Tumgir
#hopefully the id on the image works. i did it differently this time
ohsotragical · 5 months ago
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“you’ve encountered [this spell] before” (forced truth) + dorian’s tendency to drink/make rash decisions when he shares more than he’d like = This
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commander-diomika · 10 months ago
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[Image ID: Screenshot of a tumblr reply from user @weareallfromearth ​​ saying “Holy shit I would V much like to know what you’d do with ZolfWilde.” End ID]
This was in response to me tag rambling that if Alex “I don’t Actually Have That Much Experience in Courtship” Newall and Ben “I just Realised I’m Too Straight For This” Meredith don’t know what to do with Zolf/Wilde, they should hand the ship over to me. 
*rubs my gay little hands together.*
I initially characterized them offhandedly as Enemies-to-Lovers but that’s not quite it, is it? On reflection I would say it’s more of an Opposites Attract situation.
Oscar Wilde, as re-imagined in the RQG universe, is a homme fatale; a dangerous, attractive man, skilled in encouraging people to underestimate him, wearing different masks, never quite being able to trust or be trusted by anyone.
There is NO personal/professional line for Wilde. He lives his work, and his work is subterfuge and interpersonal manipulation. (whether or not he started this way in his field as a journalist, or was forced to become this way by the changes in his world, is another post.) He is a person who either cares very deeply what people think of him, or is has decided that manipulating what people think of him is the way to get what he wants, and from the outside it makes no difference.
Zolf Smith does not care what people think of him. He isn’t even skilled at being kind and empathetic to people he cares about; he has no time for emotional manipulation or genuine charm. He doesn’t even have a fantastic grasp on his OWN feelings, let alone other people’s. He’s grounded, disinterested in frippery or appearances. Which is why Zolf and Wilde started out so deeply at odds with one another.
Despite the differences in the interpersonal approaches, they have plenty of common ground.
They are both deeply dedicated to a cause. They care about their work to the exclusion of all else. They are both pragmatists who have their own internal moral code, and are willing to bend or break other people’s rules in order to get the job done. They are fundamentally good people. Despite their rocky beginnings, they can respect each other because of these things.
And they might have maintained their mutually disdainful, begrudgingly respectful working relationship and that could have been the sum total... Except then the world fell apart. The Meritocratic organisation was initially compromised, then disintegrated. The blue vein plague isolated everyone and made it even harder to trust supposed allies. The Cult of Hades was on everyone’s ass making their life difficult, the other PCs disappeared off the face of the planet. Zolf and Wilde ended up in a situation where they had no one else they could trust.
Familiarity breeds contempt, but maybe if the contempt is already there, it builds Something Else. Wilde was stripped of his magic in a way that made it much harder for him to keep people at a distance and (pardon the pun) project the illusion of the debonair playboy. Zolf would have had the chance to see through Wilde’s masks, and get a better understanding of what parts of Wilde were a calculated tactic, and what was his genuine self.
Whatever betrayal transpired that gave Wilde his scar and hardened him, Zolf was privy to. He was either there and saw it happen, or he was close enough in the aftermath to see Wilde properly vulnerable for the first time in their friendship. Hell, maybe Zolf was the one who rescued him and patched him up. That was a chance for Zolf to realise that this insufferable man is a friend who he cares about deeply. At this point, he’s cared for awhile, but has been too wrapped up with his own spiritual difficulties to have space to admit that to himself.
And Wilde, oh Wilde, he’s desperate to be seen and known and loved, but he’s never allowed himself. He’s never felt SAFE to. He doesn’t let people get close, treats every conversation as a battle to be won. His safety and his power lies in being admired, but never loved. So even as trust and fondness for Zolf blossoms within him, he won’t for a second allow himself to hope that the fondness is reciprocated
With all that out of the way, this is my version of events.  
Wilde is a slut (affectionate), and Zolf is gray-ace, so if there’s any bridging of that gap in terms of physical intimacy, it has to be from Zolf’s side. Giving canon a tender massage into place, that first instance of Zolf grabbing Wilde by the collar changes. (This happens on the Vengeance after Zolf has taught Wilde to steer the ship). Zolf drags Wilde down to say “I’m glad to see you perked up.” That moment now involves a whiskery kiss on Wilde’s cheek, and the man would be absolutely FLOORED by it.
I’m talking slow-mo glittering lights as Zolf stomps off blushing, unsure what just came over him; Wilde touches his cheek in bewilderment for a stretched moment before realising he’s completely agog, and he let go of the wheel for a dangerous length of time. Every interaction, every moment they’ve spent together over the last two years is flashing before Wilde’s eyes and a new context is being applied rapid fire. I’m talking the italacised oh kind of moment.
(on top of Zolf being witness to The Betrayal, throw some other moments of almost-intimacy into said flashbacks. I’m talking late nights, Zolf doing his gruff-yet-kind caretaker thing, cooking for Wilde, maybe sharing quiet and rare downtime with Zolf reading a Campbell novel on a couch in Wilde’s office)
Wilde is realising, “Oh this is allowed, oh this is reciprocated, this is possible.”
And of course they don’t talk about it, because what’s a slowburn if they immediately go and TALK about their feelings? No, the kiss goes completely unremarked upon, and Wilde continues to needle and tease and get under Zolf’s skin, except now with an added warmth in his eyes because he finally gets it. He finally understands that Zolf cares, that Zolf loves him, he’s just not the kind of dwarf that knows how to express it.
And Zolf, frustrated by feelings he can’t express but is beginning to understand, can hear the undertone of “haha, you looooove me,” shining through Wilde’s deliberate antagonism. They continue their time on the Vengeance just a little easier and closer to one another.
And we continue on to the death/resurrection arc, and Wilde’s spirit pushes for Zolf to open up about his feelings, because if not when he’s literally past death’s door, then when? When Zolf finally manages his “I need you,” it’s like a dam has broken for both of them. The second collar-grab and “We’ll go on a holiday or somethin’,” is now followed by a full kiss on the lips, not particularly erotic but passionate, (it’s the epitome of kissing someone to shut them up) and Wilde makes a surprised and delighted squeak that he would be glad he can’t quite remember when he returns to land of the living.
Once returned, Wilde might not remember everything that his spirit said or did, but he remembers the kiss. The comfort and ease that the two of them share in 179 (Eat Drink and Be Merry) is there, only instead of the two characters still being in a place of questioning their feelings for one another, it’s been answered.
Whether or not this relationship is sexual in nature is kind of up to you and what kind of fan works you like to read/write. I think there are wonderful scenes to be written an explored in many directions.
Wilde allowing himself to enjoy sex for intimacy and closeness instead of using it as a tool/ Zolf not being one for sex but Wilde’s never slept more soundly than when he’s being held in Zolf’s arms/ Zolf realising that the unfamiliar feeling he’s been struggling to express is the desire to rail Wilde til he cries/ Wilde realising that if his partner doesn’t want it from him, he’s actually quite content without sex/ The two of them being mean, antagonistic bastards to each other while fucking but Make It Kink (of the trusting and RACK kind). There really isn’t a single bad interpretation.  
So really, I’m not doing anything different with them other than reading between the lines, giving canon a little nudge, and sticking the landing. This isn’t to disparage the concept of queer platonic partners. (I’ve got one!) or to talk shit about Ben or Alex (I DO respect their craft).
It’s just to say I find these two characters , and everything they’ve been through, PAINFULLY romantic, tropey, and delightful. I’m looking forward both to how Ben and Alex play the QPP, the fanworks I’m gonna read and hopefully write, and the inevitable tragedy that you KNOW Alex is gearing up for.
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bumackerman · a year ago
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DEAR ADULT READERS/CREATORS,
18+ (MINORS DO NOT INTERACT)
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^ see that? there is absolutely no way you missed that disclaimer if you understand the proper way to read english. but, let’s say you did miss it... here’s this message;
if you are under the age of 18, do not interact with 18+ adult accounts, or content.
there. hopefully you got the memo. if not, then i guess, one day, you’ll have the great opportunity to be featured in this brand new series of exposing, purging, and reporting minors! i mean... yay you?
disclaimer!; do not send any unnecessary hate to any of these people! it does not solve anything, and it could get you in trouble. just report, and block. thanks.
featured today, we have (drumroll please)... @/matching-with-my-demons!
warning: this post is very long!
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alright, so i don’t actually know for sure if he’s necessarily a minor, but i do know that he’s been lying his age, and many, many other details about his life, leading to him getting caught by yours truly.
from this point forward, i will be reciting a briefed account of what exactly happened from a collective point of view of all of the victims involved.
I. beginning.
so, (and i think all of the people involved can agree,) this person is a flirt. automatically. just giving everyone pet names, talking about doing stuff with us, role playing with us, you know. nothing too extreme. i wasn’t suspicious of him at this point. i mean, i was sure he was 18+. to be fair, he did mention that he was 21 turning 22. why wouldn’t we believe him? he was speaking like an adult.
II. little lies & suspicion.
now, i’m not saying that this is impossible, but at multiple times during our conversations, he’d mentioned that he was was fluent in seven languages. seven. it’s not entirely impossible, but you’d think that if english wasn’t someone’s first (of many) languages, they’d have some sort of accent, right?
not only that, but he stated that he was six years old when he moved to america from japan, and he hasn’t moved since. i know, i know, yeah, cool he knows a lot of languages, and he’s a foreigner. yadda, yadda. get to the point.
he said that he was of asian descent, and that his parents were both japanese, and they lived in japan their whole lives. where the hell is he learning all of these extra languages at the young age of 21?
if japanese is his first language, we can cut out the time needed to become fluent in it. next, i’m ignoring english, as he would’ve had from the age of 6 to 21 to become fluent in it, but somehow he claimed he wasn’t? (let’s not mention the obvious fake misspellings and misunderstandings of simple words.) how on earth would he have become fluent in (at least) five other languages in middle school-high school?
OTHER LITTLE LIES N DETAILS
- he claimed that he was a 6’7, 21 year old (cis) male.
- said he was a stripper, bartender, and a sex worker (we’ll come back to that later).
- sent a picture of “his” chest, but it was 100% from google or some shit.
- (not judging anyone who does) he said that his body count was 74, but literally no one asked?
- he texted us when he “got another body” tf? we don’t care. carry on, i guess. (said he went on for like 7 rounds but... what?)
- talked about getting a vibrator stuck in his ass n his roommate had to get it out for him, but once again, nobody asked. °-°
- said he could bench 200 lbs. not impressive, just thought it was worth mentioning.
- said he had the same birthday as bakugou, which, okay.. (4/20)
- he made multiple channels in the server where he could roleplay with certain people, which, i, and a couple other people never used.
III. the voice chat.
after a while of all of us messing around, the conversation started to get heated, and some of us were teasing him, including me. we decided to get on voice chat (his idea), and he started talking into the mic. all of us were very confused, as he did not at all sound like a giant of a grown man.
but, despite this, we all warily continued, until he left the call. when he left, everyone who was participating voiced their current concerns, and laughed out our nervousness. that is, until he re-joined and everyone muted. he continued doing what he was doing until he “broke character”, stating he was a voice actor and it was hard to keep up that voice because it hurt his throat. i would’ve believed him if he didn’t sound the exact same as he did when he was “in character”.
after that, we were a lot more concerned and on edge about his identity, and i started to focus more on the shit he was telling us, hoping to find out who the fuck this person really was. i stopped interacting with him in a nsfw way, and mostly observed what he was saying, just watching from the sidelines.
II. the pictures.
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captions:
not only do the skin colors just not match up, the hands in each picture are totally different people. even if you take into account the lighting differences, the undertones should still be the same. these pictures are fake.
if you look at the fingers, you can see that the ones on the right are flatter, and shorter. if the hand on the left were to hold that phone, it would wrap all the way around the device.
from a common sense standpoint, we know that our palms are always lighter than our skin tone. the fact that the hand on the left is still darker, proves that these are different people. (not that we needed proof.)
also, if this guy is so muscular, why can he only bench 200lbs? and why is his wrist so skinny?
+ to me, the phone, (right image) and the quality of the picture, looks like a black iphone 4s. from what i can see, at least. meaning, if i’m correct, that picture is majorly outdated.
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for both pictures, he flipped the image so that we wouldn’t be able to find it by just by reverse image searching. luckily, one of the people involved was able to figure that out, and told me immediately.
III. ID check.
like i said before, a lot of us were starting to get really suspicious, but at this point, i thought i was the only one that was sketched out, so i issued another ID check.
(be sure to click on the pictures. one of them is really long. also, when reading, read the date and times that messages are sent. i was trying to lighten the mood and be nice, but it was honestly so offensive that he thought i was legitimately dumb.)
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so, obviously, these ID’s are fake. not only are the pictures the exact same, but the backgrounds are the same, the outfits are the same, the names are totally fake, and just, wow. i don’t really know how he thought that was gonna slip past me.
after i called both him, and @/yourmajesty-theking out, he went into his own discord and started ranting to some of the other people involved that he was freaking out because he didn’t have his ID.
remember how i said that he mentioned he was a stripper/bartender/sex worker? why the fuck don’t you have your ID on you if you claimed you were at work that day? you can’t get in without it. °-° just- everything he was saying didn’t come together cleanly. the timeline is all sorts of fucked up.
you can’t drive without an ID, how are you getting to work? you can’t get into a strip club without an ID, how are you getting in? you can’t serve alcohol without and ID, how are you a bartender? you can’t get an apartment without an ID, how are you living with a roommate?
he told us that he moved to america with his PARENTS, and somehow his grandmother is in america now? when did that happen? if you’re gonna lie, at least make it believable.
IV. conclusion.
anyway, do what you want with this information. the people in the discord all agreed that based off his voice and the evidence, that he couldn’t have been older than 15, and at most, 16.
though he hasn’t deactivated his account, the last time he was active was april 7, 2021 at 12:39am (EST) he claims he lives in cali, so i don’t know what time that is there.
thanks for reading. i’m sure i missed a lot of stuff, but for now, this is all i could put together. also, lmk if there are any spelling errors. i’m too tired to check.
like i said, if i get any hate for calling out a minor, you will be blocked/reported, and i will not hesitate to turn anons off for the time being. besides, saying dumb shit doesn’t affect me. just makes me laugh.
- bum <3
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Correspondence, Chapter 01
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Pairing: HotchReid
Summary:  An AU where Reid never joined the FBI, but got roped into consulting for the LA field office while working and teaching at Caltech. Hotch gets his email referred from a fellow agent, and they start to work on cases together -- until they start talking on a regular basis. Regular becomes frequent, frequent becomes constant. They know nothing about each other, but they don't really mind.
Rating: Mature/Explicit (eventually)
Chapter CW/notes: some profanity, a side character who is a dick about Reid, set in season 06, self beta’d
Word Count: 2437
Masterpost Link
Ao3 Link
--
Chapter 01
--
March 2010
--
Dr. Spencer Reid
(Current Tenure: California Institute of Technology): Fred Kavli Professor of Theoretical Physics and Mathematics; Director, Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics, Department Head of Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy at Caltech.
- (Degrees, in order) Ph.D. Mathematics, Caltech, 1995; Ph.D. Chemistry, Caltech, 1997; M.A. Nuclear Science, MIT, 1999; Ph.D. Engineering, MIT, 2000; M.A. Sociology, Columbia University, 2001; M.A. Philosophy, Georgetown, 2001; Ph.D. Psychology, Georgetown, 2002; M.A. Applied Analytics, Columbia University, 2003; M.A. Socio Economic Statistics, MIT, 2004; M.A. Geology, Caltech, 2006; Ph.D. Geography, Caltech, 2006; M.A. Economics, Caltech, 2008; M.A. Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Caltech, 2009
- (Teaching positions, in order) Professor of Mathematics, Caltech, 1995-1997, Professor of Mathematics and Statistical Analysis, MIT, 1998-2005, Visiting Associate, Georgetown, 1999-2002; Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT, 2002-05; Kavli Professor, Mathematics, Caltech, 2005-; Professor of Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, 2006-; Deputy Chair, 2005-; Director, 2008-.
“Jesus.”
The dossier is just an information sheet; no photo ID, no news articles beyond text component pieces, but it is a thick stack of correspondence and case consultations that S.S.A Aaron Hotchner holds in his hands.
“Five Ph.D.’s and eight separate M.A.’s in fourteen years? What was he doing before that?”
“Who knows? You don’t earn a Ph.D. overnight, even if his accommodation sheet makes ‘em look like they pop up like mushrooms,” Mark Anderson says, audibly tired through the phone speaker on his desk. He was one of the Unit Chief's from the teams at the FBI L.A. field office, who’s phone number was given to him by an old friend, Sam Cooper -- another BAU team leader. Hotch had hit dead end after dead end on this case, and sitting at his desk in Quantico, Virginia, he looks down at the recommended consultant’s extensive list of degrees and teaching positions with a building headache behind his dark eyes. He wasn’t a fan of Anderson, or his briskness, but at this point he’d take anything he could get. “I’m pretty sure that man has never lived outside an academic field. He’s a handful, runs my agents up the damn wall, but he knows his stuff.”
“I hope so. I’ve been on the phone the past three days trying to find someone with a background in Obscure Cognitive Linguistics,” Hotch reads from a separate file, filled with violent images and depraved acts described in morbid detail. “Our unsub sites a very particular thesis about a Study of Language from a Cognitive and Developmental Law, and I keep getting sent to experts in adjacent fields. I don’t see anything in this Dr. Reid’s background about language.”
“Oh, trust me, Hotch -- you’ll get more than you bargained for. This is your guy. He’s basically an expert on everything, and if he doesn’t know anything about languages I’ll eat my tie. He never shuts up.”
Frowning at the speaker phone, Hotch keeps his comments to himself. He’s sure that Anderson probably doesn’t appreciate having an old professor puttering around the field office, but that didn’t mean he had to insult the man. Especially when he was there as a consultant. 
“Okay, fine. Thank you. I’ll give him a call now-”
“Oh, you don’t want to do that. Just send him an email. Trust me.” Anderson all but groans like a petulant child. Graining on Hotch’s nerves excruciatingly.
“I’m sure he’s busy enough with his students, he doesn’t need to be fielding emails from the FBI,” Hotch hedged, still frowning. 
“Not too busy to write you a dissertation in reply, I’m sure, but you’ll at least get the answers you need. You could be on the phone with him a half hour before you get to what you called about. Hopefully it won’t take you too long to sift through.” 
Alright, now he is done listening to the other agent.
“Right. Thanks, Mark.”
“Anyti-” Hotch hangs up on him before the man could make any other remarks. His patience is non-existent after the past week and this extremely brutal case that only seems to compound exponentially in it’s viciousness with each passing day. If Anderson felt like being an asshole to some old man with nothing better to do than rack up Ph.D.’s, he could do it on his own time. Hotch needed help, and this man seemed to be the only person around who might be able to finally do so.
Dr. Reid’s office number is in front of him, as well as about three different lab location phone numbers, and one email address connected to the school faculty. He considers for a moment just ignoring Anderson’s advice and calling the old professor, but he has a meeting with his Department Chief, Strauss, in twenty minutes and the team would be arriving from canvasing the dumpsites soon. 
So with a suffering sigh, Hotch pulls up a new email (for what feels like the millionth time for this case) and composes a standard correspondence introduction. Who he is, credentials, case numbers and specifics as far as clearance rates for civilians go, and then finally the questions he needs answered. There is something about this particular thesis that has to be very tongue in cheek to the unsub, saying something that isn’t really there, and this could just be another dead end -- but if it led to them saving a victim from becoming another dead body, he is willing to give it one last try. 
Thank you for your time,  S.S.A. Aaron Hotchner Unit Chief, Behavioral Analysis Unit, FBI Quantico, VA. 
Then he hits send, and leaves the response up to the universe.
-
The team came up with nothing fruitful. Strauss proceeded to ream Hotch six ways from Sunday for wasting valuable bureau resources and coming up with zero results. His day was spinning down the drain in a hellish cyclone when he sits down behind his desk in his office an hour after leaving it. Case files still piled to one side, grotesque photos stacked within them, and Aaron Hotchner wants nothing more than for them to disappear. For the case to be solved and to be able to go home to his son and his quiet house. But there was no break in sight, no new information, nothing.
Except a new email in his inbox.
Agent Hotchner, 
I know that thesis paper well. I can help you.
All air seems to have been sucked from the room as Hotch reads the words a couple of times, not quite comprehending after the morning he has had that someone wasn’t giving him more bad news. That this Dr. Reid said he could help him. 
 A single click of the email opens up the correspondence reply, and the agent is met with a giant wall of text. Scrolling down for pages, and a quick skim of the material shows such a complex, comprehensive amount of information that there is no way it’s just copy and pasted from any one source. Or even several. It’s a long email spanning a vast number of pages, covering every topic he had asked about (and then some).
The thesis paper, the tongue-in-cheek citation from the unsub, how this killer is acting like he’s being clever when it’s really ‘very obvious what he’s doing, as long as you know the paper’ and detailed links and quotations and references to locations and side tangents on items mentioned that could be evidence to look for or weapons of choice, and so much else Hotch’s head feels like it’s spinning. Like reading the cliffnotes of a complex spy novel, with all the spoilers in one place. 
It takes him half an hour to read through everything Dr. Reid sent, meaning the professor had to have been typing a million words a minute from the moment Hotch had emailed him to get everything replied so quickly, and Hotch was baffled to realize that an old man with a handful of Ph.D.’s and no FBI training just solved his case.
Not a figment of speech.
Dr. Reid just solved the case, without even holding the file in his hands.
Hotch is dialing a phone number on his speed dial without even looking away from the screen. 
“Garcia? Call the team into the briefing room, and phone SWAT to mobilize. We’re going down to the riverfront in thirty minutes.”
“--Wait, what are you talking about? Did you figure out the unsub’s code?”
Not me, Aaron thought to himself, standing up and printing Dr. Reid’s email after forwarding it to the entire team and their tech analyst, Penelope Garcia. He didn’t have time to explain it that many times, and the amount of information in that single email would be enough to send any of them tumbling heels over head. But it solved every aspect of their case. Hook, line, and sinker.
And the clock was ticking. 
“Now, Garcia.”
He rushes from the room with the stack of files in his hands and his laptop open to Dr. Reid’s email. Not even thinking to thank the man for his help as he heads across the bullpen with profound determination.
They have work to do.
-
They catch the unsub that very day. 
Quick, efficient, completely by surprise. They saved Amanda Sutton and another girl they hadn’t even known was missing. No one died. None of his team was hurt. The unsub hadn’t confessed, but Rossi and Morgan had played him like a fiddle in interrogation and now all of his team members were walking to the elevators leaving for a long weekend where they wouldn’t have to worry about serial killers or another dead soul on their conscience. Today was a win. As close to a win as they ever can get, in their line of work. 
And it isn’t until he’s back at his desk, the hours ticking into the night, that he opens up his email and there in his inbox is the very reply that started everything. Dr. Spencer Reid. CalTech Department Head. Professor of everything under the sun. Expert on anything, even the obscure. 
The reason Hotch will get to spend the weekend with his son, without the overbearing aftershocks of a case gone so horribly bad plaguing him. 
His hands are moving before he can stop them. Opening up the email, typing out a response to Dr. Reid thanking him for his help. Relaying what happened, detail by detail much in the same fashion he had completed the paperwork piled on his desk. Letting him know that his information really did end up helping them. All of it. Even the side tangents. 
I don’t know how I can ever thank you for the extensive consideration you gave this case, or how to explain how it solved it so seamlessly, but your time and effort does not go unnoticed by me. 
Okay, so maybe he fluffs it up a bit more than the dreadful bullet-point list descriptions required by the Deputy Chief and the Director and SWAT Team justification reports. Just so it doesn’t look so inadequate in comparison to the man’s thesis-paper-length email he sent to aide Hotch and his team. The passion he has for his work leaps off the page, but it was a lot -- and if the old man put that much dedication into a basic FBI correspondence email, then he was probably used to it being a thankless effort. 
Hotch sends the reply, and continues with his work. He always takes a bulk of the paperwork, so his team can go home and rest and recharge. He needs them at their best for each case, and if that means he spends a couple hours longer after when they finish a case, it is worth every minute. But this time, once he finishes, he gets to take the coveted time off as well. 
It’s as he’s finishing up, everything stacked neatly and ready to be dropped at records, in the mailroom, Strauss’s office, the director’s, and he’s about to log off his laptop that he sees a surprise -- Dr. Reid replied to him, again.
It’s much more brief this time.
Agent Hotchner,
I’m so glad I was able to help you. 
You are one of the only agents to reach out and tell me how the case went after my consultation, and I’m very grateful to know that my information actually helped your team catch the killer. I know I tend to spout facts at random, but I do have methods to my madness and it’s such a nice change to correspond with someone who understands that. 
My services are always at your disposal. Anytime. Whatever I can do to help.
Sincerely, Dr. Spencer Reid
Hotch types out a brief reply. Thanking him for his offer, for lending him his expertise, and letting him know in not so many words --
I’ll have to take you up on that. 
He’d be a fool not to. Someone with that much knowledge and the ability to connect it all in the way Dr. Reid had in the span of an hour? He could be a real asset to the BAU, as a permanent consultant, even through email correspondence. 
He sends the reply just as he stands to leave. Turning off his office light, and his chest feels lighter for the interaction. For giving the professor that sense of assurance that what he had to say did in fact do some real good. Hotch even finds himself smiling softly, sadly, that he has also found a little bit of solace in helping another lonely old man across the country find a sense of purpose that night. Who was working late, as well, despite it being the end of the week. Speaking to not much waiting for him back at home, in whatever shape ‘home’ takes for the man. But Hotch can relate to that, too. Jack is at Jessica’s until the morning, and there is nothing at his apartment to greet him but silence and bare walls and memories he’d rather not dote on. Maybe this Dr. Spencer Reid is in a similar boat, finding comfort in his work when he can. He certainly seems to, with the amount of time he’s poured into his doctorates and degrees. In the number of departments he runs and monitors. 
Hotch can’t help but feel a connection, a companionship between empty offices. Thousands of miles apart, but maybe -- possibly -- at least similar in that aspect.
Not so alone, even if only for a brief moment.
-
(tbc...)
-
Tagged list: @spencehotchner @ssa-sarahsunshine @gothamapologist @reidology @marsjareau @dragon-snaps-fandom​ @emmyraebird @just-an-emo-rat​​​ @aaron-hotchner187 @dk18077 @more-heid-pls
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warriorlid14 · a year ago
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So Gale and Delly. I had honestly never considered them at first, thinking they were far too different. Buuuuuuut.... I think it works? And is actually super cute when you think about for a second?
So here’s my take on how it would happen. It was supposed to be a series of short bullet points, but instead, you get a disorganized mini-fic. I’ll edit it later into an actual fic format, but for now, here ya go:
Delly goes to District 2. Gale is surprised to see her in one of their rebel/reconstruction/rebuilding/whatever their name was meetings two weeks after he had officially moved to D2. She had greeted him warmly and he supposed he had looked confused, because she suddenly had a sad smile and said, “There’s too many memories back in Twelve.” He didn’t have a response for that. He had too many ghosts back in Twelve, too.
He had never given Delly a second thought. She wasn’t in his grade level and he vaguely recognized her when he’d first seen her in D13. He supposed she was nice enough, what with the whole helping Peeta come back from... well, helping Peeta come back. But they didn’t interact, they didn’t cross paths, and he’d never had a reason to form much of an opinion of her.
But then after two days of her quietly listening in to the meetings, after Pike proposed simply demolishing the buildings near the square and rebuilding from scratch, Delly broke her silence and softly said, “Well, what do the citizens from District 2 want?”
There was silence, and then Pike said, “This will be the easier than attempting to repair every single building to its original standard.” And  Delly said “But this is their home,” her voice going up a decibal. After some debate within the team, Pike had told her that if she wanted to speak to all 60k (now 50k) residents of D2, to be his guest. 
Five days later, Delly showed up with 700 written testimonies with  requests to not tear down the buildings as well as grievances the team hadn’t even considered. Everybody was fed and had some sort of shelter- even if it was mostly camps. That had been the team’s main focus. But people wanted shoes, and shower facilities, and actual funerals for the dead.
They decided not to tear down the buildings. And Gale decided that he had underestimated Delly Cartwright.
Two weeks later Gale decided he detested Delly Cartwright. Okay, so detested was a strong word, but she absolutely aggravated him. How, just how, could a person be so cheery? At seven in the morning? It wasn’t like he wasn’t used to waking up at the crack of dawn, but that was to go to the forest. Their work place was a dimly lit, dampy building. Which also happened to house half of them, including the two of them. And if she chirpily asked him how his previous day was one more time on the elevator while he was busy trying to wake up, he would snap.
But she was from D12. The only other person from Twelve. And she meant nothing to him before, and in a way, still didn’t. It wasn’t like they were friends. But she was from home. And that counted for something. 
One day, a woman asked Delly if there was any way to retrieve her dead husband’s wedding band from the moratorium. Which led to dozens of similar requests. So Gale and Delly and five volunteers found themselves trying to ID bodies and gather belongings. The rebels had started doing this at first, but the bodies had piled up, and there were simply too many of them to continue.
For the first time, Gale saw Delly lose her smile and cheery demeanor. He told her she didn’t have to go in. He’d seen enough corpses. Some of them by his hand. A few more wouldn't make a difference. But Delly shook her head and headed to the first corpse. Gale decided that she was growing on him.
That night, Gale wondered if the corpses littered across D12 still had wedding bands on.
The first time Gale saw Delly angry was two months in when she demanded that workers from The Nut be given food and shelter instead of being left to fend for themselves. Pike yelled at her and called her naive, stepping closer towards her and Gale instinctively stepped in closer as well, protectively.
Delly’s face was flushed and she had tears in her eyes- she wasn’t one for confrontations- but she looked at Pike in the eyes and didn’t step back.
It was funny, really, how not so long ago, he would have agreed with Pike. Not so long ago, he would have looked at the workers from the Nut, Capitol supporters, and said “No. You don’t get to work for the enemy for years, you don’t get to kill for the enemy, and then demand the same rights as those who fought for freedom. That’s not fair.” Not so long ago, he had stood by that mountain and felt the ghost of the fire licking at his feet, burning his side, seen the fire flash in his mind and burn down his home, his neighbors, children, felt the fire wrap around his chest, his heart, his soul, and said, “Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. You killed my district. Now you deserve to die.” But now the fire he remembered the most was the one that had taken a blond-haired, blue-eyed, little girl that he loved like a sister. And for what? What had he fought for? Freedom. Protection. Justice. Revenge? But the war was over. And what had he fought for? All that loss could not have been in vain.
So he stepped behind Delly and loudly agreed with her. And when she smiled at him, it was almost contagious.
Delly left their department not long after they started looking for shelter for the workers at The Nut. She was now working on forming some sort of social program. Trying to build a community. Scrounging for resources outside of immediate survival. She was only two doors down from him, but Gale was surprised to find that he actually missed her constant humming in the office.
He supposed that this was why he accepted the invitation to attend the community dinner she organized a couple of weeks later. He kept his head down the entire time, focused on his meal. He had never been particularly quiet or reserved. He hadn’t been particularly outgoing, either, but he had never been shy. Now, though, he looked at his plate and didn’t offer any input to the conversation, weary of accusatory looks and swearing that he could hear people thinking murderer. 
So he was quiet, until Delly loudly announced “I’m sure Mr. Hawthorne would love to play with you,” and he looked up to see a group of five boys aged eight to twelve holding a ball and looking at him hopefully. He gave Delly a half-glare and was about to say that Mr. Hawthorne would most certainly not love to play, but she smiled brightly at him, ignoring him. And so he found himself being dragged off to a game that included kicking a ball into a makeshift net.
When he sat back down half an hour later, hair mussed and actually smiling, Pike said, “I didn’t know you were any good with kids, Hawthorne.” Delly piped up, “Oh, Gale’s great with kids. He has three younger siblings, and he was always making them laugh back in District 13.” Gale was surprised that she knew this, that she’d noticed. He gave her a questioning look, but she just smiled in return.
