No, just not something I don't usually do when I’m sleeping with other women. I’m the one that’s usually in charge and takes control of the matters. I don’t let just anybody use my body for their pleasure, you know?”
“You can say no if you want too.”
“I want you too, badly. It’s just something that I’m not used to but it doesn’t mean I'm not willing to give it a go. It also means that I am not going to give up easily though. “
“Well get used to it darling because when i’m around, I’m in charge.”
You placed the now empty glass of wine onto the floor before turning yourself over onto your hands and knees. Slowly, you moved yourself up the bed, proud of your skirt for complying as it moved upwards, showing your ass to Sang-woo.
“You’re killing me,” he whispered as he stood at the end of the bed. He moved his hand down to his clothed cock and began to move over it slowly to release some tension as he continued to watch you put on a show for him. In your eyes, he looked absolutely unreal with a glass of wine in one hand and his other hand on his cock, all whilst being stood at the end of your bed with a suit that made him extremely fuckable.
“Look what I have,” you said as you moved yourself on your back, a pair of handcuffs dangling from your fingers. “Are you going to let me use them on you?”
“Come over here,” Sang-woo whispered as he crawled up the bed towards you, his now empty glass of wine discarded beside yours. “Gimme a kiss, think it’s the least I deserve.”
Giggling quietly to yourself, you sat up and wrapped your arms around Sang-woo's neck before pulling him down so that his body was fully laid across your smaller frame. The handcuffs laid beside your body as Sang-woo continued to assault your mouth with his own, not holding back in the slightest as he was finally able to kiss you after months of wanting and needing it. You moved your hand down to ruck up Sang-woo’s shirt, carelessly rubbing your hand across the toned, warm stomach, the skin on skin contact making you wonder how you managed to go so long without dragging him into your bed before. You cursed yourself for not allowing yourself to have him sooner, you were already obsessed with the way his skin felt on yours.
“Please take off your shirt,” you whispered against his mouth, making a pathetic attempt to undo the buttons with one hand. “I want to feel every inch of you against me.”
Shaking his head, Sang-woo moved back in for another kiss. “Tonight is about you and making you feel good and special.”
Tired of submitting to Sang-woo after your earlier discussion, you decided to put your plan into place and with every bit of strength that you had in your body, you rolled Sang-woo over until he was laid on his back and slightly dazzled. Even though your comments about him being submissive were a turn on, he hadn’t even expected you to go through with it but here he was, laid on his back with the most beautiful girl he had ever laid eyes on straddling his waist and the night had only just started for the two of you. The handcuffs fell from his mind as he moved his hands down to your waist, helping you to move up and down along his clothed cock.
With Sang-woo in complete and utter bliss at the feeling, you tried your hardest to suppress your own moans that were threatening to echo around the room. Instead, you grabbed hold of the handcuffs that had been discarded and then Sang-woo’s wrists. Still, he didn’t open his eyes as he was too focused on the pleasure of your clothed underwear rubbing against him and the stimulation that he had been craving for months until he felt the cold metal wrap around his skin and the look in his eyes was something you would not forget for a very long time. There was a mixture of excitement and fear, the unknown activities of what you was going to do to him know he had no option but to lay there and be used by you, excited him like nothing else ever had but God, he knew that he was in for a night of it just by the dominating look in your eye and the wide grin etched onto your face.
Leaning his head to the side as he admired your handy work, Sang-woo chuckled quietly. “That wasn’t a very nice thing to do, Y/N.”
You shrugged your shoulders casually and pressed a light kiss against his cheek, the smell of his aftershave invading your space. “You will come to learn that I am not a very nice person when it comes to getting what I want and I thought we had already established that I wanted you handcuffed to my bed so I could take full advantage of your cock?”
Releasing a deep breath, Sang-woo almost didn’t know how to respond to your comment. He was falling for you so hard. “I don’t think I will be a nice person either when you release me from these handcuffs.”
“I’m not complaining - “ your voice cracked as a long, beautiful moan left your lips, Sang-woo’s cock grinding against your core was sending you wild and you loathed the fact that despite it all, he still held some dominance within the relationship. Whether it be his cock grinding against your or the look in his eyes which told you that you were in for it when you did let him go.
“Handcuffed to the bed and I’ve still got you moaning and acting as if my cock is stuffed inside you. Aren’t I good?”
“Not for long, my lovely. Despite what you are currently thinking, it’ll be you that’s begging and moaning and desperate for your release by the time that i have finished with you. I’m not going to be fully satisfied until you're at my mercy, is that understood?”
Sang-woo threw his head back, fuck he didn’t know what he was going to do with you.
Gliding your hand down Sang-woo’s chest, you unbuttoned his work trousers slowly, your hand occasionally brushing over his hard cock until you were satisfied. You finished by pulling down on his underwear, just enough to get his erection free and then moved your body further down his until you were just straddling underneath Sang-woo’s knees, his cock on full display for you to admire for as long as you wanted too.
Sang-woo didn’t know if he was dreaming or if he had died and gone to heaven but the feeling of your mouth wrapped around the head of his cock had Sang-woo moaning loudly within seconds. It had been a while since a woman had been on his knees for him and he was positive that because it was you and the fact that he was handcuffed to the bed that everything felt so much better and intense than ever before.
It boosted your self-confidence when Sang-woo moaned and gave you the power to move your mouth further down his length until he was practically down your throat. One of your first thoughts was that Sang-woo’s moans and breathy whispers of your name sounded like a perfect melody created by the almighty God himself. The sound of metal clanking cut your thoughts short though as you looked up at Sang-woo through your eyelashes.
“Need to touch you,” he whispered, head falling back as you continued to skillfully move your mouth up and down his cock, working him up to a perfect speed. “Your mouth is so warm and wet, darling. Let me fuck it, please.”
Releasing his cock from your mouth, you placed your hand there instead and moved it up and down slowly, adding pressure every now and again that had Sang-woo bucking his hips up to get more friction. “No.” Was all you simply said, not allowing Sang-woo to get what he wanted. It was your chance to pleasure him and make him feel so good then he craved your mouth for the rest of time.
Your lips were darkened and wet with saliva and all Sang-woo wanted to do was pull you up and kiss you hard but the handcuffs above his head restricted him from doing anything - he cursed you for having strong, metal ones - at least with flimsy ones, he would be able to break them apart and flip you over so he could fuck you into the mattress.
Swirling your tongue around Sang-woo’s dick, you continued the action a few times and listened to the soft whimpers that left Sang-woo before finally engulfing his cock again. Your cheeks were hallowed as you bobbed up and down without mercy, keen to get Sang-woo to the edge just so you could ruin it, an action you wanted to do over and over again. You knew that it wouldn’t take Sang-woo long to reach his peak, the teasing that had been going on all night bringing him pleasure without even having to be touched but you weren't going to let him get away with it that easily, not even when you wanted nothing more but to taste his cum.
“Come on,” Sang-woo whispered, tugging at the handcuffs again. “Let me - “
Sang-woo was cut off by your sucking on the head of his cock, knowing full well that it would shut him up. You continued to work at his cock, using your hands when necessary and deep throating him enough to make you gag and splutter around his cock. Sang-woo soon decided that his favourite sight in the world was watching you have tears falling down your face with spit covering your mouth. It was only when Sang-woo began to tense up and his moans became needier and louder that you pulled away - ruining his first orgasm of the night.
“No,” he whispered with frustration and desperation. “You can’t do that to me, please.”
“Daddy's going to cry?” you asked with an overexaggerated pout on your lip. “Get over it Sang-woo, just the first of many tonight.”
“I need to cum,” he groaned, watching as you made yourself more comfortable on the bed. You were still straddling him but this time, you were removing your shirt so your breasts were on full display for Sang-woo. “So fucking beautiful…”
“Listen to me - “ you leaned down and grabbed Sang-woo’s chin so he was forced to look at you. “We will go at my speed, we will do this however I want and for as long as I want, is it starting to click in your brain yet that you won’t be in charge tonight?”
Leaning back, you moved your hand back down to Sang-woo’s cock and chuckled as he cried out in a mixture of pleasure and pain. You gripped your hand around and continued to apply pleasure to tease him, just like you had done before.
Sang-woo was ready to burst, the sexual frustration becoming too much but he allowed you to take over and have your wicked way with him. You thought you were winning and he believed it to be cute of you, you had no idea what you was letting yourself in for when he could finally fuck you like you had always desired.
“You’re in for it, you understand that?”
You chuckled lowly and shook your head, your hand continuing to move slowly up and down. “Maybe I should sit myself on your cock and use my vibrator to make myself come, you’d feel me come around your cock and you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.”
“Behave - “
“No, I won’t behave. Where is the fun in behaving when I could be doing this to you instead? Do you know how pretty you look right now with your flushed cheeks and messy hair? I want to take a photograph of you so I can touch myself for the rest of time whilst looking at it, looking at how stunning and fucked you look right now. So pretty…”
Sang-woo moaned out at your words, not once has he had a woman speak to him in such a way. There was something about your voice and the words that you spoke that went straight to his cock, making him harder than he thought was ever humanly possible. He was alight with your words alone so with your hand moving slowly and teasingly down your cock, he felt indescribable.
“Sit on my cock,” Sang-woo whispered, hips bucking much to your dismay. You placed your spare hand against his stomach and pushed him down, stopping his movements instantly. “Please, I need to feel you around me, please.”
Mockingly, you tilted your head to the side and turned your lips into a pout. “I’m not satisfied with your begging.”
Sang-woo wanted to die of embarrassment but the other part of him was so turned on, he would have done whatever you had wanted him to do at that moment. “Please ride my cock, it’s all i’ve been thinking about for months and I need it, i need it so fucking badly like you don’t understand. I just know that you’ll be the best fuck of my life so why don’t you prove me right, hey? Ride my cock like the good, filthy girl I know you are.”
You were infatuated but also conflicted. On one hand, you wanted to give Sang-woo what he wanted and ride his cock until he was crying out your name but the other part of you just wanted to continue to tease him for as long as he could take it.
“Tell me you deserve my pussy.”
“I deserve it,” he replied, heart racing as he watched you shuffle further up his body until his cock was lined up with your entrance. “Please,” he whispered, tongue licking his lips as he continued to watch you until you were hovered above his dick. “Ride my cock better than any other woman ever will or has.”
With a simple sentence like that, you lowered yourself down until Sang-woo’s cock was deep inside you. There was a loud gasp from the both of you. For Sang-woo, it was the feeling of having your warm, wet pussy wrapped around his cock after so long of fantasising about it every Friday night and for you, it was how big is cock was and how it fit inside you perfectly.
“Made to ride my cock,” Sang-woo said, hands once again tugging on the metal handcuffs that were keeping him in place. He couldn’t wait to get out of them and show you what a real fucking was, making you come until you had tears running down your face and you couldn’t take his cock anymore.
You took a moment for yourself to get used to the size of Sang-woo, it had been a while since you had been in this position with anyone but it wasn’t painful, more just uncomfortable. You tried to ignore the smirk that Sang-woo had on his face as you tried to adjust, the sneaky fucker was proud of himself. It was a known fact that he still held some of the dominance despite the position that he was currently in, a few words at the right time spoken by the right person would be enough to have you falling apart around him.
“Why don’t you move, hmm? I want you to feel how good my cock is around you, want you to make you come over and over again and cover me in - “
Sang-woo was cut off by the sudden movement of your hips and your small hand wrapping around his neck, a move neither of you had expected to do.
“Why don’t you shut that pretty mouth of yours before I gag it?” you asked him, tightening your hand slightly around his throat for effect. “I’ll ride your cock however I want to, whenever I want too and you will only come if I allow it, is that understood?”
Sang-woo nodded quickly although it didn’t change the fact that all he wanted to do was slam up into you and have you begging for him instead of the other way around. He could easily switch the positions, even with his hands cuffed together but he was going to allow you to have your fun, let you believe that you were in control for as long as you deemed fit.
You slowly began to move yourself along Sang-woo’s cock, loving the pleasure you were bringing yourself as well as Sang-woo. He looked like an angel as he tilted his head back and closed his eyes, soft moans slipping from his mouth with every move of your hips but with your small hand wrapped around his neck, he somehow managed to look even more beautiful.
You improved your pace until you were bouncing up and down on Sang-woo’s cock, your own back arching at the pleasure as you continued to drain every little bit out of him. You had abandoned the hand around Sang-woo’s neck (much to his dismay) and instead had laced your fingers through his hair, tugging everytime his cock reached the right place.
“Think i’m in love with your cock,” you whispered as you leant down and shared a kiss with Sang-woo, full of tongues and heavy breathing as you continued to allow pleasure to run through every nerve of your body. Sang-woo was a mess underneath you, his earlier ruined orgasms making everything seem one hundred percent more heightened. “Where do you want to come, Sang-woo?”
“On your face,” he answered, now not worried about disobeying whatever rules you had setin place as he lifted his hips up to meet your own thrusts, the two of you joining together at the same time only heightening the feelings that you were both experiencing. It was intense and hot and you loved every moment of it. “Let me cover your pretty face in cum.”
“You think you deserve that?”
“I do, been so well behaved for you. Please let me cover you in my cum, please.”
Ignoring Sang-woo for the moment, you chase your own orgasm. You slid your hand in between your legs and began circling your clit, your own sweet release getting closer and closer with every thrust of Sang-woo’s hips and your own fingers working wonders.
“I’m close,” you told him, head flying back as Sang-woo thrusted up harder into you, the perfect rhythm established that had you needing more and more. “Don’t you dare come Sang-woo, don’t you dare. If you cum then I’ll punish you, is that understood?”
Sang-woo nodded with gritted teeth as he watched you use his cock for your own pleasure, your orgasm soon occuring and it took every part of you not to fully submit to Sang-woo as you felt your orgasm rush through your body, your legs tensing and your pussy tightening around Sang-woo’s cock which only dared to trigger his orgasm.
You took a minute to compose yourself, unsure of what your next move would be but knowing that you wanted it to involve Sang-woo’s cum. You felt alive, every part of your body desperate for the feelings all over again. In the space of an hour, he had ruined your life and made you become obsessed with him, his body and his cock. Every part of him was perfect as you looked down at him, his cock still hard inside of you and desperate for a release.
“I’m going to release you from your handcuffs but you have to be kind to me, Sang-woo.”
Even though you didn’t really want to, you lifted yourself up off Sang-woo’s cock, the sight of your wetness and his pre-cum making him groan loudly. His cock was painfully hard and red, desperate for some sort of touch or release.
Sang-woo watched closely as you moved up his body, reluctantly undoing the handcuffs that had been keeping him in place. Sang-woo admired how naive you were to the whole situation.
You looked at him closely, waiting for his next move. You knew that Sang-woo would either stick by you or disobey everything that you had ever said, a part of you hoped for the latter just so you could be fucked nice and hard but you were enjoying the power that you had over him.
Sang-woo soothed his wrists before staring up at you - you were on your knees beside him, hair falling down past your face and flushed cheeks. “I’m not going to be nice to you.” Was all Sang-woo said before the positions had changed completely. Within a matter of seconds, Sang-woo had you on your back and your wrists pinned above your head.
“This wasn’t part of the rules,” you said as you struggled against Sang-woo.
“Tell me to stop and I’ll stop.”
You looked up at him with wide eyes. “I don’t want you to stop,” you admitted, eyes moving down to the handcuffs that Sang-woo held in his spare hand.
“Then shut up and behave yourself, think someone needs to learn a lesson on who's the boss around here.”
31 notes · View notes
queens-choice · a day ago
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Why Are You On A Dating App?
Scenario: “Why are you on a dating app?” “...Why were you looking?”
Reactions to the Boys + Shaw having you find their dating app profile
Gavin
Didn't know it existed until you showed it to him
Where did Minor get some of these pictures??
How long has this been up??
Is this what Eli was laughing about??
Did Minor set this up so he could flirt with you on his behalf??
Honestly he has so many questions 
Flustered by its existence 
He is more embarrassed about this than you are and you’re the one that found it 
Takes him a while to realize that you would have had to be on the app to find it
Switches the topic to why you were on a dating app
“I.. didn’t know that you were on that type of app..”
Asks to see your profile and goes over some of the things that you have on it 
“You know it’s a safety risk to put that much information out there”
Has already sent Minor several messages demanding that he delete the profile immediately 
Resolves to never have this brought up again and to beat Minor’s ass later 
Kiro
Please don't tell Savin
“Everyone thinks its a fake account Miss Chips”
Made it once as a joke and forgot about it until Miss Chips matched with his profile 
That was a shocking notification 
“Miss Chips what are you doing on a dating app??”
Please don’t tell Savin - Savin will kill him if he finds out that he is on a dating app
flashbacks to the lecture on “all of these fake profiles are a risk to your image! Kiro!”
Admits that it’s real to you when you show him the “shockingly accurate” dating profile you had found online
The two of you wind up going through the app and laughing at some of the profiles you find
You also have fun reading some of the messages on his dating profile 
He does delete it after the two of you are done reading messages and looking at the different profiles on there 
“Can’t have anyone finding out it’s real Miss Chips”
Won’t admit its because he no longer has any need for it 
Victor
Goldman 110% set this up for him
Maybe if the boss gets some he won’t be so testy at work maybe he will let him leave so he can go on his own date
There is way that he would set up one for himself
The CEO of LFG does not have any interest in spending time on a. dating app when there are so many other things he could do with his time
Gets mad at you for wasting time on the dating app - does not answer why he is on one
Will not admit he didn’t know it existed 
Goldman you are toast
Does not know how to delete it 
Lets you show him the profile that was created and makes internal corrections on parts that are wrong
Is mildly surprised that Goldman knows him so well
“I’m surprised you have time to waste on this app when your last report needed all that extra time”
Considers buying out the app’s company to get the entire thing shut down 
Never brings up the app again, and ignores any attempt you make to do so
Lucien
Made one for a social experiment once 
Wanted to test the attraction people had without being able to meet each other 
Wrote a successful research paper about his findings 
Never took it down because he forgot about it once the experiment was over 
Was surprised when you confronted him about having one after one of his lectures
Calmly explains why he has one and that he forgot it existed 
Flusters the absolute hell out of you asking why you knew he had one
Goes over his entire profile with you to watch your reactions 
He also takes note of your reaction to all of the unread messages he has on his profile 
“What do you think of this picture? ....that bad? I guess I will have to change it”
Takes note of what flusters you more and if he coincidentally happens to wear that outfit the next time you see him then its just a matter of pure chance
By the end of it you’ve decided to delete your profile for reasons your rent completely sure of 
Shaw
Grad school life is tough and the man has needs
At least that’s the excuse he gives you
Hasn’t been on the app since he met you but it isn't like he’s going to tell you that
Can’t believe that you found his profile - he was sure he had deleted it
Immediately teases you about having a profile on the dating app
Asks you what you are doing on the app
“Tch - I can’t believe you matched with me” 
Secretly pleased that you had matched with him even if he doesn't use the app anymore 
Nearly shorts out the phone when he sees some of the pictures you’ve put on your profile 
“I can’t believe you would put something like that for everyone to see”
It’s nothing scandalous he just can’t handle his emotions or the fact that you have a dating profile
Does his best to distract you from the subject - for once you aren’t falling for it
Eventually admits that he doesn't use it much anymore
“I’m a little busy to be on there constantly. Some of us have a life” 
39 notes · View notes
writingwithcolor · 12 months ago
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Naming a South Asian Character
“I need a name for a South Asian character”
We’re going to need a little more information than that…
Please see the following maps of South Asia:
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Image description: Two maps of South Asia. The top map depicts the South Asian region, including Afghanistan with color-coding of different regions by 8 color-coded language groups. The bottom depicts the official state/ province/ languages and scripts for countries in the South Asian region, excluding Afghanistan. See end of post for detailed image description under the cut.
(Links: Top Map, Bottom Map)
That’s a lot of languages, right?
Names in South Asian cultures are primarily dictated by religion and language. While there’s some overlap between cultures, we can make an educated guess of someone’s ethnicity & religion based on their name. For example:
Simran Dhillon … is a Punjabi Sikh.
Priyanka Ghosh … is a Bengali Hindu
Maya Srinivasan … is a Tamilian Hindu.
Harsh Patel … is a Gujarati Hindu.
Amin Usmani … is a Muslim from a traditionally Urdu speaking community.
Teresa Fernandes … is a Goan Christian.
Behind the Name is a good place to start looking as they state the specific language the name is from. As for religion, there are more factors to consider.
Sikhs
Sikh first names are gender neutral. The 10th Sikh guru designated Singh (meaning lion, for men) and Kaur (meaning heir to the throne, for women) as Sikh surnames. These surnames were designed to be equalizers within Sikh communities. However, many Sikhs keep their Punjabi surnames (many of these surnames are now primarily associated with Sikhs) and use Singh and Kaur as a middle name (eg. Ranjit Kaur Shergill, Amrit Singh Cheema). More devout Sikhs use only Singh and Kaur or use the same format legally but do not share their surnames.
Sikh first names are derived from gurbani (Sikh holy texts), so they are often uniform across cultures. Most Sikhs who aren’t Punjabi use Singh & Kaur or cultural surnames in the same format. The latter is usually seen among Afghan & Delhiite Sikh communities. While most changed their surnames to Singh & Kaur, some families still kept the surnames they had before they converted from Islam and Hinduism (eg. Harpreet Singh Laghmani, Jasleen Kaur Kapoor).
If you’re stuck on a surname for a Sikh character, Singh for men and Kaur for women is the safest way to go regardless of ethnicity.
Good resources for Sikh names can be found here:
https://www.sikhs.org/names.htm
http://www.sikhwomen.com/SikhNames/ 
Christians
South Asian Christians naming conventions depend largely on who brought Christianity to the region and when. For example, Christianity was largely brought to Goa by Portuguese Catholics so you’ll see Portuguese surnames, while many Christians in the Seven Sister States didn’t change their names. South Asian Christians will also often have Christian first names, either in Portuguese or in English.
Hindus, Jains, castes and gotras
Hinduism is the majority religion in India and the South Asian region overall. A key thing that many newcomers overlook when writing about Hindus is that rather like feudal Europe, a person’s last name can also tell you what their family used to do because of the caste system. Both Hindus and Jains employ gotras (or lineage systems) designed to keep people from the same patrilineal line from marrying each other. Thus, if your Hindu character is a Vaishya (tradesman/ merchant class), but you have chosen a last name for them related to farming, or if your Kshatriya (warrior) character has a last name that means bureaucrat, you’ve made a mistake. Most Hindus and Jains will have last names derived from Sanskrit, or a language with Sanskrit roots.
A note on middle names: in South India, Hindus will often use the father’s first name for the child’s middle name.
For what it is worth, South Asia is hardly the only region to have these particular features. Japanese society until the end of the Edo era was heavily segregated by caste, and to this day, many families with samurai last names occupy relative positions of privilege compared to other castes, even though the Japanese caste system ended with the Meiji Restoration. 
A note of caution: Baby name websites tend to be inaccurate for Hindu names, often confusing Farsi and Arabic-derived Urdu names with the more traditional Sanskrit-derived names. Behind the Name is by far the most accurate website, but it doesn’t hurt to check multiple sources. For Hindu and Jain surnames associated with different castes, regions and gotras, Wikipedia is surprisingly thorough.
Muslims
Islam is the majority religion in Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as the second largest religion in India, but the differing ethnicities and arrival periods of Muslims in South Asia over the course of history can have a significant impact on a character’s name. For example,  think of when your character’s family will have arrived in South Asia or converted to Islam:
During the Delhi Sultanate, when Hindustani would have been spoken? 
Under the Mughals when Persian was more common? 
Are they from Bangladesh and thus speak Bengali? 
Do they have ancestors from Afghanistan or Swat Valley, and thus have Pashto last names? 
Does the family speak Urdu? 
All of these will impact what their name might reasonably be. As a general rule, Muslims will have last names that are in Farsi/ Persian, Urdu, Arabic and Bengali. Bangladeshi Muslims may have Hindu names (both first and last) as well.
Buddhists
When discussing Buddhists in South Asia, we are primarily talking about Nepal and Sri Lanka. The majority languages in these countries are Nepali and Sinhala, respectively. Both languages are part of the Indo-Aryan language family, and like many Indo-Aryan languages, show heavy Sanskrit influence.
Others
Don’t forget that India also has a large number of lesser known minority religions, including Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Tibetan Buddhism and a host of indigenous religions. 
Judaism: There are a number of historical Jewish enclaves in India, as the result of specific waves of migration. Like South Asian Muslim names, Jewish last names will vary depending on the ethnicity and arrival period for each particular wave of Jewish diaspora. 
Zoroastrianism: People who practice Zoroastrianism are likely to have Farsi last names. 
Tibetan Buddhism: Tibetan Buddhists will obviously have Tibetan names and are often a part of the Tibetan diaspora who entered India as refugees during the Chinese government’s invasion of Tibet.
In Conclusion
An in-depth coverage of name etymology in South Asia would probably be the size of an encyclopaedia. The above is hardly exhaustive; we haven’t scratched the surface of the ethnic and linguistic variations in any of the South Asian countries displayed on the maps above. We hope, however, that it motivates you to research carefully and appreciate the cultural diversity South Asia has to offer. Just like in any setting where issues of lineage are plainly displayed by a person’s name, names in South Asia tell stories about where a person is from, what language they speak, and what their ancestors might have done, even if this has little bearing on the character themselves. It may seem a little elaborate to try and imagine the ancestors of your character before you even decide who your character is, but the reality is that most South Asians know these things instinctively, and whether or not you do your due diligence will be part of how we judge your work. 
Name a thing to fight over, and South Asians have probably fought over it at one point or another, whether it be religion, ethnicity, language, or caste. However, one thing many South Asians have in common is pride in our individual origins. Respecting this love of identity will be invaluable as you plan your story.
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for actually talking to people who share your character’s background. We will always recommend having someone from the community you’re writing about check your naming.
-- Mods SK and Marika
Follow up
A disclaimer for our Desi followers
Detailed image description: 2 maps of South Asia: The top map shows South Asia including the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Different colors show regions associated with 8 language categories. The language families by color are:
Indo-Aryan (Light green)
Iranian (dark green)
Nuristani (Yellow)
Dravidian (Blue)
Austro-Asiatic (Purple)
Tibeto-Burman (Orange)
Red (Turkic)
Unclassified/ Language Isolates (Grey)
Moving north to south, language distribution is roughly as follows:
Turkic at Afghanistan’s northern border
Tibeto-Burman at the northern borders of India, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Iranian for Afghanistan and the western half of Pakistan. 
Indo-Aryan for the eastern half of Pakistan, the northern half of India, the southern half of Nepal, and all of Bangladesh. 
Dravidian for the southern half of India and the northern portion of Sri Lanka, scattered clusters in central India, and an isolated region in south western Pakistan (Balochistan). 
Austro-Asiatic languages are clustered on the eastern side of central India and the Indian states of Meghalaya and Assam to the northeast. 
For Maldives island chain to the southwest of India: Dravidian language groups are spoken to the north, while Indo-Aryan groups are spoken to the south. 
For the Andaman and Nicobar island chains to the east of India in the Bay of Bengal, unclassified/ language isolates are spoken for the northern half, while Austro-Asiatic languages are spoken in the southern half. 
The bottom map shows South Asia, including the states, provinces and territories for Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, indicating the languages and scripts of major state/ provincial languages. From Northeast to Southwest, starting from the northernmost point,  they are as follows (Format: state or province, language(s), country):
Gilgit-Baltistan, Urdu, India and Pakistan (disputed territory)
Jammu and Kashmir/ Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Kashimiri, India and Pakistan (disputed territory)
Ladakh, Kashmiri, India
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pashto, Pakistan
Balochistan, Balochi, Pakistan
Punjab, Punjabi, Pakistan
Sindh, Sindhi, Pakistan
Himachal Pradesh, Hindi, India
Uttarakhand, Hindi, India
Punjab, Punjabi, India
Haryana, Hindi, India
Rajasthan, Hindi, India
Gujrat, Gujrati, India
Nepal (whole country), Nepali, Nepal
Uttar Pradesh, Hindi, India
Madhya Pradesh, Hindi, India
Maharashtra, Marathi, India
Goa, Konkani, India
Bihar, Hindi, India
Jharkhand, Hindi, India
Chhattisgarh, Hindi, India
Telangana, Telugu, India
Karnataka, Kannada, India
Sikkim, Nepali, India
West Bengal, Bengali, India
Odia, Odisha, India
Andhra Pradesh, Telugu, India
Tamil Nadu, Tamil, India
Kerala, Malayalam, India
Sri Lanka (whole country), Sinhala/Tamil, Sri Lanka,
Arunachal Pradesh, English, India
Assam, Assamese, India
Meghalaya, Khasi/Garo, India
Bangladesh (whole country), Bengali, Bangladesh
Nagaland, English, India
Mizopur, Mizo, India
Manipur, Meitei, India
Tripura, Bengali/ Kokborok/English, India
19K notes · View notes
opalesense · 6 months ago
Note
Dick headcanons for Kaeya, Diluc, Childe, and Zhongli? 👀
dick headcanons
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kaeya, diluc, childe, zhongli & gn!reader (NSFW)
1.1k words • ~9 min. read
warnings: cockwarming, blood mention, size difference, liyue arc spoilers
notes: SUPER delayed response (i’m so sorry) because i genuinely took a couple days to think about some fictional characters’ dicks??? i think it’s time to touch some grass?? ANYWAY i hope i did this request justice, i’ve never thought about this stuff in detail before :0
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kaeya
i’ve always imagined that kaeya really has some LENGTH. he’s slightly above average so it’s not monstrously large, but he can definitely hit your sweet spots with ease or no effort at all.
it’s to the point where he can easily make bulges in your throat or your stomach. he absolutely loves watching his entire length disappear inside you and will either tease you about how he fits inside so well or how he’s so big that he can’t fit in you. just depends, of course.
cockwarming!!!! especially if you take his entire length in so well, expect him to ask if he can bury himself in you when the opportunity presents itself.
not super related to the topic but he’s the type to “fake bang” you if you’re bent over just to tease you. also the type to discretely grind his bulge against you when he’s in the mood, whether you’re hugging, cooking a meal, or even in the middle of a conversation with someone. he will not hesitate to let you know he wants you by letting you feel how hard you make him.
i don’t think many people talk about this but i imagine he’s uncircumcised... it’s going to sound so stupid but the “always hiding something” characterization... i’ll stop talking, you probably get it now HAHA
very well groomed down there! he truly does care about appearances and cleanliness after all. you never have to worry about poor hygiene with him in general. even though he loves doing dirty things with you there’s no doubt that he will always keep his dick as clean as possible. (shouldn’t everyone, though?)
he loves feeling tightness around his cock. whether it’s your hand pumping him or his form fitting pants restricting his bulge, firm pressure against that area can make his heart race. sometimes he can just be so needy for his cock to get attention.
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diluc
despite being around average size he really has some girth on him! his cock is deliciously thick, that’s for sure.
twitchy! you can learn what he loves by the way his cock or his hips will twitch in excitement, almost as if it has a mind of its own. sometimes he can get so lost in the feeling and become speechless that those twitches would be your only indicator to keep doing what you’re doing.
his tip is so sensitive... if you lick that specific spot underneath his head or use your fingers to squeeze his tip, he will absolutely lose his mind. he also likes to shallow fuck you sometimes, loving the feeling of penetrating you over and over again.
that being said, expect him to usually take things slow and steady at first. he loves seeing the way his cock stretches you out, and especially loves seeing your hole gaping open to match his thickness. the feeling of pushing your walls apart because of how thick he is is always enough to make him weak at the knees.
he loves when you inflate his ego a little by using two hands to jerk him off rather than one. he especially loves when you use one hand to massage his balls, another sensitive spot of his. seeing you so eager and dedicated to please him will always send his heart pounding.
i like to imagine he has big, thick loads too to match his fat cock... he would definitely love dumping his cum inside you then letting it spill out so he can fuck it back inside again, penetrating you until your entrance is sore and covered in his load.
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childe
this man is packing. he’s huge. nothing anyone can say will change my mind. out of this entire boy band group, this man packs the most. even his in game model has been proven to have such a fat cock that his bulge can literally be seen from behind???
it can tear you apart! hell, maybe it could make you bleed if he’s a touch too rough with you. but we all know that’s secretly what he would love to see... his bloodthirst might extend to intercourse too.
despite this, of course he would make sure your comfortable with his size first and would adjust accordingly in normal circumstances. he’s aware of how big he is and doesn’t want to make you feel genuine pain. maybe in other circumstances where he needs to take out his frustrations, he might not be so considerate...
if you gently touch or lick the veins that travel on the underside of his cock he goes a little feral! his veins are his weakness, just imagine the shaky moans he lets out as you tease him by tracing your finger along those veins... god help me
i believe in size kink foul legacy childe supremacy... his cock is already above average in size when he’s his normal self, but when he transforms you often tremble in borderline fear wondering how he could fit inside you. it’s mind boggling how the size difference is humanly possible.
(un?)fortunately, he can’t keep this form up for very long but rest assured he loves seeing the look on your face when he fucks you silly on such a fat cock, even if it’s just for mere moments.
that being said, expect childe to be super cocky about his size. his ego swells whenever you swoon over how big he is and he’s definitely the type of person to use this to his advantage by teasing and pushing your buttons.
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zhongli
several sources have stated that rex lapis was able to change and alter his form freely... surely if zhongli could still do this even with his gnosis taken away, he would change his size to your preference if needed.
if you wanted his cock to rip you open, just say the word and he will do so accordingly. but if you’re feeling a little more mellow and wanted things to be gentle, he would gladly alter himself to be average size, or even smaller if you wanted.
but when i say he can alter his form, you best be sure that he can make it so he has two cocks at once. yes i believe in double cock zhongli supremacy... do with that information what you will.
since zhongli isn’t exactly human, his cock doesn’t exactly match that of a human’s either. in his most natural form without any changes being made, his cock is tougher and firmer than a normal human’s muscle. it doesn’t squish easy to the touch, but it’s not completely rock solid as you’d expect, which is quite ironic coming from a geo god.
you notice his veins on his cock, just like the rest of his body, are golden. they only actually show up when he’s reaching his climax where they’ll glow brighter if he’s getting closer to his orgasm. finally, with each pump of cum he lets out, these veins start pulsing with light until they eventually dim when he’s calming down from his high.
weird, huh?
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4K notes · View notes
witch-hazels-musings · 7 months ago
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different anon but i saw ur work of shy reader giving oral and ??!?!?@?#*' eyes sparkling, sheds tear, i love it. i was wondering if u could do reader in the receiving end? of diluc, childe & albedo. thank u very much bff. bonk horny jail time
^ so, someone asked for Diluc in another request - so I’ve switched him out for our lovely boy Kaeya ;) 
... Kaeya man, Kaeya 
Warning -> NOTSFW* (18+) (oral - character performs oral on FM reader), explicit
Includes: Childe, Albedo, Kaeya
Character x FM reader  |   Anthology List
Childe
Childe loves pleasing you this way - honestly, he loves pleasing you any and every way possible 
This though, offered him complete domination over you in ways nothing else did - he could get everything he wanted, and he loved to remind you of that 
Childe rested his arm against the wall and looked down at you, keeping your face lifted toward him with the help of his hand. He had been hinting at you all day that he was going to, ‘make you scream out his name,’ but he often made those threats. Today though, under the carnal gaze of his blue eyes, you knew he meant it. 
Your chest tightened at his proximity, and your eyes continued to shift between his lips, jaw, and neck. You were ready for whatever he was going to do to you, or so you thought. 
His lips crashed into you like waves against the shore and swept you away just as quickly.  His fingers captured themselves in your hair and you stood up on your tiptoes in order to gain back any ground. 
With ease, he lifted you off the ground and carried you to the bed. His arms wrapped around your ass so he can keep his lips on you. He barely lets you have a moment to breathe, he’s possessive like this, even dominating the very air in your lungs. 
He drops you onto the bed and your collision disturbs the bedsheets. 
Childe does not kneel, do not expect him to, it’s beneath him. So, you’d better be prepared to experience a bit of discomfort, don’t worry - he will override that with unbelievable pleasure 
He looks down at you with greedy eyes, he wants you, craves you, and the knowledge of that fills your body with incredible heat. It spreads across your chest and all the way out to your fingertips. You want him, and he sees it. 
One of his hands wraps around your ankle and he holds you still as he begins to undress you. First your shoes, then your pants and underwear. After that, he lifts you up and removes your shirt and anything else that you may have on underneath. He makes sure to leave a few hot kisses underneath your ear. 
“I’ve been thinking about this all day.” He whispers before letting you rest back against the bed. “So, don’t hold back.” He smirks as he lifts your lower body up and rests it against his chest. Your knees bent over his shoulders and legs spread just below his face. He makes sure you aren’t dangling, and that you have enough support underneath your neck as he holds you in this position. 
When his mouth takes your core, his tongue working its way inside of you, you let out the first of many pleasured cries. 
It wasn’t enough that he had you right where he wanted you - he wanted more, he always wanted more 
As he moved his mouth over you, making sure to lick and penetrate every place he could, you could already feel yourself nearing an orgasm. His hands possessively wrapped around your waist and his fingers focused on working out the knot in your stomach as they moved in circles around your clit, their pressure enhancing the sensation of his tongue. 
Every second he was pleasuring you, the sound of your voice filled the space, and when you got closer and finally came against him, only high-pitched whines left your throat. The muscles in your stomach spasmed and you felt like you were falling. 
With heavy, sedated breaths you slid down Childe’s chest and came to rest back on the bed. Your head turned to the side and your hands against your heaving chest. 
“You came faster than I expected. We’ll just have to go again.” He pushed you to the center of the bed and quickly followed. He removed his shirt and you admired his sculpted chest, the way it shifted as he positioned himself against you. With eager fingers, he pulled at your hips and rested your bottom half against his thighs, lifting one of your legs up and over his shoulder. While he still had you suspended, it was much better than before. 
“Ah - Childe ...” With ease, he slid two of his fingers inside of you since you were already so wet they went in smoothly. You felt the heat return and the desire for him to make you cum building in the space where his fingers worked. 
“I haven’t heard enough of you yet, how much more can you give me.” He began to pump his fingers in and out of you, his pace getting quicker and quicker. As you felt another wave of pleasure about to hit, you entangled your hands in your hair and screamed his name. 
Albedo
There are many ways to learn who a person is: ask them questions, observe them as they go about their day, test their resolve under different situations and pressures, and, bringing them to the brink of ecstasy 
Albedo had learned countless ways to find the answers to the questions on his mind - but he never considered just how much he could learn by being this intimate with another person 
He still wondered so much about who you were and after reading some of the more ‘adult’ books from the library, he was determined to see what secrets you were hiding from him 
Albedo closed the door to his bedroom and gestured to the bed, he had already begun removing his gloves from his hands and shrugged off his jacket by the time you took a comfortable place there. 
You figured he wanted to draw you, he had become obsessive with it recently, but always had the expression that something about his work wasn’t quite right. 
“Do you want me to sit any particular way?” You also removed your jacket in order to be more comfortable in the event he wanted you to hold a particular pose for a while. 
He made his way over to you and you noticed there was something different about him. As always, he was calm, but there was something about the way he looked at you that set your skin on fire. Once he reached the edge of the bed he motioned for you to lay back. Your heart started to beat faster even as you complied.
“Albedo?” You rest your head on the pillow and watch as he positions himself near your legs. 
“Open your legs.” His voice had this husky sound to it and it made your body shake. This was something you’ve never seen in him before and you couldn’t calm down. 
The nerves in his body were firing, and he did his best to hide it - he’s excited and anxious all at the same time 
He had played this out in his head in order to prepare, but now that he was here - he couldn’t help but deviate from his original plan because your reactions changed everything 
Your moans surrounded him and spurred him on. He hadn’t expected you to react in these ways; he hadn’t expected that simply touching your skin or putting pressure against your core would make you so hot. 
He watched your face and the way it tightened or relaxed depending on what he did, but when you looked at him with pleading eyes it was like a switch was flipped in his head, and he wanted to give you everything. 
His warm hands gripped your waist and adjusted you so he could position himself between your legs. With ease, he pulled your clothes down so he could reach you.
Using his fingers he begins to rub you and the feeling sends shockwaves through your body. You grab onto the bedsheets and whine eagerly. He notes how different your reactions are when he slips his finger inside of you. The way you gasp, how your eyes open from the sensation, and how your legs bend and relax to give him more room. 
Once he adds his mouth, you are no longer the sensible, composed person he’s known, you are a disaster, a sinful, lustful disaster, and he can’t stop looking at you. 
He’s learning so much from you and the way you perform as he brings you to orgasm - every sound, every movement, every cry all give him more and he doesn’t want to miss it 
He’s been working his tongue inside of you for a while now and the feeling has sent tremor after tremor through you. You know it’s only a matter of time before he takes you to your peak. You’ve been begging him and trying your best to communicate with him how amazing he feels eating you out, but the words you’ve been screaming in your head come out jumbled and unintelligible. 
The only real word he’s heard was, “close,” and he’s dying to see what your essence will look like during your climax. You pass through the barrier as his tongue plays with your clit and his fingers slip deep inside of you. In a breathless cry, you tumble over the peak and ride the pleasure until the stars in your eyes start to fade. 
“Hmm,” he begins, wiping your release from his mouth, “I have a few other things I’d like to try when you are ready to go again.”
 You take in a sharp breath and feel the heat in your stomach build again. 
Kaeya 
There is nothing Kaeya wants more than to feel you, your legs around his head or draped over his shoulders 
He likes to watch you melt, to watch you squirm against him as he sends you to a place you didn’t even know existed 
There isn’t a place he hasn’t fantasized eating you out - at the conference table, the headmaster's office, pretty much anywhere in his room. Hell, he’d even take you on the roof just so you can call out his name for all to hear 
This spot, the spot where he was able to divulge into his favorite fantasy, was almost too much 
He breaks away from your lips and smiles at how breathless you’ve become. The corners of your mouth are wet and pink from the roughness of your kiss. The setting sun plays a colorful show across the floor, against your hair, and across your exposed chest. He’s been hungry for you for several days now, but unable to dig in due to your schedules. Now that he has you, gripping onto his shirt, ass on his desk, and legs wrapped around him, he’s famished. 
“W-what if,” you inhale and try to focus on your question, “someone comes in?” You can still hear the sounds of footsteps beyond the closed door. 
“Trust me, they know better.” He kisses down your neck and over your collar bone. The way your chest rises and falls against his lips is so rewarding. He would happily spend more time here if he didn’t have something needier on his mind. 
He can’t wait. He wants to hear your voice, he wants to taste you. Quickly, he looks behind you to make sure you will be comfortable and when he sees the surface is clear, he leans you back onto the desk. The sunlight dances over your stomach and he wants to make sure the sun can kiss your skin as much as he can. He slides your shirt up and caresses your stomach with his lips, making sure to follow the path of your hips all the way down where they meet at your core. His fingers slip under your pants and he pulls them down to expose what he’s been after all this time. 
“Kaeya …” you call out his name and he can hear the desire in your voice. It’s such a beautiful sound that he’s eager to hear more of.
He knows just how to push you over the edge, and while he could get there easily, he wants to take his time - there is no need to rush, what’s the hurry? 
He’s slid you down for better access. Your pants tossed to the side without care and your legs draped over his shoulders. You are completely at his mercy and he knows it. 
There is something so tantalizing about the way you cover your face and try to hide from the lewd acts as if you have any dignity left to hold onto. It completely contradicts your body as you thirst for him, as you arch your back begging him to begin. 
He starts slow and is so cruel. He waits until he can hear voices drifting closer before slipping his fingers into you. When you let out a loud, honeyed moan he smirks with accomplishment. The voices stop for a brief second so you cover your mouth and turn your head toward the window, even as he continues to pump his fingers in and out of you. As the voices start up again and fall away, you don’t dare to remove your hand - you know he isn’t done. 
He removes his fingers from you and replaces them with his tongue. The new sensation lifts you up and brings you crashing down. He licks in and around your core with incredible care. It’s the slowest he’s ever moved and it’s driving you mad. You tug at your shirt with so much force you're sure you’ve ripped it. 
“Kaeya, please.” The words slip through your fingers as you look down at him. 
He rests his head against your thigh, drumming his fingers against the skin, “I can’t hear you.” The coy smile resting on his face makes you so infuriated. With any remaining pride you had, you let it fall away when you move your hand from over your mouth. 
While he loves to tease you, and he feels so much power when you give into him, he always makes sure you know it comes from a place of care and respect. His actions aren’t malicious, and while he likes to watch you squirm, he’d never disrespect or demean you
With him, he treats you the way you deserved to be treated 
“Ah .. “ you’re starting to come undone. Now that you’ve given him what he wanted, your voice, he began to move at a more reasonable pace. His mouth working you over, his fingers hitting every spot his tongue couldn't, it was all becoming so overwhelming. 
He sucked and rubbed you until the knot in your stomach, which had been building and building these last euphoric minutes, was about to unravel. 
“… oh my god.” He had taken you right there with great care and incredible expertise, and like ice shattering as it plummets to the ground, you broke apart in his mouth.
Your body clenched and your legs slid against his back as you rode out your orgasm. There was no stopping you, and for a while, you just said his name over and over again. 
He carefully slid you back on the desk and let your legs dangle off the sides before standing up to look down at you. 
“Gorgeous.” He muttered and you attempted to focus on him through hazy eyes. “Are you ready for round two?”
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no-droids · 9 months ago
Text
Ask Me Again Tomorrow
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gif credit @pedros-pascal​
Part Sixteen of the Rough Day Series
Rating: Explicit
Word Count: 16.3K
Warnings: SMUTTTTT, following/stalking, some fluffy moments but mostly just a lil action and interaction, I don’t think there’s any other warning besides language and the smut (comm sex WITH A TWIST YALLLLL) but if you happen to find something else that warrants a tag, please let me know and I will do so accordingly!
A/N: The response to this story has grown beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined and I genuinely thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the privilege of writing for you.  Hope this one ends up being okay and I’ll get to work on the next chapter soon!
***
Headstart—12:17pm:
The sky is so pretty.  There isn’t much to look at on the surface—rolling hills and plains, grassy but with dry bare spots breaking up the green stretches, but the sky.  It’s an oil painting above you, pastel swishes of yellows and pinks and purples with an enormous ringed planet taking up half the horizon and another sizable moon hanging high.
You should probably be running.  Like, for real sprinting, but you can’t push yourself to go faster than a brisk walk.  It’s so… free out here, more hills springing up every time you get to the top of the next, warm air filling your lungs.  Even though you know realistically that the beginning will likely be the hardest—where you need to focus most on running and putting distance between you instead of hiding—truth be told, you’re not foreseeing making it more than a full day.  You’re going to try, obviously, but in the grand scheme, you wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he finds you tomorrow.  So, instead of wasting all your energy going as fast as you physically can right out of the gate, you just decide to stroll and think for a little bit.
You know what your goal is.  Obviously, to last as long as you can, but more specifically… well, if Din is going to chase after you, then he’s going to try to think like you.  Anticipate your movements, if he can’t already see the tracks you leave plain as day.  Very soon, he’ll be walking this same exact pathing, following the footprints you’re leaving behind, but if you’re ever able to shake him or throw him off course, he doesn’t have a tracking fob.  He doesn’t have any mechanical device that points him in your direction—if you can lose him with the footprints, then he’ll have to rely solely on predicting you. Which means you need to think… exactly the opposite of yourself if you want to outsmart him.
That’s harder than it sounds though, because… is he going to predict you predicting him?  At what point does it stop?  You somehow have trouble seeing this as an advantage the way he said it would be—you almost wish you had someone else chasing you, someone you didn’t know and someone who didn’t know you if only so this paradox could end before it begins.
You’re walking for about ten minutes before spotting a dirt road in the distance.  There’s a person following it in the direction of the sun—you don’t know this planet’s magnetic field but you do know it’s after noon and the sun would set on Arvala-7 in the west, so that’s what you’ll call it for now.  You call out to them as soon as you’re in range, and the stranger turns to you.
“Excuse me!”  It’s a woman, you see it as you get closer.  “I’m so sorry to bother you, but can you tell me where this road leads?”
She removes a sheer yellow shawl covering her dark hair and gives you a friendly smile.  “Hello,” the lady greets, before spinning around and pointing back the way she came.  “Osiruu is a few hours that way.  There’s not much there, but it will take you to G’ila, a transport hub with many opportunities for drifters, or Nariss, the capital.  I’m on my way to Shabeth,” she points in the other direction.  “It’s far—a day’s walk, but it’s a holy place and offers quite the view.  I would be glad for the company, but I understand its lack of practical appeal.”
So this place is safe enough to be inviting strangers along on your travels, noted.  You’re going to have to make the decision right now, then.  Which path should you take?
Something deep inside you tells you that you want to see this holy place, and just from a few sentences, you already like this woman and feel safe with her.  But then all of a sudden, you remember something.
Last known locations tell you a lot about a quarry, Din’s voice drifts back to you, sounding soft and distant from the dark forests of Naboo.  Smart ones go to populated planets, planets like Coruscant, planets that make it nearly impossible to find people.  Brave ones go to dangerous planets, suicidal ones try their luck in the Unknown Regions, idiots continue to go about their business on their homeworld without caring.  But planets like this—like Naboo… those are the pacifists.  The ones that don’t ever put up a fight.
You suppose you should decide what kind of quarry you want to be.  Friendly company and a view is something you normally crave—it’s something your soul speaks to after going without it for so long during your previous life.  You never pictured yourself as the fighting type.  When Din first asked you, you told him you wouldn’t run from him if he was chasing you, and choosing to accompany this kind stranger to her destination is essentially just that.  Sacrificing a chase for a pretty view.
“Does Shabeth have a sizable population?”  You ask her, and she shakes her head.
“It’s the sight of an annual pilgrimage that happens in a few months, but it’s beautiful there and I like to go whenever I can,” she tells you with a soft smile.  “But there’s nothing for miles outside it, I’m afraid.”
Your footprints will lead directly there.  He’ll find you easily.
“It sounds very nice, but I need to find somewhere with a lot of people,” you give her an apologetic smile.  Truly, you think she would’ve made for a nice friend.  “Thank you for your help, though, and good luck with your journey!  I hope we meet again.”
“Do you need any food or supplies?”  She asks you, and you stop short of passing her by.  “I don’t have much with me, but know what it’s like to be a newcomer to Sanctuary II.  I’d be glad to help.”
Good Maker, is this how everybody is here or did you just hit the jackpot with this lady?  She seems like… you, almost.  Her voice is gentle, she looks like she’d give nice hugs.  You’re about to politely turn her down, but then you realize the brilliant opportunity that’s presented itself in her image.
“Actually, this might sound like a really strange question, but…” you tell her, before looking down at her feet.  “Wanna trade shoes with me?”
***
Headstart—6:12pm:
You don’t think it’ll work, but as you walk into a small settlement a few hours later in a unfamiliar and worn pair of sandals, you decide that you’ll need to do this as often as possible.  You can’t come up with anything else that’ll throw him off your physical trail besides constantly switching shoes—is that bad?  Are you just an idiot with no hope?  You’ve had—you check your watch—like, five hours to think of a game plan, and all you’ve come up with is shoes?  You’re screwed.
At least there’s food here.  Plenty.  There’s vendors stationed along the street, multiple people passing by and going about their business.  Osiruu, that nice woman said—not much here, but you think she was wrong.  There’s children giggling and jumping rope on the corner, a shopkeeper sweeping her storefront, a graying man with an empty cup plucking an unfamiliar melody on an unfamiliar instrument—and while your tummy growls and you know you should quickly buy supplies and be on your way, you still stop for just a few minutes to listen.
It’s a lovely tune.  You drop a few credits in his cup after he finishes and find yourself humming it as you look at the plethora of goods being offered by the vendors.  Water, food—you buy enough of everything to sustain you for at least a couple days, not wanting to go hungry but also feeling realistic over optimistic.  The cuisine is foreign and you just point to things that look appetizing since you’re not sure about the name or pronunciation, but after paying and taking a bite into a rather large piece of purple fruit, your eyes nearly cross at how sweet and tasty it is.  Holy Maker, that might just be the best thing you’ve ever tasted.  You ask for two more after you finish the first, tucking one in your backpack next to your blaster and munching on the other as you keep browsing.
