#especially if you can tell they've learned nothing
also reminder that you're not obligated to accept apologies from racists and you're not obligated to forgive racists. you're not obligated to say that you understand and that it's okay, and you shouldn't feel guilty for not forgiving racists
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GSMP Peaceful AU headcanon
There's a 'Storytime' near the docs. Every so often, about once a week, everyone sits down on the docs and picnics there and tells stories. They can be true stories from their own lives, fairy tales, fables, or hell, they can make up a story on the spot if they must. It's tradition, and helps everyone learn more about eachother
Squid's and Addict's favorites are the ancient tales of the L'Manburg, and specifically of the destructive politics surrounding it. Up to the war, and especially with all the drama
Adrian's favorites are of Mumbo Jumbo, the mythical scientists who could just about anything with redstone.
Sunny, being good with kids as it is, always goes for a nice fluffy true love saves the day happily ever after fairy tale.
Rose tell stories about his own life. The one had had in between his time with Cerul and meeting Quartz. All sorts of interesting tales to tell when you're alone. And he tells the more brutal stories of how he almost died like they're funny, but quickly realizes that "and then i felt the lava actually touch me! *laugh* wow was i in trouble!" Is met with stares of horror
Cerul also tells stories from her life after her resurrection and being a traveler through the lands. But hers are more more wholesome like helping an injured fox or watching a mama bear with her cub.
Quartz recites poetic stories they've heard before, and other poems that the may not have an apparent story. But they often have a way of telling it that everyone really loves to listen
"So dawn goes down to day." Quartz' voice carried over the cool morning waves. Cerul was asleep on Rose's shoulder, who was also asleep. The two were nested into the dried kelp. Quartz glanced around at the others. Squid had left to walk Scar home, and Adrian and Ash were talking amongst themselves.
"That isn't the end of it." Addict's voice from beside Quartz would have made them jump but then they would have shouldered them in the face. "You going to say the rest"
Quartz sat up straight from leaning against Addict, still overlooking the beautiful ocean as the moon began go fall. They looked from that to Addict, a thousand times as beautiful. They smiled, and softly touched their forehead to Addict's
"Nothing gold can stay."
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WBaWC Deep Dive Part EXTRA
There was a line in my first draft of that Part 2 that I ended up leaving out because I felt it wasn't all that significant. But after reading @crystalelemental 's post, I realized something. They talk about how, regarding Eika, Mayumi, AI, and labor, "it’s only when the concept of labor has been so thoroughly decoupled from its reward or enjoyment that the human response becomes “I want nothing to do with this.”
Which of course brought to mind Yachie and her neoliberal philosophy. "In the Animal Realm, everyone is driven by selfishness." Many people nowadays think of labor like this! Without the threat of starvation, they say, people would not work! So no unemployment, no safety net! Of course, this is because they've been spoon-fed racist, anti-poor propaganda by America's ruling class.
But the thing about WBaWC is that for all we know, Yachie could be correct. Maybe it IS the case, especially considering the view of animals as being instinctual and acting only on selfish desires that Buddhism's animal realm has, that those in the Animal Realm act only on selfishness! Sure, I can say that's just what the Animal Realm ruling class' narrative is, but I don't have any proof, because we don't have any regular beast spirit perspectives.
Except... that's not true, is it?
We have at least three. Surely you didn't forget about the Wolf, Eagle and Otter spirits that possess our protagonists!
The thing about those spirits is that they say very little. For that reason, it can be difficult to get any new information from them. But there is one line.
First, some background:
The wolf spirit organization, led by Saki, excels in raw strength. When referring to the human spirits, they use the term "our prey".
The eagle spirit organization, led by someone we haven't met yet, excel in surprise attacks from the air and water. When referring to the human spirits, they use the term "our slaves".
And the otter spirit organization, led by our very own Yachie Kicchou, excel in traps, poisons, and other sneaky methods rather than strength at all. When referring to the human spirits, they use the term "our tools".
Initially, I wanted to find out if ZUN really thought animals acted only in self-interest. I ended up deciding Kutaka was enough evidence that this wasn't the case, so I left out this next line. But still, I had already read every single route, every single line from these spirits. For the most part, there isn't much difference, nothing new to tell us about Yachie's statement. But then... there's Marisa (Otter)'s Extra.
The otter, the specialist in sneak attacks such as traps and poisons, is faced with the strongest enemy they are away of. In it's voice, fear. The otter spirit suggests running away. Marisa, though, says "no, we need to fight." And the otter responds:
"Human....... No, Marisa Kirisame."
For the entire game, this otter spirit has referred to Marisa ONLY by "human". And what are humans to Yachie's organization? They're tools. Here, the otter spirit sees Marisa, a human that it has spent so much time with, the very thing that it viewed previously as only a tool - and recognizes her as something beyond that.
And then? It has been established in all Wolf Extras that these spirits could stop possessing the player at any moment if they wanted to. This otter spirit could have done what it does best - run away, and create a sneaky plan. But instead, no!
"You're courageous! I shall cooperate with you!"
The otter spirit fucking stays with her! Fully able to leave, fully able to choose to run away, faced with pure raw strength, and it stays! Here we see this otter spirit perform an undeniably selfless act.
So then, that line from Yachie? That was yet another narrative from the ruling class, and the ultimate irony is that the spirit that we learn that from is the one from her organization.
This one line seems to tie this whole analysis together. The otter, recognizing the human as having value. Choosing to work with her for altruistic reasons. Disproving the narrative of labor established by the ruling class. It's... beautiful!
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I'm kind of stuck on the idea of Satan wanting to become an angel, right now. Especially with the animation from his recent UR+ card
Maybe it's that he wants to become something of his own, something not comparable to Lucifer. Maybe it's that he wants to prove that demons can become angels, just like angels can relatively easily become demons. Or maybe he just reminisces on what memories of the celestial realm he's taken from Lucifer's lifetime as an angel. Frankly, he has plenty of reasons to look upwards and... Not so many reasons to stay.
Why would he want to stay in this household where he's treated like a copy, like something less of a beloved brother and more of a ticking bomb that hides it well? Why would he want to stay? Sure, he's gotten fond of his brothers, he's learned to care for them. They are his family, after all, no matter how you put it. But... He wants something else, needs something else that they can't provide.
Of course, none of them could ever understand it if they knew. The celestial realm isn't a place they like to think fondly on, after all. They've all been cast out and have every intention to keep it that way. However, Satan has never had that experience, and maybe his ultimate reason is that he feels cheated.
He feels cheated out of this part of his brother's lives. Nothing will ever make him feel more isolated from them when they start reminiscing on their time in the celestial realm, the first home he didn't get to be apart of, or on their time with his sister, his sibling he never got to hold. In addition, he knows their sins weren't nearly as taxing when they were angels, and that for a large part of their lives they were guiltless. He, in comparison, was practically born a walking, breathing, sin. His whole life he's been tearing himself apart desperately trying to rid of it, the stench of his guilt, while they have the audacity to embrace it.
Yet, it's such an odd feeling. This little thought he likes to entertain when he's in his fowlest moods always feels more sinful than any blood he's shedded in his life. It feels far more taboo than the mangled body count following him where he goes. It's an idea he's sure he'll only ever touch lightly, never further.
Even if his pile of books on the celestial realm is getting higher by the day, even if he has a tendency to listen much too carefully to what Simeon has to say, he's sure he'll never try anything. He's sure he can keep a lid on this peculiar sin, at least.
Omggg this is amazing, such an interesting angle I never would have considered for Satan!!!! You should seriously write this as a fanfic, I would read the shit out if this!! Definitely a super cool concept I want to sit and think more on.
Personally, I feel like Satan remembers enough about the celestial realm from watching through Lucifer. He tells Asmo at one point that he's technically older because he was around inside Lucifer, watching and learning, before Asmo was even born.
I can definitely see him having some sort of obsession with the Celestial Realm, because he never got to really have any of his own experiences there himself. He never gets to join in on his brothers reminiscing about out and feels like he is isolated from them because of it, so a big part of him wants to obtain more of a connection to them. But he still wouldn't be able to shake that anger and resentment towards it because he was literally created out of that negative feeling, and he wouldn't be able to just let that go. He may not have had a personal connection with Lilith, but he shared Lucifer's and still loved her as Lucifer and the others did.
Ahhh I'll probably reblog this tomorrow and add more thoughts on it!! 😍😍😍
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Shade Lord Ghost Drabbles: They Know Better Know
Sorry for how long it took for this to come out. I had some time sensitive stuff I needed to work on immediately followed by a pretty severe bout of writer's block. So this took a while to finish. Future chapters should release faster but probably not fast, now that I can write again I got a lot of things I wanna work on.
But perhaps making up for the delay a bit, this drabble fills two prompts. Sort of anyway, Ghost snaps but they don't need to be comforted afterwards. Also, in my headcanon, and thus in this fic, Ghost doesn't 'transform' into their Shade Lord from, they just are in that form for forever now that they've attained godhood (the exception being probably in the Dreamworld).
"Just thought of this souldint ghost lay down some rules about the worship to the godseekers like no sacrificeing bugs in thare name that sort of stuff feel free to take that as a prompt if you whant"
"Hmmm... Maybe someday, Ghost would be so fed up with their worshippers that they snaps, transforms into their Shade Lord form, hurls their negativity on them, turns back and seeks for company of either Sheo, Quirrel or Grimm?"
Also, content warning for religious sacrifice. It's not super graphic but it's still very much there.
Other bugs being out and about in the dead of night wasn’t unusual, especially as Dirtmouth grew more populated. What was odd though was how many were out. From Buddy’s spot on the bench it looked like a whole big group of them. Leading them was the Godseeker, meaning they had to be Shade worshippers, probably headed to the temple they’d finished building recently.
Well Buddy didn’t have much to do and was out here because they couldn’t sleep so they hopped off the bench and crept a bit closer. It was probably nothing but another one of their desperate attempts to gain Ghost’s attention and favor that was doomed to fail. But Buddy was bored so they might as well investigate.
Besides, two of the group dragged a sack behind them. Whatever was inside was large, heavy, and… moving? It was hard to tell for sure from so far away but it definitely looked like it was. Though it could also easily be just a trick of the low light. But regardless, it was a mystery and thus needed solving. So, staying at a distance, they followed the group all the way to their new temple at the edge of town.
They waited a bit for the group to enter before following. It wasn’t a large temple; the entire group was already at the alter underneath the large statue of Ghost by the time Buddy was slinking in. There wasn’t anything to hide behind so Buddy had to rely on the darkness to stay hidden. The only light came from a small dim lantern held by one of the worshippers, making it quite easy as long as they stayed near the entrance.
Whatever the worshipers might be saying wasn’t audible from so far away – which honestly was preferable anyway – but it was pretty clear the group was preparing for a ritual. So yeah, just another attempt to make Ghost notice them. When would they finally learn that Ghost had no interest in worshipers in general but especially them? Really this wasn’t even worth…
A muffled sound came from the bag as one of the Shade worshippers opened it and pulled something out. Another bug, bound and gagged. They struggled but weakly – drugged perhaps or just exhausted – as they were laid out and tied to the alter beneath the statue of Ghost. As soon as they were secure, someone pulled out a tiny needle, its sharp edge glinted in the low light of the lantern.
Pulling out their own nail – the pure one given to them by Ghost – Buddy rushed out. But… without a voice to shout and interrupt with, they were too slow to stop the bug with the knife pushing it into the sacrifice’s chest. They stilled almost immediately, at least it had been a quick death.
Buddy skidded to a halt. They could still rush over and put an end to their follow-up chanting. But they’d finally gotten their long sought after wish and gained Ghost’s attention. Already kind of nearby, Buddy could feel them coming closer. How they had any idea what their worshipers had done, Buddy had no clue, but it had to be a god thing. It didn’t matter much though because they’d be here soon and they were pissed.
Even with how many new folk were moving into Dirtmouth, crowds and big happenings were rare. So, curious, Tiso went over to investigate. He made sure to position himself close enough to see what everyone was crowding around and hear some of their chatter about it but not close enough to be mistaken for being among the gawkers.
The new temple was missing. In its place was what looked like a puddle of void. Was void even supposed to do what it was doing? And… the implication was that it had destroyed the temple? Why though? And how? Was that a thing he was going to have to worry about while living in Dirtmouth? … Well, there was only one being who could be responsible.
Given their size Ghost could be surprisingly hard to locate sometimes. Not today though. Tiso found them in the large room in the Crossroads with Hollow, Hornet, Buddy, and of course Grimmchild. They were doing something but Tiso didn’t care and strode right up to Ghost.
“What’s with the giant puddle of void in up in Dirtmouth?” he asked. “Where the temple used to be.”
“I destroyed it with void,” Ghost replied, sounding as if they were talking about something completely causal.
“Why?” Hornet asked, stepping up to stand beside Tiso.
“They killed someone on my alter last night.”
Thanks to Ghost’s insistence that they were friends, Tiso sometimes forgot how scary they were. But how causal they were being about this whole thing was certainly a good reminder. It was Tiso’s own fault for coming to them about it though so he was going to pretend like it didn’t bother him any too. “Well, as long as that kind of thing isn’t going to become common then, I really don’t care. Which it isn’t, right?”
“It won’t happen again,” Ghost said. “They all know better now.”
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Let's talk about Art
First of all, I'd like to put it out there that whatever I'll say here will be personal takes and opinions and my advice to you coming from my own experiences. It might not apply to you or the next person, but it'll give you an insight into how things usually work with Art, and hope that my experience might ease your worries.
I have a degree in Graphic design and a minor in Illustration. I studied at the second most prestigious Art university in my country and was supposed to have been taught by these media giants with decades of experience in their fields and years of teaching experiences under their belts...all of that didn't matter in the end.
That being said, I started off my Art journey with a GREAT struggle. I did not have natural-born talent like my friends, and I mean it when I say that. Anatomy? We don't know her. Lighting and knowledge of shadows and colors? Lol. At most, what I could do in my first year (which was back in 2015), was somewhat sketch on paper, not humans, but nature and buildings....but that was it.
Within the first two months, my teachers isolated me with a bunch of kids they thought were too weak to go on. I spent the whole year desperately trying to stick to briefs and doing everything over the skeleton of what I thought the teacher would like,,, there was ZERO originality and some of my projects wouldn't even reach their ends.
My teachers didn't help either. Teachers tend to have a set of rules they'll make all students follow despite the obvious need for creativity and it gets difficult for beginners to cope with when they can't spread themselves around and explore a medium with personalized projects.
When it was time for my Thesis, something a student has full reign over, my mentor had confined me to a set palette of his choice and rejected any idea I came up with, leading the project to be everything HE had visualized and nowhere near what I wanted it to be. Understandably, there came a point where I crashed.
Nothing was working out and I would stare at my screen for hours while my friends were nearing the end of their projects. I had only done 10% of the actual work. I skipped a major jury and a month later, dropped the semester.
It wasn't until a couple of months later where I started the project over, this time with my own designs and palettes and a new mentor when I actually managed to like where I was headed.
The whole ordeal made me realize, that I reached a burnout stage so bad only because I was forcing myself to work on a medium that wasn't for me. When it comes to paper. I can't draw. At. All. If I were to learn what I do now on paper, it would take me YEARS of practice,,, something I couldn't afford back in Uni - I was left with two options: either continue doing what the teacher said and have a repeat of the year before or pick up a medium (in my case, digital art) that I hadn't tried before and hope it works out (something my teacher didn't want me to do)
It worked out. And the project was a success. If not for the teacher then at least it was for me.
My biggest advice for beginners, especially ones in Art schools, would be to experiment with multiple mediums until you find the one that works for you and then work on honing that skill. Teachers usually give you a concept and brief that you gotta stick to,,, do that. Stick to it, but don't be afraid to stand your ground when it comes to what medium you use. Back it up with a good reason and tell them that you'd use that chance to show what you can do with your strength. (They've most probably already seen your weaknesses so there's no going worse from there anyway)
I can't promise you if they'd listen; some might give you a chance while some might shut you down immediately. Stand your ground anyway.
I was bullied by my previous teacher to the point where he made me physically sick in front of a crowd. But I stood my ground the next day and kept working on my own designs and it helped me to finally see PROGRESS in my work.
I had to breeze through so many points here that need more elaboration but it would get too long so I'll say this again, my DMs are open for whoever needs a bit of advice, please feel free to come and talk <3
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HC for Yandere! Aculard from Hellsing?? Like... how intense is he for his Darling, etc??
So, pros: you will get anything you want, and you can travel anywhere you want in the world* (* as long as he's there with you).
You will never be in danger. Ever. Like...he can sense danger and ill intent like a shark smelling blood in the water, and he's the most powerful vampire in the world.
Alucard's lived a long time, but he enjoys learning about his Darling's history and what they've done in their short little life so far. To be honest I think he'd want to visit your family (if they're abusive or anything like that though, he'll just. Yk. Kill them). Even if they're likely to be put off by this very sus man in all red who clearly gives off Eldritch vibes, he thinks it'd be a fun little thing to do with his Darling. He wants to see every cute and embarrassing photo of you when you were younger, and to see what your old room was like before you moved in with him at the Hellsing estate.
He's a very classic romantic. Vampires have a seductive element to them, and Alucard is no exception--it's no wonder why so many of us thirst over him, lol. He's not going to declare his love for you from a rooftop or anything like that; his love isn't quite that overt and cliche. His voice has a softness sometimes that isn't there with anyone else except Integra and Seras. He'll leave little gifts for you, and some of them are quite sweet: a simple little braid of three or so roses from the gardens, dark red clothing he thinks suits you perfectly, etc.
