don't you just love it when poets thrust their hands into your chest, crumple up your heart and with the blood adorning their fingers write poetry so personal to you
I felt listless, Empty, incomplete and melancholic.
Then your face pops into my mind.
I can't stop now, I have to go on for your sake.
For you I will work hard, cause if you were me you won't give up.
Cause if you were you would fight for the hell of it.
VAMPIRE TUCKER TAKE MY MONEY 💸💸💸💸💸💸💸💸
just a fun little ditty while all other writing routes are blocked. thank you for the inspo/encouragement anon! definitely indirectly inspired by the likes of @deluxewhump and @ashintheairlikesnow
content warnings: blood, blood drinking, some light murder, supernatural addictive substances
A square of silvery light streams in through the window, highlighting dust motes, half a frame of abstract wall art, a stain of bright red on tangled white bedsheets. Almost everywhere else, the blood is rendered dark and colourless by the shadows. But in that one little quasi-spotlight, it shows its colour: vibrant and enticing. Full of theoretical life. The hand of the body it was drained from, of course, lies lifeless and perfectly manicured atop the mess, the pale skin turned almost luminous by the glow of the streetlights and the moon.
It’s all quite artistic nonetheless, Tucker muses. Shame he doesn’t have a camera.
He wipes his mouth clean on a blanket before dropping it to the floor without ceremony. His meal had been a messy one tonight. It had wriggled.
He idly sucks his fingers clean of blood, picking up a book from the bedside table of their would-be host before putting it down again. He picks up a small metal trinket and does the same. An old ticket stub, a picture frame, an uncapped bottle of cheap perfume. All human’s little knick knacks were the same.
Up on the windowsill, his companion sits perched, not unlike a cat, a silhouette of bent knees and shoulder length curls from the moment they’d been welcomed inside, when their host had asked him if he wouldn’t be more comfortable on the arm chair in the corner. Such courteous last words.
Tucker, frankly, is sick of all the pouting.
“Come on Cassius,” he sing-songs. He licks blood from where it’s pooled in his palm. “Come get your supper from the nice dead lady.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“Oh,” Tucker tuts, bottom lip jutting out in an utter mockery of sympathy. “I don’t believe you.”
The little thing curls his arms around himself, curling oversized jacket tighter around his body. “M’not.”o
He shivers as he’s doing it, letting out a little huff of breath that would fog the window if he were mortal. Tucker closes the distance between them slowly, licking blood off his fingers with each deliberate step.
“You know if you had a little drink you wouldn’t feel so cold,” Tucker says. He walks fingers up Cassius’ arm, only to get shrugged off when he gets to the shoulder. “Or so grumpy.”
“I’m not-“ Cassius huffs air through his nose again. “Fuck off, alright? I’m not cold. I’m not hungry.”
“But you are grumpy.”
Cassius tries for a little shove. It’s far too easy to step sideways and have him miss, tumbling forward off the sill as he over corrects. Tucker doesn’t give a chance to steady himself. He grabs his hair and pulls him backward, kicks his knees out for good measure so he can look down on him. He always likes looking down on him.
Cassius claws at Tucker’s hand, baring teeth, cute little fangs on display. Tucker smiles down at him, serene and satiated from feeding. He feels a little blood-drunk tonight, a fun floaty feeling sitting hand in hand with the sudden rush of strength and vigour.
“You’re being a baby,” he says with a sigh as Cassius writhes in his grip, far too weak to actually get anywhere. If he’d had a little drink maybe he’d have been able to put up more of a fight. He hadn’t had a nip in near three days.
“You didn’t have to kill her.”
“Oh is that what this is about.”
“You said it wouldn’t be like this.”
“I said it didn’t have to be like this, not that it never would.”
“I don’t think that’s why you’re so grumpy, though,” Tucker murmurs, almost conspiratorial. “You didn’t mind the killing on Friday.”
Cassius tugs a little against the grip in his hair, sneering. “That was different.”
“Why?” Tucker says absently as he straightens the fold on his sleeve. “Because he sleazed on you?”
He gets a glare for that one. “No.”
“Me think the boy doth project too much,” Tucker muses. He taps the little thing on the nose, laughing again as Cassius swipes at him like an irritated cat. “No, no. I know what you need. And it has nothing to do with your little vigilante vendetta situation, does it?”
Cassius gives him a flickering glance, far too transparent, before looking away again, glaring out the window at the here-and-there raindrops spattering the glass. The apparent nonchalance doesn’t cover the itch needling just below the surface though. It’s obvious. Tucker knows what he wants. He knows what he needs.
Tucker brings his own hand to his mouth, eyes on Cassius as he presses the pad of an index finger to the very tip of one fang. He feels the familiar pierce the flesh. The sweet, sharp sting of a needle point. And Cassius can smell it. It’s there in the minute flare of nostrils. The tiny parting of his lips as he sucks air in. Thirsty boy.
Tucker brings his hand down to inspect the single droplet of blood swelling up on the curving swirls of his own fingerprint, “You want dessert before dinner, sweetheart?”
Cassius keeps his eyes averted, pressing his little lips back together until all that’s left is a thin line of a mouth. He shakes his head, dark little mane of curls tugging in Tucker’s grip.
Tucker tuts his tongue, pouting again for a moment before bringing his hand closer in to Cassius’ face, “You sure, baby?”
He can barely contain his amusement at Cassius’ twisting hands, white knuckled around the hem of his own hoodie, at the little twitch of his nose as he tries not to smell it, tries not to look. Another little shake of the head.
He was good at denial, Tucker could grant him. Years of practice from a sire who kept him hooked on vampiric blood while refusing to turn him properly all the while. What did that do to a person, exactly? Turn them into something unlike a person at all, he was sure. Even for the likes of them.
Tucker hums in thought. He reaches his hand forward, dragging the droplet of his own blood over the little thing’s lips, an uneven line over the Cupid’s bow, dragging down at Cassius’ bottom lip for a moment as he goes, his teeth glinting in the glowing light.
And that does it, doesn’t it? Another little intake of the breath, deeper and more primal than the first, and Cassius’ eyelids flicker. His eyes snap to Tucker’s with naked hunger, pupils dilating wide and black as a predator’s ready for the hunt. If the thing had a pulse, Tucker’s sure he’d be able to hear it from where he stands.
Cassius lasts maybe a second longer before his pink little tongue darts over his lips, laps up the blood. He’s desperate for it. Stranded in the desert, ten miles from water.
He lurches forward for more only for Tucker to pulls his hand right back with a grin, “What do you say, sweetheart?”
There’s barely enough hesitation for the thing to swallow. “Please.”
Tucker laughs, the sound melodic against the uneasy rhythm of the rain picking up outside. He brings his mouth to his wrist, fangs piercing the flesh there with ease. It’s a good thing he still has one hand keeping Cassius’ head in place or he’s not unconvinced the young little creature wouldn’t snap up and bite just to get his fix faster. So cute when he’s deseprate.
As it is, he suckles on to Tucker’s wrist like a starving pup on a teat as it’s offered. all that fight melting away to a deep satisfaction as he drinks, eyes closed in a surrendering bliss.
“Nothing but the best for you, hm?” Tucker croons. “My little connoisseur.”
Cassius speaks around a mouthful of wrist, “Shut up.”
Tucker hums with a smile, tilting his head as he ruffles Cassius’ hair. Cassius makes a protesting sound that fades quickly to a low vibration in his throat as he continues to drink. If Tucker didn’t know him better he’d almost call it a pur.
“When you’re ready to play nice again you’re going to clean up this mess,” he tells him. “Have a little snack for the road and then see what we can take from the good lady’s stuff to sell on. Got it?”
When there’s no response beyond the obscene suckling of blood Tucker sighs, gripping the young thing’s jaw with a thumb and forefinger pressing into his cheeks. It puckers his lips, forces him to unlatch, hazed eyes flickering up with near confusion as he refocuses on the here and now instead of his little fix.
“Got it?” Tucker prompts again.
Cassius nods in his grip, blood smeared lips parted to take in shaky, unnecessary breaths. It’s a cute little habit. His eyes can’t stay on Tucker’s face, just keep sliding to the little piercing marks on his wrist. Tucker rocks back on his heels with a plaintive hum.
“Better watch yourself,” Tucker warns him, waving his arm like a forbidden fruit. Dilated pupils follow it like a cat tracking the swing of a pendulum. “If you’re not careful, you’ll rot those little teeth.”
He taps the tip of Cassius’ nose again, the creature shaking his head like a dog to get away from it. Tucker laughs before giving his wrist back over and Cassius attaches to it like it’s the answer to life itself. Perhaps to him, it is.
There’s another little humming vibration. A noise of relief. Tucker laughs again and cards his fingers through Cassius’ hair, for once the liytle thing too enraptured to shake him off. It’s hard not to have an affinity for a thing so reliant on you, isn’t it? Made you feel godlike. Affectionate, even.
“My little junkie,” he croons. Blood smears from his fingers through Cassius’ dark hair. “What on this godforsaken earth would you do without me?”
A Dance in Dragonspine
Albedo x Female Reader
The climate of Dragonspine was one of endless chills and shivers; a known fact throughout all of Mondstadt, and perhaps even all of Teyvat. It was to the sheer cold that caused numbness in the fingers and heart that many adventurers found themselves succumbing to, and yet the one daintily jogging along faded paths and soft snow held no weakness in their limbs from the frostbite.
(Y/N), as they were referred to by the Knights of Favonius, slowed down her pace, settling into a nonchalant walk as she caught sight of a familiar view a dozen metres or so away. Torches lit by soothing fires were at both sides of the entrance to a cave of sorts - a small crevice in the ever-large mountain beside Durin's remains.
She sighed. With a few steps, she had finally made it within the cave. Boots shook off clumps of snow, stuck to their leather material as a result of both moisture and deposition. Hands patted down a coat in an attempt to remove any lingering dust, and then proceeded to reposition the vision attached to her hip.
Curious eyes began to wander about, soon spotting a figure stood at the right side of the cave (or lab, as it had been repurposed as). In front of them was a pine-wood table, holding a whole assortment of potions, books and more. They seemed to be making vigorous notes with a parchment and quill; handwriting slanted yet elegant all the same.
"Albedo," the woman acknowledged, keeping in mind that her voice was to be low. She bundled up the coat around her body tighter, if anything to conceal the speeding up of her heart at the sight of her partner.