Suddenly you see shoes—yes.  Fucking shoes, your salvation.  You take a good look at all your options, of which, there aren’t many.  Generic men's, women's, and children's, all in the same color and design.  It’s good in a way—you see most people walking around in the same type of clothing here and you pray there’s not a way for him to track your gait or the whole thing is a bust, but truthfully, what you’re most worried about is the fact that you’ll create a brand new set of footprints wherever your old ones disappear.  Unless you trade with someone else, you won’t ever have a back pathing, you know that Din will probably be able to easily spot it.
“Three pairs of these, please,” you point to the correct shoes and tell him your size, but then—“Oh wait, actually, can I actually have one of them that’s the next size up?  And another that’s the same but in men's?”
The man behind the counter gives you an odd look but acquiesces, measuring the size of your preferred pair to multiple men’s shoes to find one that looks roughly the same—you doubt he’s ever had a request like this, but you’re also a generous tipper.  His smile is grateful when you tell him to keep the change and then you’re stuffing the new shoes into your backpack and moving onward.
Would there be some kind of map here, you wonder?  One that shows distance so you won’t waste time trying to reach a place you won’t be able to walk to?  That lady said a transport hub and the capital are through this settlement, but she didn’t provide much information beyond that.  You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere when he finally catches up to you, you’ll need some place to hide.
When you stop to ask an elderly gentleman as he passes by, he freely provides you a basic gist.  There’s a large forest beyond Osiruu—after it will be a road that passes through a few notable places, with a town called Sijua to the west that leads north to G’ila, and Devain to the east that leads northeast to Nariss.  Both are within walking distance, though it may take a couple days to reach your destination.
Alright then.  Through the forest, you suppose.  You probably should’ve asked which way is east, but he’s already leaving and you don’t have the nerve to ask him to stop again.  You have a finger point, that’s all you need.  Making sure to use one of the small restrooms near the square before heading out, you eventually decide to make your way towards the direction he said this forest would be.
***
Headstart—6:58pm:
A bus.
You’re not going to take it, of course, but it’s the perfect solution to the problem you’ve been mulling over.  It’s at the very edge of the small settlement, and you quickly speed up into a half-jog as soon as you hear its engine running.
“Last call for the seven o’clock!”  A large man stationed near the doors yells as you approach.  “Last bus to G’ila until tomorrow!”
The sun is setting and you have to extend your hand out in front of you to not be blinded by it.  “Hello,” you give him a smile, before grabbing one of the handles on the side and stepping up onto the metal platform.
“Ah!”  The man quickly stops you, moving to stand in front of the open doors.  He’s as wide as he is tall, big enough that he blocks the entire exit.  “That’ll be ten credits, miss.”
“Oh,” you say, patting your empty pockets and pulling your eyebrows inwards, trying not to move too much in case the sizable amount of credits you have stashed in your backpack happen to rattle.  “Oh, no.  I think I lost my wallet.”
He sighs.  “Off the bus then please, miss.  Come back tomorrow if you find it.”
You nod, leaning your forearm against the paneling and beginning to take your shoes off.  “Will it be parked in the same place exactly?”
The driver looks curiously at you, clearly confused at both the strange question and your strange actions.  “I’m sorry?  Please—off the bus.”
“One second,” you tell him, now barefoot on the platform and digging into your backpack for the slightly larger sized shoes you bought earlier.  The sound of credits clink against your blaster, but you hope he takes your lead in purposefully ignoring them.  “Does the bus to G’ila park in this spot every single day?”
“Yes,” the man tells you impatiently, eyeing the way you’re stepping into the new pair with a subtle look of distaste.  Everyone is polite here, it seems.  “It will arrive back at seven am sharp with passengers from G’ila, in the same exact place.  Please get off the bus.”
“Thank you, sir,” you tell him with a smile, watching him step to the side to allow you to drop down into the dirt again and continue on your way.
Brilliant, if you do say so your fucking self.  Eliminate the need for a back pathing.  All footprints facing this direction are going to be the first footprints, and all of them facing the opposite way are going to be the last; if Din manages to figure out you didn’t take the bus, then he won’t be able to tell which new set are yours and which belong to the other passengers.  You pray the helmet can’t track gaits, but while you’re still paying enough attention, you make sure to keep your steps just slightly longer and even try placing more weight on the edges of your feet to make it look like you have a slightly higher arch than you actually do.  You’d put a pebble inside of them or something, but you know you’re going to be walking through the night and you don’t want to commit to having your feet hurt more than you already know they’re going to.
Eventually the quaint shops and small houses disappear behind you, and the sun setting over the horizon turns the clouds above turn more dusty green and brown than yellow and pink.  You hope Din opened up the ramp after you left.  You want him to see the sky.
***
Headstart—9:34pm
The forest here is different from Naboo, too.
Maybe it was because you only saw it while you were in crisis-mode, but that forest seemed much scarier and darker than this one.  The vegetation there was thick and overgrowing, but these trees look like they’ve never had leaves on them at all.  No twigs or small branches that sprout from the trunks—the branches are all thick and gnarly, criss-crossing with each other with how close they’ve grown together.  You bet their roots are practically one at this point, stretching for miles and miles but all sharing the same system.
Because there aren’t any leaves, there's nothing to block the moonlight shining clear and crystalline through the twisting maze of branches.  Sanctuary II appears to have a sister moon—Sanctuary I, perhaps?—that’s likely a similar size, because it’s the same one you've seen all day and it’s barely moved a few degrees that you can tell.  It must orbit incredibly close and be tidal-locked with this one then.  Two massive satellites swinging around each other as they circle a ringed gas giant, but it makes a stunning view and reflects more than enough light to see.
The sky is deep blue and maroon and you’ve been walking in a straight line for hours, using the stationary moon overhead as your guide.  The only issue with this plan that you’ve been able to come up with is that there’s no widely traveled path through the trees—even you can see your footprints and the clear trail you’re leaving behind.  You’ve been trying for a while to figure out another clever evasion tactic, but it’s harder than it sounds.  Can’t just change shoes again, that’ll be a dead giveaway.  How do you lose him?
You stop for a second, reaching into your bag to grab some water and stay hydrated.  Looking up once more at the beauty of the swirling colors peeking through the branches above you, you find yourself pausing after returning the bottle to your pack.  There are… an atrocious number of branches up there, and all of them are long and tangled and thick.  Sturdy.
You’ve… never climbed a tree before.
Without thinking much beyond that, you decide to bend your knees and jump, grabbing hold of one of the strong wooden tubes over your head and then swinging your legs up.  Ouch—the bark scrapes against your palms and you have to hold on tight with your thighs while you shimmy yourself upwards, but at least the wood is solid as fuck.  It takes you a minute or two, but you’re eventually able to shuffle yourself around so you’re straddling the thick branch, and then you look out to see the large collection of them criss-crossing in every direction around you.
Oof, this is dangerous.  You know it even before you start.  The gaps leading to the ground are bigger and more numerous than your potential pathing forward, but the only thing that gives you reassurance is how thick the wood is—you’re almost certain the branches aren’t going to break as long as you’re careful.
Okay.  Shoes, these are too big for the kind of dexterity you’re going to need.  You take them off slowly, being extra careful not to drop them, and then exchange them with the better-fitting pair you bought earlier, making a mental note that the sandals and the larger shoes are the two you’ve already worn.  If your pursuer manages to catch on to the multiple footprint changes, your most recent ones should ideally just… disappear right there, shouldn’t they?
You grin, before struggling into a low crouch and looking around your wooden cage for a safe way forwards.
***
Headstart—11:37pm:
Water.
A blessing, and not because you’re thirsty.  You have clean water in your bag and decades of habits formed in the desert to ensure you’re taking breaks and drinking enough—what you need is a way to disguise your footprints once you get back on the ground again.  This was good; scuttling your way along thick and twisting branches for as long as you have was time-consuming and exhausting, but it allowed you to avoid touching the ground for at least a mile or so, which means he’ll have to comb that entire radius to look for your drop.
And it was fun.
You even found yourself giggling as you ducked and scooted, ignoring the bark scraping your skin and your panting breaths, the way your face got sweaty and hot.  You had to do some brave maneuvers at tricky spots—jumping, balancing, hugging—but it almost just felt like an exciting little obstacle course for you and you’re honestly having a fucking blast right now.
Water, though.  Water is an unexpected beauty, even more than you’ve always considered it to be.  Water is an eroder.  Not only powerful enough to smooth down the rough edges of strong elements over time, but it will hide your footprints as soon as you create them and leave no indication that you were ever there.
Eventually you see it—a babbling stream cutting a considerably wide line through the trees.  You creep forward and hang tight to a branch above you to make sure you won’t fall, wiping the sweat on your brow with your other hand as you study the terrain.  The water is… a considerable distance below you, maybe about ten or so feet, and there’s quite a few branches on either side that extend and hang out over it.  You could probably find your way to the other side somehow, but something tells you to avoid the road beyond the forest if you can.  It leads to multiple places, it would be better to follow the stream until you can eventually merge with it later.
That means you’re… fuck.  You’re going to have to jump, aren’t you?
It’s the only way—you can’t leave footprints which means you’re going to need to land in the water.  The trees clear too far from the shoreline, so you can’t shimmy down the trunk of one for a shorter fall.  You’re going to have to climb out on one of those long branches until you’re suspended over the stream, and then you’re going to have to lower yourself as far as you can and then let go.  With your height already accounting for at least half the distance plus the length of your arms as you hang, you should only have to drop two or three feet before reaching water, and then maybe another two feet to the floor under it.  It looks forgiving enough—the moonlight shines and the stream is clear and you can mainly just see sand at the bottom, no sharp rocks or other potential dangers to be found.  This… this is doable.
Okay.  If you pull this off, you’re a badass.  If you don’t break any bones or seriously injure yourself in any way, you deserve some kind of commendation.  This is probably kiddie shit to Din, who keeps literal rockets strapped to his back and jumps out of ships flying thousands of feet above the ground, but this is a challenge for you and you’re feeling just excited enough to be up to it.
You’re eventually able to climb onto the thickest, sturdiest branch you can see that happens to hang over the water, straddling it and beginning to scoot.  Your thighs are killing you at this point but you’re holding deathly tight to the wood, your movements becoming more and more cautious the further away from the trunk you get.
You’re directly above the water now, but you need to go out a little further.  Aim for right in the middle so you don’t accidentally leave any tracks or prints on the shoreline if you need to catch yourself.  The unfamiliar wood in this forest is admittedly sturdy, but the branch begins to subtly sag with your weight as you keep slowly scooting forward, and you’re just about to the correct spot when—
Day 1–12:00am:
“Sweet girl.”
—You nearly fucking fall.
“Maker,” you gasp, suddenly scrambling to catch yourself on the branch before you can plummet.  It creaks and groans under your weight but supports you nonetheless, and when you’re one hundred percent certain it isn’t going to break, you jerk your head down to the communicator and see that it’s midnight, on the dot.
Shit.
Your heart slams against your ribs and your arms shake with adrenaline while you study it for just a moment longer, trying to calm the fuck down.
“Hey,” Din’s voice comes sharply from your wrist, crackling and tinny through the comm, nearly scaring you again.  “Answer me.”
You don’t want to sacrifice your grip right now, but you have no doubt he’ll fly the Crest out to you if you don’t respond.  So you quickly let go to press a button on the front face and then latch onto the branch tight once more, raising your voice because you can’t risk bringing your wrist up to your mouth to speak.  You hope he’ll be able to hear without the microphone picking up the sound of the stream below.  “Uh.  Ahem.  Hello.  Yes?”
“You’re too quiet,” Din’s disembodied voice immediately informs you.  “Or something on your side is too loud.  There’s an earpiece built into the side of the communicator, take it out and use it instead.”
You study the wrist brace without moving, until you finally see what he’s talking about.  It’s a small, wireless piece of machinery hidden on the left side of the electronic display, and you quickly pop it out and stuff it into your ear just in time to hear the sound of hydraulics clanging through the speaker as you clutch the branch again.  You’d know that sound anywhere, it’s the ramp of the hull closing.
“Are you already on the move?”  You ask him incredulously, your thighs starting to go numb with how deathly tight you’ve been squeezing this tree.
“Can’t sleep,” Din murmurs, sounding so much closer and deeper than before.  Does he have his earpiece on under the helmet or something?  Stars, is that why his voice sounds that good?  It’s like it’s coming from inside your own head, bassy and rough.  “Ready or not.”
You huff, your tummy going warm.  Of course he can’t sleep, of course he’s going to look for you as soon as he’s allowed to.  If he waited until morning, you’d probably be slightly offended.  You try to slow your heart rate into something acceptable, but being this far above water and hearing his baritone murmur directly in your ear make it difficult.  “But I’m… sleepy.”
“You’re always sleepy,” he tells you, and though you can’t actually hear him walking, the sound of his footsteps shake through his voice just slightly as he speaks.
“Hang on,” you huff, ducking your head to drag it against your shoulder, keeping the sweat from your eyes without using your hands, “you’re gonna make me stay up all night just because you do?  This isn’t fair—”
“Fair wasn’t part of the rules.”
Well.  Fair.
Stars, you can’t stay here.  You don’t know how long he wants to check-in for, but you’re also not confident with this branch’s ability to hold you for an extended time when you’re this far out from the trunk.  You need to get in that stream one way or another, but now that he’s here, you have an extra problem.  Din is going to hear you no matter what.
“Um.  Can you give me a second?”  You ask him, glancing around to make sure there’s no better way of doing this.  Nope, you realize very quickly—this is the best idea you’ve got, and you don’t really know what that says about the quality of all your other ideas.
“What?”  Din grunts shortly, but you just clear your throat.
“I need to… mute myself.  Give me like… five minutes.”
“What are you talking abou—”
“You of all people cannot be upset about asking for five minutes of quiet,” you return testily, looking down at the distance to the stream once more.  That’s a long way.  You… you can’t swim obviously, but again, the water doesn’t look too deep.  Just a couple feet likely, shouldn’t go past your knees.
It’s fitting that he doesn’t say anything, which you eventually take as disgruntled acceptance, so you quickly press the proper button on your wrist to silence the mic and then take a few deep breaths.  You have a time limit now, you have to do this.
With incredible patience and precision, you eventually slide until you’re clutching the branch upside down like an only slightly quicker and less coordinated sloth, before slowly dropping your legs and hanging over the water.
It’s… admittedly a bit further down than you anticipated, or maybe that’s just you making things worse than they actually are, but you’re committed at this point and there’s no going back.
You close your eyes, count to three, and then you let go.
The sandy floor meets your feet with considerable force and you make a hell of a splash doing it, nearly falling but just barely managing to keep yourself balanced and upright at the last second.  The water is cool and comes up just over your knees, your backpack miraculously didn’t get wet and all your limbs remain shaky but unbroken.
Okay.  Okay, fucking success.  It feels… thrilling, accomplishing a dangerous feat, and you quickly let out a loud whoop before clearing your throat, trying to sound normal as you press a button on the communicator’s face once more.
“Mando?”  You ask, slightly out of breath.  “Sorry about that, I’m back.”
Okay, now which way do you go?  Downstream seems like the easier path after getting in so much unexpected exercise, so that’s the one you go with.  As soon as you lift your foot from the sand bed, you watch your footprint almost immediately disappear through the moonlit water, and you bite your lip at just how well everything turned out for you.
After a moment though, you realize he hasn’t answered you.  You look down at the communicator again to make sure you pressed the right thing.  “Hello?  Shiny?”
“Did you trade shoes with someone?”  Din’s voice suddenly comes through the earpiece, sounding absolutely incredulous.
“Shit,” you tell him, trying not to smile.  “Hoped that was gonna buy me more time.”
“It… might’ve, if you kept walking in the same direction as they were,” he informs you after a moment.  “Your shoes went south, but this other pair got all the way out here just to turn back around again?  Good idea, but the execution needs work.”
Maker, he’s smart.  It was the first attempt at a footprint change so you weren’t thinking much beyond tricking the tracking mechanism in his helmet, you ignored his logic completely.  Essentially, the exact opposite of what he told you to do.  You like to think you’re getting better at it by this point, thinking beyond just the original exchange, and you’re hoping you’ll be able to trick him with at least one of the other fifty times you changed shoes today.  You’ll have to see tomorrow night, if you can make it that long.
Also, the road you were on apparently goes north-south, that’s important information you make sure to take note of.  The man in Osiruu said Devain and Nariss are to the east, and that Sijua and G’ila are westward, right?  Remembering that you thought south was west earlier, you do some quick calculating and immediately come to a stop in the moving water as soon as you figure out your positioning, turning around and walking upstream instead.
You want to go to Nariss.  The capital, and the biggest city in walking distance.  Smart quarry go to populated places, places that make it nearly impossible to find people.
“Alright.  Mando: one, Me: zero,” you finally acknowledge, swinging your backpack around and unzipping it to dig inside for another piece of fruit.  You’ve been hungry for hours but had to use both hands to stay safe and far above the ground, it’s the perfect time to eat.  “How’s the baby?  Behaving himself?”
“He kept trying to follow you after you left,” comes Din’s response, and you stop with just your teeth piercing the flesh, wondering if you heard him right.  You actually open your jaw and pull the fruit away with just a bite mark in it.
“You’re joking.”  No fucking way, not that little demon.
“Wish I was,” he tells you solemnly.  “Made a fuss, tried to open the ramp a few times.  Didn’t cause any trouble after, just… pouted.”
That’s… that’s exactly how he responded the very first time Din left the kid on the ship with you instead of bringing him along.  He threw a fit, tried to ditch you for his dad multiple times, and then ultimately just looked cute and mopey with his limp ears until Din came back.  Do you think it’s just him rebelling against change?  That has to be it, right?
“He better not be giving you any hints about where I am,” you warn his father.  “I’d tell you to put him on but I don’t want the earpiece getting lost forever.”
You hear it.  The softest laugh—barely a breath, coming after years of learning to make it just quiet enough not to be registered by the helmet.  It gets picked up by the communicator in all its understated beauty when normally it’d be silent, and it’s just jarring enough to make you careless.
On your next step, you accidentally lift your foot too high and make a splash, and you already know you fucked up before he can say a single word.
“What’s that sound?”
You immediately stop moving, allowing the cool water to move as silently as possible past your stationary knees.  Shit.  “Uh.  What sound?”
You think he purposefully doesn’t say anything.  Probably because it feels a little like cheating, doesn’t it?  It’s to your disadvantage, having him be able to catch hints from your environment when he’s the one who made check-ins mandatory, but then again… how smart do you think he is?  Something tells you that he might not need to track you at all—what are the chances he stumbles upon this little stream and just naturally assumes you were clever enough to use it to hide your trail?  Did you waste time trying to engineer a vanishing act when it’s not going to matter regardless?
Oh well, too late now.  You quickly decide to change the subject.
“You should try the big purple fruit that one vendor sells when you get into Osiruu, by the way,” you tell him pleasantly, taking a big chomp out of it and then letting out an extended hum of delight that only really fucking good food or sex causes a person to make.  “I’m eating one right now, it’s so good.  Be the best thing you’ve ever tasted.”
“Mm.  Doubt it,”  immediately comes his low response.  Fucking immediately.
“Mando,” you gasp, scandalized and giddy enough that juice dribbles down your chin a bit.
“Are you having fun?”  Din asks, instead of pushing the conversation any further in that direction.  You don’t know if you’re thankful or disappointed with how quickly he decided to abort, but you take a moment to consider his question while swallowing and wiping your mouth.  Not the answer, you know the answer—but why he bothered to ask.  Did he know you were going to enjoy yourself as much as you have?  Your only possible lament is how you’re talking to him through a communicator instead of having him next to you.
“I am,” you say warmly.  “Be… be better if you were here, though.”
“Give me your coordinates,” Din proposes, and his voice is just low and rumbly enough to make you pause.
You’re really, really proud of yourself for only considering it for a few seconds before scoffing.  “Psh.  Nice try.”
“Was worth a shot,” he sighs through the earpiece, and you smile, taking another bite of fruit.
“Ask me again tomorrow,” you offer, grinning at the implication.
“We’ll see,” you hear him return, and though his tone doesn’t really change, you know he’s probably rolling his eyes.  He won’t have to ask for your coordinates because he’ll already be there, but it’s nice to pretend for a while longer.
And then you both walk all through the night, sharing casual banter with each other for hours.  He never once implies he wants to disconnect, even when you hit him with more nonsensical questions—
“What’s your favorite food?”  (“I don’t have one.”)
“Okay, well what about just a food that you like?”  (“I don’t like food that much.”)
“What do you mean?  Everyone loves food.”  (“Not me.”)
“Alright, well um.  What’s your favorite color, then?”  (“I don’t have one, either.”)
“Come on, you must have some kind of color you like.”  (“What’s your favorite color?”)
“…Brown.”  (“Then that’s my favorite, too.”)
—until the sun rises and you both say your goodbyes.
***
Day 1–6:15am:
You resolve to waiting until you see another person to allow your feet to touch dry land, figuring the longer you stay untraceable, the better off you’ll be.  Your toes are wrinkly and your pantlegs and shoes have been drenched for hours, but then you finally spot a few fishermen standing upstream with their backs to you, speaking to each other in the dawning light.  Two look to be full-grown, but there’s a smaller one in the middle, maybe a teenage boy, and you pause for a second, looking at the riverbank next to them.  All their valuables—water, food, bait, extra rods, but also… their shoes.
Quietly, you reach into your backpack and remove the pair of men’s shoes you bought earlier.  The ones closest to you on the shore seem to be the smallest, so you sneak over as silent as possible and rapidly make an exchange, fitting the new ones on your wet feet before allowing yourself to touch dry land and then speed walking away.
The ones you left him are newer and roughly the same size anyways—yikes, maybe slightly smaller now that you’re thinking about it—but at least you have a back pathing.  If that kid decides to take your offering and the shoes fit, Din will follow him, and if he decides to go barefoot instead, he should still follow him, right?  You’re not really aiming to trick him outright, mostly you just want him to waste more and more time.  This likely wouldn’t work if there wasn’t a time limit attached to this hunt, but you’re going to do everything you can to disappear while he’s still far enough behind you.
***
Day 1–7:06am:
You get to Devain remarkably quickly after finding the correct road.  The pit stop is much bigger than Osiruu, big enough to call an actual town instead of just a settlement, but still not large enough to feel concealed.  You want a city.  This place at least has cars and ships moving about and overhead respectively, but you’re looking for somewhere with lines.  Somewhere that feels as cramped and busy as possible.
Still, you find a restroom to use and then decide to grab some more food for your trip, happily spotting your new favorite purple fruit in one of the shop windows.  As you’re reaching out to hand the storekeeper the appropriate amount of credits, Din’s gruff voice comes through the earpiece so suddenly that you jump, nearly dropping them all on the counter.  “Hey.”
“Holy shit, what?”  You gasp, earning a confused look from the lady in front of you.  You quickly shake your head at her and mouth an apology while Din grumbles in vexation.
“You were supposed to stay on foot.”
Ah.  So he got to the bus, then.  Okay.
“Oh,” you answer ambiguously, exchanging the money for your bag of food and giving her a polite smile.  Din stays completely mute while you grab your snack, stuffing the rest of the goods in your backpack and then turning to leave—mute for so long that you have to double check you didn’t accidentally do it yourself.
“…Smart girl,” you finally hear him say.  Quietly muttered under his breath, half proud of you and half frustrated for making his job more difficult.  “Which one of these is yours then?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” you announce, before taking a large bite as you leave the establishment and talking with your mouth full.  “You really gotta try the purple fruit, it’s great.”
The communicator abruptly clicks to silence on his end without anything else and you laugh so unexpectedly that a few pieces of it fly out of your mouth.
***
Day 1–1:32pm:
Somewhere miles away from you, Din jerks to a halt in the middle of a forest.
He looks around the dirt floor, walks a few paces and hears the kid coo gently from his cradle.  Behind the visor, the red footprints he’s circling are the last ones around for hundreds of meters, as far as his display can read.
His helmet slowly tilts upwards, and follows the endless maze of thick branches overhead.
With the beskar hiding his face, no one can see the way he slowly breaks into a beautiful grin.
***
Day 1–9:51pm:
Oh.  Oh stars, you’re tired.
You’ve been walking all day without really seeing anything, not having any place to disguise your tracks in the wide open plains.  You could’ve stuck to the road, but you started to feel the exhaustion creep in during the early afternoon and you wanted to be far away from other travelers and potential danger if you needed to rest.  You knew this would be a long journey when you left Devain earlier—over a day’s walk, a group of children told you—you even tried skipping or jogging a bit to see if that would inspire more energy in you, but it didn’t help much.
The large cup of caf you bought while in town was drained hours ago and it didn’t help much either, probably because your exhaustion is more physical and not necessarily mental.  It just felt like a sweet warm drink to sip before you go to sleep, that’s how much the caf helped.  Still, you kept walking, kept moving forward even as you squinted in the setting sun, your feet aching from traveling for this long wearing unfamiliar shoes.  The last time you changed them was hours ago, pulling another bus maneuver but with an air shuttle instead.  Still, you don’t think it’ll be enough.  You don’t even know where Din is but you already feel like you’re losing ground just knowing that he’s the one in pursuit.
You feel it—the hair standing up on your neck, the tingles in your hands, the stirring of your tummy—whatever the incessant gogogo that your instincts happen to scream when you’re in first place but you know the person behind you is quickly closing in.  It’s day fucking one, it’s day one and you feel him in the wind as it brushes through your hair, you can’t even pause to rest because nobody knows better than you that he’s an absolute fucking machine when he wants to be.  The kid may have powers beyond that which can be explained by the laws of nature, but Din is a force all his own.  He drives you forward when everything inside you is telling you to stop.  He keeps you awake and determined when you just desperately need to rest.
But that only goes so far.  You’re bordering on two full days without sleep, and though you’d normally be able to suffer through, the constant movement is just brutal after being confined to a stationary ship for so long.
There’s a lone tree in the distance, you think.  It’s hard to see.  Not because it’s dark—well it is, just a bit darker tonight compared to last, but mostly because your eyelids have grown heavier and more burdensome than the bag around your shoulders.  That looks like a good place to just sit for a second, right?  Maybe eat some more food, try and wake yourself up?  Yeah, that’s a good idea, you’ll head towards the tree and just… sit…
***
Day 2–12:00am:
Completely dead to the galaxy and sitting on your ass with your back against rough bark, the comm clicks and Din’s voice comes through the earpiece.
“Wake up.”
It startles you enough to make you lurch forward and jerk your head around in a panic, looking for any flash of beskar so you can instantly break opposite to it.  You scramble on all fours to look around but you don’t see anything, not even behind the trunk when you crawl, and then you take a deep breath and use the bone of your wrists to rub your eyes vigorously after a moment, knowing your hands are filthy.  “Fuck, how’d you—”
“You’re always sleepy,” Din repeats, and you collapse back into the tree with an exhausted groan, not entertained but not even having the energy to get mad about it.
“I… I gotta sleep,” you tell him, already feeling your body let go of its tension and search for the darkness of unconsciousness once more.  “Shit.  How d’you… mm.  Stay awake all the time…”
“Sleep,” Din encourages, you can still hear him walking.  “You need rest.  I’ll see you soon.”
No—
“No,” you whine like a child, moaning and shoving yourself upright.  Maker, you’re trying to focus, but asking that of yourself is almost impossible right now.  Everything swims—you were dreaming, you think, but you can’t remember and it’s not important other than to emphasize how woozy you are.  Things still feel like a dream, somehow.
You think he can hear your struggling through the comm, because the sound of his footsteps pause.  “Go to sleep.”
“You go to sleep,” you tell him bluntly, giving your head a violent shake to try and wake you up.  You want to slap your own cheek but you don’t want him to hear it.  “I can’t sleep if you don’t.”
“I’ve have at least a couple more days in me before that happens,” Din murmurs, and you bet he knows exactly what the fuck he’s doing to you.  You start to slouch, hearing the voice he uses when he’s curled around your body in the darkness of the hull.  So warm, so gentle.  If you use your imagination, you can feel his fingers drawing slow circles on your back, the vibration of his low voice rumbling against your ear as you lay your head on his chest.  “If I hunt you the way I’d hunt a quarry, I’m going to find you before you wake up.”
“Then I’ll jus’ have to… not let tha’ happen,” you slur.  Even this close to unconsciousness, you try your best to throw in a misdirect.  “Already… paid for the bed an’ everything.”
“Sure you did.  You in another tree?”
You immediately frown even as your eyes drop closed, too tired to fight but still managing to sound upset.  “You makin’ fun of me?”  You ask him with a harumph.  Genuinely, you’re not smart enough to figure it out right now.
“Not hardly,” Din sighs, sounding… you don’t know.  Is that displeasure or not?  It’s not immediately clear.  Does it sound that way because you’re just dumb stupid right now?  Or because Din can’t actually decide how he feels about it?  “Lucky I heard water over the comm last night, I would’ve wasted hours in that forest.”
“Noooo,” you whine in response, trying to push yourself off the tree but tipping sideways in the process, “that’s not fair—”
“Fair wasn’t part of the rules,” he repeats himself again and… nope, you don’t even have the energy to snark something back.  You just grumble your best imitation of him while you do everything you can to heave yourself upright.  It’s pitiful, you lose your balance not even halfway through and just plop on the grass for a second and groan.
“Stop,” Din eventually orders through the earpiece, tired of it.  “What’s sixteen times itself?”
You’re loopy to the point where you don’t even question why he decided to ask you that.  You just furrow your brows for a second and try to think about it, before suddenly realizing you… don’t know, you can’t remember.  Multiplication tables and squares up to twenty are elementary to you, you know them by heart.  Sixteen times sixteen.  One forty-four.  No… no that doesn’t sound right, is that twelv—
You take way too long answering what would’ve been an immediate response two days ago.
“I’ll stop here for tonight,” Din tells you with a resolved sigh.  “I won’t move until you wake up.  Go to sleep.  You’re putting yourself in danger, you can’t even do the basics.”
Later, this moment will come back to you.  That problem isn’t basic, not many adults would be able to tell you very quickly that the answer is two fifty-six.  You don’t even think Din would.  You would, though.  On Naboo, you used rapidly applied trigonometry in your head to find his location, and that was barely two minutes after waking up.  You should know this.  And he knows you.
But for right now, you don’t pay it a single lick of attention.
“You promise?”  You ask quietly, voice incredibly small as your head tilts back towards the sky, already feeling yourself beginning to fall back into the darkness again.
“I promise,” he vows in return, gentle but a promise nonetheless.  He doesn’t have to do this.  You wouldn’t be able to keep going even if he didn’t offer up this temporary truce, but knowing he isn’t currently gaining ground on you makes the idea of sleep so much more welcoming, something you want to seek out instead of fight.
“Will you, um…” your expression furrows.  How do you say this?  You sigh, giving up before even trying to figure it out.  “I’m… not in a bed.  I’m outside.”
Din doesn’t say anything when you pause, and even through the haze wanting to take over, you know it’s going to sound needy.  You want him to stay.  Even in the midst of an adventure, you want him to stay, you want to hear him breathe as you rest, but there’s not really an integrous way to ask.
You don’t need to ask.
“I’ll keep the comm open and wake you when the sun rises,” comes his lulling baritone before you can elaborate anymore, enveloping you in comfort in this dreadfully uncomfortable bed of grass and dirt.  “Sleep, sweet girl.  I’m right here.”
***
Day 2–5:34am:
The sun shines over the hills and you lift your head up to squint your eyes at it, confused as fuck.  Looking down at your wrist to check the time in the warm rays, hands and clothes dirty from laying on the ground that long—you stay groggy and clueless for just a moment longer, before your heart lurches when you remember Din’s promise to you.
You open your mouth to address him but then catch yourself just in time.  Wait.  Don’t panic.  Listen.
Breathing.  Slow and relaxed through the earpiece, a rhythm now branded into your memory from months of nights spent in pitch black.  He’s… asleep.
Din is asleep?  Seriously?
You can count like… twice that this has happened, and one of those was because he got you to touch him just right after closing up a wound on his back, and his body couldn’t handle the strain and passed out.  You’re never awake when he’s asleep—you’re just not, it doesn’t happen.  Din… sleeps like it’s just a choice for him, he doesn’t ever really need it.  Almost like how he used to eat before he started sharing meals with you, he said he doesn’t even like food that much.  You think he just severed all of those things long ago, things that are basic fundamentals of survival and operated like a bounty droid that lost its voice box.  It’s… nice, feeling like you’re somehow giving back some of the things he lost.  Unintentionally encouraging him to find sleep again.  Making sure he eats more, listening to him speak.
You struggle to your feet as quietly as possible, hearing him continue to breathe slow and relaxed through the communicator.  This isn’t purposeful, you don’t think he actually allowed it.  He promised you, and Din doesn’t take shit back.  If he tells you he’ll do something and he doesn’t follow through, it’s either out of his control or a mistake, it’s never been purposeful.  He didn’t mean to fall asleep.
And, in other circumstances, you most definitely would not find some way to take advantage of this.  You’d let him sleep and do other things in the meantime—make some food for you and the kid, find something on the Crest that isn’t spotless and clean until it is, or just… lay there next to him until he woke up.  But… these circumstances are their own.  You have to capitalize now, this is your chance.  You passed out last night around… ten pm, you think it was, and then he promised to stop at midnight.  That means you have to walk at least two hours before he wakes up if you want to prevent any loss of ground—you don’t know where he stopped, he could be a few miles back even.
You have to find Nariss—you have to.  It’s your only option, if you keep trying to run, it’s just going to make it so much easier for him.  Now is the time to hide.  You know it hasn’t been long, it’s barely been two days since you first left the Crest but it feels like you’re already in endgame, already making moves in self-defense instead of actually planning your maneuvers ahead of time.
The capital should be half a day’s walk from here, then.  As long as you get there, you think you’ll be okay.
***
Day 2–8:28am:
Din’s groan suddenly comes through your ear.
You immediately stop, seeing a busy road in the distance and glad you haven’t quite made it there yet, before trying to disguise your voice as drowsy.  “Mm?”
“Shit,” he breathes, and you hear him get up, the sound of beskar moving as he grunts.
“Mpph,” you groan back, squinting your eyes to see if that’ll help sell the act.  “I thought you… Mando, fuck, y’said you’d wake me when the sun came up.”
“I… fell asleep,” he admits, voice rough with it, sounding just as confused as you felt earlier.
“You said you had days in you before that happened,” you murmur, taking a deep breath and stretching your arms up above your head.  Stars, your back hurts, how does he possibly manage to carry a fucking jet pack around all the time?
“Yeah, I…”  He pauses for a moment and you bite your lip, not liking the quiet as soon as you hear it.  “How long have you been up?”
Op.  Not good.  “Wha?”
He’s not falling for it.  “How long?”
How in Maker’s name?  This is impossible.  How can you hope to hide from him when you can’t even manage to hide the smallest fucking truth from him?  Can you salvage this somehow?  “…Like ten minutes.”
“Least a few hours, then,” he sighs, and you get ready to hit him with the same line he used when you complained about his leg-up, opening your mouth as soon as you hear him speak.  “That was smar—”
“Fair wasn’t part of—”
Oh.  Well.  Apparently you didn’t have a reason to feel shitty about deciding to haul ass while he was passed out even though you kind of ended up doing so anyways.  There was no agreement besides that he wouldn’t move until you woke up.  Reason is on your side, but it still feels a bit like you fucked him over.  Is that valid or are you just so used to being nice that putting yourself first feels like a wrong you’ve committed?
“Don’t feel bad,” Din tells you, and you hear a soft coo in the background.  It makes you smile the smallest bit, your shoulders relaxing even as they ache from carrying your pack around.  “You should feel bad about stealing that poor kid’s shoes, though.  He walked home barefoot.”
You smack your forehead.  “It was just….”
“Yeah,” he scoffs when you don’t finish your sentence, and you can’t keep back a giggle.  “Alright, I’m up now.  See you when you get here.”
And then the communicator clicks, and you’re…
Uh.  What the fuck was that?
No.  Nope, you’re not going to get played.  That was a brilliant attempt at fucking with you, but you’re not falling for it this time.  You’ve grown since that night on Canto Bight, you know him, he can’t just say shit to fuck with your head and then smile at your flailing response from under the helmet anymore.  You normally would stew in that last comment until it got to you, made you make a mistake most likely, but the more you think about it, the more certain you are that he has nothing.  He was just trying to see if you’ll abandon your entire plan just by implying he already knows it.  That’s beginner shit, you’re not falling for it.  Din wanted to leave the conversation with the upper-hand since you gained at least an hour of extra ground while he slept.  You’re certain of it.
***
Day 2–12:35pm:
Nariss is big.  Nowhere near the size of Coruscanti sectors of course, where billions of people are packed from surface to exosphere and require oxygen recirculation towers to breathe at the very top, but just slightly bigger than you expected.  It’s bustling and you haven’t even made it through the city gates yet—you’re approaching them and the large number of people waiting in line, seeing buildings stretch out for miles in front of you and grinning.  Yes, this will work nicely.
As you peek over shoulders in the sizable crowd, you see only two or three people allowing people to enter one at a time… is that a biometric scanner?
Oh.  That looks good and it also doesn’t look good at the same time.  If Din’s safety meant nothing to you, you’d have no trouble whatsoever getting in line and waiting to do a retinal scan, but you immediately pause and consider the potential consequences.
Your dumb ass almost weighs the option of clicking the communicator on and asking his opinion.  You’d give away your location in a heartbeat (if he doesn’t know it already) just because you’re worried he’d… what, exactly?  Stand in line for an hour, take his helmet off in front of a crowd of people, have the system ping his scan, and then hang out and wait for New Republic reinforcements to show?  You have to stop worrying about him.  He’s not a baby, he can handle himself and you need to stop considering the possibility of taking a loss just so he doesn’t have to, even if the self-destructive sentiment feels ingrained in your nature to do so.
So you wait in line, moving at a slow pace but at least moving.  While you’re standing there quietly, a man in front of you decides to strike up a conversation.  You don’t come from a place with an excess of people, but the ones in your sector were friendly and did this kind of thing often, so perhaps for that reason, you decide to chat.
“Do you have some place to stay?”  He asks at one point.  So far the conversation has revolved around him—every time he asks about you, you deflect.  He doesn’t need to know.  “Nariss isn’t kind to drifters.”
This catches your attention, though.  This is relevant.  “What does that mean?”
“It’s expensive?”  He scratches his blonde hair, giving you a soft smile.  “Food, housing, all of it is way out of my price-range.  I stay with my uncle and work overnights at the eastern docks.  It’s not much, but it’s enough to keep a roof over our heads.  We used to live in Gibrath, but then we moved to the city because he’s a good architect and they’re always expanding.  It’s nice, of course, but really expensive.”
He’s handsome, you think… in kind of a boyish, charming way.  Blonde hair, sparkly blue eyes.  He doesn’t look much older than you, and maybe in another lifetime you would’ve found him appealing, but… you like darker features, you think.  Someone a little less expressive.  This guy… talks a lot.
“I thought this moon was a safe world for people displaced by the Empire,” you offer, taking a step forward as the entire crowd shifts.
“Sanctuary II is,” he comments.  “The capital is safe, too—what, with all the orangies walking around,” he tilts his head to two jumpsuited guards trying to organize the glob of people so the line can move faster, rolling his eyes as if they’re some kind of joke.  “But not… welcoming, not if you’re looking for a place to settle.  You would’ve been better off in G’ila.”
“Is there anywhere you know that would take me for free?”  You ask.  You have quite a few credits left, but you don’t think it’s a good idea to stay in an inn.  It’ll be the first place Din checks.
“Are you a virgin?”  He returns, and you immediately pull back at the unexpected question, your heart thudding at the possibility of danger.  The man’s sandy eyebrows shoot up at your response and he quickly apologizes—“Heavens, I’m so sorry to ask like that!  It’s just… the only place I know is the Holy Keja Orphanage on the northern outskirts.  Their signs say they only house children and teenagers, but I’ve heard from other girls your age that they’ll accept any woman as long as they’ve stayed pure in the eyes of the Maker.”
“Oh,” you say after a moment, leaning sideways to see just a few people standing in front of him.  Good, this is almost over.  “Um.  Yep.  That’s me.”
He smiles at you once more, giving you a nod.  “When you get to the city, just go straight through.  It’s about a mile outside of the gates, no more than a day’s walk from this side of town.”
Okay, that’s… interesting.  You think about it while you thank him and begin to exchange polite goodbyes, moving up another step until he’s next in line.  That might actually be a good move.  Din could spend a long time in the city without ever finding you.  Smart quarry go to populated places, but… smarter quarry defy the expectations placed upon them, right?  He knows you’re smart, and even though you’re confident his “See you when you get here” was purely psychological fuckery, that also implies… at the very least, that he’s assuming there is a here to get to.  Meaning, he knows you’re not going into the wilderness to evade him.  He’s not going to comb the outskirts when there are so many places to hide within the city gates, with an entire perimeter of New Republic guards stationed around it.  Even if he does, the signs will say only children and teenagers—categories you do not fall into.
The unnamed man is soon ushered forward but you stop him quickly.  “Oh, by the way.  I doubt this will happen, but if a man in a big metal suit with a tiny green baby happen to ask you the same thing, please don’t tell him what you just told me.”
He furrows his eyebrows at you and cocks his head, but smiles and agrees nonetheless.
***
Day 2–5:43pm:
You have an idea.
You’ve been working on it all afternoon, but you were hit with it the second you were looking for another pair of shoes to buy and find a clever way of putting on.
The cheapest ones were ridiculously overpriced, blonde dude was right.  You blinked down at the tag and asked the salesman where the cheapest shoes in this part of town were, and then he just wrinkled his nose at you and shooed you out of the store.  Granted, you slept in dirt and spent two days walking—you bet you reek, but he didn’t have to be like that.
Though, the man’s displeasure with you had an upside.  You were holding a possible pair of pants and a shirt to buy when he threw you out, not yet having checked the atrocious pricetag on them, but it appeared as if he’d rather let you have them for free than rip them from your… admittedly, pretty filthy arms.  Oh well, you weren’t complaining.  Fancy clothes for free, score.
But now you’re here, and you have the best idea.  You don’t need to change shoes, not yet.  Why?  Because you’ve figured out how to turn your incessant detriment into an advantage.
You’re in the middle of downtown, you think, maybe just some random crowded square, and there’s an inn in front of you.  It’s fucking enormous, and you already know it’s gotta be incredibly expensive just looking at the sheer number of stories.  It’s an eyesore, it sticks out.  But that’s okay, because you’re only planning on staying for a night.
It’s also… right next to New Republic headquarters.  Or fuck, at least a station of some sort, because they’re swarming in and out of the constant crowd, passing by the valet doors.
At first you naturally wanted to steer away from the jumpsuits, since you know they’re bad news for Din, but then you remember what he said before you left.  I’m only telling you so that you’ll know your advantage and find a way to exploit it.  I can’t be seen by any officers, or they might arrest me.
It’s to your advantage, he said so himself.  Everything lines up perfectly—the street is bustling, the inn is well protected, it’s nice—it’s everything you’re looking for.
And there’s another upside, see.  An omnipresent, omniscient ghost in the form of a communicator clipped to your wrist right now.  If Din is always going to be able to predict you, he’s always going to know when you’re lying, always be able to read you… then you’ll just have to let him.
Let him know.  Let him know exactly where you are.  Right in the middle of the most populated street you’ve seen thus far, a constant barrage of people walking by and New Republic officers patrolling.  If you were planning on staying in the city, this would probably be your best option to hide.  He could waste days here if you’re smart about it.
The concierge doesn’t appear too pleased with your lack of cleanliness and neither do you, honestly, but at least he allows you to book a suite for the night.  It’s… not as bad as you were originally assuming, credits-wise, but it’s worth more than half your stash and you’re going to have to conserve from this point on.  It shouldn’t be too bad—your destination is a holy orphanage, you’re sure they’ll have some extra food and a bed for you even if it won’t be ideal.  Still, you think you’re going to enjoy some lavish experiences for once in your life before you go.
***
Day 2–11:54pm:
Alright, so this was the best idea ever.  This is the shit.
You’re leaning back against a fluffy stack of pillows, squeaky clean from an absolutely glorious bath and watching the flickering drama on the large holonet display in front of you.  You don’t have any idea what’s going on, as it’s being broadcast in Rodian, but you haven’t been able to change the frequency because it’s so fucking intense—somebody’s sister is their mother, you think?  No, that must be a mistranslation, right?
You’re also in a robe.  Yes, there is a motherfucking robe in here.  And… and slippers, it’s like a dream.  Do people normally wear slippers in bed?  You do.  Hell, maybe you should stay here, screw the credits and the chase.  This mattress is even better than the one on Naboo and you’re basking in the luxury after being outdoors for so long.
The lights are off other than that and you’ve opened the drapes wide, knowing you’re on something like the fifteenth floor and nobody would be able to see you anyways.  You just like being able to turn your head and look out at the sky.  Violent and periwinkle tonight.  You wonder if he’s looking, too.
Luckily, you snap yourself back out of it and glance down at the time on your communicator, quickly pressing a button on the remote to mute the Rodian show and then opening the line the moment the hour changes.
Day 3–12:00am:
“Hiya, Shiny,” you say before anything else, laying back and running a few fingers through your damp hair.  Your eyes close against the flickering light, taking a slow, relaxed breath.  Maker, this feels nice.
“You sound happy,” Din comments.  Astute, you feel happy.  Well… you’d obviously feel happier if he was here.  Your eyes flick over to the open bathroom door, still steamy from your bubble bath earlier, imagining him walking through it completely naked and then climbing over you on the covers.  You can only really picture it from the neck down—no, hang on… you can see his shaggy brown curls, that one spot on his forehead you know, how his facial hair would be dark and frame his mouth.  No face, though.  Missing just one fraction of him from your imagination, feeling incomplete but also somehow… complete in a way.
“I feel better after sleeping last night,” you tell him, purposefully leaving out the softness of the sheets underneath you, the sheer comfort of all this extravagance.  You don’t need it, you’ll never need it, but it feels nice to have for once.
“I do, too,” he replies quietly, and your eyes flutter closed.  You… miss him.  This mattress would feel softer with him next to you.  He’d probably be able to translate this show for you, even though you already know he’d fucking hate it.  You can imagine it—you with your eyes closed, him propped up on an elbow next to you and grumbling vague descriptions of the nonsense happening on screen just to hear your chuckles.  Adventures are great, but maybe they aren’t as great by yourself, you think.
“You should sleep tonight, too,” you encourage, but he scoffs.
“Not a chance,” Din mutters.  “Oh, before I forget, we need to charge the communicators today.”
“How am I supposed to do that?”  You ask him, glancing at all the multiple wireless charging outlets stationed around you.  “I’m in the middle of nowhere.”
He doesn’t even take a fucking second before responding.  “Good one.”
You grin up at the ceiling, warmth flooding you.  You love him.  Literally every single time, he just knows.  Your curiosity is too overwhelming after this happening so often.  Your plan to distract him relies on him being able to read you, but that doesn’t prevent you from wondering how he does it so accurately, time and time again.  “How do you know?”
“You slept outside last night,” he immediately tells you, like that should mean anything to you.
Does he… does he truly know you well enough to know how much your back and shoulders hurt today?  How much you were aching for a shower and clean clothes?  A bed to sleep on that isn’t dirt or metal?  You give into the accurate prediction with shameless honesty, not caring if he knows it’s the truth.
“This bed is soft,” you murmur gently, dragging your hand across the mattress next to you.  “You should be here.  I’d make you feel good.”
Admittedly, your comfort is making you a bit drowsy and you said it in the easiest way possible, but you didn’t necessarily mean it sexually.  Well… you sort of did—you’d make him feel so good in this bed—but what you meant was more… comforting.  He could take a bath, or a shower, and get all the grime off him.  He could feel clean and unburdened, take a break instead of constantly moving around.  The baby could have a whole bed to himself if he wanted, though you know he’d probably want to be on this one instead.  You could all look at the sky together.
Din is quiet for a little bit, before his voice comes back through the earpiece.  “Are you in an inn?”
“No,” you say, a little too quickly.  Perfect, that sounded just right for a lie.  You are lying, you absolutely are in an inn, the only difference is that you want him to catch on that it’s a lie, so… why does he take way too long before responding?
“Hm.”
What the fuck—why… how is it even physically possible?  He read you that deeply from one single word?  You’re not sure if he’s somehow psychic and figured the whole fucking thing out or if he just knows there’s something off, but it’s still enough to blow you away.
“Are you doing this on purpose?”  You blurt without thinking.
“Doing what?”  He grunts, sounding like he’s stepping over something, his breath changing intensity as he walks.
“If I look out this window right now, am I gonna see you standing out there just messing with me?”  You don’t even know what to believe anymore.  How do you beat this?  If you don’t want him to know the truth, he’ll figure it out, and if you do want him to know the truth, he’ll still figure it out.  His perception is unbelievable.
After a moment of silence, he murmurs gently through the comm.  “I thought you said you were in the middle of nowhere.”  It sounds like he’s smiling.
“I…”  your eyes shift around awkwardly, “am…”
Din lets out a deep sigh.  He’s right, that was bad, even for you.  “I found your bed a few hours ago,” he admits.  You close your eyes as you listen to him make his way closer to you, step by step.  “I’m nowhere near the city yet.  You have time to sleep.”
Your expression furrows and you frown.  “Why are you helping me?”
“Why do you want me to think you’re in an inn?”  He tosses back, and you huff.
“Because I’m trying to outsmart you but you make it really fucking difficult,” you grumble, not happy about him catching on so quick.
“You’ve also gained about four hours on me since we started.”  His voice is gruff.  You don’t know if he thinks it’s a good thing or a bad thing.  “You should give yourself more credit.  I thought I would’ve found you by now, never expected you to get all the way to Nariss.  It’s… not good for me.”
The honesty creeping in makes you go soft.  It makes you want to reciprocate, even if it’s dumb and you haven’t thought it all the way through.  “Wanna know a secret?”
“Tell me.”  His voice is a bed all its own, deep and gentle and safe.
You say it before you lose the nerve.  “I might just turn around and walk back.”
His footsteps stop and you hear a small sound in the background, a quiet little baby noise that suddenly makes your heart ache.  You’re comfortable but incredibly aware of how alone you are.  People pass by on the streets below, cars and hoverbikes honk in the distance and you’re by yourself.  For the first time in over a year, like you have been for years, you’re by yourself.
“Sweet girl,” Din sighs, and all of a sudden… you can feel his arms around you with it.  You feel so… known, somehow.  Every sentiment you could’ve possibly given in your last sentence, he relays his understanding back with his.  He makes you feel loved with it.  “Never wants to run.”
You don’t say anything, because you suddenly realize you’re totally fucking whipped, up down and sideways for his metal ass and the little floating grimlin that follows him around, and you would throw away the fifth quarry, adventure, the sky—literally everything if you could be with the both of them right now.
But again.  You don’t have to say anything, he already knows.  “Give me your coordinates.”
Your eyes pop open and you bite your lip.  Oh, stars.  You hate that you do genuinely consider it.  He could be here, and very soon.  With the jet pack, both of them could be here in less than an hour, probably.  He could take a shower.  Watch these stupid shows with you all night without needing to be on the move, help you build a bed of pillows for the kid on top of this one.  You could be with both of them again, even if it’s only for a little while.
“Ask me again tomorrow,” you finally whisper, looking down at the soft white fabric of your robe, the way one of your slippers is falling off your foot as the holonet program continues to play on mute.
Din’s footsteps eventually start up again, and you both relax in silence together.  You, squinting at the screen because your eyes are getting heavy; him, continuing to travel step by step and gain ground on you.  Let him come.  You’ll be long gone by the time he even makes it to the gates.
It’s been about ten minutes of shared, quiet existence before you hear him bite into something and chew, and your face suddenly lights up.
“Are you eating the purple fruit?”  You ask, your slipper falling off with excitement.  You don’t know why, but it’s like… you’re stoked for him.  Just as proud of him for doing normal things as he does when you step out of your own comfort zone.  You like to think you’re both better that way.  Balanced.
“Mm,” Din replies with his mouth full, and you grin down at your bare legs peeking through the robe while he swallows.
“Is it not the best thing you’ve ever tasted?”  Your voice goes a little breathless with it, and you hear his footsteps stop once more.
“Close,” Din murmurs lowly, sending a small shudder through you.  It suddenly feels a bit warm in here, doesn’t it?  This morning was one of the rare times you were awake while he was asleep… it’s almost always the other way around, and just from the implication in his tone, you’re reminded of the thing he likes doing most when you’re resting.  Maybe he’ll let you do it to him, next time around.  The thought gets you hot enough to warrant the other slipper falling to the floor.
