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#cases where i live are 4000+ per day
sup-hoes-its-me · 7 months ago
Skinny Love (Kakashi x Reader)
A/N: hello again. I'm in love with Kakashi this mans makes me heart go wild I swear. Hope you like seeing him on ur dash lol. Shy reader who is too afraid to confess how she feels to Kakashi. This is only part one and is essentially just fluff. The second part will be all angst and sadness so beware.
Ps. It took me so long to get this one done. I was struggling to find the right words.
Word count: 4000
"Come on, sensei. You like him," Sakura laughed, poking her superior in the arm. The group of women stood outside the training grounds after a day of hanging out and working on their jutsu. On occasion Y/N enjoyed taking the girls out and spending time with them. It was a relief to be away from all that testosterone. If only for a short time.
She just shook her head, smothering down the embarrassment she felt creeping up her neck. Her stomach churned whenever she recognized her feelings for the man. It was just so intense. "I would never feel that way about a coworker, you know that, Sakura."
"But he's not just a coworker to you, is he? He's also your close friend," Ino hummed.
"Perhaps, but haven't I taught you that it's bad to let emotions get in the way of work?"
The blond rolled her eyes, turning to fully face one of her sensei, who she would argue was deeply in denial. "Seriously why does it even matter? Kurenai-sensei and Asuma-sensei literally had a baby together. You should definitely tell Kakashi you like him."
Y/N tossed her head back against the wall, sighing. "Girls, I really don't like him. He's just my friend. He's nice to me and I appreciate that, but that doesn't mean I want to date him or anything." Her voice shook and clearly she had been caught.
She was always so bad at lying.
"Whatever you say, Y/N."
"It's just something I'd rather not dwell on, Sakura. I'm sorry for being so private about it, but it's a sensitive subject for me," the woman confessed, rubbing the back of her neck awkwardly.
"It's okay! You don't have to apologize. We get it! Feelings can definitely be complicated."
"I-I," she started, about to explain herself, but instead she rethought what she was about to say. There was no reason to actually reveal how she felt about the man. These times were tough, and there wasn't any room for making things even more messy with relationship drama. Y/N was more than happy just pretending they were friends and nothing more. As long as she had him just to talk to, she would be fine. As long as he always made it back alive, there was no reason to complain.
"You're right. Feelings are too complicated," she muttered, feeling herself practically deflate as she did so. Y/N was beginning to think she was just the one making everything complicated when it didn't have to be. Skipping around and lying about her feelings. Kakashi wouldn't ditch her if she just said something, she was sure of it.
Just as Sakura was about to reply, the voice of the man in question chimed in from down the path, "Y/N, we were looking for you."
"Yes, the third wheel to our tricycle of youth!"
Y/N felt a smile grow on her lips at the sounds of those voices, especially Gai's exclamation of youth. He was awfully weird, she thought, but that was what kept him so interesting. She turned to face the men walking in her direction. "Kakashi, Gai! What's up? The girls and I were just finishing our training."
"We're going out for drinks and thought you might like to join."
"Sounds great. It's been a long time since the three of us went out. For some reason we never have off at the same time anymore."
"Yeah, it's a shame. Missions have taken over our lives lately," Kakashi said tiredly. It was true. They really never had a second to rest. It was beginning to take its toll. Those were the consequences of war though. "How have you been?"
"Good, I, um..." she began, her eyes trailing up to Kakashi's. He watched back intently, patiently, and she felt something in her chest flutter up. He was always so handsome, she wondered how she could go so long without seeing his face. She just wanted to leap forward and give him a hug, wrap herself up in his warm arms for just a little while. That wasn't an option though, so she settled on some simple words. "I've missed you."
His eyes softened barely enough to be noticeable but she saw. Her heart continued to flutter up in her chest and she sighed, clutching her hands tighter behind her back. No doubt the girls standing just behind her were hyper-analyzing all their interactions, especially after revealing they held an interest in the pair's relationship.
He didn't have the chance to reply though, as Gai was the one to chime in. "Why thank you. I have to say, I've missed you as well, my kunoichi friend."
"Thanks, Gai." Even if the statement wasn't exactly pointed toward him, she was happy she had been missed.
"No problem! Now I hope you young ladies don't mind if we take L/N off your hands."
"No no. It's not a problem, Gai-sensei. I'm sure our moms want us home for dinner anyway. It's getting late after all."
"Yeah, we'll see you later, Y/N-sensei." The pink haired girl waved ss they started to make their way in the opposite direction toward town. Ino paused for a moment though.
"Don't forget what we talked about. You really shouldn't be so shy; it's gonna be okay," she said softly. Y/N sighed, nodding her head as if to say fine. In reality, she wouldn't do anything different. She wasn't feeling very open to changing herself or facing any of her fears. "See you around."
It was kinda sad that Y/N found comfort and support in a bunch of 15 year olds. She was an adult, couldn't she talk to other adults about her problems. These girls were just so accepting and she didn't feel awkward talking about immature things like crushes. Any other adult would just be too wrapped up in their own lives to care too much anyway.
"What was that about?"
"Nothing, Kakashi. We were just talking about random stuff. You know how curious they can be."
"You go out there and fight rogue shinobi every week. How could you be shy?" The green beast asked.
"It's really nothing. They're always assuming things about me. I'm reserved, but I wouldn't say I'm shy, per se…" She stopped to think for a quick second, tapping her foot on the ground. "Actually, I would say I'm just more conscious of the things I say and do than most other people. Not a bad thing at all."
Kakashi nodded. "It's good to keep a level head."
"Exactly. I'm Level headed. Thanks, Kakashi."
"Now let's head off to the bar! Sake for everyone!" Gai cheered, throwing his fist up in the air. She nodded, walking up beside the pair as they started off toward the restaurant of their choice, which she hoped was her favorite one with the tastiest fruit juice drinks. She was willing to put out good money to have one good, tispy night of drinks and snacking. It had already been weeks since she had a night off, one time wouldn't break the bank.
She stood to the right of them, just beside Kakashi. Every now and then she found herself drifting just a bit too close to him, her natural gait leaning toward the left. At one point, she found her hand skim dangerously close to his and she snatched it away to keep herself in check. Holding his hand perhaps was a dream of hers but she wasn't going to actually try anything.
It wasn't that she was afraid of Kakashi. Quite the opposite actually. She cared for him so deeply it sometimes made her stomach churn when she thought about it. He was her friend for ages, ever since she could really remember. He was one of the only people she could sit with and feel completely enveloped in a warm comfort, free of judgement and deceit. Gai as well, but Kakashi was different.
Maybe he could be a bit of pervert, and even sarcastic at times, but he was never rude. He had changed over the years from being a know-it-all, little jerk to someone everyone liked and admired, a kind and brave soul.
Unfortunately, it took bouts of death and loss to come about this change, but she wasn't going to ignore it. He was the best man she knew, and it only seemed natural she fell in love with him. He would probably never feel the same way. He had better things to worry about and other women to long for. He didn't have his entire life to wait around for a shy woman like herself. That was okay.
As long as he was alive and well, she would be happy.
Maybe one day she would gather the courage to grab his hand, to run her thumb over his knuckles and feel the callouses against her skin. Maybe one day she would have the courage to confess how she felt. Not now, but one day when she was comfortable.
"You okay?" He asked, pulling her out of her deepening thoughts. "You're walking really slow and uh, your hand…" The man motioned to where she was clutching her wrist against her chest.
"Yes, I'm fine. Just uh, my wrist is sore from training." She worked her hand in a circle, pretending to stretch it out. He rolled his visible eye, knowingly.
"Sure. Always skipping around the real issues."
"I'm really okay. I was just thinking hard about something."
"Anything to do with what you, Sakura, and Ino were talking about?" he suggested, raising a brow.
She groaned. He always knew what she was thinking. It was definitely one of his best and worst qualities depending on the situation. In this case, she felt awkward as she was so lost in thought about him. She felt like a fool. "Maybe it was. But that was girl time and now it's drinking time. Different topics of discussion."
"Well, mind telling me what's got you so caught up? It's gotta be important."
"It's personal."
"Ah, I see. Well, that's fine. When you want to talk about it, I'm always around."
There was silence for a moment, her thoughts running wild in her head. He was so kind, it wouldn't be bad to tell him how she felt. He would let her down easy, surely. And Gai would be there to cushion her embarrassment, no doubt. He would make things less awkward somehow. She was sure of it.
It was crazy. No way she would say anything. Definitely not.
"I'm interested in someone," Y/N found herself blurting out before she could stop herself. She just felt so much pressure building up in her chest and the only way she could relieve that feeling was to tell him something, anything about the predicament she was in. She wouldn't tell him exactly how she felt and about who, but she could vent.
Damn, all this and she didn't even have her first drink. That man really did something to her.
The men stopped in their path, their heads turning their attention solely to her. She felt her neck and cheeks begin to heat up and her palms start to sweat. Why would she say that? Dammit. She really was a fool.
"Really? Who?" Gai asked. "He'd be a fool to reject you, of course, beautiful flower of the leaf! You do not have to worry!"
"'s really not that simple. He is, um, out of my league, I guess you could say," she muttered nervously, rubbing her palms together to ease her anxiety. "He's just well, I don't know, the perfect guy ever."
She could feel Kakashi tense at her side, and her eyes scanned over him. He didn't look out of the ordinary but his energy had definitely changed. Strange.
"No one is out of your league, don't you dare say something like that! If he doesn't let you down easy, I will use my fists of justice to defend you! Tell me who this mystery man is."
"This is what Ino meant when she said you were being shy. You aren't going to tell him, are you?" Kakashi asked, and she noticed the bit of annoyance in his tone. She wondered if he was just upset she was talking about such silly things when they were ready to start drinking. She felt embarrassed. They were adults. Adults don't talk about this kind of thing. He doesn't want to hear about the guys she's interested in, or how she feels about them. Maybe Gai would be interested in it, but not a cool guy like Kakashi.
"Of course not. Like I said, he would just reject me anyway, there's no point," she told them. "And Gai, I can't just tell you who it is. You know you're a loud mouth; you'd go around telling everyone." She really didn't believe Gai would do that to her. He was far too conscious of others feelings for the most part. She just couldn't risk Kakashi knowing. She would keep it a secret from him.
"Oh come on! Just tell us! I'll help you out, be your wingman!"
"Maybe I'll tell you another time. When I'm more confident in myself."
"Well, what is it that has finally caught out dear friends heart in a web of love? Tell us!" Oh man. He really was nosy sometimes. He meant well, but occasionally he just didn't know when to stop. Kakashi kept his mouth shut because he understood she was getting uncomfortable, that or he was growing annoyed as she suspected.
Regardless, it was nice to get some of this off her chest, even if it was risky business.
"I don't really know. He's smart and considerate, and very brave. He's handsome as well, that's a plus," she smiled, listing off the things she liked about the man standing right in front of her. It felt so exhilarating, talking about her feeling so openly. It was terrifying and relieving at the same time. Y/N exhaled as she thought about him again, "He just makes me feel happy when I'm in my worst moments, that's all. I mean, what else could I ask for?"
"I see! He sounds like a good guy. Can't wait to meet him," he laughed until his eyes widened and he leaned in a bit closer to her face. He pointed his finger at his chest and questioned, "Unless of course, I already know him. It's not me, is it?
She found herself smiling just a little, her lips curving up at the absurdity of it all. "No definitely not. You don't have to worry about that."
"I'm wounded, but I understand. My youthfulness is just too strong for you."
As she thought of something to say, she began to question just why Kakashi hadn't said anything really at all. It was strange of him, letting the other man do all the talking when normally he asked her questions and at least tried to engage. Maybe he was feeling tired or bored with the conversation. She had to change the subject.
"So uh, let's get a move on before all the good booths are taken, yeah?"
"Actually, I'm getting tired. I think I'll just head home for the night, get ready for my mission in two days," the white haired jounin sighed. They both looked over to him, surprised, but Y/N knew why he needed to go. She had upset him somehow. So much for a fun night between the three of them.
"Kakashi, come on! Don't bail on us now!"
She took a step back and her eyes trailed up to his, which were narrowed, not angrily just as if he had been hurt or confused she couldn't tell which. "Oh, are you sure?" Her heart was sinking in her chest seeing him so conflicted.
"Yeah. Got a headache, too."
"Ah, okay. Well, I'll see you around sometime?"
"Goodbye, rival. Hopefully you are feeling better tomorrow and we can have a real night of drinking indeed!"
And with that, he left to his apartment, leaving the other two behind. She felt her stomach begin to turn uncomfortably, sick from the thought of Kakashi just leaving them like that. He seemed so angry, she couldn't help but think it was all her fault. It wasn't in his nature to act that way.
They had already spent so much time apart already that it was tugging at her heart strings. She felt like they rarely saw each other anymore. For him to be angry at her and leave, that meant they would just see each other even less than before. It seemed like a nightmare come true. She really did miss him, like she had said. She missed the fun they would have together and the conversations they shared. She just missed him and there he went, gone off again without so much as a real goodbye.
The woman clutched at her stomach, feeling the tossing and turning overtake her sense with nausea.
Suddenly, before she could contain herself, tears began dripping down her cheeks, and she sucked in her breath. Hot tears warmed her cheeks, and frantically she wiped them away from her cheeks. Her arms wound around her waist and she hugged herself tightly inward, almost as if she would turn into a ball if she could.
"Y/N, what's wrong?! What happened?"
"It's Kakashi," she whispered, trying to keep herself from crying anymore but it only got worse.
"Kakashi? Because he left? It's okay, we can go drinking another night or-or you and I can just go alone. No problems," he tried to say but it wasn't going to work. She didn't want to go to dinner with Gai and she didn't want to wait until tomorrow, or whatever the next time they would all be together. She was being stupid and selfish, acting like a spoiled little baby with all this crying. She just couldn't stop herself.
"It's not that. There's something I haven't told anyone. I don't know what to do."
"It's gonna be fine whatever it is. Just calm down."
"No, I can't. It's so bad, Gai. I'm in love with him, it's him, and now he's mad at me and I don't know what I did wrong," she confessed, feeling all the words slipping out so easily. How is it that such strong emotions could just cause her to think so irrationally and just let something like this happen? A bout of confessing every feeling she had to her friend who may or may not go and relay all this information to Kakashi. It was stupid. She was just being stupid and reckless.
He nodded carefully, moving to take ahold of her shoulders to steady her. "It's gonna be okay. He's not mad at you, I promise. I know Kakashi and I'm sure he really was just feeling sick."
"Gai, I just...I don't want him to ever leave me, even over something stupid like this."
"Trust me, you don't have to worry about Kakashi leaving you. He would never do something like that. You are one of his closest friends. There's almost nothing you could do to make him do that, especially if you always have good intent at heart. Trust me, you really don't ever need to worry," Gai explained trying his best to reason with her. "You two do everything together. He never stops talking about you! He would never let you go."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I am one hundred percent sure!"
"I-I need to go find him. I need to make sure he's not upset with me," she said as she pushed herself away from him. He waved to her as she started in the direction of Kakashi's apartment.
"Goodluck on your mission, Y/N, not that you'll need it."
Kakashi was just about to enter his apartment when she dashed up the stairs and turned the corner, going so fast she nearly slid into the wall. His eyes widened when he saw her, and he froze in his spot, not turning the key to the door just yet. Her face was flush and chest heaved. He could tell she rushed on her way.
"Y/N, did you run all the way here?"
She stood, catching her breath after just having run all the way across town to find him. Her heart raced as she looked up at him, and she clutched at the railing of the stairs for support. "I wanted to say sorry for whatever I said to make you angry with me. I didn't know I was being insensitive."
"I told you I was sick," he replied, but she knew better. And he knew she did. He wasn't dumb. They knew each other better than that and there was no pretending.
"I could tell that was a lie. I know you were angry and I felt terrible."
"Were you just crying?"
She exclaimed back, holding a hand over her heart to maybe try and ease the racing heartbeat, "Maybe. What about it?! I was hurt that I'd offended my friend, isn't that tear-worthy?" She took a few more deep breaths through her mouth, letting the air fill her up and calm her down. "Why were you so upset?"
"It's not important."
"No, no. It's important to me!"
The man paused, thinking over his next words carefully. He very well knew the real reason he ran away from their conversation like a coward. He actually thought it was obvious. It wouldn't hurt for her to know. He sighed, "If you really want to know. It's because I was tired of hearing about your love life. It's not exactly an entertaining subject."
She knew it but admittedly she would be lying if she said she didn't feel her heart break a little at those words. He didn't care about her feelings enough to just sit there and listen to her talk for a couple minutes? Was she that annoying? So many thoughts ran through her head, and each one made her sad. "I just didn't want to go a whole night with Gai talking about it," he added. "It's nothing to do with you."
"I'm sorry. I really shouldn't have brought it up."
"It's fine," he brushed off her apology. "I'm the one who asked about it in the first place."
"Why- why wouldn't you want to hear me talk about other men? Why would that be a sore subject for you?" She asked, her curiosity spiking up through the roof. It was strange, the whole situation. He had never backed down from a personal chat before, only this time.
He felt like a deer caught in the headlights suddenly. How was he supposed to reply to that without blowing his cover. "I just don't like the whole romance thing."
But they both knew that was a lie. He read romance for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But if he wanted to keep his secrets, she would let him. There was no need to pry. She just hoped he would trust her enough in the future to explain what he meant. Secretly, she wished that it was because he was jealous. That he didn't want to hear about another man because he wanted to be that guy, her lover. It was a wild thought, a hopeless theory meant to be thrown out, but she could fantasize.
"Kakashi, we're still good? As friends and all? You'll go out with me and Gai another time then?"
He nodded, his lips quirking up into just a tiny smile. It was characteristic for her mind to go straight to the worst case scenario. He replied, "Of course. Like I said, it's not that bad. Don't worry about it."
"Okay. I'm glad. I really thought I messed up this time."
"I don't think there's anything you could do to make me hate you," he sighed, leaning his shoulder against his door frame. "The day I let you go is the day I die, Y/N."
She smiled, closing her eyes and finally taking a relaxed breath. It was done. He wasn't angry at all. He still cared for her and everything else she could hope for. As long as they could remain friends, it was all gonna be okay. She laughed, "That's what Gai said. Should have listened to him, huh?"
The both nodded and suddenly they were enveloped in a peaceful silence for a while. She stared down at her feet and he watched her quietly, admiring the way she could be so miserably shy yet so adorable at the same time.
"Do you wanna go catch dinner? Or uh, just drinks like we originally planned, if you want," he asked, running his hand through his hair. Her eyes brightened at the question, and he'd be stupid not to notice the new shine in them.
"Do you want to go find Gai first?"
"Actually, how about it just be you and me this time? We'll catch Gai tomorrow morning for breakfast instead."
"Two meals in two days...I'm not made of money."
"It's on me. Don't worry about it."
"Oh, jeez. So nice of you, Kakashi. Thank you! Where are we going?" she asked happily, walking up to him and rolling back in the balls of her feet.
"Wherever you want to go."
"I feel like I'm getting the special treatment. I'm so excited," she cheered, pulling him in the direction of the stairs by the edge of his sleeve.
He just smiled. It was all he could do. He had the most beautiful woman in the entire world in front of him ready to go on a not-exactly date. They were only friends, and she reaffirmed that today when she mentioned she was interested in someone else.
But for now he could pretend they were a thing. That they were dating and that she loved him and he could openly love her back. He would take her out to dinner and kick at her ankles under the table just to annoy her. And he would take a sip of her drink and pretend it was too sweet for him and watch as she struggled to drink a sip of his liquor.
And after he walks her home that night, he would hug her tight to his chest and he would think about kissing her, to pull down his mask for just a split second and press his lips to hers, but he would refrain. It just wasn't the right time. Maybe there would never be a right time either, and that was okay.
As long as they could have nights like these, as long as he would feel her in his arms, he was more than happy. He was in love.
Part Two is up.
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halloweenhoneylover · a year ago
the struggle bus
summary: spencer is the kindest human alive, which makes things tough for the reader :/ (spencer reid x fem!reader)
word count: 5.3k (a doozy kinda!)
warnings: i guess angst, but really just idiots in love (my fav trope). reader is kind of a hot mess. also, mention of overdose via multivitamin.
author’s note: hi, it’s been approx 4000 years since i last posted, but it’s just because i have no concept of ‘efficiency’ or ‘speed.’ but it’s okay. some of this is good, some of this is eh, make of that what you will. also, this is supposed to be #funny sometimes so uhhhh, keep that in mind. ALSO, the title is majorly stupid, but it was the title of the google doc, and i couldn’t think of anything else......anyways, love u!
For once, the bullpen was quiet.
Spencer was immersed in some case file, doing some work that you should have probably been doing as well, but it was approaching the late hours of the night, and you would barely be able to keep your eyes open if you came even close to trying to read or write. Your desks were situated against each other, so you shifted your gaze across the small divider to him. His sharp features were softened in the lamplight, a sight that tugged on your heartstrings, and you took a moment to just look at him. Most everyone else was gone or was too focused on getting their work done to pay attention to your reverie. Derek, if he were here, would dub you as ‘lovesick’ and shoot mischievous smirks and wiggling eyebrows in your direction, but luckily for you, he was not. Twisting carelessly in your chair with your feet propped on the desk, you chewed absentmindedly on a pen, lost deep in thought. “Hey, Spencer?”
“Yeah?” He continued scribbling on the file without so much as a glance towards you, but that was perfectly fine by you, more time for not-creepy staring.
“How many of my vitamins do you think I could eat before I died?”
At this, he furrowed his brow and neatly laid his pen down.
“That depends on what vitamin you’re taking. If you’re talking about iron supplements, the limit is somewhere around 20mg of elemental iron per kilogram of body weight. Any more than that will have incredibly unpleasant side effects like abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid breathing, and coma. However, if you’re talking about Vitamin C, it’s virtually impossible to overdose, but you might get a bad headache if you supersede 2000 mg.”
“Okay, what about my gummy vitamins?”
He narrowed his eyes at you. “While it still depends on what vitamins are included, eating a whole bottle of your typical multivitamin could easily result in death.”
You mulled this over. “So, I should definitely not go home and eat the rest of my gummy vitamins tonight?”
Spencer chuckled, “I’m not a medical doctor, but yes, I’d recommend that you don’t do that.”
Tossing your head back and letting out a small groan, you protested, “But Spencer, my gummy vitamins taste so good! And I have no food at home, so I guess I either die by overdose on gummy multivitamins or starvation.”
He couldn’t help but grin at your melodrama. It could be 12:06 in the morning, and you could still somehow make him laugh. He was starting to understand that he was in too deep, but he also had the startling realization that he didn’t mind drowning if it was in you. 
