i mean mum was always so nice to me she treated me like an equal. we were like siblings growing up. it was really nice of her to never treat me like something out of place but now that ive been released into the world i am............................. very cold and very clueless
Pairing: Mechanic!Bucky x Fem!Personal Assistant!Reader
Summary: It all started with a failed attempt to buy your boss a new phone, and then suddenly you're in the middle of nowhere Ireland crying your eyes out in front of a handsome mechanic who would do just about anything to make you smile again...
Note: No warnings for this one except I'm pretty sure I've lost my damn mind LOL
Once the event had ended, Sarah brought her two sons over to meet Tony, and the light in their eyes as they met their favorite author caused you to completely melt.
Seeing the look on Bucky’s face witnessing their joy was the only thing that could top it.
As the group was still mingling, you handed the new phone over to Tony, and his mouth hung open for a second before he gave you an impressed look.
“I’ll be damned, Y/n,” he said, opening up the box and taking out the phone, “You managed to do the impossible.” He checked his watch and smiled. “I bet if I set this up as soon as we get back to the hotel I can call Pepper and Morgan in the next hour or so.” He looked up at you again. “Thank you. You really outdid yourself with this.”
You beamed. “Thanks, boss, but I gotta say, Bucky was the one to really pull through with this.” You looked over to the tall Irishman at your side and your smile grew. “I wouldn’t have been able to survive this day without him.”
Bucky gave you a side smile and a quick wink, the two of you completely forgetting that you were surrounded by others for a few seconds.
But then you looked back at Tony whose eyes were now narrow, gaze flickering between the two of you and you felt heat rise to your face. Looking over at Bucky, you saw that he was blushing.
“Right…” Tony said, nodding his head slowly. “Well Bucky,” he held out his hand and Bucky shook it, “Thank you for all of your help today. You and Y/n sure make a great team.” He paused for a second, then said, “You know, we’re hosting a big fundraiser dinner tomorrow night. Great food, expensive drinks, stupidly rich people to mildly poke fun at. I’d love for you to attend as one of my guests as a thank you for getting us through today.”
Bucky’s eyebrows shot up and he cleared his throat, looking over at you for approval.
You bit your lip, giving him a sure, why not look. Of course, you would love to have him go for a multitude of reasons. The only other person you would know at this event besides Tony was Quentin, and there was no way you were going to get stuck with his grumpy ass for the night.
It was more than that, though. You really wanted any excuse to spend more time with Bucky before you had to go back home. And the idea of seeing him in a suit? Yes..yes, he could come.
So with that, Bucky looked back to Tony and shrugged. “I mean, if it’s no trouble….and for a good cause-”
“Great!” Tony said, clapping his hands together. “It’s settled. I’m sure Y/n can fill you in on the details and arrange a seat next to her at our table. Sound good?”
You bobbed your head up and down. “Great.”
Just like that, you had two upcoming dates with Bucky in the books.
Now, it was time to get the first one in motion. You and Tony drove back to the hotel in the newly-repaired rental. Bucky said he would pick you up in an hour or so to give both of you time to freshen up.
You ran to the shower as soon as you got to your room, washing off the sweat from running around Dublin and beyond all day.
Bucky said that the pub was a casual spot filled with regulars, so you figured you didn’t need to dress to the nines like you would for tomorrow evening. Instead, you went with jeans, an army-green crop top tee and black leather jacket. The shirt left a bit of your midsection exposed, something that you hardly ever felt comfortable allowing.
But hell, you were in Europe going on a date with a man you’d probably never see again, so if he for some reason was repulsed by your stomach, it wouldn't really matter in the end. Why not further put yourself out of your comfort zone and have a little bit of fun?
Plus, in the short time you knew Bucky, you had a strong feeling that this was the farthest thing from an issue.
Said dashing Irishman was waiting at the entrance of the hotel as soon as you stepped out onto the cobblestone sidewalk, leaning against the door of his truck with both of his hands in his pockets, smiling at you sheepishly. His smile grew tenfold as he looked you up and down, taking in your outfit and you felt heat coursing through your body from his gaze.
You also felt a sense of jealousy that he had something to lean on as you took in his appearance. No longer in the henley, Bucky had thrown on a pair of dark blue jeans and a black knit sweater that clung to his body in all the right places. His baseball hat was gone, allowing his wavy chestnut locks freedom to flow around his smiling face, and all you wanted to do was rake your fingers through them.
After standing there a few moments too long, both ogling one another, Bucky stood straight and walked toward you. You figured he was just going to just escort you to his car, which is why you let out a surprised gasp when he enveloped you into his arms and hugged you.
His sweater was so soft, so warm, and he smelled faintly of sandalwood. It worked out with your height difference that your cheek rested perfectly against his chest, and his chin landed right on the crown of your head.
He held onto you, not too tightly to make you feel like you were suffocating, but with enough strength to bring a sense of safety, as if nothing could touch you while you were in his arms.
When he pulled back, you gave him a wide-eyed grin.
“Three hugs in one night, Buck? People are gonna start talking…” you joked, feigning nonchalance as if your heart weren’t beating out of your chest.
He shrugged, running his fingers through his hair. “Look, love, ye started it with the first one earlier. And I gotta admit, it was so grand, I don’t know if I can ever get enough.”
You bit your bottom lip, rolling your eyes at the level of charm. “Oh really now?”
He chuckled. “Yes. Really.” His arm reached out and you grabbed his hand as he led you to the passenger side, opening the door and closing it once you were settled.
The Golden Elixir Tavern basically fit every bar sitcom stereotype you had ever seen on television. The tiny establishment was completely packed, and yet it seemed like everyone there was each other’s best friend.
As soon as you and Bucky walked in, everyone turned and erupted into cheers, beer glasses sloshing around in the air.
They - for obvious reasons - spotted the massive man that had walked in first, but when they saw your shorter form following behind, hand in his, the place went eerily quiet, and suddenly there was a sea of confused, inquisitive faces before you.
You could have sworn you heard a cricket chirp somewhere in the building.
Bucky turned his head to you with an apologetic expression and huffed before turning back to the crowd and shouting, “Aye! Fuck off ye nosy lot!”
And just like that, the silence ended as everyone else yelled profanities back at him, and returned their attention back to one another.
He squeezed your hand and gave you a wink. “Come on, let’s get ye a drink.”
The two women running the bar had to be the most gorgeous people you had ever laid eyes on (aside from Bucky, obviously). They both had their own uniquely fierce, fiery red hair that glistened under the soft glow of the bar, and though they were smaller than most, you could tell by the way they carried themselves that they were not to be messed with.
One of them walked up to the end of the wooden bar as the two of you approached, looking at you up and down and then giving Bucky a narrow-eyed smile.
“Barnes,” she said, her voice smooth as butter, causing your immediate girl crush to increase tenfold. Her accent was American, you noted.
Bucky nodded. “Romanoff.” He looked down at you and smiled. “What’ll ye have?”
You pursed your lips, contemplating. “Whiskey?”
His brows shot up, but then he let out a small laugh before turning back to the redhead. “Ye heard the lady. Two.”
Romanoff grinned, moving her gaze to you with an impressed look. “Coming right up.”
Your eyes swept the pub as she poured the amber liquid. The walls were lined with high top tables and massive wooden barrels to sit on, with various random art pieces, signets, and photos covering every square inch above. In one corner, a small stage was set up with a few mic stands, piano, and an acoustic guitar.
“Do they have live performances?” you asked Bucky.
He shrugged, clearing his throat. “Every once in a while. Ye like music?”
“I mean, I’m not a stellar performer, but I was a music and theatre geek in high school. That’s one thing I love about New York. They have live music practically everywhere. It’s great when it’s intimate like this.”
Bucky was about to speak when the redhead returned. “You’re from New York?” You nodded and she looked to Bucky. “Barnes, that’s-”
“Thank you, Natasha,” Bucky interrupted, grabbing the glasses and handing one to you. Before you would wonder what had just happened, he was giving you another dazzling, boyish smile, tilting his whiskey toward yours. “Cheers, love.”
You gently tapped your glass to his. “Cheers, Buck.”
With a wink, he knocked his glass back in one gulp, no trace of a wince on his beautiful face as he swallowed it down.
Alright, tough guy, you thought. Two can play this game.
You sent a silent thanks to your grandma in the U.S. for introducing you to scotch and whiskey the moment you turned 21, then mimicked Bucky’s movement as you downed the glass in one go.
When you brought your eyes from the ceiling back to his ocean irises, his mouth hung open in shock.
You winked back.
“I like her,” you both turned your head to Natasha, who was giving you a side smile as she wiped off a glass. Then she extended a hand to you for a formal introduction. “I’m Nat.”
You shook it. “Y/n. Sorry if this is, like, super rude to ask, but are you American?”
Her grin widened and she cocked her head to the side, eyes flickering up to the ceiling for a second before returning to you. “Technically I’m Russian. My family and I moved around a lot, and I spent a lot of time in D.C.” Suddenly, she switched to an Irish brogue out of nowhere as she said, “I can basically speak in any accent. I guess it would be easier to talk like this while I live here, especially with the hair and everything making it so easy to fit in.” She switched to American again. “But I just love keeping people on their toes.”
You shook your head in awe. “I think I’m in love with you.”
She blew you a kiss before sliding over two newly filled glasses in front of you. When had she even refilled those? “Most people are.”
“Alright, alright,” Bucky groaned out, hooking an arm around your waist to guide you to the other end of the bar. “Let’s go meet the much less flirtatious Wanda.”
Nat smirked as you were whisked off. “Let me know if you need anything,” she joked, shaking her head in amusement as Bucky’s feigned annoyance.
Wanda was the other redhead behind the bar, who was surprisingly also Eastern European, her accent more pronounced than Nat’s. One smile from her made you feel like she was the type of person who was really good at hugging and listening to others. Like you could unload all of your problems on her and she would happily take them with open arms.
The next person you met was Steve, the one you recalled Bucky speaking on the phone to earlier that day when you were dealing with the flat tire - had that really only been today? Feels like it was weeks ago, you thought.
Up until now, you were positive that there was no one on this earth larger than Bucky Barnes. Steve Rogers was the exception, and you took a step back as the giant blond man barreled into the bar, wrapping Bucky’s neck into a headlock that seemed to be an affectionate greeting between the two.
“Alright, ye blimey bastard,” Steve said, blue eyes glistening, “I was promised all the pints in the world, so let’s get goin’.” His eyes shot over to you and then he grinned. “And who’s this?”
Bucky groaned, removing himself from Steve’s hold and moving to your side. “Steve, this is Y/n. Y/n, Steve.”
Steve’s eyes bounced between the two of you, grin widening. Then, he extended out his hand, which you took thinking he was just going to shake it. But then, he was leaning down, bringing your hand up until his lips softly pressed against your skin.
“Pleasure to meet you, Y/n,” he said smoothly, and you weren’t sure if you wanted to laugh or roll your eyes.
“Jesus, Steve,” Bucky muttered, taking your hand out of his best friend’s hold and bringing it to his side. He didn’t let go, just interlaced his fingers with yours. “Can ye not be an arse for like, five seconds?”
“Perhaps if I had a pint in my hand, I could consider it,” Steve said, and you giggled.
Bucky just shook his head, looking over at Wanda. “Wan, can ye please help me out?”
“On it,” she responded with a smile, giving you a knowing look as she grabbed a glass and worked on getting Steve a drink.
More people followed in after that, all of them dying to meet the person Bucky refused to stay more than a few inches away from.
During that time, they opened the stage to performers, and various members took their turns singing, reciting poetry, playing piano, guitar, everything. Some songs were jovial tunes, others more somber, all of it was beautiful, and there were moments that you found yourself lost in the performance. Then you’d come to and see Bucky smiling at your dreamlike expression.
Eventually, two of them were introduced to you as Sam and Becca. Becca, as in Bucky’s sister.
You lept forward and pulled the short woman with unruly brown curls in for a tight hug and she let out a small laugh.
“Well hello to ye too, darlin’,” she said, returning the hug.
You pulled away, hands on her shoulders and staring into the blue eyes that almost matched her brother’s to a T. “You saved my ass today,” you said. “Both you and Bucky. Thank you.”
She smiled. “Of course. I’m glad things went…” she looked and Bucky, “...so well.”
“Apparently she’s namin’ her first child after ye,” he grumbled. “Even though I was the one to actually rescue her from BHOD.”
You nudged his stomach with your elbow. “Second kid. I’ll name my second kid after you, okay?”
He let out a huff in response and Becca cackled. “God, yer so dramatic, brother.”
Bucky opened his mouth, ready with some sassy retort when Natasha called out to him, “Oy! Barnes!” He turned to the redhead and she pointed to one corner of the bar. “You’re up, buddy.”
He turned to your confused expression and blushed, giving you a small grin. “I’ll be back, love.” Before leaving, he placed a hand at the small of your back and leaned forward until his lips brushed along your cheek for a soft kiss. You clenched your jaw to prevent a noise from escaping you, and then next thing you knew your blue-eyed mechanic was heading over to the microphone.
You turned to Becca, gaping.
She raised her brows in a just you wait expression, nodding her head to Bucky and you watched him grab the guitar by the wall and a stool. He sat down, positioning himself so that the guitar rested on his leg and he raised the mic stand to reach his tall form. The whole room started whooping and hollering as he got himself settled and he blushed.
“Um,” he said in a deep, low voice, tuning the guitar. He cleared his throat. “Haven’t played this one yet. But it seems like a grand enough night to do so.” His eyes met yours and he gave you a small smile before his fingers started strumming.
You knew it before he even started singing, and it brought an unfamiliar ache to your chest.
“I had a thought, dear
About that night
The bugs and the dirt”
His voice was, of course, perfect. Sweet like sugar with just a bit of a grizzly bite to it. Hozier usually sang the song in a higher key, but you could tell that Bucky transposed it to fit within the range of his grizzly baritone voice.
“I will not as you where you where you came from
I will not ask you, neither should you.”
His eyes locked on yours once again.
“Honey just put your sweet lips on my lips
We should just kiss like real people do.”
You chugged the rest of your whiskey, placing the empty glass on the bar and Wanda refilled it.
Suddenly, you felt a large presence behind you. You turned to see Steve smiling down at you.
“He sure is somethin’, isn’t he?” he asked, eyebrows wiggling up and down.
You bit back a smile, shaking your head. “Is this his move? He rescues people from a ditch in the road and then brings them to a pub to sweep them off their feet with his ridiculous charm?”
Steve sighs, shaking his head. “Nope. He’s never brought anyone here. Ever.”
Your eyes narrow, the ache in your chest growing. “Ever?”
“Ever. He knows if he did everyone here would give him so much shite for it and rag on him for bein’ sweet on someone.” He lifted his glass to his lips and murmured, “Guess he thought ye were worth it.”
You turned back to Bucky, noticing that his focus was still on you as he sang.
There was absolutely no fucking way that this was actually your life. It had to be a dream. The best damn dream of your life.
Your eyes looked down at his fingers, moving effortlessly across the strings. Then, to his hair, how the dark brown color seemed to glow underneath the lights. His eyes once more, trained on you and sparkling, as if looking into your very soul.
“I will not ask you where you came from”
Little did he know, he was claiming it for himself with each word he sang.
“I will not ask you, neither should you.”
As stupid as that was for you to do. To allow your heart to drift its way over to this man who you would never see after tomorrow. His life was here, and yours was in America.
“Honey just put your sweet lips on my lips”
It was going to hurt like a motherfucker. But you had officially decided that until then…
“We should just kiss like real people do”
You were going to spend whatever time you had enjoying every single moment of it to the fullest.
Everyone began cheering again as Bucky played the final note, and he nodded at them in thanks. You took another large swig of whiskey while he put the guitar away, allowing the warmth of the liquid to give you courage as he walked toward you.
He only had a second to narrow his eyes in confusion before your hands cupped his face, pulling him down until his lips met yours.
If he was caught off guard at all, he didn’t show it. Instead, he wrapped his arms around your waist and pulled your body flush to his, completely enveloping you within his form. You opened your mouth to allow his tongue to slip in and as soon as he got a taste of you, Bucky let out a low, guttural moan.
Meanwhile, you were going feral, hands moving up to take hold of his hair, which was even more soft than you imagined. Everything about Bucky was better than you could have imagined. The way his scruff lightly scratched your skin, the sweetness of his lips, his large hands desperate to touch every part of you.
Sure, there were probably dozens of eyes on you, and you could hear the whistles and cheers and a way to go, Buck from Steve, but you didn’t give a damn. None of them mattered in this moment. Only Bucky.
You were the first to pull away, only because you were on the verge of passing out. The two of you were breathless, his eyes were scanning your face, licking his lips as if trying to hold onto the taste of you.
“Hope I didn’t read the situation wrong,” you joked, one hand moving a strand of hair out of his face. “I mean, it seemed like you were practically begging for it with that song.”
His face broke out into a wide grin and he let out a low chuckle. “Believe me, love, if ye weren’t gonna kiss me in the next hour I was actually goin’ to start beggin’.”
Your left eyebrow shot up. “Now that is something I’d like to see.”
He chuckled again and then pulled you in for another kiss, less hungry but still intense enough for you to have to lean on him for support because your legs were about to buckle.
“Okay,” Steve groaned, “Will you two get a room already?”
Bucky moved back and glared at his best friend. But there was a lightness in his crystalline irises as he looked back at you. “Wanna get out of here?”
You nodded. “Absolutely-”
“Wait! Ye can’t leave yet!” Becca exclaimed. You turned to see her staring, arms crossed over her. “Y/n still hasn’t performed.”
Bucky shook his head. “Becs, she doesn’t need to-”
“Um, yes she does,” his sister cuts off. “Them’s the Elixir’s rules. Newbies have to get up there and do somethin’.”
You gave a panicked look to Bucky and he shook his head again. “Ye don’t have to…”
“Sorry Barnes,” Natasha called out. “If Y/n ever wants to come back, she’s gotta pay her dues.”
If she ever wants to come back.
Back to Ireland, back to the Golden Elixir, back to Bucky.
You sighed, then wiggled your way out of Bucky’s strong hold and downed your whiskey. Natasha filled it one last time and then you were walking slowly to the mic.
You bit your bottom lip, eyes scanning the pub until they landed on a very anxious looking Bucky. He looked as if he thought you would never want to talk to him again after going through with this.
Obviously you were going to talk to him, and nothing was going to stop you from kissing his pretty face when you were done. So you gave him a reassuring smile and a wink, which seemed to relax his shoulders.
“Hello everyone,” you started, “I’m Y/n…”
“Hi Y/n,” everyone said in unison and you laughed.
“It’s been great meeting you all and drinking your whiskey. I gotta say, it tastes a lot better than most of the shit I drink back home in the states.” That was met with loud cheering, even from Bucky. “I do know part of a song that I feel y’all will know, and I have to admit I found it on TikTok being performed by the beloved Hozier.” Bucky’s brows shot up and his smile widened. “Hopefully I don’t butcher it too much, but if I do, I just ask that you’ll help me out.”
More cheers. And then you cleared your throat.
“Come guess me this riddle, what beats pipe and fiddle,”
The whole pub erupted, and Bucky was whooping and clapping his hands.
“What’s hotter than mustard and milder than cream?
What best wets your whistle, what’s clearer than crystal,
Sweeter than honey and stronger than steam?”
You lifted up your whiskey glass and took a sip as everyone kept cheering. As you continued with the song, everyone sang along with you, until the entirety of the Golden Elixir was swaying side to side, waving their glasses in the air as they belted out the classic and well-beloved tune. Even Natasha was smiling, singing her heart out.
Bucky sang along as well, the entire time looking at you like you were the damn sun and he was all of the planets orbiting around you. He was enraptured, smitten, completely lost in everything that made up you.
“And, boys, I’d half wonder if lighting and thunder
Was made from the plunder of whiskey, me boys.”
With the last words sung, you downed the rest of your glass, raising it all the way up as you giggled at the riot happening before you. Swarms of people ran up to hug you and pat you on the back, calling you a true Irish lass and telling you that you were welcome any time you wanted.
Eventually, a path cleared for Bucky to get through to you, and now it was his turn to cage your face in his hands and kiss you senseless, and everything around you seemed to go quiet as you lost yourself in his lips.
When he pulled away, he whispered into your lips, “Ready for another adventure, love?”
You nodded, brushing the tip of your nose with his. “Lead the way, Buck.”
It was a 30 minute drive to your destination, most of it surrounded by fields. It was too dark to really make out anything, but you were more than content with looking out the window at the stars.
The stars and, well, Bucky’s smiling face.
His hand remained on your leg the entire trip.
After a few miles, he veered off the main road and onto the grass, driving a little bit further until you were a couple hundred feet from the main road.
“Stay here, love,” he said as turned the ignition off.
“Is this the moment you tell me that you are actually a serial killer and you’re about to murder me in the middle of nowhere, Ireland?” you remarked, unable to fight back a smile.
Bucky shook his head with a chuckle, moving to get out of the truck. “Nah,” he said, grabbing a lantern from the back seat. “I mean, that was the original plan, but now I like yer voice too much. Can’t get enough of it, really.”
Your breath hitched as you watched him close the door of the back seat and move to the bed of the truck.
A few minutes later, he was opening your door, taking your hand to help you out to lead you to the back of the truck.
A small gasp escaped you as you took in the display. Bucky had lain out a blanket with a few pillows and had unknowingly created your literal dream date.
“I come out here every once in a while when the sky is clear,” he said, jumping up onto the bed and turning to help you. “Ye said yer from New York, and I feel like ye don’t get to see the stars like ye can here in a big city like that.”
You nodded slowly, looking up at the infinite number of stars above you in awe.
It only took seconds for the two of you to entangle yourselves together on the blanket, your head resting on Bucky’s chest, arm wrapped around his abdomen while his held you close to him, fingers running along the side of your body. A chorus of crickets was the only sound aside from the heartbeat against your cheek.
“Have you been to New York before?” you asked, eyes still looking up at the glowing constellations.
You felt him nod. “Me mum was from there. Met my da when she was travelin’ and then the rest was history. We’ve gone a couple of times to see family.”
“Do you still go?” You tried to remove any sense of hope in your voice.
His hand stopped moving along your side for a fraction of a second, and then continued traveling down to your waist. “Not as often, but yes.” He let out a long sigh. “Not gonna have much time to travel soon with school and all.”
You looked up at him. “You’re going to school? For what?”