“You’re alone, right?”  You whisper, knowing he must’ve pulled the helmet up to take a bite of the fruit.  He must still be following your path through the hillside, then, not yet reaching the road.
“The kid is awake,” Din tells you, sounding like he’s trying to stop everything before anything starts.  His words are short and clear in their meaning, but…
This has a very small chance of success, you already know.  “…Do you want to—”
“No,” he responds quickly, already way ahead of you.  “We can’t.”
Something in his voice… you don’t know, there’s just something there that makes you feel just a little reckless.  Should you push it?  You’re by yourself in this suite, what can go wrong?
“You can’t,” you correct him quietly, shifting around on the bed just a bit and biting your lip.  It’s a thrill—being able to tease him without having him in front of you, drive him crazy knowing you’re just out of his reach.  “But I can do whatever I want, can’t I?”
There’s a pause, a tense and knowing silence suspended between you before he eventually speaks.
“I’d be real careful,” Din mutters low in warning, but what is he gonna do?
“What are you gonna do?”  You whisper to him devilishly.  Quiet and breathy, beginning to snake your hand down.  Stars, your heart is already pounding.  You’d only likely mouth off like this in person just to see how hard he’d fuck you, but this feels extra dangerous for some reason.  He’s stuck, he can’t do anything about it right now, and you know it’s playing with fire.  “You could hang up if you don’t want to hear me.  Or you could find me before I’m finished.  Come make me stop.”
Din doesn’t say anything but he very much does not hang up, nor does he come busting into your room like you imagine he’d like to.  The sheer fact that your door is still closed and locked tells you for sure that he isn’t just hanging out in the hallway, just letting you have your fun.
You start pressing your fingers against your robe at the apex of your thighs, humming at how nice the pressure feels.  You don’t even spread your legs or push the fabric away, you just sigh into it and wiggle your hips a bit, pressing hard against your clit and listening to him breathe.
“Do you want to listen?”  You ask quietly after a moment, and Din still doesn’t respond.  Likely because there’s not a real answer, both yes and no would imply the wrong thing.  “I’ll talk.”
Still, nothing from him.  Dead silence through the comm.  You’re starting to understand.  For two days, you’ve felt like he could read your every thought just by the cadence of your voice.  He’s staying quiet so you can’t even attempt to do the same to him—if he doesn’t talk, you can’t find a weakness and pounce on it, you can’t feel any more confident or reassured about your own ability to read him.
You’ll just have to push a little harder, then.
“Hm.  If only this fancy communicator could…” you pause to look down at your wrist for a second, studying the menu.  You don’t think you’ve ever really looked at it, you never had the time.
Din’s growl is sudden and sharp through the earpiece.  “No, don’t even think—”
“Ah,” you smile, tapping the face and immediately finding the correct screen.  “Take pictures.”
He’s deadly quiet for a moment, and you bite your lip with excitement.  When he does speak, his voice is a pure threat, chilling you to the bone as much as it burns deep in your tummy.  “…You wouldn’t.”
Ignoring him, you suddenly locate a menu option that sounds phenomenal right now.  “Oh shit, does this holocall?  Or is it a video option?”
“Holo,” he says very seriously while you study the lack of complexity of the built-in camera in skepticism, “and the kid is awake, so you can’t—”
“Oh, it’s definitely a video,” you unclip it from your wrist and he curses as you sit up, and then you press a button and wait impatiently for him.  “Pick up.”
Din takes forever before responding, and you hear the continuous beeps as it attempts to connect, before his quiet baritone rumbles in your ear.  “What if I don’t?”
You feel your mouth pull down at the corners, not so much frowning as you are dubious.  He’s going to turn down the opportunity to see you and your surroundings when his whole goal is locating you?  Really?
“You sure?”  You ask softly, raising an eyebrow.  “You’d get to see me, where I am.  What I’m…” your eyes dip down to the loose robe riding your curves, your skin glowing against the white fabric, “…wearing.”
The beeps continue on for a few more seconds, until they finally stop.  You frown down at the black screen of the communicator, not seeing anything at all.  Did he decline the transmission request?  No… there’s a little red light next to the small lens that wasn’t there before.  Why can’t you see him?
“Why can’t I see you?”  You ask.  You want to look at him looking at you, you don’t want to always be stuck on the other side of a one-way mirror.
“I… have it linked to my helmet, but it only has a front-facing camera,” Din tells you after a moment, and he sounds… slightly out of breath.  “Easier to see, the watch is useless now besides the controls.”
Wait, does that mean you’re… being shown on the inner-display of his helmet instead of his wrist?  Right in front of his eyes, as if he were actually here with you?
“Nobody can see me but you?”  You clarify, and when he doesn’t respond, you bite your lip and lean back into the pillows.  You lift the watch up slightly, extending your arm out until you can get the angle as wide as possible.  “Can you see… this?”  You ask softly, before hooking your fingers in the collar of your white robe and slowly pulling it open for him.
“Where are you?”  Din asks instead, and you hear his footsteps through the earpiece, as if he’s walking away from something very quickly.
You don’t answer him, parting the soft fabric until your breasts are completely exposed and you sigh, closing your eyes and snuggling back into the pillows once more.  “I’ll tell you where I am if you keep watching me.”
“Why?”  Din grits in frustration, coming back around to the same dangerous question he had earlier.  “Why would you do that?”
“I don’t know.”  You slowly tilt the camera down until you can spread your legs and the robe falls open with the movement, letting him see your pussy peeking through in the flickering light of the muted screen in front of your bed.  “Can you see that?”
“Yeah,” he says shakily on the end of a breath, and you feel yourself get wet.  Fuck, he sounds so fucking tempted, the sight making his voice come without any of the self-assuredness as it usually has, but… he could also just be saying that.  How do you know he’s telling you the truth?
“What am I doing?”  You test him, lifting your knee just the slightest bit so you really give him something to look at.
“Spreading your legs for a camera,” Din responds without hesitation, voice scraping against your ear, making you shiver and your nipples harden.  Fuck, the way he says it, like it’s wrong and bad even though he’s the only one who can see or hear you do it… it makes you feel even more naughty and emboldened.
You bite your lip and reach your hand down to spread your lips for him, too, hearing his breath immediately catch on the other end.  Already your pussy makes your fingers slick against your soft skin, the sash of your robe still holding the fabric together on your body but also loose enough to allow it to part in the right places and reveal everything you want him to see.
“I am in an inn,” you whisper teasingly, letting your finger drop to brush against your clit and then sighing in soft delight.  Oh stars, that feels nice, it feels so good to treat yourself after being completely nomadic for two days, getting to be clean and soft and comfortable while you feel this pleasure, and Din’s voice growls through your communicator like you’re doing something painful to him.
“Fuck,” his breathing picks up while you begin circling your clit.  “Where?”
“Nariss,” comes your quiet moan, turning your head on the pillow to blink slowly at the camera.  Wanting him to see your eyes as well as your finger slowly dip into where you’re the hottest, caressing the sensitive skin there knowing he’s watching.
“Where in Nariss?”  Din’s voice is as pleading as it is sharp, desperately trying to keep either you or himself on track.
“I don’t know,” you say again.  Truthfully, you don’t—you don’t know the cross streets, you don’t know the part of town, you don’t know much of anything at all besides physical descriptors.  You quickly move the camera to the side as far as you can hold it and let him see you from a different angle with the window as a backdrop.  “But the window is open.  And there are lots of people outside.”
“Can they see you?”  Din immediately challenges.  Of course they can’t, you’re fifteen stories up and the room is darker than it is outside with all the city lights and swirling colors of the sky, but you suppose he doesn’t know that.  You think he just needs to relax—if this is what he’s always like during hunts, you now know exactly why he comes back to you all riled up and tense.
“I don’t know,” you murmur back, starting to rub your clit a little faster, trying to make it feel like him.  It doesn’t—your fingers aren’t large or strong enough to give you those perfect circles; you just feel like you’re meandering yourself towards ecstasy instead of picking you up and hauling your ass there like he does, but it’s okay.  Hearing Din’s rough breathing come through the earpiece, knowing his hands are probably clenched tight into fists, wondering if he’s hard yet… all of it culminates into a power trip unlike any you’ve experienced recently.  It makes you bold, tells you to open your mouth.  “Does it matter?  I’d still let you fuck me against it if you were here.”
“Stop it,” comes his growl, but what is he gonna do?
Your leg lifts a little wider so you can slowly slide your fingers down and push two of them inside yourself, and Din swears as you moan, “Come find me.”
“Give me your coordinates—”
“Are you giving up?”  You offer breathlessly, lifting your eyebrows and your hips up slightly at the question, but you’re… not expecting the extended silence following.  You assumed a growled no would immediately come next, or just another empty threat said with enough force to make you tremble with excitement, but not… nothing.
The response makes you pause just for a second, easing your fingers out and dragging them across your thigh to clean some of the wetness off before extending your arm out towards the communicator.  Din stays quiet while you navigate through the menu with trembling fingers, eventually finding your coordinates and hovering over the unchecked share location box.
You wait with your lip bit, confident he knows what you’re doing and you don’t have to narrate or repeat yourself.  Fuck, you knew you were considering abandoning this entire adventure just to be next to him again, but you had no idea.  No fucking idea that it could ever be a thought in his own mind as well.  You… assumed he likes this, hunting is what he does for a living and he’s the one who conceived of the idea in the first place.  Is he just that aroused by you?  Or is there something more?
“No,” Din eventually murmurs, and you immediately navigate out of the menu so you don’t accidentally press anything catastrophic, before pulling your hand away from the communicator with a resolved hum and settling back into the pillows again.  Making sure to look directly into the lens even if your eyelids are heavy with heat and desire, you slowly lick your fingers and then reach down once more.
His deep, shaky breath is so telling.  Exhausted after all this, but still not hanging up, still doing his hardest to tough it out when he’s only miles away from you and has jets attached to his back.  You don’t want to drag it out but you also do, you want to be kind but something about Din makes you also want to be as formidable as possible.  You’ll never be able to threaten like he does, you’ll never have anyone cower just because you walked into the room, you’ll never be as powerful or strong as he is, but you can still put up a fucking fight against him in your own way.
You whimper softly, your breathing beginning to find a quicker pace as surely as your fingers do.  It begins to spark and build, a red hot flame being kindled by the knowledge that he’s as close as possible without actually being close, right here with you when he always seems so far away.
“Mando,” you whisper, though your expression pulls inwards just slightly because it… in a scenario as sensual and intimate as this, it almost doesn’t sound righ—
“Din,” he whispers back, so quiet you almost don’t hear it, like he almost doesn’t want to but has to anyways, and then you just start to fucking burn.
“D-Din,” you whisper instead, trying to keep your voice as quiet as possible through the rising swell.  He’ll be able to see it, you think.  The way your tummy and chest start to heave, how your body begins to brace for it—and yeah, Maker, he sees it, because his voice suddenly changes.
“Stop,” Din growls roughly, knowing exactly how you cum—knowing exactly what it looks like, the way it sounds in your breathing, what it tastes like, how it feels on the inside.  It’s been so long since you’ve touched bliss without him, months and months since you brought yourself to completion on the floor of the Crest by yourself, and though he’s rarely ever denied you, your own high on newfound control causes it to slip.  He barks your name and tells you to stop once more, but it’s too late.
“I’m gonna cum, Din,” you breathe out—
“Don’t—”
It tears through you, rapid and surging, and he snarls a curse, something loud snapping and thudding and… did he just punch something?  You can’t think, it’s delicious and hard as fuck and everything you needed after two days of near constant movement and thought with little rest, and you bite your lip to keep quiet but a pained whimper still shoves its way out of your tense vocal cords regardless.  It sounds like it hurts because it does hurt; the orgasm shatters your body into pieces and you’re left trembling by yourself on this soft bed, wishing he was with you on a metal one.
You sink into the mattress in the moments following, sluggish and exhausted and just conscious enough to keep the watch facing you.  You bet the camerawork was terrible, shaky at best, but you can’t find it in yourself to care right now.  You just lay there and listen to his harsh breathing while you work to slow your heart rate, reveling in the filthy little show you just gave him and wanting to finish it out properly.
“Come find me,” you breathe out once more, lazing soft and naked for him, blinking dazedly at the watch as you pan it over you.  Your thighs are still twitching and there’s a thin sheen of sweat clinging to you, but you drag a finger through your swollen lips and carefully wipe the wetness across one of your nipples.  “Clean me up.”
“Fuck,” Din suddenly spits through the earpiece, furious.  “You think—y-you think—”
“What?”  You hum, basking in the afterglow and so, so curious.  Truly, you’re dumb as fuck, you have no clue what you’re thinking, but if anybody would be able to tell you, it’s him.
There’s a moment where his breathing stops.  It’s completely silent on the line, before you hear another few heavy footsteps on his end pick up and then halt just as quickly.
“You think you can taunt me?”   He murmurs, dangerous and deadly quiet.  “Show me exactly where you are, disappear and then make me waste forever trying to get there?  You think that’s gonna work?”
Your eyebrow lifts, considering.  He… may or may not have predicted your strategy perfectly, but his insight has stopped surprising you by now.  “Maybe…”
“Maybe you shouldn’t fall asleep tonight.”
Ooh.  That one sends goosebumps down your arms, but you’ve gained four hours on top of a twelve hour headstart.  He can’t scare you with that tone, not when you’re still woozy with pleasure and he isn’t right in front of you.  Instead of wilting beneath the hard threat, you just blink gently at the communicator, finding strength in being the only one to get him this mad when he’s always so composed, this talkative when he barely says a word.  “Maybe I’ll just stay here then?”
“Maybe you wanted me to know you’re in an inn because you already found someplace to hide that isn’t one,” Din reasons very, very adeptly.  Stars, your heart subtly begins to pick up, your legs continuing to tremble as the small red light next to the lens stares you down.  “Can’t be planning to stay with someone you just met because you’d already be there, can’t be going to a hostel because you found the one city on this moon built for commerce and not aid.  Not staying in another inn, you can’t afford it—the view looks high up, that robe is expensive, and you already bought food and at least five pairs of shoes in two days.  I don’t think the place you found is even in Nariss.  You think you can outsmart me, sweet girl?”
The chill down your spine doesn’t reach your eyes, you won’t let it.  You just feel yourself smile, tilting your head at him and licking your lips while your finger brushes one of your nipples, but Din doesn’t accept your silence the way you’ve always accepted his.  He wants an answer from you, right now, and it’s clear in the dark rumble of his voice, the danger slowly brewing beyond what you originally planned for.
“Tell me,” he orders, unamused and leaving no room to disobey.  “How long do you think you can keep running?”
Your eyelashes flutter, suddenly deciding… why not?  What have you got to lose?  Nothing that you didn’t already go into this situation completely expecting to lose anyways.  What’s the worst he can do?  Find you?
You close your eyes, pinching one of your nipples and wondering if you might just go for another one since he’s still here.  “Ask me again tomorrow.”
But then, instead of immediately responding, you just hear Din’s footsteps suddenly pick up, faster than any pace you’ve been able to keep over the past few days.  You don’t think it sounds like a run necessarily, but you know that his legs and strides are far longer than yours and it’s probably pretty much equivalent to a run for you.  You hear the rhythm of your demise speeding up, coming closer and closer, and everything in you both fears it and welcomes it.
“We’ll see,” he tells you, and then the red light vanishes and your earpiece clicks to silence.
***
Day 3—2:23am:
Even though it takes you much longer to do so than it normally would on a bed so large and comfortable, after such an exciting interaction and not being used to flickering light when you try to sleep but wanting to experience the rarity anyways, you’re eventually able to pass out.
But, not even a few minutes into a restless dream, you turn over and accidentally knock your communicator off the wireless charging station on the side table.  It blinks with four percent battery life.
***
To be continued!!
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buckybarnesdiaries · 6 months ago
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a place called home
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© credits to the author, i found it on google. if you own it, send me a message to add your @.
bucky barnes x reader. ⎢ masterlist.
Request by @dora-wolfram-blog: Hi <3 so happy to see your requests are open! How about ex Avenger reader who can manipulate the forces of nature and she comes to help Sam? (Idk maybe calling fish from the sea so his family can sell and earn enough money for the boat?) There she meets Bucky who she briefly met after endgame and they get to know each other? Domestic stuff is my weak spot so thank you so much luv u <3
word count: 1.206 words.
warnings/tags: none. bucky being a gentleman and sam a pain in the ass as always.
author notes: none of my stories contain reader’s body descriptions to be inclusive.
Join the tag list here.
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Saying that Bucky and you were friends wasn’t something exactly. You fought together a couple of times before you retired from superhero life. Like many of them, the war had finished and you chose calm over being a private agent. More or less like the ex-soldier, with the difference that he went to New York and you didn’t be able to find a home until Sam made you a call. He was quite the opposite of Bucky for you, connecting since the very first second you met. After he told you about his sister’s financial trouble, he offered you a roof to sleep under in exchange for your powers to control the tide and promote the movement of fish stocks. Of course, it was a hit, and you finally found peace in Delacroix. A celebration was inevitable, it was part of Wilsons’ DNA, but you weren’t expecting Bucky to show up with Sam; although he told you in your last call that they were working together. Or something like that.
As soon as your eyes laid on him among the crowd, you knew he had changed after more than six months without seeing each other. You couldn't help but feel happy for Bucky when you saw him smiling for the first time. He had a beautiful and innocent smile, seeming like a new man. Renovated, with want to live, enjoying playing with kids and talking to old men about war stories.
You had placed your back against an oak column, away from the crowd but close enough to check on everyone, in case they need help with anything. A beer was resting against your lips, doubting on continuing drinking, lost in your thoughts. There was something about Bucky going from one side to another, laughing unworried, that had fully captivated your attention. You weren't able to stop looking at him, chuckling when you saw one of Sam's nieces putting a magnet with the form of a crab on his left arm.
“I have that teen-in-love's face on camera”.
You frowned at Redwing some inches away from your face. As a response, you tried to slap it down. But your friend was faster than you controlling that thing.
“He looks good, uh?”
“Oh, shut up…” You replied by clicking your tongue and rolling your eyes, having a sip from your drink to put your eyes away to the sea.
“He asked if you'd be here… Just saying”.
“Shut up, Samuel!” You implored, rubbing the bridge of your nose.
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As the night went on and the guests started to leave, Sarah asked you to take Jim and Jody home while she stayed there cleaning with his brother about the business. You were exhausted too, and she noticed it. And after saying your goodbyes, you headed to the parking where your car was stationed, carrying the younger Wilson onto your arms —peacefully sleeping— as his big brother was yawning loudly. At that point, you realized that it was going to be a tough mission to put them in the car.
“Wait! Lemme help”.
The male voice coming from behind you made you turn around and before you could react, Bucky was taking Jody from your arms to his. You smirked softly in response, looking for the key in the right pocket of your jacket to unlock the car. The soldier tucked the younger in the back seat, placing the belt around him as Jim occupied the other side of the SUV.
“It's been good to see you”. You said after closing the door, staying outside in front of him.
“Same”. He replied, not knowing what else to say.
Puckering your lips and clapping the key on your palm, you nodded with your chin, feeling the nerves running through your veins. “Good night, Bucky”.
“Good night, (Y/N)”.
You gave him your back, sighing inappreciably, to open the pilot's place and came in.
“He— Hey, wait”.
“Uh?”
“Sam told me… you were tired. I might give you a ride back home. I can wait for him there”. The offering made you glance towards him, already sitting in your car but with a leg rest on the ground. “If you want, I mean…”
Of course he did (...). That son of a bitch had the audacity to push you onto the other. You bit your inner cheek, landing your eyes on the wheel. Yes, you were tired. You woke up at five to sail with Sarah, then you organized the party and cooked for it. You hadn't had a single second of rest during the whole day. And Sam took advantage of it, feeling like he was some kind of Cupido. And you had to recognize that it was also very considerate coming from Bucky.
“I'd appreciate it… actually”. You ended up agreeing, stepping out to give him the keys and ceding your seat.
The ride was silent between the two of you, hearing some quiet indie music playing on the radio while you fought against your brain to stay awake. Luckily, it didn't take him too long to reach Sarah's house —although you were barely keeping your eyes open at this point. Again, he helped you with the kids, walking indoors and following you to their respective rooms. You tucked Jim and Jody on their beds, making sure they were comfy before placing a kiss on their foreheads and wishing them a good night. Bucky had rested his back against the wall, in front of the elder’s room, just waiting for you. And you could swear that you saw him briefly smirking because of the tenderness in your actions.
After closing the last door, you waved your head to urge him to follow you downstairs to the living room. With an exhausted sigh escaping your lips, you let your body fall on the sofa, curling on a side of it to give Bucky some space. You couldn’t help but yawn, turning on the TV by using the control remote.
“It’s good to have a home to come back”.
“Yeah… After all the shitty situations we’ve been through… We deserved a rest, don’t you think?” You replied grabbing a cushion from the floor, using it as a pillow over the armrest. “Sorry, I… I’m deadly tired…”
“Come here, that will hurt when you wake up”.
Bucky didn’t hesitate on beckoning to his arms, taking off his boots heel against heel to place both legs over the coffee table. You didn’t resist, knowing it would be comfier by his way. Sitting up, you lied to the opposite side, being wrapped instantly and snuggled against his warm body. Shameless, you rest your head on his right forearm, practically laying over his lap. But you felt good. You felt like it was a good reward after a long day, rolling down your eyelids and focusing on the caresses in your hair you didn’t know you needed.
For a moment, your mind wandered and fantasized about this last hour being part of your real life. Putting your kids to sleep and then cuddle with your husband till falling asleep. Smell Bucky’s strong and edgy scent. Your hands scratching his back. His fingertips stroking your scalp. Your legs laced (...)
Oh, God, Sam. What did you do?
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otomeman · 6 months ago
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[OBEY ME] Decades of Fashion
This was a project I've been working on for a while, but it required a LOT of research to get done.
The idea was this: The boys have lived for thousands of years, and as such, they've had to adhere to certain fashion changes over time. But in the midst of me really wanting to show Beel drinking Pepsi Blue, I realized that each of them really fit into a style over the course of seven decades.
[PLEASE BE WARNED I MAY TOUCH ON CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS HERE]
Lucifer - 1940's [Post-War Americana]
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Oh boy, those coats were popular in the 20's and 30's. I thought Lucifer worked well with the vibe of an old-style gangster. But really, this look worn in the 40's would have been one of showing off wealth. During the second world war, we had a shortage on EVERYTHING, including fabric - when nylon was needed for parachutes, women used to draw makeup lines on the backs of their legs to indicate a seam where their stockings would go. As a result, suits in the 40's were trimmed back as far as fabric usage. Coats no longer had capelets around the shoulders, jackets no longer had flaps on the pockets, pants were restricted to a certain width, and 3-piece suits were nonexistent - no one sold suits with vests anymore.
Incidentally, that's why Zoot Suits were so popular in American minority communities - it was a "fuck you" level of luxury to have suits with so much excess fabric!
Mammon - 1950's [Rebel Style]
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From gangster to greaser! While we associate Greaser subculture with the likes of James Dean and Marlon Brando, the term actually originated with Hispanic teens - "greaser", in addition to referencing their slicked-back hairstyles, was the name for Mexican workers who greased the wheels of shopping carts, and there was actually a law in California called the "Greaser Act" specifically put in place to protect "law abiding" Californians from these rowdy (but un-armed and non-dangerous) teens.
Not only does the Rebel style really suit Mammon in general, associated with sleek cars and loud boys and an inarguable style, but I've always thought of Mammon as being kind of Latino. However, it also bears noting that Greasers were very anti-materialistic. Sure, you wanted money, but Greaser culture was more geared towards rebelling against the ones who had it.
Leviathan - 1960's [Japanese Ivy]
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Post-war Japan had a certain loss of identity as they were occupied by the American military and exposed to cultures from around the world. But by the sixties, Japanese culture was absorbing everything it found and making it their own. The popularity of Disney and TV animation gave rise to anime that began early in the fifties, but was really in its prime by '65, and much of that then spread to the rest of the world. Mach Go Go Go became Speed Racer and Mighty Atom became Astro Boy in the US.  In partIcular, based on Levi's current anime tastes, I think he'd be a huge fan of Cyborg 009 and Mahoutsukai Sally - The original Magical Girl who would eventually lead to the creation of the invented anime The Magical Ruri Hanai: Demon Girl.
But along with animation, Japan absorbed something else in 1964 - American Ivy League fashion. Magazines with spreads of American university students in sweaters, blazers, loafers, and cotton trousers became incredibly popular and inspired a fashion style simply called "Ivy" in Japan - and this style persisted until the mid-eighties!
Satan - 1970's [Collegiate]
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'70's fashion in America was lawless. As the youth of the day broke free from society's constraints and pursued their own agendas, they brought with them a rebellion of peace and love that had been brewing with every fight and war since the 40's. As opposed to the Mod fashion of the 60's, modern fashion was more about comfort and natural colors.... and bellbottoms. So many bellbottoms. But there were no fucking rules. Wear your jacket on one shoulder or two or none, mix colors and patterns, wear that corduroy jacket with the suede elbow patches, fuck you dad, I went to college!
I feel like it also bears mentioning that god DAMN, white belts with gold buckles were weirdly popular.
Asmodeus - 1980's [Pop Trend]
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Pop culture was skyrocketing in the eighties, as was the sheer accessibility of fashion. It was never as cheap to wear the hottest trends as it was here. Stars like Madonna popularized the inexpensive, bright-colored messes of style that the day's teens HAD to have. Plastic jewelry, acid-washed jeans, hair-wrecking crimping and curling, bright and heavy makeup... and leotards for EVERYONE. Jazzercise and videotape aerobics also threw their hats in... or rather, their leg warmers and tights.
And while it doesn't have much to do with fashion, I could see Asmo being at his absolute prime here... Queer community and sexuality was coming out of hiding around here, and with it, the stigma and horror associated with the gay agenda, promiscuity, and the AIDS epidemic. Fuck those assholes.
Beelzebub - 1990's [Urban Sport]
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The 90's were... experimental. As we entered the Internet age and the approach of the new millennium, a lot of shit happened. Hip-Hop and R&B culture that began in the late eighties influenced a lot outside its own minority sphere, from fashion to music to celebrity. Things once worn as sport gear, windbreakers and basketball shoes and baseball hats, were adapted to the increasing physical presence of stars in music videos and movies. (I don't really know how much of a position I'm in to talk about how much cultural appropriation inspired a lot of that, but it did. And then they talked smack on the sources they got their shit from.)
As for those stupid parachute pants with the zip-off bottoms... I don't know whose fault that was. The Y2k bug, I guess. Swatches were cool though.
But Beelzebub probably would have been going nuts with all the experimental snack foods we loved back then. Soda with little chewable balls of questionable origin? 3D nacho chips? Yogurt in a TUBE? HOT POCKETS!? A glutton's paradise. I drank Crystal pepsi when they rereleased it and it tasted like old bubblegum. shit's nasty.
Belphegor - 2000's [Emo/Goth]
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This is it. This is what years of punk, grunge, goth, and The Cure led to at the turn of the millennium. We took Tripp pants that were popular in blue denim in the nineties and put so much shit on them that it was hard to walk, but we DID IT. Because it looked cool. Do you hate life? Do you hate everyone? Smear liner in your eyeballs and belt your legs together in two denim dresses, and wear bracelets and belts that get banned at high school because someone started an urban legend where you have to have sex with someone if they snap your black jelly bracelet off. That shit never happened but damn if they didn't try to convince us it did.
Emo and goth subculture was actually seen as pretty toxic. And I can say that because I was in it. People who did this stuff were seen as idolizing self-harm and suicide. Some people actually did. Most of us probably approached it the same way zoomers gleefully post memes about ending themselves all the time. In Belphegor's case... yeah, he probably does hate the world.
Thank you so much to my patrons who made this post possible!
patreon | ko-fi
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thespineoftherighteous · 3 months ago
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David 'dad' Wymack things
"how did you get into my house?" (said in varying levels of pitch, at various times of the night)
"why did you get into my house?"
"yes you can spend the night" or alternatively : "please, make yourself at home" said sarcastically after child has already made themselves at home
not paying attention to the foxes conversation until he realizes that he was just used as an example of bad fashion choices by the team for Neil ("what's wrong with this shirt?" "er-nothing coach. it's just...not Neil's style")
having a record player in his office and getting made fun of for his music taste
"the kids"
"coach do you like my new haircut?" "hm?" "my hair?" "what about it?" "it's new" *stares hard* "yeah...yeah it's very pretty"
being caught off guard in the midst of a speech by one of their comments that was actually funny and breaking character
on that note- finding out that it's something of a game between them to get him to break whenever they can
"for the last time guys, no we cannot change the team color. yes i asked, multiple times, yes i know it messes with your 'aesthetic', it does mine too, no there's no one else I can talk to"
*stumbles through three other names before he gets the person he's actually trying to talk to*
"coach we brought you those chocolates you like" "really? i- no we're not cancelling practice today, nice try. go get ready. leave the chocolate"
*examines kid closely* "are you high?" "no coach" "your eyes are bloodshot" "yes coach" "...why are they bloodshot?" "long story short, it's exams season and i haven't slept in nearly sixty hours" "minYARD-"
hearing one of the kids casually mention something that happened to them when they were younger or catching a glimpse of scars he had forgotten about and remembering just who they are and what they've gone through and getting angry all over again
*furrows brows*
dressing up for sports banquet and getting "coach? is that really you?" from the boys and "aww coach you look so nice" from Dan and Renee and *stands up, walks over to him, straightens his tie, brushes off his shoulders, wipes away a pretend tear, fake whispers an "I'm so proud"* from Allison. every single time
"[FIRSTNAME MIDDLENAME LASTNAME]
holding his breath every time one of the kids doesn't get up right away after getting knocked down on court
worrying about them 25/7 but keeping his distance because he never wants to overstep (and asking Abby or bee to make sure one of them is okay instead, if he feels like something is wrong)
"DO I NEED TO SEPARATE YOU TWO?"
recognizing more pop culture references than he'd ever think himself able to, thanks to one Nicky Hemmick
"coach when you were younger did you have..." "how fucking old do you think i am?"
but still uses "back in my day" stories and just gets blank looks and polite nods back
*to himself while the monsters are arguing furiously* "i thought they spoke Spanish..."
"hey coach so i was wondering-" "get your ass back on court"
also literally just "get your ass" for everything: "get your asses showered and on the bus in half an hour" "get your ass out of my office" "stop bleeding all over me and get your ass to abby now"
getting offended by the increasingly transparent attempts at bribery
so. goddamn. many. #1 dad/coach gag gifts (he keeps them all)
"above my pay grade above my pay grade above my pay grade above my pay grade above my-"
additionally: *sees some kind of conflict* *turns around quickly* "not my problem not my problem not my problem not my problem not- oh fucking hell"
visibly thawing whenever he sees the kids bonding or having each others backs at banquets or getting over something or just showing any signs of healing
pacing in front of Abbyy for half an hour while ranting either about the kids or for the kids or on their behalf
"hey you, YOU. come here. how do I take a...a screenshot on this thing?"
replaying "that is enough" and every moment like it that came after in his head
pretending to have a frozen heart but tearing up out of pride on so many occasions: every graduation, giving Neil a side-hug and realizing after how far he came, seeing Neil and Kevin's faces the first time they have a proper holiday, watching Kevin walk out with his queen tattoo for the first time, seeing all the foxes packed together in the lounge freshly showered and exhausted but quietly brimming with happiness and pride after winning at the end of tkm, etc, etc, etc. and, whenever he gets caught: "aw coach you do care, you're a sap" *aggressively wipes face* "shut your bitch ass up, you terror"
*gruff voice* I'm proud of you, kid
*choked up* thanks Coach
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sukirichi · 7 months ago
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request: SWIMSUIT SHOPPING WITH JJK CHARACTERS — (yuuji, megumi, and gojo satoru ver!)
notes: i’ve reached a point in hell of no return, help 😩 anon knows exactly what she’s talking about and i’d be more than honoured to add on to this concept
warnings: nsfw content such as public sex, overstimulation, degradation, manhandling, oral sex (f and m receiving), road head, and slight cumplay (nsfw under the cut!) + this is unedited/not proofread,
(all minor characters are aged up)
masterlist ! requests are open
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ITADORI YUUJI
he’s a pretty innocent boy
in a way that he’s not always dirty minded instead of him totally being...well, inexperienced
so when you ask him if he can come with you pick a swimsuit, he happily agrees
he loves going shopping with you and is extremely patient even if you take half an hour in just one shop
he’d happily carry your bags for you
seriously, this man is so low maintenance, he’s not going to ask for anything else or whine that you’re taking too long or that he’s hungry
he’s REALLY really patient and supportive of you
and even though he’s not an expert in women’s fashion, he’ll honestly give his opinions if he thinks a dress or shoe looks good on you or no
he might also remind you just how convenient your outfit would be on the event you plan to use it t
but this time, it’s a different case because you’re buying a swimsuit
now, yuuji’s seen you naked before so it’s nothing new to him anymore, but the moment he walks inside the swimsuit shop with all types of frilly bras and colorful pieces, he’ll immediately duck his head down in respect
he’s pretty fidgety the whole time
if you bring up a certain red polka dot bikini in front of your clothed body, tilting your head to the side innocently to ask, “how about this?”
yuuji’s brain will fry right then and there
he can imagine just how great you’d look in it, but he doesn’t want to be rude or too obvious so he’ll just nod and go,
“yeah, babe, that’d look great on you!”
he’s pretty silent the whole time, but really, all the blood’s rushed to his cock already
the whole drive back, yuuji is already so sensitive and clenching his jaw with his hands firmly gripping the steering wheel while you sit next to him, hiding your smirk
you almost want to laugh at how flustered he is, but he’s trying his best not to show it
but you’re not that bad, and so you ask him to pull over because the tent in his pants looks so uncomfortable and you doubt he’ll be patient enough to jack off in the bathroom when you both go back home
he’s confused at first, glancing over you with worry
“why, what’s wrong? did you want to go somewhere else?”
“no,” you laugh, pushing your hair back into a makeshift ponytail
and THAT has yuuji driving recklessly and swerving real fast and furious style because he knows what’s about to happen next
despite his eagerness, he’s still concerned about you, breathing heavily as you lean over your seats and start to unzip his pants
“a-are you sure about this? you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to,”
poor baby is already shaking the moment your nails rake over his thigh, your breath just ghosting over his clothed erection which is already damp with pre-cum
this makes you hum in agreement because yes of course you’re sure
you had a feeling yuuji would be turned on with this little escapade anyway, but you didn’t think he’d be this needy already
now it’s time for you to relax your throat and prepare yourself because yuuji is THICK
safe to say, all your arrogance is gone the moment you choke on his length, his big hands helping you keep the hair away from your face
meanwhile, yuuji is messily thrusting his hips up to your mouth, enjoying the way you just feel so warm around him
“f-fuck, baby, feels so good. i can imagine you already in that flimsy material, you’d be so pe-perfect, fuuckk.”
your chest swells with pride, always having been weak when it comes to his praising
once he reaches his high and paints your face white, yuuji lazily pulls you closer to him to kiss you, moaning when he tastes himself on your lips
you only giggle at how romantic he is even when your hands are still stroking his softening cock, and yuuji shudders a bit at the gesture
because he’s been such a great and supportive boyfriend today, you swipe at the cum near your lips, which makes yuuji’s eyes darken when you collect it with the tip of your tongue
then, as innocently as you could bat your eyelashes at him, you grin,
“would you like to see me wear it tonight? just for you?”
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FUSHIGURO MEGUMI
PLEASE HELP THIS BOY
“gumi, can you come shopping with me tonight? there’s a pool party this weekend with my friends and i need a new swimsuit.”
he wants to say yes because duh
but he also wants to say no because he’d rather not walk around in public with a raging erection
and we all know megumi is big, like come on, he’s toji’s son
like yuuji, i don’t think megumi is that perverted either, but he’s still a teenage boy with raging hormones
he may have more control over himself than yuuji, but he knows his limits
a swimsuit is honestly so innocent — it’s not even half as tempting as when you surprised him with a white lingerie set (which resulted you two in not getting out of bed the whole weekend lmao) so he wonders why the hell he’s so nervous
eventually he convinces himself that going with your girlfriend while she shops for a swimsuit isn’t anything new and it’s just a “normal couple thing” so bedgrudingly, he sighs and agrees
which he immediately regrets the moment you head straight for the skirtinis
there’s so much to choose from, and his eyes widen at the absurdity of how there’s so many designs and patterns
i feel leki megumi is a cheapskate, so he’ll be more focused first on criticizing the price tags before looking at you
“25 dollars for this...thing?”
he’ll shake his head in disapproval, but then straighten up when he sees you frown
“i think it looks cute. don’t you like it?”
you push up a frilly pink skirtini, the shade a soft pastel one that just looks so innocent and cute on you
it doesn’t help that you’re gazing up at him under your lashes either, a small pout on those kissable lips
he admits it does look cute, even cuter because you’re the one wearing it, but he still doesn’t like the price lmao
or at least...not until he’s seen you wearing it
once you’ve both gotten home, megumi heads straight to the kitchen because he’s been so parched (he won’t tell you that he’s been subconsciously swallowing his saliva the whole time, showing him material by material until it all gets suspiciously thinner and more revealing)
he doesn’t like limiting you or telling you what to wear, either, so he just follows you like a lost puppy, careful to note stare too much at anything to not make anyone uncomfortable
but then he goes back to your shared room, just about ready to call it a day since you sure did take your sweet time, and he sees you strutting in your underwear in front of the mirror
megumi freezes at the door like a lagging npc LMAO
“...y/n?”
you smile, turning to him as if he hadn’t just caught you checking yourself out, which he doesn’t blame you for because you look absolutely stunning in it
the skirt just hides the supple flesh of your thighs, but really, he’s more stunned at how your ass looks so perky in that skintight material
megumi looks away, flushed, running a hand through his hair because he’s too much of a gentleman to outright say he finds you so sexy in fear it would sound weird
but you take his sudden aversion something else, and you wrap your arms around yourself a little consciously, voice turning small
“does it look bad on me?”
he immediately picks up on how small you’ve made yourself, his eyes snapping to yours
“no, you look amazing! why would you think that?”
you pout, “you suddenly looked away. it felt like you don’t really like it.”
at this point, megumi is such a blushing, stuttering mess, approaching you carefully with his words stll stumbling over one another
“that’s not true,” he sighs, rubbing his hands on your bare arms, finally letting himself loose and shamelessly staring at how your breasts are just right under him, waiting to be touched
the tension in the room begins to thicken, and you shiver when his hands trail down your hip before squeezing the flesh almost possessively
“beautiful,” he’d murmur almost absentmindedly, and by the time you’re practically melting in the heat of his gaze, megumi just goes ‘fuck it’ and straight out kisses you
he’s gentle though
he knows you felt insecure and so he wants to take his time with you, touching you in places he knows you liked, curling his fingers in just the right spot that has you seeing stars
he doesn’t do anything that would make your body shake, but it still feels good — a lot more like lovemaking
and it is
he wants you to know he loves you and that you’re the most beautiful being ever in his eyes
megumi will kiss you starting from your calves and up to your belly, where he hovers for a minute before changing his mind and diving back down to where you want him the most
small, kitten licks in your core that has you dripping in his tongue, your hands fisting his hair
megumi doesn’t stop telling you how pretty you look just like that, loosing yourself in the pleasure he’s giving you
he doesn’t neglect your breasts; one of his hands reaching up to softly pinch the beaded nipples which has you riding and humping his face even more
megumi buries his face in your heat in that moment, his nose bumping your clit every now and then, and you feel so beautiful with how he can’t seem to get enough of you
he knows this just by the way you clamp down on his tongue, sweet juices coating his lips and he drinks it all like a starved man
“cum for me, sweet girl,” he coaxes, his thumb pushing your lips open as he watches you come undone for him
“that’s right — fuck — you’re so gorgeous, so perfect, just mine.”
and just when you think he’s had enough, megumi only flips you until your core is right on top of his face, his large hands merciless as he pushes your hips forward and backward on his tongue
similar to before, you and megumi stay in bed all day long with him going round per round, never getting tired of making you feel good until you’re just laying spent on your bed, juices flowing out of your abused core
you push megumi away when his fingers slide in your inner thigh
but no he’s not quite done with you yet
“no,” he growls softly, pushing your hands away and pinning you under his weight. “i’m not stopping until you finally see yourself the way i see you. so divine, so ethereal.”
your body is something he’ll never get tired of worshipping
you’re hella tired
but hey who are you to complain
you only wish megumi hadn’t ruined your swimsuit with your cum, but after a promise that he’ll jsut get you another one, you lose yourself to another mind blowing orgasm
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GOJO SATORU
let’s be real here
you know EXACTLY what you’re asking for the moment you dragged him into a swimsuit shop
you don’t even bother asking him if he wants to go anymore because gojo being gojo, he’ll be whiny about it, saying you could just surprise him the moment you get home
to which you roll your eyes and say, “this isn’t for you, gojo.”
hah, but anything that is yours is his, and your body is definitely his
gojo is nothing but bored
he wants to go home already and just fuck you already, and he’s getting on your nerves so you threaten that you’re not letting him touch you for a whole week if he doesn’t shut up and accompany you for once
it’s not that gojo is mean and unsupportive of you, he’s just so horny in that moment he can’t think straight
but he also really, really likes touching you so the big man just pouts and crosses his arms
sighing loudly and rather dramatically
it only takes a few seconds before gojo straightens up, peeking under his blindfold when you pick up a plain black bikini with the top knotted behind your neck
it’s not really your style though, so you’re about to move to another design when gojo whines
“wait, why not that one? it would look great on you.”
ofc you know i’ll look great on you, but it’s not your favorite, and it’s fun to tease gojo so you shrug nonchalantly, picking up a dark blue legsuit instead
gojo absolutely LOSES it
man takes off his blindfold just to glare at the material as if it offended him
“babe, what the fuck is that?”
“it’s a legsuit, perfect for scuba diving. plus, it protects my skin from the sun. i wouldn’t want a sunburn.”
the way gojo laughs is so cocky you consider choking him with the suit
“that’s what you have me for?” he points to himself incredulously, “i’ll put the sunblock all over your body babe, you don’t even have to worry about that.”
“please. i’d already be stripped down to my birthday suit before you even get to open the bottle,” you scoff, muttering under your breath, “damn fucking horny guy can’t keep his thing inside his pants.”
however, this doesn’t faze gojo
“and what’s so wrong with finding my girlfriend so sexy and hot i want to fuck her all the time?”
honestly what the hell were you thinking, assuming that you’d one-up gojo when this man would always be superior when it comes to being dirty LMAO he is just so shameless
but whatever, you ignore him, heading to the checkout with a self-assured smile
gojo trails behind you, his anger radiating off of him so strongly you can feel it
“y/n.”
“y/n, you can’t even swim. don’t fuck with me and say you’re buying that to ‘scuba dive.’”
“what, so i can’t learn now?”
“just buy the black bikini. it looks great on you.”
“i told you already, i’m not buying that and wearing it for you. i only dragged you here because i need someone to carry my bags.”
you know what happens to brats?
they get punished.
and that’s exactly what happens
gojo grabs your wrist rather roughly back to where you’ve left the black bikini, and not only does he shove it to your chest, commanding you to wear it, but he also shoves you in the nearest dressing cubicle
next thing you know, gojo has his palm over your mouth as he pounds into you from behind, absolutely railing you to the point tears are flowing down your cheeks
“look at you — not so bratty now, are we? you’re just a slut for my cock, aren’t you, sweet girl?”
gojo lifts one of your legs up in the crook of his arm, forcing you to look at the way your pussy greedily sucks him in in front of the mirror
you’re so wet that the squelching of your pussy, along with the slapping of skin, resonates in the cramped space
you reach behind gojo and move away from his hand, gasping breathily while your breasts bounce
“gojo, ah, shit — we might get caught.”
“do i look like i give a fuck, baby?”
no, he doesn’t. and he proves this by pushing you down by the back until your cheek is squished against the mirror, your ass pressed against his pubic bone
with the way gojo’s hips are angled and his long cock is hitting places only he can reach, you no longer care about people finding you in this position
your mouth is open, eyes rolling at the back of your head and drool even begins to slide from your lips
this makes gojo laugh, two of his fingers rubbing against where you two are connected to gather your wetness before shoving it into your mouth
“shut the fuck up, you slut.”
gojo’s large hands then comes up to grab and squeeze your hips roughly; you think he’ll leave bruises there or marks in the shape of fingers
he’s basically using you as his fucktoy now, paying no mind to how you’re crying from how he’s hitting in so deep and fast
your body just transcends into a different dimension
you’re fucked out, crying and begging for him to go slower
“gojo — baby — p-please, a little more gentle, ah, fuck.”
“what was that?” he teases, bending forwards to nip at your ear. the sudden shift in angles has the tip of his cock kissing your cervix, and you immediately clench around his cock.
gojo taps your lips when your eyes shut close from the exhaustion, barely able to comprehend anything else other than the familiar coil deep in your belly
“i couldn’t hear you, princess. speak louder.”
“slower, please,” you beg, placing your sweaty palms flat on the mirror in an attempt to hold onto something. “too much, satoru, t’much.”
poor you, his baby looks so tired and fucked out
with a sarcastic sigh, he kisses the pads of your shoulders, then bites the knot of your black bikini until the material falls to the ground
your breasts are now free from its confines, and his rough hands reach to fondle them
you expect him to grip it possessively like how he always does, but instead, he massages them with tender care, whispering sweet nothings in your ear
one of his hands reach over to where your hands are, looping it through your fingers while his thrust slows down
he forms a tantalizing pace of hitting deep before pulling out in a such slow, torturous fashion then slamming back in until he bottoms out in one thrust
it’s dirty, lewd, and still very much wrong — but it feels so right and it’s rare that gojo ever listens to you so you find it romantic
gojo isn’t the least bit apologetic when you’re both kicked out from the shop
because in the end, he won, and he holds your shopping bag with the cum-stained black bikini proudly all the way back to his car
3K notes · View notes
insanelyadd · 5 months ago
Note
explain the entire papyrus iceberg please i know like 2 things on it
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Papyrus' suit is a costume party outfit:
Papyrus' Battle Body is a costume made for a party he attended a few weeks before the game takes place, this is mentioned by Sans at the electric maze I believe.
Papyrus can't kill you:
Zarla made a post where they managed to screen record a fight with Papyrus where they were knocked down to 1HP and before they could heal they were hit with another bone and Papyrus immediately stopped the fight. In the GIF the bone makes contact and the soul flashes like it has been hit but NO HEALTH IS LOST. Papyrus is so against killing the human he can make attacks that do 0 damage.
Papyrus is the younger brother:
The official Japanese Localization of UT, for which Toby gave extensive notes for pretty much every line of dialog, has Papyrus refer to Sans as Nii-Chan. I would throw a screenshot as evidence but I cannot read any Japanese at all so I could accidentally put the wrong screencap, and unless you read it, it wouldn't really be helpful. If you do read it, get UT and change the language to Japanese. Another interesting thing is how Papyrus' speech is written in the traditional fashion which I don't think anyone else does.
Obsession with Spikes and Fire:
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Flying:
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Trailer bonetrousle extension:
Papyrus' boss music "Bonetrousle" has an extended different remix in the trailers, including the original one. It has never been explained.
youtube
No asterisk:
None of Papyrus dialog starts with a * even though every single other character's dialog does (except the entries from Gaster)
Lying to Sans:
I'm getting a bit tired at this point (I filled this out out of order so this one is actually being written last lmao) so I'm not going to get get screencaps because there's a lot to get, but on several occasions Papyrus either lies around Sans in phone calls or pretends to not know something that he clearly knows about when Sans is not present.
Extra vines:
Explained in the post I reblogged before this
Forgettable text:
Probably a reference to the description of him in the geno run, but it could also be a reference to all of his dialog that was broken on release, some of which is still broken to this day.
Doesn't sleep:
This is just one of many examples where Papyrus' lack of sleeping is brought up
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Seeing through the phone:
Papyrus seems to be able to see what the player is looking at through the phone. He says things like “I can’t see you!”, “Draw a diagram and hold it it up to the phone!”, “That bag of dog food looks familiar”, and “Here let me draw it for you so that you can see!”. However, Toriel’s phone is much too old to text, so it’s not possible for it to have a video chat. I would show screenshots but there's so many of them.
Knows about the HUD:
During the date he mentions it.
His real Special Attack:
Fun fact, this is some of the dialog that was broken on initial release but later fixed in a patch.
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No music plays in his room:
There doesn't appear to be any videos, so no easy way to show you evidence for this one, but unless Papyrus is in his room, the room is completely silent, even after the true pacifist boss fight where Reunited will play in every single room. The room where you fight him is similar in that no music plays unless he is there, with the exception that Reunited will play there.
"I WANT TO MEET DEATH":
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Papyrus' Stats:
I believe this is in reference either to his stats being beefed up in a later patch or the fact that before this patch he was the only character who's defense went up when he spared you in the geno run.
Constantly shaking text:
This was actually something changed in one of the first patches for UT ever, his text used to shake and twitch a lot, but was likely changed for accessibility reasons.
Most lines in game:
Papyrus has a total of 2184 lines in the game - more than any other character, and almost as much as the narrator of the game, which is at 2418 lines. The next closest character is Undyne, with 1268 total lines.
Doesn't Move:
Highlighted in this post.
The Gloves:
It is mentioned both by him in a phone call from the game and by Toriel in the official winter alarm clock dialog released by Toby.
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Echo flower phone call:
When you call him in the room with all the echo flowers he freaks out really bad.
This took a while but at least it wasn't the other more detailed Papyrus iceberg type thing from twitter I saw a few months back. That would have probably taken a few days to fully explain. XD This is that one btw:
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2K notes · View notes
eiirisworkshop · 5 months ago
Text
The Fanfic Author's Guide to Metatext
(As Used on Ao3) by Eiiri
Also available as a PDF here. This thing is 13,000 words.  The PDF is recommended.
Intro: What is Metatext?
Metatext is everything we fanfic authors post along with our story that is not the story itself: title, tags, summary, author's notes, even the rating.
It is how we communicate to potential readers what they're signing themselves up for if they choose to read our story, how we let them make informed decisions regarding which fics they want to read, how we get their interest and, frequently, how they find our story in the first place. A lot of metatext acts as a consent mechanism for readers, it's the informed part of informed consent.
Since most of us who write fanfic also read it, we understand how important this is! But, for the most part, no one ever teaches us how to use metatext; we have to pick it up by osmosis. That makes it hard to learn how to use it well, we all suck at it when we first start out, and some of us may go years without learning particular conventions that seem obvious to others in our community. This creates frustration for everybody.
Enter this guide!
This is meant to be a sort of handbook for fic writers, particularly those of us who post on Archive of Our Own, laying out and explaining the established metatext conventions already in use in our community so we (and our readers!) are all on the same page. It will also provide some best-practices tips.
The point is to give all of us the tools to communicate with our audience as clearly and effectively as possible, so the people who want to read a story like ours can find it and recognize it as what they're looking for, those who don't want to read a story like ours can easily tell it's not their cup of tea and avoid it, nobody gets hurt, and everybody has fun—including us!
Now that we know what we're talking about, let's get on with the guide! The following content sections appear in the order one is expected to provide each kind of metatext when posting a fic on Ao3, but first….
Warning!
This is a guide for all authors on Ao3. As such, it mentions subject matter and kinds of fic that you personally might hate or find disgusting, but which are allowed under the Archive's terms of use. There are no graphic descriptions or harsh language in the guide itself, but it does acknowledge the existence of fic you may find distasteful and explains how to approach metatext for such fics.
Some sexual terminology is used in an academic context.
A note from the author:
This guide reflects the conventions of the English-language fanfiction community circa 2021. Conventions may differ in other language communities, and although many of our conventions have been in place for decades (praise be to our Star Trek loving foremothers) fanfiction now exists primarily in the realm of internet fandom where things tend to change rather quickly, so some conventions in this guide may die out while other new conventions, not covered in this guide, arise.
This is not official or in any way produced by the Archive of Our Own (Ao3), and though some actual site rules are mentioned, it is not a rulebook. Primarily, it is a descriptivist take on how the userbase uses metatext to communicate amongst ourselves, provided in the interest of making that communication easier and more transparent for everyone, especially newer users.
