#besides the last 4 months of 2021
chinaaesthetic · 11 months ago
Chinese New Year! 新年快乐!
*please note that the information below isn’t celebrated by everyone in the same way. Some customs are more common in northern China rather than southern China and vice-versa.
How to wish someone a Happy Chinese New Year:
1. 新年快乐!Xīnnián kuàilè! - Happy New Year! (This can be used one the first day of the lunar calendar as well as the Gregorian calendar).
2. 新春快乐!Xīnchūn kuàilè! - Happy Spring Festival!
3. 新年好!Xīnnián hǎo! - Hello! (This is how you greet people during Chinese New Year).
When greeting or wishing someone a Happy Chinese New Year, many Chinese people wish their family and friends things like: “I hope you have a happy and healthy family,” “I hope you get a job promotion,” “I hope you have good fortune and pockets overflowing with gold.” Here are some examples:
4. 恭喜发财!Gōngxǐ fācái! - Wish you a successful and prosperous year! (This saying is known well because of this Chinese New Year song you can watch here).
5. 阖家幸福! Hé jiā xìngfú - Wish you a happy family!
6. 事业有成! Shìyè yǒu chéng - Hope you have a successful career!
You can watch this YouTube video or read this article to learn more about how to wish someone a Happy Chinese New Year!
What is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year, also known as lunar new year or the spring festival, celebrates the first day of the new year on the lunar calendar. In 2021, this holiday falls on Friday, February 12!  This holiday is the most important holiday to those who celebrate this - its importance can be comparable to how Americans celebrate Christmas.
People have been celebrating Chinese New Year for about 3,500 - 3,900 years. It’s exact origins are unknown, but this tradition is believed to have started in the Shang Dynasty (1600-1049 BC) when people would make sacrifices to the gods and their ancestors towards the end of a year. However, the tradition was recorded and official during the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD) when Emperor Wu began using the lunar calendar. He chose to follow this calendar because it would let him know when second new moon after the winter solstice was.
Now, many Southeast Asian countries and people besides the Chinese celebrate Chinese New Year such as: Koreans, Vietnamese, Tibetans, etc. However, it is common to not see Japan celebrate Chinese New Year.
Why do I keep hearing about the Year of the Ox/Cow?
Just like in western culture, there are zodiacs in eastern culture that the Chinese follow. There are 12 zodiacs, and these zodiacs follow a cycle of 12 years. Each new year represents one of the zodiacs. 
In order, they are: Rat/mouse, Ox/cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
2021 is year of the Ox/Cow - 2020 was year of the Rat/Mouse - 2019 was Year of the Pig... and so on. 
Because each zodiac has its own characteristics, they define a year. Chinese zodiac scholars have said in 2021, Year of the Ox, will be a flip-around positive change. They believe this year will be lucky and that it will be a good time to focus on love and relationships. People who are born in years of the Ox are known to have a lot of endurance, be calm and confident, but are also stubborn.
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Just like in western culture, these zodiacs are believed to affect personality, fortune, etc, and instead of getting your zodiac by your birth month, you get your zodiac by your birth year. If you are interested in your Chinese zodiac, you can type in your birthday on this calculator and read about it.
What happens during Chinese New Year and how long do you celebrate it for? Lantern Festival?
On average, Chinese New Year is celebrated for about 15-16 days (from about New Year’s eve to the first full moon). Preparations start seven days before New Years because stores and restaurants close and people travel to be with their families. Most students are also on their big break during this time - they get off from school around the beginning of january and go back after Chinese New Year. It should also be noted that Northern China and Southern China celebrate the new year differently.
During the preparation period, people go shopping for food and decorations. They also clean the house very well. If living in a different city than one’s family, many people will travel back to their hometown to celebrate with family.
During the New Year’s Eve period, the house is decorated with New Year’s decorations, and there is a reunion dinner with family at the host’s house. Out of all the dinners you have during the year, it is incredibly important you don’t miss this dinner, which is why there are so many issues with travelling during this time. At this dinner, you eat many lucky foods such as dumplings and fish. Also during this time, the older generations will give younger generations something called 红包, which translates to “red envelope.” These envelopes are filled with money and are only given on very special occasions such as new years and weddings. Friends give these to each other, but it is not common at all for a younger generation to give one to an older generation person. There is a custom where families stay up late to “watch over the new year,” which is called 守岁. Late at night, people also like to go to temples to hear the first bells of the new year ring because they believe it will drive away bad luck.
On Chinese New Year’s Day, fireworks go off, families cook and eat large meals together, sacrifices are made to ancestors, etc. (Fireworks are especially important because they believe it will make your business more successful.) One popular tradition you might know of is the dancing lion/dragon parades where people wear a dragon costume and parade through the city. Dragons are very representative of Chinese culture and are thought to bring luck to a community. Lions are a symbol of protection.
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For about a week after the first day, most people go visit family and friends. A lot of times people will visit the other side of their family. For example, someone will spend most of the time with their mother’s side of the family during the new year, then during this week, they will go visit relatives of the father’s side.
After that week, most people go back to work. This is around day 8-10. Businesses, restaurants, and stores reopen, and many people leave their hometown to go back to jobs in the city.
Day 15, the final day of Chinese New Year, is the Lantern Festival. On this day, the first full moon of the new year happens. To celebrate, people will light more fireworks, revisit family, eat sweet dumplings (called tangyuan), and participate in the Lantern Festival. People release lit lanterns into the sky to honor dead ancestors. This is called 元宵节.
You can read more here.
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What foods are eaten during Chinese New Year, and what do they represent?
During Chinese New Year, many special foods are eaten, and these are foods that are considered to be lucky and to bring fortune into the new year.
1. Dumplings - represent wealth. Dumplings take hours to make and involve family help. They’ve been eaten for at least 1,800 years and are especially popular in northern China. It is said that the more dumplings you eat during the new year, the more money you will make.
2. Fish - represents prosperity and success. The word “fish” in Chinese sounds like the word “surplus” in Chinese.
3. Glutinous Rice Cake/Nian gao - represents success in your work (more money, better position). 
4. Spring rolls - represent wealth. They get their name because they are most often eaten during the Spring Festival which is CNY. This dish is more popular in eastern and southern China.
5. Oranges, tangerines - represents luck and fortune. This is originally a Cantonese custom, but many people grace their tables with citrus fruits. The word for “tangerine” sounds similar to the word for “good fortune” in Chinese.
6. Longevity noodles - represents longevity. These noodles are longer than usual to represent a person’s long and happy life. This is more commonly eaten in northern China. *It should be noted that these are mostly eaten on birthdays but can be eaten during the NY as well.
7. Sweet rice balls/tang yuan - togetherness in family. This food is eaten during the Lantern Festival, the last day of Chinese New Year. The shape and pronunciation is associated with closeness of the family.
8. Snacks - represent a sweet and pleasant life. Any sweet snack like dried fruit, candy, tanghulu is eaten during this time.
When it comes to food during Chinese New Year, there are superstitions about how foods should be prepared and what makes them lucky. You can read more about them here as well as here.
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What kinds of decorations are put up in houses during the new year? What do the colors represent?
1. Spring/door couplets - These couplets originated in the Shu era. As seen in the picture below, you post these on doors in couples - in Chinese culture, even numbers are seen as good luck. On many of these couplets are written wishes or poems for the new year. Each couplet should have the same rhythm and the same number of words.
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2. Paper cutting - Translated as “window flower,” these intricate, red paper cutting pieces are placed on windows and often represent the zodiac of the new year or other symbolic animals such as fish, dragons, and phoenixes.
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3. Upside down characters/Fortune - Many Chinese people during the new year hang up positive characters such as Fu, which means happiness and good fortune. It is written in calligraphy on a red piece of paper and then put upside down on doors and windows. It is hung upside down because the people want the good fortune to fall down onto them.
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4. Red lanterns - These lanterns push away bad luck and are seen during both the Spring and Autumn Festival. They can be hung on trees, outside houses, etc. There are also many styles - they can come in many shapes and have symbols written on them.
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5. Kumquat trees - As said before, citruses represent good luck and fortune. People place kumquats and citrus fruits on their tables or decorate their homes with small kumquat trees.
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You can read more about decorations here as well as here.
Common colors seen during Chinese New Year are red and gold, but green can also be found.
The color red is not only dominate during Chinese New Year, but it is also very representative of Chinese culture as well. Red signifies fire, good fortune, and happiness. It is representative of good luck, keeps the holiday very joyous, and scares away bad spirits.
Gold or yellow is considered to be a very beautiful color. Gold symbolizes wealth, riches, and prosperity.
Green represents money, harmony, and growth. 
Though these are the most common colors, it should be noted that a color combination of green and red is considered to be tacky in Chinese culture. 
What do people wear during Chinese New Year?
On the first day, it is traditional to wear new clothes and new accessories as it symbolizes new beginnings. However, there are people who like to wear sentimental accessories to respect and remember their ancestors.
Some people like to wear traditional Qipao/Cheongsam, Tang Suits, and Hanfu, but many people stick to western clothes like skirts, dresses, and pants. There is also a tradition of wearing lucky, red underwear for New Years.
Tang suits are the most popular to wear during the New Year, Qipao is also popular, but it is often too cold to wear during the winter months. Many people are starting to wear Hanfu again to celebrate the new year, but it isn’t widely accepted yet to wear during the new year.
During the new year, people wear a lot of red and gold. It is important to NOT wear mostly white and/or black. These symbolize death, and white is worn at funerals. Anything that is bright, bold, and upbeat should be fine to wear, but you should go for something that is red.
*If you want to wear something that is traditional Chinese for New Years, please make sure you know about cultural appropriation and know how to wear these properly.
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As there is so much information about Chinese New Year, I cannot possibly tell you all about it in one post. It is truly something that you must experience in your lifetime. It is very beautiful, fun, and there are so many things to do and celebrate. I ask you that you please research this more and look at all the beautiful pictures of food, lanterns, fireworks, etc. 
Please stay safe and 新年快乐!
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polyermis · 28 days ago
❝The First Snow within the Teyvat❞
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Author: Polyermis
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◈Aether X Reader X Abyss!Lumine ◈Reader: GN ◈Characters:   ⇲Aether ⇲Abyss!Lumine ◈Word Count: 0.5k ◈Warnings:   ⇲None ◈Prompt:   ⇲It's the first snow and the Princess of the Abyss appears ◈Notes:   ⇲Please Enjoy! Happy Holidays ⇲There is no incest of any sort. The siblings DO NOT romantically engage with eachother.
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She will bend her rules for this special occasion.  
Her feet dangle as she sits within the hand of the Ruin Guard, feeling the machine sway with each step, listening to the gears turn, as the earth seems to bounce under each step. She pays no mind to him, the white cloak draped over her shoulders. The air cold, making her cheeks light pink. Her hands gently hold on to the wooden box, her gaze on the Horizon as they neared Stormbearer Point. There, you and her twin would meet her.  
She vowed not to see her brother again, not for a while.  
Her grip tightens as you set within on a blanket, a thick cloak draped over your shoulders, a head band covering your ears and forehead. You hold a cup that steam admits from and Aether sits beside you, as Paimon rambles about facts on the month of winter. The Ruin Guard stops several feet away and gently places Lumine down. Not bothering to thank the machine, her body moved on her own.  
But you, you’re more important than her plans.  
Aether is the first to notice and rises to his feet, Paimon following his gaze, before you look. Her heart stops as she stares, wooden box keeping her grounded. She feels weak, but forces herself forward. Watching you stand to your feet and say something to Paimon. She seems to disagree before floating off.  
You turn back to her, smiling, and once she moves closer, she can hear you. She hears her name leave your lips and her breath gets stuck. “... Y/N...” It comes out breathless. Standing five feet away, Aether stares at her with a knowing look, holding onto your hand. “You came...” You smile as she nods, Aether speaking up next. “I didn’t think the Abyss Mage would actually listen.”  
“Anything having to do with you Y/N... I—I told them to tell me...”  
“I- I’m glad.” Her faces flushed red, and she takes another step forward. 4 feet apart. Burning your image into memory. The last time she saw you, you were within Aether, in all the same pleading for her to return so that they could leave together.  
“I have traveled to Inazuma...” Your voice is quiet as you share your journey, sitting in between the two twins. Sharing your thoughts and moments, you found funniest whilst using your other vessels. They both listen intently, inching closer and closer to you as the sun begins to set and dark clouds cover the skies.  
“You’ve been holding that box the entire time. Is it important?” Your gaze turns to the box in Lumine’s lap as Aether pointed it out. “Ah...” She slowly opens the box, a soft melody filling the air as three shooting stars circle each other, two gold and Y/F/C.  
Snow softly fell from the sky as the moon peeked through the clouds. “It’s a gift for you. Y/N...” she murmurs. Sliding the box into your lap, watching you stare at the box with loved filled eyes. “Lumine... You didn’t have to....” Her hands, entwines with yours, kissing the back of it softly.  
“I--” Your words fall flat, as Aether lifted your other hand, nipping the back of it, before placing a gentle kiss. Now decorates the landscape and melts the moment it hits your hot skin. It’s only snow, but a promise has been frozen in time.  
“I will forever love you.”
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©Polyermis 2021. Do not copy, modify, use without permission, or otherwise plagiarize in any way.
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swissmissficrecs · 20 days ago
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I posted 228 times in 2021
163 posts created (71%)
65 posts reblogged (29%)
For every post I created, I reblogged 0.4 posts.
I added 385 tags in 2021
#request - 136 posts
#rec list - 44 posts
#first time - 36 posts
#anonymous - 34 posts
#romance - 30 posts
#angst - 27 posts
#10k - 21 posts
#fluff - 20 posts
#series 4 - 19 posts
#20k - 18 posts
Longest Tag: 56 characters
#watch now someone's going to name a super well known one
My Top Posts in 2021
Hi there, I have had a rough time recently and I found some comfort a fic that was recommended to me by a follower. “Case Suspect Chase Jump” by monkeysock. I felt it captured mental health and untreated bipolar disorder. I don’t normally read a lot of fics and am always worried the depiction will be stereotypical or something. Do you have any good mental health fics?
Reply: Sorry for the late reply! Yes, I have a lot of fics that deal with mental health. I probably am not the best judge of whether they are good vs. stereotypical depictions, but here are the topic-relevant lists I’ve already put together. Most of these don’t really go into the treatment side of things.
Mental health tag
PTSD tag 
PTSD John 
PTSD Sherlock
Sherlock imagines/hallucinates John
Sherlock is in a mental hospital
Sherlock is depressed/suicidal
Amnesia (of Sherlock or John)
Eating disorders (scroll to the bottom of the food fics list)
From those, here are some that I feel address the topic more in-depth and seriously, including treatment:
2007 by 7PercentSolution, J_Baillier (151K, M, Gen) Sherlock loses his mind. Mycroft loses control. It's 2007, and the Holmes brothers must come to terms with their demons—and each other.
Bring Me Back to Life by yalublyutebya (51K, E, Johnlock) After being injured on the Front, John Watson is sent to Craiglockhart Hospital for psychiatric treatment and finds himself sharing a room with the mysterious Sherlock Holmes.
Four Corners of the Western World by pennypaperbrain (100K, E, Johnlock) Undercover after Reichenbach, tracking the snipers who threatened his friends, Sherlock has one thing left he can depend on: his mind. But when he faces making his first kill, alone among the mad excesses of Las Vegas, the pressure turns out to be greater than even he can endure without John beside him.
In Confidence by emmadelosnardos (40K, M, Sherlock/OMC) Reason for referral: Patient was admitted to dual diagnosis unit for detox on 27.5.2002. BIB brother, Mycroft Holmes, following arrest for intoxication on 26.5.2002. Pt was under the influence of cocaine when he was admitted. Pt was admitted for 28 days with possible extension to two months. Requested single unit. Request granted by special permission of the Director.
Insanity by The_Cool_Aunt (18K, T, Johnlock) “I’m going to New York,” he replied impatiently. “Do you not listen?” “Sherlock, you’re ill,” Mycroft explained. I could hear what a strain it was to keep his voice level and low. “You are not thinking clearly.”
Lunar Landscapes by J_Baillier (57K, M, Johnlock and Warstan) An accident forces John to face the fact that Sherlock's downward spiral had started long before his flight to exile even left the tarmac.
Radioactive Trees in a Red Forest by Maribor_Petrichor (280K, E, Johnlock) John Watson is what happens when a man can no longer see a reason to go on. John Watson is what happens when a man starts to let go." It is what it is." John Watson is what happens when what "it is" becomes too much to bear. This is a story of the life, death, and resurrection of John Hamish Watson.
The Craven Hive by OldShrewsburyian (35K, T, Gen) In the last days of the First World War, Dr. Watson returns from the service for which he departed in "His Last Bow," and looks for a new kind of work. He joins Dr. Arthur Hurst in his pioneering treatment of shell-shocked soldiers. But their work on the forefront of medical research, locked in battle against the destruction of the war, is disrupted by violent death. In addition to the obvious danger near at hand, there is the risk that this will discredit Hurst’s unusual methods. Dr. Watson does the only thing he can do: he calls in Holmes. The case will require their joint expertise, and all the wisdom of their shared experience.
The Fabric of Life [orphaned] (156K, E, Johnlock and Warstan) The fabric of life rearranges itself around the re-emergence of Sherlock.
You Go to My Head series by J_Baillier (865K, E, Johnlock) This series is an alternate universe one, featuring the exciting medical and romantic adventures of doctors Watson (senior neuroanaesthetist) and Holmes (neurosurgeon).
91 notes • Posted 2021-03-14 13:15:25 GMT
Underrated Fics, Part 16
As with my last installment, kudo counts seem overall to be lower than they used to be. I have therefore lowered the cutoff for qualifying as underrated, so as not to simply end up listing nearly every fic I’ve read in the past 6 months.
- Fic complete and over 10K - Last chapter posted prior to May 1, 2021 - Fewer than 150 kudos as of this posting - Earned a ‘favorite’ from me on AO3
(P.S. See my other “Underrated” lists here.)
In descending order of length:
1. There was only one bed plus an original case and everything else mentioned in the summary equal all the reasons you need not to skip this one.
The Adventure of the Cardboard Hoax by pagimag (39K, M, Johnlock) After Moriarty’s trial and shocking release, the uncertainty of the situation takes a toll on Sherlock, and he isolates himself on the couch. A welcome case of peculiar threats and murder finally gets them out of the flat, but John can see that Sherlock needs a break. On a whim they abandon a sweltering London for fresh seaside air, leading to picnics on the beach, fun fairs and dramatic chases, bee observations, quantification of attraction, fraught emotional moments, and a realisation of the need to define who they are to each other.
2. A pre-Reichenbach guilty pleasure fic with a high-stakes case balanced against loads of romantic tension and all the hurt-comfort you could wish for.
This Is Meant to Hurt by ambut (27K, E, Johnlock) After a successful case and a night of drinking, John and Sherlock's friendship begins to change in subtle ways. Then murder victims who look suspiciously Sherlock-esque begin appearing around London. Sherlock is delightfully intrigued. John is not.
3. Don’t skip on account of the General rating: this is a full-on shipping fic that may fade to black at strategic points but doesn’t skimp on the emotion.
O Guiding Light by Radclyffe (25K, G, Johnlock) John is back at Baker Street, and back in the old routine living with Sherlock Holmes, or as much as he can be as parent of a lively not-quite-three year old. But is Sherlock about to rock the boat? And what exactly is up with Mycroft?
4. From a relatively new author that should be on everyone’s radar, this exotic, post-series 4, original casefic is high-class writing from any angle. Don’t be put off by the OC POV in the first scene; the rest of the story is from Sherlock’s POV.
High Mountain Tea Leaves by disfictional (23K, E, Johnlock) A mountaintop robbery on a Japanese-occupation-era train where the only item stolen was a small case of mysterious tea leaves in a backpack? An ideal Christmas gift, two days late. Sherlock convinces John to travel for tea.
5. Hands down the hottest Johnlock club dancing you will find this year.
It Could Be Us by JaneOfCakes (14K, NR, Johnlock) John Watson is just getting off work and goes straight to Greg's club to meet his boyfriend, but the evening takes an unexpected turn.
6. This fic’s popularity probably suffers in part due to its vague summary, so in a nutshell, it hearkens back to John and Sherlock’s early days, except John kisses Sherlock after killing the cabbie. The question is why? I realize that doesn’t sound much less lacklustre, but there is a brilliant reveal along with excellent writing that makes it all worthwhile.
An Ordinary Man by toyhto (11K, E, Johnlock) Life is an illusion and love is the best thing.
127 notes • Posted 2021-06-01 18:43:28 GMT
What is your favourite Johnlock fan fic? I'm new in the fandom and I'd like to read something nice. :) have a great day
Reply: Hello and welcome!
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I have been asked this many times, and unfortunately it is not possible for me to name one specific fic, nor even provide a list of any practical length. There are simply too many excellent fics.
However, I have provided this in the past for newbies with a nice range of various entry points and fic types:
Sherlock Fic Starter Pack
I also have lists of my favorites for every year since 2010 that you might like to browse:
Best of 2010
Best of 2011
Best of 2012
Best of 2013
Best of 2014
Best of 2015
Best of 2016
Best of 2017
Best of 2018
Best of 2019
Best of 2020
165 notes • Posted 2021-03-10 12:02:04 GMT
Hello! Do you know any good fics about John and Sherlock in covid lockdown together? I’m kinda done with real life lockdown (my country hasn’t started vaccinating yet) so I wanna flee in theirs :) Would be even better if it’s post season 4/with Rosie (I have a soft spot for toddler Rosie) and not explicit. Thanks in advance and I hope you’re doing fine!
Reply: Sure, I have a few. I’m just going to toss them all in regardless of rating because there aren’t that many, in case others are interested. Also including a couple where they are in lockdown in separate places but find a way to “be together.”
COVID-19 Lockdown Fics
an experiment in social distancing by simplyclockwork (2K, E, Johnlock) Sherlock and John explore the less G-rated potential of social distancing through video chat.