“Engineering, hopefully,” his lips curved upward in excitement and you felt your heart almost burst. “Wasn’t able to go to uni when I turned 18 cause we couldn’t afford it. Started workin’ at the shop instead, but I’ve been savin’ and studyin’.”
“That’s amazing, Buck. Do you know where you’re going?”
He opened his mouth, closed it, then opened it again and said, “Not sure. Still waitin’ to hear back from a few places for the fall.”
You cupped his cheek and turned it to face you. “Any place would be lucky enough to have you.”
He beamed then, eyes drifting down to your lips as he moved forward to kiss you. It was slow, lazy, more intoxicating than any of the whiskey you had consumed that evening. It was as if you were both taking the time to memorize the feel of one another, desperately trying to permanently etch the feeling of each other’s lips in your minds.
Suddenly, you were giggling into his lips, and Bucky pulled away, eyes narrowed in confusion though he was still smiling.
“Sorry,” you said, still laughing. “It’s just…I can’t believe that this is my life right now.” Your pointer finger traced his brow bone. “I mean, I’m making out with the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on, who casually lifts cars and can sing, but also makes me laugh and is genuinely so sweet and kind….and I get to KISS him? Like, how is any of this even real-”
Your words were cut off by Bucky’s lips crashing into yours. Gone was the slow, lazy movements. This time was harder, desperate, dizzying as he crushed your body to his.
You weren’t laughing this time when he pulled away, both of you panting.
“Does it feel real yet, love?” He stroked a finger along your hairline.
Still unable to speak from the lack of air in your lungs, you simply nodded.
“Good, because I don’t ever want ye to ever think ye can’t exist in a world where I wouldn’t want an angel with a smile brighter than the stars above to kiss me ‘til I’m blue in the face, ye hear? These lips are yers for as long as ye’ll have them.”
It amazed you that in just the few hours you had known Bucky, your heart had managed to swell to sizes you didn’t think possible.
Yet here you were, a pulsing ache in your chest that threatened to crush you or transform you.
Bucky was yours….whether that was just for a few more hours or something beyond the time you had left here.
“I’d have them forever, if you let me,” you breathed out.
It was a bold statement, intense, binding, but as Bucky’s smile threatened to split his face in two, you knew he felt the same.
He shifted his body then, gently guiding you until your back was on the bed of the truck and he was leaning on his elbows on top of you, caging you in. His thumb grazed your bottom lip.
“Sounds like a plan, love,” he murmured before his lips found their way to yours once more.
No pressure at all, but if you'd like to support me for my writing, please consider buying me a Kofi!
Eurovision 2022: the unexpected, the expected and everything in between
Another Eurovision ended and I will soon come back to my regular scheduling. But before that, I will give you all my Unrequested Opinions. Yes, this will be an annual thing, I just decided it.
Every year we have a wild ride and this year did not disappoint us. Sure, we knew some things from the start, but the way they happened was so completely unexpected to left us shook. Like, you know, the winner. We can fool ourselves into thinking we didn’t know, but we actually all knew who was going to win. And yet, it happened in such a fantastic way, to deserve everything.
But let’s start from the beginning.
Cyprus, San Marino, Latvia: the fallen ones
There is one huge element that determines if a song is worthy of the grand final and this element is the live performance. You can have a great recorded version of a song, with limpid, strong vocals and then, while performing live, your voice is not able to reach the same power and the same notes.
It happened in the past and, every time, it hurts. I still remember Equinox from Bulgaria, who presented a wonderful song with a pitiful performance. Of course, they did not pass to the final.
This year, it happened again with Cyprus. I still love that song, but since Andromache started to sing, it was clear her voice was not as good and strong as the recorded version.
Same goes for Ireland: her voice wasn’t this powerful either. It’s a shame, because she did her best and she really wanted to bring Ireland to the final. But I have faith in her: she’s still young, so she can learn more, improve and try again in the future.
Something similar happened with San Marino’s entry. Achille Lauro wasn′t very in tune and his voice wasn’t as strong as it should’ve been, considering how powerful the rhythm was.
But even if I understand the decision to not let him pass, it’s still a shame. I mean, have you seen what a fantastic show he put on?! That’s Achille Lauro’s biggest problem: he is not a great singer, but he is a majestic artist. He’s perfect, he gave us everything we wanted, his performance was peak Eurovision, everything was on point. Except for the song itself.
Look at the performance HERE and judge by yourself: personally, I could watch it 200 times and not get tired of it. But the song is nothing. What a shame.
And now, Latvia: even though I can still understand and even justify the jury’s decisions for Cyprus and San Marino, I cannot understand why Latvia did not pass. The vocals were on point, the singer was in tune, everything was okay. I really think the jury didn’t allow Citi Zeni to access the final, just because of the pussy line. What a buzzkill.
Despite that, I know they will remember. Even just for making the entire European crowd scream “PUSSY” in their place. Absolute kings.
An okay hosting
Deep down, we all know that, if we have a fantastic Eurovision, the following years will be a lot weaker. It happened after Mans and Petra, it happened after Rotterdam.
So, yes, this year wasn’t as great, but it wasn’t a complete disaster either. It wasn’t as scary as the Ukrainian one or boring as the Portuguese one. It was okay.
Of course, there were problems. The fucking sun was supposed to move, but the genius who made it, didn’t realize that, oh, it should do it a bit faster, to be properly used for the artists. And so, they kept it still. A great waste of time and space, good job.
We also witnessed some very questionable decisions, like making Il Volo sing in English. Why? Who told them it could've been good? We're Italians, goddammit, English is banned from our songs.
But we saw some good things too. The opening act from the first semifinal was very good, the one for the final was good too. The light effects were nice and the stage was nice too, even with the sun being still (just imagine how good it could've been, with a moving one).
The intermissions were not all great. Some were too slow, others were very nice. The dance medley from the first semifinal was good and Mika's performance was the top of the grand finale. Even Gigliola Cinquetti on the stage was a nice, short moment. So, well, in general it was okay.
The hosts were okay too. Cattelan was the cringe token, Laura had the most questionable fashion choices ever and Mika was just vibing and being nice all the time.
Speaking of fashion, I think someone should definitely be fired, starting from Laura Pausini's stylist. In the first semifinal, she wore blinding fuchsia dresses only. In the second semifinal, someone forgot to dry her hair and she looked either like a sick vampire with that burgundy dress, or an evil meringue with the black one.
Luckily, she had something good to wear in the grand final: I really liked the purple dress and the gold one. The cyan one? Too overcomplicated, I spent too much time trying to understand how the shiny stuff was connecting the whole thing.
Speaking of men's fashion, Cattelan just wore black dresses. Nice, elegants, maybe a bit too bland. But I suppose it was to balance Mika, who had one single outfit in all tones of the rainbow. He literally showed us he can be brown, he can be blue, he can be violet sky. It was a fun game. Also, his outfit for the medley is very nice too, I liked it a lot.
In general, I am satisfied. Italy managed to do something elegant and nice, by balancing good and bad decisions. It could've been much better, but also much much worse. Being okay is the best outcome.
I read some people complaining about the absence of Maneskin, asking why they did not sing Zitti e buoni and other stuff.
By now, I think you all probably know that Damiano was not okay. He walked on crutches and had a badly sprained ankle. Despite that, he still performed. And if you look at his face during the small interview segment, you can clearly see that, every time he’s not talking, he has an expression of absolute pain. The poor guy was literally dying inside and outside.
So just imagine him trying to perform Zitti e buoni, which is a song a lot more upbeat than Supermodel. He should’ve walked around, but he was barely able to stand up by himself. It was impossible to do it, at least in his actual conditions. I really hope he’s now lying in bed and resting.
He tried his best and put his whole self into it, so let’s appreciate what we got.
(Also, what a petty king. The “don’t get too close to the table” will go down in history)
France: the biggest robbery in history
As I said in my first impression of the 40 songs, I truly liked the French entry. And how could I not? It was a celtic rave party sung in breton! It was interesting and cool, it definitely deserved a good place.
Of course, since it was too cool, I already knew the jury would not have liked it. Have they ever had any taste at all? Of course not. My hopes were all in the public vote.
And the public... did not like it. The public liked that forgettable song from Armenia and Sweden’s generic pop song, but not the celtic rave. Why? How can the public’s taste fail this much? Do you really prefer oui oui baguettes Tour Eiffel instead of THIS?
I will blame Covid for this sudden lack of taste, the Vatican because it probably didn’t like France trying to summon the devil and the jury because they didn’t like Shum either, so they are just the worst.
To all the French people here: please, do not think that one bad place means we don't like your sounds. We need more celtic rave parties in our lives. We need more folk French music. Do not limit yourself to the same baguette-croissant-tour eiffel formula. You have a lot more to offer and you proved it.
So, in order for Europe to repent from their sins, I think we should all enjoy the celtic rave party once more.
We are still not ready for space wolves
This is the public's second, big failure: to give just 146 points to the space alien wolves. The treachery. The ignominy. How dare you not appreciate them. They are beauty, they are grace, they are coming from outer space.
And they are saving our grandmas! I mean, the message was clear: if a wolf wants to eat your grandma, give it a banana. Potassium > grandmas. Simple as that.
Also, they are two big cuties. The way they hugged Mika? Perfect, wonderful, amazing, 10/10. The way they danced with Citi Zeni? So wholesome, in pure Eurovision spirit. Their song about Turin? Precious, I want to pet them and feed them bananas. They deserved a lot more than 10th place.
Well, it looks like the world isn't ready for them yet. They are too much for us, we still cannot fully appreciate them. Just like the world is still not ready for rap yodeling, which we all know is the future of rap. But have we ever seen any more rap yodeling since Romania gifted it to us in 2017? Exactly.
Also, a zero has no value, right? So a zero next to 1 is like nothing, so it’s like they came first, right? XD
Spain: Chanel vs Tanxugueiras
During this magical week, I found out there were a lot of Spanish people complaining about Chanel, saying she was not a public’s favorite and that Spain should’ve sent Tanxugueiras instead.
It reminded me of several years ago, when Greece sent an awful song, while the public’s favorite was very good. Chanel’s entry isn’t as bad as that Greek song, but it is kinda generic. So I decided to listen to this Spanish band and especially to the song Terra people kept mentioning.
Well, I love it. It’s Galician, so it has a lot of Portuguese sounds. Still, it sounds very familiar (some words remind me of Italian dialects). It's interesting. It's powerful. It's beautiful.
But also, it speaks to me on a more subconscious level. I am Italian and I am from the center-south part of Italy. This kind of rhythm strongly reminds me of the folk music from southern Italy, which has the same vibes and sounds (especially the tambourine).
Needless to say, Terra is one of my favorites now and I can perfectly understand why the public wanted it on the Eurovision. I doubt it would’ve ever won or that all of Europe would’ve loved it, but I think it deserves to be listened to, at least once.
(You can do it HERE)
However, even though I personally prefer this song over Slowmo, I still can’t say Slowmo was bad. And this is mostly thanks to Chanel.
Why? Because her performance was a-ma-zing. The song might be just the umpteenth dance/pop song, but she put on a great show: lights, dancers, effects, her moves, her sparkly outfit: everything was stunning. And her voice never faltered, despite all the physical effort! I can understand why the public gave her so many points: I can't deny she is good, because she really is.
Last but not least, she has a very remarkable booty. And, since Europe is all horny, I think some points were given specifically for that reason XD
So, if you want to enjoy her show (and yes, her booty too) once more, have it HERE.
Serbia: taste with meaning
Even though the public robbed France, at least there was enough taste left to properly appreciate Serbia and Moldova and make them do that magnificent jump we are experiencing in the last years, when a country the jury doesn’t like suddenly goes from 20th place to 2nd thanks to the public’s will.
It has happened since the first time this voting system was introduced and it’s beautiful every single time. It speaks loudly of what the public wants and, since the public is sovereign, the public should be able to always get its winner. ALWAYS.
As expected, the jury didn’t understand anything of the Serbia performance. I will blame them being shitty as always and preferring something as bland as Sweden instead.
Serbia wasn’t just a funny weird handwashing cult. There was something. There was a lot. And I would like to thank @k-ru-h post HERE who explained the whole song, @foreveranevilregal who added more infos with THIS other post and THIS video from Overthinking it, that added even more information.
To put it simply, the Serbian song is a critique to Serbia’s healthcare system, to toxic beauty standards and to the fear of artists who live without certainties: their bodies might be healthy for now, but their minds are definitely not.
Not all people knew all of this. Some thought the song was just a funny, creepy song. And this makes the song even better, because Konstrakta has been able to convey a very powerful message in a catchy way. Even though you don't know the language, the song still sticks to you.
Also, the use of Latin is *chef's kiss*. Scary, powerful, it goes hand in hand with the religious subtext. Love it. They even used it backwards - maybe in a secondary attempt to summon the devil? Who knows. Still, more credits to Konstrakta because she didn’t use any English.
Moldova and Romania: a story of love and friendship
Just like the Serbian entry, the Moldovan one had a deeper meaning too. It is not just fun and games and let's party woo-hoo, but it's basically an ode of friendship towards their neighbor country.
And what's more beautiful and wholesome (especially in this period) than seeing a demonstration of love towards a country you consider your brother/sister?
The Moldovan song was AMAZING. There are videos everywhere of how the public danced to it, of the Romanian delegation dancing with the Portuguese one. Even the press room did a conga line! What an absolute KING you should be, to make the entire Europe dance to your song?
And if you read the English translation HERE, you will also find some of the most beautiful, lovable verses ever:
When the train reaches destination
Seems, it never left the station.
As if coming back at home
From a place we calling home.
This is a pure hymn of friendship and love, I want more countries to be like Moldova is to Romania <3
And, of course, the Romanians loved it! And they wanted to give Moldova their 12 points because of course.
But then, something stood in their way. During the grand finale evening, the European Broadcasting Union noted some irregularities in the voting patterns and suspected attempts to manipulate the voting system. And so, they removed the jury votes from six countries and made an "aggregated result", calculated based on the results of other countries with "similar voting records".
Now. I don't know what happened. I am not part of the commission. And if there was truly an attempt to manipulate the voting system, of course they had to intervene (some people suspect there could be Russia involved and, considering their reaction to Ukraine's victory, it could be).
Still, making an aggregated result with similar voting is absolute bullshit. Why voting, then? Let's make one single country vote and all others will just get similar ones. Easy!
By doing this, Romania ended up giving 12 points to Ukraine, while they wanted to give them to Moldova. And this angered them a lot.
The commission will have a lot to explain and if I were in some high position, I would definitely fire someone. If there are some suspected sabotages, then use another way to get these points. Do not decide what a nation wants, by basing it on what you want or what kind of political agenda you're pushing. It's not that hard to understand.
But aside from that absolute bullshit that makes the jury votes even more of a farce than they already are, I truly want Moldovan and Romanian people to love and appreciate each other. The song was great, so no one of them should let a stupid vote get in the way of all the countless videos and proofs of how much this song was loved and enjoyed.
And of course it was, you have to be brain dead to not like it! If we look at The Only Chart That Matters (aka the one with the public's votes), Moldova is SECOND. Moldova's entry is the second most loved song of all Europe. I don't give a damn about the UK in second place: the public wanted Moldova. Europe wanted Moldova.
Moldova taught us a wonderful story of love and friendship, with the happiest song of all Eurovision. If someone didn't like it, it's their loss. For all Europe and for all the people with a good taste, all we need is folklore and rock and roll.
FUCK YOU JURY
Here I am, once again, begging for Eurovision to ban the jury or to reduce their power to less than 50% of the total voting.
The jury is completely useless. The jury is a fucking joke. The public might be political, but the jury is the quintessential of the political vote. Greece and Cyprus are the perfect proof of that: they could bring the shittiest song ever, they would still give 12 points to each other.
The jury cares about technicalities and performances. But if you present them wrapped in hard rock or techno folk they don't give a shit about you. They care for vocals, but a great ass is better than a meaningful song.
According to the jury, the best songs of this year were Uk, Sweden and Spain. Three English songs. Three pop songs. This is what the jury thinks was the best Europe has to offer. The first interesting song is only fourth (Ukraine) and I bet my ass it was out of pity, not because they had some fucking taste. They liked Switzerland, which presented the most awful song of 2022. They liked Azerbaijan more than Serbia.
How the fuck are you supposed to give decision-making power to these people? They have dull, predictable tastes. They are boring. They don't deserve the power to decide the winner.
Just look of how beautiful the public's top five was instead:
Ukraine folk music, Moldova folk music, Spain's pop, Serbia's catchy song. And the UK too, but as fifth. The top of the chart was mostly dominated by eastern European countries with their rhythms, not by the usual pop stuff.
The public is much more open to new sounds than the jury. The public is kind with the artists who deserve it, like Serbia and Moldova. The public pushed Greece down, because that song wasn't good. The public was kind with Italy, despite Mahmood and Blanco not singing at their best (they weren't in tune either. What a shame).
And, most importantly, the public is ruthless. If you have a bad song, you deserve zero points. No matter how much the jury loves you: if you bring shit, you will get nothing. And so the public castigated Switzerland for that lame ballad. I feel vindicated for the torture of listening to it twice.
Sure, there are a lot of things we have to improve, like the taste for celtic rave parties because France deserved a lot more. And we must learn to push Sweden down when they bring the same generic stuff.
Okay, two words about Sweden: Cornelia was good and the song wasn't terrible. My problem with Sweden is that everything it brings (with rare exceptions) sounds like 20 thousand other songs. If I turn on the radio, I would listen to the same sounds over and over. Same goes for the Uk: the song wasn't so bad, it was nice and Sam Ryder was a nice guy too. But those are sounds I already listened to countless times.
But Moldova? Serbia? France? I know I won't find these sounds so easily. They are new and interesting. They take from tradition, so they feel familiar, but they also have a modern twist you do not expect. They are much more interesting than any generic pop song. And I like pop songs!
Last but not least: Germany. They gave a try and the public recognized it, by awarding Germany six points. In the public's rank, Germany isn't even the last country! That's definitely an improvement! The song was boring, sure, but I still trust Germany. You can do good! Don't lose hope!
(Also, how wholesome it was, so see Sam Ryder consoling the German singer Malik? Awww, such a cute moment! Eurovision should always be like that: love, friendship, some friendly banter, a gay festival, glitters and fire <3)
The great evil has been vanquished, aka a novelized recap of the rise and fall of the UK
We are in the final part of the evening. No more happiness, peace was never an option, time to bring back centuries old rivalries.
The jury votes are coming. Surprisingly, the first votes are for the UK. No one expected that, especially the Brits. They got some points, maybe this time they won’t end at the bottom of the chart!
More points are coming to the UK. Europe is confused. The song was good and Sam Ryder is an adorable human golden retriever, but all these points? What happened? Why is the UK this loved? Is it because of politics? Of course, but why so many points?
Europe is worried, the Brits are even more worried. Germany is very sad, because it’s still at the bottom of the chart and it’s cold down there. I check the weather: everything looks fine, but the apocalypse is definitely coming.
It’s France’s turn. And France gives 12 points to the UK.
The apocalypse is upon us. The Brits are freaking out - but still in their very polite way. Did we all just end up in a parallel universe? What happened to France? Was it because they summoned the devil? Italy seems to be the only country with some taste left (maybe the Vatican protected us?), because the jury gives 12 points to Serbia. But what happened to the rest of the world?
The jury vote is over. The UK is still in first place. The world is ending. Europe is extremely confused. I am even more confused. The Brits are dead, some injured. I check the weather again: it’s not raining fire yet.
The terrible awareness takes over: the UK might win Eurovision. Even worse, it might win in Italy. A barbarian might win in the land of caesars.
Italians are even more worried now. All Latin countries quiver in fear. The entire Europe has the same collective vision: the UK rubbing this victory in our faces for the next 200 years, while being even more insufferable than it already is.
As a continent (and Australia), we cannot let this happen. We must keep the UK humble. See what happened last time they became too cocky? They left and now they’re paying for it.
And so, a hero rose from the public vote. A hero with so many fucking point to break everything and make a new record. A hero who said FUCK YOU to the jury, pushed the UK in second place and got the crown.
With an astonishing, jaw-dropping result of 439 points, Ukraine won. The UK is still the UK, but it’s also a bit more humble. The order has been restored, Europe is saved once again. We have a winner.
A deserved victory?
Okay, we joked enough: time to talk about the elephant in the room, better known as Ukraine.
You will never guess it, but Ukraine won Eurovision. What a shocker, I bet you are all surprised - especially if you lived under a rock until now or if you never watched Eurovision.
But if you've watched it, this isn't the first time you witnessed Ukraine win because of politics. It happened in 2016 too. There were some tensions between Russia and Ukraine and, despite Russia bringing one of the best songs, Ukraine still won.
So, well, I already knew Ukraine was going to win. We all knew. You can lie to yourself, but everyone knew.
So, I listened to Stefania for the first time. And I had mixed feelings.
Stefania isn't a bad song. Ukraine learned from last year and brought, once again, their wonderful folk rhythm. The chorus is catchy, the flutes are awesome and these people are amazing. Flute Guy and Man Carpet are two living icons, I can only hope to be as cool as they are.
Still, I do not like the rapping parts. I listened to this song a lot more times, but I still do not like it. However, I understand why it was used: it blends in a very interesting way and it works from a rhythmic point of view. It makes sense.
And the message is great too. In other words, Ukraine nailed everything: good message, bop, catchy rhythm, folk vibes, funky people.
So okay, maybe it’s not my most favorite song of all time, but it’s good. It’s very good. It’s in the “good part” of my personal chart and I am 200% sure that most of the people who voted for it, did it because the song is a bop.
However, I am also sure that part of those votes were given out of pity. And something didn’t sit right with me about it. Still, I couldn’t name it. I had no problem if this song won - it’s good enough to win. But those pity votes...
And then, the Kalush Orchestra released this video. And I watched it. And, halfway through it, without any anticipation, I started crying.
And I finally realized what was sitting so wrong with me about the votes.
I am not sad for these votes. I am angry. Because these people are fighters. They didn't come to Eurovision to beg for votes, nor to win the contest. They didn’t come here to be treated like poor little things by us. They came to Europe with one mission only: peace and victory in their own country. They do not give a shit about our issues and they are not our little pets.
And I hate that people gave them votes out of pity. I hate that some Europeans looked at these artists, who brought their rhythm, their instruments, their cool dresses, their wonderful message and thought oh, just look at these poor little boys, I pity them. The Kalush Orchestra doesn't need pity from anyone. No Ukrainian needs our pity.