He kept stealing glances at her throughout the night, mostly quizzically. Maybe it was that he hadn’t been looking closely at her, but he noticed that she had gained some of her old weight back, cheeks fuller. Hair shinier. He didn’t know her before, but he did know what had happened to her parents, and knew what grief did to a person. But she looked healthier now. Good. She deserved good things in her life.
The next time they saw each other was two days later when Gale was cursing at his unit’s jammed door that was refusing to open. He was so desperate for some sleep, having just pulled a fourteen hour shift, that he was considering just ramming it down when Delly walked by, saw his predicament, and offered to let him sleep on her couch. He was so tired, he agreed without much hesitation.
The next day he woke up to the sound of loud singing, a little off-key, and mentally groaned, shifting on the couch to try to find a comfortable position again. But Delly took this as a sign that he had woken up and brightly said, "Good morning, Gale! I hope you had a great night's sleep! Was the couch comfortable?" Gale mentally cursed, but responded and got up. He found himself sitting down across from Delly and eating some toast she had made, while Delly happily chirped on about how it was going to rain that day and how she loved the smell of freshly-water grass. Gale couldn't stop himself from asking "How are you so happy all the time?" She looked surprised, and said, "I'm not happy all the time." He must have given her an incredulous look, because she shrugged and said, "I just like to focus on the small things. On the brighter things." She paused, then said softly, "It makes it easier, on the bad days, to pick myself up again."
Gale dismissed this at first, thinking that it was just a Delly thing. But then one day he woke up with the image of burning blond hair and pained blue eyes and clipped mockingjay wings. And his heart hurt so much that it was hard to breathe, that he was sure someone had reached into his chest and started to squeeze. But that day, when he visited one of the camps with his team he caught sight of two children laughing, kicking around a ball. Saw their parents smiling, with a genuineness and lightheartedness that was hard to find before the war. He held that image in his head the entire day, focused hard on it. It had been for something. The pain, the destruction, the deaths. Selling his soul to the fight. It had been for something. And the pain in his heart didn't disappear. But he did felt the pressure lessen, just a bit.
It started with an invite to dinner at her unit. And then he reciprocated because it was the polite thing to do. And then they were at each other's places once, twice, three times a week after work. And suddenly he found that he was friends with Delly Cartwright. It had been a while since he'd had a friend. He had plenty back in 12, and there was Katniss of course, and a few in 13. But now half of them were dead or hated him or were back in a district he couldn't force himself to visit. He hadn't realized how much he missed easy companionship, how much he needed actual human contact, until he found himself smiling at Delly's animated retelling of a family her team had reunified the day prior. She was a breath of fresh air in a place that was still wounded, that was still bleeding.(But somehow, it was still healing)
Delly tried to pick up new habits and hobbies often. She told him about how she failed at baking, and was decent at gardening, but could never keep track of which plants needed more or less water. A week after they had started actually hanging out, she had taken up knitting and had dragged Gale along to practice with her. To his surprise, he found that he was actually good at it. It made sense, though, considering his ability with snares. Delly smiled encouragingly at him, but still seemed a little annoyed that he had picked up her new hobby much quicker than she had. Gale grinned at this, glad to see that Delly wasn't actually superhuman and also had normal, petty, human emotions. When she held up her poor attempt at a glove that inexplicably seemed to have a thumb in the middle of the hand, he but burst out laughing. He stopped when he saw her giving him a strange look, and asked "What?" She shrugged, and said, "I don't think I've heard you laugh since we were at District 13." But then she smiled and said, "It's a nice laugh, though. It suits you. I wished you would do it more often." And to his horror, he felt himself actually blush. It wasn't like he wasn't used to compliments. Oh, he heard "gorgeous" and "hot" and the occasional "sexy" and felt eyes looking him up and down, sometimes enough to make him uncomfortable, especially when the person was significantly older. But he didn't think he'd ever heard someone compliment his laugh. It was... nice, actually. He muttered a quick "thanks" and went back to his attempt at making a hat. There was an awkward silence for a bit, but half an hour later, he was lightly teasing Delly on her skills.
It turned out that laughing was easier when Delly was around. Maybe it was having a friend once more. Maybe it was just Delly, her lightness contagious.
Delly was ranting about Pike. Except that, because she was Delly, she wasn't actually insulting him. And kept saying phrases like "while I understand where he's coming from" and "he's a good man, really, but". So Gale said, "You can call him a dick, you know. We all do it." Delly hesitated and said, "But he isn't. Not really. He just doesn't understand that we also need funding for community building and healing." Gale shook his head, amused. "Call him a dick, Delly. You know you want to." Delly sighed, and said, "I think you want me to. Would it make you feel better, to hear me call him that?" Gale grinned. "Yes, it would. I need to know that you can physically curse." Delly rolled her eyes and said, "Fine." Then softly, hesitant, she said, "he's a dick." Gale burst out laughing and Delly rolled her eyes once more, but she was laughing too. "This isn't about my ability to curse, you know. I was talking about funding for mental health professionals. The community needs it." Gale, still laughing, said, "Delly Cartwright, defender of human rights." Delly shook her head exasperatedly, but then said, "that term applies to you too, you know." That stopped his laughter. He thought about a time, not long ago, when he'd stood by a mountain full of weapons and suggested destroying them along with everyone inside. Thought about the weapons that had ended the war- and taken dozens of innocent children with them. Gale swallowed. "I wouldn't say that." Delly smiled softly at him. "You risked your life everyday fighting for freedom. Don't underestimate yourself, Gale."
Spending so much time with Delly made him become more attuned with her emotions. Which was why a couple of months later, he began to notice the strain in her smile, the way it didn't quite reach her eyes. So he took her out to the woods one weekend in an attempt to cheer her up. He didn't hunt, though. He didn't think she'd appreciate the sight of dead squirrels. But she did appreciate the freedom of the woods and the wind in her hair and the sound of the river cutting through a valley. She had sat down next to it, picking out flowers along the edge of the river and talking about how maybe he could teach her how to swim. When she looked up at him, a warm smile on her face, her blue eyes brighter in the sunlight and blond hair glowing almost gold, his answer caught in his throat. For a second, he couldn't think about anything else but how pretty she looked, but quickly buried the thought down at her expectant eyes. He told her that it was getting too cold to go swimming, now almost November. But he could teach her once it was warmer.
They stayed there for a few more hours, and she slowly became more quiet. Finally, she admitted that it was her parent's birthday that week- their birthdays fell three days apart. She said that they usually celebrated with pastries and board games then became silent once more, wistfully looking out to the horizon, eyes tearing up pulling knees to her chest. He awkwardly placed an arm around her in an attempt at comfort, but she seemed to think it was enough, burying her head in his shoulder.
Sometimes, when he felt unbearably homesick he spent hours out in the woods. They weren't the same as his woods, but they were close enough. And if he closed his eyes, he could pretend he was home. Delly didn't have something like the woods to comfort her, though. The only real connection she had to D12 in D2 was himself, and it wasn't like they knew each other before the war. He had an idea then, of someone who did know her before, someone who could help. And he hated that he suddenly felt afraid.
He and Peeta Mellark had never been friends. Not exactly. He had tried hating him once, long ago, but had quickly given up. He was too nice, too kind, too caring and never treated Gale with anything less than respect. Which led to Gale grudgingly respecting him on a bad day and actually liking the guy on a good day. In another world, maybe they could have been good friends. But in this world, he was the person closest to Katniss, at least according to Greasy Sae who he talked to once a month, and that thought filled him with dread. That Peeta could mention him to Katniss. That Peeta would know whether Katniss hated him outright or not. That he could ask Peeta to talk to Katniss on his behalf. That he could call Peeta and accidentally get Katniss on the line. And though sometimes he longed to at least hear her voice, to confirm that she was okay, he had left for a reason. And as much as he wanted to hear from her, he knew she didn't want to hear from him. But this wasn't for himself. This was for Delly. And Peeta was the one person who might be able to help. So a week later, he sucked up his fears and picked up the phone.
As soon as Peeta's voice came from the other line, Gale's mind went blank and all he could come up with as a greeting was "Um, hi." There was a pause, and then "Gale?" He swallowed. "Yeah, yeah it's me." There was another pause where Gale tried to sort through his thoughts, but before he could bring up Delly's name, Peeta awkwardly and reluctantly asked, "Do you want me to put Katniss on the line?" which caused Gale to practically shout "No!" into the receiver. "No," he said again, not shouting this time. "It's you I wanted to talk to, actually." Gale quickly explained his plan, and after a few seconds of silence, Peeta said, "That's a good idea. That's really kind of you, Gale." Gale said, "Well, she's my friend," almost defensively. "No, I know. I'm glad she's got you looking out for her," Peeta said. "Right." There was a silence, and Gale thought that maybe now would be the right time to hang up, but he couldn't bring himself to do so. "I really miss her," Peeta said finally. "She misses you, too," Gale said. Which was true, but he usually wouldn't be saying that. There was another silence, but Gale still didn't hang up. "Maybe I should go up there to visit her," Peeta said. Gale noticed how he said I instead of we. No Katniss then. Which Gale didn't know whether to be relieved it or not. Still, he said, "I'm sure she'd like that." Still, he didn't hang up. But he couldn't bring himself to ask either. And Peeta, ever perceptive, caught on to the reason for his hesitation and finally said, "Katniss is doing better, Gale."
Relief. That was the immediate feeling that overwhelmed him, followed closely by longing. There was once a time when he and Katniss lived in each other's pocket. When they depended on each other for survival, for their sanity. And no matter what had happened between them, romantic or not, Katniss was his best friend. He missed her. He missed her so much it physically hurt some days. And for a second he wanted nothing more than to hop on the next train to D12 to see his friend. But friends didn't kill each other's siblings. So he said, "Thanks, um, take care," and hung up. He desperately hoped Peeta hadn’t heard the lump that had formed in his throat.
His order arrived a few days later in some sort of container to preserve the baked books. Gale looked inside the box to find the invoice he had requested, but of course Peeta didn’t include it. He rolled his eyes and made a mental note to ask Greasy Sae how much she thought the food was worth. What he did find was a piece of paper with a phone number. Which wasn’t needed, really, because he had memorized that number months and months ago and every week got closer to dialing it. He knew he wouldn’t though. Peeta may have been closer to Katniss now, but that didn’t mean that Gale didn’t know her, too. And his presence would hurt her too much at the moment. But the fact that Peeta had given him her number meant that she probably didn’t despise the ground he walked on, then. And that was something.
When Delly opened the box to reveal an assortment of muffins, cupcakes, and cookies, all distinctly District Twelve, her eyes widened and she practically jumped at him, wrapping him up in a tight hug. He pulled her closer towards him, inhaling the scent of cinnamon that was always present in her unit and lingered on her at all times. He felt a sense of loss when she let go and was tempted to pull her back into his arms when she looked up at him with tear-filled eyes and said, “Thank you.” She stood on her tiptoes and placed a soft kiss on his cheek. The feel of her lips on his cheek lingered for the rest of the evening.
Gale lay awake that night in his bed, heart pounding hard in his chest. He wasn’t dense. He knew what his recent thoughts about  his cheerful, peppy friend meant. And the only coherent thought he could come up with about his predicament was Oh no.
It was his own little secret he carried around for months. He tried not to stare at her too hard  and tried to avoid thinking about her lips or about how her smile seemed to light up the entire world in the darkest of times. His world, at least. Sometimes it felt like the war, the bombs, had extinguished all the fire and passion inside of him. That the fire that had one day burned so strongly had died, taking with it his friend and his sister and his soul. Sometimes it felt like he was running on autopilot, doing what was expected of him, trying his best to amend his mistakes but feeling... not much, really. Empty But one look at Delly who shone so bright and he felt the warmth back in his chest. He wouldn’t tell her, of course. He couldn’t risk losing their friendship, going back to being bitter and miserable and oh so lonely all the time.
He really needed to stop falling in love with his friends.
On the anniversary of the end of the war, the anniversary of Prim’s death, Gale didn’t leave his unit. He had every intention to, even got dressed and brushed his teeth, he had a job to do after all. But then he heard the sound of some kids laughing outside his window and he fell back down on his couch. He didn’t get back up.
The pain was sudden and intense, suffocating him, and for a second he thought he was back in D12, choking under the fumes and screaming as his shirt caught on fire. He wondered if that was what Prim had felt, what all those kids had felt, those last few seconds, and he laid down and curled into himself. But he knew that no matter how horrible he felt, somewhere hundreds of miles away, Katniss was feeling worse. He had never wished for anything more than to be able to switch places with Prim at that moment. Little Prim who wanted to be a doctor. Little Prim who risked her life to save her cat. Little Prim who wanted nothing more than to heal others. Prim. Dead. At his hand.
He didn’t know how long he laid there, but eventually the door to his unit opened. Delly. He had given her a key for emergencies ages ago. And suddenly Delly was sitting on the couch and his head was in her lap and she was running her fingers through his hair and whispering something he couldn’t decipher. So he closed his eyes and tried to let her voice and smell and the feel of her fingers on his scalp ground him.
He wasn’t sure what Delly saw in him, why she stuck around. But Delly was good and kind saw the best in everyone. And had decided he was worth her friendship. And maybe if sweet and kind Delly saw something good in him, that meant there was something in him that was salvageable.
District 2 didn’t abide to the laws of science and weather because there was a huge snowstorm in the middle of March. Delly’s team and his team worked diligently for days to get the last 500 people or so moved out of camps and into the newly rebuilt compounds. Hours before the three-day storm was to hit, they were finally released and sent home. He and Delly had decided that they would weather out the storm at her place and spent the first night huddled in front of the fire, retelling old stories and playing board games and laughing into the night.
The next morning Gale woke up to the sound of Delly bustling in the kitchen, singing loudly and a little off-key. He smiled to himself, and thought that he really wouldn’t mind waking up to her voice more often.
He wasn’t sure how it happened. If he had leaned in first, if she had. But on that third night of the storm, one minute snuggling and laughing under the blanket and the next wrapped in each other’s arms, they broke apart, grinning at each other and lips tingling.
Gale decided in that moment, that he had never felt more at peace.
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celebritytgcaptions · a year ago
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Requests (5/23/2021)
Hi lovelies! I’ve been getting so many requests & I’m working hard to get all of them in the queue. Thanks for sending them my way! I’m writing to let you know that the queue is now full until the end of June. I was able to get every requests from my May 8th post in there except for a few. Requests from May 8th for captions featuring Katy Perry, Jenna Fischer, Marisol Nichols, Addison Rae, Ariana Grande, Erin Kellyman, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Jhene Aiko, & Kirstin Maldonado will be posted in early July.
But there have been an absolute ton of requests since then too, yay! So I’m listing all the requests that I haven’t gotten to below. If you made a request but don’t see it below that might be for a few reasons. 1) I’ve written it already and it will be posted in June. 2) It’s one of the requests I posted on May 8th so I won’t talk about it here. 3) I considered it a demand not a request (for example, I received two that said “Anything with,” that wasn’t really a request just telling me to do it. Sorry if this bothers some of you but it is an issue with me so make sure you word your requests AS requests). Either way, thanks for the love, lovelies! :D
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Anonymous said:
Could you do one with either Kelley O’hara or Alex Morgan from the USWNT about a guy soccer player watching the US win the world cup and then want to be them or something like that?
I actually know who both those are (shockingly enough, I don’t really follow sports) so sure thing!
Anonymous said:
Could you do lorengrey captions? She’s so hot
Sorry sweetie, don’t know who that is. :(
Anonymous said:
Hi I just had an idea for a game you could do. It could be where someone has to say as a boy what they’re like physically in stages. So first stage is hair color for example, second stage could be height, third stage could be body type, etc. An example would be if I was a black hair, short height, thick body type, I would match up with someone like Nicki Minaj. Just an idea which you could extend on. Hopefully it makes sense. I appreciate you!
I actually have a game like this mapped out called “Build a Sissy” where you choose age, hair color, and bra size, but it would take a LOT of work to make so I haven’t written it yet. Maybe some day though. :)
Anonymous said:
I would love to see a Tori Kelly caption. Her hair and body are not typical but beautiful for a white girl. I say that last sentence respectfully. I think having a caption with her would be great
Sure thing! Tori Kelly is a cutie. :)
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Anonymous said:
Ok I'm not sure if u'll know these 2 cuz even I had to look them up for the names but anne dudek and maitland ward theyre the 2 blonde sisters from white chicks not sure if uve seen it but if u can could u make a caption for them please?
I DO know who they are! I’ve been thinking about doing a White Chicks caps because there’s a lot of cute looks in that movie (especially for Busy Phillips who I just love) so sure thing!
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Anonymous said:
Could u do Yvette nicole brown from community? Id like to see some big girl love
Sure thing!
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Anonymous said:
I already know that this request is probably gonna be a No but I still have to ask whats the ruling on GCI enhanced celebrities like Taylor swift from Cats?  Or is that too much like "Furry" stuff. Now I'm Feeling this will be a No for multiple reasons
So it is not an issue with CGI “enhanced” celebrities but for Cats it is because I do not have a Furry fetish and I get uncomfortable thinking about writing caps for it. But I write caps with “manips” all the time (photoshopped images of celebs) so I’m not ruling out CGI enhanced celebs all together.
Anonymous said:
Can you do one of Lindsey stirling? And for the story can it be a guy trying to learn Violin but he cant seem to focus he even tried hot female teachers but it didnt work then he gets a male teacher than he starts focusing and wanting to please the teacher he becomes a sissy sorry its a long request
Sounds fun, sure thing!
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Anonymous said:
Hi big fan and I think you’ve been doing amazing work. Is there anyway you could do a story about a guy who loses a bet to sorority girl and is forced to get his nails painted and turned into a girl? I love the idea of having a boys nails painted against his will. I’d love one with Selena Gomez but if you think another celeb would be better I leave that cumpletely to you.
Totally! This sounds fun. :D
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Anonymous said:
Can you do thelma and Louise?
I’m assuming you mean Geena Davis & Susan Sarandon from Thelma & Louise so yes. Yes I can. :)
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Anonymous said:
Can you do a caption from the movie bridesmaids? Like when theyre all trying on dressess or something?
I haven’t seen Bridesmaids (I know I know) but I can try something. :)
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Anonymous said:
it would be super cool if you could do some more games! They’re my fav
Glad you like them! As long as I’m not on hiatus, games will be posted every second Saturday. I’ve already got two set for June. :)
Anonymous said:
Hey huge fan of your recent work and super excited about new caps!! Do you think you could do one about a college guy who drops out in pursuit of being a stand up comedian, but the comedy club needs a female comic so they turn him into a girl? I was thinking maybe Nikki Glaser, she so funny and sexy. Thanks can’t wait to see all your new stuff!!
Oooo, Nikki Glaser is great. Sure thing!
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Anonymous said:
Can you make a caption about a guy who makes fun of curvy and thicc women, where the women get their revenge and turn the guy into Nia Jax?
You got it!
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Anonymous said:
Hi Me again on the topic of the assembly line worker caption sequel if you do it i just an idea for the story like before depicting the sissies "first time"  but you can have it be that the coworker doesnt know and is telling everyone about the chick he slept with last night and the sissy is just thinking "if only they knew"idk i thought it was good anyways thank u again
So this message is in reference to a sequel caption that was requested & that I did write and will be posted in June. I’m sharing it here to let the anon know that I wrote the cap BEFORE I got this second request so there will be a followup but the story will be different. I hope that’s ok.
Anonymous said:
Hi idk if u watch wrestling or not I see u have some captions of wwe womens wrestlers but im not sure have far ur knowledge of it is? Could u do a caption of Rhea Ripley if u know her?
I have never seen a single episode of WWE, I do not watch wrestling, and yet somehow every time someone requests a wrestler I know who she is. Don’t ask me how because I do not know. Anyways, yeah I can do a Rhea Ripley one. :)
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Anonymous said:
Could you do a caption about a janitor for sissy co. That finds out the strange goings on at work and tries to blow the whistle on the whole operation but is caught and turned into a sissy maid for the sissy co. Corporate office abit specific I know but ive been thinking on that awhile however u do it will be perfect thanks
You got it!
Anonymous said:
Could you do katheryn Hahn from wandavision specifically the 80s look with the Big hair and aerobics outfit
Oooo, sounds nice. I’ll type that up for sure. :)
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Anonymous said:
Hi big fan of your caps!! Do you think you could do a cap where a football player wants to go to the NFL but gets hurt, so they turn him into a female commentator, maybe Lauren Rutledge? If you don’t know her, she’s been a college football reporter for awhile and was also a former Miss Florida. Anyways I just think any guy would be lucky to be turned into her and I love your caps keep up the great work!!
Me: *googles Lauren Rutledge to see if it’s who I’m thinking of* How do I know who this is? Anyways, yes I can write this. :)
...for some reason there are no GIFs of her though so I’m just gonna move on.
Anonymous said:
Hi I'm the one that requested the LONG list of celebs I'm still really sorry about that I didnt realize how many it actually was till I looked back so I wanna retract some for your sake tell ya what if you havent done any already just do the ones that are specifically marked (as in the ones detailed by movie or show theyre in) the ones that are just names you can leave out i knoe its still alot but hopefully that takes some weight off of ya sorry again
You don’t have to be sorry! Like I said, in the future I’d ask that folks limit requests to no more than 3 celebs at a time but you didn’t know that. I’d never said that before. I typed up every celebrity and they’re going to be sprinkled in during June. Hope you like them! :)
Anonymous said:
Hello ^^ I love your work. Can u make a caption with the name "jules" and Ariana Grande please? Thank you
Sure thing!
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Anonymous said:
Hey, not really an ask, but something I needed to share
I'm the one that asked for the Stephanie Beatriz caption from a whole back, and I absolutely loved how it turned out. Each time you roll out a new caption is like a small thrill to me and I read them right as they're released.
Now this wouldn't be an ask if I wasn't asking something, right? Well, next month sees the release of the "In the Heights" movie, and there's an opportunity there to do a series of captions using stephanie Beatriz from that same movie.
In conclusion, I love your captions so much, you're amazing!
Awww, this is such a sweet message. Thank you! And YAAASSSSS! Ever since the first trailer for In the Heights dropped I was like, “I must write a caption with her in this!” So you can imagine how fun it’s been waiting this entire time. *eye twitches*. We’ll have to wait until the movie comes out for me to be sure I can find a good image but this IS a caption I want to write. :)
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Anonymous said:
Hi I just recently came across your blog and fell in love with it!! The caption with the football player being turned into Bella Thorne is one of my favorites!! I’d love so much if you could do a sequel or something to that cap it was so amazing and I need to know what else happens to “her”. I’m not sure if this is possible or if you even do sequels but this cap was great and I look forward to all the others!!!
Glad you like it! I’m always looking for sequel captions to write on Throwback Thursday so you’ll get this for sure. :)
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Anonymous said:
Hey big fan! Do you think you could do a caption where a short guy gets made fun of by all his girl friends for how short he is? Ariana Grande is fairly short and I think a caption of her (of age of course) would be awesome
You got it!
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Anonymous said:
Can you do one with the bella twins as two guys who fought over the same girl then the girl turns them both into look alikes of her but then they start fighting over the same guy
Yep!
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Anonymous said:
Do you know suzy berhow? Or angie Griffin? If so would love a caption of either of them please
Sorry sweetie, I don’t know who those are. :(
Anonymous said:
Would appreciate more Sia captions please when u get the chance
I will remember that. :)
Anonymous said:
Can make some Winnie Harlow caption please? I adore her style
Sorry lovely, I don’t know who that is. :(
Anonymous said:
How about instead of removing the captions with Demi in them ,the images of Demi were just replaced with another celeb and if Demi is mentioned by name in the caption then that could be edited  to mention a different celeb. I respect Demi's decision I do but lets not lose some well made captions. Also if you could please make a caption where Amy Adams feminises a fan and raises them as her daughter and Kristen Stewart makes you her submissive wife that would be appreciated. I'm a fan of them.
So about the Demi Lovato captions: I understand your feelings but I’m still going to delete the original captions. Because of how my captions are made I can’t just go back in & swap out an image or edit the text, I have to remake it from the ground up. I am hoping to do that with some (maybe all) of the Demi Lovato captions & re-publish them, but I’m still going to delete the originals.
I can do the Kristen Stewart one for sure and I’ll TRY to do the Amy Adams one I just am not 100% sure I can find a pic for that but we’ll see. :)
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Anonymous said:
If it’s possible before your summer hiatus could you do a caption with Amanda Crew (silicon valley, sex drive)?
I will do one with Amanda Crew but I can’t commit to doing it before the hiatus.
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About the hiatus: I don’t know when it’s going to be. I want to TRY to make it to at least July 18th because I have a specific game in mind I want to post for 5 years of Celebrity TG Captions games, but after that I have no idea. I’ve been writing caps for a longer stretch of time since normal since I’ve switched to a part-time blog so I might burn out at any second but for right now I’ve still got some juice.
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princessmariaphiliper · a year ago
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THE SLEEPOVER FIC | Part 5 The Contemplating
Notes: James Acaster, Original characters, No warnings this week just some good innocent fluff. I lied. I mention babestation twice, one day I will write something innocent. 
Pairing: James Acaster x Reader 
Genre: Fluff with eventual smut, Slow Burn fic
Words: 2,439
Summary: You and James have put yourselves into trouble, but you think maybe it’s hotter that way. 
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8 /  Part 9
The following Sunday morning you awoke to sunrise draping lazily through your cream curtains. Pulling the duvet back you dragged yourself out of bed with a soft stretch. Making your way to the bathroom to brush your teeth. You looked out your window at the dusty London street. 
It was going to be a pleasant day today. Temperature making its way up to the mid-twenties. So late last night you had decided you would have a day outdoors. You had some writing to do for a project you were planning therefore you’d figured today was as good as any to start. Brushing your teeth idly you started your, now rather frequent, internal dialogue on James. 
Your mind had been running circles since Wednesday evening and the kiss he’d given you on his way out. Part of you kept telling yourself that ‘maybe this was just a way he said goodbye to people’. After all, the two of you hadn’t had a sober goodbye up until that point. Perhaps it was just his formalities. And it wasn’t as if he’d called or even dropped you a text since then to indicate a romantic gesture. But the other half of you could help read between the lines of his subtle touches you could still feel on your skin.
Washing your face and leaving the room you moved to your wardrobe. Pulling out an oversized white tee and dark wash jeans. You began to get dressed. Considering where you might like to go today. After some deliberation you decided on the coffee house beside Camden lock. You sat down at your desk, putting on some concealer, liner and brushing up your eyebrows. You looked into your y/e/c eyes, edging the spoolie in between your fingers and resting your chin in both hands. Letting out a large sigh, the confusion continued.
You’d always considered yourself to know right from wrong. However, your thoughts of James had lately been trivial to that. Although you knew that James wasn’t happy in his relationship, that didn’t mean that his partner wasn’t. This was yet another hurdle of guilt that was blocking you from admitting growing feelings for James. But as much as you blocked it from your mind, you couldn’t block out the way James made you feel. A sense of calm, giddiness and as though you had known him all your life. Yet it had only just been one week since you first met. 
Dropping your hand and sighing you shook the thoughts from your head. Brushing your hair quickly, grabbing your laptop bag and heading out for the day. 
The air was warm, the sun shining down onto the streets as you stepped out from your apartment complex. You inhaled, sucking in the early summer air. It was busy on the streets, as it usually was on a Sunday in London. Many people basking in the final day on their trips before getting the train home. You would always recognise how lucky you were to have the chance to live in such a vibrant city, doing the work that you loved. Trotting with a skip in your step to your local tube station. A smile across your face from your blessing. 
The tube, as always, was muggy and dirty. Passing a burst of carbonated air through every once in a while. But eventually you made it to Camden station and were able to bask in the sunlight once again. You made your way up Camden market, the bright colours above the stylistic storefronts. People weaving past as you pushed through the crowd, heading straight up towards the lock. 
After some time of fighting past bodies you reached the lock, the filthy black bars and open arms of the coffee shop embracing you on arrival. You ordered your usual drink, nestling down onto a free table in the outside seating area. Under a parasol in the corner.
There were lots of people sitting and chatting around you, enjoying the sunshine with each other's company. You people watched for a while, taking pleasure in voyeurism was one of your favourite things to do in the city. It was filled with an array of characters, outside the restraints of the cafe’s fencing. The lining of the lock was littered with people, sitting, eating and drinking casually. There was a young couple beside you, seemingly on a first date, their conversation awkward and laced with anxiety. Reminding you subconsciously of how alone you were. Not only in this moment, but somewhat in day to day life.
Mostly working during the day, you hardly indulged in the thought of spending your time going on dates, let alone falling in love with someone. After your previous relationship you needed time for yourself. To learn, grow and understand who you were as a person. And yet here you were, years down the line having done all these things. Working alone in a coffee shop, surrounded by people in love. You pondered the idea for a moment, staring at the half drafted document on the screen of your laptop before beginning to type.
Comically however, just as you did so, your phone started to buzz from the pocket of your jeans. You reached inside, studying the caller ID before you answered. It was Olive, you pressed it to your ear. 
“Olive” 
“Hi lovely, I just wondered what you’re up to today?”
“Not much, I’m just starting the Eraser project I told you about the other day. I was going to send you the proposal a little later to see if you're on the same page with my thinking”
“Oh, brilliant, I was actually going to ask if you wanted to meet up over coffee to talk about it. I could come by yours in about an hour if that's okay?”
“I’m actually not in at the moment, I’m in Camden, I can meet you somewhere if you like though?” 
“Camden sounds lovely on a day like today. I’ll come down and meet you there!” 
“Alright perfect, I’ll text you the cafe I’m at when you set off?” 
“That's great thank you, I’ll see you soon.” The phone cut out, leaving only the hubbub of people as your background noise. With a smile you began to type once again, grateful for someone to  subside your lonely feeling. 
Olivia arrived about forty five minutes after your initial call, the second call being moments ago when she couldn’t find you in the seating area. She was wearing a jade kimono that had an intricate peacock pattern on top of a black cotton jumpsuit. Paired with embellished sandals as well as multiple chunky bracelets. She gave you a warm smile as you waved at her above the sea of people. 
“Y/n!” she said, making her way over and sitting across from you. A cup of jasmine tea in her hand. 
“Hello lady Olivia,”
“How have you been?” 
“On off, how about you?”
“About the same, grateful for the sunshine!” She exclaimed, raising her hands passionately in the air. 
“So.”
“So” You grinned at one another, excited to be discussing a new creative project. “What are your thoughts”
“I think first of all it should be filled with colour. Hopefully, if all goes well, we’ll be able to set up an open air theatre by the end of summer, just before the kids go back to school. I want flowers and paint and colourful lighting.”
“That sounds amazing, what do you want me to do on the other side of things”
“Well I’d like for you to take a bit more of a writing hat this time around. I think you’re ready for it. I’d like to see what you can create and bounce off of one another that way. I think it’d also be lovely to get a balance between different age perspectives with what were wanting to talk about”
“I’m up for that one hundred percent, I’ll be the old crone you need whenever you need it love” You laughed at her choice of words, not having intended your statement in that way but nonetheless you appreciated her humour. “How long until you’re wanting to book a space for making?” 
“I can get us one by next week if you want?” 
“Yeah that's fine by me.” 
The initial project proposal you’d brought forward was to explore gender and sexuality through growth. With memoirs, dance and music that was reminiscent of your own identity. You’d been brewing on the project for some time now. Unsure of how to put it into the world with its fullest potential. Then, you’d been working with Olivia and watching her grow at a later stage in life, you’d brought back out the project with a new filter. Wanting to go on a journey of creating ‘Eraiser’ along with her. The creative juices were flowing. You were on your third drink of the day, now accompanied with a muffin as your stomach had begun to rumble. You’d been brainstorming stories and concept ideas, bouncing off one another for a while when your phone began pinging on the table. It was a text from James causing you to do a secret giddy dance. The message that came through that read,
Are you in Camden? 