Collateral Impact by BakerTumblings (32K, T, Johnlock) Ever think about what it might've been like on Baker Street, for John being medical, and what might have crossed his mind? Some short, random COVID 19 thoughts.
Fourteen Days by Ranowa (6K, T, Johnlock) Sherlock does not do well, cooped up at home.John does even worse than Sherlock.Sherlock, therefore, devises a plan for immediate action.
In His Care by BeautifulFiction (20K, T, Johnlock) John catches Covid-19, and it's up to Sherlock to take care of him within the sanctuary of Baker Street.
Inhale with Ease by Vulpesmellifera (25K, E, Johnlock) In the years after Vivian Norbury's capture, life seems to work out just as John planned. He's got that respectable job at the surgery and goes home to his wife and child. He joins Sherlock on cases a couple times per week. It's a rhythm he can live with - just enough adrenaline highs to balance out the drudgery of a normal bloke's life.Until a pandemic, and Victor Trevor, arrive in London.
Putting Up Shelves by khorazir (11K, M, Johnlock) Sherlock claims to be an expert at putting up shelves. John gets the totally wrong idea. DIY, awkwardness and some soul-searching ensue. And some shelves are put up ...
The Secret of Hazel Grange by SilentAuror (18K, E, Johnlock) John has a secret, and Sherlock is bothered. Trapped together at Baker Street during the lockdown, the tension only grows worse as Christmas draws nearer...
The Source of Light by bookjunkiecat (4K, T, Johnlock) During the outbreak of the virus, John, as medical personnel, is essential on the medical frontlines. This means a necessary separation from his loved ones. Stretched thin, exhausted, he nevertheless makes time for a Skype call with Sherlock and Rose. Even though all he wants is to finally tell Sherlock how much he loves him, now isn't the time. Circumstances, however, don't always work as we expect.
There is also an AO3 collection (which includes many of the above) for the topic with a whole lot more, including lots of shorter, lower rated ones: Isolated Johnlock
186 notes • Posted 2021-01-06 08:43:10 GMT
Favorite Sherlock Holmes fics from 2020
Usually I put a bunch of explanations and disclaimers on these lists but you know what, it was a weird year and I’m not going to try to justify or apologize for what I read or didn’t read so here are my favorites that were completed last year, in descending order of length:
and your very flesh shall be a great poem by CaitlinFairchild (151K, E, Johnlock) After a tragic confrontation with terrible consequences, Sherlock and John follow Mary as she flees to America.
Drawn to Stars by Silvergirl (107K, E, Johnlock, Sherlock/OMC) After the Culverton Smith case Sherlock is clean, working, and looking for a romantic partner—since John has told him that’s what he needs. Shame John didn’t mention he was interested in that role himself, before Sherlock went off to Rome with a gorgeous Italian copper to try to fall in love and become a complete human being. (This one is very slightly cheating because it was finished on 30 Dec 2019, but it didn't make it onto my 2019 list because I didn't read it until after I'd made the list. And it deserves to be on a Best Of list, so here it is.)
Thermocline by J_Baillier (83K, M, Johnlock) John "Five Oceans" Watson — technical dive instructor, dive accident analyst and weapon of mass seduction — meets recluse professor of maritime archaeology Holmes. As they head out to a remote archipelago off the coast of Guatemala to study and film its shipwrecks for a documentary, will sparks fly or fizzle out?
Do No Harm by Calais_Reno (79K, T, Johnlock) In 1923, Dr John Watson is on trial for the murder of his lover, Mary Morstan, a writer of popular mysteries. If convicted, he will hang. Sherlock Holmes sets out to prove his innocence, but finds himself more and more infatuated with the handsome doctor, and deeper and deeper inside the bohemian world of London's painters, playwrights, and poets. Will he uncover the evidence needed to acquit him in time?
To Be Human by ohlooktheresabee (78K, NR, Johnlock) There is a serial killer on the loose with a penchant for collecting the brains of his victims. Sherlock, John and Scotland Yard are on the case, but something about the chosen victims has Sherlock on edge. While they piece together the clues that will lead to the killer, John begins to realize that the way his best friend thinks may sometimes be more a hindrance than a help….
immediate and inglorious by simplyclockwork (72K, E, Johnlock) Bodies are showing up in back alleys, with no sign of a struggle, no trace of drugs. If not for the strangulation bruises on their necks and the scythe carved into their left shoulders, they could have died peacefully, in their sleep. With New Scotland Yard dumbfounded by the Grim Reaper Killer case, Sherlock is called in to consult. The more he investigates, the deeper Sherlock finds himself drawn into the work of London's newest serial killer. As his views of good and bad begin to blur, he risks losing himself to a darkness he never imagined. And, even more pressing: where does John Watson, grieving ex-boyfriend of the Grim Reaper's latest victim, fit into all of this?
Curtain Rising by tiger_in_the_flightdeck (61K, E, Johnlock) A disgraced television star is the target of a series of death threats just after a theatre production’s adaptation of The Sound of Music is announced with her as the lead. The suspect list is a mile long and growing, Rosie Watson is in the spotlight, and Sherlock might be getting too fond of his time on stage to focus on the case. With opening night approaching, can he and John figure out who wants their client dead before her final curtain rises?
The Fire Finds a Home by fearfully_beautifully_made (61K, E, Johnlock) After Sherlock and John decide to give having a relationship a go, this is how their relationship starts to develop. There a little bit of plot, if you squint, but it was mostly an excuse to write John and Sherlock having sex in a lot of different ways and learning to love each other.
Borrowed Ghosts by DiscordantWords (57K, M, Johnlock) In the aftermath of the Culverton Smith case, John spent one painfully stilted afternoon hanging out with Sherlock. He counted the minutes, finished his tea, and left for home without ever clearing the air between them. And once he'd left, he found it very hard to go back.
You Might Just as Well Be Blind by ArwaMachine (56K, E, Johnlock) When a serial killer starts targeting couples, Sherlock and John must do what they have to do in order to get to the bottom of things. Unfortunately, John already has a girlfriend. Surely pretending to be in a relationship with Sherlock won't pose any problems with his relationship, will it?
The Broken Tether by J_Baillier (54K, M, Johnlock) Maybe he thinks that you only enjoy his company because of the Work, because of the way his dazzling intellect shines when he's in his element, but the truth is this: it is when he is at his most human, most bare, that you feel closest to him.
how the light gets in by subtext-is-my-division (Quill_A)  (54K, E, Johnlock) Red wine always makes him tipsier than usual and he finds himself saying, the words slurring a bit. “You know, I’ve got to ask. Do you always shoot cabbies for people you barely you know?” John meets his gaze over the rim of his glass, and there’s something there that Sherlock can’t pin down. “Not for everyone,” he says, meaningfully, pointedly, his smile all teeth.
Erosion by saintscully (53K, E, Johnlock) Sherlock’s father falls ill, leaving the surviving family members broken and rudderless. James Sholto shows up in London unexpectedly, his intentions unclear. John has to navigate the consequences of crime, illness and death and their impact on his frayed relationship with Sherlock.
Hold You Like a Weapon by MissDavis (52K, E, Johnlock) Eurus shows up at 221B Baker Street in labour. Things go downhill from there.
Chances Are by Berty (51K, M, Johnlock) Sherlock is spending some time in his mind palace - so far, so normal. But why is John there, why do things keep changing and why are there only two exits from the sitting room at 221B, neither of which seem to go anywhere useful? It's a case like no other for Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.
Sine Nomine by SilentAuror (45K, E, Johnlock) As Mycroft reviews the footage from Culverton Smith's morgue, he revisits his original question: whether John Watson would be the making of his brother, or make him worse than ever. He's come to a conclusion, but decides to give John one last chance. So he gives him a choice.
Cockaigne by HollyShadow88 (38K, E, Johnlock) When John’s contacted by an old uni friend about problems in his new art exhibition, he doesn’t think it will be worth Sherlock’s time. After a glance of the crime scene, however, they’re both pulled into the project in ways John didn’t expect. Will a week of erotic performance art finally be enough to bring them together in the way they both secretly hope? (Spoiler: it’s a tropey fic, of course it will)
Written in Ashes by 88thParallel (37K, M, Johnlock) Sherlock becomes the prime suspect in a homicide case, and recently unearthed memories of his childhood are complicating matters. It's up to John to track down answers — can he help Sherlock before it's too late?
A Desperate Indulgence by LollipopCop (34K, M, Johnlock) John thinks it's 2012 after waking up with amnesia, having no memory of Mary. Sherlock, exhausted from years of tension and hiding his love, pretends they got married instead.
Inhale With Ease by Vulpesmellifera (25K, E, Johnlock) In the years after Vivian Norbury's capture, life seems to work out just as John planned. He's got that respectable job at the surgery and goes home to his wife and child. He joins Sherlock on cases a couple times per week. It's a rhythm he can live with - just enough adrenaline highs to balance out the drudgery of a normal bloke's life. Until a pandemic, and Victor Trevor, arrive in London.
The House on Rue des Boulangers by Berty (24K, M, Johnlock) After being invalided out of the army and without any other prospects, John Watson has relocated to a small town in northern France. Now he has to decide what to do for the rest of his life. One morning there's a mad stranger in his garden chasing a swarm of bees, and it seems John's decision is made.
High Mountain Tea Leaves by disfictional (23K, E, Johnlock) A mountaintop robbery on a Japanese-occupation-era train where the only item stolen was a small case of mysterious tea leaves in a backpack? An ideal Christmas gift, two days late. Sherlock convinces John to travel for tea.
Detours by saintscully (22K, M, Johnlock, Sherlock/OMC) During the better part of the first year following Mary's death and the events at Sherrinford, Sherlock and John are slowly rebuilding their lives and their friendship. All seems (relatively) well and John takes comfort in once again being a father, a doctor and a friend. An unexplained shift in Sherlock's behaviour catches John by surprise, and he begins to worry about his place in his friend's life. John has to examine everything he thought he knew about Sherlock, himself and their relationship in order to win his rightful place yet again.
hands full of matter by simplyclockwork (21K, E, Johnlock) When Sherlock is captured in Serbia, Mycroft cannot afford to involve the British government in his rescue. Instead, he sends John. After two years spent thinking Sherlock was dead, John finds himself navigating not only Sherlock’s rescue but their fractured friendship as well.
The Victim Experience by J_Baillier (16K, T, Gen) A case takes Sherlock and John deep into the seedy underbelly of the haunted attractions industry. With audiences craving more and more intense experiences, is a real murder the next logical step?
On the Fence by BeautifulFiction (13K, T, Johnlock) The murder of the King's College fencing champion leads to revelations about Sherlock's past. Will it be the point that tips them from friends to lovers, or will they remain on the fence?
Plus bonus ACD era:
"Baker Street: The Sleep of Reason": A Memoir by John H. Watson, M.D. by Gaedhal (98K, M, Johnlock, Johniarty) This is a Victorian Era story in the "Sherlock Holmes" (2009) Ritchie-verse. The main characters are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson and is from the doctor's memoirs. It was written before "A Game of Shadows" so there are differences in this story and film canon, mainly in the person and backstory of one particular character.
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517 notes • Posted 2021-01-03 20:18:32 GMT
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daddyjackfrost · 10 months ago
i wanted a kenma fic so i wrote one.
prompt 4: “Go home.” 
kenma x f!reader (hurt/comfort) (soft kinda)
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You took off your shoes, quietly making your way up the stairs. You had texted Kenma almost four times over the last two hours, telling him you were coming over. 
It was Wednesday, which meant that it was supposed to be Kenma’s day off, though when you received a notification from his twitch, you knew that he was streaming. 
You climbed the stairs, a small smile on your face. You were holding a paper bag from your and Kenma’s favourite bakery. You hadn’t seen Kenma in a few days, and all you wanted to do was lay in his arms as you ate some apple pie, even though you didn’t love it like he did. 
You knocked on Kenma’s door twice, and when you didn’t hear anything besides his quiet mumbles to the screen, you spoke. 
“’Zume? I’m coming in.” 
You pushed the door open and your eyes fell on Kenma’s hunched figure, his fingers pressing keys rapidly. You knew that Kenma hadn’t realized you were here, so you just quietly laughed and put the pie down on his side table.
You stretched your arms and let out a small groan, this caught Kenma’s attention. 
Quickly, Kenma turned his head to find you standing in the middle of his room, your eyes met his confused ones, and you smiled at him.
You heard voices on the other side of Kenma’s screen and your eyes zeroed in on the chat that began to flood. 
“Hey, babe,” you greeted him.
Kenma just turned around, his hands going back to his keyboard. Your smile tugged down but you didn’t let his lack of reaction get to you. When Kenma was streaming or playing, everything else was below it. 
Sometimes even you. 
You plopped down on his bed, your phone in your hands. Now that Kenma knew you were here, maybe he’d end his stream early. You almost laughed, yeah right. 
You scrolled through your phone for almost an hour when your body began to ache. You weren’t in the most comfortable position, and you wanted to cuddle your boyfriend.
Quietly, you got up off the bed and lightly tapped Kenma’s shoulder.
“What y/n?”
You paused, retracting your hand. You rubbed your arm as you stood behind Kenma. “Oh, uh, I just wanted to sit on your lap.”
Kenma muted his mic and turned his chair to look up at you. You stared down at him, your eyes meeting his golden ones. His hair was up in a bun and he looked absolutely breathtaking. 
“Why are you here, y/n? I didn’t say you could come over.” 
You licked your lips, your eyes slightly widening. “I texted you, but you didn’t respond.”
Kenma scoffed. “Well obviously I didn’t answer you for a reason.” 
You frowned and tilted your head to the side, put off because of Kenma’s sudden harsh behaviour. Kenma had never denied you like this before. In fact, he always encouraged you to sit on his lap while he gamed. He claimed that there was nothing better than having his favourite person with him as he did his favourite activity.
Before you could say anything, Kenma rolled his eyes and turned his chair back around. “Go home, y/n. I don’t want you here right now.” 
You slightly nodded, taking a few steps back. You didn’t say anything as you grabbed your phone and made your way downstairs and out of his house. 
It hurt, having Kenma tell you to go home. You hadn’t seen him in a few days because you were busy with your studies and Kenma was busy with his gaming. He hadn’t really texted you and you made the first move. Except now, you wondered if you should have just stayed home and let him come to you.
You shrugged off the negative thoughts and made your way home. You would just avoid Kenma for a few days until he came to his senses. You knew that before you, gaming was everything to him, but even with you in his life, you couldn’t help but think that you were still second to his computer and devices. 
So much for shrugging off negative thoughts.
You opened your front door and trudged past your mother’s slightly concerned face. You made your way upstairs and immediately fell onto your bed, just wanting to sleep. 
Kenma finished his stream about two hours after you had left. He hadn’t even realized that you had gone home, so when he said goodbye to his viewers and stretched, turning his chair around, he was surprised to see his room empty. 
His cat-like eyes scanned the room for you, and he frowned when he realized he was alone. Kenma’s eyes narrowed at the brown paper bag on his table and he walked over, his lips parting at the smell of his favorite pie hitting him square in the chest. 
Kenma opened the bag to see a small apple pie boxed in pink, with two forks sitting on top. Kenma’s brows furrowed. Where were you?
Kenma grabbed his phone, turning on his ringer and taking it off Do Not Disturb. He had a bad habit of making himself unreachable when he gamed. 
Kenma’s eyes scanned the messages you had sent earlier in the day and a small bubble of guilt popped in his stomach. The words he had said to you came back to him like a wave crashing a cliffside, and his thumb hovered over the Call button. God, he felt like an ass. 
After a few small hesitant moments, Kenma pressed it, hoping to call you and apologize. After a few rings, Kenma heard your voicemail and he let out a small sigh. He ended the call and typed out a message instead. 
‘Sorry, y/n. Let’s meet at your locker tomorrow.’ 
You stared at the message with wide eyes. You didn’t want to see Kenma right now, especially since it was only after you left and he told you to go that he realized he was being an ass. 
You didn’t respond and threw your phone on the bed.
You would just deal with it later. You laid in bed and closed your eyes.
Waking up, you got ready as fast as you could. You wanted to be in class before Kenma even got to school. A part of you wondered if you were being petty. Were you? You shook your head, staring at yourself in the mirror. 
When you made your way to class, people smiled at you, some waving. You could only manage small smiles. You were part of the Student Council, and you had arranged a dance last month. The students had all loved you for it.
You quickly opened your locker, wanting to grab your books and then be in class, but of course, luck was not on your side.
Your locker door closed suddenly and you jumped. Your eyes met Kuroo’s dark ones, and the third-year smiled at you.
“Hello, y/n. How are you this fine morning?”
You smiled at him, hoping the ever observing captain couldn’t see through you. “I’m okay, Kuroo. How are you?”
Kuroo’s eyes narrowed at you and you gulped. His eyes fell on your forced smile and his smirk fell from his lips. “Hey, y/n. You okay?”
You quickly nodded and pried your locker door open again, grabbing your books. “Yup, I’m fine. Just a bad night, I suppose.”
You quickly turned around and walked away from the confused captain.
Kenma found Kuroo at your locker, looking a bit lost. 
“What are you doing here?”
Kuroo looked up at Kenma, his eyes taking in Kenma’s pursed lips. A bad night, huh?
Kuroo straightened himself and then pointed to where you had gone. “They went that way.”
With a small nod, Kenma walked towards your classroom. His eyes scanned the room until they fell on you in the back. Your head was down and you were typing away at your phone.
Kenma pulled out his phone and texted you.
‘Can you come outside?’
Your eyes scanned the message and you looked up, meeting Kenma’s eyes. You silently cursed yourself and nodded, getting up.
You slowly walked outside, standing in front of Kenma.
Kenma’s hand were in his pockets, he unconsciously rocked back and forth. Once you stood in front of him, Kenma looked at you.
“I’m sorry, y/n. I shouldn’t have told you to go home yesterday.”
You smiled and nodded at him. “It’s okay, Kenma.”
Kenma frowned. Now he knew that it was not okay. Not when you couldn’t make eye contact with him for more than three seconds. Still, Kenma nodded, hoping that over the week, he could make it up to you.
He couldn’t. Kenma couldn’t make it up to you because you avoided him. And you did a good job at it as well.
No matter how many times Kenma tired, he could not seem to catch you. You would answer his texts as curtly as possible, and make excuses whenever he asked to see you. It’s not that you wanted to be petty, you just couldn’t help it. Kenma had been neglecting you for some time and now all of a sudden he wanted your attention? Now that you weren’t there? It made you upset.
It was four days after he had told you to go home where he finally got to you. Kenma had been watching you like a predator all day. He needed to find you in a secluded area so he could confront you, and lunch was the perfect time.
Kenma leaned against the wall beside the women’s washroom. As soon as you exited the washroom, a firm hand grabbed your wrist and pulled you into a chest.
You struggled against Kenma’s hold, trying to push him away.
“Stop struggling, y/n.”
And you did. You dropped your hands and stood limp as Kenma hugged you. He tightened his hold around your waist and dropped his forehead on your shoulder.
“I’m so sorry. I am. I feel terrible. I know i’ve been neglecting you for gaming, and I’m sorry I didn’t realize it sooner. Let me make it up to you, yeah?”
You nodded softly, bringing your own arms around his thin waist.
“I don’t want to be second to gaming, Kozume. When you told me to go home it hurt, and I didn’t like it.”
Kenma nodded, pressing a small kiss to your exposed neck. “m’sorry, babe. I’ll be better.”
You tightened your hold on your boyfriend with a smile on your face.
“I know.”
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yuh babyyyyyy
this was soft
taglist: @h-grangerstudies @ackerpotato @snoozless @elektrosonix @howcanyoubreathewithnozaire
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pls hes so cute i just wanna kiss him
daddyjackfrost © 2021 | all content belongs to me, do not modify
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soobadnoonecanstopher · 10 months ago
Touch it for Real, Part 9
Genre: Humor / Fluff / Angst / (Eventual) Smut 18+
Warnings: OMG they were roommates / slice of life / slow burn / mutual pining / crude humor / cursing / virgin!baek / idiots to lovers / unresolved sexual tension
Characters: Baekhyun X You/Female Reader
Description: You teach Baekhyun how to date. (Basically the Get You Alone M/V)
A/N: DO NOT YELL AT ME! It is going to be okay. 
Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5 , Part 6 , Part 7 , Part 8  , Part 9 , Part 10
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You had a secret.
For such an abstract and shapeless thing you could sure feel it sitting in there.
It was pulsing.
Your secret felt like a splinter lodged just under a single taste bud that sat in the center of your tongue. You could feel your white blood cells attacking it, trying their best to push it up and push it out, but still it clung tight with its sharp barbs lodged within your cell walls. You brushed your tongue against your teeth.
The secret did not budge.
What you knew about them though, was that secrets did not like to stay hidden forever.
Your fork slipped and clanked noisily against the ceramic plate and the bright orange carrot ball rolled across the smooth white surface nearly sliding over the edge onto the white linen. Whoever decided that your steamed vegetables needed to be shaped into spheres simply for aesthetics should be forced to come out here and explain how you were supposed to spear one of these things while also avoiding the risk of it shooting across the table and hitting your date in the face.
Ben turned out to be very nice. If you were into tall, handsome, clean-looking, and responsible guys who drove their own cars and also had things like health insurance and retirement plans. When you first saw him, you were struck by the firmness you felt when he shook your hand and smiled brightly at you. He had all of his teeth and a head full of hair. He was definitely walking around on his real legs too. He looked like the kind of guy who didn’t let the clean laundry sit in the dryer for longer than a day and changed out his toothbrush every three months. You couldn't see a single fault.
You were trying your best to make a good first impression.
Really, you were.
Well, while also keeping an eye on Baekhyun who sat beside you with his focus down on his plate as he sliced his food into bite sized bits. His control of the fork and knife felt so careful and so exacting, it neared obsession. He had not ordered the steamed vegetables. None of his food rolled.
Across from him, looking just as cute in person as her online dating profile pictures conveyed, was Mia.
Mia was fine.
She was fine.
You didn't want to get into it.
Her clothes were fine. They were exactly the kinds of clothes you had expected she would wear.
