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#feels good doing dnd stuff again feels right
foreverindreamlandd · 3 months ago
Note
What about another roadtrip? Sam is inviting reader and Bucky to his sister's house in Louisianna. A cookout or a boat trip or both. Reader would feel comfortable around the people there just like Bucky did in TFATWS bc they are so welcoming and not superficial... she would blossom out and Bucky would love it to see her like this
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Weekend at Sarah's
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x Plus Size!Reader
Word count: 6.1k
Warnings: Serving you your favorite sandwich filled with peanut butter and FLUFF. There’s also a little bit of body image issues, and a lot of Bucky and Sam scowling. Also I added in another D&D session because why the hell NOT. Oh and hi I curse like a sailor.
A/N: Thank you so much for this request! I hope I did it justice. :) Want to read about how Bucky and this reader got together? Check out their origin story in my To Be Wanted series. ;)
-------
“Sam I swear to God, if you don’t heal my fighter on your turn I’m going to kick your ass.” Bucky speaks into his hands which are interlaced in front of him, elbows leaning on the table.
“Look, man, I’m trying,” Sam quips back, glaring at Bucky. “I’ve got swarms of these little gremlin things surrounding me. I’m a little busy at the moment.”
“Well, maybe if you could actually hit them for once, we wouldn’t be in this mess!”
Sam scowls.
“Mommy and daddy are fighting again,” Abby whispers over to Raina.
You giggle. “Alright, boys, let’s settle down here. It’s Peter’s turn anyway. Peter, what do you want to do?”
Peter sits up in his seat and looks at the combat map you’ve drawn out. Right now his monk is thirty feet away from Sam and the horde of goblins. “Can I run up and try to help out Sam?”
“Sure thing. Roll for damage.”
Peter is able to take out two of them, grinning from ear to ear in pride and he lightly nudges Sam’s arm with his fist. “You’re welcome, buddy.”
Sam rolls his eyes. “Shut up, kid.”
“Okay Sam, your paladin is up. What’s your move? You now only have one goblin within melee of you.”
“Okay, and Bucky is down with two failed death saves, so if I don’t get over and heal him he might be dead, dead?”
Bucky groans as you nod. “You can try to run over, but that goblin will get an opportunity attack and you’re low on hit points. It’s risky.” You look over to Bucky. “Sorry, babe.”
He glares at you, and you fight the urge to laugh at how stressed out your super soldier boyfriend is during a game of DnD.
“Okay, but this is the last one, so if I kill it, we’ll be done fighting?” You nod. “Okay, I’m gonna hit that motherfucker.” Bucky slouches back, eyes closed as his head tilts up to the ceiling.
“You got it. Roll to attack.”
Sam rolls a 4 for his first hit and a natural 1 for his second.
“Fuck,” Sam exclaims and Bucky groans again.
“I need you to throw those trash dice out now, Sam,” Bucky growls. “They’ve been rolling shit all fucking night.”
“Hey, at least I’m still alive to try to hit them and not lying around useless.”
“I would have been able to hit it if you fucking healed me Sam.”
Raina rolls her d20 during their argument and looks up at you. “I just shot the goblin with my longbow with a 24 to hit and…” she rolls three more dice, “that’s 12 damage.”
“Got ‘em. Combat is over,” you respond. Bucky and Sam stop arguing and look over at Raina.
“I’ll head over to Bucky and feed him a healing potion,” Abby says next.
“Alright, Bucky is back up. Good job, folks!”
Abby looks over at Raina and fist bumps her. “Us ladies know how to get shit done.” Sam and Bucky scowl.
“Hey!” Peter exclaims, “I helped kill two of those goblins!”
Raina nods at Peter and extends her first. “You’re right, Parker. Well done.” Peter grins and fist bumps her. Bucky and Sam roll their eyes.
“Alright, friends, I think that’s enough fun for one night. We’ll see what adventures await the party next month!” Everyone starts packing their stuff up except for Captain America and the White Wolf, whose arms are crossed as they look in opposite directions of one another. You walk in between their seats and place a hand on both their shoulders.
“Boys,” you look back and forth at the two of them, neither meeting your eye, “Are we good here? Do we need to call Dr. Raynor and have another couple’s therapy session?”
Sam sighs and Bucky’s jaw tightens. “That won’t be necessary, Y/n,” Sam says. “Bucky just needs to get off his high horse and get over the fact that he can’t seem to keep his character alive.”
Bucky’s head pivots to Sam, rage painted across his face. “Maybe if I had a better teammate who could kill things, I would still be alive.”
“Boys,” you start, “and for the record, I will keep calling you boys until you act your age...you played a good game. You both solved my dungeon puzzle faster than anyone else earlier tonight. I thought it was going to take you at least an hour to do that, so I’m impressed! Sometimes the dice just aren’t in our favor,” you look over to Sam “And sometimes your Dungeon Master girlfriend accidentally hits your character with two criticals in a row and doesn’t give you a fighting chance.” You look to Bucky with an apologetic expression and he immediately softens. “Why don’t we shake hands and say ‘good game’ and end on a good note, alright? Consider this a learning experience for next time.”
Bucky, not wanting to disappoint you, rolls his eyes one more time before extending his hand out to Sam, who begrudgingly shakes it.
“What do we say?”
Bucky and Sam both groan out a ‘good game’ and you smile. “Thanks, guys. Now please pack up your stuff. We have an early flight to catch tomorrow.”
“Why are you going to Louisiana again?” Raina asks.
Sam shifts forward to gather his stuff as requested. “My sister and her two boys live there. It’s AJ’s birthday so they’re having a party and Bucky was requested by the birthday boy himself.”
You smile at the sight of Bucky’s lips slightly curving up hearing Sam’s words. He had told you about his time in Louisiana, how close he got to Sarah and her two boys, as well as the rest of Sam’s family. You had originally panicked hearing about Bucky’s almost-relationship with Sarah, but when he explained that there was nothing substantial between the two of them, you believed him.
It was amazing. Six months ago, before you and Bucky started dating, the idea of a man you were interested in having feelings for someone else would have devastated you. You were so used to being in a mindset of not being good enough, not being pretty or thin enough, that if there were every other option, you would be chosen last. It was how it had been with other relationships you pursued. They would always want someone else instead of you.
Everyone except Bucky.
No, it was clear that Bucky wanted you and only you. He had helped you discover how beautiful you were, inside and out. It was the little things he did, the way he told you everyday how lovely you looked, the way his eyes lit up whenever they found you, the smile that spread across his face when you told him you loved him. The sincerity in his voice when he told you he loved you in return.
Of course, there were still moments where the demons in your mind got the best of you. There were still strangers who gaped at the sight of you and Bucky walking down the street, arms wrapped around each other. Whenever you went out to dinner, your server would think that you were siblings and when Bucky held your hand they would scowl at you, incredulous that you were able to somehow seduce such a gorgeous man. Or when you were on a run by yourself, the smirks you would get from people who ran by you, making you self-conscious of your labored breaths or the way your body jiggled at every step. It was hard, and you weren’t sure if those demons would ever go away forever.
But they had lessened significantly, and the way Bucky’s breath would hitch when you touched him, the way his hands greedily searched to make contact with you whenever he could. The feel of his heartbeat as you rested your hand on his chest when his lips found yours, how it seemed like it was on the verge of beating out of his chest.
No, you weren’t worried about Bucky’s feelings for you. That man wanted all of you, just as you wanted him.
When Bucky invited you to join him in Louisiana, you immediately said yes. You wanted to meet the people who had become Bucky’s family, wanted to see the look on his face when he was reunited with Sarah’s boys. Wanted to watch the sunrise (or sunset, depending on how willing you were to get up at dawn) at the docks.
“You two are still good with checking in on Willa, right?”
Abby and Raina nodded. “I’m the morning person, Raina’s in the evening,” Abby replied. “She’ll be in good hands.”
You looked over to the window at Willa, who was sleeping on the ledge. “Still, I’m gonna miss my girl.”
“Don’t get me started on that, doll,” Bucky replied, walking up next to you and placing his arm around your shoulder. “I still think we should sneak her onto the plane.”
“Oh, she would hate that.” You wrap your arm around his waist and lean your head against his chest. “She’d probably find a way to escape from her crate and wreak havoc.”
Bucky chuckles. “Yes, yes she would.” You look up at him and his smile softens as he lowers his lips to gently press against yours.
“Alright, lovebirds,” Raina groans out. “We’ll leave you two alone so that you can suck face in private.”
You giggle, pulling away from Bucky and walking over to hug Raina and Abby. “Thanks again for watching Willa. Don’t get into too much trouble while I’m gone.”
“Please, it’s just for a weekend! We got this.” Abby looks over to Raina and they give each other a thumbs up. “Raina, did you want me to drive you home? I’m already giving Peter a ride so I don’t mind adding another stop.”
“Nah, that’s okay. I’m not far so I’m fine with walking.”
“I can walk you home,” Sam responds, sheepishly.
Raina looks over to him and gives him one of those smiles that causes you to raise your eyebrows. “Sure, that’d be nice, Sam. Thanks.” Sam smiles back at her and his arm hovers over the small of her back as they leave your apartment.
“Thanks for a great game, Y/n!” Peter gives you a quick hug before running out into the hallway. “Night, Bucky!”
Abby turns and shoots you a confused look as she closes the door behind you.
You and Bucky furrow your brows and look at one another. “Are they…?”
“Not that I know of,” Bucky chuckles, “But I did notice that Sam has been asking about Raina more than a few times.”
You giggle. “Oh man I’m going to have to text her later tonight.”
“Please keep me updated on that one.” Bucky walks forward and wraps his arms around you and you look up at him, chin resting on his chest as you interlock your fingers around his back. The content, dreamlike smile on your face makes Bucky feel like his heart’s going to explode. He kisses your forehead and you let out a content sigh. He pulls away and his expression changes to a pouty face. “You sure you don’t want me to stay over tonight?”
You grumble and frown back. “I would love that, Bucky. You know that. But if you’re here I’m going to be too distracted to finish packing. How am I supposed to choose what outfits to wear when I’m too busy staring into those gorgeous blue eyes?”
He rolls said gorgeous blue eyes. “Fiiiine. Just know that as soon as I’m awake tomorrow morning I’ll be barging in and tackling you with cuddles before we have to leave for the airport.”
“As long as there’s coffee, that sounds like the perfect way to wake up.”
Bucky snorts. “As if I’d ever want to face your uncaffeinated wrath….again.”
“Definitely not.” You stand on your tiptoes and give him one last kiss for the evening. Bucky’s metal hand snakes its way to the back of your head and tilts it to the side to deepen the kiss, his tongue searching to make contact with yours. You lean into him for balance, head spinning at the euphoria of a kiss you had shared countless times and yet always felt like the first.
Finally he pulls back, smiling as your eyes flutter open to meet his gaze. “Something to remember me by until tomorrow.” His voice is low and husky.
“Ah, yes, my hunky blue-eyed god of a boyfriend who can punch through walls with his metal arm. Definitely forgettable.”
Bucky barks out a laugh. “Hunky?”
You roll your eyes. “Goodnight, Buck.”
“Goodnight, love.” Bucky leans down for one more quick kiss before pulling away toward the door. He turns back to you as the door closes and winks at your shit-eating grin right as it latches shut.
------
Unfortunately for you, Sam and Bucky are both morning people, meaning you’re up at 4am to catch a 6am flight to Louisiana.
Luckily, they know to interact with you as little as possible until you’re somewhat awake, which finally happens when you’re filled with nervous energy as you board the plane.
Bucky raises his eyebrows when you both sit down in your seats, noticing the way you were fidgeting with your clammy hands on your lap.
“You okay, doll?”
You look up at him and he frowns at the look of panic on your face. “Did I forget to tell you I’m terrified of flying, Buck?”
He groans. “Why didn’t you say something? Is there anything I can do to help?”
You give him a weak smile. “Any chance you can knock me out with your metal arm so that I’m not in a constant state of fear that the plane is going to break somehow and crash from 30,000 feet in the air?”
“I will not be doing that, no.”
“Ugh, fine.” You yelp as the plane starts to move backwards and your eyes squeeze shut. “I’ll be okay, Buck….just as soon as we’re in Louisiana.”
You feel the leather of Bucky’s jacket and gloves slide underneath your arm and between your two hands as they interlace with your fingers. Your eyes open and you look at Bucky, his face serious.
“You’ll be okay, Y/n. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Your whole body seems to relax and you give him a genuine smile before resting your head on his shoulder, closing your eyes once more.
“Thanks, Buck,” you whisper. “Love you.”
Bucky smiles. “Love you.”
You still aren’t a fan of flying, but this is the most relaxing time you had ever spent on a plane.
Three hours later and you were on the ground, and you somehow managed not to have a full on body spasm as the plane landed. That might have been because you were using all of your strength to cling to Bucky.
“You’re probably thinking you never want to fly with me again,” you gasp out into Bucky’s leather jacket.
“On the contrary, I could get used to you needing to be so close to me like this.” He gives you a wink before placing a quick kiss to your temple.
Sam, who had been sleeping this whole goddamn time, lifts his head up and pulls his headphones down. “Oh, shit, are we here already?”
You glare at him.
Sarah and the boys are there to pick you up. AJ and Cass run toward you and Sam extends his arms, preparing for a hug, only to watch them run over to tackle Bucky.
“Bucky!” they both exclaim. You and Sarah laugh at Sam’s scowl.
“Remind me never to invite him home again,” Sam grumbles as he walks over to his sister and pulls her in for a hug.
“Listen, Sam, you know they love you,” Sarah responds, trying to fight back another laugh and totally failing. “I promise, it’s the arm.” Sarah looks over at you and her smile brightens. “You must be Y/n. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
The demons infiltrate your brain without warning.
Look at how beautiful she is. Of course Bucky would fall for her.
You mentally dropkick the demons in their nonexistent faces and return the smile, extending your hand. “I hope what you’ve heard wasn’t too bad.”
She chuckles, ignoring your hand and pulling you in for a hug. “I’ve heard that you’re smart, funny, beautiful, and know how to put these guys in their place when they get all pissy at each other.” You both laugh. “And that you’ve got Bucky wrapped around your finger.”
Bucky walks over to Sarah and hugs her. “It’s true. All of it.” He looks over at you and winks, and the demons disappear completely.
“Thanks so much for letting me crash this weekend, Sarah. I know you probably have your hands full planning for the party so please let us help in any way we can. We are at your disposal.”
“I will gladly take you up on that. But, just so you know, I would have loved to have you come regardless. These two can be a lot, so I’m thrilled to have someone to keep me sane and join me in rolling my eyes at their ridiculousness.”
“She’s talking about you two, by the way,” AJ says with a cheeky grin to Bucky and Sam, who both scowl.
You laugh, turning your attention to the boys. “Hey guys! I’m Y/n.” You hold out your hand and they both shake it, skeptical looks on their faces.
“Are you Bucky’s giiiirlfriend?” Cass asks, his face shifting into a mischievous smile.
You feel the heat rising to your face as it shifts into a soft shade of pink. You look over at Bucky and see that his face coloring matches yours.
“Damn right she is,” Bucky says, walking over and placing his arm over your shoulder, “So you punks better treat my girl with respect, ya hear?”
The boys nod. “Yes sir,” they respond in unison.
Bucky nods in return then moves to grab your bags and take them to Sarah’s car. As soon as he walks away you whisper to AJ and Cass, “I’m planning on pushing him into the harbor at some point if you two are willing to help with that.”
They give you the most menacing grins and nod fervently. You wink at them.
Bucky had totally heard you, and you knew that, but he still smiles to himself as he walks out of the airport.
I’d like to see you try, doll.
AJ's birthday is tomorrow, so once you get settled at Sarah’s place, the two of you run out to grab some last-minute supplies while Bucky and Sam head over to the boat to do some ‘routine maintenance.’ Sarah groans about how she’s been doing a damn good job making sure the boat is well-maintained, but they’re mainly just looking for an excuse to hang out there and pop open a few beers.
“At least try to set up the tables and chairs like I asked,” Sarah calls out to them as they head to Sam’s truck he keeps here for when he visits. She rolls her eyes at you. “Those two. As soon as beer is involved, they’re suddenly all buddy-buddy.”
“Tell me about it,” you say. “I try to keep a six-pack at my place at all times for an emergency whenever they start going at it.”
She gives you an impressed look. “Now that is a good idea. Reminds me of how I always kept cheese sticks on hand for the boys when they got fussy and needed a snack.”
“Your boys, or Bucky and Sam?”
You both cackle.
Sarah gives you a mini tour of their town, showing you the local shops owned by family and friends, the place to get the best coffee (which you took mental note of to remember), and the small bookstore owned by one of Sarah’s best friends, which you obviously request to stop at for a bit.
“So, you and Bucky?” Sarah asks while you’re at the deli, basically clearing them out of their entire stock.
You nod, smiling. “Yeah. Me and Bucky.” Your smile drops and you wince at her. “I hope that’s not, like, weird for you or anything. Bucky told me about-”
“No, no, do not worry about that,” Sarah cuts you off. She puts a hand on your shoulder. “That was barely a thing. He’s a good guy and he’ll always be family. Nothing more. Besides, I don’t think I could ever make that man smile the way that you do. He’s a total goner for you.”
Your smile returns. “The feeling is mutual.”
Sarah smiles back. “Good. You two look great together. And I know we just met, but I wouldn’t mind having you stick around and coming back to visit whenever.”
You blink rapidly to try to fight off the tears forming in your eyes. “You have no idea how much that means. All of it.” You look down at the ground. “A lot of people -- mostly strangers, but also some ‘friends’ -- don’t tend to understand why Bucky and I are together.”
Sarah shakes her head in confusion. “And why the hell not?”
You wince. “Well,” your hand gestures down your body, “They don’t think we really look great together.”
This time Sarah scoffs out, “Oh hell no. You can’t be serious, right?” The guy at the deli looks up at the two of you as the volume in Sarah’s voice rises. “Those assholes are idiots. You’re gorgeous, Y/n. If anyone makes you feel any differently, you send them down to Louisiana and I’ll give them a piece of my mind.”
You choke out a laugh, then put your hand over hers resting on your shoulder, giving it a small squeeze. “Thanks, Sarah.”
She nods, then turns back to the guy at the deli. “Sorry for yelling, Mark.”
Mark chuckles. “I’ll never be one to tell you not to go off, Sarah. Especially when you’re making a solid point.” He nods his head at you. “Which, she was.”
Your face goes red and you smile. “Thanks, Mark.”
“Now, let’s go see if the boys actually got anything done.” Sarah gathers her items from Mark and pulls out her wallet. “I bet you $20 that they’re on the boat playing around with the controls.”
You laugh. “Sarah, why would I agree to a bet I know I’m going to lose?”
-----
Once reunited with the boys (you $20 poorer) you set up for dinner on the docks. You and Sarah had stopped by the local BBQ spot and grabbed food for everyone after you stopped by home to drop off today’s purchases and grab the kids.
Louisiana weather in January is perfect. It’s a ‘cool’ 50 degrees (which felt like summer compared to the icy hellscape that is currently New York). Being by the water during sunset, a soft breeze wafting the salt water smell your way, laughing at the stories Sarah told about her and Sam as kids, seeing Bucky laugh with these people who he considered his family. It feels like a dream.
One that continued when dinner was over.
“Hey, doll, we’re gonna stick around a bit, okay? I wanna show you something.” You narrow your eyes at Bucky as Sarah, Sam and the boys head to Sarah’s car.
“This isn’t the moment that I realize this was all some sinister plan for you to kill me and dump me into the waters of Louisiana, is it Buck?”
Bucky rolls his eyes. “So dramatic.”
“You love me and all my drama.”
He smiles. “I do.” He reaches for your hand and guides you onto the boat. The sun had set a while ago, and in the darkness you found yourself grasping onto Bucky a little tighter, nervous about making a misstep and taking an impromptu swim in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Bucky, what the hell are we doing?” You try to get your eyes to adjust to the darkness.
“Just a few more steps, love. Alright, stay right here, and close your eyes.”
You laugh. “Bucky, I can’t fucking see. Why would I shut my eyes-”
“Please?”
You let out a sigh and then close your eyes. You hear Bucky shuffle around a few feet in front of you before your lids detect a sudden source of light.
Bucky returns a second later, standing behind you and wrapping his arms around your stomach, head resting on your shoulder.
“Alright, open your eyes.” You do.
And you gasp.
Apparently Bucky and Sam hadn’t just been goofing off on the boat all day. No, they had been setting up what felt like hundreds of little string lights throughout the deck of the bow. They had been getting a bottle of wine and a plate of snacks. They had been putting together a small seating area on the ground made up of cushions and covered with a blanket.
“What….what’s all this for?” you breathe out.
Bucky smiles and kisses your cheek. “Just wanted to do something nice for my girl,” he whispers into your ear. “That, and it’s technically our six month anniversary.”
You turn to face him, mouth inches from his. “Bucky Barnes. You remembered our anniversary without me needing to bug you about it like most women do?”
He rubs his nose against yours. “Not a chance. I remember every moment with you, love. They’re the best moments of my whole damn life.”
There are no words in your brain for you to be able to respond to that, and Bucky loves that he’s made you speechless. He has an excited sparkle in his eyes that leaves you breathless.
“Come on,” he pulls back and takes your hand in his, guiding you to a spot right behind the cushions. He takes his phone out and taps a few buttons but ends up furrowing his brows a few moments later, clearly confused and frustrated like an old man who doesn’t know how to use technology.
“Need help, Buck?”
“No...I got it….just need to….there.” He taps his phone one more time and the boat erupts with the loud sound of string instruments. You yelp and cover your ears. “Shit.” He quickly moves to turn the volume down on his phone. Now that the strings are no longer punching your eardrums, you uncover your ears and recognize the melody as the opening to Bing Crosby’s ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart,’ one of Bucky’s favorites. Bucky winces. “Sorry about that.”
You laugh. “Well, I don’t mind it. Let’s hope there’s no one in a five mile radius who’s been trying to get some sleep, though.”
Bucky chuckles. “Let’s try this again and pretend I did that way more smoothly.” He takes your hand and places it on his shoulder, taking your other hand into his left and resting his against your waist. “I’ve been dreaming about dancing with you under the stars, and since New York is the worst place to see anything other than streetlights, I figured this might be my chance to finally make it happen.” He takes a small step and leads you into a slow waltz.
You look up at him with such adoration, tears welling in your eyes, that Bucky’s heart flutters. “What did I ever do to deserve someone like you?”
He smiles. “I’ve been asking myself that question every goddamn second since I first met you, Y/n.”
“Well, let’s hope you still feel that way when I inevitably step on your toes. I’m trash at dancing, Buck.” You look down at your feet, focusing on your steps.
Bucky chuckles, then lifts his hand from your waist and under your chin to lift your gaze back to him. “Don’t worry, sweetheart. I got you.” He pulls you close and kisses you so passionately that you feel as if you’re floating.
You dance for god knows how long, your head tucked into the crook of his neck, his cheek resting on the crown of your head, only moving positions to steal more kisses from one another.
After a few songs you make your way to the cushions. Bucky pours you both a glass of wine and you snack on cheese and crackers as you look up at the stars, limbs wrapped around each other in every which way. You have moments of content silence and moments of sharing memories, sharing dreams for the future.
“What do you think of Sarah and the kids?” Bucky finally asks.
You smile. “They’re great. I high key want to be best friends with Sarah. She’s hilarious and a total badass. Her kids are the same, just smaller and slightly more adorable than they are baddasses.”
Bucky laughs. “Good, I’m glad you like them. It’s important to me that you do. They’ve done so much for me since….everything. They’re the closest thing I have to family, especially Sam -- even if he’s a huge pain in my ass half the time. But yeah, I want- I wish- ugh, dammit,” Bucky groans, trying to collect his thoughts. “What I’m trying to say is, I want you to feel like they could be your family, Y/n. Because you’re my family. Or, like, I want you to be. I don’t know, is that fucking weird to say? Am I creeping you out? Did I just ruin the whole nigh-”
You cut him off with a kiss so deep, so passionate, that Bucky can see the stars from the night sky beneath his closed eyelids. You wrap your fingers through his hair and he grips your thigh, desperately seeking as much closeness as possible.
You pull away, leaving Bucky with his mouth still hanging open, breathless, staring at you.
“I want to be your family. I want you to be mine. I just want to be yours. Forever.”
A single tear falls down Bucky’s face and he clears his throat. You wipe the tear away and he takes your hand, pressing it against his lips.
“I love you,” he says, voice husky. “Forever.”
Forever with Bucky sounds pretty nice.
-----
You have been to many, many cookouts over the course of your life. They were mostly when you were a kid growing up in the suburbs of Massachusetts, so they were very ‘suburban’ cookouts, filled with hot dogs, burgers, cans of bud light, and potato salad that never seemed to have enough seasoning.
A cookout in Louisiana? Now that was a party.
People showed up in troves for AJ’s birthday, all arriving up with piles upon piles of food. You wonder why Sarah even bothered spending money on food when it was clear that the guests brought enough to feed the whole damn state of Louisiana.
And hot damn is the food good. You nearly tear up when you take your first bite of potato salad.
Sam laughs at your reaction. “It’s good, right? I always beg Sarah to ship me some of that good stuff. There’s nothin’ like it up north.”
“Sam, I will gladly join you in begging Sarah to send potato salad to New York.” You nod at him and take another bite.
You do your best to go up and meet the Wilson family, but most of the time they beat you to it, running up to you and pulling you in for a big hug. They say that they heard you were the gorgeous girl that Bucky managed to bag, and you blush each time, unable to fight the giant smile forming on your face.
Everyone is so nice, so fun. They tell you stories about Sam, how proud they are that he had taken the shield and now served as Captain America. About his and Sarah’s parents. How much they would have loved you. You find yourself on the verge of tears multiple times at their kindness.
Bucky looks over at you from wherever he’s standing (which isusually with the kids, showing off how strong he was for the zillionth time by punching a rock in half or seeing how many of them he could hold up with his metal arm) and just smiles at how happy you look. The light in your eyes could give the goddamn sun a run for its money. Your smile could make even the grouchiest person alive experience true joy.
As if he could love you even more. It feels like his heart is fucking growing inside his chest to make room for all of the love he has for you.
At one point, he walks over to Sarah. “Hey. I have a, uh, weird question for you.”
She raises her brows. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” Bucky clears his throat. “Um, I talked to Sam a few weeks ago, and he said that there was, a- uh- a shop twenty or so minutes away from here that a friend of yours owned. They, um- they have- there are rings-”
“I know the place.” Sarah smiles. “Tomorrow morning. I’ll take you?”
Bucky nods. “You don’t mind?”
“Not at all, Bucky.” She pats his shoulder. “I think it’s the best decision you could ever make.”
He grins, eyes finding their way back to you. “Yeah, me too.”
You reunite with Bucky to give AJ his gifts. Bucky gives him a shield that was almost identical to the Captain America shield, just not made out of vibranium. You give him an encyclopedia on bugs. Surprisingly enough, he seems just as excited about the bug book as he is about the shield. He pulls you and Bucky in for a hug and your heart swells.
Later, Bucky finds himself at the drink station grabbing the dangerous ‘adults only’ punch for both of you. You meet him there and take the cup from him. “Thank you, kind sir.” You tip the cup to him before taking a sip.
“Anything for you, doll.” He tips his cup and then takes a swig. “So, having fun?”
You nod. “These people know how to throw down.”
“Seriously. I’m convinced that if I didn’t have super soldier serum running through my veins, this punch would have knocked me on my ass during my first Wilson cookout.”
You giggle. “Speaking of which, mind if we sit down? I’m starting to feel a little wobbly from this stuff.”
“Sure thing, sweetheart.” He takes your hand and walks you to the edge of the dock. Before you sit down, you turn to Bucky and give him a smile that nearly knocks him off his feet.
“I love your family,” you say.
Bucky grins. “I think it’s safe to say they love you, too. Seeing you with them, I swear I must be the happiest guy on the planet.”
“And I’m the happiest lady.” You reach into Bucky’s pocket and pull out his phone, pointing the camera at the two of you for a photo. You used to hate taking photos of yourself, always so focused on the negative parts of your body. Now, you found yourself wanting to document every moment of your life. Especially the ones with Bucky.
You put his phone in your pocket and at first Bucky chuckles, thinking that your punch-fuzzy brain made you forget whose phone it was, but that thought gets cut off the moment you use your now free hand to cup his cheek. You pull him toward you and give him one of those kisses that makes his head spin. One that consumes all of his senses. All he wants to do is focus on this kiss.
In fact, he’s so distracted that he somehow misses the almost imperceptible footsteps of a bunch of kids sneaking down the dock, mischievous grins painted across their faces.
Usually, his super soldier level hearing would have made it impossible for him not to pick up on those sounds. But the roaring of his heartbeat from kissing you in this moment manages to drown it out.
You pull away just enough so that your lips still graze against his as you speak.
“Sorry, Buck.”
Bucky only has enough time to narrow his eyes in confusion before you take a step back to allow an onslaught of kids using every ounce of strength they possess to shove him over the edge of the dock and into the water.
He’s pretty sure that even though he was caught off guard, he could have used his strength to keep himself planted in place instead of now swimming up to the surface, a shocked gasp for air leaving him.
But hell, why not have a little fun?
The smile on your face as you pull his phone out to take another photo makes it 100% worth it.
------
Thank you for reading! Feel free to check out my other stuff here. :)
Tag List: @ceo-of-daichi @biiskuitx @forgetthisbull @eclipses-and-moondust @abcdefxkyou @jackiehollanderr @billionsofbeans @abitgryffindorky @lovelylostminds @mija-just-breathe @semlohkratz @bratty-longbottom-replies @carrotfantasimp @cremedelabrulee @ant1r3al1ty @th-e-mg @laura-moehrchen @emma-the-duck17 @sunnyjane4 @rosaline-black @parodsal000 @vicmc624 @abrunettefangirlnerd @officiallykuute @edityourwishingwell @mymindslabyrinth
***This was the original tag list for the To Be Wanted series. If you would like to be removed from the taglist for any other stories related to this series, feel free to DM me! And let me know if you would like to be *added* to the taglist for any other future stories featuring these two knuckleheads. :)
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just-some-random-blogger · 2 months ago
Text
Connecting Dots
NCT Philosophy Student!Lee Donghyuck (Heachan) x Statistics Student!Reader Summary: Life is pretty depressing when you live knowing your days are numbered. Alternatively, life is pretty lit when you live knowing your days are numbered. Donghyuck is in right in the middle of both. Word Count: 21k+ Warnings: Fem!Reader, Kun x Reader (?), Enemies to lovers, mentions of death, terminal illness, suicide, LOTS OF DARK HUMOR, self depreciating jokes, dry humor, university/college au, frat boyz!NCT, drinking, smoking, cussing, typos, angst, fluff, slow burn, mentions of premarital sex, graphic smut/sexual themes, i write smut but also i cant really write smut sksksksk, awkward first time, low key scamming, appealing to emotions, did i mention angst, i cried writing this yall HAHA good luck, etc.
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A/N: Clearly from the tags, you can tell one of them is sick (its heachan lol its not a spoiler) I denounce any illness to ever actually happen to my baby boy i love him so much i wish he lives a long healthy live AMEN periodt. I am also in no way making light of cancer or any illness. I wrote this knowing only surface level or second hand experience about real life experiences with terminal illnesses and with the thought that this might cheer someone up. do not read this is you are not comfortable with the premise. ALSO THERE ARE A LOT OF SCENE JUMPS OK BYe GEEZ I CRIED AS I WROTE THE END PART
yo i edited this twice because it didnt save RIP, but actually i think it came out better now also i made two moodboards, what are you gonna do about it, punk?
