Hallford, Ch. 5 (Elisheva)
I have a bunch of half-finished Emmett and Henry pieces that I’m stuck on for the moment, but I didn’t want to leave people hanging. I asked yesterday, I think, if people would like to see more of Kieran and it seemed like the answer was “yes”. So, in lieu of a Henry or Emmett chapter, you’re getting chapter 5 of the Hallford series, the novel where 90% of the characters in Henry’s story originate -- including Elisheva Garcia and Kieran Cochran.
If you want to read the first few chapters I posted months ago, you can find them all HERE.
Thank you and enjoy!
tag list: (let me know if you want added!)
Eli overslept on Sundays. She designed her week to make Sunday her indisputable day off.
The bar was closed, there was no homework left to finish, and she could relish in lounging around her bed all day long. Currently, she was stretched out under all her blankets, luxuriating. Caleb told her she must have been a house cat in another life, such was her deep love for napping in sunlight and her general attitude. Her brother was one-hundred percent right, and nice enough to drop an acceptable cup of coffee on her bedside table.
Last night, unlike many Saturdays, was worth remembering. Kieran Cochran, the sunshine-y archaeologist with the messy hair and gobsmacked expression. She liked him, liked him a whole lot. He had been nervous and dazed in Eli’s wake, but steady and sweet. He hadn’t been too phased by the kiss, even though she had downright ambushed him.
She smiled, wriggling on her back, feeling his strong hands still there. He was a good kisser. He had said her full name, reverent, called her beautiful. The lilt in his breath when she had bitten his ear made her feel a new kind of powerful. She wondered what he’d be like pressed to a wall, a desk, the outside back door of the bar. He hadn’t realized his glasses were crooked afterwards, strolling back up the sidewalk looking lopsided.
“What did you do to him?” Caleb had asked, a smirk gracing his face.
Eli had shrugged, tying back her hair. “I don’t know what you mean, Cale.”
“Yeah you do, La. Just look at him. The boy’s fucking obliterated.” Caleb rolled his eyes, then reached out a hand. “Fries, please and thank you.”
“Tell that to Cassie and Joy next time you get your butt over there.”
Kieran Cochran was going to take her and Rosie out to lunch on Tuesday. She was already twitterpated — not her normal state of being by any means. Only once in high school, but that had been short lived. She preferred being obviously in control. Its why law school appealed to her. That, and the debating.
Eli decided she was going to knock Kieran Cochran off is feet on Tuesday morning. He wouldn’t know what had hit him.
Grinning to herself, Eli rolled out of bed and picked up her coffee. She had an impression to make.
Tuesday morning, Eli and Rosie walked into lecture in their best. Rosie had spent as long as her aunt had on the perfect outfit — Eli didn’t have to be talked out of wearing a princess dress though. Rosie had requested her black hair be braided up like they did on special occasions — because lunch with her new favorite person was a very special occasion indeed. Rosie had also been adamant that her tia wear a flower clip in her hair and a very specific pair of boots - ankle length and embroidered in blues and greens. Eli couldn’t help amusing her. Seeing the little girl happy made her exhaustion worth it.
Eli dropped into the seat next to Kieran, pressing a kiss to his cheek. She smiled at Kieran’s astonished expression and the perfect imprint of her lipstick left there.
“Good morning to you too.” He cracked a grin.
“Good morning.” Eli settled back, unpacking her bag.
Rosie bounced, a shy look on her face. “Hi.”
“Hi, kiddo.” Kieran smiled. “What did you do this weekend?”
“Lotsa stuff! I played in the snow an’ watched shows an’ tia did my hair like this.” Rosie spun around proudly. Then her expression turned shyer. “Can I sit with you today?”
Kieran cast a glance at Eli, who nodded that it was alright. She assumed he’d never been around small children for extended periods before and leaned over to pick up then deposit Rosie on his lap. Rosie, by now, was beyond accustomed to this seating arrangement. She dropped back comfortably against Kieran’s chest, chattering away about her snow day adventures on Sunday.
Kieran leaned over. “You look pretty today. What did you get all dressed up for?”
“Oh, I’ve got a special lunch this afternoon.” Eli winked.
“Lucky you. Who’s the victim?”
“You might know him. He’s in all your classes.”
Kieran chuckled, the ruse breaking. “Sorry, you’re a little too good at that.”
“Thanks, I know.” Eli eyed her niece, then asked: “Do you want her on you all class? It’s alright if you don’t, just say.”
“No, no. She’s fine.” Kieran said. “Now, how do you take notes like this?”
Eli showed him, adjusting Rosie and covering the small desk with her coloring book. She positioned his notebook like she did every day. Rosie didn’t mind if the notebook pressed into her arm so he could still it as he wrote. She leaned across him to tell Rosie to be good for lecture and to make sure Kieran wasn’t too distracted. The little girl insisted emphatically that she would behave herself and turned back to her coloring page, where she was thoughtfully creating an electric yellow fish.
McKnight began and Eli slanted her body towards Kieran. She realized too late she’d never be able to pay attention at this proximity. She could smell his cologne, hear the low thrum of his voice as he whispered to Rosie, see just how dark his eyes were behind the gold rim of his glasses. Her heart fluttered, imagining that voice low in her ear. She bit the inside of her cheek. She couldn’t go there. She was in class. It was only ten in the morning. She was working the early shift tonight, so there’d be time for day-dreaming later.
“Should it be green or blue?” Rosie asked quietly, pointing to her fish drawing.
Kieran leaned forward. “Hmm… I think the green.”
“Okay, me too.”
He really was good with her, but Rosie was hard to displease once she liked someone. And she liked Kieran. Give her two more weeks unimpeded and the little girl would have him permanently wrapped around his finger. The whole Garcia family was in the same boat — Kieran Cochran was simply the next victim.
Eli didn’t think he would mind too much. He seemed easy going enough, and most boys were put off by Rosie’s presence point-blank. They were a package-deal and that gave them cold feet. Kieran didn’t act like it was wildly different than any other classroom he’d been in. Maybe after that first day, he’d gotten over it. She was glad for it. It meant she had another set of hands and eyes to help when all the time before she’d been singularly responsible.
“Rosie, where do you want to go for lunch?” Kieran asked as the slides ended.
The little girl, finishing her drawing, shrugged.
“Well, is there anything you’d like to eat?” He tried again.
“Hmm…” Rosie put her crayon down. “Peanut butter.”
“Just peanut butter?”
“No silly! A peanut butter sandwich!” Rosie giggled. She let Eli pack up her things, but was less keen about Kieran having to set her down to get his bag together. She frowned a little until the two adults stood up. She planted her feet in front of Kieran’s, arms going all the way above her head.
Eli rolled her eyes. “Rosie, what do we say?”
“Kieran, up please!”
“Well, how can I say no?” Kieran scooped her up to Rosie’s glee. “Now we go get peanut butter!”