Her hair was fine.
She actually had a hairstyle that reminded you of one of the characters in an anime you watched with Baekhyun once and you wondered about the upkeep costs of that particular shade of blue that streaked through her hair. You wondered if she had to switch to blue towels and blue pillow cases or if everything in her house was just stained forever.
Baekhyun’s cheeks blushed when he shook her hand and his smile was bashful, if not a bit tight when she complimented his glasses. Your mind briefly considered the plush, expensive white towels you both owned at home and a flash of horror overcame you for a split second when you imagined those towels streaked with a blue stain from the shower.
He bought those glasses at a store. Anyone can go to the store and buy glasses. Did such a superficial compliment really warrant such a deep shade of pink on his cheeks?
You took a sip of your glass of wine and the sweet, cool liquid had a tart aftertaste that lingered on your taste buds long after you swallowed and you stabbed roughly at the runaway carrot again, impaling it with the prongs of your fork.
“I got it,” you said out loud to yourself with a wide smile and you held your prize up in front of your face for a second. Long enough for your eyes to drift across your table to meet Ben’s and you caught the soft amused chuckle that puffed from his nose.
You’d already gotten through the backstory. Starting with the curious question from Mia about how you and Baekhyun got to know each other and you took a quick glance toward Ben as Baekhyun explained that you and he had been roommates for a couple of years. You caught the slight smile on Ben’s lips as he looked down into his water glass and you wondered if he was pleased that he already knew the answer to this question as you had been quick to tell him this important detail about your life as you chatted with him during the last week or so.
Mia on the other hand simply let her eyes drift over from Baekhyun’s face to land on yours for a moment and you offered a disarming smile by way of explanation. Not that either of you had any explaining to do. You could live with whoever you wanted to live with. It took her ten seconds to return your smile, although you didn't quite believe it, or believe that she was done with her curiosities about this topic.
You couldn't really blame her although you’d given her nothing to be suspicious about. Not in the last 20 minutes since you’d all arrived and nibbled on shared appetizers, at least.
Hell, you hadn’t even touched him all day. From before you both arrived at this fancy restaurant and just relinquished your coats to some stranger simply because she held a hand out and sported a severe enough hairdo and manic look in her eyes that was too frightening to question. From the morning when you woke up and wandered into your kitchen to make toast for one and you ignored the sound of his feet shuffling in, half-asleep to grab a yogurt from the fridge. You hadn’t even helped him style his hair; which looked stunning, by the way, with the waves and the faded brown color that absolutely looked like something the perfect boyfriend would let you play with as he laid on your lap. He hadn’t even asked for your help picking out his outfit. He’d simply done it all on his own and waited for you by the front door wearing those jeans and smelling like that familiar scent that he bought for your date with him weeks back.
When had this all become so awkward? You’d never been afraid to touch Baekhyun before but now, well, the touches hadn’t ever concealed quite so much meaning before.
By the time the entrees arrived the conversations had moved on to hobbies and interests.
Ben was a movie buff, and his favorites were mostly mainstream blockbusters of the Marvel Superhero variety. He enjoyed many of the genres of films you’d mostly seen just the previews of. His top ten contained a bit more horror than you were comfortable with. One in particular, a prolific film based on a Steven King novel, had been the kind of psychologically terrifying film that made your chest rattle and you had spent most of the second half of that movie with your face buried in Baekhyun’s arm begging him to just describe to you what was happening and to tell you when the scary parts were over.
When he asked you what your favorite movie was you hesitated for a moment before pulling the movie Forrest Gump out of basically thin air. Yes you had enjoyed the movie. Yes it was something you’d seen more than once and if it was on television right now you would sit down and watch it from start to finish and you would enjoy it. It was a respectable favorite to have. It was the kind of favorite movie you would not be embarrassed to show to your grandmother.
But it wasn’t actually your favorite and you could feel the burden of Baekhyun’s eyes as he turned his head to look at your face when you said it.
Something about naming, out loud with your own lips — the light and fun, mindless guilty pleasure of the film that was actually your favorite movie that you’d watched hundreds of times and returned to watch again and again every time you felt even a little bit upset; something about saying it out loud to this table of people with countless of hours of media consumption under their belts and opinions about things like prolific directors, production companies, hefty CGI budgets, and overused, tired tropes that absolutely should be dropped in 2021, well it just felt too vulnerable for you to say out loud.
You swallowed a sip of your wine and refused to turn your head to look at Baekhyun until you heard the sound of his throat swallowing the ice water he sipped.
When Mia changed the topic to Anime you felt Baekhyun come alive beside you and Ben slinked back in his seat a little as the two of them got to talking about something that was highly anticipated and was slated to be released next year. Rumors about artists and directors with names you could not know flew easily from their lips and Mia mentioned the name of one previous work that you recognized.
In fact you had watched the entire thing last year with Baekhyun and you remembered talking excitedly about it with Mia during one of your early text conversations.
Your face lit up and you happily joined in, excited to finally know what in the world they were talking about when you accidentally let something slip when you reminded her of what she had said about the anime before. Luckily you stopped yourself before you could admit that you had actually been the one she had been chatting with at the time.
Still, she caught it. She was very quick and sharp and you watched her face as she registered that you’d referenced something that only Baekhyun should know about. Had you just fucked up?
“Ahh, we,” you raised your index finger and waved it lightly toward where Baekhyun had stiffened up in his seat beside you, “he told me about what you said.”
There was a moment when her eyes widened and she looked at Baekhyun briefly before returning her focus to you.
“He...told you about me?” She lifted a hand to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear, straightened her back and leaned forward with her forearms rested in front of her plate on the table. Her off-the-shoulders number dipped when she leaned in and you caught a bit of black lace and the bunch up of her impressive bosom.
She smiled a coy smile aimed across the table.
You followed the smile and your eyes reached Baekhyun. He’d been hit with the smile and had been too stunned to return it. Instead, he lifted a hand and rubbed it over the back of his neck twice before reaching the same hand forward to grab the ice water he’d been sipping all night as he pulled in a mouthful and puffed his cheeks before covering his lips with his flattened palm and swallowing noisily.
“I also mentioned you to my friend,” Mia said not quietly enough for it to be just for him and you dropped your eyes down to the half finished chicken on your plate.
She was fine. Mia was fine. She’d done absolutely nothing wrong. She was nice and she was probably a good person, but you kind of wanted her to die.
“So,” Ben interjected suddenly and you looked across the table at him as you tried to conceal the surprise on your face to find him sitting there.
You noticed he was done with his food and his plate had already been cleared away by the super attentive waitstaff.
The negligence of your own date weighed heavily on you and you angled your chest forward to face him directly for whatever questions he had for you.
He was pointing toward Baekhyun and Mia with his extended finger and raised eyebrows.
“You two work in computers?” It was a work question. He’d gathered this much from the brief introductions everyone had given and while you had failed to offer any insight as to what you did for a living, Baekhyun and Mia had both mentioned computers.
“He’s a software engineer, and I’m a programmer. Similar but not the same,” Mia explained. You weren't sure of any of the details or of how they were different. You hadn’t really put much thought into it. You knew Baekhyun worked the magic with the keyboard and could fix anything that you happened to break.
“I’m in advertising. Just got scouted by Comma Entertainment and I’ve accepted.” Ben had a hand raised to his chest and his eyebrows were up. This seemed important to him and you let your lips form into an impressed O shape as you raised your eyebrows. His tone and the way he said the name of his new employer seemed to warrant the excited reaction.
You weren't familiar at all with his industry but you knew how to react like you knew what he was talking about. He certainly seemed impressed by himself. Who were you to discourage his enthusiasm.
“You’ve heard of it?” You sold it too well. Baekhyun had leaned close to you and whispered an aside question and you shot him a tense look with your eyes as a warning, but you quickly pushed your smile wide for Ben who was, deservedly, very excited about his new position.
“Of course, who doesn’t know Comma for advertising. That’s a very big deal. Is that why you were so busy last week? We hardly got to talk.”
Your subject change was so slick. If you hadn’t been the one to do it, you’d have been impressed by it. The disappointed pout on your face sold it well.
“Actually I was at the bank a lot last week. It was so weird. I had a few accounts that seemed to be hacked but then it turned out to be nothing. Had to change all my passwords though, so that was annoying.”
“That sucks. They didn't take anything did they?” Mia spoke up from beside Ben; concern written all over her face.
“No. Whoever did it just seemed to access purchase histories mostly. Some loser of a hacker. Didn't even get any money.” Ben’s lips pulled wide and he was laughing with his head thrown back at his perceived victory over the hacker that had been messing around in his bank records.
“You can learn a remarkable amount of information about a person’s bad habits from their bank history, Ben. Sure utilities and rent; that’s boring. You can find out how often someone gets hammered at bars. How many of those bars are also strip clubs. How many maxed out credit cards they make minimum payments on each month just to keep their head above water. Their gambling losses and the motel rooms they book in the bad part of town…”
Baekhyun was speaking up beside you. You turned and you looked at his profile as he spoke so candidly and with what you could only describe as a certain smugness on his voice.
The only reason he’d stopped talking was to catch his breath. It was the most he had spoken all night and you honestly felt taken aback by the suddenness of his words and more, the topic he spoke on. It felt weirdly pointed. It just felt so detailed; almost accusatory.
“What?” You hissed the question; focused it hard and as under your breath as possible to the man seated beside you.
His lips closed up before his eyes turned to look at you and you caught a quick blink of his eyes that preceded a softening of his features that had no business looking that confrontational in the first place.
“I’m not saying any of that stuff applies to Ben.” Baekhyun lifted a slim dismissive hand to wave toward your date. “It’s just an example. For all we know Ben’s only weakness is eating fried chicken every day.”
Ben’s lips were pulled into a thin line on his face and his jaw unclenched when you looked back at him. Then he was smiling at you and it was bright and convincing. You smiled back at him and shook your head at your wacky roommate’s antics.
“Actually it’s pizza. You caught me buddy, I’m a hardcore pizza addict. Every night.”
“Well, not tonight.” Baekhyun shrugged with an odd smile landing on his lips.
Ben’s tight smile flattened and the two men seemed to be staring at each other for longer than you thought was polite for a shared first double-date.
“So what is it that you do?” It was Mia who ultimately broke the tension and you looked across the table into her eyes. She had a pleasant smile on her face and was still chewing on a piece of bread, clearly unbothered by the strange standoff that had just been going on between the two men at this table.
Surely you weren't the only one to notice how odd it had been. Had you just imagined the tightness in Baekhyun’s fist that laid over his thigh and the hard glare in Ben’s eyes?
With Mia’s question though, you felt your own lips pull closed and your eyes danced around the table to the other curious parties who also were now looking at you to answer the question.
You’d prepared well for this date. You’d made sure Baekhyun had the detailed first date topics, questions and answers for perfect small talk, even the section on table etiquette. You’d made sure he knew you’d be here to steer the conversations toward topics he was comfortable discussing and you’d even set up a safety signal he would use if he wanted to bail and just go home.
You’d planned it all out, down to the detailed progression of the evening and how at the end someone might even suggest going together for drinks. And should one of the dates wish to split off, it would be completely okay as long as the corresponding person felt comfortable. You’d even promised that under no circumstances would you abandon Baekhyun to do this on his own if he didn't want to. Not even at the behest of Ben, your date.
They were looking at you and you'd gone quiet. You’d been so busy preparing for this date that it never occurred to you that you were also actively involved and that someone might possibly ask a question about you and your work.
Your work. Well…
“Uhh...I don't really do anything worth mentioning.”
You felt it. It was a warmth that had pooled in the skin around your nose. Your cheeks felt warm and you felt just insignificant enough for it to take your undeserved confidence and throw it out the window.
Ben and Mia were watching you. You pulled your bottom lip in between your teeth and bit down on the dry chapped skin on the surface.
“Nothing?” Ben said and his eyes were wide with a look of confusion on his face.
“Well, not nothing.” You were not completely unemployed. You had been quite impressive before. You’d been working with the best publicists of an entertainment company and had been in charge of crafting and perfecting the asset sheets of many of your company's highest profile artists. You’d been the best at it and at one time had been highly sought out for your expertise. You had a way with it. You could work some real magic. You could make a dud of a raw potato sound like a five star course in a Michelin star restaurant. Losing your position in the spring of 2020 had really been a huge blow to your confidence. You looked back at how far you had fallen. Boring data entry jobs to make ends meet. Taking on weird side gigs so you could afford tiny luxuries like your favorite scented lotion or the name brand tampons instead of the store brand.
“I do have a job.” You added lamely. “It’s just not at all interesting.”
Ben dropped his eyes from yours and Mia shrugged her shoulders and stabbed a carrot ball expertly on the first try.
“Yeah but what is it?” Mia said as she chewed daintily. The heat in your cheeks spread and you let your eyes wander away from hers over the various dinner items that covered this table.
Beside you, Baekhyun’s movement caught your eye and you turned to see him place an elbow on the table in front of him and he leaned forward.
“She’s a dating coach. She’s really good at it, but much too modest when she talks about herself.”
Oh no. He wasn't about to spill the beans was he? This was definitely not something in the approved list of first date dinner topics. Wasn't this topic too incriminating? Wouldn't Mia put two and two together and figure out that you had been coaching Baekhyun all along? Also, wasn't this new profession of yours too brand new to start talking about so freely like this? What the hell was he doing?
“A dating coach? What’s that?”
Strangely, Mia didn't seem to be looking at Baekhyun with wheels turning and sirens blaring. She was looking at you with her mouth empty and hung open with a look of genuine interest in her eyes.
“Do you like, feed them what to say in an earpiece?” Ben was speaking up from the other side of Mia and you laughed at the absurdity of such a silly rom-com movie cliche.
“Well no. I’m not a pickup artist. I am a dating coach. Think about it like a sports coach. I am teaching my clients the skills to play the game. Skills to overcome dating anxiety, or I’m teaching them to identity and move away from self-sabotaging behaviors, limiting beliefs, or preconceptions that are detrimental to a healthy relationship.
I have clients that don't even know where to begin. My goal is to strategize with them and place them effectively within the dating scene so they stand the best chance. It’s incredibly hard to be objective about your own love life, but I provide an outside viewpoint. I step in and intervene when I see something that isn't in line with their relationship goals or the vision they have for dating.
I’m not teaching manipulation or just telling them what to say. There are no love spells to make someone fall in love with you. I’m changing the way they believe in themselves so they can present themselves to someone else in the absolute best way to begin a real relationship with someone.”
You’d been leaning in as you spoke animatedly with your hands. You felt the genuine excitement building with your words. You were surprised at how much of your previous profession’s language applied to this new exciting endeavor you were embarking on, but there really were tons of overlapping similarities between the two fields. The explanations just poured out of you.
You hadn’t said any of this out loud before to anyone but the more you talked about it, the more elated you felt about what you were doing with your life. With how much you had been helping Baekhyun and how much progress you had seen in just one day of helping your clients — Baekhyun’s friends Minseok and Sehun. Sehun had finally, finally sent you his first selfie that wasn’t taken from his lap after you’d sent him many examples of good selfies taken from different angles. Minseok was already halfway through the materials you’d sent him to study and had been working hard on identifying and changing the self-defeating language he’d used in his rough draft dating profile.
“She has an app.” Baekhyun piped up from beside you. He’d leaned back in his chair as you spoke.
Both Ben and Mia’s faces mirrored each other’s. Their eyes were wide and their mouths hung in amazement and you quickly closed up your own mouth and grabbed anxiously at your wine glass, feeling a little bit embarrassed about having talked so much. You couldn't resist the chance to smash their misconceptions about what your goals actually were with helping your clients. None of these people were unlovable. They were all worthy of finding someone and you were going to give it your all to help them see their own value.
“Not at all interesting?” Mia spoke up, “that’s super interesting. That’s really, really cool. Can—Can I have your contact info? I have a friend that would be interested in your services.”
“You have an app too? This is something we could advertise online. It would do extremely well on certain kinds of reddit forums and definitely in most online gaming communities.” Even Ben sounded excited, if not a bit overly judgmental, and you heard a quiet, but hostile scoff next to you.
You ticked your head toward the sound but did not turn to look at him. You knew that scoff well enough to hear the annoyance in his voice at whatever he thought Ben might be insinuating about online gamers and the connection to the incels that haunted the forums of reddit.
“I think it’s a bit premature to think about online advertising. I’m still only one person.”
Ben smiled and shrugged off your quick dismissal of his idea to partner up and advertise your business to the desperately lonely and pathetic gamers of the world. Hell, the more you thought about it, the less inappropriate Baekhyun’s annoyance was. Ben could use some coaching on choosing less insulting words.
Thankfully the dinner was over and the check had been taken care of. You looked away from the palpable awkwardness that slapped you across the face when Baekhyun waved away Ben’s card and paid for the entire bill with his own.
“You can get me next time, buddy.” He definitely said this word sarcastically. It was out of line and you simply could not find the right moment to pinch his leg under the table to get him to behave himself in a discrete enough way that would not get you caught by the other two people at this table.
You let it slide simply because you had no way to stop it. He was ignoring the way you waved your finger frantically at him down by your calf. You knew he could see you in his peripherals.
No, Baekhyun. Stop that. Be nice. Your hand was saying. He wouldn't even look at it.
The dinner was over and the movie was starting soon. You’d picked a restaurant that was close enough to the theatre that you could walk.
You paired off. It was far from natural. You actually caught Baekhyun’s eyes as you stepped quickly and walked ahead of him, falling into step beside Ben and you left behind Baekhyun and Mia to bring up the rear. It took every ounce of self control not to turn around and look behind you to see how closely they walked to each other. To see if Baekhyun kept his hands shoved securely in his pockets or if he swung his arms at his side as he walked, inching a hand closer and closer to Mia’s swinging hand in the hopes of a back of the hand brush of his warm skin against hers.
Your steps must have stalled. You’d reached the theatre and you looked up to locate Ben, only to find him at the box office purchasing four tickets for the movie you’d all agreed to watch days ago. For the life of you, you couldn't remember what you were seeing. You merely followed where you were led and found yourself seated in a center row of a movie house sandwiched between Ben and Baekhyun. You noticed the center armrests had been lifted when you arrived and simply did not bother to lower them since everyone was too full from dinner for any movie snacks or drinks.
The house was mostly empty and then lights dimmed as the movie began. You searched your brain and nearly pulled out your phone to check your chat logs for the name of the film but decided against shining a tiny bright light in a dark room.
The movie began and you were quickly drawn into the narrative. It was a dark film and as the soundtrack began to take on more sinister sounding tones you recognized that your heart was racing and you were feeling the tension all over your body. It was not a gorey horror film, but it was leaning more toward the psychological suspense thriller genre. Not really something you watched much of.
To your left, Ben sat completely still; focused only on the movie screen. He looked so calm and nearly unaffected by the terrifying things happening on the screen. He occasionally shifted in his seat but did not react to the jump scare that flashed before your eyes and made you flinch hard in your seat. You’d reached the point in the film when the main characters were in genuine danger and you began to wonder if anyone would make it out of this movie alive. Was this one of those films where everyone was doomed?
It happened again, another jump, another loud shocking sound and another noise startled you and you dove to your right, hiding your face in the warm shoulder of the man sitting beside you.
The realization was instantaneous. The second you felt the warmth of his arm, and the smell of him hit your nose, you pulled your head up and you straightened out your spine, mumbling a quiet apology to Baekhyun for using his arm to hide behind as you removed any and all contact points you had with his body. You angled your hips and your knees away from him and even went so far as to stick your hands well under your own thighs and keep them there so you didn't grab for him again. You had been doing so well by not touching him at all today. Why did it have to be a scary movie?
Things grew more frantic on the screen. You held your breath and tried your best to keep from reacting as much as you could. How long was this movie? How much longer did you have to endure this? You should have paid more attention to the details of this part of the date. This was your own fault. You were acting like a big baby because you couldn't handle a little frightening scenes in a movie.
It was coming again. You could feel it building. You closed your eyes and terrible sounds were erupting all over. You would just not look. You could make it through if you just didn't look. With your eyes closed the sounds felt louder than ever and when you thought you couldn't take it anymore you considered committing the enormous sin of getting up during the climax of the movie to use the bathroom just so you didn't have to sit through this anymore.
There was a shift beside you then. You felt warm fingers inching down your forearm, traveling the path your hand took that led below your thigh and someone was reaching for your hand and pulling it out from where you’d been sitting on it. Someone to your right was gripping your hand with his own warm hand and you opened your eyes to look down between the hidden space between your hip and Baekhyun’s hip. There, you saw the grip of his hand that wrapped securely around yours.
He squeezed down once and you followed the length of him up to catch a glimpse of the side of his face. He was looking up at the screen. His eyes were open and he did not flinch at all. He was so still aside from the occasional movement of his lips when he moistened them with his tongue.
You could handle this if he lent you a little bit of his strength like this. Your eyes returned to the screen but your mind wandered back down to the secure comfort you felt in his hand.
You felt your own secret throb.
It made you flinch just a little bit and Baekhyun’s hand shifted then. He moved, lifting the tight grip for a moment and you wondered if he was done, would he take his hand back and leave you cold and afraid again? The lift was for the shift of his fingers and you felt the push of each digit between yours. He pushed his fingers between yours; interlocking your hands together with his and his thumb moved lightly over your own thumb, brushing comforting strokes again and again through the loud and scary and shocking scenes that played over that screen.
This time the racing you felt in your chest had nothing to do with the scary movie. He was touching you. He was holding your hand in secret. It felt forbidden with his date sitting right beside him like she was and with your date seated right beside you like he was. All of your attention was down on the slow pressure you felt from his thumb as it traced the shape of your own thumb down from the very bottom up to the tip, around again. The simple up and down had a slow and sensual rhythm to it. When he lifted his hand his thumb moved and you held your breath to feel that same very slow touching trace the outline of the palm of your hand again and again. He drew absentminded shapes into your skin with the pointed tip of his thumb and your eyes drifted closed as the longing grew within you. He followed the paths of the creases in your skin like a palm reader. He did not even need light to see them, he simply felt them and traced along the paths.