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Listen to Rose by D.O
To you I offer Eternity;
I was by the bay with one of my favorite people. We were on a bench. I was sitting, she was laid down. The ocean breeze felt cool, and the ocean waves sounded calming. The said person speaks softly to me, "Can you tell me a story?"
I turn to the child whose head was on my lap. She pouts the cute way she always does while I clarify, "what kind of story?"
"One with daddy."
"Ah," I stroke her hair, "I think I told you all the stories I have with your father."
"But I like your stories!"
“Sorry Poppy,” I say, “I don’t have any other stories to tell you.”
She pouts again and hums, “what about your favorite story?"
"My favorite story? Well, I thought of one, but it's a pretty long. Do you want to hear it?"
“Yes!” 
“Are you sure? It gets kind of sad.”
"I'm sure! I'm sure!"
I shake my head and chuckle, "okay, well it starts on one ordinary school day."
"Hey," I say to my classmate in an awfully bright colored orange hoodie. He was holding a lollipop stick to his mouth. "Can I sit next you?" I ask, although I would say my tone wasn't really much of a question.
He raises a brow and shrugs. I notice the sheen on his lips and figure it couldn’t possibly be from the sugar from his candy. He must put on some lip balm. I mean, we love moisture lips. Good for him.
 He pulls the lollipop out quickly and places it right back after answering, "don't give a shit."
I pull my head back. Oooh, right in the 10 o'clock subject. Didn't know Donghyuck had an attitude.
I feel the right corner of my lip curl in amusement. I place my stuff down on the desk beside him. "I didn't peg the quiet nerd to be so snarky."
He shoots me a glare, "says he nerd who happens to be the teacher's pet."
"Oh, so you do know we've shared classes before. Two, well, 3, counting this one."
"Four. You wouldn't fucking shut up during literature."
I smile, "aw, how sweet of you to notice."
Donghyuck raises his brows at that. I pull out my notes, my colored pens, and my highlights. He observes the structure of my writing for a moment and I can’t help but feel proud of it. I had, I would say, 10/10 notes. 
He leans on his desk and bites on his candy, making an audible crunching sound, "stop talking to me, nerd."
I turn to him, "Hey, that's on you for interpreting nerd negatively. Nerds are all the rage now, having comicon, cosplaying...DnD, all catered to them.”
Donghyuck pulls what's left of his sugary stick out and continues to chew, all the while narrowing his eyes at me. I continue, "also, don't you eat lollipops every day? Diabetes is gonna kill ya."
He chuckles dryly, "good thing I'm already dying."
When he looks away, I follow, smiling to myself, "dang, I like you."
Donghyuck's eyes dart from his me to our Chem teacher, Mr. Wong.
 When the bell rings, I'm surprised by how quick Donghyuck manages out the door. I curse under my breath and shove my things into my backpack. I call out to him, "wait!"
But of course, nothing is easy in this world, and he keeps walking.
 I manage to catch up with him in the hallway, clearly to his disappointment. He spots me as he steals a glance from over his shoulder and groans. He speeds up, only to have me jog up next to him.
"Wait up! This is no way to flex that you’re just a tiny bit taller than me."
He abruptly freezes, surprising me into an ungraceful pause. He places his hands on his hips and sighs, "Am I a joke to you?"
I make a face and an oooh sound, "I like that meme too. I send it to my-" "Stop fucking following me!" he barks, raising his voice. It was honestly unexpected. I felt the burn in my cheeks after that and the stares of people passing by. It wasn't so much that I was embarrassed, it's just that it really kind of came from no where.
Alright, to be fair, I didn't really know this kid, so I didn't really know what to expect.
But true to my nature, as he glared at me before walking away, I kinda fell for him. Not in like a oh-my-gosh-marry-me kind of way, more like dang-I-haven't-had-my-blood-pumping-like-this-since-forever kind of way.
Clearly, the game plan from then on was simple. Get the dirt on Lee Donghyuck.
...wait, his last name was Lee right?
"Right," Jaemin pointed at me as I smiled at Kun for opening my yogurt. I give Kun a quick arm cuddle as he mixes his ramen in his tupperware next to me. One thing you should know about Kun is that all his lunch is prepared at home, which is why I can never dare to eat too much of anything processed around him, lest I hear his wrath.
Jaemin, who was sat in front of us, continued, "he too is a philosophy major like moi."
I shudder and make a gagging sound.
Kun scolds me without batting an eye, "don’t act like a child."
“Why would I when I detest them?”
“So dramatic,” Kun mumbles.
I stick out my tongue and go back to my original train of thought, "I think I have PTSD over that. The P standing for Philosophy traumatic stress disorder. It's just so mind-fucking."
"Says the stat major!" Jaemin blurts in offence, pulling a nasty side eye.
"Hey, there is a refined beauty in complex arithmetic and it's so darn satisfying when everything simplifies to zero," I make a face as I smile and take a bite of my yogurt and pre-cut apples I had prepared in a duckie themed lunch box. "Wouldn't you agree, Mr. Honor Roll?" I turn to my best friend.
Kun gives us both a knowing look and nods silently in agreement.
It was Jaemin's turn to shudder, "the human brain truly is such a wonder."
I raise a hand at him, "hey, remember, I'll do your stats, you do my philo."
Jaemin takes my extended hand and shakes it, "deal."
Kun quickly swallows the ramen he was chewing, "no one is doing anyone else's homework! Not in this household."
I give him a sour look and humor him with a rapid nod. I then turn to Jaemin, then asking him what I was actually interested in, "so, Lee Donghyuck. What's his deal?" 
For a second, Jaemin thinks, "well, he's usually snarky but otherwise pretty quiet. He's actually a frat memb..."
Jaemin falls into silence. I give him a moment but get impatient halfway through. I raise a brow at Jaemin's trailing tone, "what gives?"
"Dude..." he says in a softer tone compared to his prior one, "did you made a diabetes joke at him?" Jaemin asks, face falling into seriousness.
"Why? Does he have diabetes?"
Jaemin releases a breath, "he has cancer."
Kun and I pull back at the information. For a second, I debate whether Jaemin meant the star sign, but based on the look on his face, I'm pretty sure he meant the illness. Also, he as far as I remembered, his philosopher's ass detests astrology n' stuff. Oh, and right, he says has cancer and not is a cancer. Good job, me. 
"Woah," I say in shock, "he really wasn't kidding about dying."
Kun quicky snaps at me and calls my name out in a warning. There is a thick and tense silence between us. Well, about as silent as it gets in a full cafeteria.
 I look at my apple slices and take one. I dip it my yogurt at point it at Jaemin, "I still think he's pretty cool though."
Kun turns to me with an incredulous look, "You missed the part where you say you're going to apologize to him for being insensitive,"
I turn to him, "How could I be insensitive when I was just being myself?"
Kun looks at me like a grew another head.
I roll my eyes, "I didn't know he had cancer."
Jaemin makes a pained face and hisses, "babe, that's literally what insensitive means."
"Listen, Webster, the only person that should be schooling me for word meanings is someone who actually studies words." I catch a woman in a cute lil’ plaid skirt walking over to us. I pat the table and motion at her, "much like the lit student."
She gives her kilowatt smile, repeating, "lit student?"
Jaemin turns to the said person and smiles back, standing and giving her a quick peck on her lips, "hi baby.”
"What were you talking about?" she asks.
I ignore her question and point, "Sana, I think you should know your boyfriend is cheating on you. He called me babe a while ago, supposedly to prove a point, but I know he was just trying to get into my pants.”
Kun rolls his eyes. Jaemin sighs. Sana pouts the cute way she always does and turns from me to her boyfriend, "is that true, Nana?"
"No, she was just asking me about a classmate," he starts. Jaemin then whispers something in her ears, which makes Sana cover her face, giggle, and smack Jaemin's chest. I clench my teeth in disgust, "I bet 20$ this fool just said he only wants to get into her pants."
Kun slurps up some more ramen. Jaemin turns to me as he rolls his eyes. Sana covers her giddy expression again. "If there's nothing else, we'll be going now," he says, wrapping an arm over his girlfriend's shoulder.
 Sana beams and waves at me then Kun, "see you two later."
"Later nerdz," Jaemin says, doing a peace sign before walking off.
Kun gives them a wave goodbye. I call as they leave, "You're too good for him, Sana!"
"Can you not?" Kun says more than asks.
"No," I say simply.
"But you can try."
"I can't believe I can do that either."
Kun sighs.
  After lunch, Kun incessantly reminded me to prepare some sort of apology to Donghyuck for my unintentional insensitivity, quote, 'regardless of it being unintentional or not, it could have really hurt him' end quote, as he walked me to the library.
Knowing me, it falls flat to my ears. But with Kun knowing me, he did a good ol' fashioned, I'm-going-to-tell-your-mom-and-you'll-never-hear-the-end-of-this line. I begrudgingly had to agree, since my mom was going to visit my dorm this weekend to bring food over and I really don't want to have to deal with more nagging. Kun was mother enough. It was no wonder why my mom, or any mom really, liked him so much.
Anyway, after doing our secret handshake and wishing him to fail his quiz in biology, he headed off to his class and I headed into the library to do some homework, and work on that apology, ugh.
 BUT!
It wasn't my fault I saw Donghyuck there by the world history aisle in a yellow hoodie and yet a lollipop still in his mouth. His lips reflected some light due to his lip balm.
I practically jumped when I saw him. I hastily made my way over and sat down in the vacant chair in front of him.
"Hi Donghyuck ," I say, making him turn from whatever he was working on, to me. I pull my notebook and text book out. He pulls out his earphones and his expression falls. I pull my pencil case and writing materials onto the table. I begin to work on my calculus homework, starting a new page with pink ink and mint green highlight.
Donghyuck speaks, "nice notes."
I look at the page that was open and smile at the pastel colors on it, "it's a specialty of mine."
Donghyuck shows his yellow pad and I see his unintelligible writing. I visibly react to it as he says, "here to show off?"
"No."
"Then fuck off."
I sigh, "I knew you were going to say that, but here me out. I have this friend Kun and I told him you're pretty cool. I also mentioned that I made a diabetes joke, which lead to you doing a death joke," I raise my hands, "which, by the way, was pretty funny."
Donghyuck adjusts in his chair.
  "Anyway, he told me to apologize since we found out you have cancer and stuff --though I really don't see a need for it."
He raises a brow and drops the pen in his hand, "you don't?"
"No, I don't. I think you and I have pretty similar sense of humor, and you made a joke yourself," I give a contemplating look, "And, I mean, I meant it when I said we all die anyway."
There is a moment of silence.
I suddenly correct myself, "although, if life was a race, you're probably like the Usain Bolt, you know?"
Donghyuck stares at me blankly.
"YOU TOLD HIM WHAT?" Kun looks at me with wide eyes, absolutely flabbergasted.
I flash him a wide smile as I hop around him, "I told him he was like the Usain Bolt of dying!"
Kun pulls his head back, flashing some double chins. He looks absolutely mortified as he calls my name.
I laugh at him, "KUNNN! It was fineee! We’re on the same wavelength! He even invited me out to a party at his frat house!"
"NO!" he says in horror.
"What do you mean no?! I have a new friend, this is so exciting! I'm finally going to have someone who doesn't nag me like you do, or flaunts their disgusting cutesy relationship in front of my face!"
"Dude! You are both messed up! I can already imagine the stunts you two are gonna pull. Plus, I don't think it's healthy for him to be around someone that could unknowingly be encouraging suicidal thoughts."
"Kun, he's not suicidal, he's terminally ill."
He full on snaps, "and you are taking this far too lightly!"
I reel back at the nerve I hit and raise my hands in surrender. "Geez. I get it. Dude, I don't actually want anyone to die."
"Good."
"Maybe except myself."
If we were in a cartoon, Kun would be animated with a bunch of bold, red symbols right now, if you know what I mean. He continuously barks at me and I profusely state that that was, indeed, just a joke.
"Don't go to that frat party," he warns.
"But Kun, I already promised."
"Consider this a promise meant to be broken then! Call him and tell him you changed your mind."
I think about his words for a second and decide to agree.
Of course, in order to call Donghyuck, I would first need Donghyuck’s number. Alas, I do not have his number. So what do I do? Go to the frat party to get his number. Duh.
The venue was a whole concoction of smells of sweat, alcohol, and what I could boldly assume to be marijuana, hopefully the legal kind. It didn't really help in my search that the place was so awfully congested and large, and lit under this ridiculous indigo light. Luckily, in my side quest for air, I found my way into the not-as-crowded kitchen and there I found this tipsy pretty boy.
"Hey there," he said to me.
"Are you a frat member?" I ask.
He leans by the counter and bobs his head around in a yes, I think, "Kim Jungwoo."
"No one asked. Have you seen Donghyuck?"
"Yahhh," he exhales a strong alcoholic scent, "he was out there playing beer pong without the beer. It was just po-"
I head back out to the sea of people, looking for a pingpong table. It wasn't that hard to find. I just followed the sound of cheering and people yelling 'chug, chug, chug,' and eventually found who I was looking for.
Donghyuck was there cheering with a bunch of dudes. He was wearing a hoodie again, but this time it was in a shade of blue. He seems to have run out of lollipops though.
"Donghyuck," I call to him loud enough and wave.
Him, as well as the guys around him, turn to me when they hear this. They make a deep, rising sound as Donghyuck walks up to me, "you're here."
I nod, "I said I would come."
"Cool. You want a drink?"
"Sure. You want a lollipop?"
He turns to me as we push through the crowd. He grabs my wrist as he leads us off, "why, do you have one?"
"No."
He was already turned away before I replied, but I like to think he chuckled at me when I said this.
It doesn't take long but the travel out of the crowd was pretty treacherous. We wind back to the kitchen and Donghyuck opens the fridge to hand me a beer. He gets himself a soda, it seems. 
And if you were wondering, pretty boy was no longer here.
Donghyuck opens the bottle for me then opens the soda for himself.
When he hands me the drink, I ask, "do you not drink alcohol?"
"Well, I'm on meds so, if I want to overdose, I could, but I'm trying not to disappoint anymore than I already do. That's like on my top 10 worst ways to die: dying a disappointment."
I huff, "hear hear," then take a swig of bear. I hiss.
Donghyuck examines me for a moment, then raises a brow at me, "dare you to chug it."
Without a second's thought, I go, "hah! You're on."
The task was not easy, but I had done it once before. I could take a whole bottle of beer, but more than that I’d start to get drunk. I tilt the bottle up, and try not to taste it as it rushes down my throat. I basically drink the pain away.
I hiss and hold the bottle upside down to show my victory.
Donghyuck seems both impressed and not all at once, "you're more compulsive than I am."
"Well, you gotta live on the edge when you know someone who has cancer."
Donghyuck releases a chuckle, it seems, a little harder than he expected to. He motions his head to the side, "follow me."
He brings us back to the sea of people. He grabs my wrist midway again. We eventually manage and make our way up a flight of stairs. We continue walking until he chooses one of the doors in the hall and opens it. I figure it's his room. He motions to his bed. I decide to sit down and he follows, placing his soda on his desk, sitting down on the desk chair, rolling it over in front of me.
In truth, it sinks in I should probably be pretty nervous in this scene. I was alone with a frat boy in a hoodie, who's scent I had a faint whiff of when we walked into his room. I faintly heard him lock the door on our way in too, only because it wasn't as loud up here. Now I was sitting on his bed in front of him.
What's more was I decided to wear a beige, floral dress to the party, clearly not getting the memo the dress code was itty-bitty, skimpy and tight. I looked like one of those painted-to-be Madonna girls who finds a bad boy to lose her virginity to. It was unintentional; I genuinely just liked this dress. Also, I don't really plan on losing my virginity to him.
Yet, I don't really feel nervous or scared. Not that I thought he couldn't take advantage of me if he tried. I have first hand experience of boy strength because of Kun. And he's taller than me, though, again, not that much. It wasn't that I was dumb enough to believe just because he was terminally ill, he couldn't possibly chose to do anything to me either. It's really kind of just how he has these moles on his lightly tanned face, how he has strong brows, albeit his soft expression, and how he always had moisturized lips. I just... felt like he wouldn't
Donghyuck tilts his head, "so?"
"So," I repeat.
For a moment, we say nothing.
I quickly remember, "oh, I need your number."
"My number?" he raises his brows and crosses his arms.
"Yeah, I promised Kun I would call you and tell you that I won't go to your frat party and I can't do that without your number."
He knits his brows. He opens his mouth and peeks his tongue out in the corner. He swivels in his chair and gets his phone from his pocket. He turns to his phone and asks, "what's your number?"
I begin to recite it by heart. He punches it down and calls it. I pull my phone out, seeing an unsaved number. I answer, "hello?"
There's echo and feedback. We both pull our phones away. I lower my volume.
"This is Lee Donghyuck," he says.
"Hi. I was calling to say I'm not going to your frat party."
He knits his brows, "why not?"
"Welp, my friend Kun thinks I might encourage some suicidal tendencies."
The playful glint that he had in his eyes falters. He hums and nods in agreement.
I continue, "anyway, I did my part for him now. Bye."
I pull my phone away and end the call. I begin to save his number.
Donghyuck watches me. He shakes his head and sighs, "you're crazy."
I turn to him and coo, "Aww, thank you. That means a lot, coming from you."
He chuckles, "So what? You have a crush on me or something?"
I raise my brows and scoff, "bold of you to assume. I say you're cool once and it inflates your flat head."
He breaks into a laugh, "hey, which one of us is in a stranger's room?"
"Nah, but you're not a stranger. We’ve shared four classes together. Plus, I've decided to make you a friend."
He purses his lips, "I don't want to be your friend though."
"Why not? You like dark humor and self-depreciating jokes, so do I. You even invited me to your stinky frat house."
Donghyuck crosses his arms as he chuckles. He spins on his chair while replying, "and you said yes."
"I literally just covered that I want to befriend you because we're alike. I'm kind of up to here with Kun's nagging," I raise an arm all the way up. I bring my arm down to raise a finger, "plus, Jaemin and Sana make out a lot."
He raises a brow, "you're friends with Na Jaemin?"
"Where do you think I found out you had cancer?"
He sniffles, "hmm... so you were asking around about me?"
I roll my eyes, "what part of wanting to befriend you did you not understand?"
He does not respond to this. He continues to spin on his chair. 
A moment passes, when he asks "why not kick them to the curb?"
"My friends.”
“Since you hate them so much.”
“Well, then what? Be loner?"
He halts his spinning to raise his brows at me expectantly. 
I shake my head, "I might not be the biggest people person but I don't actually want to be alone. It’s fun when I can make jokes and people don’t look at me like I’m crazy. Also, I don't like eating by myself. It makes me both look and feel pathetic."
He hums, "that's why I joined the frat."
I raise a hand, "point proven."
"How'd you befriend Jaemin though? That dude only hangs out with his girlfriend."
I snort, "he sucks at math. I like math. I looked for a study buddy on the school website, someone to help me with my other subjects. In return I’d help them with their math. Yeah. Jaemin helps me and I help him, plus his girlfriend Sana's in lit, so we all help each other out. Other than that, it’s been me and Kun since forever."
"I'm guessing he doesn't help you with your homework."
"He does, but he's just too smart for his own good, and I can't vibe with him if it's outside numbers, you know. It's an insult how he can't dumb down to my level when we talk about anything else."
"He's a math major too?"
I nod, "the psychopath is double majoring in statistics and economics, just cause he can. It seems fun, but I would like to graduate without aging 100 years, thank you very much."
"You two seem very close," he leans on his legs and moves left and right on his chair, "considering you still did what he asked you even though he didn't want you to come to my party."
I nod, "Yeah. He's one of the few people that can actually tolerate me, plus, I'm pretty sure my mom likes him better than her own flesh and blood in the son-I've-never-had shtick. Ya feel me?"
He hums, "childhood friends?"
"Worse, our moms are childhood friends. I basically have no say in this friendship."
He lets out an airy chuckle.
He spins around again for a minute. I close my contact list with my new log named 'DUNGHYUHAHA'. I turn to him then ask, "what about you? What's your deal? And why'd you invite me?"
He stops moving. He then turns to me, licking his lips. He straightens in his chair and rests his elbows on his thighs. "Well," he looks to the side, "you're right. We're pretty similar."
He leans back, "to be completely honest with you,” he chuckles, “your humor is refreshing. People around me are normally too scared to even be near me, in fear of breaking me or something. It’s why I stopped making friends a long time ago. The only reason why I'm in the frat is because most of the dudes here are too drunk for personal relationships, or too horny to real with anyone. They could care less about me, y'know, minus the times they visit me in the hospital. It’s a nice mix for me."
He looks off to a pile of clothes in his room, “Sorry about the mess in my room. It’s normally just me and my cousin here, no cute girls.”
I feel my cheeks burn a bit at the insinuation.
Donghyuck realizes this then clears his throat, changing the subject, “Yuta’s another reason why I can stay here too. He’s in med, and was tasked with the side job of making sure I stay alive.”
I shrug, “Free XP.”
He chuckles, “sure.”
“And don’t worry about the mess. I live alone and yet my dorm looks like two frat boys live in it too.”
“Ya,” he points, “that’s offensive.”
We share a chuckle. He sighs, turning to me with a soft expression. He purses his lips, “I like being be friends with someone who looks at me like I'm a walking handicap. Like trust me, I think know better than anyone where you're coming from, but I'm not like those sorry assholes whose lives are literally on the line."
He looks at me silently for a moment, as if to measure my reaction on what he said. I pout and ask, "did another cancer patient steal your soup or something? Is that why they're an asshole?"
He snorts and rolls his eyes. The tension in his shoulders relax slightly, "yeah, no, this dude that I sometimes share rooms with always got extra dessert because he supposedly had only one more month to live or some shit. They say that about him every month though. It's pretty sus."
We share a laugh. It wasn't too hard but it was enough to melt the remaining tension in the air.
"I'd be pretty pissed too if I had cancer and didn't get extra dessert."
I claps his hand and points at me, "Right? The world is so cruel."
From then on, I began to see Donghyuck a lot more.
I tried not to mix oil with water, since Kun was still pretty hesitant about me spreading my disease to him, which is funny, cause aside from skipping exercises, I'm as healthy as a horse. As much as possible, I tried not to schedule the two of them together, just for now. Kun was normally too busy to have an opening with Donghyuck and I anyway.
Normally, I would hang out with Donghyuck whenever I had vacancies without Kun, which meant we fully went wildin'. It started out as a running gag between us, but we began to take advantage of his cancer to get discounts whenever we could. We had to play it up to get a reaction though, as in make him look more sick.. It was then that I realized Donghyuck put on lip balm to mask the paleness of his lips. He was a bit embarrassed about it at first, but he eventually grew comfortable about it around me.
I mean, think not about what cancer has done to you, but what cancer can do for you. Admittedly though, there were times we mutually began to feel bad for our victim and just bought whatever it was we wanted.
On this particularly balmy afternoon, we decided to go to this supposedly popular restaurant by the bay. I had never heard of it before though, and neither of us had gone here. It made for a perfect target cause our rule is to hit the place once, hit it hard, and never to show up there again. I'm talking make them pity Donghyuck so much they pay us for eating there.
Anyway the name of the place was Blue Lagoon. Talk about SpongeBob rip off, right?
"Are you going to Jaemin's birthday party?" I ask as he eats his lobster dish.
He shakes his head as he just devours his plate, "absolutely not."
"Why not? Isn't your entire section going to come?"
"Yeah and they're all going to walk on eggshells around me. I told Jaemin thanks but I'd rather die than have our class make it weird for me."
"Yikes, they probably had a near death experience of their own when you told them that."
Donghyuck chuckles, "tell me about it."
I continue with eating my food.
He asks, "are you?"
I disagree, “Kun's mom is visiting that weekend."
He nods knowingly.
"Is everything alright for you two so far?" a waitress asks us as she approaches our table. We both turn to her and smile, "yeah, so far so good."
"As good as a cancer patient can get," Donghyuck says as he stuffs his face with garlic bread. He begins to choke on it slightly. I give him a look and hand him a glass of water, "ewww, just because you’re dying doesn't mean you'll die if you get any manners."
Donghyuck takes the glass from me, downing the bread with a big gulp, "apologies."
I turn back to the waitress. She looks like she just saw a two headed dragon. She forces a smile, "Right! I came here to tell you that your food is on the house and that the owner of the restaurant wants to give you both some dessert for being so enthusiastic about the place."
Donghyuck and I cheer, sharing a fist bump. He smiles, "that's great. Thank you."
"You're absolutely welcome sir. She would like to request a photo to put to our customer board as well. Would that be alright?"
We give each other a look and wind up nodding. We turn back to the lady as I answer, "that's fine."
"Great. Would you be needing anything else?" she asks, turning to the both of us.
Donghyuck takes another bite of his food before answering, "A cure for cancer?"
The woman tries to suppress her eyes from widening. She doesn't hide the minuscule reaction though.
"I'm kidding," Donghyuck chuckles, "you've done a lot to humor us. Thank you."
The woman releases a shaky breath and smiles, "of course, you both have a nice meal."
On the train ride back to our dorms, we stand in the crowd of passengers and wind up pretty close because of this. In this context, Donghyuck just looks like your average college student, with his lip balm and his hoodies. You would never know he was sick if he doesn't tell you himself.
Other than the hidden paling of his lips, he remedied by lip balm, and the body pain that springs up, he said he didn’t really have any other side effects. 
I watch him lick his lips and remember how he told me I was right about the lollipops. Although it comforted him because he would get lollipops after his treatments as a kid, he said he should lay off them, lest he add another thing to his list of things to torture his mom. He didn’t want to beat cancer just to deal with diabetes.
I notice that his hoodie has a loose thread on it. I pick it off then ask, "how many hoodies do you have?"
He doesn't seem to notice me as he's staring off into the distance. With how I'm basically a few inches away from kissing him, the only reason why he wouldn't hear me is if he was wearing earphones. From beyond the hood he had on his head, and the hair covering his ears, there I saw the pod in his hearing shell.
I tap his face. He whips his head to me in surprise. His eyes were slightly wide, brows slightly high, and lips slightly parted.
I ask again, "how many hoodies do you have?"
His eyes dart from my lips to my eyes, "30."
I raise my brows then quickly knit them, "30?"
He watches my lips again. His own curve upward into a smile. He shrugs lightly, "cancer perks."
When the train stops at one station, a lot of passengers go down, giving Donghyuck and I newfound ample room between us. He takes this opportunity to remove his ear pods. I take this opportunity to hand him a lollipop, out of courtesy.
He looks at it for a moment, “didn’t you say this was bad for me?”
"Yeah, but I won it in class for being a teacher's pet. It’s special, like you."
He chuckles, turning to it and taking it from me, "what subject?"
"Statistics. Duh. Mr. Suh loves me."
"I'm sure he does."
He opens it and eats it. He shoves the wrapper into his pocket. He turns back to the distance outside the window. I however keep my eyes on him, "It's your favorite flavor, right? Watermelon."
He turns back to me. He doesn't say anything in reply. That's when I noticed his ears turned pink.
I can't help but chuckle and roll my eyes teasingly. My chest flutters at his reaction, "don't flutter too much. I only know cause you smell like it."
His tongue fiddles with the candy in his mouth. He turns to his feet. He looked like he was about to say something, but doesn't as then the train arrives at the next station and the space begins to get a little tight again.
I scooch over close to him again. This time the stick in his mouth was threatening to poke my face.
Donghyuck catches the plastic in his fingers, moves it to the side of his mouth, then cuts the rod with his teeth in one go. He then casually brings the plastic into his pocket. I gawk at him, "how'd you do that?"
He raises his brows, while he plays with the ball of candy in his mouth, "experience."
I make a face at him. 
He winks. 
I lightly punch his stomach.
I panic when he makes a pained sound.
He suddenly chuckles, “my cancer is on the other side.”
I punch him again, harder, only this time on his shoulder.
"You and Donghyuck are getting pretty serious," Kun says as he pays for our convenience store donuts. I grab my share and narrow my eyes, "you say that as if we're dating."
"Well, you talk about him like you like him."
"I do like him."
Kun takes a bite of his donut, "romantically?"
I raise my upper lip at him, "the way I like you, moron."
He chews on his snack and swallows. For a moment, there is an pause between us. Probably not the best choice of word when your best friend and you tried dating in high school. It feels slightly awkward but Kun speaks up through it, "you're treading dangerous waters."
"Kun-"
"No,” he sighs, “just stop and actually listen to me for a moment. I'm not saying you should stop hanging out with him because... because... you might get hurt if he dies,” he makes a pained expression, ”but I'm saying you should understand what you're getting yourself into."
I turn to him and take in his expression, "Kun."
"Don't Kun me," he quips coldly, "you’ve always been like this. You enjoy the thrill of diving head first into everything, but for once, just stop, look, and listen. Not for me, not for Donghyuck, but for yourself. You're going to get badly hurt if you keep running with this."
"So...” an idea clicks in my head, “I should walk."
Kun clicks his tongue, "I swear to g-"
"No. I'm being serious Kun," I nod, "I'll walk, slowly."
And so I tell Donghyuck this when I get to our shared chemistry class.
"You're going to walk slowly with me?" he questions while I swap the pens I was using to build my new page of notes on metal elements.
When I turn to him, I find his eyes glued on my notes, "yeah."
He leans back in his chair, "you should just stop hanging out with me, especially if it gets too much."
I pull back at this statement, not enjoying how he said this as simple as the jokes we crack each other. I quip back, "I'm no wimp."
He chuckles dryly, "It's not about being a wimp," he licks his canine, "it's about me not wanting you to remember me that way anyway."
I scowl, "what? Being annoying and condescending? I'm pretty sure you're going to have to revamp your entire personality for me to remember you any other way, Hyuck."
He doesn't reply and scratches his nose.
Mr. Wong asks what brass is. I raise my hand when no one wants to answer, "an alloy." He sings me a quick praise and continues with the lesson.
Donghyuck chuckles and crosses his arms, "show off."
I smile back at him and turn back to my notes, "if you're jealous, be reborn as a smarter guy. You're pretty close to the end anyway."
He watches me write for a moment. I doodle a beaker on the side of my notebook. I can feel his hand rising up with the to mess up my writing. Without looking, I threaten, "if you even think of messing up my notes, I'm bringing you straight to the after life."
He chuckles, "you might regret that," he rests his head on his hand, "but I hope you won't."
I finally turn back to him, "regret getting my revenge?"
"Joking about the time I have left." He doesn't really give me a chance to retort when he casually asks, "could you help me with my stats too?"
I turn to him and grin, thinking about the more activities I can do in my favorite subject, "absolutely!"
He pulls back in surprise and breaks into a laugh, "wow, and you called me a nerd."
"Again, that's on you for taking it as an insult."
He shakes his head in disagreement and smirks.
"Do you want to join our study group. We usually meet up every Wednesday morning cause it’s the time we’re all free."
"Hmmm, I don't think I can join at that time. Also I actually have this homework due tomorrow. I don't think I can wait all the way to next Wednesday."
"Oh, well, you can join us at lunch! I’ll help you then." I say in a cheery tone.
He looks at me for a moment, "you're finally letting me meet mama Kun?"
"He's not that bad. I’m kinda just dramatic."
"You? Dramatic? Pssh, never."
I shove him playfully. He gives me a look and smiles, "okay, but if he gives me shit for eating cookies for lunch, I'm leaving."
I hiss, "I'll tell him to shut it."
He chuckles.
When we get to lunch, Kun is as formal as ever, shaking Donghyuck's hand and offering half of his homemade sandwiches to him. Donghyuck declines but I readily ask for it.
Kun raises a brow, "I literally made you a whole sandwich and you still want to cheat me. You have packed berries!"
"What's your point? You were willing to give up the half to Hyuck, and he doesn't want it, so I am stepping up for him." I then try to get the other half from him.
He blocks my move by raising his elbow and clicks his tongue, "you are unmerciful. He only has cookies, which is why I offered."
