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concussed-to-pieces · a year ago
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Stay Safe Part Three: Vibroblade Mettle
Fandom: The Mandalorian [Star Wars]
Pairing: Eventual Mandalorian [Din Djarin]/Reader
Rating: Holy shit M.
AN: Welcome one and all, welcome to what I like to consider my specialty: a good ol’ dustup. Also this chapter is very long, I do apologize. Enjoy!
Tag List: @wrestlingfae @toxiicpop @helplessly-nonstop @huliabitch @culturalrebel @literal-fand0m-trash @sinnamon-bunn @fioccodineveautunnale @hxldmxdxwn @lizajane3 @thewaythisis @nellyneko
Part One [Should Have Known Better]
Part Two [Tranquil Turmoil]
[!TRIGGER WARNING!: This installment contains graphic depictions of gore. Stay safe!]
The morning of the long-anticipated fracas broke blessedly clear. 
You wrapped the blanket around your shoulders and got to your feet, tiptoeing past the still-sleeping shock trooper. 
Someone had hung your clothes up to dry. A certain cape and flight suit were also slung over the indoor line, and beskar armor was laid out in uniform rows on a blanket off to the side.  
Your eyes fell on the form that was currently propped up beside the door, his arms crossed and the chin of his helm resting on his chest. All he wore at this point was a thin liner shirt and compression leggings; for some reason he had kept his gloves and boots on. Again, you were uncertain if he was actually sleeping, or simply being very still. You chose to err on the side of caution and carefully, so carefully, you crept to where your clothes hung. 
They were still a little damp, but you could definitely put them back on. The mud was gone as well. Rinsed out with the rain, no doubt. 
Risking another glance at the downright underdressed Mandalorian (he hadn't stirred), you yanked your threadbare intimates off the line and quickly shimmied back into them under the cover of your loaned tunic. Moving as swiftly as possible, you hauled up your pants and then jerked the oversized tunic over your head to trade it out with your own. There was a heart-stopping moment where your elbow got caught in the tunic's shoulder before you managed to free yourself without any excessive noise, stumbling slightly.
The whole process took maybe three harried minutes, but when you looked over to the doorway again you noticed with a jolt of horror that the Mandalorian's head was now tipped against his shoulder slightly, as if to turn it away from where you were standing.
"Sorry." You whispered, feeling silly for worrying when you received no reply. Your hands neatly folded the borrowed tunic and you tucked it under your arm as you heard the child wake up. "Good morning, sweetheart." You murmured to them, tracing a finger over one of their oversized ears while they yawned and rubbed their eyes. "Let's get some breakfast and leave these two to rest a little more. Big doings today. Need to be at our best."
The baby wriggled in their bassinet, tiny hands clasping at your tunic when you lifted them up. 
You turned to depart, but paused by the door curtain. "Hey, say goodbye to your papa." You urged them softly, freeing up one of their hands to flap it enthusiastically at the slumbering man on the floor. The baby giggled, clearly enjoying this new game. "He's working really hard, so we have to work hard too, okay?" You informed the child gravely, beeping their nose afterwards. "Can't be whining about Nevarro. We've got to be strong."
...
The Mandalorian took the child off your hands shortly after he emerged fully-armored from the barn. He didn't actually say anything, he just extended his arms and you got the gist. 
You watched him walk away, gloved fingers gesturing animatedly at the baby. It was as if they were having a conversation without words, the baby offering him contemplative noises in response to his motions. 
Winta, Omera's child, tugged on your sleeve. "Mama asked me to come and get you. She said you have a really important job tonight so she wants to make sure you're okay." The child relayed.
"Lead the way, kiddo." You replied, your brow furrowing in confusion. What could Omera possibly want with you?
After her child brought you to her, Omera sent the young girl on her way and then indicated for you to sit on the porch alongside her. You were silent for several minutes while the woman patched a hole in one of their sieve baskets, unsure if she needed the time to gather her thoughts.
"Winta's father, my husband, was a strong man." Omera murmured, her brown eyes far away. "He believed he could protect everyone, much like your Mandalorian seems to believe. But…" She inhaled, turning to look at you. "He was not invincible. A moment came where a choice needed to be made, and he sacrificed himself for the greater good."
"What…" You gulped, your words suddenly refusing to cooperate. "Wh-What happened?"
"A contingent of Klatoonians circled around to the hut that we had hidden the younglings in." The older woman said softly. "Winta's father made the choice to protect the children and provide them a distraction so they could escape."
Your heart ached for her. No wonder many of the villagers seemed to look upon Omera as a leader of sorts. Her husband had paid the ultimate price to save the future of their settlement, a price that left her counting the cost every day. And now…
The realization dawned on you that the reason for this conversation was...that future had been entrusted to you.
"Nothing and no one is getting past me. I swear." You promised her, meaning every word. "We've all trained for this. With Cara and the Mandalorian, and everyone's planning, I know that-"
"Are you prepared to make the same choice my husband made?" Omera interrupted, her question devastatingly pragmatic. "Are you prepared? What if one of your friends must make that choice? What then?"
"I…" you hesitated. Friends. "I don't really know. All I know is that I'm going to do everything I can to keep everyone safe. No matter what it takes." You clenched your fist. "You have to count the cost and take the plunge sometimes."
"Let's both hope that our costs will be low in the light of tomorrow's dawn." Omera extended her hand and you clasped her forearm, her own fingers cupping your elbow. "Your Mandalorian seems to care for that child very much." She observed, seemingly at random until you followed her gaze to where the armored man was sitting on a rock. 
He was shifting his weight back and forth, absently knocking out a rhythm on his cuisses. The child played in the grass at his feet, waving their arms as the man aimed more of those odd gestures at them. His fingers were strangely nimble for someone wearing such thick gloves. You wondered privately if it was some kind of secret bounty hunter code.
"If you don't mind me asking, was...was your husband good with children?" You queried.
Omera shook her head with a wistful smile. "Maker, no." She chuckled. "At least not at first. Until we had Winta, he was a nervous wreck around the younglings. But once she was born, he…" She trailed off, her smile fading. "Excuse me, I'm sorry. I'm still...it's-it's difficult to talk about him." She squeezed your arm apologetically. "Hold on to your friends for as long as you can. You're still so young."
A lump of uncertainty swelled in your throat and all you could do was nod in response. Could you even call them friends?
The Mandalorian suddenly barked, "spit that out!", the sharp order making both you and Omera look up. When you glanced over, the armored man was on the ground trying to wriggle what appeared to be the business end of a mudjumper out of the child's mouth. 
You snorted, struggling to stifle your giggles and almost succeeding. Until Omera erupted into peals of laughter, that is. The Mandalorian's shoulders shot up around where his ears would be, and he slowly turned to look for the source of the noise. As strange as it was to say, you could tell he was sheepish just by the little two-fingered wave he directed at you.
The armored man scooped up the child once the mudjumper crisis had been averted, long strides carrying him to where yourself and Omera sat. "You two see something funny?" He asked. Maker, was he being playful?
"Nope!" You squeaked. "Nope, nothing at all."
"Does the little one do that often?" Omera inquired, smiling again when the Mandalorian heaved a sigh and nodded rapidly. 
"Ask them, they're the ones that ended up keeping him from choking most of the flight here." He replied, tilting his head in your direction.
"He's young, everything is new and interesting." You surmised.
"He's fifty." The Mandalorian said flatly. "This is a little old man in nerf's clothing. Don't be fooled."
"No he's not." You crooned, taking one of the proffered tiny green hands and gently swinging it back and forth while the baby babbled happily. "With those eyes? They're just a sweet innocent little baby convor."
"With the killer instinct to match." The Mandalorian retorted. "Did you see that mudjumper? This kid has a slimy body count."
"Do you?" You asked the child, smiling when they shrieked in reply. "Have you got a body count, baby bird of prey?" 
"For tonight." The Mandalorian said, suddenly back to being all-business. His rapid changes of conversation would be the death of you. "I know you're stationed with the little ones. If everything goes as planned, you won't even see action."
"I can hope, but I'll be ready either way." You murmured. Omera's hand squeezed your arm again and the widow got to her feet, waving goodbye to the baby before she departed with her mended basket. "Her husband had my job and he…" You trailed off, swallowing. "I-I guess I'm a little worried." You admitted quietly.
"I don't want you pulling any heroics." The armored man grunted. "Enough of these people are hellbent on being the front lines. They've never been able to think about revenge before, and now that they are, well." He turned, actually looking at you. "You have the important job. Foundlings are...excuse me, younglings are the only way this place will live on."
"I understand." You hesitated, then asked, "can I hang onto that vibroblade for tonight? The one I've been practicing with?"
"It's yours." The Mandalorian answered firmly. 
"What, no, that thing's power cells alone probably cost a fortune. Just let me use it ton-"
"I said. It's. Yours." The man growled, propping his boot up on the porch. You got the impression that he was glaring. "You need it, you use it, you keep it."
"I hope I don't have to use it." You mumbled, wishing you didn't sound quite so scared.
"For your sake, I hope you can use it if it comes down to it."
I hope you can use it if it comes down to it.
You scoffed to yourself, pacing back and forth in front of the hut doorway. More than anything, you prayed that the front lines would hold. You prayed that everyone would stay safe and that you wouldn't have so much as a glimpse of action.
Your prayers appeared to go unanswered when you heard the crash crash crash of ground-shaking footfalls. The children began to whimper amongst themselves, one girl bursting into tears when a thunderous salvo went off. That would be the AT-ST.
You knelt beside the little girl, doing your best to soothe her panic. "It's just loud. Just noise. Like thunder, you know?" You reasoned quietly, relieved when she blinked back her tears and nodded.
There was the sound of running outside, and the guttural yells of the raiders began to reach your ears. That boded poorly. The barricades were supposed to funnel them to the villagers, had the place already been overwhelmed?
Your brow furrowed. "Stay put, and stay quiet." You instructed Winta, doing your best to keep your voice steady. "You're in charge of the others if I have to leave at some point. I'm counting on you, Sneaks."
The little girl nodded solemnly, holding the baby in her lap. The large-eared being blinked up at you with those enormous eyes, lower lip quivering slightly.
"Hey now, it'll be okay. Don't you worry!" You cajoled, rising to your feet with an easy smile. You turned on your heel to go check the doorway again--
You caught a fleeting glimpse of a hulking form and then the stock of a blaster rifle slammed into your stomach, crushing all the breath out of your lungs with a single, calculated blow. You crumpled to your knees, retching. The world spun in grayscale, a set of boots dizzily coming into your field of vision. 
The barrel of the blaster pressed against the side of your head.
The younglings.
The younglings! Move, damn it!
All of Cara's training rushed to the forefront of your brain and you lunged into the raider's legs, knocking him flat on his back. His shot went wide, blowing a hole in the ceiling overhead. In the breathless second before he comprehended that he had missed, you managed to draw the vibroblade. Swinging from the side with all your strength, you watched his face tear under the brutal assault of the steel.
It was terrible. It was so much worse than you could have imagined. What had you even been thinking, getting involved in something like this? This was nothing like the brawls you had gotten into over mining deposits or repair jobs. This was a thousand times worse.
A moment came where a choice needed to be made, and he sacrificed himself for the greater good. 
Could you make a choice like that? Did you trust yourself with a choice like that?
A soft whimper from behind you effectively put an end to your moral quandary and your eyes narrowed.
You staggered back up, sucking wind, your shaky fingers tearing the knife loose. Armed with the whirring blade, legs akimbo over the limp form, you weren't even afforded the time to move forward before another Klatoonian made their way through the door. 
You lowered your head slightly, gripped the vibroblade a little tighter and gritted your teeth. The raider foolishly wasted his opportunity to attack you immediately, deciding instead to leer at the terrified younglings behind you. That is, until he seemed to notice the body you stood over, his eyes widening and the blaster he held jerking upwards. 
At that point it was too late. You were already on him like a wild nexu, yowling and snarling as you used the momentum of your attack and lower center of gravity to tackle him backwards out of the hut. Your elbow rammed into his arm, knocking the blaster to the side before he could use it.
Half of the fight is the noise you make. If you're louder, you're stronger! You're scarier! Cara's instructions rang in your head.
You braced the pommel of your blade with your palm and shoved it home between the helmet and armor just like the Mandalorian had shown you. It was strangely simple, the raider gurgling and flailing their arms before collapsing.
You yanked the blaster from his limp hands, fumbling to find the trigger on the unfamiliar weapon. This was bad. They weren't supposed to have even gotten this far! Something must have gone wrong on the front lines. Had Cara or the Mandalorian been taken out? 
Focus. Don't panic. Focus. You inhaled, staggering a bit as another bombardment from the walker rocked the ground. That was the problem. They hadn't gotten rid of the AT-ST yet. No doubt all manpower was currently dealing with that issue, leaving gaps in the front line that the raiders were exploiting.
You tore your eyes away from the body in the dirt beside you, glancing around. The Klatoonian raiders appeared to have the upper hand. The AT-ST loomed in the distance, its two red viewports glowing like the eyes of a massive beast. Everywhere you looked, you saw villagers engaged with the raiders. It was chaos.
You pulled the trigger as a knee-jerk reaction when a raider rushed at you. The gun had more kick than you expected, bucking hard against your shoulder and the raider was still coming for you. You frantically fought with the trigger, realizing almost too late that the gun needed to be primed before it could be fired. 
You braced yourself better this time and your aim was true, dropping the raider what felt like bare inches away from you.
Count the cost and take the plunge.
Your back straightened up and you returned to your origin point, nervously shifting your weight back and forth on trembling legs. Despite your fear, despite your inexperience, you vowed you would not be moved from this spot. Protect the younglings. 
The fight felt like it just went on and on. You pulled the trigger again and again, your shots missing more often than not, and when the gun ran dry you fell back on the vibroblade. It didn't matter whether you entirely stopped the raiders that were running by the hut, you reasoned, as long as you took a chunk out of them on their way through.
It was not...particularly glamorous. Your knees were shaking, stomach rolling, jaw clenched. Nothing at all like the propaganda imagecasts, where there was always brilliant sunlight and wind blowing while someone gave poetic rallying speeches. This was an ugly fray in the dirt, a true skirmish, and you were scared out of your mind.
Nothing and no one is getting past me. Nothing and no one is getting past me. Nothing and no one is getting past me. The phrase cycled like a mantra, something for you to latch onto as you struggled.
Like you were doing the drills with the Mandalorian, you could practically hear him barking louder! and you obeyed, snarling and snapping your teeth when you engaged the enemy. You operated on sloppy muscle memory from all the training, all the instruction that had been crammed into the last few days carrying you through the fray. Several times you missed your openings and then you panicked, resorting to brute force to deal with the problem at hand. You knew you were too stiff, constantly flexing your fingers to keep them from cramping up. 
The vibroblade was getting hard to hold, its handle slick with blood and the sweat from your own palm, but you doggedly kept at it. 
Your arms were so heavy. 
How the hell does he manage this in full beskar?!
Several villagers came to your aid at different points, blaster fire briefly taking some of the paranoid burden off and reminding you that you weren't alone in this. You were grazed in the shoulder by a raider's shot when you missed another strike, the pain bright like lightning behind your eyes, but it wasn't as if it made your arm any heavier. Shake it off and keep going, rookie! The adrenaline will hold the pain!
You would take care of it later.
Right as your second wind was abandoning you in the dust, there came the high shriek of abused metal. The walker, it seemed, had finally taken the bait, toppling into one of the ponds. Not two moments later, it exploded spectacularly in a massive fireball.
Your ears still ringing from that, you almost didn't catch what happened next. You glimpsed a helmeted form climbing up one of the barricades, and then-
"Kote!" The Mandalorian roared triumphantly, slamming his gauntlet into the center of his beskar chestplate. The metal rang like a bell, echoing across the battlefield and drawing all eyes to him. Gods knew he certainly cut an impressive figure, silhouetted against the burning walker. 
The Klatoonians seemed to slowly realize that their largest advantage was now a smoldering pile of refuse, and the ones left alive began to flee back into the woods in a panicked rush. The villagers pursued, borrowed weapons and makeshift spears urging the raiders off of their land with deadly force. 
You dropped to one knee, your breath wheezing in your chest with every inhale. That whole event blew Cara and the Mandalorian's drills clean out of the water. You felt like you could sleep for a year.
Younglings.
You got back up. 
There were only six bodies littering the ground around you, but it had seemed like an insurmountable force while you were fighting. Now you were a little embarrassed at your level of exhaustion. Again, you wondered how in the world Cara or the Mandalorian managed while lugging their various armaments and protective gear.
You stumbled back inside the hut full of children, startled when two more of them silently crawled into your lap alongside the kid once you plopped down. "It's all but over. Few more minutes. You all did so great." You praised them, smiling tiredly and bumping their foreheads with your own. "I know that was pretty loud stuff, but you guys kept your cool. I'm very proud." Your throat burned, voice grating painfully from all the no-doubt incredibly intimidating noises you had made.
"Are they going to come back again?" One of the little boys asked, his eyes wide.
"I don't think so. Your parents did a fantastic job at keeping you all as snug as womp rats in a haystack." You bit your lip, a little overwhelmed with the myriad of tiny, tear-streaked faces staring pensively up at you. Maker only knew how bad you looked right now. "Hey, the words to that song I taught you all got spooked right out of my head. Can you guys help me remember it?" You asked, grasping desperately for something to distract and occupy.
"Will you pay, can you pay…" Winta trailed off uncertainly.
"Calamari flan!" Another child supplied helpfully, wiping their eyes. "Build a ship as best as you can." More variations. You felt yourself getting a little misty, but you chalked it up to a combination of relief and exhaustion. 
The children slowly curled up around you, little voices arguing sleepily over the lyrics in a matter of seconds. The baby snuggled into the crook of your forearm, their tiny thumb tucked into their mouth.
Stars, you were tired. 
Your eyes kept sliding closed only for you to jerk them back open seconds later. Your mouth was still dry and sour with leftover adrenaline, every muscle aching from the exertion of the earlier battle. The younglings drifted off one by one, their discussions dissolving into nothingness. 
When Cara shoved open the flap of the hut she looked fresh as a daisy, if a little damp. "Holy sh-stars." She whispered, just barely curbing her swear in time when she spotted the mangled raider. "How did you-?"
"Can you round up parents?" You requested softly, indicating downwards at your full lap. "I don't think I can move currently."
She nodded, retreating from the hut. You buried your face in the sleeping baby's robe, inhaling their clean scent in an effort to ground yourself. They were fine. The younglings were safe. You had succeeded. 
Somehow, somehow, you had succeeded.
The Mandalorian was the next one in, his dark and bulky form sparking a momentary rush of panic. You had your knife out and in front of you before you could even think, the vibroblade whining in your tight grip as you clutched the children close.
"Easy." The beskar-wearing man breathed, raising his hands. "Just me. Just me." He glanced around, then crouched and leaned in. "Parents are on their way. There's some wounded, but no dead." 
"No…?"
"Yeah." A sob rattled your aching chest at his affirmation. "Steady. It's over now." He rasped, easing the knife out of your trembling hand and switching it off. "I saw your work outside. You're really something, aren't you?" 
You were positive you were hallucinating the warmth in his tone. "Had to...keep them safe." You reasoned sluggishly. Then, "How do you move in that stuff? Feel like my arms are going to drop off."
"Practice." He replied. His helmet tapped your forehead and you realized you had dozed off for a second. "Stay with me, stowaway. We're almost done."
"Mmhm." You mumbled, obediently keeping your eyes open. He didn't move away though, simply maintaining the even pressure of his cool helm against your heated skin. It gave you something to focus on, something to help you stay conscious. 
Battered, weary parents filtered in one by one, children getting picked up or ushered out still half-asleep. Omera hugged you fiercely tight before she departed with Winta, her gratitude warming your whole body. 
"Sleep now?" You asked the Mandalorian hopefully as he rose.
"We need to know how much of this blood is yours." He muttered, pulling you upright. He grunted in surprise when you nearly collapsed, quickly grabbing hold of your belt to steady you. "Focus, stay with me. Do you remember getting hit?"
You cast your mind back over the disjointed memories of fighting, scrunching your eyebrows in thought. "My shoulder hurts." You remarked intelligently.
"Is that the only spot?" The Mandalorian questioned, his fingers already prodding.
In reply, you scooped his hand up and proceeded to thump it clumsily on the middle of your chest. "Burns to breathe." 
All you remembered after that was the way that the world tilted and your cheek pressed against his breastplate.
It was raining.
Rain was so rare on Nevarro, a gift and a curse. Places flooded rapidly, but the moisture farms would flourish for months. Divining was regarded with a healthy amount of superstition, for in the water witchery of dowsing rods one could theoretically gain enough insight to keep their wells from drying and their steads from peril.
You hummed sleepily. 
Rain was so, so rare. You should get up to watch it.
When you opened your eyes, you realized you were not on Nevarro. The memories came hot on the heels of your realization, the younglings, the fight-
You sat bolt upright, wincing in pain when your shoulder protested the rapid movement. "Ah, ouch-"
"Don't you even think about getting up." Cara's stern voice made you flinch guiltily, and you tucked your leg back beneath the blankets. The soldier loomed over you, a broad smile softening her features after a moment. "Glad you're awake. You snore like a bantha, y'know."
She passed you a tankard full of water and you hungrily gulped, the liquid dribbling down your chin. "Where's-" you rasped.
"Shush, you're so bad at this. Everyone is fine. Everyone." Dune stressed. "You just sit where you are and keep your shirt on." She settled down onto a small stool beside you, leaning forward and clasping her hands. The thick waves of her dark hair hung over her face as she joked, "It's good to have you kickin'. That baby's been gettin' on my last nerve. Oh, and the one with the big ears, too." 
"I'm sorry." You whispered, ludicrously feeling as if you had been shirking.
"Don't apologize." Cara chided you. "I'm sure Mando'll come breezing back in here with at least two brats in tow. You can feel sorry then."
"How long did I sleep?" 
"Through the night, half into the afternoon." Cara waved a hand. "Usual rookie nap. You probably blew through your calories for the entire week just from shaking, right?"
"How'd you guess?" You mumbled, a little embarrassed.
"You know, I haven't always been this much of a badass." She laughed at the incredulous look you sent her way. "I'm serious! I know it's hard to believe that I wasn't assembled in a factory, chiseled from the Maker's own marble to slay, but the truth is that I am human. I've been scared stiff loads of times." Her hand landed on your good shoulder. "The important part is still going to work, even when you're scared stiff. So I'd say you succeeded."
Your stomach growled, making you grimace. "Speaking of calories…"
Cara got to her feet, moving to the doorway. "Hey! Mando! They're awake! Stop playing in the mud and get me some stew!" She shouted. 
"How are the younglings holding up?" You asked.
"They're fine. Resilient little buggers. With some luck, most of the younger ones will think it was a nightmare." Cara sighed, her shoulders slumping. "They bounce back."
You heard steps sloshing through the puddles long before you actually saw the armored man, and you couldn't help your smile when he did come into view. He was covered in mud up to his thighs, his flight suit spattered liberally across the knees and elbows. 
"Good to see you conscious." He greeted you, handing Cara a steaming bowl. "The sleep after battle is the best kind."
One of the children dragged at his arm, their body also covered from head to toe in grime. "Come on Mando, we have to keep learning!" 
"Learning?" You asked curiously. "What are you teaching them?"
"Something important. It's," the Mandalorian hesitated, one large hand resting on the child's head. "It's a little like that song you showed them."
