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A Second Chance to Love you - Part 7
Word Count: 3.5k
Pairing: Wanda Maximoff x Avenger!Reader
Warning: Jealous Wanda, that is all.
A/N: I’m sorry for the delay, I’ve had some personal stuff that I’ve been dealing with lately and had no time to sit and write. Hope you guys enjoy! <3
A Second Chance to Love You - Part 7
An excited hand grasped tightly to your own as you took in the busy stalls and loud sounds coming from the delighted children who dragged their parents from one stall to another. Nathaniel continues to pull you along with him as the others follow behind. Tony, Steve and Bruce decided to stay behind not wanting to draw too much attention to the group of supers especially Bruce. He told you that putting him within tight grounds was a bad idea, and from what you have found out about the shy Doctor, you're willing to agree with him.
“So where to first, kid? I got dibs on the tin cans, I have a killer aim,” you brag to your nephew who looks around in concentration as if he doesn’t have the rest of the day to play on every single fair stall.
“I personally think we should hit the target zone area,” Nat chimes in, a subtle grin appearing on her face sunglasses in place as she inspects the area. Her choice in game causes you to roll your eyes before turning to face Wanda who seems to still remain silent whenever you’re within five feet of her, only talking to you when directly spoken to.
“What about you, Wands? Do you have a favourite game?” you ask, watching as her far away gaze quickly averts to lock with your own, startled at your direct question where she stands next to Nat .
“I uh I don’t have a favourite carnival game, I’ve never been to one before,” she mumbles, suddenly feeling embarrassed by revealing such information. Her words cause a tightness within your chest as you grimace slightly. Placing Nathaniel’s hand within Natasha's, you move to side up close to the auburn woman and crook your elbow for her to place her hand in before gently guiding her along the makeshift path to the games area.
“Well let’s change that then,”
Walking over to the shooting games section, you and Wanda stand back with Lila and Cooper to watch in amusement as the other supers compete against one another to win the big stuffed animals on the top shelf. Laura rolls her eyes fondly at the four who continue to bicker amongst themselves before taking Nathaniel over to a nearby stall to capture some rubber duckies. Clint turns to face you, his eyes full of determination and amusement.
“Come on you, I know you wanna join in.” he entices, waving the rifle slightly in his hand as you eye the red and white target. Huffing you move from your spot as Lila and Cooper cheer you on, Wanda’s laugh reaching your ears. Grabbing the gun you prep your aim before taking a deep breath in and firing as you exhale watching the circled targets fall back one after the other. The young teen who sits at the stall lazily looks over at the fallen targets before sighing moving to the back of the stall where the prizes stand in view.
“What will it be, lady?” he murmurs, chewing slowly on his gum. You ignore his bored tone and turn to face Wanda who looks at you in confusion.
“Go on, pick one,” you say laughing, as her eyes widen in realisation. Stepping closer she inspects the shelf in front of her before her eyes land on the stuffed white bunny on the top shelf, her eyes light up as she eyes the animal before pointing at it.
“I’ll take this little guy,” she announces, waiting patiently as the teen removes the bunny from the shelf and passes it over to Wanda who beams back at you.
“He’s so fluffy I wanna die!” she exclaims, shoving the stuffed bunny in your face as you look at her bewildered.
“I’m sorry what?” Wanda tilts her head at you as if you have gone insane.
“It’s from Despicable Me, Aunt Y/N.” Lilah informs you, causing you to blush slightly in embarrassment before whispering a small ‘ah’. Wanda moves forward to kiss your cheek before quickly pulling back.
“Thank you, I love him.” she murmurs, a small smile playing on her lips as she stares at the animal before looking back at you causing you to shuffle on the spot before glaring over at the three men who snigger behind you.
Clint quickly throws his arm around you locking your head in a headlock as he moves you both away from the stall.
“Alright kids, where to next?”
The group had split up after the first three stalls once Bucky and Sam had started to complain about wanting food and couldn’t keep away from the smell of homemade pie at the food stalls leaving you trailing around with Wanda and Natasha while Clint took his two eldest to go and find Laura and Nathaniel. You look up at the sound of cheering and laughing as you notice a large crowd forming surrounding one of the stalls, stepping a little closer you inspect the carnival game and laugh once you see who the unfortunate participant is.
“Is that Grace?” Natasha asks, watching as Grace sits perched on top of the small seat that could drop at any minute causing her to fall into the tank of water. You laugh as you watch the young teenagers desperately trying to hit the target shaking your head at their antics before clashing eyes with the brunette in question who waves when she spots you causing you to wave back. A small scoff from besides you causes you to face Wanda in confusion at her behaviour.
“Does she not know she has like five fifteen year olds wanting to see her in that water,” she mumbles, placing her sunglasses onto her nose to cover her gaze from the sun. You laugh and shrug not fully understanding her statement.
“To be honest it would be pretty funny to see her be dunked,” you say, innocently. Picturing her shocked face already completely missing the way Wanda’s eyes glow slightly red behind her glasses as she glares.
“Down girl,” Natasha whispers close to Wanda’s ear, amusement evident in her tone causing Wanda to turn her glare onto the assassin.
A second later and one of the balls finally hits the target causing Grace to fall into the water with a big splash, the action makes you laugh out loud as you cheer along with the crowd before making your way over to the dunker with a reluctant Wanda and an overly cheerful Nat.
Grace steps out of the tank as she gives her thanks to another volunteer who passes her a towel, you grin as you take in her current state.
“Loving the new look, I thought mascara down the cheek was last year’s thing,” you tease, as she playfully glares at you smacking your arm as she grabs another towel from the side to dry her hair.
“Ha ha very funny, honestly I don’t know how you guys put up with her,” Grace addresses the two other women as she smiles at them. Natasha laughs along as Wanda manages a small forced smile.
“I’m glad you guys could make it! I did see Clint with Laura earlier on with about ten stuffed animals, the guy has some aim,” she compliments, the statement making you bite your lip to hold back your amusement.
“Well he has had a lot of practice,” you decide to reply, before continuing on with your back and forth with the woman. Nat side glances at Wanda to see her eyes are transfixed on you and Grace, watching as the teacher rubs at your bicep causing her to hold onto her bunny a little tighter.
“What’s this poor fella ever done to you?” Nat jokes, tucking on one of it’s ears. Wanda seems to ignore her question and continues with her glaring.
“Does she have to keep touching her like that? Seriously can she make it anymore obvious,” she mumbles, keeping her arms wrapped around the stuffed bunny. Nat raises a sharp brow at her friend before sighing.
“Wanda, her and Grace haven’t been together for well over ten years. Right now though Grace is a familiar face, someone she doesn’t have to work hard to converse with without the fear of fucking it up because she doesn’t remember things from the past decade,” Nat tries to reason, watching as Wanda frowns deeply.
“That’s not true we can have conversations with her,” Wanda defends, turning to face her friend.
“That’s not about her current situation?” Nat’s questionable tone flattens any defence Wanda had causing the witch to deflate slightly, the flickers of excitement for today currently fading the more she watches you talk with Grace.
“I’m going to find Sam and Bucky,” Wanda murmurs, before brushing past Natasha, handing her the stuffed bunny and folding her arms across her stomach. Natasha frowns in sympathy as she turns to face you again, touching your bicep to gain your attention.
“Hey, sorry to interrupt but I thought we could go meet up with the guys for food?” Natasha suggests, watching as your eyes light up at the mention of food before turning to Grace.
“Would you like to join us?”
“Man I totally would but I’m still on dunking duty but I’ll catch you guys later, yeah?” she smiles once more before taking her leave. Waving to her you turn to face your best friend and frown at her glaring expression.
“Do you like Grace?” her question makes you scoff.
“Of course I do Nat, she’s a nice person-”
“No, I mean do you still like-like her?” The question makes you laugh ridiculously as you shake your head dismissing the idea.
“Oh god no, I mean she’s a lovely girl and she slays in that swimsuit but I certainly don’t ‘like’ her in that way, I haven’t for over ten years!” you ramble, slightly thrown by her question and also kind of terrified by her current stance. Even with a stuffed bunny in arms she is still one of the most intimidating women you have ever met.
“You need to go and talk to Wanda,” Nat’s no-nonsense voice causes you to widen your eyes before shaking your head.
“I have tried or haven’t you noticed, I don’t know how to talk to her. Every time I think I understand her she withdraws, my head can’t keep up and she is driving me crazy. One minute she’s all smiles and accepting this stupid prized bunny from me and the next she’s quiet and barely acknowledges my existence,” you vent, the frustrations from over the past few days causing you to finally release your hidden thoughts. Nat slumps when she notices a frustrated tear escape onto your cheek.
“No Nat, do you know how upsetting it is to think that at some point me and her didn’t get along and not remembering it. My mind and body is torn whenever she’s around like somehow I know that she frustrates me yet I can’t help but want to be near her, to touch her…” you trail off, a look of defeat spreading across your features.
“I hate to tell you this but love makes us crazy and you are definitely in love with her so stop pussy-footing around and go get her,” Nat instructs, leaving you no room to argue against her. Your eyes widen at her statement as you allow her words to sink in, realisation dawns upon you as you finally make your decision. Leaning forward you quickly peck Natasha on her cheek before leaving her to go find Wanda to finally tell her the truth.
‘No pussy footing around, dumbass’ you scold yourself, as your eyes search for the witch. You recognise the Barton’s by the food stands all enjoying their slices of pizza as you venture towards them hoping that they’ve seen Wanda, Sam and Bucky soon joining them.
“Have you guys seen Wanda?” you ask, Laura continues to wipe Nathaniel's mouth as she turns to look at you briefly.
“She was here before something about needing to practise her aim, she looked pretty annoyed.” Laura murmurs, grimacing in worry. Clint scoffs before muttering ‘pissed more like’ which causes Laura to glare at him as she gestures to the kids who try to hold back their grins. You roll your eyes at your long time friend before glancing at Sam and Bucky who seem to be shifting their gazes from you to somewhere back where you left Natasha.
“I think I know what she’s practising her aim on…” Sam trails off, his eyes sparkling with amusement as Bucky follows his gaze holding back the urge to chuckle. You frown annoyed as you turn to follow their gaze, your eyes widening as you watch a large crowd form around the ducking area where an already soaking wet Grace sits perched on the seat a small view of auburn hair coming into view opposite the tank, ball in hand.
“Shit-” you manage to utter before running across the short distance to the crowd, the rest following a little more slower behind. You notice your redheaded friend who seems to have a clear view of the intense staring match between Grace and Wanda, her eyes bright as she keeps her eyes trained on Wanda with a small subtle grin in place, enjoying the situation that has unfolded.
“This is amazing,” Clint mutters, grabbing hold of his phone before groaning in pain as Laura smacks the back of his head in disapproval. You move through the crowd in hopes to calm Wanda down and not cause a scene, once you’re close enough both sets of eyes turn to face you causing you to gulp.
“She’s a total nutcase! This is already her fourth go, it’s like she wants to dunk me!” Grace accuses, pointing a finger at the angry witch whose hands have begun to glow a subtle red. You gape at the woman before turning to face Wanda.
“What are you doing?” you ask, completely dumbfounded. Wanda’s expression falters when she takes in your confused form.
“I’m just giving to the fundraiser, I can’t help it if I have a good aim.” her innocent tone, causes you to narrow your gaze at her expression and fold your arms across your chest.
“I don’t know what has gotten into you but this is completely embarrassing, I can’t believe you’re being so childish!” you scold, before moving over to the tank and helping a shivering Grace down handing her a towel ignoring Wanda’s defeated look you focus on your ex lover.
“I’m so sorry about this, I promise this isn’t like her.”
“She’s acting like a jealous girlfriend,” she stutters out, looking over your shoulder to glare at the now calm witch. You frown at her words before locking gazes with Wanda who’s brows are pinched in sadness and annoyance as if conflicted with her inner thoughts before she turns and makes her way through the crowd away from the situation. Without a second thought you quickly jog after her retreating form needing to talk to her, the decision on whether to attempt to regain your memories again still looming over your every waking thought.
Finally making it out of the crowd you scan the empty area hoping to capture any sight of her but deflate once you realise she had gone.
“So much for telling her how I feel,” you grumble to yourself, before heading over towards the truck knowing your best bet to find her will be back at the farm. Reflecting on her current actions and Grace’s words a small part of you is hopeful that she feels the same way and is finally ready to admit her feelings just as much as you are.
Silence looms over the house as you step through into the living room area, sighing as you allow yourself to relax the stress of the day suddenly catching up with you. Small creaking sounds from upstairs startles you from your thoughts as you look up towards the staircase, your body tense again as you prepare yourself to face whoever has intruded. Slowly moving up the stairs, you relax when you hear the familiar muttering sound of Wanda’s voice closing your eyes briefly and taking in a deep breath you ready yourself for the long overdue conversation.
Wanda paces back and forth in Natasha’s room snatching her clothes out of the redhead’s wardrobe, you notice the way her eyes water up whenever she looks up from her task to focus on another. Deciding this is your best opportunity to talk to her alone, you step closer and knock gently on the door, announcing your presence. She looks up at the sound and frowns when she notices you before continuing with her task at hand throwing the clothes into one of her rucksacks.
“Going on a trip?” you ask, trying to lighten the situation. Wanda scoffs while shaking her head clearly unamused by your attempts of humour.
“Don’t be an ass, y/n.” she grumbles tiredly, reaching into one of the drawers by the window. Your shoulders sag in defeat as you step closer into the room, trailing over to her as your eyes follow her movements around the room.
Finally reaching her you gently grasp her wrist pausing her movements briefly to gain her attention. Green eyes lock with your own, confliction and sadness appearing across her face, making you swallow back your prepared words briefly.
“I’m sorry okay, I just- I’m not good with my words and I don't know how to… god I’m so bad at this,” you chuckle shyly, feeling embarrassed by your shyness. Her lips twitch showing her amusement at your unusual demeanour, her heart beating fast as she looks at you adoringly.
“It’s not the only thing you aren’t good at, jerk.” Wanda smiles jokingly, as she shoves you slightly, needing to create a gap between you both; the sudden urge to kiss you there and then becoming more prominent. You roll your eyes at her words, relaxing slightly at this familiar back and forth, before sobering up. Wanda sees the change in your expression and gives you her undivided attention.
“I may not remember a lot but I sure as hell am certain about one thing… I am completely and utterly in-”
“Y/N!! You better not be playing hide the zucchini up there because we’ve got a breakthrough!!” Tony’s voice interrupts, heavy footsteps racing up the stairs towards you both. Wanda quickly grabs hold of your face cupping your jaw to keep your attention.
“You better finish that sentence-” before you can continue Tony and Bruce come bursting through the door, chests heavy as they eye you with wide eyes.
“We only have a short gap.. I think, but this might actually work!” Tony exclaims, a glimmer of excitement shining within his brown gaze. You frown suddenly forgetting about your love confession, your mind beginning to swarm with possibilities and doubts about your current situation suddenly overwhelmed with different emotions.
“Wait what? I don’t understand,” you manage to utter, your gaze flickering between the two scientists. Bruce steps forward much more calmer than Tony and begins to explain to you that they have managed to re-calibrate the figures used to be able to reverse the effects but for only a short period of time, you try to take in their explanation but the feeling of the world suddenly closing around you takes precedence. A gentle hand lands on your shoulder bringing you back to your current situation, to her.
“Y/N, go and get your memories back,” Wanda instructs softly, her voice deep with sadness. You gulp before stuttering over your words.
“But what if I don’t get them back, what if-”
“Then we will make new ones. No matter what happens I’m here for you,” Wanda interrupts, her warm hands cupping your cheeks as she smiles wide at you. The calming effect her touch has on you still surprises you. You nod taking in her words before turning to the two men who watch on expectantly.
“So, what are we waiting for?”
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Sitting in the black swivel chair, you spin once or twice before coming to a stop, grimacing at the feeling of sticky floors beneath your shoes. This place is brand new, how the hell are the floors sticky?
Actually, on that note, how is everything so covered in dust?
Sighing, your mindless fidgeting comes to a stop as the phone, just as dinky as the walls around you, begins to ring. You pick it up but put it back on the table, eyes drifting to the laptop and swing-out tablet. When you flip the former open, you note the four buttons, each relating to something you would have to reset when it comes time to. The latter has cameras that are scattered around, including a separate tab for vents. There’s an option to block off vents, which sends a chill up your spine as you glance to the big ass one at your side.
You decide to block that one off for now.
Humming, you familiarize yourself with the layout of the place, deciding to ignore the shadows that crept through your vision.
Your unenthused eyes scan and take in everything. The replicas (you had seen the originals, and they were permanently stained with both the smell and color of pizza sauce and lawsuits) that were in and around the office, as well as the little bobbleheads that sat on your desk of the animatronics, which were, for some reason, human? You boop the one who you assume to be Freddy, hearing the familiar squeak.
A small smile comes to your lips.
It was at this time that you realized you had completely ignored the man on the phone, but you couldn't really bring yourself to care.
The little drawings that were put up were authentic; not just anyone could recreate what a child's mind spits out and decides to draw.
That Freddy looks a bit fucked up.
The posters were cutely designed, and after getting the gist of what everything was and how everything works, you were on your phone the rest of the night.
When six strikes, you casually leave, giving the building a quick once over as you leave the doors, locking them behind you.
If every night is going to be like that, this is going to get boring.
This suit traps him like a rabid dog, eager to stay gripped onto his neck.
Still, things would be changing soon.
He can feel it.
He can feel it as a fresh breeze, the first in many years, hits his nostrils, sending a wave of euphoria through his system. The bloodied musk that hung in the dank room was not a pleasant one.
He can feel it as his body accepts this new host, more and more, until soon, quite soon, he will become one with his vessel.
Just as the animatronics before him did.
Why was he being freed from this prison of his own design?
Is he being taken somewhere?
Will there be a night guard to terrorize?
A grin takes to his broken lips as he ignores the pain and blood that comes from them. Oh, a night guard! Truly, that will be a sight!
He can't wait.
For now, however, he must play dead.
My, that voice that shouts with excitement from behind him…
It sounds so familiar.
"Bring the truck around!" He calls. "I found one, a real one! It's got the rips, the weird colors, and what I am going to assume is pizza sauce! Ohohoh man, I hit the jackpot with this one! Fazbear's Fright needed something, and here it is!"
His congratulatory tone made the man within the suit want to throw up. Finding him was nothing to be happy about; he is despicable, incapable of redemption, and an awful being.
And you know what?
That's just the way he likes it.
So to have someone happy to find him, especially for their own purposes?
He won't let it stand.
Yeah, if this place has a nightguard, he'll kill them without mercy before burning the entire thing to the ground.
Might as well make it fun for himself.
As light peeks through, clearly originating from a flashlight, he feels his pupils shrink, resisting the urge to let out a groan as his weak eyes ache from their decades of being in the dark.
"Whoahoh! This one looks gnarly!" The same man as before speaks, probably referencing the organs and tendons that were showing. "C'mon, let's get it up!"
His grin only grows as two people lift him onto a dolly, beginning the move.
And hello, Fazbear's Fright.
Humming, you walk into the building, skimming over the decorations once more before noticing something.
The papers that had fallen onto the ground from before, they had dirt on them. Not surprising on its own, but when they were in the shape of tire tracks?
You decide to follow them, using your memory of the cameras to guide you through the building, which was already rather linear anyway.
Entering the last area, you could see a rather dilapidated animatronic suit, with organs visible and its fur matted with blood. Real blood. The old Springbonnie suit was nearly green from how old and dirty it was.
Your eyebrows raise. "Is that guy just stupid or did he knowingly bring in a suit that has a dead body in it?"
Honestly, you didn't care. "Eh, whatever. It'll probably start moving when I start my shift… I've heard those rumors about the other locations." You turn, stretching, unaware of the eyes that followed you or the head that turned your way.
Damn, does he want to kill this one?
Well, he can think it over more soon. After the merge.
He grins again, feeling his uneven, gouged skin begin to flare with pain.
You exit the room fully, making your way back to the office with all the urgency of an ADHD-riddled person doing laundry.
Which is to say… not much.
You fall into the chair, cursing as the thin mesh cushion does nothing to protect your tailbone from the metal frame of the chair. The phone rings not a moment later, you picking it up and laying it on the table again, eager to ignore it just as you had done before. You stretch again, arms raising above your head as you begin to flip through cameras, finding the rabbit in the same spot it was in before.
Hopefully it starts moving soon, or else the entire reason you took this job would be unfulfilled.
You were bored, and you remembered this place from the times you had gone with your younger brother, who was now in his early twenties. You, however, were 28 years of age, with nothing better to do than 'investigate' the Fazbear's Fright that opened up. Still, if that rabbit has a corpse in it, it should make things more fun.
As you lazily flip through your cameras, you set it down and look to the side, seeing a rather dirty looking man with an eyepatch and fox ears. To his confusion, before he could lunge at you, you reach out and swipe a hand through his chest. You continue to swipe forwards and backwards, the incorporeal man stuck standing there until you leaned back.
"So, you're a ghost."
His mouth opens as if to retort, but he just gives up and leaps at you, you not even looking at him anymore. He closes his mouth halfway through the jump, and with an unsatisfied sigh, he disappears.
You continue flipping through the cameras, checking in on the rabbit a couple of times before shoving the tablet out of the way, opening the laptop to have it ready and sitting back in your chair.
You glance towards a shifting figure in front of the window, the hat and bear ears telling of who it is. He limps along, eventually falling beneath your view before seemingly phasing through the wall and leaping at you. You stare passively as he does so, him not completing the jump to instead stand in front of you, confused.
For shits and giggles, you wave your hand through his chest once or twice.
"Why… aren't you… scared?" He croaks, voice ruined from years of no use.
"Oh, was I supposed to be scared?" You genuinely ask. "Uh, sorry. If you do it again I promise I'll hyperventilate."
"Don't try to… lessen your survival chances…"
"Okay. My bad."
He sighs, and after annoyedly rubbing his face, he disappears.
You flip out your cameras once more, finding the screen obscured by static and a small error in the center. Lazily, you reset cams.
When your screen clears, you check the rabbit. He looks… strange. Like his body is evolving in front of your eyes.
To be honest, you don't give enough of a shit to watch a potentially world-changing discovery if it looks that gross. You aren't paid enough to, anyway.
At this pay grade, you even coming into the damn building is volunteer work.
You check your phone for the time, seeing a cool time of one in the morning.
"Aside from that science experiment gone wrong happening in the back room, it's still really damn boring."
However, it's still not boring enough to watch that transformation or whatever. That corpse (well, at this point, you kinda doubt it's dead) can do whatever the hell he wants with that suit. It's his body, not your business.
After another fifteen minutes of staring at a wall, you check the cameras to the sound of loud clicks and pops, now seeing a heavily scarred man with 1.5 rabbit ears in place of the suit. He takes one step out from his original spot, body heaving forward before he lifts himself up, looking up at the camera with a grin.
"Huh. That's new." You say, watching him jolt forward, continuing to take steps before relearning how to walk smoothly.
It only takes him a moment to rocket off.
"I doubt that's good." You mumble, beginning to flip through the cameras to follow him before playing a sound in the room behind him, making him pause. He turns, walking back with a confused expression.
Continuing to flip through cameras, you watch as the man, who you'll dub Rabbit Guy, wanders, seemingly having lost his focus. Hearing a sound to your left, you pay no heed to whoever it is, instead waggling your hand in what you would assume to be their torso.
"You're strange…" They say.
"Uh-huh. If you'd excuse me, I am currently working on keeping Rabbit Guy the hell away from me." Your voice is monotonous but sincere; you aren't trying to be sarcastic or mean, just trying to tell them the facts.
Glancing to the side, you see that it was a child, so you were waving your hand in his collar. "Oh, my bad. Does that… make you guys uncomfortable?" You ask, retracting your hand.
"No, we can't feel it."
"Huh." You blandly respond, playing the sounds to lead Rabbit Guy back to where he started, before resetting sounds as you weren't able to play them anymore.
It seems like Rabbit Guy is getting progressively more and more annoyed at being led back, if his attempts to move fast enough to avoid the sounds or block out his ears meant anything.
His body was responding to the sounds, not him.
It was then that he disappeared, so you check vents, finding him in one that led directly to the room beside your office.
You block it off, much to his annoyance, before yawning and sitting back as any thumps you hear from inside the vents come to a stop.
You find him standing in the room where he had entered the vent, irritated as he glares at the camera. Preemptively, you reset all, thankfully right as cams and sound go out.
Sighing, you lazily check through cameras, brows slightly furrowing as you look for him. He was completely gone, not in vents or in rooms. It really is unfortunate how many blind spots and shadowed areas there are.
When you hear the thumping of the vents, you search through them, only finding a stupid knick-knack laying on its side halfway in your sight.
Looking to your side, you peek into the vent, leaning down to see if anything was there. Your gaze meets Rabbit Guy's.
"Shit." You say, quickly switching cams over to this one and holding down the seal button.
Your eyes shift back to him, finding him way too close for comfort. As you lift your finger to let the gate close on the vent, the man (who was crouch walking) catches it, forcing it back up. You hear something grind that definitely shouldn't be grinding, and you have a feeling that that vent cover just might be broken.
Getting out of the vent, he stands over you, waiting for some sort of plea or… literally any response at all.
"So, you, uh… come here often?" You ask, leaving him genuinely at a loss.
"Wh- was that a pickup line?" His rough, baritone voice catches you slightly off-guard.
You weren't expecting something that was pretty much a zombie to have such a good voice, or a slight british accent for that matter. "Was it? Shit, more people've flirted with me than I thought."
"Really? That's all you can come up with before your death? I'd hate for those to be your final words." He lightly teases, leaning against the wall with a mean grin.
You look up at the ceiling with a vague smile, his eyes widening momentarily. "To be honest, of any place to die, I'd much rather have it be in a place where I know I'll reach the front pages than in some random alley."
His grin falls into a frown as he watches you turn to him, the smile still on your face. It feels strange.
He feels strange.
Why does a random night guard make him feel so…
You were calm, collected, not making any sudden moves or even attempting to exit the chair. Theoretically, the perfect prey, but not a satisfying kill.
If he even wants to kill you, that is.
“What’s your name?” He asks, watching as you spin to face him in your chair. You would be taller if you stood, but he would still have a few inches on you.
“I’m… William. Or, rather, I was, when I was well and truly human.”
“And now?” You ask.
“I don’t exactly have a name.”
“Can I still call you William, then? Well, if I live long enough to do so?” You ask, eyes moving up to meet his. Looking up at him like that… He wishes the hot feeling in the pit of his stomach would go away.
“I mean… are you going to kill me?” You ask, face not shifting as he glares down at you.
“I won’t kill you on the first night, you need to give me more entertainment.” At least, that’s what he told himself.
“Oh, so we’re both here for the same reason.” You blankly say, his face contorting from a glare to confusion once more.
“You’re here… for entertainment?” He slowly asks, answered by your nod.
“I’m certainly not here for the pay. This place gives like half of minimum wage but I can’t complain about it because the other part is supposed to come from tips. Somehow.”
“How do you even live?”
“Well, right now I’m on an paid leave due to some unfortunate deaths in my family. To be honest, I never really cared for any of them, but hey. I’ll take any chance for a break I can. Then I got bored.”
He huffs out a laugh. “So you went to another job on your break?”
“Listen, getting a month off leaves a man with little to do when capitalism has left me with no hobbies. Besides, this gives me a great excuse to continue avoiding people.”
His lips curl into an amused grin as he leans forward, lowering his head to be eye level with yours. "Well, you won't be avoiding me." He practically purrs, you averting your eyes at the tone he uses.
Why would he say it like that?!
His golden eyes follow you as you close the laptop's screen, enjoying your reaction. You…
He'll keep you around.
You're entertaining and friendly. Open, and… warm.
You're human, and fully alive. He's a revived corpse who merged with his vessel. You probably are very warm compared to him.
When he comes back to his senses, he notices you slowly raising out of your seat, hand outstretched towards him.
Well, might as well take the chance.
He grabs your wrist, looking down at you unimpressed. You quietly huff, falling back into your chair and forcing him to move away from the wall in order to not dislocate your wrist.
Well, his hypothesis is correct. You are very warm.
He feels the tightening in his gut, not wanting to let go but knowing that he will have to.
You, however, don't actually care either way. You begin your attempt again, this time with your left hand. Slowly raising out of your seat, you actually manage to stand fully up before he notices again, grabbing your other wrist.
"What are you even trying to do?" He asks, a light sneer on his lips.
"Well... uh, I was trying to… boop your nose? If you're bonded with one of the original suits, then I figured either you or Fredbear would have the sound effect."
He lets out a few short laughs, his sneer replaced with the same amused grin as before.
"I'm afraid neither of us have the sound effect. That only came about with the second and third generations of animatronics."
You hum, interested.
His eyes quickly scan over you, taking in your form. This position, practically holding you hostage… Needless to say, he didn't dislike it.
Still, he releases you as he catches you glancing at what he assumes to be a phone. Things have advanced quite far since he was trapped.
You turn it on quickly, checking the time. “Well, we have around an hour and a half before my shift ends, so…” Pausing, you check the time again. An hour and a half?
He steps closer, you glancing back up at him before leaning back as he leans forward, looming over you. “Tomorrow, you best make this more fun for me. I’ll greet you, but then I’ll head to the back. Try and stop me from getting in.”
“Uh, sure. Are you still planning on making the punishment for loss, uh, death?”
His eyes narrow in coordination with a widening grin. “That’s for me to know. You either figure it out, or you don’t. It all depends how well you play.” His gruff voice slightly echoes in the mostly empty building, you nodding in response.
“Oh, cool. Can I tell my brother about you?” You ask suddenly, him quirking a brow as he stares down at you, easily at least half a foot taller than you. He was always tall, but now that he’s in this new form, he grew to be somewhere from 6’6 to 6’8. You sit down once more, exacerbating the height difference.
“Feel free to. Just know that if he ever comes around here, he won’t be alive for very long.”
“I doubt he will. He’s always preferred Foxy the most because he has taste, but-”
“Taste? For liking that liability-strewn fox? You like him as well?”
“To be honest, I never really liked any of them more than the other. I was in my emo phase when I went to see them, so it was practically illegal for me to like anything. But Foxy had sharp teeth and a wicked lookin’ hook, so… I guess I did.”
He hums, clearly slightly annoyed.
“Are you jealous that I liked the fox more than the rabbit that isn’t even the same generation as you?”
“I really should kill you.” His irritated expression shows the truth to your statement.
“It’s okay, I’m willing to call Springbonnie my favorite.”
Now, William was confused. Your tone… you weren’t joking. You were being genuine about something as stupid as this? What is with you?
“You’re very confusing. I think you joke, and then I listen to your tone and you’re genuine. But still, I wouldn’t mind if you did so.”
“It’s not nearly as confusing as how time passes in this place. It’s been like ten minutes since I met you but the clock says like three or four hours have passed.”
“What? Really?” His brows furrow as he steps closer, finding another excuse to close the distance between you both as he leans over the chair, seeing you pointing to the screen. “How strange…”
“Yeah. It doesn’t seem like tomorrow’s hunt will last for six hours, then. Thankfully.” You sigh.
“What, do you not want to feel like my prey for six hours straight?” He grins, leaning over further until his arm rests on your shoulder.
You shiver. “Why do you have to say it like that?”
“Because it makes you react, obviously. It’s entertaining to watch you squirm from something as simple as... the tone of my voice.” Of course, in order to prove his point, he does exactly what he did before, lowering his voice a few pitches and upping the growliness of it.
In covering your eyes, you also cover your cheeks, which have gained a slight flush. “William, I am begging you. Please, please, please, stop talking like that.”
And, naturally progressing, he was left somewhat stunned by the sound of your pleading tone. There’s just something about it, especially as you say his name, that makes him want to…
...makes him want to chase, and capture, and possess forever.
You as his prized prey, and him as the hunter.
“I’ll use it when necessary.” He vaguely answers, watching your head droop.
“I’ll take what I can get.” You concede breathily.
He chuckles, hearing the chime of a bell, signifying 6 in the morning. "Well, I suppose I'll see you tomorrow, then. Don't keep me waiting."
"Asshole. I won't." You turn your head away from him, hiding the flush on your face, and stand up, stretching. "See ya, William."
He hums, eyes tracing your form as you stretch. It was a nice view, watching the button up shirt crease around your back as you stretch, clearly hinting at the muscle beneath. His eyes did drift lower once or twice, and that's how he figures out that damn, you have a really nice ass!
You begin to walk out, and he follows you with his eyes, watching you turn past the replica Freddy husk and unlock the door, exiting into the fresh morning. His eyelids droop, gaze slipping up as his lips curl into a wide grin.
“Y/N… I won’t kill you. Especially not when I’m presented with such an ample opportunity to make this into something so entertaining.”
Is that the only reason?
Of course, he knows it isn’t.
His grin falls, leaving him coldly leering at the aged panels above him before his sight shifts back to the room around him. As he exits the office, he glances at the stained and shaded glass of the door, not allowing much, if any, light in. He turns away, heading back to where he was originally.
As he walks, he lets his form shift, feeling his body grow to his previous monster rabbit self, the creaks of his metal joints loud in the silent building.
He ignores any shadows that creep in the edges of his vision, the specters traversing without sound.
“This is going to be… boring.” His voice, far rougher than before, comes out unfeeling and croaky. As he returns to his previous position, slouching over once more, he decides to use his old tactic to pass time; inflicting enough pain on himself to fall unconscious. It doesn’t matter if his dreams are infested with darkness, nor how much he suffers in them.
It was better than the boredom of sitting in one position with an unchanging environment.
He begins forcing his muscles to flex and strain within the suit and pull against the beams they have welded to, making him grit his teeth before the searing pain fades away, along with his vision.
“Yo.” You greet your brother, the man tiredly yawning as he ruffles his hair.
“Heya, Y/N. What’re you up so early for?”
“Well, I got bored and got a night shift job at this dinky little horror attraction opening up next week. I decided to tell you about what happened there before I head off to sleep.”
“You got bored during a break from your job so you… got another job?”
“Y’know, William said the same thing.” You say, your brother narrowing his eyes at you.
“A coworker?” He asks.
“Eh, not quite… he is the reason I stayed up to talk to you, though.”
He hums, walking around the couch you were splayed on with your shirt half unbuttoned.
“So, to begin my tale, you remember Freddy’s? The pizzeria with the animatronics?” You question.
“Well the horror place I went to is based off of that; it’s filled with replicas and a few actual things from the pizzerias of the past, but something came in tonight that was… different.”
“An animatronic. One of the originals, Springbonnie. Granted, the suit was ripped to shit and covered in enough dirt to be green, but it was authentic. It even has the dead body! Well - not so dead body, but still visible.”
“Did you call the cops?” He asks, worried.
“Hell no! I’m not paid enough to give a shit about what could-or-could-not-be a dead body. Either way, he transformed into a human, which was rather odd, but-”
“Just to be clear, this rabbit had a dead body inside and transformed into a human, and you don’t question it?”
“No. Continuing on, he got into my office and then we talked for a bit, I learned that his name is William, time passed really weirdly, and then we struck a deal where I have to keep him out of my office or I'll maybe die.”
“You’re still going back there?! And ‘maybe die?!’”
“Yeah, he said the knowledge about whether or not I die from losing the hunt was ‘for him to know.’ I didn’t question it further.”
“You know, Y/N, sometimes it feels like I’m the older sibling. You’re fucking stupid.”
“I’m well aware.”
He leans over the couch, glaring down at you. “Then wisen up and quit that damn job.”
“I’m good. William is good company.”
“He threatened to kill you!”
“And? He hasn’t. Yet.”
“You infuriate me, gayboy.” He says, stepping away from the couch.
“Cool. I’ll sleep here for now, when you get back from work I’ll definitely be up.”
“Whatever.” He waves his hand at you, ignoring the middle finger pointing his direction from behind the couch’s back.
also a lot of the stuff i write from now on may be male reader inserts lol
heres my springtrap design
here's the updated design lol
“Come on Edalyn, open up…” She knocked on the door to the rundown apartment again, not sure whether to knock louder to get Eda’s attention faster, or to keep quiet to avoid drawing attention to herself.
She pulled her deep blue cloak tighter around her shoulders. It was new- unfamiliar to her, its color in direct contrast to her old coven cloak, now abandoned in her room back in Belos’ castle. This one, at least, made it easier for her to blend in with the darkness of the night surrounding her while she waited for Eda to open the door.
She tapped her foot impatiently as she knocked again, sighing with relief when she heard something break inside the apartment.
“Keep your pants on,” Eda called from inside, opening the door with a yawn. “What do you want, don’t you know how late it is?” She blinked tiredly at Lilith, then stood up straight as she realized who her guest was. “Lily? What are you doing here?”
“May I come in?” She looked at her sister earnestly, heart pounding. Doing this- telling Eda- would make it real. Even now she could turn back, but she steeled herself. No. Not after what she’d seen.
“You’re being rather...secret agent-y tonight,” Eda said, watching Lilith draw the curtains all around the room. “Shouldn’t you be back at Emperor Bonehead’s place?”
Lilith ducked her head, hands still grasping at fabric. “No. I...I should never have gone there in the first place.”
Lilith laughed bitterly. “I suppose you can say that the luster’s worn off already. Bringing peace and unity, law and order to the Isles.” She shook her head. “What a joke.”
“Well I could’ve told you that,” Eda said with a careful grin, watching Lilith closely.
Lilith laughed again, pressing the heels of her hands into her eyes. “I’m pretty sure you did. Multiple times. But I...I always thought I knew better, didn’t I. And now look where it’s gotten us.”
“Hey, you’re worrying me.” She set her hand on her shoulder, Lilith’s breath hitching at the touch. “Do I have to go fight someone for you? Cuz I will, you know.”
“NO!” They both recoiled from Lilith’s sudden shout. “No. Please don’t. Don’t go anywhere near- the things that they’re doing, Eda.” Her eyes grew haunted. “Emperor Belos has plans for wild witches. It’s beyond despicable.” She grabbed both of Eda’s hands in her own, knuckles turning white from the pressure. “Promise me. That you won’t provoke him. Any of them.”
“Okay, okay! Titan, Lily, what are they doing over there?”