"And I only have one chicken sandwich. You have a beef stroganoff."
Kun continues to swat me away, but knowing it wouldn't last long, I persevere. I eventually get my way and the half of the sandwich. I immediately take a bite of it and butt my head to Kun’s shoulder, "thanks, Kunnie."
He sighs and nods his head, "whatever."
"You can get half of my chicken sandwich."
"I don't want a chicken sandwich, which is why I made myself a beef stroganoff," he snips.
I take another bite of the half I stole from him and nod, "fine, here, you can have it back."
He eyes me, "mmm, how thoughtful of you."
"You're welcome."
At this point, Donghyuck finished his third cookie while watching.
I turn to him, quickly remembering, “oh right!” I take a bite of my sandwich and pull out my statistics notebook. I then get up and sit next to him. He pulls out his homework and I open my notes, showing him an example I had.
Donghyuck’s eyes widen, “dang, your notes look like a whole text book.”
I break into a wide smile as I turn from his notebook to mine, “thank you. Honestly, I only used to work on my writing to one-up Kun, but now it’s become a passion of mine.”
“I can see that,” Donghyuck says.
I take a bite of my sandwich and point, “this is easy.” I chew and swallow, “I’ll try what I do with Jaemin and tell you the answer so you can work for it.”
“Wait,” Donghyuck turns to me in astonishment, “you already have the answer for this?” 
I shake my head, “like I said, it’s easy.”
“I solve faster than her mentally,” Kun notes, making me chide, “no one asked Kun.”
I finish my sandwich just about the same time Donghyuck finishes his homework.
"Ah, Donghyuck," Kun says, "I hear your nickname is full sun."
Donghyuck looks bewildered. His mouth opens and he slowly stutters, "how... do you know that?"
"I mentioned you to one of my patient-friends and he said you did treatment in the place I volunteer at. "
I raise my brows, "oh, you do treatment in St. John's? I've never seen you there before."
Kun snorts, "you act as if you volunteer regularly."
"I volunteer!"
"Once in a blue moon."
"Volunteering is volunteering, Qian Kun."
"Yeah, but I volunteer regularly and still don't expect to know everyone in the hospital. Besides, not every patient is signed up for the NCIT partnership integration."
I catch Donghyuck's uncomfortable look and shake my head, "hey, don't worry. He didn't start volunteering because of you or anything. He used to be in the boy scouts and volunteers for fun."
"I'm still in the boy scouts," he notes.
"And so every summer I am reminded by your troll children."
"Ya! I don't you not to call them that."
"And I said not to take it personally cause I think all children are trolls!” I turn to Donghyuck, “did you know children think it’s okay to sneeze in front of people’s faces?”
Kun looks ready to pick a fight, “Jisung did that on accident one time cause he had a cold!”
I roll my eyes and revert he conversation back to the original topic. "What was your nickname again?" I ask Donghyuck.
Kun answers, carefully, "full sun, right?"
Donghyuck scratches his nape, "Haechan. It means full sun."
I smile from ear to ear, "that's so cute!” I place a hand on my chest, “I for one believe I deserve to be called Haechan as well for the sunshine I spread through my sarcasm."
I prop my elbows on the table. Kun goes out of his way to shove them off. I glare at him. He looks away and pretends nothing happened. He turns to Donghyuck, "when you don’t need help with your homework, do you normally eat lunch with your frat brothers?"
Donghyuck cleans his mouth with his tongue and begins to nod, "sometimes. Most times it's just me."
I frown, "heyyyy, you can always eat with us if you're alone."
He chuckles, "thanks but unlike you, I like to eat alone sometimes."
"Yeah, but I’m saying you don't have to, okay?"
Kun looks at me and smiles softly. Donghyuck looks between us and nods, a smile breaking onto his lips, "thanks."
From then on, Donghyuck began to eat with us every lunch. He seemed to grow a lot more comfortable around Kun and removed the initial filter he had with him, matching up to my humor again. Kun did nothing but helplessly laugh it off. 
Eventually, the three of us (four, couniting Jaemin; five, counting Sana) found a comfortable rhythm between us.
It was why I immediately texted him when I didn't see him in class today. At first, I didn't really think much of it, even when he didn't reply. But when I told Kun about it and he gave me that warry mom look he has, I couldn’t shake the worry that crept up my spine.
This was why I was so distracted while I worked on my homework alone in my dorm later that day.
Not even doing math with my favorite song kept me from thinking of Donghyuck. So when Rose by D.O got interrupted by a text notification, I practically jumped.
From DUNGHYUHAHA: slr. i had a treatment schedule today
I let out a breath of relief after reading it. I quickly reply back.
To DUNGHYUHAHA: it's ok! i was just wondering. i only began to worry when kun gave me that worried look he always has
It takes him a moment to reply.
From DUNGHYUHAHA: dont worry about me
From DUNGHYUHAHA: im called haechan because im as powerful as the sun  😎
I break into a smile and reply quickly.
To DUNGHYUHAHA: absolutely
I contemplate for a moment, typing then erasing my message multiple times. I eventually decide to say it anyway.
To DUNGHYUHAHA: i don't know if you'll like this but
To DUNGHYUHAHA: oh gosh i dont even know how to say it
From DUNGHYUHAHA: i knew it, ur in lov w me haha
To DUNGHYUHAHA: no
To DUNGHYUHAHA: like
To DUNGHYUHAHA: i want to send you virtual encouragement
To DUNGHYUHAHA: like
To DUNGHYUHAHA: i wanna tell you u can do it n stuff
To DUNGHYUHAHA: yeah
To DUNGHYUHAHA: i probably shouldn't have. sorry hyuck
When he doesn't reply, I begin to feel bad and really, really stupid. My heart practically leaps when I hear a notification from my phone.
From DUNGHYUHAHA: thank you
The next time I got to hang out with him, we went to the supermarket because I had to restock on my things. I normally did this with Kun but I was with Donghyuck and we didn't really have anything else to do, he agreed we could do my groceries together.
I wash pushing the cart. Donghyuck was walking in front of me, attention alternating from his phone to where he was walking.
When we pass some home decorations and fake flowers, I reach out for a plastic sunflower petal and tell Donghyuck, “You know I really like getting flowers because the first time I did, there was chocolate hidden in the middle.”
Donghyuck, who had been randomly documenting our trip, raised his phone facing me. He notes as he takes a photo, “got it, flowers.” I promptly pose. With how he held his phone up, I found that Donghyuck had a lollipop wrapper pressed between his transparent phone case.
I break into a smile, “you save your lollipop wrappers?”
He pulls his phone down then turns to me with knit brows, “what?”
“Your phone case?”
He turns to his phone case. His jaw drops and he wipes his lips, accidentally smearing the balm. He fixes it and turns to me, “ah... no, just the one you gave me.”
He looks away but I catch the red on his face. I break into a smile and grip the cart tightly, “I must be special huh?”
“Shut up, you know you are,” he mutters.
I feel my own cheeks burn and I place a hand on my face.
He clears his throat, changing the subject, “I...” he drags out turning back to me, “have always wanted to name my daughter after a flower.”
I turn to him as he explains, “all the people I’ve met with flower names are so sweet and kind, so...”
I simply nod and he looks around frantically. He clears his throat again, “I know I probably won’t get to be a dad though.”
“Hey,” I call, “you never know. You said you were responding well to the chemo.”
He nods, “yeah, but they’ve been saying that for a while and it keep coming back.” He places a hand on his side, “I barely have a liver left.”
“Well, if you have the energy to annoy me, I think it’ll only be time before cancer calls it quits.”
We make our way deeper into the place, winding into the baking aisle.
He snorts, "I can see why you do this with Kun. You clearly have no idea what you're doing, nor any control for that matter."
"Hey," I say as I get some dark baking chocolate and put it in my cart, "Kun actually encourages me to channel my energy into something productive. Doing the groceries is just that, rather than... say, encouraging someone's implicit suicidal tendencies."
He chuckles, "ouch, you could just say he doesn't like me nor you hanging out with me."
I shake my head and push my cart, "he likes you, Hyuck, he really just doesn't like my sense of humor."
He nods and looks at some of the products on the shelf, "agreeably, you can be pretty dry."
"You know, I would kill you if I knew you weren't already dying."
He makes a challenging face, "ooh, I just hope a Karen hears you and tells you off. That would literally add 10 years to my life."
I watch his playful expression. I casually agree, "let's go look for a Karen then."
Donghyuck and I make it to the other aisle when he realizes what I just said. He was midway in getting a box of corn flakes when he froze. I ignore this for the most part, but then he suddenly speaks up, "don't... don’t do that."
I turn to him and raise my brows. For a moment, I think of playing dumb, but I decide against it, "but I like being around you."
His brows twitch. He places the cereal box back. 
This is the perfect time to note that today was one of the rare days he wasn't wearing a hoodie. He was in a grey shirt with the university logo on it. It was in that split second he wanted to hide his hands in his hoodie pocket, but as he had none, he clenched his fists instead. "We should stop hanging out with each other."
I immediately shake my head, "Sorry no refunds."
Donghyuck expression contorts, "I'm being serious right now." 
"I'm being serious too.” I turn to him, unable to mask the hurt in my face, “I would like to be around you for as long as I can no matter what, okay?"
He shakes his head. He begins to step back, "you don't understand. If you saw my friend who went bald because of the chemo, you wouldn't want to be with me."
"Donghyuck," I call, and walk over to him. He raises a hand, making me stop. I shake my head, "I told you, I want to walk with you... slowly. Please walk with me too."
"But..." he whispers, "you can't fall in love with me... not when I’ve fallen already." The second part of his sentence was too faint for me to distinguish.
I sigh, only having one part of his statement, "you know, at this point, you should know that I have a knack for doing the exact opposite of what I'm told. I think you should ask me with your whole chest to fall in love with you, so that I don't do it."
He grabs my hand and looks me in the eyes, muttering softly, "please fall madly and desperately in love with me too."
My breath hitches. My palms get clammy. My heart races. I am so shocked I nearly don't realize that he said, "too?"
He looks defeated. He releases me and covers his ears. His face begins to redden. He steps back again and he exhales, "I have to go."
He turns about and begins to jog away. I watch in shock but find my legs instantly running after him. A thousand things start playing in my head, but one thing was clear to me, I couldn't let him get away because I knew it wouldn't ever be the same between us if I did.
In my panic, I grab him and lock my arms around his torso. My heart was racing as we froze in the middle of a soup aisle. I started feeling out of breath, "wait, please don't leave me."
He calls my name in desperation.
"Just walk with me, please," I mutter.
He grabs my hands in front of him, "I already tripped and fell."
"Then get up and walk with me... until the end please."
"Excuse me, can you please move," a stern voice from our right calls impatiently. We immediately break away and I make sure to drag Donghyuck to our cart. I find that he was wiping away his tears. I examine his posture, thinking if people had clouds over them, his would be raining.
I note the grumble of the woman who passed us and crack a smile, "see, 10 more years."
Donghyuck wipes his eyes and pipes up softly, "I don't have ten more years."
I grab his hand, urging him to look me in the eye, "Donghyuck."
He releases a breath, "this is why I always wear hoodies. I tried something different cause... you make me want to try new things, but... this sucks..."
"Haechan..."
This makes him turn to me.
He wipes his face with his wrist, “You can probably tell I keep that wrapper because I like you, right?”
“Hyuck, I like-”
“Don’t say that. There’s no point in it when my days our numbered.”
"It's knowing our days are numbered that makes time precious. Just let me be part of whatever time you have left."
I bring my arms around him, glad he doesn’t reject it. I place my hands on his head, "I'll be your hoodie for now, okay?"
He only stands there for a moment, but then he wraps his arms around me and sighs.
A lot of things were going through Donghyuck's head after this happened, and you might be surprised to know most of them lead to Kun. Things between everyone was fairly normal after the supermarket incident, but nothing was directly addressed so there was something just hanging up in the air.
On one of Donghyuck’s treatment, he got to see Rose who had been restricted to a wheelchair and lost all her hair but still smiled from ear to ear.
"Your mom has work today?" Rose asks.
Donghyuck turned to her as she finishes her treatment. She turns her wheelchair to him as he smiles, "yeah, she has an emergency at work."
Rose nods, "my mom has work today too. I'm glad you're here today."
"Me too, Rose."
She was another reason why Donghyuck like flower names.
Rose gasps in excitement, "Oh, I don't think I've ever introduced you my newest boyfriend because you're appointments are usually in the morning and he comes by after his classes."
The nurses laugh at this, not in a mocking way, but in adoration. He nods at the 13 year old, although he knew that she didn't really have a boyfriend and this was most definitely another nurse or the volunteer she thought was cute.
"What the new guy's name?"
"Qian Kun," she smiles softly.
"Kun?" he asks, "does he go to NCIT?"
"He does! Is that your school too? I keep forgetting."
"Yeah, he's actually a friend of mine. We eat lunch together."
She makes a sound, "wah! Consider me jealous, oppa." She pouts.
"Ya, Rose. I was your first boyfriend, why don't you remember I go to NCIT?"
"Sorry oppa," she says, "we already broke up though."
"Still, I'm your first love."
She gives a cute look, "sorry."
The nurses laugh again. The nurse who worked on Rose turns to him, "tough luck, kid."
Donghyuck chuckles then sighs, "are you going to go your new boyfriend today?"
"Yeah. I just have to wait for nurse Minseo to bring me down."
The nurse working on Donghyuck told him he was done with his treatment. Donghyuck stand and shakes his head, "I'll take you."
"Really?" she beams, "yay!"
Donghyuck gently pushes Rose down the hallway. They get into a lift then make their way down. When they reach the hospital's outside garden, Donghyuck is immediately faced with a bunch of teenagers with different sorts of patients. It’s slightly overwhelming for him, since he normally sees the place before dawn when is nearly empty for his appointments. This was the only time his mom was available, so when she wasn't with him, Donghyuck opted to treatment after class. No point in going to the hospital so early.
It doesn't take too long for Rose to pick out her boyfriend. "There," she points and giggles. Donghyuck sees him playing guitar to a group of patients and heads over.
Once they get there, Kun was seemingly singing the last verse of what felt like a Chinese love song. He couldn't actually tell, as he did not speak Chinese.
The crowd applaud. Donghyuck pushes Rose closer to Kun. When Kun notices them, he gives a surprised smile as he stands from the park bench he was sat on, "Hyuck! Rose! Fancy seeing you here together."
"Ya, I’m her first love,” Donghyuck says.
Rose shakes her hand, “you’re my boyfriend now, oppa.”
Kun chuckles, “one of the many.”
“Consider me impressed yet again by your many talents, Qian,” Donghyuck states.
Kun smiles softly and bows, pushing the guitar he had strapped on behind him.
"He's just perfect, isn't he?" Rose swoons.
“Yeah,” Donghyuck says, letting the two of them catch up. He decides to wait for Kun and head back to campus together.
On their walk back, Kun asks, "Now that I think about it, how are you living in a frat house?"
Donghyuck understands what he means, "My parents house isn't actually that far from here, which is why my parents even let me go to college in the first place. And my Aunt's stepson, Yuta, is actually a frat brother. He's also a almost a doctor and my roommate, so I'm his responsibility on top of residency. Fun right?"
Kun watches as Donghyuck kicks a rock, "He has to babysit me all cause I want to experience a normal college life."
"I'm sure he doesn't think of it that way, much like I don't think of you any less of a friend, though I worry for you."
He chuckles dryly, "I don't want anyone to worry about me though."
Kun smiles, "I don't worry for you anymore than I worry for our mutual dark humor loving friend."
Donghyuck feels his breath hitch, "speaking of...” he turns to his shoes, “I've been thinking about her a lot."
Kun nods, "when you hang with her as much as you do, I would be shocked if you didn't."
Donghyuck looks at his fond expression, knowing it was because of her that he looked this way. "You still like her, right?"
Kun turns to him, expression dropping.
"She told me you dated in high school but broke it off because you both thought you worked better as friends."
Kun sighs and chuckles, "Yes."
Donghyuck watches Kun's face. Kun realizes his confusion and clarifies, "I mean yes, it was a mutual decision. You know how she gets, how she acts on impulse from time to time and has no filter. She's just such an adrenaline junkie that I can't keep up." Kun shakes his head and then purses his lips, "and yes too. I... think there will always be a small part of me that likes her. She's my weakness, more because she and I literally grew up with each other, I think."
Kun looks at Donghyuck's deflated expression. He slaps a hand on his shoulder, "but I know she likes you, and I know you know it too, Hyuck, as much as I know you like her back."
Donghyuck chuckles bitterly, thinking this guy truly was truly everything you could ever want to have and be. Kind, understanding, patient, a model of health. No way he could ever match up to Kun.
"It's pointless though. I'm sure you understand that, since you told her to slowly walk with me."
He pulls back, "Dude, I never told her to walk with you. I told her to understand what she was getting herself into. She came to that herself."
Donghyuck knits his brows softly upon hearing that.
Kun chuckles, "do what you must with that information. I'll be here, for both of you."
From DUNGHYUHAHA: do you want to go to a frat party with me?
From DUNGHYUHAHA: also did you change my contact name yet?
To DUNGHYUHAHA: yes and no respectively
From DUNGHYUHAHA: 🙄
From DUNGHYUHAHA: pick you up at 6
I hear a knock on my door. I open it and I see Donghyuck holding flowers and wearing a pink hoodie under a suit jacket. His eyes scan me as he softly says, "Hi."
"Flowers?"
He smiles, "Irises, no chocolate in the middle though. I’m on a budget.”
I chuckle as he hands it to me, “It means hope, as I was hoping to tell you something important tonight."
I smile and get the bouquet from him, "well were you hoping to say it before or after I put these in a vase?"
"During?" he mutters.
I nod and invite him in, "leave your shoes off by the door."
"Yes mom," he says like every other time he's been in my place and taken off his shoes.
I roll my eyes as I give the irises a smell.
"You look really good. Maroon is definitely your color."
I turn to him and raise a brow, "you told me that when I wore grey sweatpants. I'm honestly a little upset I get the same reaction for dolling up in a cute lil dress."
I head to the kitchen of my tiny dorm.
"Trust me, words can't explain how immaculate you look," Donghyuck says as I grab one of my pitchers with left over orange juice and give it a rinse.
I chuckle and feel my cheeks burn, "that's more like it." I place the irises in the pitcher and prop it by the window sill.
Donghyuck's eyes examine the room and he lets out a soft chuckle, "I still don't understand how someone with perfect notes-- color coordinated, lined and bulleted and all, has such a mess of a dorm room."
I point at him and pout, "hey! What's in here," I bring my pointer and middle finger to my temple and tap it, "is far more important than what's" I motion to the general surrounding, "out here. I'm pretty sure I would be go crazy if I didn't do my notes like that."
"I thought you were already crazy though?"
I cross my arms, "I'm starting to think you don't like me."
Donghyuck chuckles and steps forward, "believe me," he pushes me back, "that's the furthest from the truth."
I fumble back and hit the kitchen counter. I make an ungraceful sound on my way. It snaps Donghyuck out of his trance, it seems, as he reaches out to keep me steady, "sorry, sorry. I don't know what got over me."
"Hopefully something good," I mutter.
After a moment passes, Donghyuck looks me in the eye and releases a breath, "Do you still want to try this with me?"
I raise my brows, watching as his soft lips quiver. 
He breathes in deeply then leans in and places a kiss on my lips. It lasts for two seconds before he pulls away to give me an embrace. He crouches down so he could rest his head on my shoulder. His arms around me hold me tightly in place, "I want to walk with you slowly, while holding your hand, while laughing with you, while crying. I want to kiss you. I want to hold you. I want to call you baby. I want to spend the rest of my life with you-" 
The initial shock that prevented me from moving wears off and I finally hug him back. We adjust in the embrace as he whispers, "-no matter how long or short is left."
My lips part and I quietly say, "You might regret that if you end up living to be a hundred."
"A hundred years of torment sounds good as long as its by you."
"Dude, I do not pray for your soul everyday just to have you go to hell on my watch."
Donghyuck pulls away with a chuckle, "you pray for my soul?"
I nod, "I pray... that if I can't have you for a hundred years, then at least you'll live somewhere you don't ever have to hurt again."
Donghyuck knits his brows at that. I bring my hands up to cup his cheeks, "but to answer question: yes. I want to walk with you. Yes as long as pi."
He smiles, "I'm glad you called me nerd."
"I'm glad you called me nerd."
"... can I kiss you longer this time?"
I nod.
He licks his lips and leans down, pressing his lips on mine. It’s just as thought as I’ve always imagined them to be. My entire body ignites into warmth and electricity. My hands run down his nape and rest by his shoulders. His hands pull me in by my waist.
We savor the warmth between us for a good while. He pushes me back against my counter and bring his hands down my thighs. His hands are burning hot against my exposed skin. He pulls away to mutter, "did I tell you you look so sexy in this dress- in any dress- in anything?"
I kiss him back after scolding, "stop talking." Donghyuck pushes closer to me, bringing me up my counter, finding himself in between my legs. I wrap them around his waist. I begin to nip at his lower lip. He lets out a sound that makes my stomach swirl.
I dig my thumbs into his coat collar and push it down. He readily throws his coat off, then catches my head in his hands.
He pulls away and begins to kiss my neck.
I pant, "my makeup is ruined."
“We’re not going to the party anymore,” he mutters quickly as he sucks on my skin.
I moan and pull him even closer to me, “good.”
Donghyuck brings his hands down by the hem of my skirt. He slowly brings his hands up, making goosebumps form on my skin. I curl my toes up and whisper, "Donghyuck."
He catches his lips in mine again. My hands fiddle with the end of his hoodie. My hands begin to find the bare skin on his torso. His hands skip all the way back up to my waist.
I break away this time to kiss his temple, airily telling him, "I want you to take this off." I pull his hoodie up by its hem gently. Donghyuck doesn't waste time and rips it off of him, throwing it off to the side with his coat. He doesn't really give me an opportunity to bask in his beauty, but I do catch the muscle build of his arms and the firmness of is stomach.
I can't really complain when his lips meet mine again.
We continue like this for a long while. It's nice, but I want more.
"Donghyuck," I say, pulling away, only to have him kiss me again. He hums and pecks at my lips intermittently. I hold his head in my hands, "I want to move to my bedroom."
Again, he leans in to kiss me, then grabs my hand, leading me off into the bedroom. He gets on my bed and pulls me up close to him. In this moment, I see my lipstick was smeared all over his face. He looked dazed and so, so, pretty though. 
I'm sure I looked like a with all the colors on my face smeared around but I really couldn't bring myself to care right now. And it was as if he heard my thought that he suddenly spoke up, “you’re so beautiful.”
My stomach swirls as he kisses my neck quickly. He rests on his knees as I sit down next to him. He brings his hands back to my face and begins kissing my lips again.
We climb up to my bed. I wind up lying on my back. He hovers atop me with his resting by my right.
I push him away and he flutters his eyes open. I whisper his name again. He pushes my hair back and nods, "yes?"
"Help me take my dress off."
"Baby," he calls, making my stomach drop and burst into butterflies, "I know where this is heading.”
I feel my cheeks burn so I joke, “you don’t have to flex you’ve been with other women before me.”
He sighs in defeat, “You know that’s not what I mean.”
I kiss him again and he breaks away, “we don't have to do anything."
I nibble the inside of my lower lip, "but I want to."
"I still have time, I promise."
He begins to kiss me softly. I kiss him back but then push him off, all the way off, making him topple over on his back. I take this opportunity to climb on top of him, "it's not about time... it's about me wanting you, needing you, now."
Donghyuck lets out a moan as I move on him. He grabs my hips and looks a warning look, "baby please. Don't you want your first time to be more special? I can plan it so it'll be more memorable."
"Anything with you is memorable in and of itself, Hyuck."
Donghyuck groans, "you're really making this hard."
"More ways than one," I squeak softly.
Donghyuck props himself up on elbows then sit up. He adjusts me on his lap and kisses me while his hands work on the zipper of my dress. He pulls it down halfway, "last chance baby. It'll be hard to stop me when I begin to hear you squirm."
I feel myself begin to pulse at his words. He peppers my neck with kisses and wraps his arms around me. I close my eyes and think for a moment, I try to think about the consequences, but all I can really imagine is Donghyuck kissing me like this.
"I'm sure, Hyuck," I whisper by his ear.
Donghyuck immediately pulls away to zip my dress all the way down. He then pulls my dress off over my head. when he digs his fingers into the sides of my cycling shorts I suddenly realize something illusion shattering. I didn't shave absolutely anything. Not my legs, nor my armpits, especially not my-
this was a bad idea.
I try to play it off. It was pretty dark in my room anyway since we didn't put the lights on. Donghyuck quickly unhooks my bra and throws it off.
I whine his name out when his hands begin to knead my breasts. My hands dig into my sheets by the side.
He pulls his hands away and pushes me off by my hips, giving me a kiss as he does so. He pulls my shorts down and I feel my heart race. I step out of it and he kisses my thigh before standing up and saying, "Lie down, darlin'."
I do just as he says and feel conscious when he doesn’t take his eyes off me. I wrap my arms around my chest. He chuckles as I watch him as he pulls out his wallet from his pants. "Like what you see?"
I nod, making him laugh. "You know how to boost a man's ego."  
He wasn't molded into pure muscle, but he was beautiful with his bare chest exposed. In this moment, I can faintly spot the scar on his belly. On impulse, I sit up and reach for it. He freezes as he looks down on me.
I still had an arm over my chest when I places a kiss on his skin. He lets out a shakey breath and brushes my hair back. “I got it,” he calls, showing me a packet out. He places it in between his lips and I sink back down when I  hear him work on his pants. My eyes wander away as I note, “you just have that with you?”
He chuckles again. I feel my face burn and I cover my face. I hear a wrapper opening then the quiet of my room. 
“Some people say it’s good luck. I’m just trying to cash in as much luck I can get.”
The bed then dips and Donghyuck grabs my legs, hovering in between them. He rests his stomach on my pelvis. I jolt up and squeal when I feel his belly vibrate against my core when he laughs another time. He pulls my hands away from my face, "I think you're past the point of being shy, no?"
"I should have never told you I haven't had sex before."
He chuckles again and I whine, “I don’t really know where that’s coming from, but okay.”
“You just look so smug!”
"Because you’re so fucking hot. What would change if you hadn’t told me anyway. I can clearly tell from the way you react to me.”
I don't really have time to respond when he suddenly behinds moving down. My heart practically stops, and I grab onto his shoulders, "don't go down there."
"Is it haunted?"
"I didn't shave."
"Neither did I, and you don't seem concerned."
"I didn't look."
He laughs again, "I know you didn't, but even after telling you, you still want to fuck me."
I punch his shoulder, "don't say it like that."
He laughs even louder, "sorry, sweetheart, I mean make love."
He examines my nervous look and kisses my jaw, “I don’t know if this will help, but none of the women I did it with didn’t shave either.”
I catch his eyes and find myself relaxing a bit, “how many women did you do it with though?”
“Really? Now?”
“I take statistics! The numbers never lie.”
He rolls his eyes, “well let me go into detail then. My first time was with my first love and I had two girlfriends after that, so it would be 4 if you let me finish.”
I turn away from him to compute the average of this, if you take into consideration the general popu-- I yelp when he begins to move down again. I wrap my legs around him tightly and grab his face, "Donghyuck, please!"
"Cutie, don't worry about hair, okay? Everything about you is beautiful and I'm so fucking hard right now, you don't even know," he kisses my chin, "I can feel you pulsing and I really want to make you scream my name the right way."
"Donghyuck..."
He shushes me, "just say my name when I make you feel good, okay? No more protesting. And actually, try not to be so loud.”
Without another seconds notice, I gasp and Donghyuck is right in between my thighs. My heart is racing. He pulls my underwear off and I try to close my legs, which honestly was just smushing his face.
He chuckles and places either of his hands on my thighs and pushes them away. I cover my mouth with both my hands. He speaks up, "remember what we talked about, honey."
He places his tongue on my core and I groan onto my hands. Him chuckling against me was only making my reactions worse. Donghyuck reaches for my wrist then pulls my hand away, "come on baby, don't be shy."
He pulls my hands away from my face and I humor him but still do my best to suppress my noises as he kisses me. I can't help but writhe and squeak and Donghyuck can't help but feel so smug.
"I can't tell if you like it if you don't say my name."
I whine out his name
The hot breath of his chuckle hits me, making goosebumps form, "Atta girl."
From this point on, I do nothing but squirm and call his name out. His tongue begins to move inside of me and I begin to feel like I'm about to explode. I want to call for mercy, but I can't seem to form coherences anymore.
His lips begin to move outward, back to my thighs. He begins nibbling on my flesh. I catch my breath. He then climbs back up, and meets me little over eye level. He grinds my hips on mine, making me yelp all over again. I pull at my sheets. With his arms on both my sides, he remains propped up and smirks, "you're so adorable."
"Donghyuck."
He kisses the crown on my head, "wrap your arms around me."
I do just that and he shifts his weight atop me. He groans when I dig my fingers into his skin. He then adjusts himself between my legs and kisses my jaw. He lifts himself up by his knees and pushes into me. I let out a broken sound and he moans against my neck. His hot breath was trying to burn me.
"Does it hurt?"
I breathe in and out, "It feels big."
He nibbles my skin, "thanks, but does it hurt?"
"A little bit, I’m not really sure. I mostly feel stretched out."
He chuckles again and I moan out, instantly making him moan too.
"Fuck, you feel so good."
I whine and nip on his ear lobe, "are you going to move?"
"So impatient," he teases, "in a minute, I just want to keep you safe and comfortable."
"I know," I kiss his cheek.
When he begins to move, it feels like we were slipping out of time. Goodness knows how long he bucked his hips back and forth until we reached a comfortable rhythm.
Donghyuck sheds his teasing nature and begins to match my unintelligible sounds at some point. He did find time to call my name out in the same way I manage to call out his.
I begin to feel my feet tingling and my stomach tightening. For a moment I feel like he could do absolutely anything to me and I would like it. He could spit in my mouth or tear me in half and I would thank him. I call his name out over and over again. The lewd sound in the air was drowned out to my ears by the noises that came out of my mouth.
I couldn't hold in my moans at this point even if I tried.
Donghyuck began to pick up the pace.
My breathing began to get ragged. Donghyuck’s hand on my thighs began to tighten. My fingers dig deeper into his back. His teeth were digging into my neck.
The tension between us is climbing so high. Then suddenly it just burns up and bursts into a million pieces.
Donghyuck works on the moment for as long as he can before ultimately going down as limp as me.
We both catch our breath. Donghyuck moans as he kisses my neck. Neither of us move for a long while and I enjoy the feeling of his weight on top of me.
With his chest pressed up against me, I felt so nice and snug, fully in bliss.
I now understood everyone wrote about sex.
I whine when he moves off me. Suddenly I feel so bare and empty. "Don't worry your pretty little head, I'm still here. Good job."
"I don't feel like moving," I say, making Hyuck nuzzle up against me and kiss my cheeks, "I know baby girl and as sexy as you look like that, I don’t think you’d appreciate the consequences of sleeping with makeup."
My eyelids are heavy but Donghyuck’s urging tone gives me the strength to make my way out of the bed and to the bathroom. It feels like how you feel walking after you got off a rollercoaster or a boat, familiar but also not at all.
I wash my face and brush my teeth. I suddenly feel the urge to pee, and when I do, feeling the stickiness in between my legs, this haze over my head evaporates and I realize I just had sex with my... friend.
I wash up and squeal when I hear Donghyuck say, “I managed to change you bedsheet in your minefield.”
It doesn’t even occur to me why he did that, “Donghyuck! A little privacy.”
I full on breaks into a laugh, “I was just inside of you.”
“HYUCK!”