"Can you pay, can you pay, Calamari flan?" The child grinned, hammering out a rhythm on the Mandalorian's beskar-plated forearm. "Clean my ship as fast as you can!"
"Yeah. Like that. But different." The armored man shrugged, not seeming overly bothered by the little one currently beating a tattoo on his arm. "Rest up while you can. There was some significant structural damage during the raid, so we'll have our work cut out for us over the coming weeks."
Strangely, the implication that you would be staying didn't cause you distress. "I don't want to be dead weight, so you'd better not do too much without me." You requested, offering him a wry smile.
He cocked his head to the side, then nodded. "'Course." 
Over three weeks of laborious rebuilding later, you found out what he had been teaching the younglings. There had been some secretive fumbling, a few slip ups that had you suspicious, but you were just as surprised as everyone else when the children all filed into a line in front of the evening bonfire. 
The baby was there as well, held in the arms of one stoic Mandalorian. The children all bore old pots and pans, salvaged from the makeshift target range, and your brow furrowed as they dropped into strange stances.
"They wanted to learn." Was all the Mandalorian said, shrugging and carefully setting the kid down on the ground. Then, he raised his hand and struck himself on the chest like he had done during the battle.
The beskar rang out and the younglings started their performance, Winta carefully enunciating a string of words in a language you could only assume was Mando'a. The children stomped and reeled in unison, each one hammering enthusiastically on their own 'armor' and then the armor of the next child in line to keep time. 
Cara whooped and started clapping along when the Mandalorian actually moved with them, his greaves rattling as his boots scuffed their way through the motions of the dance. For a dance it was, wheeling and enthusiastic. His modulated voice quietly echoed Winta's, prompting her occasionally when she got stuck on certain words. 
The baby squealed and waddled around, waving their arms in delight at all the commotion while the other adults began to clap in time. The whole display had your emotions knotting in your chest. The younglings had clearly put a lot of time into learning all the steps of this particular dance, their little faces scrunched up in concentration. And overseeing it all was the sturdy form of the Mandalorian, his beskar glowing orange in the firelight while he chanted softly. It was beautiful, achingly familiar and yet alien all at once. Comradery, children at play, songs you didn't know the words to…
You watched his hands as Winta shouted, "Oya, oya manda!", realizing that his careful gestures were lining up with the cadence of the song. He was saying things with his hands. That was what he had been doing at the kid before! You felt a little stupid for not putting that information together sooner, but now you were seized with a burning desire to know. What other secrets did he keep close, tightly wrapped in beskar?
The kid wandered your way and you scooped them up, holding your palm flat so they could beat their tiny hands down onto it as if they too were clapping along. Their massive ears perked up and they babbled madly at you, making you smile anew.
When you glanced back up, you could have sworn the Mandalorian was looking at you. 
Then again, it might have merely been a trick of the wavering light on his helmet. 
...
It wasn't until much later in the evening that you finally mustered up the courage to enquire about the song. After you had tucked the kid into bed, you quizzed him on it. "What is that called? The song and dance, I mean."
"It's a piece of my culture." The Mandalorian informed you solemnly. He had posted up at the doorway by Cara, one ankle slung over the other in a relaxed pose. "The Dha Werda Verda. We're taught a few verses when we're young so we can learn how to move in sync with one another. If you step wrong, oftentimes that means you're punching your neighbor in the head. We try to learn how to avoid that early on."
"Oh. So it's kind of a training thing?"
"In a sense, yes. But at the same time…" He paused, brushing his thumb absently down the center of his breastplate. "It's tradition. The Mandalorian culture is not a peaceful one by nature; our expressions of art are made for war." He tilted his head towards you. "There are over seven hundred verses in the Dha Werda Verda alone. It serves as both poem and battle cry."
"And you just taught it to a group of younglings." You deadpanned.
"I taught them a little." He corrected you. "Just like your song that you taught them. They'll make their own versions of mine soon enough, and theirs will be associated with peace. With safety." He shifted his weight, staring off into the darkness. "I did not...I didn't have anything else to offer them." 
"I wouldn't say that. It's because of you and Cara that a lot of them still have parents." You pointed out. "I bet these people will tell stories about you two!"
The Mandalorian cocked his head, looking back at you. "It's thanks in no small part to you that they still have younglings to pass the tales along."
Well, that was a weighty thought. You silently mulled it over, concluding, "I don't need them thinking about me like that. I'm not really...well, you know. Heroic. Not like you and Cara."
Cara spoke up from her position on the porch, dryly saying, "take the damn compliment, will you? Not every day that a Mando wants to share glory."
The Mandalorian huffed, muttering something under his breath that had Cara reaching over to punch him in the arm. You chuckled at their antics while you watched them bicker with one another, a strange sense of peace coming over you. 
"So, what happens if you take that thing off?" Cara asked suddenly, her head tilted slightly to look up at the armored man. "They come after you and kill you?"
"No." He was silent for an inordinate amount of time and you thought that was the end of his explanation, but then, "You just can't ever put it back on again."
Cara raised an eyebrow at him. "That's it?" She sounded disappointed, and you couldn't really blame her. After the gravity of everything that you had heard regarding Mandalorians and their helmets, it was a little anticlimactic.
The Mandalorian nodded.
"So you could slip off the helmet and go settle down with that beautiful young widow?" Cara gestured outwards at the village with her bright blue glass of spotchka. "Raise your kid, sitting here sipping spotchka?"
You took a noisy slurp of your own spotchka for emphasis, grinning at Cara when she chuckled.
He scoffed, shaking his head. "We raised some hell here a few weeks back. That's...too much action for a backwater little town like this. Word travels fast. We might want to cycle the charts and move on."
Cara murmured, "I wouldn't want to be the one that's gotta' tell him." Her hand waved vaguely towards the bassinet where the child slept peacefully. "The kids love him, y'know."
"I'm leaving him here." Both you and Cara gawked up at the armored man, startled by his announcement. "Traveling with me...that's no life for a kid." 
It was a reasonable thing to do. Practical, even. He was a bounty hunter. That didn't exactly scream 'conducive to child-rearing', last you checked. But why did he sound so torn about it if he had already made up his mind?
"I did my job. He's safe. Better chance at a life." He continued stiffly after a moment.
"It's gonna' break his little heart." Dune's tone was faintly accusatory. 
"He'll get over it." The Mandalorian replied quietly. "We all do."
The three of you stared out into the darkness in silence for a good while after that. This felt...strange. On the one hand, you could understand not wanting to endanger the kid any further, but the idea of making them sad about anything...this concern was a new phenomenon. 
You had always been a firm believer in the notion that children were smarter than adults gave them credit for. It had made it easier to justify not saying goodbye to any of them when you headed off on your next grand adventure; you reasoned they would put it together on their own and really, there was no need for long, drawn-out farewells. 
But now, for the first time you could remember, the idea of leaving was...it made you anxious. And it wasn't even you that was preparing to leave!
"Wh-When do you want to-"
"Two days, maybe." He cocked his head at you, "I can't bring you back to Nevarro. But you don't have to stay here if you don't want to. I'm sure if I put you on a platform, someone can get you to Nevarro."
"I...can I think about it?" You implored, relieved when he nodded.
"Give me your answer tomorrow."
"Thanks for coming along."
"It's no trouble. About time I started pulling my weight in the security department anyhow." You checked your knife for the hundredth time and Cara grinned at you.
"Nervous?" She teased quietly. 
You winced. "Is it that obvious?" 
"Listen, you've got nothing to worry about out here aside from falling asleep due to boredom. I promise." Cara assured you, giving your shoulder a light tap. "I just walk the perimeter out of habit at this point. There's been no issues for weeks."
"I know, I just…" You were loathe to continue, certain that you would sound like you were whining to this veteran of a soldier. "I guess I'm still a little uneasy from the big, uh. Fight." 
"The first sip of real action usually leaves a bitter taste in your mouth." She murmured. "I'd be concerned if it didn't."
Oh. You glanced sidelong at her, studying her face. "Does it fade away after a while?" You questioned.
"Yes...and no." Cara seesawed her hand with a grimace. "Everyone reacts differently. Some people can process it, some people crush it down into a little ball until it explodes." She shrugged. "You never know." Her eyes focused on a point somewhere behind your left shoulder and she came to an abrupt halt. "Who…?"
You turned to follow her line of sight and your brow furrowed. It was not someone from the village, but it also didn't appear to be a Klatoonian. Not nearly bulky enough. The long-barreled rifle on their back caught your eye. 
"Stay close, we're following them." Cara whispered, already stalking forward. 
The two of you flitted from tree to tree, pursuing the oblivious figure. They had something in their hand, something that you could see blinking red every now and then, and they were heading towards the settlement at a steady pace.
They finally stopped at the edge of the treeline, slinging the rifle off of their back. It took them a few minutes to get set up, nimbly attaching a scope before hoisting the gun and beginning to calibrate the viewfinder. 
Cara motioned for you to stay put, the soldier slinking ahead to the next tree. You had a death grip on your vibroblade, finger hovering over the button. A quiet, persistent beeping noise drew your attention and you searched for the source, locating it a second later in the form of a tracking fob attached to the person's hip. It blinked red and you realized that this person was a bounty hunter. 
A bounty hunter. Did that mean they were after someone in the village?
A shot rang out and you cringed back against the tree, only realizing after a moment that it had been Dune who shot first. A commotion rose from the village, the sound of the blaster no doubt attracting the attention of anyone who heard it. 
You rushed forward to Dune's side as she rolled the smoking body over with her boot. The fob on their belt continued to blink and beep softly even after she yanked it free. "Who were you tracking, buddy?" Cara mused aloud, very clearly unphased by the fact that she had just ended this individual's life. That made sense, though. How many times had she done this before?
You heard a rattling sound that seemed to be rapidly approaching from the direction of the village. Beskar. "Oh boy." You said weakly. 
"What, what's-" Dune paused, obviously hearing the noise as well. "Oh. Well, brace for impact." She grimaced. "Mando drop inbound."
With a resounding crash! the Mandalorian stormed the treeline, not even bothering to break his stride so he could maneuver around the underbrush. He somehow exuded fury, his tense body language screaming danger danger danger! 
Unconsciously, you shifted so Dune was between you and him. She shot you an amused glance, standing her ground with her arms crossed. 
The armored man slowed only marginally once he appeared to notice the two of you, his shoulders slumping. "What happened?" He called, his voice rasping through his modulator.
"We caught a hunter." Cara replied, waving the tracking fob. "Fob doesn't sound like it's for you or me. Or for this lovely person who is currently cowering behind me." She ribbed you, making you huff in embarrassment and shuffle out from the safety of her shadow.
He obviously wasn't on the offensive anymore but Maker, he was terrifying when he was! The Mandalorian extended a hand to take the fob, moving in a slow circle and then halting when he faced the village. "It's for the kid. They're...they're after the kid." He gritted out a word you didn't know, "Osi'kyr," then dropped the fob on the ground and crushed it with one violent stomp. "I have to take him and leave." He said after a moment of staring down at the destroyed object.
"They'll keep coming?" Dune asked.
"Where there's one, there's more." The Mandalorian sighed heavily, "I know hunters." He pointed at you suddenly. "Choice?"
It took the barest split-second of thought. "I'm with you." You hesitated, then added, "I can help keep the baby safe."
"Good." He sounded like he was relieved, of all things. "We have to move fast."
Part Four
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a-kind-of-merry-war · 7 hours ago
Text
PART ONE
Part two of the froggy postcard fic. Contains fluff, drinking, pining and uhh... more fluff. It’s yearning hours. Big love to everyone who said nice things about part one 💖 3.3k words. 
~
The little covered yard teems with people, streamers dangling from the beams, ribbons and snatches of song floating in the air. Jaskier struggles to hear Geralt over the din of celebrating, and it’s clear that while Geralt has no trouble picking out his voice he’s overwhelmed by the noise. He keeps his head low, wincing every time someone cries or cheers or shouts. And, thanks to the not insubstantial amount of heavy, honeyed mead flowing, that’s quite regularly.
“Thank you,” Jaskier says, leaning away as a drunk man squeezes himself past their bench, “really, Geralt. For the card.”
“It’s nothing.”
“It isn’t nothing! It’s… sweet.”
Geralt gives him a withering look over his mug, lips pursed. He clearly doesn’t intend to tolerate being called sweet.
“Oh, don’t give me that scowly face,” Jaskier says, waving a hand at him. “It is sweet. I like…” his voice slips, “I like knowing you’re thinking about me. When…” fuck, “...When we’re apart.”
He takes a deep swig of his own drink in an attempt to hide the flush he can feel on his cheeks. That may have been too much - too sincere. He needs to rein himself in, considering the state Geralt had found him in earlier. He’d rushed back to his room to change his doublet and splash cool water on his face - and to put the precious card somewhere safe - and had stumbled back down the stairs with a grin on his face and his heart only racing a little. It’s enough to pretend it hadn’t happened, but he knows Geralt won’t forget any time soon, even if he never acknowledges it.
“Anyway,” Jaskier says, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, “it’s good you came to, ah, save me. Metaphorically speaking, for once. You saved my birthday.”
Geralt hums. “You’d have been fine without me.”
“I’d have been bored without you.”
A pair of giggling, buxom women slide past their table. Geralt peers at them, then looks back to Jaskier, eyebrows raised.
“I’m sure you would have found some way to pass the time.”
“Well,” Jaskier shuffles in his seat, well aware that Geralt is likely correct, “Maybe. Perhaps! It is traditional to get a kiss on your birthday, after all. For good luck.”
“Is that so?”
“It is so. Several kisses, in fact, if you’re very lucky.”
“That tradition appears to have passed me by.”
“Apparently it has. A shame, really.” Jaskier is struck by a sudden thought. “Hey, Geralt, I don’t… that is, when’s your—”
The party at the table next to them burst into whooping cheers - someone has just spilled a full tankard of ale across the bench, splattering them all in foaming beer - cutting Jaskier off. Geralt winces again, and suddenly the celebrations - the noise and the dancing and the chance, however slim, of that birthday kiss, don’t seem so important.
“Come,” Jaskier stands, grabbing the full bottle of mead that rests between them on the table. “Let’s go somewhere a little quieter.”
Geralt peers at him, almost suspiciously, but after another shout from the table beside them he stands, sees off the remainder of his drink, and follows Jaskier away from the tavern and out into the square beyond.
“This way…”
Jaskier heads towards an older stone building, set aside from the rest. Unlike the others, it’s not been decorated for the day. To an outsider, it would appear abandoned, or at least disused: a looming building that once upon a time was a church, then a clock tower, and now simply one of the tallest structures in the city, full of bats and scurrying little mice.
The building itself, Jaskier knows, is technically owned by the Academy - but the reality is that the deed to the desolate tower belongs to one of the older alumni, an enthusiastic ex-professor who’d taken a shine to Jaskier the first autumn he’d returned after meeting Geralt in Posada. My adventurous friend, the older man calls him. He’d told him where the spare key to the building is hidden within a week of meeting him.
Jaskier finds it now - tucked beneath a brick behind a huge stone planter, overflowing with flowers - and lets them into the dark, dusty building. After a pause, he closes and locks the door behind them. He’s not sure what makes him slide the rusty key back into the lock and click it shut, but all he knows is that right now he doesn’t particularly want to be disturbed.
He leads Geralt up the winding staircase. It’s cool and quiet inside the tower, and Jaskier remembers the first time he came up here - he was breathless and sweaty before he was even halfway up. Now, after a decade of following Geralt on the Path, he feels like he could run up the hundreds of steps.
At the top, he finally stops. He suspects this should be a dramatic reveal, or magical, near-romantic moment. But Geralt doesn’t go in for that sort of thing - and this isn’t romantic, not in the slightest - so without further ado he simply heaves his shoulder against the heavy wooden door and heads out onto the wide balcony beyond, illuminated with the orange glow of the setting sun.
~
They lean against the sun-warmed brick. Below, Geralt can hear the quiet hum of people continuing to celebrate. The air is thick and warm, and the only relief is the breeze that comes from being so high up. There’s a rich, spicy taste at the back of his mouth - probably the lingering scent of the bonfires and food stalls below, the tart air of lust and laughter that blankets the celebrations.
This truly is a good spot. It’s quieter, here, away from the crush of people. And Jaskier had just known, forgoing the opportunity for dancing and celebrating with dozens of strangers to sit up here, with him, away from the overwhelming noise. He’d lead Geralt away without needing to be told he was struggling - not that Geralt ever would tell him - and brought him here with soft certainty that he’d find it far more comfortable than any of the taverns below.
Geralt rolls the half-full bottle of mead between his hands, his tongue heavy with the sweet liquid. Beside him, Jaskier sighs - a content little sniff as he stretches his legs out, languid in the last rays of the sun like a pampered cat. Geralt watches as he arches his back against the brick, eyes shut.
“A solstice birthday suits you,” he says, finally giving voice to the thought that he’s been turning over in his head for some time.
Jaskier laughs, opening his eyes, the breeze ruffling his hair around his face. “Because of all the drinking and fucking?”
“Because…” Geralt takes another deep swig of the mead before handing the bottle to Jaskier, turning away to peer through the wooden slats of the balcony railing. “...Because it’s the last day before the nights start drawing in. The longest day of the year. The day with the most light.”
Finally, he turns back. He can’t not turn back - too aware of the way Jaskier’s gaze is boring into him, too aware of his uncharacteristic silence.
The sunset illuminates him, picking out the golden threads of his doublet, the rich, dark yellow silk taking on a sort of glow. Jaskier’s lips glisten with mead, his tongue darting out to capture the last little droplets. Geralt knows he should force himself to turn away again, to stop himself following the flick of Jaskier’s tongue, to avoid his gaze - blinding, even in the diminishing light.
But he doesn’t. He doesn’t look away, even though he knows he must.
Jaskier’s lips part a fraction - like he’s about to speak - and there’s a glint to his eye that Geralt has seen countless, jealous times before - but one he’s never had turned on himself. It makes Geralt’s heart skip a single, slow beat. It’s just the sunlight, he tells himself. Just the sunlight reflecting on his eyes.
That doesn’t stop him leaning closer, shifting his weight forwards. Jaskier - still watching him - mirrors the movement. Or perhaps it’s just the mead, muddling his mind.
But before Jaskier can say whatever it is he’s about to say, there’s an enormous crack from the square below, and his head snaps around, mouth closing, and in a moment he’s on his feet, leaning fully over the balcony railing. Geralt can breathe again.
“Shit!” Jaskier says, peering down, “Sunset, Geralt!”
Geralt heaves himself to his feet and joins him against the railing. In the square below, the crowd have gathered around the bonfire - now crackling with vibrant, green sparks. As he watches, someone throws a little parcel into the flames and there’s another crack as it catches alight, the flames turning purple. He’s seen this before - the contents of the parcels not too different from the components in his bombs, although in far smaller amounts.
Beyond the city, on the other side of the Pontar, the setting sun seems to be brushing the vibrant pastures, unobscured in the sky. The sound of celebrating grows, followed by more mini-explosions as further coloured flames leap into the air. They watch together in silence as the sun sinks lower, the shouting below getting louder and louder as it slides gradually below the horizon until - finally - it’s gone, leaving behind only a burning red glow.
Jaskier takes a deep, calming breath and turns to Geralt, a soft smile across his face as singing erupts from the square.
“Well,” he says, fingers tapping the empty bottle in his hand, “all in all, this birthday hasn’t been a complete disaster. I’d say… not altogether terrible.”
“A glowing review,” muses Geralt.
“Perhaps even adequate.”
"An enviable compliment indeed." Geralt looks back down to the square, where people are still drinking and dancing and - in not-so hidden corners - getting up to much more brazen activities. "Do you want to head back down? They’ll be carrying on till the morning, I presume?”
Jaskier glances at him, the smile twisting as he nibbles on his lip.
“You know… I’d much rather stay up here, actually. With my—” he swallows, quickly correcting himself “—with you.” A thought strikes him, and he laughs. “Although I suppose if we head back down I could find someone pretty and willing for that birthday kiss.”
Geralt remembers that look in his eye - the soft part of his lips before he was interrupted by the sunset.
“Why don’t you do both?” He says.
Over the noise of the square below, he can’t hear Jaskier’s heartbeat. He desperately wishes he could.
“Both?” It’s all he says.
“Well...” Geralt takes a step closer - but not too close. “Not pretty… but certainly willing.”
For a moment - a brief suspended second - Jaskier’s expression is a kind of shock, perhaps even horror, and Geralt suddenly worries that he’s misread Jaskier’s intentions, accidentally exposing his more vulnerable parts. But the expression melds, quickly and easily, into that cocky half-grin that Geralt has grown so fond of.
“It is traditional,” he says, voice suddenly low. “And, gosh. ‘Willing’. That’s about as enthusiastic as the ‘adequate’ birthday.”
“Very willing, then?”
The half-grin splits into a real smile, almost as bright as the now-forgotten sun. The cocky confidence is gone, replaced with something more like enthusiasm.
“It is my birthday,” he says, as if constructing a winning argument - although who he’s trying to convince Geralt isn’t sure. “So…” he takes a step forward, closing the space that Geralt had left deliberately open between them. “Yes,” he breathes. “Both.”
~
Jaskier is expecting it to be quick. He’s expecting a brief, rough press of lips to his cheek - maybe his forehead - perhaps his lips. He’s expecting something abrupt followed by a gruff, familiar laugh: it was all a joke. A kiss is still a kiss. Willing or very willing or whatever else it is Geralt says - it could all just be a joke.
Part of him - loud, but hopeless - expects more. Equally gruff, equally quick, but firm and strong. Still a farce, still insincere, but done like Geralt does everything: like a fight, pressing him against the balcony, threatening to send him toppling over the edge to the square below.
But…
Geralt takes another step forward. He lifts one of his hands and presses it with deliberate care to Jaskier’s jaw, cupping the side of his face. Jaskier can’t help but lean into the touch, tilting his head a fraction, Geralt’s fingertips calloused against his skin. He swallows, suddenly very aware of every movement he makes, of the frantic rhythm of his heartbeat.
Geralt rests his hand there for a moment, neither of them moving, before finally leaning in and closing the space between them. But he doesn’t kiss him - not quite - his lips ghosting over Jaskier’s, their breath mingling. Jaskier doesn’t move. He can’t move. Geralt smiles, and Jaskier feels the tilt of his lips against his own, so close, yet so unbearably far. Were this anyone else he’d surge forward himself, but this isn’t anyone else. This is Geralt. And however maddening the ghost-kiss is, it thrills him just as much, his skin tingling where the hot huff of Geralt’s breath flutters over his lips.
He wants more. He doesn’t move forwards, but maintains Geralt’s gaze as he lifts his empty hand, lightly pressing it to Geralt’s waist. It’s barely an escalation, and Geralt doesn’t even acknowledge the touch, but he’s warm and firm beneath Jaskier’s palm - grounding him.
It feels like they stand there for an age, scarcely touching, lips brushing. It’s only a few moments, Jaskier knows, but the seconds inch themselves out, building, waiting, each passing heartbeat only intensifying the light, tickling touch till it’s all Jaskier can think of - the only sensation in the world - the rest of his skin near-numb, his nerves focused on the place where their lips don’t meet.
Maybe this is the joke. Maybe this is Geralt’s idea of a jest - a kiss that never comes - maybe this is—
And then Geralt’s kissing him, really kissing him, his movement gentle yet firm; a slow caress.