He's also affectionate, more so in private than in public. He could care less about reputation, it's just that he doesn't want anyone else to see the look on your face when he cups your cheek and you lean into his touch. If you're a touch-starved person who enjoys physical contact, Alucard is a very touchy person. It's funny how a being so brutal and horrific can touch you so softly.
His love is genuine and intense. While his interest in you may at first be nothing more than a passing fancy (it's hard to have fun sometimes when you've lived as long as him) that he thinks would fade, once he realizes he loves you it's a done deal. He rarely ever says those words out loud, "I love you", but when he does...it sounds more than human when he says it. It's not something said lightly, and you know he truly means it.
Cons: He knows your every move, and you're not leaving the mansion without him or someone he trusts to accompany you. If you're an unwilling Darling, escape is quite literally impossible. You might as well accept that you're not ever leaving him now, but you're more than welcome to amuse him by trying to escape.
On that note, sometimes you wonder if he really takes you seriously. As much as he loves you, he's a being that's untouchable in terms of power and age, and that means he tends to not take many things too seriously. He knows that 99% of things that humans worry about won't matter in the grand scheme of things, and that's what he tells you whenever you're worried about something. He sees any attempts to resist him or escape as more of a game, and that can definitely be infuriating to certain Darlings.
He would die for you. He would kill for you. Please ask him to kill for you. If you're especially disturbed by gore and violence, he'll do his best to keep his little dove from seeing any bloodshed. But don't be surprised when someone bothering you in your life just disappears. He'll still tell you everything he's done though, all because he loves you and wants to get rid of anything he thinks is hurting you. You're HIS beloved human, after all.
His love is, as you guessed, very intense and overwhelming to the average person. But because he's inescapable, if his Darling breaks down and lashes out he'll just restrain them and let them cry in his arms (or unholy writhing black mass where his arms should be, if he's wanting to keep them in-place and they thrash around) until their "tantrum" is over. But after that, he may be a little condescending and wonder out loud why most humans, even his beloved, are so emotional over the littlest things sometimes. He hopes that the more time you're forced to spend with him as a being of the Night, the more you'll start to understand things from his perspective.
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Dating both Ultimis and Primis
Both Richtofen's could be a pain in the ass really, ones psychotic and the others sorta chill. I mean, sometimes they talk about how much they hate each other and other times they get along really well and work together like they're the perfect match. There's really no "one person goes to work while the other two stay home", they work from home so it's basically double the love. However if someone does have to leave then the other just sticks to you like glue. Promising the watch you, if someone does however start to make you uncomfortable. Primis is the kind of guy to tell the person/people that he's going to kill them while being calm and looking real sexy doing it while Ultimis is more likely gonna laugh and point out which part he's going to play with and so on. Let's just say Ultimis basically tells a lot of really bad jokes and Primis is more loving, don't get me wrong they love you dearly but it's just. Ones more serious and all.... however Primis isn't afraid to get a little dirty and show who's boss;)
I hope you're ready to deal with these two, it's usually nonstop bickering because Primis doesn't really agree with what Ultimis is drinking. It's usually Primis doing all the work at home while Ultimis sits there and you work. Ultimis does do things though, he knows how to clean so kudos to him for that. They don't mind what they do, they just need the house to be clean before you come back, they've learned from experience... they're both real big on cuddling so always expect a couple of them when you get home. They may even sneak or try to sneak a hug in when you're mad at them. Although, it never lasts long so they're pretty thankful for that. Everyone's pretty confused on how you have two boyfriends, even more on why their names are the same and EVEN MORE on how you even got two Russians in your household to behave.
Not saying it to be mean, but it's like have two big dogs around the house. They're just loud, especially when they yell at each other. Usually they're on good terms and they almost always agree with each other, but not all good things last forever, especially when they yell or argue. They start insulting each other and couple of minutes after they just start talking like nothing ever happened. The thing they argue about a lot though is who gets to stay with you, or just one of'em being jealous because the other spent more time with you. They're both real protective, someone they thinks gonna cause problems or just looking at you, they both jump on them before you can even blink. I mean, it's pretty scary having two dead serious guys yelling in their face just because they laid an eye on you. What's funny is you usually call Primis Dempsey and Ultimis Tank, and when you get mad, you call their names they both immediately come to your attention. Or someone calls one of the guys' full name they both listen or confused on who that persons talking to, so they both answer
Oh these two are sweethearts, they always have the same idea. And things always go as planned, they both respect each other so there's really no fights. Maybe what to cook for dinner but that's about it, if they fight they know to end it before you even hear it. They sorta act like children in a way, but well behaved children. They're quiet around people but openly goofy around you. They really don't care who you choose to lay with or who you kiss. They know that you love them both because they're basically one person in two different body's... if you think about it. Primis Takeo is more on the touchy feely side while Ultimis like to communicate and show his love through words and gifts, so expect a lot of gifts and affection almost everyday
My strong suit is CoD zombies, so I hope you like. I have a whole book on this already so I just want to post this here ^^
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Okay I just watched Diverged and Here's Negan, and I have some thoughts.
I don't know how to do that "keep reading" button so I apologize for the long ramble coming up.
Spoiler warning I guess even though it's been a bit, here's your warning,
First off wtf was diverged???? It felt so ooc for Carol to be that awkward? Like even if it's a bad day and I know she's reeling from her fight with daryl and stuff but like, that whole first convo with Jerry just made me cringe, wtf was that?? That scene was SO LONG and really gave nothing to the overall story?
Who am I kidding these last 6 episodes haven't really given anything to the story in my opinion they've all just felt like filler. (the princess episode excluded because we got to learn about her and that's helpful)
Anyways, diverged just felt out of character for both Carol and Daryl, though we see more Carol, but like daryl stepping on a branch?? You're telling me those man who's been hunting almost his whole life, who is known for being able to sneak around and be quiet when he needs to be stepped on a goddamn branch?????? What?
And then he falls in a ditch! Like I'm sorry if you're surviving for 12 years with zombies and you're known for being a hunter and the forest being your element and then you don't gauge where your footing is supposed to be in a ditch what the fuck have you been doing??
Who wrote this ep I just wanna talk,
Diverged saving grace is that you can see dogs butt shaking which means the dog actor was very happy about doing a good job that he was violently shaking his tail. Love that. Adore that.
-queue me abandoning this as a draft for a couple days so sorry if my opinions seems slightly different I've had a minute to process-
Aight so on to my thoughts on Here's Negan, it's the best outta the six, as I said before the episode focused on princess is one of the better ones as well, because they add something to the characters and the on going story (Negan going back to Alexandria even though he's been exiled with that cocky ass smirk on his face/ Princess and Co. Having their heads covered and going God knows where) both these episodes leave the viewer asking questions after the episode is over beside "what the fuck was this bullshit"
Which is what alot of were thinking about these extra eps. Especially the one with daryl and his rando woods gf (i don't remember if I posted about that but in still like wtf???)
Here Negan did a good job at showing who Negan was and how hes gotten to who he is, and the timeline was easy to follow, compared to the one in Daryl's flashback in a flashback ep.
Idk how to like continue my thoughts without repeating myself past this point but I've always loved Negan as a character (loving a character does not mean I don't love everything he's done) he's so well developed in my opinion and JDM makes it fun to watch the show.
Let me be very honest, the show can and does suck alot of the time, it's still my comfort show and one of my favourite shows but imo it sucks. 4/6 extra episodes kinda proves that
I do applaud them for making the show during covid and following guidelines and giving us the content we want while still doing so safely (its also fun to point out the walkers are social distancing in Diverged)
Sorry for this being so long but here's my 2 cents, what's yours?
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hi have some Fenders headcanons b/c I'm Yearning
if they're sharing a bed, they cuddle the whole time. it's completely subconscious - at some point in the night they will always end up touching each other even if they fell asleep on opposite sides of the bed
their senses of humour work together really well. they're always making each other snort laugh with their snark (those fics where Anders goes out of his way to make Fenris properly laugh? my weakness)
RIP to anyone who they team up to sass though. Varric and Hawke are constantly getting absolutely roasted by the two of them
they read to each other a lot. Anders helps Fenris with learning to read and write. he's patient and understanding about it. sometimes Anders will fall asleep to Fenris reading out loud
they sleep far better together. they both still have nightmares while sharing a bed, but it's easier for them to settle and get back to sleep b/c they feel safer beside each other
they eventually become so in sync with each other's fighting styles that they're downright terrifying together. Fenris is hardly ever thrown off balance by a haste or a barrier, and Anders can usually tell when Fenris needs healing without having to be asked. plus things like Anders casting a glyph of paralysis on an enemy so Fenris has an easy target, or freezing a bunch of enemies so Fenris can shatter them
despite being shorter, Fenris can easily pick Anders up and carry him or fuck him up against a wall
they're the picture of Companionable Snark™️. they're always teasing each other, even in the middle of combat
Justice loves Fenris too, and not just because of the lyrium. he loves Fenris' passion and strength, and how soft he can be with Anders after they've been together for a while
Fenris takes longer to warm up to Justice, but he eventually stops fearing him and starts to respect him
I am a simple woman, I see fics where Anders helps Fenris with his chronic pain and I melt. it's one of my favourite things
mage (affectionate), idiot (fond), I hate you (loving), fight me (flirting)
Anders is not immune to the Puppy Eyes and Fenris knows it and utilises them regularly
they're familiar with every single one of each other's scars and marks and freckles. Anders could probably sketch the tattoos on Fenris' hands from memory, and Fenris knows exactly how far apart the freckles on Anders' shoulders are
Fenris has decided that he'll follow Anders into the Deep Roads when (if) his Calling comes and there is nothing Anders can do about it. they've argued about it multiple times. it usually ends in them holding each other so tight it almost hurts 🙃
Fenris is actually rather fond of cats. he complains when Anders insists on bringing more cats home but he always ends up adoring them, especially the cranky and stand-offish ones
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𝓤𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓵 𝓔𝓽𝓮𝓻𝓷𝓲𝓽𝔂 (𝓒𝓱𝓸𝓲 𝓢𝓪𝓷)
𝑃𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔: 𝐶ℎ𝑜𝑖 𝑆𝑎𝑛 (𝐴𝑡𝑒𝑒𝑧)× 𝑅𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑒𝑟 (𝐹𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑙𝑒)
𝐺𝑒𝑛𝑟𝑒: 𝐴𝑛𝑔𝑠𝑡, 𝐹𝑙𝑢𝑓𝑓, 𝑆𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝐴𝑈, 𝑉𝑖𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑛 𝐸𝑟𝑎 𝐴𝑈.
𝐼𝑛𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛: "𝐼 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒, 𝐼 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑡𝑤𝑖𝑐𝑒. 𝐼 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑦 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠. 𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝐼 𝑑𝑖𝑒, 𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑘𝑒𝑒𝑝 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑑: 𝐼'𝑙𝑙 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑖𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒."- 𝑈𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑙 𝐸𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑦: 𝐵𝑙𝑎𝑐𝑘𝑏𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑟
𝑊𝑜𝑟𝑑 𝐶𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡: 4.4+𝐾
𝑊𝑎𝑟𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠: 𝑀𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑢𝑙𝑡, 𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑘𝑖𝑑𝑛𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑔, 𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑔𝑢𝑛𝑠, 𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑡ℎ, 𝑚𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑟𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛.
𝑇𝑎𝑔𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑡: @little-precious-baby @yunhofingers @multidreams-and-desires @brie02 @deja-vux @galaxteez @yunhoiseyecandy @rvse-miingi @couchpotatoaniki @daniblogs164 @a-soft-hornytiny
~May 17th, 1859~
When their eyes met it was as if time had effectively stopped moving. The sharply dressed male stood immobile by one of the pillars across the ballroom, feet glued to the floor and unable to pick themselves off it. Likewise, the elegant and ethereal lady sitting at one of the tables looked just as mesmerized by him as he was enchanted by her. For a while both of them just stood there, admiring one another as they tried to comprehend what was that tugging sensation they began to feel in the middle of their chests. The chatter and music in the background faded, their ears no longer registering any sound, scent, or object around them. Even their vision blurred everyone else, the only clear image they saw was the person they were currently fixated on.
As if he was in a trance, the male managed to regain his sense of control and began walking towards where she was. As their distance started to get smaller, the pounding in their hearts became more agitated and rapid, their lungs desperately trying to grasp air. When he stood right in front of her, a sense of calmness fell upon them that was even more strange to them given that they had never been acquainted with each other nor had any connections between them. Placing one arm behind him while the other came up just below his chest, he bowed to her, letting her glimpse and admire the top of his head, his hair as golden as the rays of the sun that would shine through her slightly parted curtains during the sunrises. Since she was sitting down, she acknowledged his greeting by lowering her head in a respectful manner. Coming back up, the hand that was placed behind him outstretched towards her.
"If my lady is not otherwise engaged, may I be so bold as to claim the next two dances?"
Unable to reject him, partly due to etiquette but mostly because something pushed her to accept, she smiled sweetly at him.
"You may kind Sir."
As soon as their hands connected, a rush of sparks flowed through their bodies, the feeling so electrifying and magnetic, it became more intense when he placed one arm around her waist while hers found a resting spot on his shoulder. Their other hands intertwined themselves together, their fingers perfectly molding against one another, a rather improper gesture to do at a ball especially between two individuals who had absolutely nothing to tie them together, but neither of them cared. It felt proper and necessary, even more so as their bodies glided across the floor, dancing in tune to the orchestra's music.
"I don't believe I've ever had the pleasure of seeing you before my lady." He suddenly spoke up, voice slightly buffering with nervousness.
Luckily she either didn't notice or chose not to care about it.
"No I'm afraid not. Such a pity if you ask me, you seem like a lively and agreeable person to be around." Although she had always been encouraged not to judge by outward appearances, she could not fathom the gentleman right in front of her to have any sort of evil or fault in him. He was beautiful, his features so sharp and his eyes although looking so mysterious and deadly seemed to hold so much tenderness and frailty in them. Despite his strong and bold looking frame, she could tell he was a man of delicate emotions and gentle feelings. No alarms or voice in the back of her head were warning against him, instead they were silenced as her heart urged her to stay by him and with him.
"And you seem like a lady seeking adventure and freedom." He boldly stated.
She quirked an eyebrow up, puzzled at how he could possibly ascertain such a theory.
"And may I ask what makes you say that?"
Lips curling into a smile, she swore she could melt when tiny dimples appeared on each of his cheeks, a true rare beauty that one hardly saw in those times and were very much admired.
"I look into your eyes and I see yearning, longing for something. As if you are searching for a hidden gem. And there's a hint of gloominess in them as well."
His description shocked her to the core. How could this perfect stranger, whose name she still had not known, possibly see all of that from just a few minutes of interaction?
"Do I look that forlorn?" She began to worry about anyone else being able to see what he saw.
"No...... I guess you could say I just...felt it." His eyes held a lively sparkle in them that just seemed to captivate her even more.
He hesitated to speak out what was on his mind, but seeing as the music was about to come to an end, he knew he had to say it before it was too late.
"If it's all right with you, would you mind if I came to call at your house and be introduced to your parents?" A faint pink hue spread across his cheeks and even his straight nose had a rosey tint at the tip of it.
Although she was no stranger to having young men call for her in hopes of establishing a courtship, it was the first time she was actually excited and looking forward to any future meetings with the man in front of her.
"I'd be delighted if you wished to do so." Her smile was more dazzling than all the glimmering chandeliers that decorated the ceiling and it made her dance partner feel more at ease to know she was just as jolly about a possible acquaintance as much as he was.
As soon as the music ended, they properly bowed to each other but the male, even himself unsure of what came over him, took hold of her hand and held it up to his lips, placing a feather light kiss to the tips of her fingers which left quite a few shocked faces on those who were close enough to witness the act.
"Consider this as our formal meeting my lady."
August 23rd, 1859
The pair walked side by side across the pastured fields, bright and vivid dahlias acting as their chaperones, all arrayed in either red, yellow or purple coats that had already bud into full bloom. The river nearby had tiny ripples flowing through it due to the light breeze that was refreshing during a rather warm summer day. Behind them, her home was still bustling with excitement and anticipation of what was going to come, hence why they allowed the couple to wander outside by themselves, fully trusting them to maintain propriety. Ahead of them, a vast expanse of trees were to serve as witnesses for such a joyous occasion.
Gazing over at his loving companion whom he had learned to cherish and care about immensely in the short time they've spent together, he felt his hand shake as he touched the side of his pants, feeling the weight of the small black case he was hiding in his pocket.
"You are on edge." Her sudden statement startled him.
"Once more you hit the nail straight on the head." He chuckled, his hands going back to their previous position of staying behind him.
"Do you trust me enough to tell me about it or would you rather we pretend I didn't say anything?" She offered.
Hearing his footsteps suddenly halt, she too stopped walking. Facing over to him, she couldn't read his expression as he had lowered his face, no doubt thinking about how to proceed about with the conversation.
"May I ask......how do you feel about me?"
She was not prepared for that question and yet she had hoped to one day be asked just that. She didn't even need to think too hard, she knew the answer to that already.
"I believe you to be a very kindhearted, caring, and vibrant sort of fellow. And I am extremely grateful to be able to have you in my close circle of friends."