So the question is: do they deserve this victory? Yes, because this song is good. Yes, because the public loved it. Yes, because the biggest part of Europe voted out of love and support, not because they pitied them. And why should they? Ukrainians already proved enough to be fighters and not fucking cowards.
Speaking of cowards, of course Russia had something to say. And they said it in the most disgusting possible ways, like writing on bombs that they’re going to deliver them as Kalush asked, that they should send a missile on Turin because yes and other bullshit. Just imagine being such a vile, pitiful, disgusting little thing. How miserable your life should be.
On the other hand, Ukrainians were happy and Zelensky even promised to hold Eurovision in Kiev - and, one day, in Mariupol. And I am looking forward to that day. I really want to witness a beautiful Eurovision edition in Mariupol. Hey, maybe there won’t be scary Urainians as hosts like last time, but only chill lads singing and dancing like mad men XD
Just a couple last words on this, because I feel I need to: I heard some people spread hate to Kalush Orchestra because their victory was “undeserved”. You’re right, they just delivered a catchy song with sick dancers and a great message, it definitely didn’t deserve to win. Maybe it was better to make a boring ass ballad win instead, right? Or the UK, because we really needed them to win, right?
If you really want to hate someone, hate the jury for putting together votes without caring of what the country wanted. Hate the people who voted out of pity and not out of support.
And if you have all this time to spread hate to these guys, just think about that: while you are laying in your comfy bed, eating your breakfast, hugging your loved ones, going to your boring job in your peaceful city, talking a walk in the park with your dog, scrolling through your phone or having a lunch or talking with your friends, the winners of Eurovision came back to fight in their country. They left their flutes and their nice dresses behind, to take up arms. They are putting their lives on the line and if they do the wrong thing, they are not careful enough, they are not quick enough, they are dead.
While you are here, reading my words in your peaceful little place while doing nothing, because you got the gift of peace and are not mature enough to realize how precious it is, these same people are risking their lives to get the same thing you have for free.
And if this, if all of this doesn’t make you feel a tiny little sliver of empathy... Well, I hope you will get what you deserve, in this life or in any other.
See you next year for Eurovision. Hopefully, in Kiev.
The 10 most popular fics on AO3 completed in 2021 with Sherlock (TV) as the main fandom. Kudo counts as of 9 Jan 2022.
1. 2290 kudos - Protection by Duochanfan (54K, T, Johnlock)
After blowing up Aunt Marge, Harry makes a run for it in Muggle London. Finding an alley to hide in, he witnesses a murder. Now hiding from a killer will Sherlock Holmes and John Watson be able to keep him safe?
2. 1691 kudos - You Fall, I'll Catch You by Laiquilasse (56K, E, Johnlock)
John Watson is looking for a place to stay. Sherlock Holmes is looking for a flat-mate. It should be an easy solution. Except that Sherlock Holmes is an alpha, John Watson is an omega, trying his hardest to pass as a beta......and John is hiding a secret.
3. 1377 kudos - Life Interrupted by MizJoely (53K, E, Sherlolly)
Sherlolly AU. After a drunken night with a boy whose name she never got, uni student Molly Hooper finds herself pregnant. Ten years later, she finds herself face to face with the father of her child. Will they manage to reconnect or will the discovery of his child drive Sherlock Holmes away?
4. 1180 kudos - The Silences by branwyn (16K, M, Joanlock)
Love is an inconstant variable. An AU genderswap casefic based loosely on AC Doyle's "The Abbey Grange", and other stories.
5. 1124 kudos - Isolated by CarmillaCarmine (10K, E, Johnlock)
Due to an ongoing pandemic, John and Sherlock find themselves isolated at 221B.
6. 980 kudos - His Great Game (Sherlock x Reader) by CharismaticSociopath (110K, T, Sherlock/Reader, Moriarty/Reader)
You aren't exactly fond of Sherlock. He might be brilliant, but he's rude and arrogant. Not to mention he lives a dangerous life. As an American only staying in London for a year, you weren't exactly planning to hang around. But when a shocking turn of events leaves you moving into 221B, you find yourself constantly in the company of the great detective and John Watson. Perhaps you will find that Sherlock isn't so bad, after all.
7. 966 kudos - Sort It by mirokai (5K, G, Mystrade and Bond/Q)
Bond snorted. “Mycroft Holmes doesn’t exist. He’s a myth, or at least a code name for a group of people.”
“Not a myth,” Q said, opening the gate to a particularly lovely house. “He is just one very real person. He’s also - ah - my brother.”
8. 963 kudos - To Stand Before the Storm by ArwaMachine (132K, E, Johnlock)
Somebody has been killing sheep on an uninhabited island just off the western coast of Ireland, and Sherlock—of course—can’t resist the call to investigate. As a soon-to-be-divorced John and a recently-not-dead Sherlock unravel the mystery of the murdered sheep, they find that they may be forced to confront unspoken sentiments that have lingered between the two them for some time—that is, if they don’t fall victim to the dangers of the island first.
9. 944 kudos - To a Friend Who Sent Me Roses by AlgySwinburne (16K, E, Johnlock)
Five times Sherlock is mistaken for John’s partner and Rosie’s father, and one time it isn’t a mistake.
10. 920 kudos - Know You All Over Again by PoppyAlexander (53K, M, Johnlock)
After five good years, one difficult one, and six months that were hell, John and Sherlock live apart but still share custody of seven-year-old Rosie. With therapy, supportive friends, and those inevitable dance recitals and open school days forcing them into each other's paths again and again, anger and bitterness fade, leaving space for a new view of each other across the divide.
Hey! I hope you’re well, can i request an imagine where reader is Embry’s imprint and they haven’t seen eachother in months because reader has a life she can’t just drop for him but she comes back when the pack is blowing up her phone ? Thank youu and don’t worry if you don’t write it, it’s fine!
Thank you for the request! It took a Long time But It's now complete with a total whopping 5k words!! Any way I hope you enjoy the fic.
I put it under the cut because it's so long but it's my brain baby at the moment lo.
Returning to you.
Embry Call x Reader
Most of my life has been spent in the Forks area so getting to travel to Europe for six months to see the art and culture was a dream come true. The past four months I’ve been travelling through Europe, starting in Greece and ending my trip in the Irish countryside.
The old art and architecture filled me with a joy that I could not get anywhere else in the world. The smells, sounds and sights all played their own part into the experience. I got to see the moon rise over Mount Olympus, the David by Michelangelo in the Vatican, tour through the Louvre, drink wine on the beaches of France and so much more. I’ve been living my best life.
It's been a dream to see the world, I've met so many new people and tried so much food. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my trip, but there was a part of me that longed for the beaches of La Push.
That part is Embry. Embry Call. My boyfriend, my pal, my love and my light. To me Embry is my everything and to him I’m his everything. That is one thing that has been made perfectly clear the past four months I’ve been away. Every day he’s told me he misses me and I know he means it, I’ve been told not just by him but also the rest of the pack.
Everyday I’ve woken up to ‘Good morning I miss you.” Sometimes he phones to tell me that he feels like he might die if I’m away for any longer. I always chuckle and tell him he will survive, it’s not like I’m going away forever; but that's what he feels like it is. This usually earns me a long winded whine from the other end of the line.
My phone buzzed against the smooth surface of the bedside table while Embry’s face flashed across my screen signalling that he’s calling. A smile graces my lips as I pick up the phone to be greeted with his loving voice.
“Hi (y/n)!! I miss you so much.” sadness was laced in his usual cheery greeting, it hurt my heart to be away from him but I would never trade this experience for anything. I’ve been planning this for years and I wasn’t going to pass up cheap plane tickets.
He filled me in on the pack's shenanigans, complaining about how they keep teasing him for being glued to his phone awaiting any updates I would send him. The later it got the heavier my eyelids seemed to feel, my speech started to slur with exhaustion of time zones while Embry continued to become more energetic with each passing minute.
“Em. . .” A yawn interrupted me mid sentence, a low whine emanated from the phone as he knew I would want to get to bed to have the energy for the long trip I’ll embark on tomorrow for Ireland, which is my last stop. I’d be spending the remaining two months of my trip in the lush countryside.
“I think I should get to sleep, I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow.” I mumbled into the phone.
“But (y/n)!” he dragged out. I knew he wanted to talk longer but I physically cannot do it. Even though Embry and I don’t live together officially yet, we’d talk into the early morning till one of us fell asleep.
“But (y/n) what?” I dragged out the ‘a’ matching his whine.
“I miss you and want you to come home.” I could hear him pause over line before he continued.
“Besides, sleeping isn’t the same without you.”
I ran my hand through my hair gently tugging on the roots easing the tension that’s built up over my trip. As much fun as I’ve had, he does have a point. Sleeping just isn’t the same without Em. My nights have been spent restless in beds that aren’t mine without the comforting touch of my boyfriend; but that doesn’t mean I can just drop everything and go back home.
“Em you know I can’t just pack everything and go home. . .” I looked at the painting that hung over the tv that sat opposite of my bed. A puppy-like whimper fell from his lips when he spoke again, his voice cracked like he was going to cry. It broke my heart hearing him upset.
“I-I know I just really miss you.”
“I know Embry I miss you too, but it’s only two more months then I’ll be home.”
We chatted for ten more minutes before I fell asleep on the phone. As much as I missed falling asleep in his warm embrace I can’t just fly back home, not yet at least.
The blaring of my alarm woke me from my slumber. The clock face read 6:02 a.m. taking everything within myself to peel back the blankets that encased me in their warm grip. I patted through the bed sheets to find my phone only to knock it onto the floor in the process.
My lock screen adorned a photo of Embry with icing smudged across his face from his birthday party but a swamp of text messages from the pack covered my favourite photo of him. Five texts from Leah, seven from Jake, nine texts from Paul, 12 texts and two missed calls from Sam and a whole group chat titled ‘(y/n) come home.’
The group chat kept pinging with the members of the pack who were still awake discussing the logistics of flying out to Ireland to take me back home. Was Embry really causing that much strife in the pack for them to create a group chat? Knowing him, it couldn’t be too far from the truth.
Leah and I call once a week to check in and make sure the other is doing okay since I left. It’s one of my favourite parts of the week being able to have a one on one with someone sensible. Every week she fills me in on Embry begrudgingly, she does it because she knows it makes me happy which I appreciate.
Reading through her texts she didn’t say much in regards to Em’s behaviour the only message relating to him was “come get your man child please, he’s getting snot on the floor.”
I listened through Sam’s voice mails which were begging me to come home, he informed me that once Em knew I was asleep he started moping around Emily’s house again for the fourth consecutive night in a row. This was news to me.
The texts entailed that Embry was becoming a pain on patrol and that Paul ‘couldn’t take another minute of the incessant whining.’ I told them the same thing I told Embry; I’m not dropping everything and rushing back home to sooth the wails of a love sick boy. There isn’t much I can do from across the ocean anyway.
I stretched my body and headed towards the bathroom to brush my teeth and shower before I had to leave for the airport.
I packed the few remaining things I left out to prepare for the flight and headed my way to the lobby to check out. I enjoyed travelling but I wasn’t going to miss sleeping in hotels and hostels.
Two weeks have passed since I touched down in Ireland and to say I’ve been having the time of my life is an understatement; I’ve been having a ball living my best life.
The land was capped in a luscious emerald green sea of grass that waved in the wind, the roads were lined with hand built stone walls that marked the division of farmers fields.
Sheep and cattle grazed in pastures, and old castles dotted the countryside. It was gorgeous. It was a view that I wanted to see again, a view I want to see with Embry.
It felt like time was flying by between sight seeing, trail hiking, museum tours and calls with Embry and Leah. It has already been a month. I had one more month before I was to jet set back to the U.S. and see my Embry.
One more month before I was back in La Push surrounded by the scent of sea water and trees with the looming threat of rain constantly overhead except in the summer. For two months of the year La Push was bright and sunny with the expected summer storms that happened.
I had fallen asleep on the phone with Embry again when I realized my phone was lost in the sea of sheets as it buzzed with an incoming phone call.
I couldn’t find it until the call had gone to voicemail and my phone landed on the ground when I gave up and ripped the blankets off of the bed but whoever called must have felt it was really important. Picking up my phone the most unflattering photo of Jacob was plastered on the screen, his name in white.
“Hello?” I asked groggily into the phone, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. I looked over at the clock which said in bold red numbers 1 am.
“Hey (y/n)! You sound like you just woke up.” I heard him chortle from the other end.
“That’s because I just woke up Jake, it’s one in the morning.” a yawn escaped my lips, I know I’ll have a rough time getting over jet lag when I go home.
He occupied twenty minutes with idle chatter and borderline interrogation about all the sights I’ve seen before I asked him why he was calling me so early in the morning
“Embry has spent the week at my house, you need to come home there’s nothing we can do anymore to occupy him till you return.” He sighed, Jake knows I want to finish my trip but we made a deal that I would come home early if there were absolutely no options left to keep Embry from sending the pack into hysterics.
I knew he was buttering me up for something.
“Are you sure you can’t figure something out? It’s just another month!”
“Another month of him eating my cereal and getting dirt on me from my dad!”
I snorted with laughter at the fact that Billy was telling Embry every embarrassing detail from his childhood.
“Jake please just let me think about it okay?” I sighed, flopping back into my hollowed cave of blankets and sheets.
“Okay, I’ll let you think about it but don’t think I won’t be telling Sam.” he warned.
We laughed together and he wished me a good night before hanging up the phone, before I slipped back into slumber I sent Jake one more text.
‘You wake me up at one in the morning again and it’s over for you.’ in which he responded with ‘Oh no I’m so scared lol.’
I reached over to the bedside table and plugged my phone in before the sweet embrace of warmth and slumber took over my senses.
The next three days I was bombarded with texts from Paul whining about the wolf mind link and how every patrol shift he had with Embry was spent tuning out his constant thoughts of me.
Standing in the shower with hot water running over my skin soothing my tense muscles I heard my phone buzz against the granite countertop. I rolled my eyes and continued to bask in the endless hotel hot water.
As bad as staying in hotels could be, the hot water made up for the early breakfast and sheets that were tucked in a little too tightly.
I had shampoo in my hair when my phone started buzzing again, this time with a call. I grumbled under the stream of water washing away the soap before it could get in my eyes; whoever's calling can wait.
I moved on to conditioning my hair, letting it sit while I wash the rest of my body with a lightly scented lavender soap.
I refused to use the complimentary soap because it dried out my skin and the lotion just left me feeling sticky instead of moisturized.
Watching the soap run down the drain my phone rang again, I clenched my fists, who could possibly be calling me now? I still refused to get out of my steamy heaven to answer my phone.
My gut told me that whoever was calling wouldn’t let up until I answered. I washed out the conditioner from my hair and wrapped it in a towel.
The mirror was coated in a layer of steam, the tiles were cool against my feet. I wrapped the plush towel around my body, mopping up the droplets of water that remained.
My phone started vibrating with rapid fire text messages from the pack’s group chat they made a month ago. I sighed, picking it up to sift through the messages. I read a message from Jared telling me he’d pay me to return.
The pack always made me laugh, together they’re a walking sitcom. There is never a dull moment with them, someone always had something witty or sarcastic to say.
I checked to see who had called me and it turned out it was Sam, I listened to his voice mails and immediately phoned him back.
As soon as I hit the call button it only rang for half a second before he picked up.
“Thank you for calling back, I thought I’d have to call two more times.” he chuckled.
“Well I was in the middle of a shower, can’t really take a call there.” I moved through the room with my phone pressed between my shoulder and cheek. Stopping at my suitcase to pick out what I was going to wear for the day.
“I’m going to be frank with you, I need you to come home. . .” I let out a huff before he continued.
“Embry needs you badly, he’s just a pile of mush on the floor now. It’s a chore to get him up to go on patrol. Please?”
“Fine, I’ll see what I can do Sam, I’ll try to book a flight for the earliest date I can find.” I knew I was giving in but from what they were telling me and the constant texts were getting to be difficult to manage.
“Thank you, when you get back I’ll buy you take out for a month okay?”
“I hate that you know what my weakness is.” I laughed through the phone, a month of free take out? Hell yeah. It made the prospect of going back a little brighter since I wasn’t going to complete the rest of my trip.
I wasn’t losing out on too much though, I had seen and done everything that I wanted. It wouldn’t be too bad to go home early.
We talked for a couple more minutes before parting ways, I threw my phone on the bed and watched it bounce a couple times before turning my attention back to getting dressed. Since I had a flight to book it was okay to spend the rest of the day lounging in pj’s.
The soft fabric of my pj’s brushed against my skin as I jumped into bed with my computer in hand, and now it was time to book a flight back home. Maybe text Paul and tell him he can quit complaining as well.
I woke up the next morning with my flight booked for take off in the afternoon and my daily good morning text from Embry. I felt a little sad to be leaving such a beautiful country but the trees, ocean and Embry all called my name.
Pacing through the room I grabbed the comfiest set of clothes I packed for my return flight back to Seattle, I had enough time to sleep on the plane to be conscious enough for the three and a half hour drive back to La Push.
I was set for a long day ahead of me but it was going to be worth it in the end, seeing the bright and happy face of my boyfriend, getting to hug him and kiss him again.
I made one last check of the room before I gathered my clothes and toiletry kit and made my way into the bathroom to shower before my long flight. As I was stepping into the shower my phone pinged from the counter with a text from Sam.
“Have you booked that flight yet?” it read.
“Yeah I’m due for take off at 1. I should be back in La Push some time tomorrow!”
My fingers brushed the cool surface of the counter top as I put my phone back and got into the shower, hot water immediately running down my back; this time my phone wasn’t being blown up by a desperate wolf pack trying to get my attention.
I can’t sit in the shower for hours on end this time, I have a flight to catch and a boy to surprise. Embry was currently still under the impression that I would be coming home in two weeks. Boy would he be in for a surprise.
The residual steam wafted out of the bathroom while I brushed my teeth revealing my towel wrapped body and hair in the mirror behind the skin. I checked the time and noted that I had two hours to check out, make my way to the airport, and check into my flight back home. Two more hours before I could smell the trees and ocean, two more hours before I could see my friends and hug Embry.
The time managed to move by in a blur by the time I was shutting the trunk of the yellow cab that was going to drop me off at the airport. I got into the back seat and the driver peeled away from the hotel front onto the winding roads.
“Aye where are you headin’?” The driver inquired in a thick Irish accent.
One thing I noticed in my stay here was that the accent changed in every town or village I passed through. It added to the charm
“Well, I’m on my way home after spending six months in Europe.” My eyes scanned over the green hills that rushed past in a blur.
“My favourite places I’ve been have definitely been Ireland and Greece.” I smiled towards him.
The lines around his eyes crinkled with the smile that graced his face at the mention of Ireland.
“Well that’s good to hear innit? Glad you’ve enjoyed your stay. We welcome ya with open arms if you return.”
We held a light conversation until we arrived in front of the drop off area for passengers, thanked him and grabbed my bags before heading into the crowded lobby.
The front of the terminal was metal and glass that reached towards the heavens with automatic doors gaping open like a mouth. Inside was a dull white with light grey floor which my shoes clicked against with each step.
It was packed with people like a can of sardines, I weaved my way through the masses towards the check in desk which thankfully only had a short line to get through.
Under the mix of fluorescents and natural light the desk lady’s bags that donned under her eyes glared with visible exhaustion from the mass amounts of people that swarmed the terminal.
Despite her clear drowsiness she still greeted me with a warm smile and a soft hello.
I grabbed my ticket and thanked her then turned and pushed myself through to the security check, dropped my luggage off and took a seat to wait for the boarding call for my flight.
As I waited grey clouds started to fill the sky blocking out the little sun that was once shining in its place.
My eyes grew heavier by each minute that passed, waiting could be hard, but waiting in an airport where there’s no sense of time is worse. So I distracted myself by people watching.
A lady was bouncing her baby, the old man across from me was snoring. A businessman paced back and forth speaking urgently into his phone, a family chatted excitedly for their family trip to the Canary Islands.
I pulled my eyes away from them as the call for my flight rang out over the crowded terminal, grabbing my suitcase and making my way towards the gate.
Excitement filled my every step as the anticipation grew and bubbled inside me. I gave the greeting flight attendant a small smile and made my way to my seat, for being last minute I managed to get a window seat.
We sat on the tarmac for twenty minutes before taking off and before I knew it the seat belt light pinged off and I was fast asleep jet setting my way back to America, back to my home.
I couldn’t tell what time it was when I woke up but the clock on the tv screen said 2 a.m. and that we’re due to arrive in an hour. I sat up in my seat and gazed out the window into the starry night sky.
Energy started to course through me as I watched the arrival time tick closer and closer. A light rain misted down over Seattle as I left the Seatac terminal and made my way through the maze of cars in the night that was made darker by the rain.
I spotted my blue Subaru and popped the trunk so my interior and seats wouldn’t get wet. It had been a long six months since I last sat in my driver's seat, the wheel almost felt foreign in my hands as I turned the key and listened to the engine roar to life.
I drove through the winding roads of the city to the Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry to take the 45 minute ride into Bainbridge and headed North to get on the 101 then turn onto 110 which would take me back into the heart of La Push.
The closer I got to Forks the brighter the sky became; well as bright as it could be on a gloomy day. The clouds became painted in the glow of purple and pink as the sun rose over the horizon, the rain had let up and left me with an overcast sky for the remainder of the drive back.
Since I slept virtually the entire flight back I didn’t feel the weight of exhaustion at all, but surely when I arrived back in the arms of Embry I knew I’d hit the wall with sleep deprivation.
As I barreled through the corridor of trees I passed the signature ‘welcome to Forks’ sign and turned right onto the 110, twenty minutes to home. I was so close but my soul felt like it was light years away.
The clock on my radio told me that it was currently 6:45, the pinks and purples that coated the sky faded away to the typical grey that fills my senses with delight. Sea salt and washed up kelp started to seep into the air that circulated into my car making the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.
Closer to Beach Drive I got the stronger the smell of the ocean became. The turn signal clicked as I turned onto the road that gave way to Sam and Emily’s house so they could take me over to Embry’s in the off chance that he happened to be awake at this hour.
It’s highly unlikely that he would be up at this hour but it’s not something I could be one hundred percent positive about. I stepped out of my car and turned around to see Emily running as fast as she possibly could towards me with open arms and a huge smile plastered across her face.