Jaskier’s been kissed with hesitance before - those first halting, cautious movements as one learns someone else’s body - but this slowness isn’t like that. Geralt kisses him like they’ve all the time in the world, unhurried - almost lazy - but confidently. The hand on Jaskier’s jaw slides to the back of his head as Geralt places his other hand on his hip, tugging him closer, and Jaskier is only too keen to follow.
He opens his mouth, a clear invitation, and Geralt hums against him before tracing the line of his bottom lip with the very tip of his tongue, the touch as hot as a brand. Jaskier’s stomach flips, his lungs burn, and he grips harder to Geralt’s waist, the touch urgent.
Geralt responds immediately, kissing him harder. It feels like this could be the hundredth time they’ve kissed - not the first. It’s not guarded, nor is it clumsy, but practiced, like—
—like Geralt’s been thinking about this for a long time.
That thought winds him, his ribs squeezing, his pulse racing - and the empty bottle, utterly forgotten, slips from his hand. It crashes to the wooden balcony floor with a sudden clatter that makes his heart leap from his chest as he gasps out a singularly undignified noise of shock against Geralt’s lips.
Geralt moves away with a chuckle, Jaskier feeling suddenly untethered without his body pressed against him.
“Was that a croak,” Geralt asks, quickly bending to grab the rogue bottle, “or a chorus?”
Jaskier splutters, feeling himself flush - feeling himself flush more.
“Croak,” he says, finally. “Fuck. That made me jump.”
Geralt says nothing, just raises his eyebrows as he places the bottle down against the wall on the other side of the tiny space. He looks smug, damn him, and Jaskier knows that he must look a mess, now: all blushing cheeks and tousled hair.
The bottle now safely moved aside, Jaskier is expecting Geralt to return to him, to snake his hand back around his waist and press him against the railing and—
But he doesn’t. He positions himself a careful few feet away, arms resting on the balcony, looking down towards the roaring bonfire below. The realisation hits Jaskier like a fist: Geralt had only said a kiss. Just one.
And one would be fine - would be wonderful - but now he knows what it’s like, and he wants more.
The mead makes his thick tongue loose, his nerves - which only ever seem to play up when he’s in Geralt’s presence - less pressing.
“Geralt—”
Geralt turns, expectantly.
“Out of interest…”
“Yes?”
“Was that a one-off incident? Just an… an act of sympathy brought about by my pathetic birthday grousing? Or might it be something I can expect to happen again? Is it something you’d be…” he thinks back to what Geralt had said before, “willing to do again?”
The silence that follows is enough to tell Jaskier everything he needs to know. But, finally, Geralt speaks.
“Do you remember what you told me before? About why you liked the card?”
Jaskier frowns. Perhaps not everything. “Answering my question with a question?” He says, with only a little impatience. “Fine. Fine. About… which bit? I said it was charming—”
“Not that.”
“I said…” Jaskier thinks, trying to recall their conversation outside the tavern. “I said that I liked knowing you were thinking about me, when we were apart.”
Geralt watches him, for a quiet moment, not drawing any closer. His fingers grip at the waxed wooden railing.
“I’m thinking about you all the time, Jaskier. When I’m on the road, if I hear one of your songs, if I see some fool wearing a feathered hat…”
Jaskier smirks at that, although it’s barely a compliment - of course Geralt would think of him when he hears his songs, or spots someone dressed in the latest fashion. It would be absurd if he didn’t. That doesn’t mean anything.
“At night, when I’m alone,” Geralt continues, voice quieter now, “in the middle of a forest, and it’s too quiet… or if I’m in an inn, with a bed…” He sighs, and Jaskier’s not sure he’s ever seen him like this before. “I think of you then, too. And what it would be like if—”
He cuts himself off before he can finish that thought, eyes still facing steadfastly downwards, the fire reflecting yellowly from his eyes. Jaskier edges forwards, sliding along the railing till they stand shoulder-to-shoulder, facing the same direction.
“What about…” he resists the urge to look at him. “What about kissing me? Do you think about that, all the time? Because it felt like—”
“Yes.”
It’s like fizzing wine in his blood, like his lungs are going to burst, like he’s going to simply float away. Jaskier forces himself to speak, trying to sound reasonable - trying to sound like his heart isn’t battling its way up his throat.
“I think about you all the time, too.”
Geralt looks at him, and his eyes are wide and dark in the low light. Jaskier grins self-consciously, and bumps him with his elbow.
“That’s why there’s so many songs.”
It’s not strictly speaking a lie. The more Jaskier thinks about Geralt, the more songs he’s inspired to write, after all. If he didn’t think of him so often, perhaps there wouldn’t be so many.
He presses himself closer, leaning his head on Geralt’s shoulder. After a second, Geralt moves his arm, wrapping it around Jaskier’s waist, penning him close. Neither of them speak. Neither of them need to.
In the square below, the celebration shows no sign of slowing down, and out beyond the walls of the city Jaskier can see the tell-tale columns of smoke rising from a dozen smaller bonfires, hundreds of people dancing and singing and cheering for the sun, prepared for the darkness that will follow. The breeze, cooler now evening has truly set in, ruffles through his hair, and he presses closer to Geralt’s side. He smells of mead and sweat, a wholly comforting scent against the ashy bonfires.
He thinks of the little card, safely stowed in his room. It’s not that he’s been forgotten, after all.
It’s fine, he can tell himself. It’s fine.
And, for now: it is.
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sparkleslightlyy · 22 hours ago
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White Queen
Summary: Having White Queen written about you would include:
Setting: Regency AU, Masquerade Ball
Wordcount: 2k
Taglist: @sevenseasofyeet @brianmay-ownsme @foxinaforestofstars​ @thebeatlesuniverse​ @deakyghost​ @mirkwoodshewolf​​​ @stormtrooper-instilettos @sarah0687 @tinypeculiar @plutoneu @jennyggggrrr​ @0x0spunky-monkey0x0​  @thepinktragedyus(message me if you want to be removed or add yourself here, crossed out tag wouldn’t take, sorry!!)
A/n: This was something that popped up in my brain. It’s not entirely accurate as the regency period of course!
*important: if you enjoy this, PLEASE like/rb it, send me feedback/questions via ask or message. it’s really encouraging to see feedback/people enjoying it.
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So sad her eyes, smiling dark eyes So sad her eyes, as it began.
 It had been at a masquerade ball that Brian had encountered the mysterious woman he had come to call the White Queen in his mind. He’d been rather irked at having to take time away from his poetry and astronomy to attend this ball Lord Mercury had taken upon himself to throw and had extended him a personal invitation, it would be remiss of him to decline. He had stepped into the lavish mansion dressed in his usual, black trousers, and white ribbed shirt and a waistcoat. His eyes covered with a bright red mask his father had created for him, called the Red Special. It had become so famous amongst the ball-goers that they’d recognize him at any masquerade. He couldn’t bother to care that they knew it was him. He’d spotted Viscount Taylor and Sir Deacon at the refreshments table, Lord Mercury nowhere to be seen. He must be entertaining the throngs of masked guests.
 He made to walk towards The Viscount and Sir Deacon when his attention was taken up by a young woman walking by rather fast. Her white gown, seemingly made of gossamer fluttering behind her as she hurried along. He caught sight of her eyes, her dark, lovely eyes. He couldn’t help it, he called out to her, “Excuse me”
But his attempts were futile, she hadn’t seemed to have heard him. It wasn’t her fault, the orchestra Lord Mercury himself conducted and trained was playing Mozart over the din of the mingling masqueraders. He had just seen her brush past him, but he was rather curious as to who she was. He followed the path she took, hurrying along as if worrying that she’d disappear. He had turned into a secluded patch of trees, illuminated by a bubbling fountain. He snorted lightly, only Lord Mercury would have had his fountains illuminated.
 He spotted her, seated on a wrought-iron bench, her chest heaving from the exertion at having practically taken flight from the ball.
 Brian softly approached her, “Excuse me”, he said gently, the timbre of his voice soothing.
 She looked up at him, her dark eyes that had caught his attention shining as she gazed him. “How may I help you?”, she trailed off, not knowing how to address this man.
“Do you not know who I am?”, Brian asked incredulously, a tinge of his ego seeping through. Everyone knew who he was, especially at masquerade parties such as this.
 “I apologize”, she whispered, “I am new to this town”
 He softened, “Why were you in such a hurry to leave the ball? Surely a lady such as yourself would have many offers for a dance”
 She sighed delicately, a simple sound that sounded like music from the heavens above to Brian. “I do not wish to dance with the men at this ball, especially since one humiliated me in front of the others”
 Brian frowned, “And which dishonourable man would treat a fair lady so?”
 “I do not know who it was”, she said delicately, and stood up to look in his eyes, “And nor do I wish to know”, she said. A small smile tugging at her lips, getting reflected in her dark eyes, smiling, yet sad.
 On such a breathless night as this
Upon my brow the lightest kiss
 “You must come back to the ball with me”, Brian insisted, “We shall dance, and show this man how worthy you surely appear”, he had never been too fond of dancing. But this woman, her captivating white dress and her shining dark eyes allured him. A strange sensation.
 “I’m afraid not”, she said. “The time has arrived for me to depart”
 “At least let me know your name”
 She laughed, the sound of a carriage approaching drowning out her answer, but he could swear he had heard the name, “Y/n”, whispered breathlessly. She stood up and gently touched his shoulders, “It was wonderful to meet you”, and she just about grazed her lips in a light, feathery kiss against his forehead and walked away from him.
 I walked alone
And all around the air did sway
My lady soon will stir this way
In sorrow known
 He stood there for a while, before following the same path she had taken. He reveled in the solitude he felt. He had to admit that Lord Mercury’s gardens were wonderful. The breeze had picked up and was whistling gently, almost telling him, that she was close. Brian could sense her sorrow. And as fate would have it, there she stood. Her gaze trained up at the stars, taking it in, a serene expression on her face. Almost as if it were the last time that she would see them.
 The white Queen walks
And the night grows pale
Stars of lovingness in her hair
 She walked around the clearing, the murky black hue to the night seemed to be growing paler with the way the moon emerged from behind the shield of clouds it had created for itself. Her flowing hair fluttered behind her, just like her gown. The ornate beads of silver that had been entwined in her hair were twinkling in the light of the moon, stars and the illuminated fountain. His yearning, poetic mind immediately equating them to the stars she was so enthralled with. How he longed for her, how he wished for her to stay a while longer.
 Heeding unheard pleading one word
So sad my eyes she cannot see
 Brian had been so mesmerized by watching her walk around the tree, he had almost forgotten about the carriage. It was a flurry of movement that drew his attention, he was too late. She had stepped into her carriage; the door had been closed behind her. He called out desperately, pleading almost. “Y/n”, but his call went unheard. As the carriage clattered away on the cobblestone his heart sank, the sadness he felt surely etched in his eyes. But she couldn’t see them, and probably never would.
 How did thee fare what have thee seen
The mother of the willow green
I call her name
 Brian walked back to the ballroom; his thoughts consumed with the White Queen. He wondered who she was, surely Lord Mercury would know of her. He’d simply have to ask him. As he took long, purposeful strides across the ballroom, he could see the concerned looks of people directed at him. He knew he looked a bit shocked, who wouldn’t after what he had experienced? The woman under the willow green, he knew her name. But not of how to find her.
 Just then he caught sight of Lord Mercury, standing by Mr. Hutton. He walked up to them and greeted them. Once the pleasantries had been exchanged, Brian could feel Lord Mercury’s shrewd gaze on him. “Mr. Hutton”, he said, looking at his companion fondly. “We shall have to speak later, for Dr. May seems to have a matter that requires urgent attending to”
 Once it was just the two of them, Brian lost all the formalities. He’d known the man since they were young boys, getting their knuckles rapped in the schoolroom. “Frederick”, he began, “I must know the address of the woman at the ball today”
 Lord Mercury chuckled, “Which woman, my dear May?”
 “Her name was Y/n?”
 “Getting a little too comfortable with her are we, Brian?”, he teased.
 “She didn’t give me a title”, Brian reasoned, “I must find her”
 “Her title is Ms. Y/n Y/l/n, she comes from a powerful line of monarchs”, he lowered his voice, “Her parents were killed in a terrible encounter with a bear in the dark forest, she is the sole heir to the family wealth. She is to marry a Prince in a few months’ time in order to inherit her wealth and take her title as monarch.”
 “I must court her”, Brian decided, his words making his friend let out an undignified snort. “You will not be able to”, he said, “Her fortress is heavily protected, she only steps out to attend these balls, and even then, she stays for only a few minutes”
 “Where does she live?”
 “Willow Green Castle”, he said, “The monarch who lives there, if a woman is called the Mother of The Willow Green, after she marries.”
 “I’d truly enjoy spending the evening here, Frederick, but I must take my leave now”
 He laughed, “Don’t lie, Brian. You detest these events.”
 “Right”, Brian cleared his throat, “Goodbye”
 And 'neath her window have I stayed
I loved the footsteps that she made
And when she came
 Brian had left for Willow Green Castle the next morning, his carriage driver had informed him it was far away, tucked into the clearing of the Dark Forest. In the carriage, he began to compose. He knew he had found his muse; the ballad began to flow out of his memories.
 On disembarking at the Castle, he actually stumbled back a bit. Grand was an understatement, truly no words could ever do it justice. He glanced up to see a curtain being re-drawn hastily, but in that small moment, he saw her. As he waited for a butler to show him in, he lingered below the window, he knew was hers. Craning his neck to catch a glimpse of her.
 He was shown into the Castle and into a lavish sitting room. He seated himself on a beautifully upholstered chair and waited, and waited. Just like in the garden, he had felt her presence before seeing her. Soon, he heard the gentle footfalls announcing her arrival. She walked in through the heavy, wooden doors and took one look at him and muttered, “I must have a word with Lord Mercury about giving away my whereabouts.”
 White Queen how my heart did ache
And dry my lips no word would make
So still I wait
 Brian observed her intently, it seemed she only wore white. Her day dress, an off-white colour, catching the rays of sun filtering in through her windows and making her look ethereal. His heart ached as he gazed at her, drinking her in. He knew he could never court her; he knew that the minute he had caught sight of the Castle.
“Why are you here”, she questioned, twisting her hands delicately together.  
 “Ms. Y/l/n”, he began, “I must firstly apologize for arriving here uninvited, but you must forgive me for you were much too captivating for me to forget about you in a haste”
 Her cheeks coloured slightly at his words, “That is most flattering of you”, she paused, “I still do not know your name.”
 “I am Dr. Brian May”
 “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Dr. May, I have enjoyed your works on astronomy and your ballads.”
 His throat and lips dried up on hearing her words, rendering him speechless. She didn’t know him, but knew of him. She had read his detailed works on the cosmos. Her intelligence must no know bounds.
 My goddess hear my darkest fear
I speak too late
It's for evermore that I wait
 Brian must have been silent for too long, for she stood up and said firmly, “Well, if there is nothing else that you’d require from me, I must ask you to take your leave for visitors are not welcome here for too long”
 As she finished speaking a butler came into escort him out, he tried to speak to her, tell her his fears, his desires, his dreams and goals. But it was too late, he had waited for what seemed like forever. She bid him goodbye, “It has been a pleasure to meet you Dr. May”, she said, “I would consider you to be a dear friend, for we seem to understand each other even though we’ve known each other for less than a day, I look forward to reading your new publications. Goodbye.”
 Goodbye. The word had a definitive air to it. A finality. Something that denoted an end. But what all had just ensued had only just begun. He knew this was it. He’d never see her again, his muse, his goddess, his inspiration. And had ended just as it began. His encounter with the White Queen had come to and end.
 Dear friend goodbye
No tears in my eyes
So sad it ends
As it began
 ***
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artsybastardraymond · a day ago
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F/o asks, PART TWO!!!
Dating edition:
Who snuggles up next to the other during a scary movie?
Who perfers homemade gifts and who perfers bought? Or who likes favors instead?
Who likes PDA? Both? Neither?
Who's more likely to openly brag about the other? Does it embarrass them or boost their confidence?
Who's more likely to ask relationship advice from one of their friends?
Who has their entire future together planned, down to the color of the dinning room placemats, and who just wants to be with the other and doesn't care about the details?
Who's the better dancer?
Who leads in a slow dance?
What's their love languages?
Who would fight the other's enemy? Who would sue them instead?
Who's better at planning dates?
And who's better at flirting?
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the-moon-watches · a day ago
60, 64 🐋
60) Did you watch the anime first or read the manga?
Read the manga! Basically our discovery process was:
- Finds a flashtoon of Gojyo dancing to dragostea Din tei
-track down who this character is and what it's from
-buys all of what's available immediately
-checks out anime, stops because it's ugly and we hate filler episodes
-Become obsessed with the musicals
-finally finish the anime 13 years later
64) How do you describe Saiyuki to a friend who has never heard of it?
I wonder...
I think, rather than explain it too much, I'd let my passion for it speak for itself? Beyond a baseline "It's the journey to the west but hotter, and also a dragon turns into a jeep." and probably emphasis Minekura's masterful character insight and development.
Alternateky: This series has ruined AND enhanced my life for at least 18 years now, read it
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witchsignals · a day ago
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Tango in the Night
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Pairing: Santi “Pope” Garcia x Frankie “Catfish” Morales x female reader
Word Count: 11k +
Warnings: this fic is absolutely filthy, I’m not going to lie to you. Reader is going to Paris, which is why you’re here. There’s cursing, dirty talk, cunnilingus, reader gives a fantastic bj, fingering, vaginal sex, anal sex, DP. There’s some angst at the end and minor character death. brief alcohol use.
A/N: so this is the first fic that I’ve ever posted and I can’t believe how lucky I am that I was able to collab with with @empress-palpat1ne​, who has truly become one of my best friends. She is talented and inspiring and always pushing me to get my writing out there. This idea came up after she finally got me to watch Triple Frontier on our movie night and I fell head over heels in love with our very own Santiago Garcia. We both wrote this fic (you know she had to do Frankie right) and I think all of our love shows.
You’ll also be able to find this fic on AO3
https://archiveofourown.org/works/31345556
Did we mention there's a playlist?
So a huge thanks to her and to our friend @dindjarincyarika​ who kept us going with her thots, humor, and constant gifs. I love you guys.
Buckle up!
Tango in the Night
Smoke filled the dimly lit bar, curling around your face and covering everything in a dingy haze. Sweat dripped down your neck and between the valley of your breasts; your already hypersensitive skin tingling with every drop that slid down your body. The tequila had kicked in, giving you some liquid courage and adding an extra sway in your hips as you danced to the music coming out of the old jukebox. 
You felt their eyes on you before you actually saw them. Running your hands down your body and up into your hair, you turned around and were pinned in place by two sets of dark eyes. One pair belonged to a shorter man, almost stocky but certainly well built. His jaw looked like it was carved from marble and his hair was greying at the temples. He wore a short sleeved black shirt over a simple grey tee that hugged his defined chest, leaning against the bench with his arms draped against the back and his legs spread wide; a playful smirk on his handsome face. The other set of eyes belonged to someone slightly taller and obviously more reserved. He wore a short-sleeved button-up shirt that hung off of his broad shoulders in a way that accentuated just enough of his frame to let you know that he was as well built as his friend. The grey shirt was patterned with white cranes and looked silky; the kind of shirt you would wear around the house in nothing but your underwear. His dark jeans were tight around his thighs and you couldn’t help but notice how the muscles of his forearms rippled as he crossed them over his chest. His eyes hadn’t left your frame for more than two seconds since the moment he spotted you. 
The shorter one nodded in your direction and his friend leaned in to whisper something in his ear, making his smile spread farther. You blushed under their attention and continued to sway under the lights of the bar, turning your back to them and lifting your hair off of your neck for some small relief from the oppressive heat. You threw what you hoped was a sultry glance over your shoulder back towards their table but to your surprise and disappointment the booth was empty. You pouted as you spun back towards the bar but before you could take a step strong hands wound their way around your waist, touching your stomach far more intimately than you would typically allow from a stranger. Those same hands pulled you back against a taut stomach and a muscular chest. You stumbled but he caught you, his breath warm against the shell of your ear.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got you, gorgeous”, he said just above the din of the music. His voice was warm like honey and you relaxed instantly in his arms. The smile you heard in his tone led you to believe this was the shorter one with the wicked grin. You looked over your shoulder and confirmed your suspicion. His face was open and handsome, his jaw covered in five o clock shadow that made you weak in the knees. You reached a hand back and ran your fingers over that stubble as you tossed him a smirk.
“And what’s your name?”, you asked as you began to sway along to the beat with him.
“Santiago, but my friends get to call me Santi. And you?”. You gave him your name and he repeated it back, the sound of it on his lips was almost sinful. His hands continued to travel your body as you allowed yourself to grind against him in earnest. He let out a rough groan and you giggled at the sound, loving that you were getting a reaction out of this cocky man.
“And your friend? Does he have a name?”
“Catfish? Well, he’d probably want you to call him Frankie”, he said with a chuckle as he nuzzled against your neck with his nose. You reached around and lifted your hair out of the way, reveling in the feeling of Santi behind you. He pressed a hot, open mouth kiss against the nape of your neck and the feeling sent shivers down your spine and electricity sparking across your skin. When you could finally focus, you looked forward and right into the soft brown eyes of Frankie. A smile tugged at your lips when you saw him trying to keep a straight face. His arms were crossed across his broad chest and he was leaning against the wall by the jukebox. 
A nibble on your earlobe drew a small moan from you and brought your attention back to Santi. When you turned your head to look over your shoulder you saw him holding eye contact with his friend. You watched as a wolfish grin spread across his face as he gently tugged your hair and pulled your head to the side, exposing your neck to Frankie. 
A handsome blonde man appeared across the room, sidling up to Frankie. He gave you a once over as he took a swig from his beer before leaning in and saying something with a smirk. You sensed more than you heard the growl from Frankie before Santi pulled you tighter against his body and you felt the hard length of him against your ass. You gasped and closed your eyes for a split second, to revel in that feeling of being so openly desired, but when you opened them again Frankie was gone, leaving just the blonde man with a shocked expression slapped across his face. You swallowed your disappointment and closed your eyes again, allowing yourself to get lost in the music; the only thing keeping you grounded was the firm touches of the man holding you against his chest. 
You were shocked to feel a calloused hand cup gently cup your face. As you blinked your eyes open, you found that you were face-to-face with the stranger in the grey shirt. Frankie.* That’s what Santi said you should call him. His warm brown eyes searched your own to make sure that it was ok that he joined you. Your mischievous smile was enough for him. He took a step forward, slotting his knee between your legs and placing both hands on your hips as he guided you against his leg in time with the music. 
His hips moved with you, making sure that you never lost contact with his muscular thigh as he tilted his head forward and pressed his forehead to yours. For all his obvious shyness, Frankie sure could dance. Santi’s hands slipped down your thighs and he began to gather your dress in his fists, pulling it up slowly until you were all but exposed. You had on a flimsy lace thong, but you might as well have been naked between them. One song melted into the next and soon the three of you were a sweating, writhing mess on the dance floor. You’re not sure when it happened, but you and Frankie had stopped with the playful, teasing nose bumps and progressed into open-mouthed kisses as you grabbed at fistfuls of his curly brown hair. Your tongues were exploring each other in a frenzy, exchanging heavy breaths with the rise and fall of the music; your teeth clashing together in messy desperation. You were sure that people were staring, but you didn’t care. As far as you were concerned, there was no one else in the club other than you and the two men you’d found yourself tangled up in. 
You dropped your head back on Santi’s shoulder and saw the two of them share a glance. Santi took a step back and pulled you away from Frankie, who threw you a wink and a smile when he heard your noise of protest.