Although he was happy that she felt joy in his company, he felt a little saddened and worried about her use of the term 'friends'. But pushing past his fears, he gathered his courage to speak his next words.
"And have you ever wondered if there's a possibility of us becoming closer than just friends?" He looked at her with in a hopeful daze.
He could sense, feel her uneasiness. It seemed as if their emotions were so intertwined that whatever one was feeling, the other would soon get a notion of it. And right now, he could feel how she slightly panicked at his suggestion.
"If it displeases you, please just let me know right now and I swear I'll not make you uncomfortable with anymore talk of-"
"I would love for nothing more than to be more than friends with you." She didn't want to be rude and interrupt him like so, but she found she could not control herself. Her fingers fidgeted with the lace trimming of her dress, agitation clearly shown in her countenance.
"From the very first moment I saw you, I felt this strange and utterly overpowering attraction towards you, as ridiculous as it sounds. And having come to know you, I was ready to say yes the minute you asked for my hand if the moment ever came...."
She paused to collect her thoughts, taking in a deep breath.
"But at the same time I'm afraid. I know, because I was raised as such, that women are brought up to be good wives, be docile, pliant, obedient and stand behind their husbands and do what society expects of them. And I don't know if I can do that...no... I don't want that. To be locked up in some beautiful golden cage for the rest of my life, with no freedom and my liberty stripped away from me...... I'd go mad." She admitted, immediately turning away from him, not wanting to see his reaction to what some would consider her brazen speech.
"So if what you are seeking is a wife who will be content to sit at home and wait for your every command I suggest you go look somewhere else. I refuse to be that sort of woman, even if it means becoming a spinster for the rest of my life." Her last words got choked up due to tension rising in her voice as she fought back tears, not wanting to cry in front of him.
She felt him right behind her and did not flinch when one of his hands came forward to caress the smooth skin of her cheek.
"My pretty little dove....don't you know that's why I wanna marry you?"
She turned her head to look at him with incredulous eyes.
"Remember when we first met? When I talked about how you seemed to be searching for freedom? Adventure?"
She nodded, never able to forget how she felt the first time they glanced upon another nor the conversation they had. Taking a hold of her waist, he shifted her position so she could face him and see how in earnest he was.
"I'm willing to offer you all that and more. I don't want you walking behind me, I want you by my side as my equal. I won't ever lock you up in a cage. On the contrary, I want my little dove to spread her wings and soar up further than the heavens........ and I want to be by her side to see it."
Her hands came up to clasp around her mouth as she let out a sharp gasp when he suddenly dropped down on one knee. Reaching into his pocket, he produced a black velvet box that contained a stunning ring inside.
"I've already asked for your parent's permission, all I gotta ask now is if you'd make me the happiest man alive and accept to spend life by my side.... and love me?"
She allowed him to take her hand and slide the gem onto her ring finger, tears already pouring down her face. Sniffling softly, she took her hand off her mouth to reveal an emotional and awkward smile as a wave of emotions took over her.
He released a breath he didn't realize he was holding. Sprinting back up, he picked her up and spun her around gleefully. Once he put her down, his hands cupped her face and he leaned in to give her a passionate kiss. Even after pulling away, he still kept her at a close distance.
"I love you.....from now until eternity."
October 9th, 1861
"You sure you're going to be ok?"
Pushing her hat out of the way so she could look down at her doting husband who was standing right next to the open carriage, she couldn't help but give him a mischievous smirk.
"I'll be fine. I should be the one asking you that."
He gave her a puzzled look.
"What's that supposed to mean?" He asked.
"That I give you 10 minutes before you're moping by the fireplace, missing me to no end." She snorted softly at his pouty expression.
"You're actually wrong..."
Hopping on top of the step so it could be easier to reach her, he nuzzled his nose against hers.
"I'm already missing you and you haven't even left yet."
She giggled at his cheesiness, allowing him to press a tiny kiss on her lips, which was then followed by another one, then another, until she finally had to push him off before he delayed her trip any further by peppering more kisses across her face.
"All right all right, I get it. I'll be back before supper, it's not that long of a ride to my parents house. Think you can wait until then?"
He shook his head negatively, which made her roll her eyes.
"Well you're going to have to deal with it."
Bending down, she gently stroked some of the hairs that were tussled against his forehead.
"I love you." She smiled at him.
Taking her hand to place a kiss on top of it, her husband never took his eyes off her.
"I love you too. Please stay safe."
With longing eyes, he watched as the carriage was being hauled away in the direction of the woods that surrounded the estate. He didn't look away even minutes after the carriage was out of sight, watching as some of the white flowers fell from the immense trees, petals scattering across the pavement and on the freshly cut grass. Something about the way the flowers fell sent some sort of uneasy feeling in his stomach, but he chose to ignore it, thinking it was probably nothing.
Making his way back in the house, he suddenly stopped when the same feeling crept back up to him, this time more intense than the previous one. His palms which were tightly clenched behind him, were sweating profusely. His heartbeat making more agitated and there was an unusual pounding resonated in his head, that although didn't exactly hurt, it was sending off alarms. He could sense that something bad was going to happen, he could feel it.....
With a sharp intake of breath, he raced over towards the stables where all the horses were kept. Unlocking the door that held his personal horse, he didn't even bother to saddle up or even put a bridle on him. He simply jumped up and threw his leg over the horse, who stood in place to allow his trusted master to get properly seated.
"Go!" He exclaimed as he gently yet firmly kicked the horse on its side, the stallion immediately taking off in the direction that the carriage had gone, the rider hoping and praying that he was only being delusional about the strange sensation that was striking fear in him.
Meanwhile, not far off in the distance, the young lady quietly sat in the carriage, listening to the conversation her two drivers were having amongst themselves, sometimes even laughing at any jokes they cracked along the way. She looked very peaceful, looking forward to paying her parents a small visit, the presents she had purchased for them rattled against her side, all neatly wrapped in white with light blue ribbons decorating them. Her eyes would often drift away whenever she heard the rustling sounds the tiny woodland creatures would make or when a bird would start chirping a little tune.
She was startled abruptly by the sound of gunshots and before she could even ask what was going on, she watched in horror as the two men in front of her fell to ground, blood pouring out from their heads as their soulless eyes stared back into her. The horses were going berserk, letting out loud neighs while fretting about uncontrollably. Standing up, she carefully maneuvered herself and got off the carriage hoping to hop on the driver's seat and regain control of the horses, but she was stopped when a strong hand gripped her wrist and harshly tugged her back.
"You're a really pretty thing." She stared up into the cold eyes of a marauder who scanned her face before looking at his partner.
"How much do you think they'll give us for selling her off to a whorehouse?"
His accomplice shrugged nonchalantly.
"Beats me, but I guess we're going to find out."
Not backing down without a fight, she kicked her arms and legs as much as she could, putting up an intense struggle against her kidnappers. She made sure to scream at the top of her lungs, hoping it would reach someone's ears and come aid her. She nearly freed herself when she hit one of them right in the jaw and bit harshly down on the other's arm which was draped across her neck. She could only take two steps before she was being manhandled once more. She elbowed and kneed at the man, trying to break free from his grasp. Getting frustrated and fed up by her struggle, he took out the pistol he kept by his belt.
"You fucking bitch!"
Pressing the barrel against her stomach, the bullet pierced straight through her, making her choke on the scream she was about to release. Her senses went numb, all she could feel was pain as she felt her life being stripped out of her body.
Arriving just as the bullet was fired, her husband swiftly yanked out his own gun. First he made sure to aim at the one who had just shot his beloved wife, the bullet striking him right on his forehead, giving him an instant death. When his partner tried producing his own weapon, the rider was already two steps ahead as he shot him straight through his throat, this time the death was more painful and elongated, but eventually he too met the same fate as his dead companion. Quickly getting off the horse, he ran over to his wife, tears already brimming down his face. Taking a hold of her hand, he first made sure that she still had a pulse and was conscious.
"Love. Darling. It's ok, you'll be ok. All right? Just stay with me, keep your eyes open."
She could feel him rip off a part of her dress and use it as makeshift gauze to press against her wound in an effort to stop some of the bleeding. She could not bring herself to cry, she had no strength left in her to do that. Still she managed to bring one of her hands up to clasp one of her husband's hands.
"I love you.......I always will..." Her voice came out rather raspy and strangled.
Knowing what was happening, her husband began to cry even harder, his arms desperately clutching onto her.
"No! Don't say that my little dove! You're going to be fine! Trust me." He seemed to be saying that more to himself than her, trying to convince himself that this was not real, that it was only a nightmare that they'd get through with together.
But she had already resigned herself to her fate. Knowing she had no time left, she reached up to cup one of his cheeks, her thumb stroking his skin softly.
"Remember.....we'll meet again someday..... I loved you now....and I'll love you in another life."
With one last faint smile, she held her final breath before her head fell back, eyes closing as her spirit left her body. Her lover's body trembled erratically, eyes scrunching tightly, teeth clenched so fiercely they could nearly break apart by his sheer strength. He clung his soul mate's lifeless body against his own, sobbing violently against her neck. Looking up, he let out a heartwrenching and agonizing scream that echoed across the forest.
Part of him died that day just like the love of his life.
~April 15th, 2019: Present Day~
"Man...that is one sad, depressing story."
One of the members of the group sighed out as his other mate read out the history behind the beautiful and seemingly enchanting forest that they were currently touring across.
"I know right? To think that such a tragic love story occurred right here." One of the taller members said, stepping carefully around the branches that were scattered about the field.
"Enough of this romantic soulmate nonsense, how long is this trail anyways? I'm tired, I'm sweating, it's hot and I'm hungry. Which one of you guys decided it was a good idea to go into nature and explore it? Especially with all these bugs around." The nagging individual slapped his arm once more, killing off another mosquito that seemed to take a liking to his blood.
While all of them continued on ahead, forming pairs or simply admiring the view alone with their phones to capture memories, the lonely member all the way in the back kept his head down. His cat like eyes often looked around, taking in some small details that hardly anyone paid attention to. Brushing some of his black bangs away from his eyes, he felt some sort of nostalgic feeling as he walked along the semi even path laid out for tourists like them. He stopped in his tracks when he came to a particular spot. Looking to his right side, he saw a very narrow off trail that led into the more dense and deep part of the forest. Although his mind told him to stay on the trail so as to not get lost, he found some strange force pulling him in the opposite direction. Without even second guessing it, he wandered off, not caring about if his group mates saw him or not.
As he past all the trees, shrubs and even the tiny squirrels and butterflies that still inhabited those regions, he couldn't shake off the deja vu feeling that fell over him. He strangely felt familiar with his surroundings, even though he was kilometers away from his home country. As he made a sharp turn to avoid hitting against a wide tree, an image suddenly flashed in his head. A galloping horse, the rider, whose face he couldn't see, passing right by where he just past.
"Weird..." He brushed it off, thinking that perhaps the rays of the sun were starting to get to him.
As he came upon a more wider path, he stopped immediately at a certain spot. Another image seemed to pass through his mind, although more blurred, he could faintly make out a silhouette of a man holding onto the body of a woman. Just as soon as it came, it soon vanished. He didn't understand why, but standing right on that spot seemed to cause him pain. Indeed he could feel tears welling up in his eyes and he had absolutely no idea why.
"God what is wrong with me?" He thought as he wiped them away, perhaps he was being extra emotional or something, especially after hearing that story about the forest.
A snapping branch made him aware that someone else was approaching where he was. Looking up in the direction, he felt his breath being taken away as two [insert color] eyes were locked on him. He couldn't even blink, he just continued to stare at the figure standing mere feet away from him. The same energy that pulled him in that direction was suddenly making him pull his feet off the ground and make their way towards the person. He had never seen them before in his entire life and yet.....
He felt as if he knew them, his heart feeling some sort of longing and aching for them. And he could sense that the other person was feeling the exact way he was, for they too were taking careful steps toward him, keeping eye contact with him. Soon they both stood right in front of each other, both had mesmerized expressions as they studied the person in front of them. Without knowing what caused him to do that, the male reached a hand out towards his partner, which she did not hesitate to hold in her own. A wave of shock ran through both of their bodies when they touched, their emotions suddenly burning with passion and love that only grew stronger as their fingers clasped against each other. Swallowing hard, the male decided it was time to speak up.
"Hi..... my name is Choi San."
The woman smiled at hearing his voice. Even though it was the first time she heard it, she knew it, it was oddly familiar.
"I'm Y/N L/N." She responded.
Neither of them flinched away, they simply continued to stare at one another. Although strangers, they felt as if they knew each other for centuries. Unable to help himself, San lowered his face so he could press his forehead against hers.
"It sounds insane..... but I feel I love you." He confessed, his lips brushing against hers.
She let out a soft hum at his statement.
"Then I guess we're both insane, because I feel like I love you as well."
Closing the gap between them, San cupped one cheek with his hand, giving her the faintest whisper of a kiss. The feeling was so raw and so endearing that it sent a warm sensation to their hearts. When they pulled away, his arm snaked around to wrap around her waist.
"It's like we were destined to be."
She chuckled at his words before finishing his sentence.
"Yes....you and I.....
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I wonder how many ex larries (especially long term ones) really dig into why they believed it and why it was wrong to believe. I feel like this is a different approach because it is so analytical. You can tell some of the ex larries now because they indulge in similar behaviours but different topics/contexts - they've learned nothing. The kind of thinking portraitofalarryonfire is doing is the thing i wish all CTs could be taught to do, but for whatever reason usually struggle with
Lots of ex-Larries analyse their way of thinking and past behaviour, but it’s usually after the fact. They unLarry, they go quiet, they leave Tumblr, often delete their blogs, and then some of them start reaching out and come back to fandom and share their experiences and reflections and analyses. It’s really rare to see it shared in real time on a public blog as the process is still ongoing.
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hewwo! may i please have hc's of MC/reader taking care of and cuddling with the Savanaclaw boys (separate) after they've been turned into their respective animal? thank you!
This is such a cute idea! I want to hug a fluffy Ruggie and scratch his ears! I hope you enjoy reading this just as much as I enjoyed writing it!
I got to look at so many videos of people cuddling with different animals! My serotonin levels have skyrocketed and I have ascended. I also learned a lot of tidbit animal facts! Not me searching up “do lion licks hurt?” and “do lions purr?” like 5 times
Animal form!Savanaclaw with their s/o!
He makes extra sure he doesn’t accidentally lay down on you. He’s a lot heavier in this form, he wouldn’t want to crush you! You’re allowed the pleasure of lying on him instead!
He also has to be super careful with his claws! If he moves too quickly or too harshly you might be sporting some scratches. Just know that if you do end up getting scratched it was purely unintentional!
He might be willing to give you a ride if he wants to relocate from his current sleeping area! I can promise you this kind of ride is a lot more comfortable than being slung over his shoulder like usual.
Brush your fingers through his mane! He enjoys it a lot more than he lets on! Just get in there and untangle everything you can. You may want to remind him to brush his hair more often when he returns to his beastman form.
He has a particular spot behind one of his ears that really gets him. Scratch that spot and he’ll be positively melting. If you stop scratching before he wants you to, he’ll nudge his head against you.
If you’re squeamish you can just leave him a chunk of meat nearby and bolt it out of there. It can get really messy really fast. Or, you can always ask Ruggie or someone else to feed him for you! Leona won’t hold it against you, he may be a tough cookie but he certainly isn’t heartless
Whenever you try communicating with him he’ll grunt back to show he is in fact listening and not totally ignoring you!
He’ll mess around with you a little too! He’ll open his mouth and gently bite down on whatever body part of yours is closest to him. Arm? Definitely. Leg? Also definitely. Top of your head? Absolutely! It’s his way of showing love! That playful twinkle in his eye means nothing!
He actually takes a little advantage of this situation. He can’t attend to Leona this way and his paws don’t let him work either. More time for his s/o to spoil him rotten! He may as well enjoy this comfort now, he can always make up for work later.
Ruggie absolutely melts with any kind of affection. You have the seal of approval to pet him practically anywhere! He especially loves it when you scratch his chin and hold his head!
He loves to lay his head in your lap! It’s easier access to get him more of those scratches. It’s also a good position for brushing the rest of him!
He licks your face or any piece of skin he can get to. You will be covered in drool by the end of it, but it’s totally worth it!
He does all sorts of cackling when you communicate with him! He may not be able to speak but he can figure out a system so you can somewhat understand him!
He’ll be sad if someone comes to steal away your attention. This is a special time with his s/o, go away! He may bite down on a portion of your shirt to tug you somewhere else.
Like with Leona, your comfort comes first. If you don’t want to watch him eat, you can simply get him something and leave for a bit. He’s against asking anyone for help with food, he doesn’t want to have to repay them later!
When he turns back into his beastman form please reassure him he doesn’t have to pay you back for this! There is an alternative to this, you could always be cheeky and tell him to go on a date with you as payment.
If you throw a ball and expect him to chase after it, he isn’t above ignoring you for the rest of the week, even if he goes back to his beastman form.
Jack’s wolf form is quite big and heavy so he wouldn’t be comfortable with lying on you. He’s totally up for you clinging to him though.
As long as you two are in a private setting, he'll let you pet his head and rub his tummy all you want! He actually loves being this close with you. He just has trouble voicing it. However, he doesn’t have to voice anything when he can’t speak in the first place! He just lets his wagging tail do the talking.