Lunch was at one of the campus cafes, nothing abundantly special, but Rosie got her peanut butter sandwich and all was right with the world. She insisted on sitting next to and sometimes on top of Kieran. He let her, much to the dismay of her aunt, but it was clear Rosie obeyed no man. She was meant to be at day care by noon and Eli had a one o’clock, but Kieran felt like they had all the time in the world.
Rosie was incredibly reluctant to leave, but after Eli handed over a lunchbox of snacks, she willingly extracted herself from Kieran’s arms and agreed to go to daycare.
He insisted on walking with them to drop Rosie off. The look on Eli’s face was priceless — he wondered for a moment if he had broken her — and it took her another minute to come back down to earth and agree.
Kieran carried Rosie, knowing his arms would be hurting the next day. He had under-estimated how active the little girl was, even while being held. She talked with her hands, nodded enthusiastically, flopped backwards in a dramatic sigh while filling him in on all the plot points of her favorite princess movie. Eli might be strong enough to pin him down if she could handle a squirming four year old.
Eli, pinning him down… it was a thrilling thought.
Saturday night still had him buzzing, had so every minute since. Felix had teased him relentlessly over it, but it hadn’t bothered Kieran. He’d been taken unawares. It had fueled him through Sunday and Monday. She had done her hair today like it was a special occasion, having lunch with him.
Kieran made it back to campus before pulling Eli into a doorway and kissing her senseless. He took the opportunity to run his hands over her body, getting no resistance.
She took off his glasses, tucking them blindly into his shirt front. She laced her fingers behind his neck, pulling him closer as she rose up onto her toes. He groaned and she took the split second to take control of the kiss. Her hips pressed into Kieran’s, hands trailing over his chest and fingers at the hem of his sweater, flirting with slipping her hand up and under. She bit deeply into his lower lip, eliciting a tight moan. He felt all the blood in his veins warm and spike with adrenaline.
Eli broke the kiss, smirking. “So that’s how you feel about me, Mr. Cochran?”
Kieran pulled back, realizing with a start how tight the front of his pants were. He felt his cheeks flame, sure he was beet red in embarrassment. “Christ, I’m -,”
“Don’t be.” Eli shushed him, pressing a sweet kiss to his lips. “Don’t be sorry. Just get me in bed next time.”
“B-bed?” Kieran stuttered. “You want me… Oh.”
“Well, it’s clear you do too, so. Next time.”
“I hadn’t even thought about a next time, to be honest. I’m just trying so hard to impress you.” Kieran blurted out, reddening more after the fact. “I’m sorry you’re just so pretty and capable and I’ll stop talking before I ruin whatever chance I still have left.”
“Mi cielo, vi que tu mirada ya estaba llamandome.”
Kieran sighed, dropping his forehead to her shoulder. “Shit, of course. Of course you speak Spanish. What did that even mean?”
Eli leaned in close. “It means I have off Saturday night and you should take me home with you.”
“Take you… Home?” Kieran swallowed hard, trying his hardest not to sound incredulous. “You want to? Really?”
4 notes · View notes
OC Moodboard: Nazanin Bhangra
Nazanin snickered as Faye left the room. “Like something, Kerr?”
He swallowed a mouthful of coffee and willed the hot flush away. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Naz.”
“Sure you do.” Nazanin leaned back, reaching for her candy drawer. She rummaged a hand around, pulling out the bar he’d won fair and square. She dropped it in front of him, then reached back again. She came back with another one — hazelnut, based on the wrapper color — and waved it in the air. “Can I bribe you?”
3 notes · View notes
to the lovely anon who sent the v long ask regarding the closet fic-- i am working on it; i just talk a LOT
i LOVE naming chapters. rip to everyone who has trouble naming things but i’m different
4 notes · View notes
The Long White Veil, Ch. 2
Back with the next installment of this story. Thank you so much for the warm reception to it and I hope you stick around for whatever happens next! Seriously though, I only have a rough outline so we are all going to be finding out what’s going to happen next together. Again, thank you and I hope you enjoy!
Installments: chapter one / chapter two / chapter three / chapter four / chapter five / chapter six
Tags: @sableflynn, @yet-another-heathen (let me know if you want to be tagged!)
Warnings: historic whump, implied cult whump, prone whumpee, whumpee and caretakers, vague medical-ish whump. Most of this is just filler and set up, so let me know if I miss anything that should be here.
The boy opened his eye later that night, just after dinner. Minnie’s heart leapt at the brief flash of seagrass green.
Color was beginning to return to his cheeks and nose, the barest bit of warm pink starting to emerge. His breathing was close to normal, evening out save for the occasional cough. They even managed to sit him upright long enough to wash the dried salt from his skin, tug a clean shirt over his head, and drip warm broth in his mouth. Their daughters disliked being put out of their bed, but their youngest seemed more curious that annoyed at the visitor.
Minnie noted with dismay the bruising and cuts littering his skin. They seemed to worsen as the day dragged on, deepening and yellowing, the cuts drying and standing out on his arms and shoulders. Garrett kindly consoled her insisting they were evidence of the boat wrecking, but Minnie wasn’t so sure. A discomforting, nagging feeling had made a home in the pit of her stomach — a sort of mother’s intuition telling her something was very wrong. What, she couldn’t place; she wondered if she really wanted to know.
“Going to hold vigil?” Garrett asked, leaning against the doorframe of the little bedroom. He held two enameled tin cups in one hand, the coffee percolator in the other.
Minnie smiled faintly and nodded. “I’m going to try. I don’t like his cough.”
“You know best.” Garrett stepped into the room and crouched next to the bedside table. There he poured two full mugs, passing her one. “I’ll stay up with you.”
“Aren’t you going to go out tomorrow?”
“Then go sleep.”
“I go out early enough,” Garrett shrugged, pushing himself to standing. “I can go out, be back by noon then rest, and stay up with you now.”
Minnie hummed in disapproval. “Garrett.”
“Min, you might need me.” He held her in his familiar grey stare. She had never known him to be without his self control — an honestly extraordinary thing considering the ups and mostly downs of the last eight years. He rarely changed his ways, rarely raised his voice or spun away from his usual steady patience. Her mother had called him unflappable; Minnie preferred reliable.
But he could be stubborn too. Minnie could tell him to go to bed and leave her to her night watch; could say it over and over until his voice cracked and failed, but he would sit up with her. Once his mind was made up, Garrett stuck with it.
Minnie wrapped her hands more firmly around the mug, and relented without a protest. “Get another chair then.”
“And your book?”
“If you don’t mind.”
“Back in a minute.” He took the percolator with him when he went.
Minnie closed her eyes and, for a moment, simply listened to the house around her. Garrett’s heavy, booted footsteps and hushed voice as he corralled their daughters into the other bedroom. The creak of walls and floorboards settling around her. The wind and the windows, the crackling wood stove in the other room. Her patient’s even inhales and exhales from the bed. The predictable slap of the tide on the nearby beach.