You let him.
You felt bewitched.
You loved him.
The credits rolled on the screen and the lights switched on. The change was abrupt. You were taken by surprise and shocked by it like you were from the jump scares in the film.
His warmth left you. His wandering light touch, his deliberate and careful exploration of the lines that made up the palm of your hand vanished.
Everyone was standing and everyone was walking out of the theatre house and your mind felt clouded and dazed but you followed where their steps led and you found yourself standing outside of the exit doors with the three other people who you entered with.
Baekhyun stood beside Mia and Ben occupied the space of the sidewalk square that you also stood inside.
It was the end of a night. You felt an overwhelming urge for this evening to be done so you could go home and shower and maybe eat something sweet and distracting and maybe made out of chocolate.
“Well this was fun,” it was your own voice that ultimately called it.
Mia had been looking at Baekhyun who had been looking down at his own feet as he lightly tapped his foot on the concrete below. Three taps.
Tap, tap, tap.
You felt a jolt of realization. Baekhyun had just tapped his foot thrice on the floor below him well within your sight and you recognized what that meant. He was feeling done. He was done with all of this exhausting socializing and being out in public with so many people around and he wanted to go home now. This was him asking you for help now as he wasn't sure how to end the date but wanted it to be over.
“What about...grabbing some drinks, maybe...” Mia was talking only to Baekhyun as she looked at him, “if you aren't too tired.”
“Hey Baek, isn’t your grandmother coming over early tomorrow? Do you still have to get ready for that?” You interjected suddenly and Baekhyun looked up into your face with his mouth open and you watched his eyes move slowly over your face as he recognized what you were doing. You were giving him an out. Mia had asked him to go for drinks and you were giving him an excuse, should he need it.
You both knew his grandma came every other Sunday. You both vividly remembered the wonderful visit you had at the beginning of the week with her and she wasn’t due to arrive again until next Sunday.
He could simply correct you if he really did want to go with her. He could call you a dummy and tell you that you had the wrong week again and playfully tap you on the head to jog your brain back into functioning the right way as he often did when you got something mixed up.
“Oh, yeah she is,” Baekhyun grabbed your convenient reminder from the air and smiled a rueful smile directed at Mia. His smile widened with the wince on his face, “that’s too bad.” He added and Mia took it well.
She smiled and nodded her head and there were well wishes for a safe trip home all around as you all parted ways.
Ben said he would text you later. Baekhyun told Mia the same and you waited until they both walked away to follow Baekhyun back to his car for the quiet ride home.
The silence was heavy, but it was comfortable.
Baekhyun didn't speak at all and you could tell by the way he carried himself that he was tired. He wasn’t normally an extroverted person and found it very draining to carry on a full conversation with friends he knew well. Strangers like he had been with tonight, well, you could see the fatigue in his movements and you knew he needed something warm to drink and maybe some comfort with a familiar favorite tv show to zone out in front of.
You handled it better. You were used to having to go out of your home occasionally and you even enjoyed socializing with your coworkers on the few days you went in to the office for work. You felt a bit drained but mostly you were preoccupied with watching how he was handling it and you were also burning with curiosity to know how Baekhyun felt about the whole thing.
He’d wandered into the living room and he found the sofa. You followed him close behind and grabbed the remote, flipping to a familiar and funny cartoon that you often saw him playing in the background as he worked on things. He didn't usually watch it that closely but it was comforting enough to stay on and keep his mind occupied for a while.
You didn't speak. Everything you had to ask him could wait. Even the scolding you had for him about how he acted toward Ben could also wait. You’d let the man breathe a little first.
You busied yourself in the kitchen making two cups of hot tea and when you returned you found his head leaning against the back of the couch with his eyes still glued to the screen. He had a passive smile on his face and he reacted positively to the wacky scenarios the characters found themselves in. He would occasionally speak out loud, speaking along with a funny line he knew by heart and you found it impossible to resist saying the follow up joke. You knew this show as well as he did.
He accepted the tea with a smile and had a few sips and you set your mug on the coffee table in favorable of the comfortable side of the sofa, the side with the pillows that allowed you to rest your head comfortably as you watched the big tv.
You were feeling pretty good. Baekhyun had now officially gone on his first date with a real girl who wasn’t you and he’d had a nice time. You could see from where you laid your head down how relaxed his face was as he giggled at the show.
You stretched and you felt his warm thigh with your foot. This sofa was long enough for you to stretch out completely and you only barely reached where he sat at the other side. You wiggled your toes, unable to resist the light messing with him that you often gave in to and his hand reached down to grab ahold of your foot, which he held in place as he paid attention to the tv.
Your phone buzzed in your pocket and you sat up a little bit to pull it out.
You saw a text message from Ben.
From the preview you got the idea of what kind of text message the man would be sending you an hour after your first, and apparently your last date with him.
-Hey you seem like a super cool girl, but...
The preview showed you enough to know that he was dumping you before you’d even gotten anything started with him.
You opened the text. Your curiosity outweighed your sense of self preservation.
-...but whatever’s going on between you and your roommate, well it doesn’t really seem like there’s much room for me. I just don't think I can start something knowing I’ve already lost. Thanks for inviting me tonight. The movie was fun. Good luck with everything. - Ben
You felt the sting.
You couldn't help it. You’d spent all evening watching Baekhyun interact with Mia with every ounce of your self control devoted to not letting your jealousy show at all. At one point you’d been so damn engrossed in them that you forgot Ben was even there. What an unfair and shitty situation to have put him in. You quickly keyed out an apology for your crappy date etiquette and thanked him for going out with you tonight.
You couldn't even blame him for anything. He had been sweet and he had tried his best to be the perfect gentleman. What had you expected?
You sent the last message you would ever send to Ben and tossed your phone roughly toward the coffee table. It bounced but landed in the middle.
The racket called Baekhyun’s attention and he turned to look at you with his eyebrows raised in question.
“Ben just rejected me.”
Somehow saying this out loud to Baekhyun felt better than hiding it from him. It felt less miserable than keeping it inside of yourself and letting yourself suffer the sting of the rejection alone.
Baekhyun’s lips pulled into a small frown and he took out his cell phone from his pocket and tossed it roughly on the coffee table beside yours. It took a similar bounce and your eyes widened in surprise at the sudden gesture.
“No way, not Mia too,” you said in genuine fear and Baekhyun shook his head with his shrug still well in place.
“Nah, I just can't lay down with my phone in my pocket,” he said as he wiggled on the sofa trying to get comfortable, “though in hindsight I can see how you would think that, sorry. Mia hasn’t texted yet.”
He was wiggling, finding no comfort in all the positions he tried and you caught his wandering eyes for a second as you lightly tapped a hand over your belly.
This would be fine. This was something you both did sometimes. Baekhyun said your belly was warm and comfy and made the best noises and he liked to use you as a pillow when he was just too tired to go to his own bed.
He moved right away at your invitation and you let your legs part around his chest as he laid his head down right on top of you. He turned his head to face the tv and didn't even squirm too much before he sighed out loud. His arms laid on either side of your waist and you felt the constriction as he lightly squeezed around you.
You really hadn’t gotten to touch him all day. Your fingers found their way into his hair and you felt a low moan from the back of his throat travel though your body as you raked your nails down the back of his head to his nape.
“Peanut,” you said softly, feeling every little bit of the annoying little tickle of that stupid secret sitting inside of you.
You could feel the heaviness of his body as he gave in and relaxed his muscles on you. You felt every breath he took and they seemed to be changing as you played with his hair and he gave in to the relaxing comfort you offered him.
“Hmm?” He replied after a long while. You angled your face and could see that his eyes were closed.
“How was the date? Was it nice?”
You had so many hopes for him. You were trying your best to ignore the pangs of your own selfish jealousy and get past it all to get to something good for him. Something that would make him understand how incredible he was. How beautiful he was inside and out and how precious of a human being he was.
“Mhmm, I liked it.” He said softly and he shifted and you felt him tighten his hold around your waist briefly before he relaxed again.
“Did you really? Do you think you liked Mia?” You kept your voice strong. You did not allow your fears to overcome your voice. You were okay with this if he was okay.
He did not answer right away. You’d stopped playing with his hair and you kept your hand rested over his head. He was so warm. He was so lovely.
“Do you want me to like Mia?”
Mia would be so good to him.
You did not answer. Your answer would have been no. It would have been selfish. You’d just been dumped by your date, how dare his date have gone so well. You’d both been on the same date. You could still see the way she looked at him. She found him just as lovely as you did.
You felt a thickness at the back of your throat and you swallowed it down.
“I’m trying, Bug. She’s very nice to talk to. Do you think I should like her?”
Was this because of his mistrust of people? Was this his shyness about letting someone he didn't know very well in close?
You couldn't respond. You did not trust yourself to do the right thing.
“You should go rest if you’re sleepy,” you said, you know, like a coward.
It took him a few minutes of laying on top of you before he realized that you were right and he would be much more comfortable in his own bed. He nodded and pushed up with his arms, and his eyes stayed closed and his head stayed hung down as his feet shuffled and he made his way into his bedroom, leaving his door open you merely heard the loud sound of him plopping down on his bed.
You were stuck where he left you.
Stuck in about as crappy a mood as you’d ever found yourself.
You hated everything about this. You hated how much you loved him and you hated how receptive he was to the idea of dating Mia. You hated how she looked at him and giggled at his small jokes and you hated HATED the way his cheeks blushed and the shy smiles he gave her when she talked to him.
You laid there and you stewed in your mood for longer than was good for you and the only thing that made your it up was the simultaneous buzzing that brought both of your cell phones to life on the coffee table.
You reached for yours. It’s as your dating coach app. Baekhyun had received a new message from Mia. The feelings that surged through you were taking over your sense of what was good and what was right and what was proper behavior for someone like you to participate in.
You swiped to read the message.
-Hi Baekhyun. Sorry I couldn't wait until tomorrow to text you. I had an amazing time tonight and I was wondering if you would like to meet up tomorrow after your Grandmother’s visit for coffee? I have something I’d like to ask you.
You felt as if your body was on fire.
You could feel it deep inside your chest, deeper still inside your belly where his head had been resting moments before. You felt it in the palm of your hand where his thumb had traced the patterns of lines there. You felt it in your lips that he had kissed and in your tongue ached inside of your mouth from your stupid secret.
You reached for your phone. You opened the app for the power he’d given only to you and you responded to her message as if you were Baekhyun.
-Hi, Yeah, that sounds fine. I’ll meet you at 1pm.
Your hands moved on their own. You moved to the internal commands of your app and you deleted both of the messages from the chat history. When you picked up his phone you saw the notification for Mia’s message vanish before your eyes and when you unlocked it and accessed his chat log, there was no sign of the unimaginable and unforgivable sin you had just committed against him.
Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5 , Part 6 , Part 7 , Part 8  , Part 9 , Part 10
Tag list: @j-pping  @blahblahblah-boo  @his-mochi-cheeks  @amyeonzing@littleflowercrown13  @baekinmylife  @insta1010  @nana-banana  @f4ncyvelvet@bbhbeth  @totallynerdstuff  @byunbabybaek @maijinki @bbyunz@theclawofaraven @kingkushdealer  @uhobob @baekswifey​ @punchmebaekhyun @xlxbaekhyuneex
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lathalea · 5 months ago
Day 3: Blame It on Cider, part 1
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Here's today's fic for the Writer’s Month 2021 challenge (see @writersmonth for more info).
Today's prompt: word: outside | setting: wedding
Fandom: The Hobbit Relationships: Thorin x Yrsa (Dwarf Female OC) Warnings: cider, one grumpy blacksmith, one cheeky herbalist As usual, you can read this fic here and on AO3.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 * * *
Blame it on Cider, part 1
Yrsa was named after a bear, a sigil of her house, but the truth was different: she was as stubborn as a mule, and she always did things her way (she was a Firebeard, after all). Her grandfather would always say that no good would come out of it, but so far she managed to lead quite a rewarding life as a traveling herbalist, thank you very much. Besides, everything was better than staying at home in the Blue Mountains with her loving, but overbearing grandfather, her loving, but overprotective parents and her two older brothers who would never leave her out of their sight, because, guess what, they loved her so much. Yrsa definitely needed some breathing space. Wouldn’t you?
Anyway, living on the road and visiting her home once or twice a year offered her exactly that. Delivering babies, setting broken bones (and that included Dwarves, Men and goats in equal measure), along with treating persistent cough with her herbal remedies was a satisfying job, even though it didn’t fill her purse with as much coin as she would like to. She usually visited remote villages, mountain hamlets, lonely farms, and other places where healers were unheard of and medicines were scarce. Her arrival was usually met with joy, even though quite often the only payment the locals could offer was a roof over her head, food on the table and a pair of new boots, a good knife or a truckle of cheese (Yrsa was very partial to cheese). Now and then, it was a threescore of fresh eggs, too, but have you ever tried to walk the mountain trails carrying sixty eggs on your back? Exactly. Yrsa didn’t quite like the idea of opening her rucksack only to find scrambled eggs inside.
Sometimes, if she liked a place, or if it offered her more work than usual, she would stay there for a few weeks. This is why she spent last month in Ash Creek, a village named after a... creek. Apparently, the villagers, both Dwarves and Men, weren’t the most creative bunch, but they were very friendly and kind-hearted, and that’s what truly mattered to Yrsa.
August found her still in Ash Creek, and Yrsa blamed it on the delicious local cider. Yrsa had a special relationship with cider. Beer was usually not to her taste, but cider… That was a completely different story. The sweet and tangy taste on her tongue, the slight fizz tickling the inside of her mouth, the delicious apple aroma, the way it made her pleasantly dizzy and very, very happy… mmm… that was truly something.
But even the cider couldn’t keep her in one place. She began feeling restless, longing for the road. Besides, some of the locals were dropping hints at the fact that Birger, the butcher, was growing quite fond of her, and he was a well-off widower with two wee bairn who needed a mother, so surely she had to see that he was a good catch. Yes, it was definitely time for Yrsa to return to her travels. She decided to leave soon after an event the locals invited her to: a wedding.
The bride and groom were a lovely couple, and the wedding feast turned out to be a gleeful event: dozens of guests, including people from the nearby villages, and there was music, dancing, and lots of food and drink. And cider, of course.
Speaking of cider, Yrsa was having a good time and even acquainted herself with the first mug (alright, maybe the second… or the third, who’s counting anyway?) of last year’s cider (very well, maybe it was the fifth one, it was almost sunset, after all!). It was important to keep her throat wet while singing a very merry and very loud song with a group of Dwarves she sat with. She was sure of that, being a herbalist, she knew a thing or two about throat ailments, after all. So she kept her throat sufficiently wet. With cider.
Everyone was merry, and, in case anyone asked, the cider was truly delicious (who could have said no to a bit more of that sweetness?), but one thing bothered her. The grump. At the same table sat an unfamiliar Dwarf who didn’t sing, didn’t talk with anyone, and what’s worse, he had been frowning since the celebrations started. Somehow, it annoyed her greatly. And no, it had nothing to do with the fact that he was quite easy on the eyes.
“Are you always in a morbid mood during wedding feasts?” she shouted to him, trying to be heard in all the loud merriment.
“Only if it keeps me from my work,” the Dwarf glanced at her darkly, his frown deepening. His dark wavy hair that fell down his shoulders made her think of a stormcloud, while his bright blue eyes were like two lightnings, ready to strike her down.
“Do not mind him, love,” one of the local Dwarves said, leaning towards her and whispering conspiratorially, “That one’s a skilled blacksmith, visits our village every year, but he’s always as sullen as a caged beast!”
Yrsa chuckled and addressed the sullen caged beast, “Halfdan here says you don’t know how to party!”
The grump didn’t reply; instead he took a swig from his mug and put it back on the table with a loud clunk. Taking a better look at his face, Yrsa noticed a few interesting details (except for the fact that he might or might not be quite, well, handsome, but who cared, right? It’s not like Yrsa would be interested in a Dwarf only because of how he looked! Pff! Preposterous!).
First of all, when one ignored that scary frown accentuated by his wide eyebrows, the blacksmith had quite an interesting profile (interesting – not handsome! That’s a totally different word!). Also, his clothes were not of the best quality, but it was clear that he kept them in good shape. The local Dwarves wore a multitude of braids in their luscious beards and hair, but there were only two simple braids on both sides of the grumpy blacksmith’s face, while his beard was unusually short and well-kempt. He must have been in mourning for a while now, and yet there was no widower’s braid in his hair. Nor a marriage braid, for that matter. Not that Yrsa had been looking for it. She simply made an impartial observation. Yes, that was it.
“Isn’t it better to have fun outside, celebrating the happy couple with everyone else here, instead of being alone in a dark smithy?” she tried again, moving slightly towards him on the bench. Mourning or not, this grump was not going to ruin the atmosphere with his sour face. And no, she was not getting any silly ideas like trying to cheer him up for example. She wasn’t that drunk. Not yet, at least.
“Being alone in a dark smithy is what puts food on my table,” he grumbled, luckily for him unaware of her thoughts, and then he leaned backwards and folded his arms across his wide chest. Yes, with those muscles rippling under his tunic, he had to be an experienced blacksmith. Yet another impartial observation on Yrsa’s part. Nothing more.
“Being alone in a dark forest is what puts food on my table, and yet you don’t see me brooding nor wishing I was somewhere else,” she retorted.
“Are you a witch?” the grump smirked.
“What?!” she gasped.
“You claim that you spend your nights in a forest. You have to be a witch, then. Clearly, that is why everyone here is so amicable towards you. No one has told you to mind your own business yet, have they not? They are terrified of being turned into toads,” the blacksmith’s smirk widened. Several chuckles from other Dwarves followed. Grumble.
“I will have you know that I’m a herbalist!” Yrsa huffed and took a gulp of cider from her mug. “Do you not know that it is best to gather the most potent herbs at night? And even if I were a witch, I wouldn’t have to turn you into anything, you are already a toad!”
Their table companions chuckled again. One point for Yrsa!
The grump frowned even more (who would have thought it was possible?), and opened his mouth to say something very clever, Yrsa had no doubt about it, when the ring of a bell sounded in the air. The music stopped and the village leader bellowed: “Handfasting Dance!”
Everyone, even the eldest guests and mothers with babies in their arms, started rising to their feet and directing their steps towards the large empty area in the middle of the meadow. Everyone except the grump.
“Are you going to be sitting here all evening?” Yrsa stood up and rested her fists on her hips in irritation.
“Are you going to stop me?” the blacksmith raised his eyebrow, but didn’t make any other move.
“It is the Handfasting Dance! Have you not heard of this custom? Everyone must take part in it or the married couple will be cursed with seven years of misery!” she exclaimed.
The grump grunted in a very haughty manner, demonstrating how displeased he was, “It is simply an old superstition. I am sure Mahal will grace them with plenty of happiness without my participation in this merry event.”
“Superstition or not, you are a guest here as much as everyone else. It is the least you can do to honor the newlyweds,” Yrsa opposed him firmly, as if she was scolding a dwarfling and not a grown Dwarf in his prime (and boy, what a… be quiet, Yrsa’s mind, stick to the impartial observations!). Anyway, her great-grandmother would have been truly proud of her now. Who would have thought: merry Yrsa, the paragon of ancient traditions. Ha!
“Yrsa is right, y’know,” Halfdan got up from the bench and turned to the blacksmith with a wink. “Besides, she is a witch, remember? What if she turns you into something unnatural?”
Yrsa stifled a chuckle, casting a look at Halfdan who gave her a wave and went on his way to join the other guests.
The blacksmith frowned, of course, and then he grunted again. Yrsa wondered if his face was capable of any other expressions. Like smiling. A smile would suit his face for sure, making it even more… nevermind. Just an impartial observation. Moving on.
“Do not worry, I promise not to step on your feet!” Yrsa spoke to the grump in a light-hearted tone of voice, and then left for the dancing area, not looking back.
The huffing and puffing behind her told her everything she needed to know.
“What changed your mind?” she asked the slightly less frowning Dwarf who, somehow, found himself beside her, clapping his hands along with everybody else, while the newlywed couple twirled around the meadow, surrounded by the dancing circle of guests.
“I have come to a conclusion that a toad makes a lousy blacksmith,” he smirked and Yrsa couldn’t stop herself from giggling uncontrollably. Drat! She was in her cups! She shouldn't have drunk that sixth mug of cider, should she? Or was it the seventh one… Oh, an impartial observation coming right up: who would have thought that this grump can be both a hands--, ahem, an annoying Dwarf and have some sense of humour as well!
They haven’t exchanged many words after that; everyone joined the happy couple, and the blacksmith disappeared in the dancing crowd. Soon after, Yrsa danced with Halfdan, then avoided a close call with Birger by asking Old Gudi, the cobbler, to dance with her instead. From time to time she caught a glimpse of a familiar mane of dark hair or a blur of a dark blue tunic in the corner of her eye, and then she would turn to see him, and catch his gaze for a heartbeat, his eyes shining with the reflected light of the torches, and then she would turn again, and he would be gone again. Yrsa didn’t know how many times she danced with the villagers, but her feet never wanted to stop.
At one point, she found herself in the arms of a tall dwarf, and her hands rested on his shoulders covered with a dark blue tunic. Only then she did realize that those shoulders were pleasantly broad, just like the chest beneath them, and those arms gently rested on her waist, and that all those nice body parts belonged to… the blacksmith.
Her eyes widened, and then she chuckled as they started to move with the music, and, praise Mahal, a miracle happened, because the grumpy blacksmith chuckled back! Was it the cider? It had to be. The point was, he looked just as handsome as she hoped... Wait, she didn’t hope for anything of that sort, not for seeing him smile, and certainly not for dancing with him. It had to be the cider speaking, nothing else. It would explain so many things: why the ground seemed to sway beneath her feet, why everything seemed so much brighter, why she suddenly decided that the smell of pine needles, hot iron and wood smoke that filled her nostrils was alluring, and why she felt as if liquid joy rushed through her veins.
