cant stop thinking of brenner stranger things’s quote abt the nina opera in relation to sora kingdom hearts forgetting riku’s sacrifice/death I am fr mentally ill
Intentional - Part 1
Pairing: Bang Chan x Reader (she/her)
Summary: Landing your first real job at JYPE was something short of a miracle. You were prepared to face the new struggles of this elusive career whilst moving to a new country, however, nothing could have prepared you for him. Will stolen glances, secret touches, and hushed nights spent in the recording room ever be enough for the both of you?
Genre: idol!bang chan au, forbidden relationship, coworkers to eventual lovers, slow burn
Warnings: none right now, eventual smut,
Word Count: 7.3k
A/N: hey yall this is my first ff im posting on tumblr :D im kinda scared to post but i hope anybody who stumbles on lil ol’ me will join me along the way :) also important!!! i made oc/reader asian cus i am lol (and this whole thing is basically a glorified self insert) so plz keep this in mind when reading!! oh god i didnt realize how slow this first part was sry...
The cold silence of the room felt like stabs at your inside. You commanded your feet to stop bouncing up and down as you unconsciously started to bite off the dead skin of your bottom lip. The white corporate light from above reflected off your brand new lanyard hanging delicately from your neck. You felt the coarse blue fabric rub against your neck as you mindlessly fiddled with your lanyard; the newly printed photo of your face stared back at you with a smile.
The creak of the door to your left was what broke you from your nervous fidgets. Whipping your head up from your lanyard, you immediately stood up ready to bow to whoever came through that door.
It was a girl. She looked around the same age as you, if not older. Her attire was what gave her away. Her appearance essentially mirrored yours: hair tied back into a ponytail with a white blouse and black work pants. She also had the familiar blue ‘JYPE’ labeled strap hanging from her neck.
“Hello,” you spoke meekly, scared to disturb the cold silence that had a hold on the room you were in.
“Hello,” she replied. “My name is Choi Na-eun, I’m the new social media strategist intern and today is my first day.”
This is so relieving, you thought, another newbie to share the stress with me.
“This is my first day too,” you perked up, “I’ll be starting as the new junior Chinese marketing assistant.”
Getting the acceptance email from JYP Entertainment was definitely a high point in your life. The feeling of butterflies swarming your insides as you clicked the email open only to see your acceptance was immediately locked as a core memory. All the years of memorizing thousands of Korean and English vocabulary flashcards, the panic attacks before your finance exams, and the many, many late night coffee breaks were worth it the moment you received your first legitimate job offer, and from the esteemed JYP Entertainment company no less.
“Chinese marketing?” Na-eun asked. “So you aren’t from here, I take it.”
You shook your head. “I am from China. I completed my degree a while ago with a major in Language and a minor in Business. To be honest, I’ve done internships back home, but it’s been my dream to move to a new country.”
All of what you said was true. Up until now, your surroundings have never changed in all of your twenty-three years living. From the walk with your grandmother to daycare to the vast campus of your university, the view of your city has never changed. Your social circle stayed stagnant since you were able to talk and your love life was — for a lack of a better word — uneventful.
It wasn’t until the day you decided to start applying for careers outside your home country that you felt hopeful. Hopeful that you could find an escape from your inert lifestyle and escape the burnout and stress that has been building up over the years. And so, on a day when you were feeling unusually confident, you gathered up the courage and spent hours sending out applications to organizations all over Asia that pertained to your specific degree. The applications were mainly for small jobs at small companies, however, your strange spike of motivation gave you the confidence to apply to the everso esteemed JYP Entertainment located in Korea. Of course you knew about this company — you and your friends played songs by ‘Twice’ nonstop back in highschool — but you didn’t realize the full power that this company had on the entertainment market until you did your full research. To say that you thought you had no chance was an understatement. This application was so far of a reach that you purposefully forced your mind to erase all memory of even applying.
However, with your education, your work experience, and whatever tiny bit of luck you had, you somehow made it through the initial application process. Then the next. And the next. Then the interview. And now, you were nervously sitting in this white painted room with Na-eun, in a completely new country, waiting for your manager to come greet you.
“So you’re from China? You’ve got to teach me chinese sometime.” Na-eun smiled.
You giggled in return while nodding your head. You were relieved that you’ve met a potential friend so early in your career in this company. This was one of your big worries. With your social circle being so stagnant for the majority of your life back in China, you rarely had the opportunity to meet new people, much less make new friends.
You were about to inquire more into Na-eun’s life when the door to your left abruptly opened. In the blink of an eye, three new people strutted in — two women and one man. They seemed to be higher status than you and Na-eun judging by their attire. All three were styled in some type of blazer and dress pants and there was no lanyard to be found on any of them.
“Hello new employees,” the man greeted. Judging by his face, he looked to be in his late thirties at the least. His hair was styled back neatly and his lips slanted up, giving him a fox-like appearance. “I am Executive Manager Kim. Joined beside me on the left is Social Media Manager An and to my right is Marketing Manager Chen.”
Both you and Na-eun immediately stood up to bow and introduce yourselves.
“Hello. My name is Choi Na-eun, I’m the new social media strategist intern.” Na-eun said.
“Hello. My name is y/n, I’m the new junior Chinese marketing assistant.” You repeated after her, copying exactly what she said. You did not want to screw anything up on your first day, especially your first impression.
Manager Kim reached over to Na-eun, introducing himself and giving her a firm handshake. He then slowly moved over to you, and reached for your hand.
“Y/n,” he gave time for your name to settle on his tongue as he gave a sly smile. “You’re not from here, aren't you?”
You shook your head ‘no’. “No, sir. I’m from China where I studied language and business. I hope to do well here as the Chinese marketing assistant.” You replied, mentally cursing yourself for sounding so timid.
“I’m glad to hear,” Manager Kim chuckled, “I’m sure you’ll treat me and your other managers well.”
You felt an uncomfortable shiver pass through you as he brushed his thumb along your hand before letting go. This feeling was excused as nervousness, after all, this was your first day and your first time meeting your higher-ups.
You introduced yourself to Manager Chen, assuming that she would be the one you were to assist in your time here at JYPE. Judging by her last name, you presumed that she was Chinese as well.
“Forgive me for being so straight up Manager Chen, but are you Chinese?” You asked.
“That is alright, y/n,” she smiled, “I’m not. My Husband is, but I’ve lived in China for more than half my life. I don’t want to brag, but my mandarin has gotten proficient over the past decade or so.”
Proficient? It’s amazing. You thought. This first day was turning out better than you thought. Other than the weird feeling you received from Manager Kim, everything was turning out splendid. A potential friend and a manager that could speak your first language.
“Since it’s about noon right now,” Manager Kim took a look at his watch, “What do you all think about some lunch?”
The other managers nod their heads in agreement and gestures for you and Na-eun to follow them out of the waiting room you were in for so long.
The whole building seemed so clean. With every corner lit, by natural light or artificial light, you could clearly see that every room, every piece of furniture and decor had been purposefully placed. You couldn’t help but have a stupid look of awe plastered on your face as you mindlessly follow your superiors over to the cafeteria.
You turned your head over to Na-eun and gave her a tilt of the eyebrow, silently saying wow, this is where we work.
With the turn of a corner and several silent strides, your little group made it to the cafeteria.
The difference between your claustrophobic waiting room and this vast room was astonishing. With countless tables and romantic yellow lighting, this place almost resembled a five star restaurant. You’ve never seen a cafeteria as extravagant and clean as this before. However, to be fair, you’ve never had the experience of working with such a large corporation before.
The managers led you to the serving station where you grabbed yourself a tray and proceeded to spoon small portions of rice and side dishes onto your plate. This cuisine was different to what you were used to, but nonetheless looked delicious. You were prepared for the small cultural differences, especially with the food, but from everything you’ve witnessed so far, the culture shock would be easier to overcome than what you’ve anticipated.
“Have this soup y/n,” Manager Kim’s grating voice came from in front of you, interrupting your inner monologue. “It’s good for your complexion.”
As Manager Kim hands over the bowl of soup, you feel the sleeve of his blazer brush up against your shoulder, causing the pit of your stomach to drop.
First day nerves. That was what this feeling was. You thought.
You quietly thanked him with a small nod and walked briskly from the service line, trying to find where Na-eun went with the other two managers. Thankfully, they were just a step away and you quickly made your way over to the comfortable spot beside Na-eun. She gave you a small grin and you both followed your way to a table right in the middle of the room.
Soon, all five chairs of the table got filled and sounds of chopsticks tapping and scraping against plates and bowls filled your ears. An awkward silence dominates your table as you start to pick at your food.
“So,” Manager Chen cleared her throat, “after lunch I was thinking we should go to a meeting room and discuss Miss. Y/n’s role in our new project.”
“I was thinking the same for our new Intern Choi.” Manager An cut in, “What do you think, Manager Kim?”
“It all sounds good. I will be accompanying Manager Chen to her meeting room as I wish to also further discuss the preliminary steps for our project.” Manager Kim looked from Manager Chen over to you.
“Project?” You ask.
“We’ve had a very successful year with our idol groups and we wanted to ride this success and start marketing in China. Recently, we’ve noticed a very large and growing Chinese audience for this group. I’m sure you’re very curious now, however we can discuss further details once we are in the meeting room.” Manager Chen replies while taking a sip of the water in her glass.
Manager Chen appeared to be a very professional and respectable woman. With prominent collarbones and wide shoulders, she easily looked the part of a confident and adored manager. She needed minimal makeup to highlight her tall cheekbones, and even with a short heel on her feet she seemed to tower over you. However, her warm and comforting voice was what broke her intimidating demeanour. Just listening to her voice felt like you were back in your high school classroom with your favourite teacher explaining the motif of a sad love poem.
After some more awkward conversations mixed with a few work discussions, the five of you finished the delicious food on your trays.
“Please excuse me whilst I head to the restroom” Na-eun spoke up after your group finished clearing the table.
“Please excuse me as well.” You quickly followed, bowing as you both ventured off to the washrooms.
I should get her number so I’m not completely a loner in this place, you thought to yourself. And so, after a quick inner struggle to speak up, you finally decided to ask.
“Hey, should we exchange contacts? I don’t wanna look like the newbie eating in the cafeteria alone after today.” You chuckled.
“Totally!” Na-eun beamed. “I was actually thinking the same thing…”
And so, you both quickly exchanged each other's contact as you made your way to the restrooms.
The hall of the washrooms were narrow, hidden away from the main cafeteria. You walked in, deciding you only wanted to retouch your hair and makeup before your first official meeting. You carefully fix the loose hairs that somehow escaped the confines of your elastic and dab on a fresh layer of foundation before applying your lipstick which rubbed off while eating. Looking over at Na-eun, you see she’s quite in the zone redoing her mascara.
“Hey, I’ll just wait for you in the hall.” You said.
Na-eun gave you a disinterested nod back as she kept focusing on her mascara.
You walked to the end of the hall, leaned against the wall, and pulled out your phone. Smiling, you opened the virtual Tamagotchi app and saw your little friend staring back at you, bouncing up and down. The bundle of virtual pixels happily bounced as you fed and bathed it, making you happier in return. Playing this game, you were so entranced with your phone that the abrupt closing of the washroom doors broke you out of your hypnosis fast, causing you to flinch and drop your phone.
You looked up, only to see a brown haired man wearing a long sleeved black shirt. The hem of his sleeve fell, covering his hand as he bent down to pick up your phone. He stood back up, fully facing you now and you immediately recognized who he was. You weren’t a fool, of course you did all your research on the artists of JYPE before applying for the job. Looking down at you right now, holding your phone in his hand, was Bang Chan of Stray Kids.
The wispy tufts of his brown hair bounced over his forehead as he stepped over to you. He smiled, his dimple poking out of his cheek, and handed your phone back to you. “I think you dropped this.”
Blushing tomato red, you embarrassingly accepted the phone, trying not to make your shaking hands noticeable. It seemed like that failed, however, as you noticed him glance at your hands and dimple grow deeper.
“Thank you.” You meekly chirped and lowered your head, still in awe that you somehow bumped into a JYPE idol in the bathroom hallway of a cafeteria.
“It’s good that there’s no cracks.” Bang Chan said, looking in your eyes.
You looked back into his eyes. His smile never left his face, and you physically felt the warmth radiating off his body like rays from the sun. Some boring, objective part of your brain knew this interaction only lasted a fraction of a second, but you swore that time froze.
“Hyung!” A distant voice called.
Your trance was broken as Bang Chan looked over to the person calling his name. He turned back to you, politely bowed, and casually sauntered over to the man who called him.
What just happened? Your inner monologue ran, still trying to process the embarrassing interaction. The scent of his cologne lingered, swirling the atmosphere around your body.
Thankfully, you didn’t have too much time to dwell on this interaction as Na-eun finally opened the washroom doors and was making her way toward you.
You and Na-eun trailed behind the managers until you reached the set of elevators. It was there where you had to unfortunately separate from your comfort work buddy as she hopped in the elevator across from yours with Manager An. The other two managers led you to the elevator at the end and pressed the button for your destination floor. The ride in the elevator was silent. You stood there, fiddling with your nails.
Once the elevator gave the ding of arrival, the three of you headed down a hall where you presumed had the meeting room.
Manager Kim took a look at the watch on his wrist. “We are a minute late, everybody should be there already. Enter silently and respectfully.” He said in a stern voice.
You reached the frosted glass door of the meeting room and entered through the already opened door. The managers followed behind you with Manager Chen being the last one in and closing the door.
Your eyes widened at whom you saw.
There was Bang Chan, who sat in all his glory, staring right into your eyes with his mouth ajar. His shocked expression didn't last long, however, as he quickly composed himself to fit with the professional atmosphere of this room.
But why was he here? You thought. He’s an artist, isn’t this a management meeting?
Your inner monologue was broken by Manager Kim’s stern voice. “Y/n, why don’t you sit with me for today?” He asked with a slight tilt of the lips. His hand was hovering above your back, almost guiding you to the seat just right of the head chair.
Your heart rate quickened. There was no way that you could handle sitting right beside a high position manager on your first day. You barely knew what your duties entailed, you definitely could not handle the pressure of this seat today. You whipped your head around to look for Manager Chen. She was already sitting in her seat, looking like she was right at home.
“Manager Kim, if you don’t mind, I would like to sit in this position for today, '' a voice spoke up, “I have a lot of new ideas I’d like to share that are written in my notes.”
He paused a brief second, eyes switching between you and Manager Kim, and raised his iPad to show the screen filled with words.
“I don’t mind at all, go ahead.” Manager Kim monotonously replied. He then made his way to the head chair.
You looked over at Bang Chan, trying to subtly send the most grateful facial expression over to him. He returned your look, slightly grinning as his fingers tapped on the screen of his iPad and sat down to the right of Manager Kim. You looked over to see Manager Chen gesturing you to sit in the chair beside her and swiftly made your way over. At your seat, she handed you a notepad and pen, both adorned with the JYPE logo.
“Now, as of 1:02 p.m., September first, the meeting will officially begin.” Manager Kim clasped his hands together on top of the table. “As most of you already know, we are in the preliminary stages of planning a Chinese debut for our artist group ‘Stray Kids’. All we have right now is the estimated timeline, which is four months. We have a basic grasp of the concept we are working towards, however, as you all know, trends are always changing and growing. While we are working to create a new and original concept for Stray Kids, we also want the concept to gather as much audience reception as possible.”
Wow. That was a lot to take in. Your hands struggled to keep up with writing down what Manager Kim was saying. You knew this relatively new group was really starting to explode in the past year, but a debut in another country? This group must work really hard to even have the company consider a step as risky as this. So this is why Bang Chan is also involved in this meeting.
You peaked your head up from your notepad. Bang Chan sat across from you, one hand on his chin and the other one holding the pen to his tablet.
Manager Kim then carefully discussed the duties that each group in the room would take. Many of the jobs were directly involved with developing the concept itself, such as producing music, concept art, and theme development. Your pen never took a break from gliding on the notepad as you hurriedly jotted down everything that Manager Kim said.
Eventually, Manager Kim’s delegations moved to Manager Chen. “Manager Chen, I’ll let you take over from here.”
“Thank you Manager Kim,” Manager Chen cleared her throat. “While my main job here was to market Korean comebacks towards the Chinese audience, this new project changes things up a bit. Now, not only will I be in charge of marketing to the Chinese audience, but I will also be directly in charge of the concept itself. I will be working carefully with our team in China to monitor the trends which we can incorporate into our debut.
“This is my new assistant, y/n,” She turned and gestured to you. You politely nodded your head. “She will be gathering information on useful trends and reporting back to me, as well as some translating. Please report any ideas that you deem useful to her by the end of every week for her to sort through and deliver to me.”
You almost want to call Manager Chen crazy for giving you so much power, after all, you were only starting out as her assistant. Despite this, however, you were determined to go above and beyond with the new responsibilities given to you, after all, you knew that choosing to work in an organization as big as JYPE would take blood, sweat, and tears.
After some clarifications given by Manager Chen and a few more questions directed at her, Manager Kim took the reins back in his hands.
“Now, as I’m sure you all know, this is Bang Chan: the leader of Stray Kids. Although our management team is in charge of this debut, we like to include the opinions of artists whenever possible. He will make an appearance whenever he can and act as a representative of Stray Kids, sharing their ideas and opinions.” Manager Kim explained.
Bang Chan politely introduced himself, and quickly went on to express some concerns of his members. He made sure that each concern was answered thoroughly by Manager Kim before moving on to the next.