“Forced coven brands,” she said, beginning to pace the length of the room, “for anyone he believes can be controlled and cajoled into obedience. Petrification for those he thinks will be too defiant.” She held a hand over her mouth, trying to hold back her lunch at the memories of what she’d seen, her voice coming out in a whisper. “Making examples of the ‘worst’ wild witches in ways I don’t want to describe.” She looked at Eda. “I’m afraid of what he’d do to you,” she said plainly.
“He can’t get me here, Lil,” she reassured her, voice quiet and confident. “I’m out here with all the nobodies that no one remembers. There’s no reason for him to come after me.”
“It’s not just you, Edalyn!” Lilith pulled at her hair, throwing her arms in the air to beg for Eda to understand. “It’s every wild witch. To leave even a single covenless witch alive and free is unacceptable to him!”
“No one knows I’m here! And there’s no way he’d find out, either! I’ve been keeping to myself, keeping my nose clean. No one looks twice at me these days, so long as I don’t beast out on them.”
“You don’t understand,” Lilith said desperately. “It doesn’t matter if you’re staying out of trouble- unless you join a coven-”
“You know I’m not going to do that,” Eda scowled.
“I’m not asking you to!” She held out her arm and peeled back her sleeve with a pained gasp.
“Your mark…” Eda’s hand hovered over the remains of Lilith’s coven mark, the skin still inflamed from where Lilith had burned it away.
“I left the coven, Eda. And I’m not going back. Belos is manipulative. He’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Flattery, bribery, guilt trips, lies. Anything to get one step closer to his goals. You need to leave the city. Find somewhere remote- somewhere it’ll be difficult for other people to lead him to.”
“He- he’s not going to- I mean, guilt trips and lies,” Eda laughed uncomfortably, the severity of the situation finally beginning to sink in, “you don’t really think that stuff will work on me if he tries it, do you?”
Lilith weighed her next words carefully. She’d already passed on the news of her leaving the coven, and warned Eda to leave the city. Whether or not she’d take the advice wouldn’t change, whatever Lilith said next. Eda had always been stubborn like that.
“Some of the worst things he’s said,” she said warily, “are the truth. And I think you need to be prepared for that.”
“I don’t understand. If it’s the truth...wouldn’t you already know?”
“No.” Her words were quiet. “Not if...not if he’s telling you secrets. Things that others have kept hidden from you. Things you’ve tried not to see in yourself. He knows how to make the words cut deep- and then pretends to offer you safety and absolution in exchange for obedience. After all, how does years-old shame measure up against the emperor’s forgiveness and pride?”
“What did he do to you, Lily?”
“I did it to myself.” Her hands clenched in her cloak behind her back and she looked away, face contorted in pain. “Promise me you’ll leave the city.”
“Promise me, Edalyn!”
“Tomorrow!” She gripped Lilith’s shoulders, holding her steady, even as she shook. “I’ll leave tomorrow, I promise, but what did you do? We can fix it, whatever it is. Clawthorne sisters against the world, right?”
Lilith licked her lips, working her jaw as she tried to get the words out.
“I- I’m the one that cursed you.”
Eda’s face went blank.
“They sure do like their wanted posters of you, don’t they Eda?” Luz let out a pained laugh as they walked away from the Covention Center, Eda supporting half her weight with an arm around her shoulders as Luz limped forward.
“Yeah, of course they do,” she grunted. “Gotta make the city look good somehow! What in the world possessed you to challenge that girl, kid? I mean, Coven Leader’s apprentice,” she spat the words.
“Amity’s,” she hissed as they continued down the path, “Amity’s not so bad! She stopped fighting as soon as she saw I was hurt. She even caught up to apologize while you were fighting her mentor!” She frowned. “Why did you fight her?”
“Me and the coven system have history,” she said darkly. She shook her head to rid herself of the memories, leaning a little harder on Luz when the dizziness hit. “Apparently too much history if the way I feel right now means anything. Not sure it would be safe for us to fly in our conditions right now, or we’d already be halfway home.”
“At least we get to enjoy the scenery.”
“Always looking on the bright side, aren’t you?” She ruffled Luz’s hair before wrapping her arm around her shoulders again.
“Well somebody has to!” Luz took in the sights as they headed for one of the many cracks in the city walls to avoid leaving through the guard-infested gates. Her eye caught on another of Eda’s posters, and then on the witch staring at it. Her hood was up, but Luz could still see her face, old scars set into a melancholy face. She set a hand on the poster and Luz let out a squeak as it went up in flames.
“What is it,” Eda asked distractedly. “Guards coming our way?”
“No-” Luz heard the pounding of footsteps headed right for them. “I mean yes, but that witch over there,” she said, gesturing towards her with her head, “she just burned one of your wanted posters. I think we should focus more on the guards though.”
“It couldn’t be…” She stared at the witch as she walked away, trying to look for any trace of familiarity.
She tackled Luz to the ground at the sound of Luz’s yell, narrowly avoiding both of them being run through.
“Run, kid! I’ll hold ‘em off!”
“Hold them off,” Luz said incredulously, “you don’t even have the energy to stand right now!”
Eda smacked another spear away, already breathing hard. “Well you don’t have to tell them that!”
A bright blue beam of magic flew between them, throwing most of the guards back and encasing them in ice. The remaining guards shared a look- and then fled the scene, no longer willing to fight.
“Whoa…” Luz turned to see the mystery witch standing behind them, her white staff still outstretched from the spell. “That was so cool!! Eda, did you see?”
“Yeah, I saw, I saw.” She snorted angrily, summoning her staff to lift herself to her feet. “Once a show-off, always a show-off.”
“Wait,” Luz looked between the two witches. “Do you two...know each other?”
“Unfortunately. This is Lilith, former head of the Emperor’s Coven and,” she grimaced, “my sister.”
“This would go a lot faster if you’d simply allow me to heal your wounds too, Edalyn. Or at least fly you both to your house!”
“And as I keep telling you, no one asked you!” She took a hand off Owlbert and waved at Lilith flippantly. “Just get out of here, we’ll be fine! We don’t need your help!”
“Of course you don’t. You’re only the most wanted witch on the Isles, who attacked the leader of the Emperor’s Coven in public, you can’t stand, and barely have any magic left. I’m sure you and your,” she glanced over at Luz, hanging onto Owlbert with one hand as she walked beside Eda, “human apprentice would be fine against the next contingent of guards.”
“Say one more word about the kid,” Eda threatened tiredly, “and I’ll show you how ‘fine’ we would be.”
“So…” Luz caught up to Lilith on the path, Eda still flying low and slow behind them. The witch gave her another appraising look, catching Eda watching her with a glare. “You’re Eda’s sister?”
“I didn’t even know she had a sister!”
“We...don’t talk much.”
“Right, right. So, no family get-togethers?”
Eda snorted behind them. “Not if I can help it.”
“Our relationship is complicated, to say the least.”
“Seems pretty simple to me,” Eda called out again.
“Would you like me to tell her the story?”
“Magic mentor backstory?!”
“No and no.” She caught Luz’s pleading eyes. “It’s personal, and now’s really not the time to get into it.”
“Fine...Then can I ask,” she turned back to Lilith and pointed at her own face. “I mean it’s fine if you don’t want to talk about it but-”
Lilith raised a hand to her face, trailing her fingers over the marks. They were shallow, superficial. Even if they hadn’t felt like it that night. “I...was selfish. I knew what I was doing was wrong and did it anyway to get what I wanted. And when I got it, I realized it was tainted, both by the reality of the situation, and my own actions. Had I thought it through for longer, or looked more carefully at my methods, many tragedies could have been avoided, including this.” She took a deep breath. “I count this as retribution for what I did. Nothing more than I deserved.”
Behind them, Eda was silent.
“This is as far as I want you coming with us.” Eda stood on her own two feet, glaring defiantly at Lilith when she reached out to steady her. “This is already too close, but better safe than sorry when it comes to the guards.” She tapped Luz on the shoulder and nodded towards the branch of path leading to the house. “Get going kiddo, I’ll meet you there in a few.”
“But-” Eda frowned at her and Luz sighed. “Fine..Nice to meet you, Lilith! See you later!” She jogged off, leaving the two sisters alone.
“I’m glad you left the city after all.”
“After a rampaging owl beast took out my house? Yeah, huge surprise that I left.” She tapped her fingers on the staff. “I don’t want to see you running around here. I’ve got enough to deal with, having the kid around and trying to teach her magic-”
“You’re actually teaching her magic? But she’s a human, they don’t even have bile sacs!”
“I will teach my apprentice what I want, when I want. You lost the right to have any input in my life a long, long time ago.” She gestured at Lilith’s scars. “Or did you forget.”
“How could I? It’s like I told your apprentice though- it’s nothing more than I deserved. I regretted the curse as soon as I’d cast it-”
“Save it. I didn’t want to hear it then, and I don’t want to hear it now.” She headed towards the path Luz had taken, leaning heavily on her staff. “Thanks for helping us with the guards. Let’s not do this again.”
“You know! I’m just a little bit tired right now. All I want is to go home and collapse on my couch, and maybe drink apple blood until I pass out. I don’t want to have long drawn out apologies and conversations about what could have been, or what you should have done. That’s all in the past, and that’s where it should stay.”
“I can...accept that. All I wanted to say was to be careful.” She caught up to Eda, still keeping her distance for Eda’s sake. “There’s been rumors about...about wild witches. Disappearing. I think he’s starting again. There’s no limit to the brutality he’s willing to inflict on those he deems a threat. And you, with your human...If you’re really training her to do magic, I would suggest you do it quickly. He preys on people’s vulnerabilities. Better if she’s able to defend herself.”
Eda nodded. “I’ll keep that in mind.” She disappeared into the trees without another word.
Lilith watched the spot where she had vanished, taking several calming breaths before mounting her staff and flying away.
There would be more opportunities to talk to her sister in the future, opportunities to atone for her actions. She was sure of it.
“Your Wish Is My Command”: A Paul Lahote Imagine: PS Reader
A Paul Lahote (Twilight) x PS Reader Imagine
Thank you so much for your love and support, darling! Many loves and much thanks from me and Val!
Paul's feet fell in heavy thuds as he made his way up the steps.
It was nearly three in the morning and he had just finished patrolling with Jared.
He was more than exhausted but he couldn't help the smile that tugged at his lips when he could see the distinctive glow from the t.v. through the curtains in the living room.
It was no shock to him that you were still awake.
No doubt playing Minecraft if he had to put money on it.
He rolled his eyes in slight annoyance when he turned the knob to find that you hadn't locked the door.... again.
He'd told you about that on more than one occasion but you never seemed to listen.
He nearly tripped over the roller skates as he walked inside.
It was hobby you'd taken up only recently and he'd nearly passed out from lack of oxygen when he watched you practice and unceremoniously fall on your ass repeatedly.
Sure enough, there you were on the couch cozied up in an orange faux fur blanket, eyes laser focused on the skin and many candy wrappers laying all over the coffee table.
He was almost positive there were empty cans of energy drinks laying around somewhere.
He stood there for a good minute or so and couldn't help but smile at the tunnel vision dead eye stare you had on the screen in front of you.
You clearly didn't even realize he was home.
"Babe." he said.
"I'm eating all the candy if you don't answer me."
"What? Huh? Oh, hey babe." you said with a sheepish look as you finally focused on him.
"Hey." he chuckled as he made his way to the couch and took a seat next to you.
"How was patrolling?" you asked, smiling when he placed an arm around you and pulled you into his side.
His response was nearly unrecognizable and he nuzzled his face into your neck.
"That bad?" you laughed.
"Nah." he said finally leaning back and putting his feet up on the coffee table, knocking some wrappers off in the process. "Jared and Kim had a fight though so he was in a mood the whole time."
"Understandable." you said before looking at him impishly. "So what'd he do?"
Paul rolled his eyes at your desire for the gossip.
There were no secrets within the pack with the whole mind reading thing and you took full advantage of that whenever you could.
"He made a comment about a girl when they went out to eat last night. It was nothing. You know how it is with imprints but you also know how Kim can be." Paul shrugged.
You nodded, "Yeah, she's sweet but she's also very sensitive. And she's also on her period. Which does not mean that she wouldn't have the right to be angry if he did make a comment like she thinks. But I also know what it's like to be on your period and I know how Kim is. She gets really down on herself that week. She never says it but she and I used to be super close and I know she deals with shit like that. She feels like she's not good enough for Jared sometimes."
"He's crazy about her." Paul said.
"Well, we know that and so does she but it's still hard. Self doubt is normal as much as it shouldn't be. It's easy to let yourself get into that funk sometimes." you said.
"Do you feel that way?" he asked, his dark eyes focusing in you.
"Sometimes." you admitted with a shrug.
Paul's heart broke with that one word.
"Paul." you interjected. "Stop. I know you love me. I know you do and I love. But I'm human and humans have those thoughts sometimes. But I remind myself of all the good things and then you come home and you kiss me and I'm it's fine. But you know how needy I am on my period. She's probably just dealing with her hormones and those thoughts."
Paul wrapped you up in his arms, "I don't want you to ever doubt yourself. Especially not like that. If someone handed me a pen and paper and said 'draw the perfect mate'... I would've never even been close to create something as perfect as you."
You smiled at him and gently leaned up to peck his lips.
"I love you, Mr. Lahote."
"I love you, Future Mrs. Lahote." he said nuzzled his nose against yours.
You pecked his lips once more before picking up your phone and quickly typing away.
"What are you doing?" he asked leaning over your shoulder.
"Saving Jared's ass." you smirked.
"Oh?" he asked.
"Yeah, I'm telling him how to get back on her good side." you said. "And then I'm turning the phone off cause she's gonna call me to yell at me when he dimes me out."
"I swear I love you." Paul said leaning back against the couch.
"I love you too." you said. "Now carry me to bed with your super strength so we can cuddle."
"Your wish is my command, my love." he said before scooping you up into his arms.
"Those are really dangerous words, Paul." you said impishly.
He laughed, "And when have you ever asked me for something and I haven't given it to you?"
"Well, there was that one time when I wanted that giant gummy bear." you said.
"Oh shut up." he said before promptly tossing you on the bed causing you to squeal.
But Paul couldn't help the smile stretched across his face.
He'd take this.
At three in the morning and full of exhaustion, with the the coffee table still a travesty and you a giggling mess on the bed.
Paul wouldn't trade it for anything.
Hello, my loves!!! I hope you enjoyed this Paul imagine!
Especially @twilightxcx , thank you for your kindness, my love ! Hugs and kisses from me and Val!
Commissions are open my loves!
@sullybot @georgiagrl1990 @whenallsaidanddone
Also, just a reminder that I am open for commissions!
Additionally, the only tag list I have is my permanent tag list but if you ever want to be added all you have to do is just go to the ask box and request to be added! It’s that simple and you’re in!
I love you all!
And additionally, from my fiance, Val, who says she sends you all the happiness of Agnes and her unicorn from Despicable Me.
Hey, do you have any "long" (30k up only) hannigram fics, with hannibal's pov (preference, but not absolutely necessary) of AUs, like the best long fic AUs you can think of, like time-travel, different meetings, abo, etc.
No vampire, mermaids or werewolves au tho.
If you can, of course. Thank you alredy 🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰
I’m not sure if these are all Hannibal’s POV, but here are a list of all my favorite long AU’s (sorry if I included too many LOL). Also if anyone’s interested here are links to the mermaid and werewolf fics
Palace of Dreams by MaiTai1327 [words: 41,986]
A lonely boy at a Lithuanian orphanage creates a memory palace for him to hide away from his despicable circumstances and the nightmares haunting him. In his dreams, his palace becomes reality. And one day, he finds another boy hiding in one of its rooms.
Our Stars are the Same by beforethedawn, ConstructFairytales, Destinyawakened [words: 42,578]
Someone’s moved into the old creepy, supposedly haunted, mansion down the way from Will Graham and his family. Will never expects to befriend the new family’s son.
Vena Amoris by PaperPlaneChemTrails [words: 55,596]
Will Graham is a producer on a Bachelor knock off reality TV show. Against his protests and better judgement, Dr. Hannibal Lecter is cast as the primary love interest on the show. Despite his many initial misgivings, Hannibal is a hit, and Will finds himself as drawn into the story Hannibal is creating as everyone watching at home. Everything is going well until Will becomes suspicious that he is the real object of Hannibal’s affections, and all of a sudden contestants start to turn up murdered.
Little Arts of Vice by drinkbloodlikewine, whiskeyandspite [words: 44,991]
Cruel Intentions AU. “Tedium draws me to observation,” he murmurs. “Contemplation.” “Manipulation,” Mischa adds calmly, tilts her head when Hannibal narrows his eyes at her. “You wouldn’t deny it, Hannibal, you’re proud of that one. And in truth you do it well.” “There is little to manipulate when watching a dog chase a bird.” It starts with a bet.
A Past of Plank and Nail by gleamingandwholeanddeadly (something_safe), printersdeadly, printersdevils (tuesdaysgone) [words: 87,821]
Hannibal needs a kitchen remodel, and his colleague and friend Alana knows just the guy to help him with his rundown new home. Enter Will Graham, carpenter and contractor extraordinaire, and devastating addition to Hannibal’s daily life. When he starts running out of new projects to keep Will around, Hannibal fast realizes his infatuation is more than simple attraction - and that getting Will to agree to dinner is only the first hurdle.
Redemption by houseofcannibals [words: 132,427]
After very publicly losing his mind and murdering three young women in an unconscious state, FBI consultant Will Graham is sentenced to serve three consecutive life sentences in the notorious Shawshank State Prison. Upon arrival, he is unsettled to find himself in a cell neighboring that of infamous serial killer Dr Hannibal Lecter.
Carnivore, Won’t You Come Digest Me? by HigherMagic [words: 64,019]
Role Reversal AU: Following the execution of Garrett Jacob Hobbs, Hannibal is forced to see Doctor Will Graham for a psychiatric evaluation before he can return to the field. Once cleared, Jack insists that Will shadow Hannibal in the hopes of catching the Shrike’s copycat. Hannibal has become a master of making sure the FBI stays blind to his extracurricular activities, but Will is a man who sees far too much, and won’t be so easily overcome.
Page Six by ThisBeautifulDrowning [words: 66,839]
Crime reporter Will Graham’s column on page six of the Baltimore Sun garners him the attention of many: fans, hobby detectives, the FBI…and others. Hannibal cut off a piece of meat with surgical precision. “I find your company rather engaging.” “Maybe I don’t find you all that engaging.” Silence. Hannibal grinned. “I see that it will take more than one dinner to earn your forgiveness. Challenge accepted.”
Falls the Shadow by littlesystems [words: 72,455]
AU where Bedelia is Will’s psychiatrist instead of Hannibal, Will makes a series of increasingly questionable life choices, and no one should ever take Bedelia’s advice. Ever.
Rescues by drinkbloodlikewine and whiskeyandspite [words: 99,552]
Mischa is living with PTSD, and Hannibal seeks out a service animal to help her. He meets Will, trainer of therapy dogs - cue puppies, adorable interactions and lots of dogs. And smut. Of course.
Where the Albatross Crash-Lands by HigherMagic [words: 40,220]
Everyone has two marks on their arm: one is the name of their soulmate, the other is the name of their mortal enemy. There’s no way of knowing which is which. This same trick of fate makes it so that your Marks are the only two voices you will ever hear when you go deaf at sixteen. Hannibal has a nice voice. Will hopes he’s his mate. He hopes he never hears the voice of the Chesapeake Ripper.
Provenance by drinkbloodlikewine, whiskeyandspite [words: 62,735]
A delightful AU about a rare book dealer, an owner of a high-end coffee shop, and murder. This does involve Hannibal Lecter, after all.
A Fortunate Wound by starkaryen [words: 83,312]
Will Graham, a police officer in Baltimore, is shot while he’s on duty. The surgeon on call in the ER is Hannibal Lecter.
Until I Met You by Dormchi [words: 33,990]
Detective Will Graham needs an expert and Fire Lieutenant Hannibal Lecter happens to be available. Basically this is just arson, murder, coffee, and fluff.
Canvases by thatviciousvixen [words: 36,660]
When Hannibal meets a handsome artist with a keen interest in death he knows he’s finally met a kindred spirit. All Will needs is a little push.
In Sickness and in Health by BonesAndScales [words: 67,450]
Everyone knows that Will and Hannibal are married. Not everyone knows that they are married to each other.
The Escapists by whiskeyandspite [words: 35,368]
Will’s cellmate said nothing, and Will didn’t venture. He had been prickly enough as a lecturer, where human interaction was mandatory, and prison was not the sort of place one made friends. One either made allies or enemies, or stayed quiet enough to avoid both. Will doubted he’d be that lucky; far too easy to rile up especially when stupidity was the catalyst. Prison, Will thought absently, was similar to college.
Sweeter Bitter by wormsin [words: 89,503]
Will is an awkward student and Hannibal an intrigued mentor.
Before You And After You by ache_for_him, Breakmybones (CarterReid), CarterReid [words: 33,734]
Hannibal and Will had a past: a dirty, bloody, violent past. Will was sure he’d never see his own personal monster again - then he walked into Jack Crawford’s office.
Ethics & Aesthetics by fragile-teacup [words: 106,330]
Pride and Prejudice omegaverse AU
Look, Mother! The Sheep Have Devoured the Wolves! by HigherMagic [words: 102,934]
Hannibal and Bedelia are married, but unable to have children. At Margot’s insistence, Hannibal agrees to meet the Omega that was a surrogate for her and Alana. Will is rough-edged, unrefined, and everything Hannibal shouldn’t desire. This arrangement promises to be clean, and simple. Of course, nothing concerning Will Graham is ever simple.
Wings of Wax and Feather by BelladonnaWyck and raiast [words: 55,947]
“Did you just smell me?” "Difficult to avoid. My apologies, I didn’t realize there were any Omegas in this section of the prison.” “Most get sent to the Omega Holding Facility two counties over. But then, most don’t get done in for rippin’ out an Alpha’s throat in the middle of the street.” or Hannibal Lecter had always known the winding road of fate may one day lead him straight to a prison cell. He’d never imagined he’d find his true mate there.
Truly, Madly, Deeply by slashyrogue [words: 52,811]
They meet by chance at a Christmas Party and share a kiss that seals their fate.
Purity by PixieDust291 [words: 130,528]
Will is cast aside by his alpha and sacrificed to the Wendigo that hunts in the forest. However, after confronting the creature Will then finds himself in the home of Hannibal. The alpha lives alone and seems to have taken it upon himself to nurture Will back to health. Over time Will grows comfortable with Hannibal and slowly reveals the reasons for his abandonment. Hannibal, being a pure bred alpha of the highest caliber, is well aware of just how rare and valuable Will is and decides to take the wounded omega for himself.
Quatervois by stratumgermanitivum, whiskeyandspite [words: 33,226]
Will is an Omega who desires independence and freedom. Hannibal is an Alpha who finds his mind curious. They make a deal: if Will can convince Hannibal that he is worth more than breeding stock, and can go through his heat without begging for his Alpha, Hannibal will not mate him, but make him a ward instead; Will could go to college, get a job, do anything he wanted. If not, then he will be Hannibal’s mate, bear pups, and accept his role. But is it really as simple as that?
summary: As the daughter of an Imperial senator, the Mandalorian’s hired as your bodyguard—but with the twisted ideals of your father putting you at risk, he becomes so much more than that.
note: This takes place about ten years before the events of The Mandalorian.
pairing: bodyguard!din djarin (the mandalorian) x f!reader
warnings: angst, hurt/comfort, fluff, canon-typical violence, reflections on trauma, mentions of abuse and death, drowning (the grate scene), near-death
word count: 11.605k (oh my gosh?)
main masterlist • din djarin masterlist
“I don’t need a bodyguard.”
Your father scoffs, crossing his arms as he gestures out the window of your large home’s main hall. “You don’t know what’s out there,” he insists. “There’s a war. I can’t risk—.”
“I can take care of myself,” you cut him off, looking down and suddenly missing the thigh holster you’ve practiced strapping to your leg so many times.
“I said, there’s war,” your father snaps, his hand reaching out to grab your chin and make you face him directly. There’s a coldness in his eyes you don’t like, one you’ve seen appear over time as the Empire tightened their grip on the galaxy more and more. With the pressure of the Rebellion, you see it now more than ever, frightening you to your core. “War that you’re not fit for. I can’t have them using you against me.”
You bite back a retort about being nothing but an asset to him, instead providing your silent compliance as he finally lets his hand fall from your face. It’s hard to hide your snarl. If you didn’t have the promise you made to your late mother fresh on your mind, you would’ve let it show. You would be doing a lot of things differently.
“He doesn’t speak much, so you’re in luck,” your father continues. “He’ll be joining us for dinner tonight.”
For some reason, the idea of that makes you feel slightly grateful. Your dinners usually consist of an awkward and extended silence between you and your father—at least, when he isn’t sitting with the most despicable people in the galaxy. Having another person there will hopefully make it more bearable. “All right,” you finally remark with a light sigh. “Am I dismissed until then?”
Your father nods. “Dinner’s at the usual time.”
You don’t bother to nod in acknowledgement as you turn to leave, feeling your father’s icy stare pierce into your back as you begin to walk up the stairs. Immediately, you head to your room, sighing as you shut the door and secure it.
This is your only safe space. And now, it’s at risk of being under yet another part of your father’s clutches.
You release a groan and make your way across the large, circular room, heading towards your closet. With a single arm, you push any of the hanging clothing to the side, revealing the small cabinet that sits behind it. You open the cabinet and instantly get a view of the few weapons you’ve been able to smuggle inside: your blaster, a backup, and your knife. It’s not much, but you know it’ll all be valuable someday. When, you don’t know. But you know you can’t stay here forever.
You spend your time cleaning the weapons and practicing with them until the dinner hour arrives. In a rebellious type of effort, you don’t make yourself any more decent as your father is likely expecting, instead simply heading downstairs to the dining room where you both always eat at a table much too large for two people.
You stop as soon as you see the glare coming off the armor, your blood turning to ice in your veins as you see him. There’s a Mandalorian sitting at the dining table, almost directly at your father’s right side. Both your father and the Mandalorian rise as you walk in.
“This is Mando,” your father introduces the armored warrior. He gestures with his hands towards the man, but the man himself says and does nothing. You think he might as well be a statue, a shell without a man inside of it. “He’ll be protecting you.”
“Thanks,” you murmur, flicking your gaze towards Mando’s visor. You see him dip his helmet in the slightest of nods. You remain silent as you take your usual seat, aware of your father’s disapproving stare. After your chair screeches against the marble floor, your father speaks.
“Aren’t you going to introduce yourself?” your father questions formally—but you can hear the venom behind his words.
You tell him your name, watching his visor and hoping there’s actually a gaze behind it. Just like before he gives you a small nod across the table, remaining respectful and quiet as your father’s staff provides the meal.
The Mandalorian doesn’t eat. You know he can’t. Your mother used to tell you stories of all the different kinds of people, places, and cultures in the galaxy, and the Mandalorians had been a favorite focus of yours. In fact, you can’t help thinking it’s rather cruel that your father’s even made him sit down at this table with you, having to sit in front of a plate of food that’ll only get cold.
After many minutes of your usual shared silence, your father looks up, wrinkling his brow as he realizes Mando hasn’t touched his food. “Is something wrong with the meal, Mando?” your father asks him, causing you to stop what you’re doing as you feel yourself tense up.
You can’t imagine how Mando must feel. You swear you see his shoulders tighten, but still, he says nothing. You speak for him. “Mandalorians can’t take off their helmets in front of others, father,” you inform him, watching your father’s gaze land back on you. “He can’t eat.”
“Oh, my apologies,” your father says, now turning back to Mando as he waves a hand at a worker who quickly takes the plate from Mando’s place. “I didn’t realize.”
“It’s all right.” The Mandalorian finally speaks, his raspy voice sending a shiver down your spine. Whether it’s one of intimidation or of pleasure, you can’t quite identify. All you know is that you can hear it echoing in your mind for the rest of the quiet dinner, making the sounds of scraping silverware disappear almost completely as you solely focus on what you’ve just heard.
Before you know it, you’re being dismissed, but this time with Mando close at your side. You can feel him close to you as you leave the dining room, trailing just a small step behind you. You’ve found that you’re utterly curious as to who this man is and why he’d ever accept a job like this, so you dare to speak, not trying to cross that boundary just yet. “I’m really sorry about my father,” you say, keeping your voice soft as you lead the way up the stairs.
You’re met with silence for a moment. Then, a hesitant breath, and an answer. “It’s all right.”
You chuckle to yourself as you take a quick look back at him, watching him tilt his helmet at you. “Do you ever say anything else, or did they wire you like that?”
Mando huffs, sounding like something between a grunt and a chuckle, and for some reason it makes you smile to yourself. “Yes, I do.”
“Well, that’s good to know. It’d be pretty awkward if we just… never spoke.” You force a laugh through your words, clearing your throat when Mando doesn’t reciprocate the amused gesture. You lead him down the hallway towards your room as you dare to speak again. “Don’t worry about dinner, though. That’s just how we usually eat.”
You stop at your door, turning to see Mando tilting his helmet at you again. “In silence?”
You nod. “We don’t have a lot to talk about.”
Mando nods back, his gloved hands resting casually on his belt as he stands there. You open the sliding door to your room, looking around as you draw in a breath. “I—you can, uh, come in, if you want.” You gesture with your hand inside the room.
The Mandalorian shakes his head. “Thank you, but I’m not sure if that’d be… appropriate.”
“Oh! Yeah. Uh, I’m sorry.” You’re suddenly flustered, looking at your feet as you start to enter the room. You start to close the door but stop it with just enough room to poke your head around it, facing Mando with a furrowed brow. “Are you gonna be okay out here, or do you need water or something?”
“I’ll be okay. Thank you.”
You nod, smiling a bit at his politeness as you finish closing the door. You weren’t expecting Mando to be so… human. The stories you were told of the Mandalorians almost made them seem like war machines, so serious and ready to snap at the first sign of danger. This Mandalorian appears to be genuine, almost soft and careful with his words, eager to follow orders and stick to them.
You want to know more.
Earlier, you thought for sure you’d want nothing to do with this second pair of watchful eyes. But now, the need to get to know him is absolutely gnawing at you, as if his presence outside your door has a gravitational pull that’s bringing you towards him. As soon as you finish getting ready for bed, you find yourself making your way over to your door, leaning your back against it as you squeeze your eyes shut and will yourself to say something.
“Still doing all right out there?” you force the words out through the door, wrapping your hands around your arms as you await an answer.
“Yes.” Mando’s answer is short and to-the-point, but you don’t miss the hint of gratitude that laces his modulated tone.
You furrow your brow as more questions come to mind, your boldness overtaking you as you dare to ask them. “Did my father give you a room?”
A pause. And then, “Yes.”
“So, how long do you have to stand here?”
Another pause. “Until I’m sure it’s secure.”
“Will you eat?”
You frown at the less-than-satisfactory answer. “No, Mando, you don’t have to ‘manage.’ I can ask one of my father’s staff to get you something.”
He waits a beat. “That’s not necessary, really. I’ll be fine.”
“When was the last time you ate?”
Mando sighs. You can’t tell if it’s one of annoyance or one of confliction. “This morning,” he finally informs you.
You raise your eyebrows, despite the fact you know he can’t see you. “You’ve gone all day without eating?”
“I said, I’ll manage.”
“You don’t have to, Mando. I swear. I mean, I—I could probably get you something. If you wanted.”
You get another sound that might be a chuckle from Mando at your insistence. “That’s very kind of you.”
You smile at his words, hurrying away for a second to retrieve your datapad from your desk before returning to the door. You sit against it with your knees pulled up close to your chest, resting the datapad against your thighs as you prepare to make notes. “What kinds of things do you like?”
You roll your eyes playfully to yourself and laugh. “That’s not helpful, Mando.” When he remains silent, you let out a sigh, biting your lip as you think of something. “What about something high in protein? I feel like you’d like that.”
He pauses. “Sure.”
You nod, making a note of it on the datapad. “Okay, and do you usually eat three meals a day?”
You twist your lips at that, but you don’t comment on it. “Would you like to?”
“All right, then I’ll make sure you get three meals a day. Is it okay if I leave them in your room, so you can have your privacy?”
“That’s… great.” You swear you hear a catch in Mando’s modulator before he goes on.
“It’s the least I could do. Which room is yours?”
You hear fabric shift, and you assume Mando’s pointing with his finger—even though you can’t see him. “Right down the hall.” You nod and make a note of that. As you do so, Mando speaks again. “Thank you. You don’t have to.”
“I know I don’t have to. But if my father’s going to make you do all this for me, I might as well pay you back somehow.”
Mando doesn’t mention the fact that he’s already being paid for it. Yet, it still comes to mind for you, and you frown a bit as you set your datapad aside slowly.
“Speaking of payment… how much is my father paying you for this?” When Mando remains silent, you add onto your words quickly. “I just want to know how much I’m worth to him, you know?” There’s still no response, and now you’re thoroughly embarrassed, desperately trying to cover your tracks. “I’m sorry, that was inappropriate. I didn’t mean to—.”
“Your worth goes beyond credits.” Mando’s modulated voice is quieter than before, yet somehow even heavier with meaning. It causes your cheeks to heat up. “My presence and payment doesn’t change that. I’m sorry if it makes you feel otherwise.”
“No, it’s not your fault. Please don’t apologize.” You’re starting to panic now, afraid you’ve ruined some kind of connection you were just starting to make by crossing a boundary. “I shouldn’t have said anything about that. I… I should actually get some rest.”
You scramble to get up, taking your datapad with you as you prepare to step away from the door. You only stop when you hear his modulated voice speak to you again. “Rest well.”
Biting back a smile, you respond. “You too.”
That night, your dreams are plagued by the mysterious face of your new bodyguard, making you feel strange as you wake up the next morning and remember that you’ll have to face him again today. You prepare yourself for the day and peek out of the door of your room, pleased to see that Mando’s not standing there just yet. You manage to make your way to the kitchen of the house, requesting a plate of whatever’s for breakfast and bringing it back up to where you’ve just come from. Continuing further down the hall, you soon stop at the door you assume Mando had been talking about, lifting one of your hands and knocking a few times. “Come in,” his modulated voice calls to you gently.
You open the door and take a single step inside, immediately observing how much smaller the room is than your own. It makes you frown a bit, though you’re quickly distracted by Mando as he simply stands with a tilted helmet by the foot of the bed. You set down the plate and glass of water onto a dresser that you assume is going rather unused, turning to face Mando again with a bashful smile. “There’s some breakfast for you. If you need anything else, let me know.”
“This is plenty.” Mando takes a careful step towards you, as if he’s afraid he’ll frighten you by coming any closer. “Thank you very much, truly.”
You nod. “Of course, Mando. Just don’t rush, okay? I can handle myself if something happens to go wrong in the next hour or so.” Mando snorts at that, the sound crackling through his modulator as he takes another step towards you. You take that as your cue to leave, heading towards the door as you see yourself out.
When you arrive at the dining room for breakfast, you’re surprised to realize that your father is absent. You sit through your meal alone, preferring this silence to the one you usually face during meals with your father, and only speak once you’re about to leave the dining room. A member of your father’s staff takes your plate and you call to them gently, catching their attention as you raise an eyebrow at them.
“Do you know where he is?” you ask the worker. “My father?”
They wrinkle their brow. “He’s gone to the city,” they inform you. “He told us he’d be there for a month.”
“Oh.” You nod at them, even though your blood begins to boil. He didn’t even say goodbye. The thought shouldn’t bother you as much as it does; you don’t care much for your father anymore. Still, part of the harsh reality of your father not caring stings. At least in your younger years, you had your mother.
Often, you wonder if your father cared for her just as much as he cares for you: not at all.
“Well, thank you,” you finally speak up again to the worker, watching them nod back at you before they disappear with your plate. You let out a breath and feel your shoulders get heavier as you trudge your way back up to your room. As you walk towards your room, you can see Mando approaching from the other direction. You let your gaze fall to your shuffling feet as you quicken your pace, determined not to let the Mandalorian see how dejected you feel as you slip into your room. The door closes and you lean your back against it, closing your eyes as you try to think about anything other than the coldness and dejection your father has left in your heart.
After many moments of silence spent focusing on your breathing, you hear a hesitant voice through the door. “You seem… distressed.”
You reopen your eyes. You know Mando means well—you can tell just by the hesitance in his voice, as if he doesn’t want to push too far over a certain boundary. There’s a hint of concern in his tone that makes you long for more and yearn for the feeling of actually being of value to someone. “It’s all right.”
“You sound like me.” Mando gets a chuckle out of you at that, already making your heavy shoulders feel lighter.
“It’s just my father,” you confess, unsure as to why you’re unloading such information to a practical stranger. You figure it’s because you’re curious to also learn more about him, and because there’s something about his aura that’s oddly comforting. “He left for the city without saying goodbye. I didn’t even know he was going.”
“You didn’t?” Mando doesn’t hide his disbelief, and despite the fact he can’t see you, you nod to confirm his words. “That’s why I was hired.”
“To spy on me in his absence,” you scoff. Your gaze drifts to the ceiling as you force yourself to take a deep breath. “All he told me was that I needed protection from the ‘war’ that’s apparently raging somewhere in the galaxy. He thinks I can’t handle myself.”
Mando remains silent behind the door. You realize that you’ve probably said too much—in fact, you’ve probably made him feel like a fool, someone being used by an Imperial senator as some kind of watchdog. You shake your head at yourself as you speak again.
“I’m sorry, I just…” you trail off, unsure of what to say. You push your back off the door and add one last thing. “I hope your breakfast was okay.”
You step away from the door before Mando responds, hoping that he realizes you’ve left. You feel embarrassed as ever, now, hoping that you haven’t shattered this relationship with the Mandalorian just like you did with your father. But the latter wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t save a relationship when he had devoted himself completely to something else—especially something you can never support.
These thoughts haunt you more and more until you’re feeling suffocated inside your room. You peer out of one of your windows to see the gardens that surround the back part of the house, releasing a soft sigh as you decide to head there. When you open the door to your room, Mando instantly becomes more alert, his shoulders straightening out as he looks over at you. “I’d like to go outside,” you tell him, your voice quieter than before. “I assume you have to come with me.”