Dropping my bags I dashed across their lawn into her embrace.
“Oh (y/n)! I missed you so much, you must be so tired.” She released me from her hug and settled her hands on my shoulders giving them a gentle squeeze.
“I missed you too Emily, I knew I’d be tired but not this tired.” I chuckled while wiping at my under eyes in a feeble attempt to wipe away the exhaustion.
She put her hand on my lower back and led me inside for the awaiting cup of tea while Sam moved my bags into his truck.
The warmth of their home embraced me, the comfort of their kitchen was familiar. The only thing missing was the rowdy group of boys that made up the pack who usually occupied every available seat in the home.
I took a seat at the kitchen table where three cups of tea sat waiting, I should have expected a q and a when I returned. Wrapping my hands around the mug the warmth that radiated from it filled my hands.
Emily took a seat beside me and Sam entered through the door and sat adjacent to both of us.
“So how was the trip?” We sat around their table chatting until our cups were empty and filed out of the house into the early morning air.
“Emily and I will drive your car back to your place after I drop you off at Embry’s, the kid’s been sleeping in my living room more often than I’d appreciate.” Sam’s eyes crinkled with a smile, I knew he was joking but at the same time there was truth to his words; and honestly I couldn’t blame him.
“Thank you for putting up with him while I was gone, I owe you guys one and you owe me take out for a month.” He rolled his eyes and ruffled my hair turning into the Call's driveway. Embry’s mom had already left for work leaving him to his own devices; which meant he would sleep in as late as his heart desired.
We got out of Sam’s truck and he dropped my bags on the doorstep. I turned and gave him a quick hug and a thank you before sticking my key into the lock.
The door creaked open and I dragged my suitcases to a stop in their front entry way and shut it behind me.
My shoes landed on the floor with a soft thud and I gingerly walked up the stairs to ensure I wasn’t too noisy while making sure to avoid the one squeaky stair.
I got to the top of the stairs and hung a left down their light beige hallway that gave way to the oak door that guarded Embry’s room. His soft snores filtered through the door, it’s door knob was cool in my hand. Making an audible click with the turn of my wrist.
Dark mahogany brown hair peaked up from beneath the sheet that tucked Embry’s body out of view. One pillow was on the floor while the other was tucked firmly between his cheek and arm, I smiled at the sight of my sleeping boyfriend which filled my every inch with the utmost joy.
My sock covered feet pressed into the carpeted flooring with each step I took towards his bed making sure to step over the piles of dirty clothes that were scattered around the room.
The sun filtered through the gaps in the window blinds casting pools of golden light on the floor and along his walls causing the crystal prism that hung above his closet to sweep dashes of colour across his walls.
I pulled back the grey top sheet to reveal his peaceful face and I swear my heart was going to burst with the amount of love that I feel for him. His hair was tousled in every direction and a cow lick stuck straight up on the left side of his head.
My hands ran over his hair, smoothing it out while I whispered his name. Embry groaned a bit and rolled over, I whispered his name a little bit louder and moved my hands from his hair to his shoulders running them along his arms finally waking him from his slumber.
“Hi Em!” I gushed out as his brown eyes opened and focused on me. His face split with his toothy smile and his arms shot around me, pulling me down into his chest.
“Do you know how much I missed you?” Embry mumbled into my hair.
“I figured a lot with the amount of texts I got from the pack.” I reached up brushing the hair from his face.
“You can never leave me for that long again. . .I didn’t know what to do without you here.” He ran his hands through my hair placing a gentle kiss upon the top of my head.
“I was so worried about you. I couldn’t protect you and make sure you were safe.”
“Well next time I’ll make sure you can come, then you don’t have to worry.” Craning my neck up I placed a kiss upon his lips which were still a bit swollen from slumber.
“The important thing is that I returned safe and in one piece. The other important thing is I get to spoil you with the gifts I brought back!”
His laugh filled the room sending vibrations through my body.
“Hey! That’s my job to spoil you, not the other way around.” He ruffled my hair causing us both to laugh. I peeled off my socks and wiggled my way under his blanket.
“I think it’s time we catch up on six months worth of cuddling.” I poked a finger into his side.
“Yeah I think that’s a good idea, you owe me for being gone so long.”
“What? I came back early!” His hands made their way under my shirt to rest on the bare skin of my back sending waves of heat through my body from being pressed into him. Oh how I missed my heater.
“Yeah, by like what? Two weeks?” his silky voice chuckled out.
“I missed you Embry.” I told him, placing a kiss on his exposed shoulder.
“I missed you too. Now let's go back to sleep, you look tired.” He said to me as he rested his chin atop my head and pulling me closer.
táin bó cúailnge is a great starting place if you're interested in medieval irish lit. it's famous for a lot of reasons -- its length, its quality, the fact that there are good, accessible modern translations available... definitely a go-to if people want to know where to start
but say you've read the táin, and maybe you've even read the remscéla (fore-tales, prequels), and you know there's a shitton of other material out there but you have no idea what direction to go in
here are my recommendations for
what medieval irish text should you read next based on which bits of the táin you liked most
a non-exhaustive* and extremely biased list**
*I may or may not make further recommendations at some stage.
**i tried to minimise the ulster cycle content here bc that seems like an obvious jumping off point and you're probably here for Weird Shit but there's still some ulster cycle bc i like it
if you were intrigued by the hints of supernatural fuckery going on in the background but still like having some humans around -> togail bruidne da derga (the destruction of da derga's hostel)
if you have no interest in humans and just want supernatural fuckery all the way down -> cath maige tuired (the second battle of moytura)
if the ríastrad/warp-spasm gets you excited ;) and you want more body horror and weird creatures -> immram curaig mael duin (the voyage of mael duin). or pretty much any voyage text but mael duin has some of the fuckier creatures in it
if you're like "yeah! medb DID effectively utilise girl power!" and/or just really want to see cú chulainn getting beaten up -> serglige con culainn (the wasting sickness of cú chulainn)
if you're into the geography of it and how events relate to place names and histories -> this is called 'dindshenchas', the lore of place-names, and there are whole collections of just this, but you might also like acallam na senorach (tales of the elders of ireland) which is that but with a frame-story around it, featuring st patrick on a road trip with the last of the fíanna
if you read the mustering of the ulaid and were like "oh hey a big-ass list of names? i LOVE a big-ass list of names! give me all the names!" -> lebor gabala erenn (the book of invasions). alternatively, dindshenchas.
if you cried over the fight with fer diad and generally enjoyed having Feelings -> well, ideally, early modern prose texts (FULL of feelings), but since there are minimal translations of those available, consider longes mac nuislenn, oidheadh chloinne lir, or anything with the word "aided" or "oidheadh" in the title (it means "violent/tragic death")
if you like the references to classical texts that happen now and again -> merugud uilix meic laertis (the wanderings of ulysses son of laertes), aka the medieval irish retelling of the odyssey, which bears no resemblance to the odyssey; OR togail troí (the destruction of troy), the irish retelling of the trojan war that had a noticeable influence on the táin (togail troí is more relevant, merugud uilix is funnier)
if you like it when people insult/trash-talk each other -> scela mucce meic datho (the story of mac datho's pig)
if you just really want to know what the fuck is going on with the bulls -> echtra nera (the adventure of nera). this is only one version of the backstory but it has some cool supernatural fuckery in it so what's not to like
if you want more láeg/cú chulainn content -> tóraigheacht gruaidhe griansholas (the pursuit of gruaidh griansholas), which is a late text featuring excellent láeg moments
this has been: 2am medieval lit recommendations with néide, your host. tune in tomorrow and i might actually give you links to help with finding these. have fun.
edit: now updated with links. where possible i have provided a link to read the text free and legally online. some are pdfs, some are archive.org, some are just text. two exceptions: tales of the elders of ireland is a very recent translation and is not available legally online; link is an affiliate link to amazon, so if you buy it via that link, i get a few pennies. i recommend supporting your local libraries and bookshops if you can tho. dillon’s translation of serglige con culainn is also not available online that i could find; link is to a scan. it was published in the 50s so may not be *quite* out of copyright yet but close enough i hope. (quality is not great as i had to compress it.)
Haven’t done a proper update in ages and truthfully I’ve been neglecting this blog, but here it is:
Went to Glendalough for my birthday, which I enjoyed immensely. There’s some advantages to living in the British Isles, but I doubt I’ll be back in Ireland anytime soon. So far, it’s the worst country I’ve lived in and I will not miss it. There’s job aplenty, but the cost of living and the housing situation are not worth it. I know mine was a limited experience, but I also feel like Ireland has lost a lot of its cultural identity. Except for their accent, someone from Dublin and someone from England would not differ much, from what I could see. This of course is more accentuated in Dublin compared to rural places, but even those are losing so much of their heritage – their crafts, their cuisine, but also the natural landscape (which is stunning, but suffering and changing significantly). I’d recommend THIS series of documentaries and THIS cookbook if interested. It’s strange to think about the fact that someone of the people I’ve met have lived through the Troubles, yet now any sort of distinction with the UK seems to be non-existent. I am generalizing and really, I shouldn’t because I’ve also see inspiring local efforts at preserving biodiversity and bees and the Irish language and a connection with nature and art and crafts and so much more. And as much as I can complain about costs of living and housing, I know this sentiment is common. There’s potential for the future and it will be interesting to see how things will evolve.
Finally, finally!, done with the exam session. I’ve been enjoying hiking and swimming and being in the sun and now I also reading, beyond coursework. At least to a certain extent, because I still have two exams in September for theology and I need to start preparing for my Master’s degree. I’m excited for the latter, but also I wish I had more time so I could brush up on various topics in advance (econometrics, strategy, microeconomics).
Taking a gap year (turned into multiple years) was a good decision. [I know I promised various posts on this topic, and I will! I will! write them, but this is not it.] Very unexpectedly, one of the main positive things to come out of it is that… I have interests. All my time during my (first) BSc was geared towards survival – internships, jobs, what I learned, how I spent my free time. Either it was for basic necessities (money to buy food, building basic habits, etc) or in order to break into finance or find out what I was interested in when I realized I hated working in finance. It’s not that I didn’t have interests per se, but any interest was confined to that and never went beyond a simple ‘I would like to’. Doing new things is not always easy, true, but it was mostly that I didn’t have either time or money for any sort of hobby. Hobby being the wrong word, but also the only one available: by no means my chosen career is more important than these. And now I’m into wines and permaculture and gardening and bees and pottery and bouldering and botany and theology and philosophy and perfumes and embroidery – and there’s much more to explore! I enjoy a great variety of activities and make sure my life is filled with different interests, because it is enriched by it. Beyond simply the joy that all of these bring me (and will continue bringing me in the future), I also feel calmer about wanting to go into academia. It is my chosen field and I will try hard to make it my career, but if it doesn’t work out, I know I’ll still be okay, because beyond that there’s so much more.
Anyway, what brough the above stream of thought is that I’ve been really, really into perfumes lately. Love everything about them (except the prices). This June I attended a Frederic Malle event which gave me a deeper appreciation of some of their fragrances. I’ve also bought a Floraiku discovery set, which I’m excited about. Desperately want to sample some Carner Barcelona fragrances (I love Palo Santo and want to try Tardes and Latin Lover!). And so, so many more. I’m having such fun.
I guess that as a general update, I should talk also about faith, but I don’t really want to. I don’t like black/white distinctions and this is where I landed. Faith is fluid, faith is a path and a spectrum. I don’t believe God exists, but I want to and that is enough. Doubt is part of the Christian existence. I find value in religion and that is enough. I don’t know what this means in practice, but I’ll keep reading the Scriptures and I’ll keep attending mass (hopefully more regularly, still at distance for now, maybe in presence at one point). I’ll figure out things eventually, for now, this is enough. Faith can be a journey too.
As I mentioned before, I still have two exams to prepare before September, one on St Augustine, one on Practical Theology (I’ve chosen to focus on the baptism ritual in early Christian communities and on the Eucharist for the nonbaptised). A v busy summer indeed!
Y/n has a less than friendly run in with a classmate. She and Jim make Valentine's Day plans......as friends.
Masters courses, as expected, were significantly smaller than the ones she’d pursued during her undergrad, and the entire class had managed to fit in a small lecture hall with a bit of room left to spare. Y/n was sitting up front, as she’d been doing for every class she had since starting school in Ireland, except that day, the teacher’s pet jokes had been rolling in pretty heavily, and it was all because the man teaching the Econometrics II was Jim. Everyone knew she was his TA, and there wasn’t a soul that was willing to let her forget it.
Ordinarily, he wasn’t the type to play favorites, though, anyone from a mile away could see that he had a keen interest in Y/n; most of the time, he chose her to answer questions, and since the semester started, they’d been walking to class together. She’d tried to ignore it though, not read too much into the favor he paid her, mostly because despite their warmth, things were still noticeably different from the way they’d been before winter break, before they’d almost kissed. Jim had started keeping his distance, never touching her unless it was absolutely unavoidable, their conversations always remained strictly professional and Jim had stopped asking her to work late. As much as Y/n didn’t want to admit it, she missed it, all of it, from late night drinks in his office to the anecdotes he used to share about his kids.
During that week’s lecture, while she’d answered most of Jim's questions; quickly doing calculations for the ones that required them and offering quick, simple answers for others, the snide remarks from the couple of women behind her had not gone unnoticed. When he dismissed them, as Y/n had slipped her notebook, pencil and calculator into her handbag, one of the women, Emily, leaned down after packing up her things, “Great job today, hun,” she began sarcastically, “Try not to blow your back out tonight when he rewards you for being such a good girl,” she poked out glossy red lips tauntingly.
Scoffing indifferently, Y/n rolled her eyes as she lifted her head to regard Emily, completely unaffected by the quip, “I guess being a bitch is something you never grow out of, huh?”
Emily huffed, clenching her jaw, speaking through gritted teeth, “Oh, you think I’m a bitch now. You just wait-”
“Ladies,” Jim interjected as he approached them, stopping short a couple feet away, “I hope you don’t mind me interrupting, but I’d like to see Y/n for a minute. It won’t take long-”
“Don’t bother,” Emily shuffled her bag higher up on her shoulder, “We’re done here. Have a real good night, Y/n,” she added with a wink.
Y/n waited with bated breath until Emily was out the door before sighing quietly in relief not even paying mind to her very thinly veiled threat as she turned to regard Jim, still standing nearby. Her breath hitched at the thought of being alone with him and she chewed her lower lip appreciatively, hoping to mask her attraction. He just looked so good like that; two top buttons of his white, untucked dress shirt undone and hands slipped into the pockets of his slacks. “You wanted to see me,” she breathed, eyes wide with intrigue.
Jim shrugged, “Not really- I mean, I don’t not….want to see you,” he took a moment to sort his thoughts, shaking off his very confusing sentence, “Nevermind that, er,” Jim chuckled softly, “I heard Emily giving you a hard time, I just wanted to help.”
“Oh,” Y/n noted softly, casting her head down as warmth rushed to her face, “That’s um….”
“If I overstepped-”
“You didn’t,” she cut him off with haste, “Thank you. She’s…..” Y/n trailed off, shrugging and they started walking towards the desk, where Jim had been packing up his things; laptop, a few pages of lecture notes and the remote for the projector.
Slipping the sleek laptop into his bag, Jim finished for her with a grumble, “A fuckin’ piece of work.”
Y/n hummed, neatening the papers before handing them over and then reaching for the remote so she could turn off the projector, “Yeah,” she licked her lips nervously, “Did you….maybe hear anything that she said?”
Jim shook his shoulders, not looking her way as he continued casually, “Not really, but where Emily’s concerned its probably nothing but trouble. She did her undergrad here, I taught a few of those classes and,” he whistled lowly, “She isn’t really a walk in the park. I think she came onto me?” He explained, sounding like he wasn’t sure if he believed it himself and Y/n appraised his words with raised brows;
So that was Emily's problem, jealousy.
Allowing her jaw to hang slack for a minute, she scoffed with intrigue and when Jim didn’t add anything else, she prompted, “Well did you......you know?”
Jim furrowed his brow, emitting a sound of disbelief, “Did you not hear the part where I said she was a piece of work?” He laughed quietly, shaking his head, “Besides if I was gonna break the fraternization rules it wouldn’t be with her, it would be with someone like…..”
Catching himself, Jim dismissed the thought and shook his head again. “Someone like….?” Y/n pressed, holding her breath and hoping for something that probably wouldn't have come.
Something that didn’t come.
“Doesn’t matter,” he waved off her question, gathering his bag and then waiting for Y/n as she collected hers. They lapsed into comfortable silence as they strolled out of the room, and Y/n, left deflated by Jim’s dismissal, let her heart sink a little. She didn’t know why she'd gotten her hopes up anyway; it wasn’t like helping her out back there meant he’d suddenly changed his mind.
Though, when Jim touched her back absently as she stepped out of the lecture hall before him, she thought that maybe all wasn’t lost.
The walk back the department building was spent mostly without words, with only the occasional comment about class or work being traded, and so, when Jim asked her what she was doing for Valentine’s day, she was a little more than surprised, “Nothing, actually,” Y/n laughed sheepishly, in spite of Elaine pushing her to go out and meet people, maybe even find someone to spend Valentine's week with, Y/n had firmly resisted, opting to stay at her apartment working on her research when she wasn’t working or running errands. “Elaine is working, so I’m going to stay at home, watch crappy movies and drink wine…straight from the bottle probably.”
Loudly, Jim laughed, and before he could respond, Y/n added, “You?”
“Same thing probably, but with a game and beer,” he joked, “My kids have this dance at school and I’m well…..you know.”
“Yeah,” Y/n worried on her lower lip, a habit she could never seem to kick. They were just stepping into the elevator and Jim had pressed the button for the fourth floor, replacing his hand in his pocket as she finally mustered up the courage to suggest, “Do you wanna do something with me? On Valentine’s Day?” That was what Elaine had meant when she’d told her to make friends right?
Jim cleared his throat and just then, the elevator opened with a soft ding followed by a woosh as the doors slid open. God, he was gonna turn her down, it was all she could think of and honestly? Y/n couldn’t blame him. Why would he risk his career for a woman he’d known for a handful of months? Why would he break so many rules for someone who was probably going to leave in just over a year?
“What do you have in mind?” Was his question instead, much to Y/n’s surprise.
She didn’t have anything in mind, she didn’t even think she’d get that far. Hell, she didn’t even know where she was expecting that to go. In her head, he'd said 'no'. “Maybe a pub? There’s a pretty nice one near my building…..I think.”
They were safely in the security of his office when Jim laughed, “Tell you what, I’ll find something and pick you up on Friday night?”
“Yeah, okay,” she nodded, “Sounds great. So we’ll go together- as friends,” Y/n corrected, not wanting to scare Jim off with her wording.
Though she could have sworn his smile faltered, “Right, okay,” Jim shuffled away, slipping behind his desk, “As friends,” he confirmed.
Yeah, sure, Valentine’s day as friends always worked. Almost always.
She’d probably tried on everything that she considered ‘nice’ in her closet, from what she’d remembered buried at the back to new things she’d bought over winter break. Everything. Yet, nothing seemed right and while Y/n had convinced herself that it was simply because it wasn't a date and she was just scared about accidentally overdressing, deep down, she knew it was actually because she wanted Jim to see her and be impressed. Even if they’d agreed to go out as friends- and just friends- she wanted him to feel for her what she felt for him, because at least if he did, she’d know that somewhere, in some universe, it might have worked out.
By the time Y/n had pulled off the last outfit she’d tried on; blue wash ripped jeans and a silk blouse, she was exasperated and strapped for time. It was almost six thirty and Jim was supposed to be coming by her apartment at seven. “Maybe I should cancel,” Y/n suggested on a whim, glancing at her phone, propped up against some pillows on her neatly made bed.
Naturally, she’d video called Elaine, who’d stolen away to a supply closet in the hospital for an extended break, while getting ready for her not-date with Jim, a testament to how seriously she’d taken the whole thing. Which, to her at least, was crazy because Y/n was pretty sure he’d only agreed to go with her out of sheer politeness. He really was one of the nicest people she’d ever met. “You cannot cancel half an hour before he comes by your apartment? That’s like…..A grade asshole. You are not an asshole.”
Y/n sighed, repeating softly, “I am not an asshole.” Even if Jim had only signed onto to her shenanigans because he was a great guy, it would have been cruel to ask him to pencil her into the probably busy schedule only to say ‘nevermind’ at the eleventh hour. “Right, I’m just…an idiot who asked her boss, and teacher, out on Valentine’s Day and then realized she had nothing to wear.”
Elaine hummed, contemplating Y/n’s dilemma for a moment. After a couple of minutes spent with her in silence and Y/n rummaging through the small mountain of clothing that had gathered at the foot of her bed, Elaine spoke up, “Do you still have that blue dress? Like, did you take it with you?”
Shuffling into the camera’s view again, Y/n knitted her brows, “What blue dress?” She feigned confusion, hoping her friend wasn’t about to go there.
“You know what blue dress,” Elaine warned, “Get the dress, and wear the dress.”
“What?” Y/n scuffed incredulously, “That’s my date dress, this isn’t a date.”
“You’re going out on Valentine’s day-”
“As friends,” she emphasized pointedly.
Elaine huffed, “Please, when you asked him out, were you really thinking about being just his friend?” In response, Y/n simply stuttered, knowing all too well that she’d only added that part because she didn’t want to seem like she was coming onto him; they’d just steered away from a conversation about how he wouldn’t have jeopardized his career over something as frivolous as an entanglement with a student, the last thing Y/n had wanted was to be insensitive to that. “Exactly,” even through the phone, the triumphant glint in Elaine’s hazel gaze was hard to miss. “You’re wearing the dress, that is not up for debate.”
“Ugh, fine,” Y/n bemoaned, dragging herself over the now half unpacked closet, shifting some things around until she was pulling out a simple, sapphire toned, A-line dress with a shallow ‘v’ and spaghetti straps. Grumbling something about how if she was embarrassed, she’d blame Elaine, Y/n nudged the dress off the wire-framed hanger and stepped into it, pulling up the zipper at the side. She really did look good in it, that was something she’d admit even in moments of self deprecation; the dress, on its own, gave off an air of plainness, but it certainly adhered to the notion that sometimes, less was more. There was a slit in the hem that fell just above her knees, with a bit of paler blue chiffon peeking out from under it, while embellishments on the bodice extended only as fair as two straight darts.