I am, why? 
Initially confused by how he knew your location before an image of you and Olivia from a distance came through. You smiled at the sound of his voice calling out your name above the early afternoon sun. 
“Y/n!”
“James!” You responded, him making his way towards your table. You stood from your chair as he came closer, embracing him in a hug. James was dressed in a pair of yellow canvas shorts and a white tee to match your own. He enclosed his arms around you. Being slightly taller he was able to naturally rest his chin atop of your head. 
“How’ve you been?” He murmured, placing a stealthy half kiss in your hair, before you released one another from the embrace. 
“I’m alright how are you?” 
“Okay thanks, you smell nice by the way” An offhand comment that made your hands curl around your middle finger. 
“This is Olivia, my co-worker. Olive, James”
“Lovely to meet you” James held out a hand to shake Olivia’s. Once again causing you to question his ambition by how he interacted with her in contrast to you. From the handshake to the lack of speaking her name in a sentence as he did with you. You regained your seat as the two chatted.
“You too James. Might you be James from the telly?” 
“Depends what channels you’re into.”
“Babestation?”
“Thats me”
“Have a seat,” She offered as the three of you chuckled, pointing to an empty table behind him. Accepting the invite to the table graciously James grabbed a chair and sat down beside you. 
“What are you doing here?” 
“Just having a meeting, enjoying the sunshine.” You squinted up towards the sky. 
“Oh sorry, I’m not interrupting am I?”
“No no,” Olivia spoke with a slightly devilish grin, “We were about finished I think.” 
This was a lie, you had been in the middle of explaining something to her when James had texted you. Knowing the implication behind her smile you rolled her eyes. It was going to be a long story to tell her once James had left. She continued, 
“So where did the two of you meet?” 
“We have a mutual friend, we met last friday for some drinks.” James nodded in agreement, mumbling a, some under his breath with a shake of his head. “What’re you doing here?” 
“Oh you know, getting out of the flat while it's nice out. I’ve been working all week so haven't had a chance to see many people that I don't have to be funny for” 
You felt slightly guilty but somewhat better about the fact that James hadn’t called since Wednesday. Selfishly forgetting he was a busy man, attempting to balance working to please people with a crumbling relationship. Not wanting him to feel lonely or burnt out. “Grab a drink if you like, I don’t mind not laughing at your jokes.” You responded sarcastically, however your intention was somewhat laced with care. James flashed you a kind smile, eyebrows raised in excitement. He placed his hands on the table, squaring his elbows in a half stand. 
“Only if you’re sure, I don't want to impose!” 
“No please join us, Y/n is not as interesting company as a real life pornstar” Olivia joked, causing a ripple of smiles and a light ‘fuck off’ to roll from your tounge. James stood from his seat with a ‘I won't be long’. The two of you watched him disappear into the cafe before Olivia turned to you with a knowing look on her face. You sighed, taking a sip of your drink. 
“So, is he good in bed?” 
“We haven’t had sex,”
“You should, he’s dishy” 
“It's not like that,” You trailed off “He has a girlfriend.”
“Are you sure?” 
“Yeah… but it's complicated apparently”
“How so?” 
You explained as briefly as you could the events of the past week or so. Trying to watch out for how close James was getting towards the front of the line inside. After your word vomit Olivia’s grin was back. 
“So you like him then?” 
“I-” You contemplated, not having audibly admitted your thoughts for him yet. And the idea that you would have to face him in a couple minutes after doing so made you nervous. “It’s confusing.” you settled with. 
“It doesn’t have to be Y/n” 
Silently agreeing, you observed James as he ordered his drink now. Standing gently with one hand in his pocket, the other placed on the counter, his pelvis angled towards the window you were looking in from. Olivia continued, 
“Listen to me. I’m twice your age love, and I know it might sound complicated and terrifying now but you’ll regret the things you didn’t try for when you’re my age. He seems lovely and it's clearly something that you want. You’ve been around him for less than ten minutes and your face has been lit up since he arrived. Even if its short lived its worth a shot, plus, it looks like he's into you”
“You don’t know that” 
“Please, the way he had his hands around you earlier. I was practically gushing” 
James had started making his way back to the two of you now holding an iced tea in his palm. He flashed you a smile as he came through the door. 
“Just think about it.” Olive started again with a wink, “Because if you don’t, I might”
Thank you to all the lovelies who have been following the fic so far. I’ve been posting now every other day just to try get better quality of writing so hopefully yall are coping with that. Let me know any thoughts you have about the fic. I’m also taking James x Reader oneshot requests via DM’s so if you have anything you need desperately to be manifested I’m your gal. 
- Princess Maria :)))))
Taglist @josies-polestar @queensantiagoofthe99 
If you want to be put on, or taken off my taglist, feel free to tell me!
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writing-is-a-martial-art · a year ago
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[Image description: a banner with a photo of space, with bright stars and a purple nebula in the background. In the center of the banner, “The Foolish, Foolish Stars” is written in big, white letters, and “A day and before the Grand Coronation” is written in smaller letters under it. /end ID]
TW/CW: Nothing, but please tell me if there should be!
A/N: They're there! I have a picture of what the planet looks like if you're interested:
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Word count: 718 words
For context: [WIP intro], [chapter 1], [chapter 2], [chapter 3] [chapter 4] [chapter 5] [chapter 6]
Taglist (contact me to be added/removed): @viskafrer @47crayons @apocalypsewriters @drippingmoon @chazzawrites @wizardoface @drbibliophile @dragon-with-a-pen
A day before the Grand Coronation
“Wake up, Emperor, we’re almost there!”
I open my eyes to see a grinning Bob. I’ve never seen her smile a non-fake smile, so this must be something important. Something good, hopefully.
“And by there, you mean?..”
“The Emperor’s Palace Planet, Sole!”
“Oh”
I try to put the words together. The 'Emperor’s Palace' part is understandable - they told me that’s where we’re going - but… Planet? Isn’t a planet that big, (debatably) round thing, hundreds upon hundreds times bigger than any kingdom? How can a palace occupy a whole planet?
Bob must’ve noticed my confusion because she adds: “Well, what did you expect? If you rule a few galaxies you can’t afford to live in a hut. The place must fit all the governors and ambassadors, supplicants and guests, the whole lot.”
A planet. Which is a palace.
“Have we landed already?” I ask, standing up.
“No, we’ve just exited a dimension jump. Should be entering the atmosphere in a few-”
I walk to a wall that, if I understand correctly, must lead to the control room. The wall opens up - I will never get used to how these things work. The big… ahh what do they call their magic mirror thing? Ceern? Creen? Screen! The big screen on the front wall has a view of an approaching planet. An extremely organized planet. Bof showed me what Earth looks like - a bunch of green blobs on blue, not much of a sight, really. This is a different matter.
On the light blue of the ocean, circular and oval continents lay so that most of them would be a bit above or a bit below the center. Well-planned, symmetrical archipelagos connect one continent to the other. The forest masses seem more like parks, occupying the planned space and ending where the designers wanted them to. The mountain ranges - where those even mountain ranges? Or do people just grow castles here?
“You know, there’s a saying where I’m from,” Bob says, walking in.
“Mmm?”
“If you keep your mouth open, a five-legged bingradok might make a nest in it”
I close my mouth involuntarily.
“It’s just… This? This??!” I point at the planet
“This?”
“This is… mine??”
Bob nods.
“Quite a nice place, isn’t it?”
I remember my little nook by the King’s door. Even if they’re planning on feeding me to a dragon tomorrow, ruling this for a day is worth it.
The planet gets closer, and the monitor seems to show nothing but fire. Huh. Maybe we’ll just fry to a crisp now.
“Don’t worry” Bob chuckles at my scared face, “this is quite normal. We’re entering the atmosphere. The ship could do it herself, but Bof is watching over the process, just to make sure.”
“So… we’re not about to die?” I double-check. I would like to be sure about something like that.
“No, no we’re not,” Bob sighs.
“Hey, it’s not my fault I don’t know all the things I couldn’t possibly learn,” I say, turning to look back at the screen.
While we were… talking? arguing? During our conversation, the ship stopped being on fire, and I can see the place we’re approaching: something of a giant town, with buildings of all shapes and colors, taller than the tallest trees of the Elven woods. Splashes of green parks liven the already pleasant view.
In the center of this place is… can that be a palace? Did people build something like this? Judging by the size, the King’s castle could fit in every room of it. Pure white, with so many decorations that it looked like an insane giant’s wedding cake. It was surrounded by yet another big park. The corner of the Palace’s park we’re approaching - slowly, to my great relief - is a big, square area filled with bizarre-looking constructions
I can only assume are other spaceships.
We get closer.
Close enough to see the people rushing by, washing spaceships, landing spaceships, entering and exiting spaceships.
Close enough to see that not all of these people are what I’m used to people looking like.
And just a little closer.
Bof landed the ship so lightly that the only indication of it was that the screen turned off, with nothing to transmit anymore.
“Welcome to your planet, Emperor,” Bob smiled.
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fiddleabout · a year ago
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2021 Georgia Health Insurance Open Enrollment: Exchange Shutdown
On 1 November 2020, CMS announced that it has approved the shutdown of Georgia’s federally-run health insurance marketplace website (aka, healthcare.gov for Georgia).
This is truly fucking horrible and the fact that they did it on the first day of open enrollment is a particularly nasty bonus.  I’m still parsing through all of the information i can find about it, but have tried to address some of the questions I imagine people are going to have below. 
Please note that this is not legal advice in any way and it would be best if you confirm it with additional sources (Georgia-based insurance providers, presumably), but hopefully it will serve as a starting point:
What does this mean?
Right now, it means that if you’re a Georgia resident who buys your health insurance through the marketplace (healthcare.gov), you will not be able to do that for the 2021 plan year.  If you’re like most people on exchange plans, you’ve been passively re-enrolled each year, meaning that you don’t update your coverage election and are automatically re-enrolled in the same plan you were already on.  You will not be automatically re-enrolled in your existing health insurance plan.  The CMS notice regarding the shutdown indicates that, through the application of an approved 1332 waiver, Georgia no longer has to keep it’s healthcare.gov marketplace site running, and residents will need to research and purchase coverage through insurance brokers or directly from the insurance plan.
An important thing to take note of is that, unlike the marketplace (healthcare.gov), there is no requirement for any other site to only show you ACA-compliant plans.  This means that you’ll have to be careful as you do your research to not just assess the pricing, but also plan coverage.  The ACA has requirements (such as covering certain essential health benefits, no denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and no dollar limits on the benefits you’re eligible to receive) for a plan to be offered on a marketplace, and with Georgia moving all plan purchasing to private sites or brokers, they can and almost certainly will list ACA-compliant plans next to other plans that are not. 
Note: As of writing (2 Nov at around 1700 EST), healthcare.gov still has Georgia listed in the dropdown for states.  I don’t have an account with the marketplace, so I can’t log in to see what it offers there.  It’s possible that the site hasn’t been fully taken down yet, but I would suggest caution in using it and, if possible, try working with a health insurance company directly to enroll in a 2021 plan.
Will I lose my coverage?
I’m still sorting through the implications information because there is a possibility that, if you’re already enrolled in a marketplace plan with an insurer that will be offering the same plan in 2021-- for example,  you’re on a Bronze HMO plan from Anthem-- then that insurer will automatically re-enroll you.  But I would highly suggest that you not count on that and assume the similarly likely scenario that you will not be automatically re-enrolled in your current plan.  You will have to do research on your own with each available insurer in your area, or retain a broker to do so for you, to select the best plan for you.
I went to Anthem’s website, as they’re one of the largest insurers in the country, and searched for coverage in Jackson, GA to see what they have available, and currently they’re showing the standard bronze/silver/etc marketplace plans as available:
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[Image ID: a screenshot of the Anthem website showing four different Bronze Pathway HMO plans, with deductibles ranging from $5,600 to $7,000 and monthly premiums ranging from $342 to $362.  End ID]
I also checked Cigna’s website and found roughly similar results.  So, the plans that you’re used to as a Georgia resident should still be available to you, but you have to go to the insurers’ websites to find them and they will likely be listed along with non-marketplace plans. 
As always, be sure to check both covered and excluded services to minimize the chance of any nasty surprises regarding covered/not covered care. 
What do I do now?
If you like the plan you’re on now and want to continue with it, go to that insurance company’s website and sign up for that plan with them directly.
If you’re interested in switching to a different plan, open a tab for each insurer available in your area so you can compare all the plans next to each other.  If you’re a nerd like me, make a spreadsheet; if not, just be sure to note the major factors of each plan in whatever way is easiest for you to compare them. 
If you need a refresher on what to look at, you can get a detailed explanation of terms and plan factors here.  A high level summary of the major factors to consider:
Monthly premium (how much you pay each month to stay in the plan)
Deductible (how much of your care costs you pay before the insurer starts to cover it)
Network type: HMO, EPO, PPO, HSA-- there are several possible types that have their own advantages and drawbacks; find the one that fits you best
Out-of-pocket max: the maximum amount, not including premiums, that you have to pay in a year before the insurer covers 100% of covered services’ costs
Once you’ve done your research, pick the plan the suits your needs and financial capabilities best and sign up for it so you have 2021 coverage.
How did this happen?
The government of Georgia, like many right/right-leaning states, has been fighting against the ACA since they day it was passed, including refusing to accept the Medicaid expansion in 2012 that would have provided additional funding to the state to support allowing more people onto Medicaid.  Earlier this year, the state submitted a 1″332 State Relief and Empowerment: waiver-- or just a waiver to section 1332 of the ACA, if you’re not buying into the propaganda titling-- that would allow them “economic relief” in the form of addressing what they call “systemic issues” regarding low enrollment and utilization of the state’s healthcare.gov marketplace site.  Seema Verma, the administrator of CMS and an all around atrocious human being by all standards, granted the waiver with the administration’s approval yesterday, 1 November 2020.  The justification is that (1) it’s unduly burdensome on the state to maintain the (federally facilitated) marketplace website, and (2) that the removal of a centralized pipeline for plans will create competition and increase choice for people looking to buy health insurance. 
It’s also important to note that this is a highly strategic move by the Trump administration: Georgia is a state in play for the election, and the state government has argued aggressively that the ACA is both useless and expensive for consumers (both of which are demonstrably false).  The 1332 waiver was first submitted in July, in the midst of a pandemic; there’s little logic to it except for timing calculations accounting for processing and comment periods that would result in this waiver being announced immediately before the election.  It’s an attempt to grab votes on an ideological basis from any Trump voters who might have wavered in Georgia.
It’s general garbage all the way around, but the most important thing right now is that you can still get insurance that adheres to ACA standards (ie, plans that cover all medically necessary testing and treatment, with no annual or lifetime dollar limits on the benefits, and that cannot deny you for any pre-existing conditions, including COVID-19).
TL;DR:
Georgia will no longer have a centralized marketplace website for you to shop for and enroll in insurance plans
The marketplace plans are still available but will be listed on the insurers’ websites and will be listed along with non-marketplace/ACA-noncompliant plans
If you have historically done nothing and been passively re-enrolled in coverage for the next year, do not assume that it will work this year and actively enroll yourself in a 2021 plan
The healthcare.gov site may still be up right now for Georgians, but it could shut down at any time
From what I can see, your best option is to sign up for a plan directly on an insurance company’s website
As always, I’m available for any questions you might have regarding this situation specifically, or health insurance in general.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to point you towards someone who does or somewhere you can find more helpful information.
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missaudreyhorney · a year ago
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Afterschool Special
Again, I am shocked and delighted that people are enjoying the beginning of this series as much as I’m enjoying writing it. I cannot thank you all enough for your kind words and encouragement. In this third installment, Hopper and Reader get to spend some “alone time” together. That’s all I’m going to say about it 😊
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Content warnings: Rated M for more age gap, Daddy kink, physical intimidation, over the clothes touching, and a new addition of under the clothes kissing. Female Reader, modern AU, 2.5k words.
You call Jim Hopper on Monday afternoon in between classes. His voice is even deeper and sexier over the phone than you remember it sounding the night before. He seems happy to hear from you and you try to hide how giddy you are about it. Sensing that the attraction between you two is very mutual, you don’t hesitate to set up a meeting. He tells you that he has Wednesday off from work, and for a second, you seriously consider ditching all your classes to spend the entire day with him. Instead, you agree to meet up at his house at four o’clock, which gives you enough time to go home and change after school.
Normally on a date, you would prefer to wear a dress but the winter chill in the February air sadly prevents that. Hopefully you won’t feel out of place wearing a heavy sweater and a pair of jeans to wherever it is he wants to take you.
The address he gave seems to be out in the middle of nowhere and multiple times you wonder if the GPS navigation is telling you to go in the wrong direction. Eventually, you find the place and it’s not so much a house as it is a cabin in the woods. It almost looks abandoned except for his car parked out front.
Any misgivings you have about the place are dispelled when you see Hopper standing on the porch and smoking as he waits for you. All your friends complain about guys who smoke, and that they hate the smell, but not you. You think it’s sexy and you even enjoy the smell.
A smile spreads across his handsome face when he sees you and it gets wider when you step out of the car. “Come on in, sweetheart,” he greets you with a white cloud billowing out from his mouth.
Anticipation rushes through your veins. When you last saw each other, and when you spoke on the phone, there seemed to be a promise of more, a promise to finish what he started when he came up to your room. You know that something will happen today, you’re just not sure how or when.
Once you reach the top of the steps, he says “It’s open. I’ll be in in a minute” as the unfiltered cigarette dangles between his lips.
Opening the door slowly, you let yourself in then put your purse down and look around. The cabin is…rustic. None of the furniture matches. Some of it looks to be as old as you are. There’s a decent red sofa but it’s covered in a patchwork quilt. There’s a plaid chair against the wall and it too has a blanket draped across the top, one that’s knitted or perhaps crocheted. The only things to indicate that you haven’t arrived here in a time machine are the flat screen tv on the wall and a new Apple computer on an old wooden desk.
Hopper steps into the room a moment later. “Why don’t you take your coat off and stay awhile?” He touches your back as he walks past you to go into the kitchen.
“Oh, um, okay.” You suppose he wants to talk a little bit or perhaps finish something up before you leave. Hanging your coat up on the rack, you notice a small pair of tennis shoes on the floor. “Do you live here alone?”
“No, my daughter lives here with me.”
His daughter? Gosh, Hopper really is a DILF. You follow him into the kitchen and your brain starts to connect some dots. “Is she the reason why you left so suddenly on Sunday night?”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” he says as he takes an ice tray out of the freezer.
“It’s okay. I’m just glad it wasn’t your wife.”
“Oh no, I’ve been divorced for a long time now,” he assures you.
Your eyes roam over Hopper’s large frame while you watch him pop the cubes out of the tray and fill it back up again. He’s wearing jeans and a blue flannel shirt, with the top two buttons undone, and a navy henley underneath. His scent of cigarettes and soap makes it seem as if he must have smoked immediately after getting out of the shower.
For a brief moment, you entertain the idea of ripping his clothes off right here and now, forgoing any previous plans you might have for your date. That’s where you’re hoping this will all lead anyway so what’s wrong with cutting to the chase?
In an attempt to restrain yourself, you bring up the one subject that will take your mind out of the gutter. “How did you meet my parents?”
“They brought one of their cars to my shop. I’m a mechanic.”
The attempt proves feeble as your mouth instantly begins to water at the mental image of Jim Hopper bending over the engine of a car, sticking out his cute butt in his Wrangler jeans, his hands and his face getting all dirty and sweaty.
“Can I make you a drink?” he offers, getting a glass off the shelf. “You are old enough to drink, right?”
You playfully roll your eyes. “Yes, I’m old enough.”
“I don’t have to check your ID, do I?” He winks at you and it’s as charming as it is corny.
“You can if you want to,” you respond.
“No, I believe you.” He opens a bottle of Jack Daniels and lifts it above his glass.
“Wait, you’re making a drink now? When are we gonna go?”
He puts the bottle on the counter. “Go where?”
“Is this it?” you ask, slightly stunned.
“Is what it?” Deep ridges form on Hopper’s forehead as he raises his eyebrows in irritation.
“I thought we were going to go on a date,” you explain.
His features soften as he chuckles at you. “We’re not going anywhere, sweetheart.” He gleefully pours the whiskey into his glass.
“So we’re just going to stay here and…?”
“Yeah,” he confirms with a smug grin. “We are.”
Suddenly your idea of tearing his clothes off seems like it would be more welcomed than you had anticipated.
“What’ll it be?” he asks, getting himself a can of Coke out of the refrigerator.
“I’ll have a water.”
Hopper pulls out a bottle of water and hands it to you. “You know this was your idea, right? You didn’t mention anything on the phone about a date.”
“I know, I guess I...assumed we’d go out.” You take a much-needed sip.
“You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to,” he offers in a considerably softer tone than you’ve heard from him thus far.
“No,” you smile at him. “I want to stay.”
He smiles back at you then takes a drink.
“It just would have been nice if you took me out somewhere,” you remark before raising the bottle to your lips again.
“Why beat around the bush? We both already know what we want.” He takes another drink then sets his glass down. “Unless of course, you want us to be seen together,” he adds, moving directly in front of you, with mere centimeters between your bodies.
Your heart starts racing as Hopper glares down at you with a storm churning in his deep blue eyes.
”Maybe you want people to look at us and know that I’m twice your age.” He leans in closer, backing you into the corner of the wooden counter. “Maybe you want to hear them say ‘what’s that dirty old man doing with that beautiful young girl?’” He enunciates every word in a biting tone as if he’s scolding you.
Your bodies are so close together that you can actually feel the heat radiating off of him.
“If that’s what you want, I can take you anywhere. We can leave right now,” he offers in a slightly more casual voice. “I just don’t see any point in wasting time when it’s so obvious what you came here for.”
“What’s that?” you accidentally say in a whisper.
Hopper takes a step back from you. “Go in the bedroom and I’ll show you.”
With a deep inhalation, you slip away from him and run out of the kitchen then immediately run back. “Which one is your bedroom?” you almost shout.
“The one on the left,” he answers, trying not to laugh at your over the top enthusiasm.
You pull the curtain in the doorway so hard that it feels like it might rip away from the rod. Yanking your sweater above your head, you kick off your shoes at the same time.
Lying back on the bed, you can feel how wet he’s already made you. Your body is practically vibrating with excitement as you hear the heavy steps of his boots as he approaches. A shiver runs through you when he enters the room.
“Where were we?” Hopper asks, kneeling onto the foot of the bed.
“You were on top of me,” you recall.
“Uh-huh,” he nods, positioning himself between your open legs.
“And I think you were going to unhook my bra?”
He runs his hands under your t-shirt and up the sides of your body. “You’re not wearing a bra.”
“I thought we could skip that part.”
He pulls your shirt up over your chest. “Good thinking.”
Without missing a beat, his lips are on your breasts, kissing both of them with his warm, wet, open mouth. Your left nipple hardens as Hopper swirls his tongue around it, making you push your hips into him. His lips close around the bud and begin to suck.
“Oh, Daddy,” you moan, using the title with no regret this time.
“That’s what I like to hear,” he pauses long to speak then immediately begins sucking on your other nipple.
Just like on Sunday, his mouth is rough. Not solely the texture of his scruffy beard against your soft skin, but the ferocity with which he sucks on you and teases you with his teeth. Also just like Sunday, he moves his hand in between your thighs and pushes his palm against the center seam of your jeans.
You hiss when he bites down hard into your flesh, clearly not holding back this time. It’s an exquisite pain that you could easily become addicted to. Your fingernails claw at his shirt when he rolls your nipple between his teeth.
Hopper is working you into a frenzy with the way his hand presses into your jeans, rubbing your pussy through the denim. All the different sensations he’s causing in your body are starting to become too much and you need a release.
“Daddy, please,” you beg breathlessly.
Your nipple pops out from between his lips with a vulgar sound. “Please what?”
You’re unable to answer him as your mouth is too busy moaning while his hand brings back that familiar ache.
“Tell me what you want, baby,” he instructs between licks.
“Your f-” you interrupt yourself with another moan. “Your fin-”
“You want my fingers inside you, is that it?” Hopper asks as you grind your crotch into his palm, desperate for all the friction you can get.
“Yes, Daddy!” you finally manage to force out two coherent words.
He unbuttons your jeans and you hear a noise coming from the living room. You both ignore it while he ever so slowly starts to pull down your zipper. Until you hear another noise. Not a noise actually. A voice. Two voices.
Hopper’s hands fall from the zipper, landing on your sides, while his head sinks down in defeat. Your body tenses with worry that whoever it is might come into the room as there’s no door to keep them out.
The two young voices are arguing about something but your brain is far too preoccupied to be able to comprehend the subject of the argument. The only thing you can manage to infer in your current state is that it must be his daughter and one of her friends from school.
Hopper gets up from the bed, leaving your chest fully exposed, and you tug your shirt back down. He has you throbbing with need, and exactly like the last time, your hopes for satisfaction have been quickly dashed by an intrusive family member.
When he goes into the living room to mediate the situation, you sit up and see something on his nightstand that you were in too much of a rush to notice before. Magnum XL condoms, not one but three, the edges of the gold foil still attached to each other.
“For Pete's sake, what’s going on out here?” Hopper demands above the sound of their bickering.
“Mike was staring at Stacey Albright,” his daughter explains.
“No, I wasn’t!” the boy interjects.
“Who’s Stacey Albright?” Hopper asks.
“A girl at our school who stuffs her bra,” she answers.
“She does not stuff her bra,” the boy disputes.
“How do you know that if you weren’t staring?” she raises her voice.
“I was not staring!” the boy yells back.
“Both of you calm down, alright? Jesus.”
Hopper opens the curtain, walks in, and closes it behind him. “Listen, I’m sorry but I gotta-” he begins to apologize in a dejected tone.
“No, I understand,” you reply, cutting him off as you stand up from the bed before pulling on your sweater and shoes. “I should go.”
When you turn to walk out of the room, he grabs onto your upper arms. He doesn’t mean to startle you, it happens solely by accident because he’s so strong. “Look at me,” he suggests, trying to get you to make eye contact.
You gaze up into his gorgeous blue eyes and he starts to smile.
“I still want to see you again,” he says warmly.
“Me too,” you agree, reciprocating his smile.
The kids resume their argument and Hopper rolls his eyes. “Please call me,” he adds before letting go of you.
“I will,” you confirm.
You open the curtain and both of the kids’ mouths fall silent as they watch you emerge from the bedroom. They look to be about fourteen or fifteen-years-old. The girl has brown eyes, long brown hair, and the most perfect skin you’ve ever seen on a teenager. She forces an awkward smile to be polite. The boy is tall and pale, with sharp cheekbones and curly black hair like a rockstar from the ’70s. He glances back and forth between you and Hopper with a confused expression on his face.
“This is my daughter, Elle,” Hopper introduces.
“Hi,” she says.
“Hi,” you say back, your voice sounding squeaky with nerves.
“And her boyfriend, Mike,” Hopper continues.
“Ex-boyfriend,” Elle corrects.
“What? That’s not fair!” Mike exclaims.
They start bickering once more and you shoot Hopper a sympathetic look as you grab your coat and purse then slip out the front door. It feels like the universe is conspiring against the two of you, trying to keep you from having sex with each other, like a cosmic cockblock. As you drive away from the cabin, you silently pray that the next time will provide the relief you’re yet again so desperate for.
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Image credit: HarbourSource on Instagram
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something-tofightfor · a year ago
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Steel City - 24
Pairing: Billy Russo x Reader
Word Count: 7593
Rating: M. This one isn’t nearly as painful as the last couple - just some reminders of Billy’s injuries, talk of what happened. 
Summary: Billy’s safe in the hospital, and it’s time for you to figure out where you’re going to spend the night, since all of your belongings are still at the office - as well as begin to think about what comes next. 
Author’s Note: There’s a lot covered in this chapter, and we get to find out more of Billy’s side of things from the attack and abduction - hopefully it will clear things up a little more. Billy is being kind of stubborn in here... but how is that any different than usual? 
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(images edited by @gollyderek, banner made by me)
Before leaving the hospital, you went back to Billy’s room once more, pausing before you knocked on the door. “Come in.” He sounds… You pushed the door open, surprised to see Billy halfway reclined, a lopsided grin on his lips. That has to hurt, he…  “You’re still here?” Glancing away from his face, you saw that there was a new IV leading to his forearm, one that hadn’t been there when you’d left earlier. He’s… “What happened to that dress you were wearin’?” 
 You saw me before and I wasn’t in it… “Billy, I-” He shook his head, swallowing. “There was so much blood on -” He stared at you, eyes glassy. He’s so out of it.  “They had me change so I could send the dress to evidence, it… it’s ruined.” 
 “‘Stoo bad.” Billy lifted his arm toward you, and you moved closer to the bed. “I liked it.” I did too. 
 “I can get another one, Billy.” He nodded, but didn’t speak again, and you used your other hand to point at the arm with the needle in it. “Pain meds? You -”
 “I’m doin’ pretty shitty.” He sniffed. “But the one thing I don’t have is a concussion.” He smiled again, and you watched a single bead of blood rose from between the stitches on his lower lip. Stop him, or they’re going to have to redo those. “So they said I could have…” Billy paused, eyes going to his arm. “I don’t feel anythin’.” 
 “That’s probably a good thing.” You were holding his hand, Billy’s eyes back on your face. “I just wanted to come in and say goodbye.” 
 “Goodbye?” He frowned, blinking quickly. “Where you g-”
 “I’m going back with Karen and Frank, Billy. Back to the apartment building, I’m going to see if I can get the front desk to give me my spare key, even though I don’t have any of my ID on me.” Kasey had a second spare, but there was no way you’d call her, because it meant having to explain everything. If not, I guess I… 
 “Sleep in my bed.” There was no slur to his words, and his eyes looked slightly clearer. “I don’t want you alone tonight.” You don’t? “I’d go with you, but they tell me I gotta…” He sighed. “Be here for a couple days.” 
 “Your bed?” He nodded. “Billy, that…” But you had to admit - the idea of surrounding yourself with his presence after the night you’d had sounded incredible. If he can’t be there, and I can’t stay here, it’s the next best thing. “Are you sure?” 
 “Yeah.” He relaxed against the pillows, his grip on your hand tightening. “That way I know you’re safe.” Safe? Billy, I was safe the minute you woke up in that hotel room. You knew that wasn’t entirely true, but saying it to yourself helped. You watched him for a few minutes, Billy’s eyelids drooping, face going slack. He needs to sleep. I’m going to go. Without removing your hand from his, you leaned down, stopping with your lips next to his ear. 
 “Sleep well, Billy.” Closing your eyes, you pressed them to his bruised skin, feeling the long, thick hair of his beard beneath them. “Thank you.” He didn’t move and you straightened up, pulling your hand back, but before you removed it from his, Billy’s grip tightened. 
 “Will you come back?” He turned his head toward you, eyes open again and on you, though they were slightly unfocused. “Come back’n see me tomorrow?” Sucking in a breath, you nodded, leaning back in and planting another kiss to his cheek - this time, the opposite one. 
 “Of course I will.” 
--- 
 An hour later, you were settled into Billy’s bed, showered and wearing a pair of his sweats and one of his shirts. You were sore and had a headache, so you couldn’t even imagine what Frank and Billy were feeling, but though you were exhausted, you couldn’t sleep, the events of the night replaying in your mind. He… they… The way that Frank and Billy worked together was something to see; each of them in sync with the other, almost telegraphing their next move, never unaware of what was happening. I wonder how many times they’ve… You rolled over, your arms around one of Billy’s pillows, nose buried in it. Even though Frank didn’t know this time. 