“You’ve got quite the predicament on your hands there, (Y/N). Maybe you should go grocery shopping with me the next time I suggest it, so you don’t end up in this situation again.”
“Oh my god, dude!” you moaned. “I told you I was actually busy; I had to take Oscar to the vet for his vaccines! I try to be a good mother to my dog, and you know I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I’d never decline time with my favorite guy without a good reason.”
Spencer’s heart was doing somersaults at the thought of him being your favorite guy. He’d won plenty of awards and medals in his lifetime, but somehow, none of those measured up to the accomplishment of being your favorite. Pride and butterflies boiled in his stomach. 
“Alright, fine, I’ll let it slide this time.”
You snorted, “I appreciate your unmatched benevolence, Dr. Reid.” Locking eyes with him, you tried to dampen the lava flow of heat in your chest that erupted when he looked at you with the softest expression you’d ever seen, but you failed miserably. You had to clear your throat and look away; it was becoming all too much. “Hey, I’m gonna run to the restroom. Don’t leave without me!”
As you dashed away, a thought crossed Spencer’s mind, and he stood up and set off down the opposite hallway.
You returned a few minutes later to an empty bullpen which made you frown, and your heart sank. You had thought he was going to wait, but guess not. Sighing, you tried to not let it sting too badly when you noticed a light on in JJ’s office. You knocked and pushed the already ajar door with a quick hello? before being met with an exhausted-looking JJ.
“Hey, (Y/N). I thought everyone had left by now.”
“Nope, not quite yet,” you replied, offering a weak smile. JJ noticed and wrote it off as fatigue. “You didn’t happen to see Spencer leave a couple minutes ago, did you?”
“Uh, no, I thought he’d gone too.”
“Hm, okay, thanks anyway!”
You prepared to leave, but she stopped you, cocking her head. “Why do you ask? Is he still here?”
Leaning your head against the doorframe, you sighed. “I’m not sure. He was here when I went to the bathroom, but he wasn’t at his desk when I came back. I’m a little disappointed. We always walk out together because we’re both afraid of the parking garage at night.”
A grin simmered on JJ’s face at that fact. “Well, I could walk you out if you’d like?”
“Nah, that’s okay; I don’t want to bother you.”
There was something behind JJ’s eyes you couldn’t identify as she replied, “Alright, then. Just let me know if you change your mind.” She definitely wasn’t thinking about how you didn’t want her intruding on a you-and-Spencer tradition. Not that she minded! She’d been rooting for you both since the minute you’d stepped into the BAU, and Spencer had looked like he was about ready to melt into the floor at the sight of such a pretty girl.
“Thanks, Jayje.”
Dragging your feet a little, you made your way back to your desk to gather your things, trying to fend off the disappointment. You had gotten your jacket on and were about to pick up your bag when you heard a (Y/N)! from down the hall. Well, that was certainly not JJ. Hesitantly, you called out, “Spencer?”
He finally emerged with his arms loaded with...something, you couldn’t discern what in the dim light. His face lit up like the Vegas strip when he saw you. “(Y/N)! I didn’t want you starving or eating all of your vitamins, so I went down to the vending machine and got you a couple snacks!” Arriving at his desk, he dropped the various bags and packets on his desk, and your eyes widened immensely.
“A couple? Dude, did you buy out the whole machine?”
Slightly breathless from his quick jog back, he waved a dismissive hand. “It was nothing. And hey, look!” He picked up a bag. “Fruit snacks! Just like your vitamins, but without the part where you get really sick.”
You were astonished, to say the least. And minorly speechless too, as evidenced by your mouth that was gaping like a fish. “Spencer...this is so nice. You really didn’t have to.”
“Don’t worry about it; I’m sure you would’ve done the same for me.”
At that, your face nearly split in two, and he mirrored your grin. You thought you might pass out at his kindness, and you knew you’d be thinking about this every day for the next two weeks at least. Your expression then turned mischievous, as you tried to tamp down all of the warmth bubbling in your stomach. “Do you want to help me try to fit all this in my bag?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
Garcia had been practicing her ukulele peacefully when she got the call.  (Well, ‘peacefully’ might have been a stretch as she had threatened to smash the object on her coffee table when she simply could not get the finger picking pattern she’d practiced for what seemed like hours, but it was supposed to be a relaxing hobby, so yes, it was peaceful.) Huffing a sigh of relief when the caller ID said [(Y/N/N)!!] with the longest stream of heart emojis and not [hotch >:( ], she picked up with her usual air of cheer. “What can I do ya for, my loveliest, most bewitching—”
She was cut off abruptly by the sounds of your horrible, heart-wrenching sobs, and her brows furrowed in concern. “Oh no, my sweet! What’s wrong?” She had to wait a few moments for your tears to calm (somewhat) while you tried to wrangle in your breath, so you could form some sort of sentence.
“Penny!”—gasp—“Oh my God,”—hiccup—“it looks so bad!” With your last word, you tumbled into incoherent bawling once again.
“Dear, what looks so bad?” She held her phone between her ear and her shoulder as she began to gather up her things. Whatever was wrong, it was clear you needed some good, old-fashioned Garcia TLC, and she was ready to give it.
The sniffling subsided minorly, and you choked out, “Remember when we were talking the other day, and I mentioned that my hair had gotten a little too long for my liking?” Oh no, Garcia could see where this was going. “Well, I figured I’d spend our evening off getting my hair cut, and I went to that new hairdresser, and oh Penelope, it looks awful. I don’t think I can ever go out in public again.” With that, your tears resumed.
“Darling, you know I’ve been where you are, and I know it seems bad right now, but everything will be fine. Let me grab my scissors and I’ll be over faster than you can say, ‘Penny, I love you so much, you truly are my fairy godmother.’”
You paused before whispering into the phone, “Penelope, I do love you so much, and you are my fairy godmother. But please, hurry.”
And hurry, she did.
Garcia was knocking on your door a little over five minutes later, which was incredibly suspicious because she lived at least 10 minutes away on a good day, but in the state of your disarray, you were not inclined to care. She sat you down on the toilet in your bathroom, whipping out her hair care set (she had definitely spent a significant amount of time dabbling in cosmetology, and it was desperate times like this when it came in handy). Squeezing your eyes shut through most of it, she snipped here and there, trying to make the best of this...horribly atrocious cut (seriously, that hairdresser should be sued), and when she was finished, it was not as bad as when they started, but it still wasn’t great. The rest of the evening was spent watching cheesy rom-coms and baking in an attempt to get your mind off of your hair.
Everything was mostly fine until the next morning, when you realized you’d have to go into work like this, and as terrifying as that prospect was in a normal work environment, you also worked in a place with an abnormal amount of hot people. (And you happened to be developing feelings for one of those hot people, but your brain was insistent upon ignoring that for the time being.)
Already anticipating your worries, Penelope had sent a text without your knowledge to a BAU group chat that excluded you (she had one of these for every member, it just made surprise birthday party planning so much easier).
[penelope :)] please DO NOT MENTION (Y/N)’S HAIR!!!! she got a bad haircut and she feels really terrible about it and doesn’t want to think about it so do not talk about it!!!
[jennifer!] Oh, no! :( Lips are sealed!
[rossi ;)] rip.
Emerging from the elevator in the nicest work outfit you own (an attempt to distract from the monstrosity), you scurried to Garcia’s lair before anyone could see you. Once inside, you slammed the door shut, and leaning against it, you slid down and covered your face with the files in your hands. “Pennyyyyy,” you moaned. “I don’t think I can do this!”
She swiveled to face you with a look of empathy. “Sugar, I know you can. It—it doesn’t even look that bad!” But Garcia was a horrible liar, and if looks could kill, she would have been dead instantaneously. 
Heaving yourself up off the floor, you came to sit in the seat next to her. “Can’t I just work in here today? And maybe for the rest of time?”
“You know I would love that, but those other lovely people on our team need you! Especially the young doctor, you know he’d be lonely without you.”
As if her mention had summoned him, Reid opened the door to their secret meeting, files in hand, and your eyes nearly jumped out of their sockets. Garcia stared at him very intensely, attempting to telepathically tell him to not mention the hair, and you looked like a deer in the headlights, trying to figure out a way to hide yourself from him and possibly the entire universe. And poor Reid shifted his gaze between the two of you, helplessly confused as to what he had walked into. “Am I interrupting something?”
“Uh, no!” Garcia said in the least convincing manner.
“Okay,” he responded, not convinced in the slightest. “I just came to give you some files from Hotch.” So, he handed Garcia the papers and then turned to leave when you caught his eye. 
And because he was not the greatest with technology, Spencer had not checked his phone that morning…. Meaning he had not seen Garcia’s text. So he looked at you a moment and cocked his head. “Your hair looks really nice today, (Y/N). Did you get it cut?”
This time, it was Garcia’s turn to glare (because read your texts, dammit!), and you fumbled for a response. As you scanned his face, searching for a sign that he was lying, that he was just saying something to make you feel better, you came up empty. He was telling the truth. He genuinely thought your hair looked nice. “Um, uh—yeah. Yeah, I did. Thanks for noticing.”
“You’re welcome.” He offered you a smile, which you returned easily (a fact that surprised you). “See you.” Retreating from the office because the vibes in there were weird, he shut the door, finally leaving you and Garcia alone again. 
You were reeling.
You thought about when you had gotten dressed that morning, and you had entertained each outfit with great scrutiny, trying to come up with something that might draw attention away from your hair. In that half hour you’d spent, you had realized that you didn’t really mind looking bad in front of Morgan or Emily or Hotch or really anyone on the team. Almost anyone. With an increasing amount of discomfort, you had realized you didn't want to look bad in front of Spencer. Of course, he’d never judge you, but you wanted to look good for him. For your best friend.
And he told you your hair looked nice.
You smiled to yourself.
Garcia turned to you with a look of shock on her face. Had that been anyone else, she was sure you would have curled up in a ball beneath her desk and would not have left until every single other person had left the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but you hadn’t, and she smirked.
Oh, she knew where this was going.
To put it lightly, it had not been the best of mornings. 
It seemed that everything that could’ve gone wrong did, so you burst past the glass doors of the BAU six minutes late with a coffee-covered shirt, mud-stained pants, soggy shoes, and a most miserable attitude. Hotch, while a sympathetic man, was still your boss with rules to follow and when you stumbled into the bullpen, gave a pointed stare between you and the clock, and you nodded sullenly. You understood his silent admonition, but knowing that he was even slightly disappointed in you, made your knees want to buckle. Swallowing around the slug in your throat, you set your bag down beside your chair and noticed a foreign object sitting on your desk. Interest thoroughly piqued, you reached forward to find it was a book with a satin ribbon tied on it.
It truly was a beautiful book with a deep crimson hardcover and the kind of deckled edges that you loved. Running your fingers along the rough-hewn pages, you finally noted the title, and you gasped. Beloved by Toni Morrison. Your favorite. The cursive words curved in black on the cover to match the ribbon, and you carefully traced the curling letters, wondering where this gorgeous book could have come from.
In the desk across from yours, Spencer watched the scene in front of him with a grin. He couldn’t help but feel pleased at the look of awe on your face as you inspected the book with careful fingers and a gentle gaze, and his heart swelled more and more the longer he looked. “Did you know that Margaret Garner, the woman the character Sethe is based on, her trial was used as part of an effort to dismantle the Fugitive Slave Act?” Your eyes flickered up to meet his, and those stupid freaking butterflies erupted in the pit of your stomach as you realized who had gifted you the book. “The presiding judge didn’t accept her lawyer’s argument that the act violated the right to religious freedom, but it was still somewhat of a turning point in the movement to strike down the law.”
“I did not know that, but thank you. For the fact and the book.”
“You’re welcome.” He had to avert his eyes from your strong gaze because he thought he might melt otherwise.
“Please don’t misinterpret this as me being ungrateful because I’m so, so thankful, but why?”
He shrugged, “I was just in the book store, and it made me think of you.” No, he didn’t keep an eye out specifically for this book on his weekly trip to the bookstore by his apartment after you had briefly mentioned your love of Ms. Morrison’s metaphors. And he definitely didn’t ask the owner Alice if she would let him know if she ever got any new copies.
Frankly, you were at a loss for words. Combing back through your conversations with him, you tried to remember when you had talked about the book, but you couldn’t come up with anything other than a couple words tossed briefly here and there. Suppose it wasn’t really the fact that he had heard, but the fact that he had listened. He listened and remembered things about you, little things tucked in the back of his brain, and it was how he thought about you even when you weren’t around. So, you clutched the book to your chest tightly as if it could meld with your heart and let your thoughts rage with the implications for a minute before smothering your mushy grin and tucking the book into your bag.
(Later, you pulled it out on your ride home on the metro. Spencer had already gotten off at his stop a few minutes before, so you took this moment of solitude to revel in the glory of your new gift. Every time you smoothed a hand over the cover, your mind was overwhelmed with what-ifs. What if he felt the same? What if his stomach rumbled with the same butterflies when you looked at him? What if this means he likes you as more than…. And abruptly, you were doused in doubt once again, muzzling those dangerous, rearing hypotheticals. This was a path that would only lead to disappointment.
Those thoughts only got worse when you read his inscription, though:
Dear (Y/N/N),
I hope you find great joy in reacquainting yourself with the graces of Ms. Morrison’s elegant prose in this new copy. I was inspired by your praise and read this classic again, and I can say that I definitely understand your veneration of her story-telling. Hopefully, we can discuss it soon, so I can try to see all of the details that you so admire. You are always much better at appreciating the finer things in life.
She says that, “something that is loved is never lost.”
I hope you know that you will never be lost to me.
(P.S. I wrote this in pencil, so you can erase and have the clean copy you wanted.)
You would never erase it.)
“Hey, are you alright?”
You sat at your desk with your head in your hands. Your responding “no” came out muffled. 
Spencer frowned and sat on the edge of your desk. “Is there anything I can help with?”
Running your hands over your face, you finally met his gaze. His eyes were soft as they searched your own, and the expression on his face was not of pity or frustration but empathy, and of course, he was just being his sweet self. Your eyes watered in response, and his heart clenched at the sight. You shifted your eyes somewhere else, anywhere else. “Uh, no.”
It was clearly a lie.
Furrowing his brows at your obfuscation, he scanned your face for any indication of what might be the problem. A small sigh. He came up with nothing. “Alright,” he conceded hesitantly. “May I ask what is wrong?”
You stared down at the files neatly ordered on your desk, trying to mentally shoo him away with the sheer force of your willpower alone. But Spencer Reid was a stubborn man, and you knew this, and you also knew he wasn’t leaving until he knew you were alright. So, you both sat in the silence of the bullpen that only accompanied the arrival of midnight. The glow of your lamp bathed the vicinity in a warm yellow, and the tick of the nearby clock rattled around your chest as you attempted fruitlessly to subdue your incessant thoughts. He was close enough that you could hear the soft susurration of his exhales as his eyes flitted about the room to give you some sort of breathing room, and you shut yours for a moment to appreciate this moment of peace before the inevitable catastrophe to follow.
“I’m—uh, not okay.”
Finally turning back to you with a mildly surprised expression (he didn’t expect you to say anything so soon. Or so bluntly.), he offered you one of his signature tight-lipped smiles as encouragement to continue.
“I’m kind of really struggling…” you trailed off, gaze empty, ensnared in your thoughts.
Ever the gentleman with persistence that could last a thousand years, he gently prompted, “With…?”
A strong gulp and eyes squeezed shut. “With you.”
Well, that was not the answer Spencer was expecting. He felt like he’d had the wind knocked out of him, and he was hollow and shaken and in pain. Gaping, he fumbled hopelessly for an answer, trying to find some reason you could be upset with him. He had always thought you two were the best of friends; he’d never doubted that before. How could he have missed this?
Swallowing hard against the lump in his throat, he strained to ask, “Uh—um, what—what did I do?”
Upon witnessing his struggle, you quickly amended your previous statement. “No, no, no, no, no! I’m not mad at you, well, I kind of am, but you don’t need to feel bad, it’s not your fault.”
“I’m not really sure what to make of that.”
You huffed a sigh and covered your face with your hands in a poor attempt to try to hide the blush rapidly coloring your cheeks. “I’m sorry, I just—you’re so nice!”
Now Spencer was really confused. “You’re mad at me...because you think I’m nice?”
“Yes, Spencer! You’re so nice, and it makes me incredibly frustrated. You see this?” You picked up a book from your desk and waved it frantically. A little intimidated by your crazed look, he nodded timidly. “Do you recognize this book?”
“It’s a special edition of Beloved by Toni Morrison.”
“It’s the special edition of my favorite book that you bought for me because you know how much I love this book.”
Spencer looked like a deer in the headlights. “You always said that your book at home was so messy with your annotations and that a fresh copy would have been nice.”
“You didn’t even buy it for my birthday or a special occasion! You just saw it in the store and said that you thought of me and had to buy it. That’s so unbelievably thoughtful! Not to mention the fact that I can barely look at fruit snacks now without tearing up. And—and the other day! When I got my haircut, I hated it, but I came in the next day, and you were the first person to tell me you liked it. You weren’t even lying to make me feel better; I’m a profiler, and I know that you were telling the truth. And it took no effort or thought because Spencer, you are the most kind-hearted and compassionate and generous person I’ve ever met. You are so—so genuinely good. 
“No, you are the best. You are the best person I know,” you stated with finality, holding his stare with an unshakeable firmness. It was the first time you truly looked at him all night, and his heart felt like it was going to expand past his ribcage and burst open like a balloon. Your resolve melted though and your voice dropped to a near whisper. “And you’re not just nice. You’re nice to me. Which just makes it so hard.”
You deflated, withering into your seat.
“Makes what hard?”
“It makes it so much harder for me to not fall in love with you.”
Stunned silence. 
Until it was shattered by a hiccup, and Spencer finally noticed the tears leaking from the corner of your eyes, and he tried, he tried so hard to puzzle through all of this new information and the fact that you just admitted you’re falling in love with him, and for some reason, you’re crying? He couldn’t even get his stupid genius brain to come with a single word before you started stumbling into an apology. “I know that’s not what you want to hear because we’re supposed to be friends, and I know that you’re just a good person, so you’re nice to everyone. Believe me, I know. And I’m sorry if I’ve made you uncomfortable, but I couldn’t keep holding on to this by myself, and I knew if anyone would let me down easy, it’d be you.” You chewed on your lip and avoided his stare at all costs. “So, I’m sorry.” You sniffled. 
The quiet that followed weighed heavy on your chest, and you couldn’t seem to breathe. You had expected rejection; you hadn’t expected complete silence. And this was somehow so much more unbearable. In a voice so faint you weren’t even sure if he could hear, you begged, “Please say something.”
A beat.
“(Y/N), I love you.”
A whisper just barely verging on hopeful, “What?”
“(Y/N), I—I love you so much.” His heart felt like it was in his throat, and his voice broke slightly as he stood. “You’re the first person I think about when I get up in the morning, and you’re the last person before I fall asleep. I dread going home at the end of the day because you’re not there. When you’re not with me, even if you’re in the other room, it feels like I’ve forgotten something, and for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what I was missing, but it was you. You consume my every thought, which is saying something because I think a lot. Actually, it’s kind of funny,” he chuckled somewhat morosely, “I truly cannot comprehend the fact that you don’t know how much I’ve liked you, how long I’ve loved you because it feels like it’s so obvious and so potent that it seeps out of me, whether I want it to or not.
“And I’m nice to you because no one else is more deserving of kindness. I’d be lucky if you let me be the one to remind you of that, everyday. Because you’re the best person I know.” You looked up at him with shining eyes and the meagerest beginnings of a smile, and he just beamed right back. With a creased brow, he ventured, “You’re my favorite person in the world, you know that, right?
Failing to suppress your growing grin, you nodded your head meekly. “Yeah, I know.”
Spencer felt pleased with himself until he remembered that he had forgotten the most important part. “Would you like to get dinner with me sometime? Like a date?”
Standing from your seat, you wrapped your arms around his neck and burrowed your face into his chest, and he immediately reciprocated, clutching you as close as he could. “I would love that.” It came out muffled, but he understood well enough as he pressed his face into your neck. And you stood like that for a few moments, just existing together, and for the first time in a long time, nothing hurt. There was no worry of unrequited yearning or pain of terrible pining; there were just two people who finally knew peace. Knew that the person they loved most in the world loved them back. Neither ever wanted to leave.
However, sometimes necessary duties like breathing take precedence, so you pulled back from him enough to finally claim some air. Your hands slid down his front, resting on his chest, his on your waist, and you just stared at him. The most beautiful face you’d ever seen looking right back at you with the same expression of awe that made you realize just how lucky you were. And slowly, hesitantly, you both leaned in ever so slightly with heads wavering and tension buzzing. Gingerly and sweetly. Neither could commit, but no one could pull away from fast-approaching revelation. 
Finally, a breath away.
“Can I kiss you?”
You nodded.
When your lips met, your chest heaved with your eager, romantic hopes and dreams bubbling up near your lungs, finally coming to fruition. His hands came up to caress your jaw, and you leaned into him. His touch was so gentle, but he also touched you with intention. For once in his life, Spencer Reid felt no hesitation, kissing the girl of his dreams. And you felt held by him. You were bursting at the seams of your existence, swollen with infatuation and tenderness, yet totally and completely encompassed by him. You could shatter into a million tiny, little pieces, and he would be there to collect every shard. How cheesy.
Both of you grinned into the kiss; the sickly sweet itch in your heart was contagious. You finally released him, and wanting to savor the moment, you tucked yourself into the crook of his neck, so his chin could rest on the crown of your head. “I love you a lot, Dr. Reid.”
He hummed in agreement.
It didn’t need saying.