He laughs and raises an arm defensively, “Alright.” He opens the sink, “I was the one that stripped you naked, remember?” I grumble and run back into the bedroom to hide under my covers.
Donghyuck soon comes running after, “JAGIYAAAAAAAA.”
I don’t respond to him and he laughs as he makes his way next to me. He literally jumps into my bed, really falling off. I gasp in concern, “you moron!”
He chuckles and turns to me, “I’m okayyyy!”
He gets under the blankets and snuggles close to me, muttering, “we have to sleep really close together cause your bed is super small.”
“Like your brain.”
“But not my dick, huh?”
I make a disgusted sound and begin to elbow him. He wheezes in amusement and grabs my arms, pressing me down, “Okay! Okay. I’ll stop.”
He presses his chest against my back, keeping a safe space between our lower bodies. He moves rubs his head against be affectionately and squeezes me against him, “you did enjoy it, right?”
I scoff, “you’re already cocky as it is.”
He laughs obnoxiously, “you do know what that insinuates right? But you gotta stop being shy eventually so I know what you like. I gotta make sure I die knowing I’m the best you ever had.”
“Hyuck-”
“Okay sorry,” he kisses, “go to sleep. We can talk about this next time.”
“Bold of you to assume I’d do this with you again.”
He forfeits the laugh and kisses me, “I can show you how persuasive I can be.”
The next day as I blink my eyes open, sunlight barely meets it. I breath in and stretch, whipping my head to my left side when I don't feel Donghyuck next to me. I shift from under the blanket, seeing Donghyuck was sitting on the side of the bed blocking most of the view of my window. He seemed to be still fully stripped naked judging by the bareness of his back. I remember digging my fingers in his skin, but it seems to not been as hard as I thought it was considering how smooth it was.
He had a phone to his ear when he turns over to me when he feels me shift.
He smiles as he replies to whom he was talking too, "no I know, I know."
I smile back at him and whisper, "good morning." I feel my morning breath come out. He brings his phone to the other side of his ear. With his now free left hand, he brushes my hair away and sends me a kiss through the air before turning back around. I reach out to him and draw hearts on his back. His body twists and he lets out a soft sound because of it. I rubbing and poking him for fun. He continues replying to whom he had on the line all the while.
Even his back was pretty. He had a straight line separating the left and the right of it and had not a blemish or mole in sight. I bring myself up and rest my cheek on his shoulder, embracing him from behind.
He places a hand on mine and finishes off his conversation, "Yeah. Okay, eomma. I love you too."
He puts his phone down on the desk next to my bed and he turns to meet me, "good morning."
I slap a hand on my mouth, making him stop and pout. I mutter behind my hand, "I haven't brushed my teeth."
Donghyuck makes an annoyed face and pulls my hand away, placing a quick kiss on my lips. He then jolts up and shoves himself back down against me, resting his weight on my body, "oh no! I'm dead cause I kissed you when you had morning breath."
I make a face. As he looks at me, he matches my expression. My lips curve into a smile, "you know I've always wanted to draw on my boyfriend's back."
He smiles softly, then fully flaunts his teeth, "so last night when you were ripping my skin out was your way of asking me to be your boyfriend."
"No, I didn’t leave a mark on your skin," I deadpan, "also, I was just telling you that I imagined connecting freckles on my boyfriend's back and making my own constellation. You don't really have freckles on your back, and that's kind of a problem."
He scowls, "I hate him."
I break into a laugh, "but he's my boyfriend!"
"I want to be your boyfriend!" he whines and lets out an annoying sound, "please don't tell me to plan something. Not now. I'll die if I wait any longer."
I roll my eyes, "please you're so dramatic."
"I have cancer! I'm allowed to dramatize my impending demise."
"Fine," I say, "you can be my boyfriend with your freckle-less back."
Donghyuck purses his lips and clenches his fists, "Yes! I'll grow freckles on my back or tattoo them."
I shake my head, "don't even try. It won't be the same."
He whines, "I'll never stop thinking about your fake boyfriend. Ever."
I snort, "I can put glitter on your back and make my own constellations." He catches my expression and smiles, “I love you.”
I still and smile back, “I love you, Hyuck.”
He leans in for a kiss. I shake my head and giggle. I lightly slap his lips, "I'm going to brush my teeth and shower."
He immediately perks up and grins, "I'm coming with you."
I pull the blankets up cover myself and shake my head profusely, "absolutely not, Hyuck."
He whines like a child and slaps the bed. He brings a leg up to the bed as he turns his body to me, "YaAaA! I wanna shower with you though."
"I'm not ready for you to see me in day light."
He punches the bed, "I saw everything already! I have night vision. I was inside of you."
"HYUCK STOP SAYING THAT!"
“IT”S TRUE THOUGH,” he throws another tantrum, "come on pleassssseeeeee."
"Donghyuck, you don't even have any clothes to change into. Maybe you should take a shower at your place."
He reels back, jaw dropping, "are you kicking me out?"
"I'm not ki-"
"Wah, I can't believe you’re kicking your boyfriend out 10 seconds after saying I love you," he clicks his tongue.
"I'M NOT KICKING YOU OUT! I'm just being rational."
Hyuck shakes his head, "Rational? Says the girl who tried to buy ice cream from a child."
I growl, "I shouldn’t have told you that either! It was an experiment, alright! To see if someone that age could understand the value of money."
"And yet if you hadn't known the kid or her mom, it would just be labeled pedophilia."
I purse my lips, "you know what, I am actually kicking you out."
He strikes his chest with his fist and throws himself back down on me, "remember you’re kicking out someone who's got a life cycle of a butterfly."
My eyes suddenly look for the scar on his stomach. It was a lot bigger than I pictured it in my head. I look away when I begin to look a little lower. I clear my throat and  raise a brow, "if I give you a pass now, I'll keep doing that forever, so you have to keep listening to me."
He raises his upper lips, "how bossy."
"That's sexist."
He sighs, "you're sexy."
"False equivalence."
He sits back up and shakes his head, "fine. I'll shower at my place and run back here. Only cause I am, like, so fucking in love with you I might have heart cancer." 
“Haechan, please.” 
He points and glares at me, "if you kick me out next time, I'm going to cry."
I cant help but bring a hand to my lips and break into a laugh.
"Ya! Am I a joke to you?"
I shake my head and throw myself at him, giving him a hug, "no. You're my full sun."
He smiles, "good."
The next thing I knew I was constantly kissing Donghyuck.
Everything was pretty hazy, since it feels like I get drunk on his lips. We did walk slowly together, holding hands, in the park, in the mall, to class, to lunch, to my dorm, to his frat house. It was pretty good exercise and pretty romantic, all things considered.
We also watched movies almost every night, and did other things on some. What? I mean homework.
We would go to the library together and he would make me do his notes, to which I would both take joy in doing and would be really stressed with.
We had fun like the best of  friends, and kissed like the best of lovers.
Everyday I would wake up and think of something new I wanted to experience with him. Chemistry became dear to me, simply because I could go to class and watch him mess up simple equations in front of me.
It was adorable.
On this particular night as I did my homework with him, Kun, Jaemin and Sana in the big-ass dining table in the Donghyuck's frat house, he looked extremely adorable being so confused with such simple questions. I kept my eyes fixed on his frustrated face. I had my head rested on my hand, elbow on top of my notebook with the homework I finished hours ago.
Kun points to Sana's work and says, "you missed a 2 in your equation."
Sana sighs. Jaemin pouts at her and pets her head, "it's alright. You would have gotten the right answer had you not missed that."
"I can't believe people like this shit," Donghyuck complains. I scan his work and point at his solution, "you're almost there. Y equals what, Hyuck?"
"Y the fuck do I need to learn this?"
"It's fun!"
"Just give me your philosophy homework," he whines.
"No cheating in this household," Kun says as he flips a page of his economics book.
I shake my head at Donghyuck, "I don’t need help. I'm done with all my homework."
"Can you just do my stats. You get high off of this anyway."
"Hyuck."
He whines, "I have one number left!"
"Exactly. And I want you to learn because you have to pass and I can't do your tests too, now can I?"
Donghyuck places his arms in front of him and slams his head on the table, "I hate it here."
I giggle and nuzzle up next to him, "aw, isn't he so cute when he's like this?"
Sana coos at us and nods. Jaemin couldn't care less. Kun makes a face and shakes his head in disapproval, "you've become the very thing you despise."
Jaemin chuckles, "dude has to get laid."
"I'm quite satisfied with my homework, thank you."
Jaemin makes a face, "gross."
It's funny how high you can get and how fast you can fall.
After my class, I head off the flower shop who's owner I came to know as Mrs. Park. I dropped by pretty often that I could say she was becoming somewhat of a friend.
I make my way to St. John's and get to room 304. Mr. Lee is standing outside the room, using his phone. I grip the strap of my backpack. "Hi," I call and wave with my available hand, "good evening, uncle."
He turn to me and then the flowers I had in hand, "good evening sweetheart." He places a gentle hand on my shoulder, "Donghyuck told me not to let you in again."
I sigh.
"You can go in, though he fell asleep I think. His mom and I are just going to get some food, okay?"
I nod and smile, "I'll be here."
"You can wake him up if you like."
I shake my head, "I'll just leave the flowers and go home."
He nods, "okay, stay safe, dear."
Once he leaves, I quietly enter the hospital room and close the door behind me. I walk by his bed, looking at his sleeping form and go to the table next him. I take the roses I left last time and replace it with the irises I bought.
"You're so unoriginal," a soft voice comes from the hospital bed.
I purse my lips into a soft smile and shake my head, "I ran out of flowers to give you. It's a sign you have to check out soon."
Donghyuck chuckles softly, “Iris is a good baby name no?”
I chuckle, “yeah.” 
I turn to his pale and sullen face. His lips were missing the balm he always put on and looked uncharacteristically chapped because of this. I bring my backpack in front of me and pull out some red lipstick. "Can I do the honors?"
He looks at the cosmetic and sighs, "it's what I get for making you my girlfriend."
I smile and move to the other side of the bed where his drip wasn't stationed. I sit down next to him and put on the red on his lips. Once I'm done, he places his hands by his jaw and smiles softly, "how do I look?"
"Like a supermodel," I say.
He sighs, "had I not had cancer, I'd make Naomi Campbell retire."
I chuckle, "It's not to late. We can still make her quiver in her stilettos."
He shakes his head weakly, "I get too tired. I can barely keep up with you as it is. That's why my tongue is so important."
"Donghyuck."
He puckers his red lips, all pleased, "that's what you say every night."
I shake my head and pull my phone out, quickly stealing pictures of him. His face falls. He immediately reacts and blocks my phone, "come on, we’ve talked about this. No pictures."
"You don't look sick, you look sick."
He shakes his head, "I'm in a hospital gown."
"And you work it like the sex god you are."
He can't help but break into a laugh, no matter how hard he tried to hold it in. "Geez. You are so fake. I'm glad we can't have kids because they'll both be liars and traitors."
His word hit a nerve. Not because of the kids, but because he feels betrayed that his parents won't listen to him when he tells them not to let me visit him while he's here.
He catches my fallen expression. He firmly and coldly states, "I'm not getting you pregnant."
I shake my head, "you should stop making your parents promise to keep me from seeing you."
He scoffs and rolls his eyes, "they never listen to me anyway."
"Donghyuck-" "You see me now don't you?!" he suddenly snaps and gestures his hand up, "look at my face. You want to see this? I don't want you to wake up next to me looking like this."
I keep my silence. I watch as the desperation in his eyes build.
"I told you what the doctors told me. I'm two steps away from organ failure. I could literally die while we're on a date. Do you know how scared I am of doing that to you? Even when we're just walking, I have this shit imbedded at the back of my mind."
"Haechan..."
“I told you. I told you you’d regret joking about it.”
I chuckle bitterly, knowing exactly the joke he mean, “it was funny when I said it.”
“It was,” he hisses, turning away from me, I'm glad I got to have you, but you don't have to watch me die. It’ll be easier for the both of us this way. You can let go of me now."
My eyes immediately water when I speak, "you want to let go of me?"
"Fuck no," he whispers, "I don't have enough strength to do that."
"Then please don't drive me away," I reply. 
Tears burn down my face, but I'm only concerned about the ones burning down his. I wipe his face and bite the inside of my lip to keep my silence. I pull my hands away and grab his in mine, "I still want to walk with you."
He sighs and grips my hands back. He finally meets my eyes, "you're gonna have to push my wheelchair to the cemetery."
His analogy hurts, but I still nod, "okay."
He disagrees, "don't speak so quickly."
"I swear, I'm not."
He brings his hands to my cheeks, wiping my tears away with his thumb.
“If you have something in the back of your head, I do to, so let’s just...” I lick my lips, “put on some red lipstick and send memes to Kun okay?”
He releases a sigh, "okay, nerd."
I choke on my tears. I release a breath to calm myself down and reply, "okay, Haechan."
To everyone’s joy and relief, he was well enough to leave the hospital to take his finals. I have never been so happy on an exam day.
Kun and I had breakfast together then went to our shared exam room. It my happiness, I skipped on our way and held Kun’s hand, swinging it back and forth. I swore I heard someone mumbling something about wanting to blow us up for PDA so early in the morning or something along those lines.
I couldn't care less though, cause I was really happy today and nothing was going to change that.
"Are you sure Donghyuck has a drivers license?" Kun asks for the nth time. He pulls on my arm, ceasing its motion and I turn to him to make a face, "yes, mom. He even sent me a picture of it and it isn't expired."
He lets out a breath, "you could have lead with that."
"I didn't know you would be that worried about it."
"I'm offended. You of all people should know I never stop worrying. You’re the reason why I’m like this, with that mud pie incident."
“It’s not my fault I thought mud pies turned into actual pies! That’s literally on everyone else before me. I was a troll child back then! With a troll mind.”
Kun scoffs, “you were though.”
"I just said I was,” I raise my hand and flash him a face, “is that why you died your hair platinum blonde? To hide all the white hairs that sprung up on your cranium."
"You know, for once, you're actually right."
I halt my skipping, "wait seriously."
Kun's eyes wander, "at least I'm not going bald."
"Hey! Haechan doesn't have hair loss."
Kun whips his head to me, "I wasn't talking about Haechan."
I snort, "I know, loser."
Right after our exam, Kun and I made our way out of building and I immediately spotted Donghyuck leaning against a sleek black car in a army green hoodie and shades.
Kun raises his brows, "wow, he's got a Benz?"
"Borrowed. It’s his cousin's grad gift."
"Oh? The doctor one? Dang, they rich-rich."
I wave at Donghyuck who had his hood on and he waves back. Kun waves at him too, then I wave at Kun, "bye babez."
"Bye babez," he replies as I run over to Donghyuck.
I immediately wrap my arms around him and giggle in his arms, "hi baby."
"Hey sexy," he says, kissing me on the head. He brings his arms around me, sealing me into a long, warm embrace. 
Once we pull away, he brings his hands in front of me, revealing a bouquet of flowers. I coo at them as he says, "I figured I'd get even with you."
I get the flowers from him and smell the vibrant bouquet of pink, yellow and blue, smiling ear to ear.
"To you, I offer eternity," he says, making me chuckle when I turn to him, "how cheesy."
"Hey, I didn't make the meanings up. Some person saw primroses and said, 'oh, you know what, this means eternal love'."
I shake my head, "still corny though.”
“You’re corny.”
“Thanks, that means a lot, coming from you.”
"Well," Donghyuck asks, "you ready to go for a drive?"
I nod and wave my flowers around, up in the air, "I'm so excited to go to a drive through."
He groans in disgust, "drive though? Babe, I was planning to go to a cute restaurant but you want fast food?"
"We can go to a drive through and a cute restaurant."
He rolls his eyes and moves to pull the door open for me, "as if I don't have enough medical bills to pay."
"I'll pay for the food!"
He gives me a look, "there was no way you weren't gonna."
Much to his displeasure, I get so sidetracked with every place we pass by we barely get to follow the itinerary he had planned for the day. He continuously attempts to get us back on track, but we do not reach the park he wanted to get to before the sunset to get to watch it.
Instead, we sit on the hood of Yuta's car and eat some hamburgers and fries, looking at the stars, failing to find any of the many constellations.
"I give up," he mutters, ripping his eyes away from the guid he had on his screen, flipping his phone back looking at the wrapper still on his phone case. He dumbly blurts, “is that Harry Styles? ♩ Watermelon sugar high ♩.”
I give him a look, “are you high?”
“♩ Watermelon sugar high ♩” 
I black his face with my phone and examine the star chart on it. He sips on his drink then says, "you're looking at an astrology chart, by the way, not an astronomy chart."
"I mean, technically, they're one in the same, since they base their stuff up on the same stars."
"Yeah, except I hate astrology. Like, don't say you're a libra, just say you're a fucking idiot."
"Seems like a philosophy thing."
Donghyuck raises a brow, "you talk to other philosophy students?"
"Dummy, I knew Jaemin personally before you."
"Oh. Well, carry on then."
I snort, "but imagine if libras are actually the dumb ones though, and you got it right."
He pulls away the drink he was supposed to sip on, "we are not going to talk about this anymore."
"Okay," I eat a french fry and some burger, "what do you want to talk about then?"
"Hmm. I promised not to, but I still kinda want to fuck you in my cousin's car."
I nearly choke on my food. Donghyuck bursts out laughing. I turn to him and glare. I continue chewing the burger I had in my mouth and look for a tissue. I find one on Dongyuk's lap and blow my nose on it, "I think a pickle went up my nose."
Donghyuck laughs even harder, falling back on the windshield.
I shake my head, "why is this so funny to you?"
He catches his breath and wipes his tears, "I dunno. It's cute you think I don't think about eating you out every time you're near me."
I shove his side, "shut up."
He whines yet still manages to continue laughing, "my liver."
"Quit being dramatic," I say, crumpling up the tissue I used and throwing it at him. I then pick it back up and place it in the plastic bag of trash we had.
His laughter dies down but his whining continues. After a moment, he sits back up and I realize he wasn't joking. I shift to face him, "Donghyuck."
I shakes his head and raises a hand, "I'm fine. It happens when you have liver cancer."
"Do you want to go home?"
He lets out an airy breath, "no, I don't want to fuck you where all the frat boys can hear and jerk off to your moans."
"Donghyuck , I'm being serious."
"I'm being serious to! I heard them talk about this before. It's disgusting."
I grip his wrist and squeeze it, "Donghyuck ."
He lets out a breath and kisses my nose, "I promise I'm good. It's a side effect of the chemo. I'll take this rather than lose my hair, for you, so you can say your hot boyfriend has good hair."
I frown and nod.
He places an arm on my shoulders when I don’t respond to his words the way he wants me to, "I'm sorry for killing the mood."
He pulls me close. I shake my head and place my cheek on his chest. I bring my hand to his collarbone. I begin to fiddle with the string of his hoodie. I kiss his neck and mumble, "... we can fuck in my dorm."
He pulls back and blinks. He weighs the sincerity in my words then blurts, "get in the car."
I'm not really one to play favorites, because I normally black out when people ask me what my favorite thing is, but if you were to ask me what my favorite memory was, it would be this:
"KUN YOU'RE A LITTLE BITCH!" Donghyuck screams as he video calls the said bitch.
"HOW IS IT MY FAULT IT'S STORMING!" Kun screams back from the other side of the screen. Well, unlike Donghyuck who was actually screaming with his whole chest, Kun was whisper-yelling against the speaker of his phone.
Jaemin bends his knees up and down as he looked at the table, "I'm gonna tell him. I'm gonna tell him. I’m gonna tell him." Sana beside him shakes her head, "nooo, we still have to surprise Kun.”
"But I Sana, I want cake," Jaemin whines.
Sana kisses his cheek, "I know. But you know how much cake you already steal from Kun when he makes some.”
Jaemin whines at his girlfriends sense, “Finnnnee.”
Donghyuck whines, "It's on you for volunteering on your birthday."
"It's not my fault I like following schedules!"
"IT IS THOUGH!" Donghyuck screams again.
I mutter to Hyuck, "we should just tell him."
Donghyuck turns to me, "no, he has to see it himself."
"He might be stranded in the hospital all night at this rate."
Jaemin hears this and screams, "NO!"
Kun's voice chimes in, "Wait, did everyone break into my room with you?"
I grab Donghyuck’s phone and yell, "Surprise! We-" there is a chorus of screams when thunder strikes and the lights flicker.
Donghyuck comes up next to me, "oh shit, the call might cut off."
I turn to the screen and see Kun turn on and off his camera. I shake my head, "ha, ha, very funny Kun."
He mutes and unmutes himself, pretending to get cut off.
"We should have never thrown a surprise party for you!" Jaemin screamed.
Kun unmutes and opens his camera, "I never asked you to do that anyway!"
Jaemin bursts back, "well, sorry for being a good friend then! I'm eating this cake I bought for you and no one can stop me. I'm changing the ownership back to me!"
“Dude,” Donghyuck warns, “step away from the cake. Think of how happy Kun will be when he sees his favorite flavor.”
Jaemin’s face contorts, “how can happiness be real when EVERYTHING we feel are just chemicals in our,” he slams his pointer to his head, “brain?”
“How can ANYTHING be real when we only PERCIEVE THE WORLD FOR WHAT WE ARE AND NOT FOR WHAT IT IS?”
Sana and I turn to each other and begin to panic. Sana grabs Jaemin, “Nana, please-” “HOW ARE WE EVEN SURE WE’RE REAL WHEN WE COULD BE IN A FUCKING MATRIX AND NO ONE WOULD EVEN KNOW,” Jaemin screans, loosing breath.
I flip Donghyuck’s phone over and show him the wrapper, “look! It’s a watermelon.” Donghyuck pushes me aside and raises a finger, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE NUMBERS?”
Kun screams with a lot of feedback, "I’M STILL RIGHT HERE!”
I flip the phone back and smile at Kun. He was shaking his head, “you guys are a bunch of idiots, and regretfully your my idiots."
"Oh my gosh, Kun just confessed to us," I say in a high pitched squeal.
Kun laughs, "Just go and eat the cake to stop this mayhem. Leave me a slice. I'll hang up the call now."
Donghyuck grabs his phone back, "no, no, no, no. No one's hanging up."
And so Donghyuck set up his phone by the table and we celebrated Kun's birthday without him while it stormed outside.
I took it upon myself to tell the gang all of the embarrassing Kun stories I had, knowing he had no way to stop me. Of course he threatened to disconnect the call, but we all knew he wasn't going to do that.
Donghyuck stands from his seat and brings a forkful of cake to the screen, "aah."
Kun brings his phone into his mouth and then pulls back to his face with a smile.
I shout in protest, "EWWW CANCELLED."
Kun quicky barks, "Cancel you boyfriend first for being so tacky and gross."
"My boyfriend is cute! Unlike some people."
Jaemin, on his third slice, cheers and shakes his hand as if it hurt. He raises his arm while still holding a fork and cheers, "someone just got burnt with the truth."
"Can it, Jaemin."
Donghyuck sits back down, "if you have some gum with you, you can chew it and pretend you're eating chocolate cake."
Kun shakes his head, "how thoughtful, but I," a crack of thunder sounds in Kun's area, making him stop and turn to the window behind him. He continues, "don't have any gum."
After feasting on some cake, the four of us have a dance party, which starts with us laughing our asses off because of our horrible twerking and generally horrible dance moves, and ends with us slow dancing and falling asleep on the couch.
Kun ends the call a little before that because the rain had finally stopped.
When he got back to his dorm, he finds us sleeping on his bed. He put blankets over Jaemin and Sana and he sacrificed his own blanket for Donghyuck and- "you're finally here."
Kun looks at Donghyuck's groggy face and nods, "yeah. Go back to sleep."
"No wait," he whispers and shifts slightly in his spot, careful not to wake up anyone. "I have to tell you something."
Kun hums.
"You know how people write letters for the dead even though they can't hear it. Well, this almost dead man wrote a letter for his loved one and that includes you. It's on the table."
Kun goes to the table and looks for the said letter.
"It's in a white envelope."
Kun spots it and grabs it soon after.
"You don't have to read it now, but I will tell you it's mostly what you may think it is: a thank you for being my friend, a good bye," he says, making Kun tear up and turn away from him.
Donghyuck frowns, "sorry for dampening your birthday mood. I just had to talk about that one favor I asked for in the letter."
Kun releases a shaky breath. Donghyuck continues, "I know you're supposed to give to the celebrant and not ask for something, but I feel like I'm about to Usain Bolt to the finish line real soon."
"Hyuck... don't worry about it. Just tell me."
When Kun looks back at his friend, he finds he's crying. Donghyuck sniffles then lets out a breath to calm himself. He takes a moment before saying, "please don't resent me for having her."
Kun is shocked by his words. He furrows his brows at the idea his friend could think that about him. Donghyuck heaves for a moment then licks the salt on his lips. He wipes his face, "don't resent me when she cries about me, cause I know you can't resent her."
"Donghyuck..."
"I know I sound crazy and stupid," he laughs in between his tears, "and I swear I'm not in love with you or anything, but you've been one of the realest friends I've had in a long time." He wipes his face again, "and the idea of you resenting me when I’m gone eats me up inside. I don't want you to hate me for hurting her, or for hurting you when I'm gone."
"Hyuk, I won't resent you, I promise."
Donghyuck raises a pinkie, "Promise?"
Kun breaks into a sad smile and wraps his pinkie around his, "promise."
Donghyuck releases a breath, "take care of her, okay?"
"Always."
And even though I heard every bit of their conversation, fighting back tears so not to expose myself, even though it was so bittersweet, it's still my favorite memory.
I never got to share another subject with Hyuck the next term, mostly because he never got to enroll as he checked in St. John's indefinitely.
I try not to think about how hard it was to visit him when everyday, knowing well that it could be the last. I didn't want to say it was torture, because I truly still felt that every day with him was a precious blessing.
I was copying Kun's homework when he woke up. I had a chair by the side of his hospital bed and I was using his mattress as my table.
"I told my mom not to let you in," he says, turning to his mom was was sitting on the couch in front of him.
I turn from my notes to Donghyuck 's sunken face.
His mom turns from her phone to his son and shakes her head, "I can't promise something so cruel, Heachan."
Unlike last the time he was confined, when he only looked like he had lost the color in his skin, he looked different. He lost a weight, the roundness of his cheeks disappeared, because refused to have IV fluid poked into him any longer. He still ate meals every hour, but he didn’t have much of an appetite.
The playful gleam in his eyes were faded. I tried to reignite it sometimes by cracking a joke or two, but he found it hard to smile... or to even look at me, as he admitted some days ago.
I turn to him and crack as smile, "it's the consequence for wanting to be my boyfriend so bad."
He doesn't respond to that and instead had his eyes focused on my notes. I turn to my notes as well then turn back to him, "It's advanced calculus. Gross right?"
He doesn't chuckle, "you're not highlighting?"
When he looks at me, I turn back to my notes and realize he was right. My mistake was playing it off, "I'm trying something new."
He doesn't like that, "don't say that."
I turn away from him when I feel tears prick in the corner of my eyes. I feel his cool hand grab mine. He seems to push my notebook away or something. I scratch my tears away and turn back to him. He leans in and I meet him halfway, standing from where I sat and pressing my lips on his cool ones.
His mom had already turned the air conditioning off, but he was still cold. I break away and pull the blankets on him up. He grabs my hand again and mutters, "I'll come back to you a healthy man, and finish college so we can get married and have healthy babies."
I hear his mom gasp.
The tears glassing my eyes blurred my vision. I blinked them away so I could see him better. My tears fall down to his blanket. I nod, "I'll wait."
He shakes his head, "not in this lifetime, okay?"
I let out a cry and bite my lip to shut myself up.
He wipes my tears and turns to his mom, "Is dad coming back soon?"
"Yes," his mom dashes to his side, "he's coming back with lunch any moment now."
He nods, "good. I want to tell him how much I love him."
His mom full on weeps now. Donghyuck grabs her hand and smiles at her, "I'm sorry I'm making you cry."
His mother shakes her head in disagreement.
"Thank you for giving birth to me and taking care of me even though I'm an adult."
She grabs her son's face and kisses it all around, "of course, baby. You're my only baby, and you will always be my baby."
Just then, his dad walks in with a plastic bag of food. Donghyuck's mother turns to him and calls his name. He immediately puts the food down and runs to his wife.
Donghyuck lets go of my hand and reaches out for his dad, "hi dad."
He takes his son's hand. "Hi son," his voice breaks and tears immediately stream down his eyes.
Donghyuck frowns, "I'm sorry I couldn't step up to be the man of the house."
He shakes his head, "you've always been the man of the house, son. You taught me a lot of things while you grew up."
Donghyuck pulls away and sighs, "I would have been a great dad, don't you think?" Hyuck turns to me then back to his dad. I immediately grab his hand again. He grips me back
"Better than your foolish old man."
"Ya," Donghyuck whispers, "I passed the hardest exam in the country. I get that from you."
For a brief moment, the three of us muffle our tears as Donghyuck relaxes his head and cries. His mother wipes his tears away.
Hyuck closes his eyes, "I'm sorry. I'm just so tired."
"It's okay baby. You can rest now. No more chemo. No more pain."
"That sounds nice," he exhales, “I’m glad won’t be buried bald.” 
No one reacts.
He chuckles, “Too soon? Sorry. Bad habit.” He opens his eyes one last time and smiles, "it would probably be to stupid to ask you all to smile for me one last time, right?"
We all break into bitter laughs and smile at him the best we could.
He smiles back and looks at each of us, "I love you, mom. I love you, dad. I love you, baby."
We all say I love yous back and he closes his eyes. It isn't long before his grip in my hand loosens.
His mother begins to wail.
I turn to his hand and suddenly resent the sight of my notes in front of me. When some tears drop on the open page, I choke on my heart, seeing that Donghyuck managed to write I love you in the middle of my statistics notes.
"That's about it," I say to the girl who still had her head on my lap. I ask her, "did you like the story, Poppy?"
"It's so sad," she cries out. I turn to her not realizing she was scratching tears away from her face. I immediately pick her up and bring her into my arms, "aw, my baby girl, I didn't know you were crying."
She cries on my shoulder and I rub her back, trying to soothe her.
I see Kun from inside. He locks eyes with me, raising a brow accusingly as he points and mouths, "is that Poppy?" I give him a knowin look and he then makes his way out to the backyard. He shakes his head in disapproval, "and here I thought your days of hating children had ended."
I turn to him as he sits down, “Do you think I want to have kids with you if it hadn’t?”
He sighs and pouts, holding Poppy's little hand, "why are you crying, sweetheart?"
When she doesn’t respond, I answer, "I told her about Donghyuck."
Kun's face of worry contorts into sadness, "oh."
Poppy begins to call out, "eomma!"
"Dear lord, did you make her cry?" Jaemin calls when he sees us. The girl immediately recognizes the voice and turns to run to her father, "appa!"
Jaemin picks up his daughter and coddles her, "why are you crying, huh? Did auntie hurt you? Should I teach her a lesson?"
She shakes her head, "It's so sad."
"What's sad?"
"Your friend Donghyuck. He died like Chichi." Chichi was their dog who she had grown up with.
Jaemin turns from his daughter, me, then back to his daughter, "Ah, it is sad, isn't it? I cried to when it happened, the way I cried when Chichi died. They were both and were hurt. Now they’re together somewhere and are playing fetch!"
"Appa, I don't want to get sick, or you, or eomma."
"Eomma?" Sana repeats as she makes her way to her husband and daughter. She places a hand on her pregnant belly as he daughter continues to cry. She pouts the cute way she always does, “is my strong girl crying? Did you get hurt?”
She quickly calms her daughter down my making faces and tickling her. It isn’t long after that Poppy eventually breaks into a laugh.
Kun and I watch the parents in astonishment, "they're good."
"Dude, I don't think we could ever do that."