Mando nods. You turn and begin to lead him downstairs, hearing the spurs of his boots move almost in perfect time with your own shoes as you head towards the gardens. After pushing through a door at the back of the house, you make your way into the vast gardens—the only thing of your mother’s that your father bothered to uphold. You assume it’s just because of his status symbol and pride.
Eager to distract yourself from the thoughts of your father, you dare to start speaking to Mando again, hoping he’ll at least try to entertain your attempts at conversation. “How old are you, Mando?” you ask, hoping the easy question will further break the ice between the two of you.
He hesitates before telling you his age. You lift your brow in surprise, for some reason expecting him to be much older.
“Ah. You’re three cycles wiser than me.”
Mando’s fallen in step with you now, walking alongside you rather than behind you. You can see him tilt his helmet at you from your peripherals as you wander through the well-kept paths of the gardens. “Only three?”
“Only three.” You scoff as you cross your arms. “But my father still thinks that I need ‘protection.’”
Mando stays silent for a moment. When he speaks, his words are careful and calculated. “Maybe having additional protection isn’t such a bad thing in a galaxy like this.”
You turn your head to look at him, wanting to feel angry at Mando’s words but remembering that he doesn’t know any better when it comes to your father. “Maybe. But my father doesn’t care about protecting me.” You can see Mando’s helmet turn to you again as you continue. “I’m just an asset to him, now. He’s afraid the Rebellion might use me as leverage or something. Though, I can’t imagine why he’s so worried. I’m sure he’d let me die to keep the Empire alive.”
Mando looks straight ahead again, although you don’t miss the way his gloved hands curl into fists at his sides. “You and your father don’t get along, I assume.”
You shake your head. “Not since his loyalties to the Empire surpassed his loyalties to his family.” You pause, looking over at Mando and immediately noticing the tension that’s built within him. Somehow, you know it’s directed towards your father and not you. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s responsible for my mother’s death.”
Mando turns his helmet quickly towards you this time. You decide to return his look, watching as his helmet tilts at you. “What happened?” His rasp is low and almost fearful. Mando then shakes his head, as if he’s chastising himself. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have—.”
“It’s okay, Mando.” Your reassurance causes him to look back at you. You give him a small smile. “I opened the door for that. I don’t mind telling you.” Mando relaxes a bit beside you, so you go on, taking a deep breath as your gaze settles back on the paths of the garden in front of you. “My mother was very healthy all her life. We were very close. But then, about ten cycles ago, she got sick—very sick. Within days, she just… slipped away.”
“I’m very sorry for your loss.”
You shake your head at Mando. “It’s all right. Like I said, it’s been ten cycles.” You let out a sigh, your fingers beginning to play with each other. “It just came out of the blue—at too convenient of a time. It was a few years after the Empire began their reign, and my mother was openly displeased with the role my father took in it all. She considered herself a rebel. My father knew this.”
“Do you think he did something to silence her?” Mando’s tone is full of interest, as if he’s hanging on your every word. You immediately pity him. He’s likely thinking over the fact that he may be accepting payment from someone as cold-blooded as your father.
You shrug. “I don’t know what to think. But, it’s surely convenient that my mother went when she did, before the Rebellion had a chance to grow.” You stop when you reach one of the plants, picking at the buds that bloom a deep red and orange. “And that we have ephrow flowers in our gardens.” When Mando stops with you and tilts his head at the beautiful bloom between your fingers, you look at him with a raised brow. “Ephrows contain some of the deadliest poison in the galaxy.” At those words, Mando instantly reaches out to grab your wrist, intent upon getting you far away from the poisonous planet. You can’t help smiling as you lay your free hand over his on your wrist, trying to relax him. “When consumed.”
Mando nods slowly in understanding, his hand releasing your wrist as you pull both your hands back towards your chest. “I see.” His visor looks back to the plant. One of his gloved hands reaches out to touch a stem that’s shriveled up and dead.
“Once you pluck an ephrow bloom, it dies—and it never grows back.”
Mando’s gloved hand falls slowly from the stem. “And you only pick it if you intend on using it.”
You nod, your gaze meeting Mando’s visor as you share a look of understanding. He clearly sees your point, now, and you think he might even believe you. Yet, you now want to leave the topic behind, so you continue walking ahead again. Mando follows along with you. You decide to ask him more questions. “What about your parents, Mando? Are you close with them?”
You can hear the breath that hitches in Mando’s throat, and instantly, you realize you must’ve struck a chord with your question. You’re about to insist that he doesn’t have to answer you when he actually does. “My parents died when I was young.”
You wrinkle your brow, holding back a wince at the way his modulated voice has lowered. “I’m so sorry.”
“It was a long time ago.” Mando almost sounds like he’s trying to reassure himself, not you. “But, yes, the three of us were very close.”
You smile a bit at that. You want to ask him what happened, but you’re afraid you’ll push him too far, so you push that thought away. “And they were Mandalorians?”
Mando shakes his head. “No. I only became a Mandalorian after they died. The Mandalorians took me in after my parents were killed. They raised me in the Fighting Corps and when I came of age, I swore their Creed.”
“I’m glad the Mandalorians were there for you.”
Mando’s silent for a few steps and you look over to see his visor staring out at the gardens with a strange type of focus. When he speaks, his modulated voice is slightly strained. “So am I.”
You remain in silence as you head back to the house, heading back up to your room. Before you slip inside, you turn to face Mando, who’s been trailing along with you as always. “Thank you, Mando, for talking with me. It was… nice.” Your words are genuine as you smile at him.
He nods at you. “That’s why I’m here.”
His words make your smile falter a bit. Right. He’s only here because he’s being paid to. You can tell Mando’s noted this shift in you, as his helmet tilts down at you as you open your door. “Yes, it is,” you remark quietly, stepping inside your room and closing the door. You stay far away from the door that day, staying quiet throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening. You can tell Mando’s unsettled by this, but his words from before have made a pit in your stomach, one that’s keeping you from saying anything even if you wanted to. Still, you don’t forget to leave Mando’s meals in his room, wanting to make sure he’s cared for in the way he deserves.
The next morning, you bring Mando breakfast in his room, making sure all is clear before you step inside. You leave the plate on his dresser as usual, yet before you have the chance to leave, you suddenly feel a gloved hand gently reaching for your arm. “Wait,” Mando nearly begs, instantly causing you to turn and look at him. He drops your arm quickly, tilting his helmet in a sincere way as he looks at you. “I… didn’t use the best words yesterday, after we talked. I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Mando, you don’t have to—,” you try to say.
“What I meant was, you’re not alone anymore.” Mando gets the words out before you can say yours. They shock you greatly, leaving you to stand there with your mouth slightly open. He continues. “I know what it’s like to be alone after losing people close to you. I may be your bodyguard, but I want you to know that you can talk to me.”
His words are unexpectedly sweet and you can feel your chest warm upon hearing them, causing you to bite back a smile as you nod at him. “Well, thank you. That means a lot.” You hope you’re holding a gaze with him as you look into his visor. “You can talk to me, too—even through the door.” Mando nods to acknowledge your words. “For now, it’s just important that you eat your breakfast. When you’re done, I’d like to go for a walk in the gardens again.”
“Sure.” You smile at Mando before you turn to leave, feeling his burning gaze on you the entire way as you head back to your room.
You spend the next two weeks running a routine quite like that: bringing Mando a meal in the morning, walking with him in the gardens until lunch, having some time to yourself in the afternoon—usually consisting of you trying to be quiet with your personal training—, having dinner while Mando has his, and then spending the rest of the night either talking through the door with Mando or watching the night sky through your window. It’s peaceful, and for the first time since your mother passed away, you don’t feel so alone.
Your conversations with Mando often consist of a variety of easy topics. You tell him about your life with your mother and then after, and in exchange, he tells you a bit about his life after swearing the Creed. You hear about his adventures with mercenaries and experiences with bounty hunting while he hears about your eagerness for stories of the galaxy and the forming Rebellion. You can tell you’re both enjoying each other’s presence, often finding yourself wishing for more time spent with the Mandalorian. You can sense he feels the same way.
It’s after those weeks that you finally see Mando jump into his complete role as your bodyguard.
You don’t know what hour of the night it is, but you know it’s very late. Your eyes snap open when you see a shadow flicker across your ceiling, resembling that of a human figure. There’s a draft coming from your window, and when you move your head slowly to the side, you realize it’s slightly open—even though you’d closed it well before you went to sleep.
There’s someone in your room.
You try your best not to panic right away. If your weapons were close by, you’d take care of the situation yourself, but they’re locked away in your closet and you can’t risk trying to go get them. So, you reach your hand slowly and slyly towards your bedside table, grabbing the pager that Mando supplied you with and signaling for his help. Then, you stay still, keeping your breathing steady as you wait for him.
It only takes a few moments before you suddenly hear the door sliding open.
Instantly, there’s a moment of controlled chaos. You can see the shadowed person in your room standing up from one of the sides of your bed, looking as if they’re trying to head back to the window. Instead, they’re seized by Mando’s grappling hook, pulled back into the darkness of your room where you can see his silhouette standing. You sit up in bed quickly, watching with awe as Mando easily disarms them and hooks an arm around their neck, a vibroblade catching the light of the moon as he holds it to their jugular.
“Who are you?” Mando sneers in a voice you’ve had yet to hear from him. It sends a chill down your spine. “What’s your business here?”
“I’m—I-I’m—,” the perpetrator struggles to speak through Mando’s hold on their neck, “—I’m with the R-Rebellion!”
Your eyes widen for a moment, thinking about the side you actually support coming after you—thanks to the association with your cold-blooded father. Yet, you can’t fully believe it, knowing the Rebellion wouldn’t be likely to sneak into Imperial senators’ homes and do their friends and family harm. So, you dare to rise from your bed, your small nightgown giving you a chill as the open window continues to blow a breeze in. You hold your arms for warmth as you approach where they’re standing. “Stay back,” Mando warns you in a tone much different than the one he’d used with the supposed Rebellion aggressor.
“It’s all right,” you assure him, stopping quite a few feet away from the intruder as you raise an eyebrow at him. “You’re with the Rebellion?” The perpetrator nods, leaving you to scoff as you look to Mando’s visor. “Mando, would you mind checking their right wrist for me?”
Mando doesn’t move for a moment, evidently confused by your request but still complying with it. He switches his vibroblade to his left hand as his right one reaches for their wrist, pulling down the fabric of their shirt that’s hiding it. Mando observes it closely before he looks back up at you. “It’s an Imperial signet.” You hum at his words, looking back to the intruder as Mando does the same. He tightens his grip on them, bringing his vibroblade dangerously close to their neck. “Who hired you?”
“I-I told you, it was the Rebel—,” they try to say.
“Who hired you?” You can see Mando’s free hand tighten into a deadly grip around the signet on their wrist, causing them to howl with pain as they twist in his arms. You feel a pit grow in your stomach. “Was it a senator?”
“Y-Yes, it was!”
“I can’t—they’ll kill me!”
“And so will I.” Mando presses the blade against their flesh, now, causing the vibrations of it to irritate their skin. They cry out in pain again, causing your stomach to feel even more sick. “Which senator?”
“Mando, stop!” you finally beg, catching Mando’s attention as his visor looks to you. You have an idea of what’s going on—and you can’t bear to see this person suffer anymore. Walking closer to them, you can sense the tension rolling off Mando in waves, yet you continue on. You face the intruder, evidently afraid, with a sympathetic expression. “How much did he pay you?”
Their eyes widen, as if they sense you’re putting them in some kind of trap. “W-What do you mean?”
“How much did the senator pay you?” They freeze up before telling you the amount of credits. You look to Mando next. “How much is my father paying you?”
He answers with the same amount.
You huff. “Let them go, Mando. It’s all right.”
Mando’s hesitant to do so as you walk over to your desk, taking a key from a hiding place underneath a panel on your floor and unlocking a drawer. You take a pouch of credits and turn back to Mando and the intruder, offering the pouch of credits to them.
“I want you to take these credits and get as far away from the Empire as possible,” you instruct them, placing the pouch in their hand and closing their fingers around it. They look at you in awe, as does Mando with his helmet tilted incredulously at you. “Promise me you won’t affiliate yourself with them anymore.”
“I… I promise,” they say, and you nod at Mando as he finally begins to loosen his hold on them. “This is very generous, ma’am—thank you.”
“Free yourself,” you say with a bittersweet smile, gesturing towards the window. “I assume you can climb your way back out.”
They nod, managing to even slightly return your smile as they head back out the way they came in. You close the window behind them, and almost immediately after, Mando’s questioning you. “Why did you do that?” he asks, not sounding as angry as he does curious.
“I thought it was obvious, Mando.” You sigh before you turn around to face him again, holding your arms with your hands as your gaze falls to the space between you. “My father hired them to kill me.”
Mando freezes where he is, his gloved hands clenching into fists at his sides as he stares at you. After a long moment of silence, he speaks. “Why?”
“To silence me, just like my mother.”
Mando tilts his helmet at you, looking unconvinced. “Then, why did he hire me?”
“Because, he didn’t want me or anyone else to be suspicious of it.” Mando continues to remain frozen where he is, yet you can no longer bear to stand, instead moving to sit on the edge of your bed. “My own father wants me dead.”
Upon hearing your words, Mando finally moves, shuffling closer to where you are and standing hesitantly beside your place on the bed. You give him a nod, knowing what he wants, and Mando eases himself down next to you. He’s silent and contemplative for a few moments before he speaks. “You handled that well back there. Better than I would’ve.”
You smile a bit at Mando’s efforts to make you feel better. “Thank you,” you say, your voice just above a whisper. You don’t say anything more for a while, instead looking out the window from where you sit as you try to come to terms with what’s happening. Unable to process it, you begin to wonder aloud to Mando. “What now? How am I supposed to live here knowing my father is trying to kill me?”
Mando sighs lightly from beside you, his close presence comforting as you look over at him. His visor’s already been focused on you. “He won’t succeed.” He places a gloved hand gently upon your shoulder. “I’ll continue to protect you.”
He manages to make you smile again, your chest warming up—especially at his touch. “You don’t have to.”
Mando tilts his helmet at you. “I know.”
You share a gaze that lasts longer than it should—but a thought of yours interrupts it. You find yourself clearing your throat, causing Mando’s hand to fall from your shoulder as you move to stand up. “Mando, if I may ask something of you?” Mando nods. You make your way over to your closet, pushing the clothing aside and unlocking the cabinet and taking the weapons from inside it. You carry them back over to where Mando still sits on your bed, placing them beside him. He looks from the weapons to you with a quick glance, as if he’s in disbelief. “I need help training with these. I’ve been trying to do it on my own, but… I trust your guidance. And I need to be ready to protect myself.”
Mando hesitates for a moment, but then he nods, looking back to the weapons. “I’ll teach you.”
You smile at that. “Thank you so much, Mando—really. For all of this.”
Mando just looks back at you, staring at you in a way that makes your knees slightly weak, regardless of the fact he has a helmet shielding his eyes from you. “You’re the only person I’ve met who’s truly treated me like a human being ever since I swore the Creed. For that, I’m forever indebted to you.”
You give him a look of sympathy, nodding at him with a wrinkled brow. “I just give you what you deserve, Mando.”
Mando’s helmet falls at your words, and for a moment you’re concerned that you said something wrong—until he speaks up in a voice so low and strained you nearly miss it. “You may call me Din.”
Your heart leaps into your throat as your mouth falls open. “Din?” you echo in a soft voice, awaiting confirmation.
Din nods, looking back up to meet your gaze again. “Din Djarin. That’s my name.”
“Din Djarin.” You like the way the name rolls off your tongue, and judging by the way you watch Din heave a breath, you assume he does, too. “What a wonderful name.”
Din looks down again, most likely because of his embarrassment. “Thank you.” You nod, picking the weapons back up and setting them on your bedside table. As you do so, Din continues with his words. “It’s still late. You should get more rest.”
“As should you,” you retort, your tone gentle as you look at him over your shoulder.
Din tilts his helmet at you. For some reason, this becomes the moment where you’re suddenly aware of the fact you’ve been wearing your small nightgown all along, the silky fabric riding up higher on your thighs than anything else you own. Your cheeks burn hot as you turn back to your bedside table. Din’s words manage to break through your thoughts. “Will you be all right on your own?”
You nod, turning back around to face him. “I’ll be okay. But, thank you, Din. Really. For everything.”
Din stands from his place on your bed, taking a step towards you as he nods. “I’ll do whatever you need, cyar’ika.”
Your stomach fills with butterflies at the new nickname, although you have no idea what it means. You give him a grateful smile, watching as he turns and begins to walk back out of your room. With your blasters and knife close by your side, you’re able to go back to sleep rather easily, especially with the knowledge that the Mandalorian—now known to you as Din—will protect you, no matter what.
When you wake the next morning, you start to run your usual routine of getting breakfast for Din, just to find him sitting against the wall outside your door, his helmet slumped forward as if he’s asleep. You bite back a smile as you realize he’d stayed outside your door all along. You wake him up gently and urge him to head to his room while you get his breakfast, bringing it up to him shortly thereafter. The rest of your day is spent training.
In fact, the next two weeks are all spent training.
In lieu of your time spent wandering the gardens and practicing alone in your room, you and Din head to some of the vast fields beyond the gardens, giving yourself plenty of space to train with him. He helps you whip into shape without pushing you too hard, also taking the time to teach you every individual skill: hand-to-hand combat, the best ways to use your knife, and how to shoot and handle your blaster. You’re feeling the physical exertions more and more each day, but over time, they fade as you create muscle memory. You can tell Din’s growing proud of your progress, especially in the moments of sparring when you manage to outsmart him.
But that hasn’t even been the best part of these weeks. What you continue to linger on is the way the tension between the both of you is growing, your dynamic changing the more you spend time together.
You hold each other’s gazes even through his visor for longer than you used to. You catch Din looking your way often, even in moments where he doesn’t have to. You find yourself doing the same thing to him. You’ve even started to invite him into your room rather than leaving him to stand outside of it, having many late-night conversations spent musing about life and the galaxy you’re left to survive in. More and more, you find yourself creating a deeper connection to your bodyguard, perhaps even falling for him as you spend more time with him.
And you can sense the same thing happening to him with you.
It’s a night spent laying out in the gardens that convinces you of this. Din wasn’t so sure at first about doing that—he was afraid that being outside left you too exposed at night—but you assured him that you were well-trained, now, and he was there. This convinced him, and now, you find yourself laying by his side in the grass as you stare up at the stars shining above Coruscant so brightly.
You’ve been musing to yourself, but you decide to finally voice some of your thoughts, yearning to share them with the man you’ve already started tying yourself to. “Din?”
“Yes, cyar’ika?” Din uses his usual nickname for you. You’ve become accustomed to it, still not brave enough to ask him what it means, but delighting at the sound of it.
You’re silent for a moment, trying to piece your thoughts together as you do the same with the stars in your mind. “Do you ever find yourself wishing you could… I don’t know, do more for the people you’ve lost?”
“In what way?”
“I mean…” you trail off with a sigh, sitting up for a moment as you watch Din do the same beside you, “often, I wish there was something I could do for my mother, because she did so much to put me on the right path. I just—I feel like there’s something more I could do for her.”
Din tilts his helmet at you, the moonlight reflecting wondrously off the beskar as he does so. “I understand.” For a moment, his visor looks up to the stars. “I’ve been trying to find a way to give back to my parents ever since the moment I lost them. I thought that… somehow, with the Mandalorians, I’d find that sense of purpose. I didn’t.” He then turns back to you. “But, I have a feeling that now…” he pauses, and you watch with your breath held as a gloved hand reaches out to gently brush a small piece of hair from out of your face, “... I’ve found my purpose in protecting you.”
You beam at that, having to look down for a moment because of the overwhelming intimacy of the moment. When his hand returns back to the ground, you dare to cover it with one of your own, looking back up to Din to see him looking at the sight with what you guess is satisfied disbelief. “I’m very grateful the galaxy brought us together in this way.” Din nods to agree as he looks back up at you. “Yet, I still feel a call to something out there, too.” You look up to the sky again, narrowing your eyes as you follow a pattern—and swearing that you can see an Alliance Starbird there. “I feel that I need to hurt the Empire somehow, at least once, to help the cause my mother died for.”
Din tilts his helmet at you, his grip on your hand tightening as he watches you think. Then, it hits you, and you widen your eyes as you look at him.
“That’s it.” Din’s helmet straightens out with interest as you look to him. “There’s an event that the Senate’s holding by the river later this week, celebrating the announcement of some brand-new weapon. My father warned me about it before he suddenly left.”
“What do you want to do with that?” You can tell Din is wary with your underdeveloped idea at the moment.
“I want to wreak havoc,” you confess, “to show them that not everyone involved in their dangerous web wants to comply with their twisted ways. I want to use some charges and hit them where it hurts: right in their political ring.”
Din nods at you, yet there’s a tension in his shoulders that makes it clear he’s worrying for you. “You do realize that if you do this, cyar’ika, you’ll have to run.”
You nod back at him. “I understand.”
Din lets out a sigh, looking back up to the night sky before he speaks again. “I have a ship. It’s a Razor Crest. It’s at the hangar across the river.” He looks back to you. “I’d like to be the one who takes you away from here.”
You smile warmly at him. “I wanted you to be the one.”
Din gives your hand a gentle squeeze. “Perfect.”
With that, you both ease yourselves down against the ground again—but this time, in the sheer comfort of the moment and the peace you feel within you at your upcoming freedom with Din, you drift off to sleep in the grass. You don’t remember much, though you do stir for a few moments that night when you feel like you’re floating. You’re conscious enough to realize you’re being carried, an arm underneath your knees and supporting your back as your face is nestled in the cloth of their neck. The scent there is familiar and comforting, making you sigh with delight as you suddenly hear a soft voice.
“Shhh, cyar’ika,” it’s Din telling you, “go back to sleep.”
You comply, and the next thing you remember is waking up the next morning—your heart fuller than ever as your memories from the night before return.
You and Din spend the next few days leading up to the event doing some additional training and planning, figuring out what you’re going to pull and how you’re going to make your escape. You’ve decided upon using a few of the charges Din has with him, planting them subtly around the area until you’re safely near an exit by the river. Once they blow, you’ll flee out the exit, taking one of the boats at the dock across the river until you get to the Razor Crest.
It’s absolutely perfect—except for the fact you have to wear a dress the entire time.
You grunt as you slip into the piece that fits nicely to your body that day, still leaving enough room for you to strap on your thigh holster underneath it. You’ve made yourself up enough to make it believable that you’re attending this event for the same reason everyone else is. You prefer your clothes made for fighting, but you deal with what you have to for right now, knowing you can wear what you want whenever you want after the events of tonight.
Once you’re all set, you hear a gentle knock outside your door. You call for them to come in, turning quickly from your mirror to see Din walking in. “Cyar’ika, are you ready to…” Din trails off, freezing in place as he looks at you. You feel your cheeks grow warm as you look down at the floor in a bashful manner, only looking back up once you hear Din starting to walk again. “Wow.” He only stops once he’s in front of you, his visor trailing over you as he takes another look. “You look…”
“Ridiculous?” you joke with a playful scoff.
Din gives his helmet a shake. “Mesh’la.” With the word, he brushes a piece of your hair behind your ear. “Beautiful.”
You beam as you look down again. “Thank you,” you murmur, looking back up at him with a small smile. “You look very good yourself.”
Din chuckles, the sound crackling through his modulator. “I always look like this, cyar’ika.”
“I never said I didn’t like it before.”
Now it’s Din’s turn to be bashful, his helmet looking to the side as you smile wider at him. He turns back to you with a tilt to his helmet. “We’ll have plenty of time for complimenting each other later. For now, we should go.”
You nod to agree, taking one last look around the prison you’ve called a home before you let Din lead the way out. You tell your father’s staff that Din’s simply escorting you to this event, not letting them be suspicious as to why you’re leaving the house. They’re the only reasons why you didn’t leave earlier. You didn’t need your father’s staff telling him of your whereabouts.
You take the public transports to the river, getting off at the station closest to the building on the banks where the event’s taking place. You can feel your nerves beginning to grow as you close the distance towards the building, your hands fidgeting on your middle as you walk. Din looks over and notices, offering his arm for you to take—and you gladly accept. “Are you doing all right, cyar’ika?” he questions you.
You nod, tightening your grip around his arm as he leads you closer. “I’m okay. I just… can’t believe I’m finally going to do this.”
“We’re going to do this.” You look over at Din upon his correction, seeing his helmet tilt down at you. “You’re not doing this alone. You won’t have to.”
You smile at that, wishing you could do so much more to show your appreciation for his words yet restraining yourself as you make it to the door. You supply your identification, successfully making it in as you stay close to Din’s side. You look up at him as he observes the scene, the grand room full of people and noises that make it hard for you to even hear yourself breathe. “Where should we put the charges?” you question lowly, watching as he continues to scan the room.
“We have to be subtle,” Din insists, his modulated voice quiet enough for only you to hear as you walk with him further into the room. “I have three charges. We can put one under that table—,” he gestures with his helmet towards a long table full of refreshments along the east wall, “—one on that sculpture—,” he gently points towards a marble sculpture on the west wall, “—and one right here.” Din finishes as you walk by the display in the center of the room, a model of whatever weapon they’re showing off tonight. It’s a sphere, a small circle within it sunken in as if it’s holding something there. Your stomach turns at the sight of it. “We just have to be very careful about activating them.”
“When should we do it?” Instinctively, you tighten your grip on his arm. Din doesn’t seem to mind.
“Why wait?” The words are almost playful as they fall from Din’s modulator and you find yourself smiling up at him as he looks down at you. “We’ll start at the west wall.”
You make your way over to the sculpture, pretending to observe it as Din lets you place and click and charge somewhere along the side of it. You quickly—without making your rush so obvious—cross the room, heading to the east wall as you walk along the table of refreshments. You place and click the charge underneath there, almost immediately turning and heading towards the center of the room. It’s the focus of many’s eyes, so you have to get close and pretend you’re looking at every detail fondly, allowing your hand to slyly place and click the charge underneath the circular base of the model.
Din becomes the one to tug on your arm as he leads you to the exit you’ll rush out of, close to the dock where two boats await—one of them for you. You exchange a nervous look with Din, who in return laces your fingers with his and gives your hand a squeeze.
“It’s all right, cyar’ika,” he assures you in a low voice. “I’ll tell you when it’s time to—.”
You cut him off when you find yourself making direct eye contact with someone across the room: your father. He knows you’re here, and you know he’ll figure out that you’re the one behind the chaos that’s just about to happen. “Go. It’s time to go.”
You start to tug on Din’s hand but he looks at you with a confused tilt to his helmet. Immediately, he knows something’s off. “What is it?”
You look up at him with fear. “My father. He’s here—and he’s seen us.”
Din curses under his breath, trying to take you with him as subtly as he can out of the exit behind you. His hand remains in yours as you begin to hurry off towards one of the boats, its body large yet its length rather small as Din helps you inside one. As he does so, you suddenly hear the large sounds of explosions from within the building as the charges go off. You and Din face each other with panic.
“We have to go,” you breathe, making your way over to the motor and letting it run. There’s only a stick there for you to steer with, and you assure Din you can do it as you start to take off. Your heart’s about to fly through your chest, but the more the hangar with the sight of the Razor Crest comes into sight, the more relaxed you feel.
Until you hear blaster fire coming from behind you.
You duck as you dare to turn your head, seeing a boat with a few stormtroopers pursuing you. You curse to yourself as you try to get the motor going faster, watching as Din kneels down and takes out his blaster. He shoots at them, but with the unpredictable steering of their boat, it’s almost impossible for him to hit a target.
And he has no idea what he’s kneeling on. You don’t even know until it’s too late.
The grate he’s on suddenly slides to the side and gives way beneath him, causing him to fall into the confined space that’s left there. You gasp in shock, especially as you watch it close back up. You turn your head to see one of the stormtroopers touching something on his wrist—leading you to believe that they had control of the boat and, thus, the grate.
“Din!” you exclaim as you leave your place, hurrying over to where he’d fallen and kneeling down by the grate. He looks up at you through the bars, his hands gripping at some as yours reach for others. You try to pull it up or aside, but it’s stuck in place, unable to give way no matter how much Din pushes and you pull. “We’ll get you a way out,” you assure him, even if you have no idea how you’ll do that.
The boat suddenly rocks hard as something makes an impact along the side of it. You and Din realize with horror that they’ve hit the place where Din’s trapped, beginning to fill it with water.
They’re going to drown him.
“Cyar’ika, listen to me carefully,” Din says with calmness yet urgency. “You need to get to the hangar, get on the Razor Crest, and engage ground security protocol. Once you do that, you need to try your best to take off and get away from here.”
“But, Din—,” you try to say, refusing to go anywhere without him.
“You must,” Din insists, his grip tightening around the grate as you watch the water fill up to his waist. Your vision begins to blur before you at the mere idea of having to lose Din now, on your behalf, before you could even be truly free at his side. “Hurry!”
“I can’t leave you here to die!” you cry out, tugging uselessly again at the grate.
“It’s all right,” Din tries to assure you, his gloved hands moving to cover the places where yours are on the grate’s bars. “You’ll see me again, cyar’ika. But, for now, you must leave me. I told you my purpose was to protect you—so, please, let me do that.”
Your heart has already fallen into your stomach, and you finally give in to his words with trembling hands and blurry eyes as you stand up from where you’ve been kneeling. You turn to head back to your place at the motor, but you realize with horror that the stormtroopers have already caught up, and they’re beginning to jump to your boat. Your anger rises as you suddenly snap, remembering everything you’ve been taught by Din as you reach for your blaster with one hand and your knife with the other.
Instantly, you launch into attack, taking one shot with your blaster at a trooper and causing him to go down as you swipe your knife at another. It scrapes against his arm and leaves him howling in pain, allowing you the distraction to blast him down as well. There’s two more left, but they’re still on the other boat, and you find yourself leaping across the distance as you land in theirs. They try to shoot at you, but they can’t hit you, since you’ve already lunged at them. You let your knife come down into the throat of one of them, holding them up against your body as a shield from the other afterwards. Once you’ve got a clear shot at them, you take it, letting it blast a few times before you realize you’ve gotten them. Then, you take your knife out of the other, letting his form crumple to the bottom of the boat as well.
You can’t even take the time to think about your victorious battle. All you can think about is the fact that Din’s likely drowning already in your boat—something you absolutely refuse to allow. You search the dead stormtroopers’ wrists until you find the one that had controlled the grate, leaping back across the distance to realize it’s one of the ones who made it to your boat. You take his limp wrist and press a few buttons on it, waiting until you see the grate Din’s in—now completely flooded with water—open back up. You take a deep breath as you rush over, preparing to use all your strength as you reach down to his limp form that’s floating around in the puddle of water. Hooking your arms underneath his, you start to pull him up, letting out an exclamation from your effort as you struggle to get him up. It takes a minute before you get him back on the deck, regretful to leave him laying there but having to do so as you navigate the boat to the hangar.
You get there as quickly as you can, refusing to wait another moment as you head back to Din’s limp form and start dragging him towards the Razor Crest. You say silent prayers to the Maker for his safety as you take him there, relieved to see the ship coming into sight as you pant with heavy breaths of struggle. Pressing a few buttons on Din’s waterlogged vambrace, you wait until the ramp of the hatch comes down, taking all your remaining strength to drag him up it. As soon as you get him in the hull, you close the hatch, hurrying to the controls where you assume the ground security protocol will be. Din had tried to describe where it was before, in the event that you’d be the one doing so if he had to take off quickly, and you recall his description as you look for it. You find it in the cockpit, turning it on and immediately heading back down to Din.
He still hasn’t moved. He looks dead to you—but you refuse to believe that.
“Stay with me, Din,” you plead in a soft yet desperate voice, your fingers making their way under the cloth of his neck as you feel for a pulse.
It’s weak. Too weak.
“No, no,” you worry to yourself, trying to think of a way to save him. “Stay with me!”
A horrible realization dawns on you: without taking off his helmet, you cannot save him. And you know you cannot break his Creed.
“Din,” you whimper to yourself, hands resting on his cold cuirass as his image begins to blur before you. “What am I supposed to do? I can’t let you—I can’t…”
That’s when another realization hits you. Without giving it a second thought, you consider your best option, tearing off a piece of his cape as you wring out the strip of fabric and tie it over your eyes. With shaking hands, you reach for the sides of his helmet, hearing it hiss as you take it off and set it aside. You let his head tilt to the side to drain of any water you can before you lay him back down completely, trying to listen for his breathing. There’s nothing.
“Stay with me,” you plead again, beginning to do mouth-to-mouth as you try all you can to bring him back. “Please!”
You listen for his breath and still hear none, cursing under your breath before you repeat what you’ve done.
“You can’t go, Din—not when we’re this close.” Your lip begins to wobble as it settles in, and when you listen for his breath, it still doesn’t come. “I need you.”
You breathe into him again, waiting and prayer to the Maker that you get some kind of a response.
And then, you hear him—a breath and a gurgling choke, and you lay him on his side so he can properly rid of the water in his lungs. You run a trembling hand over his back to ease it out, and you realize he’s taken your other hand tight in one of his. “You’re all right,” you try to assure him in a shaky voice, giving his hand a gentle squeeze. “I’m here.”
Din coughs a few more times, letting out a groan at the feeling of his burning lungs as he lays back down. You hear him struggling to make words as his grip on your hand tightens. “Cyar’ika,” he rasps, his voice broken from the abuse to his lungs and throat. “You… saved me.”
You can’t help laughing a bit in your relief, giving his hand a squeeze as you hold it with both of yours. “Only after you were able to free me.”
There’s a short silence, and for a moment you’re almost afraid that Din’s fallen under again until you feel the touch of his free hand over the fabric on your eyes. “Is that… a blindfold?”
You nod, smiling a bit as you look down at him. “I didn’t want to break your Creed.”
You’re met with more silence. Yet, you can sense that Din wants to say something—you’ve just gotten him at a loss. Then, you feel his hand take one of yours securely in his grasp, guiding it to his cheek. You nearly gasp at the contact, your trembling fingers brushing over his skin as you try to picture it in your mind. “You’re quite possibly the most—,” Din pauses to cough a few more times, “—amazing person I’ve ever known, cyar’ika.”
You beam, running your thumb over his cheek as you smile at him. “I just… I care a lot for you, Din.”
You can feel Din’s smile thanks to your hand on his cheek, which only causes your own smile to grow larger. “I care for you, too. Very much.” He then pauses, his voice softer when he speaks again. “Can you come closer, cyar’ika?”
You nod, bending yourself down towards him until he stops you with his free hand. It touches your shoulder—but you’re not thinking about that. What you’re thinking about is the fact that you can feel Din’s breath on your face, your heart racing as he keeps you close.
“I don’t know what we’ll do from here,” Din confesses in a low murmur, the sound of his natural voice up this close causing a pleasant shiver to run through you. “But I do know that I will not leave your side, cyar’ika, if that’s what you want.”
“That’s what I want,” you assure him in a voice just above a whisper. “I swear to you.”
With a voice that’s nearly teasing, you hear Din speak again, the words floating against the flesh of your lips. “Prove it to me.”
Knowing exactly what he means, you take the initiative, slowly and tenderly letting yourself get closer to him until you feel his soft lips against your own. Your free hand finds its way to his other cheek as you hold him steady, your heart practically bursting at the feeling as you lose yourself in everything you hadn’t even known you truly wanted with him. His hands run over your back as he keeps you close, his lips moving in perfect sync with your own as you revel in the bliss of this moment, this freedom, this care.
You only pull away when Din does, still recovering from the lack of air he’d had before as he breathes heavily against your skin. You smile as you aim to leave a chaste kiss on his cheek, running your thumb over it soon after.
“Does that prove it?” you ask with a giggle.
“Sure,” Din agrees, amusement also laced in his tone. “But I think one more would truly convince me.”
With a smile, you comply with his words, knowing that you’re making the second seal of a promise that you’ll stay by each other’s sides for the rest of your time in this galaxy—having finally found your true purposes in each other.
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love to hate you | jjk [prologue]
“when obnoxiously rich and spoiled frat boy jeon jungkook comes up to you one day and asks you to fake date him for money, you definitely should have said no. because before you knew it, you were going on insta dates with him and having lunch with his equally obnoxiously rich and spoiled friends.”
genre: fratboy! AU, fake dating! AU, college! AU, enemies to lovers! AU, rich kid! AU, angst, fluff, sexual themes (later chapters)
pairing: jungkook x female reader
word count: 8.943
warnings: cursing, alcohol consumption, drunk jimin, reader really hates tae and kook and is kinda rude to them :(
a/n: even though it is just the prologue, i highly recommend reading it because this isnt really a standalone part! a lot of important things will be set up in this part, but the actual deal will happen in the next chapter! hope you guys enjoy it anyway!! and to be added to the taglist, shoot me a message/ask! if you want to be removed from it, shoot me a message/ask again. also this is inspired by To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han!
“I don’t get it.”
Jimin was mid-sip when you had spoken up. His fingers were tightly wrapped around his cup of coffee and he peered at you over the brim of it, noticing the deep knit between your brows. With a simple raise of his brow he asked you to continue.
“How are you friends with so incredibly amazing, smart, humble and hardworking people like Chae, Seok, Ji and—not to be arrogant—but also me?” You inched forward. “But also friends with people like them?”
He knew who you were talking about right away. Jimin and you had discussed this topic countless times now, but so far you had never reached a conclusion, not a satisfying one at least. Whenever he brought it up, it was his attempt to get you to like them and whenever you brought it up, it was your attempt to get him to realise just how much they sucked, understand why you hated them as much as you did.
“They’re not that bad,” Jimin said and sighed the way he always did whenever you started criticising his friends, well, other friends. “You’re just judgemental.”
“You only think that because you’re delusional,” you said and reached for your cup of tea, lifting it to your lips before taking a long sip.
“You realise that they’re probably some of the most popular guys on campus, right? What are you saying? Everybody is delusional?” Jimin asked and you put down your cup, shrugging.
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying,” you concluded and you didn’t give Jimin a chance to scoff at your words, not quite finished, “Also, do you realise that they’re actually just obnoxiously rich and spoiled frat boys?”
