#but i realized i HATED creating art in hopes of someone else liking it and not whether or not I liked it
Are you going to school for art?
Nope, art is purely a hobby. I actually got my degree in compsci.
I always thought I wanted to be a professional artist when I was growing up, but I realized that trying to prime myself to turn my hobby into my career just made me not enjoy it as much. I've always just liked making fanart of things I love, and honestly have never really felt a strong want to branch out of that. It's just how I have fun. Realizing art didn't ever have to be more than that for me was very freeing.
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A/N: This piece was originally written for Patreon and split into two separate posts. I’d like to thank, as always, @real-work-of-art and @fromyourstrulyh for your ideas and support and general all around awesomeness. I’ve been debating when to post this for a while and I decided that even though I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I know a lot of you do and a lot of you probably have a lot of feelings today and so hopefully this helps a little bit. I also want to note that I was very conscious about making sure consent was clear and enthusiastic, but if you feel that it was lacking at all, please let me know so I can make sure to fix it.
Pairing: Harry x Y/N
Status: Complete (considering a part 2)
Word Count: 8.7k
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“Yeah well Harry Styles didn’t want to risk more of his personal information being made public,” he grumbled.
Y/N chose to ignore that comment, grasping onto whatever shreds of professionality she had left to her name. But that didn’t last long, when upon pushing the gun down a little harder in order to fill in one of the eyes, Harry let out a moan from above her.
A moan. A fucking moan. Harry fucking Styles let out a fucking moan while she was working on his thigh piece.
Read below, on AO3, or Wattpad
It’s not that Y/N hadn’t ever made house calls before, it’s more that doing one at a fancy hotel gave her the sneaking suspicion that the client would be someone really important. And it’s not that she’d never been nervous about doing a piece, it’s just that something this big and intricate on a big name client could have really amazing implications for her career as a tattoo artist.
She’d been trying to play it cool all month, ever since the shop owner, Adam, told her that a celebrity called and asked for ‘the best artist you’ve got’, but that the artist would need to meet him at a hotel. And then when she got the email from her mystery client’s assistant with the design request? Y/N almost fell out of her stool. “The head of a tiger, minimum six inches, body location TBD.” Finally she understood why the scheduler had assigned her to the job, seeing as animals were her specialty. She’d spent hours working on different options and going back and forth with the client (the client’s assistant, really) until they worked out something that they were both excited for.
Y/N had come a long way from that time Harry fucking Styles no-showed her without so much as a phone call or email two years ago.
Not that she was still thinking about it. She was totally over it.
At the time, she had felt so let down. She thought maybe he ghosted because he didn’t want an ‘up and coming’ artist working on his famous skin and preferred someone with more of a portfolio. Or maybe he researched her and didn’t like her designs. Or maybe a million other reasons, she couldn’t quite be sure. All she was sure of is that she would never accept an appointment without a deposit ever again, no matter how rich or famous the client.
But this client? This client, whoever he was, not only paid the deposit but offered to pay the entire fee up front, save for the tip. But she figured if someone was willing to dump that much change on her they would surely be good for a hefty tip after the fact.
So a big name client, a somewhat large piece in her specialty style, a prepaid appointment, and a pretty good guarantee of a big tip? Yeah, Y/N was pretty excited.
Butterflies were doing kickflips in her stomach as she approached the hotel room door. Looking down at her phone, she double checked to make sure it was the right room before taking a deep breath and knocking.
She hadn’t even gotten to the third knock when the door swung open from the inside.
Y/N’s breath caught in her throat as soon as she saw him.
He was quite a bit taller than her, so the first thing she saw was his bare chest, littered in tattoos. The iconic drawings meant that it didn’t take her long to process who the figure standing in front of her was, but nevertheless she blinked a few times, hoping her eyes were deceiving her or she was in a really bad dream that she was about to wake up from.
Nope. Not a dream.
Harry fucking Styles was standing in front of her, shirtless, waiting to be tattooed. And if he hadn’t already prepaid in full, she probably would’ve turned right around and walked back down the hallway, out of the hotel, and gone straight home, no questions asked.
But he did prepay in full, so she couldn’t very well do what she wanted to. Instead, she took a deep breath and looked him directly in the eyes.
To be fair, he didn’t look too thrilled to be seeing her standing outside his door either. It wasn’t lost on her the way his face immediately fell from his world renowned smile into a deeply grumpy frown as soon as he saw her.
“Y/N?” he asked, cautiously.
They stood there for a moment, looking at each other in silence. Finally, Y/N took a deep breath, rubbing her forehead with her fingers as she tried to process the situation.
“Gimme a minute, yeah?”
“Whatever. Take whatever you fucking need from me, I guess,” he grumbled, turning around and letting the door close between them.
She immediately pulled out her phone and called the shop. She couldn’t believe they sent her knowing that he would be the client. Well maybe the receptionist didn’t know, but Adam surely had to! And he had been right there two years ago pretending to be compassionate.
“Adam, I can’t fucking believe you sent me to him!” she whisper-yelled before he even had the chance to say hello on the other end of the call.
“Calm down, he’s just-”
“He’s just nothing! You were there! You know the whole town was laughing at me for months! I can’t believe you would do this to me!”
For a moment it was quiet on the other end of the call. Then she heard some papers being rustled around and a sigh come from Adam’s mouth.
“Listen, Y/N. He asked for the best we had to do a tiger. You’re the best we have to do any kind of animal. Think of it as... as a redemption, ok? Do this piece, knock his socks off, redeem yourself from that moment two years ago.”
“You’ll walk back in there and you’ll do his tattoo, that’s what you’ll do. End of conversation.”
He hung up.
Y/N wasn’t usually one to fight with Adam. He had always seemed to know what he was doing, ran a tight ship, was one of the best artists she had ever seen. But now, she wasn’t so sure she would ever be able to forgive him for this.
Nevertheless, she realized she didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. What Adam says, goes. Harry had prepaid for the appointment and jumping ship now would probably not be a good look for anyone.
She took a deep breath, trying to muster up the courage. In her bag she had all her supplies ready, and the design was something she was fairly excited about. If she could just pretend the body belonged to someone else, she could probably get through this, right?
Again, she knocked on the door. This time he made her wait, although Y/N wasn’t entirely sure why. Harry finally opened the door, arms crossed on his chest, looking down at her with a deep crease between his brows.
Y/N was incredulous. Harry was certifiably the worst.
“Adam sent me to do a tattoo, so I’m going to do a tattoo. Now are you going to let me in or are you going to make me work in the hallway?”
He looked at her a moment longer. His gaze was harsh, like he was trying to make her feel small. But she refused to let him succeed at that.
“And you’re the best in the business at animals? You’re the one that designed my tiger?” His brow was raised.
She scoffed. “Yeah, I’m the best. I did your design. And I highly recommend you let me follow through and do the piece, because no one else in town is going to do it justice.”
He rolled his eyes, pushing the door open a bit further but not waiting for her to walk through before turning around. She just barely caught the door before it closed again, definitely not because she was distracted by his tan, muscular back and firm little bum walking away from her in only a pair of boxer-briefs.
“Sorry s’a bit of a mess,” he told her over his shoulder, not really paying mind to if she was actually in the room or not.. “Rest o’ the band was here last night after the show,” he explained.
Y/N didn’t respond, just took a moment to take in the room around her. The TV was hanging on the wall, turned on but muted. His luggage was open on the small couch, clothes sprawling around the room. All around them were a smattering of half empty water bottles, most of them without caps. And the bed... the bed was a disaster. Pillows thrown around, comforter mostly on the floor, and sheets completely wrinkled.
“Fun night?” she asked, doing everything in her power to hold back the discontent she felt for him.
“Something like tha’” he mumbled.
He finally took a seat on the edge of the bed, pulling a nearby chair closer. Leaning back on his hands, he turned to look at Y/N again.
“Want it on m’thigh. This alright?” he motioned to the set up he had created.
It wasn’t perfect, but Y/N could make do. She had certainly made better with worse in the past. With a small nod, she followed the path he had taken and sat down in the chair, opening her bag and starting to pull out her supplies. The gun, the ink, the pattern she had prepared. Finally she reached for the disposable razors she kept with her.
“Gonna have to shave the - oh.”
Upon finally looking down at the area in question, Y/N was greeted with smooth, somewhat pale skin. His thigh was meaty and the skin looked soft, in harsh contrast to the dark hair growing on his other leg. She turned her head to the side, trying to get a better view of what she had to work with. It definitely wouldn’t be the most difficult location for her to work.
“Already done for ya,” he sighed.
“Good,” she responded. “Shaving someone else is always the most awkward part.” She was trying her best to make light of the situation, but it was hard.
He didn’t really respond.
With another sigh, she reached for the paper with their agreed upon design and held it over his leg.
“Like this?” she questioned.
“No, no like...” he took the paper out of her hands, nearly ripping the thin material.
Y/N rolled her eyes when she was sure Harry was distracted.
“Like... like this, yeah?”
She nodded, taking the paper from his hands and holding it where he had shown her. Looking up at him, she made eye contact to get confirmation before she got to work transferring the drawing from the paper onto the surface of his leg.
It was quiet while she worked. Typically Y/N was known for chatting quite a bit with her clients. It made her feel better knowing the person who would be permanently marked with her artwork. But she knew all she thought she needed to know about mister Harry fucking Styles. And he didn’t appear to be remotely interested in anything about her.
Once all her tools were ready, Y/N picked up the gun and turned it on. Harry was looking at the ceiling of his room, paying no mind to her, jumping at the sudden noise.
“Fuck’s sake, warn me, yeah?”
“Oh right. I’m Going To Turn The Gun On Now,” she said, emphatically.
“Hey be nice to me, I’m the one about to stick needles in your leg.”
“Yeah, never gonna let the shop owner pick my artist ever again,” he groaned.
She did her best to ignore the comment, instead focusing on the work in front of her. Y/N had to be as professional as possible, given the situation.
“‘M not wearing gloves so I can feel your skin. Gonna pull it tight while I work, alright? Just... stay still.”
He nodded. She could feel his eyes boring into her as she took a final deep breath and brought the gun down to make contact with his skin.
Harry let out a small hiss from above, but that was about it. She was pleasantly surprised, really, at his reaction. Most of her clients jumped or yelled at the first moment of contact, even the big burly guys trying to look otherwise tough as nails.
They stayed like that for a few minutes - her working diligently and him seemingly staring off into space, acting entirely unbothered by the needles jamming into his thigh. If Y/N tried really hard, she could almost forget who her client was and how much she hated his every breath. Almost.
“So, why a tiger?” she asked, still focusing on her work but really doing her best to ease at least a little bit of the tension in the room.
Harry scoffed. “Why? So if I tell yeh, y’can tell your receptionist and she can get drunk and tell the world?” he remarked.
That caught Y/N’s attention for sure. She lifted her hand up from his leg and turned off the gun.
“What in the fuck are you talking about?”
Bemused, Harry let out a breathy laugh before realizing she was waiting for an actual response.
“You really don’t have any idea?”
“No, enlighten me, your royal highness.”
He laughed again before finally looking at her. “You’re receptionist drunk dialled me two years ago, had to change my number for the fifth time in a year. Fucking ridiculous. You know,” he started, this time with more energy. “When a client asks for discretion, there’s usually a damn good reason.”
Y/N was baffled. She genuinely had no idea. The receptionist from two years ago was a young girl, a college student working part time to help pay for classes. At the time, she had seemed nice enough, not too chatty but still with a welcoming smile whenever someone walked through the door. She had left not long after Harry’s abandoned appointment, if Y/N remembered correctly.
She opened her mouth to respond, but Harry cut her off before she got the chance.
“Looks good so far,” he commented.
“Yeah, I know.”
“Most people would say thank you when given a compliment, you know.”
“Yeah well, I guess I’m not most people.”
She turned the gun back on then, desperate to stop the conversation. About a third of the design was done, and Y/N now had to figure out how to maneuver herself around Harry’s body so she could get the right angle on the tiger’s eyes.
“And most people wouldn’t ghost their tattoo artist after making her spend hours preparing a design,” she mumbled.
“What was that?”
“You heard me.” She didn’t look up at him. “Made me the laughing stock of the fucking town, y’know. Lost a bunch of clients after that, all of them thought well if Harry Styles doesn’t want her, then why should I?”
She shifted her body again, pushing his other leg open and seating herself between them. Her arms danced from side to side for a moment while she tried to figure out the best position to get at the spot she was working on. Finally she settled herself, pushed his briefs up a couple of inches to give herself more room, and went back to work.
“Yeah well Harry Styles didn’t want to risk more of his personal information being made public,” he grumbled.
Y/N chose to ignore that comment, grasping onto whatever shreds of professionality she had left to her name. But that didn’t last long, when upon pushing the gun down a little harder in order to fill in one of the eyes, Harry let out a moan from above her.
A moan. A fucking moan. Harry fucking Styles let out a fucking moan while she was working on his thigh piece.
“Did you just-”
“Whatever you say.”
She went back to work, desperately trying not to think too hard about what had just happened. But then it happened again. And another time. And that’s when she shifted her gaze off of her work for just a moment and noticed that he had popped a semi just inches away from her hands.
Just as a test, Y/N pressed extra hard while filling in the other eye. The experiment proved her theory, as he let out an elongated moan and his cock visibly stiffed up quite a bit more beneath the thin fabric he was wearing.
“Making this really difficult for me, ya know,” she told him.
He coughed. “Don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I think you do though, is the thing. And I think you’re doing it on purpose. And I think you’re conspiring against me!”
“Conspiring! With who?” he demanded.
“I don’t know, the fucking universe or whatever. I think you’re out to get to me and I think you’re going to tell all your famous friends that your tattoo artist was unprofessional and you’re going to ruin my fucking career before it even begins. Just like you tried to do last time.”
“Oi, s’that what you think?”
“Yes, yes it is. And I think as soon as I finish this piece I never want to see your face or your...” the heat in her voice faded out, moving instead to her cheeks. She looked down at his crotch, where he was almost fully hard.
She could tell he knew what she was looking at, and she wanted to be embarrassed, but honestly, how could she? He should be the embarrassed one! Getting hard while getting a tattoo! She was only looking at what was in front of her. And what was in front of her just happened to be something that millions coveted.
“Oh great,” he groaned. “You know, it’s not like I was staring at y’tits or anything.”
“Just, be quiet for a moment, would’ya? Let me finish you.”
“Yeah,” he chuckled. “I bet y’want to finish me, hm?”
Harry really was trying to make this as difficult as possible for her, wasn’t he? Not even appearing to be embarrassed anymore, she could feel his gaze shooting daggers into her. Every time Y/N repositioned her hands, pulling his skin this way or that, she saw the look on his face out of the corner of her eyes. She tried her best to ignore it, but how could she truly ignore a giant cock staring her right in the face.
And his hard on wasn’t going down, either. If anything, she could swear she saw it getting harder, pressing against the seam of his briefs just dying for some kind of relief. Although she was thoroughly annoyed with the situation, in a way, it also made her feel some kind of victory. After all, he was the one who was suffering, not her.
She was just working on the details above one of the eyes when she twisted her body, attempting to find the proper angle so she could draw straight lines, and her forearm grazed over his bulge lightly.
Harry let out a hiss at the contact. Y/N couldn't help but chuckle.
“Hey, y’doin’ that on purpose now. Gonna get me all worked up so you can tell the world about m’cock, hm?”
This time she let out a full laugh.
“Yeah, that’s definitely what I’m trying to do. It’s all my fault you’re hard and has nothing to do with you staring at my boobs or your fucking pain kink.”
“Pain kink, you fuckin’ wish.”
She carefully wiped off some of the excess ink from his skin before replying.
“Totally. It’s my all time favorite thing when a client pops a boner right in front of my face.”
“Well maybe if you ever actually got some dick you wouldn’t be so stuck up and rude to your clients.”
Lifting the tattoo gun up from his leg, she took a moment to search his eyes.
“For your information, I get plenty of dick. Thank you very much.”
“Not enough to keep y’eyes off o’mine. Can practically see your mouth watering, babe.”
“Sure,” she scoffed. “Because after all this what I really want is to give you a damn blowie.”
Harry groaned from above her, but she felt satisfied knowing that he couldn’t come up with a proper comeback right away. Instead, he stayed relatively quiet, only releasing deep breaths and sighs as she worked (likely to hide the moans that she knew he was holding back).
“‘Blowie’ sounds far too cute for what I want to do to yeh, darlin’,” he eventually mumbled.
Y/N tried her best to ignore that one, but it was a challenge. The truth was it had been some time since he had last been with someone. A little bit too long since she’d been able to get her rocks off by something other than her own hand or the vibrator she kept in her nightstand drawer. And as much as she despised Harry, she couldn’t deny that he was attractive. And he was clearly packing some heat under those briefs.
She turned off the gun, leaning down to reach for her water bottle which was resting at her feet. In the back of her head she had to remind herself that it was totally reasonable for a person to need to pause and take a drink of water, even if they weren’t letting their mind wander and trying to figure out what word would be appropriate other than ‘blowie’. But as much as she hated it, the fact was she could feel herself getting worked up down below.
Which also proved to be very distracting while trying to put permanent artwork on someone else’s body.
While her workflow had been largely uninterrupted by the banter she and Harry shared, Y/N found herself needing to pause and take breaks more and more often. Huffing and puffing as she did her best to appear as if she was thinking about the task at hand, when the truth of the matter was that she couldn’t get her mind (or her eyes) off of the still prominent boner in front of her.
Harry stayed largely quiet then, but each time she looked up at him there was a smug grin painted on his face. She hated it.
Finally, she had completed the last bits of the design. Turning off the gun and taking a moment to review her work, she let out a sigh of relief. It was over, which meant she wouldn’t have to be in his presence for very much longer.
“What do you think?”
Harry cocked his head to the side as he looked over her work. His face was hard to read, so Y/N gave up trying until he crossed his arms in front of his chest and looked at her.
“Guess you really are the best in the business, huh?”
“Damn right I am,” she responded with a laugh.
Carefully, Y/N reached into her bag of supplies and pulled out the necessary aftercare materials. It wasn’t lost on her that this would be the last time she touched his soft skin as she rubbed the ointment over his thigh lightly, so sue her if she took her time doing it. She covered it with the proper bandage, before leaning down to put all of her supplies away. All she had left to do was give him aftercare instructions and then she could go home and get herself off to the thought of the giant cock that was in front of her face for the past few hours. All without ever having to see Harry again.
“Remember, wash it daily with-”
“Antimicrobial soap, I know. Put ointment on it for three days, wear sunscreen, moisturize. I’ve done this a few times, babe.”
“Great, can’t have the whole town thinking I gave Harry Styles a skin infection now, can I?”
He let out a breathy laugh at that before leaning back onto the bed with his hands. She stood up from her chair, looking at him expectantly. But he only raised his eyebrows.
“It’s customary to give a tip, ya know,” she huffed.
“Oh, I’ve got a tip I think I can give yeh.”
Her eyes went wide at his comment. He stood up off of the bed, now mere inches away from her body. She’d been successful in not letting his harsh gaze get to her when she was working, but now that he was towering over her, close enough for her to smell his day-old cologne and natural musk, it was difficult to keep up the facade. Y/N felt small. Watching him breathe deeply, her eyes raked across his chest. The artwork was beautiful. And so was the skin and body that adorned it.
“I want my tip,” she demanded, although she refused to look him in the eyes.
“You want to know what I think?” he whispered.
“I think,” Harry dipped his head down, using one finger to lift her chin and make eye contact. “I think you want something else. I think you just spent a hell of a long time staring at m’cock and now you want to know what it feels like.”
Her breath caught in her throat for a moment when his finger touched her skin. Somehow he managed to inch his body even closer to hers as he spoke, but she couldn't find it within herself to take a step back. She tried to look down at her feet, avoid his eye contact by any means possible.
“You just think because you’re mister Harry fucking Styles you can fuck whoever the hell you want.” she spat back at him.
But he just shook his head and grabbed her jaw with his strong hand, forcing her to look at him again.
“Look at me while ‘m talking to you, yea? ‘S a sign of fucking respect. Not sure if you’ve ever heard of it.”
She rolled her eyes. He let out a breathy laugh.
“Deny it all you want, but I don’t see y’trying to walk away from me now, hm?”
“I hate you,” she spit out, jaw clenched tight between his fingers.
“You’re the worst.”
She tried to insult him, but it all just bounced off of him. He wouldn’t let up and she didn’t know what to do. A feeling started to grow in the pit of her stomach that she couldn’t quite understand.
“You hate me too.” She tried to reason with him.
Harry smirked that same cocky smirk. Y/N wished she could smack it right off his face.
The room around them was quiet, the air standing still and tense. Every muscle in her body felt like it was on fire. All she really wanted to do in that moment was scream, but he spoke before she got a chance.
“I was starin’ at y’tits earlier,” he admitted with a shrug. His smile grew a bit, he knew exactly what he was doing.
“And I saw yeh squirming after I got hard.”
She desperately wanted to fight back at him. To tell him he was lying. To slap him. To spit in his face. But he was right, and she was frozen in place.
“Say it. Say you want me,” he taunted.
“You know I do.”
“Say y’want m’cock. Just say it.”
“Don’t fucking making me say it.” The begging came out more like an insult.
He sighed before releasing her jaw from his grip, only to grab onto the hair at the back of her head and pull on it, elongating her neck and making her release a soft gasp.
“Say you want it and I’ll give it to you,” he told her in a whisper. He leaned forward, lips grazing her ear as he continued to speak. “First I’ll fuck that bratty little mouth of yours. Can’t be rude if y’mouth is full, hm?”
She squeezed her eyes closed, doing everything she could to maintain a little bit of composure.
“Then I’ll fuck y’cunt. And I’ll do it better than any other asshole you’ve had before me.”
It wasn’t worth holding back anymore, and they both knew it. Y/N released a breath that she hadn’t realized she was holding, complete with a gasp at the end when he pulled her hair harder and to the side.
“C’mon,” he mumbled, mouth now traveling down to bite on her earlobe. “Say it. Say it and I’ll give it to you.”
She gulped, eyes squeezed closed as she felt his hot breath and soft lips travel down the column of her neck. He must’ve been spawned by the devil.
“Fuck,” she breathed out. “Fine. Shit. I want it.”
“Hm? What do y’want, babe? Gotta tell me.”
She groaned. “Want your cock.”
He laughed then, fucking laughed, before using his leverage to toss her onto the messed up bed behind him.
Landing with a slight bounce, Y/N bit her lip as she finally allowed herself to really look at Harry. He was still towering over her, head cocked to the side like he was trying to decide what to do with her. Her heart was pounding loud in her ears even with all the blood rushing away from her brain and towards her center. They stayed like that for a moment, each of them evaluating the other, measuring up bodies against their own desires.
When Harry finally made his move, it was sudden and without restraint. He landed on the bed, hovering over her with his mouth attached to her neck, just where he had left off. She felt his calloused fingers gripping her hips beneath the hem of her t-shirt tightly, pulling her body even closer to his and sure to leave small bruises. With a groan, Y/N’s hands found their way into his hair, pulling at the roots of his curls to release some of her tension. It seemed to motivate him further as he moved his mouth down to the spot where her neck and shoulders met, biting down and sucking harshly until she whined before soothing the spot with soft licks and blows of cool air.
“If you don’t fucking kiss me right now, I swear to god I’ll-”
He cut her off though, fulfilling her wish in the most delicious way. Typically she preferred her kisses to start out soft and slow, feel the other person out and lose herself in the moment. But Harry dove right in with bruising force, hardly waiting for her reaction before he slipped his tongue into her mouth. Eyes closed, fingers still in his hair, and lips smashing against his, Y/N couldn’t help but let out a low moan from the back of her throat.
Harry snickered into her mouth before biting down on her lower lip, pulling it away from her before releasing it again.
“Such a fucking brat, y’know that? Can’t appreciate when ‘m doing something nice for yeh.”
“You wouldn’t know nice if it bit you in the ass,” she growled.
“Take off yer clothes and get on y’knees,” he responded harshly.
Using all the power she had within her, she tried to shoot daggers out of her eyes and into Harry’s chest. When she didn’t move right away he grabbed at her arm, pulling her upper body off the bed and reaching down the hem of her shirt. He tugged it up and off her body quickly before throwing it off to the side, blending in with his own piles of clothes and sheets on the floor.
She felt his eyes on her chest, so she pushed back her shoulders and tried to make her boobs look the best she could.
“Y’gonna take it off or y’gonna make me do that for yeh too?” he mumbled about her bra.
Without taking her harsh gaze off of him, she reached behind herself to unhook it. His eyes went wide as she let the bra slide down her arms and off of her chest, tossing it aside as well. A part of her thought that his red hot glare would make her feel self conscious, but in its own way it actually made her feel more confident. If this man, who hated her almost as much as she hated him, didn’t even try to hide that his eyes went wide as he drank her in, well there was definitely some kind of power in that knowledge. A power that she wholeheartedly intended to use against him somehow.
After a moment he snapped out his trance, looking back up to her eyes.
“I said, get on y’knees.”
With a strong hand on her upper back, he guided her body down to the floor in front of him. The carpet in this fancy hotel was softer than most, but was still rough enough to feel through her thin leggings. Her knees would surely be red and sore by the end of this, giving her one more reason to hate him.
She looked up at him, her eyes just below his hips as he dragged his briefs downs his legs (careful not to disrupt the bandage on his thigh). His dick popped out, practically slapping against his stomach as Harry let out a sigh of relief. His hand reached down to the base of his shaft, squeezing for a moment before giving himself a few slow strokes. He seemed to be lost in himself, sighing at the slight release of tension which had been undoubtedly building up inside of him for a while. Eyes squeezed closed, he brought his other hand down to graze over his balls.
Y/N’s brows jumped up on her forehead. She knew he was big, but she didn’t quite realize how big until it was staring her in the face. He would easily be the biggest she ever tried to take.
Finally, he seemed to remember where he was and what he was doing. He opened his eyes, the usual deep green now almost completely gone with his irises blown out with lust. Taking a step forward, he looked down at her. With his tip he tapped at her lips before chuckling a bit.
“Tip,” he chuckled, mostly to himself.
She glared at him.
“Aw c’mon, that one was funny,” he insisted.
Y/N backed her head away from him.
But Harry stopped her, hand coming to grip her hair again just as he had done while they were standing. He pulled her head back until she was staring at the ceiling.
“Throat’s gonna look so damn pretty with my cock pushed down it,” he mumbled.
As hard as she tried to stay strong, she couldn’t help but let out a little whine. He was right about how much she wanted him, but she desperately didn’t want to let him know he was right. She hated him far too much to allow him that kind of victory.
“Open,” he demanded.
She didn’t move.
“I said,” he sighed. Then, without any warning he used his dick to slap her on the cheek twice. “Open.”
Finally, she complied.
She opened her mouth as wide as possible, just hoping that her jaw was big enough to fit around him. He let his tip rest against her tongue for a moment, which was sticking out of her mouth. His eyes were closed, his breathing short. Just to see what would happen, she moved her tongue a bit, licking around the head only where his foreskin was pulling back.
“Shit,” he grumbled.
It took everything in her not to use her teeth when she closed her lips around him.
He let her go like that for a few minutes, stroking the base of his shaft as she worked. She could tell he was getting quite worked up, his lower abs clenching whenever her tongue hit just the right spot.
“Alrigh’, stop teasin’.” But his statement was much less harsh than his previous demands, clearly broken down by the pleasure running through his veins. “Gonna fuck yer mouth now, alrigh’?”
She nodded her head.
A smile broke on his face, and she wished she could call it ugly but that would be a blatant lie.
With hardly any other warning, he used his grip on her hair to bring her head closer to him, his dick now securely in her mouth. She tightened her lips around him, knowing it would drive him crazy. And it worked. He let out continuous moans and groans and swears as he thrust in and out of her mouth, working the top half of his cock just the way he liked.
“Think y’can take all of me?” he asked without slowing his pace.
She was surprised he even stopped to ask, but hummed in response around his dick nonetheless.
He pushed himself in deep then, slowing his motions and watching her intently as she worked to breath through her nose, relax her throat, and tear up at her eyes. Eventually he made it all the way in, her nose pushing up against the fine hairs at his base. Taking a breath, she couldn’t help but notice his natural scent - she wanted to drown in it.
“Ahh,” he gasped when her throat tried to close in on him.
She lasted as long as she could before she felt herself starting to gag, digging her nails into the back of his thighs as a warning. But he just kept her there longer, apparently enjoying the jolt of pain she was giving him.
Her eyes closed and watery, she was gagging and finally had to push herself away from him, releasing him from her mouth entirely. She coughed a few times as she caught her breath, wiping the spit and precum off of her mouth and chin with the back of her hand.
“Like y’so much better like this,” he told her.
She expected him to try and go again, but he didn’t. And if the way his balls were squeezing up towards his body were any indication, he was really close. Instead, he leaned down with a sigh, grabbing her torso from under her arms and tossing her back onto the bed like a rag doll. Of course she would never admit it, but Y/N loved the feeling of being manhandled by him.
Harry knees himself up onto the bed before grabbing her sides and pushing her further up towards the headboard. He was able to lift her and move her and do what he wanted to her without even showing any effort at all.
“You just gonna throw me around, or are you gonna actually do something?” She teased.
He shook his head with a knowing smile before connecting their lips again, this time just as forceful as the last. Y/N couldn’t help the little whine she released into his mouth as he tasted her tongue. Then he worked down, first to her jaw, then her neck, leaving little bites and bruises all along the way.
As he made his way down to her chest, she couldn’t help but lift her hips up. Searching for any kind of friction, she just needed their bodies to be closer together. But when she moved, Harry was quick to push on her hip and press it back down against the bed. With a bite to the nipple he was working on he pulled his head back until he could see her face again.
“Fuckin’ greedy, aren’t yeh?”
“Well quit teasing, then,” she shot back.
Somehow, Harry managed to make his little hum sound angry. He moved both his hands to the waistband of her leggings, grabbing them and her panties and pulling them down her legs all at once. Leaving her to kick them off her ankles, he refocused again on her other nipple, sucking and biting until she was gasping for air.
When he was satisfied that he had worked her up enough, he used both hands to spread her legs wide. First, looked down at her core, then he looked back at her face and raised his brows, asking for permission.
She nodded her head to give him permission, but she hardly finished the movement before feeling his hold hand cup her pussy, grinding the heel of his palm into her clit. She gasped at the feeling.
“So fucking wet already, bet I could just...”
He trailed off. She saw him bite the corner of his lip as his hand shuffled around until she suddenly felt his long fingers inside of her. Already dripping wet, he was able to slide two fingers in right off the bat, pumping them in and out of her to stretch her out. He went at a brutal pace, eventually making use of his thumb on her clit. She couldn’t help but moan at the feeling when he started swirling little circles around the sensitive nub. His fingers curled upwards, finding that special spot inside of her, and she could’ve sworn she was seeing stars.
“Gonna... fuck gonna...almost...” She could hardly get the words out in between moans and gasps as Harry refused to let up on his ministrations.
His mouth traced back up her body while he worked, licking and biting on her tummy and breasts before letting his lips hover just over hers. She could feel his hot breath coming down onto her, but with her eyes closed she had no way of seeing the devilish look on his face.
Her hands, which had been grasping tightly at the sheet beneath her, found their way to his upper back where she dug her nails in, just trying to ground herself. When he moaned in response she nearly cursed herself, remembering that it was pain itself that got them into this mess in the first place.
But she was too far gone to care anymore - too close to keep thinking about how much she hated him. All she could think was more, more, more. The muscles in her stomach started to contract, and he attached their lips again, using the hand that wasn’t already busy to brush over her face before resting just above her collar bones, putting pressure on her throat. He tested the waters carefully, making sure his grip was strong enough for her to feel but loose enough not to cause any problems if she weren’t into it.
The thing was, she was definitely into it. Moments after she felt his fingers wrap around her neck, she felt herself let go entirely. Y/N wasn’t sure if the noises she heard were coming from her, or even if they were real. She might have screamed, might have moaned out his name, might have gasped for air. All she knew for sure was that she was cumming, and Harry was the one giving it to her.
She wanted to be mad that he was so good at what he was doing, she really did. But she just couldn’t. Her whole body felt like it was on fire in the best way. She came down slowly, his fingers still working inside of her but at less brutal of a pace. After taking a few breaths, she felt herself hiccup, which made Harry chuckle.
“Quite like the way you looked doin’ that,” he whispered. “Almost as pretty as having m’dick in your mouth.”
She kept her eyes closed, begging herself to ignore whatever nonsense he was spouting at her. At least he was being a little less mean this time around. Taking a few more breaths, she felt her body starting to melt into the mattress below her.
But Harry wasn’t done yet.
His hand, which had never ceased its movements, still worked on her sensitive center. His thumb had let up on her clit but he added a third finger into her hole, causing her to gasp at the feeling. When she realized he was working to stretch her out in preparation for his dick, she couldn’t help the warm bubbly feeling inside of her tummy.
When he was satisfied that she was ready for him, he climbed off the bed. She whined at the loss of contact, but he only let out a huff, searching through his bag across the room until he could find a condom.
“Still wanna fuck y’cunt, if tha’s alright.”
Y/N was exhausted, but she felt her body light up with interested so she nodded her head.
Harry tore open the foil packet with his teeth, hissing as he rolled it down his length. The tip was deep red, nearly purple after being hard for so long now. A thick vein protruded down the side, and a dusting of little hairs framed his base. He really was very pretty. Not that she would ever give him the satisfaction of telling him that.
He plopped down on the bed beside her, sitting up with his legs spread out in front of him and leaning back against the headboard.
“Up y’get,” he said as he once again moved her body with ease until she was straddling him.
Y/N was careful not to put any pressure on the bandage, knowing his skin would be sensitive there and not wanting to mess up the aftercare work she had done. The last thing she needed after all of this was to rebandage him.
Her knees, still a bit sore from the harsh carpet she was on earlier, landed at his sides and sank into the bed. She placed one hand on his shoulder, taking a deep breath. He nodded, egging her on, so she used the other hand to position him at her entrance.
“Makin’ me do all the work...” she muttered.
As she sank down on him slowly, he reached forward to tweak one of her nipples. She gasped, the shock making her lose control and fall the rest of the way down his shaft until he was bottomed out. She could feel him deep inside of her, deeper than she had ever felt anyone before. Leaning forward, she rested her forehead against his, eyes closed and focused on adjusting to the welcome intrusion.
His left hand massaged her breast as best he could given the movements. With his right hand he took his time, she felt his touch graze over her bum, her back, tangle in her hair before coming over the top of her shoulder, admiring her chest, her tummy. From her waist he stroked up her side before making his way to her mouth, where he stuck two fingers onto her tongue. Y/N closed her mouth around them then, tasting the remnants of her orgasm on his skin.
“That’ll shut you up,” he grumbled.
It was when she accidentally clenched down on him that she finally got a vocal response out of Harry. He moaned loudly, hot breath washing over her face. That was all the motivation she needed to start moving. As tired as she was from her previous orgasm, she still had adrenaline coursing through her and keeping her going. Her hatred for him sped her on as she picked up the pace, rising up almost far enough to release him completely only to slam back down.
She missed the familiar sound of skin slapping skin, which now filled the room along with their pants and moans. Her hands slid down from his shoulders to dance over his chest, admiring the hard earned muscles which lay underneath the two birds at his collar bones. As a test, she let one hand drag over his nipple.
He moaned lightly, giving her the motivation to try again but this time with a pinch and a tweak. This time he didn’t hold back, letting out a deep groan and throwing his head back, hitting it against the headboard harder than he intended.
“Fuck’s sake,” he grumbled, one hand reaching up to rub at the back of his head.
Y/N just laughed at his uncomfortable situation, taking pride in knowing that she had delivered so much pleasure he lost all control.
He looked back at her, eyes dark and brows furrowed. His hands came to her hips, squeezing just the other side of too tight. Using his newfound leverage, he picked up the pace, lifting his hips and fucking up into her. She was losing control again, and fast. Her face came down to rest on his shoulder where she bit down hard, stifling her moans. At the same time, her fingers crawled into his soft curls, pulling hard at the roots.
That didn’t last very long though. After a particularly hard thrust, she bit down harder on him by reflex. And then his motions stopped. She whined, detaching her mouth from his shoulder in an attempt to look him in the eyes. But before she got a chance he was flipping them over so she was on the bed and he was above her. He continued manhandling her until he got her into the position he wanted: on her knees, ass up, face down on the pillow which she was grabbing at.
Harry held her hips as he let his head drag up and down her slit, tapping on her hole. She whined, pushing her hips back, desperate for friction. But when he entered her again, it was only just barely before pulling out and teasing her some more.
“Please, Harry,” she begged.
“First time y’fucking said please, hm? Not that hard to be nice, is it?”
Before she could answer he started to slam into her from behind, pushing her up the bed with every thrust. Their skin slapped together, she moaned around the pillow case which her face was pressed into, and she could hear his loud moans and groans from behind her.
Leaning forward, he reached to grab the headboard, using it to find purchase and start thrusting even harder. She heard the smack before she felt the sting when he spanked her hard on one side, crying out at the feeling. He did it again, and again, until her skin felt like it was burning, but in the most amazing way.
He leaned down then, letting his body drape over hers and whisper in her ear.
“Y’like that, don’t yeh babe? Filthy girl.”
She couldn't help but moan at his words.
His left hand stayed on her hips, but his right hand came down from the headboard, finding its place at the base of her neck, just as he had done to make her cum before. He yanked her body back against his, her back now resting against his chest, her neck elongated and her head resting on his shoulder. Harry’s thrusts started to get sloppy as he pushed up into her, hitting her g spot almost every time.
Y/N could tell from his breathing that Harry was getting close to the finish line. His left hand traveled from her hip around to rub at her clit from the front, leaving her a blubbering mess. Desperately, she clinged onto any bit of sanity she had left. If it wasn’t for his strong arms holding her up, she thinks she probably would’ve melted like mashed potatoes and landed face first on the pillows in front of her.
She clenched down, hard, earning a growl in response. Harry’s breath bounced off of her ears, his sweat dripping onto her skin as well. He redoubled his efforts then, doing his best to make her cum around him before he finished.
“C’mon, gimme another one. Cum around m’cock. Give it to me,” he muttered into her ear.
It was something about the commands, the way he spoke to her, the passionate hatred she felt for him and knew he reciprocated, that pushed her over the edge. Her entire body felt like it was shaking, fireworks blasting off behind her eyelids. She gasped for air and grabbed onto his arms to keep herself steady.
And when she dug her nails into his skin, that’s when he lost it as well. His noises were loud, directly in her ear as he filled up the condom, continuing with his movements for as long as he possibly could. Finally, he stilled, the last of his hot ropes shooting out.
They collapsed together, her on her stomach and him on top of her. Their bodies stuck together with sweat as they both panted, trying to catch their breaths.
Harry soon rolled off of her. She turned her head to the side and watched as he pulled off the condom and discarded it in a trash can before coming back to join her on the bed. He laid there on his back, hands behind his head, chest smooth and sweaty and on full display.
“You’re still the worst,” she mumbled.
“I still hate you.”
“I still hate you too.”
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In the Limelight. Yan Childe x Reader [COMM]
Warnings: Stalking and typical yandere themes.
Word count: 2.2k.
After every performance, there is one face in the crowd you’ve come to expect.
You can’t mistake those beguiling eyes for anyone else. They swirl with unknown emotions like a roaring whirlpool, threatening to pull you under the longer you stare back. Tonight serves as a confirmation of your suspicions. This redheaded patron is indeed acting as your incessant shadow, making appearances at every venue you’re set to perform. There’s no dismissing it as mere coincidence any longer.
He doesn’t even bother trying to hide it.
The applause is thundering, a testament to your well-received performance, cheers reverberating off the establishment’s walls in abundance. What should serve as a moment to bask in the glow of your audience’s admiration is tainted by your anxiety. It’s a nagging thing, really, that little impish voice in the back of your head. How it makes the most absurd claims. This should be nothing new, you’ve dealt with some rather... passionate fans in the past. Nothing you couldn’t handle. A stern conversation here, a boundary drawn there. They’d back off when you put your foot down. Even the most persistent admirers ran for the hills when you revealed your Vision.
So why is your gut screaming at you that this time is different?
Backstage, you gulp down water to ease your burning throat and wipe the sweat from your brow. The audience seemed to enjoy your performance, but you can’t help but dwell on some amateur mistakes that had been made. For someone of your skill level, it should never have happened — though you doubt the untrained eye would’ve noticed — it’s still enough to frustrate you. Stage fright has long been a thing of the past, but you couldn’t compare the butterflies in your stomach feeling to now. A more suitable comparison would be a hornet’s nest. Well, whatever, you dismiss with a frown. I’ll rest up and practice tomorrow.
After you receive your payment from the bar’s owner, you waste no time making for the exit. The walk back to the inn is a long one, unfortunately for you, as this time of year tourism in Liyue makes finding a room difficult. You take a deep breath, the refreshing scent of Liyue’s ocean lingering in the air. The city is ethereal at night, warm hues of orange and red illuminating lively crowds, the lantern’s glow rivaled only by that of the stars above. It’s enough to serve as a momentary distraction for your problems.
Rounding a sharp corner, the air from your lungs feels like it’s been forced out when you spot the man from before. No longer obscured by the packed audience or dim lighting, you’re able to get a better look at him, and a part of you wish you didn’t. Those colors unmistakably belong to the Fatui. What’s worse is the bright cerulean gem attached to his hip, a Vision, pulsating with energy. If it came down to it, could you best this person in a fight? With no way to know for certain, you force yourself to remain composed, already needing to rebound from stopping to stare at him. Any hopes that he might leave you alone are snuffed out as he props himself off the wall, a wolflike grin on his face.
“Ah, fancy meeting you here,” he makes his way over to you with long, confident strides, the height difference between you both evident. “I take it you’ve seen me before?”
From this brief interaction, you’re able to gather some information. The individual standing before is uncaring for social conventions, simply doing as he pleases, the judgment of others meaningless. Why else would he approach you boasting this much confidence? You return his smile — albeit strained — not wanting to give the fearful reaction he’s likely searching for.
If he wants to act coy, two can play that game.
You look up at him through thick eyelashes, feigning innocence. “Yes, once or twice, if memory serves.”
He quirks an eyebrow at this. “Hmm… I could’ve sworn it was a bit more than that. I even went through the trouble of securing front row seats and everything.”
Why is he so difficult to get a read on? While it appears he’s reciprocating your lighthearted banter, it also feels like there’s a ravenous monster lurking beneath the surface. That tight-lipped smile that fails to reach his eyes doesn’t help put you at ease. Your mouth goes dry from how he looks at you, or more accurately, looks through you; alarm bells ringing loudly. Of all the places he could’ve chosen to approach, this one is the worst. An isolated alleyway you’ve been using as a shortcut when returning to your inn. You doubt it was an accident.
“I appreciate the support,” you square your shoulders and meet his unnerving stare. “Though, I’m sorry to say that I’m quite tired. I think I’ll be heading out now.”
The moment the words leave your lips, you briskly walk past him, laser-focused on getting to a more populated area. You wonder if that would actually help in the event he tries anything. The Fatui have earned a well-deserved reputation for their ruthlessness. Your stomach drops when footsteps approach from behind, the stranger half jogging to meet up with you. Persistent, this one, you think.
“You’re faster than you look,” he lets out an airy laugh, the comment feeling unnecessary, considering he’s keeping up with your pace just fine. Irritation seeps deep into your veins. It’s been a long, arduous day, and now you have to deal with this pest? Going against your better judgment, you decide to bite back, exhausted, and uncaring of the potential consequences.
“Appearances are rather deceiving, aren’t they? I, for one, had no idea the Fatui were avid patrons of the arts.”
Instead of finding offense in your pointed quip, the cocky bastard laughs, as if you had just told him the funniest joke he’d ever heard.
“I can’t fault you for thinking that,” he’s enjoying this interaction, that much is obvious. “Where are my manners? I’m called a lot of things, but I’m going by Childe for the time being.”
That name definitely sounds familiar. You swear you’ve heard it uttered at the marketplace somewhere in Liyue harbor — no doubt in a disgruntled manner — now you understand why. In all your time traveling and performing, you’ve run into a fair share of unique characters. Never did you imagine the alcohol obsessed bard from Mondstadt would look normal in comparison to this guy.
You manage to get your next words out through gritted teeth, fully dropping the cordial act from before. “Well, Childe, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you in the future. But really, I’d hate to take up more of your evening, so…”
Please take the hint, please take the hint, please—
“Wangshu Inn, I presume? Funnily enough, I’m actually headed that way myself. Mind if I come with you?”
Your eyes flicker warily to his Vision and back. The best option here is to avoid any further trouble, you decide. You don’t want to test how your Dendro Vision would hold up against a Fatui, who based on appearance, isn’t a low-level figure. On the bright side, you’re now in a more crowded area, the streets of Liyue never without activity. Merchants and average folk alike wander around, entirely oblivious to your predicament. The sight of Millieth standing guard fills you with temporary security.
So you resign yourself to your fate. Getting in the Fatui’s bad graces is not a smart move, you’ve managed to keep him content this long. A muted sigh leaves your lips and you nod.
A glorious silence settles in after you give Childe permission to accompany you. His arms are behind his head, his posture far more relaxed than yours. You’d done your best to create a sizeable distance between him, but to your chagrin, he matches your pace without so much as breaking a sweat. The longer you glance his way, the more you realize that sneaking off would’ve proven a challenge. Childe appears mellow, with how he’s humming to himself and the spring in his step, but he sports the disposition of a predator in waiting. He’s just very good at hiding it. You catch how his eyes never miss a blind spot, always searching, never letting his guard down. Your heart thrums against your chest at this revelation. This man is dangerous.
Nothing good ever lasts forever. Childe decides to strike up a conversation, not so subtly moving in even closer than before. He smells slightly of saltwater and citrus, you note.
“About what you said earlier. I can’t speak for my fellow comrade in arms, but I’ve always found performance fascinating. It requires lots of stamina and training, doesn’t it?”
The question is devoid of condescension from what you can tell. It feels like the closest thing to a regular human conversation thus far, and on a subject you’re rather passionate about. You still don’t intend on letting your guard down, but humoring him here doesn’t seem harmful.