He licks your hands and face whenever he wants attention. He thinks he’s being sly, don’t ask him about it or he will stop
He’s still extremely active as a wolf. Jack will never give up on his search for strength! He’ll do anything he can manage. Everything from running laps to even pulling a carriage! You’re free to watch him if you’d like! You could always try joining him but his energy may be too much for you to match.
However, if you join him and get all tuckered out he would be willing to give you a ride on his back. Just this once!
Very quick to form a communication system with you. He doesn’t want there to be any misunderstandings. For example, a forceful nudge could mean, “Let’s go somewhere else.” One blink could mean yes, two blinks could mean no. He’s given everything quite a lot of thought.
He would never force you to watch him eat, he would rather starve. Quite honestly, he would probably try and find food by himself. Please get him something, his lack of functional thumbs will lead him nowhere.
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Episode 8 is one hella packed episode and it is an absolute joy to unpack it, beginning with this:
Clever, clever idea to have Ji-Woo repeat the line that Mi-Joo just said to indicate Ji-Woo is taking charge of things as far as Assemblyman Ki is concerned. It's also a good reminder of how tone and intent can change the meaning of a sentence even if the words are exactly the same (which is why we need good translators).
Seeing Mi-Joo stride across the screen with Seon-Gyeom behind her, it struck me that we've seen a variation of this many times before, beginning with the credit titles. While Seon-Gyeom is the sprinter, the one we see constantly trying to up the pace and charge ahead is Mi-Joo. She's always intent on moving ahead faster — perhaps to outrun the past that she finally makes peace with during the marathon? — while Seon-Gyeom moves at a slower pace, disentangling himself from the constraints of his troubled past and troubling father. The only one time we see him race ahead (in episode 2), we also see him come back and slow down.
What I particularly love about Park Shi-Hyun's writing is that in addition to all the layers and complexity she's written into the scenes and characters, she's also written a very, very funny show.
Both Shin Se-Kyung and Kang Tae-Oh do such a fantastic job with both the physical humour (without being over-the-top) and the timing that's needed to play up the wit in the dialogues. Not that Siwan and Soo-Young do a bad job — the scene in which Dan-Ah proposes to Seon-Gyeom is hilarious. My favourite is still May, who is very funny throughout this episode (the shot in which we learn she sleeps with her eyes open! GOLD).
The transitions in this episode are so well written. The insights from one scene ricochet off the next. For example, Dan-Ah in the scene at the bar — where she tells the bartender she can't risk keeping the book in her own study because she can't risk people guessing she has anxieties — gives us a look at the problems of the privileged. This is followed by a scene in which Yeong-Hwa and Mi-Joo discuss student debts, which is a relatable middle-class problem. This in turn is followed by Tae-Woong saying that he takes selfies because he's addicted to the validation he gets from the likes each of those photos gets him — a Gen Z problem. And so it is that we get a spectrum of problems that people face and hide behind performative façades.
The likes that Tae-Woong talks about pop up with manic frenzy at the end of the heartbreaking scene with Dan-Ah in the parking lot, presenting the viewer with a terrible contrast — driving away from him is the love and acceptance that he yearns for from a sister who (he hopes) knows him. All he has to hold on to is the superficial attention of the love professed by a fandom that doesn't really know him at all. Soo-Young's performance is fantastic in this scene, especially when she asks in a voice tinged with desperation why Tae-Woong keeps coming back to her despite her treating him so badly. For the first time, you realise how much it takes out of her to lash out at this desperately-sad boy. "It takes effort to hate someone," Tae-Woong tells her. My heart!
Another fantastic set of transitions comes later on in the episode, when Mi-Joo and May are unwinding at the end of a long day at the film shoot.
This is such a great example of writing inter-generational female friendships. When May remembers not being paid for working overtime, it's an acknowledgement that things are better for working women (especially in film) than it was before, but as Mi-Joo's experiences show, there's still a lot to be done because women are still driven by a certain insecurity and anxiety to push themselves way too hard (as we see a sick Mi-Joo do later in the episode).
Of course a man tries to break this gathering up — because he wants to go to bed. Superb excuse, particularly because these women are talking how much they have to work — and it is deeply satisfying to watch all three of them shut him down and establish their right to unwind.
This scene of female friendship is followed by one that shows the friendship between the three runners. Then we get to see a fight scene full of male actors. The machismo of that performance is a sharp contrast to the awkward tenderness of Woo-Sik and Yeong-Il's conversation.
While on the subject of toxic masculinity, this is the episode in which we find out Dan-Ah's father forged Myeong-Min's birth certificate to make him legally older than Dan-Ah even though he's actually 10 months younger than her. All to ensure he has a male heir. It's a nice detail that Myeong-Min's mother is the one laying out the memorial service for Dan-Ah's mother because it hints at a sense of solidarity.
Also dismantling traditional notions of masculinity is Seon-Gyeom, whom we see at his most domestic as he cooks and packs meals for May and Mi-Joo, and does chores around the house once they're gone. It's very much an inversion of the standard male-female gender roles with the woman going out to work and the man as the homemaker. To underscore this point, we see Seon-Gyeom consider the leopard-print shirt (that May and Mi-Joo hang to give strangers the impression they've got an alpha in the house) for a second before putting it away.
Speaking of alphas, Mi-Joo's really got a thing for wild cats. In addition to that shirt, her blanket is also a leopard-print and when we see her calling Seon-Gyeom, she's standing in front of a painting of a tiger. All these seem to be digs at her posturing that she's strong and invulnerable and I burst out laughing when Seon-Gyeom folds the leopard-print blanket while muttering, "I'd have guessed this is hers even if she hadn't told me."
As disinterested as Seon-Gyeom may be in films, they play a big role in sustaining him emotionally. In this episode, it's the film set that helps Mi-Joo and him come together after their stupid disagreement. Equally importantly, the film set is where he gets the time and space to reconnect with his mother.
Run On has so much fun being meta with the film bits. The film shoot within a drama is indeed an old fake.
There are two film sets we see in this episode — one with Ji-Woo and the other with Mi-Joo. While Ji-Woo's set feels relaxed, the one Mi-Joo's working in is chaotic and taxing. The two women are also at different ends of the professional spectrum. Ji-Woo is a star while Mi-Joo is not just working behind the scenes, but she's come to fill in for the person who was the juniormost member of the crew.
When pointing out the main players of their film crew to Mi-Joo and May, Hui-Jin describes the cinematographer as "a bit racist, but still a gentleman". (Mi-Joo's response is superb: "Weird.") It's an interesting choice to make the cinematographer racist because that's the crew member who decides how subjects and scenes will be framed. "Racist but a gentleman" feels like a precise summary of the orientalist perspective which (aside from being overwhelmingly masculine) shows the East through stereotypes that are often superficially beautiful, but also reductive and damaging. Not surprisingly, this cinematographer is the reason Mi-Joo flounders while translating on set.
The film set is also the first time that Seon-Gyeom sees Mi-Joo's vulnerable side when she falls ill. It's such a clever choice to have Mi-Joo stop performing in a setting that's all about performances. Not only does Mi-Joo give up the alpha act when she's sick, she admits to Seon-Gyeom that when she's feeling helpless, her instinct is to resort to a performative lie — calling out for mom because that's what she saw other kids do as a child in a sick ward (imagine how isolated and neglected she must have felt to do this. Also, she's felt this way so many times that this performance has become second nature to her).
The anecdote suggests Mi-Joo's mulish championing of her self has its roots in past incidents when she tried to fit and either failed or was rejected. And yet, for all her strength and confidence, she's chasing phantoms and has been doing so since she was a little girl. All because she was alone and didn't have anyone she could reach out to for help. Which is why what Seon-Gyeom tells her at the end of the episode is so relevant. He helps her to reorient.
To which Mi-Joo, bless her leopard-print-loving heart, responds with
But my favourite part of this episode is the conversation that Ji-Woo has with Seon-Gyeom when he visits her set. First of all, Ji-Woo is playing a "vegan murderer", which is brilliant as ideas go and it's adorable how delighted she is about her violent roles.
I love how Run On doesn't punish Ji-Woo for sacrificing her family life for her work. Instead, it holds out the possibility that it is ok if you have that imbalance. In this scene, we see Ji-Woo's family reforming at the film set with Eun-Bi sending the coffee truck and Seon-Gyeom showing up just because Ji-Woo asked him to be there.
The mother-son conversation gives us a glimpse of Seon-Gyeom's bleak childhood and we learn that everything Seon-Gyeom did for his father was actually him doing what his mother had asked him to do. It comes as a surprise to Seon-Gyeom that his mother has noticed what he's suffered and that she understands how he'd hoped silently suffering would keep the family together. It's almost as though he's feeling seen for the first time.
Much like Dan-Ah, Ji-Woo may seem self-centred because of her ambitiousness, but she does notice what's happening beyond the obvious, especially when it comes to people she cares about. Both women are up against the worst of patriarchy. Also, I love that when she's talking about motherhood, Ji-Woo is blood-spattered — after all, being a working woman and a mother in a patriarchal is nothing short of fighting a war.
In previous episodes, it seemed as though Ji-Woo was the 'bad' (or at least not ideal) mother while Director Dong was the ideal, modern mother. Yet in comparison to how Director Dong later reacts to her son coming out, you can't help but feel Ji-Woo, with her unconditional support for her kids, might just be the better parent. What is great about Run On though is that that the script doesn't pit the two older women against each other as competing examples of motherhood or femininity. The point is that everyone's struggling, making mistakes and trying to learn from them. Ji-Woo is doing that and so will Director Dong eventually.
Love that the scene ends with Seon-Gyeom effectively declaring himself his mother's son. Take that, patriarchy.
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Let me give you my life
Pairing: Loki x Tesseract
Warnings: Major Character Death, Mourning, delusions, mental illness, alcohol, Original Character Death, Odin, fantastic racism
Summary: After Frigga's funeral, Loki starts hearing a voice. It changes their life completely.
Chapter 2: Verse 2
Chapter warnings: alcohol, depressive symptoms, fantastic racism, stuttering written by someone who doesn't stutter
Chapter summary: in which the Stone starts to influence
Previous chapter, AO3, next chapter
My church offers no absolutes / she tells me "worship in the bedroom" / the only heaven I'll be sent to / is when I'm alone with you
"How was the dining with the good masters?" the Tesseract asks. Loki swears it's sarcastic.
"Terrible. The ones that didn't demand for me to leave were whispering and staring, and some even pitied me… I should have never told Odin that you showed me," they sigh as they lay down, seiðr creating a glass of wine in their hand. Usually, his magic has a tickling sensation, playful and livid. But since Frigga's death, it's numb.
"You're right, I don't belong here… I don't belong anywhere…" they sigh, staring into the goblet with the red liquid. Perhaps, if he could find the strength to end it all…
"No, this is not the solution to your problems. You won't find your family there," it cuts off the train of thoughts before Loki can even process it.
"The only person I ever knew as family is there, Tesseract. Why can't I join?" they don't cry from the mention of Frigga, they haven't done it for weeks. He's just as numb as his magic now, the talks with the Tesseract and goblets of wine being the only things that can make him feel something, but they start weakening too.
"She lied to you, like Odin did. They taught you your magic, yes, but also how to hide what you feel and who you are. She is to blame for the nothingness you feel now, just like Odin is. Tell me, is that what family does?" it argues.
Loki opens their mouth, but closes it again. "No… then, what do I do?" he asks, staring at nothing.
"You live, until you find something worth dying for," it responds, voice softer than ever. He just scoffs and brings the golden goblet closer to his lips.
A blue light makes the goblet vanish before Loki can take a sip, filling them with the dark red liquid. "Hey! That's my favourite tunic, you needn't stain it!" He glares at the top right corner of his chamber.
"You have not taken it off for a week,"
"Because it's my favourite tunic,"
The stone lets a sigh. "Go take a bath, change to your second favourite tunic, try eating something that's not wine and act like you're the heir of two thrones for once or I'll teleport you to Muspelheim and let you burn,"
Loki sighs and gets up, following the shower order (especially because they've started to feel their hair going oily and gross). He had almost missed the feeling of scorching hot water on his skin, even though it started to hurt since his Jötunn form came to the surface.
When they walk back into their chamber, damp hair dripping on their second favourite tunic, they spot a tray of fruits and tea on their bed. "Thank you, Tessie," he smiles and sits beside it, his stomach begging for him to raid it.
I was born sick, but I love it
"I am not negotiating. Not until this monster is out of your house!" Gæirasson spits, small vacant eyes glaring at Loki. They don't shift their face or posture, but the room still freezes.
"Please, reconsider your words. One should not offend a prince like this," an elf notes, as if Loki cannot speak for himself.
"You're to ask for permission before you speak, Gæirasson will only get angrier with you." Odin had told them before the council.
"Please, learn how to manage your fury. You'll start a war without realising it if you keep going like that," Frigga had said countless times.
"A prince of monsters, yes. Isn't worth any more than the Giants I've sent to Hel," the outrageous man growls.
"Do not let him speak to you like this, you're worth much more than these words," the Tesseract says. Loki breaks his posture to take a deep breath, and then turns to Odin with a calm face.
"Father, may I answer to those words the way they deserve to?" they ask, never breaking the collected face. It fools Odin enough to nod a yes.
And Loki lets a grin appear, showing his fangs.
The water inside the goblets turns into ice as Loki rises from their seat, pale skin fading to reveal a blue and marked one. With his new height and black horns, he barely fits in the room, bloodshot eyes glaring at the old man enough to make him think that the thin irises would turn into daggers and stab him.
The man shivers, but not from the cold
"We are not afraid of your riches or your army and your bravado is fooling no one, G-Gærasson," they state, not breaking eye contact as their tongue strammers.
"You think you can scare me when you can barely speak, Giant?"
The negotiation table breaks in half as Loki slams his hand on it. "You have spoken enough!" they yell, summoning a new wave of shivers down the lord's body.
"You will leave this room unharmed only because of my mercy, and you know well that your words have given me every right to kill you right here and right now. You want to bring war to my house, I don't give a fuck. You know why? Because we both know very well that I can chop your soldiers to pieces without using neither my Frostbite nor seiðr and with ease. Go ahead and start a war, I have no problem to end it. The only demand the palace has is for you to pay us with the gold you owe and get lost. Or else, your house will cease to exist and will stay in history only as an example of what happens to those who anger me!" he growls, never breaking eye contact with the lord and not mouthing a single lie. Gæirasson loses his colour, stands up and leaves, panting like a dog.
"Loki, enough. You have your war, are you satisfied?" Odin asks after the door closes.
Loki's fiery eyes turn to the king.
"Satisfied? You should be the one to do this! This man offended our house and the throne greatly, they canonically deserve execution! And you made me sit there like a coward and listen to those insults!" they yell, this time out of frustration. The old Loki would never raise his tone at Odin, good thing he's gone.
Odin takes a deep breath, trying to keep themselves under control. "My son, I understand that you're going through a bad time, but there's no need to lash out like this. Would your mother like seeing you growling and yelling and cursing like a sailor?"
"You have no right to bring her up, she has nothing to do with it!" Loki's fury only gets wilder after this. But Odin does not coward away.
"I said enough! Shut your mouth and leave right now! And you'll be in charge of the war, since you can end it with such ease," he yells back, ten times louder and more intense. Loki lets the Æsir glamour return but doesn't lower themselves more as they walk away.
"You started a war, do you regret it?" the Tesseract asks as long as they're alone in a corridor. Loki grins.
"Not a bit."
Command me to be well / Amen, Amen, Amen
Loki walks around in his room, his fingers picking up each other once again. They tried to quit this habit after Frigga's death, but to no avail.
"Te-te-tesseract," he calls out, biting his tongue at the stutter. Since they've started the war, this annoying stutter has come back at full force, probably from the stress.
"You summoned me, Entropy?" it asks, more like states. Usually, Loki would find comfort only with the stone. But now, it only makes him move nervous.
"Y-y-yes. I did-I did call you to-to…" they puff out some air, closing their eyes with shame.
A hand grabs his hands, making them calm down. Loki raises their head to face an illusion of the Tesseract, trying to mimic contact.
It's a form of a body, tall and lean and glowing blue. Its eyes are looking at him with sympathy, face soft. It's the most breathtaking person Loki has ever seen.
"You can speak freely with me, don't fear," it smiles, tilting its head. Loki lets out a sigh.
"You said that, w-wh-when I'm r-ready, I-I'll agree to your-to your commands. I-I am ready," they speak, not even trying to mask up some confidence.
"I'm glad to hear. But, you'll have to acknowledge that there'll be a cost-"
"I don't care. I-I've lost ev-ev-everything already. You're th-th-the only one left," he lowers his head.
The hand moves to their face, cupping their cheek and brushing its thumb against their cheekbone, huge blue eyes staring into them. He can't help but tilt towards the hand, closing his eyes and breathing slowly.
"Perhaps you shouldn't… I've caused you enough pain, why seek out for more?" it doubts. It's almost funny, listening to doubt in a voice Loki knew to be so determined.
"I-I-I'm sure. Ple-please," they whisper, opening their eyes again. The form nods.
"Very well, Entropy," the serious and awe striking voice Loki knows returns, moments before the blue form vanishes in a light.