Contents
How To Use This Guide Ratings Archive Warnings Fandom Tags Category Relationship Tags Character Tags Additional Tags Titles Summaries Author's Notes Series and Chapters Parting Thoughts
How To Use This Guide
Well, read it.  Or have it read to you.
This isn't a glossary, it's a handbook, and it's structured more like an academic paper or report, but there's lots and lots of examples in it!
Many of these examples are titles of real media and the names of characters from published media, or tags quoted directly from Ao3 complete with punctuation and formatting.
Some examples are more generic and use the names Alex, Max, Sam, Chris, Jamie, and Tori for demonstration purposes. In other generic examples, part of an example tag or phrase may be sectioned off with square brackets to show where in that tag or phrase you would put the appropriate information to complete it.  This will look something like “Top [Character A]” where you would fill in a character's name.
This guide presumes that you know the basics of how to use Ao3, at least from the perspective of reading fic. If you don't, much of this guide may be difficult to understand and will be much less helpful to you, though not entirely useless.
Ratings
Most fanfic hosting sites provide ratings systems that work a lot like the ratings on movies and videogames.
Ao3's system has four ratings:
General
Teen
Mature
Explicit
These seem like they should be pretty self-explanatory, and the site's own official info pop-up (accessible by clicking the question mark next to the section prompt) gives brief, straightforward descriptions for each of them.
Even so, many writers have found ourselves staring at that dropdown list, thinking about what we've written, and wondering what's the right freaking rating for this?  How do I know if it's appropriate for “general audiences” or if it needs to be teen and up? What's the difference between Mature and Explicit?
The best way to figure it out is often to think about your fic in comparison to mainstream media.
General is your average Disney or Dreamworks movie, Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon shows, video games like Mario, Kirby, and Pokemon.
There may be romance, but no sexual content or discussion. Scary things might happen and people might get hurt, but violence is non-graphic and usually mild. Adults may be shown drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco, and some degree of intoxication may be shown (usually played for laughs and not focused on), but hard drug use is generally not shown or discussed.  There is little to no foul language written out and what language there may be is mild, though harsher swears may be implied by narration. There are no explicit F-bombs or slurs.
Teen is more like a Marvel movie, most network television shows (things like The Office, Supernatural, or Grey's Anatomy), video games like Final Fantasy, Five Nights at Freddie's, and The Sims.
There might be some sex and sexual discussion, but nothing explicit is shown—things usually fade to black or are leftimplied. More intense danger, more severe injuries described in greater detail, and a higher level of violence may be present.  Substance use may be discussed and intoxication shown, but main characters are unlikely to be shown doing hard drugs. Some swearing and other harsh language may be present, possibly including an F-bomb or two.  In longer works, that might mean an F-bomb every few chapters.
Mature is, in American terms, an R-rated movie* like Deadpool, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Exorcist, and Schindler's List; certain shows from premium cable networks or streaming services like Game of Thrones, Shameless, Breaking Bad, and Black Sails; videogames like Bioshock, Assassin's Creed, Grand Theft Auto, and The Witcher.
Sex may be shown and it might be fairly explicit, but it's not as detailed or graphic or as much the focus of the work as it would be if it were porn. Violence, danger, and bodily harm may be significant and fairly graphic. Most drug use is fair game. Swearing and harsh language may be extensive.
Explicit is, well, extremely explicit. This is full on porn, the hardcore horror movies, and snuff films.
Sex is highly detailed and graphic. Violence and injury is highly detailed and graphic. Drug use and its effects may be highly detailed and graphic. Swearing and harsh language may be extreme, including extensive use of violent slurs.
Please note that both Mature and Explicit fics are intended for adult audiences only, but that does not mean a teenaged writer isn't going to produce fics that should be rated M or E.  Ratings should reflect the content of the fic, not the age of the author.
Strictly speaking, you don't have to choose any of these ratings; Ao3 has a “Not Rated” option, but for purposes of search results and some other functions, Not Rated fics are treated by the site as Explicit, just in case, which means they end up hidden from a significant portion of potential readers. It really is in your best interest as a writer who presumably wants people to see their stories, to select a rating. It helps readers judge if yours is the kind of story they want right now, too.
Rating a fic is a subjective decision, there is some grey area in between each level. If you're not quite sure where your fic falls, best practice is to go with the more restrictive rating.
*(Equivalent to an Australian M15+ or R18+, Canadian 14A, 18A or 18+, UK 15 or 18, German FSK 16 or FSK 18.)
Warnings
Ao3 uses a set of standard site-wide Archive Warnings to indicate that a work contains subject matter that falls into one or more of a few categories that some readers are likely to want to avoid.  Even when posting elsewhere, it's courteous to include warnings of this sort.
These warnings are:
Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Major Character Death
Rape/Non-Con
Underage
Just like with the ratings, the site provides an info-pop up that explains what each warning is for. They're really exactly what it says on the tin: detailed descriptions of violence, injury, and gore; the death of a character central to canon or tothe story being told; non-consensual sex i.e. rape; and depictions of underage sex, which the site defines as under the age of 18 for humans—Ao3 doesn't care if your local age of consent or majority is lower than that.
In addition to the four standard warnings above, the warnings section has two other choices:
No Archive Warnings Apply
Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings
These do not mean the same thing and cannot be used interchangeably. “No Archive Warnings Apply” means that absolutely nothing in your fic falls into any of the four standard warning categories. “Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings” means that you the author are opting out of the warning system; your fic could potentially contain things that fall into any and all of the four standard warning categories.
There's nothing wrong with selecting Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings! It may mean that some readers will avoid your fic because they're not sure it's safe for them, and you might need to use more courtesy tags than you otherwise would (we'll talk about courtesy tags later), but that's okay! Opting out of the warning system can be a way to avoid spoilers,* and is also good for when you're just not sure if what you've written deserves one of the Archive warnings. In that case, the best practice is to select either the warning it might deserve or Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings, then provide additional information in other tags, the summary, or an initial author's note.
Unless you're opting out of using the warning system, select all the warnings that apply to your fic, if any of them do. So if a sixteen year old main character has consensual sex then gets killed in an accident that you've written out in excruciating detail, that fic gets three out of the four standard warnings: Underage, Major Character Death, and Graphic Depictions Of Violence.
*(Fandom etiquette generally favors thorough tagging and warning over avoiding spoilers. It doesn't ruin the experience of a story to have a general sense of what's going to happen. If it did, we wouldn't all keep reading so many “there was only one bed” fics.)
Fandom Tags
What fandom or fandoms is your fic for?  You definitely know what you wrote it for, but that doesn't mean it's obvious what to tag it as.
Sometimes, it is obvious! You watched a movie that isn't based on anything, isn't part of a series, and doesn't have any spinoffs, tie-ins or anything else based on it. You wrote a fic set entirely within the world of this movie. You put this movie as the fandom for your fic. Or maybe you read a book and wrote a fic for it, and there is a movie based on the book, but the movie is really different and you definitely didn't use anything that's only in the movie. You put the book as the fandom for your fic.
All too often, though, it's not that clear.
What if you wrote a fic for something where there's a movie based on a book, but the movie's really different, and you've used both things that are only in the movie and things that are only in the book?  In that case you either tag your fic as both the movie and the book, or see if the fandom has an “all media types” tag and use that instead of the separate tags.  If the fandom doesn't have an “all media types” tag yet, you can make one! Just type it in.
“All media types” fandom tags are also useful for cases where there are lots of inter-related series, like Star Wars; there are several tellings of the story in different media but they're interchangeable or overlap significantly, like The Witcher; or the fandom has about a zillion different versions so it's very hard, even impossible, to say which ones your fic does and doesn't fit, like Batman. Use your best judgement as to whether you need to include a more specific fandom tag such as “Batman (Movies 1989-1997)” alongside the “all media types” fandom tag, but try to avoid including very many. The point of the “all media types” tag is to let you leave off the specific tags for every version.
In a situation where one piece of media has a spinoff, maybe several spinoffs, and you wrote a fic that includes things from more than one of them, you might want use the central work's “& related fandoms” tag. For example, the “Doctor Who & Related Fandoms” tag gets used for fics that include things from a combination of any era of Doctor Who, Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
And don't worry, from the reader-side of the site the broadest fandom tags are prioritized. The results page for an “all media types” or “& related fandoms” search includes works tagged with the more specific sub-tags for that fandom, the browse-by-fandom pages show the broadest tag for each fandom included, and putting a fandom into the search bar presumes the broadest tag for that fandom.  A search for “Star Wars - All Media Types” will pull up work that only has a subtag for that fandom, like “The Mandalorian (TV).” You don't have to put every specific fandom subtag for people to find your fic.
If you wrote a fic for something that's an adaptation of an older work—especially an older work that's been adapted a lot, like Sherlock Holmes or The Three Musketeers—it can be hard to know how you should tag it. The best choice is to put the adaptation as the fandom, for instance “Sherlock (TV),” then, if you're also using aspects of the older source work that aren't in the adaptation, also put a broad fandom tag such as “Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms.” Do not tag it as being fic for the source work—in our Sherlock example that would be tagging it “Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle”—unless you are crossing over the source work and the adaptation. Otherwise, the specific fandom subtag for the source work ends up clogged with fic for the adaptation, which really is a different thing.
By the same token, fic for the source work shouldn't be tagged as being for the adaptation, or the adaptation's subtag will get clogged.
The same principle applies to fandoms that have been rebooted. Don't tag fic for the reboot as being for the original, or fic for the original as being for the reboot. Don't tag a fic as being for both unless the reboot and original are actually interacting. Use an “& related fandoms” tag for the original if your fic for the reboot includes some aspects of the original that weren't carried over but you haven't quite written a crossover between the two. Good examples of these situations can be seen with “Star Trek: Alternate Original Series (Movies)” vs. “Star Trek: The Original Series,” and “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018)” vs. “She-Ra: Princess Of Power (1985).”
Usually, this kind of mistagging as a related fandom happens when someone writes a fic for something that is or has a reboot, spinoff, or adaptation, but they're only familiar with one of the related pieces of media, and they mistakenly presume the fandoms are the same or interchangeable because they just don't know the difference.  It's an honest mistake and it doesn't make you a bad or fake fan to not know, but it can be frustrating for readers who want fic for one thing and find the fandom tag full of fic for something else.
In order to avoid those kinds of issues, best practice is to assume fandoms are not interchangeable no matter how closely related they are, and to default to using a tag pair of the most-specific-possible sub-fandom tag + the broadest possible fandom tag when posting a fic you're not entirely sure about, for instance “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: Enterprise.”
The Marvel megafandom has its own particular tagging hell going on. Really digging into and trying to make sense of that entire situation would require its own guide, but we can go through some general tips.
There is a general “Marvel” fandom tag and tags for both “The Avengers - Ambiguous Fandom” and “The Avengers (Marvel) - All Media Types.” Most of us who write Marvel fic are working with a cherry picked combination of canons from the MCU, various comics runs, both timelines of X-Men movies, and possibly several decades worth of cartoons. That's what these tags are for.
If your cherry picked Marvel fic is more X-Men than Avengers, go for the “X-Men - All Media Types” tag.
If you are primarily working with MCU canon, use the MCU specific tags rather than “all media types” and add specific tags for individual comics runs—like Earth 616 or the Fraction Hawkeye comics—if you know you're lifting particular details from the comics.  If you're just filling in gaps in MCU canon with things that are nebulously “from the comics” don't worry about tagging for that, it's accepted standard practice in the fandom at this point, use a broader tag along with your MCU-specific tag if you want to.
Same general idea for primarily movie-verse X-Men fics. Use the movie-specific tags.
If your fic mostly draws from the comics, use the comics tags. If you're focusing on an individual run, show, or movie series rather than an ensemble or large swath of the megafranchise, tag for that and leave off the broader fandom tags.
Try your best to minimize the number of fandom tags on your Marvel work. Ideally, you can get it down to two or three. Even paring it down as much as you can you might still end up with about five.  If you're in the double digits, take another look to see if all the fandom tags you've included are really necessary, or if some of them are redundant or only there to represent characters who are in the fic but that the fic doesn't focus on. Many readers tend to search Marvel fics by character or pairing tags, it's more important that you're thorough there. For the fandom tags it's more important that you're clear.
If you write real person fiction, you need to tag it as an RPF fandom. Fic about actors who are in a show together does not belong on the fandom tag for that show. There are separate RPF fandom tags for most shows and film franchises. Much like the adaptation/source and reboot/original situations discussed earlier, a fic should really only be tagged with both a franchise's RPF tag and its main tag if something happens like the actors—or director or writer!—falling into the fictional world or meeting their characters.
Of course, not all RPF is about actors. Most sports have RPF tags, there are RPF tags for politics from around the world and for various historical settings, the fandom tags for bands are generally presumed to be RPF tags, and there is a general Real Person Fiction tag.
In order to simplify things for readers, it's best practice to use the general Real Person Fiction tag in addition to your fandom-specific tag. You may even want to put “RPF” as a courtesy tag in the Additional Tags section, too. This is because Ao3 isn't currently set up to recognize RPF as the special flavor of fic that it is in the same way that the site recognizes crossovers as special, so it can be very difficult to either seek out or avoid RPF since it's scattered across hundreds of different fandom tags.
On the subject of crossovers—they can make fandom tagging even more daunting. Even for a crossover with lots of fandoms involved, though, you just have to follow the same guidelines as to tag a single-fandom work for each fandom in the crossover. The tricky part is figuring out if what you wrote is really a crossover, or just an AU informed by another fandom—we'll talk about that later.
There are some cases where it's really hard to figure out what fandom something belongs to, like if you wrote a fanfic of someone else's fanfic, theirs is an AU and yours is about their OC, not any of the characters from canon. What do you do?! Well, you do not tag it as being a fanfic for the same thing theirs was. Put the title of their fic (or name of their series) as the fandom for your fic, attributed to their Ao3 handle just like any other fandom is attributed to its author. Explain the situation in either the summary or the initial author's note. Also, ask the author's permission before posting something like this.
What if you wrote a story about your totally original D&D character? The fandom is still D&D, you want the “Dungeons & Dragons (Roleplaying Game)” tag.
What if there's not a fandom tag on the Archive yet for what you wrote? Not a problem! You can type in a new one if you're the first person to post something for a particular fandom. Do make sure, though, that the fandom isn't just listed by a different name than you expect. Many works that aren't originally in English—including anime—are listed by their original language title or a direct translation first, and sometimes a franchise or series's official name might not be what you personally call it, for instance many people think of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series as The Golden Compass series, so it's best to double check.
What if you wrote an entirely new original story that's not based on anything?  Excellent job, that takes a lot of work, but that probably doesn't belong on Ao3!  The Archive is primarily meant as a repository for fannish content, but in a few particular circumstances things we'd consider Original Work may be appropriate content for the Archive as well. Double check the Archive's Terms of Service FAQ and gauge if what you wrote falls under the scope of what is allowed. If what you wrote really doesn't fit here, post it somewhere else or try to get it published if you feel like giving it a shot.
Category
What Ao3 means by category is “does this fic focus on sex or romance, and if so what combination of genders are involved in that sex or romance?”
The category options are:
F/F
F/M
Gen
M/M
Multi
Other
The F/F, F/M, and M/M categories are for stories focused on pairings of two women, a woman and a man, and two men, respectively.  These refer to sexual and/or romantic pairings.
The Other category is for stories focused on (sexual and/or romantic) pairings where one or both partners are not strictly male or female, such as nonbinary individuals, people from cultures with gender systems that don't match to the Western man-woman system, and nonhuman characters for whom biological sex works differently or is nonexistent, including aliens, robots, and inanimate objects or abstract concepts. There are some problems with treating nonbinary humans, eldritch tentacle monsters, sexless androids, and wayward container ships as all the same category, but it's the system we currently have to work with. Use Additional Tags to clarify the situation.
Multi is for stories in which several (sexual and/or romantic) relationships are focused on or which focus on relationships with multiple partners, including cases of polyamory, serial monogamy, strings of hookups with different people, and orgies.  A fic will also show as “Multi” if you, the author, have selected more than one category for the fic, even if none of those are the Multi category. Realistically, the Archive needs separate “Multiple Categories” and “Poly” options, but for now we have to work with this system in which the two are combined.  Use Additional Tags to clarify the situation.
Gen is for stories that do not contain or are not focused on sex or romance. Romance may be present in a gen fic but it's going to be in the background.  While rare, there is such a thing as a sexually explicit gen fic—solo masturbation which does not feature fantasizing about another character is explicit gen fic; a doctor character seeing a series of patients with sex-related medical needs following an orgy may qualify if the orgy is not shown and the doctor is being strictly professional—but such fic needs to be rated, otherwise tagged, and explained carefully in the summary and/or author's note.
Much like the warnings section, category is a “select all that apply” situation. Use your best judgement. For a fic about a polyamorous relationship among a group of women, it's entirely appropriate to tag it as both F/F and Multi.  A poly fic with a combination of men and women in the relationship could be shown as both M/M and F/M, Multi, or all three. A fic that focuses equally on one brother and his husband and the other brother and his wife should be tagged both M/M and F/M, and could be tagged as Multi but you might decided not to just to be clear that there's no polyamory going on. If you wrote a fic about two characters who are both men in canon, but you wrote one of them as nonbinary, you could tag it M/M, Other, or both depending on what you feel is representative and respectful.
When dealing with trans characters, whether they're trans in canon or you're writing them as such, the category selection should match the character's gender.  If there's a character who is a cis woman in canon, but who you're writing as a trans man, you categorize the fic based on his being a man. If there's a character who is a cis man in canon, but whom you're writing as a trans man, he is still a man and the fic should be categorized accordingly. When dealing with nonbinary characters the fic should really be classed as Other though, by convention, fics about characters who are not nonbinary in canon may be classed based on the character's canon gender as well or instead. When dealing with gender swapped characters—i.e. a canonically cis male superhero who you're writing as a cis woman—class the fic using the gender you wrote her with, not the gender he is in canon.
Most of the time, gen fics should not be categorized jointly with anything else because a fic should only be categorized based on the ships it focuses on, and a gen fic should not be focusing on a ship in the first place.*
*(One of the few circumstances in which it might make sense to class a fic as both gen and something else is when writing about Queerplatonic Relationships, but that is a judgement call and depends on the fic.)
Relationship Tags
The thing about relationship tagging that people most frequently misunderstand or just don't know is the difference between “Character A/Character B” and “Character A & Character B.”
Use a “/” for romantic or sexual relationships, such as spouses, people who are dating, hookups, and friends with benefits. Use “&” for platonic or familial relationships, such as friends, siblings, parents with their kids, coworkers, and deeply connected mortal enemies who are not tragically in love.
This is where we get the phrase “slash fic.” Originally, that meant any fic focused on a romantic paring, but since so much of the romantic fic being produced was about pairs of men, “slash fic” came to mean same-sex pairings, especially male same-sex pairings. Back in earlier days of fandom, pre-Ao3 and even pre-internet, there was a convention that when writing out a different-sex pairing, you did so in man/woman order, while same-sex pairings were done top/bottom. Some authors, especially those who have been in the fic community a long time, may still do this, but the convention has not been in consistent, active use for many years, so you don't have to worry about putting the names in the “correct” order. Part of why that died out is we, as a community, have gotten less strict and more nuanced in our understandings of sex and relationships, we're writing non-penetrative sex more than we used to, and we're writing multi-partner relationships and sex more than we used to, so strictly delineating “tops” and “bottoms” has gotten less important and less useful.
The convention currently in use on Ao3 is that the names go in alphabetical order for both “/” and “&” relationships. In most cases, the Archive uses the character's full name instead of a nickname or just a given name, like James "Bucky" Barnes instead of just Bucky or James. We'll talk more about conventions for how to input character names in the Characters section. The Archive will give you suggestions as you type—if one of them fits what you mean but is slightly different from how you were typing it, for instance it's in a different order, please use the tag suggested! Consistency in tags across users helps the site work more smoothly for everybody.
This is really not the place for ship nicknames like Puckleberry, Wolfstar, or Ineffable Wives. Use the characters' names.
Now that you know how to format the relationship tag to say what you mean, you have to figure out what relationships in your fic to tag for.
The answer is you tag the relationships that are important to the story you're telling, the ones you spend time and attention following, building up, and maybe even breaking down. Tagging for a ship is not a promise of a happy ending for that pair; you don't have to limit yourself to tagging only the end-game ships if you're telling a story that's more complicated than “they get together and live happily ever after.” That said, you should generally list the main ship—the one you focus on the most—first on the list, and that will usually be the end-game ship. You should also use Additional Tags, the summary, and author's notes to make it clear to readers if your fic does not end happily for a ship you've tagged. Otherwise readers will assume that a fic tagged as being about a ship will end well for that ship, because that's what usually happens, and they'll end up disappointed and hurt, possibly feeling tricked or lied to, when your fic doesn't end well for that ship
You don't have to, and honestly shouldn't, tag for every single relationship that shows up in your fic at all. A character's brief side fling mentioned in passing, or a relationship between two background characters should not be listed under the Relationship tag section. You can list them in the format “minor Character A/Character C” or “Character C/Character D – mentions of” in the Additional Tags section if you want to, or just tag “Minor or Background Relationship(s)” under either the Relationship tag section or in the Additional Tags section.
There are two main reasons to not tag all those minor relationships. The first is to streamline your tags, which makes them clearer and more readable, and therefore more useful. The second reason is because certain ships are far more common as minor or background relationships than as the focus of a work, so tagging all your non-focus focus ships leads to the tags for these less popular ships getting clogged with stories they appear in, but that are not about them. That is, of course, very frustrating for readers who really want to read stories that focus on these ships.
If your fic contains a major relationship between a canon character and an OC, reader-insert, or self-insert, tag it as such. The archive already has /Original Character, /Reader, /You, and /Me tags for most characters in most fandoms. If such a relationship tag isn't already in use, type it in yourself. There are OC/OC tags, too, some of which specify gender, some of which do not.  All the relationship tags that include OCs stack the gender-specific versions of the tags under the nongendered ones. Use these tags as appropriate.
For group relationships, both polycules and multi-person friendships, you “/” or “&” all the names involved in alphabetical order, so Alex/Max/Sam are dating while Chris & Jamie & Tori are best friends. For a poly situation where not everyone is dating each other you should tag it something like “Alex/Max, Alex/Sam” because Alex is dating both Max and Sam, but Max and Sam are not romantically or sexually involved with each other. Use your judgement as to whether you still want to include the Alex/Max/Sam trio tag, and whether you should also use a “Sam & Max” friendship tag.
Generally, romantic “/” type relationships are emphasized over “&” type relationships in fic. It is more important that you tag your “/”s thoroughly and accurately than that you tag your “&”s at all. This is because readers are far more likely to either be looking for or be squicked by particular “/” relationships than they are “&” relationships. You can tag the same pair of characters as both / and & if both their romance and their friendship is important to the story, but a lot of people see this as redundant. If you're writing incest fic, use the / tag for the pair not the & tag and put a courtesy tag for “incest” in the Additional Tags section; this is how readers who do not want to see incestuous relationships avoid that material.
Queerplatonic Relationships, Ambiguous Relationships, Pre-Slash, and “Slash If You Squint” are all frequently listed with both the “/” and “&” forms of the pairing; use your best judgement as to whether one or the other or both is most appropriate for what you've written and clarify the nature of the relationship in your Additional Tags.
Overall, list your “/” tags first, then your “&” tags.
Character Tags
Tagging your characters is a lot like tagging your relationships. Who is your fic about? That's who you put in your character tags.
You don't have to and really should not tag every single background character who shows up for just a moment in the story, for pretty much the same reasons you shouldn't tag background relationships.  We don't want to clog less commonly focused on characters' tags with stories they don't feature prominently in.
You do need to tag the characters included in your Relationship tags.
A character study type of fic might only have one character you need to tag for. Romantic one shots frequently only have two. Longfics and fics with big ensemble casts can easily end up with a dozen characters or more who really do deserve to be tagged for.
Put them in order of importance. This doesn't have to be strict hierarchal ranking, you can just arrange them into groups of “main characters,” “major supporting characters,” and “minor supporting characters.” Nobody less than a minor supporting character should be tagged. Even minor supporting characters show up for more than one line.
If everyone in the fic is genuinely at the same level of importance (which does happen, especially with small cast fics), then order doesn't really matter. You can arrange them by order of appearance or alphabetically by name if you want to be particularly neat about it.
Do tag your OCs! Some people love reading about OCs and want to be able to find them; some people can't stand OCs and want to avoid them at all costs; most people are fine with OCs sometimes, but might have to be in the mood for an OC-centric story or only be comfortable with OCs in certain contexts. Regardless, though, Character tags are here to tell readers who the story is about, and that includes new faces. Original Characters are characters and if they're important to the story, they deserve to be tagged for just like canon characters do.
There are tags for “Original Character(s),” “Original Male Character(s),” and “Original Female Character(s).” Use these tags!  If you have OCs you're going to be using frequently in different stories, type up a character tag in the form “[OC's Name] – Original Character” and use that in addition to the generic OC tags.
Also tag “Reader,” “You,” or “Me” as a character if you've written a reader- or self-insert.
You can use the “Minor Characters” tag to wrap up everybody, both OC and canon, who doesn't warrant their own character tag. Remember, though, that this tag is also used to refer to minor canon characters who may not have their own official names.
Just like when tagging for relationships, the convention when tagging for characters is to use their full name. The suggestions the Archive gives you as you type will help you use the established way of referring to a given character.
Characters who go by more than one name usually have their two most used names listed together as one tag with the two names separated by a vertical bar like “Andy | Andromache of Scythia.” This also gets used sometimes for characters who have different names in an adaptation than in the source text, or a different name in the English-language localization of a work than in the original language. For character names from both real-world and fictional languages and cultures that put family or surname before the given name—like the real Japanese name Takeuchi Naoko or the made up Bajoran name Kira Nerys—that order is used when tagging, even if you wrote your fic putting the given name first.
Some characters' tags include the fandom they're from in parentheses after their name like “Connor (Detroit: Become Human).” This is mostly characters with ordinary given names like Connor and no canon surname, characters who have the same full name as a character in another fandom, such as Billy Flynn the lawyer from the musical Chicago and Billy Flynn the serial killer played by Tim Curry in Criminal Minds, and characters based on mythological, religious, or historical figures or named for common concepts such as Lucifer, Loki, Amethyst, Death, and Zero that make appearances in multiple fandoms.
Additional Tags
Additional Tags is one of the most complicated, and often the longest, section of metatext we find ourselves providing when we post fic. It's also the one that gives our readers the greatest volume of information.
That, of course, is what makes it so hard for us to do well.
It can help to break down Additional Tags into three main functions of tag: courtesy tags, descriptive tags, and personal tags.
Courtesy tags serve as extensions of the rating and warning systems. They can help clarify the rating, provide more information about the Archive Warnings you've used or chosen not to use, and give additional warnings to tell readers there are things in this fic that may be distasteful, upsetting, or triggering but that the Archive doesn't have a standard warning for.
Descriptive tags give the reader information about who's in this fic, what kind of things happen, what tropes are in play, and what the vibe is, as well as practical information about things like format and tense.
Personal tags tell the readers things about us, the author, our process, our relationship to our fic, and our thoughts at the time of posting.
It doesn't really matter what order you put these tags in, but it is best practice to try to clump them: courtesy tags all together so it's harder for a reader to miss an important one, ship-related info tags together, character-related info tags together, etc.
There are tons and tons of established tags on Ao3, and while it's totally fine, fun, and often necessary to make up your own tags, it's also important to use established tags that fit your fic.  For one thing, using established tags makes life easier for the tag wranglers behind the scenes. Using a new tag you just made up that means the same thing as an established tag makes more work for the tag wranglers. We like the tag wranglers, they're all volunteers, and they're largely responsible for the search and sorting features being functional. Be kind to the tag wranglers.
For basically the same reasons, using established tags makes it easier for readers to find your fic. If a reader either searches by a tag or uses filters on another search to “Include” that tag, and you didn't use that tag, your fic will not show up for them even if what you wrote is exactly what they're looking for.  Established tags can be searched by exactly the same way as you search by fandom or pairing, your off the cuff tags cannot.
Let's talk about some well-known established tags and common tag types, divvied up by main function.
Courtesy
A lot of courtesy tags are specific warnings like “Dubious Consent,” “Incest,” “Drug Use,” “Extremely Underage,” “Toxic Relationship,” and “Abuse.” Many of these have even more specific versions such as “Recreational Drug Use” and “Nonconsensual Drug Use,” or “Mildly Dubious Consent” and “Extremely Dubious Consent.”
Giving details about what, if any, drugs are used or mentioned, specifying what kinds of violence or bodily harm are discussed or depicted, details about age differences or power-imbalanced relationships between characters who date or have sex, discussion or depictions of suicide, severe or terminal illness, or mental health struggles is useful. It helps give readers a clear sense of what they'll encounter in your fic and decide if they're up for it.
One the most useful courtesy warning tags is “Dead Dove: Do Not Eat” which basically means “there are things in this fic which are really screwed up and may be disturbing, read at your own risk, steer clear if you're not sure.” This tag—like all courtesy warnings, really—is a show of good faith, by using it you are being a responsible, and thoughtful member of the fanfic community by giving readers the power and necessary information to make their own informed decisions about what they are and are not comfortable reading.
Saying to “Heed the tags” is quite self-explanatory and, if used, should be the last or second to last tag so it's easy to spot.  Remember, though, that “Heed the tags” isn't useful if your tags aren't thorough and clear.
“Additional Warnings In Author's Note” is one of only things that should ever go after “Heed the tags.”  If you use this, your additional warnings need to go in the author's note at the very beginning of the fic, not the one at the end of the first chapter.  If your additional warnings write up is going to be very long because it's highly detailed, then it can go at the bottom of the chapter with a note at the beginning indicating that the warnings are at the bottom. Some authors give an abbreviated or vague set of warnings in the initial note, then longer, highly detailed, spoilery warnings in the end note. It's best to make it as simple and straightforward as possible for readers to access warnings.
Tagging with “Dead Dove: Do Not Eat,” “Heed the tags,” or “Additional Warnings In Author's Note” is not a substitute for thorough and appropriate courtesy tagging. These are extra reminders to readers to look closely at the other warnings you've given.
While most courtesy tags are warnings, some are assurances like “No Lesbians Die” or “It's Not As Bad As It Sounds.”  A fic tagged for rape or dub-con may get a tag assuring that the consent issues are not between the characters in the main ship; or a fic with a premise that sounds likely to involve lack of consent but actually doesn't may get a tag that it's “NOT rape/non-con.” A tag like “Animal Death” may be immediately followed by a freeform tag assuring that the animal that dies is not the protagonist's beloved horse.
Descriptive
There are a few general kinds of descriptive tags including character-related, ship-related, temporal, relation-to-canon, trope-related, smut details, and technical specifications.
Many character- and ship-related tags simply expand on the Character and Relationship tags we've already talked about.  This is usually the place to specify details about OCs and inserts, such as how a reader-insert is gendered.
When it comes to character-related tags, one of the most common types in use on Ao3 and in fandom at large is the bang-path. This is things like werewolf!Alex, trans!Max, top!Sam, kid!Jamie, and captain!Tori. Basically, a bang-path is a way of specifying a version of a character. We've been using this format for decades; it comes from the very first email systems used by universities in the earliest days of internet before the World Wide Web existed. It's especially useful for quickly and concisely explaining the roles of characters in an AU. Nowadays this is also one of the primary conventions for indicating who's top and who's bottom in a ship if that's information you feel the need to establish.  The other current convention for indicating top/bottom is as non-bang-path character-related tags in the form “Top [Character A], Bottom [Character B].”
Other common sorts of character tags are things like “[Character A] Needs a Hug,” “Emotionally Constipated [Character B],” and “[Character C] is a Good Dad.”
Some character-related tags don't refer to a particular character by name, but tell readers something about what kinds of characters are in the fic. Usually, this indicates the minority status of characters and may indicate whether or not that minority status is canon, as in “Nonbinary Character,” “Canon Muslim Character,” “Deaf Character,” and “Canon Disabled Character.”
Down here in the tags is the place to put ship nicknames!  This is also where to say things like “They're idiots your honor” or indicate that they're “Idiots in Love,” maybe both since “Idiots in Love” is an established searchable tag but “They're idiots your honor” isn't yet. If your fandom has catchphrases related to your ship, put that here if you want to.
If relevant, specify some things about the nature of relationships in your fic such as “Ambiguous Relationship,” “Queerplatonic Relationships,” “Polyamory,” “Friends With Benefits,” “Teacher-Student Relationship,” and so on. Not all fics need tags like these. Use your best judgement whether your current fic does.
Temporal tags indicate when your fic takes place. That can be things like “Pre-Canon” and “Post-Canon,” “Pre-War,” “Post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “1996-1997 NHL season,” “Future Fic,” and so on.  These tags may be in reference to temporal landmarks in canon, in the real world, or both depending on what's appropriate.
Some temporal tags do double duty by also being tags about the fic's relationship to canon. The Pre- and Post-Canon tags are like that.
Other relation-to-canon type tags are “Canon Compliant” for fics that fit completely inside the framework of canon without changing or contradicting anything, “Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence” for fics that are compliant up to a certain point in canon, then veer off (maybe because you started writing the fic when the show was on season two but now it's at season four and you're not incorporating everything from the newer seasons, maybe a character died and you refuse to acknowledge that, maybe you just want to explore what might have happened if a particular scene had gone differently), and the various other Alternate Universe tags for everything from coffee shop AUs and updates to modern settings, to realities where everyone is a dragon or no one has their canon superpowers.
The established format for these tags is “Alternate Universe – [type],” but a few have irregular names as well, such as “Wingfic” for AUs in which characters who don't ordinarily have wings are written as having wings.
If you have written an AU, please tag clearly what it is! Make things easy on both the readers who are in the mood to read twenty royalty AUs in a row, the readers who are in the middle of finals week and the thought of their favorite characters suffering through exams in a college AU would destroy the last shred of their sanity but would enjoy watching those characters teach high school, and the readers who really just want to stick to the world of canon right now.
Admittedly, it can get a little confusing what AU tag or tags you need to describe what you've written since most of us have never had a fandom elder sit us down and explain what the AU tags mean. One common mix up is tagging things “Alternate Universe - Modern Setting” when what's meant is “Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence.”  The misunderstanding here is usually reading “Alternate Universe - Modern Setting” and thinking it means an alternate version of the canon universe that is set at the same time as the canon universe, but is different in some way. That's not how the tag is meant to be used, though.
The Modern Setting AU tag is specifically for fic set now (at approximately the same time period it was written), for media that's canonically set somewhere that is very much not the present of the real world. This can mean things set in the past (like Jane Austen), the future (like Star Trek), or a fantasy world entirely different from our own (like Lord of the Rings or Avatar: the Last Airbender). Fic for a canon that's set more or less “now” doesn't need the Modern Setting AU tag, even if the world of canon is different from our own. If you're removing those differences by putting fantasy or superhero characters in a world without magic or supersoldier serum, you might want the “Alternate Universe - No Powers” tag instead.
Some of the most fun descriptive tags are trope tags. This includes things like “Mutual Pining,” “Bed Sharing” for when your OTP gets to their hotel room to find There Was Only One Bed, “Fake Dating,” “Angst,” Fluff,” “Hurt/Comfort” and all its variants.  Readers love tropes at least as much as we love writing them and want to be able to find their favorites. Everyone also has tropes they don't like and would rather avoid. Tagging them allows your fic to be filtered in and out by what major tropes you've used.
Explicit fics, and sometimes fics with less restrictive ratings, that contain sex usually have tags indicating details about the nature of the sexual encounter(s) portrayed and what sex acts are depicted. These are descriptive tags, but they also do double duty as courtesy tags. This is very much a situation in which tags are a consent mechanism; by thoroughly and clearly tagging your smut you are giving readers the chance to knowingly opt in or out of the experience you've written.
Most of the time, it's pretty easy to do basic tagging for sex acts—you know whether what you wrote shows Vaginal Sex, Anal Sex, or Non-penetrative Sex.  You probably know the names for different kinds of Oral Sex you may have included. You might not know what to call Frottage or Intercrural Sex, though, even if you understand the concept and included the act in your fic. Sometimes there are tags with rectangle-square type relationships (all Blow Jobs are Oral Sex, but not all Oral Sex is a Blow Job) and you're not sure if you should tag for both—you probably should. Sometimes there are tags for overlapping, closely related, or very similar acts or kinks and you're not sure which to tag—that one's more of judgement call; do your best to use the tags that most closely describe what you wrote.
Tag for the kinks at play, if any, so readers can find what they're into and avoid what they're not. Tag for what genitalia characters have if it's nonobvious, including if there's Non-Human Genitalia involved. Tag your A/B/O, your Pon Farr, and your Tentacles, including whether it's Consentacles or Tentacle Rape.
Technical specification tags give information about aspects of the fic other than its narrative content.  Most things on Ao3 are prose fiction so that's assumed to be the default, so anything else needs to be specified in tags. That includes Poetry, Podfics, things in Script Format, and Art. If it is a podfic, you should tag with the approximate length in minutes (or hours). If a fic is Illustrated (it has both words and visual art) tag for that.
Tag if your fic is a crossover or fusion.  The difference, if you're not sure, is that in a crossover, two (or more) entire worlds from different media meet, whereas in a fusion, some aspects of one world, like the cast of characters, are combined with aspects of another, like the setting or magic system.
If the team of paranormal investigators from one show get in contact with the cast of aliens from another show, that's a crossover and you need to have all the media you're drawing from up in the Fandom tags. If you've given the cast of Hamlet physical manifestations of their souls in the form of animal companions like the daemons from His Dark Materials but nothing else from His Dark Materials shows up, that's a fusion, the Fandom tag should be “Hamlet - Shakespeare,” and you need the “Alternate Universe - Daemons” tag. If you've given the members of a boy band elemental magic powers like in Avatar: the Last Airbender, that can be more of a judgement call depending how much from Avatar you've incorporated into your story. If absolutely no characters or specific settings from Avatar show up, it's probably a fusion.  Either way, if the boyband exists in real life, it needs to be tagged as RPF.
Tag if your fic is a Reader-Insert or Self-Insert.
You might want to tag for whether your fic is written with POV First, Second, or Third Person, and if it's Past Tense or Present Tense (or Future Tense, though that's extremely uncommon).  For POV First Person fics that are not self-inserts, or POV Third Person fics that are written in third person limited, you may want to tag which character's POV is being shown. Almost all POV Second Person fics are reader-insert, so if you've written one that isn't, you should tag for who the “you” is.
A fic is “POV Outsider” if the character through whom the story is being conveyed is outside the situation or not familiar with the characters and context a reader would generally know from canon. The waitress who doesn't know the guy who just sat down in her diner is a monster hunter, and the guy stuck in spaceport because some hotshot captain accidentally locked down the entire space station, are both potential narrators for POV Outsider stories.
Other technical specifications can be tags for things like OCtober and Kinktober or fic bingo games.  Tagging something as a Ficlet, One Shot, or Drabble is a technical specification (we're not going to argue right now over what counts as a drabble). Tagging for genre, like Horror or Fantasy, is too.
It's also good to tag accessibility considerations like “Sreenreader Friendly,” but make sure your fic definitely meets the needs of a given kind of accessibility before tagging it.
Personal
Even among personal tags there are established tags!  Things like “I'm Sorry,” “The Author Regrets Nothing,” “The Author Regrets Everything,” and “I Wrote This Instead of Sleeping” are common ones.  Tags about us and our relationship to the fic, such as “My First Work In This Fandom,” “Author is Not Religious,” and “Trans Porn By A Trans Author,” can help readers gauge what to expect from our fic. Of course, you are not at all obligated to disclose any personal information for any reason when posting your fic.
The “I'm Bad At Tagging” tag is common, but probably overused. Tagging is hard; very few of us have a natural feel for it even with lots of practice.  It's not a completely useless tag because it can indicate to readers that you've probably missed some things you should have tagged for, so they should be extra careful; but it can also turn into a crutch, an excuse to not try, and therefore a sign to readers they can't trust your tagging job. Just do your best, and leave off the self depreciation. If you're really concerned about the quality of your tagging, consider putting in an author's note asking readers to let you know if there are any tags you should add.
You might want to let readers know your fic is “Not Beta Read” or, if you're feeling a little cheekier than that, say “No Beta We Die Like Men” or its many fandom-specific variants like the “No Beta We Die Like Robins” frequently found among Batman fics and “No beta we die like Sunset Curve” among Julie and The Phantoms fic. Don't worry, the Archive recognizes all of these as meaning “Not Beta Read.”
The Archive can be inconsistent about whether it stacks specific variants of Additional Tags under the broadest version of the tag like it does with Fandom tags, so best practice is usually to use both.  You can double check by trying to search by a variant tag (or clicking on someone else's use of the variant); if the results page says the broader or more common form of the tag, those stack.
There's no such thing as the right number of tags. Some people prefer more tags and more detail, while other people prefer fewer more streamlined tags, and different fics have different things that need to be tagged for.  There is, however, such a thing as too many tags.  A tagblock that takes up the entire screen, or more, can be unreadable, at which point they are no longer useful. Focus on the main points and don't try to tag for absolutely everything.  Use the “Additional Warnings In Author's Note” strategy if your courtesy tags are what's getting out of hand.
Tag for as much as you feel is necessary for readers to find your fic and understand what they're getting into if they decide to open it up.
A little bit of redundancy in tags is not a sin.  In fact, slight redundancy is usually preferable to vagueness. Clear communication in tags is a cardinal virtue. Remember that tags serve a purpose, they're primarily a tool for sorting and filtering, and (unlike on some other sites like tumblr) they work, so it's best to keep them informative and try to limit rambling in the tags. Ramble at length in your author's notes instead!
Titles
Picking a title can be one of the most daunting and frustrating parts of posting a fic. Sometimes we just know what to call our fics and it's a beautiful moment. Other times we stare at that little input box for what feels like an eternity.
The good news is there's really no wrong way to select a title. Titles can be long or short, poetic or straight to the point. Song lyrics, idioms, quotes from literature or from the fic itself can be good ways to go.
Single words or phrases with meanings that are representative of the fic can be great. A lot of times these are well known terms or are easy enough to figure out like Midnight or Morning Glow, but if you find yourself using something that not a lot of people know what it means, like Chiaroscuro (an art style that uses heavy shadow and strong contrast between light and dark), Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold), or Clusivity (the grammatical term for differences in who is or isn't included in a group pronoun), you should define the term in either a subtitle, i.e. “Chiaroscuro: A Study In Contrast,” or at the beginning of the summary.
As a courtesy to other writers, especially in small fandoms, you may want to check to make sure there's not already another fic with the same title in the same fandom, but this is not required. In large fandoms, there's no point in even trying. After all, there are only so many puns to be made about the full moon and only so many verses to Hallelujah.
It may be common practice on other platforms to include information such as fandom or ship in the title of a fic, but on Ao3 nothing that is specified by tags belongs in the title unless your title happens to be the same as a tag because, for instance, you've straightforwardly titled your character study of Dean Winchester “Dean Winchester Character Study” and also responsibly tagged it as such.
Summaries
Yes, you really do need to put something down for the summary. It might only need to be a single sentence, but give the readers something to go off of.
The summary is there to serve two purposes: one, to catch the interest of potential readers, give them a taste of what's inside, and make them want to know more; and two, to give you a space to provide information or make comments that don't really fit in the tags but that you want readers to see before they open the fic.
We've already talked some about that second function. When you put an explanation of the title or clarification about tags in the summary, that's the purpose it's serving. You can also put notes to “Heed the tags” or instruct readers that there are additional warnings in the author's note here in the summary, rather than doing so in the tags.
The first function, the actual summarizing, can be very hard for some of us.  It's basically the movie trailer for your fic, butwhat are you even supposed to say?
There are two main strategies as to how to approach this: the blurb, and the excerpt. Blurbs are like the synopses you at least used to see on the backs of published books, or the “Storyline” section on an IMDb page. Writing one is a matter of telling your readers who does what, under what circumstances.
Depending on the fic, one sentence can capture the whole thing: “Sam and Alex have sex on a train.” “Tori tries to rob a bank.” “If anybody had mentioned Max's new house was haunted, Jamie wouldn't have agreed to help with the move.”
Sometimes a blurb can be a question! “What happens when you lock a nuclear engineer in a closet with a sewing kit, a tennis ball, and half a bottle of Sprite?”
Of course, plenty of blurbs are more than one sentence. Their length can vary pretty significantly depending on the type and length of fic you're working with and how much detail you're trying to convey, but it shouldn't get to be more than a few short paragraphs. You're not retelling the entire fic here.
An excerpt is a portion of the fic copied out to serve as the summary. This, too, can vary in length from a line or two to several paragraphs, but shouldn't get too long. It should not be an entire scene unless that scene happens to be uncommonly short. It's important to select a portion of the fic that both indicates the who, what, and under what circumstances of the fic and is representative of the overall tone. Excerpts that are nothing but dialogue with no indication of who's talking are almost never a good choice. Portions that are sexually explicit or extremely violent are never ever a good choice—if it deserves content warnings, it belongs inside the fic, not on the results page.
Counterintuitively, some of the best excerpts won't even look like an excerpt to the reader if they don't contain dialogue. They seem like particularly literary blurbs until the reader reaches that part in the fic and realizes they recognize a section of narration.
Some of us have very strong preferences as to whether we write blurbs or use excerpts for our summaries. Some readers have very strong preferences as to which they find useful. Ultimately, there's no accounting for taste, but there are things we can do to limit the frustration for readers who prefer summaries of the opposite kind than we prefer to write, without increasing our own frustration or work load very much. Part of that is understanding what readers dislike about each type so we know what to mitigate.
Blurbs can seem dry, academic, and overly simplified. They don't automatically give the reader a sense of your writing style the way an excerpt does. They can also seem redundant, like they're just rehashing information already given in the tags, so the reader feels like they're being denied any more information without opening the fic.
Excerpts can seem lazy, like you, the author, don't care enough to bother writing a blurb, or pushy like you're telling the reader “just read the fic; I'm not going to give you the information you need to decide if you want to read or not, I'm shoving it in front of you and you just have to read it.” That effect gets worse if your tags aren't very informative or clear about what the plot is, if the excerpt is obviously just the first few lines or paragraphs of the fic, if the except is particularly long, or, worst of all, if all three are true at once.
A lot of the potential problems with blurbs can be minimized by having fun writing them! Make it punchy, give it some character, treat it like part of the story, not just a book report. A fic for a serialized show or podcast, for instance, could have a blurb written in the style of the show's “previously on” or the podcast's intro.  Make sure the blurb gives the reader something they can't just get from the tags—like the personality of your writing, important context or characterization, or a sense of the shape of the story—but don't try to skimp on the tags to do it!
Really, the only way to minimize the potential problems with excerpts is to be very mindful in selecting them. Make sure the portion you've chosen conveys the who, what, and under what circumstances and isn't too long.  You know the story; what seems clear and obvious from the excerpt to you might not be apparent to someone who doesn't already know what happens, so you might need to ask a friend to double check you.
The absolute best way to provide a summary that works for everybody is to combine both methods. It really isn't that hard to stick a brief excerpt before your blurb, or tack a couple lines of blurb after your excerpt, but it can make a world of difference for how useful and inviting your summary is to a particular reader. The convention for summaries that use both is excerpt first, then blurb.
If you're struggling to figure out a summary, or have been in the habit of not providing one, try not to stress over it. Anything is better than nothing.  As long as you've written something for a summary, you've given the reader a little more to help them make their decision. What really isn't helpful, though, is saying “I'm bad at summaries” in your summary. It's a lot like the “I'm Bad At Tagging” tag in that it's unnecessarily self depreciating, frequently comes across as an excuse not to try, and sometimes really is just an excuse. Unlike the “I'm Bad At Tagging” tag, which has the tiny saving grace of warning readers you've probably missed something, saying you're bad at summaries has no utility at all, and may drive away a reader who thought your summary was quite good, but is uncomfortable with the negative attitude reflected by that statement. Summaries are hard. It's okay if you don't like your summary, but it's important for it to be there, and it's important to be kind to yourself about it. You're trying, that's what matters.
Author's Notes
Author's notes are the one place where we, the writers, directly address and initiate contact with our readers. We may also talk to them in the comments section, but that's different because they initiate that interaction while we reply, and comments are mostly one-on-one while in author's notes we're addressing everyone who ever reads our fic.
The very first note on a fic should contain any information, such as warnings or explanations, that a reader needs to see before they get to the body of the story, as well as anything like thanks to your beta, birthday wishes to a character, or general hellos and announcements you want readers to see before they get to the body of the story. On multi-chapter fics, notes at the beginning of chapters serve the same function for that chapter as the initial note on the fic does for the whole story, so you can do things like warn for Self-Harm on the two chapters out of thirty where it comes up, let everyone know your update schedule will be changing, or wish your readers a merry Christmas, if they celebrate it, on the chapter you posted on December 23rd but is set in mid-March.
Notes at the end of a fic or chapter are for things that don't need to be said or are not useful to a reader until after they've read the preceding content, such as translations for that handful of dialogue that's in Vulcan or Portuguese, or any parting greetings or announcements you want to give, like a thanks for reading or a reminder school is starting back so you won't be able to write as much. End notes are the best place to plug your social media to readers if you're inclined to do so, but remember that cannot include payment platforms like Patreon or Ko-fi.
As previously mentioned, warnings can go in end notes but that really should only be done when the warnings are particularly long, such that the length might cause a problem for readers who are already confident in their comfort level and would just want to scroll past the warning description. In that case, the additional warnings need to go in the note at the end of the first chapter, rather than at the end of the fic, if it's a multi-chapter fic; and you need to include an initial note telling readers that warnings/explanations of tags are at the bottom so they know to follow where the Archive tells them to see the end of the chapter/work for “more notes.”
When posting a new work, where the Preface section gives you the option to add notes “at the beginning” or “at the end” or both, if you check both boxes, it means notes at the beginning and end of the entire fic, not the beginning and end of the first chapter. For single-chapter fics this difference doesn't really matter, but for multi-chapter fics it matters a lot. In order to add notes to the beginning or end of the first chapter of a multi-chapter fic you have to first go through the entire process to post the new fic, then go in to Edit, Edit Chapter, and add the notes there.
Series and Chapters
Dealing with Series and Chapters is actually two different issues, but they're closely related and cause some of us mixups, especially when we're new to the site and its systems, so we're going to cover them together.
Series on Ao3 are for collecting up different stories that you've written that are associated with each other in some way. Chapters are for dividing up one story into parts, usually for pacing and to give yourself and your readers a chance to take breaks and breathe, rather than trying to get through the entire thing in a single marathon sitting (not that we won't still do that voluntarily, but it's nice to have rest points built in if we need them).
If your story would be one book if it was officially published, then it should be posted as a single fic—with multiple chapters if it's long or has more than one distinct part, like separate vignettes that all go together. If you later write a sequel to that fic, post it as a new fic and put them together in a series. It's exactly like chapters in a book and books in a series. Another way to think of this structure is like a TV show: different fics in the series are like different seasons of the show, with individual chapters being like episodes.
If you have several fics that all take place in the same AU but really aren't the same story those should go together as a series.  If you wrote a story about a superhero team re-cast as school teachers, then wrote another story about different characters in the same school, that's this situation.
Series are also the best way to handle things like prompt games, bingos, or Kinktober, or collect up one shots and drabbles especially if your various fills, entries, and drabbles are for more than one fandom. If you put everything for a prompt game or bingo, or all your drabbles, together as one fic with a different chapter for each story, what ends up happening is that fic gets recognized by the Archive as a crossover when it isn't, so it gets excluded from the results pages for everyone who told the filters to Exclude Crossovers even though one of the stories you wrote is exactly what they're looking for; and that fic ends up with tons and tons of wildly varying and self-contradictory tags because it's actually carrying the tags for several entirely different, possibly unrelated stories, which also means it ends up getting excluded from results pages because, for instance, one out of your thirty-one Kinktober entries is about someone's NoTP.
Dividing these kinds of things up into multiple fic in a series makes it so much easier for readers to find what of your work they actually want to read.
If you've previously posted such things as a single fic, don't worry, it's a really common misunderstanding and there is absolutely nothing stopping you from reposting them separately. You may see traffic on them go up if you do!