It was with great disappointment that only silence met her call. In fact, the only response to it from Albedo was a slight nod of his head, which made the blonde locks flowing down his neck sway. With an exasperated (yet fond, all the same) shake of her head, (Y/N) strolled up to him. Chancing a peak over his shoulder, she bear witness to whatever he was so focused upon.
"What are you doing?"
There was not so much as a glance given to her. There was a thin layer of something unknown in his voice as he replied not unkindly, but lightly to her question, "Conducting an experiment as to my hypothesis that music affects the growth of plant life."
(Y/N) hummed, a smile playing on her lips. "I see..." she mused. In a moment's notice, the smile across her features soon morphed into a slight frown. "Would this experiment happen to be more important than the Knights of Favonius award ceremony taking place right now?"
Albedo's movements to pour a vial of colourless solution into a beaker halted, though only for a moment. Not a second passed before he carried on with his shuffling around of equipment and samples, expression smooth as marble.
"My heart, a ton of people were waiting on you. Sucrose was, Lisa was, heck - even Klee was!" she informed in a tired manner. Pinching the skin between her brows, she added on, "She was asking where you were after the Acting Grandmaster had given her a little medal for her, well, enthusiastic work ethic as the Spark Knight."
A spark of intrigue had begun to settle in his cyan eyes. "Klee received an award?" he asked, looking up to meet (Y/N)'s gaze.
"Yeah. Kaeya brought her to the ceremony as an alternative to solitary confinement."
Her hum of agreement seemed to be a switch to Albedo's attitude - though it had become more open with her mention of Klee, now, it had returned back to how it was before; silent, closed-off, and focused. He shuffled about again, mixing various vials of liquids and solids together, though for what exact product, she didn't know.
To a corner of the table laid out before him, there sat an ornate marble vase - within it a drooping, decaying cecilia. Its petals, usually blooming and faced upright towards the sun, were instead greying at the edges and at the verge of falling off. Its green stem looked as brittle as bone; most likely snapping if even so much as a breeze blew over it.
"I saw you there, y'know," (Y/N) finally broke the silence with.
Albedo remained strangely muted, not even a twitch of his face as soon as the words escaped her mouth. He instead opted to reach out and grasp the cecilia between his fingertips, rotating it in his hands as if to inspect its life. Though, (Y/N) easily noticed the glazed look in his eyes, not entirely focused on what he was trying to do.
"You were wearing quite the pretty tuxedo, I have to say," she admitted, moving closer and into his field of view. She tugged at his clothing's hood, successfully removing any folds within its soft material, then proceeded to straighten his ever-so-tilted Geo vision. "But now you've changed out of it. Why did you leave?"
There was a speckle of pink dusted along Albedo's cheekbones, now. His grip of the cecilia loosened the slightest bit, causing it to almost drop to the ground if not for (Y/N)'s reflexive movement to catch it. It was without thought that she suddenly decided to place the flower somewhere else; apart from its designated spot in a vase.
Over his right ear, it went. In plain view, and contrasting perfectly well with his jacket of a similar colour.
He flushed the tiniest bit brighter. In an attempt to rid of the rising shade of red accumulating on his features, Albedo cleared his throat, then intoned, "I merely realised that there was no more point to attend such an occasion. The stalls there were, how do I put it...?"
He turned back around to his work, carrying on, "No fun, nor of any interest to me."
"No fun?" she repeated, a note of disbelief in her tone. (Y/N) reached out, taking hold of his chin gently and tipping it in her direction. She stroked his porcelain-like skin, in a way that seemed to apologise for her abrupt action. "I saw you there for a maximum of five minutes, my heart. You're trying to tell me that the sight of people dancing, awards being handed out, and Good Hunter's food were no fun? I know for a fact Klee and I were in view of you the whole time while we were dancing and waiting for you to join us."
"It didn't appear that way to me," her partner said. It was as if the manner in which he spoke was defensive, inching close to perhaps even petulant. He reached up a gloved hand to hold one of hers - the one still under his chin. Slowly, he lowered it, keeping their fingers intertwined as he finally muttered, "You were dancing with Kaeya."
"Well, beside him, yes. Not exactly with him, per- per say..." Her sentence all of a sudden trailed off into silence. There were a staggeringly large amount of cogs that had begun to twist within her mind, turning either left or right and causing her to reach a startling realisation. "I don't suppose you were jealous of that?"
There was an unmistakable shade of pink lighting up the whole of his face now, which Albedo had chosen to snap away from her view. Although the flush of his cheeks were not as dark as to make it impossible to blame on a hot environment, (Y/N) knew better. The icy winds and numbing chill of Dragonspine's atmosphere were nowhere near warm enough to cause such a spontaneous blush.
Through a subtle cough, he denied, "Not at all," in the calmest way he could.
(Y/N) felt a soft smile begin to play on her lips. She shifted to stand behind him, and with little effort placed her head upon Albedo's right shoulder. It was all instinct now; her arms wrapped around the whole of his waist, holding onto him so tenderly and the exact same way she had numerous times before. During those nights spent in each others embrace and simply enjoying the pure freedom within Mondstadt's walls.
"Albedo..." she hummed, closing her eyes. The air from her vocal cords blew at the cecilia settled atop his ear. "Would you rather it have been us dancing beside one another?"
The eventual response to her question was not one of verbal agreement. It lay on the tip of Albedo's tongue, and yet remained stuck there, unable to escape his mouth and leaving him strangely silent in his lover's hold. The only action that resembled any answer was the way his form relaxed into her - muscles no longer tense, and eyes no longer wide open, now shut like hers.
"The night is still young," (Y/N) mused. "How about we have that dance?"
She didn't listen out for an agreement or disagreement (for she knew she didn't need to), only turned Albedo with the arms around him, facing him her way and allowing for her to gaze upon his features tinged rouge. Her hands grasped his, placing them upon her own shoulders; shaking with an ever-so-quiet chuckle.
There was a click to their left. Beside a nearby alchemical table, settled on a small stand, sat an ornate, wooden-carved gramophone; that passed onto Albedo from the Spark Knight's mother, Alice. The black disc atop its surface spun, and with that came a soft melody out of its horn.
Musical notes seemed to surround the two, weaving between their bodies that were now in the process of swaying, gently to the airy tune in sync. Their gazes met each others, (Y/N)'s one of smugness and knowing, and Albedo's one of acceptance and peace. Together, in a warm embrace that fought off even the coldest of chills, they danced, totally entranced by Alice's music in Dragonspine.
And as they did, the decaying, drooping cecilia settled atop Albedo's ear began to gain a semblance of life anew. Petals bloomed open, turning a white colour that matched the snowflakes falling down from the clouds; outside of their shared abode.
Thank you for reading! :)
This was originally written for a mutual of mine as they have quite the love for Albedo.
Please inform me of any grammatical errors in this post.
Seeing red Sherlock x male reader soulmate AU
Sherlock could see why red was associated with passion and anger, among other things. As he watched the colour bloom to life all he could feel was an intense, passionate anger. It was common knowledge that skin on skin contact with your soulmate for the first time would allow someone to see colours, and that until that day you’d only see in black, white and greys. Since he was little Sherlock had lived in a colourless world, only ever knowing the dull appearances of objects. It hadn’t bothered him at all, he didn’t need colour to solve the crimes he did. While sometimes it would have been helpful to be able to see something useful in colour he hardly despaired the lack of it in his life.
That is until he met (Y/N). The young man wasn’t a native to his city of London and one day while he was out on a case he had bumbled into him. After apologizing profusely he had off handedly mentioned he was incredibly lost. Sherlock hadn’t cared at first until he had caught the name of where (y/n) was supposed to be heading and it just so happened to be where the detective needed to go as well. Having a companion would help keep suspicion away from Sherlock so he offered to show him the way. The man had happily followed him, chattering away about the city and his experience during his visit, the things he had already seen and what he wanted to see next. Sherlock had mostly tuned him out. Going over the details of the current case in his mind rather than paying any mind to the senseless babbling. Once they reached their destination Sherlock was prepared to leave him there and go on his way but he was suddenly pulled out of his musings by a voice yelling at him.
“Holy shit! Get down!” His attention was snapped back to his companion just in time for the other man to body check him to the ground, at the same time a gunshot sounded. Sherlock spotted the gun man as the two fell and as soon as he got his senses back he was back on his feet ready to give chase. What he hadn’t expected was (y/n) to follow once he got to his feet. His confusion was evident for a moment before (y/n) yelped.
“He’s getting away!” This spurred Sherlock to move a little faster to apprehend the criminal. It hadn’t taken long. Sherlock’s long gate had closed the distance between him and the shooter with ease. And even as they tried to turn and flee (y/n) had darted around a conveniently placed bush to cut them off.
When Lestrade finally showed up Sherlock had asked (y/n) to stay. Saying the inspector would want to talk to both of them, which of course he did. He seemed surprised that Sherlock was quiet during the questioning rather than telling him he was an idiot then explaing how he solved the crime in a day when the police hadn’t been able to solve it in weeks. But then the inspector saw that Sherlock wasn’t even paying attention to him at all and that made much more sense. Rather Sherlock was focused very intently on (y/n) as he recounted what he saw. It was clear to Sherlock that (y/n) was at least a little more observant than the average person and he seemed to be able to think quickly. He’d excuse the fact he had got lost if it helped him in the end.
With John gone on a little vacation of his own he could use the help. And what better way to see the sights and sounds of London than traversing all over it to help solve crimes and other cases. Sherlock personally couldn’t think of any better way. He offered to show (y/n) more than what you’d find in a sight seeing pamphlet if he’d just lend him a hand in return. At first (y/n) had been weary of his offer, sherlock’s wording not getting the point across it was just a friendly offer, or his version of friendly at least.
After a moment’s hesitation from (y/n) he had reworded his offer. Stating what kind of help he was looking for. When (y/n) had agreed with some excitement he gave him his address and he let him know where he was staying. When he needed his help he’d call or text, and on more than one occasion he’d just randomly show up where (y/n) was staying calling for him to hurry up because the case was important.
It was hardly a normal friendship, and (y/n) had to leave again after a while but the two remained in contact and he tried to visit London as much as he could. And when he couldn’t Sherlock often sent details of cases to see if a different perspective would help. It did as much as it didn’t but Sherlock kept sending them, not really knowing why most times. It had been three years of this weird friendship. Cases being sent back and forth, calls at ridiculous hours and visiting at every possible chance. Slowly more started to develop, though neither of them really noticed. Everyone else did of course, and once (y/n) had been properly introduced to the rest of Sherlock’s acquaintances the others had quickly started teasing him about his feelings.