“As for our concept ideas,” Bang Chan’s soft brown eyes met yours, “will I have to report to y/n?”
You felt your ears redden.
“You could, yes,” Manager Kim straightened his back, “but if you find the weekly deadlines too much of a problem, you may just report to me or at any subsequent meeting.”
“No worries sir,” Bang Chan’s eyes lingered on yours for a fraction of a second more before grinning at Manager Kim, “I’m always punctual.”
The rest of the meeting consisted of more introductions and preliminary plans. After about an hour, everybody seemed satisfied with the contents of the meeting and were starting to pack up all their clutter on the table. You looked over at Manager Chen, silently asking what should I do next?
Manager Chen smiled. “Let's head to my floor. I can give you a quick tour, you can get settled at your desk. I have some paperwork that I’m almost done with; I’m sure you’ll have no problem finishing it for me.” She already was standing up and straightening over the creases of her jacket.
You stood up as well and followed behind Manager Chen like a lost baby duckling. You both made your way over to Manager Kim to bid farewell. You politely thanked him, said your goodbyes, and were about to leave when he stopped the two of you.
“Manager Chen, let’s go out for drinks tonight.” Manager Kim took a look at the intricate watch on his wrist. “With our whole team, of course. It’ll be a welcoming night and we can get to know the people on our team better.”
“That’s a great idea, Manager Kim,” Manager Chen nodded at his idea in approval. She turned on her iPad to quickly get a glimpse at her schedule. “What do you think y/n? Can you make it tonight? I know this is very last moment, but I think it’ll be a great opportunity for you to get to know your coworkers better.”
“I should be able to make it.” You definitely could make it. You had no plans anyways.
“Am I invited to this top secret party you’re all having?” A now very distinguishable voice came from behind you. Bang Chan stared at Manager Kim with a very mischievous expression.
“Would your manager allow it?” Manager Kim questioned, knitting his eyebrows.
“I’m on a diet, so I can’t drink alcohol or eat anything,” Bang Chan’s nose scrunched up in annoyance, “but I want to be as involved as I can. Just because I’m an idol doesn’t mean I can’t help behind the scenes as well.”
“Very well,” Manager Kim nodded with a fixed expression, “Let’s all meet at that restaurant about a block away west. I’ll go tell the others.” And with that, Manager Kim left you, Manager Chen, and Bang Chan to stand in awkward silence.
“Well,” Bang Chan cleared his throat and clapped his hands together, “I’ll get going as well to do some work now, but it was nice meeting the both of you.”
“You as well.” Manager Chen replied for the both of you and Bang Chan left soon after.
Manager Chen then led you to the elevators again and you headed up yet another few floors to reach your destination. You nervously fiddled with your hair as you silently waited behind your boss, looking up at the smooth lines of her blazer every few seconds. The elevator doors dinged, letting you know of its arrival. The two of you swiftly headed out the elevators and walked to what you presumed was Manager Chen’s office area. You kept following behind Manager Chen in silence before you stopped in front of a set of doors that looked identical to the ones at the previous meeting room. Manager Chen opened the doors for you, and you headed in.
You paused a step in, looking wide-eyed at the interior. The office was clean. A big glass desk sat right in the middle of the vast room in front of a huge set of windows. There were a couple of soft looking chairs placed right before the desk with a huge rug right underneath it. Over to your left, you spotted a water dispenser with a kettle right beside it. You stared at the room a bit longer before realizing you must have looked very stupid with that astonished look on your face.
“Is this your office, Manager Chen?” You asked.
“Yes. It seems that you like it,” She chuckled. You felt the heat rise to your ears.
“Since you’ll be working so close to me, I’m sure you’ll be happy to come here more often.”
“Thanks.” You awkwardly laughed. You blamed your bad response on the fact that you still weren’t familiar with the language, not your blatant awkwardness.
Manager Chen made her way over to her desk, picking up a small stack of papers. “These are some letters I’ve received from several designer companies in China. Since we are still in the very preliminary stages of this project, we would like to keep our options open for the stylists here.” She picks an annotated letter from the pile. “I’ve translated and created a summary of the main points of this letter. There are a few more left which I believe I can trust you with. Just do as I did with this letter and add the sample pictures along with it.”
You quickly complied, taking the stack of papers from her hands.
“I’ll show you to your new work space.” She led you out of your office and over to a cubicle that wasn’t too far away. It was considerably smaller compared to Manager Chen’s office, but you thought it had a certain coziness to it. Plus, working close to your coworkers could also boost your motivation. “Here is your desk, it’s not the most exciting thing, but you may bring photos or whatnot to decorate it. Now, I’ll let you settle in and get started on your work. You can meet me at my office around six, I can double check your work before we leave.”
You thanked her before she left and immediately got started on your work. You diligently translated the whole of the letters before picking out the main points that matched with Manager Chen’s example. After this was done, you included the photos that came with each letter and slipped them into their own cozy folder. This work was monotonous, sure, but it was something you needed on your hectic first day here.
You were so captivated by your work that you completely forgot about the time. The sun was starting to set, and you only remembered to look at the time after you tucked your last letter neatly in its folder. You briefly panicked, praying that you weren’t making your manager wait. Thankfully, it was only a quarter until six. You took the next fifteen minutes double checking your work, making sure to also check the time every once in a while. At exactly six, you left your desk and scurried over to the big doors of Manager Chen’s office.
Knocking a couple times, you waited patiently to be let in.
You let yourself in, handing the papers to your manager, then sat quietly in one of the chairs before her desk, crossing your fingers together. You fiddled with your thumbs, patiently waiting for Manager Chen to speak up.
“Not bad, this is some decent work.” Manager Chen announced as soon as she finished glossing over your work. “I’ve noted some places that you can either fix or improve. I’ll scan them and hand you a copy tomorrow.”
You let out a breath that you didn’t know you were holding. A tidal wave of relief washed over you as you let yourself relax further into your chain. Not bad, this is some decent work. You proudly repeated this moment in your brain. Although you were disappointed with the mistakes that you let slip through, to get somewhat of a compliment on your first day meant a lot to you.
“Shall we get going now?” Manager Chen asked.
You grabbed your bag and stood up. “I’ll let you lead the way.”
It seemed like all you were doing on your first day was following Manager Chen around like a lost puppy. The situation right now was no exception either, as you tried to copy her confident strides over to the restaurant a block down. You watched the busy rush hour streets and sidewalks fill with people, some people going home after a long day, some people going to party just like you.
Soon, after a few more minutes of walking, the both of you arrived at the small wooden doors of the restaurants. It seemed like the both of you were a bit late as Manager Kim was already waiting in front of the entrance with the rest of the team. Bang Chan was also there, head down looking at his phone.
“Sorry we’re late, have you been waiting for long?” Manager Chen somehow sounded confident despite making everybody wait on her.
Her voice seemed to have caught everybody’s attention. You watched as Bang Chan swiftly turned his head up from his phone, his eyes making contact with yours. You immediately focused your eyes somewhere else, trying to casually play off the fact that your eyes subconsciously drifted to him.
“We’ve only been waiting for a couple minutes.” Manager Kim gave a tight smile. “Let’s go in before you all get too cold.”
Your little group of around ten people slowly entered the doors, filling the restaurant. Manager Kim called over a waitress, signaling that you had ten people in your group, and let the waitress lead you all to a long wooden table.
The restaurant was nice, nothing too fancy, but that’s how you could tell the food was good. With dim lighting and tightly packed tables, it made you feel fuzzy and warm on the inside.
However, your thoughts on the restaurant were soon broken by a hand on your shoulder.
“Y/n, why don’t you sit with me?” Manager Kim’s lips curled up, “After all, this is a work gathering, how good of a boss would I be if I didn’t even treat my newest team member to a drink?”
Your brain was in shambles. You seriously didn’t feel comfortable sitting with him all night. However, the logical side of your brain was saying something different. He’s just being nice as a boss. You don’t know how people in this country act anyways, stop being paranoid.
It seemed like your inner turmoil was taking longer than necessary, as you heard another familiar voice speak up.
“Manager Kim-” Bang Chan called out.
“You don’t need to sit with me here, Bang Chan.” Manager Kim chuckled as he stared directly in Bang Chan’s eyes. “I’d rather not talk about work outside the office.”
You watched as Bang Chan’s eyebrows furrowed, looking back to you in reluctance. You smiled at him before turning your attention to Manager Kim. It was just one night, right? Plus, there’s no harm in establishing a good impression with your boss.
“I’ll sit with you, Manager Kim.” You smiled, “thanks for offering.”
And so, you took your seat next to Manager Kim at the table. Bang Chan, who was to your left, looked askance at Manager Kim for a brief second before his facial expression did a complete 180. His familiar, boy-ish smile was plastered on his face like it was the most natural thing.
When the menus came, everybody at the table — including you — started to order onslaughts of food and alcohol. After brief moments of casual chatter about topics such as the weather or how good the food was here, everything that was ordered arrived at your table.
You grabbed a can of beer and started sipping on it. You’ve drank before — of course — with your old friends at university, but it’s been at least a year since you last did. Better ease myself in. You thought.
However, your preconceived plans were ruined when a small glass of clear liquor got pushed in front of you.
“Y/n, surely you aren’t going to sip on that can all night.” The ends of Manager Kim’s lips curled up.
“Wasn’t planning to, sir.” You replied while tipping the glass up and into your mouth. The bitter liquid burned your throat as it went down. You took a moment to recollect your surroundings. Seems like your tolerance was higher than you thought.
“Bang Chan, do you not drink? Why not eat something then?” Manager Chen pointed to the food on the table.
“No can do ma’am, I’m on a strict diet. My manager would kill me.” Bang Chan pointed to his glass of water.
“In that case,” Manager Chen filled another glass, “Y/n, have another drink.” She slid the glass down the table in front of you.
You gladly accepted your second drink, downing the alcohol in one go. Your eyes instinctively squeezed together as you felt your throat burn. From the tips of your ears to the ends of your toes, your whole body felt warm and alive.
You lost track of the time. As your conversations got livelier, your head got fuzzier. You stopped counting your drinks after four, especially since so many people were eager to offer the new employee a drink. Although your vision was starting to blur, you could still think straight. I can still think, you thought to yourself, still — what a powerful buzz.
Your thoughts ran rampant in your mind as you stared at the lightbulb across the room. What a pretty light. So bright. Warm.
Was the light calling your name?
Your eyes focused again and snapped away from the lightbulb. Where was the voice coming from? You slowly turned your head. Bang Chan.
“Hi.” You smiled.
“Hi.” He smiled back. So bright. Warm. “It’s been hours and I haven’t even offered you a drink yet.”
You tried to focus your eyes on his face as he slid the glass over to you. One more drink wouldn’t hurt your buzz, right?
You gladly accepted, slowly moving your hand over to the glass to pick the clear liquid up. It went down in one go just like all the others.
Huh? Was this water?
You struggled to focus your eyes on the person who offered you the drink. “That was yummy.”
“I bet it was,” the talking blur chuckled, “How about another one?”
You nodded, then took the glass he slid towards you. It’s funny how water flows even when in a cup. Water. You needed to pee.
“Hey,” your words dragged out, “where’s uh, where’s the washroom?”
“Follow me. I’ll show you.” Manager Kim stood up and reached his hand out towards you. You didn’t want to take it, but it seemed like nobody was noticing his offer.
Reluctantly, you took his hand and stood up, only to stumble down again. Did your knees not want to listen?
“Whoa there, better hold on.” Manager Kim said.
“No, I can walk. I-I can walk.” You let go of Manager Kim and tried to focus all your brainpower on moving your feet in a straight line. This tactic only worked for a second, however, as your knees gave in and you stumbled down.
“It’s obvious that you can’t.” Manager Kim’s lips turned up. “It’s time for you to go home. I’ll take you back.”
What? No. You didn’t want Manager Kim to take you home, not after all the awkward events of today and the general vibe from him. You tried to express your thoughts, but nothing came out of your mouth.
“Manager Kim, you’ve been drinking!” Bang Chan’s voice came from some part of the room. “It’s not safe to drive, I’ll call a taxi for you.”
“What about Y/n here? I’ll get a taxi for us both.” Manager Kim said.
“I called my manager earlier to pick me up, we can drop her off along the way. It’s not a good idea to put two drunk people in a car. I’m completely sober right now, so let me do all the work.” Bang Chan grinned, patting Manager Kim on his shoulder.
“Is that what you want, Y/n?” Manager Kim glared.
You dizzily nodded.
“Alright. In that case, I can call my own taxi later.” Manager Kim grimaced.
“Stay safe, Manager Kim.” Bang Chan smiled. He turned to you. “My manager’s been waiting outside for a while now, do you want to leave now?”
You nodded. You tried to start walking again, but your damn knees just wouldn’t listen.
“Do you want to hold on to me?” Bang Chan knitted his brows together and held out an arm.
“I,” you slurred, “can walk.” You tried to start your feet again, only to end up stumbling down.
“I know you can,” Bang Chan said as he reached his hands out to stabilize you, “but — ah — I’m really tired after today. Can you hold on to my arm so I won’t fall out of exhaustion?”
You agreed to help him. Bang Chan waved to everybody still at the table before leading the two of you out to a black SUV. He allowed you to stumble your way in the back seats first before sliding in himself. He asked you for your address, which took many tries for you to accurately type it into his phone.
You leaned your head against the window, staring at passing blurred lights as Bang Chan’s manager started driving. Just being away from the loud and bright environment seemed to have cleared your head a little, but the pounding would not stop. You cursed yourself for being so irresponsible on your first day, especially because you were still alone in this new country.
“Hey,” you felt a gentle tap on your shoulder, “want some water?” You looked over to see Bang Chan holding out a plastic bottle with the lid screwed off.
You languidly reached your hand out for the bottle and gulped down as much water as you could in one breath before handing it back to him. The street lights started getting blurrier as you tried to fight exhaustion, the muscles in your eyelids starting to get more and more uncontrollable.
“Don’t fall asleep yet, we’re almost there. Ten more minutes.”
You couldn’t hear anything after that, however, as you felt your eyes give up on you and your body fall into a deep sleep.
“Y/n… Y/n.” A familiar voice called.
You fluttered your eyes open, your head pounding. Not knowing where you were, you surveyed your surroundings in a panic. It seemed as though you were in the back of a car… Parked outside of your apartment building?
“Hey, you’re finally awake.” Bang Chan’s voice entered your ear. It all came rushing back to you; the restaurant, the drinking, entering the SUV.
“How long have we been parked here?” Your groggy voice sounded inhuman. You had to clear your throat a couple times.
“It’s only been twenty or so minutes. I’m not allowed to leave the car, are you able to get home alone? I can ask my manager to go with you.” Bang Chan scratched the back of his neck.
“I should be fine.” You mumbled, a bit embarrassed to have fallen asleep in the car of a person you just met that day. This wasn’t even his car, it was his manager’s.
“Hey… can I put my number in your phone?” Bang Chan avoided your eyes. “Just so you can tell me when you get home.” He quickly added.
“Okay.” You awkwardly handed him your phone with your contacts already opened. He quickly typed his phone number in before handing it back to you.
“Text me when you get home. Remember to lock your door, okay?”
You thank both him and his manager before hurrying back to your apartment. Your head was still pounding unrelentlessly as you pressed the elevator button for your floor. The events of today were still unprocessed in your brain. You met a potential friend, which was a highlight. However, you also met two higher up managers and an actual idol, only to get hilariously drunk in the presence of. At least it’ll make a good story to tell my mom. You thought.
In no time, you made it in your apartment and locked the door behind you, remembering what Bang Chan told you in the car. You texted the new number in your phone.
Y/n: Hi. It’s y/n. I just entered my apartment.
Not even a minute later, your phone lit up, signaling a new text message.
Bang Chan: great!! remember to lock the doooor hahaha ( ◕ω◕✿ )
You subconsciously grin at your phone. Cute. Throwing your phone haphazardly on your bed, you begrudgingly began your night routine. After washing up and throwing on a random shirt from your closet, you fell on your bed ready to sleep. You were about to close your eyes when your phone lit up again with a ding. It was another text.
Bang Chan: Hey… Just so you know, if you ever feel unsafe around the office just tell me okay? I’ll always try to help you in whatever way I can.
Katara x Aang :3c
are you trying to get me in trouble
no but in all honesty, my genuine feelings about kataang boil down to three major points: 1. it's boring, and does not jive thematically with either of their character arcs, to the point of, 2. actively hampering character development on both sides, and 3. katara deserved better.
points expanded under the cut. (please, if you're a kataang shipper and you see this, just keep scrolling. i've tagged it appropriately and put the bulk under a cut and at this point that's literally all i can do lmfao.)
send me a ship and get my (brutally) honest opinion!
1. It's Boring: This is the most subjective point on the list (I mean, in fairness, it's all subjective, but I have evidence from the show and post-canonical materials to support my other points; this one is just preference), but there's just... nothing to kataang. It's cute (when it's not actively aggravating), and... that's about it. It's not even that I dislike friends-to-lovers as a shipping trope (though it's not my overall preference), because there are a lot of friends-to-lovers couples that I do ship (kanej comes to mind, also will/elizabeth from potc, karolsen from supergirl, romione and hinny from hp, among others), but one thing that I think all of those couples have that kataang doesn't is that both sides of the pairing are teens or adults when they get together, with teen/adult dynamics and issues and stories to deal with, rather than one half being a teenager and the other being literally prepubescent.