“So, what do you think?” Y/n cringed, stepping in front of the camera.
Elaine appraised her in silence while drawing in a mouthful of coffee from a disposable cup, “Mmm, hot!” She beamed, “He’s gonna love it. Definitely gonna jack off tonight.”
“El!” Y/n scolded.
“Well he won’t have to if you-”
“I’m not fucking him,” Y/n warned pointedly, “We’re-”
“Going out as friends,” Elaine bemoaned, exasperated, gesturing with her cup, “I know. But friends can fuck too,” again, Y/n opened her mouth to say something, but her friend cut her off, “But you’re not gonna, you’re gonna make him suffer.”
“He’s not even into me,” she carried on with getting ready, getting out a pair of white flats from the floor of her closet, clumsily slipping into them without sitting before shuffling over to the full length mirror to check her make-up and finish styling her hair. Strapped for time, she completed everything haphazardly, barely having a minute to touch up her nude lipstick before she heard the buzzing of the intercom signaling that there was a guest downstairs.
“He’s here,” satisfied with her reflection, and with nerves bundled in her center, Y/n grabbed her phone off the bed, she hurried towards the front door, offering Elaine a water-down goodbye as she pushed the gray button near the familiar speaker, “You can come up,” she invited, “I’m almost ready.”
“Great, great,” Jim chuckled, adding that he’d be up in a few minutes after she’d pressed another button that would unlock the glass door at the building’s main entrance.
She was just transferring a couple essentials from a larger handbag to a smaller purse with a gold chain strap when she heard the knocking at the front door. On intentionally slowed steps and after a series of deep, calming breaths, Y/n made her way over to the front door, undid the lock and pulled it open. “Hi,” she greeted nervously at the sight of him, dressed handsomely in jeans and a light sweater with a navy blazer completing the look. She’d never admit it, but in that moment, she was grateful that Elaine had talked her into wearing the date dress. “Uh, come in, I’ll just get my coat.”
“No problem,” Jim smiled tightly, stuffing one hand into his pocket, “Oh!” He stopped her as she headed back towards her bedroom, “These are for you,” he offered her the bouquet he’d brought with him, a gorgeous arrangement of red and pink roses, with pale pink lilies and daisies peppered in between, all held together by silk and ribbon lace. “I didn’t know what you like,” he admitted sheepishly, “So I just…chose the prettiest ones and asked the florist to put them together.”
Stunned, Y/n regarded the bouquet with a soft, breathless smile and wide eyes. “Oh, they’re so beautiful, but you didn’t have to,” she blushed. Flowers made it feel like a date, and while she knew that it wasn’t one, his sweet gesture encouraged her mind to go a little wild.
“Come on,” Jim chortled quietly as Y/n relieved him of the flowers, “It’s Valentine's day, somebody ought to buy you flowers.”
Huffing a chuckle, Y/n tipped the bouquet up to her nose, allowing the fragrance of roses to tickle her senses. “Thank you,” she hummed, hoping to hide the warmth in her cheeks, “They really are gorgeous,” she bit her lip, taking a cautious step forward to press kiss to his cheek, his skin warm under her lips, “And you got it right,” she murmured when their faces were still close, “Daisies are my favorite.”
They lingered like that for a moment more, before Y/n shook off the moment and drew away, anxious words tumbling out of her mouth in a hurry, worried that she’d made things awkward, “I’m just gonna put these in water. And then get my coat,” she added hastily, leaving Jim stood in her living room and stepping through the single doorway that led to her tiny kitchen.
“Your place is nice,” he commented casually from the other room, just as Y/n went through a couple cupboards in search of a vase.
“Thanks,” finding a stylish ceramic one in a cabinet under the counter, she filled it up with water and put the flowers in them, gently picking at the petals to prim the arrangement in an attempt to settle it in its new home. “The rent is a gift from my parents,” she noted quietly, emerging from the kitchen to set the vase on the coffee table.
“This them?” Jim was looking at a frame photo on the mantel, one from a birthday party just before she left for Ireland.
“Yeah,” Y/n collected her purse and just when she was about to swipe her camel coat off the arm of a single sofa, Jim turned and picked it up instead, holding it open for her. He hadn’t done that since the night they’d gotten dinner together at the diner near campus.
She thought about that night sometimes. What it would have been like if Elaine hadn’t called; would he have stopped them? Would she have invited him up to her apartment? Or would things be the same as they were right then?
“Thanks,” she smiled upon pulling away, holding Jim’s gaze for a moment more before inhaling sharply and suggesting that they leave. “So where are we going?” She asked awkwardly as she locked the front door.
“Er...…its so silly,” Jim chuckled, and when Y/n glanced at him, she thought he looked cute like that; wide, shy grin, fingers laced in the back of his hair and bright cheeks cast down at the floor, “There’s this place, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it,” he licked his lips, rambling on as they strolled towards the elevator up ahead, at the end of the carpeted hall, “The Whiskey Museum, they do tours and stuff and tonight they’re doing this um…its like a blending session. There’s an instructor and you can blend your own whiskey,” he chuckled nervously, quickly adding as they entered the elevator and Y/n hit the button for the first floor, “If that’s not your thing-”
“Are you kidding me?” Y/n scoffed, “That sounds pretty cool. I’ve never done anything like that. But I am pretty good at drinking whisky,” she giggled and within seconds of them being alone in the elevator, just when she was starting to enjoy having him to herself, the doors slid open and he gestured for her to exit first, his fingers barely grazing the center if her back as he led them out.
It was starting to feel like it had back then again. Before she’d flown back home and before Jim had put some platonic distance between them. Still, Y/n urged herself to hold what he’d said earlier that week in mind; he wasn’t interested in breaking the rules like that. And of course he wasn’t, and she wasn’t there to jeopardize his career or her education either. There were hundreds of men in Ireland, and over three billion in the whole world, surely she could date one of those instead, it would definitely come with far less consequences.
“Have you ever done it?” With his light touch steady on her back, the gentle warmth of his palm permeating the fabric of her coat and dress, Jim led her to his navy Honda, disengaging the alarm as they approached. Just as he opened the front passenger door for her, Jim noted that he hadn’t and with a faint grin, laced with a teasing glimmer, Y/n returned, “Well if we can drink it, we can blend it. Can’t be that hard, right?”
“This is way harder than it looks,” Y/n cringed, using a brown, paper napkin to dab her pale, pink lips, careful to not disrupt her lipstick. Jim couldn’t count how many times he’d glanced at her lips that night and wished he could just lean in and kiss her. But Y/n had asked him out in a platonic capacity and he didn’t want to cross any boundaries, friendly or professional, especially after she’d completely ignored his deliberately vague comment about breaking the fraternization rules.
He’d break them for her, that was what he’d been trying to get at, but she’d completely missed it- or ignored it- and Jim wasn’t willing to test the waters and find out which it was.
“Its not that bad,” he hid his cringe with the sip of the god-awful concoction they’d recently blended; a mix of Bushmill 10, Lockes 8 and Teeling 24. Even as Jim drew in a cautious sip, he struggled to hide his distaste and almost couldn’t bear to swallow their collaborated disaster. Naturally, the instructor at the front of the room, had been offering his esteemed guidance, but somewhere along the line, after slipping into casual conversation about her life back at San Francisco and how he’d gotten to teaching at the university- he hadn’t told her everything though, just the bits that were weighted more on his professional life- they’d stopped paying attention.
“You’re right,” Y/n giggled, eyes shining as she met his, about to water from the combinations of the alcohol’s strength and its outright horridity, “Its much, much worse. Thank God we only did a little.”
“Yeah,” Jim reached for his glass of water, trying to get the taste out of his mouth before they moved on, “Maybe we’ll listen to him from now on, yeah?” He gestured to the instructor at the front of the room.
With a soft laugh, Y/n nodded, the gesture acted as her only response, and as she did, Jim let his eyes linger on her. She had to have known how infallibly stunning she was, right? Y/n never acted like she did. She also seemed completely oblivious to the effect she had on him, it was like she couldn’t see the heat that he’d feel rise to his face when she dealt him a compliment, or hear the catch in his breath when she absently touched his hand. If he had to be completely honest, under her gaze, Jim felt a little invisible, like she wasn’t quite seeing him.
But he saw her, he always saw her.
He wanted to say that at some point, later on in the night, when they’d finally gotten their mixology right and the liquor had loosened them up a little. She’d let something slip about her ex, he’d critiqued the way she dressed once, told her that she was as plain as wallpaper. Jim could have seen the masked pain behind her words and in that very moment, he wanted to tell Y/n; tell her that she wasn’t wallpaper, not to him. To him, she was color, a painting to be studied and appreciated but never understood. The most beautiful things, he wanted to add to those words unsaid, were never understood.
“What?” Her words intruded on his thoughts and Jim snapped out of his self-induced trance.
Jim shook his head, “Nothing’s, it’s just….I hope you don’t believe a thing he’s said to you. Cause it isn’t true, none of it,” he added, shaking his head again.
“Thank you,” she ducked her head. They’d seemed to make a habit of straying from whatever the instructor was saying, lapsing into their own conversation. “Its just hard, you know? When you hear something enough, you start to believe it. When you trust someone enough you just…..” Y/n shrugged, taking a sip of her instead of finishing her sentence.
“I wish I understood, like really understood what that must have been like.” Wishing he cold off her the comfort of affinity, Jim scoffed quietly, realizing that in all his years, and for all the bad things he’d done, he’d never had to experience the kind of mental havoc that a person like her ex could wreck. In that moment, Jim also realized that he must have never experienced it only because he was the one inflicting the pain. Cheating on his wife, ripping his family apart, keeping secrets from Yvonne about her husband. Perhaps he’d never been that hurt because he was the one hurting everyone else. “Truth is I don’t. I think I’ve hurt people like that though,” he admitted, letting the words slip by before he could bury them down.
Y/n knitted her brows, “What do you mean?” The class must have been near over, because everyone was starting to pour their creations into the bottles provided, and vaguely aware of what was happening around them. Y/n started doing the same, gaze flickering between meeting his and checking to ensure she wasn't making a mess.
Jim gnawed on his lip, shaking his head, “Before my divorce I uh,” he chortled dryly, “I had an affair…with my wife’s best friend.”
Right before him, Jim could see Y/n’s perception of him changing and his heart dropped; any chance he’d had with her had just been blown. “Oh,” she sucked in a sharp breath, “Did you ever tell her?”
“It’s why we’re divorced. But she doesn’t know who it was with though. Telling her that….”
“I get that,” Y/n was quiet for a moment, tightening the cap on the glass bottle, “You know, sometimes I wish I’d cheated on him. Which is stupid….I just figured if I did, he’d leave me and I wouldn’t have to….” Trailing off, she exhaled, embarrassed.
“Leave,” her logic, by a long shot, seemed a bit nonsensical. But Jim did see her reasoning. Getting out of a relationship with someone so manipulative must have been tough. “You thought he’d leave you if you did?”
“Sometimes, yeah,” she sniffled, “Which is stupid. You can’t fix a mistake with a mistake,” she said brashly, and Jim tried to not let the words sting. They weren’t directed at him, he firmly reminded himself, she barely knew a thing of his history, surely she wasn’t making such a concrete assessment on him.
“Its not stupid,” Jim reached out and took her hand, giving her soft fingers and affectionate squeeze, feeling the coolness of the wooden table under his wrist, “Why didn’t you do it?” It must have been an odd question, it felt like a strange inquiry.
“I chickened out. I got as far as…meeting with this guy from Tinder for coffee. We talked about hooking up and everything,” she shook her head, and around them, the other pairs and groups from the class started to scatter, some leaving with their bottles while others stayed back, chatting over drinks. The soft shuffle of footsteps on the terrazzo floor swelled around them, and from somewhere off at the left and right sides of the room, music started wafting from the speakers. Staff gathered behind the bar and it wasn’t long before the rustic area had taken on the atmosphere of an intimate pub.
“I was too much of a coward to go through with it,” Y/n finally finished, “And then I was so much of a coward that I broke up with him and fled the country,” she jested self deprecatingly.
“That wasn't cowardice,” Jim admonished, stepping closer as the chatter grew louder, “That was pretty fucking brave. You’re getting a degree that he told you was worthless, you’re gonna do amazing things, without him. After he tried to convince you that you couldn't. That doesn’t make you a coward,” he glanced down at their feet shamefully, “What I did, cheating on my wife because I was bored in our marriage, instead of working on it, that was being a coward.”
“That does not make you a coward,” Y/n was the one who stepped closer that time, the proximity turning far too intimate to be friendly, “It makes you human. You made a mistake, Jim, and….you faced the consequences. What matters now is….what you do when you get a second chance.”
Swallowing thickly, he spared a moment to look towards their hands before allowing his gaze to flicker to her lips, still so invitingly kissable, “You believe in second chances?”
The music must have grown a little louder, or many it was the menial chatter trying to intrude on their moment, but Jim hardly caught her next words, resorting to reading her lips when she said, “Of course, don’t you?”
“I don’t know,” he whispered, knowing she probably couldn't have heard him,”But I’d like to.”
Y/n hummed, he was sure of it, and by the time she was speaking again, he could smell the whiskey on her breath and the perfume clinging to her skin, a woeful combination that he couldn’t help but crave. Unwittingly, his eyes fell, roaming upwards appreciatively; her dress was a simple blue one, but it easily hugged her curves perfectly, celebrating them stunningly, while the skirt boasted her legs and Jim couldn't help but be affected by the sight. “I don’t think I’ve told you, but you look beautiful tonight.”
Even in the dimness of the mood lighting, Jim swore he could see the heat warm her skin as she assumed a private, shy smile. “Thank you,” she breathed, reaching out with her free hand to grasp his forearm, “Can I tell you something?” She blushed.
“What?” Jim prompted.
“I wore this dress cause I wanted you to think that,” her breath hitched in an embarrassed chuckle, “I can’t believe I just said that, I-”
“I’ve always thought it,” Jim blurted out softly, and by then, their surroundings had faded, tuning into nothing more than white, and occasionally disruptive, noise in the background.
Her soiree brightened at his admission and Y/n suddenly prompted, “Do you wanna take me home….and then not leave?” She licked her lips, searching his eyes for an answer.
Hope spilt out of her dilated pupils and when Jim looked into her eyes that evening, for the first time, he thought he saw in them what he’d been hoping to for months; his feelings reflected in them. Leaning forward, he did what he’d been thinking off all night; captured her lips with his. Y/n responded almost instantly, moving her hand off his wrist to clutch a fistful of his sweater when Jim let his settle in the curve of her waist. On the table, they laced their fingers, palm to palm, the closeness of their chests reflected in their joined hands.
She tasted like lipstick, barley and vanilla, an amorously saccharine combination that Jim hoped he’d remember forever, and when they broke, he missed it immediately and it was only to say, “My place is closer,” before swiping the bottle off the table, keeping her hand locked in his while leading her to his car.
Summary: During a storm, Ingrith finds Finan hiding from the rain under the front porch of her house.
A/N: One shot inspired by a prompt given by @solinarimoon "so, what is taking you so long to kiss me, then?". Thank you so much! I loved writing it <3
Words : 2446
Warnings: NO SPOILERS, fluff, some angst, scars
A pouring rain was falling on Rumcofa like Ingrith had rarely seen before. She could barely see the other side of the street from her window through the curtain of water. She was lucky to have decided against going to the river earlier to wash her laundry, she wasn’t sure she would have made it to her house before being utterly soaked otherwise. Instead, she had busied herself with cooking, the sweet smell of stew enveloping her living room from the pot above the fireplace.
Ingrtih was collecting the vegetables-peel when something caught her eye through the window. She paused and watched as a tall silhouette seemed to be standing under the front porch. Ingrith was generally a gentle heart, she wasn’t one to let someone freeze in front of her door during a storm. She grabbed a rag and dried her hands before walking to the door. She scrunched her nose at the cold air that sneaked inside when she opened but the rush of blush that colored her cheeks had nothing to do with the wind.
“Ingrith-” Finan’s voice came out as a surprise, as if he hadn’t expected her to be inside. He shifted on his feet, his arms tightly wrapped around himself to seek some warmth. His tunic was soaked, the fabric sticking to his skin and suggesting the strong muscles of his arms. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know ya were here.”
“Well, I had sensed the rain coming.” She paused, eyeing him again. “Unlike you.” She pointed out, biting back a smile when Finan glared at her, unamused. “Come inside.” She invited him as she opened the door wider.
She walked back inside and heard Finan’s footsteps as he followed her, the wind closing the front door behind him with a loud sound. He sighed heavily, contempt to have finally found some warmth, and let his arms fall back to his sides. She had never invited the Irishman within her house before and therefore, he looked curiously around her living room. There was nothing special inside her house, everything was neatly ordered, except for the mess left on the table to cook, and the decoration rather simple. It was a house like any other in Rumcofa but it still felt like home to Ingrith, especially after years living in it. She couldn’t help but wonder if Finan could call the place where he lived in Rumcofa home already. From his thick accent, she knew he hadn’t always lived in Wessex with Lord Uhtred. She ignored why he had left Ireland and she had never dared to ask, she could only suppose that finding a new place to call home wasn’t an easy thing.
“It smells good.” Finan noticed as he stood in the middle of the living room.
His gaze found the pot hanging above the fire and Ingrith smiled softly at him. “It should be ready in an hour. The rain isn’t about to stop, I’m sure you can stay to share a meal with me.”
The words came out so easily, she didn’t expect the sudden nervous feeling while waiting for his answer. He didn’t have to accept but she realized she really wanted him to.
Finan ran his hand through his short beard, his gaze flickering between the pot and Ingrith. “I don’t want to bother ya more.”
“You’re not bothering me if I’m proposing it to you.” She argued as she leaned on the table, her hands bracing the edge at each side of her.
The Irishman let out some sort of laugh before he bowed his head in surrender. “Fine, if it pleases ya.”
“Good.” She perked up, clasping her hands together.
She was about to go back to her previous task when she remembered Finan’s wet clothes. He might have walked closer to the fireplace, she knew he wouldn’t warm easily if he kept his tunic. She hesitated to ask him to undress but the thought of seeing Finan shirtless made her cheeks burn and any coherent words die on her tongue. She decided to fetch him a thick blanket first before she joined him by the fire.
“Here,” Ingrith started as she held out a folded blanket in her arms. “You’re going to catch a cold if you stay with your soak tunic.”
Ingrith wondered if it was the fire or her but Finan’s face had suddenly turned into a flush color. He looked between the blanket and her blue eyes a moment before he made the faintest nod. “Right, that’s a good idea.”
Finan grabbed the hem of his tunic but he didn’t pull it much more than above his belly button, from where an inviting dark line of hair disappeared under his pants, before he looked back into Ingrith eyes. There was a strange worry in his gaze that Ingrith wasn’t sure she was allowed to ask about. She gave him a reassuring smile and turned around to give him some privacy.
“I didn’t expect you to be so modest.” She joked while she still had her back to him in an attempt to cheer him up again.
She heard him snort and she satisfied herself with it. When he touched her shoulder, she gave him the blanket without looking behind her and waited until he had wrapped himself in the fabric to turn and face him again. He had secured the blanket around his shoulders but she could still see the top of his chest and his collarbone. She averted her eyes just so they wouldn’t linger on the sight of him and waved her hand toward the floor in front of the fire.
“You should sit and warm yourself.”
“I can help-” Finan argued, not a man to wait and rest, but Ingrith shook her head.
“There’s nothing to help for.” She assured, her both hands resting on his chest to keep him here.
Her hands were almost above his own, where they were keeping the blanket wrapped around him. She boldly looked up to the Irishman, wondering if their proximity bothered him, but he only stared at her with brown and intense eyes that made her shiver. He had bowed his head to cross her gaze, his face now close enough for his breath to caress her lips. She realized that she only had to raise herself on her toes for her lips to meet his own. Her fingers curled against the blanket, the thought of kissing Finan making her knees grow weak. She wasn’t sure he had brought his face closer until her nose touched his own briefly. She gripped the fabric tighter and let her eyelids fall, the vision of his lips slightly parted lingering in her mind as she expected to feel them soon enough.
“Hm, I should at least not keep ya from doin’ what ya have to, then.”
Ingrith opened her eyes suddenly and wondered if she had imagined everything when she noticed his apologetic expression. It didn’t prevent her from smiling at him gently, not wanting to make the situation more awkward. She removed her hands slowly and stepped back with a nod.
From the corner of her eyes, she noticed Finan lowering himself to the floor and stretching his hands in front of the flames while she was cleaning the table. He was rather silent, something she found strange as Finan had always been a loud man. But over the weeks, she had noticed that a certain sense of calm seemed to take him when they were just the two of us. As if the warrior within him could finally find some rest. It had participated to make her believe there might have been something special between them. Something that made all the soft smiles and glances through a crowded room more than polite kindness. She wasn’t so sure anymore and it made her heart ache.
She walked across the room to toss the stew in the pot with a wooden spoon, her gaze desperately avoiding Finan. The Irishman didn’t even try to look away from her, his face tilted up toward where she stood close to him. It was almost annoying to realize he wasn’t suffering from the same awkwardness.
“Ingrith.” He called her, his tone a mixture of hope and apology. She dared to look down at him and melted at the softness of his eyes when he was staring at her. “Ya’re too kind to me.”
“Would you rather go back and wait outside for the rain to stop?” She huffed with a quiet laugh, focusing on the content of the pot again.
Finan laughed along before he cleared his throat. “What I meant-” He trailed off and looked into the fire as if the words he was searching for were written in the flames. “What I wanted to say is that I appreciate your kindness. I really do.” He paused again, but not to look at her, only to take a deep breath. “I love your smile and I love to hear you laugh. Wherever I go into Rumcofa, I can’t help but hope you’ll be there already. I probably think of ya too often for my own sanity.” He chuckled, tightening the blanket around him as if to shield himself from whatever scared him.
Ingrith remained breathless and for a moment, the only thing she could hear was the sound of her heartbeats. She rested the spoon against the edge of the pot and carefully knelt next to Finan. He shifted so they were facing each other, his legs folded in front of him and his forearms resting on his knees under the blanket. He looked anxious but she couldn’t imagine him to be more nervous than her as she tried to figure out the right words to name his feelings.
“Do you love me, Finan?” She asked tentatively, her voice barely above a whisper.
The warrior visibly struggled to breathe for an instant before he exhaled, his shoulders slumping. “Yes. I think I do.”
