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#because it felt better than the truth
jim-lake · a year ago
Hey, I just wanted to address something really quick. I found out today that ginger-Le-gay had deactivated and in my search to find out why, I realised that she had done some not so great things and started some not so great movements in the fandom that caused a lot of people to leave and hurt a lot of people.
I’m not here to preach anything or give my opinion on that situation, it is not my place to do so. I just wanted to let you guys know where I stand;
I don’t support any of the things Ginger did, yes I took a commission from her - this was before I knew and I’m a small artist, at the time it was huge for me to get a commission like that. A boy’s gotta pay the bills 😅 I have also left her discord server.
I also did not realise the history behind the “Merlin Hate Train”. I thought it was just a fun little joke about a character that was disliked in the fandom, not something that sparked legitimate hate and toxicity towards other fandom members. I will refrain from using this phrase in future.
Yes I joke often about hating Merlin, however I do not hate him as a character. I dislike his actions and the way he behaves, but his character arc and development is good and I can understand his motivations. I also do not hate those who like him, that would be rude and wrong - everyone has their own opinion, and everyone has their favourite characters. We should all respect that!
Tales Of Arcadia is a brilliant show and deserves more love and attention, I want to highlight the amazing parts of our fandom here on my blog. So, if I ever unknowingly reblog something hurtful etc please do not be afraid to call me out on it. I will actively do my own research too, but if something slips through or I do something please tell me. I genuinely am here to enjoy one of my favourite medias and share that love with others.
I hope you are all well, Thankyou to those who took the time to read this 💕
~ Seb
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goldkirk · a year ago
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i-will-never-wait · a year ago
Fuck hunting and building things, cross-stitch is the hobby of a Real Man
#hey look trick’s trying to justify his feminine hobbies again#i might have to rant here sorry#tw dysphoria in the tags#i just feel like im faking it#you know? like logically i know that wearing skirts sometimes and liking cross-stitch/sewing/cooking doesn’t invalidate my gender because#those things have only been gendered by society but it’s still hard breaking that thought pattern and i’m still constantly thinking that im#not actually a guy because i like those things and im just faking it to get attention#like my mum said she thought i was probably just a butch lesbian with internalised homophobia so i thought i had to be a guy#i know it’s just because she’s not well-informed and not out of any malice or transphobia but it still got to me and im terrified that that’#what i am and ive been faking it this whole time#i like dysphoria even though it makes me feel really really terrible because at least it means im telling the truth? but recently ive been#happier in my presentation and i haven’t felt dysphoria in a while and it’s making me think that it was just a phase#am i still trans if all im getting is gender euphoria? am i actually just happy about looking like a lesbian rahter than being happy about#looking almost cis-passing masc?#and ive been finding a lot more male role models who wear nail polish and talking about feelings and basically breaking down toxic masculine#stereotypes and im kind of trying to emulate them to feel better about myself#(this is a fancy way of saying im a patty walters/kellin quinn/maxx danziger kinnie yes)#but like they’re naturally masculine as they were born and i have to work for it so it doesn’t seem right#idk its all very confusing and im very upset about it and i wish i had someone to talk to about it but none of my friends deal with stuff#like that and im too scared to start a conversation with anyone new on tumblr about it#ocd adhd and anxiety? how fun#sorry for ranting so much#trick n’ gender
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eldritchrisingarchive · a year ago
SCHAFFER TAGS.         ( i blame kels, claire, and webby )
SCHAFFER.ABT         ✂︎ ━━  loyalty ¸ trust ¸ and dedication ¸ this is what she gives ¸ SCHAFFER.AES         ✂︎ ━━  it sounds like white noise everywhere ¸ which is silence but not empty ¸ SCHAFFER.BODY         ✂︎ ━━  you must trace her weakest spots ¸ SCHAFFER.CLOTH         ✂︎ ━━ no matter how harsh this world can turn there will always be things that keep you warm ¸ SCHAFFER.HC         ✂︎ ━━  something always has to die for the rest to live ¸ a truth we cannot avoid ¸ only try to circumvent ¸ SCHAFFER.MUS         ✂︎ ━━  the man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he cannot distinguish the truth ¸ SCHAFFER.SHIP         ✂︎ ━━  you ¸ my soul doubling ¸ the best terror i have known ¸ SCHAFFER.SONG         ✂︎ ━━  sing ¸ for the nightingales refuse to be governed ¸ SCHAFFER.VIS       ✂︎ ━━   there are far ¸ far ¸ better things ahead than we left behind ¸ SCHAFFER.WANT         ✂︎ ━━  every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight ¸
SCHAFFER.PC         ✂︎ ━━  nothing exists except atoms and empty space ¸ everything else is opinion ¸ SCHAFFER.SC         ✂︎ ━━  time is irreversible because some things are only meant to be felt once ¸ SCHAFFER.GEN         ✂︎ ━━  you must make that choice yourself ¸ and live with it for the rest of your days ¸ as i have ¸ SCHAFFER.MCNAMARA         ✂︎ ━━  no one could ever be comparable to the way you and i understand each other in the absence of words ¸
#SCHAFFER.ABT         ✂︎ ━━  loyalty ¸ trust ¸ and dedication ¸ this is what she gives ¸#SCHAFFER.AES         ✂︎ ━━  it sounds like white noise everywhere ¸ which is silence but not empty ¸#SCHAFFER.BODY         ✂︎ ━━  you must trace her weakest spots ¸#SCHAFFER.CLOTH         ✂︎ ━━ no matter how harsh this world can turn there will always be things that keep you warm ¸#SCHAFFER.HC         ✂︎ ━━  something always has to die for the rest to live ¸ a truth we cannot avoid ¸ only try to circumvent ¸#SCHAFFER.MUS         ✂︎ ━━  the man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he cannot distinguish the truth ¸#SCHAFFER.SHIP         ✂︎ ━━  you ¸ my soul doubling ¸ the best terror i have known ¸#SCHAFFER.SONG         ✂︎ ━━  sing ¸ for the nightingales refuse to be governed ¸#SCHAFFER.VIS       ✂︎ ━━   there are far ¸ far ¸ better things ahead than we left behind ¸#SCHAFFER.WANT         ✂︎ ━━  every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight ¸#SCHAFFER.PC         ✂︎ ━━  nothing exists except atoms and empty space ¸ everything else is opinion ¸#SCHAFFER.SC         ✂︎ ━━  time is irreversible because some things are only meant to be felt once ¸#SCHAFFER.GEN         ✂︎ ━━  you must make that choice yourself ¸ and live with it for the rest of your days ¸ as i have ¸#SCHAFFER.MCNAMARA         ✂︎ ━━  no one could ever be comparable to the way you and i understand each other in the absence of words ¸
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iniziarearchive · 3 years ago
Because I’m sick and tired of this topic, this individual and her horrendously labeled ‘activism’; I feel the need to copy the following over from my other blog:
Right, I’ll start this off with total and brutal honesty from the very get-go without a single shred of doubt in heart or mind— if anyone shows any sort of support for the Tumblr user gotha/mcartel, you are out and off of my dashboard quicker than you can even blink and I will make absolutely zero exceptions. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve known whoever I’m unfollowing for, nor does it matter how close I’ve been to them; I do not condone any type of support for that blog in any which way. —I will never stop preaching that I respect other people’s opinions and their rights to stand up for them. I very much respect activism and I acknowledge the need for it as there’s a lot in this world that requires severe change. But there is a very clear line to me between activism and hatred, and this individual resorts to very extreme measures of the latter, which I oppose with all of my might. And trust me when I say that I am wholly inflexible and determined in my resolve, because I do not stand for hate to anyone. And I never will. Any person who supports another human being that sees themselves fit to act as judge, jury and executioner and has the audacity to even consider telling others to end their own lives for whichever reason, I will never condone. Sinking to that level where anyone says that to another makes them no hair better than whoever they want to see gone. And I stand behind those words enough that I cannot type them without having my hands tremble in emotion. I cannot, I will not condone any support for her. None.
#⌈♱⌋ we are told to remember an idea and not a man. for he can be forgotten. but 400 years later an idea can still change the world. [ psa. ]#⌈♱⌋ permit me then in lieu of the more commonplace sobriquet to suggest the character of this dramatis persona. [ ooc. ]#[ i've always opposed mentioning urls and blogs-- but this is a very big exception i will gladly make against my own norms and values. ]#[ but i will not look twice at you. ]#[ due to the sheer severity of the material that originates from that blog. ]#[ feel free to reblog this if it's your desire or ignore it entirely. if you unfollow me-- that's your right. ]#[ regardless of your reasoning for unfollowing. ]#[ after a year and a half if not bordering two at this point-- i'm sick and tired and seeing this name. ]#[ and i'm sick and tired of people still finding the origin of her cause noble. ]#[ i don't care how noble the very beginning of anyone's cause is if you go to extents that this one's gone to to make people's lives... ]#[ a hell. because she's never researched. she's never cared to ensure that she /doesn't make a mistake./ ]#[ and that's irredeemable to me almost. ]#[ but what's actually 100% irredeemable in my eyes? is being okay with wishing death on people. ]#[ i will not see you in any brighter of a light than the person you wish it on. no matter how heinous they are. ]#[ once you threaten anyone with death-- my respect for you plummets and will never rise again. that's the simple truth of it. ]#[ i've felt that way since i could first comprehend the words and their meaning-- and at 28. i still feel that way. ]#[ and i guarantee you-- i'll feel that way until my last day. ]#[ you do you-- but this is one thing where i draw the line. i honestly. and mark my words... ]#[ i have zero respect for you as a human being or person if you threaten anyone with death. ]#[ you're no better than the ones you're saying it to. ]
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sophiamcdougall · 6 months ago
Please don’t pirate books at least while the author is alive. I’ll make an exception for actual billionaires and wildly expensive textbooks you cannot afford yet need to complete your studies. I can’t make an exception for assholes, because we’re all considered assholes by someone.  I don’t know how many people realise how many writers who created successful, beloved stories and characters still die poor while other people get rich off the same work. I don’t think people realise that in the UK the current average yearly earnings for an author has nosedived over the last fifteen years to £10,500. That obviously is forcing people to quit writing. It increasingly means writing is a job for people who’ve inherited money or have wealthy spouses who can support them. I don’t know if people realise that in general, writers are poor and getting poorer. I’m sorry, but if you think widespread sense of entitlement to free books has nothing to do with that ... you’re just wrong. 
I say I don’t think people realise - the truth is I hope they don’t, because the alternative is that they don’t care. That’s certainly the impression I’ve got from Twitter, where a truly horrifying number of people are arguing that copyright on  all books should expire after thirty years, and you should be able to acquire books for  free after that. This ... would not just mean that everyone gets free books. It would mean if you write a book at 30, not only do you lose any royalties from it at 60, but Disney can take it, make a franchise out of it, Scrooge McDuck it up in a pool of money while you starve because writers don’t get workplace pensions.
Some threads on the unintended (?) consequences of this. I can’t go over it all again. John Brownlow NK Jemisin Michael Marshall Smith Me Marina Lostetter Kari Dru and others William Gibson and others
There are plenty of others. It’s not that this actual idea will actually happen, but I do think it reinforces the idea that it’s not only okay, but sometimes actually virtuous to search for ways to enjoy writers’ work without paying for it. Like it’s somehow a step towards a better world. Not just at the reader end, to be fair, at the employer end too. And I do see a lot of people here too who are all about supporting workers unless the workers are writers in which case fuck’em. 
Like. If you want to radically change society in such a way that mass-media conglomerates don’t exist and so can’t exploit us and we’re supported to make art in some other way than fine. But can you start the revolution with actual rich people please, not ask us to live right now, in the society we’ve got, without the money we need to survive it. Finally, a plea: I really, really, do not want to debate this. This whole thing genuinely makes me feel tense and shaky and sick. If you’ve got to disagree - unfollow me, block me, vagueblog somewhere I can’t see it. The Twitter version of this already has me feeling like I’ve been kicked in the gut. I didn’t want to write this post. I just felt I wasn’t going to have any peace until I did.
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satosuguslut · 5 months ago
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Ryomen Sukuna x F! Reader
➪ wc: 8k + || Minors DNI (NSFW)
➪ warnings/tags: monster fucking, DP, two cocks, unprotected sex, overstimulation, nipple play, slight degradation, slight praising kink, breeding kink if you squint, Y’ALL THIS ONE IS REAL DIRTY DON’T MAKE ME EXPLAIN PLS 
➪ notes: THIS IS REVENGE FOR MAKING ME A SUKUNA FUCKER!!!! that being said, please enjoy 
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Sukuna was supposed to die alongside Yuuji after consuming the last finger. Nobody could have imagined the hell that occurred on Yuuji’s last day. Instead of the God of Curses vanishing from this planet at once, a goal Yuuji lived on to complete, Sukuna was resurrected and even stronger than before. He continued to keep Yuuji’s facial features but was reverted into his true form. You couldn’t decide what was worse, losing your best friend or gaining a demon on Earth in the process.
Sukuna vanished moments after his rebirth and had been relatively peaceful, preoccupied with better things to do. Those things involving you. 
After awakening into a fresh layer of flesh and kin, the four-armed man carried you away without a word, ignoring your pleas as they fell on deaf ears.
That was four days ago now. Sukuna had located you both to a desert location, one that was dark and reeked of depravity. It resembled a vast island, a gigantic house in dead spot center, everything feeling artificial. If you were to guess, you were living inside Sukuna’s developed domain. He had an entire posy of curses to serve his every need and desire, and as a Jujutsu Sorcerer, it felt like you were in a living hell. All you could hear were the intelligible whines from the spirits. You could barely sleep with all the noise.
Sukuna crafted a cursed user who resembled a human woman to watch over you; her name was Kea, meaning “care.” She was, as her name alluded, a caring and protective curse, one who tried to make your room resemble home though you both knew that’d never be possible.
You hadn’t seen Sukuna since the day you lost your best friend. You weren’t sure if you were grateful for this or had worst yet to come. Regardless, you knew the day would come where you would have to face him again. You just didn’t think it had to be today.
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“Is it too hot?”
Your dull and tired eyes dragged up to the voice, Kea looking back at you with concern, making you wonder if she honestly produced those feelings or they were bred into her instead. You shook your head, looking down at the bathwater as she continued to sponge down your flush skin.
“It’s okay to be scared,” she whispered, filling the small bucket in her hands to rinse off your back.
“Mmm,” you weren’t in the mood to talk but felt terrible for the curse, birthed solely to protect over you. An impossible task, you thought, the world could never be safe if Sukuna was thriving in it.
“Do you know why you have to bathe me like this? There’s a shower over there. Not to be rude, it’s just uncomfortable to be treated like this.”
“Master Sukuna insisted,” she sighed, seeming as confused as you were. You didn’t blame her. She was as new to this world as you were.
“And you had to shave me because?”
“I’m afraid you have a better idea on that one than I do.”
You tensed, hoping she would have an answer instead of confirming your worst fears. Already imagining the grin on Sukuna’s face as he offered you up to his “nobel” cause, slaughtering you like a pig.
“Do you think I’m a sacrifice?”
“For what? I think he’s gotten all that he needs,” she held a light laugh, but you remained frozen, feeling suddenly freezing in the warm water.
“Don’t speak like that. If he hears you, he’ll kill you,” you rushed the words, as your heart jumped at the thought.
“I’m a curse. I can’t actually feel pain, right?” Her naive giggles made your jaw twitch.
You didn’t want to tell her the truth. Reminded of the multiple times Yuuji and you watched as curses cried out in pain.
“Right, sorry. I guess I forgot.”
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Your body was wrapped in an intricate robe, the designs seeming to have a mind of their own as they moved fluidly, the overall color a blood red. Fitting, you thought, can’t ruin a robe with a bloodstain if it’s blood-colored to begin with.
Kea held her hand on the small of your back, guiding you along the wide and neverending hall you both traveled down. Once you reached a pair of double doors, she held her fist out to knock, and in panic, you grabbed her wrist to stop her.
“Kea, if I- when I do die,” your voice is caught in your throat as tears threaten to spill, “I need you to escape to Jujutsu High and tell them I was killed. I don’t want them to search for me forever. Please, I beg of you.”
Her eyes are wide as you let go and face forward, straightening out your back and taking a deep breath, knocking on the door yourself.
“Come in.”
Your body crawled in goosebumps, but you stood your ground, letting Kea open the doors for you as you shut your lids in anticipation.
It wasn’t really a room, more so a domain within another domain. The atmosphere was hot and thick. Endless smokey red skies surrounding the one large bed in the center. The ground was layer upon layer of bones. You hoped they were just a quirk of his domain and not remains of the copious amount of innocent people he had slaughtered. You looked down, and wondered if you were walking on the lifeless corpses you would soon join.
Raising your head, your eyes zone in on the devil himself, Ryomen Sukuna. His presence was… Overwhelming, to say the least. His robe hung only on his hips, the same fabric as yours, leaving his upper body completely bare. His muscular tattooed arms were distracting you as your feet dragged you to him, so distracting you hadn’t noticed Kea left your side until the door snapped shut, making you jump.
He chuckled darkly, a horrible noise you decided, as it stemmed from a man who knew nothing but hatred and pain.
“Don’t tell me you’re scared of me, kitten.”
He grinned widely, and you weren’t sure which pair of eyes to look at, so you focused on his torso, which had a horizontal indent you couldn’t quite decipher.
You stayed silent, walking as slow as possible, ignoring the heat that flooded your body as he stared back at you like you were his prey, an apex predator who was about to play with its food.
“You know, we’re not strangers. I lived through every interaction you had with Yuuji. I remember it all too.”
Your heart skips a beat, maybe two as you still, protesting any movement.
“Oh no,” his voice is slicked in sarcasm and taunt, “Do you still miss him? You’re not happy to see me?”
You huff lightly and continue to walk, cringing as your bare feet wobble against the shaky carcasses.
“Happy to see you? Forgive me. I just don’t understand how you jumped to that conclusion.”
He took a step forward, making you regret your tone, his eyes dark and intent.
“What a shame, because I’m very excited to see you again, Y/N.”
The way he said your name made your skin crawl as you looked up to him, finally in close enough distance to gain detail on his appearance.
You hated to admit how attractive he was. It was sinful to even try to justify his existence in the first place. The black ink that swarmed his body made you feel dizzy as you tried to follow the pattern, his muscles cascading and curving the designs. He was large and undeniably strong. You knew you had no fighting chance against him. Your technique and all the cursed energy that ran through your veins wouldn’t even tickle his stiff muscles.
“Yuuji really liked you, you know. He was always thinking about you. It was beyond annoying.”
He held out one of his arms, and you hesitantly placed your hand in his, shocked at the size difference. His skin felt hot to the touch, his long black nails grazing your wrist as he walked you over to the bed.
“He was such a pussy, though, would never admit to you how much he liked you. I despised that,” he almost groaned in annoyance like this was all some sort of game to him. “Always jacking off to you, staring at your ass when you walked away, it was pathetic.”
You flinched into his touch as you sat on the edge of the bed, staring at him in a mix of surprise and disgust.
“Sukuna?” Your voice was almost inaudible, so small and light, but the pounding in your ears disabled your volume recognition.
“That’s Master Sukuna to you, kitten,” he narrowed his eyes, but the corners of his lips curled up as you continued.
“Master Sukuna. Sorry. I just- I want to get it over with. Please.”
He licked his lips in a clean and quick swipe. You sucked in a breath as you noticed his tongue was actually two, like one large one split in half.
“If you’re going to kill me, just make it quick.”
It was his turn to be surprised, as he let out a sadistic laugh and dropped your hand from his as he held it to his chest dramatically. What an asshole.
“Kill you? Do you seriously think I’m going to kill you? You are so naive, kitten.”
“Then why bring me here?” your voice is shaky as you begin to understand his intent, his smile sharing all the details you wished he would spare.
“Well, Yuuji might have been a pussy, but I'm not. I hope you were able to cope with the days I allowed you to adjust.”
“Adjust? How can I adjust? I don’t even know where we are, and I’ve barely slept at all since we’ve arrived here.”
Your voice is too harsh for his liking, but your body screamed fatigue and drain, so he let it slide.
“Did Kea not make you feel safe? Was she not good to you?”
You shook your head quickly in panic, “No, she is very kind. None of it is her fault. There’s just no way I could ever feel safe here.”
A look of pain flashed on his face, and somehow you regretted the words, wanting to apologize but knowing he didn’t deserve gratitude.
“Where do you feel most safe?” His eyes moved from your face to your neck, making your shoulder rise in embarrassment at how intense the gaze was. One of his arms pushed it back down, steadying you before it moved the top of your robe slightly off your shoulder. He kept his palm flat on the delicate area, caressing it gently.
“Home, I feel safe at home. I want to go home.”
You yelp as you felt teeth bite down hard on the shoulder he was touching, drawing blood and making your body jolt towards him.
“This is your home now.”
You tried to move away from his touch, but another hand gripped your waist to hold you in place.
“I’ve always been fascinated by you Y/N, Yuuji may be an idiot, but he didn’t have bad taste in women.”
He leaned forward, making sure he had your full attention, ”I’ve always noticed you. I’ve always cared for you, deeply.”
Your body is tugged closer to him as two of his arms link behind your back, and the others push down the top of your robe completely. He exhaled deeply at the sight of your breasts, your nipples hard from the rush of adrenaline in your core, and you slammed your eyes shut.
“You have nothing to fear, little one. I’ll be gentle.”
You let your lids flutter back open, overwhelmed by his face and the complexity of it all.
“I’ve wanted you for such a very long time. I just want to look at you. For now.”
The hands on your waist lifted your body in the air as if you were utterly weightless, hovering you over his lap as his feet were planted on the ground. You rested your hands on top of his biceps, shocking him and you both in the process.
“Why am I so special? You could have created yourself a cursed user if you were so lonely.”
“Lonely?” he clicked his tongues, “Do I look like a man who could ever be lonely?”
“Well, you don’t look like a man at all,” you challenged, his two other free hands going to your face. One wrapped itself around your neck while the other squished your cheeks tightly together.
“Don’t test my patience,” he warned, the threatening tone making you squirm in his hold, “I don’t want to hurt you, so behave.”
You gasped out for air as he released his grip on your throat, coughing slightly as the hand on your cheeks fell to his side.
“Fuck you,” you spat in his direction. Your body was overwhelmed with rage as the hands that held his biceps were now engulfed in the blue flames of your cursed energy. “I hate you-”
He rolls his eyes as he shoves his palm flat onto your mouth, silencing your pleas, “Dumb slut. I told you I didn’t want to hurt you. Stop being so difficult.”
After struggling against his hold for a few moments, you stopped your fit, remembering he had the advantage in every aspect, and fighting would only screw you over more.
“You promise to be good now?” he prodded after noticing your submission. You nodded your head, relaxing your muscles into his grip, sliding your arms to your sides slackly.
Suddenly, you feel a tongue swipe your bottom lip before sliding into your mouth. The wet muscle moves masterfully, teasing you with its robust control. He watches closely as you let it lap around yours, instinctively moving against it, “Good girl.”
He released the palm, making you flustered as your tongue hung out of your mouth, and you panted lightly.
“Did you just kiss me?” You focused your eyes down, staring at your naked chest, at how his arms supported you so effortlessly.
“No, I can if that’s what you’re implying. I just wanted to taste you,” he scoops two hands under your armpits, as the ones on your waist untie your robe and let it fall underneath you.
You shut your legs tightly together, but he quickly opens them, moving you closer so his knee can keep them parted. He notices the trickle of arousal that’s running down your thigh, making him hiss slightly, as if the sight was too much, even for him.
“May I touch you?” His eyes are glued to your heat before he looks back up to your face. You’re surprised he had the decency even to ask, making you question if he was serious earlier about caring for you. At least to the extent such a cruel man could care.
“How?” you sound so pathetic, almost lost, that he takes one last look at your naked body before turning you to sit on his lap. You jump up after feeling two long, and hard clothed lengths press into your bare ass. Did that mean he has two-
“I never do foreplay, so you should feel honored,” his breath is hot on your neck as he keeps all of his arms to his sides patiently, “I’m going to touch your breasts first, is that alright?”
Why is he so polite? “Okay,” you didn’t like how easy it flew out, but curiosity and just the way his eyes pierced your body made you feel valued under his touch. He’d only brought you, of all people, to his personal vacation. That had to mean something, at least.
Two arms wrapped tightly across your stomach as his two free hands palmed your breasts delicately, fondling them as you released a soft moan.
“So responsive,” he praised, planting a wet kiss onto your shoulder, “Do you want to feel my mouth too?”
Your cheeks flooded with heat, nodding eagerly as you looked down to see two mouths appear on his palms, then latch onto your nipples. He gripped your tits tightly in his large hands, squeezing them while releasing a satisfied hum into your neck. You squirmed at the sensation, the tortuous sucking, the nibbling on your nubs. It was euphoric.
“Sukuna,” you moaned, yelping as one of the arms wrapped around your stomach was released, and he slapped your thigh harshly.
“Master Sukuna,” he reminded you, “I don’t take disrespect kindly, and you’ve already broken many rules. Be careful how you speak.”
He rubbed the thigh he just slapped, a tongue brushing up and down it to soothe the sting, the sensation making you shriek.
“Master Suk- Sukuna,” you managed, bouncing in his lap as the vibration of his laugh rippled through you.
You whimpered when he released the hands on your chest, turning around to pout at him, his eyes dark and lustful as he focused on your puffed-out bottom lip.
“It’s okay, kitten. I’m not done. We haven’t even started.”
The words excited you, but the feeling of the two hard members hidden under his robe gave a pang of anxiety, not entirely sure how they would be involved in this.
“Come here,” he cooed, his arms flipped you to face him as they carried you, his body backing up until his head rested by the headboard on pillows. He planted you down, your bare cunt resting on his torso as your thighs straddled him. You couldn’t help but notice how his two cocks were lying flat on it, poking your ass as he positioned you where he wanted.
“I want to try something with you. Do you trust me?”
“Yes,” fuck. You were certain you had said no, but your racing heart overpowered your mind. The man was the cause of your best friend’s death and millions of others. Yet he looked so gentle staring back at you, in admiration and amusement.
“I thought you hated me?”
His eyes still on your tits, the way they’re hovering over his chest, and he presses your back down so you’re flush against him. He groans as your breasts press into him, your faces close, as his eyes run frantically over your face, almost like he’s nervous.
“I should, shouldn’t I?” You're full of the same rush he’s experiencing, a sense of forbidden love, though it would be safer to call it lust.
“Did you like Yuuji?” his tone is light, foreign with how it hits you so smoothly.
“No, he’s not my type,” you’re staring at his lips, wondering how two tongues would feel in your tiny mouth.
“What is your type then?” he smirks slightly, feeling the mess you’re making all over his stomach with your arousal.
“I don’t know,” you breathe, dropping your head lower, waiting for his lips to touch yours. “I guess I like the ‘bad boys’. Yuuji was always… a sweetheart.”
“Bad boys will break your heart,” he chimes, full-on smiling at how desperate you’ve become for him, a literal monster in human flesh.
“You already broke mine,” your tone is at a hush, as you remind him that he was the reason you lost Yuuji in the first place.
You cry out as a tongue presses into your wet folds, arching back and grabbing Sukuna’s shoulders tightly as he watches in amazement.
“Your stomach has a-”
“A mouth? Yeah. It’s not convenient, but you seem to enjoy it.”
He pulls you back down, letting your lips crash with his, moaning as his tongues invade your mouth. His stomach’s tongue rubs up and down testily before focusing on putting pressure on your clit.
Your legs are shaking around him, and you break the intense kiss just to scream profanities at how overstimulating it is. Your hips are bucking to leave, but he has two hands there pressing you into the mouth, not allowing you to escape as tears roll down your cheeks. He has two hands back on your breasts, less gentle than last time, sure to leave marks.
“It’s okay, kitten, you can cum, don’t be shy,” his voice is husky and almost strained. All he can taste is you, and, it’s driving him insane.
“Too- too much-” you dig your nails into his skin, but he only takes it as an invitation. He removes a hand from your side to lower and press against your mound. His palm creates a second mouth, tasked solely with sucking and grazing your bundle of nerves, as the other tongue teases your sopping hole. It’s too tight for the large muscle to penetrate, making his neck twitch.
“Have you ever?” He realizes you can’t respond, too busy whining and crying, but continues anyway, “Have you ever- fuck.”
He’s cut off as you cum sloppily against him, tongues drenched in your slick as they continue to lick you clean, “Master, please,” you whimper with tear-stained cheeks. He freezes at the reaction, not sure what emotion resides behind your shut eyes.
You collapse onto his chest, shaking against it as his hand and stomach mouth vanish. He hesitates as his arms wrap around you in a tender embrace, an act he’s never done once in his whole existence.
“More, please,” you sniffle into the crook of his neck. He keeps his eyes focused up into the abyss, hoping you don’t feel the way his heart is pounding for you.
“Careful what you wish for, kitten,” he mumbles as a hand goes running through your hair. Every touch is as foreign to you as it is him. If you were any other woman, you would have been disposed of by this point, a quick and hard fuck that ended with a slit to your throat.
You shuffle your body up so you can bury your head into his shoulder, your mind too overwhelmed with the tingly sensation that floods your body to remember the man beneath you is the reincarnation of the Devil. Possibly worse.
“Answer my question first, okay?” you gasp as you feel two hands grabbing your ass, massaging them as one hand goes under your chin to meet his face. “Are you a virgin?”
You try to shove your face back down, but he keeps you locked in his gaze, “So yes?”
“Yes,” you take your lip into your mouth to nibble on it nervously as his hands trail to lift your hips off of him.
“I don’t think you want more then,” his voice caresses your soul with how mesmerizing it is, a mix of softness with a cutting edge of hidden threat. “Mmm, let me restate that. I don’t think you can take more.”
He uses his one free arm to remove his robe and chuck it to the side, your head reflexively tries to look, but he holds your chin still.
“Maybe another time, okay? We have all the time in the world here.”
He rests your body to the side of him, and you gulp as your previous theories are confirmed. Two large, long, and sinfully girthy cocks rest between his hips. They’re positioned vertically on top of each other, and your eyes drag down as they settle on his balls. They’re huge, making you verbally gasp as you focus on their shape. Like plump fruits, you felt an urge to suck for sweet nectar. Your mouth watered uncontrollably, watching as he let one of his hands grip each of his lengths, precum dripping down his shaft until it trickled over his fingers.
He rolled his eyes at how in awe you were, but most of all, he felt relief and security in the way your eyes beamed at his manhood like he was a god. “I want you to sit in front of me with your legs open, okay?”
You nodded, your eyes stuck to his groin as he began pumping himself, his hands veiny and grizzly as they move up and down his shafts.
You obediently opened your legs, feeling incredibly exposed as he sucked in a breath at the sight of your slightly swollen slit, recalling the taste as it still lingered on his tongue.
“Good, just stay right there and flash your pretty cunt for me,” he praised, his two free arms wrapping behind his neck as he relaxed into his touch.
It was unbelievably erotic, but you couldn’t help but feel selfish, moving to tap on his thigh innocently. He groaned at you, how you were shutting down his orders so quickly.
“What now?” His voice was thick with annoyance, making you shutter slightly, but feeling brave, you gently caressed the skin of his leg.
“Can I?” your voice is calm and yet obviously erratic, as your eyes race to find validation in his features.
“Can you what?” His tone softened, feeling more amused than pissed that you ended his viewing party.
“Touch you,” you looked back down at the slow pace of his hands, figuring you could easily do the same.
“Are you doing it because you want to, or because you think I want you to?”
“Does it matter?”
“To me, yes.”
“To be honest,” you scooted yourself closer, resting your legs to the side as you sat right near his left hip. “It’s both.”
You decided to test your limits, crawling your hand near his balls and scooping them into your palm. He was dead silent as he analyzed your reaction.
“So soft,” you crinkle your nose, then look back at him, immediately retracting your hand in fear at the dark look he presented you with. “Oh um, sorry I-”
One of the arms behind his head moved to grip your fleeting wrist, placing your hand back on him for contact. “It’s okay, just be gentle,” you truly wondered if this was the real Sukuna. He just seemed so caring and patient.
You nodded your head shyly, keeping eye contact as your hand replaced one of his own, then focused on watching his movements closely to mimic them. Your hand looked so small around his meaty girth and was a complete contrast to his calloused hands, so soft and delicate against his pulsing cock.
You leaned your head down to his member, swirling your thumb around his tip to catch precum before curiously putting it in your mouth.
He watched with anticipation as you sucked on your thumb, staring back at him with wide eyes and an innocent expression. He tasted slightly bitter and yet sweet, a strange combination you weren’t familiar with.
Not feeling satisfied by the small swipe, you let your tongue hang from your mouth as you gave his dripping head a tiny lick, earning a deep groan from Sukuna.
You slowly licked your lips, scooping any remains you might have missed, before leaning back down to plant a chaste kiss on his tip. It was a cute favor, maybe even a slight thank you to him for letting you live out your curious nature. But what you did next? It was nothing but pure spite.
You backed up, so you were sitting far away from him, his jaw slacks as he tries to comprehend what just happened.
“You can continue now,” you speak after the deafening silence has become too much.
“That was it? You’re going to stop?”
“I thought you said I couldn’t take it,” the grin you shot him was unexpected, catching him completely off guard.
You couldn’t possibly be teasing the God of Curses. Right?
You spread your legs out for him again but decide to add a new component, your fingers going down to collect your slick and place them into your mouth. You moaned around your slender digits, Sukuna still stunned and motionless as his arms laid by his sides.
“Y/N,” his voice is coarse, adding more heat to your already overwhelmed core, “Do not play such childish games with me. You seem to have forgotten who I am and what I can do.”
“Did I?” your leg twitches as you insert a finger into your tight cunt, one he hasn’t been able to feel himself yet.
He sits up, swiftly bringing your back to his chest, as he spreads your legs widely open, two hands gripping your thighs to keep them parted. His cocks are pressing into your lower back, the sheer weight of them enough to make you gasp as he pushes a palm into your stomach to keep you flush to him.
“You want more?” it’s almost a growl, like part of him was about to break.
You turn your head at the sound of snapping and slight crackling, shocked to find Sukuna biting his nails down to the nub, spitting the black tips out off the side of the bed. He grins back at your clueless expression once he finishes the task, sending a chill down your spine.
“Just don’t want to scrape you, kitten. That wouldn’t be very nice of me.”
You gasp as his hand snakes in between your thighs, his fingers spreading your lips open as a mouth appears on his palm, giving a long swipe at your heat before disappearing. He’s holding you too tight to squirm, but your body shakes regardless, his fingers now circling your sopping hole testily.
“What a needy slut, getting this wet after you already came for me. How many times until you’re satisfied?” He collects your slick with his fingers to show you how coated they are, dripping onto your tummy before he shoves them into your mouth.
“I’ll be honest, I never really do this kind of thing,” he nibbles on your shoulder to earn a small yelp as he slips his fingers out from your lips, “Let’s see how I do, huh?”
He lets one finger enter you, slow and patient, trying to feel every ridge you hold within you. You press your head back into his shoulder. He tilts his to watch your expression as he curves the digit inside you, feeling your gummy walls cling around him to accommodate the slight stretch.
“Fuck, you’re so tiny. I’m not even sure my cock will even fit,” he shuts his eyes momentarily, becoming overwhelmed himself. Drunk on the new possibilities he was never awarded while trapped inside the lighthearted pink-haired boy.
A soft moan leaves your parted mouth, your lips wet from your own arousal, and God, they look plump enough to bite. He brings himself close, his breath at your right ear as he slides his finger out and back in.
“Tell me how you feel, kitten.”
It’s hard to think when he suddenly latches himself to your neck, sucking and giving wet, rushed kisses and tongue swipes.
“Your finger feels so much bigger than mine, I-” you catch your breath as he presses his palm against your clit, adding slight pressure as his finger picks up its pace, “I never do more than one.”
He adds another finger the moment you say it, causing your walls to clench around him in shock. He hisses into your shoulder, “Gonna add a mouth, okay? It’ll distract from the pressure.”
You nod your head, whimpering as a warm tongue is now lying flat against your bundle of nerves, making your eyes shut as the mouth takes your clit in to suck and play.
His two fingers have quickened inside of you, the lewd mewls and cries escaping your body only coaxing him to deliver more, “Feels so good Suk-”
You stutter, correcting yourself, “Master Sukuna.”
“What a quick learner,” he purrs into your now hickey-ridden neck, beyond sensitive and raw, making you yelp when he bites down on it playfully.
Your hands which were previously squeezing the sheets, now move behind your back to find his lengths. He groans as you take one of his cocks into your small hand and give it a squeeze.
“Patience, kitten, don’t tempt me, or I will shove both these cocks in your dirty little mouth,” he warns you, and you gasp at the thought, getting more aroused than nervous.
You pump him in off-rhythm strokes, not able to gain complete control with him behind you, and undoubtedly distracted by how perfectly he’s finger fucking you. It doesn’t really matter to him though, even the slightest of your touches has him itching for more. He’d swallow you whole if you’d let him.
He can feel how close you are. It’s almost embarrassing how quick you came from his touch, making him tsk as your moans became whiny and high pitched.
“You gonna cum for me like the filthy whore you are?” The hand on your stomach rises as he takes one breast into it and grabs it harshly.
You can’t respond, too busy now gripping his thighs for a sense of stability as he continues to rock your world. He jiggles your tits in his hands, sucking in a breath as he watches them shake, not even realizing how you’d already released all over his fingers.
He continues pumping, making you squeal at the intensity, which finally catches his attention. He slides his fingers out swiftly, the mouth on his palm disappearing as he loosens his grip on you.
“Sorry, kitten, I got distracted,” his voice is husky and practically a whisper as he takes his drenched fingers into his mouth as sucks them in one go, resulting in a loud smacking noise from his lips.
“S’kay,” you breathe, turning around in his lap to face him, surprised he even lets you. You both freeze when your bare and soaked cunt brushes against his shafts. Eyes connected into a shared look of anticipation.
“Are you sore?” He grabs your hips to hike you off him, hovering you over his lap to prevent any more slip-ups. He’s too close to snapping completely. Too close to filling both your holes without warning and fucking you silly. Nothing is stopping him from doing so, but it doesn’t feel right, not with how you look back at him like he was someone you could learn to love.
“Mmmhmm,” you nod and plant your hand on his cheek. He stills under the caress but doesn’t stop you from brushing your fingers against his jawline. He lets his eyes close, allowing you to gently swipe your finger pads over his lids, “Thank you though. You were umm. Perfect.”
His eyes snap open, making your hand yank back, afraid you’ve upset him. One of his hands grabs your wrist, placing the hand that escaped to reside back onto his cheek. Instead of dropping it, he holds your hand steady there, creating an unexpectedly intimate moment between you too.
“I’m going to heal you, okay? Stay still.”
You had almost forgotten he had the power, only ever using it on Yuuji as he was too selfish to even think of saving anyone besides himself. You suddenly felt more awake and alert, yet soothed and calm. It was as if your nights of sleepless terrors were erased, giving you an exhilarating rush of energy.
You couldn’t help yourself. You couldn’t help but want to kiss him as a thank you, as you swoop down to meet him. Your lips are eager against his, catching him off guard with the intent they hold, almost begging him to give in to your desires.
He loosens the grip on your waist, allowing you to lower into his throbbing lengths, moaning into his mouth as you feel the thick members press against you.
You have both of your hands on his cheeks, forcing him to stay connected to you, your tongue dancing with his as he uses one of his hands to grab one of his shafts. He pries his tip in between your wet folds, swiping up and down it to collect your slick, as you push down to meet him better, his hands stopping you.
He pulls out of the kiss, “Y/N, I am begging you not to do that-”
You take the distraction of him talking as an opportunity, his grip loosening as he is focused on warning you not to play games with him, that he can only be so gentle for so long. All caution is thrown out and burned as you press yourself down onto his tip, letting it enter you.
You shut your eyes tightly at how it stings, stretching you out so much, yet he’s barely inside you. The pain is soon erased, and your eyes widen as you look back at him, realizing he’s helping you with his healing properties.
“You fucking slut. I-” he takes a deep breath as he tries not to focus on how your pussy is trying so hard to suck him in, “I told you to stop fucking testing me.”
You scream into his shoulder, grabbing his biceps with tremendous pressure and need, as his hands guide you down his entire length in one swift movement.
“I’ll make sure you’re not in too much pain, but this will still,” he raises you slightly before thrusting his hips up to meet you again, “This will still be a lot on you.”
He’s right, it doesn’t hurt, but it still leaves you dumbfounded. His cock is threatening to rip your body in half with how it’s stuffing your tight hole, stretched being an understatement at how well he fills you. You can sense your cervix will be bruised by how easily he reaches it, how easily his swollen tip pounds against it. But, you’re not afraid. He looks at you with an undertone of softness you could have never expected him to carry, and his personal choice to heal you could only mean he preferred that more than an excruciating painful alternative.
He was a cruel man, sadistic and high off other’s screams of pain and fear, enjoying the suffering he caused. But you? It made him cringe at the thought. He would scream at Yuuji whenever you got hurt during missions, practically begging to let him take over so that he could heal you before Shoko could. Yuuji refused to tell you, almost jealous at how he was obviously not the only one to treasure you. Afraid of what might happen if you fell soft for such a complex twisted, and wicked soul.
You bite down on his shoulder, drawing blood as he continues to pulse into you, his other cock rubbing in between your ass as he does so.
“Such a good little whore for me, taking my cock so fucking well,” he rushes the words, too swallowed by how you kept tightening around him, almost making it impossible to move.
“How do you feel, kitten?” He’s shocked to find your tongue licking up the blood that blossomed on his skin before you sit up, so he’s finally able to see his cock entering you.
“Please don’t stop.”
God, you’re an angel, he wants to tell you, but he’s not ready to be so open just yet. And he notices how your body twitches when he calls you such degrading names, realizing you enjoy them too much for your own good, deciding to give you the ride of your life.
He flips you onto your back, not leaving your tight cunny unattended for even a moment, continuing to fuck it into oblivion. Two hands go to wrap around your ankles, holding them up near his face as his other hands grip your thighs tightly, steadying your body as he slams into it.
His other cock is poking at your ass, almost begging to get a chance to join, and he almost gasps as you speak, “Both please, I want both.”
He slows his rhythm, his eyes extremely dark as they pierce into your hot and heavy face, “You want to be daddy’s little slut, don’t you? God, you’re so fucked in the head.”
He slips out of you and hitches you higher up towards him, your ass now by his abdomen, and you cry out as you feel a tongue escape the area and press against you. It pries into your foreign area, making your hands move from gripping the sheets to your own breasts, needing something more substantial.
The tongue enters your impossibly tight hole as he watches you closely, “Sorry, doll, I don’t own lube, but this should do just fine.”
You gasp for air as the large wet muscle leaves you unexpectedly and is replaced with his second cock’s head as you are lowered to meet him again. Both now aligned to enter you as he waits patiently for your following command.
“Tell me how badly you want daddy to fuck you,” his eyes resonate at the beautiful sight of your completely drenched holes, so pretty and perfect, just for him to destroy.
“Fuck, please daddy, fuck me, please please ple-”
One of the hands on your thighs leaves to slap your ass harshly, “Once was enough, now you’re just getting desperate,” he smirks before gripping your thigh again, shoving his two monster cocks into you.
You’ve never felt more full in your life. It was as if you were empty before and hadn’t realized it. He rolls his eyes back as he begins a torturous pace, slow and yet too much for you to handle, almost preferring the relentless thrusts he delivered previously.
You’re squirming for him to quicken his movements since you can really feel his girth with how intently he enters in and out of you, every vein detectable as you flutter around him.
“Please, faster-”
You’re cut off by a hand leaving your left thigh to wrap around your neck, the pressure calculated not to cut off all air supply, but definitely having the intent to stunt you.
“Stupid slut. You’re going to regret those fucking words. I was trying to be nice.”
You scream out in a mix of pleasure and total shock as his cocks ram into you much harder than before, and he practically growls as he looks at your crying pathetic face. You surprise him when the hands on your tits wrap around his wrist, pushing them harder into your throat as his hips move at an inhumane rhythm to meet your fragile frame.
“You really are fucked up, huh?” He tsks to himself, “You like fucking demons like me? Your little cunt is sloshing so loudly around my cock I can hardly think.”
You shake your head, dropping the hands on his wrist to press behind you and lift your chest up. He notices the struggling attempt as your lower body remains in the air from his hands gripping your ankles, and decides to release them. Your legs wrap around his torso as he snakes the now free arms behind your back to bring you up to him, a steady hand still on your neck.
“Why the fuck are you shaking your head? You really want to lie to me right now?”
You were just adjusting to his rapid pace, and the switch of positions made all your work for nothing, hitting you somehow even deeper at the new angle.
Your words are a complete mess as you say them, your faces almost touching with how close he held you to his chest. “No, I- it’s only you.”
“Elaborate,” he tosses back, not wasting any time, but remembers you’re a whimpering mess and decides to slow down just for you to speak.
You catch your breath as you rest your forehead on his shoulder, gasping into it, “It’s you. I don’t want demons. I only want you.”
He’s glad you can’t see his face, can’t read his reaction before he slams back into you, returning to the previous state he held as his two cocks penetrate your abused holes.
For a moment, his heart pangs, almost bursting with your submission, knowing it’s not his body you crave to explore, but instead the enigma of soul that rests inside it.
“Good,” anything more, and he would break under your warm embrace, as your wrap your arms around his neck and look up to him with doe runny eyes and a permanently open mouth that screams out just for him.
“I am the only man allowed to fuck you or even touch you. In fact, even look at you,” your mind is spinning as the tightening spring in your stomach was already crushed after your first orgasm, and you now felt like you were stuck at a peak of a toe-curling release constantly.
“You’ll be my pretty little whore, won’t you? Say you will kitten.”
You’re both so overwhelmed that you both don’t notice how many times you’ve cummed all over him, as you’re never able to ride out an orgasm and instead held in the state of ecstasy endlessly. It’s not until your begging for his release that he realizes you’ve had enough.
“I promise, let me make you cum. Please.”
He sucks in a breath as he analyzes your blissful face, diving his lips to yours to suck in every single moan that escapes the burrow of your throat, captivating you as his.
He releases the hand on your throat to instead entangle into your hair, pushing you deeper into the kiss. Your fingers rake his hair before taking it into your small fits and tugging slightly, causing him to groan at your eager nature. His lips and tongue become feral against yours, his cocks slamming into you so hard your body shakes unremorsefully.
“So fucking perfect.”
He releases a deep moan as he pulls back slightly, his eyes steady with yours, as both of his cocks simultaneously fill you. The thick spurts of his seed are shot into you with unbelievable force and speed as if he was built up for years. Well, he was built up for years.
He holds you close, eyes racing around your face to scope your body’s current state, afraid he didn’t help you out enough.
“How do you feel, kitten?” The voice doesn’t even sound like Sukuna. It’s too soft and sweet. You pause for a moment to process the fact he could ever hold such a tone.
“Numb,” you answer honestly and nods slowly, waiting for you to give him more, “It’s kind of peaceful.”
He smiles widely before it shifts into a stupid grin, and for a moment, he almost looked like Yuuji with how playful and happy he looked.
“Sorry, was that weird?” You rest your head back onto his shoulder in embarrassment, but the hand in your hair moves to cradle your chin back up to face him.
“No, it’s just, I’ve never gotten that response before. Or well, sometimes a response at all.”
You should be afraid by the statement, as it alludes to the happenings of his dark and twisted past, but your heart warms at how delighted his face looks.
“I’m gonna slide out, okay? You’re gonna feel really uncomfortable for a moment, but I’ll go slow.”
You nod and close your eyes in anticipation, the hands on your hips lifting you off him as you wince, realizing he was right. You gasped as he was entirely out of you, noticing how much cum gushed out of you in the process and how empty you felt now that he was gone.
“Deep breath, kitten, deep breath,” he cooed into your chest as your lifted body allows your tits to be head level with him. He plants a delicate kiss in between your breasts before laying your body down onto the bed.
He stares at you for a moment, just taking in the sight of his hickeys marking all over your neck and chest, your holes seeping with his seed, and the innocent smile you give him as you raise your arms out and give him grabby hands to join you.
He lays down beside you, two of his right arms scooping behind your back so you can rest on top of him, your cheek pressed into his pec. You hum against his skin, your fingers tracing the black symbols of his chest, gentle and sweet as you silently praise him.
You yawn, feeling sleepy with how at peace you feel in his secure and strong arms, the other two caressing your back, carving out each and every curve.
“Suku?” The new nickname stuns him, but he refuses to punish you, not with how gentle it sounds, not with how much it makes his heart race. “I’m sorry I didn’t touch you. I can now if you’d like me to.”
“Shhh,” he rubbed your back tenderly, “I told you we have all the time in the world. It can wait, okay? Today can just be about you.”
He leaned down to kiss your forehead, “Don’t feel so bad for enjoying yourself. I might have even enjoyed it more than you did, if I’m honest.”
There’s a moment of silence as you’re not sure how to reply to that, and he releases a light and airy laugh.
“Besides, I’d do anything for my queen.”
Your previously quiet presence is cut by giggling at his comment, nuzzling yourself deeper into his neck from embarrassment, “Queen? I am not a queen. Please do not tease me like that.”
“Aren't I the King of Curses? What else would that leave you to be?” He twirls a strand of your hair in one of his fingers, “You truly thought I would bring you all this way to kill you? I’d say it pained me but it’s not off character, I guess.”
You tense against him, but his warm and rough hands massage the pressure out of your aching mind and soul. 
“You want me to be.... your partner?”
“Yes, forever by my side. I knew ever since the day I laid eyes on you.”
Your heart threatened to jump out of your chest as you arched your back to look down at him. “Forever? Is there even such a thing?”
He nods his head, a soft grin on his lips, “It’s impossible, but, I should not be allowed to exist, and yet here I am. I’ll tell you more about it later, okay?”