And don't get me wrong, I have no problem with age gap ships in general. And as far as atla goes, Katara, at 14, has the same age difference from Zuko (16) as Aang has from her, and it's never stopped me--because both Katara and Zuko are well into puberty when they meet and I have no problem picturing them being into one another and growing together as they enter adulthood. Aang, on the other hand, is a child. And he acts like it. Which wouldn't be a problem, if the show weren't expecting me to believe he is a) ready for a romantic relationship, and b) ready for one specifically with Katara, who is not only older and far more mature but is specifically cast as his caretaker in a very maternal role for the entire show's run.
This show asks me to believe that a teenage girl well into adolescence is going to be attracted to and develop romantic feelings for a pre-adolescent child--and it asks me to believe this while showing us otherwise that Katara's type is actually older boys with fabulous hair and angsty pasts in all of her other potential romantic dalliances--and then enter into a relationship with him, all while ignoring the elephant in the room that is the fact that she was basically acting like his mother for the entire series to that point. (Something that is heavily lampshaded earlier in the very same season.) That just stretches the bounds of credulity way too far for me, especially when there's no evidence that Katara herself would get anything out of their romantic relationship.
There's nothing there for me to sink my teeth into. No delicious development, no parallels where they help each other grow, no internal conflicts that they have to work through together, nothing. Certainly no reason for me to actually believe Katara feels (or would grow to feel) anything for him other than the platonic affection of a caretaker. I can easily believe she loves him dearly, as a friend and quasi-little-brother, but I just can't see that developing naturally into romantic love--not the way it's presented in the show.
And even if they did manage to at least make the development of Katara's feelings believable, unless they changed something fundamental about the nature of their relationship, it'd still be boring, so.
2. It Actively Hampers Their Character Development--On Both Sides: I've written before (extensively lol im so sorry) about how kataang is actively detrimental to Katara and to Aang. In short (because ye gods this post is already getting long enough), Katara is narratively harmed by being shoved into a relationship that completely ignores her stated feelings--a relationship that had been presented as a one-sided puppylove crush for the vast majority of the series--and it inhibits her growth as a character in ways that become far more obvious in the comics and lok, where the very same creative forces that lead to her beginning a relationship with Aang in the first place reduce her to 'the Avatar's girl' and very little else, all the way through to the end of LoK (where she is a Healer and the Avatar's wife and, again, very little else).
As for Aang:
As to how this relationship is detrimental to Aang (other than the comics and LoK nonsense)? Just take a look at book 2, when he’s trying to learn Earthbending from Toph. Katara constantly coddles him. Much of the time, she’s afraid to be anything other than gentle and understanding with Aang--partly because of her fear that if she pushes him too far, he’ll run away. (Which he does, several times.) But sometimes, what Aang needs to grow is a sharp kick in the slats, which Toph was more than willing to provide--and which worked. Katara was great for teaching Aang to waterbend, but he needed more than that to grow as a person. And he can’t get that while he’s in a relationship with someone who will apologize for getting upset when he was very explicitly neglecting her.
In addition, it is pointed out by Guru Pathik at the end of Book 2 that one of Aang's chakras is blocked by his attachment to Katara. Aang takes this to mean (incorrectly) that he has to stop loving her in order to become fully realized as an Avatar, but this is actually part of the problem--because the issue isn't that he is in love with Katara, it's that he's possessively attached to her. He believes himself entitled to her love in return, rather than selflessly loving someone regardless of whether or not they return that affection. (This is obvious come the EIP episode, where Aang demands to know why he and Katara aren't in a relationship already--because he kissed her without asking [or even checking to see if she'd be ok with kissing him], which he phrases as mutual even though it very much was not, and he gets angry and violates her boundaries when she says that she is confused and doesn't want to think about it right then.)
It is his attachment to Katara--the need for her to return his love, the belief that she will and it is only a matter of time before he gets what he wants--that he was supposed to let go of, not his feelings for her in general. Unfortunately, while he pays lipservice to doing this (far too late for it to be useful--if he'd stayed with the Guru for five more minutes and unlocked his chakra there, that battle would've gone very differently), he almost immediately backtracks on that development come book 3, and there isn't another single whisper of Aang maybe growing up and moving past his one-sided and possessive crush and realizing that even if Katara doesn't feel the same way, it doesn't mean she loves him less or that their friendship is less important.
What really needed to happen, for Aang to grow as a person and become fully realized as an Avatar, was for him to grow up. To realize that his feelings were not of paramount importance, and that even if he was in love with Katara, he was not entitled to her love in return. He should have been able to move past his need for her to love him back, in order to get past that stumbling block, unlock his chakras, and regain the Avatar State in time to face the Firelord. But he didn't. As a result, they had to find some other way to just give him the Avatar State (a well-placed rock) and the means to defeat Ozai without killing him (the deus ex lionturtle) and his entire character arc just fell apart in the third act rather than reaching a satisfying conclusion.
3. Katara Deserved Better: This really ties into how her romantic relationship with Aang hampered her own development, but I'm still bitter enough about it that it gets its own bullet-point. And the biggest single reason I could never ship kataang--the thing that would've turned me off even if there were substance and a halfway decent storyline for them--is the fact that Aang kisses her without her consent (for the second time) in Ember Island Players, Katara gets angry at him and storms off, and then..... she walks out onto the balcony to make out with him.
With nothing to bridge that gap.
It's bad enough that a show aimed at children had a scene where the child protagonist kissed the object of his affections without her consent when she didn't want him to (made explicit by her angry reaction)--and this is absolutely an issue when the show is aimed at children and it may well be the first experience they've had with consent issues portrayed in media--but this moment is never addressed again. Katara just decides--completely off-screen--that she does love him Really and walks out to make out with him in the epilogue. There's no conversation, no apology for violating her boundaries, no discussion of why that was wrong or any indication that Aang understands what he did and why it upset her. They don't have a single one-on-one interaction between that kiss and the epilogue, and the only other time they are on screen together, Aang yells at her and storms off.
So, even leaving the comics and lok aside, Katara deserved much better from her own romantic plotline. In fact, she deserved to have one, rather than simply being the oblivious object of Aang's affections, given a couple moments where she blushes but otherwise remains completely ignorant of his feelings (she looks shocked and upset when he kisses her prior to the invasion, and then she completely forgets that even happened because she's confused as to what Aang is even talking about during EIP until he brings it up; that's not the behavior of a fourteen-year-old girl who was kissed by someone she was developing romantic feelings for), before the epilogue where it becomes clear that she figured all of that out off-screen and had feelings for him after all.
She's a main character, not a side-character written in solely to give one of the mains a love interest. She deserved a romantic plotline of her own. (She could have had one with someone else, with very few changes made to what was actually on-screen prior to the epilogue, but that's another conversation entirely.) She deserved to have her feelings considered at all important by the person she was going to be paired with in the end, rather than having him just assume she felt the same way and then get mad at her for never giving any indication of it when he'd never asked about her feelings to begin with. She deseserved agency in her own romantic narrative, and she just didn't get that with Aang.
So yeah, at the end of the day, my biggest issue with kataang is that it involved doing Katara dirty, and she's my favorite character and she deserved so much better damnit.
ecco vs/+/or tetch ;). also if you want more alice vs/+/or jervis
This is so hard, why would you do this to me :D
Only Ecco/Jervis for now, this got way too long omg (Tetchcest will be published in a separate post)
(Also beware the stray Ecco/miah analysis that sneaked in there?? I just have lots of thoughts about Ecco lmao)
(Also also I managed to sneak Jerome in there ajsnsnsnd)
Okay, okay so Ecco vs. Jervis? Ecco wins, 100%.
Like, Ecco does her research. Before she met Jerome, she probably already gathered all the info she could get on his accomplices and how he managed to escape Arkham and the like and I feel like she would've been prepared for Jervis.
(In fact, I believe she only ended up hypnotized in the first place because both her and Miah were probably too sure of themselves? Like, they probably didn't consider that Jerome was planning on being taken so therefore Jervis and Jonathan could've simply waited around Ecco's apartment to follow her to Miah's hideout.
But just between us: The whole place is full of cameras and somehow Ecco opens the door to Jervis and Jonathan? I mean, does Miah have one of those speaker systems so Jervis was able to hypnotize her from the other side of the door? I think there was a little suspension of disbelief involved actually).
Anyway Jervis isn't skilled in hand to hand combat and spends his confrontations with Jim hiding behind hostages or siccing his puppets on him (or even Ecco as his accomplice in S5) so Ecco just needs to get close enough to get a good swing in.
And she'd probably be smart enough to carry/wear some earplugs around Jervis if she's planning on attacking him or if they're on hostile grounds with each other. (Because canonly speaking, I don't think he'd hypnotize her. They like each other too much, there no reason for him to do it -other than his desire to be with her romantically-)
(She may even go out of her way to pretend she's hypnotized to trick him and get close enough to knock him the fuck out or kill him, depending on what's her mission there).
Ecco + Jervis....well, we all know my standpoint there aksnsnsn.
I have rambled about this countless times, but maybe not in public so to make it brief, I'm just saying that Ecco is probably the perfect doll Jervis could ever envision.
Like, his - and Miah's - whole thing is control and Miah has expertly shown that he can control at least one person to the point they would willingly die for him without being outright hypnotized and that's big.
On one hand I think that would incline Jervis to work with Miah in the first place - because he recognizes his talent and Ecco is like this shiny little trophy Miah can show off like 'Look what I accomplished, look how powerful I can be'.
And on the other I feel like how Ecco behaves around Miah and is loyal to him is exactly how Jervis wanted his relationship with Alice to be and once again, Miah didn't hypnotize Ecco.
She's doing all this without being forced and Jervis is fucking fascinated by that. He wants her. He wants her to be willing to die for him. He wants her to belong completely and utterly to him alone so he's the one who can show her off and have someone be loving and loyal without the added empty eyes blankly staring at him, expecting the next orders.
(Also I think he likes to paint himself as a gentleman and romantic, so he'd make it this whole show of how lovely Ecco isn't treated right and he would treat her like a princess obviously, completely disregarding the fact that she's really only valuable to him because Miah treated her so lowly and hurt and abused her because that's what made her so loyal. And if need be, he's gonna pick up some of Miah's methods to keep her in line. Only out of love though).
But I do also think that Jervis would see pre-gas and bullet Ecco as a powerful asset to the league and we have seen them get along greatly so if Ecco had more autonomy, he'd definitely treat her like an equal (like he treats Jerome or Jonathan) and he definitely values how she's similar to Jerome but that's a whole other rant.
(Also....he's hot. She's hot. I like them both. Why not like them while they smooch and Jervis gets handsy enough Ecco has to swat his hands away).
One more rambly thing while I'm at it tho:
I think it's very important for Miah and his influence within Gotham to have Ecco at his side.
I mean, not only does she do everything, from recruiting the Maniax to turning Jeremiah into a godlike figure, a messiah to be worshipped, to working with his allies and fighting his enemies, no, she's also his only 'proof' of his power so to say.
I mean, by the time S5 rolls around he does have a reputation among the citizens of Gotham but the villains? I think it's important for him to have Ecco around so he can show off how he can be cunning enough to get people on his side + as a way of threatening them by showing them how cruel he can be (which can range from stuff like using Ecco as his foot rest to outright slapping/choking her in front of people and have her thanking him for it).
If he doesn't have Ecco anymore, not only does he lose his right hand woman, he pretty much loses all his connection to his followers and the villains he worked with and it's gonna be a blow to his status as feared villain because the one who's actually a threat is gone, plus he can't use her to seem more imposing by bossing her around.
Someone has made the argument before that Miah's shit at captivating people through his words and persona (since Ecco draws them in and the moment he's alone with the maniax he loses them and has to burn them alive before they turn on him)-
-*cough cough* Jerome/Ecco parallels *cough cough*-
-so I think it's safe to say that killing her off may have been one of the stupidest decisions he's ever made. And not just because I like her.
He's never gonna find somebody he can manipulate to that point again because unless he plays the long con and really dedicates himself to it (which I think he's too impatient to do after the gas, he freely rolls his eyes at Ecco when he's annoyed with her, I don't think he's patient enough to play the dotting and loving partner for months to get his new Harley to the point she'd shoot herself for him), no one's gonna fall for him.
Jerome? Jerome could easily aquire a Harley and he'd just as easily keep her (mostly because he'd see her as a powerful asset rather than a mindless bimbo to worship him) but Miah? Nah.
He may have the role of helpless victim down but now that he's known as a villain it's gonna be harder to pull off and lure somebody in.
His safest bet would be kidnapping a kid tbh, -not that I ever thought about him kidnapping Barbara Lee, noooo-
Anyways, other fish in the sea? Miah can be lucky the villains still work with him without Ecco present as a mediator, finding a new girl to replace her is gonna be impossible.
(And ohhhh, the deliciousness of a fic where Miah realizes just that but still alive Ecco - because she's always alive, safe for two wips of mine - doesn't wanna go back to him, yeeeeesssss).
Ecco or Jervis?
Well, I don't think anyone's gonna be surprised when I go with Ecco here :D
I mean, I love Jervis and I love the storyline of Alice/Jervis and how neatly it ties into S3 but Ecco is my sweetheart and my baby and can possibly only be topped by Jerome.
Because while I adore Ecco, canonly speaking there's not much there, I just decided I wanted it to be that deep whereas Jerome has a lot of canon interactions with people and a super interesting storyline, plus a complex familial situation and just...like, not to bash on Miah but he has the perfect set up to be the Joker because he's been around since S1 and him and Bruce have an actual relationship that evolves over time and he has allies he actually gets along with and he's had at least one scene with most of the mains and backstory with most of the mains and it's just so good.
Like....if they'd introduced Ecco independently from Miah just to give Jerome a Harley, I think that would've actually been my dream come true.
(But they couldn't give him a Harley because apparently their definition of Joker/Harley is 'abusive' and it would've been super ooc to suddenly have Jerome run around choking girls into submissions and shooting them so they're not better than him when he's canonly into women who could kick his ass and values them as potential allies (Bridget)).
Bölüm 45 asks
Plus a few asks from 44, and one about the fragman for 46
Read more under the cut
Anonymous asked: I cannot believe that Ayse revived the "Kemal is Serkan's real father" theory but I think I'm down for it? At least now Kiraz has one decent grandparent and he seems like genuinely nice man. I've been wishing for him to have some scenes with Serkan because the way they set up this S2 plot, they could relate to one another and I was sad to see that he spent 5 years hiding instead
I'm down for this plot! See, now that I know they're doing the long-lost-father plot, it makes all the sense in the world why Serkan doesn't like Kemal and they didn't forge a relationship in the last five years. If they had, then finding out he's his dad would have been a lot less jarring and dramatic. Finding out now and then forging the relationship I think will be a bit more meaty story so it works for me.
To me this story works on a lot of levels, and makes sense with who Serkan is and his very strained relationship with Alptekin. It's like Alptekin sensed it, and resented Serkan his whole life. For those worried that Serkan will no longer have the last name Bolat, I'm not sure where that's coming from. Maybe I'm just not familiar with other cultures, but that is his name, Alptekin raised him, adults don't just up and change their name because of genetics. If you're adopted and you meet your bio dad as an adult, you don't change your name to your bio dad's.
Serkan's name is very much a part of his identity. Which is why this story has so much potential, because it could shake Serkan to his very core to find out who he thought he was, was wrong. He thought he was unlovable, most importantly maybe he'll finally realize there was more at play there and it wasn't at fault.
Anonymous asked: There were a couple things in the last episode that didn't sit well with me. 1. I can't believe Eda made Serkan sleep outside at night and didn't feel bad in the morning when she realized he got sick! 2. The way Seyfi announced Aydan and Kemal's secret relationship. It wasn't his secret to tell, though Aydan did deserve the way everyone reacted. So I got over that pretty quick. 3. Burak!!! He's not the one for Melo. She deserves better and if they end up together in the end, I'm gonna protest.
1. Unless you're going to put the same energy into not believing that Serkan had the gal to remove his bed on the floor as a way to maneuver himself into Eda's bed before she was ready, I really can't relate. It was done for comedy, my advice is to unclench and just giggle along.
2. Or you could look at it as being unfair of Aydan to burden Seyfi with that secret and require he lie to his other employer for five years. I mean I don't disagree that it wasn't his secret to tell, but Aydan had plenty of chances, and it was time for it to come out.
3. This one we are in 100% agreement about. MELO DESERVES BETTER. I will die on this hill.
Anonymous asked: Hi! Do you think Serkan actually believes in Kerem's abilities (he trusts Eda's faith in Kerem) or is this part of his plan to win Eda back? Either way I'm okay, just wondering what you think.
No, I do not think he gained a sudden belief in Kerem's abilities, but I do think he believes in Eda. And if Eda believes in Kerem then when push comes to shove that is enough for Serkan. Of course, he did it as part of his plan to win Eda back. Serkan is taking every opportunity to let Eda know that he respects her and believes in her and I think this was another example of that. There was also an aspect of him trying to win over another person in Eda's circle who was suspicious of him. The fewer people he has working against him, the better! He knows he has no shot with Burak or Ayfer, so this episode he worked on Melo and Kerem. But mostly it was him trying to make Eda's life easier, by smoothing over a personnel problem she was having, thus making working out of Art Life a more attractive option for her. All of those things in one!
Anonymous asked: What do you think about Eda and Piril's friendship? This episode really highlighted how close they've gotten.