The man always brushed them off with a derisive snort, saying that even if he did like Sherlock...which he definitely didn’t, Sherlock wouldn’t ever feel the same. Sherlock often would say the same thing when those same people would pester him. “Even if he did have feelings for me I can’t return them. Affections like that are a hindrance.”
He had maintained that view point until the worst had happened. (Y/n) had arrived a few weeks before for a visit that was supposed to last three months. It had taken barely a week of the stay before Sherlock had dragged him and John off on a case. Despite protests from the both of them.
“Come on! They’re just up ahead. Probably armed so stay focused....if you can.” By now both his companions knew this was Sherlock teasing and only grumbled a little to humour him more than anything. As they approached where Sherlock had pinpointed the latest criminal’s hideout the excitement from him was nearly palatable. The trio crept closer and closer to the entrance. Their prelaid plan was excellent of course. Sherlock had planned it out himself and was sure there was no way it could go wrong. He was a genius after all, what could he possibly have missed?
The answer to that came in the sound of gunfire. Sherlock didn’t have time to see where the gunman was before another body collided with his, knocking him to the ground. When he looked up he saw John hidden behind a nearby wall, a look of horror on his face as he stared at Sherlock and (y/n). Sherlock didn’t understand why at first. Even with the chaos as people started surrounding the group. Shouting loudly in alarm the detective could only focus on one thing. The warm touch of (Y/n)’s hand grasping his. In the three years the two had know each other they had never directly touched. A hand on a jacket covered shoulder. An clothed arm bumping another arm. Even a number of full body tackles like this one and the one from when they first met but never had there been skin on skin contact. It brought a warmth to Sherlock he didn’t know what to make of. Just as soon as that warmth filled him it was snatched away.
Red, this is what the colour red looked like. It looked like the blood leaving the body of his soulmate at an alarming rate. It looked like (y/n)’s blood over his hands as he desperately tried to stop the bleeding. The warmth of his hand was now replaced by the warmth of his blood as he pressed down on the wound. Talking in a low, frantic tone. Telling (y/n) to stay awake, focus on him. Keep taking....anything to keep him awake and alive long enough to get help. The man simply laughed giddily, looking around in wonder as the world filed with colours he had only dreamt of before.
“holy shit..... this is amazing.....so much better than I had thought.....” Sherlock paused. A bit surprised that (y/n) didn’t seem worried at all about the fact he was dying in front of him. He blinked a bit and shifted his focus from the injury to his face. He swallowed thickly and grumbled.
“I’d hardly call this amazing (y/n)....I....I can’t stop the bleeding....” (y/n) shrugged a bit. Still caught up in the euphoria of finding his soulmate and seeing the world in colour.
“Eh....it’s....its fine.... I did a lot before today...saved people...stopped.....criminals....met my s-s-soul....m...mate.....found out my favourite.....colour.... it’s....it could be a lot.....worse....” Sherlock noted (y/n)’s focus was starting to slip and his words were slurring and stuttering. He knew he was probably going into shock and that wouldn’t help the very slim chances he had of surviving this. So he did what he could to keep (y/n) focused on him.
“You did do a lot.... you’ve been a great help...even if I don’t always say it... John likes having you around..apparently you keep me under control. Whatever that means.” A weak laugh was the only response Sherlock got from him as he bled out, he could now hear the sirens approaching and desperately tried one last ploy to keep (y/n) focused, he just had to keep him alive a little longer and help would be there.
“Tell me about your favourite colour. There’s a lot to choose from now.”
“Blue.” The response was barely audible, just a whisper of breath as his body shut down but struggled to stay alive anyway. He wouldn’t know why it was his favourite until he looked in the mirror while washing his blood off his hands though. His eyes were bright blue he noted. Other colours were mixed in but blue was the most prominent. His eyes also were rimmed in what he quickly decided was his least favourite colour. Red, the colour of romance, passion, beauty. The same colour for anger, pain, suffering and murder..... all the things that had finally let him see the world in all is glory. Just as he lost the thing that would make the colours worth seeing.
xibipíío (pirahã, adj.) - of experiential liminality; of a being in the boundaries of experience and the act of entering or leaving perception
geralt/jaskier, rated T, warnings for temporary character death and associated musings. prompt from this post
Geraskier alphabet masterpost | Ao3
As soon as he swings Geralt realises his mistake. His sword arcs a fraction of a second too slow to parry the blow coming towards him, and steel cuts through his armour and the flesh beneath. It's a shallow strike, not enough to do any real damage.
But enough to distract him. Another blade pierces his back.
He feels it sink in, though it's Jaskier's anguished scream that pains him the most. Geralt aches with it as he sinks to the ground, praying to any god that might listen for them to protect Jaskier now that Geralt can't.
The sound of Jaskier's cries still echo as Geralt loses his grip on the world.
He opens his eyes.
He sits up, his ears popping at the change in air pressure.
The alley is gone, as is the mob that attacked him. Instead, all Geralt can see are vague shapes and drifting shadow. He doesn't recognise any of it. It's impossible to even tell if it's day or night. Everything seems unfinished, somehow; rough around the edges, like he's viewing it through heavy fog. Geralt frowns as he climbs to his feet.
The pain in his abdomen is gone.
"There you are."
Geralt whirls around to try and face him, and immediately loses his bearings. Not that he had a particularly strong grasp on his surroundings to begin with. He blinks, and squints through the haze of shifting grey, until he sees something coming towards him.
The thing that approaches him is Jaskier – it has to be – though he looks as strange as the rest of this place. It's as if he's straining at the seams, not quite sitting right in his own body. There's something surrounding his form, moving as he moves, like an echo of a shape attached to him. It's too solid to be a shadow, too unformed to be a creature. Whatever it is, it's far, far larger than Jaskier. And it's not shaped like any being Geralt has ever seen before.
"I thought you were already gone," says Jaskier. His voice echoes, yet there's nothing for the sound to bounce off. Perhaps it's echoing inside Geralt's skull. Damned if Geralt fucking knows. If he could feel his head, it would surely be aching already.
Geralt looks around at the vacillating space. There's energy all around him, thrumming against his skin like it has a pulse. Not magic, but something older, perhaps. Something wild. "Where are we?"
"Nowhere, I suppose. It's–" he fumbles for a moment, searching for the right words– "an intermediary space. Like a little pocket of air between our world and the next."
"Am I dead?" He blinks. If he is, does that mean Jaskier is as well? How else could Jaskier be here with Geralt if he wasn't?
"Not yet. Not if I can help it."
Jaskier stares back at him. In this colourless space, his eyes are still blue. Too blue.
"I hope so," he says. He steps closer and takes Geralt's hand in his, squeezing lightly. "I just need you to hold on."
"Jaskier," says Geralt. "What are you?"
Geralt opens his eyes.
Bright sunlight streams into the room, and he squints against it as the realisation comes to him: he's in a room. He can see solid walls around him; feel the rough scratch of the bed sheets beneath him. He can feel the dull ache in his gut where the sword pierced him.
Looking down, he sees Jaskier sat at his bedside, head pillowed on his forearms beside Geralt's hip, his eyes puffy and cheeks tear-stained. There's no twisting shadow creature engulfing him, no sense that he's somehow… off. He's simply Jaskier. And when he blinks his eyes open the blue that stares back at Geralt is the same it's always been, except this time it's rimmed with red from his tears.
"You scared me," he says, his voice soft, as he lifts his head. He looks exhausted, and Geralt wonders how long he's been unconscious, how long Jaskier has sat awake at his bedside. From the state of Jaskier, he wouldn't be surprised if the answer was weeks.
Geralt tries to sit up and Jaskier's hand is immediately on his chest to keep him in place. Despite looking like he'd crumple from a stern glance, he holds Geralt down with ease.
"Careful," says Jaskier. "You were run clean through not two days ago."
Geralt's too tired to argue. He hums and closes his eyes again, though Jaskier's hand doesn't leave his chest. Two days, he thinks. Even a witcher's advanced healing couldn't bring him back from certain death in that time.
The memories of that in-between space are fast fading in Geralt's mind, like a dream slipping away upon waking, but Geralt hasn't lost it all just yet. He looks down at Jaskier.
"What are you?"
"I am your dearly beloved best friend."
"Jaskier," says Geralt.
He sits back in his seat with a sigh. "I had hoped you wouldn't remember."
"I remember." His eyes stay on Jaskier, and he waits.
"I'm not sure you have a word for what I am," Jaskier says in the end.
"You were here before the Conjunction," says Geralt, and Jaskier nods. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I wasn't sure how you'd react, at first," he shrugs, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. "Then it was too late to just come out with it. I didn't want you to think I'd betrayed you by keeping it from you."
Geralt reaches out, then, his hand finding Jaskier's and giving him the same gentle, reassuring squeeze Jaskier had given him while they were… wherever the hell they'd been. He doesn't know what possesses him to do so, and he's sure when he's fully cogent again he'll regret such a foolish gesture, but for now, there's something comforting in the warmth of Jaskier's hand, and in the soft smile that spreads across Jaskier's face at the touch.
"I don't think that," says Geralt.
Jaskier moves forward to settle himself on the sliver of mattress at Geralt's side, his face tucked close to Geralt's neck and a protective hand resting lightly on Geralt's bandaged stomach. His scent, always reminiscent of flowing streams and the forests in springtime, fills Geralt's senses. Geralt finds himself breathing deep.
"You're not allowed to die before I do," Jaskier says.
Geralt shifts to peer down at him as he considers Jaskier's words. It's a scenario he's tormented himself with before, the thought of watching Jaskier age and die, one too awful to think about yet he picks at it like a scab all the same. But that was before. Whatever Jaskier is now – whatever he has always been – has been here long before Geralt, and will surely be here long after him.
Geralt can only hope so. He doesn't know how he is supposed to live in a world that doesn't have Jaskier in it.
"Jaskier," Geralt starts, and he wants to tell him all of that, wants to thank him for everything he's ever done for Geralt in case Jaskier isn't there to save him when the next blade sinks through his skin, but the words catch in his throat. He's not sure Jaskier will want to hear it anyway; it'll sound too much like a goodbye.
Still, he needs Jaskier to know. He can't bear the thought of Jaskier drifting through the Continent in centuries to come, thinking he was never anything but a nuisance to Geralt.