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kraviolis · a year ago
OK SO gordon is like. 22-23 in this au. he’s a medium time streamer. he variety streams a lot. he has a son that he lets on stream sometimes. he has a day job as a student getting his master’s in theoretical physics and as a TA for a professor he knows at his college. he streams at night and the weekends mostly. he has a relatively small following, averages 2-3k ppl per stream.
benrey is somewhat of a small time streamer but hes a lil mysterious. no face cam, no real name, no know home city or even what state he lives in. he streams more unknown games or just games he finds interesting and sometimes speedruns. hes chill as fuck and funny as hell. he avgs 400 ppl per stream.
one day, they're both streaming at the same time, and gordon runs into him in a multiplayer game. he harasses gordon a lil, makes him laugh, pro gamer strats. they become “rivals” but its mostly for show to entertain their viewers. they run into each other in the one game a couple times and have fun antics that stay within that game.
but then when benrey’s just chatting with his stream later, a mod in chat says “oh shit look its the guy” and links gordon’s channel, specifically a clip where he’s streaming his reaction to a video game show case while eating cereal in sweatpants and talks with his mouth full. he’s talking shit about the playstation guy presenting the fucking. ps5 or whatever.
and benrey’s like “aw shit. dude. hes fucking hot.” but not out loud.
out loud he says “i knew this guy was bad news, he hates playstation.”
then he notices gordon’s actually also live right now. so he and his viewers go to see gordon’s live feed and he’s playing fucking. pubg or something. and benrey’s just “alright folks we’re fucking stream sniping him” and he DOES and uses the same shitty user name in the MMO they were playing
gordon is immediately like “you FUCK what are you DOING HERE” and benrey’s laughing really hard off mic so gordon doesn’t hear and he just goes “what i cant hang out with my best friend” and he just follows gordon around with his shitty passport joke and gets them both killed. and both of their chats are eating it up.
but THEN when gordon’s off stream he gets @‘d on twitter with benrey’s stream clip of him reacting to finding gordon’s twitch and hes like “DUDE.” and posts on twitter like “@passportguardian you’re calling me bad news when you’re the one stream sniping?”
and then gordon passes out and wakes up to 4000 twitter notifications. because benrey saw and replied and the rivalry is getting HEATED. gordon is grinning and laughing at his replies to all his tweets just bickering with each other.
and then one stream a couple weeks later gordon gets sent a clip of benrey on stream roasting gordon and saying “idk guys if he wasnt such a coward he would get on call and argue with me himself and tell me exactly how PC is superior instead of hiding on twitter like uhhhhh little coward boy” and gordon goes “uh huh. yep. we’re doing this” and DMs benrey like “give me your discord im abt to end ur whole career”
and they get on call together and gordon LAUNCHES into his argument. benrey is like half trying not to bust a gut and half just trying to rile him up and gordon is laughing too and getting more “heated” and they end it with benrey going “cant FUCKING believe this dont FUCKING talk to m--” and then going offline. gordon dies laughing on stream and cant even focus on what he was doing before he has to end stream too
and then gordon cant stop thinking about benrey. and benrey already knows hes got a crush on gordon but hes not abt to make this weird. they keep their rivalry going and hop into each other’s streams sometimes and just chat and bicker at each other privately. they get to become really good friends (maybe more? jk ahahaha.... unless,)
benrey’s friend tommy starts to be friends with gordon too and its so fucking fun. tommy is streamer but not as big as either of them (he likes 2 stream more unconventional stuff, like him reading out loud to chat and him cooking with his dad and just him taking sunkist to the park, hes not big on playing video games) and is a neutral party in the rivalry. tommy gets along with gordon really well and actually was the mod to direct benrey to gordon’s stream for the first time. I CAN KEEP GOING ABT THIS but i want to finish the actual story part of this au before sharing with the public !! also i wanna draw designs for them........
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artificialqueens · 8 months ago
Me and You Together, 3/10 (Taywhora) - Ortega
fic summary: The cardinal rule of having flatmates is that you Do Not Catch Feelings For Your Flatmates, because everything inevitably goes to shit and gets made horrifically awkward. A’whora and Tayce both know this, but being in first year of uni and making good decisions have never really gone hand in hand.
a/n: again, fucking bowled over by the love and support this has had so far. i cannot thank any of u enough, ur all absolute wee diamonds in the sky. hope u enjoy this one- we’re in January for this one, where the girls have to deal with the consequences of December…and Tayce is tasked with keeping a secret for Lawrence.
last chapter: September- On a damp, bright Saturday in September, six flatmates move into their student flat and meet for the first time.
this chapter: January- Tayce and A’whora still have unfinished business from a night out and a hungover morning in December. But it’s only awkward if they make it awkward…right?
Tayce is pretty sure she’s going to combust if something doesn’t happen soon.
It’s been a month and a week since A’whora kissed her, and twenty-four hours shorter than that since Tayce kissed her in return. Or thereabouts, it’s not like she’s counting. It’s not like it’s been consuming her every thought every waking moment of the day or anything.
In all fairness, Tayce seems like it’s an achievement to think about a kiss for that length of time. Especially through her first semester essay deadlines, Ellie’s raucous eighteenth, her first Christmas back home, her first New Year seeing all her old school friends after uni and updating Cheryl and Cara on everything. She’d drunkenly come out to Cheryl too after being gently encouraged and supported by Cara, and they’d both cried as Cheryl held her and confessed that since uni had started she’d also begun seeing a girl she really liked too.
It’s funny how at uni everybody seems so much more free. Away from a stifling hometown, Tayce and her friends can properly spread their wings and be who they’ve always been but have either not realised it or been afraid to show it. Tayce is the happiest she’s ever been when she’s at the flat with the others in her little bubble of a home away from home, with Bimini’s intelligent insights and Tia’s funny quips, Lawrence’s chaos and Ellie’s kindness and A’whora being…well, her best friend.
Except she’s not really sure that best friends kiss each other like that.
But maybe they do, because since they’ve all come back from home after Christmas A’whora hasn’t mentioned the kisses, as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened between them. Hasn’t even joked about it with her or in front of the others (which is fair enough, as if Lawrence knew she’d probably tease them about it until they graduated). Tayce is pretty sure that none of the others even know, or at least if they do they’ve not spoken about it.
And the worst part is that A’whora has been absolutely…normal. Fine.
See, Tayce could’ve dealt with any awkwardness- she’d be upfront, bluntly ask A’whora if she wants to forget about it or what she wants the plan for them to be. Even better would’ve been if A’whora had rugby-tackled her the moment she’d got back from Wales and smothered her with kisses, told her how much she’d been thinking about her while they’d both been away. Tayce supposes it’s kind of her fault they never properly talked about it since she’d practically bolted out of A’whora’s room when she’d kissed her that morning, but she’d been nervous in case she’d made everything too weird. A’whora hadn’t seemed to be complaining at the time, though.
In fact that night, A’whora had been up for plenty more than just a drunk kiss. If Tayce thinks about everything she’d said when they were walking home her face still gets hot and she has to squeeze her thighs together. She’s definitely glad they never crossed any of those particular lines when they’d both been drinking, but sometimes when she’s lying in bed at night Tayce lets her hands drift between her legs as she thinks about A’whora telling her how much and for how long she’d wanted her.
Best friends definitely don’t do that.
So Tayce feels guilty spending time with just A’whora these days, the fact that things haven’t been awkward between them somehow being worse than if they were. She’s not been avoiding her per sé, she’s just been finding ways to make sure it’s very rarely the two of them alone together: hanging out in the kitchen with everyone instead of in her room, going to bed when the others do instead of staying up with A’whora, inviting the others to anything A’whora suggests the two of them do together. It’s silly, and Tayce does miss spending time alone with her, but A’whora acting like nothing’s happened while conversely Tayce wants everything to happen hurts her embarrassingly more than she’d care to admit.
Such a time is a lazy Sunday afternoon halfway through the shittiest month of the year, when the weather outside is full of misty rain that’s a recipe for frizzy hair, puddles, and misery. Just to add to the rubbish day Tayce is holed up in her room, watching the grey clouds drift and overlap over each other to create a paint colour chart in the sky as she begins an essay that’s due in a mere five days. It’s been hard to focus on anything when her head is full of her best friend and imaginary scenarios but the prospect of an all-nighter isn’t one that’s particularly desirable either, so she and the ninety-five words she’s written so far are engaged in a stand-off as Tayce waits for the essay to write itself and the word document waits for her brain cells to conjure up any more opinions on “Is art a conveyor of emotion?” (4000 words).  
And then there’s a knock on the door that doesn’t wait for permission to enter and A’whora bounces in. She’s in a pair of grey joggers and a baggy navy pyjama top that she’s tucked in at the waist and rolled up the sleeves of, and her hair is up in a bun that’s had approximately 5% effort put into it apart from the little diamante hair clasp she’s slid through it at the top.
In spite of herself, Tayce can’t help but snort when she sees her. “Only you could make your shitty potato loungewear fashion.”
“Shut up! This is haute couture. This is actually my final project for the semester,” A’whora jokes in return, moves to sit at the foot of her bed and pout at her. “Tayyyce. I’m boreddd.”
Tayce raises an eyebrow at A’whora’s whining from over her laptop screen. “And I’m doing this essay. Find someone else to bug.”
“Don’t be such a hound,” A’whora frowns, falling sideways and landing onto the bed so she’s hugging Tayce’s legs through the duvet, her head resting on her shins. “I’d annoy Ellie but she’s in town with one of her friends from home. C’mon, let’s do a movie day. We’ve not had one in ages. I feel like we’ve barely had any time together since you got back.”
“Just been trying to catch up on all my coursework. It’s not personal,” she lies, her heart sinking only the tiniest bit at the realisation that her attempts at staying out of A’whora’s way have obviously been louder than they’ve been subtle.
“Please?” A’whora bats her lashes, and if it was impossible to say no to her before it’s surely illegal to do so now.
Tayce sighs and closes her laptop, eliciting a smile from the other girl. “Fine. Fine! But you better ask the others, I don’t want them feeling left out.”
It’s a good spur-of-the-moment excuse to make sure Tayce doesn’t have to spend two hours cuddled up next to A’whora while her heart hurts, but she’s confused by the way a small look of something passes over A’whora’s expression. She can’t put her finger on what it is, but A’whora’s agreeing and bounding down to the living room before Tayce can figure it out.
Tayce throws on her dressing gown over her clothes before leaving her room to join her, the blue fluffy one with the narwhal hood that’s complete with a horn on the top. She doesn’t own many embarrassing items of clothing, but this is definitely one of them. It doesn’t matter too much, though. A’whora’s seen her in it before, when she’s been hungover or sad or hangry and on her period.
It’s so funny how she can only have known her five months and still feel closer to her than half of the friends she spent six years with at high school.
In the kitchen, A’whora’s already cheerfully getting organised as Bimini and Lawrence lounge on the sofa lazily. Tia’s not in either- it emerges she’s gone round to Veronica’s, which nobody’s surprised about.
“Main question is, what’re we watching?” Bimini asks. “It’s a lazy Sunday so it can’t be anything that’s too good. I want something I can rip the piss out of while I watch it, y’know?”
There’s some squabbling about film choices as A’whora makes popcorn in the microwave, burns it, then subsequently has to make another packet. It’s eventually decided that they’re going to watch Love Actually despite the fact it’s January, because they all either hate it or like it because of how bad it is and the film will simply be a vehicle for them to yell jokes over.
“Have we got anything to drink? We could make this into like…a day drinking situation,” Lawrence suggests casually.
“You’re not helping the stereotype that all Scottish people are alcoholics at all,” A’whora quips, causing Tayce to let out a too-loud laugh.
“Listen, if you’ve not figured out that I’m a walking talking stereotype by now, A’whora, are we even friends?” Lawrence shoots back, and A’whora shrugs in an unspoken fair enough.
Tayce tilts her head then remembers something. “I actually still have loads of canned cocktails in my suitcase that my Mum got me for Christmas. Haven’t unpacked them yet. Think there’s about…twelve?”
“Ooh, three each? That’s alright!” Bimini smiles, clearly buoyed by the prospect of being slightly tipsy in the middle of the afternoon.
“Right, that’s settled then. I’ll go get them,” Tayce decides. A’whora’s crossing the kitchen before she knows it.
“I’ll help you with them.”
Before Tayce can speak, Bimini gives a snort. “ ‘Ow much do you think canned cocktails weigh, exactly?”
As Lawrence bursts into peals of laughter, Tayce watches as A’whora rolls her eyes at them, then turns on her heel to follow her to her room. Tayce can’t help but be a little wary, though. It does kind of seem like A’whora’s trying to get her on her own, which Tayce wouldn’t mind if she knew where she was coming from. But she doesn’t.
Tayce kneels down onto the floor as she rolls her suitcase out from under the bed, chatting mindlessly as she does so because if she’s talking it means A’whora doesn’t have a chance to bring up whatever she clearly wants to bring up. “I think there’s actually eleven here, you know. Because, uh…I think I drank one of them while I was at home, so we’re gonna need to fight over who gets one less. I don’t fancy my chances in a fight against Lawrence, she’d probably give me…what’s that expression? A Glasgow kiss? She’d give me one of those. Although Bimini, what do you think they’d be like in a fight? You know I think they’ve secretly got a set of knuckledusters, they seem the type. Although when I think about it-”
“Tayce,” A’whora cuts in, forcing her to snap her head up. Her expression is troubled, and a little frown dips on her forehead as she looks at her. “What’s wrong? Why are you being so…I don’t know, weird? Like you want to get rid of me?”
Tayce feels ashamed for being called out on her behaviour, and she can feel her stomach drop as she looks back at the cans in her otherwise empty suitcase. She wants to tell her there’s a reason for the way she’s been acting but A’whora beats her to the punch, murmuring with her head down and not meeting Tayce’s eyes.
“Is this because we kissed?”
“A’whora…” Tayce immediately groans in exasperation, the heat rushing to her cheeks as if she’s been slapped. She’s embarrassed, because she knows she’s got the capacity to talk about this like a grown-up but there’s a part of her that’s cringing, because if A’whora’s about to tell her she regrets it then she’s not sure she’ll ever live it down.
There’s a small silence where neither of them seem to move, let alone speak. A’whora is yet again the one to break it. “I just feel like you hate me all of a sudden.”
Fuck. If there was one thing Tayce had wanted to avoid, it’s this. Even though she herself is hurting she can’t bear the thought of having hurt A’whora’s feelings too, so she frowns, reaches up and squeezes A’whora’s hand which prompts her to look at Tayce. “I don’t hate you, Rory, of course I don’t hate you. I just…”
Tayce looks up to the ceiling as she searches for the right words, even though she’s not really sure what they are. She wants to tell A’whora she’s yearning for something to happen again between them and that even the fact she’s holding her hand is setting her pulse off all too quickly, but now’s not the right time. Besides, she doesn’t even know if A’whora feels the same way. Either way, Tayce can hear A’whora holding her breath, can feel the way her body’s tense beside her, so Tayce finally formulates something that doesn’t sound too hot or too cold.
“…I just don’t know where we go from here, that’s all.”
A’whora visibly relaxes, then shrugs. Her voice is quiet as she speaks. “Well, it’s only awkward if we make it awkward. And I feel like I’ve been okay at not making it awkward?”
Tayce narrows her eyes at her, laughs. “So what you’re saying is it’s all my fault.”
The pair of the giggle softly and things already seem to have shifted back into comfortable territory. The green of a spring bulb popping up through the snow.
Tayce swallows her not-inconsiderable pride and smiles up at A’whora. She supposes going back to being friends and not ever talking about the fact that they kissed again is better than existing in a tense purgatory for the rest of their time in the flat together, even if it does make her feel a little sinking feeling of disappointment and a sense of mourning what could’ve been. “I’m sorry for being such a…mingebag.”
A’whora cracks up, repeats “mingebag!” incredulously, before her laughter dies down and she gives Tayce’s hand a squeeze in return. “That’s okay. Just good to know you still like me.”
They share a soft smile before piling the cocktails high in their arms, cradling them as if they’re babies as they rush back through to the living room where Bimini and Lawrence are hanging up a huge white sheet on the wall opposite the sofa for the projector. The projector had been Tia’s addition to the flat, an AliExpress purchase that had turned out to not be broken, or unusable, or made for a doll’s house.
“Tia won’t mind us borrowing that, will she?” A’whora asks with concern. Lawrence scoffs, bats a hand in her direction dismissively.
“She’ll be too mouth-deep in Veronica to care when she realises we’ve used it, let’s not lie!”
There’s a cry of disgust at Lawrence’s turn of phrase from the others, and as Tayce sets up the cocktails on the little coffee table A’whora brings the bowl of popcorn through.
“It’s fun to be able to make jokes about Tia and her girl, in’t it?” Bimini chuckles good-naturedly. “Always feel like we can’t properly tease her when Ellie’s there ‘cause she always looks like she’s about to jump out the window any time we mention Veronica’s name.”
The revelation that Ellie has feelings for Tia had come via a drunken, tearful confession to the others the night of her eighteenth birthday, when Tia had left the party with Veronica instead of staying overnight at the flat. Poor Ellie had been so devastatingly upset that the others had seemed to forge an unspoken agreement that the situation wasn’t going to be fodder for flat jokes. Instead they make sure to ask Tia how her budding relationship is going when Ellie isn’t around.
As she and A’whora laugh in agreement at Bimini’s joke, Tayce doesn’t miss the way Lawrence grows uncharacteristically quiet.
“When d’you think Ellie will get over Tia? I mean it’s a shame she doesn’t like her back, but she’ll ‘ave to at some point.”
“She won’t. She’ll just pine after her every day until we graduate,” Lawrence says. It’s meant to be a joke but her delivery is somewhat flat, and Tayce wonders if she’s the only one that picks up on it. From the way A’whora and Bimini are laughing, it appears she has been.  
Bimini and Lawrence step back from the sheet, satisfied with the job they’ve done. A’whora’s busy plugging in the fairy lights Ellie strung up where the wall meets the ceiling a few months ago, and Tayce can’t help but think to herself that sacking off her essay was a good idea as she glances at their setup. Never let it be said that their flat does things by halves.
“Oh! We should bring duvets through. And blankets,” A’whora suggests, and Tayce’s heart is both warmed and hurt by how adorably enthusiastic she is about the whole endeavour. She wishes she could shake the lingering feeling of disappointment she’s got in her gut at the knowledge that they’ll probably never talk about their kiss again; they’ve moved on from it, it was a one-time thing, and it’s only awkward if they make it awkward so Tayce bringing it up would be awkward, right?
So she settles on the sofa with Lawrence while Bimini helps A’whora gather up all their pillows, cushions, blankets and duvets from their respective rooms. Tayce is about to become lost in her own head when Lawrence turns to her with a look in her eyes that Tayce has never seen before. It’s almost conspiratorial and definitely suspicious, and for one horrific moment Tayce is convinced that Lawrence knows everything that happened in December.
“What is it?” Tayce asks her, before her flatmate can even open her mouth. Lawrence sighs, tips her head back to the head of the sofa and squeezes her eyes shut.
“I need to tell you a secret.”
Tayce’s heart drops as if she’s on a rollercoaster. Her mind immediately jumps to A’whora. What’s she told her? What does Lawrence know? It would make sense to wait until A’whora was out of the room before telling her anything. Tayce tries to keep her face impassive as she turns to Lawrence, nods quietly. “Okay, spill.”
“You can’t tell anyone, Tayce,” Lawrence insists, looking at her pleadingly. Tayce promises she won’t, although in retrospect she probably should’ve asked what it was first. The way Lawrence is acting is intriguing, though. It makes Tayce think it’s something about herself if it’s something she doesn’t want the others to know so badly.
“Christ, this is so cringe,” Lawrence groans, dropping her head forward and resting it in her hands. Tayce can still see the pink flush that’s started to dust her face, and by now she’s convinced that this has nothing to do with A’whora and everything to do with Lawrence herself.
Lawrence mutters out something incoherent into her hands. Tayce frowns, humoured. “What?”
A huge huff comes from the girl on the sofa beside her, and as she removes her hands from the front of her face she sticks them to the side of it like blinkers on a horse. It’s the quietest Tayce has ever heard Lawrence speak as she says the secret again. “I’ve got a crush on Ellie.”
Tayce’s face lights up at her friend’s confession. “Do you actually?”
“Christ, don’t make me say it twice. I’ll get struck down.”
Tayce leans into Lawrence, uses both her hands to lightly poke her in the arm. “Look at you! Being cute and having feelings!”
“It’s not, though! It’s not cute at all! It’s just sad!” Lawrence rolls her eyes, shaking her head at the same time. “Because she doesn’t…she’ll never see me like that, and she’s too busy making cow-eyes at Tia all the time anyway, so. It’s pointless, I don’t even know why I’m even hoping for something to happen.”
“Hey, listen! How long do you think Ellie’s gonna be able to keep moaning about Tia when she’s still seeing Veronica? I mean there’s only one way that relationship is going, the only ‘end’ there is in ‘girlfriend’. So Ellie’s gonna have to get over it eventually!” Tayce says supportively, shaking Lawrence’s arm to gee her up. Lawrence bats her away, though, giving another sigh.
“Tayce, it’s not exactly like she’s gonnae suddenly realise that I’ve been here all along! Like some fuckin’ chick flick. I’ve fancied her for years,” Lawrence explains. The information knocks Tayce for six, but when she thinks about it it makes sense- the way Lawrence gently bullies her so much, the way she gravitates towards her all the time, the way she gets quiet if Ellie starts moping about Tia. Tayce had never thought about it in that light before.
Lawrence hugs her knees to her chest as she continues. “Realised I liked her the last time we were at the caravan. And obviously we were at opposite sides of the country but like…I’d still meet up with her in Summer, get the train to Dundee and have sleepovers and all that shite. And when she came into the kitchen on that first day I was so happy she was gonnae be living with us, and I am still happy, because obviously she’s my friend? But like…it’s just shite to know that she’ll never like me back.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Ellie’s type is obviously tall, dark and skinny. Which…” Lawrence gestures at herself with a deprecative laugh. “…how can I be any of that?”
“Right, for a start! Stop thinking about what you’re not and start thinking about what you are,” Tayce says firmly, gripping her hand tightly.
Lawrence rolls her eyes and fixes her with a pointed stare. “Oh, like what? I’m beautiful on the inside! I know I’m the fat funny friend, Tayce, you can spare me the bullshit.”
“Well…you’re fat, and so fucking what of it? Doesn’t mean you aren’t drop-dead-fuckin’ gorgeous. Being fat and being beautiful aren’t mutually exclusive.”
“Very easy for you to say, sat there wearing size eights. Tell that to literally any piece of media we consume. Or any of my brain cells. Even if there are only about ten of them,” Lawrence sighs, then pauses. “I do like the way I look, and I don’t want to change anything about myself. It’s just…several things make that very hard almost all of the time, and it’s tiring to feel like you’re constantly fighting a losing battle. And it’s not like I’m pinning all my self-worth on a girl liking me back, but just…it would be nice to be the one that someone has a crush on for a change, if that makes sense?”
Before Tayce can say anything to affirm how Lawrence is feeling, a movement from down the hall makes her flinch and point at Tayce accusingly. “Not a fucking word, right? Least of all to A’whora, if she knows then I might as well just tell Ellie myself and like fuck is that happening.”
Tayce nods rapidly in a promise as A’whora and Bimini emerge from the hall comedically draped in materials, like a child’s attempt at a dress made out of knitting and featherdown quilts. They all set about arranging everything to make their setup as comfy as possible, and as the film gets loaded up they get comfortable in their respective positions. Lawrence is at one end of the sofa, with Tayce in the middle and A’whora at her side, while Bimini sits on the floor with their back to the sofa because they’re quite happy sitting there with enough cushions and pillows. The big lights are turned off, the film begins, and the room is filled with the soft glow of the fairy lights and the hazy light from the movie and all Tayce can think about is A’whora, warm and soft and squashed up beside her sharing the blanket.  