Yes, they have gotten close, and I'm happy Eda has a friend, but at the same time I don't trust Piril. This is a woman who discarded Eda and embraced Selin when she was manipulating and abusing a brain-damaged Serkan.
Eda might be able to forget, but I can't. Also as a character she's just boring, rigid and humorless. One of my least favorites on screen.
That being said I do like the triad dynamic of Kiraz/Can, Serkan/Engin, and Eda/Piril, it was fun when they were calling each other at the same time.
Anonymous asked: Idk if they reached out to Maya just because she looked like Hande considering she had no acting experience, but this little girl is like the best casting I've seen. The chemistry with Hande and Kerem is amazing. She's so expressive. I am a Kiraz stan.
She's doing a fantastic job, precious thing! I have no idea how they found her, I know she was an instagram model, but the SCK casting director strikes again. This season doesn't work if we don't fall in love with Kiraz. Thankfully, we did!
Anonymous asked: Hi! Since it seems that we will have 13 episodes, do you think that Edser reconciliation/wedding will be left for the finale, 12-13 ep? Cause Ayse loves to drag and keep them apart.
I think the wedding might be closer to the end, but I think reconciliation will be a bit sooner than that.
However, I have to say that it's really not like they're apart.. is it? I mean this episode we had them living together, sort of casually planning their future together. Next episode we have them pretending to be married and ramping up the sexual tension to white-hot-sun levels, these are all good things. With episodes like this, I don't personally consider the show dragging it out.
In fandom I see a lot of peeps upset because Eda isn't getting immediately back with Serkan and I am feeling inpatient as well, do you think the writers are making a mistake keeping them apart?
Again, I guess my response to you is, by what definition was this episode "keeping them apart?"
Yes, they aren't having sex, but they are living together, working together, raising their daughter together, and I'm a-okay with having a couple of delicious episodes of that while they are still not fully back together romantically. Let's be real, they're still waking up in bed together, flirting, and having a romantic dinner together, so it's not like things aren't moving forward, they are. I'd advise putting aside your impatience, and just sit back, relax, and let the story take its course. There is no need to be anxious with this one. They are going to end up with their happily ever after together, but what we're seeing right now is delightful. It's them in family and domestic situations, them with their child. Most shippers only dream of getting to see this.
This sort of goes back to my stance on episodes 16-24, I know that was a frustrating time for a lot of fans because they were "broken up" but I've always said they may have been officially broken up, but they were in a committed relationship that entire time. And I enjoyed those episodes from that perspective, that tension of them being "apart" but still functioning as a unit and still being emotionally tied together underneath it all. There's kind of a similar situation here, they aren't officially back together, Eda is resisting him, but they are in a committed relationship and I don't understand what the need is to rush through this part? Enjoy the sexual tension of them living together, but not sleeping together. Enjoy the rom com romp of Serkan trying to get in her bed, and Eda taking steps to keep him out. Enjoy their daughter putting them in situations that force them into close proximity, and enjoy them falling into easy compatibility without even trying. Enjoy Serkan planning romantic dinners, and Eda enjoying it despite her every effort to protect her heart.
To me this is very good stuff, and spending this time being impatient and wanting what didn't happen yet, instead of enjoying what did happen is pretty much the recipe for unhappiness not just with this show, but life.
Anonymous asked: i feel like i've seen the exact same frustrations ppl have had with eda right now back around the 20s too after serkan told her about her parents' secret. it was like, now that he's told her the truth, she should automatically forgive him and get back together. same thing happening here, with him accepting his role as kiraz's father. it feels like the same impatience that's put on eda to just forgive him already bc everyone wants happy edser and she's in the way lol.. like girl needs time!
Agreed, and it makes me wonder if these folks have ever watched television before, lmao. Patience! There's a story unfolding and from the first 6 episodes it's clear they have a season long arc planned. All in due time.
Eda spent five years thinking that Serkan stopped loving her, and discarded her for work. The second time he used that excuse to break her heart. My goodness, it's more than okay if she needs a little time to adjust and learn how to trust him again. PLUS that means we get to watch him work on her, try to make inroads, romance her, forge a relationship with his daughter and earn Eda's trust back. What's bad in that?
What did you think of the fragman? It's kind of dumb and unrealistic that they have to dance for a school admission interview.
LMAO. Yes, yes it is, but my question to you is, sana ne?
I mean why do you care if the set up is dumb or not? Or if it's realistic? It's a device to get Serkan and Eda to pretend to be married before they're fully back together and an excuse for us to see Edser smash themselves together in a sensual tangle of limbs while they pretend to be unaffected, while both are being engulfed in USTy flames.
I'm not complaining, why are you?
Come on, this show is silly, it has been from day one, enjoy the fact that we are getting silly plots that force our couple into hilarious and hot situations, because Hande and Kerem are going to give us gold, I guarantee it and I'm going to smile through every second watching it.
These asks are from episode 44, they came in and I didn't have time to answer before 45 aired:
Anonymous asked: Do you think there is a point when there are too many “parallels” and it becomes more like scenes are being recycled? Because I kinda felt that way in the last episode. Like she’s just tossing in as many things as she can from those first 11 episodes but I’ve already watched those and Id rather we focus more character progression. I feel like they regressed from those honest conversations last week and were back to being petty this week.
I guess my answer is... no, I don't think there have been too many parallels. Episode 44 was partly about truth bubbling to the surface, with the biggest truth being that Serkan has been in love with Eda every minute of every day since they parted. That is a very important thing for Eda to understand and know and they really can't move forward until she does, because she felt unloved and forgotten all those years. Most of the parallels were illustrating that by showing that he held on to their history, he remembered their history and he honored it. Okay by me.
Anonymous asked: There were some amazing dialogues in the episode. I have two that tie for top. One was when Kiraz said that Serkan was her wish (when blowing her birthday candles), and the other was when Serkan said Apollo was never going to give up on the woman he loves nor on the cherries! Oh my heart had feels both times. What were your favourite dialogues in the episode?
Oh man my head is in 45 now, but both of those examples of yours were great. I loved both of them.
The other than springs to mind is while fishing, Eda telling Serkan that he didn't need to be perfect for Kiraz to love him, he just had to be himself.
That's so important for Serkan to hear, because he doesn't think he's worthy of love as himself, so hearing that from Eda is impactful.
Anonymous asked: reading your ep review, i think a big reason some people are hanging on to hate the s2 plot no matter what are just bc they hate the writer. of course not everyone, but a lot of people will just hate on anything she writes out of spite, even if objectively the episode is very good. idk why that is or when ppl decided they hated her but it's not warranted at all imo. i can understand not liking the premise of this season, but after watching it so far there has been SUCH an improvement edser-wise.
People can like, dislike, love, hate anything they want. Consuming entertainment doesn't have to be a team sport. That being said, from what I've seen I'd agree with your assessment. Teams have formed (Anti-Ayse, Pro-Ayse, etc) and the former are too invested in hating everything she does, the former possibly too forgiving at times. That's their choice, but I have to say I feel bad for the anti brigade, this is a show they loved, and most of them are still watching, but they've completely sabotaged themselves from finding any joy in any of it and I think they're going to regret it once it's over.
Also season 2 is so much better than I thought it could be. I honestly thought there was no way to get back to the early quality, but it's here. The show is really watchable and fun this season, and it's a shame for those who've let their attitudes get so negative that they can't enjoy it.
Anonymous asked: Ok so I'm aware this would be highly uncharacteristic of a dizi - but if they know there's only 6 eps left, my dream would be no more big bad events and just spend it rebuilding EdSer as a couple and a family. Would that be too much to ask lol. They've jumped from one disaster to another. Since we're at the end & they have the luxury of knowing it, I just want to see them working through things as a real unit. They've dated for like 7 eps out of 45? Can we get that above 10 at least????
Congratulations! Because that's exactly what we've gotten so far in season 2. Once we got past the trauma of the 5 year time jump, all the drama has been internal to Eda and Serkan and their relationship. The whole season so far has been about rebuilding Edser as a couple and a family. And if you're watching without the tauntruming twitter teens in your ear, you'd realize we ARE watching them work through things as a real unit.
I'll say this until I'm blue in the face (apparently) just because they are not currently sexing each other up, does not mean they aren't emotionally doing all the things necessary to reach their full potential as a couple.
They are. It's happening. Enjoy it.
Holy fuck. I read the fic you wrote where Elektra dated Foggy just to get at Matt (loved it btw) before he made her break it off and she did it by cruelly breaking Foggys heart and it made me think off this scenario afterwards where Foggy becomes really cold with potential Romantic partners. Worst than Marci. Love em and leave em. He doesn’t hurt or break anyone’s heart that is. He just sticks with having specifically sexual partners. No relationships. No potential heartbreak. (Part 1)
It worries Matt a lot but even worst, when he tries to confess his own feelings years later, Foggy gets cold and absolutely pissed thinking that Matt’s fucking with him too. They get into a huge fight and since Foggy probably guessed that Elektra was working for the chaste, he thinks Matt is just trying to make up for her breaking Foggys heart and their fight is worst than the first one. Oh pretty please write a continuation for that story! Just any continuation! Up to you (2nd/last part)
I’m glad you enjoyed it! That fic is based in the Spider-Gwen universe (where Matt works for the Hand and becomes the Kingpin) and I’m hoping to polish it up and incorporate it into my DD Spider-Verse AU eventually, so there should be a continuation at some point (although right now I’m trying really hard to focus on pushing through with the Identity Shenanigans AU since it’s only three chapters from completion).
Unfortunately for everyone involved, it’s going to get about fifty times worse before it gets better, because I can’t think of a version of Matt less inclined to confess romantic feelings than Gwenverse’s Murderdock, lol — but I do think you’re on track about Foggy avoiding the potential for romantic relationships after that (except that he can’t ever quite seem to let Matt go, even though he’s certain that it’s hopeless and even more certain after Matt goes Kingpin that Matt’s just using him). Honestly, I started out thinking of him as the even-keeled one of the Gwenverse but then I just kept piling more Upsetting Backstory Stuff on him and he became as much of a disaster as everyone else. Considering that based on what we see in canon he’s an extremely stressed functioning alcoholic, I guess it’s not too far off the mark, but I’ve now got a lot of his psyche and self-worth tied up in the idea of usefulness because he doesn’t believe anyone can or will love him. He tends to think that at least he can be wanted for being good at his job or doing what Matt wants.
The plan is that thanks to some pushing from Gwen post-IFT (Interdimensional Field Trip) who thinks all her Matt needs to start becoming a good guy is to begin dating Foggy, it’s Foggy who ends up confessing his feelings for Matt. And Matt, who’s not only emotionally fucked in the usual Matt ways but also has to worry about a clan of homicidal ninjas killing or blackmailing him with anyone he seems to have an emotional attachment to, does not react well to the declaration. Foggy retreats further into his shell, Matt gets more controlling and Problematique because he’s trying to hang on to Foggy the only way he knows how, and Gwen realizes she Fucked Up Big Time by upsetting the careful equilibrium between them.
I’m thinking these two won’t reconcile completely until after the big interdimensional team up to take out the Gwenverse Hand faction. By which point, Murderdock will have gained a murder duckling in the form of a teenage alt!Elektra with demon powers, formed a weird Evil Uncle-Heroic Niece bond with Gwen, accepted that yes he does Have Feelings, and had a little bit of coaching on Healthy Relationships. He’s going to try to woo Foggy with weaponry because what DA doesn’t love being proposed to obliquely through knives?? And then Gwenverse Elektra’s going to show up again to fuck up their lives and reveal all the ninja shit which has so far flown under Foggy’s radar. So much going on in this universe and all of it deliciously horrible. I’m very excited.
Binge-Watching: Snow White with the Red Hair, Episodes 1-3
And so we begin! In which the shojo spirit is shining bright as ever, it’s time to take life into our own hands, and I endlessly gush over the two leads. Yeah, this is gonna be good.
Tale as Old as Time
Ever since I first fell in love with Ouran Highschool Host Club, I’ve been a massive fan of the shojo genre. Its driving ethos of comfort and lived-in earnestness hits the perfect feel-good sweet spot of stuff I love in anime, characters who are sincere and good-natured just because dealing with relatably down to earth struggles in a world that feel grounded and authentic. There are very few pieces of fiction that speak so immediately to my understanding of the world as Kimi ni Todode, and there are very few characters that capture my lived-in experience as well as Sawako Kuronoma. So Snow White with the Red Hair was already starting out on a very promising foot for me just by being a successor to that legacy. And thankfully, the actual show is fulfilling that promise ten times over, marking another extremely worthy entry in an extremely worthy genre. Everything I love about shojo is here in spades, from the lovable goofball characters who help each other through incredibly human struggles to the overall sense of camaraderie and homey bliss that exudes from every corner of this world. This show is, in a word, charming, and I suspect that the comfy blush it puts on my cheeks is only going to grow redder and redder as time goes on.
It’s a testament to how good Snow White’s writing and worldbuilding is that it’s able to retain that grounded charm even as it takes place in a world far removed from our own. The Ancient Magus Bride is the reference point I keep coming back to, another slow-burn romance about a girl with bob-cut red hair in a Medieval-inspired fantasy land. But whereas Magus Bride had an unfortunate tendency to drag its feet for long stretches of time, Snow White is a far more lively affair, bursting with pep and exuberance that underpins its good vibes. I actually didn’t realize this was a Studio Bones production until we got to the first deliciously animated fight scene, but once that clicked into place in my head, it became obvious why the whole thing works as well as it does. Even in series and scenes not focused on flashy action, the Bones aesthetic carries so much casual cool and slick sleekness that bring every character and scene to life. These dorks are all bursting with personality, from the incidental palace guards to Prince Zen’s close retainers (”You guys aren’t being fair.” “We know, sir.”) And with the lovely painterly background art dressing the set exquisitely, Snow White sucks you into its world effortlessly and lets you soak in the feeling of living there with every detail. That’s the difference between a good slow-burn and a bad one; the good ones give you plenty of atmosphere and detail to simmer over while the heat is cranking up, letting you get invested in the world and characters at your own comfortable pace.
Prince and Princess
And speaking of characters, let’s talk about our two romantic leads, because a good romance is nothing without two worthwhile characters to build it off of. And oh my sweet baby Jesus, are our romantic leads here both incredible. See, this is why I love the shojo aesthetic so much; it gives both romantic partners so much life and energy that you just can’t wait to see bounce off each other. I knew I was gonna like Shiroyuki from the moment she pulled herself out of despair and tied up all her remaining loose ends before leaving her old city behind. She’s about as far from a damsel in distress as I could imagine, despite being imperiled by countless assholes along the way; in fact, she might actually be one of the most driven, self-motivated romantic heroines I’ve ever seen. She literally bruises herself to prove a point to Zen when they first meet, and when Prince Raj tries to coerce her into being his concubine, she holds her ground with so much self-respect that I almost started applauding on the spot. She never gives up, she never takes a hit sitting down, and she’s always thinking of ways to get out of a bad situation. But even her stunning escape attempt from the pirate in episode 2, making so many smart choices and having me cheer her along every step of the way, is nothing compared to her confronting an antagonistic noble at the end of episode 3. Faced with immense social pressure and a literal sword at her throat, she resolves to press forward regardless and pursue the path she knows to be right, leading to an exchange that laid me out on the floor with giddiness:
”I’ll cut you down!”
“As you wish.”
Good. Fucking. GOD. Do you know how refreshing it is to see a heroine who gets to be this independent and self-assured just as a matter of course? Who doesn’t have to be put down for the sake of the narrative, who gets to stand as an equal on the playing field and carve her own path through her story? The mere fact that I don’t ever have to worry about Shiroyuki getting unfairly stripped of her agency for cheap drama puts Snow White well above the vast majority of anime romances in my book. And Zen, blessed boy that he is, is every bit her equal, a charming, roguish tsundere who balances her sweet determination perfectly with his cool-cat sincerity. No joke, this might be one of the best power couples I’ve ever seen, the rare romantic duo where no matter what dangerous situations they get into, both partners get equal opportunity to kick their way out of it. Zen can rush in and save Shiroyuki from a tight spot, but she’s always putting in the work right alongside him to get out of that sticky situation, both before and after the assist. He’s also an incredible goober from start to finish, as evidenced by him one-upping Shiroyuki’s self-loathing metaphor about the bruised apple by chomping straight down on it without a second thought, both a sincere response to her anxieties and evidence of the true goofiness underneath his composed exterior. What a remarkably extra dork in all the best ways.
And oh my god, I love how much they trust each other! I love how immediately Zen sets about respecting Shiroyuki’s autonomy, fighting by her side but always letting her face her own obstacles because he knows she’ll be able to handle them just fine. He knows that she’s not here to be anyone’s tool, and he works to genuinely respect that wish. He doesn’t let anyone badmouth her by calling her weak and unmotivated, because he knows how insulting discrediting her achievements and passion is, and he doesn’t let himself disrespect that passion either, even if he can’t help but eavesdrop on her victories to reassure his own fears (And Shiroyuki was right, that was a good answer indeed). And because they have that incredible bond of trust, they’re able to sidestep the bullshit misunderstandings that can plague shojo romance with incredible ease. The story thread about the jealous lord forging a document from the prince to keep Shiroyuki out of the castle could have so easily led to a scenario where she thinks he’s betrayed her and he doesn’t know what he did wrong, making them both hate each other before it was all cleared up. But instead, she immediately sets about trying to figure out what’s going on, because she rightfully trusts Zen enough to know he’s not the kind of guy to shut her out so callously. She needs to hear it from him, or there’s no way she’d believe it. And once they run into each other, she doesn’t even need to ask him to confirm his innocence; his mere presence is evidence enough.