Jaskier is looking up at him, still waiting for the end of Geralt's sentence. Instead of trying to find the words, Geralt leans forward and presses his lips to Jaskier's.
She's a 10 but she decimates any caf in the vicinity.
Send “They’re ’s a 10, but..” and fill in the rest to call out my Muse !
Automatically the Tynnan lay her soft ears flat against her head and looked over the vegetablebed they were both standing by, panting new saplings into the damp, cool earth.
"Oh ex-kriffing-cuse me, Kenobi, but I just happen to not waste my precious time in which I can kriffing work and save some lifes or give a whole kriffing civilisation a new place to live through terraforming, with playing dead on a kriffing soft surface. Like, Kriff this, I am functioning and I am giving kriffing results, so why do you kriffing care anyway? What is about that thing AgriCorps work is mostly done in krififng silence?", she huffed and managed for exactly thirty seconds to do just that, working in silence as a AgriCorps-member, before her head shot up again and a wolfish grin cut like an wound over her small, colourless muzzle.
"And also yes, I am a kriffing 10, already knew that, am pretty aware of that and will continue beeing a kriffing ten for the rest of my kriffing life and then upgrade the Force with my tenness when I eventually join it, You are welcome." , she hummed and shaked her head to make her pelt shimmer in the artifical light like silver. Winking up at the other she purred as sweet as a Loth-kitten:
"But thank you for stating the obvious, thats very sweet of you, pup. You are a ten yourself, so I am happy your eyes are working just as well as your looks."
35, 31, 25, 20, 8, 1 (sorry it’s a lot ‘^^)
Oh no, I don't mind at all if its a lot :] ask away~ I'm assuming this is from the writer ask meme so:
35. Post the last sentence you wrote
- Is this considered spoilers if this is drafting? Lol
"It was the last thing that Tom heard before his world became unfocused and hazy."
31. Top five favorite books in your genre?
- "My" genre, I'm not sure what that means exactly, angst?? General bullshittery?? Well in any case I'll just tell you my favorite books:
1. Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld
2. Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
3. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
4. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
5. Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami
25. What's your worldbuilding process like?
- Well, for worldbuilding I like to look at actual world maps if I'm basing it on real places, then I do things like go to google earth and look around the streets and views to get a general feel of what the area is like. This is also for more fantastical locations since we do base things off reality, then add a little bit of a twist to it ourselves. Sometimes, when I feel motivated, I sketch out the environments to full detail so I can get a clear visual for what everything looks like.
20. Any advice for young writers/advice you wish someone would have given you early on?
- Make.A.Comprehensive.Skeletal.Structure.Of.Your.Story. Direction, direction, direction! When I was younger, I used to throw caution into the wind and just write along without knowing what happens next, I would be just as surprised as my readers when seeing what happens in the story. When I say comprehensive skeletal structure, I mean it for every single chapter, you can have one BIG outline for the general course and plot for the story, but for every individual chapter, at least try to list down what happens so you can see how well it will flow with the rest of them. E.g.
>MC is introduced through a flashback from an outsider's POV
>Cut to present day where MC is being questioned by authorities over a recent murder that they witnessed
>MC is uncooperative, makes it clear they do not like cops
>Reveal in the end that MC is a victim of police brutality, and that the flashback may have more of a story to it regarding MC's hatred for police.
Then if you cut to Chapter 2 you'll get to see if the points of the story connect well or not, example being it would be good to follow MC into a new location brooding over their interaction with the police instead of let's say, a sudden cut to a side character with nothing to do with the current story progression. Unless of course, you mean for it to be jarring and such. Though take my advice with a grain of salt, I'm a professional (or so I like to think given it's how I earn a living) visual artist, not a professional writer.
8. Do you have any writing buddies/critique partners?
- Ahaha I already answered this in a previous ask but, yes I do, only for original works though, not fandom works.
1. Tell us about your WIP!
- My WIP is the last installment of a grievously long fanfic with a word count over 40k+ rejected scenes already. I have been gnawing at my brain trying to make it make sense and going virtually insane doing so, cursing the gods who listen for taking away my muse and leaving me a hollow grey shell of a man I used to be.
Other than that, I'm having fun with the drafts, I relearned that this is supposed to be a fun hobby and I'm treating it as such.
scandalous beauty - dolores del río - an analysis
“I love my native Mexico but I love Hollywood, too. It has brought me much happiness and yet, while here I have been miserably unhappy also. But through it all I have found myself, my work and my true destiny.” - Dolores del Río
Like Lupe Vélez, Dolores del Río was a pioneering Latina actress, however del Río’s reach was longer. Far from being stigmatized as a woman of colour, she was acknowledged as the epitome of beauty in the Hollywood of the 1920s and early 1930s. While she insisted upon her ethnicity, she was nevertheless coded white by the film industry and its fans, and she appeared for more than a decade as a romantic lead opposite white actors. Returning to Mexico in the early 1940s, she brought enthusiasm and prestige to the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, becoming one of the great divas of Mexican film. With struggle and perseverance, she overcame the influence of men in both countries who hoped to dominate her, ultimately controlling her own life professionally and personally. Her sophistication, style and artistry bewitched everyone from Stella Adler to John Ford, Federico Fellini, and her great friends Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, who proclaimed to be “totally in love with her, just like forty million Mexicans and one hundred and twenty million Americans who couldn’t be wrong.” She was America’s first Latina superstar, and by the early 1930s, she was one of Hollywood's ten top moneymakers. Hers was a charmed life, but not even she was without problems. A child of privilege in her native Mexico, her family’s status was destroyed in the Mexican Revolution, and her desire to restore her comfortable lifestyle inspired del Río to follow a career as an actress. Discovered and promoted by American director Edwin Carewe, her obsessive protector and Svengali, as the “female Rudolph Valentino,” del Río’s aristocratic, Spanish-European background was constantly pushed to counteract Hollywood’s racism against Mexicans; indeed she was generally thought to be one of the most beautiful actresses of her era, and was the first Latin American movie star to have international appeal. She worked for over five decades and paved the way for Latin American stars in American cinema.
Dolores del Río, according to astrotheme, was a Leo sun and Aries moon. She was born María de los Dolores Asúnsolo López-Negrete in the Mexican town of Durango; she was an only child born to parents who belonged to the wealthy Mexican aristocracy. She was the second cousin of actor Ramón Novarro and a cousin to actress Andrea Palma. They lived the high life in the company of intellectuals and artists. Dolores attended a prestigious school but soon their world was turned upside down, threatened by an insurrection led by Pancho Villa in the region. Del Río and her mother escaped Mexico City disguised as peasants, while her father crossed the border to the United States. When the family eventually reunited in 1912, they did so under the protection of Francisco I. Madero. In 1920 she married the 18-year older attorney Jaime Martinez del Río and became a socialite. Her career got off to a good start when in 1925 when the lauded American director Edwin Carewe was invited to her home and saw her perform and dance for her family and friends. He persuaded del Río and her husband to moved to the United Sates and go to Hollywood to be in his films. While in Hollywood, del Río played a variety of leading roles, from European aristocrat to "native" girl to European peasant.
Within a few years after her arrival, she was a major hit and her appeal was astonishingly broad. She quickly came to command a substantial salary and to exercise control over her choice of films, scripts, and camera angles. Despite the fact that she did not speak English when she first began and had to have the director 's instructions delivered through interpreters, she made the transition to sound films gracefully. Her accent was deemed slight, attractive, and not specific to a particular country. As socially attractive as she was, physically and personality-wise, the truth is that a major part of del Río’s seamless transition into Hollywood is down to racism and white supremacy. While her contemporary (and nemesis) Lupe Vélez was viewed as the "bad Mexican wildcat" (to be fair, her temperament didn’t help this stereotype), Dolores was viewed as the "good Spanish lady." The contrast between the two stars and their degrees of acceptance reflected society’s stereotypical dichotomy between "good" Spanish and "bad" Mexican images– which has its roots in U.S. history. While most Mexicans were perceived as racially inferior, the elite Hispanic Californianas were deemed European and superior while the mass of Mexican women were viewed as Indian and inferior. Californiana women who possessed land and intermarried with Anglo men were depicted positively; they were represented as aristocratic and virtuous and they epitomized "good" women; but this was at the price of denying their racial identity, and being treated as racially superior to Californiano males and the rest of their people. So as such, she soon divorced her Mexican husband Jaime in 1928 and two years later married MGM art director Cedric Gibbons (who happened to be Gary Cooper’s wife’s uncle).
Soon after her marriage, she was romantically linked with actor Errol Flynn, filmmaker John Farrow, writer Erich Maria Remarque, film producer Archibaldo Burns, and actor Tito Junco. However, it was her affair with Orson Welles, who considered her the love of his life, that was arguably her most high profile relationship. She and Welles met at a party hosted by director Darryl Zanuck. The couple felt a mutual attraction and began a discreet affair, which upon eventual discovery caused the divorce between Dolores and Gibbons. Their relationship lasted for 4 years; she ended it when she got word of Welles cheating on her. She decided to end her relationship with Welles through a telegram that he never answered. According to his daughter, Rebecca, until the end of his life, Welles felt for del Río a kind of obsession. Weeks later, her father died in Mexico. With these personal and professional downturns, Dolores del Río returned to Mexico in the 1940s and became a significant part of the Mexican film industry’s Golden Era. She was the muse of director Emilio Fernández and starred most notably in Las Abandonadas (1944) and La Malquerida (1949). On a national and even international level though, Dolores del Río will perhaps always be best remembered for her role in the 1946 classic María Candelaría, which is said to be the film of which she was most proud. It also marked the first tentative steps of the Mexican film industry into the world of serious cinema and was the first Latin American film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946, where it won the Grand Prix (now known as the Palme d’Or) for Best Picture. After her triumph in her native homeland, she returned to Hollywood and played opposite Henry Fonda in The Fugitive (1947). She continued to work steadily, starring in various TV shows and films until retiring in 1978. On April 11, 1983, del Río died from liver failure at the age of 78 in Newport Beach, California.