Tayce feels silly for being so disappointed. This was what she’d wanted- they’d talked about it. They’d addressed the fact that the kiss had happened, and now they were just…moving forward. Not making things awkward. Because obviously to A’whora, the fact it’s happened has made things awkward.
And that shouldn’t hurt Tayce as much as it does.
It’s hard to dwell on things for long, though, when she has block four flat ten’s very own Ant and Dec in her living room. Lawrence and Bimini keep her and A’whora giggling pretty much from the film’s first scene, and they all fall about screech-laughing when Bimini forces them to pause it on a shot of Liam Neeson’s hall in which there’s a horrific blob of a child’s painting on the wall that looks so cursed they just had to point it out.
It’s probably because Lawrence and Bimini are distracting her that Tayce doesn’t initially notice A’whora leaning into her at first until she’s pressed up against Tayce’s side. This isn’t anything out of the ordinary. They’ve always sat close before, but this time things feel different. This time it feels as if there’s little sparks of electricity between them, metaphorical manifestations of the anticipation Tayce feels of something she’s yearning to happen.    
So when A’whora bumps her knuckles against Tayce’s, brings her hand over hers and laces their fingers together, Tayce feels as if she’s suddenly evolved into some ridiculous cartoon character; she can practically feel her eyes bulge out of their sockets in shock and she has to stop her jaw from dropping onto the floor. If her heart could comedically fly out of its chest it would. Tayce keeps her gaze steady and focused on the film, blocking out her peripheral vision and not even turning to see if A’whora’s looking at her too. Because if she is it would make everything ten times worse (better?) than it currently is, and Tayce’s head is already in a spin. They’ve held hands before. It’s not like this is different.
But it is. Before they hadn’t kissed. Before A’whora hadn’t told Tayce she wanted to sleep with her. Before all of Tayce’s feelings for her friend were cooped up into neat little boxes in her mind that were so full they were close to bursting, but now they have and now it’s After and so holding A’whora’s hand has gone from usual to extraordinary, routine to electric.  
Tayce hopes A’whora can’t feel the way her pulse is racing because that’ll definitely let her know something is up.
She’s suddenly startled out of her overthinking by a tut of disapproval from Lawrence. “How many fuckin’ couples are in this film and there’s not one single lesbian?”  
“Lesbians didn’t exist in 2003, remember?” Bimini deadpans, causing A’whora to giggle.
“Yeah, lesbians were invented in 2013 when Orange is the New Black aired.”
“Nah! When did Sugar Rush come out? Mind that programme on Channel 4? I remember watching that through a crack in the living room door when my parents thought I’d gone to bed,” Lawrence recounds excitedly, her enthusiasm at remembering her lesbian awakening making Tayce laugh and relate at the same time.
“For me it was Sophie and Sian. Remember on Coronation Street? They were my first lesbians.”
“At least you all got representation at some stage. If I wanted to see another pan I’d have to watch fuckin’…Kitchen Nightmares,” Bimini rolls their eyes, their joke making the girls howl with laughter and let out cries of consolation.
And then A’whora squeezes Tayce’s hand under the blanket.
Tayce thinks only for a second before squeezing it back, and subsequently doesn’t think before turning and looking at her friend beside her. A’whora shoots her a little smile that if Tayce didn’t know better she’d say was innocent, but the twinkle in her eye and the way she shuffles herself to lean closer against her and tuck her other hand into the crook of Tayce’s elbow makes her heart give a judder like she’s been crashed into from behind.
She supposes it’s only awkward if she makes things awkward, just like A’whora said. So when Tayce gently strokes A’whora’s hand with her thumb, it’s only to illustrate to A’whora that things aren’t weird between them. It’s not to see how the other girl is going to react to that at all. It’s not because being affectionate with A’whora just feels correct and perfect, the easiest thing in the world.
Tayce is holding her breath waiting for A’whora to do something else. Something to raise her hopes, something to show her that maybe she does want something to happen between them again. She wants the film to go on forever and give them infinite time in this no-man’s-land of comfortable tension, because when it ends she knows A’whora will probably just get up from under the blanket and slip away as if everything is back to normal.
When A’whora lets go of her hand, Tayce feels her hopes drop into the pit of her stomach, a rollercoaster coming to a dead stop. The ride is over.
But a second later she wraps her arm around Tayce’s waist, squeezes her close in a hug, and the ride begins all over again. Tayce’s heart rate spikes as she shifts a little, getting comfortable before bringing her arm around A’whora’s middle too and holding her right back.
It’s then that Lawrence’s voice makes Tayce snap her head away from the film, her glazed-over eyes having to focus on her friend who’s regarding her with a raised eyebrow. “Fuck’s going on under that blanket? You two fingering each other?”  
Bimini snaps their head up and yells as Tayce tries to conceal the wave of panic that hits her, rolls her eyes and shakes her head and tells Lawrence that she needs to get her mind out the gutter. She’s sure that being called out will make A’whora flinch away, a woodland animal startled by a twig breaking, but she just giggles and buries her face into Tayce’s side all bashful.
God, Tayce wants to kiss her so much.
The film reaches the scene where Emma Thompson cries in her bedroom to Joni Mitchell, and the sniffing from the floor indicates she’s not the only one.
“Bimini! You said you hated this film!” Tayce laughs, nudging her friend with her foot.
“Yeah, but anyone who doesn’t cry at this scene is a hard-hearted bastard,” they reply, voice thick with emotion.
“Aww, BonBon. It’s okay, I’ve got a little tear as well,” A’whora murmurs from Tayce’s side. She huffs a sigh. “I can’t even believe anyone would fall for that pencil-skirt-wearing cow. I mean, she fucking manspreads and that’s supposed to be some sort of sexy come-on?”
“Aw, and like you could do any better?! We’ve all seen you trying to flirt, it’s embarrassing!” Lawrence cries in outrage.
Tayce is reminded of nights out earlier in the year when A’whora would talk to girls at bars and Tayce would always feel this inexplicable burn in her chest in response. She remembers the unfounded relief when A’whora would come back home to the flat with the rest of them, one-night-stand missions failed, and the churn in her stomach the times when she’d leave with a girl she didn’t know and sneak back into the flat at nine in the morning, ready to tell the others about her exploits from the night before which Tayce never wanted to hear.
She’s really fancied A’whora for a long time, now she thinks about it.
“I could so do better!” A’whora complains, and Tayce isn’t looking at her but she just knows she’s pouting.
Lawrence chuckles, tilting her head in amusement. “Go on then! What would your plan of action be, Miss fuckin’ Womaniser?”
There’s a pause before A’whora says, “Well I’d probably wait until we were both drunk on a night out, do tequila shots with them, drape myself over them, kiss them, then get them to take me back home.”
Tayce thinks she deserves an Oscar for the way she refuses to outwardly react to the way A’whora has essentially just described their kiss from that night out. Inside, however, it’s a different story. She’s not sure it’s possible for her heart to go any faster, and every cell of her body seems to buzz. She can barely hear Lawrence and Bimini laughing in response to A’whora’s comment for the way her blood’s roaring in her ears. Once the others stop paying attention and go back to watching the film, it’s only then that Tayce turns her head, raises one unimpressed eyebrow at A’whora who’s looking up at her with a scheming smirk on her face and a glint in her eye.
And right as she’s looking at her, A’whora closes her eyes and plants a kiss against Tayce’s arm then goes back to watching the movie as if nothing ever happened.
It’s at that point that Tayce feels her mouth dry up, feels something coil tight inside her and a throb between her legs. Something is going to happen the moment the pair of them are alone, she can feel it. There’s no way it can’t. In stark contrast to earlier, Tayce now wills the film to end sooner rather than later.
And it does. Finally. The credits roll, the Beach Boys are playing, and Lawrence slaps her thighs. “Well, that was a heap of shite!”
“I’ve still not forgiven Alan Rickman. God love the dead old bastard,” Bimini shrugs, heaves themself up off the floor and slides their phone out of their back pocket, scrolling busily. “Oh, Ellie’s asking if we wanna come join her an’ Anne for drinks. Apparently they’re in some boujie cocktail bar in town spending all their student loan and need responsible adults to stop them.”
“Why the hell are they asking us then?” Tayce quips, the giggle it elicits from A’whora sending a shockwave down her spine.
“I’m down to go meet them both. I’m already tipsy, might as well go the whole hog and get rat-arsed,” Lawrence says decisively, leaping up from the sofa and fixing Tayce and A’whora with an inquisitive glance. “You two coming?”
Tayce lets go of A’whora’s waist and stretches to make a point. “Nah, babe, I can’t. Got this essay due on Wednesday I’ve not started.”
Bimini snorts. “Yeah, I forgot. You’re dead on it and organised, in’t ya?”
Tayce pulls a face at them while Lawrence asks A’whora.
“Mmph. Think I need a nap before I even think about drinking any more, hun.”
Lawrence eyes them both suspiciously and appears to be about to say something else before Bimini tugs on her arm and distracts her. “C’mon then, let’s leave these two to be boring. Have fun, losers!”
Goodbyes are exchanged between them and Lawrence and Bimini finally leave, the fire door to the kitchen swinging shut and leaving the warm glow of the fairy lights, the blanket, the sofa, and A’whora gazing at her with that shit-eating smirk on her face again.
So Tayce wastes no time in bringing a hand up to her jaw, leaning down and kissing her, and judging by the way that A’whora melts into her and lets out a little happy sigh of satisfaction she’s been waiting for it just as much as Tayce has. They fall together like it’s easy, as if both of the times they’ve done this before have been all the practise they need. A’whora brings her hand to rest against Tayce’s cheek as if she’s trying to somehow pull her closer than she already is, and her neediness makes Tayce giggle against her lips. In turn it sets A’whora off, and when she pulls away their faces are still close and there’s little smiles on each of them.
“What’s so funny, you little bitch?” A’whora smirks, her barbed words cushioned by the way she’s wriggling onto Tayce’s lap and bringing her arms up to circle around her neck just like she did the first time in the club.
“Just you’re kind of giving me mixed signals here, baby. Saying you don’t want things to be awkward and then moving to me the entire film,” Tayce mutters, keeping a playful smile on her face despite the fact her words hold entirely too much truth.
It clearly takes the wind out of A’whora’s sails because she casts her gaze down, pauses before speaking and looking at Tayce from under her lashes. “I didn’t mean that, I just meant…I want us to be able to do stuff and not have it be awkward afterwards.”
This is a game changer. So A’whora doesn’t regret anything. She doesn’t want them to go back to the way things were- well no, she does, just with an extra little bit of something more added in. She wants the friendship they have but she also clearly wants Tayce like she wants her back, and the realisation makes Tayce squeeze her thighs together, anticipation now so high she feels scared for her blood pressure.
Tayce tries not to let her realisation show on her face. Instead she looks at A’whora with interest, raises an eyebrow at her in amusement. “What’s ‘stuff’, then?”
“Well, just like…if we’re both horny and in the same flat then it saves us having to swipe Tinder for hours on end only to find a girl with a boyfriend who’s looking to ‘experiment’ and never found another girl’s clit in her life, doesn’t it?” A’whora shrugs blithely despite the blush that’s hit her cheeks, her turn of phrase making Tayce bite back a smile. “Whereas I’ve been told I’m quite good at that.”
The twinkle is back in A’whora’s eye again and the combination of that, her smirk and her words make Tayce’s stomach do a somersault. She can’t let it show, though, can’t let A’whora see her crack so she blinks to maintain her composure, tilts her head with mock-curiosity. “Have you now.”
“Yeah. Could show you if you wanted,” A’whora grins brazenly back at her, shifting a little in Tayce’s lap and sending her into orbit. “Plus I can’t remember if I put on matching underwear this morning, so…you should come help me check.”
Tayce breaks the stalemate to throw her head back in a laugh. “Jesus Christ, Lawrence was right. You actually can’t flirt to save yourself.”
She watches A’whora’s face drop into a pout and instantly feels as if she’s kicked a puppy, so Tayce brings one of her hands up to rest on top of her thigh and gives it a squeeze. “Says a lot for how fit you are that it’s still working though, doesn’t it?”
The pout cracks into a scheming smile, and Tayce matches it before A’whora leans in and kisses it off her face. It’s more heated this time, that little undercurrent of intensity as Tayce runs her tongue over A’whora’s and hears her whimper against her lips. As A’whora pushes her fingers into Tayce’s hair Tayce lets her hands drift around to the small of her back, and the way A’whora keeps shifting needily in her lap only makes Tayce want her more, which she didn’t think was even possible.
“We’ve got a free flat, you know,” A’whora mutters in between little kisses, her voice low as she whispers against her lips.
“Probably a good thing. You couldn’t be quiet if your life depended on it,” Tayce teases, running her fingers over the waistband of A’whora’s sweatpants in an attempt to try and convey how much she needs her.
“Oh, you have no idea, babe,” A’whora smirks before pulling away, ripping her top out from where it’s tucked into her waistband and tugging it off, barely even giving Tayce a chance to react. She’s left in a little black bralet with Playboy logos along a white band at the hem, and Tayce feels her mouth go dry.
She’s really, really hoping A’whora put on matching underwear this morning.
But she’s still taken aback because after all- they’re in the middle of their living room, and any of the others could walk in at any given moment- so she can’t help the way her mouth drops open and the way she lets out a little shocked giggle. “A’whora!”
“What?!” A’whora smiles smugly back at her, clearly glad she’s got the reaction she wanted.
“We’re not shagging on this couch, are you insane?! It’s rotten! Kim Woodburn would have a fit if she saw it!”
“Oh, so we are going to shag?” A’whora regards her with one cocked eyebrow, and Tayce can’t help but mirror it. There’s a pause before she gives a small huff of mock-resignation, sealing their fate.
“God. We’re really doing the whole friends with benefits cliché, then?”
A’whora smirks affectionately at her. “Only awkward if we make it awkward.”
She holds out her pinkie between them and Tayce takes it with a resigned laugh, the childish nature of their promise contrasting deeply with the whole situation.
“C’mon then, bestie, lead the way.”
And as A’whora scrambles excitedly off her lap and Tayce takes the opportunity to smack her ass playfully, she feels her heart soar and her head grow light at the thought of being able to do everything she’s been thinking about doing for over a month with one of her best friends in the world.
She wonders why everyone seems to say that a friends with benefits situation isn’t a good idea. This is already the best decision she’s made in years.
15 notes · View notes
ramonameisel · 11 months ago
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The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.
Edmund Burke
Did you know that the human heart beats approximately 4000 times per hour?
Each pulse, each throb, each beat is another token that keeps us alive. It's neither lame nor slothful. We work, we endure, we love. All of it, ensured by an organ so small. So fragile.
We're oblivious to its daily efforts until one day the curtain falls.
When your grandfather tips over in his chair.
When a mother loses her cancer daughter.
Or when a father shoots his own son while practising with his gun.
Not alive.
In the fragment of a moment, we realize how frail our lives are. Similar to crystal vases that can break into a million flinders. 
Shouldn't we cherish the time we have? Shouldn't we reflect each morning when we wake?
Think about it.
Today your heart beats approximately 4.000 times per hour.
96.000 times in a day.
You're alive.
Be grateful.
St. Thomas Hospital, A&E department
Monday, 22th September
00:57 a.m.
4 days until the next murder
Hospitals had a way of being sharp-edged in the way scalpels were: blinding and clean-cut.
Hermione smelled the clinical bite of antiseptic as soon as she crossed the threshold of the old, wooden entrance door to St. Thomas Hospital. It was quieter at night, with little to no people waiting. Nurses were running around in their blue uniforms, scribbling down on their clipboards. Somewhere monitors were beeping in a monotonous rhythm.
Draco waited for her in the casualty department, which was confusing and sterile but intimidatingly filled with robotic sounds of more beeping machines and the rattling of old monitors. The rooms were divided by walls. There were nurses behind the desk and in front of it and a doctor or two caught mid-motion between one task and the other.
"What's wrong with him? Where is he?" Hermione said as a form of greeting, breathless from running.
"He's in surgery right now." Draco had his notebook in one hand and she could see some of the notes he had made while he'd been waiting. A woman was sitting on one of the visitor chairs; her hands were clean-scrubbed but the clothes still looked like a massacre. Blood was clinging to the thick fabric of her jacket and tinted the colourful green a dirty brown. Fear clung to her cheeks and hollowed her eyes out. The colour of her skin was greenish and sick.
"What happened?" Hermione asked, looking from the woman back to Draco. He didn't look any better than she felt; his hair was dishevelled and a little astray and his eyes were red from the lack of sleep.
"He was found close to Hercules Road, lying unconscious by the kerb. The woman found him and called the emergency services." Draco said mechanically. Hermione was glad for his tone; it made the realization that the victim was known more whimsical. Less personal. Less real.
"Hercules Road? That's not even half a mile from here!" Her head was spinning. Her thoughts raced; there was no time to think, no way to bring order into the chaos. Too many pieces of information chased each other, connecting, yet bringing no further explanation. Her profiling skills choked. She could taste the rancid tomato sauce of the pizza she'd had for dinner slowly creeping up her throat.
Draco gave her the notebook, then grimaced. He had a way of speaking volumes in tone and mime. She flipped through his notes but all of them were clinical and without anything that screamed Ron in her face. 
Witness: Tracey Davis. 27. Web Designer. On her way home from parental yoga. Found the victim lying motionless on the road. Victim: Male. Found close to Hercules Road. Puddle of blood. Skin in shreds. Broken bones. Agonizing pain. Unconscious -
In this case, Ron was just someone that had been hurt. Another broken body. Another victim.
Draco said, "We can't do anything right now. Let's just wait until the doctor comes and -"
Draco was saying something else. Hermione was sure because she saw his lips move and the muscles in his jaws work. But there was no tone that reached her ears. The blissful absence of sound made everything easier to digest. There was nothing before and nothing after. There was silence, and cold, and the sensation of a phantom pain that throbbed dully somewhere between her ribs. Then she shut down and there was nothing. Right now, she was not cut out to be around people.
St. Thomas Hospital, A&E department
Monday, 22th September
7:33 a.m.
4 days until the next murder
Seven hours and four cups of bad vendor coffee later, the door to the surgery rooms opened. Hermione's hands were still shaking when one of the doctors finally made her way over to them.
"Doctor," Draco greeted the woman. They both rose from the cheap visitor chairs that were hard as steel.
"You're the agents on this case?" The doctor looked tired. Her navy blue scrubs looked sweaty and well-worn, as if she had been wearing them for a long time. Dark circles under her eyes painted a stark contrast against the blinding white of the hospital lights.
"Yes. What can you tell us?"
"We stopped the internal bleedings and treated his wounds and ruptures. Nearly all of his bone fractures were compound, so we had to stabilize them with screws and spirals. There was no anaesthetic in his blood values so I can't even imagine the pain he must have felt during the torture."
Hermione let out a breath she didn't know she'd held. Slowly her world that was broken and torn sewed itself back together again. This time she found her voice. 
"So he's over the worst?"
"For now." The doctor smiled, strained. Still, it was a glimmer of hope for Hermione that she held onto. "But there's another problem."
"What is it?"
"While his head does not show any surgical interventions, we found precise cuts around his eye socket and in his left eyeball. We sent him for an MRI but we had to interrupt the check because he began to spasm and haemorrhage. While the results are mostly useless, we could identify some kind of foreign object inside of him." The doctor handed over a folder to Draco; Hermione hadn't noticed it. By the look of its thickness and length, she'd guess it must be the patient's clinical record. Ron's, she corrected herself harshly.
"I am reluctant to do any other examinations without a neurosurgeon to look over it. Unfortunately our own is out for continuous medical education and even if we call him back it could be up to two days before he arrives."
"We will send one of ours," Draco said immediately and flipped through the folder before he handed it to Hermione. She did the same as him, flipping through pages and only stopping here and there to make a mental note. Six broken ribs, orbital fracture, internal bleeding - The MRI reports were not usable, just as the doctor had said. Blurred images with black dots where a brain should have been. A couple of scans were attached too, that showed a small black patch of nothing where bones and cerebral matter were supposed to be.
The precision indicates someone in the medical field. Yet, the barbary of some wounds don’t match the extraordinary diligence of some of the other trauma. Does that mean we have two offenders?
"Will he wake up?" Hermione flipped the folder shut and gave it back to Draco.
"We've put him in an artificial coma for now. He wouldn't endure the pain." The doctor turned, ready to leave. But then she stopped and searched for something in the pockets of her scrubs. It was a small item. Draco reached out to take it.
"I almost forgot. One of the nurses found this stuck between two broken bones. Whoever it was is a monster. Maybe you can make reason of it. I need to go and inform the family now." With that she left them alone, vanishing behind snow-white corridors and sterile wards that were impregnated with agony and the deaths of the patients who came before.
Draco folded the note apart. It was hard to decipher anything. Blood had seeped into the paper and drenched it red. The black ink of the typewriter was barely visible. Still, Hermione read the message over Draco's shoulders:
But the blood it pumps—the blood it has pumped for five thousand years, the blood it will pump for the rest of his life—is nearly human blood.
"Voldemort," they said, in unison. Every written word was a bitter slice of reality. There was an echo of fear that made the growing anger more painful to her.
This can't be, he can't be the next victim, it's too early, not Ron, not Ron, not Ron -
The world around her rattled and everything drained away - then it sharpened again. The smell of medicines got under her skin, enough to push the thought of death closer. She was close to suffocating now. Draco reached out, once, and squeezed Hermione's hand. His hand lingered, maybe for a tad too long. Hermione didn't mind. She liked the reassurance that she was not alone in this.
"I'll go and phone the office," he said after another beat and took his leave. The sudden absence of his warm hand was harsh. She stared down the corridor, even long after Draco left, caught up in her thoughts.
The note in her hand weighted heavier than it physically should. The blood had softened the roughness of the parchment and she kept herself from clenching her fist so she wouldn't damage the paper any more than it already was.
This can’t happen. 
Something hungry and red-raged made itself home inside of her. Her mother always told her to keep it on the inside. It was one of those lessons Mrs Granger had taught her between afternoon brunches and business dinners with her father's colleagues. Girls shouldn't let their anger get a hold of them. Girls should smile and keep it locked and hidden away behind perfect teeth and eyes that knew too much.
Right now, smiling was impossible. Illness and decay, which were nestling between those walls, wiped off any smiles like chlorine.
Here, now, she couldn't wrestle down the feeling of anger that rose like bile in her throat. Her face felt like stone but her eyes watered under the pressure.
Anger, as Hermione knew, was better than tears or grief or hurt. Or guilt.
Anger made her focused. Anger made her dangerous.
This time Voldemort wouldn't get away with it.