Surprisingly, the blacksmith turned out to be quite a decent dancer. The longer they danced, the more obvious it became to Yrsa that he knew all the right moves, the jig, the reel, even the square dance where you had to change partners – but at the end she would somehow find herself holding his hands again. And to think he was so reluctant to dance in the first place! It had to be the cider. Whenever he saw her miss a step or two (damned cider!), the blacksmith’s steady arms were there to support her. His motions were fluid, and it felt as if she floated through the air together with the smiling grump. Oh, and had she already mentioned that his eyes were now darker than his tunic, almost the color of the clear sky at dusk? What?! Durin’s Bane take all the impartial observations!
The cider hummed a pleasant tune in her head, and there was singing, and music, and everyone around them was merry, and she was dancing in the blacksmith’s strong arms, and then he gracefully twirled her around and pulled her closer against his firm body, and it was a late summer night, and she felt happy, and this handsome Dwarf was smiling back at her, his face so close to hers, a captivating softness in his gaze, and Yrsa knew she shouldn’t listen to her heart, but she was as stubborn as a mule, and she always did things her way.
And so she rose on her tiptoes and pressed her lips to his. To be continued...?
* * *
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Read it? Like it? Spread the love and reblog it!
Fell like reading more? Here is my masterlist for the Writer's Month 2021 event.
Taglist: @fizzyxcustard @shrimpsthings​ @dark-angel-is-back @sherala007 @amelia307 @anyaspidergirl-blog @jotink78 @rachel1959 @saltwater-in-the-afternoon @linasofia @justfollowtheroad @bitter-sweet-farmgirl @yourqueenunderthemountain @reblogunderthemountain @guardianofrivendell @elrawienthewhite @xmly-xo @tschrist1 @nelleedraws @beenovel @vee-vee-writes @mcchiberry
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mrkcore · 8 months ago
𝐅𝐈𝐍𝐀𝐋𝐋𝐘 - 𝐥.𝐣𝐧
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𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠: lee jeno x reader (ft. jaemin)
𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬: soulmates!au, barista!jeno, coffee shop setting ;)
𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭: 1.2k
𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐞: fluffy fluff ehehe
𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠(𝐬): none (mentions of food)
𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐨: boyfriend by coin, golden by harry styles, falling for u by mxmtoon & peachy!, in love by khai dreams, olivia by one direction, kiss me kiss me by 5sos, lover by taylor swift
𝐚/𝐧: i’ve had this idea for jeno for the past month, and then boom appears cafe dream lmaoo, happy birthday jeno <3 (feedback is appreciated too! :D)
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“lisa, i swear!” you try telling your friend again. “every time i’m here, it always says 4 meters away. it can’t be just a coincidence!”
“are you sure it’s him though?” she questions. “just be sure, that’d be embarrassing if it wasn’t and you went up to him to declare your love only to be shot down.”
“literally every single time i go up to order something, it displays less than a meter, who else would it be?” you’re bouncing in your seat now. you’ve been waiting for a long time to muster up the courage to go and introduce yourself, and maybe hint at your special bond. today, you’ve brought your best friend to give you moral support.
“okay, go do it. i believe in you, don’t back out in the last moment, if this succeeds, you know what that means.” lisa winks at you while you roll your eyes at her tone and what she is hinting at.
“okay,” you sucked in your breath, and exhaled. “whew, i got this.” you tried calming your nervous, excited, very confused nerves.
“go!” lisa pats you as you stand up, walking towards him. you give lisa a last forced smile, and she sends you an encouraging thumbs up back. and you turn around, facing your goal straight on.
it seems like the regular handsome barista is also walking towards the boy too, but it doesn’t matter, nothing is going to stop you.
before the barista can even open his mouth, you start speaking.
“hi! i’m y/n, this might seem weird to say, but i think you’re my soulmate.” you try to smile after blurting it out, wanting to crawl into your hole of a room in embarrassment. especially when the boy tries to hide a laugh, and the barista beside you lets out an annoyed huff and walks back to the counter. 
you are so confused, and embarrassed. very embarrassed. did you mention embarrassed?
“uhm, is there a problem-” you look down at your arm, and instead of a 0, what you were expecting, there’s a 2. “oh, oh no. i am so sorry.” you say to the boy in front of you.  
“don’t worry about it,” he chuckles. you wanted to die. “i’m jaemin, i think i’ve seen you around the cafe before.”
“yeah, you’re always here when i am and stuff just matched up for some reason, i’m so sorry about the misunderstanding.” you apologize one more time before turning around to walk back to your table, dejected.
“wait one second,” jaemin says, you turn back to face him, confused once more. “you have the wrong person, but you’re right, someone here is your soulmate.”
“jaemin, your coffee.” you turn to see the barista again, this time holding a cup of coffee, no it doesn’t even look like coffee, more like straight up poison. you watch in awe as he happily accepts it and takes a delighted sip.
“ah yes, i’m finally awake.” jaemin smiles brightly. “what were we talking about again? oh right, your soulmate.” you look down at your wrist again, and this time, it displays 0. 
“it’s you!” you exclaimed, as if you had an eureka moment, spinning around to face your true soulmate, the barista. 
he scoffs before walking back to the counter, you following closely behind him.
“took you long enough.” he said, you leaned on the counter, watching him make another cup of coffee.
“why didn’t you say anything if you knew?” you questioned, your ego slightly bruised. 
“it was cute listening to you rant about not being able to find your soulmate, and then realize that they would be in this cafe. the one you come to about every single day.” he turns around and hands you an iced coffee, just the way you like it.
“how long have you known?” you sipped curiously.
“about 2 months? give or take.” he then hands you a cutely made cat cupcake, he sees the way you perked up after given food.
“wow, you really have some good self-control, if that was me, i’d not be able to hold myself back.” you happily munch on the yummy treat, getting some frosting on your top lip.
“yeah, i can tell.” he leans in, wiping the frosting off your lip, handing you a napkin, you feel your face heating up. “oh hey, jaemin owes me $5.” the boy suddenly remembers out of the blue.
“for what?” you finish the cupcake and throw the wrapper in the garbage beside him.
“i bet that you wouldn’t guess it was me.” he smiles to himself, seeming pretty proud of himself. you huffed. “i’m still pretty surprised you had the guts to go up to someone to ask though, congrats.”
“aghh, i just don’t know why you wouldn’t tell me, and just watch me go up to someone and be wrong! what kind of soulmate are you?” you really feel embarrassed, but at least now you know who your soulmate is.
“well, why didn’t you think it was me?” the boy asks you this time. you feel your face hot again, and you turn around, not wanting to face him. 
“i thought you were too handsome and i was too nervous to be around you.” you mumble. you had secretly been crushing on him for a while, before you figured out that your soulmate would be in the cafe every single time you were there. but after finding out, you thought he was way out of your league and completely disregarded him.
“what did you say?” he leaned in closer to try and hear you better, but very obviously teasing you. “i didn’t quite catch that.”
“you heard me, dummy.” you pouted, grumbling as you crossed your arms. 
“i thought you said i made you nervous, what happened to that huh?” he laughs, teasing you further.
“well, now i’m not because i know you’re my soulmate.” you catch lisa looking at you, puzzled at what is unfolding in front of her eyes. you sent a pair of thumbs up to reassure her. “anyways soulmate, you got a name don’t you?”
“it’s jeno, it’s also on my name tag, do you not pay attention to me at all?” jeno pouts, making you swoon a bit.
“i know your name! i just wanted to hear you say it.” you try and defend yourself. jeno laughs at how easily you are worked up. “so, soulmate, does that mean i get free food here now?” you wink at him as he looks at you in disbelief.
“that was my hard work for these 2 months, i could’ve given that cupcake to me to treat myself.” jeno complains. “and i’m really hungry right now.”
“hmm, are you sure?” you try again.
“please?” you look at him with wide and sparkly eyes you know he can’t resist.
“negotiable.” he crosses his arms, facing away from you as he blushes.
“see! i knew you were a softie.” you poke him in the side.
smiles grow on both of your faces and you know you’ve found your soulmate.
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© mrkcore. 2021
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hypahticklish · 17 days ago
Some Things Change, Some Things Stay
Summary: Where Steven and Connie reunite for the holidays and shenanigans ensue.
POV/Setting: Steven Universe / Post SU:Future / Cannon-verse
Word Count: 1,334
A/N: Happy Squealing Santa 2021 to @writersonicfan91! I really hope you enjoy it! I'm squeakin' in this fic at almost the last possible moment 😅 Thank you so much to @ticklygiggles for hosting this year and for acting as a go-between for me.
There was something special about how Beach City handled the holiday season. Both Funland amusement park and it's arcades' usual carnival tunes were replaced with electronic versions of copyright free Christmas music. Each shop along the boardwalk and shore was decorated with strings of tinsel and twinkling lights; the Fry Shack and Fish Stew Pizza were obviously competing on whose set up could be more elaborate. Even Little Homeworld adopted a festive mood by mashing all the different winter holiday traditions together and celebrating them all the whole month long.
Here, the night was calm and quiet. It had only been a few months since he left but still Steven felt a bittersweet swell in his chest as he gazed upon his hometown from a hill that overlooked it. A cold breeze rustled the grass in harmony with the ocean waves gently crashing miles below. He laid back and breathed in the familiar scents. Though it was a surprise visit that he and Connie had planned, Steven was sure Garnet had already seen his arrival. Still, he was grateful for the moment that she had the foresight to either keep it to themself or keep the rest of the Crystal Gems from rushing to the outskirts of the city.
He glanced at his phone for the time and saw a text from Connie ping through.
4:43pm - Almost finished packing. Checking my list to make sure I've got everything
4:44pm - Kk, am chillin topside ♪ヽ(´▽`)/
5:07pm - Just gotta wake up Lion - be there soon!
5:07pm -
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"Awww!" Steven quickly relayed his exclamation before pocketing his phone once more. He stood up and stretched. "Okay Steven, it's only been 89 days since we hung out in person - nothing to be nervous about! We video chat every night, it's gonna be totally normal."
He casually put his hands in his jacket pockets.
He shifted his weight to one leg while the other bounced.
He twiddled his thumbs.
A visible heat shimmer rose around him.
"This feeling is valid but pull it together Universe!" He gently scolded and wiggled his whole body to release some of the pent-up energy.
A pink portal opened up a short distance from Steven with a muffled boom of a far away roar. He turned in time to see Lion charge past and Connie launching herself at him.
"STEVEN!" She gleefully cried with stars in her eyes.
An embarrassing yelp was the first thing he could get out as he caught Connie and tumbled head over heels in a protective pink bubble. Then they were laughing in a tight embrace that threatened an oncoming fusion if their emotions danced too far away from them. Lion circled round to catch them from rolling too far down the hill away from Steven's car and Connie's discarded luggage. Once they were safe, the bubble popped and left them lying in the grass.
Connie sighed and lifted herself from his neck. "It's so good to - OPE!" Lion forcefully nudged his large head into the gap between them and pushed her off to cuddle Steven. "Heeey, Liiion!'
"Aww, hey buddy, I missed you too," Steven chuckled. He hugged the massive beast and scritched deep into Lion's mane, causing him to rest his full weight across Steven's chest. Steven grunted and kicked his legs dramatically but made no actual attempts to free himself.
Connie moved to sit beside them at an angle where Steven could comfortably see her, only to be pushed over again when Lion stretched out his massive paws. "Lion!"
She was ignored. Her squinted glare and downturn pout didn't match the amusement in her voice. It was devastatingly simple for Steven to adore her.
"Nothin." Steven smirked as she directed her playful ire his way. "Your reactions are just funny, that's all."
"Oh yea? I'll give you somethin' to laugh about!" Connie rolled out of view before reseating herself on Steven's shins.
He was giggling before a protest could form on his lips. Connie's fingertips dripped slowly across the tops of his feet from the thong strap of his signature flip flops. This methodical tickling involving gently traced anatomical shapes (the metatarsals in this case) riled his nerves into a frenzy. Steven kept as still as possible, knowing full well how ruthless she could be if he accidentally kicked her. Instead, he grabbed fistfuls of Lion's mane in a vain attempt to ground himself.
"It's winter, where are your shoes? Don't you know how sensitive feet are to adverse conditions?" Connie teased, emphasizing choice words with both tone and rapid fluttering around his ankles and the edges of his soles.
"I-hehehe-I run war-heh-horm!" Steven explained to his fully aware girlfriend. His giggles grew louder and faster with Connie focusing on the inner and outer edges of his feet. Pinned as he was by an unbothered Lion, Steven still couldn't stop himself from squirming. His shirt and jacket rode up, his jeans twisted a little around his hips and knees, and his flip flops were hanging precariously from his shaking toes.
"Fun fact: hot people tend to be ticklish."
Steven blushed and laughed a little harder at the double meaning in her smug voice. "Connie~!" The snare she had around his feet pulled away to his great relief. Until she shifted her weight and he felt her knees on either side of his. Steven became infinitely more aware of how vulnerable he had become in just a few minutes. "Oh no, no - Connie, please, I'm stuck, Connie - Lion, Lion!Get!Off!Me!" He desperately pushed at the massive cat who leaned into the pressure with a content chuff.
Chilly fingertips squished into his sides and shocked a squeal out of his system. Even colder was the tip of Connie's nose that she touched to his gem. "Why are you so cold?!" A wash of whiney preemptive snickering overtook him.
"If only the Great Diamond Authority," she said in poor imitation of Yellow while squeezing to emphasize each word in the title, "knew the savior of the universe would crumble from tummy tickles." Then, she let her fingers fly.
Joyful tears sprang to Steven's eyes immediately. He was utterly incapable of containing his reactions when his stomach was focused upon in any capacity. Gentle rubs soothed him in a cosmic way, being held or laid upon gave him a profound sense of security, kisses melted his essence to mewling goo. When his gem was included in such affections...it was a transcendental experience.
Tickling summoned the purest, giddiest laughter in all the planets combined. It summoned light to his gem that was stuttering like his frantic heartbeat. Any words Steven attempted were doomed to incoherent babbling punctuated by helpless snorts. If it were anyone but his loved ones toying with his belly, the intense vulnerability would be terrifying. But in their hands, it was unbelievable fun. And in Connie's hands, he was the happiest putty he could possibly be.
Steven was unsure how long Connie had been tickling him when Lion finally had had enough of their shenanigans interrupting his nap. The pink beast grumbled as it came to his feet and padded off toward the temple. Connie seized the opportunity to flop forward and snuggle in his place. When Steven resumed gently scritching, this time to her scalp, she sighed into a sing-song hum.
"Mmm, I missed you so much, Steven." Connie full-body squished him. She kissed beside his heart, unwilling to move her ear too far from it.
"I missed you too. And I missed this."
"The cuddle puddle or the tickle torture?"
"All of it," Steven admitted quietly.
"Good to know." He felt her smile against him. Nature's orchestra filled the quiet - wind and waves and midi holiday-ish songs. "We should probably get going soon, huh?"
Love engulfed him in the same space where anxiety had not too long ago. "Yea...soon." Steven wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of Connie's head.
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journeythroughtarot · 4 months ago
Sunday, 22nd August 2021
Today, or rather this morning, the full moon will rise. The full moon has long been connected to intuition and the subconscious, and at its brightest, it is able to shine through the illusions that knit our lives together. It urges self-reflection; a discipline that is perfect for tarot.
August to a lot of people is the epitome of summer - it breathes warm days bathed in golden light, lazy days best spent beside the sea, with the sun being at the centre of this image. But it is also the last month that summer has its reign, before autumn takes its place in September. It boasts new beginnings, reflected in the light of the summer sun, but this will soon come to an end when the crops are harvested and the season changes. The August full moon therefore represents the glory of our success before the cycle finishes and another starts anew. You can use this as an opportunity to reflect on your journey so far - take note of you successes and achievements, but also explore what went unnoticed. 
This full moon is also significant because it lands on the 22nd. In numerology, the number 22 is a master number that represents the balance and duality of 2 and the solidity and practicality of 4. It is a powerful number that embodies precision, power, and discipline, marking the boundary between our perception and reality. So, whilst 4 is the foundation, 22 is the act of building this foundation up. This will be a good time to look at the choices you have made or the choices that lay before you. What do you want? What would you like to achieve? Use the number 22 to strive forward with purpose.
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oxymitch · 4 months ago
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November 2021 Marvel Solicitations - Youth Edition 
(With occasional appearances of Laura Kinney, Synch and the X-Kids in X-Titles.)
HAWKEYE: KATE BISHOP #1 (OF 5) Marieke Nijkamp (W) • Enid Balám (A) • Cover by Jahnoy Lindsay Variant cover by Phil Noto Variant cover by Enid Balám HEADSHOT VARIANT COVER BY TODD NAUCK VARIANT COVER BY SKOTTIE YOUNG Kate's heading home! Or at least, back to New York. And as much as she wants to go back to where her friends – her chosen family – are, she's changed since she was last on the East Coast. So she's picked up a pit stop case first. A confidence-booster, to prove to herself she's making the right decision and not going to backslide into her past just by changing time zones. Besides, the case is perfect: Swanky resort? Check. Jewel heist? Check. Almost definitely 100% a trap? Check. Don't miss this exciting new miniseries from New York Times bestselling writer Marieke Nijkamp and artist Enid Balám! 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99 
MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #32 SALADIN AHMED (W) • Christopher ALLEN (A) • Cover by TAURIN CLARKE Variant Cover by KRIS ANKA • Taskmaster (fresh off an on-screen debut in BLACK WIDOW) attacks Spider-Man and Starling, interrupting their…. date?! • Miles must race the clock to save his date and his own life against one of the most dangerous villains in the Marvel Universe. • Plus, the return of an old friend—Ironheart! 32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99
DARKHAWK #4 (OF 5) KYLE HIGGINS (W) • Juanan Ramírez (A) Cover by Juanan Ramirez VARIANT COVER BY Superlog VARIANT COVER BY RON LIM TEAM-UP WITH SPIDER-MAN AND CAPTAIN AMERICA?! Connor Young's only been the new Darkhawk for two whole minutes, and already he's not sure the super hero life is for him. But will he feel the same way when he meets Miles Morales and Steve Rogers? 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
S.W.O.R.D. #10 Al Ewing (W) • JACOPO CAMAGNI (A) Cover by STEFANO CASELLI Variant cover by Inhyuk Lee STATION DOWN! As Storm battles the Lethal Legion on Mars, there are explosive problems on the Peak – as the mole in S.W.O.R.D. is revealed! Meanwhile, Wiz Kid and Cable find themselves face-to-face with the one foe they never expected! And where is Abigail Brand? 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99 
STRANGE ACADEMY #13 SKOTTIE YOUNG (W) • HUMBERTO RAMOS (A/C) CHARACTER SPOTLIGHT VARIANT COVER BY ART ADAMS UNLUCKY 13 VARIANT COVER BY TBA • The Strange Academy kids have a night on the town in New Orleans! • Some kids go for a tour of a famous NOLA graveyard, and I'm sure you know how teens in graveyards usually go. • Emily takes a field trip of her own, and we also learn the SECRET ORIGIN OF ZOE LAVEAU! 32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
MARVEL'S VOICES: HERITAGE #1 REBECCA ROANHORSE, NYLA INNUKSUK AND MORE! (W) • JIM TERRY, DAVID CUTLER AND MORE! (A) Cover by KYLE CHARLES • Variant cover by AFUA RICHARDSON Hidden Gem variant COVER by TBA • Variant cover by JIM TERRY NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH VARIANT COVER BY MARIA WOLF Variant cover by David MacK • Variant cover by TBA THE HIT VOICES SERIES CONTINUES WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY ARRAY OF INDIGENOUS TALENT! Year two of Marvel's Voices kicks off with a celebration of Indigenous characters and talent! Get the full story behind River, the mysterious stranger from the pages of Rebecca Roanhorse's new ECHO series! Discover Snowguard's greatest hopes and fears in a tale by celebrated filmmaker Nyla Innuksuk! And many more reveals to come. New and established creators explore the wonders of the Marvel Universe – catch the next big wave here! 40 PGS./ONE-SHOT/Rated T+ …$4.99
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writings-of-a-fool · 9 months ago
I Like It Like This Way
Miguel Diaz x GN!Reader
Request: None really. Someone wanted more miguel months ago. Ya get it now.
A/N: THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SHORT FLUFFY FIC JUST TO GET BACK INTO WRITING!!!! But the idea of Miguel with long hair made my brain go CRAZY!!!!! Long hair Xolo supremacy😌. Uhhh anyways sorry for letting my thotty-ness run wild with this one. Also LMK if yall want actual smut of this cuzz👁👁 I may or may not have it written already
Warnings: Horny thoughts, hair pulling, very intense making out but nothing more than that
Word Count: 1200 Words ( I TOLD YOU! IT MADE ME CRAZY!)
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It wasn't often that Miguel's mom and Yaya weren't home, Usually, Yaya Diaz would be milling about the kitchen and common area, popping in every so often to check in on the two of you. So you obviously jumped at the chance to come over after school to study with your boyfriend alone. Well, maybe not study. But at least hang out with him as your overdue homework lay on the floor.
In all honesty, this was better.
Conversation had died off a while ago and you both began to do your own things. Miguel just so happened to decide now was a good time to catch up on strength training. All that time in a hospital bed and then relearning how to walk had taken a significant toll on his muscle strength. And had lengthened his hair.
He was on the floor going through his regular bodyweight regimen. At first, it hadn't been of much interest to you but now he was on the ground doing push-ups. He had taken off his shirt and tied up his hair into a ponytail. Your phone sat in your hand unused as you stared. Sweat dripped down his arms as he lifted his upper half from the floor, again and again. Letting out small huffs under the strain. You felt yourself begin to pant in tandem with his breaths.
His hair had begun to slip from the loose tie. Some hair stuck against his cheek and forehead or clung to the back of his neck. Sometimes he would hold himself on one hand for a moment to tuck the loose strands behind his ear before returning to his rhythmic movements.
A drop of sweat slid down the curvature of his bicep as he lowered himself to the floor, your eyes chased it as it made its way down his elbow, forearm, all the way down to his wrist. His hands strained against the floor, veins bulging under the effort. Your mouth suddenly felt very dry and you were sure one stroke of your tongue against his skin would quench you. Or maybe it would make you even more thirsty.