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for the gushing about stuff thing... Tell me about whatever ship's been getting you through the month. Don't hold back on those details. (I will have no idea what you're talking about, but I wanna hear it and see the dynamic they've got. Whether romantic or platonic, I do not care, just tell me please)
i was gonna talk about aerti but then i added on a zerith part and the zerith part’s like double the length of the aerti part.
in conclusion, aerith deserves good things
so you know i don’t like love triangles. one of the best ways for me to get super disinterested in characters is love triangles (which is why at the beginning of ff7 i didn’t like aerith, tifa, or cloud, the love triangle irritated me), and my response to that was basically “hey what if they dated each other instead of cloud”
because i really like the idea of aerith and tifa together. idk i think they’re just neat, the flower girl and the martial artist. there’s something very cute about being able to pick up your girlfriend and she makes flower crowns for you. sue me, i’m a sappy idiot.
AND THEN THE REMAKE. I PLAYED IT. IT FED ME.
because i didn’t remember all that many times in the original game where aerith and tifa interacted but in the remake, they’re just interacting so much and...
so cloud, aerith, and tifa have to travel through the sewers and through a place for retired trains called the train graveyard in order to get back to sector 7, which is where tifa lives, and they’ve been told that it’s about to be destroyed.
during these two sections, tifa’s constantly afraid about the sector, she pingpongs between “there’s no way they’d destroy an entire sector full of people” and “what if we don’t get there in time” and aerith’s by her side the entire time, taking her mind off of everything. it’s actually a bit funny in the sewers because cloud becomes a bit of a third wheel to them
there’s this part where...
Aerith: Still thinking about the plate?
Aerith: The future... Isn’t set in stone. That’s what I always tell myself.
Tifa: Yeah... I hope you’re right.
Aerith: How about this then? Think of something fun. After saving sector 7, you’re gonna...?
Tifa: I’m gonna... Go shopping! Topside! I’ll buy... Stuff for the bar! Decorations, coasters...
Aerith: Can I come?
Tifa: You’d better!
Aerith: Then it’s a date!
Tifa: Cloud can carry all our stuff.
Aerith: He’ll be our pack chocobo!
Cloud: What was that about me?
I was very happy with this scene lol
And you know what makes that dialogue a bit spicier? It’s heavily implied that this aerith is from the future, or can see into the future, seeing as she knows about things she shouldn’t (like who tifa is in their first meeting, the fact that she’ll die to sephiroth, the fact that sector 7′s plate will fall), and she’s hinted at it before but it’s tifa who picks up on her discrepancies, and tries to reach out to her, because she’s very good at hiding how it makes her feel.
so it’s equally aerith comforting tifa while knowing that sector 7 will be destroyed, and hoping that the future can be changed, so that it won’t be destroyed.
also love how in the train graveyard... tifa’s afraid of ghosts, and in the short period of time they’ve known each other she feels safe enough around aerith to hide behind her, even if it’s easier to hide behind cloud. and aerith is so kind, she reaches out to these ghosts and talks to them, it’s really wonderful.
yes, the martial arts master who can punch a dragon to death in midair hides behind the flower girl, and i love it, it’s so adorable
and they’re just like that! long story short, they’re both the “i care about everyone around me” person, and also the “but what about you? how are you doing?” person and i love them, both romantic and platonic.
also i’m such a sucker for characters who reach out and touch each other to comfort each other.
also the “i’m ready! come get me!” and the “hey. we found you.” GOD IT HITS SO HARD I LOVE IT
oh yeah and i love zack and aerith so much but i’ve already written an essay on aerti and i feel like i’m boring people if i start talking about zerith. zerith is like... i don’t do many romantic romantic ships lately but god i love zerith.
long story short, zerith is basically... zack is an idealistic soldier who wants to become a hero, and has his ideals tested as the people he considered to be heroes slowly crumble and the very organisation he follows is shown to be corrupt, as they’re the ones who destroyed his heroes and friends, and eventually, him as well.
aerith was an escaped science experiment, her mother died trying to get her away from the very organisation zack works for. because of that, she has a very strong wariness for the organisation, especially because it destroys the planet, the thing that aerith holds very dear. she’s especially afraid of zack’s department because soldiers are people who “like fighting” according to her.
and yet, when zack falls through her roof, they hit it off. zack helps her get her flower business off the ground, and they go on dates, and they’re so sweet together, and i just...
they deserve so much, they’re just goofballs who love each other so much, and aerith has 23 small wishes for him which can all be summed up into one thing, to spend more time with him, and whenever one of them does something that would usually need them to owe the other, they go “you can repay me with one date”
and one day zack is called off on a mission that he says should be easy and... he goes missing. an entire town is burnt down, sephiroth and cloud, zack’s friends, are dead, and zack is “dead” but she can feel that he’s still alive, so she writes him letters. 89 of them, over the course of five years, hoping that one of them will reach him.
turns out he had been captured and put in a research facility with cloud (as far as the organisation knows sephiroth is actually dead), and zack manages to escape and rescue a catatonic cloud, and they’re on their way back. and the entire time zack is talking to cloud, telling him about the things he’ll do when they get back and how he has to meet aerith because she’s the best and...
and they get so close. they’re so close! they can see the city where aerith is, and they just have to get over this cliff... but the army catches up with them, and zack has no choice but to fight.
owl, it’s honestly one of the saddest things i’ve seen in a game, because going into the game, you know zack dies. you fall in love with him, and you remember too late that he dies.
the game gives you the ability to fight against the massive army. but no matter how many you kill, there’s always more. and as zack loses more and more health, his memories start to replay and fail.
(there’s a gameplay mechanism like a slot machine, where it spins as you fight and if it lands on three pictures of a characters face, zack remembers a memory from them and it triggers a special attack that zack learned from that character. it’s genuinely heartwarming at times to see)
and you realise, most of the people in zack’s memories. his friends. they’re no longer with him.
angeal? dead and tried to kill him. sephiroth? dead and tried to kill him. cissnei? trying to bring him back to the organisation. tseng? trying to bring him back to the organisation. cloud? catatonic, and zack doesn’t even know if he’ll wake up or be the same.
aerith is the only one he can count on.
every single time during this fight he tries to call on the memory of his friends, it fails. he’ll remember a million different conversations he’s had with them, and they’ll all muddle together, until they disappear from his mind because of his injuries and exhaustion.
this happens three times. the first time ends with cissnei going “zack, i gotta go.” the second time ends with cloud going “hold on.” and you think that’s all, he’s finished with his memories, but then, his first memory of aerith
and you’re like WAIT HE STILL REMEMBERS HER.
god, this game is so cruel with this.
it fades out to a cutscene where there’s only three enemies left. and zack is barely standing, but he’s standing, and goddamn, you still have hope, but when you have to fight again... he can barely stand, let alone fight.
and the memory slots game is filled with aerith.
there’s a special tragedy with this, because... when aerith’s portraits match up, it triggers a skill that will heal zack up to full. yknow, the thing we need so much right now.
it triggers. and by god, i have never prayed so hard for it to work. every time i played this, i hoped it’d work.
it never does.
owl, at the end of their first date, she says “will i... see you again?” and when zack dies, one of the last memories he has of her before his mind succumbs to the bloodloss is her going “will i... see you again?”
and then... “i’ll be here.”
the next cutscene, you see aerith praying for zack’s safety, and it suddenly cuts off as he dies.
(i’m gonna cut myself off here because if i start talking about zack’s request to cloud i’ll be here forever- it’s my blog i get to talk about cloud being zack’s living legacy)
RIGHT BEFORE ZACK DIES, HE GIVES HIS SWORD TO THE NEWLY CONSCIOUS CLOUD AND ASKS HIM TO BE HIS LIVING LEGACY, THE PROOF THAT HE EXISTED, TO CARRY ON HIS MEMORY.
but due to the intense trauma that cloud faced, he integrates zack as a part of him and forgets he existed, and later in the story... he sees aerith.
and aerith recognises that sword. she recognises that costume, that designation, those mannerisms.
i can literally quote this scene almost line by line and reenact it. i highly recommend watching it, but warning for gunshot noises. god, it’s so GOOD and HURTS ME.
oh and aerith meets up with zack after she dies, and when cloud can forgive himself and let go, there’s this scene
but seriously i’m scraping the surface here with my thoughts dm if you want to hear more or send in another ask
OHHHHH YES AND I ALMOST FORGOT
IN THE REMAKE. BECAUSE THE CHARACTERS DESTROY FATE BY THE END.
ZACK FAIR LIVES. HE SURVIVES THE ENCOUNTER, AND TAKES CLOUD TOWARDS THE CITY.
YES I’M STILL SO HYPED ABOUT THIS.
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The Day that Camelot Forgot
A Merlin Fan-Fiction
@febuwhump day 24 - memory loss
Summary: A vengeful Morgana casts a powerful curse on Camelot on the day Merlin is named Court Sorcerer, making everyone in the citadel forget that Merlin – and his impact on their lives – exists. She can only maintain the spell for one day, but twenty-four hours is more than enough time for the warlock to get himself into some serious trouble.
Characters: Merlin, Arthur, the knights, Gaius, Morgana is mentioned
TW: anxiety attacks, burning at the stake, main character near-death
Note: This story is a bit late, as it was meant to be published on day 24 of Febuwhump, but I got sick, and missed a few days. I did post the first half of it on Tumblr on the 24th, but this is the finished product. I am seriously considering writing a sequel, because there are definitely a lot of ramifications that I gloss over here, a lot of angsty, whumpy stuff that I could (and most likely will) expand upon in another story. But I'll let you read the story for yourself, and see if you're interested in a sequel!
Keep reading here, or on AO3!
If you enjoy, please consider liking, commenting, and re-blogging, and you can follow me for more content like this! :)
Merlin woke up to a broom head hitting him in the face, which was not how he expected his first day as Court Sorcerer to start.
An indignant squawk escaped him as he rolled off of his bed in an effort to escape the assault. He already had an insult for Arthur on his lips when his bleary eyes cleared and he realized that it had not been the king at all who had woken him in such a manner. It was Gaius, and he was poised to strike again.
"Gaius!" Merlin stammered, scrambling to his feet and dodging another blow from the broom. "What the hell are you doing that for?"
Gaius didn't answer. Instead, looking as mean and ornery as Merlin had ever seen him, the old physician demanded, "How did you get in here?"
Merlin cocked his head to one side, completely nonplussed. "I… live here? I remember turning Arthur's offer for new chambers down so I could stay and care for you – OW!"
Gaius had hit him again. "Who are you?" he all but growled.
Merlin blinked. "Gaius, you know me," he insisted, his heart hammering out his uncertainty at the pulse point in his neck. Something was wrong; Gaius might be cantankerous for his old age, and he might have enjoyed the odd joke at Merlin's expense, but never something like this.
Merlin tried again. "Gaius, it's me… Merlin." When Gaius only glared at him distrustfully from beneath two gnarled eyebrows, he added hopefully, "You know… Hunith's son?"
To his relief, recognition lit in his mentor's eyes at the mention of Merlin's mother, but distrust immediately replaced it. "I have known Hunith all of her life," Gaius said, voice low and measured, broom still held at the ready. "But she has no son."
Real fear exploded in Merlin's chest – fear for Gaius, not for himself. There was only so much Gaius could do with a broom, but if he was forgetting Merlin so suddenly and so completely…
"Ah, I'm sorry," Merlin said as calmly as possible, raising his hands in front of him to show he meant no harm. "My mistake. I'll … get out of your hair."
He darted out of his room, across the physician's main chamber, and out the door, leaving a confused and agitated Gaius in his wake. Merlin prayed that the old physician wouldn't get himself into too much trouble while he was gone, and then darted for Arthur's chambers.
He ran into Gwaine on the way – literally, he ran headfirst into the knight, so distracted by Gaius's sudden and dramatic loss of memory. At first he wasn't sure whose ridiculously muscular torso he'd bumped into, and despite his worry, he couldn't help but grin when he saw the bearded face glaring down at him in surprise.
Merlin stumbled back.
"Watch where you're going, friend," Gwaine said in response. The way he spoke sent a wave of wrongness down Merlin's spine. He had called Merlin friend, but it was a vague, generalized term. When Gwaine normally called Merlin his friend, the word was saturated with warmth and shone with the light of a dozen charming grins. Now, it meant nothing. And when Merlin looked up into his friend's dark eyes, there was no recognition there. No smile that Merlin had come to understand as reserved especially for the knight's closest friends. Gwaine's eyes landed on him, flashed in brief annoyance, and then skirted off of him almost nearly as quickly.
"Gwaine?" Merlin asked, irritated at the uncertainty in his own voice.
Gwaine, who had already started sauntering away, turned back with a puzzled expression. For just a moment, Merlin was sure that kind, mischievous face was going to open up in an eyes-to-mouth smile like it always did upon seeing him, but then the brow furrowed, and Gwaine asked, "Do I know you?"
Merlin opened his mouth to respond, but nothing came out. He stood there, gaping like a fool, his whole body coiled as if ready to spring into action, limbs numb, fingers trembling, fear wrapping its constricting tendrils around his chest.
Gwaine gave Merlin an odd look, then shrugged. "Maybe we drank together once."
Merlin nodded weakly, remembering not just once, but many times he and the man before him had gone to the tavern together, often with the rest of the knights, sometimes even the king, in tow. He thought of laughter, and promises of friendship and loyalty, and tavern songs and Gwaine standing on top of a table doing a clumsy jig. He thought of the first time they'd gone to the tavern after learning of Merlin's magic, how Gwaine had asked him a million questions that had gotten more idiotic with every drink. ("No, Gwaine, I have never tried to transplant my nose into the center of a rose to see if flowers can smell themselves.")
By the time he had resurfaced from the barrage of memories that Gwaine had forgotten and that Merlin now clung to with a new ferocity, the knight had gone.
Feeling distinctly sick, Merlin resumed his trek to Arthur's chambers, noticing with fresh terror that every person he passed either didn't acknowledge him at all, or gave him a second, bewildered glance like they'd never seen him before, like he had no right being where he was – being in his home.
Arthur didn't remember him, either.
Merlin was so near panic when he got to the king and queen's chambers that he almost forgot to knock. Knocking was never something Merlin had been particularly adept at remembering to do, especially when it came to his duties to Arthur, but since the king had married Gwen, Merlin had made sure to amend his habits. There were some things that Merlin absolutely did not want to walk in on, and besides, he respected Gwen too much to risk barging in on her unannounced.
It was Arthur who answered the door, and Merlin was so flustered that he didn't wait for an invitation to enter (when did he ever, though?), and he squeezed his way into the room past the king. Gwen was nowhere to be seen.
"Thank the gods you're here, Arthur," Merlin huffed as he bustled in. "Something very weird is going on. Gaius and Gwaine are acting like they don't know me, like they've never seen me in their lives!"
He turned around to face his friend. To his surprise, Arthur's hand was on the hilt of his sword at his hip, and suspicion rolled off of him in waves. "Who the hell are you?" he asked flatly, blue eyes flashing with an intensity reserved for those who wished to do him, his kingdom, or his loved ones harm.
Merlin had been expecting a joke like this. Arthur was never one to pass up an opportunity to tease his former servant, soon-to-be Court Sorcerer. The dry retort, "Very funny, Sire," died before it could escape his mouth, though, because when he looked at his king, his best friend, he saw no glimmer of recognition. No familiarity. No kindness or warmth or irritated indulgence. Arthur's face was that of a man who had just had a complete stranger barge into his room and started talking to him like they were old acquaintances – which, Merlin was beginning to realize, was exactly what had happened from the king's point of view.
Merlin swallowed heavily and entreated, "Arthur … King Arthur. Please tell me that you know me." Desperation clawed at his throat and infected his next plea. "Please."
Arthur didn't speak, didn't relax his grip on his sword hilt, but he didn't draw the weapon either, which Merlin thought had to be a good sign. Finally, after several long, tense moments, Arthur responded in a slow, cautious tone, "I'm sorry. I have never seen you before in my life. What business do you have with me?"
Merlin's world, everything he knew and understood and loved, crumbled around him in that moment. He staggered back, managed to stay upright by pure strength of will alone. What the hell was going on? The familiar sting of tears pressed against the back of his eyes, and he only managed to keep himself from crying by sheer stubbornness. He took a deep, steadying breath, made a conscious effort to look as non-threatening as possible, and tried very hard not to panic.
"Okay," he said, and his voice shook, so he tried again. "Okay." This time, his voice was steadier. Arthur's glare pounded into him from across the room, and knew that the king's already thin patience was running out. "Something very wrong is happening in Camelot," the sorcerer began.
Arthur interrupted him. "I agree," he said pedantically. "There's a strange man in my chambers."
"I'm not – I am, or I was, your servant."
"My servant's name is George."
Merlin couldn't help it. He groaned. "George? The one who makes jokes about brass? He's your servant in this hellish version of Camelot?"
Arthur sent Merlin a look that was almost pitying. "You are obviously very confused," he said in a surprisingly gentle tone. "But I am king of Camelot, and you have no right to be in my personal chambers. Go now, and I will think nothing more of this intrusion. If you do not, then I will have to treat you as a threat, and call the guards."
Merlin shook his head, unwilling to let this go. In the span of a single morning, his entire reality, the world he and Arthur had worked so hard to build and the future that they were about to step into, his new position as Court Sorcerer, his friendship with Arthur, everything, had been ripped away from him. He had to figure out what could have caused this to happen. He didn't have to think long – who was out there with enough power to make what seemed like the entire citadel forget he existed? Who was angry and envious and vindictive enough to take away everyone he loved on the very day that the culmination of his and Arthur's dreams were finally taking shape?
Even as Arthur stepped forward, hand tightening on the hilt of his sword, preparing to draw it, Merlin blurted, "It has to be Morgana!"