In the quiet, Minnie tapped her foot lightly on the floor, murmuring a brief prayer with each one. One for his life. Two for his health. Three for his family. Four for whatever came next.
When her husband’s heavy footsteps drew near again, Minnie opened her eyes. She took a long drink of coffee. “Are the girls in bed?”
“Yes, and they’ll stay there.” Garrett set up his chair next to her’s and dropped into it with a groan. He propped his feet on the bed frame. The air went stale between them, both of them with things to say but deciding how to get there. Finally: “You think he’s from White Stag?”
“I’m not sure,” Minnie hesitated. “But I have a feeling, a bad feeling… He gives me the bad feeling.”
Garrett chuckled, cracking the tension wide open. “A bad omen, certainly.”
Minnie’s eyebrows knitted together. “Will you be checking the moon later tonight?”
“I’m not that superstitious, Min, you know that.”
“But you call him a bad omen?” Minnie glanced side long at him. Her husband was not given to the flights of fancy and ages-old superstitions of his fellow seafarers, and a word such as omen was not meant to be taken lightly. That’s what gave her pause.
He noticed and seemed to regret saying so. He waited several long minutes, staring to his cup, before answering her. “The Wellspring people… they keep to themselves. Self reliant and all that. But here he is.”
“We don’t know—.”
“We don’t, true, but I have a feeling you’re right. I think that’s why we’ve got a bad feeling.” Garrett took a breath. “The ones that come in to town for supplies have the same kind of stink on them…” He raises his eyes to the small window, Minnie following suit. White Stag Isle was now concealed by the winter dark, but she could feel it. Pulling their eyes like iron filaments to a magnet. It had its own kind of gravity. Garrett exhaled sharply. “They just feel… strange.”
“It takes a strange thing to end up out there, I suppose.”
“Makes you wonder what went wrong.”
“Garrett?” Minnie coughed delicately.
“They called the orchard their Eden when they bought it back in thirty-one. A little paradise cutting them off from the rest of us heathens and so-and-so’s.” Garrett answered slowly, the words tumbling out of him like loosened stones from a wall. They landed heavy and cold at her feet. “If its so perfect, why would he leave it?”
“Couldn’t he have gone out for another reason then gotten lost in the storm?”
“The currents don’t work that way, even when the water’s rough. To end up in Charis where he did, you have to be headed for it, face on.”
Minnie considered the boy on the bed — his young face and thin body. . Not the body of someone doing farm and orchard work day in and day out.
That’s what they did out on the island, according to the few loggers who had been out to White Stag since the Wellspring had taken over its northern corner. A full orchard of apples and pears, and a cider press to go with it. A farm meant to sustain the Society took up much of the center of the property, worked entirely by the members living there.
He should have broader shoulders, she thought. He should be filled out more like her husband from long days of using his arms for plows or ladders or pressing fruit. He should have callouses on his hands, stronger forearms to go with. He couldn’t have been older than perhaps twenty, but still had the rangy look of a much younger boy still growing into his frame.
A chill dropped over her, the sinking bad feeling overcoming her all over again.
“He escaped then,” Minnie managed, throat tightening.
“Or was going for help and got tossed,” Garrett offered. The air thickened again. “We won’t know unless he wakes up, I supposed.”
“Unless,” she let out a sharp, sardonic laugh.
“It’s still iffy—.”
“I know it is,” she snapped, then swallowed all her anger at once. She blindly reached out a hand, laying it over his arm. “Would you let me have my denial for a little bit longer?”
Garrett tucked his coffee cup between his legs and rested a calloused hand overtop hers. “You can have it as long as you like.”
“If we have to call in Dr. Sweeney, please shake me.”
As if to protest not being included in the conversation, the boy on the bed let out a strangled groan. Garbled and quavery, as if the sound had been trapped in his throat since the moment his body hit the waters of the sound.
Minnie’s fingers tightened on Garrett’s arm. She leapt to standing, nearly tossing her coffee down her dress front. Garrett managed to snatch it from her hand before she did just that. He pulled back, letting her dive on the prone teenager and inspect him. Perched at the edge of the bed, she reached under the blankets to hold one of his hands in hers, brushing her free fingers over his brow.
“Hello?” Minnie whispered, breathless and reverent. A believer hearing the voice of god in the middle of a sermon. “Can you hear me in there?”
Another groan pulled itself from inside the boy’s throat. His legs squirmed on the bed, as if his body was trying to wake itself for his brain.
“Can you squeeze my hand?” Minnie urged. She felt his fingers twitch and tighten, a gasp ripping from her lips. “He can hear me! Garrett!”
She felt her husband come up behind her, sitting down on the bed’s edge behind her. His hands rubbed up and down on her shoulders. “You always know best, Min.”
“What should I ask next?”
“Let him wake up first. Give it time.”
“Oh, right. You’re right.” Minnie settled her excitement, biting the inside of her lip as she rubbed fingers over his hand and arm. “Follow my voice, okay? Follow my voice until you can open your eyes. You can do it, I know you can.”
The boy made another noise. This time sounding more like words.
“He’s a fighter.” Garrett reached down, patting the lump that was the boy’s legs. “C’mon. We know you’re in there.”
“C’sss...” clawed its way out of the boy’s mouth. “C-c... C’sss, ee.”
His head moved a little on the pillow, all the while Minnie mumbling small encouragements to him. Long minutes passed. The wind picked up outside and the movement that had bloomed in his body still again. For one long, horrified moment, he seemed to have lost his grip. Minnie’s heart clenched, her hand gripping his harder, gritting her back teeth to squeaking. Then, a shuddering cough rolled from his chest out through his limbs. A dry, painful sounding noise, but a sign of life nonetheless.
The trembling settled into heaving breaths and then: “Cassie?”
Eyelids opened a sliver, revealing the pale green Minnie had seen earlier that evening. They were unfocused, sort of lost, but they stayed open. They stayed on her, on Garrett. She could have danced and shrieked. He was awake. He was finally awake.
“Where’s Cassie?” he mumbled, cotton-mouthed. “Where’m I?”
“Your on the mainland,” Garrett answered, steady as always. “Fallcana Landing. You know it?”
“Mhmm,” the boy nodded. He repeated: “Where’s Cassie?”
“Someone was with you?” Garrett waited for the next nod. Minnie turned back to look at him, terror in her eyes. “I only saw him, Min, I swear --. I’ll go back.”
“Now?” she gasped. “It’s pitch black out there--.”
It was too late. Garrett was up and out of the room, grabbing his coat, hat, and a lantern. The fire in the wood stove flickered and waved as he opened the door and stepped out into the winter night.
Minnie turned back to the boy. Tears prickled her eyes. She didn’t understand why, but she pushed it down. “Minnie. Minnie Frazier. My husband-- he just left. He found you, this morning.”