Kun raises a brow, "Hey, we're gonna be great parents." He says placing a hand on my otherwise flat stomach, “we kinda don’t have a choice.”
I shake my head, "maybe you will be, but I don't know about me."
"Ya, like I said, I’ll be here for you, both of you, alright?"
I finally break away from Jaemin and Sana and turn back to Kun, givng him a peck on his lips. He pulls me into a quick embrace and stands, “come on, I have something to show you.”
Kun leads me inside the restaurant and brings me to a bulletin board with seemingly endless pictures and notes stuck on them. He points at a picture by the top of the board, “can you tell me who that is?”
I cover my mouth and instantly feel tears run down my face.
Kun chuckles softly and pulls me in close, kissing me on the cheek, “you told me you haven’t been here before.”
“I told that to Haechan too,” I mutter, “oh gosh. I had completely forgotten about it.”  I lean in to the picture, “look at how young I look.”
Kun laughs, “you’re acting like you’re 80.”
“WIth all the stress you put on my back, I feel like I am.”
Kun snorts, “I won’t apologize for doing a good job, babe.”
We hear someone call for all the guests to come over, as Sana and Jaemin will finally be announcing what everyone came here for. We join the rest of the people in the party as Jaemin gets taught by a restaurant employee how to popp the party poppers.
We make a face at Jaemin’s confused face.
Kun shakes his head and whispers in my ear, “moron.” I laugh as Kun calls, “ask it the meaning of life?”
Jaemin gives Kun a knowing look as he brings the party popper close to his face, “YA! DON’T MESS THIS UP FOR ME!”
Everyone laughs, Sana especially practically beams.
We count down:
3
2
1
Jaemin turns to his wife, “ready?”
Sana nods and covers her ears, lips still curved into a smile.
Jaemin pops the confetti and a wave of pink bursts into the air. Sana giggles as she removes her hands from her ears and places her palms on her husband's face, giving him a kiss.
Jaemin picks up her daughter and bring her close to her mom, "you're going to have a sister!"
Poppy cheers, "YAY!!!!"
Kun and I cheer. Kun kisses my cheek, “that’s gonna be us soon.”
I turn to him and make a face, ”ew.”
He shakes his head and gives me another kiss.
128 notes · View notes
breadoffoxy · 6 months ago
Text
Rolling with It
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Summary:  “I NEED NERD NAMJOON TRYING TO SEXT BUT TREATING IT LIKE DND” ~ Dip
Pairing: n. Reader x Namjoon
Genre: NSFW, smut, crack
Warnings: sexting, masturbation, language, sub!Namjoon, dom!Reader, both kinda switches but that is their main role, nipple play, spanking, edging, butt plugs, teasing, dirty talk, too grammatically correct to be realistic texts
Word Count: 1,154
A/N: This was requested by my friend @bangtanloverboys​, I hope you like it! I liked pulling out some nerdy references and making it sexy haha.
Your boyfriend and you have been planning this night for awhile now and you are beyond excited, though a little nervous. It’s the first time you and Namjoon are sexting after all.
Staring at your phone nervously, you watch the …’s appear and disappear. You picked today because both your schedules were clear, so what’s the hold up?
You: Hey, Handsome! Still up for tonight?
A beat passes with no response, and you type,
 You: We can do this another time if you want? No pressure!
Quickly, as if to reassure you, Namjoon responds.
NamTiddies: No! I want to do this tonight. Sorry, was getting some stuff ready.
You: Oh? Like what??
You’re surprised at this. You didn’t know Namjoon had any toys. Maybe though he was just making himself comfortable?
The …’s come and go again and Namjoon finally settles on an answer.
NamTiddies: Just some visual aids.
You roll your eyes, that man and his fascination with watching porn.
You: Just don’t get too distracted by those sexy aids, want you to focus on me baby.
NamTiddies: I want to do this right.
You: There’s no right and wrong. We’ll learn together.
         Guess what I’m wearing?
NamTiddies: Underwear?
You: Guess again.
 NamTiddies: Fuck, are you naked already?
You: Yes, very much so. I’m getting needy thinking about sitting on your thighs. I miss riding them so much.
NamTiddies: Me too, I want that so bad.
You: What do you want to do to me?
         Oh, wait.
NamTiddies: What’s wrong?
You: I lied. I am wearing something.
You bite your lip, nerves eating at you as your finger hovers over the send button. You trust your boyfriend so you boldly hit send before you can double guess yourself.
You: 1 attachment sent.
On the screen appears your naked form, well mainly your ass, with a shiny plug sticking out. The angle and lighting aren’t porn star worthy, but you are happy with what you managed. It’s silent for a while, making you more nervous until…
NamTiddies: 1 attachment sent.
Your mouth waters at the sight of the picture. Namjoon’s hard cock is slipped out of his boxers and is resting in his hand. His large thumb is stroking a prominent vein that you know gets him all sensitive.
NamTiddies: You’re going to be the death of me.
You could say the same to him. Fuck, he’s so hot, and all yours.
You: And what are you going to do about it?
Namtiddies: I’m going to…
                       … play with your feet.
Bewildered, you stare at your phone. Never before have either of you mentioned a foot fetish.
Namtiddies: Sorry, let me try that again.
You: Do you want to talk about feet?
NamTiddies: No, not really.
You: Then why bring it up?
NamTiddies: It’s um… what I rolled?
You slap your face. Of all the things.
You: Did you make a list of sexual prompts and are rolling what to do?
 NamTiddies: Maybe?
You stare at your phone, not knowing if you want to laugh or groan. So, you do a mix of both. Your nerdy boyfriend is too cute.
 NamTiddies: I may have also hypothetically made a character sheet and restructured the sorcerer’s wild magic mechanic.
You: Ok, sexy, roll for me again.
NamTiddies: I’m getting all the bad rolls… watersports?
You: Really, Namjoon?
NamTiddies: I had to keep the sheet balanced. It had to be a mix of good and bad.
You: Ok, what number is ass play?
NamTiddies: 42
You: You rolled a 42, what do you do?
NamTiddies: It doesn’t work like that.
You: New plan! I am the Dungeon Master.
The image of you in a dungeon wearing leather and holding a whip while standing behind a bound and kneeling Namjoon comes to mind. Wrong DM!
 You: And you are in a scene with me. I’m on your juicy thighs, and I’m wearing nothing but my plug. No dice. Tell me what your hands are doing.
NamTiddies: Fuck, they are all over you baby.
You: Oh, would you look at that? Looks like the check I made against you passed. Now you can’t come until I do.
NamTiddies: Shit, I’m already so hard.
You: Then you better start telling me what I should do to come.
NamTiddies: I’d reach around you humping my leg and fuck you with the plug.
You: Oh, that feels soooo good.
It really does as you use one hand to stroke yourself and the other to reach around and fuck your ass with your toy.
NamTiddies: Knowing you’re desperate, fucking yourself, is making me so hard.
You: What’s your other hand up to?
NamTiddies: I’d flick your nipples, twist them until you moan and then give your ass a good slap.
You do all the things he says and you feel so close, so very close.
You: I’m going got come, oh my god.
 NamTiddies: 1 attachment sent.
Immediately, you play the audio message and hear Namjoon moan, “Then come for me baby.”
Hearing his command, you come so hard with arousal shooting out of you. “Fuck, fuck, mmngh- ahhh ahh.” You close your eyes in bliss as your ass spasms around your toy and you hump your slick hand until oversensitivity starts to kick in. You feel dazed and lay back in your bed with a satisfied smile.
You: I came so hard, fuck, it was so good. You’re turn now. You’ve been so good for me.
NamTiddies: Please let me come.
You: Spit in your hand, pump your cock hard and fast. Imagine instead that’s my cum smearing your cock.
NamTiddies: Feels so good.
You: You want to come, baby?
NamTiddies: Yes, please.
You: Such good manners.
         But oops, looks like the dice say not yet.
NamTiddies: I hate you.
You: You love me, don’t lie.
NamTiddies: You’re such a tease.
You: For that, pinch your nipples for me, and smear the cum I just know that’s leaking out your cock all over your chest. Fuck, I love your tiddies.
You wait painterly and then drool at the picture he sends.
 NamTiddies: 1 attachment sent.
                       Like that?
You: Perfect.
         You’re so fucking perfect.
         Oh, looks like I rolled good this time. I’ll allow you to come now.
NamTiddies: Thank you.
It’s silent on his end and you feel needy all over again imagining him stroking his fat, long cock, with his head tilted back in ecstasy, and his hand playing with his little, perky nipples.
NamTiddies: Fuck, that was amazing.
You: It really was.
        Up for another round?
NamTiddies: Think I need to take a short rest first to recharge, then I’ll be good to go.
You: You’re such a dork. Should I roll you a stamina check, see if you can rest or I overstim you?
NamTiddies: You’re so mean.
You: You’re my dork, you know. I wouldn’t have you any other way.
NamTiddies: I know. Love you.
You: Love you too.
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paperrretro · 7 months ago
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the project.
Pairing: Fulton Reed x Reader
Word Count: 1,451 words
Warnings: Mild swearing
Request: can i get a fulton reed x reader?
[A/N: Takes place during the Ducks’ sophomore year.]
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It all starts with what you’re sure will be a death sentence.
“Fulton Reed and [Y/n] [L/n], you’ll be partners.”
An immediate shiver sends you sitting up ramrod straight in your seat. You must’ve heard wrong. Looking down the row to your left, you lock eyes with the guy and immediately fumble the copy of Mythology in your hands. Nope, you heard right.
Crap. Nononono. Mrs. Chen must be out of her mind. You can’t do this project with a Bash Brother. He’ll snap you like a twig. He’ll make you do all the work while he does hockey stuff. He’ll – he’ll –
He’s already sitting at your desk!
“Hrrk –” You swallow down an ungodly noise when you finally notice him. A wide, nervous smile warbles across your face. “Uh, h-hi, Fulton …”
To your great surprise, the boy gives you a very small smile. Your desk is almost dwarfed by his size. “Hi,” he rumbles.
You keep the smile on. The classroom buzzes with partners deciding on their topic for the project, and you look around at them, blinking and wondering if you should ask Fulton what he wants to do. Or should you wait for him to say something first? You want to start off on the right foot …
Fulton just glances between you and his book, looking like he might talk but retracting at the last minute. When two of your classmates walk up to the teacher’s desk, and Mrs. Chen writes down “Artemis” on the board as the first taken topic, you swiftly make up your mind.
“So, what do you want to do?” you ask as confidently as you can.
He shrugs, looking at the board. “I dunno. You can choose.”
Oh, man, you suck at choosing.
A second pair goes up and claims “Hercules.”
“How about one of the Twelve Olympians?” You flip to the section in the book, not wanting all the good ones to be taken. “There should be lots of info about them.”
Fulton shrugs again, adding a nod afterwards this time.
… This guy doesn’t talk much, does he? Actually, you’re also starting to realize that he’s not that scary up close – he’s not rude or rough, anyway. You still look down and turn the pages vacantly just to avoid his stare, though. Don’t want to jinx anything.
“Do you want to do Hephaestus?”
“Who?”
“This guy.” After some hesitation, you show him the section on the god. “The God of Fire?”
It sounds like something he’d be interested in. Maybe? You’re delighted when Fulton seems to brighten.
“Yeah, sure.”
Fulton Reed is a good partner.
He is, though it’s possible your bar is just low based on your last partner, who never had the time to meet up due to commitments at the Mall of America. Fulton doesn’t slack off on his half of the work, and he shows up more or less on time to the library or computer lab. And he doesn’t lose his temper with you at all – your bones are decidedly safe from any snapping. Granted, it takes him a while to read things, and his spelling isn’t much better than yours, but you think that you make a great team on the whole.
As the first week and a half passes, you also find that Fulton Reed is just nice to hang out with in general.
“You don’t like Nirvana?”
You sigh, outlining one of the paragraphs on your poster with red and orange markers. “I do like them. I mean, Kurt Cobain was awesome. I just … like Radiohead better.”
Fulton sits back on your living room carpet, looking personally insulted. He had been coloring in the drawing of Hephaestus that you’d so meticulously traced from one of the library’s encyclopedias. “But it’s Nirvana,” he says.
“I know.”
Your explanation doesn’t seem good enough for him, but Fulton just shakes his head and resumes coloring. You stick out your tongue and carefully glue another cut-out paragraph onto the poster. Not liking Nirvana as much as he does isn’t a make-or-break for your friendship, right? You internally slap yourself upside the head. Of course not. That’s ridiculous.
But –
“They’re still my second favorite band,” you say. “Or, like, a one-point-five if Radiohead is a one.”
At that, Fulton snorts a little. Your face heats up.
“Man, if Portman heard that, he’d be pissed.”
The blood leaves your face as quickly as it comes. “What? Why?” Even though you feel like he’s kind of joking, the thought of Dean Portman getting pissed at you isn’t something you even want to risk entertaining. Dude has biceps the size of Texas.
“I dunno. Nirvana’s his favorite band.”
“Oh,” you say awkwardly. “Okay.” The paper you’d just glued on is a tiny bit crooked, so you push up on one of its corners and wipe away the excess glue. You still need to write more about the stuff Hephaestus made. “So … uh … you guys have your last game on Friday.”
Fulton nods.
“I’ll be”—geez, this is way more embarrassing to say than you thought it’d be—“cheering you on. All of the Ducks,” you add the last part hastily.
He smiles. “Thanks,” he replies.
Silence falls again. But it’s much nicer this time, more comfortable. You move around from lying on your stomach to sitting cross-legged. Fulton finishes coloring in the anvil and pushes the picture over to you for gluing.
Your fingers brush as you take it from him. Electricity crawls underneath your skin at the contact.
“Sorry.”
“Huh?”
“Nothing, don’t worry about it!”
… Oh, no.
The Ducks win five to one on Friday. You leap into the air and clap your hands until they ache. Fulton catches your eye as he skates by, his hockey stick raised in the air like a trophy, and grins. Your stomach flips.
“You know how Hephaestus’s Roman name is Vulcan?”
“Yeah?”
“Well, apparently hockey pucks are made of vulcanized rubber.”
“… Whoa.”
“Yep. So we got this presentation in the bag.”
“You think so?”
“I really do. See you tomorrow, Fulton.”
“See you, [Y/n].”
You and Fulton are the second pair to present on Monday. Both of you are kinda nervous being in front of the class, Fulton noticeably more so than you, but overall, it goes well. Your Hephaestus poster is pretty sick, if you do say so yourself.
When you get your grade back next week at the end of class, you hurry over to Fulton to flip the research paper over with him.
“All right!” you whoop, high fiving him as the two of you leave the classroom. “Eighty-five percent. Told you we had it in the bag.”
You can tell that Fulton’s happy, but he mostly looks relieved. “I’m just glad we’re done with it,” he says.
Can’t argue with that. You full-heartedly agree, then ask if he wants to keep the poster or the research paper. He wants the poster, so you fold up the research paper and stuff it into the side pocket of your backpack as you head down the stairs.
“So”—you’re a bit startled when he speaks up first, glancing over at you with an unreadable expression—“I guess I’ll just see you in class tomorrow.”
You tilt your head, stopping at the base of the stairwell. “I guess so? Why’re you saying it like that?”
Fulton lifts a shoulder, then drops it. “I was just … I mean, we don’t have to meet up outside of school and stuff anymore.”
“Oh, yeah. I guess we don’t.”
He scratches the back of his head and looks away. You rock back on your heels, a strange kind of sadness seeping into your chest at the realization. The project’s done. That means no more library meetings. No more not-arguing about bands or what should be in a mixtape. No more sitting across from each other in your living room, just a few feet apart, munching on Fritos as you talk about Greek mythology and hockey and DnD.
Just strangers again in L.A. class, three desks apart.
“Well,” you eventually murmur, slowly. Hopefully. “You still haven’t checked out the DnD club yet.”
Fulton blinks. A small, familiar smile spreads across his face.
“Guess I haven’t,” he says.
“We’re meeting up this Saturday at six p.m.”
He nods. “Okay.”
You give him two thumbs up. The two of you resume walking.
“The Ducks usually play street hockey on Saturdays. In the afternoon.”
“I don’t know how to skate.”
“You can borrow one of ours. Or just watch if you want.”
“That’s true. Say, Fulton?”
“Yeah?”
“You’re a pretty cool guy, you know.”
Fulton blushes. You grin.
“Thanks. You’re pretty cool, too.”
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thebrightsessions · a year ago
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Entertainment Spotlight: Ian McQuown
Ian is an LA based actor and producer known for the YouTube comedy group, Extremely Decent, as well as a voice actor in the popular audio dramas: The Bright Sessions, The AM Archives, StarTripper!! & Deck The Halls! His credits inclue American Housewife, Trial & Error, Better Things, and For All Mankind. Ian took the time to answer some questions for us. Check it out:
You’ve worked on multiple podcasts -- what drew you to the medium?
Well, to be honest, Lauren drew me to it because TBS was my first narrative podcast. We met at a Rocky Horror Picture Show show. Anna Lore is our mutual friend and I think Anna is just talented as all get out, so anything she’s involved I want to be in. And, I don’t know, it was just one of those lucky breaks you get where a door opens and takes you to all these cool places you never anticipated.
On podcasting though, I really appreciate how much more possible it is to tell engaging stories without the boundaries of having to afford a set and a camera and insurance and etc etc etc. Like, I grew up with Star Wars, The Matrix, Cowboy Bebop— so when I imagine the stories I like, I’m usually picturing other worlds, space ships, people with super powers and those types of stories used to have a lot higher barrier to entry to make than they do now, which is just awesome.
If you could give a character from The Bright Sessions a spinoff series, who would you choose and what would the series be called?
I mean, no surprises here, but I’d love to see Damien’s early years. And I’d be super clever and call it something like... Damien: The Early Years. I'm dying for that content a little bit actually: Damien, before he became such a bad guy. Maybe a love story that doesn’t work out and leaves him really scarred? Villains so bad they created a villain instead of a victim—  that moment where we see the two roads Damien has to choose between and it totally shreds us when he makes the choice we all know he’s going to make, I mean, come ON you can see that, right? It’d be like the Star Wars prequels but without all the youngling killing and “NOOOOOOOO”’s and I want it.
Can you share a fun story or anecdote from the making of The Bright Sessions?
Haha, ok well it’s not really anything of note BUT: I remember Lauren had this area rug in her room, which as you probably know is where we would record, and it was this really nice, I think, red sort of floral rug that took up pretty much all the floor space because it was covering up the older apartment rug-floor underneath it. And it was, as I said, really cool, except it wasn’t a rug on a wood floor, right? It was a rug on a rug so it was a bit taller than the people who designed the room had planned for— the result of which was that you’d walk in and the room had this really awesome little vibe with this cute rug, and it was all very cozy, unless you looked directly behind you at the corner where the door had just spent ages scraping the surface of it, catching the corner, tearing little pieces out. And I may be getting apocryphal at this point, but I feel like by the time I had started coming around Lauren had straight up duct taped it to the floor, which really didn’t help the problem. And, I don’t know—again it’s not really anything momentous—but I just remember giving Lauren a particular amount of shit about it one day and us all having a really good laugh. And I really love that— there are jobs where you show up, keep your head down, do your work and leave, but then there are jobs like The Bright Sessions where you all get to become friends, and even if you don’t see each other for a while you sort of just get to pick up where you left off. And then those jobs turn into other jobs and you get to keep hanging out with your friends and peers and just making stuff you like— I’m a big fan of that.
If your life was a choose your own adventure, what decisions would viewers have to make on an average day?
OKAY, you wake up...
Water your garden before it gets to be 110 today, you cannot skip this step. You may however:
A) Stay out in the garden for longer if you get inspired and check if the tomatoes and peppers are ripe for picking.
Great! Now let’s make breakfast:
A) Make eggs, toast, fried tomatoes, and hash browns? 
B) Make (A) But also with Bacon? 
C) Make a smoothie?
D) There’s no time today, run to Whole Foods and get their incredibly priced $6 Egg, Bacon Cheese Breakfast burrito.
Awesome! You’ve eaten and now you can think. What work do you have to do?
A) Prep your audition, dummy! It’s due this afternoon, go fix your hair. 
B) You have a zoom meeting with actor friends at 11 to play around with some new material, put on a hat.
C) There is nothing you have to work on so stare at your computer and wonder if there’s new project you could be working on. Try to find that project, leave your hair as it.
Wow! You really had a great (insert previous choice here), let’s get you a coffee and take a TV break. What should we watch?!
A) That new show you haven’t seen yet because you need to watch everything so you know how to work on it should you get an audition for it.
B) Harley Quinn (your favorite new cartoon).
C) Teenage Bounty Hunters.
D) Farscape.
E) Nope, you just got an audition for tomorrow, everything is off the table, start working on it (Level Complete).
Lunch Time!!!
A) Turkey sandwich with pickles from the garden?
B) Trader Joe’s Margherita Pizza with basil and peppers from the garden?
C) Are we going to start another loaf of sourdough you basic mf?
D) Yes we probably are, but also (A) and (B).
Cool! I’ve eaten lunch. Now what?
A) You haven’t finished that work from this morning. Riiiight.
B)…More Harley Quinn…?
C) Let’s make pasta from scratch!
D) Let’s make ribs! From…ribs!
F) You just got an audition for tomorrow, everything is off the table, start working on it. (Level Complete).
Bangarang! You probably chose to start cooking dinner immediately after eating lunch. You ate it (and it rocked), what now?
A) You just got an audition for tomorrow, everything is off the table, start working on it. (Level Complete)
B) DnD with squad.
C) Go on a run, dude— you’re getting a Jaba chin….
D) Bring on the chin! Let’s watch TV until 2am! Here are your options:
A) Harley Quinn (your new favorite cartoon)
B) Teenage Bounty Hunters
C) Farscape
D) Put The Office on in the background and clean your house.
Level Complete.
As you can see I’m a very food-focused person. Also, I’m going to be real, that is truly what most of my days look like and I’m low-key a little mortified that ’taking a shower’ wasn’t a game option... 
Can you share your favorite piece of Bright Sessions / AM Archives fan art?
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I love all the fan art that people make for my characters but this one from Franartz has always been really special to me. It’s so GQ, I just love it — and some of my favorite early AG moments are with Damien, who looks a little like he stepped out of a Gorrilaz album here— big fan. I’m a little obsessed with fan art actually, I save everything I come across— there’s a freckled red-headed series of Owen by TheFigureInTheCorner that makes me really happy. Seeing that my work has inspired someone else to make something of their own is really what’s up, you know? It makes me think about all the art and entertainment that has touched me over the years and I get a lot of joy from being a part of that cycle.
Thanks for taking the time, Ian! Give I Can Die When I'm Done a relisten right here.
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tsukishimaenthusiast · a year ago
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Please do a part two of the s/o having pent up stress and going off because it was so good please you don’t have to though ❤️
daichi, iwaizumi, and akaashi getting into an argument with their s/o after accidentally going off on them due to stress pt.2
this is long overdue im sorry😔
part 1: here !
daichi:
you and daichi avoided each during finals week
the only time you would see him was in the halls and during class
it was friday afternoon and the karasuno vbc has practice two hours after school ended.. sugawara told you
you had just finished your last final and was the last student in the classroom
you were packing up your things when you heard footsteps behind you
daichi had walked in
“...hey”
you stared at him but continued packing your stuff in silence
“y/n.”
“what do you want, daichi?”
he grabbed your hand, “i want to talk… i want to apologize.”
you folded your arms, “go ahead.”
“i know you were trying to relax me at the library… i was just extremely stressed. i’m sorry for getting upset with you. i figured it was best to keep my distance until finals were over, that’s why i’m apologizing now…”
you let out a deep sigh and put your arms around his neck
you gave daichi a tight hug while rubbing the back of his head
“i understand… i know it’s hard, especially since you’re the captain and all…”
daichi kissed you on the cheek and stepped back a bit
“so… will you still come to my game on sunday?”, he asked
“only if you take me out to lunch before your practice today…”
daichi chuckled, “of course, sweetheart.”
iwaizumi:
iwaizumi has been trying to talk to you for the past three days
but ur so angry at him that you just ignore him all day
you’ve been giving him the silent treatment at school and you don’t answer his calls or texts
you just needed some time to think about things…
you went to a convenience stop near your house because you were craving ice cream
and ofc, the seijoh team was in there… you should’ve thought this through… their practices usually end at around this time
you tried to hide your face but kindaichi spotted you
when he called out your name, you looked over at the boys and made direct eye contact with iwaizumi
he eyes widened and he walked over to you
he took the ice cream out of your hand and paid for it
you two stepped away from the team and walked outside
“i’ll see you guys later!”, he shouted
you were gonna walk away but iwaizumi spoke up
“y/n… baby… please hear me out. i’m sorry for lashing out at you. i was overwhelmed with all my school work. i should’ve never raised my voice at you… you don’t deserve to be treated like that.”
iwa only apologizes when he definitely knows that he’s in the wrong
“okay.. okay… i probably would have done the same… you don’t have to apologize anymore.”
you pulled iwaizumi down by his shirt and kissed him
he held you by waist and smiled
“thanks for buying the ice cream, by the way!”, you shouted while skipping away from him
he followed you home though and u two enjoyed the ice cream together😌
akaashi:
you visited akaashi earlier today but ended up leaving due to an argument
you didn’t understand why he was being so mean… you were just trying to make him feel better by bringing him soup
it was raining outside so you decided to coop up in your room and watch a movie to clear your mind
you started getting messages from akaashi
you didn’t feel like talking to him though.. so you put your phone on dnd
within the next ten minutes, you heard your doorbell ring
but you were home alone and weren’t expecting anyone to stop by.. so you just ignored it
but then the doorbell rang again… so you decided to call you parents
when you picked up your phone, you had a bunch of missed calls and texts from akaashi
you started reading his messages
“please open the door i-“
you ran down the stairs to open the door
akaashi was standing there completely soaked
“are you dumb?! get inside!! why would you travel in this weather? especially when you’re sick! god… you idiot.”
you pulled akaashi in and told him to take off everything that was wet
you gave him a towel and blanket to help him dry up and stay warm
you started hugging him but he wiggled out and opened up his arms so you could actually come in contact with his body, then he wrapped the blanket around the both of you
“i was being inconsiderate, y/n. it’s just that.. so much has been going on with school and the team, i-“
you hugged akaashi tighter, “no… i should’ve texted you before i came over, especially since you haven’t been feeling well… but you shouldn’t have come over when it’s pouring out! you’re probably going to get even more sick!”
you pouted at akaashi but he smiled back at you
“i want to kiss you right now but i don’t want to get you sick. actually, i probably already contaminated you.”
you chuckled at him, “i don’t care, just kiss me..”
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nik-knacks · 4 months ago
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Dead Poets Society DnD AU 2: Electric Boogaloo
Hey besties it’s Nik with hopefully a good final version of the jist of the DnD au. So, for context, this is set in a modern day Welton where is all kind of the same except Mr Keating is not ONLY an English teacher, but is a dungeons and dragons nerd and inspires the boys to restart his secret dnd club from his youth. Our favourite gaggle of depressed gay teenage boys start the club again and basically the dead poets society is now a dnd party. Now, the boys get to work through their issues, relationships and feelings with the help of Mr Keatings old handbooks and a couple of evil math rocks. But Oh No, what would the school think of these boys playing a game that teaches them To Think For Themselves And Work Through Their Problems? Especially when it’s very blatantly set up by a teacher? Oh nooo conflict.
Should I maybe write a fic👀👀 Itd be Anderperry centric (obviously) but the other boys would be present and get to do some plot too. This AU is literally just ‘what if the dead poets society was a dnd party’. Warning: lots of projection ahead
Anyway. Let’s get into what characters the boys would play!
Neil: Neil is our humble dungeon master. With fun battle sequences, interesting non-playable characters, some silly voices and a riveting plot, Neil is ready to live his dreams. Idk if this is true for all dms, but the reason I dungeon master is because I fear the lack of control I have in my real life so I create a world where I am god and also magic is real… I wonder who else lacks control of their life and is a dm hmm interesting. Much like the play, the dnd club is Neils escape from his life and his chance to carpe diem babbyy . He’s an actor so his roleplaying is super intense and engaging, he’s a natural storyteller. Hopefully Mr Perry doesn’t find out that Neil has been playing a game instead of school stuff though.
Todd: Names his character after a poet. Something like Walt or Thoreau or smth. For some reason i’m hooked on Todd being an air genasi cleric and I don’t really know why but i’ll try to explain it anyway. Genasi’s whole thing is that they’re from two worlds and belong in neither, which is how Todd feels in a very close knit friend group he just joined, and in a new school where his brother is still somehow more talked about than him. Genasi also usually are very confident, so either Todd could be trying to put himself out there or he’s dreaming of being like that. Cleric because he wouldn’t want to hurt even theatre of the mind people and just wants to be helpful, and what better way to be helpful to your friend than LITERALLY KEEPING THEM ALIVE AND WELL
Charlie: Tiefling bard. End of discussion. Tries to name his character something dumb like Sexlord (or Saxlord) or something but changes it to Nuwanda after he was violently denied. Plays the saxophone and is the stereotypical horny bard. So much flirting. He gets really into the roleplay and is so fucking dramatic it’s a great time. Sometimes even actually brings his sax to sessions for dramatic effect. Maybe he and his character are… too similar… but that couldn’t be a bad thing… right…
Knox: Human fighter because… it’s just his vibe?? Names his character like Brian or something for the laughs). They didnt really have a normal one of the party (yknow somebody who is just a guy with a big sword) and so he plays the part. Honestly think Knox has such bad rolls mans would get such bad luck. Maybe there’s some deeper meaning to him wanting to be the normal one. Or maybe he just wants to stab shit. Who knows. He’s got the easiest time out of everybody as a player. Spell slots? Preparation? Components? Never heard of her. Stabbing the absolute shit out of people? His game
Meeks: Wizard, obviously. Then uh. For some reason I wrote down halfling and i’m honestly not sure why. Probably names his character something in Latin just to flex on the other poets. Wizards are known for their knowledge and that’s sort of the whole point of a wizard, and halflings are unassuming but kickass. Also probably was just very tired and stole the idea from one of my players. Maybe he’s too smart for his own good and maybe he just needs to chill yknow. Also, Meeks would absolutely rub it in everybody’s face that he has lucky. Mans has never met a nat 1 in his life
Pitts: Originally he was a half-orc when I made this a rpg fantasy type au, but now that it’s a modern day dnd club au I think Pitts would be so excited to play a dragonborn because HELLO DRAGONS?? Also, he’s an artificer named something either completely normal like Joseph or something completely wild like Ognosis Fireater. Pitts is usually seen as the ‘sorta dumb one’ just because he bumps his head on things and can’t keep up with schoolwork. But he is good at tinkering, so artificer, smart and inventive inventors seem like a good way to go. He definitely tries to recreate his dnd inventions in real life with… a level of success…
Cameron: Half-elf paladin because that’s his vibe. Names his character something fitting and fancy and hard to pronounce like Falithfriel but ends up being nicknamed something dumb and just accepting it. Cameron can finally be taken seriously, kind of. Half-elves are also between worlds much like genasi’s (Todd and Cameron friendship arc perhaps??) and paladins strive to the right thing and be the best they can be and are the stereotypical ‘good guy’. All Cameron wants is some APPRECIATION and LOVE and what better way to do that than by literally swearing yourself to being a good person who helps people? The club definitely isn’t school approved, they’re breaking so many rules and if Mr Nolan or any staff found out… hopefully he has some fun?
Shoutout to @anderperrytheplatypus for giving me the idea for this au! Special shoutouts to everbody who recently absolutely bombarded (/affectionate) my notifications talking about this au (dm if you would like to be tagged! Also dm me if you don’t want to be tagged and i’ll take you off no problem!): @aedan-mills @andersonsdeskset @charlie-dalton-simp and some others I’ve probably forgotten i’m so sorry.