“Right now I just want to hold you. In my own arms, not his. Please.”
You nod, blushing slightly at how romantic the criminal man could be.
“Okay, and,” you kissed his nose before going back to his neck, “Forever sounds good to me.”
He chuckles lightly, wrapping the arms around your back a little tighter to feel you even closer.
“I’m glad you think so. This truly is just our beginning.”
“Our origin story.”
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siderealscribblings · 4 months ago
“I am ninety-nine percent sure I know who Chat Noir is.”
It was a heck of a thing to drop out of the blue, but since Marinette revealed her identity to Ladybug, Marinette had gotten used to Alya texting or calling at odd hours with sudden revelations.
(“THAT’S how you knew Lila was lying?!”)
(“So when you skipped on our hangout sess a few months ago, was it because-”)
(“I’m just saying, I know I guy who might be able to doxx Hawk Moth.”)
Unlike her usual stunning revelations though, this one was not one Marinette already knew.
“Okay,” Marinette said, blinking to keep her eyes from completely bugging out of their sockets. “How do you-”
“I just felt like I should be honest, you know?” Alya chuckled. “ know-”
“Yeah, no...thanks,” Marinette said, slightly dazed. “ do you know?”
“Well...let’s just say I noticed a pattern,” Alya said, chewing on the corner of her lip. “Do you want to know who-”
“No,” Marinett said, before quickly adding. “I would be better to keep things between us secret for now.”
Alya opened her mouth, an argument on the tip of her tongue, but seemed to swallow it with a nod. “Okay...yeah, sure, I get it.”
“It’s not that I don’t trust him,” Marinette said quickly, maybe more for her own benefit than Alya’s. “I do! I swear! I just-”
“You don’t have to explain anything to me,” Alya said quickly.
“And he’s wanted to reveal ourselves to each other for a long time,” Marinette muttered, ignoring Alya’s easy-out. “I was the one who insisted we keep our identities secret and I’m just...really, really not looking forward to the conversation where I tell him I was the one to break our no-sharing think he’ll be mad?”
“You tell me ,” Alya said, throwing her hands up. “He’s your partner-”
“He’s going to be mad ,” Marinette moaned, burying her face in her hands. “And hurt and-”
“ what?” Alya asked.
“So he’s my partner and we already have between us,” Marinette sighed. “Long story short the last Guardian wasn’t a very good teacher to him and he’s had to deal with being locked out of the loop before...I just worry that I keep asking him to trust me while constantly keeping secrets from him.”
“And he’s keeping one from you,” Alya said gently. “Kind of a crappy situation all around but...well, let’s just say I think he’s a really understanding guy.”
“I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who constantly has to just understand me though,” Marinette said with a wince. “Sorry, I don’t mean to keep dumping all my Ladybaggage on you.”
“I’ll tell you if I’ve had enough,” Alya said firmly, squeezing Marinette’s wrist. “I don’t mind; really.”
If she lived another hundred years, she would never stop trying to return the kindness and understanding Alya had displayed to her since revealing her identity.
“Thanks,” Marinette said,, the movie on the screen forgotten as she shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “So...n-not that I’m prying for details but...this guy you think is Chat Noir-”
“Sounds like you’re prying for details,” Alya snickered. “Don’t tell me you’re curious about him.”
“Of course I am!” Marinette huffed. “Wouldn’t you be?”
“I don’t need to be curious; I figured out my boyfriend’s identity by myself,” Alya said smugly. “You want covert deets?”
Marinette weighed her words carefully before speaking. “Is he...out of costume...when he goes he happy?”
Alya’s expression was unreadable for a long moment. “Do you want the truth you want me to say something that will make you feel good?”
“Well that tells me the truth probably sucks, doesn’t it?” Marinette sighed, rubbing her eyes. “He’s got...he’s got a lot of friends, right?”
“He has a...few really good ones,” Alya reasoned.
“And his family?” Marinette asked.
“His family...exists,” Alya said as diplomatically as she could. “Look, we’re treading on major spoiler territory here; can you tell me what you want to know so I can pull it out from all the other information?”
Marinette stared down at her hands thoughtfully for a moment. “...being the Guardian by myself has been one of the loneliest times in my life. I have you now; I had Master Fu for a lot longer than he did. It would make me feel better if I knew Chat Noir was...okay outside the suit. But I think you just answered my question.”
“Look, I can’t tell you how he feels,” Alya said, rubbing Marinette’s shoulder gently. “I can’t read minds, Mari...but-”
“You think I should tell him about me?” Marinette asked hesitantly.
“I think that’s your call,” Alya said. “Do you want my advice?”
“You think I should talk to him,” Marinette said, deflating a little.
“If he finds out from someone who isn’t you, it’s not gonna do wonders for the whole Trust thing you got going on,” Alya said. “And...look, I think it’s great you reached out to me. And I think whatever you want to do with your identity is your business...but I think he deserves the same opportunity to confide in someone. In fact...I think he really needs it.”
“But how do I know he’ll pick the right person?” Marinette blurted out. “What if he picks someone who Hawk Moth compromises and-”
“Didn’t you just say you trusted him?” Alya asked, stopping Marinette’s catastrophizing in her tracks.
“I do...I promise I do...but-”
“You either do or you don’t,” Alya said softly. “And telling him that you broke your rules and he can’t is not going to convince him you trust him. Saying you trust someone is like saying you’re going to work out; you don’t get the results unless you actually do it.”
“I could pick someone for him,” Marinette muttered, looking up at Alya. “Someone trustworthy.”
“Someone you trust,” Alya said. “This has to be someone he trusts. Or else what’s the point?”
“You already know though!” Marinette said.
“ Hey Chat Noir, I completely trust you with my life but also, I’m going to make the choice of who you can and can’t talk to about your personal business,” Alya said, watching Marinette’s nose wrinkle in irritation. “Tell me how that chat is going to go.”
“You know ignoring your advice is getting harder now that you know about me,” Marinette grumbled, crossing her arms.
“Ignore it if you want; just don’t be surprised if this pushes you apart,” Alya shrugged.
“It won’t, he’ll…” Marinette trailed off. “He wouldn’t stop being my partner over this, right?”
“And if he did?” Alya probed. “Just pick a new Chat Noir.”
“I don’t-” Marinette swallowed, shaking her head. “No...I don’t want another Chat Noir.”
“Then you’re going to have to keep this one,” Alya said, squeezing her shoulder. “That means being honest and fair with your partner; if not about your identity, then about his .”
Marinette nodded mutely, turning her gaze back to the movie as Alya stood up. “Want something from the kitchen?”
“I’m good,” Marinette said, fidgeting with her bracelet as she tried not to dread the conversation she knew she had to have.
To his credit, the storm of accusations she imagined would come out of Chat Noir’s mouth did not come; Ladybug might have felt better if they did.
Instead, her partner looked dazed, blinking and nodding as his gaze turned away from her. “...okay-”
“I swear this is not about you,” Ladybug said quickly, tugging on Chat Noir’s arm as he turned away from her. “And it doesn’t mean I don’t trust you! I swear I do.”
“No I...I understand,” Chat Noir said, the cheer in his voice becoming more and more forced. “ know, I-I have a lot of homework to do tonight-”
“Chat...please look at me,” Ladybug said, tilting her partner’s face towards hers. Of course she had made him cry, but she tried to push down her guilt. This wasn’t about what she did; given the same choice, she would have picked Alya again, even if it meant hurting Chat Noir in the process.
“I know I don’t have a lot of opportunities to display how much I trust you,” Ladybug said, licking her lips. “So it probably feels like I just tossed aside a huge chance to show how much you mean to me...but this was about me doing what I needed-”
“You don’t need’re the Guardian-”
“That doesn't make me your master !” Ladybug said emphatically, startling Chat Noir out of his daze. “That doesn’t mean I can control who you talk to and who you confide in! I still...I still think we’re too close and rely on each other too much to jeopardize our working relationship...but if there’s someone in your life you trust, I...I want you to have the same opportunity. To confide in someone you trust.”
“Not you though,” Chat Noir muttered.
“There has to be someone else,” Ladybug said almost desperately. “Tell me I’m not the only person in your life you can rely on…”
Alya had been such a positive force in her life since she had told her; she thought back to all the times they had stayed up late talking, all the times Alya had listened to her vent about akuma, all the nights she held her hand because she had watched Chat Noir die to save her yet again.
Was there no one Chat Noir could turn to when he was alone?
Chat Noir seemed to chew it over for a long moment, blinking back tears still as he tried to grapple with the fact his relationship with Ladybug had shifted out from underneath him yet again. “ I have to tell you who it is?”
“I think it’s better if you don’t,” Ladybug said softly. “Sorry...if I knew who you trusted, I might be able to figure out who you are. This way...I’m not the only one keeping secrets-”
“I don’t want to keep secrets,” Chat Noir grumbled.
“I know,” Ladybug sighed. “And I promise, I swear, the minute Hawk Moth is gone, there will be no more secrets between us! This... mess of half-truths and half-lies will end and we can just be-”
The idea of being something to Chat Noir outside the mask was something not even Alya knew; a secret all her own that might never come to light.
“This is just for now,” Ladybug said firmly. “Not forever.”
Chat Noir nodded, once again resigned to a fate someone else had picked for him. “I get it...I do.”
“Are you mad at me?” Ladybug asked.
Chat Noir weighed the answer for a long moment. “,” Chat Noir said with a shrug. “Just...can we pick this up some other time? I wasn’t kidding about the homework.”
For the first time there was a real wall between her and Chat Noir and Ladybug was shocked by how much she detested it.
“I understand,” Ladybug said quietly. “But I meant what I said when I said you should find someone to turn to. I wish I could help you with everything, but-”
“For can’t,” Chat Noir nodded, putting on a brave face. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”
Ladybug let Chat Noir slip out of her fingertips, momentarily reaching out to pull him back before thinking better of herself. She didn’t expect him to be sunshine and rainbows after telling him, but as firm as she was in her convictions, it still sucked to see him in pain.
Just deal with it yourself like he has to, Ladybug thought as she watched Chat Noir turn and dive off the roof of the building. Alya’s had enough on her don’t need to bother her with-
Her resolve lasted until she transformed, blinking back tears as she pulled her phone out of her pocket.
“Did I do the right thing?”
Alya said nothing, running her hands through Ladybug’s hair as she laid her head on her lap.
“Sometimes...doing the right thing hurts people as a result,” Alya said carefully. “It’s just a sucky part of life.”
“I hate it,” Ladybug sniffed, wiping her eyes with another tissue. “I think he thinks I love keeping secrets from him but...I really hate it. It makes me feel so alone...and I don’t want him to feel that way either.”
“And he can figure out how to feel less alone himself now,” Alya said soothingly. “This guy...I know he has at least one really great friend.”
“Like you?”
“...maybe a little better,” Alya said fondly. “I know he’d move earth to put a smile on Chat Noir’s face, so maybe let this problem fall in his lap instead of yours. You don’t have to do everything to make everyone happy all the time.”
“I want to,” Ladybug muttered.
“ Everybody includes you ,” Alya said firmly. “Take care of yourself first ; let Chat Noir take care of himself now.”
“I worry about him though,” Ladybug said quietly.
Alya glanced down at her phone, seeing a message from Nino flash on her screen.
Nino: hey babe
Nino: can’t make it tonight
Nino: adrien sounds really upset and said he wanted to talk to me about something
“Don’t." Alya smiled as she laid the phone on the bed beside her. “He’s in good hands.”
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hemnalini · 3 years ago
Little over a month ago I found a practically silent classmate insanely cute and developed a crush on him, which lead to some very unpleasant feelings and a lot of self-reflection, as you may have seen.
Now I am friends (sort of) with a classmate whom I find insanely cute but I am no longer anguishing over not being able to act on the attraction.
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#fun fact: this time i asked myself; ''are we crushing; preciousss?''#replied moi; ''we have learnt from the past''#indeed we did :D#i am 2000000% aware that he's extremely handsome and that i am not aro or ace#a month and a half ago i would've crushed head over heels on him maybe#this time i have with me established truth about myself#and also i am not a creep and i am not friendzoning myself or anything#there is simply no wish or agony for a what-if#besides; it was his best friend (at least) who asked me to sit with them and that's how we got talking#you think i actually went to talk to him myself?#boys in oz are worse at making friends with people who don't talk to them first; especially 'foreigners' foreigners#anyway; to sum up; i am definitely attracted to him; but my head is screaming rationalities and for once it's silencing everything else#therefore; i definitely would've had definitive romantic feelings towards him but i know better than that that i know better#also he hasn't seemed to be very interested in being friends with me#i've only talked to him for one day but 99% of the time it felt like he talked to me only because i'm already friends with his friend#the few times he talked to me#when he offered to send me an exam template; he said he'd send it through our mutual friend; instead of directly to me#which would've required asking for my email or fb; and the mutual friend befriended me on fb in front of him while he was silent#not that i'm very bothered about the fb stuff; but it does kinda sting when someone speaks to you only because their friend is speaking to y#ou#so i have a lot of work to do to be friends with him and only one day left of the semester as i see them once a week#i really need friends#and i do feel like i'm being creepy#so here's your regular scoop of 'this week on tanzee's disastrous social and nonexistant love life'#personal
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gukyi · 8 months ago
love me or we both go down | kth
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summary: after going through with an arranged marriage to please his parents and secure his inheritance of the family business, kim taehyung thinks he’s got it all figured out. he doesn’t. apparently just being married to you isn’t enough, not when everybody and their mother can pick up on the fact that the two of you absolutely loathe each other. but taehyung wants his inheritance one way or another, so he decides that desperate times call for desperate measures: the two of you need to fall in love, and you need to fall in love fast.
{enemies to lovers!au, arranged marriage!au, rich kids!au}
pairing: kim taehyung x female reader genre: fluff, angst, smut (i know, crazy right?) word count: 32k warnings: oral sex (m & f receiving), fingering, penetrative sex, multiple unprotected sex scenes (they’re married y’all), fat cock tae, tae has a wife kink, lots of praise, alcohol consumption (but they’re safe), minor character death (not explicit), mentions of heart attack, slow burn like there is no tomorrow a/n: hello and welcome to the fic everyone, literally everyone, has been waiting for! i am so, so, so excited to share this with you all, especially because none other than rose @kinktae​ helped me write the smut, and i am literally forever indebted to her. you all better go spam rose with all the love and support you can because this fic would not be here without her and i love her so much. 
also, to all my readers who aren’t comfortable reading smut, please know that the smut in this fic is not imperative to the storyline, and you skipping past it will not affect your reading experience., enjoy!
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Never in your life have wedding bells felt so ominous.
The sound of them is akin to the sound of strings, of a single piano note in a horror movie, right when the film opens and someone random is about to die on screen for the sake of proving to the audience that this is, in fact, a horror movie. Make no mistake about it; these wedding bells spell doom for you, too. And the most horrific part about them is that just like that poor, helpless soul in the movie, there is no way for you to escape your fate either. 
With only seconds left to go before you have no choice but to promise yourself to the man waiting at the other end of the aisle, you desperately try to think of any last-ditch efforts to get out of this. Many, if not all of them, are utterly useless. 
Feigning sudden illness won’t work, because then your parents will just reschedule the wedding to a later date. Running away is fruitless. Where will you go? The parking lot?
If only you had a lover out there in the audience somewhere that could object to the marriage when the officiant says, “Speak now, or forever hold your peace.” A knight in shining armor that could whisk you out of the venue and off to a new life, far away from here. Too bad all of the people you’ve dated before hate you now. 
Maybe getting married isn’t such a bad thing after all. Instead of having relationships with multiple people who will eventually despise your existence, you only have to have a relationship with one. And the feeling, as has always been, is mutual. 
You bristle as your assistants do some last-minute prepping, fixing your sleeve and adjusting your necklace and making sure you don’t trip on your enormous train. They flutter around you like a swarm of well-meaning but ignorant butterflies complicit in the agenda of your family. None of them have said a word to you about the wedding ever since you arrived at the venue, choosing to talk more about things like the weather. Not that you were ever under the impression they had been hired to entertain you. Maybe they were told to not engage you, just in case you try to conspire with them.
As if they could be of any use in your wildly unrealistic escape plans. 
The truth is that, unless you were to drop dead on this marble flooring right now, you’re getting married. Whether you like it or not.
The doors open. 
You’ve attended red carpets, galas, award shows, and balls. You’ve had hundreds of cameras flashing in your face, the bright light capturing each and every centimeter of you. You’ve had paparazzi waiting outside the restaurants you eat at, the stores you shop at, desperate to catch a picture of you in sweatpants without a drop of makeup on. You’ve been on dates with ex-lovers that looked at you like you were a piece of meat with a credit card. And yet, for some goddamn reason, walking down the aisle in a white dress the size of Pluto, with the rest of your life waiting for you at the other end, makes you feel fucking transparent. 
Face resolute, you clutch onto your bouquet so tightly the flowers feel like they’re about to pop right out of your grasp. Determined not to look at anybody in the audience, you stare straight ahead, right into the eyes of your future husband.
Kim Taehyung, for someone you have seen multiple times drunk off his ass with hickies dotting his neck and jawline, cleans up pretty well. For someone getting married, at least. He dons a simple black tuxedo that still probably costs more than the average car, his caramel brown hair is pushed back off his forehead, and his expression is firm and still. He most certainly has had an equally expensive team prepping him, but they haven’t done too bad a job. The silver lining is that he doesn’t look any more thrilled than you are to be doing this, right here, right now. But to his credit, this is definitely the best he’s ever looked, as far as you’re concerned. 
When you reach him, he offers his hand out to you, a hand that you only accept for the sake of professionalism. The bouquet in your hands is handed off to one of your bridesmaids, and the two of you take your position at the front. Your train drags along the aisle, draping over the few stairs you had to climb to reach the altar, this satin trail behind you that cements you to the floor. It may as well be a ball-and-chain. It’s about as heavy as one, anyway. 
This is the longest you and Taehyung have ever held eye contact. Not that you’re really keeping track of how long the two of you have met each other’s gazes, but if you had to make an educated guess, this would definitely be the victor. Most of the time you end up sneering at each other ten seconds in, but to be fair, those other times you were also not getting married. To one another. In a ceremony attended by hundreds of people. And cameras.
There can be no sneering here. 
“Don’t you look nice?” Taehyung whispers, loud enough so only the two of you can hear. He has that drawling, sickly sweet tone to his voice, the one that you hate because it makes him sound like he thinks he’s so much better than everyone else. “Surprised they were able to makeup that scowl off your face.”
This, of course, brings on a hearty scowl only he can see, your backs both facing the rows of attendees. “How much concealer are you wearing to cover up all of the hickies on your neck?” You quip back easily. It’s not like the two of you are going to pretend he doesn’t waltz around at every club or bar or private venue he can find, looking for his next treat. 
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Taehyung grins, and if you weren’t standing in front of hundreds of people about to get married, there’s no telling what next you would do.
The two of you would probably go on like that for another ten minutes if it’s not for the officiant, who coughs once he’s ready and opens the book in his hands. Next to you, Taehyung straightens, hands clasped together at his front, and lips pressed into a neat line. You do the same. There will be no giggles, no laughter nor smiles, nor any genuine emotion at this wedding. This is a wedding for the sake of politics, for economics, for security, and anyone in attendance would be a fool to think otherwise. Especially you. 
“Ladies and gentlemen, family and friends, loved ones, and esteemed guests,” the officiant bellows, listing off as many groups of people as he possibly can in an effort to both include and compliment every person in the audience, “We are gathered here to celebrate the wedding, and future life, of Taehyung and Y/N…”
Taehyung turns to you, grinning in that god-awful way, the way he does when he feels like he’s got something over you. And sure, you can’t think of any punishment quite as bad as this, but what’s Taehyung got to smile about? He’s marrying himself off to a woman he hates, kissing goodbye his days as a free-spirited, heartbreaking bachelor, and promising what may very well be the rest of his life to loving you. That is not cause for celebration. 
But perhaps, to him, your suffering is enough to bring a smile to his face. 
Your vows are, to put it simply, total bullshit. Your family hired someone to write yours and there’s not a doubt in your mind that his family did the same thing. This nonsense talk, this complete and utter garbage that spews from your perfectly-glossed lips, shit about how you promise to love each other until the end of your days, how you promise to take care of each other when you’re sick and accompany each other at every event, every gala, every ball. Shit about how you promise to look only at each other, promise to uphold your family traditions and become a dependable spouse. 
The words don’t belong to you. But the thing is that this marriage was never yours anyway. 
When the kiss comes, there’s a part of you that thinks maybe you should have psyched yourself up a little more for this. When Taehyung pulls you in, placing a stiff hand on your lower back as he brings you towards his chest, your stomach turns and shivers run down your spine. The feeling of his hand on your body, the breath from his lips brushing against your own, are enough to keep you frozen in place. 
He smiles at you, almost as if to ask, “Are you ready?”
And you squeeze your eyes shut, almost as if to respond, “Let’s do this.”
When his lips meet yours, there is almost nothing. Nothing runs through you, nothing explodes, nothing strikes. But when he pulls away and cheers and applause rings out throughout the room, there is something. A little heat, a remnant of a flame, left on your lips. A little sting, just to remind you it happened. 
The entire hall is cheering but nothing about this is worth celebrating. The fact of the matter is that you and Taehyung will never love each other the way that you are supposed to. 
“Ugh, finally.”
The elevator doors haven’t even properly opened by the time Taehyung is loosening his tie, tugging it off over his head as he stretches his head back and runs a hand through his perfectly-styled hair. As he rakes his fingers through his caramel locks, the hairspray and gel loosens, strands falling down by the side of his face, framing his temple.
“Don’t sound so relieved,” you huff out, deciding now is as good a time as any to start getting undressed yourself. Reaching down to lift up the hem of your reception dress, you tug off your heels, already feeling lighter on your feet. Who cares if Taehyung is watching you pull off your stilettos like a defeated movie heroine? You don’t think you can walk another step in those shoes. “We still have to live together, you know.”
“Don’t remind me,” Taehyung says gruffly, brushing by you roughly as he stomps out of the elevator. “I’m just glad the fucking night is over. I swear, seeing that fake-ass smile on your face made me want to gouge my eyes out.”
You storm after him, refusing to be the helpless damsel in this situation. “Oh, like you didn’t also have that exact same fake-ass smile on your face. It almost made me think you were actually enjoying yourself tonight.”
“I was only enjoying the fact that I know you hate this just as much as I do.” It’s perhaps the only thing you will ever be able to empathize with him on. Mutually relishing in the other’s destruction. Taehyung fumbles with the keypad to the door to the penthouse for a moment before you hear the lock click, the door sliding open as the entrance lights flicker on. 
The reason Taehyung’s penthouse is so clean is because he’s never lived here before. Neither of you have—Taehyung’s parents bought it just for the two of you. And as much as you absolutely despise the idea of having to live with him, at least it was not you who paid for your place of residence. 
You can tell Taehyung’s never lived here before because it’s actually quite nicely decorated inside. The ceilings are high and the sleek velvet curtains are pulled open, revealing a shimmering skyline. The furniture is modern and functional, and the whole damn place smells brand new. You’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of entering the place Taehyung lived in before now, and it looked nothing like this. The furniture was worn and stained despite the live-in maid, the house reeked of five hundred different spices that wafted from the kitchen to the living room, and the bookshelves were covered with comics, graphic novels, and old textbooks. 
If it weren’t for the fact that you and Taehyung are rich kids in their twenties that hate each other, you might have actually thought the place looked… homey. 
You don’t have time to be impressed by the interior design and architecture skills of whoever designed this place. Right now, all you can think about is tugging yourself out of your airtight reception dress and passing out on the nearest bed. Which, hopefully, will be as far away as possible from Taehyung’s bed of choice. 
“How many bedrooms does this place have?” You ask, shimmying along the floor so you don’t trip over the hem of your dress. From the looks of it, you can see one giant hallway to your right and a massive, double-sided staircase leading up. 
“Enough,” Taehyung grumbles in response. The hazy stupor from all of the fancy champagne is starting to wear off for the both of you, leaving behind two grouchy, begrudgingly-married individuals who want absolutely nothing to do with each other and have no problems making that known. Whatever golden light of the evening that was making Taehyung at least a little bit more attractive than usual has faded, and now you see him for what he really is: an unceremoniously tired man in a suit. “You want upstairs or down?”
You gaze up at the marble staircase in front of you, then back down at your too-long dress. “Down.” The last thing you want is to trip in front of the man you have to see, every day, for the rest of your life. 
“Fine by me.” Taehyung’s halfway up the stairs by the time he turns back around to say something else. “I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess?”
“Yeah.” There’s no point in being hostile now. The both of you are too exhausted to mean anything by it. Besides, what else can you say? Everything to complain about has already been complained about. At least the two of you managed to wrestle out from your parents the stipulation that you would not be going on a honeymoon together. Now that would have been your worst nightmare. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
It’s as good of a goodnight either of you are going to get. Taehyung heads up the stairs and disappears around a corner, and you start wandering down the hallway. All the bedrooms look the exact same other than different colors on the walls and bedsheets, but they all look serviceable to you. Clean. Empty. Far away from wherever Taehyung is. 
You pick the one at the very end of the hall just to be as much of a diva as possible, and don’t even bother drawing the curtains before tugging off your dress. It’s past one in the morning, and you’re so high up you don’t think anyone will be able to see you anyway. By the time you’ve stripped naked and are tugging up the too-tight sheets tucked into the mattress, your legs are about to give out beneath you. The bed could be made of rocks for all you care. Anything to lie down on is fine by you. 
Sleep comes fairly easily to you tonight. Once your head hits the pillow you can already feel yourself drifting off, eyelids fluttering shut, but you don’t sleep quite yet. Not before you can think about how this is your life now, sleeping in a foreign bed in a foreign place with a foreign husband upstairs. This is what you will be living in now. Now and forever. 
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Living with Taehyung is, in both the best and worst ways possible, like living with a roommate that doesn’t give a shit about the fact that they live with another person. It’s good, because you and Taehyung hardly see each other and speak even less, which was pretty much the only thing you were asking for when it came to living with him. But it also sucks, because whenever you do happen to cross paths, Taehyung acts like you don’t exist, barely sparing you a hello or even that tight-lipped smile you send to drivers on the road when they let you cross the street. 
Not that the two of you ever engaged in energetic conversation before you got married. But at least the two of you would acknowledge each other, even if only to shoot a glare and a scowl the other’s way from opposite sides of a hotel ballroom. Maybe it’s just because it’s him, but you did always find yourself actually relishing in those little interactions with Taehyung. In this strange, twisted way, it seemed to provide some sort of continuity to your ever-changing life. Like no matter what happened, at least you would know that the two of you would always despise each other. 
To be frank, right now you’re not sure if Taehyung even remembers he got married at all.
Nights have been a lot more sleepless since your wedding day. After two weeks, the reality of it has finally started to settle in. This is your life now. And ever since you realized that, your bed has felt much less comfortable. 
“But the place is nice, right?”
You look around the living room from where you’re sat on the sleek, white suede leather couch, eyes glossing over the bookshelves, the floor-to-ceiling windows, the draping velvet curtains. From here, you can see the entire city skyline, flecks of gold from the windows of skyscrapers against a navy blue background. Slowly, as the moon creeps over the sky and the clock gets later and later, those lights will soon begin to flicker off, one by one. 
“Yeah, it’s not bad.” Nothing to write home about. That is, if home were a place other than here. 
“That’s good. At least you don’t live in, like, a total dump or anything,” Victoria says on the other end of the line. “How’s Taehyung?”
His name alone elicits this deeply-exhausted sigh from your lips, like it’s been ten years since you married and every day has felt worse than the last. “Fine.” You can’t really complain about anything yet, considering that you hardly ever see the man. 
“Just ‘fine’?” Victoria sounds skeptical. 
“Yeah,” you draw out the word, as if trying to convince yourself of its truth. “I mean, it’s like he doesn’t even live here. I barely see him. And when I do, we don’t even speak to each other.”
“That’s good though, isn’t it? You hate him.” Victoria says it like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. And in a sense, it kind of is. 
“I mean…”
“I know that your life hasn’t exactly… gone the way you had planned, but isn’t this your best case scenario when considering everything?” She asks. “If Taehyung is as distant as you say he is, isn’t it almost like you never married him in the first place?”
As if on cue, you hear footsteps coming down the stairs, heels clicking on the marble as they make their way to the entrance. You whip your head around to find Taehyung, all dressed up in loose, flowy slacks and a flowery silk button-down, strolling down the staircase as he scrolls through his phone, paying you zero attention whatsoever. 
He notices you briefly when he reaches the bottom, meeting your eyes with his own. He offers this measly, unenthused half-smile your way before he grabs his wallet and some house keys from the table by the entrance, opens the door, and vanishes off into the night. 
If you hadn’t been in the living room, you probably wouldn’t have even realized he left. Not that you being present as he’s planning on leaving would have stopped him anyway. This is the sixth night he’s done this in the past two weeks. You could stand by the door and stare him down as he emerges from his bedroom, all dressed up for something you’re definitely not invited to, and he would offer you that same goddamn smile and walk out the door without even blinking. Who he was before you got married and who he is now are no different. Not even a ring could change that. 
“I guess,” you tell Victoria. At least Taehyung hasn’t turned into a helicopter husband. “I don’t know. Maybe I just wish that I didn’t have to deal with him at all.”
Wish you could turn back time. Wish you could worm your way out of an arranged marriage before it was too late. Wish you could go back to the way things used to be. 
You and Victoria talk for another couple of minutes before she regretfully has to end the call, citing both her beauty sleep and an 8AM meeting tomorrow morning as her reasons for hanging up. The moment you put the phone down, you sink back into the couch cushions, staring out the windows at the world below you.
Here’s the deal. What Taehyung does in his free time is none of your business. But also, it’s totally your business, because you are his spouse. A spouse who is an equal amount in the public eye as he is. What he does and does not do has a direct impact on what you do and do not do. 
It’s no secret that when you catch Taehyung sauntering down the stairs looking like a Gucci runway model, it’s not because he’s planning on catching a movie with a college friend and then playing video games for four hours on a couch in a basement. He is going out. To clubs, to parties, to exclusive events that he’s been invited to by his equally-rich friends, all of whom are acting like he’s the same bachelor he’s always been. 
And maybe that’s the real problem with your whole marriage—other than the glaringly obvious issue that it’s a marriage wholly unwanted by the two parties involved in it. Despite the ring on his finger, Taehyung is going out and pretending that nothing in his life has changed while you’re trapped at home, desperate to save you and your family’s reputation by keeping as low a profile as possible. You would give anything to march around the city all day, flashing middle fingers at paparazzi as you shop at your favorite high-end stores and frequent your favorite clubs. But you can’t, because your family’s fortune and influence is on the line. 
And apparently, Taehyung’s isn’t. 
It sort of makes you wonder why it was even Taehyung you ended up marrying anyway. His family isn’t any richer or more powerful than yours. Your spheres have always been sufficiently separate. What was it about him, and perhaps more importantly, his family that drew your parent’s eye? And what was it about marrying you that prevented him from saying no? Money? Prestige? Influence?
You suppose you’ll never know. But whatever mystical force that convinced Taehyung to agree to this must not be as important to him as your reasoning is to you, because it’s become exceedingly apparent that Taehyung does not care that he’s married. He doesn’t care about the ring on his finger, he doesn’t care about his public image, and he most certainly doesn’t care about you.
Perhaps you were naive for thinking this, but you actually believed marriage might tone him down a little. Might age him into a real adult with real world obligations. Instead, it’s only given you a firsthand look into who Kim Taehyung has been and always will be: a selfish rich kid.
You don’t bother waiting around in the living room until he gets back, but you are still awake by the time you hear the door creak open. Taehyung makes no efforts to hide his return. You can hear him chattering loudly on the phone as he stumbles up the stairs, can tell from his gait alone that he is most certainly wasted. You don’t want to know what he did tonight. You’ll probably be able to figure it out anyway when you wake up tomorrow morning and check your social media. 
What were you thinking, marrying him? That he would change? That he would suddenly become someone that you could rely on? You had no choice when you said, “I do,” but you were at least hoping that maybe one day, one day in a long, long time, the two of you would finally see eye to eye. Maybe there would even come a time when you would genuinely love him. How foolish. 
You close your eyes and try to imagine a world where you have married someone you love, someone who loves you back.
Not unlike the many nights preceding it, tonight is sleepless. 
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Unlike your marital status and general disposition, one thing that hasn’t changed about you is your love for extravagant events. Call you conceited, but there is something so much fun about putting on a fancy, expensive dress that you love and getting your hair and makeup done before going to an exclusive gala and posing in front of five hundred cameras. 
Actually, now that you think about it, maybe your wedding could have actually been pretty good, considering it let you do all those things. It’s a real shame there happened to be a storm cloud in the form of Kim Taehyung there to ruin it. Otherwise, you think you would have rather enjoyed that day. 
Tonight is the first event since your marriage where you and Taehyung are both required to show up and act like a happy married couple. Which would probably be a lot easier if you and Taehyung had exchanged more than ten words over the past two weeks. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but there was a part of you that thought you could use your arranged marriage to actually cultivate some sort of meaningful relationship between the two of you. So events like these wouldn’t be such a drain on both of you. 
When Kim Taehyung comes down the stairs, he actually doesn’t look too bad. You don’t know why this sort of thing keeps catching you off guard—like you don’t expect him to look that good whenever you see him. The problem is that you can’t even chalk up the surprise to him wearing tailored clothes or having his hair done. He just looks… good. 
Well, you suppose you do have to look at him every day for the rest of your life. It’s a good thing he’s attractive. At least he’s not sore on the eyes. 
Taehyung and his unfortunate attractiveness aside, the two of you don’t say a word to each other as you join up at the entrance, grabbing any last-minute items like house keys, chapstick, and whatever dignity you have left to spare. You send forced smiles and tight nods each other’s way in the elevator, staring straight ahead in the lobby of your building as the car pulls up to the front door.
By the time the two of you sit down in the back of the limousine, the built-up tension between the two of you is so thick you’re almost positive that even the chauffeur can feel it through the closed partition. 
If you were any more idyllic, you’d probably spend the drive over to the gala staring out the window and imagining yourself in a different life, on a train to nowhere, flowers in your hair and a journal in your hands. Or perhaps you’d be the CEO of your family’s company instead of having that responsibility passed down to a husband you don’t even want, sitting in an office at the top of a skyscraper overlooking the city. Anything. Anything but this.
But the idyllic part of you died when you realized that fantasies like that are nothing but distractions and that daydreams are for romantics and optimists and losers. 
“What’s our plan for tonight?”
Taehyung scoffs. “What do you mean, ‘what’s our plan’?”
You frown. “Well, we’re married, so we at least have to act like it, don’t you think?”
“Isn’t standing there and smiling enough?” Taehyung asks, an unimpressed eyebrow raised. 
You bristle. Maybe that sufficed for your wedding, but there was so much going on it was easy to distract yourself from the gravity of it all. But this event is not about you. It’s not even about either of your families. It’s about someone the two of you are, at best, distantly connected to, through work, through fame, through power. Which means that though the focus will not be on you, there will still be eyes looking your way. Eyes watching your every move. 
“Do you think it will be?” You challenge. Doesn’t Taehyung realize that things are different now?
Taehyung’s lips curl downwards. “What do you expect us to do, shower each other in kisses? We don’t even sleep on the same fucking floor.”
“Maybe I just expected you to act less like a stranger and more like a husband!”
Taehyung sighs. “Don’t.” The word is clipped, short. “Don’t tell me you actually want to be married.”
“I don’t.” It’s a response that you hardly have to think twice about. “But we are, and nothing can change that.” Unfortunately. But it’s a fact that you and Taehyung have both had to grapple with over the past few weeks, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that you are more aware of it than he is. If Taehyung could have his way, he would ignore you for the rest of his life and keep partying with the rest of his bachelor friends until he keeled over and died. 
He huffs next to you, eyes staring straight ahead. You don’t think the two of you have met each other’s eyes in a week. Maybe more. They’re starting to feel as soulless as your marriage itself. “Whatever. What do you want me to do?”
“What do you think?” You cross your arms over your chest. “Just act like you don’t hate me. Can you do that?” The way Taehyung’s behaving right now, you expect that will be a challenge for the both of you.
“Only if you can. I’ll even hold your hand to prove that we love each other.”
The idea of holding Taehyung’s hand makes you want to implode. The mere thought sends shivers down your spine. But it’s better than nothing, and that’s good enough for you. At least you won’t have to kiss. 
The rest of the ride there is silent. You drive to this gorgeous mansion just outside the city, bathed in lights hidden amongst the bushes, illuminating both the architecture and the enormous fountain that sits in front of it. In a house this size, you imagine you could probably go your whole life without ever having to come across Taehyung. It actually makes you consider investing in a home that big. 
Taehyung helps you out of the back of the limousine, a cold hand clasping your own as you rest your palm against his. You can feel the way his fingers hesitate as yours make to intertwine with his as you walk towards the entrance, smiling at whatever camera flashes you encounter on your way. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were holding hands with a ghost. 
The moment you step inside and are ushered out of the door’s view, Taehyung’s grip relaxes on yours. For a moment, you think he’ll actually spend the rest of the night like this, a gentle hand wrapped around yours, but then he pulls it away entirely and shoves it back into his pocket. Oh. You frown quietly to yourself. So that’s how tonight’s going to go. 
You don’t make an effort to reach out towards him again. 
For an event concerning people you don’t know a damn thing about, everyone sure seems to know things about you. Other than greetings, you don’t think anyone’s said anything to you about anything other than your recent marriage to Taehyung. Every conversation is punctuated by a Congratulations! you do not feel that you have at all earned, considering you and Taehyung could barely look at each other on the way here.
Maybe Taehyung was right. All you really can do is stand there and smile.
“Oh, don’t tell me… Y/N, is that you?”
The champagne swirls around in the flute between your fingers as you turn towards the sound of your name, looking up to see a familiar face headed your way. 
Kim Seokjin is nice enough. He’s terribly handsome and got a flawless smile, but you know better than to trust those pearly whites of his. The sight of him alone is enough to make your body tense up. There was a reason you had explicitly told your parents not to invite him to your wedding. 
“Seokjin, what a surprise to see you here,” you say, forcing a smile. “I thought you were supposed to be in Switzerland right now.”
“Change of plans,” Seokjin grins back in that awful, awful way, the kind of grin that makes you feel like he’s looking right through you. “I came back early. It’s a shame, though, I missed your wedding.”
You shrug. “It was a humble affair.” It wasn’t. And you’re positive that Seokjin knows it wasn’t an accident that you didn’t extend an invitation to him or his family. 
“Ah, I see,” Seokjin says, nodding his head. He turns to Taehyung next to you, who is making no effort to hide how wholly uninterested in this conversation he is, and holds out a hand. “You must be Kim Taehyung, then. I’m Kim Seokjin. Congratulations on your wedding.”
Taehyung shakes his hand firmly, the air between the three of you growing unbearably palpable. 
“Seokjin’s father is the VP of News Daily,” You explain, eyebrows raised as you try to signal to Taehyung what exactly it means when Seokjin is speaking to the two of you. “And his mother is a popular journalist for the city’s post.”
Seokjin grew up in the world of media, and it seems he’s picked up his parent’s affinity for sticking their noses in places they don’t belong. You know he’s not talking to the both of you out of the goodness of his heart. 
Seokjin laughs, his hand waving away the mention of his parents. “Oh, please. That’s them. I’m just a bored socialite like the rest of you.”
You resist the urge to scoff. 
“Marriage treating the two of you well?” He changes the subject to what he really wants to talk about: you. 
“Of course,” you say quickly, preventing any hesitation on your end. Your empty hand reaches towards Taehyung’s, fingers searching for his between the two of you. But his refusal to join hands does not go unnoticed by you nor Seokjin, who is eyeing the space between your bodies with an eyebrow raised. “It’s just been—well, it’s just been difficult to adjust to a new life. That’s all.”
If you were to describe the face of a non-believer, it would be the exact expression on Seokjin’s face. “Perfectly understandable,” he says, that same toothy smile lacing his features. “But it must be nice, you know, to marry someone you love.”
“I couldn’t be happier,” you say, almost challenging Seokjin to say something even more inflammatory. He must know that all you’re trying to do at this point is save face. Love? Ha! As if. 
“And Taehyung?” Seokjin motions to your husband. 
You can feel the way Taehyung is stiffening beside you. “I suppose we are both lucky and unlucky in many ways when it comes to who we love.”
It’s enough of an answer to get Seokjin off your tail. For now. He bids the two of you a tense goodbye before sauntering off to go poke his nose in someone else’s business, fish for drama, a thread of a rumor he can pick apart with nimble fingers. You wonder if anybody actually likes him. 
The moment he disappears from earshot, you grab Taehyung’s wrist tightly and pull him close to you. “What the hell was that?” You hiss into his ear. 
“What?” You can’t tell if he’s playing dumb or if he really is that dense. 
“You!” You exclaim. “Kim Seokjin is the one person who could easily expose how fake this marriage is and you pull away from me? Right in front of him? You can’t even hold my hand for two seconds, that’s how much you hate me?”
“Who cares what he thinks?” Taehyung says. “He’s just another media rat. No one will even remember we were here tomorrow.”
“But if you keep acting like this, people will start to notice! Why can’t you just act like you don’t hate me, for one night? Is that so bad? Is it that torturous, to spend one night with me?”
“Do not turn this on me,” Taehyung orders harshly. “You’re making a scene. Come on.”
You don’t have time to shout at him for bossing you around like you’re a toddler throwing a tantrum before he drags you out of the venue, the two of you finding a back door to the building that leads outside. The cold air blows against your body, goosebumps popping up against your skin, but you find that the chilly night provides quite the respite after practically overheating indoors. Taehyung makes fire rush through your veins but at least the air can cool you back down. 
Nevertheless, your conversation is not over. It’s just been moved to a more private location.
“You do realize that our marriage isn’t going to suddenly go away, right? That we’re going to have to keep doing this for the rest of our lives?” You remind him, eyebrows raised. There’s a part of you that genuinely thinks he’s completely forgotten that your marriage is permanent.
“Oh, and not holding hands for five minutes for this one event is totally going to change the course of our lives, isn’t it?” Taehyung fights back.
“Don’t act like you did the right thing,” you spit out. “You don’t have to pretend in front of me. I know you don’t give a shit about our marriage.”
“What marriage is there to even give a shit about? Just because we had a wedding and signed some documents does not mean there is a real marriage between us. Look at us,” he motions between the two of you like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “We hate each other. Is this what you would call marriage?”
“But at least I’m trying to get past that!” You exclaim. “You make it seem like being as miserable as possible is some sort of badge of honor. Do you actually want to spend the rest of your life hating the person you married? Or do you want to grow up and try and move on?”
Taehyung frowns. “What I want is for the person I married to stop acting like they’re doing me such a huge favor by pretending to care about us. Especially when all they really care about is their family’s goddamn reputation.”
“No,” you tell him sternly. You are doing him a favor. He just can’t admit that he actually needs help from you. “You are putting zero effort into this. What am I supposed to do?”
“Let it go!” Taehyung shouts. “Maybe one day we’ll actually start getting along, but right now it’s obvious that neither one of us can stand the other. I don’t need you to do favors for me. I can handle it myself.”
You look away, rolling your eyes. “Doesn’t look like it to me,” you mutter to yourself. 
Taehyung cracks. “Fine. You want me to pretend that I actually care about us? I will.” Thank God. Maybe now the two of you will finally start seeing eye-to-eye. “But make no mistake about how I feel about you,” he spits. “Getting married to you ruined my life.”
You stare straight at him and his eyes are swirling, so obscured in the darkness of the night that you might even think he doesn’t have a soul at all. His pupils bore into yours and for once, for once in your goddamn life, after so many years of staring each other down at debutante balls, so many years of witty refrains and snarky insults hurled each other’s way, it feels like the two of you might actually snap. 
Then, a camera flashes.
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Trouble in Paradise! would be a suitable title for the front page of the city’s biggest tabloid… if anything about your life with Taehyung could be considered paradise. Unfortunately for the both of you, that is not the case. 
You don’t need to keep reading the rest of the trashy article on the front page of the daily tabloid to know how much trouble you’re in, nor do you even have time to scroll beneath the terrible photo of you and Taehyung literally shouting at each other before you hear your phone ring. 
You don’t even bother saying hello to whoever’s on the other end. You know it’ll go in one ear and out the other. 
“I assume you know why I’m calling,” your mother’s harsh tone spits from the other end of the phone. There’s no doubt in your mind that she’s standing in the middle of her office, snapping her fingers at her fifteen secretaries as they partake in the worst damage control your family’s had to deal with since your cousin two years ago was caught with a mistress outside a high-profile restaurant. 
“Can I take a wild guess?” You’re about to be scolded into the next century, so you might as well enjoy your last few moments. 
“Don’t get cheeky with me,” your mother warns. “Care to explain why you and your beloved husband made the front page of the Daily Post today?”
“I know,” you sigh, a hand coming up to rub at your temples. It’s eight in the morning, you’ve barely looked at your phone, and you haven’t even brushed your teeth yet. It feels like you’re still asleep, and most certainly lack the energy to deal with this right now. 
Your mother, on the other hand, thinks otherwise. “You know? You know, and you still go out and do this? For everyone to see?”
“We tried to take our argument outside,” you begin to explain, but your mother isn’t having a single word of it. 
“The fact that you thought it was even appropriate to have an argument in a public setting at all astounds me, Y/N. We raised you better than that.” There’s no need for you to even see her face. You’ve grown so used to that disappointed frown over the years that it’s burned into your brain. 
“Maybe you should have thought about that before marrying me off to a man I barely know so I could be someone else’s problem instead of yours,” you bite. 
“We did this for your own good,” she hisses back. “You are married because we love you, and we want you to succeed outside of this family.”
“Then why do you care what the tabloids print about me?”
“Because being married does not mean you are no longer a part of this family,” your mother informs you sternly, lips smacking together. “Your marriage reflects on all of us, and you know that. What will people think of us when they see how terribly behaved you are?”
“Everyone acts like that, and you know it.” How could your mother preach good behavior when everyone, everyone you know, is just as spoiled and entitled as you? There’s no such thing as being altruistic when it comes to people like you. Being genuine, and good, and pure—that will get you ruined. 
You can hear her breathing into the phone when your mother responds, “But not in public, and that is the point. We expect better from you.”
“If you were so worried about me behaving so badly, then why did you even marry me off anyway? You knew that I didn’t want to. What did you think would happen?” It’s a question you wouldn’t have dared ask three months ago. Hell, even a year ago, when it was first revealed you were to be engaged, you wouldn’t have dared open your lips. But things are different now. You’re married to a man that hates you just as much as you hate him. He is making no effort to improve your relationship and seems hellbent on despising you forever. There is no way to get out of it. And if your parents really foresaw all of that, then what was the point in the first place?
“Your grandmother.”
Your mouth shuts. 
“You know she wanted to see you married before she passed,” your mother says, words clipped and biting and harsh. “She cares about you. She wanted to make sure you’d be taken care of.”
“I don’t need anyone to take care of me,” you mutter to yourself like a petulant child. In a way, you sort of are.
“If you want to stay in her will, I suggest you change that mindset.”
You freeze in your tracks. The will?
“Is that a threat?” You ask, positively dumbfounded. Are you being coerced into staying in this marriage because of your grandmother’s will?
You can hear your mother laugh, that muted, knowing chuckle of hers. “It was the deal all along, remember?”
Vaguely, you do. You remember fighting your parents tooth and nail over getting married until your grandmother revealed it was her dream to see you wed. You remember the look on her old, wrinkled face, that soft, sad smile that said she knew she didn’t have much time left. You remember agreeing, because how could you deny her? You remember her promising to remember what you’re doing for her. 
“You’re kidding.”
“I’m not.”
“That’s the end of this conversation, Y/N. You fix things with your husband or you’re out of her will. She’s made that clear. I expect you’ll make the right choice.”
She hangs up. 
There are a lot of ways to describe how you’re currently feeling, and you most certainly had an expensive education that would provide you with plenty of the vocabulary, but you think the most appropriate words for the current situation would be: you’re fucked. 
At least the feeling is mutual. 
Hardly two minutes after your mother’s brutal phone call, Taehyung comes storming down the stairs, hair still mussed from the night prior, his own phone clenched tightly between is fingers. Even from where you stand in the middle of the living room, you can see the way his eyes are glinting with anger, the veins popping out from his skin. 
“I just got off the phone with my parents,” Taehyung begins, not even bothering to spare a ‘good morning’ your way, “and they are fucking furious about last night.”
You shrug. “Join the club,” you mutter, arms crossed in front of you. What, does Taehyung really think you got off scot-free?
“Don’t act like this means nothing to you,” Taehyung says as he approaches you, footsteps calm despite his demeanor being anything but. “You’re the one who’s so obsessed with keeping up their family’s perfect reputation. You’re the reason we’re even in this mess in the first place.”
“What do you mean, ‘I’m the reason’?” You ask, astounded. Like he’s totally absolved of all blame and just an innocent third party. “You are the reason we went outside. You are the reason we had that argument, because you refuse to accept the fact that we’re actually married and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
“Right, because holding hands is really gonna show all those people how in love we are. I bet your parents are so thrilled right now.” Taehyung drawls. 
“It’s a start!” You shriek. “God, you’re just so—so infuriating! You can’t accept that this was your fault, too. You just have to turn everything against me and you always, always have to get the last word. It’s like you think you’ll die if you don’t.”
“Like you’re any better,” Taehyung huffs back. “You think I’m the villain because I don’t want to pretend to be in love with someone I’m not in love with. You act like us not holding hands is going to ruin our lives. It was one event! One! It’s obvious we hate each other, so why even try?”