 You drew your knees up to your chest and thought about the conversation that you and Frank had when you’d gotten back to the apartment, Karen giving the two of you a few minutes to talk in private while she dropped her things off in the bedroom. Billy hadn’t told Frank that he was leaving the party on his own, nor had he informed him that he wanted to take Rawlins on by himself. “It was a stupid plan, but that’s Bill. Gets so worked up that all he can see is the bad shit, the ways he…”  Frank scrubbed a hand over his face. “He did his best, but it… goddamn, kid, it’s a good thing you had your phone on you, otherwise…” 
 There wasn’t any need for an explanation; you knew what the otherwise was - Rawlins would have started back in on Billy while they waited for Frank to arrive, and there was no telling what condition he would have been in by that time. So it’s a good thing I… You rolled back over onto your other side, facing the doorway, the pillow clutched to your chest. Goddamn I wish Billy was here. 
 As you closed your eyes, you thought of what Billy said to you in the hospital, the way he’d said goodbye to you at the office, the way he’d - without prompting - told you that he was still planning on leaving when he was able. That’s the job. That’s what he… that was always the plan. You also remembered Karen’s words, her explanation of what the relationship with Frank had been like, the way he hadn’t needed to say the words that they both knew to be true. She’s wrong, you thought as you pulled the blanket tighter around yourself. It’s only been a few weeks. He doesn’t love me. He might care about me, but… 
 You felt yourself nodding off, finally, and the last thought you had was of the look that had been present in Billy’s eyes as Tyler pointed the gun at you the first time, and then again when he’d stood back up after he’d been shot, looming behind you and once again pointing the weapon. There was something to that look. But...
 --- 
 No one woke you up the next morning, and by the time you opened your eyes, the clock said that it was nearly noon. Jesus, I needed that. You heard Karen and Frank talking in the living room, but you were in no hurry to get up, instead reaching for your phone. You had text messages from your father, early that morning - telling you that he’d put your coat and purse into your office, waiting for you to go back and get them, from Kasey, asking how the party was… and one from Billy, who’d sent you a message from his phone only a half hour earlier. 
 That was the only one you replied to, answering his question about where you were with a picture of yourself and his comforter pulled up to your chin, held in place with one hand and one eyebrow raised. Exactly where you suggested I go, Billy. Is that strange? Sending him a picture like that after … But he replied back after only a minute, and it made you laugh out loud. He must be feeling a little better. 
 That bed’s way more comfortable than this one. Deciding to call him instead of texting, you pressed the button and waited, holding the phone to your ear. “Hey.” He answered after two rings, and you were surprised to hear the raspiness of his voice -  much more pronounced than it had been there the night before. “Y-”
 “How are you feeling, Billy?” It felt strange to be talking to him, miles away while you laid in his bed. “You sound…”
 “I feel like shit.” He coughed. “But they say I…” You heard him pause. “They say that everythin’ looks better this morning, so that’s somethin’ to celebrate.” It is. “So.” He sighed. “Since you’re in my room an’ all, do you think you could bring me some clothes for when they finally let me outta here?” You’re already thinking about getting out? “I mean, any of the ones you’re not already wearin’ that is.” You laughed again, closing your eyes. 
 “Making jokes, Billy? You must be feeling better.” He stayed quiet, but you heard him clear his throat. “I didn’t want to sleep in the scrubs, so I just... I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have…” 
 “Don’t apologize. Can’t see much, but they look go…” You heard a second voice, and the sound of the phone being shuffled around on Billy’s end. “I gotta go.” He sighed. “My doc’s here, they’re gonna poke at me some more an’ then I get to eat some lunch.” Good, you need to… “You gonna come see me today? Frankie’s already been here an’ left, but he couldn’t -”
 “Do you want me to?” I don’t want to ask, that sounds… but I need to… “I mean, I know you want clothes, but…” 
 “Yeah.” Billy coughed, the sound turning into a groan. “I do.” His tone was clipped, but you couldn’t tell if it was because he was in pain or because he didn’t want to admit that he wanted to see you, but either way, you decided it wasn’t worth questioning. Good. Assuring him you’d be there as soon as you could after you got your keys and purse from your office, you hung up, sitting up on the mattress. Get up. 
 You did, checking your appearance in Billy’s mirror before stepping out into the living room, where Frank and Karen were sitting on the couch, the woman’s head resting on his shoulder and her arm around his waist. “You’re awake!” Karen sat straight up, but you were focused on Frank, watching as the man watched you. What? “Are you hungry, there’s plenty of food in the fridge, or I can go -”
 “I’m fine, Karen. I can stop in the diner or something when I go pick up my -” It was your turn to stop mid-sentence, your eyes settling on your coat and purse, which were on the counter. “How…”
 “Went an’ saw Bill this morning, and your dad was walkin’ out of the room.” Frank straightened up, barely wincing as he set his shoulders. “Stopped me an’ told me where your stuff was, said he didn’t know if your phone was still gonna have a charge, so on my way back, I stopped and went into your office. Figured you’d want to get back into your place before you go an’ see ‘im.” I do, but Frank, I… “Saves you time, yeah? I was already out, so -”
 “Thank you, Frank.” You felt yourself shudder. “For everything. For… the last few weeks, for last night, for…” You gestured to your coat. “For that.” He grinned at  you, and for the first time, you noticed one of his eyes was blackened too, a scrape high on his cheekbone. “I don’t know what I -” 
 “Don’t mention it.” He shrugged. “It’s my job.” It’s not just a job, though. Not this. But you realized that though it had been personal, Frank was able to compartmentalize in a way that Billy couldn’t. Frank’s wrath had been taken out on the other men - Schoonover and Wolf and Bennet, as well as on the gang members physically responsible for shooting his family. It was never … this - Pittsburgh -  was always for Billy. Rawlins was always … You closed your eyes, willing yourself not to cry. “You OK, kid?” You nodded, reaching up to wipe beneath your eyes. “Thought so.” Frank was smiling at you, eyes bright. “Onea these days, we’ll have a long talk about what happened, yeah? About how much you -” Karen’s hand covered his mouth and she shook her head quickly, silencing him. What? 
 “Go. Go change and then go see Billy.” She smiled at you. “Who knows how long he’ll make it today without the pain meds.” Oh, yeah, I need to… 
 “He asked me to bring him some clothes for when he’s released.” You gestured toward Billy’s room. “Does he have an overnight bag or…” Karen was on her feet before you’d finished the sentence, stepping into the room that you’d vacated, you close behind. She opened his closet and knelt down inside of it, digging through a few of the boxes on the floor and held up an olive green duffle bag, the word ANVIL emblazoned on the side of it in black. “Thanks.” You stared at the logo for a few seconds before setting the bag on the bed and then turning back to the dresser. “I don’t even know…” But without taking any additional steps, you sat down next to it, putting both hands over your face as you bounced gently on the mattress. “Karen, what do I …”
 “Well.” She sat next to you, putting an arm around your shoulders. “This isn’t about clothes, is it?” You looked down, shaking your head. “Didn’t think so.” The two of you were silent for a few seconds, and then you heard Karen clear her throat. “Do you love him?” You pressed your lips together. 
 “I don’t know.” It was barely a whisper, but it was the truth. “We’ve only known each other for -” I shouldn’t. It’s not...
 “It doesn’t matter. That isn’t what I asked.” Swallowing hard, you thought about her question - and about how you felt. I… he… “You don’t have to tell me.” You straightened up, meeting her eyes - clear and blue and full of understanding. “But you need to tell him, no matter … however you feel. Even if you don’t… you’re not there yet.” Yet? You think … but you’re leaving.  
 “He won’t want to hear it.” That’s as close to an admission as… You smiled at her, standing and moving over to Billy’s closet, flipping through the hangers. “Even if… He -”
 “You’d be surprised at what Billy Russo would be happy to hear,” Karen replied, walking over to you and squeezing your arm as she passed. “He’s not always the tough guy he pretends to be.” She closed the door behind her and left you alone in Billy’s room with your thoughts. I can’t think about that now. I can’t… You chose a few shirts for Billy, along with a zip-up sweatshirt, knowing that lifting his arms over his head would be difficult for a while. Folding them neatly and tucking them into his bag, you turned to the dresser, opening the bottom drawers first, looking for pants. 
 But the first two you opened were empty, nothing inside but dust. There was one drawer containing a few pairs of jeans and pajama pants, along with a pair of sweats similar to the ones you’d found already clean and folded in his laundry basket. You picked a pair of jeans at random, adding them to the bag along with the sweats, and then opened his top drawer, finding socks and underwear, also neatly folded. You picked out two pairs of each, and then went to close the drawer when a flash of metal beneath his socks caught your eye. What’s that? Feeling guilty for snooping, you pushed the dark cotton out of the way and sucked in a breath at the sight of Billy’s dog tags, still on a chain. He brought them with him?
 You lifted them toward your face, eyes on the stamped letters and numbers. Out of all the stuff he could have brought… Fingers curling around the thin, oblong pieces of metal, you took a deep breath. All the shit that happened to him, and the Marine Corps is still… it’s still important to him. It still means something. You felt your heart pounding in your chest as you stood in Billy’s silent room, the cool metal growing warm against the center of your palm. He means something to me. He… 
 Eyes opening, you dropped the tags back into the drawer, pushing his socks back into place before closing it and picking the bag up by the strap. Phone charger. Glancing around the room, you spotted a plug next to the bed, adding it into the bag as well before you left the room, going into Billy’s bathroom and packing his toiletries - which wasn’t difficult, since most of them were already in a travel bag. “I’m gonna go, guys.” You peeked around the corner before stepping to the counter, seeing Frank and Karen back on the couch. “Thank you for letting me stay here, and for getting my stuff.” Your coat over one arm and purse with it, you took a deep breath. “Come and see me before you leave, alright?” 
 “Don’t worry about that right now, kid.” Frank laughed. “Worry about Bill an’ yourself.” I will. As you pulled the door open, you glanced down, noticing Billy’s boots by the door. He probably needs those, too… there was so much blood, his other shoes can’t… Bending down, you lifted the boots, waiting until you’d closed the door behind you to put them into the bag. I hope I didn’t forget anything. 
 --- 
 By 1:30, you were changed and ready to go again, though your nerves were shot. This is crazy, it’s just Billy. Snow had continued to fall throughout the night, but the roads were clear - for the most part - as you drove the 10 minutes to UPMC Mercy, Billy’s bag on the seat next to you. Your hand shook as you signed in, peeling off the back of the visitor’s sticker and attaching it to the front of your shirt while you waited for the elevator, coat over your arm. Billy was still in the ICU, which meant checking in again when you got to his floor, but the smiling nurse waved you right in, telling you that Billy was quite the hit on the floor that day. Of course he is. 
 You heard voices in the room as you approached his door, and as you knocked, you saw another female nurse along with a male doctor at Billy’s bedside, both of them laughing too as Billy gave them as much of a smile as he could manage. He looks better. 
 Though the light was still somewhat off, Billy’s skin was clear of blood, and it looked like the swelling on his face had gone down some. The bruising was worse, though, and his lip - and the stitches - didn’t look great, but he looked more like Billy. Thank God. “Hey, Billy.” He immediately looked away from the doctor and at you. “I can come back if -”
 “No, it’s fine.” The doctor turned toward you, shaking his head. “We were just finishing up with Mr. Russo here, telling him what we’ve assessed about his condition.” 
 “Looks like I’m gonna make it.” Billy’s voice was still raspy, but you heard the amusement in it. “Lucky, right?” 
 “Very.” Your eyes moving between Billy and the other two, you managed a smile. “For someone, I’m sure.” The nurse snorted as she tried to hide her laughter, walking by you on her way out, but the doctor eyed you carefully.
 “You get it from him, or does he get it from you?” He paused. “The sense of humor, I mean?” 
 “Oh, he… we just…” From me? What?
 “Littlea both.” Billy was using the button on the remote to raise his bed, allowing himself to sit up straighter. “Kinda rub off on each other, if I’m bein’ honest.” Are you? But you couldn’t help smiling, taking a full step into the room as the doctor left too, telling Billy someone would be back to check on him before dinner. He shut the door behind him, and then it was just the two of you in the room, the machines softly beeping. “You look better.” He spoke quietly, using one hand to gesture to the chair next to the bed - which hadn’t been there earlier. “C’mon and sit.” 
 “I look better?” He nodded. “Same goes for you, too.” Carrying his bag with you, you slid it off of your uninjured shoulder and onto the top of the table next to his bed, hearing him thank you. “No problem, Billy. Brought you a couple different outfits to pick from, your boots and a hoodie. I don’t know what happened to your coat, and I didn’t see any other shoes, but…”
 “I had it on when I left last night.” He met your eyes as you sat, scooting the chair closer to the bed. “Tyler or Madani musta taken it off while I was still knocked out in that hotel, because it’s…” He reached for the cup that was on the raised tray to his right, bringing the straw to his lips and taking a long drink. You watched his movements - each of them slow and deliberate, requiring a great deal of effort. Nothing like last night. Nothing like … “I’m gonna have to wear a goddamn boot for five weeks because of my ankle.” His tone humorless, Billy looked back at you, the fingers on his hand flexing. “My ribs’ll take just as long to heal, lung a couple weeks. Stitches... “ He laughed again. “My face is usedta bein’ in recovery, you know?” 
 “Billy -” You reached for his hand but he pulled it away, continuing. 
 “I made the nurse help me into the bathroom earlier, so I could see my face? See what he did to me.” Billy wasn’t looking at you, instead he’d focused on his hands, both of them above the blanket and on his lap. “An’ it’s not as bad as I thought, but it’s…” He took a breath. “They cleaned my face up last night an’ again this mornin’, helped me wash all the blood off, wet my hair down so I could keep it off my forehead.” He laughed again, but you heard the bitterness in it. “At least they didn’t cut my hair off this time.” He slowly reached up, fingers running through the strands, pulling on them. “What am I gonna do for five weeks?” He sounds so lost. 
 “Take a break.” You spoke quickly, leaning in and moving your hand to rest it on his bare arm. “Let your body heal, Billy. That’s all you can do, so that you can get back to…” Back to work. Back to putting yourself in danger every time you take on a new assignment. “Haven’t you earned it?” 
 “Rawlins is alive, so no, I don’t think -” You said his name, and your tone of voice must have shocked him, because he stopped speaking, head snapping in your direction. 
 “I’m alive, too. And so is Frank. And so is my dad. And so are you, Billy. Whatever time you take for yourself? You’ve earned.” 
 “How?” He sounds like … “How did I earn anything when I couldn’t -” 
 “You could have easily killed him, Billy. And it would have been in self defense.” Sort of. There was no way for anyone to… “But you didn’t. You chose to let him live, and to… to make him pay for what he did, instead of him just being… he’s going to suffer, Billy. And he deserves every second of it. All the shit Lieberman has on him? All of the emails with Madani? Between Tyler and Rawlins? He’s not going to get away with this, and neither will she. They might cover it up so it doesn’t go into the papers, but they won’t…” I have to believe they won’t get away with it. “You picked the Castles once before, and this time? You picked a real future - one without the guilt of another dead body in the middle of it.” 
 The words poured out of your mouth, and you didn’t try to stop them. Billy didn’t interrupt you, but you felt him staring at you, and then, after a few seconds of silence, felt his hand touch yours, fingers sliding over the back of it. “Did I?” What? “Did I pick myself, or did I prove that I’m fuckin’ weak?” 
 “Billy, you…” Licking your lips, you leaned in, slowly turning your hand over and squeezing his. “That’s not it at all. You know you’re not weak, and you know that what you did was…” 
 “Was what?” He searched your face. “He ordered me to kill my best friend and his family, had you kidnapped, beat the shit out of me, and he’s still breathin’. And that’s not even half of it, so why did I -” 
 “I don’t know, Billy.” You lifted his hand, pressing your lips to the back of it briefly. “Only you know why you chose what you did, but… I don’t think you’re weak. Frank doesn’t…” You trailed off. I won’t convince him. He’s got to realize it on his own.  
 “So you slept in my bed last night?” The abrupt change in topics surprised you, but you nodded in agreement. “Good.” Billy shifted in the bed, but didn’t pull his hand away from yours. “I’m sorry if I said anything fuckin’ dumb last night when you were in here. I remember you bein’ in the room and sayin’ goodbye, and I remember telling you to stay at my place, but -”
 “You had a lot of painkillers in your system, Billy. Don’t worry about it.” You tried to laugh at that, wanting to ease his mind. “It happens to the best of us.” You shrugged. “I bet you were hitting on the nurses all night after I left, so … I’m sure it was interesting.” 
 “I fell asleep as soon as you walked out. Woke up in the middle of the night, pressed the button again, and went right back to sleep.” There was no trace of humor in his voice. “No hittin’ on the nurses last night.” But what about this moring? The woman at the desk said…  
 “You don’t have to explain it to me, Billy, you…” Wetting your lips, you paused. “I’m sure they’re disappointed.” Even he laughed at that for a few seconds before his expression returned to a serious one. “What?” 
 “You’re actin’ like Karen did when Frankie was in the hospital last. Is this even… are you just…” Am I? What am… 
 “You know what, Billy?” You frowned. “I don’t know how I’m going to walk into that lobby at work again, or go into a parking garage, or…” You chewed on the corner of your lip, averting your eyes. “Or even look at Hotel Monaco again, which is a goddamn shame, because there’s a rooftop bar there that I love going to. I know Tyler’s gone, and Madani and Rawlins won’t be bothering us again, but it’s…” It’s now or never. “As soon as I saw you next to me last night, Billy? I was scared, but I … I knew you’d figure something out. I knew you wouldn’t… let anything happen to me, even though …” Even though it was three against one. “I was useless, Billy. Just sat there, and then when Tyler was holding onto me? I didn’t even fight back. I didn’t try to fight back, because I didn’t know how and I didn’t want to distract you.” There were tears in your eyes and you furiously blinked them back, using one hand to swipe at your cheeks rather than pulling your other one away from Billy’s to use both. “I created a fucking program for continued combat training, and I couldn’t even take down one -” 
 “Then maybe you need someone to help you out.” He interrupted you, voice soft. “Whenever you do go back, have onea your people start teachin’ you. Basic self defense isn’t…” I don’t want one of my people to teach me, I want… Billy said your name, drawing your attention back to him. “What’s wrong?” 
 “I…” You closed your eyes. “Karen and I…” Don’t. He won’t… he doesn’t… “Billy…” You slowly raised your gaze, eyes moving up Billy’s face until you were staring into his. “Fuck, Billy, I …” You saw the fear in his eyes - the first time you’d ever seen it there. He’s not… But behind the fear, you saw something else, too. “Nothing’s wrong.” Losing your nerve, you shook your head. “You’re right. I need to have someone …” You pulled your hand away from his, sitting up straight and clasping both of yours together on your lap. “Frank said my dad was in here this morning?” Change the subject. It’s what he’d do. Billy seemed surprised at the redirection, but nodded, his eyes never leaving your face. 
 “He was. Came to thank me for what I did for you. For how I handled the whole thing. He said all my hospital bills are taken care of, anything I need is on him because he can’t ever really repay me.” Of course he did. “Gave him Murdock and Nelson’s information, just in case, so our guys an’ your guys are on the same page.” Billy stopped speaking and you heard him exhale. “He said if I ever hurt you, he’d kick my ass.” Hurt me?
 “What? Why would -” But Billy cut you off, moving his hand so that it hung off the edge of the bed, his fingertips grazing your knee. 
 “Told him that just about anyone could kick my ass right now.” Billy was smiling - or trying to, at least, and didn’t wait long to continue. “But he’s right, an’ it was more than a threat. It was a reminder.” It couldn’t have been, he wouldn’t…  “I got my best friend’s family killed. My own guys got killed - or hurt. Look at me… I should be dead by now, but somehow, I’m…” He said your name again, waiting until you were focused on him. “It’s all people I make the mistake of carin’ about that end up …” It’s not a mistake.
 “Billy…” You couldn’t keep the tears from escaping, one after another sliding down your cheeks. Don’t do this. “You -” 
 “Don’t give me the chance to do that to you, too.” His words hit you harder than either of Tyler’s attacks the previous night, and you sucked in a breath, a sob erupting from your lips. “Don’t.” You were both quiet, Billy’s hand still on your knee. “If you say it, it...You know it’s not -” I can’t do this with him right now. 
 “Alright, Billy.” You squeezed your eyes shut. “If that’s what you want. If that’s…” You tilted your head back, staring at the ceiling. He cares about me, but he’s going to… “It’s not what I would ….” You took a deep breath. “You realize, Billy, that…” 
 “I gotta walk out of here, and you can’t do it with me.” You winced. “I have to go back, and -”
 “It’s never been about you staying here, Billy. I always knew you were going back to New York.” What are you afraid of - really? 
 “Then what -” You laughed, cutting off the sound after only a second or two. 
 “You don’t want to admit you care about someone? Fine. I’m not going to force you. But, Billy, you…” You finally looked back at him, seeing that the fear was still there, bright and clear in his eyes. “Last night was a seriously fucked up situation, no way around it.” He agreed, but didn’t say anything else. “And the last couple of weeks, I don’t know. I guess I just thought at the very least that we were friends, but now you’re…” Now you’re telling me I can’t care about you because you’re worried I’ll end up hurt. “After what you did for me? You expect me to just say “ok” to you getting up and walking out of this hospital and out of Pittsburgh like it’s nothing? Pretending that I don’t feel like we’ve -”
 “No, I’m not…” He shifted on the bed, scooting closer to you. “I got Frankie. And Karen. And Curt. And a fewa the guys from Anvil that I talk to every now an’ then, but friends?” Billy shook his head. “It’s easier to let people just…” Easy? “People are disappointing, you said it yourself, right? To Madani?” He lifted the hand that had been on your knee, fingertips reaching your jaw. “All I’m gonna do is disappoint you, just like I’ve disappointed everyone. My ma, myself, Frankie, Maria an’… I can’t stop, no matter what I do. The harder I try to do the right goddamn thing, the more I...” You leaned into his touch, still focused on his face. You’re wrong. “I’m used to it. So it’s easier to do this now, before...” Before what? Feelings? Too late. 
 “Well I can tell you, Billy, that you definitely didn’t disappoint me with the way you handled Tyler. Or Rawlins.” Or Madani. You smiled at him, your words quiet. “You did exactly what you promised.” Swallowing, you bit down on your lower lip, watching as his eyes followed the movement. “And you know what? That’s enough for me.” It’s not. But if you need it to be… You sighed, the sound loud in the room. “When you get out of here, Billy? Before you go back? Can we talk about… about what happened? There’s parts I missed, and I ...”
 “We can talk about it now if you want.” He cleared his throat, hand dropping from your face. “I’m not takin’ pain meds until it’s time for me to sleep, so I…” Billy’s tongue moved over his lower lip. “So everything’s clear.” 
 “How… how did Tyler get you?” You frowned. “There’s no way he was stronger than -”
 “He’s… he wasn’t. I was leavin’ the party, wanted to find a good spot to wait for Rawlins. Lieberman told me he parked in the garage - drove himself, probably to make sure that there was proof he came and left - so I figured I’d wait by his car an’ surprise him.” Makes sense. “Tyler’s car was parked next to his. After he was in your office the other day, Lieberman looked up his plates, and I recognized ‘em.” Billy sniffed. “So I knew he was still involved somehow, an’ I decided I was gonna make it impossible for him to move his car, even if I didn’t know where he was.” Billy’s head moved from side to side and then he looked down. “Was gonna cut his tires while I waited, leave him with a nice surprise when he got back to the garage from wherever the fuck he was, but when I… I bent over to do the first one, and that piece of shit attacked me from behind with a bat. He said my name right before he hit me, and asked if I was…” Billy looked at you again, the look in his eyes changing to one of disgust. “Doesn’t matter what else he said. Gotta fuckin’ lump on the back of my head the size of…” What did he say?
 Without thinking, you leaned forward, raising your hand to touch him, fingers sliding through his hair. Oh, shit. “Billy, that has to… how don’t you have a concussion?” 
 “I gotta thick skull.” He tried to smile, and the amusement in his voice was genuine. “He must’ve dragged me into his trunk somehow, because when I woke up, you were in there with me. Your legs were over mine, which meant he had me first, and he had some type of SUV, so there was enough room. And enough light.” Billy swallowed hard. “I could see you were bleedin’, but he’d covered my mouth, so I couldn’t say anything to you, and my hands an’ feet were…” He stared at you, a hard look in his eyes. “I can count on one hand the number of times in my life I’ve felt helpless, an’ that was one of em.” 
 “Billy, you…” Letting out a shuddering breath, you narrowed your eyes. “I think he hit me, too. Or maybe shoved me, I just remember falling, and I …” You reached up, touching your stitches. “Hit my head, I have no idea how long I was out, or how he got me into the room without anyone seeing, but…” 
 “He hit you with something when we were in the trunk - chloroform, maybe? I was able to get my face close enough to feel an’ hear that you were breathin’, but that’s all I could do, and then we stopped moving. I figured he’d open the back of the car, but he… he climbed into the middle row of seats and dropped another towel over our faces, and even though I tried to turn my head away, I couldn’t, an’ then I was out again, knowin’ you were right there and there was nothin’ I could do.” That’s why I felt so groggy, it was more than hitting my head, it was… “And then I woke up, and he had his hands on you, and I…” Billy coughed, reaching for the water again.
 “I know the rest.” You were still stroking the back of his head, fingers avoiding the raised portion of his skin. “I didn’t know how we were going to get out of it, Billy, but I knew we would. Especially when she said she was gonna call Frank. But when he came in? When he choked you, and you were already out of it because of how many times Rawlins hit you?” You felt your eyes welling up. “I was scared. Not because I was afraid for me, but because of what he’d already done to you, of how much blood there was, how dazed you…” He doesn’t want to hear that I care about him, but he needs to hear this. I’m telling him without… “You ran across the room, Billy, on a broken ankle, just to…” 
 “Made you a promise.” The words were strained. “Had to keep it.” The room went quiet, neither of you speaking. Though you knew that parts of what had happened the previous night were likely difficult for Billy to remember, you watched the emotions play out on his face as he thought, going through the sequence of actions again in his mind. 
 “And you want me to act like I don’t care about you.” You spoke without thinking, feeling him freeze. “Billy, do you realize how impossible that is? Even without…” I cared about you long before last night. 
 “You can’t.” He paused, head turning slightly toward you. “You shouldn’t.” 
 “I do.” He met your eyes, and you heard rustling as he moved his other hand, crossing it over his lap to take yours, the thin tubing from the morphine drip trailing behind. “If you’re gonna leave, I at least need you to know that.” There’s more you need to know, too, but I can’t, not now. “And it isn’t gratitude, Billy. Or just me appreciating what you did for me and for my dad. It’s more, it has been for a while.” Before the hotel, even. Maybe back at the skating rink. His fingers were curled around your arm, and as you glanced down you noticed that the knuckles on both of his hands were cracked and swollen, some fingers bruised, too. That has to hurt, everything he does has to… “So it is possible, Billy, for someone to…” He leaned toward you and you looked back up, wordlessly letting him close the distance and press his lips to your cheek. I can feel the stitches, that’s… 
 “You watched me shoot a man, watched me beat another …” It was your turn to scoff, not pulling away. “It’s dangerous for people to get close to me, and I shouldn’t have let this…” Billy’s lips trailed over your cheek as they moved toward your lips. “Shouldn’t have let this happen, not like… not like this. It’s reckless. Too goddamn...” He’d reached your mouth, and you felt him exhale before he kissed you, lips pressed against yours firmly, though it had to be painful for him. Your fingers tightened, his hair once again soft beneath your palm, and Billy’s hold on your arm changed. This could be the last time I… 
 But you kept it together, letting Billy pull away when he chose to, his brown eyes wide - and no longer filled with fear. Instead, he looked confused, lips parted slightly and his breath coming out in short bursts. Well now that that’s out in the open…sort of... He settled back against the pillows, his hand dropping away from your arm and back to your knee, yours resting atop it as he pulled the other hand from yours, pressing it against his abdomen. Probably trying to help the pain. “Do you want me to go, Billy? I brought you your clothes, and -” 
 “You wanna go?” He cocked his head to the side and you felt the mood in the room shift again, the tension dissipating without warning. “You don’t have to, we can watch a movie or somethin’...” He wants me to stay? But he… You nodded, and Billy began flipping through channels, eyes on the large TV screen at the foot of his bed. “You comfortable in that chair?” He finally settled on something - you didn’t know what it was, and turned his head to look at you again. “I know it’s not -” 
 “I’m fine.” As he’d looked for something to watch, you’d changed the angle of the chair, turning it to face the TV and scooting it right next to the bed. “You?” He sighed. 
 “I want to press the button, but then I’ll -” 
 “If you’re in pain, Billy, use the IV. That’s what it’s there for.” You looked over at him, a small smile all you could offer. I’m so confused, I don’t know what... “I don’t mind, and you could probably use the rest.” He looked like he was about to argue with you, but then you watched as he reached over, pressing his thumb against the button at the end of the cord once - and then again a few seconds later. “Don’t try to stay awake on my account, Billy. If you -” He reached over with his left hand, grabbing for yours and squeezing. 
 “I’ll stay awake.” 
 But Billy didn’t, falling asleep within only a few minutes, his features smoothing out again as he relaxed against the pillows behind him. He wasn’t breathing deeply, but it didn’t sound labored anymore, and you took the opportunity to stare at his face in the light. He’s so bruised, so many… his poor nose. Though it was taped on the bridge, you could still see the bruising, curving beneath his eyes in semi-circles, the purplish black standing out in a stark contrast to his pale skin. 
 Aside from his lip and one large cut on his cheek, just above the other scar there, none of his facial wounds looked deep enough to scar, and you knew that though it was bad, it could have been worse. “You’re lucky, Billy.” Without letting go of his hand, you shifted in the chair, turning it back toward the bed and leaning over, using your free hand to touch his face, running your fingers over the scarring and the new wounds, trying to take everything in. You wouldn’t have dared to do it with him awake, but you knew that the morphine combined with the trauma he’d experienced had knocked him out, eliminating all of his pain for at least a few hours. He needs it. 
 You stroked his cheek with your thumb, never looking away from his face, and thinking about all of the things you wanted to say to Billy - the things that you’d gone to the hospital prepared to tell him. The truth was that you more than cared about Billy - and you thought he knew it as well as you did. I think he… he might… You lowered your gaze to his chest and then brought it back up, chewing on the inside of your lip. He won’t admit it, though. He’s already made up his mind. You understood; it was easier to pretend it wasn’t the truth if no one said anything out loud, but there was a part of you that still wanted him to know for sure. Even if he doesn’t… won’t… But your thoughts were interrupted as Billy began mumbling in his sleep, a few words of nonsense and then your name, perfectly clear. Dreaming about me, Billy? I hope it’s a good one. 
 Sighing, you leaned over, kissing him gently before you sat back up, taking a deep breath. It’s going to be OK, even when he leaves. But even as you had the thought, you knew that it would take a long time to convince yourself that it was the truth. “You don’t want to hear me tell you how I feel about you, Billy? That’s fine.” You ran your fingers up and down his arm, stopping with your palm over the back of his hand. “But just because you don’t hear me say it doesn’t mean that that’s how it is.” You took a deep breath, eyes moving back over his face. Saying it makes it real. “We both know the truth, Billy. You just don’t want to admit it.”
--- 
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ripjaws · a year ago
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Ben 10 Survey Results!
Huge thank you to everyone who submitted a response, it was really fun looking through them all and I was genuinely surprised by the results of some of the questions.
Hopefully this will work under a read more because it's quite long and I don't want people to have to scroll a hundred years to get past it.
If anyone has any questions or anything please feel free to ask! :)
Thanks again!
General
Q1. How would you describe your gender?
36% - Female 25.3% - Male 24% - Non-binary 8% - Prefer not to say 4% - Agender 2.7% - Genderfluid
Q2. How would you describe your sexuality?