“Don’t worry, he’ll be back”, Santi said with a laugh as he dragged you back to the booth the two of them had shared earlier in the evening. He stood back as you slid in, the faded leather sticking slightly to your sweaty thighs. Once again he leaned back and spread his arms wide across the back of the seat, his eyes slightly glazed from the alcohol and the feeling of your hands on his body. He reached over and brushed a strand of hair out of your eyes and dragged his calloused fingertips down your neck, causing your skin to erupt in goose bumps. Everywhere he had touched you felt as if it was on fire and you found yourself beginning to resent how unaffected he seemed when you felt as if you were burning to ash. You cocked your head at him and rested your hand high on his thigh, biting your lip when you saw him swallow hard; his grin becoming brittle as you scooted closer and pressed your breasts against his side. You nuzzled your nose against his jaw again and pressed a kiss behind his ear when you felt him shudder under your renewed attention. He turned his face towards you, his sinful mouth just a breath from yours.
“Where did your friend run off to?”, you asked casually as you peeled yourself off of Santi. His eyes had gone unfocused while you had kissed his neck and he shook his head to clear it of the fog that had fallen over him.
“Well, what do you know? Here he comes. But I don’t know how Frankie feels about sharing”, Santi said loud enough for his friend to hear, his smirk back in full force and his confidence regained. “You might have to convince him”. 
Frankie had approached the table holding a tray filled with more shots of tequila and a few glasses of water, condensation beading on the glass. He set it on the table gently before sliding into the booth on your other side and clearing his throat. The look in his eyes was unsure, almost innocent but for the fire that sparked and smoldered when he looked you up and down, taking in how the sweat from dancing had plastered the thin fabric of your dress to your body. You leaned towards Frankie and reached for a glass of water, sipping slowly and never breaking eye contact, letting out a little shiver when you felt Santi tracing designs on the skin of your back. You had just been kissing him on the dance floor, but something about the raw vulnerability in Frankie’s eyes made you feel shy and eager to please. You reached down and lightly ran your hand up his thigh, reveling in the shudder that coursed through him at your touch. His eyes were all over you, flicking from your teasing hand to your flushed chest to your bottom lip that you'd coyly pulled between your teeth. He shifted in his seat, doing a poor job of covertly adjusting the bulge forming under his jeans. You used his sudden motion as an excuse to "accidentally" brush your palm against his growing cock. His eyes snapped to yours and when you gave him a lazy smile he lifted his hips again, this time with purpose, and you flexed your fingers against his considerable length. He dropped his head back and groaned and Santi leaned forward and pressed a kiss against your shoulder, scraping his teeth lightly against your salty skin. 
Santi was the first to pull away, leaning back against the booth and bumping your thigh with his own to get your attention.
"So what's a pretty American like you doing down here?", he asked as he reached for one of the water glasses. You turned to look at him over your shoulder, your eyes catching on the way his throat flexed as he swallowed.
"Peace corps", you replied as you flicked your eyes up to meet his gaze. His brow furrowed, like he thought your answer was quaint.
"Peace corps?", he asked with a grin.
"Yes", you said, tartly; annoyed with being mocked. "After college I wanted to travel, do something meaningful with my time. Maybe try and undo some of the damage that's been done to places like this. In my own small way". 
Santi's eyes widened at your explanation, still smiling but far less incredulous now. He raised his hands in mock surrender at the conviction in your answer. Behind you Frankie chuckled and you whipped around to face him, ready to lash out, but the look on his face was proud and he simply reached up and gently caught your chin between his fingers.
"That's good work you're doing", he said in a gravelly tone and you preened under his sweet attention, nuzzling your cheek against his hand. 
You heard the clink of glasses and looked down at the table to see a shot set in front of you as Santi pushed another towards Frankie, who was rolling his eyes at his friend. He opened his mouth to turn down the booze but you just laughed and rose to the challenge, not looking away from him you downed the shot. He shook his head at the way you grimaced and groaned, the alcohol burning down your throat until it settled in your chest. A hearty laugh behind you brought your attention back to Santi and you turned to face him with a dark look. He just smirked and downed his own shot. 
That one shot turned into a few more and soon the three of you couldn't keep your hands off of each other; laughing and joking and telling stories but always touching, hands wandering beneath the table. While you were sure this bar was no stranger to scenes like this, you felt it was time to see if these boys would put up or shut up. You knew that if you invited them back to your apartment, and they actually accepted, you would be in for an unforgettable experience. 
You shuffled in your seat, sweeping your gaze from one man to the other, and leaned against Frankie. Your eyes fell shut as the warmth from his broad chest seeped through the fabric of your dress. You sighed in contentment and let out a soft, snorting laugh. As you settled your back against Frankie’s chest, his own laugh vibrated low and gravely through his chest, jostling you slightly.  You reached out and tangled your fingers in the collar of Santi’s t-shirt, his eyes going wide at the dominant gesture, and tugged him towards you. You stopped him just short of meeting your lips and as your breaths tangled together you found your courage.
“I live about two blocks away. Can I convince you boys to join me?”. 
The words were barely out of your mouth before Frankie stiffened behind you, his hands clenching around your hips, and Santi let out a whooping laugh and began to push at your thighs.
“Lead the way, woman”, he said in a rush and you couldn’t help but chuckle at his excitement. Frankie slid from the booth and reached down to help you out, pulling you close to his chest on your way up. The look in his eyes had gone from soft to smoldering and you shivered under his gaze.
Santi pushed open the door to the alley and held it with a mock bow as you stumbled out, giggling and clutching at Frankie’s hand; more drunk on their attention than the tequila. Frankie had started to loosen up, his smile wider and coming more easily than it had on the dancefloor. He spun you in a graceless circle, laughing softly when you tripped over your own feet. Santi caught you before you could do any damage, chuckling at your antics. As he pulled you upright you clutched at his chest, your hands bunching in the sweat soaked fabric of his shirt and short nails raking across the skin of his pecs. His eyes went dark at the new sensation, pupils blown wide, and he tightened his grip on your hips. He stalked forward until your back was flush against Frankie’s chest and then he was on you, all teeth and tongue. Suddenly it was Frankie’s hands on your hips, holding you steady as Santi threaded his hands through your hair, growling into your mouth as he deepened the kiss. There was a groan behind you and you felt Frankie start to grow hard against your ass as he ground into you, trapping you between his body and Santi’s. 
Frankie nuzzled against your neck, peppering it with open mouthed kisses, as Santi pulled your bottom lip between his teeth and you moaned into his mouth. Frankie’s hand had travelled down your leg, bunching your skirt and pulling it up your thigh. You reached behind you to tug at the curls at the nape of his neck, coaxing a broken groan from him that shot straight through you. His hands continued their journey up your thigh until he met the soaking fabric of your panties. You dropped your weight back on him at the feeling, held up only by Santi’s hands in your hair as he sucked a bruise on your neck. 
“Fuck, Frankie. Please”, you begged raggedly, not even sure what you were asking for but knowing that you needed more. Frankie growled in your ear at the sound of his name, the noise making you even weaker in the knees. Santi, not wanting to be outdone, ground against you as he claimed your lips in another soul searing kiss. You gasped at the feel of him, hard against you and tugged him closer by his waistband, drawing a snarl from him as you fought with the button on his jeans. Frankie’s thick fingers had slipped under the fabric of your underwear and spread you open. He wasted no time in finding your clit, making your eyes cross at the sensation of his rough skin against you. He slipped one finger inside of you, immediately following with a second and pumping in and out of you slowly. You cried out at the feeling of stretching around him but before the sound had escaped Santi had slipped two fingers into your mouth to muffle the noise. Your eyes flew open to find him looking down his nose at you, demanding and almost arrogant. You moaned around his fingers before twisting your tongue around them and sucking hard. He bit his plush bottom lip and hissed at the feeling of your hot mouth. 
Santi reached down and helped you with the button on his pants and you immediately dove in, gasping when you got a hold on him. He was thick and hot in your hand, jumping when you gave a firm stroke. Frankie bit down on your earlobe, demanding your attention and you reached back to tangle your free hand in his hair. You pulled him down for a kiss and opened your mouth for him, sucking gently on his tongue and making him moan. He sped his fingers up, pushing you closer to that edge you’d felt yourself teetering on since you met them. Your knees gave out and the only thing holding you up was Frankie’s fingers inside of you and your grip on Santi’s cock. Frankie sensed what you needed and added another finger, making you moan and swallowing the sound with a particularly aggressive kiss.
“Look at you, all spread open on his fingers where anyone could see”, Santi said with a growl, his eyes focused on the spot where Frankie’s fingers disappeared inside of you. You flushed, half with shame at the truth of the statement and half with excitement that you could be caught out here with them, and continued to stroke Santi’s cock. He hissed again as you twisted your grip and pressed his forehead against yours. You shook as Frankie brushed his thumb against your clit, scissoring his fingers inside of you and making you see stars. 
“You’re such a dirty girl, aren’t you? You wouldn’t stop us if we wanted to fuck you out here in the open. You’d love it if we split you open on our cocks right here in this alley”, Santi said darkly as he thrust up into your hand, shaking with the effort to not rip you out of your dress. Frankie growled in agreement as your head dropped back on his shoulder. 
Santi crowded into your space and whispered against your neck.
“You’re soaking wet right now, dripping down his hand. He could make you cum right now if he wanted to. I bet if you asked real nice Frankie would make you cum so hard you saw stars”.
“Frankie please...please...I need”, you babbled as you struggled to stay upright. 
“Tell him what you need, little girl”
“Frankie please, I need to cum. I need to come for you”, you cried out as Frankie ground his cock against your ass and pushed even deeper inside of you, curling his fingers to hit that spot your own were never quite long enough to find yourself. Your vision went white behind your eyelids and you made to shout but were cut off by an almost painful kiss from Santi. With one more brush against your clit starlight exploded in your veins and you came hard around Frankie’s fingers, crying out against Santi’s lips. 
After a moment Santi pulled away and began to stuff himself, still rock hard, back into his jeans. Frankie pulled his hands from your soaked underwear and pressed a kiss to your temple before pulling your dress back down to cover your thighs. You still leaned against him, basking in the afterglow of such a powerful orgasm. He made to wipe your juices on his pants but you caught his hand before he could and held it out in front of you, catching Santi’s eyes with a grin and a raised eyebrow. He cocked his head, unsure if you were seriously challenging him but unwilling to back down and slowly leaned in. He threw a look at his friend and whatever he saw in his eyes made him confident enough to bend down slightly and pull Frankie’s glistening fingers between his lips to gently suck your juices off, savoring the taste with a hum. Frankie brushed against your ass with a groan, still hard and trying to find some friction, the feeling of Santi’s mouth and you pressed against his cock becoming overwhelming. You moaned at the sight and never broke eye contact as he moved from digit to digit. When he finished he pulled you in for a kiss so you could taste yourself on him and you melted into his arms.
“So where can we take this party that won’t get us arrested”, he asked with a smirk as he broke the kiss. You stuck your tongue out at him and shoved at his chest weakly before turning around and pushing Frankie a few steps in front of you, rolling your eyes at his brazen friend. He just let out a laugh and fell into step beside you. Santi surprised you by reaching for your hand. You looked into his eyes, shocked to find some insecurity there. You tugged him close, tucking him into your side as you wrapped your fingers around Frankie’s bicep and led them to your apartment. 
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You shut the door quietly behind you, the lock catching with a strange finality. You were grateful for the radio you had left playing before you had headed to the bar, knowing that if it was silent in the apartment you might have lost your nerve. Your anxiety was soothed by the familiar notes of Tango in the Night floating across the studio from the speaker on your nightstand.
All you had time for was one steadying breath before Santi was on you, his hands firm on either side of your jaw as he pressed you back and against the door. You could feel how tightly he was wound as you ran your hands up his muscled back, scratching against him on your way back down. He moaned into your mouth and it spurred you on. You lifted a leg and wrapped it around his hip. He reached down and gripped your thigh hard, grinding his now obvious erection against your center, giving you the delicious friction you’d been craving. He broke away from your mouth to place love bites along the column of your neck while you pushed the undone button up off of his shoulders, his teeth scraping hard and his tongue licking the salt from your skin. The noise he pulled from you was loud and long and you barely recognized it as your own voice.
“Fuck, baby, you’re so pretty like this”, he moaned against your throat and the feeling was almost overwhelming. A groan from farther in the room caught your attention and you turned your head. 
Frankie was standing to the left of the door, glued in place as he watched the two of you with lust-blown eyes. You hadn’t had time to turn on the lights and he was back lit by the warm glow of the streetlamp outside your window, the effect dizzying. He had one hand slicked back through his hair and the other was busy palming himself over his jeans. The look on his face was one of pure desperation, but you could tell that he wasn’t going to get in on the action unless he was given permission. Santi was still kissing his way down your throat and the pure bliss had left you speechless. All you could manage to get out was a pitiful squeak of Frankie’s name as you reached for him weakly. Santi noticed this and pulled away from you for a moment, ignoring your whimpering protest, and walked over to where Frankie was standing. He placed a strong hand at the back of Frankie’s neck, pulling him over to where you were writhing against the wall.
 He took a step back to allow Frankie to stand in front of you as you gazed up at him with doe eyes. His large hands ghosted over your frame as he took you in, trying to decide which part of you to touch first. To help him with his decision, you wrapped one arm around his neck and hitched the opposite leg over his hip. You pulled him down for a bruising kiss as his hand found your thigh, holding it in place as he began grinding his bulge against you. His other hand found the base of your neck, tangling his thick fingers in your hair as he pulled you in to deepen the kiss. His hand on your thigh crept upwards slowly, under the skirt of your dress, and splaying across the bare skin of your ass. You let out a small yelp as his fingers dug into the soft flesh. Frankie let out a low growl as he bit down on your lower lip.
In one smooth motion, you swung the other leg up onto his hip, hooking your feet behind his back so that he was now holding you up against the wall. Grunting from the effort, Frankie shifted you up a bit and spun you around towards the couch. As he carried you over, both hands slid under your skirt. With one, he was desperately kneading at one of your ass cheeks as the other slipped down to your slick center, pushing the lace aside so he could run his fingers over your entrance. He let out a loud groan when he felt how wet you still were for him. 
Frankie turned and took a seat on the couch, adjusting you so that you were straddling him. You began to slowly circle your hips on his lap, finally finding the friction you’d been so desperate for. You tossed your head back in pleasure, surprised to feel something solid behind you. Santi had appeared behind the two of you and positioned himself between Frankie’s open legs to cage you in from behind. His hands slid around your waist and up your stomach, stopping when he reached your breasts. He gave them a few gentle squeezes, testing their soft weight in his palms. Quicker than you could follow, one of his hands was in your hair and he tugged your head back. You moaned at the feeling, almost painful but full of a burning pleasure, as he leaned down and swallowed the sound. His tongue was in your mouth, tender compared to his hand holding your head to the side and exposing your neck. He dropped to his knees and pressed kisses against your throat. You felt him grasp the zipper on the back of your dress and pull down, tortuously slow. He kissed and nipped at every inch of skin that was revealed. 
Frankie’s hips bucked up against you and your eyes flew open at the feeling of him. His gaze was hooded as he reached up and gently slid the thin straps of your dress off of your shoulders. You reached back for him, going for the buttons on his shirt; unfastening them with trembling hands and making sure to lightly scrape your nails against the skin of his chest. He sucked in a shaky breath and you stored the information away in the back of your mind, knowing it would be useful later. Santi reached up and twisted the straps all the way off your arms and you felt the humid breeze from the ceiling fan brush across your naked chest before he caressed you reverently. Goosebumps erupted over your skin and you let out a small whimper. Frankie sat forward suddenly, pushing you out of the cradle of his lap and towards his knees. 
“Stand up for me, baby”, he murmured and you marveled at the husky quality of his voice as you stood. In a way that felt surprisingly gentle Santi began to pull the dress down your body, Frankie’s hands ghosting along the same path, before the fabric pooled at your feet and you stood before them in nothing but your barely there underwear. Instead of feeling vulnerable you felt powerful. Santi’s hands were on your shoulders and he turned you to face him, his eyes dark and his chest heaving with deep breaths. The shadows across his face made him appear almost predatory and your breath caught in your chest, an ache settling deeper in your lower belly as you reached for him. He wound his arms around you, hooking a finger beneath the waistband of your underwear and pulling them down; gazing at you from under his lashes as you stepped out of them. His kiss was aggressive as he walked you a few steps backwards. You buckled when the back of your knees hit Frankie and you lowered yourself onto his lap. Santi dropped back to his knees, his hands going to your thighs and pushing them apart. 
He started at your right knee; his stubble setting your sensitive skin on fire as he kissed his way towards your inner thigh. His strong hands held your hips in place as you writhed on Frankie’s lap, desperate to feel his mouth where you needed it the most. He looked up at you, cocking his eyebrow and giving you a devilish grin before ghosting his hot breath over your center and starting over at your left knee. Frankie’s hands cupped your breasts and he pinched your pebbled nipples between his calloused fingers. Your back arched off of him, exposing the sweat slicked skin of your neck to his mouth. He placed a kiss to your jawline at the same time Santi’s kisses had made their way up to your inner thigh. You groaned loudly when he stopped just short. 
“You gotta ask nicely, baby”, he said with a smirk. 
“Santi…” you whined, “Please.” You were breathless and desperate; a sweaty mess begging for him to put his mouth on you. Your hands found his thick curls and you gave them a sharp tug. 
“Please,” you repeated. There was a little more of a commanding edge to your tone now.
“Yes ma’am,” he nodded, exchanging a glance with Frankie. He shifted a little and spread your legs further apart so that he could get a good look at you. He drew in a sharp breath as his eyebrows knit together and his face contorted in pleasure. 
“Holy shit,” he breathed. “Look at you. So fucking beautiful.”
With that, his mouth was on you. He found your clit immediately and latched on, the pleasure from the suction causing your hips to buck against him. His hand landed on your stomach, holding you in place as he continued. He brought one finger up to tease at your entrance before expertly circling his tongue around your clit. You bit down on the back of your hand to stifle the moan that threatened to escape your throat. Frankie gently pulled your hand away and laced his fingers with yours by his side. 
“Let us hear you, baby”, he whispered against the shell of your ear. You whimpered as he pinched your nipple, drawing another moan from the back of your throat. “That’s it… We wanna know how good we’re making you feel.”
Santi hummed against you in agreement and the vibration sent a shock wave through your body as he slid one thick finger inside of you and curled it upwards. You arched your back and cried out, the sound broken. His laugh was low and dark and he pushed another finger inside of you and latched onto your clit. You bucked at the sensation of fullness and Frankie’s hand came down hard against your middle to hold you in place, his hand gripping the fingers that Santi had splayed across your stomach earlier to hold you down. You began to ride his fingers in earnest as Frankie bit down on your neck with more force than you’d experienced from him so far. You moaned as you watched Santi’s grip on Frankie’s hand tighten but then you were lost to the sight of his other hand disappearing inside of you. You writhed against Frankie, grinding against his cock and savoring the groan it pulled from him. You reached down for the back of Santi’s shirt and yanked, tugging it over his head gracelessly. Your mouth went dry at the sight of his naked chest. His pecs were defined and shadows danced across his abs before falling over the sharp vee that disappeared under the low slung waistband of his jeans. He smirked at the appreciative look in your eyes before diving back in and devouring your pussy like a starving man.
“God, baby. You’re doing so good” Frankie groaned as his hands explored any part of your body he could reach from beneath you. He was peppering your neck and shoulder with kisses in between tender praises. You had reached one hand back to tangle your fingers in his hair and the other had Santi’s curls in a vice grip as you guided him against you. You were soaked with sweat, but the chill from the fan and the overwhelming sensation of Santi’s tongue working you had your skin covered in goosebumps. He sucked hard on your clit, grazing it lightly with his teeth, and added a third finger. The combination was overwhelming and had you gasping for breath. He twisted his fingers and light exploded behind your eyes, your orgasm ripping through you and making your back arch. Frankie’s hand came to rest over your heart, holding you against him as you came down from your high.
“You’re so fucking beautiful,” Frankie said with reverence as he brushed the hair out of your face. You were sure that you were just a sweaty mess at this point but the look in his eyes made you feel incredible.
“So beautiful”, Santi agreed as he lifted himself from the floor with a small grunt of effort. He reached down and rubbed at his knees, his face scrunched between concentration and pain. You looked back at Frankie with a question in your eyes as he leaned forward to press a kiss against your temple. 
“He’s got bad knees. The military wrecked ‘em”, he said in a low voice, as not to alert Santi, who was still massaging his kneecaps. The sight made your chest clench and you slid to the floor in front of him, his eyes going wide. You lightly ran your hands over his legs, gently applying pressure to the spots that seemed to be bothering him. He groaned in relief and let his head fall back against his shoulders. You felt Frankie’s fingers tangle in your hair and you took it as encouragement to continue, massaging higher up on his thighs than strictly necessary. You felt Santi’s eyes on you as you began to unfasten the button on his jeans. His mouth fell open as you tugged on the material, letting his black boxer briefs fall along with them. His cock sprang free, hard and thick and glistening at the tip. You leaned forward and licked from base to tip, drawing a choked moan from deep in his chest. Suddenly his hands were under your arms and he jerked you to standing.
“Bed”, he growled and the sound went straight to your core. You jerked your chin towards your bed and he swatted your ass and ground out a command to go. You obeyed but held out a hand to Frankie. He wrapped his fingers in yours and rose off the couch, pulling you back against his chest and making the walk to the other side of the studio more difficult but lovely. You laughed as he fake growled against your neck, feeling his smile spread wide against your skin. Santi prowled after you and the sight killed the laughter in your throat, replacing it with something that felt a little dangerous. He met the two of you at the foot of the bed but before he could grab for you, you stepped out of his reach and behind him. You stood on your tiptoes to press a kiss to his neck, nibbling lightly at the skin behind his ear. His hand found your thigh and squeezed as you sucked a bruise on his skin.
“I think Frankie needs some help out of those jeans”, you whispered against the skin of his neck. His head whipped back to look at you but whatever he saw in your eyes must have convinced him that you were serious. He squared his shoulders and crossed the small space separating him from his friend and looked up to meet his gaze. Frankie hadn’t taken his eyes off you but Santi caught his nod and pushed the shirt from his shoulders. You shivered as it fluttered to the floor and Santi reached for the button on Frankie’s jeans, undoing it with practiced ease and pushing the material down his trim hips. 
When he stood in nothing but his boxers Santi reached for the waistband, tucking his fingers under the elastic and pulling Frankie closer before pushing them down his legs to puddle on the floor. Frankie stepped out of the pile of clothes but before he strode towards you he paused and approached Santi, leaning in and gently nuzzling his cheek with his nose. The sight knocked the air from your lungs, simultaneously domestic and the most erotic thing you’d ever seen. At the same time they turned to face you, twin looks of hunger on their handsome faces. 
You sauntered over and appraised them both for a moment, making note of the way the dim light played across their faces. Cupping one hand around the back of Frankie’s neck, you pulled him down for a kiss. With the other hand, you reached over and grabbed Santi’s, pulling him to stand behind you so that you could grind yourself against him. Frankie’s knees were against the edge of the bed already, so you gently guided him down and told him to lie back. He did as he was instructed, propping his head up on his arms so that he could watch as you wrapped both hands around his cock and gave him a few pumps. With a playful wiggle of your ass, you tossed a mischievous look over your shoulder to Santi. Getting the message, he stepped up and grabbed your hips before using one hand to line himself up with your entrance and rubbing soothing circles at the base of your spine with the other. 