Next week, I’ll focus on her one-time lover, an iconoclastic disruptor who took on the conventions of Hollywood and won: the amazing Taurus Orson Welles.
birthdate: August 3, 1904
Overall personality snapshot: She had a large, warm-hearted, extroverted personality that was always eager to embrace life, love and success – in big doses. There was something about her that assumed the divine right to live life to the full, and her intensity and impatience, along with her personal ambitions, pulled her ever onwards into new projects, fresh relationships and greater challenges. She was something of a gambler and had a daring and dramatic spirit which propelled her forward to make her mark, a sense of personal destiny which can only be exciting and noble. And she was prepared to fight for that glorious destiny if she had to, although she would rather simply steal the show and convince everyone with her intelligence, originality, courage and fabulous style. One of her most beguiling qualities is that she was totally lacking in guile and pretense. Although her own personal destiny was what interested her, paradoxically she at first looked for people she could admire and make into personal heroes. Strongly influenced by a favourite teacher, friend, poet, sports champion or movie star, she could then emulate them and learn through experience how to be great.
She loved the process of creating, as well as the applause that came at the end. Indeed, she relied on those adoring strokes and affirmative responses more than she liked to admit. Life without people would be colourless and boring for her. Social interaction was her life-blood – she could be the life of the party, a real ham and an eccentric, ready to take up the most outrageous dare. But when her extrovert escapades dry up, so did she. She may have, in fact, driven herself to exhaustion and then collapse like a child, home from an all-night rave-up. Yet despite her headlong rush into the experience of life, she was not necessarily irresponsible. Daring and highly idealistic dreams worked away inside her and made her want to improve things, to show people the way, and she may have simply taken charge – for a while. Intensely self-motivated, she did not respond well to orders from others, even though she could be quite bossy herself. There is a touch of the preacher inside her, and she approached her work with great enthusiasm and commitment. She needed space to do her own thing, to learn from her own mistakes, and to learn how to impose her own brand of self-discipline. Her innate self-dramatizing tendencies made her a natural for the theater, business, lecturing, the media – areas that involved group interaction and provided scope for her original and iconoclastic ideas.
She had great presence with a strong-featured face and a sunny glow of inner self-confidence and displayed a regal quality in her posture and carriage; was definitely well-built. She sought perfection in whatever she did and could be very critical of herself and her own efforts. In this way, she often became overly critical and pedantic, especially under stress. She was basically an honest person, and it disturbed her greatly when she had to deal with people who were not. Anyone who violated her sense of trust had a very hard time getting it back. It was very important for her to know that she had the security of a guaranteed paycheck coming in regularly. She had an artistic side to her that obviously influenced her choice of career as an actor. Once she had decided upon her career, she was able to (and most certainly did) pursue it with great determination. She had boundless enthusiasm and big ideas coupled with high expectations of succeeding. She was also self-sufficient and broad-minded. Her genuine pioneering spirit, positive outlook and large-scale personal ambitions led her right to the top. She needed to learn to think before you take on a challenge, and all risks should have been carefully considered. She needed to learn to relax and slow down. She was anxious to prove herself both to others and to herself. If anyone said that she couldn’t do something, she defied them to try and stop her. As long as she felt that she was the one in control, she had a high degree of optimism and was fun-loving, loving to play at life.
She had an original mind and used every skill she possessed to gain control of her affairs. She found it hard to let go of the past, and it would have been good if she did so that she could grow. She was willing to tolerate austerity for as long as it was justified. She respected institutions for as long as they served her purpose. She had the ability to judge what was viable or important. She belonged to a generation with fiery enthusiasm for new and innovative ideas and concepts. Rejecting the past and its mistakes, she sought new ideals and people to believe in. As a member of this generation, she felt restless and adventurous, and was attracted towards foreign people, places and cultures. She was part of an emotionally sensitive generation that was extremely conscious of the domestic environment and the atmosphere surrounding their home place and home country. In fact, she could be quite nostalgic about her homeland, religion and traditions, often seeing them in a romantic light. She felt a degree of escapism from everyday reality, and was very sensitive to the moods of those around him. Dolores embodied all of these Cancer Neptunian ideals, when she returned to her native Mexico in 1943, a country of which she was very proud, her decision to return to her roots changed her career. As a Gemini Plutonian, she was mentally restless and willing to examine and change old doctrines, ideas and ways of thinking. As a member of this generation, she showed an enormous amount of mental vitality, originality and perception. Traditional customs and taboos were examined and rejected for newer and more original ways of doing things. As opportunities with education expanded, she questioned more and learned more.
Love/sex life: She had a heroic conception of herself as a lover. She saw herself as strong and in control, the protector of the weak and the saviour of the desperate. Unfortunately, the realities of her love life didn’t always support this notion. Often it was her tender feelings that required protection and her desperate plunges in and out of love that called for a saviour. In order to justify this discrepancy, she often had to be less than honest, both with her lover and herself. The person most likely to win her heart would have been that individual who made it appear as if she was the champion when, in fact, she was the one crying for help. Her tendency toward self-deception often extended to a failure to admit to her very natural emotionalism and sexual passivity. Unfortunately, there always came a day of reckoning when she had to “own” her emotional susceptibility and capitulate to her sloppy feelings of dependency and her deep-seated need for affection. The good news was that surrendering everything for love wasn’t nearly as bad as she thought it was. She may have lost her dignity but what she got in return made it all worth while.
minor asteroids and points:
North Node: Virgo
East Point: Leo
These points in her chart, however minor, packed a major punch in her sex appeal as well. Her North Node in Virgo dictated that her tendency to dream and be disorganized needed to be tempered by developing more practical and down-to-earth attitudes. Her Lilith in Pisces meant that she was a woman who was a natural born mystic and cultivated her own myth. Her Part of Fortune in Taurus and Part of Spirit in Scorpio dictated that her destiny lay in attaining personal freedom through seeking material security and comfort. Happiness and good fortune came through tangible and practical results that had a solid foundation. Her soul’s purpose lay in delving fearlessly into the unknown. She felt spiritual connections and saw the spark of the divine when she could strip away the outer layers of experiences and get to the core of a situation. East Point in Leo dictated that she was more likely to identify with the need for pleasure (including the potential of liking herself) and comfort. Vertex in Sagittarius, 4th house reveals that she dreamt of the pinnacle of adventure when it came to mating. Her psyche yearned to be carried away to the ends of the earth or to be exposed to every manner of religious and/or philosophical theory known to man and then some. Her yearning was strong and really deep when it came to rarefied experiences of any sort. Encountering and wanting to join with her demanded that she always had an itinerary that will provide her with the maps to explore the roads that they have not yet traveled, to say nothing of the different worlds they have dreamed of but not yet experienced. She had a childlike orientation, in all of its manifestations, toward relationships on an internal level. That implicit dependency and impressionable nature that was instilled in her childhood persisted far into maturity. The concomitant explosions and occasional tantrums when these constructs are violated also accompany this position. She had a need for emotional security and comfort in a committed relationship, no matter how many years it has endured. She often had deep fears, typical of children, of abandonment, as well as a need for protection and universal acceptance, no matter how she acted, which she needed her partner to respect and nurture, rather than rebuke, especially in adulthood.
She was dynamic and passionate, with strong leadership ability. She generated enormous warmth and vibrancy. She was exciting to be around, because she was genuinely enthusiastic and usually friendly. However, she could either be harnessed into helpful energy or flame up and cause destruction. Ultimately, she chose the latter. Confident and opinionated, she was fond of declarative statements such as “I will do this” or “It’s this way.” When out of control—usually because she was bored, or hadn’t been acknowledged—she was be bossy, demanding, and even tyrannical. But at her best, her confidence and vision inspired others to conquer new territory in the world, in society, and in themselves. She was a practical, reliable man and could provide structure and protection. She was oriented toward practical experience and thought in terms of doing rather than thinking, feeling, or imagining. Could be materialistic, unimaginative, and resistant to change. But at her best, she provided the practical resources, analysis, and leadership to make dreams come true.
She liked the challenge of managing existing routines with ever more efficiency, rather than starting new enterprises or finding new ways of doing things. She likely had trouble delegating duties and had a very hard time seeing other points of view; she tried to implement the human need to create stability and order in the wake of change.
She had great interest in the unconscious, and indulged in a lot of hidden and secret affairs. Her life was defined by seclusion and escapism. She had a certain mysticism and hidden sensitivity, as well as an intense need for privacy. Traveling, whether physically across the globe, on a mental plane or expanding through study was a major theme in her life. She was not only concerned with learning facts, but also wanted to understand the connections formed between them and the philosophies and concepts they stood for. Her conscience, as well as foreign travel, people and places was also of paramount importance in her life. Her personality, disposition and temperament was highlighted in her life. The manner in which she expressed herself and the way she approached other people is also highlighted. The way she approached new situations and circumstances contributed to show how she set about her life’s goals. Early childhood experiences also factored in her life as well.
She was intelligent, mentally quick, and had excellent verbal acuity. She dealt in terms of logic and reasoning. It is likely that she was left-brained. She was restless, craved movement, newness, and the bright hope of undiscovered terrains. She had vitality and creativity, as well as a strong ego and was authoritarian and powerful. She likely had strong leadership qualities, she definitely knew who she was, and she had tremendous will. She met challenges and believed in expanding her life. She was romantic, attractive and valued beauty, had an artistic instinct, and was sociable. She had an easy ability to create close personal relationships, for better or worse, and to form business partnerships.
She loved being the center of attention and often surrounded herself with admirers. She had an innate dramatic sense, and life was definitely her stage. Her flamboyance and personal magnetism extended to every facet of her life. She wanted to succeed and make an impact in every situation. As a Leo dominant, she was, at her best, optimistic, honorable, loyal, and ambitious. She was a physically oriented individual who took pride in her body. She was bold, courageous, and resourceful. She always seemed to know what she believed, what she wanted from life, and where she was going. She could be dynamic and aggressive (sometimes, to a fault) in pursuing her goals—whatever they might be. Could be argumentative, lacked tact, and had a bad temper. On the other hand, her anger rarely lasted long, and she could be warm and loving with those she cared about. She was a discriminating, attractive, thorough, scientific, hygienic, humane, scientific woman and had the highest standards. Her attention to detail was second to none and she had a deeply penetrative and investigative mind.
Read more about her under the cut.