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janethegaygal · 7 months ago
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My List of Podcasts Not a Lot of People Talk About
I'm a very big podcast nerd who listens to a lot of different stories that I don't see much discussion of, at least not on Tumblr, so I figured I'd shout a few of my favorites out. I'm not going to talk about podcasts that are already popular here. I love TMA, MBMBaM, and TAZ, but everyone has heard about those.
Vast Horizons
Status: Ongoing
Vast Horizons is a sci-fi audio drama. Dr. Nolira Eck is on a long space travel to a distant star as part of a colonization initiative, and is leaving behind a lot of baggage from back home. She wakes up from cryogenic stasis much earlier than she should have with no other living soul on board and the ship badly damaged. Nolira's only companion is the ship's AI systems as she tries to repair the ship and figure out what happened.
This is an amazing story with great voice acting and a diverse cast of characters. I recommend it if you are a fan of space and stories of survival.
The White Vault
Status: Ongoing
In Svalbard, Norway there is a small weather research station that is mostly automated. However a small glitch in the system forces a team to venture up north to try and get it up and running again. When the team arrives, they find that everything is working just fine. They prepare to head back when a horrible storm rolls in, forcing them to stay longer than anticipated. As they wait it out they discover an ancient archeological dig site underneath the facility that shouldn't exist, and they become aware of something watching them.
A good story for fans of horror. It gives a very similar feeling to The Thing, and the characters are well written and interesting. It is on a hiatus right now, and it will be airing it's final season later this year. It's a good time to catch up and enjoy the ending to this great story.
Janus Descending
Status: Complete
Two researchers are sent to a distant alien planet to investigate what appears to be the ruins of an alien civilization. As they try to piece together what wiped out the alien species they begin to realize that the creature responsible for the demise of this planet is not only still alive, but it is very hungry.
A short and sweet sci-fi thriller that has a very interesting gimmick that is executed very well. One of the two protagonists tells their story beginning to end, but the other tells it from the end to the beginning. It is a great story, and they have condensed all of the episodes into one supercut that's about 4 hours.
Primordial Deep
Status: Complete
By the same creators behind Janus Descending, Primordial Deep follows a group of six explorers going on a research expedition into the Mariana Trench at the behest of an eccentric billionair. The series jumps between office comedy, action thriller, and horror with ease, and it is such an enjoying listen. They just finished, so feel free to binge the entire thing. If you liked Atlantis: The Lost Empire, you will love this.
A Horror Borealis
Status: Ongoing
Now we have reached the actual-play podcasts on my list. A Horror Borealis has a group of four friends playing with the Monster of the Week system. The main campaign takes place in 1996, in the small town of Revenant, Alaska. The three player character's are Moriah Harris, the nosy librarian at the local library who has a penchant for conspiracy theories, Martha Campbell, the local hermit who fled from her home at the age of 17, and Siobhan O'Shaughnessy, one of the park rangers at the Gates of the Arctic national park.
Outside of that they also have two other side campaigns that also take place in Revenant, as well as other fun stuff. Right now they are doing a retelling to Stephen King's IT while role-playing, which has been great to listen to.
Dark Dice
Status: Ongoing
Dark Dice is another actual-play podcast, this one playing in DnD 5e, but it has a few things that set it apart from the others. For one, the setting is very dangerous, and the DM of the game takes into account rules that we don't usually see in podcasts like hunger, fatigue, and sanity. To be fair, the reason we don't see those often is because a lot of dice rolling and explaining rules is really boring audio, but they make up for it by cutting out nearly all table talk. All of the players are great voice actors, and after a session they will go back and voice act some of the key moments from their session. It makes the action flow much better than in other DnD podcasts, and since it has no qualms about killing off characters at the drop of a hat it can get really tense.
If you like games like Darkest Dungeon you will really enjoy this podcast. Give it a try if you like DnD podcasts, but would like something a bit different from the other's like it.
And those are all my recommendations! This is also a free invitation to message me if you've listened to any of these and would like to chat about them. I really love podcasts, and I hope you will enjoy some of these.
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rachelbethhines · 6 months ago
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Tangled Salt Marathon - Pascal’s Dragon
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We have our last animal focus story, and it’s painfully mediocre. 
Summary: Pascal discovers a pearl that later turns out to be a dragon's egg. The egg hatches and the dragon immediately takes to Pascal. Nigel the adviser becomes suspicious and learns the egg's origin and warns Rapunzel that they must destroy the dragon once it is found. When Rapunzel decides to protect the dragon instead, Nigel takes upon himself to lead the assault against it. 
This Episode Is Out of Order
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Ok, so what you are looking at here is the episode listing for season three. Those slots to the right that say TBA, those are the production codes. The production codes tells us what order the episodes were intended to be viewed in originally, as opposed to the airing order that was given to us. 
Now we still haven’t gotten the production codes for most of the season, so it’s complete guess work as to what order it’s all suppose to go in, but we do know the codes for Pascal’s Dragon and Cassandra’s Revenge. 
Cass’s Revenge can only come at a certain point in the season so we know it’s codes are right and they align with the episode’s airing order. So going based off that, we know Pascal’s Dragon was delayed by like one episode. It should have been the ninth episode that’s aired instead of Be Very Afraid, because tent pole episodes, like Rapunzel’s Return, are double length and so have two production codes.  
And narratively speaking that makes more sense; why build up to Cassandra’s return in Be Very Afraid only to randomly cut to a filler that has nothing to do with that story instead? The episode tonally does not fit here, even if it’s separation from the ongoing story means it’s easier to move it around. 
This isn’t as problematic as all the episode shuffling in season one was, but it does hurt the pacing of the story. It also absolutely should not have been the first episode to air after a hiatus. That caused the viewing figures to dip and I remember a lot of fans disliking it far more than they would have had it aired along side the rest of the season’s filler; myself included. 
I’m Getting Tired of Neserdina Getting Name Dropped All the Time
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I mean there are other kingdoms you know. One’s we’ve actually been to and have attachment with. Also why ship things by boat if you can just ride there on horseback as we saw in Day of the Animals? Or better yet, why bother with riding there if you could have just taken a boat instead? 
Also why is Neserdina some unholy fusion of Native North American, Polynesian and Northeastern Asian cultures, while being supposedly a Northwestern European nation? How is any of this respectful? 
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Why Can’t Eugene Have Opinions Show? 
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This is clearly more of that ‘boomer humor’ that relies on gross gendered stereotypes and double standers about how “the woman is always right even when is she’s wrong” dur hur... Which is super annoying and just not funny.  
But it’s made so, so much worst by the context of the surrounding season. Eugene not only doesn’t get to honestly express his opinions about fashion, he’s not allowed to disagree with Rapunzel on anything in season three. Not even actually important stuff; like his relationship with his own father, his own personal feelings towards Cass, not even his own damn name! (more on that later) 
Look I’m sorry, but New Dream isn’t ‘relationship goals’; not after season three. Like, I get they may be your OTP because of the original movie, but the show’s writers are doing their damndest to sink your ship here. Why not get mad at them instead of trying to defend toxic bullcrap like this? 
So What Happens If Someone Else Misses Their Cargo? 
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Nigel’s not wrong here. One should not operate under the rules of “finders keepers” when regarding international trade. Like, this could have potentially lead to a international conflict had Neserdina or another kingdom gotten involved. 
And even if it doesn’t belong to the kingdom of Neserdina specifically, but some private vendor, that’s still Rapunzel, a royal, stealing a common person’s wares and livelihood just because she thought it was ‘neat’. 
I can’t stress this enough. Rapunzel is not the underdog here. She’s not the ‘common everyman’. She’s not a poor girl just trying to get by and sticking it to ‘the man’ by pirating music or some shit. She’s the acting leader of country. She is held to a higher stander of accountably because she has more power than the average person. 
I thought this season was suppose to be about Rapunzel steeping it up and becoming responsible. Yet here she is being irresponsible again and not facing any consequences for it. 
So Why Does the Dragon Behave More Like a Pet Than the Actual Pets? 
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Shouldn’t mythical creatures like dragons have human level intelligence? Especially if all the other animals in the show can think and understand human speech and exhibit human behavior? Is it just because he’s young that he’s given dog like behavior? 
I don't get it, and I’ll be honest this depiction of dragons is just boring to me personally. To me, dragons should be like cool and majestic; not given the freaking Uni treatment from DnD. 
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And even Uni, was smarter than this. She was a least on the same level as Pascal is in terms of intelligence and could contribute to the plot at times. 
If Dragons Are Well Known Enough to Have Research Books Written About Them, Then Why is Skepticism Regarding Magic Ever a Thing to Begin With?
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Hey remember when the show said curses weren’t real? Remember how Varian would insist that he doesn’t believe in magic and placed all his faith in science? Remember how a world weary traveler like Eugene freaked out over glowing hair in the movie?  
None of those past reactions make sense if magic is just a commonly accepted fact to everyone in the world. This isn’t good world building because it’s inconsistent. Instead of fleshing out the Tangled world it just instead confuses the mythology.  
This scene is funny though, won’t lie. 
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This is a Lie
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It’s not just an intended lie for the episode either. It’s a failed narrative promise through out the entire show, because Rapunzel clearly does not give two shits about Corona at any point in the story. Not back in The Alchemist Returns when she used at an excuse to avoid owning up to how awful her father is, and not even in the series finale when everyone around her is dying and all she cares about is Cass. 
This Isn’t Real Representation 
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Get it? The dragon’s initials are L.B.G.  Not, you know, the full LBGTQA  anagram, but half of it... 
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This... this isn’t even gay baiting levels of rep, or even gross stereotyping. It’s just the writers being lazy with their metaphors and thinking that they’re somehow clever for it.  
They are not. 
This is a Neat Idea, But It Literally Adds Nothing to the Story
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No seriously, what does this actually add that couldn’t have been achieved another way? Do we really need Pascal to breath fire in order to move the story along? Couldn’t this concept been better utilized? Either by either diversifying the powers and who gets them, or by tying them to the central conflict better? Because, as it, this is a waste. 
Let’s Talk About the Problem with Nigel
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Nigel is a pretty decisive character in fandom. Many, including myself, blame him for spreading the rumors about Varian ‘attacking’ the princess back in season one. After all, he’s the one we hear repeating the rumor to Rapunzel, stating it as a fact, despite him physically being there and seeing and hearing the whole exchange himself. He’s even the one who ordered the guards to send Varian away. Trying to excuse that, is on the same level as trying to excuse Cass and Eugene treating Varian like a criminal despite also knowing the truth. 
However Nigel also has his small share of fans, for the same reason as to why I like Calliope and Faith or why others like Vex and Friedborg. He has a lot of untapped story potential and if you’re already attracted to the archetype he exhibits then you’re inclined to seek out better stories for him, round out his characterization, and humanize him more. 
And to be fair, I can see that potential and why it would appeal to some. As the royal adviser, a person with a lot of political power and experience to utilize it, Nigel is in the unique position of being able to stand up to Rapunzel more directly and/or mentor her in the ways of governance without falling into an outright villain. Something that is desperately needed the further we go along in the series.  
However that’s not what we got here. 
For one thing Rapunzel is still never directly called out for anything, nor does she have to face any harsh emotional truths about herself and her leadership skills. In fact the conflict is resolved without her involvement really because this is considered Pascal’s episode. 
But more importantly, it’s too late in the game to try and flesh out Nigel, or any season one character who isn’t directly related to the main plot. Just like with Feldspar in Lost Treasure, the narrative fails to justify Nigel’s importance over say Lady Caine, The Brotherhood, or Xavier, ect. Indeed he’s been nothing but a joke character, same as Shorty, Monty, and the rest of castle staff, so why are the writers asking the audience now, only half a season away from ending, to suddenly take this character seriously?
Look, if you like Nigel despite the bad writing then more power to ya, but this episode is very, very lazy and for me at least, it utterly fails to make the character endearing.  
Where the Heck is Nigel From?
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That doesn’t look like Corona. See the town on the mountain in distance? Also if dragons had attacked the kingdom only thirty/forty years ago, you’d think more people would remember it besides just him. But that begs the question of why a non-Coronian citizen would be given such a high place in the royal court. 
I would suggest this might be one of those fishing villages on the Corona map, but we’re clearly in the mountains right now, not on the sea. Maybe he came to Corona with Arianna when she married Frederic? Maybe he’s a native of her country, where ever that is.  
A Slapped On Tragic Backstory Doesn’t Automatically Make a Character Sympathetic 
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I will grant you, that this backstory is better implemented than Cassandra’s villain reveal, as it directly ties back into Nigel’s actions within the episode, but it’s still just as manipulative as watching mini-Cass getting abused. 
This might explain why Nigel hates dragons, but it doesn’t explain away his past actions regarding Varian nor does it justify the later extremes he goes to in the episode. 
I also must ask you why villains with actual immediate dire stakes, like Lady Caine, Varian, and the Saporians have their trials and tribulations all but ignored, but we get flashbacks to past traumas for Frederic, Cass, and now Nigel? 
And that’s not me down playing trauma either. It’s me acknowledging that the past isn’t as important as the present. 
Varian’s trauma was ongoing when he started to fight back. The Saporians were uprooted from their homes by the rocks and literally had nowhere else to go, having been oppressed for hundreds of years. Lady Caine has being fighting for her life ever since her dad was taken away, and the man who forced her into that life is still in a position of power. 
The series uses tragic flashbacks to get you the audience to root for who they want you to root for, while going out of its way to frame poor people in a less sympathetic light. 
Cause if nothing else, I want Tangled fans to acknowledge one thing... every character who is treated as being sympathetic by the narrative is rich. They’re all nobility. Frederic’s a king, Nigel here is the royal adviser, Cassandra is the captain’s daughter and has the highest position of power in the castle next to Rapunzel herself, and even Stalyan is a baron’s daughter. 
But poor orphans are to blame for the world’s problems and homeless people are told ‘stealing to survive is wrong’, ‘fighting back against the ruling class is wrong’ ect.
Tangled isn’t just an authoritarian show, it’s also classist propaganda. 
Ugh, This is So Unsatisfying! 
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This is the conflict I’ve been asking to see for the past three seasons, and when it finally comes it’s as weak as a watered down soda pop without the fizz! 
Like I want to see Rapunzel being more responsible. I want to see consequences for her actions both past and present. I want to see people disagree with her without going full on villain or being persecuted for doing so. I want to see the people of Corona standing up to the royals.
But not like this. 
This isn’t even the main conflict of the episode. What should’ve been a power struggle between Rapunzel, the Establishment, and the People, is instead reduced to “Oh will Pascal lose his new friend?” Which is not where the focus should be. 
Outside of not sending the pearl back from the get go, Rapunzel hasn’t actually done much wrong. She is working towards solutions through out the episode and changes her approach to things as new information is presented to her. She’s taking things seriously for once and so Nigel is made to look like the unreasonable one; even though past episodes have proven that his concerns with Rapunzel’s leadership isn’t unfounded.
Rapunzel’s past failings are never brought up. In fact no one confronts her directly nor actively undermines her power in front of her; thereby weakening the conflict altogether. 
It’s only Nigel and the guards; the rest of the citizens are left out of the conflict which reduces Nigel’s credibility here. 
Why would the guards willingly go along with Nigel knowing Rapunzel would disapprove? They’re not just following orders here; they know what is going on and are deliberately picking a side here. They’re consciously committing treason against the crown in a country that will hang you just for theft and where over half the citizenship is brainwashed to kiss the royal’s arseholes. That’s a big fucking deal, but we’re never given any insight into their reasonings. 
Don’t Expect This Plot Point to Be Resolved
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Rapunzel finds out about Nigel’s mutiny and then just ignores it? What he does and it’s greater implications are never brought up again by anyone; even as his actions continue to threaten our main heroes. 
Like that doesn’t make any sense. Even if Rapunzel is less harsh than Frederic this is still a major problem that she has to deal with in someway. Also we know she’s not above stricter punishments like prison cause that’s where the Saporians and Lady Caine still are. 
Letting Nigel get away scot free without any consequence whatsoever isn’t being a ‘kinder ruler’ here, it’s being a hypocrite. It’s also being extremely irresponsible. You can’t risk later upheavals like this leading to more conflicts later. 
At the very least Nigel should have been fired from his job after this episode; but we know that he wasn’t because Be Very Afraid is actually suppose to be after this episode and he was still shown living in the castle there. 
Not Letting the Guards Have Agency Reduces the Tension in the Conflict
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Literally no one stands up to Rapunzel or Nigel face to face, thereby removing anyone from any form of accountability. 
If there is no consequence there is no conflict; and if there is no choice there is no consequence.  
Even When He’s Not In the Story Xavier Is Still the Exposition Fairy 
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Or in this case, the Plot McGuffin Fairy.
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Was This Sequence Necessary? 
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This was the end all and be all of the sharing abilities concept and it doesn’t impact the over all plot of the episode in any way. It’s just here... taking up screen time...when we could have been focusing on a better conflict. 
So Let’s Be Clear, Nigel’s Actions Are Now On the Same Level’s as Varian’s
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He’s knowingly and willingly attacking the royals and throwing gas bombs at ‘innocents’ that support said royalty. In order to save his home, or so he thinks. And before that he manipulated people into order to undermine the authorities over him and gain what he wanted.  
The only difference here is that Nigel isn’t an abused orphan with zero political power and no one is fighting back against him. 
And once again you can’t claim this lack of reaction on Rapunzel’s part as character growth because she still hasn’t acknowledge that Varian’s treatment was wrong, nor has she freed any of the oppressed people she once fought, like Lady Caine and the Saporians. 
Once Again This is Stealing Away Agency from the Characters
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The one time Rapunzel lecturing someone would have fit and the episode removes her from the conflict’s resolution completely. 
I don't want to call this contrived as it is good that Nigel comes to the realization that he was being an ass on his own, but not having the main heroes, not even Pascal, consciously and actively involved in the inciting incident that changes his mind is narratively weak and a let down of an ending. 
The One Time a Raps and Cass Parallel Could Have Worked and It’s a Broken Narrative Promise.  
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Ok first off, you didn’t ‘say goodbye’, you got dumped girl. 
But more importantly....
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Rapunzel painting her new adventures over her old ones in her room is suppose to signify her moving on from that breakup. In fact it’s a plot point that’s reiterated again in Cassandra’s Revenge. Only to be immediately thrown out the window by the end of that episode for little stated reason. It’s a waste of a set up and a waste of character development; and no one wants to see that. 
Conclusion
I mean at least it’s not King Pascal, but it’s still not good. It also had absolute no business being in season three and especially shouldn’t have been what kicked off the end of the hiatus. And the most frustrating thing is that had you kept Pascal and the dragon out of it, and had Nigel standing against Rapunzel over Cassandra and the threat she posed; that would have been a stronger story. 
Anyways thanks for reading and you can support me over on Kofi 
https://ko-fi.com/rachelbethhines
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the-redeemed-anon · 7 months ago
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Villains vs Antagonists, what each word means because this fandom uses them as synonyms when they are not
Oh boi, who would’ve thought that this was my debut analysis post on Tumblr for this fandom? Hi, it is I, Redemption Anon from @kateis-cakeis’ blog. This isn’t the post I promised to post first, but this topic has bugged me, especially in the current events. It is time to talk about villains and antagonists, DSMPblr.
Disclaimer before I get into it: I am what would be considered an old dog in this fandom, I’ve watched in a weird way Season 1 while it was still going down, and I officially started lurking on Tumblr through anons on a couple of blogs right at the start of Season 2. It’s just that now I felt the need to make a blog where I analyse stuff. So, I feel like I have some knowledge, albeit imperfect, of characters and events, across the story. Also, I am talking about the characters here, not the CCs. If I mention a CC, their name will be labeled accordingly.
With that out of the way, let’s jump into it.
Now, you may see the words “villain” and “antagonist” being used a lot when discussing the DSMP and other media in general, but the thing is, they are not synonyms, and I feel like a lot of people fail to grasp that, because oftentimes, we have characters that are both at the same time, making the line blurry. Well, let me try to explain my take on these terms.
An antagonist is a person who opposes the protagonist, it’s the rival of the main character, the anchor of the POV that is followed in the story. This usually means that an antagonist can be paired up with the villain role, and the protagonist with the hero role, but it’s not always the case. There are stories where the protagonist is the villain, and the antagonist is the hero (for example, the Genocide Run of Undertale). And even then, there are antagonists that aren’t the villain in the grand scheme of things (for example, you wouldn’t call Gary from Pokemon a villain, would you?) Basically, antagonists are very much POV-centric. In the DSMP, the best example I can give is the BA versus Techno. From Techno’s POV, the BA was his antagonists, while from the BA POV, Techno was the antagonist. Bear in mind, neither party was a villain, or a hero.
A villain is very much a person that serves an evil purpose, the opposing force to the hero of the story, whose actions point to a good purpose. While the hero is the person you are supposed to root for, the villain is the one who is supposed to lose, to not cause a bad ending to your story. The villain and the hero depend a lot on morality. Villains can have downright evil goals, like say, destroying the planet or something repulsive enough to make most people root against them, or morally-grey goals, where they intend to do evil for what they think is the greater good. The last one works well with sympathetic villains or protagonist villains, because you get to see them from another angle. In the DSMP I think it’s safe to say we have two true villains, that being Dream and the Egg, because almost everyone agrees that if these two got their way, it would be bad. I am going to talk just about one of them, however.
Okay, now that we made those two terms clear, let me repeat: antagonists depend on the POV that is observed, while villains depend on morality. On the DSMP these two factors make saying the categories characters belong to tricky, especially when some self-assign or are assigned by other characters or even the fandom into archetypes. In this analysis I want to analyse Wilbur, Puffy (the characters that self-assigned themselves as villains at one point in their arcs) Tommy (who I saw people assigning him as a villain recently) and Dream (one of the true villains of this story, and not only that, he fits the classic combo of antagonist and villain).
The Self-Appointed
Welp, time to talk about my favorite character, Wilbur, and sympathise with Puffy fans, because they’re going right through what we, Wilbur fans, went through since “Then let’s be the bad guys” was uttered.
So, Wilbur and Puffy self-appointed themselves as villains. That makes them villains, right? Not quite. See, the thing with villains is that they are dependant on morals. The audience isn’t the only one that has a moral code, characters have one too. And, in my opinion, in this case we have to talk about the moral codes of these two.
Both Wilbur and Puffy have, or, had, moral codes that revolved around peace, not killing, and the like. Moral codes that you would generally label under “morally good”. What happened to these two, then, for them to go and call themselves villains? Well, it’s quite simple actually.
They broke their own moral codes. I’ll start with Wilbur because I am more familiar with him, and I can use the quotes provided by kateis-cakeis here (thank you my dude for your hard work collecting these!).
So, we all know that at the beginning, Wilbur had a very peace-oriented mindset, wanting to use words over weapons in conflict [“We don’t win wars with battles and with armour. We win wars with our words, Tommy. We’re starting a revolution, not a war.” - (Wilbur’s The Wall: 4:54, 29th July)], and, as such, he saw himself as a good guy [“It was Dream, he’s kinda the bad guy. Yeah, we’re the good guys, we’re the good guys here.” - (Wilbur’s Niki joins L'Manberg: 22:28, 6th Aug)]. What changed? Well, for starters, Wilbur underwent a spiral from paranoia that started from the Independence war. We can see his opinions change thanks to the flashback to the Election era [“And power isn’t gaining from diplomacy, and bureaucracy, and giant courthouses suspended in the sky, blah blah blah. It’s gained from swords, Quackity. It’s gained from blades, it’s gained from steel, iron.” - (Quackity’s Killing My Enemies: 1:06:19, 12th Apr)]. Of course, his spiral worsened after the Election, but we can assume he still thought of himself as a good guy.
That is, until the infamous scene. You know the one: [“Tommy, I’ve got a question for you, right. Because this festival, this is a good idea, this doesn’t seem like a bad like, this doesn’t seem evil. You know? This seems like a nice friendly thing Schlatt’s doing. Tommy, are we the bad guys?” - (Wilbur’s who are you go away: 1:08:14, 8th Oct)]. Oh yes, here, after about two weeks of being in a high stress situation, high paranoia and Schlatt seemingly doing a good thing for his nation, Wilbur starts to question himself. He starts to question if this is the moral thing to do, the right thing to do. And, logically, if you’re not in the right, you’re in the wrong, so the conclusion he reaches, is this: [“Tommy, am I, am I a bad, am I a villain of this story. Am I the villain in your history?” - (Wilbur’s who are you go away: 1:08:59, 8th Oct)]. He self-appoints himself as a villain, and then embraces the role, as well know. As Season 1 progresses, Wilbur doubles down more and more on this idea that he is the villain, and his story ends tragically. Even his ghost thinks of him as a villain, and compares Phil to Saint George, a hero, for killing him (I will get back to this).
So, was Wilbur an antagonist? Yes, definitely, especially from his POV, I would argue, because if he thought he was in the right, he would have never uttered the infamous “Then let’s be the bad guys.” Hell, other Wilbur analysts have pointed out that Wilbur may have wanted to be stopped from pressing the button. Even from his POV, you could argue he’s against the protagonists of the arc. The fact he had some potent self-hatred just helps cement that he was an antagonist, someone who must be stopped.
Was he a villain? I would say no. Look, I don’t see Wilbur as a villain, even if he tried to place himself into this archetype. In Season 1, I think the villain was Schlatt, followed by Dream, starting at the end of the Season. Wilbur strikes me more as a fallen hero, as a man who was okay, who would be cherished and loved and looked up to by others, but at one point took a wrong turn, didn’t find his way back, and continued down the path that doomed him, while his loved ones turned away from him, because they didn’t know how to help and he distanced himself from them by lashing out. It’s a tragic story arc. 
“But Redemption Anon!” I hear you say, “CC!Wilbur’s DnD Alignment Chart classifies him as Neutral Evil, bordering on Chaotic Evil!” The DnD Alignment Chart is a chart that while it helps to get the vibe of a character, it can be often arbitrary or can be blurred because characters fit in with characteristics of more than one alignment (see the debate from around that time surrounding Techno’s assigned alignment). Plus, if we look at Wilbur from the POV of most, if not all, characters, without reading into his reasonings, yeah, he looked evil. Even to himself, we see it from quotes like these: [“Here’s the thing, I genuinely think, if it weren’t for me and you dying right, the server would be in shambles. I know for a fact that if I come back, or if I’m brought back to life in some way it’s definitely gonna just go [shit again]” - (Tommy’s am i dead?: 10:10, 4th March)], [“I know what I’m like, that’s the issue.” - (Tommy’s am i dead?: 10:29, 4th March)]. Was he evil, though? I would say not, more misguided than anything. That doesn’t mean he was a saint, nor was he the devil. Of course, he did some wrongs, and me denying that would be weird, because that’s why I say he should get a redemption arc, if he had a clean record, he wouldn’t be in need of one. He’s hurt people, intentionally or not, and he has to make up for those actions, if he is to be redeemed, but that doesn’t make him evil or a villain.
“But Redemption Anon!” I hear you say again, “Ghostbur considers him a villain and the quote from Ghostbur says he was a villain that wasn’t convinced to be a hero!” Yes, true, but we’re forgetting here two things:
1. Ghostbur is biased against Alivebur because he remembers his death as a good thing, and people don’t like him, therefore he rationalises it as Alivebur being the villain of the story and Phil being the hero, pulling out a Christian story that blatantly, hard-line shows us who is the villain and who is the hero: [“I- I- I’ve read the history books, Phil. I’ve read the history books. You- You- You slayed the dragon, you slayed Alivebur. You were the- You- You are the St George of the Dream SMP. We understand, everyone understands that, Phil.” - Wilbur’s First Time Ghostbur Live: 17:58, 6th Jan)]. Honestly, if I was in his shoes and I was everyone hating my past self and I didn’t remember my actions, I would assume I was evil too, because that is easier to comprehend than the fact that they are hating a mentally ill person that didn’t get the help, support and guidance they needed while they had a paranoia-fueled spiral.
2. Ghostbur, when he said: [“But a villain is just a- Sometimes the line’s a little blurry, you could say, a little blurry. It’s a tiny bit. It’s like, a villain, a villain is just a hero you haven’t convinced yet.” - (Tommy’s The Plan To Kill Dream: 1:01:31, 14th Mar)] he was talking to people who considered Wilbur a villain, and he tried to make them consider another side. This context matters, if he dismissed that Wilbur was a villain, there was a risk of his point being dismissed completely. Tommy and Tubbo, while they knew Alivebur from the beginning, his later actions tainted their view of him, and he has caused them hurt, and Ranboo has never met him, only knows of him from word of mouth. It’s hard to make these three consider him from the angle that he was not a villain. The line is still very good, but, again, context matters.
“But Redemption Anon!” I hear you yet again, “Wilbur is even worse in the Void and Dream will be killed to prevent him from being ressurected!” Okay so I don’t think we can speak about the Void here, in this context. You see, all we got out of the Void was a 5 minute conversation that sounded more like snippets out of a longer conversation, or even multiple conversations, that took place over what Tommy perceived as 2 months. From that conversation, all we got is that Wilbur’s self-loathing worsened, he thinks he, and by projection, Tommy, are better off dead for the good of the server, he knows when the Universe will end and he plays solitaire. The rest of the information we got about him was from Tommy, who is, sadly, an unreliable source, because he is not disclosing what Wilbur told him he’d do, beside a general “it will be bad and we have to stop it”. Tommy was also dealing with the trauma of being brought back, and let’s not forget that the Void didn’t give him peace, he was essentially tortured constantly for what he felt were 2 months. To me, it feels like it’s an intentional lack of detail and information, with a lot of discrepancies (like, if Wilbur scared Tommy so much, it’s interesting he refused to talk to MD when offered the chance, and Schlatt mentioned both Wilbur and Tommy being together at the gym) to throw us off. For all we know, Wilbur could be planning the end of the world if he is resurrected, or, he could’ve been making empty threats, or, he was rambling with no thought of it being taken seriously, or, he intentionally scared Tommy into not bringing him back, because he wants to stay dead. All of those could be what happened, and we may not know until he gets resurrected. Until then, I can’t call him a villain, or evil, even if he thinks of himself as a hazard to others, or Tommy’s motive to kill Dream.
Also, don’t be surprised Wilbur’s mental health seemingly went downhill ever since he’s been there. It’s possible the feeling of being constantly pulled apart isn’t just a Tommy thing, Wilbur may feel it too, and he’s been in there for what he may feel as being 10 to 15 years. Add the fact he’s been in Schlatt’s presence for that time, don’t act surprised he’s gotten worse. He didn’t have the conditions to plateau, let’s not even talk about getting better.
I think I defended Wilbur’s honor long enough lol, now onto Puffy.
I am not as familiar with Puffy as I am with Wilbur, but I will try to present her side as best as I can. We all know that post-Doomsday, Puffy took on the knightly goal of protecting people, especially the minors of the server. Puffy had the misfortune, however, that her closest friends and allies turned to be at least antagonists and at most villains, their actions leaving her feeling hurt and betrayed.
If she tried her best to try to help Bad and Ant, her friends, with the Egg problem, the Banquet shattered the remaining trust she had in them because they killed Foolish, and whether her belief that they killed him first to hurt her is true or not, they did hurt her. She felt betrayed, and accusing her of being the reason her son was dead didn’t help.
The moment she got the axe from Quackity Ant’s fate was sealed, because in that moment of grief and anger, Puffy sought out a retribution, a revenge that went against her moral code. We can see this clearly affect her, because once she leaves the Banquet’s hall, she mourns the death of Foolish and the fact that she killed her best friend, when she swore to protect lives. The Banquet, overall, is a highly traumatic event for her.