“Charis Inlet.” Minnie cleared her throat. “What are you called?”
The boy blinked at her. He looked focused, if not vaguely exhausted. “Ben-. Benjamin. I’s nice to meet you.”
She couldn’t help but smile at that. “It’s nice to meet you too. I’m glad you’re with us... Where did you come from, Benjamin?”
“Crossfait,” he mumbled. “We went from the orchard, to Crossfait, then...”
“Where’s Cassie?” He asked, repeating the question a fourth time. “She was with me, the whole time, where--. Where is she?”
“Who’s Cassie?” Minnie asked gently, a lump forming in her throat. A bad feeling, a bad omen indeed.
Benjamin blinked, casting his eyes about the room. Searching and searching with no luck. Finally, he turned back to her, worry flooding his features. “My sister. She’s my little sister.”
24 notes · View notes
Fic Moodboard: The Long White Veil (1/2)
Garrett jerked forward, about to follow, but the same window caught him just as it had caught his wife. The fog was clearing, a weak winter sun breaking through the cloistering silvery-white. Out past the trees and the beach, rising up at the very edges of the Cedar Sound and the wide grey Pacific, were thin grey mounds. Low as clouds, shrouded like the Fata Morgana, but Garrett knew them to be real. Two islands, one next to the other, and only one occupied by anyone.
Garrett swallowed. The sensation that had seized him on the beach seized him again. One of them, his wife had mumbled. Anyone along the Cedar Coast would find recognition in those words.
7 notes · View notes
*rereads long comments on old fics and bursts into tears*
1 note · View note
The Black Stone War (ch. 1)
Holland Vosijk spent the morning smoking. One after the other set between his lips as he stood under the shelter of a train platform. Early spring damp settled into his wool coat. He had been there for over an hour, an obvious if not outright suspicious figure in London’s pre-dawn hours.
No one ever spent so long near a train station. Time and people moved quickly, they always had. If anyone had noticed him -- truly noticed him and his cigarettes -- it had been for an instant. There and gone in the misting rain.
He would normally be in bed at this hour, waiting for the alarm to rouse him. He was waiting for someone. It wasn’t his choice, but he had no real say in the matter. So he waited, smoking to pass the time. The train was late and he steeled himself for the complaining it would incur on the drive from the station to the Prime Minister’s office. There were very few things Holland disliked more than transporting Astrid Dane -- to or from, any request that involved more than sitting across a desk from the woman set his teeth on edge, but he complied with orders. If only to avoid being on the receiving end of her interrogation techniques. Astrid had less of a temper than her brother, but that didn’t make her any less dangerous.
Holland put out his cigarette on the sole of his shoe and debated lighting another. He decided against it, already knowing he reeked of the previous four and would for the rest of the day. Boredom wasn’t a good enough excuse to waste the rest of his pack on. He debated leaving, walking himself to the nearest metro station and getting started with his day. Astrid would have his head for it, but the idea was nice enough. He found he got along alright in his position if he kept his seditious daydreams to himself.
A twisted kind of positivity , Talya had once told him.
The correct train arrived a half an hour later. Just as Holland was planning on leaving again, having accepted Astrid’s temper in favor of the quiet of his office on the fourth floor. He stuffed his hands low in his coat pockets and scanned the few disembarking for the right woman.
Astrid’s slight frame, petite stature, and pale hair did not do much to differentiate her from the crowd, within the train station or otherwise. She did so through other means, The most visible that morning was her usual tailored, white coat. In a sea of ordinary greys and blacks, she managed to make the pale wool infinitely threatening. She strode up to him, hardly breaking step as she handed him her singular bag and continued walking.
Holland, seeing the maneuver coming from a mile off, easily caught the handle and fell into step beside her.
[Click Here to Read More]
9 notes · View notes
Instead of working on my essay that's due today I decided to reread The One With all the Communication. I have no regrets! It put me in a better mood 😊. Also, Orchid 💕
Brb gotta go cry 🥺
I am working on the next chapter btw 😌😋
Here is a snippet 💞
Alastair made a split second decision, turning to Matthew he asked "do you want to see something?"
I can't believe I wrote something that someone wants to RE READ!?!? ASDFGHJKL
(Your poor neglected essay though 😥😂)
10 notes · View notes
Hi! If that's okay could i request some hcs for Tamaki Suoh with a chaotic s/o?^^ (chaotic as in gen z gsjsgsk)
(a/n: tysm for requesting!)
he's,,, nothing short of bewildered
all over the place
he tries so hard to understand
takes him three months to learn a meme that disappeared in a week 💀
his poor nerves lmao
you're best friends with hikaru and kaoru
they actually try to help him get in the know
don't even try texting him
he'll be like prince philip:
one kpop reaction pic and he's dead
(was that offensive? sorry if it was)
he gets to the point where he just gives up
he gets a slang term right once in a blue moon
when he realizes he got it right
his eyes light up
he grabs you, smiling wide
his entire personality with you is just:
@sinister-chaos @therealcozyy @princeneito
128 notes · View notes
OC Moodboard: Faye Murphy (Passing Notes 2/?)
“Can I kiss you?”
He felt the moment she leaned in, tilting her face up to his. Faye’s lips were soft, slotted against his perfectly. His stomach flipped pleasantly as they moved against his. He remembered Rhiannon’s hands pushing his face into that same position, roughly pulling him down; remembered how his stomach had clenched and threatened to spill over every time.
But this was different. This was warm and easy, gentle and sweet. Faye’s fingers roamed over his skin and hair, holding but never pulling; guiding but not forcing. He leaned closer, pressing her against the couch, a fresh curl of warmth in his gut as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
9 notes · View notes
i played a pc game in early access called rhythm doctor and HOHOHOHO ITS SO CHALLENGING AND SO GOOD,,, IT ACTUALLY DEPENDS ON RHYTHM/MUSIC THEORY,,,, ITS 15 USD ON STEAM BUY IT
anyway advertisement aside, two songs from the game all the times and wish i could care less gave me HUGE orchid yoongi/couple vibes (yea ik the second song title looks very stereotypical but PLEASE LISTEN TO IT,, I GET BIG ORCHARD!YOONGI VIBES FROM THE LYRICS)
ur gonna make me cry u thought of orchid omg 😭😭😭😭😭😭 no they rlly do give that vibe im :-( i love that fic sm sjdndndndn (also the game sounds so fun omg)
5 notes · View notes
(requested by mathmaticalknight)
“Are they really doing this to me right now?” The Doctor sighed as he shuffled through recruitment files. “I know I shouldn’t new recruits at our door every day, but this is on a whole different level...”
Pramanix looked over his shoulder and tutted. “They’re sending in their own files as filler now? And they expect you to pay for all this paper?”