“Not all of them,” Jimin said with a long sigh and lifted his finger at you, but you just levelled him with an unimpressed gaze.
“Name one person in that frat that isn’t an obnoxiously rich and spoiled frat boy,” you challenged and nothing was more satisfying and made you smile more than watching Jimin open and close his mouth several times, no words leaving him.
Jimin gritted his teeth and his jaw locked up in frustration, obviously realising he was losing this discussion this time.
“That’s not fair,” he whined, slight irritation swinging in his voice as his face crumbled more and more. “Beta Tau Sigma is a huge frat. Of course, there are some bad apples and some not so nice-”
“You know it’s ‘One bad apple spoils the whole bunch’, don’t you?” you asked and it had Jimin pausing.
You let him sit in silence, wallow in his defeat for a few seconds. You watched him with a grin before deciding to speak up again,
“I’m just saying that-”
“If that isn’t Park Jimin!”
Both Jimin and you jerked your heads around at the sudden call, the voice painfully loud. Almost instantly, your face soured like you had bitten into a bad apple when you realised who it was, realised who had interrupted you mid-sentence.
He walked up to you two, not sparing anyone a glance as he manoeuvred through the sea of tables and people.
“Oh, Tae!” Jimin laughed, equally as loud, seemingly forgetting about the conversation you were having, and you lowered your head, nose scrunching up in distaste. This was another reason why you hated them. They were always disrespectfully loud, and so was Jimin when he was around one of them.
“Hey, dude,” Kim Taehyung greeted him when he reached your table, and you rolled your eyes when you watched them pull each other into one of those bro hugs .
“What are you doing here?” Jimin asked and even though neither he nor you invited him to sit with you, Kim Taehyung pulled up a chair from another table and plopped down on it. Another reason to hate them, no manners. On top of that, he didn’t greet you. Neither did you, but in your mind, he was more wrong.
“Just grabbing a coffee before class,” Kim Taehyung said and pointed behind him. And you weren’t sure if he wanted to show where he had just come from or if he wanted to draw attention to his seemingly new and sparkly watch that definitely cost a ridiculous amount. If you had to guess, you would say it was the latter one. After all, it was Kim Taehyung.
“How about you?”
A few people turned their heads your way again and you couldn’t blame them. Neither Kim Taehyung nor Jimin seemed to have noticed that people were staring at them, both of them speaking so loud people on the streets outside could probably hear them.
“I?” And it was then that Jimin seemed to remember that you were here with him, eyes finding yours. “Just hanging out with Y/N.”
Kim Taehyung turned to you, only noticing you now, and it was truly impressive just how quickly his infamous smile found its way onto his lips. And as much as you hated and loathed to admit it, it made your heart skip a few beats, your body betraying your mind.
“Oh, hi,” Kim Taehyung said and your hands tightened into fists. “I didn’t see you there, love.”
The pet name had your skin crawling, had a shiver run down your spine in the worst ways possible, but nevertheless, your breath hitched in your throat.
Fuck Kim Taehyung and his flirty nature.
“Y/N, right? That’s what you said?” Kim Taehyung asked and turned to Jimin at the last part like you weren’t sitting in front of him and could hear him. Jimin nodded.
“A pretty name,” Kim Taehyung smiled, attention back on you, and you gripped the edge of your chair, fingers curling around the armrests.
“Thank you,” you pressed through gritted teeth, the manners your parents had taught you making it impossible for you to be blatantly rude to him.
“So, Y/N, tell me, love.” Kim Taehyung continued using the pet name even though he knew your name now and you wondered just how many girls he had called ‘love’ before and how many of them had gotten reduced to giggly messes afterwards because of it.
When your eyes flickered to Jimin, he was avoiding your gaze, leaving you to deal with Kim Taehyung on your own. It wasn’t that you were incapable of dealing with someone like him, but you wouldn’t have minded help. Jimin was clearly punishing you for the things you had said a few minutes ago.
“How come I’ve never seen you before?”
You brows scrunched up together at the question and it took you everything to not scoff, irritation only peeking through in your voice.
“I don’t know, dude,” you said as apathetic as possible, and Kim Taehyung blinked at you when you called him ‘dude’, obviously hearing the mockery. “Probably because I spend most of my time at the library.” You paused for a second before leaning forward and placing your hand on the table, deciding to ignore your parents’ many lessons on manners for once. “You know what that is, right? A library, I mean.”
It took Kim Taehyung a second to register your words, but when they clicked in his mind,—to your dismay—he let out a laugh. He was amused, not offended.
“Oh, no, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that place before, love,” he said with a grin and you hated the fact that he was playing along, enjoying it. “A- what did you say? Liberry? Libarum? What was it again?”
Somehow you managed to flash Kim Taehyung a smile, albeit a very strained smile. “Library. I said library. It’s a really cool place. You should check it out once. Swing by maybe. Would definitely benefit you a lot.”
“Really?” Kim Taehyung hummed with amazement in his voice, and you wanted to glare at Jimin when you heard him snort into his coffee, obviously enjoying seeing you suffer and your attempt of insulting Kim Taehyung backfire so much. “You wanna check it out with me then? I think I’d be pretty lost on my own there. I mean- what was it again? Liberty? No, wait, library, right?”
“Oh, yeah, you probably would be lost there, wouldn’t you?” you said with an empty laugh and leaned forward. “Probably wouldn’t find your way around, huh?”
Kim Taehyung smirked at you and your blood started boiling in your veins, started to evaporate. Because, God, this was not the reaction you wanted, and it was pissing you off, pissing you off so incredibly much. Maybe that was why you said what you said, the manners your parents had taught you long forgotten,
“But actually, I think I might take back my words. Maybe you shouldn’t go. I’m not sure if it’s really a place for you. After all, it’s filled with people that are, you know, actually hardworking and not only care about but also have a future.”
When Jimin sucked in his breath and froze mid-sip, you knew you had gone too far, knew that your parents were right and that you should never be rude to people, even if those people were Kim Taehyung, one of the most despicable and disgusting people on campus, one of many bad apples.
A pang of guilt hit you square in the face when you saw Kim Taehyung fight to keep his smile in place, his corners struggling to keep turned upwards. Instantly, you felt your tongue knot into a mess you were certain was going to take a couple of minutes to unfurl.
“Black coffee for Taehyung!”
The voice of the barista rang through the cafe similarly how Kim Taehyung’s had when he had spotted Jimin. And then, there was a pause, a moment of hesitance, the weight of your words still lingering in the air before Kim Taehyung straightened up.
“Guess that’s for me,” he said with a short exhale and shuffled back with his chair. And before he got up and bid Jimin goodbye, he added, “Be right back.”
Your eyes grew bigger when he turned to you, gaze locking with yours and you didn’t know what to say or how to react because he was smiling at you again, looking at you and smiling at you with that glint in his eyes.
At the end, you didn’t have to say or react at all because he got up a second later and walked over to the counter. The moment he was out of earshot, Jimin started speaking,
While you knew he was right, simply stating the truth, and even though you weren’t actually the one that had just gotten insulted but Kim Taehyung, you felt like he was rubbing salt into your wound.
And with your arms crossed in front of your chest, you struggled to say what you should say, struggled to admit it. It took you an eternity to put your ego and pride aside, and your teeth sank into your tongue in that time, but at the end, you said what you should say, admitted it,
Jimin (being that cocky and gloating bitch he could be) took a long and loud sip from his coffee, eyes set on you as he did it. You gritted your teeth.
“I fucking know,” you groaned and fixed him with a glare. “Stop it now.”
“Told you that you’re judgemental,” Jimin just hummed and smacked his lips, letting out a satisfied sigh before putting down his cup and smiling right into your face. “Fucking told you so.”
You lowered your gaze and thought to yourself, knowing very well that you were in the wrong here. You could admit it to Jimin (albeit reluctantly), but you weren’t sure if you could do the same to Kim Taehyung, admit fault to him as well, and not to mention apologise.
But you knew you had to.
That was simply a fact, a fact you hated, but couldn’t contest because you had fucked up. You had to own up to it, own up to your mistake, own up to it as much as it hurt and bruised your ego and pride to do so because you were an adult, a mature adult that could admit her own mistakes and apologise for them if necessary.
“Why is he coming back?” you pressed through gritted teeth and glanced at Kim Taehyung, who was strutting towards you with a big cup of coffee in his hand. “Why didn’t he just call me a bitch and walk away?”
“Because,” Jimin snorted and crossed his arms in front of his chest. “That’d be too easy. It’d be letting you off the hook.” He thought for a second. “He’s enjoying this.”
“God, he’s such a dick,” you mumbled underneath your breath and you didn’t miss the way Jimin raised his brows at you, the corners of his lips pulling up even more.
“I seem to recall that it was you telling Tae that he was not only not hardworking but also not only didn’t care about his future but also didn’t have one,” Jimin hummed and puckered his forehead. “Who is the dick here?”
You couldn’t respond (not that you wanted to) because Kim Taehyung sat down again, his cup of coffee clicking into the table when he carefully put it down, right on top of your notes. You almost complained.
Your knuckles turned white as you gripped around the armrests, knee jerking up and down like a yoyo, the silence edging you on. With your teeth, you bit on your tongue like maybe doing that would unfurl it, would loosen the knot, would make the words spill out, the two words you were owing Kim Taehyung now, the apology he was waiting for.
“Are you coming today, love?” Kim Taehyung interrupted before you could cough out something that was meant to be your apology. You lifted your gaze, taken aback and surprised because did he just give you a way out? A way out of admitting your fault and apologising to him?
“I mean the party,” he elaborated and put his elbow on the table, chin falling into his open palm before he lifted his cup of coffee to his lips, blowing at it to not burn himself.
You looked at Jimin, still not quite catching up with what Kim Taehyung was saying. He seemed surprised at the fact that he had let you off the hook as well, but then, he snapped out of it. The corners of his lips curling up into a soft smile.
“Beta Tau Sigma is throwing a party today,” Jimin said and you felt stupid for not connecting the dots earlier, mind still processing the fact that Kim Taehyung had really just stopped you from embarrassing yourself, from coughing out a pathetic apology.
Kim Taehyung let out a satisfied hum, eyes screwing shut for a moment when the coffee hit his tongue before he put down his cup. Slowly, his eyelids peeled open and right away, his gaze was on you.
“So?” he asked with a smile and again, your heart skipped a few beats. “Are you coming today, or not?”
And then, it dawned on you, dawned on you slowly but surely, dawned on you when you saw that glint and sparkle in his eyes. You had to bite on your lip to stop the breathy chuckle from escaping you.
Kim Taehyung was truly impressive.
He hadn’t let you off the hook out of the kindness of his heart, but because now that he had let you off the hook, you had to say yes to his question, say yes to going to the party. Because now, you owed him that.
But unfortunately for him, you didn’t care that you owed him.
“No, thank you,” you said with the smallest and most strained smile, sticking to the manners your parents had taught you again.
“‘No, thank you.’?” Kim Taehyung raised a brow at you, obviously not expecting that answer from you, and you nodded, confirming your words.
“Yes,” you said and your lips curled up a little more. “I appreciate the offer, but no, thank you.”
“Why not?” Kim Taehyung asked, intrigued and amused instead of offended like you thought he might be. “Are there not enough hardworking people at the party for you that not only care but also have a future, or is it something else?”
“I hate parties,” you explained with a sigh.
“So, what? You just don’t go to parties?”
“Is there anything you hate?” you asked. “Would you-”
“Well,” he started and puckered his forehead, taking a second to consider your question. “The usual stuff I’d say. You know, like, hardworking people and having and caring for one’s future. Stuff like that. But who doesn’t hate stuff like that, right?”
Jimin snorted and this time, you couldn’t blame him for it. You would have to if the roles had been reversed.
With something akin to a smile, you stared at Kim Taehyung, admittedly impressed before tilting your head to the side and continuing,
“Yeah, well, would you hang around hardworking people then? Or maybe start to care or have a future?”
“No, I wouldn’t,” he said with a chuckle and you gestured at him like you were saying ‘exactly!’.
“But I asked you to go. Will you still not go then?”
Kim Taehyung practically batted his eyelashes at you when he asked the question, and you didn’t try to keep the frown away, but it did nothing to wipe away his smile. A fact that was infuriating to say the least.
“No, not even if you asked me to.”
“You’re really not easily convinced, huh?” Kim Taehyung said with a grin and leaned back into his chair, arms folding lazily over his stomach. You simply shrugged
“Okay, Tae, gonna stop you there,” Jimin finally interjected and placed his hand on Kim Taehyung’s shoulder. “There’s nothing you can say or do to get Y/N to attend a party. I’ve tried countless times, annoyed her for hours, gave her food, offered her even money, but she has never caved.”
Kim Taehyung frowned and turned to talk to Jimin even though you were seated right here. “So, what? She has never attended a party then? If so, then she definitely-”
“Oh, no, she has. Attended two with me.” At that, Kim Taehyung perked up, but Jimin was quick to shut that down. “But forget it. She’d never go again, not for you or for that matter, not again for me.”
Jimin shook his head at you like he was offended and hurt and you shrugged at him as you took a sip from your tea, scrunching up your face in distaste when you realised it was cold now.
“Not even for bathroom dude.”
You choked and your violent coughing cut into the air, but Kim Taehyung barely looked your way, far more interested in ‘bathroom dude’, thanks to your reaction.
“Who?” he asked and sat up straight, making Jimin grin at him.
“Just this dude Y/N talked to in the bathroom at the first party we attended together. Sole reason why I could convince her to go to the second-”
“Jimin!” you grunted when you finally caught your breath, an exasperated groan escaping you because why would he tell this to Kim Taehyung? “Stop! You promised you’d never mentioned him again. It’s embarrassing!”
Jimin rolled his eyes at you and you were about to scold him for it when he waved you off with his hand. “Yeah, right, sorry.”
With a roll of your eyes, you looked away and it was then that your gaze caught the coffee mug shaped clock hanging on the wall across from you. The spoon shaped hands showed you the time and when you realised how late it was, your eyes grew big.
“Oh, fuck,” you cursed and quickly packed up all of your stuff, almost spilling Kim Taehyung’s cup of coffee all over your notes when you yanked them from underneath it. “Gotta go or Chae’s gonna rip my head off.”
“Uh, what? Where are you going?” Jimin asked, watching you frantically fiddle with the zipper of your bag that was jammed up right now, courtesy of your haphazardly thrown in notes.
If you hadn’t been so panicked right now, you would have sent Kim Taehyung a look and told him that hey! That’s the place I was just talking about.
“Study session,” you continued and grunted when you finally managed to unjam your zipper. “Philosophy test.”
Jimin cringed at your answer and sent you a sympathetic glance, one you could only sigh at.
“Yeah,” you pressed through gritted teeth and shook your head. “Kwon’s a bitch.”,
“God, I’m happy I didn’t take philosophy.” Jimin shuddered at the thought of him having to read Confucius or some other long dead guy and shook his head before looking at you again. “But I’m sure you’ll manage.”
You almost didn’t hear him, your chair scuffing against the old wooden floor when you stood up. With quick hands, you grabbed your cup of tea and downed it all. You slammed it down a little too hard and your cheeks grew hot when a couple of people turned your way.
“Easy tiger,” Jimin laughed and you were almost certain Kim Taehyung was going to make some comment, but he was quietly sipping his coffee and just eyeing you. And that was just worse than him telling you to calm down as well.
“Yeah, whatever,” you grumbled and grabbed your jacket from your chair before throwing your hand up to wave goodbye.
“See you, Y/N” Jimin said and gave you a smile you couldn’t reciprocate.
Kim Taehyung and you shared this terribly awkward albeit short moment of eye contact when silence settled between you three, and it took a second for one of you to break it.
“See you, love.”
You blinked at Kim Taehyung before you turned to Jimin, taking the time—even though you didn’t have it—to flash him a smile.
“Bye, Jimin,” you repeated and nodded at him. And as you headed out, dancing around all of the tables, you could just catch Kim Taehyung yell after you between the chatter and white noise of the cafe,
You smiled to yourself.
“I fucking give up,” you said and threw your pen down. Chaeyoung looked up from her notes and stopped highlighting to eye you, a small and sympathetic smile spreading on her lips.
“Nope, because I’m definitely gonna fail,” you laughed humorlessly with a shrug. “I don’t care anymore. Just- whatever. Who gives a fuck, right? Nobody cares anyway.”
You leaned back into your chair and stared at Chaeyoung, arms crossing in front of your chest in protest like Chaeyoung was to blame for this right now, like she had decided to write a test next week and not Kwon, your bitch professor.
“Okay, no, I do care,” you groaned, the thought of possibly flunking this test and maybe also failing philosophy making your stomach churn and the anxiety as well as fear kick in in you. “I fucking care. I have to get this- I have to!”
You paused and looked at your notes, looked at your notes that had been the reason for your throbbing head, and sighed.
“But I don’t get it!”
You buried your face in your hands, groaning into them like maybe that would be the solution to your problem, would make you understand all of these texts by these old dead men who seemed to only be able to express themselves in the most complicated and confusing sentences ever.
“Maybe you should take a break, Y/N.”
You looked up at Chaeyoung, mouth opening to disagree with her before you cut yourself short, realising that you had made little to no progress in the past two hours.
“Yeah, maybe I should,” you mumbled and covered your face with your hands again, the heels of your palms rubbing your eyes.
“I think you’re kinda-” Chaeyoung didn’t finish her sentence and you didn’t care to hear the rest, grabbing your bag already.
“You want something? Going down to the vending machine.” You rummaged through your bag to find your wallet.
“No, thanks. I’m good,” Chaeyoung said and you shrugged before standing up, wallet in your hand.
“Be right back,” you mumbled.
“Don’t get lost.”
You rolled your eyes and you didn’t miss her chuckle as you walked away, the sound ringing in your mind and making the corners of your lips curl up the tiniest bit.
And so, here you were, a flight of stairs and two hallways later, in front of the vending machine digging through your wallet in search of pocket change. Your face started to sour when you came to the slow and mortifying realisation that maybe you didn’t have any with you.
You jerked your head up at the sudden voice, almost dropping your wallet in the process. Your eyes were big when they met his, and if it had been possible, they would have grown even bigger when you realised who had just spoken to you.
He smiled at you and jerked his hand your way, the bills shining in the light when he offered it to you again. And it took you blinking at him and looking down to realise what was happening here right now.
“Uh,” you started and your brows pinched together. “It’s fine. You-”
“Just take it,” Jeon Jungkook said and you frowned at him, shaking your head from left to right. You weren’t about to take money from a stranger and definitely not from him.
Before you could thank him and tell him that it was fine, Jeon Jungkook sighed and reached forward, shoving enough bills into the vending machine to buy you enough snacks for a week worth of studying. You stared at him, jaw going slack when he turned to you, brows raising expectedly.
“What do you want?”
Your face morphed from shock to irritation in seconds.
“What the fuck, dude?” you said and shook your head. “You can’t just-”
“What do you want?” Jeon Jungkook asked again, not caring that you were more than displeased with his actions. You were almost surprised, surprised by his forwardness and boldness until you remembered it was Jeon Jungkook.
“Nothing,” you said bitterly and took a step back. “I don’t want anytihing anymore. Thank you.”
You turned on your heel, not waiting for a response. Your hollow steps echoed on the walls of the empty hallway and the squeaking of your shoes rang in your ears, but soon enough, another pair of squeaking shoes joined. It didn’t take long for the squeaking to stop.
Jeon Jungkook caught up with you in seconds.
He stood right in your way. Your lips pressed into a thin line as you stared at him and your brows pinched together when he opened his mouth just to close it a second later. He obviously struggled to find the words.
You were about to tell Jeon Jungkook to not get the wrong impression of you and that as nice as it was of him to offer you to buy you something, you did not appreciate him essentially forcing you to let him do so, but then he found his voice.
“You know who I am, right?”
You knew of Jeon Jungkook.
You didn’t know Jeon Jungkook though.
But you did know he was friends with Kim Taehyung and like him, another obnoxiously rich and spoiled frat boy, a bad apple.
The knit between your brows deepened even more and your entire face started to slowly sour because did he seriously just ask you if you knew who he was?
You waited a beat, almost expecting Jeon Jungkook to tell you it was all a joke and for him to take back his question, but when moments passed and he didn’t make a single effort to do so, you realised that he was serious.
Your mouth fell open a little and you quickly snapped out of the confusion. Irritation and frustration quickly started to pump through your veins because how could someone be this arrogant and smug?
And you made a mental note to yourself to tell Jimin about this, tell him that this was exactly what you meant, was why you said that they were all just obnoxiously rich and spoiled frat boys.
“Wait, you are Y/N, right? Y/L/N Y/N?” Jeon Jungkook asked, the corners of his lips tugging into something that looked like a nervous smile. You blinked at him. Did he seriously just ask you who you were? Did he seriously not know?
“Uh,” you laughed and scoffed before tightening your grip around your wallet and deciding on your answer, a fake friendly smile spreading on your lips.
“No. I’m not Y/N.”
You pushed past Jeon Jungkook and this time, you managed to walk five more steps than last time before he stopped you, again.
“No, wait,” he said and cut you short once more, brows furrowed together as he levelled you with a gaze. “You are Y/N. I’ve seen you around before. You once misquoted Freud in class, didn’t you?”
At the mention of when you, indeed, did misquote Freud in class, you scrunched up your face and tore your gaze away, settling to stare at the wall instead. You felt the heat crawl up your neck and you wanted to scream at all of the people in your life that had told you before how no one ever remembers your embarrassing moments except for you. Clearly, Jeon Jungkook did, and he definitely wasn’t one to pay attention in class.
“If you know who I am, then why’d you ask?” you scoffed and your knuckles turned white around your wallet. At your words, the corners of his lips turned up and you didn’t have to look at him to know that he was grinning.
Because Jeon Jungkook was always grinning.
The unlucky times you had accidentally looked at him, he had always been grinning, smiling like he had just heard the funniest joke ever, like everything in his life was perfect. And you were certain it was. After all, he had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
“I don’t know,” Jeon Jungkook laughed and you crossed your arms in front of your chest.
“I mean why do we cover our mouths when we yawn? You just do and say things sometimes just because.”
“You really shouldn’t do or say things just because. And we cover our mouths because no one wants to see the inside of it,” you said, brows scrunching up some more. You were almost surprised that Jeon Jungkook didn’t know that fact, but then, you remembered who he was and you weren’t surprised anymore. Why would he know about manners if he had enough money to throw at a problem if there was ever one?
“Oh, is that so? Didn’t know that,” Jeon Jungkook smiled with another shrug, smiled like he didn’t just sound incredibly stupid and spoiled.
“Of course, you didn’t know,” you mumbled underneath your breath and shook your head, gaze drifting away as your face scrunched up in even more irritation.
“What’d you say? I didn’t catch that,” Jeon Jungkook asked with a genuine curiosity and you almost groaned.
“Nothing.” You waved him off before tilting your head to the side, eyes narrowing at him. “Why are you talking to me?”
“Oh, well, I saw you were short on money when I was walking past, so I thought I’d offer,” Jeon Jungkook explained and looked back at the vending machine behind you. “Hey, I think I could still buy you-”
“No,” you cut in. “I said no, thank you. I don’t want anything anymore.”
Jeon Jungkook’s eyes flitted back to you and he gave you a look you couldn’t quite read. Even though there was this usual smile on his lips, there seemed to be something else, something you had never seen on his face before, or maybe it was just your imagination. Probably. Definitely.
“Okay, then,” he said, almost disappointed, and shoved his hands into his pockets, head tilting to the side.
“So, what do you want?” you sighed, repeating your previous question because Jeon Jungkook had yet to answer it. “Do you need notes or something? Is that why you approached me?”
Jeon Jungkook paused for a moment and you thought he was about to tell you yes when he shook his head at you, eyes doe-like.
“No.” He frowned like you had offended him a little with your assumption. “I just said why I- Do you seriously think that the only reason why I’d ever walk up to you is that I needed notes from you?”
“I don’t know.” You shrugged and shifted your weight onto your right foot, arms tightening around your chest. “The test is in a couple of days and I doubt you have-”
“Wait, what?” Jeon Jungkook cut in and looked at you like a deer caught in headlights. “Test? What are you talking about? There’s a test?”
“Uh, yeah,” you said and frowned. “Did you not pay attention in- oh, well, right, it’s you.”
“What’s that supposed to me? ‘Oh, well, right, it’s you’?”
“I mean,” you started with a shrug, not really caring that you had offended him. “Do you pay attention in class?”
And that rendered Jeon Jungkook speechless, making him fish gape at you and making you, in turn, smile.
“In my defence-”
“I don’t have notes for you. Ask someone else,” you cut in, not wanting to drag this conversation out and just as you were about to push past Jeon Jungkook a second time, he stepped in front of you, again.
“Will you stop walking away? God, no, I don’t want notes from you,” Jeon Jungkook groaned with the tiniest bit of irritation in his voice, but he was still smiling at you, amused. “Do you want to get away from me so badly?”
Surprise washed over Jeon Jungkook’s face, and you thought his smile was going to fall off his lips and disappear, thought you managed to bruise his ego, thought you had done the impossible, taught him some humility. And for a second, it looked like it, looked like his smile was fading, the confidence washing out of him, but then, his smile grew into that obnoxious grin, that obnoxious grin you had seen him flash every girl he walked past who looked at him for a second too long.
“Playing hard to get, huh?” he asked with a tilt of his head and you stared at him, baffled, before you burst out in laughter because wow, did he just say that?
And for a second, it almost looked like Jeon Jungkook’s grin was fading away, slipping off his lips, your laugh the reason for it. It didn’t. It stayed cemented on his face even as you kept laughing at him.
“God, wow, you are delusional,” you sighed and smiled at him condescendingly. “You seriously think that everybody loves you, don’t you?”
“Uh, you say it like it’s not a fact. Everybody does love me,” Jeon Jungkook retorted and you scoffed, shaking your head from left to right.
“Of course, you’d think that,” you said through a tight-lipped smile and sighed, eyes rolling to the back of your head.
“I don’t think that. It’s, again, just a fact-”
“Will you just tell me what you want from me?” you interrupted with another sigh and raised your brows at Jeon Jungkook, hoping he would realise that all you wanted was to cut this conversation short. “Not only do I not want to talk to you, but I also need to get back to my friend.”
Jeon Jungkook opened his mouth at your words before closing it a second later, thinking before speaking again. And you prayed and hoped that the next words that were about to leave his stupid mouth were going to tell you why he had not only walked up to you, shoved money into a vending machine to buy you something, but also why he had stopped you multiple times from walking away.
And then, he did tell you why.
“I wanted to ask if you wanted to go out with me.”
You weren’t sure what you had expected, had expected Jeon Jungkook to say, but of all of the things he could have possibly said to you, you thought him asking you out was the least likely. And so, you stared at him, in shock, in surprise, in amazement.
And as if he had just described the weather to you, Jeon Jungkook shrugged and repeated himself, no hesitation or wavering of his voice to be found,
“I asked if you wanted to go out with me.”
You let out another loud laugh.
You shook your head, eyes scrunching up, as you lost all control. Laughter tumbled out of you like pearls of a broken necklace and once again, you thought for a second that Jeon Jungkook’s grin was wavering, but when you blinked at him and looked again, it was right on his lips, just maybe a little smaller.
Without waiting for his reaction, you pushed past him. But after only a second, Jeon Jungkook caught up with you, stepping in front of you to cut you short for the hundredth time now.
Jeon Jungkook frowned at you and when you looked at him, there seemed to be something swimming in his eyes, something you couldn’t quite pinpoint, but you barely focused on it, eyes too drawn to the grin that was still playing on his lips even though you had just laughed at him and flat out rejected him.
“Why would I go out with you?” you asked without missing a beat, corners of your mouth curled up as you quirked a brow at him.
“Why wouldn’t you go out with me?” Jeon Jungkook shot right back, a breathy chuckle coming from the back of his throat as he started wildy gesturing around himself. “I’m great! I’m, well, I’m rich."
"Excuse you?" you laughed humorlessly and furrowed your brows.
"I'm just saying. I can take you out to the most expensive restaurants and buy you all kinds of jewellery and clothes," Jeon Jungkook chuckled. "God, I could turn your entire life into a romcom if you’d let me.”
When you kept on staring at him, no reaction whatsoever, he shrugged.
“I’m a rich catch.”
You blinked at Jeon Jungkook when he finished talking, asking yourself if all of these things were meant to make you fall for him, if they were supposed to impress you. And simply by looking at him, you knew the answer.
It was almost amusing because Jeon Jungkook really didn’t seem to realise that all of the things he had just named, that he was rich and, well, rich and again, rich, made you hate him even more. But you doubted he realised that you hated him at all.
“If you give me a chance, you will know-”
“I would never give you a chance,” you interjected and took a step closer to Jeon Jungkook, stressing every syllable to make sure he could hear, loud and clear.
“What? Why not?” he repeated, voice quieter now.
“Let me put it this way,” you said and took a step towards Jeon Jungkook, your smile turning into a taunting one. “I would only date you if you paid me to.”
Jeon Jungkook opened his mouth, brows furrowed together, but you didn’t give him a chance to even start talking, continuing because you weren’t quite finished yet,
“And you’d have to pay me a lot for me to even consider it.”
Go home, shove instant ramen down your throat, shower, rewrite the last of your notes and then fall asleep while rewatching ‘Community’ on your laptop.
That had been your plan for your night, but here you were, sitting next to a drunken Jimin, on the sidewalk of the Beta Tau Sigma house, in the middle of the night with your hair still wet from the shower you had jumped out of when Jimin had called you and slurred into his phone for you to come pick me up! I don’t feel so good and wanna go home.
The uber you had taken here ended up driving away after ten minutes of waiting for Jimin and you to get into the car when he had refused to stand up, claiming to be a part of the sidewalk now. The fact that he was retching every now and then certainly made the decision to leave you behind a lot easier for your uber driver.
Now, after ten minutes of trying to get Jimin to just stand up, you had given up, plopping down next to him on the dirty and cold sidewalk, cross-legged.
Jimin was positively humming to himself, head pulled back to gaze at the dark night sky, so incredibly unaware of the headache he was giving you, and after five minutes of silently listening to him hum a melody he was making up on the spot (and annoyed the shit out of you), something snapped inside you.
“I’m gonna fucking kill you tomorrow,” you hissed, but Jimin started giggling, laughter spilling from his lips as he continued gazing at the milky night sky, not sparing you a single glance. You wouldn’t be surprised if he forgot you were sitting next to him.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
You were slow to react, tired and exhausted by the day, but when you turned around and looked at him, neck craning because, God, he was just so tall, your face soured. You seriously asked yourself if this entire day was karma.
“Unlike what the media might want you to believe, orange is not the new black and as beautiful as you are, you definitely can’t pull off orange,” Jeon Jungkook smiled with his hands shoved into his pockets before he sent you a wink that almost made you retch like Jimin had been. “Trust me on this one.”
“Did you just call me beautiful?” you asked, frown deepening as you narrowed your eyes and glared at him.
And with a proud smile, Jeon Jungkook nodded.
“Yes, beautiful, I just-”
“Take that back.”
“I said take that back,” you pressed through gritted teeth and leaned towards Jeon Jungkook, making him inch backwards like he feared you were going to jump him if he didn’t put some distance between you two. Maybe you were, after all your entire night had been ruined by the drunken slob sitting next to you.
“Uh.” Jeon Jungkook was hesitant, his gaze shifting around. “I’m sorry. I, uh, take it back.”
He sounded confused, but you didn’t care, turning away to look at Jimin, who had quieted down when Jeon Jungkook had appeared, his eyes still set on the sky though.
You sighed and took your phone out of your pocket, unlocking it and swiping through your contacts, completely ignoring Jeon Jungkook, who was still standing behind you.
“What are you, uh, doing? Who are you texting?” he asked after a while and you didn’t look up to him, thumbs flying over your screen as you typed up a text to Jisoo, explaining your entire situation to her.
“None of your business,” you said and if you had looked up, you would have been more than pleased to see the way Jeon Jungkook was gawking at you.
Finished with your texts, you shoved your phone back into your pocket, and like you didn’t know that Jeon Jungkook was still staring at you, you pulled your legs closer to you, hands holding your ankles.
“You’re kinda rude.”
“And you’re kinda pestering me even though I had made it clear that I’m not interested.”
Jeon Jungkook furrowed his brows, surprised how quickly you had responded. He waited for you to look at him, but he was left staring at the back of your head before shaking his own like you could see him.
“I didn’t approach you because I wanted to ask you out again,” he mumbled, almost like he was shy. “I saw you struggling with Jimin, so I figured I’d offer you some help.”
There was a shrug you didn’t see. And there was also a shuffle of his feet you didn’t hear, the sound of it eaten up by the loud music coming from behind you. Nevertheless, your features softened, softened because, at this point, you were so incredibly tired, exhausted and drained by the entire day.
At this point, you just relented.
Before you could mumble an apology, a sincere albeit quiet and rushed apology (because your parents had taught you right) and thank him for his offer and ask him if you could still take him up on it, Jimin beat you to it.
“So rude, right?” he piped up with a giggle and his hand landed on your shoulder as he stared at Jungkook behind you. “So, so rude. I- I’ve told you to be nicer to people, babe, haven’t I? But you just don’t listen.”
Jimin tutted you and you contorted your face before trying to shove his hand away, but even in his drunken state, he was stronger than you.
“I’m so sorry, Kook,” Jimin said on your behalf before whisper-yelling, “She’s just kinda a bitch sometimes.”
You expected Jeon Jungkook to agree with Jimin because, hell, you would too. After all, you had been anything but nice to him.
“Maybe you’re right. Maybe you should kill him tomorrow.”
You turned around to Jeon Jungkook and stared at him with big eyes, surprised.
“Maybe you’re not so wrong,” he continued and you gaped at him. “You do seem to have your reasons for Jimin’s murder.”
“Of course, I do!” you huffed with a laugh and without realising it, a smile stretched across your lips. “I usually don’t go around threatening murder. Who do you think I am?”
Jeon Jungkook began smiling at you and you bit on your lip, desperately trying to keep your smile from growing too big.
“I don’t know. Why don’t you tell me who you are?” he asked with a shrug and before you could roll your eyes and sputter out a few insulting and dismissive words, Jimin almost fell over on his side.
“Shit,” you cursed, stopping him just in time before he ate shit on the curb, hands rushing to his side.
You huffed, struggling to keep him upright and when Jeon Jungkook stepped in, hands reaching from behind to steady Jimin, you were more than happy to hand him over to him.
“I think we should take him home.”
“Why do you think I am here?” you asked and slapped Jimin’s shoulder lightly. “He wouldn't stand up, so my uber ended up abandoning me.”
Jeon Jungkook looked at you and a second later, his lips curled up into one of those smiles, one of those that were dripping of amusement and accompanied by a certain glint and sparkle in his eyes.
“Abandoned you when you’re such a pleasure to talk to? When you are so incredibly nice?” he asked and you narrowed your eyes into slits. There was a beat, a moment where you both just stared at one another before Jeon Jungkook broke it by grinning at you. “I’m just kidding. You’re absolutely delightful.”
“Why do you still sound so sarcastic?” you hummed and scrunched up your nose, but it only had Jeon Jungkook laughing and chucking.
“I swear I’m not,” he said and you didn’t believe him for a second. Before you could comment on it though, he stood up, dragging Jimin along with him. And even though Jimin was far from standing on his own two feet, he was up, leaned entirely against Jeon Jungkook though.
“Come, stand up. Or do I have to lift you up as well?” Jeon Jungkook asked when you weren’t up on your feet right away. There was no sign of a struggle in his voice, seemingly able to support Jimin’s entire body weight without any strain.
You were silent for a moment, mind processing the fact before you stood up and dusted off your butt, the cracking of your knees making you wince.
“Let’s go,” Jeon Jungkook said, but you didn’t follow him. Suddenly, you were rooted to the sidewalk like Jimin had been minutes ago.
“Where do you think you’re going?” you asked with a pucker of your forehead and your arms folded over your stomach.
“Uh, my car?” Jeon Jungkook said with a raise of his brow like it was the most obvious answer and barely spared Jimin a glance when he buried his face into the crook of his neck, hands grabbing his shirt and wearing it out with the iron grip he had on it.
“Or what? You wanna walk home? Like, I can hold him up fine now, but for ten minutes or longer? No way.”
You rolled your eyes and shook your head, feeling annoyed because the reason why you didn’t want to get into a car with him was more than obvious to you.
“No, I mean you drank, right?” you said and Jeon Jungkook blinked at you before shaking his head.
“What? No,” he laughed. “You think I’d suggest getting into my car if I even had one drink? Never.”
You were surprised by the answer, surprised that Jeon Jungkook wasn’t as reckless as he seemed to be, portrayed himself to be. It was a positive surprise, a surprise you liked, a surprise you weren’t sure how to process.
“Oh,” you said and tilted your head. “You’re sober?”
Jeon Jungkook chuckled at your question before smiling at you, nodding. “Yes, I am sober.”
As you eyed him, Jeon Jungkook could practically see the thought that he might be a high functioning drunk cross your mind, could practically see you think that since he was in a frat, he had probably gotten wasted enough times to be used to it now, the effect of alcohol not as strong on him as on others.
It prompted him to chuckle and grin at you.
“You want me to touch my nose? Prove it to you?” he asked you and touched his nose. Right as you were about to tell him that touching one’s nose didn't prove shit and for him to walk a straight line for you instead, he pinched your nose.
“Can we get going now?” Jeon Jungkook urged, shifting Jimin to position him against his side again (because in the meantime, he had started tilting forward), but you couldn’t respond, too stunned to do so.
Instead, you stared at Jeon Jungkook, mouth opening and closing several times before you clammed it shut, mind short circuited because did he just pinch your nose?
When you pushed past Jeon Jungkook this time,—even though you didn’t know where his car was—you hoped he wouldn’t cut you off because you were honestly not sure if the darkness of the night was enough to hide the warmth spreading on your face, enough to hide your labouring breath.
God, fuck Jeon Jungkook and his flirty nature as well.
When you heard him laugh behind you, you cursed underneath your breath and quickened your steps.
You decided to sit in the back with Jimin, not only because you were worried about him and didn’t want to leave him alone, but also because you didn’t want to sit next to Jeon Jungkook. The centre console was simply not enough space between you.