Parting Thoughts
Metatext is ultimately all about communication, and in this context effective communication is a matter of responsibility and balance.
Ao3 is our archive. It's designed for us, the writers, to have the freedom to write and share whatever stories we want without having to worry that we'll wake up one day and find our writing has been deleted overnight without warning.  That has happened too many times to so many in our community as other fanfic sites have died, been shut down, or caved to threats of legal action. Ao3 is dedicated to defending our legal right to create and share our stories. Part of the deal is that, in exchange for that freedom and protection, we take up the responsibility to communicate to readers what we're writing and who it's appropriate for.
We are each other's readers, and readers who don't write are still part of our community. We have a responsibility as members of this community to be respectful of others in our shared spaces.  Ao3 is a shared space. The best way we have to show each other respect is to give one another the information needed to decide if a given fic is something we want to engage with or not, and then, in turn, to not engage with fic that isn't our cup of tea. As long as our fellow writer has been clear about what their fic is, they've done their part of the job. If we decided to look at the fic despite the information given and didn't like what we found, then that's on us.
Because metatext is how we put that vital information about our fics out in the community, it's important that our metatext is clear and easy to parse. The key to that is balance. Striking the balance between putting enough tags to give a complete picture and not putting too many tags that become an unreadable wall; the balance between the urge to be thorough and tag every character and the need to be restrained so those looking for fics actually about a certain character can find them; the balance between using established tags for clarity and ease and making up our own tags for specificity and fun.
Do your best, act in good faith, remember you're communicating with other people behind those usernames and kudos, and, most importantly, have fun with your writing!
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milfdindjarin · 7 months ago
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Whitewashing Clones and Fetts
having now been vaguely involved in star wars fandom for the last few months it has become increasingly obvious that many people don't know how to draw clones (or any Māori characters for that matter) without wildly whitewashing them. I don't want to assume that everyone is aware that a lot of the things they're drawing are racist, many artists just seem to be uneducated and change how they draw the characters when kindly called out on it, so I figure the best way to address the problem is to make a masterpost of things artists should be avoiding, or adding in when making art of these characters (made with loads of help from Lucky @transfetts, who did all of the art for this post!
Should go without saying that this all applies to the Bad Batch, since the show isn't too far away. Just because canon has come up with excuses for whitewashing the characters, that doesn't make it fine for you to whitewash them too. Please actively try to make them look more accurate to how Temuera Morrison looks when you draw them.
1. Hair
One of the key issues is the way that people often draw the hair for the clones. remember, they are all Māori! this means their hair is not going to be naturally straight! in some instances, straight hair can be okay but only if there is a specific reason for it, eg. it was straightened artificially for a purpose like a costume or disguise. one of the two worst offenders for the hair being the wrong texture is the classic flat top and when the hair is tied up in a manbun style. the clone wars might have their hair sticking straight up but that doesn't make it okay for you to draw it that way. Temuera Morrison has curly hair, when his hair is short there should be clear lumps showing it is curly. The drawing just below has some examples from Lucky, first of the mistake most people make is having the hair sticking straight up, and a couple of examples of better methods of drawing that style and the tied up style! the key to accuracy is just making the hair lumpy, and ideally adding a few little curls sticking out for longer styles
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Long hair should also not be straight, rather it should be relatively curly. Curly does not just mean giving it a few waves! There's a huge difference between making the hair vaguely wavy and making it truly curly
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2. General Face Shape
The Clone Wars biggest crime is the way they fucked up the clones face shape. if you look at the gif linked below, you can see just how much they thinned out the clones faces and lengthened their chins. the best advice if you're struggling with the face shape is start off tracing Temuera Morrison! when in doubt, go straight to the source.
3. Lightening
I know everyone has talked about this but it always needs reminding that the clones are not white. stop lightening their skin. again, just copy Temuera Morrison! same goes for the eyes, the clone wars drastically lightened their eyes, the eyes should generally be a much darker brown. There is nothing inherently wrong with giving a clone blue eyes for plot reasons, but it is something that seems to happen far too much. Generally, stop looking for excuses to lighten their eyes. There's already too many clones with light eyes.
4. Nose Shapes
Please look at the examples from Lucky below, Morrison has a much wider nose than the clones do in the animated shows. When drawing them both face on and side on, it needs to be clear that the nose hasn't been thinned and lengthened like in the shows. This goes along with the face shape, Māori features are typically wide rather than long and thin, please stop white washing these features.
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5. Moko
It has been super awesome seeing people incorporating the practice of inking the skin into clone and Mandalorian culture in their art! This is something I 100% support, but there a few things that should be noted in doing this. The most important is to never copy someone else's moko directly. moko is a sacred practice of carving our ancestors into our skin, each is individual and should never be directly copied. absolutely take inspiration from other people's moko! but please never come up with it directly. I would urge you to spend some time researching different designs, and spend the time designing something that is individual to the clone or Mando you are drawing. Even better would be to have an explanation of the meanings of the designs you have come up with along with the art! If this sounds too difficult I would recommend sticking with using mando'a for moko instead of traditional designs, although I personally think mando'a is the best thing to incorporate anyway.
The other important thing is not to refer to moko as tattoos, they are very much not the same thing. I would recommend doing a bit of googling to see the methods traditionally used for moko to help understand this.
TLDR: when in doubt, just use Temuera Morrison (or one of the actors of the younger clones) as a reference, rather than the Clone Wars models. just because the animated shows whitewashed the characters, that doesn't make it okay for you to do it.
In an ideal world, if we as fans can reject the whitewashing done by Disney, the people designing the characters would follow suit and start representing Māori more accurately. At the very least, actively portraying clones without whitewashing them will make people of colour feel far more welcome and comfortable interacting with clone artists.
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itachiyama · 8 months ago
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Prompt: giving Ushijima the silent treatment
This is for my babes @newfangled-artistry 💋✨ hope you like it my love ;)
Read Oikawa’s part here
Read Bokuto’s part here
Read Kuroo’s and Tendou’s part here
More Space
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Ushijima was a quiet and reserved man. You understood that, and it didn’t bother you that you usually had to initiate intimate moments between the two of you. But sometimes, you couldn’t help but long for him to be a bit more affectionate with you. To initiate cuddling during a movie himself, or to hug you from behind in the mornings the way you always saw in the movies. He had the basics, hand holding or allowing you to lean against him, and he’d never reject your touch should you make an advance, but sometimes you’d wished he’d show you that he longed for your touch the same way you longed for his. Which led you to the little debate you were having with him right now.
“Y/n, this is a rather pointless argument wouldn’t you agree?” Ushijima looked at you pointedly.
“No Toshi, I don’t! I’m trying to tell you how I feel!” He sighed before turning back to you.
“Okay, tell me how you feel then.”
“I feel like you don’t show me you want to be around me the way I do. Would it kill you to be a bit more loving?” He looked at you tired, a small part of him confused.
“Do I not show you I love you enough? I sit through your long hugs and seemingly never ending cuddling for enough time. Is that not enough for your liking?” You looked at him a bit shocked. You didn’t think he sat through your affection, but the idea made you quite upset.
“I didn’t know you had to sit through it Toshi. If that’s how you really felt, you should’ve said something.”
“It’s quite difficult to communicate certain things with you when you choose to be so dramatic over small things y/n. But yes, you are quite clingy.” Ushijima was always a bit blunt, but this was the first time he’d actually hurt your feelings. You never saw yourself as clingy, but to say you were overdramatic was a stretch. Most wouldn’t sit through his deadpan expression and quiet nature. You adjusted yourself to make him comfortable quite often, a small wish for some adjustment on his part for your sake was not dramatic. So you decided you’d give him the space he wanted, feeling a little petty from his hurtful words.
“Fine, I’ll give you more space if that’s what you want.” Turning away from him, you made your way to go get ready for bed. The two of you hadn’t said much for the rest of the night, you deciding he deserved the silent treatment, and him thinking you’d wanted some space. As the two of you had silently climbed into bed, Ushijima had been starting to feel bad about earlier. He knew he wasn’t the most affectionate, he wasn’t quite sure how to initiate the touch. But he never was annoyed by you seeking out his touch, it was something he quite enjoyed. The heat of the moment had gotten to him, and he was beginning to realize how much he really didn’t mean his words. To offer some reconciliation, he held the blanket open for you, hoping you’d get the idea and see that as his invitation to cuddle. But you simply climbed in and turned your back to face him. He looked at you for a bit, saddened that you hadn’t wanted to lay against him for the night. Staring longingly at your figure, he decided maybe you’d just needed some space and slowly settled in for the night.
“Good night y/n,” he finally said after some time, but you hadn’t replied to him. He assumed you’d fallen asleep and drifted off himself.
The next morning, Ushijima woke up to an empty bed. It was quite unusual for you to wake up earlier than him, as he was the morning person out of the two of you. Getting out of bed, he noticed you’d left a little note on your side table.
‘Gone out for breakfast with some friends.’
He read the note once more, feeling a small pang in his chest that you hadn’t drawn your usual heart or silly face for him. He was even more saddened by the fact that you hadn’t written a good morning or I love you on the note like you usually would. It started to make him feel a little unsettled that you’d been distancing yourself from him so much in the last few hours.
Throughout your morning, you’d received a few texts from your boyfriend, the first wishing you a good morning, while the next few asked what time you would be returning and how long you’d plan on staying out. You’d continued to ignore him, however, opting to stay out longer to avoid him. He continued to text you throughout the day, asking if you were alright, whether or not you’d seen his messages, and if you would be willing to call him. But you silenced your phone and continued on with your day. Ushijima wanted space, and you would give it to him. It wasn’t until later in the evening did you return back home, and he immediately came towards the door as you opened it.
“You’re home,” he said as you walked in. You didn’t reply, however, simply walking past him. You missed the way he frowned a little at the lack of attention towards his way. Noticing how you’d not only refused to give him his kiss you’d give him whenever you returned from being out, but you also didn’t hug him in the little enthusiastic way that you always did. It was starting to make Ushijima feel doubts, had you really grown tired of him after one night? Following you around a bit, you never wavered in your resolve to pretend he didn’t exist. “Y/n? How was your day?” This time, when you didn’t answer, you didn’t miss the flash of hurt across his face. He stood there defeated as you walked out of the kitchen to change into pajamas. Trying his best not to think too deeply of it, Ushijima told himself that this was a temporary thing, that you’d come around and everything would be fine.
But everything didn’t seem fine anymore once night time had rolled around. Not only had you decided to continue to ignore him, but he was now walking into you gathering your bed materials. You’d opted to sleep in the guest room. His heart dropped to his stomach at the familiar sight. A sight he’d walked into so many years ago when he was younger, watching his father and mother in the same situation. Quickly walking up to you, Ushijima slowly tugged on your sleeve.
“Y/n? Please don’t go to the other room,” he mumbled, looking down at the ground. Something about his voice was more vulnerable than you’d ever heard it, and you couldn’t fight the urge to finally talk to him this time. Turning to face him, you slowly lifted his face in your hands.
“Toshi?” Your heart dropped to your stomach when you saw his face. As Ushijima met your eyes, you noticed the moisture in his, his face plagued with the doubts he’d been feeling all day. Slowly leaning into you, he placed his head into the crook of your neck, hoping desperately that you’d finally accept his advances and show him some affection. Wrapping your arms around him, you let him lean his weight into you and started to rub his back. “Baby what’s wrong?” You heard a small sniffle into your neck, and guilt flooded your system.
“I just don’t want us to end up like my parents. This is exactly how they were when I was little. They didn’t talk, then they slept in separate rooms, and one day, they weren’t together anymore.” You felt your heart break for your boyfriend, feeling horrible that you’d unintentionally unlocked memories that haunted his childhood.
“Aw baby, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you relive that sweetheart. We won’t be like them, okay? I love you much too hard for that.” You tried to pull away to look at him, but he gripped you tighter, scared to let go. “Baby, it’s okay, I’m not going to let this end okay? Come on, look at me.” Finally allowing you to pull back, he faced you once more. You reached over and swiped at the few tears that made their way down his face with your thumb.
“I’m sorry I said those things last night, I didn’t mean them. It was quite hard to pass the whole day without your affections.” Smiling sadly at him, you kissed his cheek.
“It’s okay Toshi, I’m sorry for making you feel this way. I understand it’s hard for you to initiate being touchy, and that’s okay. I know you love me, I see it all the time. Let’s go to bed now okay?” Nodding, he pulled the pillow and blanket from your hands and quickly placed them back on your side of the bed. Waiting for you to get into bed first, he watched as you climbed in and opened your arms for him to lay in. You let him rest his head on your chest while you played with his hair.
“I love you y/n. I want to love you forever.” Kissing his forehead, you started to rub his back.
“I love you too baby, always.”
Today was quite the productive day guys so there’s always that :)
4K notes · View notes
shipsandlattes · 11 months ago
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So I know everyone has already dissected this scene to its core, but it’s taken me a good 48 hours to digest this and I just needed to get it out.
I’m an aspiring actor, I’ve been training for a long time, with a lot of amazing teachers. I’ve watched a lot of shows and shipped a lot of couples. Some of them beautiful and canon, others, well, let’s just say waiting 22 years and counting for acknowledgement, closure, anything, it’s a damn challenge. I’ve seen a hell of a lot of will-they-wont-they’s, baiting, purposeful ignorance, deliberate fake outs, zero explanations, storylines that basically caused canon disintegration, the works.
In saying that, Dean and Cas were right up there on the list with the other “impossibles” because honestly, I didn’t think the writers would have the guts to do it, but I am so f*cking proud they did. It’s safe to say I’ve watched the scene a good hundred+ times already. 
I’ve seen a lot of “controversy” around Dean’s reaction/Jensen’s acting choices and whether or not Dean reciprocates Cas’ feelings, and obviously, I needed to add my own views to the mix.
Just work with me for a minute here.
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Dean Winchester is an emotionally repressed trainwreck, and ironically enough, the one that is so full of emotion it hurts to watch. When Cas first starts his speech, he’s confused, really confused because why on earth would Cas start off on a rant now? Billie’s waiting to kill them, he just said he knew something that was more powerful than she was, something that could save them. That’s where he thought this speech was going.
The confusion turns to realisation that it’s a goodbye when Cas starts telling him how incredible he is, how his entire essence is love. Go back and watch the scene again, when Cas says “you’re the most caring man on Earth”, you physically see Dean look down, his eyes searching, he’s actively trying to make sense of what’s happening, he knows what’s coming and you can see him coming to terms with the shock of the words being said to him. He then looks directly at Cas. That look, that was pure shock.
Also, notice how he doesn’t stop Cas from talking? He doesn’t interject, make a joke, doesn’t talk about how there is no time for this now, they’ve got to at least try and stop Billie. He. says. nothing. He listens, he listens like I’ve never seen Dean listen before. Because it’s sinking in now.
When Cas really starts crying, when he says “you changed me, Dean”, you can actually see the pain in Dean’s eyes. He’s no longer in control of his emotions, he’s crying too. He’s never seen Cas like this, so raw, and vulnerable and human. This is the hardest, most emotional conversation they’ve both ever had. They are talking about the one thing that everybody knows, but is never addressed. When it wasn’t talked about, they could deny it, live in the lie. Once it’s said aloud, it’s real and they can’t turn back.
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This above series of interactions is the part that kills me the most. The moment Cas says “because it is”, that’s the exact moment of realisation. Look at that last GIF, really look. He’s just worked it out, that he is Cas’ true happiness. He knows what’s coming before Cas even says it. Go back and watch the scene again, they pulled that off so well, the way the music swells at this exact moment. Jensen is giving us everything here, you can see what’s happening in his head - he is Cas’ happiness. He is the one thing on Earth Cas wants and thinks he can’t have. He is the reason Cas is about to die. He knows what Cas is about to say and he’s not sure he’s ready to hear it, not now, not like this. It’s almost a silent plea not to say it, because he knows. Of course he knows. It’s like he can’t quite believe Cas is really, after all this time, finally going to say it.
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And because obviously Jensen decided that that wasn’t enough to break us, the loaded reaction when Cas says “I love you” has me nothing but convinced that it’s reciprocated. Because Dean knows. He’s always known. Those tears, that head tilt, that gulp. He’s so genuinely confused that they’re really having this conversation. It’s like he can’t quite believe that this is the reality before him because he’s been living in that denial, in that self-loathing and unlovable layer he believes to be true. He’s been under the ‘what if... but it could never be’ umbrella for so long. 
What also makes this real is that there isn’t anyone else around this time. When “I love you’s” have been said before, they have always been able to deflect it, with other people or other words. Now it’s just the two of them. No deflecting, no running away. Dean is forced to hear it, to absorb it, to realise it’s for nobody else but him.
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Now, I don’t know if you guys felt this, but when Dean says “Don’t do this, Cas”, he wasn’t just referring to Cas sacrificing himself to the Empty, he’s telling Cas that he can’t just say this, not now, knowing he’s going to die, knowing that Dean won’t get a chance to think, to process, to say what he needs too. I keep staring at that GIF above, Dean is breaking down, I’m almost convinced that Jensen was using an “I love you too, please just stop this” inner monologue for this bit. Look at the way he’s looking at Cas before he realises the Empty has started materialising and turns around. That’s a look of pure heartbreak. Trust me when I tell you, it’s really hard to keep those inner thoughts inside if you’re so in the moment - actually, don’t just take my word for it, read any acting book, ask any actor, it’s so hard to keep that in and sometimes you don’t, and sometimes you do - it’s in both the resistance and the letting go that the gold happens. This my friends, is gold. 
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Did anyone else hear “Cas, I-”, well, regardless of whether or not it was an “I” or a very sharp breath, the outcome is the same. Dean’s gone into immediate panic mode. The Empty at one end and Billie at the other, and all poor Dean wants to do is gather his thoughts on not what to say but how to say it. I don’t think he comprehended just how little time he had, he was so focused on what was being said that the reality of the situation caught him completely off guard.
Also, I know this post was about dissecting Dean’s reaction, but can we sidebar a minute to talk about Cas as he pushes Dean out of the way? He’s sobbing, he’s fully crying. That hit me really hard, I’ve never seen Cas cry like that, I’ve never seen Misha get to play that level of emotion before and it was the most heartbreaking thing to watch since The Doctor and Rose and Buffy and Spike, to which by the way, I find many parallels between those couples and this scene.
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Speaking of crying, that brings me to this: Dean slumped on the floor, ignoring a call from Sam, sobbing his heart out knowing he’s lost everything. Dean-I’m-emotionally-unavailable-Winchester is sobbing. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t recall ever seeing Dean cry like this before either, the sobbing was so evident and piercing in that silence. The look around the room, the burying of his head in his hands, that is a classic writers romantic love trope if I’ve ever seen it, they really pulled out all the stops with this one.
So, to summarise, I think Jensen’s choices and Dean’s reactions were absolutely and utterly perfect. They both did it so well that it didn’t break from character that these two emotionally distant and repressed men are in love and finally voicing it. Jensen barely said two words and still managed to cause mass coronary’s across the fandom. That my friends is what you call a brilliant actor. I bow down to the talents of these two amazing human beings.
Before I leave this novel, I have to say there are now a few things I’m going to need from the powers that be to not screw this up, help me manifest this:
1. Dean gets to reciprocate his feelings to Cas in person. So, I’m gonna need Cas back and a very emotional Dean.
2. Dean to be actively dealing with heartbreak in the next episode (unless they decided to bring Cas back that soon, which I wouldn’t put past them at this point).
3. Sam to confront Dean about his feelings for Cas, because out of everyone, he’d be the one to hit Dean with the truth of his fears. Sam knows. Sam is supportive. Sam sees it all.
4. I’m gonna need some physical affection, cause after 12 years of nonsense, we damn well deserve it. A hug, and not just any old reunion hug, a proper, this is different now hug. A kiss because hello, in love out loud now. Forehead touching, handholding, really gonna need the works here.
5. A happy ending for the two of them, one way or another. We’ve never had one, it’s time.
Okay, have at it now, let’s speak these into existence please.
Note: GIFs are not mine, I did not make them, credit to owners who I’m not sure of, but they’re beautiful, thanks for making them. EDIT: I’ve just been informed that these gorgeous gifs belong to @michaeldean​ and @inacatastrophicmind​! 
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gukyi · 8 months ago
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the art of the rom-com | jjk
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summary: FILM395, the art of the rom-com, was supposed to be an easy a with one of your favorite professors, but it’s not. it’s actually a sisyphean torture that comes in the form of fellow film student jeon jungkook, who has no problem responding to every one of your discussion posts about the consumerist ideals underlying every romance movie with his own paragraphs on the beauty of love like the hopeless romantic he is. and when the two of you find yourselves partnered up for your final project, which is to create a short film on rom-coms, jungkook decides to take it upon himself to show you what love is really like.
{enemies to lovers!au, college!au}
pairing: film major!jungkook x film major!reader (female) genre: fluff, comedy, slight angst, this is literally a rom-com in fic form word count: 33k warnings: college alcohol consumption, discussion board posts, emotionally constipated characters, film major shenanigans, blonde jungkook who’s also in a hip hop dance troupe, miscommunication, if you hate rom-coms do not read this fic
a/n: i am so so so excited to share this monster of a jungkook fic (tho let’s be real, 30k is pretty standard for me now ;-;) with you all! this is basically rom-com trash, but it’s my rom-com trash, and i hope you all enjoy!
on a sadder, less exciting note: after this fic i will be taking an extended writing hiatus until at least the beginning of may. my semester is picking up and i unfortunately just don’t currently have any upcoming fics planned for you guys. i hope you understand!! maybe i’ll do a couple of ask games here and there to see if anything piques my interest, but other than that please do not expect major works of writing for a while. love you all!
500 Days of Summer is a movie you all have probably seen before. That being said, I encourage you to respond to this discussion board from a film perspective as opposed to a viewer’s perspective. How did 500 Days of Summer alter the classic narrative of boy-meets-girl? Do you think it was a smart move, on the parts of Webb, Neustadter, and Weber, to do so? Why or why not?
Jeon Jungkook on February 12th at 9:53PM
I thought that the change in the boy-meets-girl narrative that had been popularized by rom-coms of the 1990s definitely contributed to his popularity and its attractiveness towards viewers in general. The film makes it clear that the story does not have a so-called happy ending, but despite that, it still brings into discussion the idea of love and soulmates and true connection. And that’s important, because despite the film’s not-so-happy ending, it makes it a point to emphasize that those things are real. That love is real. I thought it was an excellent move on the parts of the writers and director, because they both broke standards in terms of happy endings in rom-coms and they stayed true to the message at hand. 
Y/N Y/L/N on February 12th at 10:29PM
I have to disagree with Jungkook. It’s obvious the movie is not going to have a happy ending because Tom is so obsessed with the version of Summer he has created in his head that he doesn’t even see who the real girl is anymore. It doesn’t have a happy ending not because they weren’t soulmates, or because their love wasn’t right. They break up because what Tom wants and what Summer wants are fundamentally different, and Tom just can’t accept the fact that Summer doesn’t love him the way he wants her to. In a desperate quest to keep her, though, he manifests this version of her and replaces the actual Summer with it, ultimately destroying their relationship. How could viewers ever have faith that Tom would eventually get his happy ending if the only proof of his commitment to relationships they have is him manufacturing a different girl to fall in love with?
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When you walk into class, Jeon Jungkook is already there. 
He sits in the front row, the seat closest to the door in your puny little classroom, much too small for twenty-students to fit comfortably, let alone watch movies on the pull-down projector screen above the chalkboard. You’re convinced he’s chosen that seat just so he can grin at you whenever you walk in the room, always later than him because apparently, he has nothing better to do with his time than show up to class early and smirk at you when you arrive. 
As you shuffle past his seat towards your own—second row, middle of the room, centered with the lecturer’s podium—with your usual scowl drawn neatly across your face, Jungkook says, overly bright and cheery, “Good morning, Y/N.”
The sound of his voice alone is enough to make your nose scrunch up in further disgust. “Shut up,” you grumble back, stuffing yourself into your chair and pulling out your laptop. One row in front of you and five seats to the right, you see Jungkook chuckle. 
Glowering, you open up your Notes document for the class and try to avoid staring at Jungkook’s side profile, the way he’s slouching lazily in his seat, and what looks to be a lengthy paragraph on his computer screen, a task that proves to be particularly difficult because he happens to sit in the exact spot you have to look in order to see your professor enter the room. What the hell is he even writing, anyway?
He straightens up the moment she does, cheerful as always as she smiles at everyone. “Good morning, everyone.”
The lot of you respond with halfhearted smiles and waves. 
“I can just feel the enthusiasm radiating throughout the room,” she jokes, clenching her fists together in success. At least that gets a couple of you to laugh. “Which is great, because before we get to anything today, we’re gonna talk about the final project.”
You smile to yourself, immediately pulling up the copy of the syllabus you had downloaded to your desktop, scrolling right down to where she had outlined information about the final project in big, bolded letters. There are a lot of reasons you’ve taken this class, not the least of which is the fact that you have had Professor Pollack three times prior to this and she’s loved you in every class, but the final project was definitely one of the major selling points. 
Pollack pulls up a more detailed final project document on the projector as she steps out from behind the podium. “As you guys know, your final project is a thirty-to-forty minute short film involving rom-coms. You guys have a lot of freedom, it can be a rom-com, it could be a documentary about rom-coms, anything. It just needs to involve the topic of rom-coms somehow. I know a lot of you have actor friends who would be more than happy to have a star-crossed lovers fling or whatever. Go wild. Just keep it PG-13, because I can’t in good faith have nude bodies of your fellow college students on my screen.”
You snort to yourself. Makes you wonder how many times Pollack has seen sex scenes of college students on her screen before. Too many, probably. 
Unintentionally, your eyes drift over to Jungkook. He seems to be working on that hefty paragraph of his, typing something you assume is completely unrelated to the topic at hand and is further proof that Jungkook just doesn’t give a shit about anything involving this class. Whatever. You turn back to Pollack. 
“Good projects not only capture the essence of what a rom-com is, but also put their own twist on the story and bring into question the topics we discuss in class, like truthfulness, realistic portrayals of love, and viewer interpretation,” she continues, and with every word you feel heart beat faster in excitement. “I know you’re all excellent filmmakers. That’s why you’ve taken this class. But what I want you to do is get into the nitty-gritty of the makeup of a rom-com and distill it as much as possible. We’ll be watching them all in class during the last week. Yes, Celia?”
You all turn to look at Celia, who sits in the third row, second seat from the left. “This is a partner project, right?” 
Well. That’s the one downside. As much as you know that cooperation is an important life skill, you would much rather prefer to produce the entire movie yourself. But you love Pollack and you already know you’re on track to get a good grade in this class, so whatever. You’ll deal. 
As long as you can pick your teammate. 
“Yes,” Pollack affirms, “and with that excellent segue, I will now announce your partners.”
Shit. 
Pollack pulls out a folded piece of paper from her back pocket, like she had just come up with the arrangements on the morning train ride to campus, and begins reading. Slowly, as she ticks off names one by one, everyone begins to turn around, locking eyes with their partners and exchanging guess-it’s-us-two-huh? smiles. Everyone except—
“And lastly, Jungkook and Y/N.”
You freeze in place. You look up at your professor, eyes wide and shocked, because nobody knows better than her how much the two of you have been butting heads this entire semester. But when you meet her eyes and she smiles knowingly, shrugging her shoulders, you know you’re doomed. Hesitantly, almost like you’re scared to find out what happens when you do, you shift your gaze towards where Jungkook sits in the front right corner of the room. Only he’s not just sitting. He’s turned a full one hundred-and-eighty degrees just so he can smirk at you from across the room, a glint in his eye. 
Jungkook laughs at your cold-stone, shellshocked reaction. Like he knows how much you’ll hate this, and you know how much he’ll enjoy it. 
From here, you actually have a pretty good view of his laptop screen, brightness turned all the way up because he apparently doesn’t care who reads his screen. Or maybe he just likes showing off how much he writes so he can establish dominance over everyone else. Except you, of course. But when you look a little closer, you notice he’s got the class discussion board for the week up on his Chrome window, two paragraphs typed into the text box. 
Right above is your response to his comment. 
Is that what he was working on? His reply to your reply? Right now? He has the audacity to draft it right here, in front of you, where he knows you can see? He doesn’t even care that you’re blatantly staring at it. In fact, he actually seems to be relishing in it.
You’re so caught off guard by the contents of his computer screen that when you look back up at him on instinct, you catch a wink in your direction. 
Your fists tighten by your side. 
Class is rather uneventful after the whole partner fiasco, as Pollack transitions into your usual dose of a short lecture on the film and then a class discussion that goes absolutely nowhere because everyone is too concerned with the final project to care. Whatever you talk about, you will be hard pressed to know, because you spend the entire rest of the period scowling at the blank page of your Notes document as you try to formulate a way to convince Pollack to change your partner. Would she accept a dozen doughnuts as a bribe? A box is only ten dollars from Dunkin’.
When Pollack finally shuts her laptop screen and begins her weekly goodbye spiel, you are the first one out of the room. Hastily, you stuff your laptop into your bag, zip it up as best as you can (which means that the tops of your water bottle and umbrella are sticking out, but who cares), and shuffle out the room right as Pollack is bidding you all farewell, just so you don’t have to look at Jungkook’s stupid, smug little grin on the way out. 
Faintly, you remember Pollack saying something about getting your partner’s contact information so you can start working, but fuck that. Jungkook knows your name. He can find you. If you must spend the entire semester communicating through Instagram DMs, then so be it. You’ve communicated with men in worse ways. Like through LinkedIn.
There’s a small seating area half a flight down from where your puny little classroom is, a few tables and a bench that wraps around the wall, posters splayed out on the corkboard to the right, staples littering both the board and the floor it rests above. Nobody ever seems to use this, despite the innumerable posters advertising everything from dance troupe shows to financial literacy talks, which makes it the perfect place for you to brood and gather your thoughts. It’s also in the direct opposite direction of the exit. So that’s good.
Taking your anger out on your personal belongings (as opposed to that bitchass smirk on Jungkook’s face), you begin to shove your umbrella and water bottle into the pocket of your backpack, fighting to nestle them amongst your other worldly possessions, like your pencil case and what looks to be a small nest of receipts at the bottom of the back. No wonder it’s so clogged up down there. 
If anything gives you a sense of control, it’s cleaning. One by one, you pluck out the receipts from your bag, nose scrunching up as you try to remember every purchase you’ve made in the past three months. Plus, one of these receipts is from when you bought some dryer sheets from CVS, so that means the five inches of actual information are also accompanied by three feet of coupons that expired two weeks ago. Ugh, what a waste. 
“Don’t look so angry, you’ll have to get used to seeing this face a lot.”
You look up from where you’ve been inspecting an old receipt from a midnight McDonald’s trip to find Jungkook standing in front of you, backpack hanging loosely on his bomber jacket-clad shoulder and that same stupid grin written all over his same stupid face. 
“Can I help you?” You drawl. Great. Now Jungkook can add “saw all her receipts” to the list of embarrassing things he’s caught you doing. 
“Can I help you?” Jungkook fires back with a scoff, blonde hair bouncing as he jerks his head flippantly. “Looks like someone needs to take an Accounting class or something.”
“I’m just doing some spring cleaning,” you sneer. It’s February. “What do you want?”
“What, no ‘Hello, partner’? ‘So excited to be working with you this semester’? I’m hurt,” Jungkook says, placing a hand to his heart as he shakes his head disapprovingly. “I thought we had something good, Y/N. Isn’t that why Pollack paired us up?”
You’re pretty sure she just likes watching the world burn. 
“Don’t flatter yourself,” you chide, knowing that Jungkook already must get enough of a kick out of just seeing the annoyed look on your face. 
“Please, like I even need to. You think I don’t notice the way you stare at me during class? I know you must like what you see,” Jungkook flirts, just to be extra irritating. 
While he’s stroking his own ego, you tear off a piece of that CVS receipt, one of the expired coupons for Three Dollars Off Any Shampoo or Conditioner, and scribble your number on the back. The rest of the receipts you scoop up and dump in the trash can to your right before you zip up your backpack and hike it over your shoulder. 
“Here,” you say gruffly, shoving the paper against his chest as you head towards the stairwell. 
“How forward of you, Y/N, you know you could have just asked—”
Pausing right before you turn the corner and head out the door, you turn back to look at Jungkook, already exhausted from having to interact with him for five minutes. “And when you’re done jerking yourself off,” you say pointedly, “text me.”
You storm out the door.
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[February 13th, 1:24PM]
Unknown Number: guess who ;)
You: Wow I have NO idea You: Keanu Reeves?
Unknown Number: haha very funny Unknown Number: it’s jungkook
You: Damn shame You: You done jerking off yet
Maybe: Jungkook: what makes you think i’m not doing that right now ;)))
You: You don’t have the coordination to text me and masturbate at the same time You: What do you want
Jungkook: ouch, harsh Jungkook: can’t i just want to talk to my final project partner? :D
[February 13th, 2:17PM]
Jungkook: alright fine Jungkook: just wanna see when you wanna meet up
You: Guess I don’t have a choice do I
Jungkook: unless you wanna facetime
You: Is that an option?
Jungkook: how about friday at 3 Jungkook: in one of the greene gsrs
You: You think you can manage to reserve one of those?
Jungkook: watch me
[February 13th, 2:21PM]
Jungkook: [screenshot sent] Jungkook: done
You: Do you want a gold star for all that hard work you just did? All that manual labor? You: Fine. See you then.
Jungkook: miss you already <3
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Y/N Y/L/N on February 12th at 10:29PM
I have to disagree with Jungkook. It’s obvious the movie is not going to have a happy ending because Tom is so obsessed with the version of Summer he has created in his head that he doesn’t even see who the real girl is anymore. It doesn’t have a happy ending not because they weren’t soulmates, or because their love wasn’t right. They break up because what Tom wants and what Summer wants are fundamentally different, and Tom just can’t accept the fact that Summer doesn’t love him the way he wants her to. In a desperate quest to keep her, though, he manifests this version of her and replaces the actual Summer with it, ultimately destroying their relationship. How could viewers ever have faith that Tom would eventually get his happy ending if the only proof of his commitment to relationships they have is him manufacturing a different girl to fall in love with?
Jeon Jungkook on February 13th at 7:35PM.
You make a good point, Y/N, but I think you missed the whole point of the movie. It’s not about their breakup or the not-so-happy ending or even Tom’s problems. It’s about the journey they go on and what Tom learns in the process. If you watch the trailer then you’d go into the movie knowing they weren’t gonna last. The results of whatever Tom and Summer do to contribute to their eventual breakup should not come as a surprise to the viewer. The whole point of the movie is that they spent five hundred days together and Tom is now recounting those days to anyone who will watch. And you know who’s watching? People who want to hear a story. About love. And loss. And everything in between. Isn’t that the whole reason we watch romance movies anyway?
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Sometimes, you wonder if the garishness of Professor Pollack’s shoebox-sized office is the reason not very many students attend her office hours. The walls are lined with movie posters taken from a theater going out of business, the shelves stuffed to the brim with Disney World trinkets and old film memorabilia. She’s installed these thick red velvet curtains along her single window, making the whole room look like some sort of 1950s movie lair. 
In a way, you suppose it kind of is. 
You hear the taps of her Converse shoes as they come down the hallway and round the corner into the office.
“You know, Y/N, I was surprised to see you signed up for my office hours when I logged in this morning,” Pollack says as she enters the room, handing you the coffee in her right hand as she takes a sip out of the one from her left. Last year, the film department bought a Breville coffee maker with the leftover funds from a movie showing fundraiser and it is, in your humble opinion, the best investment the department has ever made.
“Why? I see you all the time,” you ask, eyebrows raised. You and Professor Pollack are not lacking in social connection. She’s written you a letter of recommendation and she knows your coffee order. 
“The very first time we ever spoke outside of class, you sat down at my Starbucks table while I was eating lunch just so you could introduce yourself and ask me about my opinion on the Mamma Mia remake,” she deadpans. “We don’t exactly speak through official forums.”
Well, she’s got you there. 
“I know…” you begin, trailing off awkwardly as you take a sip of your coffee. It’s burning hot and scalds your tongue a little, but it’s nice. It’s been cold recently. “But I just thought we could talk… privately.”
Pollack rolls her eyes as she reclines in her chair, back hitting the padding of the chair with a thud. “Goodness, I wonder what you’re here to talk to me about.”
“Okay, please pardon my French, but what the freak, Professor?” You say, because the words have been sitting hot on your tongue ever since you walked into your office and you didn’t think sending an email that looked like:
To: tpollack@university.edu From: y/n@university.edu Subject: what the freak
Dear Professor Pollack,
What the freak?????????
Cheers, Y/N
would be very professional on your part. 
Pollack lets out this honk of a laugh, loud and sudden, shaking her head fondly. “Come on, Y/N. You must have known I would have partnered the two of you up.”
“I was hoping you’d let us choose?” You emphasize. 
“And miss out on what very well may be one of the best final projects of the class, produced by my two best students of the semester? Absolutely not,” she says, smiling knowingly at you. 
Even her sudden reveal that you happen to be one her best students this semester isn’t enough to soothe your worries and calm your anger. You’re honored, but you have bigger problems. Problems that start with ‘Jeon’ and end with ‘Jungkook’. 
Pollack looks at your beaten-down expression and leans forward, placing her coffee cup on the wooden desk in front of her. “Listen, Y/N. You’re an excellent student and one of the most talented filmmakers I’ve seen in a long time. Your discussion posts are detailed, well-written, and thought-provoking. I know that the two of you will make a great project.”
You scoff. “We can’t agree on a single thing.”
“Sometimes that happens in life, and you just have to deal with it,” Pollack says sagely. 
“So I can’t change partners?”
“Not unless you’d like to fail the final,” Pollack comments, shrugging. How rude of her to say such a thing, not taking the option to change partners off the table entirely but making it so that if you do, you’ll pretty much be shooting yourself in the foot. Or worse. 
You narrow your eyes at her. “That’s low.”
“That’s life,” she corrects. 
“Ugh.” You get up out of your seat, taking angry sips of your coffee as you desperately try to think of another way to get out of it. Are doughnuts still an option?
“I have full faith that the both of you will come up with an excellent project,” Pollack says like it’s some sort of consolation as she walks you to the door to her office. Yeah, right. You and Jungkook spend your free time making snide responses to each other’s discussion posts like it’s nobody’s business. You’re probably the only two people at your entire university that care enough to make replies to each other’s replies. Like Tinder from hell. “You shouldn’t be worried, Y/N.”
“I’m not worried,” you say, completely worried. “I just—I don’t know how Jungkook and I will get along.”
Pollack grins to herself. Does she know something you don’t? Is she up to something? She looks at you as you linger in the doorway, feeling utterly helpless after a meeting that accomplished absolutely nothing, and she smiles. 
“You’ll find a way.” 
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Reserving a group study room in the Greene Library and Collection should not be some gymnastics act that involves a warm-up, practice, a routine, and song and dance. In theory, all you have to do is log onto the library’s homepage, navigate to the reservations tab, enter your name and ID number, pick a date and time, and profit. 
Of course, the demand for the study rooms does tend to outweigh the supply. There are over ten thousand students at your university. And only twenty rooms. 
And still, you have the unfortunate luck of being stuck in one of them for an hour and a half with none other than Jeon Jungkook. 
You see him coming into the library at 3PM sharp through the opposite entrance, a little surprised he didn’t show up ten minutes early like he does in class, just so he would have an excuse to complain about having to wait for you. Feeling a little threatened, you pick up the pace so that you can meet his lengthy stride, keeping an eye on his direction so you know which room he’s aiming for.
You arrive at Greene GSR #18 at the exact same time.
“So nice to see you,” Jungkook says, too cheerful, as you reach out to open the door. 
“Mmm,” you mumble in response as you enter the room, flinging your backpack onto the floor by your chair with a thud as you take a seat. The faster you start, the faster you can get this over with.
Jungkook, not at all outwardly discouraged by your clear disdain for him, rallies on happily. “So, what were you thinking for the project?” But he doesn’t even let you open your mouth to answer before he says, “Oh, wait, let me guess: a social commentary on the consumerist ideals that underline every modern movie and encourage the pursuit of an empty dream by abandoning concrete career and personal goals in favor of romantic fulfillment.”
You scowl at him, even though that’s exactly what you were thinking of doing. You’re almost positive Pollack’s had enough of seeing college students try to engineer the craziest fake dating scenarios they can imagine just for a class project. Why not do something outside of the box? 
“Well, then what do you want to do?” You challenge, already bristling. Like Jungkook has a better idea. 
“Maybe something that doesn’t scream ‘killjoy’ as much as you do,” Jungkook retorts easily. He opens his mouth to spit out something else but then rolls his eyes and shrugs, shaking his head. “Forget it. I shouldn’t have even asked.”
“Don’t pin this on me,” you immediately rebuke, pointing at him. “You’re the one who wants to make some sort of generic rom-com for our final project. Besides, I’m pretty sure every idea you even think of will have been done already.”
“Just because something is cliche doesn’t make it bad,” Jungkook says. “I swear, I don’t think you understand what the word cliche even means. A cliche thing, by default, is something that lots of people like. Therefore, it is largely well-received by the general public.”
“Oh, then that must mean that all rom-coms are deserving of a People’s Choice Award then, right?”
Jungkook frowns, getting exasperated. You aren’t much farther off. “I don’t know why you’re being so—so resistant! You know that romantic comedies are supposed to be fun, right?” 
“They’re not that fun to me,” you comment snidely. 
“That’s because you’re a stick in the mud who takes everything way too seriously,” Jungkook replies like it’s some sort of known fact. “Have you ever even been in a relationship?”
“That’s none of your business,” you tell him firmly. Who does he think he is, going around asking that sort of thing? Especially to you! Like you could care any less about what Jungkook thinks of your love life. Intrusive, much? “Besides, you asking that is exactly my point. Not everything has to be about finding love and searching for your soulmate or whatever bullshit like that. Some people don’t really care that much.”
“You act like wanting to find love and wanting to be successful are mutually exclusive,” Jungkook points out. “You don’t have to abandon all of your life goals just to find love, you know. It doesn’t have to be the most important thing in your life for you to even care about it a little. It’s natural for people to want love.”
“Then I guess I’m just a robot.”
“You sure are acting like one,” Jungkook comments easily. “What, are you about to ask me to pick out all of the pictures with traffic lights?”
“I’m allowed to have my own views on love, just like you,” you say. Isn’t that the whole point of your discussion boards? A forum where you can discuss these sorts of things through an academic lens? A barrier that keeps the two of you from going at each other’s throats when you’re engaging in the class material? It doesn’t take a genius, or even half of one, to know that you and Jungkook can’t seem to agree on anything in your FILM395 class. 
Jungkook scoffs. “What do you mean, ‘your own views on love’? As far as I’m aware, your view on love is that you don’t have one! What do you even think love really is?”
You frown at him. “Does it matter?”
“Yes,” Jungkook says like it’s obvious. “This project is about filming a short romantic comedy, about people falling in love with each other. How do you expect me to do that if we don’t reach a mutual agreement on what love is?”
You scoff. “There is no way in hell I am going to agree with you on anything concerning love.” Jeon Jungkook still thinks love is all rainbows and sunshine. Cries at the end of Love, Actually even though he’s seen it five times already. Believes in soulmates. Believes there are people out there that were built for each other. He flutters from one person to the next like a butterfly, even though he’s more like a moth drawn to any open flame within a five-mile radius. He’s convinced he’ll find his true love here, in college, just like his parents found each other. 
Yeah, right.
“Then what are we supposed to do, huh?” He says with an eyebrow raised. “We have a month to make a movie that’s fifty percent of our grade.”
“The social commentary is still on the table,” you point out. Sure, it’s not at all a romantic comedy, but it’s about them, which Pollack said was totally fine. Besides, she has been teaching you the entire semester, hasn’t she? She should know by now not to expect some cushy lovey-dovey story about two people who were destined to be with each other and can overcome all obstacles with their love. 
Deep down, a part of you wonders if that’s why she paired you up with Jungkook. If she’s had enough of the sappy love stories that Jungkook probably wanted to do, didn’t want to see another cynical commentary on capitalism in Hollywood.
“Wow, what a thrilling idea,” Jungkook deadpans. “Please, tell me more.” His voice is lifeless. 
“Oh, shut up. It’s not like your idea would be any better. Who would we even get to star in a rom-com we filmed? It’s not like the two of us could do it.”
You regret the words the instant they come out of your mouth. In horror, you watch as they sink into Jungkook’s brain, etching themselves into his mind as a lightbulb turns on, a bright idea popping into his thoughts. 
He opens his mouth, but you get there first. “No. Whatever you’re thinking, absolutely not. I am not starring in a rom-com with you.”
That is something you can say with one-hundred percent confidence. Something that you know will never change. 
“Just hear me out,” Jungkook pleads, looking a little desperate as he wrings his hands together, aching to spill the bubbling plan that’s been stewing in his head. 
You narrow your eyes in suspicion but lean back into your chair, a silent signal for him to continue. It’s not as if you have any better idea.s 
“Okay. It’s not a rom-com. It’s a mockumentary,” he says, something that (and you can’t believe you’re saying this) actually piques your interest. Moreso than anything else he’s ever said to you. “You think love is totally manufactured, right? That Hollywood creates the illusion of it to sell to people paying twenty dollars for a movie ticket?”
“Yes.”
“Then let’s do that. Let’s prove it’s manufactured.”
“And how do you plan on doing that?” It’s not like you can walk into a factory and ask them to make the “love” emotion for you. 
“We’ll be the stars.”
He says it like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. Like it’s your best idea by a long shot, the home run of all home runs, your golden ticket to an A.
You scrunch up your nose, hesitant. “Wait, I don’t know—”
“It’s perfect!” Jungkook exclaims, eyes wide with excitement. “Think about it. It’ll be a mockumentary of a stereotypical rom-com. Except it won’t be this big Hollywood production, it’ll be real life. And it won’t be between two paid actors with years of experience under their belt, it’ll be us.” His eyes are practically bulging out of his head, big brown eyes glinting with excitement.
“So what are we gonna do? Act out our own rom-com in an attempt to see if either one of us will fall in love with the other?” You say, an eyebrow raised. 
Jungkook shakes his head. “Not necessarily. It’s a mockumentary, right? So it’s grounded in real life even if it is based upon the stereotypical boy-meets-girl rom-com. It won’t be super scripted or anything. Think of it more like… a chronicle.”
You scoff. “Of what?”
“Of us,” Jungkook says easily. “Of the time we have to spend together to film this damn project anyway. I say that rom-coms are emblematic of the natural human desire for love, and that deep down love is the thing that makes us happy. You say that rom-coms are consumerist propaganda, or whatever it is you think they are—”
“They are, and you can’t change my mind about that,” you interrupt, just for clarity. Can’t have Jungkook thinking he’s going to somehow convince you otherwise.
“—so, with this project, let’s see which one of us is right. If the time we have to spend together, making this mockumentary rom-com, will really change how we feel about each other, or if it won’t.”
How you feel about each other? You almost laugh when Jungkook says it out loud. There’s no room for questioning in your mind when it comes to how you two feel about each other. Two desperate-to-please students with opposite views on the entire structure of a class and three years of experience arguing your points in essays under your belts. 
Jungkook believes in destiny, right? Then he must know that the two of you are destined to never get along.
“You should be a car salesman,” you joke. Jungkook’s certainly excellent at pitches.
“So, you in?”
You narrow your eyes, still a little wary of whatever it is Jungkook’s putting down. But it’s not like you have any better ideas. And the sooner you agree on something, the sooner you can get this goddamn project over with and never have to sit in class with Jeon Jungkook ever again. 
“Only because this’ll finally prove to you that not everything can be solved by finding love,” you say. It’s about as good of a ‘yes’ as he’s going to get out of you. 
Jungkook grins, mischievous as always. There’s certainly something else he’s plotting, you just aren’t sure what. Maybe he’s in cahoots with Pollack. “Or,” he begins, lips curling upwards, “you’ll just fall in love with me.”
You scoff. “Yeah, right.”
“Well, then I guess we’ll just have to see, won’t we?” He holds out his hand, palm facing up as he waits for your response, that devilish glint that you hate twinkling in his eyes. 
As if you’re going to fall in love with Jungkook. For this stupid project? No way. Just because it’s a filmmaking project doesn’t make it any more bearable than your other assignments. It’s a partner project. They are, by their very nature, excruciating. You’ll be surprised if you end this project and you aren’t even more irritated with Jungkook. Does he really think you’ll actually develop some sort of affection for him?
You take his hand on your own, palm pressed against his, and you eye him carefully. Just because Jungkook’s got something up his sleeve doesn’t mean you don’t. Finally, finally, Jungkook will see why love is stupid and manufactured and fake. Why it doesn’t bring people together but instead tears them apart. 
Maybe then he’ll leave you and your discussion posts in peace.
You smile up at him. 
“I guess we will.”
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When Ruby Rhodes is not six feet deep in The Princeton Review’s MCAT test prep book, she can usually be found at the small bakery five blocks west and two blocks north of your little campus, a family-owned place passed down through three generations. It’s her favorite place, and yours, too, because the coffee is delicious and the pastries are even better. 
Plus, hardly anyone from your school ever comes here, which means the wifi speed is eons better than the Starbucks inside the main food court. 
She’s halfway through a tiramisu and a rerun of The Bachelor from two seasons ago when you sit down across from her. 
“Any good?” You ask, pulling out your laptop and squeezing it onto the tiny marble table in between the two of you. 
“The food or the show?” Ruby asks over a mouthful of cake. 
“Either.” 
Ruby swallows down the piece sitting on her tongue before responding. “The tiramisu is delicious, and The Bachelor is eh. I’ve seen this episode three times already.”
“Then why are you watching it again?” You ask, laughing. Does Ruby think something different is going to happen?
“Because we’re in between weeks right now and honestly, The Bachelor is kind of dry this season,” Ruby says with a frown. 
“You’ve got some tiramisu on your cheek,” you tell her, pointing to the left side of her face where the bright mascarpone cream sticks out like a sore thumb against her dark skin. 
“It’s just so yummy, I can’t help but stick my whole face in it,” Ruby jokes as she wipes her face with the napkin on her lap. The Bachelor rerun plays on in the background, and you can hear the gasps of the women through Ruby’s discarded headphones. 
You roll your eyes. “Why do you even watch that show still? You know it’s all crap.”
“Just because you think it’s crap doesn’t mean I do,” Ruby insists, playing out an argument the two of you have had plenty of times over the course of your friendship. “Watching it makes me happy. So I do it.”
“But it’s all fake,” you say, frowning in disapproval. “The couples don’t even stay together in the end anyway.”
“It’s a totally pre-constructed show, but it’s not fake in the moment. And I don’t expect the final couple to stay together.” She shrugs nonchalantly. “Believe me, I’ve seen enough Bachelor seasons to know those odds. I just like watching the ride. It’s cute.”
“You say that about everything.”
“That’s because everything is cute,” Ruby says pointedly. “I like seeing the good in people.”
Ruby’s always been the exact opposite of you in terms of worldviews. The embodiment of a real-life fairy. She puts butterfly clips in her hair and buys herself bouquets of daisies and lilies. She sits in cafes with her headphones in and sketches the people she sees outside the window. She’s studying to be a doctor so she can spend the rest of her life helping others. 
And you? 
Well, the Oscars have always been a bit of a long shot. 
The curiosity eating at you, you pose a question to her. “Hypothetically, if there were to exist a mockumentary on rom-coms and love, would you watch it?”
Ruby pauses for a second as she furrows her brows. Then she shrugs and says, “Only if the two leads fell in love at the end. Why?”
“No reason,” you say, looking away. 
There’s no fooling Ruby and her eagle eyes. 
“What is it?” She asks, a grin playing at her lips as she looks at you. “Come on, you don’t just ask me shit like that without a reason.”
“It’s for a final project,” you explain succinctly. No need to go into details. 
“You’re making a rom-com for a final project?” Ruby sounds about as skeptical as you did when you spoke to Jungkook. 
“It’s a mockumentary about rom-coms.”
“But… it’s a rom-com, right? Like, you’re going to be making a rom-com? Where people fall in love?”
Hopefully not. 
“Sort of?”
Ruby squints her eyes, trying to process all the information. You’re not surprised that she has to take a moment to think—you are certainly the last person on earth to ever admit to filming a rom-com. But, as you’ve stated, it’s not a rom-com. It’s a mockumentary about them. That distinction is vital.