“I’ve seen Gravel’s name at the top of these twelve times today, so it’s not just theirs.” He shook his head.
“I could go talk to them, if you want.” She ruffled his hair. “Red’s still watching the girls, and I feel like giving someone a little hell today.”
He smiled to himself as he turned to look at her, putting both hands around the closer of hers. “It’s fine, dear; I’ll just stop going through them right now, give my eyes a break. Since you’re free, though, couch?”
“Is that even a question?” Anya helped him up so they could flop onto the double-wide he’d gotten for the office exactly for moments like this.
“I hope they’re not too annoyed with how slow their job must be sometimes,” the Doctor continued once he was enveloped in pillowy Pramanix-ness. “Spending hours and hours doing busywork gets boring for me, so imagining a thankless job like theirs in the same state-”
That was the Feline’s cue to shush him with an impromptu kiss. “Don’t let them off the hook that easily. It’s still a waste of company time and money to do things like that.”
“But our snuggling is fine?”
“Our snuggling keeps your moral up, so I’d say it’s actually the most important work I can do as your assistant.” She rolled her eyes. “Now are you going to let me help you relax or not?”
He chuckled at that. “Alright, alright, I’ll be good now.”
“Good. Now, what shall we dream of today?” As a bell softly chimed, Anya began giving the Doctor an in-person ASMR experience, and the office melted away to a dreamscape.
Of course, the folks in HR didn’t know about this. Nor would it be able to stop the forces at work that’d enabled this whole thing in the first place.
It’d started with Orchid, actually; she’d been working on transferring to the Trading Post crew and printed her resume to send to them, but accidentally sent it into the Doctor for approval...and for some reason, that’d gone through as a ‘recruitment’ submission.
“Hey, Utage, quick question.” Aciddrop, who’d only joined the office recently, noticed this and tried to get the Nue’s attention. “That isn’t s’posed to work, is it?”
“...How the hell did she do that? Hey, how do we do this?” She looked over to Ethan, who was at his desk surfing the fiction-writing forums he visited.
The Savra jumped up and walked over to their desk. “Oh, that? Just make copies of old resumes and send them through the system. Rangers taught me that during training.”
“We can do that?” The Liberi’s ear-feathers started twitching. “You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’, Utage?”
“Oh, I knooow I am!” She replied as she dashed over to the cabinet and started grabbing old files that were easy to copy.
Ethan chuckled as he went back to his desk. “Save me a couple of ‘em, too; still waiting to hear back from the guys we sent to talk to that travelling actor fella, could use a break.”
“Sure thing.” Utage dropped a stack of twenty or so files off next to the scanner. “Let’s have some fun~”
A few hours later, and the Doctor woke up to what looked like a power outage, but was in fact just being under a very snuggly Feline. “Still asleep, dear?” He asked, otherwise staying still.
“Mmhmm,” Anya mumbled, somewhere in between.
“That’s alright, but I should probably check my messages.” He managed to slink out from under her without disturbing her too much, but it became a moot point once he saw his messages. “Holy shit! There’s over three hundred messages from HR here?!”
Pramanix sat up, rubbing her eyes. “All recruitment?”
“Yeah...and all repeats.” The Doctor groaned. “Even if we did get someone new, I’d never- wait. No, there is someone I don’t recognize on this list, wanting to come in for an interview in...ten minutes? We can do that, right, dear?”
“Ten minutes? Um, sure. Does the file say a codename, at least?”
He nodded. “Someone named ‘Mint?’ Huh...apparently she’s from King’s Wand. I guess we’ll see her soo- that’s it, I’m going to go talk to them. This is way too much.”
Meanwhile, at the HR office:
“What do you mean, you broke the messaging system?!” Orchid was pulling out feathers and hair at her office, which was attached to but technically different from the rest of HR. “How many duplicates did you send?”
“Well, we sent like nine or ten, but then Eyjafjalla found out about what we were doing and offered to make it more efficient by making a program for us...and then Ethan and Provence made it more efficient...It’s sending recruitment notices so fast we can’t actually stop it without shutting down the whole network.” Aciddrop and Utage were standing sheepishly on the other side of the desk, feeling rather foolish as the instigators of what was now essentially a system-breaking insider hack.
The Liberi in charge just shook her head. “This is ridiculous...I’ll shut it down for the day, and if we manage to get in touch with any of our current options, I’ll just fax their records to his office.”
“*Knock knock* Miss Orchid?” Eyjafjalla popped her head through the door. “Senpai’s here to talk to you.”
“Tell him we’re working on getting it shut down, please, Eyja.”
The Doctor popped his head through the door, too. “Shutting what down?”
“The auto-messager your kouhai installed in our system to help these two with their prank.” Orchid gestured to the other Liberi and the Nue.
“Ah. Good job applying your problem-solving skills, Eyja.” He gave her a couple headpats before smiling at the rest of them. “If you guys can, I’d try seeing if you can automate the whole thing like that, and I’ll just set filters on my notifications.”
All three of them looked at him for a moment before Aciddrop spoke up. “You’re not mad?”
“Nah. Got to cuddle the wife thanks to it, after all. You girls keep up the good work.” And with that, he was gone.
“That was...not how I expected that to go,” Utage admitted as Eyja walked into the office properly. “How the hell did we luck out like that?”
Only Eyja noticed as Tsukinogi returned to her desk from the entrance to the office, smiling to herself...
13 notes · View notes
Passing Notes Masterlist
Tags: @lave-whump, @pebbledriscoll, @highwaywhump (tag list is always open, please asked if you want to be added/removed from the list!)
warnings: bbu general warning, WRU general warning, bbu conditioning and training, pet whump, creepy/intimate whumper, romantic whumper, lady whumper, defiant whumpee, escaped whumpee, resentful whumpee, memory stuff, description of physical injuries, dehumanization; a very fucked-up version of the Fake Dating trope, dubcon/noncon kissing, dubcon/noncon touching, alcohol, trauma survivor, trauma recovery, smut/consensual recovery sex.
**As close to chronological order as possible**
Troubled & Confused / Caged, Unseen / Behind Glass / Emmett’s Intake Paperwork / Sixty-Six & Seventy-Nine / Afterlife / Chained to a Bed (BTHB) / Boxes / Twisted (BTHB) / Dormeveglia (Faye) /
Passing Notes / Cornered / Endless / In The Dark / Patterns / Cafuné / Nemesism / Shiver / Desperation / Deviation / Chocolate /
Confluence / Heartbeat / Fireworks / Tomorrow / Wishing / Lucky / Foolish / Indulgence / Heartache / Lost / Kiss /
Moodboards: Passing Notes / Emmett Kerr / Rhiannon Maddox / Oliver Tannatt / Nazanin Bhangra / Faye Murphy /
Microfiction: One / Two / Three (nsfw) / Four / Five / Six / Seven / Eight / Nine (nsfw) / Ten / Eleven / Twelve /
Handler Nora Khan (Facility 001)
Handler Rhys Snow (Facility 004)
49 notes · View notes
Fic Moodboards: Passing Notes 1/?