And as Jeon Jungkook pulled out of the curb, leaving the raging college party behind you that both of you had forgotten was still going on this entire time, you pressed your head against the side of the car. You were relieved to see that Jisoo hadn’t read your messages yet when you texted her that it was fine now.
“Can I ask now who you’re texting?” Jeon Jungkook asked, his eyes meeting yours in the rearview mirror and you pressed your lips together.
When you had gotten in, you had taken the liberty to roll down the window, in need of some fresh air even though you had spent your entire time outside. And with the cold wind on your face, a passed out Jimin sitting next to you, you felt the tiredness and exhaustion hit you, tug on your heart.
Being tired always made you susceptible, pliable, lowered your guard, but even now, even now with your eyes slowly closing, you managed to say,
But when Jeon Jungkook saw the smile pull on the corners of your lips, saw you not try to bite it away or hide it in any way, he couldn’t be hurt by your response, only able to smile himself.
And as you slowly drifted away into sleep, you missed the way Jeon Jungkook looked at you, eyeing you in the rearview mirror like he had never quite seen someone like you, like you were a mystery he wanted to explore, a puzzle he wanted to figure out, a math problem he wanted to crack, a project he wanted to tackle.
Like you were someone he wanted to understand.
Like you were someone he wanted to get to know.
And as Jeon Jungkook looked at you, your features, for once, not contorted in irritation and frustration because sleep had taken all over you, he knew.
He was going to.
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Shingeki no Kyojin's Ending Interview (May 2021)
Translation commissioned by @goldsword07, DO NOT REPOST in full, always include credits and a link to this post if you use or share any parts of it.
Question: Congratulations on completing Shingeki no Kyojin’s serialization! How do you feel now that you have finished writing the final chapter?
Isayama: There’s still some work left to do when it comes to putting together the final manga volume*, so I don’t actually know how a “life without deadlines" feels like yet (laughs), but by publishing the final chapter, I feel like I can finally breathe again. However, there are still several things that need to be done.
(*Translator’s note: usually, putting together a volume includes: fixing drawing mistakes, sometimes even redrawing certain scenes if the author wasn’t satisfied with how they looked/their composition, fixing text (both wording or simply changing the Japanese characters used), drawing omake/extra pages, like the High School Caste fake previews, which usually take up 2 pages, and so on. So, of the 8 extra pages he mentions below, probably only 6 at max will be used to add new original story content.)
Q: What?! What else is there to be done?
Isayama: At first, the draft for the last page of the chapter was neatly divided into 5 panels, but I was feeling quite indecisive about it. At the time, that last page was a scene of 3 people running towards a tree on a hill. After having a meeting about that with Bakku-san and my other editors, I decided on a last-minute change, and I turned it into the one that is now published in Bessatsu Shonen Magazine. The limit for each printed chapter in Bessatsu Magazine was 51 pages, but since up to 8 extra pages can be added in manga volumes, I want to finish up everything that I couldn’t draw in the printed magazine and add it in the final manga volume.
Q: As for the serialization, which spanned 11 years and a half, have there been any changes about the way you think about mangas?
Isayama: Up until recently, I had drawn as if sexism wasn’t a thing, but when drawing the Marleyan military, which was comparatively more modern, if I had added, with no explanation whatsoever, female soldiers like I did for Paradis Island, it could’ve given the impression that Marley was quite a developed nation. It would’ve felt out of place. That’s why, as long as I was drawing a story set in an era of the past, I couldn’t draw female characters as part of the top brass of the military, because it would’ve meant acting as if there was no actual history of gender discrimination at the time.
It might be a story set in a fictitious world, but if you don’t connect it in some ways to the real world, it could end up becoming a story people cannot relate to.
Q: The unraveling of events that led to the final chapter has been quite shocking. Especially when it comes to Eren…
Isayama: I have been frenetically checking any and all reactions to that. There are as many honest opinions as there are people, and they’re all correct. With how I portrayed that part, it’s not so strange that it was interpreted as if Armin accepted the massacre. My portrayal was lacking. Armin didn’t approve of the despicable measures taken by Eren, but he ended up benefiting from the mass slaughter, regardless of his intentions. Armin, who couldn’t possibly understand Eren, faced their last farewell with a firm “Thank you for becoming a mass murderer for us”, essentially conveying how he himself was also an accomplice. He wanted to feel closer to Eren, even if just a little. I realized the final stage in particular had too difficult themes, and my portrayal was inadequate. I deeply regret that I wasn’t able to fully express them in the manga proper.
I’ve been drawing this manga for 11 years and a half, and when I completed the manuscript I truly believed that “everyone will be happy with this”. I was conceited. I apologize to those who have supported me until the end but have felt let down by the ending.
Q: During these 11 years and a half of serialization, have there been any memorable events?
Isayama: I’m happy that I could deepen the relationship with my assistants, as “manga friends”. When the serialization started, everyone was in their twenties, but now some of them are married and have even become parents, and we have become close family friends.
Q: Was the manga becoming an anime a memorable moment, too?
Isayama: The anime adaptation can certainly be considered another part of Shingeki no Kyojin. Lots of people got to know this story through watching the anime. Personally, it was refreshing for me too, as I could experience the story anew. In addition to that, the characters were taken out of my hands - in a good way - by the directors and voice actors, they began moving as independent “existences”. It was a first and interesting experience.
Q: Do you have a favorite scene?
Isayama: As far as drawings go, the scene I like the most is the one in chapter 104, “Victors”, when the Jaw Titan claws at the Attack Titan. Besides the fact that I feel like I can’t draw anything better than that, there also haven’t been that many action scenes with titans after chapter 104.
Q: Well then, what about your best chapter?
Isayama: One of them is chapter 71, “Bystander”. I feel like that chapter exceeded my abilities at the time. I like the way it doesn’t feel like “Shingeki no Kyojin”, as the spotlight was on the life of a single character who isn’t involved with the original story.
Q: Chapter 69, “Friends”, also depicts some characters’ personal life.
Isayama: I like that chapter, too! At the time of drawing its draft, I flattered myself with words such as “Uh? Aren’t I so mature?!”. Normally, I would draw the main story’s continuation, but in chapters 69 and 71’s case, it felt like I was drawing stories that were complete on their own.
Q: With the start of the Marley arc in chapter 91, “The other side of the ocean”, both titans and modern times’ weapons made an appearance in battle.
Isayama: That battle scene was the time I had the most fun while drawing mangas, I was in a state of total concentration and full energy.
Q: How has Shingeki no Kyojin been for you?
Isayama: It’s as if youth has come a bit late, a third of my life has been packed into this work. …Of course, there have been hard times, too, but it’s been a chapter of my life that normally you wouldn’t be able to experience and even now I struggle to think it was real. Although I’ve been spoiled by my readers, I had planned to draw all the while accepting even harsh opinions.
Q: Finally, a message to the readers, please!
Isayama: Through Shingeki no Kyojin, I could connect with an unfathomable number of people. I’ve been happy to share this time of my life with my readers, which is something that, if I had had a normal life, I would have never experienced.
Also, now that the serialization is over, I have been freed, so I want to stroll around a small city with a can of One Cup sake in one hand. That’s what I would call freedom.
My Lovable Curse - Part Two (Final)
Pairing: NIS Agent Baekhyun x Assassin Reader (undercover as Shaye) ft. Kyungsoo, Minseok, Chen, Sehun, OC Aeri (Baekhyun’s estranged wife)
Genre/Themes: Spy AU, Assassin AU, angst, dark humour, thriller, inspired by Killing Eve.
Description: Not even in his wildest dreams had Baekhyun thought he’d have to team up with you to take down one of the most notorious criminal masterminds, CEO of tech company Stratio, Doh Kyungsoo.
Warnings: Suggestive, indicative of anxiety and depression, blood, weapons, violence, gore, language, character death.
Moodboards: Baekhyun | Minseok by bestie @his-mochi-cheeks
Word count: ~ 6.8k loosely edited
Tagging: @vampwrrr @changshapatrol @leewalberg @his-mochi-cheeks @rosetvler @his-mochi-cheeks @is-that-baekhyuns-shirt @marimsun @revalya @kyoonqs @littleflowercrown13 @onefoureightfive @exoxobsession @royal-aeris @cam-peggio
A step inside Doh Kyungsoo’s holiday home and you felt like you’d entered a whole new world. The multistorey Italianate palazzo with its mosaic flooring, sky high ceilings, antique chandeliers, extensive and exquisitely lit hallways with incised decoration, fine old woodwork, and handsome staircases, was spread over a sprawling area of eight thousand square feet - in complete contrast to his modern and minimalistic Seoul apartment.
After a tour of the place, the housekeeper with a stick up her butt escorted you to your room. “Your clothes are in the closet.”
Awestruck, you surveyed the vast closet stocked with dresses, jackets, shoes, bags, underwear, accessories; you name it. Everything perfectly to your taste, style, and size. Except, none of it was actually yours.
Utterly perplexed, you inquired, “Where’s my bag?”
Impatiently awaiting a dismissal, her pencil thin eyebrows shot up to her hairline and she deadpanned, “You have everything you’ll need for the week right here in this room,” lips barely moving while she spoke.
“What about my prescription...umm..my contraceptives?” You drew out the latter half of the question in a whisper - feigning embarrassment.
The NIS has given you a strip of contraceptives tagged by days of the week. But, for Wednesday, in place of the pill was a mic, indiscernible and inconspicuous, of the exact size and shape of the tablets on the strip.
Chen’s instructions echoed in your ears. ‘You just have to sit still, be quiet, and get the buyers’ names on tape. We need to know not just what he’s selling but who he is selling to. This is a mic and you’re going to wear it this time. No arguing.’
Lips ever so slightly quirked in an awkward smile, she clarified, “You won’t need that while you’re here.” She then proceeded to draw a sequined black jacket from the closet and laid it out neatly on your bed while you continued to shadow her around like a lost puppy.
“Mr. Doh wants you to wear this to lunch.”
HOTEL PARKSUNSHINE JEJU
Baekhyun and Sehun had checked themselves into a three star - Hotel Parksunshine Jeju - situated just a couple of hundred metres away from The Palazzo.
“We set up everything in here,” commanded Baekhyun, carelessly laying out all the computer equipment on a desk in the corner.
An irate Sehun answered back, “Well, this is supposed to be my room!”
Nonchalantly, Baekhyun retorted, “I don’t want all this shit in my room,” and trotted off to his own lodgings for a quick shower, leaving Sehun to the grunt work.
The two men pored over the receiver but there hadn’t been a peep from you ever since your arrival at The Palazzo.
“Give her some time! Maybe she hasn’t had the chance to put it on yet,” reasoned Sehun, lazily sprawled in an armchair by the desk.
Lips forming a pout, Baekhyun voiced his concerns out loud, “You think she’s alright?”
“Maybe...she’s busy with Doh Kyungsoo,” the younger answered with a playful wink, “I don’t blame her, he is undeniably attractive.”
Seized by a sharp pang of jealousy, Baekhyun scrunched his brows and stated matter-of-factly, “That’s not how she works.” Contemplating on his own words, he continued after a pregnant pause, “Get the back up.”
Thrown aback by his superior’s hasty and obviously skewed decision, Sehun countered, “Already?”
But Baekhyun had his mind set to it and the look in his eyes hurtled his junior into action. Sehun rummaged through his bag for a spare mic while Baekhyun continued to cerebrate, “We need to get her a mic! We need to be able to hear her.”
Fastening his shoe laces, Sehun chuckled, “Really? Or do you just want to see her?”
CAFE INDIGO DELICATESSEN JEJU
Kyungsoo’s gaze lingered on the heavily embellished black jacket that you’d styled with a pair of black leather leggings, knee high boots, a crisp white dress shirt, and tasteful gold jewellery.
“This jacket took more than a hundred hours to make at the atelier,” had been his first full sentence to you ever since you’d arrived at The Palazzo. His keen eyes observing your every little move as you took a delicate bite out of the garlic butter baked salmon and washed it down with Sauvignon Blanc.
You acknowledged his words with a noncommittal hum but he pursued the conversation with, “Go ahead. Feel it.”
Albeit hesitantly, you complied, running your fingers up and down the glittering barbed embroidery before returning to your meal.
The fish was dry, probably fresh off the deep freeze, which was peculiar and unseemly considering you were on an island. Every single morsel felt like a punishment but, alone, unarmed, and unwired, you were not going to risk a misstep with Doh Kyungsoo especially since he'd been the one to order your lunch for you. So, just as expected of Shaye, you pretended to ‘relish’ it.
It takes one to know one.
Narrow eyes trailing up and down your eyes, nose, lips, throat, the man looked like he was on the brink of an earth-shattering orgasm and this revolting look on his face was the last thing you needed paired with an already unpalatable meal.
Bile rising in your throat, you laid down your cutlery, and declared defiantly, “I’m not sleeping with you.”
He dismissed your concern with a quick, “I won’t touch you,” eyes now fixated on your blush pink lips.
“Why aren’t you eating?” You asked, feeling a vague unease settle into your bones.
To that he gave you an honest,“Because I like to watch you eat,” in response.
The notifying blink on Kyungsoo’s phone was a welcome interruption to this exhausting conversation. He excused himself to take the call and you immediately signalled the server to clear your plate but the man brought you a croissant instead. He answered your unasked question by sticking his thumb out in the direction of one of the tables occupied by two men dressed like unassuming tourists, one significantly taller than the other.
When you met his eyes, Sehun scowled which you returned by scrunching your face and sticking your tongue out at him. Baekhyun tuned your attention to himself by tearing apart the piece of bread in his hands. You followed suit to find a mic no bigger than a peppercorn placed inside the croissant.
Expression coloured with worry, Baekhyun mouthed, ‘Are you okay?’ and suddenly a welcome warmth invaded your cheeks. Giggling like a schoolgirl, you blew a kiss in his direction which he accepted with an eye roll .
HOTEL PARKSUNSHINE JEJU
Baekhyun turned on the receiver to you crooning to ‘Rainism’.
The despicable singing had been your way to reveal that the backup was in place but that didn’t stop Sehun from tuning the volume down to minimum. Baekhyun slapped his hand away causing the younger to retort indignantly, “She’s your girlfriend not mine!”
It was exactly moments in which Baekhyun sorely missed Chanyeol. He also inwardly berated himself for picking Hotel Parksunshine which wasn’t helping the whole ‘my-former-partner-was-way-better’ situation. But before he could say anything in his defense, static disturbed the transmission for a few seconds and then droned a deep, bored, male voice.
‘We have two guests joining us for tea.’
‘Oh,’ they heard you address Kyungsoo, ‘Okay. What would you like me to wear?’
Kyungsoo’s response was a deep sigh that almost sounded like a moan. Baekhyun’s hand clenched into a fist at the sleazy sound and Sehun’s annoying smirk only enraged him further.
‘Did I say that you could come?’ Kyungsoo spoke again while the two men continued to intently eavesdrop on the conversation.
‘No, I’m sorry,’ you replied, clearly unsure of what to say next, ‘umm...can I come?’
‘It’ll be boring.’
Following the non-success of obedience, you tried seduction, ‘Not as long as you’ll be there.’
‘I said it’ll be boring,’ Kyungsoo asserted.
‘Okay,’ Despite your agreement, Baekhyun sensed the murderous apprehension in your tenor which had an oddly calming effect on him, ‘It’ll be boring,’ you concurred.
‘I’ll see you at four,’ Kyungsoo concluded with an evident smile in his tone as if he’d just managed to tame a wild cat.
Two hours later
Kyungsoo gave you a quick once-over before slamming his laptop shut and focusing his attention entirely on you. Aghast, he asked sotto voce, “What do you think you’re doing?”
You froze, a million thoughts cascading through your head, all of them centred around whether the plan had somehow come unravelled before Kyungsoo. Feeling crushed under the weight of the featherlight snooping device resting on your shoulder, you plastered on a polite smile and shook your head in confusion choosing not to say anything that could potentially hamper the progress made thus far.
Expressing his annoyance at your ditz act, he threw his hands up and exclaimed, “That belt!”
Genuinely confused this time but also greatly relieved, you asked, “What about it?”
“It doesn’t go with the dress,” he hissed.
You studied your outfit in the beveled wall mirror with an ebonized and gilt frame and if your opinion mattered, you’d say you looked like a renaissance painting. Your hair, now dyed an elegant strawberry blonde, came down over your shoulders in smooth locks, your lilac Milano silk dress was modest, sophisticated and so were the diamond earrings and the nude pumps you’d picked out to put the outfit together. Fastened around the small of your waist, the belt accentuated your curves and made you feel more like yourself and a little less like Kyungsoo’s trophy girlfriend..or moll.. or whatever it was that he’d made you out to be in his warped, bulbous head.
“Take it off,” he commanded, pulling you out of your reverie.
Again, you were left with no choice but to oblige with a hesitant nod.
“Shall we talk about the price?” Asked Kyungsoo’s bald guest in Japanese.
Kyungsoo was seated at the head of the table, with his laptop in front of him and his eyes anywhere but on the screen. Your fingers curled around the warm cup of green tea before you, the nauseating smell of which had slowly started to bring on a migraine.
Hands folded, Kyungsoo coolly answered, “I told you...blind bids only.”
Surveying the dining room area, you pretended not to follow the gentlemen’s conversation.
The word brought an imperceptible smile to your lips.
‘The safe-word is gentleman,’ Chen had instructed you on your way to the airport.
‘Not again! How do I even get that in a sentence?’ You’d asked Chen but the seriousness of your concern was clearly lost on him. He’d dismissed it with a throaty chuckle and a lousy joke, ‘Apparently, the NIS is running out of good safewords! But remember,’ he’d continued solemnly, ‘you cannot kill your way out of this one.’
Looking down at your waist, you repeated the words to yourself.
‘I cannot kill my way out of this one.’
“We need to have an idea.” countered the man seated next to his bald friend, “How do we know that it’s as good as you say it is?”
Kyungsoo’s lips curled up in a sinister smile. He took a measured sip from the glass of bourbon to his right and rolled it around his tongue before swallowing. Eyes locked with the guest who had asked the question, he started in fluent Japanese, “Nakamura-san, you texted your boyfriend - the Minister of Foreign Affairs - upon your arrival and then your wife and children to tell them how much you love them. You had Nigiri for lunch and a KitKat from the secret stash of cherry KitKats underneath your car seat. Don’t they get soggy? Perhaps, you like them like that. Anyway, you then proceeded to input these details in the calorie counting application which I own. You told your wife that you were working late last night but, in fact, you were at the Hilton with Mr. Minister. You watched some music videos of the boy group Arashi and had sex twice. One at 10:23 p.m. and again this morning. You’re balding and your wife has thought about adding a dash of rat poison in your morning coffee. You’re insecure about the length of your penis and your doctor just texted you that you have no reason to be. And I completely agree with his...erm diagnosis.”
With everything Kyungsoo just revealed about Nakamura-san, you were having a hard time keeping a straight face especially since you’d understood exactly what Kyungsoo was trying to sell.
The man was a genius!
You stole a glance at him to realize that his profile was magnificent. Wide eyes that bore into Nakamura-san’s soul sparkled under the soft light from the overhead chandelier, his lips were plump and well moisturised, his skin flaunted a dewy sheen, and his nose was exactly how a man’s nose ought to be. You quietly returned to your beverage to take your mind off the sweet and wanting throbbing between your legs.
But Kyungsoo was clearly not done. “Oikawa-san -”
Fear flashed in the bald man’s eyes and he cut off Kyungsoo with a frantic, “Thank you for your time, Doh-san. We’ll get back to you at the earliest.”
With that the two men scrambled out of the dining room.
Kyungsoo turned to you, an exuberant victory painted across his alluring features. “People often get scared when they see themselves in zeros and ones.” His expression softened as he leaned into you and whispered, “I can get into your phone camera and watch you sleep.”
“Would you like that?” You asked, feeling your eyelids involuntarily flutter close at the proximity to his face.
Doh Kyungsoo smelled like power and in that moment you wanted nothing more than to rip his clothes apart and give into the desire that had set your very being on fire. “Very, very much,” you moaned against his luscious lips.
HOTEL PARKSUNSHINE JEJU
Muting the receiver, Baekhyun started pacing around the room in an attempt to process everything that he’d just heard.
“What the hell, man!” Sehun whined, “We’d just gotten to the fun part!”
Putting a finger to his lips, Baekhyun glared at Sehun to shut him up.
“Oh, come on!” the lanky Agent argued, mindlessly scrolling through his phone, “They’re made for each other. Also, Doh Kyungsoo can’t possibly be the first megalomaniac attempting to sell a cyber weapon.”
Ignoring Sehun, Baekhyun started to make a mental note as to how he would present this information to Minseok.
Everything was finally adding up. Everything, right from the murder of Senior Doh. Doh Kyungsoo had embezzled his company’s resources to build a cyber weapon which he was now ready to sell in the black market to the highest bidder. A weapon so powerful that it had the potential to digitally monitor any person on the planet via SMS, phone calls, social networking applications, you name it. Nobody was immune to its might - no government agency, no politician, no businessman. It could be used as a means for blackmail, extortion...it had the power to collapse governments in a matter of days thus paving way for political instability anywhere and everywhere on the globe.
The possibilities were endless.
Eventually, Kyungsoo was likely to sell off Stratio and wash his hands off everything. To be able to accomplish all of this, Doh Kyungsoo would have needed complete access to all of Stratio’s vast sensitive information. So he hired Gwishin to clear out the obstacles in his path - starting from his very own father. Gwishin made sure to make all the murders look like accidents so that nobody would ever suspect Doh Kyungsoo of anything dubious. Besides, he had a watertight alibi every single time.
The moment Baekhyun picked up his phone, his senses were overwhelmed with the sound of the soft moan that had escaped from your throat and a feeling of dread crept into his mind. At the same time an inexplicable cocktail of longing, desire, and jealousy burned right in the middle of his chest. Tossing the phone aside, Baekhyun sank into the bed with his face buried in his hands.
Chinese finger trap.
It was the first thought that crossed his mind as soon as the fog of your moan started to clear. His girlfriend back in high school had given him the fairly simple gag toy on Pepero day. It was a small cylinder woven from bamboo, used to prank unassuming children. Having seen it for the first time, Baekhyun’s initial reaction had been to pull his fingers outward but it only tightened the trap. In hindsight, the gift was nothing but a manifestation of her possessive tendencies.
But, years later Baekhyun seemed to have met the personification of his teenage annoyance.
The next morning
Sehun barged into Baekhyun’s room with a de trop, cheery, “Good morning!”
“Morning,” Baekhyun answered curtly while towel drying his hair.
“Did you have a word with the chief?”
“Yes and would you please stop calling him that?”
“A~lright, somebody’s grumpy and I think I can tell why. Did you sleep well? Oh, that’s such a silly question. Of course, you didn’t. Not after your girlfriend cheated on you.”
Sehun’s idea of a good joke was wiggling his eyebrows in amusement while blowing disgusting chunks of unsolicited nonsense.
“Why don’t you bring me some coffee and umm...how about scones? I feel like some scones. And I’ll see you in your room in...ten?”
Sehun complained, “How do you expect me to be back in ten minutes?”
“Well, if you don’t,” answered Baekhyun, feigning discomfiture, “I hope you won’t expect a positive review on your appraisals.”
Sehun’s mouth fell open.
“Now scoot. Skedaddle,” commanded Baekhyun, turning a blind eye to his partner’s unnecessary theatrics.
Chin resting in his palm, Baekhyun gazed at the receiver, idly wondering when this would all end.
It can’t all just be for money, he thought. Why would someone as affluent as Doh Kyungsoo go to these extents to tempt chaos and ruin? But then, why anything? Why was he with the NIS? Why were you an assassin? And a bloody good one, at that.
Kyungsoo’s smooth and chilly voice crackled on the receiver, nudging Baekhyun out of the mayhem that was his mind, ‘Good morning.’
‘Morning,’ you sang sweetly.
‘Did you sleep well?’ He asked.
‘Like a baby,’ you answered mimicking a shy schoolgirl, stirring a familiar dangerous concoction of guilt, desire, and jealousy within Baekhyun.
‘What are you doing?’ You asked and Baekhyun visualized you seductively sauntering over to where Kyungsoo was seated.
‘Looking up some information on a potential buyer.’
‘Ooh can I see?’
‘Of course,’ Kyungsoo obliged.
A long pause.
‘What is the name of this...gentleman?’
The word thrust Baekhyun into immediate action.
He frantically rummaged for the 9mm pistol in the safe in Sehun’s room and placed it inside the holster strapped onto his belt. But the moment Baekhyun reached for the door, he heard a close range gunshot sending him scrambling to hide underneath the bed.
A man barged into the room and started vandalising it, clearly in search of something. With a hand clasped to his mouth and gaze fixated on the intruder’s combat boots, Baekhyun made himself smaller and smaller, praying fervently for him to walk away.
And he did.
After a few rounds of the room, searching the cupboards, behind the curtains and in the bathroom, the armed intruder meandered out haughtily.
With his heart in his throat, Baekhyun crawled out from underneath the bed and carefully walked out the room with his finger on the trigger and keen eyes scanning every inch of the hallway for imminent danger. He turned left for the staircase to find an injured Sehun on the floor - bloodied and crawling in the direction of their rooms.
“Help,” Sehun whimpered, extending his hand out to Baekhyun.
The bullet had gone right through his shoulder.
It isn’t fatal, Baekhyun concluded.
“I’m - I’m s-s-sorry,” Baekhyun stuttered, slowly inching away from his partner, “I have to go, she used the safeword but- but don’t worry I’ll send someone to- to help you. Until then... please just- whatever you do, don’t- don’t close your eyes.”
“The actual fuck!” Sehun bellowed out of pain and sheer astonishment at his partner’s insensitive and cruel disregard towards his life and frankly, his own. But Baekhyun was already on his way to the reception, leaving his partner to bleed out on the floor to save a monster who’d killed dozens. Some of them for fun, even.
Baekhyun got to the hotel’s reception to find not a single soul in sight. Even the phone on the desk was out of order. He smashed his fist against a wall, cursing himself for forgetting his cell phone in his room. With blood pounding in his ears, he scribbled in the open register in big and bold letters - ‘MAN SHOT ON 3RD FLOOR. CALL AMBULANCE!’
He then dashed into the hotel’s storeroom, the door to which was right behind the reception desk. Changing into the cleaning lady’s uniform - pistachio green trousers and a loose fitting shirt - Baekhyun safekept his pistol in one of the drawers, picked up a laundry bag and rushed for The Palazzo with a half-baked ruse in his mind.
Most of what came out of Doh Kyungsoo’s mouth was white noise to you. Because if you actually paid attention to the man, you were sure that this mission would end with his murder.
You’d now mastered the art of reading the indecipherable changes in his expressions. As if on cue, you rested your hand on his upper arm and laughed flirtatiously at what he’d just said.
Suddenly, the dining room door flew open and your eyes landed on Baekhyun looking endearing in a maid’s costume with a laundry bag thrown over his shoulder.
“Agent Byun Baekhyun,” Kyungsoo deadpanned with a deep sigh, not a hint of surprise in his tone, “fancy seeing you here. Cute outfit. Come, join us for breakfast.”
Mouth agape, Baekhyun struggled for words while Kyungsoo and you sat patiently watching.
“Are you hurt?” Baekhyun managed, panic betraying his voice even though his eyes shot daggers at you.
“No, why would I be?” You expressed nonchalance while slicing through the loaf of sourdough with a rather sharp bread knife. Slowly advancing to where you were seated, an enraged Baekhyun barked, “Why did you use the safeword then?”
Calm and collected, Kyungsoo simply watched the bits and pieces of your plan unfurl under his condescending gaze. But before you could answer, Kyungsoo took your hand in his and said with a look in his eyes that, for the first time, acknowledged you for who you were. A human being.
“So Shaye or... whoever you are,” he paused briefly to study your face before continuing, “come and work for me.”
Baekhyun’s heart hammered wildly against his ribs in anticipation of your answer but just as he’d expected, there came no answer.
He keenly watched you get off your chair, lips stretched into a wide grin, and the bread knife still in your hand. Tilting your head to the side, you teased Kyungsoo,“What do you propose?”
Conceited, he leaned back into his chair and answered, “A lavish lifestyle and a promise. A promise that you’ll never be bored again.” With a maniacal sparkle in his eyes, the pitch of his voice rose a notch higher as he emphasized, “Neither of us will ever be bored again.”
Letting out a deep exhale, you acknowledged Kyungsoo’s offer with a wide smile. With the cutting edge of the knife gleaming in the soft sunlight seeping through the wide panelled windows, you sauntered over to Baekhyun.
“Your first assignment...,” said Kyungsoo, “bring me Agent Byun Baekhyun’s head.”
You chuckled drily, “Come on, my love. Don’t be so dramatic.”
Meeting Baekhyun’s bloodshot eyes, you ran the blunt edge of the knife along his tight jaw. ‘Don’t worry,’ you mouthed and he responded with an imperceptible nod.
“Come on! Do it! Kill Baekhyun!” Kyungsoo roared.
Black flashed before your eyes, blood rushed to your head and you turned around, lunged at Kyungsoo and swiftly tackled him to the ground, meeting his crazy eyes through the beveled wall mirror. He was on his knees, laughing away like a madman with your hand on his head and the knife at his throat.
“Do it,” Kyungsoo spat, talking to you through the mirror.
“STOP IT!” a helpless Baekhyun bellowed.
“DO IT!” Kyungsoo dared you again and simultaneously Baekhyun whispered a feeble ‘please’.
You ran the sharp edge of the knife along Kyungsoo's neck, skillfully slitting his carotid artery. The smile on his lips widened as he watched the sparkle drain out of his eyes.
You met slack-jawed Baekhyun’s stupefied face in the mirror but he was quick to snap out of the horror of Doh Kyungsoo's murder. The moment Kyungsoo's lifeless body fell to the floor with a soft thud, you turned around to confront Baekhyun's very valid question. “What do we do now?”
You wiped your bloodied hands on the table cloth, straightened your cherry red suit and said reassuringly, “Keep your eyes down and follow me.”
Head held high, you trotted out the dining room with Baekhyun following closely behind.
With an air of confidence, you flipped your hair back and waved to the guards stationed at the entrance, “I'm going shopping with the manservant,” both of whom acknowledged you with a nod.
Now at a safe distance from The Palazzo, Baekhyun followed you into an empty alleyway and looked for the perfect moment to physically confront you.
Pinning you to a gravelly wall, he yelled as hurt and betrayal waltzed in his eyes, “Why did you use the safeword?!”
Chuckling darkly, you said in a voice laced with disbelief, “Do you think I’m stupid?!”
Grinding his teeth, Baekhyun suddenly pulled away and put his head in his hands. He struggled with his answer before blurting out an unconvincing, “I don’t fucking know anymore! Are you?”
Furious at his utter mistrust, you grabbed him by the collar and hissed, “The Twelve want to buy his weapon. He showed me a picture of his potential buyer and it turned out to be one of my ex handlers. I would’ve been dead meat had he seen me at The Palazzo!”
Baekhyun studied your face intently to gauge the honesty in your words. Feeling a throbbing pain in the side of his head, he held you by your shoulders to centre you as well as himself. “Alright, I’m- I’m sorry.”
You slowly inched closer to him, buried your face in his chest and whispered, “I have nowhere to go. Take me with you, please.”
He gingerly patted your back to calm you down. “Okay...okay we’ll think of something. You stay here and I’ll be back for you in thirty minutes. My partner was shot before I came to get you out of there and- and I need to go back to see if he’s okay.”
Teary eyed, you looked up at him and planted chaste kisses on his soft cheeks. “I’ll be waiting.”
HOTEL PARKSUNSHINE JEJU
The hallway leading up to Sehun’s room was nothing like Baekhyun had last seen it.
When he’d left for The Palazzo, it had resembled a gory crime scene but upon his return he found it to have been scrubbed spotless. Sehun was nowhere in sight and that left Baekhyun equal parts anxious and relieved.
Nervous, he pushed open the already ajar door to Sehun’s room and found it tidied for the next guest and all of his computer equipment and baggage was gone.
“Welcome,” a familiar voice startled Baekhyun. He trod further into the room to find Minseok seated on the edge of the bed, solving a rubik’s cube.
Before Baekhyun could begin his volley of questions, Minseok answered the two most important ones.
“Sehun is alive. All of your records and tapes have been destroyed since this was an off-the-books mission.”
Eyes still on the puzzle, Minseok replied, “Well, yes, destroyed. Doh Kyungsoo is dead. I’d say this was a...successful operation.”
Confused, Baekhyun reasoned, “But, you wanted him alive...”
Letting out a deep exhale, Minseok explained in a bored voice, “Doh Kyungsoo wasn’t the first megalomaniac to have created such a cyber weapon and he won’t be the last.” Reading the perplexity on Baekhyun’s face, Minseok got off the bed and cut the conversation short. “Come on, let's go.”
Brows knit together, Baekhyun snapped, “Let’s go where?”
“Where else? Back to Seoul.”
“But what about her?”
“What about her?”
A long pause.
Meeting Minseok’s compelling eyes with resentment in his own, Baekhyun chuckled darkly, “Gentleman.”
“Gentleman. I’m sure you’d calculated the possibility of her using the safeword unintentionally...perhaps you wanted her to. You were also completely cognizant of the risks involved in putting two psychopaths together in a highly volatile stress situation. You knew...you knew all along that this mission was slated for failure. You...you wanted them both dead, didn’t you?”
Completely unperturbed, Minseok returned to the nearly solved combination puzzle in his hands and explained, “I won’t say kitschy things like I wanted to save the world. You’re right. I wanted them both dead. For the sake of everybody involved.” He raised his brows at the word ‘everybody’.
Undeterred, Baekhyun continued, “Who were the people who shot Sehun?”
“Chen bought his way back into The Twelve by giving you two up. But before you say anything, I want to get one thing straight. I never vouched for Chen’s character. He discharged his duties efficiently and it’s all that matters.” With his hand on his deputy’s shoulder, Minseok prodded, “Now hurry up! We have to leave.”
Baekhyun pulled away from his superior’s strong grasp and rebutted, “No. I can’t do this to her,” meeting his eyes, Baekhyun warned, “And you won’t get away with this!”
“Baekhyun this is a mistake. You’re getting emotional. She’s going to die, anyway….tomorrow if not today. The Twelve want her and she’s back on the NIS’ hitlist for the murder of Doh Kyungsoo!”
“I’m not going anywhere with you.”
“Suit yourself. But don’t forget what she did to Chanyeol.”
Shoving the rubik’s cube in Baekhyun’s chest, Minseok stormed out of the room.
The cargo ships were silhouetted sharply against the golden evening sky.
A dull melancholy spread its wings wider in Baekhyun’s chest with every synchronized step he took with you along the coast and to soothe his buzzing brain, he tuned it to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. He didn’t know why he was here and how long it had been but, with you by his side, there was a certain tranquility to the pandemonium. At last, he wasn't second guessing anything. At last, he was exactly where he belonged.
“We can move to Alaska,” you said softly, resting your head on his shoulder.
Alaska, he said to himself, where the days are short and dark.
Baekhyun hummed in agreement and you continued animatedly, “I’ll cook for you and- and don’t worry! I have plenty of money to get us both out of here.”
“Why did you come back?” He asked you gently, like he would a two year old.
“I don’t understand.”
“I stabbed you,” he continued, doing nothing to mask the hurt in his voice, “and you still came back.”
“Shhh don’t say that. You showed me just how much you cared for me! You love me! And people do crazy things in love!” you pacified him with an unmistakable conviction in your tone, nestling further into his cedar scented warmth.
“Now it’s my turn to ask a question!” you exclaimed with a childlike exuberance.
Chuckling softly, Baekhyun nudged you to go on.
“Chen once asked me this and I want to ask you...how would you kill me?”
Baekhyun stopped dead in his tracks. You instinctively straightened your spine and stood facing him.
The faint lustre from the setting sun cast a golden glow on Baekhyun’s face, the chill of the evening breeze painting rosy pink hue on the apples of his cheeks. His eyes had been rendered bloodshot by the fatiguing day and it always broke your heart to see the corners of his soft, innocent mouth turned downwards by the weight of living.
Baekhyun’s eyes bore into yours in contemplation of your question. Expression solemn, he deadpanned, “I would paralyze you with saxitoxin and then suffocate you in your sleep. Chop you up in the smallest pieces and boil you down. Then I’d blitz you in the blender, take you to work in a flask and flush you down the restaurant toilet.”
Mouth agape, you exclaimed, “You’ve really thought about this, huh!”
Scratching the back of his head, Baekhyun gave you a sheepish smile and asked, “Too much?”
“Not at all!” you quipped, “Just sounds a little time and energy intensive.”
Taking your hands in his, Baekhyun answered, “I would like to take my time with you.”
You playfully rubbed his nose with yours and giggled. “Good for you because I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“And you? How would you kill me?” Asked Baekhyun, flashing you a boyish grin.
“I wouldn’t,” you stated matter-of-factly.
Baekhyun’s smile suddenly turned wistful, making you wonder if you’d said something insensitive. His finger gently trailed along your jaw and stopped at your chin. Crouching ever so slightly, he wrapped his arm around your waist to steady you as you instinctively rose on your toes to press your lips to his with the effervescence of a million sparklers coursing through your veins.
But the chime of his cellphone stole your Baekhyun away from you.
Letting out a deep exhale, Baekhyun pulled the phone out of his pocket and turned away from you.
Stood at a foot’s distance from him, you watched the ringing of the phone cease before he could take the call. But, he still stood there, terrified eyes fixated on the screen. In that moment, you felt an inexplicable weight crash onto your chest rendering you breathless. Your heart started pounding erratically and your mind was clouded over with a sense of doom as his slender fingers moved deftly along the keypad.
Baekhyun turned around, gazed at you longingly and mouthed, ‘Sorry.’
You rushed to where he was standing with your bare feet sinking into the moist sand, wishing for the earth to swallow you whole. Finally, the stark reality sank in as your blurry vision followed the red beam of laser targeted to your head from a distance of several feet.
“Did you break into our- our house to threaten Aeri?“ asked Baekhyun with quiver in his voice.
“Just answer me, please!“ He bellowed.