“What, do you expect me to just sit around and do nothing? To act like everything’s fine? Like I’m happy?” As if. This marriage is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. “While you prance around the city with your rich boy friends, going out to clubs and parties and pretending that I don’t exist? Is that what you expect from me?”
Taehyung laughs, this loud, disbelieving sort of noise, like he’s never heard such nonsense before. “Just because we’re married doesn’t mean the rest of my life has to change. Am I not allowed to enjoy myself with my friends? Or are you determined to keep me chained to your side for the rest of our lives?”
“What I want,” you punctuate every word, “is for you to stop acting like you haven’t got stakes in this, too. You think I don’t know how your family works? What being married to me means for you? Because I do. And I know that if we were to divorce, it would be you who would get the short end of the stick. Make no mistake.”
That’s enough to shut Taehyung up for a good few seconds. And it shuts him up, because he knows it’s true. Taehyung’s family may have a little more money, a little more power than yours, but you’ve got a family intimately more connected with the media. One phone call and Taehyung may have a rather messy, rather public breakup to deal with. 
“You wouldn’t,” he says, calling your bluff. 
“Are you sure about that?” You say, sticking your ground. You would never really divorce him, of course, but he doesn’t need to know that.
“I am,” Taehyung says firmly. “Don’t think I don’t know what being married to me is in it for you. What is it? Money? Power? Your father’s CEO position?”
“That’s none of your business,” you snap quickly. Maybe you’re more transparent than you thought. Bristling, you straighten your shoulders and turn back to meet his eyes. “Regardless, it seems we both have a reason to stay in this marriage.”
“It seems we do,” Taehyung agrees with a thin, contained smile. “Then I suppose we can reach some sort of agreement.”
“As in…?” Your interest in piqued. 
“I’ll stop going out with my friends if you stop picking fights with me all the time,” he says economically, like he’s killing two birds with one stone. 
“Only if you agree to also act more like my husband when we’re in public,” you tack on, because you just can’t settle for anything less. 
“Public only,” Taehyung specifies. 
You scoff. “Like I’d even want to pretend to be your wife when we’re in private.”
“Good. It seems we’ve come to a deal.”
“What’s in this for you, huh?” You prod, just to be annoying. Taehyung’s right. There’s a reason you’re not divorcing him the second you get the chance. But there must be a reason why he’s not doing the same thing. 
“Does it matter?” He challenges, a single eyebrow raised. “My life is just as awful as yours.”
Fair enough. 
“Do we have a deal?” Taehyung asks, holding out his hand, that sneaky, devilish grin lacing his features. 
Taking his hand in yours and grasping it firmly is the easiest decision in the world. His palm presses against your own, hot hand meeting your cold skin, and it feels like the two of you are finally finding some sort of balance. You look up into his eyes, burn your gaze into his pupils, watch them glint in the white ceiling light of the living room. 
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For two people raised on the values of reading the fine print and making educated choices when it comes to business deals, you and Taehyung sure haven’t worked out any of the intricacies of the deal the two of you agreed to. Unlike those business deals your parents constantly agreed to, however, knowing all of the stipulations and provisions of your strange, strange agreement with Taehyung may prove more harmful than helpful. 
Like right now. 
“Wait, we don’t have to be by each other’s side the whole night, do we?” Taehyung asks you, eyebrows furrowed in a knot, as you sit in the back of a big, black van on your way to a mutual friend’s twenty-first birthday bash. 
“There are going to be a lot of cameras there,” you respond. 
“Yeah, outside the entrance to the damn club. You know they won’t be allowed in, so who cares?” Taehyung rebukes. 
You huff out a little sigh, not wanting to get into an argument when you’re literally minutes away from your first public appearance since the whole tabloid debacle from three weeks ago. You and Taehyung could both do with being a bit more relaxed than you normally are when you’re around each other. 
“Hasn’t Clarissa invited hundreds of people? They’ll all notice if we aren’t together,” you remind pointedly. The girl whose birthday party you are attending is an heiress who grew up on the money of two people with a monopoly over the current artificial intelligence market and has millions of followers on social media. There will be notable people there. And people will know the two of you, as well. 
Taehyung rolls his eyes. “That’s the point, Y/N. There’ll be so many people, no one will even care. It’s her twenty-first birthday. Do you think people are going to be sober?”
You purse your lips together. He’s got a point. “How about when we are together, we hold hands. But if you see a friend or something then feel free to say hi.” Taehyung can be afforded that luxury. Especially because the chances of him not bumping into someone he knows is exceedingly low anyway. 
Taehyung nods in agreement. “You too. But I won’t leave you unless I know you’re with someone you’re close with.”
“You don’t have to stay, I’ll be fine,” you say with a small chuckle. What, is Taehyung suddenly worried, or something?
“Yeah, but it would be in bad taste if I left you with someone you didn’t know well. Or alone. Just wanna make sure you’re taken care of.” He shrugs nonchalantly, turning back to look out of the window on his side of the car. 
You don’t really have anything else to say to that. You’re sure you can handle yourself if you’re left alone for a few minutes while Taehyung says hi, but you actually find yourself rather appreciative of his resolve to look after you. Or, at least, make sure someone else is looking after you. It’s quite… chivalrous. Strikingly out of character for the Taehyung you’ve become well-acquainted with over the past couple of months. 
By the time you arrive, it’s obvious that Taehyung was right about there being so many people you two practically don’t even exist. Other than the herds of camera crews waiting outside the joint, photographing everyone that steps out of a black car to see what they’re wearing and who they’ve come with, no one seems to be paying you any attention. And in a way, that sort of nonexistence, that anonymity, it’s refreshing. Your entire life you’ve felt like all eyes were on you, like there was constantly a spotlight above your head, but here, the party centers around someone else. 
Despite that fact, Taehyung keeps his promise. He keeps himself pressed closely against you when there’s not enough space for you two to stand side by side, and he makes sure to have a hand gently intertwined with your own as you weave your way through the dozens of bodies in the room. He doesn’t say anything, of course, always looking up and forward instead of beside him, where you stand, but you find that you’re actually quite relaxed with his presence. He spots a bit of a clearing near the back of the first floor of the club, where a whole bunch of leather couches are pressed up against the brick walls, where the two of you can take a breather. 
“Damn, Clarissa knows a lot of people,” you say when you finally settle down, happily plucking a martini from a tray held by one of the many caterers wandering through the venue. 
“I doubt she’s even spoken to half of them,” Taehyung comments. “She and I have maybe spoken once… three years ago.”
“It was enough to get you invited, wasn’t it?” You point out with an eyebrow raised. 
Taehyung nods, chuckling a little. “Touché,” he says, clinking his own cocktail glass against yours. 
You take a swig of the drink, letting it wash down your throat. You’re not exactly sure how else you’re supposed to survive the night. “You must enjoy this, huh?” You muse, looking up at Taehyung from where you’re seated on the couch. He’s standing next to you, looking around the room with a distant gaze in his eye. 
“Enjoy what? The drink? It’s nice,” Taehyung says, having another sip. 
“No, I mean this,” you say, motioning toward the crowd. “The clubbing, the dancing, the drinking. I’ll bet that if you could do this every day for the rest of your life, you would.”
“I’m honored that you think so highly of me,” he deadpans. 
“Just making an observation,” you say, holding your hand up in surrender. “I mean, isn’t this what you used to do every weekend before we got married? Get wasted and party? Wake up in someone else’s bed the next morning? Muscle your way through the week just so you could do it all over again?”
Taehyung shakes his head, a knowing grin on his face. “Looks like someone keeps up with her tabloids. Let me guess, you would scroll through all of those trashy articles on your phone whenever you woke up so you could see what your future husband was doing?”
“I could have never even met you and I would know that that’s exactly what you do,” you say, even though you definitely did do those things before your engagement was announced to the public. “You’re a heartbreaker, Kim Taehyung. I don’t need to read a tabloid to know that.”
“Well, you must be quite the lucky girl, then,” Taehyung comments. “You seem to be taking up so much of my energy that I don’t have the time for that anymore.”
You place a sarcastic hand on your heart. “I didn’t know you were always thinking about me. I’m touched.”
“Don’t get used to it,” Taehyung huffs out, making the two of you both shake your heads as you chuckle to yourselves. First civil conversation you’ve had with each other in a long while, even if there may have been a few blows exchanged. 
The privacy doesn’t last long. Soon after, a huge crowd of people that could honestly still pass for teenagers herds towards the back of the club, all of them wanting to take pictures with each other. You and Taehyung do your best to stay out of the way, but one of the girls recognizes him from the Elle photoshoot he did about a year ago and begins to strike up a conversation with the both of you about your recent marriage. If she was paying attention to anything the tabloids leaked three weeks ago, she doesn’t mention it. Taehyung smiles and happily answers all of her questions, and even offers to take a picture of the group for them. The conversation ends before the two of you even catch her name. 
You’re standing by the line of buffet tables laid out against the staircase leading up to the second floor, no doubt as crowded as this one, when the opportunity for you to speak to someone other than Taehyung finally presents itself. 
You’d recognize that voice anywhere. You turn around to see Victoria barreling towards the both of you, not even caring when she accidentally spills a bit of her piña colada on the floor as she does. 
“Hey!” You exclaim excitedly. “I didn’t know you’d be here.”
“Are you kidding? I’m pretty sure Clarissa invited everyone on her, her best friend’s, her best friend’s cousin, and her best friend’s cousin’s dog’s contact list,” Victoria says with a laugh. “It’s nice to see you. I feel like you’ve been holed up in that big ol’ penthouse for weeks.”
“Damage control,” you remind her succinctly. Victoria knows enough that that’s all the explanation she really needs. 
“I don’t know if the two of you have ever met formally,” you say, thinking back to your wedding, where Victoria spent most of her time schmoozing with your parents (who love her) and didn’t even engage with any of the people who Taehyung’s family had invited. “Taehyung, this is Victoria. Victoria, Taehyung.”
“Pleasure,” Victoria says in that loud, unabashedly forward way of hers, holding out a friendly hand. Taehyung smiles back curtly, taking her hand and shaking it gently, so as not to spill any more of her drink. 
“Mine as well. I remember you were at our wedding.” Oh? So he does know her?
“That I was. Oh, I miss that day. The food was excellent. Tonight’s isn’t too bad either. Hope you’re doing well, the two of you. It’s nice to see you getting along,” she says, always the observer. 
Taehyung’s eyes widen a little when he picks up what Victoria is not-so-subtly putting down, but you place a hand on his upper arm to calm him. “It’s okay,” you tell him. “She won’t say anything.”
“My lips are sealed,” Victoria adds. 
“If you wanna go spend time with some of your friends, you can,” you say, giving Taehyung a nudge. He looks positively helpless standing in between the two of you as Victoria out-extroverts him. 
“Alright,” he says hesitantly, even though you know he’s already spotted at least ten people you’re sure he’d want to spend time with over you. “I’ll come find you soon, okay? Don’t go too far.”
You nod, and Taehyung disappears off into the crowd. Not two seconds later, you hear someone else call his name in a familiar tone. 
“I thought you said you hated him,” Victoria points out as the two of you watch his caramel brown hair makes its way throughout the crowd. 
You take another sip of your drink. “I do,” you say. 
Victoria looks at you like you’ve just told her you’ve sworn off custard-filled doughnuts. 
“What?” You ask, feeling suddenly defensive. 
“Nothing,” Victoria singsongs. “It just doesn’t look like that to me.”
“We just need to keep up a good appearance in public, that’s all. You know how mad my parents got when the tabloids leaked all that shit a few weeks ago,” you explain. You’re not sure what all the fuss is about. Taehyung said he would do these things. And he did. That was him upholding his end of the deal. This is you upholding yours. 
“If you say so…” Victoria says, not looking at all convinced. “I guess I’m just surprised that—that you two seem to be getting along so well. Maybe you being married isn’t going to be the worst thing after all.”
You stare back out into the crowd, scanning the top of people’s heads for Taehyung’s familiar locks. In the dim light of the club, you have a difficult time finding his, squinting your eyes slightly as you look around, but eventually you spot him, dancing happily with some old friends of his you recognize. He looks like he’s having a good time. And that makes you feel like maybe, just maybe, this might end up alright. 
“Yeah,” you say, though with the pounding of the bass and the alcohol already rushing through your veins, it doesn’t really feel like your voice belongs to you. You look back at Taehyung, knowing exactly where he is now, and you smile. Just a little. “I guess he’s not so bad.”
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You never do get a chance to meet Taehyung’s friends that night. By the time he joins back up with you and Victoria he’s by himself, a little more drunk than when he left, and ready to go home. And for once, instead of fighting him, instead of insisting you stay an hour more just to make sure you’ve done all of your rounds, you let him take you home. 
Taehyung has been spending a lot more time at the penthouse lately. Perhaps his family’s business happenings are slow, or perhaps he’s actually starting to get more comfortable with inhabiting the same space as you, but he has definitely found himself quite the rhythm in that house of yours. He even comes down to the first floor rather regularly. 
When he’s home, Taehyung is a lot quieter than you thought he would be. Granted, you don’t exactly know what you were expecting in the first place, but it certainly wasn’t him ruminating in one of the home offices while the Beatles play softly on the stereo, nor was it him reading a book in French in one of those big old grandfather chairs in the living room. If you didn’t know any better, you’d probably think he was still absent in that old way of his, ghostlike and silent, like he was occupying the space instead of truly living in it. 
But you do know better, and even though Taehyung is just as noiseless as he used to be, the house already feels a little bit fuller. 
Perhaps the reason you’ve become so keenly aware of his presence over the past few days is because of the notable fact that Taehyung has indeed held up his end of the deal, and no longer goes out with his friends in the evening. Or at all, for that matter. Which strikes you as rather odd, because he’s the epitome of a social butterfly, a thousand contacts in his phone and a whole group of friends he regularly spends time with. Maybe his parents told him to tone down the public appearances, too. And that’s understandable, but don’t they know Taehyung? Can’t they see how much he thrives on social interaction? It almost makes you feel… bad for him. 
To remedy this, you suggest he invite over his friends. Just for a few hours, you swear you won’t mind. 
“Seriously?” Taehyung looks positively shocked when you tell him he can, standing in the doorway of the office he seems to have designated as his own. 
“Yeah, why not?” You say with a carefree shrug. Besides, you’ve never met his friends anyway, and now seems as good a chance as any to introduce yourself. You are his wife, after all. “Unless your parents say you can’t. But it’s not a problem for me.”
“You… don’t mind if I have my friends over for a bit? Honest to God, we’re probably just going to play FIFA for three hours straight,” Taehyung says like it’s some sort of warning. Like the idea of him and his buddies from college are going to sit in the living room screaming at the television, leaving you alone to do literally anything else, is somehow bad. 
You laugh. “It’s fine, really. Call them. I’d actually quite like to meet them.”
Taehyung picks up his phone almost instantly, as if you’ll change your mind in the next five minutes so he better get them over soon, and already you can see the way his face is lighting up, the way his eyes crinkle as he chats to his friends and the way his lips curl upwards when they crack a joke back. Isn’t it obvious? He feeds off of the energy of others. Who are you to deny him such a simple pleasure?
As it turns out, Taehyung’s friends actually end up being quite nice anyway. 
He invites over three, because four people is apparently the perfect number for a hardcore game of FIFA on his Playstation, and they are all very handsome men you have never met before. You suppose like attracts like, after all. 
“You must be Y/N,” says the first one you see when you open the door to let them in. He doesn’t look a day over twenty-one—in fact, he could probably still pass as a college student—and has rather long dark hair that drapes over the sides of his face, covering the edges of his big doe eyes. “I’m Jungkook. This is Jimin and Hoseok.”
“Nice to meet you all,” you say, stepping aside so they can enter.
The shortest one, Jimin, grins in response, and Hoseok, behind him, gives you a wave. It’s refreshing enough as is, not having to exchange formal greetings and shake each other’s hands like you do with everyone else. Hoseok even gives you a bit of a nod, too.“You, too,” he says. “We’ve heard so much about you.”
Oh, have they, now? Interesting. 
“All good things, I hope,” you say awkwardly, forcing a small smile as Taehyung comes bounding into the room, ears perked up at the sound of his friends’ voices. 
“Definitely. Thanks for having us over. We didn’t wanna intrude on the sanctity of your new place,” Jungkook says, gesturing vaguely to the house as a whole. He’s got this excellent, genuine grin on his face, the kind that people who are just happy to be alive always wear. 
Already he’s said enough to charm the shit out of you. Who knew Taehyung’s friends could be so… friendly? “Please, you’re welcome any time. I was just thinking Taehyung was getting a little lonely.”
“There he is!” Jimin shouts excitedly when he spots Taehyung behind the two of you, looking a lot more casual than he normally does when he’s alone with you, having abandoned his usual silky button-down and wide-leg slacks for a loose shirt and some sweatpants. You didn’t even know he had those things in his closet. 
“Hey, everyone’s here!” Taehyung exclaims, just as happy. He squeezes past you to give the three of them a big hug, and it almost makes you feel like you’re intruding on something you shouldn’t be in. Even though this is literally your house. 
“Nice place you got here,” Hoseok comments, eyes drifting around the living room. “Very minimalist, I like it.”
“Sure hope you don’t spill anything on those nice leather couches of yours,” Jungkook says. 
“Yeah, unlike Kook, who has spilled tomato soup on every shirt he’s ever owned,” Jimin jokes, earning laughs from Taehyung and Hoseok and a punch from Jungkook. 
“Moved after we married,” Taehyung says simply, shrugging his shoulders. It’s an easy enough explanation for why it doesn’t look at all lived in. Here’s hoping none of them realize you sleep in different bedrooms. 
“Yeah, congratulations on that, man,” Hoseok says, giving Taehyung a celebratory nudge in the shoulder. “Who’d have thought, out of the four of us, Kim Taehyung would be the first one to settle down.”
The way Taehyung’s body tenses up at that comment does not go unnoticed by you. 
“Seriously, I would have never guessed,” Jimin adds on. “You’re showing us a new side of yourself, Tae. But I’m happy for you.”
Normally, you’d probably take offense at such blatant insinuations that your husband was a former playboy, especially from his equally noncommittal friends. But truthfully, it’s not like you were blind to Taehyung’s transgressions either. And what matters most is the fact that since it was announced publicly, you are the only woman he’s been seen with since your engagement. 
“Me too. You seem to really like her. I’m glad,” Jungkook pipes up, sending a smile your way. You definitely feel like you don’t belong in this conversation. “I think the two of you will be good for each other.”
“Yeah, I hope so,” Taehyung says with a nervous chuckle. His eyes quickly shoot your way, the two of you meeting gazes, your hesitant expressions matching. At least the two of you are on the same page. “Alright, alright, enough,” Jungkook says. “Who’s ready to get their ass kicked in FIFA?”
“You’re on, Jeon. But when I win, you owe me a five-star dinner,” Hoseok challenges. 
Hoseok, Jimin, and Jungkook immediately crowd towards the couch, and you take that as your cue to leave. But before you can disappear down the hallway, you and Taehyung look awkwardly at each other, hands tied. It’s not like you can say anything to them. 
The truth is that, sometimes, it’s easy to forget that not everyone else knows that your marriage is just for business. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are still people out there that believe you marry for love. 
Isn’t it crazy to think that you used to be one of those people, too?
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“Hey,” Taehyung says when you meet up at the bottom of the stairs again. 
“Hey,” you respond. 
“You look nice.”
You scoff a little to yourself. What, are you exchanging compliments now? “Thanks,” you say, looking him up and down. “You’re not so bad yourself.” Like he ever is. 
“I knew you had taste,” Taehyung teases, and it’s the sort of comment that would have earned him a melon ball to the face back when the two of you were teenagers at a debutante ball, but today only earns him a roll of your eyes as you join hands. You don’t have anything big tonight—just a small dinner to celebrate some sort of business accomplishment for your family, which means that all you have to manage is not ending up in some sort of food fight by the end of the night. 
“I didn’t have a choice, did I?” You retort easily as you get into the car. 
You don’t normally speak a lot on the way to events. Not that you ever did, but even as your relationship has slowly faded from pure hatred to attempts at compromise, you both seem to relish in being able to stare out of your respective backseat windows and into the city that surrounds you. Just out of curiosity, about halfway through the ride you look towards Taehyung to see what he’s up to, and find yourself genuinely surprised to see him leaning against the window with his eyes closed. Is he sleeping? A couple more minutes of gazing at him tells you he is, because his body has gone lax and his breathing has evened out, soft snores leaving his mouth. This ride can’t be longer than twenty minutes. Has he not been sleeping well? Up in that enormous second-floor bedroom of his?
He’s awake by the time the car parks outside the restaurant, this fancy name brand steak place that was chosen solely because the biggest beneficiaries of your family’s new business deal are two sixty-year-old men whose entire diet consists of beef and beer. No cameras tonight, just a small family affair. You and Taehyung hold hands as you enter the restaurant and are led to the private room in the back anyway. 
You and him are seated on the far end of the long, rectangular table, alongside all of the other adult children dragged along to celebrate something that has no effect on their lives. But it’s nice, because the space alone prevents your parents from actively speaking with you, and you and Taehyung can stay in your own little bubble, only chiming in for a toast when necessary. 
“What are you going to get?” He asks you, the two of you gazing at the menu. No matter how fancy this place is, all the options seem to boil down to steak, steak, steak, steak, and caesar salad. Classic. 
“Oh, so you actually care now?” You counter, an eyebrow raised in amusement. 
Taehyung laughs. “Aren’t I supposed to?”
You narrow your eyes at him suspiciously, wise to his usual shenanigans. It’s hard to tell if Taehyung really means what he says, or if it’s all for show. But perhaps he’s asking because he’s genuinely curious, since no one else seems to be paying you any attention. 
“The choices on this menu are simply overwhelming,” you say, motioning to the six options in front of you. 
“I know, I’m so torn,” Taehyung jokes, making you huff out a little giggle. At least he’s still got that same sense of humor. 
You both end up going for a pretty classic steak dinner, which neither of the two of you finish because the damn portions are the size of your head. Dinner is, in and of itself, absolutely mindless, all of your parents talking about things that don’t concern you whatsoever, leaving you and Taehyung to your own devices as you desperately try to make the night go by faster. 
At one point, you notice Taehyung’s foot brushing up against yours, the leather of his loafers brushing against the toe of your patent heel. Thinking someone of it, you push back, foot nudging his back to his own chair. It’s not a second later that Taehyung retaliates, the two of you dancing around each other underneath the table. 
If the two of you were any younger, or perhaps any less resigned to your fate, there’s no doubt in your mind you would be attempting to get Taehyung to fall off his chair in an effort to do the same to you. Footsie means war. But when the both of you know that, at the end of the day, you’ll still be going home to the same place, and waking up the next morning in the same house, it doesn’t feel like this is a battle.
It’s just life. 
Eventually, you meet Taehyung’s eyes with a hesitant smile, shoe pressed against his, stuck in ceasefire. And for once, he doesn’t have that devilish look in his eye, that smug little grin on his face that tells you that he’s going to make you regret whatever it is you just did. He’s just smiling back at you, all pink lips, having found real fun in the little things. 
And that makes you happy. 
The rest of the dinner is uneventful, which, in your book, is about as good as a dinner can go. You cheers to the future of your parents’ relationship with their newfound partners and say a quick goodbye to them both, hurrying out of there before they can ask you any questions on your relationship with your husband. But you don’t spend the car ride in silence on the way back. 
Instead, you say, “Have you been sleeping well?”
The question seems to catch Taehyung off guard. He was already getting in position to take a power nap on the ride home, head pressed up against the window of the car. 
“Have you been sleeping well?” You repeat. “I noticed you fell asleep on the way here.”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I guess,” he says, a hand scratching the nape of his neck. “I mean, it’s been hard adjusting, I suppose. But I’ll get over it.”
Hard adjusting? You’ve been together for nearly three months now. Three months worth of sleeping in the same penthouse bedroom, on the same soft-as-a-cloud mattress, underneath the same weighted blanket. And he’s still having trouble? 
“Oh. I mean, I just wanted to ask because you seem really tired lately.”
“I got a lot on my plate, what can I say,” Taehyung says with an empty smile, forcing a chuckle. “I’ll be fine, seriously. You don’t have to worry about me.”
“Isn’t that my job?” You remind him. “I am your wife.”
Taehyung doesn’t say anything to that. He just lets out an audible breath, the kind you let out when you’re amused and have something snarky to say, but don’t have the energy to get the words off your tongue. 
The rest of the ride is pretty quiet. 
When you get home, you place your house keys in the bowl by the entrance and take off your shoes, just about ready to take a hot shower and collapse in bed, when Taehyung’s voice stops you. 
“Hey,” he begins, almost hesitantly. You look back at him inquisitively. “I was thinking, maybe, if you wanted, we could start sleeping in the same bed?”
You scrunch your nose up. Not in disgust, but in surprise. In bewilderment. What brought this on, all of a sudden?
“Really?” You ask, because you can’t help yourself. “I thought we liked the separate bed thing. Gives us privacy.”
“Yeah,” Taehyung says with a shrug, “but—I don’t know, it’s stupid. I just thought, you know, since we’re married and all. And it’s been three months.” He looks about two seconds away from backtracking, from shaking his head and going upstairs before you can say anything else. 
“Alright,” you say quickly, nodding your assent. Taehyung’s eyes widen when he hears the word, like he had completely expected you to shut him down the moment he made the suggestion. “If that’s what you want. We can try it.”
“You sure?” He asks, that same hesitant smile from earlier lacing his features. It’s strange. He almost looks… sweet. Nervous. 
You grin back at him. “Yeah, I am.”
Taehyung lets you grab some of your toiletries and your pajamas from your designated bedroom before you head up the stairs together, towards the bedroom he’s claimed for himself. Funnily enough, this is the first time you’ve been in his room. Three months of living together and you haven’t dared step foot on the second floor. 
You don’t know what you were expecting when he opens the door to let you inside. Maybe a room that screamed ‘Taehyung’ a little more than this one does. One that looks like an actual human has been living here. But other than one of his classic silk button-downs draped over a chair, there’s not a shred of evidence someone has actually been sleeping here. You could honestly be fooled rather easily that the shirt, too, is just decoration. 
“You can pick a side,” Taehyung says casually. He grabs his own sleepwear—an old t-shirt and some sweats—and heads into the bathroom to change. 
You wonder why Taehyung has had such a difficult time adjusting. This room is about as lavish as a bedroom can get. And yet. 
Sitting down on the left side of the bed, you begin to remove your own clothes, unzipping tonight’s dress and stepping quickly into your pajamas, hurrying to make sure Taehyung doesn’t catch you half-naked. How funny is that, you think to yourself. You’ve been married for three months and you still can’t bear the thought of Taehyung seeing you without a shirt on. 
When Taehyung comes out of the bathroom, hair all messy and clothes all casual, he grins lazily to himself. “I sleep on the right anyway,” he comments mindlessly. 
Within twenty minutes the both of you are about as ready to pass out as you have ever been, the only lights still on the ones on your respective nightstands. 
“Goodnight,” Taehyung says, reaching an arm over to switch his off. 
“Goodnight,” you tell him, turning off yours as well. And all of a sudden, the room is shrouded in darkness. 
You fall asleep instantly. 
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When Taehyung wakes up the next morning, the first thing he says to you is that he hasn’t slept that well in ages. 
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“You slept together?” Victoria shrieks, so loud you actually have to move your phone away from your ear as you punch in the code inside the elevator for access to your floor. 
“We did not sleep together,” you emphasize. “Okay, well, we sleep together, as in, in the same bed. But we are fully clothed. And not the slightest bit interested in doing anything other than sleeping.”
“I thought you said you liked having your own space,” Victoria points out. “When was the first time you—uh…” she pauses to find the right words, “shared a bed?”
“A couple weeks ago. It’s really not so bad, I don’t know why you’re so hung up over it,” you say, lips pursed. You squeeze the phone between the side of your head and your shoulder, hands full of shopping bags, the string of the handles burning your skin. Maybe you should look into getting a personal shopper. 
“I’m hung up over it because, for the longest time, you have sworn off Kim Taehyung. Called him dead to you. Insulted him every chance you get.” 
You scoff. You don’t need reminding of how much you hated him, how much you can’t believe you have to spend the rest of your life with him. “It’s different now. We’re married. And he said he wasn’t sleeping well. I felt bad.”
“He wasn’t?”
“Enough about him,” you say, shutting her up. You don’t feel like talking about him with Victoria anymore. “Word through the grapevine says that your parents are actually thinking of letting you start your own company?”
It’s enough to distract Victoria. For the rest of the ride in the elevator, she talks animatedly about a new streaming service her parents are considering letting her launch, under their parent business, of course, but it’s her own company nonetheless. And you’re proud of her. Proud she could do something your parents would never dream of letting you do. Proud she could make that happen. 
You push open the front door with the side of your hip after entering in the security code, phone still snug between your ear and your shoulder, when you hear Taehyung call out your name. 
He comes into view from the kitchen, which surprises you because you have, on multiple occasions, made fun of how much of a disaster chef he is, especially because he’s admitted to you he’s not a very good cook. 
“I made brownies,” he says, holding out a plate of the chocolate treats in front of you. Instinct has you dropping your bags on the floor by your feet and reaching out, but you eye him first, suspicious. 
“I have to go,” you tell Victoria, hanging up before she even gets a chance to object to your sudden departure. “You made these?”
“Yes, I did,” Taehyung says, rather proud. 
“And the kitchen is… still standing?” You ask, skeptical. 
Taehyung frowns at you, clearly unimpressed. “How bad of a chef do you think I am?”
“Pretty bad,” you admit with a shrug. 
Taehyung pouts sadly to himself for a moment. “These are good, I swear. Nothing weird in them like vegetables or anything either. I used a box mix.”
“No wonder they look so nice,” you comment snidely, hesitant hand reaching out to grab one. They feel like brownies. So that’s good. 
“Hey, I was the one who had to crack the eggs and shit. Three eggs! And not one eggshell in the bowl!” Taehyung says, clearly very pleased with himself. 
You laugh at his enthusiasm, taking a bite. It’s good. And exactly what you needed after a long day of shopping. “I’m proud of you. They taste good.”
“I knew you wouldn’t doubt me.” Taehyung grins.
“They’re really good, actually,” You amend, genuinely surprised. And the best part is that you can count at least ten brownies left on that plate, which means that you get at least five more. Which, if you had any less self-restraint, you would probably eat all at once within the day. 
“I’m glad you like them. They’re all for us, you know. No one else to share them with,” he says.
“Honestly, I’m probably going to finish them by tonight. You’ll have to make more tomorrow,” you say sheepishly. 
“We can make some together,” Taehyung suggests. 
“I’m looking forward to it,” you respond. The words come off your mouth easily, tumbling from your lips without you having to think about it. You aren’t saying them because you have to. You’re saying them because you want to. Because baking with Taehyung doesn’t actually sound too bad. Especially if it means more brownies. 
“You’ve, uh, you’ve got something,” Taehyung says, gesturing vaguely to the side of his lip. 
“Oh, I do? Yikes,” you say, a little embarrassed. Your hand comes up to wipe at the left side of your mouth. “Is it gone?”
“Wait, here, let me do it,” Taehyung says, reaching out towards you. He presses his palm against the side of your face, cradling your cheek and jaw in his enormous hands, and all at once it feels like your skin is on fire. 
Your body freezes up at the touch, at the way his thumb swipes at the corner of your mouth, right against your lips, wiping away nothing but a goddamn brownie crumb. You look at him, look right at him, how can you look anywhere else when he’s right in front of you like this, and it feels like you are caught in his gaze, a rain droplet trapped on a web, a bee stuck in its own honey. His big, brown eyes sparkle from the ceiling lights, a chocolate sky that mirrors the food he just made for you. He looks at you and his eyes are so soft, so open, so happy to be looking right back at you. God. 
“There,” he says, a moment too late. 
“Thanks,” you stammer out, speechless otherwise. 
You both stand there, looking at each other, wordless expressions drawn all over your faces, no idea what to do next. 
After a while, Taehyung breaks the silence. “Do you wanna order takeout tonight?”
“Okay,” you nod, still a little breathless. Taehyung smiles before retreating back to the kitchen, leaving you standing in the entranceway, shopping bags abandoned by your side. 
You look over to where he’s vanished. There’s a part of you that wishes he hadn’t left. A part of you that makes you want to see him again. 
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Phone calls from your mother are never good. The last time she called… well, you know how that went. So when you see her contact information light up your home screen, it’s only instinct that you feel your heart rate spike. 
“Hello?” The voice that comes out doesn’t even sound like yours. 
There’s no good way to put what comes next. Your grandmother has died. Heart attack. The paramedics got there too late. It was over before it even started. 
For a moment, for a split second, it feels like everything is frozen. Like the world has come to standstill. Your mother’s voice echoes in your ears, suspended in time, the words turning into stone as they crash onto the floor. And when they do, it is as if everything comes back to life. 
Truth be told, you don’t know how long you stay there, sitting on the edge of the left side of the bed, your phone resting lifelessly in the palm of your hand. It feels at once like an eternity and only a second in time. You spoke to your grandmother two days ago. You had promised that you and Taehyung would visit her soon. How can this be happening?
Your phone buzzes relentlessly in your hands, condolences pouring in from every person in your contacts, sorry’s and heart emoticons and If you need anything, I’m always here’s filling up your screen. There’s a part of you that vaguely registers your mother, alongside some of the other members of your family, trying to call you. But nothing can seem to shake you. 
“Y/N? You still up here?”
You hear Taehyung before you see him. Hear his voice, hear his footsteps, hear the door creak open as he enters your bedroom. Slowly, almost sluggishly, you twist around to look at him, the mere act knocking the wind out of you. Or maybe you were already breathless. 
“Hey, you alright?” Taehyung knows instantly that something is wrong. 
“My grandmother died.” The words sit heavy on your tongue. There’s no point in not telling him. He’ll find out soon enough. He’s… he’s family, isn’t he?
“What?” Taehyung freezes in place. “I—I’m so sorry to hear that, Y/N. Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” you say, voice weak but steady. You blink up at him, once, twice, three times, and then suddenly you feel tears running down your cheeks. 
Taehyung doesn’t say anything else. He rushes to your side and sits himself down on the bed next to you, arms wrapping around your body. And you don’t think about the fact that it’s him, about the fact that this is the closest the two of you have ever been. You just let yourself be engulfed in his frame, let yourself be enveloped in his hold as the tears stream down your skin, little hiccups jolting your throat. You close your eyes and press yourself into his arms, head resting against his chest, and wish so desperately that so many things about your life were just a little bit different. 
It must be at least five minutes before either one of you dares to move. Your phone begins to rattle incessantly, that familiar and insistent buzz that the both of you are hard-pressed to ignore. 
“I think you should answer that,” Taehyung whispers into your skin, lips right by your forehead. 
“Yeah,” you sniffle, sitting up next to him and wiping the remnants of wetness by your eyes. Well, Taehyung’s seen you cry. There’s no going back now. “You’re probably right.” You look down at the phone. It’s your father. 
“I’ll be downstairs, okay? Unless you want me to stay,” he offers, looking hesitant. 
You shake your head. “No, it’s—it’s okay. I’ll be fine.”
“Call me if you need me,” he makes you give him a nod of understanding before he finally gets up, hands slowly removing themselves from your skin, leaving little sparks in their wake. Remnants of warmth. Suddenly, you feel much colder. Hardly a minute later he’s out of the room, and you can hear his distant footsteps as they make their way down the stairs. 
Sighing, blinking, and swallowing all at once, you pick up. 
The call passes by in a blur. Your father says the will will take at least half a year to be executed, but that the funeral is already being planned. Your grandmother had hoped you would eulogize her. You agree, but you have no idea what you will say. He says Taehyung is invited but does not need to come if he cannot make it. He says a lot of other things too, about your mother, about your cousins, about your aunts and uncles and your poor grandfather, who passed five years ago, but you can’t even remember them moments after he’s said them. 
When he hangs up, the tears on your cheeks have dried, patches of them left along your skin. You head to the bathroom, getting off your bed for the first time that day, and try to wash away everything that has stained the morning. A part of you doesn’t even want to bother, just wants to slug downstairs and eat as much sugary cereal as you can get your hands on, but you can’t go down there looking like this. Looking so helpless. 
By the time you reach the kitchen, Taehyung is already standing there, on the opposite side of the counter island, a big stack of pancakes in front of him. They look mouth-watering. 
“Hey,” he says softly. “Thought you might want something to cheer you up.”
“Did you make these?” You ask, a little endeared. That was thoughtful of him. 
“Yeah. They’re still warm,” Taehyung says. He holds out a fork. 
You grin. 
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The funeral is a week later. It sucks in every way that something can suck. But not in the same way your wedding sucked, or even the announcement of your engagement. It sucks because it’s a funeral, because you have to stare down your grandmother’s casket when a part of you still doesn’t even believe that she’s gone. Because everyone there is so sad, so melancholy, dressed in all black and looking down at their feet. Because everyone is so sorry for you, so sorry for your loss, everyone has nothing but condolences to offer you. What will those do? They won’t bring her back. They won’t change things. They won’t make you feel even the slightest bit better. 
Taehyung comes. He comes because he offers, and because you want him to. You want someone whose hand to hold. Want someone to smile at you when you’re speaking in front of your entire extended family and trying not to cry. You want someone who is familiar, and warm, and there for you. 
And most of all, you want someone who won’t keep the conversation going when you get home. 
“Do you wanna order Chinese?” He asks, coming into the living room, where you have been sulking on the couch ever since you stepped foot inside the door. 
“That sounds nice,” you force out. 
“Okay. Your usual?”
“Yes, please.” You don’t bother asking how Taehyung already remembers what you like to order when you’ve only gotten Chinese twice in the last three months. 
“I’ll call them.” He disappears off into the kitchen. 
What you do appreciate about Taehyung is how he has defaulted to food as a comfort measure, and how the thought alone genuinely brightens you up a little bit. You don’t know each other very well—still, after three months, you couldn’t even say his favorite color—but he is doing his best, and he is trying his hardest. In some ways, you were unlucky to marry him. To marry someone you didn’t love. To be forced into a union you had no say in, with someone you had so much antagonistic history with. 
But in some ways, your luck has changed. In some ways, marrying him was perhaps the best thing that could happen to you. Taehyung is snarky, a little devilish, and absolutely full of himself, but he is not thoughtless. He is not heartless. He has proven that he is willing to put in the work. That he can grow to care. To change. To compromise. And isn’t that the luckiest thing you could have gotten?
“I’m sure you’re probably sick of hearing people tell you they’re sorry for your loss.”
His voice breaks your reverie, carrying throughout the wide open space of your living room. He’s grinning honestly where he stands, slowly making his way over to you. 
“Kind of, yeah,” you admit. “It’s not going to bring her back. Most of those people probably don’t even mean it.”
“Don’t say that,” Taehyung says, sitting down next to you. “I’m sure they do.”
You look at him skeptically. 
“I mean, they’re sorry for your loss because that loss is causing you pain. And that sucks,” Taehyung explains, albeit a little less eloquently than you thought he would. “I know it sucks for me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t like seeing you sad,” Taehyung says honestly, shrugging to himself. 
You scoff a little to yourself. “I would have thought my downfall would be the exact thing the great Kim Taehyung would wish for himself.”
“Maybe a couple of years ago.”
You narrow your eyes. 
“Okay, maybe even a few months ago,” Taehyung admits with a laugh, making you smile, ever so slightly. “But it’s different now. I like it when you’re happy. When you’re snarky and funny and a little evil. Seeing you like this… I don’t like the way it makes me feel.”
“That’s called empathy,” you point out. 
“I’m trying to tell you that seeing you sad makes me sad, stop being a smartass,” Taehyung chides, and that really makes you grin. “There. There’s that smile I was looking for.”
“You’re so annoying,” you say, even though there’s no malice behind it. You give him a little push, palms of your hand pressing lightly against his shoulder as you roll your eyes. 
“Only for you,” he promises. He manages to grab a hold of your wrist as your hand meets his torso, pulling you into him as he wraps an arm around your torso. You gasp a little at the sensation, head falling against his body, fitting snugly in the crook of his neck. He gives your side a comforting rub. “I’m sorry today was so shitty.”
“It was,” you agree. “But Chinese food will make it a little bit better.”
Taehyung looks positively scandalized. “What? ‘Chinese food will make it better’? But not your loving, doting husband?” 
You pretend to think for a little bit, tilting your head up to the sky as you tap your chin with your finger. “Okay. Maybe that, too,” you cave after a bit of waiting, just to be extra bothersome. 
“That’s what I thought,” Taehyung says proudly, looking down at you, eyes sparkling. You can feel his grip tighten as he presses you against his body, letting you rest your head on his side. It feels like the longest hug ever, like you’re wrapped up in a weighted blanket. Only it’s not a blanket. It’s Taehyung. It’s your husband. 
He’s your husband.
“Tomorrow will be better,” he says, and it sounds a lot like a promise. 
You nod against him, letting your eyes drift shut. Things are pretty awful right now. Your grandmother’s dead. The funeral was the saddest family event you have ever attended. You have no idea what’s supposed to happen next. 
But he’s right. He seems to be right a lot these days, actually. 
Tomorrow will be better.
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Taehyung lets you sleep in for the next few days. Next several days, actually. Every time you wake up it’s close to noon and your husband is nowhere to be seen, the right side of the bed cold to the touch. It’s nothing to be worried about, though, because you can still see the noticeable dip in the bed from where he lies upon it, sinking his weight into the mattress. Taehyung’s an early bird and you’ve been having fitful nights ever since your grandmother passed. 
Today, you pull yourself out from underneath the covers around noon, sluggish and still tired, squinting as the near-afternoon light streams through the enormous windows of the bedroom. Taehyung must have thought to keep the curtains open today. 
You pull on the first casual clothes you see in your shared closet, some wide-leg sweatpants and a drapey t-shirt, and trudge downstairs like a raccoon to a trash can, hoping to fish through the kitchen cabinets to find something to eat. 
Taehyung is, as far as you can tell, nowhere to be seen. You can’t seem to hear him anywhere, and a part of you wonders where he’s at when you stumble upon the note left on the granite counter. 
Had a meeting downtown, be back around 1! There should be smoked salmon and some cream cheese and bagels in the fridge. 
You chuckle to yourself as you read his flowy handwriting, amused that he thought to let you know of, of all things, the available breakfast foods in the kitchen. You check the clock. It’s nearly noon. Which means you have just over an hour of the house all to yourself. 
Having the house to yourself for five minutes is infrequent enough as it is, let alone for a whole hour. So often is Taehyung around, somewhere, holing himself up in one of the dozens of rooms or mindlessly wandering down the hallways. And for how much Taehyung is present, the funny part is that you still have no idea what he gets up to most of the time. Despite your voluntary abandoning of the separate bedroom rule, the two of you are still firm proponents of the sanctity of your personal spaces. There are rooms in the penthouse Taehyung has never been in, rooms filled with your clothes and makeup and accessories for when stylists come over before an event. A sewing room that you had specifically asked your parents for, because a part of you never let go of that childhood dream of being a fashion designer. 
And there are rooms in the penthouse that you have never been in. Rooms with dark wooden doors that have always been kept closed, that you have never stepped foot in. It’s not that you aren’t curious as to what Taehyung gets up to. He could have a goddamn evil lair in one of those rooms and you would be none the wiser. But you don’t go, because he doesn’t go into your rooms. Because you two, despite all the vows you have broken, promised each other you wouldn’t.
An hour to yourself is almost a good enough excuse for you to head back up to the bedroom and take a nap. Not that you don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, or that you even had a fitful night last night—hell, you woke up near noon today and already you want to go back to sleep—but what else is there to do when he’s not around? What new freedoms have suddenly been given to you?
You head back upstairs, much less groggy after that delicious bagel of yours, when you catch a whiff of what smells like wet paint coming from down the hallway. It’s potent and immediately invades your senses, prompting you to wonder if that has always been there, or just magically appeared. Maybe you were so sleepy earlier, you didn’t notice it. 
Well, you notice it now. Unable to help yourself, you start to wander down the hallway, towards the source of the smell. God, it stinks. It takes you back to those days in middle school, when you would spray paint projects inside a tiny little classroom, have to step outside for fifteen minutes while you cracked the windows and aired it out. It gets stronger the further down the corridor you go, like a thick, smelly cloud stationed firmly within the walls of the penthouse. And then you realize where it’s coming from. 
It’s an art studio. 
A very messy art studio, you amend to yourself, as you peek inside. The door is wide open, and all of the windows are popped too, but the extra air circulation doesn’t seem to have made a dent in the scent. And all over the floor, the walls, and the tables are canvases covered in paint, denim jackets and pants and shirts with these wide, unafraid brushstrokes. Open cans of spray paint lie discarded on the hardwood floor stained with splotches of red, yellow, and green. 
Is this what Taehyung does in his free time? Is this where he goes, this bright, sunny room at the end of the second floor hallway? Is this what he is making?
You look down in awe at the clothes resting on the floor, splayed out to maximize dry time. Abstract faces, landscapes, and words are painted onto the backs of jackets, the fronts of old white t-shirts. What hasn’t made it onto the clothes has been put on canvases instead, blurs of color mixed together in this purposeful pattern, confidence emanating from every stroke, every dot. It’s not art in the way that the gorgeous landscapes of Monet, the picture-perfect portraits of Kahlo, the messy, unplanned splatters of Pollock are. It’s art in a different way. In a Taehyung way. 
Who knew he loved it so much? 
You almost feel like an invader encroaching on his territory when you lean down to start cleaning up some of the mess, throwing out empty spray-paint cans and tossing out grey paint water. You don’t dare touch any of the work, don’t dare try to move it. You do what you can, washing out the brushes resting in the water and cleaning up the wet splotches of paint on the hardwood. Over time, the thick scent of still-wet paint slowly fades, disappearing out the window as the fresh afternoon air seeps in. And you stand there, in a room full of art, in a room full of pieces that Taehyung has undoubtedly poured his heart into creating, and you smile to yourself. 
That’s how Taehyung finds you ten minutes later, peering into the room after declaring that his meeting had ended early. 
“Thought I’d find you in here,” Taehyung says with a grin as you jump at the sound of his voice, eyes widen when you turn around to see him standing by the door. 
“Oh, hey,” you say sheepishly. “I didn’t hear you come in.”
“Maybe because this is the farthest room in the house from the front door,” Taehyung teases lightly, coming up behind you. “I see you found my studio.”
“I know I’m not allowed in here,” you admit. 
Taehyung scoffs. “Who says?”
“Didn’t we both agree on that?”
He shrugs. “Sort of. I think we just reached an unspoken understanding we wouldn’t invade each other’s personal space. But it was not in the fine print, no.”
“The fine print of what?”
“That deal we made.”
Right. That deal you made, four months ago, That deal, where the two of you agreed to pretend to be in love with each other during public appearances so you wouldn’t get burned at the stake by your families. Where the two of you agreed not to interact with each other otherwise because you hated each other so much. 
“Oh, yeah,” you say distantly, feeling naive for already forgetting about it. It doesn’t seem to have slipped Taehyung’s mind whatsoever. 
“It’s okay, I don’t mind that you’re up here,” Taehyung says, interrupting that piercing little voice in the back of your head that is asking you why on earth you forgot about that deal in the first place.
“Yeah, I—” You scratch at the nape of your neck, trying to find the words to say. “It just smelled like paint, so I wanted to see what you get up too. And it’s this, apparently.” You motion vaguely to the entire room.
“You sound… surprised,” Taehyung muses correctly. 
“I guess I am,” you surmise. “I’m rather impressed, too, actually.”
“Really?” It’s Taehyung’s turn to sound surprised. 
“Yeah,” you tell him honestly, looking into his eyes. “I—you know, I just came in here because the entire hallway smelled like wet paint and I wanted to know why. But I didn’t know you loved art so much.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know about me,” Taehyung points out. 
You suppose that’s true. You don’t know his favorite color. His favorite song. His favorite book. For a long time, you didn’t know what he got up to on his side of the penthouse. You don’t know how he met his friends. What he studied in university. Who he has loved in the past. Who he loves now. You don’t know why he does the things he does, and why he doesn’t do the things he doesn’t do. 
But you do know his Chinese takeout order. 
And you do know his hobbies. Well, one of them, at least. 
Who’s to say you can’t learn more?
“Well,” you start with a smile. “I’m your wife, aren’t I? Shouldn’t I begin to learn?”
Taehyung picks up what you’re putting down instantly, grinning in response. “Only if you’ll tell me things about you, too,” he requisitions. 
“I will,” you promise. It’s the easiest one you’ve ever had to make. 
His face is light, bright, bathed in the rays of the afternoon sun. His eyes shimmer as they meet yours, golden flecks more pronounced like this, in this gorgeous, open space, daylight streaming through the windows. Looking at him makes you feel like you are surrounded by warmth, makes you feel like the sun is opening its arms out to you. He has always been gorgeous. Beautiful. But looking at him like this, standing in the middle of a room filled with all the things he loves, a yellow halo surrounding him—he is ethereal. 
Taehyung smiles. “Then I will, too.”
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The hand-holding comes naturally tonight.
The funny thing is, actually, you don’t need to hold hands at this gathering. It’s not an event. Or a public appearance. It’s not even a business dinner. It’s your aunt’s sixtieth birthday party, reserved exclusively for family. Isn’t that strange? That Taehyung is, technically, family now?
For so long you had vowed to stay as far away from him as possible. Vowed to stick it to him whenever and wherever you could, do anything you could to get on his nerves, rile him up. Vowed that when you, one day, took over your family affairs, you would never, ever invite him. Make it known that he wasn’t to be a part of your life. And yet, here you are. Clinging to him despite being well-acquainted with—loved by, even—every other person in the room. Holding his hand like a goddamn lifeline. 