Dolores del Rio was the one of the first Mexican movie stars with international appeal and who had meteoric career in the 1920s/1930s Hollywood. Del Rio came from an aristocratic family in Durango. In the Mexican revolution of 1916, however, the family lost everything and emigrated to Mexico City, where Dolores became a socialite. In 1921 she married Jaime Del Río (also known as Jaime Martínez Del Río), a wealthy Mexican, and the two became friends with Hollywood producer/director Edwin Carewe, who "discovered" del Rio and invited the couple to move to Hollywood where they launched careers in the movie business (she as an actress, Jaime as a screenwriter). Eventually they divorced after Carewe cast her in her first film Joanna (1925), followed by High Steppers (1926), and Pals First (1926). She had her first leading role in Carewe's silent version of Pals First (1926) and soared to stardom in 1928 with Carewe's Ramona (1928). The film was a success and del Rio was hailed as a female Rudolph Valentino. Her career continued to rise with the arrival of sound in the drama/romance Bird of Paradise (1932) and hit musical Flying Down to Rio (1933). She later married Cedric Gibbons, the well-known art director and production designer at MGM studios.
Dolores returned to Mexico in 1942. Her Hollywood career was over, and a romance with Orson Welles--who later called her "the most exciting woman I've ever met"--caused her second divorce. Mexican director Emilio Fernández offered her the lead in his film Wild Flower (1943), with a wholly unexpected result: at age 37, Dolores del Río became the most famous movie star in her country, filming in Spanish for the first time. Her association with Fernández' team (cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa, writer Mauricio Magdaleno and actor Pedro Armendáriz) was mainly responsible for creating what has been called the Golden Era of Mexican Cinema. With such pictures as Maria Candelaria (1944), The Abandoned (1945) and Bugambilia (1945), del Río became the prototypical Mexican beauty. career included film, theater and television. In her last years she received accolades because of her work for orphaned children. Her last film was The Children of Sanchez (1978). (x)
why do all the words sound heavier in my native language? scratch that. why did I choose to seek refuge in a language of another instead of training my tongue to bear the heaviness of my own?
tagged by: stolen from my old blog.
tagging: it’s all yours.
** Rules ** bold the aesthetic that applies to your muse.
repost. don’t reblog
tired eyes. coffee stains on the table. listening to the bustle of the city. unmade beds. loose ponytails. sunlight seeping through the curtains. chapped lips. walking barefoot across the floorboards. dusty dictionaries. black and white reruns. huge sweaters. the ticking of the clock.hearing birds in the morning. fireplaces. falling asleep during class.
freckles. the sun rising. watching the sea. taking shots of the city. historical museums. bright eyes. looking up at the clouds. walls covered in artworks. drawing in the middle of lessons.tracing your fingers on the sand. painting for hours. staying in uncrowded coffee-shops.worn paperbacks. messy braids. going to bed with your kneesocks on.
dark hair. a little sophisticated. always observing the world around you. intricate designs.high ceilings. extravagant musical pieces. dim lights. colourless photographs. fancy furniture.pale skin. hearing soft footfalls coming from outside the room. mischievous looks. bitten nails. candlelight dinners. dark shades of lipstick.
chandeliers. the clinking of a teacup mug. laced clothing. modern architecture. light hair. watching the view from the terrace. hidden birthmarks. drinking tea in the morning. wandering about in an empty building. botanical gardens. old films. ancient marble. sculptures. expensive perfume. breakfasts in bed. reading about mythology.
compassion. short writings on scraps of paper. blushed cheeks. a bouquet of roses. reading collections of poetry late at night. loose hair. carpeted floors. attending operas. faint music playing in the background. staying under the covers until midday. the night sky.streetlights.picking flowers. dancing around in silk dresses. scented candles.
era aesthetic game.
tagged by : no one i stole it :)
tagging : @nazaeir; @luredeep; @cimetier; @ohkraken, @bladewarde
** Rules : ** bold the aesthetic that applies to your muse. repost. don’t reblog.
𝗠𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗘𝗩𝗔𝗟. tired eyes. coffee stains on the table. listening to the bustle of the city. unmade beds. ponytails. sunlight seeping through the curtains. chapped lips. walking barefoot across the floorboards. dusty dictionaries. black and white reruns. huge sweaters. the ticking of the clock. hearing birds in the morning. fireplaces. falling asleep during class.
𝗥𝗘𝗡𝗔𝗜𝗦𝗦𝗔𝗡𝗖𝗘. freckles. the sun rising. watching the sea. taking shots of the city. historical museums. bright eyes. looking up at the clouds. walls covered in artworks. drawing in the middle of lessons. tracing your fingers on the sand. painting for hours. staying in uncrowded coffee-shops. worn paperbacks. messy braids. going to bed with your kneesocks on.
𝗕𝗔𝗥𝗢𝗤𝗨𝗘. dark hair. a little sophisticated. always observing the world around you. intricate designs. high ceilings. extravagant musical pieces. dim lights. colourless photographs. fancy furniture. pale skin. hearing soft footfalls coming from outside the room. mischievous looks.bitten nails. candlelight dinners. dark shades of lipstick.
𝗖𝗟𝗔𝗦𝗦𝗜𝗖𝗔𝗟. chandeliers. the clinking of a teacup mug. laced clothing. modern architecture. light hair. watching the view from the terrace. hidden birthmarks. drinking tea in the morning. wandering about in an empty building. botanical gardens. old films. ancient marble sculptures. expensive perfume. breakfasts in bed. reading stories about mythology.
𝗥𝗢𝗠𝗔𝗡𝗧𝗜𝗖. compassion. short writings on scraps of paper. blushed cheeks. a bouquet of roses. reading collections of poetry late at night. loose hair. carpeted floors. attending operas. faint music playing in the background. staying under the covers until midday. the night sky. streetlights. picking flowers. dancing around in silk dresses. scented candles.
I choose you - MLQC Lucien Xu
Author Note: Oh boy, I have so many fic ideas for Victor and Lucien from MLQC but I'm not super far in the game and I've spoiled a few things for myself but man why does it have such an engrossing plot. Anyway here's a little word vomit of hopefully coherent thoughts.
Beads of sweat covered her forehead as she stood in the embarrassingly vacant courtyard; her companion watched her with a foreign coldness in his gaze. Never had the man before her, her friend, looked at her with anything other than a reflection of the same admiration she held for him. Yet here they both stood in the suffocating heat. They had for the first time become opposites of each other completely, his stance portrayed that of a regimental killer, calm and reserved. Whereas she stood a complete and utter mess on the verge of a breakdown. Tears pricked at her eyes just as the sun pricked at her skin.
To outside observers they looked like lovers going through an argument; one that casted her as the desperate villain clinging to the words the hero, or perhaps it was the other way around. Maybe as difficult to stomach as she found it, he was the villain. The tension between them had become suffocatingly thick, borderline glue like as they waited for the other to say something. Though she looked like she would falter at any moment she refused to break. She wanted to know that every word he had said to her, to distance himself, he meant. The harsh cut on the ends of his syllables turned his words to knives.
It was his reserved nature that had him distancing himself, each time they occupied the same space he ended up mentally sparring with himself. His field of dull greys and omniscient whites disturbed by the all too mesmerising vibrant wreck in front of him had made his job harder by the second. He’d finally found what he’d been searching for, and the flood of colours had erased years of mental barriers.
As quickly as he had spoken, Lucien walked away. It had been his way to spare himself any further despair and though she couldn’t see it, what he had said had hurt him double. He watched as the smile he adored had shifted into a trembling one, as she struggled to regain composure. The way her brows knitted together as he stepped away from her; her hands lingering at her sides.
Lucien was aware – the very second, they’d met – of what he wanted. He knew he could never have it, not what he really wants- needs. He isn’t like the others; his love can’t last forever. He can’t grow old with her; he can’t even see the beauty of the world around him. So, what would one more heartbreak be for dear old Lucien Xu? That’s what he had told himself.
He’d made it as far as his office door before he noticed her following him. Through his peripheral vision he could see a sheepish smile adorning her features. The same sheepish smile that he had once seen attached to her when she turned up unannounced to his office one evening and then again when she nursed him back to health.
“You walk too fast” She jested; her arms swinging slightly as she exaggerated her breathing. Lucien sighed; he took in her overheated face; sweat pooling beneath her eyes and along her hairline. He’d made up his mind after his body had moved aside for her. He opened his office door to her and let her proceed. “Some of us don’t have the height advantage of a small tree” She continued.
Lucien’s mouth twitched; he was struggling to remain cold. Her body collapsed against his desk, fingers drumming against the wood as she attempted, poorly, to capture her breath. Steady hands reached for a bottle water before flinging it to the young girl; her eyes watching as he leant beside her on the desk.
“You followed me,” Lucien mused, even after everything he said. He’d broken their bond or at least he’d attempted it. She should hate him; she should’ve left and ran to one of the others. They’d have treated her better, they would still treat her better. Even the stoic CEO who had in the past done nothing but sling insults towards the girl would comfort her. “I’ll never understand you” He continued.
“Lucien, I don’t believe you meant what you said” Her answer shot a chill through his body. Of course, he didn’t mean it – not truly. He could never honestly tell her she was unimportant, that she clung to him too much or that her consistent conversations had bored him to the point that he hated her.
Lucien meant the opposite. He savoured the way her hands would wrap around his arm whenever she wanted to show saw something in a shop window, or the way her body would slump against his late at night. He never wanted her to stop speaking to him. No combination of words or equations could show how important she was to him.
“You should leave, I have lectures to prepare and you won’t see me for a while but I’ll keep working when I can to help you with the sho-“Lucien began as he lifted himself from his desk. He didn’t look at her; it would only make this more difficult. Once she had left he could bury himself in his other work, he could disappear for a while and compose himself again.
“You didn’t let me finish. You left before I could say anything.” She paused; she drank some water as though it would give her the strength to say what she wanted to. “I chose you”
Silence bit at his ear in between her harsh breathes. For a moment Lucien forgot to breath. His lungs craving oxygen as he felt the burn in his chest. The idea that a ‘but’ followed her sentences sprung to the forefront of Lucien’s mind. No-one would choose him – at least not after they discovered the real him. Not the Professor. Not Ares. No, his true self had mutated a long time ago leaving only an amalgamation of the two personalities. A cold killer and a colourless Professor.
Lucien adjusts his stance; he kept his back to her. It hadn’t been to hide his features or to keep her from noticing the way his face expressed the remorse he felt currently mixed with the joy of hearing those three little words. Lucien’s mind threw him back to ten minutes before he’d walked off.
They’d stood beside each other as she rambled about her day. Her eyes lighting up as she spoke about her lunch with Kiro and her meetings with Victor. She laughed as she pictured the older CEO struggling to eat the junk food, she’d brought for him after her lunch. Lucien had shared a chuckle with her before she’d made a passing comment about the two of them being a couple. Herself and Lucien. Arm in arm as they crossed the courtyard.