In Your Own Hands
Honestly, I’m sort of amazed by how quickly this show earned my trust. In just three episodes, it’s sidestepped pretty much every potential concern I might have had out it, proving its characters to be actual competent human beings capable of holding real conversations and inspiring each other in real ways. It’s also notable that Shiroyuki and Zen are both young adults, not mere teenagers, which means their lives are a lot more open and self-motivated. They’re both growing into society as a whole and working to carve out their own place in it, pursuing their passions with equal excitement and drive. Sure, she just wants to be an herbalist and he’s the prince of a freaking country, but they’re both at the point in their lives where they’re ready to start seriously acting as the master of their own destinies, and it’s so powerful to see them fall so easily into supporting each other in their endeavors. If there’s one place where the fairly tale motif really comes into focus outside of the obvious allusions (also, “I’m not a dwarf”), it’s that sense of growing into your own story, taking life into your own hands and figuring out how to balance it. Zen has a great line in episode 3 where he acknowledges that he needs to strike a balance between his duties and desires; his desk work is important, but he can’t be a good prince if he looses sight out the country outside the castle walls he’s supposed to be fighting for. And Shiroyuki in turn is setting about striking that work-life balance for herself, pursuing her dream job while still making time to explore the countryside and appreciate the world she’s living in.
It’s such a delicate balance to strike, both for the characters living these lives and for the show depicting them. Thankfully, it’s going superbly on all counts thus far, and it’s never been more engaging watching a pair of twenty-somethings lean on each other for support at they walk forward on their own two feet. It’s charming, it’s sweet, it’s earnest, it’s down to earth, they have such great chemistry together, the world itself is delightful, and I am just having such a good time with it all. If these first few episodes are any indication, Snow White and the Red Hair is gonna be a warm summer breeze that I’ll be looking back nostalgically upon for many years to come. Consider me excited as hell for what comes next.
Odds and Ends
-”This is not a mirror. It’s an informant from town.” pfft
-”I just remembered, I left the stove on!” Somebody get this lady some help.
-oh my god those poor guards didn’t sign up to be shippers did they
-”Am I hearing things?” “I didn’t say anything yet.” askdhasdh
And with that, we are on our way! Man, I already can’t wait to keep watching. See you next time!
YEAH THEY BANGIN
k so prime happy endo, all-my-ships-fuckin-work-at-once-somehow hc in which the apprentice is bangin all five sweeties!
romantic love ties (and they bangin):
mc + asra, mc + julian, mc + muriel (so much bangin)
asra + muriel (possibly asra didn’t realize muriel loved him That Way, and it took mc to point out the obvious)
nadia + portia; nadia eventually realized it was a problem having a relationship with her personal servant and made arrangements, fully intent on just having portia be her consort, but portia was Not Down With just being taken care of and insisted on having an actual like, job, so nadia probably found her a position that suited her strengths but wasn’t directly servile to nadia. (that’s for the bedroom. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°))
julian + asra; well, not yet, but the potential is there—there’s a lot of tangled up It’s Complicated stuff to work through. there’s deff ghost-feelings on julian’s part of his former wild hopeless love for asra mixed with residual resentment; it’s all deliciously awkward and angsty but with mc’s stabilizing presence it’ll work itself out, whether in a found family way or a romantic way. (also, the three of you have EXPLOSIVELY HOT THREESOME SEX either way.)
found family ties (no less deep than the romantic ones but different):
mc + nadia, mc + portia (and they all bangin, deliciously dommed by nadia)
asra + nadia (may or may not be bangin), asra + portia (probably not bangin)
muriel + julian; muriel finds him SO ANNOYING, but protective familial feelings start rearing their head no matter how he tries to crush them. (not bangin—julian is very. very. into muriel’s size. but muriel flees in embarrassment and irritation at every awkward attempt julian makes at flirting. maybe one day. julian is wistful.)
muriel + nadia, and he’s barely met portia but they are DESTINED BESTIES. not bangin either of em, though portia thinks he’s hot.
julian + nadia (not bangin, but he’s very attracted to her, and flustering him with subtle innuendo is one of her favorite games; but julian feels too weird about the idea of bangin his sister’s gf to go for it. probably he had threesomes with her and asra back in the day, and if those memories are recovered he’s supremely Uncool and Weird about it.)
(speaking of which mc occasionally lets something of a sexual nature in ref to portia slip around him, or mc gets flirty with portia in his presence, and he basically becomes the reverse kool aid man in his haste to un-hear and un-see. she is far less flaily about it but she does give you a firm NOPE if you give her any tmi about julian.)
please. give me. a big love pile. where all my ships can happen. _(:3 」∠)_
BELLA for the role of MARY MACDONALD, using the faceclaim KAT MCNAMARA.
I love what you’ve done with Mary! I got a very clear sense of her personality in your application. I really enjoyed your description of her role in the Ashen Phoenix, as well as her unwavering belief that people can’t change. It’s going to be very interesting to see that in play, so thank you so much for applying and welcome to Quartus Bellum!
Name: Isabella! You can call me Bella, though. Hi there.
Activity Level: This month is less busy for me and I should be able to get on at least every other day for a couple hours at a time.
Other: The only trigger I have is incest, but it’s not a huge deal for me! Also, this group looks amazing and I’m so excited.
Acknowledgement: I acknowledge that the themes of this game may include triggering elements. I also acknowledge that my character may be harmed, coerced, or even killed (with player’s consent) during paras/events or may cause harm to or kill others during paras/events. - I acknowledge this note.
჻ ჻ ჻ ჻
general ic details
Name: Mary Gavina MacDonald
Gavina means “hawk woman” in Scottish.
Age: March 28, 1959 (Aires).
Ships: Literally, I’m open to everything and anything. Mary is pansexual, even if she doesn’t exactly know how to identify herself at this time. However, she’s genuinely skeptical of others and it takes a lot for her to actually become romantically involved with someone.
Gender/Pronouns: cis-female, she/hers/her.
Face Claim: Katherine McNamara, Zendaya Coleman (when writing this, pictured her as Kat!)
჻ ჻ ჻ ჻
Mary was born between wildflowers. Maybe it was fate when Patricia MacDonald lay on a cot just outside the small cottage of her best friend, unable to make it to the hospital. The wildflowers blew in the wind like wind chimes and when Mary was born, she did not scream. Instead, she giggled, as if the flowers were tickling her toes and she was alright with their saying hello.
Her mother was a wild woman; shunned by their small, and very strictly conservative, Scottish town for having a child out of an affair. To Mary, though, her mother’s wildness made her unique and she strived to be just as curious and observational as Patricia was. Mary would follow her mother with starry eyes, taking their lack of housing as an adventure. But there were days where Mary would be the one, alone, on her adventures. Although her mother was born of magical parents, she was a squib, and by association Mary was an outcast. They left the town only to find the grass isn’t greener and sometimes, when her mother was out trying to make them enough to get food for the next day, Mary would be the one bartering at markets, fixing old blankets, spotting the highest ground and the cheapest apple. Eventually, Mary’s sly fingers would get them abandoned houses, free snacks, and even new clothes.
Mary was known as the little girl who saved Patricia MacDonald. However, when she was old enough, her Hogwarts letter found them at an abandoned shack in Northern Scotland. Patricia would never say no to such an opportunity but her lack of surprise was not shared by her daughter. Mary had always thought her skills had been just good enough to be considered lucky, but as she realized she was a witch, it was obvious that magic played a large role in her upbringing. Her heart was not just set on Hogwarts but as soon as she stepped through the doors, she was home. There was food on the table, delicious food, every single night. She could hide in the library any time she’d like. The title of Gryffindor came as as surprise to her, as she always assumed she’d be Ravenclaw, but the Slytherin’s in the halls were even more shocking. She was so far removed from the world of magic that prejudices other than towards the poor had not occurred to her. Not silent about her feelings on this manner, Mary was often found sticking up for the younger Gryffindors, bravely confronting the Slytherin’s and often involving McGonagall (her hero and role model).
The day Mulciber had enough was the day Mary decided that she would do whatever it took to stop these people. She was cornered in a bathroom stall and Mulciber used unspeakable curses and horrible whispers to tell her just what the people in Slytherin thought of her, and other half-bloods and muggleborns who’s blood did not run bright crimson. Mary reported the assault to McGonagall and the both of them stormed to Dumbledore; unstoppable. However, Dumbledore’s hands were tied. Mulciber could not, and would not, be touched. The rest of her sixth year was spent trying to pick up her pieces. She pushed away anything that might be considered friendship in order to focus on taking them down. The rage inside her was like a caged animal and it was not until summertime, back in their shack, that she finally let it out to her mother.
The following August, Dumbledore approached Mary about the Order and she did not hesitate before agreeing. Although she did not agree with Dumbledore’s decision, Mary would give him a chance to prove that he would, and could, save them all. She was one of the original members, devoting most of her final year to helping build the organization from the ground up. Mary was relentless in the Order, eager to learn more spells so that she could teach, dying to study wizarding history so she could learn from the past, and hoping that maybe, just maybe, they could change the world.
Mary would never regret this hopefulness, but it came back to bite her when, during a battle, her mother’s town was ransacked. Her mother was killed in the crossfire, a civilian casualty, that caused Mary’s life to flip upside down. The rage returned but this time she had no one to speak to. The hope flickered off, dying with the setting sun on the day of her mother’s funeral. That very rage boiled throughout the rest of the war and when they lost, she was not surprised. Unfortunately, giving up was not in her vocabulary.
When she did not have her mother to care for, Mary began taking care of the people around her. She would steal, find them shelter, and get through the doors that many of her muggleborn friends could not. The Ashen Phoenix rose from the, well, ashes and Mary was going to make sure that it soared. She was sure if she could survive her mother having died for nothing. Mary will do anything it takes to make sure they win; no matter the cost.
჻ ჻ ჻ ჻
my character is:
Please Describe a Belief your character has that is wrong.
Mary does not believe people can change. After so much time spent trying to get others to be better and do better and understand that the world is not black and white, she has become tired. Her lips are chapped and her tongue is dry and she does not know how, or really want to, keep pressing people’s buttons to get them to see her point of view. Mary has a nasty habit of believing that she’s almost always right, although in matters of equality she knows that she is right. Maybe that’s a nasty thought, but Mary has had too much spent too much time in her life playing nice to all the wrong people. If you were a Death Eater, in her mind, you will always be one.
Address the differences between what your character is currently doing and what they would prefer to do?
Currently, Mary is the runner for the Ashen Phoenix. If she had to describe the position, she would call it a mix between a healer, a thief, and a tinker. Sirius may be the mother, but Mary heard just as many complains and concerns that she was going to fix. She had always been good with machinery, luckily enough for them, and she was able to hijack cars, fix old radios, and even combine some magic with muggle technology without the loss of function. If she were able to pick and choose her profession, though, Mary would love to continue that thread. She’d always been interested in how technology did not seem to operate around magic and Mary thinks that she could find the solution. A position in the Department of Muggle artifacts, or even an engineer in the muggle world, would be a perfect position. However, Mary knows that those thoughts are only dreams.
A single light flickered in the barn, casting a yellow glow that didn’t quite light the entire space. Mary slouched over a wooden desk, eyes fixated carefully on a tiny piece of machinery, one that might not have been visible to others without a microscope. Ever so carefully, she used her wand to slowly left a small section of the radio’s wiring. Closing her eyes, Mary allowed the spell to slip from her lips and the glow of the magic entered the radio. Bracing herself for impact, the radio sputtered once, twice, and then… it turned blue. A smile crept across her face, the first one that she’d managed since the shovels and the dirt and the goodbyes.
The day was for nightmares, Mary decided, but the night was for dreams.
Quickly now, she turned the dial on the radio and listened, softly to the breeze. The tracking spell had worked although Mary was not sure for how long. Her last couple attempts to blend technology and magic had backfired, although not quite catastrophically. A small explosion in the barn was a small price to pay for a potential piece of spy equipment. For a second more, Mary waited. She hoped. The radio did not sputter out, or explode for that matter, but the sound died just as someone was starting to speak. The hope faded from her eyes and she set her head down on the table, silent.
Maybe it wouldn’t have been the right person, but it could have been close. The attack on her town had left them all with little answers but Mary’s biggest question was just who had done it. She’d found scraps of black cloaks, one she would recognize no matter how scarred or ashen the material had become. Whoever had worn this burned her town to ash. Whoever had worn this might have burned her mother, too.
Her mind slipped back to the burial; to her mom sitting in that casket like a mannequin. Mary swore it couldn’t be her there, lacking the rose in her cheeks, and the daisies in her smile. The yellow and pink had disappeared as if they had been sucked out of her by a wand. Mary hated that magic had this sort of power. There were wondrous moments that magic could create but many forgot about the dangers. Mary had not forgotten, and she did not think she ever would.
Her breath was warm against her arm. Sticky. Wet. Mary pulled away and wiped away the tears that she hadn’t let fall at the actual funeral itself. Maybe a couple of hours was what she needed to finally let the tears out. Her shoulders began heaving, the storm coming, tears falling faster now, hitting the wood and changing the color, almost like a mood ring. She couldn’t stop, but she didn’t want to stop, because for the first time since she’d received her tragedy, for the first time since her mother had left the Earth, Mary recognized that she was gone.
The pain was there but, for once, the anger wasn’t.
one. I would love to see Mary confront Mulciber one day. I don’t know if they’re going to be a character in play, or if we would ever receive one, but I want that moment to happen. I picture her having steered clear of him the rest of 6th year and I would like for her to have her revenge, because, honestly, Mary is angry. Mary is angry and she needs an outlet, or at least a moment, to prove to herself that she can put that anger into the world and not have it bite her.
two. I’m so sorry these are all gonna be like Mary’s angry!! But she is! And she wants to break Dumbledore out of his jail cell. She knows he doesn’t deserve to be there and I always imagined him almost having a grandfather presence in her life. If she cannot break him free, she believes that she will never be able to win the war. Mary has been planning, scheming, working on a way to get him out. Whether or not that’s with other characters or with herself is something I could definitely talk to other players about, but I want her to be having this grand scheme to bring Dumbledore back. As if that would suddenly fix everything.
three. Maybe this is a basic one, but I would really love to see Mary open up to someone. She has walls up as high as the tallest tower at Hogwarts, and she usually tries to flirt and hide behind her true feelings in order to keep them pushed down. If she doesn’t listen to that little voice in her brain, she doesn’t have to face herself. However, I want her to find someone who forces her to think about herself and her own feelings. I want someone to bring out the good in her, even if for small minutes. Whether this is a best friend, or a potential romantic interest, it’s of no matter to me! I just would like to see Mary be able to have these moments and she needs someone to press her to do so.
four. Last but certainly not least, I would like Mary to find out who her dad is. In my mind, I pictured him as a wizard who is now a priest, as he was a pureblood who fell in love with a Squib. I don’t know exactly how Mary would deal with this knowledge, as she never had to think about her father (her mother was all she needed). I would still like to see what happens. I also think that she would not appreciate the fact that he was in hiding all of this time when he could have been helping her.
szayel for the character thing ?? :0
How I feel about this character
Honestly??? I adore him. Szayel was pretty much my first Bleach love, and a large part of the reason why I would up liking Hollows so much. My best friend at the time was mad at me for liking him, but I am VERY glad I continued to like him anyway. Szayel is good in that way where he’s also terrible, and he continues to enchant me even a good 5+ years after I realized he was amazing. He’s arrogant for good reason; he’s exceptional. Also, he’s incredibly fun to write. His point of view is just deliciously twisted~
My non-romantic OTP for this character
Hmmm, that’s kind of tough. Szayel isn’t exactly the sort to make friends, and I don’t see him getting too close to anyone that he doesn’t consider a potential test subject. His relationship with Yylfordt is pretty hilarious, though, and the mental image of them fighting like children as soon as there’s no one around to watch makes me cackle every time.
My unpopular opinion about this character
This ties into one of my general Hollow headcanons, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near as sexual as he comes across. In my opinion, his lewdness is the Hollow version of an open threat, which makes sense when you notice that the people he’s sexual towards are generally either enemies or those who he would otherwise want to get rid of. Based on my idea that, for Hollows, physical contact is a threat, it makes sense that he’s just being nasty and aggressive towards those that he wants gone. Also, I don’t care if it’s “canon”. His Hollow hole’s “canon” location is Kubo’s idea of a joke, and I’m rejecting it.
One thing I wish would happen / had happened with this character in canon.
His fight with Mayuri sort of accomplished this, but I want to see him get beat good. Like, ego smashing, genuinely terrified, beaten so bad even he has to admit it. I have a thing for arrogant characters getting dismantled, and Szayel is no exception! The Mayuri fight was eh, both because I do not like Mayuri, and because it just felt sort of?? poorly thought out I guess?? For some reason, it just wasn’t a satisfying fight for me. (Except the scene where Szayel throws a temper tantrum cause his ability isn’t working. I deeply enjoy that.)