“Wait, is this for that class with Pollack?” Ruby asks. “I remember you telling me you were taking it. You said this was a partner project, though, right? So who are you working with?”
Curse Ruby and her knack for remembering things. She’ll make a great doctor, that’s for sure, but right now you wish she would just forget things like everybody else. 
You sigh. “Jungkook.”
Ruby doesn’t need to think twice about who that is. “Wait, seriously? You’re working with him? Isn’t he the guy that responds to all your discussion posts?”
“Yes,” you say, rubbing your temples with your fingertips. You don’t even like thinking about him, let alone saying his name. The fact that he has to occupy any part of your brain at all gives you a headache.
“Damn, that sucks,” Ruby says, not feeling very sorry for you at all. “So you’re filming a rom-com with him?”
“It’s a mockumentary,” you specify, feeling yourself getting irritated. “It is fake.”
“Just like my shows, huh?” Ruby muses to herself, too analytical for her own good. 
“Listen, you don’t need to fall in love to make a mockumentary about it,” you say, refusing to consider any sort of alternative. 
“Don’t you?”
You sneer. “Just shut up and eat your tiramisu.”
Ruby lets out a laugh at that, this wonderful mix between a wheeze and a honk that makes you smile every time you hear it, even if it’s at your own expense. Ruby decides she’s had enough of mentally torturing you with the thought of feeling anything but extreme distaste towards Jungkook and goes back to her show, letting you brood in peace. 
You don’t need to fall in love to make a film about it. Just like you don’t need to be a masterchef to film Gordon Ramsey screaming at someone who undercooked chicken. You’re a filmmaker. You can make a film out of anything. Including love. Even if it is with someone like Jungkook. 
Can’t you?
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Jeon Jungkook may be a disillusioned college student in love with the idea of love itself, but at least he’s not too shabby of a filmmaker. 
Funnily enough, it actually sort of surprises you that you’ve never encountered each other before. Especially considering you’re in the same major program at your school, a program that only accepts about fifty students per year at most. You suppose that in whatever general program classes you had to take in freshman and sophomore year you just never crossed paths. Plus, he’s a filmmaking concentration and you’re doing screenwriting, so it’s very possible that you would have just never spoken had the two of you not registered for the same semester of FILM395.
Huh. Imagine that. A life without him. 
Sort of makes you wish you had put this class off for one more semester. 
As the two of you kickstart your project, you both immediately agree that you need a third person’s help. You and Jungkook can do plenty, but you are only two people. And there’s nothing in the final project guidelines that says you can’t enlist other people to partake in the production. But you don’t need help with the filming and editing. You need help with the interviews. 
“Is this bedsheet good enough?” Kim Taehyung, a senior in the film program, asks as he’s Command-stripping a queen-sized black bedsheet to an empty wall in the living room of his tiny one-bedroom apartment. 
“As long as it fits into the frame,” Jungkook responds from where he’s standing behind the camera, set up on a tripod to capture a specific angle. “You’re not going to be in the shot anyway. You’ll just be asking the questions.”
“Good, because I look really ugly right now,” Taehyung says with a grin. You roll your eyes. Taehyung must know he always looks good. Even you can’t deny him of that. 
“This is ridiculous,” you say, seated on the singular couch in his apartment. You’re leaning on your elbow as you watch Taehyung fiddle with the bedsheet and Jungkook futz with the camera, the two of them repositioning themselves over and over again until everything’s perfect. “What are you even gonna ask us?”
“I came up with some… preliminary questions,” Taehyung says suggestively. “But I haven’t told either of you what they are so that your reactions can be more genuine.”
“Great,” you deadpan. 
“Wow, someone’s excited,” Jungkook comments snidely. 
“I know we agreed on periodic interviews for the sake of the mockumentary but I don’t know why we have to be so… so serious about them,” you say with a frown. 
“We have to promise to be honest with what we say, alright? Like, actually honest. This sets a guideline for the rest of our relationship,” Jungkook says like it’s no big deal. Like the foundation of your relationship isn’t the fact that the two of you have been engaged in discussion-board war ever since the semester began. 
“Our ‘relationship’?” You say with a scoff. 
“Do you promise?” Jungkook says. 
You roll your eyes. “Yes, I promise.” Whatever. “What do you even think is going to happen between us in the next few weeks?”
Jungkook smirks. “Guess we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?”
You don’t like the sound of that. 
Over the next ten minutes, Taehyung gets the sheet attached to his wall and pulls over two stools from his kitchen counters, old-timey wooden ones he got from a thrift store for five dollars a pop, one for him and one for the poor soul who has to be interviewed. You’ve agreed to do them separately but Taehyung’s apartment is only so big and you are only three people, which means that whoever isn’t being interviewed still has to be behind the camera, listening to the other person. 
Makes you sort of nervous about whatever’s stewing up inside Jungkook’s mind. Wonder what the hell it is he’s plotting up there. 
Once everything is settled, Taehyung looks at the two of you as he asks who’s going first. 
You turn to Jungkook, who’s already grinning. “Ladies first.”
For someone who has spent their whole life watching and making movies, being in front of the camera feels weirdly uncomfortable to you. You’re so used to being behind it instead, directing others as they move around the frame, telling them how to feel and how to act and what to say, that having the spotlight shone on you is like picking through your thoughts with a fine-toothed comb. 
You adjust awkwardly in the bar stool seat as Jungkook stands behind the camera, twisting the lens until he gives you the thumbs-up. Quite frankly, it doesn’t make you feel any better. 
“You ready?” Taehyung asks as he takes a seat opposite you, just out of frame. 
“Well, we’ve gotta start somewhere, right?”
“That’s the spirit. Alright, Jungkook, start whenever you’re good.”
“Okay,” Jungkook chirps up. “Three, two, one—” He points to the both of you. 
“So, Y/N,” Taehyung begins, his voice suddenly much clearer. He sounds sort of like a news anchor. It’s oddly fitting. “Are you excited to begin the filming for this?”
“I don’t really have a choice, do I?” You muse. 
“That didn’t answer my question,” Taehyung points out. Good thing the camera can’t see the way his eyebrows raise. 
“I suppose that there are worse things I could be doing,” you reason, which is about as good of an answer as Taehyung’s going to get. What was he expecting you to say? That you were thrilled to be filming this not-a-rom-com with your class nemesis? That you couldn’t wait to see what would happen?
“Loving the enthusiasm,” Taehyung jokes. You wonder what your classmates will think when they watch this back, hearing this unidentified deep male voice ask you and Jungkook questions about your relationship. “Let me ask you this: what’s your current relationship with Jungkook?”
“Uh…” you begin, nervous. Behind the camera, Jungkook has that same stupid, shit-eating grin plastered all over his face. You sneer. “It’s… it’s professional.”
“Can you explain what you mean by that?” 
“I mean we’re classmates. That’s the relationship.”
“That’s it?” You can hear the skepticism in Taehyung’s voice, almost like he’s egging you on to say something more. 
“We’ve had some personal disagreements on topics discussed in class. But yes, we’re just classmates,” you elaborate slightly. It’s not as if anyone needs reminding of that, anyway. They all see your discussion board posts. 
“And how do you expect that relationship to change over the course of this project?”
“I don’t think it’ll change at all.” It’s the easiest answer so far. Requires no energy nor brain power for you to think about it. 
Taehyung nods his head in intrigue. “And why’s that?”
“Because this is a project for a class, not a life lesson.”
“Who says it can’t be both?”
You frown. “Whose side are you on?”
Five feet away, Jungkook laughs. 
Taehyung chuckles. “Alright, moving on. What do you expect from Jungkook over the next few weeks as you start working on building your relationship?”
“I hope he becomes less unbearable,” you say, though you suppose that’s more of a general life goal than one that’s project-specific. But it would be nice if he became a little more… palatable. Just so you don’t have to feel the urge to sock him in the face every time you speak to each other. 
“‘Less unbearable’, excellent,” Taehyung repeats. “Anything else?”
“Well,” you say with a shrug, not sure what else to say. What do you want from Jungkook? Obviously the two of you are about to embark on your own rom-com adventure, no doubt most of it his doing, but it’s hard to imagine that he himself (or you, for that matter) will change. If anything, the rom-com setting will just exacerbate the worst parts of both your personalities. Like some sort of curse. “I guess I just hope that the project goes smoothly.”
“I hope that it does, too,” Taehyung says with a smile. “Okay, last question.” Thank God. This interview couldn’t have been more than five minutes, but it feels like an eternity to you. “Do you think you and Jungkook will fall in love at the end of this?”
“No.” You don’t leave any room for hesitation. “I don’t.”
“Why not?”
“We’re very different people with very different interests,” you explain succinctly. You’re sure Taehyung will grasp that once Jungkook has his turn and answers all the same questions. “He can try his hardest, but some things are just meant to stay the way they are.”
“Okay, thank you, Y/N, that’s all. I hope you found our conversation illuminating,” Taehyung says, his cue for the camera to stop rolling. You and Taehyung both turn to Jungkook, waiting for his signal, letting out a sigh when Jungkook gives you a thumbs-up. 
“Thank fuck,” you say, hopping off of the barstool happily. You head towards the camera, ready to kick Jungkook off of it, because it’s your turn to stand behind it with an annoying look on your face as you react to every stupid thing Jungkook says. You find that you’re actually sort of looking forward to it. Being behind the camera is where you feel most at home. Making faces at Jungkook is just a bonus. 
Jungkook’s still grinning that same goddamn grin when you approach him, making you narrow your eyes. 
“‘He can try his hardest’?” Jungkook teases, voice all high-pitched to mimic yours. “Sounds like a challenge.”
“Ah yes, my mission in life,” you retort easily. Maybe goading him on isn’t the best course of action, but you’re so confident that you won’t change your mind you find yourself actually anticipating his efforts. “Think you have what it takes?”
“Believe me, I do,” Jungkook says with a devilish glint in his eyes. 
You roll your eyes and kick him off the camera with a shove, pushing him towards Taehyung as he waits diligently on that chair of his. 
“So, Jungkook, same questions,” Taehyung says as Jungkook gets ready in his seat, fixing the blonde strands of hair that curl around the side of his face, framing his cheeks. 
“What? That’s no fair, he got to think about all his answers,” you exclaim, positively indignant. 
“Don’t worry, Y/N,” Jungkook says, voice sickly smooth, honey falling off his lips. “I’ve actually been thinking about the two of us for a long time.”
You pretend to throw up on Taehyung’s hardwood floor. 
As Taehyung promised, he asks Jungkook the same questions. And, as predicted, his answers about as far away from yours as the sun is from Pluto:
“Are you excited to begin the filming for this?”
Jungkook grins. “Yes, definitely. I actually took this class after hearing from a friend that the final project was a lot of fun.”
Taehyung beams. That friend was him. No wonder he was so happy to sign onto helping the two of you. 
“And how would you describe your current relationship with Y/N?”
“We’re soon-to-be-lovers.” 
“How forward of you.”
“Isn’t that my job?”
You have to stop yourself from bursting out into laughter behind the camera and ruining the interview. At least he’s not hiding anything. You’ll give him that. 
“So I suppose you expect the two of you to fall in love over the course of the project?”
“Yes, that’s going to happen.”
“And you seem pretty confident when you say that.”
Jungkook smirks as he turns to the camera. Or, more accurately, you. “Confidence is attractive.” 
You shake your head back at him. 
The rest of the interview falls pretty much into the same vein as the first few questions. Jungkook is so brazenly determined and hopeful and optimistic it actually pains you in a way, watching him make all of these promises both to you and himself that this project is going to turn out the way he hopes it does. His answers remind you of his discussion board posts, always looking on the bright side of every movie you watch, always finding the silver lining, the light at the end of the tunnel. A movie could be total Hollywood crap, filled with cheating scandals and misunderstandings and betrayals, and Jungkook could still find beauty in it. 
It’s strange. 
For the sake of you not actually throwing up in Taehyung’s lovely apartment, you tune out the majority of the middle of the conversation, having zero desire to listen to Jungkook wax poetic about your non-existent relationship like he’s saying his wedding vows. Only when Taehyung finally remarks that they’re on the last question do you finally come to again, ready to turn the camera off as soon as Jungkook finishes his answer. 
“Jungkook, do you think you and Y/N will fall in love at the end of this?”
“I do.” Wow, what a shocker. “I do, because I hope that by the end of this Y/N will have opened her eyes to the beauty of love, and will find joy in the feeling as something that makes her feel happy and warm. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure the things we do together are meaningful. And even if we don’t last, I hope that her memories of us together will be ones she can look back upon fondly and be grateful for.”
You purse your lips together. If only it were that easy. 
“Alright, cut,” you say, voice distant as Jungkook thanks Taehyung for his time and hops off the bar stool. “Thanks, Tae.”
“Anytime, you guys,” Taehyung says with a grin. 
Jungkook comes over to where you’re standing, possibly to grab his camera and tripod but most definitely to rub his obnoxious personality all up in your face. 
“You really think you’re gonna get me to fall in love with you, huh?” You muse, an eyebrow raised as you look up at him. “Just so you can prove a point?”
“Believe it or not, Y/N, but I actually think that all people deserve the chance to experience love and that happens to include you, as well,” Jungkook responds easily. 
The words put a sour taste in your mouth. “You think I deserve it, huh?”
Jungkook nods, face solemn as he looks at you, gazing into your eyes with those big brown ones of his own. It makes you feel something unfamiliar. Like he’s reading right through your chest, into your heart. You don’t like it. “Everyone deserves love.”
“You guys are coming back, right? So I can leave the sheet up?” Taehyung interrupts after he’s moved both of his bar stools back to his kitchen counter. 
“Yeah, we’ll be back,” Jungkook answers quickly. “Thanks for setting everything up, by the way.”
“Of course. Plus, this is a good background for my nudes,” Taehyung says casually, like he’s mentioning what he’s having for dinner. “Looking forward to seeing you guys again.”
“Us, too,” Jungkook says. “Ready to go?”
“Only because it means I don’t have to see you anymore,” you retort pointedly, grabbing your backpack from where it sits on his couch as you head towards the door. 
“Just you wait, Y/N,” Jungkook says as you leave Taehyung’s building, one of those old-timey Victorian houses that was converted into a whole bunch of apartments. “You’re gonna see that I’m right.”
“Really? About what?”
“About us,” Jungkook says. You come to the stoplight, where Jungkook keeps going straight and you turn right. 
“Us?”
Jungkook grins as you turn in the direction of your own apartment. And, just as the light turns green, he says, “Just you wait. We’re gonna fall in love, you and me.”
If he says so. 
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“Hey! Y/N!”
You whip your head around at the sound of your name just as you’re opening the door to your local Starbucks, wondering who the hell is calling out to you at nine-thirty in the morning on a Wednesday. 
As it turns out, you don’t have to wonder too much, because the moment your eyes adjust to the blinding sunlight coming from the east side of campus you see Jungkook hurtling towards you, heavy black boots stomping down on the pavement as he rushes to catch up with you. 
“Can I help you?” You ask, thoroughly unimpressed, as you pull open the door, looking at Jungkook heaving beside you as he holds the door open for himself. 
“Just glad I caught you,” Jungkook gasps out between breaths. “Figured this might make a good scene for the movie.”
“It’s a mockumentary,” you remind him easily, getting in the line. 
“Whatever,” Jungkook says. “What do you normally get here? I don’t really go to Starbucks often.”
“Whatever will give me the most caffeine for the least amount of money,” you retort. 
“How efficient,” Jungkook comments. 
“You know that’s how I like to be,” you tell him with a pointed look. 
Jungkook mumbles his acknowledgement as he fumbles around in his backpack, fishing through the large pocket until he whips out his Canon, holding it out in front of him like he’s a dad about to film an embarrassing shot of his child. You look down at the camera just as he pans up to you, a confused frown written across your features. Jungkook laughs. 
“Do you really need to do that here?”
“I’m not even filming,” Jungkook says with a smile, like he just pulled his camera out so he could look at your unimpressed face through a different lens. “Look, you’re up.”
You turn around to find that the woman ahead of you in line has just moved towards the pick-up side of the counter, so you shimmy over towards the barista, ready to get this over with so you can dart out of the Starbucks as soon as possible. 
“Just a grande Americano, please,” you request simply, fingers grasping for the wallet inside your coat pocket. 
“Me too,” Jungkook chirps up from behind you. The closeness of his voice makes you jump, and suddenly you become keenly cognizant of how he’s practically pressed up next to you as he leans over towards the counter. You catch a glimpse of the debit card in his hand. “Here.”
“You don’t have to pay for me, it’s fine,” you quickly say, holding out your own card to the barista. 
“No, it’s okay, I want to. Here.” Jungkook pushes your hand away as he tries to stuff his card into the reader. 
“No, I won’t let you. I’m a big girl, I can pay for my own coffee,” you rebuke, feeling yourself growing oddly defensive. 
Jungkook sighs from behind you. “Oh, come on, you can’t let me do one nice thing for you?”
“Will one of you please pay, you’re holding up the line,” the barista asks in a desperate tone, clearly too overworked and too underpaid to be dealing with two bratty college students like yourselves. 
Jungkook manages to shove his card into the reader before you get the chance to do it yourself, pushing you to the side as he verifies all of his information and takes his receipt. Next to him, you seethe to yourself, feeling a personal loss even though you just got your coffee paid for. It’s not about the money. It’s about your pride. Never in your life have you wanted to so badly pay for an overpriced Starbucks coffee. 
You and Jungkook mosey over to the other side of the counter, waiting for your identical drinks to be made as you try and calculate how much longer you have to stand in the same room and breathe the same air as Jungkook. Seeing him in class, on your discussion board posts, and for your arranged final project meetings apparently isn’t enough, so now he has to invade your personal life, too. 
“What are you doing?” You huff out angrily, turning to Jungkook even as he holds his camera out in front of him, filming the Starbucks. 
“Recording our first meeting, obviously,” Jungkook says like it’s some kind of no-brainer. Like you were in on that from the moment he called your name out on the street. 
“What do you mean, ‘our first meeting’?” You scrunch up your nose in confusion. “We’ve known each other since the semester started.”
“I know, but…” Jungkook trails off unhelpfully, but you pick up what he’s putting down regardless. Right. This is supposed to be a mockumentary rom-com. And rom-coms always start with an introduction. 
The barista behind the counter calls out Jungkook’s name as he places two same-sized cups down at the pick-up station. The cup is burning hot, even with the little cardboard holder wrapped around it like a leg warmer, so you immediately move over to the station up against the wall with all of the sugar packets and napkins and little green splash sticks. Jungkook joins you without question, whether it be due to the fact that he doesn’t come here very often or because he just wants to keep invading your space, you couldn’t say. Grabbing one of the wooden sticks, you tug the plastic lid off of the cup and give the coffee a swirl. Watching you, Jungkook takes the lid off of his as well. 
“Are you just going to copy everything I do?” You deadpan. 
“Not everything…” Jungkook trails off suspiciously, looking down into his coffee like the two of them are conspiring something. 
“What are you talki—”
Without warning, Jungkook slams half of his body into you, and without a lid or one of those little green sticks, the coffee sploshes over the side of his cup and drenches the front of your exposed hoodie, hot liquid burning through the fabric of the hoodie and the t-shirt you have on underneath. You watch in horror as Jungkook plays it off like an accident, feet fumbling around on the hardwood floor like he had just tripped. But he didn’t just trip. He dumped half of his Americano onto the both of your fronts. 
“Jungkook!” You say instantly, resisting the urge to scream because you’re in a public place but feeling your skin go as hot as the coffee against your torso as you look up at him, fuming. 
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry, I’m such a klutz,” Jungkook says, somehow able to regain his balance, hold his coffee cup, and film the whole adventure all at the same time. “That was totally my fault, let me help you with that.” 
The camera is from his perspective, which you suppose is about as real as it gets for something grounded in reality like a mockumentary, but in this position he’s able to make conversation with his eyes, big brown ones wide as he tries to signify what exactly he means when he purposely spills coffee all over the two of you. 
You get it. You’ve seen enough rom-coms to know why he just did what he did, but you still find your mouth agape as you stare up at him, smoldering and angry and a little shocked he would dare be so bold, especially in the middle of a Starbucks coffee shop. 
“For God’s sake,” you say with an exhausted sigh despite it not even being ten in the morning yet. Unable to form any other comprehensible words, you settle for just pulling out napkins from the dispenser and dabbing the front of your hoodie as Jungkook looks at you apologetically. You can’t even tell if he’s truly sorry or just putting on another one of his shows. 
“I feel so bad,” Jungkook says, and you calm yourself down enough to nod. At least he isn’t blatantly laughing. “Can I pay for dry cleaning?”
“You’re really gonna offer to pay for my dry cleaning?” You ask, an eyebrow raised. 
“It was my fault,” Jungkook admits. Now that you can agree on. 
You shake your head. “It’s okay. It’s just an old hoodie, it’s no big deal.”
“I’m still sorry,” Jungkook insists, and the more he says it the more you actually find yourself starting to believe him. Even if he did just spill coffee all over you. “Here, let me give you my jacket—”
“That’s not necessary,” you say as he shrugs off his backpack and begins to remove the bulky denim jacket he’s wearing, fabric worn and soft from years of use. “Seriously, it’s okay, it’s just a hoodie.”
“Yeah, but now you have coffee all over your clothes and you probably have class soon, right?” He says, an apologetic smile lacing his lips. He tugs off his jacket and holds it out towards you. 
“Jungkook, I’m fine, alright? I appreciate your concern, though,” you assure him. You throw away the last of the coffee-stained napkins in your hands and reach down for your backpack, which you had taken off your shoulders somewhere in the chaos. 
Jungkook rolls his eyes, almost as if he was expecting resistance, and leans over you anyway. His arms extend outwards as he wraps his enormous denim jacket over your shoulders, the fabric draping loosely over your body. The damn thing was big on him, so on you it practically eats you up. You stand there, silent, as Jungkook adjusts the jacket on your torso, pulling underneath the hood of your sweatshirt as he makes sure it’s snug across your figure. 
“There,” Jungkook says. 
“Thanks,” you say, a half grin playing on your lips. The gesture makes you wonder if Jungkook really was planning on giving up his jacket this early in the morning for the sake of your movie. “That’s nice of you.”
“I hope it makes up for the fact that you smell like coffee now,” Jungkook says, a hand coming up to rub at the nape of his neck. 
“I appreciate it,” you say. 
“I have class, too, so I have to go,” Jungkook says, hoisting his backpack on his shoulders as he tucks his camera away. “I’m sorry again! See you around?”
Like you even have a choice. 
“Yeah, see you around,” you say as Jungkook darts off just as quickly as he arrived, rushing out the door before you have the chance to change your mind and give him his jacket back. 
When he leaves you, you find yourself at a loss for words. You stand there, lips pursed, coffee cold, as the weight of his jacket rests heavy on your shoulders. 
It smells like him. 
You should have known he would do something like this. Spill coffee all over the two of you, offer you his jacket, dash off like Cinderella at midnight. Like the opening of the world’s worst rom-com. The start of what is no doubt going to be the most unbearable final project you have ever done.
Plus, the other thing it’s ensured is a second meeting. How else is he going to get his jacket back?
And you know what the worst part is?
This is only the beginning.
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This time after FILM395 ends lecture for the day, it’s your turn to catch Jungkook lounging around after class. 
He’s lingering around the outside of the building, scrolling through his phone, a heavy leather jacket resting over a flannel that goes down to his knees and a baseball cap sitting firmly on his tuft of blonde hair. He’s obviously not paying attention to any of his surroundings whatsoever, because he doesn’t even notice you exiting out of the door he’s standing by until you say his name. 
“Jungkook,” you say, arriving in front of him. 
“Wha—oh, hi,” Jungkook says, jumping at the suddenness of it all. 
“Here,” you say, holding out his oversized denim jacket in between the two of you. “Thanks for letting me borrow it.”
“Oh, I didn’t know you were going to give it back so soon,” Jungkook says, looking a little surprised and… is he touched? 
“I was going to give it to you a couple days ago but I thought I should give it a wash first,” you admit to him. 
Instinctively, Jungkook brings the jacket up to his nose to sniff it. “Smells like lavender.”
“Yeah, it’s my detergent. Hope you don’t mind. It’s a little wrinkled—I let it air dry since I was worried it might shrink in the dryer.”
“Thanks,” Jungkook says, a genuine smile lacing itself across his features. It’s not one you see too often, and definitely not the kind of smile he usually flashes in your direction. Those are all so obnoxious, so full of himself. This one’s different. It’s appreciative. Kinder. Softer. In a lot of ways. “I was thinking, if you don’t have class now, do you wanna grab some coffee?”
You narrow your eyes. “Only if you promise not to spill it on me this time.”
Jungkook laughs, throwing his head back. “Okay, I got it. I won’t spill it on you.”
“Promise?” You prompt. 
“Promise.”
The walk to Starbucks this time is in relative silence, but neither of you seems to mind it very much. You aren’t dashing to catch up with each other and heaving snarky comments as you catch your breath. Jungkook even notices you shiver in the cool March breeze and wraps his jacket around you again anyway, although this time you make a mental note to make sure he doesn’t leave without it. Even though a lavender scent wafts off of the denim, it still smells a little bit like him. That boyish sort of aroma. You don’t think any detergent would ever be able to get rid of that. 
You and Jungkook both get americanos again because you’re predictable and creatures of habit, and Jungkook actually seems to quite like them. He pays and you don’t spend two minutes standing in front of the barista fighting over it. Jungkook seems so determined to pay the extra four dollars for your drink that you aren’t sure if it’s really worth arguing over it for the sake of pride anymore. What you and Jungkook put into making this project a success is what you’re going to get out of it. 
He picks one of the longer tables in the back of the study space, empty because it’s just after the lunchtime rush and most people have classes now, sets up the camera at one end, and you sit down at the other. 
“So,” you begin, not sure where to start because your coffee is too hot to take a sip from it. 
“So,” Jungkook echoes. 
Silence. 
You purse your lips in that awkward, I-don’t-know-what-to-say kind of way. “What do you want to do?”
Jungkook grins. “This is the part where we get to know each other.” 
“We already know each other.” You frown.
“Do we?” Jungkook poses, an eyebrow raised. “I mean, yeah, I guess we aren’t strangers, but I don’t know anything about you. Other than you’re a film major in a rom-com class who hates rom-coms.”
“I don’t hate rom-coms,” you object. “I just think it’s important to look at them from a critical lens.”
“Okay, whatever,” Jungkook says, shrugging you off. “The point is that we don’t know anything else about each other. Like, what’s your favorite color, for example?”
“Purple.” It’s an easy answer. You wore purple princess dresses when you were five, painted your bedroom lilac when you were ten, and still make sure to keep a purple highlighter in your pencil case now. “What’s yours?”
“Red,” Jungkook responds. 
“Cool,” you say, effectively ending the rest of the conversation.
Jungkook, sensing that same awkward silence, suggests something. “How about you ask me something now? We can go back and forth.”
You shrug. It’s not like you have anything better to do. “Alright.” You think for a moment, but then you have the perfect question. “Why film?”
Jungkook was clearly not expecting something so loaded, because his brows furrow, knitting themselves together as he begins to figure out a good enough answer. “Hmm,” he says, lost deep in thought. “I suppose the standard answer would be that I’ve always been interested in it, but I think I chose film because I want to be able to have the gift to tell other people’s stories. Being a filmmaker doesn’t just mean you stand behind a camera. It means you immerse yourself in the lives of other people to create something new. And… I don’t know. I guess I really like doing that.” 
You nod. 
For once, you understand him. Understand why he chose to major in film, why he chose to be in this tiny little program. Because there is so much out there, so much that you will never know, people you will never meet and things you will never see. And it’s a filmmaker’s job to make them turn into things you will see, people you will meet. Who knows the world better than the people who study it? The people who have devoted their lives to learning all its secrets?
“What about you?”
“Same as you,” you tell him. “Film is an art but it’s more than that to me. It’s a new way to look at the world. It’s several new ways to look at the world, depending on what kind of film you want to create and what kind of story you want to tell. I think it’s important to show people that all of the things they see in the media every day are not always reality. And that real people deserve to have their stories told, too. I don’t know. That’s what I think.”
Jungkook grins, a twinkle in his eyes. “Real people like us?”
“This project is different,” you insist. 
“I don’t think it is,” Jungkook says. “You said it yourself, we’re making this because it’s important to show people that the Hollywood entertainment they consume is not reality. This is. This is reality.”
You frown, kicking yourself in the shin because what was supposed to be a harmless conversation has now turned into an opportunity for Jungkook to try and convince you that you will, in fact, fall in love with him. You’ve dug your own grave and Jungkook was the one who handed you the shovel. 
“You’re not giving up, are you?” You say, shaking your head, flabbergasted. “Reality is the fact that this project is not going to make me fall in love with you. Nothing is.”
“Don’t be so sure about that,” Jungkook warns. “I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.”
“You mean like spilling burning hot coffee all over me?” You ask, an eyebrow raised, a grudge still held. 
“We had to start somewhere,” Jungkook defends. “And you seemed to understand what I was doing pretty quickly.”
“It’s not the worst thing someone’s done to me,” you concede, only slightly. “Besides, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but throwing hot coffee all over me is not really a good way to start off your plan to get me to fall in love with you.”
Jungkook smiles. “All in due time, Y/N. All in due time.”
“I can’t believe Pollack actually paired us up together,” you say with a sigh. “You know she did it on purpose.”
“Of course she did.” It’s not really a surprise to either of you. 
“I met with her right after she announced our partners,” you tell him, “she said it was because she wanted to see what kind of project we would come up with. How we would address our… differing views on love.” That’s one way of putting it. A rather nice way, if you do say so yourself.
“Speaking of which,” Jungkook says, something suddenly flashing through his mind, “what do you really think about love? You know, other than it’s unrealistic and ruins people’s lives.”
“You make me sound like Ebeneezer Scrooge.” You frown at him. 
“I’m serious,” insists Jungkook. “Why are you so pessimistic about it? Have you ever been in love? Have you had bad experiences? You couldn’t have just developed this worldview over time.”
You scowl, feeling yourself getting defensive. “Well, maybe I did. Maybe that’s just what I think. Why do you care?”
“Because people don’t just hate love for no reason,” Jungkook exclaims. “Come on, there must be something.”
Your body stiffens. Who is he to be asking you this sort of shit? Why does he care so much? It’s not like it will have any effect on the outcome of your project. Not like you explaining yourself will change the way either of you look at the world. 
“What’s it to you?” You challenge. “Why do you love love so much? Have you ever fallen in love? Do you think it’s suddenly going to solve all of your problems?”
“I love it because I think it brings people real joy,” Jungkook answers simply. “It makes people happy and it’s beautiful. I love love and I’m not ashamed to say that out loud. I believe in it. I believe in love, and in destiny, and in soulmates. I want that. I think everyone deserves it.”
 You scoff to yourself. “You believe in soulmates?”
“I think we all have our people out there.” Jungkook nods. “Don’t you?”
You roll your eyes, arms crossed over your chest. This conversation has gone nowhere, and Jungkook looks as equally dissatisfied as you do. 
“I think love can make us do stupid things,” you tell him succinctly, if a little jaded. No need to say anything else. Your explanation is right there. “We’re just different, I guess. You and I.”
Jungkook blinks at you, eyes wide and a little desperate. Your conversation has remained stagnant and there’s almost nothing left to say. 
Almost. 
“Don’t you ever want to fall in love?” He asks, like it’s a last-ditch effort to get you to believe. 
You freeze. Let the words sink in for a moment. Before you push them out the door and toss them into the garbage. Just thinking about it gives you a headache. Puts a sour taste in your mouth. 
Quickly, you push yourself out of your chair and stand up, grabbing your coffee with one hand and your backpack with the other. “I have to go, sorry. I just remembered I’m meeting up with a friend to help her with a photography shoot,” you fumble out quickly, the legs of the chair screeching as you scoot them across the hardwood floor. “Oh, here’s your jacket, too. Thanks for giving it to me again. I’ll see you in class.”
You whip around and head towards the exit, and only when you’re outside of the Starbucks and passing by the window do you dare look back. Do you dare let your gaze drift back to Jungkook, who is sitting there like he still doesn’t understand you. Still can’t. 
You and Jungkook are final project partners and maybe, if you’re pushing it, acquaintances-slash-friends. But there are just some things better kept to yourself. 
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We’re reaching the halfway point in this semester and, as you all know, I don’t do midterms. That said, I still want you to reflect on what you’ve learned, discovered, and thought about thus far in this class. What portrayal of love did you find the most realistic? The least? How have they changed the way you think about love, both from a personal and a film perspective?
Y/N Y/N on March 3rd at 6:08PM
Purely from a film perspective, I really did enjoy watching Juno. It was funny and raunchy and just the right amount of vulnerable. It certainly felt the most real. So far, no film in this class has topped it for me. 500 Days of Summer, on the other hand, was in my opinion extremely unsatisfying and left no positive impression. The ending was a bore and Tom had absolutely no spine. It was a shame, because the direction and production was actually quite good. 
I guess I’m starting to realize how real love is not pretty. It can make people just as sad as it can make them happy. Why don’t we show the sad sides of love, too? The sides where your room is covered with a pile of clothes because you can’t bring yourself to do the laundry? Where you cannot cook a meal because it reminds you of a breakup? Rom-coms are, obviously, not the most realistic. But why are there not more films that do cover what’s real? How can we love love if all we know is a lie?
Jeon Jungkook on March 3rd at 11:13PM
Of course, I thought The Big Sick did an excellent job of their portrayal of love, adult life, and the problems that plague us all in the twenty-first century. It was also just as emotional and touched on concepts of race, illness, and being in your twenties and having no idea what direction your life is going in. The Princess Bride, on the other hand, as much as I love it, I do think created a more circumstantial kind of love. Westley and Buttercup mostly fall in love because of their situations. But it remains a classic nonetheless. 
I’m satisfied with the way the film industry has produced rom-coms and handles love. The beauty of it is that love is different for every person who goes through it. It can bring the greatest joy and the most painful sorrow. We do not just figure out what love is by what we see on film. We see it in our real lives, in our parents, in our friends, in couples in coffee shops and cars and on sidewalks. We can love love because we want that joy for ourselves. Because we know that true love will be worth any heartbreak we endure. Is it not impossible for the portrayals of love in these rom-coms to not be real? The way everyone experiences it is different. The only way you can know what real love is, and what it is not, is if you fall in love yourself. 
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Early on in your project development, you and Jungkook exchanged class schedules to optimize your productivity and skip over that stupid, terrible part of partner projects where you’re just going back and forth trying to pick a time that works for the both of you until you eventually settle on something ridiculous like eleven o’clock at night outside of the McDonald’s two blocks off of campus. 
It’s been working very well. Neither of you have adventurous-enough friends to invite you out on spontaneous picnics and restaurant dates that fuck with your pre-scheduled meeting times, and Jungkook already seems to have mastered the art of screaming your name when he catches you on the sidewalk so that you can film something. 
In fact, you’re actually beginning to wonder why you haven’t done this with all of your long-term partner projects. Send each other your schedules so that you can settle on a time in advance. No muss, no fuss. 
You and Jungkook are supposed to meet up again tonight, after the two of you are finished with all of your classes, to discuss what scenes you should be filming next. Edited down, you’ve already got about ten minutes worth of footage, but it’s mid-March and the project is due at the end of April. So you need to get this show on the road. 
The door slams shut behind you as you exit the business building, your film industry class having just ended a minute ago. You’ve got an hour to kill before your next class, just enough time to dash to the food court in the center of campus and grab something from the Japanese place in the back corner. You might even have time to browse the shelves in the bookstore if you’re fast enough. 
You round the corner to the main pathway through campus when a voice stops you in your tracks. 
“You’re just too good to be true…”
“Can’t take my eyes off of you…”
It’s not Jungkook. Instead, in the middle of the walkway are the Eighth Notes, one of the fifteen-thousand (you don’t know for sure, but if you had to estimate) acapella groups on campus. They’ve got mic stands and a table set up and everything. Maybe they’re promoting an upcoming show…? 
You almost breeze right by when one of them, the one in the middle of the group, points right at you, a lopsided grin lacing his features. You aren’t one to normally stop in the middle of a crowded footpath, but when, one after another, all six of the boys start pointing at you, you have no choice. 
“You’d be like Heaven to touch…”
“I wanna hold you so much…” 
“At long last, love has arrived…”
“And I thank God I’m alive…”
“You’re just too good to be true…”
“Can’t take my eyes off of you…”
Their voices are smooth like honey, warm and deep, romancing you through their mics as each one of them suddenly manifests a rose from behind them. Around you, people are starting to stare, gawking at you as they walk by. There’s even a small crowd starting to gather, and you swear you can see some people filming on their phones. The fact that this is happening in the busiest ten minutes of the day, as half the student body is walking from one class to another, isn’t helping. At all. 
The rest of them singing in the background, each one steps out from behind the set of microphones to hand you the rose, smiling their classic, old-timey smiles like those old jazz singers from the 1960s, until you’ve got half a dozen in your hands as they continue to sing. 
“But if you feel like I feel…”
“Please let me know that it’s real…”
“You’re just too good to be true…”
“Can’t take my eyes off of you…”
And then, suddenly, all of them are shutting their traps and turning to the left, looking down the pathway as the song begins again, but from one-hundred feet away. 
“I love you, baby, and if it’s quite alright, I need you, baby, to warm the lonely night…”
Your mouth drops. At the other end of the walkway is Jungkook, one of those wireless microphones in his hand, grinning as he saunters down the path like a prince at a ball, voice sweet and thick as the words dance off of his lips. 
“I love you, baby, trust in me when I say…”
Your eyes lock from opposite ends of the path, Jungkook stepping closer with every beat the Eighth Notes gives him. It sort of feels like your impending doom and a wedding proposal, all at once. By now a rather substantial audience has gathered, lining the walkway with their phones out, filming Jungkook as he waltzes past them, occasionally turning to capture your gobsmacked expression. 
Every step that Jungkook takes makes your heart race something fierce, cheeks warming in embarrassment, trapped in your least favorite thing in the entire world: a public serenade. You can’t really do anything except look at him in shock, feeling his steady gaze resting firmly on your figure, looking right at you. Into you. 
“Oh, pretty baby, don’t bring me down, I pray…”
Oh, pretty baby, now that I’ve found you, stay…”
Jungkook, on the other hand, is clearly relishing in this. In the spotlight. In the music. Or maybe just in the fact that you’re on the receiving end of his over-the-top advances. His grin is wide as he takes those last few steps, microphone gripped neatly in his hand, the lyrics warm and weighty as they tumble from his lips. 
“And let me love you, baby…”
One final step and he’s right in front of you, staring into your eyes, letting himself bask in the look on your face. He produces a rose himself—cherry red, like his favorite color—and holds it out in between the two of you. In the background, the Eighth Notes go quiet, leaving Jungkook on his own for the final line. 
“Let me love you…”
The words drift above your heads, disappearing into the sky as he lingers on them, on that last note, beaming down at you. He looks at you, so hopeful, so happy, so endeared, and what else can you do? What else, besides taking the rose from his hand and smiling back up at him? Who are you to deny him of that?
The crowd around you cheers when you do, applauding both Jungkook and the Eighth Notes, with whom he is apparently in cahoots, before they all decide that they ought to get on with their day and head to class. No doubt you’ll be on several dozen Instagram stories by nightfall. 
Only after everyone has dispersed do you notice Taehyung, who must have been here since the beginning, because he’s just turning off the camera dangling from his neck. Of course Jungkook got him to film. Other than your project, what else would this be for?
“Is that the best you can do, Jungkook?” You smirk up at him, only saying this because you can’t have him knowing that you actually kind of enjoyed it. 
“You’re still here, aren’t you?” Jungkook responds easily. “Thought I would do something spontaneous.”
“And now you’ve taken up ten minutes of my lunch,” you say, shaking your head to yourself. “How spontaneous, indeed.”
“How was that, Jungkook?”
Behind the two of you, the Eighth Notes are packing up, clearly more than happy to have aided Jungkook on his quest for so-called love and getting to promote their group in the process. 
“Great, thank you so much, Jimin,” Jungkook says to the one in the middle, the very first one to sing when you walked out of the door. 
“Anytime, dude. Glad we could help,” Jimin responds. He waves hi to Taehyung, too, as they store their microphones and go on their way. 
Jungkook bids them goodbye as they head down the path, smiling at all of them before he turns back to you, notices the distant, faraway look in your eyes as you twirl the rose between your fingers, press it to your nose to pick up its scent. 
“You gotta admit, I’m a pretty good singer, eh?” Jungkook says with a nudge to your shoulder. 
“You’re alright.”
Jungkook laughs to himself. “I think that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”
“Don’t get a big head,” you warn. 
“Think I’ll have to sing for you more, now, hmm? Since you liked it so much?” He suggests, eyebrows wiggling. 
You roll your eyes. “Only if you can get Jimin and the Eighth Notes to back you up, again. Then maybe I’ll allow it.”
Jungkook grins. He’s far past the point of being deterred by your deadpan comments. If anything, they only encourage him more. But you, for obvious reasons, cannot give in. At least, not yet, anyway. 
“Okay, go eat your lunch,” he says, nodding as you begin to part ways. “I’ll text you later, okay?”
You smile. “Okay. See you.”
“See you, too.”
The moment you get back to your apartment you put all seven roses in an old vase filled with water. They brighten up your bedroom instantly, soft scent freshening up the air. And when you go to bed that night, it is to Jungkook’s sweet, delicate voice, like walking on clouds, like satin and silk, that you fall asleep.
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“Good morning, Y/N,” Jungkook greets like always, smiling at you as you walk in the door for FILM395. 
“Good morning, Jungkook,” you say in response. 
Then, you take a seat right next to him. 
It’s an act that clearly catches everyone off guard, if the bewildered looks of your fellow classmates and Jungkook’s confused expression are anything to go by. Even Pollack, when she walks through the door, gets a bit of a shock, eyes widening when she sees the two of you seated next to each other. 
You suppose all the fuss is understandable. After all, you both sort of hate each other. 
Other than the sudden change in seating arrangement, however, the rest of the class goes off without much issue. Pollack lectures for an hour before you move into discussion, at which point it becomes a class participation free-for-all, with you and Jungkook almost definitely in the lead. Just because you’re now sitting next to each other doesn’t mean either of you are suddenly going to stop raising your hands to rebuke each other’s points. Some things never change. 
Sitting next to Jungkook is not as bad as you thought it would be. For one, he is, for the most part, a rather diligent student. Other than his occasional flicks to his email, an essay he’s working on, or your discussion board, he mostly sits and takes notes and doesn’t do anything else. That, you can at least give him credit for. And even though your elbows almost always nearly crash into each other’s when you’re raising your hands to respond to a point Pollack’s made, discussion isn’t so bad either. 
One of the perks of sitting directly beside each other is that whenever he says something stupid, or saccharine, or just overly unrealistic, you don’t have to just roll your eyes from the back of the classroom while you wait to be called on. You also get to kick his foot with your own, nudge your elbow into his side. And he does the same to you. You and Jungkook are like those neighbors in sitcoms that spend all their free time shouting at each other from opposite windows. Just because your seats have gotten closer doesn’t mean your viewpoints have. 
A notification pops up on your laptop.
[March 17th, 11:05AM]
Jungkook: wanna meet at the tables outside after class?
You look over at Jungkook with a frown.
You: Why are you texting me? We’re sitting right next to each other
Jungkook: because we’re in class obvs Jungkook: dont wanna be disruptive
You: Since when has that ever stopped you before?
Jungkook: haha very funny Jungkook: tables sound good?
You: Only since you asked so nicely :)
Jungkook: thoughtful as always i see
After class, you and Jungkook both hang around, waiting for each other to pack up your belongings so you can walk to the tables together. Everyone else seems to sense this weird, uncomfortable tension in the room, because they all book it out of the door much faster than either of you do. You’re almost convinced Jungkook purposely takes extra time to zip his backpack, just because. 
The tables are, as per usual, empty. But you don’t have a pile of receipts to spread out, this time. You and Jungkook take a seat at one of them as you pull out your laptops, ready to outline the rest of the project. 
“We should probably meet with Taehyung a couple more times, too,” you suggest as you begin to brainstorm. 
“Sounds good,” Jungkook agrees. “But we can’t meet at night on weekdays anymore. My dance group’s show is coming up and we have practice then.”
You stop typing and turn to him. “I didn’t know you were in a dance group.”
Jungkook shrugs, like it’s no big deal. “I don’t really talk about it that much.”
“You should.”
He looks up at you at that, eyes wide as he faces you. 
“I don’t know, it seems like something you should be passionate about,” you say. In the same way that you promote the Film Club to every freshman you know, force all your friends to mark that they’re Interested in your event pages on Facebook. Jungkook should want to tell everyone about his dance group. Doesn’t he love it? Isn’t he proud to be in it?
Jungkook doesn’t look like he knows what to say to that. So he doesn’t say anything at all. 
“We can meet on weekends too,” you say, adjusting to his new change of schedule easily. “This project isn’t as all-consuming as I thought it would be.”
“You mean I’m not as all-consuming as you thought I would be,” Jungkook corrects. 
You shake your head. “No, you are.” He laughs. “But yeah, on weekends is fine. You know my schedule. What else should we do, besides talk to Taehyung?”
It’s like a lightbulb goes off above Jungkook’s head. “Let’s go on a date.”
You narrow your eyes at him. “No.”
“What do you mean, “no”? It’s the natural progression of our relationship! It’s the next step in the rom-com! We have to,” Jungkook insists. 
“First of all, it’s a mockumentary, not a rom-com,” you say with a sigh, finding yourself having to correct him rather frequently. “Secondly, we are not in a relationship. I am not dating you and you are not dating me.”
“Okay, but at this point in rom-coms the two leads would definitely go on a date,” Jungkook says, punctuating every word for emphasis. “What’s the harm? It’s not like you’re committing yourself to a future with me.”
“Thank God,” you mutter. 
“Oh, shut up. You probably haven’t been on a date in years, anyway. Why not spend a night out?”
You frown at that. “Who cares if I have or have not been on a date?” Why does Jungkook care so much about the history of your love life? He’s always saying stuff like this, always telling you things as if you’ve never been in a relationship at all, don’t know left from right, black from white. Who is he to be making those assumptions?
“Please, Y/N,” Jungkook begs, looking desperate. “Just one evening. And then if it really goes terribly and you end up hating me again, then we don’t have to do another one.”
You sigh, shoulders slumping. Well, what else are you going to do? You don’t have any other ideas. And you’ve already spent so much time with Jungkook this semester, what’s another evening? Just something else to cross off of your list of things to film. Maybe you can get him to take a cute photo of you to post on social media. 
“Fine,” you concede. “One date. And I still hate you, by the way.”
Jungkook clearly does not believe you. “Really? You still hate me? I’m sure you do.”
“Okay, I don’t hate you. But still,” you relent again. Perhaps you’re just being oddly soft today. Too lenient for your own good. 
Jungkook grins, cheeks little round circles as his lips curve up. “I know you like me. You just can’t admit it to yourself, can you? Can’t take that blow to your dignity.”
“Don’t think so highly of yourself,” you chide. 
“Who knows?” Jungkook tacks on, just to be extra annoying. “Maybe you’re actually starting to fall in love with me.”
You scoff. “You wish.”
“Well, are you?”
Jungkook doesn’t ask the question the same way he’s asked all of the other ones. Doesn’t say it with a shit-eating grin on his face or that glint in his eyes. He’s asking because he’s curious. Curious if what he’s been doing has been working. Curious if this project is really accomplishing anything at all. 
Funnily enough, you find yourself wondering the exact same thing.
Silent, you pausing for a moment to think, chewing on the inside of your lip. Jungkook’s looking back at you, lips curled upwards as he waits for a response. Ugh, you’ll just have to give it up. What else can you say? “I guess…” you begin, hesitating. 
You aren’t sure why you’re so scared to respond. Maybe you’re just worried that things will change if you say something. If you tell him the truth. 
But it’s just Jungkook. He’s sitting in front of you patiently, waiting for your answer. What could happen?
You confess. “I guess you’re not so bad after all.”
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Even though this is not the first time you’ve ever been out on a “date” (you’re using that word tentatively), picking out what to wear isn’t any easier than the last time. 
“Is black too, you know, sexy?”
Ruby shrugs on the other end of the video call. Her phone is propped up on her desk as she works on something on her laptop, glancing over every now and then whenever you prompt her to respond. “Well, that depends. Do you wanna fuck?”
“No.”
“Then it might be too sexy,” Ruby says easily. “What are you even doing? I thought you didn’t go out on dates.”
“It’s not a date,” you insist, although you’re not exactly sure which of the two of you you’re trying to convince. 
“You’re asking me what kind of sexy dress to wear for a night out with a guy. It’s a date,” Ruby reminds you, economical as always. “Who are you even going out with, anyway? You just called and asked me to pick between two dresses I have literally never seen you wear before.”
“That’s because I don’t go out on dates, which this is not,” you tell her, even expending the energy to stare into the camera to hammer your point home. “And it’s with Jungkook.”
Ruby shuts her laptop at that. You can hear the sound of her keyboard clacking as the lid hits them. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Do I need to remind you that this is not a date and therefore, you don’t need to be acting like I just told you I’m getting married.” You frown at her. “It’s just for our movie. Jungkook wants me to dress nicely, though.”
“Wear that nice summer dress you have,” Ruby instructs instead, shooing away the two much sexier options you’re currently holding in your hands. “Just put tights on underneath if you’re cold.”
“This one?” You ask, shuffling through your closet until you produce the gingham dress, plaid a pale yellow that matches gold jewelry rather well. 
“Yes, that one. I like that one,” Ruby says with a nod. “You look good in it.”
“I don’t know, I feel like it’s not appropriate.” You hesitate. It’s a cute dress, sure, but it seems too… casual. Too everyday. Jungkook’s taking you out to dinner, and no doubt he’s got something else planned for the rest of the evening. 
“I mean, you did say you had no plans on fucking him tonight,” Ruby reminds you coarsely. 
“I have no plans on fucking him at all,” you reiterate. “This is not a date. It is for our movie.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Ruby brushes you off with a wave of her hand. “Wear whatever you want, but I like your yellow dress the most. It looks really nice on you. And if it’s not a date, then neither you nor Jungkook should care.”
“Ruby—”
“I gotta go. Enjoy your not-date!”
She hangs up. 
You end up wearing the yellow dress. Jungkook knocks on your apartment door just as you’re closing the clasp to your necklace, a gold choker your mother had gifted you for a birthday a couple of years ago. It’s nothing much. You grab a jacket on your way to answer the door, wrapping it around your figure as you twist the knob. 
On the other side is Jungkook, all decked out in black jeans and a clean-cut leather jacket, the black ensemble striking against his warm-toned skin and bleached, blonde hair. You hate to admit it, but he actually does look rather good. For Jeon Jungkook. 
“Hi—whoa,” Jungkook says, doing a little whistle when he sees you, eyes bulging out of their sockets. 
You chuckle. “‘Whoa’ yourself.”
“You, uh…” Jungkook stammers slightly, a hand coming up to rub at the nape of his neck. The movement lifts his arm up just enough for you to see the line of his waist, the seamlessness of his body. He’s always been rather fit. “You look nice.”
“Don’t sound so surprised,” you chide, stepping outside and pulling the door shut behind you. “You don’t look half bad yourself.”
“Cleaned up just for you.” He grins. 
You press a hand to your heart dramatically. “I’m touched.” You begin walking down the hallway of your small apartment building, feeling your hands brushing by your sides due to how skinny the corridor is. At least, that’s what you assume. 
“Where are we going?” You ask as Jungkook opens the door to the passenger side of his car for you. 
He winks, that same gleam in his eye. He grins something wicked. “Don’t you remember?” He asks. “It’s a secret.”
The secret turns out to be a small Italian restaurant on an off-road in the center of town, a family joint with those plaid red tablecloths and dark wooden chairs. You’d never heard of the place before tonight, but Jungkook insists that it’s delicious and says it has a four-and-a-half star rating on Yelp, which is obviously gospel when it comes to restaurants. It’s so empty that he even has room to prop up the camera a couple of tables away to get that wide-angle shot of the both of you, two souls in a tiny little restaurant, enjoying a night out on the town. You’re sure that by the time production and post-production rolls around you’ll edit out most of your dialogue, but you like the idea of keeping in snippets of the audio, overlaying the scene with a soft instrumental. 