32% - Bisexual 20% - Heterosexual 20 % - Asexual 8% - Lesbian 6.7% - Prefer not to say 5.4% - Pansexual 4% - Gay 1.3% - Demisexual 1.3% - Questioning 1.3% - Polysexual
Q3. Current age
48% - 20-24 39% - 15-19 13.3% - 25-30 1.3% - Older than 30 1.3% - Younger than 15
Q4. Age when you first became interested in Ben 10
86.7% - Younger than 15 9.3% - 15-19 2.7% - 20-24 1.3% - 25-30
Episodes and season
Q1. Which series did you watch first?
88% - Original Series 9.3% - Alien Force 1.3% - Omniverse 1.3% - Reboot
Q2. Rank the series in order of preference
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[IMAGE ID: Five separate groups of five vertical bar charts. The individual columns for each group are coloured in the same order and corresponds to what ranking they recieved on that question of the survey. According to the key at the top of the image the order is; blue = 1, red = 2, orange = 3, green = 4 & purple = 5. The Y axis of the graph goes from zero to thirty in intervals of ten.
The first group is labelled ‘Original Series’ and shows that it got twenty votes in blue, seventeen votes in red, sixteen votes in orange, ten votes in green & twelve votes in purple.
The second group is labelled ‘Alien Force’ and shows that it got nine votes in blue, eighteen votes in red, twenty-one votes in orange, twenty-two votes in green & five votes in purple.
The third group is labelled ‘Ultimate Alien’ and shows that it got thirteen votes in blue, ten votes in red, fourteen votes in orange, twenty-two votes in green & sixteen votes in purple.
The fourth group is labelled ‘Omniverse’ and shows that it got eighteen votes in blue, fifteen votes in red, seventeen votes in orange, fifteen votes in green & ten votes in purple.
The fifth and final group is labelled ‘Reboot’ and shows that it got fifteen votes in blue, fifteen votes in red, seven votes in orange, six votes in green & thirty-two votes in purple. END IMAGE ID]
Q3. Favourite season (Original Series)
40% - Season 1 18.7% - Season 2 18.7% - Season 3 17.3% - Season 4 5.3% - Don’t like/Haven’t watched
Most popular episodes were Ken 10 (S4E10) & Kevin 11 (S1E7)
Q4. Favourite season (Alien Force)
52% - Season 2 28% - Season 1 16% - Season 3 4% - Don’t like/Haven’t watched
Most popular episodes were Alone Together (S2E2) & Save the Last Dance (S2E4)
Q5. Favourite Season (Ultimate Alien)
36% - Season 1 25.3% - Season 3 20% - Don’t like/Haven’t watched 18.7% - Season 2
Most popular episodes were Forge of Creation (S1E16) & Duped (S1E2)
Q6. Favourite Season (Omniverse)
18.7% - Don’t like/Haven’t watched 18.7% - Season 2 16% - Season 5 12% - Season 6 10.7% - Season 1 9.3% - Season 8 8% - Season 4 5.3% - Season 3 1.3% - Season 7
Most popular episodes were And Then There Were None (S6E1) & And Then There Was Ben (S6S2)
Q7. Favourite Season (Reboot)
60% - Don’t like/Haven’t watched 17.3% - Season 4 10.7% - Season 3 6.7% - Season 1 5.3% - Season 2
Most popular episodes were Omni-tricked (S1E37) & Innervasion (S2E36)
Q8. Which live action movie did you prefer?
40% - Alien Swarm 22.7% - Race Against time 22.7% - Didn’t like either 14.7% - Haven’t watched either
Characters and aliens
Q1. Favourite main character
45.3% - Ben Tennyson 28% - Kevin Levin 17.3% - Rook Blonko 9.3% - Gwen Tennyson
Some ‘Why’ responses:
Ben -
I know it's a really basic pick but I enjoy Ben alot as a character. Even though I feel like he took an extremely sharp turn into immaturity in the final season of Alien Force onward (from what I've heard it was due to ratings), it still fit well after a bit of time of adjustment. Him being rash and selfish at times while still having a good heart feels...very human. I'm a huge fan of flawed protagonists and Ben is a prime example of such, imo! Plus I hradcanon that he has autism and it's a big comfort for me :)
I love his potential as a character and the way he hands having such power and responsibility thrust upon him. Ben has done so much for the people in his life and the universe, and I absolutely adore him.
I think of him like a kind person who tries his best to the right thing, he's pretty chill and optimist and in my mind he's a chaotic bi and i can relate to that
Kevin -
I like that he's always been an antihero in the original series. And in the reboot I really like the direction the showrunners are taking his character. He has a different backstory, motivations and I'm really enjoying his character development. It's a fresh take on his story and they're treating it with care, which I really appreciate. His Antitrix aliens also have some really incredible designs.
Cool powers, uncommon character in children's media, especially as a primary character often cast in a good light (ex con, high school dropout, masculine, not emotionally mature). His character development is some of the best in the series.
Gods, we could be here forever... Okay, short version- 1) I can relate to him on a mental health level, especially in the OG series we seemed to have similar issues and to handle them in similar ways 2) there's a lot of depth and variance to his character, he's angry and aggressive and dangerous but also a dork, a sweetheart, and very affectionate once he lets his walls down, he loves cars and supernatural romance, violence and magical girls, he'll rescue an aggressive dog for no reason other than it needed help but also he might consider how much he could get for selling you, he's a complex character and he's allowed to be in a way the Tennysons can't because of how firmly they sit in the Hero seat 3) for all of this, we never really know all that much about him and his experiences, at least in comparison to what we know is there- we never learn about his time traveling the galaxy, we haven't heard anything about his time stuck in time, it's only in the reboot we're getting trustworthy information about his background and even then it's rare tidbits- he's ripe for exploring in fic, headcanon, and so-on 4) his powers in the OG series, his status as mutant or alien or both who knows anymore leaves a lot of doors open to play and to look at the world through different angles 5) dude has turned into six different monstrous chimera forms over the course of the franchise and honestly you have to support that sort've shit in media otherwise they might stop
Rook -
Alien catboy with a glorious voice and have you seen those arms??? And he's so polite while also being hilarious when he gets a little rude/snarky and his character development is amazing!!
While I would normally say Ben himself, Rook is his only friend that hasn't tried to kill him. Additionally, he provides Ben with guidance as well as support the Gwen and Kevin are fickle about.
Having an actual alien joining the cast and serving at Ben's foil worked well to me.
Gwen -
Smart, talented, funny, snarky, confident, and super cute. Jock-prep-nerd energy all in one. Deserves the world. Criminally ignored by the majority of the fandom. Knows karate and judo?? College at 16?? Icon.
Angel, can do no wrong, was capable of so much more than the show let her do, potential to be the most powerful member of the team if they'd just let her go a lil feral sometimes :/
She was a good voice of reason most of the time. Her powers were really interesting and overall I think she had a lot of wasted potential having to be sidelined since the series was about Ben ultimately
Q2. Favourite minor characters
40 votes - Paradox
22 votes - Max Tennyson
18 votes - Tetrax
17 votes - Argit
16 votes - Julie Yamamoto
15 votes - Azmuth
12 votes - Ester
10 votes - Looma Red Wind
9 votes - Glitch
9 votes - Kai Green
7 votes - Alan Albright
6 votes - Jimmy Jones
4 votes - Cooper Daniels
3 votes - Eunice
3 votes - Helen Wheels
2 votes - Elena Validus
2 votes - Manny Armstrong
1 vote - Cash Murray
1 vote - Driba
Other votes went to Penny Bennyson, Kenny Tennyson/Spanner, Lucy Mann, Rook Shar, Eddie Grandsmith, Myaxx and Pakmar.
Q3. Ship or Zed
64% - Ship 36% - Zed
Q4. Favourite main antagonist 
20% - Albedo 13.3% - Kevin 11 12% - Vilgax 10.7% - Charmcaster 10.7% - Zs’Skayr 9.3% - Malware 5.3% - Forever Knights 5.3% - Eon 4% - Highbreed & DNAliens 4% - Aggregor 1.3% - Servantis & Rooters 1.3% - Khyber 1.3% - Dagon & the Esoterica
Some ‘Why’ responses for top 3:
Albedo -
When I first saw him during the airing of Good Copy, Bad Copy, I was scared that Albedo might be a one-and-done evil clone that doesn't get much development. These fears went away, and I was pleased to find out about his backstory and motives, just a sour soul in an unpleasant situation. Even in Ultimate Alien with his reappearance episode, he tries to work on his own to cope in a horrid human world. He isn't necessarily malicious until Ben gets in his way, he just wants to return to his own body and leave, even stating that he wasn't going to fight Ben anymore while he had temporarily returned to his Galvan form. I know DJW stated in some interview that Albedo could never be redeemed, but I believe there's some hope if he gets help. And I'm a sucker for those redemption arcs :)
Tragic frog man that could have been helped but nobody helped him and he doubled down on his hatred which led to him getting stuck in a cycle of revenge and punishment and it's the tragedy of how much better things could have been for him if someone just helped him that I love so much!!
Kevin 11 -
He’s very dangerous and has a terrifying power to absorb electricity and living DNA to have the same powers of who he absorbed it from and even turn himself into a mutant with all those powers combined leading to destructive power 
Kevin was a good antagonist and a good protagonist, although i feel the transition was rushed. Anti-hero kevin in the reboot is great!
Vilgax -
He was always the endgame villian for Ben, despite how many battles they've had, despite countless losses, he always tried to stay one step ahead, and plan everything.
"Speak with care, Psyphon. Your counsel is valuable...not irreplaceable."
Q5. Favourite minor villains 
38 votes - Animo 20 votes - Hex 18 votes - Michael Morningstar/Darkstar 14 votes - SixSix 13 votes - Zombozo 9 votes - Vreedle family 9 votes - Vulkanus 8 votes - Rojo 5 votes - Inspector 13 5 votes - Billy Billions 5 votes - Will Harangue 4 votes - Fistrick 4 votes - Nyancy Chan 3 votes - Lord Decibel 3 votes - Simian 3 votes - Subdora 3 votes - Viktor 2 votes - Addwaitya 2 votes - Fistina 2 votes - Kraab 2 votes - Psyphon 2 votes - Steam Smythe 2 votes - Sunder 1 vote - Liam 1 vote - Ssserpent
Other votes went to Maurice & Sydney, Bugg Brothers, Alternate evil Bens, and the Mummy.
Q6. Favourite canon relationship
66.7% - Gwen & Kevin 13.3% - Max Tennyson & Verdona 5.3% - Ben & Kai 4% - Rook & Rayona 1.3% - Julie & Herve 1.3% - Max & Xylene
Q7. Favourite non-canon ship
36% - I don’t have one 30.7% - Ben & Rook 6.7% - Ben & Kevin 4% - Ben & Julie
Other responses included Ben & Rex, Kai & Julie, Looma & Attea, Alan & Cooper, Ben & Looma, Kevin & Manny, Gwen & Cooper, Ben & Ester, Max & Phil, Azmuth & Paradox, Cooper & Elena, Kai & Ester, Ben & Zak Saturday, Ben & Eddie, Ben & Albedo, Ben & Kevin & Gwen, Kenny & Devlin, OC & canon, and Ben & a therapist. 
Q8. Favourite alien introduced in the Original Series
18.7% - XLR8 17.3% - Upgrade 13.3% - Ghostfreak 10.7% - Diamondhead 9.3% - Heatblast 8% - Wildmutt 6.7% - Ditto 2.7% - Blitzwolfer 2.7% - Snare-oh 2.7% - Grey Matter 1.3% - Cannonbolt 1.3% - Four Arms
Q9. Least favourite alien introduced in the Original Series
22.7% - Eye Guy 18.7% - Spitter 8% - Articguana 8% - Frankenstrike 6.7% - Upchuck 6.7% - Stinkfly 5.3% - Buzzshock 5.3% - Snare-oh 4% - Four Arms 2.7% - Blitzwolfer 2.7% - Ditto 2.7% - Wildmutt 2.7% - Grey Matter 1.3% - Cannonbolt 1.3% - Diamondhead 1.3% - Ghostfreak
Q10. Favourite alien introduced in Alien Force
46.7% - Big Chill 17.3% - Rath 8% - Goop 6.7% - Lodestar 5.3% - Swampfire 4% - Chromastone 4% - Spidermonkey 2.7% - Alien X 2.7% - Echo Echo 1.3% - Humungousaur 1.3% - Jetray
Q11. Least favourite alien introduced in Alien Force
18.7% - Lodestar 17.3% - Brainstorm 13.3% - Alien X 10.7% - Humungousaur 10.7% - Spidermonkey 8% - Jetray 8% - Chromastone 5.3% - Goop 5.3% - Echo Echo 2.7% - Rath
Q12. Favourite alien introduced in Ultimate Alien
18.7% - Juryrigg 16% - AmpFibian 14.7% - Clockwork 12% - NRG 8% - Armodrillo 8% - Shocksquatch 8% - Terraspin 8% - Water Hazard 2.7% - Chamalien 2.7% - Fasttrack 1.3% - Eatle
Q13. Least favourite alien introduced in Ultimate Alien
30.7% - Fasttrack 18.7% - Eatle 13.3% - Juryrigg 9.3% - Chamalien 8% - Shocksquatch 6.7% - Terraspin 5.3% - Water Hazard 4% - Clockwork 1.3% - AmpFibian 1.3% - Armodrillo 1.3% - NRG
Q14. Favourite Ultimate Form
38.7% - Echo Echo 24% - Big Chill 10.7% - Swampfire 9.3% - Way Big 8% - Wildmutt 6.7% - Spidermonkey 1.3% - Cannonbolt 1.3% - Humungousaur
Q15. Favourite alien introduced in Omniverse
29.3% - Feedback 13.3% - Pesky Dust 12% - Gravattack 9.3% - Ball Weevil 8% - Bullfrag 6.7% - Whampire 5.3% - Bloxx 4% - Atomix 4% - Walkatrout 2.7% - Gutrot 1.3% - Crashhopper 1.3% - Kickin Hawk 1.3% - Toepick 1.3% - The Worst
Q16. Least favourite alien introduced in Omniverse
24% - The Worst 14.7% - Bloxx 12% - Mole-Stache 8% - Bullfrag 6.7% - Astrodactyl 6.7% - Kickin Hawk 5.3% - Atomix 5.3% - Gutrot 4% - Crashhopper 4% - Walkatrout 2.7% - Toepick 1.3% - Ball Weevil
Q17. Favourite alternate Ben timeline
29.3% - No watch Ben 24% - Gwen 10 17.3% - Ben 10,000 8% - Mad Ben 6.7% - Dimension 23 6.7% - Eon 4% - Nega Ben 2.7% - Benzarro 1.3% - Bad Ben
Misc.
Q1. Favourite watch design
37.3% - Original Series 29.3% - Omniverse 17.3% - Alien Force 9.3% - Ultimatrix 6.7% - Reboot
Q2. Favourite alternate watch design
29.3% - Biomnitrix 20% - Gwen 10 18.7% - Negatrix 17.3% - Antitrix 8% - Power Watch 6.7% - Hero Watch
Q3. Favourite planet visited
32% - Anur Transyl 20% - Revonnah 13.3% - Mykdl’dy 10.7% - Galvan Prime 9.3% - Vilgaxia 6.7% - Piscciss 5.3% - Petropia 2.7% - Khoros
Q4. Favourite locations
34 votes - Undertown 23 votes - Ledgerdomain 23 votes - Null Void 22 votes - Bellwood 19 votes - Friedkin University 18 votes - Mr. Smoothy 16 votes - Forge of Creation 15 votes - Los Soledad 7 votes - Burger Shack 7 votes - Plumber Headquarters 4 votes - Incarcecon 2 votes - Mt. Rushmore Plumber base 2 votes - The Perplexahedron 1 vote - Plumber Academy
Q5. Favourite Vehicle
33.3% - Kevin’s car (Original) 25.3% - Rustbucket 18.7% - Proto-TRUK 13.3% - DX Mark 10 5.3% - Kevin’s car (Omniverse) 4% - Glitch
Q6. Favourite Kevin mutation
40% - Original series 20% - Ken 10 future 12% - Ultimate Alien 8% - Omniverse 8% - Alien Force 6.7% - Omniverse flashback 5.3% - Reboot
Q7. Favourite Omniverse redesign
66.7% - Ben 26.6% - Kevin 6.7% - Gwen
Q8. Least favourite Omniverse redesign
76% - Gwen 18.7% - Kevin 5.3% - Ben
Thoughts
(Putting every single response here would make this insanely long so I’ve just put the most detailed/most echoed responses & include all sides of opinions when possible.)
Q1. Thoughts on the Osmosians retcon?
Okay, first up, do you know how much work I had already put into building shit surrounding those fuckers by the time of the retcons? I had been working on this crap since AF season 2! But no, they gotta go ruin that in one fell swoop, thank you, much appreciated. Second up, I wibble on it? Like, working with mutants is fun and interesting and I've done plenty of shit with them as well, but in the end I'm always going to be a pro-Ossys person. Mostly the retcons left more questions than they gave answers (how, if Osmosians never existed, did everybody and their mother know Kevin was an Osmosian? why, if Osmosians never existed, did none of the people not-involved in this whole disaster with Servantis's mindfuckery look at Aggregor being reported as an Osmosian and go 'wtf that's not a thing'? do they really mean to tell me that not only did Kevin never bother to look into his heritage, but neither did research-happy Gwen? or am I expected to believe the Rooters made enough fake information and put it out publicly that they fooled literally everyone? and if they did then why? when it would've done the same thing with less effort if they'd just, let Kevin be a mutant with a Plumber father who died) and I feel like they didn't really give enough to justify them. One of those cases of 'making your work less interesting to make it more 'accurate''. Personally, I forever keep working on Osmosians (where's the line where it just starts becoming your shit, I think I may be heading there) and I love on mutants and I flip between or combine the two as needed for whatever story I want to tell.
While the fake memories plot isn't great I think it's for the best because the original series meant for Kevin to be a mutant while UAF changed it to alien. I like him better as a mutant human. Too much alien connections in UAF.
I could scream for hours. Easily one of the worst decisions they ever made. Omniverse picks and chooses what canon to follow from AFUA + the original run and throws it in without care or concern to what it means for the timeline. Retconning something and keeping the effect it had is just bad writing. Kevin coming to terms with not being human and that’s okay was important to me when I was a kid. Knowing that he’s just been on an unending series of brainwashed nonsense all his life deprives him of his agency. I hate this decision more than several dozen essays could ever convey.
I wasn't mad about it. Mainly because I liked the idea of Kevin being a mutant than an alien. Alien Force really was pushing that aspect even with Gwen. To the point where she called her powers 'not spells' because of her heritage. Stupid that the rooters and fake memories were a thing, but necessary.
I was never a big fan of the Rooters Arc, but this doesn't bother me too much. It makes UA a little weird with Aggragor, but again, it doesn't really bother me, as most of Omniverse didn't explore Kevin (While UA Did), and was mostly about Ben.
Osmosians were such a cool idea, and it would've allowed for more exploration into what Mike Morningstar was as well, but just writing them off as mutates is so boring. As well as it makes Aggregors whole part not really make sense, like who is he then.
While well executed, it was unnecessary. You could have had the same story line where Kevin was used to mutate other kids and still had him an Alien. You could have had it where it was another alien species that used Osmosians to morph other species to theirs; a call back to the DNAliens if you want.
Q2. Thoughts on how the Ultimate Kevin situation was dealt with in UA?
Terrible. They wanted to go far. They wanted to go dark. But they didn't think their viewership could handle it so they dialed it back. I will always be curious to know what they would have written if they didn't have those constraints. Because the final product was a mess of contrasting tone and unsure footing about how far to go with questioning our hero's moral compass. They wanted to push Ben to see what he would do and apparently, we got that he would kill Kevin and maybe Gwen if she got in the way of saving the universe.... but not really because he didn't. And then the gang is happy all back together like none of it ever happened. They wanted to explore dark themes but have it leave no consequences on the characters. Also... it was so ableist and awful and Kevin deserved better than how Ben and Max (and the writers) treated him.
If they did everything the same but the argument was 'we need to capture him and lock him away' instead of 'we need to kill him'? I would be fine. It's the fact that they slipped so quickly into murder, into murder by his 16-yo bestfriend, that gets me. Like, there's apparently no space between 'recklessly risk our safety trying to talk him down' and 'Ol' Yeller his ass' and that just does not sit right with me.
Ben should have looked for alternate solutions before jumping on the "Let's kill Kevin" train. I understand why he did (this took place immediately post-Aggregor so Ben was still traumatized about having lost so many people and because he failed and "let" Kevin get turned into Ultimate Kevin, he felt as though every person Kevin hurt would be on him) but I wish he hadn't.
Pretty good actually. I like Gwen's emotions becoming a hindrance to the job, I like Ben putting on his big boy pants and I like Kevin going up to Aggregor and saying "y'know, I was a big boy villain once and I'm tried of just getting kicked around" (obviously paraphrasing)
Other than the scenario being overplayed, I think Ben was right. Kevin was eventually going to end up killing Gwen and he'd already put others in the hospital. He needed to be stopped.
Ben jumping straight to murder, yikes. Kevin dismissing Gwen to hang out with Ben almost as soon as he turned back to normal, yikes. Otherwise, it was an interesting plotline.
Really bad. Really shows how awful max and the plumbers really are. I mean , the guy saved the universe and now he clearly needs help but all they wanted to do was kill him.
it really felt like Ben just wanted to murder Kevin because he saved the universe that one time and Ben couldn't stand someone else being the hero for once
The worst, Max straight away wanting to put him down makes u wonder how long he's been waiting for that kind of opportunity.
I'm fine with it, maybe they could have spent some time dealing with the consequences of Kevin's actions, possibly even the ramifications it had on Ben and Kevin's friendship, but overall I'm ok with it.
Q3. Thoughts on the Plumbers
Plumbers ain't shit. Individuals can be acceptable or not but the organization as a whole has too much power, not enough oversight, utilizes child labor, uses a deathtrap of a hellscape dimension as a penal colony, has been shown onscreen sentencing people to imprisonment in said dimension without a trial, and I'm sorry the fact that a Plumber official could walk into a base with his team, assault several members of staff, attempt to kidnap a boy, admit to having and planning to continue to run illegal experiments on him and others, admit to having altered the memories of other Plumber officials, all in front of the entire base, and nothing was done until he tried to kill the golden child Ben 10 and failed, got his ass kicked by one of his victims, and in a place where presumably there were security cameras? And that the response was, again, to sentence him and his team without trial, take all the evidence, and peace out without so much as looking at nonetheless apologizing to his victims? Yeah, that don't fly. Doesn't sound like an organization that has it's shit together. Either the Plumbers don't have their shit together or the higher ups were in on it until it became something that could actually damage their reputation, and either way I Do Not Approve.
They're pretty cool. I know everyone's talking about how Plumbers are space cops and therefore absolutely corrupt and bad but this is a fictional universe in which corruption in organized forces isn't a necessity. Plumbers don't function the same way real cops do, they don't follow they same chain of command, they don't have the same motivations and they definitely don't have the same biases. Plumbers perform an essential function in the Ben 10 universe, which is to capture and contain aliens who aim to hurt anyone (or those who Ben defeats).
My knowledge of the Plumbers' unfortunately doesn't go beyond UA. They're not my favorite thing ever. Some of my least favorite episodes were the ones where the Plumbers or Plumbers' kids are involved, except for the episode "Everybody Talks About the Weather". The way Alan is introduced is really cool and very X Files-esque, and it ties into the DNAlien plot very well. But throughout the series I stopped caring about the Plumbers in general and I think that concept was given too much attention.
They don't do what they're meant to. They act like heros yet I don't think I've ever seen them do anything heroic. The DNAliens situation, the aggregor situation, dagon etc etc. Where were they??? Why did they leave the fate of the universe in the hands of a 16 year-old boy? Ben has the omnitrix sure , but he's still just one guy, how much can he fight? They showed up every once in a while but that's it. They were useless.
Of course the Plumbers have their problems, but looking at most characters we've met that were plumbers seem to be pretty good people. Max, Patelliday and Rook (and even Kevin, technically) are great examples of Plumbers, Servantis being a bad example of one.
Honestly liked it when it was disbanded. It’s cool they introduced Rook but like there’s so much wrong with how they run most things. My favorite version of the plumbers was tbh the first live action movie. Where it was just a bunch of old people watching out for Ben cause they actually cared about the people they protected (in this case Ben).
Q4. Thoughts on Grandpa Max
(The responses to this one were way more divided than I thought they would be omg)
He said Kevin was a mad dog that needed to put down. He's terrible. Military. Secretive. Kept his kids out of the loop and probably told the grandkids not to tell them about a huge and extremely dangerous part of their lives. Thus creating a gap between them and their parents that didn't need to be there. Child endangerment. Other than that....? He's important to Ben and Gwen so I tolerate him and he had some good life lessons to share. Also legendary adult figure in a kids cartoon who had relationships with multiple aliens.
He’s incredible, he worked in the Air Force, was going to be one of the first people on the moon (But he refused because he joined the Plumbers) had children with an Energy Being, he has a few grandchildren, and not to mention knows how to still kick butt despite him being in his 60s and was there to help Ben grow
He’s a complicated old man. Love him to bits in the original run and I love him in AF! He’s a utilitarian doing what needs to be done and suffering the consequences when need be. He does what he thinks is going to lead to the best possible outcome for the most people in any situation.
Needs to get knocked off his pedestal more often, both in and out of canon. He's got good traits, they're very nice, but there's other shit that gets glossed over, ignored, brushed aside, too easily forgiven, and just. They really needed a character who served double duty being a counterforce to him. Somebody to go 'wtf is wrong with you?' or 'yeah, no'. Ideally this would've been Patilidae, but no. We couldn't be so lucky.
Conflicted. Was he grooming Ben for plumber work, or just trying to support him in a situation he knew would be dangerous? It’s not made very clear...
I think he's got some sort of narcissistic personality disorder. I just can't forgive him for making Ben carry the burden of the Omnitrix at the age of 10 without ever explaining anything, and for not letting Ben and Gwen know he was alive after the Null Void grenade incident in AF. He clearly could have, if Helen could reach Gwen so easily. I think he views Ben more as an asset than a grandson at this point and that's really sad.
I love him! The progression from family hero to questionable old man felt kinda natural, like learning about a family member as you grow older and realizing they aren't perfect
He's awesome. He was a good role model for Ben and he was very supportive to both his grandkids. I hate that they made him mute in Omniverse and changed his design so drastically. I loved Max in every season from the original till Ultimate Alien. After that, he was pretty much just a prop.
Q5. And finally, give me your most controversial Ben 10 opinion!
It seems to be the worst thing to say that Ben isn't perfect and that Kai isn't demonic. And it's pretty standard for the women of color characters in every fandom to get the most hate so to me all the hate towards Kai when her personality is so close to Ben's AND she's also more hated than the ex-villain and the actual villains that tried to kill Ben multiple times just seems- hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. But really, and really I've needed to say this for a long time but I'm afraid of being strangled. Some fans will denounce incest/pedo shippers and people that interact with them and then reblog from a proud Bwen shipper with no self-awareness. Please I have the tags blacklisted are you safe to interact with and you just don't know? Or you're just saying you hate Bwen shippers to give yourself an out for reblogging their content????? Or are you all closeted incest shippers trying to maintain a public image???? I'm at my limit.
I do not think the reboot should have existed tbh :,D I know that it has a ton of fans and all due respect to them, but from what I've seen of it I don't think it was worth tossing away four interconnected series' worth of development and starting from scratch to end up with what we have now. I would be fine with it existing if we got an Omniverse continuation alongside it, but CN screwed OV over by the decisions they made near the end of it's run. So it's probably impossible it would return, even moreso because of the reboot already airing, and it would probably confuse younger audiences that don't know about Omniverse if two Ben 10's were running separately. I just really miss Omniverse, it had more potential and the reboot placed the final nail in for it to ever return.
The Ben 10 reboot is fun and meant more for kids rather than the ones watching for nostalgia. I didn’t like how Gwevin were sidelined and downplayed to make Ben look better. Sometimes it felt like Gwen was a bit naggy towards the two of them. I didn’t like how the fact that she was the only female lead how she had sometimes act like a parent or that they put Gwen and Kevin together just because. Their relationship felt forced and awkward a lot of the time. Omniverse’s designs while controversial were fun and unique but I didn’t like what they did with Gwevin, especially Gwen.
Kevin is totally smart enough to figure out an Omnitrix with the blueprints in front of him, we see him do amazing shit with technology- including the Omnitrix- in the OG series, people just don't notice he's as brilliant as Gwen because the show never made it as big a point that he and Ben were so very smart like it did with her before the reboot, so now they're being forced to acknowledge that Kevin might have two braincells to rub together and they're pushing against the supposed 'change'.
idk if it's controversial but there should've been way more episodes of just gwen & kevin & rook without ben or ben having a very minor role in the episode. just more time for those three to shine and show off how capable they are without ben always having to come in to save the day at the end
Gwen and Kevin aren't good friends to Ben. I mean they were initially, but once he got famous and they didn't, they stopped putting more than a half-assed effort to help him. They also don't really consider his feelings nor really care about the toll heroing takes on him.
The Reboot has the best jokes in the entire franchise and I don't why people give it so much crap.
Kai Green is an abuser and I refuse to find anything redeemable about her character. "Worthy to wield Excalibur," my entire ass. And Ben and Julie's breakup was good for them both, as people, and just as much her fault as it was his.
Ben 10 is an incredibly flawed show and people need to stop getting butt hurt when the blatant misogyny, and copoganda in the show get pointed out or when any even minority critiques Ben's character.
Ben is the worst character in Ben 10 and the whole franchise would be better off without him.
Azmuth is fine for the most part and malware was not exactly the most understanding person
I think Ben should've stayed single. Every episode where romance (or the girl Ben was dating) was the focus of the episode was pretty boring to me, personally.
Ben's parents were right to try to stop him from being a hero, so were Gwen's.
Ultimate alien force season 2 and 3 were amazing.( not comparing the OS since obviously that's the best, or omniverse since I haven't watched all the episodes of that)
Pierce deserved to die for being a boring character. I just wish his death had actual consequences.
The reboot is a genuine improvement over the original continuity in MANY ways!
Oh geez, um, Kai was a good character, just her and ben were obviously toxic. Not everyone needs to like Ben and she isn't an abuser, they just don't get along and that's fine but by God, why did the writers have to force them in a relationship? That's all I could really think of on the spot. Oh! And that the first two season of AF were a watered down version of Ben and the plot focused more on Gwen and Kevin than it did Ben. He felt like a side character and I'm not mad about that, but I don't understand why people praise that characterization of ben when I remember more about gwen and Kevin then Ben. Dude, I've been watching the show for the past week and I can name more about kevin and gwen because they're memorable.
Azmuth's hot af, but y'all aren't ready for that conversation...
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haikyuu-drabble · 2 years ago
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Hi! Of you are taking requests may I have a #2 or #26 for miya atsumu please.
hi! so like u this ended up being 22 pages lol.... i just really have a huge crush on atsumu so god help ME!!! **MANGA SPOILERS IF YOUVE NOT READ UNTIL CHAP 378***
THANK YOU FOR REQUESTING!!
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atsumu x reader | change
26. i think i’ve been holding myself from falling in love with you all over again
word count: 8607
“Aren’t you going to head to the meeting soon?” your coworker called out to you.
“Ennoshita!” You were gathering some things off of your desk, “I was just headed there, right now.”
“What was the meeting going to be about again?” he asked you.
“The company that hired us to write the script for that commercial wants us to meet the person they chose to sponsor.” you explained.
“Right! That ramen company.” he clapped, “They’ve finally chosen who would really suit the image for it. I’m glad you were picked to write for this project!”
“Thanks.” you laughed, “I’ll see you later. I’m heading over!”