“I just wanted you to realize that she’s too nice and normal for you,“ you pleaded with him and he only shook his head in disbelief.
Eyes brimming with tears, emotions clawing at your throat, you managed a guttural, “I thought you were different,” as your legs threatened to give away.
With his hand on your cheek, Baekhyun whispered, “I’m sorry to disappoint.”
The gunshot resounded through the vast pink skies.
Cradling your lifeless body in his arms, he sank to his knees and let out a violent, bloodcurdling cry to the heavens above.
5 YEARS LATER
Baekhyun joined two of his colleagues on their twenty minute break, careful with his physical proximity to the vaporous poison they chose to char their lungs with.
At this point it had become almost like an absurd ritual or an unsaid prayer. He unlocked his phone with a lazy swipe and navigated to the message he’d received from Minseok on this day exactly five years ago.
‘Aeri has checked herself out of Cosmos Gardens.’
The last push that was needed for him to signal the NIS agents that had followed him to the beach to put a bullet through your head.
Exactly on this day...five years ago.
The one good thing that Baekhyun had left the NIS with was impeccable sleuthing skills. A portal on the wilderness that was the worldwide web could virtually take him anywhere he wanted to be. And right now he wanted to be in Changsha where his ex-wife was.
He keyed in her full name on the browser and courtesy of high speed internet, Aeri appeared before him in the blink of an eye. She looked like someone he once knew. She made him feel like someone he once knew. Baekhyun was overcome with emotions as he felt himself plunging into a head space he’d avoid at all costs. He imagined himself with a smiling Aeri in his arms...in a state of existence where everything was….simple.
But Aeri’s reality was worlds apart from Baekhyun’s utopia.
The man standing next to her was a head taller than Baekhyun. With his luminous dimpled smile, he had his arm around Aeri’s waist and his hand was placed delicately on the swell of her belly.
Baekhyun should’ve seen the signs then but he’d chosen to ignore the way his wife’s colleague Professor Zhang Yixing would look at her because he was always a little too preoccupied with you.
A tap on his shoulder jolted Baekhyun out of his rueful reverie. He turned to face his apathetic manager who lazily mumbled, “There’s someone here to see you.”
“Are you sure you have the right guy?” Baekhyun’s question came out sounding unintentionally snarky.
But the manager was already on his way back into the kitchen. Baekhyun stood up, smoothened out the creases on his apron but could not manage to shake off the nauseating smell of the dozens of cucumbers he’d grated in the first half of his shift.
A step inside the basement storeroom and a familiar voice greeted him. “Waitstaff at a family restaurant in Bucheon,” said Minseok, more to himself.
“I don’t work the front,” Baekhyun rebuked, taking deliberate steps towards the one table in the storeroom at which Minseok was seated, cross legged, deft hands and keen feline eyes working a rubik’s cube.
“Why not?” countered Minseok casually, eyes still on the combination puzzle, “I’m sure the pay is better and the hours are more convenient.”
Utterly annoyed, Baekhyun snapped at his ex-boss, “What do you want, Minseok?”
Minseok gestured to the empty chair at the table with his pinkie, “Sit.”
“I don’t want anything to do with you!” Baekhyun defiantly exclaimed.
Finally looking up from the unsolved puzzle in his hands, Minseok met the rage in Baekhyun’s eyes with a word of honour, “I promise to make it worth your time.”
A cold chill crept up Baekhyun’s spine, raising the hair on the back of his neck as he tried to make sense of the photograph in his hand. The crime scene was a splitting image of the one he’d worked several years ago; the shape, sight, smell of it all still etched into his memory.
It had taken place in a brothel in Itaewon and was one of the most theatrical kills he’d ever witnessed. The victim - the Director General of Police - had been lured into one of the rooms with open French windows where he’d been tied up and hanged upside down as unassuming tourists looked on as if it were one of his kinks.
You - disguised as a prostitute and dressed up in a stylized pig costume - sliced the victim’s stomach open in front of the naive audience who still continued to believe it was all part of an act. You’d later confessed, off the records, to have been inspired by one of the paintings you’d recently seen at a museum.
The unsolved case had earned the moniker ‘Bacon’ within the Department.
“Is- is she -?” Baekhyun’s mouth went dry as he struggled for words.
“What? Back? No. Her body is at the bottom of the Yellow Sea,” Minseok stated matter-of-factly, “We’re dealing with a copycat here.”
Baekhyun heaved a sigh of relief as he stood up to return to his shift. “I’m not interested.”
But Minseok’s one sentence rooted the disgruntled, apron donning man to the spot.
“This has happened in a brothel in Changsha.”
Baekhyun simply stood there with his back still facing NIS Agent Kim Minseok.
“Baekhyun,” he continued solemnly, “nobody understood her the way you did. And no matter how hard you try to fight it, you’ll always be one of us.”
“I want nothing to do with either you or the NIS,” Baekhyun argued with an apparent tremble in his low tenor as he turned around to meet Minseok’s compelling gaze.
A look was shared between the two men before Minseok stood up from his chair, and thrust the unsolved rubik’s cube in his favourite recruit’s hand.
“All of your stuff has been moved. I’ll see you in the office at nine.”
A/N: My sincere apologies to xunqis and dandanies! If you enjoyed this please consider reblogging!
A Yiga attacks you, drawing blood. A mighty roar sounds in the distance, and not even a minute later, a feral Sidon emerges from the water, enraged and ready to kill. With a few well-placed snaps of his powerful jaws, Sidon has ripped the Yiga to shreds. When you get back to the Domain, Sidon is livid with you, berating you for trying to run away.
Tears run down your face uncontrollably as the Zora prince begins screaming at you, angry and ballistic as his stance makes you feel small and pathetic. You honestly weren’t trying to do anything! All of this started because of a misunderstanding and he won’t even take a second to listen to you!
Words are stuck in your throat as he sighs and turns around, too angry to look at you. You’re always starting trouble! Always ignoring his warnings! Why is it so hard for you to listen?!
“Sidon please I wasn’t-“
“I don’t want to hear it!”
“If you would just listen to me-“
“I SAID I DONT WANT TO HEAR IT!” He snaps, eyes turned to slits as he glared at you, mouth formed into a snarl “I don’t want to hear another word from you. You’ve deliberately disobeyed me and nearly gotten yourself killed! Unless the next words from you are an apology you can keep quiet for the rest of the day”.
You clench your fists, his words hurting and making you feel like a child being scolded. “If I knew you would treat me like a fucking child I would’ve let the Yiga kill me. I’m so tired of you acting like I can’t take care of myself. Fine. You want silence? Have it”.
Dramatic theatrics always pissed you off, and Sidon having the gall and audacity to act like he was scolding you out of love was asinine and grating on your nerves. Perhaps you should have been the one shredded by his teeth, at least then he’d actually do you a favor.
Not being allowed to go anywhere, be allowed to do anything, or even be allowed to speak your mind was absolute hell! You’re so fucking tired of it! If he wants to play games and be emotional then you can too.
Childish? Yeah but nothing about this situation was mature or on a level of calm and collected.
Hours go by, and you’re examining the bruises left by the attack as you sit by the waterfall. Another Zora guard is by your side, and he seems to want to say something but only nervously rocks on his feet as you stare down at the waters below.
“...He’s just looking out for you...you know?”.
You make a noise, looking up at the pale green Zora as he clears his throat and looks away. “The prince. He’s not doing it in the best way but...he just really cares about you and your well-being”.
You shake your head, not believing a word the fish said. “He’s got a funny way of showing it. That’s for fuckin’ sure” you bite out, looking up where the prince was pacing back and forth in the throne room. He still seemed livid and feral, but there was a hint of remorse behind those usually kind eyes.
With a sigh, the guard nods his head, toying with the shaft of his spear “The prince has had many hardships that he had no control over. You’re the closest person he’s been able to have in centuries. He doesn’t want to lose someone important again. I know he goes about it in a strange way, but you must know it comes from a good place”.
Sure. A good place. Right.
What’s so good about being treated like an incompetent child? Or being blamed for something you had zero control over? No, Sidon is just being cruel and controlling. Nothing sweet about it.
The Zora could tell you were hard set on brooding and frowing. Understandable given your circumstances. However he felt the need to try and cheer you up, even if just a little.
“Perhaps now that things have calmed down...you two could try to talk again? I’m sure even if you have choice words to say, it’s better than giving him the silent treatment”.
“HE’S THE ONE WHO WANTED ONE!” You spit, splashing the water slightly with the gesture you made with your hands. You huff, seeing the look on the guards face and turning to face the waterfalls again. “He won’t listen anyway. He’s mad at me and I’m tired of him. He only cares about how he feels, not about how I feel”.
“That’s not true, my pearl” a familiar, deep voice replied. You stiffen, turning to face the larger, more colorful Zora. Even now his eyes still held anger, but not for you. No he was angry with himself for letting his emotions take over, allowing instinct to muddle what he was truly trying to say.
He hurt you, and he can’t forgive himself. He swore to protect you and all he has done is smother the light you used to shine.
“...” you say nothing, turning back around and trying your best to stay silent. Crossing your arms over your chest, you shrug your shoulders as the only attempt at communication. Sidon nibbles his lips as he plays with his fingers nervously, debating on how to apologize and approach you.
He too stayed silent, giving a head tilt towards the guard to leave his post. Once the other left, he sat down in the waters beside you, drumming his fingers on the floor as his lips pout in thought. The sky was turning into a beautiful twilight, and the moons light casting upon you only made you look even more stunning. He could see the bruises made on you, and his chest ached knowing you were hurt.
You had defensive signs all over you. Signs that you didn’t go with the Yiga warrior willingly. Marks that proved you were scared and needing his protection and all he offered in return was anger and blame.
“...I’m sorry...” he said softly, eyes lowered “I...I thought you and the yiga...I...well-“
You cut him off, not looking in his direction as you finish what he was struggling to say “You assumed I was teaming with the enemy. I know” you bitterly state, fingers clenching your elbows as your arms were folded over, cradling yourself as a form of comfort. “Shows how much you trust me....”you weakly added, voice cracking.
Guilt was bubbling inside of him. He’s known you for so long yet he let his insecurities taint his image of you. And look where that’s gotten him! Your warmth was dying out because he can’t seem to realize that you aren’t like the others. Sidon knows you aren’t fragile and that you’ll always be by his side, but time and time again he ignores these facts over his emotion.
It goes silent again, the crickets chirping in the distance being the only noise for a while as he watches your face glimmer in the starlight. Amazing and breath taking as ever. His hand reaches over towards you, gently laying ontop of your own, his fingers intertwining with yours.
“I can’t take back what I did. But I can say that it’s eating me alive and that I hate how it even left my mouth. And...I want you to know I do care about you. I know I’m controlling and intense and unreasonable...and the fact you haven’t tried to kill me yet is amazing “ he jokes, smiling when he sees the little bit of amusement etched into your face.
You squeeze his hand and give half a smirk “well...you make up for it when you let me get away with stealing snacks from the store...so I’d say it’s even”.
Both of you share a soft laugh, and you swing your feet over the falls as you clear your throat. “I-I know you’re just worried about me but...Sidon, I’m not some fragile toy. I’m not some bad guy either. I wouldn’t ever do anything dangerous and despicable like join the Yiga...or leave you”.
Sidon lowers his head, pressing it against Yours as he holds your clasped hands to his chest. “I know...I know and I’m such a fool for thinking otherwise. I’ll make this up to you darling, anyway you want! Just say the word and it’s yours!”.
You gently kiss his cheek, and give a soft breath in thought. “Anything?”.
He nods in affirmation “Anything.”
You grunt, standing up to maneuver onto his lap “Well...for now just hold me. I’ll think of something extravagant later. Deal?”.
He laughs, holding you closer and nodding his head “Deal”.
-Mommabean (was this ok???)
you're so vain (you probably think this song is about you)
"I write songs about all sorts of people, you know, people I know very well and people I know very little. Beautiful women, beautiful men, beautiful sunsets – on one occasion an especially beautiful horse. So say, purely for the sake of argument, I had written a song about you – which I have not, and would not – it would indicate only an appreciation for your physique, which is objectively very pleasing to the eye, and would certainly not indicate any feelings for you.”
The tavern was thick with smoke and the mingling scents of ale and sweat. She picked her way across the sticky floor towards the bar, avoiding the patches of sawdust, and said, “Jaskier.”
He was leaning against the bar, dressed in a rather startling purple that did not become him, and she took no small amount of satisfaction at the ripple of tension that went through him at the mere sound of her voice. “Ah,” he said, whirling around to face her. “Yennefer. A delight as always. What brings you here?”
“None of your business,” she said.
“Reasonable,” he said, and sniffed. “I don’t actually care. When did you get here, by the by? Did you just arrive or –”
“I watched your whole performance,” she said.
“Fuck,” he said, and winced. “I mean. Not that it matters. I don’t care.” He waved his hand airily. “Nothing to me at all. I don’t care what you do,” he concluded, turning back to the bar. “Another, please.”
“Anything for your ladyfriend?” said the barmaid.
“My –” Jaskier glanced at Yennefer, standing conspicuously beside him. “Oh, you mean this ghastly witch? She’s not with me.” The barmaid shrugged and went to fetch his wine.
Yennefer waited till his drink arrived and as he peaceably sipped it said, “I liked your set.”
“No, you didn’t,” he said. “Did you want something?”
“I wanted to pass on my compliments,” she said. “It was very good. I especially liked the one about me.”
Jaskier choked on his wine. “I can’t imagine what you’re talking about,” he said. “I’ve never written or performed a song about you in my life. Honestly.”
“Oh, really?” she said. “It sounded as if it was about me.”
“Might I ask,” he said, “which of my songs you falsely interpreted as being about yourself?”
“She of the raven hair?” she said.
“Now, really, Yennefer,” he said. “Strange as it may seem to one so self-evidently conceited as yourself, the world does not in fact revolve around you. That song is about a completely different raven-haired lady.”
“With violet eyes?”
“Do you think your colouring unique across the entire continent?” he said. “Yes. It’s about an entirely different raven-haired lady with purple eyes – and a much more agreeable personality, I might add.”
“I see,” said Yennefer. “My apologies, then. What’s her name?”
“Claudia,” said Jaskier.
“When did you meet her?”
“Our love blossomed in the spring of last year,” said Jaskier. “A remarkable woman. Graceful. Charming. Excellent dancer. I treasured our time together.”
“She sounds like wonderful company,” said Yennefer. “I’d love to meet her. Maybe you could introduce us.”
“Absolutely not.” There was a delicious hint of panic in his eyes. “Out of the question. No. Impossible, in fact.”
“She’s dead,” said Jaskier. “Yes. She died.”
“Really?” said Yennefer, drawing the word out. “My condolences. You don’t seem very cut up about it.”
“Well, time heals all wounds and I only knew her a few weeks,” said Jaskier. “A few days, in fact. We weren’t close. I write songs about all sorts of people, you know, people I know very well and people I know very little. Beautiful women, beautiful men, beautiful sunsets – on one occasion an especially beautiful horse,” he went on. “So say, purely for the sake of argument, I had written a song about you – which I have not, and would not – it would indicate only an appreciation for your physique, which is objectively very pleasing to the eye, and would certainly not indicate any feelings for you.”
“Feelings?” Yennefer echoed. “I never supposed anything of the sort. Who said anything about feelings?”
“Nobody at all,” said Jaskier. “Certainly not me.”
“Yes, you did,” said Yennefer.
“When?” said Jaskier, who was really squirming now.
“Mere moments ago.”
Jaskier scoffed. “You’re imagining things.”
“You did, though,” said the barmaid. “You said it just now.”
Jaskier fixed her with a stare. “I’m sorry, is this any of your business?”
“That depends,” she said.
“Are you going to settle your tab for the night?”
Jaskier glowered. She stared unflinchingly back.
“Anyhow,” he said, fetching his purse. “My point still stands. It wouldn’t indicate anything about any feelings for your person. And it’s moot, because as I said, that song is about my dearly departs lover Claudette.”
“You said Claudia just now.”
“She went by both,” said Jaskier without skipping a beat.
“I see,” said Yennefer. “Where was she from?”
“I don’t know,” said Jaskier. “Toussaint. Fuck off.” He drained his cup and slammed it down on the bar. “I’m retiring for the evening,” he said to the barmaid. “If anyone asks tell them I’m dead to the world.”
He stormed off in the direction of the stairs.
“I especially liked the verse about my eyes,” said Yennefer. “It had so many synonyms for purple.”
“Once again,” said Jaskier, “not about you. Not your eyes. Stop trying to steal my poor dead lover’s eyes. And stop following me!”
“I’m not following you,” said Yennefer, following him. “I’m merely walking in the same direction. I have a room upstairs.”
Reaching the stairs, Jaskier pivoted to face her. “Oh, really?”
“Yes,” she said. “I’m going to bed. Is that so strange?”
“It’s just that I assumed that a creature of the night such as yourself never sleeps,” he said. “And at any rate, I know for a fact that all the rooms are booked. Go and find a different inn. This one’s mine.”
“Can I offer you some constructive criticism?”
“Chartreuse doesn’t mean purple,” she offered, “and if I hear you perform that verse about my breasts in public again I shall take your balls off.”
“How many times do I have to say that they are not your breasts?” He clasped his hands together in supplication. “Will you please leave me alone?”
“Absolutely not,” she said. “This is the best thing that’s happened to me all week.”
“What a sad life you must live,” he said. “I pity you. Now go away.”
“If you insist,” she said. “I was going to ask if you’d be interested in some new material.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he said.
“Never mind,” she said, turning to go. “I know where I’m not wanted.”
He caught her arm. “No, um, really,” he said, suddenly altogether more earnest. “What does that mean?”
Yennefer smiled at him serenely. “Why don’t we talk about this upstairs?”
“I’d like you to know,” he said afterwards muffled by the pillow, “that this did
constitute an admission that the song’s about you. Because it isn’t.”
“Naturally.” Yennefer skated her nails down the bare skin of his upper arm. He was quite cute, now that she’d got him out of that hideous doublet. “I shall expect my song presently, then.”
Jaskier blinked. He raised his head from the pillow. “What?”
“I’m given to understand that you write songs for anyone you’ve so much as kissed,” she said. “If I’m to believe that She of the raven hair is truly about Claudia or Claudette than I demand you write one that’s actually about me.”
He squinted at her. “What.”
“You can perform it tomorrow night,” she said. “I can’t wait to hear it. It better be good, considering we went three whole rounds.”
He propped himself up on an elbow and glowered, or tried to. It came off as more of a pout. “You’re despicable. Fine. Fine! I admit it. The damn song’s about you.”
“No – no,” she said. “You won’t get out of this that easily. You already said that it’s about Claudette or Claudia. I’m not willing to share with her, even if she is dead.”
“I made her up,” said Jaskier.
“Callous lies,” said Yennefer. “What an awful thing to say about your dead lover.”
“For fuck’s sake.”
“I shall expect you to come up with some all-new synonyms for purple.”
He buried his face in the pillow. “Fuck off.”
“Make sure to include a verse or two about how good I was in bed.”
“Go to hell, Yennefer,” he said into the pillow.
may I request HCs for Albedo, Childe, Kaeya, Diluc and Xiao realizing their fem!darling is a yandere? like how would they feel and react?? ( i hope u don't make it too angst :(( ) - if u don't feel comfortable wrting this, i am deeply apologize, feel free to ignore this :<
stop it [albedo, childe, kaeya, diluc, xiao]
they find out their darling is a yandere! how will they fight to fix them?
tw: UNHEALTHY/TOXIC RELATIONSHIP, gore, violence, cuss words, manipulative behavior, obsessive and possessive behavior, murder
albedo x fem! reader, childe x fem! reader, kaeya x fem! reader, diluc x fem! reader, xiao x fem! reader
a/n: just a note that this behavior should not be romanticized and should not be followed! i believe that the boys would not condone this behavior either. sorry that this took a while nonnie! hope this is to your liking.
i would like to clarify that if any of these scenarios/hc's of mine are similar to other writers' works, it is unintentional and i apologize
not proof read
it came to him when he started picking up on your possessive behavior
he first found it quite unusual, how defensive you were when people–even his own students–pointed out how much you hogged the man to yourself
it was no secret you loved him, albeit maybe you did a little too much
for the first few days of this repetitive behavior of yours, he didn’t seem to take it too seriously, he even indulges your fantasies when he found the time to do so
calling him yours alone and how everyone wouldn't matter, just as his queen said
how foolish of him to feed into this obsessive mindset of yours, he now knows
the kreideprinz was a fearless man, never submitting even to the most nerve-wracking of consequences
you should earn an award for making him tremble
face to face with your gruesome figure, albedo hesitates to move
finally, you break the tension
“what’s wrong, my love? is something bothering you?” you ask, taking a step forward
“stay back. don’t you dare touch me- i-..” he grows speechless
you slowly retreated to your space, pouting
“is it this corpse? i’m sorry, but she was getting in the way! always asking about your whereabouts and such, truly a burden-”
“sucrose was my assistant! why the hell wouldn’t she ask about me?!” his heart rate quickened, the blond has never experienced this much terror in his life
you grew silent, taking in the chief alchemist’s words
he feels his heart drop to his feet when he sees you smile slowly
“well, there’s nothing we can do about it now, hm?” you hug albedo after throwing the bat you used to bash open your victim’s skull, tainted with putrid crimson
you laugh and bury your head in his chest but you notice droplets of water falling to your scalp
you look up at your quivering love and he stares back at you
“i’ll fix you, i’ll do whatever it takes to change those despicable temptations of yours and i’ll get you back, y/n.”
childe was naturally clingy, never letting you out of his sight for more than two minutes. as a result, he didn't pick up on the subtle signs of your toxic behavior
what made him question this was your unreasonably foul attitude towards his family
one night, you and him visited his siblings in snezhnaya to have dinner
he was jubilant to say the least, the love of his life will finaly get the chance to meet the people he loved just as much as her!
"why are you so excited to see your siblings?" your question left him dumbfounded
did you not want to see them?
"well, y/n my dear, if there was anything i loved nore than you; it would be my beloved family!" he chuckles
when you reach his house, he's so excited that he misses how your eyes darken when he knocks at the door
"big brother! you're here!" teucer jumps in joy and hugs his sibling, the brother in question hugs back lovingly
how you hated it, make it end already
"teucer! i've missed you, too. how are sister tonia and the others?" childe smiles
was your presence suddenly not the most important thing anymore to him?
oh no, you're not going to let this happen
you cough and childe looks back at you, apologizing
"sorry, babe. come inside, i'll introduce you to the others." he takes your hand and guides you indoors to the living room
at the sight of their dear big brother, the group of siblings raced and laced their arms around him one way or another
childe laughs and attempts to stretch to hug all of then at the same time, only being able to circle two of his siblings
you felt inadequate again, damn siblings.
as childe introduces you to his family as his girlfriend, you didn't bother to mask your dislike for them
this concerns your beloved to the highest caliber
dinner rolls around and uncharacteristically, you offer to help out with preparing the food
childe was reluctant but overall, he couldn't deny a chance for you to finally change your views on atleast one of his siblings
"thank you for allowing me to help, tonia." you smile, feigningly to clarify
"it's no problem, i should be thanking you for insisting." she laughs and leaves the food on the counter to grab a condiment placed on the opposite side of the kitchen
quickly and silently, you scan the premises for what you needed
you find a container of rubbing alcohol in a compartment
grinning, you took it and spilled half the container into the water jug to be served
discarding of the half-empty bottle and putting the jug's lid back on, tonia returns and continues preparing the food
when the food and tampered water was served, you replaced childe's glass of water swiftly
one of the siblings drinks the water and after a few minutes, he excuses himself while coughing
tonia was next and then teucer, childe was going insane and growing more and more concerned
finally having enough, he checks the food and once he smells the strong scent of alcohol in the jug of water, his eyes widen
he turns to you, his heart sinking at your triumphant expression
"y/n, how could you?!" he furrows his eyebrows, what happened to his beloved?
"they were taking you away from me. what was i supposed to do?" you raise an eyebrow
he clenches his fist. when he hears his siblings suffering, he heaves heavily
"we'll talk about this later and i swear to the gods i will change your attitude."
kaeya is perceptive, he may have picked up on your despicable views earlier than the rest
how? don't question, it's his responsibility to take care of you
he does nothing at first, finding your obsessive behavior harmless at the present time
however, he draws the line after one particular event
"haha, well- if it weren't for how you sneaked through headquarter grounds, i wouldn't have had to waste my time tracking you down." he peers sarcastically at rosaria, he latter scoffing
"it's none of my business what you find suspicious." she sips on the wine she was holding
kaeya lets out a 'tch' and looks away, clearly upset
he arrives home to you cooking supper, his arms snaking around your waist
you smile, "bad day?" you ask, you know how he gets when he's dim and gloomy
"not particularly, but just had some trouble with sister rosaria."
"what about her?" your grip on the ladle tightens
"nothing, it's really not a big deal." he palms your hand, kissing your neck
"oh, alright. if you say so, love." you state, but he should've watched what he says
you had your mind set and there was no stopping you
around 2-3 am you sneaked out of your shared home with the captain.
grabbing a cloak and satchel which incased your belongings, you head out into the streets
'where could that damn nun be at this time of night?'
you ponder for a good few minutes until-
bingo; clearing camps.
sneaking past the knights is rather easy, distract them with a rabbit and all is good
pulling the hood of the cloak lower to hide your face, you speed into the wilderness in search of rosaria
you find the preoccupied nun vanquishing a camp of hilichurls around the whispering woods, too busy to notice your presence
opening your satchel, you take your mask and secure it to your face
time to go through with the plan you'd devised.
"huh-?" rosaria hadn't reacted fast enough and you managed to tackle her to the ground after the last hilichurl was disposed of
she chokes on your hold and attempts to shove you off, only for her attempt to whiff
grabbing the polearm she had in her dominant hand, you twirl it and use it to replace your hand on her throat, choking her with ger own weapon
"w-who in t-the world..?" rosaria glares and struggles to keep herself conscious
you smirked, putting more pressure on the polearm
she grows more and more panicked, you bask in her expression of utter helplessness
she should have known better than to mess with you
to mess with kaeya
this is what she gets
you are going to have your way
yes, almost there-
"not quite, fiend."
suddenly, you get pulled back by the hood and you gasp in shock
rosaria recovers quickly and stands up, snatching back her weapon from your distracted figure
"though i hate to admit it, you sure can be a helpful comrade, cavalry captain." the nun scoffs
your blood went cold
"now who in the seven nations might this rodent be?" kaeya frowns, you attempt to struggle from his grip but to no avail
he takes off your disguise and you purse your lips
"..y/n?" rosaria questions, much more confused than your lover
"i had a feeling." kaeya remarks, surprising both you and the nun
"kaeya, you understand right? she upset you, she made you go through all that work just for you to find out it was some shady bitch roaming around the fucking city!" the two wince at your vulgar language, clearly not having any of it
"what's done is done." rosaria states and goes ahead to return to mond
kaeya lets you go and crosses his arms, disappointed in you
"you should know better, y/n. i'll have you know that although i love you dearly, this behavior of yours is not what i want from you." he reprimands you and you furrow your brows
"it's just me showing my love for you, i don't see what's wrong."
your statement makes the knight sigh
this is going to be a long night for the both of you
diluc wouldn't be too busy to spend time with you, but he'd be too busy to take notice of your toxicity
you lived in the manor, because of this, you had access to everything in the site
and when i say everything, i mean everything
yes, he trusted you too much and that's his downfall
not his, but rather a maid's
you were aware of his darknight hero duties and he made sure that you did, kissing you goodbye before leaving to rinse the land of roaming dangers
one night in particular, a certain head maid had made you quite envious
offering diluc a glass of grape juice, fixing his collar before he goes on about his daily stroll, even daring to clean his shared bedroom with you! my, how audacious she is.
after giving you a tender kiss, your lover heads out into the night and leaves you with the maids, giving you the opportunity to continue on your devious ways
calling adelinde into the garden, she comes along with the items you requested
two towels, a fork and a plate
of course she questioned it but who was she to deny her master's sweetheart?
with shaking limbs, she made her way towards the garden
"ah, finally. you're here," you make your way towards adelinde and she gulps
"i-i have the items you requested, miss y/n," she hands you the three objects that will serve a huge purpose tonight
"thank you," you smile at her as she attempts to smile and bow respectfully
"if that is all, i shall take my leave." she retreats into the manor
or atleast, she thoughts she was going to
quickly, you roll the towel and gag adelinde with it, tying the towel together and stabbing it to her nape with the fork with brute force
she screams for a split second and you smile, quickly bashing her head with the plate.
looking down at your doing, you grin impossibly wide
"miss y/n, why couldn't you have simply knocked her out first as to avoid her creating a rather loud shriek?" elzer sighed
"i wanted to hear her in agony, is that odd?" ￼you raise an eyebrow at the chairman
he shakes his head, "no, not at all, master."
the next day, diluc is faced with a rather odd feeling of dread
as he finds adelinde, ironically, nowhere to be found, he immediately asks elzer which in turn is sworn to secrecy by you
it completely drove him mad, and you tried to take his mind off the maid yet he only pushed you aside
this angered you to the core
"what–is that maid more important than me now, after all this work i've done for you?!" you yelled at him and he huffs in annoyance
"what do you mean work?!" he yells back
"what could you have possibly done for me-" "i got rid of that bitch!"
he freezes, what did you just say?
you, there's no way. you aren't serious right? he must've misheard you, there's no fucking possibility that his head maid was de-
"she's gone. i made sure of it."
diluc feels a boiling sensation in his stomach and he takes your wrist to drag you to the outside of his office
"y/n, you better tell me where she is or i swear to barbatos i'm going to-"
he stops himself. what was he going to do? the same thing you had just done?
you smile at his realization, circling him
"see? you were just about to be hypocritical there, love." you chuckle
diluc gritted his teeth and steadies himself
he's going to teach you a lesson one way or another, but never in his life will he come to commit the crime you'd done
the adeptus neither cared nor disliked the things you do for him, however, when you stepped out of line one day, he began to watch over you like a hawk
it was when the traveler, lumine, visited your adeptus lover
you were excited to see xiao, you had two plates of almond tofu in hand and was stepping up the staira to the balcony
you hummed a little tune to yourself
"first hilichurl got sick, second hilichurl took care, third hilichurl gathers medicine, fourth hilichurl prepares-"
you halt your singing when you hear laughter
laughter from a woman, huffs from a man
"xiao, thanks for meeting up with me today, i really appreciate it." lumine smiles at the yaksha, "we would've been at a loss if it weren't for you."
frowning, you step back and watch them from behind the opening of the balcony
"i am in no need of your reassurance, puny mortal. it was a necessity for rex lapis' sake, do not take it any other way." he says, although the flush of his face was an obvious indicator that he also cared for his friend
"yeah, whatever you say xiao." paimon laughed and lumine soon after
fuck. you felt something break on your foot.
xiao and the traveler snapped their heads to your direction–
only to find nothing there
"i'll go check on it," lumine offers and xiao simply nods, finishing the tofu she brought for him
the blonde traveller walks to the scene and sees a plate of almond tofu in bits and pieces
"eh?... what's all this?" she questions
she crouches down to observe the scene
"AH-!" lumine tumbles down the stairs with you on top of her
not giving her time to react, you punch her in the face repeatedly
"don't-" smack in the face
"try-" punch up her chin
"to-" bash her head on the floor
"take-" punch to the left
"him!" punch to the right
verr goldet and paimon cries for you to stop, the former prying you off the bruised blonde
xiao hears the commotion and sees the traveller's nose bleeding and your figure heaving on the ground, fists clenched
if verr goldet hadn't pulled you away, you would've killed the girl
xiao huffs and shakes visibly
"what is all this?" he angrily mumbles, "care to explain yourself, y/n?"
"xiao-" you begin to cry, "why would you spend time with her? i'm hurt of course!"
"you intend to tell me you're the only one i can talk to?" he raises his tone
"yes!" you whimper
"..verr goldet, bring the traveller to a healer, y/n, come with me." he holds a stoic expression
he was beyond angry
following him to the balcony, he keeps a distance from you, about three steps away.
finally coming to a stop, he faces you.
"i don't know what got onto you, but we're going to solve this," he crosses his arms, "right here, right now."
if you think c!dream deserves torture, you don’t know what torture is
alrighty, it’s time for me to do annoyingly in-depth lore analysis again because i have seen way too many people on my dash and twitter timeline saying that c!dream deserves to be tortured.
i don’t really think people have a comprehensive, reality-based understanding of what torture actually is, what it can do, and the motivations behind it. i, unfortunately, do: i’ve done extensive professional-level study on torture, so i’m going to do my best to put out some knowledge into our little dsmp-related world.
obvious content warnings for references to torture and to violence below the cut (nothing too graphic, though; i know this isn’t an academic forum or government work)
all of this is /rp /dsmp
i’ll also list some sources at the very bottom if you want to learn more
alright then, let’s start: what is torture, anyway?
there are two types of definitions, general and legal. i’ll reference both, but the message they carry is essentially the same, so i’ll just paraphrase the united nations definition that’s party to (read: supported/enforced by) 170 countries:
torture is any act that intentionally causes SEVERE harm to someone, physical OR mental, for the purposes of extracting information or punishment for failure to do so, with explicit consent from an acting public authority.
i’ll break down those components in the context of the dsmp in a second, but i first want to make it very clear what torture ISN’T. torture is not manipulation, it is not "trauma” in the way trauma is broadly conceived, it is not even direct physical abuse. you can suffer abuse from, say, a parent or a partner, and that abuse is about a power dynamic, where one person is being forcibly subordinated to the other. torture, on the other hand, is not necessarily about power, and it’s definitely not ONLY about power dynamics; torture, by its very definition, has to be intensely and officially coercive, and it has to be SEVERE. there are not degrees of torture, like there are degrees of abuse: being deprived of sleep for days or even weeks at a time is just as psychologically impactful as losing a limb or being waterboarded (simulated drowning- a common torture method that the us has been known to employ).
this is my first major issue with the way some viewers of the dsmp approach this whole debacle. i constantly hear c!tommy’s manipulation by c!dream cited as a perfect justification for c!dream’s torture. what c!tommy, and others on the server- particularly the kids- went through is horrible, and intensely traumatic. i will never deny them that, especially as a survivor of abuse myself, but torture is not just another form of trauma. that’s a very important distinction that we, as viewers, have to draw: torture is considerably worse because it is sanctioned, it is coercive, and its explicit goal is not just to cause pain or make someone feel powerless (common goals of abusers), but instead to shatter someone.
in more specific terms, the mental goal of torture is to completely unmake someone’s conception of the world, how they interact with it, and their basic sense of identity. if you read accounts or speak with survivors of torture, it is frequently mentioned that their very way of processing everything in life was destroyed by pain and had to be rebuilt, completely different, after escape. by destroying one’s individuality, will, and their most integral of processing abilities, you destroy their grasp on the world; and, to put it lightly, such a breaking event is awful enough that, in an effort to make it stop and regain some sense of normalcy, the victim will tell their persecutors what they want to hear. it’s the reason why confessions obtained through torture are notoriously not admissible in courts of law. this goes far beyond abuse or manipulation, and i need everyone to understand that.
now, let’s get to c!dream’s situation. did he do awful things? yes, undoubtedly. i’m a c!dream apologist, but his manipulation of c!tommy and c!tubbo was very fucked up. beyond that, his notable “crimes” that others on the server aren’t also guilty of committing (e.g., murder, theft, arson, to name a few common ones) really just consist of especially massive destruction of property (people leave c!techno and c!phil out of this equation, much to my chagrin, but i won’t get into it here). punishment for his actions is understandable, and is typically what justice systems aim to do. but, even if we completely ignore the inherent inhumanity of pandora (HOOO BOY that’s a lot to ignore but i digress), c!dream is not being punished, he’s being tortured.
going by the definition i used, let’s break it down:
c!sam knows what c!quackity is doing to c!dream, allows it, and even encourages it. as the warden, he is the person in an official, authority position giving their consent.
c!quackity is, by his own admission, doing what he is to get information out of c!dream. it’s not a confession in this context, but very specific piece of knowledge, with the promise of death also hanging right above it.
list of extreme psychological abuse: long-term solitary confinement (torture if it’s more than 22 hours. c!dream has been in solitary confinement for more than 60 days now), deprivation of the passage of time, general verbal abuse, incredibly limited social contact (people start to fray without basic interaction after a while).
list of extreme physical abuse (god where do i start): prolonged starvation, malnourishment when he isn’t being starved (you will die without protein intake); use of Warden’s Will Breaker pickaxe (it can hack through obsidian, so i think that’s all i need to say), shears (can be used to do things like pull nails, break limb’s bones, amputate toes/fingers/a whole arm in c!ponk’s case), and an OP axe (a sharp blade capable of slicing easily through wood with brute force, and bone is significantly easier to crush than wood).
so, we have consent of authority, coercion for the sake of extracting information, and severe physical/mental abuse meant solely to cause extreme pain. c!dream is being tortured according to the proper, internationally-sanctioned definition of the term, and that is not okay in any circumstances whatsoever.
if you haven’t ever read survivors’ accounts (or the accounts of their victimizers), it’s difficult to understand just how uniquely despicable torture is, and the lifelong effects that remain after it’s over and done with. i honestly recommend you read some testimonials, because it absolutely changes the way you view authority and the world in general.
no one is deserving of this treatment, no matter what atrocities they may or may not have committed.
it’s a basic tenet of human rights, and i don’t think it should be a hard pill to swallow that it’s never excusable in any circumstance. so, defend c!tommy & co. and criticize c!dream’s actions all you want, but please never say that torture is alright. that statement has real consequences, and real moral implications. don’t be an asshole, and don’t be disrespectful to people who have survived it.
if you’re curious, look into these events:
The Argentine Dirty War
Chicago Police’s Jon Burge and his torture regime
Abu Ghraib prison
Extensive torture by Pinochet’s regime in Chile
Guatemalan Civil War
Ugandan policing in the 21st century (Human Rights Watch report here)
if you want some reading, i recommend the following. tumblr will probably nerf this post because of links, but oh well.
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (very important work in the literature on torture)
John Conroy’s Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture
Levenson (e.d.) Torture: A Collection
Ok but. What is JGY’s reaction to hearing. that. Apparently. A-Fu... doesn’t? Have a knife/lock pick on him at all times???