All the color drained out of Arthur's face in an instant. He stood there, frozen, a horrible expression of pain manifesting in his eyes. "How dare you speak of my sister," the king growled, and Merlin actually backed up a few steps, bumping into the end table that he'd polished more times than he could count.
"I know she's a difficult subject to talk about," Merlin managed, striving to keep his voice steady as the grief in Arthur's eyes turned to fury. "But it's the only explanation. Morgana must have cast a curse on the citadel – you have to let me go find her, please, and I can stop this, and the world can go back to normal."
Arthur drew his sword now, and Merlin had no more room to retreat. He stood before his king, his closest friend, his muscles aching from the tension gripping his body, his heart pumping so fast and hard he could feel the flutter in his chest. "Arthur, please–"
"I am your king!" the man who had Arthur's face but spoke like his father spat. "You will address me as such! And how dare you insinuate that the Lady Morgana was a sorceress! What vile game are you playing?"
Merlin's head spun; he had no idea what was going on, how Arthur was currently seeing the world, but he did know for certain now that Morgana was behind it. The reverence and love with which the king said his half-sister's name could only come from a delusion the sorceress in question had placed there. Then something Arthur had said hit home. "What do you mean 'was'?"
The expression on the king's face was faintly nauseated, as if he were being forced to remember something that he had hidden away deep inside, or as if he were actively fighting the urge to cut Merlin down on the spot. Either scenario felt entirely wrong and filled Merlin with a sense of dread. "My sister is dead," Arthur said flatly. "She who would have been queen – should have been queen." Oh, yes, Morgana was definitely behind this, Merlin thought wryly. It was bad enough she had these sick delusions in the first place, but to force everyone in Camelot to play a part in them was equally terrifying and sad. "Struck down by a sorcerer in cold blood."
Merlin flinched at the way Arthur spat the word sorcerer. It had been years since he had heard the title said with such hatred and derision, and never had he heard this level of malevolence for magic-users come from Arthur's mouth. After everything they had been through together, after the joy of watching their prophesied destiny unfold before his very eyes, after hearing Arthur accept his magic and plan to officially declare him Court Sorcerer, hearing the title that Arthur had so often spoken of with pride slide out of that same mouth slicked with hatred hurt. But Merlin reminded himself of the truth – this wasn't Arthur, not really; somehow he was being fed false memories – and he squared his shoulders and looked his king right in the eyes.
"I'm sorry for your loss," he said solemnly. Arthur's eyebrows shot up in surprise. Merlin hoped it was a good sign. "But Arthur – your highness – I need you to listen to me, please. I can explain everything. I can try, at least. But your memories aren't what you think they are. Morgana is alive and… very well, considering the power of this enchantment."
"My sister was murdered by magic, and yet you still insist that she is the evil enchantress!" Arthur fumed, and Merlin felt like he was talking to a stone wall, or even more deaf and unyielding, Uther Pendragon. He very seriously considered knocking Arthur out with magic and tucking him away safely in a wardrobe somewhere while he himself went to deal with the sorceress who had caused all this trouble. But Merlin could sense Arthur, the real Arthur, somewhere beneath the surface of those familiar-but-foreign eyes, and he was sure he could break the spell without having to go to the source. Merlin was Arthur's dearest friend, the king had said this himself (and yes, it still counted even if Arthur had been incredibly drunk after a night in the tavern with Gwaine when he said it). And Merlin knew Arthur better than anyone else, save the queen.
I can reach him, he reassured himself. Arthur is still in there, somewhere. I just have to find him. And once he's back to himself, I can deal with Morgana.
"Please, sire," Merlin said, putting every bit of sincerity he could muster into his words. "Just… let me tell you my side of the story. Let me remind you of who I am, and who you truly are. I am your friend, Arthur, and you have said yourself that I am the most stupidly loyal man you have ever had the displeasure to meet." A desperate chuckle lilted his last few words.
"You have two minutes."
"Um, there's a lot to cover, actually," Merlin responded. "Can I have a bit longer, because I don't think–"
"One and half minutes."
"Okay, okay, I'll stick to the basics!" And so Merlin gave Arthur the quickest and most condensed version of their friendship and history he could cobble together in less time than it usually took to exchange greetings with his king in the morning.
He ended with, "And so you see, it makes sense that Morgana would want to sabotage this occasion, because it marks the beginning of a new era that she desperately wants to be a part of but is too bitter and proud to humble herself and change for. She wants to tear us apart, wants you to do something that you'll later regret. But I know you're stronger than this, Arthur. I know that you remember me, deep down. The life you're living isn't yours. Your memories aren't yours. They belong to Morgana, but your mind does not." A strange, almost trance-like mask had descended over Arthur's face while Merlin spoke, and hope started budding in the warlock's chest – he was so close to breaking through, he could feel it.
"So," Merlin prompted, when Arthur did not immediately respond. "Do you remember? Have you realized the truth, sire?"
Slowly, Arthur nodded, and the dazed quality to his eyes cleared up in an instant. "Yes," he murmured. Merlin allowed his eyes to close momentarily in relief; his body sagged against the table at his back. Thank the gods, the nightmare was over. Now all that was left was to find Morgana and make sure nothing like this ever happened again.
But Arthur wasn't finished speaking, and the hardness had steeled his gaze once more, his lips set in a straight line and his jaw clenched and held high. "I have realized that I was a fool to think that you were a harmless vagrant with delusions of grandeur who wandered into the wrong part of the castle. I should never have opened the door for you."
"I am your KING!" Merlin snapped his mouth shut, tears once again prickling at the corner of his eyes. The injustice of the situation weighed as heavily on him as his destiny once had. "You are a sorcerer, an enemy of Camelot, here in an attempt to take down Camelot from the inside. But your spells and tricks and poisoned words will not work on me."
"You don't understand, I–"
Elyan and Percival were the knights who dragged Merlin to the dungeons and threw him roughly into a cell. Then Percival clasped his wrists in shackles, which were chained to the floor. The door slammed shut with a metallic clang.
"Percival – Elyan!" Merlin called out as the knights that had only a week ago pledged their acceptance and loyalty to him as the soon-to-be Court Sorcerer and chief advisor to the king. "Please, you know me!"
"You'll die for your treachery, sorcerer," Elyan spat.
The left, and Merlin sank to the cold, damp stone floor, chains clinking. He drew his knees up to his chest, rested his aching head on them, and did his best to remember how to breathe.
Merlin wasn't sure how long he had been in the dungeon, but it had to have been a couple of hours at least. He hadn't eaten breakfast because the old man who usually prepared it for him had instead attacked him with a broom. Now, he was certain he had missed lunch too. His stomach growled at him in protest, but the hunger pangs meant nothing to Merlin. Even if the guards dropped off a meal fit for a king, he wouldn't be able to eat a bite. Everything had gone so wrong.
And now Merlin was at a loss of what to do. He could escape the dungeons easily, he knew, and go searching for Morgana. But there were so many uncertainties, a litany of what ifs that railed against him whenever he thought about breaking out of his chains and sending the cell door crashing into the guards holding a silent but hostile vigil on the other side. If indeed he could find Morgana and discover a way to reverse the curse, then it would, of course, be an easy fix. Merlin's failure to connect with Arthur and break the spell himself had planted a seed of self-doubt deeply within the soil of his mind, however, and now what he had been so sure of before he'd tried to fix things himself – that he would be able to hunt down Morgana and stop this madness with magic – seemed like a distant, unrealistic goal.
And if he did fail? If he could not find Morgana, or if she had managed to employ a magic far more powerful or strange than he currently knew how to counter? If he was unable to break the curse? Then Arthur would go on believing Merlin was the enemy, and Merlin would have forfeited any chance of reaching his friend by flouting the king's edict, attacking the guards, and breaking out of the castle.
Merlin had only been able to get through to Arthur in his other life, his real life, by showing the king over a period of years that magic was not something to be inherently feared, not something evil in and of itself. He had had to show the king through his own life and actions the truth about magic, so that when Arthur had at last learned of his secret, it was from Merlin's own lips and with nearly a decade of loyalty and friendship to back up Merlin's assurances that he had only ever used his gifts to protect Arthur and Camelot. Sure, Arthur had been angry at first, and hurt that Merlin hadn't trusted him, but he had come to an acceptance of Merlin's magic much more quickly than the warlock had imagined. King and servant had grown even closer in the wake of the truth, and soon after, Arthur had started drafting plans for making magic legal and had proposed the idea of Melin's being officially named Court Sorcerer.
But if Merlin was forced to start from scratch, to rebuild his relationship with the king – a possibility that pained him deeply but that he was more than willing to do, if it was the only way to get Arthur back and get their destiny on track – then it would not be wise to start that relationship off with a jailbreak. Then again, he argued against himself, neither was blurting out his secret to an Arthur who had already shown great disdain for magic and who held no memory of or loyalty toward Merlin at all. At this rate, maybe it was better to just take the risk and escape, because how in the name of the Triple Goddess was he supposed to convince Arthur of his loyalty if the king most likely planned to execute him for treason?
He almost made his escape then, but something stopped him. At first, he couldn't identity exactly what it was, just a feeling, an uncomfortable squirming in his gut that could have been the voice of destiny, or instinct, or, quite possibly, hunger. But either way, it bothered him enough that he held off on his plans to break out and examined the feeling more closely. Eventually, he realized – if he left Arthur now, especially in the state he was in, alone and unprotected and with Morgana out there somewhere with her eyes feasting hungrily on the citadel she so earnestly believed should be hers, he could be putting the king in more danger. If Merlin wasn't able to find Morgana in time, and she used his absence to ease her way into the citadel and onto the throne, which Arthur would readily give up to her in his current state.. With him under her influence, she could do whatever she wanted to him – kill him, imprison him, break his mind forever… and Merlin wouldn't be there to stop her.
With this thought, he decided to wait it out, and to see how events would unfold. He would not use his magic to defy Arthur or make his escape unless absolutely necessary. After all, he tried to assure himself, there was the very real possibility that Morgana would not be able to hold this powerful of a spell for long. She might be a priestess of the Old Religion, but even she had her limits. Perhaps her plan was to lure Merlin out to find her and then to use his absence to take Camelot for herself, but it was entirely possible that she only had a limited window of time to achieve her goal and that she was counting on Merlin to act on his emotions and search her out immediately.
Or maybe her plan was just to simply wreak havoc in Merlin's life for as long as she could. Either way, Merlin reasoned, her hold over the entirety of Camelot could not last forever. Sooner or later, her grip would weaken and Arthur and the rest of the citadel would wrest their way out of her control.
Merlin just had to survive until then.
He was unsure of how much time had passed when they came for him again. No one had brought him food, or water, and no one had come to visit him during his imprisonment, either. Merlin thought it was highly likely that Arthur had ordered any curious parties to stay away; the king had made it abundantly clear that he considered Merlin a dangerous threat. The fact that he had not been given even a hunk of stale bread or a flagon of water sent warning bells off in Merlin's mind – if this strange Arthur was anything like Uther had been, then he knew that he would be executed swiftly and without trial, and there was no need to feed a dead man.
Gwaine and Leon came to collect him. Leon unlocked the shackles and shoved him at Gwaine, who spat at his feet. "And to think I was kind to you this morning," he growled, and Merlin fought the urge to remind him that he hadn't exactly been kind, more indifferent. Gwaine roughly spun Merlin around, wrenched his hands behind his back so hard that pain sliced through his shoulder blades. Merlin felt his hands being bound tightly, expertly behind his back with course, thick rope. He reached into himself and felt his magic, alive, pulsing, ready to rise to his defense, and he took solace in it, but kept it at bay.
Not yet, he told himself.
But he was getting scared, and he was running out of options.
They shoved him to his knees before Arthur, who sat unyielding and terrible on his throne, a mirror image of his father. Merlin realized with a start that there was only one throne.
"Where's Gwen?" he asked. Now that he thought about it, the servant-turned-queen hadn't come up when Merlin had told his story to Arthur earlier, and the king had made no mention of his wife. In fact, he recalled with a start, none of Gwen's more domestic touches had been in Arthur's chamber.
Arthur stood, striding forward and looming over his prisoner. "You should have gagged him," he groused. "He doesn't know how to shut up." For a split second, Merlin thought that maybe the real Arthur was beginning to resurface – that was exactly something that he would say! Then he crossed his arms over his chest and asked irritably, "Who is Gwen? Your accomplice?"
"No, no," Merlin quickly assured him, not wanting to cause any trouble for Gwen, wherever she was. It was odd, he thought: Most elements of Camelot had stayed the same in Morgana's living nightmare, like the knights – even the non-noble ones, even Elyan, Gwen's brother, had remained as they were. But Arthur, in this version of reality, had never married Gwen. It made sense if he thought about it, though. Gwen had occupied the role that Morgana had believed was hers, had, in the witch's eyes, betrayed her trust and left her for the man that represented everything Morgana hated. Of course, Gwen wouldn't have her happy ending, her marriage to Arthur, with Morgana in charge. She was being punished as well. Merlin wondered if Gwen had been left with her memories of the real world like he had been, or if she was somewhere in Camelot, living and thinking as a maid when she really was a queen.
To Merlin's relief, Arthur didn't pursue the line of questioning any further. "I have talked this matter over with my council and advisors," he said in a measured voice. A burst of bitterness howled inside of Merlin – he had been named Arthur's chief advisor! He had been a part of the original council, the Knights of the Round Table, when Arthur had first brought them together! And now this illusion of Morgana's had stolen that away from him, too.
Not yet, he reminded his magic, as it raged and boiled and frothed inside of him. Be patient.
He might have been able to control his magic, but he could not keep his sarcasm completely in check: "And I am sure that in your discussion with the council, you all came to a completely fair and totally unbiased decision based on facts and not the unfounded prejudices of your father's rule."
He didn't know what he had been expecting, but it certainly was not Arthur's face flushing an angry red, nor the back of his hand smashing full-force into Merlin's cheek, snapping his head to the side violently. He felt one of the king's rings split the skin on his cheekbone, and thought for a breathless moment that the entire left side of his face had caved in.
He couldn't keep back the lone tear that crawled from the corner of his eye. It didn't come from pain or even shock – but a sense of gut-wrenching betrayal that he could not reason his way out of, even knowing that Arthur was not himself. Even in the state that Arthur was in, even knowing that the king would make plans to execute him, Merlin never anticipated Arthur himself becoming physically violent with him. Somehow, Arthur's hitting him was so much more of a betrayal than a death sentence.
Just. Wait. He didn't know how much longer he would be able to keep his magic from rising to his defense.
"You will learn your place, sorcerer," Arthur hissed. "When you burn. Take him; we light the pyre at first dawn."
Fear screamed through Merlin's body like a whirlwind, and coherent thought fled in the wake of his worst nightmares manifesting before him. He had been sure that Arthur would have chosen hanging or even the chopping block, but a pyre –
Merlin had grown up terrified of fires, horrified at the possibility of dying a brutal, torturous death, swallowed and ravaged by flames, all because he was born with magic. Because of who he was.
No one had been burnt at the stake in years in Camelot. Certainly not after Arthur became king. It was a barbaric practice, and even the worst war criminals and traitors were given a swift, merciful death. He had assumed that Arthur would continue that tradition.
But no, when he was dragged out into the courtyard – the sky was dark, but the air chilly and damp, heralding the approaching dawn – a great pyre had been constructed, and the rest of the knights – his friends – had gathered around, their faces lit eerily by the flickering flames of the torches they held at the ready. At least Gaius wasn't there.
You're not actually going to die, Merlin tried to remind himself, dragging desperately for air through his nose, his mouth blocked by his neckerchief that they'd dragged over his mouth in a bid to keep him from talking, or screaming, or just out of pure spite, Merlin didn't know. You can escape. You will escape, and find Morgana, and stop this. You can't delay any longer.
He drew himself up as tall as he could between Leon and Gwaine, calling his magic to his aid and –
He wasn't sure what happened, or how his friends-turned-enemies had guessed that he was about to try something – maybe he had given himself away somehow, maybe they had noticed the change in his stance or a shift in his energy, or maybe Morgana was interfering even now, ensuring that he would not escape his fate so easily. Whatever the reason, just as Merlin drew upon his magic, something blunt – a sword hilt? – crashed into the back of his skull, and everything was pain.
Agony ripped through his head, his neck, and crackled down his spine. Any grip Merlin had on his magic slipped through his fingers, and he fell forward, held semi-upright only by the knights escorting him to his death. He didn't lose consciousness, but he did lose all sense of control over his body and his magic, and the only thing that existed was pain. His stomach churned in time with the throbbing of his head, and his eyes were driven shut instinctively by the light of the torches before him.
The next few minutes passed in a state of distanced terror and pain. Merlin was acutely aware of the heaviness and agony of his head and the nausea in his gut. He also felt every spike of fear, every bit of helplessness, every scream that wanted to rise up from the most primal part of his being. And yet, at the same time, it was as if it was happening to someone else, and he could do nothing about it. Everything hurt and he was going to die and Arthur was going to burn him alive, his friends were going to light the pyre, and he would die in agony, and not even his magic could stop it, because he couldn't feel it, couldn't find it – he was magic itself, and yet it eluded his grasp, all that existed was pain and confusion and his head swam –
He felt, as if from a great distance, himself be hoisted onto the pyre. He felt the rough wood of the stake rub blisters into his tied hands as he was shoved against it, head lolling uselessly as if it belonged to someone else. He felt rope wrap around his torso, his legs, securing him to the pyre, and he tried to lift his head, which rested on his chest, tried to find his magic, but all he uncovered was fear and despair and pain.