You turned your attention back to Frankie and gave him a wink before taking him as far into your mouth as you could. A sinful moan erupted from his chest as he tossed his head back against the bed in pleasure, his back arching softly. You held him there until tears formed at your eyes and you gagged, pulling off of him as a trail of saliva connected your lips to his dick. Frankie dared to look back down at you just as you swirled your tongue over the tip and hollowed your cheeks, taking him in a few more inches. Santi had begun to slide the head of his cock through your wet folds and slapped it once against your clit for good measure, making you yelp. As he teased himself at your entrance, you gripped the base of Frankie’s dick in your hand and licked the underside before you took just the head between your lips again. 
“You ready for me, baby?” you heard Santi ask from behind you. You gave a nod of agreement as Frankie’s hand came up to gently grip your hair. He held you still, his eyes flicking back and forth between your face and Santi’s intently as Santi lined himself up and slowly pressed into you. Your eyes went wide from the pleasure before closing as you felt Frankie begin to slowly lower your mouth back down onto his cock. You moaned when you realized that he was trying to time it perfectly with Santi sheathing himself inside of you. Slowly, you began to stretch around Santi’s thick cock and had taken as much of Frankie’s as possible. When Santi bottomed out inside of you, he hit that sweet spot that made you see stars and you couldn’t stop the cry that bubbled up from your throat. The vibration of your throat around his dick nearly sent Frankie into a tailspin and it was all he could do to stop himself from fucking up into your mouth. 
As Santi began to slowly pull out of you, Frankie gently used your hair to pull you off inch-by-inch. The two of them set a rhythm; Santi was slowly pumping in and out of you as Frankie helped you bob up and down on his dick. Their movements were slow and deliberate, wanting to drag this pleasure out as long as they could while making sure that you were still enjoying yourself. Santi gathered a little bit of the slick running down your thigh onto his thumb and brought it up to your exposed ass. As he gently swirled it around the sensitive puckered area, you began to buck against his hand. He took that as a sign to keep it up and applied gentle pressure before fully inserting the tip of his finger inside. He let out a strained groan as he felt your walls clench around him at this new sensation of fullness. 
You gasped both for pleasure and for air as you lifted your face off of Frankie’s dick. Gripping the base with one hand, you used the other to spread your saliva and pump him rhythmically. You were full-on fucking yourself back against Santi; meeting him thrust for thrust as you felt another orgasm building in your belly. The indecent squelching sounds of your hands on Frankie’s cock, the slapping of your skin against Santi’s hips, and a trio of moans were filling the room and drowning out Clapton’s melodic guitar coming from the radio.
“Santi, baby,” you gasped, tossing your head back in ecstasy. “That feels so fucking good.”
“Santiago,” you heard him growl from behind you. “Christ… call me Santiago.”
“ Santiago... ”, You moaned his name, loving the way it felt in your mouth and looked back over your shoulder to catch his gaze as he pounded into you. As soon as his full name fell from your lips, a broken moan escaped through his and his face contorted in pleasure. His pace quickened and his trusts became sloppy, hitting the sensitive spot inside of you every time he bottomed out. Just as you were sure you were about to crash over the edge, Santi pulled himself out of you completely, gripping hard at the base of his cock as he took a step backward. 
“Sorry, baby. Fuck*… I was too close and I’m not finished with you yet,” he panted through heaving breaths. You cried out in frustration, letting your head fall limp, only to be pulled up onto the bed by Frankie’s strong arms. 
He captured your lips in a desperate kiss as his hips bucked up into nothing underneath you. When he broke the kiss, you met his warm brown eyes with your own. He smiled up at you as he brushed a piece of hair back behind your ear and he tugged down on your hips so that your soaked center was pressed up against him. 
“I think,” he said as he pressed another kiss to your lips. “That it might be <i>my</i> turn now.”
You grinned down at him, placing both hands on his shoulders and lifting your torso so that you were positioned over the tip of his cock. You felt it pulse against you as you began to slowly rock your hips into his. You bent down slightly to place a sweet kiss to the bump of his nose and brush away a few tendrils of hair that had stuck to the sweat on his forehead. 
“You know what I think?” you asked as you quickened the pace of your hips. “I think that you were such a good boy waiting your turn while Santi had his fun, that you deserve to be rewarded. Don’t you agree, Santi?”
“Mhmm”, he groaned as he bent over to press a kiss to your cheek, nipping softly at your skin. He walked over to the other side of the bed and laid back against the pillows as he began to lazily stroke himself.  “I think you should show my boy Fish here a good time while I enjoy the view”
You beamed down at Frankie who was staring up at you with wide eyes, trying to anticipate your next move. You gently lifted your hips, reaching a hand down to grip the base of his cock and slide it through your folds. You felt Frankie’s breath hitch in his chest as his eyes fluttered closed and his fingers dug into the flesh of your hips. You teased him like that for a few more moments before softly getting his attention. 
“Frankie,” you cooed. “Look at me.”
Reluctantly, his eyes opened and found yours. You pressed the tip of his cock against your slick entrance and pushed back slightly, causing him to gasp and close his eyes once more. 
“Frankie,” you said with a bit more bite. “I said, keep your eyes on me.”
A whine escaped his lips, but he obeyed. This time, his eyes never left yours as you slowly sank down onto him; mouth agape as every glorious inch of him stretched you further than anyone ever had before. When you were fully seated on him, you leaned down to meet his lips in a brief kiss. You closed your eyes and pressed your forehead against his, the two of you passing the same moan back and forth through open mouths as you slowly began to rock your hips. You could hear Santi panting as he took all of this in, his hand now stroking his cock at a quicker pace. Frankie’s hands were still tightly gripping your hips as he guided them back and forth, loving the way you stretched around his width.
When the feeling of Frankie filling you was no longer painful, you sat yourself back up; your hands reclaiming their spot on either of his shoulders. This new angle pushed Frankie further inside of you and the tip of his dick immediately found your g-spot. Desperate for the internal friction, you began to circle your hips in place and savored how absolutely wrecked Frankie looked beneath you. Soft expletives escaped his lips as he tipped his head back in bliss. There was a loud crack as Frankie’s hand came down on your left ass cheek. You cried out in pleasure, but Frankie couldn’t tell the difference yet between that and a sound of pain. His eyes immediately found yours as his hand soothed the growing red spot. 
“I’m sorry. Was that ok?” he asked, his concern genuine.
“Fuck yes, Frankie. That was-” you couldn’t even get the sentence out before his left hand cracked against your right ass cheek, causing you to yelp. Just as he had with the other side, his hand immediately began to soothe the sting out of the mark. “God! You feel so good.”* 
A strangled noise came from the head of the bed and you looked up to find that Santi was once again tightly gripping the base of his cock to stop his impending release. His head was tilted back against the headboard and his bottom lip was pulled tight over his teeth. Your mouth watered at the sight of the muscles in his neck flexing with the effort to not cum while he watched you ride his best friend senseless. Your breathless panting of his name was enough to bring his attention back to where you were riding Frankie. 
“I’m trying real hard to hold out for you, baby”, he chuckled. “But I’m gonna need Fish to hurry up and make you cum so I can fuck that tight little ass of yours.”
As if he had been waiting for Santi’s permission, Frankie’s hand quickly found the space where your bodies were joined and began to rub tight circles around your clit. You leaned back, bracing your hands against the tops of his thighs so that he could have a better angle on it. He began to quickly fuck himself up into you as your moans pitched higher, signaling that you were close. When you knew you were there, you suddenly pulled yourself off of his dick and his fingers followed, never losing contact with your clit as he pressed harder. Your whole body wracked with pleasure as you gushed onto Frankie’s throbbing cock, soaking him and the sheets as your thighs shook from the strain of holding you up through your release. Frankie pulled you down into a kiss, gently rolling you over so that he was on top of you and staring down into your eyes. 
When he pulled away, he placed a kiss to the tip of your nose and brushed the hair back from your forehead before placing another gentle kiss there. You held on to him as the aftershocks of your second release shook through your body and you felt yourself start to giggle. You couldn’t believe you had just made a mess all over your new sheets, but you’d be damned if that wasn’t one of the most mind-blowing orgasms you’d ever had. No man had ever successfully made you do that* before, though many had tried.
“Damn, baby. You sure did make a mess,” Frankie chuckled as he stared down at you, a mixture of awe and lust on his face. There was a hint of concern in his eyes still, as if he was worried he had been too rough with you. “Are you alright? Do you need us to give you a minute? I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
You smiled as you bit down on your lower lip, shaking your head at him. You tangled your hands in his hair and brought his lips down to yours for a brief moment before guiding him down your neck and between the swell of your breasts. Your breath caught in your chest as his soft beard tickled against the skin of your stomach and he made his way to the top of your mound. 
“Is it ok if I-?” he looked up at you with yearning eyes and you felt your stomach twist in adoration. “I just want to taste you.”
“It’s ok, Frankie” you said gently, your hands still tangled in the curls on top of his head. You scooted yourself back a little so that your head was propped on Santi’s chest and you could have a better view. You untangled one hand from his hair and reached beside you to wrap it around Santi’s painfully hard cock. You began to pump it lazily as Frankie licked a stripe from your entrance to your clit, gathering your slick on his tongue and audibly groaning in pleasure at the taste of you. You turned your head towards Santi whose eyes were glued to where Frankie’s face was buried between your thighs and licked your lips at the look of concentration on his face. You released your grip on his cock and reached up to soothe the lines on his brow, smiling when he finally met your eyes.
“Kiss me, Santiago”, you murmured and your eyes fluttered closed. Frankie sucked hard on your clit as Santi leaned down to meet your mouth, gently biting your lower lip and swallowing your moan as he demanded access. His touch was less frenzied now, more gentle than you thought him capable of as his hand cupped your face and held you still against him. You were overwhelmed in the moment, tears threatening to spill, as you realized the three of you were a complete circuit; Frankie making you tremble with his surprisingly aggressive tongue and hands still latched to your cunt and Santi rubbing his thumbs sweetly across your cheeks while he kissed you senseless. 
A snarl from Frankie caught your attention, the sound out of character for him, and you clenched around his fingers. Your back arched off the bed, and you felt his hand crash down on your stomach to hold you in place. The pace his fingers set was almost brutal and you felt your juices sliding down your thighs; combined with his spit you were absolutely soaked. His fingers moved away from your entrance, replaced by his tongue, and you felt him probe against your ass. You spread your legs father, bending at the knees, at the sensation and moaned into Santi’s mouth. Slowly, Frankie pushed one thick finger inside you. Part of you wanted to crawl away from the invasion but the rest of you shuddered at the idea of being able to have both of them inside you at the same time.
Frankie’s face lifted from your folds and he placed a kiss against your inner thigh, nuzzling your skin there.
“I don’t want to hurt you”, he said even as the look in eyes told you he wanted to tear you apart. You smiled down at him and ran a hand through his sweaty curls. You tapped Santi’s chest with your other hand to get his attention and pointed at the small bedside table. He caught your drift and opened the drawer, plucking out a small bottle of lube and handed it down to Frankie who immediately spread over both of your holes. His eyes never left yours as he pressed back into your ass, groaning when your mouth dropped open in a silent scream. He stretched you slowly and you could see the effort it took to not just fuck you with his fingers. You were grateful that he took the time to prepare you for what came next.
Minutes felt as if they stretched on forever and suddenly Santi’s hands were under your arms, pulling you on top of him; your back flush against his chest. His breathing was harsh in your ear as he shifted his hips to line up with your ass. Frankie leaned over you, caging you in with his strong arms as he leaned down to push his tongue in your mouth. You could taste yourself, tangy and sweet, on his lips and you reached up to pull him closer. Santi growled, low and long behind you. You realized Frankie had reached down between your legs and gripped his friend’s cock, his hands shiny with lube to make his entrance easier, and lined him up against you. Santi nudged you with the head of his cock and your body’s natural reaction was to buck up and off of him but Frankie held you fast as Santi slid home inch by divine inch. You shouted at the new feeling of fullness.
“You’re so beautiful”, Frankie rasped and his eyes devoured you.
“You’re so fucking tight”, Santi ground out from behind you as he began to thrust in earnest, dragging a short scream from you as he bottomed out. “I can’t believe I get to fuck this tight little ass”. He had one hand tangled in your hair, pulling your head to the side so he could bite and suckle at the skin of your neck, the other grasping at your breast as he desperately snapped his hips against you. You were making no effort to quiet your moans as you writhed against Santi, loving how full he made you feel. 
Frankie’s thumb had been rubbing tight circles on your clit as he slowly pumped himself in his free hand. He tapped Santi on the hip gently, signalling for him to slow his pace so he could line himself up with your entrance. An animalistic groan escaped his chest as he sheathed himself inside of you slowly, overcome with the feeling of your tight walls surrounding him. You cried out as you clenched around him, nearly toppling over the edge at the sensation of being stretched to your limit by the both of them. Frankie was in heaven; you had felt fantastic around him before, but this was pure bliss. Santi was still thrusting in and out of you at an agonizingly slow pace and Frankie could feel every glorious inch of his friend filling you up. It was almost too much for him to take as he looked down at the wrecked face of his best friend. 
You looked up at him, noticing how he wasn’t looking at you but rather, how he couldn’t take his eyes off of Santi. You saw how his eyes flicked down to Santi’s mouth as he licked his own lips. You knew what he wanted, but you didn’t think he’d have the guts to do it on his own. With a whisper of his name, you pulled him down into a soft kiss. As he began to moan against your lips, you turned your head slightly making sure he knew to follow you. With a steady hand at the nape of his neck, you pushed his face towards Santi’s. They paused, staring at each other with a million questions in their eyes as they tentatively bumped noses. You clenched around them and that was all it took.
Their mouths were on each other in an instant, all clashing teeth and soft moans as they both began pumping in and out of you again. As Frankie tangled a hand in Santi’s hair, you wrapped your arms around his back, digging your nails into his shoulders and sucking bruises along the length of his neck. Their moans getting more desperate by the second, they began to set a bruising pace and each of them had managed to hit spots inside of you that sent white-hot bolts of electricity through your body. 
You knew you would have bruises on your hips where Santi was gripping you. His hips snapped against your ass, the feeling of his cock dragging against Frankie’s made you see stars. You felt stretched to your limit, completely stuffed, and nothing had ever compared to this feeling of absolute fullness. Frankie had thrown your legs over his shoulders and quickened his pace as Santi’s thrusts began to go erratic. You knew he was about to fall over the edge and you clenched purposefully around them.
“Fuck!”, Santi shouted as one hand came up to wrap around your throat and hold you in place.
“Cum for me, Santiago”, you murmured as you turned your face towards him for a kiss. He captured your lips with his as he growled and stiffened, becoming impossibly hard inside of your ass. On a whim Frankie reached down between you and cupped his hand around Santi’s balls, giving a gentle squeeze and coaxing his orgasm from him. Heat bloomed through your core and Santi came, shouting your name and biting down hard on your neck; filling you with his cum. He stilled inside of you; his breath coming in hot puffs against your skin as he struggled to come down. His tongue laved over the mark he’d left on your skin before gently kissing it with a smile. His eyes travelled over your body, flushed and beginning to show the bruises of their hands all over you, and up to Frankie’s face as he reached down and began to rub lazy circles over your clit. He pulled your ear lobe between his teeth and bit down gently.
“Call him Francisco”, he whispered, for you only, as he pinched your clit and made you cry out, your orgasm creeping closer and threatening to wash over you
Frankie’s face screwed up in concentration as he watched Santi rub against you, the feeling of you clenching on his cock was almost too much. He reached one hand down to rest gently against your throat, squeezing slightly as he tried to gauge your reaction. When he saw a flash of excitement in your eyes, he continued thrusting into you as he felt you growing tighter around him. His free hand laced his fingers with one of yours as he brought your knuckles to his lips. 
“Let go, baby”, he whispered. “I’ve got you.”
A few more brushes of his cock against your g-spot was all it took and, as he relaxed his hand around your neck, you crashed over the edge with a gasp. All of the blood rushed back to your head and your muscles tensed as you clenched down onto the both of them. Frankie groaned as your walls fluttered around him; the clench of your ass making Santi cry out from the overstimulation. You held onto Frankie’s shoulders for dear life as the aftershocks coursed through you and he gently fucked you through them. When you had finally caught your breath you pushed him back slightly so that you could look into his eyes. 
“You’ve been such a patient boy... I think it’s time that we let you cum. How does that sound?” you asked as you lightly dragged your nails along his back. Frankie choked back a broken sob as he thrust into you; bottoming out and holding himself inside of you for a second. Your hands found his ass and you began to slowly circle your hips as you dug your nails into the soft flesh. You guided Frankie in and out of you gently as he began to stiffen, something you took as a sign that he was close. Heeding Santi’s advice, you began to hum beneath him. 
“That’s right, baby”, you panted against his open mouth. “Cum for me, Francisco.”
The sound of his full name on your lips was enough to push him over the edge. With a feral growl, Frankie began to snap his hips into yours ferociously as he chased his own release. Your nails were digging into his ass now, surely leaving red, half-moon shaped indentations behind as you moved your arms up his back to brace against his shoulders. You stifled a cry as you bit down onto his shoulder, dragging your nails across his back as you clung to him in desperation. You clenched yourself around him as he stilled inside of you, crying out your name as he painted your walls with his release. You tangled your fingers in his hair, swallowing his cries with a kiss as his breathing returned to normal. Frankie eventually pulled away to lay his head on your chest as you played with his hair. 
The three of you laid like that for a few minutes, none of you willing to break contact with each other while both men began to soften inside of you. Frankie’s right thumb was drawing circles on the sensitive skin of your side as Santi’s left hand absentmindedly stroked the hair at your temple. Your hand that wasn’t currently lost in Frankie’s dark curls was tucked back over your head gently scratching at Santi’s beard. You couldn’t see it, but Frankie’s fingers were laced with Santi’s by your right side, their calloused thumbs stroking over each other's knuckles in a tender gesture. You let out a contented sigh as you stared up at the ceiling; shaking your head in disbelief as the events of the night began to replay themselves in the darkness. You weren’t sure you’d believe it had really happened once the bruises the boys had left behind began to fade. There was no guarantee you would ever see them again. The idea made your heart clench and you shoved it violently from your mind, instead focusing on their breathing and the slowing of your heart rate. 
You eventually extracted yourselves from each other’s embrace to begin the cleanup process. After you returned from the bathroom the boys made you stay in the bed as they shuffled around your apartment, returning moments later with warm washcloths. Frankie cleaned you up first, then turned his attention to himself. Santi brought you his t-shirt to sleep, gently tugging it over your head and smiling when it settled over your frame. Frankie had pulled on his boxers and crawled back into bed, pulling back the covers and inviting you to lie down with him. The three of you settled back into your bed, reveling in the comfort of each other’s arms before you drifted off into sleep. 
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You awoke long before the sun, warm and boneless. You were pressed against Santi, your head resting on his chest and your arm wrapped around him. His face was relaxed in sleep, easing away those hard lines that added an edge to his handsome features. Frankie was pressed flush against your back, his breath warm on your neck and his arm draped over your middle. You looked down to find his fingers still intertwined with Santi’s and the sight was so sweet it made you ache. 
“Go ‘sleep”, you heard Frankie slur from behind you and you chuckled before wiggling against him and settling back into a doze.
When you awoke again about an hour later, you stretched and found yourself with too much room in the bed. The sheets were still warm from their bodies but Frankie and Santi were nowhere to be found. You moaned and made to sit up when a large hand pressed against your shoulder and pushed you back into the nest of pillows.
“You go back to sleep, baby. We have to go to work”, Frankie whispered as he leaned in and pressed his warm mouth to yours. You whimpered as he lightly brushed his tongue against your lips. It seemed to physically pain him to pull away from you but then Santi was there, filling the empty space. His eyes seemed to bore into you, looking into your soul, and you were trapped there. He put his hand behind your head and pulled you in for a kiss, pushing his tongue into your mouth and dominating you before your sleep addled brain could even catch up. You were breathless when he pulled away.
“Be good”, was all he said before got up and followed Frankie from the room, closing the door with a soft click. You fell back against the pillows with a sigh, your muscles sore and weak and your heart fluttering, when you heard something crinkle under your hand. 
You rolled and reached for the pillow next to you and found a folded slip of paper.
Now that I know what it's like to hold you, I don't wanna let you go. We'll be gone for three days, but can be reached at this number if there’s an emergency. See you soon, baby. - Francisco
You clutched the paper to your chest and pulled your bottom lip between your teeth, praying that last night was not just a one off. You pulled the collar of Santi’s t-shirt to your nose, inhaling his scent and committing it to memory. You didn’t know how you would manage it but you refused to let either of them go. 
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Seven days later:
The wind whipped around them and it was a marvel that Will was able to sleep through it. Benny had run off to scope out the situation at the beach. Santi’s eyes were glued to the shape of Tom’s body, wrapped in cloth and laying a few feet away from the group. He began clenching and unclenching his fists as he stared sightlessly. Frankie sat next to him, their shoulders pressed together, as much for comfort as for escape from the elements. 
“I…”, Santi started before his words died in his throat. Frankie leaned away just far enough to wrap an arm around his shoulders and pull him close.
“I know”, he said with a grimace, his eyes roving over Santi’s haunted face before landing on Tom’s still form. He reached up and cupped Santi’s face in his hand, tucking him into the space between his neck and shoulder and stoically ignoring the shaking of his friend's shoulders. He began to run his fingers through his hair, hoping to bring him any measure of comfort.
“Do you think…”, Santi started to ask before stopping himself and looking towards Will, asleep against the rocks.
“Do I think what, Pope?”, Frankie asked softly.
“Will we ever see her again?”, he asked, voice catching on the last word. He wrapped his arms around Frankie’s waist, pulling him closer and settling his face into his friend’s strong chest. 
The uncertainty and pain in his voice made Frankie pause before he answered. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to Santi’s hair.
“I’m gonna do everything in my power to make sure we get out of here alive”, he said with a firm tone, his conviction wrapping around Santi and settling in his chest.
“Yeah, I know you will, Fish”, Santi responded with a small nod and a sniff. Bringing his lips back to Santi’s hairline, Frankie continued. 
“As soon as we do, we’ll find her.”
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maybege · 4 days ago
Okay okay to really kick things off gonna send you a THOT but mostly a soft thot
Maybe this is some projecting on my part (who am I kidding it always is lmao) but I feel it would be really funny if the boy's SO who doesnt drink normally ends up getting tipsy around them one night.
I'll let you do Paz and Boba as you wish, but I just see Din being the type to be like "have you had enough water" and "Im going to drive, cyare, dont worry about it". And when you get all tired and snuggly he is more than okay with cuddling with you in bed (tho he isnt one to take advantage of you ever, the cuddling seeing as he is also your cyare def is okay). And yes he will tease you if you drank enough to be feeling cranky the next morning XD
That being said if you arent feeling tooooo crummy he knows a way or two or three that you might find enjoyable to do in the morning if you wanna 👀
Oh I’m so here for it 🥺
I’ll choose Paz because I feel he’s big tall and broad and therefore can hold his liquor - and is not prepared to see his SO - his cyare - down shot after shot until you’re swaying in your feet and looking up at him like he hung the stars in the sky 🥺
“You’re so big, Paz, how do you fit through doors?”
“Uh, what?”
“I mean just look at you! You’re the biggest man I’ve ever seen!”