“That among other things,” comes your sheepish reply. “Choreography, finding outfits, tireless hours of dedicated practice, securing places to perform… I do everything myself.”
Childe takes in your every word with reverence. “Well, if you ever find yourself in need of additional funding, I could certainly pull a few strings.”
Is he joking? Who in their right mind would ever want to indebted to the Fatui? Childe stares at you expectantly and you realize it’s a genuine offer, despite his flippant delivery. Archons, help me, you think. There have been a few times in the past that potential clients offered financial support, but with uncomfortable implications. The main difference now is that rather than some random nobleman with too much time on his hands, Childe is connected to a threatening organization.
“Mora isn’t an issue,” you shake your head and his smile wanes for a second before he catches himself. “Besides, I’m not really in it for that. Although it certainly helps.”
“I mean it, though. There’s not one thing you’d want help with? Name it and I’ll see it done.” He insists with a tilt of his head. You clear your throat, hoping that he’ll drop the uncomfortable subject altogether, preparing to reject the offer a final time.
“Really, I’m doing fine. I’ve managed to make it on my own this long.” You muster a weak smile. Childe stares unblinkingly, as if trying to get a better read on you. He runs a hand through his hair and returns your smile, albeit strained.
“If you say so. The offer still stands.”
He drops the subject after that.
Liyue is a different kind of cold after night. The lack of sun paired with the ocean’s breeze sends shivers down your spine, your unusual company not helping in that regard. Worn trails become more prominent once you leave the harbor, overgrown shrubbery making you cautious of every step. It’d be embarrassing to trip on something so similar to my own Vision, you muse.
Wangshu Inn comes into sight on the horizon. You pray Childe will have the awareness to leave you alone at this point, glancing at him out of the corner of your eye on occasion. He catches you and gives a toothy grin.
“You sure look wary of me,” he hums. “Just what is it that you’re thinking now? I wish I knew.”
You bite your tongue to hold back a scathing comment. “I’m mostly confused, truth be told. Not many people, er… take it upon themselves to accompany me around.”
“Aha! That’s a relief. Less competition, y’know?”
He stops and so do you, shooting him a quizzical look, your head tilting. That was straightforward, you note. After tonight, it’ll be your new priority to avoid this man at all cost. Difficult as it may be. Maybe a trip to Fontaine is in order, just anything far away from here. Far away from him. Childe only became a problem when you started making appearances in Liyue, so that feels like the next logical step.
“Thanks for the walk and chat,” he gives a single-handed wave. “As much as I prefer your company, I’m afraid I have work to get to.”
There’s an unmistakable gleam in his eye, one that promises more.
“Unless… you’d rather I accompany you to your room?”
You gulp at the noticeable dip in Childe’s voice. There’s straightforward and then there’s pushing it, he’s leaning more towards the latter. It might not be your finest idea, but you give an awkward joke to alleviate the thick tension hanging in the air. What else can be said in response to such an obvious flirtation?
“You’re not even going to offer to take me to dinner first?”
The moment it leaves your lips you regret it, feeling as if you’ve dug a grave and leaped into it. He gapes at you but bounces back with unmatchable speed.
“Oh, if that’s what it takes, then count me in—”
“Kidding! I was kidding,” you bite your lower lip and laugh nervously. With a renewed sense of vigor, you make for the inn’s entrance, not wanting to look back at his undoubtedly smug expression. It wasn’t in your plan to leave so soon, yet you’re already planning to pack your bags. One of the benefits of being a traveler, you suppose.
“I’ll see to it that you’ll mean it someday!” He exclaims, much to your displeasure.
In a quieter voice, he adds, “Dover'tes' mne.”*
You double-check to make sure your door is locked that night.
*Russian for “Trust me.”
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The Guessing Game They Love To Play
Pairing: Harry Styles x Tattoo Artist!Reader
Word Count: 25.3k
Summary: Y/N doesn’t tattoo people that can even be considered famous, but when Harry Styles calls the shop and asks her which artist specializes in watercolor tattoos, she finds her first celebrity customer.
Warning(s): Cursing, talk of toxic exes, mentions of abuse, tattooing (doesn’t go into major detail but the needle is mentioned), bad friends, implied alcohol consumption, angst, fluff
A/N: This is my submission for @uglypastels 3k writing challenge!! Again, congrats on 3k bb!! You deserve it all and more!! My prompt was “oh, someone stop me.” and this is what I whipped up with that!! This all started as a 1k word outline and here we are, with a completed piece that’s a lot longer that a thousand words!! The tattoo parlor that I used as Y/N’s place of work is in fact a real place, but all of the names/descriptions of the people included in this fic that are stated to work there are works of fiction!!! I literally only used their name in the fic!! A big thank you to the lovelies, @sunflowers-styles, @taintedwonder, and @havethetimeofyourstyles for beta reading and making edits/suggestions to make this piece possible!!!! I love you guys so much, thank you to the moon and back!!!
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Reblog to share with others and support creators!!
There’s something about loving an idea so much that you get it inked onto your body forever. It’s a desire that can only be described as magical. Connecting with something on a deeper level is beautiful. Y/N’s had this thinking for as long as she can remember, which is the exact reason why she purchased her first tattoo gun at sixteen, and practiced creating her art every day for years.
At the tenacious age of eighteen, she sent her portfolio to “The Honorable Society Tattoo Parlor and Lounge” and began her apprenticeship under the woman that would come to be one of her greatest inspirations in life: Veronica Sawyer.
Now almost a decade later, she’s tattooing the rich, upper class citizens of Los Angeles for a living. If someone had told her when she began her apprenticeship that she would be receiving a call from Harry Styles as a request to give him a new piece, she would have laughed in their face.
Yet she’s standing here, on a Monday morning in the middle of June, getting a call from a man who she would later find to be the same one that she had on her walls years prior.
“Hello, thanks for calling The Honorable Tattoo Parlor and Lounge! Is there something that I can do for you today?” She rattles off the greeting that she’s been repeating for years.
“Hi, my name’s Harry.” Her brows crinkle slightly at the voice. It’s not often that the shop gets calls from people with accents, and those with British accents are even less common. “I was just wondering if there was an artist that has experience with watercolor tattoos and if there is, if I could come in and make an appointment and put down the deposits.”
“Yeah, of course! I’m actually the artist here that has the most experience with those kinds of tattoos, but there are others here if you want to come in and see some portfolios.” In comparison to all the other artists, Y/N has worked in tattooing for the least amount of time. All of the other artists have been perfecting their craft for a much longer period of time than she has, so she always makes sure to inform the potential clients that there are multiple options for them to choose from, even though she is the one that specializes in watercolor more than any other form of tattooing.
“Alright, is there a certain time that I can come in?” There’s something about the deep timbre of the voice that sounds extremely familiar to her. She shakes off the thought, however. Maybe she’s just comparing the accent to one that she’s seen in a movie.
“If you’re in the area, you could come by soon. The shop’s been really slow today so there shouldn’t be too much foot traffic if you can head over now.” They haven’t had many customers yet, and there are no appointments that have been scheduled for today, so she believes that now is as good a time as ever to have Harry come by the shop.
She’s been faced with a lot of curveballs throughout her career, but having her childhood crush walk through the door is a new one. She’s sitting at the front desk, patiently waiting for Harry to show up so she can pull out the numerous portfolios that she’ll need to show him, when she hears the bell jingle.
She looks up prepared to greet the customer, but when she sees the man in the doorway, her words get caught in her throat for a moment.
Teenage her would have most likely burst into tears and begged for a photo with him, but Y/N isn’t the same person anymore. Now, she’s a trained professional who has a job that depends on not causing likely customers to run out the door.
So, she clears her throat and repeats the line she’s been perfecting for years. “Hi, welcome to the shop. My name’s Y/N, if you have an appointment, I can sign you in right here. If you don’t, I can set you up a consultation and get you started on your journey to receiving a new tattoo.” Most of the other artists would have just deadpanned a ‘hey, how can I help you’, but Y/N always hopes to make the customers feel welcome and comfortable while they’re in the parlor, so she came up with a little something extra to start the clients off with.
“Hey, I’m Harry. I, uh, I talked to someone on the phone and they told me to come on over to look at portfolios? I’m not sure who exactly it was, but that’s what I’m here for. That and then a consultation if there’s time.” He reaches a hand behind him and scratches at his neck.
“Hey, Harry!” She greets, trying not to allow him to notice how flustered she really is. She’s going to treat this just like a normal day, just like he’s a customer who isn’t famous. “I’m the one you spoke to on the phone, so I can go ahead and get the designated portfolios out for you if you’d like. It’s best to choose an artist before bouncing ideas off of anyone so that the artist you want to work with can be the one to come up with the design.”
“Um sure, if that’s okay? If it’s not too much trouble, of course..” His cheeks tinge red for just a moment, but the shade disappears so quickly that she’s convinced it could have been her imagination. “If it’s too much to get everyone’s, you can always just show me yours and I can see how I feel about it. I’m sure you’d do just fine.”
“I think you should hope the person who’s going to permanently put something on your body is going to do a better job than ‘just fine’.” She tries to lighten the mood with a joke but she knows that it wasn’t funny. She’s not sure when all the tension entered the room, but it’s definitely there and she has no clue how she’s going to be able to possibly spend hours in a small room with him while she inks a design into his skin.
“Yeah, probably.” He spares her a chuckle before steering the conversation back to where it should be. “So, how about that portfolio? Or those portfolios, I should say.”
“Right!” She gives what was supposed to be a laugh but turns out as more of a choking noise. “It actually still is one binder, we just have our signatures at the bottom. So you can look at all of those and whichever artist you take the highest liking to based on their pieces, I’ll introduce you to them.” She tries her best to explain the situation to him without stumbling over her words or sounding incoherent, and by the way he’s nodding along, she thinks she’s doing an okay job. “Okay, I’ll just go grab that real quick.” She gestures for him to take a seat at the little table for two that was situated in the corner of the shop. Once he notices and begins moving in that general direction, she scurries to retrieve the book of countless images of the combined previous works of all the artists in the shop from the storage room.
She has to move a few things out of the way to get to it, seeing as they don't normally get new customers. She hasn’t had to show anyone the portfolios in months.
After realizing that Harry Styles is going to be the first person to see her art after having the same clients over the past almost half a year, she’s suddenly nervous. It's a strange feeling for her altogether. She hasn’t felt this way since she walked into the shop for the first time and applied for her internship. She doesn't think she could handle him not liking her work, especially since he’s someone she’s looked up to for a while.
How is she supposed to lay her art, her hard work, out in front of the man that’s been her idol for years? Sure, she wasn’t as much of a hardcore fan now, but she’s always looked up to him. How is she supposed to sit there in suspense as he flips through the pictures? What is she going to do if he hates them? What if he doesn’t like a single one that’s hers?
She quickly shakes her head to rid herself of her negative thoughts and brings herself back to attention. She has to focus. He’s a client, just like anyone else that walks through the doors to the parlor. Some clients don’t like her work, and if that’s the case with him, she’ll lick her wounds at a later date and move on.
She picks up the binder, which is significantly heavier than she remembers, and lugs it back to the lobby.
“Do you need some help with that?” He’s already standing and holding his arms out to take the portfolio from her. She shakes her head no just to be polite (clients shouldn’t have to be carrying things that there's no need for them to have to) and, to her surprise, he completely backs off. Most men would have taken the book from her anyway, shooting her a glance that implied that she was too fragile to be carrying something so heavy. Harry, however, backed away the moment that she denied his help. He respected the fact that she could do it herself, and that made her all the more nervous. If he was that polite and that much of a gentleman, would he have the heart to tell her which of her pieces he really didn’t like?
She shakes herself from the thought yet again, even if he didn’t tell her the pieces that he didn’t like, there was no way for him to know which ones were hers, so he most likely wouldn’t even speak on the ones that he didn’t find to be his cup of tea.
He walks ahead of her to the table, but stops behind the chair closer to the window. Once she gets closer to the table, he pulls out the chair and gestures for her to take a seat. She sits down and tries her best to look relaxed, but she’s aware that she most likely looks like she’s seen a ghost.
“So, that’s not all my work, that’s the binder that we keep for watercolor tattoo images.” She’s doing her best to appear comfortable, but while she’s sitting next to Harry freaking Styles, it’s kind of hard to maintain grace. “If you want to just take a look through those and point out some that you like, that would be great.” She pauses for a moment but then realizes that she’s forgotten something. “Oh, and, I’ll go grab a handful of paper clips so that you don’t have to discuss them one by one if you don’t want to, you can just mark them and we can go over them as a whole.”
“Thank you for letting me look at this.” He gestures to the book and she gives him a slight wave of her hand, signaling that it’s not a big deal at all. “I know it’s really last minute and I probably could have found a portion of your work online, but I always like seeing physical pictures of what the artist that’s going to be holding a tattoo gun to my skin can do.” He gives her a small smile and she returns the expression. Something about the smile he gives is very reassuring to her. He looks as if he knows how nervous she must be, and she has a feeling that he’s not going to admit to not liking anything in the binder. She’s already had that thought, but something about thinking it while having his smile next to her makes her feel slightly more at ease.
After a moment of silence, he looks down at the binder and begins to flip through the pages.
She pushes the chair back from the table and stands up. After readjusting her jeans that had gotten slightly pushed up from sitting down, she makes her way to the front counter and grabs a few paper clips. “How many do you think I should grab?”
“Um, a handful should be fine, I’ll probably point out all the ones that I like as I’m sitting here, but I’ll mark the ones that I may want to draw inspiration from.” She nods and heads back over to the table. Sitting the clips down next to the binder, she takes her seat again and waits for him to find something that he likes.
“This lettering really caught my eye, and I know that I said I’d clip it and wait if I wanted to draw inspiration from it, but I really like this and I just had to say it.” He points down at the page and she’s shocked to find the picture to be a design that the client had requested be in her own handwriting.
“You like that?” She asks, just to be sure that her ears aren’t deceiving her.
“Yeah, I really like the font. It’s really simple yet elegant and I think that’s what would go great with the tattoo that I’m looking for.” He looks over at her and smiles so wide that his dimples pop out. She returns the smile, but is still a little jittery, so she knows that it’s nowhere as blinding as his is. “Sorry this is just really exciting for me. I love tattoos.”
“Nothing to be sorry about. I was just shocked because, well, that’s my handwriting and most people don’t find it to be something that they would want on their bodies for the rest of their life.” She lets out an airy laugh. “Especially if they don’t even know me.” She looks down at her hands and begins to study her thumb as if it’s the most interesting thing in the world.
“Well, I really like it, and although we don’t know each other now, we may be getting to know each other soon, so I don’t mind having your handwriting on me.” She looks back up at him while he’s talking and sees just how genuine he looks. There’s not a hint of doubt on his features and that calms her nerves even more. She’s heard multiple times about how Harry’s extremely nice and has a way of making you feel at home in his presence, but up until now she could never say for sure if that was correct. Now, however, she can definitely say that he’s nicer than most of the people that she gets to interact with on a daily basis and that he’s made her feel more comfortable than most clients do (and that’s saying something since initially he made her more nervous than any other customer she’s ever had).
She struggles to find the words to respond to him, not knowing what she should say to continue the conversation. Thankfully, he’s already continued looking through the binder so there’s no need for her to fill the silence.
They fall into a comfortable lull, the only sound in the room being their breathing and the flipping of the laminated pages.
“Oh my god.” Harry whispers, but Y/N hears it and she immediately perks up.
“Everything okay?” She looks to see what could be wrong, but he seems to be fine. In fact, he has a smile on his face.
“I think I found it.” He slides the book over to her and points to the page that it’s open to. “I want this, but with a few unique touches to fit what I’m looking for exactly.” She’s shocked to realize that the piece he’s fawning over is one she had done not too long ago. The client that wanted the tattoo asked for something that showcased a flower, but with some accents and a watercolor background, so that’s exactly what Y/N gave her. A tulip is pictured, surrounded by music notes and conductor bows. The watercolor accent was a beautifully chosen yellow and red that brought the entire piece together.
“What would you change?” She’s not sure that she wants to tell him that the piece is hers, that he’s been talking to his next tattoo artist since he walked through the door. There’s still a part of her that thinks he might change his mind if he knows it’ll be her who’s permanently marking up his skin.
“I like the flower, but instead of a tulip I was thinking of maybe it being a sunflower.” He traces over the lines of the picture, as if he’s engraving every detail of the work to memory so he can compare after he’s gotten his. “And instead of conductor bows, I could get butterflies.” He looks up at Y/N and his cheeks are flushed pink, like he’s embarrassed to tell her that he wants butterflies tattooed on his body, even though she knows that he has quite a large one on his abdomen. “And instead of yellow and red watercolor, maybe I could get purple and blue.”
“Yeah, all of that’s completely doable.” She nods while marking down all of the ideas that he just shared with her. “Oh, and um, by the way, if that’s the piece you want and you’re hoping that you can have the original artist tattoo it on you, then you’ll be stuck with me for a week or so while I draw up the design and send you drafts and then for at least three hours on tattoo day.”
“That’s fine, I’ve been enjoying your company, so I don’t think that there will be any issue with me having more of it.” She smiles at his comment and tries to hide the blush she feels rising to her cheeks.
“Then it’s settled.” She closes the binder and hoists it back into her arms before motioning to the counter with her head. “Over to the counter we go, I’ll make you your next consultation appointment.”
He follows her wordlessly. Once she reaches the counter, she walks around to the back of it and sets the binder down. Coming to the computer that’s set up to input client’s appointments, she looks up at Harry again. “Is there a certain day next week that works best for you?”
He contemplates the question for a moment before nodding. “Wednesday works best, it’s my day off and the only one when I’m not completely tense.” He lets out a light chuckle but she can somehow tell that there’s no humor to what he said.
“Alright. Does three work for you?” He nods and she inputs the information into the calendar. “Great, we’ll worry about the appointment deposit next time. I don’t normally do a drawing deposit because I don’t personally feel the need for one, so no need to worry about that. Also, here’s my card. It has my cell number on it in case you have any changes on your design or if you have questions. It’s also how I send pictures of the drafts to all of my clients, if they’re comfortable with me having their number.” It takes her a moment before she realizes that he’s still a celebrity, and that celebrities don’t just give out their numbers. “Sorry, I forgot who you are for a second there. You don’t have to give me your number if you don’t want to. If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t feel like that information is worth risking, I get it. I probably wouldn’t trust me with your number either, seeing as you just met me and-”
“Love?” He cuts her off at the end of her sentence, smiling at the way she was rambling on and on.
“Yeah?” Her cheeks are stained crimson and she’s worried he’s going to think she’s crazy.
“I’ll text you about the design, okay? I trust you not to just hand out my number to anybody.” He assures.
“You really don’t have to.” She wants him to know that he doesn’t have to text her just because he feels like he’s obligated to, but he just shakes his head.
“I know. I want to, though. I think bouncing ideas off of you will be fun.” He flashes her a warm smile. “See you next week, Y/N. I’ll text when I get home.”
And with that, he walks out of the shop, leaving Y/N stunned at what just happened and who she just spent part of her day with - even if it was professionally.
It’s not even an hour later when she receives a text from a number that she doesn’t recognize.
Made it home safely. x
She smiles, heart immediately picking up at the knowledge that it’s most definitely Harry and not just some random telemarketing company. She has to stop the smile from spreading ear-to-ear on her face.
I’m guessing LA traffic didn’t treat you too bad since you’re already home.
She slaps her palm to her forehead as soon as she hits send. She knows it’s lame and probably the most boring topic she could have possibly picked, but she’s not trying to be his best friend, she’s just making sure he knows it’s her.
It wasn’t too bad, went by a lot faster than normal since I was thinking about tattoos instead of traffic.
She pushes the thought that he could be thinking about her to the back of her mind. He was thinking about the tattoo that she’s going to ink on his body, not her. Her stomach still flutters, however, clearly ignoring what her brain is preaching to her.
That’s good, any new ideas that you’ve come up with?
What Y/N doesn’t know, what she has absolutely no way of knowing, is that every thought on the way to his house was filled with her. So when she asks about new ideas, he has to scramble to find something that makes it sound like he was contemplating what’s most likely going to be on his body within the next month.
Do you think it would look good if the sunflower and the butterflies were in black and white and having the watercolor be the only thing that’s colorful?
She ponders the idea for a moment, thinking about all the other tattoos that she’s seen on him. The majority of them don’t have any color, so him getting a watercolor piece is most likely already way out of his comfort zone.
I think that the grayscale would be a wonderful idea for the flower and the butterflies. The watercolor is really going to make the piece pop as it is, so I think that it’ll look great without the extra color.
His response comes almost instantly, and she can’t help but be a bit surprised. She wouldn’t have taken him to be a fast typer given the slow speed of his talking.
Great! I was worried for a while, thought that maybe it was a bad idea.
The slight scoff that passes through her lips is unexpected even to her. When the realization of why hits her, though, she can’t help but feel like a fool. Why she would think that he never worried about anything, she doesn’t know. She is aware of the fact that he’s human, just like the rest of the population, which means that he worries just like everyone else.
She blames the fact that she’s idolized him for so long, leading her to cloud her judgement and think he could never worry about doing something wrong.
It’s a great idea! Remember that you can always spout your ideas to me, I won’t ever judge you for them and I can try to either incorporate them into this tattoo or a design for one you may want in the future.
She can almost feel the hesitancy in his response. She can definitely see it as well, when the typing bubble appears and then vanishes three times before she receives a response.
Thanks, Y/N, I’ll definitely keep that in mind. And thank you for treating me like a normal person, by the way, not many people act as laid back as you did around me.
As she reads over his words, another message comes through.
Although, you may not have even known who I was when I walked through the door, you may not even know now. But if you did, thank you for treating me like I’m just another person getting a tattoo.
The words that she’s reading make her extremely happy, but they also make her want to cry. She knows that this is his dream, that he chose to pursue this career path, but there’s a melancholy air surrounding the way that he worded his messages. She hates thinking about the fact that people don’t have the decency to treat him like a human being. Sure, he’s in the spotlight. Sure, he’s an extremely popular singer. Sure, he’s in a few movies that she’s heard of. None of that means that he should be treated any different than anyone else.
She’s always tried her best to treat everyone the same, regardless of who they are, what they look like, what they do, or anything else that could cause a person to treat someone differently. Harry’s no different. Just because his face was on her wall for years and all she listened to was the music that him and the other boys released doesn’t mean that she can’t treat him just like she would any other person that walks into the shop.
There’s no need to thank me, Harry. Just because you’re more widely known than the other clients that I have doesn’t mean that you should be treated any differently than them.
She’s still trying to wrap her head around the fact that people can’t just treat him like any other person when she receives his response.
I just felt like I should, you’re the only person that knows who I am that didn’t ask for a picture or an autograph or anything. You were more professional than some CEOs that I know, so just, thank you.
She shakes her head, trying to rid the thoughts of him being treated differently from her mind. She shouldn’t be affected to the extent that she is. They barely know each other, so why is she bothered to the point where she feels like she’s going to burst into tears?
You’re welcome, Harry. I obviously don’t understand fully but I feel like it must suck to constantly be treated differently. I’ll try my best to treat you just like I do everyone else. Maybe when you’re with me, you’ll forget about the people that don’t treat you the way that they should.
She’s slightly worried that she may have crossed a line. They’ll be together for a consultation and for the tattooing, but he could take what she meant as more than that. She doesn’t want to make him uncomfortable in any way, so she awaits his response and hopes that it’s not a bad one.
Thanks, love. I’d say that when we’re together, I’ll probably feel the level of normalcy that I do when I’m with my mum and sister, and I’m really looking forward to that.
She feels her cheeks heat up at the pet name. She knows that he most likely calls everyone that, but thinking about him calling her ‘love’ still brings butterflies to her stomach.
It’s not a big deal, Harry. I look forward to it as well.
The moment she reads the response she gets, she knows that she’s going to spend the next few weeks with a permanent smile on her face.
I’ll see you in a week, darling. Until then, I might pop in to send you some tattoo ideas or just to talk, if that’s okay with you.
She doesn’t hesitate before typing the only correct response and hitting send.
I don’t mind one bit. If you need someone to talk to, I’m here.
And with that, she lays her phone down on the desk and peers at the time. She’s shocked to find that she had been talking to Harry for a lot longer than she had thought. She pushes herself from the chair and rushes to sanitize the room she uses for tattooing, getting the area ready for the client that’s coming in to get a piece of their sleeve tattooed.
The entire time that she’s cleaning the room, checking the client in, and tattooing the designs into their skin, Harry’s on her mind. She knows that he shouldn’t be, that he should be just another customer, but there’s something about him that makes it near impossible to rid him from her thoughts.
At first, she thought he wasn’t being completely serious when he said he’d text her just to talk, but within the week that they were supposed to be apart, it was almost as if they were right next to each other. She found herself texting Harry more than she texts anyone else in her contacts.
It had started with him just sending her good morning and goodnight texts - to which she happily reciprocated - and a few here and there texts, but after the first day of them talking about random things, their conversation took a turn into new territory.
Was out on a stroll when I saw this. I think there’s a story behind this.
Attachment: 1 Image
When she gets the notifications, her heart immediately leaps into her throat. She’s been getting slightly more comfortable with the fact that she’s getting messages from Harry Styles himself, but there’s still moments when the entire situation hits her again and her heart skips a beat all over again.
She clicks on the message and the image that she’s presented with causes a small fit of giggles to erupt from her. He’s captured an image in what appears to be a dark street, right beside an alleyway. The main point of the photograph, though, is the trash can with “ THROW YOUR EX HERE” spray painted above it.
There’s definitely a story there. Whoever left that for everyone to find has a killer sense of humor too.
She can’t help but picture a man standing in front of the bin (which looked like it hadn’t been moved for quite some time) with a look of determination on his face and a bottle of spray paint in his hand.
What do you think could’ve happened to drive someone to put that there? Personally, I think that this was on the ex’s route, and the person that wrote it wanted them to see it.
She loves that he's actually thinking about the story that could be behind this message. Most people would see it, laugh, then move on. Harry though, like herself, seems to enjoy thinking through the backstory of how this work of art came into existence.
I kinda think it was a guy that left this for his ex. I could be wrong of course, but in my experience, women usually go farther than leaving a vague message about exes being trash.
She doesn’t notice that she halfheartedly called men’s revenge plots weak until after she hits the send button. She’d usually be a little worried that she would offend the man she was having the conversation with, but with Harry, she doesn’t feel that at all. If anything, she has a feeling that he’d probably agree with her as he reads the message.
Definitely a man, no doubt about it. He’d probably just been dumped because he was a trashy boyfriend.
The pun, which was most likely not intended, makes her lightly chuckle. It’s endearing that he indulges in the simple things such as coming up with a story about who left graffiti on a wall.
Most likely. I wonder if it was a messy break up. Like, was there a fight? Tears? Neither?
She’s holding back what she really wants to say: that she can’t blame the individual that left the very comedic message. Exes suck beyond belief and she feels like she could probably connect with the person that sprayed the wall. She doesn’t feel like it’s the appropriate time to bring up her toxic past, though. She’s not on that level with him yet.
I’d say there were tears on his end. She - or he - probably didn’t think twice about it.
She thinks over the scenario for a moment before replying.
I feel like his partner probably shed a tear or two, but nothing too dramatic. Breakups are hard regardless of who initiates it.
She knows that by bringing up breakups, by making it slightly more realistic, she’s wading into dangerous waters. She’s aware of the fact that she gets so caught up in texting Harry that she barely thinks about what she’s typing until after she sends it. She’s painfully aware of that, yet she still continues to have this conversation, still continues to let herself think about the last person she felt she should throw in the trash.
You have a point, but I do think that he made more of a scene than his partner. Probably begged them to take him back and when they said no, he grabbed the spray paint and got to work.
She finds herself smiling at his theories, at how serious he seems to be taking this.
I can vouch and say that he wouldn’t have had to beg and be rejected to write something like that.
She just can’t help it, can she? She’s getting closer and closer to letting it slip, to informing Harry about just how broken her last relationship left her. Funny thing is, she doesn’t even care. The thought of Harry knowing that about her doesn’t scare her, and maybe that’s why she doesn’t think before typing out yet another message and pressing send.
Not gonna lie, I saw the picture and thought it was almost like I ghost wrote it.
His reply takes slightly longer than normal, and at first she thinks she may have just scared him off, but then she sees the typing bubble show up at the bottom of her screen. She lets out a breath that she hadn’t known she’d been holding when his text comes through.
Yeah that’s true, nothing that dramatic has to happen for breakups to be awful. Speaking of, is there something you’d like to share?
Her eyes widen at his message. She hadn’t expected him to even acknowledge what she said beyond a laugh, let alone ask her if she wants to talk about it.
Can I maybe take a rain check on the sharing?
She doesn’t want to ruin their conversation by turning it into something serious and somewhat sad.
Of course, love. Whenever you wanna share, I’m here to listen.
There’s something about that message that gets her, that makes her want to tell him everything that’s happened. She doesn’t, though. Instead, she decides to keep the conversation light. She’d rather have nothing be too heavy between them, especially since she’ll be stuck in a room with him for hours while she inks his design onto his skin.
Over the next few days, Harry texts her a lot more than she expects him to. She still gets the same good morning and goodnight texts as she used to, but now it’s like they’re always talking. When they’re both free, they’re always talking to each other. At first, it scares Y/N. She’s getting too attached to being friends with him. Could she even call them friends? She’d like to think so, but there’s a part of her that doesn’t know if they’ll still talk after she gives him his tattoo and he pays.
She hopes that they continue talking, that they stay friends but she knows that he has a busy life. She’s fully prepared for him to never talk to her again after this, and although she’ll never admit it, the fact that she has to be ready to lose him makes her feel sick. In her opinion, there’s nothing worse than losing someone that you consider a friend, and Harry’s one of the only people in her life at the moment that makes her feel like she can be herself without being judged. She hasn’t felt this comfortable talking to someone new (even if it is mostly just texting) in a long time, and she’s not sure that she’s actually ready to lose that.
No matter what she tells herself, she’s gotten a little too used to talking to him in the past few days. There’s nothing that she could have done to stop it, though, so it’s not like she can blame herself. He’s just so easy to talk to, and light and carefree most of the time, but he can be serious when needed. He’s funny and he makes her smile more than just about anybody in her life ever has.
She’s fucked. Utterly and royally fucked. If he decides to walk away and never talk to her again, she’ll be fine - she just doesn’t know how long it will take her to get to that point.
She’s absorbed in her thoughts when the door opens, and the bell attached to it rings, breaking her out of her daze and brings her attention towards the entrance of the shop.
Her heart immediately picks up in pace when she sees the man standing in the doorway.
“Hello, love. I know I’m a little early, so I can sit over here until our appointment if you’d like me to.” He motions towards the table that they had sat at only a week prior.
She has to stop herself from blatantly checking him out because he looks absolutely fantastic. His outfit looks like it’s more expensive than anything in her closet, even though he’s only wearing a pair of purple corduroy pants and a cute little lamb sweatshirt.
“I’m actually not busy right now, so you can come on back if you’d like.” He nods his head as she motions for him to follow her.
She leads him down the hall and into the first room on the right. There’s a table in the middle of the room with multiple chairs placed haphazardly around it. A supply shelf is in the corner of the room. She tells him to have a seat and she goes over to get some paper and writing tools while he sits down. On her way back over to the table, she grabs her iPad and stylus off the counter that holds all of the drawings that have been done, but not used yet.
“Alright, so I have the design that I came up with after you told me everything that you wanted. I’m going to show it to you and I want you to be completely honest about how you feel about it, okay?” He nods his head and she takes a deep breath, calming her nerves.
She pulls up the design that she spent hours working on, and turns the tablet around to face him.
His expression is unreadable and she starts to get nervous. He doesn’t make any indication towards loving it or hating it, yet she can’t help but feel like he doesn't like it. She lets his eyes scan the drawing for a few more moments, scanning through her thoughts to try and think of anything that could be wrong with the piece before speaking up.
“If you hate it, we can always start over.” She tries not to sound too defeated, but she knows that she doesn’t do a great job at hiding it. “We can go over more ideas and-”
“I love it.” He cuts her off and gives her the brightest smile she's seen from him.
“What?” For a moment, she thinks that her ears are playing tricks on her. Maybe she wants to hear him say it so bad that she thought he did.
“I love it, Y/N. You did a great job.” She can’t suppress the relieved sigh that makes its way through her lips. She can tell that he hears it by the way that his head lifts slightly so that he can make eye contact with her, but he doesn’t push the issue further. He can only imagine the stress of having someone like what you create, seeing as he most likely has to go through that every time he releases new content.
“So everything looks good? Or is there maybe something you would like to change?” He takes another look at the screen and then fixes his gaze back on her.
“Love?” He waits until she meets his eyes again. “Nothing could possibly make this better. Nothing.”
She finally lets a smile grace her lips. He doesn’t hate it. He loves it, actually. All the stress she’d worked up slowly dissipates as she sees how genuine he’s being. Suddenly, she’s not sure why she ever had a doubt in her mind that he wouldn’t like it. She should have known from the moment he laid eyes on it that he fell in love with it.
“I’m glad you like it, H.” She doesn’t even think about letting the nickname slip out. Her cheeks immediately heat up when his breath hitches She’s been calling him H in her head for the past few days but she has been so careful to not let it slip. She’s heard others call him that, but those people were closer to him than she is. Chances are that only his close friends and family call him that.
She expects him to shut her down, tell her not to call him that. After a few moments of silence, in which he looks like he’s trying to process what just happened, she stands up and goes to put the iPad back on the counter. “So, we can discuss pricing and appointment dates when-”
“Did you just call me H?” He interrupts, finally looking back into her eyes. There’s something in his stare that she can’t completely comprehend. Her cheeks are burning, the confrontation making her feel like a child getting scolded by their teacher.
She doesn’t say anything for a moment, trying to find her bearings before trying to speak.
“Um, yeah, sorry. It just kind of happened. I won’t call you that again if it made you uncomfortable or anything.” She comes back over to the table and grabs the paper and pencils that she had brought over. Before she can walk away again, he grabs ahold of her wrist. She immediately tenses up, but then realizes that she’s fine.
Normally, she would yank her arm away, say something along the lines of “don’t you ever touch me again” and storm off. But this is Harry, and the way that he’s holding onto her isn’t rough. His hold isn’t cruel nor is it forceful. It doesn’t say “you’re not going anywhere.” No, this touch is pleading for her to wait for just a moment so that he can explain himself.
Before she could even have time to pull her arm away, however, he drops his hand. The quickness reminds her of how someone pulls their arm away from something that’s hot to the touch.
“I, um-” He looks down at the ground and she can see the way his ears are tinged a deep shade of red. “Fuck, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. It’s just-” He’s stumbling over his words and before she can say anything, he’s letting out a deep sigh at himself and leaning his head back, rubbing his hands over his face. She wants to reach over and take his hands from his face to make him look at her—command his attention in this moment the way he seems to have been doing all day. She doesn’t, though, because she knows that he’s not like the rest of her friends. Her friends that know her love language is physical touch and that’s one of the only ways she can communicate exactly what she’s trying to say.
“Hey, calm down. I’m not mad that you grabbed my arm, okay?” He still looks like guilt is completely overtaking him, not even bringing his hands away from his face, just lowering his entire head as he rests his elbows on his knees. He must have noticed how she flinched. She doesn’t want to bring that up right now, so she continues. “Harry, look at me.” He doesn’t make a move to look up, but once he realizes that she’s not going to continue until he does as she asks, he lifts his head and meets her eyes. “I’m not mad at you. Not at all. You weren’t being violent or demanding. You didn’t mean to, I could tell by how loose your hold was.” He diverts his eyes again and she her hand to run along his shoulder. She stops halfway through and drops her hand back to her side, realizing that he probably didn’t want her to touch him at all.
“I’m sorry.” He repeats, his voice cracking on the last syllable. When he finds the courage to look at her again, there are tears in his eyes. “I don’t want you to be scared of me or anything, I noticed how you flinched when I grabbed you.”
She immediately pulls her chair over to be directly in front of his. She takes a seat and reaches her hand out, waiting for him to either accept or decline her offer. After looking at her and getting her nod of approval, he places his hand in hers.
“I want you to listen to what I’m about to say, okay?” She waits for his affirmation that he’ll pay attention and then continues. “I’m sorry that I called you H without asking if it was okay first. I shouldn’t have done that.” He opens his mouth to say something but she quickly shushes him. “I’m not mad at you for grabbing my wrist, okay? I’m fine. I know your intentions weren’t to harm me. There’s nothing for you to worry about. I’m not scared of you, okay? You’re not the reason I flinched.” She sees a tear slide down his face and she, yet again, reaches out to touch him before dropping her hand down to her side.
“Y/N?” She hums, encouraging him to go on. “You can touch me, you know? And call me H. I don’t mind either.”
She softens at the tone he uses, like he’s trying to be delicate with what he says. “You don’t?”
“Not at all. I’d actually prefer if you called me H. All my close friends do.” Her heart stops for a moment when he calls her a close friend. Does he really mean that?
“You consider me a close friend?” She probably sounds like a parrot, repeating everything that he’s saying, but she doesn’t care. She feels like she’s imagining this entire conversation.
“Yeah. I’ve talked to you more in the past week than I have some of my closest friends in the past year.” This admission makes both of their cheeks heat up. Both for separate reasons, but also the exact same as well.
They sit in charged silence for a few moments, neither knowing exactly what to say.
“Um, do you wanna set up your appointment?” Y/N breaks the silence between them, trying to get their evening back on the course in which it’s supposed to be.
“Yeah, yeah, definitely.” He squeezes her hand and then lets it go as they stand up. She’s shocked for a moment, having forgotten that their hands were still intertwined. Holding his hand felt just as natural as breathing did, and although she could think about it for hours, contemplating on whether that was a good thing or not, she shook the thought from her mind and led the way to the front desk.
“Is there a certain day you’re free next week?” She has her hands poised on the keyboard, ready to insert the information into the calendar.
“Does the same time next week work?” She looks down at the screen and nods.
“That’s perfect.” He hands over his card so she can charge him for the appointment deposit that they had discussed earlier in the week.
She swipes the card and waits for the payment to go through. Once she hands him his card back, he sends her an award winning smile. “See you next week, love.”
“Looking forward to it, H.” He flashes her a smile and sends her a wink before turning around and sauntering out the door.
By the time she gets off work, she’s drained. She hadn’t had any more customers after Harry left, but she had spent the entire rest of the day thinking about how worried and broken he looked when she flinched.
She’s been constantly fighting herself on whether to text him or not, just to make sure that he doesn’t blame himself. Even though she flinched when he grabbed her, the fact that she felt the need to flinch wasn’t anywhere near his fault.
She spends the drive home in her own head, thinking of what she should say to him about the situation. She’s not sure that he’d even care to know about why she flinched, so she doesn’t want to start with that, but she needs to make sure that he’s not blaming himself for anything that happened.
She pushes the thoughts from her head once she arrives at her apartment, deciding to take a quick shower and get some food in her before texting him about it. She needs to relax before diving into a conversation that could potentially lead her down memory lane, and she knows that a shower will do just the trick.
Her nightly routine helps quell her stress enough to where she isn’t shaking just thinking about talking to Harry about the reason that she reacted the way she did. However, she’s not completely calm when she sits down and types out the message she had been practicing in her head since the moment she stepped into the bathroom.
Hey, I wanted to say sorry for reacting the way that I did when you grabbed my arm. I promise that it wasn’t your fault in the slightest.
After she hits send, she sits her phone down on the counter and goes to watch Lucifer in the living room. She doesn’t expect him to answer right away, and she knows that if she brings her phone to the living room with her, she’ll be checking it every few minutes.
She gets almost a full two episodes into the show before she hears a ding from the kitchen. Everything in her is yelling to go get the phone, to respond immediately. She doesn’t do that, though, not wanting to look like she’s been waiting for his reply like her life depends on it. She also just doesn’t want to have this conversation, though.
She decides to finish the episode that she’s on before checking her phone.
The next fifteen minutes are filled with her constantly fidgeting, wanting to get up and just check his message already. She ends up getting through the rest of the episode before hopping up from the couch and scrambling to the kitchen.
She rushes to open the message.
Don’t ever apologize for something like that, love. Regardless of whether it was me you’re flinching over or if it’s someone else, I should have never put my hand around your wrist.
After reading the text, she lets out a breath she doesn’t know she was holding. She’s glad that he didn’t ask about the why right away.
I promise that it wasn’t because of you. You don’t need to apologize either, H.
There’s nowhere else for this conversation to go unless they completely change the subject or he asks her about who made her scared like that, so she knows that the latter is most likely coming sooner than she had hoped.
Y/N, you don’t have to tell me, but I’d like to know why you reacted that way.
She takes a deep breath before thinking of how to respond. She trusts Harry, and she knows that he won’t use what happened against her. She also knows that there’s no way she can explain it all over text and she’d rather not do it over the phone either.
I don’t mind you asking about it. I don’t really wanna explain it over the phone, though, so is there any time tomorrow that you’re free?
There’s no way that she could make it through an explanation of what happened without shedding at least a few tears, so if he’s free, she’ll have to invite him somewhere that’s not too crowded. She’d rather not be photographed crying her eyes out to Harry Styles.
Yeah, I’m free around noon for lunch.
She mentally runs through the day she has planned. She normally takes her lunch a little after noon, but there are no appointments that’ll run into noon, so she should be able to make it.
Noon sounds good. Can you meet me at the park near the shop? Nobody really goes there and I’d rather not have this conversation in front of a bunch of people.
Y/N is a very private person, she doesn’t share just anything with anyone. Agreeing to tell Harry something like this when she’s only known him for a very short amount of time is a really big leap of faith for her. She doesn’t trust people, all of her exes made sure that she thought she couldn’t trust anyone. Anyone until Harry, that is. There’s something about him that makes her not completely think he’s incapable of being trustworthy.
There are people in Y/N’s life that don’t know what happened with Alex. These same people are the ones that have known her for years. They still think that she just fell out of love with him. She couldn't bring herself to tell them what actually happened, yet here she is completely ready to give Harry all the details that he wants.
Maybe it’s the fact that she’s adored him for longer than she’d like to admit. Maybe it’s the way she grew up admiring him. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the way that he’s seemed to care more about her in the past week than some of her “friends” have in the past five years.
No worries, I get it. I’ll be there at noon.
She smiles at how understanding he is. It’s not every day that she talks to someone who cares about her privacy more than going out and doing something like getting a coffee in a crowded café.
Alright, cool. I’ll see you there. Thank you, by the way.
She should be used to this by now, or at least getting used to it. She shouldn’t be getting a swarm of butterflies in her tummy every single time that he responds to her messages. That’s what people normally do when someone texts them, they respond. She’s not completely sure why she’s reacting to him like he’s any different.
There’s nothing to thank me for, love. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.
She blushes at the compliment, but quickly wills her cheeks to cool down. He probably says stuff like that to everyone.
Just thanks for understanding, I guess.
She smiles when the bubble that signifies he’s typing pops up.
Again, no need to thank me. I’m here for you. That includes understanding why you want to do things a certain way.
She stifles a groan that’s bubbling in her throat, knowing that there’s no use in outwardly making the sound. It’s not like he even did anything to cause her to be even slightly frustrated. He’s just so sweet, always ensuring her that it’s okay, that there’s no need to apologize or to say thank you. He’s always sure to make sure to remind her that he’s there for her. He’s more thoughtful, more considerate to her than anyone else in her life ever has been, and that’s making it harder and harder to stop herself from forming the crush that’s been pushing at the back of her mind since the first conversation that they had.
I’ll see you tomorrow, H.
Y/N doesn’t know Harry as well as she’d like to, but she is fully aware of the fact that her trying to thank him again will absolutely lead her nowhere.
Looking forward to it, love. Sleep well, sweet dreams. x.
She worries her bottom lip between her teeth. His goodnight messages have slowly progressed from something such as “goodnight” to “sweet dreams.” Sometimes he even adds a cheeky “angel” to the end of the message. Each time, it gets harder for her not to squeal at her phone like a child in a middle school relationship.
Night, H. Sweet dreams to you as well.
With that, she slides her phone into her sweatpants and makes her way to bed, ready to get to sleep so she doesn’t completely psych herself out about the conversation that’s sure to end in nothing but tears.
Nervous is an understatement for what she’s feeling right now. She’s sitting on a bench in the park that they agreed on. Harry hasn’t shown up yet, but in his defense, she’s early. She tries to distract herself by taking in the nature around her, but her mind continuously drifts back to the situation at hand.
How is she supposed to start this? “Yeah, so I flinched because my ex decided I was his personal punching bag.” That doesn’t seem like the correct way to approach things. But is there a right way to tell someone about this? It’s not like Y/N would know, she’s never told anyone about this.
“Hello, darling.” His voice breaks her out of her thoughts and she snaps her head up to meet his gaze.
“Hey, H. Thanks for meeting me.” She stands and envelops him in a hug before she can even think about what she’s doing. She seems to do that a lot when she’s around him. It’s like something in her flips when she’s in his presence and she just can’t seem to think straight. She's about to pull back from the embrace, but then she feels him tightly wrap his arms around her and pull her closer.
After a moment, they pull away and take a seat on the bench. “So, I know that there’s a lot for me to explain, but I don’t really know where to start.”
“Don’t stress about it, love. You don’t even have to tell me today if you don’t want to.” He gives her a warm smile and she’s suddenly feeling more confident than she was before he showed up.
“No, no, I want to tell you. I just don’t know where to begin. I’ve never told anyone this before, so it’s not like I have much practice.” He reaches over and takes a hold of her hand.
“Darling, I’m going to listen to whatever you have to say, regardless of how jumbled up it is. Take your time, okay?” She nods and takes a deep breath.
“Okay, so, I had this boyfriend named Alex.” She can tell by the flicker of anger on Harry’s face that he most likely already knows exactly where this is going. “And it was great at first. He was sweet and he always thought about how everything affected both of us, not just him. He cooked for me when I was tired, he took care of me when I was sick. I thought that he was the perfect man. And really, for the first year, he was.” Y/N swallows the emotions already threatening to take over her. Harry gives her hands a reassuring squeeze to let her know that he’s there. “It wasn’t a drastic change. Like, he didn’t change overnight or anything, but he did start changing.” Harry gives her a knowing look and she tries to give him a smile, but just ends up having to focus on getting her bottom lip not to tremble.