BTS as submissive boyfriends
a/n: A thought experiment to envision Bangtan as subs in your daily and sexual life.
warning: Dom/sub dynamics, femdom!reader
Jimin is dashing as a submissive, it suits him well. An eager pleaser who memorizes all of your wishes exactingly, always giving more than taking because it fulfills him. Jimin addresses you as his one and only Queen, serenades and serves you with all of his allure. He’ll make you a bubble bath after you get home, write countless love letters, provide all sorts of comfort especially on your period, organize an evening to watch a cute movie, kiss and hug you tight the way you love it. But don’t be fooled, he’s volatile. This man will walk through your house naked all day, too. You know him, he draws a lot of confidence out of approval, so he’ll really groom himself. If you love his natural black hair and soft tummy, he’ll do everything to look like that. If you enjoy his ample legs, he will train each day without fail, and proudly display the results here and there through his ripped blue jeans.
In bed, Jimin’s divide between soft and sensual shows all the more. He is immensely passionate and sacrificing, all of his avid affection is yours. Prepare for a myriad of curious questions, he wants to know everything you’re into, all the dos and don’ts. This type of devotion is made for someone intense and dominant because it requires guidance as well as receptivity. Your voluptuous Jimin can massage your feet, kiss your breasts, eat you out like it’s nothing. And he wants to do more, more, more, to satisfy you all the time because he loves seeing you gratified. Imagine how many special hours he will dedicate to that. “Love and sex” is his life mantra - that means all of your tensions in these realms will be alleviated. And listen. What you can look forward to the most is how he puts his lusciously gyrating dancer hips and thighs to practice.
The light of your existence - you won’t ever be bored again. Taehyung will enrich your life effortlessly because he makes it so interesting and positive. Compliments and good conversation within your quality time are his strong points: He will always be mindful that you will receive plenty of this, since you become his unchallenged priority. Taehyung will talk with you at length to entertain and cheer you up with his witty mannerisms straight out of his video games and keep you up to date with literally the entire world. He adds some excitement through cheeky flirting and cuddling (Taetae is the clingiest member. If you are deprived of hugs he’s perfect for you), soothing you with his deep, deep voice which he’ll deliberately bring out. He will send you selcas with his smexy bandana creations, funny filters, and a plunging fashionable neckline to add pizazz to it. He texts with the cutest emojis and always encourages you since he believes in your potential. “Mommy, fighting”, he’ll write, and you know he smiles his rectangle smile as he sends it to you.
Erotic hours with Taehyung will echo a similar feeling. He is down for every conceivable endeavor, but it stays light. Unless he switches on his temptation mode, that is. All in all, nothing is ever confined to the bedroom alone - it seems that his affinity goes towards the bathroom instead. Sensual showers and baths with lots of foam, voilà, Taehyung will be all cute and bashful for you. The kitchen is the second favorite where you will have some fruit adventures, you can imagine how creative he gets. Tae also amuses you with his dirty talk, so many clever innuendoes. He can bring everything sexual to an intellectual level, which will lead to the most juicy messages on your fridge. Talking about juicy: have you seen Taehyung’s hands? They will make you feel so, so good. In the morning, at noon, at night. And that voice is sure to push you over the edge every time.
The fascinator. A very private man of unwavering loyalty. To share this hermit-like intimacy with you is his gift - he’s exclusive to you, undemanding, very minimalistic. Yoongi is an immensely shrewd shadow worker and secret keeper. None of your problems will remain unsolved, even if he stores a lot in his head only to reveal it much later. You have all the power, and Yoongi the master plan to solidify your reign. He really thinks long-term which makes him very sure about his commitment. Yoongi knows your future and how to make it good: By loving you. Foreseeing the hard times, he becomes proactive. His devotion also shows in the way he gives you presents as often as he can. A personal mixtape, a ticket to your favorite singer’s concert. He works hard, so hard. Usually the critical type, he is able to let down his guard with you. He can share his heart without having to protect himself with coldness or sharp comments. Trust me when I say that he will shower you with the most sincerely endearing things. He’ll also guard you from outside malice and back you up. If you are struggling with any problem concerning your state of mind, Yoongi will sacrifice everything he has to make you healthy because he knows how it is. Know that you are his Empress, ready to be revered every day.
You will fully realize that when he gets intimate. It is true, you have South Korea’s most talented tongue between your legs and at your whim. His job lends him ridiculous stamina, Yoongi can make you groan and shake all night. What he does not utter or express through writing during the day, he will make up for with a plethora of lavish tongue movements. Sweet Suga might take his time and finish intensely or vice versa if that is your wish. Yoongi is not afraid of taboos and extremes - in fact, he needs them. You can lead and dominate him completely, he loves to feel your impact. He can finally let go of his troubles like this. Remember how he said he likes Jimin and J-Hope for their extroverted energy and strong vibe as it makes him snap out of his blues. Getting tied up or teased with toys, he craves it all. Last but not least, a little secret: It is safe to say that this sexy vampire will lick your sensitive neck to some new orgasmic heights.
A yielding and steadfast partner for you, highly intuitive. This jovial man will muse about you as the meaning of his life, and how divine you are, like a Priestess blessing him. You’re always on his mind and he’ll let you know about it artistically, no matter how cheesy it gets. I am sure he could open a museum dedicated to you as the overarching theme. Joon is also going to be a feast for your eyes. Chic and futuristic, he models the neatest couture for you, and helps you to buy your own so you can be an edgy couple. He will wear stylish bags and his eccentric sunglasses, and you call him babe. Occasionally, Rapmon will share his music with you and write an entire collection of raps that describe his feelings. Namjoon is a poet, philosopher, and psychologist, striving to understand all of your motivations and dreams. He’s your biggest fan in a way, and heals your soul. Whatever makes you chuckle becomes his daily task - he’ll even break some trivial items on purpose because it makes you laugh yourself to tears.
Namjoon in bed is not very agile precisely due to his lanky stature and those clumsy moments. Do you know what that means? You can top the living hell out of him. That’s right. Joonie is just fine on his back having you ravage him, and he’ll whisper the lewdest, intelligent things to you. If you’ve studied his lyrics, you know how far he wants to go. Though you have to know that his heart and sexual demeanor are much softer than his image suggests. Like Jimin, he is a romantic in search of a woman who can conquer him, who can get him into the heat of the moment, out of his head in the clouds. You can control and tantalize him and his delicious, sexy body however you want, all he loves is to see you delight in your power position. With submissive Namjoon, I guarantee you will have tons of fun.
Hobi is tremendously bright, empathetic, and gentle. Thus, he’s perfectly in tune with your needs as his character is so reactive. If you are an introvert, this is your perfect match. J-Hope will energize you one-to-one or in a group because he’s the paramount socialite, and once you’ve charged enough sunlight, he’ll show you his peaceful and relaxed side which can also be quite hedonistic. Like Jungkook, he will indulge you, make you feel good the way you never experienced it before. No matter the circumstance: He’ll say or text “I love you” at least once a day in the most uplifting tone, often addressing you with sugary sweet names on top of that. You’re his Aphrodite, and Hoseok will never make you doubt that the arrows of Eros have reached his heart. He’ll always get so excited how amazing you are, conveying it with his animated body language, joking and jumping around. And even in the serious moments, he will do everything in his power to make you happy.
That includes creating a very vivid sexual life with you. He’s not perfectly submissive like Yoongi and Jimin, but more like Taehyung, in a glamorous fashion. If he arrives with his hair sleeked or swiped back with his glorious forehead on full display, you know what’s going on. This guy will really put on a show for you. Just because you two are getting intimate it doesn’t mean he’s no longer an entertainer. You can sit on his lap when he’s in his shiny sequin suit, and run your hands through his meticulously styled hair (Hobi is fastidious with self-care, you will never have any complaints). Did you see pictures of him in suspenders? Blazing hot! He’ll wear these underneath his jackets because you are really into them. And if you don’t like to keep it classy here and there, get flexible. Literally, because this is what Hoseok’s body is. You can have sex in the most incredible positions, no limits. He really is such a well-rounded and well-versed (heh) sexual partner, and very zestful for that matter.
Class act. A flawless gentleman. The ace of Bangtan, with better manners than any butler. It is not chivalry in a sense that he interferes with your business that you can perfectly handle on your own. No, he rather has the nerve to absorb all daily life burdens from you in private to assure that his goddess is never stressed out too much. You come home tired and ask for something soothing, he makes you some soup. You rant about someone, he will mediate and understand you. In essence, he provides all the relief you desire. He entertains you generously but also has an open ear and a shoulder to lean on - you can talk to Jin to everything, he can and will be able to deal with it so your safety and well-being is the priority of everything in your relationship. Always responsible and caring, he shops and manages and cleans as good as he can, and rests his gorgeous head in your lap every evening so you can caress him at will.
Now what happens when this handsome fella sleeps with his goddess? He’ll dine you first, and then show his terrifically seductive side. Jin has figured out what arouses you down to a T. For instance, once he slowly strips off his shirt to reveal those chiseled, broad shoulders, there’s no turning back. He can pepper your hot sessions with plenty of his humor to spice it up, you can really feel free to get weird with him as much as you please. In fact, Jin loves a lot of randomness and talking when you two make out. There’s going to be a lot of eye contact involved, too, mixed with many giggles. And now here’s the cherry on top. Jin will often combine your sexual activities with travels and wellness. How does this sound like: You both finance a day at a spa in Jeju, followed by getting some more relief in the hotel afterwards. Though Jin can deliver a massage himself you see. Whenever you ask, this guy will drop everything.
We all know why he hates being called Oppa. The “show your ID” is just a cop-out, Jungkook makes it obvious that he wants a Noona to adore and look up to. Partly, he’s doing it out of sheer fun, he’s playful, nimble. On the other hand, he’ll take it seriously. So he’ll diligently cater to you. For instance, he’ll be your humble yet sultry chef, not missing any opportunity to indulge you with his kitchen skills. He loves to cook because it pleases you so much, especially with an apron tied around his lovely slender hips, moving through the kitchen whistling and singing - he’s a treat, so charming. He’ll spoil you rotten and ask for your approval like this: “Noona tell me, did I do well?” Kookie knows you love his tight shirts and the side part so you can feel up his chest and silky hair. Hence he’ll take some time styling himself, is often seen somewhere ironing or folding the clothes you like on him. And he will style you, too! Cozy Jungkook attends to your locks in particular, he’ll comb and braid them just to hear you sigh under his relaxing hands while you two watch anime. He’ll also massage and tickle you if you demand it, and put on a suave dance as in Rainism to turn you on when you’re in the mood.
So when it comes down to sex: Take him out to your favorite restaurant and you can already see how much of a sensory gourmet he is. He’s not an extreme of sexual naïvity or total overdrive as it may seem. Jungkook will be fairly balanced, in fact. Have you seen how deliberately he manages his own body? The physical territory is where he roams successfully, and he is sure to become a connoisseur of your body in no time. Jungkook will do everything just right, stopping you or himself in whatever hurried tracks to keep it nuanced, healthy, and harmonious. He wants to be your baby boy, attending to every carnal wish that his Noona has. No suggestion or trick is too bizarre for him to make you cum. Because remember: He likes the fun of it. You could be the most awkward person in the world, Jungkook wants to really put you at ease. Thus, sex oscillates between relaxing and steamy. He’ll be so pleasing to your eyes, tongue, and hands with his sculpted body, and that’s just the beginning of it. This man embodies your ecstasy.
Comic Girls - Episode 10
Oh my god I finally have all this healthcare bullshit sorted out and appointments re-made. I can fucking breathe. So what’s happening now? Well, anime, of course. It’s Comic Girls, episode 10! Here we GO!
-We begin with…Those aren’t lilies. Oh shit it’s winter. The Christmas season, even, and Ririka has gotten a Christmas tree for the dorm! And gotten out decorations! Oh my god I’d fight someone for winter chill right now. Meanwhile…Ruki is being sad in the snow, because she dramatically hates Christmas?! Oh no!
-Opening! There’s the lilies.
-So a tired Tsubasa comes padding down the stairs and finds a very well decorated Christmas tree. …What day is it today? The 22nd. Of December. Right, right, December…Haaave you two seen Ruki?
-She’s… been standing dramatically outside of the dorm all morning. And now she’s pacing. It’s kind of weird. So Tsubasa goes out to talk to her and I’m just saying, Ruki gets awfully blushy at Tsubasa calling out to her with “Hey pretty lady”. …Now get back to work. And Ruki has a freakout because yes, ultimately the reason she dislikes Christmas is because it’s a romantic day and she’s an erotic manga artist with no lover. Tsubasa even made a handy graph to show the way these romantic days fuck with Ruki’s motivation.
-See also when she completes a page of her manuscript to prove she’s not all screwed up inside, and yet she gets jealous of her own character.
-Is it weird that the most unbelievable part in all of this is Ruki insisting she wants a boyfriend? And not a small pink moeblob? So Koyume and Kaos try to perk her up and, Koyume’s attempt doesn’t work because you have a solid crush you spend all your time around! And Kaos reminds Ruki of her fan-letters, a perfect motivator to fill her with love! …Except they just remind her that she’s got nobody to be romantic with. Wow this is the worst Tsubasa has ever seen her.
-Okay, new plan! Why don’t they all help Tsubasa on the next chapter of The Dark Hero? Some battle manga will be a great change of pace! …But the chapter she’s working on has the eponymous hero being very cutely tsundere to the princess and Ruki breaks.
-The next day! Ruki has come to Suzu for desperate help, and Suzu is entirely happy to continue to let Ruki cling to her, as they talk about the unusual pressures of erotic and horror manga and the lonely lives they have to lead…Though Suzu is more…Shall we say…Motivated, than Ruki. And finally she leaves, trying to push herself to get back to work…
-When she finds the room empty? And dark? Completely—
-And the lights come on and poppers go off! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ruki! Congratulations on turning six…teen…Wait huddle. She’s only sixteen? She was only fifteen a minute ago? Tsu could have sworn she was around 24. (YOU WENT TO ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL WITH HER.) They even made her a cake with Ririka’s help! And, presents!
-A giant version of her favorite plush, and a massage pillow, and…And Kaos panics because she erred on her gift choice. Calm yourself, Kaos! So what is it? It’s a cosplay outfit of Kaos’s favorite idol who is also a tall, graceful, purple-haired onee-sama type. I suddenly realize this long string of nonsense words is what normal people hear when I talk about anime.
-Also it’s the special Christmas outfit and…Kaos. Kaos please dial it in. But Ruki also soaks up all the praise and attention like a sponge, which Kaos is more than willing to provide.
-Until, finally, it’s…Actually well past Christmas. It’s in fact the end of the year, and everyone’s going back home to celebrate New Years with their family(and give Ririka an actual few days off from the life of a landlady and dorm matron). The good news is that Ruki is pulling back from the depths, but also Kaos realizes she hasn’t told her mom she’s coming back. Oh dear, she should…
-The answering machine gets it and she’s on vacation in Hawaii with her beloved husband and stacks of manga. And looking at her mom, who basically looks like if you put real human legs on our little moeblob…A lot of pieces of how Kaos came to be the sort of person she is suddenly fell into place.
-Of course Kaos has a panic and is off in depression land. Though now everyone’s trying to figure out where they can put a Kaos. Koyume wants to take her home, but Koyume’s family is planning a trip. Ruki would do it, but her house lacks a guest room and her little sister is going through an angry, shouty puberty. …Tsubasa? Not happening. So Kaos decides to just find all of her humanity in her favorite bishoujo figurines. The gang’s all here dot gif
-Fine, FINE, you’re coming with Tsubasa. They get to the train station, and Tsubasa in her warmest cosplay cloak, steps into the bathroom…And out comes an entirely normal looking teenage girl?! TSUBASA IS THAT YOU?! …Speak nothing of what you’re going to see, Kaos. Tell no one anything of this week. That is the price you will pay for room and board.
-Hard cut to…Does Tsubasa live in a castle??? Is she a princess?!
-SHE”S A FUCKING PRINCESS
-With LOVING PARENTS?!!!
-AND EVEN THE STAFF LOVE HER?!
-Yeah Kaos I feel your broken brain. And it turns out that Tsubasa is also a…trained pianist…? Except she’s doing rough. …Tsubasa what’s going on here? And that’s when Ruki races in at FULL FORCE. She got here so intensely that she left tire streaks on the stone walkway from her bike.
-And she’s here to cover for Tsubasa. Which at least means this is Tsubasa’s actual family and she’s not pulling some identity theft. She’s just lying about where she’s going to school and what she’s doing there and she’s forced Ruki to help in the lie. Also Tsubasa has no good photos…But Ruki photoshopped some! YES!
-Oh god why did we let Ruki do the photoshopping
-Also it turns out that Tsubasa is operating under an agreement with her mother to keep her grades up to the tip top and if she was just drawing manga all the time, she’d get dragged back here into the abyss. …Oh. Oh dear. Tsubasa is panicking so bad she turns into a Konosuba character and screenshot found. Click. Her mother is like a great demon lord.
-So it all comes out in Tsubasa’s room, how Tsubasa owes her entire life so far to Ruki and her help was enough to smuggle Tsubasa out of this place and into the dorm but under tons of conditions…RUKI YOU SAVED HER and now she’s all clingy and Kaos please dial in the thirst this is serious.
-Episode 10: It’s Not Fair That Michiru Gets All The Love
-New Year’s day! Tsubasa is in full proper dress and behavior and Kaos doesn’t know what to do. All the proper behavior is coming back out and Kaos is very confused. It’s like the Tsubasa she knows is slipping away! (More that she’s carefully boxed that Tsubasa up and hidden it in the crawlspace.) And Kaos has to draw the true Tsubasa back out of the crawlspace! FOCUS, woman, the fans need their Dark Hero! Also if you don’t draw your manga she’s gonna send this picture of you sleeping cutely to Koyume. NEVERRRRR DELETE DELETE DELETE
-To the girls all getting together at a shrine, with Koyume wishing she could have seen the photo, and Tsubasa being able to loosen up a little here. She’s still all very proper because it’s a New Year’s shrine, but she is able to at least dress like a proper prince instead of a pretty little princess. So with prayers done, it’s time for fortunes…Where Kaos gets literally the worst luck possible. And then her whole day goes wrong at the shrine.