“Love, we’ve known each other for years.”
But then the conversation is over and you decide to dance with your friends or play a game of cards which you declare to win after one round and Paz just stares in awe at you as you’re having such a fun time 🥺 But then you’re tired and decide that Paz is the comfiest pillow ever and he just calls you his little loth kitten when he guides you home, convincing you to drink a glass of water before falling asleep.
The next morning he’ll totally eat you out and explore that size kink because if Paz likes one thing it’s you telling him he’s ‘too big’ 🥵
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djarinsbeskar · 5 days ago
Good morning, wifey-dearest! ❤️❤️
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Which Din?? 😘
Good morning, my darling wife.
I see the mood for today is murder and I love that for you even if I am the innocent victim
I'm gonna admit that both are tickled and enjoy bondage, but for this position in particular, this has Stitches!Din written all over it. This is that dance he and Medic have had their entire relationship, this subtle dynamic of control and giving it up to each other, and only each other.
They adore a challenge, that nudge of "I bet you don't have it in you to take me like this" because you know Medic is the one to suggest it. And Din? Damn, he knows his girl isn't some frail little thing that needs a delicate hand (even though he enjoys worshipping her with soft caresses and gentle touches too). He knows his medic has a spine of beskar and gives as good as she gets. It's one of the many things that had him tripping hear over heels for her.
So when she challenges him to dominate her, truly make her submit-- it drives Din feral. It taps into that base instinct that Mandalorian culture embraces. Its an easy switch to flick in his head, and knowing medic loves it too? Loves the compression of his hand, his strap on her throat.
Loves the trust she puts in him. That's what gets him off even more than the domination-- that shining message of "I know you won't hurt me" so candid and raw and open in her eyes. For a man who has lived his life working against the preconceived prejudices against his culture, living up to them sometimes--- being so explicitly trusted this way, it's an addiction. That this woman, strong and fiercely independent with a need for control would let him have her this way? Poor medic won't be able to walk straight for days.
And you can be damn sure Din let's her know just how much that trust means;
"Only I can have you like this, isn't that right, kitten?"
"Remember that safe word for me, beautiful."
"I'll make you feel good, kitten--- you've been so good for me, tell me what you want."
Of course, the teasing would come before all this. And damn, would that man tease medic until she was certain she was going insane. I'll leave that for Din to show though 😏
Wow stream of consciousness is so messy forgive me
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drippingmoon · 8 days ago
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Word Find Game XXXII
Thanks a lot for the tag, @talesofsorrowandofruin! Searching for verse, sand, plain and frighten in Aquiver, Aglow:
Verse: I even have a poet but no stanzas
Sand:
   “I’m sorry. Some sand fell on me.” She frowned, and he flinched. “I didn’t let any spill,” he added, his voice a plea.
   And also, an offering.
   A pause.
   Then, hands hovered beneath his. Tyrone started, eyes widening, and he nearly dropped the stardust in his hands. At a light tsk, though, he hurriedly gathered himself, and parted his hands.
Plain:
His voice was as mellow as when he spoke in chapels, and most of them recognized it. Only, this time, the religion had changed faces. Coldness ran through them. The angel stepped closer, staring up at him.
   “Imera, this is plain fear. We shouldn’t indulge.”
   At that, his smile widened. He danced around them, stepping between bodies until he came to the other side of the fountain. “Hmm, what of it?” He picked up a feather from the edge of the fountain, and wiped it clean of blood. But his sleeve was also drenched in blood, and in the end, it was still spotted.
   It was bone-white, and he held it out to Anne. “Didn’t we decide?”
Frighten: Some bits from the first meetings between angels and humans. They won't make it into subsequent drafts because I have other ideas, but I still like them
The day he was named, there’d been so much din. A clash and crash of cricket-like tune, and he’d opened his eyes to a gathering of flailing arms and a peculiar light ashine in their eyes, one that frightened him.
   Indeed, at first he shrunk back. Then waves of sound washed against his ear, bringing him underwater. And once he got used to the sensation – his eyes widened – he understood.
Open tag for anyone to join! Otherwise, tagging if and if you want: @ambsthom, @indecentpause, @afoolandathief and @writer-who-sometimes-writes to find time, blood, sigh and smile!
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josephinelenoir-rp · 9 days ago
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Rising Temperature || Open
For the past month, every single person who suffered at the hands of the terrific event that took the lives of thirteen people and left many other injured tried their best to cope and recover from the trauma the shooting left them with. For Josephine Lenoir hadn’t been any different, even though she got out of it seemingly unharmed, the woman still carried the guilt for the death of her patient, nightmares woke her up at night as she vividly remembered how her hands were deep inside Thomas’s body as she attempted to save his life, the strange feeling that crawled underneath her skin along with the reminder of the miscarriage she suffered still came back on occasion. For the past month Jo held tightly onto Benjamin, she searched for his warmth at night when she woke up from a bad dream. Despite their sorrows, the couple had grown closer and stronger; Josephine had practically lived in Ben’s house for the past month, only going back to her house every now and then to get clothing and pick up her mail.
She visited Thomas and Esmeralda often as she tried to help with their recovery due to the injuries and following surgeries they endured caused by the shooting; slowly but surely, laughter and joy fill the dinning room on nights the group got together to have a relaxing night and talk while enjoying a meal together. The little family even had been talking on taking a trip together to get away from Seattle and the reminders that were still a little too fresh in their memories but before they could even book anything it was announced that a gift for all their staff; an all-expense paid vacation to Tulum, Mexico. Josephine didn’t even think twice before she agreed to go as well as most of her friends did with the exception of Esmeralda who had to practically be dragged into the plain.
Before she even noticed the OBGYN found herself staring at the white sand leading up to the turquoise blue water that was gifted as the view they would have right in the backyard of their Villa for the next week. The surprise party that Sterling Ides and Calliope Jackson had planned for their group was, in Josephine’s opinion, the perfect way to start their vacation. Even though everyone knew each other, there were people in the group that weren’t precisely close to each other, there were even people who were particularly known for avoiding everyone like Declan and Phillip… perhaps the party would help to get everyone to at least get along enough to survive the next week sharing a home.
Four shots in, Josephine hadn’t stop dancing from the moment she arrived into the party; every movement of her body releasing endorphins and adrenaline leaving no room to remember the reason why this trip happened in the first place. Feeling her mouth beginning to dry up, the French woman walked towards the bar tilting her head to the side a little as she carefully looked to all the different kinds of drinks the two hosts had brought to the party; “When in Mexico though…” She said with a grin as she grabbed a bottle of tequila, running her thumb over the label before grabbing a shot glass and filling it with tequila, noticing a familiar face approaching as she looked to her left and grinned before taking poured another shot and handed it to them. “Can’t say no. No, it’s kind of a forbidden word tonight.” She said holding her own shot up, “Cheers.” She said drinking the shot all at once feeling the liquid burning her throat.
“I have a feeling that a lot of bad decisions will be made tonight.” She said as she looked onto the crowd of people around them and let out a laugh.
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ditavonchaos · 14 days ago
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[Solo for @RedLipsRedSoles — Mr. Face]
There was nothing like an opening night for a new show. There was raw energy that permeated every inch of the building, from the freshly mopped floors up to the cable hooks that held up chandeliers and rope pulleys far overhead. The curtains billowed with an unseen breeze, like the very theater itself was taking a deep breath in anticipation.
From where I stood back stage, I could hear the crowd slowly building. The soft scrape of chairs and tables being moved, the din of laughter and voices building, and the smell of alcohol slowly getting stronger was enough to set my heart racing. I always got nervous before a set, my mind racing through my choreography, silently praying to whatever gods may be paying attention this evening that I wouldn’t fall on my face and make a mockery of myself and my fellow entertainers.
I stepped closer to the fall of heavy velvet curtains, fingers slipping down the thick soft fabric to curl around it, pulling it back so I could peek out with a little bit better of an angle. This part was a ritual for me, I needed to choose my mark from the crowd. I needed a face and a table to dance for - someone I could woo with eye contact and winks, smiles and blown kisses. I usually didn’t get blessed with a solo customer sitting at a table in the closest section to the stage but something was playing on my side. He sat there, sticking out like a sore thumb, in a brown suit and bright green tie. He even had a matching hat, I couldn’t quite discern if it was a fedora or a homburg from this angle, but it made me think of all the old movies I loved to watch.
Men just didn’t seem to wear hats very often anymore, which was such a shame. I always thought they added a certain flair to a man’s look.
I had him, my Face. He wouldn’t know until the show was well underway, something that always put a wicked gleam in my eyes. I left him there, Mr. Face alone at his table, and turned to head backstage to finish putting my makeup on and the final touches to my hair and costume. As I walked away, heels quietly clacking on the wood floor, I heard my friend Luke making the introductions and setting the mood for the evening’s entertainment.
Luke’s suave voice carried me back to my ramshackle dressing room, nothing like the one I’d left behind so long ago in a burnt-out building, but mine nonetheless. The lights flickered on, the old stench of stale cigarettes still lingering in the faded flowery wallpaper that decorated the upper portions of the walls. Wrinkling my nose, I did what I’d gotten accustomed to doing and picked up my perfume bottle and spritzed towards the corners of the room to freshen the air.
Behind me, outside the door, the music kicked up and the first round of welcoming applause drifted through the curtains and down the corridors that made up the backstage area. I was the third act, so I still had a few minutes but I still moved with hurried gestures. A few swipes of powder, freshened lipstick, hairspray to hold my curls in place. The cloud of it was so thick that I was thankful I didn’t have any lit candles in the confined space or I may have just set off another fire.
Whoopsie.
I checked myself in the mirror, sequins sparkling in the reflection. I checked for dull spots where sequins may have fallen off or gotten pinched. Those pesky little imperfections that could make me feel less than perfection on stage… but I was happily rewarded with no such spots. I slipped into my heels, the top of my hair and feathers no longer in the frame of the mirror. I gave myself a nod of approval and left the room, following a few others as they scurried towards the stage entrance. Music was winding down and the little beeps that were our personal signals were leading the way, guiding us into place as the next act went on and the first one came running off, trailing her costume between her feet with the sounds of laughter and cheers following her.
The second act, two dapper gentlemen who had somehow mastered the art of stripping and tap dancing at the same time, made their way onto the stage. I stood in the shadows, waiting my turn while I sought out Mr. Face one more time.
His table had been taken by a group of beautiful ladies and I couldn’t help feel my smile falter for a moment. Maybe he’d moved? Given up the full table for a single seat elsewhere?
Yes. Yes, that was it. I found him, two tables over, sitting on the stage side of the table with his back to the others there. He wasn’t talking to anyone but I could see him looking around and enjoying the scenery. Between the entertainers, servers, and other employees moving across the floor through the crowd, the crowd itself was dressed to the nines. Women were sparkling and glowing under the lights and the men were all handsome devils with bright smiles and gleaming eyes.
My Mr. Face, however, was in his own little world. It was as if he was glowing from the inside out, his skin just a shade brighter than everyone else’s and his clothes almost as if he’d just pillaged them from a vintage store moments before arriving. But I didn’t care, he was my Face for the evening. That point was driven home when, by some miracle, we made eye contact. His features seemed to sharpen for a moment before I saw a cloud of confusion come over him.
I couldn’t focus on that right now, though. It was my turn to shine on the stage.
~TBC~
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srbachchan · 14 days ago
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DAY 4815
Jalsa, Mumbai                  May 4/5,  2021                  Tue/Wed  2:34 AM
... the lamentations for the loss of the text that was written and then disappeared last night , has been lost too .. they were in reference to years and thoughts of the years gone by .. of times and some remembrances in , as one of my readers of the Blog  put it, in kgb mode .. secretive , non understandable , like most secret services of all nations .. 🤣
If they come back to me in that refrain I shall reconsider .. else they go down with me .. some matters and minds should .. their relevance shall be naught .. for they hold hands with them that either have left , or were never interested in the first place .. they could have had value for the self .. but that would be a most selfish exercise .. un exercice égoïste .. eine egoistische Übung .. تمرين أناني  tamriyn 'anani .. эгоистичное упражнение .. 
... but the mind is a relentless tortoise winding its limitations of speed and destination in its sincerity .. unlike the hare .. determined to nose the tape .. and for some peculiar reason the refer to the previous strikes in the silence of the early morn now .. as the slightest of vibrations on the shutters behind , alert you to the cctv .. they be blank, but not the desire .. ehh hrhh .. not desire .. such a vacant word .. supposed to say it all but never does .. maybe it does for others , maybe not .. but there .. 
.. so in the last we were at -
“Leave it , leave it mrB .. you behave like those fact formative early years of self independence when the evening parties were spent in ‘bring your bottle, bring your girl’ and sit aside and debate .. the ‘adda’ of the times which exists in its maturity to date .. and those that resented the thought minds of mere talk for the sake of talk would sneer and snigger , as they danced to the …
GONE .. again .. an entire page of writing as I posted a picture ..
Shall  not remember to write again .. it is so damaging .. to destroy and steal my process and think  .. TUMBLr .. 😡”
yes .. those that resented the thought minds of mere talk for the sake of talk would sneer and snigger, as they danced to the .. 👆🏾 .. 👇🏿
strains of the popular at the time Pat the Boone, Cliffy baby , and often the holding the traditional waist and hands in ballroom fashion would be freed by the ‘rock of the jailhouse ‘ in the ‘lis Presl shakin all over his blue suede shoes .. Bobby the Darin the sweetheart of the school and the Humperdinck .. maturing on with great swoons and screams to the mop headed at HDN .. the ‘night so hard’ .. and the yaay ya of loves me yayaya .. till the sudden surprise of the wood in Norway .. the Norwegian .. the indian instrument , the haridwaar, the meditational spell of bearded gurus who swore to walk on water and sank at Juhu beaches .. to submarines painted ‘yellow’ .. and the livings of the evenings in the raj infested cultural left overs still predominant to make the burra sahib and the burra din existence in the prominence of the blue decorated  Park by the street of a million jams on one .. sundays at trincasjam, pam crain and the Louis Banks of the Fox that was Blue .. mocambo not the ‘gambo’, ??? moulin rouge ..  and the solo drum hours of the drummer  .. as you ended up in the high end hoteliere Grand and drove back intoxicated with the first era feel of INDEPENDent SELF .. drove walked taxied or trammed to the million residences changed due paucity and capacity of the earning - the clac of the tons with 8 the high gates of the friendly family at Tolly , the chowrings shared with the other in adjoining , and closer to the new rd the Pore of the A .. the NEW of the pore  ending up the pgied  highest towered , peering at the late night highlights of the neighbourhood .. in gasping views , through parted curtains .. 
Left .. left it ..
So .. thoughts and time devoted to the wants and needs for the others .. in distress and in saviour mode for help .. something collected , some on the way , some delivered , some in operation .. BUT ..
.. lots to be done .. 
.. this we give in the times of trouble .. the 3rd .. the 3rd wave be in preparedness already and there is the planning in the city at least of the eventuality in the coming few months ..
.. each nano second come the suggestions and research and opinions and statistics of the fraternity , and nothing remains authentic for more than a nano second for the reverse or the opposite come about immediately ridiculing the first .. belief and follow is shattered .. is the T and FB and insta follow the true follow , or manufactured .. every theory has a theory to a theory of another .. 
.. never has there been uninterested doubt of one from the other .. believe one and the disbelieve comes hammering through .. say one and unsay the other in immediacy .. 
SO .. hehe  .. (I use the SO with so much dignity and respect) .. ok away .. simplify the narration mrB .. 
RIGHT .. that sound alright ?
RIGHT .. in these conditions then I share thought with the Ef each day .. DAY .. speak to them as one .. as one that sits before me in isolation .. I see them before me .. at my writing location .. up late , up from days work , up after leaving household or office and read .. my rubbish that I pour out .. 
BUT .. if I were to ask of a job duty .. a service to be rendered .. naaah .. service and job are wrong .. if I shared and asked for it to be shared further .. would you .. ?
Haha .. I see many hands raised .. screaming all at once  “of course .. how can you ever think we would not .. I mean how can you even ask such a question ..” 
etc., etc., etc ... 
So I shall ask you .. to .. to .. 
 Forget it ..
Good  night .. 
surprisingly I felt sleepy by 8 pm and went to sleep in my tracks .. got up by 11 .. and now after the repeats of the postponed IPL , am just not wanting to get back to bed .. 
.. there shall be consternation and scoldings and high voices .. and expressed, exasperated dismay  .. which I shall of course bear with shielded smile .. but they be right as do you in the many here  .. 
.. you know the distraction is not the rarity of slumber .. its slumber itself .. it has different manifestations now .. a dimension that cannot be explained .. 
earlier it was hit the pillow and the dreams or the sleep went on the ON mode immediately .. 
NOW .. there is a process, which if not followed pesters the life out of you .. what to think of when the pillow be hit so as to induce the sleep .. that ladies and gentlemen of the jury takes about the time you normally need for the completion of the hours for rest .. so in the end you actually never sleep sleep as such .. you comprehend .. ?
no .. you did not .. OK .. 
Fine .. 
GN .. thats good night .. said in all sincerity .. but may it be known that for some its too late to express it and for some that wait it shall be a limited night .. and for me the goodness just leaped out of the window ..
O heavens the morning bird chirps now begin .. its 3:41 a of the M .. soon it shall be 4 .. then 5 .. thats like morning ..
so ..
Good Morning ALL ..
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Amitabh Bachchan
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cleire-narrations · 15 days ago
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137 - schedule send kasi, tanga.
hell yeah, hinata was really really enjoying herself right now. she did not realize how her body badly needed alcohol. thank heavens she listed to ino.
speaking of ino, well… she’s drunk, really drunk and currently para siyang alintang naka dikit kay neji who looks… wow who is now having a look concern and adoration. dammit, bakit ‘di nalang din kasi umamin? huh, well isipin mo nga rin naman kasi kung sa GC ka lang hinaharot-harot baka naman joke time lang, icebreaker lang gano’n. so yeah, she understands how neji feels.
hinata look at her companions around the table, some of them have done to the dance floor that reeks alcohol, sweat, and smoke. ‘di niya keri ‘yon so dito nalang siya at magi-inom nalang. it was then when she noticed that naruto is not joining the others, he’s now sitting 1 meter apart from her. wanting to start a conversation hinata went closer.
waving a hand in front of naruto who is busy watching those people getting wild on the dance floor.
“uy, naruto bakit ‘di sumama kila kiba?” hinata says while making herself comfortable.
“pag papawisan lang ako, dito nalang ako, ako pa uubos ng mga alak na nila.” replies naruto who made a room for her beside him putting a friendly space between them.
“hmm, sabagay, ako rin naman hahaha. tsaka mag-aamoy pawis ako, hell no.” hinata agrees. she gave him a side glance and continued, “are you enjoying ba? it looks like you’re thinking of something.”
naruto spared her a look, and scrunched his nose, “sus, hindi wala akong iniisip na tao.” he defended.
“hindi ko naman sinabing tao ‘yung iniisip mo eh, baliw. oh, huli ka.
crossing his arms, “grabe ka talaga maria hinata. ‘yang mga mata mo grabe mag observe.”
hinata shrugs, “well, gano’n talaga if may pake sa paligid.” she says.
“wow, so may tao parin palang may pake saakin. salamat ma’am.” naruto jokes.
“awit, yang mga kaibigan mo ‘di lang nila sinasabi pero may pake sila sa’yo. alam kong alam mo naman pero, maganda paring marinig mo sa iba, para ma assure ka.” hinata sympathizes.
naruto took his beer and chugs it, “salamat oo, tama ka. kailangan ko ngang marinig ‘yan. thanks.”
“care to share?” hinata asks, gesturing to naruto’s beer.
“sure.” naruto offered hinata his beer, their brushed eachother and he felt cold on the spot where hinata’s hand touched him. ah dahil siguro sa lamig ng beer;
and watched her, drink it all the way.
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sunooluvbot · 15 days ago
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Popping Star ; y.jw
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Jungwon came home tired as hell. He’d been practicing with the rest of his members since the day began. Their routine repeated continuously for the whole month; wake up, go to school, get to practice by 4 PM, and finish by 11 PM. God, was their week tiring. If you think your schedule is tiring, packed, and too busy, might as well triple that and that’s their schedule.  He walked in, tired as usual — this actually became a routine. Coming in tired from practice and falling asleep with his sweaty clothes. You were used to it as well. 
He simply walked into the room and took off his shirt and shoes before he lay down on the bed. He couldn’t care less about the fact that he was perspiring, the only thing in his mind now was getting some shut eye. And right then and there, he fell asleep cutely. He didn’t bother to take off his socks, which was quite weird of him, being the type who hates sleeping with socks on. Leave it be. He simply just wanted to get some shut eye after such a tiring day at work.  
Meanwhile, while Jungwon was sleeping, you — his girlfriend — were just getting home from work. You were extremely tired but your tiredness would never compare to his, heck, even if you added all the times you felt tired he would always win. It was incomparable. Your tiredness, I mean.
You silently opened the door that led right to your apartment you both shared. Right when you stepped in the floor boards made a creeking sound, it was  silent. You actually hear the ticking of the clock. tick! tick! It made that sound repeatedly, every second. 
You tiredly dropped your bag that you brought to work on the couch. You were tired — words couldn’t explain how tired you were. You sat on the couch in silence. Not the slightest sound was heard — all except the ticking of the clock.
Work today was tiring. As usual. 
“Ah,” You let out a sigh, a very tired sigh. It was 11:43 in the night. You haven’t had dinner. With such a busy work day, you barely had time to even go to washroom! Yeah, that busy. 
You finally stood up, still tired. You went to the kitchen took yourself a bowl of instant ramyeon. You were too tired to cook and think of anything else to eat. 
You opened the white cabinet’s silver knob before getting the ramyeon in its microwavable bowl that was inside. But before you could even get the ramen in the cabinet, you had to stand on your tippy toes to get it. Yes, you were quite a midget. 
You quietly opened the microwave, careful not to wake Jungwon up. It sat in the microwave for a few minutes before you took it out and waited for the noodles to soften. And finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for arrived. Dinner time. God, you were starving. 
You grabbed a pair of wooden chopsticks from the kitchen and started eating. Finally. Oh, how you missed the spicy taste of ramyeon. You slurped on the noodles slowly and drank the soup as you allowed its warmth to warm you up, as well. As weird as it sounds, it snowed today. During May! What a coincidence. 
You stood up from the dinning table as soon as you finished your bowl of ramen and tossed the empty plastic bowl in the bin, together with your pair of wooden chopsticks. 
Finally you could get some shut eye. When you opened the door to your shared bedroom, you saw Jungwon cutely asleep on the bed with him shirtless. You grinned, widely at your sight. Your sight. Besides the fact that he was actually shirtless before your eyes, something else had caught your attention.
There he was, fast asleep on your shared bed, shirtless. However, you were actually used to the fact that he slept shirtless after coming home from work. He was probably too tired to even shower, you thought. What he did uniquely tonight was something adorable.
As he was fast asleep, his eyes were closed and his cheeks looked more adorable than ever. When you took a peek away from his face, you saw him dancing in his sleep! Popping in his sleep, actually. How cute, you thought. He must've been practicing so hard today.
You changed quickly to your pajamas with a grin plastered on your face. You were grinning like a maniac.
"Wonie," You whispered as you scooted over on the unoccupied side of the bed. He wasn't under the sheets. He was probably too tired to even feel cold.