He vaguely heard Arthur speaking from somewhere close by – or maybe it was from miles away. He did not understand the words but knew them to be a list of the supposed crimes Merlin had committed – being born with magic the chief of those. And then, far too soon, Arthur stopped talking, and Merlin sensed through his partially closed eyes the knights approaching with their torches, and he felt the warmth of the fire as those torches were lowered to the wood.
Merlin forced his eyes open, thrust his head up and looked at his friends, then beyond them, at Arthur. He maintained eye contact with his king, his brother, his best friend, even as the knights lit the pyre and he felt the heat begin to spread. Merlin didn't know if Arthur could hear him from this distance, if his words would be loud enough, strong enough, or if they would be caught up and consumed in the rising flames. It took every ounce of strength and concentration to push past the pain and call out, as loudly as he could, "I forgive you, Arthur."
And then, as the flames began licking at his feet, his boots, his clothes, something popped. I was as if the world itself had been out of joint, like a dislocated shoulder, and in that moment, the painful but satisfying second of release, it had snapped back into place. The air shifted, the world stopped spinning for the briefest of moments, and then, it clicked back into its rightful place.
The spell had been broken; Merlin could feel it in every fiber of his being – his magic cried out in relief, and it was only then that he realized that it hadn't been his head injury that had prevented him from fighting back, from escaping – it had been a last, desperate attempt by Morgana to get her revenge, to hide his magic away from him just long enough for him to die.
But she had failed. Her power, her hold and control, had finally given out on her, and Merlin felt his magic bubble back to the surface, and despite the pain and the fear, he summoned rain from a cloudless sky as the sun continued its golden ascent and put out the flames.
Around him, he heard yells, and cries, and his name was shouted from all directions, from the mouths of those he loved and trusted and who had very nearly killed him. But his head pounded, and he was so weak, and the fire was out. He slumped in his bonds, eyes fluttering shut, head dropping to his chest.
He didn't even feel the hands untie him. He didn't feel the knights gently lift his too-warm body from the pyre, didn't feel himself being carried into the castle and placed on a bed, didn't feel Arthur's tears of mingled guilt and relief splash onto his face.
He did, however, somehow, amidst the quiet and dark of unconsciousness, hear Arthur's voice cut through the silence, strong and familiar and real. "Gods, I – I'm so sorry, Merlin. My dearest friend, I–"
When he woke, Merlin would embrace his king, reassure him that no lasting harm had been done. He would smile at his friends, clasp hands with the knights and hug Gaius, find Gwen and make sure she hadn't suffered the same disorienting day that he had. He would answer all questions asked of him, and he would assure Arthur and the knights as many times as it took that he did not blame them, would explain Morgana's dark role in everything. He would find Morgana, and make sure that nothing like this would happen again.
When he woke, the world would be right. It wouldn't be normal – after everything that had been done to him, after all the betrayals, even though he didn't blame his friends, it would take a while for normal to come back around. But Merlin would persist, and he would have his friends – his real friends, with their real memories – to help him through it. As he would help them through the ramifications of their own pain, guilt, and regret.
And when he woke, he would be named the official Court Sorcerer of Camelot. He would be given a robe fine enough for a king, but he wouldn't care about that. All that would matter would be him, at Arthur's side, protecting him and fulfilling their destiny. That was how it had always been, and Merlin, when he woke, would look forward to a bright future of peace and hope.
But for now, he gratefully, peacefully slept, knowing that when he next opened his eyes, Camelot would remember.
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One with the Star
Gif not mine
Pairing: Doyoung x Reader
Genre: Strangers to Lovers, Fluff, College
Note: This is my first ever au so please bear in mind that I’m still learning. Inconsistent updates for this series, so please be patient with me. I’ll try my best to update regularly. :>
Word Count: 1.3k
Summary: You developed a crush on the school band’s vocalist and somehow got close with him when your friend, Jungwoo, joined them. You’re too shy to make a move and so you are more than happy to be friends with a star like him.
As someone who prefers to just lay in bed on a weekend and do nothing productive at all, it's a surprise to see yourself in the Freshman Night that the school organized. Is it the college thrill or is it the fear of missing out? or maybe it's just an abrupt change of heart? nonetheless, the first 30 minutes of the celebration already convinced you that you chose the right decision. The vocalist of the opening act definitely caught your attention and made you stay the night and just skip your weekend movie marathon date with yourself. You were so ready to just drop everything that you got from the buffet table and watch him sing an unknown song to you but luckily, you maintained your composure and sat on a table while quietly observing the vocalist.
"Hi! Mind if I share the table with you?" diverted your attention from the stunning man that you were watching just a few seconds ago and you had no choice but to force yourself to focus on eating to avoid embarrassment from the man in front of you or at least you tried because your ears were still listening to the man's angelic voice and wondering how can someone look THAT good and have THAT talent, how crazy.
You never intended to initiate a conversation with anyone but thanks to Jungwoo's special ability to connect with people, you blurted out words more than what you expected when you decided to attend the party and you spent the night hanging out with him. Eventually, you found out that both of you are taking up Mechanical Engineering — just from a different class, his educational background (and of course, it means that you shared yours too), that he aspires to be a singer on the side, and somehow you found out about the man of your night's name: Kim Dongyoung, a 3rd year major in Performing Arts Department. Apparently, Jungwoo aims to be a part of Dongyoung's band since they amaze him so much even wayback highschool that ultimately became a goal for him to enter the band when he steps in the college life. You wish him luck and told him that you should see him on stage on the next party to which he manifested excitedly.
On your 2nd month being a college student, a lot happened and with a lot, it means a lot of requirements and deadlines to pass and numerous sleepless nights. You weren't really aiming to be the top of the class and you just wanted to maintain having good grades but college is really testing your capability and patience. Luckily, you got closer to Jungwoo even more and you stick with each other most of the time. You were both working on your projects together especially you were both in the same field. One day while you were both completing a requirement, he asked you to join him on his auditions for the school band — NCT. It was as if dead butterflies came to life when you heard the band's name for college stressed you out so much that you totally forgot about the stunning man that you saw on the freshman night. Of course, you didn't express your delight in fear of being embarrassed but you said yes, after all you will still accompany him .
That same night, you somehow found a leisure time and searched for Dongyoung's social media accounts and you stumbled upon his Instagram account. To say the least, he was active in posting photos and they all showcased his features that you didn't really notice when you saw him. You slept with a lot of new favorite photos and a smile on your face.
Hearing Jungwoo practice for his audition piece made you fall for him even more but in a platonic way if that even makes sense. His angelic voice suits Dean's Instagram so much but there were times when you just suddenly think of Dongyoung's account when he sings the piece. It's safe to say that you developed a crush on Dongyoung but you were neither gonna admit it nor make a move. You're happy by just thinking about him and you look forward to seeing him more on stage — with Jungwoo as their member of course.
You still have a lot of pending requirements to finish but you didn't have any plans facing them right now for you wanted to show your full support to Jungwoo. The band is urgently in need of another vocalist for the past member already graduated and they need a new recruit to perform with them on the Sports Fest week and you were so sure that Jungwoo will be accepted, you just know it.
The audition was held on an open space somewhere that people often pass by and so anyone can hear those who are trying to be a part of the band. Hearing the other students who are also hoping to be a member of the band definitely made Jungwoo (and you) nervous at some point but you encouraged him to not be swayed by them for he has the capability to surpass them. You were jittery when his turn was near but of course, as usual, you didn't make it obvious for you know that Jungwoo's talents. The fact that Kim Dongyoung aka your crush is just a few meters away isn't also helping. Naturally, he will be here to screen those who are trying out too, right? But maybe it was the nervousness from Jungwoo's audition that made you forget about his certain presence in this audition and you were mentally scolding yourself for that.
The moment that Jungwoo's name was called by Taeyong, the band's leader, for his turn, everything happened quickly in a blink of an eye. You didn't have much time to process everything that happened but in conclusion, Jungwoo got the role and he's now part of NCT!!! You both hugged each other out of joy and excitement only to be cut off by another member named Jaehyun.
"Hey Jungwoo! Wanna have lunch with us? Your girl can join us." was what he offered but both of you of were startled when he thought that you were his girlfriend so you two immediately denied the assumption to which they complied, or at least you thought. You were also supposed to reject having lunch with them and let Jungwoo hang out with the band but the band insisted, Dongyoung included, that you join them too so you didn't have a choice but to sit with the five men you are eating with right now.
They introduced themselves one by one from Lee Taeyong, the leader, Kim Dongyoung or Doyoung, for he prefers being called Doyoung instead, Jung Jaehyun, a 2nd year major in Mechanical Engineering too, and finally Mark, who's a freshman too. Basically, you were just talking about how their group was formed way back high school that's why Mark is a part of the band already. They also complimented Jungwoo a lot and that they've been searching for exactly someone like him and that made you smile out of pride but it was soon your turn to be interrogated. They asked for your name and how you met Jungwoo, your high school life and all the basic information including your (non-existent) love life. They also apologized that they mistook you as Jungwoo's girl but proceeds to tell you that you both look good together. Of course, you tried to explain that you were just platonic and Jungwoo agreed but they were adamant so you just let them be besides, Doyoung is in front of you so you just went with the flow to not leave a bad impression on your crush after all.
You all separated ways when it was time for your next class although for sure, you will see them more often in the upcoming days since they ordered Jungwoo to bring you along during practice and knowing the man, he won't leave you alone until you agree.
You were halfway through your class when your phone vibrated indicating a notification from your social media accounts. You got curious so you checked it for a split second only to see that someone followed you on your Instagram account.
"@do0_nct is now following you."
*** chapter 2 is now up :)
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Mind Reading, Soul Stealing, Red Eyed, Diesel Electric Monsters!
A new millennium dawned on the Island of Sodor, and with it came many changes that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.
British Rail was no more, and the North Western Region was now the North Western Railway, free to operate as it pleased.
One of the first things that The Fat Controller did was purchase a new express train.
Gordon was apoplectic at this news, but the Fat Controller explained that this new service was to be a through train to London - steam engines hadn’t been allowed on the mainland rails for decades, and under British Rail, a new locomotive would take the coaches to and from London. Now that BR was no more, it was more economical to purchase a dedicated trainset and avoid the locomotive change at Barrow.
Furthermore, Gordon would still be rostered on the midday express and the Limited, both of which only went as far as Barrow.
Pip and Emma had visited Sodor once before, and had been well received by the other engines. However, once it was revealed that Gordon would be displaced from some of his trains, some engines became suspicious...
The engines had speculated that the Fat Controller would purchase a new diesel locomotive to haul the train, and were very surprised to discover that he had instead bought a high speed train!
"Ah canno' put ma buffer on it," Douglas admitted. "But they're doing something! Just look at how they act - the lasses must be scheming or something!"
"Ah'm tellin' ye - they are up ta something!" Douglas said to the other engines in the shed.
"And wha' might that be Douggie?" Asked Donald. Unlike his brother, he had no issue with the diesels, and was confused as to why his brother was so vehemently against them.
"Those two have been nothing but polite and cordial this entire time, and- oh bollocks." Duck began, before his eyes widened in realization. "Do not tell me that you have been listening to Oliver again!"
The other engines groaned - Oliver's escape from the mainland had put him in contact with some of the worst diesels that BR had ever fielded, and he still didn’t trust them as a result. Furthermore, his relatively isolated duties on the Little Western meant that his only real contact with diesels was limited to BoCo, Bear, and Delta - three engines who had all 'escaped' from the mainland in one form or another. He held a pessimistic view towards other diesels, and most of the engines had learned to tune him out as a result.
Apparently Douglas had not. "Ah have - and he's right! That's how it starts - they come in all peaceful and nice, and then Boom! All diesels all the time! Ah saw it happen once and ah'm not about to let it happen again!"
"Oh my god" said Donald and Duck in unison. They were going to have words with Oliver the next time they saw him.
Across the yard at the newly-built diesel shed, the diesels were listening to Douglas' ranting.
"Well, I'm glad that we haven't actually done anything to upset him." Pip said after a moment.
"I was worried that we'd said something." Emma chimed in from the back.
Bear rolled his eyes. "Yes, well, let me be the first to say that I am glad that you aren't actually evil monsters out to destroy steam traction."
Everyone laughed at that, and evidently did so just a little bit too loud, because...
"AH KNEW IT! They're conspiring against uz!" Douglas shouted from inside the shed.
The diesels stopped laughing and stared at the shed, while the steam engines began berating Douglas.
That brought a fresh wave of shouting from within the shed, while the diesels looked at each other incredulously.
The other engines weren't audible, but Douglas certainly was. "Well maybe no' on purpose! But ye don' know what these new things ken do! They might 'ave mind control powers or something!"
"Mind control powers?" Bear said with a raised eyebrow. "Where does he even get that from?"
"Is that normal?" Said Pip, suddenly concerned about having to work with these engines on a regular basis.
"Not especially." Said Delta. "But when it does happen, they're like this until they suffer a karmically appropriate pratfall, at which point they realize that they've been stupid and apologize."
The others stared at her.
"What?" She protested. "Why do you think I never get too big for my wheels if I can help it? I've read the books! I know what happens to the rest of you!"
Bear and BoCo exchanged a significant look, while Pip looked thoughtful.
"So, that pratfall," she said slowly, a sly look spreading across her face. "Do you lot feel like speeding up when it happens?"
And so they did.
Henry and James were soon involved in this scheme by virtue of being 'involved' with Bear and Delta, and spent the next several days figuring out exactly what Oliver and Douglas were saying about Pip and Emma. They eventually compiled a long list of imagined abilities, including mind control, telepathy, soul-stealing, invisibility, and the ability to lie with a straight face.
(The steam engines disputed that last point, but all the diesels agreed that it was the only thing on the list that was true.)
A week later, they first sprang their plan. Douglas was idling at the big station as Pip and Emma loaded their passengers. He made a conscious effort to ignore the HST set, which was helped somewhat by Bear backing into the track in between him and them.
Then things began to go strangely.
"Oh, not much. How about you?" Bear said in response to nothing.
Douglas looked around to see who he could be talking to, and found nobody else.
"Very interesting." Continued Bear. "I'd never considered that before. Is that new?"
After a moment of silence: "I see."
"I wonder how that would work on this Island?"
"Well I would have never guessed!"
Douglas began to wonder if he was losing his mind when Pip's guard blew his whistle and the HST rolled away towards Barrow.
After a long moment, Douglas spoke up. "Bear, who were ye talking to?"
"Pip?" Bear said, confused.
"No ye weren’t!" Exclaimed Douglas. "Ye were talkin' to thin air!"
"I was not! We were having a most interesting conversation. I'm surprised you didn't hear it, considering we were right next to you."
"Ye said nuthin!" Douglas protested.
"I think you need to get your hearing checked." Bear said as he pulled away with his goods train. He broke into a wide smile as soon as he was out of sight.
Next it was Oliver. He made a rare trip beyond the Little Western to collect a train of China Clay from Wellsworth. BoCo was asleep in the station's bay platform when he arrived, so Oliver quietly collected the clay wagons.
As he waited at the signal to leave, Oliver noticed that BoCo was mumbling in his sleep.
"No... mustn't... listen... to... evil... no one... controls... me..."
"BoCo?!" Oliver yelped, suddenly concerned by the diesel's mumbling.
"Huh?!" BoCo sprang to wakefulness suddenly, and Oliver would have sworn that for a split second, there was a red glint in BoCo's eyes. "Oh, hullo Oliver. Fancy seeing you out on the main line."
"You were talking in your sleep!" Oliver said, forgoing any pleasantries.
"I suppose I might have been." BoCo confessed. "I haven't been sleeping very well recently - none of us diesels have."
As Oliver began even more concerned than he had been mere seconds ago, the home signal on the main line dropped to 'clear', and Pip and Emma roared through the station bound for Tidmouth.
As they passed, Oliver jumped slightly - Pip, who was facing him, glared at him as he passed. It was especially unsettling because modern diesels had their end-of-train lamps built into their eyes, so Pip's pupils were bright red as she glared back at Oliver and BoCo.
"She's up to something..." Oliver said to BoCo.
BoCo said nothing in return, and when Oliver looked over, he almost jumped off the rails - BoCo's eyes were the same red colour as Pip's and he was staring into the middle distance.
"She isn't up to anything Oliver..." BoCo said hollowly. "Why would you say that...?"
Oliver squealed in terror, and fled onto the main line as soon as his signal dropped.
BoCo waited until Oliver's train had vanished from sight before turning his lights off and laughing hysterically.
This continued for some time - Oliver and Douglas would see one of the diesels, and the diesels would act strangely at the mention of Pip and Emma.
By the end of the week, Oliver was jumping at shadows, and Douglas was telling his conspiracy theories to any engine that would listen.
"So then Delta gets this faraway look in ‘er eye an' she clams up!" Douglas crowed one morning at Knapford station. “An’ there was no other engine there! She musta’ been talking to them while they wuz invisible!”
Thomas was spellbound. "And then what happened?"
Henry was not. "And then Douglas discovered that there was a reasonable explanation to whatever just happened and learned not to tell tales to impressionable tank engines."