She had told her parents he was one of her dates, one that had stuck around and moved in. She steered the conversation around itself, creating whirl-pooling circles so the old couple never managed to ask questions to Emmett.
It had increased with frequency since that weekend.
She touched him more now, in ways that made his skin prickle and crawl. She ordered him to touch her in ways he knew he shouldn’t. His body obeyed her like he was supposed to, all the training flooding his nerves and limbs at once. Obey the owner, no matter what. His head knew it wasn’t really what he had been trained for, knew that this was what the romantics were for.
6 notes · View notes
Phew! Finished this months ago, but finally got around to taking photos.
Behold! Digging for Orchids by @bettsfic!
Ok, I don’t really know how to sum up the impact this fic had on my life so
More under cut
Basically, reading this fic got me interested in BL Chinese web novels, and as a result I’ve started learning Chinese and plan to go to China this summer (or next) to cram as much Mandarin in my head as possible. It also led me to see a gap in my field of research re: China, so I’ve shifted the focus of a lot of my studies/time/research Eastward.
Needless to say, I rec this fic.
This was my first attempt at a coptic stitch binding, and this seemed to be the perfect fit for this story. I like that when you open the book with this binding it lays flat (similarly to a secret Belgian binding).
Red thread is a motif that pops up in this fic, so
I like how neat the stitches look when you get them just right.
One thing I will say that is rather cringe is that on my copy I tried to translate the title of the book on the front cover—knowing what I know now from the little Chinese I’ve studied, it is probably egregiously incorrect. Thankfully, I omitted it from the author’s copy.
This was a pleasure to bind, and as always with Bett’s fic, it was a pleasure to read!
42 notes · View notes
hehe tagged by @lyrebirds-writes to pick my three fave fics i've written n chat abt why!! ty finn~~
Orchid in Bloom - bnha | todomomo/kamijirou/kiribaku | T | 85.7k (complete)
oh, orchid my beloved. i feel a little silly including a bnha work here bc i’ve absolutely completely overhauled my identity to jjk on this blog but WHAT can i SAY except that it is, to date, the best thing i have ever written? it has everything i like. the slow burn main pair romance, the side pairings and their character arcs that affect the narrative, the symbolism, and??? this baby has themes, man. theeeeemeeeessss. i still reread bits from time to time to lose myself in the prose. also writing it has opened the doors to a couple online friendships, so i really owe it a lot hahaha.
don't you hate it when the teacher says it'll only be twelve questions - soul eater | soma/tsustar/kidliz/oxkim | T | 10.0k (complete)
oh so this started out as a request from my bff nat to write something inspired by this pokespe fic called Question 7 and a Half by the now inactive Starran. the basic premise is that in order to graduate, the kids have to take a test, and so shenanigans ensue. i had a blast planning this out with nat like... four years ago now? was it really that long ago? three and a half, probably, and it ended up a loooot longer than i expected, but i did reread it a couple times since publishing and it is so dumb and i love it so much.
the diner at the end of the night - jjk | platonic itafushikugi | T | 8.3k (complete)
i think initially i was just content to have this be a silly little idea i threw at @stardust-make-a-wish over discord, but then my laptop broke down at the start of the year, so i just went ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and started writing it by hand in my tiny notebook hehehe. the first half of this fic was composed entirely handwritten, for reference. it’s based on this silly story my high school physics teacher told us about himself when he was in college. i feel like i really nailed the dynamics between the first year trio, and the humor hits really well, too. i think it’s a solid reflection of the work i’ve put into my comedic style over the last year, and just overall i had a ton of fun with it.
tagging @cece-0708 @sawamura-daichis-thighs and @lunar-resonance if you have the time~
5 notes · View notes
Too many short jokes
A/N: Forgive me, my dears, I think I was watching too much Animaniacs and Invader Zim and the scenario playing out in my head, made me wheeze. ...I may have used lines from both shows. Enjoy! Leave a like and reblog if you like my work! It means a lot!
Fandom: Hazbin Hotel
Characters: Angel Dust, Orchid (OC)
Warnings: swearing and tickles
Summary: Orchid does not appreciate being on the receiving end of short jokes. Having enough, she decides to get some revenge on Angel.
It was funny the first few times. Now it was just getting ridiculous. Alastor, however, was not the one that started the short jokes, unlike the “Oh, Orchid~” fuckery. The jokes started with Angel, like an shit head older brother.
He constantly leaned on her head, or held things high above her reach. And when you’re five-three compared to taller demons, that tended to get old.
It wasn’t that Orchid found them genuinely rude, it was just getting out of hand. Currently, the spider was following her around, poking her in the ribs, while she walked to the lounge, making her sound like a squeaky toy.
His tongue stuck out childishly at her sounds before the banshee turned on him, her shouting making a few glass objects on the wall rattle.
“Could ya stop, please?!”
Angel snickered. “I wooooould but... ya so damn little an’ cute, I could just pick ya up and squeeze ya!”
“...Don’t you daaAAH!”
Welp. Angel dared. He picked Orchid up and swung her gently, to and fro, cooing at her teasingly all the while.
“Fratello! If you want to keep all of your limbs, Angel, you will put me down, you will put me down, now!”
Angel only snickered through teeth again at Orchid’s threats. “Awwwww! But ya so tiny! How’re ya gonna rip my limbs off, if ya can’t reach?”
Orchid growled as he set her down, Angel pulling her purple slouchy beanie over her eye sockets.
She pulled it back up, ‘staring’ up at him with general irritation.
“Stop with the short jokes!” She tried to demand, standing on her toes, trying to come off as taller and intimidating.
Angel did everything in his power not to laugh... and failed miserably.
“Ihihihi’m sohohorry! But thahahat’s too cute! You ain’t scary toots!”
Oh, everybody said that shit now but wait until they pissed her off and she went demonic...
An idea struck her, listening to him be a chuckle-fuck. He wanted something to laugh at? Orchid would give him something alright!
“Whaddaya mean by that?” She asked, trans-atlantic lilt heavy. Sometimes they all forgot she was from Louisiana due to this little quirk.
“Ah... ya just too tiny and honestly not scary,” Angel explained patting her head.
“You’re sayin’ I’m not scary? That I am not intimidating, creepy, freaky, or vice versa?”
“Yup! That’s exactly what I’m sayin’!” Angel confirmed, pinching her cheek.
Thank Lucifer that they were next to the couch because what Orchid did next, caught him unprepared.
“THAT’S IT!” Angel was tackled to the couch by an annoyed banshee an instant, no time to react as ten talons lightly dug into his hips, no mercy given.
Just as Alastor taught her.
“Ya want scary?! I’ll give ya scary! I gotcha scary, right here, buster!”