From a director’s point of view, of course. No other reason to romanticize your night with him. 
It’s nice. Objectively, it’s definitely one of the more exciting things you’ve done in a while, even if it’s just a dinner out in town, away from campus. It’s new. Adventurous. Jungkook convinces you to try his vodka shrimp linguine and you offer up some of your truffle-flavored gnocchi, which he devours happily. One thing you do learn is that no matter how much time passes, no matter how much food is on his plate, Jungkook eats and eats and eats. He never seems to fill up. This is one of those restaurants that pile your bowls high with pasta, give you at least three servings, send you home with to-go packages that will last you for days, and he still somehow manages to eat every last bite. He even has some of your leftovers. 
Jungkook pays because he insists and says that you shouldn’t fight on camera, which you have no choice but to agree to. However, you do look him up on Venmo and send him twenty dollars to cover your half of the bill, because the idea of him paying for you doesn’t sit right with you. It was fine with the coffee, a small token of repayment after spilling it all over you, but dinner just feels like too much. Like he’s carrying most of the weight and you aren’t shouldering enough. Like he’s putting in all of the effort and you are just bandwagoning off of him. 
And partnerships aren’t supposed to be like that. Jungkook isn’t supposed to do all of the work. You aren’t supposed to do nothing. You and Jungkook may not agree on much but you both know that you are equals. That what you put in is what you get out. 
It’s a lesson you think you learned too late, but you won’t make those mistakes again. You’ll get it right this time. 
“That was nice,” Jungkook says after the dinner. You’re walking through the park just across the street now, the sun having set and the streetlamps illuminating your path. The city has strung up lights along the trees, draped them over the branches like stars, like snowflakes. It’s picturesque. 
“Yeah.” You nod. “Thanks for taking me.”
“Thanks for coming.”
“How did you discover that place?” You ask, just out of curiosity. It’s not exactly the kind of restaurant that would be front and center on Google. 
“I went out on a date in freshman year there,” Jungkook admits, lips pursed awkwardly. “Yeah.”
“Did it at least go well?” You ask, trying to be hopeful. 
“If it did, do you think I’d still be here doing this with you?” Jungkook poses, an eyebrow raised. 
You chuckle to yourself. “You don’t mean that. I’m sure you’ll find your person.”
“You actually believe in that stuff now?” Jungkook asks you, skeptical. 
“I don’t know,” you say, shrugging your shoulders. “You do. I don’t wanna ruin it for you. Your person’s out there somewhere.”
“How do you know I haven’t already found my person?”
You stop in the middle of the path, feet coming to a halt on the pavement. Jungkook looks at you and you look back at him, letting his question sink into your skin, etch itself into your thoughts. He’s asking you because he wants to know. He looks so genuine, so patient, like he’s trying to find an answer somewhere in your eyes but you can’t give him one. 
“Wouldn’t you be able to tell when you did?”
Jungkook sighs. “I don’t know if it always works like that.”
You smile, soft and small. Musing, you say, “well, when you figure it out, let me know.”
“Do you think you’ve found your person?” Jungkook asks you. 
“You know I don’t think about love like that,” you remind him. 
“Well, how do you think about it?”
You gaze up at him once more, that same soft smile playing on your lips. Who is he to be asking you these questions, you wonder to yourself. What would the point be in answering him? It’s better if you just both moved on. Especially since stuff like this has no relevance to your project. 
“I don’t really think about love at all,” you say curtly. 
“I wish you did,” admits Jungkook. 
The look in your eyes is distant. “Yeah.” You wish you did, too.
“How about we do a couple of quick shots, right here?” Jungkook suggests, pulling out the camera. “Just here, the lighting’s nice.” He jogs back a couple of feet, lining himself up with where you stand, kneeling on the pavement with the camera held up to his eye. 
“What do you want me to do?” You call to him, feeling like a fish out of water in front of the lens, thumbs twiddling. 
“Just smile,” Jungkook requests simply. “Say hi to me.”
Sounds easy enough. Under the twinkling lights of the trees, in the haze of their warm yellow glow, you wave to Jungkook, smiling happily. You aren’t exactly sure what the purpose of these shots are, but you suppose you could always use some artistic frames in your movie. Grinning, you keep your eyes trained on him, on the way you can see him smiling back at you even from behind the camera. His eyes are covered, you can’t see those, but you hope they’re smiling too. 
“Okay, my turn,” you say when a little too much time has passed, when it’s just past the point of filming for the sake of a movie and more for the sake of something else. “Get over here.”
“Me?”
“Yes, you idiot.” You scurry over to Jungkook, taking the camera from his hands and pushing in in the general direction of where you were just standing. Situating yourself, you kneel right where Jungkook was, bringing the camera to your eyes. 
Through the lens, you can see the entire width of the pathway, the grass that borders it, the lights decorating the branches of the trees, and Jungkook, front and center. He looks like he has no idea what he’s doing there, waiting awkwardly as he gazes around, eyes drifting everywhere but exactly where you need them: you. He looks good like this, looks much taller, much more romantic. Like a real movie star. Like a model. His clothes make him blend in with the darkness of the night but his eyes are still shimmering, golden flecks twinkling, even from all the way over here. 
You have to admit it. He’s beautiful.
“Smile,” you say, pressing film. 
Jungkook grins your way. 
Afterwards, you give him his camera back and continue walking, turning the corner as you reach the edge of the park, ready to circle around the perimeter.
“How about we hold hands, too?”
“Excuse you?” You say, an eyebrow raised. 
“Come on, just for a second,” Jungkook pleads. “For the artistry. I’ll film us holding hands like all those Los Angeles boys do in YouTube vlogs.”
You look at him suspiciously. Is he sure it’s just for the artistry? “What a great example.”
“Please? Promise I always put hand cream on,” Jungkook asks, bottom lip turned outwards. 
It’s getting harder and harder to say no to him. 
“Fine,” you cave rather easily this time around. “Just for a minute.”
“Excellent.”
Jungkook lifts the camera up to his eye with his right hand as he holds out his left, palm facing the sky as he waits for you to rest your own in his. You narrow your eyes to the camera before your gaze drifts downwards to his open hand, almost like you’re afraid it’s going to jump out and bite at you if you get any closer. But it won’t, because it’s a hand. And it won’t, because it’s just Jungkook. 
The first thing you realize when your fingers intertwine with his is how big his hands are. They are massive. His left one dwarfs your own, wrapping around it securely, enveloping it like a king-sized comforter. The second thing you realize is how soft they are (he must not have been lying about the hand cream). The third thing you realize is the way they send sparks up and down your body, send tingles through your skin, shocks through your veins. You seize up a little bit at the feeling before your body finds it in itself to relax, letting the sensation wash over you like a wave from the ocean. 
It’s new. 
It’s strange. 
You haven’t felt that way in a long time. Felt those sparks, those jolts of energy. Like lightning has struck. 
Jungkook moves so that your hands are held out in front of you, making sure to adjust the lens just so he can get the exact right angle, but all you can focus on is the way your fingers interlock, the way your hand settles into his. 
You wonder what that means. 
The moment Jungkook lowers the camera you pull your hand away, overwhelmed and scared and shocked all at once. Like you’re afraid that if you reach out to him again, your whole body will freeze in place, shake like the wind. 
Jungkook looks at you, concern lacing his features. “You alright?” He asks, genuine and worried. 
You shake your head, willing those thoughts away. “I’m fine, I’m fine. You get the shot?”
“Yeah, I did,” Jungkook says. 
“And how do they look?” You ask because you can’t help yourself. Because you just have to know. 
Jungkook pauses, not sure how to respond. He chews on his lips like he’s running through all the possible answers, trying to figure out which one is right. You almost think he’s not going to reply at all, but then he smiles, and he says this: 
“Magical.”
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It feels weird for you to be arriving at Kim Taehyung’s door without Jungkook by your side. Doesn’t sit right in your stomach. 
Of course, Taehyung is as hospitable as always, welcoming you inside with his signature warm grin as he sets up the bar stools by the bedsheet, which you assume he will just not take down until your project’s over. Hopefully he’s getting use out of it otherwise, shooting nudes or whatever it is he said he would do. 
“Thanks for having me,” you say, resting your backpack against the foot of his couch as you set up the tripod, arranging it in just the right spot. It’s not Jungkook’s fancy camera that you’ve got with you, just your own from a couple years ago, but it’ll get the job done. You couldn’t ask Jungkook to borrow his, anyway. You’d pass away before he found out you did this. 
“We might not use this footage,” you warn in advance. “I just figured it’s safer to film everything just in case.”
“Why wouldn’t you use it?” Taehyung asks, genuinely curious. 
“Because I don’t know if this conversation will really have a point,” you say nervously, fingers fidgeting with the settings until everything’s just right. 
“I’m sure it’ll be important,” Taehyung assures you. You’re not so confident. “Ready to get started?”
“Yes, everything’s all set up,” you say, concentrating on your breathing as you make your way to the stool. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Why are you so worried?
“So, Y/N, how are you feeling right now?” Taehyung begins. 
You sigh. “Confused.”
“And why is that?”
“I… I don’t really know what direction I’m going in anymore for this project,” you say, letting yourself be candid and honest because it’s just Taehyung, and because you may not even use this footage, and because Jungkook’s not here. He doesn’t know you’ve asked Taehyung to do this for you. He doesn’t need to. 
“And is this because of Jungkook?”
“Yes.” Another easy answer. 
“How are you feeling about him?”
“I’m…” you don’t know where to begin. “I’m not sure. I just know that something’s changed.”
“Your feelings have changed?” Taehyung isn’t reacting, just asking questions in response to your answers and pretending that everything is normal, that this is just another interview. 
“I guess they have,” you admit. Even just saying that feels like a weight off your chest. A small one, five pounds out of a thousand. But it’s a difference. “I… don’t really know how I feel about him anymore.”
“In a good or bad way?”
Taehyung told you he would ask tough questions, but you don’t know if you can answer these anymore. 
“I don’t know,” you say, feeling yourself growing desperate with impatience. “I don’t feel the same things about him that I used to. He’s different to me now.”
“Do you think he’s changed?”
“Something has.”
“Have you considered the possibility that maybe you’ve changed, too?”
You frown, caught off-guard by his question. No, you haven’t. You haven’t thought about that at all. Why would you? Your stance is the same. Your opinions on love haven’t changed. And neither have your convictions about this project, about the way it will end. 
“No,” you say, nose scrunched up. 
“Well, I’m no expert, but I think there might be something between the two of you that wasn’t there before,” Taehyung says, nodding. “I think that the ways the two of you have changed have brought you together.”
“I don’t know about that…” You trail off. You can feel yourself growing hesitant again, pulling back from saying too much because you’ve never been a very good speaker. Because you’ve always preferred being behind the camera to being in front of it. 
“Don’t you think you should tell him how you feel?”
You scoff. At least that’s got an easy answer. A no-brainer. “No,” you say matter-of-factly, obvious because it is, stern because telling him was never an option anyway. Why else does Taehyung think you’re here without him? “Jungkook said he would get me to fall in love with him and I told him I would never. How could I ever let him think he was actually winning?”
Taehyung sighs.
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You haven’t seen Jungkook since your class on Wednesday. Granted, it’s only Saturday, but it feels like it’s been a weirdly long time. Like you’re so used to him barging into your life on the daily that there’s something off about even going three days without seeing him. Maybe it’s just because you’re nearing the beginning of April and your project is finally picking up steam. Between the two of you, you almost definitely have more than two hour’s worth of footage, but the hard part will be paring it down and turning it into a forty-five minute documentary. No doubt you and Jungkook will be spending a lot of time together the week before it’s due. 
Just out of curiosity, you text him. Because you have no idea what he’s been getting up to. 
[March 28th, 1:05PM]
You: Hey, do you think we need to get together sometime this weekend?
Jungkook: i don’t think i can Jungkook: it’s my dance group’s show this weekend
You: Really? You: You didn’t tell me
Jungkook: been too busy
You: What time is your show tonight?
Jungkook: 7pm
You: Sounds good, I’ll be there
Jungkook: oh Jungkook: you don’t have to
You: I want to You: I’ll see you there!
That night, you drop by the grocery store beforehand to pick up a bouquet of flowers. You haven’t been a performing arts show for years now, especially not one where you actually know the people performing, but flowers are customary. Or so you’ve heard. 
You don’t know a single soul who has plans on seeing Jungkook’s dance group either, but the theater is a ten-minute walk away from campus and you’re happy to make the trek alone, especially because you know you’ll find someone you know soon enough. Sometimes it’s nice to walk by yourself, letting the streetlamps above your head illuminate your path, a faceless figure passing by others. It brings peace. And it gives you time to sift through your thoughts, organize them into neat little piles and brush away all of the dust. 
Admittedly, you are not much of a connoisseur of the performing arts. You aren’t even much of a consumer. In another universe, under different circumstances, you wouldn’t blink twice if you heard that one of the dance groups on campus was having their show. But this is not another universe, and these are not different circumstances. 
Jungkook will be there. He is taking something he’s worked tirelessly on and presenting it to the world. Now that you think about it, it’s actually a lot like film. And if Jungkook has devoted so much time, put so much energy into this performance, what kind of person would you be if you didn’t go and watch his creation?
You pick a seat in the far back corner, the venue so cozy that even despite being the furthest away you’ve still got an excellent view, sit down, and wait for it to begin. 
[March 28th, 6:58PM]
Jungkook: hey are you here?
You: I guess you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?
Jungkook: always such a tease
You roll your eyes at that, turning your phone off and stowing it away in your pocket. Two minutes later, the lights dim. 
The moment Jungkook steps out onto the stage, you recognize him instantly. He’s wearing all black again, but it’s not the same skinny jeans and leather jacket he had on when he took you out to dinner. It’s a loose long-sleeved shirt and sweatpants that hang low on his hips, highlighting the blondeness of his hair, the red in his lips. He’s one of at least a dozen people on stage but he’s the only one you focus on, the only one who your eyes follow. Booming throughout the theater is a Drake song, the beat thick and low, but it’s background noise when compared to the way he moves, the way he twists and turns his body on stage, angles sharp and crisp. 
The whole song goes by so quickly that by the time you find it in yourself to blink the stage is already darkening as they move onto the next song, switching out the performers and changing the spotlight colors to a sultry red. Jungkook disappears for this one, vanishing behind the curtains and forcing you to pay attention to the performance as a whole instead of just him. But you have to hand it to his group: they’re excellent. You’ve been missing out. 
Jungkook returns with the next song, having had just enough time to change into an all-white ensemble. He’s easy to spot even with that ridiculous bucket hat on, blonde hair bouncing with every step he takes, every jerk of his body. You can see it all the way from where you sit, see the way he loses himself in the music, lets the rhythm radiate through his blood, lets his heart match the beat that booms through the speakers. This, all of it, the music, the dancing, the energy—it’s all his. It belongs to him. Jungkook may love film but he is passionate about this. It is something that must bring him all the joy in the world. 
The next hour and a half goes by quickly, the songs jumping from one to another to another, Jungkook dashing on and off stage, each time returning in a different getup than the one prior. Makes you wonder just how many clothes he has. But before you know it the final song is playing and every one, every single member is on stage, jumping and cheering and celebrating a job well done. And they should, because they deserve to. 
When the lights in the theater come on, nobody leaves. Instead, everyone rushes towards the stage to say hello to everybody, congratulate them on their performance and take pictures with their friends. That’s why everyone else is here, isn’t it? Because the people they care about performed tonight. 
Isn’t that why you’re here, too?
Jungkook has plenty of other friends already wrapping their arms around him, giving him high-fives and pats on the back, but you’ve got a bouquet of assorted flowers in your hands and you have no plans on bringing them home. So you squeeze your way through the crowd, push yourself in between bodies, and you shout, 
“Jungkook!”
Jungkook looks up instantly at the call of his name, the round shape of his lips curving upwards into a smile when he sees you. 
“Hey, you made it!” He exclaims happily. He’s so pumped on the adrenaline that he pulls you into a hug without either of you even realizing it, wrapping his arms around your torso and squeezing you tight for a few moments before the two of you remember just exactly who you both are. Quickly, you pull away, chuckling awkwardly. Jungkook scratches at the back of his head. “Thanks for, uh—thanks for coming.”
“Of course,” you say happily. “You were amazing.”
“What can I say, I’m a man of many talents,” Jungkook schmoozes, annoying as always. 
You scoff slightly. “Don’t get ahead of yourself. Here, I brought this for you. It’s traditional, right?” You hold out the bouquet in front of you, pink plastic wrapping crunched up from where your fingers gripped the stems. 
“Wow, thank you,” Jungkook says, in awe as he takes the flowers from you, pressing his face into the petals instinctively. “No one’s ever gotten me flowers before.”
“Really?” You say, genuinely surprised at his admission. He’s never been given flowers before? Not even for a performance? You didn’t know that, either. “Then I’m glad to be the first.”
“You know you didn’t have to do that,” Jungkook says, though he looks grateful nonetheless. 
You shrug, acting casual. “Aren’t we supposed to be falling in love, or something?”
He grins. 
“Did you guys film this? Maybe we could incorporate it into the movie,” you suggest, thinking it might be interesting to add in glimpses into your normal lives, into the things you do when you aren’t trying to one-up each other. 
Jungkook shakes his head. “We did, but I don’t think we need to add it in.”
“Why not?” It seems like a perfect addition. 
Jungkook pulls out a single flower from the bouquet, a pale yellow daisy, and hands it to you. You smile your thanks, twirling the stem in between your fingers. 
“I don’t know,” he says, looking oddly soft, cheeks turning cherry red. He looks at you and it makes your heart flutter, quickens the drum of your chest. “I just think I’d like to keep this moment to ourselves.”
You suppose he’s got a point. You don’t think you’ll forget this night, either. 
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The bouquet you gave him sits on Jeon Jungkook’s bedroom windowsill, bathing in the afternoon sun. Taehyung gave him some plant food the morning after you came to his performance, a little bottle that he can spritz into the water whenever the flowers look a little droopy. Jungkook adds some every day, determined to keep them alive for as long as possible. He also makes sure he’s got a rather heavy book or two, something he can use to press one of them when they’ve all shriveled up. 
It was really nice of you to come to his show, he thinks to himself. Jungkook can’t remember the last time someone outside of his group of close friends went to see him perform, not any of his past dates or even that one girl he was seeing semi-seriously for a couple months last year until she told him she wasn’t interested in him anymore. You’re the first one who’s made the effort, who’s told him that you would come and kept that promise. The flowers are just a happy reminder. 
As a celebration for completing their last show, Jungkook and some of the other juniors in his dance crew decide to go out the following weekend, determined to waste away their Saturday nights at a bar just off of campus where they can take as many shots of as many different types of alcohols as they want. The place even has soju, which makes Jungkook’s heart happy. 
Despite the temptation to drink until his brain is empty, however, Jungkook holds off. He’s got a lot of work tomorrow, most of it consisting of editing the footage you have for the project, and doesn’t really feel like staring at a computer for eight hours straight with a headache. So he limits himself. For the most part. 
“Who was that girl that came to the show?” One of his friends, Andrew, asks as he downs another shot of what is undoubtedly vodka, if the smell is anything to go by. “With the flowers?”
“Is she your girlfriend?” Jesse pipes up, red in the face from the alcohol in his system. He’s always been one to turn into a tomato after drinking. 
Jungkook chuckles awkwardly, shaking his head when the bartender offers him another shot glass full of soju. “No,” he says, forcing a laugh. “Just a friend.”
“I don’t know, you guys looked pretty close to me,” Andrew points out, like it wasn’t already obvious enough that Jungkook is head over heels for you. 
“She and I are working on a film project together,” Jungkook explains, though that does absolutely nothing to convince his friends of your completely platonic relationship. 
“Sounds fun,” Jesse says, swallowing another shot and wincing. “It was nice of her to bring you flowers. My girlfriend didn’t do that.”
“Shut up, your girlfriend is studying abroad in Paris right now,” Andrew says, giving Jesse a good-natured shove. “I’m gonna tell her you said that.”
“What, please don’t—”
“She’s not my girlfriend, guys,” Jungkook repeats himself, feeling his cheeks heat up the longer the conversation drags on. He chalks it up to the soju in his system and the fact that it feels like a sauna in here. “Seriously, we’re just friends. People can be friends and bring each other flowers.”
Jesse pumps his fist in the air. “Yeah!” He rounds on Andrew. “Where are my flowers, hey Andrew?”
The two of them start bickering as Jungkook laughs, shaking his head fondly. At least he’s not drunk, so he can remember nights like these, ones where he’s drinking with his stupid idiot friends, celebrating a show well done. 
Jungkook stays at the bar until eleven that night before he makes the executive decision to go home and sleep, because as much as he would like to party until three in the morning, he’s got a pile of work that’s telling him to be a real adult. So he bids his friends goodbye and begins to make the trek back to his apartment, passing by the row of frat houses on his way. 
Even though he’s out on the sidewalk, Jungkook can feel the ground rumble from the music, every frat on the block joining together to make some booming, bass monster. From here he can see the flashing blue and purple lights in the windows, see the brothers standing on the steps of each house and turning away whoever they deem unfit to enter. 
In a weird way, it makes Jungkook nostalgic. Reminiscent of when he was a freshman, when he would group up with all of the people in his hall and parade around the frat row on Saturday nights like they owned the place, getting drunk on shitty tequila and jumping until they sweat out their body fluids. He remembers those nights in flashes, bits and pieces that make up his memory of freshman year as a whole. Remembers kissing other girls, other girls kissing him. Remembers the way he would lock lips with them for a second and then forget about it by the next day. 
Jungkook wonders why he ever thought he would meet his soulmate at a frat party. 
He’s just passing the last frat house now, nodding to the guy on the step when they accidentally meet eyes, when he hears you call his name. 
“Jungkook!”
He whips around to see you on the other side of the road, waving at him excitedly while your friends all laugh, sending smiles Jungkook’s way. 
Jungkook isn’t exactly sure what the protocol is for a scenario like this, so he does what he thinks is right and waves back. 
“Come over here!” You shout at him, loosely gesturing for him to join your group. Jungkook is hesitant, not sure if that’s necessarily the best course of action because even from here he can tell that you’re drunk, leaning over to one side and giggling at nothing. But even if he isn’t sure what will happen he can’t help but fall into the way you’re beaming at him, waving excitedly because you saw him on the street and you wanted to say hello.
He’s never been able to resist you. 
“Hey, what are you doing out here?” He says as he jogs over, greeting the rest of your friends with a patient smile. 
“Went out with my friends,” you say. Jungkook can smell the alcohol on your lips. “And then I saw you, which made me happy!”
You stumble over nothing, shoes skipping as they drag along the pavement, and before any of your friends can react Jungkook is reaching his arms out, catching you before you fall flat on your face. Your hands press against his torso as he lifts you back to your feet, and all Jungkook can do is pray that you can’t hear the way his heart races, beat drumming in his ears. You giggle in his hold, disoriented but not at all uneasy, looking up at him as your eyes sparkle in the glow of the streetlamps. 
“Thanks,” you manage to cough out. 
“Sure,” Jungkook says, breathless. He stands you up and tries to let you go, but you keep your hands tight around his wrists. “I think we need to get you home.”
“Can you come with me?” You ask innocently, eyes wide. 
“Y/N…” One of your friends says, voice hesitant. She places a hand on your shoulder, looking concerned. Jungkook doesn’t take any offense to it, he doesn’t know your friends well and imagines that they would much prefer being the ones to drop you back at your place. 
You shrug her off. “No, it’s okay, Ruby,” you assure your friend, hand inching down Jungkook’s wrist until it rests firmly within his palm. “I’ll go with him.”
Ruby eyes Jungkook suspiciously and her gaze is so intense that it actually makes him doubt his ability to walk you home for a moment. But you seem intent on walking with him, and the sooner you go home the better, so Ruby relents and lifts her hand from your shoulder. “Alright, if you want to.” She keeps her eyes trained on Jungkook. “Text me when you’re back.”
“I will, I will,” you say, brushing her off and waving her away. “Let’s go, Jungkook. I’m sleepy.”
“Okay, come on,” he says. You smile happily at your friends as you say goodbye, cheerful and drunk and tired, all at once, and you begin to walk towards your apartment. 
“I’m glad you’re here,” you tell him, positively filter-less. 
“I’m glad I’m here, too,” Jungkook assures you. “What did you have to drink tonight?”
“Not sure,” you admit happily. “Just a lot.”
“I can tell.” Jungkook nods. “Were you at a frat party?”
“Several,” you correct him. “They weren’t that fun but at least the drinks were free.”
“Why were you at a frat party if you don’t like them?” Jungkook asks you, nose scrunched up. You certainly aren’t the kind of person to hide your distaste for things. That is something that Jungkook is intimately familiar with. 
You shrug. “It’s the cheapest place to get drunk.”
“Why did you want to get drunk?” This is seeming more and more out-of-character for you. Going to a place you despise, taking shots until you can’t walk straight, meandering around campus with Jungkook. All of these are things Jungkook could never in a million years picture you doing out of free will. 
Well, all of them except maybe the last one. You did come to his dance show, after all. 
You sigh. It’s thick and heavy and Jungkook has a feeling you won’t want to divulge any more. “I just wanted to forget.”
But the curiosity is eating at him. 
“Forget what?”
Your grip on his hand tightens. Jungkook fully expects you to dodge the question like you’ve dodged all of the ones prior, say something else to change the topic so you can sweep this discussion under the rug like all of the other ones you’ve had. But you don’t. 
Instead, you say, “You wanna know why I don’t love love the way you do?”
“You don’t have to tell me,” Jungkook quickly assures you. 
“I had better options than this place,” you say, voice hollow and empty. “There were better universities that accepted me. Ones with higher-ranked film programs and bigger scholarships. I could have gone to any one of them and been just as happy. Maybe more.”
“But you didn’t,” Jungkook clarifies. 
“My ex-boyfriend goes to school ten minutes away from here,” you say, words that are most certainly news to Jungkook. You had a boyfriend? “He and I dated all throughout high school. I thought I was gonna marry him.”
The words sound so sad. It sounds like they don’t even belong to you. Like you’re recalling the memories of a different person, someone you’ve killed and buried, someone you were certain you would never have to face again. Yourself. Your past self. 
“And then he broke up with me at the beginning of last year and it was too late to transfer out.” Your words are slurred and garbled, like all you want is to get over with saying them in the first place. It’s not a dramatic revelation. It’s not something you’re crying about, sobbing into Jungkook’s chest as you remember, miserable, a time where you were once happy. You just sound lifeless. 
Jungkook blinks at you expectantly, waiting for you to continue. It doesn’t feel right for him to speak up. Not when you’ve just revealed to him something so personal, so drunk that you probably won’t even remember saying anything when you wake up tomorrow morning. 
What is he supposed to do with this knowledge? What is he supposed to say? To do? It’s not like Jungkook can change your past. It’s not even as if he can change the near future. Your project is almost finished—the semester is almost over. And then you will return to the time where you never even knew each other. 
“You can say something,” you tell him.
“What do you want me to say?” Jungkook says. 
“Something to make me feel better, because now I’m sad,” you request simply. “Seeing you made me happy.”
“Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut and smile, then,” he muses to himself. 
“No, please keep talking,” you plead, leaning into his body with your bottom lip puffed out, eyes big and round and desperate. “Listening to you gets me to stop thinking about this stuff.”
Hearing that, Jungkook says the first thing that comes to mind. And that is, “You don’t have to think about that stuff anymore at all.”
“Hmm?” You murmur into his chest. Jungkook sees your apartment building up ahead. Just another block or so. 
“Well, that was your old love story,” he begins tentatively. Jungkook’s almost fully sober by now but he feels like he won’t ever get another opportunity to say this, and maybe whatever soju is left in his system is enough to get him through this conversation. Enough for him to muster up the confidence to tell you what he’s been wanting to tell you for a while now. 
Even if you forget it by tomorrow. He knows this is his only chance. 
“And it didn’t have a happy ending, but that’s okay. Because ours will.” 
You’re just coming up to your apartment complex, the rusted gold doors of the entrance sticking out against the beige of the building and the sidewalk, shimmering in the light of the streetlamps. You pause right outside, taking cover underneath the red awning above your heads. Looking up at him, you blink expectantly. 
“How do I know you mean that?” You ask. 
He almost does it. 
Jungkook doesn’t really know what washes over him in that moment, what takes his heart and mind prisoner for a split second, grip tight and unforgiving. But he’s staring straight into your watery eyes, glossy and glimmery and glowing, lost in the way you press your lips together, the way you gaze up at him and wait for him to tell you what he’s always wanted to say, and he almost does it. His hands press at your sides, holding you close, like he’s afraid that if he lets you go you’ll vanish without another trace and this night will all have been for naught. 
But he doesn’t. 
He doesn’t for a lot of reasons. You’re drunk. When you wake up tomorrow, you will not remember this conversation. But Jungkook will. And if he does it, if he kisses you, if he presses his lips to yours it will be burned into his thoughts, carved into his heart, and you will be none the wiser. Jungkook can’t do that to himself. And he can’t do that to you, either. He will never take advantage of your company. He never has.
“Because,” Jungkook says instead, having hesitated for far too long. “I promise you.”
It’s good enough for him. 
He tucks you into bed at 12:17AM that night, feet padding along your hardwood floor so he doesn’t wake up your neighbors, guiding you to your bedroom and reminding you to text Ruby that you made it home safely. Jungkook’s never gotten a very good look at your place, and even now it’s hard to make out most things without the main ceiling lights on, but he doesn’t really want to snoop. Even though you invited him in, he still feels like he’s intruding. You’ve always been so private. There were a lot of things said tonight that Jungkook is going to have to reckon with. 
Once you’re curled up beneath your sheets, eyes drooping, Jungkooks turns off the light on your nightstand and nearly, just about nearly, presses his lips to your forehead. He manages to avoid doing that, too. 
Instead, he pulls up your duvet and heads towards the main room, making a beeline for your front door. But before he can leave the room, he hears you mumble out his name. 
“Jungkook?” You call, voice groggy. 
“Yeah?” He looks back at you from where he stands in your door frame, one hand on the knob, ready to pull it closed. 
You smile, eyes fluttering. “Thank you,” you say. 
Jungkook grins. 
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The next morning you wake up with a pounding headache and three missed calls from Ruby, which undoubtedly means that something positively terrible happened last night. Unfortunately, you have no idea what happened at all last night, good or terrible, so whatever Ruby has to say will be news to you. 
Rubbing your eyes as you wrack your brain in the hopes of figuring out how you even ended up back at your apartment (when you swear you told Ruby you would stay at hers), you press on Ruby’s contact and call her. 
“Y/N? Hello? Are you there?” Ruby answers on the first ring. 
“I’m here,” you mumble out, words jumped and barely intelligible. You wince as your eyes adjust to the harsh blue light of your phone screen, squinting as you look at the time. 
Shit, it’s 11:43AM and you’re meeting Jungkook for coffee at noon. 
“Good, I called you three times last night after you texted,” Ruby wastes no time diving into her interrogation. 
“Why?” You ask, scrambling out of bed with your phone pressed between your shoulder and your ear. Your head throbs so you quickly take some Ibuprofen, splash your face with water, and start looking for something clean you can put on. 
“Because texting me ‘home’ is not enough!” Ruby exclaims. “Jungkook walked you home last night, I wanted to make sure you were tucked in bed and feeling alright.”
You frown. You don’t remember that. Granted, you don’t remember a lot of things, but you can’t recall Jungkook walking you back. You saw him last night? You didn’t even know. Scratching your head, a part of you vaguely pictures him standing in your apartment in the dark, resting against the door frame to your bedroom in the warm yellow light of the lamp on your nightstand. Can just barely see him tucking you into bed, placing the sheets over your figure and making you text Ruby that you’re home. You thought you were just imagining it at the time, but it must have happened anyway. 
“Jungkook walked me home?”
“Yeah, you insisted,” Ruby says. “You probably don’t remember, though.”
“No,” you say dumbly. 
“Well, I appreciate you texting me that you were home but I would have preferred something more explanatory,” scolds Ruby. “I thought maybe Jungkook was gonna do something.”
“Oh my goodness, no,” you immediately interject, pulling on your shoes and stuffing your laptop into your backpack. Just the thought of Jungkook doing something like that sends your stomach for a whirl. “He would never do that. I trust him.”
“I mean, I see that now,” Ruby points out. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“I’m fine,” you promise. “Everything’s good.”
“Alright, if you say so,” Ruby says, still sounding a bit like an overprotective mother. You love her, though. You know she just wants the best for you. “Take it easy today, okay? You had a lot to drink last night.”
“I will,” you assure her. “I’m just on my way to meet up with Jungkook now. Getting coffee.”
“Make sure to eat, too,” Ruby reminds you. “And tell Jungkook that I said thanks for walking you home.”
“Anything else, Mom?”
You can practically see Ruby frowning on the other end. “Oh, shut up. I’ll see you, okay?”
She bids you goodbye just as you’re dashing out the door, your usual stride quickening so you make it to the cafe in time, not wanting to keep Jungkook waiting. You make it there in a record five minutes, pulling open the door frantically just as the clock strikes noon. 
Jungkook’s already there, of course, sitting by a little round table in the corner of the room with two americanos on the table. He waves when he sees you standing by the entrance, and the mere sight of him makes you smile, shoulders relaxing. 
“Hey,” you greet, a little out of breath as you settle into the chair across from him. 
“Hey,” Jungkook says back. “How are you feeling?”
“My head is killing me, but other than that I’m alright,” you admit, taking a sip of the drink. It’s piping hot but just the right amount of scalding, warming your insides after a night of filling them with pure poison. 
“Good.” He grins. “It’s nice to see your face.”
“Oh, yeah, speaking of which,” you say while still on the topic, “did you walk me home last night? I can’t remember.”
Jungkook nods. “Yeah, I bumped into you and your friends while I was on my way back from a bar.”
You wince. The fact that you don’t even remember that happening tells you enough. “I was super drunk, wasn’t I?”
Jungkook, nice as always, says, “I’ve seen worse.” It only makes you feel the slightest bit better. 
“Hope I didn’t say anything embarrassing,” you say, knowing you have a tendency to lose your filter almost entirely when you get wasted, letting any sort of mental reasoning fly out the door the moment you down another shot. And the thought of having told Jungkook something deeply humiliating or personal, or even him witnessing something stupid, makes you feel weirdly exposed. 
Jungkook freezes for a split second, almost like he’s buffering, like he’s about to say something but it’s just taking him an extra step to get the words out of his mouth. Then he takes a quick sip of his americano and shakes his head. “No, you didn’t. You were just very drunk. And clingy.”
“I’m so sorry you had to deal with that,” you apologize. You can’t imagine the hell you must have put Jungkook through last night. 
Jungkook laughs. “It’s okay. I’m glad we got you home safe.”
“Me, too.” You nod. You send a grateful smile his way. “Thanks for walking me, by the way. I really appreciate it. Ruby says thanks, too.”
“Anytime,” Jungkook says. It doesn’t sound like something that people say just to say it. The way that people say ‘anytime’ just so they can be friendly and amicable. He says it and he means it, says it genuinely and honestly, like it’s a real promise that he’s making. That he would be happy to walk you home again. No matter the hour. No matter how drunk you are. No matter what he’s doing. 
And that means a lot to you. 
“We should probably wrap up filming soon, huh?” You say, getting onto the topic at hand. Of course, the project is the whole reason you’re even talking to each other in the first place. “It’s due in three weeks.”
“Yeah, I was thinking of another outing? And maybe one more thing with Taehyung?” Jungkook suggests. 
You narrow your eyes suspiciously. “‘Another outing’, Jungkook? What exactly do you have in mind?”
He grins. 
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This time, Jungkook is the one with the flowers. 
When you open your front door they’re the first thing you see, an enormous bouquet of an assortment of spring flowers in a variety of colors—pinks and purples and oranges and yellows—gripped neatly in Jungkook’s hand. They stick out against his otherwise rather formal attire, a simple black dress shirt and jeans, nice shoes that compliment his figure. Black truly is the world’s most slimming color, and Jungkook is no exception. He looks good. 
“For you, m’lady,” Jungkook says dramatically as he holds out the bouquet in front of him.
“How thoughtful of you,” you muse to yourself, grinning. You take the flowers and press your whole face into them, breathing in the fresh scent. “The one I gave you wasn’t nearly this big.”
“Go big or go home,” Jungkook teases. “You look nice, by the way.”
“You always sound so surprised when you say that,” you comment snidely, shaking your head as you grab your bag from the shelf next to your door. “What are we doing tonight, Jeon? Gonna keep it a secret from me like last time?”
“That depends,” Jungkook says knowingly. “Do you like secrets?”
“You should know what I like by now,” you remark. 
“Then prepare to be wowed.” He grins, taking your hand in his as he pulls you out the door. 
The restaurant you go to this time does not require a ten minute drive to the center of town. Instead, it’s a five minute walk from campus and actually happens to be a place you’ve been to before. It’s a busy little thing on a Friday night, waiters bustling about with trays in their hands, people laughing and smiling under the dim light of the chandeliers. You’ve only been here once, long ago, for a club dinner paid for by the finance chair, and for good reason. It’s not the kind of place cheap college students looking to get the most food for the least amount of money go to. 
“Isn’t this a bit out of budget for our rom-com?” You ask as the host seats you at your table, a little booth in the middle of the restaurant, lanterns resting on the corners of the seats. 
“I thought this was a mockumentary,” Jungkook jokes. 
“Yeah, yeah,” you say, resisting the smile that fights its way across your face. Trust you to make that sort of blunder in front of him. “I mean it, though. This place is expensive.”
“It’s manageable,” Jungkook promises. “I’ve been saving up. Plus, I thought you deserved a nice night out.”
“How generous of you.”
“Oh, come on, I know you’re excited,” he narrows his eyes at you. “You don’t have to act like a stone-cold robot anymore.”
“Well…” you suppose enough is enough. Jungkook can see right through you anyway, so there’s no point in keeping up this indifferent facade of yours. “Only because you’re treating me so nicely.”
“Just please don’t order the steak,” he requests simply. 
You laugh. “No problem. Maybe we could just share a couple of appetizers?”
Jungkook likes the sound of that. 
Luckily, this is not one of those restaurants where the appetizers cost an arm and a leg and are the size of your pinky finger. You and Jungkook split three different ones, happy to scoop out portions for each of you and indulge in them together. 
Dinner dates—of which this is only sort of one—are always awkward because you spend half of the time shoving food into your mouth, but you and Jungkook don’t seem to mind the silence at all. Only, Jungkook does look sort of like he’s holding back.
“Is this enough food for you?” You ask him halfway through, distantly remembering how he absolutely devoured a whole plate of pasta last time and still having enough room in his stomach to finish yours. 
“What do you mean?” Jungkook asks over a mouthful of vegetables. 
“You ate so much at the Italian place, I just want to make sure you aren’t still hungry,” you point out. 
“Oh.” Jungkook pauses, swallowing down the bite in his mouth. “No, I’m okay. Thanks for thinking of me, though.”
“Yeah, of course,” you say. You hesitate for a moment, not sure if you should say anything else. But what the hell, right? It’s Jungkook. It’s Jungkook and he walked you home when you were drunk, he gave you flowers, he let you borrow his jacket. And you feel as though you must return the favor. “Anytime.”
He smiles. 
Despite the pure ecstasy you both experience when eating delicious food, Jungkook makes sure not to waste this time and grabs a few frames of you eating with his camera. He always seems to have that with him whenever he’s with you, hanging around his neck or stuffed into his backpack or crammed into his pants pocket. Sort of makes you wonder just how much footage the two of you have of each other. 
He insists on paying but you send him some money anyway, just because letting him shoulder the burden of a place as expensive (for college students, at least) as this just doesn’t sit right with you. Whenever he receives the Venmo notification on his phone, Jungkook frowns and says that he’ll send that money back to you, but he never does and you can tell that he really does appreciate it. 
You don’t think you have any plans on stopping that for a while. 
The only downside of going to this restaurant is that there is no gorgeous, light-strung park in the vicinity the two of you can wander around. Just your campus, which you have no doubt walked a thousand times over, and the streets surrounding it, which you have memorized like the back of your hand. 
It almost makes you think that Jungkook is just going to drop you back off at your place and the night will end there, but you know better than to expect something like that from Jungkook. Instead, as you’re walking, you point out the cafe that you and Ruby always go to, see that it’s closing in half-an-hour, and Jungkook decides then and there that it’s your next destination. 
“You’ve never been here before?” You ask when you walk inside, eyes immediately drifting to the display of pastries beside the register. 
“I’m not normally on this side of campus,” Jungkook admits. “You’re the only reason I’m ever here.”
“Then hopefully after finding this place, you’ll have two reasons,” you say cheerfully. The baristas behind the counter know you on a first-name basis, are happy to help you out even though they’ve no doubt been working long hours and are ready to close up shop and go home. 
You split a tiramisu and sit at that same corner table you and Ruby always pick, empty now that it’s so late at night. Other than the employees, you and Jungkook are the only ones in here, a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the restaurant, filled to the brim with people, the smell of cooked food wafting through the air. 
 The tiramisu isn't as fresh as it would be bright and early in the morning, but you suppose that that just means you and Jungkook will have to come back. Besides, Jungkook obviously does not seem to mind, scarfing it down ruthlessly. You’re in and out just as they close up shop, the employees bidding you goodbye like old friends, sending you on your way. There’s not really much else either of you have planned for tonight, and Jungkook isn’t coming up with any new ideas as he checks his phone. Instead, you just begin to head back to your apartment, all wrapped up in each other. You place your hand in his own and feel yourself relax when he squeezes, a silent little reminder that he’s still here, and that so are you.
Funnily enough, holding hands feels natural to you at this point. 
“Tonight was fun,” you comment, breaking the quiet.
“Yeah, glad we could do this,” Jungkook agrees. “Makes me kind of sad to know that this thing is almost over.”
“What, the project?”
Jungkook shrugs. “Yeah. And the class. And the semester. It’s kind of scary. We’ll be seniors next year.”
You chuckle. “Ugh, don’t remind me. I still have no idea what I’m going to do after we graduate.”
“You don’t have to know everything,” Jungkook reassures you. “As long as you’re happy with what you have now.”
“Are you?” You inquire, looking up to meet his eyes. 
Jungkook beams down at you. “I am.”
The walk from the cafe to your apartment is short, just under five minutes, but it feels like it takes you an hour, footsteps slow and languid, like neither of you want the night to end. You hit every red light, round every corner, drawing out the evening for as long as you can. Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do on a five-minute walk, and before you know it, you’re home.
“This is me,” you say, stopping outside the gold doors of your apartment complex. “Thanks again for tonight.”
“Anytime,” Jungkook says, a common thread in your conversations. 
“Really?” You ask, skeptical. “Our project’s almost over.”
“That doesn’t mean we have to stop doing this,” Jungkook says. 
You narrow your eyes. “What are you implying, huh, Jungkook?”
“This.”
Before you know it, he’s wrapping one hand around your waist and pulling you in close to him, your palms splayed out against his broad, toned chest, pressing his lips to yours. You gasp a little into the feeling, somewhat shocked he would dare be so bold even after all this time, but find yourself sinking into the touch. He tastes like coffee and cream, like peppermint from his chapstick, like the wine you shared tonight. You cave into the way he holds you, hands wrapped around your body, palms pressed firmly against your figure. He holds you like he’s afraid to let go, like he’s trying to remind himself that you’re real and here and that you are kissing him back, like he’ll forget once the moment ends. 
But he need not worry about that. 
When you part, you don’t even bother wiping off the stupid smile on your face, kiss-drunk and filled with glee. It’s been a long time since you felt this way. And Jungkook makes you feel things you don’t even think you can explain. 
“How bold of you,” you comment, noses touching, barely an inch away from each other. 
“I figured I’d shoot my shot,” Jungkook says. He shrugs, pretending to be casual, but you can see the way he’s grinning, beaming, down at you. 
“You scored,” you remind him.
“How observant of you,” teases Jungkook in return. You pout a little at his playful mockery, heart fond. “Think we can do it again?”
“Hmm, I would tone down the ego first,” you say, already leaning back in to press your lips against his. 
“Never.” He smiles wickedly. 
It’s a quicker kiss this time, a short peck against his cherry red mouth, but it still makes your heart beat something terribly fierce. 
“See you soon?” You ask when you finally pull away, knowing that as much as you’d like to, you can’t just stand out here kissing each other forever. 
Jungkook nods, cheeks pink and warm to the touch. He looks so sleek in his formal black outfit, crisp button-down and slacks, hair all styled, but the way he’s grinning at you makes him look so young, so sublimely happy. It’s nice. 
“Anytime.”
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“There’s my favorite couple!” Taehyung greets excitedly when he swings open the door to his apartment to reveal you and Jungkook standing on the other side. 
“What’s it to you?” You comment snidely as he lets you inside, the black sheet still taped up along his wall. It looks a little more wrinkled than when you last saw it. 
“Oh, nothing,” Taehyung singsongs. He definitely knows a lot more than he cares to tell either you or Jungkook, but whatever. The project’s almost over and he’s almost finished with university entirely. “You guys are just cute together, that’s all.”
“Like you even know the half of it.” You tell him with a roll of your eyes. 
Taehyung wiggles his eyebrows. “Ooh, do tell.” He grins that greasy, comic-book-villain grin of his as he starts moving his bar stools back to where the sheet lines his cream-colored wall. 
“Isn’t that the whole point of this?” Jungkook poses, making you laugh from where you’re seated on the couch, watching Jungkook set up his tripod in exactly the place he wants it. You smile at him as you recline against Taehyung’s poor old leather couch, so worn-down from use that the back cushions fold in when you press against them, and Jungkook peers out from behind the camera to blow you a kiss. 
You send him one back without even needing to think. 
Taehyung misses the whole scene, but no doubt he’ll be putting two and two together pretty soon. You and Jungkook agreed that for the last interview you would be questioned together, long before Jungkook actually managed to romance you off your feet, and there’s not a doubt in your mind that the two of you being interviewed side-by-side will make things much more interesting. 
Nevertheless, Jungkook sets up the camera and sends a thumbs-up your way when he’s ready, Taehyung sitting on the bar stool just outside of the frame with a couple of index cards in his hand. 
“Let’s do this,” you say, hauling yourself onto the seat. Jungkook does the same shortly after, scooching onto the one next to you as you stare at Taehyung, waiting for him to start. 
“Looking forward to this one?” Taehyung asks knowingly. 
You shrug nonchalantly. “Just a little.”
“Excellent. Shall we begin?”
You and Jungkook nod. 
“Alright. Well, this is presumably the last thing the two of you will be filming for your project. How are you feeling about it?”
“It turned out better than I thought it would,” you admit. It will come as a shock to no one that you did not have very high hopes for this project when it was first assigned. 
“Of course it did, I’m your partner,” Jungkook teases, poking you in your side. “Would you ever doubt me?”
“Always,” you say.
Taehyung chuckles. “Sounds like it’s been good so far. Did you enjoy filming it?”
You nod. “Yeah, it was actually kind of fun. Except for when Jungkook spilled coffee all over me, that was not cool.” You turn to face Jungkook directly, and all he does when you say his name is wink and point at you. 
“It was for the rom-com, I don’t know what you expected,” Jungkook said. “I gave you my jacket, too.”
“How gentlemanly.”
Taehyung chuckles, warm and low. “I’m sure Jungkook learned his lesson,” he muses. “What was your favorite thing to film?”
Not when I randomly texted you five minutes before I showed up at your door to make you ask me questions about how I feel, you think to yourself. Jungkook still doesn’t know, but you think you’ll put it into the movie just for the hell of it, so he’ll find out then. Find out that you were grappling with your feelings for him long before you ever let on.
“The serenade was a blast, a special shoutout to the Eighth Notes for doing that for me,” Jungkook says immediately. Obviously that is at the top of his list. “Plus, I just like seeing Y/N all flustered.”
“Shut up, you’re so annoying,” you chide. “I guess the serenade was kind of cute. I liked going out together, though. On our not-date.”
Jungkook objects to that instantly. “It was a date, Y/N!”
You look back at him, equally as scandalized as he. “Whose turn is it to talk?”
“Mine, actually,” Taehyung interjects. “Did you like going out together?”
You sigh a little, wondering if you’re really about to turn into a softie in front of a camera for a movie to be shown to your twenty classmates and professor. “Yeah,” you say, real and true because that’s what you agreed on, you and Jungkook. To be candid. To be honest. To say how you felt. Really. “It was really nice. I hadn’t gone out with someone like that in a long time.”
“And were you happy because of the project, or because of Jungkook?”
“Well,” you begin, not exactly sure where to start. “I guess, it’s like… you know, I didn’t even know Jungkook before this project. I mean, I knew who he was, he would always respond to my discussion board posts and object to everything I said in class. But I didn’t know him as a person. But as we worked on this project together, planning and filming and editing, I started to. And we did so many things together. And I guess I just really enjoyed the time we did spend as a pair.”
“Would you say the same, Jungkook?”
“Yes,” Jungkook says easily. “That’s what I wanted. To get to know Y/N, to spend time with her. I was glad we had this project. Otherwise, we might never have done something like this.”
“You both seem very happy.”
“I think we are. This project was actually sort of a blessing in disguise. I know him a lot better, now,” you say. “I’m glad that I do. He makes me smile, and laugh, and I always feel happy when he’s around. I don’t know. He did it, somehow.”
“Jungkook?”
“It wasn’t just me. Y/N and I did this together. We made this. This project. Us. It wasn’t just her, or just me. It’s ours.” Jungkook grins.
“Are you glad you did this project?”
Of course. It was fun, and I liked filming it, and I feel like I got something really important out of it. I know it’s just a short rom-com mockumentary, but it really feels like there was a happy ending, you know? A happily ever after.”
“You seem really certain about that.”
“Well,” Jungkook says with a little scoff, “what else would you call it?”
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“As you can see, obviously Y/N fell head over heels in love with me thanks to this wonderful project—”
“Why are you always so full of yourself—?”
“Hey, you’re ruining the voiceover! As I said, as you can see, Y/N fell head over heels in love with me, but that wasn’t just because of my dashing good looks and amazing singing skills.”
“The ends of your hair look like hay—”
“It was because we were honest with each other, and because we spent meaningful moments together, and because we kept our hearts open. And I guess that’s the truth of it all, isn’t it? Love, romance, relationships? If you close yourself off, you’ll never get to experience them. But if you take every opportunity with an open mind, then you never know what might happen. Like falling in love with your discussion board nemesis.”
“Who, me?”
“Just let me finish, come on. There’s like one paragraph left. I know this was a mockumentary, not a scripted rom-com with professional actors and screenwriters and a whole team of editors. But that was the whole point. To make it real. And to make it between two people who aren’t just characters on a screen. We’re real people, and this happened to us. And it makes us happy. And it can happen to you, too. I think we all learn something every time we watch a new movie. Whether it be about loss, or promises, or other people. This time, we learned about love. Real love. How it can be rocky and strange and come straight out of left field. But also how happy endings aren’t just for movies and fairytales. We all deserve them. And Y/N and I found our own.”
“Are you gonna say it?”
“And so… they lived happily ever after.”
You look up at the screen, expecting to see the credits roll, but instead it’s a shot of the two of you kissing outside of your apartment building, a shot of you wrapping your arms around him as you press your lips to his. It lasts for only a few seconds, but you find yourself entranced in the moment, shocked that Jungkook somehow managed to capture it on film. He didn’t even have his camera with him that night. 
Pollack turns on the lights in your classroom as your fellow classmates applaud, all of them looking genuinely pleased that your rom-com had such a wonderful ending. Pollack herself looks rather proud, nodding to herself as she smiles at the two of you. 
“You filmed us kissing?” You hiss to Jungkook as your classmates clap, hoping the sound of it will drown out your conversation. 
“I got Taehyung to,” Jungkook whispers back. “Why?”
“I just… I thought that night was just for us.”
“The rest of it is. But I thought the kiss would be a cute way to end it. You know, happy ending and everything.”
Alright, if Jungkook insists. You nod, tensing up slightly. You hadn’t even noticed Taehyung down the street, standing behind some utility pole with the camera raised to his eye. Had Jungkook texted him in secret? Asked him to meet you outside of your apartment? Was he planning on kissing you from the very beginning?