The Dane woman couldn’t help but huff another laugh, her eyes wide with disbelief. Finan was smiling sheepishly at her and if the memory of their missed kiss wasn’t still aching, she might have thrown herself into his arms.
“So what is taking you so long to kiss me, then?” She couldn’t help but wonder.
Finan opened his mouth but no word came out. He pinched his lips as he thought and twisted his fingers nervously. “I’m not sure if love is something I’m allowed to have.” There was a deep sadness in his voice, one that made Ingrith ache for him even though she didn’t know the reason for his chagrin. “I do not think I deserve it.”
“Why would you even think that, Finan?” She questioned him, her hands reaching to grab his own gently. “Why couldn’t you deserve something as pure and precious as love?”
Another moment of hesitation and Finan decided to stand up. Ingrith had to raise her chin to look at the Irishman’s tall frame as he turned his back to her. She frowned, worried that he was about to leave without a word, but much to her surprise, he shrugged the blanket off his shoulders, letting it fall down to his mid back, caught by his angled up elbows. Ingrith tried not to gasp at the sight before her. Finan’s back was ruined by long scars criss-crossing over skin, the white lines still clearly visible under the flames’ light. She was glad he had his back to her so he wouldn’t see the horror in her eyes as she came closer to him.
Ingrith had never seen such scars before but she wasn’t ignorant. This was the work of whiplashes, a cruelty she had witnessed in her life a few times. She had felt pity for the men and women she had seen beaten but to imagine Finan in their place was setting a fire within her chest that would give her the strength to make sure those who had hurt him would suffer even more. Though she knew it was useless, it wasn’t her fight. If there was any revenge to take, this honor was Finan’s.
“I’ve made mistakes in the past.” He explained shamefully. “I’ve loved the wrong person and it cost me everythin’. Sometimes, even if I have retrieved my freedom years ago, I can’t help but wonder if my God still wants to punish me for my sins.”
Ingrith approached him until she was close enough to touch his back. Tentatively, she traced the scar starting low in his back and running up to his shoulder. His muscles tensed under her touch but she felt him shiver from her breath caressing his skin.
“I do not know one God cruel enough to keep a man from love for eternity.” She pointed out, her finger now drawing a more recent scar on his bicep. She stared up at him and smiled teasingly. “I have heard the christian God is merciful.” Finan laughed softly, the shame and sadness disappearing from his face. She grabbed his hand with one of hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “You’re a good man Finan and if your God can’t see that, then I am sure mine do and would welcome you.”
Finan considered her, shifting to face her better. “Thank ya.” He smiled, his fingers touching the Mjolnir resting upon her chest as if to thank her Gods but she knew the words were meant for her.
“I want you, Finan. I want you with your joys and your pains.” She said sincerely, her eyes not leaving him even when she noticed how he lifted his hand to cup her jaw.
He brushed her cheek with his thumb, his touch warming her skin in a pleasant way. “Ya’re really too kind to me.” He smiled fondly.
Ingrith laughed again before she brought her face closer to his. “You better kiss me soon or you will really have to wait outside.”
Finan didn’t even try to find something to argue, he obediently complied to her demand and leaned down until his lips were on hers. His lips were rough but the kiss was nonetheless gentle and pleasant. She brought her hand into his hair, still wet from the rain, to deepen the kiss while Finan held on to her waist. The moment felt too short when they had to come apart to catch their breath.
She wished this first kiss would have never ended, but Finan was smiling foolishly at her, his eyes sparking with a joy and adoration she had never seen in them before and she knew it would be far from their last kiss.
Lena takes an art class to de-stress and Kara is the nude model. Awkward semi- naked flirting ensues.
(A/N: So, I put my own twist on this (hope that’s okay), I made Lena a teacher just because I liked the idea of Lena having to keep her lack of chill under control and be professional in front of a class funny - though this fic went down just a really light, fluffy route which I hadn’t expected when I started it.)
Read on AO3
It had been going well, the first term had passed with only a few missteps and one trip to the emergency room - though, the Dean had told her that Zach had yet to make it through a single class without some sort of accident and had been preemptively banned from taking Chemistry classes for fear of taking out an entire graduation class.
Lena had never expected to return to her alma mater as a lecturer but the stars had aligned at just the right time. The youngest Luthor had reached a stage in her career where she had finally proven her adoptive mother wrong about not finding success as an artist and had made enough money that she need never paint another picture in her life again. The lack of necessity and the return to a more Luthor-esque lifestyle - galas, fancy balls and paid talks - had subsequently impacted her inspiration. She needed a change. A return to her roots and some sort of stability without losing her ability to make a personal impact with her work.
Her mentor - J’onn - was stepping down from the art department and had recommended her as his replacement; National City University had jumped at the chance of the world renowned Lena Luthor taking up a teaching position there.
She was now a third of the way through the school year, settled comfortably into her new role, and absolutely loving it. Her spark was back, and she was enjoying being in one place surrounded by her old friends. She was reconnecting with skills and techniques she hadn’t touched in years whilst simultaneously giving advice and encouragement to students that reminded her of herself when Lillian had cut her off to force her into attending business school and abandoning her dreams. She was finally able to return the kindness J’onn had given her all those years ago to the next generation of artists.
It was the second term that Lena experienced her first set of real nerves.
Lena had an artistic weak spot, an achilles heel that she had been able to keep out of her signature artistic style but she would now be forced to confront.
It had been her lowest scoring class by a mile and she had avoided the advanced elective classes like the plague. Lena knew practice made perfect but she’d never had enough interest to develop her skills. Her interest had always lied more in natural landscape beauty - J’onn had said her true inspiration lied with trying to recreate her childhood memories of Ireland: emerald rolling hills, rocky cliffs, dense forests ensconced by a mystical fog that lended her artwork a fantastical element that she was now known for.
The problem lied in Lena’s lack of interest in people.
She had never really seen the ‘art’ in them.
Kelly, Sam and Andrea had spent hours over evening drinks psycho-analysing just why that might be, their two favourite theories were Lena’s family (the loss of her mother and the general unpleasantness of the Luthors) or Lena’s truly terrible dating history (their favourite topic of conversation due to the sheer number of embarrassing stories it elicited).
Lena refused to acknowledge the accuracy of both theories.
It was therefore with a sense of dread that Lena prepared for the first Life Model Drawing class that Tuesday afternoon. The one small silver lining was that she didn’t need to arrange a model - she had vague memories of J’onn trying to entice volunteers and grumbling under his breath about some of the less than pleasant eager volunteers. J’onn had a list of regular volunteers that he had accrued over the years that were reliable and just liked to help out - most of them older with an appreciation for the arts and more time on their hands than they knew what to do with. The University admin team had organised everything and simply told her to expect a Kara Danvers at the studio some time before the class.
Lena had finished prepping the studio well in advance, reviewed the relevant techniques for most of the morning and even phoned J’onn for a much needed pep talk over lunch. She had just convinced herself that everything might be okay, that she just might be able to do this, when the most beautiful woman Lena had ever laid eyes on burst into the studio.
A toned body that glinted with a light sheen of sweat barely covered by a white v-neck tucked in at the front of a pair of dark jeans that merely brought all of Lena’s attention to the bronze belt buckle that locked away a thousand dirty thoughts. Glorious golden ringlet curls bounced up and down as the woman stumbled to a sudden stop as the most piercing blue eyes imaginable behind thick glasses locked with Lena’s green ones.
“Hi, I’m Kara!” The goddess announced, swallowing thickly and stumbling forward in her hefty black boots as she extended out a hand for Lena to take.
Lena only reached out due to years of Luthor training that had ingrained politeness into her muscle memory - her brain still not firing on all cylinders at the sight of the woman in front of her. Kara’s warm palm connected with Lena’s, long fingers curling gently yet firmly around the edge of her hand and sending arcs of lightning through Lena’s body and causing her breath to stutter.
“I hope you haven’t been waiting for me for too long.” Kara continued, a bright apologetic smile lighting up her entire face and grinding whatever gears were still turning Lena’s mind to a dead - permanent - halt. “I try to always get here early to help set-up but the interview I was conducting overran - I’m a journalist, by the way - and then my bike - motorbike that is -” Lena’s mind caught on the motorbike and turned it round over and over and over again, “didn’t start and… I’m rambling. Oh, golly! I mean heck, I mean sorry.” Kara huffed, cheeks filling with air before releasing into an adorable pout. “Sorry.”
It was then that Lena realised two things.
One, it was her turn to say something and there had now been at least ten prolonged seconds of silence as they stared into each other’s eyes.
And two, they were still holding hands because that’s what it was now, it most definitely could not be considered a handshake.
“Umm… hi…” Lena choked out whilst simultaneously jerking her hand back to her side, hoping the somewhat stifling heat of the studio would hide the red blush perfusing her cheeks. “Lena. I’m Lena, that is…”
“Hi.” Kara murmured, smiling soft and sweet at her causing Lena’s heart to flip and melt and dance and do a million impossible things all at once.
“Hi.” Lena repeated dumbly - so dumbly.
“I should…” Kara chuckled, hands miming grabbing the edge of her t-shirt and lifting it up, “You know?”
Oh, god the goddess is going to undress, Lena’s brain screamed in gay at herself.
“Yeah, definitely do that.” Lena encouraged with a flap of her hand towards the centre of the studio where a solitary illuminated stool awaited. “Do you need anything? Is the lighting okay? Stool… umm… sturdy?”
Kara grinned at her, blue eyes barely sparing a glance at the studio’s set-up, “Looks perfect.”
“Great.” Lena cheered, jerking her thumb over at her desk in the corner where she had prepped her teaching materials, “I’ll… uh… be over there.”
“And I’ll be right here.” Kara shot back with a cheeky wink as she walked over to the stool, a towel awaiting her to provide suitable covering until the class had settled, shucking her white shirt over her head and revealing back muscles that would star in Lena’s fantasies for the foreseeable future.
“Yep.” Lena popped, taking a deep breath and trying to work out if she should be murmuring a thank you to God or screaming a desperate why me.
The class had gone well - except for the long periods where her brain shutdown whenever she studied the play of shadows across Kara’s defined musculature. She managed to cover it quite well by making it seem like she was just assessing her students’ work closely, analysing their line work and shading rather than going through an extended gay crisis that eclipsed seeing boobs for the first time in college.
Kara, on the other hand, was a consummate professional, holding a steady pose throughout and utterly unfazed by the concentrated gazes on her - though, Lena could have sworn that she caught deep blue eyes tracking her movements round the half-circle every now and again.
“So, you’re experienced doing this?” Lena asked, once the last student had departed and Kara was finishing re-tying her sturdy boots back up.
“Taking my clothes off?” Kara chuckled, shooting the teacher an amused smirk, getting to her feet and strolling easily over to where Lena was examining the product of her class’ efforts.
Lena faltered, “I meant-”
“I’m just teasing.” Kara reassured, reaching out to squeeze Lena’s forearm in a half-apology that Lena could have sworn burnt Kara’s hand print into her skin, “I’ve done this for a while now. I did an interview with J’onn a few years ago and his model bailed at the last minute and I was here already and…” Kara shrugged casually like stepping in was the obvious thing to do, like kindness was the only option - which Lena didn’t doubt for a second was something Kara genuinely believed. “I like helping out where I can. And I just kept coming back…” Kara explained, clasping her hands behind her back as she took a tentative step closer to Lena, “I was never really sure why until-”
“Hey, babe, you ready to go?”
Lena’s head snapped round to see Andrea strolling through the doorway, eyes fixed on her phone utterly oblivious to the moment she had just trampled all over. Lena wasn’t sure whether Andrea was naturally such a good cockblock or if she practiced at it - regardless of either option Lena’s sexlife had vanished into thin air since she’d returned to living in the same city as Andrea. (Not that Lena thought that her and Kara were heading that way but Lena had been enjoying the hope of it at least).
“Andrea, you’re early for the first time in.... well, ever…” Lena snarked, rolling her eyes before glancing over to Kara, only to find the blonde had taken a large step away from her and her expression was far more neutral and guarded than it had been only moments before.
“Wait, we weren’t meeting at 4?” Andrea frowned, still not bothering to look up.
“Ah, so you’re not early, you’re over an hour late.” Lena remarked.
“God, you’re such a drama queen…” Andrea sighed, finally lifting her gaze from her phone, her eyes immediately alighting on Kara with undisguised interest. “And who is this?”
“Andrea, this is Kara the model for our life drawing classes.” Lena introduced taking a protective step in front of the blonde, an action that did not go unnoticed by the other two occupants in the room. “Kara, this is my supposed best friend who is regularly trying to lose that title.”
“Oh, best friend?” Kara repeated; the familiar brightness from before returning to her expression as she looked excitedly between the two friends.
“Yes.” Lena answered, smiling shyly at Kara and immediately forgetting Andrea’s existence, let alone presence in the room.
“That’s great.” Kara grinned, blushing a light pink a second later as her hands fidgeted with her keys, “I mean… ummm…. That you have a best friend. My sister is my best friend, though I have other friends. I just mean that… friends are cool.”
Lena laughed lightly at Kara’s ramble, leaning closer towards the blonde without realising until Andrea appeared at her shoulder looking far too pleased with herself.
“Kara,” Andrea greeted, holding out a hand for the blonde to shake (Lena was comforted to see their handshake was quick, almost professional in comparison to the lingering touch Kara and Lena had shared earlier). “The pleasure is all mine.” Andrea declared, winking surreptitiously at the teacher - Lena instantly dreaded the upcoming girl’s night.
“Nice to meet you.” Kara replied friendly and sincere, before smiling softly at Lena and muttering a hopeful, “I’ll see you next week?”
“I’ll be here.” Lena reassured, watching as Kara nodded farewell to Andrea and departed, waving on her way out.
“Well…” Andrea murmured mischievously.
“Don’t.” Lena said sharply, holding up a finger to deter whatever torment Andrea had brewing. “Not a word. Not a single word.”
“Ooookay.” Andrea lied.
“You okay?” Lena asked tentatively, watching as Kara sluggishly slung her bag over her shoulder the pep to her step nowhere near as present as it had been last week.
They hadn’t had a chance to talk before the class even though Kara arrived much earlier to help set-up - Lena had been helping a student struggling with deadlines and a sudden crisis of confidence which prevented them from interacting. Despite being occupied, Lena had seen the fatigue weighing heavily on the reporter, saw how her impeccable posture dropped and how her students added weary lines to her expression in their artwork.
“I think you fell asleep on that stool for ten minutes at some point.” Lena murmured, brow creasing in concern.
“Pfft… what?” Kara reassured with a light-hearted wave of her hand. “Impossible.”
Lena arched an unimpressed eyebrow, “You snore. Quite loudly.”
“Oh…” Kara pouted guiltily, rubbing at the back of her neck, “My sister is going through a rough patch and I stayed up late with her last night.”
Lena’s amusement drained away to be replaced with soft, supportive care, “Is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’s doing better.” Kara replied, blue eyes twinkling at Lena’s inquiry that had them both ducking their heads coyly and sharing furtive glances. “I should get going.” Kara coughed out, though she made no move to leave.
“Or…” Lena began hesitantly, heart fluttering in her chest, “we could go for coffee? You should probably have a coffee before driving,” Lena rationalised, nervously stepping back from the blatant romantic line she was toeing, “you know for safety…”
“For safety.” Kara repeated carefully, blue eyes glowing with warmth, “That sounds wonderful.”
It didn’t take them long at all to settle into a comfortable routine.
Kara came early to the life model classes, helping set-up the room as they talked about the students' progress and what Lena was going to make the focus of the class. During the class itself, Lena no longer needed to flit as regularly between her students, they had learned the basic techniques enough to practise for themselves, now only requiring light guidance which allowed Lena time to either do some marking or her own art. Kara posed perfectly throughout, though Lena was becoming more and more aware of Kara’s still gaze on her as the weeks passed by.
After class, it was now custom for them to grab a coffee and go for a long walk around the university campus as they talked about everything and nothing. They would have been building towards a strong friendship if it wasn’t for the lingering touches, blatant flirts, blushes and wandering gazes.
Lena wasn’t overly sure why they hadn’t crossed that line, made that final move, but she found she didn’t particularly mind the wait. She was convinced that they had both decided that the journey was making the destination all the more desirable.
It became abundantly apparent, though, that Kara thought differently if their conversation after the class midway through the term was anything to go by.
“So do you not like my body?” Kara asked, quick and fearful, eyes looking down at the sketch Lena had done during class of a vase of flowers in the corner rather than of the readily available model.
“What?” Lena muttered in disbelief looking up sharply from her desk to see Kara paling considerably having clearly not intended to ask the question that she had blurted out.
“I… uh…” Kara squeaked, mouth opening and closing rapidly, before lifting her bare wrist up with a jerky motion and whistling in exaggerated surprise, “Wow, look at the time. I’m late for… uh… this thing. Work thing. Interview! That’s a work thing.”
And just like that she was gone - Lena wouldn’t have been surprised if there was a Kara shaped hole in the studio wall with how fast she disappeared - leaving Lena with a sinking, twisty feeling in the pit of her stomach that told her she might have lost more than her regular coffee with Kara over that one interaction.
Lena had Kara’s phone number and they had taken to texting throughout the day; however, since Kara’s panicked question - which probably revealed some deep vulnerability in the blonde - there had been complete and total radio silence. No memes, no cute animal pics, no sweet check ins… Lena’s phone remained silent when it once vibrated with life.
Lena wanted to text or call Kara the second she had left the studio but Lena didn’t feel like this was a conversation they could have over text, so she waited impatiently for them to be face to face again, counting down the days until the next class.
Lena even took to repeatedly checking in with the admin office to confirm that Kara hadn’t pulled out of modelling; reaching the stage where Jess, the most senior admin in the team, had taken to emailing her every couple of hours to reassure her that Kara still hadn’t cancelled.
When Kara appeared, nervously stepping into the art room, fingers playing with the hem of her shirt, it was like Lena could finally breathe easy again. The fear and loss eeking away in an instant, giving Lena the necessary courage to stride forward and bare herself in a way that Kara had been doing every week without Lena fully realising.
“I don’t like drawing people.” Lena announced, shoving her hands into her pockets to resist the temptation to reach out to the other woman as the blonde blinked at her in surprise, listening intently. “It’s kind of a thing with me.” Lena winced, pushing down all the reasons for why that is. “When I draw something I… kind of let whatever it is into me, let it consume me and it… stays with me for a long time after that. It’s why I draw what I draw. I draw my home because it's a part of me already. Drawing someone means carrying them with me and… that’s scary for me.” Lena breathed, glancing at the blonde to see soft understanding in blue eyes. “I just wanted you to know it’s not you.”
Kara nodded, shuffling closer and dipping her head so that she could whisper into the still space between them, “Thank you.”
“Right,” Lena murmured, swallowing thickly before jerking a thumb over her shoulder, “I should-”
“Do you want to get dinner?” Kara inquired earnestly causing Lena to freeze in hopeful surprise. “After class, that is?”
“Um… Yes.” Lena replied, nodding her head eagerly.
“Awesome.” Kara grinned brightly.
Kara took her to a tucked away italian restaurant that was one of National City’s hidden gems. The food was outstanding and the company was even better.
It wasn’t a date, but it wasn’t just friends going out for dinner either.
Lena would call it a test-run but that would imply that Lena wasn't already one hundred percent certain that she wanted an actual date with Kara. It was more of a date-appetiser if Lena was going to call it anything, a taste to build interest before the real thing.
Once they had finished their food, Kara didn’t hesitate to interlace their fingers as they went for an evening stroll around a nearby park, both wishing to prolong their time together.
“Can I see your art?” Kara requested; they had been sitting on a bench in front of a lit-up fountain for the last twenty minutes or so in comfortable silence. Lena had expressed an interest in sketching the fountain and Kara hadn’t hesitated to find them a seat and encourage Lena’s desire without complaint, occupying herself with people-watching in the meantime.
“I’m pretty sure the images are all over the internet.” Lena replied drolly.
“Yeah, I know it’s just…” Lena’s pencil froze in it’s movements finally noticing how hard Kara was trying to act casual, “what you said about it being a part of you, I thought-”
“You want me to show it to you…” Lena inferred, setting her pencil down and closing her handy sketchbook in an instant.
“It’s stupid, I’ll-” Kara laughed awkwardly, shaking her head in an attempt to brush over the request like it wasn’t a big deal
“I don’t have many pieces here in National City,” Lena said thoughtfully, getting to her feet and holding out a hand for Kara, “but I have some works in progress that I can show you… if you want that is?”
“I would love that.” Kara beamed, jumping to her feet as Lena tugged her back towards her campus studio, already picking out her favourite pieces in her mind that she wanted to share with the blonde.
Lena and Kara’s ‘friendship’ continued to blossom into something neither could have anticipated that day Kara sprinted into the studio all those weeks ago. The weekly class they shared was now always followed by dinner, taking it in turns to share their favourite cuisines and restaurants. They had also grown beyond only seeing each other on their allotted class day, sharing lunches and movie nights and spontaneous coffees as they learned each other's schedule and needs.
Lena read all of Kara’s articles and spent many an evening asking countless questions about the background to each of them. Likewise, Kara would appear for coffee with one of Lena’s artworks saved in her phone, burning with curiosity about what had inspired it.
Time spent with Kara flew by and, before Lena knew it, it was the final class prior to spring break. Her last class with Kara until the next school year and Lena was finally ready.
She had finally figured it out.
Why she had waited.
Why she had yet to seize the numerous opportunities to transition her relationship with Kara into a romantic one.
It was because she knew.
She knew from the second that she had taken Kara’s hand in hers when they first met that this was it. That Kara was it.
And that was, and still is, terrifying.
When they had first met, Lena hadn’t been ready for Kara. Hadn’t been ready for everything that Kara represented and would come to mean. She had needed the time, the time to lower her guard, to trust and hope.
And now, she was ready and she knew exactly how to let Kara know.
The class came to an end with Lena giving her students a quick speech on how proud of their progress she was and wishing them a good spring break. Kara lingered behind as was now custom, helping Lena tidy up the area before they headed out together.
“Kara?” Lena called out nervously, sweaty palms rubbing against her black denim covered thighs as her heart beat thunderously in her chest. “I was wondering…” Lena began, clearing her throat as Kara stopped what she was doing to give Lena her undivided attention. “Can I… can I draw you?”