"Baby boy," You whispered softly, as you pressed a kiss on his forehead. He hummed softly but you knew he was slightly awake now. "You were so cute earlier." You giggled as you remembered him popping in his sleep. "Aren't always? Cute, I mean." He joked, half-asleep as dimples on both of his cheeks formed. "That's right." You poked his dimple, not able to contain your desire to poke it. It was alluring, as if it were practically telling you to do so.
"You were popping in your sleep earlier." You laughed. He smiled, glad you were at least laughing. "I think it was the one from 'Rainism'." His eyes lit up. His eyes said something like 'Aha! That dance!' He laughed along.
"My popping star, Wonie." You whispered.
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princesspagey · 17 days ago
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only the black rose (chapter 5)
pairing: jimmy page x layla porter (oc)
warnings: talks of parental abandonment, off-scene injury, drug use (legal!), fluff, and me waxing poetic about one of my favourite books. and more fluff.
words: 3.1k
summary: in the blink of an eye, it’s 1975 and layla’s suddenly joining led zeppelin for their north american tour. throughout the chaos, the band take a liking to her, she builds friendships with the boys, and love blossoms. but all good things must come to an end.
author’s note: this one wrote itself. i expected to take longer with it cause of this. this is the start of the Chaos seen in the 1975 North American tour, so hold onto your hats and enjoy! congrats! you’ve unlocked layla’s tragic backstory! unbeta’d as always, and here’s the link to the playlist :) 
chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
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Soon enough, the band make their way home, basking in the golden glow of a couple of excellent shows. It’s only a matter of days until the start of the North American tour, and the excitement is palpable. The boys find themselves at the studio, running through some last-minute tour details, accompanied by a certain brunette firecracker, who sits reading comfortably in the lobby.
Layla, sitting on a luxurious couch just outside of the meeting room, is drowning in a hardcover book, consuming every word at a ravenous pace. The sound of pages flipping periodically is accompanied by the light din of voices detailing the upcoming tour. Lost in the story in front of her, she is surprised when she hears a person clearing their throat, seemingly right in front of her. Looking up, she spots the secretary of Swan Song Records, a woman with glasses and long brown hair ran through with gray, pinned up in a low bun. Light freckles dusted her cheeks. Judging by the crow’s feet at the corners of her hazel eyes, the secretary had to have been older than Layla, perhaps around 50, though her bright smile gave the impression of youth.  
“Sorry to interrupt, Miss… I just couldn’t help but notice the book you were reading. I don’t see many fans of the classics around here, especially ones so young.”
Recovering from the shock of being ripped out of the hypnotising story she was wrapped up in, Layla gestures to the seat next to her. With a bright smile, the secretary smoothes down her pencil skirt, and sits down.
“My mother was a literature buff, and it seems she’s passed that down to me! My name’s Layla. You’re Evelyn, right?”
“Y-Yes, I am! How do you…”
“Well, I had to put a name to the lovely secretary that gives me a smile whenever I see her. Makes my day, if I’m being honest.”
“You’re too sweet, darling,” Evelyn says, lips turning up warmly, eyes dancing with joy. “If I may, what are your thoughts on the book? It’s a personal favourite of mine, and it’s always nice to hear new opinions.”
“Well,” Layla starts, lighting up as she speaks. “Wilde’s language paints such a beautiful, vivid picture, and the characters are so interesting, even if they aren’t morally likeable, most of the time. They make mistakes… Many mistakes… but we sympathize with them.”
At this, Layla cups her hand around her mouth, whispering to Evelyn mischievously, as if what she was about to say was the world’s most important secret.
“It’s a favourite of mine too.”
The two women laugh, Evelyn’s hand falling across Layla’s arm, a comforting, grounding weight. Evelyn, with a warm smile gracing her face, crow’s feet as prominent as ever, sends a pang of longing into Layla’s heart. Not for love, but for her old life. Her friends worried out of their minds over her disappearance; her mother, left alone not once, but twice. Her father had left when she was a child, and it had been her and her mother ever since. Layla learned to put up walls, so that she’d never be hurt like that again. They all leave in the end. It’s better that way. Better not to get attached. Better not to get hurt.
“That’s a lovely interpretation, Layla. You know,” Evelyn says, interrupting Layla’s train of thought. “For someone so young, you have an old soul. Wise beyond your years, for sure.”
“You have no idea…”
“Well, I must get to work, darling,” Evelyn claps her hands together, and stands up, resting a hand on Layla’s arm once more. “I’d love to chat again, though. Such refreshing opinions from such a young woman. I’ll let you get back to your book.”
“I would love to! We’ll make plans soon, I promise. Have a wonderful day, Evelyn!” With that, Layla opens the novel, and is taken once again by the current of the story. Minutes pass, until Layla is interrupted once more, this time by a soft press of lips against the crown of her head.
“Everything alright, Layla?”
“Of course, Jim,” Layla says, reaching out to grasp Jimmy’s hand in return. “How did the meeting go?”
“Well, you were right outside the door, I’m surprised you didn’t eavesdrop,” He takes a seat beside her, and reaches down to tap at the book still nestled in Layla’s hand, her finger keeping the page. “You were too engrossed in this, I bet. What are you reading anyways?”
Layla lifts the book to show the cover, which is a slightly worn navy blue, with golden accents in the form of small droplets. In metallic lettering, read ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’.
“Oscar Wilde, hey? Wouldn’t have pegged you for a lover of the classics.”
“I spent my teenage years with Austen and Dickens, after all.”
“I didn’t think you were that old.”
Layla rolls her eyes, a fond look upon her features. Smiling at the man in front of her, she puts a hand to his cheek.
“Yeah, I’m a real cradle-robber.”
“Just make sure my mum doesn’t hear about this relationship: she’ll have a fit.”
“I’ll be careful, angel,” Layla laughs, putting a pensive finger to her chin. “Hey, Jimmy? Do you have a good relationship with your parents?” Jimmy smiles wide at the question and nods, dark curls bobbing at the movement. He absentmindedly takes Layla’s hand in his, rubbing his thumb in soft circles across her wrist.
“My parents… They’ve always been very supportive of me in every way, and I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to find a way to thank them,” Jimmy squeezes her hand briefly, meeting her eyes. “You know, I bet they’d love you.”
“Do you really think so?” Layla’s cheeks grow warm, and her lips tilt upwards in a smile that is uncharacteristically shy.
“Of course I do, petal,” Jimmy says, pushing a fallen lock of hair behind Layla’s ear, his touch featherlight. “How about you? What are your parents like?”
“Well… My dad… He left us when I was young, so it’s been me and my mom ever since,” This is marked with a moment of silence, and Layla’s eyes meet her shoes, pointedly not looking at Jimmy. “My mom’s probably the strongest person I’ve ever met, and I truly can’t thank her enough for everything she’s done for me. She’s my best friend.”
The silence continues, until Layla feels a calloused finger at her jaw, lifting her chin. Finally flicking her eyes up to gaze at the guitarist, she’s shocked by the concern and sadness she sees in those emerald green eyes.
“Petal, I…”
“Jim, it’s fine. It—”
“It’s not fine, Layla. It’s not. I’m so sorry, you didn’t deserve that. Either of you.” Jimmy pulls her into a tight hug, long arms wrapping around her, making her feel safe. They stay like this for what feels like hours, breaking apart slowly.
“Jimmy, I… Thank you.”
“Of course. Now, how about you read me some of that book of yours?”
Layla laughs brightly, albeit a little watery, and smiles at Jimmy, eyes shining with gratitude. Shuffling, she positions herself in his lap, legs hanging off the end of the couch as his arm comes to rest across her back, holding her steady against his chest. She opens the book, dog-earing the corner of the page she was reading, before flipping back to the start.
“Petal, as much as I like this, I thought we were gonna take it slow? I don’t think public places are the best idea to… Well…”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Jimmy,” Layla says, smirk gracing her face as she speaks. “You just make a very comfortable chair.”
Jimmy’s laugh is music to her ears, and she presses a light kiss to his cheek. Focusing on the book in her hand, she begins to read:
“The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.”
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‘Was it all true? Had the portrait really changed? Or had it been simply his own imagination that had made him see a look of evil where there had been a look of joy?’
The next day had arrived, and Layla sits at her kitchen table, enraptured once again by the writings of Oscar Wilde. The words on the page enchant her, and she has no desire to put the novel down anytime soon. She’d have to tell Evelyn all about it, the next time she sees her.
‘Surely a painted canvas could not alter? The thing was absurd. It would serve as a tale to tell Basil some day. It would make him smile. And, yet, how vivid was his recollection—’
A shrill ringing pulls her out of the carefully crafted narrative of Dorian Gray. Layla huffs, annoyed at the intrusion, and moves to pick up the phone.
“Hello?”
“Layla! Hi, good to hear from you, hope you’re having a great day so far! Lovely weather we’re having, hey?” The slightly nasal voice of one Robert Plant, crackles through the phone, and Layla sighs at his exuberance.
“Robert, hey. What is it?”
“Uh… Please don’t freak out. It’s really not that bad, and everyone is… mostly… fine?”
“Rob—”
This is followed by a noise in the background, a sort of crackle, as if Robert had shifted the phone to his other hand. Layla can hear the way his breath picks up, the way panic seeps into his voice. “Just a heads up that we’ll be at your place in about… 10 minutes! See you then!”
“What is going on? I was reading, I’m really not in the mood for—”
Another crackle, and a sigh from Robert’s end of the line. Layla runs a hand through her hair, biting her lip in an attempt to quell the panic rising in her throat.
“Promise me you won’t freak out, little dove.”
Layla exhales sharply through her nose, unimpressed at the plea of the man on the other line. Coiling the telephone cord around her finger to calm her nerves, she responds.
“Fine, I’m not gonna freak out. Now, tell me what happened.”
“Well… Um… Jimmy, well, he kinda… got his… finger slammed in a train door?”
“...”
“Layla? Are you still there?”
“How?!”
“I told you not to freak out…”
“Robert!” Layla exclaims, concern painted clearly on her flushed face.
“Okay, okay, he told us he was holding the door open for someone on the way to Swan Song, and well… You know the rest.”
“Is he going to be okay?”
Another sigh sounds from the other line, and Layla waits in anticipation for his response, growing anxious with each passing moment. Finally, she hears the man’s response, and deflates with relief, sinking into the chair beside her.
“He should be fine. Like I said before, we’re gonna come get you right away. He’ll be okay, Layla.”
“Okay…Robert?”
“Yes, little dove?
“Thank you.”
“Of course,” Robert chuckles lightly, bringing a smile to Layla’s face, the undercurrent of anxiety still coursing through her. She thinks it will stay that way, until she sees Jimmy, makes sure he’s okay. “We’ll be there in 10 minutes. Sit tight, Layla.”
Layla sits at the kitchen table, biting her thumbnail, mind elsewhere, until she hears the telltale sound of a car pulling up, engine cutting out. Flying out the door, She spots Jonesy in the driver’s seat, Bonzo next to him, with Robert in the back. Opening the door, she sits next to the blond, and he gazes over at her, putting a hand to her shoulder. Sympathy flashes across his face as he takes in the shocked look Layla’s sporting.
“He’ll be okay, Layla. He will.”
“Robert, I… Jonesy, please, just drive?”
“Right.”
The engine rumbles to life, and they’re off, no doubt speeding to whatever hospital Jimmy’s holed up in. Layla lets her thoughts drift to Jimmy. She wonders how he’s doing, if he’s in any pain, if they’re treating him well. She’s distracted enough that she barely feels Robert’s hand, warm and comforting, on her knee. Layla is snapped out of her thoughts by a particularly sharp turn, and she looks up at Robert, her eyes brimming with tears.
“Rob… What if he’s… not okay? It was his finger. That means that he might not be able to play, if it’s bad enough,” She stammers, eyes frantic in their search of the blond’s face. “His guitar is his life, and—”
“Layla, calm down. It’ll be okay. It won’t do us any good to think like that.” Robert leans over, throwing his arm around her shoulder as best he could in the cramped car. To his surprise, she leans into him, resting her head on his shoulder. Layla unconsciously brings a hand up to bite her thumbnail, and catching the action, Robert places his hand on hers, pushing it back down to rest in her lap. They stay that way until the car rolls to a stop in the hospital parking lot. Layla lifts her head from Robert’s shoulder with breakneck speed, scrambling out of the car.
“Layla, wait!” Jonesy calls out, running after the woman, who dashes through the door. Robert and Bonzo catch up, just as Layla reaches the front desk, panting from exertion. The nurse on shift looks at her, eyes wide, shocked at the display.
“Excuse me, love,” Bonzo says, tucking Layla under his arm as he speaks to the nurse. “We’re looking for James Page? He was brought in for a fractured finger, I believe?”
“...Yes, right. What is your relationship with the patient?”
“We’re his bandmates, we can call our manager if you need proof. Please, we just need to see if he’s okay.”
The nurse eyes the group dubiously, and grabs the chart sitting next to her, looking through it. Glancing at the group again, she points behind them, to a room packed with seats, posters and pamphlets lining the walls.
“It seems that Mr. Page is still with the doctor getting X-rayed, so I’m going to need you to take a seat in the waiting area. Give that manager of yours a call, and we’ll see what we can do for you.”
“Thank you, love.” Bonzo says, as he herds the group over to the soft, patterned armchairs, plopping down with a sigh. Jonesy excuses himself to make a phone call to Peter, the others left waiting for news that won’t come fast enough.
Jimmy has to be okay. He has to.
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“For James Page?” The nurse’s voice rings out across the waiting area, and the group shoot up from their seats, stiff backs groaning in protest. “Follow me.”
The nurse leads them through a labyrinth of hallways, stopping finally at a room with a large 164 pasted on the closed door. Through the window looking into the room, Layla spots Jimmy asleep under the covers, his hands atop the sheets, resting on his stomach. He looks peaceful, she thinks, like he’s devoid of pain. If she couldn’t see the injured hand at all, she’d have thought he was perfectly fine.
The group finally walk into the room, the sharp smell of antiseptic burning their nostrils. Hearing the click of the door opening, Jimmy opens his eyes, pupils blown wide. His irises are almost black, and he sends them a dopey smile, a giggle bursting out.
“Hey, guys. Fancy seeing you all here.” Jimmy slurs, laughing harder now, as though he had told the most hilarious joke in the world. The boys join in, amused by the antics of their guitarist. Layla hangs back, staring at Jimmy, concern clear on her face. She had spotted the injured finger on the way in, which was already bruised a deep purple, the fingernail completely blackened.
“They give you the good stuff, Pagey?”
“You know it, Jonesy.” Jimmy shoots the bassist a sloppy wink, and the group erupts into soft laughter once more. Taking a dazed glance around the room, the raven-haired man pouts, completely endearing in his drugged state. “Hey… where’s Layla?”
Peter, who had been standing next to the bed, moves aside, and glassy green met warm brown. The guitarist smiles softly, relaxing back into the pillows. He sticks out his uninjured hand, and she walks closer to take it. Never lessening her grip, Layla threads the fingers of her free hand through Jimmy’s messy curls, and looks down at him fondly.
“How’re you doing, champ?”
“Good, now that you’re here. I would kiss you right now… if I wasn’t seeing two of you.”
“They must have him on the really good stuff…” Layla throws over her shoulder, looking back at the injured guitarist. He’s looking up at her with unabashed affection, and she can’t help but blush at the adoration in his gaze.
“Sorry to interrupt,” comes from the open doorway, as Jimmy’s doctor steps through. “I’m Dr. Vane, I treated James when he came in. If you’d kindly step out for a moment, I’d like to go over his prognosis.”
The boys file out of the room, and Layla goes to follow, stopped in her tracks by Jimmy tugging her back towards him with a whimper. She gives in, sinking back down in the chair at his bedside.
“I’m so glad you’re okay, Jimmy. I was so scared when Robert called. I thought...”
“I’m glad you’re here, petal. Now, come into bed with me. I want to see you better.” Jimmy mutters, scooting over to make room for her to fit in the small hospital bed. Layla laughs, nodding, and crawls in beside him, careful not to hurt him. She turns on her side, her hand landing in his hair again. Jimmy looks up at her, pupils still dilated, and presses a quick peck on her lips, giggling anew.
“You’re so beautiful. Have I ever told you that you’re beautiful? ‘Cause you are.” He insists, slurred speech returning in full force, his eyes fluttering closed.
“Go to sleep, Jimmy. I’ll be here when you wake up.”
He hums softy in response and a few seconds later, Jimmy’s breathing evens out. He’s dead to the world. Through the door left ajar, Layla can hear snippets of the conversation with the doctor.
“... Fractured the tip of his finger… At least a month.”
“Will he be able to play anytime soon?” That was Peter, voice soft with worry for the frail man in the hospital bed.
“He should rest… Not good to put too much strain on it… Keeping him here until the anaesthetic wears off.”
Tuning them out, Layla looks down at the man sleeping beside her. His hair is matted on one side of his head, and he snores louder than he’d ever admit, but he looks peaceful. He’s not in any pain, and that’s enough for Layla. She drifts off, as the sound of footsteps against the floor draw near. Her tired eyes open to slits, and she sees a shadow with dark, shoulder-length and a beard. It must be Bonzo, she thinks. The last thing Layla hears before succumbing to the exhaustion that plagues her, is the drummer’s soothing voice, hushed to a whisper.
“Let them sleep.”
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taglist: @jimmys-zeppelin @salixfragilis @timetraveller4 (let me know if you want to be added!)
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gp2engine · 19 days ago
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Thank you so much my dear @jedivszombie for tagging me 💕💕
you can usually tell a lot about a person by the type of music they listen to. put your favourite playlist on shuffle and list the first ten songs then tag ten people (or as many as you wish!)
This is not gonna be from a playlist, strictly speaking, is more a general the concept of my mental sanity rapidly going downhill and me dancing around my room. Basically the songs i have on repeat rn, take it as it is and just vibe babez (links from youtube if you're curious)
Mama Luba - Sarebro (russian, the English version is called mama lover)
Dragostea Din Tei - O-Zone (romanian)
Something New - Girls Aloud
Paparazzi - Girls Generation (i think this is the Japanese version)
Ai Se Eu Te Pego - Michael Teló (portoguese and reminds me of when i was 11)
Shut Up And Drive - Rihanna
Like Whoa - Aly & Aj
Levitating - Dua Lipa
The Best Day (TS version) - Taylor Swift
Rakastuin mä looserin - Nylon Beat (finnish and honestly a BANGER)
I tag: @felltoabove @aliciiaspinnet @mushroomlance @cinnamonstroll @formulinos @alonsista @powertrains @mnza and everyone else who wants to do it
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inspiration-in-process · 20 days ago
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Tag Game
Thank you for the tag @commanderohan 
Relation status: This question is so intrusive LMAO, but I’m single 
Favorite color: Red or Turquoise 
Favorite food: Anything with Chicken or Mushroom
Song in my head:  O-Zone - Dragostea Din Tei (thanks @coriesocks this song and zemo dancing is the only thing in my head)
Last song:  Lil Nas X - MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)
Last thing I googled: Death note spoilers
Time: 7:26pm
Dream Trip: Greece (especially to Athens)
What I want to become: A better person in general 
Something I am excited for: Oh, there is one thing I am very excited for but I can’t disclose it at the moment 👀
Tagging @ihavesomeideawhatimdoinghere @crazybutgood @swisstae @chocolatepepsifloat @yvy-900 @caroll-in @msquarmby @lyrikxland @pandas-cant-fly-ks @rockmarina @curlyy-hair-dont-care @alxmeg @dracopottermalfoy @curly-connor-supremacy and anyone who wanna do it
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versios · 20 days ago
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JANINA GAVANKAR // have you met IDEN VERSIO yet? SHE is a THIRTY year old CIS WOMAN HUMAN. they’re originally from VARDOS and now show loyalty to THE REBELLION. they are best known for being a COMMANDER, and i hear they’re pretty INGENIOUS yet also RECKLESS at times; i hope they survive the clone wars. (APRIL)
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L O A D I N G : // …  2 YEARS LATER - 7ABY
iden played a significant role in the battle of jakku which ended the war, believing that she killed gideon hask. she boarded a star destroyer that was falling apart to try to save her father & ultimately failed.
inferno squad became 3(.5) with iden convincing din to join the rebellion
she & del finally stopped dancing around their feelings for each other. they’ve now been in a relationship for over a year which she still blushes about.
despite her initial feelings about jedi, she has maintained a friendship with kylia horne, who has helped to train her to resist force-related intrustions in her head.
iden has heavily stuck with the rebellion & the new republic. she & del, along with other rebellion members as needed / plotted, have been hunting down ex-imperials to bring them into the new republic’s jurisdiction & make them stand trial.
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satanssugaraddiction · 20 days ago
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7 Princes of Hell | Introduction
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Word count: 4.9k
Genre: non specific yet
Tw: alcohol
Summary: the introduction to the seven fics based off each Nct Dream member. Have fun and vote for the member you want to see first.
*while the introduction is fairly tame, the fics I have planned are not. Tread lightly. Of course I am in no way depicting what these characters are in real life, this is merely fanfiction*
A note on how the fics will work *PLEASE READ*
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It was tougher being a princess than everyone thought.
From anyone else’s perspective, being a princess, growing up in a lavish castle with all the best food and protection and luxuries sounded like a dream. But there was a hidden dark side to it all. Your parents chose everything for you. Your butler and maids, your clothes, and when the time came, they would also choose your husband. Unfortunately, the time for you to get married was drawing near, and you had already made enough mistakes to know that your parents would choose whoever gave them the most financial power, regardless of who the man was.
You nestled the glass of wine in your hand as you took a big swig, discreetly dabbing at the corner of your mouth with your finger as not to mess up your lipstick. You had found a small hiding place away from the din of the music and people conversing about things they didn’t care about with people they didn’t like.
Balls were never your thing. They normally consisted of having to humour a pompous lords son or dance with the son of a duke. Either way, the men you spent time with were stuck-up, rude, and only cared about themselves. You nervously snuck back into the ball after downing your glass of liquid courage, and felt ready to face the crowd of people.
You weaved through conversations on politics and tables with food, making your way to the alcohol to refill your drink. You had turned away from the table and taken another sip when your parents, the King and Queen, walked up to you, snatching the wineglass from your hand.
“you shouldn’t be drinking so much dear daughter” your father sneered. “we don’t want another drunken mistake of yours”
Right. The last ‘mistake’ you had made while drunk was one that happened the year before. Being a princess, you had to uphold a sense of decorum and class, and you did, but you were never comfortable. You wanted to break free and be a bit rebellious. You overheard two of the maids gossiping about how one of the butlers liked you, so you went to seek him out.
You kept a good relationship with your servants, always treating them with the respect you felt they deserved, even learning their names, so you knew exactly who to find. Being one of the more bashful butlers that worked for your family, he took a bit of warming up to you, but soon enough the two of you were in a secret relationship. You had bought a bottle of wine to his chambers one evening and ended up making out on his bed, which led to a night that neither of you really remembered, but you were reminded due to the dull pain between your legs the next morning.
The next nine months proved an awkward time for everyone in the palace. Your parents were furious. Their daughter, the crown princess being knocked up by a mere butler while being unmarried was the biggest scandal since your great aunt was reported kissing a woman behind the curtains at a ballroom dancing class during the 1930s.
To protect the image of the royal family, they kept your pregnancy under wraps, and graciously only fired the butler who had impregnated you. You gave birth to a healthy baby boy, which you named Arin, and he was given to some of the senior maids to be taken care of in the palace.