You shake your head, willing away the thoughts as Pollack commends the two of you for a job well done. Jungkook and you stand at the front of the room for a few more seconds, getting stared down by your fellow classmates while Pollack speaks. The period ends just as she finishes up, the minutes changing the moment she closes her mouth. Within a minute or so, the whole class has emptied out, some of them congratulating you and Jungkook on the way out. 
“I’ll meet you outside, okay?” Jungkook says, eyes bright and filled with that same wonder he’s always got. 
“Yeah,” you say distantly, nodding to him as he disappears out the door. 
“You did an excellent job, Y/N,” Pollack praises, and it goes right to your head, if you’re being honest. “It was brilliant.”
“Thanks,” you say, suddenly rather shy. “That means a lot.”
“Don’t tell anyone else this,” she says, voice quiet, “but I was secretly hoping the two of you would fall in love.”
“Pollack!”
She laughs. “What? I thought you’d make a cute couple. And you do, so clearly it all worked out anyway.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s against the code of conduct,” you say, even though you know you can’t be too mad at her. After all, you wouldn’t have Jungkook if it weren’t for her. 
“Y/N, I’m tenured. I don’t care.”
“Wait…” you pause, eyes narrowing, “how many of your students have you set up with each other?”
Pollack grins. “I never reveal my secrets.”
Your mouth drops open. 
She chuckles, shooing you out the door. “Go on, go be with your boyfriend. You can tell him you both get A pluses for your project. It was excellent. One of the best I’ve seen in a very long time.”
“Thanks, Pollack,” you say, smiling gratefully. “You’re the best.”
She points at you proudly as you head out the door. “So are you.”
Jungkook is waiting by the tables where you always sit, half a flight down from your classroom. He’s leaning against the edge of them as he scrolls mindlessly through his phone, so engrossed in the Instagram explore page that he doesn’t see you walk up. 
“Guess what,” you say, getting all up in his face, just because you can. 
“What,” Jungkook says, an eyebrow raised. 
“We got an A plus on our project!” You exclaim happily, cheering. Jungkook laughs at your exuberant reaction, watches as you jump around, clapping loudly. 
“Hell yeah, we did that!” Jungkook holds his hand up for a high five, one you gladly take. Your palms smack together and the sound reverberates around the hallway. 
“You know, you and I—” you begin, placing your palms on his cheeks as you pull yourself in for a kiss, “we make a pretty good team.”
“Only because you’re so good at editing,” Jungkook says. You’re both not too bad, if you do say so yourself, but since Jungkook did so much of the filming you thought it would be better if you carried more of the weight when it came to post-production. 
“Says you,” you tease, pressing your lips to his button nose. “The happy ending thing was a nice touch, I liked it. Makes me feel like I’m in a fairy tale.”
“I’m glad,” Jungkook says with a chuckle, admiring the way you beam at him. “You know, I was really worried that you might think we didn’t have a happy ending after all, especially after everything.”
“What do you mean?” You look at him curiously. 
“Well, I just really wanted to make sure that we had a happy ending, because you’ve been through so much.”
You pause in place, eyebrows furrowing as you look up at him. Been through so much? Does Jungkook know something you don’t? Wait, no, did you… did you tell him—?
“You knew?” You ask, the realization piercing you like an arrow. “All this time, and you never said anything?”
Jungkook’s eyes widen. 
“How long have you known?”
He winces. “Since I walked you home when you were drunk. You told me.”
You did?
Shit.
“And you didn’t think that maybe you should have told me that you knew? Especially when I asked you if I had said anything embarrassing?” You cry out, indignant. “What, were you just planning on never telling me?”
“I was going to, but I wasn’t sure if you wanted to know that you had admitted all those things to me,” Jungkook admits, growing desperate. “They were really personal things, I thought you might react badly.”
“Oh, so you just decided to keep it a secret instead? Look how well that worked out.”
“What was I supposed to do, Y/N? I know you would have been upset.”
“Tell me!” You exclaim. “I asked you if I had said something embarrassing that night and you said I hadn’t. And I believed you. Better to have known then than now!”
“I’m sorry,” Jungkook says.
“I can’t believe you wouldn’t just tell me. Didn’t we say we would be honest with each other? But instead, you just let me assume that all of the nice things you did for me were because you actually cared, and not because you felt bad for me?”
“I don’t feel bad for you!” Jungkook shouts. “I mean, I do, but that’s not why I took you out on dates and gave you flowers and held your hand. I do care about you.”
“Oh, so filming us kissing was just because you actually cared, too, right?”
“I don’t know why you’re so hung up about that,” Jungkook points out. 
“Because I thought it was a private moment,” you remind him. “You hadn’t filmed anything the whole night. I thought we were just going out on a date like two people who cared about each other did. Us kissing was personal. But you texted Taehyung and told him to show up with his camera anyway, right? Because you were planning on kissing me from the very beginning. Because you knew, Jungkook. You knew and you had absolutely no intention of telling me.”
“Y/N, wait, I didn’t do those things just because I pitied you,” Jungkook says, reaching out for your hand. 
You pull away. “You didn’t? Then why did you film us kissing, then?”
“Because…” he flounders. You aren’t at all surprised. “Because—”
“Enough, Jungkook. I get it,” you stop him, shaking your head. “Everything we’ve done since that first date we had, when we went to the Italian place, everything since then—it was all played up. Because you felt bad for me. I had a shitty experience with love and you wanted to make me feel better. Whatever.”
“Y/N, it wasn’t like that,” Jungkook chases after you as you begin to walk down the stairs, towards the exit. “I didn’t pity you. I still don’t. I did those things because I care about you, and I wanted you to be happy.”
“Well, you got what you wanted,” you say, arms crossed over your shoulders as you push your way out the door. “I was so happy when I was with you.”
“Wait, Y/N—”
“Bye, Jungkook.”
The door slams shut behind you. 
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“How many finals do you still have left? You finished your movie, right?”
Ruby is stirring herself a cup of earl grey tea as she sits down on the couch next to you, where you’re very obviously sulking as you scroll through the Feel Good Rom-Coms category on Netflix. 
“I just have a couple essays and a presentation,” you mumble out. “You?”
“Ugh, I still have all of my final exams to take,” Ruby tells you with a thick, heavy sigh. Clearly, she doesn't feel like talking about them now. Or at all. “The life of a biology major.”
“Hey, you’re the one who wants to be a doctor, not me,” you remind her crudely. “You better know your shit, or I’m never taking my kids to your practice.”
“Rude,” Ruby says. “There goes my family and friends discount offer.”
You laugh to yourself, a small smile inching its way across your lips. Ruby’s always known how to brighten your day, even when you feel like absolute shit. 
“What are we watching, hmm? I’m cool with anything.”
“I don’t know.” You shrug, flicking through all of the rom-com options and feeling very unhappy with all of them. “I feel like you’ve seen all of these.”
“Yeah,” Ruby says. “Whenever I’m not studying, I’m watching Netflix or The Bachelor.”
You nod. Maybe you’ll just settle on some old NCIS reruns and call it a night. 
“Oh!” Ruby exclaims suddenly, a lightbulb going off above her head. “How about we watch your movie? The rom-com you did with Jungkook! I haven’t seen it yet.”
“I don’t know…” You begin, the mere thought putting a bad taste in your mouth. For obvious reasons. 
“Come on, please? I really want to see it, you were so excited about it,” Ruby begs, getting all antsy as she climbs all over you, literally pulling your arm to get you to cave in. “It’s short, too, isn’t it? Like forty-five minutes long? We can watch whatever you want afterwards. Please.”
You huff out a breath. If it were up to you, you would move that film onto a flash drive and toss it into a dumpster on fire. But it’s not just up to you. Ruby has been asking you about it since the day you told her you were filming it, and now all she wants to do is see the final result. And it’s only forty-five minutes long. What’s that when compared to the rest of your life?
“Fine,” you relent, not wanting to fight about it any longer. “Let me get my computer.”
Ruby cheers. 
You bring your laptop over to your coffee table, turning off the ceiling lights as Ruby tucks herself underneath a blanket, hands warmed by her steaming cup of tea. You pull up the movie file and, taking a deep breath, press play. 
It opens with your first interview with Taehyung, a muted, royalty-free lo-fi hip-hop song playing in the background. You had edited it so that it would jump back and forth between your answer and Jungkook’s, highlighting the contrast between the two of you. It was mostly for comedic purposes, just because seeing you deadpan about how love doesn’t exist and then quickly switching to Jungkook wax poetic about it is amusing, but watching it now just makes you want to curl into yourself. 
You should have known that this would have never worked out. Should have kept that same jaded attitude. You let your guard down for one second and look at what’s happened to you.
The next scene that Jungkook shows is, of course, the moment he spills burning hot coffee all over you in the middle of the Starbucks, comedically panning up to your positively-flabbergasted face just to add to the shock factor. Next to you, Ruby laughs at the mishap, obviously amused by the fact that the two of you are now drenched in coffee and scrambling to clean up the mess. You try to focus your energy on how peeved you were at Jungkook after he did that, but get distracted the moment he films himself wrapping his denim jacket around you, placing it over your shoulders and making sure it’s just right. 
He didn’t have to do that, and the two of you both knew it. But still, he sent you off your class all bundled up in a jacket that smelled like him, smelled of that boyish aroma that you couldn’t get rid of, even when you put it in the wash with your lavender detergent. All of Jungkook’s clothes smelt like that no matter how much cologne he put on, always smelt woody and thick. It would consume you, that scent, a cloud surrounding your figure whenever you were near him. 
The movie keeps playing, and you keep thinking about how much of a fool you must look like in it now, all giggles and smiles as Jungkook sings Frankie Valli to you while he hands you a rose, that same sly little smile dotting his features. Hearing the song again makes you feel like you’re choking, like something’s smothering you, and you’re not sure what it is until you realize that it’s the sound of Jungkook’s voice. 
You haven’t heard him sing since he serenaded you. 
Then it’s your first date, the one Ruby told you to wear the yellow dress to (“Hey, I told you you looked amazing in it! Wow!” Ruby exclaims when she sees you). You remember when you edited this, putting the clips together of you eating at the restaurant, wandering around the park, posing underneath the trees, holding hands. You were smiling so hard your cheeks hurt while you were editing, grinning from ear to ear at all of the things the two of you did together. They were so picturesque, those scenes, so perfectly shot, so romantici—t did a fine job of convincing you that it was all real. 
You even put in the little clip of you and Taehyung talking. A mistake, now that you look back on it, of course. It was so vulnerable, so real, so candid and honest like you said you would be, and now it’s all blown up in your face. You must have looked like such an idiot to Jungkook when he saw this scene for the first time in class. You remember the wide-eyed look on his face when it popped up. Like he couldn’t even believe you had done this in the first place. 
Scoffing, you shake your head. You either. 
The rest of it you can hardly bear to watch. Just a wrap-up of your relationship, a compilation of all of the small moments you shared when you didn’t realize that Jungkook was filming, when you dared whip out your camera to shoot for a second or two. Little clips that jump from scene to scene, shots of you laughing and eating and skipping along campus as you held hands. It’s hard to reconcile the fact that it’s all over. 
You don’t even listen to the final interview, not bothering to pay attention to what you or Jungkook have to say when you were there, when you can recall every word he’s ever spoken to you at the drop of a hat. 
The truth is, you were always a goner for him. 
And look how well that played out. 
By the time the kissing scene comes up once more, you’re ready to set your whole laptop alight. 
The screen turns black as it ends, fading away into nothingness, the instrumental slowly disappearing alongside the image. You shut your laptop when it’s all over, a little too angry for your own good, but you wrestle the scowl off your face as you take a drink of water from the glass sitting on the table. 
“Wow,” Ruby says, speechless. She blinks at your closed laptop. 
“Did you like it?”
“I—I don’t even know what to say,” Ruby says, which is a first. “It was amazing, Y/N. Seriously. Gorgeous. Like, cinematographically? Stunning. The shit on Netflix isn’t even as good as that.”
Even if you did have to sit through your stupid movie one more time, the compliments make you feel a bit better. “Thanks,” you murmur. 
Ruby nods enthusiastically. “It was incredible. I’m just—I’m in awe. You and Jungkook have a gift, dude. It was seriously one of the best things I’ve watched in a really long time. And, like, not even in a cheesy, yucky rom-com kind of way. It was so… so genuine. So real. Wow.”
“I’m glad you liked it.”
“You’ll have to tell Jungkook, too,” Ruby says. “He did really well.”
“Yeah, he’s a great actor,” you say, a little too bitterly for your own good. 
“What do you mean?” Ruby raises an eyebrow your way. “I didn’t think he was acting at all. It looked pretty real to me.”
You frown. “It did?”
“I mean, yeah,” Ruby says with an honest nod. “I mean, you did tell me it was a mockumentary and not just a run-of-the-mill rom-com. So wasn’t everything supposed to be real, anyway?”
“Yes…” you trail off, unsure of the direction of this conversation.
“Well, if you ask me,” Ruby says, all matter-of-factly, “I’d say he definitely fell in love with you.”
Something rushes through you. Something warm and bright and full of energy. 
Hope. 
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Even though you have finished one of your finals early, finals week is still just as much of a slog as it always is. Three essays and two presentations deep, you aren’t finished any of them and the due dates are slowly creeping up on you, ready to pounce the moment the clock strikes twelve. 
Eh, it could be worse. You could be Ruby and have six timed, proctored final exams on biology, anatomy, and chemistry. So you suppose you can’t complain too much. 
Finals week sees you all holed up in your apartment like always, but more so this semester than any previous ones because you don’t feel like going to the library and risking seeing Jungkook there. Or anywhere, really. Since you presented on the last day of classes, you haven’t spoken since, and hopefully you can keep that streak going forever. You had made it until this semester without ever crossing paths despite being in the same major, so hopefully that luck will follow you. 
It’s almost midnight when you finally decide to call it quits for the night, having at least gotten mostly through two of your essays (just have to edit and proofread!) and worked on about half of your two presentations. Sighing, you get up from your couch and stretch, feeling your bones crack from sitting in the same place for hours on end. 
You lean over to the floor lamp by the edge of the couch, ready to flick it off and head to bed, when you hear something outside. 
“You’re just too good to be true…”
“Can’t take my eyes off of you…”
You freeze.
The voice is soft and mellow, a little muted because it’s making its way through your wooden door before it reaches your ears, but it is unrecognizable. Even without the acoustics of the Eighth Notes, you know who’s on the other side. 
“You’d be like Heaven to touch…”
“I wanna hold you so much…”
“At long last, love has arrived…”
“And I thank God I’m alive…”
Unable to resist, you wander to your front door, basking in the sound of him, in the way the notes float through the air as if on clouds, dancing along the walls as they sink into your brain. He sounds so sweet, voice warm like tea on a cold night, just singing his song on this empty, lonely night. But it’s not just his song, is it? 
It’s yours, too.
You pull open the door. 
“You’re just too good to be true,” Jungkook sings, a honeyed melody that calms the waves of your stormy heart, “can’t take my eyes off of you…”
But just because he’s here, serenading you once more, doesn’t mean he’s going to get it any easier from you. You fight to keep the smile off your face, pressing your lips together as you narrow your eyes at him. 
“I love you, baby, and if it’s quite alright, I need you, baby, to warm the lonely night…”
“I love you, baby, trust in me when I say…”
He meets your eyes with his own, and they aren’t glinting in the way they normally do, the way that they do when he knows he’s doing something to grind your gears, when he’s got a trick up his sleep. They gleam like pearls as the dim glow of your apartment lights up his figure, warm yellow mixing with the caramel in his irises.
“Oh, pretty baby, don’t bring me down, I pray…”
Oh, pretty baby, now that I’ve found you, stay…”
“And let me love you, baby…”
From behind him, Jungkook brings out a single red rose, twirling it between his fingers as he holds it out to you. 
“Let me love you…” He trails off there, voice delicate as vanishes into the chilly night air, disappearing between the two of you. 
You can’t help but take the flower from his hand. What else are you supposed to do?
“So?” Jungkook asks, hopeful. 
“Don’t think you can just show up at my apartment and woo me back by singing to me,” you chide, even though he definitely can. 
“I’m sorry,” Jungkook says simply, because there really is nothing else to say. “I should have told you.”
“I watched our rom-com again,” you tell him. “I should have believed you when you said you cared about me.”
“I always did,” Jungkook says. “I just wanted you to know that love was real, and that it was there for you.”
“I should have known,” you agree. You look up at Jungkook through lidded eyes, musing to yourself. “You know what I learned?”
Jungkook tilts his head in curiosity. “What?”
“That love isn’t a feeling. It’s a person,” you explain, sighing pleasantly. “Love comes to us through the things we share with other people. That’s what it is.” Your thumbs twiddle in front of you, the pads of your fingers rubbing at the stem of the rose.
He takes a single step forward, reaching out to take your hand in his own. “And are you pleased with who you’ve found?”
You roll your eyes. “Just shut up and kiss me already, you idiot.”
Jungkook obliges without a second thought. 
There is no one to film you this time, no project to work on. There is only you, and there is only him. And there is only a lifetime that the two of you share, a story that you have told together, piece by piece, frame by frame. Your movie didn’t end once you finished editing. Nor did it end the moment the screen went black in Pollack’s class. It wasn’t even over when you watched it a second time with Ruby. 
No, it continues on. Forever and ever, so long as you are with him. There will always be something new to capture, to burn into a disk so you’ll have it for eternity.
He pulls you in for a kiss and it’s not the end of the film. It’s the beginning of a brand new part, a new installment in the series that is your life with him. That is the relationship you have created together. His lips aren’t the fireworks as the credits roll. They are the scene where the two characters meet for the very first time and know that they were meant to be. The scene that sets all of the other ones in motion. That is who Jungkook is. That is what you are sharing, right now. 
A brand new frame. 
When you part, you press your forehead against his, soft blonde locks framing his face as they tickle your face, dancing along the skin of your cheeks.
“You called it a rom-com,” Jungkook points out randomly, just remembering now. 
“Well, isn’t it?”
“I don’t know…” Jungkook says, pretending to think about it as he rocks on the back of his feet. “Did it have a happy ending?”
You bring your lips to his once more, arms wrapped around his neck as you clasp the rose between your fingers. You make a mental note to press it later. Something else to remember him by. Something other than your movie. 
Jungkook pulls you into him once more, hands resting firmly on your waist, letting his body press against yours as you stand there in the muted light of your apartment’s living room, letting the cool spring breeze wash over you. You smile against his lips, feeling your heart race when he grins back. 
“Yes,” you declare proudly. 
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And so, they lived happily ever after. 
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↳ thanks for reading! don’t forget to let me know if you enjoyed it!
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milksnake-tea · 5 months ago
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when they realize they’re in love + courting (riddle, leona, azul, kalim)
first post here we go!! i spent last night just dreaming up these headcanons, hopefully you enjoy them too! i’ll have a second post up with the rest of the dorm leaders, and maybe i’ll do the vice dorms as well. who knows :)
also these got longer than i anticipated, sorry about that!
part two: vil, idia, malleus
note: there is no established relationship.
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…is a mess. But can you blame him? Having lived with that sad excuse of a mother for most of his life, Riddle has no idea what he’s feeling or how to deal with it.
When he first gets clammy around you, he thinks he’s allergic. Yes, he is that bad. It makes sense to his emotionally-deprived mind: Irregular heartbeat, sweating, difficulty breathing, and what he assumes to be a fever. What he doesn’t understand is why it’s specifically you. He’s never heard of someone being allergic to a specific person, and all people, why did it have to be you? He rather enjoys your presence, and he’d hate to have to avoid you.
Another thing he doesn’t understand - why does his mind go blank whenever you get too close? That isn’t a symptom that he knows anything about. Riddle’s absolutely confused and even frustrated that he can’t figure out what this- stupid- sickness- is-
The picture-perfect prefect has just about had it when he starts ranting to his trusted vice about this mystery that he just can’t seem to solve. Now, Trey’s an older brother. He’s seen this type of behavior before, but he didn’t expect to see it from Riddle of all people.
Calmly and slowly, he manages to get the point across that no, Riddle is not allergic to you, but he has a crush. By this point, he’s already in too deep. Our little prefect’s been emotionally closed off from his peers for most if not all of his childhood. So when he falls, he falls hard.
Riddle’s attempts at winning your favor are to the book. Flowers, carrying your books, holding the door open for you, pushing your chair in when you sit, everything. He’s read up on the subject (way more than he should’ve), he is more than prepared.
That is, what he’d like to say.
Unfortunately, Riddle is as experienced as a newborn puppy when it comes to romance. He thinks he’s subtle with his affections (he’s not), and his preparations go to waste when he turns into a puddle of incoherent goo in your hands.
He’s the definition of puppy love as he tries to woo you. Trey can’t count the number of times he’s caught Riddle staring after you, absolutely starstruck. Sometimes, you even catch him daydreaming, and you’d have to snap him out of it yourself - cue him being a flustered bundle of red when you do.
Unfortunately for him, Riddle doesn’t do all too well with competition. The only opponent he’s ever had to face was his mother and the other students at school, how is he supposed to do this?
Needless to say, Riddle isn’t going to be going on the defensive when it comes to his competitors. Nope, all he will do is to strengthen his offensive maneuvers, and hope that that will be enough to win your favor.
Besides, it’s alright if you reject him. At least this time, he was allowed to at least try.
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…is competitive. Leona’s a lion and a lion with pride. He’s used to not having what he wants, thanks to his home life, but when he does, he guards his belongings almost as fiercely as a dragon would. There’s no way is he losing the few things he has.
He knows that there will be competitors - nothing naturally comes to him for free. Leona is perfectly aware and willing to fight to get what he wants, that is how the Afterglow Savanna works. But unlike in that palace, Leona doesn’t hold back. This isn’t Farena with the whole kingdom on his side, no, these are opponents he gets to crush without remorse.
It’s just like playing chess. Plan his moves, block his attackers, trap the prize, and swoop in for the kill. It’s easy to forget, but at his core, Leona is a hunter - and a hunter with the strategy, the means, and most importantly, the motive.
Unlike his studies, which he doesn’t care about, Leona does care about you. It doesn’t take just anyone to chip away at his walls. He isn’t soft, unfortunately, but what he is good at is sabotaging other people. If you’re giving affection to someone that isn’t him, he isn’t going to stop you - of course, as long as you’re giving him that same affection or preferably, even more. Leona isn’t going to settle for second place anymore. No, he’s going to be your number one.
Petting Grim? He shoves the little rascal off your lap and plops his head down instead. Need someone to study with? Please, he could tutor you better than anyone here. Azul took your dorm? Great, you stay at Savanaclaw. He’ll protect you from the others, no need to worry yourself.
Ruggie points out his strange behavior and favoritism towards you, and does Leona care? Not at all. Let the others see him all over you, that’ll tell them to back off.
It’s almost scary, how serious Leona can get. To the first years, he’s just the sleeping cryptid in the botanical garden who snaps at everyone and everything. To see him walking around, talking to people, and having that determined fire in his eyes - it’s unsettling, to say the least.
But Leona isn’t done with showing up every person who breathes in your direction. No, when he isn’t fighting for your attention and attacking his competitors, his behavior around you changes - not by much, though.
Instead of being sarcastic, harsh, and plain rude, Leona’s bickering turns into playful teasing. To someone on the outside listening in, he’s insulting you to your face. But you two know that he doesn’t mean anything.
Although, he isn’t going to shower you with gifts and cuddles. Leona hasn’t been gifted a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean that he gives a lot either. His home and his family hated him, so there he had nobody to give to.
That said, Leona usually doesn’t like to listen to other’s problems. Nobody listened to him, so why should he do the same? But when it comes to you, it’s a bit different. He’s willing to be a shoulder for you to cry on - and don’t think you’re being annoying, he’s dealt with Cheka, he’ll be fine. It might not seem like it, but he’ll listen to you because he knows what it’s like to be alone.
Leona wants you to know that you’re his number one. That’s why he’ll never leave you behind and alone, like he was. 
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…is afraid. Like nearly all of the students at NRC, Azul’s past haunts him, especially when it involves letting anyone in. He knows the feeling of puppy love when it comes to him, but he isn’t pleased with it at all.
Crushes from the past have always cut off him ruthlessly, leaving him heartbroken and miserable. He hates that he’s easy to have crushes, so he’s the kind of person who cuts any crushes out of his life. Forever.
But Azul doesn’t want to do that here. Over the years, he’s hardened himself, so for you to worm your way into his heart means that you’re not just the popular girls in class that would just jeer at his confession. You’re a friend to him, a classmate, and perhaps even a rival. Cutting you out of his life would be like cutting off his arm.
Even though he doesn’t want to lose you, letting you in is something that he isn’t ready for. He knows that you wouldn’t do anything to hurt him, but that bruised, fearful child inside of him still wonders: What if they leave me too? What if they don’t like what they see? What if, what if, what if?
But Azul wouldn’t be Azul if he let you know any of his inner turmoil. On the outside, he’s completely normal, still trying to bait you into signing a contract. The only difference that you might notice is that he’s more reluctant to be touchy if you’re a physical person. He doesn’t take to jokes as easily as now, and there’s a barely noticeable crease in his brows that tells you how worried he is.
It’s his jealousy that eventually spurs him to do something about this crush. Granted, the hesitation is still there, but seeing other people try and woo you - it sparks something inside of him, to say the least. Azul is a very greedy man, and he knows all too well that if he doesn’t do anything, someone’s going to steal you away.
So what does he do? Competition’s easy to take care of, just have the twins keep them distracted while Azul makes plans with you. He’s very tricky, as we all know, so he’s an expert at asking you on “dates” with him under the disguise of meaningless work. It’s during these times that you’ll be away from the others, and he gets to spend time with you alone! It’s perfect!
During these “dates”, Azul spins the chores into a little treat for you or him. If it’s helping out at the Monstro Lounge, he might suggest cooking for you. He’s the son of a restaurant owner, he knows what he’s doing. If it’s helping him with his paperwork or requests, he’ll make small talk, try and learn more about you than he already does.
Azul’s an amazing listener. Not just because it’s a habit he’s picked up from running his shady side-business, but because he loves listening to your voice. It’s such a refreshing side to the rush and buzz of Monstro Lounge’s work hours. He could fall asleep to your voice if you allowed him to.
Will he ever confess? Well, it depends. Azul needs a field, a safety bubble of certainty until he confesses. If he can see the signs that you feel the same way, he’ll shoot. But until he does, he’s content with staying the way he is.
He’d rather stay friends than face the possibility of losing you.
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…is conflicted. On one hand, he’s absolutely smitten and is all over you. On the other, there’s the side of him that knows what it means to be in love, especially with his status. 
Kalim isn’t as naive as one would think. As the oldest son of 40+ children and the heir to the Al-Asim name, he has enemies at all angles, enemies that will do anything to knock him down. Poisonings, assassinations, he’s seen many, many things - too many for any normal high schooler. The last thing he wants to do is to drag you into all of that.
He doesn’t even need to be in a relationship with you for you to be targeted. Granted, he knows that Jamil wouldn’t let anything happen to the two of you, and NRC is a safe haven, but he still remembers the time when Jamil got poisoned on his behalf. What if this happened to you as well?
Kalim’s similar to Azul in how he would hide his darker feelings on the inside. You wouldn’t know that anything’s wrong with him. He’s still smiling as happily as he normally is, hugging you and chattering carefreely, you couldn’t ever think that he was in the slightest way sad.
In the end, he’s just scared for you. He would love to confess or perhaps even date you, but if word got out that he was in a relationship or even had a crush… the possibilities are endless. It’s because of this inner paranoia that comes with being an heir that he opts not to say anything.
Even still, he can’t stop himself from being just a tiny bit more affectionate with you than usual. Kalim doesn’t know what to do with all of this money (why does he have a gold vault in Scarabia again?), so why not spend it on you? He’s got plenty of it, so don’t worry about the costs! All you have to do is ask.
Please be careful if Kalim ever asks you to go shopping with him in the town. Just mentioning that that little gadget looks cute or interesting will make him buy it on the spot. He doesn’t have any restraint, so you’ll have to be the one who has to keep him under control.
Surprisingly, Kalim does well with competition. And by that, he doesn’t care about the others and will drag you away, intentionally or not. It’s more that he doesn’t notice the other suitors rather than he’s actively fighting against them.
Kalim doesn’t actively court you either. He doesn’t view love as a competition or a brawl, but just something that he enjoys. His love for you is pure and uncontained. He regularly hugs you (if you let him), showers you with gifts and compliments, and you’re the first person he greets in the morning after speeding out of Scarabia.
He’d love to give you even more affection and to voice out his feelings (if they weren’t obvious already), but right now, he doesn’t think it’s right. Even if you say you’re fine with the dangers that come with being his s/o, there’s always that fear in the corner of his mind.
Kalim loves you, he does. But losing you because of his status is a possibility that he just can’t ignore.
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leolo404 · 6 months ago
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🦜Astrology Observations Pt.4🦜
Collaboration with @venusfun 🌈
Huge thanks to my wonderful bestie @venusfun for sharing an amount of observations in this astro notes and helping me with the overall view of this post. Also please check her out if you don't know her yet, she creates a lot of spectacular astrology posts and you can learn a lot about asteroids from her blog❤️🧡💛💚💙💜
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Part 1. Asteroids
🌈According to research, asteroid Angel(11911) was first discovered when it was still under the sign of Sagittarius
🌈Having your asteroid DNA(55555) in an earth sign can indicate that your children may see you as someone who is grounded, hard working, practical, and very stubborn. They might look up to you because you are capable enough of giving them the best life you could give and they would understand that your hard-work is a way to support the family
🌈Asteroid Psyche(16) in Pisces/Libra craves romance that is fanstasy-like, something out of this world or something magical that just came out of a romantic story. These folks are the types of people who might be actively looking for true love
🌈Vesta in the 7th house might prefer to not get married
🌈People with Psyche(16) conjunct mercury think on the “soul” level (with heart)
🌈Prominent Ceres can indicate being a very loving and supportive mother but if Ceres have many challenging aspects then it can be obsessing
🌈Diana(78) in an aspect with MC(midheaven) can indicate work with animals
🌈Sirene(1009) in 2nd house indicates beautiful voice
Part 2. MBTI & Astrology
Sidenote: There's no correlation between MBTI and Astrology and we are using this only for personality observations
🌈Cancer/Moon dominants fit with the stereotypes of ISFJ. Both are maternal, nurturing, supportive, sympathetic, selfless, always protects their loved ones, and are sick of dealing your shit lmao. Also they tend to be the Mom/Dad of their friend group and the ones who always brings food 😋😋
🌈 I noticed most Sagittarius placements tend be ENFPs or INFPs base on MBTI. Maybe because both are idealistic, goofy, huge procrastinators, creative, and free-spirited. This can also apply to Jupiter/Pisces dominants (For Pisces it's more on INFP)
🌈While Virgo placements are more fitting with ISTJ because they are dutiful, loyal, traditional, organized, reliable, practical, and fact-minded. And with ISTJs dominant cognitive function which is Si(introverted sensing) they can use the past as a guide and lesson to be used in the present which explains them relying on the tried and true methods in dealing things
🌈In my own opinion, Scorpio/Pluto dominant just gives me INTJ vibes. Maybe because of their analytical and reserved nature
🌈Since the earth signs are known for being observant and detail-oriented, they are more of a sensing type because sensors can notice every single detail of a certain thing such as noticing that you change your hairstyle or you changed your signature perfume and they can sometimes miss the bigger picture. Also sensing types are more focused on the present(Extraverted sensing) or in the past(Introverted sensing) rather than the future which fits the earth signs who are more focused on experiencing the physical world
Part 3. Composites
🌈Uranus in the 1st can indicate that people might perceive you two as best friends
🌈Neptune in the 1st can indicate that people might see the partners as very spiritual and "usually not seen around" relationship
🌈Pluto in the 1st can indicate that people might project you two as very intense and "deep" relationship
🌈Sagittarius ascendant in the composite chart will indicate that other people see the relationship as very fun and adventurous. It has a philosophical vibe
🌈Earth Ascendant in a composite chart can indicate the relationship as stable or grounded and loyalty is established
🌈Uranus in the 3rd can show that two of you may have some odd ways of conversing with each other or have an unusual way of expressing things that only the two of you can understand
Part 4. Degrees
🌈People with 8th degree on a personal planet (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus) can find success easily, especially when it comes to business. But if a person has at least three 8th degrees, then the individual can be very materialistic and is only “money-oriented"
🌈Having a good amount of Pisces degree(12°, 24°) in your chart can indicate that you are good or capable enough in balancing your fixation between reality and fantasy but having a lot of it can indicate of you having tendencies of escaping reality and isolating yourself from everyone
🌈Even if your placements are full of feminine/introverted signs(earth/water), if you have a lot of fire/air degrees in your chart especially in personal planets or in your ascendant, you may be more sociable and outgoing. This goes vice versa as well
🌈People with a lot of 5 degrees (at least 3) are actually passionate about going to the gym. A lot of athletes have this degree
🌈Having a Virgo/Scorpio degree(6°, 8°, 18°, 20°)in your personal planet can indicate someone who tends to question anything especially out of either curiosity or suspicion, these people need to be sure that you are trustworthy(they might find ways to trick you or manipulate the conversation to see if what you are saying is true)
Part 5. Random
🌈The house where Leo is in is where you are mostly loved for:
Example:
10H Leo = admired by your ambition and your organizational skills,
11H Leo = admired by how you make friends easily and your networking skills
5H Leo = admired by your passion towards your interests or hobby,
3H Leo = admired by your communication or verbal skills,
2H Leo = admired by your voice and how you handle your finances
🌈Water/Moon/Venus dominant 🤝 Can easily connect to music and would be dancing in their own room till someone enters in
🌈Fixed Moon/Venus/Rising are the types of people who when they find a good music, they would replay it endlessly till they are good enough to stop and feel contented already from listening to it
🌈October Scorpios tend to be more outgoing, sociable, and hot-tempered than November Scorpios but this doesn't change the fact both can be mysteriously alluring and are really intense individuals
🌈Pisces with a mix of Scorpio placements tend to have this dreamlike presence and looks. It's like their physical appearance are just oozing a dreamy yet mysterious vibes
Example: Jungwoo from NCT Pisces Sun + Scorpio Moon
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🌈Since the 9th house is the house that associates with religion, it also symbolizes the church and God
🌈The last 4 astrological signs in the zodiac wheel(♐︎ ♑︎ ♒︎ ♓︎)are known as the universal signs, these signs are mainly focused on the outer perspectives of life and are less focused with the self and their relationships. Sagittarius is focused on other cultures, religion, and their own opinion towards things, Capricorn is focused on the understanding of our physical self and the underlying achievements of one's hard work, Aquarius is focused on principles and humanity, and Pisces is focused on the spiritual aspects of life and the connection with the infinite universe
🌈Neptune in 1H/5H/9H/12H/Neptune dominant gives me a feeling like they belong during the renaissance era where philosophy and arts was at its highest peak, these folks tend to be abstract, artistic, and philosophical
🌈Mars in Cancer/Taurus/Libra are mostly seen as people who are very laid-back and many underestimate them base on their energy due to Mars being in detriment/fall with these specific signs
🌈Many people agrees that Geminis are great storytellers but no one talks about Virgos being good at story-telling as well. Both are ruled by mercury and they tend to have great ideas or stories that they can share and express with
🌈Pisces/Aquarius/Sagittarius Rising are the types of people who would wander around the mall(or a public place in general) and accidentally separates from their friends or family and gets lost
Damn, this was a long ass ride 😅😅 hope you guys enjoyed this astrology observations made by me, @leolo404 and @venusfun ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜
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demonsandmischief · 18 days ago
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Chance Encounter
A Venom Imagine
Eddie Brock x Female Reader
1.1K Words
TW - attempted sexual assault w/ knife and the emotional aftermath
his tattoos are my trigger ⬇️
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***PLEASE NOTE *** THERE ARE TRIGGER WARNINGS. ALSO - this is not great, actually it sucks, but I cant just delete all of my hard work when it's already a completed imagine. So I'm using it as a start into writing for Eddie. I loved the first Venom movie - I've watched it so many times, but the second one is incredible. I am obsessed. THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS TO VENOM 2! PLEASE READ AT OWN RISK.
---
-Chance Encounter-
One moment, one symbiote, and one punch to the face.
---
"I'm hungry," Venom whined to Eddie who winced, grabbing chocolate from the shelf.
"That's why we are at the store, dipshit," Edfie huffed quietly. "You're giving me a headache."
"You're giving me a headache, Eddie," Venom copied.
He shook his head, swiping all of the chocolate options off the shelf and into the basket.
Their banter was mutual and normal, especially after the events of Carnage. Venom and Eddie had an understanding for each other, a bond that was slowly developed despite all of the chaos and change it caused.
"I do miss our apartment, and Mrs Chen," Venom said, oddly sentimental for such a hot headed symbiote.
"Me too," Eddie said, gathering his bags. "But we are the lethal protector, remember? Can't stay in one place too long."
The cool night air was refreshing on their skin as they stepped out, starting the long walk to the crappy motel they were staying at.
"Listen," Venom whispered, and Eddie perked up, hearing sounds of distress.
"Oh yeah, lethal protector to the rescue," Venom cheered.
"Remember what we talked about, Venom."
"No showing myself unless there's an actual emergency so we don't give anyone else a heart attack."
"And?" Eddie walked towards the alleyway.
The symbiote growled, "And no biting off heads which is a dumb rule."
He rolled his eyes, letting his eyes adjust to the lack of streetlight.
"Get off." He heard the muffled cry coming from you where you were struggling against a much larger male.
"Hey," Eddie yelled, startling you. You felt relief flood your body.
"Leave us alone, dude. This ain't got nothing to do with you." The man in front of you squared his shoulders, trying to look intimidating in front of the man who had an alien living inside of him.
"What a dick," Venom muttered.
"Are you okay?" Eddie asked you, peeking around the him. "Is he bothering you?"
You wiped the blood from your busted lip onto your sleeve, giving the strange man a nod. You couldn't see much of him, but you could already tell something was different about him.
"You're going to wish you had minded your business," the man growled, raising his fist and knocking Eddie in the nose.
"Ow, shit," he groaned, cupping the fiery hot pain that spread over his entire face. "What the hell? Why did you let me take that?" he whispered angrily.
"I wanted to see what you would do. You are weak," Venom said.
"Thanks a lot."
"Who are you talking to?" the man asked with furrowed brows.
You were wondering the same thing as you moved to his side. "Are you okay? Did he hit your head or something?"
"No, it's normal," Eddie said, straightening so he could look at you. You were beautiful, and the thought was odd since he hadn't looked at anybody since he and Ann broke up. "You're bleeding," he whispered, gently reaching for the injury on your lip but he stopped his hand mid-air.
You were yanked back by your shoulder and you yelped, stumbling and catching yourself before you fell.
"Don't touch me," you gasped, moving away from the slimy man's grasp. His name was Josh and he was your friend, a really good one at that. Tonight at dinner he had come onto you too strongly - and he wasn't even drunk. He just couldn't take no for an answer and hit you right in the face. You were afraid he would have done much worse if this little distraction didn't happen.
"You should listen to her," Eddie said. "You really don't want to fight me."
"Us."
"Us," he corrected with a cough.
Josh gave a chuckle, "You think I'm scared of a boy who can't even take a punch?" He pulled out a pocket knife, pointing it at him. "Get out of here. That's your last warning."
You squirmed, trying to distance yourself but Josh wasn't letting up, instead he moved the knife to your back and you stilled.
"He can't hurt her."
"For once I agree with you," Eddie said, allowing Venom's tentacles to appear and diffuse the situation. Josh was flung against the brick wall and over a dumpster.
Your knees gave way and you hit the ground harshly. You couldn't believe Josh. He was one of your closest and only friend. What had happened?
You brushed away the first tear and the panic you had been surpressing became difficult to swallow.
Also, did your incredibly handsome rescuer have tentacles and super strength?
"Are you hurt?" Eddie asked, feeling bad he couldn't catch you before you collapsed. He crouched down, giving you a glance over for injuries.
You shook your head, burying your face in your hands, emotionally exhausted and unable to accept the situation.
"Alright, come on. Let's get you up," he encouraged. You didn't seem to be frightened of him, so he took it as okay to gently grip your arms and helping you stand.
"Why do you have tentacles?" you whispered.
"It's a condition," Eddie muttered.
"A condition? You said you'd stop calling me names."
"I'm Eddie Brock by the way," he said, ignoring Venom.
You introduced yourself to him, wiping the tears that continued to fall. You didn't know what would have happened if Eddie hadn't shown up.
He shuffled awkwardly, unsure of what to say or do to comfort you. He wanted to know more information, like if you knew the guy, but didn't want to press on the sensitive subject.
"Can I walk you home or wherever you are going?"
"I'd really appreciate that. I'm staying in that Motel on 6th."
"Oh, really? Me too," he said. "It's nice."
You chuckled despite your turmoil. Nice wasn't exactly the word you would use.
"Give her your jacket you fool."
"I'm sorry. I didn't even realize," he whispered, taking in your shrunken form like you were trying to hide in plain sight.
He shrugged out of his leather jacket, holding it out to you.
"You don't have to," you said.
"I'm happy to," he said, helping pull it up over your arms and over your shoulders.
"Thank you," you said softly. There was something comforting about his presence and his jacket. "for this and for saving me."
"I'm just glad I was there," Eddie said.
"And your nose is okay?"
"It's fine, all healed." He dipped his head so it was able to catch the street light.
You nodded and he grinned.
"You want to ask about my condition?"
His smile was contagious and you felt your lips tug up. It was a welcomed change in mood.
"I am a little curious."
"Let me talk to her."
"His name is Venom."
---
Here's my Masterlist. Next one will be more fluffy. :)) Requests open.
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primofate · 2 months ago
Text
Haikyuu! Drabble: When you get hurt (minor injuries)
Note: Ugggghhhhhhh I love these men. Honestly. wtf. How can you have so many good guys in one anime. Also please don’t take this as a sign that I’ll stop posting for Genshin, but you know, give me some space to hype over my other fandoms please XD
Warnings: it’s seriously just plain fluff
Characters: Kageyama, Tsukishima, Oikawa, Bokuto, Ushijima
Kageyama
“What happened to your knee?”
Is the first thing he says, his face as serious as ever, eyes looking at your bandaged knee as he approaches you in class. You laugh nervously as you unwound the school bag away from your shoulder, placing it on your desk.
“Ah, I was walking Momo-chan last night...But you know, he’s gotten so big and I guess I was a little distracted...He saw a squirrel and just went running for it and...” you trail off, feeling Kageyama’s aura change. You knew he was about to call you reprimand you, and sure enough, he says “Idiot,” just as he would to Hinata.
On closer inspection you also had a bandage around your wrist. He guessed that you tried to hold on to the leash and it dragged your hand across the pavement. 
After berating you with that one word, he wouldn’t say anything else about it. But he would, whenever he could, show some concern that you wouldn’t usually see. “I’ll take that,” he grabs your lunch box from you and you look up at him all confused as to why he’s carrying it for you today. 
But, he stops at the door of the classroom and then turns around. “Actually, let’s just eat here,” as opposed to the school rooftop where the two of you usually ate. 
And then, at the end of the school day, before you could even lift your bag over your shoulder, he’s already there and lifting it on HIS shoulder. You’re dumbfounded. “Are you going to your club? I’ll walk you first then go to mine,” 
Then it hits you. It’s because you’re hurt, and he didn’t want you to strain your knee or wrist anymore. You secretly smile but let him do what he wants. There was no stopping him when he set his mind to it after all. “Tobio-kun, you know, it’s just a scrape, I can still do things by myself,” 
“Shut up and just let me do it...” he mutters under his breath, until he drops you off to your club and goes his own way. 
And then, as your nightly routine to walk Momo-chan, you’re stunned when you see your boyfriend standing there, outside your house gates. Hands in his pockets. “T-Tobio?” 
He lived close by, but still, you didn’t expect him to be there. He snatches the leash away from you, your dog is just happily gazing at the two of you, tail swishing wildly at the fact that TWO of his favourite people are walking him today. And again, Kageyama says,
“...I need to go for a run anyway,”
Tsukishima
“Excuse me, I’m looking for a Tsukishima-san,”
A girl in the basketball team uniform appears at the doorway of the gym, all members turn to her as she bows and straightens up. Tsukishima sighs in relief. Finally an actual excuse to rest from training. 
“That’s me,” he towers over the girl, who only blinks up at him, slightly intimidated. “Ah, uh, yeah...Y/N said that you have her spare glasses?” His eyebrows perk up. Right. You were in the basketball team, for some reason he always forgot that detail. 
He turns away without a word and goes to his bag. He did, indeed, have your spare glasses. You left it at his house last time during a study session, being the airhead that you are. He retrieves it but before handing the black box to the girl, he asks. “What happened to the ones she has?” 
He wasn’t thinking much of it. Perhaps someone accidentally stepped on it, or maybe you even accidentally broke it.
"The ball hit her face,” 
“Is she--”
The words of worry practically dies on his lips. He could feel and sense Yamaguchi and Sugawara listening in to the conversation and he’d drop dead before getting caught being worried for someone. But still, this is why he always told you that you needed sports glasses. A scratch to the eye could be dangerous.
He sighs pretty loudly, and turns to face Sugawara who was off court, standing next to Yamaguchi who was also taking a small break. “Sugawara-san, I’ll be back,” There’s a big smile on his vice captain’s face, same as Yamaguchi who knew that his friend was actually worried. 
Tsukishima ignored their stupid smiles.
“Oh! Kei,” You look up as the door to the school clinic opened, you were just sitting on one of the beds, legs moving back and forth and waiting for your teammate to retrieve the spare glasses for you. Tsukishima said that he’d handle it and as he passed the black box to you he grabs your chin and turns it in his hands, looking at your eyes. 
There was a cut under your left eye that was already patched up. He releases your face when he was sure it was actually nothing serious, only to cross his arms and smirk at you. “See, I told you that hard head of yours would come in handy. Also receive the ball with your hands, not your face,”
You puff your cheeks out in annoyance and put your spare glasses on, feeling brand new. “Sure did, but my glasses aren’t as strong as my skull,” you sulked and he only blinked. “and I was taking a break! Then suddenly I see the ball coming at me, I don’t think that’s my fault!”
“I believe you. Your team has horrid ball passing skills after all,” he’s relentless with his insults but you knew that’s just the way he was. The fact that he came all the way to the school clinic told you enough about his worry. So, you ignore his last remark and smile up at him, “Thanks for checking on me, Kei,” 
He clicks his tongue but places his hand on your head, “Let’s get you new ones tomorrow, and maybe now you’ll listen to me about those sports glasses,” 
Oikawa
“She’s absent today,”
Oikawa’s face fell. You hadn’t told him anything about being sick or being unwell today. He wondered what happened. However, despite his looks and carefree personality, the Aoba Johsai captain was someone who was actually quite detailed. “In that case, can someone pass me her homework? I’ll go and deliver it to her!”
Safe to say your classmates were always surprised at how much the captain doted on you. He wasn’t always doing it openly, but at least he was thoughtful and thorough.
“Y/N-chan~ How could you leave me all alone in school today?” You could practically hear the pout from the other side of the line. He’d gone to the school grounds to get some private time to call you. 
“Sorry Toru, I can’t really walk properly. It should be fine in a few days though,”
His heart did a little leap, worry etching itself on his features. “What do you mean? What happened?”
The pout in his voice was gone, replaced by what you always called “the captain voice”. 
“I sprained my ankle...It’s a long and stupid story...” you laughed but you heard him sigh. “Well, I have no choice then. Your prince will visit you after-school today!”
You didn’t think he really would. He had volleyball practice and he took those seriously. But at 8 pm, just as you finished dinner, your doorbell rang and next thing you knew he was in your room. 
Your mother just LOVED him. Sometimes you thought even more than you. She was unaware of how hyper Oikawa actually was. He certainly knew how to play his cards right. 
“Alright princess, let me see that foot,” While you were sitting on your chair he practically bent down on on one knee and inspected it. He did kind of look like a prince like that, with his volleyball jacket. Then he suddenly plopped on the floor with his legs crossed. “AAhhhh! That sucks you won’t come to school for a few days!” He was whining again and you couldn’t help but laugh. 
Without fail, every day that you were absent, he showed up at your house after practice.
Bokuto
It’s not that you were particularly clumsy. You were actually a pretty careful person, and that’s why Bokuto always trusted your cooking skills over his. Baking a cake shouldn’t be too hard, but you were rather unfamiliar with the oven at his place.
“Mm, so, it says here to just leave it in the oven for 45 minutes!” he has this big smile on his face and you shake the batter in the round container again. The oven had already been pre-heated and when you open the door to it, hot air greets you. 
You took the round container in your hand, and push it in. It sits just at the front of the oven and you really hate it when that happens, so, with your boyfriend still focused on the recipe (and without mittens cause you think it’ll just be quick push) you try to inch the round cake pan further in with your hand. At one point, you accidentally touch the inside of the hot oven and you recoil your hand with a loud gasp. 
“WHAT?! What what what?!” Bokuto flings the recipe book away and clutches at your hand. In all honesty it didn’t hurt that much, but you had made contact on the hot surface just enough for it to sting and startle you. “Nothing Kou, I just accidentally touched the oven,” you laugh sheepishly but he’s pulling you over to the sink.
The boy is panicking.
“Water!” You’re amazed at how he even knows what to do, running water now splashing on your hand. It wasn’t even enough to burn you, it was just a little red, that’s all. “K-Kou, it’s totally fine,” 
But he turns to you with a waterfall of tears running down his eyes and his hair has deflated from it’s usual spiky style. “I-I’m so useless!” 
‘Ah there he goes,’ you think. But you’ve been trained by Akaashi how to handle these kinds of outbursts from him. “Not at all Kou-kun, you mixed the batter so perfectly. I usually get tired when I do that, but you have really strong arms! Next time I’ll let you handle the oven too, is that okay?”
He stares at you blankly for a moment. The tears have disappeared and his lips oh-so slowly curve into a smile. He gives you a thumbs up, back to his usual flair and confidence. “Of course! Leave it to me!” and he laughs triumphantly while you thank Akaashi in your mind.
Ushijima
Cooking for him and Tendo at the dorms was like a weekly routine. It was mostly for Ushijima, but Tendo liked crashing the cooking party too.
“Be careful.” Ushijima says as he passes the vegetables for you to chop. You did so without any incident. The cooking itself passes by without any incident, until your hand slip off the plate you’re holding and it comes crashing down the floor, shattering into pieces, some of the pieces flying off in different directions.
Ushijima and Tendo perks up in alarm at the sudden sound, with Ushijima being the first to rise on his feet and assess the situation. You’re about to carefully just move away from the mess you made, shards littering around your feet. “Don’t move,” Ushijima tells you, noting that you were only wearing his over-sized slippers. He sees that one of the shards has cut your foot. It was small, but since it was fresh, it was still bleeding. 
“If you move you’ll hurt yourself, wait for me,” you do as told as Ushijima first sweeps off the rest of the shattered glass with a broom, disposes of it. Next he comes to you with a new set of slippers, puts it down on the now clean floor, and tells you to carefully slip out of the ones you have on, he was cautious about the small pieces. Only when you were neatly into the new set of slippers did he clean off the rest of the glass.
Tendo only sat and watched in amusement. His captain was very thorough, even with things like that. “I’ll go and get a first aid kit~” he offered as he stood and sauntered off. “Y/N, sit over there,” he pointed at a nearby chair and you merely follow. There was no use saying no to him, you knew he just wanted to check if everything was in order.
Sure enough just as Tendo comes back with the kit, Ushijima inspects your foot, eyes scanning all around it. It seems that there was only that one cut and it’d be easy to treat. You weren’t surprised that Ushijima knew what to do, watching him take some cotton and pour some alcohol on it, muttering under his breath that it would sting a bit. 
By the end of it, the cut on your foot was disinfected and bandaged properly. “Oohhhh! Good job Wakatoshi-kun!” Tendo praised his friend for the clean job and Ushijima nodded his head with a small “Mm,”
“Thank you,” you smile up at him, “and sorry for the plate, I wasn’t paying attention,” 
Ushijima makes a thoughtful sound, perhaps a little confused by your apology “...The plate is of no great value,” he simply says “it can be replaced.”
"I can’t say the same for you Y/N, so it’s good that you weren’t gravely hurt,” The blush on your cheeks is obvious and Ushijima doesn’t understand what has you so flustered, he’s just being his honest and straightforward self. 
Tendo only laughs at the display.
Masterlist
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