"You good babe?" You were ripped from your thoughts By Miguel's voice.. He was now on his knees beside the bed, mopping up sweat with a small towel. Oh, how you envied the fabric running along his skin. It took you a moment to get your brain running coherently again before you could respond. How were you supposed to think straight as his toned core was now on full display?
"Uh yeah no definitely, yeah." You managed after clearing your throat. A smile crept onto his lips before he let out a snort and shook his head.
"Yeah no definitely," He parroted with a heart-stopping grin "I'm sure you were enjoying the show."
Leaning over, he pressed a smiling kiss to lips. Just his lips wasn't enough, you pulled him in by the shoulders to deepen the kiss. He crawled his way onto the bed. He was half on top of you as you ran your hands up and down his back. You could feel the heat still lingering under his skin, it sent tingles down your spine.
"I was." You managed to pull away just enough to pant against his lips. "You looked so good on the floor like that."
"Should I get back down there? Give you something to look at?" He teased.
"Hell. No." You growled, bringing a knee up beside him, pushing him to lay on top of you fully.
You almost groaned as Miguel's full weight came to rest on you. His skin was so hot against yours, his hand rode up your side, slipping under the side of your shirt. At that you let a small sigh slip out. Your hand trailed from his back and into his hair. With a gentle tug, you pulled his hair free from the tie. It brushed against your cheek as his lips lowered to your neck.
His teeth grazed your jugular and your fingers tightened around his hair. He let out a gasp and nipped at your skin, causing you to give another tug. He let out a quiet 'fuck' and his hand gripped your waist tightly.
"I'm never cutting my hair ever again, god." He sighed against the skin just above the collar of your shirt.
"Good, I like it this length." You lead his lips back to yours by his hair.
He kisses you with even more fervour than before. It's all teeth and tongue and a haze falls over your mind as his hips press into yours. One of his hands begins to pull your shirt up to expose your ribs.
The squeal of the front door opening rips you both out of the moment. Panic crosses both of your faces as the jaunty hums of Yaya Diaz flood the apartment.
Miguel scrambled off of you, rushing to grab his shirt and straighten out his hair. Your hands yank your shirt out of its wrinkled state and you sit up into what you think is a casual position. Miguel comes to sit on the bed with you, phone in hand. You both unlock your phones, opening random apps just as Yaya Diaz comes knocking at the door.
"Yeah?" Miguel calls casually, casting a look at the door. She peeks her head in around the corner with a cheeky smile, which falls from her face when she sees you two sitting on the bed playing on your phones.
"Hi, Rosa." You say shooting her an innocent smile and she returns it with a nod. She shoots Miguel a look. He shrugs his shoulders and gives a questioning shake of his head. She rolls her eyes, gives you one last smile before leaving the room,muttering to herself.
You two sit across from each other in silence. It borders on awkward and you can't meet each other's gaze for a time. When your eyes finally do meet smiles creep to your faces, growing wider and wider until you two break out in laughter. he flops backwards onto his pillows and puts an arm over his face. Giggling, you come to lay beside him on top of his other arm outstretched across the bed. The laughter continues every time you catch each other's gaze, after a while, they become smaller and breathy-er until the laughter is diminished into sighs.
"You really like my hair like this?" he asks after a time.
"Mhm. I don't know, it makes you look more mature or something." You shrug with a smirk.
"Oh yeah, more mature?" he rolls his eyes.
"Mhm. But I like your hair however." You sigh, haphazardly throwing an arm across his chest and letting your eyes fall closed. All the excitement getting to you.
"Thanks." He looks down at you with a soft smile. pressing a soft kiss to the crown of your head. You don't see the bashful smile on his face as he thinks about how sweet you are.
In the kitchen Rosa shakes her head, muttering to herself about how boring kids these days are and how annoying phones are. How was anyone to have some fun?
Posted On: 4/12/2021
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tblrthreadtracker · a year ago
RPThreadTracker will be closing effective Feb 1 2021
EDITED TO ADD: Based on the response to this post, i’m considering other options besides shutting the site down wholesale. Updates to follow.
On April 4, 2014, I released the first announcement of the very first version of RPThreadTracker. It was kind of a messy project at first - really, I originally set it up for my own personal writing use and didn’t expect it to go anywhere.
But people found it, and they used it, and they sent incredibly nice feedback and for six and a half years now I’ve been thrilled to help support all of you in the RP community on Tumblr and keep this tool useful and up to date. It has been an amazing learning experience for me in so many ways and I’m so glad I’ve been able to be a help to so many people as well.
Unfortunately, I have reached a point where I can no longer commit time to maintaining the site (as you may have all noticed, given the dearth of updates lately) and general usage has also dropped steadily in the last few years since the Tumblr porn ban, which is making it harder to justify the amount I’m spending on hosting and data storage every month. So I am sad to say I will be closing RPThreadTracker.com down permanently starting Feb 1 2021.
It’s my hope that this two-month leadup will give plenty of time for anyone still actively using the site to export their threads (there’s a tool for that on the site!) and get settled with a new system. I’m happy to assist anyone with this that needs help. On Feb 1, I will be shutting down the site and deleting all stored databases.
Also, as a note - the code for RPThreadTracker is 100% open-source; I would completely support anyone else who wanted to make use of it for a future tool. Feel free to get in touch with me if that’s something that interests you.
Thank you again to everyone who has supported the site over the years. You all are fantastic and I wish you all happy writing forever.
- Roz (Trackermun)
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spn-season-16-chronicles · 10 months ago
5th March 2021
Fandom celebrates 4 months of Cas' homosexual declaration of love, braces itself for upcoming panels.
Panel with Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster (played Jody Mills and Donna Hanscum respectively) takes place. Gals answered general questions about their lives during quarantine, mentioned possible tiktok colab.
Got asked about the finale - Kim says that she didn't see the finale, and for now is not planning to watch it. Says she don't want to acknowladge that it has ended.
Asked about Claire's reunion with Kaia Briana says that they didn't have enough time to build that story. Kim on the other hand said that she headcanons it as Claire coming back home from the hunt, meeting Kaia there and learning to hunt safer, because now she has some to live for as they are "supposed to be soul mates".
Briana mentions last get-together for the drinks (that was directly after shoots for 15x18 ended) with Dick Speight, Alex, Misha and Jensen, and saying goodbye to Dick with "well, see ya in a couple months" but in the end not reuniting for last episodes.
They mention missing in-person conventions, missing hugging and people in genera. (Bonus: Briana calls Jensen a goof and a funny guy)
From related news: it was clearwd out that leaked costume, rumored to be Soldier Boy's, is in fact a outfit belonging to new character - Sonicboy
What will happen tomorrow? (besides some kind of Misha-flavoured chaos, because that is kind ot given)
And now weather
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duggardata · 9 months ago
Where In The World...
... Do The Duggars Live?  (As of April 2021)
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By request, this Ask will list where each Duggar Couple lives—city, county, and state, not addresses—and their proximity to The Big House.  I’ve also included a few fun facts, along the way.  Here we go!
Jim Bob + Michelle (Ruark) Duggar, along with all the Unmarried Children—Jana, Jer, Jason, James, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn, and Josie, and Tyler—live in Tontitown (Springdale), Washington County, Arkansas, in a steel–frame dwelling, nicknamed “The Tinker Toy House”—or, more simply, “The Big House.”  The house is a whopping 7,064 Sq. Feet, with 4 Bedrooms—Master, Guest, Girls, and Boys—and 7.5 Bathrooms, situated on 20 Acres.  Jim Bob + Michelle bought the property in March 2000.  (At the time, it housed a chicken hatchery.)  A few years later, Jim Bob had the idea of developing the plot to be the family compound...  And, The Duggar Compound was born!  After years of construction, The Big House was completed in January 2006.  The family has lived there ever since.  (Besides that brief stint while Josie was in NICU, when the family temporarily relocated to Little Rock’s historic Cornish House.)
Josh + Anna (Keller) Duggar, and their 6 Children, live in what Duggar Data is calling “The Warehouse.”  (Note—On the show, the Duggars have referred to it as “The Guesthouse.”  However, they’ve also used that term to refer to another Duggar–owned house near The Compound.  To avoid any confusion, I’ve given both homes district nicknames, and won’t refer to either as “The Guesthouse.”)  The Warehouse is a literal warehouse; however, some of its 4,800 Square Feet has been converted into a residential unit with unknown specifications.  Josh + Anna's prior residence sold on May 31, 2019—so, Duggar Data thinks they’ve lived in The Warehouse since June 2019–ish. 
The Warehouse is on The Compound, ~150 Yards from The Big House. 
John + Abbie (Burnett) Duggar, plus Gracie, live in a Single–Wide, Double–Length Mobile Home in Springdale, Washington County, Arkansas.  They’ve parked the trailer on a ~2.5 Acre, commercially–zoned parcel, owned by Jim Bob + Michelle.  (The parcel’s primary building is actually rented to a church.  Sort of a fun fact!)  Duggar Data thinks they’ve lived there continuously since their marriage, and suspects John lived there alone, before that.
It’s an ~6.6 Mile Drive from John + Abbie’s Trailer to The Big House.
(Note—John also owns a house in Rogers, Benton County; however, he rents that place out and doesn’t live there.)
Jill (Duggar) + Derick Dillard, plus their 2 Boys, live in Lowell, AR in Benton County, in a home they purchased in April 2019.  It’s a 3 Bed, 2 Bath, ~1,500 Square Foot house, and was New Construction when purchased.
Jill + Derick’s Home is an ~11.5 Mile Drive from The Big House.
Jessa (Duggar) + Ben Seewald, plus their 3 Children, reside in Fayetteville, Washington County, AR.  They’ve lived in the same 1,044 Sq. Foot, 2 Bed, 1 Bath house since Jessa + Ben’s Marriage in 2014.  Initially, they didn’t own it; Grandma Mary actually owned it.  However, Grandma Mary sold the home to Jessa + Ben in June 2017 for $100,000, per public records.  (There’s a rumor I’ve heard repeated a lot that they bought it for $1.  This is simply untrue.  It’s clearly documented as a $100,000 sale in public records.)
Fun Fact about Jessa + Ben’s Home:  Grandma Mary actually purchased this house from Garrett + Ethyl Ruark (AKA Michelle’s Parents) in 2007.  So, it has actually belonged to both set of grandparents.  
Jessa + Ben’s Home (Previously Grandma Mary’s Home, then Josh + Anna’s Home) is a ~7 Mile Drive from The Big House.
Jinger (Duggar) + Jeremy Vuolo, plus their daughters, currently rent a home located in North Hollywood, Los Angeles County, CA.  The house has 4 Beds and 2 Baths, is 2,040 Sq. Feet, and was built in 1953.  They moved in in June 2019. (Note—It’s widely–thought that Grace Community Church owns Jinger + Jeremy’s Rental House; however, I was unable to confirm this.)
The Vuolos’ L.A. Rental is a 1,547 Mile Drive from The Big House.
Joe + Kendra (Caldwell) Duggar, plus their growing brood, live in what we’ll call “the Log Cabin.”  The Log Cabin is located on The Duggar Compound (in Tontitown, Washington County, AR).  It’s 2,040 Sq. Feet.  Duggar Data is a bit unclear on the exact ownership of the Cabin.  Obviously, it’s treated as Joe + Kendra’s House, but property records seem to indicate it’s actually owned by Jim Bob + Michelle.  (And the land it’s sitting on in definitely owned by J.B. + Michelle; there was no transfer of land to Joe + Kendra, whatsoever.)
The Log Cabin is located on The Compound, ~230 Yards from the Big House.
Josiah + Lauren (Swanson) Duggar, and Baby Bella, also rent their home, at the time being.  Their Rental Home is located in Lowell, Benton County, AR.  It boasts 1,364 Sq. Feet, 2+ Beds / 2 Baths, and was built in 1998.
Fun Fact:  Per public records, Josiah + Lauren recently—like, within the last 6 Months—bought two vacant residential parcels of land in Benton County, AR.  Also...  Lauren’s Dad, Katey Nakatsu’s Dad, and Jed have also bought land in the same general area, recently.  Dwain Swanson actually owns 6 Parcels!)
Josiah + Lauren’s Rental is a 13.9 Mile Drive to the Big House.
Joy–Anna (Duggar) + Austin Forsyth, plus Gideon and Evy, currently live in Fayetteville, Washington County, AR.  They bought their house in September 2019.  At the time, it was owned by Joy’s Parents, who purchased it in 2010.  Joy + Austin’s House was built in 1958; it has an Unknown # of Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, and 1,688 Sq. Feet.
Fun Fact:  Joy + Austin’s House is directly next door to Cousin Amy’s House.  Jim Bob + Michelle previously owned both parcels.  (Actually, most likely, the parcels were split off a larger tract of land.)  Jim Bob + Michelle also own the 20+ Acres of undeveloped land in the immediate vicinity of both houses, and plan to develop that property into a luxury campground and RV resort.
Joy + Austin’s House is a 10.1 Mile Drive from The Big House.
Jedidiah + Katey (Nakatsu) Duggar...  We don’t really know, yet.  However, I suspect they’re living in the house on–site at the Duggars’ Car Lot (Champion Motorcars).  Some tabloids have been claiming that Jim Bob + Michelle ‘gave’ Jed + Katey a house, and the house the articles refer to is, in fact, the Car Lot House.  Well...  There’s no evidence that Jim Bob + Michelle transferred / sold that house to Jed + Katey.  (Jim Bob + Michelle definitely still own it, actually.)  But, Duggar Data noticed something odd:  The Caldwell Family used to live in The Car Lot House.  (Their home is shown multiple times on Counting On and it’s definitely the same house.)  However, my sleuthing suggests they recently moved...  Like, in December 2020 or Early 2021.  Based on this, and the fact that Jed is involved in running the car lot...  My theory is that Jed + Katey are now living in the Car Lot House.  (And, I’m pretty sure the Caldwells are now living in a house owned by Joe + Kendra in Siloam Springs...)
The Car Lot House is a 4.5 Mile Drive to the Big House.
Justin + Claire (Spivey) Duggar.  Ironically, despite the fact that they started this whole Ask, I don’t actually know where they’re living.  Somewhere in TX, apparently, near Claire’s Parents.  Claire’s Parents live in Cresson, Parker, TX, which is in the Greater Fort Worth Area.  I was unable to find any property in Justin or Claire’s Names, so I’m pretty sure they don’t own a house yet.  I’m guessing that they’re renting, for now.
Cresson, TX is an ~395 Mile Drive to The Big House. 
TL;DR:  Distance to The Big House—
150 Yards   Josh + Anna
230 Yards   Joe + Kendra
4.5 Miles   Jed + Katey
6.6 Miles   John + Abbie
7.0 Miles Jessa + Ben
10.1 Miles   Joy + Austin
11.5 Miles   Jill + Derick
13.9 Miles   Josiah + Lauren
~395 Miles   Justin + Claire
1,547 Miles   Jinger + Jeremy
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thunderkiss86 · a month ago
Take My Hand, Wreck My Plans (Part 1 REVAMP!)
As if I could wait to post before rewriting the rest of the chapters.
Hello, friends! In case you missed my earlier note, I've decided to rewrite TMHWMP. The core of it is still the same, but there are some key differences that will become apparent in this new version of Part 1. If you read the original version, I sincerely hope you'll read this version and give me those sweet notes, because please believe me when I say it's so much better. And if you're completely new to this fic - welcome! I hope you like it and stick around 😊
Anyway, enough talk. Enjoy!
Take My Hand, Wreck My Plans (REVAMP)
Synopsis: Nellie Keegan is busy making a name for herself in Japan, wrestling for Stardom and working alongside Suzuki-gun in NJPW. But two certain Bullet Club boys are making work - and life - difficult, to say the least.
Part: 1/?
Pairing: Jay White x OFC x El Phantasmo
Word count: 3.1k
Warnings: Language, ANGST
Find more of my fics here.
Tag squad: @galacticstat @hotyeehawman @hdbngsprnva @kingswitchblade @champhangman @bec0m @betsy-bradock @linziland13 @librathepheonix13 @gabbynorth98 @exe-babymox-exe @irish-newzealand-idian-dutch @brokenglassslippers @rocca09 @meteora-fc @kawaiikels @adriii-omega @thatgirlforever5 @sugar-melts-mo-fo
Monday, January 4, 2021 Wrestle Kingdom 15, Night 1 – Tokyo, Japan
Nellie’s heart was already in her throat, and it was barely five minutes into the first match of the evening.
Granted, she’d felt sick with anxiety ever since she’d woken up that morning—and it had everything to do with one of the men in the ring right now.
She subconsciously held her breath as El Phantasmo walked the top rope, completely unassisted, and performed a sky-high moonsault onto Hiromu Takahashi on the floor outside the ring. The first time Nellie had ever seen him do that, it had stunned her, particularly as someone who stayed far away from aerial maneuvers herself. But not for lack of trying; Riley had attempted to help her learn to walk the ropes even half as good as he did, but she’d just wound up with a bunch of bumps and bruises to her body and ego both. He’d kissed it all better, though—after he’d gotten through laughing at her.
That feels like a lifetime ago now.
She shook her head of the memory and refocused on the match. They’d moved back into the ring, and Phantasmo repeatedly smacked Takahashi’s face and batted him over the head until Takahashi finally had enough and chopped him hard across the chest—once, twice, three times. But Phantasmo stopped his comeback short with a hard spinning back kick to the gut, and Takahashi dropped like a rock to the mat. He writhed in pain and dramatically cried out as he nursed his ribs, and he called for the referee to check Phantasmo’s boot. Nellie rolled her eyes. All throughout the Super J-Cup last month, Phantasmo’s opponents had accused him of wrestling with a pair of brass knuckles in his boot; apparently, his kicks had gotten abnormally strong during his nine-month absence. But Phantasmo denied it, of course. He claimed that his kicks had gotten so strong from spending all his free time superkicking maple trees in the Canadian wilderness.
“Do you think he really is wrestling with a loaded boot?”
Torrance’s question caught Nellie by surprise, and she sent her friend a ludicrous look. “What? No,” she practically laughed. “Can you imagine how uncomfortable that would be? Besides… you would know better than I would.”
Torrance’s brow furrowed as she turned her gaze from the TV in confusion. “Why would I know better?”
“Because you’re in Bullet Club. And you’re practically married to his tag team partner.”
She scoffed. “Please… Taiji and I are not practically married.”
Nellie just smirked to herself. Torrance Taylor and Taiji Ishimori had had about as many ups and downs in their relationship as a rollercoaster, but they were meant for each other—even if the thought did freak Torrance out every now and again.
“Speaking of,” Nellie segued, “are you worried about what’ll happen if Riley wins this?”
There were high stakes for this match: whoever won would get a shot at the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship tomorrow night. For El Phantasmo, that meant going up against his tag team partner; and if Nellie knew anything about Bullet Club, it was that brotherhood didn’t matter where championship gold was concerned.
Torrance looked down in thought as she smoothed a strand of her pastel pink colored hair between her fingers. “Yes and no,” she answered. “I’m rooting for Riley tonight, but no matter who wins I’ll obviously be in Taiji’s corner tomorrow.”
“So you’d have no problem helping Ishimori win against Riley?”
“If he tries to pull something!” she confirmed without hesitation. “If it turns out he is loading his boot and he hits Taiji with it I’ll murder him.”
Nellie smirked again. That sounded about right.
“What about you, though?” Torrance nudged her chin at her, a mischievous twinkle in her eye. “Are you ready to deal with Tama out there tonight? I’m sure he’ll be extra cocky just for you.”
Nellie rolled her eyes. “I haven’t even thought about it, to be honest.” Whereas Torrance was in Bullet Club, Nellie’s partnership with Zack Sabre Jr. in Revolution Pro Wrestling in years prior had earned her a spot in Suzuki-gun in NJPW, and that night she was accompanying Dangerous Tekkers for their IWGP Tag Team Championship defense against Guerillas of Destiny. But like she’d told Torrance, she hadn’t thought about it at all. All her headspace was too riddled with anxiety over Riley’s return to Japan.
“Well, Tama will always be Tama,” Torrance stated. “But if it’s any consolation, he’ll probably dial it back now that he knows Jay’s locked you down.”
She smirked, but Nellie looked away. She couldn’t care less about Tama; her concern was how someone else might handle her and Jay’s newly minted relationship status.
“I assume Riley knows, too?”
One second passed without an answer, and then another. But then Torrance solemnly said, “Yeah. He asked Taiji about it… so, he told him.”
Nellie didn’t say anything in return. She’d figured Ishimori would warn him; that was his best friend, and for a long time it had been the four of them, Torrance and Taiji and Nellie and Riley. But she was surprised that Riley had asked. Confronting emotional matters had never been his strong suit; he normally chose avoidance.
Back in the match, Takahashi suddenly covered Phantasmo—but he kicked out at two. It was obvious that both men were getting tired, but neither of them slowed down, and from minute to minute it was impossible to tell who had the upper hand. But then Kevin Kelly pointed out on commentary that Takahashi hadn’t taken a pin in the Tokyo Dome since he was a Young Lion, and Nellie’s mouth went dry. As nervous as she was that he was back, she wanted this win for Riley.
The break-neck, back-and-forth pace of the match continued; but just as Phantasmo took an opportunity to “accidentally” take down the ref, there was a knock on the open door of the backstage room where Nellie and Torrance were watching the broadcast. They both looked over and saw Zack dressed in his gear, his IWGP Tag Title around his waist.
“Hey, we’re on next,” he said to Nellie. “We should head up there.”
Nellie looked back at the TV in hesitation; but he was right. “Alright.” She stood up and grabbed her RevPro Undisputed British Women’s Championship. “Are you sticking around?” she asked Torrance as she slung the title over her shoulder.
“At least through Kenta’s match, yeah,” she answered. She smiled sweetly at Zack. “Good luck, Zack.”
He sent her a tight smile of his own. “You can keep your luck, Torrance.”
Nellie shot him a look. “Be nice.”