To be fair, Taehyung doesn’t look a hair out of place here. Dressed relatively casually, a smart sweater with a collared shirt underneath it, he smiles warmly at all of your relatives and presents your aunt with a beautiful and very expensive scarf the two of you had commissioned from a designer in Italy, which she absolutely loves. She pinches his cheek and proceeds to wear it for the rest of the night. 
“Damn,” you murmur to yourself as you wander around your aunt’s house, hand wrapped around his arm. “This place hasn’t changed a bit.”
“When was the last time you were here?” Taehyung asks. 
The question actually makes you think for a moment. “I don’t know, maybe five years ago? Last couple of birthdays I was overseas or in school. Had to send her a card.”
“Bet your parents were real pleased with that,” he jokes, making you both laugh. At least you two will always be able to share your experiences of domineering and influential parents with each other. 
“Oh, I’m sure. Just as pleased as they were when they realized how much we hated each other.” You expect that little jest to elicit a laugh out of Taehyung as well, but he just smiles tightly, huffing out a breath of acknowledgement. 
“Eh, it’s not like that now, is it?” He offers up. 
“I suppose not,” you muse, sitting down together on her ancient grandma couch in the living room. No matter how rich your family gets, she’ll never get rid of this thing, that’s for sure. 
One thing you’ve picked up over time is that, for every second Taehyung spends basking in the spotlight, he spends an equal amount of time lingering by the wall, watching the rest of the world turn without him. He’s an observer. He is one by nature, feeling an irresistible pull to understand humans in a way only artists could ever do. He sits down next to you and watches your family in an environment where they can relax, where they can feel comfortable and be casual with one another. 
Very seldom have you ever brought friends to events like these. Small family affairs. But Taehyung isn’t a friend, is he? No, he’s your husband. He belongs here just as much as you do. 
“My family seems to really like you,” you point out. Not that anybody has ever harbored as much disdain for him as you. Your parents called him respectable and polite when they told you you were to be wed. Your grandmother had said he was a dashing young man. He doesn’t exactly have to reach far to be loved around here. 
“That’s my job, isn’t it?” He replies snidely. 
“Oh, just take the compliment,” you say with a roll of your eyes. Taehyung always has to be so difficult. “I’m surprised you aren’t nervous as hell. Last boyfriend I brought to meet my parents was shaking in his Louis Vuitton shoes.”
“Last boyfriend, huh?” Taehyung’s interest has been sufficiently piqued. “And, uh, how many of those have you had?”
You narrow your eyes at him suspiciously, smile twitching on your lips. “Wouldn’t you like to know, Mr. Heartbreaker.” Pretty rich of Taehyung to be asking you such a question when he’s probably had more girlfriends than you can count on both hands. “Not as many as you’ve had girlfriends, that’s for sure.”
“Guess I’m a lot different than all those trashy guys you’ve dated, aren’t I?” He asks, an eyebrow raised as he looks at you. 
“You are?”
Taehyung nods assertively. “Well, yeah. First of all, I’m your husband. Second of all, your parents love me. Third of all, you love me, too.”
You scoff. “Don’t humble yourself. You don’t know me that well.”
“Speaking of which,” Taehyung says, eyes wide as he points to you knowingly, “how about you tell me a little fact about yourself? It’s my job to learn about you, isn’t it?”
“That is my line, watch it,” you sneer, pointing back at him. You wrack your brain for a fact that you can tell him, something more exciting than your favorite color but less weird than one of those terrible icebreaker exercises you had to do in college seminars. Something that has pertinence to who you are. Who you’ve become. “Alright. I used to want to be a fashion designer when I was little.”
Now that catches Taehyung off guard. “Really?” He says, genuinely intrigued. 
You shrug. “Yeah. I learned to sew when I was really little. Been tailoring and hemming clothes all my life. But I always wanted to design my own stuff.”
“Is that what’s in your room?” Taehyung asks. “A sewing machine?”
“Wow,” Taehyung says. “I didn’t know that.”
“Isn’t that the whole point of this exercise?” You say, just to be smart. 
Taehyung shakes his head, eyes rolling. 
“What about you?” You ask. You can’t imagine what he’ll say. Astronaut. Veterinarian. Or, if he really wants to surprise you, a business executive. 
“A museum curator.”
It is an answer that simultaneously surprises and doesn’t surprise you at all. 
“Fitting,” you muse. “You could have put your own art on display.”
“Pretty sure that’s, like, super unethical,” Taehyung reminds you. 
“So? You’re rich. Start your own museum. Put your own art on display. Live your dream,” you amend. “It shouldn’t be holed up in that studio of yours forever. It deserves to be seen.”
Taehyung smiles at you. “You think so?”
You nod. “Of course. You create beautiful things, Tae.” It’s the first time you’ve ever called him that. And that is not lost on Taehyung, either.
“Thank you,” he says softly, blinking as he looks at you. He doesn’t say anything else. He doesn’t need to.
Later that night, when everyone’s gotten a few drinks into their systems and Bruce Springsteen is playing low on the stereo, Taehyung disappears off towards the bathroom, no doubt because of the excellent soup that was served that night. All by your lonesome, you feel a little stranded, surrounded by your old relatives dancing on the hardwood floor of the dining room, your other cousins too young to actually spend time with. 
In the commotion, your mother comes up to you, swirling a rather large glass of red wine in her hand. 
“Where’s Taehyung?” She asks. 
“No wonder you were alone,” she says with a hearty laugh. “The two of you have been glued to each other’s sides all evening.”
“He’s my husband,” you offer as an explanation. 
“I know, I know,” she says, shaking you off with a smile. Your mother is a lot more casual once she’s had her fill of wine, no doubt her favorite, Bordeaux. A lot more loving, too. “You really made your grandmother proud, you know? She loved you so much.”
“I know,” you say, trying not to get choked up at the mere mention of your grandmother. 
“She was so happy to see you with Taehyung. It made her feel safe that you would be taken care of,” she continues on, barely paying you and your swimming eyes any attention. “She would be so happy to see you with him now, too. How much you love her.”
“I miss her,” you hiccup out, trying to compose yourself. Nothing kills a birthday party like some sad sack crying over her deceased grandmother. 
“I know, darling,” your mother says, calling you by a nickname she has hardly used ever since you turned eighteen. She squeezes you tightly, a small hug of comfort. “I miss her, too.”
Someone calls your mother’s name, distracting her as she wanders off to your uncle, who is asking what the best way to cut the three-tiered cake on the dining room table is. She bids you a goodbye before disappearing towards the kitchen, no doubt ready to make the cutting of the cake an affair all on its own. 
Taehyung comes back soon after, spotting you instantly as you stand around in the living room. 
“Hey,” he says, noticing the wet shimmer of your eyes. “You alright?”
You nod, feeling better already now that he has returned. Now that he is by your side. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“I hope those tears aren’t because you missed me,” he says, wiping away a stray one that has escaped from your eyes. You close them as his thumb brushes against your upper cheek, your eyelashes, opening them only when you’ve felt his touch vanish from your skin, leaving little sparks in their wake. 
“No,” you say. But the night makes you honest, and a couple of drinks, even more so. “But I’m glad you’re here.”
Taehyung smiles. “Me, too.”
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For all those days you have spent together, never have you and Taehyung had a night in. Which isn’t necessarily completely surprising, considering how many evening events the two of you have had obligations to attend, considering your differing work schedules and meeting times. Considering that, for a very long time, the two of you had no desire to spend any time with each other at all. 
But tonight, there is nothing on your calendar. No galas, no dinners, no meetings, no schedules. There is only Taehyung, who has spent the entire afternoon up in his studio, inhaling spray paint fumes and doing what he loves. And there is only you, who has spent the entire afternoon wondering what the hell you’re going to do tonight when there is nothing else planned. 
You knock on the door to his studio, catching him right as he’s finishing up another piece. This one is a single flower, painted in broad, confident strokes, bright green and red and sunflower yellow decorating the canvas. 
“Hey, what’s up?” He asks, turning around to face you. 
“Wanna order takeout tonight?” You suggest. 
Taehyung grins. 
Thirty minutes and your favorite Chinese food later, you and Taehyung have settled onto the couch, trays of dumplings and noodles and rice in front of you, an unfunny movie playing in the background. 
You can’t remember the last time the two of you sat on this couch together. Maybe that night you had made the deal? Perhaps not even then. It wouldn’t at all surprise you if you found out that this was the very first time you and Taehyung have sat together on your couch, in your living room, in your house. So often is it occupied by others—Victoria, who sometimes comes over to ooh and ahh at your closet, Jimin, Jungkook, and Hoseok, who sit on this couch and play FIFA like it’s their job, your mother, when she wants to make herself at home in a place that doesn’t belong to her—but never you. Never you and him. 
“This is kinda nice, isn’t it?” You ask, swallowing a bite of dumpling. 
“Chinese food is always nice,” Taehyung responds over a mouthful of cold noodles. 
“Not that,” you say with a sigh, “this. Sitting together. Watching this shitty movie.”
“It’s not that shitty,” Taehyung tries to reason. On screen, the main character is getting pied in the face during some weird college fundraiser. “Okay, it’s a little shitty. But it’s good background noise, right?”
You nod halfheartedly. “I guess.” Silence. You take another bite of your dumpling, not really sure how to continue the conversation. “We don’t really get to do this a lot, you know? Sit and eat dinner and watch a movie together. Like a date.”
“We’re on a date now, are we?” Taehyung muses, eyeing you snarkily. 
“Isn’t that what this is?” You retort. 
He shrugs. “I suppose it is.”
“Tell me another fact about you,” you request, looking over to him where he sits on the opposite side of the couch. 
“About what?”
Taehyung pauses, ponders for a moment. But he could never say anything wrong. Not when there is still so much you don’t know about him. Still so much you want to learn, so much you want to commit to memory. For so long you have stared at the planes of his face, the curve of his nose, the twinkle in those dark brown eyes. Those you will always remember. But what about who he is? What he loves? Those are things you still don’t know. 
“The very first time I met you,” Taehyung begins, “I asked Jimin what your name was.”
“When was that?” You ask. Despite you being someone who has spent the better part of the last several years vowing never to give Taehyung the time of day, you sure don’t remember when it all started. 
“That debutante ball,” Taehyung remembers fondly, “when we were fifteen. I asked Jimin what your name was because I wanted to ask you to dance.”
“Shut up, no you didn’t,” you say with a scoff. 
“It’s true. You were standing there in that poofy white dress and I wanted to ask you to dance,” Taehyung points out. The fact that he even remembers what you were wearing is shocking. 
Who knew. Who knew, back then, that you would one day grow up to marry him. 
“And what did I say?” You demand more. 
Taehyung laughs at the memory. “I came up to you, and I asked you if you wanted to dance, and you said, and I quote, ‘Who are you?’”
“No,” you say, aghast at your own behavior. Were those really the first words you ever said to KIm Taehyung?
“You did. Don’t you remember?”
You think back. Think back to every year you have ever known Taehyung, every year you have spent scowling at him from across ballroom floors, making some snide remark as you pass by each other in the hallway. Every year you have spent cursing his existence, willing him away from you so he could bother someone else. Every year you have listened to rumor after rumor of girlfriend after girlfriend. You think back and somewhere, somewhere in there, in those dusty corners of your brain and cobwebbed boxes of your heart, is that first memory of Taehyung, too. 
Of him standing there in some generic black suit, black hair swept over his forehead, shoes too big. Of him coming up to you, trying to be as suave as a fifteen year old could be. Of you saying to him, instead of a hello, or even a what’s your name, “who are you?” 
Of him saying—
“And you said, ‘your dream come true’.” Like a dam bursting open, the memories flood back to you all at once. “I remember that.”
Taehyung laughs out loud at the thought of him saying something so cheesy. “Unsurprisingly, you didn’t want to dance with me.”
“You were so—” you begin, but you don’t have the words. Don’t have the words to express how you felt about him that night. Don’t have the words to express how you feel about him now. Thinking about this, talking about it, it is a bridge. A bridge between what was then and what is now. A bridge between who Taehyung was and who you were and who Taehyung is and who you are. “—so unthinkable. I couldn’t believe you had come up to me and said that. I couldn’t believe you had the audacity. But something about that night made me remember you. Made me remember your name.”
“You thought about me after that?” Taehyung asks. “Is that what you’re telling me?”
“There is something about you that is unforgettable,” you say, honest and real and true. What else can you tell him? The truth is that you have always thought about him. Whether you liked him or not. 
You finish your dinner and place your trays on the end tables next to you, stacking your empty bowls and plates on top of one another as the movie rumbles on in the background. 
“It is kind of a shitty movie,” Taehyung admits after a while of being wholly unenthused. 
“Yeah,” you agree. “But it’s good background noise.”
Taehyung laughs at your little mockery, warm and deep and from his belly. You look at him. He feels so far away, on the other side of the couch. Feels like he’s miles apart from you. You have spent countless nights clinging to his harm, hand gripped tight in his. And sitting like this, a full couch cushion of space between the two of you—it isn’t enough anymore. So you inch closer. 
And closer. 
And a little closer. 
Until you’re pressed up against his side, legs touching as they rest neatly in front of you, backs stick straight as you stare at the television. 
Taehyung holds his arm up. An open invitation. 
Without asking, you lean into him, resting your head in the crook of his shoulder, in the space right underneath his jaw. You pull your feet up onto the couch and curl into his frame, pressing yourself against him. He is warm and firm and inescapable. He smells of coffee and paint and Chinese spices. He wraps his arm around you and pulls you in, as if there were any other place you’d rather be. 
You sit like that for a while. Wrapped up in each other. Lazing around on the couch as the stars twinkle above your head. The movie ends and the two of you don’t even bother skipping the credits, letting them and the cheesy 80’s pop song play on, a distant soundtrack. 
“I never thought any of this would happen,” you breathe out. 
Taehyung looks down at you curiously. “What? This?”
“All of it,” you admit. “Us. Getting married. That stupid tabloid picture. My grandmother. This. It’s all so new.”
“New things will happen all the time,” Taehyung muses aloud. “We can’t help when things change.”
“You don’t have any regrets?” You have plenty. Regrets that you’ll never become the CEO you wanted to be in college. Regrets that you’ll never become the fashion designer you wanted to be as a little girl. Regrets that you will come to resent this marriage, resent Taehyung more than you have in years past, all because you had no choice. Regrets that your grandmother couldn’t see you now. Regrets that there were so many things in your life you could have changed, but didn’t.
“I thought I did,” Taehyung tells you. “I wanted to spend more time with my friends. I wanted to major in art in college. I didn’t want to marry you. I know you didn’t want to marry me.” He looks down and you look up at the same time, eyes locking, inches apart. “But looking back on it, I’m happy where I am. With what I have.”
“I never thought it could ever be like this,” you say, words falling off your tongue before you even ask them to.
There’s no need to elaborate. Taehyung understands. He understands that, half a year ago, you both would have thrown yourselves into a volcano before holding hands with each other. He understands that getting over your hatred for each other seemed like an absolutely insurmountable task. He understands that you had never wanted to marry each other, that you couldn’t believe you would have to spend the rest of your lives with each other. 
And he understands that now, things are different. 
“I’m glad things happened the way they did,” Taehyung begins. “I’m grateful for us.”
You press yourself impossibly closer to him, feel his grip tighten around you. Like this, you can hear his heartbeat. Hear it thump like a drum, steady and firm and unwavering. His heart beats against his chest and you wonder. 
You wonder if he can hear the way yours beats for him, too.
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There were lots of things that made your night in together special. But one of them is the glaring fact that you don’t get them very often. That their infrequency makes them all the more valuable. 
This has become blatantly obvious to you, because right now you are not spending a night in together. Right now you are stuck at a gala that you have to attend for the sake of business, drinking thin flutes of champagne and mingling with people you barely speak to. 
The one good thing about nights like these is that Taehyung looks positively gorgeous in suits. He sort of always has, but you’d never admit that to his face. At least not until now. And as his wife, you are lucky enough to have a front-row seat. 
“I can feel you staring at me all the way from over here,” Taehyung deadpans as he helps himself to a chocolate-covered strawberry from the buffet table. 
You’re too obvious to have any shame about it. “What can I say, I like the view.”
“Hard to believe I was the once the one being shouted at for being inappropriate in public,” Taehyung says with a shake of his head. He bites into the strawberry and eats it all in a single go, tossing the stems into a bin nearby as you join back up in the heart of the crowd. 
“It’s only inappropriate if other people hear,” you tease, letting him guide you, hand intertwined with yours, towards an empty corner where the two of you can snuggle up to one another in (relative) peace. 
“I don’t think the champagne was very good for your filter, Miss Y/N,” Taehyung hisses into your ear, warm breath tickling your skin. 
“Don’t you mean Mrs. Kim?” You pose, an eyebrow raised. 
That seems to do something to Taehyung. It’s not very bright in here, with it being nighttime and all, but even still you can see the way his eyes darken. See the way his lips curl upwards, feel the way his grip on you tightens. It sparks something within you. Something deep in the pit of your belly. 
Something that makes you want more. 
You test the waters. “Mrs. Kim has a nice ring to it, don’t you think, Tae?”
Taehyung looks about a moment away from losing control. But instead of slamming you against the wall in front of all of these people and giving you what you really want, he growls out, low and powerful, “Home. Now.”
He doesn’t need to tell you twice. 
You hail your car outside of the venue and it’s all the both of you can do to not jump on each other right then and there, in the backseat of this giant black van, overcome with want, with need, with everything in between. Taehyung’s leg bounces impatiently the entire ride back, and the feeling of your hand pressed against his doesn’t seem to be calming him down. He pulls you close to him in the backseat of the car, a hand resting on your thigh. You eye him carefully, as if challenging him to be any more daring. He grins. 
Home cannot come soon enough. The two of you tumble out of the backseat and into the elevators, where you mash the top floor button after entering in the security access code, desperate and shameless. The ride seems to take hours, and the heat that surrounds you practically smothers you, covers you, fills up your lungs and chokes you. 
There is nothing left by the time you reach your door. The moment it slams shut behind you Taehyung presses you up against the back of it, pins you against the wood as he hovers over you, eyes tracing your lips. 
“Tell me something,” he demands. 
“A fact. Something I don’t know.”
It doesn’t take much thinking. “I want you,” you breathe out, watch it hit his skin, watch the way his eyes glint in the light of the entranceway. “Please, Tae. I want you.”
It’s enough for him. 
This is not the first time you and Taehyung have kissed. The first time was nearly five months ago, in a chapel, at an altar, surrounded by hundreds of people. It was so unfun that you seem to have eradicated the mere thought from your memory. But you remember that feeling from that day. That feeling you got when you pressed your lips against his, cemented your marriage with a kiss. That heat. That sting. 
Kissing him now—that feeling has returned tenfold. When his lips meet yours, it feels like fire is rushing through your veins, setting alight every nerve it passes, unforgiving and relentless. His enormous hands come up to cup your jaw, fingers pressing against the skin of your cheeks as they pull you close to him, keep you trapped in his hold. This is not the first time you and Taehyung have kissed but it feels like it is—it feels like there is a lotus blooming on a lilypad in your heart, it feels like you have been struck by lightning, it feels like nothing else you have ever felt before. It feels brand new. 
Pressing back against him, he slowly releases you from the cage he has created against the door, spinning around so the two of you can tumble up the stairs and into your bedroom, unable to resist sneaking in pecks here and there as you make your way upstairs. Every step you take you stop, giggle as he presses you against the railing just so he can steal another kiss from you, put his hands all over your body. It’s a wonder the two of you even make it into your bedroom at all. 
When you do, however, all bets are off. Taehyung presses you against the still-made bedsheets with a glint in his eye and a growl on his lips, pupils blown wide as he stares down at you, at your body.
"Aren't you a sight? Laid out so pretty for me," he purrs, robbing a breath from you.
It's a tone you have yet to hear from him. You find yourself growing impossibly hot under his stare, burning with an uncharted desire.
You can hardly wrap your brain around it. Here you are, craving the man you had spent the better half of your young adult life loathing. Maybe it’s the champagne; maybe it’s the way his fingers are running slowly up the length of your clothed torso. Whatever it is, your stomach does flips, unfamiliar to the way your body preens under his touch.
"Don't let it go to your head," you tease, simply because you could.
Taehyung hums disapprovingly, pressing kisses into your neck as he grabs one of your thighs and wraps it around his waist, riding your dress up in the process.
You sigh, exposing your neck further for him as he paints bruises into your neck. It feels like just yesterday you had called him out at the altar for his habit of sporting the very same marks you were soon to wear.
Perhaps you should have thought twice about letting the man you had married purely under business pretenses press his hips against your clothed center, but as he rolls his into yours, your mind falls blank, silencing any and all reservations you should have.
Whimpering, you beckon his mouth back onto yours, tongue meeting his wantonly. 
You feel his fingers creep up the outside of your bare thigh, thrilling you in the most primal way. Reaching the band of your underwear after what felt like entirely too long, he runs the pad of his thumb against the lacy fabric.
 You could scream. He is doing this on purpose. He must be. Surely he knows how badly you were aching for him? For him to fill you– whatever the manner may be.
You let out a whine before you can help yourself, frowning as Taehyung looks pleased with himself, confirming his knowledge of your prolonged pleasure.
"What's that? Did you say something?" he mocks, looking cruel and yet strikingly gorgeous as he smirks above you.
"God, you're irritating,” you huff, hips jerking up against his as he pulls at the band of your underwear, the elastic snapping back into the flesh of your hip. "Just fuck me already."
He tuts, clearly unimpressed by your impatience, "Now, where is the fun in that?"
Your eyes flutter shut as his fingers suddenly snake their way between your thighs. Mouth falling ajar, you grip his shoulders as he runs his middle finger against your clothed slit, trailing up and down your warmth. To think he was still dressed while he was touching you like this...
"No... I think I'll take my time with you," he says.
You mew against his hand, arousal forming against his long digits' ministrations. You have to hand it to him. Taehyung knows what he’s doing. The life of a bachelor has seemingly served him well.
You aren’t usually vocal in bed, but the way he’s purring words of filth to you, breath hot against the shell of your ear as he tells you how hot and slick your pretty pussy felt against his hand, has you gasping and sputtering, your own fingers wrapping around his wrist.
The fabric of your panties provides a friction that toys the line of pleasure and pain, making you thrust up to meet his motions, your humility slipping from you.
Taehyung watches you intently, cock growing hard under the constraints of his dress pants. You look better than he could've imagined, eyes watering and body shivering under his touch, his fingers soaking with your arousal. He can only imagine what you'd feel like with his fingers fully buried into you, rocking them against your velvety walls.
He lets out a groan of his own, turned on by the idea of you fucking yourself onto his fingers, whimpering out his name in ecstasy.
There’s this part of you that faintly recognizes that Taehyung has done this plenty of times before. Plenty of times with plenty of other lovers. But there is a different part of you, that part that bursts with light and hope, that reminds you that he was never married to those other ones. That his allegiance lies with you. And that thought, knowing that deep within you, he is yours, makes your jaw fall slack, pretty noises tumbling from your lips and your thighs clamping around him.
You were close, closer than you care to admit. Every touch against you is careful yet deliberate as he reads the signs of your body, the way it keens and arches into him, offering you words of encouragement as your climax finally hits.
"That's right. Good girl. Let go for me," Taehyung coos, eyes dark and focused on your writhing form.
You cry out into the familiar space of your shared room, head thrown back as you ride out the high, letting it wrack your body, send jolts throughout your veins.
You barely have time to catch your breath when he presses his mouth back onto yours, kiss still as eager as it was when you both first entered your home. You are alight with satisfaction as he pulls away to press a trail of kisses against your jaw.
"I want—f-fuck," you stutter as he finds your already hypersensitive clit once more, rolling his thumb over your now soaked panties in tantalizing circles, "want to make you feel good, too."
Admittedly, this fantasy had crossed your mind once or twice, brought on by the way he carried himself in a suit and the way his large fingers wrapped around the champagne glass; confident, collected, and entirely charming. Who are you to shy away from a man like him? He certainly has always been rather good-looking. 
He pauses his motions, pulling his hand back to sit on your waist. Your dress is of the finest, most delicate satin, and after tonight's activities, completely wrinkled. You can almost hear your stylist's cries of dismay. Whatever. You have a steamer. And why focus on the dress when it’s obvious the two of you are focused on what lies underneath it?
"Yeah." You nod, skin still burning from your past climax.
Helping you back up, Taehyung stands. You lick your lips as you sit back up on the edge of the bed, watching intently as he unbuckles his belt, audibly hissing as his pants fall to his ankles, cock visibly straining against the fabric of his underwear. Thank God you don’t have to stand. With the way your thighs still felt weak and how your husband looks like a goddamn Adonis towering above you? Your legs surely would give out underneath you if you rose.
Brows furrowed, Taehyung palms over himself briefly before pulling down the waistband of his underwear, his painfully hard member slapping against his torso.
Your eyes widened on instinct. While the last thing you wanted to do was help inflate Taehyung's already large ego, you were certainly impressed at his size; thick and girthy, his tip red and shining with precum.
He couldn't help but smirk, thoroughly pleased by the way you stared at him unabashedly, chest rising and falling heavily.
"Open up for me," he orders.
And who are you to deny a request from your dear husband?
Your pretty lips wrap themselves around his engorged tip, all remnants of lipstick long gone by now. Taehyung hisses, a hand finding the side of your jaw as you run your tongue against the underside of his cock.
"Fuck, you're so pretty," he grunts, fighting off the urge to grip the back of your head and fuck your throat. As much as he'd love your have you choking and drooling all over his cock – and boy would he – he lets you set your own pace, not wanting to overwhelm you.
It doesn't take long for you to sink your mouth further down, however, clearly set on making Taehyung feel as good as you could.
A low moan erupts from his throat, digits pressing into your jaw in request to take more of him in, which you happily oblige.
You had your eyes trained on him, completely obsessed with the way he panted through pink lips, hissing slightly every time your tongue rolled over his sensitive tip.
Lolling his head to a side, his eyes meet yours, gaze primal and wolfish as he watches the way you worked his cock.
"Doing so good, love. Doing so fucking good for me,” he murmurs.
You hum against his skin at the sound of the sudden pet name, an unfamiliar feeling fluttering in your belly. You push aside the feeling, focusing instead on the way he grunts at the new sensation you had just given him.
Giggling, you pull off his cock, opting instead to press a kiss against his leaking tip, making sure to hold his eyes as you run kitten licks against it.
"God, you're such a tease." He shakes his head in disbelief. 
He looks so good above you, shivering and cursing out praises on how good your mouth feels, how well you take his cock. Running your tongue along the length of his shaft, you become certain that this is a display you can’t imagine yourself ever getting tired of. But you have all the time in the world, right?
"Y/N,” he gasps suddenly, hips jerking towards your face. "Love, I'm gonna-- gonna cum."
"Cum in my mouth, please." Your voice was pleading and desperate. Taehyung had never heard such words spoken more sweetly. 
"Fuck's sake."
You let out a yelp in surprise as his fingers work their way through your hair, bringing your head back down onto his cock. You relax, though, when you feel the hot ropes of his cum hit the back of your throat, your hands finding purchase on his thighs as you do your best to swallow it all down.
Pulling yourself off him, you let out a small cough, eyes watering slightly as you hadn’t managed to prepare yourself with a breath before his release. His large palm runs across the top of your head as you caught your breath, expression flickering with something unfamiliar. Could it be... fondness? 
Your heart stammers at the thought as you stand, slowly stepping out of your dress, letting it drape off of your figure. Taehyung looks absolutely gobsmacked, pupils dark as he gazes at you, eyes unabashedly raking your body. He’s shameless. 
You both are. 
Slowly, you step towards him, fingers reaching out towards his shirt, carefully undoing the buttons as you gaze at each other, expressions unreadable. 
"Tae?” You ask innocently, blinking up at him. “Fuck me?" 
Your polite request makes Taehyung chuckle. 
"Please?" You bring your bottom lip between your teeth, eyes blinking up at him adoringly for good measure. You reach the last button, let his dress shirt drape open. He brushes it off himself, stands there for a few seconds just to let the way you’re ogling his toned chest go to his head. At least he’s good-looking. 
He sighs, probably contemplating some clever rebuttal, but eventually decides against it as his cock is already twitching back to life.
"Alright, love. Turn around. On your knees for me," He orders, making your stomach flip.
To your surprise, you are hardly in place when the warmth of his large hands finds the soft of your tummy, pressing you back into his chest as he pressed a peck to the back of your neck.
You squirm in his hold, whining as that same hand of his grabs hold of your breast, long digit rolling your nipple between their tips. You can’t help but press your ass back into him. His cock feels hot and heavy, pressing against the back of your thigh, making your pussy clench in anticipation. 
You want him.
You want him so bad that you don't know what to do with yourself, shuddering as his free hand runs along the side of your ass, leaving scorching hot trails on your skin wherever he kneads into your flesh. He's touching you everywhere – everywhere but where you need him the most, and the arousal that drips down your thigh mocks you.
"Dammit, please!" You exclaim, running out of patience.
"Please what?" He says, an eyebrow arched.
You shiver, committing the way his middle finger traced your pelvic bone to memory forever.
You puff out a frustrated breath, nearly at your wit's end. "Please fuck me, Tae."
Taehyung pauses, grip on your breast and hip tightening as he lets out a moan. You let one out yourself as you feel him readjust, cock pressing against your slick entrance.
"Fuck, you sound so pretty when you say my name," He grunts. "Okay, baby. I'll fuck you. Begging so nicely for my cock."
You let out a squeak as you're suddenly pushed down onto your hands, back arching as he pushes his fat cock inside your heavenly cunt. He's thick, so thick, that you instinctively grip the sheet underneath you, fingers curled around them tightly as if it means to hold onto your sanity.
Taehyung lets out a shaky breath, angling your hips up so that you could take more of him.
"You feel—feel so good," he admits above you, and suddenly you wish you could see him. See the way his bangs stick to his damp forehead—see the way his tongue swipes over his bottom lip wickedly.
You let that thought go, however, as he thrust into you, making your jaw fall slack and eyes flutter shut. Profanities roll off your tongue unabashedly, helpless under the way his thick member pulls out of you, only to slam back into you.
You weren't expecting this. The way he stretches you out further than anyone had before. Your pussy clenches around him, reveling in the sweet, sweet burn.
He digs into the flesh of your hips, holding you steady as you mew and cry out, pushing your hips back in time to his, trying your best to meet his movements.
"Tae... fuck, fuck, fuck—"
He was filling you to the brim. Filling you tight and deep.
God, the way he was panting behind you was music to your ears. His cock pulses every time you call out his name, voice muffled and buried as you had your head pressed into the mattress, hair messy and bouncing with every hard thrust.
"S'good! Fuck... so, ah, big..." you cry out.
You feel drunk. Intoxicated off this beautiful man and the way he makes you feel a way only he can.
You nearly let out a sob as the rough pads of Taehyung's fingertips suddenly reach around you and find your neglected clit, rolling light circles on the soft and swollen bundle of nerves skillfully.
You are a mess, whimpering and drooling into your expensive sheets, and he filled every inch of you, leaving no place undiscovered. Your high nears, stewing on low heat somewhere near the pit of your belly, waiting for a chance to erupt and wash all over you. Taehyung must be close to, you realize, as his thrusts began to slow down, slamming into you roughly as if chasing after his high.
"Gonna take this load? Huh? Gonna let me cum inside your pretty little pussy?" His voice is straining, as if trying to breathe evenly but merely moments from falling apart.
If only you could formulate an intelligent response, but instead, you are a blubbering wreck, thighs shaking as they threatened to give out underneath you. But somehow, Taehyung knew. He had you. Quicking his motions against your delicate pearl, he could tell you were close too, and he was going to make sure you got there.
Suddenly, you're crying out and convulsing, tears brimming at the ends of your eyes as you feel Taehyung empty into you, collapsing onto his hands as well.
You feel his hot breath against the back of your neck as he pants, breath growing more and more even as the two of you regain control of your bodies and minds.
Pulling out of you, he plops down beside you, and for a moment, the two of you hold each other's gazes, eyes speaking in ways words never could.
Finally, after what feels both like an eternity and just a moment, you work up the courage to say something, moving closer to him as you place a hand on his chest, cushioning your chin as you rested on top of it.  
"Psst," you beckon, voice hushed.
"Yeah?" His voice is husky and tired.
"I’m grateful, too."
"I’m grateful for us, too."
Taehyung's gaze is soft, and it lingers on you for a second before the sides of his mouth curl up tenderly. He grins down at you, eyes drifting shut. You feel him squeeze you closer, pressing you against his skin. And then, you hear his breathing steady, see his lips part slightly. 
You lean into his chest, eyelids fluttering. “Thank you, Tae.”
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Not unlike the many other mornings you have awoken in this bed, when you open your eyes as the morning sunlight streams through the windows, Taehyung is nowhere to be found. The sheets on his side of the bed are flipped aside, revealing that soft outline of his body from the night before left imprinted into the sheets, a dip in the mattress where he slept. You had fallen asleep all wrapped up in each other, tangled up like vines, but must have separated sometime during the night. Distantly, you register Taehyung’s voice outside, notice his phone missing from his bedside table. He must be on an early morning call. 
You check your phone for the time. Ten o’clock. 
A late morning call, then. 
Still basking in the afterglow of the night prior, you slowly inch your way out of bed, shivering as you pull the covers off you and scoot your legs around so they hang over the edge of the bed. You rub at your eyes until you faintly remember you did not take your makeup off last night, and when your hand comes away covered with black streaks and flecks of mascara, you wince to yourself. There goes five hundred dollars worth of a skincare routine. 
After washing yourself up and applying as many serums as you can to your skin, you wrap yourself up in one of his button-up shirts, the torso so wide that it drapes over you. The tips of your fingers peek out from the ends of the sleeves, and you cross your arms lightly over your chest as you make your way to the door, ready to entice your husband back to bed for round two. What? It’s Saturday. 
You peer around the door to find Taehyung standing a few feet away, facing away from you. He’s shirtless, and as his wife you have absolutely no problems ogling him, the toned curves of his back, the muscles in his arms. He’s always been a looker. You just finally have an excuse to look for yourself. 
You approach him quietly, not wanting to interrupt nor broadcast your sex life to anybody on the other side who may be listening. Already, the idea of crawling back in bed together sends goosebumps along your skin, makes you giddy with anticipation. You’re just about to tap him on the shoulder, lips curled upwards in suggestion, when he says—
“And my inheritance? That’s secured now, right? Because I said I would pretend to be in love with her in public—?”
And it is as if Medusa herself appeared in this room, turning you to stone as your heart thuds to the floor, a hollow, empty noise. 
You don’t hear the rest of Taehyung’s conversation. You don’t even hear the sound of your own heartbeat. This terrible, aching sound rings in your ears, silencing everything in its wake, drowning out even the sighs of your own breath. It is as if you have been frozen solid. As if you have been shot in the stomach. You stand there, feeling absolutely nothing, and all you can do is brace yourself for what is to come. Taehyung’s words were the knife but his next actions will be its removal, leaving in its wake an irreparable wound. 
He turns around, casual and cool, voice still hushed. As if you were still asleep. As if you hadn’t heard anything at all. But when he twists his body and sees you standing there, staring back up at him, lips parted in shock. 
“I’ll call you back,” he tells whoever was on the other side of the line, looking more panicked by the second. He opens his mouth so he can explain himself, but you don’t need him to. You’ve heard everything already. 
“I should have known,” you say, feeling angry and betrayed and sad all at once. “I should have known it was all an act.”
“Y/N, wait, let me explain—”
“What is there to tell me, Taehyung? What are you going to say? That you didn’t mean it? That you thought I wouldn’t find out? That last night was just a one-off?” You demand. The heat from your veins hasn’t left. Still, it simmers through your blood, burning you up from the inside out. “That you didn’t want to lie to me?”
“It’s not like that and you know it,” Taehyung says defensively, brows furrowed. “Just give me a chance to explain myself.”
“Explain yourself? How you pretended, every day and every night, just so you could get some more money in your bank account? So you could make sure you would get your father’s business when he died?”
Taehyung bites back easily. “Don’t act like you weren’t also faking it at some point. I know you were almost removed from your grandmother’s will.”
Your tongue is bitter at the mention of your grandmother. As if Taehyung ever even knew her. “My grandmother has nothing to do with this.”
“Really?” Taehyung challenges. “So you wanting to stay in her will was just a little bonus, right?”
“Don’t,” you say sharply. “It’s different.”
“Different how?” Taehyung spits. “Because right now, to me, it looks pretty similar to what I’ve done.”
“My grandmother died months ago,” you remind him. Her will is no longer the question. It has been written, settled, and executed. There was no reason for you to continue playing along once she took her last breath. No reason—unless you wanted to. “Meanwhile you’ve been keeping your inheritance a secret from me this entire time.”
“We made a deal,” Taehyung says. “A deal that said we would both act happy and pretend to be in love because we both had things we needed to worry about. Family things. Money things. You were a part of this, just like I was. You pretended, too.”
“Well, maybe I stopped pretending!” 
You can’t take it anymore. All this anger, all this emptiness, it’s been bubbling up inside you ever since you heard those first words come out of his mouth. It spills out of you all at once, an eruption from your lips, your heart’s doors bursting open. You have held his hand tightly in your own. You have pressed your lips to his. You have laid yourself bare in front of him. What is there left to protect? What part of you has not already been stained by him, by his touch, by the feeling of his fingers against your skin?
The hallway is silent, but you can hear your cry echo down the corridor. Hear the way it bounces along the walls before fading away. 
“Maybe I stopped pretending,” you repeat, softer this time. You blink and already can feel the streaks along your skin, the tears falling from your eyes. “Did you ever think about that?”
“Y/N, what are you talking about?” Taehyung looks like he’s in disbelief. Like he cannot believe the words you are saying to him. 
Well, that makes two of you. 
“Can’t you see, Tae? Can’t you tell?” You ask, the nickname falling from your lips before you can even help it. You must remind yourself to change that, later. “I’m in love with you.”
They are words you have never said to someone before. Not even your old boyfriends. Words that you always knew you would reserve for someone special. Someone who would touch your heart and make it their own, someone who would leave imprints of their fingers against your chest. Someone who would brighten you up from the inside out, leave you bursting with light. 
Ironic, that Taehyung has become that someone. When he is the one person you never thought could. 
When he has proven, time and time again, that you two just cannot mix. Oil and water. Pastel and acrylic. Satin and silk. 
“You don’t have to say anything,” you spit out quickly, before Taehyung has a chance to respond. “I know it doesn’t matter to you.”
“Y/N, yes it does,” Taehyung begins, desperate and pleading. “I know you heard what I said, but I swear, it stopped being an act for me, too. Things are different now, just like you said.”
“Don’t. Please.” You pull away as he reaches out towards you. Faintly, you remember that it is his shirt you are wearing. Remember that no matter what you do, he will always surround you. “Please, Tae.” You have nothing left. You can’t bear to look at him, but where else will you go? You cannot believe the things he’s said, the things he’s done, but where else would you go?
“I love you, too,” Taehyung says, and a part of you wants so badly to believe him. 
A part of you wants so badly to ingrain those words into your head, carve them into your heart, let him wrap his arms around you and promise that everything will be alright. But things are different now. Just like you said. You and Taehyung are not the same people you were six months ago. Or six weeks ago. Or even six minutes ago. You are helpless and he has proven that he does not care. 
“I have to go,” you say, looking away. You don’t think you could handle turning back to him again. “Please, Tae.”
“I’m sorry,” Taehyung says, and he reaches out once more but you are not there to meet him halfway. Were you ever?
“I know,” you whisper back.
You duck into your bedroom and pack a suitcase of everything you need. Being here is suffocating. Being with him is like setting yourself alight. 
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Victoria has no questions when you show up at her door later that day, suitcase by your side and this ridiculous bottle of Merlot in your hands. You had picked it up on the way over. You sort of figured you might need it. 
“You don’t wanna talk about it, do you?” Victoria asks. 
“Tell me about your streaming service,” you hiccup in response.
Victoria is happy to oblige. She even tells you that she still hasn’t picked a CFO, and that the position would be open for you if you ever wished to take it. 
Funnily enough, what will become of you once your father retires and passes along the company is the furthest away from your thoughts. 
You remember being so worried about that. Being so worried that, once they married you off like every good daughter should be, you would be absorbed into your husband’s life, cut out of your family’s. Your father would choose a cousin, an uncle, or even a friend to take after the business, bestowing upon you a thoughtful inheritance but nothing more than that. All of those years of schooling, finance in college, your MBA soon after, would be wasted, just so you could hang on the arm of your husband for the rest of your life. 
It’s thoughtful of Victoria to think of you for the position. She knows just as well as anyone else that you would be an excellent fit. And if things were just a little bit different, you would be jumping at the offer. 
But your future career plans are on the backburner, along with the rest of your life. 
All you can really do, right now, at this very moment, is wait for things to change. As they always do. 
“Don’t you have an event tonight?” Victoria asks about three days into your stay. She’s given you her favorite (her words, not yours) guest bedroom and an enormous closet to match, despite you only coming over with a carry-on’s worth of clothes. 
You scoff to yourself. “Like I’d want to go to anything with him.”
“Have you even called your parents?” 
“No,” you say, not even caring about the repercussions. There’s no doubt in your mind that they’ll be ringing you soon. And when they do, maybe then you’ll finally work up the courage to tell them what really happened. Tell them that you can’t go back there. Not yet, at least. 
“I’m sorry that this happened to you,” Victoria says as she hands you a bowl of vegetable soup, homemade from a couple of days ago. You nod to yourself, sniffling as you curl into the couch cushions and wish they would absorb you whole. 
There’s no need to ask her what she means by ‘this’. Everything. From your engagement to the marriage, from those tabloids to the deal, from your grandmother’s death to now. It has all been unfair. Life is unfair. And while you’ve always known that, it has been particularly cruel to you as of late. 
Still, when you wake up sometimes, you can still feel him tracing over your skin. Feel his lips hovering over yours, breath fanning out over your cheeks. You turn over and expect to see him lying there, on the right side of the bed, sheets mussed as they cover his figure. You wake up and for a brief moment, for that split, split second, there is peace. And happiness. And love. 
And then there is nothing. 
“Yeah,” you sigh. “Me, too.”
Maybe he really does love you. Maybe things really did change. But you have always been a pragmatic person, always let your head guide you rather than your heart. The secret’s out. Taehyung had an inheritance he needed to secure. You were his path to doing so. Those things haven’t changed. No matter if his feelings did. 
“Hey, look at this,” Victoria says, brows furrowed as she holds out her phone in front of you, revealing a livestreamed interview from the event tonight. 
You peer over. 
It’s Taehyung. 
Of course it’s Taehyung. Who else would she be showing you?
He stands in a clean-cut gray coat, draping over his figure, black dress shirt and slacks underneath, belt wrapped neatly around his hips. He holds his hand up in a wave and smiles politely to the cameras, to the reporters, letting the flashes wash over him like waves in the ocean. 
“Mr. Kim! Mr. Kim!” Someone calls. “Where’s your wife?”
Oh, God.
Taehyung grimaces a little, pursing his lips. “My wife won’t be joining me tonight.”
“Can you tell us why?” They shout. 
“Sorry, no more questions. Thank you for asking though. She’s well,” he says, quickly ushering himself along, entering the venue so no more reporters can bombard him. When he disappears, the livestream immediately moves on to the next guest, but you hardly pay them any attention. 
“Huh,” Victoria says aloud. 
Indeed. Taehyung’s response strikes you as rather odd. Why would he tell the public that? Why not make up a lie, say you’re sick, or you’re overseas, or you’re just late? Why simply tell them that you won’t be there? Surely, Taehyung is just as aware of the consequences of arriving at an event without you as you are. There’s no doubt that his parents will be in contact with him soon, too. No doubt that this will leave a stain on his family. His image. It might even threaten his inheritance after all.
So why not lie?
You frown to yourself, nose scrunching up in confusion. You don’t like where this train of thought leads.
“You okay?” Victoria asks when she sees the bewildered expression on your face.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” you say. Just completely befuddled. It escapes you, why Taehyung wouldn’t just make up some sort of excuse as to reasoning behind your absence. Why he would even show up at the event at all. Certainly, going to the event without you is worse than not going at all. It prompts questions. It spreads rumors. 
Later that night, you get a call from your parents, demanding to know why you weren’t there with him. You say you got sick. You plead with them not to question anything. 
You wonder what happens next. You and Taehyung still have two more events this week. A dinner and a ball. What will you do then?
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Taehyung goes solo for the dinner. You suppose you could have predicted that, considering his apparent willingness to arrive alone for the first event, too. He hasn’t made any efforts to contact you and for once, you’re glad for his silence. Not that you even know what he would say to you, anyway, but at least he isn’t begging you to come back to him. 
The sad truth is that if he did, if he got down on his knees right in front of you and willed you to come back home, you probably would. He has always been impossible to resist. Even when you first met him, when he sauntered up towards you and told you he was your dream come true. You didn’t know it then. But he was. He was everything you would ever want. 
Why would he lie? 
Why would he do that?
You can’t wrap your head around it. What is he getting out of it by telling the truth? By admitting to the paparazzi, to the reporters and the cameramen, that you won’t be there with him. That you will not be joining him. Nothing, certainly. His parents must be furious. His inheritance may be on the rocks. His image might tank. 
So then, why do it at all?
Could it… could it be?
Is it true?
You have loved Taehyung for a long time. Longer than you probably even care to admit. You have always held your head high at events, spoken loudly and without fear, but being with him made you feel safe. Secure. You would hold his hand and know, know that he was holding yours, too. It grounded you. It soothed your worries. 
Does he really love you back?
Taehyung smiles politely and laughs when he needs to at these events, but he doesn’t look the same. Even through the screen you can see those bags under his eyes, that spark that has faded. You hardly recognize him. He looks so lonely, without someone by his side. So distant. 
When you know the dinner has ended, you almost pick up the phone and call him. 
Instead, when the ball rolls around, you ask Victoria if she’s got a spare dress she can lend you.
 Kim Taehyung, for someone you have seen covered in paint splotches, wearing old college hoodies, and fresh out of a restless night’s sleep, cleans up pretty well. For a married man, at least. 
You wonder what the past few days must have been like for him. If they have been as empty as your own. Wonder what it was like, riding alone in a big black van to this hotel ballroom, no one to tease, no one to laugh with, no one to hold. No one to poke him awake if he accidentally fell asleep. No one to make sure he’s okay. 
Taehyung stands right outside of the entrance, waving politely to all of the paparazzi, smiling as the cameras flash, giving them the time of day for a moment before he heads inside and muscles his way through another event without you. 
Or so he thinks. 
You spot him just as he opens his mouth, ready to repeat those same lines all over again.
My wife won’t be joining me tonight. She’s well, though.
And maybe it’s just because you haven’t seen him in nearly a week. Maybe it’s just because he is about to lie to those reporters once more, ready to face whatever consequences come his way. 
Or maybe it’s just because you miss him. Miss him terribly, have been missing him terribly. Being away from him was necessary, but that didn’t make it any less unbearable. Not getting to hold his hand, see his smile, meet his eyes. You and Taehyung may not have always liked each other, but you saw him every day regardless. He became a constant in your life. Not an if, but a when. If everything went to shit, you always knew he would still be there. 
And there he is. 
“Wait! Taehyung!”
Taehyung’s eyes widen as he hears your voice, gaze darting around wildly, mouth parted in surprise. He looks around desperately, scanning the crowd, meeting the eyes of every single person in front of him until he finally looks to the left, sees you rushing up towards him, hiking up the skirt of your dress as your heels tap against the sidewalk. 
And when he spots you, sees you running up to him, his body relaxes, a weight lifted from his shoulders as he beams back at you, relieved and thankful and filled with joy, all at once. And you know, then. 
You know that everything will be okay. 
“Sorry I’m late,” you say sheepishly, cheeks burning as he looks at you, takes in every inch of you, breathes you in and lets you fill him up. 
Taehyung doesn’t respond. You reach out to hold his hand but he grabs your wrist and pulls you in, presses you against his body as he presses his hands against your cheeks, palms burning as they meet your skin, and he kisses you. In front of all these people, he kisses you. 
And goddamnit, you will kiss him back. 
It feels like lightning, like a thunderstorm, like the waves of the ocean are crashing against your heart. It feels like fire, like flames are licking at your veins, sending sparks through your blood. It feels like home. 
You and Taehyung ignore the shouts of reporters, the flashes of cameras, the honks of the cars on the other side of the road. When you part, he presses his forehead against yours and lets the tip of your nose meet his. And you smile. 
“Don’t be alone any longer, Mr. Kim,” you whisper, loud enough so only he can hear. 
“When I’m with you, I never am, Mrs. Kim,” he murmurs back. 
You wonder what those tabloids will be saying about you tomorrow. 
The rest of the night finds the two of you pretty much inseparable. You wrap yourself around his arm and for the first time in a long time, he presses his hand against the small of your back, keeping you close. Like he’d ever lose you again. 
One of your least favorite parts about attending balls used to be the dancing. As a young and eligible bachelorette, you would always have to lock hands with another, let him awkwardly guide you along to the music as you made the worst small talk imaginable, forcing laughter and smiles whenever he said something he thought was particularly funny. 
But, like so many others, things have changed. Things are different now. 
The waltz comes on and you and Taehyung are the first to reach the center of the ballroom floor, letting him rest his hand on your waist as you press yours on top of his shoulder. Let him twirl you around the room as the orchestra plays in the background, a soft, sweet, light little melody that carries you along. 
“I missed this,” you say softly. 
“I missed us,” Taehyung corrects. He pauses for a moment, swallowing hard. “I’m sorry for not telling you about my inheritance.”
“I’m sorry for storming out. I should have listened to you.” you respond easily. You both have plenty to apologize for. But night is darkest right before dawn. 
“I should have said something,” Taehyung says with a shake of his head. “But I was just so—so worried that something would go wrong. And I didn’t know how to explain how I felt about you. I acted in the beginning, too, but then things changed.”