No wonder that the next day, her outlook on things changed. She branded herself a villain. She started making vague references to what she can do as a villain, because no one would expect it from her, even name-dropping Doomsday, one of the worst events she witnessed, and the one that turned her to her knightly arc. For me it’s clear that what she said was out of trauma, out of shock and out of desperation.
If you think about it, the world of the DSMP is very bleak, canonical minors have heavy trauma and continue to pay for wrongs they did long ago or suffer because people think they need to learn something or because they are used by others. Puffy noted it herself, Doomsday came and went and the perpetrators were never punished for it. While Techno and Phil aren’t villains per se, they are antagonists in this situation, aiding the villain, Dream, neither of them has suffered any consequence for destroying L’Manberg. No, getting locked into Pandora does not count, because Dream was imprisoned just because he had the Revive Book and he was too dangerous to let loose. It would seem that you can perform evil acts without care or consequence half the time, so why not turn to what you perceive as villainy to exact your justice on those who wronged you?
As of me writing this, all Puffy has done so far is say that she will be a villain, yet I have seen some takes that treat her as if she has been pulling the strings all along. I have seen people claim she has the Nuke, that she, for some reason, controls Ranboo’s enderwalk and even that she will break out Dream. I think this is ridiculous, not only because some of those things happened before she even considered calling herself a villain, but also because she has yet to take action. This is another “Then let’s be the bad guys” situation, because we have a character, that, after getting their moral code flipped on them, in a moment of vulnerability, they see themselves as a villain, and being the villain is the way to resolve their problems.
With that said, is Puffy an antagonist? Surprisingly, I say she was one already. If you look at the story from the Eggpire’s perspective, she is an antagonist, because she wants to stop the Egg. From other POVs, she’s not, and she hasn’t done anything to cement her as an antagonist with bad intentions so far.
Is she a villain? No, and I think that call is too soon to make, regardless of what she says. Remember, she feels herself as a villain, she is an unreliable narrator for herself in this situation. All she did was make a promise, with no action or plan. She also doesn’t seem to want to cause mass harm on the server, rather concentrating on the Eggpire. Another thing to note, she sees her killing Ant still something bad she did, even if she doesn’t regret it, because she is open to receiving consequences for the kill.
Truly it’s a matter of time to see where Puffy will go with this promise, and I hope she doesn’t go down the same path Wilbur went, not only because of story purposes, but also meta purposes.
The Fandom-Appointed
Ah, Tommy, one of the most misunderstood characters on the DSMP. So, why am I discussing Tommy here? Because I saw an influx of people calling him a villain after the last lore stream, and I want to set the record straight, because, just like how the reaction to Puffy’s “I’m a villain now” moment are ridiculous, so are the reaction to Tommy’s… especially because Tommy didn’t have an “I’m a villain now” moment.
I have to say, since Season 2 started the parallels between Tommy and Wilbur and Tubbo and Schlatt, people, at the beginning of Exile, were rooting for “VillainInnit”. People seemingly wanted him to follow Wilbur’s path, but he didn’t. He saved himself and went to Techno’s. While at Techno’s, while he was attempting to heal from Exile, due to wanting to feel accepted and gain Techno’s friendship, he started making actions of violence, that painted him in an antagonistic light. He even quoted Wilbur, which, as I remember, sent the fandom in a panic, because people found this as confirmation for Tommy turning to villainy, history repeating itself.
… But it never happened, because Tommy realised at the Green Festival that what he’s doing is wrong, and set off to make up for his actions. Yet since then people have been dogpilling him and calling him a villain, for following his moral compass, finding his way back and trying to make things better. Every mistake he makes or flaw he has is highly scrutinized to a ridiculous level. At this point blaming Tommy for all the wars is a meme.
It’s funny, actually, that Tommy gets pushed into the hero archetype by the people on the server, and the moment he makes a wrong step, by accident or because he was messing around, he’s at best an antagonist and at worse a villain, proving a point I always make when talking about the archetype of the hero, in any media: the title of hero puts the character on a tiny pedestal, and if they make the smallest misstep, they will fall into the pit of being branded evil and a villain. And that pit, story-wise, is hard to climb, because characters forget easy the good someone does, and often remember the bad they did, because it’s easier to see someone in a black-and-white perspective. They did bad? Then, they must have always been bad. Tommy doesn’t even want to be a hero or a villain, he just wants to vibe, but external forces do not let him have peace, forcing him to act, for his and the server’s sake.
Now, I have seen people condemn Tommy and already trying to push the narrative that he’s bad for wanting to kill Dream. Let’s look at Tommy’s morals: he, before he visited Dream for a second time, told Sam that he believes no one deserves to die, not even Dream. We can say that this is a core part of his moral code, not killing people.
This belief, as far as I remember, has been contradicted twice, once when he was killing Dream in the Season 2 Finale, and now, as he plans to kill Dream. Tommy himself recognises that this isn’t the right thing to do, but it’s the only thing to do. Why isn’t he a villain or an antagonist then? Because the context of why he did and does this is important.
Dream was planning to kill his best friend right in front of him, lock him up in Pandora and use the attachments of everyone on the server to control them. Tommy, and everyone on the server, realised Dream was a serious threat then, someone too dangerous to wonder around. Tommy took to killing Dream as a necessity to protect himself and everyone else. The only reason Dream was put in Pandora is because he revealed he knows how to revive the dead, thus they can’t kill him without dooming everyone to being dead, forever. Pandora was the only solution they found to keep Dream alive while keeping him powerless.
Second, Dream killed him, and brought him back, telling him he can send him back and declaring himself a God. Whatever Tommy and Wilbur spoke about in the Void clearly marked him, because he was willing to forgive Dream, if he is to not bring Wilbur back. Dream refused, and Tommy realised Dream is too dangerous for everyone on the server to be kept alive, especially to the people that came to the Vault, thus, for everyone’s safety, he must kill him.
This is not an evil, villainous or antagonistic goal, it is quite stereotypically good, protagonistic and heroic (ironically it’s what Aang was advised to do in ATLA, kill Ozai for the good of the world, even if he betrays his pacifist beliefs). Tommy has been pushed in the role of a reluctant hero, and even if he fails his goal and Dream escapes, that will not make him a villain or evil.
At the same time, as I said, antagonists are POV-centric, so, of course, Tommy is an antagonist in certain POVs. The Egg dislikes him, Jack wants him dead, Dream and Tommy at the point are sworn enemies and Techno doesn’t like him. He is an antagonist with good intentions, and that is the final nail in the coffin that I do not see him as a villain. He never saw himself as in the right doing bad things, never tried to justify them as being the right thing, and has apologised for his actions. He’s not a saint, but he’s not the devil either, and neither is he evil or a villain.
The True One (Story-Appointed)
Okay, now we are talking business. Dream, flat out, is a both an antagonist and a villain. The classic combo people think of when they think of a bad guy in a story. I’ll be honest I like him as a villain. You know you wrote and acted a good villain when you cheer as they hit rock bottom, and you love to hate them. That’s exactly what Dream is.
What in my mind separates Dream from the rest of the characters I have discussed in this analysis so far is intent and moral code. Make no mistake, all the characters I mentioned up until now know they’ve done something bad, whether they doubled down, plan to, or made up for their actions. And all of them, Dream included, started out from the same slate: characters with intentions and goals that are neutral to good on the general morality scale. Yeah, that’s right, I don’t consider Dream to have been evil from the start. At the beginning and middle of Season 1, I would have put him in the trickster category because he seemed to vibe with whoever he wanted, as long as he came on top, but without too much malice. He fanned the flames (like lavacasting Sapnap’s Eiffel Tower and giving Tommy Mars) but nothing big enough to make him a definite villain.
It was at the end of Season 1 that I could see him slowly shaping up as the definite villain we will witness from Season 2 to possibly the end of the DSMP. Allying with Schlatt over the Revive Book, telling Eret he plans to bring every faction under him, the traitor deal and him cheering for L’Manberg’s death all pointed to him becoming the next big threat. Then Season 2 happened, Exile happened, and this cemented him as the villain of the DSMP.
Doomsday came and we finally got a window to see why Dream did what he did: “You’re too fun”. People may wonder why I don’t consider Techno and Phil as villains for participating in Doomsday. This is why. While Techno and Phil had reasons that, while controversial, could be understood as valid motives to do what they did, Phil saying they were sending a message when talking to Ghostbur, Dream did all of that, all of that destruction, because he found it fun. He found it fun to torment and tear down a nation, because it was standing in his way, and it was something Tommy cared about.
The Vault scene also shows that Dream was planning to backstab everyone, by stealing their pets or their valuable items, or, in Bad’s case, cage an entire sentient being, Skeppy, in a cell smaller than an animal’s pen. Not even Techno, a guy that owes him a favor, was going to be spared. Let’s not even talk about him wanting to kill Tubbo just so he can make Tommy a hero by giving him a tragic backstory. All of these, plus killing Tommy and threatening to send him back to the Void for more info and declaring himself a God, point to Dream being a villain.
And then we have the morality side. In the last visit, Dream told Tommy that everyone thinks they are in the right from their perspective, which Tommy immediately denied. Both Dream’s line and the reply he got are very important. Dream’s line establishes that, as far as we know, Dream sees himself as in the right. Everything he did, Exile, abusing Tommy to the point of the latter considering ending his life, Doomsday, the Vault, almost killing Tubbo? All of that seems to have been not bad or evil actions in his mind. He sees himself as in the right, and that makes him a great villain. Tommy’s reply, well, him denying it, I always saw it with double meaning. On a surface level, Tommy’s obviously talking about himself, he has said time and time again that he’s done wrong and he needs to right it. On a deeper level, however, I saw him referring to Wilbur with this line, too. Because, as established before, Wilbur chose to do bad, even if he knew it was bad. He wouldn’t have said “Then let’s be the bad guys” if he thought they were in the right, and that is the fundamental difference between Wilbur, Puffy, Tommy and Dream. The former three, as shown in the previous sections, know that they did bad things, even from their moral perspectives, while Dream thinks he is in the right.
This is why Dream is the villain, while the others are antagonists at best and conflicted, broken and forced to walk a certain path, at worst.
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slipperyskell · a year ago
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Astarion Headcanon Dump
It time baybee >:))) Prolly gonna end up doing one for all of the companions at some point but Astarion is coming first for obvious reasons lmao. Seeing as this is Astarion we’re getting into, there’s gonna be some stuff about his past that might squick folks out - namely about the rat diet. 
5′7″. Not particularly short, but not super tall, either 
more skin and bones than anything (probably the lightest weighing of the group so far, tbh). Being on the rat diet he’d been on for the last two centuries has taken a pretty big toll on his body, as you can imagine, though once he’s able to feed on people he starts filling out again
That being said, since he was forced to feed on non-human things for so long, he’s actually quite weak even compared to other vampire spawns. Still a force to be reckoned with even then, but very, very frail/weak. 
Seeing as the rats Cazador made him eat were dead/rotten more often than not (which means they prolly have little to no blood content), and seeing as the stomachs of vampires/spawns will shrink if they’re kept on a purely blood-based diet after they turn (which afaik is specifically a DnD vampire thing), Astarion probably just had to like... straight up eat the whole dead rat so he could sustain himself both with solids and any blood that was in it. 
needless to say he can’t look at a rat the same ever again, but also since he still ate solids on a semi-regular basis, his stomach is still mostly normal sized 
since his diet was so sub par, it likely means the regenerative abilities vampires and their spawns is significantly weaker, if there at all. This explains why the scar is still on Astarion’s back and implies that he’s likely a hell of a lot more scarred up than we see in game, unfortunately
On a slightly lighter note, though - he can still eat solid foods, in theory, but since he hasn’t had normal food in so long his eating habits when it comes to solids is... odd. Lookin’ at you, live crab. 
those he seduced didn’t notice seeing as it was nighttime when he was working, which is also why the doublet he wore for the job is also threadbare/ratty as fuck. Since it was dark, it was harder for daywalkers to make out the details and realize there was anything off until it was too late
While he’s experienced in killing, as we know, he’s never actually taken a life of his own accord (or his own hands) until after he got out of the ship. He’d never admit it, but he was impressed, if not a little proud of himself that he managed to get a blade to your throat after convincing you a brainbeast was near. 
Does actually take up night watch at least once every night. His night vision is the best out of the group, so if anything happens by he’s sure to see it. 
If you’re also a high elf, theoretically he could take one shift and you take the other, since as a high elf, you don’t NEED to sleep. It’d likely go as him hunting either just before or during first watch (which you take), then meditating till it’s his turn to be on watch for the rest of the night.  Regardless of what happens during the Gandrel encounter, watch teams end up being in teams of two instead of one. 
speaking of sleep... As we’ve seen, Astarion can sleep if he wants, but generally chooses not to. A lot harder to escape unsavory dreams while sleeping than it is while meditating 
definitely has sharper than average nails - and he takes very good care of them, too. You see him inspecting his nails quite a bit while he speaks, and I imagine if he had or found a file, he’d end up using it quite often. Also consider him using the tip of his knife to clean his nails 
Since Cazador mainly used Astarion to seduce people, he flirts more out of habit than anything. As time goes on, that habit gets lost and a lot of the things he says become more and more genuine. Another part of his inner walls breaking down, if you will 
Doesn’t like it when people touch his face, especially if they try and move/grab his chin. Generally doesn’t really like being touched at all unless he’s the one doing the touching, or he knows + trusts the person who’s touching him 
Even to this day he finds himself running his tongue along his fangs, usually while in thought. Also tends to bite at the inside of his lip with his fangs as well. it’s not something super noticeable unless you’re really lookin at him
Usually keeps his bedroll/tent a bit separate from the group. It’s not like he needs to be right by the fire to keep warm, since he doesn’t need to. Not to mention he just kinda wants to keep to himself most of the time. 
The tips of Astarion’s ears are so red because they’re frostbitten. Even if an elven ear’s circulatory system is built to keep the blades of the ear warm, since vampires + their spawns are undead and we KNOW Cazador isn’t gonna give a fuck what his slaves are wearing during the cold, his ears kept getting more and more frostbitten to the point where they’re just permanently red/purply lookin. He’s lucky they haven’t fallen off yet honestly
 He’s fuckin cold tho fr - like if ya’ll are far enough in your relationship to the point where he’s willing to get a bit more cuddly... this man will suck the warmth out of you. You are a heat radiator and he’s all over that shit man, even if he knows it’s pointless. it just... warmf.............. 
something something there’s the occasion he does actually seat himself in front of the campfire and ya’ll gotta keep an eye on him else he WILL accidentally get too close because he’s so lost in the sauce he almost set himself on fire 
Definitely wears a lot of jewelry. Rings specifically 
That’s all i got so far in terms of general HCs. More n likely’ll have a few specific ones like i did with his outfit n romance stuffs, but yeah 
if ya’ll wanna send asks about Astarion headcanons feel free! >:0000
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navypinkdev · a month ago
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Hello again
Okay. I know it’s been a while, but I think I’m ready to get back to work. I’m sorry it took me so long, I was processing a bunch of stuff emotionally and physically but I’m better now and I feel good about working on this.
If you forgot who I was and this just popped up on your dash, hi. I’m Navypink. I’ve been working alone on this weird horror VN you somehow found called “Absolution: Way of the lost” since 2017. I’ve been on hiatus since Janurary, came back to it for a bit in July and promptly left again, but now I’m back (if my mental state allows).
What I’ve been up to since July
I’ve mostly been doing Dungeons&Dragons-related stuff, I started two campaigns, one of which was cancelled today and the other one is still going but I have all the prep work done so it shouldn’t take much of my time anymore. I’ve done some homebrew writing around my campaigns, one one-shot I wrote recently is available online for free here if you’re interested. My other DnD work may never see the light of day or take a while to get published, but that’s fine.
I’ve been having a Witcher renaissance since July that started when I was squatting at my friend’s house after running away from home and we had nothing better to do and evolved into me coming back to Witcher 2 and 3 as well as developing a crippling addiction to standalone Gwent (I’m fine I swear).
I’ve also been enjoying a lot of physical art projects for and around my new interests, like making tokens, spell cards, designing and printing playing cards and recently making jewellery (still a work in progress, but it’s been interesting working with metal).
Oh yeah, I also started cognitive science in university. Yay for me. I don’t have too many classes, but there’s quite a bit of homework - overall it’s not any worse than high school, though, so I think I’ll manage development just fine.
What are the plans for Absolution
As of right now, I think I’m leaning towards a partial release once I’m sure that I’ve seriously gone back to work and know that I will finish it soon. I don’t want the game to sit in early access for a long time and I definitely don’t want to leave an unfinished product up for any price other than 0$ if I know that the game is going to take much longer. 
As of now I’m thinking of releasing the game in weeks with the patient routes and adding Dr. Sharpe’s and Elizabeth’s routes later on, all as free updates, of course. But that might change once I actually look through the game files for the first time since July - I think I remember the state each route is in pretty well, but maybe looking at it now might give me a new perspective. We’ll see. I might do a state of the game recap/update post soon just so we’re all on the same page as far as how much work needs to be done goes.
The future
I haven’t talked about it on this blog yet, but one of the reasons why I’m driven to finish Absolution is that I’ve been slowly gathering ideas for my next project and it would be more satisfying and make more sense after having experienced Absolution’s story and lore. A few times during this break from development I’ve considered just jumping straight to that game, but I just know that I would feel bad about leaving Absolution unfinished and it would always linger at the back of my mind.
Plus, I really want to see people’s reactions to the full game. I want you guys to experience all the excitement I have had for this game for the past 4 years that have kept me going with it until January and that never let me completely leave this project (throughout this whole break, I was still getting AU ideas and was thinking of the characters a lot - I love them dearly, especially a certain three route characters and even if I wasn’t driven to write for the game, they never quite left my mind). I hope that work on the game can truly start back up now and that we’re on the last stretch - I wish to bring good news of development soon.
Much love ~ Navypink
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illegiblewords · a month ago
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Had a narrative dream last night, sort of zany crime drama tone.
First, I illegible was not a character in this. I was for all intents and purposes a camera absorbing what was going on but not participating myself. The protagonist was a short, dark haired man with sharp features, probably in his forties, who had been involved with a criminal organization in the past. My understanding was that he nearly died and was in really severe psychological distress for a long time around the termination of his involvement in crime. By the time of the dream, he’d managed to settle down, developed slight dad bod, got married to a pretty wholesome lady with a good sense of humor who loved him a lot. Lady was blond with light colored eyes, twiggy, a little mischievous. Maybe dressed kind of frumpy at points but favored pastels. I don’t always remember this much physical detail but I do right now so I’m including it. Wife was aware of her husband’s past and, while this is dream logic, I think kind of compartmentalized her feelings there. She didn’t begrudge the criminality per se (even liked some of the romanticism surrounding his criminal activity) so much as she was very upset about the harm it did to her husband. Protagonist got to a place where he’d been stable and settled down in a law-abiding way for like ten, fifteen years. So had been a criminal in his twenties, maybe super early thirties and living the civvie life since then. And he was absolutely relieved and grateful for that stability and safety. But being settled down, he got kind of restless sometimes and daydreamed a little bit about having adventures or being involved in something dangerous/thrill-seeking again. The better moments, the romantic ideal of what he experienced but not the reality of it with all the harm it did. Two of protagonist’s old criminal work buddies, still in the field, get a sense of that restlessness and for all intents and purposes abduct their retired friend back into a mission. I know one of the friends had either very light brown or dark blonde hair, stubble, big and pretty muscular guy. Not stupid but meathead adjacent lol, if he had a DnD class he’d have been a barbarian. Full belly laugh kind of dude, could drink like no one’s business and enjoyed it. The second friend is harder for me to remember, I think he had a kind of dark/reddish complexion and was very posh? Might have been fully bald, more delicate features, very white teeth. His eyes really lit up when he was delighted. Anyway, protagonist got basically kidnapped by his friends (who thought they were giving him a gift--after all, they were with him to make sure he could enjoy another adventure without lasting damage) and dragged into an ongoing crime where some of the targets remembered the protagonist as he’d once been and still reacted like he had some capacity for badassery. Angry people. Protagonist was having a major conniption, absolutely panicked, yelling at his friends, thinks his life is over, etc. Had to participate in the crime-adventure stuff as part of “I need to get back” but basically the friends were like :/ we go to all this trouble to give you some relatively harmless adventure (by their standards) and this is the thanks we get? God man loosen up. Live a little. You’ve gotten so neurotic, we thought you missed this? Meanwhile, protagonist is like “I CAN’T FIGHT LOOK AT ME, I’M OUT OF SHAPE AND IT’S BEEN YEARS AND I WANT TO GO HOME AND I SWEAR I BARELY REMEMBER ANY OF THIS WHY WOULD YOU EVER THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA??!!??!” Very, very high strung. Lots of chases, trio got in over their head kind of by accident which borderline gave protagonist a heart attack, got posh guy separated, and big guy is just sheepish like “eh it got a little messy it’ll be fine come on don’t have a fit it’s not that bad.” Meanwhile, protag’s wife has been actively looking for him and manages to track down her husband + big guy... which results in protagonist being even more distraught because oh god his wife is a complete civilian, she’s going to get killed because of him, he can barely manage himself here how is he going to get them out of this? And he has work on Monday! Wife is trying to console her husband in the spirit of “it’s not that bad, it’ll be fine”-- like sincerely worried about him, but also he isn’t going to think straight if he’s that overwhelmed. She wanted to dislike big friend but wound up really getting along with him, big friend finds wife funny and adorable. Wife is determined to be useful in the adventure and kind of gungho about it, having zero experience whatsoever, and her husband is like oh god I need to make sure she isn’t traumatized or hurt in any of this. The last bit I remember is that big friend, protagonist, and wife wound up cornered at one point only to get their asses saved by posh friend with the best distraction/escape ever. Posh friend managed to slip under the radar while the rest of them were freaking out making a mess of things, and used that position to strategize and get a lot of shit done + make an exit strategy. Protagonist was basically hysterical laughing in relief, wife thought it was best thing ever, big guy is like OF COURSE YOU WOULD PULL THAT OFF, posh dude was preening. I don’t think they were totally out of danger, but they managed to get decently ahead of it.
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to-hell-and-beyond · 8 months ago
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“Every.Last.One” Pt.2
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Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz x Reader
Requested: Yes : No
Request: Every last one pt 2 ?? -Anon
Here it is! Took a while but I’m glad of the ending. Maybe pt.3 were it talks about the two of them getting closer?
Summary: After your promise to yourself you try your hardest to fulfill it. Even hating on the Eagle Fang Students. But what happens when everything changes at a Christmas Party?
Words: 1725
Pt.1
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Hate. That was the one thing coursing through your veins every time you saw him. The boy who you’d had grown up with, grown up loving, now filled with hate and vengeance. At first he wanted vengeance for everyone who had made fun of him. Every lip joke, whisper and tear. You were ok with that, you were glad to see those bullies pay the price of Karma. But what Hawk didn’t see was the line between vengeance and just pure hate. You were also trying to see the line but everyday it's getting harder and harder becoming more of a distant memory..
“I really think you should come Y/n! We’ve had a hard past few weeks and I think this will be good for everyone!” Samantha LaRusso’s voice rang from your phone as she tried to convince you to come to her Christmas party. The two of you had gotten closer ever since what happened with Demetri. She had been there while you were recovering from the emotional storm that was “Hawk”.
“I don’t know Sam. I’m still not really close to the other Miyagi-do students and the last thing I want is to make things awkward. Besides this is my first winter holiday without Eli…”
“Exactly! That's why you should come!” You thought about it for a few minutes. Would it really be that bad if you came? I mean Demitri was already going to be there, and you promised yourself you would be there to help him during his recovery.
“Alright I’ll go.” A sound of excitement came from your phone as Sam started telling you about all sorts of stuff she wanted to do to prepare for the party. What she wasn’t telling you was that she invited the Eagle Fang Students. You still didn't have a good relationship with them, seeing them as still Cobras and you promised yourself, Every.Last.One
You weren’t exactly sure what to bring to this party.  It wasn't like you were invited to a lot of parties in your high school career. The only parties you’ve been to are birthdays and DnD game nights. Even with your little experience you still when’t. You knocked on the door and there was Samantha LaRusso. She looked a lot better then when she was in the hospital. You were glad about that fact.
“Hey Y/n!” Sam said enthusiastically. As she pushed the door wide open and gestures for you to come in. She re-introduced you to some of the Miyagi Do students as you politely waved to them.You sat beside Demitri as Sam began to pace around. You were confused for a second, wondering why on earth she looked so scared. You didn’t say anything though, not wanting to make her feel bad in any way. It was the winter holidays, it was time to be nice.
“Well, this Christmas party turned out to be  ho-ho-horrible.” Demitri said and you kinda agreed. Shure you’ve never been to an actual party but this wasn't what you saw on those T.V dramas.
“Yah, Sam. I thought you said your parents are going to be out for the night. So why aren't we throwing a rager?” There was distant “yeah” in agreement in the background as Sam looked more and more worried. You knew that she was hiding something but you weren’t sure what.
“There’s a keg on the way. It’s just going to be a few more minutes.” She looked to seem like she was trying to pump us up for a huge game or something like that but she was doing the exact opposite. Safe to say this entire party was a fail.
“Can we atleast put on a Christmas special?” Demitri asked and you nodded in agreement. That's what the three of you would do every Christmas. It was your thing, until the tides changed.
“Id even watch that creepy one with the little elf dentist.” You snorted in laughter remembering the time you did watch that. Demitri was complaining the whole way through you and Eli laughed. Ah, the good old days.
“Yeah, I’m that bored.” Demitri said when he saw the look of disgust on Sam’s face.The doorbell rang and Sam said an excited, “ It’s here!”.
Oh it was definitely here. Sadly it was not a keg, but a bunch of ex Cobras turned into Eagles. Oh how you wanted to punch their faces right now. There was a sign of protest from each member of Miyagi-do as they ran up to the door ready to kick the “Keg” out. While they all ran you stayed put on the couch.
“Look, I know we haven’t always gotten along, but Cobra Kai is the bigger threat now. To all of us.” Sam said that last line as she looked into your eyes. Never in a million years did you think she would pull something like this.
“We think that we’d stand a better chance against them if we joined forces.” Miguel said as your eyes glowed with hate and you curled your fist to the point that your knuckles were white.
“We?” You spat as the group turned around to look at you.
“This isn’t going to work.” Miguel mumbled as he saw your hands. Yes, you may not be a Karate champion but your loyal, and loyal people fight to the death for people they love.
“It has to. We have one last chance to make things right. Alone, we’re nothing. But if we work together, we have a shot. If we can’t get over the past, the fighting will never end. We have to confront our enemies. This rivalry has to stop. One way or another... Y/n?” She asked worried about your answer. You took a deep breath before you decided to confront your demons.
“I was never part of this “Rivalry” to begin with. I was just looking out for my friends before all of this had started, so technically my opinion doesn't matter. But I suppose that if we can put all of this behind us we may be able to achieve something.” Sam smiled as you felt a weight lift off your shoulders. Maybe this night won’t be as terrible.  You were all sitting on Sam’s kitchen table and Demitri went over some of the new rules. 
“I’m going to go get a glass of water.” You told them as you stood up and walked out of the door. After you left the sounds of a cat were heard.
“I didn’t know you had a cat.” Miguel told Sam. Sam looked confused for a second before turning back.
“We don’t.” Just as Sam finished saying those last words the window broke and you were hurt by some of the glass. Everyone turned around to see the Cobra Kia’s walk in. You were horrified to see Kylar with them. You had heard the rumors that he had joined Cobra Kai, but never in a million years did you think that they were true.
People started jumping out of every corner and soon it was a full blown on fight. You hurried to hide in the corner near the stairs as the fighting got worse. Now, you could go in there and beat those people but in all honesty you didn’t want to get charged with assult.You watched as the filler red mohawk as he fought and fought and fought. Your breathing hitched as you saw Demitri in pain.
“Hey. Yo, Hawk. Free shot!” One of the Cobras yelled to Hawk across the room. You watched as his face fell. You were worried for a second time he would hurt your friend and you were ready to stop that from happening but something unexpected happened. Hawk ran, and then he flipped one of the Cobras over and they fell on the glass table. He started fighting more and more of them and then turned around to Demitri.
“Look, man. I’m sorry.” Hawk said as he faced Demitri. “For all of it. Do you wanna help me win this thing?” 
“Yeah.” Demitri answered as they both smiled and began to kick the shit out of the rest of the Cobras.
The fight was now all over. Sam had fought her way through the pain to beat Tory, Miguel had actually gotten the power back to kick and better yet to kick Kylar’s stupid face. And Hawk and Demtri were buddies again. But you still couldn't get over the pain, unlike everyone else.
“Y/n?” You tried around to see Hawk. He looked almost scared as he approached you, worrying that you would kick him to the curve. 
“Yes?” You asked with venom in your voice. You still didn’t forgive him for what he did at the hospital. It was a mistake? What kind of mistake is the two of you loving each other? Why was he even here?
“Look, I know that after everything that has happened you're mad and you have every right to be I was dick. I didn’t just hurt Demitir bad, I hurt you too. You were my best friend Y/n, but you were something more than that. And I know it's going to take a long time or we might not even get back to that point but I want to prove to you that I’ve changed.” You thought about his words for a while. Were they all true? Was this another one of his sick games?
“Ok. If you apologize to everyone here and give Demitri a better apology then that half ass one you did I’ll think about it. Your right, It's going to take a lot of time and effort to get back to where we were. That’s why I want you to think a lot about this. If you're sure you're ready to do that you can meet me at the mall on Tuesday as just friends, nothing more.” You told him and you saw his smile. The sweet smile that you missed so dearly. It was so nice to see that smile on his face again.
“Ok.” He told you as he smiled. You would still beat every single Cobra, but right now it was the two of you's time to fix your relationship. Beating the shit out of them would have to wait for later.
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rainbowstrashpile · a month ago
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It’s a Terrible Habit ch2 preview
I’m having that adhd problem where I have all the chunks I want written out in 3 different places but nothing to make them connect. Anyway, have a little snack of first meeting Nandermo. First chapter is linked under my rainbow writes tag.
The little dumpster boy smiles awkwardly at him, shoulder hunched down just a bit, cupid’s bow mouth turning up into a tight smile. “Oh um, sorry. We’re closed. I just locked up.” Nandor doesn’t quite know what that means. The alley is closed? The trash bin is locked up? He’s not some type of raccoon, digging around for rotting scraps. How terribly impolite, to see a handsome man in finery and think he wants to root around in stinky muck and old bread. 
The little trash boy turns around to the garbage bin again and throws the lid open. Nandor takes the opportunity to silently advance on him, eyes fixated on the boy’s sumptuous neck. He’s just a hair’s breadth away, his strong hands outstretched to grasp his shoulders and spin him around, lips pulled back with fangs bared to bite down; ready to savor the sweetest of meals he’s had in a long time. Suddenly the trash boy takes a step forward, just slightly out of his grasp, rudely causing Nandor to bobble a bit. Thankfully he is a powerful vampire and is able to right himself before anyone notices. He takes a precautionary step back so he doesn’t incur any trash related humiliations. Best to wait until his prey is done with the refuse before he feasts upon him. His victim heaves the trash in one go into the bin, then turns back to look at Nandor, a timid smile on his lips.
“I uh, I really like your outfit. Are you coming from like, a DnD group or something?” he murmurs out shyly. 
Nandor can feel more than see the blood suffuse the boy’s cheeks. And before he can stop himself, he asks, “What is a dee end dee?”
The little human becomes embarrassed, his hands fidgeting slightly at his sides as he blusters out, “oh, um, it’s where- it’s like a game, I guess. Where you pretend to be like, a character that fights monsters. And stuff.” 
Nandor nods along, still not entirely sure what he’s talking about, but also not really caring that much. “Then no, I have not come from the dee end dee game.”
“Oh. Well your outfit is still nice. Especially the cape.”   