She takes a moment to compose herself and in that time, Harry slowly gets closer until they’re sitting shoulder to shoulder. “Is it okay if I touch you?” She looks up at him and nods, not saying anything.
He wraps his arm around her shoulders and pulls her close. After another moment of silence, she decides to continue the story. “Um, yeah, like I said, it wasn’t a dramatic change. It was more like he stopped doing the things that he used to. And then a few months after that started, I was washing the dishes and dropped a cup. It shattered and it was like that just broke the dam inside of him. He screamed over that stupid glass for the better part of an hour. Every time I tried to say something, he’d threaten to hit me. It was the scariest experience that I had ever been in up to that point.” The tears have started to flow down her face and Harry pulls her tighter into his chest every time that she chokes on a sob. “He didn’t hit me that night, though. It took him a few more weeks. I forgot to heat up the car that time. Which is a stupid reason to be mad, let alone hit someone, but I guess he thought it was a good enough excuse.”
Her voice is wavering so much that she’s not sure she can go on. Thankfully, that’s basically the whole story, so there’s not really anything else to say.
He runs his free hand through her hair to calm her down. “Darling, I want to tell you something okay? And I know you’ll probably think that I’m just spouting off what everyone else would, but it’s the truth so I want you to pay attention. Can you do that?” She nods into his chest and his arms yet again tighten around her. If he keeps doing that, she’s not sure how much longer she’ll be able to breathe properly. It already feels like he’s squeezing the life out of her.
“Y/N, I haven’t known you for that long, but I do know a few things that I am a thousand percent certain about.” he continues to run his hand through her hair, lightly scratching at her scalp every so often. “You’re one of the sweetest people that I’ve ever met. You deserve so much better than he gave you, darling.” He moves his hand from her hair and maneuvers it in between their bodies. Once he gets to her chin, he hooks his fingers under it and lifts her face to meet his. His brow creases when he sees her face, not liking the way she looks while she’s crying. He runs the pads of his fingers over her face, effectively clearing the tears that had begun to dry on her face. “He should have never laid his hands on you. There’s no excuse for that, ever.” He slightly adjusts so that his hand is cupping her jaw. “I can’t change the past, but I promise you that there will never be another person that puts you through that and gets away with it. As long as I’m in your life, nobody gets to make you feel less than you are.”
She absorbs every word that comes out of his mouth. What really catches her, though, is when he says that he won’t let someone hurt her as long as he’s around. Does that mean he’s going to be around for longer than just the timeframe of getting his tattoo?
“How long do you plan on sticking around?” She doesn’t want to seem clingy or desperate, but after she’s just sat here and cried her eyes out into his chest, she knows there’s no way that she’s going to be able to easily let him go.
“For as long as you’ll have me, love.” She smiles at that, relishing in the thought of being able to have him in her life for a long time.
“Always gonna want you in my life, H.” He gives her a blinding smile before leaning down and placing a quick kiss on her forehead.
“Good, don’t wanna leave you anytime soon.” All she can do is smile like an idiot, the patch of skin where his lips met still on fire from the contact.
It’s been an eventful week. Y/N and Harry have been talking more since she opened up to him about what had happened to her. He’s let her know more about himself as well, although nothing that’s anywhere near what could be called traumatic. She’s heard story after story about his family. She’s grown to adore Anne and Gemma so much that Harry swears she likes them more than he does (Y/N knows that isn’t true, though. It can’t be with how much of a momma’s boy that Harry is).
They’ve grown more comfortable around each other, and she’s pretty sure it’s due to the fact that she’s no longer scared of him walking out her life the moment that he has the chance to. There’s something about the way that he assured her that he was staying that made her believe him with every atom in her body.
She’s not exactly sure how she got lucky enough to have the opportunity to call Harry her friend. She doesn’t know what she did to deserve someone like him, but she’s glad that it was decided that she is. She’s not sure what she’d do without Harry, and that’s both terrifying and exhilarating for her to think about.
“How are you on this fine morning, love?” Harry’s voice startles her out of her thoughts. She was so caught up in thinking about him that she didn’t even notice the bell on the door ring as he came in.
“I’m doing great, H. How are you?” She shamelessly looks over his outfit. He’s adorned in a plain black t-shirt and a pair of black flared trousers. She’s just looking at his outfit, definitely not thinking about how handsome he looks in it.
“I’m fantastic, darling. I’m ready to be stuck in a room with you for hours while you run needles over my skin.” His words are dripping in sarcasm and she can’t hold back her eye roll.
“Are you going to cry like a baby when I do this?” She’s not blind, she can see the tattoos littering his body. She’s been wondering what his pain tolerance is since the moment she had started talking to him about this tattoo.
“Absolutely not. I’m a pro at this. You’ll see, I won’t shed a tear until it’s done.” You give him a questioning look. “Only cry when it’s finally done and on my body. Like to appreciate the beauty of it and I’m also always just so relieved that it’s over.”
She chuckles at his words. “Come on, Styles. Let’s go get this inked on you.”
He obediently follows her back to her designated room. He takes a seat in the chair in the middle of the room.
“Okay, you know the deal, right? I’m gonna shave and disinfect the area and then place down the stencil.” He nods along, watching as you get everything together.
“Don’t nick me with that, don’t want to have to wait any longer.” She gives him a death glare and he just laughs. She knows that he’s messing with her and she can’t help but smile at him.
After she shaves the area, disinfects, and places the stencil, she turns to him. “Last chance to back out.”
Something flashes in his eyes that she can’t decipher. “I’m not backing out. Let’s do this.”
She places the needle tip into the tattoo gun and starts the machine. “Let’s do this.”
Hours later, the design is done. She applies the bandage to the tattoo and leads him out to the lobby.
“Thank you, doll. I love it, I really do.” He hadn’t cried yet, but she can see the tears collecting in his eyes.
“I’m glad, H. I was a little scared there for a second, you haven’t started crying yet.” She’s just teasing, but there’s something that shifts in the room.
“Don’t want to cry in front of you.” He all but whispers and she can’t help her heart from slightly cracking.
“H, you can cry in front of me whenever you feel the need to. I was already prepared for you to do so.” She tries to assure him, but he just shakes his head.
“Yeah, I know. But after I told you, it felt kind of stupid, so I’m trying not to cry right now.” He forces out a laugh and Y/N walks around the counter to wrap him up in her arms.
“Nothing stupid about it. Cry if you want to, H. I’m never going to judge you for anything, okay?” She feels him nod into her neck and she smiles. “Crying isn’t anything to be ashamed of, H. I was just sobbing into your chest less than a week ago.”
“I know, it just feels different for me. It’s like crying makes me weak or something. I don’t know, it sounds funny now that I say it out loud.” He hasn't made a move to pull away from the hug, so she can feel his lips move against her neck as he talks.
“It doesn’t make you weak, society just makes men think that.” He nods, and she feels the first tear fall.
“Thank you.” He sniffles and pulls away slightly.
“Nothing to thank me for. Always gonna be here for you.” He smiles, leaning down to give her a kiss on the top of her head.
“Come on, let’s get you checked out so you can go home, okay?” He nods and follows her instructions when she spouts them out.
After he pays, he leaves the store. Y/N leans back in her chair and lets out a groan. She tried to hide it, tried to pretend that she wasn’t catching feelings. But after today, she can’t lie to herself anymore.
“You’re sure you can’t stop by?” The pout is evident through his tone, and Y/N wants more than anything to drop everything and go visit him on one of his very few days off. She can’t do that, though, because she has a customer coming in for a tattoo in less than an hour. Which sadly means that she cannot go experience his “humble abode.”
“You know I want to, H, but I do still have a job, you know?” She tries to be gentle with how she says it. He was really excited about her finally seeing his house. It’s been a month since he got his tattoo, and they’ve steadily become closer, so he thought today would be as good of a time as any to invite her to his house. “I could maybe stop by after this appointment, though. This is my last one for the day.”
“You don’t have to do that, doll. You can come over some other time if you need to.” He’s trying to be considerate, but she can clearly hear the excitement in his voice.
“Harry, shut up.” She jabs playfully. “I’ll be over at six, H.” There’s a rustling on his end of the call, which she assumes is him moving from one location to the next.
“What time is it right now?” The words come out as a slight whine.
She glances at the clock before responding. “Just after two thirty.” He groans and she laughs lightly. “Go take a nap, but leave a spare key under the mat. I’ll wake you up when I get there.”
“Alright, darling. Hurry over, can’t wait to show you my home.” He sounds like a happy toddler when he talks and it makes her heart swell. She can hear how content he sounds, and there’s nothing more that she wants for him than for that feeling to always be there.
“Will do. I’ll be over before you know it. Bye, H.” She patiently waits for his response, knowing that there’s no way either of them will hang up until they’ve said their proper goodbyes.
“Bye, darling. I’ll see you in just a few hours”
Once the line goes dead, she groans to herself. This isn’t good, not in the slightest. She shouldn’t be doing this. This is a big step, there’s no way that she’s going to get through the visit without saying something stupid about how she feels or ending up with her feelings developing even more than they already have.
She swore to herself a few weeks ago that she’d end the crush where it was, leave it as nothing more than a silly attraction to a man that’s undeniably handsome. All her plans got thrown straight out the window after they began to get to know each other a little more. The more that she learns about him, the more there is to swoon over. She should have known that the promise she made to herself was a stupid idea. She hates making promises that she can’t keep, and anyone with eyes could see that just dropping her feelings for Harry was not going to happen.
Throughout the time that they’ve spent together, she’s steered clear of social media that leads back to him and any articles that could lead her to finding out more false information about him. She’s found that nothing makes her angrier than people believing that the only thing people care about when it comes to him is what he’d hiding in his pants.
In all honesty, it disgusts her, so the most that she’s done on social media that has anything to do with him was follow him. When he had requested to follow her back, she debated whether it would be a good idea or not for a while, but he eventually assured her that the worst anyone would think was that she was a new friend.
So far, nobody’s said anything, and she’s stayed as far away from articles as possible, so her friendship with him has been one that’s extremely relaxed compared to what she thought it would be.
She’s broken out of her thoughts by the chime of the bell. It takes her a moment to realize that Harry’s not going to walk through the door. It’s been a while since he’s stepped foot in the store, and she admits (to herself only) that she misses seeing him.
She hasn’t been able to see him in person since the day he got his tattoo. He’s been on a really tight schedule to get the songs for his new album written. She’s been busy with an influx of new clients, which have kept her more than occupied. They’re lives have been extremely busy and she’s been all but desperate to have some time with him. Normally, she would have just said that she’d visit some other time, but with the way their schedules have been clashing lately, she’s not sure when the next few hours they’ll be free at the same time will come along.
“Hey, I’m here for my tattoo.” Her newest client flashes her a smile. She checks him in and makes sure that everything’s all set for him to get his tattoo and be on his way. And with that, she finds herself going through the motions of explaining the tattooing process to him, wishing the hours away faster so that she could see Harry. As soon as the tattoo gun buzzes to life, she’s lost in her art, and the ink is transferred to his skin in what feels like minutes.
However, when she glances up at the clock, she realizes that it’s five thirty, which means that she’s late for a very important date with Harry.
She has to remind herself that it’s not really a date. She needs to stop calling it that, because her and Harry? They’re just friends, and friends don’t go on dates.
Her palms are sweating as she lifts up the plain doormat. She hadn’t anticipated that getting immersed in her art would make it go slower instead of faster. It did, though, and now she’s standing in front of Harry’s house, with his key in between her shaking fingers, twenty minutes after she was supposed to be here.
She struggles slightly with getting the key in the door, the shaking in her hands making the key wobble and the sweaty palms making it slip every time she thought she had a steady hold on it.
She takes a step back from the door, allowing herself to take a deep breath. Yes, she’s a little late, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be mad at her. Chances are, he completely understands. He’s a busy man, he’s well aware of what it’s like to have work run slightly late.
She deeply inhales, holding the oxygen in her lungs for a few moments before exhaling again. After repeating the action a few times to calm her nerves, she brings herself back to the door. This time, she fits the key easily into the knob. She steps inside the house after successfully unlocking the door.
She’s immediately hit with a warmth that can’t be described as anything other than distinctly Harry. A smile graces her face as she takes in her surroundings. The smell of the cologne that’s always stuck on his skin wafts around her and she can’t help but inhale deeply at the scent. She attempts to do so in the least creepy way possible, although she does realize that she definitely looks like a psychopath just standing in Harry’s entryway breathing in the scent of the place.
She locks the door behind her and kicks off her shoes. She’s not sure if Harry is a shoes on or off kind of person, so she decides to play it safe just in case. There’s no sound coming from anywhere in the house that she can pick up on, so she lets herself begin to wander.
She finds herself trying her best not to stop and stare at anything, just letting her eyes run over the picture frames and books he has scattered around his living room. She doesn’t want to invade his privacy by looking too closely at everything. She can’t tell much about a person by barely looking at any of their décor, but she can tell by the simplistic living room set and giant bookshelf lining the far wall that he doesn’t spend all that much time in here. If her guess is correct, he probably has a music room where he does work at home.
He’s told her before that he’s barely ever home, so she understands why the place doesn’t feel as much like home as most other places do. At first, she had just pushed it away with the thought that it was because it was a big house, but really, it’s more so because it seems to be an empty house. It’s as if, even with everything on the interior still in its rightful place, the house is bare.
Continuing through the house, she finds herself passing by his kitchen. With a quick glance she sees the slight clutter of appliances and decorations, giving her the impression that he spends more time in here than he does in the main room.
She still isn’t hearing anything through the house, so she walks on down the hallway. She peeks in a few of the open doors, only to find a bathroom and a spare bedroom. There are pictures on the wall that capture her eye. She tries not to stop and stare, but she can’t help herself. There are pictures of him with Anne and Gemma scattered throughout the hall. She looks closer at some of the others and can see him pictured with others who she recognizes as his photographer, stylist, Mitch and Sarah, and her personal favorite, Stevie Nicks. Everything about the picture with Stevie screams happiness and she suddenly wants to make him look that ecstatic every time that she possibly can.
She looks away quickly, not wanting to dive any deeper into the thoughts that are threatening to creep up on her. Making her way further down the hallway, she sees another door that’s slightly ajar. She slowly makes her way to it and nudges it open with her foot.
She finds Harry curled up in bed under a plush blanket. He’s laying on his stomach, his cheek squished into the pillow. His lips are slightly puckered due to the position that he’s in. His hair is going in every direction imaginable, and she has the urge to fix it. She refrains from doing so, instead choosing to come closer to the bed he’s laid out on.
He looks so peaceful, so carefree. For a moment, she almost doesn’t want to wake him, but then she remembers how excited he was for her to come over.
“Harry.” She tries to wake him with just her voice. When he makes no noise and no movement, nothing that could acknowledge the fact that he heard her, she tries a few more times. She ultimately fails and sighs through her nose.
Coming slightly closer, she places her hands gently on his bare shoulder. “Harry, it’s time to wake up.” She gives him a slight nudge and he groans out in protest. “I know, H, but you’ve gotta get up.”
“Don’t wanna.” He sounds like a child and she has to stop herself from laughing at his words.
“Harry, come on. Came all the way over here to see you, the least you could do is actually be conscious.” She tries to make a joke in order to get him to wake up more, but he just shakes his head.
“Come cuddle with me.” Her entire body freezes at his request. There’s nothing that she wants more than to just curl up next to him and bask in the warmth that radiates from him, but she knows that doing that with nothing else to focus on but him isn’t going to turn out well.
“Harry, I don’t know if I should.” Her voice wobbles slightly and it takes everything in her to not curse herself in front of him. She shouldn’t even have a problem with it. They’re friends, and both of them seem to have the same love language, which is physical touch, so it shouldn’t be weird for either of them. Clearly it’s not weird for him, but there’s a rational thought in the back of her mind telling her not to do anything that could make her fall for him faster.
“Why not?” He questions with a whine. “Just wanna cuddle with you.” When she hesitates again, he continues. “We don’t have to, love. ‘M just tired. Haven’t slept well lately, so I thought we could just sit around and watch movies in here.”
Her heart melts at his plans and she finds herself nodding before climbing into the bed beside him. She hates that her willpower crumbled that fast, but she decides not to dwell on it. Instead, she slips under the covers and tries to get comfortable. It’s a bit awkward at first, seeing as how she’d rather not make him uncomfortable, so she’s trying not to get too close.
“You’re too far.” He mumbles into the pillow. She continues to situate herself, scooting slightly closer.
“Love?” She hums at the pet name. “Can I do something really quick?” She nods, not stopping to think about what he could be talking about.
She slightly squeals when he wraps his arm around her waist and tugs her body closer to his. His arm stays wrapped around her as she mindlessly wraps herself up in him. He’s turned over so that he’s lying on his back, so she has full access to settling her head on his chest and tangling her legs with his.
“Is this okay?” He brings up his right hand to smooth down her hair. Looking her in the eyes, he waits for an answer.
“Yeah, H, this is perfect.” She finds herself snuggling further into his chest.
“Is there something in particular you wanna watch?” He glances down at her and gives her a soft smile.
“You can pick if you want, I like just about everything.” He fumbles to grab the remote from his bedside table without letting go of her.
Once he succeeds in grabbing the device, he hands it to her. “Here, you pick something, chances are that I’ll end up falling asleep at some point.”
“Alright, I can leave whenever you fall asleep, then.” She doesn’t want to overstay her welcome and she knows that Harry is beyond tired with everything that’s been going on in his life lately.
“Don’t have to.” He mumbles into her hair. She almost didn’t catch it, but the movement on her head makes it hard to miss.
“What do you mean?” She shifts slightly to look up at him.
“Can stay here if you want, I wouldn’t mind.” She mulls it over in her mind for a moment.
“I don’t have any clothes to change into, H.” He looks down at her clothes and then nods.
“You can wear some of mine if you’d like. The sweatpants would probably fall off of you but I have shorts and boxers that you could try if you want.” He pauses for a moment, seeming to think about any other reason that she could think of not to stay. “And there’s a spare bedroom down the hall if you don’t wanna sleep in here.”
“Would you want me to sleep in here?” She’s still peering up at him and from the angle that they’re at, they’re faces are very close. It takes everything in her to stop herself from leaning forward the slightest bit and pressing her lips to his.
“Only if you’re comfortable with it.” He runs his fingers through her hair, the strands getting slightly caught in his rings.
“Why do you still have your rings on?” She doesn’t mean to change the subject so abruptly, and she definitely plans on continuing it, she just got distracted by the jewelry adorning his fingers.
“Forgot to take them off.” He shrugs it off, but she slowly reaches forward and grips a hold of his S ring.
“Is this okay?” She doesn’t want to do anything that he’s not okay with, and she knows how attached to his rings that he is.
Once he nods in confirmation, she slips the ring off of his finger and leans over him to place the piece of jewelry on the bedside table. She repeats these actions until his hands are free of decoration.
She looks back up at him and spots the pearl necklace still gracing his collarbone. “Do you wanna sleep in that?” She brings her hand up to run the pads of her fingertips over the pearls. He shakes his head and lifts up slightly so she can unclasp the necklace and place it on the nightstand as well.
“The only one I sleep in is the cross necklace.” She hums at his words, just looking up at him. “Do I have something on my face?”
She laughs while shaking her head. “No, H, just haven’t seen you in person in a while.” He lets a simple smile rest on his face as they trace each other’s features with their eyes.
They’re sat in a comfortable silence, just enjoying each other as they’re taking in each other’s presence. Y/N can’t help but untangle her hand and bring it to run it through his curls. His hair is sticking up in every direction due to the nap that he took.
“What movie do you want to see the beginning of?” She keeps her voice low, not wanting to burst the bubble that they seem to be in.
He begins running his fingers up and down her arm. “Do you wanna watch The Notebook?”
She knows how much he loves that movie, so she tries not to complain too much. She adores the movie, she just knows that she’ll cry her eyes out if she makes it all the way through. “Are you trying to make me sad, Styles?”
“We don’t have to watch it, angel.” He flattens his hands out against her arm. “Like I said, watch whatever you want.”
“I just don’t wanna cry in front of you again.” She murmurs, burying her head further into his chest so that he doesn’t see the way her cheeks heat up at the statement.
“Hey, look at me.” She reluctantly brings her head up, meeting his gaze. “Chances are, I’m not going to see you cry, okay? And even if I did, it’s not a big deal. If I’m still awake by the end of the movie, I’m going to be crying too.” His words do exactly as they’re intended to. She relaxes more into his side and nods, telling him to put on the movie.
As he shuffles slightly to pick up the remote again and find the movie, she lets herself really look at him for a moment. They’re so close that she can see the way his lower lashes rest against his cheekbones. He’s still lazily smiling, so his dimples are noticeable to an extent. His eye crinkles from constantly laughing and smiling are making her heart flutter in her chest. His brow on the left side of his face is being covered slightly by his curls.
He looks down at her and she blushes, turning her head to look at the television screen. He doesn’t say anything about her staring, but she still gets worried that it’s a little weird of her to have been gazing at him so intently.
As the movie begins, he wraps his arms around her tighter and pulls her flush against him. She tries her best to focus on the movie and not how the swarm of butterflies in her tummy is going crazy.
Not even halfway into the movie, she feels Harry’s breathing even out, so she stops fighting the pull of her eyelids, instead letting them drift closed, not even worrying about the fact that she’s still in a pair of jeans.
When Y/N wakes up, she’s confused as to where she could be. She’s in a bed that’s most definitely not hers. This one is too soft, too large. The comforter is too heavy to be hers. But then the memories from last night hit her like a freight train. Small touches, memorizing each other’s features, falling asleep in each other's arms. She stretches out, feeling the side of the bed in which he fell asleep on last night. It’s bare, but still slightly warm, which means that he hasn’t been up for long.
She slowly makes her way out of his bed. At the door to his bedroom, she stops to readjust her jeans and t-shirt before continuing out into the hallway. Once she’s fully out of his room and on her way towards the kitchen, the smell of eggs and bacon surrounds her.
A smile etches its way onto her face as she makes her way into the kitchen. Harry’s clad in just a pair of gray sweatpants, his laurels on full display. He’s slightly hunched over the stove, eggs in one pan and bacon in another.
“Morning.” She mumbles, not wanting to frighten him. Slowly, she drags herself over to the fridge to find water.
“Mornin’, angel. How’d you sleep.” The sentence makes her stop dead in her tracks. The fridge is halfway open, but she can’t bring herself to open it the rest of the way. The way the words slid out of his mouth so easily makes butterflies erupt in her stomach. Something about it is just so domestic and she almost lets herself melt at the thought.
She pulls herself together, though. She has to, they’re just friends. Nothing about this should be making her imagine a life with him. The problem is that everything about the situation at hand is making her mind run wild. The raspy timbre of his morning voice is making her wish she could experience it every morning by waking up next to him and peppering his face with kisses until he wakes up. The aroma wafting around her is causing her to imagine one, or both, of them getting up in the morning and preparing breakfast. The way he’s lightly humming to himself makes her want to hear him whistle or hum out a new melody to a song he’s working on.
“You alright, love?” Her head snaps in his direction when he speaks up again.
Turning back to the fridge, she nods. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just zoned out for a minute there.” She reaches down and picks up a water bottle out of his fridge before shutting the door and turning to face him. The muscles on his back ripple slightly under the skin as he moves the spatula to flip the bacon. “And yeah, slept better than I have in a while, actually.”
He hums happily. “I’m glad to hear that, darling. I slept the best I’ve probably ever slept, if you wanna know the truth.”
Y/N only hesitates for a moment before striding over to him and wrapping her arms around him, her chest pressing into his back. His figure immediately leans into her body and she revels in the feeling of it.
“What’s this for?” He lets her continue holding him as he cooks the food.
“Don’t have a reason, just wanted to hug you.” She says it naturally, as if they’ve been friends for years and it’s completely normal for her to come up to him and wrap her arms around his waist.
He stays quiet as he turns in her arms and wraps his atoms around her neck. Resting his elbows on her shoulders, he sits his chin on her head and hums contentedly. The food behind them is almost forgotten, both of them happy with just being wrapped up in each other.
The increasing harshness of the grease popping drags Y/N out of the bubble she seems to be stuck in with him. “The food’s still cooking, you know.”
He pulls away from the embrace before turning back to the stove and finishing up the food. She wanders to the bathroom to brush her teeth with an extra toothbrush.
As she walks back into the kitchen, he’s placing the plates on the table. “You can take a shower after breakfast if you want. I saw that you didn’t change before falling asleep last night.” He nods towards the day old clothes that are stuck to your body.
“I don’t have clothes to change into.” The excuse comes quicker than she expected it to. She’s very interested in trying out his fancy shower, but she knows that the more time she spends with him, the more her feelings are going to grow and develop.
“Nonsense, you can wear mine.” They’re both silent for a moment before he continues. “You don't have to, okay? You can shower at yours and we can hang out some other time.”
She knows that he’s not trying to guilt her, but the feeling sets in anyway. There’s no way that she can leave him when he wants to hang out today. She knows that he’s probably just being friendly, trying to hang out with her before his schedule gets hectic again and they won’t be able to see each other. There’s a voice in the back of her head, however, that’s telling her that maybe he just wants to spend time with her in general. Maybe he’s not ready for her to leave and that’s why he still wants to hang out.
She pushes the thoughts out of her mind and shakes her head at him. “I’ll shower here, H.”
“Really?” He tries to come across like he’s not wanting to squeal like a teenage girl, but Y/N can see the excitement clear on his features.
“Yes, H, really.” She stands, reaching for his plate along with hers. “Leave these in the sink and I’ll wash them when I get out, alright?” She begins to make her way over to the kitchen sink.
“Not a chance.” She stops, throwing a look over her shoulder.
“What do you mean by that?” She continues on her way to the sink, placing the dirty dishes in the basin once she gets there. She turns around and leans her hip on the edge of the counter, waiting for his response.
“I’m not going to leave dishes for you to do, love. I can do them.” He pushes himself out of his chair and saunters over to her.
“I don’t mind doing them, H.” She looks up at him as he gets closer.
“I know, but you’re my guest. I couldn't ask you to do that.” As he reaches her, he snakes his arms around her waist and pulls her flush to his chest.
“I offered.” He chuckles at her attempt to let her do the dishes before leaning down and placing a kiss on her head.
“I know, but I still don’t want you to do them.” She gives a fake pout, hoping that he’ll give in. “Nuh-uh. None of that, it won’t work on me. Run along now, dove, go take your shower.”
She pulls away from his hold and groans. “Fine, if you really won’t let me do them.”
“I’m not going to, so go on.” He shoos her towards his bedroom so she can collect his clothes to slip on after the shower. “The towels and washcloths are on the shelves in the bathroom. You can use my stuff. I got a new shampoo and conditioner that I haven’t got to try yet. Let me know how it works.”
She gives him a thumbs up before scurrying to get the clothes and slip into the bathroom. As she undresses herself and warms up the water, she lets out the giddy smile she’s been trying to suppress since the moment he got excited over her deciding to stay.
When she steps in the shower and lets the warm water rain over her, the only thing on her mind is the exact same that it has been for the past few weeks: Harry.
“Let’s go get coffee.” Harry’s voice breaks through the comfortable silence that they fell into after Y/N’s shower.
“When?” She looks up at him from the other side of the couch and her heart flutters at the sight. His hair is still a mess, sticking up in every direction possible. The chestnut curls are frizzy and, by the looks of it, in desperate need of a wash. His face seems to be glowing. She’s not sure how he always looks so ethereal, but it’s moments like these when she notices just how beautiful he really is.
“We can go right after I shower.” He stands from his seat and begins walking past her towards his room.
“What am I supposed to wear?” He stops and turns, looking at her with his brows raised, pure confusion laced on his features. “Harry, I can’t wear boxers out.”
Understanding flashes in his eyes and he nods. “I’ll drive you to your house so that you can change into a pair of your own pants, alright?” She nods, watching him continue to make his way to his room. Right before he enters, he calls her name over his shoulder. “You can keep the shirt, though.”
Her cheeks flush at the thought of being in his shirt all day. That’s another thing that seems so domestic. She’s never been the kind of girl to just wear her friends’ clothes, regardless of how close she was with them. She’s never really worn her partners’ clothes either, that being something she’s always thought of to be more intimate than a lot of other things. She’s never felt comfortable enough to wear anyone else’s clothes. There’s something about being around Harry that makes her feel so secure for some reason. She feels completely comfortable with being open around him. She feels safe in his presence and she knows that there’s nothing worse than feeling safe and trusting him when he has all the power in the world to rip her heart into shreds.
This entire experience is new for her, and she’s not sure how to take it all in without freaking herself out.
Before she can let the thoughts completely consume her, she receives a text from her friend Alexandra.
Where are you right now?
Y/N finds the text a bit odd. Alex has never been the kind of person to just randomly text and check up on Y/N, especially not to ask where she is. She responds anyway, though, knowing that if she doesn’t then Alex will throw a fit on her.
A friend’s house, why?
Alex’s response comes immediately, and the message makes Y/N’s stomach turn. Alex is being more curious than normal, and that’s rubbing Y/N the wrong way.
Okay, does this friend have a name?
There’s nothing malicious about the text. It’s just that Alex has never acted like this. Normally, she doesn’t want anything to do with Y/N unless she’s offering to pay for Alex’s drinks, but now she wants to know where she is and what her friend’s name is? It’s just a little unsettling to Y/N for some reason.
His name’s Harry. Again, why are you asking?
As she waits for the reply, she leans back into the couch and tunes into the melody that Harry’s singing from the shower. She tries to make out exactly what song it is, but he’s all but mumbling it, almost like he’s trying to be quiet.
There’s the ding again, pulling Y/N’s attention from the man in the shower back to Alex.
Oh, I figured you’d at least change his name. Try to hide it, you know? But since you didn’t, when were you going to tell me that you’ve been hanging out with Harry Styles?
Y/N rolls her eyes at Alex’s words. Of course that’s the reason that she’s texting. Knowing her, she’ll attempt to be attached to Y/N’s hip within the next few days. Y/N has always been the friend that’s not invited to things unless there’s something that she can offer everyone else. Within the past few months, Y/N has only been out of the house to go to work or to the store. Now that Alex knows about her friendship with Harry, though, Y/N wouldn’t be surprised if she suddenly started getting invited out a lot more often.
Honestly, I wasn’t going to tell you. How did you even find out?
She knows she probably sounds rude, but she’s just being honest. She wasn’t going to tell anyone, and she shouldn’t have to. Because they shouldn’t care about who she’s friends with all of a sudden. Alex wouldn’t think twice if she had become friends with literally any other person, but she’ll be all up in Y/N’s business just because he’s a celebrity. Not once since Y/N has known Alex has she been asked about her new friends, yet here she is, most likely about to get grilled for information just because Harry’s famous.
There are pap pics of you two at the park near your job. How could you keep something this big from me?
Fuck. She forgot that there would most likely be someone to take pictures of her and Harry as they were walking from the park. Hopefully they saw him there and had taken the pictures before they could catch her crying. It would be mortifying if there were pictures of her crying into his chest.
It’s really not that big of a deal. He’s a person. There’s nothing to freak out about.
She tries to stay calm while waiting for her response. She’s giving Alex the benefit of the doubt and trying not to assume that she’s going to say the worst possible thing that she can think of.
He’s not just a person, Y/N. Are you crazy? That’s Harry fucking Styles. You should introduce us. Where is he right now?
Y/N can’t help but scoff. Did Alex really expect her to act like that. Was she supposed to meet Harry and go running to relay the information like he wasn’t just another person? The thought disgusts her, and suddenly she’d rather not be talking to Alex at all. The urge to punch someone in the face has never been stronger in Y/N than it is right now. She quells her anger, though, by taking a deep breath before responding.
Alex, he’s just a person. And no, I will not introduce the two of you. I’d rather not have him feel like an object. Also, I’m not sure why it matters, but he’s in the shower.
She fights the urge to turn off her phone and pretend like this conversation never happened. That would be the easy way out, but she doesn’t want to make Alex any more upset than she most likely already is. She’s fully aware of the fact that if she starts ignoring her, Alex will show up to her apartment to confront her about it.
Did you sleep with him? Is that why you won’t introduce us?
Before she can scream at Alex through text and tell her how dumb she sounds, a FaceTime call comes through. Reluctantly, Y/N answers the phone.
“Okay, did you sleep with him?” Alex’s face is pixelated and Y/N is hoping that hers is as well. She’d rather Alex not see just how angry that she is. “You’re wearing his shirt. I know that isn’t yours. Which means that you did fuck him. So that’s why you won’t introduce me to him.”
“God, shut the fuck up Alex.” She can’t help but let the words slip from her mouth. Usually she’s as nice as possible to Alex, but she’s tired of hearing her say things like that. “No, I didn’t sleep with him. I stayed the night at his house because it was late and we haven’t seen each other lately. We’re friends, we’re allowed to do that.” Alex hasn’t made a sound. Y/N is well aware that it’s because she snapped at her, but she can’t bring herself to care. “I’m not going to introduce you to him because I know that you’re not going to treat him like you would everyone else. You’re going to treat him like he’s not real. You don’t have the ability to look at him and see just another person. So no, Alex, I’m not going to introduce you to him. I’m not going to put him in a position where he feels like he’s anything other than just a normal person, okay?” Alex silently nods, although Y/N’s sure that she has things to say. She’s just waiting for her to finish. Alex has always been like that. With her, there’s no shouting over each other or cutting someone off. “And, for the record, if I was sleeping with Harry, which again, I’m not, it wouldn’t be any of your business.”
The moment that Y/N stops talking, Alex starts. “Look, Y/N, I don’t know who the fuck you think you are, but you’re not some hotshot just because Harry’s befriending you out of pity. It’s sad, honestly, that you think he really wants to be your friend. He’s probably just looking for a place to get his dick wet and you’re so easy that he most likely thinks he hit the jackpot.” Y/N goes to defend herself, but Alex continues before she can make a sound. “You’re probably scared to have him meet me because you know he’d choose me over you, so don’t act all high and mighty just because he decided that he’d allow you in his company.”
As Y/N opens her mouth to speak, her phone is lightly grabbed out of her hands, as if not to make her think that it’s being snatched from her. She turns to look behind her, seeing Harry with just a pair of olive green pants. There are droplets of water dripping from his hair to his shoulders, and her eyes follow the path that they take. “Alex, I’m guessing?” He waits a moment, most likely waiting for Alex to acknowledge that she is in fact who he believes that she is. “Hello. I’m Harry, but I’m assuming you already know that. Anyway, Y/N here is one of my dear friends. We’re not sleeping together, and I’m not using her to get my dick wet.” He uses one hand to make air quotes and Y/N finds herself amused at the way that his large fingers curl in the air. “Just because she’s sleeping in my bed and wearing my shirts doesn’t mean anything. I’d love to meet you, but I just can’t anytime soon, I’m always stuck in the studio and the only long break I’ll have off, I’ll be going on vacation.” He pauses for a moment, looking over at Y/N. “Speaking of, do you want to come to Japan with me?”
She’s in shock at first, but eventually she just shrugs. “I’ll have to check my work schedule.”
He turns back to the phone. “Anyway, have a nice day!” He hangs up before she can say anything in return.
Handing the phone back to Y/N, he makes his way over to the couch and sits down, pulling her into a hug. “You okay?”
“Yeah, I expected it when she texted me.” He nods, pressing his lips into a line. “Have you seen the pictures of us?”
He nods. “Yeah, saw them before I got in the shower. They’re just of us walking, none of you telling me about what happened.” A wave of relief washes over her as she leans further into him.
“Oh, thank goodness. Come on, put on a shirt, I want some coffee.” She abruptly changes the subject, not wanting to dwell on Alex or the photos.
They’re sat at a booth in the coffee shop, and Harry’s looking down at his fingers as he picks at the cuticles. It’s almost like he’s nervous, and she can’t figure out why for the life of her. She wants to speak up and ask him what’s going on, but she’s worried that maybe she’s just reading too much into it. Maybe he’s perfectly fine and she’s just overanalyzing.
“Hey, would you want to meet Mitch and Sarah? They’ve been wanting to meet you, so I said I’d ask.” As he finally looks up at her, he looks like a lost puppy and she can’t help but smile at him. Was that why he seemed nervous? There's no way that she could ever decline the offer, and she feels like he should know that by now.
“Yeah, I’d love to. When’s the next time you have a day off?” She doesn’t expect it to be any time soon, and honestly, she’s not upset about that. If anything, that just gives her more time to prepare herself. Her palms have begun sweating just at the thought of meeting some of the people closest to him.
“Um, I’m actually not sure. One second let me check.” He picks up his phone from the table and begins scrolling through what she assumes is the calendar app. He grimaces as he looks up. “My next free day is in three weeks.”
“That’s fine, H. Send me the day later so that I can make sure I have the day off.” His face softens at her words, but she can tell that him never being free is still bothering him. It’s been a constant struggle throughout their friendship, and no matter how many times that she assures him it’s okay, he always finds a way to make himself feel bad about not being available whenever she is.
“I’m sorry that it’s gonna have to be put off for so long.” He places his phone back on the table and begins to pick at his nails, attempting to pull up the polish. She stops him by pulling his hands apart, not wanting him to chip the lacquer that she knows he worked so hard to apply.
“Don’t ever apologize for that, H. You have a job that you have to do. It’s not your fault that you don’t have an off day that often.” He lets a small smile form on his face, and she can’t help the warmth that bubbles up inside her. His smile is gorgeous, and she’s just glad to be the reason that he’s doing it.
“Thank you for saying that, Y/N.” He clears his throat as he brings his fingers up to pull at his lips. Her attention is completely on his mouth so fast that it’s a little humiliating. Suddenly, all she can focus on is the curve of his lips and the rosy stain that they always seem to have. “So, how’s work been lately?”
She’s grateful for the distraction from his mouth. She could already feel herself wanting to press her lips to his. “Well, due to confidentiality reasons, I can’t tell you much.” He nods, completely understanding what she means. “But, the tattoos have been fun to do, and all of them have been really nice and patient with me, so that’s always good. Most of them have also been taking the pain really well, so there haven't been any incidents with that.”
“I’m glad you’re having a good time at work, love.” She nods before picking up her coffee and taking a sip of it.
Placing it back down on the table, she softly speaks up. “How’s work been for you, H?”
His eyes light up at the mention of his job, and Y/N knows that she’ll be listening to him talk about things for a while, but honestly, there’s nowhere else that she’d rather be than sitting across from the man that’s stolen her heart without even realizing it.
“Being in the studio has been great, I love being able to record the songs that I’ve been working on for so long. I don’t know, it feels like everything’s coming together, you know?” She nods. She doesn’t know exactly what he means, but she feels similar when she finally finishes someone’s tattoo that she had been planning and designing for months. “I’m hoping to get a few more songs done within the next few weeks. Then I’ll take a little break, which is when I’m planning on going to Japan.” As he’s talking, she begins to zone out. Her mind wanders and she finds herself thinking about being in Japan with him.
She definitely wants to go, there’s no doubt about that. She’s just confused about why he wants her to accompany him. There must be a million other people that he could ask to fly to Japan with him, but he had asked her. There’s a part of her that wants to tell him then and there that she’ll go, no questions asked. But the more rational part of her knows that she has to check her schedule and request time off of work before she can confirm anything with him.
She’s broken out of her thoughts by Harry clearing his throat. “Zoned off for a minute there, love. Are you doing okay?” His eyes are soft and full of concern and she can’t help but swoon at his affectionate tone.
“Um, yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. Just got distracted for a minute there.” She tries to play it off like it’s nothing, hoping that Harry won’t push anything. She’d rather not have to lie to him, and there’s no way she’s going to tell him she was really thinking about.
“Am I boring you?” He puts on a face, feigning offence.
“Of course not, H. I love hearing about your job.” He smiles softly at her, and she mirrors his action. “You can keep talking about it, by the way. I know you’re not done, and I’d really like to hear about how it’s going.”
He jumps right back into explaining his situation, and she smiles, hanging onto every word that comes out of his mouth.
As they’re leaving the coffee shop, Y/N brings out her phone and checks her work schedule. “I have the weekend off in three weeks, so if you want to inform Sarah and Mitch of that, you can.”
Harry doesn’t say anything as they stroll up to his car, just nods. He opens the passenger door for her as they reach the SUV, and as she climbs in, he leans into the door. “Are you sure you want to meet them?”
Her mood shifts lightly, feeling a little upset with the way that he asked the question. “Do you not want me to?”
He notices his mistake immediately. His eyes go wide and he shakes his head. “No, that’s not it! Of course I want you to meet them! I just don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to.” He looks away from her for a moment. “Don’t want you to say yes just because I asked, you know?”
“Hey, I do really want to meet them, okay?” She waits until his eyes travel back to hers before continuing. “If I didn’t want to go, I would’ve said no, trust me.”
He nods, still looking hesitant to the situation. As he shuts the door and begins walking around the car to the driver’s side, she watches him. He looks worried, and she hates seeing him like that.
He opens the door and slides in. “Harry, you know I’m being honest with you about meeting Sarah and Mitch, right?”
He sighs, looking at the steering wheel for a moment. His hands are gripping the wheel so tightly that his knuckles are paling. Suddenly he turns to her. “Y/N, I trust that you’re being truthful with me, I just - I don’t know. It’s hard to explain what I’m feeling right now. Fuck.” He takes a deep breath, steadying himself. “I’m just so used to people saying yes because I’m Harry Styles, and I’m trying not to think that’s what you’re doing, I really am. It’s just that there are so many people in my life who only say yes to nights out because of what they think I can do for them and I just really don’t want that to be what this is.”
“Are you done, H?” She speaks lightly.
“Yeah, I’m done.” He sighs, sounding defeated.
She reaches her arm across the center console and places it on his forearm. “H, if you want the honest truth, I don’t even see you as Harry Styles. To me, you’re just Harry.” She begins moving her hand slowly, lightly rubbing his arm to attempt to bring him comfort. “Look, I know that you’re famous. I know that Sarah is known as Sarah Jones, the drummer. And I know that Mitch is known as Mitch Rowland, the guitarist.” She sighs, not loving the fact that she even has to explain this to him. “But those aren’t the people that I want to meet. I want to meet Sarah and Mitch, Harry’s friends, okay? None of this-” She points between her and Harry, “has anything to do with Harry Styles, yeah?”
He finally smiles at her. “Yeah.” She lets out a relieved sigh at his agreement. “I like that I’m just Harry around you.”
Before she can think about the words, she lets them slip from her mouth. “I wish I had met you sooner.”
“What do you mean by that, doll?” He cocks his head to the side.
“If I had met you sooner, I’d have been able to show you that you’re more than just Harry Styles. I don’t know really, just wish that I had met you sooner. It’s hard to explain.” He nods, knowing that she means well, she just can’t seem to put it into words.
“Well, if it means anything, I wish I had met you sooner, too.” She can’t contain her smile, and she realizes in that moment that she’s smiled more around Harry in the past few weeks than she has around any of the other “friends” that she’s ever had. And the sad part about it is, she hasn’t even seen Harry in person within the last few weeks.
“It means the world, H.” The look that he gives her as she says the words makes her have to fight herself from leaning forward and connecting their lips.
“Can I give you a tattoo?” They’re sitting together on his couch, cuddled into one another as a rerun of some old show plays on the television screen. He had asked her to stay the night so that they could just get up in the morning and get ready to meet Mitch and Sarah together.
She hates to admit it, but she’s bored, and she thinks giving Harry another tattoo sounds fun.
“What kind of tattoo?” Her heart skips a beat and she lets herself get her hopes up when he doesn’t immediately shut her down.
“It’s a surprise.” He takes a moment to respond, rolling his bottom lip in between his thumb and forefinger.
“Yeah, sure.” She tries her best to suppress the squeal bubbling in her throat, and she almost succeeds. She almost has it hidden until Harry stands from the couch and lifts her up, throwing her over his shoulder and running them back to his room. Once they’re through the entryway, he sits her down and instructs her to find her shoes and the keys she keeps to the shop. As she’s doing just that, he rummages through his closet to find a shirt and then he slips on his shoes.
“Meet me outside, okay?” He calls back to her as he walks down the hallway.
She chuckles under her breath, finding it amusing how apprehensive he was at first compared to how eager he seems to be now. “H, wait! I’m literally ready.” She rushes out of his bedroom, all but sprinting to catch up to him. “Harry, we haven’t even made it out of your house and I’m already out of breath because of your long ass legs.”
He doesn’t say anything in return, just laughs at her words. He picks up his keys and guides them out to his car.
“This is gonna be fun, isn’t it?” He finally speaks as he's driving to the tattoo parlor. He quickly glances at her, flashing her a smile before turning his attention back to the road.
“Of course it is, H. You’re getting another tattoo!” She puts more enthusiasm in her words so he can’t hear the worry in them. Deep down, she’s worried that he’s not going to like the tattoo that she’s planning on giving him.
“Where do you want to put it?” She’s taken aback by the question. She’s never chosen where someone’s tattoo goes, she’s always just followed their request as to what body part to ink it on.
“Maybe the back of your shoulder? I know you don’t have too many in that area, so maybe I could put it there? It’s really up to you, honestly. It’s your body, after all.” He chuckles at the way she begins to ramble.
“We can put it on my shoulder, love.” Y/N’s cheeks heat up at the pet name (which she should be used to by now, but can’t bring herself to be).
The rest of the car ride is short, the sound of songs she’s never heard of filtering through the speakers. They don’t speak much, not needing to say anything as they enjoy each other’s presence.
“Come on, let’s do this.” She’s not sure if she’s saying it to hype Harry up or to calm her nerves, but the words seem to do the trick as they both bound into the tattoo shop, giggling at how much noise they seem to be making even though they aren’t doing anything besides entering an empty building.
“I’m gonna set everything up, okay? Just make yourself comfortable.” Harry does as he’s told without hesitation, sitting in the chair in the middle of the room as he had done weeks prior.
She draws her design on the stencil paper as fast as she can without messing it up, making sure that the sketch will be a trustworthy guide for what she’s wanting to permanently mark on his body.