-By the time they’re wrapping up, she’s feeling dead inside, as they decide to fight all this with a good luck charm! Now breathe, breathe! Back to the dorm, where…Is that smoke? OH GOD IS THE DORM ON FIRE?!
-No, Ririka just set up a little campfire out back to do some traditionally roasted sweet potatoes. She does it every year. It’s also the time to do a big cleaning session and gather up all the sketches and storyboards that aren’t worth keeping. Tsubasa is very hesitant to ever give up her sketches to the flames. Ruki, to contrast, shreds her shit the instant her publisher has a copy tied only to her pen name. You never know what could happen. She could get hit by a bus tomorrow, and she needs to be damn sure nobody ever realizes she was drawing porn! Ruki that’s a bit much.
-But then Tsubasa points out that the records of her sending those manuscripts in are going to last forever and a day in corporate vaults. You will never be free!
-And Koyume is willing to burn it all in trade for the sweet potatoes. Also Suzu is here to be spooky. As per usual. And damn, there’s some heavy stuff in those rejects…When Kaos sees a page she can’t bear to burn! You all stay here and save your valuable prizes! She’s going to gather up all of her rejects.
-She…has a lot. And as she starts to pour things in, the girls are looking over what’s still to go in. Oh god this sucks. But they’re also seeing quite a lot of potential in a lot of these. There’s meat here worth coming back to.
-But finally, the sweet potatoes are done! And they’re delicious. And for just a moment, everyone can relax, and put the troubles of the past and future aside…
So that whole Tsubasa part was bananas.
And I did not get nearly as much Rukaos as I was expecting. This is unfortunate. Perhaps we’ll get some next time, in episode ELEVEN of Comic Girls! Wait for it!
Hello Carisi by TiredBisexual
Sonny had confessed his feelings for Rafael fearing he wouldnt see him again.
How will Sonny react when he finds out Rafael is coming back to SVU?
A Walk Through The Park by captainbarisi
Detective Carisi and ADA Barba had been on a few unofficial 'dates'. This is how their first kiss happened.
Come a Little Bit Closer by irisirene
He wasn’t even sure how they’d gotten here, in all honesty, the last several minutes had been a blur, Sonny’s lips and his long, lean, form distracting Barba from analyzing the situation too clearly, a fog of affectionate lust clouding his brain in the most delicious way. One moment, they’d been doing their usual thing, bickering good-naturedly over one of SVU’s most recent cases, and the next, Rafael was being pulled up out of his chair by his lapels and kissed within an inch of his life.
With You by asmodesgold
Barba psychoanalyzes Sonny's reaction to the West Virginia incident in exchange for coffee.
The Story of You and I by AwkwardBabyGiraffe
A collection of one shots surrounding A.D.A. Rafael Barba and Detective Sonny Carisi.
Firsts by Special_Gays_Unit
Sonny was the eager one, the instigator of all their first's.
We Belong by asmodesgold
Rafael accidentally runs into Carisi and ends up entangled in something potentially dangerous.
Figure It's the Love That Keeps You Warm by chocobo_lolz
No one else Rafael's ever met has managed to simultaneously be this forward while also leaving no true indication towards their motive or intentions. Because wrangling one’s way into someone else’s kitchen and cooking a romantic dinner for two would, no doubt, be an obvious sign of interest if anyone other than Sonny Carisi were to do it.
A Story With No End by notmyyacht
With every ending, there is a beginning.
I Need You by TiredBisexual
Imagine if Barba was there to help Sonny through his niece's trial.
Friday night by glass_curtain
What Carisi thinks is a good idea on a Friday night. Or probably a very, very bad idea that hasn't been really thought through. Good thing Barba always seems to be a step ahead.
You call that discreet? by iliveinthemoon
Liv hosts an Easter gathering. Barba can't really do discreet but is Carisi really that oblivious?
keeping the time of day by alwaysbuddy
Barba appears through the doorway to the squad-room, and stops right before he can take another step, glancing up at the ceiling.
“Really,” he says flatly, raising an eyebrow, “charmed mistletoe.”
Breathe by Astronaut_Milky
Barba's there, in the flesh, in a perfectly tailored suit, with two canvas bags and two coffees in his hands. His eyes are traveling fast over Sonny's body, his face. Maybe it is real. Maybe Sonny is alive.
Beautiful Stranger by ChameleonCircuit
He watched the way the man smirked, the way he turned his body in tune with Sonny’s, one hand on his hip and the other holding a tumbler of scotch. His eyes raked over the man before him, hoping he was being discreet. This was a man designed to wear a tuxedo -- it seemed to fit his body perfectly, emphasizing all his best features. Suddenly, he felt like even more of a fraud. He fiddled with the seam inside his pockets, willing himself to look casual, comfortable.
Evident by unadrift
"Well," Rita says and crosses her legs. "It seems your SVU detective and wannabe-attorney will live in infamy. His tendency to force unsolicited legal advice on people more knowledgeable on the subject has become a bit of a running gag in our circles."
Open Your Eyes, Sonny by AwkwardBabyGiraffe
Sonny Carisi's life can be summed up in three words:
Open your eyes.
Unseen by tobeconspicuous
Realization dawned, and a feeling of relief followed by utter terror washed over Sonny. He looked at Carmen, who had clearly come to the same conclusion, her eyes wide in complete shock.
Barba was the last to realize. “I can’t-- oh.”
Oh indeed. It appeared that Sonny Carisi was Rafael Barba’s soulmate.
Something's Got A Hold On Me by surrenderdammit
Sometimes Sunny suspects Barba does this to her on purpose. Other times, Sunny would rather remain blind to the possibility that Barba knows exactly the effect she has on Sunny, because that means acknowledging that she does have an effect on her and then Sunny has to think about what that effect is and why it’s there and---
It’s just better not to think too hard about it.
One Little Chance by Power-Bottom-Barba (Cap_Against_The_Clap), Robin Hood (kjack89)
Sonny glanced around the table set up in Amanda’s spare bedroom, his eyebrows slightly raised. “Am I the only one who thinks this is a terrible idea, given, you know, Amanda’s history?”
“Oh please,” Amanda scoffed, dealing the cards. “We’re not even betting anything. This is just a friendly game of poker between colleagues to pass time on New Year’s Eve.” She raised an eyebrow at him. “Of course, you’re welcome to go watch Ryan Seacrest on TV in the living room if this is a little too adult for you to handle.”
“Yeah Carisi,” Olivia said with an easy grin, looking more relaxed than she’d seemed in recent weeks, in no small part because Jesse and Noah were having a sleepover at her place with Lucy, and she was getting regular text updates. “We’re all just having fun.”
Rafael made a small noise of disagreement as he glanced at his cards. “Speak for yourselves,” he said, taking a sip of scotch. “Even if the stakes are nonexistent, I still play to win.”
Or, a poker game on New Year's Eve ups the ante for Sonny and Rafael.
If You Say So by Astronaut_Milky
He leaned casually against the counter, giving Rafael a quick moment to appreciate his long form. “Just because it's the holidays, doesn't mean everything has to be sweet.”
The much younger man smiled, and Rafael's knees went weak once again.
“I don't know about that. There's something to be said for enjoying the sweet stuff.”
Five times Sonny and Rafael weren't a couple on Christmas Eve, and one time they were
Worth It by findafight
Sonny’s cheeks are tinged a pretty pink, Rafael thinks it's very cute, and he must have a lot of painkillers in his system and be very much in love to think like that, but he finds he doesn’t mind much.“Uh. Yeah. Do you want some water?” Rafael shakes his head a little, there’s an IV in his arm, and he drank some the doctor gave him. He really only wants to talk to Sonny.
Sonny nods and takes a hand through his hair, messing it up more, looking ruffled in a way that makes his chest tighten with affection. He must really love this man if ruffled hair and a Staten Island accent make him feel like this. He wonders how long they’ve been together.
Or, Rafael loses four years worth of memories and assumes he and Sonny are dating, because he knows he loves him in his gut. Or his heart. Or something. Except...they aren't together. Yet.
food of love, play on by ships_to_sail
Sonny groaned. He'd promised to perform a song of her choosing in apology for forgetting to get her a gift - “in fairness, my voice should be the only gift you really need, Rollins” had earned him a solid punch to the arm - and she'd been wilfully obstinate in giving him any hints about what song she'd picked. He grabbed his glass, God he really hoped it was his glass, and drained it, standing up slowly and giving his head a moment to steady before he offered her a small salute.
“Your wish is my command, birthday girl,” and he pressed a smacking kiss on her cheek as he made his way towards the stage.
The Time Traveler's Husband by LittleBlueBook
“It’s like gravity,” Sonny explained. “Big events pull you in.”
Rafael’s smile turned cocky.
“Am I a big event?”
“It appears so.”
Wedding Plans by Kaye_21
Barba's ex is getting married, and he needs a date for the wedding.
Sonny agrees to help. For a price.
They both get more than they bargained for.
Once More, With Feeling by HoopyFrood
Sonny wouldn’t call himself a theatre aficionado by any stretch of the imagination. He enjoys musicals in the same way he does baseball or cheesy B movies. But somewhere along the line theatre became his sanctuary in a way his other interests never did. A safe place. Something just for him that was untouched by distraught young women thinking they’d done wrong and angry young men thinking they hadn’t.
Formidable Love by Astronaut_Milky
His whole body felt electric, on fire, yet calm. As if this whole situation was the most natural, destined thing to ever occur. A thought shot through his head.
Was it possible?
Smile More by LikeABrokenClock
There's a million things Rafael Barba hasn't done, one of which is take Sonny Carisi on a date. (Just you wait.)
Call Me Carisi by Kaye_21
“This is going to sound crazy, Sonny, but did you ever have a moustache?”
(Or, Rafael hits his head, and Sonny helps him remember.)
Adventures at the Opera by Kaye_21
Carisi needs a favor.
Rafael is too curious for his own good.
Also, there are bow ties.
Decades by jamesgatz1925
Rafael and Sonny as teens in different decades.
Collateral Comfort by Kaye_21
Sonny is a little too affected by the events of 'Townhouse Incident'. By Liv, being in danger. Barba notices. Barba tries to cheer Sonny up, first with his mouth and then with an invitation to stay the night.
Sonny does not sleep on the couch.
And They Called it Puppy Love... by ElwritesFanworks
The year is 1960. Sonny Carisi is seventeen, and possibly falling in love.
See Me by Astronaut_Milky
Sonny slowly looks over his shoulder.
The last figure.
He knows who it is before reaching him.
His back is turned, but Sonny would always recognise those suits, that… body.
He reaches a hand out, desperate for contact.
As he places it tentatively on his shoulder, the figure turns to him.
White Liars by keraunoscopia, tobeconspicuous
“Shit, Gina’s walking towards us.”
Rafael took a step back and smirked. “So am I your boyfriend?”
“She has a smile on her face,” the detective's tone grew panicked.
Rafael couldn’t help but roll his eyes. “Time to make a choice, Carisi.”
A Nice Young Man by Perpetual Motion (perpetfic)
After the events of episode 16.16 (Barba's grandmother passes) and 16.7 (Sonny's brother-in-law is assaulted by his female parole officer), Carisi reaches out to Barba because that's just his way. Barba is a bit confused about what to do about it all.
In This Light by Astronaut_Milky
The model before him was absolutely stunning. He had worked with models in the past, and beauty was obviously a requirement for the job, but this was on another level. His twinkling blue eyes were absolutely captivating, even as they watched Rafael with youthful amusement that left him feeling exposed.
Good Morning by Kaye_21
Rafael wakes up. Carisi is smirking. Something is off.
Slow Burn by Linde
Kind of a Stream of Consciousness of Rafael of what could happen after he left. It starts off on the first night of May... Let's see where it goes.
Sex, Scotch & Sonny
It’s All in the Timing
Written For: @firaemsen
Written By: @earthshake
Word Count: 5,000
Harry and Nora were strangers, and sometimes Harry thinks it would have been better for everyone involved if they would have stayed that way.
A story about when two people are right, but the timing is wrong.
Micah is running late.
It isn’t that big of a deal, or at least it wouldn’t have been if Nora weren’t already running twenty minutes early. She bought herself a glass of wine to pass the time, but after forty-five minutes of sitting alone she’s finished two glasses and half an appetizer. She’s texted Micah twice, but he hasn’t replied.
The restaurant they’ve agreed to meet at was recently opened, one of those typical Los Angeles up-and-coming places with expensive dishes, organic produce, and twinkling lights. It had been practically impossible to get a reservation; Nora had put their names in three weeks ago, and this was the earliest slot they had open. She can’t believe Micah would bail on her tonight.
She is about to call him when somebody else slides into the booth across from her. He wears a confident smile, extending one of his long arms across the take to shake her hand.
“I’m Harry,” he says.
“Hi.” She blinks at him. “I’m Nora.”
“I like your headband. I noticed you instantly.” He nods at the green and gold scarf tied across her forehead. Nora sets her phone down on the table, feeling a little more comfortable in front of cute guy under the impression that he’s probably gay.
“Your date finally showed up,” the waitress says, pulling out her notebook and turning to Harry. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“I’ll have a glass of whatever she’s drinking, that you,” he says before she can find a way to explain that he’s not her date, they aren’t sitting together. Nora picks up her phone again, noting that Micah is now over a half hour late. From previous experience she can assume he’s not coming, and so she decides not to tell Harry that she’s meeting someone.
“So what brings you here tonight?” She asks.
Harry grins boastfully. “My sister is dating the owner. She pulled a couple strings.”
“Impressive. I was on the waiting list for what felt like forever. Do you want some Avocado Bruschetta?” Nora pushes the plate towards the center of the table, and Harry gratefully takes up her offer. Nora notices a few tattoos on his fingers and up his forearms. He’s wearing long sleeves with the cuffs unbuttoned, draping over his wrists. The first few buttons of his shirt are undone as well, revealing even more ink and reinforcing the notion that he is definitely, totally gay.
“So tell me about yourself. What do you like to do?” Harry asks after he’s finished chewing.
“I’m an aspiring actress in LA, the ultimate cliché,” Nora admits.
“Me too,” Harry says with a laugh. “But so far all I’ve been in is hair product commercials.”
“You do have lovely hair,” Nora compliments. He has dark curls that roll over his ears and down to his chin. He pushes them back with one hand, purposefully showing off.
“Thank you, it is quite literally my claim to fame.”
Nora laughs. “What’s your dream role?”
“War movie. Easy. I want to be the next Matt Damon.”
“Saving Private Ryan?”
“I have to be honest, you don’t really look like you’ve been to war,” Nora says.
“That’s why they call it acting, Natalie.”
“Um, it’s Nora, actually.”
“Shit, sorry! ” Harry looks embarrassed, but Nora isn’t offended. She doesn’t actually remember giving him her name in the first place. “Okay Nora, what is your dream role?”
Nora has to think about her answer for a few moments. She’s been auditioning aimlessly for about a year now, trying to ignore Micah’s reminders about how unlikely it was she’d ever be successful, how she’d be better off going back to school. It came from a place of love and concern for her, it was always made Nora feel like a special kind of failure. At this point Nora would take any role she was given, at almost any cost.
“I guess I don’t really have a dream role as much as I do a couple directors I’d really like to work with. Ron Howard is at the top of the list. Frost/Nixon is my favorite movie.”
“Of all the movies to choose from, that one is your favorite?” Harry asks.
Nora shrugs. “I’m also a history buff.”
Harry and Nora enjoy an expensive, but exquisite dinner together, discussing their favorite movies and sharing audition horror stories. The food is delicious, living up to every review Nora had read. The company is even better, so much so that Nora doesn’t even bother to check her phone for Micah’s probably work-related excuse.
“I’m so full,” Harry complains when they finish, leaning back in his chair and rubbing his stomach. “How would you feel about taking a nice walk around the block to help the digestive process?”
Nora agrees, and it’s during this walk that Harry tries to kiss her.
“What are you doing? I thought you were gay!” Nora blurts.
“Excuse me?” Harry scowls. “If I were gay, why would I go on a blind date with a girl?”
“Huh? This isn’t—I’m not---“ Nora sighs. “I think there’s been a misunderstanding. I have a boyfriend.”
“Then why did Niall set me up with you?”
“Who is Niall?”
Harry steps back, face red with realization. He runs another hand through his curls, this time pushing them forehead to cover more of his face. He eyes a homeless person across the street warily before saying, “Niall is my roommate. He set me up with one of his co-workers. I told her to meet me at La Verne’s wearing something green and gold.”
“The Packers are my favorite football team,” Nora says lamely.
Harry scoffs. “Mine too. Figures. I finally meet a girl I like and she’s taken.”
Nora’s cheeks turn a soft pink.
“It’s not your fault,” Harry says with a sigh. “And don’t worry, there are other fish in the sea.”
“I did think it was weird when you, a total stranger, just sat right across from me. I should have said something. You’ve probably ruined some poor girl’s night now by standing her up.” Nora has been there enough time to not wish the same fate on even her worst enemy.
“What about you? Were you just out to dinner by yourself?” Harry asks.
Nora hesitates. “I was waiting for someone, but…he didn’t show up.”