St. Thomas Hospital, ICU
Monday, 22th September
11:28 a.m.
4 days until the next murder
She hadn't seen Ron in years.
She tried to remember this, desperately. Harshly. Their last real conversation had been four years ago at Harry's birthday party between beer pong and Lavender Brown's miserable karaoke attempt of 'I'm a believer' from The Monkees. He had looked different back then. Happy. Cocky. Alive.
Ron's family arrived when his bed was pushed into the ICU. Hermione saw glimpses of him; the damp sheen of red hair, the grey tone of his skin, the white from bandages and the steel of screws all over his body. The nurses were busy fixing tubes and infusions to his unmoving body and the doctor gave the same explanation to his parents that she had given to Draco and her before.
Harry found her close to a wall. He put his arms around her and Hermione was thankful for the comfort. They stood silently, grieving quietly into the other's shoulders. They merely wept. They didn't speak.
Sometimes it was better not to talk at all. About anything, to anyone. Sadness was like a disease. Like a drug. Once someone was infected, it devoured everyone close by.
Molly stepped into the room while tears squeezed out between her eyelids. Her sniffle was a muffled noise before she swallowed and reached out to run her hand across Ron's ashen face. Her thumb touched the small patch of skin over the oxygen mask before she brushed his greasy hair away from his forehead.
Arthur, Ginny, Bill, Fred, George, Percy - too many people crammed into the small room; grief made flesh and pressed into the smallest place.
Charlie was by the front door with his hand on the knob, staring down at his fist twisting it around. He slammed the door hard enough it rattled against the frame. Then he pressed his head against the door and turned away from his family.
For a moment the room was completely still, as if everyone simply turned off inside and attained perfect peace.
Then the monitor over Ron's bed chirped.
And Ron slept on.
St. Thomas Hospital, waiting room
Monday, 22th September
06:37 p.m.
4 days until the next murder
Draco found Hermione huddled asleep in the mustard-yellow armchair of the waiting room.
She looked a bit of a mess - hair tousled in a messy bun, dark circles from the lack of sleep, mouse-grey cardigan rumpled from the few hours she'd slept in it. Draco watched the slow rise and fall of Hermione's chest, the way her lips quivered each time she breathed out. He was momentarily reminded of a time where she'd fallen asleep on the green sofa in his dorm. Her hair was different - longer - but other than that, she looked the same. As if the last ten years hadn't touched her at all. The memory alone was enough to rattle him, hurt him. Slowly he reached out to caress her cheek. It was enough to wake her.
"Hey," Draco said.
"Hey." Hermione blinked drowsily, then sat up. "How long have I been out?"
"Just a couple of hours, don't worry. How are you feeling?"
"Tired." She looked out of the window again, watching the storm. Draco followed her eyes. The soft drum of rain accentuated the lightning that flashed brightly through the dark evening sky; it threw white shades on half of her face. As a boy, he had loved storms like this one. It had been a reminder that even the sky could mourn.
"James' here," he said after a while. James had arrived half an hour ago. He was waiting close to Ron's room now. The emotional support was important to Molly and Arthur.
"Right." Hermione's face was still hidden in the half dark of the room. She got up and stretched her neck, rubbing her hand over the tense skin. Draco watched silently. They stayed like that for a while, her watching out of the window and him watching her. He wondered what she was thinking about. Then she turned around and left the room to search for James. Draco counted to five before he followed.
"Hermione, good to see you." James greeted her as soon as she was close enough to hear him. The pristine white of his shirt yellowed under the old hospital lights. "Draco filled me in. Do you think you can stomach this?"
"Don't worry, I got it. What do we have so far?" Her tone had changed from concerned to professional in a matter of seconds. It was always strange for him to see her flip through emotions.
"Severus sent us the first results; typewriter type and ink are the same as in the other Voldemort cases so we can rule out the possibility of a copycat killer." James held a report in his hand that was printed on official MI5 paper. Draco looked over it noting the different statistics comparing the former riddles Voldemort had sent to the latest one they found in Ron's bones. They were identical.
"So it really is him," Draco said absently. His mind was connecting dots and data. He frowned. Something was not right. The date. Ron. The way they found him. He could see it, clear as glass, could feel the cold hand of death crawling up on them. It was like being thrown from a pleasant dream into a nightmare. Like a wave of sickness that came over you and devoured your senses, one by one.
"What is it?" Hermione asked, biting her lips until they were thin and white. He looked up at her and saw the vein in her temple twitch.
"What does it mean if someone like Voldemort lets its prey escape?"
"Why do you think he let him? Maybe Ron could fight him off and flee." The urge to defend Ron stole through her, so simple and quick, she didn't notice herself. But Draco did. He scoffed, almost ridiculing.
"We both know that's not what happened."
Annoyance rose inside of her, taking a sudden sharp turn into anger. Every part of her body, every bit of her that was leftover from being one of Ron's good friend from back in the day wanted to lash out at Draco and try to find the flaw in that theory. Then something dawned back into her because she turned away from him and towards James. 
"Where are we on the neurosurgeon front?"
James sighed. 
"We're still looking. Our own was a victim in the bombings last month and is still on sick leave. And the other one will take until Wednesday if we fly him in."
"But we can't let Ron vegetate like this." She frowned and peered over at Draco, voice tight with frustration.
Draco glanced at James who looked much the same as Hermione, then he crossed his arms. He could count four neurosurgeons in and around London, from which two were unavailable. One of the remaining was good, but this case was important enough that good alone would not be enough. Then there was another one-
"What?" Hermione looked up, restless limbs and blown eyes. She looked as if Draco had given her the answer to all of her prayers in a single name.
"My brother," Draco said, taking a deep breath. The tension in his chest grew. It took all of his self-control to continue speaking. "He's a neurosurgeon at Barts. I am sure he would lend us a hand."
He didn't like bringing Abraxas into this. His brother was a parasite with an unquenchable helper syndrome. But they didn't have a choice.
"Good. You call him, I'll talk to Arthur and Molly."
There were other important questions to ask. How and why and when, at least, seemed relevant. But James was already entering the ICU with a smile that turned soft-edged and reassuring.
Draco slid his hands inside his pockets to fish for his phone when Hermione reached out. Her hand was lingering on his arm, fingers and thumb pushing at the muscle there. Words were on her tongue but nothing came out. Draco understood. He squeezed her hand long enough until she smiled - a little crooked, a little broken. His head was a storm and his chest blissfully empty except for her warmth. It was enough for now.
St. Thomas Hospital, ICU
Monday, 22th September
09:22 p.m.
4 days until the next murder
Ron had scars Hermione would never have.
Not physical ones; they both shared enough of those already. No. Skin sewed itself back together in roughly five weeks. That was a glimpse of the time a sane mind needed to stomach great loss or hurt.
Physical scars healed with time.
Mental ones never healed completely out.
By the time Hermione stood by the large windows to look into Ron's room, Draco had washed his face and ran and his hand through his fair hair a couple of times too often. He had his phone in one hand and was frowning down at it before the sound of approaching footsteps made them both look up. Two men were entering the ICU wearing expensive black coats; Abraxas and Tom.
"Dr Abraxas Malfoy, at your service," Abraxas said, flashing pearl-white teeth to the Weasley family. He took Arthur's hand with a firm shake. "My brother was kind enough to forward the file already, so I know the key data. I am certain that we can help your son."
Molly made an ugly sound, something between a sob and a cry. All her anguish trembled between her lips. She grasped at Arthur's arms and he tried to hold her or hold himself. Hermione watched, hurt but unmoving.
"Hey," Tom murmured when he reached her. There was a darkness in his voice that was like a blanket, laid all warm and thick across Hermione's worried-thin nerves. He kissed her temple and his hand slid around her until his palm was flat against the small of her back. It was warm. "I heard from Abraxas. I just wanted to make sure you're alright."
"I am now," she said. She kissed him because he was there. Because she could. Then she leaned into his shoulder, breathing deep in. She smelled death on him.
"Riddle," Draco greeted, tone sharp. Out of the corner of her eyes, she could see the way his arms were crossed and his teeth were clenched.
"Draco," Tom answered undisturbed. His hand ran circles on Hermione's back.
Abraxas was still talking to Arthur and Molly, then James. A minute passed, and another, and then Abraxas made his way over to them. He clasped his hand on Draco's shoulder, squeezing it tightly. Hermione watched the cotton of Draco's shirt wrinkle, then smooth out.
"Wouldn't have thought you for someone who has so little confidence in his own abilities that you arrive along with attachment," Draco said grimly to his brother. He gritted his teeth like he could snap the words into pieces.
Abraxas' answered razor-sharp. "I thought ahead. If I fail, Tom can do his job."
"We have our own pathologist, thanks." Draco's smile was so instant and so smug it was almost offensive. Through the open doors of Ron's room, the mechanic beeping of his machines swayed over.
Hermione wanted to stop their fighting. She felt her words lurch, but Tom beat her to it.
"Don't mind me. I'll be off in a minute." He smiled, all fanged and predatory charm. His utter focus was on Hermione. When he spoke his eyes were honest and concerned. "I only wanted to make sure you were alright?"
"I am, thank you." She brushed her hand over the collar of his coat. The faint scent of his cologne was deeply woven into the material but couldn't overcast the stench of rot and sanitizer. Not entirely.
Abraxas turned away to talk to the doctors; Draco followed with Ron's folder rolled between his hands.
Tom retracted his hand and she instantly missed the warm presence of him around her. Before he could take a step away she reached out and grabbed his hand.
"Please stay." The growing distance between being here with him or being here without him made her chest start to hurt.
"If that's what you want." He took her hand and kissed her fingers one by one. His lips were cold. She nodded, slowly. The earthquake-tremble of her hands was nothing against the hummingbird-flutter of her own heartbeat.
She leaned back against his shoulder and turned away from Ron's pale face that flashed through the glass windows.
St. Thomas Hospital, operating theatre
Tuesday, 22th September
00:09 a.m.
3 days until the next murder
The operating theatre smelled of antiseptic, sweat and blood.
Forty red, velvet folding chairs spread on three levels to overlook one of the best equipped operating rooms in England. Below them, a couple of doctors and nurses were standing between machines and tubes and Ron's bed. One of them was Abraxas, but Hermione couldn't recognize him yet; all of them were wearing the same blue surgery tunics and masks. His blond hair was hidden.
For the first time in the last twenty-four hours, she could see Ron on the large television in one corner. It showed a close-up view of his face that looked white as a sheet under the fake neon lights. His skin was tinted in different shades of blue and red with stitches along his jaw and forehead. Blood had gathered inside his eyes and pushed outside in a dark crimson bulge; probably the aftermath of a blow with a blunt object. The damage was limited to his left side but various scars were a variety of smooth lines, dips and bumps. Each scar, each wound spoke to her in Voldemort's voice.
I will break you, little boy, she heard. I will rip you apart.
I won't let you. Not again, her mind answered.
"Have you ever watched a surgery? It can be quite disturbing." Tom looked down through the large windows, his focus completely on the doctor's doing their work. Here in the midst of despair, he looked utterly at peace. Hermione supposed it came with the job.
"I saw dozens of forensic photographies during my college days. I think I can handle a little surgery."
"It's something else to see it live. To see someone you know."
"I'm not some delicate flower Tom," she said but her tone sounded strangely flat. Neither amused nor annoyed. She was still analyzing Ron's face on the screen with her eyes.
"No. You're not." He leaned over then to kiss her temple. His lips twitched when he felt the point of her strong pulse.
Chief Dumbledore entered the room when the rest of them took their places. All around the room the heads were turning, even her own. Next to her, Tom tensed imperceptibly. If she hadn't known him for some time now she wouldn't have caught it. But she felt the twitch of his fingers, saw the clenching of his teeth.
"Good evening Miss Granger," Dumbledore said when he arrived next to them. "Tom."
He smiled when he looked at Tom, but it was one of those smiles Hermione couldn't place. It was neither happy nor exactly cold. Neither guarded nor entirely open. One of those smiles that showed one thing but meant another.
"Albus." Tom greeted back, stiff.
"I didn't know you'd be here today," Dumbledore said and while the smile was still on his lips the tone left no doubt that Tom was unwanted.
"I invited him," Hermione said immediately, tone defensive. She felt as if she would have to give account for something terribly wrong. She did not like the feeling. "Dr Riddle helped a lot in refining the Voldemort profile."
For a long while, Dumbledore said nothing; Tom flashed his usual charm. Then Dumbledore turned around to take his seat, saying, "I see. We will talk later Miss Granger."
Artificial light buzzed harshly overhead; Hermione focused, drawing Tom in sharp relief. After a bit of awkward hesitation, Hermione asked, "You know each other?"
"Barely." A shadow flickered over Tom's face, but it was gone a second later.
Barely? Since when do you greet someone with their first name when you barely know them?
She made a mental note to ask him again later in private. For now, she settled down into one of the chairs and waited.
When Abraxas put the first cut close to Ron's eye socket Hermione looked away. Tom went to get her a glass of water but she doubted it would help.
"Don't worry," Draco said when he slumped into the seat where Tom had sat seconds ago. Exhaustion spread over his face, but he smiled. It was enough for her that the world didn't feel terribly bleak anymore. "Even if he doesn't look like it, Abraxas knows what he's doing. He was always the one of us that had the Malfoy blood running in his veins."
Memories of long discussions about family traditions and the heritage of a family name that not only meant wealth but also responsibility bubbled up in her. The Malfoys had always been doctors. His parents had not taken Draco's decision to break the tradition too well back then. But she was glad to have him here.
They sat close without speaking. Draco’s warmth bled from him into her. Their arms were touching on the armrests. She only looked up when he moved, and then watched him go just before Tom took the place again.
The surgery was a blur in the background. Hermione saw bits here and there; Abraxas' hands and a puddle of blood when he uncovered sinews and muscles and the macabre bone of a skull - Ron's skull - underneath. There were flashes and glimpses and hands and tubes and instruments working on the large screen. Her mind was far away. Fatigue spread in her bones and with each passing minute they became heavier.
Then, after what felt like hours, something changed. Voices down in the surgery room. Long needle-esque forceps were pushed between flesh and bones. Someone gargled behind her in the operating theatre. Between all the blood and the torn flesh, Abraxas extracted something. A thing.
Flat, tiny, black.
"A memory card," she murmured, half in awe, half in disgust. Her stomach was tight and empty. Her entire chest vibrated with the effort of her racing heart; it felt as if it was knocking against the inside of her breastbone, echoing in pulses against her ribs.
In the corner of the room, the television hummed with static. It was low enough and hard to notice, but the sound filled Hermione's head and followed her for the rest of the surgery.
Appearances define the perception of the people you meet daily.
The bags under my eyes, the flush of my skin after running, the tone of my voice when I laugh - each of these things humanize me. They show that I breathe, every day.
That I live.
I have always been interested in humans beings as creatures. Though I never knew how they worked until I took one apart. I knew the facts - 214 bones, 18 organs, over 100 billion neural cells - But I always came back to one oddity my research couldn't explain.
What is the difference between to live, and being alive?
What does it mean to be alive? When does one feel alive?
Is it when we suffer?
When we love?
When we feel pain?
Or is it the moment, the part, the knifepoint when we feel every fibre and sinew in our body?
When your blood pumps. Your ears rush. Your skin flushes. Your pulse hammers in your throat. It's a different experience for everyone.
For me, it's an art.
I seize the idea.
I refine.
I structure a plan.
I decide on date and time.
I exert.
I kill.
Every murder is like a shot of adrenalin.
When will your next shot be?
21 notes · View notes
imxkid · 9 months ago
Beginner Affiliate Marketing To Start In Day 1- For 2021
Isah Abubakar
9 hours ago·15 min read
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Simply, affiliate marketing is promoting products and services for other people and companies and earning commission per sale.
So, what’s nice is that you will not worry about creating and buying products, you will just promote an existing product. this is why it’s easy to start with. and even you can start with a 0$ budget as you will see later.
So Affiliate marketing is a great choice for anyone who wants to start a business online and make money without investing or even without having that much skills online.
Let’s Start!
Simply, affiliate marketing is based on two things:
Selecting the correct product to promote.
Promoting the product.
It’s that simple, select a product, promote it, earn money!
Let’s start with the first part, which is Selecting the correct product.
1. Select the correct product to promote:
It’s very important to understand and learn how to select the best product or service to promote because simply, with the same effort and time you will make much more money if you select the correct product.
Example: Let’s say you are promoting a service that costs 200$ and your commission is 60% per sale.
You promoted this service and you were able to get like 50 sales each month.
Simple calculations:
50$ * (200*0.6) = 6000$ per month. Nice!
And your advertising costs (In case of running paid Ads) are 3000$. Then you earn 3000$ every Month.
Per Year: 3000$ * 12 month = 40000 $
Great! BUT in this case, you will need to promote every month, pay for advertising every month, effort and Time every month!! Yes?!
NOW, Let’s Tweak the scenario!
We selected a product at the same price: 200$. Your commission is only 40% and not 60%.
But what is different here, is that the product you selected gives recurring commissions, so you will get 40% every month without promoting again and again.
Let’s say now, you promoted this service and you were able to get like 50 sales in a month.
Simple calculations:
For 50 sales per month:
50$ * (200*0.4) = 4000$ / First month
And your advertising costs are 3000$ then you earn only 1000$ for the First Month.
But then, 4000$ for the next months without any advertising or efforts (It’s recurring!) Did You Get It!
So the next months you will earn 4000$ without paying anything!
Per year: 1000$ + ( 4000$ * 11) = 45000 $ with much more less effort and time!
Which scenario you go with??
I think, Obviously, you will go with the second (recurring commission), which will become 90% passive with the same revenue or even more!
This is a small example, of how selecting the correct product (even with lower commission) may be critical in affiliate marketing.
Of course, I am not saying that you should not go with 1-time commission products! NO.
I am just showing the importance of selecting the correct product and how it may reflect on your work!
Small advice: select at least two products to promote, one recurring, and the other is 1-time commission.
Top Affiliate Products And Networks to choose from.
Ok friend, after we knew the importance of selecting the affiliate product, the Big Question now is: “Where can I find affiliate products to start promoting?“
To make things simple for you, I will go over more than 10 Affiliate programs and products that you can join even if you are a total beginner. and I will show you both recurring and single commission products and services.
Single Commission Affiliate Products.
I will share with you know what I think the top 5 affiliate networks that you can start with and find different products to promote.
1. ClickBank: probably you heard about, Clickbank is not a product, it’s an affiliate network where you can find thousands of products to promote.
There is only a small drawback here, that it’s not available in all countries.
2. CJAffiliate: CJ is also one of the largest Affiliate Networks available Online. I do work with CJ, and I promote some Web hosting services like Contabo and Other products.
3. JVZoo: It’s also a large trusted affiliate network with thousands of Affiliate products to start with.
4. Warrior Plus: This Network is Great for beginners, simply because it’s simple to join, and it’s available anywhere worldwide.
by the way, if you like to see in action how you can start with warrior plus and make money online almost from the first week, you can watch my video here:
In this video, I showed an online business strategy that allows you to make money online with no money or investment and you can earn and see results from the first month, or even from the first week!
5. Envato Market: One of my best, and I already work with this network to generate a couple of hundreds of dollars each month (100% Passive)
This company provides digital products and assets like website themes and templates, audio, video templates, source codes, and much more. you can check it here and choose whatever product you want to promote.
here is a sample of my earnings:
Also if you like to see this in action, you can check the following video and see how you can start and how I started and made money from the first month.
[ Case Study 2020 ]
I think this is enough for affiliate networks. Let’s move now to my preferred list of recurring commission affiliate services and products.
Recurring Commission Affiliate Products.
Here is the best part, working with recurring commission products and earning 10X more money per year with the same effort!
1. ClickFunnels: The Clickfunnels affiliate program is one of the most generous commissions for a Service As A Service (SAAS) company. They pay 40% life-time affiliate commissions on all purchases.
They also have something called a “sticky cookie”, which is a bonus to affiliates because if your share your link to a customer it follows them across all of their devices. This keeps people you refer attached to your affiliate account, no matter where they are.
Aside from their software, Clickfunnels also comes up with new products all the time that you can also earn money on such as live events and training courses.
2. SEMRUSH: It’s also an awesome Service to promote with a 40% commission rate, SEMRUSH is an SEO tools company that helps anyone rank their websites and get more free organic traffic. Here is my affiliate dashboard:
3. Tube Buddy: You can earn up to 50% Recurring commission when you refer people to Tube buddy.
Tube Buddy helps content creators, brands, and networks save time and grow their channels. So you can market and advertise it to content creators to help them grow their YouTube Channels.
4. Get Response: One of the Top Email Marketing Services out there, and offers an awesome Affiliate program.
As you can see it offers to programs, one is a single 100$ commission per sale. and the other is 33% recurring commission every month.
What’s nice about Get response and similar services, that it’s hard for users using such platforms to leave it, since all their mailing lists, data, analytics will be saved in the system, so migrating will be somehow a problem.
This is a great thing if you think in terms of recurring commission, so when you refer someone, its like 95% he/she will be a long term customer.
Anyway, almost all products and services have an affiliate network, so you can check whatever product or service you want, contact them, and ask for their affiliate program.
5. SendinBlue: one of my best, only because it allows you to earn per signup! Yes, it pays 5 Euros on each sign up you refer to SendinBlue.
It is also one of the Top Email Marketing Services outthere.
For a full list of affiliate programs and products, please check this post.
Promoting The Affiliate Product.
After we learned what is affilitae programing, and the importance of choosing the correct products to promote, and I showed you some of the best affilitae networks and programs that you can start with. Now it’s time for the real work!
Choosing the product or the service may take like 10 minutes or a maximum of 1–2 days. But what is essential now is How to promote?! It’s all about Marketing.
When it comes to marketing, we have two paths:
Free Advertising.
Paid Advertising.
Free Advertising.
Let’s start with Free promotion, and see how we can promote affiliate products and services for free.
1. SEO: Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is the best way to promote affiliate services and products and to turn this online business into almost 99% Passive Income. why?
Before, I say why, Let’s explain SEO in brief.
What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is simply a method, or a techinique used to rank your websites and articles on Top of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
You know, when people wants something on the internet, they search for it on search engines, and usually people will open results from the first page only.
So your goal with SEO is to make your website rank on the first page for certain search queries. so you can get a lot of free organic traffic to your website.
Let’s take this simple scenario, You wrote an article on your website about an affiliate product, for example, “Top 10 Microphones for YouTubers” and you ranked this article on the first page of Google.
Now you can imagine how much money you will make with the amazon affiliate program promoting “Microphones affiliate links” and getting free traffic from Google, It’s money on autopilot!
Now you may say, Ok Great! But how do we rank our articles? in other words, what the hell is SEO!! and how do we do it!?