“Are you okay, Y/N?” She stops her movements, peering up at him.
“Yeah, I’m fine, why do you ask?”
“You seem nervous. You’re, um, biting your lip and shifting a lot.” He looks down at his hands, almost as if he’s embarrassed to have noticed the little things like that.
“Oh, um, yeah I’m okay.” She assures. “I’m just a little worried that you might not like it.”
“Why wouldn’t I like it?”
“I don’t know, you just might not.” She shrugs, looking back down at the stencil paper.
“Love, the only way I’m not going to like the tattoo is if it’s something crazy and inappropriate.” He gestures to his arm. “And that’s coming from a guy with a mermaid on his arm that has her entire chest on display.”
Y/N lets out a small chuckle. As she finishes up the drawing, she finally looks back up at him. “Take off your shirt.”
She sets up all the needed supplies as he slips the fabric over his head and tosses it to the floor beside him. She goes through the motions as she always does, sanitizing, shaving, sanitizing again, base, stencil. The moment that she turns the tattoo gun on, she’s lost in her work. She’s so focused that she doesn’t even notice the way Harry’s looking at her like she’s the only person that he could ever want.
The silence between them is broken when she’s halfway through the line work. ‘Don’t you dare tattoo something stupid on me.”
She laughs at his words. If she was planning on giving him a bad tattoo, it was a little late for him to say anything about it. “Oh, someone stop me.” She’s obviously joking. There’s no way she could purposefully give him something bad that he’d have to keep on his body for the rest of his life.
“I’ll stop you, love.” His voice seems to have dropped an octave, and a shiver runs down her spine at his words.
“Do it then.” She doesn’t actually want him to move while the tattoo gun is on, but she also doesn’t want the room to fall silent again just yet.
“I’m not gonna mess you up by moving, doll. But if it’s something stupid, I won’t be talking to you for a while.” She’s suddenly very relieved that she decided to do something that was more meaningful instead of something completely random. However, she’s also slightly more nervous about him not liking it now. She rids the thoughts from her mind. Now is not the time to be distracted.
After a while, she shuts off the tattoo gun. “You’re all done.”
He immediately hops up from the chair and makes his way to the mirror set up on the wall. He turns his shoulder, looking over the tattoo a few times before turning back around to face her. Before she can ask how he feels about it, he’s bounding over to her and wrapping her up in his arms. When he buries his head in the crease of her neck, she can feel the tears on her skin.
“Y/N did you really just tattoo another sunflower on my body?” She nods, smiling. “And did you put the day we met inside of said sunflower?”
“Yeah, do you like it?” She’s pretty confident that he likes it based on his initial reaction, but she needs the verbal confirmation.
“I love it, angel.” She ducks her head as she feels her face heating up.
He rests his chin on her head. “Wanna go somewhere?”
“Where are you thinking of going?” She pulls back from him and meets his eyes again.
“It’s a surprise.” She rolls her eyes, sighing out a “fine” before watching him pick up his shirt. She tops him so that she can wrap his shoulder. There’s no way that she was going to skip that, no matter how excited he seemed to just leave already.
He motions for her to come on, and she finds herself following him out of the shop.
“Harry, it’s the middle of the night, why are we at a beach?” It isn’t very warm outside, and the closer that they get to the water, the colder it gets. Thankfully, Y/N had put on a hoodie before they left. Harry, though, had just worn a thin t-shirt.
“We’re at a beach because I want to watch the stars with you.” Her heart flutters at the thought of laying under the stars with Harry and taking the world in, but she’s scared that he’s going to freeze to death.
“Harry, it’s too cold for you to be out here with nothing covering your arms.” He just shakes his head at her and gives her an amused smirk.
“I’ll be fine, love. Come on.” He takes her hand and leads her to a spot that he deems good enough.
She lays down on her back as she gazes up at him. His smirk is still in place, and it’s then when she realizes just how easy she had given in to his request.
Before she can think any further on the subject, he plops down beside her. The only difference between their positions being that he’s not on his back at all. He’s on his stomach, his head propped up on his arms.
“You’re not watching the stars.” He whispers.
“Neither are you. You’re not even facing the stars.” She lets her head completely fall to the side, taking in his features as he smiles to himself.
“I’m looking at the brightest star right now, actually.” Her cheeks heat up at his words, and she has to playfully push his shoulder to keep herself from pushing herself up and crashing her lips to his.
“That was the cheesiest thing I’ve ever heard you say, Styles.” His cheek is rested on his arm and he just gazes at her, taking her in. She wants to say something but she’s really enjoying just being able to lay here with him.
He opens his mouth to say something, but quickly closes it. She furrows her brows but chooses not to push it. Instead, she turns her head back to the sky and lets herself think.
What was he going to say? Why did he stop himself? Is it something good? Something bad? Is he still looking at her or has he closed his eyes?
Suddenly, she feels a hand grabbing hers. She’s met with a pair of clear green eyes once she opens hers, and her heart skips a beat at the sight.
“Wanna go for a swim?” He looks so innocent, eyes wide with a little pout.
“Harry, I’d love to, really. But we can’t. You have a fresh tattoo and it’s too cold.” His pout stays but he ultimately nods, realizing that she’s right. He doesn’t let go of her hand, though, and the touch is making her very confused.
They’re friends, that’s it. But in moments like these, when he’s holding her hand and complimenting her, she questions that. The mixed signals are killing her and all she wants to do is just tell him how she feels. She holds her tongue, though, because she knows how fast unrequited feelings that are out in the open can ruin friendships. And honestly, she isn’t ready to risk losing him yet.
“Come on, let’s go home.” She doesn’t argue, doesn’t even ask what he means by home. She’s too lost in the thoughts of what’s going on between the two of them to notice.
She’s not even aware of the fact that they’ve pulled up to his house until he turns off the car. “Are you okay, love?” She doesn’t miss the concern in his voice.
“I’m fine, H. I’m just tired.” She lies straight through her teeth. The pang of guilt hits her right after the sentence leaves her mouth, but she can’t bring herself to tell him the truth.
As they’re getting ready for bed, all she’s thinking about is how much she hopes he can’t tell how she feels about him.
“I’m freaking out. What if they hate me?” Y/N’s stressed, to stay the least. She’s standing in front of the mirror, looking at the jeans and t-shirt that Harry swears is a great outfit.
Meeting new people has never been one of her strengths. But now she’s meeting Sarah and Mitch, Harry’s best friends. If they hate her, then there’s no way that she’ll be able to continue to be Harry’s friend. There’s no way that she could ask for him to choose, and she knows that he would feel the need to do so anyway. There would ultimately come a day when there would be something that he’d have to choose to do with one or the other, so she’s really hoping that they like her.
“Darling, listen to me, okay?” He comes up to her and wraps his arms around her, placing his head on her shoulder. He meets her eyes in the mirror. “They’re going to love you. There’s no way that they won’t, everyone loves you, yeah?” You don’t. She pushes the thought from her head as soon as it comes, but she still thinks it, and she knows it’s true.
“I’m just worried, H.” She knows she sounds like a broken record, but she can’t help it. There’s so much that seems to be on the line for her right now.
“You’re going to be fine, love. Listen, they already love you, alright? Just from what they’ve heard about you from me has made them love you.” She smiles at the idea of him talking to his friends about her. She reminds herself that it’s just in a friend way, nothing more and nothing less.
“Okay, let’s do this then.” She’s still not completely confident, but her worries are paying more attention to Harry than to Mitch and Sarah, so it’s better to go now.
“Oh my god, Y/N! Hello! I’ve heard so much about you!” Sarah immediately pulls her into a hug when they enter the bar. Harry had warned her that Sarah’s a hugger, so Y/N was prepared for this.
“I’m guessing you’re Sarah.” Y/N laughs as she returns her hug.
“Yeah, that’s me. And that,” she motions to the long haired man who’s hugging Harry, “is Mitch.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Harry’s been talking about this for weeks.” Sarah leads Y/N over to the bar to get a drink.
“I’m surprised he talks about anything other than you, honestly.” That takes Y/N by surprise. She knew that Harry talked to Mitch and Sarah about her, but hearing Sarah say something like that makes her wonder just how often Harry’s brought her up in conversation.
“Really?” Sarah nods, taking a sip of her drink.
“You’re all he ever talks about anymore. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that you guys were together.” Y/N’s face falls slightly at the mention of them being together, and she hopes that Sarah wasn’t paying enough attention to notice.
Unfortunately, Sarah caught the slight waiver in Y/N’s demeanor. “You caught feelings didn’t you?”
All Y/N can do is nod as she downs her drink. “Didn’t think I’d be telling you this the first time that we met.”
“Might as well. I have a feeling we’ll be around each other more often now.” She motions to Harry. “He could never stay away from you. Speaking of, why doesn’t he know?”
“How do you know he doesn’t know?”
“Honey, if Harry knew how you felt about him, his arm would be around you right now and you probably would have walked in with hickeys on your neck.” Y/N snorts at Sarah’s words and looks over at Harry. He looks so relaxed, just leaning up against the bar a few feet down chatting with Mitch.
“He doesn’t think of me that way, so yeah, he doesn’t know. I’d rather not ruin the friendship, you know?” Sarah rolls her eyes, and Y/N furrows her brows.
“Listen, I won’t try to change your mind on telling him, but there’s no way that boy doesn’t feel something for you. I don’t know if he’s completely interested or not, which may sound harsh but when talking about Harry, it’s not. It takes a lot for Harry to completely have feelings for someone.” Y/N nods, taking in her words.
They fall silent for a moment as the boys make their way over.
Mitch extends his hand. “Hello. I’m guessing you’re the lovely Y/N.”
She chuckles. “That would be me.”
“It’s nice to meet the lady that this one never shuts up about.” He wraps an arm around Harry’s shoulders and brings him closer. Harry’s cheeks tint pink at Mitch’s words.
All four of them fall into easy conversation, and Y/N yet again gets caught up in her thoughts. Throughout the night, she hears Sarah and Mitch saying things like “you and Y/N would be cute” and “never knew you were the type to settle down so fast” and Harry revels in all of the comments. He doesn’t deny a single one, and there’s not a moment when his smile falters.
When they’re driving back to his place that night, she tries the hardest she has thus far to keep her mouth shut. Sarah may be right, he may feel something, but he hasn’t fully caught feelings for her, and that’s the problem.
They fall into a comfortable pattern the next few months. Days when they don’t have work are spent together or with Mitch and Sarah. Times when a day off is unfathomable, they text and FaceTime to stay in contact with each other.
Every time they’re with Sarah and Mitch, they continue to drop hints about how Y/N and Harry should be together. And every single time, Harry reacts the same way. He doesn’t deny it, he smiles through it all, and then he pretends like nothing happened.
One night before she gets out of the car, she looks over at Harry. “So, what do you think about all that stuff Mitch and Sarah have been saying? About us?”
He looks over at her and shrugs. “They do stuff like that all the time, they’re just messing around. Why? Is it bothering you?”
“No, I was just wondering if you thought anything about it?” She’s trying to not be so obvious, but there’s not much she can do about that.
“I think they’re persistent, but I try not to give it too much thought.” Y/N swallows the lump in her throat and nods, reaching for the door handle.
“Alright. Anyway, have a nice night Harry.” His face falls slightly at his full name, but she doesn’t stick around to correct herself. Slipping out of the car and shutting the door behind her, she watches him drive away before letting the first tear fall.
How could she be so stupid? Of course he doesn't think anything of it. Of course he doesn’t let it take over his thoughts every night before falling asleep. Of course he doesn’t feel anything towards her.
The tears are falling faster as she lets herself in her door, shutting and locking it behind her. She doesn’t bother taking off her makeup or changing her clothes as she kicks off her shoes and makes her way to her bed.
Even she thinks it’s pathetic as she curls up under the covers and lets the sobs tear through her body as she cries herself to sleep.
The knock that she’s been dreading for hours comes at almost six in the evening. She knows without even looking that it’s Harry. He texted her around lunch time asking why she wasn’t at work when he knew for a fact that she was scheduled for today. He then proceeded to text and ask why she called in sick, if she was okay, and if she needed anything.
She had left him on delivered, not even bothering to actually open the messages. She didn’t have the strength to talk to him and pretend like everything’s okay when it so clearly isn’t. She should have known better than to bring up the prospect of her and Harry being together, but she just couldn’t help it. With Sarah’s words of encouragement, she finally brought herself to ask Harry about what he thought about the two of them being together and all he did was brush it off.
She was fully aware that he didn’t feel the same for her before she brought it up, but now that she had confirmation from him that her love was unrequited, it hurt a lot more than she ever thought it could.
She hates that she let it affect her like this. She should have just let it roll off her shoulders. Harry didn’t inform her of anything that she didn’t already know. It’s just hard to know for certain that there’s no chance of Harry ever wanting her.
Y/N doesn’t pull herself out of bed until she hears another knock at the door. She wishes that she could just ignore him, but she knows that he’ll keep trying until he figures out what’s wrong with her. Honestly though, he should already know. It’s not like she tried to hide how much last night hurt her, she didn’t hesitate to cut the night short and head home on her own.
Trudging to the door, she hears him knock again. The sound is followed by what seems to be him dropping his forehead to the door. She can’t help but feel guilty, knowing that she’s the reason that he’s worried like this.
When she reaches the door, she takes a moment to steady herself before twisting the knob and pulling.
Before saying anything, he takes in her appearance. She knows that she looks rough. Her hair most likely looks a mess. She’s still in the clothes that she had on last night. The bags under her eyes are puffy and red. Her cheeks are stained with trails of dried tears. She doesn’t care though, it’s not like she’s trying to hide it.
“Y/N! There you are! Are you okay? Why did you call off work? Why are you crying?” He sounds frantic, his voice raising a few octaves higher than it normally is.
She doesn’t say anything at first. She just laughs at his questions. Is he really that dense?
If the look on his face says anything, it’s that, without a doubt, he is that dumb. He really doesn’t know, and something about knowing that hurts more than the dismissal that she got last night.
“You seriously don’t know?” The bite in her tone even takes her off guard, but she can’t help it. She’s angry, she’s hurt, and she’s so fucking tired of this.
“If I knew I wouldn’t be asking, love.” Y/N can tell that he’s trying not to snap at her, and a part of her is grateful for that. The other part, though, wishes that he would lash out a little, just so she’d have a reason to be angry with him. Because honestly, with him standing in front of her right now, it’s hard for her to stay angry at him. The appearance of the pet name helps her remember exactly why she can’t let all of her anger and hurt fall away.
She scoffs at him, shaking her head. “Don’t call me that.”
“Alright, fine. Just tell me why you’re upset, please.” She rolls her eyes as she sighs.
“You wanna know why I’m crying, Harry?” He winces at the use of his full name, but she can’t bring herself to care about the slip. “I’m crying, as I have been since the moment that I walked in the door last night, because I tried to talk to you about something really fucking important last night.” His eyes widen in realization and she laughs. Of course he realizes it now. “I tried to tell you that maybe, just maybe Mitch and Sarah aren’t crazy. Maybe they’re right. Actually no, I was going to tell you that they’re completely right. At least on my end.” He cocks an eyebrow as he tries to comprehend everything that’s coming out of her mouth. “Harry, I’m in love with you, okay? I’m so hopelessly in love with you and I don’t even know how I let myself get to this point but I did! And now here I am, crying because you don’t even love me back. I tried my hardest to not fall for you, but something about you led me right to the edge of falling and then I willingly jumped.” His eyes have gone wide but she can’t stop. She’s finally letting the words fall from her mouth and she knows that she won’t be able to stop until they’re all out. “I fell in love with you, Harry. And when I tried to tell you about it, you waved it off. You said that it doesn’t matter. You said to just ignore them because we don't have those feelings for each other. Newsflash, I have those feelings for you. You just don’t have them for me.” By the time she’s done, the tears are flowing freely again and she feels like some of the weight has been lifted off her shoulders.
Before she can ask him to leave, he surges forward and pulls her face to his. When his lips finally slide across hers, she feels like she can finally breathe. It’s like she’s been missing this for her entire life, but she just didn’t know that she was in need of it until recently.
She’s shocked for a moment, trying to find her bearings. Once she snaps back to reality, she kisses him back, pouring all the pain, love, passion, and longing that she’s been feeling within the past few days into the kiss.
“Fuck, Y/N. I’m so in love with you that it’s driving me crazy.” The words knock the air out of her lungs, and all she can do is gaze at him. “I feel like an absolute fool at times because of it sometimes, but I knew that I’d rather be in love with you than with anyone else, regardless of whether or not you felt the same. God, you make me complete. You brought the color back into my life when I needed it most. I haven’t felt this alive in years, Y/N. You make me want to try new things and go new places and I just, I don’t know, I just want to be around you. As long as you’re there, I wanna do everything that I possibly can.”
When she finally regains her ability to breathe, a smile breaks out on her face. “Why the hell did you wave me off last night you idiot?”
He laughs at her choice of words. “I was scared, love. Thought that there was no way that you could feel the way that I do. I was scared you were going to say that what they were saying was making you uncomfortable.”
“God, we’re so fucking clueless aren’t we?” Both of them share a laugh as they realize how crazy this misunderstanding was.
“Yeah, we’re so clueless. But maybe, um, if you wanna, we could be clueless together?” He blushes as the words leave her mouth and Y/N can’t help but lean up and place another soft kiss to his lips.
“I’d love to be clueless with you.” He smiles at her words, and then he pulls her into his chest. As she’s wrapped in his arms, she realizes that this is where she was always meant to be.
Thank you for reading!!!! I hope that you enjoyed this wonderful ride as much as I enjoyed writing it!! Feel free to come send me an ask or a message about these two or just the piece in general!! As always, remember to reblog the pieces that you like!!
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NMJ is the only one that knows bc he’s the only one that NHS truly trusts, he’s the only one who knows why NHS focuses so much in painting and art, NHS doesn’t know why or how but with a little bit of spiritual energy he’s able to bring what he paints in paper to the real world and with that the Nie sect has the beasts of legends under their command
“How about you draw a flower?” Nie Mingjue said without much conviction. It was hard to have conviction when you knew it was pointless.
“No!” Nie Huaisang shouted, unsurprisingly, because toddlers always shouted. They seemed to have a great deal of feelings and sound for such small frames. “Taotie!”
Nie Mingjue grimaced. “No, no, not Taotie,” he said quickly. Never Taotie, not again. “How about the Baihu? Nice fuzzy tiger?”
“Fenghuang? You like birds.”
Nie Huaisang considered it. “I like birds,” he agreed.
Nie Mingjue heaved a sigh of relief. “Me, too,” he said enthusiastically. “I love birds.”
He had never had especially strong feelings about birds, but he was willing to develop some.
“Okay,” Nie Huaisang said, and patted his thigh comfortingly. “I’ll draw you a bird, da-ge.”
“…thanks,” Nie Mingjue said.
When Nie Huaisang was done, he proudly presented Nie Mingjue with the results of his work.
Nie Mingjue put the baby phoenix in the new aviary he’d secretly had constructed behind his father’s back, thinking to himself that the high-grade construction materials he’d insisted on were totally worth losing his allowance for the next year.
The phoenix chick - it looked like a plucked chicken with maybe three feathers total - weakly coughed smoke.
Because of course it did.
Sometimes Nie Mingjue wished that he could just tell someone about Nie Huaisang’s unusual gift – it was a pretty big burden to bear, and he really wasn’t sure he was old enough for this type of responsibility – but no one else deserved to know. If they didn’t have the good taste to like Nie Huaisang when he was no one and nobody, pointless and useless, they didn’t deserve the benefits of knowing him now that he could do stuff.
Even if it was weird stuff.
Stuff like his ability to summoning the things he drew into existence.
Even things that might not really exist.
Besides, the thought of Nie Huaisang getting wrapped up into war and politics when he was still so young –
No, better to just store away what he made and hope he grew out of it.
And no more Taoties.
“Lan Zhan said his uncle shows people his artwork,” Nie Huaisang said, sitting on Nie Mingjue’s table in the family study. “Why don’t you ever show my artwork?”
“You do art?” their father asked absently, most of his attention on the report he was reading.
“Huaisang does great calligraphy,” Nie Mingjue interjected very quickly. “You’ve seen it – it’s beautiful. And his poems are very well crafted, too.”
“But Lan Zhan said –”
Nie Mingjue mentally resigned himself to not being friends with Lan Xichen any longer, no matter how well they’d gotten along, on the basis that the other boy would probably take it personally when Nie Mingjue murdered his brother.
“He also said stuff about rules,” he said. “Hundreds and hundreds of rules. Do you want to listen to all of those, too?”
“No,” Nie Huaisang said sulkily, five years old and bitter with it. “But…”
“How about we show Lan Wangji your aviary?” Nie Mingjue coaxed. “Go ask him if he’d like to see it. I bet he’s never seen anything like that – and you can ask him what type of animal he likes best, too!”
Nie Huaisang’s eyes went wide at the thought and he dashed off.
“You spoil him far too much,” their father commented. “An aviary – you talk about it more than he does, and you’re always getting birds to fill it up for him, too. Why are you so devoted to him learning to like birds?”
“Better than him liking fierce beasts,” Nie Mingjue said, omitting to mention exactly where he obtained the birds that filled the aviary. “Or corpses.”
“If he liked fierce beasts, perhaps he’d be more martially inclined.”
No, we would be, Nie Mingjue thought. He’d gotten a lot of spare practice with Baxia trying to fight corpses that had no business being there during the period in which Nie Huaisang had gotten temporarily interested in the things in his father’s stories – and that was before Nie Huaisang had learned about yao.
“I don’t want him growing up morbid, that’s all,” he said.
“You’re his brother, not his nursemaid,” their father said, a little exasperated. “Nor are you his mother. Why are you fussing over him so?”
Nie Mingjue huffed and shook his head. “How goes recruitment for the border?” he asked instead, and listened to his father tell him about how people barely a year or two older than him were being sent to risk death in the name of sect honor.
Not Nie Huaisang, he promised himself. Not yet.
He’d tell his father when Nie Huaisang was old enough to handle the consequences.
“Huaisang, didi,” Nie Mingjue said, and tried to smile, even though it pained him. “Can you do me a favor? A really, really big favor?”
Nie Huaisang sniffed, clutching at his arms and shaking. “What, da-ge?”
“You remember Jiwei? A-die’s saber? Can you draw that for me, please?”
It only made it worse.
“Yes, Huaisang?” Nie Mingjue asked, scowling at the map. It didn’t get any better the longer he looked at it, but maybe if he kept glaring he could cow it into submission.
“Don’t you want me to help?”
Nie Mingjue looked up at where Nie Huaisang was wringing his hands by the door. “Help? With what?”
Nie Huaisang rolled his eyes at him, like it was Nie Mingjue being dense instead of him having started a conversation in the middle. “Uh, with border defense?”
“Why would I ask you to help with that?” Nie Mingjue asked blankly, then realized how his words could be misconstrued. “Not that I wouldn’t ask you to help, of course, but you’ve never really liked battlefield strategy, and anyway you are only twelve –”
“Da-ge!” Nie Huaisang whined. “I meant drawing!”
“…as in maps?”
Nie Huaisang’s glare could light fires.
Nie Mingjue coughed and put aside his work to focus on his brother. “Huaisang, why do you think I would use your drawings in planning out a possible battle?”
“Because they’re useful?” Nie Huaisang said, crossing his arms. “I can make things appear, da-ge, just by drawing them. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but that’s not something that normal people can do.”
“I know,” Nie Mingjue said. “It’s not. But just because it’s not normal doesn’t mean it’s not a wonderful ability, Huaisang.”
Nie Huaisang looked a little bit appeased.
“But just because it’s wonderful doesn’t mean I’m going to abuse your ability,” Nie Mingjue continued. “You should be playing, not working, and if anyone tells you otherwise, you tell me and I’ll straighten them out.”
Nie Huaisang came up and hugged him. “So it’s not that you’re not ashamed of me being weird and useless?”
“I think we’ve already established that an ability like yours is far from useless. And I don’t care how weird you are, principles are principles: you’re too young to be used for battle. Sorry, Huaisang; my hands are tied.”
Nie Huaisang laughed at him and left, looking much happier.
“So what would you like?” Nie Huaisang asked, eyes sparkling. “Me and my brush are at the ready, here to help!”
Nie Mingjue rubbed his forehead. “If you’re sure…”
“Da-ge! I’m seventeen – you were already sect leader for two years by my age. And it’s not like I’m going out there on the front lines or anything; I’m just going to draw some stuff for you.”
“You say ‘just’,” he grumbled. “It does drain your qi, you know. That’s why you took such a long time to form a golden core…”
“Yes, but I did get there eventually, didn’t I? And anyway, it’s fine, I’ll do it instead of my usual landscapes. What would you like? A dragon to devour our enemies? The white tiger, nipping at their heels? A taotie –”
“You’re so weird about that,” Nie Huaisang complained, rolling his eyes again. “Fine. Then what?”
“Sabers,” Nie Mingjue said, giving in. “Standard steel, not spiritual. Horses, feed, saddles. Say, how are you at drawing arrows?”
“Da-ge,” Nie Huaisang said. “I can draw you the beasts of legend, and you want me to draw you arrows?”
“Yes. As many as you can bring yourself to create, really; everyone’s always short on arrows. More rice would be good, too –”
“This wasn’t exactly what I was expecting when I volunteered to help,” Nie Huaisang grumbled.
“Are you going to do it for me or not?” Nie Mingjue asked, unimpressed. “You asked me to use you, not to give you an art project.”
His brother heaved a sigh. “Yes, yes, I will. Can you explain to me why this is your choice, at least?”
Nie Mingjue ruffled his brother’s hair. “Huaisang, when you draw something, it comes to life. Fully to life, as a separate and independent creature of its own – if you draw a dragon, who’s to say that the dragon will choose to fight the Wen sect, instead of turning on us? It wouldn’t be much help if we had to run out, sabers drawn, to deal with whatever it was, only to be exhausted before the Wen sect even arrived.”
“When we’ve made some progress in the field, I promise to let you help build fortifications,” Nie Mingjue said. “You can start thinking of really nasty traps –”
“…is that why you hate the idea of me drawing Taotie so much?”
Nie Mingjue coughed.
“Don’t worry about it. It was always really good saber practice…”
“And if anyone tries anything against you at the camp, you draw something really mean, okay?” Nie Mingjue said, pressing paper and a brush into his brother’s hand in addition to the ones he’d hidden away in his luggage - there was a chance that might be confiscated upon his arrival. “I don’t care what it is.”
“I know, I know –”
“I will!” Nie Huaisang exclaimed. “I promise already!”
“Not just if they’re aggressive. Even if things just look suspicious –”
“Suspicious? Like what?”
“If they take you somewhere secluded,” Nie Mingjue said, face drawn with worry. “Somewhere where it’d take us a long time to find your bodies. I don’t care if you put other people in danger from your creation, okay? Don’t make me have to find your corpse.”
Nie Huaisang was silent for a moment. “I understand,” he finally said. “I promise.”
“I’m never drawing anything legendary ever again,” Nie Huaisang sniffed into Nie Mingjue’s collar. “That Xuanwu was awful. It tried to eat all of us!”
“Do you want me to help with the logistics, Sect Leader Nie?” Meng Yao asked.
“You already help with the logistics,” Nie Mingjue said, not really paying attention. If it was serious, Meng Yao would bring it to his attention – he was a truly remarkable aide-de-camp. “You already help with everything.”
“I appreciate Sect Leader Nie’s confidence in me,” Meng Yao said, smiling a little. “But no, I meant – with the imports.”
“Every week we receive new shipments of goods – food, weapons, defenses – from Qinghe, and we don’t send any money back. Surely such expenditures are putting a strain on the Nie treasury..?”
“Oh, don’t worry about that,” Nie Mingjue said. “Huaisang is handling it. It’s good for him to have responsibility.”
Meng Yao looked a little skeptical, but in his defense, he’d met Nie Huaisang.
“Really,” Nie Mingjue assured him. “He’s not going to hurt our budget – it’ll be fine. They’ve come steadily every week so far, haven’t they?”
“If Sect Leader Nie is content, then so am I,” Meng Yao said, but he was pouting a little, perhaps at the perceived lack of trust. He did so love to be helpful.
“You know I trust you with my life,” Nie Mingjue told him. “But this is something that Huaisang is, for once, best placed to handle. Don’t worry about it.”
It wasn’t really his secret to share, after all. Maybe when the war was done.
Nie Mingjue was on his back in the throne room of the Fire Palace, staring up at the man who murdered his father and who was about to murder him, too, when he heard the sound.
A high-pitched squeal, unlike anything else he’d ever heard – a little like a pig, a little like a wolf, a little like the long slow grate of metal against metal. It burned on the ear, a vile sound on the verge of being physically painful.
“What is that?” Wen Ruohan asked, frowning. He was standing above Nie Mingjue, his foot crushing down on his chest; Baxia was out of reach, knocked away, but at least no longer in the traitor Meng Yao’s hands. “Meng Yao…?”
“I - I’m not sure, Sect Leader Wen,” Meng Yao said, looking equally confused.
Nie Mingjue laughed.
They both looked at him.
He grinned up at them, blood in his teeth.
“What?” he said. “Never heard a Taotie before?”
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100 meet ugly writing prompts for your ugly writing needs!
Because people aren’t perfect. People make mistakes. Sometimes they react first and think later. Sometimes circumstances are less than ideal, but good things come from it anyway.
01. we were set up on a blind date but it went horribly, so now you message me every time you have a good date because you think your tips will help me in the future, you ass
02. I bought a house three months ago but I’m finally moving in and discover you’ve been squatting because you’re homeless
03. you’re drunk in the department store I manage and you keep yelling at other customers so please come into my office while I call the cops
04. I organize a petition to get you, the ceo, to live off of my wage for three months and since it’s getting media attention, your PR manager suggests you accept the challenge and you keep coming into my department to ask me how to do things
05. I’m a pro-athlete at a press conference and I make a comment to my buddy about you because I forgot my mic was on
06. in a moment of stupidity, I keyed what I thought was my ex’s car only to be surprised when you come screaming towards me
07. I’m assigned to write a piece rounding up all the bad press that you, a famous celebrity, have been getting and you show up in my office and demand me to write a retraction and get the ‘real’ story
08. I wrote my crush a note except I started it with ‘dear you’ and my friend stuck it into the wrong locker and now you think I have a crush on you
09. we’re strangers who meet at a bar, get drunk, and wake up to announcements of our new engagement all over our social media - what did we do???
10. you’ve been breaking into my car to sleep at night and I’ve let it slide because it’s been cold out but I have a date and I need you to find somewhere else (fine, go in my house/garage, I don’t care, you’re not messing this date up for me)
11. my old dealer is moving to be with his boyfriend, so he hooks me up with you and you refuse to sell to me because I cut in front of you in line one time YEARS ago and I’m not even sure that it was me. this is ridiculous
12. I’m working at the cash and when I ask you how your day is going, you tell me that it’s the anniversary of [something horrible] and I don’t know what to do with that information so I accidentally blurt “well hope it’s a good one!” when saying goodbye
13. we make contact before trying to steal the last seat on the subway/bus/train and I end up in your lap and fuck you, I’m going to stay here because I’ve had a really long day and this seat was mine
14. you caught me doing something a few weeks ago but didn’t report me and now you’re trying to blackmail me into secretly tutoring you even though you and your friends have always been assholes, no I don’t ‘owe’ you
15. I step out of the bathroom and right into the middle of a bar fight and you punch me accidentally so I punch back on instinct
85 more meet ugly prompts under the cut
16. we’re on the longest flight ever and I’m a bad flier to begin with but you’ve fallen asleep on my shoulder and are snoring SO LOUD
17. my friend trips and scrapes their knee but I faint at the sight of blood and collapse. your attempt to catch me doesn’t go as planned and you ripped your new suit/dress/jacket
18. we were just introduced at a party by our mutual friend and when my partner comes to join us, you freak out because you were just outside making out with them and you pull me aside to tell me
19. you’re in the middle of giving me your phone number when the cops show up to arrest you and wait! wait! I didn’t hear the last two numbers!
20. you’re the town’s super villain and you take me hostage because you saw the super hero talking to me but I’m new in town and was asking them for directions
21. I have headphones in and I’m on the phone with my friend, insulting them in a joking manner, but you think I’m talking to you and start to give me a piece of your mind
22. you’re on a date with this awful, awful person who keeps getting under my skin because my friend and I have been eavesdropping all night and your date says something that makes me snap … I thought it was a first date, not a three year relationship
23. our mutual friend has been talking us up to the other and when we finally meet, we have to tell them that we’ve been in a feud for the last six years (and I can’t stop thinking of all the nice things our friend has said about you)
24. you looked uncomfortable with that person all over you so I went to pretend to be your partner so they’d leave, except they were actually your significant other, and they dump you on the spot
25. a friend set us up on a blind date but you never showed so when we meet at our friend’s party, I refuse to talk to you
26. your card gets rejected at the cash in front of me and I’ve had a bad day so I make a dick comment about hurrying up or getting out of line and you turn around and let me have it and I’m really sorry because you’re right, I am an insensitive ass
27. we had one-night stands with roommates and sneak out of the house at the same time
28. I’m a famous singer and you’re the new techie who just tripped and pulled the plug out of my microphone mid-concert [extra awkward if they lip sync, extra badass if they keep singing and their voice is still on point]
29. I’m a professional athlete and I just fired my personal assistant and my manager sent you over but you don’t even know what sport I play or who my team is
30. my friend was coming onto you but you were clearly not comfortable so I tell them that I called dibs before they came in and they walk away and you slap me because you’re not a thing someone can call ‘dibs’ on but really, I said that so they’d move on because they’re kind of an ass
31. I cancel our first date when I find out you have a kid because no thank you, and then I meet your kid a few weeks later and we start to get to know each other and when they introduce me to you I feel like an idiot
32. my friend drags me to the concert of some boy band that I can’t stand because they didn’t want to go alone and you overhear me complaining about how awful they are and decide to prove me wrong in a heated debate
33. you’re a nobody actor who comes in for a chemistry read for the part of my love interest but we end up arguing instead of reading [maybe I like that about you and demand for you to be hired or maybe I’m annoyed that you spoke to me like that so I say that I don’t want to work with you and they hire you anyway]
34. my friend stupidly told you that I dared him to ask you out and you come over to yell at me about it, but really, I dared him because I didn’t think you’d say yes to him (and you don’t know what’s worse)
35. we meet in a cemetery and you’re playing a song really loudly from your car and it’s so disrespectful so I tell you as much and you say, “it was their favourite song” and now I feel like an ass
36. it’s mid-apocalypse and you break into my secret shelter and I swear I’ll kill you if you don’t give me three damn
good reasons why I shouldn’t
37. your potential future-father-in-law has hired my P.I. office to uncover any dirt on you, but you catch onto me following you and demand to know what I want and who hired me and it does not go well
38. I overhear you ordering your coffee in a coffee shop and I’m trying to place your voice when I realize that you’re the phone sex operator I’ve been calling on and off for the last few months but the realization startles me so much that I accidentally spill my drink on you and you’re pissed
39. I hire you to be the stripper at my friend’s bachelor/ette party and you’re the T.A. for my favourite class
40. a website for our campus pops up rating people based on their looks and allowing people to leave anonymous comments and for reasons, you think that I’m the one who has created this shitty site (except my roommate and I have been trying to take it down)
41. I’m at the 24/7 gym at 2 in the morning and I thought I was alone so I’m singing in the showers, but when you start singing with me, I’m startled and slip so the first time we meet, we’re both wet and naked
42. I’m talking about how “anyone could make this” at an art gallery and I didn’t realize you’re the artist
43. my family moves in the middle of my senior year of high school and now I’m the first real threat to you for valedictorian and you make it very clear that you’re going to do anything to win but I haven’t worked this hard to lose it all now
44. you’re new to the neighbourhood but this street is famous for how we decorate for the christmas holidays so I come to offer to help with some of my extra decorations and you refuse because you hate christmas
45. you’re not the first stubborn, angry, rude physical therapy patient I’ve worked with and you won’t be the last, but you might be the first to get under my skin
46. we enter the same competition and I’ll be damned if anyone but me wins
47. you overhear me complaining to my coworker about your ridiculous daily coffee order, whoops
48. you see my marvel buttons/patches on my backpack and we get into a heated argument about superheroes
49. I mistake you for someone else from behind and jump on your back so we both fall down and you’re reasonably pissed
50. we bump into each other so often that the first time we talk, you demand to know why I’m following you and if your ex set me up for this and I swear it’s a coincidence but you don’t seem to believe me
51. an old high school rival snidely asks if I’m still single ‘like always’ when we bump into each other at the bar, so I grab you and introduce you as my significant other … except that you’re my rival’s S.O. and they demand an explanation and fuck
52. you think I’m leering at you in the gym but really I’m studying your form and trying to learn how to make mine better
53. you get up fifteen minutes into the first lecture of the semester and I’m a new professor who calls you out for it because I just told you this is my first class, can’t you cut me some slack? and you awkwardly say that you’re in the wrong room
54. I’m not sure what you think I said, but you start calling me an asshole and whip a ruler at me and somehow, we both end up in detention
55. my twin clearly did something to piss you off, but you obviously don’t know I’m a twin so I’m listening to you tell me how much of an asshole I am and am very amused and it’s making you angrier
56. you called me mean things when we were in kindergarten and then moved away but we just crashed into each other on campus and I’m short with you because I haven’t forgotten
57. we’re fighting over the last box of half-off valentine’s day chocolate and end up in a “who has it worse” battle
58. I’m a demon, you’re a witch, we’re enemies but when I show up to kill you, you’re crying and I really don’t know what to do now
59. we were set up on a blind date but it went horribly and now you message me every time you have a good date because you think it’ll help me in the future
60. we’re both on a reality show (like the queer bachelor) where we’re told to be friends but the
first time we met, you were incredibly rude and judgmental and I don’t know if I can do this for the damn cameras
61. your music is so goddamn loud and I need sleep so would you TURN IT OFF
62. you set off the fire alarm and I have a test tomorrow, and I might strangle you
63. sometimes I steal flowers from your garden on my way to the cemetery, but today you’ve caught me and have demanded to come with me to make sure the “[person] is [attractive] enough to warrant flower theft” and I’m trying to figure out how to break it to you that we’re on our way to a graveyard (credit)
64. I didn’t know my ex moved so you find me curled up on the floor in front of your apartment door
65. I’m crying in the dog park because I recently lost my dog and I overhear you tell your dog to stay away from the ‘crazy’ person and we meet again at the shelter you run weeks later
66. you offer our study group homemade cookies to start the first meeting and I accidentally blurt that they’re awful
67. apparently you think that I’m your friend’s ex and you’ve been prank calling me for weeks but it’s not funny anymore so I’m tracking you down
68. you rang my door to give me a package that got delivered to you by mistake and I thought you were my brother/X, so I answered the door with a face mask on and you screamed, then I screamed, and now we’re both SCREAMING (credit to: @enchantedcass)
69. I’m a famous celeb, and you’ve been dragging me on social media with really funny memes/come backs so I’ve come to surprise you in person on the set of your first interview about the interactions that have made you an internet sensation
70. you’re planning my best friend’s wedding which we find out the day after you drunkenly hit on me at a bar and I reject you
71. you’re famous and you want to hide out in my bookstore which is fine except the stupid paparazzi won’t leave and now there’s a photo of us in the tabloids and they’re printing misinformation and why the fuck won’t you clear this up on your twitter account
72. you just hit me in the face with a snowball, what do you have to say for yourself, fucker?
73. I’m new to this place and you’re a tough, sort-of-asshole boss who seems to be extremely fair so when I speak up with an idea, you simply tell me to “do it” without any further discussion and I’m freaking out???
74. I’m not sure how it happened but the tabloids have declared us in a massive feud, except I’m not even sure who you are or why you’re calling me to ask me why I started this rumour
75. I’m an insomniac who calls my best friend at 3am except I misdial on my landline and I tell you all about my nightmare before letting you talk and now I’m mortified but you don’t hang up (credit to: @letskzuniverse)
76. it’s my birthday and you just fucking ruined my party and I don’t even know you
77. a prophecy said that we’ll save the world together but I’ll be damned if I enjoy your company while we do because you insulted my best friend the first time we met
78. I run a YouTube channel where I talk about different things and one video is on the topic of an immortal creature / piece of history and you track me down to tell me how inaccurate it all is
79. I don’t care who the fuck you are, this was my cab and you need to get out
80. you bump into me while I’m waiting in line at the coffee shop because you’re too busy insulting my favourite book to your friends, and I declare you my nemesis (credit to: @letskzuniverse)
81. you’re the divorce lawyer for my client’s spouse but these two have been squabbling like immature children and you don’t seem to be taking this case seriously and I’m stressing
82. I don’t know that I’m a magical being (witch/warlock/etc.) and you’re the asshole who tries to kill me BUT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON SO CARE TO EXPLAIN BEFORE YOU DO
83. you might be a legacy for this sorority/fraternity/etc. but like hell am I letting you [get the biggest room, run for presidency, etc.]
84. I’m not entirely sure who you are but we’ve been in a massive prank war ever since your first prank on your friend went awry
and I was covered in paint
85. I discover my significant other is cheating on me with you, so when I go to confront you, you’re pissed because apparently, you didn’t know either
86. you’re the asshole who drove past me in the parking lot and almost hit me/drove through a puddle and splashed me and I’m the asshole who is doing your interview
87. you’re a P.I. my parents hired to investigate my fiancee and you completely ruined my engagement party with the dirt you found but I want to know all the details right now
88. I dropped my watch in an open grave, jumped in to get it, and while you were visiting your dead grandmother, you saw me climbing out of the grave (credit to @enchantedcass)
89. I gave your new movie a hilarious review pointing out all the horrible flaws, mistakes, and cheesy lines, but gave it 5/5 stars because I enjoyed every minute of it, and you call me to ask me why
90. you’re the person interviewing me for a job but I just gave probably the worst interview ever and now you think I’m an incompetent weirdo (credit to @allirica)
91. you’re my boss’ kid and when we’re introduced, I realized that you’re the awkward one-night-stand I had three years ago (a infamous story my friends still tease me about to this day) and you don’t seem to remember me
92. you’re my best friend’s sibling / my sibling’s best friend and we’ve never gotten along, so of course it had to be you to find me stuck outside my house naked even though we haven’t seen each other in over two years
93. I hire your matchmaking services but all the people you set me up with are horrible and I’m demanding a refund and you’re asking me for one more chance??? what are you going to do? be my date?
94. I’m crying in a public bathroom and you try to comfort me (credit to @rainywednesdays)
95. you just witnessed me kill a guy and I have a really, really good reason for it, please don’t call the cops
96. I watch you win an eating contest and then throw up five minutes later, so I’m not sure how you have the guts to ask me out right now
97. you’re an on call firefighter who just got pulled away from their family on Christmas Day because I set fire to the macaroni cheese in my oven, but hey, I’m on my own on Christmas Day eating macaroni cheese, I’ve got it worse buddy (credit to @allirica)
98. I’ve been hired to kill you, but you don’t seem that concerned???
99. I overhear your list of impossible qualities/requirements you want in a person, so I feel the need to give you a piece of my mind but I’m realizing that I might fit your list as I argue
100. you call the cops on me because you think I’m breaking into your neighbour’s house, but I just moved in and like an idiot, locked myself out, and you won’t listen to me
special thanks to my Yellow Gardens Discord crew for suggesting some prompts for this list! they’re all credited at the end of their prompts, of course.
**DISCLAIMER: this post was originally posted on my old blog, VERONICABUNCHWRITES, which is no longer in use.
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Afrofuturism in the work of Janelle Monáe
Ashley Clarke, a curator for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, defined Afrofuturism as “the centering of the international black experience in alternate and imagined realities, whether fiction or documentary; past or present; science fiction or straight drama.”
Themes of Afrofuturism can be found throughout the works of Janelle Monáe. Her previous albums like The ArchAndroid and The Electric Lady showcase this through the exploration of androids as a new “other.” Today I want to talk about one of her most recent projects, Dirty Computer, and the way it contributes to the conversation on Afrofuturism. Janelle Monáe released Dirty Computer as an album and a 48 minute long Emotion Picture to draw her audience into a visual and auditory world of her own making. The dystopian future she presents to us is very similar to our own current reality, except that the voices being amplified are those that have historically been silenced. People of color and the LGBT+ community are central in this story rather than pushed off screen. Dirty Computer is so powerful because it focuses on joyful rebellion, love, and freedom in an oppressive dystopian setting.
The project, as Monáe has shared, can be split into three parts: Reckoning, Celebration, and Reclamation.
Part I: Reckoning
gif credit: scificinema
gif credit: scificinema
The Emotion Picture begins with Monáe’s character Jane 57821 laying out how her society has begun to capture people deemed dirty in order to “clean” them of their supposed filth against their will. This is meant to produce beings that are stripped of all individuality and ready to conform to societal norms and expectations. Jane tells the audience that, “You were dirty if you looked different, you were dirty if you refused to live the way they dictated, you were dirty if you showed any form of opposition at all. And if you were dirty it was only a matter of time.” The dichotomy between dirty and clean has created a system where an entire class of people can be demonized and oppressed. This foreboding tone at the beginning prepares the viewer for the grim implications of the cleaning process in this universe.
Dirty Computers are strapped to a table and forced to undergo the “Nevermind” which is a program that deletes memories. It is a process that is horrifying because of what it symbolizes to the individual and entire communities of people. To erase someone’s memories is to erase who a person is. The character of Mary Apple 53, Jane’s love interest, shows us just how alien a person can become once their memories are gone. The horror of erasure is also something that marginalized communities have faced for centuries and continue to face today.
In an interview on Dirty Computer, Janelle Monáe said “I felt a deeper responsibility to telling my story before it was erased. I think that there’s an erasure - of us, and if we don’t tell our stories they won’t get told. If we don’t show us we won’t get shown.” Afrofuturism is a response to this erasure of black people and people of color in culture, history, and art. Monáe has made a deliberate choice to tell her story even if it might get erased because if she doesn’t do it then no one else will. Remaining silent would be to assist in that erasure and Afrofuturism is all about refusing to be erased.