You sulked under your parents hard gaze at the ball, trying hard not to look in their eyes. You instead eyed the doorway, wishing how you could escape his hellhole of an over glorified party. You noticed a few people enter the party, very obviously late, and your parents took notice.
“Stay. Here.” they whispered, walking over to the group of people who had just entered. It looked like around seven people, all looking quite different but at the very least, the same. Seven siblings, princes. You identified them as the sons of the late King and Queen of the North, who had passed away around four years ago due to an illness that had swept their nation. Their sons however, all miraculously survived, and now were here, at the ball.
You noticed their actions, bowing when necessary and being seemingly polite as they chatted. You parents turned to you, then back to the princes, beckoning them to come forward and meet you.
“darling” your parents started, their tones dripping with a honeyed venom. “these are Princes Mark, Renjun, Haechan, Jeno and Jaemin, and Chenle and Jisung. Boys, this is Y/N, the princess of this fine country. We’ll leave you to get acquainted”
“thanks, mum and dad” you muttered under your breath. It was bad enough to have to babysit one stuck-up kiss-ass of a prince, but seven?! That was too much. You glared at their backs as they sauntered off to converse with the other nobles of your country, wishing nothing more than their incapacitation from a conveniently placed poison in their glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. You wouldn’t actually poison them of course, yet.
Looking back at the princes whose names were already fading from your memory, you noticed that not one of them looked alike. One of them rather cute features, and was graced with an expression of boredom similar to how you felt. Another had a rugged appearance, a jawline that could cut solid rock and a hardened expression that reminded you of the knights that protected your country. One of them looked far too happy to be there, looking over at the other ladies in attendance, winking at them and blowing air kisses. Two of the princes were rather shy, one of them having the most outrageous orange hair and a rather timid one looking down at his shoes. The last two looked at you with a sign of contempt, one of them having bronze skin typical of some of the poorer people in society, and the last one being a little shorter than his brothers, but his neutral expression caused him to be rather intimidating.
No words were spoken from anyone, until the cute-looking one cracked a smile and walked closer to you, bowed and took your hand in his, kissing it. “Prince Mark, pleased to make your acquaintance, milady”
“Princess Y/N” you answered gruffly.
One by one, the other brothers came up and kissed your hand, going in the same order as that of when your parents introduced them. You questioned them as to why.
“we like to go in age order, milady” the tallest one, Jisung, piped up, resuming staring at his shoes.
“I shall keep this simple, princess” Renjun said. “I can tell by your face that you are not particularly thrilled to be here, and nor are we, but what is your goal for tonight, if I may ask?”
You rolled your eyes at his articulate way of words, as if he meant to achieve something just from the way he spoke. “my parents wish for me to find a suitable husband, one who’s rich and influential. I just want to get out of this corset and shoes before I throw them at someone’s head”.
The smiley one, Jaemin, stifled a chuckle at that, and Haechan pressed his tongue to his cheek while attempting to cover up a smile. Chenle and Jisung sniggered, but Renjun fixed them with a serious look, causing them to quiet down. Renjun stared at you, his porcelain looking skin not moving so much as a centimetre, the only movement being his brown eyes shifting in his head as he looked at you up and down. He nodded solemnly, then stepped back.
The eldest one, Mark, peered in the direction of your parents, noticing they were staring murderously in your direction. He walked up to you with confidence, dropping his head down to your ear to whisper.
“your parents don’t look particularly happy right now”
He pulled back, and you rolled your eyes. “I couldn’t care any less about how they feel about me, prince Mark, it isn’t like anything I can do will ever meet their expectations”
“it’s sometimes better to meet expectations and do your own away from the prying eyes we call the public, princess. As long as it isn’t seen, no one can know”
You mulled his words over in your head. His words made a lot of sense.
“how did you come to figure that out, prince Mark?” you asked sweetly.
He chuckled, then bent down to your ear again. “I may only be a short time older than you, princess, but I have come to know that the only way two people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead”
You stepped back; your eyes wide with concern for your safety. You craned your neck over the masses of people now on the dance floor, only to find your parents sauntering up the staircase of the ballroom, ready to make an announcement. As much as prince Mark rubbed you the wrong way, he had a point, excepting the dead-secret thing of course. He bowed slightly and held out his hand in front of him, his younger brothers grimacing in defiance and tiredness. You took his hand, if only to appease your parents, and let him lead you to the dance floor.
Well versed in this mode of dance, you let him sweep you across the floor, other couples thankfully staying out of your way and people turning their heads at the royal couple. He had you in close, his arms gracing your waist and your arms locking loosely around his neck. You peered into each-other’s eyes, and he smiled lovingly. Your confused expression must’ve shown on your face, as he winked and whispered for you to play along. You put on your best fake expression of love before he changed the way he held you. Now hugging you, his brothers were now in your line of sight, and you were met with six murderous glances filled with more poison than even your parents could muster.
Couples continued to dance, separating the brothers from your line of sight, but they occasionally showed you glimpses of them. Chenle, Jisung, Jeno and Haechan were conversing deeply with each other, Renjun was scoping out and threatening anyone who came near with that beautifully dangerous expression of neutrality, and Jaemin was occupied flirting with three ladies, sparing them nothing as he giggled and smiled at them so prettily it seemed fake.
The music ended, and the clinking of metalware against glass gradually silenced the room to below a whisper. You pulled away from Mark and peered up to the ledge overlooking the dance floor, your parents standing over it in all their glory. Their voices echoed over the ballroom, thanking everyone for coming, etcetera etcetera. Your tuned out of their words very quickly, sneaking away to the rest of the brothers to get away from the crush of couples that were invading your personal circle of space. Your mother eyed you with a thinly veiled soured expression, but said nothing as not to interrupt your fathers speech.
You started conversing with the rest of the brothers during the speech until you heard your name being called. You were greeted with the sight of everyone looking at you, and your mother was walking delicately towards you, as a Queen would, and draped an arm around your shoulder. She escorted you rather quickly up the steps and into the eye of everyone in attendance of the ball.
“we are delighted to announce the betrothal of our daughter, princess Y/N, and the prince of her choosing”
Confused glances adorned peoples turning faces as they mumbled underneath their breaths at what exactly your parents meant. You looked at your parents confusedly before stealing a glance at the seven princes. They were talking with each other, looking annoyed but keeping a low volume.
Your father clinked his wineglass again, hushed whispers coming to an end once more. Everyone now had their eyes trained on you.
“what we mean is” your mother started. “is that she has seven eligible suitors for her to choose from, the grand princes of the late King and Queen of the North”
The attendees set their gazes on the princes, now smiling radiantly and bowing as people clapped.
“now, in honour of our daughters betrothal, may the dances continue”
You shuffled out of their arms with a frown, almost running down the staircase to where people were congratulating each prince individually. They wore fake smiles for their ‘fans’, Jaemin giving a little more fan service than the others. The ladies closest to Jaemin batted their eyelashes flirtatiously as he laughed and stroked his hands over their arms, a blush dusting their cheeks. The older people attending the ball turned up their noses at his behaviour, pulling their daughters away from your possible future betrotheds.
The crowd dispersed away from the princes, one person catching their eye to you. everyone swarmed toward you at the sight of you, “congratulations” going around and fake pleasantries being addressed to you. The young ladies your age glared knives into your front, the dainty blush now given way to angry red faces and arched eyebrows that would cause young wrinkles. You rolled your eyes at their juvenility before circling the crowd to the princes, who were slipping away into your other space in the din and celebrations.
The crowd went back to what they were doing, engaging in gossip and wine, while you opened the door and led the princes away to your secret space, making sure to snatch a bottle of wine from a bucket filled with ice and a few glasses.
You shut the door before anyone could see, setting the glasses down on the ground and filling them with wine. You took one and chugged it down, a stray drop falling down the side of your mouth and resting on your chin. You wiped it with the back of your hand messily.
“real classy, princess” a husky voice spoke sarcastically.
You flipped whoever had spoken off before nudging the glasses towards them, inviting them to drink. You uncorked the wine bottle and looked at it, contemplating just tipping your head back and downing it straight from the bottle, but you decided against it. There were other people there, for once.
“aren’t you going to drink?” you asked them, seeing that they hadn’t picked up any of the glasses.
“we don’t like to drink much, princess, in the event we do it’s to forget whatever events had just transpired”
“I’m the same way, so if you won’t drink, I’ll chug this whole bottle, fall unconscious, and become your problem to deal with” you said, annoyed.
Renjun rolled his eyes as he stared into space for a few seconds before tentatively picking up a glass and slowly drinking the contents. He made a face after the glass was downed, and he held out his glass for more.
“more”
“really? even after one drink you look pretty buzzed”
He frowned, pissed off. It was the first emotion you’d seen him show all evening.
“fine, I’ll pour it then”
He sauntered over and yanked the bottle from your hands, filling up his glass almost all the way. You looked on in respected-horror as he downed the glass again, now thoroughly tipsy. He howled like a wolf, and walked out the door to the ball. You raced after him.
You could care less about the other six princes, and as much as you hated your parents, you didn’t need another lecture by letting a drunk prince puke all over the dance floor. You quickly sought him out, banging his head to an imaginary beat you could only decipher as up tempo. You didn’t know what was going on in his head, but you grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out of the ball, escorting him to a spare room that had an adjacent bathroom.
He whined as you carelessly threw him into the bathroom and opened up the toilet lid. You closed the door.
“ahh Y/Nnnnn, why must you do this to meeee?” he slurred in a high pitched voice.
“if you puke, you do so in the toilet. I don’t have time nor the patience for a lecture if you puked in the ballroom”
You opened the door to leave, but he grabbed onto the hem of your dress. “stayyyy” he begged while gently yanking on your dress. You looked at him with an irritated expression, but closed the door and knelt down on your knees, his back to your front.
He smiled with an almost sleepy expression on his face. “thank youuu” he mumbled softly as he closed his eyes. Goddamn it, he’s a sleepy drunk. He passed out as his body turned toward you, his head falling in your lap, and he thankfully didn’t vomit all over you. You carded your fingers through his hair and noticed his neutral expression as he slept, it wasn’t intimidating like before, it was calm and relaxed.
You used what limited strength you had to pull him up onto the bed in the bedroom adjacent to the bathroom. You panted at the strength it took you, wiping sweat off your brow as the drinks and physical activity caught up with you. you didn’t care what was of the other princes at this moment, all you wanted to do was sleep. You discarded your shoes and flopped beside him on the bed, passing out just after your head hit the pillow.
You were awoken to sunlight peeking through the windows of a room that definitely wasn’t yours. You were confused, but as you thought through the ringing in your head, you were able to vaguely remember the events of the previous night. You looked to your side to see a still-sleeping prince in your bed, messy hair and a face that looked strangely angelic when it was that peaceful. His facial expression morphed to one of annoyance and agony before he lifted his head and opened his eyes.
“oh, it’s you” he said in a flat voice, massaging his temples in an attempt to get rid of the hangover that plagued his head.
“good morning to you too” you retorted. He really was an ass all the time wasn’t he?
He looked around and noticed the appearance of the bedroom you both were in. “where are we?” he asked confusedly.
“don’t know, you ran off outside into the ball so I dragged you to one of the spare rooms so you didn’t puke everywhere”
He stayed silent, still massaging his temples. As early as you assumed it was, you had no more time for him. You slid off the bed and grabbed your shoes. Hooking them in your fingers, you went to leave.
He didn’t stop you.
Running back to your own quarters, you crossed a hallway before seeing the figures of people in the distance. Realising it was the six princes, you turned on your heels and ran, accidentally unhooking your fingers, your shoes dropping to the floor. They noticed the small commotion, and one of them ran up to you. Not bothering to see who, you picked your shoes up again and ran in the direction you came, hoping to find the open room you had resided in.
You saw Renjun walking out and closing the door softly behind him. you screeched in panic, warning him to not let it close. You turned his head to you in surprise, unknowingly letting it close. You ran up to the door, shoving him out of the way, trying in vain to open the door. It didn’t budge. You threw your back against the door dramatically, Renjun looking at you with deep confusion, before hearing the footsteps of his brothers. Eager to get away from them, you gave Renjun one final look before running off again, tightly grasping one shoe in each hand.
You were out of sight by the time the brothers had caught up with Renjun, and they asked him what had happened after you had both run out of the ball.
“I remember passing out and then waking up in a bed with her beside me” was Renjuns tired reply.
“was she-” Jaemin started.
“yes, we were both fully clothed” Renjun groaned. Jaemin nodded.
“where is the princess?” Jisung questioned. Chenle cast him a look before looking back at Renjun in a silent question.
“she ran off, I don’t know why”
“it was probably us” Jeno spoke in his normal husky voice. “I saw her with her shoes on her fingers, when I went to ask her where you were, she just ran”
Now united, they walked off to converse with your parents about the marriage documents.
You found your room and planted yourself on your bed face first. Calling for a maid to assist you with undoing your corset, you stared at your bedsheets absentmindedly. A maid came in a little while after, and gently helped you out of your dress and corset. You flung your shoes on the floor, and the maid picked them up, noticing they were quite scuffed.
“what happened to your shoes, your highness?” she asked in a timid voice.
“life happened to them, Mina”
She took them in her hands to be repaired and exited your chambers with a curtsy. Not five minutes after she left, a knock sounded on your door. You scoffed tiredly and yelled “come in!”
It was Sungchan, your private butler, coming in to give you a letter from our parents, wishing you to come to their study for a meeting with them and the princes. Rolling your eyes and scrunching the letter in annoyance, you dismissed him and got dressed, choosing one of your most comfortable lilac dresses that graced the floor, and a pair of flats that you had smuggled in from the markets the seamstresses went to whenever they needed fabrics.
Waiting for you outside of the office of the King and Queen, the princes were conversing about how they wished to bring up any reservations they had about their potential marriages. Prince Mark, being the eldest, shared his opinions, and the brothers only followed suit.
“this is the best thing to have happened since the death of mother and father” he had said.
“don’t say that so loud, brother, the last thing any of us need is someone poking their nose in too much, or even worse, the princess hearing” Jeno cautiously warned him.
“oh please, in any case, I believe I should be the one to marry the princess. I have experience in this area”
Chenle rolled his eyes. “no, you have experience with being married to a woman who then suspiciously dies shortly after giving birth to his daughter”
Mark’s expression turned dark. “don’t bring up those mistakes again”
Chenle only shrugged. “I’m just saying, not even we know the truth with any of that, and now you’re a prince again. Up for round 2?”
Mark scowled. “don’t say things like that when it something you know nothing about. It’s good to keep your tongue in check, brother. Not that you would know anything about that”
Haechan attempted to cover his snicker with a cough, earning him an annoyed look from Chenle. Jisung had taken to finding a small couch and had rested his head on it, hoping for a small nap, when you turned the corner, rendering any further conversation moot. Cracking a smile before regarding you, Mark kissed your hand. You smiled back, forcing down the snarky comments you could’ve made about his sickly sweetness.
You led them inside, Jisung in his tired state only moving just enough to transfer himself to one of the couches in your parents’ office. The other brothers ignored him as they sat down themselves.
Your parents took in the sight of you, their hastily put-together daughter, then the five princes who were immaculately dressed, then the sleeping youngest prince and Renjun, who looked a little too dishevelled for their taste. You waited for them to begin.
When they did finally start talking, you listened to exactly none of it. Having mastered the art of sleeping with your eyes open since the age of five, it was easy for you to put on the disguise of your enthusiasm. Your parents could see right through your rouse, but ignored you as they talked with the princes. They asked questions you didn’t care about, the answers your parents gave even less.
When they pulled out the contract, you felt a hand shake you out of your state. It was Haechan you had shaken you, and when you went to give him a scathing look, he simply tilted his head in the direction of the piece of paper covered with inked words. You couldn’t hear anything they said, only scanning through the words that lined the paper, then the spaces for signatures at the bottom, one already being filled in.
“what?!” you cried out, causing Jisung to wake up from his nap and fall on the floor.
“that’s what you get for being a lazy sot, Jisungie” Jaemin snickered and whacked his brothers shoulder as Jisung attempted to compose himself. He hastily sat back in his chair, now woken up and forced to listen. His attention fell on the contract.
“what is that?” he asked, leaning out of his chair to try and see it better.
Jeno rolled his eyes. “it’s the contract that binds a marriage to princess Y/N, idiot” he scoffed at his brothers antics. Chenle gave him a look of annoyance before explaining it to Jisung.
Mark apologised to your parents civilly as they looked on in disappointment. Almost as much disappointment as they regarded you with. They finished explaining the contract and pointed their fingers at the signature lines. “this one on the left is to be for our daughter, and is already filled in, the one on the right is to be for anyone of you gentlemen”
You were livid. “WHY IS MINE ALREADY FILLED IN?!” you shouted, causing the brothers to snap their attention to you.
Your father stood up. “because, dear daughter, this isn’t entirely your choice to make! The first prince to sign their name down in his document will become your husband, and make you Queen of the two then united kingdoms”
The princes were eyeing the empty signature spot greedily, you were half-expecting Prince Mark to just lunge over the table and rip it from your mothers hand, then sign it right there. Or maybe there would be fight if he did that, you would place money on Renjun to win if that did happen, you saw a streak of fight in him you didn’t see in anyone else. Or maybe Jeno, his muscles and scars had to come from somewhere, and he had the look of a knight starved to be out on the battlefield rather than be holed up in a palace all day.
To your utter surprise, no one moved so much as a muscle, only staring at the paper. “this meeting is adjourned” your father said.
“what about the contract?” you asked indignantly.
“you will know where the location is, dear daughter, it shall reside in the favourite place of your childhood. Once you have met your desired match, take him to it and have him sign it, if he well wishes”
You huffed and exited the office with fervour, stomping your shoes on the marble floors as if to make a statement. You heard the sounds of shoes on the flooring, and saw the princes walking towards you.
“wait, milady. Wait!” you heard a voice, Jaemin, cry out. Against your better judgement, you stopped.
“we just wish to talk with you” he said brightly.
You glanced at the others trailing behind him, Jeno and Renjun couldn’t look less interested, Jisung was looking down as normal, and Chenle looked only less disinterested than his elder brothers.
“it seems only you wish to talk with me, Jaemin” you said coldly, no longer having any patience.
“ah, come now.. oh it appears you’re right. May I talk with you alone then?” he asked sweetly. His brothers woke up from their own thoughts and stared him down. Jaemin ignored them.
“I wish to be alone right now”
“may we be alone together then?” Jaemin urged on. He leaned down to your ear and whispered “I want to get to know you better, milady”
“you want me to take you to the contract my father is hiding as we speak”
“I’m aware of that, but I also want your love, my darling” he caressed a knuckle down your cheek as he whispered to you.
You pushed him away. “I don’t want your love, Jaemin. I don’t want any of you. I’d sooner pick one of you just to get my parents off my back…” you trailed off. That was the perfect idea! Why not just pick one of them at random and marry them out of sheer business. That was the reason for this whole thing, wasn’t it?!
“princess? Are you alright?” Mark spoke up.
“yeah.. I am. I have an idea” you stared at the princes in front of you extensively. Mark, with his adult-baby face, Renjun, who seemed to be made of porcelain, Haechan, with his guarded looks, Jeno, with his scars and heroic features, Jaemin, with his sunny personality, Chenle, you didn’t know much about, but he seemed rather tame, and Jisung, with his timid disposition that you found strangely endearing.
Which do you choose, Princess? Choose wisely, not everything is as it seems.
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stupidfatpenguin · 21 days ago
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Prompt - The Mandalorian, Dinluke
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Edit: I have no self control, you can read this on ao3 now if you prefer.
https://archiveofourown.org/works/30948635
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When Din slots in behind Luke on the battlefield, something clicks into place.
At first, he thinks it’s the Force, because of course it is—or, well, it should be. The Force, ever breathing and changing, balancing out for just a fraction of a moment in the heat of the fight, lending him the serenity of the Jedi master that, on most days, he doesn’t even believe he is.
But the Force is familiar to him. This, whatever this is, is also familiar, but it shouldn’t be.
This is air that shifts and clears, a warmth at his back barely there and somehow more present than the cloak on his shoulders. He is protected. He is safe—and he trusts that he will be, whatever happens next.
He spins, and Din follows.
It’s right, and in all manner and sense it shouldn’t be. Din is a Mandalorian, fights like a Mandalorian, his dance once of metal and fire, of finding an opening and choosing the best weapon for it, be it spear, blaster, cord, fists, until his opponent is beat back, locked down, or speared through. He is rash, almost careless. A stray blaster shot is of no concern when it meets cold beskar, after all.
And yet.
When Luke cuts down an enemy, Din is there to take on the next. When he swings the force to sweep one off their feet, Din places a well-aimed shot through their chest. He takes one step, and Din takes the following, and the tune of their deadly dance thrums through him like only the Force should—could—and yet.
It’s been too long for him to recall if it ever felt like this on the Death Star, the first one. It couldn’t possibly have. Han’s mixture of assuredness and self-preservation had been a poor match to Luke’s greenness and overpouring willingness to help. Whatever bond he has with Leia hadn’t made itself known, back then. Even now, while it’s strong and familiar, it’s not—it’s not this.
It should unnerve him, really. So many of Luke’s battles have been fought alone—all of them, since the Empire’s fall. It is better this way. Luke is so different from any possible ally, is capable of so much, of more than most can comprehend, so it’s better this way.
And yet.
Din, who is the least Force-sensitive man Luke has ever come across, reads him like an open book, covers his every opening, moves with him like water flowing over cobblestone. And Luke, of course, moves in turn, slashes away blaster shots before they can even test the beskar, pierces through the next bandit who lifts their aim to Din’s back.
Perhaps it’s because they’ve fought each other so many times, sparred for long hours under Yavin IV’s blazing sun and humid shade and learned, and learned, and reinvented and learned again. Perhaps it is only natural, really, that theirs is a dance he knows all the steps to.
When the music stops, there are a dozen smugglers scattered around them; in the aftermath of an orchestra of metallic clangs and blaster short, their own heavy breaths are the only sounds left.
“That was short work,” says Din, and slides his blaster back into his belt.
Luke breathes, a half laugh, half indignant huff, for how can he possibly be so indifferent, when surely, he must have felt it too.
“What is it?” Din asks.
“Just—just you.” Luke grins at him. “Us.”
“Us.” Din looks around, surveys the damage around them. “Yeah. We’re—you’re good with that. The sword.”
Luke laughs again, less breathy this time, and perhaps it is because he is still half delirious with the rush of the battle, but he steps up and into Din’s space, close enough that a shiver might cause an accidental touch, so close he can see his own eyes reflected in the dark visor, and it feels utterly and completely right.
They stand there for a long moment, breathing calming, the exhilaration of battle slowly ebbing away with each lungful of new air. Luke basks in the almost, but not quite, touch of warmth before him, remembers it at his back in the heat of the fight, only barely keeping himself from taking that one last step that would surely change everything.
Instead he says, “You’re not so bad, yourself.”
And he should move back, step away from the thought, focus on the mission, but before he can, there’s a leather glove at the back of his head, fingers entwined in his hair and gripping his skull ever so slightly, tilting, and the press of cool beskar against his heated skin becomes the focal point of his entire universe.
He can’t remember ever closing his eyes, but they flutter open when Din’s helmet moves away.
“We should leave,” says Luke, but his hands grasping Din’s armoured shoulders says in a moment.
“We should,” Din hums, and he gives Luke that moment, but in the very next one a strong grip on his wrist pulls him away from the remains of their battlefield with an urgency and promise that puts an excited spring into his step, and well. That, too, feels right.
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