Nora’s silence answers his question.
Despite her relationship status, Harry has trouble not thinking about Nora for the next few weeks. He grows more and more annoyed as the days go by, wondering how it’s possible that a girl who seemed so confident would put up with getting stood up by a guy. If Nora had been single, and agreed to go out with him again, he would’ve never pulled a stunt like that.
It turned out that Niall had forgotten to pass along the message to meet Harry to his co-worker, which at least meant she didn’t think he was an asshole. They make plans to meet up next Friday, this time after exchanging numbers to ensure no more mishaps were had. Before the date Harry does his best to push Nora out of his mind.
Niall’s co-worker is named Natalie, which Harry makes an effort to cement in his brain. He lets her pick the restaurant, having previously used his one impressive first date idea. Instead of dinner she suggests they go ice-skating, which Harry agrees to even when Niall warns him he’s going to make himself look like a fool. Harry hasn’t skated since grade school, and even then he wasn’t very good.
Natalie turns out to be an extremely talented skater; she laps Harry twice before slowing down to his speed. She takes the time to correct his form, holding his hand to keep him from falling as they start going faster. He makes it around at least a dozen times before getting too ambitious, spraining his ankle after attempting a jump.
“I’m so sorry, this is the worst first date ever,” Harry gushes in the emergency room, thinking he should have listened to Niall until Natalie laughs and kisses him hard on the mouth.
They go on one more date to Catalina Island before Harry asks her to be his girlfriend. They’ve been together four months when Harry lands his first lead role. It’s a romantic comedy, which is exactly the opposite direction he wanted to go in as an actor, but he’ll take what he can get. If Ryan Gosling can star in romantic comedies and action films, so can he.
Harry is cast before the female lead, and so he spends much of his next few weeks reading lines with potentials, testing their chemistry. Harry is excited it’s all he can talk about, and he thought Natalie was excited too until she tries to pick a fight with him in the middle of his living room, during the Super bowl.
“You didn’t tell me there was a sex scene,” she snaps after walking back from the bathroom and into a conversation about it. Harry had neglected to mention this piece of information on purpose, just until he could find the right way to say it, but then Niall had brought it up after enjoying a particularly raunchy commercial.
“It’s just one. It’s not a big deal,” Harry says.
“It is to me! How could you accept a role like that without discussing it with me first?” Natalie stands in front of the television, blocking the two of them from seeing what is undoubtedly an unbelievable touchdown.
“Get out of the way, Nat. Go fight somewhere else,” Niall says.
“How naked do you have to be in front of her?” Natalie demands.
Harry prefers to plead the fifth.
They’re up until three in the morning arguing, and the next day at work Harry is exhausted. He has another chemistry test first thing, and before it begins he locks himself in the bathroom for ten minutes, trying to get himself into character. He can’t seem to get the dead expression out of his eyes, and he keeps fumbling over his lines like there’s taffy stuck to the top of his mouth.
Harry picks up coffee from the cart on the way to set, burns his tongue on the first sip, and receives a scolding from the director about being late. He keeps his eyes glued to the floor or his script as he sits in his designated chair, waiting for the cue to begin.
“Wow, Stephen, I-“ The girl opposite him clears her throat and Harry looks up into Nora’s sea foam green eyes. “For a second there even I believed you were in love with me.”
Harry swallows, his head swimming with last night’s accusations. He waits a beat longer than he’s supposed to recite his next lines, his voice cracking over the words, “Me too.”
Nora glances at the front of the room, bites her lip, and then turns back to him. “Harmony looks really jealous,” she says.
“I don’t care,” Harry says. “I’m not pretending anymore.”
“But Stephen, that’s not fair! I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to, and now that you finally have what you want you can’t hold up your end of the deal?”
Harry gets off his chair, which is something he hasn’t done before during this scene, and walks over to Nora’s chair. He touches her lips with his thumb, and then brushes a strand of sandy hair over her ear.
“I can’t pretend to be with you anymore, Lyla, because it isn’t pretending for me anymore. It’s real, more real than anything I ever had with Harmony.” He leans down to kiss her lips that taste a mixture of vanilla and mint, his eyes falling shut until he hears the words Cut.
He pulls away, blinking.
“We’ll be in touch,” the one of the casting directors says to Nora.
“Bye Harry,” she says to him quiet enough so that he’s the only one to hear.
Her stomach is a field of butterflies as she sits in her car, trying to replay every second of the audition. It was her second one; her agent told her they were between her and a handful of other girls, and that she shouldn’t get her hopes up, but she couldn’t help herself. She’d been so shocked to see Harry wander in from the hall, but the shock had given way to joy. It was fate that they’d met that first night at La Verne, and it could only be fate that now they’d show up at the same audition. She hoped that even though she’d turned him down, he would at least speak highly of her with the casting agents. She’d told him how important her career was to her. He understood how big of a break this movie could be for her. For both of them.
Harry doesn’t let her down. She gets the call two days later that she’s gotten the part. She had more chemistry with Harry than any of the other girls they’d tested. Nora has a dance party in the living room with Michelle, her best friend. She wishes she had Harry’s number so she could text him thank you.
“I had nothing to do with it. They didn’t even ask for my opinion,” Harry confesses when she thanks him in person, after they’re first read-through of the full script. They’d both lingered in the conference room until everyone else had left, nervously approaching each other as if for the first time.
“Well, it’s really good to see you again,” Nora says, her skin warm.
“Do you want to go do something?” Harry asks despite himself.
Nora’s butterflies return.
Their first stop is the movie theatre, an activity they’d both discussed doing together back when Harry thought Nora was single and she thought he was gay. They share a large popcorn in the back of the theatre, gushing over particularly well-done scenes and impressive cinematography. It’s the first time Nora’s spent with a guy that wasn’t related to her since she and Micah broke up three weeks ago.
“He said he needed to focus on himself. He’s in med school, so he was always stressing about tests and his internship. He had to pick up an extra shift that night we met, that’s why he wasn’t there. I can’t really blame him for going after his dreams, can I?”
Nora shares this over ice cream on the beach. They’re walking barefoot in the sand, slowing inching towards the waves while the sun sets over the horizon. The sky is free of clouds, a true California sunset full of pinks, oranges, and reds. Filming hasn’t even started, and Nora already feels like she’s in a romance movie.
“How long had you been together?” Harry asks.
“Five and a half months,” Nora answers.
Harry kind of hates himself for thinking it, but no, she can’t blame him for going after his dreams. Harry is in the same situation with his own girlfriend, after all. She’s barely kissed him since she found out about the sex scene, and instead they spend all their time talking.
The weird thing is, Harry used to love spending all day talking to Natalie. He liked listening to her share stupid stories of stuff that happened at work (especially when it involved Niall). He liked that they could talk sports for hours, and that she made him laugh even when the serious stuff would come up.
Now they just bicker, and she nags, and Harry feels guilty every time he comes home from work, especially those times when he kisses Nora and likes it a little too much. He starts thinking maybe Nora’s ex did the right thing by breaking up with her, being honest instead of stringing her along. He doesn’t want to be too hasty, though, so first he asks Niall’s opinion.
“Aw, fuck man. You’re gonna make it awkward in the office again,” he says.
“Fucking hell, why’d you set me up with her then?” Harry asks.
“I thought you guys could at least last long enough for me to get promoted. Then I wouldn’t have to see her everyday. I hope she doesn’t cry at work.”
“Okay, but does that mean you think I should break up with her?”
“To be clear, you want to dump her for this Nora chick, right?”
Harry hesitates. “When you put it like that…”
“Dude, either Nora is the one or you’re getting caught up in the whole romance movie bullshit, in which case Natalie has a pretty good reason to be pissed at you all the time. I’d say either way you and Natalie are fucked.”
Harry goes to bed thinking it’s decided, and when he wakes up he sticks to his decision, texting Natalie to meet him for coffee after work. He arrives before she does at their favorite local place with the outdoor seating and mugs with quirky phrases on then. He orders her favorite, a vanilla latte, and sits in the same spot they always sit at, waiting.
Natalie shows up apologetically late, after her coffee has turned luke-warm. She kisses him before sitting down, looking flustered and stressed from her own workday (she’s the manager of an Urban Outfitters), and says, “God, this week has been terrible, I don’t know what it is about people…Anyway, I’ve missed you.”
And Harry can’t do it. He doesn’t know what he was thinking trying to break up with the best girl he’s ever had, for a girl he barely knows? He’s been with Natalie for almost half a year now, and this is the first they’ve fought. And it sort of made him freak out.
So Harry apologizes for not being honest about the sex scene, and Natalie for making it a big deal. He says he understands why she was upset (Niall had a point), and she says she understands why he can’t turn down the job. She says she’s really, really happy, and proud of him, and by the time he’s finishing reliving every detail of filming their coffees are cold.
“It sounds amazing, baby. When can I come visit?” Natalie asks, the wind blowing through her sun-kissed hair.
“Um. Yeah, maybe sometime after work next week. I’m sure everyone would love to meet you,” Harry says, but feels weird about doing so.
It’s just as weird when Natalie actually does show up, and he has to introduce her to Nora, who is hoping he doesn’t notice the expression on her face finding out Harry even has a girlfriend.
“I feel so pissed at myself. Harry and I, we really clicked, but I was so hung up over Micah and he treated me like shit…Harry is cute and nice and funny. Of course he has a girlfriend. Of course she’s also cute and nice and funny. I feel like an idiot,” Nora tells Michelle that night over Chinese take-out.
Michelle tugs at the ends of her dark hair, weaved together in a braid that falls at her shoulder. “The timing was off,” she says.
Nora nods. She resolves to forget there was anything more between them than friendship. It’s the truth, which she thinks should make it easier, but it doesn’t when they’re supposed to be pretending they’re in love all the time. Nora is starting to lose track of where she and Harry end and Lyla and Stephen begin.
After filming Harry still asks her on little dates, just the two of them, where they sit so close on a park bench that she can feel the heat off his body and he still smiles at her the same way he did the first night they met. He tells her all about his family-a mom who taught him everything he knows, two dads who don’t get along, and a sister he wishes he saw more. She tells him how being an only child always made her lonely, which is part of the reason she thinks she let her friends (and boyfriends) treat her badly.
“In high school I was asked to prom by a guy my best friend liked, and so she made hate accounts about me on Instragram and Twitter. She said all this stuff about me that wasn’t true, and got the rest of our friends to comment and say stuff too. I was so…” Nora shakes her head, averting her eyes. “And then when she took it I was so relieved to be her friend again. We just pretended it never happened and hated on the guy instead.”
“People are fucking assholes,” Harry says with a scowl.
They make a habit of never going to the same place twice, maybe to give off the impression that this is still a one-off, just two co-workers getting to know each other. Nora doesn’t mind at all, though. She’s from Colorado, born and raised in a town she knew like the back of her hand. Even after almost two years of living in LA she still feels like she’s exploring new territory, like the city is a giant playground.
The weather is warm, the beach is never more than a half an hour away, and Nora’s gained five pounds from all the specialty food, but it’s one of the best summers she can remember. She’s finally getting paid to do the thing she loves, and when she’s not doing that she exploring a city she loves, or spending time with people she loves—Harry included, maybe.
The last day of filming feels bittersweet, a mixture of accomplishment and disbelief. Nora walks outside into the sunlight, trying to wrap her head around maybe not ever going back in. She’s terrified of the movie flopping, of the bad reviews she’ll have to read if the critics think she’s a bad actress, or even worse if no critics have any opinions at all. What if no one sees it?
Harry doesn’t seem to care about any of this, of course. He’s excited about the cast party later that night, and for all the people he hopes to be interviewed by. Nora can’t bear to burden him with the anxiety.
They both have some time off before promo begins, which Nora uses to visit her mom. It too is a bittersweet experience, the joy of seeing each other clouded by the tension of her mother never wanting Nora to move away in the first place, and the guilt she feels for doing it anyway.
When Nora gets back to LA she and Harry have a meeting with Allie from marketing. We’re in one of the conference rooms without windows, seated at a round table with a phone in the middle. She goes over our schedules for the next couple of weeks, pointing out events of significance, of which there are few. The schedule is light, even for an indie romance with two completely fresh faces.
“I wanted to throw an idea out there,” Allie says in a voice that is misleadingly casual. “The promotional team thinks it would really benefit the film if the people could see you together in real life as much as possible.”
“When you say together…?” Harry says.
“Just let a photographer catch you holding hands every once in a while. If somebody asks you about it you don’t even have to say anything. It’s good to give the people a little mystery. We’ll go from there.”
The first thing Harry thinks is that Natalie is going to kill him.
Still, he doesn’t totally hate the idea.
He looks at Nora, a wary smile on his face. She hesitates before offering him a tiny nod. They agree to a date a few days after their first interview, during which they will be photographed for the tabloids.
Nora feels like she’s now fully transformed into a stereotype, but she doesn’t hate the idea either. Nor the execution.
Harry doesn’t make the same mistake twice, so he tells Natalie about the arrangement the day before the first photos will be released. She isn’t as mad as he expected.
“I kind of figured this would happen,” she admits.
“Am I that much of a cliché?” He asks.
Natalie laughs and Harry’s heart skips a beat.
But even though Natalie is totally cool with him pretending to date somebody else, Harry still feels guilty about being with Nora. He has a love-hate relationship with holding her hand, and when he’s not thinking about that he’s thinking about how easy it would be to kiss her. It’s not sustainable.
He’s got to pull himself together. It isn’t fair to Natalie. Maybe not to Nora either.
Harry swings in limo until opening night, the accumulation of all their hard work finally coming together in one two hour experience. Nora wears a simple, slinky little thing that matches the color of her eyes, her hair pulled up in an up do looks to Harry like a maze. Their fingers are laced together while they walk the red carpet, smiling blindly at the cameras.
Nora’s stomach is in butterflies, the way it has been for weeks now it seems. She’s let the pretending go to her head a bit, which she tells herself is fine for now, at least through tonight. She’s acutely aware of Harry’s actual girlfriend coming in somewhere behind them, under the premise of Niall’s date.
They sit in the best seats in the house, and Nora loves seeing them on camera together. The chemistry they had at that first audition is magnified on the big screen, and Nora feels herself fall for Harry all over again when she gets to really see the way he looks at her. It’s not just the lights or the background music; you can’t fake or fabricate a look like that. Nora knows because he’s giving her that same look in real life when the movie is over.
There is a lot of schmoozing to be done after the film finishes, and Nora momentary forgets about Harry in the mist of exchanging compliments with the other guests. Aside from what she’s developed with him, she’s also riding the high of starring in her first film. She tries her best to dazzle the critics and interviewers, reciting all the lines her agent had told her to say.
It isn’t until the middle of the after-party that Nora finally gets the chance to ask Harry for a moment alone. She makes sure Natalie is nowhere in sight, finds him chatting up one of the musicians, and steals him out the back door, where a couple of kitchen staff are taking their breaks. Thankfully they don’t seem too interested in eavesdropping.
“I just needed a moment, you know. It’s a little overwhelming,” Nora says, wiping the under of her eyes from the eyeliner that’s certainly smudged there.
“Very surreal,” Harry agrees, all dimples.
“I’m sort of sad it’s over, though.”
“It’s not over yet. We still have to read reviews and get the box office numbers. And I think there are a few more interviews too.” Harry pulls out his phone to check.
Nora swallows the lump in her throat. “Yeah, but it won’t be the same. I won’t get to see you everyday like we used to.”
Harry looks up, a strange expression coming over his face.
“Harry, I have to ask...if I don’t I’m afraid I’m going to regret it later. Filming this movie with you has been one of the best things to ever happen to me, and it’s not just because of the movie. It’s because of you, and I just wanted to know if there was any possibility-I know you have a girlfriend, but-“ Nora sighs, her words getting all tangled.
Harry steps back, unreadable “Nora.” It sounds like an apology.
“Oh,” Nora breathes. “Okay.”
“Wait—“ Harry panics, grabbing her hand. “I wasn’t ready to have this conversation tonight.”
It’s the moment of the truth, the decision he’s been putting off ever since Nora walked into the audition room. And even when she lays it all on the table for him, deciding still feels impossible.
“Nora, I’m sorry. We’re friends. And it’s not that I haven’t felt...things for you. But it’s not the same as what I feel for Natalie, and I can’t do this to her. I’m sorry. I like you, I do, but…the timing is off.”
“Okay,” Nora says. She doesn’t think she has a right to be mad.
“Let’s go back inside?” Harry suggests, and so they do. And in the moment, Nora feels like it’s one of the worst things to ever happen to her. It makes her feel sick inside the rest of the night, so much that she and Michelle leave the party early without telling anyone goodbye.
Three months later she and Harry officially break up, and it is apparently very messy. (It isn’t actually anything, just a string of unconfirmed rumors). It’s for the best that Harry and Nora lose tough as well after that, and eventually Nora breaks her phone and really does lose his number.
She starts dating around again, but none of them really stick, and so when Nora does meet Harry again she’s been happily single for about a year. They run into each other in the grocery store of all places, which feels like an even more specular meeting place than La Verne. He’s cut his hair since she’s seen him last, and so she almost doesn’t recognize him at first.
Nora doesn’t ask if he’s still with Natalie. Instead they talk about their recent projects and the weather, almost as if strangers again. They exchange numbers for the second time, but Nora doesn’t hear from him for another three weeks. He asks her to meet him at the Santa Monica pier.
And then, finally, with salt in their hair and sand in their toes, the timing is right.