That comment had spurred an internal debate within him; the morals he had once abandoned sprung out at him from wherever they had been buried. He’d battled before with his emotions. Late one evening, he’d called her haphazardly. She’d beamed as she spoke with him, her voice lulling the anxiety within his chest. He’d break her heart when she found out, when she eventually realised how ruthless he could be.
“In a thousand lifetimes, I would find you, Lucien Xu” She whispered; he tensed the second he felt her arms wrap around his torso, her head resting against his back. “I’d choose you, so please. I beg you don’t push me away”
“Even if I became a villain. Even if it were safer for you, you’d still choose me” Lucien uttered. She didn’t answer instead she tightened her arms, her head nodding against his back. A pained smile crossed Lucien’s face, as he placed his hands atop hers. His eyes closing, the small gesture had been a punch to the face. Unfamiliar emotions, that he had once thought himself incapable of, had been stoked by her words.
(Tsugikuni Yoriichi x Reader)
Summary: "If it’s broken steel, I’ll reforge it; if it’s a wound, I’ll sew it; and if it’s shattered porcelain, I will gather the pieces and mend it with gold.”
Notes: 3.5K words. I wrote this with a male reader in mind, but it is also possible to read them as gender neutral (so long as you suspend disbelief about social norms of the era) since there are no gendered pronouns. There are cultural notes at the bottom.
You meet him as the sun meets the sky for the first time that day, an ink black night giving way to a scarlet dawn. His hair and eyes are more vivid than daybreak itself; his expression—framed by that large, sweeping birthmark—is more striking even if profoundly sad. You glance at his fiery blade, split across the middle, and you click your tongue.
"You're lucky that it's me out here and not my father." You whistle at the clean break of his nichirin steel. "He'd have killed you for this."
Tsugikuni Yoriichi bows his head, his irises hidden beneath thick lashes.
"I have dishonoured him greatly by damaging his sword. I offer my deepest apologies."
What a stiff guy.
Behind your mask, your mouth slants a bit.
"I'll do you a favour, Tsugikuni-dono," you say. "I'll fix it right up for you, and it can be our secret, hm? My father will never know."
Tsugikuni Yoriichi is not only stiff, but is also an oddball. From the moment you took hold of that violent, red blade, you had identified him as the great ingenue of the demon slayers: talented beyond belief, able to combine the breath of the sun itself with your precious steel. For someone with such renown, you'd have expected the sort of personality possessed by that Rengoku fellow you’d once met, or perhaps even Oyakata-sama himself: charismatic, bright, an inspiration.
Instead, Yoriichi is reserved, often sad, and frankly a little boring.
Still, you like his company. He entertains your musings about your craft; you entertain his meditations about his. In your spare time, you watch him train with his temporary sword, and you find your eyes following the lithe form of his body with every slash. His face begets neither effort nor passion as he cuts down his sparring partners; it only, as usual, looks a little sad.
If it were not for the slight melancholy in his expression, he would nearly seem like a machine: less human and closer to one of your sparring puppets, except faster and more skilled than any of them. He could probably destroy all of your creations in an instant.
"I think the only person who'd give you a run for your money," you remark one day, "is yourself."
"Hm?" He glances up. "What do you mean?"
"I mean you make every other slayer look like a joke. I don't even know why you train with them."
A hint of surprise crosses his face.
"...I suppose that sparring is more to their benefit than it is to mine." He pauses. "You are right. There really only are a handful of people who can properly engage me in a match. Rengoku, Sakonji… my brother."
"Seems like an awful lot of time spent training with no benefit to you." You lean back, study his straight back and movements, which are concise and perfect even outside of swordplay. "...I could make a machine to mimic you."
"I make puppets to help the other slayers train. I'm sure you've seen them—those freaky looking, faceless dolls." A hint of recognition crosses his face. "I could probably make one of you. Your disciples could practice the basics with it; it would free up some of your time."
He tilts his head.
"...it would," he agrees. "What would it take?"
"Probably a lot of time. And I'd have to study you, maybe prod at you for dimensions. It'd probably be really annoying for you. Would you mind?"
What a futile request to make of reserved, solemn Yoriichi who is only concerned with training slayers and being sad over something distant. Of course he'd mind, you think.
Yoriichi bows his head.
"Not at all."
"First form again," you demand.
His blade parts the air in two, his silhouette briefly brighter than the sun. Once, you'd been in awe of his swordplay; now, you are only indignant.
"How the fuck do you move so fast?"
"It's just how I've always been," he replies simply. "Should I slow down for you?"
"No, no…" You frown, throwing aside your notes to approach him. "The whole point is to get the puppet as fast as you. There's no point if you slow down. I'll find a workaround, somehow…"
You pull out your measuring tape.
"In the meantime, I'll take your measurements. Arms out, Tsugikuni."
He is quiet as you count the shaku spanning the length of his torso, his legs, his waist. He is so still and lacks such presence that you lose yourself in the work, almost forgetting that you are measuring a human and not a statue. So absorbed in your observations, you do not notice how close your faces are to one another as you loop your tape around his neck, leaning in to read the number.
The tip of your mask’s nose hits his chin.
The corner of his mouth lifts, and you stop.
"...did you just smile?"
The hint of mirth disappears, replaced by surprise.
"...I suppose I did."
"Huh." You raise a brow. "What's so funny?"
He is quiet.
"Come on," you urge, glancing back down at the tape, a thumb skimming across the skin above his pulse. "You're always so serious. What's finally gotten you to smile?"
Just by a bit, his mouth lifts up again.
Of course it's your fucking mask! Even though you wear it for most of your waking hours, you truly loathe the thing.
"Oh, yeah. It's ridiculous, isn't it?" You snort. "Laugh all you want—I'll have you know, I'm actually very good looking beneath this thing. You'll be stunned the day I take this off!"
And reserved, solemn Yoriichi who is always sad over something distant… laughs.
Yoriichi may have laughed at you and taken your claim as a joke, but you later prove him wrong.
You stay up together one night, after you've convinced him into having a drink. You’ve intuited that Yoriichi is not often one for play, but with all the time you've invested together in your woefully slow machine, the two of you are reasonably close. Close enough to make exceptions. You discover that he doesn't like sake but he does like shochu, so you make sure to keep his cup refilled.
It relaxes him. Reserved, solemn Yoriichi gives way to someone with eyes that are a little less sad and a mouth that is a little more pliant.
"I'm usually not one to drink," he admits.
"Oh no? You don't say… I'd have never guessed…"
A little laugh.
"You really see through me, don't you?"
"Well, I've got to look at you for several hours a day. I'd have to be blind to not see you."
The corner of his mouth dances yet again, and you find yourself staring at it.
"Besides you, I really only ever drink with my brother." Yoriichi's eyes are softer than usual. "...but I don't know if he sees me as well as you do."
Ah. Back to that sad expression, which no longer seems to be so distant.
"You seem to be very close," you observe.
"He's kind to me. He's been kind my whole life." Yoriichi stares at the pale, round cup of rice liquor before him. It gleams in the low light, almost like a moon within his palms. "We got separated for a long while… It was necessary, but lonely. I hope it never happens again."
A sigh. Closed eyes, red jewels hidden by thick lashes.
"Ah, what am I saying? I must be drunker than I thought." He glances over at you, thoughtful. "Actually… I've drunk quite a bit, but you've hardly touched your cup!"
"Oh, right." One hand cups the porcelain; the other brushes the edge of your mask. "Forgot to. This thing was in the way."
You toss your mask aside.
Yoriichi's eyes go wide. He leans in, as if fascinated.
"Something on my face?" you ask, a brow raised.
"No… nothing… it's just… you really aren’t bad looking. You weren't kidding."
You tilt your head and try not to grin at his open fascination. You'd have never expected him to make such a remark upon your first meeting. Either the shochu really has muddied his mind, or else he's making an exception for you in his behaviour—a larger one than usual. Never did you imagine that Tsugikuni Yoriichi would look like a bewildered, village girl, with his usually sombre eyes wide and a little shocked.
"Mesmerized by my good looks?" you tease. "You wouldn't be the first."
A long pause, then something that sounds suspiciously like a snort.
"I just wouldn't have guessed," he explains, "with that mask you wear all the time."
"Fair enough," you comment. You watch him as you take your first draught, sweet hints of golden barley burning your throat. With the heat, it is like you are swallowing the sun. “I'd have never guessed you could be so fun, Tsugikuni."
Not with that mask you wear all the time.
A faint smile crosses his face, and you raise your drink.
“It’s nice to see you come out of that shell.”
"It's ugly as sin," you despair, "but it's the only solution I've got. Two hands on this thing is not enough to mimic how fast you are."
Yoriichi crosses his arms, considers the faceless, colourless doll before him. It matches the shape of his body perfectly except for the two extra pairs of arms. You try to console yourself with the idea that it has the silhouette of a god, but really, it looks more like a monstrosity right now.
"It's not that bad," he concludes. "It'll do well enough for training."
"Yeah, I guess."
A long pause.
"I'm gonna get some paint,” you resolve. “And clothes. Do you have an extra set of clothing?”
"I need the clothes to mimic the resistance you'd get from your own," you clarify. "The paint is just to make the doll less ugly. By the way, I'm gonna need you to stay still for about an hour each day so I can figure out how to sculpt your face."
He stares at you.
"Why not? That thing’s an eyesore right now. If I have to look at it all day for maintenance, I’d rather it be good to look at.”
Shortly after you finish the machine, Yoriichi leaves.
The mission is a long one, and his absence is a shock to your routine. You are used to greeting him in the morning and watching him practice with his blade; you are accustomed to his quiet presence in the forge; you have come to expect his company while drinking into odd hours of the night. Without reserved, solemn Yoriichi, who is always a little sad and frankly a little boring… life is awfully dry.
He comes back at dawn one day, with a broken arm and a broken sword. You click your tongue when you see him, crossing your arms.
"I'm lucky your father isn't the one out here?" he guesses.
"Yeah, he'd finish that demon's job and kill you." You clap his shoulder; he winces but does not complain. "You can't run off and just die, alright? I'd get bored without my drinking buddy, you know."
His mouth slants, and his eyes light up like a red dawn.
"I won't die," he replies.