“They always do,” you muse with a grin. 
“I couldn’t believe I had you,” Taehyung admits. “I mean, look at you. You’re gorgeous. And funny. And true.”
“Go on,” you tease, even though you do nothing to hide the smile inching its way across your face, the heating of your cheeks, the simmering of your skin. 
“Oh, shut up. You know what I mean.” Taehyung rolls his eyes. “I just—I felt something for you I couldn’t explain. I still can’t.”
You don’t have to prod any further. You know. Deep within your heart, you know. There is love blossoming in his to match the garden that has bloomed in your own. The flowers that have sprouted in the ashes. He has them, too. And when those petals open and the light streams in, he will know. He will know, too. 
“You make me crazy,” you tell him, whispering gently into his skin. “But I’m a better person when I’m with you. I know I am.”
“I meant what I said, that night,” Taehyung says. Makes you wonder which night he’s actually talking about. “That I’m happy that things have changed. That things happened the way they did. I’m grateful for us.”
“I am, too,” you say. And you are. 
You rest your head against his chest as you dance together, swaying back and forth to the beat of the drums, to the strums of the violins, all wrapped up together like ivy, like vines. Those, too, sit in that garden of yours. Keep you tethered to his side, keep him close to yours. He holds you in his arms and he smiles, because he knows, too. Knows that that garden in your heart will soon have a matching one in his. A mirror image of who you are. Who you’ve become. 
Things change. They always will. But so long as he is by your side, and so long as you are by his, you know. Everything will be okay. 
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It's different, this time, when Taehyung presses you into the mattress. 
There is no rush. Because now you know for certain that all the time in the world is yours. He is yours forever. You are his.
The two of you are a mixture of tangled limbs and shared breaths, the feverish, irrepressible need to give yourself to each other nearly tangible. He breaks the kiss suddenly, and you’re about to break out in protest. That is, until you see him unbuttoning his shirt.
Inspired, you wiggle out of your own clothes, eyes locked on Taehyung's soft torso and the idea that you had married such a beautiful man, inside and out.
Looking back, you wonder if that was always inevitable. If you and Taehyung falling into each other had been written in the stars from day one, sealed as your fate from the moment he came up to you at that ball when you were teenagers. He was going to be a part of your life no matter what. Whether or not you ended up marrying him. But having him like this?
It makes it all worth it.
"Do you like what you see?" That old cocky smirk of his makes an appearance.
You raise a brow, choosing to omit a response as you unclasp your bra, letting it fall from your chest.
Taehyung swallows.
"Do you?" You tease.
His response comes in the form of bites down your necks and licks down your chest, stealing your breath from you. 
Your clothes are somewhere dispelled beside your passionate bodies, growing cold beside the way your two hot bodies warmed one another.
"You are so beautiful," Taehyung praises, fingers coming up to cup your breast, bringing it up to his mouth.
You mewl, wrapping an arm around his shoulders as his tongue toys with your pert bud, teeth grazing it ever so often just to hear the broken gasp that'd always follow. 
"And so sensitive too," he giggles, making you pout. His hands are gentle as if every touch means something. As if you mean something—no, everything—to him. And the most wonderful part is that he means everything to you, too. 
"Shut up." You roll your eyes playfully, gasping as his palm comes down the side of your thigh suddenly in warning. You bite down your swollen bottom lip at the gush of arousal that dampened your underwear in response.
"Watch your tone, love. Of both our positions, you are in the most compromising one." He reminds you. It isn't a threat, and while usually, that kind of tone would thrill you, you couldn't help but want his mouth back on yours already.
"You talk too much." You flop back onto the bed with a sigh. Taehyung watches with interest as your pretty tits bounce in consequence. Extending your hands out towards him, you give him a pouty look. "Just wanna kiss you."
"Is that all I am to you? Just a pair of lips for you to mack on? I've got news for you, sweetheart, there's a brain behind these ravishing good looks." He scoffs in feigned offense, sitting back on his heels.
You giggle.
It seems as though even during the most intimate of moments, Taehyung still found a way to be, well, Taehyung. At least that hasn’t changed. 
"Whatever, pretty boy. Why don't you come over here and put that mouth of yours to good use?" You purr, making his eyebrows raise in surprise.
"Oh? I don't remember you being this assertive when I was pounding you into the mattress last time."
“What, I can’t have a little fun as well?” You tease, grinning as you look up at him, raking your eyes over his figure. 
"Wanna have fun, love?," He murmurs into your ears, hands gripping either of your plush thighs. "Then spread those pretty legs for me, and I'll show you exactly how much fun you can have."
God, you love this man.
You oblige eagerly, breath quickening as he helped you press your knees by your chest, leaving the wet patch in your underwear on full display. 
"My pretty little wife." He sighs dreamily, making heat rush to your core.
Taehyung's cock stood loud and proud, a hot reminder of where the night would eventually lead to. Seriously, how did you get so lucky? You must've been a saint in a previous life, you decide right then. Or at least, the stars have chosen to be rather kind to you in this one.
"Gonna take these off," he mutters, mostly to himself, tugging the ruined fabric over your ass and down your legs, with your help, of course.
Despite your usual display of confidence, lying beneath your husband, spread out like this, has you feeling vulnerable and slightly insecure. But that insecurity vanishes, however, as he lets out a soft moan, fingers moving to spread your glossed lips apart.
"So fucking pretty, baby. Gonna make you feel so fucking good," he groans, leaning down to press his face near your most intimate part.
Pressing a tentatively lick against, his eyes flicker up to yourself, curious to see if you’re okay with him proceeding. And, well, it’s not like you’re going to say no, are you?
Embarrassingly, you rut against him, making him laugh as you drown in your own mortification.
"Need it that bad, huh?" He coos.
"Yes, please."
The rest of your plea is lost in a moan as Taehyung finds your clit, wrapping his pink lips around the sensitive muscle and giving it a generous suck. Your hands are in his hair before you can think to stop yourself, tugging at his scalp deliciously as his mouth makes its way with you.
Thank goodness for this apartment belonging to just the two of you as the noises that tumbled from your lips surely would've left a roommate blushing.
You're panting, begging for more even though you aren't sure how you'd even handle more. It comes as a delight and slight surprise as fingers suddenly slip inside, wasting no time to rub against your velvety smooth walls, curling themselves inside you.
"Fuck, Tae!" you cry out, eyes squeezing shut.
It was pure reflex. Up until now, you had been watching Taehyung intently, completely consumed by the way his mouth moves against you. How his tongue flicks against your needy clit cruelly. It just felt too fucking good.
You're so wet, positively dripping down his chin as he runs his hot muscle up and down the length of your pussy, devouring you like he hadn't eaten in months, and you were his first meal.
Taehyung’s nothing short of addicting, completely and utterly intoxicating, and you slip further and further to your demise with every lick he takes, every press of his tongue against your clit.
He has a hand pressed against the lower half of your torso, feeling the way you jerk and squirm as he makes a mess of you. You’re close and you know it, too, if not by the way you’re calling his name over and over again, then by the way your thighs tremble, hardly even strong enough to stay up.
"Let go for me, love. I've got you." He sounds so sweet, so angelic, despite how filthy what he was doing to you was.
His words are the push you need, and, like a rubber band that has been stretched past its limit, you finally snap, back arching off the bed as you come with a cry. White fills your vision, and your mind goes blank, only sounds of blissful static filling your ears.
His fingers hold up your quivering legs, mouth pressing kisses onto your pussy encouragingly until you simply can't bear it any longer, pushing his mouth away as you stutter out words of sensitivity and overstimulation.
“I’m going to have to request more of that throughout this marriage.” You manage to say once your vision and breath come back to you.
Grabbing one of your hands, Taehyung brings it to his mouth.
“All you need do is ask,” he replies, making you laugh as he presses a kiss to the back of your hand, always a gentleman
Not long after, you find yourself pressed against Taehyung, tongue running against his as he presses his hips into yours. He isn’t coy about his want for you, rolling his cock against your already sensitive center. Warm precum leaks onto your lower abdomen, and suddenly, all you can think about is having him inside you again.
You don’t even need to ask. Hitching your leg around his thigh, he knows exactly what you’re seeking, lining up his leaking cock with your swollen entrance.
Pressing into you, he buries himself to the hilt, groaning out as your warmth envelopes him. You moan out so prettily for him, feeling tight and full with your first orgasm only minutes ago.
“You okay?” he hums, kissing your cheek.
You nod, ears warm at the intimacy of the moment. In many ways, this is nothing like your first time together. You are face to face, eye to eye, heart to heart. Between your bodies could be found more than just desire, but commitment. Devotion. Love. 
“I love you, Tae.” You gush, sighing out as he begins to rock into you.
He falters slightly at your confession but recovers quickly, intertwining his hand with yours and pressing it by your head.
Faintly, you realize. 
That was the first time you had ever told him that.
You look up at him, expecting some wide eyes or even a bit of a nervous tilt to his lips, but all you are met with is a glow. He beams down at you, and your heart swells. 
“I love you, too, Y/N,” he whispers, but you hear the words in your ears loud and clear.
Soft noises fill the room as the two of you become one—hearts synchronizing with one another in silent promise.
It was a promise unlike the one you had made to each other that day at the altar, for this one was real. This one was true.
You shutter with every thrust of his hips, your abused clit finding itself in the crossfire of Taehyung’s passionate motions.
Whimpering, you cling to him, overwhelmed and emotional, like your heart was about to burst. Taehyung lights a fire in you, sends lightning straight through your core. Every word, every smile, every kiss, every touch, they send shivers down your spine, tingles throughout your skin. It’s like you’re falling in love with him all over whenever you see him, whenever his deep brown eyes meet your own.
You remember being so afraid of love that you broke up with all your old boyfriends because of it. Because you couldn’t commit, because you were worried about your career, because they just didn’t give you that spark. But lying here pressed against him, against your husband, you aren’t afraid. Wrapped up around him, tangled up in him, you know. 
Between messy kisses and words of adoration, you find yourself growing closer and closer to your release. Brows furrowed and neck flushed, you come with a soft whimper of his name, coaxing his own orgasm out of him. He lets go inside you, painting you with his seed in a way that pleases you to no end.
Hand still in yours, he gives it a squeeze, pressing a kiss onto your damp chest, right over where your heart beats for him.
“I love you,” Taehyung says again when you meet his eyes, firmer this time, louder. Like he’s worried you didn’t believe him the first time. 
“I know,” you say with a giggle, the words going straight to your head—and your heart. 
Taehyung scowls. “What, no ‘I love you’ back? Is that what I’m hearing?”
“Well, only because you want one so badly,” you tease, pressing a quick kiss to his round button nose. “I love you, too, Tae. Always will.”
“I think I knew, then,” Taehyung says with a fond sigh, nostalgia overcoming his expression. “That first time we met. I knew you would be mine, one day.”
“You got lucky,” you scoff slightly. “But I’m glad things happened the way they did.”
“You’re my dream come true, Y/N,” he says. 
“And you are mine,” you murmur.
As the two of you drift off, all twisted up in each other, so mixed up you can’t figure out where you end and he begins, you think back to that night. That ball. 
“Who are you?” You ask, nose scrunched up in distaste. Before you stood a boy you had never met before, wearing shoes that were too big for him and a suit that was a touch too small. 
He grins at you, running a hand through his perfectly-styled hair fringe swiped neatly over his forehead, and he says, “your dream come true.”
And so it was. 
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don’t forget to message me! ~ and don’t forget to message rose!
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david-talks-sw · 6 months ago
Anakin knows what he’s doing is wrong...
Whenever I read people using the idea that “from Anakin’s point of view the Jedi are evil” as the ultimate proof that he felt bullied by them, I roll my eyes. Anakin is intelligent enough to know when he’s wrong.
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He doesn’t really think the Jedi are evil, he’s lying to himself, he bought his own con.
Anakin was a good kid to begin with, and with the Jedi training he became a great man. If you look at things objectively, Anakin is 90% of a great Jedi. He’s seemingly learned all the rules, and is wise enough to teach them to others:
Be it by telling Ahsoka that she needs to follow the rules, she can’t just go around and do whatever she feels like, it’ll lead to trouble…
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… by encouraging his Padawan not to be too hard on herself…
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… or be it by encouraging rational thought over hotheadedness.
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In that last image, Anakin is Anakin telling Ahsoka and Rex to stop letting their emotions do the thinking and act logically. He’s telling them to be prudent.
Hell, he even believes that patience is a virtue.
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Anakin is a trained Jedi Knight. He has the theoretical know-how to get out of his problems, in ROTS.
In fact, a lot of people forget this, but Anakin’s first instinct, upon finding out Palpatine is, in fact, Darth Sidious, is this:
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The Jedi are Anakin’s family. If Palpatine is asking Anakin to choose between the Chancellor and the Jedi, he’ll choose the Jedi every damn time (which is why Palpatine makes Anakin choose between the Jedi and Padmé, instead).
So where’s the problem?
That last 10% of what makes a great Jedi. Introspection, self-control.
Despite being wise, clever and thinking rationally - Anakin has trouble applying those lessons to himself.
When it comes to his own personal problems, he's hard on himself, he’s impatient, he breaks the rules and acts out of emotion instead of thinking things through.
As Obi-Wan puts it:
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As a result of this flaw, Anakin keeps choosing the wrong path, despite knowing that it’s the wrong path. The Force puts a lot of tests in front of him, and he keeps choosing the easy way out, rather than the more difficult but ultimately satisfying path.
His mother was killed. He can choose to genocide a whole Tusken village, or be the better man and just walk away. He kills the Tuskens.
Dooku is unarmed and helpless. Anakin can either kill him in a rage, out of revenge, or he can capture him, bring him to justice, and potentially discover the identity of the second Sith Lord. He kills Dooku.
Windu is also helpless (his hand was just cut off by Anakin) and Palpatine is killing him. Anakin can either choose to save Windu and arrest Palpatine (who just revealed that he wasn’t “too weak” after all), or he can let Windu die. He lets Windu die.
Padmé tells him that this isn’t what she wants. He can actually listen to her wishes. Or he can go on a maniacal rant about having ultimate power, ignoring her own opinions completely. He goes on a rant, drunk with power. Then chokes her.
Obi-Wan tells him to stop, tries to reason with him: Chancellor Palpatine is evil. Anakin knows this. He can stop lying to himself and accept his mistakes, ending the fight. Or he can give Obi-Wan his two-cent rationalization about the Jedi being evil (which he doesn’t even really believe in), and keep trying to kill Obi-Wan. He keeps trying to kill Obi-Wan.
The more the War goes on, the more it gets easy for Anakin to take the easy path, over and over. But he knows it’s the wrong thing to do.
In the director’s commentary of Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas said this about the following two scenes:
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“I like this scene because he's lying to her and he's rationalizing it at the same time by saying he's doing it all for her. He's loyal to the senate and the chancellor and her. But in the end- I mean, he's twisted every fact to his own rationale to make it seem like it's okay, but in the process of lying to her he's actually just lying to himself and rationalizing his behavior. 'Cause he knows he's wrong, but he won't admit it […] he's too far gone- that he could murder a bunch of kids… and then go and rationalize it to her as just doing his job.”
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“The tear [on Anakin’s face] says that he knows what he's done, but he has now committed himself to a path that he may not agree with… but he is going to go on anyway. It's the one moment that says he's self-aware that he's rationalizing all his behavior. He's doing terrible things, but in the end he really knows the truth. He knows that he's evil now, and there's nothing he can do about it.”
Anakin tells himself that he’s doing this for Padmé, he’s doing this because the Jedi betrayed him, blabla.
Truth is? He’s just really really scared. And that made him do really bad things.
There’s this incredible moment in Darth Vader: Lord of the Sith #5.
Vader has taken the lightsaber off a Jedi, and now he has to corrupt the saber’s crystal to get his red blade.
The crystal, and by extension, the Force, showed him a vision, a path where he turned to the Light, defeated the Emperor and put an end to his suffering. A path of redemption. This was his reaction:
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Vader refuses to take the hard path and chooses the easy path instead, once again. He rejects the Light and hangs on to the pain… because deep down… below the “they betrayed me” bullshit he keeps telling himself… he thinks he deserves it, because he did the wrong thing.
Anakin knows he’s wrong and he’s still goes forward with doing the wrong thing, no matter what test the Force keeps throwing his way.
And that’s why his sacrifice in Return of the Jedi is so impactful. He finally does the right thing, he accepts that it’ll be hard, that he’ll die if he saves Luke… he doesn’t care. Luke loves him, like Padmé did. He failed once. He won’t fail again.
I’m gonna conclude this with one more quote from Lucas:
“It really has to do with learning. Children teach you compassion. They teach you to love unconditionally. Anakin can’t be redeemed for all the pain and suffering he’s caused. He doesn’t right the wrongs, but he stops the horror. The end of the Saga is simply Anakin saying: ‘I care about this person, regardless of what it means to me. I will throw away everything that I have, everything that I have grown to love - primarily the Emperor - and throw away my life, to save this person. And I’m doing this because he has faith in me, loves me despite all the horrible things I’ve done. I broke his mother’s heart, but he still cares about me, and I can’t let that die’.”
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duckiereads · 5 months ago
Read these 10 YA books by Trans Authors instead of HP
There's a rule I have (that I took from author Emery Lee) that says that every time someone mentions JKR, I have to rec 2 books by trans authors. Here are some of my favorite YA recs if you ever felt like adapting the same rule in your friend groups.
As always, the pictures and jacket copy are from publishers’ sites! If they didn’t have info available, I used info from author sites! :)
If any of these interest you and if you are able, please support your favorite independent bookstores when purchasing these and other books!
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Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
Emery's book isn't out until 05/04/21, but because I saw this rule from em, I couldn't NOT rec eir book!
Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe. When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page. In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.
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Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle.... But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself. Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.
TW for a forced outing.
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Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question–How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist? Acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi makes their riveting and timely young adult debut with a book that asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial.
TW for discussions about child abuse.
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Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can't get rid of him. When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school's resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He's determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
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Deep and Darkest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves. Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.
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Who I Was with Her by Nita Tyndall
There are two things that Corinne Parker knows to be true: that she is in love with Maggie Bailey, the captain of the rival high school's cross-country team and her secret girlfriend of a year, and that she isn't ready for anyone to know she's bisexual. But then Maggie dies, and Corinne quickly learns that the only thing worse than losing Maggie is being left heartbroken over a relationship no one knows existed. And to make things even more complicated, the only person she can turn to is Elissa—Maggie's ex, and the single person who understands how Corinne is feeling. As Corinne struggles to make sense of her grief and what she truly wants out of life, she begins to have feelings for the last person she should fall for. But to move forward after losing Maggie, Corinne will have to learn to be honest with the people in her life...starting with herself.
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Between Perfect & Real by Ray Stoeve
*This book comes out April 27, 2021 but I'm excited enough about it that I'll share it a week before it comes out.
Dean Foster knows he’s a trans guy. He’s watched enough YouTube videos and done enough questioning to be sure. But everyone at his high school thinks he’s a lesbian—including his girlfriend Zoe, and his theater director, who just cast him as a “nontraditional” Romeo. He wonders if maybe it would be easier to wait until college to come out. But as he plays Romeo every day in rehearsals, Dean realizes he wants everyone to see him as he really is now––not just on the stage, but everywhere in his life. Dean knows what he needs to do. Can playing a role help Dean be his true self?
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Can't Take That Away by Steven Salvatore
An empowering and emotional debut about a genderqueer teen who finds the courage to stand up and speak out for equality when they are discriminated against by their high school administration. Carey Parker dreams of being a diva, and bringing the house down with song. They can hit every note of all the top pop and Broadway hits. But despite their talent, emotional scars from an incident with a homophobic classmate and their grandmother's spiraling dementia make it harder and harder for Carey to find their voice. Then Carey meets Cris, a singer/guitarist who makes Carey feel seen for the first time in their life. With the rush of a promising new romantic relationship, Carey finds the confidence to audition for the role of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the school musical, setting off a chain reaction of prejudice by Carey's tormentor and others in the school. It's up to Carey, Cris, and their friends to defend their rights--and they refuse to be silenced. Told in alternating chapters with identifying pronouns, debut author Steven Salvatore's Can't Take That Away conducts a powerful, uplifting anthem, a swoony romance, and an affirmation of self-identity that will ignite the activist in all of us.
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Peter Darling by Austin Chant
Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is. But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.
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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
L E T   M E   B E   C L E A R : I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training. In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.
And that wraps up this week's list! What books by trans authors are you excited about? Any recs for me?
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cjsinkythoughts · 5 months ago
The Shield
Paring: Bucky Barnes x Avenger!Reader
Word Count: 5595
Warnings: !FATWS SPOILERS!, Cursing, John Walker, Emotions, Character Death, Mentions of Blood, I know people had a hard time with that last scene so please take caution because it is in this part! GIF at end is the ending scene, so be careful when you get towards the bottom! I feel like I’m forgetting some, so just know this one’s a bit more than the others.
A/N: Here it is, folks! The Part we’ve all been waiting for! It’s the longest one I’ve written so far but so much happened and I couldn’t find a better spot to end it than where the episode ended. Thank you all for being patient with me today. I know I didn’t get this out as quickly as I would’ve the past few weeks, but you guys are so awesome! Seriously! I love that you understand I do have a life and work comes first! Thank you, thank you!
This Part is a doozy, guys, and…I’m sorry? But not really. I’m SUPER excited to see where this is gonna go, especially considering Episode 5 is supposed to be the real tear jerker. I can’t believe there’s only two more episodes! I’ve grown so attached to these characters just in the past month! I’m so glad I’m able to share some of my thoughts and feelings with you guys, too! You’re honestly the best!
I’ll be doing more One Shots this week, so look for those on the Masterlist. I’m still taking requests for them, so if there’s anything you want explored about the reader and her relationships that you don’t think will be explored in this Series, just ask and I’ll try to add it to the One Shot list.
As always, this isn’t beta’d so please excuse any mistakes! Thank you for reading, be kind to yourself and others, enjoy this part and stay tuned!
FATWS Masterlist
cjsinkythoughts Masterlist
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(I couldn’t decide on which GIF to use because there are so many good ones! Thank you Tumblr Creators!)
“Doll…hey. Doll. C’mon, sweetheart. We gotta get moving.”
You cracked your eyes open begrudgingly, squinting up to see Bucky’s amused grin, head tilted and eyes soft. “Huh?”
He chuckled as you rubbed your eyes, confusion lifting an eyebrow. “The funeral. Zemo said we’ve gotta go if we’re gonna make it in time.”
“Wait, but…huh?”
Sniggering again at your reaction, he held up your phone. “You passed out in the middle of a chapter, sleepyhead.” He teased lightly, grabbing your hand and gently pulling you to sit upright. “It’s almost been an hour.”
You huffed tiredly, stretching and placing your feet on the floor, taking back the phone he held out to you. “Why didn’t you wake me up?”
“You haven’t been sleeping well.” He stated, like it should’ve been obvious. “How’s your arm feeling?”
“Better than earlier. It’s just sore. That’s all.”
He studied your features for any hint of a lie. Not finding one, he nodded, holding out his hand. “Okay. But tell me if it starts bothering you.”
You placed your hand in his, marveling for a split second at how big his hands were compared to yours - something you noticed every time but still it never ceased to astound you. He tugged you up, and you looked up to meet his worried eyes, remembering his question.
“I will, Buck. Promise.”
He nodded, tilting his head towards the door. “C’mon, cuddle bug. We don’t wanna miss this.”
A groan passed your lips, but you nodded and followed Bucky out into the main room, where Sam chuckled at you from his spot at the table. “Sleeping beauty has finally awoken.”
You flipped Sam off groggily. “Are we going or not?”
“Do you wanna wake up s’more first?”
“No.” You answered the one armed brunette. “I’ll just splash some water on my face or something. I’ll be fine by the time we get there. Where’s-”
“Looking for me?”
Zemo strolled out, now dressed in that coat of his, that smug smirk on his lips. You scowled. “I wish I wasn’t.”
Sam stood up, standing subconsciously between you and Zemo. “Let’s head out.”
You nodded in agreement, shooting the Baron one more glare, before following him out the door and into the city, Bucky right besides you, shoulders brushing as if you weren’t ignoring him just hours prior.
The walk was mostly silent, a few jests between Bucky and Sam plus a couple comments from Zemo here and there. You talked about strategy, with Sam bringing up the fact that he wanted to try convincing Karli to step down. Zemo didn’t look pleased with the arrangement, but both you and Bucky relented, agreeing to let Sam at least try.
It wasn’t until you were close to your destination according to Zemo that anything exciting happened.
“Karli Morgenthau is too dangerous for you guys to be pulling this shit!”
Hell. No. 
The moment the voice registered in your brain, your jaw tightened, your teeth starting to grind together as you held back the very not nice things you wanted to say. 
“Ah! How’d you find us now?” Bucky called out, tucking you into his side protectively, and a little possessively you noted, as Walker and Hoskins came down the steps, the two groups nearing each other.
You were relieved when the subject of Zemo escaping jail went by relatively quickly, Walker latching onto the fact that you were going to talk to Karli instead of focusing on the escaped fugitive in front of him.
You very nearly punched him when he ran in front of you after Sam told him the plan, making the four of you stop in your tracks, but Bucky’s arm tightened around your shoulders, holding you in place next to him.
“You’re gonna let him do this?” Walker questioned Bucky in disbelief, self righteous judgement practically dripping from your tone. “You’re gonna let your partner walk into a room with a super soldier alone?”
Bucky’s jaw ticked. “He’s dealt with worse. And he’s not my partner.”
“And you?” Walker narrowed his eyes towards you. “I expected more from you; the last original Avenger.”
You snorted, shaking your head. He obviously didn’t know how chaotic the Avengers were. What Sam was proposing? You’d seen it a million times with Steve alone. Not considering Nat, Clint, Thor, even Bruce and Tony. All of them willing to try to negotiate before running in, bullets raining and hell rising. “First, I’m not the last original. I’m technically not even an original. Second, I trust Sam with my life and I’m standing by his decision. He’s my brother. As a soldier, I would’ve thought you understood that.”
Before he could respond, Sam stepped around Bucky. You saw the reluctance in Walker’s eyes as he admitted a temporary defeat once Hoskins agreed with Sam. The fact that he was so unwilling to try to save more lives - including Karli’s - made the truth that he wasn’t, and would never, be your Captain harden deeper into your heart.
Ignoring Walker’s confusion as you followed the little girl Zemo befriended - which was weird, you’d admit, but it was getting you closer to Karli - Bucky’s arm slipped from your shoulders, hand sliding across your back and skimming down your arm to grip your hand. Even through your jacket, you felt goosebumps erupt along his fingers’ trail.
You finally came to your destination and you let out a small breath. If everything went smoothly, this mission could finally be over and you could go home and take a bath, get take out, get out a bottle of wine, watch TV, and just relax.
What a dream.
“Hey.” You stopped Sam before he could go through the entrance of where the girl said Karli was, holding his forearm. “You want me to come with you?”
He shook his head. “I think it’ll be better if I go alone.”
You nodded, letting go without any hesitance. “Okay. Be careful.”
“Always.” And despite all you’ve been through, no matter how many times he’s followed Steve’s lead in doing something stupid, you knew he meant it. You nodded again, before he disappeared around the corner.
You leaned back against the wall, Bucky once again wrapping an arm around your shoulder now that you weren’t walking - he liked having mobility on the move, hence the reason he held your hand instead - leaning besides you and pulling you against his chest.
Ten minutes. You tried looking at Bucky’s watch, which was on the wrist of the arm around you. He noticed and turned his wrist slightly, bending his elbow more, which brought you even closer to him, showing you the time.
Giving a small sigh, you nodded slightly and dropped your head back against his bicep, your hands shoving in your pockets, one of your feet coming up to rest against the wall. Bucky shifted to your other side so he could stand in front of the doors to where Karli and Sam were, pulling you against his back, arms wrapping around your shoulders tightly.
It was a long ten minutes. You kept eyeing Walker, and you couldn’t help the anger burning through you as he held the shield in his hands. That damn shield. It wasn’t his. It would never be his. And he would never understand it. The fact that the shield didn’t make Captain America. The shield isn’t what made Steve a good man. Not even the Serum did. He already was one. Steve made the shield what it was, not the other way around.
But then you remembered a conversation you had, years ago, and your eyes flitted up to Bucky’s hardened face, the brunette staring intensely at the ground.
You didn’t get it. You were confused. You knew how important Barnes - Bucky - was to Steve. But apparently you didn’t understand it quite yet.
You watched from the entrance of the hallway, leaning against the wall, as Bucky went under once more.
Steve stood there for a moment longer, before turning and walking towards you. “Why’d you do it?”
He raised an eyebrow at you while you turned to walk with him down the hall. “Do what?”
“Give up the shield. And don’t say it doesn’t belong to you. It does. Howard gave it to you. You’re the reason it’s…a symbol.”
He hummed. “And what exactly is it a symbol for, honey?”
You scoffed. “Uh, freedom? Justice? Resilience? The defense of the whole life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness thing?”
He stopped, facing you with a strange expression on his face, thoughtful. “I dropped it because I can’t be that anymore. Not right now. People don’t have the same beliefs they used to have. How can I stand up for freedom and let the Sokovia Accords track every person they deem a threat, just like HYDRA tried doing? How can I be a symbol for justice and let Bucky take the fall for something that he wasn’t in control of? I can’t. And until the world is ready to change…I can’t be Captain America.”
And suddenly, it seemed to click. Steve gave up the shield for Bucky because the world wasn’t ready to admit it was wrong. Just like Sam gave up the shield for himself and his family because the world wasn’t ready for the truth that would come with him becoming Captain America.
God…when did a metal circle become so complicated?
“What’s goin’ on in that pretty lil’ head’a yours?” His whisper in your ear startled you out of your thoughts, his nose brushing against your temple tenderly as he placed a chaste kiss on your cheek.
You looked up at him and shook your head. Of all the things Steve gave up, he never gave up Bucky. And it used to confuse you, but you understood then. His blue eyes sparkling with curiosity and slight concern, his fingers tracing patterns along your collarbone with a barely-there touch that was so light it didn’t seem to exist. You finally understood. Not just Steve’s decision, but Sam’s too. And maybe you didn’t understand it fully, and that was okay, because you weren’t them, so you never would, but you understood a little bit.
“Nothing.” You shook your head, keeping your voice down so the others couldn’t hear, the conversation being a private one, “I’m just waiting for this to be over.”
He hummed, nodding in agreement, setting his chin on your head. “Me too.”
Walker started pacing the room about half way through, getting too antsy for your liking. “Shhh.” Bucky mumbled under his breath, feeling you tense as Walker started talking. “It hasn’t been ten minutes, John. Just sit tight.”
“Don’t do that. Don’t patronize me.”
“He knows what he’s doing.” Bucky stated confidently, straightening slightly from his leaning position, arms falling from your form. The two of you exchanged glances as Walker checked the clock over on the far wall, blocked from your view.
“I’m going in.” Walker strode across the room, heading for the entrance, no doubt willing to steam roll anything - anyone - in his way.
Bucky stopped him with a hand on his chest. You glanced back and forth between the two as Walker spoke, arms crossed tightly over your chest. “Buck…we promised him ten minutes.” You reminded him, seeing his resolve crumble a bit. You could guess he was thinking of the nightmares. The people he couldn’t save. The blood he already considered on his hands.
Walker used his moment of hesitation, shoving past him roughly. “I’m not waiting.”
You followed after him, you and Bucky arguing with him and Hoskins about giving Sam more time, but it was too late.
“Karli Morgenthau! You’re under arrest!”
“Fuck.” You hissed out when you saw Sam’s panicked expression, looking at you confused. Walker was flown across the room when Karli punched him, Bucky shoving Hoskins out of the way to run after her.
You threw your hands up. “I tried, Sam! C’mon!”
You and Sam ran over to some stairs, turning corners and trying to remember what the building looked like from outside to cut her off, but you only ran into Bucky again. 
“I wish we had the layout or something.” You grumbled. “We were that close-”
“We’re not done yet, doll.” Nodding, you followed the boys out, Bucky pausing every so often to try to hear anything. “I’ve got gunshots.” At that, the three of you took off towards the sound, Bucky leading the way.
Just around the corner from where Bucky heard the gunshots, you thought you saw a couple people slip around another bend. Noticing you had stopped, Bucky backtracked. “You okay?’
“Yeah.” Deciding it wasn’t worth the pursuit, you turned to him and nodded towards the doorway Sam already went through. He gave you a look, but nodded and the two of you jogged into the room.
You sighed heavily, seeing Zemo knocked out on the floor, Walker standing over him and broken vials that were previously full of, what you assumed was, the Serum. Hoskins ran in right after you, meaning no one but Walker and Zemo knew what happened. Meaning you would probably never get the full, true story.
What fun it is to work with manipulators and liars.
“I don’t like him.” Bucky grumbled, the two of you walking up to the place you were staying in, Bucky holding the door open for you.
“I know you don’t, Buck. I don’t either.” You had asked Bucky to go with you to get some fresh air once you got back, Zemo having woken up a few minutes after and Walker and Hoskins had to make a call or something official like the good soldiers they were. “He’s hiding something.”
“You think?” Bucky scoffed, giving you a look.
You rolled your eyes. “I mean…I don’t know. When we found him and Zemo…my gut twisted.”
He nodded in understanding, his face twisting into a scowl. “Yeah. Mine did too.”
You stopped him before you could walk through the door to the main room. “Do me a favor?” He nodded again with a little hum. Catching his chin between your fingers, your free hand moved to smooth out the creases between his brow. “Stop brooding so much. It makes me worried.”
His tongue darted out to wet his lips, features softening slightly. “Are you really gonna leave in the morning? I know you’ve had a lot of people telling you to take a break, and it’s selfish for me to ask you to stay, but…I dunno if I can finish this without you.”
“I-” You sighed, ducking your head as you thought of a response, before looking up in his wide eyes, begging for you to stick around longer. “Let’s just finish the day and see what happens next. Okay?”
He bit his lip, nodding slightly. You gave him a smile, before tugging on his hand. “I need a drink.”
He chuckled at that. “That I can fix, doll.” He, again, opened the door for you, and the two of you walked in.
“What a gentleman. Straight outta the 40’s.” You joked, making him roll his eyes.
He took off his jacket, heading to the kitchen, while you sat on the opposite side of the island. “Somethin’s not right about Walker.”
Sam gave you two an amused look. “You don’t say.”
“Well, I know a crazy when I see one.” He opened the lid of the bottle he grabbed, starting to pour two glasses of whiskey for the both of you. “Because I am crazy.”
You rolled your eyes as Sam responded, “can’t argue with that.”
“You shouldn’t have given him the shield.”
Giving Bucky a disapproving look over the rim of your glass, you sipped your drink, narrowing your eyes when he ignored you. “I didn’t give him the shield.”
“Well Steve definitely didn’t.”
Your glass slammed down on the counter. Why did he have to bring this up right now? Seriously? You were just having a nice conversation about places you wanted to visit while taking a walk outside. Why was he suddenly snapping?
Before you could scold him, the doors burst open, making your head whip over as Walker stormed in, “ordering” you to hand over Zemo.
You stayed sitting, leaning on the counter and facing the opposite wall as Sam told him off, giving an amused snicker as you sipped your drink. Bucky sat besides you, facing Walker, and you recognized from the angle he was positioning himself that he was blocking you from Walker’s view, whether intentional or not.
You raised an eyebrow, turning in interest when Walker put down the shield, knowing Sam wasn’t about to fight the man. What an ego the blonde had.
Before anything could happen, however, a spear pierced through the air, lodging in the pillar next to Walker’s head.
Your frustration with Bucky’s comment flew out of your head as Ayo and a few other Dora Milaje walked in. Bucky sat up straighter and you stood up, leaning ever so slightly against his arm.
You nearly facepalmed, a sound of complete disbelief leaving you as Walker introduced himself. Sam looked over at you two, an entertained, slightly incredulous smile on his face.
Sam tried warning him. He really did. But Walker, you’ve come to find, was an arrogant, egotistical narcissist who only wanted to win and would do whatever it takes to do so. Even when there wasn’t really a winner. At least, not in that situation. It seemed that Walker liked ignoring the gray area in the world, which wasn’t good. Not in the least.
Which is why you couldn’t really feel sorry for the man. You saw it coming as soon as he told them they didn’t have jurisdiction. And the moment he touched Ayo?
You put your chin on Bucky’s shoulder - who had stood up from his spot - watching the Dora Milaje kick Walker’s ass, wincing and cringing mockingly at the right moments, making Bucky smirk at you.
“We should do something.” Sam said, although he didn’t look thrilled about the prospect.
Bucky crossed his arms. “Looking strong, John!”
You gave a slight snort, not wanting to encourage anything, but unable to hold in your amusement. Bucky winked at you, clinking his cup of whiskey with your own, before taking a gulp.
You huffed and stepped back at Sam’s tone. “C’mon, Buck.”
“Fine.” Bucky grunted. “But ‘M not happy about it.”
Soon, the three of you, plus Walker and Hoskins, were all occupied with a member of the Dora Milaje. You knew you couldn’t take them; they were on a higher level that Natasha, and you could barely beat her. But you weren’t necessarily trying to win.
It was a strange fight, knowing that no one - except Walker, probably - actually wanted to hurt anyone. Of course, that didn’t stop one of them from exploiting your injured shoulder that she spotted rather quickly. The hits were quick and precise, the tip of her spear cutting along the graze, hitting the spot just perfect enough to reopen it. The stitches that had been placed only a couple days ago ripped, making you wince and clutch your now bleeding shoulder.
“Oh fuck.” You groaned. “You were always good with those things.”
She gave you an almost apologetic look, before she looked over to Ayo, who stepped through the room towards the bathroom where Zemo had locked himself in during the chaos.
When you caught sight of the shoulder thing she did to Bucky, his metallic arm now laying on the floor, his eyes wide and his stance stunned, your jaw nearly dropped. You guessed it made sense that they had a way to do that, but, still. None of you were expecting it.
“Did you know they could do that?” Sam asked once they started leaving, Bucky picking up his arm and connecting it to his shoulder.
“No.” The arm whirred as he swung it, getting it back to normal.
You couldn’t help the little giggle that left you, making Bucky raise an eyebrow at you. You tried holding in more laughs, but they just kept coming. “She-she...she disarmed you!”
Bucky rolled his eyes as you chortled, holding your stomach and bending over. “Ha ha. Very funny.”
“Oh come on!” You straightened and wiped your eyes. “That was good! Wasn’t it, Sammy?”
Sammy chuckled and nodded. “I’ll admit, it was pretty good. This, however, is not.”
Your laughter died as Sam made his way over to the bathroom, the light air that came with your cackles dissipating as quickly as it came.
“I can’t believe he pulled an El Chapo.”
You stared at the drain that was uncovered - large enough for Zemo to slip inside and escape. He did it. The son of a bitch finally did it. It took him long enough. You would’ve betted against him days ago.
“I can.” Bucky turned and grabbed your hand. “Come on. Let’s get you cleaned up.”
“I thought you told them.”
Bucky looked up from wrapping your shoulder, an eyebrow raised. “What?”
“I thought you told them. The Dora Milaje. Wakanda. T’Challa. I thought you told them about Zemo.”
He leaned back with a sigh. “It was kinda a last minute decision. You know that. You were there.”
You nodded. “I do. But I also know what they’ve done for you. Shuri and Ayo. I was there for that, too. And you know what he did to them. To their country. Their king.”
“I know, I know. I almost died several times because of it.”
Your eyebrows pinched in confusion. “So why-”
“I thought it’d be quick. I thought, maybe, I could do it without them finding out and then we could get to Karli and they wouldn’t be disappointed. Win win.”
Your cheek caught between your teeth as you thought. “You could’ve just asked-”
He shook his head. “They would’ve said no. You know that.”
“Okay. Fine. Yes. I know that. But…but giving them a warning would’ve been better than this.” He hung his head, closing his eyes. “Bucky. Hey,” hooking a finger under his chin, you tilted his head back up to look at you. “I know it’s been hard for you. Everything has. And I’m sorry I dragged you into this. I shouldn’t have let you come along. You should be healing, and it’s my fault you’re not.” He opened his mouth, face scrunching up in disagreement, but you shook your head. “It’s true. I just…I didn’t know it would come this far.” You gnawed on your bottom lip studying those captivating eyes, before sighing. “Which is why I’m not leaving.”
He perked up, those pretty eyes going wide, jaw slackening. “You-you’re not?!”
You shook your head. As much as you wanted to run away, you couldn’t. It wouldn’t be right. “It wouldn’t be fair to you or Sam. I promised to help, and I brought you into it. So I’m gonna stay.
“Are you, uh…are you sure? You don’t hafta if you don’t wanna, doll. I know I kinda pushed you earlier, but-”
“I’m sure Buck.” You nodded firmly. “Just…do something for me?”
“I dunno if I can promise not brooding, sweetheart.”
You giggled at his words. “Not that. Just…stop giving Sam a hard time. About the shield. Please.”
His soft features hardened and he scowled. “If he didn’t give it up-”
“He thought it was going to the museum. I told you about that, remember? I told you we’d go when I got back.”
Giving a slight nod, he sighed. “We never did.”
“We will. But, I’m serious, Buck. Please. It’s not his fault. He did exactly what Steve did.” At Bucky’s confused look, you pursed your lips, looking down at his hands, starting to play with his fingers. “Remember how I was thinking during those ten minutes we had?” He nodded. “I was thinking about how Steve gave the shield back to Tony. After saving you. In Siberia. You remember that?” Another nod was given, so you continued. “It was for you, James. Because you made him realize that he didn’t want to be the face of a country that preached one thing, but did another. And that’s what Sam did. He did it for his family. For himself. Because no one wants to fight for a country that goes against your personal beliefs, no matter what they say.”
“I-I don’t understand.” Bucky’s eyes squinted, his brow creasing as he tried processing what you were telling him.
“That’s okay. Not everyone will. Really only they can understand their own reasoning. But you have to try to understand that he did what he thought was best for himself. For Steve. For the shield. And I know - dammit do I know - that it’s the last thing left of him. But it is just metal. Isn’t it? Steve’s the reason it is what it is. No one else. And no one is going to change that.”
Bucky took a breath, glossy, worried eyes meeting yours. “Walker’s going to ruin it. I know he is. I can feel it. Everything Steve worked for. I don’t care about Captain America. I care about the kid from Brooklyn who wanted to make a difference, no matter how little he was. I trusted him. I followed him through bullets and blood, with only that shield between us and them. He was home on a battlefield in Italy across the ocean from New York. And that shield was the welcome mat. It doesn’t matter what it says, what it looks like…but it protected my home when I couldn’t. But now? I feel like it’s tearing my home down. Pulling out the bricks. And it hurts. It was never about the shield, Y/N. It was always about the man it protected when I couldn’t be there for him. And now?”
Gathering him in your arms as he trailed off, you gave a couple little sniffles, pressing your face in his hair, nails scratching the nape of his neck lightly. “I’ll be your welcome mat, Buckaroo.” You offered.
He shook his head, pulling away to hold your face between his hands. “No, sweetheart. You’re not the welcome mat. You’re the new bricks replacing the old. You’re…you’re my home, now, doll.”
You swallowed thickly, unable to handle the rush of emotions that just poured through you, the sudden change in topic making you feel more vulnerable than you’d like. You leaned forwards, placing a gentle kiss to the corner of his mouth, feeling him go lax in your arms. “And you’re mine.” You murmured softly, before getting up and heading out for the room, unable to stay any longer. You still had a mission to do. One that became even more desperate with Zemo loose, Walker unhinged, and Karli being so close.
There was a silent agreement to not bring up your conversation. Not yet, at least. Sam had eyed you both when you came out of the room, saying you were ready to get moving, but he didn’t say anything either.
None of you really knew where you were going, only what you had to do. Find Zemo and get to Karli before Walker could. Both of which were a lot easier said than done.
Until Sam got a call from Sarah, who told him Karli contacted her personally and threatened her and her sons. She left a contact number for Sam, evidently wanting to meet. His phone dinged not a minute after he texted the number.
“She said come alone.”
“Well that’s not happening.” You opposed, crossing your arms.
Bucky nodded with your sentence. “We’re coming with you.”
Sam didn’t say anything against it, the three of you exchanging glances, before heading out to the location, changing into your tactical suits along the way.
Karli didn’t seem to mind you and Bucky tagging along, and you understood why the moment she mentioned not killing Sam because he wasn’t hiding behind a shield. It was a distraction. They were going after Walker.
It was confirmed only moments later when Sharon contacted Sam. “Looks like he found them, or maybe they found him.”
As soon as Sam announced that it was Walker, you jumped into action, Sam disabling Karli for just the right amount of time for you to get a head start. “I’ll send you the location. Go.” He told Bucky, who nodded and took off in his super soldier sprint. “You hitching a ride?”
You rolled your eyes at his slight tease. “I hate this so much.” You grumbled, catching his hand as he took off in the air with his bird costume. He held onto you tightly, like the millions of times you’d done this before, although it didn’t make you any less dizzy, traveling that fast, that high, with only his hold keeping you from dropping. “You’re lucky I trust you so much!”
He gave a small chuckle at your shout over the wind. “We’re landing! Brace yourself!” You followed his order, just in time for him to break through the glass ceiling of the building Walker was in. The both of you landed on a platform on the staircase just as a Flag Smasher was thrown through double glass doors, down the stairs, and into a power box. Your eyes went wide as Walker strolled down the steps, oozing a confidence that made you nervous. The moment Walker stopped the Flag Smasher - the Super Soldier - from hitting him with the pipe, you knew even before he twisted it like a pretzel.
“Sam.” You breathed out. You couldn’t even do anything, only watching as the Flag Smasher got up from being thrown again, and running down a hall.
“What’d you do?”
“They got Lemar.” Was the only reply he gave, brushing past you and Sam. You gave Sam a look, but he just jerked his head down the hall, in the direction the Flag Smasher went and the way Walker started heading. You nodded, willing to drop it for now to save someone’s life, but you were so bringing it up once this was done.
Jogging into the room, you should’ve expected the ambush in the room, but, to be honest, they didn’t take as much advantage as they could’ve, so it wasn’t too difficult of a fight. You had trained with Steve millions of times before, so you knew how to go against a Super Soldier. Granted, your Cap wasn’t trying to kill you while training, but it was better than nothing.
You protected your shoulder, knowing that was your weak point, while trying to disguise it so whoever you were fighting wouldn’t realize your Achilles’ Heel. Something you often found while dealing with Steve, and even Bucky, was that Super Soldiers, as quick as they were, tended to favor the super strength side of their enhancements. This made it easier for you to dodge the attacks, knowing most of your blows wouldn’t do much.
Knowing you wouldn’t be able to stay on the defensive for long, you decided to try to get an advantage over them. Disarming them and taking their knife was easy enough. A small advantage, yeah, but now you had a weapon, and you could work with that.
You weren’t exactly sure when Bucky joined the fight, but he did, immediately coming over to you when you body kicked your opponent, helping you up. “That was a Steve move.” Your eyes caught sight of the Flag Smasher behind him and you shoved his shoulder down, throwing your knife, making it land solidly in the man’s shoulder. Bucky looked up at you from his crouch, impressed. “And that was a me move.”
You shrugged. “I’m a visual learner.”
You, Sam, and Bucky were about to go for another round with the guys when a sickening crack sounded behind you, and you whipped around. 
Hoskins was against a split pillar, a crimson streak running down his forehead, head lolling to the side, lips red and cracked. The fight stopped as Walker rushed over to his friend, but you knew there was no way he survived. A punch from a Super Soldier? That hard?
Eyeing the Flag Smashers, you turned to Sam and Bucky when they started dispersing, Karli running out as well. They nodded towards you and the three of you took off after her, not wanting to let her get away again and, for you, at least, wanting to give Walker some time.
You weren’t expecting his grief to turn into such raw hatred. 
Running up to the city square, you didn’t actually see it happen. Just the aftermath. Which was good, considering you nearly threw up just seeing that.
You heard the change in Bucky’s breathing, barely recognizing the way he stepped in front of you, only realizing you stepped closer when you felt his sleeve against your palms, fingers tightly wrapped around his forearm. A choked sound came from somewhere, but you didn’t know it was you, even as Bucky reached his arm around to hold your waist, keeping you behind his shoulder. 
Tears leaked down your face silently, eyes unable to look away as Walker straightened, sliding the shield on his arm, too nonchalantly for someone who just murdered another in front of a crowd full of people, cameras pointed towards him.
The shield. That piece of metal you had been wondering so deeply about the past couple of weeks. The link to the first person you’d ever loved. Ruined. Tarnished. Stained.
You could barely breathe, your throat clenching so tightly it was a wonder you were able to get anything out at all.
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c-is-for-circinate · 3 months ago
The story creates the story tells itself. That's it, that's what this is, it's the thing I always end up saying when Critical Role hits me right in the solar plexus, because stories are how we make sense of events after they've already happened. The story is not a thing in the moment it is created, it is a thing you can only know the shape of once it's over with, and then you look at it and you say, yes, of COURSE, it only ever could have been this from the first, couldn't it?
Seven miserable loners and outcasts and reckless illegitimate rebels meet in a tavern with no desire whatsoever for heroism. Their morals are quickfire and slapdash, casual and arbitrary, we'll help out these people, those people aren't our problem, we dislike those fucks over there. There is a war brewing and they want nothing to do with it. Fuck fame, fuck fortune, we'll keep to ourselves and play fast and loose with crime and take care of our own and maybe some lucky randoms we meet along the way. We'll fight and scrap and tussle amongst ourselves because none of us even entirely understand our own morals, let alone how to reconcile them with any of these other half-assed motherfuckers we apparently have to care about now.
They fuck up. One of their own dies.
They drown in rage and fury for just long enough, until they can stop gasping and growling for vengeance to take a breath. Then they run.