Nandor briefly glances over his clothes, trying to distract himself from the sweet blood and the inhuman urge to pounce. He’s wearing one of his nicer fur lined capes over one of his gold brocade nehru jackets, a plain red dress shirt underneath. And in the dark, they look fine. But they’re starting to get just a bit dingy if you know what to look for. The fur lining is starting to mat just a bit, and Nandor doesn't know where the special brush for that is, or where to even procure one anymore. The leather of his boots need desperately to be oiled, and as carefully as he has tried feeding, his vests and shirts always end up bloodstained. That's the downside of not having a familiar. It's all he can do to keep his hair looking lustrous and beautiful. He is coping the best he can, given the circumstances. The trash boy seems to be a cape enthusiast of good taste, though. Perhaps he will know of a reliable washerwomen to clean his things. 
Nandor is just about to ask him if he at least knows the whereabouts of the local furrier when the trash boy speaks again. “You almost look like, well, a little like a vampire, I guess.” It falls from his soft lips clumsily, like it’s an embarrassing thing to say in the first place; like he's admitting to a pleasant but shameful fantasy. In Nandor’s experience, humans tend to very much not like vampires, so he’s surprised to see this tasty little dumpster boy stare at him with unmasked awe. 
“You like vampires?” He's taking a chance now, and as delicious as he looks, the little guy seems to know how to dispose of garbage pretty well. Put it all in a nice big bag and got the whole thing in the can in one go. Very professional. And he acts like he would be...unobtrusive around the house. Maybe it’s the hunger getting to him, or simply his desperation for clean clothes, but this little trash boy could be just the familiar he’s been looking for.
“Oh, I love vampires. I’m a huge Anne Rice fan.” He smiles wide as he says it, his cheeks dimpling and his teeth, luminous and white, are clearly on display. The honest joy is radiating out of him like sunlight; so pure and sincere Nandor feels like it will burn him alive. “I’ve got Interview with the Vampire playing almost on a loop when I’m home.” His eyes dart away as he catches himself getting excited, embarrassed to have apparently revealed a secret. “I mean, for a film adaptation of a novel it’s decently faithful. I don’t wanna talk about the Queen of the Damned movie though,” he laughs as he shakes his head. “The best that can be said of that is the soundtrack is alright.” 
“I don’t know what any of the things you have just said mean. But I think you’re going to be very pleased with what I have to say.”
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moash · 8 months ago
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i am curious to hear the other directions u didnt like about row! u have good takes ♥️
aaaaaaa thank you, idk honestly, my brain wheels are just sort of spinning tonight about different things. row for me was probably the weakest book of the series, just organizationally there was a lot going on and characters disappeared for a long time and then by the time they showed up again you had lost the forward momentum for their arc. i saw a review of row that also mentioned that none of the original main trio (kaladin, shallan, dalinar) actually really did much that was plot important. the stuff w kaladin in the tower, much of what he did didn’t actually change much, shallan didn’t really actually help adolin in the trial he plot was personal, and dalinar... well like dalinar did basically nothing except that one bit at the end where he went to see ishar and ishar was like “follow me for a plot thread for the next book ;)” thinking about dalinar especially, like we’ve talked before about how following ob dalinar in row is so colossally disappointing. i also saw a post recently about how cool it would have been if moash had had a scene where he saw what venli was doing for the singers, and acknowledged it without turning her in, bc it would fit w his character so far, and help round him out a little. and i was struck by just like.... yea.
it also doesn’t help that i have a friend who’s reading wok rn and texting me updates, and she got to the chapter where dalinar is digging the latrine (one of my favorites!!) and this is something she and i have talked a lot about wrt our dnd games, but like when he says “if they had the technology to make shardblades, why didn’t they make shard-tools to help the common people? why are there only weapons?” and it’s like that whole idea of like how do we get out of a mindset of thinking only about war and violence, and move to thinking about how we can build and make life easier. i just feel like that idea hasn’t been carried through as much as i hoped when i first read it, and being reminded of it today reminded me of where dalinar is at now and so on and so on.
also also i’m working on this fic and it’s a moash redemption arc right, but the more i get into the more i’m like, ok well so i do think there’s going to be a moash redemption arc in canon (brandon sanderson do not interact) but i bet it’s just gonna be like, so regret self-flagellating, you know? which is a mindset i (catholic) am trying to get out of more and more in my writing. i don’t think he should feel too bad about killing elhokar or roshone, but to be clear, the other stuff in row is fair game.
idk!!! im just sort of thinking about the book, and like. i think i would like to reread ob and row back to back, bc in my head there’s so much disconnect between where we left the characters in ob and where they started in row, part of that is the time skip, part of that is the way i marathoned the first three books and then had to wait for row to come out, but idk there’s just thoughts bouncing around!!!! that post about lirin was good, honestly i didn’t really know what lesson we were supposed to get out of those kaladin and lirin scenes. i’d like to reread w more of a focus on those things.
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upsidedowncastle · 6 months ago
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Chilly Night
i came across a byeler draft i wrote shortly after 3rd season (but it’s set after s2) and decided to finish it
edit: ao3 link
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It was autumn 1984. It was the end of November and winter was getting closer. One could already feel the slowly falling temperatures. If one wakes up early, one could even see the breath taking shape of a light fog. But right now it was evening. It wasn't cold enough for the moisture to condense, but it was cold enough to believe the winter is already here.
With the sun disappearing behind the horizon, the warmth slowly left Mike's basement too. Mike and Will did get to feel the dropping temperature themselves, as many times before when Will stayed over at Wheeler's house.
It was more usual for them to meet up as a whole party, but today, Lucas and Dustin both had other stuff to do and couldn't join the two boys. After the recent events, Mike started to invite El to their meetings too, but most of the time Hopper didn't allow her to leave the house. This led to a great amount of fights between them in the past month. Lucas also invited Max to join them time to time, but Max was genuinely not interested in their Dungeons and Dragons meetings, so she rarely came over.
As a result, only Mike and Will met up at the basement today. They couldn't hold a DnD session by themselves though, and spent most of the day discussing stuff. School stuff, comic stuff, everything-what-has-happened-lately stuff.
Mike especially was very interested in talking about El, which Will didn't particularly mind, since he never really got to hear a lot. When he was brought back from the Upside Down, noone wanted to talk about her much. And Will never asked about her. In fact, he didn't want to remember that horrible week at all. But he got the basic information - she had cool superpowers, helped them saving him and was gone after that. If the explanations weren't filled with such enthusiasm, Will would be sure she was dead. Now, with her return, it got suddenly much easier for everyone to talk about El. And Mike talked about her much more than anybody else. Will believed that it must be because Mike always thought about her, and now, he can just say his thoughts out loud without reminding everyone that she's gone. And now, it was also easier for Will to listen to it. Even though all the memories about Upside Down were brought back to him due to recent events, and the Mind Flayer made it even worse, when everyone talked about El and what cool things she can do with her mind, Will somehow felt better. Maybe safer? Definitely distracted.
By now, Mike stopped talking about El, and they were about to go to sleep. Whenever someone stays over at Mike's, they all sleep in the basement. The main reason for it was because all four of them just wouldn't be able to fit in Mike's room. But even now, when there are only two of them, Mike brought the mattresses for them in the basement, to keep up the tradition. Maybe it was also because Mike wouldn't want to sleep in his nice bed, while his friend needed to settle with a mattress on the cold floor. So now the two boys were lying, side-by-side, on their mattresses two inches apart, with large duvet sprawled out over them.
The lights were already out and after wishing each other good night, Will turned on to his stomach and shut his eyes. Lying a couple of minutes like this, Will could not relax. In spite of having a bed cover over him, he still felt the cold and it forced him to stay awake. He started shifting, partly to warm himself up by moving, partly to curl up a little and that's when he accidentely touched Mike's hand under the cover. Will instanly pulled his hand away a couple of inches and stoped moving, afraid of waking up Mike, who might have been dreaming already. In this short moment he got to feel how Mike's hand was basically burning, compared to Will's cold one. Will hold still, settling with the pose he ended up with. Suddenly, Will felt the heat back on his hand. Mike appeared to stretch out his fingers, slowly brushing over the back of Will's hand.
That made his heart flutter. Will buried his head in the pillow, and reached out a little bit more, so that their hands could overlap. He loved feeling the warmth of Mike's hand, it slowly spreading onto his own. Mike slowly moved his fingers, stroking other’s hand and shortly after, he interwined his fingers with Will's.
Will knew Mike liked Eleven. It was obvious by now. But somehow he catched himself thinking, that maybe, Mike actually likes him. Will understood it's stupid, he shook off the thought as soon as it crossed his mind. Mike always was like this to him, never shying any contact. This doesn't mean anything he wanted it to mean. It is simple as that. Will concentrated himself on the feeling of his own hand in Mike's palm. Who knew when Mike stops being this close to him, when he realizes that he shouldn't do that.
When he starts doing this with Eleven.
Will's eyes suddenly flung open. He stared onto his pillow for a moment, before he realized his eyes aren't closed anymore. He wanted to close them and go back to trying to fall asleep, but he couldn't. The thought of Mike holding hands with Eleven instead of him was just as effective as a nightmare. And knowing it might be the last time they are this close, Will just couldn't end this moment and fall asleep.
His eyes got used to the darkness by now. Giving up on his sleep, he turned his head to the side. And then he saw Mike's face. Will was sure Mike was about to sleep too, but now he saw that Mike was watching him back. He did look at Will, but somehow it also felt like he looks right through him, lost in thought. They didn't say anything, and kept staring at each other for several seconds. It was dark, but Will still could see all Mike's characteristics. The dark hair, pale skin overflowing with freckles, his big eyes and bright lips. He just couldn't avert his gaze. But then, suddenly, Mike's expression changed from his gentle, a little bit sleepy look to a surprise. He turned his face away, to his pillow and closed his eyes, as if trying to sleep now. Will was taken aback by that. His eyes widened as he tried to understand what just happened. Did he see a blush? No, it is too dark too see anyways.
Will let out a small sigh, and closed his eyes again. He felt that Mike squeezed his hand a little stronger. Will, not opening his eyes anymore, pressed his hand a little in response, and slowly dozed off.
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yikesharringrove · a year ago
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His Fault.
Thank you @thinger-strang for the commission! 💕
Read on Ao3
Steve took Max first, grabbing her around the knees and lifting.
He didn’t know which kid was which, just picked them up and shoved them through the hole in the ground.
No thoughts in his head besides getting the kids to safety.
He was still dizzy from the fight, from Max’s wild driving, from being thrown into low oxygen conditions.
He grabbed Dustin.
The last kid to get through.
There was a rumble.
The ground shook.
And Steve stared death right in its face.
A pack of demodogs, heading right for them.
He grabbed Dustin, thought maybe, maybe he could shield him.
If this kid dies, it’s all my fault.
But the ‘dogs passed them by.
On their way to protect from El.
Because their plan didn’t work. Their carefully crafted idea to help El was bullshit.
He pushed Dustin up to safety.
He had brought these kids down here for no reason.
They had all gotten hurt for no reason.
All because of him.
-
Steve’s knuckles were white as he gripped the steering wheel.
He was trying to get himself to get up, get out of the car.
Staring through the windshield at the small service.
Barb’s funeral.
The girl that died right outside his house. The girl who died in his pool.
The girl he killed.
By being too preoccupied with Nancy. By being too much of a stupid fucking jock.
It’s all his fault.
He got out of the car, stayed mostly to himself throughout the service.
He hugged Barb’s parents afterwards, offered his condolences.
He got the feeling that they never really liked him.
That’s okay. He doesn't really blame them.
And if they knew, if they knew what he did to their Barb-
They would do more than just not like him.
He spent the rest of the day in bed, thoughts of your fault your fault your fault whipping through his brain.
He killed Barb.
-
Steve was trying to think quickly.
It was a little tricky, what with the pounding in his head, the hits he was taking right to the gut.
He needed to somehow talk his way out of this.
Which sucked because talking has never been his strong point.
But he brought Robin into all of this. He had let Erica climb through those vents to get them into the elevator. He had helped Dustin suss out what the message meant.
Actually, he hadn’t.
He had been too fucking stupid to help with that.
No.
He had just encouraged the translation that was happening around him.
Had just walked three people right into the clutches of the Upside Down, and these violent goddamn Russians, and-
That one hurt.
He woke up sometime later to Robin yelling.
“Hey, will you stop yelling?”
“Steve! Oh my God! Steve!”
She sounded, actually relieved.
“Are you okay?”
-
“I’m sorry I dragged you into this.”
Robin was sitting next to him, both wrapped in thick blankets.
They had their own ambulance, Nancy and Jonathan in the one next door.
He had watched them take Billy off on a gurney, watched them slam a defibrillator to his body until his heart started beating again, watched them load him into the back of an ambulance, and take him off to the hospital.
The adrenaline, the heavy drugs, it was all out of his system.
And he was crashing.
“I shouldn’t have roped you into this. I shouldn’t have talked Dustin into translating the tape, I shouldn’t have-”
“Okay, Dingus. Let’s get some things straight. I’m pretty sure Dustin talked you into the translations. I don’t know if you’d be able to talk Dustin into anything. And you didn’t rope me into shit.”
“I mean, I mean with the Upside Down. This whole fucking conspiracy. You deserved to go your whole damn life without knowing any of this.”
“But Steve, I know about it now. The milk has been spilled. So stop crying.”
“Sorry.”
“It’s not your fault.”
Yes, it is.
-
“Hi, welcome to Family- Nancy?”
Nancy had stopped in the doorway, looking like a deer caught in headlights.
“Steve. I didn’t know you were working here.”
“Yeah. You know, with the mall being all, burnt down. And stuff.” She nodded slowly, stock still in the doorway. “Can I help you find something?”
“No. Thanks. I’m just browsing.”
“Well, uh, let me know if you need help. Or ask Robin, maybe. She’s better with the recommends.” Nancy seemed to startle, stepping into the store properly.
“Thanks, Steve.” He smiled tightly at her.
They really hadn’t talked since breaking up.
Of course, they’d spoken in the summer, but that was less exchanging pleasantries, more how do we stop the giant fleshy monster that’s trying to take over the whole world?
Which isn’t quite the same.
She browsed through the aisles, Steve doodling on the carbon pad next to the register.
She smiled tightly at him, a few tapes in hand.
“So, uh, how are you?” They hadn’t spoken since that night. Since he wandered over to her ambulance, checking in with her and Jonathan.
“I’m okay. Just working and stuff. Obviously.”
“And how’s Billy?”
“Managing. He’s in all kindsa therapy and stuff now.”
“That’s, that’s good.” She was all stiff as he handed her her change. “It’s good to see you, Steve.”
“Yeah, Nancy. Yeah, you too.”
He hated how shitty and awkward that had been.
Hated that she was the person he felt closest to for the better part of a year, and now they’re stuck with light conversation and forced smiles.
He pushed her so hard.
Always poking and poking.
Always too clingy, always too emotional, not emotional enough. Too insensitive, or just too much work.
He doesn’t know how anyone puts up with him.
-
“Hey,” Billy smiled softly at him. “How are you feeling?”
“Better, now that my little nurse is here.” Steve rolled his eyes, smiling back as he sat on the bed next to Billy.
He had brought him to his house from the military hospital.
Billy still had a long road of healing. His scars were pulled together, and the wounds were closed, but everything was still pretty rough.
“Can I get you anything?” Billy reached over for him.
His hands were scarred and rough, and he was still trying to regain feeling, the nerves having suffered far too much damage.
“Nah. Just sit with me.”
Steve took one of his hands, stretching his hand like the doctor had shown him.
“Have you eaten today?”
“Nah. My stomach’s all outta whack today. Don’t know if I could keep anything down.” Steve furrowed his brows.
“Are you, can I make you something? Soup?”
“Stevie, I’m okay. One day’s not gonna kill me.” It felt like the bottom dropped out of his stomach. Something must've shown on his face because Billy was trying to sit up. “Sorry, that was a shitty joke.”
“No, I just-”
“It’s okay. Sorry.” Steve tried to gather himself.
“Don’t like jokes about you dying. Thought you were dead for, for like a week, you know. Before they told us you were stable.”
“Baby, it’s alright. I know it was hard on you.” Steve blinked rapidly.
“But I mean, it’s like, youwere the one, the one in the hospital I shouldn’t,” he stood up, Billy wincing as the bed shifted. “I’m gonna make you something.”
He was holding back tears as he spread peanut butter and jelly onto saltine crackers.
Billy had the best luck keeping it down when he felt sick.
He felt like shit whenever he did that. Got all mopey on Billy.
Billy was the one trying not to die in a hospital bed. Steve was just, doing what Steve does.
Making everything about himself.
He brought Billy the plate, kneeling next to him in bed.
“You okay?” Steve just shook his head, plastering on a nice smile for Billy.
“I’m fine, Bill. Just try to eat? For me?”
Billy managed three of the crackers before he heaved into the garbage bin placed next to the bed.
Steve felt like shit.
Billy’s core muscles were still healing, and throwing up only made him sore, made him tired and in pain.
“Billy, I’m sorry.”
He shouldn’t have made Billy eat. Shouldn’t have tried to make himself feel better by force-feeding Billy while he felt bad.
When he finally stopped, Steve helped him to the bathroom to wash out his mouth.
“I’m sorry.”
“Steve, it’s not your fault.”
“But you said you didn’t feel good.”
“You’re just trying to take care of me.”
Keyword here being trying.
Trying and failing at taking care of Billy.
-
“Steve, are you busy tonight?” Dustin had thrown open the door to Family Video stomping inside.
“I mean, no but I thought, isn’t tonight your big tournament?”
Dustin sighed dramatically.
“The arcade is closed.”
Dustin had been saving up for months, using the end of the summer to mow neighbors’ lawns.
Steve had even paid him to mow his own lawn.
He and the gang were going to rage for hours, Dustin organizing a special secret prize for whoever got the highest cumulative score.
He had put so much thought into everything, had been so excited.
And the arcade was closed.
“Can I talk to Keith?”
“Be my guest.”
Dustin pushed into the backroom.
Steve could hear his voice, could hear him arguing with Keith.
He came back out, Keith following behind.
“Harrington, I told you, customers aren’t allowed in the back.” He pointed to the Employees Only sign on the door. “Can you even read?” Keith rolled his eyes. Steve studied his shoes.
“And Henderson, I told you, the arcade is closed for renovations. A pipe burst in the storeroom.” Dustin Huffed. “Just, rent a movie or something. But you know, don’t ask for Harrington’s recommendation.”
Keith laughed to himself as he retreated to the back.
“Like I would ask you for a recommendation. I know what kind of movies you like.” Steve forced a smile at him.
“Sorry about your game night.” Dustin shrugged.
“I thought it’d be fun. We haven’t played DnD since Will moved. It just feels wrong without him, I guess. I thought this could bring us back to the fun spirit.”
“It’s a good idea. I’m sorry you’re gonna have to postpone.”
Steve just kinda lived with a big ol’ bit in his stomach these days.
But every time something like this happened, something where his friend was sad, and Steve was completely useless to help him, the pit seemed to grow.
He wonders what happens when the pit gets too big.
-
Billy stretched his arms above his head, wincing slightly.
“You okay?”
Billy blew out a breath, rubbing his chest.
“Yeah. Just cold. It hurts.” They were standing outside, waiting for the kids to be finished with school.
Steve drove Dustin and Max home, usually brought Billy along with him.
Neil had been one of the flayed, the only casualty Billy said he didn’t feel bad for.
So Max had moved with her mom into a tiny two-bedroom house.
Billy was still staying with Steve for the time being.
“Oh! I got a sweater in my trunk.” Steve ran around to the back of the car, unlocking the trunk and digging through.
He kept his car pretty clean, just his bat, some jumper cables, and a go-bag.
So he should see the sweater right away.
But he didn’t.
He frantically shifted everything around.
“No, no.”
The sweater wasn’t there.
“Fuck are you, are you serious?”
He genuinely could cry.
Billy was blowing into his hands, rubbing them together when Steve slumped back over to him.
“Billy, I’m sorry. It’s not in there.” Billy squinted at him.
“That’s okay.”
“I thought it was, but I must’ve taken it out, I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to apologize. Just, you know, come here and make it up to me.” He had a lazy smile on his face. “Come keep me warm.”
Steve wrapped himself around Billy, burying his face in his neck.
“I wish I could keep you warmer. I wish I had that sweater.”
“Baby, I’m okay. Just achy.”
Steve made sure to turn up the heat full blast when they got back in, the kids in the backseat.
-
“Fuck!”
The bottom of the box had given out, tapes crashing to the tiled floor.
He had been on his way to reshelve everything, after spending all day in the back rewinding.
But here he was, checking each plastic tape for cracks as he tried to find something else to put them in.
“Jesus Christ, Harrington.”
Ah, yes. That’s what he needs right now. Keith standing over him while he cleaned up the mess of tapes.
“What’d you do now?”
“The box, it just fell apart.”
“You know, Robin really went out on a limb to you to get this job.” Keith was standing over him, staring down at Steve sill kneeling on the ground. “Maybe I should just fire you both.”
“Wait, no!”
Steve’s heart was in his throat.
It felt like he was gonna choke on it.
“You, you can’t, I don’t care if you hate me, okay, just, just don’t fire Robin!”
Keith loved to do this. Dangle his measly power as manager over Steve.
Robin said it was some kind of revenge fantasy for how shitty Steve was to him in high school.
Steve just figures he deserves it.
Bottom of the food chain now. That’s where he is.
The guy that thought he was the hottest shit to walk the Earth. The guy that barely graduated. The guy that had to linger around his hometown. The guy has no life. The guy that has no future.
“Why not? She vouched for you.” Keith was eating a pack of M&Ms, crunching each one loudly between his teeth.
“Just, just don’t.” Steve felt like he could cry.
“Then get this cleaned up, and I’ll consider letting you both stay.”
Steve just nodded.
He didn’t think his voice would work without cracking all over the place.
He found a crate in the stockroom, stacking the tapes as quickly as he could.
He liked reshelving.
The organization system made sense, and he could do it easily without having to know anything about the movies, without having to know anything besides the alphabet, and the genre sticker each tape had.
Robin was better with customers.
Better at making change and recommending movies. Better at talking to people without sounding like an idiot.
But he finished reshelving, and had to retreat behind the counter.
“You’re being weird today.”
Steve had zoned out, staring through the front windows.
“Sorry.”
“Bad night?” he just nodded slowly. He didn’t want to tell her about Keith’s little threat. She would just go on a rampage. Probably yell at him a lot. And if Steve being a fuck up didn’t get her fired, defending him for sure would. Plus, it’s not like it’s a lie. Most nights are bad. “Steve, are you sure you’re okay? It feels like,” she glanced around. “It feels like you’re getting, like, worse.”
“Sorry.” She furrowed her brows.
“That’s not something you need to apologize for, you know that, right? I’m just worried about you.”
“Sorry.” Her face pinched up even more.
“Steve.”
“Yeah, I, just you know. Not sleeping much.”
“I could come over? You said it’s better when there’s sound in your house. I can stomp around for a while.” He huffed a laugh through his nose, giving her the biggest smile he could muster.
“That’s okay. I’m managing, Rob.” She raised one eyebrow. “And besides, I, uh, I won’t be home tonight.”
She made a face at him, pursing her lips so she didn’t smile.
Billy had gotten his own apartment with the money the government had given him, a little thank you for your discretion gift when he was released from the hospital.
He had spent nearly a month in a coma, a month in which Steve had only left his room a handful of times. After waking up, delirious, and in pain, he had spent the next six months in heavy rehabilitation, in daily therapy, both mental and physical, in which Steve practically lived at the hospital with him.
They had bonded more than Robin could ever know, both boys spilling everything to one another, every dark thought, every bad memory.
Long story short, they were inseparable.
“Then have a fun night. And talk to Billy. Tell him you’re struggling.”
“I’m not-”
She stomped her foot, giving him a stern look.
“Yeah, okay.”
-
“Shit.”
Steve knew he had a key to Billy’s apartment.
But it wasn’t on his key ring.
“Are you kidding me?” He knocked on the door.
It took Billy a few minutes to come get him.
“I’m sorry, I, I lost my key.” Billy looked tired . It was Thursday. Billy was a stockboy at Meldvald’s on Thursdays. His doctor said getting a job would be nice, that it would help him rejoin society, make him feel good to support himself, all this shit.
Mostly, it just made Billy’s sore.
“It’s okay.”
“No, but, it’s not on my ring! I don’t know where it fell off, it could be anywhere, you might have to change the locks or-”
“Steve! It’s fine. Just get in here.”
Steve snapped his jaw closed. Billy shuffled back to the couch, groaning as he sat down slowly.
“Can I get you something? Have you eaten? I can rub your back if-”
“Harrington, just come sit with me.” Billy was giving him a little half-smile.
Steve stumbled over to the couch, and tucked himself right under Billy’s arm.
“What are we watching?”
“Some soap. There’s been a marathon all evening. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” Steve leaned his head against Billy.
He had no clue what was going on. Had a question on the tip of his tongue, ready to ask about the plot points, the characters.
But he’s bothered Billy enough tonight, making him get up to open the door, always, always bothering-
“Hey, where’d you go?” Billy was stroking one rough hand through his hair.
“Nowhere.”
“Robin called me from the video store.” Steve sighed, burying his face into Billy’s neck. “We’re worried about you.”
“Don’t be. I’m okay.”
“Yeah, you’re always okay.” He said it like he was mad, like he was frustrated with Steve.
He pulled back, sliding to the other end of the couch.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m sorry.” Billy was staring blankly at him. “I didn’t mean to make you mad.”
“I’m not mad. What are you even-” he cut himself off. “Steve, talk to me. You’re getting, distant.”
“I’m-”
“Please stop apologizing.”
Steve swallowed thickly.
“I don’t know what’s going on with you. You’re slipping through my fingers, and I don’t know how to help you.”
“I-” Steve’s throat was closing up. “I don’t know what to do.”
Billy shifted stiffly, reaching out for Steve’s hand.
“Talk to me, Baby. You know I’ll listen.”
“I, uh, I just.” His jaw was moving, but he couldn’t form any words.
Billy took his hands, pulling him gently.
Steve let himself be tugged, let himself fall into Billy’s lap.
“It’s all my fault.”
“What’s your fault?”
“All of it.”
“Can you, maybe elaborate?”
“Everything. It’s all my fault.” His chest felt pulled tight, and he couldn’t fucking breathe. “Everything, everything. My fault.”
Billy had no fucking idea what to do.
Steve was breathing sharply, his eyes squeezed closed.
He had both hands in his hair, pulling roughly.
“Steve, hey.” He took his wrists, trying to stop him. “Steve, I need you to breathe, okay? Can you do that?” Steve shook his head.
“Just, just try to take as deep a breath as you can, okay?”
Billy was trying to remember what his shrink had told him, the tips for dealing with his own panic.
But watching Steve fall apart, well. It was hard for Billy to keep it together.
He sat with Steve, holding his hands until he opened his eyes, until he was breathing without Billy reminding him to do it.
“Steve. Sugar. Talk to me.”
Steve was still slumped over, still had his head in Billy’s lap.
He turned to bury his face in Billy’s thigh.
“Sometimes I feel like the world is crushing me. And I don’t know what to do about it.”
“Can you explain that to me? You said everything was your fault.”
“Like, like Barb. She, it was my fault she died, and my fault the kids almost got hurt in the tunnels, and my fault that Dustin and Robin and Erica got stuck in the lab, and, and, and I’m so bad at taking care of you. I can’t do anything right.”
Billy could feel his tears, wet patches soaking through his sweatpants.
“You do a lot of stuff right!”
“Keith told me he was gonna fire Robin today, because I messed up again.”
“Fuck Keith. No way that creep has firing power. And maybe you should talk to Robin. Or go to your boss about him. He just likes going on a power trip with you.
“And as for, well everything, Pretty Boy, none of that was your fault. Barb was killed by, by a monster-”
“At my house, at my party, in my pool.”
“Still not your fault.”
“I thought she had left, you know? I didn’t know she was out there.”
“That just proves my point! You didn’t know she was out there, you didn’t know what was going to happen. That whole event , it had nothing to do with you. And the kids like, fully kidnapped you to bring you to the tunnels. If anything, that’s my fault for, you know. Doing what I did.”
Billy took a deep breath.
“I know a lot about guilt. I know how it feels like you’re just, you’re drowning. And you’re never gonna get to the surface, but that, that stuff. People make their own choices. You can’t control what other people do, you can just control what you do. And you, you do nothing but good. You just love, and you love, and you love. You always do what you think is best, and that’s what matters.”
“I feel bad all that time. Like, like right now I feel bad because, because of course you feel guilty, and I’m saying shit that doesn’t matter, and my problems they don’t-”
“Don’t you dare say your problems don't matter.” Billy was tangling his fingers through Steve’s hair, playing with it gently. “Your problems matter . They matter to me. It hurts me that you're struggling. It hurts me that I didn’t notice.”
“Billy, it’s not your fault.”
“You say that like it’s so easy. You take my guilt and you ease it. And that’s what I want for you.” Steve wasn’t crying anymore, but he was still curled up on the couch, still had his face pressed against Billy’s leg.
“I don’t know how. I’ve been so thoroughly crushed under all this that I’m scared of what happens if I claw through it all.”
“Maybe you won’t feel like shit all the time.”
“Feeling like shit is the easy part. It’s predictable.”
“I know. It’s safe .”
“Yeah. What do people even think about if they aren’t thinking about all the problems of the people closest to them and finding ways to blame themselves?” Billy laughed at that. Steve could feel his belly moving next to him.
It was a nice moment.
“I don’t know. That’s what movies and books are for. When you’ve got shit else to think about because you’re not trapped under a mountain of guilt.”
“Probably why I’ve read so few books, then.”
“We need to start watching more movies.”
-
“We need to talk about Steve.”
“Hi, Robin. It’s great to see you. How’s your day?” Robin rolled her eyes. She was leaned over the counter at Family Video, flicking through a magazine.
“He had a break down last night.”
“Finally. He’s been hanging on by a thread for weeks,”
“Yeah, try years.” She looked up at him.
“What do you mean?”
“He like, unloaded fully. He still blames himself for the girl that got killed in his backyard.”
“Wait, he thinks that’s his fault?”
“Yeah, and the kids in the tunnels, and also you and Dustin and Erica being brought into the whole mess. And also that he’s bad at taking care of me? Which, don’t know how he got that one. He does a really fucking good job taking care of me.”
“Jesus. He’s like, stressed.”
“To put it lightly.”
“So, what’s up? Where do I come in?”
“I’m planning an evening. A We Love Steve Harrington party.”
“I can be snack duty.” He smiled at her, clapping her on the shoulder. “It just us?”
“Yeah. I figured to leave the kids out of this one.”
“Good choice.”
“Be over at seven.” She nodded once, giving him a two-finger salute.
-
Steve was curled up, Billy spooned up behind him when there was a knock on the door.
“Go get that, will you? I’m all stiff.” Steve turned around, looking at Billy all concerned. “Go on. I’m okay.”
Billy had to shove him away before he finally went to answer the door.
“Oh, Robin, uh, hey.” She pushed one of her shopping bags into his arms.
“I was invited for an evening of bolstering you up.”
Billy came lumbering in, throwing himself down on the couch.
“I, don’t get it.”
“Robin’s here because you need some lovin’.” Steve’s bottom lip wobbled.
“That’s really nice.”
“You deserve it.” Billy was looking at him seriously.
Steve tucked himself into Billy’s side, Robin shoving herself next to him on the little couch.
Billy had pulled out all his lumpy blankets, and they had already torn into a box of cookies.
Steve was all warm.
Curled up in the blankets, watching The Aristocats.
“Thank you, guys. For this. It means a lot.”
“Can it, Dingus. Thomas O’Malley’s gonna sing.”
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