Kara’s brow instantly furrowed in confusion, “I thought-”
“Yeah…” Lena laughed shyly, staring into deep blue eyes, practically begging for Kara to understand what she was really saying. “Can I?” Lena repeated.
Kara pursed her lips thoughtfully as she studied Lena’s expression - it was then Lena realised that Kara understood exactly why they had been waiting. Kara wasn’t replying because she wanted to check that Lena was sure, was giving Lena a chance to delay, was saying - without really saying it - that she could wait longer.
Lena didn’t take the escape Kara offered, instead she lifted her head higher and arched an eyebrow at the blonde.
A thousand-watt smile of excitement took up residence on Kara’s face as she nodded eagerly, “Of course.”
“Clothes on.” Lena clarified - she had promised herself that the first time she truly studied Kara’s body it would be in a setting where touching would not break any professional standards.
Lena had Kara sit opposite her in her private studio, their knees pressed tightly against one another providing a warm point of contact to keep them grounded. Lena’s gaze flickered from her sketchpad to Kara’s features; occasionally, she would reach out to adjust a lock of golden hair so it caught the light. Kara, meanwhile, had an ever constant soft smile that didn’t diminish for the entirety of the session even as she was forced to rein in her boundless curiosity to stop herself from sneaking a peek at Lena’s sketch until it was ready to be revealed.
Lena only drew Kara’s head because, though, she had spent countless hours in the presence of Kara’s naked body over the course of the last few weeks - when Lena thought of Kara (really thought about her in the way that made her heart skip), it wasn’t her abs or her biceps that Lena pictured (though she did think about them regularly when she was in her bed alone at night).
It was Kara’s eyes that Lena thought about most.
How they were so bright and hopeful whilst simultaneously melancholic and lost.
There were whole galaxies in those blue eyes and Lena knew that she could spend the rest of her life drawing them and never get bored, nor get them exactly right.
“What do you think?” Lena asked, slowly turning her sketchbook round for Kara to see.
It wasn’t finished. It was mere line work that would require further detailing but it was a good start and she hoped Kara could see its potential like she did with everything else in the world - like she did with Lena.
“It’s…” Kara began, licking her lips as she pulled the sketchbook closer to her chest like it was something treasured and infinitely rare. “It's incredible.” Kara breathed, the sincerity of her words undeniable due to how they were accompanied by a watery film to her blue eyes.
“I like your body.” Lena whispered, shattering the companionable silence they had drifted into as Kara admired Lena’s artistry.
“W-w-what?” Kara stammered, head jerking up at the out-of-the-blue declaration.
Lena reached out for the sketchbook, lifting it out of Kara’s hand and placing it on the nearby table so that she could take Kara’s hands in hers.
“You asked if I liked your body a while ago,” Lena reminded the blonde, “and I just thought you should know that I do. I really, really do. I mean really.” Lena emphasised, glancing appreciatively down at Kara’s body prompting the blonde to blush a pleased pink. “But it's more than just that. It’s become more than that. Talking after class, getting coffee, going for dinner… it's the best part of my week. You’re the best part of my week.”
“Lena-” Kara began, her mouth suddenly snapping shut as her jaw clenched and her chin lifted in determination. Blue eyes studied Lena for a long moment and all Lena could do was hold her breath and wait.
Lena made Kara wait weeks, she could therefore wait the stretched seconds that Kara needed in return without complaint
Kara got confidently to her feet, tugging Lena up with her, squeezing their hands once before releasing her so that she could reach up to tenderly cup Lena’s face. “I’m going to kiss you now.” Kara declared, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Thank fu-” Lena sighed gratefully, cut off from offering up her thanks by Kara’s perfect lips sliding over hers.
I got two for Enoch so I’ll break them up a little!
- Enoch O’Connor, Resident pain in the ass with a bad attitude, had the best family life of anyone in Miss P’s loop.
- The others will talk about the a use they suffered and he stares at them in horror. Usually commenting something to the effect of “What the hell was wrong with your parents?!”
- He doesn’t talk about his good family so the other peculiars don’t feel bad about their own, but secretly he wishes he could talk about them because even 100 years later he still misses them.
- He grew up in South London with his Mum, Dad, and younger sister. She was younger by 4 years and even though he tormented her, he beat up all of her bullies and cheered her up when they made her cry.
- The reason he’s so brash and rude? His mum and dad sported the same personality, and were brash and rude themselves. Instead of yelling at their son for making rude sarcastic quips at them, they laughed and encouraged his sense of humour.
- In fact when we went into the first loop, he was confused and hurt by the fact everyone said he was a bully. He was just trying to be funny!
- His little sister, Cassie, loved his homunculi and was the first person who watched them fight with him. He still has the first one she made with him, and keeps it in a safe place.
- He claims he was the richest family in his neighborhood, but considering they were still dirt poor isn’t really saying something.
- His sister and him shared a room with one bed that couldn’t fit the both of him, so Enoch mostly grew up sleeping on the floor.
- He was known on his neighborhood street as “the kid who kept mouse hearts in his pockets” pre-loop.
- He startled one of Cassie’s bullies so badly with Homunculi once, the kid was taken to an asylum for shock. He had the Homunculi follow him around everywhere and prick his heels with pins and drag dead mice and rats into his room. The kid spent most of his time babbling incoherently about “the little men who tortured him.” And no one believed him.
- His parents immigrated from Ireland, but he was born in London which is why he’s so proud of it. What you think a native born Brit would have the last name O’Connor ?????
- Speaking of his last name, in our AU peculiars who enter loops are required to change them which is why their last names are all plays on their peculiarity.
- Except Enoch, he was too proud of his name. The ymbryne in the loop before Miss P’s threatened that if he didn’t choose a last name, she’d choose one for him. To which he said He’d walk out of her loop and go back to his parents place because he knew the way there. She relented, and Enoch O’Connor stays his name. He’s very proud of it.
One of the questions I get hit with a lot is “If I’m getting into Irish Mythology, what sources do you recommend?” It’s a sad, sad truth about the field that a lot of really valuable info is kept locked away in books and journals that the lay person wouldn’t know about (and then we wonder why information about the field is so bad.) So, I decided to compile a list of sources that I’ve personally used and found helpful in my time. It’s not a complete bibliography because, frankly, that would take up a TREMENDOUS amount of space and you’d be scrolling forever to find what you wanted, and I don’t AGREE with every single thing they say, and it’s by no means exhaustive (keep in mind: scholars from all over the field use mythological texts to study things as diverse as law, geography, tribal names, material culture, etc. and here I’m mainly focusing on sources that are JUST mythological-focused) but they’re a good starting point to forming your own opinions. The journal articles are, tragically, generally kept confined to academia, but....perhaps....if you were to ask around, someone might be able to provide you with a copy. As a whole, Celticists tend to be quite generous when it comes to sharing articles.
List subject to change, check back as time goes on to see if I’ve added anything. Also, as always, feel free to either drop me an ask or a pm if you’re curious about digging further into a given text/figure. I can’t act as a consultant on a religious question; I’m a very firm atheist with all the spirituality of a dull spoon, except with the existence of ghosts. My interest in the Tuatha Dé is purely scholarly; all that I can say is what I know about these topics from the perspective of the medieval sources, but I can definitely do my best on that one front, and I won’t reject anyone who has a different interest in the Tuatha Dé from contacting me.
This list only deals with the Mythological Cycle, not the other strands of the literary tradition that is generally if not uncontroversially referred to as “Irish Mythology”. For Fenian Cycle traditions, a similar bibliography has been compiled by Dr. Natasha Sumner of Harvard, here.
Editions/Translations of Texts (many of these are available at UCC’s CELT archive or on Irish Sagas Online):
Tochmarc Étaíne, Osborn Bergin and Richard Best
Cath Maige Tuired, Elizabeth Gray (If you can and you’re serious about the field, I highly recommend getting the actual Irish Text Society Edition, which includes a wonderful index of every time a given figure shows up in other sources. An absolute must for a mythographer.)
Lebor Gabála Érenn, J.R.S Macalister, 5 vols. (The entirety of this is available on archive.org. Personally...while the rest of it is obviously important and worthy of study, if you’re interested in just the mythological stuff, I recommend Volume IV, which includes both the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha Dé. Unless you really, really want to read five volumes of medieval Irish pseudohistory, the last volume of which was finished posthumously.) i ii iii iv v
The Metrical Dinshenchas, Edward Gwynn. (5 vols.) (These are difficult, with many scholars outright ignoring them except when absolutely necessary. These are in a later form of Irish, which means that, while some of the contents in them could very well be Pre-Christian in nature, they very much do reflect a later medieval world. Some of them are just as much about contemporary politics as they are about mythology, and many of them also bring in content from the Ulster Cycle and the Fenian Cycle. My personal favorites to look up are Tailtiu, Carn Hui Néit, Duirgen, and Carmun, though there are MANY others.) i ii iii iv v
“The First Battle of Moytura”, John Fraser (Note: It’s a VERY late text, with the question of the Fir Bolg/Tuatha Dé battle and how far the tradition really goes back being one that’s very important to keep in mind. It’s a personal favorite of mine. But it’s very late.)
Baile in Scáil, Kevin Murray (Thurneyson also did an older edition that’s more readily accessible, hence why I linked it here, but Murray is the most recent and up to date.)
“How the Dagda got his magic staff”, Osborn Bergin
Oidheadh Chloinne Tuireann, Richard Duffy (This is an Early Modern Irish text, so it was written down comparatively late. That doesn’t mean that there’s NO mythological content here, it’s a personal favorite of mine, but it means that it very much reflects the cultural context of around....the 15th-17th century or thereabouts. It’s very chaotic, very violent, and the heroic figures are....not....heroic.)
Scél Tuáin Meic Chairill, John Carey
Echtra Nerai, it’s available in a fairly recent translation by John Carey in Celtic Heroic Age (pub. 2003) , listed below, though Kuno Meyer also did an edition/translation for it that I’ve linked to here.
Proinsias Mac Cana, Celtic Mythology (Personally, I’d recommend this one first - It’s designed for someone who isn’t a specialist and, while a lot of what he’s saying has been disputed back and forth, it’s still a handy primer and will get you into the myths.)
John Koch and John Carey, The Celtic Heroic Age (Once you have an idea of what you’re looking at, I recommend this one, since it’s a sourcebook. A TON of material from across the Celtic world, featuring classical sources, medieval Irish sources, and Welsh, all of it in one place.)
Mark Williams, Ireland’s Immortals (I personally recommend you read this one after you read CHA, giving you a bit of context for what Williams is saying here.)
O’Rahilly, Early Irish History and Mythology (note: A lot of what he says here is no longer considered recent in the field, but his knowledge of his own sources is, frankly, without any other peer. Use with a grain of salt)
John Carey, The Mythological Cycle of Medieval Irish Literature
Kim McCone, Pagan Past, Christian Present
Koch, Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia
John Carey, “Myth and Mythography in ‘Cath Magh Tuired’”
John Carey, “Donn, Amairgen, Ith and the Prehistory of Irish Pseudohistory”
Proinsias Mac Cana, “Aspects of the theme of King and Goddess in Irish Literature”
Máire Herbert, “Goddess and king: the sacred marriage in early Ireland.”
Gregory Toner, “Macha and the invention of myth”
Elizabeth A. Gray, “Cath Maige Tuired: myth and structure“
Thomas Charles-Edwards, “Tochmarc Étaíne: a literal interpretation”
Tómas O’Cathasaigh, “Cath Maige Tuired as Exemplary Myth”
Joseph Nagy, “Close encounters of the traditional kind in medieval Irish literature”
Mark Scowcroft, “Leabhar Gabhála. Part I: the growth of the text”
Mark Scowcroft, “Leabhar Gabhála. Part II: the growth of the tradition”
Joseph Nagy, “‘Talking myth’ in medieval Irish literature.”
John Carey, “The Location of the Otherworld in Irish Tradition”
Máire Bhreathnach, “The sovereignty goddess as goddess of death?“
John Carey, “Notes on the Irish war-goddess.”
Veronica Philipps, “Exile and authority in Lebor gabála Érenn”
Kevin Murray, “Sources of Irish mythology. The significance of the dinnṡenchas”
not me asking you to send this one to me so i can talk about this AU that's been living in my notes app for weeks haha whaaaaat no way what a weird thing to do 👀🇮🇪🇺🇦
right, so picture this lads:
it's the year 1920 in rural county cork, ireland. the war of independence is a ragin'. brits out, come out ye black and tans, etc etc etc
cork is known as the rebel county bc of how batshit insane they went during the war of independence (actually, it comes from henry vii… they’ve been batshit about independence for THAT LONG)
ian gallagher serves as the local doctor - he’s in high demand, what with all the poverty and disease and starvation and the black & tans beating everybody up 😒
he earns a place in an english hospital to get Super Sophisticated medical training. he’s kinda conflicted bc fuck the english and all that, but he also feels like this is a chance to pull his family out of poverty
meanwhile lip is a rising leader in the IRA and he’s disappointed in ian for leaving when ireland is in such a critical point in the war for independence - and he’s all ah ian you’re not a real irishman how could you leave us now like?
and ian’s like bleedin jesus i’m just one small sort lip you don’t need me BUT when he’s about to leave, a local game of hurling is broken up by the black and tans (technically "group gatherings" weren’t allowed) and carl is very hurt
ian tends to him and realizes he can’t leave ireland now, so he joins lip in the IRA
fiona is definitely in cumman na mban (the women's wing of the IRA) and she brings messages to lip and ian while they’re in training 🥺 they speak irish together to protect themselves
irish war for independence was guerrilla war so it was a lot of ambushes and assassinations - lots of holding up british barracks and stealing guns, etc. ian is feeling more comfortable with his decision as the IRA is gaining some ground, WHICH LEADS US TO…
mikhailo milkovich is part of the mass migration that takes place in the wake of world war i - ukraine did not exist as an actual nation at this point, and ukrainian people were split between the russian and austro-hungarian armies. mikhailo fights for the russians bc he kinda has to, but dips as soon as the civil war in russia breaks out - he’s not about to get involved in that mess. he gets interested in the nationalist movement, bc fuck those overlords, but his land is in shambles, his family has scattered, and he has no home to go back to - this feels like a sign for a new life?
he wanders around europe for a bit, and eventually he finds himself in london, where he gets further radicalized by the anti-colonial/left wing revolutionaries living there. he hears of the cork soviet and the war for independence, and he decides to head over and stir shit up. the irish are kicking ass and taking names, and he wants to see what he can learn from them. the goal is to go back to ukraine and continue Stirring Shit Up
so he makes his way to cork, easily worming his way in with the trouble makers there. they bring him to lip and the higher ups, thinking mikhailo could be useful. he’s a good shot, he learned a lot from those guys in london, and he has connections to get them loaded up with arms and ammunition
the lads are suspicious of him, except for ian who is immediately like 👀 ian teaches him some irish, some medical training, mickey drops some socialist knowledge on him, they bond over these struggles for freedom and what life could be like for them once it’s attained 🥺
the lads get used to mickey, as they now call him, but they’re still reluctant to let him in fully. but he proves himself incredibly useful in organizing raids, and ian obviously finds that super hot - cue the sexual tension re: ian and mickey in flat caps, covered in dirt and/or blood, holding rifles, and hiding in the irish hills 😌 they start to get...... close 👀
but! after one of their raids on british barracks, the group is rounded up and arrested. there’s a spy in their midst ⚠️ everyone suspects mickey, but ian stands up for him - if it were mickey, they wouldn’t have arrested him too. some of the leaders of the group (lip included) are tortured for information, but the brits! get! NOTHING!
ian tries to tend to lip and the others, but it’s not looking good - everyone is in danger of being straight up executed. mickey sees ian panicking and orchestrates their escape - don’t ask me how, idk yet - and they all flee into the hills
everyone is fully on board with mickey now, very thankful so they are. ian and mickey have a Passionate Moment™️ once they are safe and flooded with relief
AND THEN! THE WAR IS OVER! celebrations! mickey and ian plan to stay in ireland while things get settled and then head to ukraine to start fucking shit up over there
but.......... the irish civil war begins almost immediately. the treaty does not give ireland full freedom and ian is not about that! the gallaghers are split - lip defends the treaty as a basis for freedom but ian says he didn’t get involved in this war for partial freedom for ireland. mickey backs him up, but this war is devastating for the family and the country. brother against brother, literally 💔
so the civil war rages on in extreme violence - ian and mickey are holed up in the mountains with the other anti-treaty soldiers, fighting against the very people they stood beside just weeks ago. they’re starting to wonder what this is all for, if the world they want can really be achieved this way... ian is getting especially depressed bc he’d wanted to be a healer, and now he’s a trained killer on the run from his brother and best friend
it all comes to a head when ian and mickey are captured while patrolling. lip, who is running the new free state troops in cork, begs ian to give up information on their activity - if not, he’ll be shot at dawn
ian refuses, and lip is beside himself. they spend hours fighting and crying and trying to convince each other to see reason, but they’re both so convinced that they’re on the right side. ian is ready to die for it, but lip pulls his last card - is he ready to let mickey die for it?
and he’s not, but he can’t betray his comrades like that. he won’t give anybody up. dawn is fast approaching and lip can’t fucking take it - he sneaks ian and mickey out of their cells and tells them to get the fuck out of ireland. there will be hell to pay for lip, but he’s not about to have ian’s blood on his hands. they have a gut-wrenching goodbye before lip shoos them away 😭
mickey and ian are reluctant to go, but they don’t want to risk each other anymore. plus, ian refuses to pick up a gun again after seeing his family and his country torn apart. so.... they go
now: where to do they go? maybe up north, where the war hasn’t reached. they work and organize labor and send money down to the gallaghers. maybe to london, where they find immigrant communities to thrive in? or perhaps america? the nationalist movement has largely gone dormant in ukraine by this point, and mickey doesn’t want to subject ian to another armed struggle anyways. and they’re not about to take on the fuckin ussr. but they move on and heal and study and keep organizing for freedom elsewhere - maybe they go to new york and start fucking shit up in the labor unions?
but one day they’ll go back to a free ireland and reunite with the gallaghers and they’ll be at peace 🥲
so in terms of thinking about what the mains learn and what their narrative rewards are for changing and growing etc, after ten weeks of literal Hell, maya now has:
- platonic relationships with both of her exes but a canon inability to make romantic relationships work even if it’s her literal ideal woman (june) or the first person she loved (lola)
- friends who kinda learnt how to be better friends bc they now sometimes cook and clean but still offer inconsistent advice bc they’re only ever given half of the story
- a job she has no passion for
- the opportunity to get a BAC equivalent, except that decision was made offscreen and we still don’t know what area she wants to go into once she gets it
- reunited with her only living relative
- a reignited passion for activism bc she got the opportunity to go on a free trip to ireland, not bc any of the tactics she employed (peaceful, performative, violent) with her assos worked in achieving their sole goal this season
- an actual heart condition
- the ability to cry
- no therapy sessions booked despite her overwhelming trauma being the reason she and her ex were incompatible
- some childhood photos
- no seperate safe space since she’s decided to give up the greenhouse for good
- a plant that managed to survive despite being watered twice
If you write fanfic with characters who are graduates of British universities, you might need some advice about the different degrees available and what they mean. And, as always, there are really important distinctions if any of your characters went to Oxford or Cambridge (which BTW are never referred to as “University of Oxford” or “University of Cambridge”, but only as “Oxford University” and “Cambridge University”).
Another bit of “Please don’t”. Generally speaking, universities in Britain are not referred to as “colleges”; the only exceptions are Oxford, Cambridge and London universities, which have separate colleges. And then there are a few others, eg., Royal College of Music. But generally speaking if you read the word college in a British context, it means a school for 16 -to 18-year-olds.
Unlike in the USA and many overseas universities, “undergraduate” in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (see below for Scotland) means a three-year degree programme in almost any subject, which will be titled by somethings starting with a B- this is from the Latin baccalaureus.
A BA degree is a Bachelor of Arts, from the Latin baccalaureus artium, · baccalaureus in artibus or artium baccalaureus. In most cases, it is a three-year degree, coming in two forms: the BA and the BA (Hons). The latter refers to the “Honours” version of the degree.
BA (Hons) and BA both take three years. The basic difference between these two courses are that in BA (Hons), you study a particular specialisation in your three year course while in a BA there is no specialisation. It is important to realise that nowadays almost all British students end up taking the specialised (Hons) version to help their employability.
It is also true now that many English, Welsh and Norther Irish universities will offer a four year “sandwich” course. You do two years of classroom study, then a one-year placement working in your chosen field before returning for your fourth and final year.
Now here’s the tricky bit. When you get a BA (Hons) degree there are “classifications” attached according to how well you did.
So, a “First” or “First class degree” is an average over 70%.
2.1 = 60-70%
2.2 = 50-60%
3rd = 45-50%
Pass = 40-45%. If you get this average, then you will be awarded a BA not a BA (Hons).
In the UK, a first or 2:1 is considered a “good degree”. A 2.2 should be the average, but in these days of grade inflation is increasingly not thought of as that. LOL, “scraping a third” is what used to be a term referring to someone who was partying too much.
This photo is the BA graduation gown from Oxford University. That’s ermine fur, BTW (now fake fur, of course), Different universities have different coloured “hoods” as they are called.
The BSc is the Bachelor of Sciences equivalent in every British university. Again, it takes three years and comes with a BSc (Hons) in a particular subject, eg biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc. Interestingly, Oxford University has never awarded any Bachelor of Sciences degrees. What they do is merge it with a one year MSc, so you graduate in four years with an MSc in a huge range of science subjects, without ever getting a BA first.
At Cambridge, it is still possible to do a BSc, but almost all of the students now will go on to take a fourth year and get the MSc.
In my story, Extricate, Sherlock gets a first in his “Part One” (for the first three years of chemistry), but because of events, does not go onto do the “Part Two” so gets the BSc by default.
The fourth year at both Oxford and Cambridge will generally involve the student in full-time work within an established research group, which offers the possibility for a few students to spend time at laboratories in industry or at universities abroad. In other UK universities, this too is the norm.
There are LLB degrees (a bachelor degree in law) and BEng (bachelor in Engineering). There are also degrees in education, too, but these are most often called a BA in Education Studies.
The Latin words Medicinae Baccalaureus, Baccalaureus Chirurgiae translate to Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. Often called an MBBS, because they are often awarded together. When you graduate with this degree, you are entitled to call yourself “doctor”. This is the Oxford MB and MBBS gown.