They run, because they do not care to stand and fight: not against evil or dragons or tyrant kings, not against their own grief. They flee the country. Nobody is chasing them, but they flee anyway, to avoid shackles, to avoid control, to avoid being set to anyone else's purpose, to avoid their own loss and their own sins. They run to the sea. (They find danger, and shackles, and control, and somebody else's purpose there again. The world is full of shackles and those who would wield them.)
They grieve. They avoid their grief. They sanctify their fallen comrade. They do not aim to be anything, this ragtag group of miserable loners and outcasts. The only thing they know themselves to be is each other's. They do not know themselves at all, but this grief, this loss--they know it, at least, know it together, an iron band binding them all heart to heart. It is the first truth they have to hold on to, the thing that lets them see each other as the only thing that matters, the only thing that's really real.
They face down a cult and win, because the other option is shackles or death. They face a demigod and flee, again, again, again. Always they flee.
They flee towards home and home is burned. They have seen loss and they have seen death and it finds them no matter how they run away, so maybe it's time to change direction. Maybe it's time to run towards. It's still running, still half-mindless directionality, it's still familiar. They are not heroes, they are not somebodies, they have never wanted to be somebody. This group has never wanted to be anybody, not as a group, not when they're whole. They're nobodies, trying to take care of themselves, take care of their own, to grow past their grief that they pretend they're gone from now, mostly, most days, when they can. (Pretend it's not the grief that made them each other's in the first place, like none of the fighting and scrapping and scrabbling along beside one another ever had in the first place.)
They bulldoze and trip and stumble and run towards instead of away, for once, just this once, the very first time they've run towards a thing since that last time, the only time, when they temporarily lost three of their own and then broke themselves trying to chase them (trying to chase vengeance). Towards is so much more dangerous than away. Run towards something hard enough, you might actually find it. You might have to become somebody when you get there, instead of just not-being somebody else.
They're somebody now. This rag-tag, broken, mismatched knot of nobodies, not even mercenaries because they're too skittish to even really look for paid work, they're somebodies now, or so Someone Important says. It fits like an ill-tailored coat that they've been forced into without ever making a choice. Without ever realizing, entirely, how much they never made a choice. The world said congrats, you're heroes now, and these killers and thieves went, well, fuck.
And then they tried to be heroes anyway. Not because it fit, not because they knew what to do, but because the mess of them, the seven of them, barely knew who they were to begin with. If the world was shouting HEROES! YOU'RE HEROES! BE HEROES! at them this very loudly--then don't they have to wear the coat that's being given to them? Don't they have to be, have to find some way to become, the heroes they've tripped and stumbled into appearing?
They don't know themselves. All they've done so far is run from themselves--from parents and children and their own crimes, from chains and challenges, limits and labels. They only barely know who they're not. They couldn't know who they are. How do they know they aren't heroes? The one thing they know, the only thing they have, the only thing they've ever run towards, is each other. The one thing they know for absolute sure and certain that defines and binds them is that steel band of grief, that first loss, the thing that broke and forged them to begin with.
So they look for answers in their grief, in what they've lost, because if it's the first true thing about them as a group, them as a whole, then it must be able to tell them who they have to be now. They sanctify their fallen, twist meaning and moral out of conversational confrontational casualness, make a mission statement out of leave every place better than you found it. They forget who he was, petty and venal and mortal and flawed. (They try to convince themselves that they don't have to be petty and venal and mortal and flawed.) They cling to what he meant.
And they fail. God, looking back on it all, with the shape of the story and the shape it's become, is it any wonder they failed? Petty and venal and moral and flawed, these rough-edged rabble-rousers, not even mercenaries because they don't even know how to take orders besides their own. Trying to be heroes. Trying to stop a war, because that's their job, right? It has to be. That's the shape of the coat they're trying to wear, that's the shape of leave every place better than you found it, that's the thing they crashed straight into while they were running, running, running the way they've always run, run, run. So they look for answers everywhere, because they have to have the answers to everything, and they scry and they spy and they play sides. They meet with queens. They turn to each other on the streets on the way out of the palace and ask in horror, "What did we just do?"
They run and they run and they trip and they fall and they unleash more evil than there was to start with. They lose one of their own, again. They sit in shattered shards, and what just happened? How could we have seen this coming? What did we just do?
They don't know themselves. They've been running from themselves, trying to run towards misty shapes they can't define in a too-big coat and too-small shoes, without any real practice in running towards to begin with. They don't know themselves, but they need to move forwards. They need to be whole again, the six, the seven (the eight, the nein). How can they do that if they don't know themselves?
And--finally, finally, they learn.
They learn. They throw a sword in a volcano and forge a sword anew. They rediscover their own mind, their own heart, covered in blood with each other's blood on their hands. They walk into their abusers' homes and then walk back out again alive and un-alone and unchained. They recover bodies. They recover families. They find themselves.
(And the selves they find are mortal and flawed, because they have always been mortal and flawed, because they are built to be mortal and flawed, because they are still the same misbegotten messes they have ever been. But they are stronger for having sought themselves out, for what they have found. They are the stronger for those threads of heroism they tried to, managed to keep.)
They stop a war, incidentally. In the end it's not even all that much due to them. They sit, nobodies on a ship in the middle of the ocean, and watch in silence. It chafes a little, not to be in the center of things, to be able to be the heroes it felt like the world told them they had to be. (It feels a little like relief.)
They find themselves. They find themselves, and they find another lost and broken man, miserable outcast loner, petty and venal and mortal and flawed. They only start to realize how they know themselves now when they see how much he doesn't.
(The peace treaty happens, happened, is/was/will be happening, because they tripped and trembled and tried their way into it, but in the end a thousand chess pieces moved to make it so, and it is signed on a boat where we do not even set foot. The culmination, the crowning glory, the true victory of that whole middle story, is a perfectly-dressed man in chains in the hold of a boat, admitting to his own sins. It is secret and it is individual, and it is the concrete proof above all proofs that our nobody unknowns are finally their own very-known selves. Because they were Essek, once--but know they know their own mirrors well enough to look at him and recognize that.)
They know so much, now, about who they are and who they are to become. They have looked at their pasts and, yes, flinched away, but they've seen, and they know, now, as much as they can handle. In the end, the one thing they don't know the true shape of, the one thing left to seek that must be sought, is of course (of course, of course) that very first thing they thought they knew to begin with. The one thing left to face is their grief. The one thing left to discover is what shaped it from the very start.
So they run, like they have always run. In amongst the snow it is the very distillation of running, towards and away, away and towards, chasing and fleeing and fleeing and chasing, are we in front or are they? It's every mistake they ever made all over again. It's every new lesson they've ever learned.
They don't ask any more, what's the right thing to do. They don't need to ask. They know, already, swift and sure and confident as they once stumbled and dodged. This is a thing that must be stopped. It is ours to stop it. Yes, it is a heavy, clumsy coat to wear, but it fits us out here in the snows where we're not trying to prove our heroism to anybody any more, for good or for evil. Yes, it weighs on our backs and tangles our legs, but it fits as well as any role we've ever tried to wear. It fits us more than it could ever fit anybody else. It's our role. It's our coat. It was forged of our choices, our pieces, our fights. It was forged of our grief.
Nobody else is here with us, to watch, to know. Just like when we were seven shiftless, aimless, worthless nobodies wandering through a circus tent on the way to nowhere (everywhere) else. There's us and the demon born from our grief, the demon who sprang up and died and is the only reason we any of us ever met. Just us, just the nine of us, three and three and three. The three who were dragged off in chains and gave us something to run towards, that very first time. The three who chased, and watched their companion fall, and faced their grief head on, and ran. And Lucien, and Caduceus, and Essek, beginning and middle and end: The man whose demise allowed us to come together, reborn from the loss that bound us. The man who found us and told us that grief is inevitable and passing, that we must continue with it, that we still had such a long way to go. The man who we found like a reflection in an aging mirror, reflecting our own progress back at us, showing us how far we've come and what we've learned how to be.
Of course it had to end this way. (There were so very many other ways it could have ended, once. Of course there were none at all.) Of course it would be nine and nine in the end. Of course it would be this final perfect marriage of heroism and anonymity, for this group that's finally figured out their selves, past and future and right-the-fuck-now, saviors and heroes and petty nobody fucks. Of course it would be this.
And of course, of course, of course it had to go like this. Of course, after everything, the first six of them would try to reverse that grief that forged and tied them. Of course they couldn't. Of course they couldn't, of course, of course--(and was it fate, that 1-in-20 chance, that 5% chance, that 1 on a die? was it fate like the dice are always fate in every game, rolling out poetry with every throw, because all the rolls that aren't quite poetic enough get forgotten?) Of course it was a 1, not some other number, not some sheepish failure of a 4. Of course the universe itself would speak to say no.
No, says the universe, that is not how this story goes--because the road is full of shattered shards, and our heroes only learned to be heroes by discovering how bloodily bad at it they were, by nearly causing the apocalypse before wrestling it back again. Of course the universe itself says that after all this time, after changing so far and discovering so much, this the inciting thing from the very beginning that bound this group in steel must not be changed. Of course, with all their pleas, the six people who knew him cannot bring him back.
Of course that's how the story would go. And of course there's Essek, the man who met this party so long after their throes of mourning that it had sunk into their bones and grown quiet before they ever knew him, who cannot accept this outcome. Of course it's Essek, who never met and has barely heard of this man, this grief--Essek who has not yet grown into the quiet acceptance of his own grief, who does not yet know his own mirror, who has only just barely begun to understand running to instead of from and still doesn't know the shape of what he might eventually choose to chase--who seethes in rage. Who cries about not fair.
Of course it's Caduceus who takes the inspiration of that anger, that grief, and changes it all. Of course it's Caduceus, who the group only even found out of their grief. (They tracked him down to beg to know if he could raise the dead in the first place. Do you remember? One, two, three, Caleb and Beau and Nott, finding him in his graveyard to beg him to help.) Of course it's Caduceus, created to serve and to heal and to make so, so very sure that everyone understood that death could be necessary and final. Of course it's Caduceus, who stood over Mollymauk's grave by the roadside and put a hand in the dirt and cast decompose, because what is dead should be allowed to stay that way until it grows into something else. Of course it is. Because Caduceus has learned his own shape by now, too--and it is still full of devotion, of dedication to the dead remaining dead, but it is steadfast and selfish sometimes too, forged in friendship, full enough of love to try, just this once.
Of course Caduceus gave the diamond but didn't try to perform the ritual, at first, at first. Of course he's spent so very long so very gently urging his friends to reconcile themselves to their loss, to letting their loved one sleep. Of course, in the end, in the very end, he weighed all his faith that once held so firm and final and without exceptions, with this grief before him, and found just this once, maybe, within it.
Of course when he tried, the man who lives to put things in the ground (to put Molly in the ground), even after the fates and the gods and the universe had spoken--when, just this once, against the will of the natural order and the universe and the power of destiny, he asked, just once, for the path of things to reverse--of course. Of course he was the voice that needed to speak for the story to listen.
Of course Molly would end the campaign. Of course this had to be the finale of it all. Of course this ritual--not this fight, not this mission, not even this apocalypse, but this ritual, this resurrection--must be the end of things. Of course it's the end of the story. You can't go any farther than this.
There can never be nine of us. It won't be ironic any more. But irony, after all, is just a way of running from sincerity, sometimes running away from sincerity so hard and fast you crash back into it from the other side. Like running from being a person, from being that person, from letting things matter, from mattering. Like running so far and fast from being found that eventually you have no choice but to find yourself. Irony's a shield against having to know the truth.
There's nine of them. It's not ironic. It's perfect, but it's not ironic. It's just the truth. They know who they are, now. Not who they were running away from being. Not who they tried to be for the sake of anyone else. Who they always are. Always were.
This story could have been a hundred thousand different things, when it started. Of course it was always fated to end with nine.
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junisfics · 5 months ago
The Worthy — Eren Jaeger (8)
Chapter Eight: Third Base Part Two
Pairing: Eren Jaeger x Reader
Word Count: 10.8k
Series Summary: Reader is reaching a point in her relationship where sex is coming up in conversation. but she’s an inexperienced virgin. And who’s better to show her the ropes than her best friend Eren?
Chapter Summary: Reader shows up at Eren's with a newfound curiosity and asks him to teach her something new.
Content: Unestablished Relationships, Cheating, Smut
Content Warnings: Smut (Male Masturbation, Heavy Corruption Kink, Mentions of Virginity Loss, Oral, Light Throat Fucking, Spit Kink, Dom/ Sub Themes, Dacryphilia, Slight Humiliation)
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Eren was in a slump.
His head was full and foggy, and all his days were beginning to feel far too long but far too short. He couldn’t pick apart one from the next, he couldn’t remember getting any moments of rest or relief, and every second he spent by himself felt like a heavy blink of an eye. He couldn’t catch a breath, not even one, that allowed him to suck in enough oxygen to be able to hold the next exhale a little longer. 
But, in the truth of it, he wouldn’t be able to bear that kind of time alone. His head was swarming and his thoughts were running astray. He couldn’t manage to get his brain on a leash to keep it on track, on the little sidewalk he wants to keep it on. It just wanders away, and he’s stuck with these flashes of things he doesn’t — shouldn’t — be thinking about.
He’ll shake his head around, hair fluttering around his face and eyes squeezed shut like it’ll send all his stray thoughts out of his brain and into space. And it works, if he retracts himself onto a more productive task in enough time, that is. But if he doesn’t steer himself back in the line he wants, his brain will float off again.
He noticed and eventually realized that this funk that he was in only started a few weeks ago. Even though the days have blended together and it feels like he’s been stuck in place forever, he knows that it was only a few weeks ago. Because he can pinpoint the exact moment when and where his brain got thrown off track.
He noticed that his brain was off on a Tuesday. With his phone open in front of him and his thumb scrolling through contacts of girls — anyone — that he could message to help him take care of his problem, he realizes that none of them are what he wants anymore.
They just weren’t what he needed, and he couldn’t exactly identify why. He just knew that as he was scrolling and scrolling, nothing caught his eye. He had this moment, this out-of-body experience, where he was disgusted with himself. And he knew that they just weren’t going to do it for him this time, and so for once, he had to do it himself.
But ‘this time’ and ‘that time’, turned into ‘those times’, and he couldn’t count on his fingers the number of times where he scrolled through that stupid list of names or the fourth page of that tab in that incognito browser and none of the pretty faces caught his eye.
And when he was taking her on the counter that same day, with her silky blonde hair fisted in his hand to crane her neck back and her little legs wrapped around his waist, he realized that although he was balls deep inside of her, she wasn’t doing it for him either.
But on Wednesday, he realized why… and he figured out the origin.
That stupid fucking Sunday where you showed up to his house in the middle of the afternoon, throwing all this fucking weight onto him and expecting him to be able to remain composed.
He absolutely hated you for it. He hated that you were coming over every week, begging for him to corrupt you just a little more each time. Begging for his touch, his taste, him, all the while the intensions being for someone else.
He hated how your little whimpers and whines and your pleads and begs all flood back into his foggy head late at night. They mix and merge with anything and everything else that he tries to think of to distract himself, like dark ink blurring and clouding water.
He lies awake in the dead of night, eyes still wide open and his room appears grey over black due to how long he’s been staring into the dark. His pupils are fully adjusted and he can see his fan swirling in the center of his ceiling quite clearly.
But blurry in his vision, like a hallucination with the opacity turned low, you interrupt his lazy following of the wings of the fan. You’re atop him, twitching and shifting around over his hips, fiddling with your fingers and wondering where to put your hands.
He can see your bottom lip taken between your teeth, brows slightly furrowed in anticipation. And his hands are on your thighs, squeezing, feeling, memorizing; trying his best to figure out what he thinks they’d be like in person. His hands hover above his hips like you were truly there.
Then you’re naked, both of you, and your pretty tits are on display for him, covered in what he hopes to be his saliva. Your little cunt is grinding against the length of his cock, and he’s not yet inside you, but he can feel how warm and wet you are. Your hands are pressing into his chest, nails digging into the muscle, shaky and unsteady as you look down at him with your lips parted and soft moans leaving them.
It’s so wrong of him. It’s so wrong for him to be shoving his hand down his boxers, pausing before his fingers brush over the length of his cock, then shakily grabbing ahold of himself. He literally twitches in his hand, muscles in his stomach flexing.
He cringes at himself for taking advantage of your vulnerability. You’ve handed yourself over to him, placed your confidence on the same line as his criticism. You’re confiding in him, trusting that he doesn’t use your innocence and naivety against you to manipulate you into something you might not truly want.
But fuck. He was doing just that.
He knew damn well you probably didn’t want his head to be flooded with the thoughts of you while he was getting himself off.
He was using what you’ve given him — your voice, your touch, your taste, your smell — he was using it all to create and form this image of you before him. An image that had your hands around his cock, with the head of him pressing against your entrance as you hover just above him.
And he begins to jerk the length of himself slowly, steadily. His precum is sliding across his palm, slickening his hand and his cock as he continues sliding over himself, and God, he’s so fucking hard. He can feel the veins on the underside of him pressing into the sensitive skin and for a moment he swears he can feel his own heartbeat in his dick. The head of his needy cock is leaking and blushing a desperate shade of red, so damn sensitive and so damn deprived.
He can see your legs shaking, your arm shaking as you place it down to his chest to steady yourself above his toned stomach. You’re looking into his eyes, for he told you to not take them off him, and your lips are parted as you release little gasps and pants.
Eren squeezes the tip of his cock, and his breath gets caught in his throat as he sees your hallucination begin to sink down. You let out a tiny squeak, your brows furrowing together tightly.
And fuck, fuck, fuck, he hopes he can manipulate his hand into squeezing his cock the same way your little cunt would. He knows it’ll never come close, but my goodness, he can try to pretend. He needs to be able to pretend.
You’d whine and hiccup, fat tears swelling at your lash line as you continue down the length of him. You’re telling him, ‘it’s so big’ and ‘it hurts, Eren’. And he’ll comfort you, hands sliding over the plush of your thighs to soothe the pain of his cock splitting you open.
Every little choked up sob you let out, every clench of your walls as you’re filled with a cock for the first time has him groaning out and hissing to the apparition before him.
He wants it. He wants himself to be your first. He wants to be the one to make you squirm, wants to be the first one to fuck himself inside your tight virgin cunt. He wants to be the first one you adjust to, the first one who fucks your brains out and makes you cum around his cock.
Maybe he will be the one, maybe he’ll get to take it. And the idea of being the one to make you feel so good that you won’t be able to take anyone else without thinking of him makes his ego inflate. 
You’d cum all over him, squeezing him so fucking tight and creaming around his cock as he follows right after you. Because the way you’re trying to milk him of his release is too intense. You’d thrash around on top of him, beneath him, in front of him, with your legs spasming and fists clenching the sheets, crying out his name as he takes you over and over.
Eren can feel his stomach tighten as he blinks away your mirage, and he’s staring back up at the slowly spinning fan as he releases all over himself — thick and hot and whispering your name like the quieter he speaks the more excusable his actions will be.
The next time Eren gives a single fuck about which face is showing up on his phone is the morning after you and his fan were blended together above him; a week after you’d let his fingers slip inside you and you had begged him to let you take him in your mouth, but he had declined.
He woke up in a sweat, all events of the night before had slipped out of his mind. And for a moment, after he fully let himself indulge in the you that had formed in his conscious, his head was clear.
It remained that way for a while, even as he reached over to his nightstand and read over your message. But the guilt was overwhelming. It was sitting deep in his stomach, fizzing and gurgling, its bubbles popping with every letter he types back.
He’s not going to be able to look you in the eyes. You’ll know. The second you see him you’ll know what he’s done. You’ll see it in the way he looks over your face and your body, you’ll feel it in the way his hands tremble with guilted greed and shameful desire.
Eren swears you can see it dripping off his messages as he responds to you.
‘can i ask you something?’ You said.
‘course you can’
He knows you’re not going to ask about Mikasa or Sasha, not going to ask him to drive you somewhere or for help with school work. You’re going to ask him about the thing he most absolutely dreads but also is one of his deepests desire. 
He hates that you ask to ask. It’s just more moments where he has to feel his nerves twitch with nervous energy as he stares at those winking dots above the keyboard.
‘can you come over?’ You ask.
His chest tightens at your request. It’s not that he wasn’t expecting the two of you to meet up. In fact, that was exactly what he was expecting. But his brows raise into his forehead when you ask him to come to you, to go over to your house instead of allowing him to stay within the comfort of his own home.
It almost felt like he was losing an aspect of control. He was getting drawn and pulled into you like a fish on a line rather than the other way around. 
But he couldn’t let you know that.
He’d be damned if he allowed you to know that you had that kind of control over him; the kind that turned him submissive in a fight or rejection and had him doing whatever you wanted at a simple request.
But he guesses that fate is set in stone because his response to you doesn’t seem very convincing of his defense.
‘yeah, when?’
And then he watches those dots, flickering in and out like you were backspacing.
Eren’s abdomen still has a disgusting film of dried, semi-translucent cum that he had failed to properly wipe away from the night before. His forehead and the back of his neck were thick and slimy with sweat, and when he reached over the bed to grab ahold of a shirt to wipe the both away, he only smears a new layer of his half-dry-half-slick release all over his stomach from the shirt he used to wipe it off last night.
“Damn it,” He crinkles his nose in disgust and tosses the shirt back to the floor as he swings his legs over the side of the bed in aim for a quick shower.
‘time?’ He asks, throwing his phone to the mattress while he collects a pair of sweats and a tee-shirt. And when he returns to his phone, he’s greeted by another message.
He could almost hear you there, your voice getting all tiny and shy while your eyes dart around the floor to look for something to focus on. He likes it when you do that. It’s cute... passive.
‘send your address, i’ll be there’ He places his phone on the bathroom counter with a heavy sigh then strips down and slips into the shower.
At home, you do the same. The moment you hear your phone ding in response, you reach for it, flip it over to read his message, then throw it back onto your bed to hurry about your room for clothes.
Eren lives just far enough away for you to be able to have enough time to fully scrub your body clean of the past day and shave yourself smooth.
You hope that one day you won’t get so riled up before someone comes over to where you force yourself to be the most put together you can manage to be. You want to be comfortable enough with a person to not string yourself up on this taught rope of presentability; that they’ll admire you to the extent that anything you do will be found desirable.
It wasn't your fault, of course, it was theirs. Whoever ‘they’ are have managed to make the most natural and raw elements of being human into something that’s seen as less than.
You were just caught up in their little scheme and you couldn't escape. You were hurriedly shaving your body bare until your skin felt raw under the cool water from the sharpness of the razor and the micro-abrasives in your exfoliator. 
And you knew your hair wasn't going to be dry for the longest time so you pulled the showerhead down its little pole and kept the water cold to prevent it from growing humid and continued washing down your body.
The things you were doing for these — that (this?) — boy...
While you were doing a final rinse, when the water was turning colder than before, you had another one of those out-of-body moments that had you wondering what the fuck you were doing. And while you were staring at yourself in the mirror, skin still dewy with water, you half expected your reflection to laugh at you.
You had just finished throwing on the clothes you had gathered when you heard the doorbell ring, followed by a series of melodic knocks against the front door. You almost jump out of your skin and you swear you could feel your heart stop for a moment.
You didn’t have time to prepare yourself like Eren had. He had sat in the driver’s seat of his car, parked in your driveway, and staring at his hands that were gripping the steering wheel. He gave himself a minute or two to just think over how he’s going to handle himself subject to what you ask of him.
He had a few ideas on what you were going to ask of him, but only one stuck out from the others like a sore thumb. There were ones that he hoped for over others: like maybe you’d ask him to finally take it, or you’d ask him about dirty-talk or something. But this one was just… obvious. 
So in his head, while he was sitting in your driveway, he made out this little step-by-step plan for himself.
You had a plan of your own. You were going to straight-out say what you needed from him and hope he would give it to you, and it would be that easy. But the moment you swing the door open to see him standing there on your front porch… you freeze.
His bare arms are crossed over his chest, pressing into each other to make the veins in them swell from above his muscle, and his weight is shifted onto one foot as he plays with the pot of the plant beside your door with the toe of his other shoe.
His eyes flick up to yours and you meet him there, but not without noticing the fresh bruising in the shape of a perfect set of teeth around the collar of his tee-shirt.
You could physically feel your stomach twist at the sight, and it was no longer anxiety that was being brewed in the depths of your torso. It hurt a little more than that, it stemmed from your heart and sept down through your entire chest before dripping down into your stomach. Your heart was jumping around the same as it would, your breath was caught in your throat the same, but this hurt.
You wonder if it hurts him the same to see you with Owen.
Eren can see your vision get caught up just before your eyes reach his jaw, and sadly, he knows exactly what has made you shy away from him.
‘No marks anymore…’ He told her.
His heart sinks, not in the same way yours had, not at the same intensity, but it did.
It takes you a moment to regather your thoughts. The two of you just stare at each other, blinking awkwardly while you do so. Eren gives you the time to process out whatever you need to, but he doesn’t speak. 
He doesn’t lift his voice to tell you that it was an accident, to apologize, because it was made clear to the both of you that whatever this was, wasn’t exclusive. And although it wasn’t stated — he realizes it should have been — that there shouldn’t be emotion behind it either.
So, if Eren apologizes, you’ll know that he feels guilt for what he’s done. And that guilt insinuates that he feels as if he’s done something he knows he shouldn’t have done, he’s done something that’s somehow scathed the relationship between you two and gone against his true morality.
You open your mouth a few times before your voice catches up, “I want… to give… Owen... head.”
And Eren does hurt the same. Every time he hears his name, his heart aches the same as yours when you see him with marks over his tanned skin.
But he couldn’t let you know that.
You see him raise his eyebrows, then let out an shocked laugh.
“Okay?” He tries to smile, tries to throw himself back into that boyish nature that makes you smile as well.
But it doesn’t land and you’re staring back at the floor with your arm still outstretched to hold the door open, letting a nippy, mid-autumn breeze into your home.
God, Eren wishes he would’ve worn a fucking scarf or something, anything to not have had to see your face literally drain of all its nervous excitement right in front of his face due to some impassive bruises on his neck.
“Can you - can you teach me?” Your voice is all tiny, small, and submissive. You shift your weight from side to side, keeping your eyes to the floor as you wait for a response.
Eren realizes that you seem to be looking for something… different. A different approach maybe. Because if you hadn’t been looking for something new, you would have just listened to what he had told you the last time... when his fingers were down your throat.
“I’m gonna assume a little different from last time, yeah?” 
You’re grateful for the smile you can hear in his voice, thankful that you don’t have to look up to him as he speaks. But you still shake a little inside at the tone he uses. It’s a little too teasing, a little too playful for you to be able to respond with the same amount of fervor. So you settle for a tiny nod with your bottom lip pulled between your teeth.
Eren thinks it’s sweet. Your insecurity has been wonderfully traded for submission. He’s not glad that you’re now in his hands, he’s glad that the passivity in your eyes has switched from a negative one to positive.
“Tell me what you need from me.” He says, allowing his voice to drop a little lower, a little smoother. He drops his weight to both feet, planted steady on the welcome mat of the porch with his arms still over his chest, but one comes to rub at the back of his neck coyly.
It was an attempt to help you to open up, but it acted as the opposite. The low rumbling purr you could hear coming from his chest had you feeling warm, and you swallow down a noise of light arousal.
You blink a few times as you try to regroup once more. You know your voice is going to waver and tremble as you speak, but you also know that he won’t agree to anything if you don’t communicate.
“‘want you to teach me with your… with — um” Your voice was shaking, and it was quiet, and you couldn’t bring yourself to speak the rest of the sentence. It was embarrassing to stumble over words, but to you it would be even more so to ask something so lewd.
“You want me to teach you with my dick, hm?” He speaks so confidently, with his voice steady and true. It makes you shiver.
But inside himself Eren thought he was going to explode. The way you ask — beg even — to be able to get your mouth on him has his stomach turning in ways he really wishes it wouldn’t… not yet anyways. He’s lost all care towards the fact that this isn’t for him, that it doesn’t mean anything, all he cares for is being able to get closer to you.
You were shaking like a leaf, waiting for him to turn you down or cuss you out. Maybe he’d laugh in your face at your inexperience or he’d be an asshole and tell you to practice with a cucumber instead of him.
“Can I come inside then? I don’t wanna do this on your porch…” He speaks lightheartedly.
“Oh, yeah… yeah,” You mumble, backing up into the foyer and keeping ahold of the door so Eren can slip inside the house.
After you close the door, you stand there blankly like you were half expecting Eren to be the one to lead you upstairs. But you realize that you have to guide him up when you see him standing there with the same expression that you have.
You cringe a little before turning and gesturing for him to follow you. You don’t look back to see if he listens, but the series of thumps that follow behind you up the stairs tells you everything you need to know. You can feel him looming heavy on your back, his presence loud and sturdy.
This will be the first time Eren will be in your room since maybe… seventh grade. And he won’t be sitting on the floor and wrestling around with Armin this time. 
Eren sits on your bed, right beside you as you pull your legs up beneath you. It’s awkward, really awkward, far more awkward than previous times. Something in the air has shifted, and both of you seem to be aware of it. 
You can’t stand the silence much longer and place a hand on his knee. You didn’t know what you were expecting in response, just anything to break the quiet. Eren smiles softly, shifting around a little to look at you.
“No, ‘hi, how are you?’, no, ‘how was the drive?’... just straight into it?” He teases, raising his brows.
You give him a low groan, pulling your hands off him and covering your face with them, “Shit, I’m sorry, I didn’t —” 
“Hey, I’m kidding. Whatever you want, we’ll do,” He chuckles.
You exhale and pull your hands off your eyes, but you keep them closed. You know that you’ll get thrown off track again if you make eye contact with him
“I just — I’m sorry. This shit makes me so nervous. You make me so nervous, he makes me nervous, this all does… and I’m sorry,” You stammer with a little weak laugh weaved in, dropping your head to your hands with your elbows resting on your bent knees.
Eren drops his teasing smile and trades it for a soft one. He can feel his heart swelling up in his chest at your confession, and he’s once again reminded of how vulnerable you’re allowing yourself to be. He outstretches a hand and places it on your knee like you just had with him, a few of his fingers curl around your elbow.
“Hey, that’s alright. I’m not expecting you not to be nervous. This is a lot, yeah?” He says, giving you a gentle squeeze.
“Yeah, I just — I don’t want to like… mess up and embarrass myself…” You rest the heels of your palms against your temples.
“That’s why I’m helping you, so you don’t fuck up with him…” Eren hates mentioning him, he hates saying his name, hates even thinking about him. But this was for you, he needed to help you.
But what he says doesn’t really help you because now you realize that you’re also far too nervous about messing up with Eren as well. You know that he knows that you don’t know what you’re doing, but some part of you still strives to impress him.
“Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself in front of me, okay?” His words are true, but not for the reason you’d think. 
He’d never say it, and he hates to even admit it to himself, but whenever you slip up with him and when your actions get sloppy and uncoordinated, he finds his stomach churning in arousal. But he can’t wait for the moment where your unpracticed motions start growing skilled, and you’re making him melt and not the other way around.
He almost shudders to know that by the end of this ‘lesson’, you’ll have a good idea of what you’re doing, and he’ll have taught you every last way to make him crumble with both your hands and your mouth. Your clumsy and awkward movements will regulate and even out and he won’t have to open his mouth every moment to let you know what to do next.
Eren straightens right back up once it comes back to him that this isn’t for him. You’re not doing this for him, or to him, you’re doing this for Owen… to impress Owen. You’re using him as a gateway to another guy, and he’s letting you. He can’t be thinking or doing the things he’s thinking and doing because of it.
“Okay,” You finally say, giving him a little nod once you pull your head up.
“Okay, before we keep going, we need to go over a few things, alright?” He asks, sliding his hand down your knee to give your thigh a gentle pat, then pulling away.
Eren pulls one of his legs up onto your bed, bending at the knee, to properly be able to look you in the eyes.
“Do not hurt yourself, understand me? If something becomes too much, just pull off and we’ll stop.” He’s serious, stern. It shocks you for a moment at how quickly his tone can shift.
“Okay,” You nod again.
“I’m gonna be asking you if you’re alright a lot. But you won’t really be able to talk when…  yeah. So you’re gonna tap my thigh, okay? One tap is that you’re good, two means you want to stop, understand?”
“Yes,” You say.
“Show me,” Eren nudges your arm with his knuckles.
You pause for a moment before carefully bringing a hand down to hover between the two of you, and with your pointer finger, you give the apex of his thigh one tap… then two. 
“Good. And, the last thing, do not swallow,” His voice only begins to waver then, “It won’t be what you’re expecting.”
You give him a shaky nod, swallowing subconsciously at the mention. You move your hair out of your face before shuffling around and sliding off the bed until you’re on your knees, just to the left of him.
As much as Eren is struggling to wait, he knows he needs to. It’s not that he’s not already hard, his dick is throbbing, but he wants this to be more than just teaching you… more than just something purely sexual.
“Hey,” Eren reaches down to grab ahold of your hands, “Let me kiss you first, yeah?” 
Your stomach does a little flip at the kindness in his voice and the sensation of his warm and sturdy hands taking ahold of your own. 
He guides you up to him, holding your hands gently, fingers teasing your wrists as he pulls you into his lap. Your knees rest on either side of his hips, pushing into the mattress and once he releases your hands, you bring them up to steady yourself on his shoulders.
He takes your face in his palms, cupping your jaw gently and bringing the two of you together. He doesn’t kiss you yet, he only allows your noses to brush together and your breaths to fan over each other lips.
“Okay?” He murmurs, nudging your nose with his. When he feels you nod in his hands, he brings his lips to yours.
It’s gentle, just a soft peck at first like he was reminding you of what his lips felt like. They were soft and warm, and you could swear you felt the slightest slide of chapstick. Just the gentlest touch of them against yours had butterflies swarming and fluttering around in your stomach.
Eren could feel you push against his hands, wanting more from him, wanting him to kiss you again. So he does. He gives you another soft kiss before returning with a little more passion. He can feel your fists ball up into the fabric of his tee-shirt above his shoulders, and he feels the way your thighs squeeze his hips a little tighter once his tongue slips inside your mouth.
He still kisses you slowly, wanting to savor the feeling of you in his arms before he rushed into feeling your mouth around him. If you were allowing him to have you again he wanted to take his time with it. He couldn’t let himself get carried away or allow you to rush the process. 
You just wanted more from him, once you could taste him on your tongue again, you relapsed. Your addiction to him just flared up right in your face. 
Eren wouldn’t let you take what you wanted from him, because he knew what you needed. He couldn’t let you rush this, because he knew you’d get overwhelmed.
He let his hands move slowly over your body, caressing the curves of your thighs and hips before sliding them around your waist to encourage you to shift a little closer. And you hear him, you grab onto his shoulders and bring yourself further up his thighs until the most intimate part of you is seated above that of him.
You shiver atop him, fingers flexing into the muscle of his shoulders as the print of his dick presses into you just right. Eren catches your tiny gasp in his mouth, and he takes advantage of your parted lips to slide his tongue against yours.
He saves every sound he pulls from you, he memorizes them and files them away into the cursed part of his head where every other fantasy he has of you is stored and locked away. He likes to pretend that it’s not there, that if he hides it far enough back behind other little folders of other girls’ noises that it doesn’t really exist.
Eren was already hard, he didn’t need your help with that part. You could’ve gone down on him a few minutes ago, you could go down on him now if he would let you, but he won’t. He wants to feel you fall apart a little more before you do the same to him.
He slides his hands up and down your thighs a few more times, squeezing the fat of them when he reaches the crease of your hips, and then brings them up and over your hips to settle his fingertips on the top of your ass. You can feel goosebumps scatter over your skin at the gentle brushing sensation over the sensitive skin.
The shivers and quivering of your body only bring you closer, they only cause you to squirm around a bit more in his lap. And that squirming has your clothed cunt grinding and pressing up against his dick in a way that has him fidgeting.
You were so desperate and so damn needy, and it was driving Eren insane. He wants to give you what you want, he wants to go as far as you want, he wants to do whatever you allow him. But he knows it would be too much too quickly. And he can’t use your vulnerability to his advantage, he just can’t.
You were panting against his lips now, with your hips jerking and grinding against him. You were giving him such a delicious relief, your warm body rubbing against his in a way that threatens moans to escape his throat. Maybe he could let you take what you need from him… just for a moment.
And you do. You could feel the length of his cock pressing against your clit so nicely, causing heat to swarm and pool between your thighs, arousal slickening your panties already. You couldn’t stop grinding against him. It felt too good. His body felt too good. His hands felt too good. His lips felt too good.
His hands take ahold of the fat of your ass, gripping each cheek tightly between his fingers to rock you against him. You could tell that he was guiding you, his hands were pushing and pulling at you to bring you across the length of his dick.
“Eren —” You have to pull away from him, sliding your hands up his shoulders to brace them around his neck while you rest your forehead against his.
Eren swallows down a groan, “Yeah?” He doesn’t slow his movements as he speaks, still dragging you over his cock slow and steady.
“Feels s’good,” You whimper, bringing your hands up farther to cup his upper neck, thumbs resting on his jaw.
His lips brush up against yours, but neither of you connect them. Both of you seemed to want to hear the little noises that you pulled from each other far too much to silence them with your lips. He can hear your little gasps and can feel them against his lips. You can hear and feel the low rumbling in his chest, the ones he holds back but every so often they’ll escape his throat in the form of a low exhale.
“Yeah? You like grinding on my cock?” He questions, brushing his nose against yours again. 
You let out a pretty moan as an unintentional response to his question, and he can feel your hips stutter atop of him and between his hands. It was overwhelming you, but you were loving it, you were losing yourself in him. You were drunk, and Eren was pouring you bottomless glasses of wine.
He needed to cut you off.
“Alright — fuck — go ahead or I’m gonna cum in my pants,” He tightens his grip on your waist to prevent you from wiggling around on him any longer. 
You couldn’t tell if he was joking or serious with his words, but to be honest, Eren didn’t know either. He didn’t know how much longer he would have been able to last with you getting off on him like that. 
You bring your hands back down to his chest to distance yourself from him, because if you hadn’t, you’d be afraid that you’d jump on him again. Then, after a few steadying breaths, you slide off his lap and kneel to the floor in front of him. 
He looks so much bigger than you like this. Yes, he was a pretty tall guy and he had a decent amount of muscle to his figure, but when he was sat before you like this, with his legs parted and leaning back onto his hands, his gaze narrowed and lazy, it was too much. You knelt to his feet like a servant to a king.
You don’t let your hands touch down to the fabric of his sweatpants before they’re hovering above the waistband, and with your fingers shaking you take ahold of the elastic. You don’t move, only sliding your fingers under the band and resting them against the warm skin of his stomach.
Eren’s heart lurches even with the faintest contact. He felt pathetic.
You look up with him with slightly furrowed brows and eyes filled with insecurity and admiration, and Eren wishes he could take a picture… an actual picture.
“Can I?” You ask him quietly, scooting a little closer to him under your forearms can rest on his upper thighs.
“Yep.” He says, but his facial expression doesn’t change. It’s still hazy with lust.
Slowly, you pull down his waistband. Eren watches you carefully, losing all care for whatever your hands are doing because he wants to see the look on your face when you see how hard you’ve gotten him. He needs to see your eyes simultaneously fill with fear and arousal. He wants to see you squirm.
You do exactly as he hoped once he lifts his hips enough for you to slip the waistbands of both his sweats and briefs down to his thighs. His dick slaps up against the stomach of his tee-shirt, the tip hitting an area that’s bunched around his abdominals and dripping precum onto the black fabric, somehow darkening it.
“Oh fuck” You whisper, and Eren has a good feeling that you hadn’t meant to say that out loud.
Your chest fills with anxiety, excitement, something, because the size of him is nothing short of intimidating. This may be the first dick you’ve seen in person, but something inside you tells you that not all of them are this big; not all of them struggle to be flexed upright due to the sheer weight, not all of them have these pretty, sheer, purple veins that make them look that much thicker, not all of them prevent your fingers from touching when you wrap the hand around it.
Eren about has a heart attack at both the sight and sensation of your hand wrapping around the base of him. So much softer, smaller, daintier than his. You were so uncertain, so gentle, like you thought he was going to break. But he couldn’t even complain because he was terrified of a groan tearing through his throat once he opens his mouth.
You look up to him a few times, vision switching between the pretty pink tip of his cock to the clenching of his jaw. 
He almost looked in pain, and for a moment you were worried he was. But no, it wasn’t pain… definitely wasn’t pain.
You bring your eyes back up to his, but he’s gotten lost in the sight of your hand around him.
“What - what do I do now?” You ask. Your voice has been reduced to just above a whisper. Eren can feel your grip on him loosen just a little, and your hand shakes around him.
He internally curses to himself at your question. He was about to ruin you, he was about to taint your pretty little mind and body with himself. He was the first person inside you, and — 
Oh fuck, he was the first person inside you.
And now, his cock is going to be the first inside you as well. 
“Wrap your hand around it, just like you had before — yeah, just like that — and I’ll show you,” His voice is strained already and a little raspy, but the gentle purr in his chest only has you growing warmer.
Eren sits up from his hands, shifting his left arm to be able to brace him by itself while his right hand comes forward to grasp his cock around your hand. It engulfs the back of your hand, your knuckles, the tips of your fingers as he wraps his hand over yours until your fingers are flush against the length of him.
Eren chokes on his breath again, the increased pressure just shoved him that much closer to prematurely cumming.
“I’m going to move alright? Let your hand move with but under mine…” He adjusts his grip a little before shifting his left hand to support him better.
You shift yourself a little closer to him to where you could rest your head on the inside of his thigh if you wanted. Your spare hand falls to his bare thigh, fingers pressing into the muscle in anticipation. Eren’s hand begins to shift over yours, and you let him grip himself over you tight enough so your palm is guided by his. 
You look down to where he’s within your fingers, and you’re suddenly hyper-aware of every little characteristic that’s inside your hand. You can feel every pushing of a vein against the warm skin under your palm, the gradual but minuscule upwards curve there is to the entirety of him, and then...
“‘gonna want to start real slow, alright? And be gentle around the — fuck — around the head,”
... you feel the divet of his cockhead sliding under your hand. 
Eren squeezes a little tighter then, so your fingers remain flush, and the slimy, translucent liquid precum spreads over your skin as he does. It helps with friction, it slickens up his cock and your hand just enough to have you sliding over him a bit smoother than before. Eren seemed to like it like that.
You keep your eyes on him as he guides your hand, and he keeps his eyes on yours. You take notice of every little twitch of pleasure in his expression, every furrow of his brows, and sudden dilation of his pupils.
You felt so warm, so hot under his gaze. He was watching your every expression, every movement, like a hawk. He could still see your hand under his in his peripheral, but he wouldn’t dare to take his eyes off yours. 
He needed to see your face shift into one of arousal, he needed to hear the gasp you made when he takes his hand off yours and a quiet, squelching sound replaces it. He watches your eyes flit with panic for a second when you realize that you’re now on your own with his cock. It was just you jerking him off now, and that was so, so much hotter than before.
Soft, shaky exhales leave his now parted lips with every upstroke, and they turn into low groans as he increases his pace over you. His stomach was twisting and turning, abdomen flexing, and thighs twitching under your touch. He felt hot, so fucking warm, and he knows damn well that there’s a pink flush swarming up his neck, over his cheeks, and tinting the tips of his ears red.
“God, just like that, fuck,” He finally is forced to break eye contact, his pretty eyes squeeze shut and his head falls back against his shoulders just enough to accentuate the sharp edges of his jawline.
Eren wasn’t the only one taking mental images and filing them away. This little scene — with his dick in your hand and his head fallen back, lips parted and swollen from kissing — you were never going to be able to get it out of your head. All his praises split into equal parts to your head, your heart, and your cunt. It had your head fuzzy.
It was so much, for him and for you. You were already stopping yourself from pressing your thighs together and he wasn’t even in your mouth yet. You were getting impatient again, unsure yes, but impatient. You wanted him on your tongue. You wanted his release down your throat. You didn’t care if it ‘won’t be what you’re expecting’, you want it.
Eren can visibly see the little switch in your head flip. Instead of being hesitant to continue, you seemed to be looking to him for approval. Your eyes have grown curious once more, and your hand and its movements seem to have improved from the beginning. Eren was about to let you know to continue, but you spoke before he could.
“Can I… keep going?” You ask, looking into his eyes.
He twitches in your hand. His dick literally jumped in your hand.
“Yeah… yeah, just - just watch your teeth —” He seethes, sentence getting cut off as your palm squeezes around his tip softly.
You want his eyes on you when you first taste him… so you wait. You steady your hand, holding him about a quarter of the way up, and pause until he pulls his head back up. You could feel saliva pooling around your tongue like you were a dog slobbering after a day at the park.
Eren finally lifts his head off his shoulders, worried that you’ve gotten scared or needed to stop. But it was quite the opposite. 
The sight he meets when he opens his eyes showed nothing of the sort. You had your tongue stuck out of your mouth, hovering centimeters away from the tip of his dick. He could feel the heat of your breath fanning over and down to his pelvis. And once his gaze flits up from your mouth to your eyes, your tongue presses against the head of him.
He welcomes the slick, warm, soft sensation of it licking up the most sensitive part of his cock with a low, dragged-out groan. He was feeling like the virgin again... like he was getting his dick sucked for the very first time once more.
He can’t even count how many mouths have been on him, but none of them... none... have felt like your little tongue does. It wasn’t good, the movements were a little sloppy, a bit unsure and hesitant, but it didn’t fucking matter. He realized that it wasn’t how good the head was, but who was giving it.
“Shit - you remember the taps, right? Fuck —” He feels your lips finally wrap around the girth of him. 
You pull him back out to nod, keeping your tongue against the smooth skin of his tip as you do. And you give him a singular, soft tap against his thigh with your free hand. And once his eyes returned closed, you slip him back past your lips.
You feel your tongue around the head, getting the faintest salty taste of the precum that you had smeared across it with your hand. And you can feel the ridge where the shaft turns into the tip against your tongue. 
He was heavy in your mouth, heavy and thick and so warm. Your jaw was already beginning to strain in the slightest, and you could feel your lips burning a little as they stretch around the girth of him. It tasted good, clean, and you realize that doing this was nowhere near as gross as you used to think it was.
If anything, you were far more aroused when his dick was in your mouth than out. Knowing that you were the one to please him, you were the one pulling these choked-out groans from his lips, was overwhelmingly erotic. His every noise and every twitch of his hips had slick pooling in your panties.
You slowly made your way down his cock, inching in more and more every couple of seconds. Your eyes were burning — not yet swelling with tears, but you knew they would soon — and the tip of him was now nudging at the back of your mouth where it turns to your throat.
“God damn — that’s good, there you go,” Eren hisses, hands falling behind him to hold him upright, and once he feels the sheets underneath his palms, he grips them tight. 
He wanted to watch. He wanted to see you take his cock down your throat, but it was just too much for him. He couldn’t keep his eyes open. He needed to put that energy towards holding back the urge of fucking himself up into your mouth.
He could feel your little tongue quivering against the underside of his length, every bump of his tip against the entrance of your throat sends it lurching and pressing into him. He loved it. He loved feeling your entire mouth squeeze around him.
You started off slow, just like he had told you, slowly bringing your head up and down with your lips flush around him. Your saliva made it easy to bring your mouth down a little more every time. You could feel it dripping down and gathering over your fingers. 
Maybe it was a little gross. It was definitely sloppy, and the feeling of your fingers sliding against each other around the base of him from the slick in your mouth has you shivering every time your grip shifts.
You couldn’t get a good enough hold on him anymore, your saliva was just slobbering down all over him and you couldn’t grip him tight enough without him slipping within your hands. But Eren liked that, it was just more delicious sliding over his cock that had him seething.
He needed to see. He needed to crack his eyes open just enough to be able to see your mouth on him, to see your hand covered in spit around him. It was hard. The pleasure bubbling around in his stomach was too grand, too strong, he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to look at you without cumming down your throat.
But he does it and he’s greeted with your pretty eyes looking up at him, all wide and pupils blown, his dick all messy and your lips sheening and glossy. Your other hand was digging its nails into the sinew of his thigh, creating little half-crescent shapes in its wake whenever your hand shifted around.
“Fuck - fuck, you’re so pretty,” He breathes, sitting up a little to reach out with a shaky hand to cup a hand to your cheek, fingers sliding up your jaw and wiggling their way into the hair behind your ear, “So good, so fucking good. My good girl.”
Eren both hears and feels the whine you let out around him at his praise. It was soft, just a little muffled squeak, where your lips pull off his length for a second. And once you get that little inhale of cold air, you decide to temporarily pull off.
Attached to your lips are strings of saliva, all the way from your tongue to the head of him, more drips down to the bedsheets and the floor, down your chin and over your jaw. You swallow a few times, choked and ragged as you breathe.
“Can - can you help me? I want to fit more?” You rasp, sitting up and looking to him with eyes wide as you plead.
Eren groans, audibly, and nods, “Fuck, yeah. You gotta tap me… if it gets too much, promise?” He shifts his weight in his seat until he can properly sit upright without having to bear too much weight.
“Promise,” You nod, wiggling upright a little more until your weight is held by your knees instead of being spread evenly over your shins.
You keep your hand around the base of him as he moves his hands to either side of your head, looking up to him the entire time. You whimper softly at the feeling of the gentle tug against your hair as his fingers wiggle into it once more, and the soft but steady pressure of his palms against the back of your skull is equally arousing. Such a simple action turned you so submissive, made him seem so dominating, and like a flip of a switch... you were ready for him to use you.
You lax the tension in your neck for him, making it easier to guide your mouth back over his cock. He starts slow, just like you had, inching you down and down with a stuttering groan and shaking arms. 