Of course, Going through SEO in deep is out of the scope of this article, but at the same time, I will try my best to help you understand how to start and work with SEO in few lines. I will not let you go out of here missing anything!
The Idea is Simple, we mainly have three steps to go through in the process of ranking your articles:
Know what people are searching for (Keyword Research)
Optimize your article for these keywords (On-Page SEO)
Off-Page SEO (Building Trust, Social Signals, and Link Building…)
To Make things Simple, Let’s go with a simple example from my blog here. If you go now to Google and search for: “postal smtp” you will see the following results:
You will see that my article is ranking as the third result on Google after the Ad. and the first two results are the postal owner’s main page. so practically I am the first result here.
so anyone searching for this keyword he will definitely check my website.
So how I did this?
Firstly, I wanted to write an article (full guide) about “setting up postal SMTP and sending unlimited emails“. So I Simply wrote it!
but when I started writing the article, I optimized it on a certail keywords, so you can see in the title the keywords mentioned:
Keywords like “free smtp”, “SMTP server setup”, “Postal” , “Guide”
This is a simple example for On-page optimization, which is mentioning the keywords in the post title which will be the H1 tag on your website for this article.
Then if you read this article, you will see that I mentioned these keywords several times in it, so Google and search engines can know that this article is about this Topic.
You may ask, from where I get these keywords, and How can I know the best to choose? SIMPLE! use a keyword research tool.
You can use free keyword research tools like H-supertools or maybe some advanced SEO tools like SEMRUSH.
So open the H-supertools free keyword research tool and just write the topic you want in the box, and press search. here is an example:
The tool will automatically give you keyword search volume data and help you choose the best keywords.
Then the last step is off-page SEO, which is trying to get some backlinks and social signals to your website. as an example, I link to my blog from my Udemy Courses and my social profiles.
I hope this gives you an idea of how SEO works and how to start with it. Let’s move now to the next strategy in promoting affiliate links which is YouTube!
2. Promote Affiliate with YouTube.
YouTube is one of the best sources to promote anything! not only affiliate services. You create videos about your affiliate product and link back to it.
Now the Big Question is How to Grow Your YouTube Channel and get more views?
In general, there are two ways to grow your channel.
1. YouTube suggestions: where YouTube will start suggesting your videos on the top of other popular videos.
Ex: you pick a trending video or topic and you create a similar High-Quality Video, and optimize the metadata (Title, Thumbnail, Description, and Tags)
2. Video SEO: which is ranking your videos on top of YouTube search results by optimizing your title, and metadata for a specific keyword. you can use tools like Tubebuddy, Vidiq, H-supertools, and others to grow your channel.
My Videos Rank on Top of YouTube for certain keywords.
If you would like to see exactly how do I rank my videos on top of Youtube, You can check the following video:
3. Forums and Q&A Sites.
Search for forums related to your content and help others by sharing what you know and link to your article or page where you are promoting the offer (DON’T SPAM).
Also, don’t forget, Reddit, which is a great place to get free traffic.
Now, In my case, I started my own Forum and this helped me get more traffic by letting people ask questions on my own forum.
Also, Quora Q&A, which is one of the fastest methods to get traffic. It’s by answering questions and linking back to your site.
( I do get thousands of views on Quora every month from my answers. It works)
My Quora Profile
Check this video to see how I to use Quora and get more traffic from it:
5. Social Media
If you have some followers on Facebook, maybe Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Twitter, all these helps you to get traffic, (you can automate posting on all platforms using a social media management software, I do use Content Studio. you can get Lifetime access with this special offer here).
Of course, when I say social media, I don’t mean to spam groups and people, NO, just try to build connections, give value, build trust, and then you can link back to your pages.
6. Free Ebooks and Courses
You can also create small free ebooks and publish on ebooks sites like this to get traffic or even you can publish a free course on Udemy which has millions of students out there and link back to your site. if you are following my Udemy courses, you probably have seen the links I mention in my courses.
7. Email Marketing.
8. Email Marketing, always make sure to build your email lists, which will be one of the top sources of traffic for your websites by sending newsletters to your Subscribers.
Check the video below, to see in action how I send a campagin and get 56% open rate:
Check Also: How I moved from 1K $ to 10K $ 18 Months Case Study
Paid Advertising.
When It comes to paid advertising, we have several networks and places to market on like:
Facebook Ads.
Google Ads
Native Ads
Quora Ads
Going through all these requires a 300-page book each! So I will go over each one, in brief, to put you in the right direction.
Promote Affiliate products with Facebook and Google Ads
If you are looking to promote affiliate products with Facebook or Google Ads, Keep in mind the following:
First: Don’t run ads directly to your affiliate link. Facebook and Google are generally not a huge fan of affiliate links, and doing so too much could end up getting your ad account shut down.
Instead, you want to send them to your landing page in between the Ad and the Affiliate product page.
Secondly: make sure that all of your landing pages are compliant with Facebook and Google GuideLines.
Create Your Landing Page.
Now, what you have to do is to create your landing page. This could be a simple page where you pre-sell whatever it is you’re promoting…whether it’s a piece of pre-launch content or the sales page…and invite them to click through to download it.
Or, even better, you can use this as an opportunity to grow your list by turning these people into subscribers to YOUR list, and then sending them onto the content or offer you are promoting.
Run your Campaign.
A small note to consider is whenever you start your campaign, be sure to select the correct audience and narrow down as much as you can to target specific people. You can also use AD retargeting, which is a great weapon when running paid Ads.
Here is a small video, showing how important is retargeting with a small example:
Also, Don’t forget to start your campaign with low bids and different Ad sets to test, and to know which is the best to scale with.
Promote Affiliate products with Native Ads.
For affiliate marketers, native ad networks like Outbrain, Taboola, Mgid, and others are an ideal platform, proven to bring great results.
Ads on search results (like Google) and social media (Like Facebook) are not the same as ads on native networks. Why?
Simply Because there’s a big difference between scrolling a social feed, searching for something specific on Google, or browsing a favorite news site (where Native ads are shown). With the latter, users are in “discovery mode.”
They are primed to discover content that interests them.
Check out this case study I made like a year ago with Outbrain network promoting my own product and not an affiliate, but I think it will give you an idea on how things work:
Promote Affiliate products with Quora Ads.
Even though, I recommend starting with Quora as a free source of traffic by answering and sharing your knowledge as I explained before. But you can still run paid ads also on Quora.
I created a showrt video showing the power of Quora Ads, you can check it here:
I hope this article gave you all the information that helps you with your online business journey as an affiliate marketer.
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hoebowl47 · 10 months ago
What Does Family Members Arbitration Involve?
Office Arbitration Q & A.
What Can Mediation Provide?
Arbitration For Kids As Well As Youths.
The Kid Inclusive Mediation Procedure.
Arbitration News
In future messages, we'll look at whether what's concurred at mediation is lawfully binding, and also what occurs in instance where a contract can't be gotten to. If there are youngsters entailed, after that their welfare demands and also speak to plans will certainly be a paramount factor to consider.
Diocese files Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization - Catholic Star Herald
Diocese files Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization.
Posted: Thu, 07 Jan 2021 11:40:00 GMT [source]
If the couple are seeking to exercise a financial settlement between them, they will certainly require to provide complete financial info concerning all their properties as well as revenue. The moderator will begin by talking with each celebration separately to develop what they desire arbitration to accomplish for them, as well as the problems they want to see solved. Both sides will after that have the ability to integrate under the moderator's advice to begin the procedure of working through the factors they desire to be resolved.
What Can Mediation Supply?
The objective of this meeting is to see if by collaborating with a conciliator, a neutral 3rd party, you might fix the concerns in between you and also prevent the need for court proceedings. At that meeting, the Arbitrator talks about with you the nature of your dispute and also discovers whether arbitration would be an appropriate means to try as well as deal with the problems. The Mediator also discusses just how the procedure works as well as the expenses entailed. Mediation is a commonsense choice for many couples; and also since it is your process you get to decide when the meetings occur and what is discussed. This is very various to court process where a Judge establishes the days of any kind of hearing as well as you are restricted on what problems will certainly be handled. The mediation itself does not divorce the pair, neither can the arbitrator, separating couples still require to seek an official divorce and undergo the separation treatment through the courts.
How much does divorce cost if both parties agree?
If both parties agree on all major issues, known as an uncontested divorce, you can keep the costs relatively low. If you do your own divorce papers and your divorce is amicable, costs could be under $500. Of course, there are filing fees in all states, which increase the cost.
Facility problems with much at risk might require lawyer-assisted arbitration. It can also be used as a last option for figuring out issues that have actually not had the ability to be worked out yet and also in the past turning to the court for a decision to be made by a court. Normally, you would have one lengthy arbitration session instead of several much shorter meetings. You and your lawyer may relocate to a separate room to your companion and their legal representative at some stage. If some type of arrangement is made after that everyone might rejoin again in the very same area and prepare an arrangement instantly. A household mediator will make a decision on economic situations while working as a third party. It is a choice based upon all pertinent details and also proof that has been provided.
Mediation For Kids As Well As Youths. can offer lawful guidance before during as well as after mediation. This is very important to help you see to it the decisions you are making remain in your benefits. Arbitration is the quickest and most inexpensive method of making plans for your youngsters and assets after splitting up and also separation. I have actually been a household mediator for over twenty years and have created a brand-new means to deliver the benefits of arbitration. My colleagues are Legal Solutions Payment Accredited moderators, and also an Independent Financial Advisor. Arbitration avoids the expense of lawful process as there is no need to exchange costly solicitors letters or attend Court. All the setups are concurred at mediation so you just require a lawyer to finalise any type of legal information.
When you litigate you remain in the hands of the judge and have no straight control over the outcome. Mediation enables you to be an event to the decisions you make, making it easier to accept the terms and carry on.
The Child Inclusive Arbitration Procedure.
This paper is not legitimately binding, yet it can be become a legitimately binding court order. Divorce mediation will certainly get rid of the requirement for extensive legal fights and also conserve you approximately 75% of the cost, as compared to making use of a solicitor to combat your corner. There will certainly be no requirement to need to participate in court and go through the tension and also anxiousness of doing this. Separation mediation will make certain issues are solved quickly as well as with a favorable result. Your household moderator will certainly assist make certain that any conversations you have with your ex-spouse, are balanced and fair.
Arbitration entails preparing in-depth prepare for all elements of your separation or divorce. These strategies may be made legally binding with an uncomplicated legal procedure that will set you back just a couple of hundred pounds and also only take a few weeks. Arbitration is the least expensive and also most efficient method to make prepare for youngsters as well as financial resources after splitting up or separation. We offer a quick timely service for individuals requiring to settle residential property, finance and also kid call problems. You will collaborate with the arbitrator '1 to1 ′ from your initial query until your arbitration has ended up.
Mediation News
They will certainly guarantee they stay focussed on the future, rather than on the past. A separation moderator, will constantly continue to be neutral as well as will make sure both events are listened to and given equal opportunity to share their viewpoints, views and propositions. Relaxed Solutions offers an empathic assistance service for ex-partners where interaction has broken down or become very confrontational. This service is given where one or both parties need break from the conflict yet where communication about children or cash are still vital to daily living. We give a range of expert divorce arbitration and also assistance solutions anywhere you are in this process to aid you and your household handle and also take control of this period as efficiently as is feasible.
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Posted: Fri, 08 Jan 2021 13:40:42 GMT [source]
Generally going to court relating to financial issues to prepare for separation expenses ₤ 15,000 per person. Making use of Solicitors to attempt to negotiate prices in between ₤ 6,000 and ₤ 12,000 each, which frequently relies on your wide range. It is approximated that the cost of utilizing solicitors and litigating on issues around financial resources is in between ₤ 4000 and also ₤ 12,000 each and also takes a typical 15 months compared with approximately 3 months in Arbitration. If you reach an arrangement it will be drafted by the mediator as a 'Memorandum of Understanding'.
Any type of arrangement you get to during arbitration will certainly be voluntary, yet you can apply for a Consent Order from a court to make the arrangement lawfully binding. Arbitration is significantly the most preferred option for dealing with the issues bordering divorce as well as relationship malfunction. The overall purpose is to reach an agreement and also for a "memorandum of understanding" to be formulated showing this as well as one that both celebrations feel they can subscribe to.
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This can be a terrific option for lots of pairs as long as both celebrations are willing to mediate. Mediation is about settling economic and also kids issues without proceeding to Court. Often it will be devastating for one or both of the celebrations involved, but in some cases it is liberating. In virtually every situation there will certainly be quite feeling, tension and also cost included. Even in amicable splittings up it is possible for the separation process to sour relationships and also develop conflict, as opposed to deal with conflict. Crisp & Co's separation solicitors in London as well as the South East have many years of experience aiding people to get separated rapidly, cost-effectively and also with marginal dispute utilizing arbitration and other non-confrontational approaches.
Arbitration Insurance Claims.
Arbitration is performed through a series of taken care of expense one-on-one meetings. Each event first attends their own specific assessment conference which lasts concerning an hour. The meetings are carried out with the events in the same space wherever possible however there is additionally the alternative for the events to have their own separate rooms and also for the mediator to 'shuttle bus' in between them. These conferences normally last a hr as well as a half and also it normally takes between 2 and six meetings to reach a proposed agreement.
With a delicate however useful strategy, we intend to make obtaining separated as simple as possible. Arbitration is normally ideal for the vast majority of divorce instances. Nonetheless, if the partnership between you and your spouse is particularly acrimonious, it may be challenging to maintain the process productive. Arbitration may additionally not be suitable in situations where there has actually been domestic misuse and a court will generally allow you to avoid the need to take into consideration arbitration where this is the case. Many separating couples have around 3 sessions of mediation, although this will depend upon your scenarios as well as just how much development you are able to make in each session.
Having developed a life with each other there are numerous emotional as well as functional problems to be fixed including setups for youngsters, division of assets, where you will certainly live as well as what as well as how you will certainly inform loved ones. One of the most stressful facets of divorce is that you feel like your economic circumstance and also future childcare plans are beyond your control.
Is Divorce Mediation legally binding?
When you make an agreement at mediation, you and the other party can also agree whether it will be an informal agreement made 'in good faith' or whether it will be enforceable. sign up are generally made 'in good faith' and will only be enforceable if all parties agree to sign a legally binding document.
In some cases the parties will collaborate at the end to finalise whatever and it is also feasible for the legal representatives to videotape the agreed terms right away. As lawful time can be pricey, legal representative helped mediation usually happens over 1 or 2 sessions instead of a collection of sessions. We have offices in both London as well as Surrey and collaborate with clients throughout the South East.
Our lawyers comprehend that all situations are unique and we represent our clients' rate of interests at all times. We give customized, sensible and clear lawful recommendations and also we are committed to accomplishing the very best results for every single customer. Mediation is a volunteer process in which both events attempt to reach agreement on the concerns in between them. In order to proceed to court with your divorce, you must reveal proof in the absence of being able to assert an exemption that you have actually attempted arbitration by participating in a preliminary Arbitration Information as well as Assessment Fulfilling. If mediation has actually been deemed unnecessary for your situations, then proof of this will certainly additionally be called for before legal procedures can progress. We can mediate on all, or part of, your disputes focusing on the arrangements for your youngsters, or, if these are currently concurred, we can concentrate on your monetary matters in mediation. Separation Arbitration is a process where separating spouses can sit down with a neutral 3rd party in order to resolve the issues around their separation.
If you would certainly prefer, you can likewise consult with a conciliator from Consilia Arbitration who will certainly be able to answer any type of concerns you have as well as hopefully ease any kind of anxieties.
Whatever the concern, the Arbitration Task offers the assistance of trained area moderators that will promote a conversation that hopefully results in an agreement which everyone can cope with.
It covers all issues arising from household partnership failure where arbitration is ideal.
If you have any type of worries about the choice of venue you ought to increase this either with the individual who has referred you to arbitration, or the Consilia arbitrator at the very least three days before the arbitration meeting.
Our arbitrators charge a fixed charge for each mediation, whether it lasts for a whole or for a half day, as well as you will certainly locate that our prices are very affordable.
Nonetheless, experience reveals that where an arrangement is made throughout arbitration, it is most likely to stick than if a solution is enforced by an outsider such as a judge.
Their qualification is certified by theInstitute for Leadership and Administration, as well as they accomplish regular proceeding professional development.
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canadian-riddler · a year ago
I’m a bit curious and confused about your post about streaming and artists. How does streaming stop artists from making a living?
It turned out very long so it’s under a readmore.
Artists don’t make any money off streaming.  People increasingly dislike having to pay the actual cost of entertainment - and I’m not just talking about stuff from major corporations, small- and mid-level stuff too - so they subscribe to a service that allows them to have as much content as they want, whenever they want, in the highest possible quality with little to no hiccups ever.  This is really, really expensive, especially if we’re talking Netflix or Youtube in 4K (or even 8K, in some cases).  But there’s a ceiling to how much someone is willing to pay for a streaming service.  People are okay with paying ten dollars a month, but for that content to be delivered at a price that low someone has to take a hit.  It’s not the company and it’s not the consumer.  It’s the artist.  Spotify pays the artist an average of $0.004 per stream.  To make sure your favourite artist gets a single dollar from your streaming them, you have to listen to their songs 229 times.  To give them a dollar.  Even big artists don’t always make that much there.  Your streams have to be in the millions.  One million streams at $0.004 per?  That’s $4000. 
Now, because streaming is so cheap (to the consumer) and available, people don’t buy albums anymore.  Artists, especially smaller ones, make all their money off album sales and merch sold during tours (which includes albums).  But why would you pay $20 for a CD when you can just go home and listen to all the music they’ve ever made for $10?  Who even owns a CD player anymore, right?  And buying digital is silly; paying $20 for a collection of files you can’t hold or touch or display on your shelf?  So people increasingly don’t do that anymore.  Why bother if an artist is pressured to upload their music to YouTube anyway - which pays a FRACTION of what Spotify does - and which you don’t even need a subscription to use?  
So where is an aspiring artist going to get enough money from to support their art?  People don’t want to pay for it.  They’ll pay $10 a month to stream it and that’s about it.  Anything much higher than that and they turn to piracy.  And here’s the kicker: streaming services don’t really post a profit because they have to keep the subscription price so low.  So NOBODY is winning - except the consumer, who is happy they get an unlimited amount of content for almost nothing.  Spotify has LOST 2 billion dollars since they launched.  Netflix, which started posting a profit three years ago, is billions of dollars in debt.  Disney+ was projected to run at a loss for YEARS before they started making money off it.  All this money comes from, as I understand it, venture capitalists: people who throw money at something because they think it MIGHT turn a profit eventually.  There’s an optimum number the streaming service can charge for it: the magic maximum that the highest amount of people will keep their subscription for for the longest amount of time.  And remember, they are serving massive amounts content for between $10 and $20 a month.  Entire runs of TV shows that would cost you close to $200 if you bought the Blu-Rays at Walmart.  Movies that usually go for $30.  You don’t own it, but it’s so convenient that the majority of people don’t mind that.  Now, in the middle of this super low subscription price, the loss the companies are taking in hopes of one day, perhaps, making some money, and what they USED to get from sales is: the artist.  Companies don’t want to take risks, so now they hire big-name actors for animated roles instead of, you know, going to the trouble of hiring an unknown voice actor.  This has always been a thing, of course, but it has been happening increasingly often over the years and it’s bleeding into other industries.  Honestly, what are Penn & Teller and Ice-T doing in Borderlands 3?  They’re ensuring maximum profit via brand recognition, that’s what.  Some people went to see Moana solely because the Rock was in it.  But him being in it meant that an actual voice actor, who went to school for it and trained for it their whole life, doesn’t get a shot because it would hurt the potential profits.  He is worth more but that unknown person?  They didn’t get a chance to work at something that could have helped their career.  They continue to be worth less.
Now, with the almost impending death of the theatre industry and streaming services being propped up by massive amounts of debt (or Disney money), the ways for an artist to make a living off their art is shrinking.  You can see it right now with DJs: only the top 100 DJs make enough to live off, and they mostly make that money doing tours.  To make a living a lot of DJs have to tour AND produce music nonstop AND have a weekly radio show - free, of course (basically a free set every week).  Obviously a lot of DJs are out of work right now, so some of them had online events that they sold tickets for.  And people criticised them for it.  They told them they were selfish and cruel and unempathetic for putting their show behind a $10 ticket because the world is shit so they should provide their art for free to help their fans take their minds off it.  That they should donate the money and that they don’t need it, despite most of their revenue stream being taken away overnight with no knowledge of when it’s coming back.  That their job isn’t a real job anyway so why should anyone pay for them to do it, it’s not like they’re a doctor or a nurse or something important.  Besides.  Someone’s going to record it and put it on YouTube anyway, so they’ll just wait and stream it from there.  With AdBlock on, of course, because fuck the artist for wanting to make a living from their art.  Who cares what the repercussions of that is.
We already saw it happen with the publishing industry.  People won’t pay for books anymore.  Unless you happen to be the next Stephen King, you’re not going to make money off writing.  People just torrent the .epub and complain when a series ends on a cliffhanger, as though the writer seriously didn’t want to write the next book in the series but couldn’t because the publisher said, ‘Well, based on past sales we just don’t think it will do very well.’  Most novelists either have a day job or they have someone else supporting them until they have enough books out there they can support themselves - and sometimes ‘enough’ means ‘thirty Harlequin romances they had to pump out every six months’.  But books aren’t being propped up by venture capitalists.  They’re just going to keep disappearing and the value of writing will continue to decrease.  You can see it in the video game industry as well.  People seriously ask if a 60 hour game is worth $60.  Cuphead was held up as some great victory achieved by indie artists - even though one of the artists MORTGAGED THEIR HOUSE on the outrageous bet their game would be successful.  And people still shrugged and said, ‘Don’t care, pirating it anyway’.  And that game was what, $20 at launch? 
Streaming services, even if they raise their subscription fees (which they can only do so much, lest they stray too far from that magic number), are probably never going to give more money to the artist.  In fact, when corner-cutting time comes, they’ll take more and say, ‘If you don’t like it, go somewhere else’.  Except there is nowhere else.  And they know it.  It’s similar to how Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes operate.  They take up to 30% commission on all the sales made through them and if you don’t like it, it’s not as simple as just not using the service.  You have to.  Maybe you get lucky and you have some wildly cool concept that everybody wants and you can get what you’re worth for it, but 99% of people aren’t going to get that lucky.  And when your luck runs out, there’ll be someone else standing behind you to do what you did and they’re willing to do it for less.