In my 7-Percent world, John Watson is an MBBS graduate of UCL (University College London); their graduation gown looks like this:
Scotland is Different!
A first University degree in Scotland lasts 4 years, not 3, as in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The approach to learning is traditionally considered to be more flexible and inclusive compared to the more deep approach in England. Students have the opportunity to consider what type of specialization they choose, up to 3 courses. Also popular are "sandwich courses", where the semesters conducted in the classroom are alternated with semesters of working in one’s chosen field.
Before you start thinking that this must make Scottish graduates better than the other nations of Britain, hold on. The total time graduates of both systems spend in primary, secondary and higher education is usually the same, typical English graduates will spend one year more at secondary school and one year less at university than Scottish graduates. So, you could say that the first year that Scottish students take is merely the equivalent of what the English, Welsh and Northern Irish students took in their final school year before applying to uni (which is the short term nearly every Brit calls it these days).
So, when you are writing about unilock or any other fandom that involves a British setting and British characters, how you describe their university education matters!
On January 31st 1788 Prince Charles Edward Stewart, “The Young Pretender”, died in Rome, he was 67.
With the disaster at Culloden unfolding before him and victory being torn the Jacobites, it must be noted that the Prince wanted to charge forward and save the day. Colonel O’Sullivan ordered Colonel O’Shea of Fitzjames’s to take Charles to safety. “They won’t take me alive!” he screamed, minutes before being led off the field, guarded by Glenbucket’s men and the soldiers of the Edinburgh Regiment. Still he tried to return to the fray, before an officer, Major Kennedy, “seized the bridle and led the prince firmly away from the scenes of carnage”. As he later said, “he was forced off the field by the people about him”
After Culloden and his escape it has been largely told that the Bonnie Prince hit the bottle.
Now they say that history is told by the victors, but Charles’s drinking was also written about by those closest to him, there is this extract “From a Journal by Young Clanranald - Lyon in Mourning,
"When in the forest house of Glencoridale in South Uist, he would step into a by-chamber, which served as a pantry, and, when he stood in use of it, put the bottle of brandy to his head without ceremony.”
This was when he was in hiding a large bounty on his head, but his drinking had been talked about since the retreat from Derby.
Truth be told Charlies father, James had been concerned about his sons liking for alcohol in 1744, before he even set out for Scotland, during his flight through the heather two years later he was drinking a bottle of brandy a day, and even engaging in drinking contests. His established liability to mood swings can only have been exacerbated by this.
Always irritable when thwarted, by 1750 he displayed signs of uncontrolled rage when his will was crossed; when women crossed him, they could experience physical as well as verbal violence: as Voltaire put it in 1763, George II secured Canada “at the very time the Stuart Prince was aiming kicks and blows at women” From the 1760s, except when hunting, Charles began to be almost perpetually drunk. His drinking and rages, which alienated his declining band of supporters, finally led to a parting of ways between himself and the last of his senior Scottish staff, Andrew Lumisden, his private secretary, in 1768. The severe stroke which brought Charles’ life to a close was no doubt linked to his drinking.
But it is not widely known that the prince, still in his twenties, made a secret visit to London in 1750 to stimulate another rising in England, which later became known as the Elibank plot, during which, it is believed, he converted to the Church of England.
In reality, what completely put to bed any hope of a Stuart restoration was the removal of support by France. France had continued to toy with the idea of an invasion of Britain – as ever, a means of destabilising the British state, her trade and her colonial interests – during the Seven Years’ War, until major defeats meant abandoning any such attempt. Charles’s behaviour in the face of yet another crushing disappointment, in particular his drunkenness, disgusted the French and eventually he and his cause were abandoned for good.
This was followed, in turn, by the papacy. On the death of his father in 1766, Pope Clement XIII did not recognise Charles as the Jacobite king Charles III, de jure king of England, Scotland and Ireland. Indeed, the peaceful accession of a third king George, in 1760, suggested that as an active, political cause, Jacobitism, along with its fundamental aim of a Stuart restoration, was effectively dead. Yes the Vatican put a roof over his head, but this was largely due to his brother Henry Benedict being a Roman Catholic Cardinal, rather than his heritage.
On Charles’s death in 1788, his brother, Henry Benedict, became the Jacobite Henry IX of England and I of Scotland. But, as a Roman Catholic cardinal, it was with him that the direct, legitimate line ended on his death in 1807. By this time the beleaguered cardinal, who had witnessed the French Revolution (and lost the financial support of his Bourbon cousin in the process) had begun receiving an annual pension of £4,000 from George III – yes, from the very Hanoverian monarch or, in Jacobite terminology ‘usurper’, that his father and brother had fought so hard, and at such great cost, to remove from the British throne. Henry, unlike his father and brother, did not press his claim.
However, the current official Jacobite claimant, according to the Royal Stuart Society, is Franz von Bayern of the House of Wittelsbach, a prince of Bavaria, as his name suggests, and the great-grandson of the last king of Bavaria, Ludwig III. Franz von Bayern – or, as Jacobites would call him, Francis II – became the Jacobite de jure king in 1996, and is descended from the youngest daughter of Charles I (Princess Henrietta-Anne) via the House of Savoy and the House of Este.
The picture shows an older Charles, from around 1775, which, if the date is correct puts him at about 45 years old.
The Fablehaven gang plays Never Have I Ever. Not really shippy, but will tag for relevant ships.
“Never have I ever become an albino courtesy of a revenant,” Seth announced. His face expressed glee as Warren and Tanu each lowered one finger in response. He was down to three fingers left, himself, and Kendra thought he seemed determined to remain in the game.
“Well, never have I ever held Vasilis,” Tanu retorted. The smile dropped off of Seth’s face as he lowered one of his remaining fingers with a quiet ‘nooo’, and Kendra laughed a little as she also lowered one of hers.
“Never have I ever broken my leg by jumping off a roof,” Dale said, which prompted Warren to roll his eyes and lower another finger.
“It’s hard to play this game with people you actually know,” Warren protested. “I was nine at the time, yes it was a stupid choice, thank you for reminding me, now let me think for a minute.” He tapped his chin with the side of his hand and seemed to think for a moment. “Never have I ever… had a body double,” he said as he winked at Kendra, who stuck her tongue out at him and lowered one of her fingers. She had the most points left in the group thus far, so she’d been expecting some targeted statements, but still.
“That’s a cheap shot,” she said as she clicked her tongue in disapproval.
He shrugged. “Hey. There’ve been three of you. It’s not my fault that you’re the only one here who’s experienced that.”
“It’s not as fun as you’d think it is,” she replied.
“My turn,” Vanessa said. “Never have I ever spoken with the Fairy Queen.”
Seth let out a loud, “HA!” and gave Vanessa a high five. Warren applauded. Kendra sighed as she placed another finger down. Bracken followed suit as well. “Clever,” he said, sarcasm laced in his tone.
“Always,” Vanessa responded. “It’s your turn, Kendra.”
Well. Two can play at this game, Kendra thought. And, really, she’d meant for her next statement to be a jibe at Warren and Vanessa anyway.
“Never have I ever been engaged to marry anyone,” she said with confidence.
She’d expected the narrowed eyes from Warren and Vanessa as they each lowered a finger. She’d expected Seth’s guffaws and Tanu and Dale’s smiling eyes.
She had not expected for Bracken to lower one of his fingers, too.
Kendra turned her attention to the young man to her immediate left, who cleared his throat in an obvious - and vain - attempt to move the conversation forward, his face a lovely shade of pink. “Excuse me?” she asked, probably sounding about as shocked as she actually was. She wasn’t the only surprised one, though. Seth shouted, “What?!” at the same time that Warren announced it was story time while positively everyone’s eyes turned to Bracken, whose face flushed a darker shade of pink.
Bracken opened and closed his mouth a few times, unsuccessful at producing any words. “I… it was a long time ago, and an accident,” he said. “I didn’t mean for it to happen.”
“How do you accidentally get engaged to someone?” Dale asked. One eyebrow was pointed upward, and he appeared to be rethinking his entire opinion of the young man in question.
Kendra, for her part, was speechless. She didn’t know what to think. It was most definitely story time indeed.
“I… there was… it was…” Bracken cleared his throat again and scratched the back of his head, his gaze firmly fixed upon the table in front of him. “I was younger then. Still getting used to human socialization, still wandering between the wilderness and civilization. I’d decided to spend some time closer to towns, was low on human currency, and desired to reside inside an inn for a time. There were people in the street who advertised a sword-fighting competition, which offered a cash reward, so I decided I’d participate.”
Still unsure of what to think, Kendra furrowed her eyebrows. Where was this going?
“I’ve… I’m good with swords. The competition wasn’t particularly difficult to win, although the last human I faced that specific day was quite skilled. I digress. I won the contest, was given a large sum of money in a very nice bag, and was also told at that moment that I’d won the hand of the local princess.”
His face burned red. Kendra didn’t know whether to laugh or smack him upside the head. Maybe both? She refrained from reacting for the moment.
Seth, however, was not so well-controlled. He laughed heartily.
“‘The local princess’? When was this?” Warren asked.
“Shhh, he’s still telling the story,” Tanu said. “I want to hear this. Wish we had some popcorn.”
Bracken looked like he was marching toward his death. “A long, long time ago,” he said, “Somewhere in Ireland. Her name was Aoife MacMurrough.”
“So… did you marry her?” Dale asked.
His eyes grew large. “No!” he nearly shouted. He made eye contact with Kendra, who found it awkward to look at him right at that moment, so she diverted her attention to her hands, which still displayed the five points she’d managed to maintain.
“I tried to tell them that I thought this was a competition solely for money, and that I wasn’t interested in marriage, but the king and his vassals wouldn’t take no for an answer. The rules were apparently clear, although they’d somehow flown over my head. I snuck out of town that night and stayed far away from humans for quite a long time after that. I never found out what happened. Of course, I’d also fled to Greece and other countries and did not return to Ireland for a couple hundred years, but that’s a different story.” He reached toward Kendra and lightly touched her shoulder. “I don’t even know what Princess Aoife looked like.”
“How did you not know that you would wind up promised in marriage to a princess?” Vanessa asked, disbelief and disapproval very much evident in her statement. “Did you not listen to the rules? Did the people announcing the competition not make that clear? How is it possible to enter into a contest like that and not know what you’re fighting for?”
Kendra didn’t entirely appreciate the tone of voice Vanessa used, but she was incredibly grateful that her friend had been able to voice even just some of the questions she had on her own mind.
Bracken narrowed his eyes. “I was new to Gaelic, and it was mostly still a spoken language at that point in time,” he replied. “I still don’t know how I missed that bit of information. I blame my empty stomach and longing for a soft bed to sleep in for the night.”
“He was - he was hangry,” Seth said, then rolled off into laughter again. Warren and Tanu joined in a bit as well, the earlier looking up something on his phone.
“It was a poor decision. I know. Go ahead and laugh,” Bracken stated. He once again reached for Kendra. “I’m sorry,” he said in a quiet voice.
Sorry for what? Why should he be sorry? Should she be upset? Did she have a right to be upset? Was she upset? All of those questions and more buzzed about in Kendra’s brain, but she refrained from voicing any of them.
“Wait. Aoife MacMurrough?” Warren asked, his eyes practically bulging out of his head.
“Yes…?” Bracken responded.
Warren chuckled as he read from his phone. “Red Aoife. Married off by Saint Patrick himself. Warrior princess. That Aoife?”
“I don’t know!” Bracken insisted at the same time that Tanu said, “Saint Patrick, huh?”
“Bracken almost married a leprechaun?!” Seth cried out before yet more raucous laughter escaped from his body.
Dale spoke next, after a brief pause to allow for excess joviality from the company who sat around the table.
“Well. That is an odd circumstance,” he said. “I’ve bailed Warren out of quite a few odd circumstances over the years, but never anything like that. Right, Warren?”
Warren laughed. “Nope.”
“Alright then. I think my next move is to say, never have I ever been accidentally engaged to marry someone,” Dale continued. He innocently blinked at Bracken a few times, who looked dumbfounded and then lowered another finger.
“I’m never going to live this down, am I?” he asked.
Everyone shook their heads while Kendra finally reacted in laughter. The rest of the table followed after her example.
“Are you upset with me?” he asked her.
Kendra let laughter take over her body for a minute, then wiped a tear from one of her eyes. “Upset?” she asked as more giggles escaped from her lips. “Bracken. You are the only person I know who could have done that.” Giggles. Somehow, this didn’t seem out of character for him. The poor, oblivious unicorn.
“What other secrets are you hiding?!” Seth demanded.
Bracken folded his arms across his chest and refused to entertain that particular train of thought. “Nope. One story is enough for tonight,” he said. “Come on. Surely all of you have made poor decisions in your young lives as well.”
“Sure, but I never wound up promising myself to someone else by accident,” Vanessa shot back.
Bracken only rolled his eyes at that comment. “I believe it was my turn, next, before Dale stole it from me,” he said as he leveled Vanessa with a cool glare. “Never have I ever controlled someone in their sleep.”
Vanessa ran out of fingers at that one. “Very funny.”
“Always,” he retorted, copying her tone of voice from earlier on in the evening.
Kendra opened her mouth to interrupt them before they could launch into one of their infamous arguments, but Tanu beat her to the punch.
“Never have I ever been near Zzyzx,” he said.
Everyone else at the table groaned and lowered a finger, except Dale, who simply smiled. Warren ran out of points, Seth only had one left, Bracken had two, Tanu and Dale were each down to three, and Kendra still held onto four.
“Your turn again, Seth,” Tanu said once the damage had been assessed.
“Never have I ever… um…” he looked at his sister. “Never have I ever written letters to a dragon prince.”
Kendra could feel her face grow warm as she lowered a finger. “Warren and Vanessa are out, so it’s my turn,” she announced.
“A dragon prince?” Bracken asked. This time, his eyebrows were raised in surprise.
“I knew him as Gavin in his human form,” she said with a sigh. “He was actually Navarog.”
If Bracken’s eyes could have grown larger, Kendra was sure that they would have at that statement. “Excuse me?” he asked, in much the same tone as she’d asked him earlier. “I feel that another story time is in order.”
“Nah, we all know that story already,” Warren announced. “You two talk about that one between yourselves later. It’s Kendra’s turn now.”
“Never have I ever drank an enlargement potion,” Kendra interrupted.
Bracken narrowed his gaze at her, but dropped the subject. For the moment.
Tanu lowered one finger. “Ouch, Kendra. I feel like I’ve been singled out.”
“Sorry, Tanu,” she replied with a smile.
Bracken huffed. “Never have I ever been duped by a demon dragon,” he stated.
He was astonished to find that everyone except Dale put their fingers down. Seth ran out of points, Tanu had one left, Kendra was down to three, and Dale and Bracken were still at two.
“All of you?!” he asked.
Dale shrugged his shoulders. “I never met the guy,” he said. “They all went adventuring with him.”
“Except me,” Vanessa elaborated. “I probably would’ve caught on if I had been there, though.”
“Let’s not start this up,” Warren said at the same time that Dale announced, “Never have I ever been in prison.”
Just like that, Tanu was out of points, Kendra had two, and Bracken had only one left.
“Never have I ever been trapped in a barn,” Kendra said. Dale laughed and lowered a finger. One left.
“Never have I ever had coffee,” Bracken said.
“Really?” Dale asked as he ran out of points. “Never?”
“Not once,” Bracken replied.
“You were in prison when coffee as a drink was invented, weren’t you?” Kendra laughed.
Bracken’s ears turned pink. “Maybe,” he admitted.
“You’re getting a cup in the morning,” Dale vowed. “I’ll make it for you.”
“Thanks…?” Bracken asked, sounding unsure whether or not he even cared. He turned toward Kendra, who still had two points left. “No coffee for you?”
She shook her head. “I don’t like the smell.”
“Who doesn’t like the smell of coffee?” Dale asked, sounding utterly flabbergasted.
“Kendra,” Seth, Warren, Tanu and Vanessa all replied in unison.
Dale stared straight at Kendra, who laughed when he whispered with so much melodrama that he could only be Warren’s brother, “But. You were my favorite.”
“Hey!” Warren protested. “I’m your favorite!”
“Well, you might be now,” Dale said. His gaze turned back toward Kendra. “How can you not like coffee? Coffee is life.”
“I… I didn’t realize you liked it so much,” Kendra replied.
“The way into Dale’s heart is a healthy serving of coffee every morning,” Vanessa said.
“She makes the best coffee ever,” Dale confirmed. “No other woman will ever take her place.”
Kendra wasn’t sure what was happening. This game was getting ridiculous. Whose turn was it, anyway? She recounted the latest movies and realized that this game was down to just her and Bracken, he only had one point, and it was her turn.
She smirked. “Bracken,” she began.
“Yes?” he asked.
“Never have I ever won a sword-fighting competition,” she announced.
Bracken lowered his pinky, while Kendra waved her two remaining fingers in his face. “I win!” she taunted.
“That’s not fair,” he playfully complained.
“Totally fair,” Warren insisted.
“I lost three points from one story!” he exclaimed.
Seth shrugged. “It be like that sometimes.”
“Kendra survives the night,” Tanu stated. “Now we all know who to target in the next round.”
Vanessa raised her eyebrows in a somewhat threatening manner which made Kendra wonder what other embarrassing material was going to be paraded about that evening. She looked around to find similar expressions on most everyone else’s faces, too, and laughed when she realized that she would be running out of points very quickly. “No repeats from this round,” she said.
“That’s fine with me,” Tanu said. Everyone else nodded and voiced their agreement.
“Great! I’ll go first!” Seth announced. “Never have I ever run away from a fiancée!”
Bracken planted his face into the palm of his hand while everyone at the table enjoyed a solid laugh.
School: Unnamed Irish School (Formerly) Jerome Horwitz Elementary (Currently)
Alignment:Between Neutral and Bad-Only does what he thinks is right,Even if it isn’t,But still did messed up S*it to hurt people *cough* *cough* MELVIN *cough* and never apologises either.
Fear of Loneliness
Fear of Spiders
Fear of Betrayal
Chinese Zodiac Animal:Tiger
George-Darragh isn’t around George as much as Harold,But doesn’t mind having him around and still has the craic with him,He can be a bit full of himself at times but he’s not Melvin…So It’s tolerable. 6.5/10=Causal Friend
Harold-Around the same as George,Harold isn’t sure if he should trust Darragh based on what he overheard Melvin say after his confrontation,But it’s Melvin! Who knows if he’s telling the truth or not.
Erica-She’s like a mom/big sister to Darragh,He normally doesn’t see her/talk to her that much.
Jessica-Oooh…He has a mediocre relationship with Jess,She barley makes it to the friends category The only reason she made it to list is her helping the MISTFARTS every once in a while.
Bo-Knows him but doesn’t talk to him
Gooch-Doesn’t really know him that well…Despite being in the same class as him.
Dressy-Tolerates her,Doesn’t speak to her with the exception of a basic greeting or small talk.
The Sophie’s-No clue,Doubt he’d even try talking to them,Maybe Other Sophie? At best.
Melvin-Oh! Darragh HATES this whiny snitch with a burning passion,No more to said,I’ve explained it well enough!
This memory tale of 9-year-old Buddy (Jude Hill) growing up in Northern Ireland’s turbulent capital city is sculpted from Branagh’s own life as a son of Belfast, where everyone knows his name. Hill, 11, a competitive dancer turned actor, delivers one of the best and most beguiling performances by a child ever captured on film.
Branagh shows how Buddy’s happy childhood, and by extension his, was shattered in 1969 by rioting in streets. The Troubles, a conflict Buddy barely understands between Protestants loyal to the U.K. and Catholics eager to rebel and join Ireland, set neighbor against neighbor.
Buddy’s Protestant parents, played to perfection by Catriona Balfe and Jamie Dornan, wanted to live in peace. But the shocking brutality, vividly filmed by Branagh, forced the family to leave their beloved home for the safety of England. The decision devastated Buddy.
And that interrupted childhood is the core of this gentle giant of a movie. For all the violence, it’s the bond between Buddy and his Ma and Pa, his older brother (Lewis McAskie), and his grandparents, played by Judi Dench and Ciarán Hinds—both sublime— that holds you in thrall.
Reports say Balfe, Dornan, Dench and Hinds—each of Irish descent— will all compete for supporting Oscars. If so, good luck picking a winner. Five-time nominee Dench, who won for “Shakespeare in Love,” is such a witty, wicked wonder as Gran that she’s impossible to resist.
Hinds, a master performer too long underrated, is hilarious and heartbreaking. And Dornan, free of the s&m sex trap of the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy, builds on his virtuoso turn on “The Fall” to show an actor of ferocity and feeling as he invests Pa, often absent from home for construction work in England, with simmering emotion and quiet strength.
Balfe, the radiant star of “Outlander,” is—in a word—magnificent. She finds revelatory layers in this mother who is held at gunpoint but still holds her family together even as war and trauma pull them apart. If you think Balfe and Dornan, both former models, are incongruously beautiful to play working-class parents, you underestimate how Buddy sees them.
And “Belfast,” shot in black-and-white during lockdown, sees the world through Buddy’s eyes. There’s no way to watch “Belfast” without letting Buddy’s family become your own. Music floods the soundtrack. There are eight classic songs from Belfast firebrand Van Morrison, plus a newbie (“Down to Joy”) and exhilarating scenes of parents and grandparents dancing.
“Belfast” belongs to Branagh, 60, who doesn’t act in the film but whose presence is felt in every frame. Except for a shot of Buddy reading a comic book about Thor— Branagh directed Marvel’s 2011 film version—there is no reference to the A-lister he’d become from 1989’s “Henry V” to his upcoming reprise as Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in “Death On the Nile.”
And yet the influence of the arts is palpable. The screen lights up with color when Buddy’s family sits down to watch the dinosaurs and Raquel Welch in “One Million Years B.C.” and the flying car of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” or attend a stage performance of “A Christmas Carol.”
It took half a century for Branagh, who was knighted in 2012, to put his young life on screen. The wait was worth it. If anything, the movie feels too short at 97 minutes, rushing by when we most want it to let the space between words resonate.
Above all, “Belfast” is infused with love for the home Branagh had to leave behind. It’s his best and most bracingly personal film, a transporting, coming-of-age classic that’s relatable to anyone who’s ever had to say goodbye to childhood.
Remember… there’s no way to watch “Belfast” without letting Buddy’s family become your own. — Peter Travers