He can feel when his dick hits your throat’s entrance, both with his tip and against his hands. He’s hesitant to slide farther, past your mouth and into the tight heat that will so greatly resemble what he hopes your cunt would feel like. But when you look up to him with your brows furrowed and eyes blinking away tears, he has to continue.
Your hands grab at his knees when you feel the head of him slip a bit further than you were used to, just far enough to have you contracting around his tip.
“Tight — fuck. ‘tight fucking throat, shit,” He winces, but not in pain. Your mouth is squeezing around him so nicely, so warm and wet.
Fuck, he wishes it was your pussy.
You gag again, stomach clenching and lurching as you do, and your nails dig into the hard bone of his knees. He can’t even feel it, he doesn’t feel it, all he can feel is the slick heat of your mouth.
He keeps pushing, pushing your head down and past the middle of his length. His brows furrow and his nose scrunches a little when he sees the first little tear fall from your eyes and down your cheek.
“Take it — fuck. Take it, take my cock,” He grits, biceps flexing as he eases more and more down your throat.
You close your eyes, but the tears still fall and you still gag with every centimeter he adds until he begins to slow, and you’ve thought he’s stopped, but then you feel your nose up against the soft skin of his pelvis. But once your nose lands, he’s pulling you right back up.
You choke and gag with every up-down motion as he sets a steady pace of filling your mouth with him and pulling out. He doesn’t force himself down all the way the entire time, but rather every once and a while when your tears begin to dry.
“Look at you... first time and you’re already letting me use you,” He mumbles, the tone of his speaking flitting a little darker. He didn’t mean to say it out loud, it just slipped out. The last thing he wanted was to freak you out with how he talks when he’s up this high with pleasure.
But you moan around him again, and immediately he’s pulling you off. The muffled moan slips out into the open air, turning clear as day when you’re not stuffed with his cock, and your cheeks immediately heat up from embarrassment.
You felt so good, so good being useful, so good giving him that type of pleasure. You never wanted it to end. It made you feel all fuzzy and warm with not only heat but endearment as well.
Your spit is dripping down your chin, disgustingly stringing across the free air and attaching back to him. He keeps your head in his hands.
You don’t want him to ask if you’re okay, you really don’t. You were fine. You were more than okay. Every nerve ending in your entire body was on fire, a fire lit by him. You couldn’t take it anymore, you just wanted him to do whatever he fucking wanted with you. You wanted him to use you.
“Please,” You whine, pushing against his hands to try and get closer.
“What? Are you alright?” Eren pants, shutting his eyes again as he breathes.
“‘want more, put it back,” 
“You want it?” His eyes open, peering down to you with a bit of mischief lingering inside.
“Yes, ‘wanna make you feel good,”
You want to make him feel good. Your mind wasn’t on anything else other than him, you weren’t too nervous anymore, you were desperate.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Eren breathes, but his actions contradict his words and he’s guiding you towards his cock again.
“I’ll tell you if it hurts, I promise. ‘just want to make you cum,” You whimper.
And fuck, Eren can’t turn that down. He steadies his hold on you, takes his bottom lip between his teeth, and lowers you back down… quick. You gag immediately but he doesn’t stop. You don’t want him to stop.
His biceps bulge as he picks up the pace from before, steadily bobbing your head up and down again and again and again. And he was hitting deeper this time, slipping back into your throat and pulling out.
Tears were steady flowing down your cheeks, and your body naturally responds by closing your eyes. 
You feel like you’re going to explode. Your cunt is clenching around nothing, begging to be filled by something — his fingers, his tongue, his cock.
And fuck, you want it. You want it so fucking bad. You want to pull his dick out of your mouth and let him fill you up with it. You want him to use your cunt like he’s using your face, you want him to fuck you at this pace.
“There you go. ‘so fucking pretty while I’m using your mouth,” He groans.
You wish you could tell him thank you, thank you for everything. You want to thank him for teaching you, for pleasing you, for giving you what you want, for taking what he wants when you allow him to. You could almost cry, not from the dick that’s filling your throat, but from admiration.
You swat his hands away quickly, pulling them out of your hair and off your head. Eren lets you. Eren lets you grab ahold of his thighs tight enough so you can pull your throat down over his cock at the same pace and depth that he had.
And it’s too much, it’s far too much. The coil in his stomach is winding up and brightening with heat and it’s going to snap if you don’t stop. It’s going to snap right in your face — down your throat.
“Fuck, fuck, I’m gonna cum. Baby, baby, baby, get off, get off or I’ll — oh fuck, fuck…” He groans, hands reaching out for you but failing to make contact with your head. They twitch and flex in mid-air like he was seizing or being electrocuted or something.
And you feel it, with your nose to his pelvis and his cock down your throat, you feel the warm and slick release of him spill down inside you. It was hot and smooth, but thick. And at the back of your tongue, you can taste the bitter unexpectedness that Eren was talking about.
His hips aimlessly jerk into you searching to thrust deeper, but there’s no way. He was already to the hilt, unable to push farther, but he couldn’t stop the stuttering of himself into your mouth. He was going to overstimulate himself, but he couldn’t fucking stop.
He just filled you with his cum. 
Eren Jaeger just filled you with his cum.
And it wasn’t the way it sounds, and it wasn’t the exact way that either of you wanted it, but you were full of him, full of his cock and his release and neither of you could complain.
You could.
You’re the one to tug yourself off and back away from him with a wet coughing gag. You take your hands off him as well and have them up in front of you in almost the same way he had with his. 
It wasn’t disgusting, but it definitely was not pleasant. It was salty and harsh and lingered on your tongue far longer than you wanted it to. You just kept swallowing and swallowing, like it was still in your mouth, as Eren brings himself back down.
He hears your coughing and choking and his eyes shoot back open with concern. Your hands are hovering around your throat and your eyes are squeezed shut so fucking hard that he’s worried he’s hurt you.
But then you stick your tongue out a little — like your tongue itself tasted bad — and grimace while shaking your head and crinkling your nose. The same tongue that was on his cock just a moment ago.
“Oh shit. God, I’m sorry,” He hastily pulls his sweats back up, not having to worry about the cum on his chest because there is none, and leans over to you, “Shit, yeah, not good is it?”
You giggle a little, your hovering hands finding his wrists and he holds your face between his own. His touch is warm, comforting, kind, and genuine. It makes that admirable fuzzy feeling return to your stomach.
“I told you not to,” He laughs breathily, bringing his face to yours to rest his forehead against yours and sliding off the edge of the bed to squat in front of you.
You spill into another wave of laughter, sliding your hands down his wrists until they meet his at your face. You hold them against your cheeks, smiling into the warmth and the proximity. 
He was in a hazy post-orgasm state, and all he wanted to was to be close to you.
Usually you heard stories about guys being grossed out or repulsed by their partner after sexual interactions, but Eren seemed to be the exact opposite. 
Maybe it was because he wasn’t your partner, or maybe because you had swallowed your first time. Whatever way it was, you didn’t care.
He took your lips in his again while both of you were still laughing. And you were giggling into the kiss, smiling against his lips as he gave you gentle pecks over and over until you doubled over into his chest. 
His hands left your face to maneuver their way around you to hold the back of your head, keeping your cheek to his chest. He drops from a squat and to his knees, sitting upon them to grab ahold of you and tug you to him with his other arm. 
You kept your nose nuzzled into his shoulder until the laughter settled, savoring the feeling of his warm body against you. His hands holding you to him. It was all him. You still tasted him on your tongue, still felt his hands digging into your hair, and you could smell the softest aroma of a masculine cologne on his shirt.
Your heart hurt, but not as it did before. It didn’t hurt like it did when you opened his front door three weeks ago to see him in a post-sex daze, it didn’t hurt like it did when you saw those purple bruises on his neck. This was a good hurt.
You never knew something could hurt so good.
“I want to take you somewhere,” Eren says softly, rubbing at your waist with the hand that remains against it.
“Where?” You ask, voice hoarse and throat tender.
“You’ll see... if you let me.”
“I let you.”
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ringpop-poppy · 4 months ago
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"The first time you hear Izuku moan your name, its with you hiding on the other side of his closet door, your hand clapped over your mouth in shock.”
A/N: im placing this before the sexual side of their relationship begins. A prelude of sorts, if you will.
Cw: voyeurism, smut, dekus secretly dirty mouth.
All things considered izuku’s room was...not as gross as you expected a staple college aged guys dorm room to be. It was cluttered but not disgusting, posters of comics and figurines and manga and some clothes strewn about, everything kind of frenzied and haphazard. It was so incredibly deku, a secret smile pulled at your lips, even though your reasons for being here were less than innocent
He’s wearing fucking pink. Because of course he is, of course izuku is humble and comfortable in his masculinity enough to pull off a bright pink t-shirt. It hugs his chest too, and you have to wonder if literally any of his clothes fit him and the tits he decided to grow in college. His image is so utterly imposing, his smile so bright, and laugh so airy, it sends butterflies flipping through your stomach at just the sight of him and that makes you want to vomit. Your lips curl in a sneer and you’re walking towards him and the group of friends he’s talking to as if on reflex. 
Stupid, lovely deku. You knock your shoulder into his as you pass, hard enough that his books clatter and fall to the floor, scattering. And then those green eyes are on you, giving you his attention and your body feels alive, your blood cells buzzing under your skin even as he frowns. The dimples on his freckled face fall as he takes you in. Yes, you think, look at me, see me, want me. 
Out loud you say. “Watch where you’re going, stupid deku” and you’re looking at him like he’s the dirt under your shoe. He’s not. He’s the center of your universe. Your world tilts around his axis. “Pink isn’t your fucking color by the way”. it is. 
Izuku huffs. He’s past the point where he used to turn as red as a tomato and duck his head whenever you stood in front of him, but he’s still deku at the end of the day. An easy target. “If looking at me bothers you so much you could just ignore me.” He crouches down to pick up his things. His words make you itch, if you could ignore him, you wouldn’t fucking be here. Its because he exists too much, that you want to push him down so much. 
You step your manicured foot onto his notebook right as he’s about to grab it. He tugs at it, you dont budge, and he looks up at you, exasperated. “Can i have my notebook, please?” 
Why is he so fucking pretty? God, you want to throw up. You dig your heel in further, covering the flutter you feel in your chest with a practiced sneer. “I like the way you say please, deku.” You lean down a little, “Say ‘your highness’ and i’ll move” 
It’s a thrill, seeing the way his jaw sets, his brow furrows, his eyes go annoyed. Sweet, sweet, friendly izuku. You’re the only one he looks at like this, like he wants to throttle you. But he won’t. You see his adams apple bob, his cheeks dust pink, even as he glares. “No” 
You pause. It’s not the first time he’s gotten snippy with you, but the conviction behind it is new. You feel something in your stomach give a jump, your blood thrumming in your ears. You jerk your foot towards you, sliding his notebook out from his hands and standing completely on top of it with both your feet now. Your sticky lips, glossy and plump, spread into a mocking grin, “No? Do i need to slam you into some lockers and take you lunch money?” You feel a thousand feet tall, towering above him still kneeling, you on the high ground, looking down at him below you, where he can’t reach you. Can’t ever see the truth. “C’mon pansy, you’re already on your knees anyway” 
But he isn’t anymore. He jerks to a stand, and now he’s taller than you, but you puff your chest out, not letting that affect you. It always affects you. Not that he knows or ever notices. Your eyes are widening when he steps forward so you’re practically nose to nose and chest to chest. “I don’t have time for you” he snaps, irritated. And then he’s stepping away as suddenly as he stepped up, the rest of his things gathered in his arms, he shakes his head at you, a tendril of that mossy mousey hair falling into his eyes. “I gotta get to class” 
And then he’s gone, brushing by you, disengaging. You stand there, your breath stuck in your chest, not moving. ‘I dont have time for you’ over and over again rings through your head like a mantra. You step off his notebook robotically and kick it across the floor. It bangs against a wall and you feel your fists clench, nail beds digging into your palms harshly. ‘I dont have time for you’ 
You turn on your heel, away from the direction of your class, fury blinding you. Anger in place of humiliation, vindication in place of being humbled. You don’t know what crawled up his ass and made him think he was above you all the sudden, but you weren’t having it, not the fuck at all. 
And that’s how you found yourself snooping through izukus dorm, with the intention of finding some kind of dirt, or something to hold over his stupid head. He didn’t have time for you? How dare he act like he was better than you, like he had things more important to do than to indulge you. You were still so mad you wanted to throw a tantrum, kick and scream and claw his eyes out. Straddle his stupid broad waist and shake him until all he saw was you, you, you. 
You really hated him. Hated that because of him you were basically a bully because any attention from him was attention you thrived and lived under. Maybe if you weren’t so prideful, so disgusted by the weakness of your own gooey emotions for him, you would have tried to be the center of his attention in a nicer way, but as it was you were in too deep. This was the sick game you played, and losing wasn’t an option. 
You hated how much that made you similar to bakugou in a way. You didn’t like that guy, and even weirdly so, you wanted to gouge his fucking eyes out for the way he treated and talked to izuku. Was it jealousy or possesivness that drove you to want to be the only one who could rile izuku? You wondered, sometimes, if bakugou felt the same way about you. 
It was the loss of control, for you. Better yet, it was the way you liked the loss of that control. You had always prided yourself on being strong willed and a perfectionist. But whenever your eyes so much as grazed izukus, all your emotions went rattling around your stomach in sick twisted ways, giving you goosebumps, making you...nervous. It was a crush that had turned into an obsession, wasn’t it? And you wanted to make izuku suffer not only for invoking those messy feelings, but for not seeming to return them as well. If he couldn’t love you or want you romantically or sexually, you’d force yourself onto his radar and into his head until thinking about anyone else was impossible. Until you squirmed under his skin as much as he squirmed under yours. 
Acting like you didnt exist was unacceptable. Obviously you’d slacked off on your taunts and actions, if he could just brush past you so easily, not taking your bait. You needed to even the playing field again, and by even you meant you needed to be towering above him again. 
Towering over him so you dont have the time to think about how much you want to be under him, your mind whispers at you as you pick through his room, trying to find anything incripting. Someone like izuku would probably have something utterly embarrassing like a diary or some weird porn magazines, shameless, helpless guy that he was. 
You huff as you open his drawer next to his bedside, nearly slamming it back shut in shock at what you see there. 
You’re not stupid. You’re a healthy, young woman with an active sexual imagination and access to the world wide web, to porn. 
Izuku has a fleshlight in his drawer. Izuku has a sexytoy. Izuku. And its green. 
Izuku has a sex toy that he probably uses. That he probably sticks his cock into and moves- 
An absurd laugh barks out of you, shocked and helpless. Because while in your head you knew izuku had to be some kind pervert, what other explanation was there for the way he blushed and darted his gaze around like a ping pong ball whenever you leaned forward and get caught a glimpse under your blouse, this is...unexpected. Imagining izuku in explicit scenarios, doing lewd things, it was something you didn’t allow your mind to wonder to often over. You didn’t like the way you got all squirmy and meek whenever you thought too long about izuku without clothes. 
You feel kind of squirmy now, hot and uncomfortable as you shift around and try to gather your wits back about you. Revenge, that’s what you’re here for. 
With a shaky exhale you turn away from his dresser, your thoughts flitting around your head like annoying gnats. What, who, does he think about when he…? What does he look like? What does his...c- You shake your head, slap your cheeks, trying to center yourself from the images floating around, flustering you and distracting you. 
You’re in the middle of lifting the covers on his bed to peek under it, see if there’s anything there, when you hear the handle on his door jiggle. You freeze, every muscle in your body locked frozen like a deer in headlights as the knob twists, and then catches. Right. You’d picked the lock with one of your hair clips and then made sure to lock it again behind you just in case something like this happened. And by the, “Ugh” on the other side of the door, yep that’s definitely izuku. You’re shoved out of your shocked state, and bolting for his closet door as you hear the jingle of his keys twist in the lock, trying your best to close the door as quietly as possible behind you, it swishing shut barely a second before the door to his dorm opens and you hear him step in. 
Class must have let out early or something, you think huffily, gently rearranging yourself into a comfortable position on a pile of his clothes as he shuffles around his room. You hear the thumb of him dropping his books, the shuffle of his feet, the clutter of him taking off his shoes and the squeak of his mattress as he plops down on it. 
You tuck your knees to your chest and roll your eyes, picking at your leggings as you wonder how long you’ll have to hide before he goes to the bathroom or something so you can leave. It’s fucking stuffy in his closet already, the air hot. Your hand touches the soft fabric beneath you, realizing you’re sitting on one of his hoodies. Its too dark to see which one it is, but you imagine it as your favorite red one. Maybe you’d steal it as compensation for him making you sit and wait in his dumb closet while he probably stared at the ceiling with no thoughts in his dumb brain.
You hear him sigh, loud and dramatic, and then a muffled scream/groan into his pillow. Your lips twitch, he’s such a fucking drama queen. 
Your little smile drops off your face when you hear the sound of his drawer opening.  
Oh god. Oh no. 
Your face feels like there are embers burning under it as you hear the unmistakable sound of clothes being shucked, a zipper and and then flop, and then….a slick wet sound and a sigh of relief. 
Your eyes feel like they are bugging out of your head. Izuku is really about to fuck his fleshlight with you hiding in his closet with him none the wiser. You feel suddenly embarrassed and hot all over, hiding your face in your knees as you hear him let out a moan. A loud one. 
You’re on fire, every part of you. You don’t think you can take this, don’t think you can sit through this and listen to this, think you should just burst out of his closet and use your bravado to somehow flip the situation and make him feel humiliated for getting off in the privacy of his own room, like he’s in the wrong even though you had violated so many boundaries for even being here right now. 
You could do it too, you know. You’re good at twisting things, at powering through the complicated mess of flustered feelings izuku makes you feel and making it his fault, making him back down and cower. You could do’re uncurling your legs and pushing your hands under you in the middle of getting up to do so when- 
“Fuck. ___” Your name. You freeze, for an unholy, goldy second you think you’ve been caught, that he has acquired x-ray vision and has spotted you but no. His voice isn’t surprised or upset its...breathless, airy. He moaned it. 
The first time you hear Izuku moan your name, its with you hiding on the other side of his closet door, your hand clapped over your mouth in shock.
Heat immediately shoots between your legs, your core throbbing unbidden in reflex to the sound, helpless to stop it, to have any other reaction. Your ass plops right back down. You turn slightly towards the door, pressing your side against it, your ear smooshed against the cool wood as you listen, as if drawn under a spell. 
“You’re such…” You hear izuku pant, his voice deeper and more rough then you’ve ever heard it before. “A fucking brat” 
Wet between your legs, seeping through your panties at his words, seemingly ripped out of him. God, he sounds pissed, wrecked. He cursed. You’ve never heard izuku curse before, never, even when you’d pushed him too far. Something really was different about today. 
The slick sounds are more frequent now, steady and...and sounding like real sex you’d heard from porn before. Wet, sloppy, and slapping. Your knees knock together as you lean forward even more. There’s an invisible string pulling, tugging you forward, you want to see…
“Fucking slut” He grunts, and there’s a heavy slap, your breath catching in your fucking throat as you realize that...that must be the clap of his balls hitting the back of his fleshlight everytime he thrusts into it. “Always running your fucking mouth, looking down at me, so mean, you’re so fucking mean to me…uh..” 
The sounds of sex fill the room and you can’t take it anymore, you’re burning, burning, burning, fuck the consequnces. You hesitantly and slowly turn the handle of the closet door, letting it slide open just a crack, enough for you to peek through, to get a glimpse.
His lean muscular back is the first thing you see, he’s facing directly away from his closet, thank god but oh god, that means you much. The flex of his shoulder blades under his tan skin, the smattering of freckles over his shoulder, the long slender slope of his spine as it curves down his broad back, the dimbles at the bottom of his spine, flexing as he fucks his toy. His ass, because of course izuku would have a perfect round bubble butt. There are freckles there too. 
Your eyes skate down, hungry to his large and heavy balls, low hanging and full, currently smacked right up against the base of the little pocket pussy he’s practically straddling on his bed. 
It hits you again than, that deku is imagining that toy is you, he’s imagining fucking you in this position on his bed right now, imagining its your cunt hes pounding into, and your face he’s spitting those filthy words at. 
Your hand is really moving without your permission when it slips under the band of your leggings into your panties, fingers immediately dipping between the slick folds of your pussy, silky and wet. 
“-Wet” Izuku grunts, as you dip a finger just barely inside. “Fuck, i knew you’d be so fucking soft and good inside. Such a bratty girl would have a sweet cunt attached to her, huh?” 
Fuck, where and when did izuku start speaking like this? His soft voice curling around such crude words is making you gush all over your fingers. You wish you could see the kind of face he was making when he said them. 
“Yeah, you like taking my cock don’t you, baby?” He croons and if you close your eyes you can almost imagine he’s speaking directly into your ear, behind you. His thrusts get heavier, rougher, he lifts his leg up on the bed and you see a flash of the little green toy being fucked on his cock, big and angry looking. He’s being so brutal, hammering the thing down on his dick as he hips rut to meet every downward tug. “Milk it. Milk my fucking cock you whore. Wanna- fuck, wanna hear you say my name when you cum, want you to know who’s pouding that little pussy. The loser you fucking hate, yeah? Gonna cum for me?”
Yes, you whimper in your head in answer to him, your fingers curling deep, deep, inside, fucking yourself on them in earnest. He’s so big and you only caught a glimpse, but it was enough. Enough to know he’d fucking cleave you apart if he tried to fit that monster between his legs inside your tight little pussy. But you want it, god you fucking want it. You wanna feel him splitting you open, making you cream around him, making you beg for it. Making you bleed. 
“One of these day” he says, his voice breathless but steady, even as it cracks. You know he’s close. “I’m gonna fucking snap. Im going to make you look me in the fucking eye and apologize for making me want you, and then im going to split that pussy open- fuck, im coming, fuck, fuck, fuck. Do you understand, b-bitch? Gonna fucking make you mine, yeah, take it, take your senpais cock you dirty fucking girl, ah!” 
He slumps forward, hips humping into the toy and balls spasming as he pumps it full of his cum, shuddering deeply with little aborted whimpers. “Good girl, good girl” he pants, trailing off, giving one last little jerk of his hips before stilling. 
You bite your lip so hard you draw blood to stop yourself from whimpering out loud. You pull your sticky fingers out of your cunt and shuffle back into the dark of the closet, curling in on yourself as izuku lays there, panting heavily for a few moments before moving. 
You stay stock still as you hear him get up and shuffle around, his footsteps padding into the bathroom where you hear the door click softly shut. You spring up to your feet and don’t care if you make noise as you dart out of his room and into the hallway, sprinting like a bat out of hell as you make you way to the girls dorms.
You’ll think about how to reevaluate and recoup later. Right now you just really need to get to your bed so you can rut pathetically onto your own fingers and imagine izukus fat dick breaking you open. Never in a million years did you think he had those kinds of feelings for you, and you know it changes the whole game, is a whole other level of playing field where you now know he wants you on a physical level. 
You feel powerless and lie you’re slipping again, don’t know how you’re going to point your finger at him and laugh when you know for every insult you throw his way, is another way hes fucking his toy at night, adding it as another thing to get you back for. If he ever snaps. 
If. you want it to be a when, so bad, not an if. 
You’ll make it a when. You’ll push him off the metaphorical cliff he’s teetering on to make it so. 
2K notes · View notes
lupically · 7 months ago
genre | fluff
word count | 2233
warning | mention of falling off a moutain​
note | i just have some ideas for xiao...
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"the yaksha is fond of you."
madame ping was no stranger to you. the kind old lady roaming around yujing terrace, often seen admiring flowers or brewing a cup of hot tea, was someone you come across every afternoon after school when you head to the censor to make a wish to rex lapis.
the conversation you two have had always been brief, mainly because you were always in a hurry to get to work. she never minded your urgency, blissfully talking about how fast-paced and active young people these days are, and simply being happy that you even stopped to let her hand you some glazed lilies from time to time.
interestingly, though, she stopped giving you glazed lilies after a while and began handing you some pretty qingxin instead.
you never questioned it. it was just flowers. you could live without being gifted only one kind of them for the rest of your life. but after today's incident—after the burning down of your school located just outside the city, as well as what madame ping told you with hearty laughter laced in her voice, you were starting to think the switch to qingxin meant something.
"the yaksha is fond of you."
you tightened your hands around the weak strap of your school bag, made out of bamboo after lots of trials and errors, and you tilted your head with increasingly furrowing brows.
"pardon me, the what is fond of me?"
"the yaksha, my dear."
you stared at her. the corner of your lips was quirking up in confused twitches, and she could see that you were fiddling uncomfortably on your spot because you truly have no idea what she was talking about. it was not because of the history of the yaksha that might have made you feel jittery and out of place, you simply had no idea!
madame ping smiled even harder at your innocent oblivion then. how could you have such ample knowledge of rex lapis and the adepti, but nothing about the yaksha? especially the one with his mark, a jade green glow surrounding you like fireflies, all over your aura?
maybe that was why xiao chose you.
or, at least, it was one of the reasons why he liked you.
it was because you knew nothing of him. you never think about him, you never talk about him, and you would never suspect the string of random good luck and trails of safe travels that have been following you around.
while it must be tearing him down on the inside; the fact that he wasn't being able to approach the one person who made his good deeds a choice rather than an order. it must be plaguing his mind and patience every day.
but, even then, your surprising lack of information about his identity does save him the pressure of being chased down by you.
it saves him the problem of being even further attached to you. it was already pressing on his breaking point when he went out of his way to watch over you, leaving trails of his magic over your mortal soul to keep you safe when he was busy. any further interaction would be disastrous.
logically, he knew he would fall for you, so he was doing preventive measures. he has to keep his chest sealed so his heart wouldn't jump toward you involuntarily; he has to keep his chest sealed so you couldn't see all the mess inside.
"oh, sweet child," madame ping cooed as she walked toward you. she whispered to herself, "you're being protected by an adeptus and you don't even know."
she brought up a qingxin from her pocket, the petals slightly wrinkled from the confined space. she tucked it carefully in the pocket of your shirt before patting the bloomed flower, almost as if she was reminiscing.
"this is his flower," she said.
you hummed, looking down at it. "this is his favorite flower?"
"i'm not sure about his favorite flower, but this is his flower," she replied casually.
you pursed your lips together. well, at least now you knew the qingxin did have something to do with the... yaksha... or whatever.
"madame ping... may i ask–"
"you can find him at qingyun peak," she cut you off calmly. "during the lantern festival. he is always there during the festival. it was for the quiet, he said, that old man."
you shut your mouth, surprised that she knew what you wanted to ask. "uh... qingyun peak... is kind of... a big place..."
"you will find him if he wants to see you," she said. "you can speak his name–xiao. he might not show himself to you, but if you have something to say, he's likely there to listen."
qingyun peak. the lantern festival. the yaksha.
that was how you found yourself bearing the freezing night cold with just a thin shirt and a ragged fabric wrapped and tied around your torso, your hands hurting from grabbing sharp edges and rough rocks, and your anxiety increasing with every jump that not only would the almond tofu in your bag fall, but you would as well.
as opposed to watching xinyan play for the lantern festival, being warm and cozy from the warm city lights and the tasty street food, and maybe even letting go of a lantern yourself after making a wish, you were here. you were alone, climbing mountains for a chance.
all for a random boy madame ping told you about! someone who was supposedly fond of you—if this xiao guy was so fond of you, he would have shown himself the first three times you called his name at the bottom of the mountain!
"fond of me–what a joke," you said through gritted teeth as you hoisted yourself up on a small ledge. "i'm going to kick his ass so hard when i find him."
you let yourself pant for a minute, regaining your stamina as you groggily accessed the higher peaks above you. your eyes squinted in dismay, but something inside you—the curiosity for the truth, as well as the longing for a friend, also the anger for playful revenge—urged you to keep going.
"he better eats the almond tofu i made," you muttered to yourself as you moved closer to the mountain. "i even picked some flowers... for him."
jump after jump, you were close to making it to the second ledge when suddenly, a slime jumped and appeared above you. it looked surprised, mirroring your expression, and as it prepared itself to attack you after seeing your hands move, it stopped when it saw you fumble about in the air before you began to fall further away from itself.
you had let yourself go. out of surprise, and an instinct to grab a weapon, your hands moved away from the edge and you fell.
your mind raced as the wind hit your face, your falling body heavy against the current that desperately tried to take you up from the ledge you just climbed up from. you would surely die from the impact if you drop. even without dropping down to the bottom, you would still suffer from a painful death.
was there something to do? how did this happen, you were doing fine! what should you do, what could you do? you were falling already—what was there to do now? anything, something?
"i–archons–" you heaved with the cold air, your lungs squeezing inside you with fear as tears began to drip out of your eyes.
anything? anybody?
"you can speak his name. he might not show himself to you, but if you have something to say, he's likely there to listen."
"xi–" your voice broke for a millisecond when you could see the green grass approaching quickly. you squeezed your eyes shut, and your voice was louder than you have ever allowed it to be.
you called his name, loud and clear.
the first thing you felt was a lightning strike. you opened your eyes at the electric feeling to find a flash of green. it was bright, close and bright, in a way that was blinding. but then the tail broke into gentle fragments as a pair of arms circled your body to catch you from the fall.
one arm went around your waist, the other hand securely tightened itself around the back of your neck to keep it from breaking from the impact of his fast landing.
xiao growled under his breath when his feet struck the ground in a heavy blow. he pushed your head to his shoulder, shielding your face away from the soil that bounced upward as a result.
quietness ensued after a moment of calm. you took the moment to access the situation—you were fine. someone, likely xiao, saved you from the fall. you were fine.
he dropped onto the ground, sitting on the cold grass with your body pressed close to his, when he heard that you began to sob from the accident.
despite feeling awkward and unsure, he kept quiet and let you vent out the post-accident fear so you could slowly bring in the relief that you were still alive. but his quietness was unwelcomed when you suddenly curled your fist and hit him across the shoulder.
"screw you! why didn't you just answer me when i–when i was at the bottom of the moun–mountain! screw you!"
you blamed him and you hit his shoulder repeatedly. your weak fist was nothing compared to the pain he has endured in the past, but your cries cut through him like glass in the most seamless pattern when he realized he was part of the reason why you had to go through that traumatic experience.
if he had just jumped down from the peak when he heard you the first time, this would not have happened.
xiao looked at the empty spot before him. his golden eyes glowed with a softness that has long fallen into the abyss, forever gone and forever abandoned. but he brought it back out now because he cares about you, and he is, ultimately, attached to you, and he loves you.
"you're right," he said, holding you close to him. "i'm sorry."
ever since you discreetly left the almond tofu on the roof of the wangshu inn, your shy figure hunched over in an apologizing manner because you were told that you were giving food to an important, albeit weird, guest, and your blissfully ignorant words of encouragement as you told him to go out and explore the world, to give it a chance so he could find people he would like.
ever since then, he has loved you, in fragile and discreet ways, in unwavering and patient ways, in protective and caring ways.
"i love you, i'm sorry."
you stopped sobbing almost immediately, and he was afraid he might have said the wrong thing.
wasn't it what he was supposed to do? verr told him to speak his mind once. just be truthful with his feelings and nothing could go wrong. was he not supposed to show his affection blatantly, as he would his complaints and opinions?
"that... that is going a little too fast for me, xiao," you joked. "let's settle with appreciating each other for now."
he heard you laugh, causing the weight of his heart to drop, like finding lights in a fog, like seeing the lanterns in the night sky and realizing that there are more people alive with you than you think.
"thank you, for saving me," you said kindly then, your fist long stopped hitting him and was now patting his shoulder.
“but burning my school down is not the best approach for... whatever it was you were trying to help me with.”
xiao blinked in confusion, then realization hit him. he almost forgot about that! he was, shockingly, dwelling in the prideful fact that because he literally destroyed the building, you would be free of school for the day, and therefore not having to face all the hardships inside the walls he could not venture past. he thought it was the best thing to do, second to beating up everyone, which he politely opposed to.
“i am not sorry about that,” he muttered. “it was what i thought was best.”
he could feel you grin in his embrace. your laughter reverberated in the air, making his magic glow around you both. it was like nothing he has felt before. he wanted to stay like this—in this position where you were engulfed by him, where he could surround you with himself instead of the fireflies of green he has left behind, where he was with you in a way it was entire, in a way he could feel your beating heart against his own.
you are pressing onto his breaking point.
you are going to open him up, see him whole, and renovate his insides to your will. you are going to take his heart from his chest, breaking through his ribcage made feeble from his sheer affection for you, and claim it as your own. you are going to make him love, like sharp knives, like soft breaths, like tragic past, like warm blood, you are going to make him love.
you are pressing onto his breaking point.
and xiao lets you.
because you will be worth the tragedy, you will be worth everything.
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primo-prompts · 4 months ago
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First of all I’d like to apologize for leaving Chongyun out of these requests- I really just couldn’t get in the headspace for him on this one for some reason, I’m sorry!
Also, this is my first time for writing Scaramouche and if you couldn’t tell, I’m a sucker for Soft!Scara. 😔 sorry if you were expecting something harsher! I’ll figure out how to write for him as I go since I got a few more req’s with him in it.
And lastly, these got a lot longer than I intended, so whoops.
Xiao, Albedo, Scaramouche Neglecting Their S/O
Waiting for Xiao to come back to the Wangshu Inn after a full day of exorcising demons was not out of the ordinary for you, but that was only under normal circumstances.
You knew Xiao. Or at least, you liked to think you did- Having been in a romantic relationship for several years, and companionship for even longer, gave you the idea that you could call yourself a Xiao expert, at least when it came to all beings except the Geo Archon himself. So when he disappears for long swathes of time without any word or warning, you worry, but ultimately trust him to come back home to you at the end of it all.
That’s not how it’d gone as of recent, however. Xiao would be gone for weeks, and it isn’t until you hear from Goldet that you know he returned for a short amount of time before leaving again, leaving you in the dust. It seemed at every turn you would miss him by the thread of a hair, at one point catching his figure fading away into the night sky as you climbed to the tallest balcony of the Inn. If you didn’t know any better, you’d say he was avoiding you.
...But you knew him, right?
You couldn’t be so sure anymore. Contemplating the reason for Xiao’s consistent disappearances, you gazed down dejectedly at the deflated and now room-temperature Almond Tofu in front of you on the table. You had just tried calling his name, if only to get him to appear for just a few seconds before he was off again- But nothing. He never appeared. He never came at your call the first, second, fifth, eighth time- And with each one the tears welled up more and more in your eyes before spilling over, and with it came the choking feeling in your throat. You couldn’t call out his name anymore, afraid to be met with silence once again.
He said he’d be there when you called, that he’d protect you from danger, but where was he now? Was he hurt, and couldn’t get to you, and you couldn’t even help him? Or was he listening to each and every call, but ignoring them and hoping you’d forget his name eventually? Why couldn’t he just tell you if he didn’t want you around anymore?
Each thought swarmed inside your head, creating a miasma that only you could feel. It consumed you so much that you hadn’t even noticed Xiao walk onto the balcony, hadn’t noticed the worried call of your own name from his lips, or the sound of footsteps as he hurriedly neared you. It was only when he kneeled on one knee and grabbed your shoulder that you registered his presence, sobs silencing in shock. You stared at him, wondering if he was actually here, but all worries were disproven when he spoke.
“You’re crying. Why? Who hurt you?” Xiao asked, looking ready to summon his spear at the possible names you’d respond with. You sniffled, wiping your puffy eyes with your sleeve.
“N-no one...It’s just…” You bit your lip, unable to look him in the eye all of a sudden. “Xiao...Do you...Do you even love me anymore? Did I do something wrong to make you run so far away all the time? Please, tell me the truth.” You pleaded with him, closing your eyes and waiting for his answers.
Xiao stayed there in shocked silence, unable to comprehend you at this moment. Of course he loved you! Didn’t you know that was why he’d been gone for so long, fighting the cursed entities of Liyue so that you may walk it free of worries?
“Wait...You think I’ve been gone...Because of you?” He asked, unbelieving and with guilt already gnawing away at the inside of his chest.
“What else could it be? I haven’t seen you in nearly a month, Xiao- I wait every day for you, and I always seem to have just missed you every time you come back...I called your name, too, and…” You took a deep breath, steadying yourself. “...And you never came. Not even after many times. I thought you’d never come home…” It felt liberating to finally tell him after all this time, but the pain still lingered and stung inside your chest, eyes still red and burning with tears. Why couldn’t he answer you?
“You...Called my name…” Xiao looked as if he’d seen a ghost, realization dawning on him. You’d called his name and he never came, and that fact hit him like a meteor. How had he not heard you? He made one promise and broke it more than he thought he could even mend it.
“S/O, I…I apologize, I didn’t…I love you.” Was all Xiao managed to get out, knowing he wasn’t good with words meant he’d have to show you some other way. He stood and took you with him, arms coming around your waist and tugging you tightly to him. Xiao buried his face in your neck, inhaling your scent- Safe and familiar, but he could also smell your misery. He made you feel like this, and he hated himself for it. “I love you.” He repeated, trying to convey everything into just those three words.
You felt them in your soul, knowing he didn’t just say them so casually, reserving them for special occasions that he felt needed more than just affection or platitudes. Hearing the affirmation released the tension within your body, and you hugged him back just as tightly, never wanting to let go. “I love you too, Xiao.”
With a mantra of the same three words from Xiao, you knew he’d always come home to you from now on.
You sat in the dark of your home, alone and cold, as you contemplated the past few months events.
The Chief Alchemist came to you one day and warned that he was nearing a breakthrough on an old theory he’d had years ago- One he couldn’t pass the opportunity up on finally solving. He warned that he may become rather distant, distracted, curt- You appreciated the communication, and understood immediately how important this was to him, so you let him know you’d give him the time and space he needed.
But Albedo had never been gone this long, had never strayed from you like this...Even if he was busier than ever, he’d always accepted your passing kisses and reminders to take care of himself, often times even mumbling out an idle “I love you” that brought heat to your cheeks and a swell of adoration in your chest. He was distant, yes, but you knew this going into the relationship. It was just a part of who he was, to become engrossed and passionate in his projects of alchemy and science. It’s one of the things that you fell for, among many others.
Albedo tried back then. He tried to see you, tried to plan dates and spend time with you even if all you did was nap together. He tried to reciprocate every kiss, every touch, every effort that you put in. He once told you that it was only fair he made you as happy as you made him. Wasn’t that still true? Or did he finally grow tired of you, tired of maintaining such a high-effort relationship that has seen its use through? Did Albedo still care for you, or was this simply a way for him to get you to break up, to wear your patience and heart thin enough to snap at a single breeze?
Whatever it was, it worked, and here you sat at the dinner table trying not to let the salty tears fall the more you thought about the enveloping loneliness you’ve experienced for months on end. You wanted to be hopeful, you really did- But it was hard when at every turn, Albedo made himself scarce.
This was the 14th date he’d agreed and never shown up to, and perhaps it would be the last.
You made no move to get up when the front door finally swung open, a clearly fatigued figure making its way through the frame one heavy step at a time before closing and locking it. You knew it was Albedo- But what did that matter now when the food and candles had long gone cold, and your heart ever so colder? You couldn’t bear to look at him now, the tears finally falling but still made no sound, no movement.
“S/O? What are you doing awake so late?” Albedo asked, his voice a hoarse whisper like he hadn’t used it in ages. He probably hadn’t, in all actuality.
“Nothing.” Was all you said, miserably watching your tears stain the wood surface of the table in the light of the moon.
You interrupted him before he could even start. “Do you even love me anymore, Albedo? Or are we done here?”
Expecting the silence that ensued for several minutes, you stood from the chair and made way for the bedroom, intent on leaving him to the couch. The silence was all the answers you needed, and thought perhaps you could find a way to pack his things and bring them to him without causing a scene at the Favonius headquarters-
Until a hand around your wrist stopped you.
“Wait- S/O...Where is this coming from?” He asked, hopelessly lost. You almost laughed, if not for the crushing tension in your chest. You turned around, ripping your wrist from his grip and watching his expression turn to one of surprise and...Hurt?
“Where is this coming from? Albedo, we haven’t seen each other in months!” Your voice shook with emotion, but continued. “You don’t talk to me, whenever I come to see you the knights won’t let me in, you come home when I’m asleep and leave before I awake- And when I do finally get a hold of you to ask for some time together, you make a promise and break it just as fast! Yet again I’ve sat at home waiting for you, but you never come home.” You started off strong, but the tears and pain took hold and made you weak near the end, voice tapering off to a broken whisper.
“I just want you to come home, Albedo…” You couldn’t bear to look at him anymore, hiding in shaking hands and vainly wiping away tears. “I know you told me this might happen, but...It still hurts…” What was the point in this? Was he even listening? He still hadn’t said a thing, and it just might drive you crazy not getting any real answers.
Finally, you heard footsteps approach you, before the warmth of his embrace enveloped you fully. You broke, sobbing loudly in his arms as he rubbed your back soothingly, pressing light kisses to your head. You let it all out, clutching his shirt and not even caring that tears and snot stained it. Hearing your agony shattered his heart, but he knew it was nothing compared to what you’re feeling right now.
It took a while to calm down, but eventually you silenced, only a few stray tears and hiccups escaping now. Albedo continued to hold you tightly, not letting go in the slightest. He feels as though if he did, you’d slip through his fingers and he’d be alone yet again. Ironic, isn’t it?
“I’m so sorry, my flower...I never meant to hurt you. I simply...Ah, let me be honest- I had forgotten what truly mattered, and neglected you, allowing you to suffer the consequences of my actions and assuming you’d still be here when I finished my work.” He pulled back slightly to see you, a hand coming up to cup your reddened cheek. You shakily looked back at him, still unsure, but the gentle look in his eyes and curve of his brow was more than you were expecting to see. Had he...Finally listened?
“I put my work above you when it never mattered nearly as much in hindsight, and for that I am truly sorry. I know my promises as of late haven’t been reliable, but...Will you allow me to make one more, so that I may correct my mistakes?” You knew this was his way of asking for forgiveness, and it was still so hard to deny him despite all the pain he’d put you through recently…So, taking a deep breath, you rested your ear against his chest and exhaled heavily.
“Alright...This is the last promise, Albedo. If you break it, I’m not sure there will be much of me left to mend.” As you said that, you could hear his heartbeat’s pace quicken, though for what reason you weren’t entirely sure. Fear, perhaps, at what you’d insinuated? Or excitement that you were giving him one last chance? Perhaps it was both...
“I’ll keep you intact, S/O, my beloved. I promise.”
They always warned you about the trials of dating a Harbinger, but you stupidly ignored them all.
The fact that you managed to capture the attention, and more miraculously affection, of the Balladeer was almost unbelievable some days. You weren’t Fatui yourself, but you’d seen him work many a times, and became familiar with how he carried himself in the presence of literally anyone but you. The drastic change in demeanor almost gave you whiplash at the start of it all- He’d threaten and throw around harsh orders for his subordinates all day long, but as soon as he turned to you, Scaramouche became soft as a slime, and just as pliable to your desires as well.
Sure, he still held a rather gruff exterior as he pined for your attention and touch, but he really meant you no harm. The last thing the man wanted to do was hurt the one good thing he has in his life, the one person who supports and loves him unconditionally. He’d never do anything to cause you to leave, to end the bliss you two had together.
Or so you thought.
Scaramouche’s mood took a wild turn one day after coming home, slamming the door and declaring all of humanity as scum. Having heard this speech before, you came over to offer comfort and reprieve as you always did, only to be roughly shoved off and ignored as he stormed his way to the bedroom, going to bed and leaving you there in the middle of your shared home. Idly you realize he’d never done that before- Never once handled you half as rough as he just did, and that fact shook you to the core. Who managed to affect Scaramouche so horribly that he took it out on even you? Whatever it was, you were sure he’d be better in the morning and maybe even apologize to you then.
Except he didn’t, and the mood continued for days. You tried everything you could think of to help him regain a semblance of the softness he usually displayed with you. Anywhere from his favorite meals to drawing relaxing baths with the products he favored, you tried to alleviate the stress, but nothing seemed to work. It escalated to him outright ignoring you, and after a few more days, he stopped coming home altogether.
It ate away at you, but what could you do, more than what you’ve already done? Slowly you began to have doubts, doubts that you’ve never encountered once before in your whole relationship with Scaramouche- Did he still care about you the same way he once did? Was he fed up with the world and, by extension, you? Why did he seem to have little mercy now for your feelings, little regard for the loneliness and worry he’s putting you through? He hasn’t stepped through your door in weeks. In a way, you wonder if this is how he’s chosen to leave you. Wordless, and without reprieve.
It all comes crashing down on you when he finally does walk through the front door, hat already discarded and in his hands as he hangs it up on the coat rack beside him. He acts as if he never left for days on end, never left your heart in shattered pieces- And he doesn’t acknowledge you until you start bawling right there on the couch. Unable to contain the pain anymore, you curl over and cry, wanting him to say something, anything at all.
You barely hear the stuttered breath that comes from him, but you definitely hear the frantic footsteps in your direction before your hands are pulled from your face, and are met with the concerned gaze of the Balladeer. It’s the first time you’ve seen anything other than rage on his face, and it’s such a relief that you almost laugh.
“Hey, why are you crying? What happened? Tell me already! I’ll kill whoever-“ He starts, but is interrupted by the pull of your arms around his neck, and the presence of warm tears staining his shirt from where you bury your face. Shocked, but not unwelcoming, he tentatively holds you.
“P-please don’t leave me! I don’t know what I can do, I just- Do you even love me anymore, Scara?” You babble uselessly, not even fully aware of what you’re saying, but talking is easing the pain and you’re not about to stop.
“Hey, that’s...Of course I do, what the hell is this about?” He questions, and even though he’s confused, he feels like this has to do with the past two weeks…
No one ever said he was a genius in social skills.
“You...You’ve just been so angry recently, even with me, I...I’ve been scared…Scared I did something, that it wasn’t work that had you in a bad mood but instead me!” You confessed.
“Scared?” Scara mused, unbelieving. He scared you? How had he not noticed that? Was he really so wrapped up in his own anger that he ignored how it affected you as well? “...You didn’t do anything wrong, S/O. I’m...Sorry...I made you feel like that.” You could hear the strain in his voice, knowing even if he could be gentle with you, that didn’t mean he suddenly was okay with verbalizing tenderness just as well. It was still hard.
You shook your head, which just rubbed your face into his shirt again. “Please don’t shut me out, Scara. Not again. I can’t be alone right next to you like that again.” Feeling his hand scratch lightly at your back, a sigh brushed across your shoulder from where his chin rested.
“I won’t leave you alone. I promise.”
After that night, Xiao made good on his promise to come home to you every night he could.
While his job to protect Liyue is hardly contained within the daylight hours, there are some times where he can spare a few hours to see you to bed, but not always to sleep…
The night you broke down in particular, he made a point to make you happy again. He feels incredibly guilty for being a source of sadness for you, that he would do anything to make up for it.
When it was time for bed, he laid with you and cuddled for a while before asking if he could make it up to you in a more...intimate way.
You agreed, and he made sure to worship every part of you. With his tongue, his hands, his lips, eyes, anything to coax those addictive moans out of you.
He won’t cum that night unless you take things into your own hands. He insists on focusing on you, forgoing his own pleasure in pursuit of ravishing you completely. If you hadn’t cum more than 3 times before he even thought about sticking his dick inside you, he wasn’t doing it right.
Xiao made sure that by the end of the night, you knew how thoroughly he loves you.
He promised to keep you intact, but later that night he made you fall apart in all the best ways.
Ever the dutiful scientist, Albedo recalls all the little mental note of the best places to touch you, and abuses them to your benefit. He’s aware of each and every little sensitive spot, of what gets you going faster than anything else, of what words to say to get you to keen so sweetly in his ear.
He does whatever you ask of him, tonight is all about you he says. If you want him to take control, he will. If you want to take control, he’ll oblige without a complaint.
Not that he normally would anyway, but there’s an eagerness in each and every movement that Albedo rarely ever has that tells you tonight is special.
Absolutely overstimulates you into oblivion, and at the end of the night, you can barely even recall why you were crying earlier.
The night fades into morning when Albedo lets you rest, and stays in bed for as long as you want him.
Anything to make it up to you.
True to his word, Scaramouche doesn’t leave you alone for a single second the rest of the night.
In fact, he all but carries you to the bedroom, promising he’d find some ways to make it up to you and ease the loneliness a little faster.
Ease them he does, and with every gentle caress you can feel the nights tensions fly away into the breeze that floats through the open window. He’s more tender, slower tonight than he’s been any other night- You can tell he’s sorry just by the way he kisses you deeply.
Never breaks eye contact as he brings you to orgasm again and again, asking if you want another, and another, and another-
You’ll have to be the one to ask for his cock, otherwise he doesn’t even think about using it that night. But once you do, his thrusts are slow, powerful, languid- Each one hitting spots that make you see stars.
Incredibly meticulous, and calculated. He knows where to touch, and when. He’s got your body down to an instrument he expertly plays, and don’t you dare hide those moans. He wants to hear it all.
Scaramouche wants to hear the loneliness leave your body with every drop of cum that slides out of you.
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imagining-in-the-margins · 5 months ago
My Boss’s Daughter (Reid Request)
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Request: Reader is Hotch's daughter & younger than Spencer but understood him better than others. And he meets her at Haley's funeral & helps her recover. She goes to "visit her dad" but really she's just there to see him and then they're hanging out and they are like making out or something and almost get caught by Hotch.
A/N: This has been a long time coming. I hope you all think it’s worth it! Couple: Spencer Reid/Fem!Reader Category: Smut (NSFW, 18+) Content Warning: Adults with age difference (21/30), penetrative sex, fingering, unprotected sex, degradation, reference to “daddy issues,” references to oral sex, physical fight, choking (hand on neck - no pressure), breathplay (hand over mouth/nose)
NOTE: Reader is Hotch and Haley’s daughter, but there is absolutely nothing in the fic that stops you from believing that she’s adopted! Imagine away if needed!