“Tell me who we ended up choosing once you find out!” Ennoshita called out.
You gave him a thumbs up in response and headed out on your way.
Your boss had finally given you a chance to prove yourself, and there was no way you were going to let this opportunity pass you by.
In the beginning of the meeting, your boss went over the normal procedures. However, he added, “Our clients want you to get to know the athlete better and edit the project to fit him more.”
You easily agreed to that. You felt that there was nothing that your boss could have said that might have stopped you. That was until they introduced who was going to be starring in all the ads that you’d be designing.
The person who walked in was none other than Miyu Atsumu. His shocked expression when he saw you must have mirrored yours because he was the last person you were ever expecting to see in this room.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” you muttered to yourself.
Your boss looked in your direction and asked, “What was that?”
You feigned a smile and said, “Great choice for this project!”
Once the meeting was concluded, your boss looked at you, “Can you exchange numbers with Miya? That way it’ll be easier to get into contact with each other.”
Atsumu smiled at your boss, “That’s quite alright. I believe we already have each others numbers!”
Atsumu looked at you and smirked, and you looked at your boss, “We’ve been acquainted for some time actually. I don’t know if getting to know him a bit better would actually be necessary.”
“Sorry, no can do. It’s the clients request, and I’m not going to be the one to tell them no.” he responded.
You nodded at your boss, and he exited the conference room, leaving you and Atsumu alone. You rubbed your temples, “I can’t believe this is happening.”
Atsumu grinned, “Who would have believed that I’d be working with my ex for my first commercial?”
“I could literally say the same thing.” you sighed, “Look. Can’t we just tell my boss that we meet up and stuff? Then, I’ll edit the script a little bit, and we all win in the end. You don’t have to see me, and I don’t have to see you, but everyone thinks we did.”
A devious smile grew on his face, “You know, I’m feeling like it’s time I straighten myself out.”
“What?” you deadpanned at him, very confused.
Atsumu continued, “I really think that I’ve got to stop lying. ‘Samu’s always on me about that, and I just think today is the day that I change that. We should really listen to your boss and hang out for that script of yours.”
Your shoulders dropped, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“It’s been a while since you’ve seen me. I could’ve changed here or there.” he smiled.
“I doubt it. It seems like you like to rile me up the same way as before.”
“Well, I guess I’ll just have to tell your boss that you aren’t doing what he says.” he smirked, “Hopefully, they’ll still accept you as the writer for the commercial.”
“Fine! Fine!” you gave in and pulled out your phone, “What’s your number?”
Atsumu raised a brow, “Seriously?”
“I deleted your number when we broke up. I never expected I’d be needing it ever again.” you admitted.
He begrudgingly grabbed your phone out of your hand and entered his number, “I hope to be hearing from you soon!”
“Don’t wait too long.” you sighed.
That night was a work department dinner, and you ended up at an izakaya. After a couple of drinks, everyone was starting to get a little chattier and louder. Ennoshita exclaimed, “Wait! You dated The Miya Atsumu?”
“Not so loud!” you covered his mouth with your hand, “It’s really not that cool.”
He pulled your hand off him and whispered, “You’re kidding, right? He literally has a fan club dedicated to him and just had an article written about how he’s one of the top sports bachelors.”
“Him? Really?” you snorted, “Wait, how do you even know that?”
“I hear stuff!” he shrugged, “But still, I can’t believe you! How did you two even meet?!”
“We met through common friends, and it just kind of happened.” you took a sip of your beer.
Your friend rested his chin on his hand, “So then, how long did you two date?”
“Almost four years.” you answered.
“Four years?!” Ennoshita exclaimed.
“Can you relax!” You looked to see if anyone overhead and stared at the foam in your glass, “It was a long time ago.”
He asked, “So, how is working with Miya Atsumu?”
“It’s interesting,” you veered.
“Intersting?” he chuckled, “What do you mean by that? Are things awkward?”
“Not really.” you shook your head, “Atsumu isn’t the type to let things like this really affect him.”
“What about you?” your friend asked, “Are you comfortable working with him?”
You rolled your eyes a bit, “Sadly, that doesn’t matter. I feel like if I really want to be respected as a scriptwriter, I have to deal with all the punches I’m dealt. If I don’t, no one will take me seriously.”
The next day, you were at your desk looking over some paperwork when you got a text from Atsumu. He was telling you to eat dinner with him. You replied, “No way! This is so last minute. I have things to do.”
You sent the text and put your phone face down on your desk. While you were dating, maybe planning things last minute was fine, but you didn’t owe him anything anymore.
You went back to reviewing some of your work and had gone uninterrupted for a good fifteen minutes. That was when your phone started ringing. You peeked at the caller ID and saw Atsumu’s name.
You grabbed your phone and headed into the hallway. You answered the phone, “Atsumu, are you being serious right now?”
“Yes.” he replied, “Let’s get sushi tonight. I’m craving fatty tuna.”
“I told you that I can’t. I have work to do tonight.”
“Well, I could just go to you, and tell your boss that you’ve been too busy to go on dates with me.”
“Dates?” you repeated, “We are not going on dates.”
“Dates or spending time… same thing isn’t it? I mean, I can talk to your boss about it the whole thing later when I stop by.”
“No! Don’t do that.” you looked at your pile of work on your desk and gave in, “What time?”
“Great!” he cheered, “I’ll send you the address, and let’s meet at seven.”
“Okay.” you sighed.
“See you then!” you could hear his grin through the phone.
You hung up your phone and tossed it to the edge of your desk. If you were going to get anywhere close to finishing all your work you had to get rid of all distractions.
You found yourself speed walking to the restaurant that Atsumu sent you. You managed to finish all your work, but you did have to stay just a tad bit longer at work than you expected. When you got to the restaurant, you told the hostess Atsumu’s name, and she led you to your table.
At the table was the familiar blond. You sat down and tried to catch your breath. He tilted his head, “Why are you out of breath?”
“Because I know how much you hate waiting, and I am barely capable of dealing with you normally, much less a grumpy version of you.” you answered.
“That may have been true before, but next time don’t rush.” he opened the menu, “I can wait a couple minutes.”
You raised your brow and picked up the menu as well, “Looks like someone has changed a little bit.”
Without looking up from the menu, he chuckled, “I told you that you that I’ve changed since the last time we saw each other.”
When the waitress came to take your drink orders, Atsumu answered, “We’ll have one Asahi and one Sapporo.”
You looked at the waitress and smiled, “Actually, can you make that just two Asahis?”
She wrote down your orders and left. You looked at Atsumu with a smile, “You’re not the only one who has changed a little bit over the years.”
He looked at you and chuckled, “So, what have you been up to now?”
You were looking at the food options on the menu and replied, “Well, I’ve been promoted here and there through the years, and this commercial that I’m writing for is the first one they’re letting me put my hands on alone, finally. So, don’t mess this up for me.”
“I could say the same thing.” he chuckled, “Don’t make me look like a scrub.”
You rolled your eyes and sarcastically answered, “How could I possibly make one of the top pro athlete bachelors look like a scrub?”
Atsumu grinned, “True.”
“Right.” You rolled your eyes, “How about your team? How’s the good old Bokuto?”
Astumu showed an irritated expression, “He’s the same as always. Annoying.”
“Glad to see that he hasn’t changed at all!” you laughed.
“That makes literally only one person in the whole world.” Atsumu deadpanned.
“He’s not that bad!” you responded, “You guys just have two very different personalities, so of course things can get volatile. Though, it’s mostly from your end.”
“I resent that.” Atsumu sighed.
When the food came, you couldn’t help but feel the hunger in your stomach. It just dawned on you that you had to forgo lunch because of all of today’s deadlines. You started digging in as soon as the food was set down and Atsumu watched you with a smile, “Let me guess. You skipped out on lunch?”
With a full mouth, you answered, “Well, I had to finish all my work since someone wanted to get dinner last minute.”
Atsumu scoffed, “We both know that’s not true. You’ve always had the terrible habit of skipping meals in general.”
You stuck another piece of salmon sushi in your mouth, “What can I say? Eating comes second to my work.”
“Well, if you had better taste buds, you’d actually enjoy eating more.” Atsumu placed a piece of fatty tuna from his plate onto yours, “Salmon sushi is subpar.”
“Whatever~” you sang as you took another bite.
“As long as you’re eating. You and I both know that without food, you can’t have the fuel needed to perform well. ”
You picked up the sushi he gave you and smiled, “Your athlete is coming out, Atsumu.”
When you both finished eating, Atsumu offered to take you home, “Yoyogi, right?”
“Ah, not anymore.” you shook your head, “I moved to Shibuya.”
“Even better. That’s where I live, too.” he grinned.
On the train ride home, since it was past rush hour, you two were able to find seats. You looked outside of the window and watched the buildings quickly pass by you. At one of the stops, you noticed a mother carrying her baby went onto the train. You stood up and were about to give her the seat, but Atsumu pushed your shoulder down. He stood up himself and smiled at the mother signaling for her to take his seat. Atsumu ended up standing in front of you. He faced you, and you smiled at him. He mouthed, “What?”
You only smiled and shook your head in response.
When you reached your apartment complex, you said, “Even though, this was last minute, and I had to rush all my work, tonight was fun.”
“Of course, it was. You spent it with me.” he smirked.
“That being said, if you ever do this again on a work day, I am going to kill you.” you warned.
“Fine. Fine. Got it.” Atsumu put both his hands up, “Speaking of,” he took something out of his pocket, “Here.”
You looked at what his hands held, and it was a ticket for one of his games. You asked, “Really?”
“It’s for this weekend, and it’s in Tokyo. Since I’ve given you a couple days of warning, there’s no reason for you to not come.” he replied.
“I’ll see if I can make it.” you looked at him, “But seriously, no promises.”
“Whatever.” he chuckled.
He turned his back and started to walk away. You called out, “Have a good night, Atsumu.”
He didn’t turn around and just put a hand up to signal goodbye.
The next morning, you couldn’t stop thinking of the ticket. This time he wasn’t really forcing you to go, so there was no pressure this time. But why did you feel even more inclined to go?
You brought it up later with Ennoshita at lunch. He asked, “I mean, you two are friends, and from the dinner you two had, it doesn’t seem like it was awkward at all.”
“I just don’t know what he wants from me.” you replied.
“Has he hit on you at all?” he questioned.
You shook your head. “See.” he pointed out, “There’s nothing to worry about. Maybe he just wants to repair some burnt bridges. Besides, isn’t it better if things go normally for the commercial?”
“That’s… true.” you admitted.
“Why are you so resistant on mending your guys’ relationship? Did the breakup end badly?”
“Not at all really.” you answered, “The relationship itself was actually pretty easy. He was definitely a brat. He’s definitely still a brat, but we got along well and had fun.”
Your coworker raised a brow, “Then why did you two break up?”
You shrugged, “We just drifted apart. He got busy with travelling for his team, and I--” you hesitated, “I just wanted to focus on my career, too. I guess we just weren’t in sync anymore.”
“Well, it seems like neither of you have any desire to date again, so if you’re really asking for my opinion then I say go. But at the end of the day, if you really don’t want to go, then don’t.”
You pouted, “That doesn’t help at all.”
“I’m not going to force you to go if you don’t want to!” he laughed.
You groaned and put your head on the table.  Ennoshita then suggested, “Just go. If you feel like leaving then leave. At least you can say that way you went, and both parties are satisfied.”
“I’ll… think about it.” you replied.
Despite your words that same weekend, you found yourself in the city’s gymnasium. The smell of icy hot created giant waves of nostalgia. Before you got there, you reminded yourself that you could leave at any time you became uncomfortable. The issue was that you felt even more comfortable being there than you expected.
You looked around, and the crowds of people made it harder to get around. You checked the time, and you showed up a little early. You decided you might as well go around and get some food. While looking at the stalls, you saw a familiar face. You approached the man, “Osamu?”
Osamu looked up and gave you a shocked expression, “Hey. I haven’t seen you in awhile.”
You awkwardly laughed, “It has been a long time. I’m glad to see that your onigiri business is doing great still.”
“I’m glad to see it, too.” he replied, “Are you here for ‘Tsumu?”
“Uhh… kind of.” you chuckled.
“You guys dating again?” he asked.
“I-I see you still get to the point quickly.” you tried to laugh, “But, no. We aren’t dating.”
Osamu raised both his brows, “Interesting.”
Osamu passed you two onigiris, and you pulled out your wallet to pay. He held his hand out to stop you, “Don’t worry about it. Just take it as an apology for whatever Atsumu has done to inconvenience you.”
“Well,” you joked, “Two onigiris should do it for now, but we’ll see how much you owe me in a couple of days.”
You walked out to find a seat and tried to avoid the cheer area for Atsumu’s team in fear of running into anyone you knew. While looking over the crowd, you smiled. There were so many more people cheering for Atsumu’s team than before.
When the teams came out, you saw all of Atsumu’s teammates. Some were familiar, some new, but your surrounding incited a sense of excitement in you.
You could see Atsumu looking through the crowd. When he faced your direction, he stopped and smiled. It felt like he was  looking straight at you, but you knew it was impossible for him to find you in this sea of people.
While watching the game, it reminded you of how much you used to love coming to support him. He’d taught you all about the sport, and you were glad you still made sense of everything. What was also crazy to see was how much better he’d gotten… you didn’t even know that was possible. You thought of telling him about how much he’s improved, but you know that guy did not any more fuel to add to his ego.
At the end of the match, you could feel yourself getting a bit anxious. You had hoped slightly that he’d text you where you were, but that hope caused fear in you as well. Fear that you wouldn’t get that text and then be filled with disappointment.
You decided to just text him that it was a great game and to thank him for the ticket. Just when you pulled out your phone from your pocket, you felt it vibrate. You checked it, and on your screen was a notification for a text from Atsumu.
You could feel yourself feeling not only relieved… but happy. You tried shoving those feelings as far down as you could. There was no way you were going back there. You couldn’t.
You finally managed to read the text, and it read, “Come and meet me in the back.”
You smiled and typed, “How do you even know I went to your game?”
Within seconds, he responded, “You would never miss a chance to watch me play.”
You closed your screen and scoffed to yourself.
Despite your reaction, you decided to meet him. You were leaning against the wall waiting for him to come out, and you were surprised by someone putting a cap on your head. You looked up and saw Atsumu, who was also wearing a cap. You laughed, “What is this for?”
He put his hand over your head and said, “Just trust me on this.”
He started to lead you to the exit when a familiar voice behind you exclaimed, “Hey! ‘Tsumu is going off with another person!”
You took the cap off and glared at Atsumu, “‘Another person?’”
Atsumu looked up in exasperation, “Now? Of all times?”
“Oh!” the voice announced, “It’s you!”
You looked behind you and smiled, “Hi, Bokuto. Long time no see.”
Atsumu glared at Bokuto, “What do you mean by another person?”
“Well, earlier you went off with the sports doctor for your knee.” Bokuto explained.
You looked at Atsumu with slight panic, “What happened to your knee?”
“Don’t worry about it.” Atsumu put the hat back on your head, “It was a minor injury, and the doctor just wanted to make sure it was totally healed.”
He looked over Bokuto, “And you! Stop saying such misleading sentences!”
Atsumu grabbed your hand and headed towards the exit. Bokuto called out to you, “It was good seeing you!”
You grinned and waved, “You, too!”
Before Atsumu opened the door to leave the building, he looked at you, “I know you’re cute and all, but try not to draw any attention to yourself.”
You could feel your ears go red, “What are you talking about?!”
He smirked at you and led you outside. When you got outside, there were crowds of reporters and paparazzi but they were all waiting at another door. You looked at Atsumu in front of you, “Where are we going?!”
He laughed, “Just shut up and follow me!”
Atsumu led you to a parking structure, and he walked up to a car. He let go of your hand and opened the driver’s side door, “You coming?”
“Y-yeah.” you nodded.
You got inside the other side of the vehicle and buckled your seatbelt, “When did you get a car?”
Atsumu turned on the ignition, “Not too long ago.”
When he started to drive, you said, “You know, you only asked me to go to your game today. I didn’t realize that included plans after.”
Atsumu snorted, “I’m only driving you home, dummy.”
You scratched your head and looked out the window, “You can’t expect me to think that knowing you.”
“I just wanted to see you at least one more time today.” he commented.
“One more time?” you asked, “When was the other time you saw me?”
“I saw you in the crowd.” he laughed, “Didn’t you see me looking right at you?”
“Someone’s back to telling lies.” you sang.
“You were sitting on the back left side of the cheering area.” he refuted.
You pouted, “Lucky guess.”
Atsumu looked at your expression and chuckled.
Once you reached your apartment, you thanked him for the ride home and opened the car door. Before closing it, you laughed, “Life has gotten slightly more interesting since you came back, Atsumu.”
“I think that’s how most people feel about me.” he mused.
“Bye.” you chimed before closing the car door in his face.
The next following days were filled with more work, mostly about Atsumu’s sponsorship with things regarding budget, location, etc… When you finally managed to catch a break, you were resting at your desk. Ennoshita came up to you and placed yet another file on your desk, “So, how’d the game go?”
You opened the files that he placed on your desk, “It-It went.”
“Went?”
“I don’t know!” you cried, “I keep getting these weird mixed signals from him. At times, I think he’s flirting with me, but then it turns out he’s just being nice. Even then, him being nice is a rarity, so I don’t--”
“Relax!” Ennoshita laughed, “Breathe.”
“Right.” you looked around to see if anyone noticed your complaints, “It’s just there are these moments when I just find myself being swept off my feet, and then back into reality by his casualness about it all.”
“Well, you dated him before. You should be more or less familiar with his style.” Ennoshita pointed out.
“That’s the thing.” you sighed, “This Atsumu is someone who I’m not familiar with at all. Before, he was so straightforward with his feelings, so I never really doubted him. If you were to ask me now…”
“How do you want him to feel about you?” Ennoshita examined.
You put you head on your desk, “That seems like the answer we all want to know.”
You sat up and looked at Ennoshita, “Well, whatever. It doesn’t matter how I want him to feel. There’s no way he holds feelings for me anymore, so I’m not going to worry about it. He just wants to be friends.”
One of you coworkers came up to you, “Hey, boss wants to see you in his office.”
You looked at Ennoshita and mumbled, “Not a word to anyone about this!”
Ennoshita saluted at you, “You got it.”
You walked alongside your other coworker and asked, “Did he say what it would be about at all?”
“No clue.” They shook their head, “Good luck, though.”
You got up from your chair and headed to his office. When you knocked, he answered, “Come in.”
You tried to smile, “You asked me to stop by?”
“I just wanted to see if you’ve made any updates on the script yet.”
“Just a little bit here or there.” you lied.
“Great.” he nodded, “Can you finish it by this weekend and have it on my desk by Monday?”
“Monday?” you fearfully repeated.
He raised a brow, “Is there a problem with that?”
You instinctively shook your head, “Nope, Monday sounds great.”
When you left your office, you sighed. You’d normally set up time to edit at your desk, but in each session, you couldn’t manage even one change. How in the world were you going to edit this script?
That weekend you shut yourself in your apartment and didn’t let yourself leave your desk until you managed to finish the script. That being said, grabbing some inspiration from playing on your phone wasn’t forbidden. You were in the middle of checking twitter when you got a text. You were smiling after seeing who it was from.
Rather than texting back, you called them. You heard his voice through the speaker, “Hello.”
You smiled, “Atsumu, what did I say about asking me to hang out last minute?”
“Hmm…” he pretended to think, “I really can’t remember what you’re talking about, though?”
“Regardless of whether you remember or not,” you sighed, “I am not free for dinner tonight. I have to finish the script for your commercial by Monday.”
“That’s too bad.” he quickly responded, “Maybe next time.”
You were shocked by his quick concession, “Yeah. Uh, maybe next time.”
He hung up the phone, and you stared at the screen. You were caught off guard by how quickly he accepted your no. It wasn’t that you were used to people not insisting, but you just weren’t used to Atsumu giving in that quickly.
You put your phone down and stared at your computer screen once again. If you were going to feel any relief this weekend, this script had to be done… that’s what you said, but here you were sitting at your computer… still with no edits.
Your lack of any sense of creativity was interrupted by a knock at your door. You figured it was your neighbor probably passing you your mail that might have ended up in their box again. You opened it, and to your extreme surprise, you said, “Atsumu?”
He looked you up and down and smirked, “You look… comfortable.”
You looked down at your pajamas and fuzzy slippers, you muttered, “What are you doing here?”
Atsumu lifted up his arms that carried a bag of food, “I figured if you were crammed up in your apartment, you definitely weren’t eating.”
He walked past you and into your apartment, “So, shall we take a break and eat?”
You closed your front door and sighed, “Not like I was getting anything done anyways.”
He placed the food on your dining table and pointed at your laptop, “This where you’re editing the script?”
You grabbed the to-go boxes of food, “Yup.”
He pulled the laptop, so he could see the screen. He looked up at you with a disgusted expression, “Slurps Up?”
“It’s the sponsor’s catchphrase. You of all people should know that.” you snorted.
“I’m getting paid to promote the product, not actually consume it.” he replied.
“Well, that’s the one thing I can’t change out of the script, even though, I wish I could.” you joked, “Other than that, I have no idea what to make different.”
Atsumu read through the script again and suggested, “What if I read through everything, and whatever sounds off, you can change.”
“I mean it can’t hurt.” you nodded.
Atsumu started reading through the script, and you were taking notes on different things like his tone and the words he was emphasizing. When he finished, you asked him to read it one more time. Atsumu shook his head, “Finish eating first, and then I’ll go through it one more time.”
“Come on.” you begged, “It’ll only take like three minutes.”
Atsumu closed your laptop and glared at you, “Eat.”
“Fine.” you pouted in response.
You tried eating all the food that Atsumu brought you, so you could you start working again. Now that you knew what you wanted to do, you felt the need to get it done as soon as possible in fear that it would all disappear from your brain. Once you finished, you opened your laptop and pushed it in front of him, “Read through it one more time.”
“I’m not even done eating yet!” Atsumu blurted.
“Just three minutes of your time, and I’ll let you eat in peace!” you insisted.
“Fine.” he wiped his mouth and started reading.
Once he went through it, you grabbed your laptop from him, “Perfect!”
You quickly typed and changed the wording in random spots. When you passed him the laptop to read through it one more time, he deadpanned, “Let me finish eating this time.”
“Right.” you giggled.
You continued to read through the script making sure things flowed well, and when he finally finished eating, he took the laptop from you. He started reading it.
When he finished, you asked, “So, what do you think of it now?”
“I think it flows a lot better, and strangely enough you used words I actually use normally. Hopefully, the filming for this will go easier than normal.” he replied.
“Wow, is that a compliment from The Miya Atsumu?” you laughed.
He patted your head, “Don’t get too carried away.”
You stood up from the table and ran to your kitchen. You pull out a couple of cans, “This calls for a celebration!”
You tossed a can of beer and sat on the couch, “Seriously! I feel really good about this script. I hope my boss accepts it.”
Atsumu moved to the couch to sit next to you, “Well, if you’re that confident, I hope he takes it too.”
You crossed your legs and face him. You held out your beer to cheers with him, and he clinked his can to yours with a side smile.
You took a couple of gulps from your can and released a breath, “There’s seriously nothing better than a cold can of beer.”
Atsumu took a sip of his and set it down on the coffee table, “I’ll agree with you on that.”
You were still facing him and asked, “So, I know we talked about what I did in the past couple of years. How about you, Atsumu?”
“I’ve just been traveling and touring a lot for volleyball games.” he answered, “Same old, same old.”
“You act like being adored by fans and getting paid thousands for sponsors is normal.” you snorted.
“It’s not why I play.” he responded.
“It’s been a while, but trust me when I say I know that much about you.” You took a sip of your beer, “Your nearly insatiable hunger for getting better and winning is the reason.”
Atsumu held his can out for you to cheers it, “That’s correct.”
You hit his can once again and laughed, “Did you know that when you drink, you have a tendency to cheers quite often?”
Atsumu turned red, and you cackled, “I’m guessing you didn’t know!”
You stood up from the couch and asked, “I’m gonna get another one. Do you want one?”
Atsumu’s eyes went wide, “You already finished one?”
“It’s been stressful these past couple of days!” you defended, “Today is probably one of the only days for awhile that I can enjoy drinking, so I’m gonna enjoy every minute of it.”
He grabbed the TV remote with his other hand, “I’ll get one when I’m done with this.”
“Suit yourself.” you walked towards the kitchen.
You sat down on the couch again with your drink and watched Atsumu flip through the channels and asked, “Out of curiosity, have you dated anyone since we broke up?”
Atsumu nearly choked on his drink, “W-What are you talking about?”
“Well, have you?” you asked, “I mean, you can’t be dating anyone right now considering you’re at my place on a Saturday night.”
“Says the person crammed at home by herself on a Saturday night.”
“Hey! I had work to do.”
“Oh?” Atsumu raised a brow, “Are you living a fruitful dating life then?”
You looked back at the TV and leaned your back against the couch, “It’s been a busy time with work.”
Atsumu laughed, “I see.” he started flipping through the channels again, “But not really. I’ve been busy with work too.”
You could feel your stomach starting to knot. There you were again starting to feel hopeful. You wanted to shove those feelings far down. To distract you, you ended up chugging the rest of your can. Atsumu looked at you, “You good over there?”
“Great!” you grinned.
You walked over to the fridge once again, and Atsumu finally stood up and said, “Wait, just a second. Should you really be getting another one?”
“Why?” you snorted, “You worried about me?”
“I mean, yeah.” Atsumu started, “Beer has a lot of calories, and you aren’t as young anymore--”
You slapped him in the stomach, and he flinched. “I am not fat!” you opened the fridge, “I bet that I can finish this beer faster than you.”
When he managed to catch his breath, he said, “You and I both know that’s not true.”
You placed a can in his hand, “Talk is cheap.”
You walked over to the couch and heard the sound of a can being opened. You smiled at yourself for knowing that Atsumu could never step down from a challenge.
After several more drinks and bottles, you felt yourself slump on the couch. Atsumu was leaning back too, his stomach sticking out completely due to all the liquids. He groaned, “Why do you have so much alcohol just for one person?”
“In the workplace, ice wine and champagne is the normal gift to give for birthdays or other celebrations. So, I have several bottles stocked up over the years.” you laughed,.
“And no one to drink with?” Atsumu teased.
“Nope.” you openly admitted.
After that, only the noise of the TV filled the room. Atsumu was first to speak, “Hey, I’ve always wondered. Why did we break up?”
You looked over at him, “Really? You’re going to ask that now?”
“Well, it’s either now or never.” he chuckled.
If either of you were sober, this conversation never would have come up, and you most definitely wouldn’t have answered his question. But you were very far from sober. “You were travelling all over the country, and I was just starting out on my career. You got all these great new opportunities, and yet you were stuck with your significant other who was getting nowhere with their life. You were growing, and I just felt like a thorn at your side.”
“You were never a thorn at my side.” he retorted.
You could sense the tension in his voice, and you tried to calm down the situation, “Well, regardless, we are friends now, and I know that’s what you want. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure I get carried away though because of how easy it is for us to be together. I think I’ve been holding myself from falling in love with you all over again.”
Atsumu asked, “Why hold yourself back?”
You looked at Atsumu expecting to have a smile on his face, but he was completely serious. You couldn’t find the words to reply. He continued, “You were never a hindrance. Why didn’t you just tell me how you felt?”
“I don’t know.” you could feel yourself choking up, “I just couldn’t.”
“I suppose you mean to tell me that you broke up with me for my sake.” he fumed.
You couldn’t look him in the eyes because that was always your excuse: you ended the relationship for him. But you knew that was never the truth. You were terrified that his motivation would one day want something that no longer included you. So, you cut him off before he could ever get the chance.
Atsumu stood up from the couch, “I never wanted you to leave me. You’ve been one of the few people who I genuinely enjoy spending my time with. You loved me for me, and you’ve never asked me to change, despite my horrible personality. Even now.” he turned to face you, “You admitted yourself that being together just feels rights. Now that you’re where you want to be in your career, could you even just consider us again? If I were to ask you to give me another chance, would you?”
You saw the earnestness in Atsumu’s eyes. When you hesitated, the pain that then filled his eyes caused your heart to break. He turned around and headed to the door. When he touched the doorknob, Atsumu faced you one more time, “I know how hard it can be to deal with me, and that’s what I always thought it was. This whole time, I really thought it was me who made you unhappy. But you know, I can tell and show you that I love you as much as I can, and it still won’t be enough. Because your source of unhappiness isn’t me, it’s you.”
When he finally opened the door, you tried to call out to him, but he slammed it behind him without hesitation. You were left alone with only the small sound of the television.
The following Monday, you submitted the new script to your boss. You sat in the breakroom alone, staring at your black coffee. You were surprised by Ennoshita’s voice, “Hey! Did you actually manage to make some edits that make a difference?”
You stirred your coffee, “I guess so.”
Ennoshita sat on the chair across from yours and tried to get a look at your face, “Everything alright?”
You feigned a smile at your friend, “Yeah, just had a long weekend full of work.”
Ennoshita leaned back in his chair, “I don’t know about that. I’ve seen you after a real weekend of work, and you don’t look this miserable.”
“Gee, thanks.” you mused
“You know what I mean.” Ennoshita rolled his eyes, “What happened?”
“Atsumu and I got into a fight this weekend.” you revealed.
“A fight? About what?”
“Why we broke up.”
Ennoshita tilted his head, “Isn’t that conversation literally years overdue?”
“But it’s a conversation we never had.” you sighed, “He told me he still loved me, and asked to try us out one more time basically, but...”
Ennoshita scanned your face and figured how you must have answered Atsumu, “Do you think you made the right decision?”
You rested your chin on your arms on the table, “Not at all.”
“Then, what are you planning on doing?”
“I don’t know. Maybe fall into a hole for the next year of my life.” you groaned.
“Who knows? If the boss hates your new script, you may actually get the chance to do that.” Ennoshita replied.
You looked up and glared at him, but he smiled at you, “Look. We all know that your new script is going to get a pass from the boss. What you should worry about next is how you’re going to deal with Atsumu when he films it.”
“Do I have to go to that?” you whined, “I mean I did my part. I wrote the thing.”
Ennoshita stood up, “Wow, you just officially became a writer, and you’re already turning into a diva.”
You looked at him, and he gave you another smile, “Just feel better.”
You smiled back at him, “Thanks, Ennoshita.”
“Anytime~” He sang, “That reminds me, I actually came here to tell you that the boss approved of your script, and production starts in two weeks.”
You stood up from your seat, “Ennoshita, couldn’t you have opened with that?!”
“I don’t even know why you’ve been so scared to get kicked off the project. You’re one of the top writers at this company.” He turned around and shrugged, “Besides if I brought up the news later, then I wouldn’t have learned what happened over this weekend!”
You instantly grabbed your phone and were about to send a message to Atsumu, but you quickly stopped yourself. You looked out the window and sighed. He was probably the only person in the world who you wanted to share your news with.
The next two weeks were extreme times of work. You were alongside the production company making sure everything was going to plan. It wasn’t necessarily in your job description, but you just had to get something to distract you. If you didn’t, you might have gone crazy from anxiety waiting for the day you were forced to see Atsumu again.
When the day of filming finally was nearing, you nearly begged Ennoshita to join you the day of set. “Please, Ennoshita, I do not want to face him alone. Besides, you’ve always wanted to get to know more about the production side of things, right? Today’s the day!”
Ennoshita cringed, “Fine. Fine. Just stop acting like you’re doing me a favor.”
You grinned, “Thank you!”
“Please, don’t mention it.” he deadpanned.
The daty had finally arrived, and you were there bright and early on set. You were sitting next to the director, and you two were going over the checklist. You checked the time on your phone, and if things were going according to schedule, Atsumu should be in makeup.