Angel broke into frantic laughter, immediately, lurching upwards with a choked back squeal. He wrapped all four arms around himself to keep from lashing out at the banshee.
“NOHOHOHO! C’hohohomon kihihid, cahahan’t ya tahahake ahaha joke?!” He laughed, a shrill near scream being ripped from him, when she went for the inner thighs.
Ooh, she was playing dirty! Normally, Orchid worked somebody up before going for their worst spots but she meant business today!
...Which meant that the ‘natural order’ as Alastor called it was being fucked with. Orchid was mainly a lee. And when she got in one of her ler moods to wreak havoc, somebody needed to put the order back.
Angel would get her later but for now, the spider supposed he deserved this. Everyone knew, depending on her voice, which type of wrecking they were going to get:
If her natural, flustered, angry Cajun accent came out, the victim didn’t have much to worry about.
It was when that acquired, trans-atlantic, radio accent really came out, was when her victim for the day had cause for concern. That meant she was going to take them apart and they were going to need a day till revenge could be taken.
That trans-atlantic lilt was heavy in her voice now. Angel was about to die a second time!
“Tell me, fratello,” Orchid said. “Should I keep going with your hips or go to thighs? You can choose your second demise, you know.~”
Angel tried to growl through his laughter or at least glare at her threateningly. How he wanted to wipe that smug, triumphant, evil grin off of her face!
“Tell me, Angel, or I choose for you!”
“Fuhuhuhuck youhoohoo, yahaha lihihihittle shit! Hahahaha!”
Orchid’s grin grew. “So... you have chosen death!~” She chirped, moving her hands up to his hips and squeezing.
“NOHOHO! IHIHIHI’M SOHOHORRY!”
The banshee would have rolled her eyes. She shook her head, with a dramatic sigh.
“I gave you a chance, my fine fellow. And you refused to stop the jokes. You’ll have to simply accept your punishment!”
Angel’s boots beat the couch as his laughter reached a higher pitch. He couldn’t speak for a moment, giggling so hard he was hiccuping.
“The fuhuhuck ahahahare youhoohoo?! Ahahalastor junior?!” He teased, giving a non tickle induced laugh at her flustered, blushing face.
She even made a little, embarrassed raven croak! Orchid growled, speeding up the rhythm of her squeezes.
“My mentor has nothing to do with this, thank you!” She replied, getting her hands partly up under his arms.
Bullshit, he does too! Angel thought, before further laughter overtook him. Yes, Alastor was teaching her how to sing but Orchid was suspiciously getting better at being a ler as well.
He was more than likely teaching her how to effectively wreck somebody as well. Her talons wiggled fiercely under his arms, making him snort.
“Heh. Ya sound like Nuggets,” Orchid remarked, drilling her fingers into the hollow of the pit.
Angel arched his back with another near scream. “YOUHOOHOO LEHEHEAVE MYHIHI SON, OUTTA THIHIHIS!”
Orchid chuckled. “Then leave enseignant out, deal?~”
Yup. She was Alastor’s protégé alright, Angel thought again. Oh, he was definitely getting her back!
He had his hands over his face but when he lowered them to protect his pits and ribs, Angel saw something peculiar:
Orchid’s legs were gone. In their place, was a tail, like a ghost’s but it was solid and feathered. The feathers were grey-white in color. The tail was... wagging?!
Before he could ask what the fuck was up with that, Orchid was digging her talons into his lower ribs, making him squeal.
He cackled, arching up, laughing harder as Orchid wormed her fingers higher up his ribs, able to get them beneath the arms that had wrapped around his ribs.
“Whyhihihi ahahahare your fihihihingers sohoho small?! Thahahat ahahain’t fair!”
“C’est la vie, oui?” Orchid asked, playfully with a snicker.
Little Cajun asshole, Angel thought as she worked his ribs.
Her tail wiggled faster as his laughter shot up with a snort when she adminstered quick, ticklish squeezes.
“The fuhuhuck ihihihis up wihihith thahahat tail?!”
Orchid blushed again. She never had good control over her powers. Emotions played a part in that. If she was feeling great joy, her tail would come out and wiggle, much like a dog’s tail, wagging.
“Simply means I’m happy,” Orchid explained with a shrug.
If she was happy when tickling somebody, Angel wondered if the tail wagged when she got tickled. Knowing Orchid and what a tickle fiend she was? Probably so.
She decided her efforts would be rewarded better, going for the thighs. Upon squeezing them, Angel screeched.
Orchid laughed loudly, eyeless sockets widening slightly in surprised amusement.
“Well, well... seems you’re in quite a world of shit now, ain’tcha, fratello?” Oopsie!~ Forgot how bad these were!~” Her grin was wickedly playful.
“OHOHOHORCHIHIIID! Nahahahat thehehere, plehehease!” Angel pleaded, trying not to kick her. Her skilled fingers, dug and massaged deeply, knowing which part of his thighs would really make him go nuts.
The banshee sighed, switching to simply spidering her talons at a maddeningly slow pace, keeping her asshole of an adopted brother on the edge of hysterics.
“Do you really want me to move? I will of course but I need to know if that was a reflex little girl squeal for mercy or genuine.”
Angel growled at her little dig. That wasn’t going unpunished! Still... she asked.
“Ahaha lihihihittle more and then mohohove,” the spider requested. “Ihihi can’t tahahake too much on my thighs.”
Orchid nodded, resuming her tickling, going for the inner thighs, gaining another screech followed by a snort.
“Sir, I’m gonna need ya to stop screeching, that’s my job!” She joked, like she was a business manager.
After another minute, she gave Angel another breather before asking a question.
“May I tickle your feet?”
Saying ‘tickle’ was easier since Orchid wasn’t in her eternal lee mood for once.
Angel thought a minute. Only Vaggie, Cherri, and Alastor had seen his feet and tickled them. Considering he did bring Orchid to the hotel and was one of the first to bond with her, he supposed she’d earned his trust in that regard.
“Yeah. Just go easy on ‘em, huh? They’re worse than my thighs!”
“I swear on the soul of Kurt Cobain, I’ll be gentle!” Orchid responded with a goofy, joking salute. “...This time!”
Angel scoffed and shoved at her shoulder playfully. “Ya know, ya gotta quit hangin’ out with ya teacher! Ya getting too good at ticklin’!”
Orchid snickered, removing one boot. She did promise to go easy on him, so one foot would do.
Her second sight allowed her to make out the shape. It was big and round, sort of ovular. The two retractable claws, wiggled upon feeling cool air.
Orchid flexed a single talon inquisitively, on the bottom of the foot in a ‘come here’ motion. Angel let out a high pitched giggle, as he tried not to yank his foot back.
“Oh dear.~” She giggled. “I think these spider beans are a bad spot,” Orchid wiggled a few more talons on the foot.