This first part of the Emotion Picture is all a reckoning with the Dirty Computers and how they are pushed to the margins. The lyrics in Crazy, Classic, Life speak about how the same mistake made by two people on different ends of the spectrum of social acceptability is punished unequally. Take A Byte follows it with a more upbeat tone, but even then the lyric “I’m not the kind of girl you take home to your mama” speaks to a feeling of being outside social norms.
There are moments of light and joy that are counterweights to the dire situation Jane is in. These come in the form of her memories which are played one final time before they are erased. Jane’s life before she was captured was filled with exploration, youth, love and celebration.
Part II: Celebration
Gif credit: normreedus
Gif credit: daisyjazzridley
Gif credit: nerd4music
Dirty Computers seem to recognize that they are living on borrowed time and that any day could be the day they are forcefully disappeared. This is why they fill each moment with as much fun, life, color, and joy as they can. There are many scenes at clandestine parties where Dirty Computers live freely and openly despite the threat of drones or police that could capture them at any moment. It is important to have these scenes of celebration though because Afrofuturism is also about providing hope.
The future must be a hopeful one if we are to strive for it and Afrofuturism allows us to be creative in crafting our visions of a hopeful future. Even though Monáe’s future is dystopian, there is still room for hope and joy because those are the things that make life worth living. These Dirty Computers have to live their lives joyfully because they don’t know when they’ll be sterilized.
In the interview mentioned previously, Monáe added that “I had to make a decision with who I was comfortable pissing off and who I wanted to celebrate. And I chose who I wanted to celebrate, and that was the Dirty Computers.” The LGBT+ community, people of color, black women, immigrants, and low income people have all been mentioned as people Monáe wished to celebrate. This celebration comes intertwined with images and themes of rebellion as expressed in Jane’s memories. Screwed, Django Jane, Pynk, Make me Feel, and I Like That are the songs that embody celebration the best. Whether it's a celebration of sexuality, femininity, unity, or of self love it is all encompassed in these songs. Jane is shown connecting with others and being unapologetically proud of herself. We also see her falling in love with two people, Zen and Ché, and we see them love her in return.
Gif credit: thelovelylights
Viewing these memories and interacting with Jane seems to encourage the questioning of authority. The employee utilizing the Nevermind process seems to question why he should be deleting Jane’s memories at all. Mary Apple 53, previously named Zen, also directly questions their matriarch after speaking with Jane and realizing that she’s connected to her. It all culminates in a nonviolent escape attempt where Jane, Zen, and Ché reclaim their names, bodies, and their lives.
Part III: Reclamation
Gif credit: thelovelylights
The Emotion Picture ends with Jane 57821 and Mary Apple 53 freeing themselves, and their recently arrived lover Ché, from the facility. They escape without harming others the way they themselves have been harmed. By leaving they are reclaiming their freedom and their right to be proud of being Dirty Computers. They refuse the new names that were forced upon them and leave to rediscover the memories of the life they lived before capture.
It is a hopeful ending that plays into the themes of Afrofuturism. Even though both Jane and Zen’s memories were erased they still have the ability to create new memories and stories. Their ability to recreate their past as well as create a new future was not taken away. As they escape the song Americans can be heard in the background. The lyrics subvert the typical American patriotism expressed by racist white southerners. The trope of preserving gender roles and being a gun carrying american are satirized in these lyrics. America as a whole is being reclaimed by Janelle as a place for the people who have been marginalized.
Janelle sings “Don’t try to take my country/ I will defend my land/ I’m not crazy baby/ nah I’m American.” This sentiment is typically espoused by xenophobic americans, but when it is sung by Janelle she is saying that she won’t be forced out of America due to the bigoted beliefs of the people who hate her. She also pleads for the listener to love her for who she is which is something that has been denied to black women for centuries. The song ends with a powerful message of reclaiming America by Rev. Dr. Sean McMillan who said “Until Latinos and Latinas don't have to run from walls/ This is not my America/ But I tell you today that the devil is a liar/ Because it's gon' be my America before it's all over.”
This also shows themes of Afrofuturism since Monáe is reclaiming her history and is refusing to be excluded from it. She is asserting her presence and that of all the Dirty Computers by saying that they too have a claim to America. The Emotion Picture and the album are both a masterpiece of Afrofuturism art and music. Monáe masterfully weaves various musical genres and visual storytelling to show her pride in being a black queer woman. There is no other artist like Janelle Monáe, and I am excited to see what new worlds she will take us to next.
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This is the Beat of My Heart
happy very early birthday to @jaskierswolf! have some soulmates.
new soulmate mechanic: you can hear your beloved’s heartbeat whenever you feel frightened
art by the always-talented @mawbwehownets
tw: mentions of the Trials, canon typical violence but it’s just the cave scene from Posada/Four Marks, minor emotional Geralt whump (self loathing witcher feelings), hurt/comfort with a very fluffy ending
Geralt’s fingers curl painfully into the tops of his legs. He’s trying to hold himself down against the rough-hewn seat of the tavern bench with all his mighty strength; there’s an irritating sound filling the small room that has activated his fight or flight response, and he can’t do either without drawing suspicion from the already antsy villagers. The haunting rhythm echoes through him, a soft but insistent thud thud thud that floods his senses and soothes his aching head. The sound is more familiar to the witcher than his own gruff voice. More familiar than his brothers’ voices, or Vesemir’s. This staccato beat has marked out every terrifying moment in the witcher’s long life.
The sound that pounds against Geralt’s ears is his soulmate’s heartbeat.
The poor, ignorant fool he’s meant to match in every way is wandering around this shit-hole tavern in Posada, totally unaware of the sad, unsavory fate that Destiny has bestowed upon them. Geralt never thought this day would come, really. Being bound to a witcher was bad enough but being in the same room with one, feeling the subtle pull of forces far beyond your control meddling with your life… drawing you towards danger and death...
It will be better for both of us if I leave as soon as possible, Geralt thinks to himself. He takes a quick inventory of his purse and swords and finds them all accounted for. At least I can spare them the tragic end they’d no doubt meet at a witcher’s side. They would likely hate me if I ever sought them out.
They must be terrified of him, whichever one of these people Destiny has saddled with the other half of Geralt’s soul. They’ve heard his heartbeat, too, in their moments of fear. As well as Geralt knows his soulmate’s giddy, fluttering pulse pattern, they have lived with his slow mutant heartbeat in return. Were they even more frightened when they heard how slow it was? Did the connection serve its purpose, calming them down and reassuring them of his presence, or had it made things worse, elevated their level of terror? How cruel it was for Destiny to chain this person to a living firebrand, to create them to be the perfect other half for someone who’s no more than a monster.
That heartbeat, vibrant and steadfast, is what had kept Geralt alive and fighting for survival during the worst of his Trials. When the poisons and tinctures and potions had crawled through his veins, turning them from black to red to black again and twisting his body into something other, that glorious beating had been there for him. The sound of his soulmate’s fragile mortal heart had measured out the seconds, giving him something to cling onto. That heartbeat had given Geralt something to love. To hope for in his worst moments. When they had dragged him back into those dark, musty rooms, seventeen and screaming with what little was left of his voice, all Geralt could do was pray for his future soulmate’s heartbeat to return to him. To comfort him.
In the relentless pain and terror of those added experiments, Geralt had kept that sound buried deep within his very being, like a candle in the center of a pitch-black room. Even when they said the Trials would take his emotions from him, that the additional testing would obliterate his humanity entirely, the sound of a stranger’s heartbeat never failed to stir the strongest feelings of love and safety he’d ever known.
Can ever know, perhaps.
Regardless of what might have been in another lifetime, Geralt keeps his fingers clenched and his muscles taut. He focuses all his energy on keeping himself sitting. He would have been content to stay there in the corner, his eyes trained on the grain of the worn wooden table before him, ignoring Destiny’s desires entirely… except…
Except for the damned bard. The novice bard swans his way over to the witcher’s corner table, lashes fluttering and face flushed. Geralt catches a faint whiff of arousal and writes it off as a boyish reaction to the rush of performing. The young brunette opens his mouth and the sweetest voice Geralt has ever heard playfully says: “I love the way you just… sit in the corner and brood.”
“I’m here to drink alone,” the witcher grunts. He can practically feel his fingernails biting through the leather of his gloves. The heartbeat is louder now, closer, and it’s driving Geralt mad.
“Good,” the bard nods, still leaning against a support beam. “Yeah, good. Nobody else hesitated to comment on the quality of my performance except-” he takes a slow step forward “-for you.”
The bard is probably barely old enough to order his own vodka, and the bright, sparkling blue of his eyes makes the deeper blue of his doublet look incredibly washed out. Geralt tries to keep his face impassive, rolling his eyes and remaining silent. He’s still thinking about his soulmate… trying to block out the rapid thrumming of their all-too-human heart.
“C’mon,” the brunette urges. “You don’t want to keep a man with… bread in his pants waiting. You must have some review for me; three words or less!”
Geralt hears his soulmate’s heartbeat growing louder, more irregular and more excited, regardless of his efforts to ignore the hurried drumming. The scent of happiness grows thick and hazy in the air as the bard continues to grin and Geralt realizes, with a tiny jolt of horror, that the origin of the life-altering sound is sitting directly across from him. Geralt matches the rabbit-quick jumps at the junctures of the bard’s wrists to the soft rhythm thumping at the back of his head and finds them to be a perfect match.
It’s you, the witcher thinks, eyes widening slightly against his will. He takes a moment to tamp down his more obvious emotions, trying desperately keeping his expression neutral and under control. The bard is the one whose heartbeat kept me breathing in my very worst moments. Kept me fighting. Kept me…
Geralt suddenly remembers that he needs to answer a question: “They don’t exist.”
“What don’t exist?” the bard asks, eyebrows furrowing. The expression is halfway between a pout and an offended grimace, which infuriatingly verges on being adorable. Geralt’s heart lurches traitorously in his chest. He has never known such horrible yearning in all his many decades on the Path.
“The creatures in your song.”
“Why would you know?” the bard scoffs. Geralt prepares to stand, finally releasing his death-grip on his own legs. His fingers and palms are cramped and tight from holding himself still for so long; the bard is really testing his patience. The witcher is less than two seconds away from revealing the big secret and ruining both of their lives when the young man continues, eyes shining, “Ooooh, fun! White hair, big old loner, two very very scary looking swords…”
Geralt stands from the table and collects his purse.
The bard glances up at him, blue eyes wondrously wide and cheeks flushed pink.
“I know who you are,” he practically breathes. He stands, following Geralt halfway out the door. “You’re the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia!”
Geralt’s fists clench again. The retraction of his muscles keeps him from grabbing the foolish human by the collar and dragging him from the room for a proper chat about manners and soulmates. Thankfully. As the disoriented witcher hurries from the tavern’s main room, he hears the bard shouting after him: “Called it!”
Geralt snaps back into consciousness with a grunt. As frustration and fear weave themselves into a web of anxiety at the center of his chest, that soft thud thud thudding fills his ears. It soothes him and helps him focus; he is in a cave, it is midday or a little past, and the bard, Jaskier apparently, has been bound against him, back-to-back. He tugs at the ropes that bind their wrists again but it does no good. Behind him, the bard says quietly: “This is the part where we escape.”
Geralt fears for his soulmate’s wellbeing more than his own. He’s technically responsible for this stupid, fragile person who refused to stay behind despite his warnings. He lowers his voice, “This is the part where they kill us.”
“Unfortunate,” the bard sighs. The witcher listens, confused and a bit shocked, as Jaskier slowly starts to even out his breathing by matching his inhales and exhales to Geralt’s slow, methodical heartbeat.
“How can you hear it?” he asks without thinking.
“Hear what?” Jaskier replies, whispering.
“Your breathing,” Geralt says, as if it’s obvious. “You’re matching it to my… to my heartbeat. You don’t have a witcher’s enhanced hearing so how are you matching the rhythm so perfectly?”
“I was matching it to-”
Their conversation ends abruptly as an angry elven woman storms into the cave. She kicks at them furiously, spitting in the Elder tongue, “Beast!”
“Quick, Geralt!” the bard urges, “Do your witchering!”
The woman doles out more swift kicks to the chest. One for Geralt and one for Jaskier. More muttering in Elder, insults that even the bard manages to understand and toss around. Geralt grimaces as he’s beaten by Toruviel and hears the thudding even louder than before. The witcher smiles when he notices that he can feel Jaskier’s heartbeat against his back, pulsing through the thin material of the bard’s light woolen doublet. It’s so much more intense, close up like this.
“Leave off! He’s just a bard.”
He’s so much more than that, Geralt’s own thoughts remind him. He’s everything to you.
A wave of urgent protectiveness swells within him and Geralt diverts the attention of the Elf King away from the foolish human, whose mouth has run away with him. Eventually Filavandrel tires of their chatter and pulls his short blade. The Silvan rushes forward, arms outstretched to stop his sovereign, “Wait!”
“Torque! Stand aside!”
“The witcher could have killed me,” Torque rushes to explain. “But he didn’t. He’s different, like us!”
Geralt watches with mild trepidation as the battle-hardened King pushes his subject aside, fury blazing in his clear blue eyes. He understands that this may be his final day alive. He wishes that Jaskier would have listened before and stayed at the tavern below. He wishes, with what may be his final moments alive, that Jaskier were safe and not bound to him this way. Literally and figuratively.
“If you must kill me, I am ready,” Geralt intones. “But the Sylvan is right… don’t call me human.”
The witcher tilts his head back, eyes open but unseeing, his entire being focused on the feeling of Jaskier’s racing heartbeat thudding against the back of his leather armor. The killing blow never comes. Instead, Filavandrel cuts the ropes that bind their wrists; Geralt ignores his initial instinct to check Jaskier for injuries and instead ushers the bard onto his feet and towards the mouth of the cave. “Wait!”
The witcher freezes in his tracks and glances back over his shoulder. Filavandrel holds out a gorgeously crafted lute with a beautiful gold design painted across the front. “My apologies for the loss of your instrument.”
“Your Majesty,” Jaskier gasps. “I couldn’t. You’ve already lost so much.”
“Then promise me to do right by him,” the elf nods at Geralt. “And consider it payment.”
“I swear it,” Jaskier nods, tone serious and face grim. Filavandrel lets his eyes flicker between the two unlikely companions and Geralt prays that the Elf won’t say anything out loud, if he indeed understands the bond between them.
“Be on your way, then, before I change my mind.”
Filavandrel winks conspiratorially and disappears back into the shadow of the caves. Jaskier pulls the lute strap over his shoulder and beckons for Geralt to follow him. “Your horse is probably worried.”
It takes nearly six months for Geralt to break down and tell Jaskier the truth about their seemingly uncanny partnership. If it weren’t for the rapid approach of harsher winter weather, he probably never would have said anything at all.
But on one particularly frosty evening, two weeks after Samhain, the witcher sits Jaskier down beside their fire and tries to remember how to speak from his heart. The bard is patient, warming his hands over the flames and waiting for Geralt to gather his words. Jaskier has never rushed him, and for that Geralt is eternally grateful. Taking a hint from his companion’s hunched shoulders, Jaskier speaks first. “What’s on your mind, my dearest White Wolf?”
“I… I have to tell you something and I don’t want you to be angry.”
“Did you spill ink on my new doublet?” Jaskier teases. “Because if you have, I promise to be very cross with you.”
“Hmm,” Geralt half-smiles. He’s terrified, and he can hear Jaskier’s heartbeat surrounding him from all sides. “No, I’m afraid it’s more complicated than replacing a doublet.”
“Oh, is this about us being soulmates?”
Geralt’s eyes snap up to meet Jaskier’s and his mouth drops open. “Wha-? When did you- When di-”
“You said it in your sleep maybe two weeks after we first met,” Jaskier explains quietly, like he’s the one who’s been holding back a secret all this time. He blushes furiously as he tries to apologize and extrapolate all at once, “I thought you were just muttering to yourself, really, or I would have woken you up! I swear! You were just…”
Now it’s Geralt’s turn to wait as Jaskier fumbles to speak.
“You hadn’t been resting well and I didn’t want to wake you up. You looked so happy and content that night, with your hair all loose and the moon so bright…” he shakes his head and giggles nervously, “Anyway, not important. You rolled over and reached for me. You chuckled a little between snores and said A bard for a soulmate, how lovely. It sounded happy, when you said it like that.”
“Was that… the only time?”
“No,” Jaskier smiles. He pulls his knees against his chest and rests his chin atop them, “You reach for me all the time in your dreams. Sometimes you say my name or call me soulmate or beloved. It’s rather sweet and I-” tears brim in his eyes and Geralt’s heart skips a beat “-I know that witchers don’t feel things the same way humans do. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and then-”
“I love you,” Geralt says. He takes Jaskier by the hands before he can stop himself and pulls the pale knuckles against his lips for a soft kiss. “You… You have saved my life so many times.”
“I mean it,” the witcher nods. “I know that the Path is treacherous, and I wouldn’t ask you to join me on it and risk your life, but I do love you and care about you. Ever since I was young I have marked my steps by the beat of your heart. I would be happy continuing to do so, whether or not you accept me in return.”
“Oh, Geralt,” Jaskier sob-laughs, flinging himself into the witcher’s embrace. Geralt falls backward, shocked, his arms full of emotional bard. His face is peppered with kisses between hurried words: “I love you, too! I thought you didn’t want me that way. I thought it was just… a witcher mutation thing.”
“Come with me to Kaer Morhen for the winter, Julek. You can learn more about my kind; you can meet my brothers and the old swordmaster for the Wolf School, my adopted father of sorts. We’ll protect you and I-” Geralt clears his throat. “I will hold you every night in my arms, if you so desire.”
“I would like it very much if you were to hold me,” Jaskier grins. “And of course I'll come with you to your witchery keep for the cold months, dear heart. I’ll never part from your side again.”
Geralt presses a firm kiss to Jaskier's forehead, their heartbeats echoing faintly in the witcher's trained ears. Something in his chest settles into place, contented at last. He presses another, even gentler kiss to the bard's chapped lips and feels his heart swell when Jaskier smiles into it. He breathes out his promise as they pull apart, "Never."
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could i request a slytherin x draco imagine where the reader and draco have been dating for a long time and she’s kind of a bitch like draco but she also doesn’t believe in blood supremacy so people are just scared of her they don’t not like her but anyways she and draco do share same feelings towards potter and stuff like that so what if draco crossed the line with potter or the trio and ron and harry get super upset but the reader feels bad and goes up to hermoine after class and apologizes because she know draco didn’t mean it to go that far but he’s stubborn and she feels better about the situation but the next morning ron confesses that he had the twins help of putting something in draco’s glass for breakfast but in actuality it was the readers cup and they see the reader drink it and they freak out because ron said that it was a smaller dose of draught of the living death where they could get sick and fall asleep for a long time and hermoine freaks out because she says that the reader apologizes and throughout the day the reader feels super ill and draco is tries taking care of her until that night where she goes to sleep and pansy her roommate and bff (we love pansy) can’t wake her up and she runs to the great hall and tells draco and the trio feels guilty until the twins get an antidote and it ends in fluff? i’m sorry it’s so long idk how else to explain it 😥
unforgivable | draco malfoy
pairing: draco x slytherin!reader
word count: 2,7k
summary: where y/n gets poisoned due to draco's behavior
a/n: finally, i'm back!!! my hand still hurts, but i managed to write this on my laptop so it did not hurt that much while writing. hope you enjoy <3
warnings: angst, use of unforgivable spell, cursing, mentions of death
universe: harry potter
„Only those who really want to inflict torture on their victim and have sadistic pleasure in seeing them suffer, can create the right magical energy for a successful torture curse”, Professor Snape, your teacher in Defense Against the Dark Arts this year, repeats to the entire class, strutting around in front of the blackboard that is only filled with three words. Slowly getting bored, you lean back in your chair and look at the ceiling, which seems far more interesting than the repetition of the three unforgivable curses right now.
Your gaze wanders over the numerous cracks in the ceiling above you until you completely block out Professor Snape’s voice. As soon as you direct your eyes a little further to the left, you stare at your beautiful boyfriend, whose side profile is illuminated by the shining sun. Smiling to yourself, you move closer to him to gently place your hand on top of his, hoping to draw his attention to you.
But without success.
Draco does not move an inch, his gaze intently focused on the front of the classroom while he is listening to the lesson, not even stopping when you finally lay your head on his shoulder and sigh softly.
Since your beloved boyfriend obviously does not want to give you the attention you deserve, you look for something else to do to cure your boredom. Annoying Harry Potter and Ron Weasley seems like a good decision for you. It does not take you long to toss small, rolled up balls of paper against the back of their heads, careful to only throw it across the room when Snape turns his back to the class. Rolling their eyes, they turn to you in annoyance, but you just give them a malicious smile before they try to focus again.
Just like Draco, you despise Harry Potter profoundly. There has never been a real reason for your hatred, but sometimes you meet people in your life that you just can’t get along with. This similarity of Draco and you only bonded you together even more.
You were never very popular at Hogwarts anyway, neither with your classmates nor with the teachers. But you do not care. In fact, you even enjoy it when you walk through the corridors and the first years move aside in fear immediately. If Draco is with you, they even turn around and take a different path. And because the few people you actually do get along with are always by your side, you do not mind having a certain reputation at this school.
“You will write a twenty-page essay about the unforgivable curses until next week”, Professor Snape finishes the lesson and you excitedly jump out of your seat right away, collecting your stuff. Since your hand was still connected to Draco’s, you pulled him along.
“Someone seems to have a strong interest in these curses”, you giggle when you see his almost annoyed expression due to the ending of the lesson.
“And what if it does?”, he rolls his eyes at you and you wait until he has stowed all his things in his bag before you go out into the hallway together. Almost like a reflex, you intertwine your hands as you walk down the corridors of Hogwarts.
On your way to the Great Hall to get something to eat, you walk across the courtyard when you suddenly notice the Golden Trio, as they are called, sitting on one of the benches out of the corner of your eye. Before you can react, they are already standing in front of you.
“Sorry, but you are covering the sun”, you mention snippily and raise an eyebrow, waiting for them to clear the way.
“What was that about earlier, Y/N?”, Ron angrily asks you and you just shrug your shoulders ignorantly.
“Do not make a scene now, Weaselbee”, Draco interferes, obviously annoyed.
“Oh, it is you, Malfoy! I did not recognize you anymore, now that you have suddenly become so meek since your father is in Azkaban”, Harry mocks and you feel the situation slowly escalating. “How does he like his new home?”
If looks could kill, you are sure all three of them would be dead on the spot.
“At least I still have parents, Scarhead”, Draco fires back through gritted teeth and his grip on your hand becomes tighter.
As soon as these words come out of Harry’s mouth, Draco is pushed back through the air, his back hitting the brick wall. In shock, you look after him, your legs unable to move. The arguments between you and them happened countless times, but no one has ever raised their wand.
“Harry!”, you hear Hermione scold him, but too late. The anger is clearly written upon Draco’s face as he slowly straightens his posture. Reaching for his wand in a flash, the next few seconds pass in slow motion.
“Expelliarmus!”, you quickly interrupt when you realize what Draco was about to say, and his wand flies through the air, landing right in front of your feet. An uncomfortable silence spreads and even Draco does not seem to understand what he was about to do.
“You have totally gone crazy!”, Ron is the first so speak up and angrily stomps towards your still stunned boyfriend, but you quickly stand between them, protecting Draco.
“Ron, stop it”, Hermione talks him out of doing anything stupid until he finally gives in and lets her pull him away. With an disparaging look, the three of them disappear into the next corridor.
“Are you actually crazy!?”, you turn to Draco, who immediately lowers his head, obviously understanding that his actions were wrong. “These curses are called unforgivable for a reason, Draco! I thought you listened to Snape today, damn it!”
“I-I am sorry”, he manages to say, lifting his head to look at you, trying to show you that he is serious. “But you hate them too!”
“And yet I would never harm them physically!”, you reply irritably and shove his wand back into his hand. You then turn away, shaking your head.
“I apologized! Wait, babe-“
“No, Draco. You went too far this time”, you interrupt him and pull your wrist out of his grip. With these words you leave him alone and make your way into the filled Great Hall. Once you arrive inside, you feel the burning and piercing looks of the whole Gryffindor table on you, but you choose to ignore them and walk straight up to their table. Contrary to what you expected, their conversations suddenly fall silent when you walk up to Hermione.
“Can we talk for a moment?”, you ask her with no emotion in your voice or face, but your eyes are almost begging her, and your heart is leaping. After exchanging a few glances with the Weasley twins and their little sister, Hermione nods in agreement and follows you out of the Great Hall into the silence of the corridors.
“What is it?”, she sighs and puts her hands on her hips.
“I wanted to apologize for Draco’s behavior. He really did not mean it, you have to believe me. Draco can be so incredibly stubborn sometimes, but he would never want to harm any of you”, you rant to her while she listens closely.
“First of all, I am not the one you should apologize to, and most importantly, you should not be the one to apologize”, Hermione replies, rubbing her fingers against her temple. “We both know what happens to wizards who cast one of these curse-“
“Shh!” you interrupt her and quickly cover her mouth, suppressing her words. “I know. But- Well I-“
“I accept your apology, Y/N. After all, Harry and Ron were not entirely innocent either”, she explains to you and for a brief moment you see a small smile cross her lips. Right now, you would love to hug her.
“Thank you”, you say from the bottom of your heart. Sometimes it can actually be helpful to approach things with a little kindness.
“I am also sorry about what happened. Let us just forget about it”, she suggests, and you agree without hesitation.
And Hermione really is just as sorry as you are. Especially when Ron tells her about his nasty plan at breakfast the next morning. Hermione did not get around to tell them about your apology yet, which is why Ron still wants revenge. With the help of Fred and George, he prepared a small potion of Draught of the Living Death and gave it into Draco’s glass. But when Hermione finds out about it, it is already too late.
She can only helplessly watch as you suddenly ingest the toxic mixture instead of Draco.
You, on the other hand, did not even notice that there is something strange about your drink and continue to talk with Pansy, while still giving Draco the cold shoulder. Of course, he has apologized a thousand times, but if you do not punish him in some way, he will never learn from it.
Nevertheless, you are quite glad that he does not leave your side for the whole day, because when you feel lightheaded all of a sudden and shortly afterwards pass out, he is by your side immediately, catching you.
“Babe, can you hear me?!”, Draco basically yells in your face before gently patting your cheek, causing you to open your eyes again. Confused and disoriented, you look around, not remembering what happened.
“What- What happened?”, you ask limp, almost not able to get your teeth apart to speak while your eyes keep feeling extremely heavy.
“You passed out”, he explains as he is already heaving you into his strong arms. “I will take you to your room, you have to rest.”
Carefully, he lays you down on the soft mattress of your bed and covers your body with the blanket, completely wrapping you up before he sits on the edge of the bed and closely watches you. You weakly reach for his hand and run your thumb over the back of his hand before a quiet ‘thank you’ leaves your lips, drifting into a deep sleep.
After Draco lingers by your side for several hours silently, inwardly dying of worry, Pansy finally compels him to go to the Great Hall for dinner and then catch up on some sleep himself while she takes care of you. Only when she promises, does he consent and leave your room.
It is already late in the evening when Pansy goes to bed after finishing her homework while keeping an eye on you the whole time. Just as she is about to make herself comfortable, she notices that your chest is no longer moving up and down regularly as it was a few minutes ago.
You do not breathe anymore.
“Y/N!”, Pansy yells and runs to your side, placing her hands on your shoulders to shake you awake. “Wake up, wake up! Damn it!”
No matter how long she shakes your body, you will not wake up even when she slaps you lightly. You do not move an inch and your face looks as pale as that of a corpse. As if you were already lingering among the dead. As if you were in a deathlike slumber. If you had not suddenly started breathing again, Pansy would really have believed that you were gone.
Thereupon, she loses no more time and sprints out of the room, almost falling down the stairs on the way to the Great Hall. Because it is already so late in the evening, there are only a few students sitting at the tables, looking at her in shock when she rushes inside.
“Draco! It is Y/N! You- She just won’t wake up”, Pansy calls out across the hall and hurries over to the Slytherin table. Harry, Ron, and Hermione watch what is happening with a sense of guilt from the other side.
Before Draco can follow Pansy to the common room, Hermione blocks his way, along with Harry and Ron, briefly stopping him, causing Draco to get angry right away.
“Get out of the way! I do not have time for-“
“Listen, Malfoy! She drank Draught of the Living Death, that is why she does not wake up”, Harry interrupts him and Draco’s eyes widen in an instant.
“Originally, it was meant for you! As revenge”, Ron admits, hiding himself behind Hermione, just in case.
“Are you stupid?!”, Draco hisses and takes a dangerous step towards Ron, but before the situation can escalate again, Hermione intervenes.
“Now is not the time! Fred and George created the potion so they will be able to make the antidote as well. We just need a little more time”, Hermione negotiates and Draco reluctantly agrees before they part ways again and he takes the quickest way back to you.
Staying by your side all night, the tension in his body does not fade and even though his eyes start to slowly feel heavy, he stays awake. He will not let you out of his sight and pays particular attention to your breathing, which initially remains regular. When Hermione joins them in your room, a vessel in her hand, he is finally relieved from his suffering.
“This is Wiggenweld Potion. It reverses the effects of Sleeping Draughts”, she explains and hands Draco the potion. "It is not exactly described how to give it to the victim though I once heard that a prince used it to heal a princess. With a kiss.”
Hermione did not even finish her sentence as you can already feel Draco’s soft lips on yours and within a few seconds, your eyes flutter open. Whatever is just flowing down your throat tastes bitter and you look around confused, looking into blurred faces that seem relieved.
“For Merlin’s sake, you are alive”, Draco breathes out, hugging you tightly, so tight that he almost chokes you. Inhaling his pleasant scent, your exhausted body relaxes, but you still can’t remember anything. After you passed out in the hallway, you felt like you were floating on clouds. You could not hear anymore, could not move and for a brief moment you saw a bright white light in front of you, coming closer and closer.
“What happened?”, your voice comes out muffled as you talk against Draco’s shoulder. He loosens his arms around you and takes both of your hands in his, running his fingers over your delicate palms.
“You were under the influence of the Draught of the Living Death. Ron apparently mixed it into your drink by accident. It was meant for me and- I am so terribly sorry. If I had not been so stupid, then-“
“Then I would still be sleeping now”, you finish his sentence and give him a gentle smile, the tension in his face and body disappearing. Slowly leaning forward, you connect your lips again, this time for a proper kiss. “I am not mad at neither you nor Ron.”
In the corner of your eye, you also see Hermione relax at your words, breathing out deeply.
“Did you at least learn from it?”, you lift an eyebrow and look at Draco expectantly.
“I swear that I will never ever in my life even think about uttering one of those curses again”, he explains honestly and raises his hands in defense. “I was stupid and I will apologize to them.”
“Already done”, Hermione smiles and opens the door, causing Harry and Ron to stumble into the room, Ron looking at you anxiously and with uncertainty.
“Do not worry, Ron. I am fine”, you reassure him, but his gaze still wanders between Draco and you, not sure how to judge the scene.
“How about we agree that we still do not like each other, but that we at least do no more physical harm?”, Draco suggests and after everyone agreed and said goodbye, he is the only one who stays by your side.
“You look tired, babe. You should get some sleep”, you mention and take his face between your hands, softly caressing his cheeks.
“You do not seriously think that I will let you sleep alone after all of this, do you?”, he states as he is already making himself comfortable on the bed next to you, pulling you closer to him, protecting you from all the evil in the world. In fact, he does, and keeps his word. After this incident there has never been another one.
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pairing: Izuku Midoriya x fem! reader
ratings/warnings: sfw, mention of insecurities
genre/AU: fluff, light academia (?) [i highly recommend imagining Izuku in light academia fashion, including some glasses ;) ], aged up characters [third-years]
word count: ~3.4K
synopsis: The young and talented photographer, Izuku Midoriya, is searching for a muse for his next entry in an art gallery. Of course, there seems to be one person who inspires him most of all.
a/n: hi hi <3 shoutout to my lovely 🍥 and ☕️ anons for requesting/helping me figure out this izuku fluff! i am really proud of this so i hope you all like it <3 reblogs are super helpful and id love to hear your thoughts on it. enjoy xx
Izuku Midoriya looked up at the golden-pink sky. He stared into the abyss, hoping to think of something worth capturing. He adjusted the thin glasses that rested upon his face. He sighed and sat up, grabbing his notebook. Inside were hundreds of scribbles, sketches, and ideas that never seemed good enough. He looked to his right, where his camera laid. He wished that it could just take the pictures itself and create something jaw dropping. Still, a camera is nothing without a photographer. Furthermore, a photographer is nothing without a muse.
Izuku gathered his things as he headed back inside, making his way to his dorm. He was frustrated. He only had one week left to submit something into the Tokyo Gallery for Promising Artists, and even then it wasn't a guarantee that he would be selected. Maybe he should send an old piece he thought. He did have a few that he was proud of, but unfortunately, none of them fit the required theme of the gallery.
Izuke had his hands full as he attempted to open his dorm room door. You were making your way up the stairs when you spotted him. Izuku dropped his notebook, loose pages now scattered across the floor. You rushed over.
“Great…” he sighed. You quietly began to pick up the sheets of papers. Izuku froze.
“Midoriya, here,” you smiled, handing him his notebook. His cheeks flushed a rosy pink. He took his notebook back with shaky hands.
“Thank you Y/N.”
“Is all that for the gallery? I heard that you were entering,” you smiled. Izuku chuckled.
“It is but by the looks of it, I won’t be submitting anything. I still haven't come up with anything good enough,” he explained.
“Well don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m sure inspiration will strike you soon enough,” you reassured him, “you’re a brilliant photographer after all.”
Izuku's face was now a bright red. He laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his head.
“T-Thank you again. Well-uh- goodnight Y/N.”
You walked away to your dorm as Izuku entered his own. He set all his things down and began to fan his burning face. He has known you for about three years now, yet he still can’t find the courage to get closer to you. You flustered him to no end, without even trying. Your voice, your smile, your laugh, your heart; Midoriya simply couldn’t get enough. You were so beautiful in all ways possible.
Midoriya looked at the printed flair pinned to his wall.
Those interested in applying to the Tokyo Art Gallery must follow the theme below in order to be considered.
The prompt read as follows:
‘Capture beauty in its purest form.’
Beauty, thought Izuku. Almost everything is beautiful. The way the sun rises and falls each day is beautiful. How Inko called Izuku every night at exactly 7:30 was beautiful. The friendships that Izuku cherished were beautiful. Then, there was you. Izuku’s mind couldn’t help but wonder to the thought of you in relation to beauty. Now you were truly beautiful.
Izuku soon had an idea.
The following day you found yourself sitting on one of the garden benches. Your classes were finished and you decided that some fresh air might do you some good. You basked in the warm sunlight, as if you were a precious flower that needed it to survive.
Izuku figured that you would be in the academy garden, so he made his way over there. His camera hung around his neck as he held tightly onto his notebook. With a shaky hand, Izuku tapped your shoulder.
“H-Hi Y/N,” he smiled nervously. You greeted him happily, gesturing for him to join you on the bench.
“Hi! Something wrong?” you questioned. Izuku looked like he was sick.
“Oh no, nothing’s wrong. I just-uh- wanted to ask you something…”
“Alright, what is it?”
Izuku set down his notebook next to his side. He held his hands together staring at them.
“Could I take your picture for the Tokyo Gallery?”
Your eyes widened at his request. The best and most handsome photographer in all of UA Academy of the Arts wanted to take your picture.
“You want to take a picture of me? I-I’m no model Izuku…”
“You’ll do great! I have this idea in my mind and it has to be with you.”
Now you were the nervous one. You weren’t one who particularly liked getting their picture taken.
“What if I mess it up? I’d hate to be the reason you don’t get accepted…”
“If those critics reject me, they’re just dumb. I promise it would have nothing to do with you. Please Y/N?” Izuku carefully took your hand with his and stared deep into your eyes. Gosh, how could you say no to him when he looked at you like that.
“Okay, I’ll do it,” you smiled. Izuku squeezed your hand and jumped up from where he sat.
“Thank you Y/N! I promise it will be perfect. Mind if we shoot tomorrow?”
“That sounds good to me.” Izuku smiled so brightly he outshined the sun. He grabbed his things once more.
“Meet me here at noon tomorrow. Try to wear a neutral colored shirt, okay?” he said. You nodded.
Izuku ran off, leaving you alone in the garden. You soon felt a large pit in the bottom of your stomach.
You stood before the full length mirror of your dorm. You stepped closer to it, examining every detail of you being. A photoshoot? Not only that, but a photoshoot of just you. No way to hide behind anyone or fade into the background. It would be a picture of you. The pit in your stomach only grew. You stared into the mirror, almost hoping the reflection would change into someone else. Someone who would appear beautiful in an enlarged image. Certainly Izuku could’ve asked any other girl to be his model, but insisted that it had to be you. You didn’t understand why. You didn’t view yourself as beautiful in any form. So how could he?
It was close to noon and you should be heading to the garden to meet Izuku. You put on a neutral colored tank top as Izuku requested and finished applying some natural makeup. Your hands shook as you held the brushes. Hopefully your nerves would cease by the time you got to the garden.
Izuku had been setting up since early in the morning. He created a handmade crown of white baby’s breath for you to wear and arranged his backdrop. He set up his lighting and sun reflectors exactly where he wanted. You had been standing by one of the bushes for a few minutes, afraid to interrupt him. He was so in his element. The sleeves to his button down rolled up to his elbows. His dark sunglasses covering his eyes. His beige colored paints stained green at the hem from working in the grass, same with his off-white sneakers. You honestly thought he looked beautiful.
“Hi Izuku,” you said. Izuku jumped then turned to look at you.
“Oh Y/N you’re here, perfect! Y-You look great,” he smiled. Your face grew warm.
“Oh thank you. So, what’s the plan?” Izuku moved his sunglasses to his forehead, pushing back his fluffy green hair.
“So, your job is fairly simple. I’m gonna have you sit on this stool and hold onto this bouquet of flowers. Since it's just me out here I’ll be messing around with the equipment until I find the right lighting and all that. All you need to do is keep the pose I tell you to, okay?” he explained. You nodded.
“What is the theme for this year’s gallery?” you asked. Midoriya flinched.
“Oh it’s um...nature…” he muttered. Nature? Why doesn’t he just take a picture of a tree and call it good? What does he need you for, you wondered.
Izuku set down the stool in front of the garden wall and you sat down. He grabbed the bouquet and handed it to you. He then placed the crown uptop of your head. He carefully arranged it to rest effortlessly on you. His nimble fingers were delicate as they touched your head, then moved to your cheek without him thinking. Izuku’s index finger now rested under your chin as you looked up at him. With a burning face and widened eyes, you wished to never look away. Out of flustering embarrassment, Izuku took his hand back.
“Yeah um so for the pose I’d like you to be looking slightly to the side with your chin tilted up just as I had it. Then with the flowers have them close to your cheek. I’ll probably tell you to switch out poses here and there but that's a good place to start. Okay?”
Izuku walked back and grabbed his camera. Your heart was pounding out of your chest. You tried to keep yourself calm with a few deep breaths.
“Ready?” asked Izuku. You nodded.
The first click of the camera and flashing lights was the most startling. You soon got used to it, following whatever instructions Izuku gave you. You moved your head and hand placement, soon feeling more comfortable with everything.
“Yes that's perfect...keep doing that…” Izuku blurted out whatever thoughts came to his mind as he captured you on film. His encouragement was honestly what made your heart race.
“Now lower the bouquet so I can see your pretty face…yeah just like that Y/N…”
Midoriya didn’t even realize what he had said until the words left his mouth, but he didn’t care. He meant it.
“Okay now open your eyes and look slightly towards me, parting your lips a bit…”
Izuku snapped the picture then froze. He looked down at the small digital image.
“Hmm?” You questioned. Izuku snapped out of the trance that he was in. He chuckled nervously.
“OH-the pictures look really good that's all. I think we are good,” he said. You let out a sigh.
“Oh good. That was honestly pretty exhausting.”
“I really appreciate you letting me use you for the gallery. I already know the final product is gonna turn out amazing,” he cheered. You smiled.
“It’ll be amazing because you are amazing,” you said. Izuku blushed.
“So are you.”
You took off the crown and returned the flowers to Midoriya. You helped him put away his equipment before the two of you headed back inside.
“Um Y/N, did you maybe want to grab something to eat?” he asked. You smiled.
“I’d love to, just let me change first,” you chuckled.
“Oh yeah of course.”
You dropped off the equipment at Izuku’s dorm before heading to your own. You slipped on a green sweater and some sweatpants before finding him again.
You and Izuku went to the dinning hall, each of you picking up a bowl of ramen. You decided to eat outside on the balcony.
“How do you think the pictures turned out?” you asked.
“Honestly, really good. You did amazing,” he smiled. You looked down at your food.
“I was honestly super nervous for them. Couldn’t you tell?”
“Not at all! You were a natural out there! I really think this will be some of my best work yet,” said Izuku.
“I’d love to go to the gallery with you,” you whispered. Izuku’s eyes widened.
“I was planning on taking you regardless,” he replied, “thank you by the way.”
You tilted your head.
“For always believing in me. I probably wouldn’t be a photographer if it weren’t for you.”
In Izuku’s first year, he was at the bottom of his class. He knew he wanted to do photography, but couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. He was so frustrated one day that he even said that he would be dropping out and quitting forever. You convinced him not to, to keep trying. You saw his talent when no one else could. Even when he couldn’t. From that day forward, Izuku worked to become the best young photographer in all of the Shizuoka Prefecture.
“Well I knew that you could do it, and I was right,” you teased.
“You’re great Y/N, seriously,” he said. You looked at Izuku, your face growing hot.
“I don’t know about that…”
“What? Come on, you’re smart, you’re kind, you’re talented, and you always seem to know what to say. You’re incomparable.”
“To anything. You’re incomparable to anything because you’re you.”
Midoriya had to stop himself from saying anymore, for fear of spilling his whole heart before you. He meant it however. Nobody compares to you.
You swirled your noodles around in their bowl. The pounding in your chest came back. You locked eyes with Izuku.
“You’re incomparable too.”
Izuku spent every waking moment arranging his piece for submission to the gallery. He was always found in the art room, either photoshopping or preparing the flowers to be pressed. Once the image of you was edited to his liking, he developed a large scale version of the picture. He enjoyed putting the pieces together. From hand pressing the flowers to finding the perfect frame to keep it all in, he has created a masterpiece. All thanks to his muse.
You roamed the empty halls of the school in search of Izuku. You hadn’t seen him all day, assuming he would be in the art room. It was late, he honestly should be asleep. You stood in front of the art room door and carefully opened it up.
Izuku was fast asleep on one of the desks. The large photograph was wrapped and ready to be sent to Tokyo. You quietly walked over to him, tapping his shoulder.
“Izuku? It's late, you should go to your dorm,” you whispered. Izuku groaned. He opened his eyes and stretched his arms out.
“What time is it?” he yawned. You chuckled.
“Close to eleven. You should get some actual rest. You have to go to Tokyo pretty early tomorrow.”
You could hear the exhaustion behind his voice. You grabbed his hand, helping him up.
“Come on, let's go.” You held Izuku’s hand as he lazily walked to the dorms. You led him to his room.
“Goodnight Izuku,” you smiled. Izuku scratched his messy hair, giving you a weak smile. Without thinking, you leaned in placing a quick kiss on his cheek, before rushing to your own dorm.
Izuku stared at the letter on his desk. He had received it hours ago yet was too nervous to check. It was addressed to him by the Tokyo Art Gallery.
He took a deep breath and grabbed the letter opener from his desk, carefully gliding it across the envelope. He took out the folder paper and opened it up. Izuku ran to your room.
You jumped from your bed when you heard the pounding on your door.
“Izuku? Everything okay?”
He didn’t say anything, simply handing you the letter.
You caught your breath, peaking at the paper.
‘Dear Mr. Midoriya,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the Tokyo Art Gallery for Promising Artists! Your piece titled…’
You didn’t finish reading the letter. Instead, you jumped into Izuku’s arms.
“I knew you’d make it! I’m so proud of you!” you cheered. Izuku hugged you tightly, laughing with joy.
“It’s all thanks to you, I couldn’t do it without you,” he whispered. You looked at Izuku, your hands on his shoulder as he held onto your waist. His face blushed red.
“Oh sorry-” he mumbled, removing his grip from you. Your face burned.
“I-It’s okay...congratulations Izuku. You did it,” you smiled. Izuku took your hand, giving it a squeeze.
“We did it.”
It was the day of the gallery showing. You were beyond excited to see all the beautiful artwork, specifically Izuku’s. You still hadn’t seen the final product.
You were dressed and ready, waiting for Izuku.
“Sorry I’m late-”
Izuku came rushing down the stairs to meet you. He looked devilishly handsome in his light grey suit and black turtleneck underneath. He prompted for some beat up black sneakers today.
“That's alright… you look nice,” you smiled. Izuku blushed.
“Says you..you look...wow…” He could barely form a sentence you were so breathtaking.
“Shall we?” Izuku held out his arm for you to take. You did happily.
The two of you rode the train to Tokyo, arriving at the gallery just before it was open to the public.
“Mr. Midoriya,” said one of the gallery workers, “your art is on the third floor.”
“Thank you.” You and Izuku made your way up the stairs, searching the room for the photo.
“Oh here it is,” smiled Izuku. The large photo was covered up and had velvet rope to stop anyone from getting too close.
“Wow, they must’ve liked yours!” you exclaimed. Izuku blushed.
“Well I didn’t tell you but it actually got nominated for best portrait of the gallery…”
“WHAT? Izuku, that's amazing!” you gushed.
“Yeah so some judges will take a look at it later on and hopefully we win…”
“Doesn’t matter if we win or not. I know it's the best one here,” you smiled.
You soon heard footsteps make their way up to the third floor.
“Showtime,” whispered Izuku. You took a step back from the portrait and watched as Izuku removed the curtain that covered it. The room filled with awes.
Izuku decided to go with the last picture that he took, the one where you seemed to have taken his breath away. You were entirely in black and white, only color coming from the flowers atop of your head and in your hand. Also, the pressed flowers that surrounded you. Izuku covered up the garden wall with pressed roses, daisies, lilies, and sunflowers. You looked like an angel.