LXC: Why Would Our Child Have A KNIFE (the lock picks a LITTE more reasonable)
NMJ: Hmmmmm (idk What he’d say)
JGY:.....(trying to figure out how to answer ‘perverts and theifs’ without revealing more of his messed up childhood)
[WOW, I apparently wrote this months ago, put it in my drafts and completely forgot about it?? This happens when A-Fu is about 3, so before And A-Fu Makes Four. TW: Vague allusions to hypothetical and past child abuse/predatory adults]
[3zun Raise Jingyi AU] [Main Fic][Ao3 Link]
“When were we thinking he was going to get one?” Jin Guangyao idly pressed his index finger around the rim of a tiny sauce dish. The force he exerted fell into sync with the steady, confident rhythm of Nie Mingjue’s knife cuts, echoing throughout the kitchen, his eyes watching the dip and flash of the gradient of blue, like the waves of the ocean. Dark to light to dark to light.
Lan Xichen hummed in thought as he sorted the vegetables A-Fu had helped grow in the little practice garden with Huaisang near the late Second Madam Nie’s flowers. His long fingers lightly turned them this way and that against the heavily marked counter. “Their progress dictates when they receive their first spiritual tool, but they received practice swords to build their strength when--” he obligingly cut himself off when Jin Guangyao gave a light, correcting shake of his head without looking up.
“Not a spiritual tool; his first knife for defense. I was taught the precautions of it when I was much younger than him, so I wondered if you had spoken to him about it already and decided to wait.” Dark to light to dark to--the knife strokes had stopped and there was silence. He raised his eyes and found both of them looking at him with varying degrees of confusion and concern.
“What are you talking about? We’ve barely just taught him that knives are not to be touched,” Nie Mingjue demanded with a frown. “The ‘little Baxia incident’ only happened last month. Have you forgotten already?”
Jin Guangyao bit the inside of his cheek to quell the rush of irritation at the accusation in his voice, and responded with a cool smile. “No, I haven’t.”
“Usually they begin with wooden swords to build their strength and to teach them proper etiquette. I’m confused. Have we talked about a knife before?” Lan Xichen was studying his face as if he were trying to draw the answer from him through his gaze, searching and puzzled.
A strangeness that sometimes rose in Jin Guangyao all at once widened the gulf between their lives impossibly under their gaze, yawned to show the canyon of space that separated their experiences and his own. Gentry. Safety. Comfort. The outlines of his own wickedly sharp blades, tucked into sash, sleeve, and boot seemed to warm at his awareness. As soon as he had been able to understand speech and balance on his own feet, there had been a blade in his possession and it was not until this exact moment that he realized this might not be universal.
It shouldn’t surprise him--and in a way, it didn’t. It made sense that they would feel safe within their own lands, their own homes, tucked away in neat little boxes of what was ‘yours’ and ‘mine’. They had not had to live in a place that was ‘theirs’ where you were unwelcome and unsafe. Where anyone could come and go as they pleased. Could use whatever they chose. He had just never considered that anyone would be so...arrogantly confident. Naïve. He had simply thought that perhaps they waited a little longer before teaching their children--though 3 had seemed almost egregiously old.
This was a different world that he was raising his son in. This had been an alienating mistake, once again reminding them that he did not belong, that he was not the same as them. He smiled. “My mistake, I must have misheard.”
The other two traded a look that immediately told him that this was not something they would allow him to brush past. Nie Mingjue’s frown deepened. Purposefully, Jin Guangyao relaxed his shoulders and went back to spinning the dish, as if the tension of an uncomfortable conversation was not already creeping through the room.
“A-Yao,” Xichen said in that gentle way that felt like his hair was being stroked, but in the wrong way, prickles that were not wholly pleasant nor wholly uncomfortable. He wanted to swat away the sensation. This tone was the precursor of being Seen when he had not meant for it. “A-Fu doesn’t need to protect himself here the same way that you did. The sort people he is with are different from the ones that you grew up with.”
His press on the bowl rim was a little too hard this time, spinning it out from under his hand as it wobbled around noisily against the wood. His smile tugged up lopsided, the edge of it sharpening. Because they were alone, together, and they knew him. Because so often he was completely sheathed away. Because it was such a sweet and thoughtless thing to say.
“Er-ge,” he said in the same patient, understanding tone he had used. “I think maybe you’ve forgotten the sort of people who visited where I grew up in the first place.”
The silent consideration that deepened in Lan Xichen’s face was exactly the point; not pity, not shock. But the allowance of a redirection and the reminder of exactly how Jin Guangyao had come to be in this position. Who his mother was. His father. The gentry are not more civilized. Their coin makes their weight and words heavier and their rules and learning help to veil their nature. But at their core, they are just as despicable. The only true difference between them is power.
Watching this disturbance cloud the eyes of the man he loved, he felt the bite of his bitterness melt into a dull ache, a yearning. Except you. Except the most principled and gentle of men. Beyond him, Nie Mingjue was frowning with narrowed eyes and that yearning grew barbs, the sharpness of it a million tiny pinpricks. And you, you....
“Have you seen anyone....” Nie Mingjue’s voice was a dark growl, grating to a stop before he could voice the unspeakable.
When he would have bowed his head or deepened his smile in the presence of others, Jin Guangyao instead let the mask drop away entirely and stared at him. Voice tight and low, he asked, “If I had, would I stay silent?” Would they still be breathing? hung heavy between them all, unspoken because it was unneeded, because he, of all people, knew.
Nie Mingjue blew out a breath and considered the knife in his hands, the bits of greenery clinging to its blade before he shook his head and met his gaze again. “No.”
Well. At least they had that understanding. “No,” he agreed, bringing his voice back to mild, settling his expression. He picked up the dish and set it delicately on its side and spun it, the blurred blue whirl making a little orb slowly traversing its way over the table. “It’s simply something to consider, I suppose.”
He felt the weight of Xichen’s gaze move off of him and knew he was trading a look with Nie Mingjue that he didn’t want to unravel. So he kept his eyes on the liquid shine of that sphere. It was clear to him now that speaking to the both of them together had been a mistake. He had thought it efficient, since they so rarely could bear to inhabit the same room all together. Stupid.
“I’ll start teaching him some more hand to hand combat. Would that suffice?” The rhythmic, solid ‘thunk’ of the knife was back under the shortness in Nie Mingjue’s tone.
A warmth pressed to his side as Xichen slid onto the bench next to him and Jin Guangyao’s hand was engulfed in his gentle grip. He did not look up, but instead used his other hand to flick the now wobbling sauce dish, tilting it off its axis so it rolled out of its spin and clattered noisily to a stop, upside down. No. “Whatever you both think is best. I suppose was being paranoid.”
Xichen’s hand squeezed and Jin Guangyao knew there was enough strength in him to crush every slender bone in his hand. And that Xichen would never use it. “You’re being a good father,” Xichen murmured. “But, remember, A-Yao, he has us. He will never be alone.” Not like you were, he seemed to mean. Oh, Er-ge.
Did your mother mean to die when she did? He wanted to ask, oh so gently. Mingjue’s parents, Huaisang’s? Our son's birth parents? Of all people, would my mother leave me in that place willingly? His palm rested over the back of the little bowl, let the coolness of it combat the spiced and rising wet heat of the kitchen.
“A-Yao?” A murmur as, across the room, Nie Mingjue began loading the wok and loud hissing flooded over them, blurring Xichen’s quiet voice.
Jin Guangyao looked up at him; the sweet sympathy in his dark eyes, the tug of sorrow at his lips. He pulled out a smile and laid his head on Xichen’s firm shoulder. Turning the dish over, he set his finger again on the rim, tipping it rhythmically, now soundless in the boiling noise around them. Dark to light to dark to light.
There’s A Time For Daring - 1
charlie dalton x fem!reader [post events of the movie]
word count: 1.7k
warning: allusions to sex / slight sexual harrassment? drinking, mentions of neil’s suicide, horrible parents
Charlie couldn’t help but emit a low growl as his vomit-inducing, picture-perfect, high-society mother and father, whom he despised, prodded him towards the expansive front entrance of Nealson Preparatory School located in southern Vermont. His fuschia-lipped, cakey-faced mother, Cynthia Dalton, was a well-dressed, dignified housewife by day and charming socialite by night; she was particularly harsh as she trampled his pen-stained oxfords with her spearish kitten heels. His eyes shot daggers at the snow-strewn path below, a familiar fire burning in his core.
There were many things Charlie was tempted to furiously spit out at his parents, but instead, he managed to keep his jaw clamped shut, his pearly whites digging into the light pink of his lips hard enough to draw blood. No matter what he shouted, cried, pleaded, they wouldn’t budge. They never would. And it was infuriating.
“Charles! Being expelled from such a prestigious school is no laughing matter, young man. That school cost us quite the pretty penny! How dare you defy the rules to the extent of expulsion. It’s disgraceful, and I will tolerate it no longer!” Charlie’s mother shrieked, furious tears smudging the thick mascara that coated her eyelashes.
“You’ll be shipped off to Nealson Preparatory School in February, and if I hear so much as a single mention of your name not followed with overwhelming compliments, you can expect nasty, nasty consequences! Go pack your things, you’ll be staying with Aunt Barbara until the first of February finally arrives!” The rims of Charlie’s brown eyes stung with anger, frustration, and furthest down, sadness. He was diminished to nothing but an image-ruiner to his mother. The person who was supposed to love him, protect him, save him from the horrors of this hell called Earth.
Mr. Dalton silently observed the boisterous outburst from his expensive leather armchair across the den, a glass of strong, half-drunk whiskey in his palm. Charlie couldn’t bear to see their despicable faces any longer, and as his body felt no longer under his control, stomped up the stairs in a huff, rapidly swiping away the glassy tears spilling from his eyes. Thoughts of running away, escaping it all, flooded his unstable mind. ‘I get why you did it, Neil. I really do. But did you have to go so soon?’
But instead of lingering on the image of Neil any longer, he hastily threw his bare necessities into his suitcase, which was still covered in an array of Welton Academy stickers.
The grounds of Nealson were unsurprisingly well-maintained; it reminded him a lot of Welton. The impeccably manicured lawns, gleaming, icy blue lake, the gothic stone arches and pillars. It was eerily similar to Hellton, even down to the ice-cold blanket of snow coating the distant rolling hills. It’s beautiful, Charlie thought, surveying the slow sprinkling of snow, No, it’s hideous.
Before he could fully vomit at the vile grounds of his new school, his parents fiercely shoved him inside the Headmaster’s dingy office, politely taking the vacant mahogany seats beside him. Charlie couldn’t be bothered to listen to a word his parents said with pearly white smiles, which were no doubt tooth-rotting, sugar-coated lies about the real reason he was expelled over a month prior.
He knew that they couldn’t just be transparent and tell the Headmaster that he had socked the utterly vile Richard Cameron’s face in (rightfully so, in his opinion), or that he was a star member of the infamous Dead Poets Society, or that he had gone to the extreme lengths to stage a phone call from none other than God himself. It didn’t work like that.
His mother’s cheeky, artificial voice sounded precisely the same as it always had: carefully rehearsed and slathered with naivety. Seemingly without hesitation, the catty woman could deflect any less-than-pleasant questions or insinuations about her “golden role-model” son, who’s admittedly “a little misguided at times”.
The new headmaster seated across from him appeared to be around the same age as Mr. Nolan, which, as far as Charlie was concerned, was older than the Cretaceous period at least. His pale-as-a-ghost skin was wrinkled and paper-thin; his patchy, gelled side-swept hair was (very obviously) dyed a deep, midnight black, reminiscent of an off-brand Elvis.
Charlie’s ears continued to mute the awkward conversation happening amongst him, his focus instead shifting around to the various awards and certificates lining the ivory walls. They all seemed so phony; ‘Best Headmaster- 1947-1959’, ‘Nealson Academy: Exceeds Expectations’. The Headmaster had even framed his high school superlative: ‘Voted Most Likely to Succeed’. What a pathetic-
In a swift blur, his parents rose from their seats, his mother clutching her magenta purse with matching pursed lips. Charlie was handed a hefty, stapled packet packed full of school rules and guidelines with a denture-toothed smile from Headmaster ‘Campbell’. This’d make some decent kindling, he thought as he yanked the packet from his clammy clutches, leafing through its pages with a smirk, this garbage’s almost laughable.
A syncopated rhythm of raps on the door, followed by a gravelly, ‘come in', presented his new dorm escort. His chauffeur just so happened to be you, the accomplished and universally admired student body president in the same grade as the newcomer. You were dutifully donning Nealson’s horrendous uniform: a crisp, white button-up accented with a blue and silver tie was topped with a depressing grey sweater vest. An equally loathsome pleated skirt concealed your thighs, and your ankles were shielded from the chilly February air with black crew socks.
You extended your perfectly manicured, soft hand out to your brand-new peer with a yearbook-worthy smile, introducing, “Hi. Welcome to Nealson, I’m Y/N Y/L/N.” You swore you heard the brunette mutter something disrespectful under his breath, but nonetheless, he, rather unprofessionally, shook your hand with an eye roll. Things between the two of you were not starting off the way you hoped, but you were determined to make a good impression. The best impression possible.
“Charlie Dalton,” he replied with a mischievous smirk. The brunette standing in front of you reeked of cigarettes, and there was the slightest smell of cheap beer clinging to his clothes. His brown hair was messy, springing out in every direction, despite the water furiously combed through it. His eyes glinted with rebellion, a look so alluring yet dangerous.
“I’ll be showing you to your dorm, which you’ll sleep in for the remainder of the year.” Since Dalton was starting in February, he only had five months of studying before long-awaited senior year. Mr. Campbell waved the two of you off, and with that, you trekked towards the Boys’ wing, Dalton sauntering at your side.
The walk through the main corridor was silent and awkward. You had tried to enchant him with fun facts about Nealson and its (extensively selective) history, much to his obvious boredom and dismay. His umber eyes glazed the walls, uninterested in the decor. His mind seemed to be elsewhere, but for all you knew, it could be on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
After a while of treading through the high-ceilinged corridors illuminated with fleeting pale rays of sunlight, the boy next to you made no attempt to hide him drawing designs up and down your body.
“I’ve never been to a school with both boys and girls,” he drawled with a smirk. “Do things ever get exciting around here?”
You shook your head no while indiscreetly tugging down the hem of your skirt uncomfortably, and he said, “Do you think you’d maybe wanna spend the night with me in my dorm? Make sure I’m all settled in?”
Your whole body, from head to toe, froze. The audacity of this… creep! Your tongue poked, nearly stabbed, the back of your teeth, wanting to unleash a select few words to the disgusting Dalton beside you. But alas, if he were to tell anyone of your fiery wrath, you’d be demoted from class president faster than you could explain what really happened. It’s a corrupt system, sure, but even with the power that comes with such a title, there was no way to mend it.
Eventually, while you were wrapped up in the furies of your mind, Dalton revealed a small, autographed golf ball from his trousers pocket and began throwing it up and down above his head casually with every step.
“Can you not?” you snapped at the chestnut-haired boy after he tossed the sphere up and down again in an arch. “Don’t wanna get in trouble on your first day, do you?”
“You think this’ll get me in trouble? Have a little fun, it won’t kill you. I promise.” Dalton turned his gaze towards you, an annoyed but smug grin painted on his lips. He slowly tossed the golf ball to your hands, intending for you to catch it. However, the small ball evaded your grasp, instead bouncing around the hardwood floors below you, creating a series of loud, reverberating thunks.
“You were supposed to catch it, you know,” Dalton teased, nonchalantly watching you chase after the rogue orb. After it was finally safe in your clutches, you stomped over to the no-good newbie, irritated.
“Nealson’s strict. They don’t let stuff like creating an awful lot of racket go unreprimanded.” You were seething; red-hot blood pumped through your veins. Dalton didn’t look anything but utterly amused.
“Wow, you’re just about one of the biggest suck-ups I’ve seen in a while.”
“A what?” you growled.
“A suck-up. A rule-following poster child of excellence? A bratty, know-it-all? Anything along those lines?” He sputtered insults so nonchalantly, it made your blood boil and eyes sting.
“You better watch it, Dalton. I don’t know who you think you are-”
“I’m the best thing that’s happened to this school, by the looks of it.”
You had nothing left to say to this conceited shuck of a boy who really thought that he was all that and a side of fries. Well he wasn’t! Not in the slightest! And if his first day of classes wouldn’t drill it into him, you would.
The rest of the walk was pin-drop silent and tense. No more fun facts about Nealson escaped your downturned lips, just the light patting of his beat-up oxfords and your pristine mary-janes on the polished wood floor. The hallways seemed more depressing than usual, their framed portraits and condensated windows didn’t fill you with the motivation that you came to expect.
After finally arriving at the boys’ dormitories, you grumbled, “well, this is it. Have a swell life, Dalton.”
“Right back at ya, Y/L/N. Let’s hope this isn’t the last time we meet.” He gave you a cheeky wink before slamming the door in your face.
Curse Of The Tiger King
King!Jung Jaehyun x Zoologist!Reader
Characters: Jung Jaehyun, Lee Donghyuck (Haechan), Kim Dongyoung (Doyoung), some tigers n stuff.
Summary: Jung Jaehyun was known as the Tiger King of the Joseon Era because of how many men he fearlessly killed on the battlefield that matches how many tigers he said to have killed with his bare hands. Because of this, he was cursed into a eternal life as a tiger spirit with only one way to break it.
Word Count: 6k+
Warnings: Graphic depictions of violence, animal abuse, war, curses, suicidal thoughts, angst, fluff, etc.
A/N: Idek my mom said the plot is weird but i dig it also listen to tiger inside by superm prolly okie thx. I honestly could have done more research on tigers but like let me live with my inaccuracies okay. Also i may do a pt2 idek
Donghyuck was thankful that it started to storm tonight. Even to the roars of thunder he was indebted to, for it meant his king would not go out and hunt at this hour.
The sycophant adviser Moon Taeil argued with Donghyuck constantly that he was trying to constrain the King of their nation his rights to a glorious hunt of tigers. Why must he dissuade the hunts of the King when he was doing the people a favor and destroying the monsters that could come into their towns and each their children?
It took a lot for Donghyuck not to roll his eyes at the blatant excuse that old minister Taeil had to get the king’s favor. Never in his life had he even heard of a tiger willingly coming out of the wilderness close to human territory had it not been forced out.
It was not that Donghyuck felt sympathy towards tigers either. I mean, who did in this era? It was just that Donghyuck worried the king would strain himself if he immediately goes hunting after just defeating a fleet of usurpers with his army.
He knew how frenzied the king got after drawing blood.
Donghyuck, as the king's right hand man, had a responsibility to keep the nation's sole rule sane.
"Stop worrying," the king said to Donghyuck who was stood not too far behind him.
"I always worry about you, Jaehyun hyung."
Behind closed doors, Donghyuck and Jaehyun were brothers forged by time and not blood. If anyone could help Jaehyun keep his sense, it would be Donghyuck.
Jaehyun was in a dim lit room, kneeled in the middle in front of a slab of stone which he slid his sword back and forth from to sharpen it. Truth be told, it was a habit of his to do this every time he used his sword. But that wasn't what Donghyuck was anxious about. It was the fact Jaehyun didn't wipe the blood on his skin nor did he properly wear his royal robe that keeps goose bumps on his arms.
"It's almost your birthday, Hyuck-ah. Would you like one of my tiger pelts- ah-- should I hunt a tiger for you?" Jaehyun stops sharpening his sword and turns to Donghyuck.
The younger of the two shakes his head and replies, "I couldn't possibly ask for something from my king."
Jaehyun scoffs, "ya you bastard, tell that to all the times you made me buy you noodles when we snuck out the palace as kids."
Donghyuck cleared his throat, "that's on you though for agreeing."
The king chuckles and stands, "there's some rumors going around that there's a white tiger roaming the mountains. They say it is mightier than any ordinary tiger. What do you think? Would you like a white tiger cape?"
"You'd give me something so rare?"
Jaehyun scoffs again and rolls his eyes. He points his sword to Donghyuck, to which he the latter thinks nothing of, "why? Do you think your king is so selfish and keeps everything to himself."
Donghyuck is touched.
But he regrets how pleased Jaehyun's smile was that night. He regrets how he said they should bathe in the royal bath house together and should hunt the white tiger at the break of dawn. He knew in his bones something somehow was going to go wrong with the king.
And even with all his efforts to stay close to him, with all his looney athleticism and determination to catch that white tiger in the mountains, Donghyuck's foot got stuck and twisted upon a tree root.
Of course Jaehyun and he at this point had caught sight of the beast and had scared it off with their numbers. You couldn't possibly believe that the king would be left to hunt alone, would you? But Jaehyun had always been gifted with such immeasurable agility, and well Donghyuck spent most of his life trying to measure up to that. He could not match him however, but much less could the soldiers.
That was why Jaehyun stopped and turned to Donghyuck. He was worried for him like anyone would their younger brother since he deemed Donghyuck as such.
I suppose it was Donghyuck's mistake of trying to talk the king out of catching the white tiger. He knew out of everyone that Jaehyu didn't believe in supernatural or superstitious beliefs simply because they historically worked against his favor. Jaehyun had a knack of proving people wrong with his sheer will, and up to now, he had done nothing but that
Donghyuck had triggered that in him when he muttered to the king, "I have a bad feeling about this hunt. We should turn back, lest you get hurt."
Jaehyun's face ignited at the posing challenge. "Nonsense, I won't let your injury heed nothing. I should definitely catch that tiger no matter what."
So Jaehyun tread off by himself. Donghyuck tried to force himself to go after him. He watched as the king got far enough that he looked like a dot. Still, Donghyuck pushed on. He propped himself up and limped as fast as he could. He thought of simply turning back, but he didn't have much of a choice when he heard the king scream and a tiger roar.
Suddenly, it was silent.
Donghyuk felt like he choked on his heart, "the king is dead."
Jaehyun doesn't remember what he saw, but he remembers what he felt. He felt excruciating pain, like his inside were being pulled from inside out. Then he felt cold. Then there was darkness.
Then he blinked his eyes open and saw the face of a white tiger. His heart dropped and he felt the need to flee. But he was unable to do nothing but wiggle like a worm. He could no longer feel his hands.
The realized then... he had no hands.
The white tiger at this point was above him. It began to lick Jaehyun's body. There was an aroma in the air he recognized as blood. Dear lord, did this tiger devour his body?
But Jaehyun felt no more pain. He tried to scream, but he was only able to make a small sound.
He heard a similar sound next to him, and soon he was kicked in the face by paws. Instinctively, he was annoyed and felt the need to fight back, but he could barely muster the strength to stand on his four feet.
Wait... he had four feet?
The white tiger who had assaulted him with its tongue, laid before him and rolled her belly, revealing pert nipples. It seemed a litter of kittens waddled towards the invitingly plush belly and began suckling. Jaehyun disagreed as it slowly sank in what was happening. He felt his belly rumble in hunger.
Somehow, this large tiger felt Jaehyun's reluctance and clumsily but softly shoved Jaehyun close to its belly. The white tiger was a mother to four cubs, and Jaehyun was one of them.
The mother tiger laid down and yawned, blinking slowly until she shut her eyes. He saw there was an available area where he could suckle in between the two cubs on the left and the one on the right.
Jaehyun screamed, but again, there was only a pathetically small sound that left his throat. After minutes of waiting, he grew weaker and found it was futile. This baby tiger body he was in much strongly disagreed with the emptiness of its stomach.
So he nursed on warm milk and he began to dream he was a white tiger cub.
Except it wasn't a dream, and he remained trapped in this body up he slowly grew stronger and stronger.
Jaehyun began to recall the voice of his mother, his real mother, in his sleep. She warned him of spirits in the rivers, in the trees, in the mountains, and how it was the king's duty to protect the people from it.
It made him think that the white tiger he was following in the mountain may have been a spirit, and this was the punishment for wanting to hunt it. That white tiger spirit made Jaehyun the cub of a real white tiger. He knew this tiger he now trusted like a mother was not the one he had been following in the forest by the mountains, simply because this forest they roamed where not by those mountains.
He knew that place like the back of his hand since he both grew up there and hunted there frequently. Jaehyun found no familiarity in the landscape here. It smelled very similar, but even in that he could tell a difference. There was a repulsive bitterness in the air he could not distinguish. It was unlike any smoke he had breathed in. He began to doubt he was even still in his Joseon borders.
What he was certain of, after moons and suns passed, was there was no way he was getting out of this body. He thought of killing the cubs, but it seems the cub-body he was in was the weakest of the four. And of course, killing the mother came into mind, but he could barely fend himself from the cubs, how could he defeat the largest of them all?
Jaehyun vowed to learn their ways and use it against them once he was large enough. One may think it despicable, especially when Jaehyun trusted the tiger mother would not harm him, but it was his only chance as he could see it.
That was until a storm struck the forest, and it awakened a vivid memory of Jaehyun. It was like his last night with Donghyuck. He had just told him he would catch a white tiger for him. They had bathed in the royal bathing house. Jaehyun shivered under his fur at the memory of the warm water Donghyuck farted it.
He could help him.
Why hadn’t he thought of looking for his friend before?
So from the dry safety of this cave they stayed in, Jaehyun ran past the licking cubs and ran into the storm. He didn't know how he could find Donghyuck, but Jaehyun thought he would probably at least find his palace... Right?
It was funny that he heard chuffing from behind. He initially thought it was the rain beating down on him or the water that got into his furry ear, but he realized it was the mother tiger calling out to him. She ran after him and snatched him by the nape to drag him back into the cave.
Jaehyun knew there was no way out of this, since this tiger had done it to him multiple times. He had to wait until she put him down before he could run again.
And she did, gently on the other cubs. Jaehyun made sure to paw the largest of the other three in the face. He was satisfied when he shook his head at the action.
The mother tiger then shook off the water on her coat just as Jaehyun did. She then thought to lie in front of the opening of the cave to block further passage, as if she knew Jaehyun would try it again.
He had to admit, this mother was intuitive, not unlike Jaehyun's own mother. Part of him couldn't help but feel pity of the dumb creature because she genuinely believed Jaehyun was her cub. If she only knew what he did to tigers in his life. She surely would not hesitate to let Jaehyun leave.
Jaehyun suddenly got his head bashed into the mother tiger's arm.
WHO DID THAT?
He turned and saw it was one of the other cubs in the litter that then made one of those playing sounds and began to batter at Jaehyun's face with its paw.
Jaehyun scoffed, you don't know I've been practicing my pouncing.
He then put his front legs down and hind legs up and aimed for the annoying cub. He then jumped to its face and began gnawing at him. Haha, serves him right.
But suddenly the fat cub joined in and went at Jaehyun and the other cub. At this point they were really going at it. Jaehyun screeched for help, knowing it would alert the mother, to which the mother tiger did then sound back a warning to the cubs which made then pull back instantly.
Serves them right.
Jaehyun decided he was too tired to run away today, and wasn't even sure how to catch prey yet, nor was he big enough to kill something larger than sparrows, so he should probably stay and learn that first.
He turned and saw that one of the other cubs were being licked, to that Jaehyun felt vexed because as far as he remembered, he was the one that got wet and needed excess water off his coat.
So he then shoved his cub brother to the side and took all the warm licks from his mother tiger.
It dawned on him why this tiger went after him. Jaehyun had been left to nothing but thinking. Mother tiger wouldn't have been upset that she only three cubs left, she would be upset because she lost one. This tiger, after all, was still a mother, aside from being a beast.
Through time, Jaehyun grew fond of her. Jaehyun realized she was very patient and her favorite food was deer. He even grew fond of the annoying cubs enough that he gave them their own names. The big oaf he named Youngho, the daintier one, Jungwoo, and the more refined one, Taeyong.
He didn't have to name his tiger mother since she was set apart, but Jaehyun decided to call her Aerum, which meant beautiful.
There was a roar of thunder in the sky one day, only it wasn't raining and there were no dark clouds. It was the first time Jaehyun felt palpable fear in this form. It was so intense he ran to his mother.
He saw something moving in the sky. Jaehyun's tiger eyes widened as he decided it was most probably a dragon. His mother did not seem to fear it, and so he thought the five of them could probably kill that dragon if it came near enough. In the clear sky, Jaehyun could not believe what he saw. He began to doubt it was a dragon all together since it looked nothing like one. It had no scales and was silvery smooth, it neither had a head to breathe fire from, nor did it have impressive flapping wings. In fact it wings didn't beat like a bird's at all, which made Jaehyun wonder how it was flying anyway.
He soon forgot about the encounter with that wannabe dragon. Jaehyun knew he had nothing to worry about anyway since he was with his mother.
That is until there was a slipping sound from not too far and it alerted everyone of them.
Jaehyun breathed in deeply and smelled something different in the air. He heard what he could never mistake, the hushed arguments of humans.
He turned to mother tiger and saw her defences were up. They were being hunted.
It somehow made Jaehyun both relieved and concerned that mother tiger knew exactly what was happening.
There was suddenly crack in the air and it made Jaehyun's hair raise. He could not distinguish the sound. It sounded something like a canon, but it was not as loud. He knew arrows would not sound as such, so it frightened him that he did not know what it was.
It all happened so quickly, so quick in fact that it made Jaehyun realize how terrifying it is to be hunted.
They were upon then. There were three hunters with blood shot eyes. Jaehyun wondered what county these people came from that they dressed so awkwardly and held black sticks wherever they went.
But then they aimed at Youngho and head was cracked open. He fell instantly without a sound, and all they could do was run.
Jaehyun heard them laugh for joy, but I knew they would not stop until they got all of us.
The cracking sounds, Jaehyun realized, came from the weapons he thought to be sticks. It smelled hot and malicious. He loathed them.
They were bought to a mountainous area. Surely they could not keep up with them if they climbed high enough. Jaehyun was perturbed when they saw the men in some sort of machine with wheels. It had to be the most terrible thing he had seen.
They thundered towards them. Jaehyun knew they were aiming for their mother. Still, they ran and ran. Jaehyun wondered if he could try and lead them astray if he separated from them. So he did and breathed heavily as he ran with all his legs.
Jaehyun was scared they were shooting for him but he dared to turn back and jar his teeth out. It was then he saw Jungwoo fell flat and so did Taeyong from behind. His mother was now running towards him.
Their mistake was to stop and gather Jungwoo and Taeyong's bodies. As much as it enraged Jaehyun to see them, it made mother tiger furious. She began to charge towards them, and so did Jaehyun.
The fools somehow did not know it was coming, and the three that had been on their tail were scared for their lives that they had not time to act.
She came for their throats and ripped them off with her mighty power. I came for the leg of the other that tried to flee and when he fell on his face, when for his neck as well.
The man shot at mother but only got her leg. She tried to come for him next, but he tried again and then shot at her head. Once she was down, he shot at her again, and again, and again, and again, until he could no longer make a cracking sound with his weapon.
This was his mistake. He realized this when he and Jaehyun caught each other's eye. Jaehyun was pleased he looked terrified beyond compare.
Donghyuck always said he got into a frenzy whenever he's just gotten his sword slick with blood after he's gotten off of the battlefield or done with a hunt. But in truth it was the chase that excited him, and not what he has slain. But Jaehyun knew for certain that he was going to enjoy killing him.
Jaehyun knew he deserved to die a miserable death when he ran like a coward and didn't think to raise up one of the weapons his friends had. He was upon him, but then out came more people. They were in the same machines the three came in, and there were much more of them. Jaehyun would be a fool if he thought he could take them. He had no sword, no army. He barely had fangs and claws.
Jaehyun decided to slow down. He came to a halt when he saw these people were seemingly not on his side. They apprehended his mother’s kill. They shoved him against a tree and bound his wrists behind him. He was half pleased, he would be fully if he could rip his throat out.
But then there was you.
You came out of the same contraptions the ones who killed the tiger brothers did but you came out slowly.
You wore the same thing they did, but you held a different expression.
There was a man next to you that raised a similar weapon the other men had, but you told them to stand down.
You brought out meat. It smelled old, but it made Jaehyun realize he was so hungry. So hungry, and scared.
He knew you were trying to win him over. But he knew better than to easily trust a stranger. Then he thought of how the people on your team apprehended his mother's killer, and how you told off the man who was going to aim at him. Jaehyun decided he could take the meat you had and run.
You slowly crouched down and tossed the meat to him. Jaehyun thought it smelled unlike the meat he had eaten before but decided to eat it.
Jaehyun decided to bolt, but there was a sound of a fired arrow in the air, and he so suddenly he couldn't feel his legs.
When Jaehyun woke up, he was in a cage. It wasn't made of wood, but metal. There was food and water in a metal bowl in front of him, but he knew better than fall for that again.
He looked around the room with white lights that had no flame. There were dried plant stalk on the ground, much like a prison cell but it was only Jaehyun.
"Hi there," you spoke when you came into view. You smiled at Jaehyun’s tiger form and stuck your finger into the cage to point at the food.
Jaehyun thought if he wanted, he could bite it off.
"I'm sorry Dongyoung had to tranquilize you. I'm sure you must feel horrible."
Oh, don't try to sympathize with terms I don't understand.
"You should eat. I promise no one will shoot at you."
Jaehyun and you stare at each other. He decides he would rather get shot and join his tiger mother and brothers that live the rest of his life in this cage with you as his captor
You expected no less than the reaction you were getting. Still, you continued with what yow wanted to say, "You must feel so angered and lonely."
Jaehyun watches as you sit on the floor you stood on. He paces around the cage as you continue, "I saw what you did to the man. You tore his calf and punctured airway, suffocating him with his blood. Impressive for your size, honestly."
I would've killed his friend too had you not taken him.
"And you should know, the poacher who killed your mother is going to spend the rest his life in prison for hunting the last snow tigers in the country."
Jaehyun freezes. Hunting? Jaehyun begins to wonder then who has made the act illegal.
Could it be Donghyuk? Does that mean he ascended to the throne. That seems unprobable, when his cousin Sungchan has been eyeing the throne since he was born and Donghyuk had no desire for power. And why would Donghyuk make it illegal anyway? Could he possibly know his king was turned into a tiger?
A thousand questions ran into Jaehyun’s head.
"Don't worry, I'm fighting to pass a law that can protect you and your kin with the U.N.," you say suddenly, which further baffles Jaehyun.
Who is the world are you to have such a power? And who was this Yooen?
"Now come and eat, tiger cub. The sooner you get big and strong, the sooner we can release you back into the wild."
Based on that, Jaehyun didn't believe you at all at this point. He knew you had to at least be blantantly aware he was not a cub. Sure he was not nearly as large as his mother yet, but he was neither a defenseless suckling baby. You said it yourself, he killed a man.
You watched as the caged tiger continued to pace inside. You knew animals could feel and mourn, but somehow you felt this tiger was scheming. You knew this white tiger was still leaning into maturity, since it took a long time for him to kill the poacher. It excited you that you’d be able to spend a few months with such a rare and majestic creature.
Jaehyun decided to pretend he was going to try and trust you. He might learn a lot about his predicament from you since you shamelessly talked to the him as if he were still human.
His days began like this for a while, there would be food given everyday in what he observed to be the exact same time, and you would randomly come and talk and talk and talk and talk.
Jaehyun supposes he got on your good side when you drew him into a cage and let him into a grander setting. It was in a vast cage outside, not like the stuffy one he was originally in. Prison was still prison, but at least he couldn't see all four walls on one side.
There was initially a drawback with that. In this enclosure, as you called, you were much more present, and became more bolder. You began to touch Jaehyun, which made him shudder. How dare you touch the king of Joseon?
"You're such a drama queen," you would quip everytime Jaehyun jumped at your touch from behind the thin rodded cage.
"Maybe I should name you that, huh, drama queen," you jested. Jaehyun rolled his eyes and finished his chicken. You were bold no matter what. You were making fun of not only a white tiger, but the Tiger King. What's more, he found it annoying you gave him old chicken all the time.
"Wang," you said suddenly, which made Jaehyun stop his feeding. King, he hadn't been called that in so long.
You made a sound, "you seem to like that, huh. I guess that can be your name then, Wang."
It felt so sudden to you that Wang grew in to that what you proudly stated a fine tiger specimen. Jaehyun felt proud of himself whenever you would bring what he grew to learn were doctors who studies animals as their profession.
You and Jaehyun at this point had grown comfortable enough that Jaehyun let you sit next to him and stroke his head while he slept. It was only you though. He hated it when that Dongyoung tried to touch him, or when he tried to touch you, especially when you'd let him.
On this breezy afternoon, he was saddened as he put his chin on your thighs. He had never been so vulnerable like so with a woman. Sure he had bedded gisaengs in his time, but he wouldn't let them touch him, much less stroke his head.
It saddened him more when he realized the reason why you and the rest of the people here wore such strange things and had such strange objects was because you no longer lived in the time of Joseon. After all the stories you've told about your day to Jaehyun, he has learned hundreds of years has passed between the time he was king and now.
You now were born into the country of Korea, a nation split in two; you were in its Southern part. You cared deeply for who you called Wang because Jaehyun lived in the body of the last white tiger in the country, the few left in the world. You were a doctor and an officer that protects the welfare of wild animals.
You were going to set him free in a few days.
That is, until this tiger was put in the enclosure next to Jaehyun's. He smelled afraid. He jumped at everything and had lash and burn marks on his body. It was clear to anyone humans inflicted these marks on him.
"Wang, this is Yuta. Be kind to him because all he's ever known is abuse from his captors."
Yuta, beyond smelling like fear, smelled like he was dying. He was clearly unwell. Jaehyun had to make sure you knew this somehow.
Jaehyun was unsure what you thought would happen, but Yuta barely came near him even though Jaehyun chuffed his way. He barely acted like a tiger, if you asked Jaehyun. Trust him, he knew.
You began to focus your time on Yuta more. For once, Jaehyun didn't mind, because he knew the battered tiger needed it. He didn't seem that much older than Jaehyun, which somehow made you think you would be instant friends. For your sake, Jaehyun tried to show him what could be done as a tiger. He flaunted his prowess in running, tree climbing, even in roaring.
Yuta didn't seem to care and stayed in his side of the enclosure.
Strangely enough, Jaehyun still tried to chuff at Yuta, and to his surprise, Yuta chuffed back.