You called Ennoshita over who was eating the set food. He jogged over to you, and you asked, “Astumu is getting his makeup done, right?”
“Yup!” he grinned, “Just checked.”
You checked your watch, “Great. Then he’ll be out there in 15 minutes, and I can leave.”
The director interrupted, “I was told you were staying today in order to help us if we have questions about the script.”
You could feel your stomach drop, and for once you were upset that you couldn’t push this onto a co-writer. You smiled at the director, “I’ll stay then.”
You immediately looked over at Ennoshita with slight panic in your eyes, and he pat you on the back, “Everything’s going to be fine.”
“Right.” you breathed, “Things will be great.”
In a couple of minutes, Atsumu finally came out, and you tried to hide yourself. The director told him to move to the set, and Atsumu immediately locked eyes with you when he did. You expected him to at least acknowledge you, but there was nothing. You knew you didn’t deserve it.
Filming for the most part was going smoothly. When the director called for a break, the director went over the next part of the script with you. Ennoshita asked you, “You want anything from the set food?”
You smiled and shook your head, “That’s alright. I’m not hungry.”
Ennoshita looked at the set in front of him, “Despite you having bad reasons for bringing me here, I’m actually glad you did.”
“And why is that?” you rolled your eyes.
“You were right when you said I have been wanting to get into the production side of things, but it’s great watching you work too.”
“I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing since I can’t ask a co-writer for their opinions.” you scoffed.
“I don’t think you need a co-writer at all. It’s kind of clear to everyone here. If the director thought you weren’t capable, he would not have wanted you on set. You’d just get in the way.” he tapped your shoulder, “Have a little more faith in yourself.”
You looked in Atsumu’s direction and scratched the back of your head, “That seems to always be my issue.”
When the director called for things to start up again, you watched everything roll out once again. However there was a part in one scene that another person just wasn’t getting right. When the director called cut, you asked, “If it’s alright with you, can we roll that again? But have the other person talk just a little louder.”
“Yeah, that’s fine with me.” the director nodded.
When the day finally ended, Ennoshita came up to you with a plate of fatty tuna sushi. You took it and laughed, “They had fatty tuna on the set table? That’s fancy.”
“No, actually. Atsumu passed it to me to give to you.” Ennoshita replied, “Even though things are rough between you two, I think you should go talk to him. The whole time today he was looking at you, and when you told the director to redo a scene, he smiled at you. I kind of pity the guy.”
You chuckled, “I don’t know if you’ll be pitying him after seeing the fat paycheck he’s getting from this.”
“At least my relationship isn’t in the rocks.” Ennoshita joked.
“Ennoshita!” you exclaimed, “That relationship involves me!”
“Just talk to him when you get the chance. I think he’ll be willing to listen to you.” he laughed, “Anyways, enjoy your sushi, and have a good night.”
“Night.” you smiled at your friend.
The same evening, you were at your dining table staring at your phone. You had been trying to gain the courage to text Atsumu for the past hour, but you were horrified. What if he didn’t reply and no longer wanted anything to do with you?
You sighed. Frankly, it’s what you deserved. He already gave you a second chance. Did you really deserve a third?
What you did know was that you owed it to yourself to finally try to speak your mind. You hesitantly grabbed your phone from off the table and dialed his number. It rang three times until it stopped, and the call was picked up but no one said anything. You called out, “Atsumu?”
“Nope. You got Osamu.” he answered the phone, “Though, you may want to come over to Atsumu’s soon.”
“What’s wrong? What happened?” you panicked, “Is everything okay?”
Osamu scoffed, “He’s fine. He’s just--”
He stopped, but you could hear in the background Atsumu telling him to shut up. You tried to redirect the conversation, “Is it alright if I speak to Atsumu?”
Osamu continued, “I think you should just stop by. I’ll text you his address.”
“I-- Alright.” you nodded.
You hung up the phone, and soon after got an address. You grabbed your things and headed to his place. It was a quick ten minute walk since he really did live in the same district as you. When you got there, you knocked on the door, and Osamu was the one to open the door. “Is he alright?” you said out of breath.
“Why are you out of breath? Did you run here?” he asked.
“Kind of.” you answered.
“‘Tsumu, see!” Osamu looked behind him, “There’s nothing to worry about. They ran all the way over here.”
“Just go!” Astumu yelled from behind.
Osamu let himself out of the apartment, and you let yourself in, “Atsumu, are you here? Why are all the lights off?”
“Don’t look at me!” he yelled.
“What are you talking about?” you felt the walls for a light switch.
When you finally felt one on the wall, you pressed it. Finally, the apartment’s lights went on, and you could see. You saw what was way too familiar a scene. Atsumu was sat on the couch nearly lifeless. You chuckled, “Why are you so sad?”
He mumbled, “I told ‘Samu not to pick up the phone, and what does he do? He picks up the phone.”
You sat on the couch and said, “Whatever it is, it can’t be that serious.”
“This is totally embarrassing!” he groveled.
“What are you talking about?” you exclaimed.
“I’m talking about at the shoot today. I tried to be cool, and I kept messing up my lines. Why did we have to do the ‘Slurps up!’” line so many times?!” he exclaimed.
You laughed, “That’s what has you all depressed? Really?”
He glared at you, “I didn’t want to look stupid in front of you, and I did just that! I bit my tongue when I first opened my mouth! After everything, I was too embarrassed to even give you the food I prepared for you. I ended up giving it to one of your coworkers!”
You were listening Atsumu vent about his issues, and you could feel yourself calming down. You took a deep breath and started talking about the things you wanted to, “Atsumu, I came over to… tell you that I’m sorry.”
He opened his mouth, and you shook your head. You continued, “I love you, and I never stopped. You make things so much more fun, and you always managed to keep me on my toes. Like today, for example. I could feel my heartbeat raise just from looking at you, and I was expecting you to be mad at me--”
He interrupted you, “I am still mad at you. I only got you food because I knew you wouldn’t have eaten otherwise.”
“Right.” You smiled at him, “You also frustrate me to no end, but the way you make me feel is incomparable to anyone else.”
“I’m not as courageous as you.” Tears were starting to fill your eyes, “I’m a coward, and that’s why I ended things before. But I don’t want to be anymore. So, if you’ll take me as the coward I am now, I promise that in due time, you can proudly call me your partner.”
Atsumu wrapped both his arms around you and tucked his head into your shoulder. He whispered, “Coward or not, I’ll always be proud to call you mine.”
You wrapped your arms around him, “I love you, Atsumu.”
He pulled away slightly from your embrace and kissed you softly on the lips, “I love you, too.”
~~~~LATER~~~~
“Atsumu, hurry up!!” you called out from the couch, “The commercial is going to show soon!”
He ran over to his couch and sat next to you. You leaned your head onto his chest, and he asked, “Have you really not watched the commercial yet?”
“No because I wanted to see it with you for the first time.” you smiled, “That, and you would have begged me to show you before we released it officially.”
“I wouldn’t ask you--”
You covered his mouth and shushed him, “Be quiet! It’s starting!”
You watched the whole thirty seconds of it, and for the final scene, Atsumu gave the camera a big grin and exclaimed, “Slurps up!” followed by an overexaggerated wink.
You looked up at your boyfriend, and his face was completely red. You couldn’t help but burst out in laughter. The horror in Atsumu’s face was pure comedy. You could tell he was going to get in one of his moods again, and to prevent that from happening, you said, “There. There. That final scene was great. Everyone knows how cheesy catchphrases are.”
He looked at you with wide eyes, “Do you really think so?”
“Of course.” you pecked him on the lips.
Then you stood up from the couch and winked, “Slurps up.” before jetting away.
Atsumu stood up from the couch and chased after you with a grin, “We’ll see how much longer you’ll be laughing when I catch you!”
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dazed--xx · 2 years ago
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Alone
REQUEST: *Hi see you mentioned about story requests. I'm having a hard time since I'm currently pregnant and my partner walked out on me, so could you do one when Jungkook where I meet Jungkook and he helps me raise the baby please*
Summary:  “I'm pregnant Jungkook.” the line goes dead silent “look before you say anything, no I wasn’t hiding this from you and I completely understand if you don’t want to talk to me shit I wouldn’t want to talk to me and move on to someone who is not pregnant and going to be having this type of responsibilities-” “Y/N-”
GENRE: Mild-Angst, Fluff
Member: Jungkook x Pregnant!reader
Word count: 2,132 
A/N: so this is literally my first fanfic ever and i hope you guys like it. and to the person that requested this I wanted to tag you because i did post it but i didnt want to kind of call you out online especially since this was based on something you have personally happening to you, trust me pregnancy is scary let alone having to go it alone so if you need someone to talk to im here btw.. but hopefully you guys like this it was pretty good i wanna post a couple of requests a day since i banged this out as quickly as i did im taking more requests just inbox me or go to my ask let me know if you want your name attached to the request and i will send everyone that i know requested a specific story i will tag and send it to you so you know it is done but without further ado ALONE
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“Where are you going? Do you really expect me to do this alone?” I shouted to the already abandoned house. A swell in my throat rises and I can't breathe. My body shakes as the tears take over. I fall to my knees running my hand over my stomach. “Don’t you worry baby; Daddy will be back he loves you I promise” I say to the life growing within my womb. 
The warmth from the comforter consumes me as I awaken with dried tears in my eyes. My heart aches as I remember the events from the past 12 hours. The thick silence takes hold of my heart and it begins racing. My heart beat sounding as if it is being played on a speaker the size of a skyscraper. Feeling the bile rise in my throat, rushing to the bathroom, I empty out the contents of my stomach. Tears escape my eyes as I reach out to the void. I'm alone truly.  
My first OBGYN appointment rolls around and my heart is in my stomach. The nurse escorts me in, slowly my feet turn into lead as I drag myself onto the cot in the room and lay back facing the monitor. Once I feel that cool gel upon my stomach, my heart settles and the most beautiful BUMP BUMP BUMP is heard throughout the room. My eyes focus on the image in front of me. “well congrats sweetie you're about 10 weeks, Due September 27. Remember no stress and make sure to take your prenatal. We’ll see you next week” My ultrasound technician announces excitedly. I smile anxious as to what I should do next.  
I make my way to a small café after my appointment wanting a small tea to calm my nerves. Looking around the coffee shop I notice quite the crowd and my panic begins to set in. It feels like I can't breathe while the crowds begin to grow as the café reaches the brink of rush. More and More people pour through the door as my anxiety takes over and I feel the bile rising again, I abandon my spot in line trying to make it to the restroom before I release the contents of my stomach all over the café floor. The restroom door becomes the only thing in sight to me as I dash for it. I reach for the handle and the door opens and I slam into a hard chest and soon I am on the floor.
“HOLY CRAP!!! IM SO SORRY I WAS NOT PAYING ATTENTION” A angelic voice apologized above me. My eyes drift from the floor up to see the most amazing man I've ever seen in my life with his hand out and my voice gets caught in my throat. I stare at him for a while capturing every detail of his face and take his hand. I nod quickly and mutter a fast “Sorry” and dash around the beautiful man and lose myself behind the safety of the door. I was dreading walking back out into the craziness of the café, but excited to see if I could once again get a glimpse of the gorgeous man from before.  
Soon I am back in line and order my tea, when a familiar voice sounds from next to me “You know.... you should let me pay you back for your drink you know...since I hurt you” Shocked I turn my head to see the same beautiful man from before. “Oh, please don’t worry about it I really wasn’t paying attention either it's not a big deal” I smile shyly. “Besides I'm sure you have better things to do with your time than to buy a stranger a drink” He laughs “Honestly, Beautiful, I don’t really have anything to do with my time that doesn’t involve getting to know you” Heat creeps up to my face and I lower my gaze and smile. “I don’t need you to pay me back for my tea for you to be able to get to know me, but unfortunately I gotta go” I say slowly moving past him. “At least let me get your number...please” He asked “You don’t even know my name and you want my number?” “Hey I know what I want and I feel like me knowing your name won't matter much cause I probably won't be calling you anything other than mine” I let out a small giggle “ that was super corny but since you're trying so hard give me your phone” I put my number in his phone and hand it back to him and walk toward the door “By the way my name is Y/N” as I make my exit I hear him shout back “Jungkook!”  
As the weeks pass, I find myself talking more and more to Jungkook. He still hasn’t stopped flirted with me as much as he did that day in the café but we talk everyday about almost everything and I can't help but feel scared to tell him I am having a baby. What would he say? Will he not want to talk to me anymore? Would he not like me as much? A loud RING pulls me out of my thoughts as my phone lights up with Jungkook's name and photo comes up on my screen.  
“Hey, what's up cutie?” He says excitedly  
“Not much, just lying in bed not feeling too good today” I respond pouty  
“Aw, do you need anything? Medicine? I can bring you soup it'll make you feel better I know you said you went out with your friend last night are you hungover?” The worry evident in his voice.
“Um honestly no um I can't drink so I'm definitely not hungover just different I know what it is though I'll be fine” the nervousness in my voice is evident
“what's wrong then beautiful? Is everything okay?” Oh no... not that question. He’s worried and I know he is but I don’t know what to say. I can't stop it the words just rush out of my mouth like the bile I throw up every morning  
“I'm pregnant Jungkook....I'm 14 weeks pregnant” the line goes dead silent “look before you say anything, no I wasn’t hiding this from you and I completely understand if you don’t want to talk to me shit I wouldn’t want to talk to me and move on to someone who is not pregnant and going to be having this type of responsibilities-” “Y/N-” No listen Kookie cause I really like you and I didn’t mean to keep this from you I was just scared that you would hate me” “Y/N-” “I mean I know you just met me a couple weeks ago and it wouldn’t mean much for you to just walk away from this because let's be honest who wants to deal with that-” “Y/N! JUST STOP AND LISTEN PLEASE!” The words stop flowing as quickly as they began.
“Do you think id stop liking you because of the simple fact that you're pregnant, I mean yeah it does suck that you're going to have someone else's baby but I don’t care about that... WAIT! Is that why your ex left?” I stay silent
“Baby....are you there?” He asks worried.
“Baby girl???”  
“Beautiful are you okay? Hello?”
I sniffle “Yeah I’m here sorry” my voice cracks at every word.
“Baby are you crying? Do you need me to get you anything?”  
“No, I'm fine I promise I'm going to go to bed okay? Goodnight handsome I'll talk to you in the morning” “wait what no I'm com-” I cut him off to end the already overwhelming call. My vision blurs as the tears cascade down my face and I let out a harsh sob. I was scared for nothing or he's just too optimistic. A loud knock on the door grabs my attention.  
“who is it?” fear leaking out in my tone. “Baby it's me open up” I hear Jungkook's melodic voice through the door. Quickly I swing the door open to be greeted with the man I've grown so accustomed to in the past few weeks. Taking in the sight of him my heart begins to race as the tears began to no longer form. He reaches his arms around me and pulls me against him. “Baby girl, why didn’t you tell me sooner? You really thought that would make me just leave. How could I do that when in the past few weeks, you’ve stolen my heart” He looks at me and there's a hunger in his eyes as they shift down to my lips. “aww fuck it” he exclaims as his lips capture mine. His arms wrap around my waits as my hands get lost in his soft midnight hair. After a while he pulls away and a small whimper is released from my mouth. “Do you know HOW long I've wanted to do that” he exclaims excitedly with a smile plastered across his face.
After that night Jungkook never left my side, everything I craved he got, Anytime I felt nauseous Jungkook was there.  It became routine with him his calls became more frequent on days he knew I had appointments and he went to every ultrasound. His excitement for my baby was shown one day when I came home from work and my whole apartment was filled top to bottom with diapers bottles and wipes. Jungkook was still too nervous to buy much because he felt he was taking part of the experience from me and the fact that we still don’t know what the baby is yet. As the date rolls around to the appointment it's all Jungkook can talk about. He wants a girl every five seconds he reminds me it's always “Baby do you think the princess will like me? I mean I want her to know I care and that I love you” which is why he was so heartbroken when he could not make it to the gender reveal appointment because of a last-minute practice session. “Please promise to call me right after you find out okay baby?” He begs sadly before he left for the morning.  
After the appointment my heart swelled with joy as I turned into my driveway to see Jungkook's car sitting there. As soon as I unlocked the door, I felt a pair of strong arms wrap around my waist and feel kisses peppered up my neck “Hey, Baby how did your appointment go? How are you feeling?” he says in-between kisses. A blush creeps up onto my face “Yeah, it went great baby is a growing good and healthy, so I have to tell you something” I state biting my bottom lip and looking toward the ground.
“Oh god what's wrong? Is our princess okay?” his use of the word our makes my heart skip a beat “OUR? And the baby is fine....” I look at him pointedly and his hand runs through his hair as his face turns beet red as he slowly stutters out “I mean....um... I'm sorry I didn’t mean to just assume that you wanted me involved but it's so hard not to be when I'm so in love with you that I don’t care if I wasn’t the one that got you pregnant that’s my baby and you’re my girl so yeah our.... so, what is you have to tell me?” I kiss him softly at his words. I beam at him “You're literally so amazing I can't believe you would even consider any of this I know it's a lot to ask for someone to be involved with someone who is pregnant and all I appreciate it baby BUT unfortunately it's not a princess we got blessed with, handsome” as I put his hand on my stomach and his face twists into confusion “what do you-WAIT! IT’S A BOY? FORREAL? IT’S A BOY?” the smile cannot be contained on his face as he comes to the realization.
"Yes, it’s a boy” I state as Jungkook lifts and twirls me around I laugh.
Jungkook happily exclaims “Oh my god, I'm gonna have a son.” Jungkook drops to his knees and places his hand on my stomach and softly speaks “Hey handsome, its daddy, no I'm not your real daddy baby but I'm going to love you and your mommy like I am. I can't imagine a world without you I can't wait to meet you”
I stand there smiling knowing.......Jungkook won’t ever leave me alone  
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onemysticwriter · 2 years ago
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Contest One Shot - Jumin Han x Lonnie
A/N: My dear joy1579 thank you very much for participating in my contest. You were the lucky winner and I wrote your one shot. I hope, that you’ll like it! Congratulations again 🥰🎉
I hope this is okay to read since I can’t log in on tumblr at my computer right now and it looks different on mobile. So if there’s any problem, please contact me! Also, please excuse grammatical errors and some „weird“ sentences as I don’t speak English as my first language. Thank you ❤️
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Hopefully, I won’t bother him at work…he’s just always so busy.” Lonnie thought to herself as she walked down the streets heading towards the big C&R tower. She was humming her favorite song quietly as she thought about her husband.
Ah, yes…her husband was no other than the famous director Jumin Han. In only eleven days she managed to become a part of the RFA charity organization, help Jumin overcome one of his biggest crises and fall in love with the black-haired man.
Her life went from a “commoner”, as he would always say, to one of the richest people in South Korea. However, she never married him for his fame or his money. Jumin just was everything she always wanted in a man. He was sensitive, supportive, and overly protective of Lonnie. She just was his queen, his everything.
Together they lived in his luxurious penthouse downtown with his cat Elizabeth 3rd. Although they were already married for five years now, there was just never the right time to really start a family, so Elizabeth 3rd quickly acted as a compensation for Lonnie. Yes, she genuinely loved her life and her husband.
“Miss, watch out!” A cry interrupted her thoughts and brought her back to reality as a stranger pulled her away from the street and back to the sidewalk. She watched with wide eyes as a car drove fast over the spot where she was just a second ago. “Th-thank you. That…would’ve ended badly. I-I’m just always so clumsy. Sorry for the inconvenience!” She apologized to the man with white hair with a small bow. “Don’t worry about it. Just watch yourself. You’ll never know what dangers lurk around you.” He said with a small mischievous grin as he walked away. “That…was even more strange.” Lonnie thought to herself. “Gosh, I have to stop daydreaming. Maybe I should’ve asked Driver Kim to get me here. If Jumin finds out about this I won’t leave the penthouse for a while.” Just with that thought in mind she arrived at the huge building. Of course, she had a special ID-card and could come and go as she liked so she wouldn’t have to worry about getting in.
However, as she walked past a small alley next to the tower, she heard a few whimpers. “What was that?” Lonnie whispered and looked around for the source of the sound. Her gaze fell upon a small box right at the entrance of the alley with two small kittens in it and a sign that said, “for free”. “Oh no, who in the world would give away such cuties like you two?” She cooed as she picked up the box. The little ones immediately meowed at her and looked at her with big shiny eyes.
One of them was a calico and had mostly white fur with black and gold spots all over its body and had calming blue eyes while the other one was pitch black and had bright green eyes. They were just beautiful. “I can’t leave them here…god, I hope Jumin won’t mind me bringing them in his office.” Lonnie mumbled as she closed the box carefully and entered the C&R building.
When she arrived at the highest floor, she walked to the desk where Jumins assistant Jaehee Kang was working. Jaehee seemed to be very concentrated as she didn’t notice her boss’s wife standing right in front of her. With a smile Lonnie put down the box and cleared her throat. “Jaehee? May I interrupt you for a moment?” She said politely with a smile on her face.
“Huh? Oh, Mrs. Han! I’m so sorry I didn’t see you there!” She explained as she stood up to give her a little bow. “No, no. Don’t worry about it. And we talked about that. Call me Lonnie, just like before I married Jumin.” Lonnie laughed and winked at her playfully. “Yes, I know. However, these are Mr. Han’s orders and if it’s alright with you I will call you Mrs. Han here at work.” Lonnie sighed and nodded as she tried to be understanding of her husband. He had to maintain an image after all. “Alright, I see it can’t be helped. Uhm…do you know if Jumin is in his office? It’s his lunch break now and I wanted to visit him.”
Jaehee’s gaze went to her time schedule to check. “He’s at a meeting right now, but it should end soon. If you want, you can wait for him in his office? I’ll inform him that you’re waiting for him.” “Oh, no need to. If he’s in a meeting, we shouldn’t interrupt it just because I want to eat lunch with him. I’ll just wait in there. Thanks for your help. And…” Lonnie said as she digged in her bag to bring out a lunch box. “You shouldn’t be skipping lunch either, Jaehee. I hope that you’ll enjoy it.” She could see Jaehee’s eyes grow wide as she accepted the box gratefully. This wasn’t the first time Lonnie had brought lunch not only for Jumin and her but for his assistant as well as she knew how hard her job was. With a smile Lonnie picked up the box with the kittens again, which luckily went unnoticed by anyone, and walked into her husband’s office to prepare everything for his break.
After a short while Jumin walked in and looked at Lonnie with a surprised expression as he closed the door. “Lonnie? What are you doing here? I didn’t know you would come today.” He said as he walked up to her to greet her with a kiss. Her smile grew as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Well, I wanted to surprise you…so…surprise?” Jumin chuckled a bit as he placed another kiss on her forehead.
“You did surprise me apparently. But know I know why Assistant Kang was humming while she ate. You also brought her food again, am I right?” He asked with a small smile on his lips. Even though he didn’t understand her motivation for cooking herself and for others he loved how caring and even motherly Lonnie was. She was simply perfect.
“Yes, I couldn’t help it. She really does a great job- ““For which I pay her very well.” “Yes, however you should always be grateful to have her as your assistant and show her from time to time.” Lonnie quickly replied to him as she got their food out of her bag. “Alright, I’ll keep that in mind.” He told her as his gaze went to the slightly moving box. “Dear? What do you have in there? Don’t tell me you brought Elizabeth 3rd in that shady box.”
Jumin’s facial expression changed from curious to worried. “No, of course I didn’t. But…I wanted to talk about that…” Lonnie said as she opened the box for him. The kittens blinked at the sudden light and meowed at them tiredly. “I found them in a small alley next to this building. I know you don’t like stray cats, but these are so tiny, and I can’t- “” We’ll keep them.” Lonnie stopped for a moment and blinked. Did…he just approved of them that quickly? “W-wait…are you sure? But I thought…”
He smiled as he picked up the black kitten to pet it. “Yes, I know what I said, but look at them. These are purebred Persian cats. Even in black and calico which is very unlikely. Those are rarities and not simple stray cats.” He explained to her as he put back the kitten to pick up the other to also take a better look at it.
Lonnie let out a squeal of excitement and hugged Jumin tightly. “Hey, slowly…I still got the little fella in my hands.” He chuckled. “You know what? After our lunch you’ll go home with them and I’ll call Elizabeth 3rd’s vet so that he can check if they’re healthy.” “That is a great idea! Thank you so much, honey! Oh, I know that this will work out perfectly! You’ll see.” Lonnie grinned and kissed Jumin deeply. “My, my, dear wife. Not in front of those innocent eyes…”
Later that day Lonnie went back to their penthouse with the kittens. Just in case they were sick she put Elizabeth 3rd in a different room before she could meet the kittens. The vet arrived just like Jumin ordered and determined the perfect health of both kittens. As it turned out, the black cat was a male and the calico was a female. Now they just needed names for them.
Soon after the vet left the penthouse Jumin came home from work to see his beautiful wife sitting on the couch with their new kittens and Elizabeth 3rd. The white cat purred happily as she watched the two play with her fluffy tail. “Jumin…welcome home, darling.” Lonnie greeted her husband like everyday with a kiss. “Thank you. I see that the three of them get along?” He asked as he watched the scene with a smile.
“Oh, it’s beautiful. Elizabeth 3rd immediately adopted them, and she just loves to watch them play with each other. I think she acts as their new mother.” Lonnie smiled as well. “I’m glad to hear that.” The director said as he crouched down to pet Elizabeth 3rd. “Oh, and the vet just left earlier. The kittens are healthy and the black one is male and the other is female. However, we’re supposed to bottle feed them as Elizabeth 3rd won’t produce any milk for them. I just warmed up two bottles. Do you want to help me?” She asked. Jumin smiled and picked up the black cat. “Of course, I will.”
Together they sat down on the sofa and fed the small fur balls who eagerly drank the milk. “Am…am I doing this right?” Jumin suddenly asked. His wife looked at him with a questioning expression. “Yes, of course. You’re doing this perfectly, honey. Why do you ask?” “Well…” He began to mumble and then looked straight into her eyes.
“I think I want to have a child with you.”
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wizardessheart-sideb · a year ago
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[Image ID: A chapter image done in the style of Wizardess Heart. A large, off-white imagine with a guy on it. He’s wearing a dark gray uniform. There’s a lavender bar over him that reads “Tsukasa Kuze.” The rest of the text reads “Main Story” and “Chapter 9: The Truth” /End ID]
Chapter summary: Tsukasa’s home sick again and finally tells me the truth about what’s going on.
I’m staying home today. I’m sorry I can’t walk you to class. Love, Tsukasa.
That was the Magic Note Tsukasa had sent me this morning as I ate breakfast. My stomach had dropped to the floor when I read it. I was really hoping he’d feel better, but apparently not. Did Azusa not come over and give Tsukasa medicine? Was Tsukasa just really sick? Again, once classes were over and I’d run an errand, I knocked on Tsukasa’s door with my free hand; the other had a small to-go bowl of soup.
“Come in,” he called weakly. I quickly went in, placing the soup on his nightstand.
“Hey, how are you feeling?” I asked.
“Bad. But I took some painkillers, so hopefully my body stops hurting soon.”
“Is it everywhere?”
“Basically,” he pouted. I sighed and handed him the soup. His face lit.
“You didn’t have to get me dinner. Thank you.” He didn’t wait to dig it, carefully taking off the lid and grabbing the spoon. He said something I didn’t quite understand before shoveling the soup into his mouth.
“You don’t have to thank me. It’s the least I can do.” I got on the other side of the bed, laying back on the pillows. “I don’t want to push you, but have you had your medication recently?” Tsukasa nodded, putting his spoon down and swallowing.
“Actually, Azusa came over this morning and gave me a dose,” he told me. Relief flooded my body.
“So you’ll be feeling better soon?!” He bit his lip and stared at the blankets. The relief I’d just felt evaporated in seconds. “Tsukasa?”
“I… I honestly don’t know.” His voice was barely above a whisper.
“But doesn’t this medication help keep you from getting sick in the first place?!”
“It does. But… I really didn’t want to tell you this.” My heart stopped.
“Tell me what?” I demanded, trying to sound calm when I felt anything but.
“My medication does keep me from getting sick, but it’s real purpose is to keep my body healthy. But we’ve been running low on it and… It’s watered down,” Tsukasa admitted.
“It’s what?!”
“Azusa’s mixed it with fillers so I don’t run out, but now it’s so weak that honestly, I don’t think it’s really doing anything anymore.” My blood ran cold.
“Tsukasa, why wouldn’t you tell me this?!” I demanded angrily.
“I already told you that I don’t want you to worry about me. You’re so stressed about classes and your Judgment and my health problems were just piling stress on,” he defended himself heatedly.
“But this is serious! I’m thankful you’re trying to make me less stressed, but this is your health! I need to be in the know about this sort of thing! I can’t help you if I don’t know everything.”
“I know, but if there’s a way to keep you from being totally stressed, isn’t that something I should do?” he countered, eyes narrowing.
“I mean, in most cases yeah, but this is different. This isn’t getting us dinner while I’m working late.”
“I…” He sighed, clearly frustrated. I certainly felt the same.
“How about we just. Cool down for a couple moments and then come back to talk about this?” I suggested. There was no way we were going to get anywhere when we were both angry.
“Let’s do that.” Finally, something we could agree on.
The tension in the air as we slowly calmed down lessened and lessened. By the time I was ready to talk things out, I wasn’t mad anymore. I knew he just wanted to help me out, but I wish talking to him wasn’t like talking to a wall. I looked over to tell him I was ready when I saw him slumped against his pillows, fast asleep.
“Oh no, Tsukasa…” I sighed. I was caught between waking him up and letting him sleep. After all, he’d been so sick. And besides, I had to go meet Azusa soon. You know what, I’ll just come back. I wrote him a quick note explaining I was going to be studying in the library and to send me a Magic Note when he woke up and placed it on his nightstand.
Azusa had asked me to meet him in the forest, at a large rock in the middle of the forest. He’d drawn me a map and with the moon lighting the way, I made my way through the forest. By the time I reached it, he was already there, arms folded and looking around his surroundings.
“Sorry I’m late, I ran to Tsukasa’s room to bring him dinner,” I told him. He didn’t look happy, but he nodded.
“It’s fine. Let’s head out.” He didn’t waste a moment, walking away. I hurried after him, falling into step with him.
“Head out? What we need isn’t here?”
“No, it’s just a little ways away. We’re going to the Spring of Unicorns,” he informed me.
“The Spring of Unicorns? What’s that?”
“According to a friend, unicorns live in his area and there’s a special spring they like.” I knew unicorns lived in Gedonelune, but I had no idea they lived on campus. You’d think more people would talk about that.
“So, uh, what are we getting at the spring? A special flower? Special water? What?” I asked.
“We’re going to get a part of a unicorn horn,” Azusa said.
“We… wait,  what?!” I stopped in my tracks. Azusa stopped too and gave me a tired look.
“Come on, we don’t have all night,” he snapped at me. He grabbed my arm and dragged me along. Once I got my footing and kept walking, he let go. But it was as if I could still feel his hand around my arm. My head was moving fast, trying to figure out why we’d need something from a unicorn. And then it hit me.
“A unicorn horn?! But… wait… is that what’s in Tsukasa’s medicine?!” I squeaked.
“Yeah.”
“Hold on, but unicorns don’t live in Hinomoto.”
“Really? I, a Hinomotan, didn’t know that,” he said ssnidely.
“Stop being sarcastic, you know what I meant!” He rolled his eyes.
“When Tsukasa was sick, I used to go around to some shady merchants and see their wares. I was desperate for something to save him. One merchant managed to smuggle a unicorn in. Somehow, it died on the way over and I took it off his hands. It cost too damn much, but it worked, didn’t it? Tsukasa was healthy for years until…” His voice trailed off.
“Until what?” I prodded.
“I didn’t think getting access to a unicorn would be so hard. I knew they lived in the forests here, but I didn’t realize they only live on the peninsula the Academy’s on. I haven’t been able to get to a unicorn until this year.”