You took a few steps towards the picture, reading its title.
‘Incomparable Beauty’ - Izuku Midoriya
You couldn’t seem to find the words, none of them seemed to be right. You backed away from the portrait before bumping into someone.
“Oh I’m sorry-” you said. They smiled.
“Don’t worry about it. Wait...you’re the model in that photo,” they replied. You gulped.
“Um yeah I am…”
“Well tell your photographer that they did an excellent job, really captured the gallery theme.”
“The nature theme?” you questioned. They tilted their head.
“No, the theme was ‘Beauty in its Purest Form’. Really great work.”
Your eyes widened.
You began to shuffle through the crowd of people. Izuku noticed you make your way towards the exit.
Izuku followed you down the stairs. You rushed outside, breathing in the fresh air. Izuku grabbed onto your arm.
“Y/N what's wrong?” pleaded Izuku, “did you not like it?”
You shook your head. Tears began to gather in the corners of your eyes.
“No Izuku, I loved it. I really loved it,” you sniffled. Midoriya felt a wave of relief wash over him.
“Why did you run?”
“Because...I didn’t recognize myself...I looked-”
“Beautiful. You look beautiful,” he interrupted.
“Y-You think I’m beautiful?” you cried. Izuku wiped away your stray tears.
“Y/N, I think you are the most beautiful girl in the world, inside and out. Y-You’re my muse.”
Izuku cupped your face as you tried to hold back anymore tears.
“You made me look beautiful…”
“No Y/N, you are beautiful. I simply clicked the camera.”
Izuku pulled you into a tight hug, holding the back of your head gently. There was something about the way Izuku made you feel. As if you were the only girl in the world.
“I love you,” you whispered. Izuku’s eyes grew. He moved to face you, a smile creeping onto his face.
“I love you.”
Izuku placed his hand onto your cheek, feeling your soft skin. He began to inch closer to you. You couldn’t wait anymore, the anticipation killing you. You collided your lips with his, wrapping your arms around him. He had one hand on the small of your back as the other held the back of your head. Izuku took mental pictures of this moment, wishing to relive it over and over again. The warmth between the two of you in contrast to the cold air that surrounded you. It was a tornado of emotions.
You looked at Izuku, both of your faces burning and you attempted to catch your breath. You pressed your foreheads together, chuckling softly. Izuku kissed your forehead.
“You really are incomparable.”
[MHA taglist: @bibly @big-phat-cat @sapphoscolonoscopy @luluwiie @happyheartsss @lealofsblog @iwaisa @bakugousmymassa @evivn1 @tetsoleil @bokutory @vangoghmusings @moonlightaangel @misszenin @marajillana @sopesmin @alaina-rose13 @shotoful @runrabbitrun3 @katlingclaw @nerdypuppytimemachine ]
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Reasons Why I Love Leo
Inspired by @nad-zeta’s one about Theo. (btw I’m so sorry you have to see me simp so hard here LMAO. Just had to give you credit for the idea. This is not gonna be anywhere near as well written as yours. I’m just rambling.)
Okay you know those ex’s that you try so hard to hate but you just CAN’T and they're still on your mind 24/7, even when you're with other people? And then you end up getting back together cuz you basically belong together? Yeah thats Leo for me.
To be completely honest I was SO mad after I finished his route the first time because I thought he didn’t care about MC enough to fight for her (which is just plain wrong but I was being dumb). I was SO mean to him just cuz I was mad and then I read his side stories a few months later and realized how WRONG I WAS????? I felt so bad bruh, I know he has his flaws but he did NOT deserve my hate. ANYWAYS yeah I love him to death and tbh I probably always did so HERE’S REASONS WHY I LOVE HIM.
Warning: Embarrassingly intense simping (If there are crammed or spelling errors ignore it I’m just typing this super fast because I’m having ✨thoughts✨ rn)
1) He is so protective. Like the first night MC showed up he stayed outside her room the WHOLE NIGHT. (Even though he didn’t want to admit it). He just looks so safe. Like even if we just met I would literally trust him with my life??? He’s like a protective teddy bear. AND HE TOOK SO MANY BULLETS FOR HER. If there was an asteroid about to hit earth in 48 hours and I had no one but him, I would have complete faith that I would make it out of the literal apocalypse, alive. Because he is just that protective and innovative. Idk if there’s something you can trust someone with more than your life or soul or whatever but if there was I would trust him with it.
2) He is literally like comfort food personified. I don’t know WHAT it is but looking at him makes me feel like I’m covered in a warm blanket eating my favorite comfort food (which just so happens to be his irl favorite too. No I didn’t plan that.) Or like, the feeling of running around having fun in a hot summer night??? He is literally a walking cure to my anxiety. I BET HE GIVES THE BEST HUGS HES SO WARM. And his smile is so contagious, I could be bawling my eyes out but he’d be like “hey it’s okay Cara Mia” and smile and then I’d immediately start smiling.
3) HIS EYES ARE SO BEAUTIFUL. He’s my home Screen on ikevamp and every time I open up the app I just sit there and stare into his eyes for a solid minute and like, I could’ve been accused of insurance fraud with a possibility of going to jail but if he looked into my eyes and said “Cara Mia” I would immediately feel better??? Like everything is going to be okay?? Just because he’s here??
4) He is literally so kind and considerate and generous and caring and tbh a much better person than I’ll ever be. And all he cares about is making people smile and the fact that seeing other people happy makes him happy is just SO wholesome I just want to give him a hug. And his family was so horrible to him and somehow he’s STILL such a GOOD person. I literally want to cry I would set myself on fire if it meant making him not be sad anymore. I DONT WANT HIM TO SABATOGE HIS OWN HAPPINESS FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS ANYMORE BECAUSE HE DESERVES TO BE HAPPY AND LOVED FOREVER AND IMMORTALITY MAKES HIM SAD WHICH IS WHY I WOULD DO THIS.
5) He is literally beautiful. His hair is so soft and pretty and when he puts it in a ponytail it’s just WHEWW *chefs kiss. And he smells godly. He is the scent of paradise. Who needs heaven when I have him. And I already talked about his eyes but they look like molten gold and they’re so gorgeous and captivating and they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And that little pouty face he makes is SO CUTE I just want to kiss him. But also his SMIRK makes me feel so many things and most of them will send me straight to horny jail. He’s so tall and I’m like 5’4 so he can quite literally just pick me up like he does Lumiere and walk around. And idk something about the image of him smoking cigarillos does things to me. Even his messy fashion sense is endearing. I don’t know anyone else who can pull off two completely different boots and still look like a full course gourmet MEAL. HE ALSO HAS PILLOW TIDDIES AND HIS SHOULDERS ARE SO BROAD I JUST LOOK AT HIM AND ✨PERISH✨
6) He is so smart and talented. Ik he doesn’t think he’s all that but he’s literally one of my biggest inspirations?? My mental health is so much better because he set this example that it doesn’t really matter what other people think because if you do something you love doing you’ll be happy with it. He literally did whatever he wanted (and honestly he’s the main reason I even started writing on here cuz if there’s one thing I learned from him it’s that shit does not matter. Just do whatever makes you happy. Which also inspired this. People’s judgments don’t matter. You are your OWN icon.) So guys WEAR that gown and corset you’ve been wanting to wear but have been too scared to. Do that crazy makeup. Sing and create art and have big dreams and follow them. Because in the long run, most people won’t talk about that one cringey thing you did. They’ll talk about how you were so free and how you did everything you love and how they wish they could do that too. (I guess I always heard people say this but it never really sunk in till Leo)
7) He raised my standards for men. That’s it. He is the standard. He is the blueprint. He is the dream. I had no standards before him he is the only husband I could ever want.
8) He is so attentive and he would make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically and mentally. I wish I had him during my exams because I was stressed out of my mind and he probably would’ve made me minestrone soup and helped me relax (which I don’t know how to do). And I think he could probably teach me how to LIVE and smile instead of just surviving through every day, dreading the next day, being stuck in the same place and routine. I don’t really know how to let loose or have fun and I think he would just make my whole life more vibrant. Like fresh water in a plant that’s never been watered?
9) He’s a nerd, I’m a nerd. You can literally talk to him about anything you’re curious about and he’d be able to carry on a conversation about it. I could run into his room at 3am talking about idk whether it’s scientifically possible for plants to have like, jacked muscles (imagine a plant with Dwayne Johnson’s muscles) and he would drop everything to have a discussion with me about it (unless it’s astrology since he thinks all astrologers should be castrated). And he would never make you feel like you’re a burden or being annoying or that you had a stupid question because he finds it super endearing when you’re passionately talking about anything and he wants to encourage your happiness and curiosity.
10) He’s a hot mess. Emphasis on hot. His resting face is bedroom eyes and somehow he makes everything sexy. Sleeping on the floor is hot now. I can’t explain it but everything he does is attractive. Also back to his self sacrificial nature. There was a line in his dramatic ending side story that hit me so hard snd it was something about “if our love is a sin then let me take all the blame. I would give up all my genius and bury Leonardo da Vinci in history making MC my only passion” and “I will love you till the world is gone and the stars burn out” (those probably aren’t the exact quotes but they were very similar). IT MADE ME CRY. He loves Mc so much I can’t believe I ever thought he didn’t care??? And I don’t WANT him to sacrifice anything for me but the fact that he’s so ready to do that just omg makes me cry I love him so much.
I want him to draw me😭
Anyways I hope that was at least kind of coherent because I’m a rambling mess when it comes to him. I literally wrote a song about him that I’m currently in the process of recording
Please, accept all these pictures of him. I could probably go on longer about every single picture of him but I won’t because this is embarrassing enough. It had to be said though because he deserves it.
Because I’m a simp.
*this pic is so cute I
literally don’t know
what to do with myself😭
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Does adding to your existing au count for monster march? lol. Let’s pretend it does. Here’s a little bit of worldbuilding from demon!Geralt’s POV early in their relationship.
Rated Teen, canon typical violence, 1300 words
Life has been rather chaotic lately, and Geralt only has himself to blame. Well, he has the talkative bard walking next to him to blame. Jaskier is currently rambling on about some festival he played at last fall, and honestly Geralt gave up focusing on the words hours ago. But the tone of his voice is light and bouncy, and Geralt lets it wash over him and offers grunts or hums when it seems appropriate.
The constant chatter had taken some time to get used to, because Geralt has been on his own for so long. Most demons travel on their own, mostly because it’s hard enough to stay fed when there’s only one of you around. Anything else would be too risky.
Of course they all regularly meet back in their own realm, because even demons deserve a home. Geralt sees his brothers and adoptive father once a year at least. Vesemir rarely leaves their realm anymore, just ventures out when summoned, but the rest of them travel the human world, picking up contracts and making deals as it suits them.
Lambert and Eskel have been known to team up and roam around together, since they are both willing to take on a lot of work Geralt won’t. Eskel’s so well fed he uses magic for most everything, and Lambert is always up for helping pretty much anyone get revenge, even for the slightest of insults. The two of them are able to carry on together and still keep their magic flowing and their bellies full.
Sometimes Geralt wishes he didn’t stick to the code he’d created for himself when he was younger. He’s more likely to talk a possible contract out of their revenge than help carry it through. Sure, he’s a vengeance demon, but humans bicker over the stupidest things. No one needs to be murdered because they accidentally plowed their neighbor’s field - metaphorical or not.
He’d come to terms with the constant hunger years ago, had decided it was easier to travel by foot, easier to camp out under the stars, easier to do most things by hand than to carry the heavy weight of a deal he didn’t feel comfortable with. No, he needed to believe in the justice he was delivering. He wouldn’t let himself be used as a weapon for something he didn’t think was necessary.
And so he travels light and goes hungry more often than not. That’s just his lot in life.
Only things are a bit different now, aren’t they? He chuckles under his breath and turns to watch Jaskier. He’s still talking, hands flapping around as he tells his story. He’s young, even for a human, and he hasn’t lost the shine most of them have. He genuinely thinks the world is a fantastic place, hasn’t been cut down by reality yet, and Geralt hates the fact that it’s only a matter of time. No one stays this bright and untouched forever. There’s a pause in the conversation, and Geralt realizes he’s been asked a question. He looks at Jaskier and offers an inquisitive hmmm which doesn't seem to suffice.
“The inn, Geralt. Honestly, you need more rest than you let on. You must be dead on your feet. Anyway, I was asking about the inn. We might be able to barter a room if I offer my services for the night. Shall I try?” Jaskier asks, face hopeful as he looks up at him.
“I suppose a bed would be nice,” Geralt shrugs, and they turn toward the building across the town square.
Sadly, it isn’t meant to be, and a bulky looking man steps in front of their path and shouts out a quick, “Oi! Demon, we don’t need your kind around here. Go peddle your trade elsewhere. We keep a clean town.”
Geralt sighs and waits to see what Jaskier plans to do. Geralt isn’t one to stick up for himself, because it’s not worth the trouble, but Jaskier simply can’t ignore idiots like this guy. Sure enough, Jaskier slowly slides his lute strap off his shoulder and hands it to Geralt, who smiles as he takes it.
“Excuse me? Are you saying my friend is dirty because he’s a demon?” Jaskier hisses out, already rolling up his sleeves as he walks over to the poor man. Most people give up at this point, but this guy apparently doesn’t see Jaskier as a threat and just starts spouting off more anti-demon nonsense.
He doesn’t duck the first punch, but manages to turn to the side and avoid most of the second. By now a crowd is gathering, and Geralt steps closer just in case he’s needed. Jaskier has an uncanny ability to look like this tiny lithe little thing, but he’s actually a sight to see when he goes feral like this. His cheeks are flushed, his eyes wild, and he’s already breaking out in a sweat as they scuffle.
He’s quite stunning, actually.
Geralt freezes, looking around as if the gathering crowd could hear his thoughts. Of course everyone has eyes on the fight, and no one cares about a demon having a mental breakdown on the sidelines. He watches Jaskier throw one last punch, knocking the brute flat on his back, and realizes that he’s half hard in his trousers.
And fuck, he can unpack that one later, because he is absolutely not doing this right now.
Instead, Geralt calmly slides the lute in front of his body and lets his eyes fall closed. He doesn’t need to in order to feed, but the crowd is noisy and it helps to block them out and focus. The energy pouring out of Jaskier is intense, and he opens himself up and takes it in. Lust demons might have more fun when they feed, but Jaskier’s justified rage is going to fuel him for weeks.
It’s actually nice to be able to feed without having to accept a contract. Jaskier has been surprisingly good at keeping him well fed since they’ve been together. The bard simply cannot stand to see any injustice in the world and will throw fists at the drop of a hat. It’s not always about the way Geralt’s treated, either. The other day Jaskier verbally attacked a handsy drunk and got him to leave the tavern owner’s daughter alone. It had been a quick meal, but a filling one.
Geralt hasn’t had this much excess magic in years, and he’s starting to get used to it. Still, he might need to at least try to avoid situations like this going forward. As much as he likes having someone jump in to protect him, Jaskier needs his hands to play and he’d moped around for a week the last time he got hurt in a fight. It’s a sight best to be avoided, if possible; altogether too much pouting and sighing for anyone to ignore.
No one in the crowd notices the flash of blue light that signals the creation of Geralt’s new cloak. It covers his wings nicely, and will maybe give them some room to breath in the next village. It’s much too late for tonight, though. With a heavy sigh, he trudges through the crowd and yanks his bard up from where he’s currently kneeling and shouting down at his opponent.
“We’ll camp tonight,” Geralt grumbles as he makes his way out of town.
“Sure we will. Wouldn’t want to stick around that cesspool any longer than necessary. Backwards bunch of fuckers,” Jaskier cries over his shoulder, and Geralt can’t help grinning to himself as they walk away.
Yes, it’s nice to not be starving all the time, but he supposes the company is worth a little trouble, too.
Tags list: @halerune @eya-trying-to-function @honeysuckletook @mayastormborn @dani-dandelino @feraljaskier @jaskierswolf @littoraly-art @lovesight @saphiramalbec @dapandapod @theweirdlynx @tedrakitty @sharinalein @theamazingdevilgivesmehope @iamaqt314
If you’d like to be added/removed, please let me know. Thank you!
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i went to the store ; h.s
so last night i was writing up some blurbs and i was listening to father john misty (as one does), and thought of this bad boy. it basically qualifies as a song fic bc it is based on “I Went To The Store One Day” by FJM (highly recommend listening to that entire album I Love You, Honeybear if you havent) but i got some requests for something fluffy. so this is my take on that song while applying ur requests !! let me know if you like it and talk to me about it here! i hope i did it justice!!
word count: 2.5k
Harry was new to Laurel Canyon, tucked away in the Hollywood Hills. While he had already found himself there quite frequently, he wasn’t big on the prospect of being spotted anywhere to far from home. When it came to groceries, he never travelled far. The Laurel Canyon Country store was where he mostly ran errands. He found himself there at any hour. When his house felt a bit too big, or a bit too quiet, he would jump in his car and seek solace between Rothdell Trail and Laurel Canyon Boulevard.
The store wasn’t much, but it was enough for him to get away from his daunting reality. To take him back to a time where he could walk in public without feeling as if there were a thousand and one camera pointed in his direction. As silly as it sounded, the tiny market had become his safe place. He was surrounded enough by people who wanted him for one thing or another, but there was something about the four walls that gave him the peace of mind he seemed to be missing in his home.
He was alone.
He tried not to let it get to him, in fact, at six o’clock on a Saturday night, one would think Harry Styles should be up to no good. But there he was, walking up and down the alcohol aisle, scanning for some cheap wine he could take home and drink in the privacy of his kitchen. Nothing special—but it would be a well-enough job in getting him drunk enough to forget the reason why he hated living there so much in the first place.
Once picking out his desired poison, he made his way to the coffee aisle. He picked up his go-to dark roast and figured that despite the fact there was a state-of-the-art heater installed in his home, he would finally put the fireplace to good use. And then, she walked in.
He had seen her around. In the many visits he had to the store, she had come in around the same time as him with the same pout on her face when she made a bee-line to the back of the store to the dairy section. He didn’t know her name, but he knew that she was the first person he had seen in a while who made his palm sweaty, and despite never talking to her, she made him feel like a teenager all over again. Before he knew it, she was standing behind him with a carton of oat milk. Clearing his throat, he inserted his debit card before turning around.
“I love that brand.” Her head peaked at the budding conversation, cocking her head to the side due to the uncertainty of what he was talking about. “Oat milk.” He stuttered, pointing to the carton in her hand. She chuckled, but Harry wasn’t sure if it was his pathetic attempt at conversation or if she actually found his attempt at flirting to be comedic.
“Me too,” She started. “I was trying to make cookies at home, but I realized I didn’t have enough milk about halfway through the process.” The cashier behind him cleared his throat as the card reader beeped louder and louder, letting him know his payment was processed, and he was more than free to leave. Shimmying around, he waited in the parking lot before the mystery girl had come out not but a few moments later, shoving the receipt in her back pocket. They had parked next to each other, unbeknownst to the both of them.
“Hey,” He shouted, maneuvering around the side of his car to get to her. “I know this is weird, but it’s been a moment.” He wiped his hands against his thighs, gearing up for the rejection that was sure to come. “Would you, maybe, want to grab dinner with me?” The small smile that grew to reach ear to ear was enough for him to realize, maybe he wasn’t a complete lost cause.
Harry felt like he had taken on an entirely new persona after YN entered his life. He was never a jealous person nor had he ever worried so much since she came around. Harry decided he had either very well lost his mind, or this was what love felt like. Not the kind of love he was in before either—this was real. It just had to be. If it wasn’t, he clearly needed to be put in a facility. He had never felt like this before. In the span of the year they had spent together, one touch from YN and he felt as though his entire body would become warm, and he would begin to melt. Their time together was spent inside, falling further and further for one another, or with their mutual friends who found them too nauseatingly in love to be around.
They spent the entire day in bed. It was commonplace for them no matter the season, but the rare rain that had hit Los Angeles was pattering against the master bedroom window was enough of an excuse for them. Not that they had anyone else to answer to. The sheets were tangled around her feet to make up for her lack of socks, but she kept warm by using the body laying next to her. YN’s head was placed delicately on her boyfriend’s chest, their hands in midair and he fiddled with her fingers and they had yet another nonsensical chat.
“What are you doing?” She mused, allowing his to continue fiddling with her left hand.
“Do you want to get married?” He questioned. She could feel his heart slamming against his chest, so she snuggled further into him to give him the comfort she knew he would want. “I want to marry you.”
“I want to marry you too.” She mumbled, allowing him to continue his nervous fiddling. She felt him pause as he traced over the ring finger on her left hand, where her forefinger met her knuckle. “I’ve thought about it a lot, actually.”
“Yeah?” Harry beamed. When they talked about marriage before, they had both landed on the same conclusion. They didn’t want it unless it was the real thing. With marriage, came a lot of complication. And while it was something Harry knew he wanted; he wasn’t sure if it was realistic. People married musicians all the time, and what’s more, there are successful long-distance relationships that work out for years and years. The problem was Harry had never seen himself finding someone who would agree to such terms. It wasn’t like it was too outrageous to believe that going on a year long world tour would have inevitable strain on a relationship. But through the year they had spent together, conversations had come and gone. While it wasn’t long, the confirmation was enough for Harry to know that when the day would come, she wouldn’t say no.
“Yeah, how could I not?” She chuckled, twisting to lay flat on her stomach, resting her chin in her hand, looking up to read his expression. “I know we make fun of that stuff, but it sounds nice, doesn’t it?”
Harry couldn’t contain the grin on his face. He couldn’t believe that of all of the people in the world and the places he had been, he would meet the love of his life somewhere as simple as a parking lot.
The first home they bought together was an antebellum style house on the outskirts of Oregon, nearly into Washington.
It was everything YN had ever dreamed about, from the dark wooden interior to the granite countertops she had gushed to Harry about. He made sure everything was perfect. The layout, most importantly, was everything she had described to want. And then, he got to work. They had been in Los Angeles too long, and agreed they wanted a change. What was a bigger change than moving to a new state? Harry was in and out after their honeymoon. Juggling an album release, a house renovation, and selling their current home was more than enough to keep him busy. But he had made the decision to take a break from music afterwards. His fourth studio release felt like a place to take a natural pause and focus on the new life that he was beginning. The life he never knew he always dreamed of.
When it came time to move in, they had both decided there was nowhere else either of them would rather be. The little love nest the two had created was perfect, to the point that Harry had considered allowing the lawn and bushes to grow until there would be no use for a sign, designating others to Keep Out! Because nobody could interrupt them or come between them if it looked as though nobody lived there.
Truthfully, there was nobody else YN or Harry would have rather spent their time with. They got out every now and again, respected the others personal space, but at the end of the day, YN only ever found comfort in the nights they would lay in bed clad in her underwear and Harry’s sweatshirt. And he felt the same.
When Harry thought about their future together, he always imagined he and YN would be plentiful. She already gave him so much—what more could there be? After they had their seventh daughter, Harry wasn’t sure if there was anything else in life he could ask for. They had decided to name each of their daughters after flowers—a theme that never let up once they were on daughter number four, it just wouldn’t have made sense to name their children anything else.
Iris, Calla, Poppy, Dahlia, Aster, and Violet eagerly awaited Ivy’s arrival. And once she had arrived, everything seemed to feel complete. Harry had never felt so at peace in his life. He had resigned himself from Hollywood the moment his first daughter was born, too afraid of exposing her to a world that she never had a choice in being a part of. He wrote music, he recorded every day. He was filled to the brim with inspiration when he had everything he could ever need and more in his life. He felt invincible, and in the fifteen years that followed, when Harry got sick, both realized every dream had to end at some point.
When Harry’s body had finally said enough, he had held YN’s hand and begged her to keep him. The last place he wanted to be was anywhere away from her. His heart wouldn’t allow it. And both believed that to be how he held on so long. YN held on to his hand, sitting as close to him as she could on the sofa. He was cracking the same jokes he was when he was in his 20’s, joking with her that he would save his death for the last time they would ever make love. While she laughed, her heart plummeted at the thought of ever being without her other half.
The same way she had the last fifty-eight years, she laid her head on his shoulder, breathing in what she could, savoring the moment until she felt her chest fill with tears, thinking about how far they had come.
“Do you remember when my car broke down on the PCH on our way to meet your mom in Santa Monica?” Harry chuckled, shifting slightly to get a better look at her; his wife. YN. The woman who gave him his children, whom he had found in his darkest hour, and she was his light. There was nobody else he would have wanted on his adventure. He caressed her palm, once again ghosting over her left hand where she wore the ring that he had proposed with. He had stressed for weeks before breaking down and giving it to her, wondering if it was enough—if she loved it, and if the diamond in the center was big enough for her to understand he would spend all of the money in the world if it meant seeing the smile on her face never fade.
“I remember, lovie.” Not much else was said after that. But he continued to caress her hand. An act of love that never faded through the years as they both mulled over each memory they had together, recalling each moment with certainty. When they both realized they loved one another, seeing their home for the first time, the first time Harry met YN’s parents—all of the moments that made up a lifetime together. Their golden years.
“Do you ever wonder if we would have found each other? If I had checked if I had enough milk before making cookies? If you had stayed home an extra fifteen minutes?”
Harry shrugged, trying to recall his headspace that day. He had been so full of love, his teeth would fall out from the sheer amount of sweetness he had endured over the last, nearly, six decades they had spent with one another. “A time or two.” He shifted to lay on his side, resting his temple in the palm of his hand and YN’s hand in his other, the steady thump of his heart reassuring her that this moment was real, and it could be all they had. “Who knows? I could have bumped into you on a run. Seen you at a show. But, I can tell you what I do know.” YN tilted her head to the side, imploring him to continue with his spiel. They resented how in love with one another they really were—but not really. They knew what they had came once in a lifetime, and they indulged in one another each time they could. “I know I met you, and fell in love with you, all because I went to the store one day.”
YN never outgrew the deep blush that ran across her cheeks, taking his hand in hers and pressing a sweet kiss to the inside of his palm.
Harry felt his love pull away—
“Sir?” Harry’s eyes refocused on the scene in front of him. He had zoned out, looking at the cigarette selection directly behind the cash register. “You can take out your card.” His gaze jumped down to the counter where the card reader blinked with the words APPROVED repeatedly, until he finally put his card back in his wallet. Grabbing his items, he looked behind him to see her eyes fixed inside her bag, digging through the pockets of her purse to pay for the milk she had been holding onto. He turned on his heel, walking out to his car to hear someone following behind him. Looking over his shoulder, there she was. Beat up vans and a ratted UC Irvine sweatshirt. Harry stopped in his tracks, grabbing her attention. His arms still full of what he supposed were his essentials for the night.
“I’ve seen you around. What’s your name?”
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Silver and Gold
This is not sw, I know, clutch your pearls, its the shock of the century. But I’ve kind of been wanting to write something like this for a while because I have so much beef with HP canon. So here we are, an eighth year fic, and were doing it my way. Why? because I said so. So buckle your seat belts, batten the hatches, get ready for redepmtion arcs, tears, and also hopefully some laughs and definetly some fluff. Also, it gets real gay real fast, yeehaw!
Ron was staring intently across the table. He was folded on the soft carpet of the empty common room, contemplating his next move. It was the early hours of the morning, not a time you were supposed to be sitting in the common room on the floor. Everyone else was asleep in their dorms. The eighth year dorm was at the top of one of the northern towers, smaller, since their class size had significantly dwindled, an effect of fighting a war, it seemed. In lieu of separation by house, they had shoved all of them into the north tower. Something or other about post war unity, and being there for each other. To Ron, it seemed more to be an understanding. They weren’t exactly school children, they were traumatized fighters who still needed N.E.W.T’s. As much as Ron had felt at home in the Gryffindor dorms, he didn’t know if being surrounded by all of the younger students was ideal. Plus, they were all of age, it wasn’t like they could really be told what to do.
Harry and Hermione had gone off to bed, as any normal person would. Harry at a perfectly reasonable time, Hermione at a time reminiscent of a grandmother. Ron was happy though. It was like she was catching up on all the sleep lost over the past few years. Lord knows she deserved it. Harry too. Nightmares were common among all of them, but ever since whatever remnants of Voldemort’s soul that were residing in Harry had been destroyed, he had been freed from the terrors that had kept him awake during the war. Now it was just regular old nightmares about dying and coming back.
Ron, on the other hand, felt like he might never sleep again. Not because he wasn’t tired, they all were. He just… well he didn’t really know. He had expected many things to happen post-war, but insomnia hadn’t been one of them. So as everyone else in their year slept, however fitfully, he sat awake. The scene must have looked quite strange, Ron sitting there in the common room playing wizard chess was certainly not something you’d expect at 2 am.
The only thing stranger and more unexpected was who he was playing with.
Blaise Zabini observed as the redhead carefully examined the board in front of him. It made him laugh a little bit. Ron would beat him, he always did, but it was fascinating to watch the game happen behind Ron’s eyes before the pieces even moved across the board.
Blaise couldn’t remember the last time he had gotten a full night's sleep. Not since before the war, obviously, but how long since before the war. Since he had been marked? No, long before then. Since the day his mother told him that the Dark Lord had risen again? No a bit before. Maybe the days in the summer after their third year. He and Draco and Pansy had snuck out, just to escape their families. They had explored Muggle London, deciding that was the place that was most rebellious, the restlessness or early teenage years spurring them on. The days they began to realize that what they had been taught their whole lives was wrong.
It hadn’t been spontaneous of course. Simply a catalyst. London was incredible, a teenage Blaise had thought. How could the kind that created beautiful buildings, seemingly impossible technology, and breathtaking art be the same as the brutes that their parents had described to them? Slowly their world began to unravel around them, as they found holes in their parents once unimpeachable logic.
The three young Slytherins may have been raised in bigotry. But they weren’t stupid. By the time they were in fifth year, none of them could stand by their parents' beliefs. They were far from perfect, and it had taken so much unlearning and still with a long way to go, but they had managed to crack the facade their parents had placed in front of them. Just in time to know that if anyone ever suspected them to have changed their views, they would be killed.
Blaise looked down at his own arm now, feeling the burning heat of the mark under the too big sleeve of his jumper. Then his eyes moved back to Ron, who had moved his piece and was now staring at him expectantly. Blaise pulled himself from his own thoughts, but not before Ron picked up on his pensiveness.
Ron was shockingly perceptive. It was one of the first things that Blaise had learned about him, watching his deep brown eyes look him over the very first time they had run into each other this year. It had been the middle of the night, and Blaise was alone in the common room until all of a sudden he wasn’t. Ron had looked equally as surprised to see him, but hadn’t immediately hexed him into next week, which, if he had, Blaise wouldn’t have blamed him. They sat in silence the first few nights, until Blaise finally spoke.
“The human body needs sleep, I do hope you know that Weasley. And as far as I can tell, you’re not getting very much.”
Ron had raised his eyebrows and closed the book he had been reading.
“I could say the same for you Zabini. Trying to get rid of me?”
Blaise had let out a soft huff of laughter.
“No. I’m surprised you haven’t tried to get rid of me, though. I wouldn’t blame you. I’m not exactly the best company to keep, I don’t think.”
Ron had understood the underlying questions. Once again, perceptive. Why didn’t he hate him? Ron looked Blaise in the eyes with an intensity fitting of a Gryffindor.
“I didn’t deserve any of what happened to me. But I lost my brother. And I realized, if my family had been on the other side of things,” he paused for a moment, taking a breath. “Voldemort worked in ultimatums. All or nothing, and if you decided to give him nothing, he would take everything from you. If we had swapped places I probably would have done the same thing you did.”
Ron looked down at his hands, surprised at his confession. But it was true. He couldn’t have told Harry or Hermione, they wouldn’t have understood. But Ron was a pureblood too, and family was everything to him, it always had been. If his parents had different views, ones more like their ancestors, he would have been in the exact same place as Blaise. And he knew that he would have done the same thing. He couldn’t find it in himself to blame the Slytherins after that realization. He continued on, the words feeling like a weight off of his chest.
“I didn’t deserve what happened to me, but you didn’t deserve what happened to you either. I didn’t have a choice, but neither did you. We’re so fucking young,” the redhead took a sharp breath, drawing his knees up to his chest and shutting his mouth. He didn’t know what it was about the Slytherin that drew the words out of him. But there was some sort of strange comfort talking to someone who didn’t expect things of you.
Blaise nodded, before resting his head on his hand.
“Yeah, we are.”
Ever since, they boys had been sharing the space of sleepless nights. Sometimes they were silent, but as they grew more comfortable in each other's presence, they began to talk to each other. About little things at first, classes and N.E.W.T’s and general small talk. Their blossoming friendship was confined to the middle of the night, but each of them found themselves opening up to the other boy.
Each of them felt like a stranger in their own mind. It was easier to talk to someone who wasn’t expecting the person who you used to be.
Neither of them had broached the topic of the war since that night. But in the soft lamp light of the common room, they offered each other unspoken comfort. Slowly they had moved closer to each other, each night occupying a space nearer to the other boy until finally they were practically intertwined.
Both of them were good at distractions. Books, small talk, chess. Anything other than the things they had seen in the last few years.
But in the soft lamp light, Ron knew Blaise was no longer paying attention to the game. So he pushed the pieces to the side, offering a silent olive branch of quiet company. Blaise gave him a quick nod. They sat there for a while before Blaise rose to return to his room and Ron moved to go back to his own, but not before squeezing Blaise’s shoulder in reassurance. He watched the redhead walk away and sighed to himself. He felt tempted to break their comfortable silence, but he didn’t want to lose Ron either. He wasn’t sure how far he was allowed to go, so instead he turned on his heel and went into his room.
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⤹ yandere hcs
❝ your mine, only mine ❞
⁺◟ CHARACTERS; yandere!pein | uzumaki nagatox gn!reader, yandere!konan x gn!reader, yandere!uchiha itachi x gn!reader, yandere!hoshigaki kisame x gn!reader, yandere!sasori x gn!reader, yandere!deidara x gn!reader, yandere!kakuzu x gn!reader, yandere!hidan x gn!reader, yandere!uchiha obito x gn!reader
⁺◟ TRIGGER WARNINGS; this post includes yandere themes, possible rape and mentions of kidnapping
𝐔𝐂𝐇𝐈𝐇𝐀 𝐈𝐓𝐀𝐂𝐇𝐈 — itachi is most definintely The Harmless Type of the yandere’s, and without doubt the most sane one out of all of his comrades of the akatsuki. He would develop an unhealthy obsession with you but he won't actually hurt you or do something insane like kill someone just for you; he knows the value of one’s life
— The uchiha will definitely be aware of his little obsession and would feel kinda disgusted and disappointed with himself but he can't help it, the moment he laid his slightly blurry onyx eyes on your figure his heart started to pound in his chest and if you look closely, his eyes sparked with something unhealthy
— At first he’ll just observe you so subtle to the fact that you wont even notice the pair of eyes trained on your figure, but a shiver will crawl up your spine which you ignore. The thing that would make him have a little obsession with you would be the fact that you are kind, always smiling and helping people
— He'll try hard to become your lover, but won't harm anybody in the way. If you get a boyfriend/girlfriend, he won't attack you two, he'll be happy you found happiness, and maybe still have hope that you choose him in the end.. but for him that would only be a genjutsu based on his dreams
— He's that one yandere you'd end up falling in love with .. much to his happiness, he might even reconsider his plans of dying at the hands of sasuke and try to grow old with you.. but if you manage to make him stray off his path of redemption, his obessesion with you is still there and forever there but other than that.. he’s pretty good!
— Of course, itachi will most definitely no force you to make love with him; you accepting his offer would make him very happy..! just like any other uchiha he also has a breeding kink(?)
— “ I love you [name], I want to grow old with you “
𝐏𝐄𝐈𝐍 | 𝐔𝐙𝐔𝐌𝐀𝐊𝐈 𝐍𝐀𝐆𝐀𝐓𝐎 — if we were to talk about nagato AKA pein, he would be the obsessive type of a yandere.. typically it is one of the most creepiest type atleast that's for me, at first he'll just stare at you and then he'll follow you home using his chameleon summon; it's very handy
— He tries to learn everything about you. Personal info, hobbies, routine, etc. Sends the six paths of pain or clones to check on you, asks why you haven't gone home if you didn't, wants to know what you're doing always. All the time. And, if possible, walks around with you all the time too.
— The obsession type doesn't necessarily want to monopolize you. he'll let you hang around with friends, etc. but wants to know everything you do. he probably wants to go with you, too. If he can't go somewhere with you, he might stalk you
— If he learns a man is too close to you, he might attack like... murder dude... that isn't new in his life so he won't care about it,
— Pein will mosy definitely not force you to make love with him, but he will force you once he learns that your into that kind of stuff..
— but he won't, if he knows that you don't like that kind of stuff
— " I know everything about you [name] "
𝐇𝐎𝐒𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐀𝐊𝐈 𝐊𝐈𝐒𝐀𝐌𝐄 — kisame would be classified as the wrong idea type or in short the yandere who'd see everything you do in the wrong idea, you gave him a cup of water? oh! your worried about him, maybe a piece of candy? yoy definitely love him..
— Kisame probably grew up having everyone hate him for the reason of his unusual blue skin color, people would purposely avoid him by mistaking him as a weird kind of monster
— As he meets you, instead of judging him; you actually took the time to look inside instead of the outside.. and you smiled at him.. Your kindness towards him caught him off guard; even sahemada started to take a liking towards you
— that smile created the spark of his obsession and that was your mistake, you were just being nice, sahemada likes you a lot and so does he, it must be true love!
— he gets the wrong idea when you do something in order to match his expectations. If you say you don't love him, he'll think you're lying because you don't want to hurt his or something. If you do something out of kindness to his, she'll think it's out of love. And so on
— For example again.. you give him, a gift perhaps a letter.. he'll treasure it forever and think that you gave it to him from love
— I don't really think that kisame would force himself onto you but.. if you do something wrong that he'll think that you have sexual attraction to him therefore he'll think that you want to make love with him then he'll force himself onto you,
— Probably would think that you love how your feeling from the pleasured expression you were making only encouraging him to be more rough.. But that was the opposite- he won't even approve of the begging of you to stop
— Basically he would get the wrong ideas every single time ..cough* rape cough*
— "is this for me? it must be out of your love for me! "
𝐇𝐈𝐃𝐀𝐍 — hidan is no doubt The Domestic Violence Type, he'd purposely punish you through inflicting pain whenever you did something he didn't like; for example, you talked to that annoying blonde... deidara? he'll punish you and make you think that you shouldn't have talked to deidara
— He'll probably think that Lord jashin sent you to him or whatever, he'll seriously try and persuade you into thinking his god sent you to him so he thinks that you were made for him
— if you don't accept his statements of fate and love, he'll grow annoyed and kidnap you... he won't care about anything, your just made for him and him alone
— When jealous, feeling ignored, etc. uses violence against you. he'll beat you and say it's your fault. This can be either discharging pent-up rage through violence and you just happen to be his favorite punching bag, or deliberately punishing you for doing something he didn't like.
— Hidan would definitely hurt you for his sadistic reasons and just for fun
— Fucking Masochist even his ritual can explain why
— 101% would rape, he'll just ignore your desperate pleas for him to stop infact it'll only make him pound into you more
— Like.. he would purposely humiliate you and draw blood while doing the deed, he'll call you humiliating pet names and stuff; 100% would choke you he almost killed you once
— "stop talking to that blondie or I'll make it hell for you! "
𝐃𝐄𝐈𝐃𝐀𝐑𝐀 — for a reason I think deidara would be pretty smart whenever he even wanted to put effort into something and he did, it just included a plan for making you his and forever his; so I'll think he'll formulate a plan then we can call him the Loneliness Induction Type
— So um... he'd probably like someone who actually took interest in his art, if you took any signs of interest in his forms or art then that'll be the start of his unhealthy obsession
— he will make, induce, you to feel or be alone. By spreading malicious rumors about you that make others alienate you, by murdering your friends and family, etc. Then he'll jump in and present herself as the only one you can count on when you're most fragile mentally and in need of company
— Inducing things that don't make you feel lonely but give some sort of mental damage, trauma, also count as this type. Conversely, if your friends and family get killed on their own and you're alone but he had nothing to do with it, it's not the same thing since he didn't induce it, although an yandere might abuse your condition to get closer to you
— Deidara wont ever force himself on you, despite his behavior; he still has a very small amount of humanity in him
— " don't worry [name], I'll always be here for you, I'll never leave you, hm! "
𝐒𝐀𝐒𝐎𝐑𝐈 — unlike deidara, sasori is actually smart; in every situation so it'll just be hell for you, if he would be labeled as a yandere type he would be The Training Type
— At first, he'll be curious of your porcelain features, it was kinda.. doll like and perfect
— He'd first examine you through the shadows before he'd decide it's love and time to abduct you
— he'll break you into loving him. Sometimes using torture, a punishment/reward system, brainwashing, blackmail, etc. This probably involves you getting kidnapped and forced into it, although there might be more subtle ways to accomplish this
— Making you into a puppet crossed his mind
— And you can all guess he did turn you into one, he wanted to preserve your beauty; like... so that he could see it forever and stuff, also he wanted to live an eternal life with you
— He probably will force himself on you, but sometimes he wont
— But of course he'll make a few changes from his body you know? His current body doesn't have a male genitalia, so he'd have to make one and attatch it;
— In all, you'd end up loving him out of fear. You'd be completely numb and emotionless, you'd be a puppet willing to do anything for him so that you won't get tortured anymore. So that everything would stop
— Sweet right?
— " we are to live an eternal life "
𝐊𝐀𝐊𝐔𝐙𝐔 — kakuzu isn't necessarily someone who would look for a relationship, even if he did end up in one it wouldn't last long with his temper and selfish personality; if you managed to catch his attention your real special then, and you would need to buckle up for an intense ride with this man
— ah yes, he would be The Monopoly Type
— Kakuzu would first think of you as any other being he'd encounter but the more he looked at you.. the more he realized you were a gem a precious one at that
— he wants to monopolize you. Will ask who you talk to and hang with, in extreme cases won't let you be with anyone else, not even your friends.
— He'd go as far as keeping you locked in a room, or a basement; where no one but him would see
— Won't hesitate to kill whoever looked at you wrongly but he won't kill them immediately, he'll make them swear that they won't look at you again but they'll end up dead before they can even complete their promise
— Hm.. I think he'll probably force you? You would end up crying out of pain instead of pleasure but he won't stop
— In fact he'll try and increase it, by you know? probably inserting more of his tentacles of something
— " you are mine, no one else but mine "
𝐙𝐄𝐓𝐒𝐔 | 𝐒𝐇𝐈𝐑𝐎 | 𝐊𝐔𝐑𝐎 — I personally think that this is explanatory, he would be the stalker type
— Zetsu would always watch you.. he knows your own schedule better than yourself
— from what time you wake up, when you eat; your favorites food.. your color of underwear and more creepy things
— Shiro zetsu would probably be more sane than kuro zetsu but he's pretty insane
— Both touch you when your asleep, you often wake up because of it but you'll end up seeing nothing
— They Follow you around, often without you knowing. May be in broad daylight or at night, when you're walking alone on the streets. Zetsu can be classified as also a obsession type
— When the time comes, they would abduct you :) what a nice love story
— There's a 50% chance that he'll force himself onto you, kuro would be more than willing but shiro would be more hesitant but he isn't against the idea
— " [name] should be going to take a nap by one right? Yes "
𝐔𝐂𝐇𝐈𝐇𝐀 𝐎𝐁𝐈𝐓𝐎 — obito is extremely a manipulative person, so he'd be the restraints, manipulative type; he would make death threats that he'd tell you that he'll kill himself if you leave him, underneath his mask a wide grin would be present at the sight of your reactions
— as a final resort, Obito will draw some blood and you'll and up staying with him from guilt
— Of course the threats aren't necessarily true and he could easily fake his death even with a simple genjustu
— If things get too far, he will use restraints on you. He'll tie you up until you promise to be behaved
— Obito won't necessarily try and force himself onto you
— But rarely enough, he'd sometimes accidentally do it.. he will apologize afterwards though
— Just behave and you'll live your life as a queen
— " [Name]! Please don't leave me, I'll die if you do! "
𝐊𝐎𝐍𝐀𝐍 — as we all know, konan has probably gotten yahiko as a lover and was devastated once he died, so she'll be classified as The Dependance and Final Type
— Generally let's pretend that you and her are in a relationship, once in that relationship she'll eventually develop obsession over you
— She won't show it though, but you'll probably take notice of it
— Once you wanted a break up, she'll beg you not to leave; for the next hcs let's pretend that you died or something :c
— After learning you died, she loses purposes in life. The world for her was you, and you're now gone. What this results vary. Most of the time, she becomes broken emotionally, as expected. She might also kill herself. Or, sometimes, she might become a terrorist and destroy the world that let you die, or just go on revenge serial killing or something.
— Can't live without you. Begs you to not leave her/throw her away. Says she will die if you go away. May lose will to do anything if you aren't watching. If you do leave, she might go full crazy and end up doing something crazy like going on a murderous rampage or something.
— Won't force you duh.. she's a sweet individual despite her.. concerning nature
Hiya people, if any of you are confused of the weird way the writings are then come back later! I'm currently editing this post; also I couldn't fit all the headers- 😭
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Hi people, how's everyone?
Today I'm here to talk about a confession we received on @loveislandthegame-confessions, and after almost a day of thinking and debating, I decided to leave a comment about it.
First of all, this one is not a confession for the blog, since is stated on our Rules that only confessions about the game are allowed, just in case you don't remember dear anon.
Second, this message got me really, really sad and I'm gonna explain why:
-This is exactly the kind of post/confession that we do not encourage people to send, and I'm using it as an example, because honestly I could let this be forgotten and never adresses it, after all the feelings I had when I read.
-Maybe you haven't realized it, anon, but everyone has a singular fandom experience and it's important to find ways to have a healthy one, and someone who contributes with the positivity in the fandom (As the saying goes: don’t do to others what you don’t want others do to you.)
-LITG fandom is made of people who enjoy the app, its stories and characters. We have people who dedicate their time to create art, stories, moodboards and other forms of entertainment for free. But we know it is sad that LITG fandom can be problematic. I personally have never seen a fandom so small but that has so many fights among people as LITG fandom has.