Word Count: 11.3k
Being Aaron Hotchner’s daughter meant there were a few unfortunate and unavoidable truths about my life.
For example, having all of my family under one roof was a rare, special occurrence. Attendance at school ceremonies and holidays was never promised, and I had to enjoy every second with my father, because there was no telling when he would have to leave.
But more than anything, being his daughter meant that I would never, ever be able to find someone willing to date me.
Trust me. I’ve tried.
If the thousand-yard stare wasn’t enough to scare them off, my dad’s not-at-all-subtle flashes of his two different holsters certainly would be. Not to mention his history as a prosecutor, reminding you that he didn’t even need a gun to end your life.
And god, did he let every potential suitor know it. It didn’t matter if you were a girl, boy, or non-binary person, my father did not discriminate in scaring the absolute shit out of anyone who showed an interest in me. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it wasn’t on purpose, but I wasn’t dumb enough to believe that.
But that night, the first time I’d come home in almost a year, it wasn’t my father I was hoping to see when I walked through the doors of my childhood home.
I was there to see Spencer.
It had been three years since I last saw him, and the circumstances were... uncomfortable. After months of helping me deal with my mom’s death, I’d made the terrible decision to tell him the truth of how I felt. At least, I tried to. I only got about halfway through the confession before he realized what was happening and all but took off running.
It wasn’t even because of my dad, although I wished I could have blamed him. The truth was that despite being a legal adult at eighteen, I was still just a kid to Spencer. Part of me was convinced that was all I’d ever be in his eyes. But another part of me, the louder, stupider part, told me to give it another shot.
That was how it started.
“Hello! It’s just me! Anyone home?” I called as I opened the door, stepping into the familiar space that almost felt foreign from my time away. When no one answered, I followed the faint sound of video games coming from upstairs.
Sure enough, once I reached his room, I spotted Jack through the crack in the door. Beside him sat Spencer, his identity clearly indicated by the worn out Converse that bounced on the floor.
“Knock knock,” I announced, causing the two boys to nearly jump from their seats. While Jack recovered and quickly returned to his game, the same couldn’t be said for Spencer.
“Oh! I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you come…” his voice died before the sentence finished, his mouth hanging open and the book in his hands falling a few inches under his slackened grip. “... in,” he mumbled when he finally tore his eyes off my body and brought them back to my face.
There was no comfort for him there either, because all he found was a devilish grin. He took his defeat in grace though, clearing his throat before he finally succeeded in his third attempt, “I didn’t hear you come in.”
“Hey, Dr. Reid. It’s been awhile,” I answered as calmly as I could. I really should have prepared better, but it didn’t seem like he was any better off.
“… Yeah. It has,” he absently responded. It was blatantly obvious that he was checking me out, to the point that it was almost embarrassing. But he was simply too cute for me to mind. I even gave him a new angle, entering the room and going straight to Jack.
“Hey little dude. Excited to see me?”
“Yeah, I guess,” he muttered under his breath.
“What a charmer,” I said with a roll of my eyes and a ruffle of his hair. Once he’d smacked my hand away, I turned back to Spencer... who was still staring at me with his jaw dropped and eyes stuck to my cleavage.
“Does my outfit look weird?”
“What?” he squeaked as he jumped back to the real world, “No!”
“Are you sure? I just got it and it feels weird.”
It was a lie. It wasn’t a new outfit, but he wouldn’t know any better. He might’ve if he paid closer attention to the clothes instead of the person beneath them, but there was no way that was going to happen. Especially not when I started tugging at the already too-tight fabric.
“No, it’s not weird. It’s not weird at all,” he stammered, his voice getting higher with every word, “W-Why do you think it’s weird?”
“I don’t know. You’re kind of… staring.”
I didn’t miss the way his legs crossed in a subtle attempt to hide any sign of his very obvious attraction to me. If all the fidgeting and squeaking didn’t give him away, the bright red blush on his face certainly did.
“Am I? Sorry. I didn’t mean to stare. It’s just that I-I like it. It looks nice.”
My smile that followed was genuine, brought about by the realization that within a minute, we’d already made it farther than we ever had before.
“Thanks,” I chuckled, “You look nice, too.”
The nice moment swiftly ended with Jack’s equally clear disgust.
“Stop being gross,” he scoffed, still not looking up from his game.
“What if I told you that you look handsome, Jack?” I teased, reaching down to wrap my arms around him from behind. I never made it though, as he slid down in his seat until he hit the floor.
“Whatever. I’m leaving if you guys are gonna be weird.”
He was already out the door, and I was pleasantly surprised that while Spencer watched the boy leave, he hadn’t tried to stop him. Honestly, I’m not sure he realized what it would mean for Jack to leave until he was already alone with me.
“He didn’t give you too much trouble, right?”
Spencer looked up at me, and I watched as his eyes flickered all over the area surrounding me, trying to find something else to focus on. If the purpose was subtlety, he was doing a terrible job. I might not be a profiler, but I’ve lived with one long enough to know what people do when they’re nervous.
“No, he was great. Normal. You know,” he chuckled.
The nerves would only get worse as I continued to approach him, waiting until I was only a few inches from him when I said, “Great? You must know a different Jack. He’s always a little devil for me.”
From that distance, it was easier to track his line of sight— not that it ever strayed that far. The most interesting pattern, however, was the one darting between my hands, lips, and eyes. I waited for it to repeat until our gazes locked before I asked, “So… do you have any other plans tonight?”
“Hm? No,” he answered quickly before pausing, “Just… Just going home.”
“That’s too bad. It’s Friday night. Even my dad is on a date.” I laughed, less awkwardly and more lightheartedly than he had. The sound strangely seemed to shift the mood in the room more than my actual presence had. Spencer’s body almost relaxed, a breath of relief leaving him at the same time as he stood up. Despite having grown, he was still taller than me.
“Yeah, I guess that’s why I’m the babysitter of the group,” he said with a shrug.
Was he trying to be taller than me to reassert his dominance in the encounter, or was I just being insane? Was I projecting what I wanted him to be doing? The questions in my head were endless, which was odd considering how much energy it took to formulate coherent sentences.  
“Is it weird, thinking about how you used to babysit me?” I asked with a sheepish smile.
“Well, I never really babysat you,” he started, his confidence dwindling with each word spoken, “You weren’t… you know… a baby.”
It was an interesting statement. Interesting because it distanced me from the fact that for the vast majority of our relationship, I was either a minor or only barely an adult, but also because it was the exact opposite of what he’d told me the last time I spoke to him. Granted, he had been caught off guard by the teenager he was helping cope with the death of her mother suddenly confessing her love for him.
“Hmm. I seem to recall you very avidly insisting that I was ‘still a young kid who had lots to learn,’” I said, with air quotes and all.
Spencer continued to surprise, with his voice jumping an octave and his eyes narrowing when he replied, “Did I?”
“Did you forget? I thought you didn’t do that.”
His mouth hung open, a small squeak leaving it before he took a sharp inhale.
“W-Well, I mean, I have an eidetic memory, so I remember things better than most people, particularly my short-term memory, but after three years, I’m bound to forget some detail,” he explained, becoming more and more defensive while he simultaneously backed up.
The only problem was he was backing up into several pieces of furniture, followed by a wall. Even worse for him, I stalked forward at the same rate until his back was against the wall of my little brother’s room. The same little brother who was definitely old enough to know what was happening and was not going to save him.
“Is something wrong, Dr. Reid? You look flushed.” I pouted to hide the amusement from my tone, but the way he audibly swallowed told me that he was aware of my intentions.
So, there was nothing to stop me from taking it another step further. Reaching up, I pressed the back of my hand against his forehead. He was warm, just as I’d expected. I could only imagine how much warmer his cheeks were as they took on a dark red shade.  
But just before I could say anything else, Spencer slipped from between me and the wall, leaving me almost falling forward into the plaster.
“I-I should probably go,” he urged, sidestepping to the door like he was too afraid to put his back to me.
“So soon? I was hoping we could catch up.”
The sadness in my voice was genuine, and I think that was the reason it succeeded in stopping him dead in his tracks. His body froze, his eyes stuck on mine even as they fell to the ground.
“About what?” he mumbled, too scared to ask more, and too intrigued to leave.
“Our lives, I guess,” I shrugged. When he just continued to stare at me, waiting for a better answer, I sighed. I guess it was time to get real, since I figured out that worked. “I know it probably didn’t mean much to you, but you’re a very important person to me. The way you helped me through everything when I was younger…”
We both shifted in place, letting the inevitable tension of the topic wash over us and start to recede. It’d been three years since my mom died, and three years since I’d seen Spencer. But that time apart didn’t stop me from constantly reliving those days in my head. In doing so, I was just as often reminded of the one person who always managed to make it better. To make it bearable.
With a crackling voice and tears just starting to line my eyes, I admitted the truth that was hidden beneath the flirting, “I just wanted to thank you. For being there for me.”
“(Y/n), you don’t have to thank me for that,” Spencer answered before I even had time to take a breath. It was just like him to say that. The ever so humble, oblivious genius.
“I know. But I want to.”
As I approached him, his arms fell to his sides, his mouth curved in a solemn half-smile that remained even when I wrapped my arms around him. I knew that hugs weren’t really his thing, but we’d had our fair share of them, and he’d never complained before. Judging by the way he eventually reciprocated, I don’t think he minded.
In a way, he held me the same as he had before. He was careful, applying only enough pressure to prove his presence, but never enough to hurt. But this time was also different. His hands that had once stayed at my shoulder blades moved, roaming further down my back until they rested just above my hips.
And in a shocking turn of events, I was the one who pushed away. I was the one who felt the spark from his fingers spread through my body like a wildfire in a drought-ridden prairie. Right before my hands withdrew entirely, I used them to give him a slight push towards the door. I could’ve sworn I heard him laugh at the motion, but he still turned to start his inevitable departure. The same one he’d been rushing towards.
But when we did finally make it to the front door, Spencer stopped. He spun around on his feet and found me there, just as uncomfortably close as I had been when I trapped him against the wall. At least this time it was an exit I had him cornered against.
“How about I buy you a drink?” I asked before he had the chance.
“You can drink?”
It wasn’t so much what he’d said, but the perplexed look of shock that took over his entire face. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Yes, Dr. Reid. I’m not a baby, remember?” I kindly reminded, using a hand to gesture to myself. His eyes locked onto it, following it all the way down until it rested on my hip. The surprise laced through his knitted brow and parted lips shifted to another emotion I was familiar with.
“So, what do you say? A drink?” I repeated, drawing his attention back up to my face and hoping he would see his own expression reflected in mine.
“R-Right now?” he stuttered before grabbing his satchel and moving it to the little space between us. Hiding himself from me for the second time in a matter of minutes.
That self-preservation instinct only heightened when I started to laugh.
“While I’m of legal age, I think Jack is still a few years off.”
“Right! Sorry. I forgot.”
“Doing that a lot tonight, huh? You should get that checked out,” I teased. It was less enjoyable when he seemed so uncomfortable. I wondered what else he was hiding behind the satchel, but I was kind enough not to ask.  
“You can stay longer, if you want,” I suggested, knowing it would be shot down but wanting to see his choice in doing so, “You could stay until my dad gets back.”
“N-no! That’s fine,” he answered without any hesitation. Somehow, the lack of pause made his response even more suspicious. He realized, too, because he quickly followed up with, “I uh, I don’t know how he’d feel about... us... hanging out together.”
“Why would he care?”
I knew why.
“Uh, I don’t know.”
So did he.
“Does that mean no to the drinks?” I said between a pout, and I watched the guilt manifest in every inch of his expression.
I could’ve let the stuttered lack of a response offend me. I could have taken it as a rejection. But the thing was, it patently was not a rejection. He could have said no — he was very capable of the word. He’d said it to me before, and it sounded nothing like this.
When I closed the gap between us, my thigh pressing hard against his hand still splayed over his only protective barrier, I dropped my voice to an almost whisper. Quiet enough that I wouldn’t miss the way his breath caught in his throat.
“How about this…” I offered, “You go entertain yourself for a few hours and then I’ll meet you at Spirits.”
His finger twitched against my leg, but I moved away before he got the courage to do anything more. The energy I’d stirred up in him came out of his mouth, instead.
“S-Sure,” he said, and it sounded like heaven.
“Great!” I squeaked as I turned to open the door for him. He took a cautious step out but kept his eyes on me. I said nothing, forcing him to stare at me with narrowed eyes and rigid posture.
I waited until he stumbled over the threshold and onto the porch before I finished, a bit too happily, “It’s a date!”
“Wait, what?” he asked, but the door was already half closed.
“See you soon!”
My dad wasn’t exactly the type of guy to make me change before I go on a date. However, that night, I didn’t ask for his permission or clearance. Even the most understanding of fathers probably wouldn’t have approved of the way my intentions were stitched in the fabric.
But I didn’t need my father’s approval.
The only man I wanted approval from was sat at a table in the back corner of the bar. But before my heart even had the opportunity to skip a beat, Spencer spotted me.
The poor soul looked even more flustered than he had back at my house, with those quick, flawless eyes capturing every inch of me in the shifting, pale yellow light. His jaw stayed hung open all the way until I took my seat.
He didn’t greet me with a hello. Instead, he squeaked, “Oh. You… changed.”
“Don’t tell me this outfit is weird, too?” I laughed.
But there no sign of humor in his tone. If there had been, I might not have looked like a smitten schoolgirl when he said, “No, you look… Very beautiful.”
“I don’t remember you being quite this flattering,” I said to hopefully shake off some of the nerves that had spontaneously appeared, “Don’t tell me three years has changed you too much.”
“I don’t think so?” he squeaked, glancing down at the same clothing he’d been wearing before allowing his eyes to find me again in the darkness. I watched the hunger form just to be blown away by another, stronger feeling. The one that took all control when he stuttered, “B-But you seem to have changed… uh… q-quite a bit.”
I knew he wasn’t talking about my clothes.
“I can drink now. It changes you.”
“Right,” he laughed.
The quiet between us returned so quickly that it almost broke my heart. There was only so much my hoping and longing stares could do for two parallel lines. But just as it so often happened, the second I broke my focus was the same moment he spoke.
“How’s college?”
I tried to think of any satisfying answer that sounded more interesting than the truth. When I failed spectacularly at that, I turned it back to him with a shrug.
“I don’t imagine it’s much different from your most recent degree.”
“Something tells me we have very different experiences, actually,” he thoughtfully returned.
It was my turn to laugh, then.
“Yeah, probably,” I sighed. I hesitated to say that things would have been better for him, because I’d seen so many times when that wasn’t the case. Which brought me to another line of thinking that was too exciting to pass up on.
“So... how’s your personal life going?”
“Personal life?” he balked, “We don’t... really have those.”
“Don’t most people on the team have a significant other?”
“I mean— yeah, I...” His pause told me everything that I needed to know, but he clarified it for my sake, anyway. “I guess it’s just me who doesn’t have one, then.”
“A significant other, or a personal life?” I pressed, leaning my whole body forward with the question.
Spencer might have been dense, but he wasn’t a fool. His eyes dropped to my neckline almost immediately. If I’d blinked, I would have missed the movement entirely.
“And here I thought I wasn’t subtle,” he muttered, almost like he could read my mocking thoughts.
“You got me,” I freely admitted, “Now answer the question.”
I really thought that my candor would catch him off guard. I had a whole collection of thoughts and scripts in my arsenal. I was prepared to fight him all night, to try to provide the kind of challenge I knew he loved.
But Spencer wasn’t playing a game.
“Neither,” he confessed without jest, “I don’t have either.”
So, I wouldn’t play one, either.
“Is that why you didn’t want my dad to know you were coming to drinks with me?”
I’d expected the silence that came. It was inevitable, really. I didn’t regret it… yet. Because similar to how the man across from me functioned, I’d imagined the several possibilities.
Spencer could finally man up and admit to the way he felt when he saw me again, and the way he hadn’t stopped looking at me since. He could acknowledge that time had passed, and we’d grown older and more mature, and thus should be able to make our own decisions.
He didn’t pick that one.
“(Y/n), you might not be a kid anymore but you’re still...”
I’d already started rolling my eyes before his voice started to falter. By the time he got to the last word and trailed off, I had lost about any patience I had.
“Still what?”
“You’re still my boss’s daughter.”
My heart sunk into my stomach, which turned with a vengeance from the unwanted visitor. Exposed skin burned with the rage that had started to build the second I realized that this was going nowhere, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The problem wasn’t even with me or him. It was the same thing it always was.
My father was Aaron Hotchner, so clearly, I wasn’t allowed to be happy.
I could see he was about to explain it away, to tell me that I was a sweet girl and that I deserved to be happy -- and I didn’t want to fucking hear it.
“Who cares who my dad is?!” I blurted out, my hands forming a death grip on the edge of the table.
Spencer, surprisingly, met my energy and my volume, equally frantic as he shouted back, “I do! I-I’ve known you since you were 13!”
“Well, I’m not 13 anymore!”
“I know!”
The sound of his voice, low, rough, and raised, brought my tongue to a standstill. My entire body froze with it, almost like he could command me with such simple sounds.
He saw the way I reacted, and on instinct, his voice started again.
“God, I know. I see you and...”
But it cut off just as swiftly. That beautiful, marvelous mind of his must have blared every siren possible inside his thoughts. I watched the panic blossom and break through every muscle until he was practically running out the door.
“I-I’m sorry. This was a mistake. I… I have to go. I’m sorry.”
Abandoning the drinks and any remaining inhibitions or insecurities behind, I chased after him as fast as my feet would allow.
“Wait! Dr. Reid!”
Thankfully, Spencer wasn’t really known for his athletic prowess. Although, a part of me liked to think that he let me catch him on purpose. After all, I did feel goosebumps when my hand closed around his wrist.
“Please don’t leave! I’m sorry I made you uncomfortable. It’s just that–“
My throat closed around the words I wanted to say, but knew I shouldn’t. The ones that I’d tried to say three years ago. I almost abandoned them as fruitless once again… until he looked at me.
He looked at me, and something in those honey gold eyes told me to continue. To give him any excuse to take my hand and never look back.
“I really like you,” I laughed, both at the sound of the words finally being spoken and the way his smile shifted to a pout in return, “I’ve always liked you. And I know that it’s weird because you work for my dad but… I would’ve hated myself if I didn’t at least try.”
Spencer didn’t talk. His lips and tongue tried to change into position, but they failed him for probably the first time in his life. Still, those damn eyes stayed on me with so many emotions that I felt like I’d been caught in a hurricane made of molasses and caramel.
I was just… stuck and scared.  
“You don’t have to say yes,” I tagged on to numb the pain of the inevitable rejection, “and I get it if you’re not interested in me but–“
There were many ways Spencer could have chosen to stop me from repeating myself. He could have cut me off, as he was all too comfortable doing to… just about everyone. He could have covered his ears or took off running like he had just moments before.
But he kissed me, instead.
With both hands desperately clutching my face, Spencer’s entire body was pressed against mine in a matter of seconds. I couldn’t even put together what was happening in the whirlwind of breath and my back hitting the brick wall of the building.
As soon as I was able to comprehend what he’d done, I quickly returned his efforts with my own. My hands grabbed hold of any fabric I could find, trying to keep him as close as possible for as long as he would allow.
I gasped as I felt his erection through his pants, and he took full advantage of my parted lips. His tongue met mine with enough dominance that I actually almost moaned in the far too public place to be doing what we were.
When he did pull away, he didn’t go far. His teeth sunk down on my bottom lip until he was finally able to elicit a tiny yelp from me. Spurred on by the sound of submission he’d clearly been seeking, he let out a heavy breath.
“Fuck, I want you so bad,” he growled against my lips.
The feeling was very much mutual.  
“Take me home with you,” I begged breathlessly, raking my fingers down his neck and watching the way the pink skin blanched before it turned an angrier red.
Spencer didn’t answer. He just watched me with an even heavier stare than he had all night, his chest heaving with deep breaths and his lips gravitating towards mine like magnets.
“Please,” I continued with even more desperation, “I promise my dad won’t know.”
He paused again, one final calculation and consideration of the potential futures.
And then, he picked me.
“Let’s go,” he said as he took hold of my hand — not my wrist — and practically dragged me down the street.
For the umpteenth time that night, no words were shared. Except this time was different; we weren’t avoiding our feelings or intentions. We were simply too busy giggling like absolute maniacs, like teenagers finally free of the scrutiny of overbearing parents.
I might not be a teenager, but that last bit certainly remained true.
By the time we were in the car and safely on our way to his place, my father was the last thing on my mind. Any and all energy was being spent on securing my safety for the night.
But… that also included my dad.
“What are you smiling about?” Spencer asked, likely unsettled by the shit-eating grin I wore.
“I just texted my dad that I was spending the night at a friend’s house,” I explained, much to his horror. To ensure the night didn’t end before it ever really began, I tagged on a slight annoyed, “Don’t worry, I left your name out of it.”
I wanted that to be the end of any discussion of my parentage, but my pathetic reassurance clearly hadn’t done its job.
“You’re still thinking about it, aren’t you?” I droned.
Bored as I might have been, Spencer was certainly animated in his response.
“... Yes! Dammit. Of course I am, I just—!”
He raised one hand from the steering wheel to try and sort out the hair I’d only just mussed up for him. I didn’t fail to notice the way his legs started to bounce, or how it affected the motion of the vehicle.
With a loud groan of what I could only imagine was an overwhelming amount of guilt, Spencer cried, “You’re my boss’s daughter — You’re Hotch’s daughter!”
If I hadn’t grown up surrounded by profilers, I might have missed the truth behind the crackling in his voice. The undercurrent of his desire. One of what I’d hoped were many reasons that Spencer Reid was interested in me.
“Oh my god,” I gasped, “You like it, don’t you?!”
“What?! No!”
“You do!”
Spencer regained that stern, low voice he’d displayed at the bar, raising an accusatory finger as he warned, “Don’t. I will turn around and take you home.”
He really should’ve known better than to challenge me. He’d known me and my father long enough to know that I never shy away from a chance to show my wits.
Not that it really took a lot of intelligence to fluster Spencer. It just required a few… womanly wiles.
“To my home? Or to my dad’s?”
“Stop that,” he tried to caution, but his voice cracked in the middle of it. The authority bled between the gaps and landed squarely in my hands. One of those very hands then slid over his thigh, grabbing hold to help balance myself as I leaned over the center console.
I heard his breath hitch as my lips came close enough to his ears that he could almost feel them as they moved.
“Tell me, Spencer… would you fuck me in my old bedroom and hold your hand over my mouth so he doesn’t hear what you’re doing to his baby girl?”
It really wasn’t fair, how easy it was. The poor thing’s face turned a deep shade of red with what I assumed to be the only blood left in his body that wasn’t already delegated to the tent he was pitching in his pants.
With a soft, clumsy swat, Spencer tried to make me back up.
“I’m serious! Stop it!”
I listened that time. I had already won; I didn’t need to rub it in.
“Oh, calm down, Spencer. It doesn’t make you a bad person. I get it. I know what it’s like working for my dad. Always bossing you around, cutting you off...”
“I respect your father very much,” he said, cutting me off and proving that I did, in fact, fall for a man just like my father.
But unlike my dad’s instructions, I was more than happy to follow along with whatever Spencer wanted me to do.
“Well... you don’t have to respect me,” I offered with a quick squeeze of his thigh, “In fact, I think I’d rather you didn’t.”
I saw the familiar landscape of his apartment from less than stellar memories in my peripherals, but I kept my eyes set on him. I wanted to see the way his jaw muscles tensed and twitched under the pressure of words he wanted to say. I relished the way it felt to have his thighs shift farther apart to follow my hand when I finally took it back.
When the car was finally parked, Spencer turned to me slowly but with hands that were quick and practiced. He grabbed hold of my jaw so that my mouth was covered.
He really didn’t want me to talk back when he muttered, “You really don’t listen.”
I didn’t talk back, but I definitely giggled. The smirk he flashed in response told me everything I needed to know about what would happen when he finally got me somewhere private.
The two of us, together, hand-in-hand, took off again. It really was apt to consider us like teenagers, and I got the feeling that Spencer had long sought something like this. The chance to be giddy and carefree about something he wanted.
Someone who really, really wanted him back.
Within seconds of his front door shutting, Spencer had me pinned against a wall once again. Before I could call out this developing habit, I was cut off by his lips catching mine and holding me down even harder.
I wondered if this was really how it would be, with him carelessly taking and commanding without a care in the world. I hoped so. I’d had so many fantasies of the shy, austere man breaking down and sinking his teeth into my neck.
But it was my turn. The next time he’d parted his lips, I bit down on the bottom, sucking gently before letting him go. I was rewarded with a short, dark chuckle quickly followed by a hand cupping my throat just below my chin.
“You’re a spoiled brat,” he spat.
His grip was loose, but enough to steal my focus from anything else. I was practically hyperventilating already from the excitement, and if it weren’t for his thigh wedged between my legs, I would have clenched them shut from the anticipation.
“You’re welcome to bend me over and spank me as you fuck me,” I teased.
It was meant to be an invitation for a segue into the bedroom, but as I would soon learn, Spencer did not intend to take this into the bedroom.
“We’ll save that for another time,” he whispered in a downright cruel tone, “Right now, I want to see the look on your face while I fuck you.”
His other hand made its way to my hip where it grabbed a handful of stretchy fabric and tugged it up to my stomach. I gasped at the feeling of cold air hitting heated skin, but he didn’t stop there. With the same rough imprecision, he yanked my underwear down my thighs until I was able to step out from them with shaky legs.
I was going to make a joke, to tease him for being so eager when he’d given me such a hard time already. Spencer, again, had other plans. Before a single word could leave my mouth, he buried two fingers into my waiting heat. He must have been amused by how prepared I already was, the obvious desperation in my bucking hips, because he just gave that same little laugh.
“Tell me what you want,” he cooed, taunting my wildest dreams in front of me with his erection pressed against my leg.
“Please,” was all I could answer, “Please, Spencer. Please.”
He didn’t hesitate. While I missed his fingers wrapped around my neck, I much preferred the sound of his belt buckle coming undone. And when he pulled his fingers out of me and dragged the slickness over his cock, I thought I might actually lose the little bit of control keeping me upright.
Thankfully, I wouldn’t need coordination. Spencer’s arms and chest locked me against the wall almost immediately. He took his time easing into me, staying true to his word and watching me with rapt attention. Memorizing each twitch of my jaw and roll of my eyes as he filled me inch by inch.
“Shit,” I cursed, closing my eyes to get some reprieve from the violent way his eyes tore into my soul. I should’ve known I couldn’t hide from him for long.
His breath felt unbelievably hot against my ear as he whispered, “Tell me how it feels.”
My first answer came through a strangled moan and nails dug into his shoulders. Spencer pulled out and slammed into me again, harder and without reservation. When my body started to slide up the wall, he pressed his elbows hard against my shoulders to force me back down onto him.
“So good,” I slurred.
Apparently deciding that I didn’t enunciate my words clearly enough, Spencer’s hand returned to my face just as I opened my eyes. With a slight flick of the wrist, he lightly smacked my cheek.
“Speak up, young lady.”
I tried, I really did, but he punctuated the command with another thrust, and my mind melted. All of my back was burning against the friction of the wall, and my chest could barely expand enough to take in enough air to maintain my current level of consciousness.
When I was able to speak, I had another request.
“Harder,” I purred, joining his hand against my cheek to cradle my face.
He refused, tearing his hand away from me now that I’d made it clear how badly I wanted it there. I tried to follow it, but in doing so I granted him access to my neck, which he gladly took advantage of. His tongue was even more intoxicating there, and I could feel him trying to leave some kind of mark in his wake.
The harder he tried, the louder I became. They were not the powerful, broken moans from before. They were tiny, delicate whimpers that he’d probably thought me incapable of at this point. A display of softness and need much like the way he’d acted before he had me at his mercy.
My hands tangled in his hair, trying to keep him there, encouraging him to make me his in a way that would last longer than that night.
“Just like a proper slut,” he growled against my neck, “you just want to be taken care of.”
I couldn’t contain the laugh that bubbled through the throat he continued to kiss.
“Am I worth the daddy issues, Dr. Reid?” I teased.
The reference to my father just about broke the already crumbling man in front of me. Spencer’s hands were so fast that I didn’t even see them until one was clamped over my mouth and nose, depriving me of any chance of air I might have had.
“I’m the only man I want to hear about from you,” he warned, “Since your father apparently didn’t teach you any fucking manners.”
That time when his hips snapped forward, he didn’t have a strong enough hold to stop my body from pulling away. He forced my head back so I would have to feel just how hard he fucked me. Each thrust felt just like the years’ worth of frustration he’d endured being ordered around by my father.
When I whimpered again, the noise stifled by his hand, he laughed.
“Fucking brat. Making me do this to you,” he forced through teeth clenched shut, “I had already graduated high school by the time you learned to spell your own name.”
I honestly couldn’t tell if the world was going blurry because I had finally run out of oxygen or because of the tears that had started to pool in my eyes. The same catharsis he’d felt was inexplicably shared by me, and I was racing towards the finish line without ever having lifted my feet to run.
He must have seen the euphoria building in my half-lidded eyes, because Spencer removed his hand from my mouth in favor of gently cradling my cheek.
“Please, Spencer,” I slurred through my heavy panting, “I’m gonna—“
“What? You want to finish?” he mocked through the smirk I’d seen for the first time that night, and hoped to never forget. The one that I’d already fallen hopelessly in love with.
“Yes. Yes, please.”
“Fine. Look at me.”
I forced my eyes to open as wide as they could, and Spencer helped me by forcing my hips forward so he could bury his entire length inside of me with each thrust. They were becoming sloppier by the second, and I saw the hunger swallowing kind eyes as he warned, “There’s only one place I want to finish.”
“Oh, fuck,” was my very intelligent reply.
Spencer chuckled again, his tongue sweeping over his lips that stopped just short of kissing me.
“Speak now or forever hold your peace, young lady,” he offered, but I got the feeling he already knew my answer the first time he succeeded in holding me down.  
“Don’t stop!” I cried, “Please!”
I couldn’t feel anything else beyond him. His arms that caged me in felt like the most comforting embrace. Each brutal snap of his hips elicited sounds from the both of us that felt so familiar. I tried to scream his name, but it came out as unintelligible pleas for him to let go. To release all of the tension and frustration of years we could have spent tangled up in one another if not for the circumstances of my birth.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” he whispered, “I’m not stopping until I’m done with you.”
And he didn’t. Even after my muscles all tensed around him, Spencer continued with his same, unsteady pace. My walls closed around him, but he found a way to force himself deeper until he bottomed out inside of me.
His lips found mine as the both of us collapsed in on ourselves and one another. Our tongues tied together with desperate, broken cries and trembling whimpers as our bodies rushed us to relax. Spencer still held me up, breaking our mouths apart with a groan as he felt the evidence of what he’d just done dripping from where we were still joined.
Between heavy, deep breaths, our eyes met again, seeing each other clearly for what felt like the first time.
And I think we both liked what we saw.
Little had changed since I first slept with Spencer. It had only been a month, but his appetite continued to be voracious in the best possible way. I had lost track of time somewhere between the second and third orgasm, but Spencer seemed hellbent on continuing his ministrations regardless. I didn’t mind. I liked raking my hands through his hair just as much as he loved keeping my legs wrapped around his shoulders.
Just when I thought he was finally satisfied, he began to lay kisses over my stomach on his ascent.
“Shit, Spencer,” I mumbled to the man whose lips quickly moved to my neck despite my complete and total exhaustion. I could barely even find the will to move away from him.
He caught my flimsy, limp wrist with ease and pinned it back to the bed. The new position allowed him to continue his ministrations down my chest.
“I’m not done with you,” he growled against heated skin he hadn’t yet had the chance to mark, “I missed you too much to let you off this easy.”
“How are you still functioning?” I groaned, only to earn a quick, chipper reply of, “Easy. I know you deserve it.”
The answer was charming enough that I was willing to let it slide. Spencer returned to his previous position, his face hung over my mine with an insatiable desire hidden behind coffee colored irises.
“Oh, do I?” I hummed happily.
He punctuated the thought with a chaste kiss that felt more like a tease than a genuine expression of his interest. So, naturally, I returned it with my own version of a proper kiss. Spencer’s laughter almost broke it, but our dedication to consuming as much of one another as we could in the little free time he had won in the end.
Until it happened. The same thing that always signaled the end of every wonderful day spent tangled in the sheets together.
Someone’s phone was ringing.
Spencer’s instincts meant his phone was already in his hand before he’d even moved from his place on top of me. But as he went to answer the call, he noticed something peculiar.
Holding the touch-screen display out for me to read he nervously muttered, “It’s… not my phone.”
“Fuck. Get my phone,” I muttered, throwing an exasperated arm over my face. The only worse news than Spencer having to leave was the fact I’d have to speak to another human being.
But before that came to be, Spencer dropped my phone on the bed with a high-pitched yelp that sounded far too feminine for his lips. It was… adorable. I almost teased him for it, too, but then he said the very last thing I ever wanted to hear while in bed with my boyfriend.
“Shit! It’s Hotch!”
“What?! Why the fuck is my dad calling?”
“I don’t know!” he answered in a panic, “Answer it and find out!”
Resigned, I held out my hand to accept my fate.
“Fine. Give me the phone, then.”
Unfortunately for the both of us, Spencer’s killer instincts also meant the phone was now stuck in an endless labyrinth of fabric. It really didn’t seem possible for it to have gotten lost so quickly when we’d barely moved, but it had.
It didn’t matter all that much to me — I rarely answered my dad’s calls on a normal occasion. Although, arguably, this was becoming my new normal. It was rare for my dad to call me when he was working, so my Spencer and Dad visitor ratio had become very oddly competitive.
Which is a roundabout way of explaining that I really should have foreseen what happened next.
From my seat at the edge of the bed, through the tiniest little slits of the blinds, I saw something truly horrifying.
“Oh my god, he’s outside.”
“What?!” Spencer shrieked as I began to get dressed with a speed that I could tell he found both suspicious and relieving.
“Shut up! Stay here!” I called as I almost tripped on my leggings on the way out of my door. With at least a little bit of foresight, I turned back at the last second to yell, “And put some fucking pants on!”
The knock on the door came at the worst possible time. I wasn’t sure how Spencer clearly managed to fall over while trying to put on pants, but I heard the thud from the other room at the same time. I held my breath, waiting to hear some sign of life before realizing it was probably better if the poor guy was unconscious.
Plastering a horribly fake smile on my face, I opened the door to find my (im)patiently waiting father.
“Hey Dad, what are you doing here?” I said through my teeth.
“Can I not check in on my daughter?” he answered, ignoring all signs of discomfort and welcoming himself into the entryway without providing a real answer.
“Not when you’re snooping.”
“Can you blame me?” he asked, inspecting the shoes by the door and the coats hung nearby, “I haven’t had a chance to see you in over a month, despite my very serious efforts.”
I avoided the guilt-trip because I was too smart to notice it was nothing but a distraction. He was profiling every inch of my place that he could see, and I really, really didn’t want him to find anything of value.
“Remember that conversation we had about boundaries?”
My dad also ignored the question in favor of another.
“He’s here, isn’t he? The boy you’ve been seeing?”
“Seriously, it was a whole talk about privacy and boundaries and profiling...” I mumbled under my breath, only to be spoken over for yet another astute observation from Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner.
“Concerning that his car isn’t in the driveway.”
“You were there for the conversation,” I said while crossing my arms, body language clues be damned, “I remember you being there.”
He noticed. I wasn’t exactly trying to hide it. In fact, a lot of me wanted him to realize just how uncomfortable I was. It wasn’t that I was angry, or that I didn’t appreciate how involved with my life he was trying to be. Lord knew he had a lot to catch up on.
But this wasn’t how I wanted him to find out, and I knew it sure as fuck wasn’t how Spencer wanted it to happen.
With eyes wide from both panic and pleading, I let my arms fall back to my sides in defeat as I grumbled, “Please, Dad?”
I actually heard the fight leave my father with a deep breath. He shook his head, almost like he couldn’t believe the words coming out of his own mouth as he begrudgingly replied, “Fine. I’ll leave it and you two alone. For now.”
Even he couldn’t help but smile when my spirits immediately spiked. Enough so, even, that I threw my arms around him in a hug so quick he barely had a chance to return it. After all… I didn’t want him to notice any familiar cologne that might have transferred in the past 24 hours.
If he did, he stayed true to his word and said nothing about it. Instead, he made one more protective sweep of the immediate surroundings and gave his own plea.
“Promise me that you’ll let me meet him eventually.”
“Sure!” I chirped, using my entire body to help push him towards the door that I still held open for him.
He paused in response to my haste, grabbing hold of the doorjamb to prevent me from closing it before he warned, “That was not a promise.”
“Promise,” I shouted, finally managing to get him on the other side and shouting, “bye, Dad! Love you!”
It took me a moment longer to remember the troubling sound that had come from the general direction of my room, but when I burst back through the door, Spencer was nowhere to be found.
I didn’t have to guess where he was. I already knew.
Slowly opening the door to my closet that was really way too small for him to be standing in, I found my FBI agent boyfriend cowering between my clothes.
“Is he gone?” he squeaked.
“Yeah, for now.”
“Thank god,” he said, letting out a breath that he must have been holding the whole time. At least that would explain why his face was so fucking red.
After he’d managed to gain back at least two of his brain cells, Spencer turned to me with a pitiful little pout as he muttered, “How does he know you’re seeing someone?”
“How do you think?”
“Right,” he immediately answered for himself. But he didn’t dwell on his own apparent idiocy when it came to me and my father. Instead, Spencer stepped out of my clothes and wrapped his arms around me once more.
“I guess you have been happier and more relaxed lately...” he whispered, already in the process of leading me back to the bed.
“Don’t get a swelled head now,” I warned.
But I knew that Spencer was a betting man. A man who didn’t like to be told that he was overly confident in his abilities. So when he pushed me back onto the bed, I already knew where we were headed.
“Here,” he said with a smile, “I’ll show you what I mean…”
While things were carefree within the house, the same couldn’t be said for the disgruntled father already making his way back from the two minute visit with his daughter.
It wasn’t that Hotch was disappointed that his daughter had finally found someone — she certainly had waited long enough. All of the jokes he’d made when she was little, that she would have to wait until she was a proper adult to date, were really coming back to bite him in the ass.
Because there was no denying that’s what she was. She was a grown woman capable of making her own decisions, including the one not to tell her father about the boy she was dating. That was okay, though, because he trusted her. She had proven to him many times over that she was smart enough to take care of herself. Lord knew he’d put that one to the test enough times. More than she deserved.
But something still felt off about it all. It simply wasn’t like her to hide this much from him. Even if she was worried that he would disapprove, that’d certainly never stopped her from introducing a partner before.
The boy would have to be a felon or worse for her to be as scared as she seemed for him to find out.
Just as his mind had started to race with the potential partners she could have chosen, the worst kind of men that might have found their way into her heart, Hotch saw something familiar in the corner of his eye.
Nearly 5 blocks and three streets away from his daughter’s apartment was a very, very familiar car.
And Hotch realized in that moment that his fears were correct. His daughter had fallen for someone much, much worse than a felon.
His daughter was dating one of his friends.
The next time that the incessant ringing filled the room, I was already over it. It was bad enough to be interrupted while being showered with kisses and praise — it was another thing entirely to be disrupted when my boyfriend’s dick was fully inside of me.
While that alone was enough to dissuade me from picking it up, it apparently did not stop Spencer.
I could see it on his face before he’d even said a word.
“Is my dad calling again?” I sighed, and he wasted no time in jutting the phone in my face.
“Yeah. Answer it.”
“No, I’m mad at him,” I tried to protest, but he shoved the device so close to my face that I almost answered it on accident.
“Spencer!” I blubbered, smacking his arm away and trying to remind myself which one of us was the one licensed to carry a concealed weapon.  
The next time my phone rang, I did pick it up… and promptly tossed it across the room.
“If you don’t answer he’s going to come back!” Spencer whined, collapsing his body on mine like that would actually make me answer the phone faster.
“He’s probably already on his way,” I grumbled before pointing out the conclusion I’d already reached (and he’d somehow missed). “Besides, do you really want me to talk to him while your dick is inside me?”
I’d waited as long as I did to point it out because I knew what he would do. Sure enough, with a soft, strangled, “… Fair point,” Spencer pulled out and fled the scene of the crime within seconds.
Still, it was long enough for my phone to stop ringing.
We waited with bated breath and eyes stuck on the little rectangle of doom resting a few feet away on the floor. When it didn’t ring again, we both felt a strange combination of anxiety and relief.
“Do you think he figured it out?” Spencer whispered as if my dad would actually be able to hear.
And perhaps I was wrong. Maybe my dad really was capable of hearing my thoughts or surroundings despite being absent. Because as soon as Spencer asked the question, his phone was the one that started to ring.
Across the display was a familiar name: Aaron Hotchner.
“Okay,” Spencer squeaked, “He figured it out.”
While he was already prepared to meet his maker and face the music, I was dedicated to my denial.
“Whatever. It’s probably a coincidence,” I said through a yawn, “Don’t answer it. It’s a trick.”
“It’s way more suspicious if I don’t answer.”
“It’s a trick, Spencer!” I sang over his protests.  
But always the logical one, Spencer used his hands to emphasize his point, holding them out and wildly swinging in a way that I was surprised he managed to keep the phone in them.
“If neither of us answers and he knows, he’s going to think we’re having sex,” he explained.
“Spencer… We are having sex.”
“Well, I don’t want him to know that!”
That was the last appeal fate allowed him. Before his fingers had a chance to do what he’d wanted them to all along, the phone returned to its previous screen, and the room fell silent.
“Look,” I laughed, “There you go. Problem solved.”
Unfortunately, my point was punctuated poorly, with the now incredibly irritating chiming of his phone. At least that time, it was just a few beeps to indicate a message had been received, rather than a live call that would require actual speaking.
“Come outside,” is all the text said.
“Just ignore him,” I said with a dismissive shrug. I’d been through a similar situation enough times to know that putting off the inevitable was the more enjoyable of the two experiences. Especially considering my dad might actually kill my boyfriend this time.
But as usual, Spencer spoke the voice of unwelcome reason.
“Listen, (y/n), I hate to be the bearer of what should be obvious news but there is no conceivable reality where I can maintain an erection while my boss, your father, is outside preparing my slow and torturous death.”
He was right. We both knew that. But I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t take the words the worst possible way.
With a cheeky little giggle, I asked, “Is that a challenge?”
“No!” he sternly replied like the spoilsport he was, “It is definitely, decidedly, not.”
Despite his obvious anxiety and frustration, Spencer allowed me to wrap my arms around him. In fact, he leaned into my embrace like I could offer him the strength to do what he needed to.
He really should’ve known better by now, than to expect any comfort in my arms.
“Fine. If you really won’t ignore him, then do you want me to just save you the torture and shoot you now?”
Spencer paused for a second, his eyebrows furrowed and lips puckered in a pout.
“You don’t think he’d kill me in broad daylight in public, do you?” he asked.
“It’s like... 40/60,” I answered.
“Wait, in favor of which?”
But then, finally learning not to ask questions he didn’t want the honest answer to, he raised a hand to stop me before I replied.
“Never mind. I don’t want to know. I have to go out there.”
My only response was a groan that never really stopped until I heard the front door lock click open. Then all I could hear was my heart pounding in the silence. It really felt like it always looked in the movies — like time had slowed down before the dramatic moment.
Just as I stepped into the doorway enough that I could spot my father on the lawn, I heard it. The distinct sound of bone on bone, the forceful meeting of two difficult forces just before Spencer’s body hit the ground with a thud.
“My daughter, Reid?!” he yelled, and I realized that it was the first time I’d ever heard such a thing.
I couldn’t move at first, stuck on the image and echo of my father’s voice still booming through the otherwise calm suburb. I wasn’t even worried about being embarrassed yet; I was too busy worrying about the fact my dad had crouched over my boyfriend, grabbing him by the collar while he just sort of… floundered in response.
“God, Dad! Leave him alone!” I shouted once I was able to move again, sprinting over to the two and grabbing onto firm, unmoving shoulders. “Get off of him!”
“It’s fine,” Spencer slurred while holding onto a nose that would probably be a little less straight tomorrow, “He’s right.”
“Ugh! Men are so stupid!”
I knew it wasn’t the mature or fair thing to do, but when I reared my leg back and kicked my dad square in the thigh, it at least made him move. He turned to me with this incredulous look, like I had been the one to just assault a guy on my lawn.
Well, I guess, technically, I had. But he had started it.
He dropped Spencer’s shirt in favor of addressing the more pressing threat: my wrath. I think he was sort of processing what had just happened, because he didn’t really react when I stepped to the side to help Spencer to his feet.
Although, my boyfriend definitely remembered he wouldn’t find comfort with me that time.
“Spencer, get the hell out of here. I want to talk to my dad.”
“My keys are inside,” he so helpfully pointed out.
“Then go inside,” I sternly commanded. After he’d run off like the kicked puppy that he was, tail between his legs and chin dripping with a little bit of blood, I muttered, “Jesus, I thought he was supposed to be smart.”
My dad didn’t think it was funny.
“(Y/n), what do you think you’re doing?”
Opting for the literal route instead of the more painful one, I answered, “Standing in my yard and being yelled at by my father.”
“I’m not yelling at you.”
“You might as well be.”
An awkward silence stretched between us, and for a brief second, I actually thought that I might cry. It felt silly, but also reasonable under the circumstances. I’d seen this whole situation coming from a mile away. I knew my father well.
But some part of me, the naive, hopeful part, wanted things to have been different.
“What are you doing?” my dad asked again, quieter and with more patience.
I couldn’t accept the white flag.
“About what?” I shrugged.
My father sighed, running a hand over his face before settling two fingers at the bridge of his nose. He took a deep breath, but his voice came out just as harsh and unforgiving.
“He’s nearly ten years your senior and a member of my team—“
“I don’t care about your job, dad!” I shrieked, hating the way my voice broke but knowing the words wouldn’t have been able to come out any less hostile.
“Well, you should!” he tried, but I shouted over him at the same time, “I’m not a fucking child!”
With a sharp inhale of breath, he lowly cautioned in something similar to a plea, “Don’t talk to me like that.”
The reprimand lit a fire in my veins.
“This is exactly what I’m talking about!” I vaguely stated with a similar gesture to the man in front of me, “Dad, I didn’t just pursue him to screw you over. I like him!”
“All that matters to me is what is best for you. Don’t you understand that?” he quickly followed, his words more stuttered and imperfect than the usual monotone, “He lives an entirely different life than you.”
“What, a life like yours?” I scoffed.
He didn’t find it funny.
“Yes,” he said like an end to the argument that I wasn’t willing to concede.
My mouth was moving so quickly that I couldn’t predict what was going to come out of it until I heard it. The poison laced through every word didn’t seem to do any lasting damage yet, but that streak would soon end.
“It didn’t stop you and mom!”
There was no utterance or reference of her that would be easily ignored.
That time when it fell silent, it wasn’t awkward. It wasn’t even particularly charged. It was just… sad. Dark, and horrifying, and painful. It was exactly the kind of silence that made you want to turn to your father for comfort.
But I couldn’t find any with him in that moment, either.
In the most defeated voice I’d ever heard from him, my dad looked me in the eyes as he asked, “Is that the life you want?”
It could have been a threat. If I was more angry and less heartbroken, I might have taken it as one. But there was simply no room left in me for anger. It was just a dullness that felt a little bit better when I thought of a universe where Spencer and I could be like my mom and dad were before… everything.
“Maybe,” I mumbled, “If it’s with Spencer then... yeah, maybe.”
He took a step forward and placed a heavy hand on my shoulder. While I moved away from it at first, I eventually gave in. I leaned into his touch until he felt comfortable wrapping an arm around me and pulled me in close.
“He’s not like me,” he said, but I couldn’t decide if he meant it to be a good or bad thing.  
Either way, he did find some joy in my humor that time.
“I know. Believe it or not, Freud was wrong about that one...”
Deciding to save the psychological discussion for another time, my dad chose to keep the conversation on topic for a little while longer.
“The life he leads is one where you’ll never come first,” he explained. As if I needed to hear it.  
“I’m familiar with it.”
But he wasn’t being facetious. When I turned my face to hide my sprouting tears from his eyes, I heard his voice almost break when he finally confessed the true cause of his frustration.
“I want a better life for you than that.”
The admission got the better of me. It was just enough of the rare, humble honesty that I always knew my father capable of, but rarely got to see. My lip started to tremble, and my words became messy as I tried to respond with a similar vulnerability now that neither of the men I loved would be able to mock me for it.
“I just want to be happy,” I whispered, “He makes me happy, Dad.”
I wasn’t sure how long we had been standing there, but I wasn’t ready to move yet. I would find the time and energy to be anxious and embarrassed later. At that moment, I just wanted to let myself feel the full weight of my emotions (so I wouldn’t feel as guilty bottling them up again later).
Somewhat surprisingly, I wasn’t the one to break the silence — and with humor, no less.
No, it was my dad who murmured through pouted lips, “… Was he ever going to tell me?”
“He was scared you were going to shoot him,” I said with a very graceful snort.  
“I can’t say I didn’t think about it,” he joked again. But despite the fun new dynamic he’d created to push me through the brunt of my breakdown, my dad returned to his previous sentimental side for just a second. Just long enough to assure me that I hadn’t made a mistake.
“I know... that he’s a good man. If he makes you happy, then that’s what matters to me.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I softly replied, choosing to let it slide for now that he didn’t seem to be able to utter Spencer’s name in my presence. I got the feeling it would be that way for a while.
Wasn’t my problem, though. I didn’t have to work with them.
As if on cue, my dad spoke again through a sigh, “I can’t promise I won’t hit him again, though.”
“Can you promise to only do it if he deserves it?”
He paused for a minute to consider the request before answering with a smile, “I’ll try.”
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