You jumped into Dongyoung's arms upon seeing Jaehyun's victory, to which Jaehyun nearly lashed out for.
It was then, Yuta and Jaehyun slowly became to form a bond. They would meet each other in the middle of the enclosure and would pace around together. You began to suggest bringing each other into the same enclosure, to which Dongyoung strongly disagreed with. Jaehyun wanted a chance to prove that man wrong, and it was eventually given to him.
Everyone was apprehensive with the idea of putting two male tigers into the room, which was why Dongyoung held tightly onto that weapon of his, but you reason you were both not fully adults yet, so there is a chance Yuta and Jaehyun to bond.
And a bond was surely created.
Jaehyun felt his heart swell at the sense of companionship he had with Yuta. It was neither that of what he felt with Youngho, Taeyong, or Jungwoo, but he somehow felt an undefinable closeness with this tiger.
Yuta was not a white tiger like Jaehyun, but an orange tiger. You reasoned that could be a reason why you had a bond with each other, you were different to each other and there was no females present for competition.
Jaehyun began to think of you and Dongyoung, and how he could eat him without getting caught.
Again, the day of the new joint release of Jaehyun and Yuta came close.
You cried on what Jaehyun knew to be your last visit.
You led the two tigers into cages and shipped them into protected forest land.
Yuta waited for Jaehyun before coming out of the cage they were shipped in. Jaehyun felt something indescribable in his paws when he walked out. Recognition came into his senses. He gave out a roar and began running.
He found that he was being followed by Yuta as he wove through the forest. The breeze was not exactly that of his childhood, but there he saw the same mountain he tread upon when he was hunting a white tiger. Suddenly, he began to see a figure of a man running towards him. He held a sword and a determined look. It took a moment to realize that it was him.
He screams and jolts up. It seems he was lying on a leafy ground and sat up.
Donghyuck shouts, "the king is dead. Oh, lord let him not be dead."
Jaehyun snaps his head to the limping figure from afar who was struggling to stalk towards him. He quickly stands from his the ground he was sat on.
"Donghyuck-ah!" Jaehyun calls, running towards him and sealing him into a tight hug.
Donghyuck is nearly taken aback but pats the king's back, thinking the relief he felt was from his brush with death.
"Let's go home," Jaehyun mutters.
Donghyuck is flabbergasted that the king decreed the next day he would make hunting for sport illegal. Everyone is appalled by the sudden decree, but the law is quickly passed.
Donghyuck does not believe the story Jaehyun said, how he saw the white tiger he was following had four cubs and it made him realize that the tiger he was trying to hunt was a mother more than a beast. Still, he couldn't possibly dare try and argue with the king, no one did for that matter.
Since he had no white tiger pelt to offer, Jaehyun instead bought him a house just outside the palace as a birthday gift. On Donghyuck's day, the king even organized a house warming.
The birthday boy was not enjoying it however.
"Hyung, are you sure you're okay? You haven't been the same since we got home from the hunt."
Jaehyun turned to Donghyuck, who scowled at him. The older of the two placed a hand the younger’s shoulder, "It's already been four days since that incident. Drink some alcohol, relax."
Donghyuck sighs, "Why did you even buy me a house when I live in the palace?"
"Consider it your approval for freedom."
Jaehyun pours Donghyuck a drink. "I know you find only burden in the throne. You were sent to the palace by your scheming father so he could get his hand in power. But your father is dead, and you are the head of your household." He turns to his own drink and sighs, "I know what it feels to be imprisoned. Follow your own path. You don't have to live the rest of your days worrying for me anymore."
Donghyuck watches as Jaehyun drinks.
"You are my king," Donghyuck says, "but before that, you were my brother and my best friend. I will gladly live my life close to you if you let me."
Jaehyun feels his lips curve and he scoffs out a chuckle, "ya, it's like you want me to marry you."
"Nope. I already have someone in mind to marry."
Jaehyun looks at Donghyuk with a baffled expression. The latter drinks his drink and mutters lowly "you don't possibly believe I don't get around, hyung?"
The king slaps Donghyuk's shoulder, which nearly makes him spit out his drink, "bring the lucky fool to the palace tomorrow."
Jaehyun has never regretted a decision before, but as Donghyuck knelt there with that person he said he wanted to marry beside, he began to regret something wholeheartedly.
Donghyuck wanted to marry... this? This person that had your face.
How... how could he... how could your face exist in this time.
Donghyuck and this person were knelt before him in his throne room. Jaehyun was stiff on his throne and he quite frankly didn’t know what to do. He left the room in a thick silence. His throat was caught in anxiety. Donghyuck noticed his lover was beginning to get uncomfortable, so he snuck a look at the king and found his face was pale.
“Your majesty,” Donghyuck spoke in concern.
Jaehyun snaps out of it, “how long have you been seeing each other?”
“Two years, your highness.”
He hisses, “you have been going behind hiding this from me for two years?!”
Donghyuck knits his brows and his lover squeaks in fear.
“SURE!” Jaehyun shouts and he stands, “you traitors should get married and get out of my sight!”
Jaehyun got drunk that night and wandered out into the mountains. He bought a bottle of alcohol with him and threatened to kill anyone who dared stop or accompany him.
Of course the servants alerted Donghyuck about this, which was why he ran after the king with a torch.
“WHAT KIND OF CURSE IS THIS?” Jaehyun screamed as he slung his alcohol bottle around, “you want my best friend to marry someone with that face?” Jaehyun began to laugh, “I made hunting illegal! What more do you want from me?!”
“MY KING!” Donghyuck shouted when he caught sight of Jaehyun.
When he got close enough, Donghyuck took reached out to Jaehyun with his free hand. Jaehyun splashed alcohol on him, “I don’t to live like this.”
“Like what, hyung? Do you hate Aerum that much?”
“Aerum?” Jaehyun felt sober again.
“My woman, Aerum.”
“That woman’s name is Aerum?”
Jaehyun began to laugh again. Donghyuck grew uneasy. Jaehyun fell to his knees, his friend dashed over to him in concern. Jaehyun shook his head as Donghyuck talked to him like a gong being sounded. Jaehyun whispers, “I don’t want to live like this.”
But he had no choice.
Jaehyun and Donghyuck went back home. Donghyuck threw Aerum away for Jaehyun’s sake, but he began to slip into depression. It was then Jaehyun began to notice things he was blind to, like how Donghyuck always went out of the palace at a certain time, which he no longer did, and how he always smelled like oranges and had messy hair. No longer did his brother suddenly smile for no reason, nor did he ever ask for mooncakes anymore during lunch. It was then Jaehyun realized he had not hidden anything, but that he was blind to Donghyuck’s sentiments.
So Jaehyun told Donghyuck to marry her, to which he firmly declined. Jaehyun reasoned with lies on how he loved a woman with a similiar face when they were younger, but Donghyuck knew nothing of a woman like that. If he had, he wouldn’t have dared liked Aerum in the first place.
“Do you love her?” Donghyuck asked Jaehyun.
Jaehyun saw the desperation in Donghyuck’s eyes as he asked him this. He was praying he’d say no. Jaehyun spoke firmly, “I don’t.”
Donghyuck believed him, but he wasn’t satisfied.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Jaehyun said. He chuckled bitterly to himself, “I don’t even believe myself.”
“The truth can be hard to believe, but it’s still the truth,” Donghyuck said.
Jaehyun looked at his dear friend and licked his lips, “alright.”
Donghyuck believed every word, to Jaehyun’s astonishment. Jaehyun told him that Areum was not you. Donghyuck was still reluctant when Jaehyun gave him a hairpin to offer Areum, but when the lovers met again, it was easy to fall back in love.
They got married a week later, and it wasn’t long until they welcomed a son into the world. The couple allowed the king to name the boy, and so Jaehyun called Haechan, which meant to shine bright uprightly.
Jaehyun watched as the boy grew stonger, taller, and better in archery than he was at this age. He too watched as Donghyuck began to get slower, and he slowly realized that the world was changing and yet he wasn’t.
It was when Donghyuck had a daughter that both Jaehyun and Donghyuck came to terms with the fact the former was not ageing. At this point, Heachan was eight and brave enough to ride a horse. Donghyuck and Jaehyun looked like they were the same age, or how Areum joked, Donghyuck looked older than the king.
Jaehyun at a point realized if he was not aging, he could meet you again.
So when a time of war came, Jaehyun saw it as a chance to disappear. Donghyuck decided greatly against it. Since Jaehyun took no bride, it meant his cousin Sungchan would succeed the throne. He told him not to worry, and that he would keep a close on eye everything once he was gone.
And so he did.
The line of succession shifted. The colors of the sky changed. Haechan had a son, and his son had a son, and his son had a son, but Jaehyun roamed on his own.
“That’s basically the story of the Tiger King,” Jaehyun smiled his dimpley smile that made all the lined up teenager sound out, impressed with the story.
“So, basically, the Tiger King is still alive, Mr. Jung,” one of the students asked as they moved to the next painting in the museum. Jaehyun looked at the child and thought her eyes reminded him of yours.
“Yes. I think so,” Jaehyun spoke.
“Are you the Tiger King?” another voice spoke, pointing at the ancient drawing behind glass, “you look like him?”
Jaehyun hummed and adjusted the glasses he wore for show, “I get told a lot that I look like him. Would you believe me if I said yes?”
The class cheered, “yes!”
Jaehyun chuckled, “okay then. I am the tiger king.” He said, curling his fingers and pretend growling. The teenagers laugh, fully pleased that he was in on what they believed to be a joke.
By the end of the tour, Jaehyun escorted the students to their bus, where their teacher was waiting for them. And for the first time in years, Jaehyun felt his heart pound at the sight before him.
A group of girls ran up to their teacher and muttered to her how cute the tour guide was. They got a chuckle in response.
“Thank you Mr. Jung for taking care of my kids,” you spoke as you made your way towards him from the bus. Jaehyun looked at you for a prolonged moment, which made you raise your brows slightly.
“So you’re their pretty teacher?” Jaehyun spoke.
You froze for a moment, which made Jaehyun feel smug. He placed his hands in his grey pants’ pockets and clarified, “I mean, the kids described you as ‘their pretty teacher’, that must be you.”
You looked at him for a moment and nodded slowly. Jaehyun smiled, “are you teaching science perhaps?”
You again nod slowly.
“I love science, anthropology and biology especially."
You nod and chuckle nervously, unsure of what to say.
Jaehyun decides to clarify again, "are you teaching part time?"
"Uh, I'm actually going to be a full time faculty soon."
He grows a little confused, "I see. I don't know for some reason you pegged me as a zoologist. Maybe it's because your kids kept singing 'In the jungle the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight'."
You blush, "yeah, sorry, I actually studied zoology which is why I am so passionate about teaching animals to my kids. I unironically play that song a lot in class."
Jaehyun smiles, "well, you know. I think you're interesting and I do agree with your students that you're pretty. Could I possibly get your number?"
"SAY YES, MISS!"
You and Jaehyun turn to the kids sticking their head out in the window. Jaehyun snickers lowly. You begin to burn from head to toe, you feel like. You turn to Jaehyun and turn away, "I'm sorry. I-" Jaehyun watches as you fumble for words and he has honestly never seen you in this light before. You've always been so confident around him as a tiger, and yet you were so timid in front of him as a man. "I'm on the job right now."
Jaehyun nods with a soft smile as you turn around and walk away. No hard feelings. It's not like he's been waiting his whole life for you or anything. He calls out, "visit me sometime, okay?"
The teens squeal.
He watches as the bus drives off and takes note of the school name.
his body slumps against yours the ghost of a whimper can be heard.
“levi ackerman. break my legs if you have it in you, but i’ll only crawl back.” and that's all he needs. your low whisper is all that is required for him to dedicate his heart to you.
what it does to the heart is truly despicable.
is it not?
author note :: dates will vary for chapters so pay attention to the title, i hope you enjoy i have been planning this for a while now :-)
pairing :: knight!levi x princess!reader
genre :: everything really, angst... hm
words :: 1k
warnings :: corsets mentioned just wanted to add this here in case of body image issues etc
limited honour contents page
(check to read in the correct chapter order !!!)
Your undying hatred for the colour green may just become the death of you.
The walls of your bedroom have forever been accented in it, the drapes which frame your windows are the same irritably murky shade.
The Palace gardens aren't home to much life meaning all you really get to see when you longingly gaze out of your windows is the same muddy olive. You long to be let out, allowed to see if outside of these walls there's a life filled with colour.
The only time you're ever blessed with the reward of colour is at noon. Sun settling down into the ridges of the sky you're able to relish in the tangerine infused cerise. It's mind numbing to watch and you eventually discover that you're never quite able to get used to it.
"Is it really that important for me to wear makeup?" You ask, legs dangling off the plush chair you're sat on. Your mother gives you a pitiful look upon hearing your question. Much too young to be concerned with marriage, yet much too old to not care for appearances. This is only the start of a life you don't wish to live.
She doesn't respond. Her fingers instead occupy themselves with the task of fastening her corset.
Before she pulls at the ribbon the ghost of a blooming bruise catches your eyes but you don't inquire. The last time you asked she made you swear on everything in the world to not say a word. So you didn't.
The cage around her torso is still unfamiliar and you wince at the way it squeezes against her uneasily. It looks like an uncomfortable second layer of ribs - instead of providing protection it only highlights pain.
"Don't worry. I'm used to it beaut. It's like makeup, you'll get used to makeup eventually." She tries to sound convincing but you don't buy it. You're sure the corset would be easier on her waist had she not fallen off Father's horse a few weeks back. Why can't she just not wear it this once? She is injured after all.
Drawing your brows back you can't believe anyone could ever be able to grow used to whatever a corset is. Up until recently you had assumed corsets weren't all that and were pretty easy to work with but seeing one face to face is completely different.
Mother and you are silently aware of the fact it presses arduously onto her purple bruising.
"It feels wrong." You finally say out loud.
“It feels wrong that you have to wear a cors-” She cuts you off before you can finish.
“Silence.” Voice unyielding and slightly irked you second guess wanting to voice your opinion out again.
But you’ve forever been stubborn and instead of retiring you match her pace cutting her off in the same fashion as she did you.
"And the makeup. It feels heavy and I don't like it. I think I look funny. My lips are far too red. This feels ridiculous. Can’t I make my own choices?"
Your mother says your name firm and fixed in simmering anger.
“I may be your mother, despite that I am still your Queen.” A hand is slammed down onto your vanity, flinching you aren’t able to move away in time — she’s thrown the book you were just reading away to the floor, allowing for the pages to bend uncomfortably.
Reaching out to grab for it again you’re held back by a firm grip on your arm. You don’t dare move another inch afraid what of what your mother is capable of doing.
Then it hits you. Shuddering you identify that the hand holding you back is smaller than your mother’s, twisting around your Knight is within view.
Eyes widening, horror fills you at his interjection he could be gravely punished for meddling in Royal affairs.
To your surprise he’s spared without a second thought.
“Levi, I forgot you were in the room. You may excuse yourself.” He can’t ignore a clear, direct order from the Queen.
The young knight looks between the two of you unsure for a second if he should depart but he understands he has no power in this situation. Even if he wants to aid you he’ll be unable to do so.
In less than a minute you hear the opening and closing of your door.
Levi has left.
"Remind yourself of your country. Our people are dying, starving from the famine." Her words are carefully chosen, she wants to leave a permanent mark on you.
"The sooner you or one of your sisters finds a marriage proposal from a neighbouring Kingdom the better off Obravia will be."
"But, makeup? What does make- Wait marriage? Right now? I've only just started my Advanced English classes and- And, Mama I'm fourteen??" Utterly flabbergasted is what you are. You know you're the youngest and it's one of your older sisters on the chopping block but it's difficult to fathom your mother is remotely okay with this prospect for any of her daughters.
Gentle expression long gone, bottom lip caught between her teeth her brows furrow. You can't tell if your possible defiance has left her breathless or if it's the work of the vice around her waist. Whatever it is you remain unwilling to meet her uncompromising stare.
"As you grow old you learn there are matters you will have no say in. Even as my youngest child you hold great responsibility within this Kingdom."
Her downturned frown twitches at your next movement.
Swiping a hand over your mouth your Mother's hard work is destroyed within seconds. The red lining of your lips completely smudged. You resemble one of the Royal Jesters.
Stupidly, you’re foolish enough to ask for what your heart yearns.
"And if I don't want to be responsible? If I want to spend my days reading books and studying? Unmarried?"
It doesn’t end well.
But when does it ever?
That night you end up leaving your chambers with even more powder and paint coating your face. It’s practically been pounded onto your cheeks without consent.
When you return from the ball you find your bookshelf empty, not a single novel in sight. Even the book she threw away has vanished.
It serves as your punishment.
Your reality check that Princesses do not receive everything they desire.
Darkness before Dawn XVI: The End
Summary: Kurst has enough power to interact with people in the living realm and teases at your breaking point by killing someone in your family. Geralt finds the tomb in your painting and hopes that this last attempt at saving your life works
Warnings: angst, strong language, blood, murder, small fluff, magical elements, mentions of abuse, did I miss anything?
Word Count: 3,660
Darkness before Dawn Masterlist II The Witcher Masterlist
You don’t realize that you’re in the castle, running down the halls until you see your mother walking by herself. Thinking that you’ve broken out of what you’re used to being dreams, you don’t even question how you got to the middle of the castle. You’re just happy to be out of Krust’s hold.
“Mother?” you call out, wrapping your arms around you when you realize that you’re slightly cold. She doesn’t stop or turn around. So you call out to her again, this time louder and sterner. “Mother!”
She stops and slowly turns her head over her shoulder. A smile fails to grow on your face because of the way her eyes seem to look past you completely. Like you’re invisible. It’s not like when she used to look at you before as if you mean nothing, as if you don’t exist. This time, it’s really as if she can’t see you.
A dark chuckle sounds behind you and you feel an all too familiar, terrible hand touch your shoulder. “Poor Princess. Mommy can’t see ghosts,” Kurst laughs, making you push his hand off your shoulder as you turn around to face him.
You back away from him as he takes a step forward. “What are you talking about?” you ask, a frown growing on your face at his words as you shake your head in confusion.
All he does is smirk at you and look up at your mother as she starts to slowly walk again. “Why don’t I show you what I can do so far?” he slyly says. Then, he closes his eyes, takes a deep breath and then steps forward.
His footsteps echo through the hall and it makes your mother jump around. She gasps at the sight of a strange man standing a few feet away from her but quickly composes herself. “Who are you?” she demands, raising her head in confidence and regality.
Your eyes grow wide as you look between Kurst and your mother. How can she see him and not you?
That’s a stupid question. It’s like he told you. With enough of your soul, your life force, he can interact with people in the living world. And when he looks at you with that evil smile, you know that he’s not going to just talk with your mother.
“No!” you scream as you rush towards him to try and stop him. But he stops you by catching you by your throat, tightens his grip and makes you heave for air.
“I’m a friend of (Y/n),” he says to Uza, takes a step forward and then pushes you away from him.
You fall on the ground, coughing and heavily breathing as you touch your neck where he had his hand. When you close your eyes, you can feel your strength in the living realm fading. You’re dying. You wonder what will be the breaking point.
Uza rolls her eyes and folds her arms over her chest as she examines the man slowly walking towards her. “Where exactly are you from? Because I have never seen you before or anyone dressed like...that,” she speaks, gesturing to his clothing that looks old, almost falling at the seams and with faded colors.
Kurst laughs, nods his head and looks down at you. “Actually, I’m from the spirit realm. You’ve probably heard of me,” he says, lifting his gaze back to Uza when she shifts on her feet. “I’m Kurst.”
The realization falls over your mother’s face and her mouth drops open in shock as her eyes grow wide. She shakes her head frantically as she backs away when Kursts takes hasty steps towards her. “No, it’s impossible,” she whispers, and it’s the first time you’re seeing fear in her eyes. Actual fear.
Pushing yourself off the ground, you figure that if you’re still alive in the living realm, you can draw whatever strength remains to use some magick to save your mother. “Kurst, leave her,” you weakly order, making him turn around with Uza in his grip already.
He tilts his head in confusion at you. “Why should I spare her? What has she ever done for you?” he questions, holds onto her tightly when she tries to escape his hold. His speaking to someone else that she can’t see is what stops her from screaming for help and makes her look for the person he’s talking to; you. “Just think, (Y/n), all those years where she hurt you, left marks on your body. You can get revenge for that right now by seeing her die right now,” he growls, his hand turning into the claw you remember scratching you the night you were cursed. The claws that left a scar on your forearm.
“(Y/n)?” Uza questions, looking around for you. “(Y/n), please-”
Kurst stops her from speaking by pushing a sharp claw against her throat and shushing her softly. “Why try and save someone as despicable as her? After everything she’s done to you,” he says, smirking at you as you shake your head at him.
“She's still my mother,” you say, stepping closer to him as you hold your hand behind you to hide the blue glow as you conjure a spell. “No matter how awful she’s been, she doesn’t deserve to die by your hand. No one does.”
And with the last strength you have in the living realm, you throw your spell towards him, hoping it will set his entire body ablaze. But that doesn’t happen. He holds out his hand and catches your spell, absorbing it and smiling brightly. “I thought you’d do that,” he chuckles.
Just before you can even move forward to try and physically stop him, he slices his claw through your mother’s throat, making blood run down her front. The sight is just like what you saw he played a trick on you with Charlotte. Only this time, the blood is real and the horrible gurgling sound your mother makes as she falls to her knees tells you how true this.
You watch her body fall to the ground, your heart sinking in your chest as you fall to your knees in front of her. You’re absolutely speechless and you don’t know what to do. You can’t conjure up more magick because of how weak your living body is and you’re pretty sure Kurst will finish all this soon.
He breathes out a sigh as he steps around your dead mother. “Don’t worry. I can make sure your entire family dies with you,” Kurst states, making your head turn up to him as he smiles down as his clawed hand. “So you don’t get lonely in the spirit realm.”
Knowing that there’s nothing else you can do, you drop your head and bite your lower lip at the thought that you’re ready to give up. You thought you’d beat this curse with Geralt, and Ida. You thought you’d defeat this Death curse. You never thought you’d give up. But you're ready for that now.
Landing on the ground with unsteady feet, Geralt grunts and tries to find something to steady himself on. “I hate portals,” he mutters to himself as he turns his head over his shoulder and slightly up to the sky to see the portal that Ida hastily created to bring him to wherever he is close and disappear.
He can only dread the next portals that will bring him back if he is successful.
His head turns back to see what lies in front of him, and it’s almost as dark as your painting. A normal human would have to be squinting to be careful of falling over tombstones - both those that are still standing and those that have fallen to pieces. Geralt doesn’t care for the tombstones. He’s not looking for a particular one.
He’s looking for a mausoleum. The one in your painting. He had just enough time to memorize it before being thrown into a portal, but every tomb he comes across looks similar. Except for one feature. The name.
Sastan. That was the name your depiction had so that is the name he is looking out for. He’s alone in this, Malla taking the job of continuing to search for you in the spirit realm. Perhaps then, if she does find you, she can protect you from Krust, hindering his plan to steal your life force.
Keeping his silver sword in hand in case there are any monsters lurking around, Geralt’s eyes never stop moving from side to side. He knows he has to move quickly, but he doesn’t want to risk missing anything. He has to check every mausoleum name, check that there’s no Graveir hiding somewhere, no Ghoul that jumps up from under the ground. Those types of monsters are very fond of cemeteries like this one; dark and gloomy.
Then, he stops something that he had forgotten about in your image. That menacing symbol on the roof of the tomb. It’s the only mausoleum to have that circular symbol, Geralt doesn’t know how he missed it. He hums to himself, runs his tongue over his lower lip, reads the name engraved in the stone, and then takes the step towards the door of the crypt.
He wants to end this once and for all.
Lighting a torch with a flint, he pushes on the sturdy wooden door. It doesn’t budge. So, he takes a step back, holds the torch in one hand, and kicks the door above the handle, making it crack open. Without hesitating, he moves forward and into the crypt by pushing the door open.
The tomb is dark, the only light coming from the torch in Geralt’s hand and the open door behind him. And there’s only one sarcophagus in the sepulcher. He hopes this is it. He hopes so much that this is what he’s been looking for. He hopes that this is what will end the curse and bring you back to life. He hopes that when he moves the stone top, it will be the bones he needs to burn.
Swallowing roughly, he pushes the top of the sarcophagus off, making stone grind against stone and expose the corpse. Geralt’s nose scrunches at the smell, but knows that he’s smelt worse. The smell of a corpse is nothing compared to the corpse of a Nekker. Or even a living one at that.
With a deep breath, he lowers the fiery torch and drops it in among the bones. Taking a step back, he watches the fire catch on the scraps of material that give the fire life and allow it to spread.
He’ll wait there until every single bone is nothing but ash.
Kurst tries to take a step forward to you, but it’s like his foot is pinned to the ground. He tries again, this time his grunt of effort making your head lift up away from your mother’s body to look at him. “What are you doing?” he asks, glaring at you with dark eyes.
But you shake your head, frown at him before glancing down at his feet. Then, you see fire forming under his feet. It’s not the blue fire you threw at him. This is real fire and it makes you crawl backward away from him.
His head snaps down to his feet when he feels the fire and watches it starting to rise up his leg. “What are you doing, you bitch?” he shouts, trying to move again but he stays in his place.
“It looks like my Witcher found your grave, Sastan,” you whisper, a small smile growing on your face as you tear your eyes away from the flames starting to engulf him.
Kurst screams in agony and continues to try and move his feet as his hands swat at the flames creeping up his body. Your heart pounds in your chest as you watch the fire burn his flesh, but there’s no smell. He continues to scream in pain, and all you can do to try and find the heat from the fire. But you still feel cold. Before the flames reach his head, Kurst looks at you with dark eyes. “I’ll get my hands on you somehow, Princess. Dark magic still exists,” he shouts, his hand shooting out as if to grab you.
“Only in the living world,” you state, staring at his burning figure with a small smile on your face.
This is the revenge you wanted for someone who has hurt you. Watching the person who caused sleepless nights, gave you nightmares, and invoked fear in your burn is somehow like a breath of relief. Knowing that they’ll never hurt you like they did before again makes you smile.
And as he burns up, the fire disappearing along with him, you expect to wake in your bed, surrounded by your family. But you don’t. You remain alone and on the floor of the hall.
Your gaze falls down to the body in front of you. Blinking, you almost expect your mother’s corpse to disappear like it was one of Kurst’s illusions. But she remains there in a pool of blood. Tears fill your eyes as you slowly crawl forward, a lump forms in your throat as you reach out to touch her shoulder.
Your hand goes right through her body as if you were touching water. A sob leaves your lips as you fall back to a seated position, your hand shooting to your mouth and you force yourself to look away from your mother. You feel a pang of rising guilt inside you, the kind that normally comes when your mother blamed you for things in the past.
And you can’t help but hear her voice tell you that this is all your fault, that she died because of you. This is all your fault.
It hurts even more that you don’t have a single happy memory of your mother. She’s always cared more about Charlotte than you, treated her better than you since you were a child. Even in the moments where you were basically dying, she didn’t care. She didn’t change like Charlotte did. Now, you don’t have anything to think of to make the realization that she’s gone easier.
Yes, perhaps Kurst made some sense. She’s done nothing for you and maybe this is what she deserved. But still, you don’t think a death sentence isn’t a verdict for anyone. You would have thought of something else to ‘get back at her’, as it were.
A hand falls on your shoulder making your head snap up and hope that it’s someone in the living realm that has found you. Someone like Jaskier, your father, Ida, Charlotte. Geralt…
Malla gives you a small, sincere smile as she helps you stand to your feet. “I know I’m not the one you wished to see right now,” she whispers when she notices the hopeful look on your face die.
“Am I dead?” you ask, not knowing if it was too late for Geralt to save you or if he really did succeed. All you know is that you’re still a ghost in the living realm. But when you turn your head over your shoulder to look back at your mother, you find that she’s gone and you’re not in the castle anymore.
You're in that big, black nothingness again. You look around for a while, trying to find someone, something, anything in the emptiness. But just like it was only you and Kurst last time, this time it’s just you and Malla.
“No. But you’re not alive either,” she says as she holds your hands in hers. “This is where you have the choice not all spirits have. You can stay here and die peacefully in the living world. You’ll have no more pain and this emptiness can be whatever you want it to be. Something that makes you happy, a place filled with people you love. Or-” She pauses, lets her words settle in your mind for a moment before she turns to show you a door behind her. It’s the door to your room. “You can choose to go back and live your life where nothing is set in stone and no one knows what will happen.”
Staring at her for a moment, your mouth drops slightly as your eyes shift to the door. You blink, not sure what to do. The former sounds like it could be so serene. You can have anything and be happy. You can choose to not be a queen, have your painting station and unlimited paints and brushes. You can have Geralt.
You shake your head, clear your throat and look at Malla again. “What about Kurst? Isn’t he now stuck in the spirit realm? Won’t he come after me?” you ask. You don’t want to go through everything again now that he’s essentially been defeated.
“Because his bones were burnt, he lost any kind of power he had before. And, trust me, there are a few spirits here that have some...business with Theis,” she says, a small smirk on her face and a chuckle on her voice. “And if you choose to stay here, no matter if your own bones are burned, you won’t have what he was looking for.”
Her explanation makes sense and you nod your head. “And my mother? Is she here?”
Malla sighs, tilts her head to the side and places her hand on your shoulder. She can hear the sorrow in your voice but isn’t sure if it’s because of her death or because of the thought that you might be stuck with someone that has the potential to hurt you. “You won’t have to see her and interact with her if you don’t want to,” she gently says as she steps to the side to let you choose between the door and the emptiness.
You don’t know what to choose. You can be eternally happy here. Knowing that if you do choose life, the curse will be broken and your father will pay Geralt for his work, spending the Witcher out of Eronia and leaving you. There’s no way you’ll be able to go with him. You’re the future heir to the throne and you still have so much to learn. And you don’t want that feeling you’re sure you’ll feel if you ask him to stay and he says no.
Still, there is still so much you have in the living world. You have your father, Jaskier, your sister, and Ida. You have your magick that excites you every time you learn something new. And even though it was never your choice, you’re sure that you could help people so much as a Queen with magick in her blood.
And nothing will compare to Geralt’s real touch, no matter how realistic it will seem. You’ll still know that deep down, it’s not real.
With a deep breath, you step forward and close your eyes as you push open the door.
It was like everything was a dream because when you open your eyes again, you’re lying in your bed and it’s as if you’re waking up because it takes a moment for you to realize where you are and what happened before this. You feel someone’s hand over yours and you slowly move your head to see who it is.
Your movement makes Ida’s head snap up and a smile breaks out on her face when she sees your eyes open. “Dominic,” she calls, quickly looking over at your father standing at the foot of your bed with his back towards you before he moves to place the back of her hand against your forehead.
Hearing Ida calling, your father, Jaskier, and Charlotte all turn to look at you, joy and relief spreading across their faces when they see you moving about, trying to get Ida to stop feeling the warmth returning to your skin that used to be so cold. “Thank Gods,” Dominic whispers as he moves forward and sits down beside you, his hand reaching out to touch the side of your face makes you sigh.
“I’m fine,” you say, your voice cracking as if you haven’t spoken in days. Charlotte and Jaskier join your other side and you sigh again. “You don’t have to crowd around me like a newborn baby,” you mutter, making them laugh and back up a little bit to give you some space.
That’s when you remember your mother. You don’t see her in the room and it’s the one thing you hope was just a dream. When you shoot up with a gasp, your head starts to spin and Jaskier’s hand quickly shoots out to stop you from falling over. “Take it easy, (Y/n). You just came back to life,” he chuckles, but you only shake your head as you look to Ida and your father.
“It’s mother. Kurst...killed her,” you whisper, a lump forming in your throat makes it hard to speak and you look over at Charlotte when she shifts in her spot.
“I’m sure she’s okay-”
“No,” you sternly say, cutting your father and looking at him with tear-filled eyes. “No. She’s not. I saw him kill her.”
Charlotte raises a hand to her mouth and looks at Dominic who looks at her for a moment in return. And just like that, the joyous atmosphere of your awakening ends and is replaced with one of terror and anxiousness. Without a word, your father turns and briskly walks to leave the room. Charlotte moves to try and follow him, but you quickly grab her hand to stop her, shaking your head when she looks down at you. You know it’s best if she didn’t see your mother in a pool of her own blood.
You know you don’t want to see it again, even if the image is stuck in your mind.
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Circumstances of Ones Birth: Jötunn Loki Rant
Ya'll, so I rewatched the first Thor movie, and lemme tell yall, I got some questions.
And those questions start with the infamous conversation that transpires between Odin's Trophy Room.
Lemme break it down for those of you that don’t remember:
Odin: In the aftermath of the battle I went into the Temple, and I found a baby. Small, for a giant's offspring. Abandoned, suffering, left to die. Laufey's son.
Loki: Laufey’s son.Why? You were knee deep in Jötunn blood. Why would you take me.
Odin: You were an innocent child.
Loki: No. You took me for a purpose. What was it? TELL ME
Odin: I thought we could unite our kingdoms one day, bring about an alliance, bring about permanent peace through you.
Now we all know from Thor Ragnarok that Odin has a talent for parenting rivaled only by the likes of Sasuke Uchiha, Gabriel Agreste, and Bruce fucking Wayne, so when I watched this scene go down, I was already guarded about whatever it was that Odin had to say, the way he regaled Loki with this story of how he was HIS SAVIOR, came out extremely manipulative and twisted. And then I noticed, there were 5 Mayor Holes in Odin’s story of how he came to find Loki that possibly signal that Odin is lying.
So Imma just get right down to it.
1. Why was Loki “abandoned” and not executed?
Odin tells Loki that when he found him, he was a “small for a giant’s offspring”. Its an insinuation that Loki was defective/deformed, therefore, that was the reason why he was abandoned, and left to die.
But if he was such a disgrace for being born small, why not strike the child before it draws proper breath? Why abandon it?
It could be cause abandonment is an even crueler fate. Tertullian wrote in his Apology that “..it is certainly more cruel way to kill…by exposure to cold, hunger and dogs..”
The AEsir often describe the Jötunn as being cruel and barbaric, so it seems accurate that Laufey would deem instant death too merciful for his disgraced son and chose to abandon him instead.
2. Why was Loki in a Temple?
A temple is filled with people; priests, apprentices, monks, nuns, healers, never mind all of the people that come in and out to make petitions, prayers and offerings.
Its not an uncommon occurring in history that in the practice of Infant Exposure babies were often abandoned in places with lots of traffic to allow them a chance of survival. In fact, in Ancient Rome there were designated places known as Columna Lactoria where women would go to nurse their children, and because of this, it was a place of sanctuary for abandoned babies where those seeking a child would go to “adopt”. If Laufey wanted his cursed son dead, why abandon him in a place with traffic, where someone else may find him, and take pity on the little one? Once again, this could be Laufey’s attempt to be as barbaric as possible. Because there is a darker reasoning why people went to the Columna Lactoria looking for children, it was to take them in and raise them as slaves. Maybe Laufey decided that son wasn’t only unworthy of death, but instead wanted him to live a life of humiliation and shame as someones slave, befitting only of a despicable creature as him.
But then that brings us to a Third Hole:
3. Why after the battle was won did Odin go to the Temple?
It wasn’t for the Casket. Laufey held the Casket throughout battle, used it as his weapon. Although Odin does state that the Asgardian army drove the Jötnar back to the “heart of their world” where they were defeated. Its a possibility that the Casket was put in the Temple to be protected. There is, after all, a scene of the Casket sitting on some sort of pedestal before an Asgardian soldier removes it..
Or could it simply be that Odin went to the Temple for other reasons? Perhaps to loot it from any other treasures they may hold, Hela once mentioned that all of their gold came from their conquers, and Laufey was depicted sporting several pieces of gold.
Or maybe Odin knew there was something else in the Temple?
Which points out one of the BIGGEST holes in Odin’s story:
4. How did Odin know that Loki was a Laufeyson?
According to Odin he went into this random Temple after the battle was over, alone as is depicted in the movie, and saw this “abandoned baby” and he knew by OSMOSIS that the baby was Laufey’s
Let me tell you something; Royal Births were no small, private affair. The birth of a royal baby was a political affair that had deep implications for the entire nation. It was an event that could signal the rise or the fall of an empire. The royal baby belonged more to the people than to the parents. The birthing chambers could be filled with as many as 200 people to confirm the sex, and health of the baby and avoid foul play.
If Laufey, the snuffed enemy of Asgard, was expecting a child, you best bet your cute patootie that Odin was in on that shit. The birth of a healthy son could mean trouble for Asgard.
So that takes me to the MOST IMPORTANT HOLE in this story:
5. Why take Loki?
Say Odin did know about the incoming little icicle. But turns out that he is not wanted by Laufey but seen as an atrocious curse and was abandoned in a temple left to either die or be raised as a slave.
Why then, in the name of the Nine take a babe with no worth?
According to this tale Loki held no recognition nor love from his parents. How could he then be used to “unite the kingdoms, bring about an alliance, and bring about permanent peace” when Loki had whatsoever no claim to the throne. His claim was casted out when he was casted out in the temple. And whats more the defectiveness that caused his parents to abandon him, would have his people reject him.
To go through all of the trouble of bringing up this child next to his own, blood heir, and call him son repeatedly its because there HAD TO BE an use to him. And an abandoned baby has no use to Odin. The only reason why Odin would do all of these things was because he KNEW that Laufey had a son, and he KNEW that the baby was in the Temple and he KNEW that he was WANTED both by Laufey and the Jötnnar.
You know in times of tension and war children were often sent away. Elizabeth I was sent away when she was but a toddler to keep her away from the plague. The Hebrew Bible has several stories of children being raised or being hidden in Temples like Jehoash and Samuel. Many ancient civilizations practices that required children to be taken to places of worshippers to be rid of evil spirits or bless them since mortality was so high.
This then begs the question, was Loki a case of child exposure, or was he wanted and loved and put in a temple to be kept safe while his father went out to conquer Midgard?
And it begs the bigger question, if in fact the Jötnnar even went to Midgard at all, or was Odin spurred into action by the birth of a baby boy that could bring enough hope to the Jötunn that one day they would be as great as Asgard