Art made and provided for people out of passion is not a bad thing.  It’s a great thing.  But when so much of it - harking to the arguments of the greatness of fanfiction vs most other media - is held up as being virtuous and ‘better’ and of inherently more worth because it’s free or valued at a fraction of what it’s worth or people don’t have to do anything for it other than consume it?  That IS a bad thing.  Especially when someone is doing it because they know they can never make a living off of it.  It’s plain SHAMEFUL that something like Patreon has to exist.  And even there people want tons of exclusive content for a dollar a month.
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j-pping · 2 years ago
A Mirage by Any Other Name (4)
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Photocreds to @greentaolatte
Chapters > One | Two | Three | Four | Five (M) | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine (M) | Ten   Themes: agent!AU, bffs-to-lovers, action/adventure, unapologetically based on spy films, romance, drama, ot9 characters galore, SM cameos galore, political intrigue, organized crime, so many secrets Series Warnings: mild crime-based gore (not for the mildly squeamish), OC deaths, eventual 18+ content Pairing: Jongin/FemReader
Word count: ~4000
Description: Kim Jongin has always had your back – as your best friend, and as the tech operative to your field operative. But when whisperings of an international terrorism market turn into your next assignment for the Republic of Korea’s National Intelligence Service, you quickly learn that Jongin (and others) are not exactly as they seem. Taggin’ @changshapatrol @stolenjendeukie @drowned-pathetic-rat @baek-byunies @baekinmylife @mayrubyy
Jongin swerves through traffic, deftly but narrowly avoiding other cars. A cacophony of startled honks and beeps rings out in your wake, but Jongin seems to not notice. 
His eyes are trained on the nondescript delivery van, not four cars away now. The van lurches forward, right, left, rather than cruising efficiently through the midnight traffic. 
So far, so good -- the van hasn’t attempted any sharp turns at busy intersections -- but you’ve been chasing after it for a very stressful twenty minutes now. 
Jongin growls in frustration as he edges forward, trying to pass a sleepy ahjusshi yawning at the wheel, but their isn’t enough space. 
“Come on come on come on,” he whines, low and desperate, and as soon as he has an opening, Jongin slams on the gas pedal. You’re thrown back into your seat, gripping into the door handle for dear life, and Jongin quickly maneuvers his BMW into a space two cars behind the van. 
“Bridge coming up,” you say breathlessly, your heart pounding too hard in your chest to manage anything more. 
Jongin nods in affirmation, and steps on it. 
The bridge’s cable supports whip by your field of vision and it’s not long before you see the van switch lanes. “I think they’re going for Yongsan,” you call out over the roar of the engine, and Jongin easily snakes his car into the same lane. 
You brace yourself for a sharp turn, and sure enough, you see the van’s right turn blinkers flicker once before you hear the screech of their wheels. When the cars in front of you pass, Jongin makes the same exact turn (albeit much more smoothly), and increases his speed as soon as his car is oriented correctly. 
For some reason, you’ve never really noticed how hilly Seoul can be, until now, when the velocity of the car and the drowning sounds of the engine make for a somewhat horrific, roller-coaster inspired experience as the car hugs the vertical curves of the road.
“Almost got them,” Jongin says through gritted teeth, as the car climbs higher on the hill. 
You narrow your eyes, seeing something odd in the distance beyond the van. “Jongin, slow down. SLOW DOWN,” you shout, and he glances at you sharply once before hitting the brakes to reduce your speed. 
And not a second too soon, at that.
The van swerves madly ahead of you, only about 200 meters in front, and you watch in silence as it tries desperately to avoid the piles of cement meridian markers lined up by a curve of the road. Routine road work, you think, the roadblocks moved to the side at the end of each construction workday -- but the van takes the curve too fast in a vehicle with a center of gravity much higher than the smaller cars that drive around in this neighborhood. 
Jongin kills the speed even further as you both brace yourself for the sounds, and the van crashes into the roadblocks. 
Smoke fills the area almost immediately, and Jongin smoothly pulls his car into a horizontal position to block the road and park. He pulls out his phone, dialing Director Kim, and you both tentatively step out. You pull the collar of your shirt over your noise and keep your other hand on your gun with your finger readied at the trigger, and Jongin does the same after pocketing his phone. 
As you edge closer, you see that three of the four layers of cement blocks have tumbled down the hillside into a ravine; only one cracked block protects the crumpled van from the drop. The vehicle is a mess; exposed wires and bent metal, and Jongin meets your eyes before signaling that he’ll open the van’s mangled back door. 
You keep your pistol trained at the opening, but you quickly realize there’s no need. The van is on its side and when Jongin pulls down one of the doors to let it hang towards the earth, you can tell the two thugs in the backseat didn’t make it. 
“There,” Jongin says, pointing his gun at the briefcase. “Go grab that; I’m going to check the driver’s seat.” Then he disappears from sight. 
You duck your head, trying to keep as much of your body out of the vehicle as possible, and strain your arm to grapple at the metal briefcase. Your fingers slip against the bloodied exterior, but eventually they find purchase at the handle -- you grasp it and pull the dented box out. 
Thankfully, the briefcase seems to be designed to take a beating, and you expect that everything is otherwise intact. 
You straighten, backing away from the van, and Jongin joins you as he wipes his forehead. “Dead. No survivors, four total.” 
Your lips stay in a tight, straight line as you walk back to Jongin’s car. The briefcase is stored safely in the trunk as Jongin briefly chats with Jongdae. 
You both sit in the car, silent, with jangled nerves and plenty of questions, and eventually Director Kim arrives with a cleanup crew. 
Dr. Byun is called immediately to NIS’ headquarters, and he looks much worse for wear than when you left his laboratory not three hours ago. 
He barks some orders at the laboratory staff at the NIS, knowing that they’ll have the appropriate materials to set up a biological quarantine and that they’ll have the state-of-the-art equipment needed to handle the briefcase. 
The NIS lab staff bustle around, quickly setting up a high-security chamber with plastic sheeting, airtight seals, and hazmat suits for all four of you -- and finally you’re able to enter the protected chamber. 
Director Kim, Jongin, and you look on as Dr. Byun carefully scrolls the briefcase to the correct code and opens it. You don’t crowd around, but Dr. Byun looks up and gives a nod within the helmet of his hazmat, and you all sag your shoulders in relief. 
The vial is unbroken, and the layers of foam protected it. 
Despite the clunkiness of the suit, Dr. Byun lifts the vial as carefully and elegantly as possible, inspecting it from all angles under the makeshift overhead lamp the team set up. You catch a look at the label, and see that it’s a sample of Marburg indeed addressed to a location in America. 
Once Dr. Byun is satisfied, he replaces the vial into the briefcase and closes it. He motions the all-clear, and you all file out to have the staff help you out of your suits as per protocol. 
A cup of coffee is given to Dr. Byun at some point, and he hunches over in his conference room seat as he clutches the cup like a lifeline. He runs his hands through his hair, ruffling the locks in agitation. 
Before him, Director Kim has laid out high-definition photographs of the van, wreckage, and men. 
“I don’t recognize any of them,” Dr. Byun says. “The armored vehicle was supposed to go straight to the private hangers at Incheon, loaded onto a jet, and shipped to Boston right away. I don’t understand how they could have gotten intercepted.”
“They weren’t intercepted, Dr. Byun,” you let him know. “We followed them into the Port of Incheon instead, and your courier was the one who handed off the case to these guys.” You gesture at the photos. 
“We didn’t catch your courier, but we think they made off with a bag full of cash. Luckily, we were able to secure the sample before it was delivered to the wrong hands.” 
Dr. Byun rubs his face with his hands and lets out a stressed groan. “I had no idea about any of this. Those samples are… If they were stolen… The ramifications…” 
He sinks into his chair, extremely pale, and is unable to go in. 
Director Kim stands, clapping a hand on the poor doctor’s shoulders, and thanks him for his time. 
Jongin drives you home at 4am that day. 
You don’t sleep very well, the adrenaline from the night before seeming to live a long half life. 
You’re called in the next day directly to Director Kim’s office, where he closes the blinds and turns on a white noise machine outside his door to prevent any eavesdropping. 
“I’m afraid your hunch has turned into a very grave matter of national security,” Director Kim starts. “Hell, international security, even.” 
You nod. That much seems true. 
“There are only a few people who’ve handled a similar issue in the past -- or who are even capable of handling it -- and I’m forced to call them back into the field.” Director Kim sighs. “I’m reassembling the Consortium, or whoever’s left of it.” 
A gasp tries to leave your lips but emerges as a ghost of a breath instead. “But I thought--” 
“The group was disbanded, yes, but we do keep rigorous records of our top operatives. I don’t think they’ll be particularly pleased to hear that there’s an issue with bioterrorism again, but they’re the best of the best.” 
“I’m sorry,” you interject. “That’s fine and all -- a little shocking, but makes sense. What I’m not understanding is why you’re telling me this.” 
Director Kim’s eyes flick up at yours from where he sits behind his desk. 
“Isn’t it obvious? You’re on the case as well.” 
You sit back, dumbfounded. You’ve only been a field operative for two years, focusing mainly on recruiting overseas assets for political intel. 
Director Kim seems to notice your apprehension. “You’ve come well-recommended, and I believe you’ll be a perfect addition to the team tackling this issue. You’re the one who opened the investigation in the first place.”
He’s not wrong -- it was your suggestion to check out the lab. You stay silent. 
“You’ll be working with all of them, but I’ve partnered you with Operative Kai. I’m sure you’ve heard of him?” 
You nod, gulping. Kai is the legend of legends, and your head swims with the thought that you’re supposed to be working with someone far more competent than you. 
“In the meantime, your tech operative will be switched out to Taemin, as Taemin has worked most closely with Kai and will manage you both as a result.” 
You start to object. “Sir, I respectfully decline -- Jongin is my partner and he always has been.” 
Director Kim chews his lip, as if carefully choosing his words. “The decision is not up for negotiation. You’ll soon see why that is.” 
Anger bubbles up inside you, but you quell it and plaster a professional smile on your face. “Fine,” you say through gritted teeth, and leave his office. 
Why couldn’t the Consortium just handle it themselves if they needed to replace your Jongin? He was amazing, you’d say as good as Taemin as far as tech operatives went, so it didn’t make sense to you that he wouldn’t be assigned the same case as you. It was bullshit, you thought, but if the director decreed it, you had to just shut up and bear it. 
You were ready to give Jongin an earful about it, though. 
Thankfully, it seems like Jongin is partially debriefed about your new situation, and is told to help you prepare for a last-minute reconnaissance assignment at the President’s fundraising gala for the Sungkyunkwan lab. You wonder if the fates aligned and the gala just so happened to be right around your discovery of the mysterious attempted vial transfer, but Jongin tells you the gala was planned far in advance and might have been a cover for potential buyers to learn more about the product. 
Fair enough. That makes it a particularly important event to investigate, now that you know something nefarious is going on behind the scenes. 
All you’re told is that you’ll be attending as a guest with Kai, who will resurface underneath a long-dormant chaebol alias and pose as a potential donor. This will get you close enough to rub elbows with Korea’s elite (and possibly, Korea’s criminals) and be able to listen in on conversations. Dr. Byun will be there, and he seems to also be roped into this investigation. 
On the day of the gala, Jongin drops by your apartment hours before some unmarked black car is supposed to pick you up.
You open the door to find him in a hoodie and jeans, one of your favorite looks on him, and he shuffles back and forth as if he’s shy, or sad, or in an otherwise timid mood. 
“Can I come in?” He asks -- a stupid question.
“Of course, Jonginnie,” you smile sadly, knowing he’s here as his last act (for now) as your tech operative. 
He steps in, walking into your bedroom, and begins unpacking the bags he’s brought. Jongin places a large, expensive-looking box on the bed, then clicks open another box to take out your necessary equipment. You scan the items carefully, recognizing a thigh holster for a knife (what the hell is Director Kim expecting to happen at this gala, you wonder), two of the explosive ‘credit cards,’ and a new skin-colored earpiece that will be synced to Taemin’s frequency. 
“What’s in the box?” you ask, pointing at the only mystery on your bed. 
“I was tasked with finding you something appropriate to wear,” Jongin says, flushing and rubbing at the back of his neck awkwardly. He shoves his other hand into his pocket, and urges you to open it. 
You oblige, taking off the top of the box to reveal tissue paper underneath. Sparkling jewelry and an elegant clutch lie atop the paper, and you hold up one of the items to inspect it. 
Damn. Those are real precious gems, and that must be incredibly expensive. 
Jongin shifts nervously as you place the items onto the soft comforter of your bed, and begin to push back the tissue paper. 
Your fingers brush over the fabric -- pure silk, you can tell -- and you grasp the shoulders of the gown to hold it up. The material whispers against the rustling tissue paper, and you let out a low breath. 
“Wow,” you can only say, taking in the off-the-shoulder evening gown. It’s a midnight blue, so dark it nearly looks black in the low light of your room, and sparkling gold accents are sewn into  a cascading pattern towards the short train of the dress. 
You don’t usually wear these things, not even for assignments, as usually your cover stories are far less grandiose and you always need mobility for a good emergency butt-kicking. But you turn the dress to notice a respectable, but still somewhat revealing thigh slit. There we go -- that’s the part for mobility. 
At the bottom of the box are a pair of stable heels -- not stilettos, but not too bulky -- that rely on clear elements to remove visual bulk while providing you a better surface to rest your weight on. Black and gold elements are woven into the design, complementing the dress.
“Where did you get this?” You ask, knowing that Director Kim probably gave Jongin a card to make the purchase with, rather than drawing from a secret stash of cover story disguises. 
Jongin doesn’t meet your gaze, but mutters that he ‘did his research’ and ‘found something that would be perfect for you.’ 
You smile. It is well-researched. Even if neither of you have seen yourself in such garments, Jongin chose something that suited your work personality, your need for comfort, and your desire to perfectly execute your cover role. 
“Thank you,” you tell him, setting the gown gently over your bed and walking over to him to give him a hug. It’s the last you’ll be working with him, you think, for an unknown stretch of time. 
Jongin stiffens under your embrace, but relaxes into it quickly. He pulls you into his chest, tighter now, and you wonder if something is wrong. 
You pull back slightly, looking up at his face to see an urgent expression. 
“What is it?” 
He’s quiet for a bit, eyes flicking between yours. There’s something on the tip of his tongue, you can feel it. 
“Jongin, are you okay--” 
“I love you,” he rushes, eyes fixed on yours. 
“I love you,” he repeats, his words getting stronger as he reaches up to cup your face in one of his warm hands. His thumb brushes over the soft skin of your cheek gently, and you can’t help but instinctively lean into his touch despite the confusion and shock coursing through your body. “I have for some time now. You’re my best friend and my partner and you’re wonderful.” 
He pauses, giving you a small smile. 
“I want you to know, that no matter what happens, no matter what you learn, that I’m telling you the truth right now. This is the honest truth.” 
And then he leans down, his lips ghosting over your own as he bumps his nose against yours. It’s a question, you realize, asking if he’s allowed to kiss you. 
You tilt your head up ever so slightly to give your approval, and Jongin’s soft lips meet yours. The kiss is slow, sweet, and incredibly soft as Jongin’s hand moves from your cheek to tangle his fingers into your hair. 
It ends far too soon. But it’s just as well -- you need to tell him something, too. 
“I feel the same way, Jongin,” you start, but something in his eyes darkens and his expression turns bittersweet. 
“Don’t say that. Not quite yet.” He scrunches his eyes in frustration, before casting his gaze skyward. 
“What do you mean?” You murmur, wondering what turmoil is brewing in his mind. 
“I’m…” Jongin breathes out, heavy. “I’m not who you think I am,” he says cryptically at last, and his voice is low and regretful. 
You’re puzzled. “What--” 
“I’ve got to go,” Jongin says suddenly, stepping back before pressing another soft kiss to your forehead. He gives you a longing look, like he’s far away and can’t reach you despite being inches away from your body, and begins walking out of your room. 
“You’ll be amazing,” he says, pausing with a hand in your doorway. Jongin looks back at where you stand, fingers at your lips. “I just wanted to wish you luck and drop off everything as my last rites as your partner.” 
“It’s just until we figure out this case, Jongin, it’s not like Taemin will be my tech op forever,” you try to explain, but Jongin doesn’t look convinced. 
And then he’s gone, the last evidence of his presence being the click of your front door. 
It takes a while for your heart to stop pounding aggressively, and you allow yourself a few minutes of rapid thoughts before you push aside your worries to focus on your job. Your mind races with confusion, wondering why Jongin was so cryptic right after having confessed to you, and your anxiety rises as you try to understand why he refused to accept your feelings. 
You run to your kitchen, downing a glass of water to steady yourself, and you force your mind to clear. 
Then you get to work, suiting up for battle. 
The black car arrives at the exact time you were told it would, and you tuck yourself into the backseat. You can’t see the driver behind the closed partition, but you know it’s an NIS-verified vehicle and sit back. 
Your hair is pinned into a simple, yet elegant updo -- you’re not one for fussy hairstyles -- and your equipment is safely hidden in your clutch or on your persons. You reach into your clutch now, fingers grasping at the tiny wireless earpiece, and you position it. 
“Hey,” Taemin says into your ear, and you smile. 
“Hey,” you say back. 
“Sorry I’m not Jongin,” he apologizes, but you shake your head in the car. 
“It’s just the job, don’t worry about it.” You ride in silence for a bit. “Thanks for the smaller earpiece. I was worried about having exposed wires at the gala and looking like I was security, not a guest.”
“Only the best for the elite teams, you know. And especially if your ears are exposed. Another thing is that the gala will have an x-ray machine at security, so we couldn’t go with the usual tech.” 
“Yeah,” you say, falling quiet again. Taemin is wonderful and you know he’s Jongin’s best friend, but you’ve never worked with him directly. It’s just different. 
“You’ll blend in just fine,” he reassures you. Then he makes a sound, as if he meant to say something but held it back.
“Hm?” You prompt him. 
“Nothing, just…” Taemin seems to be thinking. “He really cares about you, you know.” 
Odd. Did Taemin know about Jongin’s feelings for you? Even so, why would he bring that up now, so hesitantly?
You don’t know what to say, and you go for a cool “So I’ve been told.” 
The rest of the ride is silent, awkward, and you count down the minutes until you arrive at the venue. 
"Party name?"  The woman at check-in asks, tucking a perfectly coiffed strand behind her ear as she scans the pen light down the list of names. "Kim. Kim Kai," you reply, eyes flicking down to scan the list as she scrolls up and down the screen with her finger. You catch names of various dignitaries, people you've only performed reconnaissance on but never met, and then the woman finds the record.
"Right this way, please,"  a steward behind her elegantly ushers you through the security scan and towards the grand ballroom, where glittering lights reflecting from a massive chandelier’s facets highlight the opulence and luxury evident in the room and on the guests. 
You find your way through the elegantly chatting crowds to where you’re told you’ll first meet Kai. You’re a bit nervous -- he is a legend, after all, and you’re suddenly supposed to pretend that you’re his date for the evening and a longtime friend of his -- but you remind yourself that it’s the job and that you’re more than competent. You’ve recruited plenty of assets that required much more acting than this, and you know you can do this. 
You hope. 
A host walks by with a tray filled with glasses of prosecco, and you gladly take one when offered.
You sip at the prosecco as you wait -- it’s light, a little bit on the sweeter side rather than dry, without the crispness of champagne. It's delightful effervescence in a flute. You take this time to do some visual reconnaissance, scanning the crowd from where you stand to see if you can find Dr. Byun. Sure, he’ll be seen later when he gives the speech of the evening, but if you can pull him aside earlier, it will be better for you. 
Not few feet behind you, a man stands. He adjusts his tie once -- a nervous tic he's otherwise learned to control, but can't help doing now -- and walks towards you. 
He stops two feet away from you now, trying to muster up his own courage. His hands worry at his cufflinks and he smooths the lapels of his crisp suit. It’s been years since he was on the field, and he doesn’t recall ever having been this nervous. But he knows why. He was always working with or on strangers before -- never someone like you. 
The man fights a few more internal battles before inhaling and forcing the chattering in his brain to quiet. 
He steps forward again, hovering his hand at your back as he makes himself known.
His deep, gentle voice hits your ears before the body besides you enters your vision. Your spine stiffens, bumping into the hand he seems to have at your back.
In that split second, you know. That's how you've always known -- a voice in your ear. You turn, and when his face registers in your eyes, your instantaneous suspicions are confirmed. 
Jongin, your best friend and the man you trusted daily with your life, was Kai.
Chapters > One | Two | Three | Four | Five (M) | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine (M) | Ten
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agentpeggicarter · a year ago
Animal Crossing Guide
I’ve seen a lot of posts in the animal crossing fandom asking similar questions so I thought I would make a guide to clear the air and help everyone. I will update and add information as I experiment with the game, and new information comes to light. 
To start off with you should download this app if you can because it can help you keep track of bugs, and fish you can catch during the month as well as the various times. It also keeps track of your fossils for you, once you put them in of course, and shows you how close you are to completion. 
Now! On to the Q and A!
Your island spawns 6 rocks that you can hit for clay, and stone; if you use the flimsy axe, and iron if you use the stone axe, ax, and shovel. 1 rock will be the money rock and give you 100 to up to 8000 bells. If hit 8 times your bells are as followed: 100, 200, 300, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000, 8000 for a grand total of 16,100 bells 
Your island randomly spawns 4 fossils that you have to dig up to give to Blathers for the fossil section of your museum 
There will always be a message in a bottle when you start a new day so be sure to check your beach.
There is always one glowing section on your island per day, it’s for your money tree. You dig up 1000 bells and if planted get 3000 bells. once picked of the bells the tree will not grow more, so don’t worry abt checking them everyday.
Shake your non-fruit trees with your net in hand, you can get resources from them like tree branches, but also items fall from them, as well as bells, and with your net in hand if you shake a wasp down you have better odds of catching it then getting stung.
Your villagers make 3 diys every day. The villagers who makes them will be different everyday, so be sure to check in with everyone who is home. The times also verify, but its usually one until noon, one from noon to five/six, and one from five/six to nine/ten. Your villager will craft it for awhile so be sure to share with your friends!
If you talk to Sable enough times she will start to give you custom fabric for your furniture for when you customize it. Be sure to talk to her every day after to get one to continue getting it, miss a day and you will have to start over.
Visit Resident services every day and log on to the terminal to get a streak going for nook miles, seven days in a row is 300
How do I get posters of animals to hang on my wall?
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You first have to have Harvey (or Harv) visit your island and talk about the photo studio he has. Once he’s talked to you, you have to visit his island and enter a room where you start to decorate it. The last tab is residents, add them to the room and then when you leave the island and exit the airport Harv will call you and tell you about the posters you can buy which will be in nook shopping under special goods.
Can I sell to Flick or CJ on other islands?
Unfortunately you can not. You can talk with them and they will talk about bugs and fish, but it wont give you the option to sell anything to them. 
How does one get ants?