-And in addition of all this, the company that has created this game is going through a huge exposure of inside problems (as you must be aware and I don't need to go in details here), that led to a postponing of the new season, that we don't even know if we'll have indeed. And just this, is reason enough to weakening even more the fandom.
It's totally discouraging seeing posts/messages like this. This is totally what we DO NOT NEED!
What we need in this moment of doubts towards the future of the game and the fandom is: incentive messages, support for content creators, after all we are the ones who's still in the fandom and need that no one else leaves.
So, dear anon, I'm aware that a lot of people left the fandom (and I also know that messages like this one is the bigger incentive for them to do it). I'm aware of the hate anon going around, I lost people around because of it. So, this is a reason for us who stayed, to do better!
I really hope you can find people who can improve your experience here and you don't have these feelings toward the fandom of a beloved game.
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Cowboy Like Me
Read Cowboy Like Me on AO3
Written for Maribat March Day 5 - Last Time
Now I know, I'm never gonna love again
Marinette was a terrible sentimentalist. After such a bad breakup it might have been cathartic to tear up the pictures of them, but Marinette just couldn't do it. No, she could bring herself to destroy the evidence of her six-year relationship. Marinette kept all the pictures, all the movie tickets, all the handwritten notes and put them in a shoebox at the top of her closet, somewhere that she couldn't reach without the help of a stepstool. Maybe the pads of her fingers could brush against the smooth cardboard if she stood on her tiptoes. But Marinette could never open it again. Inside that shoebox were the memories of being in love, kept safe, locked away, just out of reach.
As Marinette boarded the plane, she looked back on everything that had gone wrong. Though the cause of all the destruction in her life was uncertain, Marinette could pinpoint the effects exactly. There were a few things Marinette knew for certain: Marinette would never fall in love again, the city Marinette once loved now only held bad memories, and once the plane took off, Marinette would say goodbye to Paris for the last time.
Never wanted love, just a fancy car
The socialite scene of Gotham was dreadfully boring in the winter, Marinette learned. The weather was so brutal that anyone who could afford a second house in Key West or Malibu left as soon as the first snow-fall hit. Marinette stayed inside her penthouse apartment for weeks, designing her wardrobe for the next few months. It had been so long since she had been able to design for herself, without input from anyone else. It was freeing, to work with the colors, the patterns, the styles that she wanted. Marinette had forgotten what freedom felt like. For so long, she had worked for the whims of others, crafting to someone else's design.
Marinette made her first friend two weeks after the move. Silver St. Cloud was Marinette's neighbor in the apartment to the left. Silver was a model and influencer, and a self-proclaimed expert on all of the rich single men in Gotham. Upon their first meeting, Silver offered to show Marinette around Gotham and introduce her to the socialite scene. Marinette, hesitant but hopeful, accepted.
"Bruce Wayne is the best that Gotham has to offer," said Silver as they leave Starbucks, lattes in hand. "But there are plenty of men who are worth your attention - women too, if that's what you prefer."
"Bruce Wayne is the best?"
Silver nodded. "The Waynes have owned this city for as long as Gotham has been on a map. I wouldn't set your sights on him completely, though. Bruce Wayne doesn't date anyone, not even a former member of Kitty Section."
Kitty Section was known around the world, the biggest band to come out of France in the last decade. Their songs topped charts. Their albums won awards. Their well-crafted image of reclusive, mysterious artists led to a media sensation over the members of Kitty Section. Everyone wanted to know them - Luka Couffaine and Marinette Dupain-Cheng, the lead vocalists whose relationship enchanted their fans. Rose Lavillant, the backing vocalist and keyboardist, and Juleka Couffaine, the bass guitarist, who were unashamed of their love for each other. Ivan Bruel, the mysterious drummer who had the name Mylène carved into his drumsticks. They were famous. They were at the top of their game. They were unstoppable.
Marinette ruined it all when she left the band. Her split had been big news, exposing a dark side of Kitty Section that their fans were never supposed to see. But after their breakup, Marinette quickly realized that she never loved music. She loved Luka, and once that love faded away, she loved nothing.
"I guess I'll find someone else," said Marinette, but it was a lie. There was Luka Couffaine, and after that, there was no one else. She might be able to love fancy dresses and expensive cars, but Marinette would never love a person again, not the way she loved Luka. When it came to love (deep, true love, not just the infatuations of childhood) Luka was her first time, Luka was her only time, and Luka would be her last time.
Perched in the dark, telling all the rich folks anything they wanna hear
Marinette quickly learned the art of charming everyone she met, either through her impressive resume (founding member of Kitty Section) or through her newfound ability to flirt. It turns out, once you turn off your feelings it becomes very easy to pretend that you can still love.
Marinette and Silver became thick as thieves. The girls became a popular pair, charming every birthday brunch and charity dinner. For Silver, it was all about networking. As she explained to Marinette, "I'm trying to create a brand. I'm trying to turn my own name into something that can be sold, and for that, I need connections.
For Marinette, it was something to do. As long as she used her money wisely, Marinette had enough saved to comfortably live out the rest of her days. The real problem came in finding something to pass the time. Marinette rarely felt joy in living her life, the way she used to back when she was a child, the bright-eyed girl who aspired to be a designer. Now, everything from charming a billionaire to designing a new dress felt like a chore.
"Come meet Bruce Wayne," urged Silver as she grabbed Marinette's hand. "He just got back from Nepal. It's his first time in Gotham in six months. He skipped his own New Year's Gala to go soul-searching in the Himalayas. It's my job tonight to convince him to stay in town for longer than a week."
There was a determination to Silver's voice. From everything she had heard about Bruce Wayne, Marinette doubted that Silver could make him change his ways. However, that wouldn't stop Marinette from helping her new-found friend.
Silver's whole body-language changed, shifting from a determined march to a delicate float as she made her way over to a dark-haired man in a well-fitted tux. "Hello, Bruce. It's so nice to see you again."
"Silver." Bruce acknowledged her, sounding bored. "Who's your friend?"
"This is Marinette Dupain-Cheng. She was the lead singer of Kitty Section before the band split up a few months ago."
"Kitty Section... I might have heard of them before. The band was... French?"
Marinette nodded. "Yes. All the members were born and raised in Paris. Have you heard of any of our music?
"I'm certain now that I have. It was very... commercial."
Marinette ought to have slapped him across the face right then and there. Not only was commercial not a compliment, but it also wasn't even true. It was the biggest criticism of Kitty Section, their reticence to work with popular music trends. Despite her overwhelming desire to assault the most wealthy and influential man in the ballroom, Marinette instead steeled her face and gave Bruce a pleasant smile. "Thank you. So what do you do for a living, Mister Wayne."
Marinette resisted the urge to roll her eyes. He spoke two words to her. The conversation was anything but interesting. "How interesting. Have you ever been to Paris?"
"I'm not a tourist, Miss Dupain-Cheng. I travel to much more interesting places."
Marinette officially gave up on the conversation. She would let Silver (who looked to be itching to have her turn to talk to Bruce) try and fix the train-wreck of a conversation that Bruce created. "You sound like a man with a lot of stories to tell. I hope you can tell me them over lunch someday."
Marinette gave Bruce her politest smile. "I have to excuse myself. Silver, why don't you tell Bruce about your new sponsorship from Lululemon."
Silver lit up. "Oh, you have to hear about this email I got last week. It was amazing, it's so good for my brand..."
Marinette walked away, letting her distaste towards Bruce leave her. Secretly, a little part of her hoped that Bruce would leave Gotham, as he was well-known for doing. Though Silver was her friend, Marinette didn't think she could pretend to like Bruce.
"He's intolerable, isn't he?" joked a voice from beside Marinette.
Marinette turned to face the stranger, a beautiful woman, taller than Marinette by quite a few inches, with dark hair, dark eyes, and tanned skin. She wore a dress of royal blue silk, so elegant it reminded Marinette of the sort of thing she always dreamed of making. "Who?"
"Bruce Wayne. Who else would it be?"
Marinette let out a quiet laugh. "He is quite unpleasant. I take it you know him."
"I accompanied him on some of his travels. Bruce is a good friend of mine, but these parties tend to bring out the worst in him. He hates this city and he especially hates the wealthy of this city." The woman grabbed a glass of wine off of a server's tray and handed it to Marinette, who gratefully took it.
"Then I doubt Silver will have any luck convincing him to stay." Marinette tried to keep the satisfaction out of her tone, but the woman laughed anyways, an indication that it didn't work.
"You're quite funny..." The woman paused for an introduction.
"Marinette Dupain-Cheng. And you are?"
The sound of shattering glass interrupted Diana's introduction. The crowd started to get frantic, and Marinette was pushed one way while Diana was pushed the other. The glass of wine was knocked out of Marinette's hand, staining the fabric of her dress. Marinette struggled to stay on her feet, desperate to not twist an ankle in her four-inch heels.
"Listen up!" shouted an oddly-dressed man. "You're all going to listen to me, and no one will get hurt."
Marinette had a very odd feeling that this would be a moment she remembered for the rest of her life.
Never thought I'd meet you here. It could be love
"They're calling him a supervillain. Apparently, his name is The Riddler," reported Marinette, looking up from her phone, where she was reading about the events of the night before.
Silver glanced up from her seat on the sofa across the room where she was painting her nails a delicate shade of pink. "It's about time Gotham got its own supervillain. Metropolis has had Superman and all the villains that follow him around for years."
Marinette snorted out a laugh. "You think that a supervillain is a good thing?"
"Sure. It means that Gotham will be getting a superhero of its own soon." Silver brightened up. "Plus, the hostage situation from last night meant that I got to spend a whole two hours with Bruce."
Marinette groaned. "I can't believe that you two are going on a date. Bruce Wayne is one of the most insufferable men I've ever met."
"It's not a date. Bruce specified it as just dinner between friends. You should come too, Marinette. I'm sure that once you spend some time with Bruce you'll warm up to him."
Marinette gave Silver a skeptical look. "You want me to come with you on your date with Bruce?"
"Again, it's not a date. Bruce said that he would be bringing one of his friends along as well."
Marinette finally understood Silver's intentions. "You want me to come with you so that I can partner up with Bruce's friend, and you can get some alone time with Bruce."
"Well it doesn't sound very nice when you put it that way," huffed Silver.
Marinette giggled. "I love devious plans. We'll just have to make it look natural."
It took a little time to get all the details, but Marinette and Silver got their plan in order. Silver would arrive first and meet Bruce and his friend. Marinette would arrive later, strike up a one-on-one conversation with Bruce's friend, and spend the night engaging Bruce's friend in conversation so that Silver could flirt with Bruce. Marinette's only concern about the evening was that Bruce's friend would be just as unbearable to talk to as Bruce himself.
The restaurant that Bruce picked out was very fancy, but Marinette didn't mind. It allowed her to wear her new dress, a pale blue and silver creation meant to mimic the shimmering quality of ice. Marinette thought it might be a little too experimental for the old-fashioned Gotham society, but Silver approved of it, and Marinette trusted her friend.
As soon as Marinette walked through the doors her eyes caught sight of Silver's white-blonde hair. Then she noticed Bruce sitting beside her friend, his eyes trained on Silver with an odd intensity. Finally, Marinette noticed Bruce's friend. She was shocked to see that it was Diana, the very woman that Marinette had met at yesterday's gala, the very woman whose introduction was interrupted by the untimely arrival of the Riddler. For a second, Marinette was shocked into stillness. The chaos of the night before had overshadowed her meeting with Diana to the extent that Marinette had forgotten how very charmed she had been by Diana. Now, it seemed Marinette had the perfect opportunity to get to know the charismatic woman from the night before.
"Marinette," the surprise in Diana's tone told Marinette that she was just as blind-sighted by their meeting.
"Hello, Diana. Fancy meeting you here," said Marinette with a smile.
Bruce raised one eyebrow. "I didn't know you two knew each other."
"We met last night," explained Diana. "I wanted to let her knew that you aren't usually so insufferable."
Bruce looked affronted. "I wasn't insufferable."
"You lied about having listened to Kitty Section," piped up Marinette. "There are a lot of valid criticisms of Kitty Section. However, our music being too commercial is not one of them."
Bruce had the decency to look guilty. "I apologize, then. I'll make sure to take the time to give your music a real listen."
For Silver's sake, Marinette was willing to forgive him. "Maybe next time you can give me some real criticism."
Bruce nodded graciously. "I'll do that."
Diana took that moment to bring back up their introduction the night before. "So Marinette, I don't believe we got the chance to finish our introductions last night. I'm Diana Prince, newly a curator at Gotham's Art and History Museum."
"I'm Marinette Dupain-Cheng, former member of Kitty Section, currently taking a soul-searching sabbatical."
"Soul-searching for what?" asked Diana.
"I suppose I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. When I was younger I was so passionate about fashion. I made my own clothes, entered my creations into design contests, spent years creating a portfolio. I'm trying to rediscover that passion."
"Maybe you could show me your designs some time," offered Diana.
"I would like that," agreed Marinette.
"Actually," chimed in Silver, "Marinette made the dress she's wearing right now."
"Really? I would have assumed that it was professionally made. It's a gorgeous dress," praised Diana.
Marinette blushed, a warm fluttery feeling stirring deep within her. The rest of the night passed in a blur, with Marinette hanging on Diana's every word. It was easy to talk to Diana. She was so naturally charming that Marinette couldn't help but enjoy herself. As the evening winded down, Marinette felt only regret that they would have to part so soon.
As Marinette stood outside the restaurant, waiting for a taxi, she felt Diana's hand settle on her shoulder. It had been a while since Marinette had felt such an intimate touch. "I had a nice time talking to you tonight." The feel of Diana's fingers gently trailing down Marinette's arms was almost more than Marinette, touch-starved and hungry for more, could bear.
Marinette smiled. "I did too. I hope to see more of you."
"I'm sure you will." Marinette took comfort in the certainty in Diana's voice.
And in the back of her mind, Marinette began to rethink her policy of never falling in love again. Something about Diana made Marinette think that Luka wouldn't be her last time after all.
And the skeletons in both our closets plotted hard to fuck this up
Marinette could not believe he did this. After everything they had been through together, Marinette's one final request to Luka was that he not release a song about their breakup. But there it was, top of the charts, the lead single of Luka's new solo album, Different Cities. And if it wasn't bad enough that Luka broke the only promise she asked him to keep, included in the song was a snippet of the last voicemail she sent to him. She left it for him weeks after they broke up, as an explanation to him, to let him know she was leaving Gotham.
In the last few seconds of the song, Marinette's voice is hesitant as she speaks. "I know that you wanted me to stay so that we could work things out, but I don't think that our relationship is fixable. So I guess I'm calling to tell you that I give up. I'm leaving Paris next Friday. I've already bought the plane ticket. You can't change my mind. Goodbye, Luka."
It was the rawest emotion Marinette had shown since the breakup, and Luka exploited it for his own gain.
Marinette spent the day joylessly deleting emails from various news outlets begging her to tell her side of the story. As if she would give Luka the satisfaction of giving free publicity. Everyone loved drama, so Marinette was going to make her reaction - or lack of reaction, in this case - as boring as possible.
Every time her phone rang, Marinette ignored it. The voicemails started to stack up, and eventually, Marinette found herself going through them one-by-one. One from Alya, letting Marinette know that she was there for her when she wanted to talk. One from Adrien, more joking in tone, trying to cheer Marinette up. One from Ivan, directly threatening to punch Luka in the face if Marinette wanted it (and that was the only voicemail that actually brought her spirits up). One from Juleka, an apology.
In the voicemail, Juleka's voice was rough, like she had been crying. "I'm so sorry, Marinette. I begged Luka not to release it, but he wouldn't listen to me. He said- he- he said-" Juleka broke off into a sob, and Marinette couldn't help but sniffle along with her. "I can hardly recognize him anymore. Rose and I aren't on speaking terms with him now. He's no longer my brother."
Marinette wished that she could pick up the phone and tell Juleka that it was okay to forgive Luka, but Marinette couldn't. The wound was still fresh, still bleeding out.
One step forward, one steps back. Two days after Marinette considered the idea of loving again, and she was right back where she started - in too much pain to even consider friendship, let alone love.
Speak of the devil, Marinette's phone rang, Diana's name lighting up on the screen. Part of her wanted to throw her phone across the room and curl up under her blankets. The other parts of her answered the call. "Hello?" spoke Marinette, wiping away the moisture at the corner of her eyes.
"Marinette, are you okay?" Diana's voice was soft. It was the most comforting thing Marinette had ever heard.
"Not really. I can't decide if I want to punch Luka in the face or if it would hurt too much to ever see him again."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Marinette sighed. "I met Luka when I was fourteen. He was my classmate Juleka's older brother. Luka had his own band, so all the girls in our class thought that Luka was so cool, but he mostly ignored us. Then one day his backing vocalist got bronchitis and he needed someone to fill in. I was a soloist for the school chorus, so I volunteered. Luka was hesitant to let me join his band until he heard me sing. He told me I had the voice of an angel. Two days later he kissed me, and I fell in love with him so hard and so fast I didn't have a chance to consider if he was really the one."
Marinette took a deep breath, then continued, "It was a whirlwind after that. We started dating. We started a new band and named it Kitty Section. We started writing songs together. The weird part was, he never asked how I felt about any of it. He never asked me if I wanted to date him, he never asked if I wanted to join the band, he always assumed that I wanted what he wanted."
"And what did you want?" asked Diana.
"Back then, I thought I wanted a future with Luka. Now, I guess I just want to feel passion again. I've felt so empty since I left him."
"You might feel better with some company. Do you want me to come over to your place?"
Marinette looked around at her empty apartment, at the way the shadows filled the room, at the way seemed to lurk in every corner. "Sure."
"You could show me some of those designs you were telling me about the other day," suggested Diana.
Marinette glanced over at her sketchbook, which had laid empty for months. "That sounds good."
As she hung up the phone, Marinette realized that talking to Diana had made her feel a bit better. The knife wound that Luka had left in her heart had begun to close up at the edges. Marinette took a deep breath and picked up her sketchbook. If she wanted to rediscover her passion, she needed to work for it.
Now you hang from my lips, like the Gardens of Babylon
Marinette let out an appreciative noise as Diana re-entered the room, modeling one of Marinette's creations. "Give me a little spin."
Diana turned herself around, letting the red fabric swirl around her legs. Something about the way that the dress looked on Diana made it so much prettier in Marinette's eyes. Suddenly the fabric wasn't just red, it was carmine. The dress wasn't just being worn, it was being modeled. It didn't just move, it flowed. "It's a gorgeous dress," complimented Diana as she looked over her shoulder at the mirror behind her to admire it.
"It is nice, isn't it." Marinette had been so caught up in her head she had forgotten to truly admire her creation. Suddenly an idea occurred to her. "You should keep it. One of Bruce's charity galas is coming up in a few weeks. You could wear it there."
"I couldn't," protested Diana.
Marinette shook her head. "It looks best on you. I could never pull off such a vibrant shade of red." There was a second part to the sentence that was left unspoken. If Marinette made the dress knowing that it wouldn't look good on her, she must have made it for another reason. She must have made it with Diana in mind.
Diana smiled, seeming to have caught those unspoken words. "Well if I'm going to wear the dress, you'll have to put up with me gushing about how talented you are all night long."
Marinette flushed. "It's no big deal. It's just a dress."
"It's not just a dress. It's your passion." There was truth in Diana's words that Marinette couldn't deny. It was so much more than a dress. It was the passion for design that Diana had helped her rediscover. It was the newfound friendship with Diana that chased away the loneliness and despair that had taken over her life. It was the glimmer of hope for a future with Diana.
Takes one to know one, you're a cowboy like me
Diana looked beyond gorgeous in that carmine dress. Marinette could keep her eyes off of her as they mingled around the ballroom. Marinette's dress was nice, made with the same passion that Marinette had in her younger years, but it paled in comparison to Diana. However, Diana made up for this disparity by gleefully explaining that Marinette was the creator of the dress every time it was complimented. By the end of the night, Marinette had spent so much time blushing over compliments that she worried her face would become permanently flushed.
The gala was a complete success for everyone involved. The charity, which happened to benefit Gotham Child Protective Services, raised twice their goal amount. Marinette got to spend time with Diana. Even Silver had spent the night looking very pleased with herself, her hand resting on Bruce's forearm as they walked through the ballroom together.
As the night winded down, Marinette and Diana found themselves walking out of Wayne Manor towards Diana's car. Diana had offered to drive Marinette there and back, and Marinette had eagerly accepted. Marinette hated driving in Gotham, as Gotham was known for its aggressive drivers and high rates of automobile accidents.
Marinette sat down in the passenger seat with a sigh, kicking off her heels. "Tonight was nice."
"It was nice," Diana agreed. "We'll have to attend galas together more often."
"You just want an excuse to get your hands on another one of my dresses," teased Marinette.
Diana laughed. "I wouldn't say no to another dress. But really, Bruce's rich friends are much more bearable when I have someone to make fun of them afterward with."
Marinette shuddered. "And to think I thought that Bruce was bad. His friends are intolerable. I never want to talk about golf again in my life."
The two women chatted as they drove through the dark streets of Gotham, back to Marinette's apartment.
"Thanks for driving me home," said Marinette as the car pulled up in front of her apartment building.
"It was no problem." Diana hesitated, before continuing. "I was wondering if you would like to go out to dinner with me tomorrow night."
"Dinner sounds good," Marinette replied, strapping her shoes back on.
"I'm asking for this to be a date." Diana finished.
Marinette looked up at her, surprised. Her friendship with Diana had been so easy that Marinette had forgotten that it could be anything else. She had half a mind to decline, to stay in the familiar, but that little bit of hope in her heart urged Marinette to take a leap of faith and accept. "I would like that. What time will you pick me up?"
Diana smiled, her whole face lighting up. "How does six sound?"
Marinette smiled back, her heart feeling lighter than it had in years. "Sounds great. I'll see you tomorrow."
And as Marinette got ready for bed, she realized that all of the sadness that lingered in her heart since the breakup had gone away. All that was left for her to feel was hope for the future.
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I Won’t Lie - Kakasaku
It’s finally done!! I started this piece years ago but never finished it. It’s the follow on to my story Distraction, but you don’t have to read that to understand it at all.
Distraction, I Won’t Lie, Part One, Part Two, Epilogue
Here’s the first part, the rest is linked above and also available on FF.
"So, have you put the moves on the Hokage yet," Ino questioned, applying black eyeliner with a practiced flip of her hand. Her aqua blue eyes stood out in sharp contrast, seeming larger than they had any right to.
Sakura groaned from the bed, falling back to cover her face. "I never intended to put the moves on him," she mumbled, hoping that Ino wouldn't be able to see the crimson flush of her cheeks. "And, it didn't work anyway. Kakashi doesn't know that I exist."
Ino jerked the pillow away and leveled her best friend with a stare. "He definitely knows that you exist, but you need to remind him that you're a woman now, not a little girl." Her gaze swept over Sakura from head to toe. "Why don't you put on something a little more interesting tonight?"
"What's wrong with what I have on?" Sakura frowned at her outfit. Okay, the leggings that she wore were more comfortable than provocative, and her mother would have approved of her shirt, but that didn't mean there was anything wrong with it. She always dressed like this when they went out. It wasn't her fault that Ino had more outfits than any other girl that Sakura knew, and an uncanny way of making everything look sexy.
"Nothing," Ino answered, with a smile curving her cherry-red lips. "As long as you want to die old and alone."
Sakura threw the remaining pillow at Ino's face, narrowly missing. "Shut up, Ino-pig," she grumbled, reverting to the insult that had become a friendly nickname over the past few years. Sakura tugged at her shirt for a moment, chewing her lip "If I agree, can you make it look like I'm not trying too hard?"
A grin split Ino's face. "Of course. We have to find just the right outfit to show off that body you worked so hard for."
Before Sakura could protest, the blond pulled her off of the bed and toward the closet. Nearly an hour later, Sakura examined her expression in the mirror, shocked at the illusion that Ino had created. Long lashes framed her green eyes, making them stand out against her pale skin. The faint dusting of freckles that Sakura usually hated had taken on a soft glow from the highlighter Ino used. Glossy lips completed the expression, in a shade lighter than Sakura ever thought she could pull off. Ino hadn't stopped there. She'd transformed Sakura's hair as well. The pale tresses piled on top of her head, falling in artful curls around her face.
Ino pulled Sakura from musing about how she looked like an entirely different person by tugging on the dress. The blond dragged the black fabric to the side, baring one shoulder. It draped Sakura's body, accentuating enough to suggest that she had more curves than she really did. Chuckling, Sakura pulled the fabric toward her knees. Ino slapped her hands away. "Stop that, it's supposed to be short."
"I can't wear this," Sakura complained even as she turned to admire herself from the side. It hugged her body in a way that none of her other outfits had.
Shaking her head, Ino walked over to the closet and tossed a pair of heels to Sakura. "You can, and you will. No one will be able to keep their eyes off you, especially not Kakashi."
Color flamed in Sakura's cheek, hidden somewhat by the makeup. "What if he isn't there?"
Ino's devious grin made Sakura nervous. "Then you'll go home with someone else. You look too damn good to go home alone tonight"
When Ino and Sakura swept into the pub nearly half an hour late, dozens of heads swiveled in their direction. Ino linked an arm through Sakura's and pulled her into the room before she could back away in a fit of self-consciousness. Her gaze swept over the people gathered for Naruto's birthday, trying to ignore the butterflies fluttering in her stomach. Kakashi wasn't there yet or not coming at all, everything they'd done had been a waste of time.
Forcing the hopelessness down, Sakura caught sight of an overbearing ball of sunshine cutting through the room. Naruto's grin probably had more to do with the atmosphere than alcohol, but she couldn't be sure. He threw an arm around Sakura's shoulder and pulled her into a side hug. "I was beginning to think nobody from my team was going to show up tonight."
When Naruto released Sakura, his blue eyes slipped lower than her neck. The blush on his whiskered cheeks was obvious even in the dim lighting. "You look nice tonight. I mean, not that you don't always look nice-" Sakura's laughter cut off the awkward exchange, and Naruto managed a nervous smile before rubbing the back of his neck. "I don't think Sasuke is going to make it tonight."
"Unfortunately, Sasuke's mission has him delayed outside the village." The proximity of Kakashi's voice made Sakura jump. When she turned, she realized that he stood just inside the doorway behind them. Their gazes locked, and Kakashi's eyes widened, perhaps only just now realizing that she'd been the one standing with Naruto. While pink hair was unusual in the village, a few girls had started imitating Sakura after the war. She hated it, but the element of surprise was nice.
Ino unwound her arm from Sakura's and moved away to speak to someone that Sakura didn't recognize. Completely oblivious of the tension of the moment, Naruto caught Kakashi with his other arm and pulled them both into a hug. Sakura felt the warmth of Kakashi's chest against her side. "I'm glad you two made it, at least."
Kakashi pulled away, chuckling in the back of his throat. "Of course I came, I have to keep an eye on you kids to make sure you don't get into any trouble."
"We aren't kids," Sakura grumbled, challenging Kakashi with a glare through her mascara lengthened lashes. "We're adults now."
"That's right, sensei. We don't have to listen to you anymore." Naruto laughed, giving Kakashi a cheeky grin.
Kakashi frowned, the barest movements of his mask. "I'm still Hokage, though."
"For now." Naruto's banter eased the conversation into playful jabs that allowed Sakura to stay silent. Kakashi hadn't even responded to her comment about being an adult now. Her heart sank lower in her chest.
As the men exchanged barbs, Ino reappeared from wherever she'd been. Grabbing Sakura's hand, she led them to the bar. "It's pointless," Sakura complained, leaning close so that the words would only be loud enough for Ino. "He'll always view me as a kid. I'd be better off chasing Sasuke."
"Absolutely not," Ino hissed, vehemence dripping from her voice as she raised a hand to order drinks. "Sasuke isn't even on the radar for you. Do not put yourself through that again."
Sakura nodded and toyed with the silver teardrop earring that Ino had loaned her. She knew that Sasuke was a bad idea. The boy had never acknowledged her, not really. And now, it was the same with Kakashi. At best Kakashi saw her as the child that he'd mentored years ago. At worst, the annoying girl that she'd been during those early days. She'd never change that.
"Let me tell you my secret, Forehead." Ino shoved a shot glass into Sakura's hand. "It just takes five seconds of insane courage to get whatever you want. That's it. Just five seconds of bravery, then the hard part is over. You either have the thing you want or you don't, but at least you'll know."
"Is that how you landed Sai?" Sakura asked, closing her grip around the glass of liquid courage without questioning what was inside it. The idea that Ino actually liked Sai and wanted to be with him when there were so many men that she could have had was something that Sakura had trouble wrapping her mind around.
Ino laughed and tucked a strand of hair behind one ear. "Yes, Sai. And, all the others."
Gossip suggested that Ino had worked her way through half of the eligible shinobi in the village. There was a great deal of truth to it. Ino had dated Shikamaru for a couple of weeks before the pair decided that friendship was less troublesome than a relationship. She and Kiba had been fireworks from the beginning, fighting almost constantly. Choji was too gentle, Lee too exhausting, Shino too quiet, and the list went on and on. Somehow, Ino landed on Sai and found that the man matched her surprisingly well. Sakura had already noticed the girl looking for him in the crowd.
"Drink," Ino commanded, nodding toward the alcohol. Sakura steeled her nerves and tipped the glass up. The liquid burned the entire way down, making her gasp for a breath. Ino clapped her on the back. "Good, now let's go and find someone to make him jealous over."
"Ino, no." Sakura pulled away from her best friend with a firm shake of her head. "It doesn't matter. It's just a silly crush."
The look on the blonde's face suggested that she didn't believe Sakura's excuse, but she didn't force it. Sakura let her gaze wander over the people brought together to celebrate Naruto's birthday. He had touched so many lives, and since the war, most people recognized that. Naruto had wanted to do something at Ichiraku, but the stand was too small for all their friends. They'd made arrangements for the celebration to be held here, but white bowls of ramen dotted most of the tables.
Kakashi drew Sakura's eyes like a beacon. He stood in the shadows beside Captain Yamato, heads close together as they spoke. It had surprised Sakura to learn that the men were old friends, especially since Kakashi held so many people at a distance. Sakura and Naruto had grown closer to him, of course, but there didn't seem to be many others. Tsunade and the other jonin perhaps, but the ease between Kakashi and Yamato spoke of actual friendship. Sakura felt a twinge of jealousy. Why couldn't it be that easy for her?
Ino leaned close, the scent of alcohol drifting from her lips. "You know, Yamato isn't bad looking either."
Sakura considered the words. While Yamato didn't hold the aura of mystery that Kakashi did, his easy smile and kind eyes made him attractive in his own way. Even so, no matter how much Sakura watched the pair, her eyes strayed to Kakashi. As she'd expected, he'd worn his uniform to the party. The sleeves of his black shirt were rolled up against the heat of the room, while his hands were tucked into the pockets of matching pants. Kakashi's mask remained in place, of course, but the headband that used to slant across half of his face was missing. Two charcoal eyes stared out at the room, silver hair falling into them.
"Oh, it's definitely just a little crush," Ino teased, pulling Sakura from her longing gaze. "Why don't you just go and talk to him? Ask him to dance or ask him back to your place. Just do something besides staring at him."
When Sakura started to protest, Ino rolled her eyes. "Come on, I've seen you kick ass so many times, but you're scared to talk to a boy? The worst thing he can do is turn you down. And, if that happens, it's his loss."
It isn't that easy, Sakura started to argue. Only, she knew that it was. She'd been pining after Kakashi for months, treasuring stupid, little moments that probably meant nothing: the way that his arms had curled around her on the training field, how his eyes lit up when he laughed at her joke about Tsunade trying to kill them both with reports, or the startle when her fingers had brushed his wrist. Those things made her wonder if there might be something more, but Kakashi was impossible to read. The sudden intake of breath when Sakura touched him could just have easily been discomfort as desire.
"I think I need another drink," Sakura declared, putting away the miserable thoughts for another day.
It didn't take long for the pleasant warmth of alcohol to loosen the tension that seemed permanently attached to Sakura's shoulders. She relaxed enough to dance a couple of turns with Naruto. He was far more awkward on the dance floor than any shinobi had the right to be. After two dances, Sakura begged off and pushed him toward Hinata. A few months ago, the girl had finally gotten brave enough to let Naruto know that she liked him. The pair was slowly turning into a couple, but the transition was painful to watch. They were both too shy for their own good.
Sakura stumbled back toward the bar, surprised to admit that she was having more fun than she'd thought she would, even if Kakashi ignored her. As she reached for her glass, Ino flashed a pleasant grin that warned Sakura that the girl was coming up with a plan that Sakura wasn't going to like. Without explaining anything, Ino linked their arms and dragged Sakura back into the crowd. Three steps into the walk, once she realized where they were going, Sakura tried to stop the inevitable. But, it was too late. Ino stopped beside Kakashi and Yamato.
The men looked up in surprise, their conversation stopping abruptly. Sakura felt Kakashi's gaze on her face for several heartbeats before it slid toward Ino's. With another signature grin, the blond moved into Yamato's personal space. "You sent my boyfriend on a mission just before the party, and now I have nobody to dance with. It seems only fair that you take his place." Ino held out a hand expectantly.
"Um-I-uh-it was unavoidable," Yamato stammered, a delicate pink blush tinting his cheeks. Sakura almost rolled her eyes. It was pathetic to watch how easily Ino turned him, or any man for that matter, into a stuttering mess simply by batting her eyelashes. She'd thought Yamato was better than that.
To Sakura's surprise, it was Kakashi who spoke next. "I think she has a solid case." Yamato gaped at the man, but Kakashi continued as if he hadn't seen it. "You deprived her of enjoying the evening; you should make up for it. Within reason, of course."
As the implication hit home, the pink on Yamato's cheeks deepened to crimson. Sakura struggled not to laugh at his expression. Ino cleared her throat, moving her hand closer. For a moment, Sakura wondered if Kakashi was going to have to push the man forward. Finally, Yamato dipped his head and took Ino's hand. Sakura couldn't stop her mirth as the pair disappeared onto the dance floor. "He's going to be furious with you later, you know that right?"
"It's good for him. Yamato is too shy." Kakashi leaned his shoulders against the wall, and for a moment Sakura couldn't take her eyes off of the smooth stretch of his body and the way his armor shifted with the movement. Half a second later, she realized that he'd said something. Deciding that it probably wasn't important, she nodded and he continued. "Of course, she doesn't mean anything by it, does she?"
Sakura shook her head, watching as Ino attempted to guide Yamato's hands toward her hips as she moved to the music. He kept moving them back to her waist, embarrassment obvious. Sakura chuckled under her breath. "No, she's quite taken with Sai actually."
"Our Sai?" Kakashi asked, eyebrows rising in surprise.
Sakura nodded, watching as Yamato finally relaxed into the dance and loosened up a bit. "She and Sai balance each other well, like Naruto and Hinata."
Kakashi followed Sakura's gaze toward the bar where Naruto and Hinata were talking. The blond leaned against the edge, telling some kind of story while the girl gazed up adoringly. Two years ago, she'd been too frightened and embarrassed to speak with him, and Naruto too stupid to realize why. With a little gentle prodding, they'd finally caught on.
Kakashi made a sound that might have been agreement in the back of his throat. "You're all pairing off these days, falling in love and getting married."
"Not all of us," Sakura grumbled. Frustration bled into her voice as she continued. "Some of us accepted the weight of duty instead."
A silver eyebrow arched skyward as Kakashi turned to face Sakura. A look of understanding crossed his features, but Sakura doubted that he realized she was talking about him as well. Undeniably handsome, Kakashi could have his pick of women in the village, but he remained alone. He had thrown himself into the role of hokage, even though he hated it. Sakura had done the same at the hospital, though she enjoyed her work for the most part. The two of them weren't as different as he seemed to think.
A stir went through the room. Naruto pushed away from the bar, his voice cutting through the din of music and conversation. "You made it!'
As much as Sakura wanted to continue admiring Kakashi, her attention drifted toward Naruto. He stood in the doorway, arms thrown around-Sakura's mind temporarily shorted out, taking several seconds to catch up with her eyes. Sasuke stood in the spill of light, Naruto's arms wrapped around his shoulders. Raven dark hair and equally black eyes swept through the crowd, taking in everyone and everything. His gaze slid over Sakura, then returned and lingered.
Despite everything, Sakura blushed under Sasuke's gaze. Beside her, Kakashi shifted away from the wall. A hand pressed almost imperceptibly against Sakura's lower back as Naruto approached, Sasuke trailing behind like a shadow. Sakura half turned toward Kakashi.
Naruto interrupted the pair before Sakura could get her thoughts in order. "Look guys, Sasuke made it back in time."
"So, he did," Kakashi answered for both of them, voice cool but not quite unfriendly. "Welcome back."
Sasuke turned, oozing arrogance as he inclined his head toward Kakashi. Dark eyes roved over Sakura a second time, an almost smile curling his lips. Even so, Sakura read the tension in his shoulders. Despite the years that had passed, Sasuke remained something of a pariah in the village. There were some groups who would never forgive or forget the time that he had spent trying to destroy the Leaf, despite Naruto's efforts to change their opinions. Sakura knew that Kakashi had helped save Sasuke from execution or life in prison, but the Hokage's intervention had ended there.
"Sasuke!" Ino appeared from nowhere, throwing her arms around Sasuke in a hug that the man shrunk away from. "Welcome back."
Sakura flashed her friend a thankful smile at the interruption. "You're looking well," Ino continued, pulling all of Sasuke's attention to herself by keeping her hands on his upper arms. "Can I get you something to drink?"
"Maybe later," Sasuke answered, voice sounding strained as he shrugged away from Ino's touch. When she released him, the man turned and smiled. "Hello, Sakura."
Sakura couldn't remember how to draw a breath. A thick strand of black fell across Sasuke's eye, adding an air of mystery to his already captivating appearance. Warmth suffused her face when he moved closer, near enough to reach out and brush her cheek if he'd wanted. "Hi," she answered, toying with a silver bracelet circling one wrist.
Sasuke slid between Sakura and Kakashi, angling his body to face hers. "How have you been?"
"I've been doing well." Sakura's answer barely scratched the surface of everything that had happened in her life since the last time she saw Sasuke. She couldn't seem to remember a single event that she wanted to talk about. Yamato approached the small group and squeezed in beside Kakashi while running an appraising eye over Sasuke. He didn't acknowledge the Uchiha's presence. Instead, he leaned closer to Kakashi and whispered something in his ear.
Pulling her attention away from the exchange, Sakura realized that she'd been asked something. It would be rude not to keep talking to Sasuke, so she smiled. "How about you? How have you been?"
"I stay busy following up on leads," Sasuke answered, revealing nothing about his time outside of the village. Maybe he thought that Sakura wouldn't accept his reasons for leaving her behind, or maybe, he didn't care if she did.
After all, how could Sakura expect Sasuke to understand the hours of work that she poured into the hospital, sometimes losing a patient despite her best efforts? Would he care that she pushed herself in training as hard as she's ever done in case they went back to war? Sakura imagined Sasuke teasing her efforts to create orphanages in Konoha. Would he understand Sakura's version of sacrifice when it didn't align with his?
Sakura's eyes drifted back to her group of friends. Naruto stood beside Ino with a silly grin on his face, undoubtedly because Sakura and Sasuke were talking together. He still believed the two of them could make it work somehow. Yamato and Kakashi watched them both without seeming to do so. Sakura couldn't help but wonder if they deemed Sasuke as a security risk, even after all this time. Her gaze settled on the tension in Kakashi's jaw, wondering why he seemed on edge.
Kakashi understood the passion that drove Sakura to fight for those causes. Or, if not, he humored her. Sakura and Kakashi had worked hand in hand to train additional medical shinobi, create orphanages, and work through various issues at the hospital. She'd assumed that Kakashi wanted to see the same outcome that she did. Would Sasuke want that? Did it matter? He wouldn't be in the village long enough for it to make any difference.
Despite the way that things between them had changed, Sasuke still reduced Sakura to a lovesick teenager. It wasn't that her feelings had stayed the same, but Sakura had spent half of her life chasing after Sasuke. She couldn't shake the memory of nipping at his heels, of being willing to throw everything away if he'd only acknowledge her. As Sasuke spoke, Sakura's mind responded on autopilot, answering with soft laughs and smiles.
After several minutes, Ino caught Sakura's attention and half nodded toward Kakashi. He and Yamato had fallen silent, allowing the conversation to flow around them without interruption. Sakura raised her shoulders in a helpless shrug, silently asking what she was supposed to do about the situation. Ino frowned, then leaned in to speak. "So, Sasuke, did you know that Naruto and Hinata are dating?"
The question cut off the conversation. Surprise flitted across Sasuke's face as he looked over at Naruto. The blond's cheeks flamed crimson and he sputtered over his words "Well, Ino is dating Sai," he managed, red from his hairline to his chin.
Ino grinned, tossing her long hair over one shoulder with an air of dismissal. "You say that like it's a bad thing. Sai happens to be far more interesting than you'd anticipate. Not to mention adventurous."
The suggestive nature of Ino's comment made Naruto choke on his breath. His eyes bulged and Sakura couldn't help but laugh; he was still so innocent. Naruto grabbed Sasuke's arm. "Come on, it's definitely time for a drink."
Without waiting for an answer, Naruto pulled the Uchiha toward the barkeeper and further away from Ino's insinuations. Laughing, the girl watched them go. Then, she turned back to Yamato. "I thought you were going to dance with me? And, you," Ino studied Kakashi, "should dance with Sakura so she isn't left alone over here."
For all the nudging that Kakashi had done when Ino asked Yamato to dance, the man seemed less than enthused about taking his own advice. "It isn't befitting of the Hokage to indulge in-"
"Oh no you don't, senpai," Yamato interrupted, already pulling Kakashi away from the wall. "I did my duty, and now it's time for you to do yours. Off you go."
Yamato's brown eyes shone with an inordinate amount of amusement, and Sakura didn't know whether to be thankful that he was pushing Kakashi toward the dance floor, or embarrassed at being some type of twisted payback. Either way, the indecision lasted only a moment. Ino grabbed Yamato's hand and guided him toward the dancers, leaving Sakura alone with Kakashi on the edge of the room.
Kakashi rubbed the back of his neck as he turned to face Sakura. Embarrassment raised the temperature of the room several degrees until it felt impossible to draw a breath. "You don't have to dance with me," she murmured, trying not to sound as disappointed as she felt.
"Ino and Yamato would never let me hear the end of it if we didn't." Kakashi held out one hand, and Sakura slid hers into it. Her pulse pounded in her ears when he leaned closer. "Besides, we only have to dance long enough to get them off our backs."
Sakura didn't trust her voice to speak without breaking, so she nodded and followed Kakashi onto the dance floor. Music blared over the speakers, bass line making her heart pound in tempo. She drew a deep breath and looked into the eyes that had been hidden for so long. Even now, months later, Sakura hadn't gotten used to seeing more of Kakashi's face. She remembered the intensity of his gaze on the training field and the way that she'd wanted to pull him close and lose themselves in the storm.
Just five seconds of insane courage, Ino's voice whispered in the back of Sakura's mind. She could press her body against Kakashi's under the guise of dancing and admit that she wanted more than that. Butterflies the size of elephants trampled over Sakura's chest. If Kakashi rejected her, it would hurt, but she could mask the pain long enough to make it home. Then, she'd be free to deal with fallout. She had done the same thing over Sasuke nearly a year ago. But, if Sakura never took a chance and told Kakashi, she'd never know if there could have been anything between them.
Kakashi spoke, interrupting Sakura's momentum. "You look different tonight."
"Ino begged me to let her try something special for Naruto's party." Sakura chewed her lip, wondering if the words were technically a lie. She wanted to look more enticing as well, more like Ino and less like herself, in hopes that she'd capture Kakashi's attention.
The tempo of the music increased; Sakura allowed her body to follow. She felt the hem of her dress riding up her thigh and tugged it down with one hand. Kakashi followed the movement then snapped his eyes back to her face. He asked something, but the words were lost in the din of the crowd. When Sakura scrunched up her face in confusion, he leaned closer. "For Sasuke?"
For you, Sakura thought, holding the words tight between her lips. The accusation in Kakashi's tone surprised her. "I didn't know he'd be here."
Kakashi inclined his head at the words, expression unreadable. He rested his hands at Sakura's waist without a hint of familiarity or desire. Kakashi moved to the music, half a foot between their bodies. Sakura flashed back to the way his arms had wrapped around her like a glove on the training field. He moved on protective instinct, not to get close to me. The realization left a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Sakura surrendered to the rhythm of the music, turning to present her back to Kakashi's chest so she wouldn't have to meet his gaze. She closed her eyes, willing the ache in her heart to stop. This entire situation was so stupid. Ino was right about everything; Sakura needed to tell Kakashi how she felt so that she could pick up the pieces and move on. She had done it before, and she could do it again.
Fingers curled against Sakura's hips, the thin fabric of her dress hardly masking the feel of Kakashi's touch. Sakura wasn't sure if he pulled her back, or if she moved of her own accord, but she felt the warmth of his breath against her neck. She focused on the sensation, electricity rushing through her body. His damn flak vest separated Sakura from the heat of his chest, but she imagined that she could feel it anyway.
The song ended and the weight of Kakashi's hands fell away as if it had never been. Light pulsed around them as another song started. Sakura turned back to face Kakashi, drawing a shaky breath. "Do you think that dance met their requirements, or should we do another, just to be sure?"
Sakura's name left Kakashi's lips in a strangled sound. Whatever he'd been planning to say was lost when someone bumped hard into his back. He stumbled through the almost nonexistent space between them. Sakura heard an apology, but she couldn't match the voice to a face before her arms were full of Kakashi. She stumbled backward under his weight, tripped over her heels, and then they were falling. Vaguely, some panicked part of Sakura's mind wondered if she was about to give everyone in the room a free peep show.