“She’s with the enemy!” he proclaimed.
She rolled her eyes. “Bye, Torr.”
“Bye!” she cheerily called after them, and they went out the door.
“Where’s Taichi?” Nellie asked as they walked down the hall.
“I told him and Douki to go ahead. Sorry for pulling you away from El Phantasmo’s big return match.”
Zack’s voice was thick with sarcasm—he wasn’t sorry at all. He and Riley went back to RevPro, too, but they’d never gotten along; Riley thought Zack was a pretentious prick, and Zack thought Riley was a dickhead. And the thing of it was, Nellie knew she was at the root of their contentious relationship. Because Zack wasn’t just her partner and one of her best friends; he was also her ex—and she’d started sleeping with Riley little more than a month after they’d broken up. In her defense, she’d only meant for him to be a rebound; she’d never expected their relationship would turn into a two-year, hot-and-cold affair.
But that’s what she got for having feelings.
“You know, I’d really appreciate it if you two would drop your weird little cold war,” she said. “I’m in an awkward enough position as it is now that he’s back.”
“There’s no cold war, Nell. I just don’t like him.”
She opened her mouth to respond—but he cut her off before she could.
“But fine. For your sake, I will try to at least be cordial with him.”
Nellie breathed a grateful sigh. “Thank you.”
They joined Taichi and Douki at Gorilla—just as Hiromu Takahashi’s music filled the arena. Nellie’s shoulders slumped. Riley had lost.
“Well, that’s one Bullet Club loss,” Zack commented. “Let’s give ‘em another.”
A sudden, loud laugh boomed from behind them; and, unfortunately, Nellie knew exactly who it was before she turned around.
“Yeah fucking right.” Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa stalked toward them, matching cocky grins on their faces. “Y’all better enjoy those titles while you still got ‘em… for the next few minutes.”
Taichi immediately launched into a loud, angry tirade in Japanese—there was still a lot of bad blood leftover between him and Tama from World Tag League—but Zack held him off. Tama, however, paid him no mind. His gaze had zeroed in on Nellie.
“You sure you’re walking out with the right team, Nellie?”
Nellie rolled her eyes. She should have figured he’d say something like that.
“Piss off, mate,” Zack retorted. But it only encouraged him.
“What? It’s a valid question. She might have been your tag team partner back in England, but she wrestles with a different partner around here.”
“And you couldn’t be more jealous that it’s not you,” Nellie retorted. She pouted at him. “How sad.”
Tama’s eyes turned dark. But before he could fire off a comeback, Riley emerged through the curtain, weary and worn from his hard-fought match. Every muscle in Nellie’s body tensed. She hadn’t thought he’d come back through this way. She didn’t want it to happen like this; not in front of everyone.
“‘Ey, that was a good match, man,” Tanga said in consolation. “Ishimori’ll get him tomorrow.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Riley breathed. “I don’t know what the fuck happened! I had him in CRII, and the next thing I knew I was folded in half!”
“Well, maybe if you spent more time working on your own moves instead of trying to do everyone else’s,” Zack muttered under his breath. Nellie heard it and pinched his side. “Ow!” he exclaimed—and it caused Riley to look right at them.
“Nellie.” It was obvious from his surprised tone and the deer-in-headlights look on his face that he hadn’t realized she was there until that moment. “I was wondering if I’d see you tonight.”
Nellie didn’t know what to say; it felt like even her vocal cords were frozen. This was the first time she’d seen Riley face-to-face in ten months, and the sight of him transported her right back to that night. A hotel room in England… sheets on bare skin… her fingers in his hair. That had been their dynamic for so long, and now it just wasn’t, without any real closure. Now, it was his teammate who warmed her bed.
“I’m sorry you lost,” she managed to get out; she couldn’t think of anything else. “At least now you won’t have to go up against Ishimori.”
But Riley scoffed. “I wouldn’t have cared about that. I want that title!”
Nellie couldn’t help her amused grin then. It was just as she’d figured.
“Don’t sweat it, ELP,” Tama commented. He looked deliberately at Zack and Taichi’s title belts. “G.O.D.’s about to bring home the bacon.”
Taichi started at him again, but then G.O.D.’s theme music boomed from the arena sound system. Tanga laughed as Douki did his best to hold Taichi back. “Those belts are gonna look so much nicer on us,” he grinned.
He gave Riley a fist bump as he moved toward the curtain, and Tama did the same. He shot Nellie a crooked smirk. “We’ll see who’s the jealous one after this, Nellie,” he said, and with a wink he turned and followed his brother out onto the stage.
Riley grinned at Zack as he walked past them. “Good luck,” he said in the exact same sarcastic tone Torrance had minutes before, and then he was gone.
Zack bit down on his jaw. “He’s lucky he’s not in the heavyweight division.”
“Well, just channel your hatred for him at G.O.D.,” Nellie returned. “And please—beat the shit out of Tama for me.”
* * * * * * * * * *
Zack and Taichi had fought hard. But G.O.D. had fought dirty—and, unfortunately, it had won them the night at the last second.
Just when it had looked like Dangerous Tekkers would retain, Jado had climbed into the ring and accidentally on purpose shoved the ref, which allowed Tama to hit Taichi with the same iron glove that had won them the World Tag League last month. Tanga had followed up with Apeshit, and Guerillas of Destiny became record seven-time IWGP Tag Team Champions.
“Jealous?” Tama had taunted Nellie as he and Tanga retreated with the titles. It had irked her more than she was willing to admit.
But that had been hours ago. Now, Nellie sat in the privacy of Jay’s dressing room and watched the main event of the evening: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi for both the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships. And while Nellie would have been interested in the match regardless, she was personally interested in it for one particular reason: the winner would defend both titles against Jay in the main event tomorrow night.
Just as everyone had known it would be, the match was an instant classic. Nellie found herself holding her breath as Naito nearly lost via count-out after Ibushi had hit him with an insane Frankensteiner from the ring apron to the floor. Somehow, he’d gathered himself and answered with a super poison rana that dropped Ibushi right on his head. But, in the end, it was Ibushi who reversed Naito’s Valentía and hit Kamigoye for the win to become the new double champion.
But he wasn’t long for victory before Jay showed up.
He’d left the dressing room just minutes before. “I should probably go congratulate the winner, right?” he’d rhetorically asked. Nellie had just laughed to herself as he’d put on his suit jacket and grabbed his Right to Challenge briefcase, and then he’d kissed her and went out the door.
Gedo was with him as he approached the ring. Red Shoes tried to stop him, but Jay breezed right past him. “I’m just coming to say hi!” he professed.
Nellie breathed another amused laugh. “Bullshit.”
Jay left the briefcase in Gedo’s care as he went to get a microphone. There was a shit-eating grin on his face as he stepped into the ring.
“Hey. Congratulations!” He clapped his hand against the mike, and the audience’s polite applause automatically followed. “Should we get him some ice?” he asked the medical team at ringside. “You’re probably quite sore after that battle, right? Congratulations! Even though… you, me, everybody; we all know you’re not the real champion.”
There it was: the bait and switch. But no one was surprised by it—least of all Ibushi. He stood in the corner of the ring, his two newly won championships slung over his shoulders, entirely unbothered.
For now.
“But enjoy it!” Jay went on. “Enjoy this moment! Enjoy it, because it only lasts for one night. Because tomorrow, Ibushi, I’m taking those,” he pointed at the titles, “I’m taking everything from you.”
He didn’t even pause to take a breath. “You say you’re going to become God. No, no, no; tomorrow I’m going to expose you for the fraud that you are. Every time that you are about to reach the height that you so desperately aim for, I will always!—I promise you, I will always be there to pull you back down.
“But tomorrow, you still have a vital role—a vital, vital role—when you help me fulfill my destino, when I become God! When I become I-W-G-P Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion.”
That finally got a rise out of Ibushi. He met Jay in the middle of the ring, face to face, not backing down. But neither did Jay. Instead, he doubled down.
“Ibushi… tomorrow, you will breathe with the Switchblade in my new era.”
He dropped the mike, and it landed with a static thud on the mat as the audience began to politely clap again. Jay clapped, too, as he backed toward the ropes. “Enjoy it; enjoy it,” he piled on. “You get one night as ‘champion,’” he said, making air quotes with his fingers, and then he ducked through the ropes and left through the crowd.
Ibushi took the mike then, and after making a brief response to Jay in Japanese—“You’re finished tomorrow,” Chris Charlton translated—he began to address the audience. But Nellie tuned him out. Not out of disrespect, but because her thoughts had turned to the twenty-four hours ahead. She knew better than probably anyone just how badly Jay wanted this win—how badly he needed it. And if he didn’t win; well, frankly, she didn’t want to think about that.
She picked up her phone and opened up Instagram, looking for a distraction, but it wasn’t long before Jay returned to the dressing room.
“I’m glad Ibushi won,” he said. “It’ll be much more satisfying to pull the rug out from under him than Naito.”
Nellie smirked up at him. “Oh, so is that what gets you going? Crushing people’s hopes and dreams?”
He grinned in return. “Well, not right now it isn’t.” He reached for her hand, and she let him pull her up and off the couch and into him. His cologne filled her nose as he kissed her. It was the one he knew turned her on.
“The boys are going out for drinks,” he said. “Torrance is going, and we can go if you want. But I’m also perfectly fine with just going back to yours and having a drink of our own.”
He dipped his head and kissed her neck, and Nellie bit back a grin as his beard tickled her skin. “The boys” almost certainly included Riley—and that made her decision a no-brainer.
“I don’t want to keep you from them,” she said. “But I’d much rather have you to myself tonight.”
Jay pulled back and looked down at her again. “I was hoping you’d say that,” he said. The husk in his voice turned Nellie’s insides to mush. “Let’s get out of here.”
He kissed her again, tender and slow; and in that moment, Nellie wasn’t worried about her past with Riley. All that mattered was her present. She’d deal with their collision when it happened. 
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lathalea · 5 months ago
Day 14: Blame It on Cider, part 3
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Here's today's fic for the Writer’s Month 2021 challenge (see@writersmonth for more info).
Today's prompt: word: duck | setting: dystopia
The setting for today was supposed to be a dystopia, but since it wouldn’t quite fit the overall mood of the fic, I sort of cheated and only made the story a bit darker. Don’t worry, there won’t be any angst (well, maybe a pinch…), after At Dawn I promised myself to be gentle this week… (Or at least I’m trying to!)
Thank you so much for your comments and support! Especially for you, I made this part a bit longer. Hope you like it (or hate it, that's also good!) 💙
Anyway… happy reading and brace yourselves! 😈
Fandom: The Hobbit Relationships: Thorin x Yrsa (Dwarf Female OC) Warnings: one grumpy king, one terrified herbalist, one writer you're going to hate really soon Rating: T Word count: 2,7 k words
You know the drill: a grumpy blacksmith met a cheeky herbalist from Ered Luin at a village wedding and then one thing led to another... Let's see what happened later. As usual, you can read this fic here and on AO3.
Khuzdul: Ursarusê - my tiny fire Khaglâ-dûm - Blue Halls (name of a Dwarven settlement shamelessly made up by me) Thorinuldûm - Thorin’s Halls (the place in the Blue Mountains where Longbeards lived after Sack of Erebor)
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
* * *
One year later
The baby was wailing at the top of her lungs.
“Shhh, Ursarusê, there is no need to cry,” Yrsa murmured softly to the little bundle strapped to her chest. The pebble’s cheeks were red, her pink mouth open wide, and a tuft of dark brown hair fell over her tiny wrinkled forehead.
The little one wailed again.
“I know, I know, you don’t like it when the pony walks so slow, but you have just eaten,” Yrsa smiled at the grimacing baby girl, caressing her cheek, while holding the reins in her other hand. “And we learned that you hate getting hiccups, don’t you, sweetling?”
The nanny goat that trotted next to her pony bleated gleefully.
“You see, Ursarusê? Even Buttercup agrees with me,” she added and began humming a peaceful tune. That did it. The wailing stopped almost instantly, and the little one opened her big blue eyes, her mouth still open, but no sound came out of it this time.
“That’s better, my sweet little girl,” Yrsa kissed the tiny forehead with a sigh of relief. Traveling through wilderness with a crying baby, even as dear as this tiny bundle of fire in her arms, could draw unwanted attention, especially if one was alone (not counting her pony nor that voracious goat). But Yrsa had no choice.
They rode on through the whole afternoon, stopping only for feeding breaks. If Yrsa’s calculations were correct, on the next day they would finally reach Khaglâ-dûm, the closest dwarven city in these parts, not far from the Bay of Forochel. She also hoped that the few last coins in her pocket would be enough to rent a room there for one or two nights, until her business in the city was concluded. After countless nights spent on the cold, hard ground, sleeping in a proper bed sounded like a dream.
After leaving the city, she would have to follow the trail along the northern part of the Blue Mountains, uncomfortably close to the settlement where the refugees from Erebor lived. Thorinuldûm. That thought made Yrsa grit her teeth. Thorin’s Halls. How vain one had to be to give his own name to a city?
Unfortunately, this was the only trail that led to her destination. It was already October, and she needed to visit several mountain villages before returning to her family home for the winter. She would just have to quickly pass the place where the Longbeards lived. Very quickly. Just in case. Meeting Thorin, His Grumpiness, was absolutely not on her agenda. Yrsa wasn’t a coward, oh no! She had been avoiding that area for a year for purely practical reasons. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. Besides, he had probably forgotten her by now. Just like she did. Their encounter was buried at the bottom of her mind, under tons of cobwebs and old dust. Seriously! Yrsa herself barely remembered that grumpy blacksmith who turned out to be a royal. She certainly hadn’t been dreaming about him! It had been over a year, for Mahal’s sake! What woman would dream about a Dwarf’s face, or his touch, or his lips pressing against her skin after such a long time? Besides, she had absolutely no memories of their encounter whatsoever. The way he effortlessly twirled her around and then held her in his arms when they danced? Her mind was devoid of any recollections whatsoever. The way his scorching hands slid along her curves? Nope, didn’t ring any bells. The way he smiled at her in that special way, making her feel as if she was the only person in the entire world worthy of smiling at? Nope, still nothing. Was he even broad-shouldered, looking more like a warrior than a blacksmith, and not, perhaps, portly? She couldn’t say. Her mind was completely blank. What about his dreamy blue eyes, darkened by passion? No… Were they really the color of the sky at sunset? And not, for example, brown? See? She didn’t even remember his eye color. All was well. She rode ahead with Ursarusê sleeping soundly in her arms.
“Why don’t ye join us for supper?” asked Kjaran, one of the merchants Yrsa met just when she was about to search for a good place to stop for the night. He wasn’t a Firebeard and his clothes were plain and worn out, not what she would expect from a merchant, so it made her wary at first. The Dwarf looked and acted more like a hard-working miner than anything else, but then a warm smile on his face made her feel more at ease. The merchant caravan wasn’t large and it was clear that they weren’t transporting any luxury goods. On the contrary, Yrsa noticed two or three wagons filled with coal. Wherever they were going, they wouldn’t fetch a good price for it. Coal was a very common commodity in these parts. “I’ll be happy to,” she accepted his invitation with a nod as he helped her off her pony.
A large cast iron soup kettle hung over the bonfire placed in the middle of their camp and judging by the smells, the meal was going to be delicious. Yrsa’s empty stomach growled. With Ursarusê to care for, she didn’t have many opportunities to hunt. Meager traveling rations were her only source of food for a while now and she had almost run out of them. There was barely enough for a meal or two.
“And I’ll be happy to take care of yer little ‘un if ye need a moment for yerself,” said Dagr, Kjaran’s wife, with a smile.
“Hope you don’t mind me askin’,” Dagr turned to Yrsa as they were changing the baby’s diaper in relative privacy, using a makeshift table that stood beside one of the wagons. Ursarusê gave them both a toothless grin, clearly happy with the amount of attention she was receiving. “But how come are you traveling alone with such a wee babe? And a daughter, too!”
“She is not my daughter,” Yrsa admitted quietly, something stirring uncomfortably in her chest. “I found her several weeks ago, in a forest, away from any settlements. First, I heard her crying and then I found this little gem under a birch, with the milk goat tied to the tree trunk.”
“Mahal…” the woman whispered, covering her mouth with her hand. “Who would leave their little ‘un alone like that?”
Yrsa shrugged, still remembering the tiny girl’s pale cheeks and her shining eyes as she took her into her arms for the first time. The babe had weighed not much more than a little bird then.
“Whoever they were, they had to care for her at least a bit, even if they couldn’t keep her. There was a pouch full of coins and a talisman with a protection rune. I don’t even know if she had a name. I called her Ursarusê,” she finished swaddling the baby and placed her gently in a basket Dagr offered her. The girl gurgled happily, filling Yrsa’s heart with warmth.
“Aye, she’s tiny alright, but a fiery one too. Thank the Maker you found her,” Dagr agreed with a nod, making the cuffs in her blonde braids jingle. The sound was unusual and Yrsa quickly realized why: the woman’s cuffs weren’t made of silver nor any other metal, as it was customary. They were made of clay. She stopped herself from gasping in surprise; this was unheard of. Those dwarves had clearly fallen on hard times, not being able to procure any metal ores for this purpose.
“So, where ye’re headin’ now?” Dagr spoke after a few moments.
“To Khaglâ-dûm. I hope to find a good family for the babe there. Someone that can give her a proper home,” Yrsa looked into the girl’s innocent eyes and her heart clenched. She would miss Ursarusê, her Little Fire, but she didn’t have anything to offer her. Life on the road was not what a baby needed.
“Ye’re welcome to join us tomorrow, we’re goin’ the same way!” the woman offered, interrupting Yrsa’s gloomy thoughts.
“Are you sure I will not be a burden? I’m about to deprive you of some of your food!”
“Don’t ye worry!” Dagr shook her head. “We rarely go hungry on the trail. Our leader is a decent hunter… Speak of the warg!” Kjaran’s wife pointed with her head at the Dwarf who came out from the forest a moment before with a doe thrown over his shoulder. Several Dwarves surrounded him to take care of the kill. After a few exchanged remarks, the hunter turned his face towards the place where she and Dagr stood.
Yrsa glanced at the Dwarf.
Then at Dagr.
Then at the Dwarf again. At his broad shoulders, covered with a fur-lined tunic. At his long dark hair adorned with only two temple braids. At his furrowed brow and the noble line of his nose. At his short, but well-kempt beard.
Oh, no.
“T-this is your... leader?” she mumbled, blood draining from her face. This couldn’t be happening, not again!
“Aye, praise Mahal, he is,” the woman nodded with a fond smile.
“Ye’ll have to excuse me, lass, I need to take care of that doe before my husband ruins the hide.”
Yrsa had three options: one – run like the wind, two – pray to Mahal for the ground to open and swallow her whole, three – …
“You!” the Dwarf, Thorin, the blacksmith, His Haughtiness, exclaimed and started striding towards her, his eyes burning into her.
It was too late to escape. It had to be option three, then, Yrsa admitted to herself in defeat: she would stand there and act as if nothing had happened between them. Nothing whatsoever.
She swallowed and instinctively moved in front of the basket that stood on the table, shielding Ursarusê from his gaze.
“I have searched for you everywhere, woman!” His Majesticness rumbled. She forgot how deep that voice of his was (no, Yrsa’s knees, not a good moment to turn into jelly!). Also, she noticed one very obvious fact: there was an angry royal in front of her who didn’t even remember her name. Something stung in her chest.
Yrsa’s mother always taught her that politeness went a long way. Her father said that a sharp tongue could be as mighty as the sword. This was the first time in her life when she agreed with both of them.
“It is nice to see you too,” she offered, eliciting a grunt from the Dwarf in front of her.
“Don’t play games with me,” Thorin’s jaw clenched as he pierced her with his steel gaze. “Why did you leave?!”
“Me?” She asked very eloquently. Now it was time to play it cool, the less words, the better.
His frown deepened, “Who else? You disappeared into thin air, you witch! I woke up and you were gone without a word!”
Yrsa realized that he was dangerously close to the topic of honor, duty and marriage she wanted to avoid, and she wouldn’t have it. Even if his words stung. She didn’t want to be on the receiving end of his pity. One humiliation was enough.
“Maybe I didn’t feel like talking? Just like you: not informing me who you really are, Your Highness!” She retorted quickly. “Or whatever one calls a prince?!”
Thorin Oakenshield grunted, and a shadow passed his handsome face (yes, he was handsome, Yrsa couldn’t deny it any longer, even if he was a pompous grump). His jaw tightened.
“A king,” a reluctant murmur left his lips, his eyes never leaving her face.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!
“A... what now?” Yrsa realized she needed to take slow, deep breaths; in and out; otherwise she was in danger of passing out. And if she passed out, she’d inevitably end up in his arms. In the blacksmith’s strong arms. No, the king’s arms. Just like she ended up that night over a year ago. She needed to breathe.
He stood there, not speaking a word. His face reminded her of statues of ancient dwarven rulers, solemn, cold and unmoving.
“A… king...” she finally managed to rasp that word out, erratic thoughts spinning in her head. Not a prince. A king. The King of Longbeards. This was much, much worse than she thought. Was she supposed to bow or curtsy now? Kiss his hand, demonstrating respect? Would she be punished for kissing his other body parts all those months ago without showing the proper reverence to His Kingliness? It was all cider’s fault, not hers! She barely remembered anything anyway! Mahal, have mercy, she had to pull herself together.
“It is but an empty title now,” the king in question spat in disdain, unaware of her inner turmoil.
“You are a king nevertheless! I don’t understand…,” Yrsa frowned.
“What were you doing in a village in the middle of nowhere, pretending to be a blacksmith?! Shouldn’t you be sitting on a throne and doing... kingly things?”
“There is no throne and I was not pretending,” he gritted out, the fire still blazing in his eyes. “I am a blacksmith by trade, and this is how I fend for my family, for my people. Does that satisfy your curiosity?!”
“I...” she looked away, her mind empty, her defiance suddenly deserting her under his intense gaze.
Thorin’s next words sounded hollow.
“Tell me, Yrsa, why did you leave? Have I done something… untoward?”