The only way I have found to get ants is from a rotten turnip on the grass. I originally had it on the stone path and I only got a flies. The other problem is you can’t put one turnip out, you will lose 10 turnips if you want an ant.
What if there is someone at my campsite that I want and my island is all full?
This happened to me and I will let you know that it’’s very stressful doing it without knowing anything. The good news is they tell you who they are going to evict and you can still say no. Before you do anything SAVE THE GAME, this is important because you can always turn off the system if you don’t like who they chose to move out.
 First you have to play a card game, basically pick a suit, with them and if you lose the camper will decide if they want to stay or not, mine said no. You can play again and they make the game easier, basically pick a color, when you win they will go ask Tom Nook if there is room, and then come back and say they are full do you still want to proceed in which case I said yes. Then they will talk about a rumor they heard of a certain villager wanting to move out. Now that is the random part. Once they give you the name there are two things you can do, you can say no and it stops the process or you can turn your game off and do it all over again until you get the name of a villager you want to leave. Thankfully i didn’t have to do this because they chose one I didn’t want any way so that worked out for me.
Why is there a random villager on my island that I did not invite?
The most annoying thing that happened to me. Two villagers set up shop on my island and I did not ask them to live here. Here is why.
Apparently when you get to the point where you are recruiting the last set of villagers for your island you are asked to buy plots from Tom Nook for 10,000 bells. I bought and placed all of mine within two days of each other but didn’t start filling them hoping that more villagers would come to my island via the campsite and I would ask them to move in. That was a mistake, cause apparently at the end of each day if you don’t have anyone in that house they will randomly assign someone there, and it will probably be someone you don’t want, which is what happened in my case. Be aware of your land and plan for a day of nookmile hunting for villagers or build plots as you need them.
How do I get different color flowers?
Each flower has 3 starter colors; red, yellow, white. From there you will have to make hybrids for the other colors. I’ve seen guides that give you various ways to get them, I’ve even done them and the standard checkerboard and they do work, but they work best when you have fellow animal crossing people help you by watering them. You have a better chance of getting the hybrids when you’re friends come over and water them. Below is the guide I use when I’m trying for hybrids and when my friends water them I get more of these hybrids. Mums is the only flower where you can get green and roses are the only ones who can give you gold. ( I have yet to figure out the gold, last I heard is you need the golden watering can, but I don’t know how accurate that is)
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How do I display my designs at the Able sisters shop?
You can display 8 custom outfits you have made at the Able’s shop.
If you head to the back of the store where the sisters have two rows of outfits hanging from the wall that is where your work is displayed. Just stand in front of one of the four rows and click A, Mabel will ask you which row you are looking at, top or bottom, you select which row you are trying to change and she will tell you whats displayed there and what you want to do with it. Mabel gives you four options.
I want the design: If it’s not your design and you would like to save it to wear this is what you would click. You will have to delete a custom design to save the design there. Now you can wear this item whenever.
Display my work here: This is where you will display various outfits you have made with the pro designer.  Once you display an outfit your villagers will randomly wear them. It’s very cute.
Report: If there is a design thats offensive you can report it
Just Browsing: You just wanted to see who made the item on the wall and don’t want to save it.
I have turnips, but still want to time travel, will they spoil?
If you are moving forward in time the turnips will not spoil, it would be as if a new day had happened generically anyway, so no worries there. The two things you shouldn’t do if you have turnips is go backward in time or go farther than Saturday because once it’s Sunday it’s Daisy Mae Day and your turnips are spoiled. 
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starr-fall-knight-rise · 2 years ago
Humans are Weird “Slang”
Ok guys, this really, really hurt me to write, but by request, I have done it. Just a reminder before we begin that if some of these words appear to be used wrong, just remember that this around to 3000 or 4000s so language would have changed a lot during this time, and most subcultures meshed with each other at one time or another creating this sort of thing.  So I probably did what I did quite intentionally.
They ghosted into the city at 500 miles per hour. Sunny had her face pressed against the window looking up towards the sky in awe at the ethereal city of white arches and colorful flying cars rising in hundreds of multilevel platforms thousands of feet into the sky. The forest rolled directly up to the outskirts of the city, a city that reached upwards into the sky rather than sprawling outwards like cities had done in the distant past. Captain Vir leaned back in his seat eyes half closed as the rocket maglev rolled up towards the city. The captain said that maglevs used to be nearly as loud as jet engines, but sound dampening technology along the side of the rails had reduced the sound to almost nothing.
And the people, the humans were so odd compared to the Captain and the humans and Sunny had known.  They were outrageously dressed brightly colored. Their hair was died, their skin was died, some of them wore massive clothing that billowed outward feet while others were barely wearing anything at all. A woman walked past as the train was beginning to slow, and, standing next to them, Sunny took sight of an intricate tattoo of a dragon winding up and down her arm in repeated arcs and spirals.
Outside the train windows a tunnel sucked them into darkness lines of lights rolling past the windows. They slowed, and came to the stop.
Please watch your step as you exit the train.
Captain Vir stood up and made his way off of the train with Sunny and Krill following behind him onto the underground platform of dark stone and thick, squat pillars. Bright holographic kiosks lit up the station with blue purple and warm red light. Lines of people walked up and down the terminal passing their wrists under microchip scanners.
They passed through a set of scanners, and Sunny watched in shock as an alien face stared at her from behind the security desk. A humanoid face but of metal and plastic. They moved from there stepping forward, and onto a purple symbol on the ground. Sunny nearly had a heart attack as they were pushed into the air rising up through tunnels in the ground and out into the blinding sunlight and the white city.
A massive holograph bust into light above them.
Welcome to Los Angeles the city of angels. The hologram burst apart and into a set of massive wings which flapped once and then exploded once again sending pixels out across the sky like a daytime firework. The pixels reformed themselves into a large screen a massive add for two people. The new fashion trend from Apple. The clothing was in grey white and black short sleeved, high collared, shirts that hung long about the knees. The look was very clean and organic, the humans depicted were the best of their species. Feed your fashion with Apple.
A few of the humans passing them turned to look on in curiosity at the strange alien visitors, an occurrence that wasn’t particularly common yet. They looked up at sunny, some with interest, some with worry, and others with….. with something that made Sunny rather uncomfortable.  She sped up to catch the captain as he stepped onto a light rail, which send them rocketing across the city on a pocket of blue light. They landed at a central terminal, and the captain motioned them to follow passing through hundreds of tall and imposing shops before ducking into a tight alley. The bright white lights of the soaring city broke down as they made they tunneled their way into the city’s bones. The stark white walls of the soaring buildings and skywalks broke down into thick beams and burbling pipes: veins and innards creeping their way through the bones.
They slipped through another doorway and down a set of metals stairs into darkness. Even in the light of day, this part of the city was dark. They took another turn and cut outwards into another alley. The sound of voices spilled over them as they stepped into the city, and a dark marketplace. Sunny stepped a little closer to the captain eyes passing over the booths bathed in deep red lighting. From behind their stalls eyes peered out at her in interest. The one thing all these humans had in common….. well…. They weren’t totally human. Robotic legs, robotic arms, robotic eyes.
They called at the captain as he passed in words that Sunny didn’t understand. The Captain paused and pulled up his pant leg, flashing the dark metal of his prosthetic leg as the men who went silent and waved him on.
“Captain.” Krill wondered quietly, “Where are we going?”
The man gave him a nonchalant wave as they passed down another line of booths. Prosthetic legs and arms hung from hooks on every side next to glass cases of various, shiny robotic upgrades, “I have a guy who owes me a favor. Thought if we were going to stay in the city that we might as well stay with friends.” He took another corner walking them onto a wider, more inviting thoroughfare. Bright neon lights blinked above them. Music thrummed form the dark cavernous openings beneath the lights. Inside lights throbbed and beat.
The captain stopped before one of the doors, “Alright guys….. now Rocket is a friend of mine, but the guys he runs with are pretty weird. They’re called slangers, so don’t feel bad if you can’t understand them.”
“What’s a slanger?” Krill wondered.
“You’ll see.” The Captain grinned, before turning around, shoving open the door and stepping inside. Music thrummed and throbbed outwards
*I've been to the year 3000, not much has changed, but they lived underwater*
“C’mon dude y’an’t smak on these beats when they still rel’. Sunny turned her head thinking that her translator had just had a stroke. And when she looked, she was sure that her eyes had gone into stroke as well. This particular human had bright turquoise hair, numerous metal rods through his face, wore only a vest, and a set of massively flared jeans. The man next to him was nothing if not more ridiculous with odd white hair, ruffled collar, and enormous pants with buckled shoes to match.
“Tis you doth not know the truest meaning of art. Shakespeare would be caught weeping at this terrible violation of the ears.” Down to her side Sunny watched Krill as he shook his head fiddling with the translation mechanism as all the humans turned to look at them. Distant lights flashed in the other room with the beat of the song. A large mirrored ball hung in the air. The dress code was non-existent.
The captain ignored the eyes and raised his voice over the crowd, “Yo, Rocket where you posted! said you’d be here if I came slidin’!”
The actual hell was that supposed to mean?
While they were waiting for a reply, one of the human females from the right lifted her head, half shaved half long, one half died black the other purple, “Sweet bod dawg, totally tubular you dig, pred.” Sunny looked around not sure who the human was speaking to.
“Are you talking to me?” Sunny wondered.
The girl tilted her head again, “Yeah, who else?”
Sunny shuffled her feet on the floor pointing to the UV translator, “I…. don’t understand.”
The human rolled their eyes, “Peeps discriminating against the script…..” She paused, “You look cool, kid, you and your Et friend.” She said motioning down to krill who looked 110% confused.
“Erm, thanks....” The girl settled back into her seat and closed her eyes. Krill and Sunny exchanged a look as the blue lights flashed ad flickered over them. It didn’t take long before a short-dark human slipped from the crowd. He was wearing soemthing that resembled a suit, but it was powder blue and came with a matching hat, and an odd cut. He grinned wide as he saw Vir standing there.
“Bro! Looking tight in the 2000s duds didn’t think the burbs were so lit.” The two of them embraced, “How you hanging, got jarred when I caught that you’re still kicking it with the flyboys.”
“Yeah, I uh…..” The Captain sighed and gave up, “I got promoted, have my own ship and everything.”
Sunny leaned down to Krill, “What is he saying?”
“Absolutely no idea, I’m not entirely sure they’re speaking human. Most of those words aren’t even words, and when they are words, they aren’t used in context”
“Radical, just gotta nab a squeeze eh.” He elbowed the captain in the ribs, but the man went white.
“I don’t know about that.” The captain said hesitantly nervously rubbing his arm as the man walked them further into the place passing the room with all the flashing lights. The mirrored ball sent pinpricks of light across the room. The floor flashed with multiple colored squares.
“Still getting’ G-locked around chicks.” The guy wondered thoughtfully passing through a curtain of beads.
“G-locked?” The captain wondered, “Can’t say I’ve heard that one. I’m assuming it doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean.”
“Coined it for you. Means to be a chicken around chicks.” He threw an arm around the captain’s shoulders, “You just gotta keep it liquid bro or you’re fixin’ to get juiced. Just be chill keep it basic, you know unless she’s really high octave than even I’d be freaked. You snipe.”
The captain closed his eyes and rubbed the back of his head, “Damn, Rocket. I can barely understand you these days, but staying “liquid” Isn’t so easy.”
A loud clatter broke through their conversation from across the room, “GET LOCKED you candy-ass Bieber, keep your crotch rot over there.” And suddenly there was a sudden burst of limbs and fists, and a group of other humans ran to break up the fight. Rocket stood with his hands on hips as the fight was broken up motioning one of the humans towards the door
“What was that all about?” The Captain wondered.
“Well Steevie can be a real creeper, been tweaking, and you know I’m chill with the fam blazin’ but getting iced is bad mojo. Got himself wrapped up with a hit last week and then nearly got trunked when the candy man didn’t get his doe. And Candy man been kicking it with the Ice-Queen. Steevie’s shit ain’t cool for my rep. Tryna keep it clean.”
The Captain snorted, and quickly stopped throwing an arm in front of Sunny.
“YEET!” A spray of objects went flying past them, and a group of humans followed dressed surprisingly similar to the Captain, who sunny was beginning to learn, dressed in a rather outdated style.
They stepped from one room and into a back room. The music was just a soft thudding now. Rocket took a seat at his desk throwing his feet up onto the desk.
“So, to what do I owe this slide, you here to throw shade or you need bailed out.”
“We were actually looking for a place to crash.” The captain said motioning to Sunny and Krill who stood by the door looking confused. Sunny could see that Krill was close to blowing a fuse. He looked at Sunny gesticulating angrily with one of his arms. He clearly didn’t understand why the human would talk in a way SPECIFICALLY designed to be confusing. Sunny kind of understood the sentiment.
“Tight, sweet crew got yourself an Et and a Pred.” He leaned in a little bit close, “You’re not into a bit of that Pred tail, are you, Spine?”
The captain just looked at the man, “The F*** kind of question is that?”
Rocket just leaned back in his chair, “Cool your jets, ace you playin’ like I’m giving you the third degree. Just asking, no shame in whatever you’re sweet on.”
The captain rolled his eyes ignoring the question, “Rocket this is Krill, he’s my ships chief medical officer, and one Vrul surgical staff, and this is Sunny, my primary weapons specialist.”
“Sup fam, any squad of Adam’s is a crew of mine.”
Krill crossed his arms, and sunny rubbed the back of her head, “Thanks…. I think….. do you mind me asking why you all, talk funny?”
“Well sheila-“
“In English, please.”
The man sat back in his seat with a raised eyebrow, “A’ait, have it your way. I will lower myself to the common tongue to converse with you. We.” He motioned to himself and the club around him, “Are Slangers, schooled in the specific are and complete use of slang words in communication. Slang if you do not know is a very informal way of speaking where words are used in different contexts and are usually specific to a certain type of group. This type of language evolves very rapidly, and is difficult to keep up with.” He patted himself on the chest, “I have coined a few terms myself in the past. Including and not limited to G- lock, Locked, and Spine, however all forms and uses of slang words are accepted here. We have specialists in 1900s 2000s 3000s and so on.”
The captain turned to Krill and Sunny, “You see, humans have this thing called counter-culture, where a specific group of people do things contrary to popular culture because maybe they feel like they don’t fit in. Humans need groups, so it works out pretty well for everyone. Rocket is sort of a leading figure in counter culture these days, and some of it has sort of bled over into mainstream popularity. Like the army TOD tattoo.”
“The what?” Krill wondered
The captain pulled down the front of his shirt where a small dark tattoo sat just above his heart. The tattoo changed every few moments counting through earth time, “It’s a bio power tattoo the army started using in place of dog tags. The ink takes a bit of excess power from the body and uses it to work. When the body dies, the time stops giving you an accurate time of death.”
Rocket was nodding, “I think we hittin’ the same octave yarrn’t crashing in a hood where you could get trunked or jacked. Honest, some pads can be real jank ‘round here. I tell yah, one of my crew got clowned taking the tube back from burbs.”
Sunny just stood there confused. She was 100% sure they weren’t hittin’ the same octave, whatever that meant.
As they were lead off to a quieter side room, Krill tugged on the captain’s pants, “Captain, what’s a clown?”
The man looked at them and shrugged, “Some kind of demon that wears face paint…. I think.”
 Thank you @ma-tsu-the-male-goddess and @taliaxlatia for helping me come up with the futuristic slang words. You have hurt my soul very deeply :)
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bloojayoolie · 2 years ago
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Dogs, Energy, and Fall: super friendly, great on walks, affectionate and loves his peers VIC ID# 68409, 4 yrs old and 60 lbs, Waiting for some TLC @ Manhattan Animal Care Center INTAKE DATE: 07-08-2019 Those green blue eyes and mostly that gentle, trusting and contagious smile! How not to fall in love? LEVEL 1 rated Vic needs some TLC at MACC! A volunteer writes: Vic is a crowd pleaser, an all around good guy everyone wants to spend time with! Vic is also quite good looking which is the "cherry on top"! Those green blue eyes and mostly that gentle, trusting and contagious smile! How not to fall in love? Vic is an easy walker, enjoys the park and all what it has to offer, nature, birds, kids running and other dogs. Quiet time with a caretaker, sitting on a bench, smooching and getting treats. Vic does not seem to think he needs more. We do, though! Vic needs a new owner and a home of his own! He is a good boy, a handsome one too and we dream for him to find soon his forever family. Vic is waiting for you at the Manhattan Care Center! Volunteer Evelyne Cumps writes: A great guy I met few days ago at MACC and who gets the praises of everyone. he is super friendly, great on walks, affectionate and loves his peers. His problem...His skin as you can see. Treating this type of skin problem is long but very rewarding and also sure to bond pet and healer even more....i talk from experience on this topic... His name is VIC(68409), 4 year old intact male, Level 1. VIC, ID# 68409, 4 yrs old, 60 lbs, Manhattan Animal Care Center, Large Mixed Breed Cross, Gray / White Male, Stray, brought in by a good Samaritan Shelter Assessment Rating: LEVEL 1 Medical Behavior Rating: BEHAVIOR NOTES Means of surrender (length of time in previous home): Stray SAFER ASSESSMENT: Date of assessment: 9-Jul-2019 Summary: Leash Walking Strength and pulling: None Reactivity to humans: None Reactivity to dogs: None Leash walking comments: None Sociability Loose in room (15-20 seconds): Highly social Call over: Approaches readily Sociability comments: Body soft, jumps up softly Handling Soft handling: Seeks contact Exuberant handling: Seeks contact Handling comments: Body soft, tail wagging, leans in Arousal Jog: Follows (loose) Arousal comments: None Knock: Approaches (exuberant) Knock Comments: Jumps up Toy: Grips, relinquishes Toy comments: Body soft PLAYGROUP NOTES - DOG TO DOG SUMMARIES: 7/9: When introduced to the helper dog on leash, Vic is soft and wiggly. 7/10-PRESENT: Vic plays exuberantly with male and female dogs. MEDICAL BEHAVIOR: Date of initial: 8-Jul-2019 Summary: Allowed handling ENERGY LEVEL: We have no history on Vic so we cannot be certain of his behavior in a home environment. However, he is a young, enthusiastic, social dog who will need daily mental and physical activity to keep him engaged and exercised. We recommend long-lasting chews, food puzzles, and hide-and-seek games, in additional to physical exercise, to positively direct his energy and enthusiasm. BEHAVIOR DETERMINATION: Level 1 Behavior Asilomar H - Healthy MEDICAL EXAM NOTES 16-Jul-2019 Progress Exam trazodone 100mg tablet -- give 2.5 tablets PO q12h while in shelter 16-Jul-2019 Progress Exam SO BAR in kennel. EN -- eyes are clear. P is sneezing repeatedly during rounds observation A CIRDC P move to ISO enrofloxacin 204mg tablet -- give 1 1/3tablet PO q24h x 14 days doxycycline 100mg tablet -- give 2.75 tablet PO q24h x 14 days cerenia 60mg tablet -- give 0.5 tablet PO q24h x 4 days 9-Jul-2019 Very pruritic. Starting course of prednisone per #1657. Prednisone 10 mg BID x 4 days, then 10 mg SID x 4 days, then 10 mg every other day x 4 doses. Recheck a couple days before last dose. 8-Jul-2019 Spay-Neuter Waiver Documentation [Spay/Neuter Waiver - Temporary] Your newly adopted pet has been diagnosed with Skin allergies and the staff veterinarians are issuing a TEMPORARY waiver from the spay/neuter requirements of the City of NY. Follow up care at your regular veterinarian is recommended to ensure continued treatment through to the resolution of the issue. At the time of a full recovery you may choose to have your veterinarian perform the spay/neuter surgery, or make provisions to return the pet to ACC for sterilization 8-Jul-2019 DVM Intake Other Lab Interpretation DVM Intake Exam Estimated age:4 years based on eyes and ears Microchip noted on Intake? History : Stray brought in by a good Samaritan Subjective: BAR H pink 1 sec Observed Behavior - outgoing; easily examined Evidence of Cruelty seen - No Evidence of Trauma seen - No Objective P =120hr R =40rr BCS 7/9 EENT: Eyes clear, ears- red; tan waxy dc; hemorrhagic crusts, no nasal or ocular discharge noted Oral Exam: muzzled PLN: No enlargements noted H/L: NSR, NMA, CRT < 2, Lungs clear, eupnic ABD: Non painful, no masses palpated U/G: MI w/ 2 down MSI: Ambulatory x 4, incomplete alopecia on feet and dorsum, serous crusts on lateral thorax; yeasty odor; no masses noted, sparse hair; papules CNS: Mentation appropriate - no signs of neurologic abnormalities Assessment r/o allergies w/ secondary skin infection and malassezia vs demodicosis vs other Prognosis: fair Plan: skin scrape- negative simplicef- 200mg sig: 1 1/4 SID x 21 d's Ketoconazole- 200mg 1 tab sid x 10 d's then eod x 10 rx's SURGERY: Temporary waiver due to marked skin issues * TO FOSTER OR ADOPT * If you would like to adopt a NYC ACC dog, and can get to the shelter in person to complete the adoption process, you can contact the shelter directly. We have provided the Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan information below. Adoption hours at these facilities is Noon – 8:00 p.m. (6:30 on weekends) If you CANNOT get to the shelter in person and you want to FOSTER OR ADOPT a NYC ACC Dog, you can PRIVATE MESSAGE our Must Love Dogs page for assistance. PLEASE NOTE: You MUST live in NY, NJ, PA, CT, RI, DE, MD, MA, NH, VT, ME or Northern VA. You will need to fill out applications with a New Hope Rescue Partner to foster or adopt a NYC ACC dog. Transport is available if you live within the prescribed range of states. Shelter contact information: Phone number (212) 788-4000 Email Shelter Addresses: Brooklyn Shelter: 2336 Linden Boulevard Brooklyn, NY 11208 Manhattan Shelter: 326 East 110 St. New York, NY 10029 Staten Island Shelter: 3139 Veterans Road West Staten Island, NY 10309 *** NEW NYC ACC RATING SYSTEM *** Level 1 Dogs with Level 1 determinations are suitable for the majority of homes. These dogs are not displaying concerning behaviors in shelter, and the owner surrender profile (where available) is positive. Level 2 Dogs with Level 2 determinations will be suitable for adopters with some previous dog experience. They will have displayed behavior in the shelter (or have owner reported behavior) that requires some training, or is simply not suitable for an adopter with minimal experience. Level 3 Dogs with Level 3 determinations will need to go to homes with experienced adopters, and the ACC strongly suggest that the adopter have prior experience with the challenges described and/or an understanding of the challenge and how to manage it safely in a home environment. In many cases, a trainer will be needed to manage and work on the behaviors safely in a home environment.
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