Kakashi twisted in the air so that Sakura wouldn't be crushed beneath him. His left shoulder absorbed most of the impact half a second before she hit his chest. The air whooshed out of Kakashi's lungs in a soft hiss as their bodies pressed together. Exposure forgotten, Sakura felt his hands grip her, one near her shoulder and the other dangerously low on her back. They were close enough for their noses to brush, Kakashi's eyes wide. The charcoal tone wasn't as dark as Sakura had anticipated, but shot with silver through the iris. She noticed the outline of Kakashi's lips beneath his mask. Kami, it would be so simple to—
"Hokage-sama?" Genma's familiar voice cut across Sakura's thoughts. The man pushed through the crowd to reach Kakashi's side, undoubtedly on guard duty for the night. Sakura raised her head to glare at his poorly conceived timing.
Kakashi released Sakura like he'd been burned, hands coming to the floor instead as he pushed into a sitting position. She half fell into his lap from the sudden change of position. "I'm fine," he answered the unasked question. "I'm hardly old enough to get injured from falling down."
"Especially beneath a beautiful woman," Genma quipped, flashing his senbon-studded grin. Then, his leer slid toward the woman in question and his expression changed to something contemplative as he offered a hand. "Oh, hey, Sakura."
Sakura had no choice but to accept Genma's offered hand. Cheeks flushed with embarrassment, she let the tokujo pull her away from Kakashi. Belatedly, she remembered to adjust the slinky dress lower on her thighs and higher over her chest. Hopefully everything had happened so quickly that she didn't have any reason to be embarrassed. A small crowd gathered around them. Kakashi pushed through them as the music started back up; Sakura followed him to the edge of the room.
"You aren't hurt are you, Hokage-sama," Ino gushed as she hurried to the pair's side. Her brow creased with worry when Kakashi tried to wave her off. Sakura barely resisted the urge to roll her eyes at her best friend. The ploy was obvious.
"I'm fine," Kakashi grumbled, looking distinctively embarrassed by the attention. "I'm not made of glass."
"Still," Ino pressed, reaching out like she might touch Kakashi's arm. "You hit your shoulder hard when you fell. I saw it."
Sakura could see the wheels turning in Ino's mind. No, please, Ino, don't do this. Sakura's silent plea fell on deaf ears. Kakashi raised his arm to prove that he could, but Ino didn't drop the subject. "You should let Sakura take a look at it, just to make sure. I'm sure she wouldn't mind."
And, there it is, Sakura grumbled internally. Annoyance bled through Kakashi's embarrassment as he tried to wave the blonde's concerns away. Sakura interrupted the exchange before it could get out of hand. "Doesn't anyone care about me? I fell too."
"I could take a look at you," Genma offered with a cheeky grin from his position at Kakashi's shoulder. "In fact, it'd be my pleasure."
"No," Sakura and Kakashi answered in the same breath, dragging a knowing laugh from Genma. Kakashi looked almost as surprised as Sakura felt. Cheeks warming at the insinuation, she continued. "I don't need anyone to look at me, I am fine. But, shouldn't you be more worried about me?"
Genma chuckled in the back of his throat. "Because you're such a delicate little flower? I saw the damage you did to the training grounds the other night. I think I'd rather take my chances with Kakashi, to be honest."
"Probably for the best; she's stronger than you think." Sakura's stomach clenched at the unexpected praise from Sasuke. She hadn't noticed that he and Naruto had rejoined them in the chaos.
"Damn right she is," Ino answered, fighting to keep the attention on anything but Sasuke. Her eyes met Sakura's with silent pleading. While Sakura knew what Ino wanted, some things were easier said than done. Sasuke watched them with a smug satisfaction on his face that Sakura couldn't begin to understand as Ino continued. "What will Tsunade say if you leave Hokage-sama injured until tomorrow?"
Kakashi shook his head as Sakura groaned under her breath. She loved Ino, but sometimes the woman went a little overboard with her matchmaking. "Tsunade would say that it's nothing, and no more than I deserve if I can't keep my feet under me. But, if it'll put your mind at ease, I'll get it checked out."
"It would," Ino breathed out, her concern almost palpable. Sakura wondered why the woman didn't become an actress; she certainly had a knack for it. Ino pulled her forward. "There's no time like the present."
Kakashi cast a withering glance at Ino, then faced Sakura. For a moment, the rest of the room disappeared. Even the overwhelming presence of Sasuke shrank to insignificance. The sheepishness that Sakura had noticed earlier had evaporated, replaced by something darker in Kakashi's gaze. Though Sakura couldn't put her finger on it, the expression made chill bumps erupt on her arms. "Would you mind?"
It wasn't the first time that Sakura had healed Kakashi, not by a long shot. But, it was the first time that he'd asked. Sakura's heart did somersaults in her chest. "I don't mind," she breathed, forcing strength into her words. "But, not here. I need somewhere quieter, with better light."
Kakashi inclined his head as if the words made perfect sense. Naruto groaned, his voice turning whiny. "You're going to miss my party? This is the first time we've all been together in years."
"We won't be gone long," Kakashi assured the boy. "Just long enough to satisfy Sakura."
Ino choked on her laugh, eyes shining. Sakura's cheeks flamed crimson at the insinuation. Kakashi either didn't notice or didn't want to draw attention to it. He nodded toward the door. "Come on, let's get this over with, shall we?"
As she and Kakashi emerged from the pub, Sakura drew a breath of the chilly air. Naruto had been the only one to raise an objection to them leaving the party together, but Sakura felt the heat from a dozen gazes as they crossed the room. When they stepped into the street, Sakura's hand slipped out of Kakashi's, and neither made a move to retake it. He stared at the darkness, the stars above, and the benches by the door as they stood under the hazy light of the neon sign.
"I'm sorry that this took you away from the party," Kakashi began with a sigh. When his gaze turned to Sakura, it swept over her body in a way that suggested that he hadn't missed the tiniest facet of Ino's hard work. "You clearly wanted to be there."
"I can always go back later," Sakura answered, knowing that she wouldn't. She didn't want to face Sasuke or Ino after leaving with Kakashi, regardless of what happened next. Kakashi's shoulders seemed to tense at the response, but Sakura wasn't sure if it was her imagination or not. Undeniable nervousness settled in her gut.
Kakashi rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. "You don't really need to look at my shoulder. It's fine, but I needed an excuse to get out of there."
"I know," Sakura agreed. She would have realized if Kakashi was hurt, probably before he did. "But, I gave my word, so we should at least check it."
"Do you want to go to the hospital?" Kakashi moved down the street as he asked the question, forcing Sakura to follow on his heels. He didn't turn back when he continued. "Or, would my apartment be okay? It's closer."
Sakura's breath caught in her throat. She knew where Kakashi's apartment was, of course, but she'd never set foot inside of it. That he'd allow her into his world, even for a moment, stunned her. He continued walking, shoulders tight and hands stuffed into his pockets as he waited for an answer. "Your apartment is fine."
The silence gave Sakura unwanted time to think back over the night's events. She had seen appreciation in more than a few eyes when they noticed the changes that Ino had made, but she couldn't be sure that any of it had registered with Kakashi. He'd said she looked different, not better, not beautiful, just different. That word could mean a million things, or nothing at all. Ino was right though, if Sakura couldn't have Kakashi, she could always go home with someone else. Hell, even Sasuke had noticed and appreciated the extra effort in her appearance. There was only one problem, Sakura didn't want to go home with anyone else.
Sakura nearly walked into Kakashi's back when he stopped in front of her and nodded toward the steps leading up to his apartment. Though she knew it was entirely platonic, Sakura's heart pounded in her throat as she followed him higher. Kakashi unlocked the door, flicked the lights on, and pushed it wider. Sakura slid under his arm and into the room, taking in a million details at once.
Kakashi closed the door behind them and bent to remove his sandals. Sakura admired the smooth stretch of his body for a heartbeat longer than she should have. Tearing her eyes away, she rested one hand on the wall and bent down to unbuckle her heels. It felt good to be out of them, if it was only going to be for a few minutes.
"Does your shoulder hurt at all? They're notoriously fragile as far as joints go." When Kakashi didn't speak, Sakura opened her mouth to repeat the question, then had another idea. Five seconds of insane courage. She took two steps forward and reached for Kakashi's arm, the healing glow surrounding her hands.
When Sakura touched his shoulder, Kakashi startled and jerked away. 'I'm fine," he ground out. "You don't have to—"
"Your heart is pounding," Sakura responded in awe, letting her fingers fall away from his arm. The touch had been brief, but the spike in Kakashi's pulse was obvious.
Kakashi forced a harsh breath through his nose. "You're supposed to be checking my shoulder, not my heart."
Five seconds of insane courage. "Your shoulder," Sakura repeated, trying to think over the blood roaring in her ears. Just five seconds. She reached for the straps of Kakashi's flak vest.
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Chapter 2: Take My Hand And Drag Me Headfirst
Book: The Royal Romance/The Royal Heir
Pairing: Prince/King Liam x MC (Riley Brooks), Drake Walker x OC (Alyssa Devereaux)
Series Premise: Riley Brooks and Alyssa Devereaux became best friends as freshmen at Syracuse University, a borderline-sisterhood that lasts forever after. When Riley meets a handsome prince and is asked to compete for his hand in a mysterious faraway kingdom, she invites Alyssa along for moral support.
What the girls think will be a crazy temporary adventure becomes two sets of happily ever afters … with twice the shenanigans to show for it.
A/N: This series is written in loving collaboration between @bbrandy2002 and @burnsoslow.
Series Warnings: Smut 🍋🍋, language, canon violence (gun violence, bombing, terrorism), drug use, probably more stuff as we think of it. By reading this series, you agree that you are at least 18 years old and are prepared to deal with adult themes.
Thank you @burnsoslow for the beta and putting some of your magical finishing touches where needed.
Chapter 3 will be written by @burnsoslow , I’m so excited for that!!
Propped against the railing of the rear deck of a small tugboat in the middle of the Hudson River, the warmth of Liam’s arms wrapped around her from behind, Riley thought back to the words Daniel spoke to her earlier about fairytales and happy endings. Maybe it was the hope in his voice she needed to hear during a vulnerable moment to lift her spirits, but she was really starting to believe them herself.
The newly fired, down-on-her-luck Riley Brooks had left the Tapped Out Bar with a mysterious man that she plowed over during an escape from rats while taking out the garbage. A little while later, she accidentally attacked him again in the alleyway of her former employment with her sad little stick. They struck up a conversation, and through some awkward stalling on his part, he finally worked up the nerve to ask her out for a drink.
Riley wasn’t someone who normally took off with random guys she just met to flit about the city, but there was just something about Liam that was different -- that was special.
Call it intuition. An inclination. Instinct or inkling. Whatever it was, was a possibility. Of what? That remained to be seen.
After talking to his friends about his plans, and at her behest, the pair headed west on foot until they reached a busy late-night cafe that overlooked the choppy waters of the New York harbor. Sitting on the open deck, moonlight cascading off the ripples of the sea, a light jazz tune playing through the outdoor speakers, they talked for over an hour about everything and nothing, while sipping coffee and plucking at a large cinnamon roll they shared. It was the most Riley had spoken in a long time. When you live with and are friends with the more outgoing Alyssa, you learn to appreciate the fine art of listening. She spoke about her dads, her friends, places she traveled to and what not. All very light, casual conversation. Liam mentioned he had family, his country of origin, how much he was enjoying New York, but never revealed too much.
Not wanting to sound too whiny and pathetic, she stuck with the positive things in her life; she surprised even herself that there were a lot more than she realized. But he captivated her in a real way that made it so easy. Liam laughed with her and made her feel interesting and personable; maybe even desired.
And as the night carried on and the patrons of the cafe dwindled down, a Miles Davis tune began to play: “Blue and Green.” A bright smile tugged on the corner of Liam’s lips as he pushed his chair back and rose from the table to offer his hand. “My lady.”
Riley looked around the deck to see if anyone else was dancing -- they weren’t -- but how could she say no?
She didn’t want to say no.
Beside their little round table and under a string of hanging white pearly lights and garland, they slowly swayed together like it was the most natural thing in the world. It was chemistry in motion with every soft blare of the trumpet, rhythmic taps on the snare drum, and light pitter pats on a piano played in G major. The tempo was leisurely and elegant, creating the perfect ambience for the feelings that were stirring within them.
With her head resting snugly against his firm chest, the thrumming of his steadily-beating heart reverberating in her ear, Liam revealed, “I’m the Crown Prince of Cordonia, Riley.”
Never breaking their stride, Liam lifted one of her tiny arms in the air and twirled her around gracefully. Riley smiled up at him as they returned to formation; their hands intertwined between them. “And I’m one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
Liam laughed as they continued their gentle side-to-side movements. “I know it sounds crazy, but I’m not lying to you. Perhaps I should have been a little more upfront with you from the beginning, but I’m normally not allowed to go out without the Royal Guard.” He paused for a moment to lower her into a deep dip, sensually inhaling the perfumed scent around her decolletage, before pulling her back into his arms. “And I was only allowed out on the condition that I kept my identity a secret. But, just for one day … I wanted to be free.”
It was one of the most romantic nights Riley had ever experienced in her life, but as the music continued to play, their steps gliding in sync, she nuzzled her cheek against his firm body and responded, “You’re so full of shit.”
Liam pulled away, amused by her choice of words and disbelief. “After I told you all of that, you still think I’m lying?”
Riley shrugged. “I dunno.” She casually pulled out her chair under his watchful eye and sat down, crossing her legs. Lifting a coffee mug to her lips, she winced at its cold temperature, and the fact that she hated coffee. “So, I’m not really into the whole role-playing thing, but if you’re gonna be this ... Prince of Condomania, how about if I play the sultry villainess spy who comes to steal the treasures from your castle and you catch me in the act?” She batted her eyelashes and splayed her hands across her chest. “I will neva surrenda, Prince Liam. If you wont me, you’ll haf to take me right heya.” Riley animatedly flung her arms out and arched back over her chair.
Liam knit his brow. “What the hell kind of accent is that?”
Riley sat up and smiled proudly. “It’s Cajun. I have this friend and I really like how he talks; it’s so sexy. Do you think it sounded convincing at all? Maybe a little too nasally? You want me to try to do your accent next?”
With a grin, Liam shook his head and took the seat across from her. “You’re something else, you know that?”
She sighed. “That’s what they tell me.”
Reaching into his jacket pocket, Riley watched curiously as Liam pulled out his phone and began typing something on it. He held it out to her. “I want you to look at this, Cajun Villainess Spy. Tell me what you think?”
“Oh God, you’re gonna show me a dick pic, aren’t you?” Riley slammed her eyes shut as she reluctantly reached for his cell, but sort of peeked out one eye.
“Eh, no. That’s never really been my style.” He gestured insistently for her to look at the screen as he sat back and crossed his arms. “I think you’ll find everything you want to know about me right there.”
It only took her a second to study the images and gloss over the text he pulled up, but a satisfied smirk formed on Liam’s charmed features while watching her eyes grow larger. Riley jumped up from her chair, the momentum causing it to tip over. “Why didn’t you tell me you were a real prince?”
Liam guffawed, “I did!”
“No, you didn’t! You had I’m joking written all over your face. How was I supposed to know your serious face and your joke face look the same?” She tossed the phone back to him like it was molten iron scorching her palm. “I’d rather have the dick pic.”
After picking up her tipped-over chair and getting settled again, she took a moment to just process the identity of the man she had spent the last couple of hours talking and dancing with. Her real-life Prince Charming. This incredibly sweet, hot guy sipping coffee in front of her was part of a royal family, and she was an unemployed everything. What on earth possessed him to want to spend time with the likes of her?
She looked up from her fidgeting fingers that were picking at the green fabric covering her thighs and smiled softly at him. “I’m sorry I overreacted. It’s just …”
“A lot to learn about someone? No, no, I get it. I probably would have had the same reaction if I were you.”
“So ... what happens now?”
What happened next was what led them to the boat they were on for an impromptu midnight ride to see the Statue of Liberty.
Liam laid out the details of his situation: He was a prince visiting New York City with his friends who were throwing him a last-minute bachelor party. Riley listened attentively while he explained his upcoming social season: not knowing yet who he was going to marry, but that duty required him to take a wife by the end of the year. He had hoped while he was in the city to visit its most famous statue; however, his friends hadn’t planned for it. Riley heard the disappointment in his voice and it tugged at her heart.
It was definitely too late to catch one of the many tours that traveled to Ellis Island during the day, but Riley was determined to do what she could to make it happen for him. Part of her was motivated by the fact that she liked him a lot and enjoyed his company; he was charming and refined, different from anyone she’d ever met. The longer she got to spend with Liam and got to know him, the better. But there was also this other part that felt sorry for him. Riley could see the struggle in his eyes and the weight on his shoulders between what he wanted to do, and what his position forced his hand to do. In her mind it was clear that Liam was the kind of guy who got everything -- except what he wanted.
In some ways, she knew the feeling.
To Liam’s surprise, Riley assured him she would find a way for him to see that statue. So, while he paid the tab, her mind raced with how the hell she was going to pull this off. And just before the actual possibility of having to hijack a vessel began to fully take shape in her mind, she pulled out her phone in one last-ditch effort to not break the law. Riley knew no one who owned a boat, but there was one person in her life that seemingly had a connection to everyone in the damn city.
Riley bit at her fingernails as the phone rang, glancing over her shoulder once to watch Liam paying the cashier. “Come on, come on. Pick up. Pick up.”
“Alyssa,” Riley whispered in an urgent tone into the phone, unclear whether her friend would even hear her over the party music and raucous chatter that was blaring in the background. “I need your help with something.”
“Riiiiley!” she slurred. “My bestie. My sister from another parents. I love you soooo much. More than everyone in the whole wide ... something. Hey, guys! Riley’s on the phone; say hi to her!”
“Wait, Lyss! No.”
A loud chorus of drunken greetings could be heard through the receiver as Alyssa held it up in the air.
“Alyssa!” Riley repeated in frustration while listening to her best friend start another conversation with a partygoer about the perfect symmetrical shape of the cheese cube she just ate. Apparently, it looked like a “tiny little house, for teeny, tiny little cheese people.”
Riley smacked her forehead. “Alyssa!”
Liam returned from paying the bill, his hands stuffed in his pockets and bouncing on his heels. He raised his eyebrows at Riley as if asking eagerly whether she was ready to head out on this adventure she told him she would make possible. Riley smiled back and raised a finger, indicating she’d be ready in a moment. Panic started to set in as she cursed under her breath and continued to try to get her friend back on the call. “Lyss.”
“Riley,” Alyssa laughed. “You’re still on the phone? No way! Hey, guys! Riley’s still on the phone. Say ‘hey’ to her!”
“NOO! Please, Alyssa, I need your help.”
“Whatcha need, Ri? You know I’ll do aaaanything for you.”
“Ok, do you remember when you caught our dorm room on fire senior year cooking ramen noodles in the microwave, and all my stuff burned up?”
“That checks. Sure.”
“Well, it’s time to pay up on that favor you said you’d owe me.”
Somehow, the planets must have been aligned just right, because a very inebriated Alyssa comprehended Riley’s request enough to talk to Damien about it and have it actually make sense. Luckily, the private detective knew a guy who drove a tugboat for the Port Authority working the night shift and was more than willing to see what he could do for Alyssa’s best friend.
Riley felt Liam’s arms tighten around her waist as the Statue of Liberty came into view. She had seen the landmark more times than she could remember in her life; perhaps she had become so accustomed to it being there that she took for granted how it would affect someone seeing it for the first time. It wasn’t until she twisted around in his arms to view his reaction, to see this beacon of freedom reflecting in his mesmerized eyes, that it all made sense. Liam was a beautiful man with a beautiful soul; if anyone deserved this moment to reflect on what it truly meant to embrace the freedom he longed for, it was him.
“What are you thinking, Liam?” She broke the silence.
He shook his head in wonderment. “It’s magnificent, Riley. I’ve heard art has meaning because of what it makes the viewer feel. Whether it’s ink splatters on a canvas or on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, it only matters if it moves you.”
Liam let out a sigh of contentment and lowered his gaze to her. “And right now, looking at this view with you … I feel like … anything is possible.”
“I feel that way too.” She slowly nodded, finding herself lost in his eyes, his voice, his embrace. Nothing in this moment mattered to her anymore: the long stream of bad luck, the crappy job she just lost, her epic failures at relationships. They all seemed to just wistfully fly out into the ocean and bury themselves below its sandy bottom.
Wrapped in each other's arms, surrounded by the salty sea air and a skyline full of hopes and dreams, Liam pulled her as close to himself as she would go, his other hand moving up to caress the side of her face. Both searched longingly into each other's eyes, waiting for the other to make that next big move.
Feeling an awakening of courage and fire in the depths of her fluttering stomach, she threw all fears and caution to the wind. Riley grasped on to the lapels of Liam’s jacket and gently lowered him to her eagerly awaiting lips.
The kiss was tender and brief, but magical; it left her spellbound. Riley could swear she floated out of her body and traveled into the clouds that blanketed above them and enveloped her wholly.
Liam rested his forehead on Riley’s; his hands reached down to grasp hers and swing freely alongside them. “You’re full of surprises tonight, Riley.”
“Is that before or after I knocked you out earlier?”
He chucked, rubbing the bump on the back of his head. “Both times. I’m certainly not sorry about either, though. I’ll never forget this night … or you.”
If you have a concussion, you might. She smiled up at him, “Me either.”
As their boat rounded the island, Riley took one last glance back at the statue that now represented so much more in her mind. Her gaze traveled across the expanse of the gleaming torch, down the long arm of the statue, over to the dim lights shining through the glass within the crown. Something caught her attention -- an odd movement -- and she couldn’t help but squint real hard to make out the image that was quite small from her vantage point. She tilted her head, trying to figure out what the hell she was seeing before it finally became clearer to her. She let out a loud gasp. “Oh my God!”
From behind, Liam leaned down next to her face. “What’s wrong?” he asked curiously, trying to match his view with her line of sight. “What are you seeing?”
Riley pointed up. “I see ass cheeks!” she replied in disgust. “And not just any ass cheeks … big, gigantic ones smooshed right up against the window. There’s two people up there just going at it and … oh, no wait, she just got turned around. Yep, yep, those look like boobies now. Who does that kind of thing, having sex where anyone could just see? And in the Statue of Liberty, of all places?”
Letting out a forced cough then clearing his throat, Liam squeezed Riley’s shoulders several times and laughed awkwardly. “Yeah, I know. Sick freaks, huh?”
The pair watched the display for a second longer than they should have before turning to look at one another, blushing and smiling sheepishly. Riley only hoped she played off her disgust well enough that he didn’t realize she was a sick freak too.
Liam looked away, hoping the same.
It was well past midnight.The Brooklyn streets were mostly bare, with only the occasional late-night dweller cruising the sidewalks or a yellow cab making its weekend rounds. Just a stone's throw across the bridge, the city that never slept, with its flashing lights and bustling tourist, lay in deep contrast to this quiet residential district that was only lit up at that hour by street lamps and halogen headlights.
Riley considered where she lived to be a fairly safe neighborhood. Crime and lawlessness weren’t unheard of, but it was rare for that area. Like many women of her young age, walking alone in the dark wasn’t something she usually set out to do unless she had no other choice. That’s why when Liam insisted he accompany her the few blocks from where they finished their excursion to see her home safely, she was more than willing to oblige him.
“This is my stop. Home sweet home.” Riley stopped at the bottom of the stairs that led to the entrance of her building and turned to Liam. She looked more gleeful than she actually was.
He glanced up at the plain red brick building. It was nothing special, but he made a mental note of the address numbers over its clear glass entryway. He knew it was unlikely he’d ever see her again, but on the off-chance, maybe someday if he was ever in the neighborhood … no, he thought … there’s no point in going there. “I see that ...it’s nice.”
Riley looked at him with a hopeful expression. “I know you said you had an early flight in the morning, but … if you’d like to come up …”
“I wish I could, Riley. Trust me, I want to more than you know; however, the limo will be here soon with my friends, and ...” he swept a strand of blowing hair from her face, memorizing her every feature. “... I don’t want to make this harder on either one of us.”
Nodding, Riley gave a half-smile. “I understand.”
They stared at one another for a moment, hoping to prolong the inevitable. “Come here, you.” Liam pulled her into him and wrapped his arms around her. ”I can never thank you enough for everything tonight, Riley. I’m so glad I ran into you. Well ... actually you ran into me.” Riley let out a soft laugh that made his heart skip a beat. “You were the best part of my trip, Riley. I mean it.”
Before they knew it, the limo pulled up alongside the sidewalk in front of Riley’s apartment. Both felt a sinking feeling, knowing this was the end, and embraced a little tighter as the squeak of the limo’s brakes dulled and the awaiting engine ran in the silent backdrop.
Riley drew in a breath, the heels of her shoes tapping one another. “I guess this is goodbye?”
Frowning, Liam’s palms moved up to her face and rested along her jawline. “I’m afraid it looks that way.” He leaned down and kissed her gently, her arms winding around the back of his neck to hold him there for as long as she possibly could.
Knowing if he didn’t end it there, it never would, Liam broke their kiss, stroking his hand through her hair and said, “Take care, Riley.”
She smiled back. “You too, Liam.”
Not wanting to leave until he was sure she made it inside safely, Liam watched from the sidewalk while Riley slowly made her way up the concrete steps, scouring through her bag as she did so. When she reached the top, she stepped in front of the locked door, frantically digging and shaking her bag in search of the keys to get in.
“Everything okay up there?” Liam called up to her as she knelt down and started frantically tossing items from her purse, slamming them down next to her feet: wallet, cell phone, lip gloss, ink pens, breath mints, hand sanitizer, a half-eaten bag of skittles, a box cutter she didn’t know she had, a marshmallow bunny from Easter, Midol, tampons …
“Mother fuck,” she grumbled in frustration to herself before yelling back cheerfully, “Yes, just looking for my keys. They’re always at the bottom,” she laughed, trying to make light of it.
“They’re in your hand, Riley,” she heard him point out when she finally gazed down into her hand and slowly opened her palm. Liam let out a laugh when he saw her face twist up, realizing she had them the entire time.
“Get out of here. You said you didn’t want to make this harder.” Riley began stuffing everything back into her bag.
He continued to laugh as he threw his hands up and stepped away. “I’m going.”
As soon as she unlocked the door and walked inside to the lit-up entryway, she heard the limo pull away. Everything in her wanted to look back in hopes he’d stayed behind by some chance and was walking up those steps, approaching the door, wanting her to let him in. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath; the greatest guy she’d ever met was gone, and the only way to see him again would require a Google search.
In her mind, though, she had made a prince’s dream come true. Maybe she wasn’t half bad after all.
In a huge way, Liam did the same for her. Too bad he would never know it.
Riley opened the door and stepped inside her dark apartment, closing it behind her. After such a long day, feeling a little disheartened, all she wanted to do was slip into some comfy night clothes, wash her face, brush her teeth and crash until next week. Taking two steps away from the door, her foot caught on something and she went flying forward, landing with a hard thud to the floor.
It felt like the wind had been knocked right out of her chest when she hit the ground. “Son-of-a--?” She pushed herself up on her knees, shook out her sore hands, then reached over to flip the light switch on.
“Alyssa?” Riley whispered.
Lying on the ground, curled into a peaceful little ball, was her roommate, still in the same clothes she last saw her in, hands pressed together and tucked under her cheek like a sleeping cherub. Riley crawled over to Alyssa, swept her hair out of her face, and checked for breathing. The strong smell of alcohol emanated from her tiny sighs -- Alyssa wasn’t a heavy drinker.
Concerned, Riley jiggled her arm. “Sweetie, are you okay?”
An angelic murmur was the only answer to her question.
Not wanting to leave her on the floor, Riley stood up and bent down, her hands grasping both of Alyssa’s wrists before she pulled her down their hallway as gently as she could and stepped into her best friend's bedroom.
Huffing out of breath, she made it next to Alyssa’s bed. Riley crouched down and tried to lift her onto the mattress, but Alyssa was dead weight. Maybe she had no other choice but to leave her there.
Riley pulled a blanket and pillow from the bed, rolled Alyssa to her side, and got her as comfortable as she could. After placing a wastebasket next to her friend and leaving a bottled water on the night table, she patted her back. “I have so many things to tell you in the morning, Lyss. You’d be so proud of me.” Riley swallowed down the emotions that had threatened to escape since she realized Liam had left for good. Her voice broken and feeble, she continued, “I took that risk. I was fearless, just like you told me to be. It didn’t work out the way I had hoped, but …” she sniffled through a small smile, blinking back tears. “... I have no regrets.”
Riley rose to her feet and headed for the door when she heard a faint voice call out from behind that stopped her in her tracks. “Ri?”
She turned her head. “Hmm?”
“I’m always proud of you.”
Switching the light off, Riley smiled back at her friend, who still appeared to be resting in a calm slumber. “I know. Good night, bestie.”
The next morning, just as the sun had peeked from behind the clouds and the air was fresh with newness and warmth, Riley woke. Today would differ from every day before. She didn’t want to lie in bed all day and dwell on what-might-have-beens or how her life was a dead end to nowhere. She was determined she wanted something more out of it -- whatever that may be.
Slipping on a pair of trainers, running tights and a long sleeve shirt, she pulled her hair up in a high ponytail and headed out.
She made it two blocks before collapsing on a bench, gasping for air, and flipping off a kid on a bike who was laughing and taunting her.
After five more blocks of running and taking a break at nearly every bench or stoop along the way -- that same jerky kid still deriding her as he circled around each block -- Riley made her way back to her building, hunched over and sweaty. She didn’t jog as far as she’d liked to, but she made the effort, for which she was pleased with herself.
It also didn’t hurt that there was a mouthy kid out there somewhere with two flat bicycle tires, crying to his mom, that was giving her a new boost of life.
Reaching for the door of her building, she chuckled to herself thinking about his pouty little face -- haha, sucks to be you, kid -- when someone yelled out her name.
“Shit,” she panicked, thinking the boy’s parents had found her and had come to beat her ass. Riley fumbled with her keys, trying to make a quick getaway inside.
“Hey, Riley! Stop.” The voice sounded oddly familiar, and curiosity couldn’t stop her from whipping her head around to take a quick peek. She instantly recognized the man who was racing up the stairs towards her, from the bar. He was one of the guys from Liam’s party last night who helped after the collision.
Pulling the keys from the lock and gripping the pepper spray attached to them, she jumped back when he suddenly hopped up next to her like a fireball of energy.
“Riley. I’m so glad I caught up with you. I’m Maxwell -- we met last night -- and this is Rashad.” He pointed over his shoulder. The man gave a simple nod in return. “He was there, too.”
Her brows knit in confusion. “Oookay. You both aren’t here by chance upset over a couple of slashed bike tires, are you? Because that wasn’t me. I saw who did it, though, if you need a witness statement.” Riley’s eyes shifted around, looking for a person to match her fake would-be description.
Maxwell shook his head with a chuckle and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, her gaze falling to it. “Nah, I came to talk to you about Liam. You’re all he could talk about when he got back to the hotel last night. He went on and on about the cafe, and the trip to the Statue of Liberty, and how beautiful you are ...”
“He -- he did?” She was pleasantly surprised, her heart bursting at his words.
“Yeah. We’re heading back to Cordonia so Liam can find someone to marry and all that jazz. But before I go, I wanted to officially extend to you an invitation to join us for the festivities in Cordonia. Sooo … is there somewhere we can talk?”
“You want me to do what?” Riley jumped up from the sofa, her eyes wide and mouth gaping as she gawked back at Maxwell, who was sitting at the far end. Her trembling hand shot to her forehead before she paced back and forth. “Let me get this straight. You want to sponsor me to compete to marry a man I just met last night? And not just any man, a prince. You’re going to fly me halfway across the world -- You could be the Official Royal Serial Killer, for all I know -- then prance me around like some beauty pageant contestant? And all I have to do is say ‘yes to the dress’ that you can’t afford? Just hop right on a plane with two strange men, huh? How naïve do I look to you?” Riley paused for a second. “Don’t answer that.”
“I’m not doing it for you. I saw how Liam looked at you last night at the bar, and later when he returned from your date. I’ve never seen him that happy before. Honestly, I don’t want him to lose that. We’re kinda crunched for time, though. I’ve got a plane leaving in an hour.”
“An hour?” Riley questioned as she plopped down on the coffee table, her back to Maxwell and the guy in the chair across the room who hadn’t said a word the whole time. It was a once-in-a-lifetime offer to travel somewhere new and exciting and literally rub elbows with royalty. To live out that fairytale that most girls could only dream of. But more importantly, it was a way to see Liam again, and she wanted to so badly … if Maxwell was indeed telling the truth.
Even if nothing came of it, there was no job tying her down anymore. Her dad had just gotten married to her stepfather and stayed busy as a chef for Beyonce and Jay-Z, so he would be fine, and she had enough money in savings to pay her portion of the rent while she was gone and expenses for her travels. There was just one thing she would insist on.
Riley spun around on the table, her eyes flashing between the two men. “I will do this -- on one condition.”
Maxwell clapped his hands excitedly. “Yes! Just name it and it’s yours.”
“Max.” Rashad leaned forward in his chair, his elbows pressed into his knees. “You don’t even know what she wants yet.”
“I’m getting to that.” Maxwell turned to her with an arched brow. “Okay, Riley. What is your condition?”
She hadn’t even asked Alyssa yet, but Riley steepled her fingers and volunteered her, anyway. “My roommate has to go with me.”
“What -- Really?”
“Sure. She can ride the jet back with us and I’ll even help her find a good hotel room nearby so you two can visit … if you’re able to find time in between all the competitions, balls, traveling, lessons, and what not. It’ll be great!”
Riley shook her head adamantly, not willing to budge on the issue. “No! I want Alyssa there for all of those things. If I even have the slightest chance of being a serious contender and a fully functioning human being, I need someone there to make sure I don’t do anything stupid … and I will … a lot. Plus, she’s my best friend, and I’m not doing this without her.”
Feeling the pressure to relent and the seconds ticking away until takeoff, Maxwell’s shoulders slumped, taking in Riley’s pleading expression. “I -- I don’t know what to do. Your friend would have to be sponsored also in order to stay with you. She would have to be a suitor and compete for Liam’s hand just like you and all the other ladies, and there can only be one sponsee for each noble house. If you’re our pick, then she would need to have someone of nobility who doesn’t have a suitor yet and knows it’s all a ... ruse …” he trailed off, grinning impishly, as an idea suddenly popped into his head. Maxwell’s gaze swept across the room and landed on his friend, Rashad, who had a deer-in-the-headlights look, knowing exactly what he was getting at.
“Oh no. Leave me out of this,” he insisted while waving his hands back and forth. “This is all on you, Maxwell.”
“No, don’t say that yet.” Riley sprang to her feet and grabbed a picture frame from a nearby table, falling to her knees in front of Rashad to beg. “This is Alyssa.” She cheerfully pointed her friend out in the picture, delighted when the Lord of Domvallier’s eyes grew and seemed more than intrigued. “She’s not only beautiful, charming, and supportive, but she’s the smartest person I know. Everyone just loves her. And even though she won’t want to win because of me, she’ll represent your house with the greatest of integrity and propriety. I swear it.”
“It’s for Liam,” Maxwell interjected, wagging his brows. “Imagine how grateful he’ll be when he finds out your part in making this happen for him.”`
Rashad let out a heavy groan. “Max, you know I would do anything for a friend -- especially Liam -- but it’s not that simple. There’s a reason why Domvallier opted not to have a suitor join this season: I have business dealings in California that coincide with some of the competitions. And with Mother’s and Father’s health in decline, I couldn’t possibly burden them with traveling and overseeing a suitor. It just wouldn’t work.”
Riley turned to Maxwell. “Well … couldn’t she just hang out with us most of the time? It’s not like she’d be in it to win it, anyway.”
“I don’t see why not.” Maxwell shrugged. “We all travel and stay together for the most part anyway.” He glanced over at Rashad, who could do nothing but stare at the two of them bouncing like eager children with big cheshire grins, while he literally decided the fate of a woman who had no idea she had just been volunteered to “pretend” compete for the hand of a prince the entire summer, in another country, and had to board a plane in just under an hour.
Rashad sighed and took the photo from Riley’s hand, giving it a quick glance. He was definitely smitten by the bright, blue-eyed woman with the big dimpled smile and wouldn’t mind getting to know her better, particularly if she was everything described to him. “I should have gone with Drake back to the plane.” He shook his head and handed the photo back to Riley. “Can’t believe I’m doing this, but --”
Before he even finished his thought, Maxwell and Riley leaped to their feet to celebrate, whooping and howling around him, ruffling his jet black hair, hugging, and clapping him several times on the chest.
“What’s going on?”
The three of them whipped their heads around at the raspy-sounding voice that caught their attentions.
“Lyss!” Riley’s eyes lit up at the sight of her best friend standing there; she couldn’t wait to share all the good news with her. Maxwell, and particularly Rashad’s, jaws dropped at the sight before them. They both did a double take of the picture in the frame and then back to the petite brunette who wore a rumpled party dress, was missing one flat shoe, and sported smudged mascara under her sunken eyes and hair flying in every direction.
Riley moved over to Alyssa, placing a gentle hand on her arm with a smile. “Alyssa. These gentlemen are from Cordonia -- It’s somewhere you need a plane ride for. This is Lord Maxwell Beaumont.” She gestured and received a wave back. “And this is Lord Rashad of Doberman Pinscher,” she stated in a posh accent.
“Domvallier,” he corrected, stunned and still unable to take his eyes off his new suitor.
“Lords?” she questioned in a feeble tone; Riley nodded back at her.
Alyssa smiled at the two strangers, then lowered her head and curtsied like she was wearing a ball gown before them. “How do you do? Welcome to House Devereaux-Brooks. It’s so kind of you to stop by and make our acquaintances. Please do make yourselves at home.” She straightened back up and immediately turned to Riley. “I’m dying. Where’s the Advil?”
Riley insisted Alyssa have a seat while she retrieved the Advil and a glass of water for her. Feeling that was a fair deal, Alyssa stumbled over to the couch, accidentally stepping on Maxwell, who held onto her arms and helped her the rest of the way. When she was seated, she leaned forward, rubbing soothing circles around her temples, willing the room to stop spinning. Riley shuffled back with two pills and a cool bottle of water, and handed them to Alyssa, who hastily threw back and chugged nearly the entire thing. She couldn’t remember a time when she felt so thirsty.
No one knew really how to respond just yet. Rashad conferred in hushed tones with Maxwell, as Alyssa kept her eyes closed for a moment, taking in slow, deep breaths. Everything from head to toe ached and throbbed.
Finally, she smacked her still-dry mouth and announced, “Okay, I’m going back to bed. Goodnight, everyone. It was so nice to meet you all.” She moved to the edge of the sofa when Riley pressed lightly on her shoulders, holding her back.
“Wait a minute, Lyss. I have something I want to talk to you about.”
Lowering the shades in the living room to block the sun from Alyssa’s sensitive eyes, Riley began to explain how she met Liam at the bar last night and was asked to go out for a drink with him. Alyssa nodded her head slowly as she followed along, somewhat remembering their phone conversation about the date, how he was a prince, and the Statue of Liberty -- Lyss was proud of herself for being a part of making that happen. The next of their conversation continued on to Liam returning to his country for the social season in which he was expected to find someone to marry by the end of the summer. “I’m so sorry he had to leave, but what does any of this have to do with you, Ri?”
Riley glanced over her shoulder. “That’s where these two guys come in.”
Alyssa followed her friend’s gaze then shook her head. “I’m not following.”
“Maxwell wants to sponsor me to travel to Cordonia to compete for Liam. And we leave in an hour. Yay!” She raised her arms in a V, trying to garner excitement from her roommate, knowing she’d probably freak out.
And she did. “YOU CAN’T GO TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY! FOR ALL YOU KNOW THESE GUYS ARE SERIAL KILLERS OR SEX TRAFFICKERS!” Alyssa looked at Rashad and smiled shyly. “Not you, of course.” She then eyed Maxwell. “Probably him.”
“I know, I know. But that’s kinda, sorta where you come in.” Riley’s eyes danced around the room while tugging on the hem of her shirt.
“What do you mean?”
Maxwell checked the time on his phone as Riley laid out the details, point by point, to her friend, who guzzled the last bit of her water as she found out she had basically been enlisted into becoming a suitor as well. Alyssa spit out her water. “WHAT?”
Rashad sighed and looked for paper towels to dry off his lap.
Taking in Alyssa’s bug-eyed stare, Riley scrambled to make the whole situation sound more appealing to her.
“There’s skiing --”
“You know I can’t ski.”
“There’s ice skating --”
“Are you trying to break both of my ankles at the same time?”
“There’s horseback riding --”
“Oh, God, horses?”
Alyssa started to complain before stopping herself. “Okay, that doesn’t sound so bad. But still, Ri --”
“Please, Alyssa,” Riley pleaded, her still-small voice just above a whisper. She sat down on the coffee table again, across from her friend, eyes glassy. “I would never ask you to do something so big for me. But, I want you there … I need you there. This … this is the guy, Lyss. He’s the one.”
Seeing the hopeful expression staring back at her, Alyssa’s heart sank. She set aside the empty bottle and leaned forward, placing a compassionate hand on Riley’s. “First of all, you don’t need me. You’re more than capable of doing this on your own. I mean, give yourself a little credit … you landed a prince.” They both let out soft laughs before she continued. “But, secondly, you know I’m a hopeless romantic. So if this is the only way you’ll go … count me in.”
As the two of them hugged and Riley expressed her fervent thanks, Maxwell cleared his throat and interrupted their happy moment. The girls turned to him as he stated, “I hate to break all of this up -- I really do. This is like the totally awesome stuff I live for -- but we’re pressed for time now. Our friend Drake is already on the plane waiting and isn’t above leaving without us.”
“Oh good. Doesn’t he sound like a little ray of sunshine?” Alyssa scoffed, causing Riley to snicker and drawing half a smirk from Rashad.
The guys headed down to the limo while the girls rummaged through their rooms, stuffing as many of their things as they could possibly fit into suitcases and bags. After taking turns getting quick showers, being vigilant of the time, they double checked to make sure they had what they needed for an extended trip, planning to call friends and family on the drive to the airport to let them know where they would be.
Alyssa slipped on a pair of sunglasses as she stepped into the hallway, while Riley locked the door to their apartment behind them. “And you’re sure this Liam is worth all this?”
Riley regarded her thoughtfully before letting out a contented sigh, “Yeah. He’s worth it.”
Alyssa shrugged and pushed the sunglasses higher on her nose. “Well, if we don’t die, we’ll have a hell of a story to tell.”
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The Akatsuki actively work for a better world where kids don't have to die for the mistakes grown ups make. Lots of headcanons about characters ahead too. Hope you enjoy :3
(Brief mention of abuse in Hidans bc abusers land on Hidans chopping block)
Nagato, Yahiko (fuck it he lives idc) and Konan experienced first hand what war can do to a country and its inhabitants. They don't want anymore of that to happen. They don't want other kids having to live their lives like they had to. Actively build orphanages where war orphans are protected first and foremost. They are the most innocent participants in a war after all.
Kakuzu is old. He knows how people work, he knows how certain scenarios work out. He wants economic stability. A system in which no one has to fight for leftover scraps like he had to as a kid while some rich people chill somewhere stuffing themselves. Kakuzu says fuck capitalism and overthrow the system if its not benefitting the masses.
The path of Jashin is a violent one, no doubt but the people that meet their fate on Hidan's blade deserve it. No one deserves abuse, the power imbalance that the system brings forth installs a sense of false superiority where the only thing they can do is take. Hidan is bad with words but he makes sure that every asshole is sacrificed to his lord that grants him immortality so he can continue doing so until the end of time. The vigilant makes sure that the people end up in a support system and don't have to wait until one comes around like he had to. Hidan says end abuse.
Sasori hates being alone. He may be a man that can kill his enemies in mere seconds, but loneliness is something he fears. He would never admit it to anyone and no one asks. But the small puppets many orphans carry around and hold dearly certainly didn't make themselves. They bring them comfort and joy and sometimes the nice scary red headed man comes around and makes them dance for them. They are something to hold onto. Their parents may be gone but they still have each other. And that's a whole other family entirely. One that Sasori would never admit to having found in the Akatsuki.
Deidara always stuck out. Too loud, to bothersome for anyone to care or handle properly, merely dubbed a misfit with no interest in supporting him. He knows what its like for no one to care about one as an individual, only about their use to society. Art is his passion, its important to him and he encourages others to do the same. No matter what kind of weird or niche interest a kid may have, Deidara supports it 100%. He wants them to feel loved, valued and appreciated for their efforts, he wants them to continue being their most authentic selves, he wants them to know that they more than what they can give.
The Monster of the Hidden Mist. The Tailless Bijuu. Kisame knows what its like to be feared. Hated for your mere existence, hated for the circumstances of your birth you were unable to do anything about. Kisame realizes late in his life that hate leads nowhere. The Akatsuki make him realize that people can only grow with love. When people are believed to be good they can become good. No one should be hated for reasons they can't do anything against, Kisame thinks as he kidnaps the Gaara and Naruto away from their abusive villages to give them a better home.
Itachi was a child. He was a child when he first killed someone. Itachi is a machine meant for destruction. The Akatsuki make him realize that that simply just isn't the case. He is still a child. A terrified hurt little child caught in the game of adults who don't have anything better to do than destroy. A scared little child with blood on his hands and a terrifying legacy left behind. And he is allowed to be a child. He may be 14 but he is still allowed to sink into Konan and Yahikos arms and cry as he realizes what he has done. He may have the weight of the world on his shoulders but its a weight he doesn't have to lift alone anymore. And Itachi is determined to end this sick game of power once and for all.
Love is without a doubt the greatest power. Obito is a man made of love. Lost love, gained love, its a philosophy he breathes and embodies. Obito is idealistic. He believes in hope. A hope Rin had died to protect. Protect her loved ones. Him. Kakashi. The world. And Obito continues that. Its why he founded the Akastuki. A world created from despair can only yield hope as hope is born from despair. And Obito vows to nurture that crop so it may blossom into a tree, their efforts carrying fruit. Obito wanted to become the Hokage as a kid. But what is a king to a fallen kingdom sitting on a throne of deceit in lies?
The world needs to change. The Akatsuki are the change. No more useless death, no more despair, no more hate. Akatsuki. The new dawn. The daybreak for the dark Shinobi world.
I was already crying on sasori, you didn't have to go that hard with itachi and everyone else too on god 😭😭😔😔
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