“So why do you need me to help? Do you need me to talk to the unicorn?” I asked.
“Sort of. They like the pure of heart and having you with me when we negotiate would look good. Besides, I’d rather make the medication in the Night Class lab. No one will bother me there.”
“I see. Is there anything else we need for his medicine?”
“I made the first batch with unicorn blood since it also has magical properties, but this time around since I don’t have a dead body, I’m going to skip it. It was just for extra strength, anyway.” I shuddered at the idea of Azusa butchering a unicorn, even if it was already dead.
“Does Tsukasa know what’s in his medicine?”
“No. He loves animals so much it’d be a bit of a slap in the face.” He gave me a look so sharp that it could’ve killed me. “You won’t tell him what’s in his medication.” It wasn’t a suggestion; it was a demand.
“My lips are sealed,” I said hurriedly. He gave me a smile and my skin crawled.
“Good.”
The trees gave way to a clearing with a sparkling pond in the middle. And lo and behold, a majestic unicorn had it’s head bent down, drinking from the spring. I’d seen horses before, but this creature seemed so much bigger than a horse. The air of grandeur around it made me stop in awe. There has a hand on my back and Azusa was forcing me forward. His message was clear.
“Um, excuse me?” I called out timidly and the unicorn looked up, looking at both of us.
“Humans? What are you doing here? Isn’t this a little deep in the forest for your type?” he inquired.
“Uh, we were looking for a unicorn to talk to.” What was I even saying?
“Then I guess you’ve completed your task.” He leaned down, continuing to drink.
“We wanted to ask a favor,” Azusa spoke up. The unicorn lifted its head again.
“A favor? That’s a bit arrogant to ask of a creature you just met,” he said. I mean, he wasn’t wrong, but he was being so rude to us.
“I know,” Azusa replied. “I wouldn’t ask this if the situation wasn’t dire. My brother’s body is slowly shutting down and the only medicine that can save him needs a very small amount of a unicorn horn.”
“Oh, so that’s it? You want my horn?” The unicorn’s eyes started to change to a deep red and I quickly shook my head.
“We don’t want the whole thing,” Azusa said quickly. “We know what that means. We just need a small chunk.”
“And what will I get in return?” the unicorn asked pointedly. We paused.
“… The satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped someone?” I said.
“Wrong.” How is that wrong?! “How do I know you just aren’t going to sell it off?”
“That’s fair,” I conceded. “But please. We need to help his brother. He’s really sick and needs this medicine.”
“Come back in five years. If you’re patient, I’ll let you have a piece,” the unicorn said. Azusa twitched.
“Five years?! We don’t have that kind of time!” Something about Azusa changed. He tensed beside me and it was as if I could feel negativity radiating from him.
“If you aren’t patient, then you aren’t getting a piece of my horn, which I was generous enough to offer,” the unicorn sniffed. Yeah, it’d be generous if you weren’t being such a jerk about it.
“My brother will be dead in five years if we don’t get this horn!” Azusa cried. Dead?! My stomach fell straight to the floor and a wave of dizziness hit me. No… He was being melodramatic, right? Tsukasa always said he was overdramatic. That was the case, right? Tsukasa couldn’t be dying. He couldn’t be. He was just sick right now and he was going to get all better soon.
“I will not give you anything unless you wait. I need to know you’re trustworthy.” The unicorn acted like he didn’t even care, like our words weren’t even reaching him. Did he not understand death? Considering unicorns were endangered, surely he had to understand?
“We… You…” Azusa’s fists were clenched and there was something disturbing in his eyes. The air grew still and in a moment, my body was moving.
“We’ll come back tomorrow to talk this out more, Mr. Unicorn,” I piped up hurriedly. My arms were around Azusa’s waist and not a moment too soon. A second before I grabbed him, he started to lurch forward.
“Let go of me!” he screamed at me. He was seething as I dragged him away. It was like trying to drag a rock around, but somehow, we got out of the spring. “Let GO!” He pushed me and I stumbled backwards. He was breathing heavily, glaring into the darkness. “That selfish piece of -” A long string of expletives left his mouth as he stormed forward back towards campus. I scrambled to follow after him.
“What are we going to do now?” I was at a loss. Maybe we could find another unicorn if this one was going to be a jerk? Maybe there was something else we could do?
“We’re going back tomorrow and we’re killing it,” Azusa announced coldly. My blood froze.
“Kill… Kill it?! Azusa, that’s illegal!”
“Yeah, no shit. What else are we supposed to do?! If we don’t get that horn, Tsukasa will die!” he yelled at me.
“But… !” I couldn’t think of what to say. Of how to fight back. Sure, I wouldn’t mind slapping the unicorn for being so rude, but killing it?! There had to be another way! Killing a unicorn was a serious crime. If we got caught… I shuddered at the thought. But at the same time, what if Azusa was right? What if this was the only way to save Tsukasa? I wasn’t going to let him die, but if this was truly the sole way of keeping him alive… I just didn’t know.
The walk back to the dorm was silent. If I wanted to break the tension between Azusa and I, I’d have to cut it with a knife. I stole glances at him every so often. He looked quietly furious, fuming at how things turned out. I didn’t blame him. I understood where the unicorn was coming from, but it was harsh. Maybe if we came back tomorrow, he’d change his mind?
“Meet me tomorrow at the same place, same time as tonight,” Azusa ordered me. “We’re getting that horn if it’s the last thing we do.”
“There really isn’t another way?” He made a noise of disgust, rolling his eyes. What Dorian and Aika saw in him, I didn’t know.
“There’s not! How many times do I have to tell you that?!” he fired back. I flinched and he just rolled his eyes yet again. “If you don’t want to help, fine. I’ll just do it on my own since you clearly don’t care enough about my brother.”
“Excuse me?! You have absolutely no right to say that!” I argued. “Sorry that I actually have a conscious about killing animals.”
“Oh please, like it’s a big deal. It’s the circle of life. How is killing an animal for medicine different from killing an animal for food?”
“Uh, are y’all okay?” I looked over to see Isabelle coming out of the dorm building, eyebrows furrowed. Azusa straightened up, giving her a smile and a laugh.
“Oh, we’re fine. We were just talking about food ethics,” he lied. Isabelle just gave him a skeptical look.
“Uh, okay? Sweetie, we’ve been looking all over for you. Dorian’s almost done with dinner.” She put her arm around me and pulled me away. “Later, Azusa.” She didn’t even wait for him to respond, taking me inside and up to our dorm. “Was he bothering you?” she demanded as soon as Azusa was out of earshot.
“N-No, not really,” I lied.
“I have no qualms about beating someone up -”
“What? No, Isabelle. I don’t need you to beat him up. We just had a disagreement,” I added.
“Okay. But if you change your mind…” She winked. Note to self: don’t make Isabelle mad. “But seriously, where have you been? I’ve been looking all over for you.”
“I got into a fight with Tsukasa and… Oh no!” I need to go talk things out with him! “Crap, Isabelle, I’m sorry, but I gotta go talk to Tsukasa!” I started running back towards the dorm.
“Uh, okay?! Dinner’s in like, twenty minutes!” she shouted after me.
“Okay!”
I ran through the dorm, hurrying back to Tsukasa’s room. Was he awake now? Was I gonna have to wake him up? How did I even really feel about this? His door was open and I knocked before poking my head in.
“Tsukasa?” I called out tentatively. He was still in bed, a textbook open. He looked over to me. “Can we talk?”
“Yeah. I’m sorry I fell asleep,” he said as he shut his book and moved his study supplies onto his nightstand.
“I’m sorry I left while you were sleeping. And... Look, I get it. I know you were trying to do what you thought was best for me,” I said.
“I know. And I’m sorry, too. I was frustrated and not feeling well and I took it out on you. I think we both were just doing what we thought was best for each other.”
“Yeah…”
“We still need to work on our honesty with each other, but I promise I’ll keep working on it. And I promise that that’s everything going on.”
Was that true? He sounded so sincere. Maybe he didn’t know he was… No, Azusa, was totally just being melodramatic. But what if he wasn’t?
“I love you, Tsukasa. You know that, right?” I asked. He chuckled and grabbed my hand. His hand was so warm in mine.
“I love you, too,” he said, and the butterflies in my stomach were in a frenzy. … I had to find a way to save him. No matter what.
---
A delicious, savory smell wafted from our kitchen and my stomach started rumbling. Isabelle, Aika and Dorian were already at the table, eating.
“Jeez, where have you been? You’re never late to dinner,” Dorian said, irritated.
“I-I, uh…” Should I tell them about what happened?
Meeting Azusa, the unicorn, everything came rushing back to me. Azusa’s claim Tsukasa would die without this medicine. Tsukasa and I making up. My throat felt tight and it ached. My vision got blurry before the tears started. I felt Isabelle’s arms around me and I could hear Dorian trying to backtrack, telling me he wasn’t angry at me, he was only surprised and bit worried.
Isabelle sat me down, keeping her arms around me and letting me cry into her shoulder. Everything spilled out of me: my trip with Azusa, Tsukasa’s health, the unicorn refusing to help us. My sobs quieted the more I spoke, and by the time I was done, I was just sniffling. Dorian handed me some napkins.
“I had no idea Tsukasa’s condition was so bad…” Aika said.
“I knew there was something up with him, but I didn’t think it was this. Jeez, killing a unicorn...” Dorian sighed.
“I mean, I get it. If killing a unicorn was the only way to save my sister Felicity, I’d do it,” Isabelle said.
“Yeah, I get it too. But it’s not like it’s his only option,” he said. I perked up.
“There’s another way?!” I asked.
“Of course there is,” he answered. Isabelle’s eyes narrowed.
“If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, that’s a pretty big price to pay, Dorian,” she told him cautiously. “Not everyone is willing to make contracts.”
“Contracts?” I asked.
“Anything’s possible if you make a contract with a magical creature or a demon,” Dorian said.
“A demon?! I-Is that really necessary?” I couldn’t help but balk at the suggestion. But then again, if it was a way to save Tsukasa without killing anything...
“I wouldn’t say it’s necessary, but it’s easier to summon demons than magical creatures,” Dorian informed us. “Demons actively look for people who want contracts. Magic creatures generally don’t.”
“What, so you’re just going to go tell Azusa to make a deal with a demon instead of killing a unicorn?” Aika challenged him.
“It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?” he shrugged.
“Summoning a demon is so serious, though,” she pointed out.
“Uh, Tsukasa’s dying. I think this is a pretty good reason to summon a demon,” Isabelle said, folding her arms in front of her chest. “And also, it’s pretty rich that you -”
“I’m just saying Azusa is stubborn and even if Dorian suggests it, it’s not like he’ll do it,” Aika cut her off. “He likes us, but he’s also super stubborn.”
“But it’s worth a chance! And if Azusa won’t do it, then I will!” I declared. Aika and Isabelle gawked at me. The edges of Dorian’s lips twitched before he burst out laughing.
“Oh, you’re going to summon a demon? Well, if you need help, just give me a holler. Demonology is sort of my thing,” he told me.
“Don’t patronize me,” I snapped. “I want to help Tsukasa and if this is the only way I can do it, then I will! I don’t want Azusa to kill that unicorn. If I have to make a contract then I’ll do it!”
“We’re not trying to patronize you,” Aika frowned. “It’s just that making contracts with demons is a really serious thing. Sure, it’s so easy even non-wizards can do it, but it still carries a hefty price.”
“I don’t care. I’ll do it if I have to,” I told her.
Why did everyone look down on me?! I knew how big of a deal it was. But if I could save Tsukasa and the unicorn, of course I’d do it. I’d finally be able to do something for him. After so many days of being helpless and not able to do anything for him, I could finally do something to help.
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resetpermalik · a year ago
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Mass Music Measurements Survey Form
A freeCodeCampChallenge
Gaining Speed
This marks my second freeCodeCamp challenge. As I mentioned in my after action report from the first FCC challenge (tribute page), it took some time to finally gain traction and fully complete that project. That was a problem with (one) unnecessary complexity of design and (two) a lack of planning (before I began to code.) It was my assumption that if I laced the project with many working parts, I would learn much, much faster; also, that by getting right to the code, I could pick up the syntax, semantics and general knack for writing (code) in less time. And wow, I was very incorrect in thinking so.
As a response to my previous poor start (with my tribute page,) this time I was better able to address some lessons which had only occurred to me when halfway through the last project. So this time, I really dialed in the importance of streamlining my initial paperwork designs, learning how to more proficiently use Figma and some of its tools, how to better approach icon design with Photoshop and vastly improve my entire workflow. This provided (not only) an easier build, but also a more efficient angle by which I was empowered to catch more lessons along the way.
In the next few paragraphs, I will detail just which specific advantages I picked up in terms of HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript capability. In addition, I will move through some of the tactics I employed to help me finish this challenge with much more confidence than the last.
Planning Stages
When I set out to hand-write the marked goals (set down by FCC’s challenge,) I do find it tedious. The thing is, I am copying (in my own words) precisely what the challenge is demanding of me. Let me elaborate…
With every line, I am telling myself that I really do not need to do this. I mean, I can pretty easily peer over at the other browser window (when necessary) and see exactly what my marching orders are. Though albeit true, there are a couple of key differences in (one) reading from FCC and (two) writing/reading my own notes.
As I write out every expected step of my project, I can build an image immediately for how I would like my creation to take shape. This falls in line with the visual aspects and design, the color scheme, the functionality of each element and the code itself. It is a powerful method to which I will pay better respect going forward. (I already have plenty of ideas on how to implement more potent procedures — like larger drafting paper, (which will allow for a greater landscape on my pages, maybe using a tablet for notation and perhaps a few voice recordings along the way)). Now, I may be getting ahead of myself! Back to the plans..
And so writing out the objectives is terrific for lots of reasons, but moving to the drawn design itself — this may be the most crucial bit yet. Here’s the deal. When I physically drew the (expected) survey form, I may have well completed the whole project. So what does that mean?
I took so much liberty in imagining what the design should resemble. More specifically, I let my mind wander and allowed thoughts to spill out onto the legal pad before me. This (in combination with my understanding of how everything needed be expressed in code) let me structure my rough draft with such a degree that the next step made the actual coding like an exercise in copy and paste. I’ll expound…
I was drawing parts which were effectively elements of HTML. This was followed by some (more precise) markings of pseudo-code (which amounted to about all of the HTML I required to code for the whole challenge.) So, when I say the planning has proved to be useful, this would be an undestatement. This attention to planning has made it possible for me to avoid the ‘nuts and bolts’ in my code editor. Now, this advancement is massive, because the saved time and effort was a testement to why I was then able to better learn more intricate detail when coding. And now let’s get to those lessons and the code at large.
Within Earshot of Paper and Pencil
My goal is not to elaborate on the use of specific technologies, but more-so the process itself. however, I will briefly touch on Figma and Photoshop…
Using Figma helped me focus on each element and understand how they more literally fit together in the puzzle. I was able to name every piece such that it would show me what my HTML element should be in code and how each need be named. Also, I took those separate entities and grouped them such that I could postion everything exactly as I wished. My next goal with Figma will be to utilize the ‘component’ feature and truly unroll some strong functionality of the software.
Regarding Photoshop, I made a logo for my survey and spun it into a favicon with relative ease. In an attempt to create animations and advertisements for my affiliate site, I have better come to understand Photoshop’s effectiveness. Thereby, building my icon was fairly straightforward. I simply pieced it together with a couple of layers and exported the PNG. I still want to be able to employ SVGs for this application; but until now, I haven’t perfected the craft. I will leave that for the coming FCC challenge. Onward!
Coding the Beast
The first topic to address here is quite obvious for me… SUITE TESTING.
When I began coding this project, I wrote my HTML boilerplate and immediately tied in the FCC testing script so I could begin verifying my code at every turn. I’ll elaborate…
I ran into a few issues with debugging throughout my last project; those were problems which resulted in code errors piling up on me simultaneously. And, while an error (for which you don’t know the remedy) is frustrating…several of those errors (all at once) becomes infuriating. Luckily, I ran into a great solution. Unit testing.
By instantiating the FCC test suite before I began coding the bulk of my project, I was then gifted the opportunity of verifying each of the sixteen goal posts.
In more detail, nearly no problems snuck up on me while coding the breadth of this project because I was adamant on addressing them in real time (as they appeared). What a true life-saver...
Input Text (element, attribute)
I found it repetitive and annoying at first, when the 10th goal of this challenge asked me to give both the input and label elements their own respective and corresponding ids. This was because I (very simply) did not understand the request. Along with that, I definitely didn’t understand why it was being asked (to begin with.) 
That said, I now realize that the goal was to identify the label for the text field, in addition to the field itself. In understanding this distinction, I have now been able to find value in this very feature.
By giving ids to both my labels and input texts, I was then able to style each distinctly and find them with more ease (while peering though my HTML.) Now here’s real solid tip which I will not soon forget.
Don’t Pick More Than One Option!
So, I was writing the code for my radio buttons and what happened next is certainly a rookie mistake. When I navigated to my browser (in order to test the options,) I found that EVERY one of my buttons was clickable. And this, for obvious reasons, is not ideal.
This solution was super easy. All I needed to do was unify (or make each value the same for) the input-radio buttons. After I placed cloned values for each radio button, only one option could then be chosen. Success!
Nitpick the Name and Ids
This is something which should possibly be glossed over. But, when working with various input fields, I was asked to employ many names and ids for each.
While I’m not entirely certain (even now) whether there is a standard for which comes first, I have come to realize that name attributes should possibly supercede id attributes.
Using Visual Studio Code, it seems to like placing names before ids. And in a real life estimation, using name over id seems to be old-fashioned, but admirable.
More seriously, I understand in code, name will be less subjective (while more actionable) and ids will more far more particular and prone to alteration.
Dropdown
I was in a position to use dropdown boxes twice in this project. The problem I came across was that my options continued to begin with the default option as selectable. While I learned the solution quickly and with ease, I believe it should be recorded as vital.
When inserting a placeholder option in a dropdown box, in order to keep it from being a clickable entity, you have to style it as such.
I called the id of the option in my CSS sheet and set its display as none. That easy.
Pseudo Class and Element Selectors
Very little of my experience with this challenge dealt with pseudo class or pseudo element selectors. But, I will cover (in short) what I did learn (with these topics in mind.)
Using a pseudo element selector is the best (or maybe only) way to call an attribute from an HTML element and style with CSS.
This is how I was able to change the appearance of my placeholder text in each input-text.
I know pseudo class selectors are the way to alter elements (in a certain state) like ‘hover’ or ‘before’, but I haven’t used them enough to expand this monologue. That said, I’ll press on…
Attribute Selectors
In confluence with my previous words, I may have provided a misnomer to exactly what was being modified with pseudo-elements. But, I digress (and hopefully you see what I mean).
Using attribute selectors is quite different from other selectors, because you will be placing true brackets in as your selector which house your attribute, followed by an equal sign and a set of quotations (housing your value.)
Looks like this [attribute=“value”]. And that’s that!
Media Queries
While I employed media queries for this project, I have yet to fully grasp exactly how to use them (in reference to appropriation and context.) Therefore, I will not go into detail; but, only mention that I used them to alter my CTA button across pixel-widths. Also, I realized that setting a new media query works better when starting with the immediate values from your last screen size.
A Bit of JavaScript
The big task I pushed for in this project was this: change the client-side font family for a text area as the user types. And by big, I mean, it took me about as long as the rest of the whole challenge to learn this functionality with JavaScript. That said, I now understand much better how JS semantics are employed. And, that’s pretty priceless…
For this goal, I inserted a script with an event listener. First, I started with DOMContentLoaded, which allows for firing without the images or styling need be loaded.
The next bit lets my document be called by its (element) id.
Then, it states that my id will be triggered by any input (via an eventListener) and will force my later instantiated function.
The function declared will let the charCode number equal a string which will be console.log(ed) out as my target.value (of Nunito, sans-serif) with proper style.fontFamily.
Conclusion
Attempting to wrap this project up in a nice bow is difficult, as I have onboarded a great deal of information (from one simple survey page.) After completing this task, I am left with a split-brain. While I have learned so much from something, seemingly straightforward, now I am thrilled to make it to the next project and take on those new expectations.
I suppose my takeaway is that I should fine-tune my HTML and CSS understanding and seriously crack open all that is JavaScript. All which, can wait until tomorrow. Cheers!
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daprec · a year ago
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BJJ Floating Mat System DIY Walkthrough
I’m going to share the process of building a floating mat system, from design to sourcing materials and build. I figured I try to take out as much guess work since I had no guidance and had to learn on my own. There were several pieces of the puzzle that came as some small surprises, but hopefully this helps the next person who decided to make the leap to a better mat system. I’m unsure of the process for other countries, but in my case I will detail the process for importing goods into New Zealand – it may differ in other places. I’ll include links to the factory for all the specific mats I ordered in the post.
Towards the end of Sept 2020, just after the Covid-19 lockdown ended in New Zealand, I had an opportunity to expand my BJJ club and sub-lease space in our existing gym we ran out of. I had an elaborate vision of a floating mat system underneath some juicy dollamur mats for use to train in.
I was introduced to the floating mat system years ago when I lived in Los Angeles on a visit to Kron Gracie’s academy in Culver City. I had worked down the street and wanted to congratulate him and have a look around. My friend Ollie Barre worked there and he showed me around, even Kron said hello and mentioned the spring loaded floating mat system to me.
It was about 1/2 a meter high with actual springs under the floor with plywood on top and tatame on top of the ply. It was amazing!
Image courtesy of Kron Gracie Academy Linkedin page
I knew that’s what I wanted but I didn’t have the budget for springs, so I explored other options. After a few searches I came across a couple videos:
How to build the ultimate spring subfloor for your Judo, Jujitsu and Wrestling mats
&
How to build a Bjj subfloor
Foam and ply – sweet I can do that! Let’s measure the space:
9.7m x 4m – pretty decent space!
After the measurement I needed to visualize the build. I knew I had to see it and make something for others to see the vision I had, so I modeled everything out in Maya and made a 3D render:
Concept render
I used real world units to keep everything to spec, that means the units I use in the 3D application are accurate to and equal to the units I would use on the actual build. The sub-floor would be the most difficult thing to explain to a builder, so I did a couple renders of what the underbelly would look like:
14 sheets of plywood with sub-floor foam block layout
Single sheet plywood foam block layout
I began compiling a list of materials I would need:
15 sheets of 2440mm x 1200mm x 12mm non-structural plywood
6 sheets of closed cell polyethylene foam
tons of liquid nail
timber for boxing in – unsure of spec at that time
5cm thick floor mats, tatame finish
21 wall mats @ 183cm x 122cm x 5cm
Living in New Zealand is awesome BUT sourcing some of these materials was going to be difficult and super expensive. I started calling around and emailing different foam companies and dollamur reps. I was getting quotes just for the dollamur mats of $5-6k NZD alone! I found a company that imports foam and was quoted $500/sheet of PE foam! I didn’t even bother looking at the wall mats – it would have cost me closer to 10K to get everything from NZ companies, so I decided to cut out the middle man and source materials myself.
Of course this lead me to Alibaba.com – the Chinese based website that gives people like myself access to factories where these things are typically made. After a few days of searching and multiple emails, I found a factory – Quindao Sanhong Plastic Co, LTD – that appeared to manufacture everything I needed – floor mats, wall mats and PE foam sheets.
It was my 1st time using Alibaba and to be honest I was SUPER dubious. I would be dealing with people outside of the country I lived in which carries a larger sense of the unknown.
I ended up chatting with a service person named Emily. She was incredibly helpful and thorough and made sure she understood what I required. I sent her an absurd amount of photos, videos, all of my renderings of what I had in mind, the measurements and other specs. She talked me into getting a more dense mat (40kg/cbm – a new unit of measurement I was completely unfamiliar with) for both the floor mats and sub-floor mats.
Originally I intended to have that pool noodle type foam, but Emily urged me not to go that route and go for something thicker – the cost was negligible so I went for it. Trusting someone you’ve never met overseas was hard, but I figured I needed to roll the dice.
The floor mat specs I went with were 3 rolls of 9.7m x 1.33m x 5cm with a tatame finish
Link to mats here
Floor mats
Next were the wall mats. I needed 21 wall mats @ 183cm x 122cm x 5cm Link to mats here
Wall mats
Next was the closed cell sub-floor PE foam. Quindao made 2m x 1m sheets of this stuff, and I needed 6 sheets total to accommodate my space. These were roughly $40USD / sheet so if I got it wrong I figured it wouldn’t be TOO much of a loss. Link to foam sheets here
This is the pool noodle foam I was expecting, but not what I ended up receiving
Emily was very patient and understand of my reservations in dealing with an overseas factory. After a few more emails and messages I pulled the trigger and made the order. At this stage Emily walked me through the process and gave me a general idea of several unknown import costs. Her estimate on the NZ import tax was very close, but she did inform me there would be other costs she had no way of providing an estimate for.
I forgot to mention that a couple months prior to ordering I had already setup a legit business in anticipation of building my dream in the future. Emily had requested an NZ Import ID so fortunately I was already qualified to apply for a NZ business import ID through NZ Customs. This cost me about $200 to register my business and get an import ID.
After providing all of my information, she came back with a total cost and import tax estimate I would pay on arrival. Freight costs from China to NZ were SUPER cheap – about $80NZD to ship 700kg worth of stuff, so that was fine.
I paid the deposit so the manufacturing could get under way. Once they were finished making all of the mats/materials I would then pay in full prior to loading onto the ship. It took them about 4 weeks to finish everything. At that time there was one final check through that they had all of my correct information and import ID and that was that. The order started on 11/02/2020 and was shipped on 12/08/2020
Because of Covid, there were huge delays with international shipping and unloading, so the wait time was longer than usual. It was supposed to take 40 days but ended up being much longer than that. The mats arrived in NZ the 1st week of February 2021 – phew at least they made it safe!
This is where a lot of the surprises and unknowns came into play. I received an email from some guy at a freight company saying my mats had arrived and I needed to send all of the arrival documents to my broker
Evidently I had to obtain an import broker to forward all of the documents to, which no one makes any mention of. But here’s where things get a little…rackety. I ended up going with EasyFreight brokers who charged me about $200 for their services. They emailed documents from NZ Customs where I then had to pay around $500NZD for the Import Tax.
Once the Import Tax was paid, my mats could then be released BUT…the mysterious freight company who initially emailed me now says I need to pay them $1900NZD before they ship my mats to Wellington. This fee was for unloading the mats from the ship and onto the dock and storing them in a warehouse until all of the documents cleared. This almost doubled the cost of the mats I ordered and by now the total cost was getting close to what I was getting quotes from NZ based companies.
I paid the invoice and they put my mats onto a truck to be shipped down to Wellington to ANOTHER freight company – not directly to me for whatever dumb reason. I contacted the new freight company, had a bit of confusion and back and forth but eventually I ended up having to pay them another $250NZD to ship my mats to the gym. What a racketeering outfit huh?
They delivered the mats and I immediately started ripping up the packaging to have a look at my new goods. I have to say that what I purchased exceeded my expectations. The floor mats where BETTER than what I expected, the wall mats were BETTER than what I anticipated and the sub-floor foam ended up being more closer to memory foam than pool noodle foam. Holy hell we’re gonna have some sweet mats to roll on!
To the build!
After a trip to Bunnings to pickup timber, liquid nail and a few other things, that tallied up to over $1000NZD we were on our way.
The 1st order of business was to cut the foam sheets into blocks. I had originally calculated 7cm x 10cm x 10 cm but when we laid everything out, we’d only be using 2 sheets of foam and would have had to cut relatively tiny blocks. So instead we went with 20cm x 20cm x 10cm blocks – much easier to cut and deal with and even then we had a ton left over (which we made use of by the end of it.
Foam blocks
I worked out the numbers and we did 3 x 5 rows of blocks per plywood sheet
1st row of 8 pieces of 2440mm x 1200mm x 12mm plywood with 15 foam blocks liquid nailed to ply
We had all of the blocks glued to the ply and realized we had HEAPS left over, so we decided to re-jig some things around and use the extra blocks in the spaces inbetween sheets of ply on the seams and corners. This ended up adding an extra level of stability between the ply and would be less likely to damage the mats on top.
Using extra blocks underneath ply seams
Once all the plywood was laid out and the liquid nail given a bit of time to cure, we had to then box everything in to prevent sliding. This required a concrete drill/concrete bit, about 10 dynabolts (basically concrete bolts with anchors), some timber 2 x 4s, more liquid nail and a bit of good old fashioned elbow grease.
We made a mess!
The guys marked where the holes needed to be drilled roughly 1 1/2 meters apart. After the holes were drilled and swept, we laid down a very long 2×4 that was already predrilled with the initial concrete hole drilling. A dynabolt was hammered into the hole as far as it could, then racheted down with a socket wrench to tighten. The 1st piece of timber would be the foundation the other boxing in pieces would be anchored to.
The farside wall was crooked so that meant our sheets were slightly offset on the outside edge. As long as the surrounding box was square, the top layer mats would hide the crooked ply and we’d be fine.
Timber posts are rather expensive in NZ and usually crooked, so we ended up gluing and screwing 2 2×4 together so that 1. they cost less and 2. we could straighten them much easier.
Boxing in almost complete
To secure the 2x4s to the base we used nails and several Stud to Bottom galvanized fixings. We needed to make sure there would be absolutely no flex with the box.
To have a nicer finish, we added a thin layer of finger jointed pine on top of the 2x4s secured with finishing nails. The grain and look of it is much more eye pleasing than the sides of 2x4s and I can stain or paint it later.
Finishing touches on the sub-floor box
We left about a 3cm lip around the box so when the mats sit on top of the ply, the outer frame would contain and lock in the mats from sliding. The mats came very well packaged in three 1.3m x 9.7m x 5cm rolls
1 of 3 mat rolls
We placed extra ply against the walls to create a wedge/spacing for the wall mats. Upon rolling out the 1st roll we realized the wall was not straight…at all, but we made it work. 1st mat down!
The middle roll was relatively easy to to setup and the velcro attachment worked out perfectly.
That tatame finish texture is looking nice!
The final row did prove to be a bit more challenging but we eventually squeezed it into the remaining space. We can do math!!
After a full day of work we got the mats installed. We started at 11am, did a Bunnings run to collect tubes of liquid nail, screws, etc, got to the gym at around 12:30pm and finished just after 1am.
The following weekend we mounted the wall mats which were relatively straight forward. We ran 2 rows of 5m x 18mm pine planks along the wall, one at the top of the wall mats and one mid mat for support. I forgot to take pics but we basically created a support system and something to drill into instead of thick firewall jib.
We finished in the evening, cleaned up and of course we had a roll!
Some after thoughts
I can’t tell you how happy I am with this setup. Having an extra 10cm of foam under the sub floor has made a HUGE difference. It only took about 3 weeks to break in the harshness of new mats, and the tatame finish has been amazing. They aren’t slippery at all and are like heaven to roll on. One thing I would have done, which I most likely will do soon is to place 1 screw into each foam block under the sub floor.
What happens is the vibrations of people moving on the mats will cause the foam blocks to shift if they liquid nail didn’t stick. Not a big deal as we can simply lift the mats/play and move the foam, but that’s the only thing I would have done. Everything else worked out perfectly and I could not be more happy.
I hope this helps anyone who is interested in building something like this. There are a LOT of unknowns that go into importing goods from overseas, but I covered all of the “gotcha” moments along the way. Also I can with full confidence say that Quindao Plastics manufacture high spec and high quality mats/foam. They exceeded my expectations, so you can purchase with confidence. I knew nothing about them, only went by their Trade Assurance certification rating on Alibaba, but who the hell knows what that means? I’m thrilled I rolled the dice – they nailed it!
Reach out if you have any questions
Oss!
BJJ Floating Mat System DIY Walkthrough was originally published on davepreciado
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thewitcheranonarchive · a year ago
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