Angel squealed, covering his face, laughing up a storm. It was the lighter stuff that broke him easily. Her talons were skilled, nimble and horribly unfair.
His thighs were horrible enough but feet were a completely different ball game. He could barely withstand anybody tickling them for long.
He cackled and wheezed for the last two minutes of his torture, before his shit of an adopted little sister granted mercy.
Angel sighed, sagging and relaxing, Orchid snickered, laying belly down on top of him.
He smirked and wrapped an arm around her. " 'Ey, squirt, lift ya head up."
Orchid obeyed, seeing the shape of his arm up in the air. Must've been taking a selfie with his phone.
She stuck her tongue out, grinning impishly. Angel laughed, snapping the picture. It was a keeper alright!
"Ya lucky I like ya, kid or your ass woulda been grass and I woulda mowed it!"
Orchid laughed. "No more short jokes, right?"
He shrugged, grinning mischievously. "No promises, sugah wings!"
Speaking of wings... Angel noticed they were changing colors. That white grey color. It meant a molt was on it's way. And that meant...
Angel's evil grin grew. "Ya wings are turning white. Time for a molt?"
Orchid nodded. "Yeah. Why?"
"I should let Al know! That way, he can groom 'em like usual and it'll be my way of getting ya back!"
Orchid nearly shit a brick. The last time Alastor took a brush to her wings, several windows got cracked and lightbulbs got blown out.
"You- you can't tell 'em! He doesn't need to know! Please no!"
Angel snickered, noting that she didn't mean it He could hear it in her voice. That and it was like listening to a kid begging somebody else not to tell their dad.
"Too late. Just texted 'em!"
Orchid scrambled off of him, turning her tail back into legs, heading for the laundry chute and dryer. Nope, nope, nope!
True, the molt wasn't fully here but Alastor would wreck her for 'breaking the natural order.' NOT TODAY!
Angel watched, amused by her antics. True to his word, he couldn't promise that he wouldn't make anymore short jokes.
This just fueled him to make more! Ah, life in the hotel was fun as always!
15 notes · View notes
Fic Moodboards: The Blackstone War 4/4
Ojka found herself saying those words quite often these days, and very often to Holland. Their power -- spymaster to underling -- transferred the moment they were voiced. She found herself immediately at the helm of their endeavor, Holland her faithful shadow. His presence in the background was strange, but exhilarating.
The mechanism was always the same, but the pattern changed. Today, Holland joined her at a lunch counter for coffee and a sandwich. A nondescript part of Makt’s midday flow, just another part of the stream of Londoners abandoning their desks for their allotted half hour. They lingered for around fifteen minutes, Holland invested in his cup of black coffee and Ojka picking at her plain sandwich. She waited, watching the clock, then took a few bites all at once and dropped money on the counter.
Those words meant a cheap motel, a department store dressing room, a quiet cafe corner. Those words meant silent walks through Makt’s central squares and over the Siljt’s ornate, ancient bridges. Those words meant Kell Maresh and new Arnesian intelligence. Today, most of those things remained true.
5 notes · View notes
Excerpt: The Black Stone War
I’m back on my bullshit and can’t help myself. Please enjoy!
Ojka stayed quiet, watching his expression melt to thoughtful stillness. Less intensity, less stone. She wondered if that’s what he looked like at home, if he was ever given in to tenderness. But still, she was too afraid to say anything, too afraid to interrupt whatever was turning around in his brain. Another version of the man, unseen before now. Ojka continued to drum lightly on her skirt, continued to wonder if she would still be breathing by lunch, and if she wasn’t, would he have done it himself.
“Sir?” Ojka tested after a long minutes had passed.
“I am giving you clearance, Ojka.” All of a sudden, Holland was back. The seriousness, the clipped tone. His green eyes sliced through her again. “You may continue your work on this project, reporting progress back to me as I see fit.” He paused for a moment, studying her face. It took everything for her not to flinch. “You should thank me.”
Her tongue got the better of her. “I will, sir. Once I’ve heard your exception.”
“How do you..?” Holland’s voice trailed off, watching her curiously. “Nevermind, you’re right.” As if for dramatic effect, he began writing on the pad. “I would like to see your filed, your contacts, all the information you’ve recovered so far and its provenance. All of it, in front of me, as soon as we are done here. I will return them to you as soon as I have finished with them. I will also need to see your procedural notes, or something amounting to them. I will be checking them for gaps. I will also be taking control of all contact from now on.”
Holland pauses, tears the page out with the pen stuck in his mouth, and hands it off to Ojka. She accepts it, watching as his eyes flickered down to the page in her hands several times. She follows it, finding not only an itemized list of what he had just said, but another note: Pass these changes along to flower boy, take it or leave it conditions.
“Am I understood, Ojka?”
“Perfectly,” she nodded, folding the paper and holding it tightly. “But may I ask you something?”
Holland let out an exasperated breath. “If you must.”
“What made you change your mind?”
Holland sat back in his chair, crossing his legs high in the thigh. As he spoke, he slowly undid his shirt cuffs and rolled the sleeves to his elbows. “As you may have heard, our building were broken into last night. Once of our people was taken during the incident, everything else aside. It’s very evident that the operations commissioned by the Arnesians are, unfortunately, running circles around us. As I’m sure you grasp, that’s unacceptable in our line of work.”
“But what changed?” Ojka pushed. “Between last night and this morning, something changed your mind. Not the raid, not the kidnapping. What changed your mind, Holland?”
Not sir. Not director. Simply Holland.
This was more personal than honorifics.
“I’m…” Holland exhaled, the stood. He shoved his hands into pockets, the other one rubbing over his jaw and chin. Ojka turned in her seat, eyes following him as he paced slowly between the windows and the door. He finally stopped halfway between, leaning up against the bookshelves that lined the far wall. Another slow exhale and the hard mask he always wore melted off. Laid bare for the first time she can remember, Holland looked truly exhausted, worn down, tense and uncertain. “I’m not sure.”
Ojka felt compelled to comfort him, a foreign feeling his her chest. He waved her away as she stood up.
“This department is under my control and I shouldn’t have been so quick to turn down something evidently meant for the greater good.”
“I’m not sure I follow.”
“I wasn’t expecting you to.” After another moment’s silence, he pushed himself forward. He came to rest in front of Ojka, then pulled the paper from her fingers. Leaning over his desk, he scribbled something before shoving the paper back at her. “You asked me something yesterday. Something I have long forgotten to ask of myself… That being said, you wouldn’t happen to have my cigarette case from yesterday? I believe I left it on the table.”
“Your… Oh,” Ojka nodded, clutching the paper tightly. “Yes, it’s in my purse. At my desk.”
“Good. Bring it in with you when you come back with the files, would you?” Holland slid past her, walking back to the shelves. He kept his back to her.
“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”
“You’re welcome. You’re dismissed, Dimov.”
3 notes · View notes