"Sure. But that means nothing to me if you aren't here having a drink with me, alright? You have to visit too."
"Of course I'll always visit. I have to do that every time I break my sword…” He pauses, an obvious flash of guilt glinting in his eyes. “Though of course, it's not like I try to damage it… Really, I don't mean to…"
"No need to worry," you interrupt. "Whatever breaks, I can fix it."
With Yoriichi's wounds, you have to help him enter the hot spring. The rocks seem almost perilous with his unsteady limp, and his body, leaning against yours, seems nearly fragile. Never did you think that Tsugikuni Yoriichi, the unbreakable pillar of the Slayer Corps, could be so vulnerable with another human, but you suppose that he makes exceptions around you.
Once the two of you have slid into the water, bodies hidden by steam, you let go of him completely. His features are hazy in the hot mist, the shock of his red hair and the curve of his birthmark clearest to you. Also unmissable is the gauze hiding the bottom part of that mark, hiding a nasty wound imparted by a demon.
He catches you staring, and he tilts his head.
“Something wrong? You look upset.”
“Hm?” You straighten up, blinking. “Do I?”
He nods. And it’s strange, because you do not remember the last time you let onto any misery—not because you particularly hide it, but simply because you aren’t a sombre person… quite unlike Yoriichi.
But the sun breather only looks curious today, leaning in as he asks, “What’s on your mind?”
“Just thinking about how banged up you are. It looks brutal.”
“I guess it does.” His mouth slides into a lopsided smile. “You don’t have to worry about me, though. I’m used to it.”
“That’s… not good.” You frown, holding your chin with your hand. “They do a decent job patching you up?”
Briefly, his expression mirrors yours.
“For the most part. But the cut on my cheek opened up this morning. I probably need it looked at again.”
“Yeah? I can do it for you, if you want. I’m good with stitches.”
He blinks, eyes widening a bit. “You are? Is that common for the swordsmiths?”
“No.” You lean back, expression melting into something neutral. “I’ve just known a lot of slayers. I was pretty close to one, a while back—made a puppet out of him, much like I did with you. Shockingly, he was more prone to injury than you, so I just picked up some healing techniques to help him.”
“Close?” Yoriichi asks, voice suddenly faint.
“Yeah?” You tilt your head. And, not one you miss an opportunity, you shoot: “I’ve got a lot of friends, you know—not just you.”
His shoulders relax. He asks, “Who? I might know him.”
“I think you would—he’s pretty high-ranking and well-known, as I recall. Kawabata Akihiko.”
And it is nearly imperceptible, but of course, you’ve studied his movements so often and know them so intimately that you cannot miss the sudden tension in Yoriichi's body.
“Oh." He pauses. "I haven’t worked closely with him, but I do know of him.”
How could Yoriichi not? Kawabata’s personality and accomplishments are impossible to miss: he is loud and besides his talent in swordsmanship, he is also a known essayist fixated on male colours. You must admit that you have found beauty in several of his works. With the changes in Yoriichi’s expressions—recognition and a hint of something more complicated—you figure that he must know of Kawabata’s reputation.
A long pause.
“...he’s a good guy,” you relay, for some reason eager to break the silence. “Really fun.”
“We should all go drinking someday. He’s a friendly fellow, and you could use more friends.”
The mist hangs heavily between you two.
“...what makes you say that?” Yoriichi asks, voice slow and quiet but firm.
You shrug. “It’s like you said, Tsugikuni—I see through you.”
A smile breaks out, but it is not like the one that typically accompanies his rare laughter.
“I guess you do.”
For months, Yoriichi leaves again. You fiddle with the puppet in the meantime, oiling and tinkering with its insides after each training session with one of the rookies. It floors each one of them with its six, god-like arms—even when it is slow in comparison to the man in whose image it was created. It does not compare to the original.
Unlike the other dolls, who are without features nor colour, you take care to maintain its exterior. You’ve spent an inordinate amount of time crafting it to look like Yoriichi, and you will not let it go to waste. You mend the cloth of its kimono that has been cut by blades; you polish the porcelain of his face. When you apply new coats of paint, you are careful in tracing precisely the curve of that birthmark. Even so, you often find yourself dissatisfied. Studying its slim eyes—focused and distant with something sad—you do not think it captures the striking gaze of Yoriichi.
Your fingers slide over the curve of its cheekbone. You take off your mask to get a closer look, leaning toward it to study the porcelain. Your noses nearly touch. Up this close, you ascertain that even with your high skill, this image of his visage is simply not the same.
It cannot compare to the original.
At the edge of the forest, you hear the melody of a shakuhachi. Lilting and off-tune, it is grating to the ears, disturbing the tranquility of dawn.
You follow the noise, intent on scolding whomever is playing the flute, but you find yourself deflating when you immediately recognize red hair and a pair of hanafuda earrings. It is the figure you have committed permanently to memory, after all.
“That sounds,” you say, “fucking terrible.”
Yoriichi lowers his hands, wood dropping to his side. When he turns around, you cannot help but feel poorly: though amused, his expression is profoundly tired.
“Sorry,” he apologizes. “It is a child’s plaything, to be honest, ill-suited to real music.”
Your brow furrows. “Why are you carrying around a children’s toy?”
“It’s a memento.” He looks down at the piece of wood, and you can tell that it was crafted carefully in spite of its sharp, off-key notes. “My brother gave it to me when I was little.”
“...he told me when he gave it to me,” Yoriichi relays, “that if I played it, he would come to me no matter where I am. It meant a lot to me. I was—” His lashes hide his eyes. “—I was an isolated child. Besides my mother, no one paid attention to me, but my brother… he was kind to me. Even if he did not see me, he was kind to me.”
A long pause.
“He became a demon.”
All you can do is stare at Yoriichi’s bitter smile, for once at a loss for words.
“I’ve been banished from the Corps. I will no longer be coming to this village.”
A deep breath.
“...you came to say goodbye.”
Yoriichi looks down. Reserved, solemn Yoriichi who is always sad over something now so clear to you—he cannot face you.
“I am sad to bid you farewell,” he says faintly. “You were my only…”
Your only what?
Your only what?
“...you were the only person who saw me,” he finishes.
He leaves as the sun rises, and you have never hated dawn so much.
Your hand cups porcelain, and you stare into the cheap afterimage of his eyes.
It cannot compare to the original.
You find Yoriichi at a bar. It is unexpected, because he is not often one to play, but you suppose it does not seem like leisure. He does not seem to be enjoying himself in the least. He holds a cup of moonshine in his hands, staring quietly into its pale reflection.
His eyes widen.
“...what are you doing here?”
You drop down beside him. Never missing an opportunity to tease him, you smartly reply, “Figured you could use some company. You have no friends besides me, after all.”
He puts down his cup, smiling. It is still sad, you think, but perhaps less disconsolate.
“Well, that might really be true now.”
“I was afraid of that.”
A long pause. Your eyes trace the curve of his birthmark, and then the gauze resting beneath it.
“You look like shit.”
“I feel like it,” he admits. “Without the support of the slayers, medical treatment is hard to come by…”
“Then you should let me take a look.”
He glances at you, surprised.
“Didn’t I tell you?” You lean in, fingers rising up to touch the gauze hiding his wound. As you study his eyes, you think: yes, nothing could ever compare to the original. “Anything that breaks, I’ll fix it."
He stares. You return his gaze, full of conviction.
"If it’s broken steel, I’ll reforge it; if it’s a wound, I’ll sew it; and if it’s shattered porcelain, I will gather the pieces and mend it with gold.”
His eyes close. From beneath his lashes, a light rain falls.
Your lip quirks.
“Of course I will. I need your company, remember? Who else am I going to drink with?”
He opens his eyes. A smile shines at you.
“I’m happy,” he whispers.
“Good. You’re almost never happy.”
A quiet laugh. Then a pause.
“...I need you by my side too,” he confesses.
He leans in.
“After all, you are my only…”
Your only what?
Say it this time, Tsugikuni.
I need to hear it.
To others, Tsugikuni Yoriichi is a machine of unparalleled skill, focused only on slaying demons and training disciples. To others, he is always reserved, always distant, and often sombre.
But for you, he makes exceptions.
“You are my only."
Note: I think that was the most romantic thing I’ve ever written and I feel like only two people will read it? Haha, it’s very niche. If you have time, please do let me know if you enjoyed it! :)
In feudal Japan, same-sex love was quite accepted and thus both Yoriichi and the MC (if you read them as male) were pretty chill with developing feelings for one another.
“Danshoku” or “male colours” was a term referring to love between men (I think often used sexually, though it wasn’t here).
Thank you to @chimera-kraken for helping me with the above historical details!
“Kintsugi” or “golden joinery” is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. (Lifted this definition from the Wiki page.)
𝐞𝐫𝐚 𝐚𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐠𝐚𝐦𝐞.
bold the aesthetics that applies to your muse.
𝐦𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐚𝐥．tired eyes． coffee stains on the table． listening to the bustle of the city． unmade beds． ponytails． sunlight seeping through the curtains． chapped lips． walking barefoot across the floorboards． dusty dictionaries． black and white reruns． huge sweaters． the ticking of the clock． hearing birds in the morning． fireplaces． falling asleep during class．
𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞．freckled skin． the sun rising． watching the sea． taking shots of the city． historical museums． bright eyes． looking up at the clouds．walls covered in artworks． drawing in the middle of lessons． tracing your fingers on the sand． painting for hours．staying in uncrowded coffee - shops． worn paperbacks． messy braids． going to bed with your knee socks on．
𝐛𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐪𝐮𝐞．dark hair． a little sophisticated． always observing the world around you．intricate designs． high ceilings． extravagant musical pieces． dim room lights． colourless photographs．fancy furniture． hearing soft footfalls coming from outside the room． mischievous looks． bitten nails． candlelight dinners． dark shades of lipstick．
𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥．chandeliers． the clinking of a teacup mug． laced clothing．modern architecture． light hair．watching the view from the terrace． hidden birthmarks．drinking tea in the morning． wandering about in an empty building． botanical gardens． old films． ancient marble sculptures． expensive perfume．breakfasts in bed． reading stories about mythology．
𝐫𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐜．compassion．short writings on scraps of paper． blushed cheeks． a bouquet of roses．reading collections of poetry late at night． loose hair． carpeted floors． attending operas． faint music playing in the background． staying under the covers until midday． the night sky． streetlights． picking flowers． dancing around in silk dresses． scented candles．