So she was mistaken. He remembered her name, after all. And he seemed concerned. Something fluttered in her chest. Probably anger. Yes, it had to be anger; anger at His Pompousness concealing who he truly was, keeping her unaware of that enormous social gap between them. Why did her throat decide to constrict at that very moment? It was not as if she had been harboring any silly hopes until now; she was a commoner, and he was a member of the royal family of Erebor. He simply spelled it out for her.
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” she bit her lip, cursing herself, while her mind chose that exact instant to recall all those moments during their time together when Thorin actually did all the right things. Plenty of them. But she needed to focus. Yrsa groaned and spoke again, a spark of courage igniting in her heart, “But I had the right to leave when I wanted to!”
“You spent the whole evening, nay, the whole night with me and then you snuck away like a thief in the night, denying me the courtesy of a short conversation afterwards!” He retorted.
Oh, dear. It looked like she was right. The famous Thorin Oakenshield of Erebor (yes, she might have casually asked around about him a bit, for no reason whatsoever) had truly wanted to flaunt his honor at her, meaning: benevolently offer to marry her out of some misconceived duty. Those noble born Dwarves and their ideas… It had definitely been the right decision to leave that night before it was too late.
“There was nothing to talk about!” Yrsa protested, taking a step towards him.
This was the moment when Ursarusê decided to wail, clearly upset by their exchange. Yrsa turned to the pebble in the basket, bowed over her and murmured, “Hush, my little girl, it is nothing.” Ursarusê needed her more than this demanding Dwarf in front of her, the hero of Azanulbizar. King or not, he could wait.
“A babe…?” She heard him speak after a pause, the tone of his voice suddenly muffled.
“A little blessing from Mahal,” she whispered with a small smile. When the baby’s cries turned into cooing, she lifted her gaze.
Yrsa expected to see even more anger on the king’s face, but instead she encountered his widened eyes, his half opened mouth, his skin paler than before, and she wondered whether he was breathing at all.
“A babe…” he repeated softly, moving his gaze from the little bundle wrapped in her thick shawl to her. “Yrsa… Mahal, Yrsa…”
“Yes, a babe. What about it?” she frowned, lifting the basket and holding it against her chest. His behaviour was very puzzling. He didn’t even look angry at that moment. Definitely not angry, but… Terrified? Surprised? It was difficult to say. Had she grown a pair of horns or wings?
Something rustled loudly in the bushes. A sharp, guttural shriek pierced the silence. Something whooshed in the air.
“Duck!” Thorin shouted.
To be continued...
* * *
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
Read it? Like it? Spread the love and reblog it!
Fell like reading more?
Here is my masterlist for the Writer's Month 2021 event.
Taglist: @fizzyxcustard @shrimpsthings​ @dark-angel-is-back @sherala007 @amelia307 @anyaspidergirl-blog @jotink78 @rachel1959 @saltwater-in-the-afternoon @linasofia @legolasbadass @justfollowtheroad @bitter-sweet-farmgirl @yourqueenunderthemountain @reblogunderthemountain @guardianofrivendell @elrawienthewhite @xmly-xo @tschrist1 @nelleedraws @beenovel @vee-vee-writes @mcchiberry @shalinizhara @dumbassunderthemountain @errruvande
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sun-to-my-luna · 7 months ago
The Gold Book To “Success”
So, we know that Camila for centuries has never written in uppercase letters but when she released “CAMILA” her signature wording changed. The thing is: the all caps letters aren’t JUST what make that change in her wording signature noticeable.  To put it simple everyone has a wording signature and types differently. Being that Camila stopped using social media as much due to her negative stans and the hostility towards her it would be obvious that she’s not using her own social platforms all the time. However, many people still think it’s always her.
We’ll go from least to most noticeable.
The first thing that distinguishes her posts away from her are obviously uppercase letters lol but besides that let’s take a look at other patterns.
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Random sentences that end with a period.
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(Note: anything with a hyperlink that redirects to an album/ song release or an event is never Camila. You’ll see another example in #4.)
2. Using just one explanation point at the end of a sentence or exactly on the last sentences. 
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Sentences that have periods like this are possibly 65% Camila as long as there are no grammatically correct capital letters at the beginning of a sentence. An example of a tweet that genuinely belongs to Camila:
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Roger on his regular social media uses A LOT of (...) especially after saying happy— (insert certain day/ holiday). Ps. After reading this post you’ll notice this paragraph includes 4 of the mentioned.
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Roger’s favorite way to express his excitement, happiness or express he’s surprised is by using the iconic: (!!!)
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AND LAST but not least the most entirely noticeable.
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The other most relentlessly favorite thing he uses is the random (–) to separate statements. “Morning – so proud of my !”  {side edit: inserted more screenshots last minute.}  
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She would also never say “Latins” that’s so white lol
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These are some grammar cues to keep in mind that whoever is talking isn’t Camila but instead her manager. Camila herself talks more so in rambling text and not so much Up or down with extensive grammar. So if you read his posts in her voice just remember that if she uses any of the above or simply sounds like a boring ass lawyer then you know the drill.
If you’ve read this far that’s right: I said I was adding in information and that’s correct I’m adding something else onto his long list for you to remember.  I’ve exposed his gross circle of colleagues, I’ve exposed how the label he created treated certain artists like crap, and I’ve exposed him for being a shitty artist manager with Jaquie. Now I finally want you to bare in mind that this is a 52 year old male law graduate /attorney– {now} artist manager trying to impersonate a woman in her 20’s.
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Here’s the  probable answer to your questions. If you were ever wondering why she can’t get rid of him it’s most likely because he went to law school and the clauses in her personal manager contract are shitty. He more than anyone would know how to secretly fuck someone over that has no idea what they’re signing. How long she’s going to be with him? I couldn’t quite tell you because of this. He’s a business man and will never be nothing more than that.
Of course, what other way of proving that then by the profits he has made off of her. And let me add that they are some big ass profits.
How do I put this lightly?
Oh, I know, how about I just show you.
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In NOVEMBER OF 2020, 2 months before 2021 as of today,  he bought a residential house IN CASH for the value of $3,075,000 dollars and sold his last house last month in April 2021 for another $1,950,000. You could say her PR isn’t benefiting her, and I would believe you, because it’s the truth  but you can’t tell me that her PR relationship with Shawn isn’t benefiting someone else we know very very very well. Actually, him and other people that is. This is the proof man. They’ve been cash grabbing the life out of her for years now.
The saddest part? This man claims to be a hero to his friends and he calls himself a fan aka a “Camilizer,”and makes it seem like he’s her family but his fake ass mask doesn’t deceive me.
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norarigby · 10 months ago
Oikawa Tooru - The Last Time
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The Little Black Box Masterlist
Pairing: Oikawa Tooru x reader
Warnings: this is kinda shitty writing ngl so sorry :D
Word Count: ~1.2k
A/n: the initial idea was cute? The actual execution was terrible. Please forgive me. Hopefully Atsumu’s will be better tomorrow! Enjoy!
Oikawa Tooru has proposed to you exactly three times already. And honestly? You shouldn’t have been surprised. Oikawa has a habit of being over dramatic at times and, as such, has lead to these extreme professions of love.
The first proposal came a little while after graduation. It was the night before Oikawa was to leave to Argentina. He’d talked about moving for a while now, so it wasn’t the shock that caused the silent tears to roll down your cheeks. No, it was the reality finally crashing down like the waves of the ocean. You had been laying on Oikawa’s chest and were sure he fell asleep well over an hour ago, waiting for him to slip into dreamland before letting your true emotions go. You felt guilty for crying. You were happy for him, excited even. But long-distance would be hard and you weren’t ready to let go quite yet.
Soft lips pressed a gentle kiss to your forehead. The kiss startled you a bit. Little did you know, he’d been awake the whole time, too anxious for what tomorrow held.
Oikawa gently tilted your tear stricken face up to look at him. It took you a minute to look into his eyes, too embarrassed that you had woken him up. When you did, you noticed his eyes were wide awake and had gone glassy too.
“‘m sorry I woke you, Tooru. Go back to sleep, you’ve got a big day tomorrow.” It came out barely as a whisper, not trusting your voice with anything louder. But even as you said it, a part of you wanted him to stay awake with you, just so you could have more time with him.
He rubbed your cheeks and tried to smile, but it was a bit wobbly, “I couldn’t sleep tonight even if I tried.” Oikawa pulled you in for a kiss. It wasn’t long before he pulled back to mumble against your lips, “If you marry me, then you’d have to come with me.”
You chuckled and laid back on his chest, “Tooru, don’t say things like that. We’ve barely been together for a year.”
“I’m serious-“ He whined and tried to pull you up again but you wouldn’t budge. 
“You’re just saying things because you’re leaving tomorrow. Go to bed.”
And that was that.
The second proposal happened a couple months later. Oikawa had settled in, somewhat, to his new Argentinian lifestyle. And it had been just long enough that you had forgotten about his first proposal.
Long distance was hard and you both knew it would be even before he left. It took a while to sync up schedules, but you finally did. FaceTime became your saving grace as you called each other every night. Well, for you it was night, for him it was morning. Luckily the time difference wasn’t too awful. You could call at eight at night and it would be eight in the morning for him. Twelve hour time differences worked pretty well in your favor.
But when you got a random FaceTime call at two in the afternoon, you were concerned to say the least.
“Tooru, why are you calling this early? Isn’t it 2AM for you?”
He rubbed his eyes and smiled, “Yeah, but I was thinking about you and so I thought I’d just call to hear your voice.”
This man never failed to give you butterflies. You were a sucker for his sleepy smile and ever the charmer, he knew exactly what to say to get your heart beating just a little faster. But now was not the time to be cute! He was messing with his sleep schedule and you refused to be held responsible for that.
“Oikawa Tooru. You know I love you and I love talking to you, but you cannot call me at two in the morning! You have early practice in a couple hours.”
He groaned, “I know, I know. But I have something really really important to ask you.”
His face got really close to the camera in faux seriousness as you rolled your eyes, “Whatever you have to ask me can wait until later. Goodbye Tooru. Get some sleep.”
“Waaaaait! I want to ask you to marry me! I miss you and if we’re married, I won’t have to miss you because you’ll be here! With me!”
Your finger hovered over the end call button. This was the second time in only a couple months. What did that mean? Was he really that serious? Or was he being dramatic because you just weren’t always there any more? And how did you feel about it?
“Tooru, go to bed. You’re just talking because it’s late and you miss me. Besides I’m coming down when you’re playing in Brazil, remember? You’ll see me soon.”
Oikawa’s pout turned into a yawn, “I know, but I just want to see you now.”
You internally cooed at your sleepy boyfriend. Oikawa was always the most fun right before he fell asleep. Delirious and tired, you had a stash of treasured memories stored on your phone—you had never told him about the videos, of course, they were just for your enjoyment.
“I’ll be there before you know it. Good night, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Before you hung up, Tooru muttered something else into the phone, “I mean it. ‘m gonna marry you one day.”
You quickly hung up the phone, crossing your fingers that he didn’t see the blush creeping up your neck at his words. Needless to say, that conversation played on repeat in your head for the next couple of weeks. The second proposal took a while to forget about.
The last time he proposed. You almost said yes.
How could you not? When your Tooru was standing in front of you at the airport terminal with a smile that had seemed to get wider since he’d been gone; like the world had been kinder to him since you last saw him. Not to mention he looked like a god. Sun-kissed and deeper defined muscles, he looked heavenly.
You figured that maybe it was because you’d gotten caught up in the magic of being so close to him again after so long. Especially when he wrapped you in one of his famous hugs that felt like home.
So when he blurted out the question again for the third time while walking along a Brazilian beach, you almost said yes. But something held you back. You loved him, sure. You’d even go so far as to say that you wouldn’t mind having him by your side for the rest of your life.
But he was still finding himself in Argentina and you didn’t want to interrupt a second of that. You’d seen the beautiful pieces start to come together and you’d decided that you could wait a little longer until you were sure he was ready.
A few years later, you two again were walking along a beach just before sunset, with your pinkies linked and shoes held in the other hand. You reveled in the picturesque sight, trying to push away intrusive thoughts that were trying to remind you that he’d be gone again by the weekend and you’d have to dive back into long-distance.
Oikawa was thinking the same things. With him being back in Japan for a few weeks felt like a weight was lifted. He could see you whenever he had free time, and in person at that! He could fall asleep with you every night and wake up with you every morning—even if it was really only him getting up in the morning. It all felt....right.
So tonight was his breaking point. Oikawa had been patient all up until this point. Truly, he was ready to marry you every time he had asked you. In fact, the current ring carefully tucked away in his pocket was bought the morning before he had left for Argentina.
He had been patient, waiting for when you were ready. But after these last few weeks, Oikawa couldn’t keep waiting any more. He was going to ask you a fourth and final time tonight.
And he wasn’t going to take no for an answer this time.
(Posted March 1, 2021 4:37AM MST)
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kristallioness · 2 months ago
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👻 *appears out of nowhere*... Good evening, dear followers! It's been a while (wow, a month to be exact!) since I last posted something original here. Real life and work have been keeping me occupied for quite some time, apparently. I really wanna try drawing something tonight tho..
Anyways, I was eager to share a pic of my 2 newest and most treasured collectables: MY VERY FIRST FUNKO POPS! *squees* And they're Katara and Zuko (#Zutara)! 🌊 🔥 I checked and the Katara Pop has been sold out, which makes me feel SO happy and even more lucky that I bought her just in time. She's my favourite! 💙
I've ordered 5 more characters so far (Mai, Ty Lee, Suki, as well as both Aang and Korra bending all 4 elements), but unfortunately those are the only ones on sale in Estonian online stores right now. I'm still pondering if I should also get Aang on an air scooter (I really want the Aang with Momo instead, so I'd also have Katara's significant other), Zhao and Ozai.. 🤔 Of course, I'll be keeping a closer eye on these places, in case any new ones are put on sale.
Besides this tiny update, I'd like to thank all of my followers for sticking around for so long, as well as greet all the newcomers (some of whom are bloggers I admire very much, mostly because of their gorgeous fanart)! 🥰 Namely, I reached 1,300 followers after midnight (around 1 am) on the 20th October 2021!!! 👏 I don't even remember when I hit 1.2 k...
And finally, as I've found myself going through some of my older personal posts here and getting all nostalgic more often recently, I'd like to write a tidbit for the diary-like part of my blog.
I'll never forget this past Monday, the 25th of October, when I went to my very first concert ever since the pandemic started (which also happened to be by the same artist whose concert was the last one I went to back in December 2019 BEFORE the pandemic started). It was Rolf Roosalu's tribute to the Bee Gees, where he sang famous songs performed or written by them, with the help of our fabulous backup singers Dagmar Oja and Kaire Vilgats (I mean literally fabulous, since they wore such pretty clothes full of sparkles and glitter, not to mention that they're both such powerful female vocalists). ✨
I'd bought the most expensive ticket available in order to get a seat in the front rows (the 3rd one, to be exact). Boy, what an incredible experience it was to be so close to these amazing artists! 🤩 I enjoyed every single second of it (gently tapping my feet or swaying my head to the rhythm), felt utterly relaxed and was able to leave all of my worldly worries outside the Alexela Concert Hall (it was my first time visiting this prestigious building). Not to mention that I felt completely safe in there since only vaccinated guests or people who'd already been ill with the virus were allowed to enter (thanks to the government enforcing new rules, in which you couldn't go to concerts anymore by simply having a negative PCR test).
It's truly a night that I'll never forget. 🌃
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cancerianwastelandcat · 8 months ago
Aoi - Club ZY May 2021 - Translation 2/4
read part 1 here. This part is a lot funnier! But it was also more difficult to translate, but I did my best so I hope you enjoy. As always, if you have suggestions for the translation, please feel free to let me know!
Part 2 • May 18th 2021
The effect of the corona crisis was felt in so far that pursuing one’s activities as normal was no longer possible, and around June last year many artists began using platforms like YouTube for streaming. But the GazettE didn’t. Did the topic of whether or not to do streaming not come up?
It didn’t. We’ve never been the band to do this type of thing in the first place, so “because of the times we’re in, let’s do something to connect [with people] on the Web” was not a conversation that we were having. I guess we didn’t want to do it, but that’s us being selfish. How am I supposed to say this… When we thought about how we would be perceived as a band once the time comes that we can be active again, we, as a band, dared to decide that there was no need [for things like streams].*
*[TN: I’m not sure if this is clear, but basically he’s saying they were confident that they didn’t need streams just to keep their fans interested lol]
I understand that feeling. But, setting aside the live streams of talk events or acoustic shows that bands were doing, it was a bit surprising to hear the GazettE weren’t doing any online concerts.
We just thought that we couldn’t do the whole package with online concerts. The point is that if you stream something live, you have no idea how it’s going to turn out and we were more anxious about that [than we were confident]. Like if we do it, we’ll do it to the extent it’s possible, but is that enough? Things like that. Also, we were afraid people would end up thinking that because watching from home is this easy, it’s better. So when it came down to either making a little profit or protecting everything the band has built so far, then we’re sorry but we wanted to protect the band. When online shows become the norm*, then certainly people would ask “please do a live stream with us” and that’s troublesome, too. We thought about all kinds of things like that, and then decided that we aren’t going to do online lives.
*[TN: I asked a Japanese friend what the meaning behind this particular phrase (that I translated as “becoming the norm”) might be, and she explained that ‘once it’s shown that a live, usually performed face-to-face, can be delivered online, it’s to be expected that people will want online lives with the same quality a real concert would have.’]
So it’s not like you lost your spirit or forgot about your fans, but rather that your decision, “we won’t do it”, was you taking the offensive.
Yes. We want to be the coolest, the most powerful as a band, for our next move. What we’re pursuing the most is people thinking “As expected, the GazettE are amazing” when they see us live. That’s the only thing we think about. And I swear I have the confidence that we can truly do that.
I want that day to come as soon as possible. Also, I have a feeling that once corona has cleared up and artists can resume their activities, it’ll become clear in what ways they have spent the meantime.
I think so. Well, obviously I’ve been in touch with music all this time to improve my skills, but what I hate the most is when we get active again after a long time and the members think like “wow, he sucks!” I’m just doing it so I’ll have something to say when they ask me what I’ve been doing all this time.
It’s amazing that you’ve been doing this band with the same people over so many years but haven’t become irresponsible.
I’ve always preferred the essence of the band to be more like rivals, rather than “a group of 5 buddies.” I feel like it’s easier to connect with each other that way, ultimately having harmony is not what enables us to create good work, but being able to inspire one another is. I’ve had my fair share of relying on the band, although I strongly feel now that I don’t want to do that anymore.
You did rely on them, didn’t you? Though I don’t have that impression at all.
Because it’d be terrible if that [info] leaked outside of the band (laughs). I feel inside myself that I’ve been dependent on them, and I don’t think that was a good thing.
In any case, I have a feeling that the GazettE are in a good situation now. Even though I think that because the corona crisis has been going on longer than expected, that period of time that you didn’t do live streams was also longer than you thought. Did you have any worries at all that fans might end up forgetting about the GazettE?
We did, and we did talk a lot about it among the members. Whether we aren’t being too stubborn with our convictions, or if fans won’t have forgotten about the GazettE after taking some time away from it. But I don’t think I’ll do anything about that. I think the other members will keep us connected with them for me, won’t they (laughs). Although we are having more stress than I’d imagined. Stress with the company not making more profit, but we’re also having to think more seriously than usual about where we draw the line between how far we can and cannot go. We haven’t been active publicly, but the stress is accumulating. I do what I can every day in these circumstances. Although I haven’t met anybody in forever, so I don’t know if I can [actually] do it.
I think you can. It’s been a year since we last talked, but I’m feeling a sense of tension in your thoughts. the GazettE has kept quiet for a long time, though you announced the release of your new album 『MASS』on January 29th this year. That was produced during that time you put your activities on the back burner, wasn’t it?
Yes. We began working on the new album around the end of 2019. Since we decided to have the anniversary show in March last year, we took a temporary break and worked on that instead, but then any type of activity, let alone concerts, became undoable. Because of that a whole bunch of things got delayed and so ultimately it wasn’t until summer last year that we started full-scale recording.
Is that so? When you decided on making a new album by the end of 2019, did you already have a theme or concept for it?
No, I feel like we didn’t. With 『DOGMA』we had drawings that Ruki had brought, but we didn't have that. But I don’t think we had a particular concept for 『NINTH』either. We didn’t this time around either so… I feel like we were just bringing songs forward and trying to take a look at the hits*… kind of like that. Ruki probably had some vague images in his mind but he was not yet at a stage where he could’ve made clear exactly what he was going for.
So after the show in March was cancelled, we each went back to songwriting and began sharing what we’d come up with. And while we did that, we decided which song was going to be the single. Or more like… we decided only the single. We only had this one song, you know, although I keep calling it an album (laughs).
*[TN: “hits” as in “hit songs”, songs they particularly liked)
Well, I think that’s one of those things you can’t do anything about. I’m sure it was difficult to gauge what type of songs you were supposed to compose because there was no definite concept yet; also because you weren’t able to meet up with your fellow members until around June.
We did meet in the summer for song selection meetings. We would bring songs to selection meetings about once a month, but around autumn we didn’t meet anymore. I introduced the band to Zoom because we’d also begun using Dropbox. It’s just that after I made the folder, I told them to put songs in it but nobody did (laughs).
Eh, why wouldn’t they?
Probably because nobody wants to be the only one submitting something, I guess (laughs). Besides, nobody’s commenting on anything either because even if you do, nobody’s gonna reply (laughs).
Eeeh!? Please reply to each other. Why is it that there’s no correspondence between you?
I don’t know if I think it’s cool or something (laughs). Well, the GazettE… we’re kind of super weird, you know. We started using Zoom pretty late into it, had something as handy as Dropbox and nobody used it… (laughs). It was crazy by the end of production. We continued to use Zoom during it as well, but we all stay connected on it until the dead of night you see. But because the screens are all visible, it feels to me like I’m being monitored or something (laughs). That’s how extreme it is (laughs).
read part 3 here.
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