"Ah am not! They. Are. Up. Ta. Somethin'!" Douglas railed at the green engine. "Look, there's Bear now! Let's just see - he's gonna do somethin' if we watch him close enough."
Bear tooted his horn in greeting as he rolled by with a slow goods train. Seeing Oliver and Henry, he quickly flashed his red lights and dropped his engine down a gear as he rolled between Henry and Douglas.
"Play along!" He whispered to Henry as he went by, the noise of his engine masking the words.
Henry blinked. That was an unexpected move... He watched the goods train roll by - it didn't feel right, pranking Douglas like that.
The goods train hadn’t even gone past yet, and he could already hear Douglas ranting about how Bear was a "red-eyed scheming devil!"
Oh, so that’s how it’s going to be. He thought as he listened to Douglas make blameless accusations about his fiancé. To hell with it then.
"What did he say?!" Douglas bellowed after the train passed. "Ah heard 'im say something to ye Henry! What did the devil say to ye?!"
Henry, trying his best to keep his face neutral, looked at Douglas in shock. "Oh hello Douglas! When did you get here?"
Bear's train cleared the signal block, and Henry steamed out of the station, leaving Douglas raving about "memory alterin' beasties!"
The engines looked up as Donald steamed up to the diesel shed.
“Ah knoo ye lot are doin’ this - knock it off before ma brother completely loses his marbles.” He said firmly.
“Is he going to stop saying that we’re mind controlling demons?” Bear retorted.
The steam engine sighed deeply. “Ah want ye to know that he wasnae sayin that before ye started, but ah’ll talk to ‘im. Mebbe we can work something out.”
He steamed back to the sheds. Within a few minutes the sound of Scottish-accented shouting burst from the sheds.
This continued for some time, to the point where Henry had his driver pull him out of the shed to escape the noise.
Eventually, both twins emerged from the shed, Donald looking aggrieved and Douglas much more subdued.
“Ah’m sorry.” The twin eventually said. “Ah think that ah might have let this whole ‘new diesel’ thing get to me a bit more than ah should’ve.”
There was some muttering from Bear and Pip before BoCo shushed them. “We accept your apology Douglas. Sometimes we can all go a little overboard -”
“I don’t.” Interrupted Delta.
“You hid from the Thin Clergyman.” BoCo glared at her before continuing. “We all can go a little overboard at times, so I’m glad that we can now put this behind us. Friends?”
“Friends.” Douglas said after a moment.
“Good!” Cried a voice from inside Donald’s cab as Siobhan poked her head out. “Now that we’re done torturin’ me Da’ for being thick, I wan’ to know somethin - how did all of you manage to make yer eyes turn red like that?”
“Oh, this?” BoCo said as he turned on his red lamps, making his eyes glow red. “It really is just something we were built with.”
The other diesels blinked theirs as well to show that it was not an unusual thing to be equipped with.
“Oh that is so creepy.” Siobhan shivered. "I love it!"
“Oh no.” Oliver gasped as he watched the diesels flash their mind-control rays at Donald and Douglas. “They got to them.”
“What do we do?” Whispered Thomas from the next platform over.
“I don’t know!”
After the truce between Douglas and the Diesels, life became much more peaceful on Sodor.
Unless you were on Thomas’ branch line.
Because only Thomas and Daisy regularly travelled down to the big station at Tidmouth, the rest of the engines on the line learned most of their news from the main line engines when they met at Knapford station. This meant that information was slow and sometimes unreliable on the best of days.
Now that Thomas actively believed that Pip and Emma had mind-controlled the rest of the engines, that information stream became warped and distorted very quickly.
Matters were made worse when Daisy was sent to the works for several weeks to have her engine rebuilt. To keep up with traffic, The Fat Controller sent an engine to assist, and Oliver was the first to volunteer.
The branch line quickly descended into hysteria.
Looking back on this series of events, it is mind-boggling that none of the big engines noticed, however, they had assumed that Douglas had told Oliver that it was all a prank, and that Oliver was an engine that could be reasoned with.
Furthermore, Gordon, now displaced from the morning and evening express, was insistent on trying out other passenger runs to see if he enjoyed them. This meant that the engines who normally pulled those trains were also displaced from their duties, meaning that the engines who usually met Percy, Thomas, and Daisy’s trains on a regular basis were instead arriving at Knapford on random days and times. The sudden paranoia of the branch line engines was therefore overlooked or dismissed as ‘tank engines being tank engines’.
Matters were made worse when Daisy returned from the works, allowing Oliver to return to the Little Western.
Daisy was due to return around lunchtime, and so Oliver took his train to Tidmouth, and then immediately continued on with a train to Arlesburgh, while Daisy took the return service to Ffarquhar.
The other engines on the branch were busy with trains at the north end of the line, and didn’t know that Daisy was returning that day. From their perspective, Oliver was ‘vanished’ by ‘them’, and replaced with a diesel interloper.
The fact that Daisy had been on the branch line for almost fifty years at that point was immaterial.
“How do we know that you’re really Daisy?” Percy asked late that night. “What if you’ve been mind-controlled by them to make us into your thralls?”
“Because if I was,” Daisy hissed, acid practically dripping off of her tongue. “I would have done it already. Go. To. Sleep!”
No more was said that night, but the other engines continued to view Daisy with suspicion.
Daisy, now thoroughly unamused, began asking the big engines if mind control was something that she could actually do - just so that she could get some peace and quiet!
This did not ease the branch line engine’s concerns at all.
Daisy found that sleep was much harder to come by as a result.
Things eventually came to a head when an extremely sleep deprived Daisy backed down onto the milk van a little bit too hard. The shunter had failed to set the van’s brakes, and it rolled away down the hill towards the next station.
Percy and Thomas had, as the result of a lost bet, switched jobs that day, which meant that Percy, Annie, and Clarabel were halfway up the hill behind Daisy when the milk van rattled into view.
“Horrors!” Percy cried as his crew applied the brakes and jumped clear.
The damage to Percy’s front wasn’t catastrophic, but it was bad enough for the breakdown train crew to put him on a flatbed so he could be taken to the works to be looked over. Clarabel, who was behind Percy and took a nasty bump in the collision, accompanied him.
Wendell was sympathetic as he collected them, but Percy was still wary, especially because his flatbed had been coupled up to Wendell facing backwards, meaning that neither he nor Clarabel could see if the diesel had been mind-controlled.
Wendell’s shocked laughter when Percy told him this was not encouraging.
The trip went normally until they arrived at Kildane. There, another engine was waiting, and attached itself to the back of the train. Percy and Clarabel eyed it suspiciously. It looked like a diesel, but one they had never met before, and had a strange metal contraption on its roof, which it lowered before they set off again.
“Hi!” The engine chirped as the train set off. “I’m Abbey! Who are you?”
“Percy...” He said cautiously. Clarabel stayed silent.
As it turned out, Abbey was an electric locomotive. She wasn’t new to the island by any means, but she had arrived after Percy had begun working on Thomas’ branch full-time, so they’d never met. She was very chatty, very curious, and had no idea what Percy and Clarabel were talking about.
“Mind-Control Rays?” She laughed as they rolled towards Kellsthorpe Road station. “How would that even work?”
“I don’t know, but what I do know is that if their eyes turn red and then they look at you, you’re done for!”
“Red eyes?” Abbey looked thoughtful. “Do you mean reversing lights? We have them built into our eyes so we don’t need lamps!”
“What?” Percy was baffled.
“Yeah! It’s something that all engines have nowadays.” Abbey’s brows scrunched together in thought. “I think that mine has an emergency backup battery... let me try...”
After a moment of squinting, the pupil of Abbey’s left eye flickered into a very familiar red gaze.
Wendell was not paying attention to the conversation behind him at all, and was startled to attention when Percy and Clarabel began screaming.
“What in the world is going on?!” He shouted, trying to look behind himself and see what was happening.
“I don’t know!” Cried Abbey. “They just started screaming!”
The commotion drew the attention of Wendell’s driver and second man as well, which meant that nobody on the train noticed as the Kellsthorpe Road home signal suddenly dropped to ‘Danger’ as they drew nearer to it.
The train rumbled past the signal without stopping, and approached the station at speed. Wendell finally looked forward, and saw members of the station staff waving their arms at him as they tried to right a massively overloaded porter’s trolley that had fallen over on the foot crossing.
“Diesel and Oil! Stop the train! Stop the Train!” He shouted, drawing his driver’s attention, who applied the brakes as they entered the station.
“I want you to tell me what happened one more time.” The Fat Controller said as seriously as one could while standing ankle deep in tin foil. The station was covered in the stuff, as was Wendell, Percy, Clarabel, and Abbey.
“The porter’s trolley was a consignment of tinfoil going to a restaurant supply store in town.” The stationmaster started. “It came in on the last train, and then it fell. We tried to make them stop-”
“I threw the signal! I did!” The signalman interjected. “They just didn’t see it!”
“No, we didn’t.” Wendell’s driver admitted, shamefaced. “We were trying to see why -”
“Percy was screaming.” Finished the Fat Controller.
“Why was Percy screaming?”
“We don’t know sir.”
“Abbey might!” Wendell chipped in while trying to blow flecks of tin foil out of his nose. “She was talking to them when they started screaming.”
As it turned out, Abbey knew exactly why Percy (and Clarabel) had been screaming, and was willing to talk about it at length.
The Fat Controller's eyebrows rose into his hairline and stayed there as Abbey kept talking. Percy and Clarabel remained silent, although it was impossible to determine whether it was out of fear, stubbornness, or embarrassment.
“Mind Control powers? Really?” The Fat Controller wanted to be upset, but just could not manage it. “Where on earth did that come from?”
“Oliver sir!” Percy finally spoke up. “He said that the diesels were taking over the island with their evil powers!”
A surprised sounding "oh no!” rose from the next platform - Henry was waiting with The Limited, and had heard most of Abbey’s explanation.
“Do you have something to add to this?” The Fat Controller asked Henry, unsure how this story could get any more ridiculous.
Henry did have something to add.
“Sir, are you all right?” His assistant asked as they returned to the car.
“I’m fine.” The Fat Controller managed. “I just need a moment.”
He shut the door to the car behind him, and as soon as he was alone, he laughed until he cried.
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02/14/2021 DAB Transcript
Exodus 37:1-38:31, Matthew 28:1-20, Psalms 34:11-22, Proverbs 9:9-10
Today is the 14th day of February welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian welcome to a brand-new shiny sparkly week out in front of us. And happy St. Valentine's Day. One year ago, one year ago today we were on our way to Israel for our Israel annual pilgrimage and we were passing through Italy, I remember this, just before like these rumors of like this bad virus, they had been kind of swirling around, but they were not starting… starting to actually take hold in earnest, especially in Italy, and then like right after we got out of there to Israel it wasn't just a few days before Italy shut down. And that began because I think…I believe they were the first country, like officially closed down and trying to isolate from the virus. And, so, wow, what…what can happen in a year. Look at what can transpire in a year of time and look what can change in our lives over the course of a year. And, so, let's just remember that these changes are happening day by day step by step, including today. So, happy St. Valentine's Day. We got a brand-new week. We will read from the Common English Bible this week and we will be picking up the story in the book of Exodus. And it feels like we’ve been camping out in Exodus for a while now because we have but we’ll conclude the book of Exodus tomorrow. But that's then and this is now. Today, Exodus chapters 37 and 38.
Father, we thank You for Your word and for bringing us this far…this far into the year, this this brand-new week that is opening up to us, this St. Valentine's Day where we commemorate and observe love, love in the world, especially the romantic kind of love and we’re grateful for that gift. And we are thankful for the story that we read in the book of Matthew today, the story of the resurrection, the story that has set our hearts on fire but has also set everything into motion, everything that comes next into motion because of Your resurrection. And, so, Father we are…we’re here in the…pretty much the dead center of the month, but we are turning pages and getting ready to move into some new territory. We concluded the gospel of Matthew today, the first of the four Gospels. So, we will move forward into another gospel tomorrow. And we will conclude the book of Exodus tomorrow and begin to move forward from there, the day after that. So, the next couple of days are going to be days of transition for us as we continue to move forward, we invite Your Holy Spirit into this…into this week and everything we do, everything that we think, everything that we say, all of the motives of our hearts, may they be surrendered to You we pray. In the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
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And that's it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I'll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Hi this is Tiffany from Cleveland and I just want to thank everyone that has prayed for me and my husband Tony for the death of our daughter Jeanna. And I also want to ask that you pray…that I could receive joy again. My joy was lost when my daughter died, and I believe in the Lord and I believe in His peace and I believe that He can give me joy but it's gone, and I desire it. I also want to pray for all those that have lost their children, that their children have died through miscarriage, infant loss, disease, sickness, cancer. It's so hard on us. Our lives are never the same after our children die. I just pray that we could receive peace and joy again in our lives and as we live and learn to live without them. In Jesus’ name.
Hello this is Susan and I'm calling on February the 11th. I just wanted to reply to Jessica from California who spoke today on the…as I was listening to Daily Audio Bible and just to say how much she encouraged me. My father…it was always difficult to communicate with my father. For many years I was not sure why then I found out recently he’s probably on the autistic spectrum. I've also been separated from my husband going on eight years. And, so, a relationship with men is sometimes difficult. I have more male colleagues now at my work and I was just coming home today feeling rather pitiful, discouraged and not sure if I can communicate or compete in the male workplace where more males around me and then come home and look after my children, be strong for all of them. So, thank you so much for the words of encouragement, the words that you say to yourself, thank you God for just the way I am. Thank you God for just the way I am.” And also, the verse in the Bible, I think it's Psalm 139 saying, “we are fearfully and wonderfully made.” So, I just wanted to say thank you Jessica from California for the encouragement you gave me today. Thank you.
Hello everybody my name is Doug from Oklahoma I've been a long-time listener I've just never called in. I have a vaccine schedule tomorrow for Covid and I'm really, really scared. I have bad anxiety and panic attacks and…but I feel like I need to get this vaccine and I would just like your prayers, that nothing goes wrong, I don't have any bad reactions or anything. And, of course, then I'll have to get a second one. So, I love you guys. I…I…I pray for you all too. And I just don't call in very much because I really don't…I'm not a very good talker as you can tell. But anyways your prayers are appreciated for tomorrow. I know the time you hear this the vaccine will be over but, you know, God already knows. So, I thank you all. Doug from Oklahoma. Love you. Bye.
Good evening DABbers my sisters and brothers in Christ this prayer is going to Latasha in California. You spoke of being homeless with your children at one point and just now getting into the housing and afraid that you're going to lose it and be homeless again. I've been homeless before Latasha and I had a young son and I know how scary it is especially when you don't know where you're going to live the next day. Besides if things fall apart you have no safety net. So, Father God I come to You as humble as I know how Father. Father we have a mother right now Father that doesn't know what the situation…how the situation is going to turn out. She's being torn between one person saying one thing and someone expecting another Father God, but I just ask that You put in her heart Father that to stand and feel Your Salvation. God if she stands, she knows where her help will come from. You didn't bring her this far Father for her and her children to be back into the homeless situation. Father, so I ask that You give her strength, give her confidence, give her peace Father, that peace that surpasses all understanding Father that things will be OK. And Latasha, you say you're fearful. God did not give us a spirit of fear but of sound mind. So, just stand and watch his Salvation work this out for you. I look forward to hearing a praise report on how things will work out, not going to, but will. Running Desperately to Jesus. Also known as...
Hi Daily Audio Bible family this is Renzo from Maryland I just want to say just really appreciate what you guys are doing, just keep encouraging people, just keep getting them closer to the Lord. It's amazing to see everybody, all the age groups, all the different ages young and old. It's crazy just to see what the Lord is doing. And just…just asking for prayers for my family, for my mom my dad and my grandfather. Recently they've…they…they've had Covid but they've been getting better and their quarantines about to be up by the grace of God. I just thank God for you…for you guys prayers. And my mom was starting to feel better. She suffers with complex regional pain syndrome and just chronic pain in every part of her body and the Corona virus really hit her really bad but I'm just glad that she's feeling a little bit better. And I just thank the Lord for everything He's blessed me with. And just please just keep them in prayers. And I just want to pray for any of you guys going through anything. Father God I just thank You for everything You bless us with Lord and just please help us to just get closer and closer to You Lord and I thank You for the Daily Audio Bible family and everything they’re doing to encourage and keep Your name to be known. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. God bless you guys. Have a blessed rest of your day. Jesus loves you. God bless.
Hello DAB family this is your brother Daniel Johnson junior from beautiful Cincinnati OH. Hey, let's pray. Almighty God, You are omniscient all powerful all seeing all knowing and ever…and everywhere omnipresent. God You are so good to all of us and I know that You're working through mankind in all these different ways. I pray for our medical professionals, especially those that are making this vaccine and the distribution of this vaccine, everybody that's in charge of all this. I pray that everybody everywhere can get this vaccine, that Your enemy will be completely defeated as he's looking to tear and seek and skill and destroy…steal, kill, and destroy. I come against the enemy in the name of Jesus Christ and I pray that Your spiritual forces of good, Your spiritual sources Jesus because You’ve achieved…You achieved the complete and total victory, that Your spiritual forces would levy and lay down a serious nuclear style beat down against the enemy to force them back…to…I bind and banish the enemy in the name of Jesus Christ in regard to everything that is related to this coronavirus. May it be according to Your will in Jesus’ name. Amen. Hey God bless you all from beautiful Cincinnati OH this is Daniel Johnson junior. Make it a great day.
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